Return to Dr. Maclay, DVM Chapter Five

Dr. Maclay, DVM

Author: Jennifer
Copyright (c) 2002 by Jennifer Johnson
Rating: PG to NC-17 (maybe)
Disclaimers: All characters belong to Joss Whedon/Mutant Enemy/UPN/FOX and whoever else owns the rights. This is solely for my entertainment. Please do not copyright this story. All original characters belong to me.

Some days are non-stop. You find yourself running here and there, but no matter how fast or how hard you work, you realize you haven't really gotten much completed.

That was normal, but normal wasn't today.

They had three patients in the span of the last four hours. Appointments were scheduled, they just weren't showing up or clients were calling and canceling. So, in Cases like this, the two best friends did what they always did.

Enjoyed themselves and the free time.

Buffy was sitting in a gray, metal folding chair. Her feet were propped up on an exam table in the front room of the Veterinary clinic, as she read her magazine.

Willow was sitting in front of the surgery suite computer, her head turned downwards as she scanned through old files that she had been meaning to sort through.

She wasn't enjoying her free time as much as she could be. There were obviously other things she could be doing. The responsible adult in her however, was spoiling her fun.

So caught up in what she was doing, she didn't hear someone walk up beside her.

Tara had been sitting in the office, catching up on some patient's notes. Once she had caught herself up though, she quickly grew bored. Not having brought any reading material with her, she decided to turn the down time into, getting to know your co-workers better time.

She decided to start with Willow.

"Need any help?" she asked softly, not wanting to startle the other woman.

Looking up from the file, Willow smiled gratefully at the offer. "Oh Gods, would you?"

"Sure." Pulling the other rolling chair over beside the redhead, Tara sat down and grabbed a file from the stack on the counter.

"What am I supposed to be doing exactly?" she inquired, sheepishly.

Blushing lightly, Willow apologized. "Oh, I'm sorry. I accept your offer for help and then don't even tell you what to do."

Tara reached over and squeezed the hacker's knee. "It's okay. I could have asked," her voice laughed.

Smiling brightly at Tara's touch, Willow had to control her breathing. She had almost taken a sharp breath when the blonde touched her. Tara sure did like to keep in physical contact with people. Willow wasn't complaining though.

Shifting her gaze back to the stack of files, the hospital director spoke softly. "Um, I was just looking through old files and hard copies of print outs and seeing which pets hadn't been in within the last year. If I find any, I've just been checking to see what they actually came in for."

Tara nodded, understanding the other woman's actions.

"If they didn't come in for anything severe or a surgery procedure, say like they just came in for a Rabies vaccination or something, I'm just putting the file in the, "to be shredded," pile. The others, I'll re-file and keep active."

Looking back up into the doctor's eyes, Willow searched them. She kept their line of vision focused for longer than she probably should have and by the time she looked away, her body was shivering. Excitement and curiosity ran through her veins.

It was becoming harder and harder to hide her attraction for her companion and that's what scared her. Tara was her boss, essentially, and that was forbidden territory. Wasn't it? An employee and their employer could never become involved, could they?

Willow was pretty certain that she wasn't the only one being attracted in this scenario. She knew by the way the other woman looked at her, acted around her. Plus, the intimacy of the blonde's touches was becoming more frequent and lingering as the days passed.

To be honest, what she felt happening kind of scared Willow. It had been a long time since she had been happy and her last relationship wasn't heartwarming, to say the least. She had been hurt badly. She didn't want to experience that again.

Sensing a change in the redhead's demeanor, Tara frowned slightly, leaning forward in her chair. "Are you okay?" She had to restrain herself from reaching over and taking the other girl's hand.

"Uh... yeah," Willow hesitated, trying to lie herself out of the situation. "I was just... did you know you have the most gorgeous eyes?" she heard herself blurt out before she could stop herself.

Grinning hopelessly, Tara didn't bother to check her words either. "Thank you," she said sincerely, before adding, "Yours aren't bad themselves."

Blowing out a deep breath, Willow finally made herself look away, distracting her thoughts and her fluttering heart back to her files. "So, files?" she asked, lamely.

Tara was somewhat disappointed by the change in subject, but allowed herself to follow the redhead. "Yes, files."

The telephone chose that exact moment to ring and Willow felt her insides sing from the distraction. Quickly, she got up from the chair and beat Buffy to the phone.

"Sunnydale Veterinary Clinic, this is Willow, how may I help you?" She smiled at the other voice on the other side of the phone. "Oh, Hi Mom."

Buffy walked into the back room, smiling when Tara looked at her from her chair.

"I'm doing okay. How are you?" Willow nodded. She somehow thought the woman on the phone could see her. "Buffy, she's right here. Hang on a second."

Before she could hand over the phone, she addressed the caller one more time. "You, too. I'll see you soon. Here's Buffy." Laughing gently, Willow handed the phone over to her best friend, whom was waiting patiently. "It's your mom."

