It was Thursday morning. A week had passed, an extraordinary week if she had anything to say about it. She had said as much, too, just that morning. If someone were to ask her again, her response would be the same.
A week ago, she met Tara Maclay. A week ago, the life she never knew could happen, began.
It was starting and she liked it.
She liked it very much.
"She's amazing, Buffy." Willow's eyes twinkled with adoration. She was sitting at the Reception Desk, keeping her best friend company.
Buffy was pre-checking in surgery patients for that morning. In thirty minutes, the first patient was scheduled to arrive.
Smirking, she turned her head to look at her boss and almost laughed. Almost. "I know that, Will. In fact, I remember you saying that very same thing the first 20 times you told me."
Looking at the Slayer with a stunned expression, Willow playfully pushed her. "I did not!"
This time, Buffy DID laugh, as she shielded her body and prepared herself for any more pushing she might receive. "Okay, so I over exaggerated," she said, clicking on the print button on the computer, smirking again as she did this.
The hospital director rolled her chair the short distance to the right, reaching up to the printer and grabbing the warm sheet of paper that had just printed out.
"Yeah, you did!" Willow defended herself and then sheepishly added, "I only told you, um... five times." Her voice whispered the last part, her cheeks turning a deep shade of red from embarrassment.
"Thanks." Buffy took the check-in sheet, setting it on the desk. She laid a rubber square tag on top of the paper, which was marked with the number 7. The tag would be hooked on the cage of that patient for identification purposes.
Turning away from the computer, the blonde looked at the other woman. "It's okay. I know you like her. She's a good doctor." She winked at her friend.
"She is," Willow agreed and then got up from her chair, turning away from the desk and walking towards the computer on the right, at the back of the room.
She then whispered what she thought was only for her ears, "She's a beautiful doctor, too."
Apparently, she wasn't the only one who had heard her statement. When a voice suddenly met her ears from the left, she almost jumped out of her skin.
"Who's beautiful, Willow?" Tara frowned when she noticed the startled expression on the redhead's face. She had just come through the door on the girl's left that led to the front of the clinic. The only thing she had heard was Willow's attempt at whispering to herself.
Covering her heart with her right hand, Willow tried to calm her breathing as her mind searched for a quick cover up. "Um, you know... that doctor on Emergency Vet's on Animal Planet. The blonde doctor?"
"Dr. Knor?" Tara grinned at the obvious disguise, wondering whom Willow had actually been referring to. Dr. Knor was just a guess. She knew she found her beautiful, even though she usually had a thing for redheads. She could make one exception.
Pushing the power button to boot up the computer, the hospital director looked at the young doctor and nodded. "Yep... that's the one. Dr. Knor, that's her."
Tara was about to say something in response, but was interrupted by Buffy.
"Dr. Maclay, can you look at something on this patient's file, please?" The Slayer smiled at her, trying to take the attention away from her best friend.
"Sure. What do you have?" Tara began and started her walk toward the front desk.
Willow gratefully smiled at Buffy and then went about booting up the two other computers in the room, eventually leaving the room altogether.
A loud crash was heard. It sounded like something metal clambering to the floor.
Willow's head whipped around at the noise. She was leaning over the exam table at Exam Room 3 taking a cats temperature. What she heard next caused her to quickly remove the thermometer from her patient, spin around to the counter behind her and lay the thermometer down on a paper towel.
"WILLOW! We need help!"
Her ears perked up at Buffy's voice and she immediately excused herself, offering a quick apology to her client, before she pushed open the door to the back of the hospital and hurried through it.
What she found was Buffy, Tara, and Julie on the floor trying to restrain a Rottweiler that just needed a simple nail trim. The simple nail trim had turned into a full out war for superiority.
The Slayer was at the front end of the dog. Her left bicep was hugged tightly underneath the Rottweiler's neck, her upper arm hooked around the dog's head, holding him tightly to her body so he couldn't bite. Her upper body was lying on top of the dog above his shoulders, keeping him on the ground, while her right arm rested on the floor in front of her.
Tara was trying to hold the back end of the dog down to keep him from trying to get away. She wasn't having very much luck however, seeing as she wasn't as strong as Buffy.
Julie was just standing by with the nail clippers in her hand, waiting for Dr. Maclay's instructions on when to start on the dog's nails.
As Willow looked on, she tried to access the best way to help. She couldn't fit in between Buffy and Tara to hold the middle half of the dog down, so she did the only thing she knew to do.
Walking over beside the doctor, she squatted down to the floor and prepared to help. "Tara, please forgive my invasion of your personal space here. It's the only thing I know to do." She couldn't believe she was about to do this and wondered to herself if she really should. She didn't want to piss the other woman off or do anything intrusive.
