The Kitten, the Witches and the Bad Wardrobe - Willow & Tara Forever

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 Post subject: New Fic: What I Discovered at Band Camp (10/3/19))
PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2019 5:36 pm 
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7. Teeny Tinkerbell Light

Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 5:33 pm
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Location: North Carolina, USA
What I Discovered at Band Camp
Taranwillow4ever
PG-13/R for sexual references

Disclaimer: Joss owns all these characters, and whoever produced American Pie owns their slice of it. I don’t get any compensation. I don’t own anything. I just imagine different lives for his characters.

Setting: This is totally AU with characters from the TV show. Tanglewood is a real place. I have no idea if they have anything like the camp that I created. The amusement park is a real place, it has great rollercoasters and a water park. It's name now is Six Flags New England. When I was a kid it was called Riverside Amusement Park.

Feedback: Please. I love feedback, even just emoji’s as I watch the tickertape, I want to know what people think.

This story came rushing through me after reading Laragh’s newest fic. After the first chapter, I’d imagined several ways that the story could go, and I couldn’t let go of the idea that Tara discovered herself while at Band Camp. I just had to write a story about it.

What I Discovered at Band Camp

I’d been going to Band Camp for the last five years. It actually was Orchestra Camp, but Band Camp sounded better and triggered allusions to American Pie and my favorite actress Alyson Hannigan. I had started going to this camp the summer before I went into seventh grade, and this year, the summer before my Senior year, was the last time I would be attending a special three week camp. I would never have been invited to this camp if the sixth grade music teacher hadn’t suggested that I play the oboe rather than the flute. He had a used oboe. Even though she never told me, I knew that my mom was stressed about the monthly payments on the flute. So I happily agreed to play the oboe. After several months of making the most “God awful sound” according to my older brother, I got rather good and was invited to play with the high school orchestra, as well as, the middle school band.

It was in the middle school Woodwinds class that I met my best friend Willow. She played the flute and sat next to me the first day of classes. Mom, my brother Donny, and I had moved to Sunnydale two weeks before school started. On the first day of school, it felt like everyone knew everyone else. I tried to fade into the woodwork and remain anonymous in my first few classes, but this did not work with Willow. We were in the Woodwinds class and whenever the teacher would start talking to the clarinets, Willow would start asking me questions. She had a lot of questions. I guess I answered them to her satisfaction, because she invited me to sit with her and her friends at lunch. This was a big relief because I was very worried about lunch and had thought that I might just sneak off to the library rather than figure out how to navigate a cafeteria that seemed to have as many people in the whole population of my elementary school.

Willow introduced me to her friends, Buffy, Xander, Oz, Faith and Anya. Later on, Willow told me that she’d been friends with Xander since kindergarten, Oz, Faith and Anya since fourth grade, and that Buffy moved to Sunnydale when they were all in fifth grade. It sounded like the whole group hadn’t gotten to spend time together over the summer because Anya and Faith had to go to their ‘other’ parent’s homes for the summer and Buffy and Oz had gone away to camp. I figured that Willow and Xander must live pretty close to each other because when they were telling the others about their summer, they kept talking about how they’d go over to the other’s house, grab their bikes and spend all of their time at the park or the beach, and hanging out together. Anya seemed to be really happy to be back in Sunnydale but didn’t seem to be excited to be back at school. Faith shared that she’d almost stayed in Massachusetts with her dad, but ultimately decided to come back to live with her mother. It seemed that they were all so excited to see each other. I remember wishing that I could have a group of friends like them. Well, I got my wish. They welcomed me into their group with open arms and I became a member of the Scooby Gang. Willow told me that they called themselves this because all of them really liked the cartoon and they thought that it would be cool to try to hunt ghosts and drive in a cool van.

It was kind of funny, by the time that we were in high school, Oz and his dad had restored a big purple van. As soon as he got his driver’s license, he began picking us all up and driving us to school. We thought about painting “The Mystery Machine” on the side of the van. Oz could have probably gotten away with it, he was relatively popular; however, we called it the Mystery Machine among ourselves, but just called it “Oz’s van” when we were at school. From the first day of sixth grade, to the last day of our Junior year, I never had to worry about who I’d sit with at lunch. If one of us was sitting at a table, we knew that we were welcome to join them.

I suspect that an outsider looking at our group would seriously wonder what was our common denominator. Buffy was a popular cheerleader, Oz was the guitarist of a rock band, Faith was a bad ass Goth chick, Willow a Brainiac geek, me a performing arts girl, and Anya and Xander were “normal”. The common denominator was that we’d become friends in sixth grade, and all got along well and genuinely liked each other.

Willow and I became instant friends after that first day of woodwind class. She didn’t stick with the flute after seventh grade. She was chosen to be part of an accelerated Math and Science class in 8th grade, and she needed to give up one of her electives. She loved computer programming, so band was the one sacrificed. She eventually told me that she’d only kept playing the flute because it guaranteed that we’d have at least one class together in middle school. As we entered high school, we realized that most likely we would always be in the same English and History classes because we were both in Honors/Advanced Placement. Willow was also in Honors/Advanced Placement Math and Science; while I struggled to keep up with the normal math and science. No matter how hard Willow tried to explain Algebra Two and Geometry to me, I struggled. I am sure that her help kept me from getting anything lower than a B minus, but it was never anything higher either. I was a solid B- Math and Science student.

Willow’s parents were frequently out of town because they were some well known public speakers, professors at the UC Sunnydale University. Willow once told me that her mother went all around the world talking about the sociology of parenthood, while her dad’s area of expertise was in how memory and attention in children differed cross culturally. I always thought that it was funny that they both were supposed to be experts in issues having to do with children and they basically neglected their only one for most of her late childhood and adolescence. They always left enough money for Willow to buy food and get what ever she wanted or needed, but I knew that what she wanted and needed some parental interest in her life. However, their absence always allowed for us to spend a lot of time at her house. If we wanted to be on our own and hang without parental supervision, we stayed at Willow’s. If we wanted parental attention, interest and home cooked food, we hung at my house or Buffy’s. Xander, Oz, Faith and Buffy usually chose Buffy’s house; while Willow and I always seemed to prefer Willow’s. Frequently we’d go to Buffy’s and hang until night-time, and then the two of us would go to either my house or Willow’s house to sleep.

If I had to say who of the gang was closest, other than Xander and Willow, they were a given, I’d say that by the second month of middle school, it was Willow and me. We were almost joined at the hip afterschool and on the weekends. My mom frequently said that she felt like she’d gained a second daughter. I don’t know if mom ever noticed, but this always made Willow smile. I could tell that she sometimes wished that she had a mom that always made sure she was eating right, hugged her regularly, and was proud of her accomplishments. I never had a hard time sharing my mom with Willow. I knew she needed it. It was sort of like having a sister, something that I had always wanted. I loved my brother, but he was a guy and he wasn’t always the nicest to me. Not that he beat me up or anything, but he usually just didn’t want to give me the time of day. He had been a big jock in high school and was now in college on a wrestling scholarship. They only time I really had to deal with him was holidays and during the summer. And as I mentioned before, I spent a lot of my summer in various music camps. Donnie and I were pretty much ships that passed in the night and rarely even lowered their flags to acknowledge each other other.

Things started to get a little weird with the Scooby Gang at the beginning of our Junior/11th grade year. Over the summer, while I was at several different music camps, Willow and Oz, and, Xander and Anya began dating. Buffy almost always had a boyfriend since she started high school, and Faith, you never know. She’s admitted to ‘hooking up” with both boys and girls, though it never seemed that she’d be with them too long. We all knew to just let it be and not ask questions. I’d known that Willow had periodic crushes on both of Oz and Xander over the course of our friendships. But she’d always reassured me that they were pals and it would be weird if any of us started dating. Little did she know that when she would wax poetic about either Oz or Xander, it would make my heart hurt a little bit. I didn’t definitely know why I felt that way for a lot of our friendship. I started to get a clue when I’d watch Willow and Oz cuddling up in a corner of the Bronze kissing, or when she’d say that she couldn’t hang with me because she and Oz were going on a date somewhere or the other. I felt jealous, but I wasn’t really sure why. Willow and I still spent a lot of time together. She definitely valued our friendship, but I’d see the cute smiles that I’d always valued when they were directed at me, directed at Oz. They’d be holding hands while walking down the hall, and I would feel like I could burst into tears. I had started changing the route to take to classes to avoid being shocked by the vision, and I’d try to just advert my eyes when the tears would start to push at my eyelids. I beat myself up for a long time thinking that I was a bad friend because I wasn’t happy for my friend. I think I did a good job hiding my true feelings, because Willow never even mentioned that our relationship had changed.

I got the whole clue one Friday night when my mom, who is a nurse, invited two of her co-workers to dinner. One of them was a fellow nurse, while the other was an x-ray technician. When they sat down on the couch before dinner, they sat really close to each other. Close like I enjoyed having an opportunity to sit next to Willow when we were in a tight space. While my mom went to get them some drinks, one of them kissed the other. They looked at each other with such love in their eyes. I’d never seen two women look at each other like that. But I knew there were times that I looked at Willow with similar feelings in my eyes. Sure, I knew that there were gay people. But I always thought that they were flamboyant men or manly looking women. I’d never seen two women, who looked just like ‘regular people’ together. My mom treated them like she treated any other couples with whom she was friends, and I discovered that my mom was pretty liberal minded. She and I had never talked about alternative sexualities, but she had also never made any derisive comments about any groups of people. She said that she had to work with all sorts of people at her job in the hospital, and it was important to make sure that she treated everyone with respect. It was important to her that Donnie and I always treated everyone with respect too.

Well, that night when I was getting ready to go to bed and was writing in my diary, it hit me like a stone hitting a windshield, I was bisexual or gay. I liked girls. All those things that Buffy, Anya and Willow talked about wanting to do with boys, I wanted to do them with girls. That was why no matter who asked me out, I always politely declined because there wasn’t a spark. I told myself that I was being ‘picky’ or trying to wait until I was older. It explained why rather than pictures of hot guys, I liked looking at pictures of Alyson Hannigan. I claimed that I didn’t know what it was that pulled me toward this particular actress, but if I am honest, it was because she looked like I expected Willow would look like when she was an adult. If I was honest with myself; I’d felt the sparks. In fact, when I looked at Willow, I felt sparks like I was dragging a piece of metal behind a car at 50 miles per hour. These sparks started at the top of my head, concentrated in my middle, and ended in a tingling in my toes. I felt this whenever one of Willow’s smiles were focused on me during sleep overs. I especially felt it when I’d watch her change into her pajama’s or accidently cuddle into me when we had to share a bed. I knew that now that I had acknowledged this, I’d have to be careful. She was dating Oz. I was not going to make things weird. Throughout the year, I just pulled away slightly. I’d go to the bathroom when she was changing, or I’d say I’d prefer to sleep on the floor that we were getting “too old” to share a bed. I can’t tell how many times I cried when I lay on the floor, listening to her gentle breathing and snoring. I still got up and held her when she was having nightmares, and I couldn’t help but giggle when she woke up mumbling about frogs and arm biting horses.

I think that the only person who may have noticed a subtle change in me was Faith. Once it was just the two of us eating lunch, and she told me that I looked at Willow like I wanted to eat her up. This made me blanche, but she just smiled and stated that if I ever wanted to see if I played for either the other or both teams, she’d be willing to experiment with me. I thanked her, but I didn’t feel any sparks when I looked at Faith, and honestly, I worried about whether she’d picked something up with all her anonymous ‘hook-ups’ that she bragged about. She said that it was ‘cool’ and suggested that I tell “Red” about my feelings. She gave me a little bit of hope by saying that ‘Red sometimes looked at me with love in her eyes.’

I watched Willow for any of these signs, and I think I noticed a few of her glances directed to me, especially when we were alone, but I also saw them directed to Oz, and sometimes Xander and Buffy. I figured that Willow was just one of those people who loved her friends.

If my mom ever knew all the things that went down during these camps, she’d probably have a heart attack. These camps always occurred on college or music festival campuses, and they advertised that there were always adults ‘closely’ supervising the campers. This was a total lie. Maybe they watched the middle school students, but the attitude about the high school students was ‘as long as you make it to rehearsal awake and sober’, what you did during your off time was your own business. I’d had my first kiss behind the stage the year before with a trombone player. He was really handsy and shoved his tongue in my mouth. Afterwards I didn’t understand why anyone would want to do that. It was sloppy and gross. He didn’t like that I pushed him away, and he made several comments about me being a ‘frigid bitch’. Several days later, a couple of other girls told me that they’d had the same experience and to not judge all guys based on his performance.

Another thing that had sort of awakened my awareness that I may not be ‘straight’ was how I felt when I was around a black-haired bassoon player, Sarah. She was openly gay and very self-assured. In physical looks she sort of reminded me of Faith. She had multiple piercings, and when we weren’t in concert gear, she wore black jeans with holes in them, black concert tee-shirts, and Black Doc Martins. But in personality, she was a lot like Willow. She was really smart and sweet. We sat next to each other in orchestra and often would keep me in stitches with her comments when we were not the focus of the conductor.

When I was invited to the camp, I was excited that Sarah would be there too. I would not be the only gay kid in the camp, and I could talk to her about what it was to be out. The camp we were attending was a three week camp for advanced performers. We were doing Peter and The Wolf . It was rumored that there would be college music directors, as well as, conductors of orchestras across the country listening to the final performance. I had an audition earlier in the spring to play The Duck and was chosen as one of two finalists. I didn’t recognize the name of the second person who was chosen for the Duck. When I looked at who else I knew had gotten parts, I saw that Sarah and a guy I’d never heard of were the two finalists for the bassoon part, The Grandfather. On top of practicing to perform Peter and The Wolf, during this time we would also get to practice and learn from some of the performers of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The last few years, no oboe players had been instructors at the camps I attended. But the acceptance letter assured me that either the first or second chair of all instruments would be available for consultation and lessons. I was so excited about this all expenses paid trip to Massachusetts. They would even provide one additional round-trip ticket for my mom to come to the final performance if I was chosen. I was going to do everything within my power to earn that role.

Willow slept over at my house the night before I was scheduled to leave for this camp. She helped me get myself packed, and kept mentioning that this shirt, or this dress would look good if I was trying to attract one of the guys at the camp. Willow had always been really accepting of Faith; I didn’t think that she was homophobic, so I took the chance and asked, “What if I want to attract a girl?”

This seemed to take Willow aback, and she muttered something about, “Well I didn’t know…whatever I guess…Really…you never said anything about that…” she looked at me with a very shocked expression. This made me want to suck the words right back into my mouth and go back a few seconds.

I could tell that she was really freaked, and I said to her that I wasn’t sure. Maybe I was bisexual or asexual, or maybe I just wasn’t ready to get into any romantic relationships. I tried to laugh it off and realized that me maybe liking girls was something that freaked Willow out. “I guess we don’t know each other as well as we thought we did.” I thought to myself.

I guess I looked upset, because Willow pushed my hair off my face and said, “I don’t care who you date, I just want you to be happy, like Xander and Anya, like me and Oz, like Faith and whatever flavor of the month she’s with. Regardless, Faith always seems to be happy. I don’t want you to be lonely.”

“I’m not lonely,” I assured her, “I’ve got all of you guys. You fill up my time and make me feel good. I am probably a late bloomer. I am sure that I’ll figure it all out next year or in college.”

“Yeah, definitely,” said Willow with a little more force than was necessary for a conversation that was occurring less than six inches away. “So, let’s make sure that you’ve got all the clothes you need, and make sure that you bring sweatshirts. I hear that it can get cold in the Massachusetts Berkshires. You wanna borrow my Sunnydale High School sweatshirt? It can remind you of us. She gestured to the shirt that was tied around her waist and handed it to me. I knew that this particular sweatshirt always smelled like Willow, a hint of strawberries and vanilla, mixed with the mountain freshness of her laundry detergent.

“I brought it because I wanted you to take it,” she admitted to me. “I’ve only worn it a little today. It shouldn’t be too stinky.”

Little do you know Willow, it for sure isn’t stinky at all to me. I love how you smell. I thought to myself. I must have looked kind of spacy, because she asked me if I was alright.

“Yeah, I am good. Just kind of scared about going across the country. I know that Faith flies to Boston every summer. But it’s a long flight and it is the first time that I’ve had to change planes. I’m going to be all on my own in the Chicago Airport with a layover that is only an hour long. I worry that I’ll miss my flight, and then my ride to Tanglewood, and thus be trapped alone in either Chicago or Boston.”

“I am sure that there are contingency plans. You all are still high school students, and it is considered a ‘camp” she used air quotes, “They have to make sure everyone gets there safely. But if worse come to worse, call me and I’ll use my parent’s emergency credit card to get you a hotel room or a ride. My parents don’t even look at the bills. I figured out a computer program to pay all of the household bills. My parents don’t even get notified unless a charge is over 1000 dollars.”

I looked at Willow and was reminded for probably the ten thousandth time how our economic situations were so different. Her parents were affluent, and she could basically buy anything she wanted. She had the latest gaming computer, video games, a killer stereo, and all the books that she could ever want. My mom had to pinch pennies, take overtime shifts, and work her butt off in the hospital to keep food on the table, money for Donny’s ‘non-covered essentials’, and pay off the bills that she and my dad had acquired prior to us leaving him. I found it ironic that I would have killed for some of her money, while she frequently told me that she’d trade in all the money they had for her parents to be as nice and caring as my mom. Willow was clear that she didn’t want things, she wanted her parents time. I think my mom knew this, because she was always hugging Willow and sending her with care packages when she left our house after a sleepover. She frequently reminded me of how good I had it. I knew this instinctively. I loved my mother and tried to do what I could to help her out whenever I could. I’d wanted to get a job instead of going to the camps, all which I got scholarships for, but she wanted me to enjoy my last summer of being a kid, and I am pretty sure that she knew that the only way I’d get to a good music college would be if I got a great music scholarship. The only way I’d get that kind of scholarship would be to be noticed in the performances arranged to highlight the camps I was attending.

“Thanks. You are probably right; they are not going to leave me sitting in an airport.” I paused, “So what are your plans with Oz for these three weeks?”

“He’s going to be on the road for most of it. He and his band have gigs up and down the coast. The Mystery Machine is going to be the Dingo’s home for most of the time. Can you imagine what it is going to smell like after three sweaty guys sleep, eat and travel in it for two weeks. I’ve already been clear that he better get it cleaned and detailed before I’m getting in it to go out with him.”

“Yeah, I can imagine what it will end up smelling like.” All I could think of was when I had to wash Donny’s and his friend’s football uniforms once. They smelled like old spice mixed in with the boy’s locker room. I figured that was what Willow was referring to.

“Guys can be real pigs. Maybe you have a good idea. Girls usually smell way better,” commented Willow laughing.

I didn’t know how to respond to this, and I knew that my thought of you smell terrific, I could just sit and smell you all day long was not an appropriate response. “You’ve got me. It’s all about olfactory.” I joked back.

I finished putting my clothes in my bag. Placing Willow’s sweatshirt in the middle of it so that possibly the smell would permeate more and thus I would have whiffs of Willow during my three weeks away from her. I grabbed the blow up mattress that I always slept on when Willow was over. She could never sleep well on it, I could, so I always let her sleep in my bed. We won’t mention that it gave my bed a definite Willow aroma.

We got ready for bed, talked for a bit and each fell asleep. We were awoken by Mom pounding on the door telling me to get up, that we needed to leave in 30 minutes for the airport. She invited Willow to come along, but she said she had plans with Oz before he left, she gave me a quick hug and left, while I grabbed the clothes that I had chosen the night before, and headed to the shower.

^^^
This was the longest trip that I had ever taken by myself. My layover and plane change went seamlessly as did finding the bus that was going to Tanglewood. There were six of us who were being picked up at the same time, and fortunately nobody was traveling with a tuba or double bass. It seemed that one girl played the flute, the other the piccolo, another guy the horn. There was a girl with a viola, a boy with a violin, and the last girl had a clarinet. The girl with the clarinet was really pushy and insisted that she be able to sit in the front of the car. I wondered to myself if this was one of the two girls who were competing to be The Cat, or if she was part of the general orchestra. It would have been rude to asked, so I just sat quietly and listened to the others talk. By the end of the drive, it was obvious that the girl was indeed one of the finalists for the role of The Cat. She seemed very stuck up and sure of herself. I secretly hoped that I’d find the other clarinet player and figure out a way to make sure that he or she won. She said her name was Cordelia Chase and her accent placed her clearly in the New York/New Jersey area. The Horn player’s name was Riley and I discovered that he was from Iowa. The flutist’s name was Harmony, she was from Florida, and the piccolo was Darla, from Texas. The girl with the viola said her name was Rachel; she was from Florida too, and the boy with the violin said that his name was William but asked us to call him Spike. I figured that he picked that name because he had spiky white blond hair.

