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in the aeroplane over the sea

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     Tara’s life is boring.


     She wakes up, she eats breakfast, she says goodbye to her father, she walks to school, she pays half attention, she goes back home, and she watches T.V. until her father screams at her to go to sleep.


     Tara’s life is boring until she meets Faith.


     Faith is a transfer from Boston- she’s light and fast, like she doesn’t want to leave a trace of her behind anywhere. She smells of leather and cigarettes and whiskey and her hands are bruised and scarred on the knuckles from where she’s gotten into countless fights. Faith’s eyes are dark, in a way that you can tell that she’s seen things, but you want to drown in them all the same. Her canines are sharp, slightly, and she sends her tongue darting between them after she makes a snide comment. Faith is a breath of fresh air to Tara, takes the mundanity of her already-decided-for-her life away.


     One day Faith drags Tara behind the bleachers and hands her a joint, waggling her eyebrows to make Tara laugh. They smoke, and Faith looks at Tara like she’s impressed. “Oh, please, Faith, I’m a witch, you really think I’ve never smoked weed before?” Faith laughs. “I just didn’t expect it from you, Blondie.” Faith takes Tara’s jaw between her pointer and thumb and tilts her head a bit, blowing her smoke into Tara’s mouth. Tara’s heart skips a beat in a way she doesn’t care to admit.


     In the realm of falling in love with your best friend, Tara was well versed. There was Vanessa Reams in sixth grade, and Willow Rosenberg in ninth. Willow and her had lasted a while, but they broke up junior year. They had just drifted apart. They were still friends, but it was different. Tara had cried and yearned for a few months, until she decided that wallowing wasn’t in her best interest.


     The problem with Faith was that she was different . Willow had been so calm, and organized and easy, and Faith is quite the opposite. Faith is unpredictable, reckless, mysterious in a good way, the kind that draws you in. Willow had made her feel warm and safe, and Faith makes her feel alive.


     So she walks home kicking a pebble, mulling over her thoughts in silence. Her headphones are blasting The Cranberries, so she doesn’t hear when someone comes up behind her and slings their arm around her shoulder. She smiles, looking up expecting Faith, but frowns when she sees who it is. Warren Mears- resident douchey incel of Sunnydale High. He smiles at her and she pushes him off.


     “Hey now dollface, don’t get all huffy with me. I was just trying to ask a fine lady out on a date.” Tara scowls, rolling her eyes. “Still not interested, Warren. I’ve got the whole lesbian thing going on, so.” He furrows his eyebrows, clearly not satisfied with her answer. “I don’t think you understand me. I am going to take you on a date, and you are going to say yes to me. Comprendo?” Tara opens her mouth to speak, but stops when a fist rams into Warren’s face, knocking him over onto the street.


     Faith laughs as she sees Mears sprawling on the ground, holding his face in pain. Tara nudges Faith’s shoulder playfully. “I thought I told you to stop getting into fights for me.” Faith smiles and drapes her leather jacket over Tara’s shoulders. “I can’t help it. I see a pretty girl in trouble and my-” Faith makes a mocking punch motion, “-instincts kick in.” 


     “B-Bitch!” Warren yells as he scrambles away. Faith turns back to him and yells, “That’s not what your mom said last night!” Tara snorts and Faith swings her arm around Tara’s shoulders. “So how are you doing, dollface ?” The nickname doesn’t sound so bad coming out of Faith’s mouth, but Tara doesn't want to let Faith know that, so she rolls her eyes. “I was doing fine until douche-face decided to ruin it. Now I’m doing alright again.”


     They walk in silence for a bit, enjoying each other’s company, until Faith breaks it. “Hey, do you want to come over to my place for dinner? It’s Friday, which means it’s my night to cook, which means spaghetti.” Tara smiles. “That sounds good. Who do you live with, anyways?” “Foster mom. Her name is Jen, she’s sort of a techno-pagan.”


     Tara laughs. “Techno-pagan? That’s not a thing.” Faith shrugs. “She’s a witch with the computer, what can I say. So, you coming?” Tara nods. “Yeah, let me just text my dad.”


      im going over to faiths for dinner.


     She shoves her phone back in her pocket, not waiting for a response. They keep walking until Faith stops in front of a small black house. Not small, really- but not as big as Tara’s. The front yard isn’t a straight green manicure like Tara’s- it’s not wild, but there are flowers and different types of grasses. Tara smiles. She already likes it here.


     Faith fumbles with her keys and opens the door, ushering Tara in. The house smells like green tea and bacon grease, and the clutter makes it feel oddly like home. “Jen should be home soon- you probably know her, actually. She teaches in the computer lab.” Tara smiles. “Your mom is Ms. Calendar?” Faith nods, almost smugly. “We’re a very cool makeshift family.”


     Faith throws her book bag onto the couch hastily, and opens up the door to what Tara assumes is the basement. Small footsteps rush up the stairs and an orange cat emerges, rubbing up against Faith’s ankles. “Tara, this is Chainsaw.” Tara laughs. “You named your cat ‘Chainsaw’?” Faith nods, looking pleased with herself. “It’s a very good cat name.”


     Tara settles down on the couch and feels her phone buzz in the pocket of Faith’s jacket. She pulls it out, seeing a notification from her father.


