Return to Happily Ever After Chapter Thirteen

Happily Ever After

Author: Spellbound
Rating: PG to NC-17
Disclaimer: I own nothing, except 2 insane cats and lots of fluffy socks. The characters and places belong to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all the other people who have a finger in the Buffy pie. All the new people are mine though!

15 days to go.....

Tara was the first up, she and Willow had been up most of the night talking about her father's arrival before snuggling up in the safety of their bed and allowing themselves to be consumed in their love.

This was the start of the rest of her life, this very morning. A morning where the sun was shining, the birds were singing, Miss Kitty had forgiven them for their insanities and had snuggled up on the end of the bed with them.

As she danced around the kitchen preparing breakfast, she suddenly realised there was no music, reaching out for the small radio on the side, she flipped the switch on and one of her favourite songs burst into the kitchen. Cranking the volume up, Tara spun back to the sausages and bacon that were sizzling nicely in the pan, singing loudly.

You're a song
Written by the hands of god
Don't get me wrong cause
This might sound to you a bit odd
But you own the place
Where all my thoughts go hiding
And right under your clothes
Is where I find them

In a perfect pirouette, Tara reached the cupboard and pulled out two plates, pushing down the toast as she closed the door and waltzed back to the stove, giving the mushrooms in the pan a little shake.

Underneath Your Clothes
There's an endless story
There's the girl I chose
There's my territory
And all the things I deserve
For being such a good girl honey

As she served up the full English breakfast, Tara grinned. Today she would be unveiling her painting to Mr. Torak but first, she had breakfast to deliver. With the toast popping back up from the toaster, Tara grabbed and buttered it quickly, sliding each slice into the toast rack before heading back to the bedroom, still singing.

Because of you
I forgot the smart ways to lie
Because of you
I'm running out of reasons to cry
When the friends are gone
When the party's over
We will still belong to each other

As she entered the bedroom, Willow was grinning at her. The smell of cooking breakfast and Tara's singing had woken her up. "Morning beautiful." Willow whispered, her voice still a little husky with sleep.

"Breakfast?" Tara asked, placing the tray onto the bed.

Willow's stomach rumbled noisily, eggs, bacon, sausages, tomatoes, mushrooms and toast with a large glass of orange juice to wash it all down with had her almost drooling. "You're too good to me!" she beamed, stealing a quick kiss before tucking in to her hearty meal.

"Dishwasher's loaded, painting's in the car, you look stunning. Is there anything we've forgotten?" Willow said as she collected her briefcase and car keys. Still grinning and now full, Tara shook her head, "Don't think so." she replied cheerfully, grabbing Willow's hands and pulling her towards the car.

As they pulled up in Willow's designated spot, Tara leapt from the front seat and popped the boot open, taking her painting out carefully, she looked at Willow hopefully. "He'll love it!" Willow said with a supportive smile, slamming the boot closed.

"Hey ladies, how ya doin?" Greg's cheerfulness and enthusiasm was contagious and they returned an equally wide smile. As Willow stopped at her office door, she ushered Greg inside and pointed to the end of the hall. "Torak's office is at the end. Knock him dead!" she smiled as Tara's gazed followed the direction Willow had indicated before returning to settle on the emerald pools of forever in front of her. Tara leant in and placed a soft gentle kiss on the watermelon flavoured lips of her lover. "Wish me luck." she said weakly, suddenly nervous. As she began walking down the hall, Willow called after her, "You won't need it!!"

The end of the hall opened up into a smaller office, a round, plump woman sat typing at a desk. As Tara entered, she didn't bother looking up and so Tara cleared her throat. "Is Mr. Torak in?" she asked politely. Tara had met the young man only once, his pleasant demeanour and sparkling eyes had made her like him almost instantly and he had been thrilled at meeting the artist whose work he so admired.

His secretary on the other hand was an entirely different matter, she had hard eyes and seemed to instantly hate anyone who spoke to her, or at least that was Tara's initial thought.

She looked Tara up and down, her cold eyes regarding the well dressed woman with contempt. "What do you want?" she snapped, her voice husky from years of excessive smoking.

"I'd like to see Mr. Torak." Tara told her, her own tone becoming short at the rudeness with which she had been greeted.

"I'd worked that out young lady. What is it about?" the secretary barked at her.

"It's a personal matter. Would you please tell him Tara Maclay is here to see him." Tara responded, she could hear her tone becoming more and more fraught with each word and the muscles in her shoulders flexed as she finished.

