Tara took a deep breath and sat back in the chair she was sitting on, feeling the ache in her eyes she rubbed at them with her thumb and index finger before glancing at her watch.
"Oh shit!" She cursed realising she had spent more time at the library than intended and still needed to go grocery shopping for Mrs Brown, quickly packing her belongings into her bag she took one last glance at her watch then made her way to the store.
"Oh thank you sweetheart, it's five-forty I was wondering where you had got to." Mrs Brown fussed over Tara, removing bags from the young woman's arms.
"I'm sorry Mrs Brown I got carried away at the library and lost track of time."
"Oh never mind that dear, I thought something had happened to you, you're almost always punctual.... Oh your poor hands look absolutely red raw with the cold come and sit down I'll make you a nice hot chocolate." The old woman pushed Tara into a nearby chair and placed the bags on the kitchen counter searching for the offered drink.
"Thank you Mrs Brown. I got everything that was on the list, but if you think of something I missed let me know and I'll go get it. Here's your change." The blonde placed the old woman's change on the table in front of her.
"Oh darn it!" Mrs Brown exclaimed loudly picking up a piece of paper that had caught her eye next to the kettle. "I forgot to pick up my medication from the pharmacy, let me just see if I have some in the medicine cabinet." Leaving the room the old woman came back a few minutes later rubbing her forehead. "I'll just have to go out and get it otherwise my arthritis will flare up I won't be long sweetheart."
Stopping the old woman in her tracks Tara took the prescription out of Mrs Browns hand and indicated that she take a seat.
"You're not going anywhere with that ice out there; I'll go get it." The young woman proclaimed zipping up her coat and quickly leaving so Lydia couldn't argue. Mrs Brown sat flabbergasted.
The queue In the pharmacy was long, Tara figured that a lot of people must forget to pick up their prescriptions during the course of the day, she silently thank the goddess that pharmacy's had walls and a heating system as her hands began to sting from going from one extreme to another.
Blowing a breath of air out from between her cheeks the blonde pursed herself for a long wait and cursed Mrs Brown's bad memory.
Willow stood outside the Drake restaurant, cell phone against her ear listening to the endless ring of Oz's phone. Her mood was black as realisation set in that he was either going to be extremely late or just not show at all. Checking her watch the time read six-fifteen, already feeling the cold through the material of her long black coat Willow pulled it more tightly around herself.
Checking her watch after what seemed like hours the time read six thirty-five and Willow finally relented feeling angry and defeated, she made her way to her car.
Getting in the redhead sat for a moment before digging the keys out of her pocket, then something caught her eye.
"Damnit!" She cursed, reaching for the folder that she had wrapped in an elastic band hours before in her office. Climbing out of her car she prayed she could make it before the bank closed at seven and stood impatiently by the side of the road waiting for a clearing so she could cross.
Twanging the elastic with her thumb and index finger time and time again it made a thwacking sound as it hit the material of the folder, pulling it a little too hard the elastic snapped.
"Shit!" She cursed, pulling her hand back at the pain causing her to drop the folder. A sudden gust of wind sent the contents scattering onto the road and the red-haired woman made a grab for them.
"Watch it!!!!" A voice screamed, Looking up Willow saw the blonde woman from the park before being thrown up into the air, her head smacking the windshield of the car that had come out of nowhere and her body swerved with the vehicle as the driver tried desperately to brake but the ice on the road made it difficult.
Finally coming to a holt Willow's injured body rolled off the car and landed on the concrete.
Tara ran to the woman's aid kneeling down beside her, her heart beat so fast she could hear it in her ears and her mind tried to think of what to do, seeing a cell phone on the road that had fallen out of Willow's pocket, the blonde picked it up and dialled 911.
The white hospital walls made Tara feel uncomfortable; nothing but a plane colour made the place so unwelcoming and clinical. The hospital waiting room had been busy when the blonde arrived, but now only a few people remained as the clock on the wall indicated that is was almost 11pm.
After the ambulance arrived the crew had been so efficient and quick seeing to the redheads injuries that the entire affair had become nothing but a blur, when the ambulance woman asked Tara if she would like a ride to the hospital the blonde instinctively said yes not wanting to leave the mystery woman on her own. Throughout the journey to the hospital the young woman had gone in and out of unconsciousness, eventually the groans that showed the amount of pain the redhead was in ceased, and she didn't wake up.
As soon as they arrived at the hospital doctors and nurses hurried around doing their jobs trying to assess the young woman's injuries and save her life, Tara had then gone to the main desk and answered questions from the woman sat typing the blonde's answers into a computer and when the clerk asked if Tara was a relative she lied and immediately said yes not wanting the mystery woman to be on her own. The clerk then gave the blonde a form to fill out which she had extreme difficulties with, she only had the sparse information of the injured woman's wallet to go by.
