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Adult Confidential (Chapter 41)
Rawr
laraghwrites
*******

TITLE: Adult Confidential

WRITER: Laragh

CHAPTER RATING: PG-13

DISCLAIMER: Willow, Tara and any other characters from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer franchise belong to Joss Whedon, FOX, ME and a whole host of other entities, none of which are me.

PAIRING: Willow/Tara (from Buffy The Vampire Slayer)

SUMMARY: They’ve graduated, now they’re faced with the big, bad world of adulthood…the second part in the prequel series of Hacker Confidential and Family Confidential (and follow-up to College Confidential)

SPOILERS: Perhaps minor references to the show or stealage of dialogue, but nothing that would spoil the series.

FEEDBACK: Yes please

NOTE: And thus the prequel series concludes. Big thanks to everyone who has stuck around to read, especially those with me for this entire verse!

Chapter 41

********



Tara was buffering her nails to make them presentable before Becky arrived to bring them to the wedding.


As she was finishing up, Brian and Willow appeared from the bedroom, all dressed up in their costumes for the convention that Alice had gifted tickets to Willow on her birthday.


Brian was wearing an old suit and trench coat, while Willow was wearing a matching blue shirt and skirt, with the shirt designed like a police phone box.


Tara nodded, impressed.


“You guys look great.”


Willow was pouting.


“I wanted to be Ten but Brian wouldn’t wear the Tardis costume.”


“The skirt wasn’t flattering,” Brian joked.


“You could’ve worn jeans,” Willow replied petulantly.


Tara just smiled.


“Look at you two, bickering like a real couple.”


“Tara,” Willow whined, “The Doctor isn’t in a relationship with the Tardis.”


“Debatable,” Brian added with a wry smile.


Tara looked around for the camera.


“Let me take a picture.”


Willow had it amongst her things to take, so Tara plucked it from the table.


“You look really nice too, Tara,” Brian said shyly, “You’re going to a wedding with Becky right?”


Tara was in a pretty, yellow summer dress and simple white heels. She smiled as she turned the camera on.


“I’m the non-threatening date so she can sink her claws into a groomsman.”


“Oh,” Brian replied, nodding his head a bit too quickly, “Yeah. Great.”


Tara motioned for them to get closer.


“Stand together.”


Both of them forced smiles like teenagers going to prom, then Willow quickly started to gather her things.


“Okay, we gotta go! Bye Tara, have a nice time at the wedding!”


“Enjoy your day,” Tara replied to both of them, “I hope it’s filled with all the nerdy joy you want.”


Brian and Willow just shared grins and headed out to catch the train, with plenty of other costumed con-goers, making them completely unremarkable apart from an odd sidelong glance or two.


Once there, Brian stood outside the convention centre and led the way importantly.


“Allons-y!”


Willow grinned and followed him, spinning; loving the unobstructed opportunity to be silly without judgement.


“Oooooh weeee ooooooh!”


They flashed their pre-collected badges and walked into the building, straight into the main arena which looked even vaster kitted out with the geeky gear than it ever could with hockey fans.


“Whoa,” Brian commented, eyes huge, “They must have every fandom known to man here.”


“And woman,” Willow quipped, “Where do you want to go first?”


“Well I want to check out Artist Alley before the Doctor Who panel,” Brian replied with excitement in his voice, “I want to get my sketch signed.”


“Then let’s go!” Willow said, stepping up on the balls of her feet, “I’ll lead the way of course!”


As they weaved through crowds and stalls, they shared smiles with many other con-goers and there was a lot of mutual appreciative looks for costumes. Just shy of Artist Alley, a woman with a large camera around her neck stopped them for a moment.


“I love your costumes. Can I take your picture? I’m making up a collage of all the best costumes for a college assignment.”


Brian looked at Willow, who shrugged jovially.


“Sure!”


They posed with Brian bending his knee and Willow holding his foot so it looked like he was stepping into her. The woman took a few shots for safety, checked them back and smiled back at them.


