Willow wheeled the car around Tara's apartment block like a demon, barely slowing enough for the speed bumps. When the vehicle came to a screech along the sidewalk that led to the blonde's apartment, Tara released her grip on the cushioned seat.
Glancing from the entrance to Willow, Tara looked at her partner expectantly. "Aren't you coming in?" She frowned, watching the redhead's eyes dart around several times without holding her gaze for more than a second.
"No, I, uh," Willow hesitated, knowing that if she saw Tara's eyes, her resolve would crumble. And so would one of the important parts of her plan. "I have some, um, things to take care of. Errands and... stuff."
"Willow, are you all right?" Worry creased the blonde's forehead as she leaned in, cradling her girlfriend's head so that Willow would look at her. "I-If I did something w-wrong, j-just tell me."
Willow inwardly cursed herself at the sound of Tara's stutter, and found herself mirroring the other girl's position. "Absolutely not," she used her thumbs to smooth the frown on the blonde's lips, "There are just some things I forgot to do around the house. It's not you, honestly."
Accepting the redhead's kiss, Tara's fears disappeared but her curiosity remained. "What kind of things?" She smiled, hoping to charm the answer from her partner. Willow's strangeness during the past twenty four hours had bothered her but Tara didn't press, knowing that the redhead would eventually tell her. Or so she hoped.
"Things that I need to do before tomorrow," Willow chuckled nervously, "you know that I'm always lazy on Fridays."
"Mm-hmm," the blonde hummed in mock agreement. "Well then," she sighed, working a small pout onto her face, "I guess that I'll go," the pout deepened. "Are sure I can't persuade you?" A lazy finger ran up Willow's thigh and the redhead tensed, though not in fear.
"I r-really can't put this off," Willow squeezed the steering wheel.
Tara looked as if she were about to protest but shrugged instead. "Okay." She kissed Willow's cheek and pulled back to exit the car. Before her foot touched the ground, the blonde felt herself reeled back and into a real kiss.
"I'll call you," her lover whispered against her lips. Tara nodded and stepped from the car, leaning through the window for a final goodbye.
Grinning while savoring the taste of Willow, Tara backed up onto the sidewalk and turned to leave.
"Tara, wait," Willow called and the blonde's hopes flared. Skipping back to the car, she expectantly leaned through again. "How good are you with directions?"
"Are you serious?" The disbelief on Tara's face was priceless when Willow nodded. Blinking, it took the blonde a minute to wrap her mind around the question. "I'm okay, I g-guess. Why?"
"No reason," Willow smiled, "I'll see you tomorrow."
The blonde resisted the urge to childishly stomp her foot as she watched the car disappear down the street. Her girlfriend's question wasn't the first for that day, in fact, Willow had been asking her random questions all day. Making her way up the sidewalk, Tara dismissed her thoughts. It was probably nothing, anyway.
"What time is it?"
"Five minutes past the last time you asked me."
"Well, what time was it then?"
"Willow!" Buffy's voice echoed down the stairs and into the basement.
"Fine." The redhead's huff was audible from the lower level.
"What are you doing down there?" Sipping on a soda, Buffy glanced down into the poorly lit room.
"Looking for... hey, these are my skates." A single white and red skate rolled near the bottom of the stairs.
"You didn't know how to use them." A sputtered response came from the top before shoes clacked against the basement steps. Buffy sat on the last two steps, watching her unnaturally energetic friend run back and forth across the room unloading her arms into a large pile on the floor. "Hey, that's my Scooby flashlight."
"You don't know how to use it," Willow mumbled through a blanket that covered her face. Flashlights, blankets, sleeping bags, and a large inflatable tent lay in a big pile as the redhead ran back to rummage for other useful items.
"Someone's going camping," Buffy's head danced from side to side, speaking in a singsong voice as Willow ran back across the room
"Something like that, yes." The redhead grinned, dropping dusty candles into the pile.
"Wait, you're not gonna be camping out in the backyard, are you?" Panicked eyes moved back and forth, dizzily watching her best friend.
"No," Willow snorted. Both girls heaved a sigh of relief, although Willow's was more because she was finished. "I'll be completely away from the house," she smiled, "which means you can make all the noise you want." The redhead winked.
"Check." Buffy blushed. "C'mon, I'll help you put everything into the car."
Friday morning came quickly for Willow and incredibly slow for Tara. The couple spent three hours on the phone the previous night, and only ended the conversation when yawns replaced words.
After a brief morning call to her partner, Willow hustled around the room, throwing clothes into separate overnight bags. The few items, which Tara had brought over to her house, worked out perfectly, especially since the redhead was packing as less clothing as possible. Tossing the two light bags down the stairs, Willow grabbed a book and two, large rolled up sheets of paper before heading out.
Several hours later, Tara watched her girlfriend usher a couple out of the door, smiling as she did so.
"Closing time." The redhead happily announced as she flipped the 'open' sign around. "C'mon people, this place is not gonna clean itself." Willow virtually bounced around the restaurant as she began cleaning.
"What did you give her?" Faith whispered close to Tara.
"N-Nothing." The blonde watched her lover zip by.
"Okay, well, what did you do to her?"
Silent, Tara blushed and watched the brunette walk away, smirking.
"Ready?" Willow asked. After a shower and small nibbles from their dinner and each other, the couple found themselves seated in the redhead's car.
"Where are we going?" Tara asked for the third time and just as the other times she received only a grin. "Yes." The blonde answered, looking around the car for any signs of their destination.
Lucky for Willow, the redhead was able to get rid of the evidence by stuffing everything into her trunk. She watched Tara scan every item for clues and tried to look nonchalant when the disappointed blonde gazed at her with interest.
Stretches of highway flashed by as the car merged easily with the evening traffic. Tara remembered making a date to go to the beach that weekend, but the direction that the driver was taking was off. The blonde kept making sideways glances at her girlfriend but Willow stared ahead, seemingly emotionless.
Unknown to the passenger, it took every ounce of Willow's strength to not laugh or break down and tell Tara everything. The furtive, yet curious glances continued for the next two hours until the car slowed just outside a large expanse of trees.
Pulling her coat tighter around her body, Tara stood outside the car and waited. Willow came around the car with her hands full of items. Wordlessly, the redhead handed a large flashlight, a pocket-sized dictionary, and a map to her girlfriend.
"What's this?" Confused, Tara stared at her hands.
"The map is in English but the clues are in Latin," Willow answered, indirectly. "Don't worry they're easy to follow. And look," she unrolled the hand-drawn map, "if you want to cheat, it's all on the back." Giving her partner a kiss, the redhead started back to the car.
"You're just going to leave me out here in the wilderness?" Tara asked, unbelieving.
"It's a scavenger hunt, Baby," Willow shook her head as she got into the car. "You didn't think I'd make it that easy, did you?" Unknown to Tara, the rented cabin was actually less than seven minutes away and the woods weren't as large as they appeared. The Latin clues were only meant to give the redhead extra time. "Where's your sense of adventure?"
"At home on the Discovery Channel." Tara pouted.
Willow giggled and shook her head, "I'll see you in oh," she checked her watch, "an hour tops." The redhead quickly got into the car, not looking back as her shaking body barely repressed her laughter.
"Wait... what if I get eaten by a bear?" Hearing the shout, Willow finally cracked as the car continued down the rocky path.