Author: Tinna Karen
Willow skipped inside her dorm room, happy from a satisfying meal with her parents. They had called her during her time with Tara and asked her to dinner with them. She had jumped at the chance, eager to get away from the awkward meeting. It wasn't that she had stopped liking Tara, it was just... well, she wasn't sure what it was but the meeting had been anti-climatic to say the least. Plus, after seeing the girl from the truck she felt even more awkward. She'd wanted to get to know that girl, and Willow felt bad just for thinking it, but she had wished that girl had been Tara.
Yet, despite the awkward afternoon, her night with her parents had been good and after having seen Tara talk with the truck-girl, Willow held a small hope of getting to know her through Tara.
Willow opened up her laptop and her IM program connected instantly. She saw Tara online and sent her a message.
WickedRed: hey, sorry for earlier...but how was your first day? are you all settled?
DeepBlueWaterz: oh, hey sweetie...yeah, I'm sorry too...but you know me...I'm such a klutz sometimes.
Willow read the message and frowned. Klutz? What does she mean?
DeepBlueWaterz: and yeah, I'm pretty much settled in thanks. Beth's been helping me.
Tara read the message and got confused but she replied quickly.
DeepBlueWaterz: uh, yeah...she's here for two weeks to help me get settled in...which only took a day :) Mostly she's here to shop *rolls eyes*
Tara's eyes widened and she swiveled around in her desk chair glaring at her cousin, who was reclined in her bed watching MTV. "Beth! What did you tell her?"
Beth turned the TV down and grinned at her cousin. "What?"
Tara shot daggers to her cousin, but quickly swiveled back around and typed 'brb' on the keyboard.
"You told her you were me?!"
"Noo..." Beth protested half-heartedly. "She just assumed I was you... and I didn't correct her."
"What the hell!"
Beth laughed and sat up on the bed. "What's the big deal Maclay? Just tell her it was a joke."
"But...well, of course I'm going to... but what if she gets hurt? I've been chatting with her... and now that I think about it... it looks like I was in on the joke... why did you do that?"
Beth gave Tara a 'why do you think' look who shrugged her shoulders in reply. "What?"
"Billy Connors, in the 8th grade."
Tara stared dumbfounded at her cousin, her mouth slightly open.
"That's right." Beth nodded emphatically and crossed her arms.
"I was 10 years old! And I apologized for that... like a hundred times."
"Didn't hurt any less sweetie."
Tara glared at her cousin for a minute then turned towards her new laptop and started typing.
Tara closed her laptop and got up, walking towards her door. "I'm going over there to straighten this out. Try not to ruin any more lives while I'm out."
Beth just rolled her eyes and turned her attention to the TV again. "Okay sweetie. Say hi to Willow from me, and ohh... don't make it too straight, alright?"
"Shut up!" Tara hissed, but she was grinning at her cousin. As much as her cousin could annoy the hell out of her, she loved her dearly, and Tara knew her cousin wasn't really mad at her... she just really loved teasing her.
Tara knocked three times on the intimating door and stood nervously as she waited for her answer. She didn't have to wait long. The door swung open, revealing a smiling Willow.
"Hey Tar..." Willow trailed off as she noticed the girl standing in her doorway. "Oh." Willow was shocked and she played the part well.
Tara smiled as she met Willow, really met her, for the first time. Her hair was a brilliant mixture of red and gold, shining under the artificial lights above, and Tara wanted to run her hands through it. Smooth, milky-white skin with freckles the photograph she owned had failed to reveal, sparkling green eyes, which greeted her now with idle curiosity and strawberry pink lips in a formation of a perfect 'o'.
The lips moved and Tara couldn't help the thundering of her heart when she heard Willow's voice — playful and sweet — like she was on the verge of laughing.
"Uh, Beth?" Willow felt nervous under the intense scrutiny of the girl in front of her and she looked down, briefly, shuffling her feet at the same time. "Where's uh, where's Tara?"
The question knocked Tara out of her daze and she shook her head slightly, clearing her mind.
"No, I'm ah...I'm..." Tara started, trying to find the words to explain the situation. "See, I have um...something to tell you...and you're probably going to laugh when you um...hear it."
"O-kay...do you wanna come in? Is Tara alright?"
"Thank you, yes...and um yeah, she's uh, she's fine..." Just a little petrified. Willow stepped to the side to let Tara in but before the blonde could make a move another blonde ran past her into the room, carrying a black laptop. "Will, thank god you're here...I need your help."
The blonde set her laptop on Willow's desk, paying no mind to Tara or Willow, for that matter. "I was writing my paper which is due tomorrow and this stupid piece of shit crashed on me...and now I can't find my paper. Can you find it?"
Willow looked at Tara and rolled her eyes apologetically. Tara smiled and nodding her head slightly she stepped into the room. Willow closed the door and walked over to her desk. "So what did you do Buffy?"
"Me? I didn't do anything. Why do you always assume I did something?"
Willow shook her head and pushed Buffy away from the computer. She sat down in her desk chair and turned on the laptop. "Because, usually you do."
"Hey, watch it ressie or no food dollars for you."
Willow chuckled and grinned at her RA. Whenever she called Buffy on something, whether it was sticking a screwdriver inside her VCR to try to get a tape out, or removing the battery from her laptop while operating it, Buffy would get all big with authority, calling Willow 'resident' or 'ressie' for short, and threaten her with food dollars, or the lack there off. It was all in good humor of course, and then Willow would fix whatever needed fixing and Buffy would shower her with praises and give her 10 food dollars. And Willow really didn't mind. Food dollars, which were given to residents as 'rewards' for helping around the campus, could be exchanged for meals and snacks all over campus, which suited Willow just fine, since her meal plan only allowed three meals a day.
