Willow and Tara walked into the dining room to find three place settings, two on one side of the table and one on the other side.
"I'm just warning you now, this could get ugly." Willow told Tara. Willow's relationship with her parents was strained at best. Usually dinner conversations ended in an argument and Willow storming off to her room.
Tara glanced around the room as they sat and waited. Art hung on the walls around the dining room table, everything was decked out in dark wood. The whole room had a dark feeling toward it, almost like a castle. A single chandelier hung above casting a little light upon the table. She glanced at Willow who seemed nervous or agitated.
Shelia entered from the hall and took her place on the other side of the table. "I'm glad you made it on time Willow." She said motioning for the staff to bring in the food. Several staff members entered with trays full of food. Tara watched as a staff member brought a tray of chicken out to Shelia, she inspected the food then nodded and the server placed a piece of chicken on Shelia's plate. Tara followed suit and accepted the chicken when it was her turn. The food supply seemed endless, tray after tray of sides and meat flew out of the kitchen. Soon Tara didn't have enough room, but felt like it was rude to refuse. Willow noticed Tara's plate and took action.
"We're good here, ok Sharon?" Willow told one of the staff and Sharon and the rest moved back into the kitchen. Silence followed as Shelia took a bite of her food. Willow moved around some green beans on her plate and stared at her potatoes. Everything seemed awkward to Tara, as she started picking at her huge plate of food.
"So Willow, have you decided on a college yet." Shelia asked breaking the mood.
"Um...no, I'm still weighing my options." Willow mumbled and refused to look at her mother.
"Oh that's good. How about you Tara, are you in any school functions?"
"Oh yes, I'm in cheerleading."
"That's great. I wish Willow was in something other than playing with those noise makers she plays with. I swear Willow sometimes I think that's why your father is gone so much, just to get away from the incessant banging."
Willow clenched her jaw and glared at her mother, but remained silent. Tara noticed Willow's face and gently placed her hand on her thigh to try and calm her down.
"Willow's actually quite a prodigy; she has completely turned around the Band this year." Tara said defending her girlfriend.
"Yes, she is. If she would only apply herself a little more to subjects that matter, rather than this music she is into. So Tara what are you thinking about doing in college?" Shelia said quickly changing subjects.
"Um...I'm not sure, but I think I might go for teaching."
"That's a nice profession. Ira has been trying to get Willow into the business, but she doesn't seem interested. You might be able to change her mind. It would be nice to keep the company in the family."
"I don't want anything to do with the business. I want to go into aerospace or something else." Willow finally piped up.
"Right, do you have any idea what government bureaucracy is like? No I think you would be better taking over the business, you can make your own hours, and you don't have to be told what to do."
"Right, like dad makes his own hours. I actually want to be around for my children."
"Willow, we try our best, do we not give you everything you want?"
"I want you to come to one of my competitions. I want you to give me something that you can't buy."
"Willow." Sheila sighed. "We have been over this, don't make a scene when we have guests."
Willow grumbled but made no move to continue the conversation further. They ate in an uncomfortable silence until Willow stood and took Tara's hand.
"I was hoping you would join me for some after dinner coffee." Shelia said dabbing her mouth with the cloth napkin.
"Sorry Tara has to go, and I need to do homework." Willow explained.
"It was nice to meet you Shelia." Tara said as Willow pulled on her arm.
"You too Tara, you are very nice and seemingly a good influence on my wayward daughter."
Willow all but dragged Tara back into her room and shut the door.
"I am so freaking sorry about that." Willow said studying Tara's face.
"It's ok Wil, it wasn't that bad."
"Are you kidding me, it was awful." Willow said picking up the mail her mother had left.
"It really wasn't. I'm glad I got to meet your mother." Tara said trying to make light of the situation.
"Hopefully you'll never have to see her again."
"I want to see her again Willow. I want to get to know your parents and I think she means well."
"Don't defend her. She has never been there for me, she doesn't care. One time I had the line over for practice, I thought they were gone, and now because of that its all just noise and something I do to annoy her. Plus I don't know why she keeps bringing up the business, as if I wanted that shitty company. I want us to be there for our children, not act like my parents. There is no way I'll put our kids through that." Willow rambled on.
