Tara adjusted the bodice of her blouse and viewed the results in the mirror. The blue of the shirt contrasted nicely with the rust color of the long skirt she wore. She tugged the collar higher, and then turned around to see how it looked from the back. The material was thin linen and clung gently to the curves of her breasts and waist. With the front of her shirt pulled up so far, the back hung down baggily.
"That blouse is made to sit lower on your chest, Tare," Anya said, entering the hotel bathroom. "It's not a crewneck."
"I know," Tara answered, and sighed. She readjusted the blouse so it fell normally over her torso, exposing an expanse of skin around her collarbones and upper chest. Her blouse was not daring - it was even a little conservative by many people's standards. She fiddled with the string that laced up the neck of the blouse, and retied it so it was more securely closed.
"So what are you going for with this costume? Season one Gabrielle, or schoolmarm?" Anya asked, eyeing the double knot.
Tara shot her a rueful look. "I know. I would have thought that tonight, of all nights, I'd want to look different from how I normally do. I mean, a little more...attractive."
"Sweetie, you don't need to look different from how you usually do to look attractive. No, really," Anya said in response to Tara's dubious look. "All you have to do is to be yourself. Confidence is the biggest turn-on."
"But that's the problem," Tara said. "I don't really want to turn anyone on tonight. The only person I want to come home with tonight is you."
Anya looked at Tara through lowered lashes. "Why, Ms. Maclay. I didn't know you cared."
Tara cracked a smile, momentarily erasing the lines of worry around her mouth and eyes. "In an I'm-sharing-my-hotel-room-with-you sense, not an I-want-to-bed-you sense, thank you very much."
"Much to my chagrin, and yours too if you knew what you were missing," Anya retorted playfully. She turned to the mirror and carefully applied eyeliner to the bottoms of her eyes.
"Not too much," Tara said. "They always wear too much on the show."
"I know," Anya said. "But Alex never does." She finished touching up her eyeliner, and surveyed her reflection. "Gorgeous."
Tara laughed. "One thing no one will ever accuse you of is false modesty."
"I'm just honest," said Anya.
"I can't believe you're going to wear that in public," Tara said. "You can see right through it!"
"That's the point," Anya said. She twirled around in a circle, and her sheer pink nightgown flared out. The material was see-through, and showcased the pink panties and matching bra she wore. Her stomach and thighs were clearly visible through the nightgown. "As the pre-eminent smut writer on the Warrior board, and with my handle being Aphrodite, it's expected that I'll dress like this. I can't disappoint my fans. Plus, I won't be nineteen forever. I always say, when you've got it, flaunt it."
"Well, you've got it," Tara said. "Xander's going to faint when he sees you."
Anya smiled at the mention of his name. "He's a sweet boy." She left the bathroom. "Now where did I put my slippers?"
Tara gave herself one last look in the mirror. She had pulled her hair back on the sides and fastened it on top with a clip. She hesitated, and then removed the clip. Her hair fell down around her face and neck, partially covering her exposed collarbones. She turned off the light and left the bathroom.
Anya was looking through her suitcase. "I know I brought those slippers; now where the heck are they?"
Tara walked over to the closet and reached in the back, producing a pair of high-heeled open-toed slippers with a fuzzy pink fringe on the top of the shoe. "You unpacked them yesterday," she said, handing the shoes to Anya.
"Thanks," Anya told her. She looked at Tara's hair. "Hey, that's not canon. Gabrielle had her hair up for most of Season 1."
"I know," said Tara, looking down. "I just thought I'd be more comfortable with it down."
Anya sat down on the bed to pull on her shoes. "You're really not looking forward to this dance tonight, are you? Like, not even a little bit."
Tara sighed. "Not really. Honestly, I'd rather stay in the room. Do you think it's too late to say I have a stomachache?"
"It's never too late," Anya said. "But do you think you'll feel any better if you stay up here alone all night?"
"Why don't you just tell her you're not interested and leave it at that, then?"
Tara bit her lip as she considered the idea. "Well, I guess I could. But it's not that simple."
"What's not simple about it? No chemistry, no relationship, and thus no Sapphic kisses in the broom closet."
"Who said anything about a broom closet?" She sighed. "It's just that we've been chatting for so long now, every day, and even though I'm not feeling, you know, the chemistry right now, that doesn't mean that I won't eventually, right? And even if it doesn't end up in a relationship, I really value her friendship. The person I got to know over the internet is an interesting, funny, warm person - and I keep thinking, what if she's just having a bad weekend, or something. I feel like I owe it to her - and to myself - to give her a chance."
