Return to The Game of Love Chapter Forty-Nine

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???" Tara said, blinking a couple of eyes to make sure she wasn't imagining things. When the figure before her didn't disappear, Tara started believing that maybe, just maybe, she wasn't hallucinating!

For her part, Willow was having a hard time keeping her jaw from falling to the floor! 'God... it's like I'd forgotten how beautiful she is... ' she thought, looking at Tara in wonder.

'Is someone calling me?' Tara thought, as she slowly began to come back from being lost in green eyes. 'Ok now I think someone's pulling my hand' she distinctly thought, and tearing her gaze away from Willow she realized that Melody had been tugging on her arm, trying to get her attention.

"Yeah sweetie?" Tara asked, looking down at the concerned brown eyes staring at her.

"Are you ok Tara?" Melody asked, genuinely worried since Tara hadn't been responding to her for the better part of 20 seconds.

"Huh?" Tara asked, taking a quick glance in Willow's direction, only to see the redhead staring at her hands, as if she'd never seen them before! Tara also noticed that she looked slightly red, as she turned her attention back to Melody.

"Well, you seemed sorta... umm... like you were in a trance or something when you came in, and then I walked up to you, and tried to get you're attention, but you were, like, lost or something!" Melody explained.

Tara finally got it. "Oh, no, no Mel... don't worry, I'm fine. I just had a tiring day..." she said. 'And I couldn't stop staring at Willow, who looks absolutely edible sitting there in those overalls... wait... did I just think Willow's edible???' she thought, and immediately began to blush.

Willow was now staring at her, Tara's statement of having had a tiring day catching her attention. 'Aww, poor baby... she looks tired' Willow thought, and then watched Tara get lost in some thought again. Willow watched many emotions play over the blonde's face, and the resulting pink tinge that showed on her face.

Tara shook herself out of her thoughts again, and decided that it was now time to change the subject! "Sooo... what're you guys watching?" she asked, although what she really wanted to know was when Willow had come there, what had made her come there, and if she could keep her there forever!

"102 Dalmatians" Mike replied, not taking his eyes of the screen as he and the rest of the kids bean laughing at Cruella!

Tara looked at her watch and announced, "Alright guys, enjoy the movie, and right after that you gotta head home. Capish?"

This statement was greeted by groans and muted 'Yes Moms', and grinning, Tara walked into her room to drop off her back pack, and a few seconds later she was back in the kitchen, placing the brown bag that held the champagne on the counter. Opening a box of cookies for the kids, she poured them all one glass of milk each. What Tara didn't know was that Willow, who seemed watching the TV along with the kids, was actually staring at the slight reflection that you could see of the kitchen on the screen! The redhead was mesmerized by the way Tara moved, which to her seemed just as graceful in the kitchen as it did on a handball field!

Putting the glasses and a plate full of cookies on a tray, Tara carried it to where everyone was watching TV, and placed the tray on the small center table. Standing tall again she addressed Willow for what was really the first time that evening, 'Unless I count saying her name out loud like a moron... ' he thought. "Umm, Willow... what can I get you?" Glancing at the kitchen she said "I have cappuccino, regular coffee, umm, herbal tea, regular tea, Coke, Dr. Pepper and... yeah, that's all! Oh, I could whip up a chocolate or banana milkshake if you like..." That seemed to bring the kids to life, and just as many of them seemed like they were about to say something Tara said, "The offer was extended to Willow, and Willow only!"

That silenced the kids, and smirking, Tara looked back at a grinning Willow, who said, "I'll have whatever you're having Tara."

Tara smiled, and walking back to the kitchen she thought 'Why did my name never sound as good before???'

Willow resumed watching Tara 'on TV' as she put it, and giggled at the idea. Hearing her Tara smiled in the kitchen 'She's got the cutest laugh... ' Shaking her head, she thought 'God, I sound like the world's most lovesick, lovesick puppy!'

