Willow's apartment wasn't too far from the station; then again, nothing on Sol Island was far from anything else. Willow picked up Tara's suitcase, despite the small protest from her. Tara allowed Willow to, thankful for the help, although she rarely admitted she needed it. Willow unlocked the door and pushed it open. She flipped on the light switch.
Tara stepped in and Willow went into full babble mode, "I'm sorry about the state of the house, I mean I had no idea I'd have visitors, ya know, and even then, I clean up every now and then, but with last night and all I just didn't have a chance to clean up," she squeaked out.
Tara couldn't help but giggle. Willow blushed furiously under Tara's laugh.
"Your babble is quite amusing. I like it," commented Tara as her giggling lowered.
Willow gave her a small smile and moved through the living room which they were in now.
"Alright, well, here's the living room and to the right in the kitchen. I hope it's not too messy for you. Down the hall are the two bedrooms. Mine is the one on the right. Yours, well, obviously, on the left. It has its own bathroom and everything, so I hope you like it. She finished as she set Tara's suitcase down in her room.
Tara searched the house, taking in her surroundings. The apartment was great really. The room was nice and comforting. It reminded her of her mother's house.
"It's lovely, Willow, really," she said, trying her best to reassure the redhead. The chief told Tara to get comfortable and ready, ending the conversation with, "I'll meet you in the living room when you're done, take your time."
Willow settled herself on her couch and scooped up her kitten. The only pet store on the island just had a sale on a new litter of kittens, and Willow just gave into the little runt of the litter. A cute black and white kitty. The redhead was a sucker for those things - cute things.
"Hey Miss Kitty," she whispered as she petted the attention- needing kitten. Willow pulled out a fake mouse on a string and dangled it above the kitty.
Boy this sure is fun! thought the Miss Kitty as she jumped for the mysterious object.
"Aren't you just the cutest little thing ever," Willow said in a baby voice. "You would never yell at me over the phone, would you? Nope, because you're too sweet to ever yell at me," she told the kitty, who still was completely concentrated on her object.
Tara, who had gathered her things for the examination, had traveled down the hall only to stop at hearing the red head's voice. She smiled to herself hearing the chief baby talking a...kitty? Tara found the red head quite entertaining and also extremely adorable. But Tara couldn't think of such matters now. Not when there was a job to do. And certainly not when the adorable one was her boss.
Tara backed up a few steps and made a show of coming out into the living room. Willow, hearing the blonde coming down the hall, stood up, gave the kitty one last pat and moved over to take the keys.
"Ready to go?" she asked. With Tara's nod, the red head glanced back at her pet, longing to go back to her childish state and just forget about the town's problems. But she couldn't do that, not with this really big problem in her hands.
"I hope you're not allergic to cats," stated Willow, half smiling.
"No, not at all, I love them. I would have one, but Faith is allergic to them. Something about the hair," she said as the two women walked to the truck, "Personally, I think it's all a damn lie, just so she doesn't have to do any work for the animal," she finished as they hopped into the truck.
Willow slightly laughed. Something about what the blonde said bugged her. Faith? She lives with her boss? Are they involved? Well of course she must be involved! A girl lookin' like that is gonna be involved with someone! I mean look at her!
"Willow?" Tara asked, seeing the cop zoned out.
"Huh? Oh yeah, well, I was just thinking, about...uh...well, it's just...you live with your boss?" she finally sputtered out.
Tara eyed the red head curiously. Having been aware of her sexuality long before anyone her age was, she had seen all the signs from other girls who bloomed into their own sexuality. She knew what too look for, especially when she was courting the suspect herself. But Willow, she couldn't figure out. The red head guarded herself, but from what, Tara didn't know. The blonde brushed off the question about her living style as pure curiosity.
"Well, yes, but I was living with her long before she was my boss. We went to school together and were first year room mates. After that year, with all we had in common, we became best friends. Lucky for her, she got the head position at the aquarium, mainly because she got her minor in business and I got mine in teaching. We decided that it wouldn't matter if we continued living together. It's natural for us, so, it works," she summarized.
