Return to The Game of Love Chapter Forty-Four

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 felt Willow squeeze her hand, and felt like she would melt into the other girls touch. Looking into Willow's green orbs Tara thought she would fall into the red heads arms, and mentally kicked herself back into the present. Shaking her head slightly, Tara looked at the clock, without letting go to Willow's hand, and saw that it read '10:53 p.m'. Clearing her throat slightly she said "It's sorta late... ."

Willow was in her own world, staring at the blonde before her. She didn't know what had come over her, but she couldn't take her eyes off the vision before her. "This girl is beautiful" she was thinking, when she realized that Tara had just said something. "What?" she asked, blinking twice.

"I said, it's sorta late" Tara repeated, glancing back at the clock for added emphasis.

Willow followed her line of vision, and saw the time. "Oh it's not that late!" she said, before she suddenly realized that she was still holding Tara's hand. Slowly, so as not to seem rude, she withdrew her hand, thinking "How did I just hold her hand? Se probably thinks I'm crazy!" Withdrawing her hand completely, Willow was suddenly struck by how empty her own hand now felt.

As did Tara. "She probably regrets having done that..." the blonde was thinking, when Willow interrupted her thoughts.

"Why haven't you seen him in 6 years?" Willow asked softly.

Tara looked up at her, and saw genuine concern in Willow's eyes. If someone else had asked the question, Tara would have probably shrugged it off by saying "Well, you know how it can be..." and let it go at that, but with Willow... she wanted to talk to her.

Taking a deep breath, Tara turned slightly so that she was facing Willow, and said "I'm gonna keep this as short as I can, but still, feel free to stop me when you start getting bored," and stopped, smiling slightly.

Willow blinked slowly and nodded her head with the trace of a grin playing at her mouth. Tara look a deep breath, as Willow backed up a little and rested her back against the one end of the sofa, drawing one leg up and curling it beneath her. She sat there, giving Tara her full attention as the blonde began... "I grew up in a family where I was the youngest of 2 siblings. We used to live in Orlando, and my folks ran a gas station. Somehow I thought I had the perfect family, and we all loved each other. I remember praying at night that we would all die together, so that none of us would have to be sad and alone when someone died." Tara smirked slightly at the memory, and Willow watched the emotions play on her face.

Tara continued, "My parents never really fought...actually, I never SAW my parents really fight" she corrected herself. "When they did fight, Mom would go lock herself up in her room, and I'd go to my room and pray to God. I'd say 'Dear God, please make my parents stop fighting, I'll be very happy.' And then, when they'd make up I'd go 'Oh, thank you God! It's all ok again, and it's all because of you!'. God, I was so naļve..." Tara said, shaking her head and looking at the floor, losing herself in the memory for a few seconds.

Without realizing it Willow began to move closer to the blonde, and seconds later, she'd slipped her hand back into Tara's. Tara looked back up, gripping the hand in her own gently. "Well, the gas station contract ran out, and my folks decided to head to Sunnydale. See, this is where my Mom was born and brought up, and it felt like the safest option. So they got back, and that's when the problems started. Dad got deep into religion, to the point where everyone thought he was taking the word of God too seriously. I don't have a problem with people and their beliefs, really, but I also think everyone should feel free to live life the way they want to, without forcing their beliefs on others... and are you bored yet?!" Tara stopped, looking at Willow with a raised eyebrow.

Willow laughed, and without thinking lightly squeezed Tara's hand. "No doofus... go on" she said, looking at Tara intently.

