Tara heard the knock on her door and she closed her eyes to take in a deep breath.
She made her way downstairs and when she opened the door Susan was standing there with her amrs folded. She was a strikingly attractive woman with long black hair and dark green eyes. Tara immediately felt herself sink back to her high school days where she was teased and taunted mercilessly for all the years she could remember.
She lifted her sunglasses from her eyes and gave Tara the once over. She snapped her gum and said: "Jesus honey, you look like shit."
Tara just stared down at the ground and winced to herself. She knew the woman was right. She felt like shit so she was sure she looked that way too.
"So, let's get this done. Willow wants me back there before she goes to sleep tonight and I promised I would be. She's looking at another surgery and she can't do it alone. I need to be there."
Tara nodded to the woman and pointed toward the stairs. She didn't dare risk talking because she knew she would end up stuttering over every word and she didn't want to be humiliated any more than she was already.
Susan followed Tara up the stairs and looked around the house as she made her way up. She saw pictures that lined the walls of Tara and Willow and they shot a pang of jealousy through her. There was one that she eyed with particular interest. It showed a crying Tara on a chair as a smiling Willow was placing a locket around her neck. The picture that followed showed Shelia with her arm around Tara and she realized this was a birthday of some sort. She worked this in her mind and spoke.
"She wanted me to be sure to get a locket from you? She said you would know what I was talking about."
Tara stopped dead and turned around. Her hand immediately flew to her chest as she grasped the locket in her hand.
"She wants the l-l-l-l-ocket b-b-b-back?" she stuttered out with barely a breath.
Susan laughed and her head fell backwards. "What did you say?"
Tara groaned inwardly and tried again. She closed her eyes and turned to face the woman now.
"I said does she want the l-l-l-ocket b-b-ack?" She swallowed hoping the girl woundn't ask her again. She felt as though she was going to pass out now and she just wanted her gone as soon as possible.
Susan laughed again and said: "God, that's just so attractive. Willow never could resist the strays. You're pathetic though. Really. I'm really suprisedf she ever slept with you," she said looking her up and down once more.
Tara just walked on ahead.
It took about an hour before they had finished with Willow's personal belongings. She had been bothered by what Susan had said about the surgery and as much as it would embarrass her to speak she had to ask. "What is the s-s-s-surgery for, for Willow?" she said as she kept her eyes downward.
"Why? Are you going to pretend you care now? Go visit or something? I can't believe you. She almost didn't have this surgery because of you and now you want to go down there and talk to her? Ha... You're just unbelievable," she scoffed.
"I-I am not go-going down there, I just w-w-want to know what it is," Tara said.
"Well I tell you what T-T-T-Tara. I'll go down there now and ask Willow if it's okay for me to say, and if she says it is I'll call and tell you. But for now? Stay away from her," Susan said as she eyed Tara again. "Now give me the locket and I'll leave," she said as she reached her hand out.
Tara looked at her almost pleadingly. She didn't want to give it up. It was engraved with both of their names and there was a picture of the two of them inside. She had no choice. Willow wanted it and she wanted what was best for her.
Slowly she reached behind her neck and undid the clasp. She held it for a minute and handed it to Susan and then the tears came.
"I-if you don't mind, I wa-... want you to leave here n-n-now," Tara said eyes down.
"No problem darlin'. I wouldn't want to stay here with you any longer then I have to. That's for sure." Susan laughed and walked down the steps with the last of the boxes.
Roger Tyler had arrived at just the right moment it would seem. He had heard about what had happened to Willow and wanted to see why Tara hadn't shown up for work for the last two days or even called. He knew this was not something she would do. Before he could knock the door opened and Susan was now standing in front of him.
"Hi. I'm looking for Tara, is she here?"
"Yeh. Hang on I'll get her for you," she smirked and went in again. "Tara, there's a guy here to see you. God, you move fast don't you honey? I can't wait to tell Willow this one."
Tara had enough now and she raised a fist and punched Susan in the mouth knocking her forward and over.
"GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!! NOW BEFORE I REALLY HURT YOU!" Tara spat out at Susan.
Susan stood back up and wiped the blood from her lip and said: "Well, so much for the hurt little stuttery act. You are really a bitch you know that. I am also filing charges against you for assault. I know just the person to talk to for that too."
"What's going on here Tara? Who is this woman?" Roger asked.
"It's W-w-w-illow's girlfriend apparently," she said as she broke down in tears again.
Susan made her way out of the driveway and stopped for a minute. She turned and made her way toward the oak that was in the front of the house. She put her phone up and began to take pictures of Tara and Roger as Roger was giving her a comforting hug.
