Willow stared at the teacher, absorbing what was being said without really listening. She was good at that. Anyone looking at her would think she was paying attention to every word. That was a laugh. Most of the time, she was lost in her own private daydreams. She was thankful to have a mind that let her keep up without having to really try.
"So, class. It is time to choose a partner."
Willow snapped from her dream. A partner? She ran through her thoughts and remembered something about the teacher trying things differently this term. Each student would be given a partner to study with and do special projects. Just what she needed to deal with. She glanced around the room. No one she spoke to was in this class. She'd probably get someone as nerdy as she was. Better than Harmony or....
"Cordelia Chase and Willow Rosenberg. Tom Kite and Mary Stephens...."
Willow groaned. She had to have heard wrong. Not Cordelia. Harmony would even be better than Cordelia. She could not spend an entire school year partnered with the bitchy snot. She glanced at the snob in question and saw a similar stunned look on her face. Good, at least she wasn't the only one that objected.
"Excuse me, Mr. Hall. I want a new partner."
"Miss Chase, I can't help you. Now, move to the seat beside Willow."
"I can't be with her all year. My stock will plummet. I might as well date a loser like Xander Harris."
"Cordelia, take that seat. I have no desire to hear about your stock or your life."
Cordelia glared at the teacher before moving beside Willow. She made a loud sighing sound so that everyone knew her displeasure.
Willow rolled her eyes. Like she was happy about this? The one person at the school she detested and now they were stuck together for an entire year of American History. Just what she needed. And she thought the summer was bad.
Cordelia sat in silence. She couldn't believe Mr Hall hadn't relented. She'd even brought out the simpering. Damn man. He must be blind. She cast a glance at Willow and frowned. How was she suppose to deal with this? Anyone except for Willow. She was living a nightmare right now. All she needed were Harmony and the others pointing and saying nasty things about her and it would be complete. The problem was, this time she wouldn't be able to wake up.
She closed her eyes briefly, gathering her emotions. Wouldn't do for anyone to see how upset this truly made her. When she opened them, she was calm and collected. No one would find out. She'd make sure of that. She could do this. She was Cordelia Chase after all. What was a little acting? She did it every day. Besides, her history grade would definitely improve.
Willow seethed with anger. She stared at the two laughing teens and felt an urge to hit them both.
"It's not funny."
"Yes.." Xander snorted..."It is."
"You and the bitch....man of man...I thought Physics was going to be tough for me...."Buffy stared laughing again.
Giles walked in and surveyed the situation. "May I ask what is so amusing?"
"Willow" laugh "Cordelia" laugh "partners in class...."
Giles frowned, "And why is that amusing?"
Willow rolled her eyes, "They are laughing at my misfortune. Some friends."
Buffy straightened up, trying not to smile, "Sorry Wills. It isn't the pairing really. It's the way you told us. Like someone had killed your dog or something. I thought it was really bad..."
"This is bad. She hates me. She never misses an opportunity to belittle me. Now, I have to deal with it ever single day not to mention the special projects that evil little man has planned."
"You're right. After school activities with Cordelia? Yuck" Xander shuddered.
"See! Xander even thinks it's yuck. I hate school."
"No, you hate history class. Don't worry. I'm sure it will be nothing. Besides, can you see Cordelia really wanting to complete after school projects? It might interfere with cheerleading."
"Yeah, but then I end up doing all the work myself" Willow slowly smiled, "Alone. I love it. I'm sure that you're right. She never even does her own work. She'll expect me to do it all. That's great."
"I don't understand you children sometimes" Giles muttered before going into his office.
"So, Bronze tonight?" Xander asked, looking hopefully at Buffy.
"Sure. You in Wills?"
"Not tonight. I have to do the family dinner thing."
"They're in town?"
"For the night. Tomorrow they leave for a sabbatical in Tokyo. They'll be gone until December."
"Four months? You want to stay with me and Mom?"
"No. I like alone time. I'm use to it. But, Bronze tomorrow maybe."
"Cool. Guess it's just you and me Xan."
"Great" Xander smiled.
"Yeah great" Willow said softly.
