Return to The Game of Love Chapter Fifty-Three

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!

Earlier that same day...

Tara got into her car, and started the engine. Her mind seemed to have gone numb, and it wasn't until she'd turned out of the campus and passed a signal that she pulled over, turned the cars engine off, and sat there staring out of the windshield. 'Breathe... long, deep breaths... breathe in... breathe out... right... good girl'. Taking her glasses off she wiped away the rest of her tears, irritated with herself. 'What am I doing?' she wondered. 'I totally over reacted, and that was just plain stupid. Of course she's still with Oz... One silly argument doesn't mean they're gonna split up!' She let out a sigh. 'Well, one things for sure. I definitely like Willow, and not just in a friendly way. I wanna... wanna what?'

Again Tara was confused. She knew that she wanted to be with Willow, but what did that mean? And was it just women of the Willow variety that she was interested in, or women in general? Tar thought of all the other women she knew, and tried to rate them all on a 'hot scale' of 1 to 10. Everyone measured up to a 4 at the most... everyone except for Willow, who Tara decided was a perfect 10!

Tara thought back to watching Willow walk towards her that day. She was in white Capri pants, and a baby blue off shoulder top, that was held up by thin straps on each shoulder. Sandals with blue stones that matched the color of her top on them, and a khaki colored ling bag completed the look, and Tara remembered thinking the world 'adorable' when she'd first seen the girl approaching. Her fiery red hair seemed to catch the rays of the sun, and all in all in was a look that Tara found she was quite unable to look away from. She watched as Willow had walked closer and closer, and thought 'Soon she'll be lose enough for me to smell her' and subconsciously thought of the delicious strawberry scent that seemed to accompany Willow wherever she went.

That, of course, ended as soon as Oz had intercepted his girlfriend, and Tara had come back crashing to reality. Tara had watched the entire scene unfold before her eyes, and could have sworn that she could physically feel her heart break when Willow and Oz had kissed. When she saw them begin to walk towards the tree, together, underneath which she was sitting with the others, she knew that she couldn't be around them, and had made a dash for her bag and risen, mumbling something about needing to get to work or something.

'Ok, I have to get in control of this situation. Let's see, Tara's crushing on Willow, Willow's in love with Oz... therefore, Tara's just being silly, and is possibly running whatever chances she has at being a good friend to Willow. Would Tara be happy without Willow in her life? No. So what should Tara do? She should get her act together, and realize that she needs to get past whatever feelings of 'more than friendship' she has towards the redheaded Goddess, and concentrate on the less physical friendship that she shares with the girl. Oh, and it's a sign of madness what you start speaking of yourself in the third person!' Tara smiled wryly at her own thought, and mind set, she ioed her eyes one last time, and was about to turn the engine on and head to work again, when her cell phone began to ring.


"Hi Tara? It's Dawn!"

"Hey kiddo!" the blonde smiled at the enthusiasm in the younger girls voice. "How's it going?"

"It's all good! You?"

"I'm good too" Tara said, making sure she sounded normal on the phone, despite all the inner turmoil inside her at the moment.

"Oh, that's great. Well, I gave my test yesterday, and I it went great! I was gonna call you to thank you, but then I figured I'd wait for the tests to be graded, and call you with my grade! So, well, I'm sorry I didn't call yesterday!"

"That's alright dawn. So tell me, did you get the tests back yet?"

"Yup! And I scored an A minus! Isn't that like, so cool?!"

"Definitely!" Tara couldn't help but grin at Dawn's joy! "I'm really proud of you!" she added.

"Thanks... for everything! I mean, you really made it so simple for me, and you know, it even made sense by the end of it! Well, I wanna thank you in person, so I was wondering, I'm going to the movies to the movies tonight, with a couple of gal pal. Would you like to come along?"

Tara didn't want Dawn to feel indebted to her, so she began to politely refuse the offer "Dawn... you really don't have..."

Dawn cut her off "Look, if you say no today, I'm gonna keep hounding you till you have no choice but to come. So, are you coming tonight, or not?"

'Aah! The nevr-say-die spirit of the typical American teenager' Tara sighed, before saying out loud, "Ok, you win. So what are we watching?"