Anya stood up and walked over to where Tara sat, and took her roommate's hands. "Listen, I may not be the actual Goddess of Love, but even I can tell you this: if you're this unsure, it's probably not right."
Tara nodded. "I know, you're right, but..."
They were interrupted by a knock at the door. Anya held Tara's gaze for a moment longer, and then stood to go open the door.
Anya opened the door to reveal Xander standing in the hallway. He wore a warrior costume, the most prominent feature of which was a circle of metal on his chest that appeared to have been cobbled together out of a flattened vegetable steamer. On his head he wore a pointy woven hat with makeshift earflaps.
"Well come in, Xander - don't just stand there," Anya told him.
He stayed firmly rooted in place, eyes firmly rooted on Anya's see-through costume. "Uh..." he said.
Anya rolled her eyes, but also had a pleased smile on her face. She reached out, took his arm, and pulled him through the doorway.
"This is my friend Tara," Anya said by way of introduction. "Tara, this is Xander."
"Pleased to meet you," Tara said.
Xander shook his head. "Pleased! Meet! You too!" He cleared his throat. "Very nice to meet you, Tara. Sorry about that - my brain seems to have taken momentary leave of my body."
Tara nodded, a hint of mirth playing about the corners of her mouth. "That tends to happen to people around Anya. With that costume tonight, you're going to have to beat them off with a...stick."
Anya dimpled at this. "I don't think I'm going to let Xander beat anyone off tonight, so to speak," she said, coming to her embarrassed date's rescue. "We'll just keep the self-lovin' for the fan fiction."
"I really enjoyed your story tonight," Tara said, finished with her teasing. "It would have made a good episode."
"Thank you," Xander replied. "I had help. My friend Willow thought of the concept, and spent time talking things through with me. She also did the beta work."
"Oh, Willow!" Tara said. "I've met her. She's very nice."
"Yeah, good ol' Will," Xander said. "She and Buffy should be down at the dance any minute now."
"Is Buffy the girl she was sitting next to tonight?"
"Yep, that's Buff. We're all staying together."
"Three people in one room would be a little much for me," Anya said. "I need my privacy."
"Yes, you sure needed your privacy last night," Tara said innocently.
"They're both in college, so we're trying to save a few bucks by tripling up," Xander said with a deep blush. "It's working out okay."
Tara nodded. Except for the snoring, according to Willow, but maybe that was just a one-time thing.
"So Tara, do you want us to wait for you?" Anya asked.
Tara shook her head. "You guys go ahead. Faith seems to be running late, so there's no telling how long you'd have to wait. I'll be down soon enough."
Anya reached over and gave Tara a quick hug. "Hang in there," she whispered in Tara's ear. She turned and clasped Xander's arm as they left the room.
"Nice meeting you, Tara!" Xander said over his shoulder as they left.
Tara cast around the room for something to take her mind off the impending evening after left, but it turned out that she didn't have long to wait. Just a couple of minutes later, there was another knock at the door. She crossed the room and opened the door.
Faith stood there, dressed in black leather. Her outfit showcased her cleavage to the fullest extent, and she wore a short skirt to match. A portion of the tops of her breasts peeked out from a split in the leather of the bodice. She was still wearing her red lipstick, though a slightly darker shade than she had worn during the day.
Tara studied her outfit curiously. "Callisto?" she asked.
Faith nodded as she strode into the room and surveyed the surroundings. "Nice digs ya got here."
"Oh, is your room different than this one?"
Faith laughed. "No, I was just kidding. It's exactly the same. I'll show it to you later, if you want." There was a trace of suggestion in her comment.
Tara avoided answering the question. "I would have thought you'd be dressed as Ephiny or Melosa, or one of the other Amazons."
An even smile spread across Faith's face. "I just felt like mixin' it up tonight. I'm into trying new things lately. Variety being the spice of life and all."
Tara didn't have a response. "Well, I guess we should get going." She scooped up her room key from the table and they left the hotel room.
Even though they arrived just ten minutes after the dance was supposed to start, it was already in full swing by the time Willow and Buffy walked in.
Music was thumping and the ballroom was dark. The dance floor was crowded with several people grooving to the beat of something which sounded like a Madonna remix. Leather was everywhere, and metal glinted off the reflections that the strobe light cast.
