The first thing that presented itself when Willow walked in the back door to the clinic was the ringing of the phone. She had every intention of answering it, but as soon as she picked up the handset, the red flashing light that indicated the phone call, disappeared. Most likely, it had been answered.
Replacing the hand set in the cradle, she sighed. "Thanks, Buffy," she whispered to herself.
Letting her bag fall down her arm, it ungracefully plunked down on the floor beside her office computer as she leaned over to push the ON button to boot up the machine.
Pulling out the metal chair from under the computer desk, she closed her eyes once, sat and sucked in a deep breath. She tried to calm her nerves.
To be perfectly honest, she was nervous about seeing Tara. She knew she shouldn't be. What happened that morning had just been a dream, she knew that. However, acknowledging that factor didn't make the now any easier.
When Tara walked through the door, she knew she would tense up and probably become a jumpy mess.
Exhaling loudly, Willow opened her eyes and was met with the smiling faces of her two best friends. She had decided on that particular photo of Buffy, Xander, and herself for her computer wallpaper, as a reminder or a focal point for her long or horrible days.
She loved her friends and didn't know what she would do or where she would be without them in her life.
With a bright smile, matching that of Xander's in the picture, she cupped her palm around the base of her computer mouse and moved the pointer over to a small icon on the desktop.
Double clicking the small picture of a black paw print, she watched as a pet door suddenly appeared at the bottom of her screen and a few seconds later, a black and white cat walked through it.
With the mouse still in her hand, she left clicked with her index finger and waited for the small-computerized hand to appear over Felix. Keeping the button pushed in, she moved the hand with her mouse over Felix's back and watched as the animated feline crouched down and lifted his backside up in the air, scratching at the ground as he was petted.
"Hi, Felix," the redhead cooed.
This was her morning ritual. The cat kept her company whenever she was working on something and spent long periods of time at her desktop.
With her computer booted up and Felix petted, she rose from her seat and walked over to the other office computer, booting it up as well.
Stretching, she headed for the office door. It was time to start her day.
Walking through the door to the front of the clinic, Willow was almost pounced on by a small, hyper ball of gray, black, and tan fur.
"Brownie!" she squealed, excitedly. Taking a small step backwards, the hospital director bent down and petted the puppy.
Brownie was over-excited, his little body twitching every which way, as he licked his friend's hands.
Luckily, Willow hadn't gotten very far from the door. Reaching up to her left, she grabbed a few paper towels from the dispenser and leaned back down.
"You silly puppy," her voice purred, as the Australian Shepherd puppy tried to bite at the paper towels she was using to wipe his small puddle of urine up from the floor. His tiny bladder just couldn't stand all the excitement that he found his world blessed with.
After doing so, she threw the soiled napkins in the trashcan and lifted the puppy up.
Grunting happily, Brownie squirmed and pawed at the girl's face as he tried his hardest to shower her skin in kisses.
Laughing, Willow made kissing noises at him, which only excited him more. She finally flipped him over onto his back, hoping he would calm down.
The new position worked almost immediately, as the puppy calmed and just looked up at Willow's face with two expressive blue eyes. He lifted his little head up and licked her face once.
Cuddling the puppy close, the redhead hugged him to her body and kissed the back of his head.
"Hey, Will. Finally made it, huh?" Buffy teased, hanging up the phone she had been talking on. When she received a playful glare in response, she smiled.
"That was the, Doc. She's on her way," the blonde explained the phone call.
"Is she okay?" Willow slightly panicked, turning around and looking at the clock on the wall above the door, before she spun back around and almost dropped Brownie in the process.
"She's late!" she squeaked.
Snorting, Buffy crossed her arms over her chest. "Uh huh. I seem to recall someone else being late, too. Hmmm, I wonder who that could be?"
Walking over to her best friend, Willow just looked at her. "I'm sorry, Buffy. I know I've never been late before. I mean, I'm usually here like an hour before we open. I can't believe I overslept. It was just... this dream I was having. I didn't want to wake up from it a-and..."
Unfolding her arms, the Slayer grabbed the other girl by the shoulders, interrupting her ramble. "Hey, it's cool. We don't have any patients in the back or anything, so it's fine. Okay?"
Her voice was calm, trying to soothe away Willow's panic. "All's forgiven." She squeezed her shoulders and gave her a soft smile, sliding her left hand down the hacker's arm to pet the puppy, which was panting happily from being held.
"Thanks," Willow replied, gratefully. "I-I wonder why Tara's late though?" she spoke aloud.
"Well, funny you should mention that. Apparently, she overslept as well. Maybe it's contagious." Buffy smirked at the redhead.
"Tease," the director quipped, lightly pushing the blonde with her puppy filled arms. Seconds later, her eyes widened and she really had to contain herself from jumping up in down with glee.
"I have to tell you about my dream," she began.