Turning her head to the right the best she could, the blonde looked up at Willow. "It's okay. Just help us please."
Swallowing nervously, the redhead did as asked. Moving closer to Tara, she squeezed her right shoulder to kind of let her know what she was doing and sucked in a lungful of air as she started to position herself.
She swung her left leg over Tara's back, scooting her body up a little more to the dog at the same time. She kept her right knee on the floor, hugging it to the doctor's ribs and let her left knee meet the floor, mirroring her other on the left side of the other woman's ribs.
Leaning down, she let her upper body rest on top of Tara's upper back, pushing her down a little bit more on top of the dog. She relaxed her hips a little, but didn't let her lower half lay fully on top of the other woman.
The blonde had inhaled deeply when she felt the other girl's knees on the sides of her body. When she felt Willow's breasts press into her back, she thought she might faint. This wasn't what she expected the girl to do at all and if she were honest with herself, she kind of enjoyed it.
She had to close her eyes for a brief second to calm her nerves before she even attempted to speak.
Willow kept her right arm on the floor to try and keep her balance and so as not to squash the woman underneath her. Her left arm she lifted up beside Tara's on the dog's back to help hold the dog down. She didn't know what to do with her head, so she let it drop down beside Tara's, her chin resting on the dog and her right cheek resting against the back of the other woman's head.
"Julie, go ahead and start with his back feet," Tara instructed of the Receptionist.
"Yes, ma'am," the brown haired girl answered, as she reached for Rocky's back right foot and started in on his nails.
"Good boy, Rocky. Stay still and I'll give you a cookie when we're done." Buffy moved her right hand down and scratched his neck, trying to calm him as she made soft murmurs in his ear. "Shhh."
The Rottweiler didn't make much of a fuss through the rest of his nail trim. He growled once when Julie cut his nail a little too close to the quick, but other than that he was a good patient. His growl was more of a warning than a threat.
Nail trimming accomplished, Willow got up first. When her upper body was upright, she squeezed Tara's shoulders to let her know she was moving. Standing up, she moved her foot away from the blonde's left side.
The young doctor slowly started to get up. Once she had pushed herself up onto her knees, she gripped the redhead's extended hand to help pull herself to her feet.
She looked deeply into the other girl's eyes, smiling at her. "Thank you." Tara held on to Willow's hand a little longer than necessary, but neither girl seemed to notice or if they had, they didn't protest the contact.
Finally pulling her hand away, Tara blushed.
Buffy was up and playing with Rocky by the time her co-workers snapped out of their trance.
The Rottweiler was leaning into the Slayer's legs, his head tipped back as he looked up at her with his tongue hanging out of the side of his mouth.
"That wasn't so bad, now was it? You were being a big baby. Want a cookie?" Her voice purred excitedly with the last of her words.
Rocky barked at her and tried to jump up onto her, but was immediately told he couldn't do that. So, he settled for following the Slayer up to the front of the clinic so he could go back to his owners, but not before he got his cookie.
Willow handed Buffy the dog treat as she passed her to leave the room. Smiling, she watched her go and then started to straighten out her scrub top, which had become ruffled in all the excitement.
She almost jumped when she felt someone squeezing both sides of her waist. She twirled her head around to the right and came face to face with Tara.
The blonde smiled at her and squeezed her hands against Willow's waist, as she moved around her to follow in the direction Buffy had gone, her left hand brushing over the girl's back as she moved.
When she got to the door, she looked back at her companion and winked at her.
Blowing out a lungful of air, the hospital director felt the butterflies fluttering around in her stomach as she soon followed.
Julie was right behind her after the brunette had finished picking up the metal tray that had fallen to the floor earlier. She put the handful of nail trimmers back in the container and placed it back on the counter top, practically running after her co-workers.
A disgusted moan could be heard in the back room of the Veterinary clinic. An annoyed right foot tapping up and down echoed through the air.
Willow's hands were pressed flat against the counter top, her arms straightened out and her shoulders tense. She hung her head down even with her shoulders as she grumbled.
"Ugh!" She breathed; an exasperated sigh escaped her lips.
Buffy observed from her position beside the counter. Her right hip was pressed into the edge, her hands resting on her hips. Her breathing was controlled, but the air around her - disturbed.
"I have scratches from all her brittle!" she exclaimed. "That woman irritates the snot out of me."
"Ew, Buffy. Nasty mental images." Willow lifted her head up, but she didn't move. Her posture was still very much the same as it had been for the last 10 minutes.
"I have to agree though." Finally, she turned around. She leaned the crest of her buttocks against the counter behind her, while crossing her arms over her chest.
