Return to Sodas and Snack Machines Chapter Five

Sodas and Snack Machines

Author: Onyxsundrops
Rating: PG-13 and up.
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer characters, other characters are my own.

"Willow," Tara called out in surprise. She hurriedly moved forward, meaning to grab the redhead's hand, but catching her shirt instead. The panicked force the blonde used to pull Willow back, resulted in both girls falling onto the grass.

Feeling herself being tugged, Willow toppled backward, landing awkwardly onto the blonde behind her. With Tara slipping onto her back and Willow sprawled out on her side, laying halfway on top of her, the girls struggled to calm themselves.

"I couldn't reach it," Willow chuckled, slightly nervous when she realized her position and the proximity of Tara. "Oh, uh, and thanks," she added with a small grin, shifting so that she was no longer laying on the blonde, but on her side. Propping herself up with her elbow, Willow wasn't thinking clearly as she brushed a piece of hair from Tara's cheek. The gesture was automatic and felt natural, so the redhead didn't give it time to process in her mind.

"No p-problem," Tara lay rigid, but not from fear. When Willow's fingers grazed the other side of her face, pushing away the stray hair, her heart grew more erratic. "A-Are you okay?" The blonde's voice was squeaky and her eyes darted around. The manner in which Willow was smiling, made her think that the other girl had bumped her head.

Willow nodded, the only other place she'd ever felt so content was in her high school computer class. She sighed and brushed more hair away until there was nothing left but skin. When trembling fingers pushed her own hair behind an ear, the redhead sought Tara's eyes.

Neither one of the girls was completely sure as to what they were feeling. Traces of energy still floated between them, leftover from their morning seminar. Strange, yet familiar and exciting, they didn't question the instant bond.

The crunch from a broken branch caught Tara's attention, interrupting the connection. Springing apart, the blonde hastily got to her feet with Willow following after noticing the new presence.

A guy in his early twenties and wearing a shirt with the hotel logo was standing near a small rosebush. Blushing, he fiddled with a walkie-talkie, trying to look anywhere but at the disheveled girls near the creek. When he had come upon the two girls in such an intimate position, he didn't want to interrupt but had no choice so he had stepped on the fallen branch.

"I'm supposed to tell everyone that there's a storm coming," he began. "Are you with the group?" Willow and Tara were wearing matching blushes and nodded as the young man went on. "Oh, okay, well the remainder of today's seminars has been canceled. They're not sure when or how long the storm will be here." He knew he was beginning to ramble, but the silence coming from the blonde and the redhead was making him nervous.

"We've gathered some of the guests into the west lounge. They have some snacks and a karaoke set up for anyone who wants to try." Still, no word. "Okay, well, hope to see you there." Without another word, he hurried off, tripping a little as he fled.

Chewing on her lip, Willow looked to Tara, catching the sight of blue eyes and couldn't keep quiet any longer. What started as a snort and grew into a laugh was joined by the blonde's own laughter.

"He l-looked so f-frightened," Tara managed between giggles as she smoothed over her hair and clothing. Her red-haired friend nodded, also fixing her appearance. When their laughter had died, they stood uncertain once again.

"We should go inside," Willow frowned, looking toward the sudden color change in the sky. Shy hands found each other as the pair shuffled up the small hill back toward the hotel.

Friends hold hands all the time, right? Willow asked herself and waited for a response. She concentrated on the smoothness of Tara's hand. Right?

On the small platform that was being used as a stage, a tall woman, one of the organizers, was seemingly butchering a classic. Her partner in crime joined in with the appropriate verses as they read the monitor and sung Push It by Salt-N-Pepa.

"Oh... my... god." Three little words held so much meaning as the duo added dancing to the mix of horrible singing. A couple of thumps could be heard as mouths hit the floor in shock and a little fear.

Tara and Willow occupied two of the chairs to the side of the stage and could clearly see the spectacle from their position. Their expressions mirrored the rest and worsened when one of the performers tried to dance seductively with the microphone and nearly lost her balance.

When the song was over, there was some applause and the women bowed before quickly leaving the stage.

"Well, that was...," Willow trailed off, staring ahead and trying to rid her mind of the event.

"Yeah." The blonde next to her nodded, dumbly. Blue eyes darted toward the exit as a short, older man stepped onto the stage.

"Next up," he adjusted the microphone and read over a sheet of paper, "Jane will be singing Wind Beneath My Wings." The sound of bustling feet and closing doors was heard as the performer took the microphone.

"That wasn't rude, was it?" Tara asked, guiltily.

"No, I don't think it was," Willow shook her head, "I mean, at least we left before instead of during the song."

Sharp sounds of thunder could be heard as they walked down the vacant hallway. Another clap, much closer, vibrated the walls, making both girls jump.

"Okay, so we're out in the middle of nowhere," the redhead weighed their options, "with absolutely nothing to do." She smiled, turning to look at Tara. "Unless you wanna go back in there?" Willow motioned toward the direction they'd just left from.

"Uh-uh," Tara vigorously shook her head. "I... I brought some cards...," she shrugged, hoping it wasn't a silly idea, "w-we could play in my r-room i-if-."

"Okay." Willow nodded, eagerly. "I'm like the Queen of Go Fish," she grinned, "oh, and you should see my poker face." The redhead tried to give Tara a demonstration, but failed miserably.

Excited, Willow practically bounced. "So what are we playing? Blackjack? Speed? Crazy Eights?"

"Um, well, how are you with Uno?"

Continue to Sodas and Snack Machines Chapter Seven

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