Willow stood outside of the Koffee Klatch Kafe scanning the passing pedestrian traffic expectantly. She was dressed in form-fitting jeans and a cute baby-doll tee with the picture of a blue cartoon kitty on the front. On her feet she wore a pair of unassuming flip-flop style sandals, and over her shoulder she carried a gym bag containing her jazz sneakers, tank top and movement pants for rehearsal. She was undeniably cute. A part of her knew that, but she was trying to keep that part of her at bay. This was serious now, it wasn't about sex anymore. Even Willow couldn't deny that it might have started that way, after all that stage manager was decidedly hot. But the blonde's constant refusals to her advances caused something to spark inside her that hadn't sparked for a very long time. Interest. Willow was interested in Tara. She wanted to figure this girl out, she wanted to find out what made her tick. Her likes and dislikes. Her passions and hobbies. Willow wanted... no, needed to know. And she wanted to some how be a part of it.
The redhead's expression of expectation changed to that of a smile when she finally saw the blonde approaching through the crowded sidewalk. Willow waved a little to get the girl's attention, feeling a little silly in doing so. Tara saw her and nodded, allowing the tiniest of friendly smiles to grace her face in acknowledgement.
"Hey, you made it", Willow smiled once Tara was finally at her side.
"Yep, " Tara nodded, a little cold.
"Um... tea?" the dancer asked, gesturing weakly to the café's door.
"Sure." She stepped past Willow and into the only slightly crowded café.
Willow followed Tara up to the register and looked over her shoulder at the menu board overhead. "What would you like?" she offered, starting to pull her coin purse from her jean pocket.
"I'll get my own", said Tara, practically cutting her off. Tara could feel the wave of defeat that instantly emanated from the girl behind her. "But thank you anyway", she amended, turning and offering Willow a smile.
Willow did her best to try and shrug it off. "Oh, no problem. Just thought I would offer." She realized then and there that this was going to be an uphill battle.
"What are you getting," asked Tara in an attempt to at least be sociable.
"Um... probably something really bad for me like a super sugar-y mocha."
"Wow, caffeine and a sugar rush," the blonde pretended to marvel. "Probably explains why you always have so much energy."
"Yeah, " Willow chuckled, "probably."
An uncomfortable silence suddenly and brutally attacked the pair as they stood in line. They each shuffled their feet, occasionally smiled and bobbed their heads at each other, completely at a loss for anything to say. The silence was quickly becoming maddening. Both of their minds had gone blank. Neither spoke for fear of interrupting the other should they start to speak first. Finally...
"It's your turn", signaled Willow, pointing out the barista who was looking at Tara, his expression clearly stating, "so are you gonna order, or what?"
"Oh, " startled Tara, stepping up, "thanks". The blonde ordered quickly, iced chai tea and, beverage in hand, stepped away from the counter. "I'm going to find us someplace to sit."
"Oh, okay, sure", nodded Willow as she moved toward the counter.
A few moments later and Willow joined Tara at a small table near the back of the room. Tara had taken her prompt book out and was making a few notes in pencil.
"Always working?" asked the redhead.
"It borders on the pathological", the stage manager wryly replied. She closed her book and shoved it back into her shoulder bag. Willow finally took a moment to take in the blonde sitting across from her. Her hair was down, worn long, almost the entire length of her back. The front most strands tucked neatly behind her ears to keep them from falling into her face. She wore a flattering peasant's blouse of the hippie fashion, and to compliment it were a pair of dark blue boot cut jeans and a pair of Birkenstock sandals to complete the look. Of course, the look suited her completely.
"So what did you get?" Asked Tara after a moment.
"Mocha", Willow admitted guiltily, "with caramel syrup."
"Man, by the time you finish that cup you'll practically be vibrating", she joked.
"Keeps me going", the dancer shrugged, "eight hours of leaping and spinning, you find you need the energy."
"So, how was your evening?" the redhead inquired with casual interest.
"Okay", answered Tara, "I had a couple of friends over."
"Oh, that's nice."
"I had some friends over too", said Willow.
"Yeah", she replied before adding, "just two... it wasn't like a party or anything."
"Me too", said Tara, "I mean, I just had two people over too." She chuckled a little, "did you ever think it was funny that we have three 'to's'?"
"You know", she went on, "there's 'to', T.O. as in 'go to the store and 'two' T.W.O for the number and then 'too' T.O.O. for 'I have those sneakers too.' Three 'to's'."
"Oh yeah", smiled Willow, getting into it, "But you know what gets me are the 'there's'."
"Yeah, like... 'They're holding their baby over there.'"
Tara let out a laugh and grinned broadly. It was a sight for Willow's sore eyes.
"Are there any other words like that?" asked the blonde, still giggling.
"I don't know", answered the dancer, "I know that there are words with the same spelling but different meanings..." she drifted off trying to think of one.
"Where!" Tara exclaimed suddenly.
"Probably in the dictionary" said Willow, perplexed as to why Tara would want to know where to find words.
"No..." Tara was enjoying herself now. "I mean 'where and wear'. Like, 'Where can I find something to wear?'"
"Oh... duh", smiled the redhead, laughing at her own momentary denseness.
They both chuckled for a moment before settling into a now comfortable silence.
Willow took a sip of her mocha, as if to build courage, and set her cup back onto the table. Taking in a breath, she spoke up softly. "Tara, I want to apologize for how I've behaved the past couple of days."
Tara looked up to her from her tea. "You were kind of... intense."
"I know and I'm sorry... but I hope you'll give me a second chance to make a good impression?"
"I already am", the blonde smiled softly. Willow grinned shyly in response. Tara couldn't help but absorb how the dancer's eyes suddenly seemed to sparkle at her words. It was so endearing, the stage manager found herself looking awayto her watch to avoid getting lost in the green shining back at her. "Oh", she said, actually reading her watch after a moment of staring at it, "we need to get going. Rehearsal."
They both stood and started to collect their bags and drinks.
"Do you want to get some dinner", they both asked each other at the same time. They both laughed at the coincidence.
"Friday night?" they said simultaneously, laughing even more.
"Sure." They answered again at the same time, now near hysterics. After a few minutes of laughing they both calmed down enough to speak again.
"I was starting to get worried we were going to be stuck like that," Willow joked.
"Yes, well, great minds..." Tara drifted off, wiping a tear of laughter from her eye. "We should get going."
Willow nodded and they walked out into the air, turning the corner to the rehearsal hall's building.