Continue to The Office Chapter Two

The Office

Author: Closetromantic19 aka Katie
Rating: PG-13 to R
Disclaimer: Don't own them.
Notes: Thoughts in italics.

Willow was sure the hundred yard trek back to her office had only lasted about three minutes, tops, but the icy silence in the interim made it feel like forever. She wrung her hands together for the umpteenth time under her desk and wondered how many minutes had past since she and the blonde...say her name, Willow...since she and Tara had been sitting in her office in silence.

Finally, the redhead managed to calm herself enough to peer over her computer screen and take weary stock of Tara's demeanor. The overwrought blonde was looking daggers at Willow, who promptly cast about her office for anything else to look at.

"Sooo..." Willow began wryly, "This is ironic, huh?" She forced a laugh, which Tara did not share.

"Irony tends to be sort of ironic that way," Tara murmured stonily.

Willow regarded Tara contemptuously, and in under a second she was all business. "So, Miss Maclay," she began sharply, "What specific goals, including those related to your occupation, have you established in your life?"

Tara balked at this line of questioning, unnerved by Willow's harsh gaze. "It's...uhm...I..." Willow's raised an eyebrow in silent challenge and Tara appeared almost to shrink in her seat. "Maybe we could come back to that one?"

Willow had yet to release the blonde from her unwavering stare. "Very well," she said caustically, "I guess that answers my next question: Ďare you a goal-oriented person?'"

Tara gritted her teeth, seething. "What's that supposed to mean?"

Willow smiled a tight-lipped smile. "Let's move on, shall we? What do you think it takes to be successful in this career?" she asked briskly.

"Clearly not people skills," Tara quipped venomously.

If Willow heard the remark, she showed no sign of it. She surveyed her list of questions for a moment and returned her focus to the woman in front of her. She sighed audibly. "Why did you decide to seek a position here at Chase Enterprises?"

Tara groaned. "I've been asking myself the same question ever since we sat down." Willow scowled.

"Well then, I see no reason to prolong this farce any longer than I already have," she sneered. She returned her focus to her computer screen.

She was surprised when she did not hear the sound of the blonde's departure, and even more surprised to see the blonde relax her posture and breathe a tranquil breath.

"See, I've been asking myself..." Tara began quietly, her tone conveying equal parts amusement and uncertainty, "I've been asking myself what I'm doing here." Noticing Willow's confounded stare she smiled wryly, "Here at Chase Enterprises, not in an existential sense."

Despite herself, Willow chuckled and graced Tara with an encouraging smile.

"I mean..." Tara continued wearily, "I'm not a superstitious person...But days like today I just have to wonder if Fate isn't trying to tell me something."

Willow nodded in understanding. "I feel that way sometimes." She leaned forward and put her elbows on her desk. "Like the universe is conspiring against me or something." She laughed impishly. "I had an interview at Harvard," she began confidentially, "Oh, it was the worst. I was stuck on the ground for three hours in Dallas. By the time I got to the interview I was completely exhausted and I had this horrible cold and I was like an hour late for the damned thing on top of everything else because I had somehow managed to write the time down wrong and...I don't know, you know? I just...when stuff like that happens you can't ignore it, you know?"

Tara was sitting fully upright now. "Yes! Exactly, it's like...some kind of..."

"Sign," they finished in unison.

Tara smiled ruefully. "So that's why I can't take this job."

Somewhere deep inside Willow felt a pang. She forced herself to smirk. "If it makes you feel any better you weren't going to get the job anyway."

Tara merely shook her head and smiled. " was...nice sort of almost meeting you Willow." She extended her hand, which Willow shook gingerly. "Best of luck with um...everything."

Willow forced herself to return the smile despite the growing pain inside. "You too, Miss Maclay, and good luck to you too."

Tara was half way out the door of Willow's office when she turned. "Please," she said warmly, "Call me Tara."

Continue to The Office Chapter Four

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