Willow found it almost impossible to focus.
It was seventh period, her last class of the day. After just a few more minutes, it would be a free Friday afternoon.
But unlike all her classmates, and probably everybody else in the school building right now, weekend wasn't the reason why Willow found it hard to concentrate on her school work. Her mind kept running back to that moment between second and third period. Those two minutes had kept haunting her mind ever since it happened and had become harder to shake off when they came back. Willow's heart skipped a beat every time she thought back at the girl taking her hand, the feeling still lingering on her own. The mental picture of the girl's eyes taking her breath away.
Every time, it took the redhead some time to notice she had drifted off into her own world again and let out the breath she had been holding. Time and time again, she looked around to see if someone was looking at her.
This time was no different.
Coming back to reality, Willow looked around her to see if someone was staring at her. Again, no one was.
What on earth is wrong with me? She thought.
Just when she was looking at the clock, Willow's teacher told the students to go ahead and pack their stuff. Willow let out a sigh of relief. At least school was over for this week and she could think without anyone other noticing her spacing out.
Finally, the bell rang. All students rushed towards the door, hurrying to go home and take advantage of their free time. Willow, on the other hand, was taking her time, not wanting to be part of the huge and pushy crowd that formed itself at this time of the day.
Willow was alone in the classroom now. Even the teacher had left. He knew about her habit of staying a bit longer at this hour and that she would never trash the place. Being one of the best students of the Sunnydale high school, she had a good reputation and was trustworthy, so everyone just let her be. She turned away from the door, facing the windows. She enjoyed the few of the clearing schoolyard. Willow had always liked it more when everything around her was calm and quiet. Especially when she wanted to think or wasn't feeling too well. Of course, she didn't hate it when it wasn't, but she preferred it. Maybe it had to do with her situation at home.
Closing her eyes, she was starting to zone everything out. For a few seconds, everything around her was quiet. She opened her eyes again, only to be met by someone's face right in front of her. Willow jumped up in shock. But shock was quickly fading into a playful smile and fake anger.
"Buffy!" Willow exclaimed.
"What's up?" Buffy said jokingly, sticking out her tongue to her friend.
"You scared me."
"Yeah, I know."
"I think the real question here is why I had the opportunity to do so. You seem pretty out of it, Will. Back when we had lunchtime… ever since third period… Oh God, is this because I told you I…" Buffy looked around to see if no one else had sneaked into the classroom to listen what they were talking about. When she saw there was nobody else, she continued in a low whisper: "Is it because I told you I'm The Slayer?"
"No! Oh no, not at all! I'm totally, completely, fully fine with that," Willow immediately excluded the possibility for her blonde friend. Buffy was visibly relieved, but after just a few seconds Willow could see the frown returning.
"So you were late for class," Buffy said, knowing how stressed her friend could be when it came to school and being late for her classes. "Is that it? Is this about you being late for third period?"
"Sort of," Willow answered. Technically, it sort of was.
"Then what is it exactly?" Buffy asked curiously.
Willow's eyes darted all over the room. Looking anywhere but at the blonde. What should she say? She wasn't going to tell Buffy the truth. She didn't know why, but she simply couldn't. Something was holding her back and she couldn't let it go. Desperate to come up with a lie Buffy would buy, but failing in the process, Willow made her nervousness audible.
Buffy picked up on it rather quickly and looked questioningly at the redheaded girl in front of her.
Hearing familiar footsteps coming from behind her, Willow happily turned her head in the direction the sound was coming from.
"Look, it's Xander!" she said turning back to Buffy. She couldn't thank him enough for coming in on just the right time.
Buffy sighed and rolled her eyes. She knew the moment was ruined. She had meant to ask the redhead at lunchtime too. But every time she attempted to ask, there was something else that seemed more important to either her or the girl. Just when she had her trapped, Xander had to come in and ruin her moment.
"Yay, Xander," Buffy said sarcastically, not even trying to hide it.
Both girls walked towards to taller boy and walked off to their lockers.
"So, tonight. The Bronze. We're still going?" Xander asked.
"Of course we are. What made you feel the need to ask?" Buffy said.
Xander looked at her, then pointed his gaze at Willow, who was lost in her own thoughts once again. Buffy mouthed an Oh and nudged the girl walking between her and Xander. Willow was quickly torn out of them when she fell against and was caught by her 'manly' friend.
"Xander asked if you were still coming to the Bronze tonight," Buffy said slightly irritated. Luckily for her, Willow was still too far gone to notice.
"Yeah, sure," she said.
"Great!" Xander's wide smile claimed his face.
"I'll see you guys then," were Willow's last words before she closed her locker and headed home.
The three friends were sitting at one of the tables in the middle of the slightly crowded Bronze. You could see people ordering drinks at the bar in the back. Others were talking, sitting at the other tables or standing on the sides, and some were dancing in front of the stage where tonight's band was playing: Say Anything. Willow recognized the song they were playing as 'Alive With The Glory Of Love'. She was tapping her foot to the beat against the stool she was sitting on.
Across from her, Xander and Buffy were discussing something. On Buffy's face she could make out their discussion was serious and Xander didn't look too excited either. As much as she wanted to know what it was about, she didn't want to take her mind too much off the band. She was occupied by taking in the lyrics and figuring out their hidden true meaning. Along with that, she was afraid she would start to think about that girl again she ran into earlier that day. That was the last thing she wanted. Because, although she felt happy and good inside when she did, she was confused about those feelings. Never having felt such a thing before, it scared her.
The thing that came closest to those feelings was her crush she has had on Xander ever since they met. And although they came closest, her crush wasn't nearly as strong as these feelings were.
Great. Now she was thinking of it again.
Willow let out a frustrated sigh and placed her head in her hands. Her two friends looked at her, their seemingly important conversation being less interesting than the redhead's weird behavior.
