Well, we sat in silence for a few moments when I realized maybe I should go get something to drink. I looked at her mocha and noticed that it was half empty, so instead of asking her I just figured I would get her another one while I was ordering mine.
"Two iced mochas with a vanilla shot in both!" I yelled a bit so I could be heard over the crowd of people in line. I waited for a few moments, til our drinks were ready, then I grabbed them and straws and headed back to the table where Tara sat and waited for me to return.
"So," she started nervously. I looked up and smiled, pushing her drink in front of her. "Thank you Willow," she grinned - she always did love her mochas. I nodded my head and just sat there, she wanted to talk so I was going to let her do just that.
"So," she said again, I think she was trying to figure out where to start. "You look good," she nodded, like it had been the first time she had noticed I was in a custom three-piece business suit, jet black jacket, vest, and pants with a bright red dress shirt under it.
"Thanks," I smiled, and smoothed my hands over my jacket unconsciously. "I finished school," I started softly and looked up at her as I took a sip of my mocha.
"Oh good," she smiled - that was something she always wanted me to do, was to go back to school and at least get my high school done and out of the way. "So what did you end up taking?" she asked with a grin. She sat back slightly, seeming to be getting a little more comfortable.
"Management," I nodded with a grin. "I always liked bossing people around, now I'm the manager of the local hospital." I smiled, I was proud of my job, there was only one person that did what I did in our town - we only had one hospital, and I was the manager for it, the one and only.
Her smile grew even wider. "That's amazing Willow, I'm happy for you!" She wound up somehow placing her hand over mine and I looked down, and I noticed there wasn't a wedding ring on her finger.
"So how have you been, marriage treating you well?" I said, my voice polite but tinged with a slight sarcastic tone underneath, and full of question at the same time.
"Actually it didn't end up working out to well, I finished training and moved there, then I caught my so-called partner cheating on me about a year after we got married, so it's been three years now since I've been divorced," Tara stated with a lovely smile, though her eyes were slightly clouded. I guess you end up getting what you give.
"Well, umm, sorry about that," I said as honestly as I could, even though I wasn't really sorry she got divorced, but I was sorry she got hurt. If there is one thing I would never want to happen would be for Tara to get hurt. "I'm honestly sorry Tara, I never wished for you to get hurt." I looked her in the eyes and that's when I noticed that her hand was still covering mine. She gave it a slight squeeze.
"It's okay, it worked out for the best anyhow. I stayed and worked out my contract, which ended six weeks ago, then I moved home, got a job at the local station." She smiled softly and left her hand where it was.
"Well that's good," I grinned, and leaned back slightly, picking up my mocha with my free hand and taking a sip.
"So how about you, are you single, married, what's been going on in Willow world?" she asked, smiling.
"Well I'm single, always have been, never really seen anyone after you," I sighed. I didn't want the conversation to turn into her and I, it was nice just chatting like we used to.
"Oh," she whispered and lowered her head slightly ashamed. "Sorry," she said again.
"Tara don't be sorry, you had to do what you thought you had to do for you, I understand that. You followed your heart and even though it tore mine out, you had to follow yours," I said, and my voice cracked a bit, I just wished her heart had've led her to me.
"To be honest, Willow, I don't think I did, I think I left my heart here in Sunnydale," she said after a few seconds of silence. I smiled softly and turned my hand in hers, giving it a soft squeeze.
"So other then a divorce and job transfer, what else is new in your life?" I asked, wondering honestly what she had been up to for the last four years.
"Humm, I have a dog," she said with a raised eyebrow.
I just looked at her. "That's it? All this time and that's all that's changed?" I chuckled slightly, she always did hate change. "What type of dog and what's its name?"
"Well I'm not a fan of change, remember!" she laughed, and it was a sound I never thought I would hear again, it was the most beautiful thing in the world. "She's a lab, her name is Zoey."
"This is true, you never did," I laughed with her. "Pretty name." I smiled, then I bounced excitedly. "Oh I got my tattoo that I always said I was gonna get!" I exclaimed and pulled my sleeve up showing her the cool star and moon tattoo on my wrists.
