Joyce left Tara and Dawn's house in a flourish of thank you's and sorrys. Tara was happy and grateful when she was finally able to shut the door and collapse into her favorite armchair. The blonde took a deep breath and closed her eyes, it had been a long day and she had gone through so many emotional highs and lows that suddenly she felt shattered, her limbs heavy and before she knew it her lids had closed and she was fast asleep.
"You're back..." said Dawn and then in a whisper. "Oh, you're asleep." She tiptoed away from her sister and headed into the kitchen when the phone rang. Dawn snatched the kitchen extension up quickly so she didn't disturb her sister. "Hello... oh hi Jitty... Tara's asleep... Do you want me to wake her?...Okay, yeah I'm excited about the wedding... Okay... I'll check for you." Dawn tucked the phone under her chin and went to the kitchen calendar. "She's got the fitting down for 4: 30 Friday. I can't wait. Are you still going to pick me up from school? 2.30, and we can hang for a while and I can still stay tonight? Cool, catch you Friday."
"Who was that?" Asked Tara, walking into the kitchen stretching and yawning.
Dawn decided she couldn't resist playing her sister a little. "Hmm Willow, I called her for you and arranged a date for Friday.
"W-what?" Asked Tara, sagging at the knees slightly and then she narrowed her eyes as she caught her sister's grin. "Dawn?"
"Oh-okay it was Jitty, but you know I have a point, if someone doesn't push you, nothing will happen," said Dawn.
"Hey, that's not fair, I phoned her," said Tara plaintively. "It's just something came up."
Dawn looked at her sister expectantly
"What?" Asked Tara.
"Phone her again. I'm staying with Jitty on Friday, why don't you phone her and ask her to go on a date. You won't have to worry about me or anything," said Dawn.
"She'll think I'm weird; calling her then putting the phone down, then calling her again," said Tara.
"Just explain," said Dawn. "And if she doesn't understand then she isn't good enough for you anyway. Avoidy much anyway, it'll be okay."
Tara put her arm around her sister's shoulder and gave her a brief squeeze. "I love you Sweetie. I'll call her."
"Hi," said Willow, into her phone without checking whom the call was from. She started to cough and splutter and Fred threw her a concerned look, which the redhead waved away. "Tara, how are you? No it's okay I understand." Willow listened for a couple of minutes. "That would be great. Do you want me to pick you up? Okay about 6. Yeah, I think I know where it is." Willow clicked off the phone and grinned into space.
"Well?" Asked Fred.
"What? Replied Willow, looking innocent.
"What did she want?" Asked Fred.
"Who?" Asked Willow.
Fred laughed. "You want to make this difficult don't ya? Tara, why did she call?"
"She asked me to dinner on Friday, she is taking me to an Indian restaurant she knows. I'm picking her from a shop nearby. She apologised for earlier, she said something came up, something with Buffy's mom," said Willow. "Hey, she asked me on a date."
"Wow, it took you long enough to figure out; what with your genius I.Q. and all," teased Fred. "But really that's great."
"What's great?" Asked Xander, as he entered the apartment.
"Will's got a date," answered Fred.
"Who with?" Asked Xander. "Tell me it isn't Penny."
"No, it's Tara," explained Fred.
"Tara, from the other night?" Asked Xander. "How did I miss that? I mean I was there and I didn't see any sparkage."
"Maybe if you hadn't been eyeing up Buffy..."
"I resent that," protested Xander. "I was eyeing up both of them."
"And this is why you are useless with women" said Fred. "You never pay attention."
As her two friends were talking, Willow attempted to sneak away to her room.
"Hey, were do you think you're going?" Asked Xander. "I want all the gory details."
"Look, there is nothing to tell. She asked me..."
"She asked you?" Xander interrupted. "Go Will, she must be really keen."
"It's no big deal and I might have read the signs wrong and she just wants me to go out as friends," said Willow and then noting the disbelieving looks of her friends she added. "I don't want to make this a big deal. I want to go out and have fun with her and if it works out great, if it doesn't then I have a new friend."
Xander opened his mouth to ask how much fun but caught the look in Willow's eyes, they had a look he knew from childhood. A look that said I have made up my mind and I don't want to talk about it.
"What are you going to wear? Oh, where will you take her?" Asked Dawn excitedly.
"I'll take her to Bobby's and I don't know what to wear," said Tara. She sat down on a stool at the breakfast bar I shouldn't have asked her; it was a moment of madness. I don't have time..."
"Tara, why haven't you dated since Mom died?" Asked Dawn.
"I had to take care of you and I had school, work everything. I didn't have time," said Tara.
Dawn pulled her sister's hair back and to started divide it so you she could braid it. "Maybe it's time you made time for you; you know it's what Mom would have wanted."
"Hey that's cheating," said Tara softly. "It's only me who is allowed to play the Mom card."
"I think I'm old enough to play it too, but you'll go?" Asked Dawn insistently.
"I wouldn't let the woman down," said Tara. "And I'll probably have a new friend, if nothing else."
"Cool," said Dawn.