Return to The Game of Love Chapter Fifty-Seven

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!

"Talk?" Oz asked, with a completely confused expression on his face. "What about?"

'I can do this... I can do this... I can do this...' Willow thought, as she took another deep breath before nodding her head and saying "About... about Us...".

"What about us?" Oz asked, still puzzled, before a look of understanding crossed his face, and he started "Look, if it's about the argument, I know I was a total jerk Willow, and I promise you, I mean REALLY promise you, something like that isn't gonna happen again... I was..."

"No... no Oz... I'm not just talking about today..." Willow cut him off, before he could go on with his apology. 'How do I explain this?' she wondered, looking around, before she shifted her gaze to meet her 'boyfriends'???' again. "I just... I don't think that we should be together anymore..." Willow waited a couple of seconds to let that sink into Oz's brain, before she continued, "And it's not about the fight, or anything that you've done in the past. I mean I can understand that every couple fights, and trust me, I'm not ending this because of the fight... or how you behaved, cause I know that everyone screw's up sometimes, and you have been great more often than not... I mean we've had some really great times you know, you and I... and... Ok, I'm going off the subject here... what was I saying?" Willow paused to recollect her thoughts, before starting again "I just... I don't think I'm in love with you anymore, and after we've been together for so long, and been so in love, I don't see the sense in being with you if I'm not in love with you... you deserve more than that you know? Everyone does. I mean, you know, you start dating someone, and then maybe you start going steady, and then hopefully you fall in love, and then you hope that that feeling lasts forever... you know? But if that feeling goes away, then you shouldn't be with that person anymore, cause then you're just lying... Are you even getting what I'm saying????" Willow asked, desperation creeping into her voice.

Oz's expression had stayed impassive though Willow's entire rant, and now as Willow's intense gaze sought his reaction, he merely stood there silently, saying nothing as he looked at his girlfriend. As the silence dragged, and Oz continued to study Willow, she began to get uncomfortable with the lack of any sound. 'Ok... this is getting weird...' the redhead thought, shuffling from foot to foot as she started to fidget, and looked around at nothing in particular.

After what seemed like an eternity Oz cleared his throat, and Willow immediately turned to give him her full attention. "Yeah, I get what you're saying... No one should be with someone that they don't think they're in love with after being together for a pretty long time... and to tell you the truth..." he stopped there and looked away, as if considering whether he should say what he was thinking out loud.

"Yeah?" Willow prompted, her curiosity peaking at Oz's obvious dilemma.

Looking back at Willow, Oz sighed before going on, "Well, I know my possessiveness and stuff of late has been pretty obvious, right?" Willow simply nodded, as he continued, "Well, Will... you know I love you... I really do... I just don't know if I'm IN love with you anymore either". Willow wanted to laugh at the irony of the situation. That was exactly what she had been having a mini mental battle about! Oz went on, "I was just getting really mad at myself for, you know, my feelings, and I was acting all crazy cause I thought that I should... I mean it's hard to explain... I just thought it'd seem like I value you more if I was all possessive, and you know, showed it, so that you'd know how important you are to me... and you are important, very important... I just don't think I'm in love with you..." he looked down, obviously frustrated at himself for not being able to put what he was trying to say into words, but Willow got what he meant anyway. When she saw the look of shame on Oz's face for his feelings she couldn't help but let out a small giggle. Oz looked up at her, and Willow's giggle turned into a whole hearted laugh. Watching her mirth, Oz's lips began to twitch, and seconds later both of them were doubled up in laughter.

When her sides began to ache, Willow finally cut her own laughter down, and smiled as she saw tears rolling down from Oz's eyes after their small laughathon. She looked at him with genuine affection, and said "I love you Oz'.

The punk haired guys expression softened, as he pulled Willow into a warm hug and whispered, "I love you too Will."

The two just stood that way for a minute, before Oz released his hold on the redhead, and the two stepped apart, still holding hands. "So..." Willow started, her curiosity getting the better of her again, "When did you, you know, figure that you weren't in love with me anymore?"

Oz pondered the question for a second or two, before saying "At the gig at the Bronze two months ago... remember we were playing to celebrate its 10th year?" Willow nodded, remembering the night when Oz's band had the entire crowd at the Bronze pretty much eating out of their hands, and she had been so proud of her boyfriend. "Well, that night there was this really hot Latino chick there, and after we were done playing she walked up to us and really flirted with me..." Once again Willow thought back, and clearly remembered how she'd seen the leggy, dusky beauty talking to the guys from a distance, and thought that she wished she was as sexy as the other girl. "Well, I looked at her, and I was really attracted to her you know... but then I realized that I had a girlfriend, and it just irritated me to watch the guys flirt back without a care in the world, while I had to be the good boyfriend... you know?" Oz looked ashamed again, but Willow understood, and smiled gently, encouraging him to go on. "So well, after that I kept noticing how hot other girls were, not that you're not hot..." he quickly added, looking panicked at the idea that he'd offended Willow. Again Willow smiled encouragingly, knowing what Oz meant, and looking relieved he went on "I just noticed the beauty in other girls too, and you know, wondered what it would be like to date some of them, and stuff like that. And then I figured that if I so interested in other girls, maybe something had changed about how I felt about you, since I was even considering other girls, which I would never have done earlier... you get what I'm saying?"

