As the song drew to its conclusion, everyone stood to applaud, the tears smearing Willow's make up and leaving her gasping for breath. She turned to thank Tara but the woman was nowhere in sight. "Where's Tara, she missed it?" Willow exclaimed, fresh tears getting stuck in her throat. The others reassured her and managed to get her back in her seat as the woman on stage cleared her throat to speak.
"Willow." She said, causing the red head to turn. "I'd like to wish you a very happy birthday." Willow smiled and nodded politely, her eyes darting around for the woman she loved. "If you'd like to remain seated, we have one final surprise for you." She said before disappearing off the stage.
The lights in the room dimmed, a single spotlight beating down onto the newly vacated platform.
The orchestra began a song that Willow identified immediately and her shaking hands covered her mouth as Tara appeared in place of the original singer.
Vince, Melissa, Chris, and Blaze grinned their support and silently wished her well as she began to sing, staring deep into Willow's eyes, Tara began, the words coming directly from her full heart.
May be the face I can't forget
A trace of pleasure or regret
May be my treasure or the price I have to pay
She may be the song that summer sings
May be the chill that autumn brings
May be a hundred different things
Within the measure of a day.
She, she, she
As the song drew to a close, tears sprung from everyone's eyes, the passion and love that radiated from Tara as she sang moved everyone more than they could've thought possible. Willow was totally dumbfounded, her heart beat so hard and fast she thought she was going to have a heart attack. Tara had moved towards her slowly throughout the song and had come to a stop in front of Willow. Everyone inhaled simultaneously and held their collective breath.
"Willow," Tara began, her voice shaking clearly as tears seeped from her eyes. "I never thought I would find something so special in my life, never believed I was worthy of the love you show to me every day and in so many ways." Her voice cracked a little and she had to take many deep and slow breaths before she could continue. "Before I met you, I thought true love and soul mates were the things of fairy tales, but you have shown me that they are real. You make me feel safe and warm and loved, when I'm with you I'm home, only to no home I've ever known.... Until you!" The tears fell freely from the eyes of everyone, Tara's voice shaking so much she could barely form the words.
With a collective gasp from their friends, Tara dropped to her knees. "I love you, I have always loved you. And if you give me the chance I will spend the rest of my life trying to make you has happy as you make me. Willow Rosenberg, will you make me the happiest woman on earth. Will you marry me?" she asked, presenting Willow with an onyx and emerald filled white gold claddagh ring.
A silence filled with anticipation hung in the air as they waited on Willow's response. Time seemed frozen as all eyes fixed on the red head who was still sat, open mouthed with tears streaming down her face. She gasped a couple of times, took a huge mouthful of water and turned back to Tara.
"Nothing would give me greater pleasure!" she replied in a barely audible. To the cheers and whoops of their friends, the women melted into each other, kissing deeply, passionately and savouring the first moment of the rest of their lives together.