Tara felt a warm tingle run up her arm when Willow squeezed her hand, and smiling at the red head she continued "Well, Dad just went mad, preaching what to do and what not to all day long, and then she started getting suspicious about Mom's activities. He was constantly asking her where she was going, and with whom, and inane stuff like that. Finally it came to the point where Donald, that's my brother, and I were called to their room and asked who we'd chose to live with if they separated, and both of us said that we'd stay with Mom. About a month later I woke up, and Dad just wasn't there anymore. He'd moved back to Chicago, where he was originally from, and less than 6 months later he'd gotten married again to a woman called Christina, who's about 20 years younger than he is, and now they've got twins, who're about 3 years old now. Well, Dad never came to visit after he left... .I've spoken to him on the phone about 10 times, but the last time was about a year ago, and now I really don't know where he is. I mean, I tried to call him to wish him last Christmas, but the numbers been disconnected... I think he's moved houses..." she let off.

Willow sat there in silence for a few minutes, taking the whole story in, while Tara reflected on what she'd said, and then Willow asked "So when did your mother get into the glamour line?"

"As soon as Dad left. When Mom was younger she was offered a lotta movie parts and stuff, by directors and movie producers who'd seen her. She was really big on the whole school drama scene you see. Anyway, that was about the time that she met Dad. My folks got married pretty early, I mean, at least Mom did. She was just 18, and Dad was 29. Anyway, when Mom went to meet the guys, Dad would go along, and say 'If you cast her, you have to cast me too!' Well, anyone knows that it doesn't work that way, and Mom never made it to the screens. When Dad left, there was no money at home, and Mom went and met all the guys who'd come up to her then, and luckily for us all, she got the parts, and we were able to make ends meet. Finally 3 years ago, she was signed as the chat show hostess, and that took off. My Mom's really great you know? I can honestly say that she single handedly raised me and Donny, and everything I am today is only because of her... you know?" Tara asked, with all the love and pride she felt for her mother showing on her face and in her voice.

Willow nodded, smiling, and Tara looked at the clock again. "Oh my God! It's 11:30! I've bored you for over 30 minutes! I better go now!" she said, quickly rising, still holding Willow's hand.

Willow didn't want her to go, but knew that now that Tara was standing, she couldn't really pull her back down. Rising slowly she said "Alright... but hey, don't think you bored me alright? I really liked talking to you tonight..."

"Listening to me you mean!" Tara said, grinning. Willow let go of her hand and smacked her playfully on the arm. They made their way towards the door, where Tara slipped into her coat.

"Well, thanks for a lovely evening" the blonde said, smiling at Willow.

Willow smiled, and said "So I'll see you tomorrow then? With the kids?"

Tara nodded her head enthusiastically, and said "It'll be great!" and with a final wave opened the door before her, and began to walk towards her parked car. "Thank God I didn't do anything silly like hug her!" she thought. She'd only taken a few steps when Willow's voice stopped her.

"Tara!" Willow called. Tara turned around to see Willow standing at her door, "Call me when you get home ok? Just so that I know you've gotten there ok.."

Tara smiled and nodded her head, before turning and starting her walk towards the car again. She couldn't wipe the smile off her face... "She's concerned!" she thought, her heart doing a happy dance. Getting in she started the car, and headed back home.

Willow watched the car till it was out of sight, before sighing and closing the door. She wasn't ready yet to figure out why her heart was beating so fast.

15 minutes later, the phone rang in the Rosenberg household. Answering it, Willow said "Tara?"

"That's me... I just called to say that I got home ok..."

"That's great." Pause "So I'll see you tomorrow morning then?"

"Sure thing!"

"Alright then... I'll see you then... Good night Tara.."

"Umm, Willow?"


" never completed that joke you were telling me earlier at your house..."

"Oh yeah..." Pause " Ok... once this really worried mother gives her daughter a six pack of condoms before a hot date...the daughter laughs and hugs her mother tight, and then she says 'Times are changing Mom... I'm seeing Susan!'"

There was silence at the other end, before Tara burst out laughing. Willow breathed a sigh of relief, and joined in the laughter, before Tara said between laughing, "Alright Willow, you go get your beauty sleep! I'll see you tomorrow! G'night!"

"G'night" Willow said, hanging up, thinking "She said 'beauty sleep!'"

Continue to The Game of Love Chapter Forty-Six

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