Author: Tinna Karen
Tara looked up at the overwhelming dorm room and bounced on her feet. She grinned at her cousin Beth standing to her right who put her arm around her shoulder.
"Are you sure you're ready for this Maclay? I mean... it is California..." Beth trailed off and gave her cousin a light squeeze.
"Exactly... that's why I'm ready." Willow's in California, she added under her breath.
Tara turned on her heel and walked to her black '93 Chevy Pickup. It used to be her dad's truck, but when he got a new one a year ago, he had given it to her on her as a graduation present and she absolutely loved it. She opened the truck and grabbed a box, pulling it towards her.
She picked up the box and walked passed her cousin with a 'what are you waiting for' look on her face. Beth blanched and lifted up her hands. "But I just got my nails done," she pouted. Tara arched an eyebrow and her look changed into a 'are you kidding me' one. Beth rolled her eyes in defeat and trudged towards the black truck, picking up a box of her own. "Let's make this quick, I wanna go shopping."
Tara nodded and walked towards the dorm building. She took three steps then stopped suddenly. "Wait!" she exclaimed and turned around swiftly, making Beth accidentally bump into her. Tara stumbled backwards with her box, but managed to hold on to it, mock-glaring at her cousin.
"Oops, sorry." Beth laughed and Tara grinned back. "What were you going to say?"
"Oh!" Tara fidgeted with the box in her hands until she got a good grip on it, and nodded approvingly. "The shopping... no go... I have to meet Willow remember?"
"Oh, yeah..." Beth said and started walking. "Well, you can go meet your girlfriend and I'll do all the shopping by myself...it's cool."
Girlfriend? Tara blushed at her cousin, a half smile fighting its way onto her face. "She's not my girlfriend," she protested half-heartedly, while wishing her statement to be untrue.
Beth glanced back over her shoulder, "Not yet you mean," and kept on walking.
Tara caught up to her cousin with a questioning look, "What do you mean by that? I mean... I know what you mean but um... what do you mean? Willow and I aren't... you know... we're just friends. Sure, I really like her and all but I've never met her. I don't even know if I'm attracted to her physically... you know."
Beth grinned and bumped playfully into Tara. "You stare at her picture for six hours every day Maclay...don't tell me you don't think she's hot."
"I... um... how..." Tara looked down at the ground as she blushed. Her stomach flip-flopped at the thought of the redhead and she looked up at her cousin with a shy smile. "I do like her."
Beth tilted her head and smiled softly at her cousin. "Aw, sweetie... that's the understatement of the century."
Tara giggled and lifted one eyebrow. "True... I just... I hope she'll, you know, um... like me... uh too."
"You don't know that... she's never seen me. I have a picture of her but she doesn't know what I look like... um besides what I've told her... you know, blue eyes, blonde hair and stuff."
"Tara, she will... it's impossible not too."
Tara bit her lip, trying to suppress the smile spreading over her face. She got a faraway look in her eyes and slowly started walking towards the dorms again. Beth shook her head and smiled. She'll love you Maclay... you'll see.
Willow looked down at her watch for the third time in 30 seconds and shuffled her feet nervously. She spun around in a half-circle, watching the people around her, and sat back down on the wooden bench next to her. Despite it being January, it was warm and sunny and Willow silently thanked her parents for settling down in California. The beach was full of activity; kids were running on the sand and their parents chasing them, people played volleyball and tossed Frisbees around, and hundreds more lay on the sand enjoying the warm sun. Willow checked the time again and stood up, walking towards the side of the pier. She leaned up against the railing, resting her arms on top, and looked down on the gentle waves beneath her. No one was in the water this Sunday afternoon, the waves too small to attract committed surfers who had to endure the cold water.
She was nervous. Obviously. Her stomach did flip-flops and she felt her palms sweating. She was supposed to meet Tara in less than a minute and she looked towards the foot of the pier, giving every blonde haired girl her attention.
Tara sat in her black truck parked by the foot of the pier and stared at the redhead as she glanced around nervously. Tara was captivated, speechless, and frozen in her spot. Scared. She gripped the steering wheel tight, twisting the leather to and fro.
Beth sat in the passenger seat and regarded her cousin with an amused smile. "Well?" she asked, trying to get Tara moving.
Tara didn't respond, only gripped the wheel tighter, her knuckles turning white from the pressure. "Tara?" The blonde sat still, her breathing labored and Beth could see beads of sweat starting to accumulate over Tara's eyebrows. "Tara?" she asked again, placing a hand over the blonde's arm. "Huh?" Tara turned her head quickly and looked at her cousin with a frightful expression.
Tara looked out the front window at Willow standing a hundred feet away from her and gulped. "I can't do it," she whispered and closed her eyes.
Beth raised both eyebrows at her cousin in disbelief. "What?"
"I can't do it... I'm not ready... I'm..." Tara was panicking and she looked pleadingly at Beth. "Please... can you..."
"What?" Beth repeated and shook her head. "You are so going out there Tara Maclay." She pointed out the window at Willow. "You've been speaking to this girl for four months, shared almost everything there is to know about you with her... I mean, my god Tara... you've got the biggest crush on her... what's the problem?"
"That is the problem. I like her so much... but what if she doesn't like me? I'm afraid she's gonna take one look at me and... I don't know... run away or something. I just... I couldn't handle it."
"You're an idiot."
Tara looked up at her cousin with a hurt look. "What?"
Beth smiled sadly and scooted closer to Tara, wrapping her arms around her. "You're such a doofus sweetie. A blind doofus who can't see how beautiful she really is."
Tara sniffled weakly and rested her head on Beth's shoulder, "Am not."
"Tara...I may be your cousin... and I may be a little biased because you and I share some of the same genes but sweetie... you're a total knockout... you have those big blue eyes and that cute smile... and really... you got big boobs... people drool all over you."
