The group of Shelbyville and Greenfield teenagers had spent the last few weeks of their summer vacation together. Now they were inseparable. Teeny had spent the majority of her time latching onto Xander's arm and Sam and Roberta had grown to really enjoy Willow's company, much to Tara's relief. If Roberta hadn't liked Willow, it would have changed the friendship dynamic. She had even given Tara the heads up a few times when the gang were coming back to the tree house - just enough time for the entangled girls to pull apart and look semi-decent.
Adjustments to the couple had taken its toll on the group at the beginning. Chrissy was struggling with the concept of two girls being in a relationship, and a talk with her mother hadn't helped anything.
"Mom, why do some girls like girls instead of, you know, boys?"
Chrissy's mother's eyes widened as she spun around from the sink to face her daughter.
"Chrissy, are you trying to tell me something?"
"No, Mom, I just heard something in, uh, a movie," Chrissy replied.
"Oh, well, because... because they haven't found the right man yet, Chrissy, that's why," her mother said.
"I don't want you seeing that movie again," her mother finished sharply.
Chrissy was completely puzzled by her mother. Tara sure didn't look like she was waiting for a guy every time she was caught in a lip-lock with Willow.
Other than that, the tribes had merged successfully. The whole experience had encouraged the teenagers to support each other more so within the outside word. They stuck together like glue and had beaten the Wormers at a few come-back challenges over some weeks. Sam prided herself in these events and placed a few more memorabilia items on her shelf. The first was a ripped baseball the Wormers had invested in, signed by some famous ball player.
"Babe... Ruth?" What a weird name, Sam thought. Probably wasn't worth much.
She placed it carefully above her bed, remembering the beautiful day when they had sabotaged the Wormers' baseball game with the other local boys. The next item was a piece of Scott's ripped shirt with a bit of blood on it, from where she had punched him in the nose. It was his own fault for having a cheap shirt, she thought to herself. It had practically fallen apart when she grabbed hold of him and pushed him on the grass. Sam's eyes gleamed at the shelf, which was now filling up with her trophies of sabotage. She wondered if it was getting a tad sadistic.
Luckily, Willow's twin brothers had found new friends in Roberta's younger siblings. It was a relief to both girls to have their younger brothers occupied while they spent the majority of the summer away from their homes. It was good for them, Willow thought. The boys had been asking more questions about their parents whereabouts, and she hadn't the heart to tell them they weren't coming back until school had started. It seemed, however, that they were content with their sister's excuses, and were enjoying the freedom of no parents more and more everyday.
With all the extra time at Willow's empty house, Tara and Willow had been able to spend a lot of time together without the constraints of parents interrupting personal conversations or other activities. Tara's father hadn't been home for a while now; he was due back but hadn't made an appearance. She was relieved for the most part, but she still held a concern for her father despite the man he had become. At the end of the day, she cared for him deeply.
Roberta had been observing all of it; her friends had changed so much over such a short time. Tara was glowing and it was clear why. Roberta couldn't help but feel total love for Willow and the happiness she was bringing her best friend. She was letting go of the resentful she had held inside about the new partnership, especially after the special night down at Solomon's lake. She couldn't be spiteful towards such a sweet and honest girl. Willow was definitely a friend she wanted to have.
A pain tugged at her heart on occasion, however. The mysterious stranger - Faith, she called herself - had not been around for a while and it was worrying her. It was her time for romance, she felt, feeling frustrated.
She vented her thoughts to her mother's picture, as if she was still there. She felt horrible for thinking it, but Tara's loss gave her some comfort; she wasn't the only one who had lost a parent, and a mother at that. They could find comfort in each other, and maybe it had been meant to happen that way. They would look after each other with conviction. 'Maybe,' she thought glumly.