Tara breath caught for a moment. Oh my God, she wants to have kids with me. The thought at first frightened her it was to soon wasn't it. But she couldn't help but grin at her girl looking all cute and planning their future in her head.
"Why are you smiling?"
"You're just so cute when you're angry."
"Tare, how am I supposed to be angry when you make me feel so good?" Willow said trying to pout, but smiling and walking over to Tara. She wrapped her arms around the blond's waist.
"I promise we won't have dinner with my parents again...unless we have too."
"I hope we will have lots of dinners with your parents in the future, and I'll look forward to every one, because that will mean we are still together." Tara said sincerely.
"You're a little bit crazy you know that?" Willow said before kissing Tara.
"Mmm, you better get out now then." Tara said breaking the kiss.
"Not a chance." Willow said and leaned in again.
On Friday Tara meet the girls at the mall to do some dress shopping.
"Hey lets go to Fashion 10." Buffy said fidgeting with excitement.
"That's so last season. Plus I think I have everything in that store." Cordelia said.
"Ok let's check out ACF I've heard good things about that store." Anya said.
"Fine let's go." Tara said, not really wanting to be there with them anyway, but she did need to buy a dress.
As the girls walked into ACF Buffy grabbed Cordelia's arm "I am so excited. Come help me pick out a dress." She said dragging Cordelia over to some racks.
Anya and Tara browsed through the racks before Tara settled on 3 she wanted to try on. They met Buffy and Cordelia already in the dressing room.
"Did you find one?" Tara asked Cordelia who sat on the bench just inside the dressing room.
"I actually already bought one."
"Great so we don't even get to see it." Anya said.
"I know that's what I said." Buffy said from inside one of the rooms.
"Sorry guys, it's a surprise."
"Ok what do you think about this one?" Buffy said walking out in a light blue dress.
"Eh, it's ok." Anya said.
"Yeah it's kind of weird." Tara said looking at the design.
"Yeah I don't like it." Buffy said disappearing back into the room.
Tara and Anya proceeded to separate dressing rooms while Cordelia sat out on the bench.
"So Buffy and Cordy, you guys still going stag?" Tara asked while she undressed.
"Yep." Cordelia said. "I don't want to be tied down, I'm a free spirit you know?"
"Yeah I'm with Cordy. The boys in our school are too immature."
"I'll agree with that." Tara said.
"You guys are just all bitter because you don't have a nice man to gratify your sexual needs."
"Hey I resent that, Willow gratifies all my needs." Tara said before realizing what she just said. She was glad she was behind the safety of the dressing room walls where no one could see her blush.
"I so knew you guys were having sex." Anya said.
Tara looked at herself in the mirror, she liked the dress she had on quite a bit. She opened the door to show the other girls and said. "We're not doing it...yet."
"Wow Tare, that dress looks great on you." Cordelia said. "It really brings out your eyes." The dress was dark blue and shimmered with silver flecks in the light.
"I wanna see, Damn it, stupid dress." Buffy said as sounds of a struggle were heard from her room.
Anya appeared dressed in a black tight dress. "Looks great Tare."
"Yours too, I like the simplicity of it." Tara said.
"Yeah, I don't know, I have a few others to try."
Buffy finally appeared from her room in a white puffy dress. Tara tried to suppress laughter, but Anya busted out laughing.
"Buffy you look like a snowball." She said between giggles.
"Yeah, that's pretty bad Buff." Cordelia said.
"Yeah I know, but I wanted something on so I could see Tara, and by the way, holy crap you look hot. If Willow doesn't take you right when she sees you there's something wrong with that girl."
Tara blushed. "Well I guess I found the one huh?"
All three girls went back into the dressing rooms to change. Tara changed into her street clothes, grabbed the dress and joined Cordelia on the bench.
Anya appeared next with a red dress. "What do you think?"
"I like the black one better." Tara said.
