Tara blinked twice, before muttering under her breath. "No fucking way."
Though spoken quietly, Jo clearly heard and was shocked by the words that came out of her friend's mouth. Tara never swore, Tara hardly ever even used replacement words like heck or darn or shoot or freakin'.
"Tara, are you okay?"
The blond blinked again, shaking her head slightly. "That's her..." Tara whispered.
"Tare, I know. You already said... what's up? Was she that awful?"
Jo's last question brought Tara out of her reverie. Turning to her friend, she shook her head again.
"N-no, th-that's HER." Emphasizing her point by stressing the last word, Tara pointed in the direction of the man and woman they had been watching. "B-Behind them. Th-that's her..."
Jo's head whipped back and forth between Tara and the redhead Tara pointed to several times, before her own eyes went wide and she echoed her friend's words.
"No fucking way!"
Surely, this was some kind of sign. How was it that this random person met in a random airport just happened to be at the same concert, halfway across the country? How else was it that the random person they were talking about just happened to appear at the same moment they were talking about her?
"I thought they didn't know each other?" Jo asked softly. Her roommate simply shrugged and kept staring.
Tara had to do something, and Jo was determined to make sure of it.
Tara was unable to do anything besides nod before looking back to the girl...no, girls that she had run into at the airport in Chicago over a year earlier. She and Jo had gone to DC for the holidays, to spend Christmas and New Year's with Jo's family, but Tara took an earlier flight back to California to attend the wedding of a cousin in LA. The winter storm that hit Chicago was quite sudden, both girls were sure Tara's connecting flight would depart before the worst of it landed. Unfortunately, or fortunately, they were wrong, and so Tara found the nearest dining area and pulled out her copy of the Da Vinci Code, before she was distracted by the two women she was now watching.
Tara jumped when she felt a hand on her shoulder. Achingly slow, she turned to face her roommate.
"Tare, go talk to her." Jo prodded.
The sight of Tara looking down, letting her long blond hair fall around her face, was enough for Jo to know that her roommate was refusing.
"Tara, go talk to her." She repeated, more forcefully. "You're here, she's here."
Not looking up, Tara shook her head no. Jo, however, was not about to take no for an answer and she took Tara by both shoulders this time.
"You said it yourself, the odds of something like this happening are slim to none. Tara Maclay, you just beat the damn odds. Now go talk to her!"
Slowly, Tara raised her head, allowing her roommate to see the fear in her eyes. Softly she whispered, "I-I c-can't. W-What if... w-what if she d-d-doesn't r-r-remember me?"
Jo's heart melted. Tara had not stuttered that badly in a conversation between the two of them in a very long time, and the look in her eyes reminded her of the shy and frightened freshman girl who had creeped softly around the edges of their dormroom, afraid to get in Jo's way. No, Jo had not seen that girl in a very long time.
"Oh Tare." She sighed and reached up to tuck a strand of hair behind Tara's ear. "Who wouldn't remember you sweetie? It won't hurt to try."
Tara shook her head once more and let her eyes fall to the coarse fibers of the blanket the two friends were sitting on. Undeterred, Jo lifted Tara's chin, forcing her roommate to look her in the eye once again.
"You CAN do it. And if she doesn't remember you, then you'll just have to make sure she has a reason NOT to forget you this time around."
Tara smiled weakly at her friend. Jo's friendship had done wonders for the girl who, because of her stutter, had not had many friends before. And so if Jo said so, then so be it. She smiled again at her roommate and turned back to look at her redhead from the airport, only to find that the girl and her friends were gone.
The sound of a cell phone ringing interrupted Willow's intricate explanation of the type of computer systems, software, and databases used by some of her consulting clients. At first, the redhead was annoyed, wondering who wasn't answering their phone, when she realized it was her own phone that had been ringing. She apologized quickly to her companions and reached into her bag to find and silence the offending item. Willow checked the caller ID and pressed the talk button when she saw who was calling her.
Xander could hear the voice of his other best friend through Willow's phone, though he could not make out what was being said.
"Really? Where?" Willow craned her neck, looking above the sea of heads before her. "Okay, I see it. Oh yeah! Don't worry Buff we have time! Okay, see you soon!"
Willow grinned as she pressed the end button and placed her phone into her pocket for easier access.
"That was Buffy, obviously. They're here and they found seats really close to the front." She laughed before continuing. "She said to hurry up, Sheryl Crow's going to be on in like ten to fifteen minutes."
As Xander and his new girlfriend folded their blanket, Willow gathered their now empty cups and food wrappers. She glanced around looking for the nearest trashcan and spotted one near a row of portable toilets. Deciding to make a quick stop, she told the others where to find Buffy, pointing across the lawn to three girls standing over the crowd and waving their arms vigorously.
A few minutes later, garbage unloaded and bladder now empty, Willow tried to make her way to her friends. It seemed as though the crowd outside the Port-A-Potties had tripled while Willow was relieving herself and she struggled through a barrage of people, unable to determine if the crowd was going in any particular direction. Suddenly she found herself being turned first in one way then another as two particularly forceful groups of teenagers pushed past her, headed in opposite directions. Squeezing past two girls with brightly streaked hair, Willow turned to what she hoped was the direction in which her friends were seated, and collided with another concert-goer. The bump caused Willow to fall on her side, and her bag fell from her shoulder.
Mustering the little that was left of her dignity, Willow leaned onto one elbow. As she reached for her bag before it could get trampled, another hand beat her to it.