bluepaintbox: I can't believe I've been writing this for almost a year. WOW...I appreciate your feedback so much! Enjoy the latest chapter!

LadyoftheDarkness1: I'm a hopeless romantic so I love the mush! I truly appreciate the suggestions and that you took the time to PM me your ideas. I will see what I can do with them. Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoy the below chapter. :)

Feedback: Pretty please…it helps me improve and if I get stuck it tells me where you would like to see the story go.

Authors Notes: Thank you to Willara4ever for all your help with this story. Thanks for being the best beta on this and all my published and especially the unpublished stories I have going. Thanks to matash21 for the awesome cover image!

Chapter 42

"So, where do you want to start?" asked Tara.

"Honeymoon practice?" said Willow waggling her eyebrows.

"I thought we already did that."

"We did and we are perfect, but it never hurts to continue to 'refine' our skills."

"Insatiable and incorrigible," said Tara leaning over and kissing the redhead softly. "I love you!"

"I love you too! Seriously though, I went online and grabbed a checklist for us to use. Step 1 - get engaged...check! Step 2 - choose a date," stated Willow.

"Is there a date that you've thought sounded perfect or a date you dreamed about?"

"Not really. As long as you and I are the two standing in front of everyone else saying 'I Do', I don't have a preference," Willow said.

"Well, we could do Valentine's Day or St. Patrick's day," joked Tara. "I think my Dad would kill us if we chose either Christmas or New Years."

"Yeah, I think less than two full months away would be a bit quick. Not that I don't want to marry you that quick."

"Oh, I know the perfect date," Tara said smiling proudly.

"What date is that?"

"May 7th. The first day I saw your gorgeous face at The Bronze."

"That is perfect, Baby! Wow, we have a date!"

"Is it weird that it is during the week?" asked Tara.

"It isn't the day of the week that makes it is what the date means to us," said Willow as she took Tara's hand and brought it to her lips and kissed the back of it.


"That's me," smiled the redhead.

"So, what is next on this checklist that you found?"

"Well, there is determining a wedding style, a budget, wedding party, and starting a guest list. What do you think of getting married on Kingman's Bluff overlooking the ocean? Or is there someplace you have your heart set on?"

"That sound like a beautiful place. There or on the beach sound great to me. I just think that doing it as the sun sets would be so romantic."

"Sunset wedding it is," Willow said before turning and kissing the blonde.

"How formal do you want it to be?"

"Have you met Buffy?" asked Willow laughing.

"Good point," agreed Tara. "So, no formal dresses, but still something nice?"

"I think that sounds perfect. How big of a wedding party do you want?"

"Um, I prefer a small one…"

"Oh good," interrupted Willow. "I always just pictured Buffy up there with me."

"So, you are going to have Buffy stand there with you? You know I'm going to choose Faith. Oh hell, I'm not certain we can trust those two."

"I'm not either, but I know that if we don't have them up there we aren't going to have a good wedding."

"I agree. Why do people say that wedding planning is hard? We seem to be doing just fine with it," said Tara.

"That is because we're perfect for one another, and we think so much alike that it makes it easier."

"I agree. Budget isn't an issue so we don't need to discuss it."

"Why isn't it an issue?" asked Willow hesitantly.

"Will, isn't an issue because I have it covered. I'm not going to pull the 'I'm rich' card, but I have the means so we don't need to worry about it."

"I'm not broke either Tara. I can afford to pay for this as well," Willow said trying to contain the annoyed tone.

"I didn't mean that you weren't able to Sweetie," said Tara turning Willow towards her. "I just meant that we don't have to worry about not having something that we really want."

"I know, I'm sorry. I just don't want anyone thinking that I'm marrying you for your money or to get ahead…"

"I don't give a rat's ass what anyone thinks. I know that you love me and that you are marrying me because you love me and not for any other reason."

"And that is why you are the perfect woman," Willow said kissing the blonde soundly.

"Let's get out of here for a bit. I want to go to the beach."

"Sounds like fun."

The couple changed into their swimsuits and grabbed their beach bags containing towels, water, sunscreen, and sunglasses before heading to the beach.

Once they found a spot on the beach the two women set up their towels and Willow pulled her tablet of her bag as she lay down on her towel.

"What book are you reading today?" asked Tara pulling her tablet out as well.