“Thank you so much. You guys look great.”


She skipped off and Brian shook his head to himself as he straightened back up.


“Wow…we’ve found a place where we’re cool.”


Willow grinned.


“Enjoy it while it lasts, buddy. Enjoy it while it lasts.”


At home, Tara packed her little clutch purse with her phone, wallet and some mints. Her keys wouldn’t fit, so she took the apartment key off and onto a separate hook and hid it in her wallet so it was safe.


Becky wasn’t long in ringing the buzzer, and Tara grabbed her jacket for the evening to meet her downstairs.


Becky started to greet Tara when she saw her appear, but faltered.


“Damn,” she said not too enthusiastically, “I forgot to tell you, you weren’t allowed look prettier than me.”


“I’ll take the compliment,” Tara replied diplomatically.


Becky sighed.


“At least you’re not competition,” she said dryly, then offered Tara a real smile, “Thanks for coming.”


“You’re lucky,” Tara replied as they began walking to Becky’s car, “Willow was effing and blinding your name for days after the stripper incident.”


“Jeez, remind me never to expose Willow to a phallus again,” Becky replied wryly.


“That’s a good rule of thumb for me too,” Tara advised.


Becky just smiled again and threw her eyes to heaven good-naturedly. Tara sat into the passenger seat and buckled up while Becky started the engine.


“So where are we off to?” Tara asked.


“They rented out this big old country house on the coast,” Becky replied, sitting back as they became stagnant in Boston traffic, “Supposed to be really nice. On a cliff, overlooking the water. Pictures looked nice when I was booking a room.”


“On the coast? Am I going to be able to get a cab from there?” Tara asked with a raised eyebrow, “I don’t want to be putting my head over my pillow trying to block out noises of you and— was it Michael?”


“Yeah, but everyone calls him Mickey,” Becky answered, smirking to herself as she thought of her evening’s conquest, “Don’t worry there was only a limited amount of rooms so lots of people aren’t staying. They’re running free shuttles back to the city and I’ll give you some cash in case the shuttle drops you somewhere not close-by.”


Tara agreed and Becky flicked on some tunes for the ride.


It was a nice drive and Tara enjoyed the scenic route. The suburbs were as far outside the city as she generally got.


Finally they drove along a winding gravel road up to a huge Georgian mansion. It was right on the cliff’s edge with views out to the sea.


“Wow,” Tara said as she watched the clear blue sky hit the blue waters at the horizon.


“Told’ja,” Becky replied, veering off to the side where the other cars were parked.


People were milling around the courtyard outside, acquainting themselves with each other. Tara was glad she’d worn one of her nicer dresses because the women were dolled up to the nines and the men were all in suits and ties.


Tara recognised the groom from the few times they’d met, standing on the steps of the house with Becky’s ex Darren and three other men. Becky discreetly pointed out the middle one; the tallest of the bunch with perfectly coiffed hair, tanned skin and obvious muscles beneath the sleek, black tuxedo.


“That’s Mickey.”


“I see,” Tara said, holding her clutch in front of her with one hand. As she glanced around at the people milling about, she noticed something else too, “Becky, a bunch of other women are wearing your dress.”


“No, duh,” Becky replied, brushing the hem of her dress down, “I’m a bridesmaid.”


Tara turned, eyes wide.


“You’re—what? You didn’t tell me that.”


“Whoops,” Becky replied, not very apologetically, “You’ll be fine. I just have to stand up there during the ceremony.”


Tara knew Becky didn’t plan to stick around for the entire evening, but she at least thought she’d have a companion until she could sneak off after dinner. She pursed her lips to stop from anything angry or annoyed passing them and looked out onto the calming ocean.


“Well she picked nice dresses for you all.”


“Thanks,” Becky replied, looking down to make sure it sat right, “It’s not wrinkled from the car, is it?”