Cordelia let herself in, tossing her coat on the chair by the door. She went into the kitchen and grabbed a soda before heading upstairs. She saw a note taped to her bedroom door. Opening it she read,
Cor---Your Father and I are touring Europe after his meetings are finished. Second honeymoon. Be back in a couple of months. Check book is on my desk. Credit cards too. Hugs and Kisses, Mommy
Cordelia snorted before wadding the paper up. She went into her bedroom and tossed it in the garbage. She turned on her radio, sitting down and opening her math book. She wanted to get her homework done before it got dark. She had to make an appearance at the Bronze. It was expected. She'd rather crawl into bed and eat some ice cream....maybe catch an old movie. She knew a Cary Grant film was playing that evening. She loved Cary Grant.
She sighed as she began her homework. She deliberately missed a few. She didn't want anyone thinking she was smart. Things didn't work that way. Smart equaled nerd. She'd learned that lesson long ago at camp one summer. She could still remember the taunts at her knowledge. She had hated it. Ever since then, she played the dumb airhead. It had worked. She was the most popular girl in school. Everyone loved her.
Several faces flashed in her mind. Well, almost everyone. It didn't matter. She was happy. She had friends. She closed her eyes briefly, letting the music drift around her. She was happy, she insisted to herself.
Willow went inside, calling a greeting to her mother. When she got no response, she went to the kitchen. She saw a note on the bar.
Willow----left early. Numbers in the rolodex. Credit card and check book in the usual place. Bills have been paid through December. See you at Christmas. Mother.
She rolled her eyes. She had known they'd be gone. They hated Sunnydale. Loved to travel. Hated her. She frowned as she went upstairs. She went into her room, turning on her radio. Sitting on her bed, she spread out her school books.
She began her Math homework first. It was the easiest for her, so she liked to get it out of the way. Within an hour, she was done with all her homework. Guess that meant she could meet Buffy and Xander at the Bronze after all. She closed her eyes leaning back. She decided that she wasn't really in a festive mood. She'd rather stay home. Opening her eyes, she turned off the radio and flipped on the television. In no time, she was laughing at an old black and white movie.
Willow sat in her desk, her book bag going at her feet. She pulled out her folder and history book and waited. She grimaced slightly as Cordelia took the seat next to her.
"Willow" Cordelia greeted frostily. She kept her eyes on the front of the class. She couldn't believe she was sitting so close to the back. Who would see her here?
"Cordy" Willow responded, knowing how much Cordelia hated that nickname.
"Ok, class. Nice to see everyone is in their assigned seats. Have you partners been bonding?"
The class erupted as everyone commented. Willow and Cordelia just glared at Mr Hall.
Mr Hall raised his hands, "I get it...I get it. Things are just starting. Give it time. I know you will all be pleased with the results. For your first project, we are focusing on the American Revolution. I want a paper, no less than 500 words, from each of you, describing a battle that took place. I do not want a word for word copy of the Encyclopedia Britannica. Make it your own paper. I don't care what you tell me, just as long as both partners tell me about the same battle."
"Mr Hall...that is so lame. We're supposed to both write 500 words on the same thing?"
"Yes, Melissa. I don't want repetition in either paper. That means you both have to do the research and work on the papers together. That's what is important. Learning by helping each other. I will assign the battles before you leave class today."
Willow hated the american revolution. She'd much prefer to read about european affairs than american history. It was just so dull. The only period she could stand was the Civil War era. It always fascinated her. She saw a look of similar dislike on Cordelia's face as they received their battle. Maybe they did have at least a little something in common.
"That is so stupid."
"It is not. You're idea is stupid."
"I'll have you know that it took me quite a while to think of that."
"What's the matter? Not use to using your mind? Bet you had to rid it of cobwebs."
"Why you little fashion victim! No one speaks to me like that."
"Newsflash, I just did."
"As I said, no one. Since you're just a little nobody you don't count. Your words wash over me like water on rocks."
"Water tears at the rocks and over time breaks them down to nothing. Guess that means you're the nothing in this partnership."
"What-ever. Can we get this done? I have a date with Scott Hayes tonight."
"Lucky you. Another notch on his tight belt."
