It was only supposed to be for a few days, a week or two at the most. Just enough time for her to find a place of her own, for her to get settled into the new job, the new routine and the new city. It wasn't supposed to turn into this.
This was what Willow Rosenberg had feared most, and why she had almost broken out in hives when her best friend had bubbly offered up the room a little more than two months ago.
"No, Buffy, I can't-" Willow awkwardly stammered, shaking her head.
"Give me one good reason why not." Buffy asked, taking a sip of her iced tea and eyeing her fidgeting friend.
Willow weakly replied, "I barely know her-"
"I said a 'good reason'." Buffy challenged, good-naturedly.
Willow sighed and half-heartedly stabbed a fork at her lunch. "She's your friend-"
"Which is exactly why you should say yes." Buffy countered. "She's a friend, a dear friend, my best friend from college and I can't imagine a better place for you, my best friend from high school, to stay than with her while you're getting settled."
Willow frowned and looked down at the salad she had been picking at. "I'll be fine in a hotel-"
"Willow!" Buffy almost laughed at her friend's stubborn refusals. "You're moving to a new city, starting a new job; a hotel room is not going to cut it. You need your own space, a place where you can feel at home. Not to mention it'll be a whole heck of a lot cheaper. Besides," Buffy changed to a confessional tone. "Tara really needs someone to take on that room, if only for a few weeks. She'll never admit it, but things are tight right now and she could use the money."
Willow's brow furrowed and she shook her head. "I don't want to just, invade her space-"
"Believe me, you invading her space is the last thing I'm worried about."
"Will, I love ya, and I'm ecstatic that you're moving to my town, but you've got to get over this nervous thing you have about my friends here."
"I'm not, nervous-"
"I know it's hard. I mean, you're pretty much moving into my world, my circle of friends but... okay, when did you first meet Tara? Four, five years ago?"
"Five," Willow grumbled, "but we've only hung out a couple of times-"
"And that's my fault. I mean, it's not like I really planned trips so you guys could hang out, get to know each other."
Willow looked down at her hands. "Seemed like every time I came to visit she'd be out of town..."
Buffy frowned and reached across the table, squeezing Willow's hand before letting go. "Not because of you. Tara was just a busy girl, she had to do a lot of traveling, for her family, for school, her art-"
"I just don't know if it's the best idea for us to live together." Buffy opened her mouth to speak but Willow interrupted. "You and her have this special bond, and you and I have our thing and it just seems kinda forced to try and make her like me-"
Buffy finally did laugh. "She does like you!"
"And besides, it's weird, you offering the room." Willow carried on, choosing to ignore Buffy's interruption. "It's her apartment-"
"And she'd offer the room to you herself if she wasn't in Los Angeles for that art show. Willow, I want you there, Tara wants you there... What are you afraid of...?" Buffy finally cried out, exasperated.
Willow didn't reply. Buffy sighed and offered her long-time friend a grin. "Think about it?"
Willow just sighed, and nodded, picking at her lunch and allowing Buffy move the conversation on to other topics, like what her salary would be as a highly sought after computer programmer, whether she had heard from their mutual friend Xander lately, and whether Willow was up for an afternoon of window shopping.
Willow didn't reply to Buffy's query because she knew exactly what she was afraid of, why she knew two days of living with the blond artist (much less the two months she had just endured) would be absolute torture. Why she wanted desperately to find her own place and why she tried (mostly unsuccessfully) to keep to herself at nights. Willow Rosenberg was afraid, because she was now, as she was the day she spent in Golden Gate Park with the blond three years previously, head-over-heels in love with her new roommate, Tara Maclay.