Willow nodded, understanding. She knew exactly what Oz meant. A flash of blue eyes and blonde hair appeared in her mind, and she smiled softly at the memory, when she realized that Oz was talking again "... and I really tried, thinking that it was wrong of me to just wanna be with some random girls when I have someone as lovely as you waiting for me... but I guess the feeling's mutual" he ended, smiling at his now ex girlfriend.

The two were looking down at their still joined hands, when Oz asked, "What about you?"

Willow froze a second, not knowing what to say. "You interested in someone else?" she heard.

"I... .I think so... I mean, I'm pretty sure I am... it's just... complicated..." she said, not sure if she was ready to talk about her feelings for Tara yet, at least not until she had it all figured out herself. All she knew was that she was sure that she had feelings for the girl, but she knew that she had to really sit down and think about the implications of her feelings, before she could figure out her next step.

"Complicated huh?" Oz asked softly, noticing that the redhead had gotten lost in a world of her own. "Don't wanna talk about it?" When Willow didn't respond, Oz squeezed her hand gently, and spoke "That's ok Will... but hey, if you ever wanna talk you know where I live" he smiled, and Willow looked up at him in gratitude.

"You're gonna make some girl very happy Oz" she said, meaning every word.

Oz nodded his head in silent acknowledgement of what she'd said, before saying "I know that!", which received a playful punch in the arm from Willow. "Oww!" he said, mock rubbing his arm.

"Wuss!" Willow giggled, and the two stood there in silence again, smiling at each other, comfortable in their newfound easy camaraderie.

"So" Willow asked after a moment, "You still interested in that cup of coffee???" she laughed.

"Depends" Oz said seriously, "Are you still so tired that you just wanna head in, change your clothes and go to sleep?!", amusement shining in his eyes.

Willow rolled her eyes, before turning around and walking towards her door, calling out "You know, for someone with hair the color of a clowns you really aren't that funny!" Getting to her door, she unlocked it.

"I could say the same for you" Oz deadpanned, as he passed her on his way in.

"Heyyyyy... I resent that!" Willow called out in mock indignation, closing the door and heading off to make coffee.

"You THINK you might be gay?" Anya asked, finally deciding that her jaw needed to be moved from its frozen position mid air.

"What do you mean you THINK you might be gay?" Cordelia added.

"Yeah, I mean, either you know, or you don't know" Anya said, looking at Cordelia for support, "right?"

"That's what I would think..." Cordelia said, nodding at Anya, before the two turned to the amused looking blonde.

"What are you smiling about you confused and hence confusing thing?!?" Anya said, even as her own expression turned from highly confused to amused too.

"Seriously Tara, what's up?" Cordelia asked, her tone gentle, and her expression soft.

Thinking of the messy state her mind was in again, Tara's expression turned grim again. "That's exactly it guys... I think I might be gay..." she said.

"Oooook" Cordelia said, letting out a deep breath, "obviously we're not gonna get anywhere like this, so let's just try and do this one step by step ok? And I'm talking baby steps!" she joked, getting a small smile out of Tara. "So... where do we start?" Cordelia wondered aloud, trying to figure out how to tackle the situation.

"Ooh I know I know!" Anya exclaimed, bouncing around in her seat, and raising her hand as if she were answering a question class. There was a moment of amused silence between the three friends as they all stared at Anya's hand, which she pulled back as soon as she realized what she was doing. "What?!" she asked as Cordelia let out an amused giggle. The girl just shook her head, even as she held the smile on her face, and Anya let out a huff before looking at Tara, and getting back into super sleuth mood. Raising an eyebrow, she looked Tara dead in the eyes and said "You've seen someone you like, haven't you?"

"Ooooh! Good one Ahn!!!" Cordelia said, as she gave Anya a thumbs up, before turning to Tara again.

Tara blushed under the scrutiny of her friends, before looking down and slowly nodding her head.

"I knew it!" Anya said triumphantly, before adding, "So Maclay, for the second time tonight I repeat, SPILL!!!"

Continue to The Game of Love Chapter Fifty-Nine

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