"So things are going good?" Buffy inquired as she and Willow talked in the kitchen. There was a small window in the door, which allowed her to see if anybody entered the restaurant and since business had slowed a little, she had decided to take a break to chat with her best friend.
"Yeah, I mean, at first I didn't think I could do it, but-," the redhead's smile finished the sentence for her.
"I meant, with Tara." Willow followed Buffy's eyesight and saw her girlfriend talking to one of the seated customers.
"Oh," she blushed, grinning a little. "Yeah, it's great. I know it hasn't really been that long, but it feels like I've known her forever."
"Do you love her?" Buffy asked. Lately, she and Willow hadn't talked much, but she didn't blame her friend for being caught up in something else, especially if that 'something' made her friend happy.
Willow sighed lightly, "How can I say, when I don't even know what love is?" She'd been thinking about that lately. The meaning of love and also what she was starting to feel for Tara.
"Do I want her? God yes, every day!" She looked out the glass as she went on, "Do I look at her and forget to breathe sometimes? Absolutely! Is it love? Big question mark! I mean, I thought I was in love once, but we both know how that turned out." She frowned, thinking about the memory. "I guess it's just too soon to say."
Buffy nodded, "I'm sure you'll know... whenever that time comes?"
"Yeah, I guess," the perplexed look on the redhead's face only deepened as she spoke. "Well geez, now you got me all depressed and stuff," she playfully nudged the cook's ribs to show that she was kidding.
The bell on the door jingled, and Buffy's head shot up to see a customer leaving. Willow watched the emotions play across her friend's face.
"Are you expecting someone?" Willow asked as Buffy went back to cutting the vegetables.
"No, why?" The cook frowned without looking up.
"Just wondering. So have you heard from Faith today?" She continued watching her friend's reaction.
"Nope," Buffy answered, still looking down though she'd stopped cutting. Scooping the chopped vegetables into a bowl, she busied herself with her next task.
"Buffy, are you okay?" Willow asked, her voice full of nothing but concern.
"Yeah, it's... "Buffy sighed and finally looked up at the redhead. "I've just been thinking a lot lately. Having these... thoughts. But it's nothing, really."
"About what?" Willow pressed, sensing that her friend wanted to say more.
"Stuff, you know, work stuff... life stuff... Faith stuff," she bit her lip a little.
"Wait, so you're not happy that she's back?" Willow asked, trying to understand.
"No, I am." Buffy, admitted. "I just think that maybe I'm a little too happy, that's all."
"I don't get it." Willow said bluntly, frowning at her friend's demeanor and cryptic way of speaking. "So you're 'too happy', that's she's back? Isn't that a good thing?"
"Never mind, I'm being silly," Buffy backpedaled as she turned to fully face Willow, and leaned against the counter on her elbows "I don't know, maybe it's all just in my head or something."
"Buffy, what are you talking?" The redhead gave up trying to figure her friend out.
"I'm talking about me... and Faith," the cook quirked her eyebrows, hoping that Willow would connect the dots, without her having to actually say what she was hinting at.
"You and Faith?" Buffy nodded slowly.
Something in Willow's mind finally clicked and she stared at her friend. "You mean, you..." she continued gawking, dumbfounded. "You and Faith... like Tara and me?" Willow asked, briefly returning to her cave-woman dialect.
Buffy nodded, again.
"Really?" Willow squeaked. "How? Well, not how, but when did this happen?"
"I don't know," Buffy shrugged. "It all kind of came back, when I saw her."
"So you've always felt like this?" Willow asked, somewhat saddened that her friend hadn't mentioned it before now. Though the blonde hardly ever went out with guys, she had always figured that Buffy was straight.
Buffy managed a quick nod, before Willow went on. "Why didn't you ever tell me?" She softly asked.
"When she left, my feelings went with her," Buffy sighed. "I should've told you, but I had always thought it was a phase... until yesterday."
"Well, this is certainly a surprise," the redhead smiled, despite the hurt. "Does she know?" The cook shook her head. "Are you going to tell her?" Another shake. "Why not?"
"Because I'm still trying to figure it out myself," Buffy admitted. Willow didn't press any further, remembering when she had been in the same position.
"She won't hear it from me," she zipped her lips, then frowned and unzipped them. "But you could've told me. However, since you're telling me now and we're such good friends, I guess I can let it go." She rolled her eyes in mock seriousness.
"Thanks," Buffy smiled gratefully, and moved to hug her best friend.
"Hey, hey... watch those hands. I don't want you getting' any ideas, now." Willow grinned playfully as she and Buffy parted.
"C'mon, we better get back to work," the redhead said as she glanced outside.
Everything was how it was the last time she looked. Checking her watch, she saw that only ten minutes had passed since she and Buffy started talking. Willow gave her friend another reassuring smile and joined the others in the front.
"Hey," Tara greeted her girlfriend with a brief rub of her arm against Willow's. She wanted so badly to kiss her partner, but wasn't sure how the others would take their public affection. An idea popped into her mind and she smiled shyly. "You know, there aren't that many people here," she hinted, jerking her head slightly toward the bathroom, "we could..."
All traces of shyness had left the blonde's voice and her eyes brightened with need.
Willow caught on and hummed in approval as she gently squeezed Tara's hand. Both girls hurried off, getting within steps of the bathroom entrance, before they heard the door jingle. Lingering in the hall, the girls looked at each other with defeated frowns. Deciding to make the best of the slightly hidden hallway, Tara sneaked a quick kiss. Well, at least it had started out as subtle, but lasted longer when both girls refused to let go.
A sudden cough made them pull apart. "Someone's here for you, Willow," the smirk on Anya's face was blatant as she pointed toward the front counter.
"Okay," the redhead replied, distantly. She licked her lips, savoring the blonde's taste and ran her thumb along Tara's cheek. "Later." The promise sent a spark of anticipation throughout Tara's entire body.
Hands clasped, the couple made their way back into the main room. Willow's eyes searched the area and after noticing Buffy's worried expression, she saw the reason.
"Hi, Willow," the person smiled and looked from the redhead to Tara, then back again. Willow still hadn't said anything, and Tara felt her girlfriend's hand tense in hers.
"Leah," Willow finally spoke, though it was more of an exasperated whisper.
"Can we talk for a minute?" Leah winced at Willow's tone. "It's important." She glanced at Tara again, seeing their joined hands.
Reluctantly excusing herself, Willow gave her lover's hand a tight squeeze, "I'll be right back," green eyes pleaded for blue to understand.
Nodding, Tara released her hold and both girls walked across the room, automatically falling into a quiet discussion.
Tara frowned, trying not to read anything into her girlfriend's conversation with the other girl. Unknowingly, she spoke aloud, "Who is she?" Tara never saw herself as the jealous type, but something about this girl tweaked her the wrong way.
"Leah. Willow's ex-girlfriend," Anya answered. She was tempted to go more into detail, but for once, she held her tongue. The simplicity of Anya's explanation mixed with Willow's departure from her side, made Tara's heart sink for the first time in days. And if that wasn't enough, the sheer pain from watching the redhead smile and hug her ex-girlfriend, made Tara's heavy heart, crumble.