      Be home by 7.


     Tara groans, tossing her head back. Faith leans over the top of the couch to meet eyes with Tara. “What’s up?” “My stupid dad said I have to be back home by 7.” Faith scoffs. “Nah, fuck him. You’re sleeping over tonight.” Tara smiles, but her eyebrows soon furrow with concern. “A-Are you sure that Ms. Calendar won’t mind?” Faith shrugs. “Jenny doesn’t give a shit as long as we don’t burn the house down.”


     As Faith starts to cook what can only be assumed as spaghetti, Tara thinks that maybe, they might just burn the house down. The door swings open and Ms. Calendar walks in, her hair tied up in a bun and sunglasses slipping down her face. She eyes over Tara and smiles when she recognizes her. “Hey Maclay! Faith, you’re finally bringing home someone who’s a good influence.” Faith smirks, turning to see Jenny. “Aw what, you don’t like it when I bring home a random girl to screw?” Jenny shakes her head, making a nasty face.


     “I think you care to much about Tara to fuck her and then kick her out, so we should be good.” A flush rises up Tara’s neck and she coughs, scratching the back of her neck. “You- you talk about me?” Jen nods. “Oh yeah, aaaall the time. She practically never shuts up about you.” Faith smacks Jenny’s arm playfully and returns to stirring the pasta.


     Ms. Calendar flops on the couch next to Tara and grabs a bag of popcorn that was laying on the coffee table, flipping through the T.V. “D’you like How I Met Your Mother?” She asks, turning to Tara. Tara shrugs. “I’ve never watched it before.” Jenny nods, taking that as a yes. She turns it on and they sit silently, watching. 


     Ted does something stupid or douchey and Jenny yells “Booo!”, throwing popcorn at the screen. Tara laughs, surprised. Watching T.V. at her house with her family is hardly enjoyable- they sit in silence, her father chuckles at some stupid, insensitive joke, and she goes to her room when the people start kissing. So watching Jenny, cackling and making mocking faces at the screen, is something entirely new to her.


     Faith walks into the room, presenting them with paper plates full of spaghetti drenched in sauce. Tara looks at them, confused. “You guys don’t eat at the table?” Jenny shakes her head, already shoveling pasta into her mouth. “Too much moving.” Tara smiles and picks up a plate, eating slowly and carefully compared to the other two. 


     Tara glances up at the T.V. and sees Robin and Ted kissing. From Jenny and Faith’s reaction, which is a lot of angry heckling towards Ted, that’s not the best thing to happen on the show. Tara watches as Faith and Jenny bicker off in their own world, and wishes silently that she could be a part of their little family.


     “--ra. Tara?” Tara looks up, seeing Faith smiling at her. “Are you done? We can go up to my room, if you want.” Tara nods. “Yeah. Yeah, sure.” Faith grins excitedly and grabs Tara’s hand, practically pulling her up the carpeted staircase that leads to the second floor.


     Faith swings the door to her room open and Tara walks in. The walls are covered wall-to-wall with band posters, movie posters, you name it. Also hanging on her wall is a lesbian flag and a black flag with a red anarchy symbol. Tara raises her eyebrows. “Jenny supports your anarchism?” Faith smirks. “Jenny doesn't go through my mail. Do you like Neutral Milk Hotel?” 


     Tara nods, laying down on Faith’s bed. It’s soft, softer than Tara’s, and not filled with pillows like Tara’s is. Tara supposes Faith doesn’t need that much support around her at night- she’s fine on her own. Faith puts a vinyl on her record player and a sweet melody surrounds them. Tara closes her eyes, drowning in the sound and the scent of Faith’s room. 


     The bed shifts under Faith’s weight as she lays down next to Tara, their heads on opposite sides of the bed. They lay in silence, breathing each other in, until Tara hears the bed creak as Faith sits up towards her.


     Tara opens her eyes and sees Faith above her, her cheeks flushed red. Faith is so close, Tara can see the little flecks of gold in her eyes, and a small scar just above the bridge of Faith’s nose. “Can I kiss you?” Faith asks, and Tara sits up, propping herself up on her elbow.


     Faith waits, waits for Tara to say something, but Tara leans in first, tilting her head slightly and pressing her lips against Faith’s. A warmth spreads throughout Tara’s entire body as Faith pushes against her gently, her hands settling on Tara’s shoulders. Tara isn’t quite sure what to do with her hands- she’s never been that great with kissing. She wraps her arms around Faith’s neck and leans into the kiss more, Faith’s tongue finding its way into her mouth.


     They pull away from each other, Faith  smiling contently and Tara gasping for air. Tara looks up at Faith and meets her eyes. There’s a look in Faith’s eyes- soft, happy, complete- that Tara’s never seen before. “I think I’m in love with you,” she breathes, and presses her forehead against Faith’s


     “Oh,” is Faith’s response. “Good- good oh. I don’t know if I’m ready to say it- not yet, maybe. But I think I feel the same way. I’m so far gone for you, T, it’s been drivin’ me crazy.” Tara laughs, lacing her fingers with Faith’s. “I’m pretty oblivious.


     Faith kisses her again, gentler, and is smiling through it. “Will you be my girlfriend?” she asks once they break apart, and Tara giggles like a little kid. “Yeah. Yeah, I would love that.”