Tara kindly inspected Becky’s dress for her and gave her the thumbs up that it looked good. Becky brought Tara into the crowd and re-introduced her to the other bridesmaids. They’d met on the night of the bachelorette party, but by the time Willow and Tara had arrived at the restaurant, most of the participants were already well inebriated.


Tara said her hellos and then hung around in the background while they all talked. Just a few minutes passed before people were told to make their way inside to the ceremony room.


It was a large room with a winding aisle, chairs with white throws over them and a canopy at the front.


The floor was littered with multi-coloured confetti and on the back of each chair there was a cut out of two birds ‘kissing’, one in a tux and one in a white dress.


Tara thought it was sweet but thought they were crazy not to take advantage of the beautiful scenery to get married outside. She always liked the idea of an outdoor wedding.


She took a seat right at the back and flicked through the program left on the chair. They had picked out nice poems and verses to be read, which made Tara look forward to the ceremony more.


It wasn’t long before the very traditional Pachelbel’s Canon in D began playing and everyone stood for the processional.


Tara watched as Becky walked down the aisle with the famous Mickey on her arm and how their eyes never left each other as they lined up opposite each other.


Tara was pretty sure she saw a wink exchanged.


The groom was right at the ‘nervously fixing his bowtie’ stage and Tara noticed Darren do that manly pat on the back to signal support and affection.


Dave did a little jump as if he was preparing to enter a basketball game, then settled his hands in front of him respectfully. Tara knew when Kim had entered through the back door by the smile that broke out on his face. It warmed her heart.


She stood along with everyone else as Kim walked down the aisle, with who Tara assumed was her father. She looked beautiful in her long, elegant white gown, sitting snugly on her chest and exposing her shoulders.


She was tanned from the summer sun and had impeccably touched make-up and hair. Tara guessed it had probably cost as much as the dress itself to pay the professionals who helped her get ready that morning.


When Kim got to the top, the celebrant introduced herself as Kim’s mother, which Tara thought was pretty special. It was a very loving, personal and symbolic ceremony and even Tara had a tear in the eye by the time Dave was called upon to kiss his bride. She clapped her hands as loud as everybody else there.


Everybody stood again as the new Mr and Mrs O’Dwyer came back down the aisle. They stopped to talk to people along the way and Tara offered a shy greeting as Kim passed her by.


“Congratulations.”


Kim offered Tara a genuine smile and reached out to squeeze her hand.


“Thank you. It’s nice to see you, college and everything else seems so long ago. Thanks for coming to the bachelorette party, I had a great time with all the girls,” she replied with that kind of radiant aura only a bride could exude, “Well, I don’t remember most of it, but that’s a sign of a night well spent.”


Tara returned the smile, appreciating the warmness.


“Have a lovely day.”


“Thank you,” Kim reiterated sincerely, then continued walking out with her new husband.


After a few minutes, Becky returned, sans the bouquet she’d been carrying and she had let her hair down.


“That was really lovely,” Tara complimented.


“They planned every last detail, I’m glad it paid off,” Becky replied, smiling, “Come on, there’s a cocktail reception while they get their photographs done. I heard they’re doing wicked watermelon margaritas. You want one?”


“It would be rude to say no,” Tara replied with a sideways grin.


They walked down a grand hallway along with a lot of other people and out the back of the house. There was a huge yard with a patch of grass as big as a football field and plenty of surrounding trees and forestry that seemed like it could have stretched on forever.


The sun was beaming down on the gravel pathway that led to an outdoor bar and tables and chairs were set out for people to relax in.


They got a couple of cocktails and nabbed a table. Becky swirled and drank hers a little too quickly as she eyed up Mickey talking to a bunch of guys on the stairs leading out of the door.


Tara pulled Becky’s glass away from her, since she was there primarily to stop Becky getting too drunk too fast.


“You’re acting like a nervous 16 year old on a first date.”


“Oh, I don’t want to date him,” Becky replied with a barking laugh of incredulity, “I mean, no offence but anyone who's named after a mouse isn’t the height of cultural sophistication or intelligence. I just want to experience all that has to offer. He’s Adonis level sexy, right?”


