AN: This is short but it's something. I'm sorry it's been so long, but I should have a bit more time in the next couple weeks so I'll try hard for another update soon! Enjoy!
The front door of the Rosenberg house looked even more intimating than usual to Tara as she knew that Willow was somewhere behind it. She was hoping that she could pick up Olivia and be on her way with only a few cursory words to the older redhead. Their relationship had been mending so well, but with the secret that Willow had kept, Tara was not ready to continue with it. However, they did need to find a way to co-parent, so Tara was going to have to face her at some point.
Gathering her strength, Tara reached out and rapped firmly on the wood door. Willow opened it and gave Tara weak smile, before turning towards Olivia who was on the floor crawling towards them.
"Look who's here, Liv." Willow spoke softly in the direction of the baby.
"Mama," Olivia said, sitting back and reaching up with her arms.
Tara smiled and stepped in the house to pick up her daughter. "Hi, sweetheart. Did you have fun with your mommy?"
"Um, what? Did you just call me her mommy? Cause that's what I think I heard, but you can't have said that. But maybe you did because then you would be Mama and I'm Mommy. Um, is that even what you said?"
Willow's voice reached a pitch higher than Tara had ever heard by the time she reached the end of the babble.
Tara couldn't stop herself from smiling a little as she responded. "That's what I said. You are you know."
"What?" The tone of Willow's whisper made it abundantly clear to Tara that they were both thinking back to the same evening so long ago.
The moment was quickly growing far too intimate for Tara's comfort, especially the way Willow's expressive eyes were staring at her with such an open hopefulness. Keeping her tone as light and chipper as possible, Tara responded. "You're her mom."
"Right." Willow's eyes became sad and Tara wondered what she had said wrong.
"I'm glad you could take her today, Willow. I'll call you and we can set up some more days for next week."
"Tara, I have to tell you what happened!" Willow said desperately as Tara was turning to leave.
Tara's body went rigid as she felt the familiar feeling of betrayal run through her. "What are you talking about?"
"I'm horrible with her!" Willow exclaimed. "I have no idea what to do, and I think she's going to hate me."
"What happened?" Tara asked, quickly looking down and assessing Olivia. She seemed perfectly content and didn't appear harmed in any way.
"It was terrible, Tara. She cried almost the whole time. First I woke her up, and then she didn't want her bottle. I kept trying, but she was crying and crying." It looked to Tara that the woman who was telling the story was at risk for crying. "Then just a little while ago, I tried giving her a cracker and she ate like twenty. She was starving! I can't be her mommy. First I starve her, and then I give her crackers instead of dinner. I'm so sorry!"
Tara immediately softened as Willow finished her story with a strangled sob. Tara remembered all too well the desperate feeling of helplessly trying to comfort a crying baby from her first weeks with Olivia.
"Willow, it's alright. It's not easy to get her to drink a bottle anymore, and a few crackers won't hurt."
"But I was starving her," Willow whispered.
"You weren't," Tara assured her. "You tried to give her a bottle. Don't worry about it; you did fine."
"Really?" Willow's eyes were shinny with tears and she seemed desperate for reassurance.
"Yes, really," Tara confirmed. "Next time I won't even send a bottle and you can just give her a snack."
"You mean there's going to be a next time? Even though I screwed this all up?"
Tara sighed. Apparently the fact that she wanted Olivia and Willow to have a relationship was not getting communicated. "Yeah, Will. You'll figure this out. You're her mommy."
Willow finally cracked a faint smile. "I guess I am. Well, I guess I'll see you next week."
Tara shifted Olivia in her arms. "Actually, if you're free this Saturday we're having a birthday party at Buffy's if you want to come."
"Who's birth-" Willow abruptly stopped in the middle of the sentence and clasped her hands over her mouth. "Oh my god, how could I not remember my own baby's birthday? I am a terrible, terrible, terrible person."
Though in agreement with the fact that Willow never should have forgotten, Tara still had to say, "Willow, a lot has been happening lately. You're not a terrible person."
"I just can't believe it's been a year," Willow whispered, stepping into Tara's space to caress Olivia's cheek.
Their eyes met briefly and it was too much for Tara. Grabbing the diaper bag, she slung it over a shoulder and yanked open the door.
"See you Saturday," she said as she left, walking down the driveway so fast that she missed Willow's response.
"Your mommy makes me feel so confused," Tara muttered half to herself and half to Olivia as she reached the sidewalk and began heading for home.