Return to The Game of Love Chapter Sixty-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!

Willow glanced around, and realized that she'd never seen a more beautiful home in her life...and she was still in the reception area! Right ahead of her there were too long staircases going up a level from either side, and on either side of the reception area there were exits, one with the door closed, and one looked like it led to a large seating area. The floor was the whitest marble Willow had ever seen, and was covered in the centre by a beautiful Persian rug. The only furniture in the room was an antique looking table between the two staircases that held a white and red lamp and a telephone. Willow was looking around, still trying to get her mind to accept what she was looking at, when she sensed that someone was walking down the stairs. Looking up she saw a face that she recognized from the hundreds of times she'd seen it on TV, in the newspapers and magazines.

Tara walked ahead to meet the woman at the end of the staircase. "Hi Mom" Tara grinned, just as her mother descended the last stair and pulled her daughter into a hug. "Hey baby" Susanna whispered, and Willow watched as she closed her eyes, with a satisfied smile on her beautiful face. Susanna was more or less an older version of Tara, except for the fact that her hair was a darker shade of blonde, and her nose was slightly less sharp than her daughters. After a few seconds Willow could hear Tara's muffled voice say "Umm...Mom? I sorta need to breathe!" The redhead couldn't help but giggle at that, and smiled as she watched Susanna pull back, and smile widely at her daughter, tucking a strand of loose blonde hair behind Tara's ear before saying "Maybe this is just a motherly thing, but I honestly think you look even more beautiful every time I see you." Willow watched as Tara blushed under her mother's gaze, before Susanna added "But you have lost weight! Have you been eating properly???"

Tara straightened up at that, and turned her attention to Willow, rolling her eyes with her back turned to her mother. Willow grinned, as Tara said "Mom, this is Willow...she's a friend of mine, and I asked her to come along for the concert." Susanna gave her daughter a 'I know what you're trying to do, and we WILL have this conversation' look, before waking gracefully towards the waiting redhead and shaking her hand. "It's nice to meet you Willow, I'm Susanna" she said, smiling.

"Pleased to meet you too Ma'am" Willow smiled.

"Uh huh...not Ma''s Susanna" the older woman smiled. Willow nodded, as Susanna continued, "I have to say though, your appearance has taken me by surprise."

Tara had walked up to the two women, and voiced hers and Willow's thoughts. "Surprise?"

"Yes, surprise. See, when I called Vera to ask her to Send some dresses over for this evening, I had no idea that Willow would be a redhead! I must call her and tell her to send dresses accordingly! Actually while we're at it, why don't we just get you measured Willow, so that the dresses will fit better." Willow just nodded, going along with whatever was happening, as understanding dawned on Tara's features.

"Oh no Mom! You haven't called people over tonight have you?!" she whined!

"Not people sweetie...just a few friends and some of your relatives. Everyone keeps asking about you, so I decided it would be best to have them over for dinner. I promise, it won't be half as bad as you seem to think!" saying that Susanna walked over to a phone that Willow hadn't noticed mounted on the wall near the door, and picking it up she said "Marie, could you come down to the sitting room please? And bring a measuring tape...Thanks" and hung up. Looking back at the two girls she asked "Shall we?" and walked towards what Willow had correctly assumed was a sitting area. The women had barely gotten there when a middle aged Hispanic looking woman walked in, wearing a maids outfit and holding a measuring tape. "Tara!" she said, her eyes lighting up when she saw the blonde. "It's so good to see you!" she exclaimed.

Tara smiled back "It's great to see you too Marie. How are you?"

Willow listened as the two made conversation, smiling at the woman when Tara introduced her, and then stood still as Marie took her measurements as Susanna asked her to. When Marie was done Susanna asked her to tell James to call the designers office and tell them that Willow was a redhead and give them her vital statistics, so that they could send a dress accordingly. Through it all Tara had been looking at her with an apologetic expression, which seemed to ease a little when Willow had smiled back, conveying that it was ok.

Finally the three of them settled down comfortably. Susanna seemed to visibly relax, as she apologized to the two girls "Sorry about that it's all looked after tell me about your flight here..."

"The usual Mom" Tara started, before adding "Although I have to admit that it was nice having company this time", smiling at Willow.

The redhead blushed slightly under the blondes gaze, before nodding her head and voicing her opinion on the flight, "Yeah, it was really comfortable...and the coffee was really good too" she added with a smile, which drew laughs from the other two women.

