bluepaintbox: I agree that jumping head first into Tara's life can add some stress to both of their lives. I hope you enjoy this update. Thanks for the feedback!

riverwillows: I promise to continue the story. My daughter will be off to college at the end of this week, so provided my wife doesn't have a massive meltdown the updates should become more regular. ;)

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 Thanks for being the best beta on this and all my published and especially the unpublished stories I have going.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

Chapter 24: Night at the Club

The next couple of weeks passed without any trouble. Willow and Tara fell into a comfortable routine. They got up and had breakfast together. Tara got ready and went to work while Willow sat down at Tara's desk and worked on her programming. Once Tara got home they made dinner together, and then either went for a walk or cuddled on the couch. Tara sometimes laughed at how domesticated they were. They had planned to go out so that Tara could share with Willow some of the things she enjoyed, but life crept into those plans. There were a couple of nights that Willow was exhausted, some that Tara was exhausted, and then there were a few night for both that nightmares had plagued them. Both were reluctantly pleased that they were nightmares and not the night terrors that had traumatized them for years.

"Hey Will," said Buffy as the redhead answered her phone.

"Hey Buff. What's up?" Willow said as she leaned back in the desk chair.

"Are you ever coming home?"

"Eventually I will have to...but for now I'm enjoying my time here with Tara."

"But I miss you…" whined the blonde.

"I get that. I miss you guys too, but Tara's show is in a couple of weeks. You and the gang are still planning on coming to it right?"

"Yeah, we are. Dylan wants us to tell Tara that we aren't coming so that we can surprise her. I'm not sure if she will see that as rejection or not. What do you think?"

"I think that surprising her will be fun. I'll make sure that she doesn't get too down."

"Ew, don't need to know about your sex life," scoffed Buffy playfully.

"Whatever. You are just jealous about that fact I am actually getting some from a smoking hot blonde," teased Willow.

"She looks good as a blonde doesn't she?!"

"She looks gorgeous no matter what."

"You're biased Rosenberg."

"Completely! And hopelessly and helplessly in love."

"I'm happy for you two. Are things better for her in New York?" asked Buffy.

"Mostly. We've been going to see her therapist together and sometimes I go in and other times I just sit in the waiting room. We've each had some nightmares, but not the night terrors that we were having."

"That sounds like an improvement."

"It is. Mrs Connor and her husband are awesome too."

"Who are they?"

"They are the little old couple that own the Brownstone that Tara lives in."

"Oh yeah. Do you see a lot of them?"

"I do because I work from home. They truly care about Tara. They call her their daughter even. I think it helps her feel like she has a family that cares about her. They were all she had for years."

"They didn't have to be," mumbled Buffy.

"No, they didn't, but they were and that helped her survive."

"I'm happy about that, but come on Will, aren't you a bit hurt that she didn't have the faith in us that we would be there for her? We were a family."

"Yeah, it hurts," started Willow. "I also have learned a lot about Tara and how she learned to cope with what happened to her growing up and I understand her reasoning. Just know it wasn't personal that she closed us out. She honestly did it to protect us. The mental torture they did on her was more extensive than the physical shit."

"That is a scary thought. Oh, Donny's trial was this week. Bastard will not be seeing the light of day until he dies."

"That's good. Did they put him in the same prison as his dad?"

"He's headed there next week. I notified the warden about Donny and his father's issues. She is going to try to keep them in separate cell blocks. She's afraid that they will try to kill one another."

"I wouldn't put it past them. How are things going there?"

"Pretty much the same. Dawn found a new girl that she is wooing. Xander and Anya are on speaking terms again. After she heard about what went on with Donny at the hotel she decided he was worth another try."

"What about you?"

"Nothing other than work going on with me. I am pretty content with that right now too. How is work going?" asked Buffy.

Willow explained about the setup that she had at the apartment and the schedule that she had worked out. She had all but one client transitioned so that she could connect to them from New York. She had even picked up a couple of new clients courtesy of some connections from Lillian the Curator at Tara's work. They agreed to talk in a few days to plan out getting together and such after Tara's show.

After hanging up Willow looked at the clock and saw she had five minutes before her tea time with Mrs Connors. It had become a daily event for them. Something they both looked forward to and time they cherished together.

Tara had finally been cleared by her doctor to return to normal work provided that she took a five to ten minute break every two hours and she kept up with the physical therapy exercises.

"Stupid arm," mumbled Tara as she worked with the band the physical therapist had given her.

"How's it going?" asked Lillian as she approached Tara in the break room doing her exercises.

"Painfully good?"

"Do those words really go together?" laughed Lillian.

"No, they truly don't. I know that it is just going to take time for my arm to get back in shape, but these exercises hurt," laughed Tara as she wrapped the armband back up. "How are you today?"

"I'm doing well. I was hoping that after lunch you and I could sit down and discuss your show and how we are going to set up the display and what information you would like us to include in the bio for the program."


