Return to Normality Chapter Nine


Author: Magrat
Ratings: PG-13
Disclaimer: Not mine; I would have treated them all so much better.

"Nice car," said Tara, climbing into Willow's bright red Mini Cooper.

"Yeah, it's cool. My mom and dad bought it for my birthday," said Willow indicating to pull out.

"They must love you a lot," said Tara a little wistfully.

"Not really, I think it's a guilt trip purchase because the rest of the time they never notice I'm alive and the year before they missed my birthday completely," explained Willow, in a flat voice.

"Oh," said Tara. "I'm sorry."

Willow shook herself out of her creeping self-deprecation. "You don't have to apologize, I'm just dwelling on stuff that isn't important. My parents are both academics, they tend to forget that people exist in the real world; me especially, but at least they are still alive and lecturing in Iowa or somewhere equally exciting, I think."

Tara looked out the window and said nothing.

"I'm sorry," said Willow. "I meant at least they are reachable if I want them, that's if they remember who I am," quipped Willow in a weak attempt at humor. She continued more softly. "I... I didn't mean to hurt you."

Tara smiled. "I know. Let's not do this whole sorry thing. We are just getting to know one another and I don't want you to feel that you have to tip-toe around me over this and do you know where you are going?"

Willow gave a relieved laugh. "Not really, wanna give me some directions?"

Tara giggled and started to give Willow directions.

"Here we are," said Tara. "You can park on the drive."

"K," said Willow and pulled up, she sat in the car feeling a little shaky, she didn't understand quite why.

Tara got out of the car and looked surprised that Willow hadn't followed her. "Uhm, if you want to head home its f-fine."

Willow shook herself out of the mood she was in. "No, I would love a cup of coffee."

If they had waited a few minutes longer they would have seen the car, that had followed them from the restaurant, glide up to the curb across the road. Penny dug her fingers into the steering wheel when she saw Willow enter into the house behind Tara. "How can you go in there with that slut? You know you belong to me." She said softly, before taking off at great speed, tires burning. She couldn't allow this; correction wouldn't allow this. Willow was hers and she would make sure it always stayed that way.

Tara led Willow into the living room. "I'll be back in a second. Do you want anything else?"

"No, thanks, coffee's fine," said Willow. As Tara left the room she looked around and could see right away Tara's talent for design. The color scheme was a conservative green and cream; but she had livened it up with throws and cushions. It was obvious that the furniture was not the best but the fabrics she had used made everything look fantastic, light and airy with lots of textures. A charcoal picture was above the fireplace; the set of the cheekbones and the generous lips told Willow that the drawing was of Tara and Dawn's mother. The beauty, artistry and talent in the picture shone, stunning the redhead and she was unsurprised when she saw it was signed T. Maclay. She felt an itch; an impatience that told her she wanted to see Tara right now. She followed her path into the kitchen; the blonde's back was to her, as she watched the coffee machine finish its job.

Tara felt the movement behind her and turned to find Willow closer than she expected, they regarded one another for a second, the air seemed to still and time stop. Willow brushed her hand over Tara's cheek, before leaning in and their lips touched for a brief second and then they stopped.

For a moment they were both breathless, surprised, confused even; by what had happened, what they felt, if the other was feeling it too They'd known each other such a short time, hadn't they? Yet it didn't feel that way, it felt; it felt... like... like... coming home.

"Wow," whispered Willow, not even sure if she had said it aloud or just in her head.

The second time their lips met was different, deeper, a passion making its way to the surface. Willow put her arm around Tara feeling her warm skin as she slid her hand up the back of Tara's shirt while her mouth moved along her neck and shoulder.

The chime of the front door alarm made them both jump, Tara pulling away and adjusting her clothes. "What is she doing back? She said she was staying with Jitty all night."

Willow shrugged, feeling like a naughty kid who had just been caught doing something she shouldn't.

"Hey I've got the pizza if you... Who are you?" Asked William, glaring at Willow.