"Oh wow," she smiled and ran her fingers lightly over the tattoo. It sent shivers through my body, it had been years since I felt a touch that soft, my heart was pounding a mile a minute and I swore she could feel it in my wrist. She smiled knowingly and I knew she felt my pulse race she rested her fingers there for a few moments, and I enjoyed the feel of her hand on me.
"Just like you always said you'd get it, so you did," she shook her head. "I guess once your mind's made up you keep it that way." She laughed and I nodded - it was true, once I had made up my mind I kept it that way, never once I had changed it over the years.
"So what has your mind made up on the idea of you and I?" she asked after a moment, and caught me off guard. I wasn't sure how to answer that, what did she mean 'her and I', her and I as in dating again, or did I still love her or what, WHAT DID SHE MEAN!? I was so confused, but I jumped and answered - no matter what happened I had to answer, so I did.
"I still love you Tara, you hurt me more then you could know but I never stopped loving you. Trust you, I'm not so sure any more, but the love is still there," I spoke slow for a moment, making sure she heard everything I said so I wouldn't have to say it twice.
"Oh," she whispered. She looked nervous again and for a moment I thought I said the exact opposite of what she wanted to hear. "I understand you can't trust me again for a long time, if you can ever trust me again at all," Tara whispered softly looking at our enjoined hands. "But I missed this, not a day went by that I didn't think about you Willow." She sighed. "I moved back here so I could try to run into you again, thinking maybe, if you wanted, we could possibly go out sometime?" she asked softly and I thought I would die... The words I had always wanted to hear again finally were spoken.
"You know, for some coffee, maybe a movie or something?" she asked again, and I realized I hadn't answered.
"If you missed this Tara, why didn't you ever call me? Do you have any idea how much hell I went through trying to convince myself that it was for the best, that it would be alright in the end somehow, how finally just this week I had finally thought I had gotten over you!!" I shook my head slightly. "I saw you today ordering your mocha and my heart hit the floor, I couldn't breathe, walk, move, my mouth wouldn't let me speak, I wanted to scream and at the same time run but I couldn't, all because of you!" My voice was raised slightly, I was hurt and hurting, and still the look on her face of regret melted me. "I'm sorry," my voice was finally a hushed whisper. "Why didn't you just call me to say you missed me?" I asked once more.
"I was scared." She shook her head, a sad look in her eyes. "I knew I hurt you, and then of course things didn't work out with the person I was with so, call you and ask you if I could come crawling back? How fair would that be to you?" she asked, and I looked up. I pulled my hands away and placed them in my lap, she snapped back like she had been hit.
"How fair Tara? It would have been fine, I would have told you to come home, that I was here waiting for you." I couldn't believe this was happening, finally I was getting it all out, and to the person who caused the pain. "I've still been waiting for you, even after all this time."
"I'm so sorry Willow," she said and there were tears in her eyes, and that was when I realized that there were tears in my eyes too, but I refused to cry in front of her. She had already been the cause of enough tears, it wasn't going to happen again.
"Four years, Tara," I whispered, lowering my head, blinking a few times quickly to make the tears go away, yet they still stung behind my eyes.
"I know," Tara said her voice filled with regret.
"It was nice to see you Tara," I said as I stood from where I was seated across from her. I was angry and hurt and if she really wanted a second chance then she would have to come after it, I refused to be the sad lovesick puppy this time. She watched me for a moment as I headed away from the table, I didn't look back, I refused, I walked out the door and down the street.
"Willow!" she yelled, and I stopped and turned just in time for her to run dead into me.
"Sorry," she whispered as I caught her and helped her steady herself.
"S'all good," I sighed - what did she want now, it was all I kept thinking, I wanted so badly to take her in my arms and just kiss her, but I wouldn't, I wouldn't do that to myself again.
"Willow," she said softly and smiled. "Can I please give you a drive home?" she asked, and I was stunned.
I laughed, "All of that, you ploughed into me to ask if you could give me a ride home?" And she laughed with me.
"Yes, pretty much," she smiled from ear to ear.
"Sure," I answered, and we both headed towards her nice silver Jag. "By the way, I meant to tell you earlier, but, nice car," I nodded and grinned.
Tara laughed. "Best part of the divorce," she winked and I burst into a fit of hysterical laughter.