"Yes, we put that in for all the new artists. It gives the attendees the illusion that they know the artist better. Don't worry though, it isn't going to be anything extremely in-depth. And I promise Tara that we will put nothing in there that you do not approve of."

"Thank you. I really appreciate everything you have and are doing for me Lillian."

"It is my pleasure Tara. You have always shown such potential. The work that I have seen from you in the past year and especially the past two weeks has been incredible."

Tara blushed after receiving a compliment from the older woman. Tara's confidence had improved over the years, but she was still far from a confident person. She had hopes of achieving it, but she didn't delude herself into believing that it would happen.

The two women talked for a couple of more minutes before Tara had to get back to work. Lillian told Tara that she would work out with her Supervisor when the best time for them to meet was.

Tara arrived home to find Willow lost in thought at her computer. Tara knew how intense the redhead was when she was working, but this was even more intense. Willow's fingers hadn't even slowed down when Tara called to her when she came in the door or when she walked over and kissed the redhead on the side of the head. Tara glanced at the screen and the cryptic code Willow was typing looked like random words mixed with punctuation and special characters. Tara had no clue if Willow was really typing something or if her fingers were just pressing buttons.

While Willow worked Tara made dinner and took a bowl of chili over to the desk for Willow should she ever come out of her code coma. Tara took her bowl and went and sat down on the grouping of pillows she had in the far corner of the room. It was one of her favorite spots to sit and watch out the window. She had slept many nights in this spot listening to the rain and thunder. After she finished her dinner she set the bowl on a small table she had nearby and she pulled out a sketch pad and started to draw.

Willow finally finished her code and saw the bowl of chili sitting on the desk. She looked around the room and saw Tara sketching. She smiled to herself realizing that Tara looked the most at peace she had ever seen when she was either sketching or painting. She wondered how long the blonde had been home and if she should disturb her or not.

"You can come sit by me and eat your dinner," smiled Tara never taking her eyes off the sketchbook.

"Are you sure it wouldn't distract you?" asked Willow.

"I welcome all distractions of the Willow variety."

"Well, in that case," said Willow grabbing her bowl and walking over and sitting next to Tara who had set down the sketch pad. "Why'd you stop?"

"Well, I was hoping for a kiss from a hot redhead…" started Tara as her words were cut off by Willow's lips pressed against her own. "How was your day?"

"It was good. I talked to Buffy, had tea with Mrs Connor, and I even figured out how to fix a program glitch that has driven me nuts for months."

"Sounds like a good day. Do you have more work to do or are you done for the night?"

"I'm done for tonight, but I am going to need to work tomorrow night to update the code for a couple of clients. How was your day?" asked Willow as she finished eating and set her bowl next to Tara's.

"Not bad. I had a meeting with Lillian to discuss the show. I'm not sure if I'm getting really excited or if I'm scared."

"I say it is excitement. Tara, you are so talented and Lillian and the rest of us support you and can't wait to see your amazing work on display."

"You are just excited to see your picture at the center of all the other artwork," teased Tara.

"That is just an added perk. Seriously though Baby, I am very proud of you."

Tara blushed and then the two shared a comforting kiss. After the kiss Tara and Willow decided that tonight was the best night they had to go out dancing. Tara wanted Willow to meet and get to know Tony and Trevor. They had planned to go several times before, but were either too tired or something came up. Tara knew that she needed to show Willow one of the few places she felt completely safe.

After paying the entrance fee into the club Tara took Willow's hand and led the redhead through the crowd to the bar towards the back of the bar. Tara talked briefly with the bartender and received two drinks and after handing one to Willow they made their way over to an empty table near the bar.

"Do you come here often?" asked Willow as she felt Tara take her hand as they watched the people dancing.

"Not really. Dylan and I would come here because I never felt comfortable in straight clubs. I didn't like guys always coming up to me and wanting to dance. I-I barely am able to dance with Dylan. I know that both he and I know that we are just friends dancing, but I'm still uncomfortable at times."

"So do you just people watch?"

"Not exactly," Tara said with a smile looking past Willow.

Willow turned to see what the blonde was looking at and she saw Tony making his way over towards them. As he reached the table Tara jumped up and hugged him.

"It's about time I see you here," said Tony. "Hi Willow. I'm glad Tara finally brought you out here."

"Hi Tony. It is mostly my fault that it has taken so long for us to come out here. I've kept some odd hours with work."

"What do you do?" ask Tony his interest genuine and comforting to Willow.

"I am a computer programmer."

"She's being modest Tony. She owns her own programming business," interjected Tara proudly.

"Wow, that is impressive. How long have you and Tara known one another?"

"Since we were five," blushed Tara. She was glad that it was dark in the club so that Tony wasn't able to see HOW red she was.

"Really?" smiled Tony raising an eyebrow. "Wait - Willow...this is…"

"Yes Tony. This is the love of my life," said Tara wrapping her arms around Willow, pulling her close, and then kissing the side of her head.

"Wait until Trevor finds out," giggled the burly man. Willow smiled at the giggle.

"You are such a schoolgirl," teased Tara.

"Hush you," said Tony as the three of them started to laugh.

