Return to The Game of Love Chapter Twenty-Six

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!

Tara took a step closer to Willow, still smiling. "Hey" she repeated, and couldn't help but take an appreciative glance over the body of the girl standing before her. Willow's khakhee pants and white shirt showed off her slim figure, and Tara loved how her hair contracted the white of the shirt as it fell over the shoulders.

Her eyes went back up to Willow's face, to see that the red head was looking at her with the widest grin possible. "Did you have a good time at your parents' place?" Tara questioned, now just an arms length away from Willow. She found her hand reaching out to grasp the red heads.

"Yeah, it was nice bonding with them" Willow said, her hand meeting Tara's half way and holding it briefly in a gentle shake, squeezing it gently before letting it go. "What about you? Have fun with the rest of the girls last night?"

"The girls watched a movie for a while, and then we actually crashed early last night" Tara said, thinking of how soft Willow's hands had felt just then.

"Tara?" Coch Giles said, getting the blonde attention. She turned, looking at him with a questioning face.

"We need you here" he said. "Pre match captains interviews".

Tara turned to look at Willow with a look of absolute horror. Willow knew what she was thinking, as she recalled the last interview. The red head knew she had to reassure the blonde, and again reached for her hand, holding onto it gently, saying "You can do this Tara. Just tell them you don't want any personal questions, and they should stick to asking you stuff about the tournament. Make it absolutely clear, ok?".

Tara looked down at the small hand holding onto hers, and found confidence in herself. Looking up she met concerned green eyes, and found herself nodding her head, as somewhere in her subconscious she heard a voice say "Here comes the rival captain".

Tara and Willow were still looking at each other, smiling gently, Willow's gaze trying to convince that it would be ok, her hand still grasping Tara's in a tender hold.

"Hey gorgeous" they both heard someone say. Letting go of each others gazes and hands, the two girls turned their attention to the owner of the voice. Willow immediately recognized the brunette.

"Faith" Tara said, smiling at the other girl. The reporters were taking pictures all around, watching the two opposing captains interact for the first time that day. Flash bulbs popped all around as Faith evneloped Tara in a warm embrace. Willow watched as Tara returned the gesture, her arms wrapping around Faith in a gentle hold, pulling back two seconds later.

The red head found herself checking out the newcomer with a critical eye. If she was attractive on television, she was out right hot in person. "Long time no see" she heard Faith say to Tara with a grin on her face. Willow could see the genuine affection for Tara in her eyes.

"Yeah" Tara grinned back. "How've you been girl?"

Willow saw that some people around were actually taking notes of the conversation taking place between the two girls. "I've been good" Faith laughed, "What about you? Every time I call you're working!"

"You have no idea what kinda hours I've been putting in of late!" Tara laughed as well.

Willow's eyes narrowed at the easy exchange. She felt..."What am I feeling???" She watched Tara smile, and her heart warmed. She didn't know what she was feeling for this girl. "Maybe I'm just idolizing her...I mean she's totally role model material. At our age to have a secure job, be taking care of yourself, excelling at her job and she's such a sweet person, helping the kids out and stuff..." Willow tried to convince herself that that was the reason she liked Tara so much.

Looking at the blonde, she couldn't help but once again think of how beautiful Tara was. Watching the girl laugh made Willow smile as well.

"Shall we?" Faith asked, indicating the waiting press.

"Sure" Tara said, as Faith put a hand on her back and started to lead her towards the reporters.

Tara turned towards Willow "I'll be back as soon as I'm done Willow", throwing a smile the red heads way, before allowing Faith to lead her to the press.

Willow watched Faith and Tara answer questions about the tournament. Everytime Tara was asked a question about her personal life, Tara would simply answer "Please stick to questions about the tournament".

The two captains spoke to the reporters for 15 minutes, and by the time they were done it was 11:45. After the reporters had departed, Willow watched them converse for a few seconds, before smiling and parting ways.

Tara began walking back towards Willow, smiling as she reached the smaller girl. Letting out a deep breath she said "Well, I'm glad that's over. Of course I have the post match interviews to look forward to now..." she said sarcastically.

Willow laughed as Tara rolled her eyes, before grinning back at Willow. She shook her head as Coach Giles called the team together, and walked towards the coach. "C'mon" she told Willow, and the redhead followed her to the circle that had now formed around the coach.

"Ok, we're running late" Coach Giles said as soon as all the girls were assembled around him."Go get changed, quick. we're only getting about 5 minutes of warm up time".

The girls nodded, before quickly rushing towards their kits and getting their uniforms out. Tara looked apologetically at Willow, as if saying she was sorry for not being able to sit and have a decent conversation with the other girl. "I'll be back out soon ok?" she asked, looking at Willow.

Willow smiled slighly, nodding her head.

Tara's face spread out into a relieved smile as well, and she was about to go to the changing room, when as if as an after thought she turned back to Willow with a 'thinking' face on and said "You know, you have a lovely laugh...I noticed earlier."

Willow didn't know what to say as she felt herself blush slightly at the other girls words. "Ok all happy inside...Compliment from Tara, doing a happy dance inside..." she thought to herself, as she slighly ducked her head when she realised how red her face must be from the hot blush she felt.

"Thank you" she said softly, before looking up to meet questioning blue eyes.

Willow watched the expression change in those eyes at her words. "Anytime!" Tara grinned, her eyes shining with what Willow recognized as happiness, as the blonde turned around and walked 'the walk' towards the changing rooms, oblivious to the appreciative glances she was getting...including Willow's.

Continue to The Game of Love Chapter Twenty-Eight

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