Return to The Game of Love Chapter Forty-Six

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!

" we're rushing to the cinema, and I mean really speeding, and I was really happy cause I thought we would make it in time for the movie, and when we were like 10 minutes away from the place the driver turns and tells me that he was really glad that he was getting me there in time, and was really quite surprised, since his brakes weren't working properly!" Willow ended the story, looking absolutely mortified!

"You're kidding!" Tara said, her eyes going wide, before she broke out into laughter.

Willow joined her, adding "Seriously! I spent the rest of the ride praying!"

It was now 8:30 p.m, and the two had been sitting in Tara's room for about an hour now. Willow was sitting on the bed, surrounded by pillows with her legs stretched out in front of her. Tara was seated on one of the armchairs, with a cigarette in her hand. She was so enthralled by Willow's stories that the cigarette was almost forgotten between her fingers, and was wasting away.

When the laughter subsided, Tara regarded Willow seriously, "Jokes apart, that must've been pretty scary..."

Willow simply nodded her head, not able to tear her gaze away from the concerned blues looking her way. Tara knew she had a plan, but right now she couldn't remember what it was. All she knew was that a certain redhead was looking right at her, and she didn't want to look away. They stayed that way for a few seconds, before Willow realized she was probably being rude, and snapped herself out of it. The minute Willow broke the stare fest, Tara mentally kicked herself for staring like a total goon! 'Keep it up and you're gonna scare her off' she mentally chided herself.

"So... are you hungry?" Tara asked, wanting to change the topic.

"Actually... YES!" Willow said, realizing she was pretty famished. "What are we eating?"

"Well, I figured ... if it's alright with you that is... I figured that I'd cook..." Tara said, letting it go there, looking intently for Willow's reaction.

"You can cook?" Willow asked, her eyes going wide. "Now I'm even more impressed!" she grinned. "Of course it's alright with me! So I ask again... what are we eating?!"

20 minutes later Tara was standing in the kitchen, stirring up some white sauce made with shrimps and mushrooms, for the spaghetti that was cooking beside the pot. Willow was sitting on the kitchen counter to Tara's left, watching every move Tara made. "The carbonarra smells delicious... my mouths watering!" Willow grinned. "Where did you learn to cook Tara?"

"From my Mom" Tara smiled, all the while stirring the sauce. "She's a really good cook you know? And I'm not just saying that cause, you know, she's my Mom. I mean you know how everyone loves their own mothers cooking, but mine is really a good cook!" Tara said, stopping and taking a deep breath. 'And could I have gone on ANY longer?' she thought, thinking that Willow must think she's silly!

However Wilow thought it was sweet, and nodded her head. "Yeah, I know just what you mean! So... what else can you cook... besides Italian food I mean?"

Tara thought while she stirred "Well, I can do regular stuff, like pot roast and things, I'm ok with Thai soups, a little bit of Indian food, um... lemme think... I'm good with desserts... ooh, especially chocolate fudge... crepes, some French cuisine... I dunno... I can cook quite a bit I guess!" she smiled.

Willow really looked impressed "Wow! And I was proud that I could make good baloney sandwiches!" she grinned.

Tara returned the grin, and then afraid that she'd start staring again she quickly checked the contents of the pot, and nodded her head in satisfaction at what she saw. "It seems to be cooking alright" she said, as she bent down slightly and pulled out a drawer to her right, taking out two place mats, and walking towards the small dining table.

Willow watched the blonde as set two places, and started to walk back to the kitchen. Once there, Tara pulled open a small cupboard that was above the sink, and took out two plates. "Can I help with something?" Willow asked, watching Tara take out two glasses as well.

Tara merely smiled and shook her head, as she took off in the direction of the table again, and was back at the pot a minute later. She dipped the wooden spoon that she'd been using to stir the sauce into the pot again, and this time brought up a little of the sauce to her lips to taste. Willow watched, mesmerized as she looked at the blondes lips change shape as she blew gently on the sauce, cooling it, before she tasted it. Willow stared as Tara's expression went from unsure, to pleased. And Willow found that she herself was quite pleased with what she was looking at.

All evening she had felt a strange feeling in her stomach when Tara was near her, and she knew that it wasn't a bad feeling. In fact, it was nice. She couldn't put her finger on it... it was a mixture of excitement... and anticipation... and... "And what??", she couldn't understand.

Willow realized that her mouth was open from what she was looking at. She was just taking her jaw of the ground when Tara turned to look at her. "It seems to be ready" she smiled, walking over to the sink to rinse the spoon that she'd used to taste her cooking with. 'Is it just me, or was she just staring at me with her mouth agape??? Nah... it's probably just me, and my wishful thinking', she dismissed the thought from her head. Looking back at Willow she said aloud "Shall we eat?"

Willow nodded her head, and getting off the counter, she walked towards the dining table. Tara followed her, holding the pot in her mitt-clad hands, and placed the sauce on a coaster that she had put between the two plates earlier. Walking back to the kitchen she brought the spaghetti, and placed it on another coaster.

Taking off the mitts, Tara seated herself, and said, "May I serve you?" as she reached out a hand for Willow's plate.

"Thank you" Willow said, handing over her plate, which Tara immediately filled with food. Seconds later she handed it back to Willow, who accepted it with another thanks.

Willow waited as Tara proceeded to fill her own plate. When the blonde was done, they both began to eat together. "Mmmm..." Willow said, looking at Tara and nodding her head vigorously, trying to show that she really liked what she was tasting, even while her mouth was full of food!