“I’m not the best judge,” Tara answered honestly.


Becky smirked.


“Why am I asking you? You think Willow is the epitome of hotness.”


“Hey,” Tara warned somewhat sharply, “I’m doing you a favour. Don’t insult my girlfriend.”


Becky held her hands up.


“Just a joke.”


Tara let it go, mostly since Becky was already distracted all over again.


“Oh Mickey, you're so fine, you're so fine, you blow my mind…” she whispered through a hot-and-heavy exhale before shooting up out of the seat when the groomsman moved away from the conversation he was in, to get his attention, “Hey Mickey!”


Tara was left alone with two half-glasses so she poured one into the other. If Becky was going to abandon her, she figured she was at least entitled to the abandoned drink also.


A couple of minutes passed before a tall figure in a dark tux came to stand over her. Tara had to shield the sun from her eyes as she looked up to recognise Becky’s ex.


“Hey, it’s Tara right? Becky’s old roommate’s girlfriend?” he asked, unusually shy from how Tara recalled him, “You remember me?”


“Of course,” Tara replied, crouch-standing by way of a greeting, “Hi Darren.”


He gestured towards the other chair and Tara nodded to him to take it while she sat down again.


“Best man duties today, huh?”


“I didn’t lose the groom and I didn’t lose the rings,” Darren replied with a bashful smile, “Just gotta make a speech and my responsibilities are over.”


Tara offered a smile and Darren turned his beer bottle in his hands nervously.


“You come with Becky?” he asked with failed nonchalance.


Tara nodded slowly.


“Yeah, she wanted a…non-male companion.”


Darren’s eyes followed the wall until he landed on the two figures laughing on the steps.


“She’s set her sights on Mickey, huh? She’s one dedicated man-eater,” he said with palpable pain Tara hadn’t been expecting, “She certainly chewed me up and spit me out.”


He realised he gave himself away and took a big swig of his beer.


“Sorry, sorry. So, hey, how you doing?”


Tara wasn’t sure what made her offer her time to this man she only barely knew, but she understood a look of heartbreak when she saw one and she couldn’t well stand idly by.


“Do you want to go talk?” she offered with her natural empathy coming through, “I’ve been stranded by my ‘date’ anyway.”


Darren seemed surprised by the offer and hesitated for a moment before finally accepting.


“…yeah. Thanks.”


They both stood up with their drinks and wandered around to the front of the house. Some people were standing around there too, so they continued out a bit more to the cliff edge. Darren sat on a huge bolder and Tara leaned back against it beside him.


They silently watched the crashing waves beneath for a few moments before Darren reached into his inside breast pocket and produced a joint and a lighter.


Tara arched an eyebrow as he lit up.


“Is that a good idea? Speech coming up…”


Darren took a drag and let out a plume of smoke.


“It relaxes me.”


He offered it to Tara, who courteously held her hand up and shook her head.


“No thanks,” she declined politely, “I work for the government. You know, random drug tests.”


Darren shrugged, nodded and took another pull.


When another couple of minutes passed without conversation, Tara guessed she was going to have to take the lead.


“So I’m getting the feeling perhaps your feelings for Becky are a little more than…whatever you had.”


Darren kicked a stone under his foot.


“She’s been stringing me along for three years…dating other dudes and calling up when they don’t work out. Kicking me out the next morning, if I’m lucky. Three minutes after we finish, if I’m not.”


Tara was surprised. She knew Becky had plenty of what could only be described as ‘booty calls’ but she assumed everyone was on the same page about it. She didn’t think it was fair to mess around guys like that and hoped she wasn’t doing it again that night.


“I know Becky wouldn’t do that if she knew it hurt you.”


“It didn’t, at first. Knocking about in college is one thing…” Darren replied, looking out over the cliff wistfully, “But a man grows, y’know? His heart grows with him.”