"Um, Winter Jacket by Eliza Lentzski. What one did you load?"

"Second Chances by MJ Duncan."

"I read that one last week. I loved it," said Willow.

"I remembered so I grabbed it the next day at lunch since I wasn't able to sneak away with this sexy redhead I've had my eye on," Tara said smiling at Willow.

"Yeah, I wasn't happy that we weren't able to sneak away either.

The two settled in to read while enjoying the warm Sunnydale weather. The spot they had picked on the beach that wasn't crowded and offered some seclusion due to the weathered rocks nearby.

"Hey Will," called Buffy as she was running along the beach and saw the two women.

"Hey Buff! What brings you out this way?" asked Willow shielding her eyes from the sun.

"I was out running in this perfect weather. What's new with you two ladies?"

"Not much," said Tara smiling up at the blonde.

"Um, we did start wedding planning this morning," Willow said with a goofy grin.

"You did?" squeaked Buffy. "Um, Tara, for future reference - THAT is something new and to be offered up as information when one is asked 'what's new?'"

"Noted," laughed Tara as she moved closer to Willow giving Buffy room to sit down on her towel.

"So, what was decided? When do I start my duties as Maid of Honor?"

"Oh, I see, you are assuming that I want you in the wedding with me," teased Willow who received a pout from Buffy. "I'm joking. Geez! Of course you are my Maid of Honor."

"I assume that you are going to ask Faith to be yours," said Buffy looking at Tara.

"Yeah. After all that her and I have been through, I can't picture being up there without her."

"That and she'd kick your ass," laughed Willow as she reached over and squeezed Tara's butt. "And I am very partial to that ass."

"I don't need to know that," said Buffy.

"Deal with it Summers. I have a smoking hot and sexy fiancée and I am NOT afraid to admit it."

"Yeah, yeah, yeah. Rub it in for those of us still single."

"What is going on with you and Angel?" asked Tara.

"I don't know. We have barely talked since our last date."

"Have you called him?" asked Willow.


"It's 2014, Buffy. You can call him and NOT be branded with a scarlet letter."

"I know that. I was just hoping for him to do the romancing."

"He still can Buffy. You and Angel have gone round and round on this for years. You need to just suck it up and call and then you two need to talk about your relationship expectations. Tell him you want to be romanced or that you want to see him more," said Willow.

"Very insightful," said Tara before leaning over and kissing Willow softly. "I'm going to go call Faith while you two talk. What do you two say we have a beach barbecue tonight?"

"Sounds fantastic," Buffy and Willow responded.

"Great, I'll be back in a minute."

Willow smiled as she watched Tara walk away. She was drawn back to the discussion by Buffy covering her eyes.

"RUDE," laughed Willow.

"Hello Angel?" said Tara as the man answered on the other end of the phone.


"Hey, it's Tara."

"Hi Tara. How are you doing?" asked the man happily.

"I'm good. I'm calling to invite you to a barbecue we're having at the beach tonight."

"Thanks, but…"

"Nuh uh buddy. You have to come. Buffy is going to be there and so are Willow, Faith and Emily. You cannot leave Buffy dateless. Plus, think of the stud status you are going to achieve sitting here with five hot women."

"Yeah, except that you and Willow are going to be hanging all over one another, Faith and Emily will be doing the same," laughed Angel.

"Do NOT tell me that is not every straight man's fantasy…" quipped Tara.

"I, er, um…" stammered Angel.

"That's what I thought. So, you'll be here in an hour or so?"

"I'd love to. Thanks for the invite."

"Thanks for agreeing to come."

After hanging up with Angel, Tara called Faith and told her that they needed to get down to the beach and to make it quick.

Tara glanced over to see Buffy and Willow laughing. She couldn't help but smile. She loved how Willow glowed when she laughed and was truly happy.

"She knows she didn't have to leave right?" asked Buffy as Tara walked away.

"I think she wanted to give us a moment together. What are your thoughts and feelings honestly about Angel?"

"What do you mean?"

"Do you want it to work? Do you want to be with him?"

"Of course I want it to work," said Buffy surprised by Willow's question.

"Then you have to put forth some of the effort, Buff. You can call him. You can ask him out. It isn't 1727. You don't have to live by him making all the moves. If you want him, go after him."

"That is easy for you to say. You have Tara."