Sitting up straight the blonde stretched her stiffening muscles and was startled slightly as a doctor in a long white coat came up beside her.
"Are you the relative of a... Willow Rosenberg?" The doctor asked.
"Uh... yes." The blonde hesitated, trying to remember if that was the name of her new 'sister' "Is she going to be ok?"
"Well." He sighed taking a seat beside her. "Willow was hurt quite bad, her left leg and arm are both broken due to the impact of the collision and she took a nasty bump to the head, although there are no internal injuries just a few cuts and bruises here and there the swelling on her brain could become a problem, we don't know just how bad the swelling will get. We're just going to have to wait and see. We are giving her medication to keep the swelling to a minimum but we can only give her them for so long before they start to have adverse affects."
Tara's mouth opened and closed, but the words wouldn't come out. The beautiful woman she had been observing in the park was now fighting for life in a hospital bed and there wasn't anything she could do. A tear escaped her eye and she wiped it away quickly before it managed to work its way down her cheek.
"C-can I see her?" Was the only thing the blonde could think to say.
Nodding his head the doctor stood and led the way.
Tara could see as she was coming up to the room, the glass window provided the view of Willow surrounded by machines and wires. Tara entered the room quietly as if trying not to wake a sleeping woman, although fully aware that she couldn't wake her if she tried.
The redhead looked so frail and vulnerable as machines beeped and wires disappeared under the white sheet that covered the woman's small body. The blonde felt her eyes welling up again and grabbed a tissue form a small box on a cabinet beside the bed.
"Uh... you may want to inform the rest of your family. Her personal effects are in the cabinet." The doctor advised. "I'll leave you alone." With that he slipped out of the room leaving Tara alone with the mystery woman.
Tara sipped at the steaming cup of coffee she had just purchased from the machine to help calm her nerves. Stopping a passing nurse she asked where she could find the nearest payphone then made her way to it.
Picking out Willow's mom's number from the phone book on the redhead's cell Tara called the number.
"You have reached Mrs and Mr Rosenberg's number I'm afraid we can't come to the phone right now, please leave your name and number after the beep and we will get back to you." A very authoritative female voice spoke clearly on the answering machine. Tara sighted in frustration deciding not to leave a message with such horrible news and called the only other number in the red-haired woman's cell phone.
After having no success with that number either Tara slammed the phone against the receiver. "Damnit does nobody in her family care enough to be home?!" The young woman cursed to herself receiving a worried look from a passing man.
Lifting her hand to try and rub away the headache that was beginning to surface, the blonde's attention was brought to a small white pharmacy bag she had been carrying.
"Oh fuck!" She cursed again hurrying towards the exit "What the hell is happening today?!"
Mrs Brown hurried to the door before it got knocked off it's hinges by the hard banging on the other side, she swung the door open about to give a good telling off to the culprit, but immediately thawed at the frozen sight of Tara standing in her doorway.
"Oh child, what happened to you? That's twice you've had me worried today keep this up and you'll be giving me a coronary in no time."
"Something terrible happened Mrs Brown, I'm so sorry. I hope your arthritis isn't hurting too badly." The young woman explained entering the old lady's apartment.
"Oh no dear it's not too bad, come in and take a seat, tell me what happened."
Tara filled Mrs Brown in on the events of the past few hours and the old woman's heart broke at the image in her head of that poor girl being hit by a vehicle.
"Was it someone you knew, Tara?" Mrs Brown asked at the lone tear making it was down the blonde's cheek.
"I... No, sort of... I've seen her around. I tried to call her mother but I only got a machine, I thought it best not to leave a message with such terrible news." The blonde sniffled; taking a tissue handed to her by the old woman.
"Oh no, absolutely you did the right thing, but maybe you shouldn't have told the hospital you were a relative. Couldn't you get in contact with anyone else?"
"I know I shouldn't have, but I couldn't leave her on her own... There were only two numbers in her cell phone and neither was any help, maybe I should try her parents again? It's almost 1am if they're not home now then they never will be." Getting up out her seat Tara made her way to the door.
"Thank you for your help Mrs Brown."
"No child, you don't need to thank me, ever. You're so kind hearted I wonder if it's sometimes too much." The old woman kissed Tara lightly on the cheek before opening the door. "Keep me posted on what's happening ok?"
Turning the light on in her apartment suddenly the space seemed so constricting, the walls felt like they were closing in on here and the blonde rubbed her sore eyes with her hands as a heavy feeling settled in her chest making breathing feel like such an effort. Missy crept out from under a cushion on the couch and let out a loud meow drawing the blonde's attention to her. Walking over to the couch Tara picked up her beloved cat and gave her a stroke behind the ears.