"I will not be another notch. Good lord, it's just a date. I don't do things like that and especially not with some goofball high school brat."
"Why date him then?"
"He's popular, hot, rich, and he asked me. Like I'd say no. Hel-lo. And you call me stupid."
"I never said you were stupid. I said the idea was stupid. And it is. Why would you write a paper about the wardrobe during the battle?"
"I'm sure that it was an important part of the event."
"Cordelia, they were wearing uniforms. As in, one wardrobe change for the entire act."
"Well, then. I see your point. Hell, I don't have time to deal with this right now. I have to get ready."
"Oh my. It's late. I told them I'd be at the Bronze at 7. I'll never make it now."
"Like they won't wait. What a bunch of losers."
"Just go get pretty for Scott. I figure you'll need the extra time."
"Coming from you that's a compliment."
"I'm out of here."
Willow watched Cordelia leave and almost laughed. They had spent two hours arguing over what to write for their papers. It was day two in the planning stages. The previous day had been spent in much the same way. They were never going to agree on anything. Maybe Mr Hall would let them switch partners when he realized just how much they didn't get along. She could only hope.
"So, Willow. Bronze tonight?" Buffy asked.
"Nope. Cordy and I have to finish a paper for Hall's class."
"Yep. He seems to want to double the work load since he partnered everyone up."
"Bet you love that" Xander commented.
Willow shrugged, "It isn't as bad as it was. We have reached a tentative balance."
"Yeah....you don't complain near as much as you did."
"Cordy isn't that bad once you get her away from her friends."
"A real princess" Buffy said snidely. She resented Willow's budding friendship with the brunette cheerleader. Willow was always working on some project or another with the girl. At least when they hated each other Buffy wasn't scared of losing her friend.
"Not by a long shot. If I hear her diss my wardrobe one more time, I may do something rash. But, she isn't exactly what she appears to be. She's actually pretty nice."
"Hell must have just froze over. You admitting Cordelia Chase is pretty nice. The world is about to end." Xander said, nodding.
"Well, we'll miss you tonight. Not that we aren't used to you not being around anymore." Buffy said.
Willow rolled her eyes, "I went with you guts last weekend. That was three days ago, Buffy. We should finish the paper tonight. I'll go tomorrow. Ok?"
Buffy smiled, "Fine. Just try to get it done tonight. We miss you."
"You'd think I was never around. Good grief Buffy, I meet Cordelia maybe twice a week. Yes, she's nicer than I thought but we aren't even close to being friends. We're just not enemies anymore. I'll see you guys tomorrow night."
"Wait, aren't you meeting here?"
"No. Cordelia invited me to stay over so we could get the damn thing done tonight. She has a date tomorrow that she doesn't want to miss. Toodles."
"Toodles?" Xander repeated.
"The influence of Cordelia strikes again. It's only been two months. How can we make it through the remainder of the school year?"
"Buff, Willow is not going to forget you because she might gain another friend. You are so silly sometimes."
"You're right. I just don't like sharing her."
"Come on. Maybe Dead boy will make an appearance at the Bronze. Cheer you up a bit."
"What about you?"
He smiled, "Remember Amy? Well, she and I are starting to get pretty close...."
"Good for you Xan. Now all we need is someone for Will and we'll all be part of a 'we' couple."
"That's the spirit Buffster. Let's go. Will will join us tomorrow night after this latest paper gets done. Glad I'm not in Mr Hall's class. All that work. I hear a lot of people bitching about it...."
They continued to talk as they left the school.
"It's done!" Willow said, printing out the last page. She leaned back, stretching. The gesture caused her t-shirt to rise showing off a flash of her flat stomach.
Cordelia reluctantly moved her eyes from Willow's flesh. The girl had no idea what she was thinking. Why did she ask her to stay over? She must be into torture or something. How was she suppose to make it through the night without letting her crush show?
"I guess I could have made it to the Bronze after all" Willow said glancing at the clock.
"What fun that would be" Cordelia said snidely. "Spending another evening at the table as your loser friends dance the night away."
"They aren't losers" Willow said softly. She was tempted to just get up and leave. Instead, she turned, her eyes flashing, "Why the hell do you always put them down? They have saved you more times that I can count."
