The sun burned bright in the early morning sky as Willow bustled through the house. "Buffy!" She called her roommate for the second time, and checked her watch again. "Okay, okay," the groggy reply drifted into the kitchen. "Willow it's 6:30," Buffy yawned, "Tara lives five minutes away... everything in Sunnydale is five minutes away. We don't have to leave so early," she stared up at her friend as Willow walked into the living room.
"I know," the redhead picked at several balls of lint from her sweater, "but I'm driving, remember." "Good point," Buffy chuckled as she slipped on her shoes, "okay. I'm ready."
They headed out and reached Tara's place at a record time of ten minutes.
"See, now we're twenty minutes early. That's twenty more minutes of sleep I could've had," Buffy whined.
"Buffy...," Willow cut herself off and stared over her friend's shoulder, "she's here." The sleepy blonde followed Willow's gaze and saw Tara making her way toward the car.
Since her new friend was at a safe distance from Willow, the redhead allowed herself to take in the young woman's appearance, without the embarrassment that came with being caught ogling. Her eyes trekked from the loosely tied ponytail, to the light purple top that Willow couldn't help but envy, and finally moved lower to the fitted blue jeans and black boots.
Willow continued to stare, dreamily, at the gorgeous woman until Buffy's movement, blocked her view. The cook left the passenger door open to let Tara have the front seat, and climbed into the back.
"Oh, you didn't h-have to move," Tara said once she was close enough. Buffy shrugged and looked at Willow, "I know, but I don't mind the backseat... really," she flashed a reassuring smile.
Tara sat next to Willow, and as she closed the passenger's door, the force swept her scent to the driver's side. "Oh god," Willow groaned under her breath. She inhaled deeply, savoring the sweet vanilla smell and gripped the steering wheel tighter. "Ready," she asked cheerfully as her heart pounded against her chest. The others nodded, and the trio were on their way.
Tara could hardly concentrate on her surroundings as Willow drove the rest of the way to the restaurant. The night before, her mind had been flooded with thoughts of the redhead. Her psyche even went as far as to plant some very steamy images into her dreams. Tara snuck a sideways glance at her boss, stopping to focus on her hands, and felt the blush rising in her cheeks.
Willow could feel the blonde's eyes on her, and tried to remain calm. She's looking at me, the voice in her mind yelled gleefully. Oh god, what if I have something on my face, Willow brushed her hand against her face as nonchalantly as possible. Nope, nothing there. She's looking at me. The redhead allowed a smile to creep upon her face as she focused on the road.
In the backseat, Buffy looked from each girl, Oh yeah. I give it a week. She grinned and enjoyed the remainder of the ride.
Two hours after opening, the scene of the restaurant was a complete turn around from yesterday. Whereas today, they actually had a few customers, who ordered something besides beverages. Willow wasn't sure what had gotten into Sunnydale's residents, and frankly, she didn't care. The only thing that mattered was that they were there.
Because there wasn't a specific dress code, the worker's wore aprons with the restaurant's logo, so customers could distinguish employees from other customers. Tara tended to the empty tables, while Willow handled the register and Buffy worked in the kitchen. For a group of only three, the girls were doing quite well for themselves.
"See Will, I told you that it wouldn't be so bad," Buffy said as she leaned against the counter. The activity had died down, but a few of the customers still remained, most of them had finished their meals and were simply enjoying the company of their friends and co-workers.
"Yeah, it was probably just the first day jitters," Willow closed the register and smiled at her friend, "if business continues to boom, we might be able to close early."
"Are we still Bronzin' it tonight?" Buffy asked. Willow nodded and shot a glance toward Tara, "Ask her," Buffy urged, sensing what her friend was thinking. Willow bit her lip nervously when the blonde started toward the counter, "What if she says no?"
"Somehow, I seriously doubt she will," Buffy said, just as Tara reached the counter. She tackled the wad of crumpled bills in her hand and started to dump them into the half-full jar of tips, when Willow quickly covered the lid with her hand. "No, keep it," she gestured toward the money.
