Return to Happily Ever After Chapter Twenty-Three

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!

6 days to go....

Rolling over gently, Tara drank in the image of her perfect lover. After their previous night's exertions, all she wanted to do was stay in bed and snuggle up to her honey. Unfortunately, Willow had to collect her outfit for the wedding and she was thrilled to be able to collect Miss Kitty, who had made somewhat of a miraculous recovery.

Kissing the warm skin of Willow's shoulder, Tara smiled as the redhead stirred. "Morning!" she whispered, as Willow turned to face her, brushing her unruly locks from her eyes. Willow grinned, placing a delicate kiss on the succulent lips of her fiancée.

"Morning you!" she said as she pulled back. "Is it really Friday already?" Willow asked incredulously. Tara nodded, a smile playing on her lips. "This time next week, we'll be married!" the redhead grinned while trying to do a happy dance within the confines of her sheets. Tara giggled. It only seemed like yesterday when she'd gotten down on one knee in the V.I.P area of Jasmines and proposed, and now here she was, less than a week until the big day.

Lost in her own thoughts, Tara didn't notice Willow getting up, her excitement about the wedding overtaking her and making her dance, totally naked around the bedroom and into the shower.

Under the hot cascade of water, Willow's mind ran through the list of things she had to do that day. 'Pick up Blaze and then suit, get hair trimmed, and make sure the guys know what's to happen while I'm away. Erm, what else, I know I'm missing something!' her mind struggled to remember what else was on her agenda that day and she was relieved to have her planner back.

Tara entered the steam filled bathroom, "What else do I have to do today?" Willow called out almost as soon as Tara had entered.

"Erm, what else? I don't know. Take me to pick up Miss Kitty?" she ventured, pulling back the shower door so that she didn't have to yell over the sound of the water. "Where's your car?" Willow asked.

"You know it's been making that strange noise again. I took it into the garage yesterday." Tara told her, "I think there's a hole in the exhaust or something." she added.

"Oh, ok. What time?" Willow asked as she rinsed the shampoo from her hair.

"They close at 5." Tara told her as they exchanged a quick kiss before swapping places.

"Ok, I'll meet you here!" Willow grinned before disappearing off to get dressed.

"Jesus Blaze, wake up!" Willow mumbled under her breath as she hammered on her friend's apartment door loudly. They had arranged to meet at midday and it was now almost 1. Suddenly the door burst open to reveal Blaze, in the way nature had intended, her pink hair dripping water over her shoulders. "About time!" Willow said as she was invited in.

"What, I'm only a little late!" Blaze retorted, her voice displaying her irritation.

"A little? We were meant to meet at noon." Willow told her.

Blazes face fell and she buried her head in her hands. Obviously she had thought they were meant to be meeting at one and had fallen a little behind on that plan. "Fuck it." she said, her version of an apology. Willow giggled, realising that her friend had made a genuine mistake rather than just being incredibly late.

"I'm rushing!" she told Willow as she jogged off into the bedroom.

Ten minutes later, Blaze reappeared fully clothed with her hair dried and hanging loosely around her shoulders. "Let's hit the road, Jack!" she smiled cheerfully.

As Willow pulled open the door, she continued; "And don't you come back no more!" Together they giggled and headed out for the mall.

Making their way through the throngs of people, Willow suddenly became nervous. It dawned on her that she had no clue what her suit was going to look like. Blaze had given a drawing to the assistant in the store and ushered her out before she'd had a chance to see the image. What if she didn't like it? It was far too late to change it or look for anything new. Silently she cursed herself for not being more organised and confirming earlier what she had Tara should wear.

As they pushed open the door, a tall brunette woman grinned at them warmly. "Hey, we're here to try and collect a suit." Blaze told her as Willow shifted nervously on the balls of her feet. "What name please?" the assistant asked, reaching for a large file behind the till. "Rosenberg." Willow said suddenly, smiling uncomfortably at the unnecessary loudness of her voice.

After flicking quickly through the huge file, the woman grinned again. "If you'd like to follow me." she offered, leading the women to a changing area at the back of the store before disappearing momentarily.

On her return, she carried a large hanger, its contents hidden by a dark plastic cover and handed it to Willow. Inhaling deeply, Willow took the garment and vanished behind one of the changing curtains.

Hanging the hanger on the hook provided, Willow inhaled deeply. Unzipping the plastic jacket, she closed her eyes and shrugged the cover off. Standing for a full minute before she dared to open them and regard her wedding attire. "On my god." she whispered as she took in the sight before her, the smooth lines of the jacket alone were enough to make a girl stop and stare. Running her hand down the long coat, Willow fought to name the material and found, to her dismay that she couldn't. Slipping quickly out of her clothes, she eased first into the trousers, enjoying the feeling of the material against her skin. Then the jacket, its luxurious material caressing her naked back in a similar way to Tara.