"Well, we haven't decided yet. I guess we'll just see what's playing and make a choice then. Ok, so will I see you at the cinema at, say, 7?

"Sounds good, I'll see you then. And just warn your friends that an older, more boring girls coming along!"

"Hmm, now who would that be?!" Dawn joked back.

Tara laughed, and said "Alright then, see ya at 7, ok?"

"Cool! Bye Tara!"

"Bye Dawn"

Tara hung up, and realized that she was feeling a little better. 'What do you know? It looks like Dawn's enthusiasm's rubbed off on me!' she smiled, before turning the keys, and getting back on the road to the station.

20 minutes later she was working in her office, wrapping up some pending work, and an hour later, when she was done for a bit, she took a coffee break, and right now Tara was standing outside Gabrielle's office, knocking on the door, as she balanced two cups of coffee in a tray with her other hand!

"Come in" came the call.

Opening the door, Tara let herself in. "Hey... you busy?" she asked.

Looking up, Gabrielle smiled at the blonde, "For you kid? Nah!", and shutting down her lap top, she gave Tara her full attention.

Tara placed one cup of coffee before her boss, who said a 'thanks', and then at down in the chair across Gabrielle, nursing her own cup. Getting straight to the point, Tara asked "Did you call Buffy Summers yet?"

Gabrielle looked like she was a kid who'd just been caught with her hand in the cookie jar! "I... forgot..." she said in a low, please-don't-yell-at-me voice.

"Gabby!" Tara said, sounding exasperated!

"Well, I'm sorry... I know you called me last night to ask me to do it first thing this morning, but see, Richard's being a pain, calling me very five minutes because he misses me, and Kylie called to say the house alarm wasn't working, so it's been a rushed day!" Gabrielle said.

Tara didn't say anything, since she knew how much her bosses husband and daughter depended on her. "Alright" she conceded, "call her now?"

"Sure!" Gabrielle said, taking a sip of her coffee, before picking up her phone, and dialing a number that was written on the palm of her hand. 'Someone really needs to give this woman a couple of notepads!' Tara thought, shaking her head.

"Hello?... Hi, is that Buffy Summers? Hi, this is Gabrielle Myers, calling from Sunnydale Radio? Ok, well, I've been looking for a personal assistant, and our senior writer, Tara Maclay... she told me you know her? Yeah, well, she recommended your name to me, so I was wondering if you would be interested? No, no, it's not a joke! It's a job that'll take 4 hours at the most... and that's only on the days that you're working. See, basically all that there is to do is answer my calls, which will come to you on a cell phone which the station of course will provide, and you just have to give me the messages. Sometimes you might have to sit in on local meetings for me, and pick things up, but that will be rare as well. So, does it sound like something you'd wanna do? Oh good! Well, financially I can't promise you the sun and the moon, but your start will be four thousand dollars, ok? Alright, so could I meet with you in ay, half an hour? Alright, I'll see you then... Bye", and with that she hung up.

Looking at Tara, Gabrielle shrugged her shoulders and grinned "Well, she sounded happy enough!"

Tara grinned and rose from her seat, still holding on to her coffee. "Thanks Gabby... remind me to buy you dinner soon! Ok, I'm going back to work... going for a movie at 7... with Buffy's sister and a few of her friends in fact, so I wanna finish, and get home to wash up before I head out again!" Tara turned and was at the door when Gabrielle called out.

"Hey Tara... you don't have to be thanking me kid. I didn't even know she existed before last night! You're the one that convinced me over the phone. And hey, if it makes life simpler for her and her sister, I'm all for it... bit I'll still take you up on the dinner deal... although I must warn you, Richard and Kylie might crash an evening that would otherwise be peaceful!" As if on cue, her phone began to ring, and rolling her eyes, she answered the phone.

"Hello? Hi honey, I miss you too..." Tara grinned at her expression, knowing fully well that underneath all the drama, her boss was just as crazy about her family as they were about her!

Mock saluting the older lady, Tara smiled and walked out of her office.

Continue to The Game of Love Chapter Fifty-Five

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