"You owe me big time!" the tiny blonde grunted as she heaved the last speaker onto the DJ platform at the head of the room. She surveyed the plethora of equipment she and her best friend had assembled. "God Will, most DJ's just need a couple turntables and a box of vinyl. What is all this crap?"
"This crap," Willow retorted "Is only the greatest auto-DJ system ever programmed."
"Auto-DJ?" Buffy rested her hand on her hip and shifted her slight weight onto one leg.
"Yes, auto-DJ. You know I tend to crack under pressure. If babbling interrupts my speech in stressful situations, imagine what might happen up here." Willow didn't even look at her helper. She continued checking connections.
Buffy smiled. "Yes, I could see how that might get ugly." She looked the stacks over again. She had been to many mixers that Willow had DJ'd before, but never paid much attention to what her friend was doing up on her pedestal. She was usually a little pre-occupied with some dancing hottie and flitting about the dance floor, not to mention the few (by Buffy's strange version of math) beers she enjoyed before hitting the floor. She had an "aha" moment and suddenly blurted, "So, the pimpin' DJ Red is all show huh?"
"What is that supposed to mean? I mean the pimpin' part. And, wait, oh, the show part too." Willow stopped and paid more attention to the human in the room than the machines she had been obsessing over for almost an hour.
Buffy laughed, then tried to get serious. "I mean, pimpin'! The guys are all over you up here. Do any of them even know you are hardly working up here while you're workin it?"
Willow groaned. It was true. Every guy who wasn't intimidated by the girl in charge of the room stumbled up to the booth and hit on her mercilessly. Almost every week, usually with a lot of coaxing from Buffy, she did let one walk her back to her room. Occasionally, she even let them kiss her, but usually she was just in it for the help schlepping her equipment. She took offense to the hardly working comment though.
"This is hard work! Darn tootin! It's just that I did most of the hard work before the show, that's all. I spin everything myself you know. A-a-nd I spin almost thirty percent of it live now too. I just have all the layers saved into the hard drive instead of relying on persnikity old vinyl. That stuff can get pretty unruly, especially with the heat from the lights, and the dark from everywhere else and..."
Buffy held a hand up to halt the babble-fest taking place in front of her. "OK, ok, I know. I was just kidding. Geez Wills, if you DID actually try to spin up here the normal way, you'd never get your mouth working long enough to score an after-party acquaintance. It's probably a good thing you're of the good when it comes to computers." Her face fell as Willow scowled. "You are an am-aaa-zing DJ Willow." She took her friends hand, forcing the red-head's eyes to face front once-again. "You have pretty much cornered the market on all the events on campus. Everyone else only gets work because you can only be in one place at a time."
Willow smiled "I'm working on that, don't worry."
Tara huffed as she reached to turn up the volume on her head phones. "Doesn't she EVER study?" She growled internally as her roommate spun into their tiny dorm room. It was Saturday night, but Tara tried to study until at least dinner time. Piercing through the plastic ear coverings came a shrill "Oh my GAWWD, I am so wasted". Recognizing her roommate's evening mating call, Tara looked at her alarm clock. "8:30 already?" She thought "I guess I just can't get enough of Art History tonight." Tara resigned to the official end of the academic day and cleaned up her study materials.
"What will it take to get you to come dancing tonight?" Kara grabbed both of Tara's hands as soon as she had risen from her desk. "You can't study all the time!"
Despite her penchant for alcohol and tendency to lean towards bimbo-ness, Tara really did like her roommate. They got along mostly because they hardly kept company outside of their room. This was fine seeing as they shared few common interests. Dancing was among them.
"I don't know Kara; midterms are almost here and..."
Kara interrupted her with an inebriated swish of her arm, "Midterms are TWO WEEKS AWAY Tara! You haven't been out with me all semester. This campus is in severe Tara withdrawal." Seeing that the usual means were not going to convince her, Kara flopped down onto one knee and crooned, "Oh please Tara, accompany me to the ball tonight. I am nothing on the dance floor without you. All of the handsome knights agree."