Turning slowly, Willow faced the mirror. "Wow." she breathed, tracing her hands slowly down the perfectly fitting ensemble.

From outside the changing room, Blaze called; "Get that fine ass out here Will!" With a grin, Willow pulled back the curtain, revealing her new outfit.

"Wow!" Blaze gasped, suddenly lost for words. As Willow stepped from the cubicle, Blaze studied her friend. The three quarter length jacket was cut perfectly, and the boot cut of the trousers was just perfect. Despite her previous worry that Willow's hair would clash badly with the colour, Blaze found herself surprised. The deep claret highlighted the redhead's natural assets perfectly. "Will, you look...." Blaze started, unsure as to the word she was searching for. "Stunning!" she finally offered.

The assistant fussed around Willow, straightening the jacket and lapels. "Do you like it?" she asked Willow who was still staring at her reflection in amazement. Willow nodded slowly. "And will you be requiring a shirt to go with it?" she asked.

Clearly the suit had been designed to be worn either with or without a shirt to give its wearer a choice. Willow looked suddenly confused, "Erm, I'm not sure." turning to Blaze before continuing. "What do you think?" Blaze just stared at her, in all their years as friends, she couldn't recall Willow having ever looked so beautiful. "I dunno. Take one and we can decide later?" she offered.

"That's a great idea!" the assistant announced and headed into the main body of the shop to find a shirt that would accompany the outfit.

"She's one lucky lady!" Blaze said as she wandered up behind Willow, wrapping her arms around her waist and resting her head on her shoulder. "I hope she knows it!" In their reflection, Willow grinned. It was so rare for Blaze to show any real signs of affection that when she did, you really had to know what to look for, or you could easily miss them. "I love you too!" Willow replied as she kissed her friend softly on the cheek.

After changing back into her jeans and t-shirt, Willow paid the outstanding balance and she and Blaze left the shop. "So, what's next?" Blaze asked after they had walked for almost 10 minutes in perfect silence. "I have to get my hair cut and take Tara to collect Miss Kitty." Willow told her, the huge grin she had been wearing since trying on her suit was still plastered on her face and widened further at the thought of Miss Kitty's return.

"You're getting your hair cut?" Blaze asked in surprise. Willow nodded.

"Well, not so much cut as trimmed and feathered slightly." she said, shrugging her shoulders slightly.

"Oh, good." Blaze told her, causing the redhead to turn to her in surprise, "Coz Tara'd kill you if you had it short again!" she laughed as they stepped into the elevator and headed back to the car.

Vince was pacing around the sunken living room, waiting for Tara to show him her wedding dress. It had been at his apartment for almost three weeks before Blaze had finally gotten tired of his trying to steal a glimpse and taken it over to its rightful owner. "T, you coming out or what?" he called down the corridor to the bedroom, before slumping back on the couch, drumming his fingers impatiently on his thigh.

Tara's head appeared around the corner, "I am out sweetie!" she told him with a giggle before stepping out to reveal her gown.

The tight fitting corset style top held and accentuated Tara in all the right places, small, delicate claret roses spotted the perfect white silk at irregular intervals. The long flowing skirt flowed majestically out behind her as she walked before pooling at her feet effortlessly.

"Fucking hell Tara!!" he gulped furiously. "You look beautiful!" he announced causing the blonde to blush deeply.

"You really think so?" she asked shyly. In honesty, Tara felt like a princess, the gown hugging her and highlighting her already generous cleavage.

"Really, T." Vince said, his eyes filling as he stood to cross the floor. "You look like an angel!" he told her, kissing her forehead fondly.

"But do you think Willow will like it?" the blonde questioned, her eyes meeting his solemnly.

"If she doesn't, then she doesn't deserve you!" he replied honestly.

Aside from all his crudeness and teasing, Vince really was a great friend and Tara knew, without question, that he was telling her the truth.

Stepping out from the hairdressers, Willow shook her head, her newly feathered hair falling immediately back into place. As she had sat in the chair, Willow had listened to Blaze remark on how gorgeous she was becoming and why she hadn't made an effort like this before.

As they climbed back into the car, Willow slapped her friend playfully in the arm. "What do you mean, 'how gorgeous I'm becoming?'" she asked accusingly, the smile playing on her lips the only sign that she was winding her friend up. "Well, you can look pretty rough!" Blaze laughed as Willow pulled away from the curb and headed home.

Tara had changed out of the dress and had thrown on a pair of jeans and a simple black shirt. She was just remerging from the bedroom when there was a knock on the door.

