Return to New Places, New Faces Chapter Four

New Places, New Faces

Author: Malorie Matos
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: Characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer are the property of Joss Whedon/Mutant Enemy.
Note: Thoughs in italics.

It had been about a week since the food tray incident and aside from friendly smiles and a small 'hi' in class that made the blonde's stomach flip, Tara hadn't really spoken to Willow since. Tara still sat in class staring and/or dreaming of Willow. She admired the redhead everyday from her table in the cafeteria, where she now ate lunch with Amy and Michael.

One fateful day, both of Tara's new friends were absent and Tara had a bit of a dilemma. Okay, so they're not here. Where am I going to sit?? Hmm...I know where I want to sit; with Willow of course. Wait, she's probably the last person I should sit by. I just know I'll end up saying something dumb or just sit there and not say anything at all. Tara let out a long sigh as she made her way to the cafeteria.

When she entered, she scanned the room, stopped at her redheaded love for a second, then made her way over to her regular seat. I guess I'll sit by myself for today. She quickly finished her food and then looked around the lunch room. She spotted a boy from her science class and decided to go say hello, despite not knowing him that well. She made her way over to him and sat down.

"H-hey Larry," she said nervously.

"Um...hi Tara." The broad shouldered boy gave her a somewhat confused look. Tara bobbed her head a little. There was a bit of an awkward silence before Larry let out a deep breath and turned around in his seat.

"Hey, Xander?" Tara rotated herself a bit to see what was going on. Her eyes widened when she realized who was sitting directly behind her. Oh My God. How did I not notice that Willow was sitting RIGHT THERE? They must have just moved over here. Xander, Willow and Buffy all looked at Larry, then at Tara.

"Yeah? What's up, Larry?" Xander responded to the other guy.

"I was just wondering if I could borrow that CD you were listening to in gym." Xander glanced at the blonde sitting next to Larry, and then fixed his gaze back on his friend.

"Yeah, sure thing big guy. I'll give it to you later."

The dark-haired boy grinned when he saw Larry nod, and then turned back to his friends. Larry looked at Tara and stood. "I have to go talk to some people." He pointed over to the other side of the room. "Catch you later." With that, he took off in another direction.

"Yeah" Tara breathed out to herself. She looked down at the table. Could I be any more pathetic? She thought.

"Hey, Tara," she heard from behind her. The blonde turned herself towards the voice that she easily recognized. She was met by Willow's gorgeous face.

"Y-yes?" Tara couldn't even imagine what the other girl wanted.

Willow visibly gulped and then asked, "Do you want to sit with us?" She gestured to the empty space right next to her. Tara examined the expressions of the three people sitting at that particular table. She then nodded and said, "Sure." Willow beamed and made room for the blonde.

As she got up, she heard the redhead say, "Cool, you looked like, all lonely and stuff." Oh great, she noticed how devastatingly pathetic I am. Tara took a seat and gave a shy smile to Buffy and Xander. The smaller blonde nodded a greeting and Xander grinned and gave a tiny wave. Tara glanced at the girl sitting next to her and then quickly looked down at the table. Tara felt so very out of place. She watched as the three people she was sitting with went on and on about anything in particular. She watched as Xander began talking about the miracle of cheerleading and how Willow and Buffy would find a way to change the subject to something completely unrelated.

"Okay, that is the most random thing you could have come up with! Cheerleading does not in any way connect with snowmen!" Xander accused.

Tara chuckled a little as the other two girls tried to think of something else to say. Noticing Tara's amusement, Xander turned to her and asked "Are they not the most random people you have ever met?" The blonde looked from his face to Buffy's and finally to Willow's.

"Uh...I-I guess...a l-little. But it's f-funny," she ended her answer with a small grin directed primarily towards Willow. The other girl returned the gesture with an adorable smile. Right then, the lunch bell rang, giving the cafeteria's occupants their cue to migrate out into the hallways. Tara got up and walked toward her locker.

Well, that went splendidly. I knew I would act like a dork if I sat near her, but who knew that I would get the chance to prove my theory today? I just sat there. I barely said anything and she probably thinks I'm a loser. But...she DID smile at me. That has to be a good sign, right?

Continue to New Places, New Faces Chapter Six

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