"Look... there she is!" Xander was leaning across Buffy's lap and pointing out the window... "See everything's fine, I guess we can go now." Xander started to accelerate.
"An art gallery?! She ditched me for some art??" Buffy gasped, as she watched Willow going inside the small shop.
"Well... you know... there's all kinds of culture in there... maybe she's trying to be... um... cultured," Xander offered.
"Willow cultured? Her idea of culture is ordering the grande meal at taco bell!"
"Mmm... taco bell... my kind of woman."
"Please Xander... you'd date any woman as long as she was spicy beef scented," Buffy said, rolling her eyes.
"Yeah especially if it gets me some tasty, imitation-authentic Mexican burritos."
"You'd do anything for a burrito..."
"Yep... just about."
"We'd better ditch the car and get a better look," Buffy said, pulling the handle on the car door.
"Why ditch? I'm perfectly comfortable here," Xander said, playing with the knob that controled the heat. He musted have pressed the wrong button, because the radio came on instead, and they found themselves being serenaded, by a certain Dion Warrick. Xander blushed, embarrassed. "That's Anya's." He pushed eject on the cd player, tossing the cd in the back seat.
"Your car is a highly conspicuous purple Xand... I think she'd recognize it," Buffy said, ignoring him.
"It is not purple! its... magenta."
"Go and park the car... then come back here."
Willow checked her watch as she entered the small building. It was silent, except for the soft music she could hear playing through a small speaker, mounted to the wall. Below the speaker was a painting of a cat. hm... funny cat... Willow thought as she rocked nervously back on her heels. This would be their first real date and Willow was beyond anxious. she was only 36 minutes early for their date which , in Willows mind, translated to being 10 minutes late..
Tara had suggested that they meet at this art museum, if you could really call it that, it was much to quaint to be what willow would consider a museum. Museums were supposed to be larger..and stancher with a funny smell, also, willow didn't see a gift shop.Yes It was more of a gallery really, Willow decided.
She had never been to an actual art gallery before, and she didn't know what to expect. What if Tara asks me to interpret the meaning of these? Willow scanned the walls, seeing a number of paintings hung at various heights all along the walls. There was a doorway in front of her, leading into a nearly darkened room, Willow could tell by a hushed glow of light coming from the room, that there were paintings hung in there as well. her curiosity getting the better of her and having some time to kill, I don't want to seem overly desperate by standing in front of the door for the next... she looked down at her watch again 34 minutes, she thought to herself, deciding to explore.
To her left, was a door, which she considered might be an office of some kind, until she noticed the stick figure of a woman wearing a triangle dress on the door. Oh... bathroom she thought to herself: locate bathroom: check. She smiled, mentally checking that off her "list of things to do"
Walking slowly into the room, and allowing for her eyes to adjust to the dim light, it took Willow a moment to comprehend what she was actually seeing. She stood there in awe as she stared at the paintings lining the walls. She felt tears form, turning her green eyes a shade darker, they clouded her vision a moment before she blinked allowing them decent. As realization struck her, that this gallery must belong to Tara, for lined along the wall and lit with tiny muted orange lamps were paintings of Willow.
"Do you like them...?" came a sweet voice from behind her. Willow turned slowly to face Tara, who was standing before her, smiling shyly.
"I love them... But how...?"
"F-from memory... y-you're up here alot, you know," Tara said, touching her head lightly.
Willow, smiled warmly into Tara's blue eyes. turning back to the wall, her eyes took in every detail of the paintings hanging there. She was everywhere, and painted with such passion, strands of red hair graced every canvas. Willow was so overcome with emotion, that she couldn't move even as she felt Tara's arms slip around her waist, hugging Willow to her with tender strength.
"No ones ever... cared enough to... paint me... they're wonderful Tara..." Willow's voice trailed off as her head pressed back softly against Tara's shoulder. As they stood there that way, a heated tension began to build between them. Willow could feel it begin in her toes, a delicious tingly sensation creeping up her body and illuminating every place Tara's body was pressed against. Willow's eyes closed, and her heart beat quickened. They were supposed to be taking things slow, but Willow couldn't help thoughts of backing Tara against the wall and kissing her thoroughly, no not even that would have been enough at that moment... she needed more. And then it hit her, like a ton of bricks I love her, I'm in love with her... did I know this already? Willow silently questioned herself. Should I say something? no... that might scare her... remember... we're taking things slow... I cant just be like... Oh hey Tara... by the way I love you... Would you marry me and bear my children? Is that even possible... Oh my god, that's not even possible... She'll never bear my anything. We're barren! Willow could feel panic face starting to form on her face.
"Are you okay Will?"
"Oh yea... everything's fine... hunky dory..."
"You're the most adorable creature..." Tara giggled, kissing Willow's nose. "Come on..." Tara slid her hand into Willows, lacing her fingers with the red heads.
"Where are we going?" Willow questioned, as Tara led her into the outer gallery and over to a basket sitting on the floor next to the exit.
"You'll see... It's kind of a surprise," Tara said.
Willow melted inside at the sight of the half smile the blonde was giving her, and right at that moment, Willow would have followed her to the ends of the earth, if only she'd ask.
"For godsake! Would you stop pushing?!" Buffy said, glaring irritatedly at Xander.
"I wasn't pushing"
"You elbowed me!"
"I did not!"