Tara smiled shyly, and looked back at her plate, really very pleased with herself for getting that reaction out of the redhead. They continued to eat, speaking about college between bites. "I have to go to the sports department tomorrow, with the rest of the team. We're getting the prize money that's due to us for winning the tournament..." Tara was saying, and then said "Oh! I almost forgot!" as she rose from her place.

Willow put her fork down, and watched Tara with a confused crease on her brow as the other girl walked to the fridge, and took a jug out. Coming back to the table, Tara looked at Willow, and simply said "Peach iced tea?"

Willow's brow came back to normal, and her face broke out into a smile. "Please" she said, as Tara poured the liquid into her glass. "Did you make it?" she asked, as Tara filled her own glass, and sat down again.

Tara nodded her head, bringing the drink up to her lips, and sipping it. Willow did the same, and putting her glass back down she looked across her and asked "Tara?"

Tara looked up quizzically, "Yeah Willow?"

"Have you even considered going into the restaurant business?" Willow asked, her face breaking into smile again. She realized that she'd been smiling all day, and thought 'I'm so happy around Tara... she really makes me feel comfortable... and hey, I like smiling so much!'

Willow's grin widened as she saw Tara smile that shy smile again, and this time she was even happier to see the blonde blush at the compliment. 'Go me!' Willow thought.

They began to eat again, talking about anything and everything, both taking second helpings, and basically enjoying each other's company. All of a sudden, someone buzzed Tara's apartment. The blonde looked up at the time and said aloud "Who could have come without calling me, at a quarter to 10?" as she rose and moved to the speaker.

Willow looked after her, and thought 'Nice butt... Whoa! Did I just think that Tara has a nice butt???' She looked at the blondes ass, and admitted 'Well, it IS nice... very nice... Actually, all of Tara is really nice... '

Reaching the speaker, Tara pressed the button and asked "Who is it?"

"Hi... is Willow there?" a male voice said.

Willow froze, recognizing the voice...

Tara looked at Willow, and pressing the button again she repeated "Umm... who is it?"

"It's Oz," the voice said back.

Now it was Tara's turn to freeze. She had been so enthralled by the redhead that the fact that she had a boyfriend had completely left her mind. Looking at Willow again, she widened her eyes slightly, as if asking what to do. Willow nodded her head, and urning back to the speaker Tara said, "Yeah, come on up", letting him in, and opening her front door.

The moments till Oz came up were filled with silence, both girls not knowing what to do. For Tara it was a reality check... and Willow couldn't understand why she didn't feel happier that her boyfriend was back.

Oz appeared in the doorway, and saw Tara first. Walking up to her he said "Tara Maclay... it's nice to meet you again!" offering her his hand. Tara shook it, and forced a smile.

Oz then turned to Willow. "Surprise!" he said, walking towards the redhead with open arms. When he got to her he pulled her into a hug, and puling back, kissed her on the lips.

Tara looked away, as she felt her heart breaking. 'Ok... let's not be all dramatic about this. There's no need to. He's her boyfriend, and he has every right to kiss her' she told herself.

Ending the kiss, Oz looked at Willow and said "So... miss me?" he smiled.

"Uh huh" Willow said, not able to say anything. 'Why am I not comfortable kissing Oz in front of Tara... actually... why am I not all that comfortable kissing Oz... period?'

"Hey... you ok baby?" Oz asked, concerned at the far away look on his girlfriends face.

"Huh? Yeah!" Willow exclaimed, forcing herself to snap out of it, as she saw Tara look back towards them. "You know, I'm just surprised to see you... good surprised I mean!" she said.

"Great!" Oz grinned. "That's what I wanted! We just finished our last gig a while ago, and we skipped the party and came right back! God, I missed you so much!" he said, pulling her back into a hug.

'That's understandable' Tara thought.

"So, how did you know where to find me?" Willow asked, backing up a little as Oz ended the hug.

"Well, I tried calling your cell, but I guess you left that somewhere again..." he grinned, "so I called Xander, who said he didn't know where you were, and then I called Buffy, who said you were gonna spend the day with Tara and some kids, and I got Tara's address from Buffy, and well, now here I am!" he smiled.

Tara watched the exchange, as Oz continued "Well, I'm sorry to interrupt, but the guys are waiting downstairs, and we're all heading to the Bonze." Looking at Tara he said "Is it ok if Willow leaves now?"

'No, no' Tara's head screamed. "Sure... I mean you don't have to ask... you're her boyfriend" Tara said, as she felt her heart crumble.

Willow looked at the blonde, and couldn't understand why she was disappointed with the answer. 'What did you expect Rosenberg??? He is your boyfriend, and she's right, you should go with him.'

"Thanks!" Oz said, and holding Willow's hand, he began to lead her towards the door. Tara stood aside and watched the couple as they got to the door, and just as they were about to walk out, Willow stopped, and letting go of Oz's hand, she moved towards Tara and gave her a quick hug. "Thanks for a lovely day" she smiled. 'There's the shy smile again' she thought, her own smile widening. "I'll see you at college tomorrow?"

Tara nodded her head, and Willow walked back towards Oz. Once again he took her hand, and they left.

Turning around, Tara looked at the house, that was empty of Willow again. Sighing, she walked over to the dining table, and began to clear up.

Continue to The Game of Love Chapter Forty-Eight

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