"Just because they've saved me doesn't make them not losers. My god. They would never fit into my crowd."
"That's a bad thing? Trust me, it isn't. All of you are just a bunch of self centered, conniving, two faced, bitchy snobs that have nothing except your faces and your daddy's money. Not a brain amongst them. A bunch of sheep."
Cordelia felt each of Willow's words as though it were a knife entering her. "Leave."
Willow stopped her tirade and stared. Remembering what she had said, she felt disgust go through her. "I'm sorry Cordelia."
Cordelia glanced away, fighting the tears, "Leave. Now."
"Damn it. I didn't mean you. Not really. I used to think that but I know you now."
"You don't know me" Cordelia screamed. "No one does. Do you think I like what I am? I hate it. I hate them. But I need it. I know I'm not smart...not like you. I don't have the slayer thing going like Buffy. Hell, even Xander is funnier than I am. All I have is my face and my body. I learned that a long time ago. I may have to act stupid most of the time, BUT I know who I am. I don't even care if any of them do."
"You aren't just a face, Cordelia. If you'd asked me that two months ago, I would have agreed with you. But I can't now. You let me in....just a little. I like this side of you. I just hate that you become so different at school. It's just an act isn't it?"
Cordelia sat down, her eyes watching Willow's curious face, "Yes. Just an act. Truthfully, I'd rather hang out with Buffy and you guys then
Harmony and the others. You guys really care about each other. I admire that. I've always been a bit envious of your and Xander and Jesse's friendship. Made me see what I was missing."
"You made the choice" Willow said quietly. "We have been nice to you but you always turn away. Why don't you let anyone know you?"
"You know me" Cordelia said softly. "More than anyone else does."
Willow just shook her head, "No I don't. You said it yourself. Who is Cordelia Chase?"
"I don't know anymore" Cordelia said, blinking back tears. "I am just getting so tired of the game....the role I have to constantly play. I hate being mean to people I think I could like just because they aren't cool. And Harmony irritates the hell out of me."
"Quit playing" Willow suggested. Cordelia looked at her, her eyes wide with fear.
"I can't do that. I'd be alone. I tried once but couldn't....."
"You'd have me" Willow said, smiling. "I told you already. I like this Cordelia much better than the one that goes to school with me. If you'd let them, Buffy and Xander would like you too."
"Would they?" Cordelia asked, a gleam of hope in her eyes.
"Yes. Who could not like the great Cordelia Chase?"
Cordelia laughed, "I am a bitch aren't I?"
"Very good at it" Willow said.
"At least I'm good at something."
"If you'd let yourself find out, I'm sure there is plenty you're good at."
Cordelia took a deep breath. "I'll do it. I'll quit acting. Hell, these are my formative high school years. I should be making friends for life not torturing everyone I meet. I want to remember high school without regret."
Willow smiled slightly. She wondered if Cordy would do it. She could talk now in the privacy of her room. What would happen when she was faced with bitches she had considered friends for so long? Willow wasn't lying. She could call the Cordelia she had gotten to know a friend. She knew that there was still a lot about the cheerleader that she didn't know, but they had time to get to be better friends. She knew that the gang would welcome the help in researching, if Cordelia could refrain from the constant biting remarks.
"Come on. Let's see what's on the television." Willow said.
Cordelia smiled, feeling a weight lift from her shoulders. Her crush on the redhead slipped a few notches closer to something more. Shaking her head, she said, "I want some ice cream. Lots and lots of chocolate. I may need my strength tomorrow."
Willow looked up as Cordelia walked out of the bathroom. She smiled slowly.
Cordelia looked nervously at Willow. "What do you think?"
"Do you like it? Are you comfortable?" Willow asked.
"Yes. I love blue jeans." Cordelia was wearing a pair of faded blue jeans that hung on her slim hips. A loose red shirt that had a rose on it completed the ensemble.
"Then it is fine. Start dressing for yourself Cordy. Sneakers?" Willow suddenly said.
"Yes. Did you really think I liked wearing those heels? Good grief. Not at school."
