Monday morning, Tara sat with Buffy, Anya and Cordelia waiting for the first bell to ring.
"So did you get any work done with the routine?" Buffy asked.
"Yeah, actually I think I have something workable. I'll be showing you guys today at practice. I think it will work with what Cordy was showing us, and the music we picked out."
"So what's the plan for practice then? I mean we also have to get ready for the pep assembly on Friday." Anya pointed out.
"I thought we would go over the routine, and make any adjustments, then do some drills. Wednesday we'll just get some of the cheers solid, and run through last years routine if they want us to do that. I'm not sure yet, I haven't heard anything about what the schedule is like." Tara replied somewhat distant as she tried to catch a glimpse of Willow. The redhead had invaded her thoughts since the night before, the smoothness of her hand, her intoxicating scent.
"Tara!" Buffy yelled.
"I asked if we were going to do some throws at the pep assembly or not? God you don't seem very into cheers, this year." Buffy remarked angrily
"Sorry I just have a lot on my mind."
"Yeah like that redhead band nerd." Anya said.
"Hey, she's not a nerd. Just because she's smart doesn't mean she is a geek. She's really nice and sweet, you should get to know her before you make judgments."
"Well whatever Tare, I'm just saying it's not going to look good if you are dating some nerd." Buffy exclaimed.
"We're not dating, we're just friends. And even if we were I fail to see how this affects you in anyway." Tara said getting angrier by the second.
"Hello it affects all of us, you're making the squad look bad hanging around the band." Anya said.
"Hey guys, come on. We're all friends here ok." Cordelia said before the bell rang.
Tara hadn't seen Willow all day and her semi-fight with Buffy and Anya had really gotten to her. Were her friends so close minded they could only see what clique one was in. She thought she had better choice in friends than that, but really they had been friends since grade school, so it was just expected of her. She sighed as she started preparing the lunchroom for their practice. She heard the sounds of the drumline waft in from outside and she smiled. Willow was out there somewhere and that made her happy.
Practice was normal and Buffy and Anya were eerily quiet. Tara decided to make amends with them, if nothing else, for the team.
"Hey guys can I talk to you." She stopped Buffy and Anya after practice.
"Listen, I'm really sorry about what I said this morning. It's just, Willow is pretty cool and a really good person. Maybe she is a geek or nerd, but I don't see why it matters. She is a good friend and I really like her."
"Yeah, it's cool Tara." Buffy said.
"Yeah water under the bridge." Anya remarked.
Tara wasn't sure she believed them, but what else could she do. There was absolutely no way she would ever stop seeing Willow. She thought about visiting Willow at work, but decided against it. Was it too soon? Would she seem needy?
Instead Tara made her way home. She walked into the office where her mom was working.
"Do you think I'm spoiled?"
"No, why do you say that? Did someone say something today at school?"
"No, no nothing like that. It's just, well, Willow."
"Willow, the girl you like?"
"Yeah, she has a job and bought her own car, and I'm pretty sure she doesn't have much money and her parents don't seem to give her any. I'm just wondering because I've never had a job, you gave me this car, and pay for insurance and I get an allowance."
"Oh honey. Just because we have the means to give you things doesn't mean you are spoiled. Now, Buffy yeah she is spoiled, but Tara it's what's inside that matters. Just the fact that you are even thinking you might be means you have a good heart, and are no where near spoiled."
"If you want, we can stop giving you money." Her dad piped up from the door way.
Tara smiled. "I wouldn't go that far. I was thinking of getting a job this spring."
"Just make sure it doesn't interfere with cheerleading." Her dad warned.
Tara frowned. "I don't really care about cheerleading anymore."
"What? You have been into it since Freshman year." Her mom questioned.
"It's just, I don't know if I ever was into it. Maybe I just was because my friends were. It's not like it's going to matter after this year that I was a cheerleader. That's not going to help me get a job anywhere."
"Well those are all good points, but I don't think you should give up. You made a commitment to those girls and you need to stand by it." Her dad reminded her.
"I'm not quitting or anything, I just am not as into it as I used to be, and I can't force myself to pretend. I'm going to do the best I can, it's still fun, but I think I need to start focusing on other things you know."
"Yeah we know." Her mom said as she stood up and headed out the door. "I'm going to start dinner."
Tara headed up to do some homework, but she didn't get any of it done. She was busy thinking of the redhead and how her world was flipping upside down. Everything she thought she cared about, suddenly didn't seem as important, and the not so important things, meant the world to her. One thing was for certain, she couldn't wait to see the redhead 2nd hour.
Tara sat in first hour World Lit, when she suddenly remembered she hadn't completed her Trig homework. She momentarily panicked before remembering she had 2nd hour off and could complete it then. It would cut into Willow time, but it had to be done. She entered the lunch room and found a booth and immediately took out her Trig book and started in on the assignment. Not to long after she had started, she felt someone slide into the seat beside her. She knew it was Willow, no one would ever sit that close to her, she felt Willow press into her side and it felt wonderful. She smiled and turned her head to see the beaming redhead.
"Hi." She said.
"Homework?" Willow questioned.
"Yeah totally spaced it last night, and I have Trig next hour. Plus I don't get it at all, I'm not that great with math in general."
"Well lucky for you, I am." Willow smiled and Tara felt like she was going to pass out at the proximity of the gorgeous wonderful woman. "Let me see." Willow said as she placed her arm on the back of the booth behind Tara's head and leaned into Tara more as she scanned the text. "Oh this is pretty easy once you get the basic concept down. Do you want my help?" Willow asked thinking Tara might not want her sticking her brain in where it didn't belong.