"Yeah, I do. Do you think that her and I would work if I just sat back and waited for her to make every move?"

"No, I guess not."

"So then call the man. Show him that you are interested in being with him. BUT - we are not having a double wedding. You are not stealing my day from me," laughed Willow.

"Yeah, whatever," laughed Buffy. "As long as I get to stand up with you, I'll let you have your day. If I don't...Beware of the Super Soaker."

"You wouldn't!"

"The hell I wouldn't," teased Buffy.

After Faith and Emily arrived Tara told them she was going to get the grill and food. Willow offered to go with, but Tara told her to stay. When she returned Angel was with her helping her carry the provisions for grilling.

"Angel? Hi! What are you doing here?" asked Buffy.

"I invited him," said Tara catching a smirk from Willow.

As they were setting up the grill and chairs that Tara and Angel brought Willow wrapped her arms around Tara's waist. Willow felt Tara lean back into her and the embrace.

"That was rather sneaky of you Ms. Maclay," Willow said softly into Tara's ear.

"I know not what you speaketh of," giggled Tara as she felt Willow's teeth nibbling on her ear.

"He's who you called when you gave Buffy and I time to talk."

"She sure as hell wasn't going to...dammit, I mean," giggled Tara.

"You are a hopeless romantic and a great friend," Willow said before kissing the side of Tara's head. "Two of the many things I love about you."

Tara turned in Willow's arms and kissed her softly.

"Get a room," Faith called to them.

"You're just jealous," said Tara sticking her tongue out at the brunette.

"You wish."

"Ew, I so do not," laughed Tara.

"HEY," exclaimed Emily. "She isn't THAT bad."

"Thanks babe...HEY! What do you mean 'that bad'?" laughed Faith.

"That is for me to know and you to wonder," said Emily kissing the brunette on the tip of her nose.

"Why do you hang out with these odd people or couples as they are?" Angel asked Buffy as they cuddled together watching the interaction between the others.

"It makes me feel normal," laughed Buffy.

"Who are you calling odd?" Willow asked in mock annoyance.

"Well, you have Emily and Faith who are the sarcastic couple. Then there is Will and Tara, the perpetually happy and horny couple…" started Buffy.

"You're just jealous because I get to sleep with this hot babe. Although there are more nights than not that there isn't a lot of sleeping. Not that sleep is needed when you have mind blowing sex as frequently as…" babbled Willow before Tara kissed her soundly.

"Hush baby," Tara said softly pulling away from the redhead.

"Yes, please stop," said Faith covering her ears. "Tara is like a sister to me and I have NO desire to know about your sex life."

"I'm with Faith. I love you Will and you have always been a sister to me as well. Please stop subjecting me to that information. I am sorry about the Super Soaker comment. I swear I won't ruin your wedding, just stop talking," pleaded Buffy.

"Why are you going to ruin our wedding with a Super Soaker?" asked Tara confused.

"She isn't. That was her threat if she wasn't a part of the wedding. Since she is, all is safe," Willow said kissing Tara's temple before taking her hand and playing with her fingers and engagement ring. The feel of the ring on Tara's finger caused Willow to smile sappily.

"See, odd," laughed Angel and the others joined in.

"You are right there with us buddy," laughed Willow.

"I am not."

"Yeah, you are."

"Nuh uh."

"Yeah huh," retorted Willow.

"Explain Willow or you are both going to a time out," said Buffy shaking her head at the childish banter between Willow and Angel.

"Fine. You two are so in love with one another and have been forever, yet you both deny it. You two prefer to torture yourselves."

"Yeah, we look tortured," said Buffy as Angel pulled her closer.

"Yeah, because my amazingly hot fiancée called him to join us you wuss," said Willow raising an eyebrow at her best friend.

"Don't you give me that Tara-eyebrow look thingy," said Buffy.

"Wow Sweetie. You have that down pretty good," said Tara.

"I doubt it is as sexy as yours though."

"They're going to kiss again…" warned Emily as Willow and Tara's lips met. "And we have lip contact."

Emily, Faith, Angel, and Buffy laughed as Willow deepened the kiss and Tara let out a soft groan.

"Alright - separate you two or I am getting ice from the cooler," threatened Faith.

"Fine," Tara said before placing a series of chaste kisses on Willow's lips and then pulling the redhead into her arms.