As they talked and Tony and Willow got to know one another Tara smiled pleased at how well Willow was fitting in with her friend. As they were talking the DJ started a remix of an 80's medley started to play. Tony and Tara shared a look and they both grabbed one of Willow's hands and pulled the redhead onto the dance floor. They danced throughout the full remix and then a slow song started and Tara pulled Willow into her arms. Their bodies melted together as they danced. Tony moved away and went to find Trevor to bring him to meet this woman who Tara had told them about for years.

"Are you having fun?" asked Tara as she held the redhead close and leaned their foreheads together..

"I'm with you, of course I am," said Willow.

As they danced together they share a couple of chaste kisses. After the dance they returned to their table and slid their seats closer together. Willow and Tara were talking softly when Tara felt a large hand softly placed on her shoulder. She knew instantly who it was and smiled.

"Hi Trevor," smiled Tara looking upwards at the man towering over them.

"Hey Sexy," said the dark-haired man. "I've missed you."

"I'm sorry it has been so long. I had to go back to Alabama for a bit."

"Is that where this happened?"

"Yes," said Tara casting her eyes down at the table as she felt Trevor gently squeeze her shoulder and Willow squeeze her hand.

"Do I need to make someone pay?"

"No, it has been taken care of."

"Alright, but if you need me to at any point, you know I have connections. Now, who is the beautiful woman sitting here?" asked Trevor motioning towards Willow.

"Trevor, this is Willow. Willow this is Trevor. He owns the club and is Tony's partner."

"Hi it is very nice to meet you," said Willow offering her hand and being engulfed into a hug from the man.

"I am so happy to see you here and to finally get to meet you. Tony was right, you make her glow," said the man.

"Paws off my girlfriend," said Tara pulling Willow from Trevor's embrace. Willow looked at her with shock and gratitude.

"Thanks," Willow said softly.

"Willow, should you need anything ever, call me and I will do whatever is in my power to assist. No matter what it is you need," said Trevor handing Willow one of his cards.

"Thank you."

"You make it sound like you are a mobster," laughed Tara.

"Bite me. You know the mob only wishes they were as stylish and amazing as I am," said Trevor kissing Tara on the top of her head before sauntering away.

"He's...sweet," said Willow trying to choose her words properly.

"He's amazing. He and Tony have been there for me for years."

"Hey Tara," said a female voice from behind them.

"Crap," mumbled Tara as she quickly moved closer to Willow and pressed their bodies together.

"What's wrong?" whispered Willow feeling Tara tense.

"S-stay c-close…" stuttered Tara as Willow wrapped an arm around Tara's waist and held her closer.

"Well, hello there gorgeous," said the brunette directing her attention to Willow. "My, my Tara, who do we have here?"

"T-this…" started Tara.

"Nobody you need to be concerned with. If you will excuse us," said Willow dismissively.

"Now, there is no need to be rude. Tara and I go way back and I am just being friendly."

"Back off Kennedy," boomed Tony's voice from behind Willow and Tara.

"Oh Tony, I'm not hurting anyone. I was just trying to find out who Tara's gorgeous friend here is and see if she wants to come and hang out with someone who knows how to have fun."

"I think I know Tara well enough to know that that isn't what you were trying to do and that you really don't know a damn thing about her," defended Willow.

"Oh yeah, redhead and feisty. Come with me baby and leave this bore here," said Kennedy reaching out towards Willow's hand.

"Paws away from my girlfriend Kennedy," snapped Tara stopping the brunette's hand.

"Girlfriend? Seriously? Don't lie Tara, it doesn't become you. Plus, how long could you two possibly have been together?"

"Twelve years bitch," snapped Willow.

"No, I've known Tara for several years and she has been single, so, really babe, don't lie to me."

"Technically, we have been together for twelve years, babe," sneered Willow. "We never broke up. Even if we had, there is no way I would be interested in something like you when I have this sexy woman here."

Tara blushed and Tony giggled.

"Really Tony? Man up," snapped Kennedy.

"Just leave Kennedy," Tara said exasperated.

"I'll leave when, I'm sorry, what is your name beautiful?"

"Willow, my name is Willow."

"Well, Willow. I would be honored if you would please join me for a dance," said Kennedy softly.

"No, thanks," said Willow taking her hand and brushing her fingers along Tara's jaw line before leaning in and kissing the blonde soundly. Their bodies melting together as if the rest of the world no longer existed.

"I think we need to go home," said Tara her eyes a darker shade of blue and her breathing a bit ragged.

"I agree," said Willow giving the blonde a chaste kiss.

The two women said goodbye to Tony and ignored the now shocked and aroused Kennedy.

"Want a threesome?" asked Kennedy as the two women started to leave.

"You wouldn't have the stamina to keep up," said Tara causing Trevor and Tony to laugh and Kennedy to just stand there with her mouth opening and closing.

"What the fuck just happened?" said Kennedy in disbelief as she watched them leave.

Willow pulled Tara out of the club and they hailed a cab.