She smiled to herself and walked back to her car and started the ignition.
"Willow, honey?" Shelia said.
"Yes. What mom?"
"Why was Susan here again?"
"She came to apologize for earlier."
"No, Willow. Susan did not come here to apologize. She may have said that, but that's not why she was here."
"Why do you say that?" Willow said a touch of anger in her voice.
"Because I know her. Willow, she was smirking at me. I know what she is doing and I don't like it. I think you need to call Tara and find out the story. I don't think this is right what's going on here. And what's worse is I don't trust that woman. I know what she did to you before. She'll do it again and this time I won't sit around and watch it happen like last time."
"It's not going to happen again Mom. I have no intention of getting back together with Susan. She is just helping me with something is all. I won't see her again after this."
"She's helping you with what Wilow? Please don't tell me you have asked her to do something for you."
"She went to Tara's to pick up my things. Well some of them anyway. Leo and some of the guys are going to get the other stuff later."
"What? What do you mean pick up your things? Oh Lord Willow, don't tell me you sent that woman to see Tara? You haven't even called her to see what the truth is yet. I know your going through a hard time here Willow but, my God, you're talking about Tara here. She doesn't have a hurtful bone in her body. What ever is happening here is not Tara's doing and I know that."
"You don't know anything Mom!" Willow shouted. "She sent someone to the station to drop off Millo's things. She told Leo to call her and find out where to send the rest of my stuff. I think it's pretty clear what she wants. I get it. We're done. It's better this way anyway."
"When did this happen?" Shelia asked, shock covering her face.
"When you where out with the doctor. Leo came and told me."
"Who was the woman that she sent Willow? Did you ask?"
"No, I don't care who it was. Why would I ask?" Willow asked quietly.
"Because like I said, I don't trust Susan," Shelia said her voice raised slightly.
"Willow? Can I come in?" It was Susan.
"Oh shit, you've got to be kidding me," Shelia said looking in Susans direction.
"STOP IT MOM!" Willow yelled.
"I'm sorry. I'll come back," Susan said as she turned to walk out.
"No, it's okay. You can come in. What is it Susan?" Willow asked.
"It's nothing really. It's just Tara asked me to make sure you got this personally."
She handed Willow the locket.
"Oh come on! Willow, this is insane. Tara wouldn't do this and you know it," Shelia yelled at her daughter.
"What are you talking about?" Susan asked. "Tara left your daughter here, at this time. Why are you defending her? Not only that, she has company over there, if you get my meaning. They were sitting outside on the porch swing when I got there hugging. A guy. I asked her about it and she hit me. I think he's a ranger as well. He had the uniform on. I am sorry to disappoint you Mrs.Rosenberg, but maybe for once you're wrong," Susan said trying to look hurt. "I knew you wouldn't believe me so I took pictures for you. I wasn't going to go here Shelia, but now you've forced me to. I knew you would do this. I did."
"You are full of crap Susan and I know it," Shelia said.
No one had noticed that Willow had not said a word. She sat there, the locket in her hand. "Roger Taylor. That's who it was. I don't need to see the pictures Susan. I don't want to see them. As a matter of fact, I think I want to be alone. I don't want either of you here right now so if you would just both please leave me alone for a while I would appreciate it," Willow said quietly.
Shelia was still in shock. She couldn't believe what she was seeing and hearing. Something wasn't right and she would find the truth. She would get to the bottom of this. That was for sure.
Tara sat on the swing as Roger held her. She had been crying for a good thirty minutes straight now and finally Roger spoke up.
"Hey Tara, what do you say we go on and take the horses up the trail a bit? I know that's always something that makes you feel better," he said smiling. He was a good friend of Tara's. He hated to see her this way.
"You mean you're actually willing to get on a horse and ride with me? I'm surprised after what happened last time." Tara smiled a little at the memory.
"Yeah, well this time I'll ride Maverick. That Juju doesn't like me one bit. I learned that after she threw me the second time."
Tara laughed a bit. "Don't feel bad. She doesn't like men at all. As a matter of fact it would seem she wants me all to herself. She is a very dedicated to me. So yes, I'll ride Juju, you ride Maverick then okay?"
"Let's go then," he said as they walked toward the barn.
Sheila went out to her car and took out her cell phone and dialed Tara's number. She knew Willow would be angry at her but at this point she just didn't care. She got the answering machine and hung up without leaving a message. She would drive over there and talk to her in person. She put her keys in the ignition and started her car. Susan watched as Sheila pulled out of the lot. She took her phone out and made a call. "Hey Baby. I need a favor," she said smiling.