"Something tells me today is going to be interesting" Willow remarked. To her, Cordelia was just as pretty as always. She looked relaxed and at ease. That made her even more pretty. Willow frowned as she realized that she shouldn't be studying her friend so hard.
"I don't care. I did a lot of thinking last night, after you fell asleep. I think this is the right thing to do. If they only liked me because of who I was socially, I don't need them." She faltered slightly, "I just don't want to be alone."
"We've been over that. You have me. Besides, some people will probably like you a lot more if you aren't quite so bitchy."
"Come on. Let's go. I have as much confidence as I am going to get."
They drove to school, chatting along the way. They had discovered over the last couple of months just how much they had in common. Everything from music to movies to food. It had made their school induced study sessions much easier.
Cordelia tried to ignore the stares of shock she was getting from people. She was brave. Hell, she was Cordelia Chase. What they thought meant nothing. Willow liked her, that's all that really mattered. She was truthful when she said she was tired of the game. She just wanted to be herself without worrying what everyone thought.
"Willmeister. Missed you last night. Bronzing tonight. Who's your little friend?" Xander asked, turning. His mouth dropped open as he encountered the familiar stare of Cordelia. "Cordy?"
"Will. Did you get that paper done?" Buffy stumbled, "Cordelia?"
"Yes?" Cordelia said, arching a eyebrow. This was a test. If Willow was right, she would be able to make it through the rest of the day. Some friends were better than false ones.
"Nice shirt" Buffy said weakly. She glanced at Willow and saw her friend pleading with her. "Nice look. Relaxed. Comfy. I like it."
Cordelia smiled brightly, flipping her hair. "Thank you." She turned to Willow, "I have to go see Coach. I'll see in Hall's class if not before then. Thanks."
"Why are you seeing Coach?" Willow asked as Cordelia walked away, her head high.
"I'm quitting cheerleading."
"Ok." Xander said, grabbing Willow. "What did you do to her? And is it permanent?"
Willow was still reeling from the shock that Cordelia was giving up cheering. "I didn't do anything except listen to her. I don't think anyone's done that before. I can't believe she's quitting the squad."
"I can't believe she spoke to us without insulting us. I'm still in shock."
"Uh guys....would it be ok if she starts to help us out after school?" Willow asked as they entered the library.
"She wants to?" Buffy said in dismay.
"Yeah, she wants to help. Besides, I think that Harmony and the others may be hard on her. I want her to have friends."
"Wait...friends? That I can't promise. Somehow I don't think changing her clothes is going to change her personality all that much."
"We'll give her a chance" Xander said. "Besides, Amy is going to start helping too. We can initiate two new members of the scooby gang."
"Amy huh?" Willow said, laughing. "Thanks for letting her help. I know that it isn't something either of you really want. I appreciate it."
"Anything for you Wills." Buffy said. She was wondering what Cordelia was up to. Maybe the girl was being truthful and this was what she wanted. Somehow, Buffy doubted it. She was a rude bitch. For Willow's sake, she hoped Cordelia wasn't playing another game at her friend's expense.
Cordelia Chase walked into the library. She saw Willow sitting at the table and smiled. Willow looked up at her and smiled in return. Concern then touched her face.
"You ok?" she asked softly.
"Now I am" Cordelia said, sitting down. "I am so sick of them all. Harmony is such a bitch. Why didn't I ever see that before?"
"I would have told you" Willow said helpfully. "What happened?"
Cordelia just made a face, "I'd rather not remember. Just a lot of mean things that really didn't hurt. I don't care what they think. I really don't. It just....it's hard. You know?"
"Yeah" Willow said softly. She knew. She had had to live through the same thing every day. Only, it was Cordelia's verbal abuse instead of Harmony's.
"I was worse than her wasn't I?" Cordelia said. She had noticed that Willow had gotten quieter than usual.
"Probably. You had the verbal abuse down pat" Willow said.
"I'd say I'm sorry but I know it wouldn't help."
"It's fine. I'm over it. Besides the bitches of Sunnydale High. Any other problems?"
"No. Actually, people don't seem to really care."
"You think?" Willow said sarcastically. "I told you before that people don't really care how you dress."
