Willow Rosenberg was bored out of her mind as she stood behind the counter, aimlessly playing with the buttons on the cash register. Four months ago, her uncle had come to town, with hopes of selling his two-cent idea to the highest bidder and after less than a month, Food for Thought was under construction. The small restaurant in the center of Sunnydale was guaranteed to provide a place where people could eat healthy meals, while enjoying a quiet and peaceful atmosphere. Willow's uncle had chosen to remain an indirect partner and went back to Florida, leaving the management in the hand's of his niece.
Willow stared outside as the clouds parted and the rain began to lightly fall. It was the first day of opening, and she prayed that somebody... anybody would walk through the door. Even if all they wanted was to order a cup of water, which was free, but nonetheless it was still a customer. Each time a prospective customer walked by, she'd silently chant, please come in, please come in, but the person would only glance through the window before walking away. She sighed softly and went back to poking at the numbers on the register.
"Don't look so zombie-like, it's bad for business," the voice broke Willow out of wallowing in her customer-less self-pity. The owner of the voice walked around the counter to put the 'help wanted' sign in the window. Willow watched her best friend, Buffy Summers, flop down on one of the counter's stools.
"That might be true if we actually had some business," Willow huffed. "We haven't had a paying customer in over an hour and most of the people who do come in, just frown at the menu and leave." She walked around the table and sunk down beside Buffy. "Remind me again, why I agreed to do this," Willow pouted, "I mean, I can't even balance my checkbook, how am I supposed to manage a restaurant."
"First off," Buffy swirled in her seat to face the redhead, "you don't have a checkbook." Buffy smiled at Willow's pout, "and secondly, you agreed to work here because you needed a job to pay for that brand new car you got sitting outside. Plus," the petite blonde nudged her friend, "health food joints equal lesbian headquarters. Put the two together, and you might actually get a date."
Willow blushed as she rolled her eyes, "Hey, I can get a date," Buffy skepticaly arched her eyebrow. "I can. Okay, whatever... but I could've found a different job. The bookstore down the street was hiring, and you know me... I love books."
"Will, remember elementary school, when you had to bring your inhaler every time you spent the night at my house? And I had to clear the room of all my stuffed animals because the doctor said that they were full of dust mites," Buffy paused as Willow nodded. "Okay, now imagine four walls and a dozen shelves full of dusty old books. I mean, your every paycheck would be spent on allergy medicine." Willow grimaced, remembering all the vaccines and medicines her mom used to pack in her sleep-over bag.
"C'mon, it's not that bad," Buffy stood up, taking Willow's hand. "Besides, we have tons of food in the back and since there's no one here to eat it...we shouldn't let it go to waste," Buffy grinned, "Oh! And I heard that asparagus was supposed to improve your memory."
"I thought it was almonds," Willow frowned, following her friend into the back.
"Close enough," Buffy shrugged.
A short time later, the sound of the bell chiming as the door opened, brought the two stuffed girls back to reality.
"We have customers," Willow clapped giddily. Not wanting them to leave, she ran toward the front, forgetting about the napkin that was hanging from her shirt. As she reached the register, she breathed a sign of relief when she saw that the person hadn't left. The woman stood with her back to Willow, oblivious to the redhead as she leaned against the counter, looking out the window.
"Can I help you," Willow lightly cleared her throat, knowing that she had startled the woman, when she saw her jump. Her breath caught when the young woman turned, "Can...," she trailed off, captivated by the woman before her. She let her eyes travel as far as they could, from the cascade of blonde hair, to the sparkling blue eyes and full lips, and further down until she reached the surface of the counter, where the vision stopped.
Tara flushed and bit her lip as she watched the redheaded woman's gaze slowly trail down her body. Any other time she would've felt uncomfortable, but this time was different. This woman was different. Finally, the woman's green eyes met hers, and subconsciously, she found her own eyes making the same trip down the cashier's body.
"What can I get you," Buffy sauntered in from the back. She'd been watching from the kitchen door and wondered why her friend hadn't taken the woman's order yet. So she decided to go up front, figuring that Willow was in some kind of shock from actually having a customer who hadn't bolted after five minutes of being in the restaurant.
Both girls managed to pull their eyes away from each other, long enough to notice Buffy's presence.
"Yeah, uh, what uh," Willow found it hard to speak, so she just pointed back to the menu, "food." God, I sound like a cave-woman, she thought to herself.
Tara couldn't help but smile at the adorable redhead. She lost herself in her thoughts, until she realized her reason for being there. "Oh, um, n-no t-thanks. I'm uh, h-here about t-the j-job." She inwardly chided herself, Stop stuttering. They won't hire you if they can't understand you. Her eyes returned to Willow's and she focused on controlling her breathing, "There was a sign in the window. 'Help wanted'," she finished clearly.
"Okay," Willow said hastily, "you're hired." Both Buffy and Tara were taken back by Willow's forwardness.
"D-Don't I need an application?" Tara asked, looking from Willow to Buffy. Willow shook her head no and Buffy almost laughed at her friend's behavior. "We'll have you fill one out, for our records," Buffy grabbed an application from under the counter, "but like Willow here said. You're hired."
"I'm Willow," the redhead said rather loudly. She quickly grabbed the napkin from her shirt-collar and tapped her plastic name tag. "Don't mind her, she's been in the sugar again," Buffy said. Tara smiled back at the cashier and followed Buffy to one of the vacant tables. "By the way, I'm Buffy and as you've already heard. That's Willow." "Tara," the blonde said, sneaking another glance at Willow. It had only been two days since she had arrived in Sunnydale, but it was already starting to feel like home.
"Tara," Willow whispered, loving how the name escaped her lips. Maybe this new job wouldn't be so bad after all. She grinned, suddenly looking forward to the rest of the work day.