When we got to the camp/facility, we went through registration and were assigned our rooms. I was placed in a room with Rachel and a girl name Cindy. I wanted to do a happy dance when I was not placed in a room with Cordelia. It sounded like Cordelia, Harmony and Darla were together, and for some reason Cordelia thought that she was getting a room to herself. I could hear her calling her father and complaining that it just wasn’t fair. She couldn’t get enough rest if there were other people in her room.

Rachel and I just laughed and followed the directions to the girl’s dorm. When we got there, we found that it was a suite. Rachel and I decided to take the double room and leave Cindy the single. We figured that it was better off rooming with someone we sort of knew than to room with someone we totally did not know. Cindy came into the room just when we were ending our unpacking. She thanked us for giving her the single room and stated that it was a good thing because she snored. Rachel and I looked at each other; our eyes confirming that we’d made a good choice.

I looked at the schedule that they had handed me at registration and saw that we were expected to eat dinner in the dining hall by 7, and that all campers were expected to be in the concert hall at 7:30 to hear some of the members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra play Peter and the Wolf. I saw Sarah sitting at a table that had room for at least three more, so after I got my food I went and sat down next to her and asked if it was ok if my roommates joined us as well. She said, “Sure” and gestured to the seats on the long table. I had thought that there was going to be a lot of kids at this camp, but it appeared that there were only about thirty. It seemed that it worked out that there were five rooms for boys and five for girls. Sarah introduced us to her roommates who were Shelly, who played the Alto Clarinet, and Crystal who played the French Horn. I found it interesting that aside from Cordelia, you couldn’t tell who else were the kids who were in competition for the roles.

Peter and the Wolf features a violin, viola and cello as Peter, a flute as The Bird, an oboe as The Duck, a clarinet as The Cat, three French horns as the Wolf, a bassoon as The Grandfather, and a timpani and bass drum as The Hunters. Therefore, 20 of us were there as either featured or orchestra roles, and 10 more to round out the orchestra. I looked around the room and wondered who I was in competition with for the role of The Duck. I figured that I wouldn’t find out until the first session the next day when I went to the woodwind class. Looking at the schedule, we had lessons and workshops in the morning and then rehearsal in the afternoon. For the first week, it seemed that there were activities planned for the evenings, but I knew by the second and third week, we’d be in rehearsals from noon to five, and then 6:30 to 9. Orchestra camp was not for the weak.

The six of us went to the concert together. Sarah and I sat together and talked about some of the things that we’d done since we’d seen each other last. I recognized many kids from the five years of camp in the audience, but it was hard to remember who played what instrument. We all sat silently in our seats while the members of the Boston Symphony filed onto the stage. Some of these people were celebrities to us. Just like kids who have their favorite sports players, we orchestra geeks had our favorite musicians. The only difference was that we could never have orchestra trading cards. I thought to myself that Willow would probably be able to create these if I suggested it to her. I regretted that it was my last year, maybe I could have made some money with orchestra cards. I stopped thinking about possible lucrative endeavors when the orchestra began playing the musical piece. Every time The Duck ‘spoke’ I was in awe of the timbre of the oboe player. I had been practicing the piece all summer but had never achieved the rich sound that this musician created. I hoped to myself that the other oboe player was equally inferior.

After the concert, Sarah asked me if we could keep talking. Cindy and Rachel went back to the room and Sarah and I found a corner nook out of the way to talk. We could hear the murmuring of other dyads and triads around the building, most likely also re-acquainting with each other after not seeing each other for a year. I checked in with my body while we were talking and could feel that slight tingle when I looked at Sarah. It was nothing like the zing I felt every time that I looked at Willow, but it was definitely there. Much stronger than any feeling I’d gotten when looking at any guy. I thought about how Darla and Harmony had been both flirting up a storm with Riley. I could sort of see the appeal. He was about 6’2” with light brown hair, blue eyes and muscles. I had watched his arms move as he talked, and I imagined that you could see his muscles and tendons flex as he played his horn. I thought to myself, “Ok I am a dork, I am looking at what is obviously a classically good looking guy and all I can think of is how he plays his trumpet.

Sarah and my conversation came quickly to the topic of romance. She asked me if I had a boyfriend and I said ‘no’. She then asked if I had a girlfriend and I stated the same reply. I asked her and she told me that she’d been dating a girl at her school, but that they’d broke up in the spring and she wasn’t currently ‘seeing anyone’. She smiled at me as she was saying this, and I wondered if she was flirting with me. This thought sent me into a familiar question I frequently pondered. What is flirting? How do you know when you are flirting, how do you know when someone is flirting with you? It seemed so much easier when it came to boys; dealing with girls was really confusing. I must have had a confused look on my face, because Sarah asked me what was the matter? I didn’t want to admit to my flirting question, so I made some random remark about being tired due to time change. Fortunately, Sarah didn’t seem to realize that the opposite should be true, it was 9 o’clock at camp, but it felt like six to me. I knew the flip side was not going to be pretty tomorrow morning, so after talking a little more, we decided to go to our rooms.

When I got back to the room, Rachel was in the living room practicing scales on her viola, while Cindy’s door was closed, and Rachel told me she’d brought some guy into her room because they wanted to ‘talk’. I quickly thanked the Goddess again for my decision to room with Rachel. I looked at the couch in the living area, and it didn’t look at all comfortable. It also seemed that Rachel’s scales were successfully creating a diversion for the ‘odd’ noises coming from our roommate’s room.

“Well, she hasn’t wasted any time,” I commented to Rachel.

“She says that they’ve been having a long distance relationship since last year. He’s a trumpet player.

“What about Cindy?” I asked.

“I think she is one of the kids competing for the timpani role,” replied Rachel.

“It seems that it is considered rude to ask, seeing nobody but Cordelia mentioned it, but are you part of the orchestra or one of the finalists for the roles?” I asked Rachel.

“I’m one of the viola players; part of Peter,” she replied.

“Cool, I am one of the two people competing for the role of The Duck,” I shared.

“I figured when you didn’t make a comment about being Cordelia’s competition,” Rachel responded. “Is it mean of me to hope that the other person is really good. She seemed that it would be good for her to be taken down a few notches.”

“I agree,” I replied to the green-eyed Floridian. We went to our rooms, got ready for bed, talked a few minutes, and she fell asleep. It still felt like it was only seven o’clock to me, so I spent over an hour just imagining what Willow was probably doing. I grabbed her sweatshirt and used it as a pillow. Willow’s lovely scent came through my nostrils. I fell asleep imagining that I was asleep beside Willow’s bed, with her gently breathing.

Eight AM came early the next morning. Rachel woke me up. When I left the room to go to the bathroom, I was greeted by a guy in boxer shorts exiting the room. He reached out his hand and introduced himself as “Tony, trumpet.” I had to bite my lip not to think about how most likely Cindy had been blowing on and enjoying that trumpet all night. I had to hit my head to try to get that vision out of my head. It lead to me thinking again of Willow and how the idea of her doing those things with Oz made me very upset, and then sad. I gave myself a pep talk in the bathroom mirror and thought about how excited I was to go to my first woodwind master class. I quickly got dressed, grabbed breakfast and then found the room where we were to meet. I got there about 10 minutes early, so as I soaked my reed, I was able to see who was coming in. I of course recognized Cordelia, Darla and Harmony. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the other clarinet player was this boy named Nicholas who was known to be a phenom. I knew that Cordelia was going to have to be some sort of musical genius to play better than him. Sarah came in the room and sat down next to me and began assembling her bassoon. We smiled at each other as we both soaked our double reeds. When the teacher came in, he arranged us in orchestra formation. First Darla, then Harmony and a girl I’d never seen before, Cordelia, Nicholas, Shelly, me, Sarah and the other bassoon player. We introduced ourselves and I found out that the other flute player’s name was Aly and the Bassoon was Rick. I kept looking at the door expecting the second oboe to come into the room, but nobody did. During a break I went up to the teacher and asked, “Um…Hi, I’m Tara Maclay. I play oboe, and I thought that there was a kid named Chris, I didn’t know if it was a girl or a boy, who was also going to play it. Do you know what happened?”

The teacher responded, “Um, Ms. McKinley, alias Chris, decided that going to horse sleep away camp was a better choice than coming here, so you Ms. Maclay are The Duck, congratulations. I was very happy, but also somewhat nervous. I would be working without a net. That oboe part was all mine to do well or to fail. This was a little more pressure than I had wanted to have. The positive was that I knew that I’d see my mom at the show for sure. I’d really wanted her to be able to come see me play. I went immediately to Sarah and told her, she gave me a hug, and I felt a little bit of tingling. She blushed as we separated and sat back down and picked up her bassoon and began playing scales. I grabbed my oboe and together we went up and down the notes until the break was over.

After lunch, we all combined for a first run through of the piece. The role of the narrator was going to be played by a semi-famous actor from Boston, but until the third week, the stage manager read the lines. When it was my turn to play the notes of The Duck, I did so flawlessly, and I felt proud of myself. It was not as rich as the professional, but it sounded ok. Cordelia hit a flat note when she was playing The Cat. Sarah and I struggled with not laughing when our eyes met. I had to look down at my feet and count backwards in order to not start giggling. Rachel did a great job on her part, as did Sarah. Actually, the only sour notes were played by Cordelia and Tony who probably should have been practicing his trumpet rather than…Ugh, that thought came back in full swing. Think about butterflies and unicorns. I looked at all the other kids, their eyes focused on their music and wondered how many other of them were actually thinking about sex rather than the music.

I found that I really enjoyed talking to Sarah. She was sweet and funny. She’d removed some of her face piercings. A spider bite didn’t work well when playing the bassoon. She still had her nose and eyebrow pierced, and I tried to count the number of her ear piercings, but had difficulties because I could only see one of her ears at a time. I knew that she had six on her left ear. One hole for every color of the gay flag rainbow. I figured that she had at least seven on her right ear because she was definitely out and proud. Sarah was one of the first people I had ever met that was unabashedly gay. She didn’t care who knew, she didn’t care who didn’t like it. She was herself, and if you didn’t like it you could go screw yourself. I admired her chutzpa and wondered if I’d ever have the self-confidence to be out and proud. I didn’t see it happening any time soon.

Our first night’s activities was going to Camp Mah-Kee-Nac to go swimming and boating. I was not someone who even thought about wearing a bathing suit in front of kids I didn’t know. I’d put one on but covered it with shorts and a tee-shirt. Sarah wore a black bikini that showed off every one of her curves. I knew that Sarah had curves. She wore tight black tee-shirts and jeans; however, the curves without the black fabric was something to behold. She was attracting a lot of attention from both boys and girls from our camp and the other one, but when I’d look up from my hair covered eyes, it was me she was always looking at and smiling. When I refused to go in the water, she covered up and we took out a canoe. We paddled around in our bulky life jackets. Sarah threatened to capsize the canoe a few times, and she would start to rock it, but my screams stopped her, and we were able to do the activity without getting wet. She made me promise that when we went to the amusement park on Sunday, that I would go to the water park with her. I tentatively agreed and this seemed to make her happy.

Between the Master classes, rehearsal and this activity, I was so tired when we got back to camp. I fell onto my bed to await my turn to take a shower. I awoke in the dark, still in my bathing suit, shorts and tee-shirt. Somebody had taken Willow’s sweatshirt and put it over me, and for a moment I thought that she was there with me. As the fog of sleep dissipated, I remembered where I was, why I was still in a bathing suit, and what I’d been waiting for. I looked at my watch. It was 3:15 in the morning, just after midnight at home. I was awake and figured that it was a good time to take a shower. I quietly grabbed my clothes and towel and went to the bathroom. As I was undressing, I looked at myself in my bathing suit, and realized that I didn’t look that bad. At that moment, I vowed to go to the water park and not act shy.
***
The rest of the week went the same as the first day. It was becoming more and more apparent that Nicholas was going to be The Cat, and Sarah The Grandfather. The part of The Bird was so close, that nobody could call it, and I heard that Rachel was definitely among the top contenders for the viola of Peter. One of the nights, Rachel explained to me how she’d had to learn several different viola parts. It depended on which role she got. If she was part of Peter, it would be one part, but if she wasn’t it would be a whole different arrangement of music. The oboe part was the oboe part. When I wasn’t The Duck, I was part of the general orchestra.
***
During class and practice, I was pretty sure that Sarah was flirting with me. I’d look over and if she wasn’t playing, she was looking at me. She sometimes had a far away look in her eyes and other times, I could almost see her soul. We spent almost every evening together. The activities that they had touted in the brochure, were just dances and activities with other nearby camps. The trip to the amusement/water park was the culmination of the camp experience. The following Monday began the real work of getting Peter and the Wolf ready to be performed in front of a live audience of our families, agents, recruiters and conductors. The teachers kept on reminding us that this was our chance. This was our big game. They bragged that hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships were decided at this one performance. Kids who had done well had gotten scholarships to Julliard, Boston Conservatory, and other prominent Art’s schools. They also bragged of their students who were playing in bands and orchestras all over the country. I think that they were trying to get us excited, but to me and my roommates they were causing a lot of performance anxiety.

Sarah sat with me on the bus to the amusement park. She’d checked several times to make sure that I had on my bathing suit and had brought other clothing to change into when we decided to go to the amusement part of the park. I’d always been afraid to go on rollercoasters, but she swore that it was an experience not to be missed and promised that she’d keep me safe. I believed her. The night before, I’d finally admitted to her that I thought I was gay and told her a lot about my unrequited crush on Willow. She’d been understanding. She told me several stories of straight girls that flirted with her and even said that they liked her but were shocked and upset when she made a move. I assured her that I was never going to make a move on Willow. When we said goodnight, our hug lasted a little longer than the others. I knew that Sarah liked me; I liked her, but the thought of dating Sarah, made me feel like I was cheating on Willow.

The night after we went to the amusement park, I had a strange dream. I was in the wave pool and I could hear Sarah calling out to me to join her in the deep end. I swam out to her and found Willow under the water. I pulled her up, dragged her to the shallow end and checked to make sure she was breathing. She was not. I started giving her mouth to mouth resuscitation, and when I looked down it was Sarah, then Willow, then Sarah again. Then I felt a tap on my shoulder, it was Oz. He indicated to me that he was the one who should be doing mouth to mouth on Willow. I found myself looking at all three of them, Sarah, Oz and Willow. Then we were in individual seats of a roller coaster. Willow and I were sitting beside each other. She was smiling and looked happy. When Willow’s side started moving, mine stayed stationary. Mine didn’t start moving until Sarah was beside me. I watched as the streak of red hair disappeared into the distance. I felt sad that it was going away, but happy that there was a smiling, dark haired woman sitting beside me. We were moving together. It did not take a Jungian analyst to interpret this dream. I was struggling with my feelings toward both of them. But I didn’t want to figuratively kill Willow; I wanted to save her. I was torn between what was a sure thing and a pipe dream. I could tell that Sarah wanted to kiss me. She looked at my lips a lot. Willow was most likely kissing Oz. I could carry a torch for someone who was probably totally straight, my best friend. Part of my brain was telling me that I needed to move on, but the other part was reminding me that there was always a chance with Willow.

I spent a lot of the next day thinking about the dream, and almost missed my cue several times. Fortunately, Sarah was watching out for me and she’d poke me about 30 seconds before my part. Sarah had gotten the part of Grandfather. Cindy was one of the drummers for the Wolf. Rachel and Spike were two of the three parts of Peter, Harmony was The Bird, and Nicholas The Cat. I realized with some chagrin that all of the people in the van had been chosen but Cordelia. It was hard not to tell her that Karma was a bitch. The kids who had gotten the parts were told that we’d be spending the next day practicing with our respective symphony partners. The camp director made us stay back after the rest of the kids had been dismissed. He made it very clear that our undivided attention was expected for this experience. That this was an opportunity that other kids would kill for. We shouldn’t blow it. I swear that he looked right at Sarah and me. I felt like he knew that our minds were somewhere else and was telling us to wait until after tomorrow. I listened to this suspected message, and rather than going to our corner to talk, I said I was tired and went straight to my room and to bed.

To say the next day was incredible was an understatement. I got to spend four hours talking about, practicing, and playing my oboe with a professional. As he played with me, it became clear that the rich sound that he created was partially due to his having a much better oboe than I did. He let me put my reed into his oboe and play it. The music was like springtime, smooth as butter, and bright as the sun. The keys of his oboe responded to the barest touch and made the most beautiful sound. I knew then, that I needed to save my money, I needed to get myself a better oboe if I wanted to sound close to as good as he did. I was still playing the secondhand oboe that my 6th grade teacher had given me. When we switched reeds, and the he was playing mine, he made it sound better, but not as good as it did with his. He asked me why I was still playing a student oboe. I had to admit that my family didn’t have the kind of money that was needed to buy a better instrument. He told me to be patient and shared that there was actually a group of people who collected and traded oboes; real oboe aficionados. He asked for my address and said that he would talk to these people and see what he could do. These are words that I had heard from numerous adults. Usually “I’ll see what I can do’ meant ‘no Tara, that is not something we can afford unless there is some sort of miracle’. I was feeling lucky. I was thinking that a miracle could be upon us. He said that I was one of the best high school oboe players that he’d met. I wondered how many he had met but knew that it was rude to ask. He was giving me a compliment, and I’d been taught not to look a gift horse in the mouth. I thanked him repeatedly and clung to every suggestion that he made. By the end of the session, The Duck was sounding much better and I was excited to bring it to the whole orchestra. They’d doubled the seating on the stage for this night’s rehearsal. The professionals and students sat side by side, doubling the voices, doubling the music, making the piece sound like it was written to sound.

I was still on a high when I met Sarah in “our corner”. She shared that her experience was similar and that she felt that her professional had helped her give her sound the maturity that her interpretation had lacked. She paused and said to me. “Listen Tara, I really like you. I’ve really liked you since last year when you hardly gave me the time of day. I have had such a good time these last ten days, laughing with you, talking to you…I feel really happy when I am around you, and that is not a familiar feeling. I would really like to kiss you right now, but I know you are still hung up on Willow. I don’t think that you’ll ever be able to give anyone a chance until you are straight, pardon the pun, with Willow and see if she reciprocates any of your feelings in any way. She’s your best friend, you are in love with her. If I ever get a chance to meet Willow, which I most likely will not, I’d want to tell her how lucky of a girl she is and how she needs to see what is right in front of her. A beautiful, talented, nice woman who is a hell of an oboe player.” Sarah started to laugh. “You’re not upset about this, are you? We can stay friends?”

“Definitely.”

“Friends who kiss sometimes?”

“Um…no. Maybe friends who hug sometimes.”

“As I said, I’ll settle for anything. I am desperate for affection.”

“Huh?”

“That’s what one of my school counselors said when I was caught for the fourth time making out with someone under the bleachers. Shall I share that our strong and steady apertures from playing double reed instruments come in handy with the ladies?”

“OMG, Sarah now I’m going to look at my oboe as a sexual object.”

“Listen Willow, our instruments are long tubes. They were already phallic. Shall I go through all of the instruments and tell you if I think they are good for straight, gay or lesbian sex?”

“I’ll take a hard pass on that. I am nervous enough for this performance, and teenager here, I tend to have sex on the brain a lot of the time, so I don’t need to know your fantasies about how each instrument represents sex.”

“I have a lot of fun with the percussion section…”

“OMG, Sarah. I think I am scarred for life, and I haven’t even heard 20% of what you have to say.”

“Sorry. Payback is a bitch.”

“Payback for what?”

“Leading me on.”

I wanted to argue, but she might have had a point. Maybe all the smiles and questions about what it was like to be out, and where she got her earrings, had made it seem like I was interested. I decided that I’d acquiesce. “Ok, each morning you can tell me one instrument and your thoughts about it. If we don’t get through the whole orchestra, you can write it down for me, deal?”

“Deal.” I waved to her and walked back to my dorm. ‘

As promised, every morning, Sarah would tell me her thoughts about various instruments and how they and playing them related to sex. As she alluded. She got a lot of pleasure out of thinking about the vibrations of percussion. Nothing really changed about our relationship. She still joked around with me, and I wouldn’t be honest, if I denied that I questioned whether I had made the right decision.

Another amazing thing that happened was that the Monday before the concert I came back to my dorm to find a package on my bed. I opened it and there was a letter on top. It said:

Dear Tara,
It was a pleasure working with you this week and I have to say that you are a very talented young woman. As I said, I’ve worked with many teenagers in my time as a performer and a teacher, and you have a spark that I’ve not seen in others. I am going to talk to one of my friends who is at the Boston Conservatory. This will be a letter of reference for you, and I will be sure to mention that you will require a full scholarship due to you being the daughter of a single parent. I have the feeling that you’re going to be a force to be reckoned with in the next few years. Maybe you and I will be facing off to see who is going to be first chair. As I told you, there is a network of oboe players that I am a part of. I put out the Bat signal, and it came back quickly. Enclosed is a wooden oboe that has seen a lot of play but has a melodious sound. Listening to you play mine, made me very aware that you deserved a better instrument. All I ask of you is to knock them dead on Friday and return your student oboe to your middle school. We oboe players need to make sure that we are not a dying breed. I am sure that out there is a fifth grader who doesn’t know that the oboe is their destiny. You make it so.
Sincerely, Hank.