Tara really felt for the guy, whom she’d often dismissed before as a bit of a loser. She felt quite guilty talking to him now and genuinely wanted to help him.


“Have you ever tried saying ‘no’?”


Darren broke out in a smile, but it was melancholy, not joyful.


“Every time I say I will next time…but she calls and I come running.”


“Well…” Tara replied, biting the corner of her lip in thought, “Becky won’t call if she knew you were with someone else.”


Darren turned to Tara with a curiously creased brow.


“You saying I should find myself a new lady-friend and forget about her?”


“I think moving on is best for everyone,” Tara replied tactfully.


Darren exhaled a deep sigh.


“Deep down, I know that. I’m kind of a shy guy. More than people realise.”


“I’m confident if you’re open and willing, the right person will come along,” Tara said, hoping if she acted convinced about it, it would pass off.


Darren flicked the butt on the joint on the ground after finishing it off in one last drag.


“Thanks,” he said, releasing the smoke at the same time, “Can’t really talk to my guy friends about this stuff, at least not lately with all this wedding shit. Even just getting it out helps.”


Tara put an arm around Darren’s shoulders and gave him a friendly squeeze. Darren eyed her, sidelong.


“You definitely gay?”


Tara rolled her eyes and playfully shoved his shoulders.


“Don’t ruin it.”


Darren just smiled and hopped off the rock.


“Better get back inside. The groom isn’t going to rib himself.”


“Good luck,” Tara offered sincerely.


Darren offered a fist bump, which Tara returned only slightly awkwardly, with a smile. They headed back to the bar but people had moved inside, so they both hurried to the banquet room and Darren snuck up to the top table beside the groom.


Luckily people were still settling, so he got in unnoticed by most. Tara had the more difficult task of locating Becky in a sea of dresses, a bunch of which were identical.


Finally she spotted her and weaved through to take the seat next to her.


“Hey, where’d you sneak off to?” Becky asked as Tara sat down, “I ordered you the fish.”


“Enjoying the grounds,” Tara replied, which was true.


Becky just nodded, but her attention was still predictably elsewhere.


“Mickey says he can sneak off after the speeches. He’s sharing a room, glad I got my own,” she said, grinning with anticipation, “Is that cool with you? They’ll have the shuttles after dinner sometime.”


“That’s fine,” Tara agreed quickly, the conversation with Darren still fresh in her mind, “Becky…does Mickey know you’re not looking for anything but a one-nighter?”


Becky grinned.


“His exact words were ‘I’m not looking for anything but a coast boast’— I said, great, me either!”


Tara was relieved and smiled.


“Have fun,” she said with a wink, “And be safe.”


“Yes, mom,” Becky replied with a smirk, “Always.”


There were ten or fifteen minutes of bustle before quiet was called for so the speeches could begin. Father of the bride and mother of the groom each said a few welcoming words to their expanding family until it was finally time for Darren to stand up.


He was clearly a little nervous at first, dropping his sheet of paper and taking an additional swig of beer. But once he got into it, he was smooth and funny and really quite endearing.


He was clearly a much more mature man than the one either of them had first met all those years ago. Tara really did wish the best for him.


During a big laugh for one of his jokes, Becky leaned in to speak quietly in Tara’s ear.


“Is it just me or does Darren look a lot less…greasy?”


In that moment, Tara decided to tell a little white lie for the good of humanity, or at least for the betterment of a few certain humans.


“I heard he has a new girlfriend.”


“Oh, he does?” Becky asked, seeming unsure for a moment before nodding, “Well, good for him. Better draw a little line through that entry in the little black book.”


“Good idea,” Tara advised sagely.


They quietened again to wait out the rest of the speech until the glass was raised for them all to make a toast.


“To Kim and Dave!”


“To Kim and Dave!” everyone in the room echoed followed by a cheer.


The couple stood up and shared a kiss, and then the bride turned around to throw her bouquet. A swarm of women gathered in front, some even beginning to elbow each other out of the way.