Willow nodded her head. She pulled the truck into the station's parking lot. Walking around the front of the vehicle, she fell in step with Tara.
Tara wore a white coat, a headset of some sort and surgical gloves. The pair walked into the observation room, where they met a sleeping Xander.
"I have the sudden urge to tickle him with a feather," said Willow, out loud, although she hadn't meant to. Tara smirked in response. "Watch this," said Willow.
"OFFICER HARRIS, WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING!" yelled Willow, startling the man until he fell on the floor. Scrambling to his feet, he finally saw who had yelled at him and scowled.
"Oh sure, wake the man when he's making up the sleep he lost last night!" he said, embarrassed that he had been caught sleeping on duty.
"Oh Harris, calm down! Get the remains for Ms. Maclay, would ya?" she asked. She rolled her eyes playfully.
Tara leaned over, close to Willow's ear. Willow's breath caught for a moment when she felt the warm breath on her sensitive ear lobe.
"It's Tara, remember?" Tara whispered, low enough so Xander wouldn't hear. Tara wanted to test Willow. Wanted to know how far she could push the red head. A blush the color of Willow's hair formed on her ears. The blonde leaned back and watched Xander bring a container over to the table. She smiled to herself, pleased with what she had done.
Willow stood dumbfounded. She recognized the beautiful woman from the moment she saw her, but she couldn't get involved with her. Jesus Christ, you have a job to do, a problem to fix, and then she's gone. Why put yourself in that sort of mess and pain? What's the point? She's here until the shark is gone. Then she will be gone too. Leaving you alone.
Willow's thoughts were interrupted by Tara looking at her expectantly. Willow lightly shook her head.
"I'm sorry, what did you say?"
"Well, it's just, um, you're really pale. Sick pale and I wondered if you were alright?" she asked.
"Oh, no, I'm fine, just peachy keen. I just, the thought of the remains and the overload of shit I have to do...makes me feel all queasy, but I'm better now. Yeah, I'm fine," Willow explained, not so reassuringly. Willow threw in a quick smile to Tara. Tara gave her a half-smile back and walked over to the table. She reached for the clipboard and took out a pen.
Willow noted that the headset was a hands-free recorder for her to verbally record what she saw.
"Alright, the attacker could quite possibly come from the family Lamnidae or Carcharhinidae, but that can only be determined by the attack wounds and sightings of the attacker. The first remains I'll be looking at are the remains of Veruca Jameson..." Tara recorded as she unveiled the cloth off the container. Tara held her breath, partly because of the smell, but mostly because of the sight. She quickly collected herself and continued on with her recording.
Willow oddly felt a need to go over and comfort the blonde. Protect her from the ghastly sight. Take her into her arms and make it all better. But Willow couldn't do that. She wrapped her arms around herself and sat quietly in the corner, watching the blonde intently.
"There are no major organs intact. In fact, there is no upper body. The remains begin at the torso. One leg is cut off about two inches above the knee, while the other leg is still attached all the way to the foot. However, the intact leg has three major bites taken out of it. One on the thigh, another on the knee cap, and the last bite is on the front of the foot. These three bites will help determine the bite radius and the bite size of the shark that did this," Tara informed, looking up at Xander and then Willow. Tara felt Willow's gaze on her, even when she began examining the remains of the man.
"Alright, victim Daniel Osbourne, only parts found on him. No major organs, no attached limbs. All we have is one arm, the foot and shoulder of him," she recorded. Then she looked up at Willow and said, "There's really no point in doing a thorough examination of him. Nothing found on him will give me any more details than that of Ms. Jameson."
"Al-" Willow began to say 'alright', but her mouth was so dry, she had to cough, "Alright, do you still need to examine the girl from last night?"
"Is there much to tell from?" she asked.
Xander perked up. "Not really. Her state is pretty much the state of the first victim," he said. Willow nodded in confirmation.