"It all went wrong today Missy." Tara told the ginger and white feline receiving a pitiful look from big green eyes encouraging her to keep up the stroking.
Tara didn't know the red-haired woman personally, but that angelic face plagued her thoughts day and night, her features were described in detail in page after page of her latest creation, yet That morning the mystery woman didn't have a name. Now she was Willow Rosenberg with a mother a farther and an Oz.
Tara crossed the road carefully, after the fiasco the night before she didn't wish to see a repeat performance. Making her way to Carlton Street, Tara knew the streets of Sunnydale pretty well after practically every journey she took was on foot. Her navigation system told her Carlton Street was on the East Side and was full of snooty high-class professionals.
The roads were quiet due to the time of day, the blonde hadn't slept at all, her body unable to relax into the softness of her bed, she spent most of the night tossing and turning until eventually giving up and trying to call Willow's parents again to no avail. Frustration set in once again and made the need to do something more prominent.
Checking her watch the big hand and little hand told her it was six-fifteen, the coldness of the morning made her body shake uncontrollably and the rhythm of her breathing could be visibly seen as the warmth of her exhaled breath collided with the frozen air. The sun not yet making an appearance Tara made her way through the dark streets towards the address that had been written on a piece of paper in Willow's wallet.
Finally reaching the street she wanted, Tara walked down it slowly, awe struck by the large houses "Looks like something out of Lady and the Tramp." She commented to herself. Each house as well kept as the next, front lawns neatly mowed and each had it's own driveway that lead up to a garage.
Standing in front of a slightly less kept House Tara checked the address that was written on the piece of paper again and nodded in affirmation, that was the one she was looking for.
Opening a black metal gate that was beginning to give in to rust, Tara then walked up the cobbled path, taking note of the over growing grass.
Reaching the large oak door she then knocked and waited for an answer.
A few minutes passed before her patience wore out and she couldn't resist peeking through the large bay window where only a sheet stopped passers by from seeing what was inside. As the sun was beginning to appear it provided a little light and she could just make out boxes strewn about the floor.
"OK, nobody's home." Biting her lip the blonde knitted her brows together and thought for a moment. Digging the key out of her pocket that had been with the rest of Willow's things she pushed it into the lock and opened the door. "I hope if someone's here they aren't naked." She prayed to herself.
The smell of the room assaulted her nostrils and she wafted at her nose with her hand, deciding to open the back door to let in some air and relieve the room of the old fusty smell that lingered, she then began to search to see if anyone was there. "Hello?" The blonde shouted without success, her eyes took in the decor of the room, it's high ceiling made it seem larger than it actually was and the old floral patterned wallpaper made her want to give a decorating lesson to it's owner. "Definitely a fixer upper."
Dejectedly Tara gave in to the fact that nobody was there; her heart sank at the thought that nobody who mattered to the woman lying in a hospital bed was around to encourage her to get better. Deciding to have a look around to make sure there weren't any pets that needed some attention the blonde went upstairs, hearing a scratching sound coming from the far room she smiled when the twitching nose of a little white and ginger hamster poked out from behind the bars of it's cage.
After spending some time with the small, energetic hamster Tara took a slow walk through the streets of Sunnydale, making her way to the hospital she stopped to pick up a cup of coffee and some flowers, before heading up to Willow's room she attempting to call the redhead's parents again but with no luck.
"Hi." A nurse greeted as she walked into the room. "I'm Nurse Carmichael."
"Hey." The blonde attempted a smile. "How is Willow doing?"
"Well, we're still playing a waiting game we won't know for sure until a few days, but it's best to stay positive." The nurse tried to reassure Tara as much as she could.
The blonde nodded her understanding; not really knowing how to be positive in the situation she had found herself in. "If anything changes over night or... whenever, even if it's just her eye twitching can you call me? I gave my number to the woman at the front desk when she asked me to fill out some forms."
"Ok." The nurse agreed. "Take care of yourself too you look like you haven't slept, you're no good to this young lady if you're exhausted now."
"I will thank you."
Tara watched the nurse leave the room and she sighed heavily. Yesterday morning she had woken up and all was fine, now all was falling apart.
Gently the blonde leaned forward and took Willow's smaller hand in her own, stroking the back of her hand softly, feeling smooth skin beneath the pad of her thumb. Taking in the sleeping face of such a beautiful woman Tara blinked as her eyes welled up. The gash on the right side of the smaller woman's forehead undoubtedly going to leave a constant reminder of such a life altering accident.