I opened the package. In it was a beautiful wooden oboe. If I didn’t know differently, I’d swear it was the one I played several days before. I lifted it out of the case and put it together. The pieces glided onto each other and it felt like it belonged in my hands. I grabbed my reeds out of my other oboe, prepared it, and then placed it into the instrument. The first attempt was a sound that rivaled my initial attempts, but as I found the flow, a beautiful, warm, rich sound came out. This was the sound that I wanted to create. This was my oboe.

People noticed the difference the first time I played with the group. The teachers were amazed that an instrument had been delivered to me, and they agreed that the proper thing was to pay it forward. The only person who didn’t have anything nice to say was Cordelia. She was still licking her wounds and pouting about having to play the second part for the clarinet.
***
The night of the concert I was pumped, as was almost everyone else with whom I was friends. I couldn’t help noticing that Sarah looked really nice, and somewhat butch in her starched white shirt and crisply pleated black pants. She’d traded in her signature Doc Martins for a pair of black loafers. I was slightly surprised to see her in pants; most orchestras were sticklers for skirts on girls and pants on boys. But the bassoon worked well with pants and with her short black hair, I am sure that many people didn’t know if she was a girl or a boy.

We were in dress rehearsals all day, so I had no idea whether my mother had gotten here safely. I’d talked to my roommates and they’d agreed that it was fine if I slept on the coach and my mom slept in my bed. They understood that a last minute hotel was not an expense that we could handle. I could feel a sense of calm, so I was almost positive that somewhere in the audience was my mom, sitting proudly pointing out to the people beside her that The Duck was her daughter.

After the performance I went looking for my mom. Sarah wanted to meet her too, so we walked around looking for my older self. Sarah found her first and pointed. I almost fainted when I saw a green-eyed red-head girl standing beside her. She was looking nervous and staring at Sarah and I walking toward them. I went running to my mom, enveloping her in a big hug and then doing the same to the girl beside her.

“What are you doing here?” I asked Willow.

“What good is all that money if you can’t use it to see your best friend’s debut as The Duck.”

“You bought a last minute airplane ticket. That must have been really expensive.”

“For once I actually asked permission. They said certainly and made sure that I booked a suite for you, your mom and me. We’re staying a few miles down the road. I rented a car for your mom too, so we don’t’ have to wait for a van today or tomorrow.” Willow looked Sarah up and down.

Mom asked, “So who is your friend?”

The surprise of seeing Willow had made me almost speechless, as had the look that Willow was giving Sarah. I now understood the term ‘if looks could kill’. Willow was staring at Sarah with the most intense gaze I’d seen.

I stammered, which is something I had not done in a long time, “M…m…mom….t…t…this is my….my…my fr…friend S…s…Sarah, she played the role of The Grandfather. She plays the b…b…bassoon.”

My mother walked toward Sarah and shook her hand. “It’s nice to meet one of Tara’s band camp friends. I usually just hear about them and have no face to put to the name.”

My mother grabbed the program and asked me about some of the other kids. She thought that she’d recognized their names and I pointed out several who were with their parents too. While we were talking, I saw Sarah walk up to Willow, whisper something in her ear. Sarah came back, squeezed my arm, and said, “I’ll see you at the critique/show/award thingy tomorrow?”

“Yep, looking forward to it. I think I’m probably going to go to the hotel with mom and Willow, but I’ll be at the thingy for sure.” Sarah walked away from us and toward a tall man. He enveloped her in a hug, and they began to walk toward the exit. In all of my conversations, I’d never even asked if either of her parents were coming to the performance. I knew that her parents had a nasty divorce, and Sarah hadn’t wanted to pick who to invite, so she’d not invited either. I guessed that the camp had made the decision and given the ticket to her Dad.

Mom, Willow and I exited the auditorium, I ran to my room and grabbed some clothes, joined them where they were sitting, and we walked through the parking lot until we came up to a bright red SUV. “It’s all they had,” said my mother who didn’t like ‘flashy’ things. “Hey, I like red,” I said bumping into Willow with my hip, a subtle touch that I had perfected and tried to not think of as frottage.”

Willow was very quiet during the drive to the hotel. I’d tried to include her in my mom and my conversation, but her responses were monosyllabic. I asked if anything was wrong, and she just said that she was tired. ‘They’d had to get up early to get their flight.’

“I thought that you slept easily on planes.” I said, remembering something that Willow had previously told me.

“Not this one. I had stuff on my mind, and you know Willow mind babble. It is hard to stop.” I knew that she was trying to make a joke of it, but her tone was off. It seemed like a combination of sad and bitter.

“Well, you can go to sleep as soon as we get to the hotel. You said it’s a suite. I guess we’ll give mom the bedroom and you and I can share the living room, or I can bunk with my mom if that would be better for you. I don’t know what the room looks like.”

“There is a murphy bed and a couch in the living room, so you’ll be good,” replied my mom.

“Yeah,” said Willow, her voice sounding distant.

We got to the hotel and my mom settled into her room, while I pulled down the murphy bed. I looked at Willow and she still seemed upset. She was sitting on the couch.

I sat down beside her and asked, “What’s wrong.”

“Is that girl…your girlfriend?” she asked.

“No, why do you ask. We’re just friends. She wanted it to be more, but I didn’t.”

“She came up to me and told me that I didn’t know what I was missing; I should look at what is right in front of me. What did she mean?” asked Willow, her voice sounding sad.

“What do you think she meant?” I answered not knowing what to say.

“I think she was telling me that I don’t appreciate you and she does…I think she is in love with you Tara, are you in love with her?” Willow’s voice sounded desperate.

“No. I am not in love with Sarah. She’s my friend.”

“I broke up with Oz.”

“Oh, sweetie are you ok.” I said rubbing her arm. “Did he do something bad? Did he cheat while he was on the road?”

“No, I broke up with Oz. It wasn’t working for me. It just wasn’t right. I wanted something…something different.”

“Oh…” I wanted to ask for more information. I wanted to know if I figured into it at all. I felt like this was the pivot point. This was the moment that I’d have my answer. It all lay in what she and I said next. I think we probably both looked terrified.

“I think I’m in love with someone else…but it is scary.” My heart jumped, could it be me, I thought. What if it is Xander or Buffy or someone I don’t know…

“What’s scary about it?” I asked, stifling the desire to touch her.

“’It’s different, and it could ruin everything…but it could be really good too. Tara I’ve missed you so much. You are the only person I can talk to; you are my lifeline. I realized…I realized….”

“What did you realize?” I asked the red haired girl.

“I realized…” she stopped talking and I felt the softest lips on my own. ZING, ZANG, ZOOM went my body. Ok, they say that people see sparks, they say that people see fire-crackers; I saw the Aurora Borealis. I saw rainbows, I saw every color of the spectrum and more. She pulled away and looked at me with a questioning stare.

“I’ve known…” I put my hands in her hair, pulled her face to me and joined my lips to hers. I realized that I had no idea how to kiss. My experiences were limited to the one with the handsy trombone player and what I had read in books. I felt Willow’s tongue on my lower lip, and then it was gently pushing the space between the two. I opened my mouth a bit and felt Willow’s tongue gently exploring my mouth. It felt so right, it felt so good. Before allowing myself to just give in to the sensations and stop evaluating, I listened to my body. The ZING, ZANG, ZOOM continued as did a feeling of electricity from the top of my head to the tip of my toes. If I thought that imagining kissing Willow gave me whole body sensations, this was those sensations times infinity. It was a little scary where the main sensations were centered, but my mother is a nurse, she had told me about sex for procreation and sex for pleasure. She always focused on the respecting yourself and the other person and practicing safe sex. Thinking about it, my mom had always been kind of ambiguous when talking about who’d I be having sex with. It was never when you are with a boy, it was always a person. Hey, Mom might have known more than I gave her credit for…I was about to give into the sensations and stop thinking, when I saw the door to my mother’s room open a bit. Willow didn’t see her, but I heard her whisper, “Finally.”

_________________
Atlantic Antics
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Last edited by taranwillow4ever on Thu Oct 03, 2019 6:36 pm, edited 7 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: What I Discovered at Band Camp (8/27/19)
PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2019 5:44 am 
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1. Blessed Wannabe

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I hope theres going to be more of this. Will we get to see any of willows journey on self awareness?


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: What I Discovered at Band Camp (8/27/19)
PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2019 8:12 am 
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20. Not one Much for the Timber
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Awwww, I love this! More soon please!!!

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"Transform your pain. Release your past. And ... uh ... get over it."
~Willow, Where The Wild Things Are


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: What I Discovered at Band Camp (8/29/19)
PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2019 4:58 pm 
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7. Teeny Tinkerbell Light

Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 5:33 pm
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Dragon: Thanks for the feedback. This was supposed to be a 'one shot', but it has taken a life of its own. Yes, I think there will be a companion piece that will be sort of "What I discovered while she was at band camp" but I doubt that will be the title.

Finey_McFine: I was so happy to see your feedback. :banana :dumbo :applause It means a lot to me when one of my favorite authors comments on my writing. Thanks so much. As I said above; this was supposed to be a one shot, but it has taken over my brain. If someone had told me that I was going to try to write 2 or 3 stories simultanously, as well as creating different versions to meet the criteria of boards, I would have said the person is crazy. But that is what I am doing.I have re-discovered that I love to write.

What I Discovered at Band Camp
Part 2
PG
Disclaimer: Joss owns everything, I imagine different lives for the Buffy Characters, especially Willow and Tara. The only enumeration I recieve is the love of writing

FEEDBACK which makes me :banana :eatmeand encourages me to :kgeek

thoughts & speeches italics

PART 2

My mother’s outburst was sort of funny, but knew if I laughed, Willow would think that I was laughing at her. I willed myself to stop thinking and just went with the myriad of sensations that I was experiencing. Willow had her arms around my neck, and I had my arms around her waist. Is was like we were slow dancing sitting down on the couch. I pulled her closer to me and she snuggled in, pulling my mouth and tongue harder onto her own. After a few minutes, Willow pulled away and put her forehead against mine. Her green orbs were out of focus, but I could tell that there was just a small ring of green; the majority was black pupil.

We sat with our foreheads together for a few moments and then both of us began to giggle. I knew that the giggling was a tension reduction and our bodies making us make up for the breath that we were holding as we kissed. I knew that there must be a way to do both, but I figured that I’d have to figure it out by experimenting. I had so many questions I wanted to ask her. What had happened? How had she come to the decision to kiss me. Was this her intention when she came to the concert or was it something that she did spontaneously. I wanted to know all of these answers, but I also didn’t want to evaluate, I didn’t want to have to hear about how hard it was to come to a decision. I wanted to bask in the glow of our…our…what can I call it? I know that it is love on my side, but is it on hers? Does she love me? I looked at Willow and she yawned.

“Are you tired?” I asked.

“Sort of,” she admitted. “I haven’t seen you in over three weeks, and actually I think I haven’t REALLY seen you for longer than that. I don’t want to waste my time with you being asleep, but I am feeling exhausted. Aren’t you? Haven’t you been rehearsing that music for hours at a time. Not only the whole Peter and the Wolf, but all the other music during the concert too. How can you memorize all that music. I know it is in front of you, but it is still a lot of music.”

“Practice. We’ve been playing that music every year since I started coming to the camp, so for me a lot of it just flows out. You are right, we practiced that music over and over again these last two weeks. I swore that I woke up and my fingers were playing an imaginary oboe in my sleep. Willow yawned again and put her head down on one of the pillows on the couch. “I guess I am kinda sleepy too,” I admitted.

“I can imagine.” She looked at me, “I feel like we’ve got a lot to talk about, and I have a lot of explaining to do.”

“I guess.” I replied, not knowing what exactly to say.

“I’m feeling physically and emotionally exhausted. It was hard trying to act like ‘normal Willow’ with your mom when I was thinking so hard about everything. She kept asking if I was ‘alright’ and I kept saying, ‘yes’, but I know she knew something was going on. I kept wanting to tell her, but that would be inappropriate. Are you even out to your mother?”

“I am pretty sure she has known for a while, but it is not something that I have ever said outright. I’m kind of glad that you didn’t get into a conversation about it with her, but I understand the desire. She’s a really good adult to talk to.”

“You are so lucky to have a mom that you can talk to, you know.”

“I do know. I really appreciate her. I was so happy that I got the part so she could come here to hear and see me. How did you find out about it? Have you been hanging with my mother behind my back?” I poked Willow’s shoulder.

“I think she knew that my parents had been out of town for a while, she brought over a lasagna for me and when she dropped it off, she told me that you’d gotten the part and that she was flying to MA to see you. I asked if I could come along. She said as long as my parents were ok with it, she was too. She thought that you’d be happy to see me.”

“I was. It was a big surprise.”

“That is what it was supposed to be.”

Willow yawned again.

“You’ve got to get some sleep. We’ll have plenty of time to talk tomorrow and the tomorrow after that.” I said.

“I know. I may just lay down and sleep in my clothes. I don’t feel like moving.”

“Well, I’ve got to change. These clothes might look nice, but they are not the most comfortable.” I grabbed my pajamas out of my bag and brought them to the bathroom to change. I brushed my teeth and washed my face. I looked at myself in the mirror and wondered if I looked different. I licked my lips and felt like I could still taste Willow on my lips.

When I exited the bathroom, Willow was asleep on the couch. I grabbed a blanket out of the closet and put it over her, and then I lay down on the murphy bed, closed my eyes and listened to Willow’s gentle snoring, a noise that quickly put me to sleep.

***
I felt bad that I had to wake up my mother early. However, I needed to get back to camp for the critique and to prepare for the final performance and awards ceremony.

Willow was still fast asleep, so my mom left a note and drove me back to camp.

When I got in the car, I felt sort of awkward. I knew that my mother had seen Willow and I kissing, and I swore that I heard her say ‘finally’. I wanted to know what she meant, but I was also feeling shy. Sometimes it seemed like it was easier for other people to talk to my mom than it was for me to talk to her. We drove in silence for a few minutes and then my mom asked, “Did I see what I thought I saw?”

“What did you think you saw?” I asked trying to sound innocent.

“I think I saw you and Willow kissing. Is this something that the two of you have been doing for a while or is this a new thing.”

“A very new thing.”

“How do you feel about it?”

“Good?”

“You’ve been wanting to do it for a long time, right?”

I wondered how the hell my mother knew this. I had never let on that I had romantic interests in Willow.

“Um… I guess…h…h…how did you k…k…know.” I stammered.

“Willow, I’m your mother. Do you think that I didn’t notice how you looked at her? There were times I wanted to just yell at her and tell her to stop hurting my little girl.

“You got upset with Willow for hurting my feelings.”

“Yes, but I knew that it was your business, and that telling her to ‘get a clue’ wouldn’t be appropriate or helpful. She needed to come to it on her own. I must admit there were a few times that I wanted to tell you to just give up and move on. But then I’d see her look at you, and I knew that she’d eventually come to her senses. I knew that she cared about you too.”

“So, you’ve known that I liked girls and Willow liked me? Why didn’t you tell me.”

“It was yours to discover. As close as we are, I have no idea what goes on inside your head, your heart, or your body. I thought that I saw your eyes perk up more at girls than boys, but I didn’t know. That’s why I tried to be inclusive when I gave you the ‘talk’. I wasn’t sure.”

“So, you’re ok if I am gay or bisexual?”

“As I’ve said before, I just want you to be happy. If it’s a girl that makes you happy, great. If it’s a boy, great. If it vacillates between boys and girls, fine.”

I couldn’t believe that I was having this conversation with my mother. It felt surreal. We drove up to the camp and she dropped me off, saying that she’d be back for the luncheon and award ceremony. I gave her a kiss on the cheek and walked to the classroom where the woodwinds met.

Sarah was already there, she looked at me and quirked her pierced eyebrow. We didn’t have to wear our concert clothes, so she was back into her uniform of ripped jeans, Doc Martin’s and a Pink Floyd tee-shirt. I gestured to my watch, indicating that we’d talk about it when we had a break. The teacher had just come in, so I quickly assembled my oboe, soaked my reeds, and we began doing our regular scales to get warmed up. Our teacher stated that we’d done well but wanted to work on some of the phrasing of the orchestra parts of the music. She praised the soloists, and this made me feel proud. I looked around and realized that Cordelia was not in the room. It felt weird just to hear one clarinet and the bass clarinet playing their parts rather than the harmony that Cordelia added.

“She left after the performance,” whispered Sarah to me. “She told Maestro that she’d had enough.”

“Wow.” I mouthed back to her and sat prepared for the professor to have us keep playing.

Our rehearsal came quickly, we were given a break, and told to assemble in the dining hall in 20 minutes.
As we were putting our instruments away, Sarah stated, “So Willow came to see you perform.”

“Yeah.”

“Did you know that she was coming?”

“Nope. It was a total surprise.”

“A good surprise?”

“Yeah, I guess”

“So did my comment to her spark anything?” she asked with a mischievous look in her eye.

“Um yeah. It made her wonder whether we’d been dating.”

“Is she getting a clue?”

I blushed, “Yeah, she is.”

“You are blushing,” she exclaimed. “What happened?”

“She kissed me.”

“Did you kiss her back?”

“Way to go Maclay.” She punched me in the arm.

“Ouch!” I exclaimed.

“You’re fine. Anything else? Do you get your groove on.”

“Uh, no. First off, we are sharing a hotel room with my mother, two, I can’t believe we kissed. I don’t think she’s up to anything else. I can tell this is all weirding her out a bit.”

“Well, congrats. I guess dreams can come true.” She paused, and looked down. Hey, we should go look at the board, Maestro put up a list of the colleges, conservatories, and band/symphonies that were at the show. Ones I remember are: Berklee School of Music, New England Conservatory, San Francisco Conservatory, Harvard, Florida State, School of the Arts, NC, Julliard, Oberlin, University of North Texas, Bard, Colburn, Curtis, and Yale. Professors from the New England Schools are here and interviewing, while the farther away schools have alums to interview. At the award ceremony what schools were interested will be announced. I hope at least one school shows interest in me.”

“I’m sure that several will. You rocked as The Grandfather.”

“Thanks,” she blushed. “I bet you’ll have a bunch too.

“Do you want to leave this area?” I asked.

“I don’t know? Do you want to come to this area?” She paused, “Oh, that didn’t come out right, It just sounded like a come on. If I got a full ride somewhere, I’d probably go. I wouldn’t mind staying around here.”

As we were walking toward the dining hall, we saw Rachel. “Hey Rach, how was your rehearsal?”

“It was good. A few people left, so it wasn’t sounding as good as it could have, but it still sounded nice. I hear that there is going to be some sort of special announcement at the ceremony. I wonder what it is.” Rachel replied.

“I guess we have to wait until then.” We better get going, don’t want to be the last person to sit down for the performance.” We rushed into the hall and went to our seats. It was sort of weird after seeing everyone in their concert garb to see people back in their regular clothes. There were a lot of shorts, tee-shirts and sneakers. The conductor came up and had me play an “A”. For some reason, orchestras are tuned by an oboe. It always made me feel kinda weird to be the only one playing and then all of a sudden, a flurry of sound comes out to match my tone. I noticed that with my new oboe tuning went a lot better. The orchestra was indeed smaller than the day before. It seemed that a lot of the kids who were in 3rd and 4th chairs were missing. Fortunately, all the kids that were the only of their kind were there. The sound in the dining hall was different than in the auditorium. We went through the non-solo parts, and then were instructed to stay quiet while the guests and friends and families arrived.

“Both my mom and dad are going to be here today, let’s hope that there isn’t an altercation,” whispered Sarah to me. “I told my dad that he better be on his best behavior. He only got to come yesterday because he answered the phone and my mom didn’t. Her loss. Speaking of this, what’s up with your dad?”

I blanched. I didn’t really like talking about my father.

Sarah must have seen my countenance change, because she said, “Sorry, didn’t mean to make you upset.”

“It’s ok. I just don’t like talking about it too much. But you’re my friend. It’s ok…” I paused, “Um, my mom, brother and I had to leave him. He was really violent and threatening, he ended up threatening to kill my mom, and the police who were at the door heard it. My mom was pretty beat up, as were Donnie and me. He was sent to jail, and mom was given full custody of us. I haven’t heard from him in a few years. We’ve moved a few times, so I don’t think he knows where we are anymore. Last I heard, he’d gotten remarried and had found Jesus.”

“I didn’t know that Jesus was missing,” quipped Sarah. The conductor looked at us and put his finger to his mouth. Other kids were also talking, and they took the cue as well. We were silent until we were given the cue to lift our instruments.

The show went off well. I didn’t think that it was too obvious that we were missing people. I put my oboe back in the case and began looking for my mom and Willow. Fortunately, there were not a lot of red-heads in the audience, so I found them quickly. We got in line to get lunch and then sat down at a long table. Sarah and her mom joined us. Once again if looks could kill, Sarah would have been dead. I caught Willow glaring at Sarah several times. When I did, I would try to make her look at me and I would send my strongest, “She’s my friend, but you are the one I love.” It worked most of the time. I reached over and held her hand under the table. This seemed to make her feel better, but she still seemed to be glaring at Sarah.