"So much for being fashionably late," Buffy remarked.
Willow smiled. "Buffy, we're at a Xena convention, and about a 90% of the people here are dressed in a costume of some sort from the show. Mostly fake armor that doesn't actually do anything to protect a person's body if they were really in a swordfight. I think it's safe to say that fashion has gone out the window."
Buffy laughed as she conceded the point. "It's kind of refreshing, isn't it?"
Willow looked around the room. "Yes, it is. Everyone seems to be having fun, and not overly concerned about what other people think about them."
Buffy pointed to a buffet set up along the side of the ballroom. "Ooh, punch!"
She and Willow walked over to the punch bowl and poured themselves a couple of glasses. Willow surveyed the room as she sipped her punch.
"What are you looking at?" Buffy asked.
"So far I've counted 27 Xenas, 19 Gabrielles, 15 Amazons of indeterminate origin, 12 Callistos, 10 Ares, and 5 unidentifiables. And that's just the people I can see from here."
"Show me one of the unidentifiables."
Willow pointed to a person several feet away. "See what I mean?"
"Totally. What's your best guess?"
"Well, the leather skirt makes it seem like a warrior woman of some sort. But I've never seen any of them wear a shirt quite like that. And what is that thing on her head? Hard to say."
"Oh, look! There's a Season 1 Gabrielle! You don't see many of those anymore - everyone wants to show a little skin." Buffy pointed to the ballroom doors.
Willow looked across the room and saw Tara standing there with the girl she had been sitting next to at the fan fiction reading that night. "I know her. That's Tara. I met her last night in the coffee shop."
"What were you doing in the coffee shop?"
"Oh, I couldn't sleep," Willow said. "Someone in our room was snoring."
Buffy gave her a rueful look. "Sorry, Will. Dawn says I could wake the dead with my snores."
"And I wasn't even mildly stunned." Willow laughed. "Don't worry about it - if you hadn't been keeping me awake, I wouldn't have had the chance to meet Tara. And she's about the coolest person I've met so far here."
Buffy raised an eyebrow. "Cool, huh?"
Willow reddened slightly. "We had a nice chat."
"I think someone has a bit of a crush! Why don't you go talk to her? You can forget about...you know, and get your mind off things."
"Well, maybe. But she's with someone, see?"
Buffy squinted. "Whoa."
"I know. What a cleavage-y slut-bomb, huh?"
"Well, it's hard to say without talking to her, but her outfit sure is revealing. Although I guess mine - yours - is too."
"True," Willow said, with a glance at Buffy's exposed torso and legs. "But it's different somehow. I think the way you carry yourself - something about body language."
Buffy leaned against the table as she continued to observe Faith with Tara. "I think I see what you mean. She seems very...proprietary."
"Yeah. Well anyway, I don't know if I'm up for trying to get in between someone like that and her girl tonight. Even on my best day that's not really my style. If I even have a style. Oh, let's face it, Buffy - I don't have a style."
"Willow, that's one of the greatest things about you - you're just yourself, no games. What you see is what you get."
"WYSIWYG!" Willow said, grinning. She pronounced it "Wizzy-wig."
"It's a web acronym that describes a type of HTML editor. What you see is what you get. WYSIWYG. You must have computer genius lurking just below the surface."
Buffy gave Willow an affectionate, but uncomprehending look. "Lurking pretty far below the surface, since I didn't even understand that first sentence. What I do have lurking AT the surface right now is a strong desire to dance. Dance with me?"
Willow demurred. "I don't know if I'm up for dancing yet. Would you be crushed if I sat this one out?"
"No problem, I don't mind dancing alone."
"Did someone say dance?" an unfamiliar, low voice spoke behind Buffy.
Buffy turned. There stood a tall, muscular man with brown hair and deep brown eyes. He stood several inches taller than Buffy, clad in leather pants and a nondescript black top with two leather straps criss-crossing his chest. Any menacing effect, however, was more than mitigated by the two large wings affixed to his back where the straps crossed his shoulder blades. When he moved, the wings moved with him, spanning a distance of about four feet above his shoulders, white feathers fluttering.
Buffy smiled. "Cupid, I presume?"
The man smiled. "My name's Angel - and yes, I'm Cupid. I didn't mean to eavesdrop - I just came over for some punch and couldn't help but overhear."
"Your name is Angel and you're dressed like Cupid?"