"She was drunk again," Buffy stated matter-of-factly, her words summing up the whole of the woman's actions. "I hate it when she comes in here. You try and do everything for her pets, which she only brings in if they are sick and when they're ready to leave, she acts like you didn't do enough!"
Turning her body to the right, the Slayer gave a healthy kick to the side of the cabinet.
"Ah, Buffy!" Willow yelled in a high pitch squeak. "Stop it. You're gonna break my clinic. Any damages come out of your paycheck, missy!" She walked over and squatted down, investigating the wood for any trauma, her fingers rubbing over the outer surface.
"I didn't kick it that hard, Will." She looked down at her friend, a smile tickling her lips. Her predictability was cute sometimes and always expected.
When Willow stood up, she surprised herself and the other woman by doing something that she never imagined herself capable of or the certain need to do.
She kicked the cabinet.
She quickly regretted it though and started hopping up and down, clutching her shoe in her hand.
"Ow, ow, ow!" The hospital director hopped the short distance back over to the counter she had been at before the, "kicking incident," and collapsed into the black rolling chair.
Her big toe throbbed in her shoe as she closed her eyes. Her teeth pressed tightly together in her mouth and Willow had to almost bite her tongue to keep the, very colorful, words that were flitting on the tip of her tongue from surfacing.
Although it wasn't really funny, Buffy had to turn and walk away to keep herself from laughing. She knew good and well that if she were in her friend's shoes and someone had laughed at her, that they would be sorry. Being on the redhead's shit list was not appealing in the least.
Keeping her back turned to the other woman, Buffy focused herself by looking at her schedule, which was hanging on the wall opposite to the first row of animal cages to it's direct right.
Her attention was quickly averted however, by the sound of the door opening and boot heels tapping on the tiled floor. When she turned around, she spotted Dr. Maclay standing there, her eyes curiously looking over at Willow.
"Is she gone, Doc?" Buffy curiously pressed.
"Yes. She finally left." Tara responded without taking her eyes off the object of her increasingly developing attraction. She frowned at the hospital director's posture and the way her forehead was resting on the counter top.
Truth was, Willow's foot was fine now. Her toe was still somewhat tender, but it wasn't being a nuisance any longer. No. Now, she was more embarrassed than anything.
So, she hid her face.
Buffy smiled, glad that Tara had taken care of Mrs. Brown. She despised that old woman with a passion. She did feel kind of guilty for leaving the new doctor the task of dealing with their most difficult client, but Tara had insisted.
"Great." The smile on the Slayer's lips practically engulfed her whole face. "Thank you, Dr. Maclay. I'll go check on the appointment schedule."
Tara did turn her head this time to nod at the other woman. "You're welcome and thank you, Buffy."
Giving a brief nod of her own, Buffy moved past Tara and went into the front of the clinic, leaving her co-workers to themselves.
Watching the door close, the blonde doctor turned back to Willow, who was sitting a little differently now, but still hid her face.
Willow had turned her chair slightly so her left side was facing Tara, while her face was concealed in the bend of her elbow. Her left hand was resting on her knee.
Walking over to the sink beside the computer, Tara gripped the arm of the other black rolling chair and pulled it over and sat down close to Willow, their knees almost touching.
"Are you okay?" she asked, her voice tinged with worry. Looking down at the other girl's knee, the blonde inspected her co-worker's hand. Her eyes traced each finger slowly, taking in every line and curve. She came to one conclusion: Willow had sexy hands.
"Yeah," was the redhead's simple reply.
As the blonde's eyes mapped the creamy skin, they came to settle on the still present bite marks from the week before. Although healing and fading, you could still tell they were there.
Boldly, Tara reached over, her right hand brushing forward onto warm skin. Gingerly, her fingers ran the length of the hacker's hand before coming back down and wedging their way underneath, gripping onto the smaller woman's flesh.
Willow tensed at first and then felt a shiver follow as she finally lifted her head and looked down at her hand. She watched as Tara's thumb glided over the bite marks and squeezed her own fingers around those in her grasp.
Lifting her eyes, the redhead found a beautiful smile and soft blue eyes staring back at her. She opened her mouth to speak, but changed her mind and just licked her lips.
Fixating her eyes on the wet pink tongue, the doctor watched with great interest as she allowed her voice to speak. It came out as a whisper of breath.
"Your hand is healing nicely, Willow." Her thumb never stilled its movement, only now it slowed, gingerly tracing the skin.
"I-it's thanks to y-you," Willow stuttered. Her flesh was humming from the other woman's caress. Her knees were now touching Tara's. How they had moved an inch closer, she didn't know.