10 minutes later she was walking back to the sofa with a tray that carried 2 steaming hot cups of cappuccino, and a plate of chocolate chip cookies. Keeping it next to the tray that held the by now empty milk glasses and almost empty plate of cookies, Tara settled herself onto the floor, with her back to the sofa... and Willow.

'Good, now I don't have to watch her on TV!' Willow thought, and happily began inspecting Tara's from the back. Taking in a deep breath, she reveled in the smell of Tara... 'All vanilla-y' she thought, sighing happily. 'God, I've missed her more than I realized... '

Tara knew she was being watched... and she knew exactly who was watching her. 'What's she looking at??? Oh God, I probably look awful... even from the back! Why didn't I go wash up? Ok, and why would Willow care about how I look? Hello!? Straight girl, with a cool, musician boyfriend... wake up Tara!'

Tara realized that the movie had ended, and rose to switch the player off. 10 minutes later the kids were trooping out the front door, with Tara promising them that they would definitely be doing some actual studying on Wednesday. She'd already apologized about missing out on that today. "Call me when you get home" she reminded Mike, and shut the door, leaving only herself and Willow in the house.

"Sooo..." Willow said "It was a sweet movie..."

Tara nodded her head, and then had to ask "How come you came?" Willow looked up quickly, and Tara hastened to say "Wait, that sounded a little harsh. What I meant was how come you came today, in like, a good way! You know what I mean?"

Willow smiled, understanding. "Well, I remembered that you worked with the kids today" Tara began moving towards the couch, and Willow followed "And I wanted to come... is that ok?" she asked, sitting down.

"Oh of course it's alright! So were the kids already here when you came?" Tara asked.

"Yeah, apparently they'd just gotten in like 5 minutes before I got here..." Willow said. "So... I didn't see you at college today..." she let off.

"Yeah... I had to rush straight to work..."Tara answered, not looking Willow in the eye.

"Yeah... So... how was work?" Willow asked.

"Oh great!" Tara said, and began telling Willow about her conversation with Gabrielle.

"That's brilliant! Congratulations! So tell me... why are you not out partying?!" Willow exclaimed.

"Well... ." Tara told her about her talks with Anya and Cordelia, and tried not to sound like she was sad about it or anything. "They're just busy you know... but I'm sure we will do something tomorrow... I already have the champagne... so we can just pop it and celebrate" she ended.

Willow wanted to tell her that she was more than willing to spend the time with her, and would have loved to celebrate, but she didn't want to sound pushy, or like she was an alcoholic after some free booze!

Tara wanted to ask Willow if she would like to pop the bottle of champagne and share a celebratory drink with her, but SHE didn't want to sound too pushy! 'What the heck! I just got a raise! Forget that you're crushing on her, cause that's never gonna go anywhere anyway! Just ask her of she'll have a drink with you!' Taking a deep breath Tara finally said, "Willow... would you like to, like, open the bottle? I mean..."

"I'd love too!" Willow said, surprised by how happy she was that Tara had asked her.

Tara just smiled, and was in danger of getting lost in Willow's matching grin when the redheads cell phone rang. Quickly reaching into her pocket, Willow answered "Hello? Oz... hey... I'm at Tara's... the Bronze? What time... ?"

'She's gonna go' Tara thought, already resigned at the idea. She tried not to think about the fact that in 5 minutes she would probably be all alone at home again... all alone without Willow.

"You know Oz... I'd rather not tonight... no I'm at Tara's... we're just sitting around... yeah, I'm gonna stay here a while... wait, if that's alright with you Tara?" Willow asked the blonde.

"Oh... oh of course..." Tara said, as a wide smile graced her features, making her glow.

Willow smiled back, and spoke into the phone again "Yeah, I'll call you later Oz... yeah you too... bye..." Hanging up, Willow put the phone away, and grinning at the blonde she said "So... where's the champagne lady?!"

Continue to The Game of Love Chapter Fifty-One

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