Nadia tossed the last bag into the trunk of her car and shut it.
"Where are you going?" Donnie asked, trying his best to loom over the young woman. He ran a hand over his scruffy face and sneered, "Running off with someone?"
"What do you want?" She briefly faced her half-brother before turning her back on him.
Before he could utter another word, his father's voice interrupted him. "Get back in the house, Donnie." There was no room for argument as the young man grumbled under his breath and turned back toward the house.
"Coming to wish me a safe trip?" Nadia flashed a cynical smile at the man she had never learned to love.
"You're breaking your mother's heart, you know," Donald said, folding his arms as he observed his daughter.
"And since when do you care about my mother's heart?" She shot back with a terse snort, not missing the tightening of the older man's jaw. "After all, I know I'm not breaking your heart, considering there's nothing to break."
Nadia knew she was upsetting Donald but it angered her knowing that the man standing before her; the man that had never once tried to be a part of her life was now telling her that she was the one hurting someone.
With a lot of effort, Donald managed to control his temper. As much as he wanted to punish Nadia for speaking back to him, he knew that words were often a better weapon.
"How could you have expected me to love you? Who knows, you're probably not even mine," he caught the slight twitch of Nadia's eye and continued, "A sinner. You were born evil. I know it. Your mother knows it. There was never any helping you."
When Nadia remained silent, Donald found his chance to dig a little deeper, "And that spawn inside you is pure evil too." He knew his words had stung and allowed himself a tiny grin of satisfaction. What he wasn't counting on was his daughter's next words and the figure that had been standing behind him the entire time.
She was supposed to remember something. What was it? The brief thought which had been so fresh only seconds ago seemed to fade from her conscious mind. She glanced over to the woman standing beside her, hoping the presence would help her remember.
"Is wheat okay?"
A tiny smile and nod of the head replaced words.
"I was thinking," Willow began, deciding to push aside what she had been trying to remember. If it was important, it would come back. Tara, who had briefly turned toward the window, looked back toward the redhead. "How about we take our lunch down to the park, it's really nice out today."
The doctor had noticed the brief expression of longing on Tara's face as she gazed out of the window.
"Could we?" Tara asked, her smile showing just how much she wanted to.
Willow wanted to kick herself. Obviously, being locked up in the house all day wasn't exactly what Tara needed, especially not after what she had already been through.
"Of course, I'll just finish this and grab a blanket and then we can go."
The sun lessened the chill in the air and cast an evening glow on the trees. The two women had found a quiet spot on the grass beneath a large, slanted tree.
Willow stared at the wrapping covering her sandwich, not knowing what to say. It was strange, really. As much as she wanted to have a normal, non-professional talk with Tara, she didn't know what to say or even how to begin. She couldn't even find anything to talk about.
The awkward silence continued for another minute before Tara spoke. "Your friendů he- he's upset that you're helping me?" She looked down at her own sandwich as she asked the question.
"Giles? No, he's," Willow paused, exhaling, "it's complicated."
"Why?" Tara asked, remembering the older man's reaction when he saw her.
"He's just worried, that's all." Willow said, hoping her answer would be enough even though she knew it was not.
"Are you w-worried?"
Of course, she was worried. Willow knew the ramifications for taking Tara in and, at the time, it didn't matter. She saw an opportunity to help someone and she took it. The only question was if the consequences would come sooner rather than later.
"I know that I did the right thing." The doctor said, smiling.
"Thank you," Tara said, pausing before going on, "being there... it-." The words died before the blonde could finish. Being there was hell. But it had also been her choice. Or had it? The past was still blurry to her. Her memory, though clear ever so often, seemed to pick and choose what it wanted to revealů even to her.
There were so many questions Willow wanted to ask. She saw the internal turmoil as Tara picked at her sandwich wrapping and inwardly pleaded for the young woman to finish. But she knew that Tara was working at her own pace and that eventually it would happen.
"We should eat before it gets cold." Willow said, offering a smile that said "it's okay, we'll get there." The sandwiches had not been hot to begin with, but neither woman argued.
Tara nibbled at her sandwich, lost in thought. Why was it so hard? Or was she making it harder than it had to be? She was more unwilling than she knew, to push at that wall separating what she wanted to know and the things she didn't.
"How big is this stupid city?" Ricky complained as he bent over the map of the metropolitan area. Not receiving an answer, he looked up at his cousin who was in the driver's seat.
Donnie had stopped the car at a traffic light and was staring, fixedly, at something in the distance. He took a sharp right when the light turned green, ignoring the blaring horns behind him, and pulled into the parking lot of a library.
With a sneer, he parked the car. "Just shut up and follow my lead," he said before hopping out of the truck. Donnie was halfway across the street before Ricky realized what had happened and exited the truck.
Slowing his pace, Donnie managed to catch his breath as he approached the figure whose back was to him. "Long time, no see, eh?" He said, and then waited as familiar eyes landed on his.