Once again the secretary looked her up and down before slamming closed the large file in front of her and folding her hands primly across it. "If it's a personal matter, then you should consult him out of office hours." she told her smugly, a condescending smile fixing on the blonde.

Tara stared at her incredulously, "He is expecting me here, now. So just tell him I am here and stop being so bloody awkward!" Tara snapped right back, causing the plump woman to startle noticeably.

"Ms. Rosenberg has given us all strict instructions that personal business will not be conducted during office hours so you have no choice." The smugness hadn't left the face of the secretary, although it had gained an edge of anger.

"Ms. Rosenberg personally escorted me here!" Tara told her smugly, she hated ever using Willow as her 'get out of jail free' card, but at this moment she was glad she was marrying the MD.

The secretary snorted disbelievingly. "I find that impossible to believe, Ms. Rosenberg doesn't deal with the 'lower delivery folk'!!"

Tara couldn't believe her ears, all she wanted to do was to deliver her picture and go home and have a long hot bath before calling Vince and meeting him for lunch and here was this ridiculous woman giving her a hard time.

Tara rolled her eyes and headed for the ornate door to the right of the secretary. For such a large and obviously unfit woman, she had quite a turn of speed, coming to block Tara's path into Mr. Toraks office. "Get out of here now, or I'm calling security!" she snarled, her cigarette loaded breath stinging Tara's nose and eyes and making her stomach churn.

"Fuck this. I'm not going to stand her and argue with a petty fool like yourself." Tara snarled, her anger now threatening to boil over. "If it's not too much for you, tell him I came by and have him call me. You think you can manage that?!" She ordered bluntly before turning smartly and disappearing back down the corridor.

In her office, Willow was staring through the glass walls, waiting to catch a final glimpse of Tara as she left for home. Suddenly the blonde appeared, still carrying the painting, her strides in no way hindered by the huge canvas. "Hang on!" she told Greg, who was presenting her with a new idea he had had while she had been away.

Rushing to her feet, Willow pulled the door open. "Tara!" she called, making the blonde turn. "What's wrong, why do you still have the painting?" her voice sounded like she was close to tears although her eyes were clear.

"His fucking secretary wouldn't let me through." Tara told her simply, "I'll call him later, it's no worry." she added, not wanting to be the sort of person who ran to her girlfriend when she couldn't get her own way.

Willow's face contorted into a snarl. "I hate that fucking bitch!" she growled, "That's it, she's gone!" And with that, she grabbed Tara's free hand and pulled her back down the corridor.

As they emerged into the small office, the secretary almost leapt to her feet and saluted. "G-g-good morning Ms Rosenberg!" she said sweetly.

Willow glared at her and opened the door to Bob Torak's office to let Tara through.

As it slammed behind her, Tara heard Willow reading the riot act to the uptight secretary and within seconds, loud sobbing could be heard.

"Hey Tara, how are you?" Bob asked, getting to his feet and extending a hand, which she shook politely.

"I'm of the good, thank you." she replied, leaning the large canvas up against a leather couch. "I have your picture finished!" she told him with a smile.

".....Pack up your things and get the hell out. Right now!" Willow finished. Despite her best efforts, the secretary, Maud, was getting her ass truly kicked. "I want you out of my building in five minutes otherwise I'll throw you out personally." she told her as she stormed back to her office. Maud had worked there for less then 3 months but in that time had accumulated more than 12 complaints from delivery persons and at least another 20 from other members of staff. Almost as soon as Willow slumped back into her soft leather chair, she saw Maud storming past the window, a large box in her arms.

Collecting her huge cheque, Tara beamed. Bob had been delighted with her work, even shedding a few tears as she'd unveiled it.

"Thanks again Tara, oh, and congratulations!" he said as he escorted her to the door. Flashing him a huge smile, Tara nodded her thanks and headed off down the corridor, stealing a quick loving glance at Willow as she passed.

As she pulled up outside the house, she saw Vince sitting on the porch, his arms resting on his knees and obviously bored of waiting. Glancing at her watch, she realised she'd been at Willow's office for over 2 hours. They had gone in late anyway and now she was delaying her entire day. "Where ya been?" Vince asked as she started up the path. Shaking her head, Tara smiled at him, "Nowhere special, had to drop off a painting." she told him as she unlocked the front door and indicated for Vince to make himself comfortable. "I'm just gonna change, then we're gone!" she told him. As she turned the corner towards her bedroom, Vince called out after her; "Change into what?"

Continue to Happily Ever After Chapter Fifteen

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