There was a loud bang of some kind that cut through Willow's sleep,and reached deep down into her subconscious to pull her by the hair up and out of the unpleasant dream she'd been having. Willow's eyes jerked open, and her hand automatically went to her chin, wiping any imaginary drool that might be there. She was confused for a moment and had the urge to fight off the invisible frogs that had been plaguing her only moments before.
Willow's head began to clear and she realized that she was still at Tara's. She looked at the blond, who seemed to be sleeping peacefully despite the awful noise. The banging sounded again, causing memories of the evil frogs to resurface. Then reality reached up and smacked her on the head, effectively de-fogging her mind. Willow was relieved to realize that it was just someone knocking on the door and not the rather large lumpy toad from her dream. The relief only lasted a moment though, before thoughts of hatchety-murdery, serial killers entered her brain. She looked down at the plastic watch on her wrist, and decided that anyone knocking at 3:00 in the morning had to be up to no good. Even the tiny scooby with is arms dutifully pointing to twelve and three seemed to have a worried expression in his little decal eyes.
Willow got off the floor cautiously. She began to creep toward the door, then, making a last minute decision she grabbed the first heavy-looking thing she saw , which happened to be a rather large paintbrush, she made her way to the door. Her hand twisted the knob slowly...then without warning she pounced! pushing the door open quickly in an attempt to throw the would-be-attacker off, catching him off guard, hopefully with a face full of door.
She was successful. Only, it was no Serial killer she hit, but rather a familiar blond. "Buffy! Oh My God! Are you alright?" Willow reached out to touch Buffy's arm, but the blond stepped back slightly as if she were afraid of another attack.
"What are you guys doing here?" Willow asked, noticing first Xander, then Anya standing next to him.
"I'm along for moral support. Xander was afraid you would still be angry and pummel him atop the head with something heavy." Anya explained her presence. "I guess it wasn't Xander's head we should have been worried about." Anya stated flatly, regarding Buffy's currently bloody nose.
The blond had her head back and a tissue placed over the bruised appendage. "I know it's late, we just felt really bad and needed to apologize. I hope we're not interrupting anything..." Buffy said. Her voice sounded nasal, due to the pinch she was putting on her nose.
"I know you're probably still pretty mad at us... but just hear us out okay?"
"Okay," Willow agreed.
"We're really sorry... we only followed you because Buffy felt-" There was a jab to his ribs from Buffy who, although injured was surprisingly agile. "We! We felt left out. You've been secretive gal lately and we just wanted to know why." Xander finished.
Willow felt herself tearing up. <how can I stay mad at my best friends... and Anya.> She included Anya, even though the brunette hadn't done anything to irritate her..And though she did find Anya's general personality irritating in and of itself most times, tonight she was feeling rather generous with the love. "I love you guys... group hug..." Willow said, pulling Xander and Buffy into a squished embrace. "This doesn't mean that you are entirely off the hook you know..." She added, squeezing them tighter.
"We know, that's why we came bearing many gifts... well... two gifts anyway. There wasn't anything open at this hour but the 7-eleven and some guy who was selling tube socks and Tabasco sauce out of the back of his van." Xander said pulling away.
"Don't forget about the CDs..." Anya reminded Xander. Then turning to Willow "There was a CD."
"Right, and the CD. The band was called... Dingos ate my..." There was a pause while Xander tried to come up with the rest of the name.
"Baby." Anya stated. "I remember because I found it inappropriately humorous in-spite of the offensive nature of the title."
Buffy rolled her eyes.
"You guys are kinda like the three stooges... only with more hair." Willow related this observation with a bemused smile.
"You're losing her, give her the gift Xander." Anya said.
Buffy handed Xander the bag she'd been holding. He took a box out of the bag, and handed the box to Willow.
"A waffle iron?" Willow was confused.
"Nothing says I'm sorry like a waffle iron." Xander explained.
"Ooooo Teflon!" Anya said, admiring the gift.
"Well... I do love waffles..." Willow smiled at her friends.