"I'm learning that."
"Good." Willow smiled, "Buffy and the others said that you're welcome to help out. Did you really quit the squad?"
"Yep." Cordelia said.
"I love cheering. Really do. I just hate the bullshit that goes along with it. I couldn't change myself if I didn't change my friends. Does that make sense?"
"Everything except the loving cheering part" Willow said smiling.
Cordelia rolled her eyes, "So I get to be part of the scooby gang?"
"You can help us" Willow said softly. She knew that it would take more than helping research for the others to accept Cordelia completely.
Cordelia nodded. "That's a start. So, what's for lunch?"
"Who knows? I didn't bring anything today since I was at your place."
"Well, then. Let's hit the caf and see what yummy treats they're cooking up. We can meet Buffy and the others....."
Willow smiled. "Sounds good. Lunch with the gang. If you still want to help us after seeing Xander eat, you'll definitely fit in."
"Uh uh uh...Waterloo...." the words were sung at top voice by the laughing girls. Cordelia turned down the radio as the song faded. "I just love Abba."
"Dancing Queen is the best." Willow said, amazed that she had found someone that shared her guilty pleasure.
"No. Mamma Mia. That song always make me start to move" Cordelia said.
Willow sighed as she sat back, her head against the car seat, "Have I told you lately how thrilled I am not to be walking to school every day?"
"I see...using me for my car" Cordelia flashed a smile at her friend.
"Of course. It definitely isn't your wit or humor" Willow said dryly.
Willow glanced at Cordelia and had to laugh. It had been a month since the popular girl had renounced it all. To her amazement, she was more popular than before. The students like the normal, less bitchy Cordelia. Everyone except Harmony and her Harmettes, as she had started calling them.
Cordelia helped out every day in the library. Had become quite the little researcher, much to the gang's disbelief. Buffy, Xander and Amy had even started including Cordelia in invitations. The five of them spent most nights together, going home only to sleep. Willow corrected that. She and Cordelia spent just about every night together, from after school on. The others joined them usually, Buffy more than Xander and Amy. Angel was going through another finding himself phase so he was rarely around. Willow didn't know how Buffy could up with constant brooding and moping.
"So, what are we researching today?" Cordelia asked eagerly. She loved when they researched. She and Willow got to sit close as they looked through books. She mentally scolded herself for the direction her thoughts were taking. Willow had no idea she was a lesbian, much less that she was interested in her.
Cordelia hit the brakes. She was a lesbian. Good God. It was the first time she'd admitted it, even to herself. She waited for the panic, but it didn't hit. She smiled as she began to drive again.
"What was that?" Willow asked, still holding on the door.
"Mental talk with myself" Cordelia said, smiling.
"Well, next time, wait until the car is stopped ok?" Willow said, laughing.
"Yes Mother" Cordelia said, rolling her eyes.
"Don't roll those eyes at me or they'll end up rolling down the street." Willow said. "Sassy mouth."
Cordelia laughed, "God, you sound like my mother for real now."
"Shut up" Willow grumbled. "Just get us to school in one piece ok?"
"Yep. Research after school." Cordelia smiled at thoughts of Willow laid out on the table, her clothes on the floor.
Willow looked at her friend for a long moment, her gaze steady. She wondered what was going through the brunette's mind right at that moment.
The students sitting around the table glanced up as they heard soft cursing. Willow was struggling to carry several thick books into the library. Before Xander could move, Cordelia was out of her seat.
"Let me get those for you" she said, taking several of the books. "What the hell is all this stuff?"
"Giles ordered them from the magick shoppe. I told him I'd pick them up on my lunch break. Didn't realize how many of course."
Giles came out at her last statement, "I did warn you."
Cordelia glared at him, "You should have at least driven her over there. What if some nasty had attacked? She's have died saving your precious books."
"It's daytime, Cordy. I don't think we have to worry about any nasties." Willow pointed out, surprised by her friend's outburst. She looked at Buffy and shrugged.
Cordelia nodded, "You're right. Sorry, Giles. Will, you should have at least asked me to drive you over there. I wouldn't have minded."
