Return to The Game of Love Chapter Twelve

The Game of Love

Author: Shai
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: Unfortunately neither Tara nor Willow are mine. Neither's anyone else in this fic for that matter!

Willow led Tara towards the rest of the team, who hadn't really been paying any attention to what had been happening. The two didn't say a word till they reached the others. Once there, Coach Giles looked at Tara and asked "Good interview?"

Tara didn't reply, and merely nodded her head. "Alright then" Coach Giles said, before summoning all the girls for a team meeting. "We play Kennedy in an hour" he nodded his head towards a group of girls in green uniforms, sitting a little higher up in the bleachers, apparently having a team meeting too. "I'd like you'll to go get changed in fifteen minutes, and we'll start warming up in half an hour". The girls all nodded their heads, and Coach Giles walked up to check on who the referees were for their game. Most of the players stayed around where they were, sitting down on the bleachers and getting their uniforms out of their kits, or drinking water so that later they wouldn't have to drink so much that their sides cramped during the game. Willow sat down on one of the bench's alongside Buffy, who was busy looking for one of her socks in the kit.

Tara walked a little away from the rest of the team and sat down, taking out her MP3 player from her back pack and putting the headphones back over her ears. Willow watched her, still a little worried about how the interview ended. She was about to walk upto Tara when she saw Zak approach and talk to Tara. The blonde took off her headphones to hear whatever the good looking boy was saying, but minutes later had put them back on, while Zak walked away with an obviously disappointed look on his face. He was walking past the UC girls, towards the guys team, when he tripped over something. In a matter of seconds Buffy was by his side, helping him up, and the two began to talk. Willow watched them for a couple of seconds, knowing that her best friend must be in heaven right now with pure joy, when she felt a tap on her shoulder. Looking up she saw Tara standing, looking at her.

"You mind if I sit down?" the blonde questioned, and Willow merely shook her head in the negative. She saw that Tar had taken her earphones off, and they were now hanging around her neck.

Tara sat down, and looked at Willow "I just wanted to say thank you...I really appreciated how you got me out of there...thank you so much..." she said.

"Hey, it was no big" Willow said, embaressed by the other girls gratefulness.

Tara gave her a half smile, before looking out at Coach Giles as he conferred with some officials. She noticed the reporters still standing around, and guessed they would be covering the whole tournament. "Damn" she thought.

"Was this...was this your first interview?" Willow asked, looking at Tara.

Tara turned her attention back to Willow, before replying "No, I've actually given a few before..."

When Tara didn't elaborate on her answer, Willow decided not to press for details. She was just about to change the topic to something she thought Tara would be more comfortable talking about, when she heard Tara say "They just....they usually don't get so personal you know?"

Willow didn't know, so she just said "Uh huh?"

"Yeah, I mean they do ask me questions about my Mom, like what is it like to have a famous Mom, and do we see each other often, and...oh..." Tara said, realizing that Willow might not know who her mother is, "My mother is Susanna White, you know, the talk show hostess."

Willow just nodded her head, as Tara continued "Well, so yeah, they just ask general crap like that, I mean sometimes I'm convinced the interviews are just so they can write like a line about me, and twenty about Mom." She paused, before going on "But today... they were just trying to get too personal...I mean why I live where I live, that's really nobody else's business, and definitely shouldn't be a piece of news worthy enough to get published in the sports section of a newspaper...I didn't like that..." Tara said.

"Yeah I can understand that" Willow said. "I mean, I wouldn't want anyone asking me about my private life, just because my parents might be well known".

Tara nodded, before getting lost in thought. Willow gave her her space, and watched Buffy and Zak interact. The petite blonde was laughing at something the jock had just said, and was obviously enjoying herself. After a few minutes Tara said "Did you know that handballs really an indoor game?"

"No. Really?" Willow asked.

"Yeah. It's just that they've been having some problemw with air conditioning in the indoor court, and it gets really suffocating in there. So since they didn't wanna delay this tournament, they built these two make do courts for the games. The indoor court should be ready for day afters finals though" Tara explained.

Willow took the new information in, and after a few moments asked "Um, said you taught underpriviledged kids I was wondering, when do you do it?"

"I usually teach them thrice a week... Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, at about four to six in the evenings, and on Sunday I take them out somewhere. It's not really so much 'teaching', its more like helping them with school work and stuff like that" Tara said.

"Oh thats cool...uh, Tara...can I help?" Willow asked, waiting for Tara to reply.

"You want to help with the kids?" Tara questioned, looking at the redhead. Willow merely nodded her head, still waiting for Tara's answer.