"So, who am I going to be standing up with at this wedding of yours?" asked Buffy.

"You started planning?" asked Emily.

"Do you need a caterer?" asked Angel.

"What the hell? You are holding back?" asked Faith.

"Whoa," said Tara putting a hand up. "Yeah, we started planning this morning. Faith, there is nobody I would want more than you standing up with me, and yes Angel we'd love to talk with you about catering. Does that cover everything?"

"It's a start," said Faith. "And you know I'd love to be up there with you."

Willow and Tara told the others the date and what else they had agreed on for the wedding. Everyone was excited to hear the details and offer their thoughts and suggestions. After the wedding talk they lit the grill and prepped and made dinner. After the sun went down they made s'mores and enjoyed the company around them.

Arriving home late Willow and Tara showered together and then curled up in bed Willow holding Tara.

"Today at the beach...that was fun," said Tara adjusting her head on Willow's shoulder.

"Yeah, it was," agreed Willow. They lay there in silence for a while before Willow interrupted it. "That was a really good idea inviting Angel. You are right that Buffy never would have called him."

"They make a cute couple. I don't know that I will ever understand their self-imposed torture."

"Me either. I could never fathom the idea of not being close to you," said Willow.

Tara shuddered at the idea of being separated from Willow yet seeing and interacting with her leaned into Willow more and their eyes locked and their lips came together in a soft and telling kiss followed by whispered 'I love you's' before drifting off to sleep.

Sunday Tara had to meet with her brother and father to set up plans for the final kick-off campaign. While she was gone Willow spent the day creating a spreadsheet and timeline for their wedding plans. She filled in what they knew and ideas that she had and wanted to show Tara when she got home. When she finished she decided to run to the store to attempt to make Tara a nice dinner.

"Honey, I'm home," called Tara as she entered the apartment in the late afternoon. She received no response. After checking around the apartment she found that Willow wasn't home. Tara smiled to herself because that allowed her to finish preparations for the present she had stopped and picked up for Willow on the way home.

Tara wasted no time in getting the package wrapped and filling out the little note that went with it. She then put the box in her nightstand. Tara then grabbed her tablet and relaxed on the couch reading the book she had started at the beach the day before.

"Hi," said a startled Willow surprised to see Tara home already. She quickly put the bag she of groceries in the kitchen before heading into the living room and kissing Tara softly.

"Hello," smiled Tara after receiving a kiss from the redhead.

"I didn't expect you home so early."

"I can leave if you'd like," teased Tara setting her tablet on the coffee table.

"I don't think so," said Willow lowering her body on top of Tara's on the couch.

"Good, because this is WAY better," replied the blonde in a sultry tone before pulling the redhead atop her into a steamy kiss.

"Wow," whispered Willow when they finally broke apart. "I may have to forget that I was going to make dinner and just stay here and kiss you."

"Mmmm, as tempting as that sounds...I'm starving. Dad didn't have anything good."

After kissing and cuddling for almost an hour Willow got up and went to make dinner. While she was doing that Tara set the table, dimmed the lights, and lit some candles. She then retrieved the box from her nightstand.

After eating dinner and cleaning up, Willow and Tara went back to cuddling on the couch. Tara was holding Willow and nibbling on her neck.

"I love these moments," said Willow softly.

"Which moments?"

"The moments when it's just us, together, sharing our love."

"I love them too. I got you something," said Tara as she pulled the box from behind the pillow she was leaning up against and handed it to Willow.

"When? What?" asked Willow turning her head to look at the blonde.

"I stopped on my way home today, and for what you have to open the box silly."

"Why though?"

"Because I love you," Tara said before kissing Willow. "Now, open the box."

Willow relaxed back into Tara's arms and the blonde resumed her nibbling on the redhead's neck and ear.

"That is distracting you know," giggled Willow as her eyes kept fluttering closed.

"Deal with it."

Willow laughed and then opened the box and found a box covered in felt. Willow opened that box and found a diamond pendant necklace with 3 hearts on it and a note below it. Willow opened the note and read, 'Today is a gift and tomorrow is yet a dream. I would gladly give back the gift to forever live the dream with you.' As Willow read the note, her breath caught.

"Tara," whispered Willow her breath taken away by the beauty of what was written and the pendant.