Chapter One: Love, Lies, and Secrets

"What is the...?" The words faded from reality as Tara Maclay made the mistake of looking into a familiar pair of green eyes across from her.

Sitting in the library studying for their test coming up, Tara glanced across the table at Willow Rosenberg, the love of her life. She had been in love with Willow since the first time she saw her, but she knew that she didn't stand a chance with the beauty before her. With hair of flames, eyes of emerald, and a smile of innocence, Willow had managed to win the hearts of many, and didn't know how easy it would be to date any girl she wanted.

At least she didn't until Kennedy Chase set her sights on Willow. Tara was never the type to become jealous, but the first time she saw Kennedy with her lips pressed to Willow's, Tara's heart had broke and she was determined to never like the brunette that had stollen her red haired goddess.

"Tara?" a soft voice whispered, pulling her out of her thoughts.

Tara lifted her blue eyes to lock with familiar green eyes. "Sorry, I was thinking," Tara explained, blushing a little as she hoped Willow wouldn't ask what she had been thinking about.

"What's been going on with you lately?" Willow asked, her voice filled with concern. "You haven't been around much, and when you are, you're so distant its like your not even here. Did I do something? Cause if I did, you could just tell me. I'm not going to angry? Unless you're too angry to tell me? Did I do something?" Willow asked, cutting off her babble as fear filled her eyes.

"No. You didn't do anything. I'm alright. I just...I have a lot to think about right now," Tara said, looking away from her friend's eyes.

Willow, feeling as though her fears were confirmed started pouting as tears filled her eyes. "I did do something. I'm so sorry, Tara. I'm so so sorry. I-".

Tara reached across the table and placed a hand over her friend's mouth to stop her second stream of babbling. "You didn't do anything. I'm sorry that you thought you did, but you didn't." Tara took a deep breath and looked into her eyes. "I just have a lot going on right now," Tara whispered, dropping her hand from Willow's mouth.

Willow nodded and looked at her friend. "Do you want to talk about it?" Willow asked, seeing the confusion clear on her best friend's face.

"N-no. I-it's something I-I need t-to figure out o-on m-my o-own," Tara responded standing up. "I'm g-going to-to go. I told Buffy I'd w-watch Dawn tonight," Tara said, shoving her books in her bag before walking out.

Willow watched her best friend walking off, feeling rejected as Tara quickly made her way from the room. She had noticed the stutter that only happened when Tara was nervous, and knew her friend was either hiding something from her or lying to her.

Tara closed her eyes as she stood outside the door to the Summer's home, waiting for her friend to open the door. She ran a hand through her brown hair as she tried to regain control of her thoughts before Buffy saw her. Buffy always knew when something was wrong with her, and Tara knew that Buffy was starting to suspect her feelings for Willow.

When the door opened, Tara looked up and smiled at Dawn Summers. Dawn was surprisingly tall unlike her older sister and her mother. She had brown hair and light blue eyes. Behind her stood Buffy who was almost the opposite of her little sister. Buffy with blond hair and blue eyes, stood shorter that her younger sister, making things between them strange. Buffy looked like her mother, while Dawn had gained most of her features from her father.

Dawn smiled brightly at Tara before hugging her. "Tara!" she screamed, jumping into the brunette's arms before pulling away. "What are you doing here? Are you staying the night? I thought you were leaving for England tomorrow?"

Tara smiled as she waited for Dawn to stop talking before she spoke. "Hey Dawnie," she said. "I'm here to spend some time with you. I won't be staying the night because I have an early flight out tomorrow," Tara said, answering all the questions at once. "Hey Buffy," Tara said, looking over Dawn's shoulder at the older Summer's sister.

"Hey Tara. Thanks for coming over." Buffy moved out of the doorway so Dawn could make room for Tara to enter the house. "You okay?" Buffy asked, seeing the sad look in her friends eyes.

"Yeah, just a lot on my mind," Tara said, looking away and over to Dawn. "What are we doing tonight, Dawnie?"

Dawn smiled at her and shrugged. "We could watch a movie?" she asked, smiling at her closest friend.

Tara nodded. "Sounds good. Why don't you go pick the movie?" Tara said, watching as Dawn nodded and ran upstairs.

"What's going on, Tara?" Buffy asked, frowning at her. "You've been getting that far away look in your eyes everyday since New Years," Buffy reasoned, hoping her friend would fill her in.

"What would you do if you loved someone but couldn't tell them?" Tara asked, closing her eyes for a second before looking at Buffy.

"I'm tell them anyways," Buffy responded, frowning. "I'm guessing this is about Willow."

Tara frowned before forcing a fake laugh. "I shouldn't be surprised you'd know. It's probably all over my face every time I look at her."

Buffy smiled sadly at Tara. "A little, but I doubt she'd notice. Willow is less than observant when someone shows interest in her. She can see many things except someone's emotions," Buffy said, surprising Tara.

"She's smarter than that Buffy," Tara defended, but realized that Buffy was right. Willow was a genius, but the one thing she didn't understand was human emotion.

"I know how smart she is, Tara. I went to high school with her and was her roommate last year." Buffy frowned as she tried to think about what to tell Tara. "What I was saying, is that you should just tell her. Maybe you'll get lucky and she'll feel the same way about you."

"And if she doesn't then I just ruined a great friendship. Buffy, she's in a relationship with Cordelia's little sister," Tara reminded her.

"I'm aware of that. I just don't think Will feels anything for her though. I mean, I know she likes her, but I don't think Willow loves her. Nor will she ever," Buffy said, causing Tara to stare at her in confusion.

"What makes you think that?"

Buffy started to answer but was cut off by the sound of Dawn running back down the stairs. "I'll tell you later. Right now, I've got a date to go on," Buffy said, hugging her friend. "Take my advice though, Tara. She might surprise you." With that, Buffy grabbed her purse and jacket and walked out of the house.

Tara turned to face Dawn as the door closed behind Buffy. "What movie are we watching, Dawnie?" Tara asked, walking over to the other brunette.

A/N: I forgot to say in the summary, but this story will not have vampires, werewolves, witches, demons, or the hellmouth. It's just a regular college life, but with struggles in love. Please enjoy.