Willow stared at the people watching the show, only half-paying attention to the song the band was playing. The room was filled with friends and couples laughing and chatting. The redhead was waiting for the band to play HER song. Since returning from Sunnydale Willow had taken the habit of asking them to play the same song every time she went to one of their special shows. It had taken about a month and roughly 15 requests before Mandy noticed and cornered Willow about it, giving her an ultimatum of sorts. But all Willow would say was that she liked it, and that it reminded her of home. Mandy had laughed, knowing that Willow was holding back but not pushing the redhead to explain further.
Willow was glad for that, and glad that Mandy had nodded with particular understanding when Willow asked this time around. Understanding of why Willow always asked for this song, and why Willow was asking now.
She had a decision to make.
Her internship with IBM was going well, and if all went well at the end of the year she would be integrated into a new development program with the company. She would get to choose from a number of different teams located in different hub cities. Each team would be dispatched to work with IBM clients around that city and its surrounding areas, meeting virtually once a week and in-person once a month.
The packet she received in the mail was an invitation for interview and information for the team based in San Francisco, with the IBM logo and the words 'California... the golden state' written across the white envelope in big bold letters.
The San Francisco team was larger, serving the entire states of California, New Mexico, and Nevada, and would send out more offers to intern candidates to interview, so they sent their packets earlier. She would be receiving other packets in probably just another two or three weeks.
In her logical mind Willow knew that she would be getting the California one sooner, but she had to wonder at the timing.
Had it really been only the day before that she had chased Tara down the street? Had it only been a day since she had waited outside that building for hours with nothing to show for it but chapped lips and dry hands?
Why did she keep seeing Tara and yet not Tara everywhere she went, for months, then out of the, POOF! There she is! And the next day, POOF! Willow receives an initial offer from California?
Was it some kind of trick of fate crossed with a sign from the heavens?
Either way, Willow had only two weeks to accept the offer. Then they would let her know which interview batch she would be in.
It really shouldn't have been a hard decision. It was a great opportunity, she would get to set her own hours and live almost anywhere in the state she chose. She would have the choice of a number of different clients to work with, ranging from universities to major corporations. But that was a given for whichever team she decided to join. The compensation package, the same for every team, was lucrative, much better than she would get if she decided to try her luck with a different company.
Though Willow had previously explained to her friend that she was applying for the program, they had not gone into specifics beyond the fact that it would be a comprehensive selection process and that Willow would get to apply for placement several different locations.
So over several slices of pie, Mandy quizzed Willow about the details of the program. Including the places that Willow had chosen. She chose New York for obvious reasons. She had also selected Washington DC, Chicago, and Seattle. And of course San Francisco. And why had Willow chosen San Francisco? There was, of course, the fact that she would get to live in California. She'd be closer to her family. Well, as it were, her parents were probably in England right now. She missed the warm weather. Yes, she'd gotten used to the extreme temperature changes, but that didn't mean she had to like it. And her friends, Willow missed her friends. It wasn't that she didn't enjoy hanging out with Amanda or the others in her band and from the record store. They just weren't childhood friends, like with Xander, and they weren't best friends who could tell each other anything and not see each other for months and still be close, like with Buffy, and they certainly weren't family, like with Faith. All wonderfully valid reasons for wanting to move back to California.
So why then had the first thought that crossed her mind upon seeing the word California on the envelope been about Tara? Why did all her thoughts seemed to drift back to the beautiful blonde that she barely knew?
Why does this have to be so complicated?
That thought sent her reeling, back to a place and time far away, and her own words came rushing back to her. Smiling, Willow closed her eyes and let the music surround her as they began to play HER song.
It doesn't have to be...