"Oh," Buffy cautiously took the receiver, wondering why her mom was calling her at work. She only ever called if she had an emergency or needed her daughter to bring home something from work for her.

"Mom, let me switch phones, okay?" After receiving a reply, the blonde hit the hold button and hung up the receiver before leaving the back and going up front to finish her call.

"That was Buffy's mom," Willow stated the obvious as she sat back down in her chair.

Tara was slightly confused. "I was thinking it was your mom from the way you greeted her?

"Nope. I mean... sure, she's like a mom to me and she did tell me that I could call her Mom, but... she's not. Does that make sense?" Willow looked wide-eyed at her friend, hoping her explanation was understood.

Smiling, the doctor nodded. "It does."

Feeling the need to say more, the director elaborated. "Buffy and I have known each since sophomore year of High School. I wasn't and am still not close to my mom. I-It's kind of sad, really. We hardly ever talk and when we do, we argue. She still wants me to be more successful in my life and doesn't understand that this is what I want to do. I love working with animals. I just wish she could understand." Willow's voice trailed off, saddened.

Tara's features fell and she couldn't help but want to reach out to the other girl. Gingerly, her fingers wrapped around Willow's and she squeezed her hand. "I'm sorry, Willow."

Looking down at her hand, seeing the doctor's secured around her digits, her heart felt heavy. She was being touched again and the attention felt wonderful. Her hand fit so well with the blonde's. In return, she squeezed back, looking into blue eyes.

"It's okay. It's not your fault. I just wish things were different." For some reason she felt the need to re-adjust her hand's position and she moved it so her fingers interlaced with the other woman's.

Smiling, Tara scooted her chair a little closer. The flirt in her wanted to scoop Willow up in her arms and sit her on her lap, but she was content just to hold her hand and pray that she wouldn't pull away anytime soon.

She was quite aware as well, that this wasn't normal friend behavior. You didn't just hold your friend's hand whenever you wanted to, not in this fashion anyway. If you were just friends with someone, your heart didn't feel the way Tara's felt either.

Willow's thumb started to move back and forth over the exposed flesh of the blonde's hand as she just looked in her eyes.

Lifting her own thumb, Tara let her's caress over the director's and when the other girl lifted hers in the air, the pads of their digits met and brushed together.

Closing her eyes briefly, Willow could feel every pore in her body being filled with warmth. Her body was humming, coming alive from this woman's touch and damn if it didn't feel good. It was soon spoiled though, when a slight slam of a phone and a soft grumbling could be heard from the front of the clinic.

"Grrr Argh!!" Buffy's voice steamed, aggravated, before she stormed into the back of the clinic, her arms crossed over her chest. If steam could come out of your ears, her hair should have been singed by now.

Frowning, Willow squeezed Tara's hand one more time before regretfully letting it go. She took a step towards Buffy, but stopped herself and just let her hands rest beside her thighs.

"What's up?" she asked tentatively.

Looking over at her boss, the Slayer's nostrils flared once before she started to speak in a somewhat over-controlled manner. "Just your everyday disaster, is all."

"Uh... care to elaborate? Is Brittany okay?" Willow started to panic, forgetting about her standing still, as she started to walk closer to Buffy.

"Bre is fine," the blonde assured, light touching the other girl's upper arm before stuffing her hands in her pockets and turning to face Willow. "I do have some bad news though."

Her eyes widening, the hacker whispered. "What's the matter?"

Looking at the floor briefly, Buffy tried to calm her emotions before slowly catching her best friend's eyes and holding them as she explained. "It's about tonight. I'm not going to be able to go." She sucked in a shallow breath and waited for a response.

"What! That... that's not..." Willow's voice was raised and beginning to fume.

"I'm sorry, but Mom..." Buffy tried to explain, but was cut off by the irate redhead.

"Buffy, we've been planning this for weeks now and now you just tell me that you can't go! Do you know how not cool that is? I even broke the clinic rules and scheduled the appointments lighter tonight so we could leave early. How can you just tell me that you ca..."

"If you'll stop for a minute, I'll explain. That's what I was trying to do a second ago," the Slayer interrupted, trying to gain back the floor. She knew Willow would understand why, if she could just get the words out of her mouth.

Her features resolving, the redhead took a few steps back until she was leaning against the counter again.

Tara just sat silently in her chair, wondering if she should leave the two of them alone. She chose to stay however and just hoped that her presence wouldn't be a problem.

Seeing that her friend was going to cooperate and let her explain, Buffy nodded her head. "Thanks, Will. Now, what I was trying to tell you is that, the reason Mom called was to tell me that she has to stay late at work and she won't be able to watch Bre tonight."

Head dropping back down from it's stare at the ceiling, Willow blew out a heavy breath and pushed her body up onto the counter, the back of her head leaning against the cabinet once she was settled.

She waited a moment before she spoke again and when she did, her voice was somewhat heavy. "Well... what about Xander?" she suggested. If anyone would be willing to watch the small child, surely he would volunteer.