The award’s ceremony started once most people were done eating. The Maestro gave a speech and then each person was called up onto the stage. It started with the percussion. Cindy was the only percussion person I really knew. She seemed pleased that she’d earned three interviews, Bard, Oberlin, and NC School of the Arts. Next was strings, I was happy when I heard that Rachel got an interview at Curtis, Julliard and Berklee. As the time went on, I realized that there was no way that I could remember all the different interviews that everyone got, so I decided to just listen and if I was really interested, I could go look at the list that would be posted in the hall. When my name was called, I walked up to the stage, my heart hoping that I had at least one interview request. I felt anxious and wished that this was not the way things went. I didn’t like being all alone on the stage. I looked at my mom and Willow and reminded myself that they supported me regardless. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that Curtis, Berklee School of Music, The Boston Symphony, The San Francisco Conservatory, and Yale were interested in interviewing me.

“Way to go,” whispered Sarah to me as we passed in the aisle because she was the next person called. I sat down and listened and heard Harvard, Berklee Conservatory, and The Boston Symphony were interested in interviewing her. I sat back down and took Willow’s hand under the table.

I was close to the end, so a few minutes later, they began announcing the scholarships. There were five scholarships, one for each section and a “best overall”. Cindy got the percussion, Rachel got the Strings, a kid I didn’t know got the Brass. I figured that Nicholas would be getting the Woodwind’s Award and wasn’t really listening until I heard, the Maestro say, “During all the time that we have done this camp, the top performer in each category was always clear; however, this year we had a true tie. Therefore, the Woodwind Prize will be split between Tara Maclay and Sarah Krane.

Sarah and I looked at each other. It was clear that we both were surprised. We had shared with each other that Nicholas was a shoe in for the award, so we didn’t even think about it. The two of us walked up to the stage and accepted our awards. They handed us each an envelope and a small trophy. The Maestro then asked the characters of Peter and The Wolf to come up on the stage. The others all came up and ironically, we ended up standing in our orchestra order. It seemed that it just came naturally.

The Maestro announced that for the first time ever in the history of the camp, we all had been invited as guest performers for the Wednesday matinee and evening performance. We’d be playing with the Symphony and during the matinee we’d be introduced. The matinee was a kid’s concert. Everyone clapped and hooted and hollered. I wondered what this meant for my return ticket home; but the business office had taken care of the first flights, I figured that they would just take care of the next. I don’t think I totally appreciated the magnitude of this situation. I just stood on the stage feeling a little bashful and wondering what else was going to happen. I started daydreaming when I was elbowed by Sarah. The Maestro announced that the interviews would begin after the luncheon and that the luncheon would be over after the final award was presented. I looked among my peers and wondered which of them would be chosen as best of all. The Maestro started talking.

This musician started their instrument on a whim. A teacher had a spare one and they decided that they would just play it. Little did they know that this instrument would be the opening to a whole new world. This person has gotten scholarships for the last five years of music camp, and has always been very gracious to the adults, writing thank you notes for all assistance. This award is chosen based on the reports of the teachers/professors, conductor, peers and professionals. It is chosen independent of the section awards and nobody by the administrative assistant is aware of the results. Usually this award is won by a narrow margin; however, this year’s award was an overwhelming majority of both students and professors with a strong recommendation by this person’s professional. This young lady has been gracious, kind, hardworking, and earnest in her attempts to make the best of what she has been given. The “Orchestra Prize” is awarded to Tara Maclay.

I was speechless, I thought for a moment that I had started to day dream. I was once again shook into the present by Sarah elbowing me. I walked up to the Maestro and was given a larger trophy and another envelope. I must have turned red and I felt like my head was going to explode. I had won a few competitions in California and was a part of the All California orchestra, but I was never the 1st chair oboe. Often the second, but never the first. I didn’t know how I could have been chosen for this award. Sure. I tried to be nice to everyone and I helped people if they needed it, but I didn’t even know that some of the kids even knew me. Everyone clapped and we finally walked off the stage and back to our families. Someone took the microphone and reminded people that the interviews were scheduled to start in 30 minutes, so it was essential that people go to the lists and determine their times. They also announced that room assignments would be posted as well.

“Congratulations honey,” my mom said as she gave me a big hug.

The three of us walked out of the dining hall and toward the boards where all the information was posted. A lot of people were around the interview papers, so I went to look at the room assignments. I was happy to see that Cindy, Rachel and I were assigned to stay together in our current room. I then went to the interview times and saw that I had an interview at Yale at 2:00, Curtis at 2:30; The Boston Symphony at 3:00, Berklee School of Music at 3:30 and The San Francisco Conservatory at 4:00. I wrote these down on a piece of paper so that I wouldn’t accidently go to the wrong interview at the wrong time. The interviews were occurring all over the campus, so I made sure to write down the place as well. I guessed by the time slots, that each interview would be about 20-25 minutes. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to bring my oboe, so I decided that I should bring it ‘just in case’. It was 1:30, and I had no idea when Willow and my Mom’s flight took off.

“So, when do you guys have to go to the airport?” I asked my mom.

“Our flight leaves at 4:30 pm from Albany, I don’t know why they had you fly into Boston. I am guessing it was easier to organize for all the different kids. It is about an hour to the airport, we need to be there by about 3:15, so we are going to have to leave soon.”

Willow and I looked at each other. I could tell that she was disappointed that we didn’t have much time together.

“I thought that you were going to fly home with us. Phooey on you for being so good that you have to stay to perform again, and interview at five of the top music schools.”

“I did it to bother you.” I joked.

“I know.” She smiled at me. “Promise you’ll come home on Thursday. Don’t let anyone seduce you into staying and joining their orchestra. You’ve got to come home and finish our Senior year.”

“I promise, I’ll be home Thursday. I know that a whole new group is coming Friday, so they need to get us up and out.”

“What is in the envelopes?” asked Willow.

I had handed them to my mom when I got off the stage. She was still holding them in her hand and had the two trophies in a bag that I figured someone had given her.

Mom gave me the envelopes and I opened one. I almost choked.

Congratulations, Tara Maclay. You have been chosen as one of the co-winners of the Senior Woodwind Section. This award provides a sum of 10,000 a year, for up to four years of education at your choice of higher/advanced learning institution. To remain eligible for this prize, you must have at least a 2.5 average in all classes and be willing to come at least 1X a year to perform at one of the three Boston Symphony concert venues (travel, lodging, and per diem provided) and attend at least one summer session (Travel and lodging provided).


I had to sit down. My head started getting woozy. I held in my hand a guaranteed possibility of 40,000 dollars in scholarship. I’d never thought about stopping playing music, so HAVING to come back to Boston to perform was not a hardship, nor was having an excuse to come back here and help out at the camp. I wanted to do a happy dance.

You’ve got to open the other one too.” Said Willow, excitedly. My mom had to sit down too, the enormity of scholarship making her emotional as well.

My hands shook as I opened the next envelope.

Congratulations Tara Maclay, you have been awarded the 2002 Orchestra Prize. This award provides a scholarship of 50,000 a year for a total of four years as long as you meet the following criteria yearly: Earn a GPA of at least 2.5, Majoring or Minoring in Music, Performing as a representative of the Boston Symphony at least 2X per year (may be combined with other scholarship requirements & Travel, lodging and per diem provided), and attend at least one summer session of the Tanglewood camp per year (travel and lodging provided).



I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I had to put my head between my knees. My mom started rubbing my back and telling me to breathe. I could feel her healing vibes entering me.

“Please pinch me, mom. Do you see what I see? Did I just get the potential to have 60,000 of scholarship a year for four years as long as I get good grades, at least minor in music, perform with one of the best Symphonies in the country, and help out at a camp that I have loved coming to?”

“That’s what I see. Now, you need to go meet those interviewers and the sky is the limit. You’ll still be eligible for scholarships and loans based on my income, so you can go wherever you want to and are accepted.”

Willow was standing next to where I was sitting and seemed a little lost. I looked up at her and said, “Sorry, didn’t mean to be ignoring you. “

“No problem,” she said smiling, “I’m glad I told you to open the envelopes; you know now. Go to those interviews. I can’t wait to hear how they go. “Her smile did not go up to her eyes, but I knew that it was sort of awkward, my mom was there, and there were a lot of people around. I handed the envelopes back to my mom and asked her to keep them in a safe place.

“OH, these are going in the safety deposit box tomorrow, after I make multiple copies just in case.” She put the envelopes in her bag. “I am really sorry, you guys, but Willow and I really have to go.”

My mom gave me a hug and began walking to the parking lot. Willow gave me a hug, and whispered, “I can’t wait to see you later. I’ve missed you so much and I’ve so much to tell you.” I kissed her briefly on the lips and she ran to catch up with my mom. I felt sad but realized that I was just about to go into some of the most important interviews of my life. I needed to be in musician mode right now and could think about what was in store for Willow and me at night and when I returned home. I took a deep breath and walked toward the room where my first interview was located.

_________________
Atlantic Antics
Meeting Expectations
Learning to Laugh


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: What I Discovered at Band Camp (8/29/19)
PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 8:09 am 
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4. Extra Flamey

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
Posts: 201
DIBS! :whip
I love your new story too and am very happy that you will continue it! You really are a productive writer, juggling two stories at once.
I'd like to read about Willow's POV too but I guess it would be too stressful if you would write a "parallel-story" right now. Maybe after you finish this one?

Yay for Tara winning those two awards and securing those scholarships. I hope she will be accepted by an art-school close to an university Willow can attend (maybe Yale, or The Boston Symphony if Willow plans to go to MIT).


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: What I Discovered at Band Camp (8/29/19)
PostPosted: Sat Aug 31, 2019 5:03 am 
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3. Flaming O

Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2018 12:38 pm
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This is a great story. I have no idea about band camp so the setting is new to me. They have soooo much to talk about!


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: What I Discovered at Band Camp (8/29/19)
PostPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2019 7:45 am 
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7. Teeny Tinkerbell Light

Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 5:33 pm
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Location: North Carolina, USA
Ask and ye shall receive. This interlude is at the request of those wanting to know what is going on in Willow's brain. I was going to make another thread, but that would get complicated, so here's

What I Discovered When She Was at Band Camp.
PG
Disclaimer: Joss owns it all; I just seem to have a very active fantasy life about how Willow and Tara could be together.
Feedback: Please. :bounce Feedback gives me encouragement to write.

What I Discovered when she was at Band Camp

“What if I want to attract a girl?”

Looking back, this is the moment that changed everything. It was like the tumblers of some intricate lock began moving into place.

My best friend since 6th grade, Tara Maclay, was packing to go to a swanky band camp. I was helping her pick out clothes to wear and mentioned that some of the clothes would be good if she wanted to attract a guy at camp. Her response, “What if I want to attract a girl?” floored me. I think I stammered in response to her question, “Well I didn’t know…whatever I guess…Really…you never said anything about that…”

Tara immediately started back peddling, she sat down on the bed and looked at the floor. “It is not like I am sure. I may be bisexual or maybe even asexual. Maybe I’m a late bloomer or something…I just don’t know.” She looked despondent.

I didn’t like it when Tara was upset. It didn’t happen often, but when it did, my first inclination was to do whatever I could do to fix it. I sat down next to her, pushed her hair off her face and said, “I don’t care who you date, I just want you to be happy, like Xander and Anya, like me and Oz, like Faith and whatever flavor of the month she’s with. Faith always seems to be happy. I don’t want you to be lonely.”

“I’m not lonely,” she asserted, “I’ve got all of you guys. You fill up my time and make me feel good. I am probably a late bloomer. I am sure that I’ll figure it all out next year or in college.” She got up and started folding her clothes.

I’d met Tara the first day of 6th grade in band class. She was a new kid and there was just something that drew me to her. I sat down next to her and started talking to her. I had chosen to learn to play the flute. I think that she wanted to play the flute too, but the band teacher suggested that she try the oboe. This was a moment that changed Tara’s life trajectory. It took a few weeks, but Tara was really good at the oboe. By the middle of sixth grade, she started playing with the high school orchestra, and was being asked to play in a bunch of different orchestras in California. After class, I invited her to sit with my friends and me for lunch. She immediately hit it off with all of them; she was now officially a member of the Scooby Gang, the moniker that we’d given each other when we’d all become friends in elementary school.

Tara and I were inseparable from 6th grade to almost 11th grade. My parents were often away at conferences and lectures, leaving me by myself a lot. Tara and I would sleep over at each other’s houses almost every weekend. If we didn’t want to deal with parents, we’d stay at my house. If we wanted to be spoiled and well-fed, we were either at Tara’s or Buffy’s house. Both of their moms were really good cooks. My mom just knew how to leave money for pizza and groceries. I probably wouldn’t have eaten a vegetable if it weren’t for Mrs. Maclay or Mrs. Summers making sure that I ate a well-balanced meal at least a few times a week. Mrs. Maclay would even sometimes pack up the leftovers and send them home with me so that I wouldn’t just eat cereal and sandwiches all the time.

The initial Scooby gang was Xander, Anya, Faith, Buffy, Oz, and me. Xander and I had always been friends. We lived across the street from each other and were the same age. We pretty much just hung around with each other during the beginning of elementary school. However, in 4th grade Xander and Oz became friends, and I started hanging out with Faith and her friend Anya. We all became sort of a group, ate lunch together, and played games on the playground. In 5th grade, Buffy moved to Sunnydale, and she started hanging with us because she really liked to do the same stuff as we did. The other girls were into playing jump rope and talking about the boys. We liked to run around and play tag, play kickball and do other active things. Buffy thought that we were more fun than the other prissy girls.

We really met the role of the Scooby Gang when Oz and his dad fixed up a big purple van; we called it the Mystery Machine among ourselves. As soon as Oz he got his driver’s license, he’d pick us all up and bring us to school. Most summers, we didn’t get to spend too much time together. Faith and Anya had to go to their other ‘parent’s homes’, and Buffy, Oz and Tara all went to camp. However, the summer before our 11th grade year, Tara was the only one to go to camp. The rest of spent all summer hanging out. We were finally old enough to go to the Bronze and we’d meet up there almost every night. I’d had a crush on Xander and even kissed him once when we were in 9th grade, but we’d decided that we were pretty much better friends than we’d ever be boyfriend/girlfriend and he started flirting with Anya. Xander and Anya started dating at the end of 10th grade. I’d always liked Oz too and he seemed to like me, so we started dating that summer. Everything seemed to be going the way that I always thought that it was supposed to go. Oz liked me, he took me on dates, we held hands, we did all the things that teenagers were supposed to be doing. I never thought about how weird it must have been for Tara to come home from camp and discover that some of us had paired off and the others had found boyfriends/girlfriends. She was the only single Scooby. Buffy had a new boyfriend, Kevin and Faith was dating a girl named Avil.

Click

Tara always patiently listened to me when I would pine for Xander and Oz. She occasionally said that she thought a guy was ‘cute’. But when I’d encourage her to show interest, she’d say that it wasn’t something she wanted to do. It’s not like she ever said anything about girls. The only exception was this actress from American Pie. But she never talked about liking any real girls. How could she just drop this bomb on me and leave for three weeks?

I realize that as I became closer to Oz, the more Tara distanced herself from me. I swore that sometimes she’d go to her classes using different halls just so that she wouldn’t bump into Oz and me walking to class. Before Oz and I’d gotten together, Willow and I would often share a bed when we had sleep overs. However, after Oz and I started dating, Tara started sleeping on the floor and always changing in the bathroom. Before, we’d been like puppies, we’d cuddle and sit really close to each other, we’d walk down the street with our arms over each other’s shoulders. We just were close. I subconsciously knew that I needed this physical affection because I got NONE from my parents. Buffy and Tara’s mom tended to hug me more than they hugged the other Scoobys. I guess there was something in me that screamed for affection. After I started dating Oz, it was sort of like a wall had gone up with Tara. However, even afterwards, if I had a nightmare during a sleepover, Tara would come into bed with me and try to make me feel better. I liked it when I woke up in Tara’s arms. It made me feel safe and like I was at home. I figured that we’d be friends forever.

Back to the day everything changed. I started anxiously going through her clothes. “Let’s make sure that you’ve got all the clothes you need, and make sure that you bring sweatshirts. I hear that it can get cold in the Massachusetts Berkshires.” I took off my Sunnydale High School sweatshirt and gave it to her. “You wanna borrow my sweatshirt? I’ve only worn it a little today. It shouldn’t be too stinky. It can remind you of us when you are far from home.”

Tara looked at me with a strange expression. I asked if she was alright.

She answered, “Yeah, I am good. I’d like that, I’m going to miss you…guys. I am kind of scared about going across the country by myself. I know that Faith flies to Boston every summer. But it’s a long flight and it is the first time that I’ve had to change planes. I’m going to be all on my own in the Chicago Airport with a layover that is only an hour long. I worry that I’ll miss my flight, and then my ride to Tanglewood, and thus be trapped alone in either Chicago or Boston.”

I tried to reassure her by pointing out that it was a camp and they would make sure that nobody got lost. I wanted her to feel safe, so I told her that I’d use my parents credit card to get her to Boston if I needed to.

She acknowledged that the program/camp wouldn’t let her be lost. Then she asked me what Oz and I would be up to during the three weeks she was going to be gone. I answered, “He’s going to be on the road for most of it. He and his band have gigs up and down the coast. The Mystery Machine is going to be the Dingo’s home for most of the time. Can you imagine what it is going to smell like after three sweaty guys sleep, eat and travel in it for two weeks. I’ve already been clear that he better get it cleaned and detailed before I’m getting in it to go out with him.” Then I said, “Guys can be real pigs. Maybe you have a good idea. Girls usually smell way better.” Where did that come from, it was true, but this wasn’t the kind of comment that I usually made.

I guess Tara was trying to make light of the situation. She responded, “You’ve got me. It’s all about olfactory.”

Tara finished packing, and got the blow up mattress that she always used when I slept over. I couldn’t sleep well on it, so she always let me sleep in her bed. I liked to sleep in her bed because it always smelled nice. It smelled like a mixture of honeysuckle and lavender. Maybe I do notice how girls smell or maybe I’ve only noticed Tara’s.

We talked a bit before we fell asleep and woke up when her mom was pounding on the door. Her mom asked me if I wanted to go with her to the airport. I lied and said that I had plans with Oz. I didn’t want to see her go. I was afraid that I’d get all emotional in front of her mother, and it would be awkward. Tara gave me a quick hug and I left.

I’d often felt sad when I had to say goodbye to Tara. I was so used to seeing and talking to her everyday that these periods of not having communication felt weird. When we were younger, I’d send her care packages and letters. I’d had a calendar that I’d mark off the days until she was coming home. As soon as she got back, I’d rush over to her house to see her. However, during the last year, I’d been so hung up with Oz, that the time flew by and I’d just see her during the few days between the out of town/state activities.

This time, I felt despondent; like I would never see her again. I tried to talk to myself and say that she was still the same Tara. Faith liked boys and girls, why couldn’t Tara. I briefly thought about Faith and Tara getting together, but the idea was not appealing. As much as Faith was a friend, I didn’t think she treated her dating partners very well. I wouldn’t want Tara to get caught up in Faith’s love ‘um and leave ‘um mentality. If Tara was going to get a girlfriend, I didn’t want her to be used.

As I walked home, I wondered if there was someone that Tara was interested in. There was a girl that Tara had talked about befriending at this music camp the year before. Tara had gone to a lot of different music related overnight activities, workshops, camps, performance competitions etc.; however, she’d never mentioned any of the other kids until the previous year. She brought up this girl named Sarah who played the bassoon a few times and seemed that they’d really gotten along well. She’d written to her and it seemed that they kept in touch some. I think Tara had mentioned that she was gay and really out. Had Tara dated this girl? Had she kept it a secret from us? From me? Did she want to date her?

Click

A feeling of jealousy rolled over me like a tidal wave. I didn’t want Tara to date anyone, especially some girl that had more in common with Tara than I did. I was not musically inclined. I kept playing the flute in 6th and 7th grade so that Tara and I would have at least one class together. I had to drop Band in 8th grade so that I could take an advanced Math class. I was really good at Math, Science, and Computers. We both were good at English and History and were in Honors/AP English and History classes together. This was good, because when Tara had to go to a competition or the All State Orchestra rehearsals and performances, I could help her keep up in these classes, as well as, tutor her so she could get through the math classes. I’d always heard that math and music were linked. Not for Tara, math just did not make sense to her. No matter how hard I tried to tutor her, she could never get anything higher than a B minus in Math.

