Return to Sodas and Snack Machines Chapter Eight

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's eye twitched, repeatedly, as she fought against wakefulness. One green eye glanced at the clock through a blurry slit, and the redhead groaned, snapping her lid shut. A gentle knock sounded on the door and she kicked at her blanket, pulling the corner up over her head.

"Willow?" Tara knocked again, putting her mouth close to the door so she could call through. She and Willow had agreed to meet for breakfast and receiving no response, the blonde was hoping that Willow hadn't changed her mind.

Meshed red hair framed Willow's face as she shot up in bed, apparently hearing things. Listening through the silence, she waited to confirm her insanity and was relieved when she realized that the sound was coming from the door.

"Willow?" Her name was followed by a soft knock.

Suddenly alert, the redhead hurriedly crawled across the bed. "Tara?" She whispered, sleepily making the trip across the mattress. In the process, her feet became tangled in her blanket and she rolled onto the floor with a thud.

"Willow?" Tara's voice sounded unsure and concerned.

"Com-." The word was cut off by a bang and Willow tripping over her suitcase.

Crack. "Ouch." Thump. The blonde on the outside heard a series of noises before the breathless redhead appeared before her. Willow was dressed in her sleepware, which consisted of a shrunken light T-shirt and matching high-rise, drawstring pants.

"Hi," Willow smiled, dizzily, when she saw the blonde's face. "I... I was just about to come and get you," she innocently lied as she tried to arrange her hair into a presentable fashion.

"Really?" Tara gave her a lopsided smile as the blonde's gaze traveled down to the redhead's attire.

"Yeah, um, right after I changed out of these incredibly embarrassing clothes." Willow blushed, "I really didn't expect that anyone would be seeing me... like this." She bashfully tugged at her shirt and Tara's eyes wandered to the redhead's bellybutton.

"It's, uh," Tara swallowed a gulp, "o-okay. I'll just, um," she pointed behind her as her eyes wandered again, "go... down." Her cheeks darkened as the blood rushed to her face, "I mean, I'll w-wait for you d-downstairs."

"Okay," the redhead grinned, "I'll meet you down there." When Tara nodded, Willow gave the blonde another smile as she closed the door.


"I'm okay." A muffled voice echoed through the door. Tara shook her head, smiling as she unconsciously added a skip to her walk.

The mini cafeteria, located in the back hall of the first floor, was extremely crowded considering the time. Flyers taped in the hallway gave the time and location of each seminar being held that day and many of them weren't scheduled until later in the day, which was why Tara was surprised to see the mass of people.

Nibbling on her bagel, Tara's face lit up when she spotted Willow entering the room. The early sun cast a fiery glow around the newcomer and the wind from an open window further captured Willow's beauty as her red hair flew gently behind her. Tara swallowed the small piece of bread before it had a chance to fall from her open mouth. Staring, the blonde barely had time to quickly look away when Willow glanced her way. She studied her small carton of chocolate milk, twisting the edge between her fingers and shyly looked up when she thought the coast was clear.

The coast was clear when Tara looked down at her beverage. Willow knew that she only had a few seconds to admire the blonde and took it upon herself to take advantage. Moving quickly, Willow's gaze scanned every edge and curve of Tara's face, resting on the fullness of her lips. Absentmindedly, she wondered about the softness and found herself touching her own lips, imagining the feel of Tara's kiss. As the haziness left her eyes, she saw the blonde looking at her and blushed deeply.

Willow quickly grabbed her light breakfast and hurried toward the table. "Hey there," she pulled out the chair across from the other girl and nearly missed the seat when Tara smiled brightly.

"Hey." The blonde nervously fidgeted with her napkin but the smile hadn't left her face. "Sleep well?" Willow nodded, peeling the corner of her banana. "Great. So, um, what time is y-your session?" She rushed out not so subtly.

The specific seminars that the girls were attending, unfortunately alone, had been scheduled earlier during the registration period because of the limited seats available. Needless to say, both girls were somewhat reluctant to go, even though the seminars were the highlights of their trip.

"Thirty minutes," thinking she would have more time to spend with the blonde, Willow frowned at the clock behind Tara.

"Oh." Tara looked down at her hands. "What time are you finished?" The corner of her lip curved into a smile when a hand overlapped hers.

"I could skip it," the redhead offered. "It's just about computers, you know, tips and stuff. But, I mean, I basically know everything there is to know. So I won't be missing much."

"No... no, you should g-go," Tara managed a smile although her mind and heart were clashing with each other. "You shouldn't miss it." Because I want you to, died on her lips. Willow nodded, hiding the slump of her shoulders and went back to her breakfast. They finished quietly and Tara cursed the ghost of her words as she watched Willow leave twenty-five minutes later.

Willow stared, dazedly, out of the window. She was supposed to be excited and alert. She was also supposed to be paying attention but she wasn't. Could not. The redhead smiled to herself as her thoughts drifted.

Outside, the sun wrapped itself around every tree and bush, squeezing until every leaf brightened with color. The sky held no traces of last nights storm and the clouds gobbled up the muggy air until only the fresh remained. Willow closed her eyes, imagining the soft indigo specks of laughter she always saw in Tara's eyes. Her heart muscles trembled under the weight of her imagination, yet her mind continued to invite more images.

It was hard to believe that it was only the second day, but Willow didn't think or care about the question of speed. She only wanted to enjoy the moments, the simpleness. Simple acts such as whenever the blonde smiled. Tara's smiles, which curve and stretch, pulling at her own lips until her soul melted. Or the blonde's caresses that carry the bite of fate and creep across her skin in the friendliest of gestures, but holds something more. She paled against the flower that was Tara.

Opening her eyes and beaming, giddily, Willow gathered up her things and hurried from the room. Once in the hallway, she paused as questions tumbled into her head. What if Tara had already gone to her session? How would I find her? Which seminar was it? The redhead berated herself for not asking. And what if Tara is enjoying it and I ruin everything by showing up? And what if...


...she was standing right in front of me.

Continue to Sodas and Snack Machines Chapter Ten

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