Kim did a few teasing tosses, grinning over her shoulder, before finally releasing the flowers into the air.


It sailed past the women and landed squarely in Tara’s lap.


“She plays netball,” Becky said quietly, “Doesn’t know her own strength.”


Tara was embarrassed by everyone looking at her and shyly returned the bouquet to Kim to try a less forceful throw. Kim gently tossed it back this time, perfectly into the gaggle of women and into the hands of one very excited lady.


Becky leaned over to whisper to Tara.


“I know her boyfriend. No way is that happening.”


Tara arched an eyebrow and Becky looked offended.


“I didn’t do anything! He hit on me!”


Tara gave an apologetic look. It was obvious she was unaware of how she’d been treating Darren and she hoped it had begun to resolve itself.


It wasn’t long before plates were being served, but almost as soon as Tara picked up her fork, Becky was tossing her napkin on the table, clearly having gotten the eye from Mickey.


“That’s my cue,” Becky said, her eyes visibly shining with excitement.


“Are you not going to eat anything?” Tara asked.


“Oh, I’m sure my mouth will be busy,” Becky replied with a smirk, “Do I look okay? Teeth check?”


She bared her teeth, which Tara dutifully checked.


“You look very nice,” she confirmed, “Enjoy your evening.”


Becky squeezed Tara’s arm as she stood up.


“Thanks for helping me out.”


“Any time,” Tara replied sincerely, although she wasn’t sure she’d been much help.


Becky grabbed her clutch and sneaked away, leaving Tara alone with her wine and dinner.


She tried not to seem conspicuous but was rescued after a few minutes by the woman who had been sitting on the other side of Becky.


She was about their age or maybe slightly younger, with bright multi-coloured hair and an off-the-cuff red dress with design slashes along it.


“Are we forming an impromptu singles table?” she asked with an animated smile, “My date cancelled at the last minute. Jerk.”


Tara looked up and smiled shyly.


“Mine deserted me, but she warned me she would.”


The other girl nodded.


“An honourable jerk.”


“More like a needy friend,” Tara amended.


The girl shuffled herself over the one seat and offered her hand.


“Sarah.”


Tara left her utensils down to shake.


“Tara.”


Sarah offered a high five.


“Hey, we rhyme!”


They shared smiles and conversed over the rest of the meal. They swapped desserts when Sarah was given a cheesecake mistakenly, which wasn’t in line with her vegan diet. Tara didn’t mind giving up her sorbet and her new dinner companion seemed to really appreciate it.


When the plates were cleared and Tara was finishing off her glass of wine, Sarah scooted a little closer on her chair and leaned over conspiringly towards Tara.


She glanced around to make sure no one else around them was listening, which they weren’t.


“Listen, you seem pretty cool. You don’t happen to have any weed, do ya?”


Tara just smiled and made a ‘follow me’ motion with her hand.


“Let me introduce you to someone.”


Tara brought Sarah over to Darren and made the introduction. They shook hands and Tara wasn’t sure, but she thought she sensed a spark. They fell into even easier conversation and Tara began to sneak away.


Just before she turned to leave them completely alone, Darren caught her eye and gave her a sincere smile of gratitude. Tara offered a sly wink and backed away out of the banquet room and out into what was now the night sky.


She took in a deep breath and smelled the sea air. She wasn’t sure what the shuttle situation was, but it was a warm evening and she found it quite a pleasure to spend some time sitting out looking at the water. She hoped opportunity might arise to get out of Boston a bit more, in time.


After about thirty minutes, out of the corner of her eye she caught sight of the vibrant flash of Sarah’s hair. She turned to see her hand being pulled by Darren to one of the big rocks on the cliff edge. They disappeared behind it and Tara smiled. She hoped she’d done a good thing that night.


Another while passed and the air started to get a little nippy. Tara donned her jacket and wondered about maybe going to buy another drink to wait with when a white van pulled up.


She stepped into it and the driver waited ten minutes or so to see if anyone else came out before shutting the doors again.