"Yeah, that one's ok." Cordelia said. "Buffy what the hell takes you so long?"
"Sorry I'm not speedy Gonzales when it comes to putting on these things. They are confusing, how do I know which strap goes where. I'm almost there."
Finally Buffy opened the door and walked out in a green dress with spaghetti straps.
"Woah Buffy, hello hotness." Anya said.
"Yeah, that the one Buffy." Tara said and looked at Cordelia who remained silent and looked anywhere but Buffy.
"Yeah looks good." Cordelia finally said. "I need some air." She said before getting up and leaving the room.
Buffy frowned. "I don't know, maybe I just won't get one right now."
"How about you Anya?" Tara asked.
"Well I guess the black, if that seems to be the consensus."
Tara and Buffy both nodded.
"I'm going to go find Cordy." Tara said, walking out to find Cordelia browsing the shoes.
"Hey, you ok?" Tara asked.
"Yeah, I just got all claustrophobic for a minute there."
"I think Buffy thinks you don't like the dress."
"I do, it looks really great on her."
"You should tell her."
"I don't know what the hell takes that girl so long to change." Anya said walking out with the black dress.
"I'll go get her." Cordelia said.
Cordelia walked into the dressing room and went up to the door Buffy was in. "Buff?"
"You really should get that green dress, you looked really hot in it." Cordelia said standing on the other side of the door.
"Really?" Buffy said opening the door coming face to face with Cordelia. Cordelia looked in her hazel eyes and found it hard to speak.
"Yeah, really beautiful." She said closing her eyes and reining in her emotions. Buffy was so close and smelled so good. Buffy grinned from ear to ear.
"You mean it?"
Cordelia nodded not trusting her voice. Buffy leaned in quickly and gave her a kiss on the cheek before turning around and grabbing the dress.
"Thanks Cordy." She said before walking out, leaving Cordelia completely confused and horny.
It was raining so field show practice was cancelled. Willow stood silently with her drum on, in the band room waiting for Oz to give them instructions. In a way, band was more like boot camp. They would often have monk rehearsals where no one was allowed to talk, and when someone did, they would be punished with push-ups or having a long run around the school. It never made sense to Willow, on the one hand she understood why they wanted everyone to take this seriously, but on the other band was supposed to be fun, not torturous.
"Ok lets start from the beginning and let's get it right this time." Oz said starting taps on his snare. The other joined in and Willow rolled her eyes in boredom. She and Matt had this piece down, it was the basses who didn't.
"No no no no, Damn it." Oz said hitting the edge of the snare with his stick, causing it to break in half and one half fly towards Willow. Willow sidestepped and let the stick fall behind her.
"Hey Oz, maybe we should take a break." Xander said trying to ease the tension that fell over the line.
"No you don't get to make decisions Xander! I'm section leader, and what I say goes. You don't get a break until you get this right! Fuck!" He screamed throwing the other half of his stick toward the chalk board. Everyone stood still, afraid to make a move. "Why don't we just end it for today, we'll pick this up tomorrow." Oz said more calmly than before.
The line all packed up their drums silently before leaving the band room.
"Xander somethings up with Oz." Willow whispered as they put their drums in their cases.
"I know we need to talk to him." Willow nodded in agreement and placed her drum on the rack.
"Hey Oz man, got a sec?" Xander said walking to where Oz sat on the stairs.
"Oz are you ok?" Willow said sitting next to him.
"Yeah, I just...I don't know why I blew up like that. It's not like me you guys know that."
"Yeah we know, are you feeling ok?" Xander asked.
"Yeah, I just get so angry sometimes, and it's like I can't hold it in. I can't get a hold of my emotions, they just sort of explode." He said looking down at his hands.
"Maybe you should see a doctor or something." Willow suggested.
"Look man, we're all here for you. The whole line is. If you need to talk, we're all here for you."
"Yeah, I'm just not so much for the talking."
"It might help. I mean maybe if we had talked, you wouldn't have freaked out like you did." Willow said recalling the night Oz flipped out on her.
"You guys are right. I'll get it figured out. Thanks." He said sincerely.