Willow smiled, "I am not going to use you as a taxi service, Cordy. Besides, you'd have had to skip third period because that's when I left."
"I would have......for you" Cordelia said the last two words softly. Willow didn't even hear them. Slayer sense being what it is, Buffy heard loud and clear. Her eyes widened as she sat there in surprise.
"I'm running to pick up something from the caf before lunch is over" Willow said, heading out of the library.
"I'll come with you. We can talk about our reading last night for History." Cordelia grabbed her purse and joined the redhead.
"Buffy, what's wrong?"
"Huh?" Buffy came out of her fog. She looked at Xander, Amy and Giles, "Has anyone else noticed something about Cordelia?"
"Besides the fact that she's completely changed in less than two months?" Xander asked, smirking.
"About her and Willow, then."
Amy nodded, "If I didn't know better...well, I'd say that Cordy had a crush."
"On Willow?" Xander said, his mouth dropping open. "Fuck...."
"I'd say that you should all be concerned about your own lives and leave those two alone." Giles said, giving them all a stare.
"You've seen it too!" Buffy said.
"Buffy, they are young women. I admit that I may have seen something change in Cordelia, but I don't know what it is. She's happy now. So is Willow. That's all that is imporant to me."
"I can't believe I didn't notice. Damn. They've been practically dating the last months." Xander pointed out. "Always together....doing homework, researching, Cordelia even drives her to school every day. I wonder if Willow knows....."
"Doubtful" Buffy said. "I would never have guessed if I hadn't heard her little comment. I wonder if Willow is interested."
Amy sighed, "I have to agree with Mr Giles. We need to leave it be. It's their lives. If it happens, as long as they're happy, I'm fine with it. You might ask yourselves if you're ready to deal with what it might mean."
"I love Willow." Buffy said. "I don't care who loves as long as she isn't mistreated. If Cordelia is the one meant for her, fine. I can deal with that."
"Me too. Cordy ain't so bad once you dig underneath the make up."
"It's forgotten" Buffy said, looking to the others for agreement. "If it happens, we are at least prepared."
They went back to researching. Willow stood outside the library doors, unable to move. They thought Cordelia had a crush on her. She wondered why the thought didn't feel with her with distaste. Making up her mind, she knew. She and Cordelia had to talk.
Willow took a deep breath. She looked at Cordelia and couldn't ask. She was crazy. There was no way someone as beautiful and attractive as Cordelia was interested in her. Willow had done a lot of thinking. She didn't think she was a lesbian. She liked guys. But, she also liked Cordelia. The thought of being with another woman was not disgusting to her. She really didn't know what she was anymore.
"Cordy, can I ask you something?'
"Sure. What?" Cordelia sat up on her bed and looked at Willow.
"Do you like me?"
"Of course. You're my best friend." and so much more, Cordelia thought.
"I meant, LIKE me" Willow asked, her eyes curious.
Cordelia blushed, "Well, I uh...yeah, kind of."
"Really?" Willow smiled.
"You aren't freaked?" Cordelia asked.
"No. I actually feel rather honored. I think I might like you too....."
"You don't have to say that" Cordelia said.
"I know. I'm not saying I'm gay. I don't think I am. Maybe bi. I care a lot about you, Cordy. More than I've ever felt for any guy."
"I'm a lesbian" Cordelia said quietly. "I didn't realize it before. Well, I did but I wanted to ignore it. I hate guys touching me and slobbering all over me. I like girls. Actually, I like girl. You."
"What should we do?" Willow asked, amazed at the sense of rightness in her heart.
"Can I kiss you?" Cordelia asked, her eyes pleading.
"Ok" Willow moved to the bed. Their lips met gently as they slowly kissed.
Pulling away, Cordelia smiled, "That was nice."
"It was" Willow agreed. "I'd like to explore this, if you want to, that is."
Cordelia laughed softly, "Well, everyone can say what ever they will. I'd like to. Will you go out with me on Friday night?"
"Yes." Willow said, knowing that her friends would understand. The school might not, but she'd been through worse.
"Will, remind me to thank Mr Hall for assigning you to me" Cordelia said, smiling as she leaned over and kissed Willow again.