I’d never felt jealous when I thought about Tara dating a guy. Maybe it was because I knew that no matter what, a guy could never fill the role that I did in Tara’s life; but another girl sure could. I had noticed that when Faith was dating a girl, she’d be around less. A girl would fill the void that she usually filled with the Scooby gang. When she was dating a guy, it didn’t seem to make a difference, she’d hang out alone with us or bring the guy along. Now that I was looking at it, this announcement by Tara had the potential to change everything.

When I got home, I called Oz. My parents weren’t home, so I didn’t need to worry about him coming over. They were not happy that I was dating a goyim guitar player. The few times that they were home, they’d frequently try to fix me up with their friend’s sons. Even when they knew I was with Oz, they kept doing it. It was clear that it was ok to date a goy, but they expected me to marry a ‘nice Jewish boy’. For some reason, I knew that this was never going to happen.

Click

If I was honest, I didn’t really care that Oz was going to be away for the next two weeks. It bothered me more that Tara was leaving than it did that he was. This is not a good thing Rosenberg. Oz is your boyfriend, Tara’s a friend. You should be like Anya, all withdrawal symptoms when Xander is gone. I admonished myself. How could one sentence make so much in my head change? Even if Tara does like girls, that doesn’t mean that she likes you ‘like that’.

After Oz left my house, I started trying to analyze whether I had feelings for Tara and how my feelings for Tara differed from my feelings toward Oz, or my feelings toward Buffy, Anya, Xander or Faith. Did I feel incredibly sad when I knew I wasn’t going to see my friends. I frequently went days and weeks without seeing most of them and I never missed Buffy, Anya or Faith. Up until this year, Faith had usually been gone all summer and I didn’t miss her. Xander? Since he’d been involved with Anya, I’d gotten used to only seeing him once and awhile. I missed him, but when I didn’t see him, I didn’t get a weird feeling in my stomach. I’d determined that I was actually fine with Oz being vague about when I’d see him again. His absence made me less stressed about ‘entertaining’ him. I knew the day that Tara would be back from her current camp. I’d even asked her mom about her flight plans, so I’d know when they were going to be home. Score one for liking Tara.

How did I physically feel when I was around them? Buffy and Anya did absolutely nothing for me. Even if I was a lesbian, I was not attracted to them. Xander, I loved him. He was the person that I’d known the longest, and I think that I had ‘sisterly’ feelings toward him. I had no feelings in my nether region when I thought about Xander anymore. Faith, when Faith flirted with me, which she did with absolutely everyone who was older than 15 and younger than 90, it felt nice. I’d seen her flirt with adults, but usually the people she ‘hooked up’ with were in their teens to early 20’s. When Faith flirted with me, I sometimes felt small butterflies in my stomach, it made me feel weird. There was even a moment that she was really flirting with me and I almost wanted to kiss her. Shit, I thought about kissing Faith, maybe I wasn’t straight. Oz, I really liked Oz.

Tara, how did I feel when I was around Tara. I closed my eyes and thought about her. Feelings flooded over me. I felt happy when I was with Tara. I felt safe when I was with Tara. I was sure that I was not totally ready to think about how I felt when I was around Tara. I switched up to another thought.

Early in my relationship with Oz, I remember that I’d thought that romantic love felt a lot like friendship. When I was around Oz, looked at me with either care/love or lust in his eyes, it was similar to how I felt when I was around Tara. Did I have it backwards, did I label these feelings as friendship when they were actually lust/love? Isn’t everybody enervated when they are around their best friend? I’d never asked anyone about their sensations when they were around other people. I think I just tried to ignore any feelings that were out of the ordinary, straight girl/best friend, feelings. What did I feel? Did I ever want to kiss Tara? Sometimes I thought about kissing all of my friends…but if I had to be honest, the urges were more toward Tara than anyone else… Score two for liking Tara in more than a best-friend way.

Click

Was there any chance that Tara liked me? That was an important question. What if she really was focused on some girl that she was going to camp with and had absolutely no romantic feelings toward me. The data that refuted this assumption was: I’d noticed that Tara sometimes looked really sad when she saw me and Oz being cuddly. I swear I saw her eyes tear up a few times. She’d smile, but it never went into those beautiful blue eyes. She smiled when she looked at me A LOT. Sometimes we’d all be together, and I’d look at Tara, and she was looking at me. When she looked at me with those big blue eyes, sometimes I felt like I was going to melt. Oh, Goddess, I had it bad. Score 3 for Tara.

The future, what role did I see Tara in my future. I figured that we’d be friends forever. We’d go to college near each other, maybe even room together during our last few years. When we got married, we’d live near each other and we’d spend a lot of time together. We’d babysit for each other’s kids and maybe go on family vacations. Were our husbands really ever part of my fantasy? I don’t think so. Shit I want to spend my life with Tara. Score 4 for Tara.

Click and open.

In the span of a few hours, I had come to all of these realizations. Now what was I going to do about it? Tara was in Massachusetts for the next three weeks. For all I know, she was going to start dating the girl who played the bassoon and the two of them would make beautiful music for the rest of their lives. I’d probably settle for some guy, get married and pine for the life that I’d just started to imagine. At this moment, I couldn’t imagine ever being happy unless Tara was in my life. Even if she was with the bassoon player, it still would be essential that she was in my life. What did this mean for me? Was I gay? Bisexual? Or did I just love Tara?

I had finally achieved some level of ‘coolness’ by dating a guy who played in a band, did I want to trade that for becoming a pariah again. The few gay kids that were at our high school were either in the closet or were teased unmercifully by most of the student body. I didn’t want that. A positive is that people were already used to Tara and I hanging out together, that people wouldn’t really notice. My parents, they would not be pleased. They had their dream for me, and the ‘nice Jewish boy’ was a major component. Fortunately, they were rarely around, so I could probably keep any knowledge of an alternative sexuality a secret until college. How would the Scooby gang deal if Tara and I started dating. What would it be like for Oz? Would anyone have to know? I really wished that I had someone to talk to about this. Ironically, it was Tara I wanted to talk about this dilemma. The only person who I could of think of talking to would be Faith, and would she be able to keep it a secret if she knew?

This was going to be a very L…O…N…G…three weeks.

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: What I Discovered at Band Camp (9/2/19)
PostPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2019 5:04 pm 
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7. Teeny Tinkerbell Light

Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 5:33 pm
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Location: North Carolina, USA
What I Discovered at Band Camp
Part 3
PG
Regular Disclaimers
Feedback Please. :bigwave


It was probably the most grueling two and a half hours of my life. Each interview was somewhat different, but the themes were the same. What did I want to do with my life? Did I want to become a professional musician? What did I want to learn during higher education. The questions from the interviewer at Yale were a little more academically focused, and she made sure to stress that not only could I get a quality music education, but that I’d be able to take advantage of all their other curriculum. This was the only interview that I felt comfortable admitting that I may want to major in something other than music. I’d never been to New Haven, CT. I wondered what it was like. The interviewer kept stressing how easy it was to get to New York by train. The other three interviews were very music centric. They asked about my knowledge of music theory and whether I was interested in anything other than concert performance. I admitted that there were times that I’d wanted to write music. This seemed to interest the Berklee interviewer more than it did the San Francisco and Boston Conservatory interviewers. It was clear that both San Francisco and Boston were mostly interested me and my oboe. None of them asked for me to play my oboe, but all commented that I’d done well as The Duck and noted that it had not been obvious that there was only one oboe in the performance.

I was beat when I got out of my last interview and went straight to the dining hall to get some food. I was sort of hoping that I could catch a nap before rehearsal at 7. The dining hall was relatively empty. It seemed that only the kids who were in interviews were there. I’d noticed a bunch of kids hanging by the office with their luggage and figured that they were waiting to catch the van to the airport to go home. Was it only going to be the 12 of us tonight, I wondered. I grabbed some food and was about to sit down when I heard a call from the back of the hall.

“Hey, Tara over here.” Rachel was calling me.

I walked over and sat down. Cindy and Sarah were also at the table. no nap in my future I thought to myself.

“How were your interviews? Tell us all about them.”

“Well, I think that they went pretty well. I liked Yale. The idea that I could study more than music appealed to me. But Berklee, what an opportunity. You guys interviewed with him too, what did you think?”

“He was cool, and hey Boston is a great place for music and to live,” said Sarah, “add to that I could live at home and save money.”

“I liked him too,” said Rachel. However, the woman from Julliard really sold it to me. She was talking about all the opportunities there. New York, there are so many possibilities. I’m not sure how my moms will feel about me moving there. My grandparents used to live in New Jersey, but they are in Florida now. I think my moms want me to go to University of Miami.”

“Wait a minute,” said Sarah, “Your moms, like plural.”

“Yeah…” Rachel answered.

“You have two moms,” asked Cindy.

“Yep, plural of mom, moms,” answered Rachel.

“Like a mom and a step-mother?” said Sarah.

“No, clueless, like two moms. Like my mom’s are lesbians. They are not together anymore, so only one of them came to see me play. I’m a lot closer to one of them, Jenny. She’s actually my birth mom, while Cattie adopted me when they were still together. She drives me a little crazy.”

“Cool,” exclaimed Sarah. “I always like hearing about adults, it gives me hope that I can eventually find a life partner. Except you said they are not together. I guess divorce is equal opportunity.”

“Yeah, I am glad that they split. They were not happy and that made me unhappy.”

“So, if you get accepted at Julliard do you think that you’ll go?” I asked Rachel.

“Yeah, how could you turn down Julliard, I think they will understand. As long as they give me decent financial aid,” replied Rachel.

“Same with me, the only way that I am going to get to go to college outside of California is if I get really good financial aid. The San Francisco Conservatory made it pretty clear that I’d probably get a full ride. He also told me about some scholarships to apply for,” I said.

“Berklee told me the same thing,” commented Sarah.

“Wouldn’t it be funny if we all ended going to Berklee?” said Rachel.

“That would be cool. I would be nice to already know somebody.” I replied.

“I am pretty sure that my parents won’t let me move to Boston. They are clear that I can’t go anywhere that is more than four hours away. The person from Oberlin was really nice, and I think that my parents would accept Ohio as close enough. At least Ohio borders Kentucky,” said Cindy.

“Isn’t it kind of weird to be thinking that we’re almost old enough to be going to college?” I asked.

“Yeah, I feel like it was just yesterday that I started playing the bassoon, and now I’ve got a scholarship for doing it,” said Sarah.

“I’ve been playing the violin and viola since I was four. One of the cool things that Berklee told me was that they had lending instruments so all the string players can learn all the instruments. I’ve always wanted to give the Bass a try but come on 2,000 is too much to spend to see if you like something.”

“Yeah, it seems like they want you to be able to play more than one instrument. They asked me other than the piano, which they said I’d have to take if I got in, what instrument would I like to learn. I didn’t know what to say, so I just said, trumpet. I’ve never even thought about playing the trumpet, but the clarinet or the flute didn’t seem to be the ‘right’ answer.”

“Similar thing happened to me,” said Sarah, “I play the piano already, so got that down, but all I guess all the Peter and the Wolf stuff got to me because I said the French Horn.”

“Funny, we’d be sitting near each other again,” I winked at Sarah. As soon as I did this, I started to feel guilty. Willow and I had kissed. What did that mean? We hadn’t been able to talk to each other about it. She was with my mom the whole time and I was all aflutter about the scholarships. I completely didn’t get a chance to talk to her about our status. If one thing was really clear to me, I was most definitely gay. I liked women.

“Earth to Tara,” said Sarah.

I shook my head, “Yeah. Sorry.”

“We were asking if anyone knew what else we were going to be playing for the children’s matinee,
said Cindy.

“I have no idea. I thought that we were just mirroring our professionals for both performances,” I responded.

“No, I think we are supposed to be doing something special at the matinee. The whole idea is that they want to show the kids that ‘bigger kids’ are interested in music and how cool playing in a symphony can be. There is supposed to be some sort of demonstration where we divide up into our sections and talk to the kids before the show, we play as a small group, Peter and the Wolf, and then the whole Symphony, sans us plays the rest of the concert. I know for sure that before we start Peter and the Wolf, we each have to play our part,” commented Rachel.

“You seem to know a lot about this.” I stated.

“There was a flyer up near the board for our interviews. When I was waiting for an interview, I ended up reading everything. They act like this was a big ‘surprise’, but actually they had this planned already, they just didn’t know which kids in particular were going to be chosen,” said Rachel.

“Well, it’s not like it is a bad surprise. I wasn’t doing anything this week anyway. I like it here. It is fun. I get to hang with friends, play music, and don’t have to watch any of my siblings. This is a vacation for me,” stated Sarah.

“I’m happy to stay too,” said Cindy.

“It’s ok.” I added.

“Tara’s not too excited because her dream girl finally kissed her and then left,” teased Sarah.

“What?” exclaimed Rachel.

I looked at Sarah, and then at the other two. I was not out to either Rachel or Cindy. Honestly, the only person I was out to was Sarah and sort of Willow. I must have blushed, because both Cindy and Rachel were begging me for more information. It felt awkward talking about it in front of Sarah, who I still hadn’t talked to about the whole issue really.

“Sarah’s trying to embarrass me. It’s nothing…So…what do you think that they are going to have us play?”

“You can’t change the subject that easily,” quipped Cindy.

“Please.” I begged.

“Later?” Rachel asked.

“Sure.” I responded. Now that I knew that Rachel’s mom was a lesbian, I figured that my identity wouldn’t be a problem.

We finished our food and then all went back to our room. Sarah said that she wasn’t particularly fond of her two new roommates, so she came to our room.

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: What I Discovered at Band Camp (9/2/19)
PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 1:38 am 
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4. Extra Flamey

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
Posts: 201
Dibs to the last two chapters! :whip
Quote:
Looking back, this is the moment that changed everything. It was like the tumblers of some intricate lock began moving into place.

Quote:
Click

Quote:
Click and open.

Wonderful imagery!
Your Willow copes with the sudden realisation that she is in love with Tara (and therefore probably gay) quite well. The question of coming out is a different matter, of course:

Quote:
I had finally achieved some level of ‘coolness’ by dating a guy who played in a band, did I want to trade that for becoming a pariah again. The few gay kids that were at our high school were either in the closet or were teased unmercifully by most of the student body. I didn’t want that. A positive is that people were already used to Tara and I hanging out together, that people wouldn’t really notice. My parents, they would not be pleased. They had their dream for me, and the ‘nice Jewish boy’ was a major component. Fortunately, they were rarely around, so I could probably keep any knowledge of an alternative sexuality a secret until college. How would the Scooby gang deal if Tara and I started dating. What would it be like for Oz? Would anyone have to know?

Willow's fears of what coming out would mean to her are totally understandable. I'm curious if she will tell Oz and/or one or more of her other friends that she is in love with Tara before she visits her at band camp.

Quote:
“Wait a minute,” said Sarah, “Your moms, like plural.”

“Yeah…” Rachel answered.

“You have two moms,” asked Cindy.

“Yep, plural of mom, moms,” answered Rachel.

“Like a mom and a step-mother?” said Sarah.

“No, clueless, like two moms. Like my mom’s are lesbians.

Funny that the "out and proud"-lesbian Sarah doesn't get what Rachel means.

Quote:
“Tara’s not too excited because her dream girl finally kissed her and then left,” teased Sarah.

“What?” exclaimed Rachel.

I looked at Sarah, and then at the other two. I was not out to either Rachel or Cindy. Honestly, the only person I was out to was Sarah and sort of Willow. I must have blushed, because both Cindy and Rachel were begging me for more information. It felt awkward talking about it in front of Sarah, who I still hadn’t talked to about the whole issue really.


I'm pretty angry with Sarah for just outing Tara to the others here! I'm guess she is more jealous or hurt that Tara prefers Willow to her than she let on until now...


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: What I Discovered at Band Camp (9/6/19)
PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2019 12:25 pm 
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7. Teeny Tinkerbell Light

Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 5:33 pm
Posts: 663
Topics: 2
Location: North Carolina, USA
Will's Redemption: I am glad you liked the lock metaphor. It came to me and it seemed very accurate. I guess Sarah should have caught Rachel using the plural of mom, but I don't think she is always paying attention. Sarah's got a lot on her mind...Yeah, Sarah shouldn't have outed Tara, but it all went well, so Tara didn't get upset. Thanks for commenting. This story has been on my brain...

What I Discovered at Band Camp
Part 4

If I thought the last three weeks of camp were jam packed, they had nothing on the rehearsals for the Wednesday performance. The first night of rehearsal, we were given three new pieces for the matinee and were expected to be able to run through them. I was really glad that there were still morning section rehearsals scheduled for us to practice, because two of the pieces had very heavy woodwind parts. I knew that Sarah and I were going to have to practice together and I hoped that things were not going to get weird now that I’d basically broken up with her.
After rehearsal, Sarah came back to our room. As we hung out, it became evident that Sarah did not want to stay in her assigned room. She said that the two girls that she was rooming with were incredibly rude and that she had nothing in common with them. Rachel, Cindy and I decided that Sarah could crash in our room on the couch. This made Sarah very happy. I half expected her to want to sleep in Rachel and my room, but she seemed happy that she could stay in the living room.

Cindy went to bed, and Sarah went to get her stuff. Rachel and I walked into our bedroom. We heard Sarah come in and she was obviously settling down in the living room. Both of us went to the bathroom and put on our pajamas and got ready for bed. We had just turned off the light when Rachel asked,
“Can I ask you a question?”

“Yeah, sure.”

“How did you know?”

“How did I know what in particular?”

“How did you know that you are gay?”

“Same way straight people know they are straight. I’m not really attracted to guys. I realized that I didn’t feel the way that my friends did about the opposite sex, but that if I was honest with myself that I felt that way toward people of the same sex. Actually, up until very recently, like when I got here three weeks ago, I was still kind of confused. I started realizing that my feelings toward Willow were not all ‘friendship’, but I wasn’t sure if I was just attracted to Willow or if I was attracted to girls and boys, or just girls. I didn’t think I should ‘come out’ to my friends until I was sure. I didn’t want to make my friends uncomfortable, but not being myself was really hard. One of our group of friends is strongly bisexual, and she tried to help me figure it out…”

“What does strongly bisexual mean?” asked Rachel.

“Well, I define it as you never really know if she’s going to be dating a girl or a guy. She isn’t much into the long-term relationship thing, so she’s probably dated an equal number of guys and girls in the last few years.”

“It sounds like your friends would be cool with you identifying as gay.”

“Yeah, it’s really been about the stuff with Willow.”

“How do you know that it’s attraction and not just friendship?”

“The litmus test that I’ve been using to figure that out is, ‘Do I want to kiss the person? Do I want them in my physical space. If the answer is a resounding “YES”, then I think that it is attraction. Like you and me. I like you, I’d like to stay friends with you, but no offense, I don’t want to kiss you.”

“Ok, feeling is mutual. What about Sarah?”

“What about her?”

“She met the test?”

“No, not really…She’s a really cool person. I like her a lot.”

“But not as much as you like Willow?”

“No. I don’t think that I’ll ever like anyone as much as I like Willow. I think Willow is my soulmate. I can’t imagine my life without her.”

“That is intense.”

“Yeah. I guess. Listen Rach…I am getting really tired. Can we talk about this more tomorrow?”

“Yeah, night Tara.”

“Night Rachel.”
***
The next two days went very quickly. Aside from meals and an occasional 30 minute break, we were playing all the time. The music sounded really good, and I was proud to be a part of the orchestra. I’d always liked little kids, so I was looking forward to the interaction with the kids on Wednesday before the performance. I was trying to figure out a hygienic way to let kids try playing my ‘spare’ oboe. I felt like making a noise come out of an instrument was incredibly rewarding and would motivate kids to learn to play instruments. I was talking to some of the adult wind instrument players and they suggested that I see if the program had any plastic recorders. I thought that was a good idea and during lunch I was able to track down a few. I talked to Sarah, Harmony and Nicholas about my idea to teach kids to play the recorder for our section lesson. They were on board. We also decided that we’d do some simple kid’s songs together to show them how the four of us harmonized. I couldn’t believe that I was volunteering to play more during my breaks, but it was worth it, we sounded really good.

I was really excited about our teaching the kids to Hot Cross Buns on the recorder. I hadn’t thought about the fact that even though all of the sections were divided in the auditorium, the drums were very loud. Nevertheless, we were able to teach a few kids how to play hot cross buns and some parents asked me where they could buy a recorder for their children. We weren’t the only group to decide to play some songs. It felt like a wave of music. The strings would play a kid’s song, then the brass, then the woodwinds, and then there would be a ‘joyful noise’ from the percussion. It was very clear from the noises coming from the percussion area that there were a lot of kids who were enjoying being introduced to all the instruments.

As the time became nearer for the performance, I found myself getting sort of nervous. Part of the introduction for Peter and the Wolf involved all of us playing our melody. I felt a little jealous of the strings and French horns. They were a group. Harmony, Nicholas, Sarah, and I were alone. I had to keep reminding myself that I’d been playing it over and over again for the last three weeks. I knew that I could play it in my sleep.

Everything went according to plan, and we all played our parts flawlessly. It was neat to look out in the audience and see so many kids. I remembered going to kid’s concerts when I was little and how it seemed so amazing that all those people could make the music sound so good. It was a trip that I now was one of those people who was part of doing it.

