Their first duty as a married couple was the reception. Blaze had organised the musical entertainment and the guests were ushered into the huge marquee where a delicious meal had been prepared for them. After being guided to their respective tables, a large, round man with a booming voice called them all to attention.
"Ladies and gentlemen." he boomed across the room, hushing conversations and making Dawn giggle. He reminded her of a ring master at the circus and expected tigers or some other animal to emerge from behind a curtain. "May I present, Willow and Tara Rosenberg-Maclay!" he announced loudly, indicating to a velvet curtain that was pulled up, revealing Willow and Tara, hand in hand. The guests cheered and applauded as they entered and took their seats in the centre of the head table.
Shortly after they had seated, the food arrived and the guests tucked in, making variously successful attempts at small talk with the other members of their prospective tables.
With dinner consumed and the conversations in the tent aided by copious amounts of alcohol, the party seemed to be finding its feet.... as was Blaze. Clinking a spoon against her glass, she cleared her throat noisily to gain everyone's attention. "What's she doing?" Tara whispered to Willow, the concern for what the DJ was about to say clearly evident in her voice. "I don't have the first clue." Willow replied, her tone also replaying her obvious displeasure. "But I might have to kill her for it!"
"Ladies, gentlemen and everyone else." Blaze called into the crowd. When she was sure all heads were turned her way she continued; "I'd like to say a few words." she told the crowd, Willow hung her head, hoping that it would be quick, painless as embarrassment free as possible. Next to her, Tara entwined her fingers within the redheads, smiling weakly in support.
"When I first met Willow... Wow! She had a reputation, I'll say that. I know she'd been hurt in the past and lived by the 'love 'em and leave 'em' philosophy." Blaze began, causing Willow's cheeks to burn as red as her hair. 'This'll be fun' she thought sarcastically. "She was fun and spontaneous and on more than one occasion we had to call in a locksmith to cut off the handcuffs." The crowd laughed raucously, many applauding and cheering. "And then she met Tara and everything changed. I knew that this woman was different. It wasn't like Willow to tell me to back off, but when it came to Tara, I was firmly shut out!" She said.
Tara looked quizzically at Willow, "You shut her out?" she whispered. Willow racked her brain trying to remember when she had told Blaze to back off and found herself unable to. Deciding that remembering was too hard, she shrugged and they turned their attention back to Blaze.
"Since these two crazy chicks got their love on, I've lost my partner in crime, my best cruising mate!" Blaze paused, receiving some sympathetic looks from a handful of people. "But I'm glad!" she continued, making Willow look up at her in astonishment. "In place of that person, I've gained a new appreciation for love and relationships, a sense of commitment and a wonderful friend in the form of Tara."
A few 'here, heres' were heard from around the room and Blaze let them die down before she carried on.
"More importantly, I've seen the day I never thought I would. I got to see Willow being happy. Not that bullshit happy, but honestly and truly happy." Taking a large swig of her drink, Blaze took a few deep breaths as she felt all the emotion rise into her throat. "I didn't believe in true love or love in general, but looking at these two and how happy they are, well.. I mean, just look at them." She paused, gesturing to Willow and Tara who were grinning crazily at each other. "They radiate love and happiness, may we all be so lucky to find what it is they have. Raise your glasses if you will and join me in a toast. To true love!"
"True love!" the crowd echoed, as Blaze took her seat, tears of joy stinging her eyes. Leaning in to her friend, Willow took her hand under the table. "Thanks babe." she whispered, placing a delicate kiss on her cheek. Blaze grinned at her before her eyes went wide as she saw Vince take to his feet.
"Ok, since everyone is looking this way, I want to say something too." he began, his hands shaking as he spoke. "I'm not good with these emotion filled speeches, so I'll make this short." Tara took a deep breath, 'thank god!' she thought hoping that Vince would behave himself and not say anything too embarrassing. "I've known Tara since she moved to L.A and in all that time, I never saw her smile, not really. And then we met Willow. She shook the very essence of my friend and made her shine." his voice wobbled as tears blocked his throat. "Having been fortunate to have seen this relationship grow and blossom from day one, I can honestly say that, individually, they are great people, both of them have a huge capacity for love, warmth, joy and happiness, but they didn't show it, no couldn't show it." Taking a large mouthful of his beer, Vince wiped at his eyes with a napkin before continuing. "Together, well even a blind man can see that together, they are formidable. If any two people were meant to be together then it's these two. Whatever 'it' is, then they have it."
A few people clapped quietly, and clinked their glasses. Vince smiled and turned to regard the newlyweds. "Guys, I know I tease you both, a lot, make fun of all the romantic stuff you do for each other but I want to say that I am really happy for you both. I've never seen anything so real and strong. I wish you both long and happy lives together. You deserve it!" Turning back to the other guests, he found most of them to be nodding in agreement. Raising his glass high in the air, Vince finished. "Willow and Tara!"
"Willow and Tara!" everyone cheered as they drank their second toast of the evening.
After a brief break for photographs, the guests were ushered back into the tent, where they found the tables had been cleared and a large dance floor had emerged.