Tara half-cried, half-laughed in her cousin's arms, "Shut up," she protested and lifted up her head, wiping the tears from her eyes. She looked out the window at Willow again and sighed wistfully. "You're right about one thing though... I am an idiot."
"No you're not. You're just in love... love does crazy things to people... or so I've heard."
"In love?" Tara asked skeptically. "I haven't even kissed her yet... how can I be in love with her?"
"Fine... whatever you say. You're not in love with her. But go out there, talk to her, kiss her, and then fall in love with her."
Another tear rolled down Tara's chin and she wiped it away roughly. "Please Beth, I'm not ready... I mean look at me... I'm crying... I can't let her see me like this. Can you just... I don't know... tell her I got hurt moving... that I twisted my ankle or something and that I'll talk to her later tonight?"
Beth sighed loudly and rolled her eyes. "Fine... but you owe me. I want the entire day tomorrow... I mean it... all day shopping, deal?"
"Yes... absolutely... whatever you say. And oh, tell her I'm really sorry and that I'll be online tonight."
Beth nodded and got out the car. She walked towards Willow and Tara saw Willow turn towards Beth and smile. Shit, that could have been me. She groaned and bent her head down, knocking her forehead on the steering wheel. My god, I'm such an idiot...and owie. She lifted her head and rubbed her forehead repeatedly watching her cousin and Willow sit down on a wooden bench.
Willow looked around for the umpteenth time that day and finally saw an attractive blonde walking towards her. She stepped away from the railing and quickly looked down at her outfit, her blue-washed jeans and a pink t-shirt. She frowned and dusted invisible lint off her t-shirt before looking back up at (whom she could only presume to be) Tara.
The girl walked purposely towards her, wearing a knee length jean skirt and a white tank top. Not what I was picturing exactly, Willow thought, going over every conversation she had had with Tara, distinctly remembering her friend proclaiming her love for her comfy jeans. But she does look... nice. Willow smiled and took two steps forward, giving the girl a small wave.
The girl stopped a few feet away from Willow and regarded the redhead with a slight smirk. "Willow, right?"
Willow nodded repeatedly, "Uh huh... yes, Willow me... I mean, yes, I'm Willow." She smiled apologetically and shrugged her shoulders. "I told you I babbled when I'm nervous." Beth smiled back at Willow thinking how adorable she was, and how perfect she was for Tara.
"It's um, nice to meet you Tara... finally."
"No, I'm no..." Beth stopped and smiled devilishly. She glanced at the black truck from the corner of her eye, and chuckled inwardly. "What I meant to say is, it's nice to meet you too Willow."
Willow bobbed her head up and down and smiled hesitantly. She gestured to the wooden bench next to her and Beth nodded, and they both sat down.
Tara sat in her car and wondered what was taking so long. Beth and Willow had been talking for a long time now, and Tara could see the changes in Willow. She had started out smiling, but now she looked bored... maybe a little sad... and her eyes were wandering. She's mad at me, Tara concluded and sighed. Maybe I should go out there... but no, that would be stupid...
Tara tabbed her fingers on the steering wheel in frustration. She frowned in deep thought and bit her lower lip. A minute later she knocked on the wheel with her hands. Okay, I'm going, she decided and opened the door.
The first thing that hit her when she got out of the car was the cool breeze from the ocean and she breathed in deeply. She hadn't even noticed the beach earlier as she sat in the car, she was too focused on Willow, but now she looked out into the horizon and smiled brightly. She had never seen the ocean before with her own eyes and the sight amazed her. She followed the length of the beach with her blue eyes until she reached the pier again. Her breath caught in her throat when she noticed Willow staring right at her.
Willow tried to listen to what Tara was saying but all she heard was 'bla bla bla bla'. Tara was nothing like what she'd been expecting. Sure, she was very pretty and all, but that stuff didn't matter to Willow... what mattered to her was the personality, the humor, the thoughts and opinions... and Tara was a totally different person online than she was now. She was saying something about the Blahnik shoe-man something and Willow was utterly confused. She nodded and smiled amiably but her eyes started to wander. A blonde girl stepped out of a black truck from the foot of the pier and smiled brightly as she looked out to sea. Willow smiled with her, noticing the almost innocent wonder in the girl's eyes. It's like she's seeing it for the first time. The girl followed the beach with her eyes until she reached the pier and they made eye contact. The girl seemed surprised and Willow inwardly scolded herself. Hello, stare much. But she couldn't take her eyes away from her. The girl was the most beautiful person Willow had ever seen, and as they looked at each other, Willow felt her heart beat faster and faster. Willow smiled shyly at the girl who returned the gesture.
Tara's body thrummed with anticipation and she took a small step forward. Willow's smile brightened and she felt her own mouth curl up into a brilliant smile as well. All of a sudden Willow broke eye contact and fumbled with her pants, pulling out a cell phone. She said something Tara didn't hear and pocketed the phone, turning towards Beth. Beth nodded and smiled and Willow jogged hurriedly down the pier towards Tara. Before Tara could say anything Willow had given her the one over, winked and ran past her. Tara spun on her heel to see Willow run towards a bike rack, unlocking a red mountain bike.
Beth was walking towards her and Tara met her half way. "What happened?"
Beth shrugged her shoulders, "She got a call from someone and had to go. She said she'd talk to you online later tonight."
"Oh." Tara looked towards Willow again, seeing her mounting the bike. Willow glanced in their direction and she gave a small wave. She made eye contact with Tara again for a second and she gave Tara a big grin before she left.
"She's so cute." Tara stated, as she watched Willow ride away from her.
Beth snickered and smirked at her cousin. "I'm sure you'll have plenty to talk about later tonight."
Tara nodded and walked towards her car, "I hope so."