At dinner, we all admitted that we felt a sense of relief that the Children’s Concert was over. It was still nerve racking that we’d have one more performance, and this one was for people who had paid to see us. However, we all knew that this was our last performance together and we wanted to make it great.

Spike invited us all to his room after the concert for a party. I was initially reluctant to go, but I discovered that all my friends were going, so I agreed to go.

***
“I can’t believe it is over,” said Rachel as she was grabbing clothes out of her packed bag to change into for the party.

“Me either.” I replied. “It is kind of sad. You spend three and a half weeks basically eating, sleeping and breathing music, and then it is over. The people who you’ve become such good friends with are all returning to their corners of the USA. Maybe some of our paths will cross, but most likely we won’t see each other again.

“You are making me sad,” exclaimed Rachel. Promise you’ll keep in touch. Maybe I can convince my mom to take a vacation to California and we can see each other.

“That would be cool.” I replied.

I wasn’t sure what to wear to the party. I settled on a band tee-shirt and jeans. Most of the other girls were dressed much fancier than I was. Cindy was wearing a dress and Rachel had on nice chinos and a shirt. When we went out into the living room, I was not surprised to see that Sarah was in her trademark ripped black jeans, Doc Martins, and a tee-shirt that left little to the imagination. I was pretty sure that she knew that her outfit was guaranteed to get a reaction from everyone, guys and girls. I looked over at Rachel and swore I saw her swallow hard.

I had never been much of a party person. I’d sometimes go to the Bronze with the Scooby gang, but usually I’d just sit on the periphery and watch people. This is the role that I took when I got to Spike’s room. It seemed that everyone from the orchestra had come to the party, so I was glad that I’d not been the one hold out. Somebody handed me a red cup. I took a sip and it was delicious. I figured that it probably had alcohol in it, so I knew to be careful. I’d never been much into drinking. My mom always warned me that my dad had alcohol problems and that they could be hereditary. But this punch tasted really good.

About an hour into the party, Sarah came over and grabbed me by the hand. “Come on wallflower,” she said, “We’re playing a game of spin the bottle, and we’ve got to have an equal number of guys and girls.”
The punch must have been stronger than I had figured, because I agreed to play. There were about ten of us in a circle, with a coke bottle in the middle. Spike spun the bottle first, and it pointed at Harmony. She seemed fairly pleased and their kiss was longer than the required three seconds. Rachel spun next and the bottle pointed at Spike. I was pretty sure that she was counting the seconds, because she pulled away very quickly. Nicholas spun and it pointed at Cindy. He said that he knew that she was taken, so he made the kiss very quick. When Cindy spun the bottle, it pointed at Rachel. Their kiss was chaste. Rachel spun the bottle and it landed on the cello player. She turned red and made it really quick. He spun the bottle and it landed on Sarah. Sarah made this big deal about her not kissing boys, so she shook his hand. He seemed very disappointed. It was Sarah’s turn to spin. I found my heart start to pound. What were the chances that she’d get me? What would people think if Sarah did spin me, especially after her no kissing boys declaration. I think I stopped breathing while I watched the bottle spin. She’d put a lot of strength into it, so it spun around several times. On the final revolution, I was pretty sure that it did not have the momentum to make it to me, but it ended up pointing right at me.

[Imagine the kiss. I’m not breaking the board rules] :fallen

When I spun the bottle, it landed on Cindy. Similar to when the bottle pointed to Rachel, we shared a quick and chaste kiss and the game went on. On Spike’s second, the bottle pointed to Nicholas, and he took the out that Sarah had used and said that he didn’t kiss boys either. This made everyone laugh. When Nicholas spun, it pointed at Rachel. She kissed him quickly and spun the bottle. I could see that she was looking at Sarah and I wondered if she was hoping for it to land on her. Maybe there was some sort of predestined control of the bottle, because it pointed right at Sarah.

Rachel and Sarah kissed for longer than the requisite 3 seconds and seemed to enjoy it. I was happy for both of them. Over the last few nights, that we’d been really talking, I realized that Rachel was questioning, and she admitted that she ‘kinda liked’ Sarah. After the game was over, I saw the two of them sitting really close and talking. They seemed to be enjoying each other’s company. That made me feel happy.

I left the party early and went back to my room. I decided that I really needed to think about what I wanted, before I got home the next day. I knew that Willow was going to be anxious to talk, and I needed to get my head in a place that I could be honest about what I wanted and needed. One thing that I’d decided over the course of the last three and a half weeks was that I didn’t want to be closeted. I didn’t want to be flamboyant either. It wasn’t like I wanted to go and announce my sexuality to everyone, but I also didn’t want to continue the farce of the musician who was too busy to date. I had time to date, I knew who I wanted to date, and I wanted to date her. I was pretty sure that Willow was not going to want to be an out lesbian couple, and I was ok with that. I knew that her parents would not be as cool as my mom; hell, they were upset that she’d been dating a non-Jewish boy, what would they think if she was dating a non-Jewish girl! I didn’t really want to know. As I thought, I realized that I could not really prepare to talk to Willow, because I had no idea what she was going to say. I just hoped that it wasn’t going to be, “Oh, I don’t know what came over me. I’m back with Oz and I’m straight as an arrow.” But if it was, I would survive. I was strong, I was independent, and I was gay.

_________________
Atlantic Antics
Meeting Expectations
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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: What I Discovered at Band Camp (9/6/19)
PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 11:38 pm 
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4. Extra Flamey

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
Posts: 201
:whip Dibs! (A bit sad that I can do that 6 days after this was posted… come on other readers, comment already!)

Quote:
I decided that I really needed to think about what I wanted, before I got home the next day. I knew that Willow was going to be anxious to talk, and I needed to get my head in a place that I could be honest about what I wanted and needed. One thing that I’d decided over the course of the last three and a half weeks was that I didn’t want to be closeted. I didn’t want to be flamboyant either. It wasn’t like I wanted to go and announce my sexuality to everyone, but I also didn’t want to continue the farce of the musician who was too busy to date. I had time to date, I knew who I wanted to date, and I wanted to date her.

Quote:
I realized that I could not really prepare to talk to Willow, because I had no idea what she was going to say. I just hoped that it wasn’t going to be, “Oh, I don’t know what came over me. I’m back with Oz and I’m straight as an arrow.” But if it was, I would survive. I was strong, I was independent, and I was gay.


Yay for Tara really "finding herself" at band camp. I'm wondering if we will see her reunion with Willow in the next chapter or another interlude from Willow's point of view.


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: What I Discovered at Band Camp (9/6/19)
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2019 7:27 pm 
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7. Teeny Tinkerbell Light

Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 5:33 pm
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Topics: 2
Location: North Carolina, USA
Will's Redemption: Thanks for the dibs. This story doesn't seem to be resonating with others. It came rushing out of me like Athena erupting from Zeus' head. This is Willow's point of view. I am working on their reunion. Thanks for commenting.

What I discovered while she was at Band Camp
Willow's point of view 2.
PG. Usual disclaimers. Feedback Please.

I am so glad that I have a job. If I didn’t have somewhere to go, I think I’d be driving myself crazy thinking about what I was going to do before Tara comes back from camp. My job is to help customers pick out computers. I get extra money in my paycheck if the customers purchase upgrades or peripherals. I never encourage people to buy computers that they don’t need. I just am good at helping them find the right computer to do what they want it to do. I’ve gotten a few bonuses after customers wrote letters about my helpfulness to the manager. These last two weeks, I have been amazed at how many lesbians there are at my store. I’m not sure whether I just have never noticed or if mid-August is the time that lesbians buy computers.

I decided to get a job this summer to get experience, to use my knowledge of computers and to feel more independent of my parents. I really enjoy doing it and my manager says that I can work on the weekends and afterschool if I want. I think I probably will. I think that as long as I use their money, they have some say in my purchases or decisions. I am pretty sure that my parents use money as a way to ameliorate their concerns about neglecting me for years. I actually am not sure that my parents even know that I have a job.

My parents would not be in favor of the decision I am thinking about. Their social status is very important to them. I secretly think that they are plotting a suitable marriage similarly to the way that my Dad looks at mergers and acquisitions. None of the ‘nice Jewish boys’ that they’ve made me spend time with have ever done anything for me. I always thought it was due to their flaccid personalities and vapid conversational style, but maybe it is because I like girls more than boys. The girls in my Hebrew School classes and youth groups were also very superficial and more boy crazy than both Anya and Buffy. I only have eyes for one person, a slightly taller, beautiful, blue-eyed oboe player. I need to talk to Tara when she gets back from camp, but first I need to come clean to Oz. That is going to be a hard conversation. I hope that it doesn’t hit him from left field. I think I will have to go with the ‘I just don’t think that this is working. I like you as a friend’ speech and keep anything between Tara and herself on the down low.

When I got home from work, I actually was sad that my parents were not home. It felt especially lonely coming home to an empty house. I’ve invited the gang over a few times, but it always seems that they have plans with their significant others. I wonder if this is what Tara felt like when we were all paired up? I realize that Tara was the only constant companion that I’ve had. As I was walking up to my door Ms. Maclay’s car pulled into the driveway.

“Hey Willow, I made some extra baked ziti and thought that maybe you’d like some. I know that when your parents are away you sometimes don’t eat very well,” said Ms. Maclay. I will never have to wonder what Tara will look like in the future. I’ve got a living model right here.

I felt like I blushed and acknowledged Tara’s mom. Sometimes I think that Ms. Maclay cares more about me than either of my parents do. My parents never ask what I’ve been eating or how I am doing. Instead they tell me about the places they’ve gone and the people they have met. It is all about them.

“So how is Tara doing, have you heard from her?” I asked. I hope I sound normal.

“She’s called maybe once or twice. She said that she was having a good time and she won the role of the Duck. They sent me a ticket to come see her next Friday in the performance. They said that there was some sort of award ceremony that they thought I’d like to be part of as well.

“That sounds promising. Tara said that there were a few music scholarships given out at this camp.”

“It would be really nice if Tara could get both scholarships and loans for school.” Ms. Maclay paused and looked me. She said, “Hey, Willow do you think that you might want to come along? I am sure that it would pleasantly surprise Tara. I was looking at flights before I knew that they were going to give me a ticket. They are not that expensive. Do you think that your parents would let you come with me?”

“That would be neat, Ms. Maclay.” neat, what am I a teenybopper from the 50’s. “I’ll ask my parents next time they call. We’d be gone from when to when so that I can ask off from work.

“We’d fly in on Friday and leave Saturday evening. They said that they’d probably book Tara on the same flight so we’d all come home together unless she got a lot of music school interviews and then Tara would come home Sunday.”

“Cool, I already have those days off. I will talk to my parents. What time is your flight on Friday, so I can book the same one?”

“I am pretty sure that the flight leaves at 7am; so we would have to leave here really early.”

“That would be fine. We can sleep on the plane. I’ll call my mom tonight and get back with you.”

“Ok. See you later.” Ms. Maclay went back to her car and pulled out of the driveway.

I went into the house and put the baked ziti in the kitchen, and then sat down in the living room and started watching television. A few minutes later, the phone rang.

“Hello.”

“Hey, Willow it’s Xan. We’re all going to the Bronze tonight. Do you want to come?”

“Sure, I feel like I haven’t seen you for a while. What time are we meeting?”

“Nine. Do you want a ride?”

“That would be helpful.”

“Ok, see you at 8:45.”
***
I was feeling really excited to see all of my friends. It had been a long summer, and everyone had been busy. I was stoked that parents ok’d my trip to Boston and suggested that I rent a car and a hotel room to make it easier for Joyce. My parents know that Buffy’s and Tara’s mothers (Joyce and Becky) took up the vast majority of my parenting, and I think they saw this as an opportunity to repay one of the women. Ira and Sheila did not want to feel beholden to anyone.

I got ready relatively quickly and stood at the front door waiting for Xander. I was pleasantly surprised that he got there in time. I discovered the reason when there was no one else in the car.

“Where is Anya?”

“She had to do something with her family, so she’s meeting us there.”

“Cool. How are things going with you, your family?”

“Well, my family remains my family. I really hope that I can get out of the basement as soon as I graduate from high school. I think that I can utilize the carpentry classes that I’ve taken to get decent job.”

“I can see you doing that.” Willow tried to think about another question. They had sort of drifted apart since Xander and Anya had been merged at the hip. “I’m going to Massachusetts with Ms. Maclay to see Tara perform at the end of the week.”

“That seems good. Is this any different than the other concerts our friend is in?”

“Sort of, this is a really exclusive orchestra camp that gives out scholarships and interviews.”

“Oh. Tara is going to need scholarships isn’t she,” commented Xander.

“Definitely.”

“Do you think that she’ll want to go to the East Coast to go to school? I suspect that those would be the schools doing interviews.”

“I don’t know. Maybe. She hasn’t really said much about her post-secondary plans to me, has she to you?”

“Nope, I figured if anyone would know it would be you, you guys are really close.”

“Not too close,” responded Willow feeling defensive.

“Um, no…just best friend close,” commented Xander.

“Yeah, I don’t know why I reacted that way, sorry.”

“It’s ok. I’m used to girls reacting strongly at random times, gotta think it’s been just Oz and I and all you girls. Speaking of which, how is Oz?”

“I don’t know. He doesn’t call from the road. I’m sure he is fine.”

“Don’t you want to sound a little more enthusiastic?”

“Yeah, I am looking forward to seeing him. Hearing about the tour.”

“When is he supposed to be back?”

“Wednesday, I think. I never know, sometimes they get more gigs, sometimes they stop home in between. Oz is not the best communicator.”

Xander parked the car and we walked into the Bronze. Most of the gang was already there and they had set themselves in some prime real estate. Buffy, her boyfriend, and Faith were all on the dance floor. Buffy and her boyfriend dancing very close, while Faith seemed to be dancing by herself. I went to the bar and got a Coke, and then sat down next to Xander who was nervously looking at the door waiting for Anya.

I watched Faith dancing and was amazed by how comfortable she seemed in her body. She swayed to the music and seemed to not have a care in the world. Anya came through the door and Xander jumped up and went to meet her. Faith took this opportunity to snag Xander’s seat.

“Hey, Red. Long time no see. How ya doing?” asked the dark-haired girl.

“Good. Working, looking at colleges, you?”

“I’ve been working too. I’m waitressing at the truck stop. It’s good money.”

“Yeah, I can imagine.”

“So how are you doing without your other half?”

“I’m fine. Oz should be back soon.”

“Not that other half, Tara?”

Willow gulped and looked at Faith. “Huh? She’s not my other half. She’s just my best friend.”

“Yeah sure.” Faith shook her head. “There is something more between the two of you than you let on.”

Willow blanched, “No there is not. We’re just good friends.”

“Whatever. Hey, isn’t that Oz coming in the door?”

Tara looked toward the door and it was indeed Oz.

Xander walked with Oz to where Willow was sitting, “Surprise, Oz told me that he was coming in tonight, and I thought I would surprise you.” figures, it is not like you’d just want my company. You guys haven’t invited me to the Bronze in ages.

“Gee thanks,” I said and tried to look happy. I asked, “Hey, when did you get in?” I got up and hugged Oz.

“Pretty much now,” was the quick response. Oz was standing with his hands in his pockets looking at me. “It’s good to see you.”

“It’s good to see you too,” I replied. Shit, this is not what I was expecting, I thought I had a few more days to figure out what I was going to say to him. . You guys are back early?

“Kinda, we had a free day, and we decided to come home to refresh. We’ve got a bunch more gigs arranged, so we’re off for another two weeks.”

“Isn’t that cutting it close to school?” asked Willow.

“We’ll be back close to when school starts…” answered Oz. This had often been a bone of contention between Oz and me. If it was a choice between school and the band, the band always won. Oz is smart, but it doesn’t seem like he cares about school.

“Ok.” I started playing with the hem of my shirt. “So are you going home? Or staying with Devin?”

“Well, I was kinda hoping to spend some time with you? Your parents aren’t home, are they?” the boy smiled at her.

“Nope, they won’t be home for another week…” Shit, Damn, I’m not ready for this. I am usually all “plan girl”. I am not good at winging it.

“I was thinking that I could take you home, or do you want to stay here?”

“We can go.”

Willow and Oz said goodbye to the gang and Oz took my hand as we walked to the Mystery Machine. I feel like I am walking to my execution.

“Is it going to smell all funky?” I asked.

“Nope. We’ve actually made enough money that we’ve been able to stay in hotels. Just driving, not living in the van.”

“That’s good.” What do I say? Should I bring him to my house to talk, should we talk now. I don’t want this to be awkward.

I got in the passenger seat and put on the seatbelt.

Oz started the car, turned on the air conditioner. He turned to me, “Are you ok Willow? You’re acting kinda strange.”

“I’m ok. Oz, we’ve got to talk.” I said.

Oz’s eyes got wide, “Oh…We’ve got to talk?”

“Yeah.” I couldn’t look him in the eye.

“Are you breaking up with me?” asked Oz. “Why? I know I’ve been gone a bunch, but you know how I feel about the band. Is it because I don’t call you. I could call you more.”

“It’s not about how much you call me Oz. It sounds cliché, but it is true, it is not about you, it’s about me. I just don’t feel like this relationship is working for me, I feel like we’ve been drifting apart.”

“Is there another guy?” He asked rather gruffly.

“No. There is no guy this is honest, it’s not a guy…. I just think that we are heading in different directions, we want different things…Oz, you will always be my first love. The first person to show interest in me, to care about me, and you will always be special to me.”

“Special?” He looked at me with his eyes wide open.

“Oz. this is really hard. I don’t want to hurt you. I care about you. But I just don’t want to be in a relationship with you. I’d love for us to stay friends.”

“Friends, talk about cliché,” commented Oz bitterly.

“I understand that you are mad.”

“I’m not mad, and if I am being honest. I thought that things weren’t going that well with us. Your heart didn’t seem to be in it. This helps me make some decisions. Does everyone know you are doing this?”

“No. Nobody knows. I wouldn’t tell anyone this before I told you?”

“Not even Tara?”

“No. Why would I talk to Tara about our relationship?” my voice got shrill.

“She’s your best friend. I thought that girls told their best friends everything.”

“Well, my best friend has been away for the last two weeks. No talking. You said that it is going to help you make some decisions?”

“Yeah, one of the reasons I came into town was to get some more of my stuff. We’re going back on the road for a while. The guys have been telling me that we need to stay on the road, but I said I needed to come back to be with you. Now I don’t. There is nothing stopping me from going with them.”

“What about high school?”

“What about it?” he said with a defensive tone.

“You are going to drop out? You’ve only got two more classes.”

“Correspondence school or something. Or I could just get my GED. It really isn’t your problem anymore. Do you think you can get a ride home from here?”


““Yeah, Xander and Anya are still here. I’m sorry Oz.”


“Take care of yourself Willow. I’m leaving.”

“When?”

“Pretty much now.”

I exited the van, the tears that I’d been trying to hold started pouring down my face. I didn’t think that it was going to be this hard. I know it is the right decision, but it’s hard.

Buffy and her boyfriend were leaving the Bronze as I was walking back in. Buffy saw that I was crying and stopped me. “Hey, what’s the matter.”

“Oz and I just broke up.” I hugged Buffy and started to sob into her shoulder.

“Oh, Willow why? Did he meet someone on the road?” She patted me on the back. why did everyone assume that he was going to cheat on me

“No. I broke up with him.”

“Oh…” commented Buffy.

“I’m going to miss him.”

“Won’t he be back at school in a few weeks?”

“No. He’s going to go ‘on the road’ with the band. He told me that I was the only thing holding him back here.”

“Well, that’s good, I guess. You won’t have to look at him all the time…”

Buffy’s boyfriend started looking around and shuffling his feet on the pavement.

“Listen, Wil. We’ve got to get going. Call me tomorrow, maybe we can do mochas.”

“Ok, bye.” Like she’s really going to go for mochas with me. She’s turned down every invitation I’ve made to get mochas all summer.

I walked back into the Bronze. I immediately headed to the bathroom so that the others wouldn’t see that I’d been crying.

Of course, Faith was in the bathroom. “Hey Red, what’s the matter? Music man say something to hurt your feelings?”

“We broke up.”

“Oh…should I say sorry?”

“I don’t know what you should say. I just want to go home. Are Xander and Anya still here?”

“I think so, but they were doing that thing they do that makes it clear that Anya wants to leave to have sex, so you better hurry and catch them. Listen Red, this is all for the best. Oz wasn’t totally right for you.”

“Thanks.”

Willow exited the bathroom and caught up with Xander and Anya.

“Can I get a ride home with you?”

“Yeah, where is Oz?”

“He left.”

“He left you here?”

“Yeah, I sort of broke up with him, so he left.”

“Sort of broke up with him?”

“I broke up with him.”

“Was he not giving you good orgasms?” asked Anya.

“Um…no that wasn’t the reason, it just wasn’t working.”