Tara glared at the kneeling girl
"Sorry, and all the fair maidens too." Kara smiled her most charming smile.
Tara was far from closeted, and thankfully her roommate was far from freaked out by it. Having two moms made her not just ok, but a true ally. She always remembered the immense relief she felt after Kara Wilson sheepishly introduced her to her mom and her mom's partner on move-in day. She then almost crawled right into her actual closet when Ms. Wilson noted not very quietly to her daughter, "I don't think you'll have to worry about boy competition with her honey. Everything is going to be alright."
When the moms finally left, Kara apologized. "Sorry about that, she isn't known for her tact." Kara was obviously just as embarrassed as her very shy new roommate. "I hope she didn't offend you. She is very presumptuous."
"N-no ii-t's okkay." Tara stuttered. "I'm not off-ffended, just a l-l-little shell-shocked, that's all. Besides, she's right." The two new friends shared a knowing moment.
Since that fateful day two years ago, Kara and Tara had learned to live with each other quite well. The most annoying thing around now was every new passer-by who thought that they were the first ones to notice their rhyming names. Theirs was a relationship in patience. Tara overlooked Kara's promiscuity and more-than-occasional drunken episode, and Kara overlooked Tara's over-seriousness about academics. Truth be told, Tara didn't really overlook Kara's seeming alcoholism, Kara just didn't know about the protection spell that kept her just on this side of death's door on an almost weekly basis.
Kara was still perched on one knee, although her balance was threatening a strike. "Come on Tara, you already have A's in every class. Your 4.0 won't be in jeopardy from one night of dancing. And I've already drunk enough for the both of us!"
Tara laughed out loud, which was unusual for the shy girl. "Alright, alright," She began as she helped Kara to her feet. "But I hope you left me one beer. Just a little something to help me get over mid-term blahs." Kara was definitely the drinker of the room, but Tara saw no harm in one drink here and there. So long as it never interfered with her studies.
"One bottle of liquid courage coming up." Kara squealed with delight.
Headphones pressed to her left ear, Willow closed her eyes and bounced with the loud bass echoing through the almost empty room. Buffy writhed for an invisible crowd in front of the DJ booth. While Buffy rarely helped with setup, this part of the night was tradition. Willow warmed up while her best friend did the same. As soon as the crowd started to grow, Buffy excused herself to get all gussied up and to get her drink on. This was, Buffy reasoned, so Willow wasn't there to grimace a little more with every drink Buffy consumed.
Willow loved becoming DJ Red on the weekends. It was a side of her she didn't know how to express in any other way. She thought of it kind of like her super-hero identity. Mild-mannered computer geek by day, wild woman by night. But truth be told, she didn't see herself as much of a wild woman. She guessed her music style just led everyone in her audiences to assume as much.
The guys who picked her up learned the truth soon enough. Willow just couldn't seem to let herself go with guys; literally and figuratively. She rarely accepted real dates, and never got too physical with any of the guys no matter how much equipment they carried. Not wanting to think too hard about it, she always told herself, and Buffy, that she was simply too concerned with her academic career to let anything get in the way. Somewhere deep in the recesses of her highly developed brain, she figured she just hadn't found a guy she was attracted to yet.
A few early-birds started to line the dance floor, signaling Buffy's time to fly. She waved to DJ Red, and made her exit. Willow got to work.
The room filled quickly with kids eager to get the night started. She took pride in creating a good mix for her audience, but saved the good, live stuff for her peers who arrived a little later into the night. "They never learn to pace themselves until at least sophomore year." Willow mused as one drunken frosh after another either slumped into a chair for "just a little rest", or padded their way to the bathrooms covering their mouths. Mild-mannered Willow hated drinking, always had.