"Yes please." Tara squeaked out. She felt almost like Willow was holding her, and she would be if Willow moved her arm to grasp the blonds shoulders. But she didn't as she started explaining the trig concepts. Tara found it hard to concentrate on what Willow was saying.
"For instance, an arc of 0.3 radians in a circle of radius 4 has length 0.3 times 4, that is, 1.2. Do you get it?"
"Um, I think so." Tara said as she finished out the problem. "So this is right?"
"Yep, you'll be a Trig wiz in no time." Willow joked.
"I hope not." Tara joked back and finished the rest of the work.
Willow took the time to study Tara's profile. She was really breathtaking. Blond hair cascading over her soft smooth face, and down her toned shoulders. The occasional biting of her lip while she was concentrating. Willow had to suppress the urge to lean over and kiss Tara's cheek, so she glanced around. She saw Cordelia making her way toward them. Willow momentarily thought of making an escape, but this was Tara's friend so she couldn't be all that bad, despite what Oz and Xander said.
Cordelia came and sat down opposite Willow and Tara and stared at them.
"Hey Cordy, this is Willow." Tara introduced, a little worried on what Cordelia would say.
"Hi Willow." Cordelia said as she stuck out her hand.
"Hey." Willow said shaking her hand.
Tara was dumbstruck it was unlike Cordelia to greet anyone other than cheerleaders or football players. She furrowed her brow waiting for a snide remark to come out of the blonds mouth.
"So math homework?" Cordelia asked eying the text book.
"Yeah, spaced it last night. I'm done now though, thanks to Willow."
"Yeah you're like some genius right?"
"Um, well no, hardly genius." Willow stumbled over her words.
"That's not what the math department thinks." Cordelia said.
"Yeah well that's only because Mrs. Crookham is an idiot." Willow said and Cordelia laughed.
"I have her for Geometry, she is kind of dense. If I don't pass that class I don't know what I'm going to do. I have to pass it, I just have to." Cordelia said now sounding desperate.
"If you want some help I can try to find some time to help you." Willow said as Tara kicked her under the table.
"Thanks, but I think I'm ok, for now anyway." Cordelia said. "Listen Tara, I'm sorry about what Buffy and Anya said the other day." She said glancing at Willow. "Sometimes they just need to grow up, you know?"
"Thanks Cordy, that means a lot."
"Anyway I think they are just jealous you know, don't worry too much about it. I'll catch you guys later." Cordelia said before leaving.
"Care to explain?" Willow asked.
"It's nothing, Anya and Buffy are just being juvenile. When am I going to see you again?" Tara asked, not wanting to think about Buffy and Anya.
"Well I have to take my car in for service after school, I actually need a ride, but if you are busy it's totally cool, I can walk." Willow said a little apologetically. She didn't want to ask her new friend for a ride home, but she didn't have any choice. No one else she knew had a car, and it wasn't like her parents were around to give her a ride. She could always walk, or take the bus, but it did give her an excuse to spend time with Tara.
"Well as a matter of fact, I don't have anything to do after school today so I'll all yours." Tara blushed a little at her words, but didn't take them back.
"Ok, great, so I'll meet you in the student lot after school then?"
"Yep I'll see you there."
Willow walked out into the afternoon sun, she noticed Tara leaning against her Honda. Willow took in the sight of the gorgeous blond, sunglasses on, her casual stance in contrast to the red paint of the car. Her jeans fitting perfectly and Willow guessed they had cost upward of $100. She tried to keep herself composed and not slam the blond on the hood of her car and kiss her with utter abandon.
"Hi." Willow greeted. "My cars over here, do you want to follow me?" Willow said pointing to her car.
"Lead the way." Tara replied and enjoyed the view of the petite redheads behind as she walked to her car.
Tara followed the blue Volvo to the mechanics shop. She liked Willow, she really really liked Willow and it was getting harder and harder to keep her feelings in check. She wasn't sure how to make the first move. Her other relationships the first kiss had always been awkward and fumbling, neither girl knowing what to do. But this was so different, Willow was different, special, beautifulů her thoughts were interrupted by the door opening and Willow throwing her bag in the back seat. Tara smiled at the other girl.
"So where to?"
"Well you can just drop me off by my house, it's kind of a maze to get there so just drop me off at Arapahoe and University." Willow said hoping beyond hope that Tara wouldn't push the issue.
"Um, ok." Tara said a little unsure. She probably doesn't want you to see her house, because she figures you are like all your friends. Oh Willow, I am so not like that, how can I make you see, I like you for just you, not where you live or how much money your parents have. Tara was lost in her thoughts until Willow spoke again.
"You can pull over here."
"Do you need a ride to school tomorrow?"
"No thanks, I need to ride my bike so I can get to work."
"When are you picking your car up?"
"Um not sure, depends on what needs to be done. Hopefully not too much, they always seem to find other things wrong with it. Guess that's what I get for buying an old car."
"Well if you need a ride or anything just let me know."
"Thanks." Willow said as she placed her hand on Tara's thigh. Both girls thought it had been way to long since they had touched. "I think my parents are back on Thursday so I'll be ok."
"Will I see you before Friday?"
"I don't know, I have practice and work and you have practice the rest of the week."
Tara smiled at the thought of Willow already knowing her schedule. "I'm going to miss you." Tara said picking up Willows hand and toying with her fingers. She hoped she hadn't overstepped her bounds, but the look on Willow's face told her otherwise.
"Me too." Willow said as she laced and unlaced her fingers with Tara. "Maybe you can sit with me for a while during the game on Friday?" Willow suggested again.
"Definitely, well if I don't see you before then, take care." Ugh take care, that is something you tell your grandmother. What else would you have said Tara, I want to take you right now in my back seat. Tara's face flushed at the thought.
"Ok I'll see you later." Willow said, grabbing her bag and exiting the car.