“Xander is not available.”

“Anya, I know. I don’t like Xander, he’s like a brother to me.”

“Some people want to date their brothers. I read that in Hotel New Hampshire

“Well, I am not one of them. Can I get a ride?”

“Yeah sure, Wil. Let’s go.”

We walked to Xander’s car and he brought me home.

***
Friday morning came really early. Ms. Maclay picked me up at 5am to get to the airport. She tried to engage me in conversation, but I didn’t have a lot of energy to talk. After getting I guess unsatisfactory answers from me, she put on the radio. We couldn’t get seats together on either of the planes, and in fact we were in different parts of both of the airplanes. For the first flight, I was stuck between two older people and on the second plane I had a window seat. I tried to sleep, but I kept thinking about what I was going to say to Tara. My biggest worry was that she would be dating the bassoon player or someone else, but I was also very afraid that she didn’t feel the same about me as I realized I felt about her. What if I told her I ‘liked’ her and she stated that she didn’t like me like that and things got weird and we weren’t friends anymore, and I watched her start to date somebody in school. I was also afraid because I wasn’t sure how I felt about maybe not being straight. Aside from the Scoobys, I had it relatively rough in school. I had been going to school with these kids since kindergarten and couldn’t shake the weird little kid reputation that I made when I came to kindergarten reading and doing math at the third grade level. I could just imagine what the more popular kids would do or say if they found out that I wasn’t straight. I’d gained some cred being with Oz, but that definitely was gone. I was no longer going to be the Dingo’s groupie. It felt like my whole identity was being scattered. I vacillated over the course of the trip between deciding to tell her how I felt, and just keeping it to myself and hope that it would go away. By the time we landed, I hadn’t decided what I was going to do.

Ms. Maclay was very appreciative that my parents were willing to pay for a rental car. She let me pick it out, and I picked a bright Red SUV. I wanted to impress Tara a little bit with a nice car. I’d already booked us in a hotel near Tanglewood. We began the drive from Albany to Tanglewood. Ms. Maclay was really excited about seeing Tara perform. She told me that she never got tired of listening to orchestras and bands. She said that it made her very proud to see Tara being part of making such beautiful music. We went to the hotel to change before we went to the performance space. I was glad that we were able to do this, because I didn’t think I looked that good after the trip. I had packed a green shirt that I thought highlighted my eyes. Tara always made comments that she liked when I wore green. I wore a long black skirt, black boots and put on a little makeup to hide the fatigue that I saw in my face.

We got to the concert space right when the doors were opening. I’d hoped that we’d get to sit close to the stage, but there were a lot of people ahead of us in line, and we ended up sitting toward the back of the hall. I’d heard Peter and the Wolf a few times before but knowing that Tara was playing the role of the Duck made it even more special. She sounded so good, as did the other kids, but I thought that she was extra great.

When the performance was over, we stayed in our seats and waited for Tara to come out. When I saw Tara come toward us. She hugged her mom and then she hugged me. She seemed really happy to see me.
Tara asked, “What are you doing here?”.

“What good is all that money if you can’t use it to see your best friend’s debut as the Duck.” I answered.

“You bought a last minute airplane ticket. That must have been really expensive.” Tara commented.

“For once I actually asked permission. They said certainly and made sure that I booked a suite for you, your mom and me. We’re staying a few miles down the road. I rented a car for your mom too, so we don’t’ have to wait for a van today or tomorrow.” I looked at Sarah, she was cute. I bet that she was Tara’s girlfriend.

Ms. Maclay asked, “So who is your friend?”

Tara stammered, “M…m…mom….t…t…this is my….my…my fr…friend S…s…Sarah, she played the role of the Grandfather. She plays the b…b…bassoon.”

Tara must have been really anxious about this introduction, she was stuttering, something that she didn’t do much anymore.

Ms, Maclay said, “It’s nice to meet one of Tara’s band camp friends. I usually just hear about them and have no face to put to the name.” She grabbed the program and began asking Tara about some of the other kids. She pointed them out to her mom.

While they were busy with this conversation, Sarah walked up to me and whispered in my ear, “You don't know what you are missing. You should look at what is right in front of you.”

Sarah then walked over to Tara and said, “I’ll see you at the critique tomorrow?”

Tara said, “Yep, looking forward to it. I’m going to go to the hotel with mom and Willow, but I’ll be at the meeting for sure.”

Sarah walked away from us and toward a tall man.

We all exited the auditorium, Ms. Maclay and I sat down on a bench while Tara went to her room to get some clothes. Ms. Maclay seemed a little embarrassed by the flashy car, she said “It’s all they had,” Tara said “Hey, I like red,” and bumped my hip.

I didn’t know what to say while we were driving to the hotel. Tara seemed to be trying to include me in their conversations; but I didn’t really feel like talking. She asked me if anything was wrong and I said that I was tired and had to get up really early. But actually I kept thinking about Sarah and how she looked at Tara and what she said to me.

Tara said, “I thought that you slept easily on planes.”

I answered, “Not this one. I had stuff on my mind, and you know Willow mind babble. It is hard to stop.”

“Well, you can go to sleep as soon as we get to the hotel. You said it’s a suite. I guess we’ll give mom the bedroom and you and I can share the living room, or I can bunk with my mom if that would be better for you. I don’t know what the room looks like.”

“There is a murphy bed and a couch in the living room, so you’ll be good,” said Ms. Maclay.

***
When we got to our room, I sat down on the couch while Ms. Maclay went into the bedroom and Tara pulled down the murphy bed. We got to the hotel and my mom settled into her room, while I pulled down the murphy bed. I guess I must have looked upset because she sat down beside me and asked, “What’s wrong.”

“Is that girl…your girlfriend?” I asked.

“No. We’re just friends. She wanted it to be more, but I didn’t.”

“She came up to me and told me that I didn’t know what I was missing. That I should look at what is right in front of me.”

“Oh…” Tara started looking at her fingers.

“What did she mean?” I asked.

“What do you think she meant?” she answered.

“I think she was telling me that I don’t appreciate you and she does…I think she is in love with you Tara, are you in love with her?” I asked.

“No. I am not in love with Sarah. She’s my friend."

“I broke up with Oz.”

“Oh, sweetie are you ok.” she said rubbing my arm. “Did he do something bad? Did he cheat?”

“No, I broke up with Oz. It wasn’t working for me. As you say, there wasn’t much zing. I wanted something different.”

“Oh…”

I decided to take the risk, this was the moment that I’d know what my future might entail, “I think I’m in love with someone else…but it is scary.”

“What’s scary about it?” Tara asked.

“’It’s different, and it could ruin everything…but it could be really good too. Tara I’ve missed you so much. You are the only person I can talk to; you are my lifeline. I realized…I realized….”

“What did you realize?” she asked.

“I realized…” I kissed her.

“I’ve known…” she kissed me back.

I put my arms around Tara’s neck and she put hers around my neck. Out kisses got deeper and we were snuggled into each other. It got so overwhelming that I pulled away a little and put my forehead against Tara’s. The myriad of feelings that were going through my mind and body were more than I could handle. Tara started to giggle and this made me giggle. It made me feel familiar and relieved. Tara and I had giggled together so many times in the last five years. This is my best friend

I yawned. She asked, “Are you tired?”

I responded, “Yeah, but I haven’t seen you in over three weeks, and actually I sort of think I haven’t REALLY seen you for longer than that. I don’t want to waste my time with you being asleep, but I am feeling exhausted. Aren’t you? Haven’t you been rehearsing that music for hours at a time. Not only the whole Peter and the Wolf, but all the other music during the concert too. How can you memorize all that music. I know it is in front of you, but it is still a lot of music.”

“Practice. We’ve been playing that music every year since I started coming to the camp, so for me a lot of it just flows out. You are right, we practiced that music over and over again these last two weeks. I swore that I woke up and my fingers were playing an imaginary oboe in my sleep. “

I yawned and put my head down on a pillow, ‘I can imagine. I feel like we’ve got a lot to talk about, and I have a lot of explaining to do. I’m feeling physically and emotionally exhausted. It was hard trying to act like ‘normal Willow’ with your mom when I was thinking so hard about everything. She kept asking if I was ‘alright’ and I kept saying, ‘yes’, but I know she knew something was going on. I kept wanting to tell her, but that would be inappropriate. Are you even out to your mother?”

“I am pretty sure she has known for a while, but it is not something that I have ever said outright. I’m kind of glad that you didn’t get into a conversation about it with her, but I understand the desire. She’s a really good adult to talk to.”

“You are so lucky to have a mom that you can talk to, you know.”

“I do know. I really appreciate her. I was so happy that I got the part so she could come here to hear and see me. How did you find out about it? Have you been hanging with my mother behind my back?” she punched my leg.

“I think she knew that my parents had been out of town for a while, she brought over ziti for me and when she dropped it off, she told me that you’d gotten the part and that she was flying to MA to see you. She invited me along. She said as long as my parents were ok with it, she was too. She thought that you’d be happy to see me.”

“I was. It was a big surprise.”

“That is what it was supposed to be.” I yawned again.

“You’ve got to get some sleep. We’ll have plenty of time to talk tomorrow and the tomorrow after that.” Tara said.

“I know. I may just lay down and sleep in my clothes. I don’t feel like moving.”

“Well, I’ve got to change. These clothes might look nice, but they are not the most comfortable.” She went to the bathroom to change. I tried to stay awake to say goodnight, but I must have fallen asleep. When I woke up in the middle of the night, there was a blanket over me, and Tara was gently snoring on the Murphy bed.

***
The next time I woke up, it was when Ms. Maclay was coming into the hotel room. She told me that we needed to get ready to go back to Tanglewood for another performance, the luncheon and award ceremony, as well as, check out of the hotel.

“Do I have time to take a quick shower?” I asked.

“You can take a long shower if you want, we have about 2 hours.”

“Ok.” I roused myself off the couch, grabbed my duffle bag and went into the bathroom. The hot water felt good on my body. The couch hadn’t felt too comfortable, but I didn’t want to assume that I was welcome in Tara’s bed. At the end of the shower I put on some cool water to help me wake up even more.

When I got out of the shower, I lay down on the murphy bed and was surprised to smell Tara. The pillowcase smelled like her honeysuckle shampoo with a twist of vanilla. It was a very familiar scent. Ms. Maclay came into the living room and asked if I wanted to get some breakfast and then get going. I agreed and the two of us tidied up the room, packed our bags and checked out. On the way to Tanglewood, we found a breakfast place. I hadn’t realized how hungry I was, but a bagel and cream cheese and a cup of mocha hit the spot.

There were lots of other parents and families walking outside of what I assumed was the dining hall. It was interesting to notice how everyone was dressed very differently for this activity. People were dressed in casual clothing. I was glad that I’d brought jeans and a shirt to wear on the airplane. I noticed that a lot of people were mulling around a board. Ms. Maclay and I were sitting down, so I told her that I was going to go look at what people were looking at. I discovered that it was a list of interviews. I looked for Tara’s name and saw that she had interviews at Berklee School of Music, The Boston Symphony, San Francisco Conservatory, and Yale. Looking at the times, I realized that Tara was not going to be on the plane with us back to California. I went back to Ms. Maclay and said,

“Tara’s got four interviews today. Three on the East Coast and one of the West Coast. Berklee School of Music, The Boston Symphony, Yale and the San Francisco Conservatory. “


“Seriously.” Ms. Maclay exclaimed.

“Why would I lie.” I responded.

“Wow. Those are some good places. I knew our girl was good, but I didn’t know she was that good. We’d figured that UC Sunnydale was where she’d probably be going. She had talked about the San Francisco Conservatory too, but she wasn’t sure if she wanted to just study music.”

“It seems that this place may have opened up some doors for her, eh?” I asked Ms. Maclay.

“Definitely.”

We noticed that a lot of people were walking into the hall, so we followed and found some seats at a long table. The performers were at the front of the building and looked very different in non-matching clothes. I could see Tara sitting next to Sarah and quietly talking to her. I felt a strong pang of jealousy.

After the performance, Tara found us and we got in line for lunch. We went back to where we were sitting and started eating. A few minutes later, Sarah and another woman, probably her mom sat down with us. I must have glared at Sarah, because Tara took my hand and kept giving me looks that I perceived as trying to tell me not to worry.

After we done eating, the ceremony started. Every kid was called up and their interviews were announced. I noticed that most people only had one or two interviews. It seemed that Tara had hit the jackpot. Tara didn’t look to happy to be in the spotlight when she was called up. She took my hand when she came back. Her sitting down didn’t last long, because both Tara and Sarah were called up because they had won the Woodwind prize. She came back to the table with a trophy with a flute player on it and an envelope that she handed her mother.

The guy that I figured was the head of the camp, Tara called him Maestro, then announced that the soloists had been invited to perform at the Wednesday Matinee and Evening Performances. All the soloists went up onto the stage. While they were standing there, the Maestro announced the final prize. I was glad that it was almost over. I was somewhat bored and wanted to talk to Tara. I was hardly listening to what he was saying, until I realized that the person who he was describing sounded a lot like Tara, I realized that it sounded a lot like Tara, because it was Tara, she had won the ‘top’ prize of the camp. She looked really surprised and embarrassed.

She came back to where we were all sitting and gave this trophy and envelope to her mom and she hugged her mom and her mom congratulated her. I followed Tara as she went to look at her interview times and lodging assignment. I was happy to see that she was not lodging with Sarah. We went back to where Ms. Maclay was sitting. Tara asked when we had to leave, and her mom said that we needed to leave soon.

I felt frustrated, I thought that I was going to get to see more of Tara and I thought that she was coming home either today or the latest tomorrow. Now she was going to stay here until Thursday. I knew that it was only five days, but I’d been waiting so long, that five days seemed to be forever.

I said, “I thought that you were going to fly home with us. Phooey on you for being so good that you have to stay to perform again, and interview at four of the top music schools.”

“I did it to bother you.” She said in a joking manner.

“I know. Promise you’ll come home on Thursday. Don’t let anyone seduce you into staying and joining their orchestra. You’ve got to come home and finish our Senior year.”

“I promise, I’ll be home Thursday. I know that a whole new group is coming Friday, so they need to get us up and out.”

“What is in the envelopes?” I asked.

I had handed them to my mom when I got off the stage. She was still holding them in her hand and had the two trophies in a bag that I figured someone had given her.

It was a letter. I saw that whatever was in the envelope had almost made Tara faint. I grabbed her arm and made her sit down. After she read it, she showed it to me, and it said that she had a 10,000 scholarship that could be renewed for four years. There were some other stipulations, but they didn’t seem too strenuous.

You’ve got to open the other one too.” I said.

Tara turned white and had to put her head in between her knees. Ms. Maclay was rubbing her back and telling her to breathe. She handed me the letter and it was for another 50,000 a year. If Tara majored or minored in music, she had 60,000 a year to spend at any school she wanted to. Tara had just changed from a kid that was going to have to go to a state school, to someone who could go anywhere she wanted. I was so happy for her.

“Please pinch me, mom. Do you see what I see? Did I just get the potential to have 60,000 of scholarship a year for four years as long as I get good grades, perform with one of the best Symphonies in the country, and help out at a camp that I have loved coming to?” said Tara.

“That’s what I see. Now, you need to go meet those interviewers and the sky is the limit. You’ll still be eligible for scholarships and loans based on my income, so you can go wherever you want to and are accepted,” responded her Mom.

Tara then looked at me and said, “Sorry, didn’t mean to be ignoring you. “

“No problem, glad I told you to open them, so you know now. Go to those interviews. I can’t wait to hear how they go. “

Ms. Maclay looked at her watch and said, “I am really sorry, you guys, but Willow and I really have to go.”

Ms. Maclay hugged Tara and began walking to the car. I went up to Tara, she hugged me and whispered, “I can’t wait to see you later. I’ve missed you so much and I’ve so much to tell you.” She kissed me quickly on the lips and I walked to the car. When I turned back to see if she was still watching, she waved at me and then turned to go to her interviews.

When I got in the car, a bunch of emotions hit me. I didn’t want to cry, but the tears were welled up in my eyes. I tried to sniff them away.

“You ok Willow?” Ms. Maclay asked, “I am disappointed that she’s not coming home yet too. But it is really only five more days. You can come with me to pick her up on Thursday if you aren’t working. And if you are, I am sure that you are the first person she’s going to want to see when she gets home.”

“I know.” I said through the sniffs. “I must still be tired. I don’t usually get the weepies.”

“You were looking forward to clarifying stuff with Tara today. Now you need to wait five more days. That is hard.”

“What do you mean?” I asked. Does she know what is going on?” What does she know.

“You know what I mean, Willow. Tara’s been waiting for you to see what was going on for at least two years, she will wait another five days.”

I didn’t know what to say, so I said nothing.

_________________
Atlantic Antics
Meeting Expectations
Learning to Laugh


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: What I Discovered at Band Camp (9/12/19)
PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2019 1:07 am 
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4. Extra Flamey

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
Posts: 201
Dibs! :whip
Pretty late again but I partially blame it on the problems with the board.

Quote:
“Was he not giving you good orgasms?” asked Anya.

“Um…no that wasn’t the reason, it just wasn’t working.”

“Xander is not available.”

“Anya, I know. I don’t like Xander, he’s like a brother to me.”

“Some people want to date their brothers. I read that in Hotel New Hampshire”


:laugh So Anya!

So Willow hasn't come out to anyone before her visit to bandcamp. Well, it's understandable that she wanted to find out first if Tara even "liked her that way".

I'm really looking forward to their reunion!


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: What I Discovered at Band Camp (9/12/19)
PostPosted: Tue Sep 24, 2019 12:36 am 
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9. Gay Now
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Joined: Sat Sep 24, 2011 7:45 pm
Posts: 975
Topics: 15
Location: Beyond the orbit of Mars and accelerating...
Good news for Tara!

I too look forward to them getting together and working this all out :)

R :flower

_________________
“All I feel is sunlight. All I hear is music.” Willow
How i Met Your Mother - By Ariel


My Story: Coming Home


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: What I Discovered at Band Camp (9/12/19)
PostPosted: Wed Sep 25, 2019 2:13 pm 
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7. Teeny Tinkerbell Light

Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 5:33 pm
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Topics: 2
Location: North Carolina, USA
Will's Redemption: :banana Dibs and I was so happy when you quoted that Anya interchange. I was proud of it.

Azirahael: It will take them longer to work it out, but here is the start.


It was hard to say goodbye to Rachel, Cindy and Sarah. We had to be up early in the morning to catch the shuttle back to Boston. The first to say goodbye was Sarah. The van dropped us off at the airport and Sarah said that she’d take the “T” home. Rachel and Sarah kissed goodbye which led me to believe that it was not an accident that they had fallen asleep in the living room. I hugged Sarah goodbye and said that I hoped our paths would cross.

The three of us checked in for our various flights and were disappointed to discover that none of our gates were close to each other. My flight was the first one scheduled, so after we went through security, they walked me to my gate. The flight was boarding, so I hugged them goodbye and promised to write. It seemed that Rachel was very serious that she wanted to come to California to visit. I suspected that my mother would have no problems with them visiting. I felt a sense of sadness and loss when I walked onto the plane and took my seat. I’d checked my clothes and my older oboe but was carrying the ‘newer’ one as one of my carry-ons. I was happy to discover that it was a direct flight home. I grabbed a pillow and a blanket and settled against the window in the hope that I’d fall asleep.

Fortunately, the middle seat was not occupied, so that gave me a little more room. They gave us headphones to listen to the onboard television and radio. After all of the requisite safety demonstrations, I put on the classical music station and tried to go to sleep. I was surprised to discover that I was able to sleep almost four hours before I was awoken by the steward bringing lunch. I’d brought a novel that I was part of my required summer reading for AP English, so I spent most of the rest of the trip reading the book. Willow and I had agreed to try to get the books read before the last week of summer vacation so we could discuss them and be prepared for the essay that most likely would be assigned the first day. I had already read Beloved and Jane Eyre but still needed to read Wuthering Heights. I was transported to the moors of 1700 England and the romance of Heathcliff and Katherine. I was very surprised when I felt the plane’s wheels lowering and the plane starting to descend. As we were taxiing on the runway, I had my first twinge of wondering what was in store for me when I saw Willow.

I was a little disappointed when it was just my mother picking me up from the airport. I tried not to show it, but she must have seen it in my face. She said, “Willow had to work. She will be off by the time that we get home. It was work in the afternoon or the evening, and she wanted to see you this evening.”

“Ok.” I responded as we waited for my suitcase to come onto the conveyer belt.

“Tell me about the rest of your camp, how was the children’s concert?” asked my mom, as we got into the car and started the hour long drive back home.

“It was good. I came up with the idea of teaching kids to play the recorder as our lesson and a bunch of them really enjoyed it. We all played some kids songs too. It was a lot of fun. I really like working with littler kids.”

“You always have been good with kids. Maybe you will be able to work one of the younger kid’s camps when you go back to Tanglewood next year.”

