The next morning back at Revello Drive, Willow practically floated down the stairs, singing This Guy's In Love at the top of her lungs, being sure to change all the appropriate pronouns. She pirouetted into the kitchen, "Good morning Buffy, my excellent friend," she exclaimed, kissing her on the forehead. "Oooh... and Spikey is here too... visiting Billy Idol's hairdresser again I see," she teased, mussing his peroxided coif.
"Someone got shagged last night," he snarked, making sure every hair was once again in it's proper place.
Buffy, never what you'd call a morning person, groaned, "Not that I'm not thrilled that you got a happy, Will... but do you have to sing? I haven't even finished my coffee yet."
"Nice try Summers, but it's going to take a lot more than a snippy comment about my singing voice to spoil my mood today... and I'll have you know, Mr. Bottle Blonde... I did not get shagged last night, as you so delicately put it. As I told a certain someone last night, I cannot be had for the price of a mocha."
Buffy raised an eyebrow and smirked in the redhead's general direction. "OK... OK... there was that one time... but I would have slept with her anyway... the mocha was just a bonus."
"I don't even want to think about what she'll be like when she really does get some," Buffy muttered in a stage whisper.
"I'm going to ignore that... since I know you're just jealous," Willow said, sticking her tongue out at her roomie.
"So... does this goddess have a name?"
"Tara," Willow sighed contentedly.
"You mean like the house in Gone With the Wind?" bleach boy teased.
Willow cuffed him on the back of the head and stole a piece of his toast, "So, William... where's your other half this fine morning?"
"He's not here, I swear," he answered, gesturing toward the closet door, "You scared the pants off him yesterday... thank you for that by the way," Billy waggled his eyebrows, grinning evilly.
Willow yanked the closet door open without fanfare, "You can come out now, Xander."
"Honey, I did that years ago... my Daddy was so shocked he almost dropped his beer," he said campily, sashaying his way out of the closet. "So, Rosenberg... forgive me?" he asked, slipping his arms around his red haired friend.
"Oh yes, always," she beamed, "But you're only alive because I found her."
"And what's the hottie's name after all that hissy you tossed?" Buffy and Billy started humming the theme from Gone With the Wind "Huh? I don't get it... is her name Scarlett?"
"Tara," said again with a smile, a wistful sigh and a hairy eyeball at the two blondes.
"So..." Buffy prompted expectantly.
"So?" Willow was acting all large with the innocent.
"Spill! I need my vicarious smoochies... God knows they're the only kind I'm getting these days."
"A lady doesn't kiss and tell," the redhead huffed melodramatically, stifling a giggle.
"So just tell us about the other stuff then," Xander suggested salaciously.
"What makes you think there's anything else to tell?"
"Well, that smile for one... then there's the singing... I don't think you'd subject your dearest friends to that for no good reason."
Willow picked up a bagel, took a bite and tossed the rest at Xander's head. "I told you guys already... I don't put out for mochas."
"Alright... alright... I give... a pissed off Willster once in any 24 hour period is more than enough."
"Smart man... otherwise I might have to change my mind about sticking you with that traffic detail."
Willow grinned like a cheshire cat... a very evil cheshire cat. Xander got down on his knees and salaamed, "All hail the Willster... Queen of Cops... bestest friend in the whole wide world... who would never even dream of giving her loyal buddy Xan-Man the scut work."
"Oh get up, you fool... just think of it as a reminder for the future."
"I promise," Xander held up his right hand, "Next time I see you talking to a hottie in black leather I'll walk the other way."
"If I have my way, I'll only be talking to one hottie from now on."
"Oooh... Red's got it bad," Billy laughed.
"Leather, Will? And here I thought the handcuffs were just a work thing," Buffy taunted, "Maybe you oughta get that uniform drycleaned... you might want to play in it later."
Willow glared at the blonde but her blush gave away more than she would have liked.
"Aw come on, Will... I was just teasing," Buffy walked over and hugged her best friend. "I'm really happy for you... I just want you to tell this Tara chick two things from me... number one, she's a very lucky lady... and number two, if she hurts you, I'm gonna kick her ass so hard her ancestors will feel it."
"Oh Buffy... you're so sweet."
"So, did you finally get her digits?" Xander asked, flinching a little at the memory of the last time he'd posed that particular question.
"No, I didn't... she doesn't have a phone... but I got her lot number... she's camped out at Tall Oaks."
"You seeing her tonight?"
"As a matter of fact I am... she's playing down at the Espresso Pump and then we're going out after her last set."
"Aw, can I come?" the redhead glared at her roomie,"Well, then, should I wait up?"
"I'm not even going to dignify that with an answer," Willow protested. God, I hope the hell not... sigh.
Mocha in hand, Willow sat at a table close to the stage, waiting for her goddess to appear. Finally, Gus, the owner of the place, stepped up to the mike. Willow waved at him just like a little kid, with a mocha habit like hers everyone at the Pump knew her by name. "And now ladies and gentlemen, the mellow vocal stylings of Miss Tara Maclay." Mellow? Hey! Is he making fun of her being a hippie? That's not very nice... I wonder how long it's been since the health inspector has been through here... I should check into that. Then the lights came down and when the soft amber spot illuminated the gorgeous creature onstage, Willow's internal babble stopped deader than a Chevy Chevette in a deep puddle.
Tara was wearing faded low rise bell-bottoms with appliqued flowers up the sides and a deep blue batiked shirt that showed off her sexy collarbones, it was all Willow could do to not jump up on the stage and kiss them right then and there. Tara looked up from her guitar, straight at Willow, her sapphire eyes twinkling like gems under the stage lights and launched into a haunting version of Joni Mitchell's A Case of You. Shivers ran up the redhead's spine, not only was one of her all time favorite songs being sung directly to her, but the angel singing it had a voice like... well... an angel. Every time Tara hit a high note, Willow could feel it in the seat of her pants. OK, maybe just a bit further forward.
She had to admit, Gus had been quite accurate in his description of Tara's singing style. Her performance took in everything from James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Harry Chapin and Simon & Garfunkel to jazz standards, but she made them all her own. Guess she wasn't kidding about being stuck in the past... still it suits her.
Willow had noticed early on in the set, that Tara was not one of those performers who did a lot of talking to the audience. In fact, except for a couple of thank yous, she hadn't said much of anything. Willow understood, she'd seen the girl's shy side first hand. Hmmm, maybe she should wear her leathers on stage. Ah, no... that would be a different show entirely. Suddenly, the room seemed very warm.
Then a very soft, intimate, but ultimately engaging voice came through the sound system. Tara's voice.
"Thank you ladies and gentlemen, you've been a lovely audience... it's about time for me to say good night, but first I'd like to do one more song for you... a song that's very special to me... this song was my Mama's favorite... when I was a little girl she'd play it over and over again... I'm pretty sure she wore a hole straight through that record... I wouldn't be surprised if I learned the words to this song before I learned my ABCs... Now whenever I sing it, I feel warm and safe, just like back in Mama's kitchen... and tonight, I'd like to sing it for someone very special in the audience, who makes me feel that way too."
Tara averted her face from the audience, a curtain of hair hiding her soulful eyes. Is she crying? Then a simple, but hauntingly beautiful melody sprang from her fingertips. When she did look up, it was right into Willow's eyes and then the angel started to sing...
At last... my love has come along
At last... the skies above are blue
I found a dream that I could speak to
You smiled and then the spell was cast