Return to The Game of Love Chapter Twenty-One

The Game of Love

Author: Shai
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: Unfortunately neither Tara nor Willow are mine. Neither's anyone else in this fic for that matter!

Finding Willow, she smiled at the redhead and said "We're in the Finals!!!!"

Willow grinned back at the obvious delight on Tara's face. "Yes you are" she said, her smile widening at the look of pure joy on Tara's face. "I''l bet her eyes are gleaming! Ooh take those glasses off Tara!!! I wanna see those baby blues..." Willow thought.

"We're in the finals!" Tara repeated, her voice rising a little, still joyous.

Again Willow nodded her head, saying "Uh huh!!!".

Tara flashed another smile Willow's way, and all of a sudden she sobered down, setting her jaw and said in a firm voice "And we're gonna win..."

Willow felt herself get goosebumps at the confidence in Tara's voice. Once again she found herself drawn to the blonde.

Tara looked around, seeing the rest of the team celebrate. "I should go over to them and join in" she thought, but as she looked at Willow again her mind told her that this was where the celebration was for her.

Coach Giles cleared his throat, before calling the girls his way. As they gathered around him in a circle, the first thing he said was "You girls made me unbelievably proud today". This simple statement was greeted by smiles all around. "Tomorrow we play Columbus" he said and pausd. Willow's first instinct was to look at Tara, who's fac remained unmoving. The red head couldn't help but remember that Faith or whatever her name was played for that team.

"One more game girls" Coach Giles said. "One more game. I know we have it in us to win this baby. I mean c'mon, we just knocked out the best team of the tournament. Wait, let me correct myself. We knocked out who people THOUGHT were the best of the tournament" he smiled. "Tomorrow is our chance to bring home the Championships for the first time. If that isn't enough incentive, it's also a chance to make a lot of money". The girls laughed at his attempt at bringing the best out of them. "I'm already proud of us, and while the result of tomorrow's game won't affect that pride, I'd like to win, simply, because I like to win. All I can say is give it your me, it will be enough".

Coach Giles looked slowly from one girl to the other, before concluding "We play indoors tomorrow at 12 p.m. I'll see you all here at 11:15. Have a great day... just don't tired yourselves too much".

The team nodded their heads before turning and walking to the showers. Willow stood there, next to Coach Giles. Her looked at her "So Willow, are you enjoying te tournament?"

"Oh definitely!" Willow said, the enthusiasm coming through in her voice. "It's a great game!"

Coach Giles nodded his head and turned his attention to a tournament official, who had come to him with a clip board and was now writing the answers to some questions that he was asking the winning Coach.

10 minutes later the girls were out of the showers, looking and smelling clean. They were all in high spirits, after the game they'd just played. Even the substitutes!

Buffy walked upto Willow and the two began heading in the direction of the parked cars with the rest of the girls. Just as they were getting to the parking lot, a voice called out "Hey! Wait up!"

They all turned around to see Zak jogging their way. He looked at Tara and gave a wave, but today he stopped next to Buffy. "Hey Buffy, I was wondering if maybe you wanted to grab some lunch with me?" he said, and Willow noticed that his expression read 'H-O-P-E-F-U-L'.

"Not that that's was a bad thing" Willow pondered, since turnng to Buffy she noted "Since her expression reads Y-E-S, S-I, O-U-I, H-A-A-N...ok I have to stop doing that in my head!"

"Sure thing" Buffy said, and both hers and Zak's faces spread into similiar wide, toothy grins. "Umm, guys, I'll see you'll later?" Buffy asked.

"Sure thing" Anya said with a smile, as Willow nodded. "Tara's again tonight ok?" the keeper asked.

"Yup" Buffy said, as she took the hand that Zak offered and held it. They were about to walk away when Zak seemed to have an after thought and turned back in the direction of the team and said "Great game guys!"

This was greeted with a chorus of "thanks" from the girls, and then Zak and Buffy turned and sauntered off, hand in hand.

"C'mon" Tara said to Willow. "I'll drop you and Cameron off to the dorms along with Cordy and Ahn".

The girls followed Tara to the cars, where they said their 'goodbye's' to the girls leaving in the other car, and settled themselves down in the Mercedes.

Tara started up the engine and pulled out of the parking lot. As usual Anya started up some loud music, but this time Tara didn't look like she could be bothered to put her MP3 player on, and groaning said "Ahn! At least turn the volume down!"

Anya grinned but complied, and Willow said a silent 'thanks' to the blonde. They stopped at a signal, and Willow said "Umm, guys...I won't be able to make it tonight..."

"What?!" Tara said, turning around immediately in her seat to look at Willow. "Ok that was a very obvious reaction. Chill Tara!!!" she thought to herself. Then she said aloud "How come?"

"I promised my parents that I'd stay over at their place tonight. It's sorta a weekly thing, and with them gone so much, I don't wanna cancel..." Willow said, the slightest hint of sorrow in her tone.

"Oh ok" Tara said, as the light turned to green again, and she moved the car forward.

"Your parents gone a lot?" Cameron questioned.

"Yeah...Mom's in flight cabin crew and Dad's a pilot with Air France, so well, they're outta the country a lot".

"Must be a fun job though" Cordelia said. "You know, seeing so many different places and stuff...and all that for free!!!"

"Hmm, yeah they quite like it" Willow said.

They got to the dorms, and everyone got out. Willow got out and popped her head back into the open door. "I'll see you tomorrow at the game Tara?"

"For sure," Tara smiled softly, before Willow shut the door and walked towards her dorm.

Tara watched her for a second or two, before pulling out again and heading home.

Continue to The Game of Love Chapter Twenty-Three

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