"Oh My God! Mom, is this a story about-" she interrupted her mother.
Only to have her mother interrupt her. "Shh! Do you or do you not want to hear the story?"
"I do, but is this a story about Aunt Tara?"
"Yes, among other things. But you'll never learn what unless you let me tell you about them."
"Sorry. I'll be quiet."
"Ah, don't worry about it. But back to the story."
'So, I started talking to Tara. The poor thing, you may not know it now, but back then, she had a really bad stutter. I was felt bad she had a stutter, so I made sure that no one called her on it. Because, well, as you know she's one of the greatest people I've ever met. And speaking of meetings...
"So, Tara, where are you from?"
"I-I'm f-from Alabama. B-but I'm ha-happy to be here."
"Yeah, I'm sure Alabama was pretty boring, unless you liked it. Then it's cool." I laughed. I remember thinking 'She think I'm a weirdo and be all embarrassed and it will be all my fault!'
"N-no believe me it was b-bad!" she looked at me as she said this and then hid behind a curtain of her hair as she looked down to the ground.
"Well, then I would like to say Welcome to the Hellmouth, or as everyone else calls it, Sunnydale."
"The H-hellm-mouth?" she up at me wide-eyed.
"I'm only kidding, it's not bad here at all. Especially because of my friends." she looked down at the ground again.
"Oh, I-I kn-new it. I-I'm k-keeping y-you from y-your friends. I should go." She turned to go, hugging her books to her chest. I grabbed her arm.
"No Wait! I don't go. You're not keeping me. I'm actually going to meet them in my next class, or at least a few of them anyway. What's your next class? Maybe I can help you find it." She smiled gratefully as she handed me a slip of paper. "Well, you're in luck. You have the first two classes with me, and a couple others as well. You even have all the same classes as my best friend. So, why don't we go and introduce you to everyone? Sound good?"
"That sounds g-great." I led her into the science lab, where my friends had been sitting.
"Hi guys! I'd like everyone to meet Tara. Tara this is Xander."
"Hi Tara!" he offered his hand which she shook.
"Xander, sweet goofy Xander. Ya just had to love him."
"I know. I just love uncle Xander, he's so cool!"
"Yeah, he's always been a great friend. But back to the story..."
"Hello." Tara gave a slight smile.
"This is Cordelia." She gave a light wave which Tara returned.
"And last, but not least is my best friend Willow." Willow looked up from her notes written in different colored pens, and started to say something...'
"Yeah, that sounds like Aunt Willow alright. Yeesh! You should see the schedule she made for us this trip."
"You mean the laminated map, gas station stops and hotel locations that are in my back-pocket? Yeah, I've seen it."
"Yup, that's the one. You know it took me the longest time to realize that people go on vacations without a schedule?"
"Yeah, I know. Even when it was just you, me, and your dad, she had plans for us."
"Why did you follow them anyway?"
"She makes great plans, and knows how to save plenty on hotels. So, I was figured what the hell?"
"Yeah, we always had a great time, all of us."
"Oh, yeah. But there was something different about the two of them meeting each other. I didn't see it at the time, but now, when I think back to that moment, I can see the link that was always there between them. I don't even know how I could have missed it."
'She and Tara locked eyes. They seemed to freeze, or at least Willow did mid-sentence. They seemed to lost in each other's gaze, and neither one seemed to care either. I took a seat at our lab table in between Xander and Willow, and she sat in the other seat next to Willow.
"H-hello. Willow." Tara whispered her name.
"Umm, hi Tara. So you're new? That's cool, if you want you can sit with us Scoobies for lunch. Uh, that's what we call ourselves. I guess that steams from us being a gang and all. So, yeah, I hope you will like here in Sunnydale."
"I think I'll love it here," I glanced over to see the first of many crooked half smiles from Tara to Willow.'
"Aw, that's so cute!"
"I know right! But that was the start of something, that much I did know. But how far and how crazy things would get along the way. I had no clue," she glanced over to her daughter, "so, purple eatery stop number one?"
"Only if you're buying!"
"Like you've got any money to, Joy!"
"Yeah, I'm the meanest mom ever. Driving for a couple of hours telling you stories..."
"Fine, you win, you're not mean. But you will be if you don't continue the story!" she wagged her finger at her mother.
"I will, but I figured that was a good place to stop. Will's not the only one who can time things out."
"Suuure, but you're still buying me a cheeseburger," Joy opened the door to the classic diner allowing her mother to go first.
"I know, I know," Buffy walked in the door, and got them a booth. They sat down and ordered two bacon cheeseburgers and two chocolate shakes.
"So?" Joy questioned her mother.
"So what?" she faked innocence.
"What about it?"
"Are you going to continue?" Joy was getting annoyed.
"So are you going to continue the story?"
"When the food gets here."
"But mmmoooommmm!!!!" At this point the waitress showed up with their lunches.
"Um, Mom the food's here."
"Mfft!" Buffy asked through a mouthful of cow flesh topped with pig.
"So continue the story!" She took a sip of her shake.
Buffy finished the bite of burger in her mouth and continued. "Okay, okay. So..."