Frowning slightly, the blonde looked quizzically at Vince who just shrugged and looked on in curiosity. Pulling open the large door, Tara saw a tall man who she put at a similar age as her father with wire rimmed spectacles and salt and peppered hair. "Good afternoon." he said, extending his hand. 'British, I love that accent!' Tara thought as she shook the extended hand before her. "My name is Rupert Giles. You must be Tara?" he asked hopefully. Tara nodded, still unsure why this British man was gracing her doorstep. 'For a man, he's not bad on the eyes' Tara thought as she smiled awkwardly. "I'm sorry," she said, "But do I know you?"

Giles smiled, "I'm an old friend of Willow's, she invited me up for the wedding and since Buffy and her sister are shopping, I thought that I might take you both to dinner tonight?" he said, clearly not offended by her ignorance of his existence.

Vince leapt to his feet, rushing to the front door. "Hi, I'm Vince James." he said, extending a hand warmly. "I'm a friend of the ladies'" he grinned, pushing Tara back to invite the guest into the house. "Tara, maybe you should fix our friend a drink?" he suggested forcefully. Tara was officially confused, she was sure she was in her own home, and yet here was Vince, pushing her about and inviting perfect strangers in.

Not wanting to make a scene, Tara forced a smile in Vince's direction before offering an honest one to Giles. "What would you like to drink?" she asked him politely.

"Oh, that's very gracious of you." Giles replied, his warm accent soothing her annoyance. "May I have tea?" he asked hopefully. Tara nodded. She and Willow had visited England many times and she had developed a fondness for what the English called; 'real tea', something that, according to all the people they had spoken with, the Americans just didn't know how to make.

"Real tea?" she asked with a giggle and Giles nodded, relieved that she understood what he had meant. "Coming right up." she grinned and vanished into the kitchen.

As soon as Tara had gone, Vince offered Giles a seat and sat down next to him, being careful to keep an eye open for Tara. "Are you coming to the party tonight?" he asked in a hushed voice, his eyes darting to the doorway regularly. Giles looked at him confused. "Party?" he asked, also checking over his shoulder for Tara.

"Shit." Vince whispered, "Ok, they're having a surprise bachelorette party tonight. We sent you an invite but you must've left before it arrived." Vince explained quickly. "You and whoever else you brought with you are more than welcome to come, as long as they're over 21!" he grinned, putting plenty of innuendo into the sentence.

Giles nodded, "Erm, well yes, I think myself and Xander would like that." The British man sounded unsure but agreed anyway, he couldn't be letting down the good old English reputation of manners and politeness.

Before they had a chance to organise anything, Tara reappeared in the doorway carrying a tray with three steaming mugs and a plate full of various biscuits.

Indulging in general chit chat, Tara and Giles found very quickly that they had a lot in common. Suddenly the front door burst open and Blaze and Willow appeared, giggling and poking each other playfully in the ribs. Giles stood as Willow entered; he beamed at the stunning woman she had become, his eyes brimming with happy tears. "Giles?!" she exclaimed, handing the suit carefully to Blaze before rushing the man and hugging him.

Blaze took her cue and vanished into the bedroom, emotional scenes were seriously not her thing and she was glad to get out of the way and hide.

After an hour of cheerful and teary chat, Giles decided that it was time for him to leave. "It has been so good to see you again." he said as he hugged Willow once again. "You too Giles." she grinned, tiptoeing to kiss his cheek. Extending a hand to Tara, the former watcher smiled fondly, "And so nice to meet you." he said as she shook her hand. Tara grinned and leaned in to hug him. Even though she had spent all of an hour with the man, she felt as though she had known him for years.

Vince snuck out of the back door, hoping to catch Giles as he made his way out of sight of the house. From behind the large bush at the end of the lawn, he heard Willow, Tara and Giles saying their farewells before the heavy door slammed closed. "Giles?" he called as he emerged onto the street. "Oh, Vince, you startled me." Giles exclaimed as he turned to the young man who was crouched in a bush. "Where are you staying?" Vince asked, "We'll pick you up at about 8.30." Vince told him.

Giles rummaged around in his pocket and pulled out a leaflet. "It's the Noxon hotel." he told him. "Do you know it?" Vince grinned at the watcher, the memories of all the good times he had had while working there filled his mind. "Yeah I know it. Willow and Tara met there!" Vince told him, a hint of pride in his voice at being there at the moment the women had found each other. "I'll see you at 8.30. It was great to meet you!" Vince said, extending his hand.

"And you." Giles replied before turning off in the direction of his hotel to tell Xander of their plans for the evening, sure that his friend would be thankful to get away from the girly goings on of Buffy and Dawn.

Sneaking back into the house, Vince grabbed Blaze and hurriedly made their excuses for leaving. "We'll pick you up at 9." Vince told Willow and Tara as he and Blaze opened the door. "Don't be late!!" Blaze yelled over her shoulder as they disappeared into the twilight.

Continue to Happily Ever After Chapter Twenty-Five

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