Willow glared back at the man defiantly, she was surprised by his attitude and his appearance seemed to clash against Tara and everything that was in the house.

"Will, what the hell are you doing here, again? Let me guess your uncle has thrown you out again and you wanted a place to crash and don't talk to my friend like that," snapped Tara, annoyed by his treatment of Willow.

"Well I thought this was Friday night; you know video night with you and Jitty but I take it I wasn't being kept in the loop," said Will. "And the guilty looks on both your faces doesn't read friend to me."

"What is wrong with you?" Asked Tara.

"Nothing," replied Will. "But I know where I don't belong." He turned sharply on his heel and threw the pizza box down.

Tara gave Willow an apologetic look before running after him; she got to him just as he went out the door. "Stop, Will what's gotten into you?"

"I don't know, I mean I want you to have someone, but it felt weird walking in and seeing you with someone. You were both flushed and she looked so guilty... I admit I did know Dawn was at Jitty's and I thought we could have pizza night anyway. I didn't want you be on your own and was looking forward to having a gossip with you. I didn't think you'd have a date here," said William starting to look ashamed. "I'm sorry I flounced out like a big spoilt child. I did didn't I?"

"Pretty much," agreed Tara. "Do you want to come in and meet Willow?"

"Nah, I think I've made a bad enough impression for one night. Tell her I'm sorry and I'll meet her another day, oh and I eh... like her name.

"If you're sure?"

"I'm sure," he said. "Have a good night Sweetie. Give her a proper breakfast in the morning."

"Hey it's not like that," said Tara.

He raised his eyebrow but didn't say anything as he kissed her on the top of the head and waved goodbye.

Willow hugged her arms; she felt a little battled from the quick changes in emotions. One minute she was in a passionate kiss with a beautiful woman and the next moment she was being starred down by an angry man. She was confused by what was going on and was relieved when Tara came back into the kitchen without the man.

"Willow, I'm s-so sorry," said Tara. "He is a good friend, but he wasn't expecting me to be with someone and I know its no excuse for his rudeness."

"Are you two involved?" Willow asked, fearful of the answer. She was starting to feel the night had gone far too well and she was now waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Tara laughed so much she couldn't breathe for a second. "Me and Will... really... you think that... Will... god this will kill him when I tell him." She took a couple of deep breaths. "He's gay Willow, he's my best friend, a little bit protective but honestly that's all it was. And you know I'm gay too."

Willow felt a weight lifted from her shoulders, but it had been a little too much and she needed a little time to process everything that had happened. "Its okay, but I think I should skip the coffee. I have some studying I need to catch up on."

"Oh, hmm of c-course. Don't let me k-keep you," Tara cursed inwardly as she stumbled over her words, she'd been meaning to aim for carefree but instead had hit gauche and hurt.

The show of vulnerability pierced Willow's heart a little more, making her feel guilty for shrugging Tara off; this woman couldn't be more different from Penny if she tried. "But I was thinking seeing as you bought me dinner, I wondered if I could get you breakfast and I totally understand if you have something going on with you sister, we could make it another day."

"Dawn has a soccer game in the afternoon but I could do breakfast," said Tara quickly, almost as if she expected the invite to be snatched away from her.

"Before you think anything else, I had a great night," said Willow, pulling Tara into her arms and kissing her gently. "But maybe your friend's interruption was for the best, things were moving pretty fast. I'll see you tomorrow, at the coffee shop we met at with Buffy."

Tara walked Willow to her car and waved her off. She closed the door and went back into the kitchen, threw the pizza out and poured herself a cup of coffee, all in all the date had gone great until Will had arrived and the memory of those kisses was enough to keep her hopeful that there were a lot of good things in store for her. She closed her eyes and breathed in catching the last lingering scent of Willow, her girlfriend? She wasn't sure yet but she felt it could be.

Continue to Normality Chapter Eleven

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