"I don't think she's convinced. Give her the other thingy Xander." Anya ordered, accessing the situation for herself.
"And in-case acting like idiots is a two gift offense... we also brought you this."
" I 'heart' Boobies..." Willow read the words on the key-chain xander handed her. The word 'heart' wasn't spelled out, but represented by a picture of a heart between of the I and Boobies.
"Good thing they didn't make a tee-shirt." Willow laughed
"Oh they did... But Xander's keeping that for himself." Anya explained.
"Gee guys... this is great... thatcha came all the way down here... and it's been fun... but..."
"You're not going to invite us into your little den of iniquity?" Anya asked.
"What ?!" Willow glared at Anya.
"Anya... remember that talk we had in the car on the way over here?" Xander reminded her gently.
"Right..." The woman adjusted her wording " Please feel free to enjoy your lesbianism."
"Um... thanks?" Willow had no Idea what to say to that.
Tara opened her eyes at the smell of something battery baking. The sun was shining brightly through the studio apartment's large windows and the sound of Am talk radio drifted softly from the small radio in the kitchen. Tara smiled. She'd never suspected that Willow might be a talk radio kinda gal. . Her head was tilted to the side as she lay on her pillow watching the red-head.
"How long have you been awake Missy?" Willow asked, catching sight of Tara watching her. "I wanted to surprise you with breakfast in bed. But now that you know, we'll just have to squash the surprise part and you'll simply have to settle for plain ol' boring breakfast in bed." Willow said, putting the glass of Orange she'd been preparing on the tray.
"Not boring... It's lovely... No one's ever made me breakfast in bed before."
"If you play your cards right there just might be pancakes next time." Willow said cheerfully.
"Willow... I'm really sorry about last night... I don't know why-" Tara tried to apologize for the night before, but Willow had effectively silenced her with a kiss. Tara felt the warm try being set down on her lap.
Willow sat down on the bed next to Tara. She became serious for a moment asking, "Are you okay...?"
"I am..." Tara said quietly, but deep down inside she was wondering if that was even the truth.
"It has just occurred to me that you haven't been over to my apartment yet. I'll cook you dinner." Willow said, changing the subject.
"You can do that?" Tara brightened
"I made waffles didn't I?" Willow teased
So... I'll see you tonight?" Willow asked.
"Oh yes..." Tara confirmed
"You stay in bed Missy. Willow tucked the blankets rather tightly around Tara. She kissed the blonds forehead. and started to get up to gather her things. But Tara caught her by the hand and pulled her back down.
"Thank you for last night." She said . Her tone was flecked with a mixture of seriousness and something else Willow couldn't quite put her finger on. Whatever it was, it made Willow blush from her toes to the roots of her hair.
"You don't need to thank me Tara..." Willow said, twisting the blankets between her fingers. She desperately wanted to tell Tara how she felt but the words wouldn't come out the way she needed them to, instead she started to babble, it was a curse she suspected must have started in infancy. "I really enjoyed our date last night... there was food... and you... And I like when I can say Tara and food in the same sentence. Not that I want to eat you or anything! I mean not eat you in the salt and pepper kinda eating! <oh God in heaven where am I going with this?> But there are other kinds of eating that I'd-"
"No, I mean... thank you for last night, for not pushing. Thank you for staying with me. Just thank you. okay?"
"Okay..." Willow didn't know what to say. Here was this gorgeous blond Goddess, whom Willow felt privileged simply to know, much less be in a relationship with and she was thanking her?
Tara leaned over pressing her lips warmly to Willow's. "I'll see you tonight..." she breathed against Willow's lips.
Willow grinned. Getting off the bed she started to walk toward the door, but was stopped by Tara's voice behind her.
"Where did we get a waffle iron?"
She could tell the blond wasn't asking Willow as much as she was thinking aloud. Willow decided she would explain later.
Willow felt incredibly happy as she walked down the stone steps leading from Tara's building. The air was fresh, the birds were singing, she was in love <secretly> she reminded herself. But even secret love was still love. Now all she had to do was find a way to tell Tara.