Author: Malorie Matos
Three months later...
Tara sat anxiously looking out the car window. The summer had been exceedingly boring and she missed her friends so much. She just hoped her first day at Sunnydale High school wouldn't be too dreadful. She fidgeted with her bracelets, checked her watch for no reason, and pulled at her shirt. Her mom pulled up to the school and Tara saw all the students running around, most of whom she could tell already knew each other. "Bye Tara. Have fun!"
"Yeah... bye mom." The blonde got out of the car and walked slowly up to the school doors.
Let's see. My first class is... oh! The hallway was crowded and people were slamming into Tara while she put her things into her locker. She shook her head and withdrew her class schedule from her pocket. Health. Oh boy. This'll be a blast. She slammed her locker shut and started off towards her first period class. When she entered the classroom, she was unhappy to find that she was the first person there. Obviously everyone else was still hanging out in the hall. And I'm all alone. She took a seat in the back. The teacher was rushing around the front of the room adding last minute touch-ups to her lesson plan. A few students started to file in. Chattering groups of long-time buddies entered after them, still buzzed from the events of the summer. Then, SHE walked in. Oh my god. It's her. That's the girl I saw at the open house. I can't believe she's in my class!
Tara wanted to leave. She didn't have any problems with her schedule and she knew where her classes were. Her mom had insisted that she speak to the guidance counselor though, so Tara was stuck out in the hall for a while. She watched all the other kids walk by, some with parents, some with friends. They were all holding maps and class schedules, just like she was. Tara crossed her arms and leaned up against a wall. She watched as a dark-haired guy and a small blonde girl started dancing around, hugging each other, laughing. They reminded Tara of her friends. Then, as if a beam of heavenly light had appeared in the middle of the school hallway, SHE was there. The first thing Tara noticed about the girl was her eyes. They were like two gorgeous emeralds sparkling under the cheap fluorescent lighting. Then there was her hair. It was the most beautiful color Tara had ever seen. It was auburn with a fiery glow to it. It was partly covered by a black bucket hat. She was smiling the most adorable smile ever. The girl had braces, but that made it even more endearing. She wore a black tank top, and Tara could clearly see from where she was, an adorable smatter of freckles covering the pale skin of the girls arms. She was the most amazing looking girl Tara had ever seen. She joined the two that Tara had been watching and they started off down the hall.
Tara assumed that was the last time she'd ever see her, except maybe around the school sometimes. She hadn't even though of the possibility that the girl might be in any of her classes. But, here she was, just casually walking in with the girl that she had seen her with at open house. They took two seats on the other side of the room. Once a reasonable amount of students had come in, the teacher began to speak.
"Alright everyone, sit down, summer is over. My name is Mrs. French. I see some familiar faces and a lot I don't recall, so just to help me with names, I've assigned seats." The entire class groaned. Tara smiled. Thank god, now I won't look like a loser trying to find a seat everyday, she thought.
"Everyone stand up." The class obeyed and Mrs. French started calling off names. "Okay, Michael Campbell, Alex Gold, Aurora Smith..." It took two rows before she got to Tara. "Amy Madison, Tara Maclay, Ryan Kenny..." Tara took her seat and waited apprehensively for the girl with the red hair to be seated. "And finally, Greg Johnson, Buffy Summers, and Willow Rosenberg." The two friends gave a whispered cheer and sat down, one behind the other.
Willow Rosenberg. What a perfect name. And I sit nowhere near her, which is just my luck. The class continued un-disrupted with books being handed out and Tara tossing the ever-obvious glance at the red haired angel that sat three seats over diagonally from her.
Second period ended with Tara yet to have spoken a word. She absently floated down the cramped halls with only one thought in her mind: Willow Rosenberg. It was then, on her way to third period, that Tara saw Willow with her blonde friend, Buffy, and the tall, dark haired boy that they had been with the other night. They were standing in front of what Tara assumed to be Willow's locker. She slowed down to look at her for a moment, and then went into the classroom across form where Willow's locker was. Tara had only been in the class a minute when the red-head and her two friends strolled in, laughing with each other. The teacher put his hands in the air and told everyone to stand up. Yay! Assigned seating again! Tara ended up at the end of a row, way in the back, which is the way she liked it. She nervously eyed Willow as Mr. Flutie, the teacher, made his way down the row next to Tara's. "And at the end of that row, Willow Rosenberg." Willow frowned at her friends and made her way over to the seat right next to the blonde girl. Tara could feel every movement Willow made, despite the fact that they were at least a foot apart. She couldn't move, in fear that she might knock her books off her desk or make the chair squeak. She chanced a look at the girl next to her. The red head caught her gaze and gave Tara a quick grin. Tara almost melted.
The rest of the day was moderately similar to Tara's second class. She barely spoke to anyone and thought only of Willow. That was, until geometry class. Tara was already horrible at math, now she had to worry about the fact that Willow Rosenberg sat directly behind her. She could see every move Tara made. Tara absentmindedly listened to Willow chat with her friends, Buffy, and the boy, Xander. They were so much like her and her friends back in Sacramento, it was almost uncanny. Willow was not only cute, she was funny too. She babbled on to her friends about summer, classes, and computers. Tara had to stop herself from laughing a few times. She didn't mean to eaves drop, she was just so drawn to that girl and she wanted to know more about her.
The red head also ended up having a free period at the same time as Tara, and if that wasn't enough, Willow was in her last class as well.
This was going to be a difficult, but interesting year.