Buffy shot Xander her "oh my god, I can't believe you just lied" face
"Well Excuse me for needing more than an inch of space. I'm not a Pringle you know," Xander said in a loud whisper
"Shh," Buffy said suddenly, as she saw Willow appear from the right.
"And don't shhush me eith-"
"Shhhh..." Buffy exaggerated, motioning to Willow who was just coming out of the building. Following closely behind, was a blonde woman, Buffy couldn't recall having seen before.
"Look Willow has a new friend." Xander said cheerfully.
"I don't like the looks of her... her eyes seem beady. We need to follow them..."
"Did anyone ever mention to you how Bossy you are?" Xander spoke in a loud whisper, "and how do you expect to do that... cause there's only so many bushes to hide behind, you know."
They emptied the contents of the picnic basket onto the thin blanket Tara had brought along. It was dark outside, but the moon and stars provided all the illumination they needed.
"It's so beautiful here Tara... How did you know about this place?" Willow looked out at the night sky, the twinkling stars seemed to dance back and forth in the sky.
"I'm not sure... this place... it just sort of called to me... is that weird?" Tara asked.
"No... not weird... no weirdness involved... I have a place like that. The computer lab at UC Sunnydale." Willow said. picking up a grape, she rolled it between her fingers, before putting it in her mouth. "I've never had a picnic at night..." Willow said, when she'd finished chewing.
"Is it okay...? Because we could go s-someplace else..."
"No it's great... perfect..."
Willow blushed at the blonde and lowered her eyes.
"When did you... you know... know you were... um... gay?"
"I thought I knew in high school. But... running the risk of sounding corny with a side of cliché... I think I really and truly knew that night... you were standing there... right in front of me... chewing that god awful gum, and it popped... it was all over your lips and you gave me that gorgeous smile of yours... and that's the moment I knew for absolute certain." Willow spoke softly.
"R-really?" Tara began to laugh
"Whats so funny?" Willow teased.
"N-nothing... it's just... I would have never have guessed..."
"Oh? Didn't anyone ever tell you how good you look in gum?" Willow flirted. Her hand came up to touch Tara's cheek, cupping it in remembrance of that night. "How 'bout you...?" Willow questioned, taking her hand away, she picked up a piece of cheese.
Tara blushed and took another drink of her soda.
"O-once... when I was 17 my father took my brother and I to the fair and there was this fortune teller... and as she was describing how I'd meet the "man" of my dreams, I found myself forming the complete picture of this "man" in my head... only... he had b-breasts and wore strawberry lip-gloss. It was an epiphany of sorts and after that I couldn't deny the fact that I was gay... I told my father but..." Tara's voice trailed off..."I never met anyone like you before Willow..."
Willow didn't miss the way Tara's eyes lowed at them mention of her father. She felt the pressing need to know what could have happened with her father, that would make her lower her eyes the way she had, but she also sensed that now was not the time to rehash old grievances. Still, it hurt her, the way Tara was looking at the ground. Willow brought her hand underneath Tara's chin, and lifted Tara's face, until the blonde was looking directly into Willow's eyes. "Hey..." Willow said. I love you... Willow wanted to say desperately, but fear held her back. "You're eyes are the color of rain..." Willow brought her face inches from Tara's. She could feel Tara's breath, hot against her lips.
Tara traced her finger along Willow's jawline. Their eyes never breaking contact as the connection between them heated into an all encompassing desire.
"Woah, woah, woah... What's going on here?!" Buffy stood up, coming out from behind the bush.
"Buffy!?" Willow gasped, pulling away from Tara completely. She felt her face getting hot and she couldn't tell if it was from anger, embarrassment, or surprise. Possibly all three.
"What are you doing here?!"
"We followed you," Buffy said, holding her chin in the air.
"We?" Willow questioned, looking around for any sign that there had been a "we".
Xander cleared his throat, as he stood up bringing himself into view with a little wave.
"You're spying on me?!" Willow said, astonished, that her best Friends would stoop so low.
"Well... you're being sneaky...!" Buffy stammered.
"Me!? You're the one hiding behind a bush!" Willow angrily pointed out.
"And you!" Willow pointed her finger at Xander. "You're in on this too?!" Willow was beyond furious... she was hurt. My best friends in the world have been spying on me... and behind my back of all places.
"M-maybe I sh-should go..." Tara interrupted, feeling uncomfortable.
"No... What? ...No," Willow said, taking hold of Tara's hand.
"Really Will... I'll see you l-later okay?"
Willow stood motionless watching Tara walk away.
"So now you know... are you happy?"
"Just leave me alone," Willow said angrily stalking off in the other direction.
"Will wait..." Buffy said, jogging to catch up to the red head.
Buffy was immediately sorry for breaking Willow's trust. She could tell that the red head was hurt, which had never been Buffy's intention. There was something between Willow and that girl, even a over-the-top boy-crazy girl like herself could tell that much.
"What?!" Willow spun around around to face her best friend.
"Are you happy...?" Buffy said, out of breath .
"Immensely." There were tears forming in Willow's eyes, and she couldn't keep them from falling down her cheeks. "Why?"
"Because you shouldn't let the woman you love walk home alone..." Even as it came out of Buffy's mouth, she knew it was right, and she smiled as she watched her best friend, without hesitation, take off in the direction the blonde had gone.