Buffy moved her attention away from her computer and sat down on Willow's bed. She finally noticed Tara standing by the door, quiet as a mouse, and raised an eyebrow. "Uh, hey," she said and nodded her head once.
Tara gave the RA a small wave and smiled shyly.
Willow seemed to finally remember her manners and swiveled around in her chair. "Oh sorry. Buffy, this is-"
"Tara," the blonde interrupted quickly and gazed at Willow gauging her reaction. No matter how small the lie had been, it felt good to get the truth out, but to wait for the consequences of said lie was... tummy-rumblin' badness, Tara thought and as a reflex, tightened her abdominals.
Willow's eyes widened at the revelation and she felt her stomach twist soundly. You're... "Tara?" she said quietly in surprise and Tara nodded her head, the sorrow in her eyes evident.
Willow finally remembered Buffy sitting on her bed and she finished the introductions. "Right, Buffy this is Tara...Tara, this is my RA Buffy."
"Oh, so you're Tara..." Buffy grinned, "you know, Willow has not stopped talking about you for as long as I've known her."
"Buffy...shh." Willow hissed and tossed a pencil at her RA. Buffy easily ducked the attack and continued as nothing had happened. "If I didn't know any better, I'd say she had the biggest cr-" A warm hand clamped tightly over Buffy's mouth, preventing her from finishing. Willow chuckled nervously and glanced at Tara. The blonde was smiling shyly at the redhead, her cheeks red from blushing. Willow thought it was the cutest thing she had ever seen and she flopped down on her bed in awe, Buffy's big mouth forgotten.
Buffy grinned knowingly at Tara. "See, what did I tell ya...hopeless."
Willow smiled sheepishly and shrugged her shoulders. Tara blushed even more and averted her eyes from the redhead. They landed on Buffy and she decided to be brave, for once in her life. "I like her too."
"Great!" Buffy stood up from the bed and dusted her hands twice. "My work here is done. Now, Willow...hurry up and fix my computer and you two can get with the smoochies."
Willow blushed bright red but she stood up and walked back to her desk.
Tara shuffled nervously in front of Buffy and looked down on the floor in discomfort. A few agonizing minutes passed by as Willow worked on Buffy's computer in silence. Finally Tara couldn't take it anymore and had to get out of there.
"Uh, Willow...I'm gonna um, go. Maybe I'll um, see you...later?" Tara had already opened the door and was halfway out when Willow answered. "Oh, okay. Are you sure?"
Tara nodded quickly, "yeah um...you should help your friend and I should...I should go."
"Okay, can I come to your room when I'm done?"
Tara smiled and nodded again. Willow smiled back and Tara finally left, closing the door behind her. She was almost down the hallway when Willow called out her name. She turned around and saw Willow jog towards her. "What's your room number?"
"Oh..." Tara chuckled, "sorry...it's um, room 217 in Riddell Hall."
"Okay, I'll see ya later then?"
"Okay..." Tara echoed, neither of them making a move to leave. Willow gazed into Tara's eyes, mesmerized by the warmth and kindness she saw inside. Tara saw the same thing reflected in Willow and she got lost in a sea of green. Then they both blinked and the connection was lost.
Tara took one step backwards. "I should go."
Tara turned to leave but found herself wrapped in a Willow hug before she could take one step. The move surprised her, but she hesitantly brought up her arms, embracing Willow back.
"I'm glad you're here, Tara," Willow whispered and Tara tightened the hug.
Willow closed the door to her room with a smile and leaned up against the door.
"So that was Tara?" Buffy asked with a grin.
Willow nodded and walked to her desk. She picked up the laptop and walked over to her bed, sitting down next to the blonde.
Willow smiled, "I know." She continued working on the laptop, quickly realizing what the problem was. The fix was easy.
"And you'd never seen her before today?"
The redhead shook her head, "nope."
"Dude, you got seriously lucky!"
"Huh? What do you mean?"
"I mean she's a total hottie. Can you imagine if she had been some total skank?"
"Buffy!" Willow admonished and shook her head.
"That stuff doesn't matter to me."
"Oh, please...don't tell me you don't think she's hot."
Willow thought back to her 'first' meeting with Tara, and how she had been a little disappointed. But in her mind she justified that reaction to the fact that the girl she had met wasn't really the Tara she had fallen for. And she had been right. Beth certainly wasn't Tara, and the girl from the truck, of whom she had been thinking all night, was.
Beth is pretty, but Tara...she's beautiful. Did Willow think that because she knew Tara; knew her personality, her humor, her kindness, her innate beauty, or because physically she was more attracted to Tara?
She liked to think it was the former.
"Appearances aren't everything Buffy. Sure, Tara is really um, beautiful...however..."
"Ah-ha!" Buffy interrupted.
"However," Willow reiterated , "I think it's because I've gotten to know her so well, and like you said...I already had the biggest crush on her, before I met her...she was already the most beautiful person I knew. Meeting her in real life just sort of emphasized that point for me."
"Hmm...if you say so."
"I do say so." Willow typed something on the keyboard and a cheerful chirp was heard. "And ooh, fixed it."
"What?!" Buffy yanked the laptop from Willow and saw the open document displaying her paper proudly, every word accounted for. "Oh my god...you're a genius!"
"Hmm...if you say so."
Buffy laughed and Willow joined in. "I do say so. Expect plenty of food dollars in the morning. You might even be able to buy Tara breakfast."
"Yah...and for that to happen, I need to get my ass over there. And you need to leave. Now."
"Alright, alright. I'm going." Buffy made sure to hit ctrl-s on her keyboard before closing the screen. She got up and walked towards the door. "So, excited?"
"Are you kidding me? Did you not see the hotness that is Tara?"
"I knew it!"