Buffy, who had been trying to make her friend confess what had been keeping her away from this reality, was becoming slightly irritated. She wanted to know so badly, it was killing her, but she knew that it was unlikely for Willow to open up when they were in such a packed place. Since the Bronze was the only club in Sunnydale, everyone was there. You couldn't go one night without running into at least twenty people you knew from school and one or two you had recognized as someone you once saw walking down the street and wanted to meet in a wanting-to-be-more-than-friends way. Knowing Willow has lived here since the day she was born, it was probably even worse for her.
In the little time Buffy had known the redhead, she thought of the girl's moments of zoning out as something characteristic. At least, that was when the friends were playing 'Anywhere But Here'. Other than that, the only time she had seen her spacing out was when she was thinking about Xander. Buffy had known about Willow's crush on Xander the first time they had the chance to talk in private, without Xander or Jesse interrupting them at any given moment. Willow had told her how they broke up over Xander stealing her Barbie and how ever since then, her love had been unrequited.
She could've easily mistaken the other girl's absent-mindedness as her thinking about her 'favorite guy'. To be honest, she had at first! That was until she did it often and, as far as Buffy knew, out of nowhere. Another sign was that she did it now, too. When Xander was sitting right in front of her, and she wasn't even looking at him! Buffy was really becoming suspicious.
Now, waving her hand before the green-eyed girl, the question was right on the tip of her tongue, making its way out as Willow finally landed back on earth.
"Willow, what is going on?" Buffy asked, trying to keep the hint of annoyance but also the concern she didn't want to show out of her voice. Good thing her strong-Slayer-façade was easily put up and was able to hide almost any emotion.
"I… uhm… I… " Willow began, still a bit in a daze, but when she noticed, hastily coming out of it: "NOTHING!"
Buffy and Xander looked at her, both sharing a look of suspicion, but neither saying anything.
Willow was becoming very uneasy. Of course, said uneasiness becoming worse every silent second that passed.
Xander didn't like the tension very much either. After about fifteen seconds of it, it became too much for him and broke.
"Hey! Who wants to go dance? I know I do! Come on guys, let's get our dance on!" he said with faked enthusiasm.
Feeling like she had just been saved by Xander for the second time that day, Willow nodded carefully. She didn't want to dance, but if it meant she didn't have to talk about her dilemma with Buffy, she was happy enough with the opportunity to get away.
Xander, glad some of the heavy tension was lifted, smiled and looked at Buffy.
"I guess we could," Buffy said, not even trying to hide her annoyance and disappointment this time. Yet another occasion was thrown out the window by Mr. Xander Harris.
"Great!" Xander exclaimed.
Taking one hand of each girl in his, he dragged them over to the dance floor, coming to a halt just in front of the stage.
The band had just finished their third song of the night and were about to start a new one as the lead singer took a few steps forward and brought the microphone to his mouth.
"This one goes out to the brunette lady in the red dress over there," he said pointing at a girl who was standing as close to the stage as physically possible, her back turned to the band, cornering a man in suit. The poor man was shivering in fear, possibly because the girl was threatening him. At least, that was what Willow could make out of it. The girl turned at the singer mentioning her and put on her sweetest smile. It sickened Willow. What was that girl thinking?
"We love our fans, but we'd appreciate it if you wouldn't threaten our manager," the band member finished. Willow could hear some people snickering behind her. She, however, didn't find it funny at all.
This place really needs a bouncer she thought, tired of things like this happening.
The lead singer took a few steps backwards and placed the microphone in its stand. Everyone who had been watching the man knew what it meant.
Slow dancing. Well, that's just great Willow thought. This was basically another free pass for Buffy to ask and find out what was bothering her.
The three friends were heading back to their table as someone tapped Xander on the back.
"Hey you," a female voice said. Shocked, Xander turned around. Standing before him was the brunette in the red dress. "Let's dance," she said looking him straight in the eyes, doing weird things with her eyelashes as if flirting with him. Which, although it looked like she had something stuck in her eye and was trying to get it out, she obviously was. If the previous threatening wasn't a huge, unmistakable hint at the girl being close to insane, this was another giveaway. There was definitely something strange about her.
Willow looked at Buffy who was looking at the girl. Her friend had this look on her face that told her she thought so too, and not in the 'God, that girl is weird' way, but as in what Willow would later come to know as her 'possibly a demon' look.
Xander was visibly happy with the attention he was getting. No wonder, she was pretty.
"What are you looking at? Go away," the brunette said irritated. If Willow didn't like her the first time she laid her on the girl, this would've done it. The girl was incredibly rude and trying to dance with Xander!
"I don't think s-" Buffy began, but was cut off by the only boy of the group.
"Buffster, it's okay. You two ladies go sit and I'll take this lovely lady for a dance," he spoke, looking at the brunette and wiggling his eyebrows. If the situation wasn't as annoying as it was, the two girls would've laughed, but now, not even a giggle could escape.
"Come on, Will," Buffy said. "There's no chance in talking some reason into him."
Willow wanted to protest, but she knew Buffy was right. It was probably best to just let it slip.
While walking back to their table, Willow caught sight of something familiar. Or rather someone. Stopping for a split second to take a better look at the person, she noticed the middle long, dark blonde hair, enchanting azure eyes, and beautiful curvy body. Willow's heart skipped a beat after which it continued racing at full speed. All of a sudden, she didn't feel too good. The abrupt nausea made her feel like she was about to vomit. She needed to get out of this place!
Buffy had stopped walking too, missing her friend at her side and looking around. When she found her, the redhead had gone deathly pale.
Willow speed walked back to Buffy.
"I'm going home," she said in an icy voice.
"But-" Buffy started, but Willow was already out of earshot.