Tara was the only one on the bus, but the driver still took her and even dropped her right to her door because of it. She tipped him for the courteous service with the money Becky had given her for a cab and he literally tipped his hat in response.


Tara thought it was the sweetest thing and gave him a warm goodbye before exiting for her building. She'd enjoyed her day so much more than she ever thought she would.


She let herself into the apartment and waved her fingers at Willow. Willow was curled up in her jammies with her laptop, which was embossed with a lot of new stickers bought that day at the convention.


“Hey, sweetie.”


“Hey, you,” Willow greeted, leaving her laptop off to the side, “I was expecting you home way earlier. Did Becky not get the guy?”


“She did,” Tara replied, hanging her jacket on the back of a chair, “I just hung around. It was pretty fun.”


“Oh, well, great,” Willow said, surprised, “I thought it’d be tolerable at best.”


Tara shrugged.


“Great food. I had some delicious seabass. How was your con day?”


“Full of nerdy joy, like you said,” Willow replied with a pleased smile, “It would bore you to tears, but it was sufficiently awesome. Lots of people took our picture and we heard a great panel. Brian met this comic author he really loves and I got to say hello to this actor I loved in a bunch of things. I totally fangirled out, but hey, you experienced that before so you can imagine what I was like and I don't like reminding you how much of a dork I am! Tell me more about the wedding. Nice people?”


Tara nodded as she slipped her shoes off, her heels and toes grateful to be free.


“Really nice people. Kim was stunning and she sure got the weather. Amazing venue. Lots of fun. Oh, let me tell you.”


She sat down beside Willow with her feet under her.


“The bride totally overestimated her throw when she was tossing the bouquet and it landed right in my lap,” she continued with a silly smile, “So, technically, I caught the bouquet.”


“You did?” Willow asked with a hint of a hidden smirk.


“I did,” Tara confirmed, finding her phone to show Willow a picture, “It was really pretty actually, all purples and whites. Classic. Elegant. I gave it back for her to throw again, of course, but everyone got a laugh.”


Willow put an arm around her and smiled at Tara.


“That's really funny. Go on.”


It seemed fate was trying to give them a push, but fate apparently didn’t know about the two rings already sitting in Willow’s nightstand drawer.


They were just recently bought from the jar of coins Willow had been collecting for months and had painstakingly counted and rolled to deposit in her bank account.


The chaotic Christmas at the group home had really cemented for her how much she wanted a family with Tara and she knew it was time to make things official. She didn’t have the job and financial security she’d hoped she would when the moment came, but she had realised that freezing, frenzied day that it didn’t matter.


Or at least, it didn’t matter enough to continue delaying it. It could never happen if she did that. Even if for some reason children never happened, she wanted to be a unit; a real, official unit that no one could deny. She wanted their family status protected, whether it was just the two of them or more.


She’d vowed that day she’d start her plan for a proposal and had begun saving; literally, penny by penny.


She’d hoped to do it sooner, but splurging her last pay check that time had set her back. Finally, she’d saved enough to get a ring of real white gold, if not real diamonds but full of the very real love she felt for Tara.


She’d scoured the ‘net, found the two nicest rings she could find in her price range and waited patiently for the package to arrive.


Her hands had shaken when she opened them. She’d spent the whole day dipping into the bedroom to take another look.


Willow’s only predicament now was to find somewhere under the stars in the city that was totally private, because Tara was her star and they were one of their favourite things to look at.


They’d star-spotted on their first non-date date when the first whisperings of attraction begun to make itself known and Willow wanted them to be a part of this moment too. She wanted them to be alone and she wanted it to be special and it all seemed too much to perfect sometimes, but it thrilled her too.


She glanced at Tara, who was still chatting away happily, then up at the ceiling and wished they had a see-through roof so the stars could shine on them right there, in the place they’d made a home.


She smiled to herself in thought and decided enough was enough.


She just couldn’t wait any longer.


By the end of that week, she planned to make Tara her intended wife.




The End


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