A repetitious and sharp clickity-clack of her fingers on the laptop keys made an interesting counterpoint to the soft swishing of rain on the windows of the two story coffee shop off of South Street and Bainbridge that was her favourite haunt. Steam from a rather large cup of cappuccino fogged the window closest to her table, blurring her view of pedestrians below scurrying for cover from the sudden afternoon downpour. Willow stretched languidly, covering her mouth with the back of her hand to stifle a yawn. She'd been in Philadelphia for a few weeks but her body hadn't quite gotten used to the humidity or the three hour time change. Her parents had given her the obligatory warning about the crime rate in Philly but Willow figured that, after living in Sunnydale, anyplace other than it was more exciting. A slow smile crossed her face as she remembered the rather lame argument that her best friend, Buffy had tried to make in an attempt to keep her from moving halfway across the continent.
"How can you be leaving me?! Hello! Xander is nice but he's not so good with the girl talk... and the helpful advice... did I mention that you'll be 2000 miles away... without ME?!" Buffy babbled, hitting minor panic mode.
Willow sighed deeply. "Buffy, it's not like you even need me. You've got Riley and Xander and Giles. Even Anya is helpful...umm... well when she wants to be." She chuckled at that last bit, knowing that Anya would insist on compensation for her efforts. Apparently she learned the lessons of capitalism all to well.
"But that's not the same. You know that sharing with Anya can be evil. Besides, won't you miss our Mocha Madness days at the Espresso Pump? Who else will Bronze it with us on Wednesday nights?" Buffy was employing the whole "Innocent Batting of Eyelashes" routine that normally would have worked in reinforcing the Two Pronged Guilt Trip attack that she was famous for. However, Willow had wanted... no, needed... a change for some time now. She knew that Buffy would take her absence the hardest but Willow felt that it was about time that she does something for herself. In her opinion, having a little alone time was the best way to do that.
"We all gotta grow up sometime, Buffy. I think it's my turn to leave the nest," Willow smiled wryly. Buffy's reply was to pout at her throughout the going away party at the Bronze that Giles has arranged in her honor. "She'll get over it," Willow mused. "We all just need a little time apart." Rolling her eyes in consternation, she realized that somehow she had managed to sound just like her mother.
Checking the battery life in her portable mini-disc player on the table next to her laptop, Willow glanced briefly at the black Movado on her wrist. It was an impulse buy, sure, but she couldn't resist celebrating her new job with Lockheed Martin Technology Group. Frowning slightly at the growing lateness of the hour, she knew she had to pick up the pace and finish the last few lines of her program or she'd get stuck in the hideous rush hour crush at the El station. But somehow... somehow she just couldn't get motivated to keep going. The humid warmth of the shop had practically lulled her into drowsiness; the practically empty cappuccino cup seemed to be laughing at her with its very wide mouth, its promise of caffeine-filled energy totally unfulfilled. "Oh well," Willow grumbled. "May as well get something to eat and some more mocha goodness. It may take a while before I can get outta here." She was forwarding through the minidisc to a particular song, when a light touch on her shoulder brought her out of her haze of contentment. Willow removed her headphones and found herself staring into the clearest blue eyes she'd ever seen.
"Umm, hi. I was wondering if anyone is sitting in this chair," the owner of the amazing eyes said softly. Willow was pretty sure that she'd been struck dumb because her mouth was open but no sounds were coming out. The woman's long blonde hair brushed Willow's cheek briefly as she leaned down to wave her hand in front of Willow's startled eyes.
"Hello? Are you ok?" she asked, a concerned frown passing over her delicate features.
Willow's eyes went wide as she realized how silly she must look. "Oh! Oh, yeah, I'm fine. Sure, you can have the chair... it's just taking up space here beside me." She nudged the chair towards the beautiful stranger, unsure of what to say next. Before she knew it, her hand was flying out of its own accord. "I'm Willow, by the way. In case you were wondering..." her voice trailed off, slightly embarrassed at having rambled slightly.
The blonde blushed slightly, a slight smile dancing at the corners of her mouth. "I'm Tara. Um, Tara Maclay," she extended her hand to Willow and gripping hers lightly.
Willow's answering grin was as bright as a summer sun. "Glad to meet you, Tara." She quickly let go of Tara's hand when she realized that she was staring.
"Um, t-thanks for the use of your chair. S-see you around?"
"Sure! Sure, anytime. I'm always here. It's not like I don't have a life or anything, it's just that I... I really like this place. You know?" Willow knew she was heading straight for a full-on snigglefritz (a Xanderism for her signature babble mode) but just couldn't seem to prevent it.
Tara seemed to be more amused that annoyed at Willow's burst of speech. "I l-like it too, actually. It's kind of cozy." She paused, her eyes a mystery. "S-so... I'll see you around?"
"I sure as hell hope so." "Yeah, sure. See ya." Willow watched Tara take the chair to a small table at the opposite corner of the room nearest to another fogged window. She tried to watch Tara out of the corner of her eye but she wasn't satisfied with the limited view. Willow moved her laptop and chair over, her back to the window slightly so that she could have a relatively unobstructed view of this newcomer. She slid her headphones back onto her ears, pressed the Pause button on the minidisc player and searched through the disc. Upon finding the track she was searching for, Willow pressed play, the first notes of Norah Jones' remake of "The Nearness of You" winnowing their way into her mind. Norah's sultry voice was the perfect backdrop for her daydreaming since all Willow was able to do from that moment on was think about this mysterious stranger that literally tapped her on the shoulder and entered her life.
It's not the pale moon that excites me
After Tara had made herself comfortable at her corner table, she reached into a large tote bag and removed a leather eyeglass case. "Wow, she even wears glasses," Willow noticed. "You know what they say about a girl in specs." She removed a rather small pair of copper-coloured Eddie Bauer Laguna's from the case and propped them on the bridge of her rather slim, refined nose. By this time, Willow had completely given up any pretense of doing work. Both elbows were on the table, her head settled between her hands, and total concentration was given over to examining this Tara Maclay in every single detail.
It isn't your sweet conversation
It seemed that Tara had this way of giving everything she touched a gentle caress; from opening her notebook, to the gentle glide of the pen in her hand across a page. Her glasses had settled on the tip of her nose by this time and this gave Willow a chance to view her profile more closely. Tara had skin as smooth as mother's milk, a strong yet delicate jawline which was accentuated all the more by full, pouty lips. Just as Willow thought she could not be driven any more to distraction, a loud beeping came from her laptop briefcase. Her PDA alarm had gone off, signifying that it was time for her to catch the R5 to her apartment in Washington's Crossing, a rather affluent suburb just outside of the Greater Northeast section of Philadelphia. With a heavy sigh and extreme regret, she packed away her laptop and began gathering her things together.
I don't need soft lights to enchant me
"You have to admit, Rosenberg. You're pretty pitiful." Willow shook her head, chuckling inwardly at her blatant ogling of a complete stranger. "What would you say to her even if you had the chance to talk to her? 'Hi my name is Willow, you don't know me, but can I just say that I'd love to just hold you until the world stops moving?' Oh yes, that would go over REAL well." Rolling her eyes dramatically, she shut off the minidisc player, threw it into a side pocket of her briefcase and shut it. As Willow wound her way around the maze of tables, she glanced back longingly at the beautiful vision by the corner window. "Till we meet again... er... well hopefully we will." Turning back to the stairs, she made her way out into the softly falling rain and afternoon rush.