"A-Are you sure?" Tara frowned. She looked at Buffy, who also nodded. "Yeah, you earned it," Willow refused to move her hand until Tara stuffed the bills in her pocket. "Thanks," she shyly ducked her head and met Willow's eyes.
"Huh, I'm going to go make sure the food isn't burning," Buffy said and quietly slipped away. Ask her, Willow thought as she held Tara's gaze. Amazing eyes. Okay, I'm gonna ask her. She visibly jerked her head, agreeing with herself. The pensive look and movement didn't go unnoticed by the blonde, "Is something w-wrong? Is it a-about the t-tips?" She nervously reached into her jeans.
Willow saw the concern in Tara's eyes, before she heard the question. "What? No, no...it's not that," she took a deep breath, "Tara. I uh, I was wondering if... if-."
"Don't be such a wuss...it's only a scratch," Anya's familiar voice cut Willow off before she could finish. Xander walked in beside her, cradling his pinky finger. "Will, you got any band-aids?" The redhead's shoulder's slumped as she turned to Xander, "What happened?" She was slightly annoyed with her friends for interrupting her moment of courage. She probably would've said no anyway, she thought as she grabbed the first aid kit.
Tara stared at Willow, while her boss bandaged Xander's finger. "Dumbo here, cut himself on the car doorhandle." She could hear the humor in Anya's snort, but kept her eyes on Willow. The redhead had looked so hopeful. What was she about to say? Tara shook away the thought when she felt someone looking at her. She recognized the woman from yesterday and felt uncomfortable as she continued to stare at her.
Anya gave the blonde the once over, "So you're the new Food for Lesbians employee?" She asked loudly. Some of the customers looked up at the group in disgust. "Anya," Willow hissed, throwing the band-aid wrapper in the trash.
"What?" She shrugged, "Please, like they don't know," she glared back at those who were still looking at her.
Xander groaned, "Please don't call it that. And just because she works here, doesn't mean she's gay. Buffy works here, and she's not gay."
"Says who," Anya snorted. Once the shock of Anya's tactlessness wore off, Tara oddly found herself liking the newcomer. Mostly because she obviously liked to express what was on her mind... a trait Tara sometimes wished she had. She looked up at Willow and the redhead quickly averted her eyes. Yeah... it was something she definitely wished she had.
"So anyway," Anya continued, "are we still going out tonight? If not, Xander and I are going to go home and play dress up. There's this new shop downtown...they have costumes and whips and stuff. Xander agreed to let me-." The rest of her sentence was muffled by her boyfriend's hand.
"Thank you," Buffy emerged from the back. She could hear everything that the group discussed, especially Anya's comment...which she'd have to bring up a little later, when they were away from the public eye. "And yes Anya, we're still going out." She shot Willow a look, knowing her best friend hadn't asked Tara yet.
"Okay, we'll uh, we'll see you guys tonight then," Xander smiled, still covering Anya's mouth with his hand as they backed away, out of the restaurant. As soon as they were outside, Anya bit his hand and marched off toward the car.
"Geez, I could just kill her sometimes," Buffy joked. She noticed the faint tension in Willow and decided that it was her cue to leave, "Do I smell smoke," she sniffed and hurried away.
As the two girls stood in front of each other, Tara tried to catch the redhead's eye, but Willow wouldn't look up. "If there's s-something w-wrong," she composed herself, "you could tell me. You could tell me anything," she inched her hand closer to Willow's.
"I just," Willow sighed. Ask her, "I was just going to ask if you wanted to come out with me- us, tonight. But I'll understand if you don't want to... I mean, if you already have plans-."
"...or something- What?" Willow looked up, thinking her mind was playing tricks on her. "Did you..."
"Yes," Tara repeated. "I'd love to," she beamed. "Okay, great," Willow smiled back, "great, um I'll drop you off at your place first, so you can change... not that you need to, I mean, you already look good but um...," she trailed off.
"It's okay Willow," Tara smiled at her friend's nervousness, "I get it."
"Great," Willow bounced on the balls of her feet.
"Great," Tara gave Willow a lopsided grin, before going back to work.
It's a date... with three other people... but still a date, Willow thought as she greeted the next customer.