Angel smiled. "It's a family name. It was either this costume or Ares, and I'm not the brooding type. I'm a lover, not a fighter."
Buffy laughed. "I think you chose this costume just so you could make cheesy jokes about it."
"Maybe." He smiled at her, and then turned to Willow, who stood watching the scene with amusement. "Hi, I'm Angel."
"Willow," she replied, shaking his hand.
"Would you both like to dance?" he inquired. "I love this song - Nerfherder is the best."
Willow exchanged a glance with Buffy. "Actually, my friend Xander just walked in, so I'm going to go say hello. But you two go ahead!"
Buffy turned around and grinned at Willow as she followed Angel onto the dance floor.
Willow had actually seen Xander come in some time ago - with Anya by his side, he was hard to miss. Plus, he was one of a very few people who were dressed as Joxer. He'd been dancing with Anya off and on for the past few minutes while Willow and Buffy were people-watching, and was taking a break now.
"Hey Xander!" Willow said as she joined him and Anya.
"Will!" he said. "What are you wearing?"
She regarded her costume. "Buffy thought I could use a little extra encouragement tonight, so we swapped."
"Looks good on ya. Hey, this is Anya," he said.
"Hello, Anya - I'm Willow."
Anya turned to face Willow. "Oh, wonderful! All we need now is Gabrielle and we've got most of the cast for The Quill is Mightier than the Sword!"
Willow grinned. "Although that would mean I'd have to become obsessed with fishing, and leave the dance for most of the night."
"Good point," Anya said. "And I'd have to stop showering. That doesn't sound appealing."
"My favorite line from that episode is when Aphrodite is messing with her bangs and says 'Why won't it stay UP?' That gets me every time," Xander said.
The three continued to discuss their favorite Xena episodes, falling into an easy camaraderie.
Across the room, things were not going quite as smoothly. Tara wasn't having a bad time, exactly, but she felt hyper-aware of her surroundings and the time. This was familiar - when she was uncomfortable in a situation, she kept a close eye on the time, counting down the minutes until she could leave.
She felt that she didn't have much to say to Faith, and it was confusing to her. Gone was the easy conversation and banter they'd had online. In the past day and a half, whenever she brought up a topic that they had talked about extensively in chat, Faith smiled vaguely but didn't engage much. Finally, Tara asked her about it.
"L-listen, can I ask you something?"
"Sure," Faith replied.
"It seems like you aren't really interested in t-talking about any of the things that we've talked about in chat. Every time I bring something up, you kind of brush it off."
Faith's face instantly assumed a sincere expression. "I know, I've been doing that. Listen, I don't mean to be uncommunicative. But it's like this: I figure that we've already discussed so much online, this weekend we should explore new topics. I just want to live in the now, you know?"
Tara nodded. "I can understand that, I guess."
Faith took her hand. "Speaking of living in the now - let's dance."
Tara followed Faith out onto the dance floor. She would sometimes accompany Anya out dancing, and always enjoyed herself if she was in the right mood. The beat of the music would seem to infiltrate her body, pouring itself through her veins and breaking down the barriers of her self-consciousness until all that remained was the music, the beat, and the rhythm of her body.
Somehow, she didn't think she would have that experience tonight.
Faith led her out to the middle of the dance floor, and began a series of slow, gyrating motions to the song that was playing. She was clearly at home on the dance floor, and a few of the people around her and Tara cast appreciative glances at her - whether at her dancing or her skimpy costume, Tara wasn't sure.
Tara swayed back and forth, not trying to match her movements to Faith's. Faith noted Tara's distance, and moved in closer until she was right in front of Tara.
"Loosen up, T," she said. "You've got hips - move 'em."
Tara smiled weakly. Rather than putting her at ease, Faith's comments only served to make her more self-conscious.
Faith moved sinuously around Tara until she was standing behind her, and wrapped her arms around Tara's waist. She pressed her body up against Tara's, and guided her in a series of movements which mostly resulted in Faith's hips gyrating against Tara's bottom.
Tara's inner barometer of discomfort, already strained, shot off the chart. Disentangling herself from Faith's grasp, she turned around. "Listen, I'm thirsty. I want to get some punch." She strode away from the dance floor toward the punch bowl, not waiting to see if Faith was following.
Faith did follow. Tara poured herself a glass of punch with hands that were trembling slightly, but she managed not to spill any. She took a drink, not looking at Faith.
