3am Monday morning, Willow and Buffy's dorm room:
"Buffy, you awake?" Willow wasn't trying too hard to be subtle.
"Well, I wasn't until something bear-shaped descended upon my bed. Wherever might that have come from?" She didn't sit up, but rolled over facing her roommate's bed.
"Sorry, Buff. I can't sleep." Willow sat up and reached for her bedside lamp. Her motion was reprimanded to a halt.
"Turn on the light and you'll eat brown fur." Buffy was happy that did the trick. "Lemme guess, more Tara ramblings?
"I just, I mean, what do you think kissing a girl is like? According to Jill Sobule, it's just like kissing me. Or was it meat?"
"Only Willow Rosenberg would be researching such things, especially with pop music. And eeww! Kissing meat? Let's hope not. I think you should be a little more focused on finding out more about the girl before you worry about kissage. Now go to sleep. Maybe you'll dream about it." Buffy ended the conversation by rolling over and facing the wall. "Good night Will."
"Goodnight Buffy." But Willow was nowhere near tired. Now that she didn't need to worry about her best friend being supportive, she had created a mental list of other things to obsess about. She had whittled the list down into two categories: things to research on the Internet, and things to research in person. Most people would have needed days, even weeks to compile such lists, but Willow's overactive cranium had been working double overtime since leaving the café the day before.
Since sleep was nowhere in the foreseeable future, Willow crawled to the end of her bed and retrieved her laptop. Settling back into bed and under the covers, she opened the web browser. Well, may as well start with the obvious. Into the address field she typed: www.lesbian.com.
Willow experienced a brief moment of panic as the page started loading. Typing such terms into a web browser often has disastrous results. If this turns out to be one of those cases, I at least hope there's no sound! She breathed a sigh of relief as a legitimate information sight came into view. Scanning the main page, she soon came across a side bar entitled: "How We Identify". OOHH! Jewish lesbians. That might be me! Willow started clicking.
Because of the limited amount of time Kara had on the phone before Tara returned from the laundry room, she and Lynn made an appointment to meet at Lynn's café just after opening. Kara was not eager to accept such an early date, but it was the only time of the day Lynn could guarantee undivided attention. Owning the place meant little time to socialize during operating hours.
Kara slipped out of the dorm just before 7 while Tara was still asleep. She made her way to the café, arriving as Lynn was turning the sign on the door to Open. "Perfect timing."
Lynn was a little too chipper for Kara's early-morning tastes. "Yeah, yeah. Coffee. Need it. Now."
"I'm way ahead of you girl." She lifted the pot of freshly brewed Java high in the air for Kara to see. Reaching behind her, she grabbed two mugs. "Let's sit outside. I think my morning staff can take care of things on their own." The two found a table and started plotting.
"I thought I recognized her. She did a show a few months ago off-campus. She's really good. And, as a matter of fact, really cute. She is definitely more Tara's type than I was." Lynn casually sipped her coffee while they chatted.
"Yeah, Did I ever apologize for trying to set you two up? I don't know why I did that. Seemed like a good idea at the time." Kara was waking up slowly.
"If nothing else, I gained a very, very good waitress and friend from the whole ordeal. Now, let's go over what we know about this Willow." Lynn reached in her back pocket and pulled out an order pad and pen. After a few minutes of deliberation, they had compiled a short list.
"Hmm, not much to work with here." Kara poured her second cup and tried to think of more.
"Willow, hey Will." Buffy called quietly from her bed. "Will, I think you forgot to set your alarm." No response. Buffy peeled the blankets off of her and sleepily padded her way across the room. Willow was sitting up in bed, laptop in its namesake place, Internet browser open. Buffy peeked around to see what Willow could possibly have been working on in the middle of the night. She leaned in to see the screen. "OH MY GOD! Willow what is that?" Buffy couldn't help but stare.
Willow woke with a start. "What? Huh? Who? Buffy what is it?" She nearly knocked her computer off her lap. When nothing else came from Buffy, she followed her roommate's eyes to the screen in front of her. She had fallen asleep after following links from lesbian.com to Toys in Babeland. The last thing she remembered seeing was their main page, but she must have hit the mouse button in her sleep, because now on the screen was a page from their catalog featuring the "Rabbit Habit" vibrator. Willow echoed Buffy's awe. "Holy moly, where did that come from?" The two young women stared for a moment, their heads tilted like confused puppies. Finally, Willow's brain gained enough consciousness to not only recognize exactly what was on the screen, but to recognize that she was looking at it with her best friend. She slammed the portable computer shut. "It's not what you think. I was just, um, well, I was doing a little research is all. Research is perfectly normal you know. It's the best way to learn..."