Not only did Tara agree to accompany her roommate to the mixer, she also begrudgingly let Kara pick her outfit. The quieter roomie saw no harm in it really. Sunnydale U wasn't exactly crawling with girls of the Sapphic persuasion. Not that Tara ever had the guts to try and pick one up anyhow.
Luckily, Kara didn't go too crazy this time. The two roomies could share clothes when necessary, but Kara was smaller than Tara, making her clothes a little tighter than the taller girl was used to. Kara dressed her in a short black skirt, a gauzy white blouse and not-too-dangerously-high strappy shoes. Tara objected to the translucent quality of the top, but Kara shrugged it off by recommending a black bra to go with. Kara supervised Tara's hair styling, but was too impaired to do it herself. Flowing blonde locks became a complicated heap of golden curls piled on top of Tara's head, with just a curl here and there framing her smoky eyes. One last perusal from the fashion mentor, and the two headed for the door.
On their way out, Kara stumbled over the edge of their area rug, landing mostly upright, with one elbow crashing on her desk. The half-full bottle Tara had nursed during dress-up time spun over the edge, crashing and shattering between the two girls. Unfortunately, their legs became the final resting-place for the bottle's contents. "Oh great, now I smell like a still." Tara groaned. She turned to grab a towel and most likely a change of wardrobe.
Kara was quick to react, grabbing Tara by the arm forcefully. "Nonononono. No time, Who cares? Everyone else will probably be in the same boat. No one will notice. I promise."
Tara rolled her eyes, but followed anyway.
Around midnight, Buffy returned with two hunky football players in tow. Willow raised an eyebrow as she instructed the men to wait for her below. "Not your usual type," Willow grumbled. She looked away long enough to turn an assortment of knobs and adjust volume with no less than three sliding switches.
"I felt like a little workout tonight." Buffy tried to keep her composure, but found balance becoming her foe. Her slight swaying caused Willow's eyebrow to reach new heights of her forehead. Buffy understood. "Don't worry, I'm already cut-off. And I don't plan on leaving with them, well at least not both of them." After no change in the glare she was receiving, she finished with s grin. "Kidding Will! I promise."
Willow sighed in relief and returned to her boards. She was disturbed again by erratic slapping on her right shoulder. "Hey, Earth to DJ Red." Buffy again, "What's the matter, are the lights blinding you? That guy down there by the speaker thingy has been trying to catch your eye for like five whole minutes.
"Huh?" Willow tried to pretend she hadn't noticed. She had in fact noticed, but was now trying to fool both of them. "I guess so."
"He's very smooch-worthy. You should invite him up. Unless you think a back stage glance will ruin the magic" Buffy giggled as she did her best wizard impression. "Pay no mind to the redhead behind the curtain."
Willow returned to glare-mode. "You know I hate that movie."
"Whatever, he looks nice. At least say hi on your next break. By the way, now that I know about the auto-pilot, your breaks don't seem as well-planned as I used to think." She snarled as she lowered herself back down to jock-level and danced away.
Shaking her head, Willow glanced at her watch. "Two hours left. One last break before I go live." She thought as she noticed her bladder for the first time all night. "When will I learn? No more than one mocha on show night." She programmed ten minutes of stuff into the system, locked the boards, and headed towards the bathroom, careful not to attract her admirer's attention.
By the time they had reached the party, Tara had had about enough of the heels. She excused herself just inside the door while Kara giddily joined a group of her fellow drunks in the corner. Tara pushed her right arm out to open the swinging door to the ladies room, but was blocked by a swiftly-moving flash of red hair busting through.
"Oh, sorry," Willow muttered as she checked for a free stall. No luck. She spun around to prop herself against the wall to claim the next free toilet. At the apex of the turn, she found herself staring into dreamy, deep pools of blue.
Willow forgot her bladder all over again. The only part of her body she was aware of at the moment was her chest, which seemed to have the entirety of her last breath caught somewhere inside.