Faith watched her, and seemed to make some assessment. "Listen, T. I forgot something up in my room. I'm gonna go get it. Shouldn't be longer than ten or fifteen minutes, okay? Unless you wanna come with me."
Tara shook her head.
"All right," Faith said. "I'll come find you." She walked away.
Tara watched her go, trying to figure out her reaction. She had definitely not enjoyed the last five minutes - but why? It wasn't anything necessarily different than the way many people behaved out in the clubs she had been to with Anya. Dancing by nature was an intimate act, and presumably even more so when you were technically "with" someone at a dance, as she was "with" Faith.
It was hard to put her finger on, but she thought she had some idea, at least. Faith didn't seem to sense how she was feeling, nor did she ask. "Let's go to lunch," "Let's dance," - as if Tara would automatically agree to whatever Faith wanted.
Which she had, so far. Well, not for long. It's about time I started to speak up.
She looked across the room, having finished her punch and now at a loss for what to do with her hands. She spotted Xander and Anya, and caught a flash of red hair. That's Willow.
She walked over to the three, who were laughing about a Xena episode.
"And then, like the fifth time when Joxer opened the barn door, and Xena and Gabrielle looked out from underneath that haystack all mussed with those guilty looks on their faces - you just KNOW what they were up to, don't you?" Willow was saying.
"Rampant lesbianism!" Anya said. "And speaking of rampant lesbianism, I think you already know Tara."
Tara blushed as Willow turned around. She was used to Anya's patented blunt comments at awkward moments, but Willow didn't seem embarrassed. Rather, she was smiling a wide grin at Tara.
"Yes, we met last night," Tara said. "Hi Willow. Hi Xander."
"Hi!" Willow said, her eyes sparkling. "We were just talking about Been There, Done That."
"I love that episode," Tara said. "It's like that movie Groundhog Day."
"Oh, I love that movie!" Willow enthused.
Anya regarded the two girls with a twinkle in her eye. "And I love this song," she announced. "Xander, will you dance with me?" Not waiting for a response, she walked away, holding his hand so he was forced to follow.
"You love the extended remix of Good Vibrations by Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch?" he asked as he was dragged along.
Tara watched them go, knowing what Anya was up to - taking Xander away so she could talk to Willow alone. She turned back to the redhead.
"So how are you doing?" she asked.
Willow smiled. If she only knew what an effect such a simple question has on me. I'm glad I'm wearing this breastplate or else I'm sure she could see my heart beating so fast. "I'm doing fine, and you?"
Tara smiled. "Me too." She gazed at Willow's costume. "So Xena, huh?" I knew it.
Willow smiled ironically. "Yep, that's me - all with the big, bad, and butch. Warrior Princess Central here."
Tara detected the irony, but didn't understand the source. Deciding to change the topic, she asked "So how is the convention going for you so far?"
"I'm enjoying it - well, most of it," Willow replied. "I've been to some cool workshops, but there are some other parts that haven't really worked out like I was expecting."
Should I tell her? I feel like I could tell her anything. But I can't just bust out with 'I was supposed to meet this girl from the internet who I've been chatting with for three months, and she stood me up. I'm totally crushed, but talking to you is making me feel better than I have all day.' Not only would that make me sound totally pathetic, it also might totally scare her away.
"Oh, um, just, you know, the people," Willow offered lamely. "There are so many of them, and it's really crowded."
"Is it because, um, Buffy? Is that her name? Is it because she's over there dancing with that guy?"
Willow was momentarily confused. "No, I'm glad that Buffy's having a good time, that she met someone."
"So you two aren't...together?"
A light dawned on Willow's face. "Oh! I see. No, we're not together at all. Ha! Buffy's as straight as, um, a really straight chair. We've been best friends since high school." She laughed.
Tara laughed along with her, internally rejoicing. Yes! They're not together!
"So what about you? Are you having a good time?" Willow asked.
Tara nodded, a little hesitantly. "Yeah, pretty much," she said. "I think I'm in the same boat as you - having fun at the workshops, but other parts of the con aren't really what I expected."
Willow smiled. "Well, if we're in the same boat together, then it must be a fun boat." She offered Tara a little grin, and was rewarded with a brilliant smile from the blonde.
Their eyes met, and Willow found herself helpless to make more small talk. Somewhere in the back of her mind a voice was talking insistently, saying that she was staring at Tara and should look away, but instead she continued to gaze into Tara's eyes.