Seconds later you could hear the sound of the front door open a close, and immediately after that you could hear footsteps coming their way, followed by a bark. Tara's face lit up when she heard the bark. "I was wondering where they were" she grinned, turning her attention towards the door. Moments later Willow watched as two large dogs came running in the room, heading straight for Tara.

Willow watched the fatter of the two dogs, whom she recognized to be the same breed as the one in the Beethoven movies, put it's front paws on Tara who was still seated, as the other one, which was thinner but taller, stood next to the blonde, his tail wagging by the dozen! "Hey Aldo..." Tara exclaimed, rubbing the dogs ears with one hand, as her other hand made its way to the other dog "...and Sasha!"

Willow could hear Aldo make happy sounds, voicing how much he liked the ear rub. Tara looked up at Willow and smiled. "There are my dogs, Aldo and Sasha...aren't they just the cutest things you've ever seen?!" Willow nodded, smiling at Tara's enthusiasm.

"Alright Willow..." the redhead turned to see Susanna grinning at her, "while Tara here gets acquainted with her precious mutts, how about we get to know each other better?" Willow smiled and settled back in her seat, all set to get familiar with Susanna White.

Four hours later Willow and Susanna were sitting out in the garden in the back of the house, sipping coffee, and still chatting. By now the two women were getting on like a house eon fire, and conversations were ranging from Willow's studies to Susanna's place in the ranks of Hollywood's most elite. Tara had left for the stadium where the concert was to be held the next day around 2 hours ago, right after they'd all had lunch, and after Willow had been shown to her room for the weekend, she and Susanna had sat down to chat again, with the dogs lying around their feet.

"So...where's your son?" Willow had asked, since she clearly remembered Tara pointing out her brothers cottage on their drive to the main house.

"Donny? He's probably out with his latest talent. Donny's decided that he wants to be a Hollywood agent, and right now his plan is to get enough talents to start his own company. He'll be back in time for the dinner party" Susanna said, sipping her coffee.

"Are Donny and Tara close?" Willow asked, realizing that she wanted to know as much about the blonde, whom she knew she was falling in love with, as possible.

"Well, they used to be really close as kids, always playing together, and all that stuff. Really, initially it was like having two boys! Tara loved to do everything that little boys did, and came home with more mud on her overalls than half the boys put together!" Susanna laughed fondly at the memory, before her expression became somber, "But then the divorce happened, and the kids got lost in their own world. I know it was a lot harder on them than they ever let on to me." Willow's heard wrenched at the idea of her Tara 'My Tara?!?!?!? Where'd that come from?!'- in any sort of pain. "Anyway, they stopped spending as much time together and usually locked themselves into their rooms after school. Then the divorce came through and I moved here, Tara decided to stay in Sunnydale, and Donny came here to live with me, so they sort of grew apart. But around a year and a half ago when Tara was here to visit she woke up one morning and went jogging with Donny, and it seems like they're pretty close again. So to answer your question in the simplest way possible, yes!" she laughed. Willow giggled, as Susanna asked, "What about you? Any siblings?" And they chatted on.

An hour later Tara walked in to the house, to once again be greeted by her dogs. Patting them quickly, she walked into the sitting room, wondering where her Mother and Willow were. She was about to turn around and head to the family room upstairs, when she heard sounds of laughter coming from the doors of the sitting room that led to the garden. Leaving her sling bag on one of the seaters along with her laptop, Tara walked out the doors to see her Mother and Willow doubled up with laughter over something. Tara walked towards them, smiling at how well the two women she loved most in the world seemed to be getting along.

Tara's steps faltered a second. 'Willow's one of the two women I love most in the world??? When did that happen? And where was I when it was happening?!?!?' she wondered, resuming her walk towards the two women. She watched as the sunlight caught in Willow's hair, dancing around in there, and giving the redhead's hair an almost fiery look. 'It's true' she sighed, getting to within 10 feet of the women... 'I'm falling hopelessly in love with this woman...and I don't seem to wanna stop it...'

Willow looked up, sensing rather then seeing Tara walk their way. Her breath caught as she caught sight of the blonde, looking slightly disheveled from her trip to the stadium...and even more beautiful than Willow remembered. Seeing Tara looking at her she couldn't stop the slow smile that took over her features, which only widened when she received a trademark lop sided smile in return. 'Wow' she thought, her mind going blank of all things but Tara.

Susanna was sitting there, watching the exchange between the two girls, and getting the distinct feeling of not least at that moment! 'Hmmm...what's this we have?!?!' she wondered, her maternal instincts going in overdrive.

Continue to The Game of Love Chapter Sixty-Six

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