Shaking her head, Buffy clarified the obvious question. "He's taking Anya out, remember? He's been planning it for days and I'm not going to spoil it for him." She hated that this had to transpire, but she didn't know what else to do. Their plans just weren't meant to be. To be honest, the blonde had already started thinking of a devious plan of her own.

It would involve Willow still following through with the evening, just not with her by her side.

"Giles?" the hospital director threw out another name, hoping it would be favored upon.

Smiling, Buffy couldn't believe how incredibly stubborn the other girl could be sometimes. I mean, couldn't Willow see that she was trying to do her a favor? Why couldn't she just settle for Plan B. Of course, it might help if she actually told her about her imaginative Plan B.

"Willow, he's still in England. You know that," the Slayer regarded, walking over to her boss and hopping up on the counter beside her. "I did have another idea though, if you want to hear it?" her voice lightly singing the last few words, adding a little spice to her voice.

"Sure, I'm listening gal. What did you have in mind?" Willow was starting to become excited with the prospect of a new plan.

Leaning over to whisper in her ear, Buffy told her of her thoughts, knowing that once she expressed them, they would be favored upon.

Oblivious to what was going on, Tara had occupied herself with the stack of charts that had been abandoned. Her head shot up though, when she heard a happy squeal from the counter beside her.

"Why didn't I think of that before?" Willow cursed herself silently for not thinking of that on her own. She liked the way her best friend's brain worked.

Teasingly, the Slayer lifted her right hand to the top of red hair and tickled her scalp. "Willowbrain was thinking too hard. You should really rest it every now and then." Her lips smiled happily.

"Pfft! Yeah, right," the hacker demolished, before making a joyful noise and reaching over to hug the other girl. She put so much force behind the hug that the both of them almost fell off the counter.

Buffy's quick reflexes kicked in however and she jumped off the counter before either of them could fall. "I take it you like what I said?"

"Well, duh!" Willow looked at the blonde like she had lost a few of her marbles, wondering how she could be so smart and yet, so oblivious all at the same time.

"Great!" Buffy exclaimed and turned away, grinning happily as she made her way back up front. Her best friend needed some alone time with her, "friend."

Willow almost jumped out of her skin when she felt a soft hand touch her arm.

"Sorry. I didn't mean to startle you. Is everything okay?" Tara wondered, concerned, as she brought her hand back down and rested it on top of the file on her lap.

Not thinking or not bothering to think about what she was about to do, the redhead let a smile engulf her whole face and she bounced up and down on her heels for a second before lunging and grabbing on to Tara, pulling her into a bone crushing hug. She rocked their bodies side to side, her happiness taking over her actions.

The doctor sat still, shocked from the turn in events, but eventually she softened and wrapped her arms around the warm body, closing her eyes and just basking in the moment.

Unaware to a certain extent of what she had just done, her brain chose that moment to awaken from the spell it had succumbed to and Willow allowed the hug to last for another few seconds before she slowly pulled away and stood back up.

Immediately feeling the loss of the other woman's embrace, the hospital director took a step back and willed her heart to stop beating so erratically. Her voice was a little jumpy when she finally spoke again.

"Um... tonight, my plans that Buffy and I had are obviously not going to happen, but... I-I wanted to ask you something?" Willow looked at her friend nervously, her heart still jumping in her chest.

"Yes?" Tara answered, confused by the nervousness that she could sense flowing from her companion.

"Okay, this would be where I just come out and say what I was going to say and you answer with whatever response you want to and hopefully it will be a good response. Not that you're second choice or anything, that's not why I'm going to ask you what I'm going to ask you. It's just that, Buffy's mom can't and Xander is busy and Giles is out of town and I'm babbling. Why didn't you stop me?"

The hacker blew out a breath, looking at Tara with wide eyes.

Laughing gently, the blonde just looked at Willow, amazed at how many words she could fit through those tiny lips. "You're cute when you babble. I didn't have the heart to interrupt."

Her heart melted at the half grin that developed on Tara's mouth, wanting nothing more than to just kiss it, but that would be inappropriate. So, the redhead just smiled bashfully at the comment and continued with her speech.

"What I wanted to ask you was..." her voice trailed away, looking at the other woman expectantly as if she could read her thoughts.

"Yes?" Tara repeated again, waiting patiently.

"Would you like to go with me tonight to this seminar? The seminar is going to be about animal massage therapy and how it can be applied to the work place." There, she had said it. Now all she had to do was wait and see if her invitation would be accepted.

The young doctor didn't even have to think about her answer. Her lips fluttered with the words, "I would love to go with you."

Smiling goofily, Willow's mouth opened several times to speak before an actual audible word was heard. "Yay!" her voice whispered as she turned around toward the front of the clinic and practically skipped away.

"Oh, Goddess," Tara whispered to the empty room, wondering what she had just allowed herself to get into. "This should be interesting."

Continue to Dr. Maclay, DVM Chapter Seven

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