While the guests were being shown back to the tent, Tara had gotten changed, presumably so that she may enjoy a dance at her party. She had forgone her stunning wedding gown in favour of a suit, similar in cut to Willow's but in white. As the happy couple returned to the tent, the DJ dimmed the lights. "In their first matrimonial dance, I give you Willow and Tara." he announced and all eyes turned to them. A few people rolled their eyes as the opening song filled the tent and Willow lead Tara to the dance floor.
Each moment with you
Is just like a dream to me
That somehow came true, yeah
And I know tomorrow
Once everyone had finished 'cooing' and taking photos, many other couples joined Willow and Tara in their song.
When I look at you
It's something I can't explain
Just the things that you do
If you get lonely
Call me and take
A second to give to me
That magic you make
And every day love me your own special way
As the song came to its natural conclusion, it was replaced with Bread's, 'Baby I'm A Want You' and the couples remained on the floor, swaying with the music.
"So, Mrs. Rosenberg-Maclay" Willow said with a giggle, "Having fun?" Tara giggled, her eyes sparkling. "I am." she replied, her eyes remaining locked on Willow's. "I love you!" she told Willow solemnly.
"I love you too." Willow replied, leaning in to kiss the blonde passionately.
Suddenly, the music changed pace, making them both jump. So wrapped up in their own private moment that they hadn't realised they had danced through another two slow songs.
All the guests made their way to the dance floor, linking arms with the person next to them and swaying, and singing loudly.
Many years from now.
Will you still be sending me a valentine
Birthday greetings bottle of wine.
If I'd been out till quarter to three
Would you lock the door,
Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When I'm sixty-four
Willow found Xanders arm wrapping around her waist. "Hey Will!" he said, his eyes and voice full of love and pride. "Congratulations" he said, nodding at Tara. Willow beamed at him and released her hold on Tara for just long enough to hug him tightly.
And it you say the word,
I could stay with you.
I could be handy, mending a fuse
When your lights have gone.
You can knit a sweater by the fireside
Sunday mornings go for a ride,
Doing the garden, digging the weeds,
Who could ask for more.
Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When I'm sixty-four.
Various other friends came to hug the happy couple as the song progressed, many of whom had adopted a faux cockney accent. "They do know the Beatles were from Liverpool?!" Giles whispered in Willow's ear. Laughing, the red head turned, hugging him and then Buffy and Dawn before they moved over to congratulate Tara.
In the isle of wight, if it's not too dear
We shall scrimp and save
Grandchildren on your knee
Vera chuck & dave
Send me a postcard, drop me a line,
Stating point of view
Indicate precisely what you mean to say
Yours sincerely, wasting away
Give me your answer, fill in a form
Mine for evermore
Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When I'm sixty-four.
With the drinks flowing freely and time flying by, Willow and Tara danced and sang, their friends surrounding them and helping them to celebrate the first night of the rest of their lives.
Suddenly, the music stopped and the crowd began booing loudly. "Sadly, it's time that we must say goodbye to Willow and Tara." the DJ announced. Both women looked confused, they hadn't organised a honeymoon and so had no reason to be leaving their own party so soon.
Buffy, Giles, Xander, Dawn, Vince and Blaze were all grinning as they approached them, "Your car is waiting!" Blaze told them as the group reached them. Looking suitably confused, Willow and Tara were escorted by their oldest friends to a waiting limousine. The rest of the wedding party trailed along behind, nudging and asking questions.
As they received kisses from the group, they were bundled into the waiting car which pulled away smoothly, leaving the guests grinning and waving behind them.
"Here look." Willow said, plucking an envelope from an ice bucket.
"What does it say?" Tara asked her, her voice was shaking. If Vince had anything to do with this then who knew where they were heading.
Pulling the contents of an envelope out, Willow found plane tickets and paperwork galore. Finally she found a letter and read it aloud;
Congratulations!! We didn't know what to get you so please find enclosed tickets for a two month round the world trip. The plane tickets will get you to the QE2 where you will be basking in luxury. All details are in the file in the green bag in the boot. Everything is paid for, your drinks, accommodation, everything. There is some spending money also in the green bag along with your passports and everything else you will need.
Have a blast and send all us a postcard!
Wishing you the best of happiness for the future!
All our love,
P.S. Willow, your mom chipped in too, she says 'congratulations' and she loves you."
"Holy shit!!" Tara exclaimed, tears smearing her make up as they fell from her face. Willow was speechless, her own tears running down her cheeks.
Spinning on the seat, they looked out the back window, where the group were still stood, waving and grinning.
"Stop the car, please!!" Willow said. Dutifully, the driver stopped but Willow heard the central locking come on. Above her, the sunroof pulled back slowly.
As she and Tara stood, their heads popping out the top of the car, the group cheered once more. "You guys are the best!!" Tara yelled back to them.
"Thank you so much!!" Willow hollered after her.
Grinning, everyone tried responding at the same time, a huge word jumble reaching Willow and Tara's ears. Finally, Xander managed to get the words out. "Just go and be happy!!" he yelled and with that, the limo began its journey to the airport.