Tara looked at Willow for a moment before saying "Yeah, that'd be nice. I'm sure the kid will love you." She smiled at Willow, before looking at her wrist watch. "Well, time to go get ready" she said, and was about to get up when she looked at Zak and Buffy in deep conversation. Looking back down at Willow she smiled and said "You know this might just be wishful thinking, but maybe I won't have to worry too much about Zak chasing after me any more!" With that she called out to the rest of the team that it was time to change, and began to walk towards the changing rooms.

Willow watched the girls till they disappeared into the changing rooms, and then looked around. She watched the Kennedy girls start their warm up, and noticed that there were two tall girls that were taking most of the shots at the goalkeeper. "Those two must be the state players Coach Giles was talking about" she thought. When minutes later the UC team emerged from the changing rooms, and the two Kennedy girls waved at Tara, she was sure her earlier judgement was right.

Willow turned her attention to the approaching UC Sunnydale girls. They all looked great in their black shorts and blue sleeveless jerseys. Willow was still sitting in the same place, which was where Tara had moved her kit, so Tara approached the bleachers. Once there, she started getting her wristband and shoes out, replacing her loafers with the Nike Airs. Willow watched her as she put the sneakers on, and again couldn't help but appreciate the beauty of the girl beside her. She had a lovely body, one which showed strength from the muscle cuts on her arms and legs, and still was curvy in all the right places. When Tara bent to tie her laces Willow got a whiff of the scent of her hair, which smelt of vanilla. "Nice" the redhead thought.

Willow expected Tara to take her glasses off like the previous day, and Tara did that. But instead of putting the pair into her bag and zipping it up, today she took out a pair of sleek black Adidas sports sunglasses. She noticed Willow watching her, and simply said "It's too sunny today. I need shades". She was about to zip up her bag, when she stopped and took her MP3 player out of the back pack, and held it towards Willow.

"You want to listen to some music while we warm up?"

Willow accepted the player with a thanks, and began to go through the songs as Tara walked towards the rest of the team, ready to go warm up.

An hour and a half later the UC Sunnydale team emerged from the showers. The scorecard from their match had left a very satisfactory expression on the face of Coach Giles. UC Sunnydale vs Kennedy University : Sunnydale won the toss and opted to start. Final score :- Sunnydale 21 (Maclay : 13, Harris : 6, Chase : 2, Smith : 1) - Kennedy 11 (Williams : 4, Scott : 4, Isaac : 3). Result - UC Sunnydale wins, going through to the semi finals against the winner of the other quarter final, King Memorial, it had read.

The match had been terrific, with UC Sunnydale employing the same tactic of marking Kennedy's most important player. The four reporters periodically took pictures of the match, especially whenever Tara was set to shoot.

Willow watched as Tara ignored them point blank and continued playing her game. She marvelled at the blondes athletic abilities, and especially liked how the muscles under her tattoo moved when she shot. Tara's speed and power made her a formiddable opponent.

After the match Tara had led the rest of the team as they walked up and shook hands with the losing team. She conversed with the girls whom she'd played state leve with for a while. Willow watched as they congratulated her with a thump on the back.

Looking around Willow saw Buffy talking to Zak again, and this time both of them were saving something on their respectice cell phones. "Probably eachothers numbers" Willow thought, smiling at the thought of how happy Buffy must be with herself.

Coach Giles had called the players together, and they all came walking towards him.

"Ok, that was a very good match" he had said, "But the tournaments still not over. Tomorrow we play King in the semi's, and as most of you'll probably know, they've won this tournament for the past nine years, since it was started. A lot of their players are playing in their final year, so they'll be wanting to go out on a winning note. You'll understand what I'm saying right?" The girls all nodded their understanding. "Good. We meet here tomorrow then, at 11:30 a.m. Get some rest, and come here fresh tomorrow." With that Coach Giles dismissed the girls, who decided to head to the showers.

Now here they were, all set to head their seperate ways, happy with their result that day. They'd all decided that they would head to Tara's again that night, and Buffy said that she'd leave her car parked at Tara's then, and would ride back with Willow in Whitneys car.

Once everyone was in the parking lot saying their final 'goodbyes' for a while, Tara spoke up "Um, Willow, the kids are coming over at four today, so if you still wanna come...?"

Willow bobbed her head with excitement "Oh yeah! I'll see you at four then!" she said, smiling.

"Ok then" Tara said, returning Willow's smile with a small smile of her own. "See you then", and with that she turned towards the parked Mercedes, followed by Anya and Cordelia.

Continue to The Game of Love Chapter Fourteen

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