Boldly, Tara squeezed the hand in hers again and felt her upper body start to move forward on its own accord, while her mind was screaming - no. It was in that moment though, something decided to squash her intentions and she pulled her body back and looked at the door in slight surprise.
Buffy pushed her way through the squeak less door to the back room of the clinic, phone in one hand and pressed to her ear, while the other held a thermometer.
"Next patient's ready, Dr. Maclay." The Slayer froze somewhat when she saw the doctor snap back into her chair. She was alarmed by the startled look and didn't understand what had just happened.
Willow did though. "Uh..." she started and quickly pulled her hand from Tara's and pushed herself backwards, standing up from her chair.
"I'll just... go help, Buffy." Her voice practically squeaked the last word's as she hightailed it out the door, Buffy following in step.
"Why in Goddess name did I do that?" Tara cursed herself, shocked at her own behavior. Had she almost tried to kiss, Willow? Not that there was anything wrong with that, but had she almost done that?
Blowing out a big breath of air, emptying her lungs, she stood up and straightened her jacket. Now was not the time to be paranoid; that was her last thought as she proceeded to go up front to see her patient.
Buffy practically skipped out the back door, moving out of the way so Willow could lock up for the night. It was finally time to go home and she was ecstatic. She had been looking forward to hugging her daughter again, all day.
When she and her best friend walked out the door to the parking lot, the Slayer spotted Tara waiting beside her car, which coincidently was parked right next to the redhead's truck.
Tara had a look on her face - a somewhat nervous grace to her features.
Focusing her attention back on her friend, Buffy looked at Willow just as she started to speak.
"Give Bre a hug and a kiss for me, okay? I need to stop somewhere on my way home, so I'll see you there?" The hospital director's eyebrow raised, her inner voice wondering why she had lied to her friend. Why couldn't she just have told Buffy that she wanted to talk to Tara? That she hadn't really talked to her since earlier that afternoon when she thought the doctor was about to try and kiss her? Truth was, Willow was worried.
She wasn't quite sure how she felt about what may have been close to happening. If that was fact, which she wasn't even positive about, then why had Buffy had to interrupt? It's not like she hadn't thought about Tara's lips before that day. She had wondered numerous times what they would feel like pressed to hers.
"Sure," the Slayer replied, purposely interrupting the inner babble she knew was going on in the other woman's head.
"Thanks." Stepping over, the redhead hugged her and then stepped away, turning to walk over to her truck and talk to Tara, who was currently staring at the ground.
As if sensing her, the young doctor looked up just in time to see Willow rounding the corner of her truck and walking over to her.
"Hey," Willow smiled sweetly; her voice was very calm and soft.
"Hey. Was it okay that I waited for you? I just wanted to..." Tara voice trailed off when the other woman stepped closer to her, their bodies about two inches apart from each other. Any other words that she had been about to speak, escaped her and she just stared into the other woman's eyes.
"Tara, I don't want things to be weird between us." Shifting her weight to her right foot, the redhead held her arms down at her sides.
Smiling and looking down briefly, Tara tilted her head slightly when she looked back up. "I don't either."
"So..." Willow started, moving her weight back to both of her feet. "Friends?" she asked, hopefully.
Beaming a brilliant smile, the blonde nodded. Although, she was somewhat disappointed that the other woman had said, "friends." She wondered if she would ever have the pleasure of knowing this girl as more than just a friend. That's what she longed for. She liked Willow very much.
Smiling brightly herself, the hospital director stepped closer and held her arms out. She sighed a sigh of relief, when the other woman stepped into her arms and they embraced.
The embrace felt like heaven to Tara. She gently ran her hands over Willow's back before crossing them and giving her a healthy squeeze. She felt the embrace returned and quickly realized that she didn't want it to end.
The same thought was playing around in the redhead's mind. She didn't want their hug to end, but she knew it had to. With great sadness, she started to pull away, but decided to be bold and she turned her head, leaving a soft kiss on Tara's cheek.
When she pulled away, she smiled at her friend. "Goodnight. I'll see you tomorrow," she breathed as she started to back away.
"Goodnight, Willow." The blonde's cheek was buzzing from where the other girl had kissed her. That was something that she hadn't expected. It was a wonderful surprise though.
Turning completely around, Willow walked around to the other side of her truck and hopped up into the driver's seat. Starting the engine, she waved at her friend outside the window before buckling her seatbelt and pulling out of her space.
As she watched the truck pull away, Tara couldn't help but feel saddened by Willow's use of the word friend. It was just a painful reminder of what she didn't have - someone to call her own.
She longed for it and hoped that one day she would find someone. She just hoped it would be Willow.