"I-I want you to meet her. We can, you know, hang out or something, just us and her friends," Tara said behind the curtains of her blonde hair.
The girls were quiet for a moment, sharing the odd glance, and the silence made Tara nervous. She was about to open her mouth to eat her words when another spoke up.
"Yeah, okay, I mean, we can do that... right?" Roberta looked at the others for approval. Teeny nodded her head simply; she was a little confused by it all, but nonetheless open about the idea.
"Yeah, definitely, Tara! I mean, we'd love to, she seems... nice." Sam spluttered out her words, not wanting to sound fake. Nice? Good choice of words, Sam, she mentally slapped herself.
They all shared a second glance with each other, apart from Tara who was nervously twiddling her thumbs and looking into her lap. They were really messing this up. Roberta cleared her throat and took a moment to seriously consider her next words.
"Tara," Roberta said, waiting for the blonde to lift up her head. She needed to make eye contact so Tara was sure what she was saying was honest. "I mean it. We'd love to, really love to, meet her, and we need to make sure you only get the best," she said softly, finishing with a genuine smile.
Teeny and Sam followed suit, flashing the same smiles.
Tara responded with one of her own and giggled a bit. "The best?"
"The very best," Sam finished.
All day Tara had been frantically organizing the merging of the tribes. She was worried that there were going to be a few power struggles, especially between Buffy and Roberta, but maybe it would work out. It was worth a try; hopefully one of them wouldn't get bumped off. Tara seriously worried about this for a moment, as Roberta wasn't the best when someone challenged her title as alpha female.
She pushed the thought to the back of her head and picked up the phone. Her father had gone away for a few weeks; she never knew where he went, but she was relieved nonetheless. Donny spent most of the time sleeping amongst his little garbage heap of beer cans that were beginning to form a fort, and she had peace for a little while.
Tara placed the phone back after a long afternoon of getting hold of everyone, and a lot of argument over where and when. She had put her foot down and told them it was happening tonight and they had to come, no excuses. Fortunately, no one was used to Tara's abruptness and therefore agreed immediately.
Willow just laughed at the stern voice at the other end of the line; her girlfriend was so cute when she was being authoritative, although sexy was probably the more appropriate word.
"Yes, sweetie," she replied after eeach strong-worded line Tara fed to her. It was obvious Tara had a script to avoid reasoning with anyone about their meeting.
Teeny, being very keen to see the cute dark-haired boy again, had written Tara a full speech to read out to every person she called about the meeting. Tara couldn't be bothered having a run through - after six calls she would be well rehearsed - and she wrote her list in order. Willow, Buffy, Xander, Roberta, Sam and Chrissy. She had picked up the phone and dialed the first number.
"Hi (insert name here) Willow! It's Tara. I have organized a get together for the Gaslight Edition gang and the Greenfield gang, and the merging will take place TONIGHT at Solomon's lake, our regular swimming hole! The meeting shall commence at 8pm. Please bring swimming gear, towels, clothes, food, and any other items you may feel appropriate. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity! Should you not show up you shall be hung, drawn and quart - umm... shall be looked down upon as a Greenfield or Gaslight gang member. Do not be late!"
Willow had quickly agreed at the prospect of seeing Tara, and finally meeting her much loved friends was a bonus. She pulled out a bag from under the bed and started stuffing random items into it.
The night was closing in and the two groups were almost at their destination. Parked at opposite sides of the lake they saw each other at either end, but in the dark they couldn't see exactly who was there. Each gang hoped they hadn't been ambushed, it was common around the area for the high school groups to have a few confrontations, but it was just meaningless fun. The girls looked at each other and nodded, a mutual decision made to call out as the Gaslight edition. They all yelled at once making some sort of song out of the noise. After a second, they heard a similar call from across the lake and laughed, knowing they were meeting the right people.
"So, are you coming over here? Or are we going to have to be the brave ones?" Xander yelled.
Sam looked at Roberta and saw that she was about to open her mouth, obviously to say something about girls being able to do anything that he can and probably better. She slammed her hand over her friend's mouth and muffled the protests.
"Roberta, I'd rather stay here in the nice safe light of the moon and comfy dry sand. They can come over to us. Look at them; the blonde looks as if she could make a house out of a rock and some toothpaste. They can handle a bit of bush and muddy puddles." Knowing she had defeated Roberta, she took her hand away and called out to the group herself.
"You can come over here, tough guy," she joked.
Willow's lip quivered. She hated going through the forest area, but she was desperate to see Tara. She looked around to find that Buffy and Xander had already started walking. She ran after them, hopping on her toes, trying to touch the ground as little as possible in order to avoid slipping and falling. She caught up with Buffy quickly and latched onto her t-shirt, so as not to lose them again.
Buffy protested but knew nothing could remove Willow from clinging at this time of night in the middle of the dark trees. Xander had his arms out in front, waving them around while stumbling, hoping he wouldn't walk into any spider webs or, scarier, a bear.
"Uh... Marco!" He looked like someone had just squirted something in his eye and kicked him in the crotch. As he approached the Gaslight Edition girls, he could hear their laughter.
"POLO!" Teeny yelled between laughter.
Knowing they were near, the redhead bumped up against Buffy and ran past her into Tara's arms.
Xander felt his friend run past and was knocked left into a very hollow tree.
"Oh, baby, it was so scary! There was this slug thing under my foot and it kept moving! And then I realized it was some wet leaves, and then there was a dangly spider web, but it turned out to be a thin branch, and then Buffy stumbled and I stumbled! But I fell on her so it's okay... are you okay?" She rushed her words into one breath, holding onto Tara's arms tightly. She noticed the wide grin on her girl's face. "What?" she asked, mystified.
Tara pointed to the short blonde who was trying to wipe the wet soil off herself that had saved Willow from getting dirty, and Xander who had gone beetroot red in embarrassment, lying in the crook of a tree with a stunned expression.
He felt something cold and wet slide down his neck. It took him a split second to jump up and scream the highest pitched scream any of the girls had heard.
Willow was laughing at her friends, unfairly so, but she couldn't help herself. Poor Xander.
Standing up and pulling the dangerous creature from him, he tried to regain his dignity. He looked into his hands only to see a baby frog. "Aww, ain't that cute," he laughed.
"Hey Will, check this out!"
Willow, being the curious girl she was, walked over to inspect the inside of Xander's cupped hands. It didn't take long before she started shrieking and backing away at a pace Tara had never seen before.
"Fr-Fr-Fr-FROG!!! FROG... oh god. FROG. FROOOOOOGGG!!!!"
Her skin had turned white. Tara grabbed hold of the startled girl and gave Xander a glare. She wasn't able to take the smile off her face as she pulled Willow into a comforting hug.
"It's okay, sweetie, it's only a baby. The babies don't know how to eat people yet," she giggled.
Willow felt so silly, but the warmth of Tara made her worries go away and she felt like an overtired child.