"Alright, then I just need to measure some of the inflicted wounds and then-"she stopped when a tall, muscular man in a suit barged into the office.
"Rosenberg, what the hell is this?" Riley Finn, the mayor of Sol Island asked, throwing down a newspaper on the table beside her.
Willow gave him a look, but averted her attention to the paper in front of her when she picked it up.
The headline read "Shark Attacks Sol Island!" and the rest were just gruesome details. Willow's jade eyes roamed over the annoying headline and story. Not only did it mention the first two attacks, but it also replayed last night's events. Willow checked to see the source and sure enough, it was Dawn.
"Anya!" she muttered, tossing the paper aside in disgust. The blonde was the head of the Sol Paradise, the island's paper. She knew how to get everything: facts, pictures, interviews, VIP's to impossible events. Aside from Xander, Anya Jenkins was the only other person on the island she was close with. I mean, sure, Willow hung out with people on the staff, chatted with the occasional visitor, but because Anya ran the Sol Paradise, Willow frequently came in contact with her. So naturally, the two turned to one another for girl's nights out.
"Rosenberg, we need to clean this up. I've called a board meeting Saturday at one and you will explain to the public what exactly is going on, alright?" Mayor Finn stated, not even bothering to ask the question.
"Riley, I can't help that the girl went to the press. Or that the press went to the girl and you know that! Plus, I can't tell them what exactly is going on because, oh hey shocker- I don't know. You won't listen to my pleas long enough for us to work something out," Willow spoke with a slightly agitated tone.
Riley look around the room, nodding to Xander and smiling at Tara, giving her the once over. He then looked at Willow again and said, "Look, I don't care what you do. I really don't. But the beaches will stay open. Tomorrow is Friday, supposedly going to be the hottest day of the summer and the people will swarm the beaches. Keep the beaches safe. Keep the beaches fun. But most importantly, keep the beaches OPEN!" he finished as he walked out of the room.
Willow dropped her head in defeat. Tara wanted to rush over and kick Finn where the sun don't shine. But that wasn't a possibility.
Xander hesitantly trudged over to Willow. He wrapped an arm around his best friend. Tara felt something she hadn't felt since, well since, ever: jealousy. However, when the conversation between them started, and she realized he was a platonic friend, the feeling vanished.
"Willow...Will 'ole buddy! It's alright! I'll put Jamie on getting back-up down here ASAP and tomorrow will go smoothly. I already got Jason to order us a shark net. However, it only stretches 750 meters. That's three fourths our beach length, so we're gonna have to close off some of the beach. Maybe make it sunbathers only?" he asked, trying his best to comfort the distressed woman.
"That's what we'll have to do. God damnit, he makes my life so hard sometimes!" she muttered. Finally, like a light switch in her mind, she remembered that Tara was still in the room. "Uh, I'm sorry for the uh, well, ya know...grrr," she apologized, blushing slightly.
Tara shook her head and spoke, "No, trust me, I would be doing the same thing," she said smirking.
"Right, well, what were you saying? Measuring the bites?" she asked, focusing on the issue at hand: pinning the shark responsible for this.
"Yeah, I need to measure them. As quickly as possible too, because well, the flesh could get damaged, giving me an inaccurate measure," she commented, getting back into the work zone.
Tara pulled out what looked like a measuring device and hurriedly went to work. While taking her data, she looked at the two cops. "You really don't have to stay for this. I'll inform you as soon as I know which shark it is," she said, hoping she wasn't taking up the two's time.
Xander smiled and told Tara 'thanks for being here' and left. Willow hung back, keeping a close eye on Tara. Her cat like eyes penetrated the blonde in a way that no one had.
The blonde had engrossed herself in her work already, but she felt the narrow gaze at her. It made her jittery. Her breathing increased just a little bit, but it was enough for Willow to notice. Willow smirked and strode over to the doorway. With her back towards Tara, she spoke louder with a newfound confidence, "I'll be in my office for most of the day. Come get me when you're finished and we'll head back to the apartment..." she turned around and winked, "You must be tired."