"Will, it's ok." Once the computer was closed, Buffy couldn't help but be amused by her roommate's early morning flustering. "Just promise me if you decide to make your research more hands-on, you won't do it with me sleeping right over there." She reached out and tousled Willow's already disheveled hair.
"Um, OK, bad pictures in my head now. Thanks Buff." Willow rose to her knees to place the laptop onto her desk.
"Yeah, sure, bad images. Besides, like I said last night, don't you think you should focus on getting to know your dream girl before worrying about accessories?"
"Buffy!!" Willow dove back under her covers and pulled them tight over her head. "I am never coming out!"
"Too late." Buffy laughed, tugging at Willow's cocoon. "Come on perv, get up. Mocha time."
A tuft of red and two sleepy green eyes peeked out from the blankets. "Tara mochas?"
"Maybe a list of things we need to know about her will be easier?" Lynn looked around at the crowd starting to form at the hostess station. "Let's make this quick. I've got to get inside and give them a hand."
"Ok, ok, let's see," Kara tapped the pen against her lips, deep in thought. "Well, I guess number one would be to find out if she's family. I am perfectly willing to play stalker-girl. Just gotta find her is all." Kara looked up at Lynn who was suddenly smiling.
"Doesn't look like that's a problem anymore." Lynn nodded her head in the direction of the table behind them. Kara turned and looked as a petite blonde and the topic of their early morning war council were being seated.
"Well, if this isn't a sign, I don't know what is. You go wait on them. I'll eavesdrop on their conversation from here." Kara shooed Lynn away and pulled her sunglasses out of her purse. She rose switched seats so she could see the targets as well as hear them. Sunglasses in place, she could easily stare without being noticed.
That's odd. I don't think Kara's ever been up before me. That's when she usually goes to bed. Tara rose, appreciating the sun shining through the light curtains. What a beautiful day. Too bad I have class and then work. Tara hummed her way through her morning routine, glad not to have to walk on tiptoe through the room. After her shower, Tara stood in front of her closet pondering wardrobe. Oh, I can actually listen to the radio this morning. She hopped over to her desk and flipped the power switch on the stereo. Another of Kara's mix CDs spun into play. Soon, Peter Gabriel filled the room:
in your eyes
She was twirling and frolicking amidst a field of wild flowers, hand in hand with Willow. It was a wonderful place; warm, peaceful, happy, secluded. A light breeze flowed through red hair allowing sunlight to shine through onto her face. Green eyes sparkled in front of her, reflecting the gentle stream trickling beside them. The only sounds were leaves rustling, water running, and... a CD skipping....
Tara realized she was standing in the same place, wearing the same towel, holding the same brush in her hand, as she was when the song started. She hadn't noticed her lack of movement due to the flurry of activity in her mind. Panic washed over her as she looked at the clock. Class started in ten minutes.
OH Crap! That's it Kara, no more songs about eyes.
"SO, what did you hear?" Lynn rushed over and joined Kara at her table as soon as Buffy and Willow had left.
"Absolutely nothing!" Kara threw her hands up in resignation. "That blonde can really talk. Willow hardly got a word in edge-wise. She seemed really tired."
"No hints at all?" Lynn blew her hair away from her face in frustration.
"Nada! I did, however, get her schedule for the day." A glimmer of hope was revealed as she took off her sunglasses. "Lucky for me I have nothing else to do today."
"Go forth and stalk, young lady," Lynn proclaimed as she stood and cleared the table of Kara's breakfast things. "Report back here later, and we'll analyze the results." She quickly disappeared into the restaurant amidst a flurry of customers.
Oh good, professor's not here yet. I got lucky. Tara scooted down the aisle to one of the very few empty seats left, right in the center of the lecture hall. She set her books on the desk and slid into the seat trying to make herself invisible. Tara didn't usually sit in the center of things. She was much happier in the back where she was less likely to be called on, less likely to be noticed at all. She opened her notebook and began to review her notes from last class. The task proved futile as the booming male voices behind her refused to be blocked out.
"So you really went home with her?"
"That's not the only place I went."
The second voice was followed by a grunted snicker and a congratulatory high-five smack. And people wonder why I don't like men. If biology wasn't enough to determine these things, boys like this would do the trick. Tara was disgusted. She did not want to hear the rest of this conversation. Just as she was about to stick her fingers in her ears to block out the machismo, one more line found its way to her ears:
"I tamed DJ Red alright. I banged her harder than any beat she could lay down on the dance floor."
Tara spun around in her chair. Jack! She suddenly felt sick to her stomach. The walls of the lecture hall crumbled around her. The world was ending, Tara was sure of it. Fighting back the sudden tsunami of tears threatening her vision, she scooped up her books tucking them tight to her chest, stumbled back through the row of full seats, and ran out the door. She didn't stop running until she reached the bathroom near the exit of the academic building. As soon as she locked the stall door, she let her tears flow.