Return to Sodas and Snack Machines Chapter Nine

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.

"Hi." Tara repeated when Willow simply gazed at her in wonder. An explanation for her presence was already beginning to form in her mind, even though she was sure that the redhead knew that it was no accident. The excuse that she was passing by wouldn't work, especially since Tara had 'passed by' twenty minutes ago and virtually camped out in front of the door. Nixing that one, the blonde's mind prepared to search for different options, stopping when she heard Willow speak.

"Hello." Such a plain word, but the amazement in the redhead's voice was enough to settle Tara's thoughts of regret. "When did you... how long have you been here?" Willow asked, blushing and wondering if Tara had watched her as she daydreamed. Not that she would've minded, of course. In fact, a small part of her wished that Tara could actually read her mind, if only to save her from stumbling through what she truly wanted to say.

"Oh, uh, just a few m-minutes. Twenty m-minutes." The blonde wasn't sure what made her reveal such an embarrassing detail, but it was worth it for Willow's smile.

"Really?" Green eyes glanced back into the computer room and the abandoned seat that was clearly visible from the hallway. Tara had been watching her. The realization sent a wave of excitement through the redhead's body.

"Yeah, I was, um... you s-see, my seminar w-was...."

"Boring?" Willow grinned as her nose wrinkled and she nodded in understanding. Tara nodded as well, fighting the urge to run her fingertip over the redhead's cute nose.

"Yes, and I was wondering if wanted to-."

"Go for a walk?" Once again, Willow finished her thought and the blonde giggled, ducking her head shyly.

"Sure." Tara responded with another soft giggle, but knew she needed to stop soon or she would explode from happiness. The girl across from her always seemed to bring out feelings that she only dreamed of experiencing.

"We should go," Willow smiled, glancing over her shoulder, "we're drawing an audience." She gestured toward a student who apparently wasn't paying attention either. At least not to the speaker. What made it even more obvious was the slightly crooked heart the girl drew on her computer screen with the system's painting program.

Tara's cheeks resembled ripe tomatoes when she focused back on Willow. As their hands found each other, the girls disappeared down the hallway before the bored artist tried her hand at drawing kisses.

Fresh blades of grass tickled the soft edges of toes as bare feet sunk into the earth. The two girls had opted to carry their shoes and walk barefoot around the complex, although not without being mindful of broken glass and other non-foot-friendly items.

"I can't believe I'm here," Tara glanced at Willow before her eyes drifted down to their feet.

"Neither can I," Willow smiled, her fingers tightening around Tara's. "It's so beautiful."

"It is." Eyes connected without blushes, as they grew more comfortable. "I... I don't want it to end. Ever." The blonde's gaze never wavered and Willow felt her chest flutter as she responded without her voice. Neither girl was aware of when they stopped or how long they spent smiling at each other, but when it had ended, the sky was a shade darker than before.

Excited laughter aroused them from their private world. A picnic was being held further down the lawn, but as the girls drew closer they saw that it wasn't actually a picnic, but an eating contest.

"How about it?" Willow grinned at the blonde when a contestant asked the crowd for a challenger.

"Go right ahead." Amused, Tara watched as the redhead moved toward the table, but Willow stopped before announcing that she'd take the challenge.

Jogging back, Willow quickly wrapped her arms around the blonde, hugging her. "Wish me luck." She whispered before turning and accepting the dare.

Tara stared, amazed, at the redhead's back. A flush crept into her face when Willow glanced back with a smile, and the blonde felt her own lips curving as the game began.

"No more." Willow mumbled when her opponent's head fell into a bowl of Jell-O. Who knew that all those containers of Jell-O her mom always snuck into her lunch would pay off. The redhead wiped her mouth and stood up, "Ohh, just give me one... second," she flopped back down.

Laughing and applauding, Tara sat beside the stuffed redhead. "Aww, are you okay?" Willow managed a nod and the blonde, subconsciously, found herself patting the redhead's stomach.

Slowly, Willow joined in with her own giggles, "I can feel my insides jiggle," she snorted, then groaned.

"You won first place," Tara smiled, proudly, and held up a yellow ribbon and a blue box, "and a free box of Jell-O mix."

Willow groaned again.

"C'mon, let's get you cleaned up." Very slowly, they started back to the redheads' room with Willow's head leaning against Tara's shoulder.

"Thanks for my luck." Willow's cool, flavored breath caressed Tara's ear. Unable to trust her voice, the blonde smiled and nodded.

Tara ate a light dinner in her room as her friend cleaned up across the hall. Willow had refused to eat anything and confessed that the sight of food would probably make her worse. However, the redhead asked Tara to promise that she would meet her in her room when she was finished. Hence the reason for the blonde's light meal.

After eating, Tara waited in her room for ten minutes to lessen her nerves and ensure that she didn't appear at Willow's door too early and desperate. Her hands trembled as they connected with the wooden door.

"Hi." Refreshed and smiling, Willow gestured for Tara to enter, taking the blonde's hand when she did. "I want to show you something." A hint of shyness passed over her face.

Without words, Tara followed her friend toward the window and was surprised when Willow opened it to reveal a large roof. The low, flat roof branched off from the second floor and stretched to another building directly across to resemble a half-H.

"Don't worry I've tested it." Willow had seen the hesitation on Tara's face and bounced lightly as she stepped out the window. "It's safe," she said, offering her hand.

When Tara stepped fully onto the roof, she waited as Willow reached back in for something. The redhead had found an extra blanket in her closet and thought it would be perfect for star-watching, of course, this was after she discovered the roof.

"This is really wonderful, Willow," Tara said once they got comfortable under the thin blanket. Luckily, it wasn't a chilly night, but the girls took advantage anyway and snuggled closer under the material. "Thank you." The blonde leaned into Willow's shoulder.

Elated from the compliment, Willow softly whispered that she didn't do much and blushed when Tara countered her. At first, they sat, quietly, watching the stars and soon began giving their own definition for the constellations.

"What... what's that one?" Tara pointed upward to a clump of stars.

"Jell-O." Willow answered, simply.

"Willow." Tara frowned in mock disapproval. "Okay, how about that one? Looks like a boot, doesn't it?"

"Jell-O in a boot?"

"No more Jell-O, Willow." The blonde grinned.


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