A slow song came on, and couples around them began to walk toward the dance floor to start swaying together. The area around them cleared out fairly quickly, and Willow and Tara were left alone together.
"Um," Willow cleared her throat. She blinked, finally breaking eye contact with Tara, and looked down, then quickly up again, gathering courage. "Would you like to..."
"Hey, T," said a husky voice from right behind Willow. The redhead jumped, startled, and turned around to see the slut-bomb she and Buffy had spotted earlier.
The dark-haired girl, dressed in a black leather Callisto outfit, deftly stepped between Willow and Tara to end up at Tara's side. She stood with her hip thrust out, clearly staking her claim.
"So who's your friend?" Faith asked Tara.
"Willow, th-this is F-faith." Tara cursed internally as she stumbled over the words. Her stutter only exerted itself in times of stress or when she was feeling uncomfortable, and Faith's abrupt return had shaken her. She felt sure that Willow had been about to ask her to dance, and Tara wanted desperately to dance with Willow.
"Nice to meet you?" Willow said.
Faith didn't smile, or return the sentiment. "Listen, T, I'm sorry I was gone so long. I didn't mean to just leave you here. You must have been lonely without me." She stared at Willow as she said it, with a look that was clearly meant to intimidate.
Willow took the hint. Though she had been about to ask Tara to dance, the return of her possessive date had taken away the courage she had summoned up, and the draining events of the day had sapped her emotional strength. The last thing she felt like dealing with now was an unfriendly, possessive lesbian who thought she was out to steal her girlfriend. Which I was, I guess.
"Listen, I need to go find Buffy anyway," Willow said. "It was nice talking to you, Tara. Faith, nice to...um, take care." She turned and made her way across the room to look for Xander and Anya.
Tara was fuming. Not only had Faith been incredibly rude, but she had pretty much intimidated Willow into leaving. We are going to have it out.
Faith walked a few steps behind Tara to the punch bowl, and slopped punch into two cups with the ladle. She busied herself with them, and then turned around.
Wouldn't I like to. "Listen, let's go sit over there. I want to talk to you about something." Tara indicated some tables and chairs that were set up in one corner of the ballroom where people weary of dancing could rest, or just sit and talk.
They walked over to a table that was unoccupied except for a single blonde occupant dressed in black leather. Tara smiled at the girl as she pulled out a chair on the opposite side of the table from her. Even though they wouldn't have complete privacy, it was a large enough table that if she spoke in a low voice she wouldn't be overheard.
Faith had other plans, however. "Hey! Blondie! You mind? We'd like a little privacy."
The blonde girl looked over, annoyed. "It's a public table, and I have every right to sit here."
Faith lifted her hands in mock surrender. "Okay, Ms. ACLU. Whatever. Who are you supposed to be, anyway? Wait, don't tell me. I can guess. Minya, right?"
The blonde stood up. "Are you seriously joking? Helloooooooo - I'm Callisto!"
Faith crossed her arms. "Could have fooled me."
Offended, the blonde girl stood up and pushed in her chair. "Well you're just a...jerk!" With that rejoinder, the stomped away.
Faith turned back to Tara and sat down.
"That was mean, Faith," Tara said quietly.
"Well, we've got the table to ourselves, don't we?"
Tara wrinkled her nose. She detected the faint odor of whiskey on Faith's breath. Great. She went upstairs to drink whiskey. Could this evening get any worse? Annoyed, she reached for her glass of punch and took a drink.
She immediately spit it out. "Did you put whiskey in my punch?"
Faith raised her hands in a placating manner. "C'mon, T, don't get all Temperance Society on me. I just thought you could use a little somethin-somethin to loosen you up. You're way too high strung."
"Listen to me. First of all, my name is Tara. Not T. Tara. Second, I can't believe you'd spike my drink without telling me. That borders on illegal. And third..."
"And third, did I mention you need to loosen up?" Faith repeated. She leaned forward and grasped the tie at the top of Tara's shirt that held her collar closed. "Starting with this." She gave it a yank and Tara's collar fell open.
Tara smacked Faith's hand away and stood up. "I have had enough!" she shouted. A few people nearby looked over. "You just have no respect. I can't believe you're the same person I got to know these last three months. I don't know what you thought was going to happen tonight, but listen to me - the only thing that's going to happen between us is me telling you not to bother me ever again. Not in person, no private messages, and no chat. You got it?"
Faith shrugged. "Uptight," she muttered, and downed her punch.
Tara shook her head, turned, and walked away.