Buffy was leaning against the freezer, occasionally glancing through the door to up front, watching for customers as she and Willow were talking in the back, waiting for Tara to get there.
The blonde was having fun teasing Willow about the juicy details she had been privileged to, regarding her friend's dream.
"You're not going to let this go, are you?" The hospital director leaned her head back, resting it on the cabinet. She was sitting on top of the counter beside the surgery computer. Her arms were crossed over her chest while the backs of her shoes tapped the cabinet below occasionally.
It was going to be a long day.
"Nope. Not at least for... a week!" Buffy teased, drumming her fingers against the tiled surface. Her palms cupped over the edges of the freezer top on either side of her body.
Hearing the back door opening halted their conversation, as both sets of ears perked up at the noise. They didn't have to wait long until they could match the noise to a face.
"I-I'm so sorry, I'm late. I can't believe I overslept..." Tara's voice trailed away towards the end, as she looked over at Willow. Her heart started to sing immediately at the sight of her crush, her dream coming back to her full throttle. What she found ironic however, was the fact that the redhead was sitting on top of the very same counter, in practically the same position as in her dream.
She would have blushed, but when she noticed that the other girl hadn't even looked at her, she frowned in confusion.
"Hi, Dr. Maclay. Don't worry about it. Willow overslept, too," Buffy confessed and received a glare from her best friend. She gave her an apologetic look and smiled lightly.
"Oh," Tara whispered and then noticed the slight tension from the redhead when she looked at her again. She turned her eyes to Buffy and motioned towards Willow with her head.
"Is everything okay?" she inquired, pensively.
"Yeah. We're cool." Smiling, the Slayer looked at her friend briefly before turning towards the front and leaving the room.
Frowning once again, Tara wondered why Willow was being so quiet. It definitely wasn't something she would expect from the other girl. She was always so outgoing and smiling about everything.
Turning away, she walked back into the office to put her stuff down.
Willow blew out a breath when the doctor left the room. "Rude-o," she said to herself, wondering why she couldn't even bring herself to acknowledge the other woman. She would have to talk to her eventually.
Steeling herself, she tried to push aside her unease and she actually did look at Tara when she walked back through the door.
Chancing a smile, she tentatively spoke. "Hey," her voice was soft, almost inaudible.
"Hi," the young doctor offered back with a smile. Taking this as a good sign, she walked over to where Willow was and leaned against the side of the sink, her body facing the redhead's.
There was about four inches between them.
"You okay?" Tara's question was filled with concern.
"I'm good," Willow immediately answered with a smile, noting for the first time that she felt comfortable and once she had allowed herself to actually look the other woman in the eyes, she really didn't feel weird at all.
"You?" the director held the blonde's eyes.
"I'm good," Tara opted for Willow's use of words. They were safe.
Her attention was pulled elsewhere when a voice spoke to her from the door.
"Doc, can you look at something for me, please? I had a client call earlier, wanting us to refill her dog's medication. It's been almost a year since we've seen her though."
Buffy wondered to herself if she should have interrupted, but she felt better once Tara started to walk towards her.
Willow smiled at Tara as she walked away, watching her go through the door.
The redhead was sat up on the counter top again. She was bored. The day had been so unbelievably slow, which was odd for a Friday afternoon. They chalked it up to the weather, which was very beautiful.
The sun was shining brightly and there was a nice breeze outside.
Buffy was up front doing something on the computer and Tara, well; she was walking through the door as Willow eyes looked up from their study of the floor.
The blonde was headed straight for her, a firm smile gracing her features. She paused when she was a step away from the director.
"Um, I need up in that cabinet. G-gauze... we n-need more," she stuttered, knowing it was Willow's presence that caused it. She felt nervous around her at times. She really hated it.
"You want me to move?" The redhead immediately wanted to smack her forehead. That was a dumb question to ask. She was surprised however, by the response.
"No. You're f-fine. I-I just need to reach around you." She felt a certain deja-vu when she stepped closer and actually ended up standing between the other woman's legs, reaching with her right hand up into the cabinet. Her left hand planted itself on Willow's knee, helping with balance.
Taking in a sharp breath, the redhead froze. The familiarity of this position was fresh in her mind and she found herself wondering briefly if Tara would kiss her.
Their faces about two inches apart, Tara looked down at Willow when she heard the intake of breath and she froze herself. She couldn't believe that she had actually done this. It's not like she couldn't have gotten to the cabinet if she had stood to the side of the director.
Pulling her arm down, package of gauze in hand, she closed the cabinet and stood still for a brief moment, her eyes still locked on sapphire ones. Finally, squeezing Willow's knee, she smiled and backed away.
"Thank you," her voice whispered, as she found herself leaving the room in a hurry.
Groaning, the hacker closed her eyes and let out the breath she hadn't realized she'd been holding.