“Yeah, isn’t it cool that I get to go back every year, and they are going to pay for it.”

“Definitely. How were the interviews? Did any of the schools knock your socks off?”

“Um…my socks are firmly on my feet, but I’ve got to say that of the four interviews, I liked Berklee School of Music and Yale the most. I liked that Berklee requires you to have broad knowledge of music and composition. Both of the Symphonies were very focused on just your instrument and composition. Yale was great because it’s a wonderful music school and an excellent general education program. I am really struggling with whether I want to limit my studies to music.

“If you had to pick one, what would it be?” asked my mother.

“Probably Berklee, they have liberal arts requirements as well as the music. That seems like the best of both worlds.”

“You didn’t really like the San Francisco Symphony?”

“Not really, but I am sure that there are other California colleges with great music programs. Do you not want me to go so far away to college?”

“I want you to go to whatever college that you want to go to. You’ve got 60,000 a year to play with. But I have to admit that the idea of you going all the way across the country makes me a little sad.”

“Well, we’ll see, I guess. It’s not like you’ll have an empty nest. I don’t think that Donny is ever going to leave you.”

“I am sure that he will. Probably not until he finds a good girl to marry, but he’ll move then.”

“You sure she won’t just come live with you too?”

“No. I don’t want that.”

“Speaking of Donny, what is he up to?”

“He’s good. He is very proud that he’s getting to work on cars now that he’s had his formal training. I don’t think I’ll have to pay for repairs on this girl” she patted the car, “for a while.”

“That is good. My oboe playing doesn’t help you at all.”

“You make beautiful music, that is great.”

“I feel that I should get a job to be more help to you. You have to work too hard to take care of us.”

“Sweetheart, you only have one Senior year and I want you to enjoy it. On top of which, I am sure once the news that you won the top honor at the Tanglewood camp gets back this coast, it won’t just be this region of California that wants you in their youth orchestra, but the rest of the state as well. I am suspecting that you are going to be very busy on the weekends.”

“But I don’t need to do all those things. I know that most of my expenses are paid, but you are always the one that has to give me pocket money and other stuff. I know my clothes are not inexpensive. Black skirt, black pants, black shoes, white blouse, white shirt, tee-shirts, all those clothes cost money.”

“I do not regret a cent that I have spent on your music. You have a talent that needs to be explored. I am glad that you are thinking about a college with a liberal arts component though…music is great, but there are so many more things to study.”

“Anything I missed while I was gone?”

“Other than a forlorn redhead who rode her bike past our house a few times in the last 5 days?”

“She did?”

“Yes. I brought her some more food a few days ago. Her parents have been gone for a month! I don’t know how they can do that to her.”

“She acts like she’s all independent. She’d never tell them she misses them. Unlike me, who missed you terribly.” Tara looked over at her mother.


"Do you think that Willow and you are going to start dating?"

“Mom, I don’t know. For all I know she’s back with Oz and regretting that kiss.”

“Is that what you want?”

“No. Mom. It is not what I want. But I also don’t want to be talking about this with my mother.”

“Do you have someone else to talk about it with?”

“Willow I guess.”

“What are you going to do if Willow is, how you said it, ‘regretting the kiss’.”

“Survive, hope that we can stay friends, get involved in some GLBTQIA activities. I don’t know. I don’t really want to think about it.”

“So, if you are dating, will I need to change the sleepover rules? I never let Donny have his girlfriend sleep over.”

“Mom, you are getting WAY ahead of me. And I repeat, I don’t want to be talking to you about this. I promise if there is something that I need to tell you, I will tell you, and if you don’t think that Donny had a few of his girlfriends sleep over, you are a bit naïve.”

“The key word is ‘let’. I never condoned it.”

“Yes, you are a great parent, making sure that your kid had sex in the car, or other people’s houses, or under the bleachers. God forbid you allow them to have sex in a safe place like a bedroom.”

“Tara. Is that what you really think,” her mother said shocked.

“No. I understand that you had to pretend to not allow it. I am sure that you knew that Donny had his girlfriends over when you were out. Can we stop talking about my brother’s sexuality. I had to deal with it enough when walking in on them in the living room. Maybe that is why I am gay, it grossed me out.”

“Are you trying to figure out why you are gay?”

“No…I don’t know. Mom this is way too heavy of a conversation to be having. I am exhausted. I had to do homework on the plane, and I ended up staying up way to late last night.”

“You are not hung over, are you?”

“No. I didn’t really drink.”

“Really?”

“Ok, I had one drink, but that was it and I was sober before I fell asleep. I am not hung over.”

“Was there a lot of drinking at your camp?”

“I have no idea, that was the only party I went to while I was there. Sarah and I hung out most of the time after practice.”

“You know you are supposed to practice safe sex with girls as well as guys.”

“Mom. I did not have sex with Sarah. We are friends. I really don’t want to be talking to you about this, but I don’t plan to have sex until I am in love and in a committed relationship. See I did listen to your speeches.”

“Good to hear. I just need to make sure you are being safe, sweetie.”

“Have you been saving up a year’s worth of ‘comments by mom’ for this drive?”

“I had a lot of time to think while you were gone.”

“Well, let me have it. Don’t do drugs, take rides from strangers, drink and drive, drive with someone who is high or drunk. What did I forget?”

“Don’t believe everything you read on the internet?”

I rolled my eyes and turned up the radio.

***
I half expected Willow to be sitting on my porch when we got home, but she wasn’t. I brought my clothes to the laundry room, started a load of wash, and then called her.

“I’m home.”

“I’m on my way.”

“I’m going to hop in the shower. If you get here before I am out, just come upstairs, ok?”

“Yep.”

I grabbed clean clothes from my drawers and entered the shower. It was so nice to be in a regular bathroom rather than a dorm with four shower stalls next to each other. One of the saxophone players was really tall and I worried that she could see over the partitions. Not that I thought that she was looking, but it was kind of weird. I was dressed and toweling off my hair when I heard Willow knocking. My mom answered the door and sent her upstairs. I felt like I was going to jump out of my skin, but I was trying to appear calm, collected, and ready for anything. I sat down on my bed and started to comb out my hair.

Willow came in my room, closed the door, and sat down on the bed next to me. I finished combing my hair. I put the comb back on my dresser and sat down on my bed, my back against the headboard. I wanted Willow to ‘show her cards first’.

We stared at each other for a few moments, and then Willow said, “Hi.”

I replied, “Hi.”

“How was the rest of band camp?”

“Really good, how was your week?”

“I worked a lot so that was good. It is so nice to have money of my own. My parents are still overseas.”

“That’s what my mom said. She said she brought you some leftovers.”

“Yeah, that is the only time I eat vegetables.”

There was an awkward silence.

“So….” Commented Willow.

“Yeah?”

“I missed you.”

“I missed you too.”

“I was happy for you that you got to stay for interviews and more performances, but I was sad that you couldn’t come home with us. Speaking of that, how did the interviews go?”

“Pretty well, I think I’ve decided that I want to go to a school that has liberal arts, as well as, music education. I really liked Yale and Berklee School of Music.”

“So are you thinking about going to school on the East Coast.”

“Maybe. I don’t know. I think I have a really good chance at Berklee. The oboe professional who I worked with said that he was going to give me a recommendation.”

“That sounds promising.”

“Promising, Willow! What are you one of our parents? What is going on?”

There was an awkward silence, I couldn't take it any more, so I blurted out, “So, Willow what do you want?”

“I don’t want you to kiss any other girl but me,” she replied.

“Are you saying you want to kiss me?”

“I guess.”

“You guess. That is not an overwhelmingly positive answer. I am pretty sure that I don’t want to kiss someone who is that unclear about whether I’m worth it.” I started to get pissed.

“Tara, you know what I mean. You are definitely worth kissing. I’ve been thinking about kissing you almost all of the time since I left Massachusetts. The ‘I guess’ is part of my confusion from the last few weeks. You’ve had a while to realize that you like girls, it hit me out of the blue three weeks ago.”

“I know it is hard Willow, I am not asking you to be all “out and proud”. I know you can’t. Your parents would have a joint coronary. I know that if we try to have a relationship, it will have to be hidden, we can’t even tell our friends. We will have to pretend that we’re just Willow and Tara, best friends forever. I know that I’m going to have to listen to people talk about how awful it is that you and Oz broke up, I’m going to have watch guys come on to you. Who knows, you might even have to start dating a guy to keep up appearances. But I want you to know that I’m not going to pretend to be straight. I’m not going to wear a big “I am a lesbian” pin, but I’m not going to hide it either.”

“It seems like you’ve been thinking about it pretty seriously.”

“Willow, I’ve known I had feelings for you for several years. I watched you and Oz get together, I had to cope with watching you guys get all snuggly and be ‘normal’, when I knew that I’d never have that.”

“You sound angry.”

“I’m not angry. I am sorry if I sound that way. I am just probably as confused as you are. If we decide to change the status of our relationship from best friends to girlfriends what is going to change? How are we going to navigate all of it. What am I going to do if you decide that you don’t really like me ‘that way’. Can I survive just being your friend if it doesn’t work out. I’ve heard that it is great when your romantic partner is also your best friend, but I feel like it would be a double loss if we didn’t work out.”

“Seems that you are thinking a lot about us breaking up before we’re even together.”

“Hope for the best and prepare for the worst.” I paused, “UGG, why is it so complicated?”

“It really doesn’t have to be, Tara. We could just take it one day at a time. I can’t promise what is going to happen in the future, but I know that now, I really want to kiss you.”

“Then why aren’t you doing it?”

“Because you’ve been talking a lot, and it hasn’t been really romantic things.”

“So, should I start talking about how beautiful your eyes are, and how sometimes I can’t take my eyes off you when you are really into something. That I think you’ve got the most beautiful, perfect lips and each time that I see you lick them, I want to be the one to make them moist.”

Willow moved closer to me and kissed me.

_________________
Atlantic Antics
Meeting Expectations
Learning to Laugh


Last edited by taranwillow4ever on Thu Sep 26, 2019 10:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: What I Discovered at Band Camp (9/25/19)
PostPosted: Wed Sep 25, 2019 10:40 pm 
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4. Extra Flamey

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
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Dibs! :whip

First some technicality: you accidentally changed the POV here:
Quote:
Tara rolled her eyes and turned up the radio.


I have to admit that the agressive undertone Tara showed in both conversations with her mom and Willow surprised me.
Quote:
“Promising, Willow! What are you one of our parents? What is going on?”


“So, Willow what do you want?” I asked, knowing that she could probably engage me in inane conversation for a while.”


It feels as if some part of the conversation is missing, either a reply from Willow or at least "Willow blushed but stayed silent." or some description like that.
Anyway Tara's attitude bothers me here. She has given zero indication to Willow that she wants to talk about the status of their relationship immediately and then snaps at her because she hasn't "declared herself" in the first 3 minutes of conversation, wtf? Is she subconsciously trying to scare Willow away or what?

Quote:
We could just take it one day at a time. I can’t promise what is going to happen in the future, but I know that now, I really want to kiss you.”

“Then why aren’t you doing it?”

“Because you’ve been talking a lot, and it hasn’t been really romantic things.”

“So, should I start talking about how beautiful your eyes are, and how sometimes I can’t take my eyes off you when you are really into something. That I think you’ve got the most beautiful, perfect lips and each time that I see you lick them, I want to be the one to make them moist.”

Willow moved closer to me and kissed me.

That attitude is way better... :wtkiss :flower :bigkiss


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: What I Discovered at Band Camp (9/25/19)
PostPosted: Thu Oct 03, 2019 6:34 pm 
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7. Teeny Tinkerbell Light

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Will's Redemption: Thanks for catching the inconsistency. Sorry that Tara seemed hostile, I didn't mean it to make Tara seem hostile. I edited it a little too, to make it seem less angry. I am glad that you liked the last interchange.


Willow’s lips were softer than I remembered from the kisses in the hotel room. Willow put her hands on the sides of my head and pulled our mouths closer. She nipped at my lower lip and pressed her tongue into my mouth. She was kneeling in front of me and my head was pressing into the headboard. After awhile, I pulled my mouth away.

“What is the matter?” asked Willow looking scared.

“My head was hurting. It was pressed into my headboard.”

“Sorry.” Willow began pouting.

“Nothing to be sorry about. We’ve just got to find another way that is comfortable for both of us.” I pecked Willow on the cheek.

“Ok. Ideas?”

“Why don’t you come sit next to me.” I patted to the space on the bed beside me and extended my arm so that Willow could settle into my shoulder. “This feels so right.” I exclaimed.

“Yeah, it does,” replied Willow.

At first, Willow seemed to be relaxing into my arm, but after a few minutes I could tell that Willow had something to say. Her body started tensing up and her breathing became more irregular.

“Is there something wrong sweetie?” I asked.

No. Nothing wrong, everything is okay dokey. I’m here, you’re here. We are together and have started with the kissing, everything is great. Uh huh, Great.” Willow babbled.

I had always figured that there was a way to stop Willow from babbling other than telling her she was doing it. I turned and kissed her. This immediately stopped the babbling. I could feel Willow calming down a little more. However, I could still tell that there were things going through her head that we should probably talk about. I moved so I was facing Willow. “What is going on in here.” I touched Willow’s head.

“SO much, more than normal, so much. SO many questions, so many thoughts. You’ve been gone for almost three weeks. We haven’t talked very much since last summer. Sure, we’ve talked, but we haven’t TALKED. I feel like I hardly know you anymore, and I hardly know myself anymore and I don’t understand what to do or what happened. I feel so confused.”

“I do too, sweetie. I know that I have a sort of a head start on everything, but I am confused too. I had convinced myself that you would never feel the same way that I felt, and then you came to my concert and you kissed me…”

“Yes, I did.” Willow nodded.

“So, what does that mean to you?” I asked.

Willow’s eyes went wide, and it was clear that she was not ready to answer this question. “What does it mean to you?”

“You really want me to put my cards on the table.” I said, surprised by my gall.

“I guess. I don’t want to say anything that will screw things up.” Willow admitted.

“Willow, we’ve been best friends for almost six years. We just have to give each other some slack if we put our feet in our mouth. We need to not take things too seriously. Regardless of whether we get together or don’t, I want us to stay friends.”

“Yes, that is non-negotiable. We will always be friends. I can’t imagine my life without being your friend.”

“Ok, so let’s be honest. Why don’t we take turns asking a question, and we’ll try to answer honestly. If we aren’t ready to answer, we’ll say that, but promise to answer the question when we can. You can go first.”

“How long have you had romantic feelings toward me?”

“Oh, start with an easy one.” I laughed. “Looking back, I probably started having feelings for you when we were in middle school, but I didn’t know what they were. I realized that I wanted to be your girlfriend, probably last summer.”

“Were you going to tell me?”

“Hey, it’s my turn.” I playfully nudged Willow’s knee. “I wasn’t sure, but I knew that I wouldn’t when I found out that you and Oz were together.”

“Why not?”

“Other than thinking you were definitely straight? Other than the fact you’d never made any comments, said or done anything that would make me thing that you might be interested in girls or me? Other than because you seemed really happy, and I was happy for both you and Oz. Other than you were my best friend and your happiness was more important than mine.”

“Yeah, other than that. Your question.”

“D…d…did you ever think about me in a romantic manner before these couple of weeks.”

“I’ve been thinking about that…some of the realizations that I have come up with is that I’d had feelings, but never thought about them in that manner. I realized that I’d kinda mixed up romantic and friend feelings. I thought that my feelings were just normal for a best friend relationship. I thought that everyone felt the way that I felt toward you.”

“I am pretty sure that most best friends don’t want to kiss or do other things with each other.”

“Yeah, that…I think I just kind of tried to ignore the feelings, sensations and thoughts. I had a brief urge to kiss Faith once. I thought that it was some sort of weird pheromone fluke.”

“You wanted to kiss Faith? Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Um…kinda embarrassed. I was worried about what you’d think. You gotta remember, I just assumed that you were straight until that comment you made before you left.”

“You’d never even thought about it?”

“Nope. It was a given. Proof: Willow and Tara are straight because almost all of our friends are straight.”

“Yeah, I didn’t think about it being an option until maybe...the middle of high school. But I tried to explain it away with thoughts that maybe I was confused or just hadn’t met the right guy.”

“Why didn’t you ever tell me?”

“I was embarrassed, and I didn’t want you to think I was some sort of weirdo.”

“I’ve always thought you were a weirdo; nothing would change that,” she nudged me.

“Thanks.”

“But you were always my weirdo. I realized that I’d always imagined that we’d be together. I thought that we’d go to nearby colleges, we’d find guys, marry them and live nearby, go on vacations together, help each other take care of the children, and grow old together. When I was thinking about this, I discovered that the husbands were always an accessory, our relationship was primary.”

“You’ve imagined us growing old together?”

“Yeah. You are my primary relationship. When I thought about you being with another girl, I got so jealous, but when I thought about you with a guy, I figured that we’d still have each other, it wasn’t a big deal.”

“Do you just want to be with me so that I don’t ditch you for another girl?”

“No. See I told you that I was going to put my foot in my mouth.”

“Sorry. I just still have to get my head around the idea that you may be interested in dating me.”

“Tara, I am definitely interested in dating you.” Willow looked me straight in the eye.

“We are going to be dating?”

“I guess.”

“Doesn’t dating mean that we go on dates? How is that going to be different than when we hang out together and do things?”

“I don’t know. I guess we won’t invite the others. We’ll go to romantic places. We’ll hold hands under the table, we’ll sit closer together, we’ll go home. We’ll” She raised her eyebrows.

I couldn’t’ think about what she was implying by the raised eyebrows, so I tried to change the subject. “What about the others? What if they figure it out? They will probably not see things that they don’t want to see. The only one that I imagine will be difficult to hide from is Faith.”

“She already knows,” admitted Willow.

“Huh, you told Faith.”

“No, she just said something to me that alluded that she knew that I was your ‘other half’”

“How did that come up?”

“I was at the Bronze with everyone. Xander had invited me so because Oz had come home, and it was supposed to be a surprise for me. Wow, it was a surprise, I thought I’d have a several more days to figure out what I was going to say to Oz. Xander got up to greet Anya, and Faith came over to talk to me. She asked me how I was doing without my ‘other half’. I made a comment about what Oz was up to and she said that she was asking about you.”

“You didn’t confirm it though, did you?”

“No. I wasn’t sure that you were going to want to be date me.”

“How could I not want to date you?”

“I don’t know. I wasn’t feeling too sure of myself.”

“Last year, she said that she knew I liked you ‘more than a friend’.”

“Ok, so it will be hard to keep Faith from figuring it out. It’s not like she’ll tell the others.”

“She’ll probably make a bunch of comments, but I suspect that they will go over the others’ heads.

“What about Anya?”

“What about her?”

“She’s pretty attuned to sexual energy.”

“Well, I guess we’ll just have to be careful when we are around her. Hopefully she’ll be focused on Xander and ignore us.”

“Xander would be titillated.”

“Yeah, I don’t want him to be questioning what we do in bed?”

“I don’t want to think about him thinking about me doing anything sexual,” commented Willow. Let’s get off this theme. Let’s keep Xander and other boys out of our bedroom.”

“Definitely, no boys in the bedroom,” I stated.

“Do you think you are totally gay?”

“I think so. Is that ok?”

“Yeah, sure. I’m not sure about myself…I’m kind of stuck with the I like a girl, not sure if I like girls in general.”

“As long as I am the girl that you like, I don’t care who else you are attracted to.”

_________________
Atlantic Antics
Meeting Expectations
Learning to Laugh


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: What I Discovered at Band Camp (10/3/19))
PostPosted: Mon Oct 07, 2019 4:38 am 
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4. Extra Flamey

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
Posts: 201
Dibs! :whip

Quote:
“What is going on in here.” I touched Willow’s head.

“SO much, more than normal, so much. SO many questions, so many thoughts. You’ve been gone for almost three weeks. We haven’t talked very much since last summer. Sure, we’ve talked, but we haven’t TALKED. I feel like I hardly know you anymore, and I hardly know myself anymore and I don’t understand what to do or what happened. I feel so confused.”

“I do too, sweetie. I know that I have a sort of a head start on everything, but I am confused too. I had convinced myself that you would never feel the same way that I felt, and then you came to my concert and you kissed me…”

Yay for them finding the courage to talk openly about their feelings.

Quote:
Let’s keep Xander and other boys out of our bedroom.”

“Definitely, no boys in the bedroom,” I stated.

Good intention! :laugh

Quote:
I’m kind of stuck with the I like a girl, not sure if I like girls in general.”

“As long as I am the girl that you like, I don’t care who else you are attracted to.”


I like that Tara doesn't pressure Willow to identify herself as gay. I hope they agree that their relationship should be exclusive though, no dating of other boys or girls "on the side".


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: What I Discovered at Band Camp (10/3/19))
PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2019 7:41 pm 
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20. Not one Much for the Timber
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This was a really nice chapter and I enjoyed their honesty with each other. I like the way this story is progressing and I'm looking forward to more!

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