Return to The Game of Love Chapter Nineteen

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 was sitting on the bleachers. The team had just gone into the changing rooms. She sat there, looking around, and her thoughts drifted back to the start of the day...

Willow hadn't been able to sleep for a long while, and she'd just kepy lying there on the bed, next to Tara, trying to figure her head out. She had a boyfriend, hardly knew Tara, and still wasn't able to figure out exactly what she was feeling at this point. And that's something that Willow Rosenberg didn't like. She always knew what was happening, so why was she so big with the lack on understanding her own self right now?

She's finally managed to fall asleep, and the next thing she knew she was being awoken by Buffy, saying that she had to get up. Everyone else was already up, sitting down to eat breakfast.

Looking at the time the redhead noticed that it was already 9:30 a.m. Willow had gotten out of bed, and gone to the bathroom to wash her face. When she made her way to the living room she found that the first person that she looked for was Tara. She didn't see the blonde anyway, and sat down on the sofa, after helping herself to some French toast that was on the dining table.

She sat around, just watching the bustle of activity around her, as some of the girls finished eating and started getting ready to leave. When 10 minutes later Tara was still nowhere to be seen, Willow asked Nicole, who was sitting next to her on the sofa, where the blonde was.

"She's gone out for a while. Said she wants to walk for a while..." Nicole said.

"Oh... a walk at this time?" Willow questioned.

"Um... she's not in a very great mood today... take a look at this" Nicole said, handing Willow the morning papers, with the sports section first.

Willow looked at what she was being given, and saw that the bottom left hand of the last page was largely devoted to the handball chapionships... or UC Sunnydale's Tara Maclay to be more specific. While the title read 'Handball Matches Heating Up', the article devoted only 4 lines to scores from the tournament, and the rest was about Susanna White's daughter Tara Maclay playing for UC Sunnydale, and how good she was. That was all alright, but then the column also went on to talk about how Susanna had gotten divorced and chosen to leave town, how Tara had stayed behind, how she probably had her job at the Sunnydale Station thanks to her mothers contacts, even though 'when sked any question about her mother Tara Maclay's expression goes extremely sour, proving that there are ill feelings between the two', and all that crap.

Willow read the article, getting more and more agitated by the minute. "Poor Tara! Why does she have to go through all this? I can understand her being pissed off. But is she pissed off???" Somehow Willow knew that Tara was probably feeling more... betrayed by the world than pissed off. "I wish there was something I could do to help..." she thought.

Willow just sat there, waiting for Tara to show up. She kept checking the clock, and by the time it was 10:15 a.m she was getting really worried. Buffy came upto her and said "Will, I really think you should start getting ready. We'll be leaving in a while, and there are 4 more people left to use the bathroom. Grab the chance when you get it, ok?"

Willow nodded her head, and as she looked past Buffy she saw that Anya and Cordelia were sitting together on the dining table, with worried expressions on their faces too. They were talking about something, and Willow deliberately got up and slowly walked past them. "'s just not fair!" she heard Anya say in a low voice. "Why don't they leave her alone? I mean that whole bit about how she doesn't deserve her job... what bullshit!!!"

Cordelia was nodding her head "This is the last thing she needs" she said. "Tara's one of the nicest people I know. I just wish she'd let us share her pain sometimes you know?" Anya slowly nodded, as Willow passed by, walking towards the sink with her plate. Cordelia continued "She needs to open up sometimes. I mean right now I really wanted to, you know, be there by her side as a friend, but instead she chooses to walk out the door, and deal with it by herself...."

Willow couldn't stand there any longer without being found out, so she made her way to the bathroom, deciding to change and just get it over with. While under the shower, Willow's mind was completely on Tara. She had no idea of how the girl must have been feeling at that instant. Willow thought of Anya and Cordelia's concern, and was thankful that Tara at least had friends like that who cared so much.

She's emerged from the bathroom, changed and fresh, about 15 minutes later, and heaved a sigh of relief when she saw that Tara was back. She was standing in the balcony with Anya, and the two of them were smoking. Tara had herdark black glasses on, obstructing anyones view of her eyes. The goalie was still in her PJ's, and a moment later she stubbed her cigarette out and headed to the bathroom to change. giving Willow a slight pat on her shoulder as she passed her in the room.

Willow took the opportunity to go out and stand with Tara. "Hey" she said, walking out onto the balcony.

Tara acknowledged her presence with a nod of her head, not saying anything as she continued smoking her cigarette. Willow didn't know what else to say, and just stood there, looking at the pool below. Tara's cell phone began to ring, and she answered it. "Hey Mom... yeah I'm good Ma... you heard... yeah... don't worry Mom I'm ok... really... you know what they're like... don't let them bother you... they don't deserve a quote... ok Mom... yeah I have a game in a while... thanks Ma... love ya too... bye".

All through the cinversation Willow had noticed that Tara had pretended to her mother that she was just fine, but standing there Willow knew otherwise. Her heart went out to this girl who was trying to do what she thought was the right thing by not worrying her mother. Willow also thought that the "lova ya too" at the end was very cute!

She wanted to say something to Tara, who was at present lighting up another cigarette. "Tara...?"

"Hmm?" Tara asked, looking up as she was lighting her cigarette.

"They're stupid... you know..." Willow said, not sure she was saying the right thing.

Tara just stared at her with confusion for a second, before understanding what the redhead was trying to say. Then she slowly nodded her head, as Willow, growing bolder said "They're just a bunch of poop heads who know nothing...don't let them get to you!"

Tara couldn't help but grin at Willow's usage of the term 'poop heads', and thought "Could this girl get any cuter?"

"Thanks" Tara said, the first thing she'd said to Willow that morning.

Anya emerged from the bathroom, and it was time to leave. They'd headed to the stadium the same way they had the day before, with Tara once again putting her headphones on as Anya played something she didn't like!

Once there Coach Giles had immediately told them to go get ready, since they were on in 20 minutes.

And that's why Willow was sitting all alone now, lost in her own thoughts. At that moment something made her look towards the changing rooms, and she saw Anya and Cordelia walking out. Seconds later Tara walked out behind them, and Willow couldn't have looked away if she'd wanted to.

There was just something captivating about the vision before her eyes...yeah Tara in her uniform was a sight in itself, but the added beauty of her hair gently blowing in the breeze as she headed towads Willow was just something else. And as she drew nearer Willow noticed what everyone spoke about...

The Walk.

Tara was walking towards the bleachers like she couldn't be bothered with anyone coming in her way. Her strides were long and confident, unlike the slower, more peaceful pace she took otherwise. They were right. She walked like she owned the place.

Looking at her Willow thought "Well, right now this girl could really own anyone here that she wants..."

Continue to The Game of Love Chapter Twenty-One

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