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

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 Post subject: AU Vignettes: The Laundry Diaries
PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2004 4:23 pm 
Vignettes, yes, plural, as in a whopping TWO!:lol The first I'm posting now, obviously, the second is written and just going through an editing process. I will have it up by Friday at the latest. This first one is Willow's POV, the second will be Tara's. Hope you enjoy!





Title- The Laundry Diaries: The Machinations of a Coin Operated Mind

Author name– Trom DeGrey        

Email Address- trom_degrey@yahoo.com

Disclaimer- I don't own these characters and I'm not making any money. I'd be a lot happier if none of that were true though.

Feedback- Flail away!

Summary- Life changes in the strangest of places.

Notes- So many people have looked at this first part it's not even funny. Thanks to Tempest Duer for your time and thoughts. Thanks to Crimson Sunshine for all your encouragement. Thanks to Shamden, whose simple suggestion finally helped me get it right. And finally, thanks to Tulipp for giving me permission.



***



Do you know just when you realize a seemingly ordinary moment in your life is, in fact, truly extraordinary? Before you even ponder that question, let me just answer it - after the fact.



Well after the fact.



Let me begin by telling you I'm not like most people. You won't see me reading in the park or having a light lunch at a local cafe in the early afternoon sun. You won't cross paths with me at the grocery store with your cart full of screaming kids. I take Vitamin E like it's going out of style. I have a special ultraviolet light at my desk at both home and work. Heavy tapestry curtains line my windows, and my bedroom door has sound proofing padding on it.



In other words, I work third shift.



The company I work for maintains one of the largest information databases in the world. As such, the system must be constantly monitored. As luck, or even fate if you'd like, would have it, my turn in babysitting this informational leviathan falls in the second half of the day. Well, it's the second half locally anyway. I mean, it's the middle of the workday somewhere in the world, right?



If you've never worked nights before, this basically means I do absolutely nothing the way you do. I don't go out with my friends on Friday night. On Friday nights, we're all at work. Why don't I have friends that work during the day? When and where am I going to meet someone like that? While their life is going on, I'm asleep. While my life is going on, they're asleep. I mean, really, what kind of person do you think I'm going to meet in a bar at 2 in the morning? And have you ever been in the condiments aisle of your local 24-hour grocery at 3am? Sometimes even I fear to tread there.



I don't go out to lunch with my friends. Instead, we gather in the break room at work and participate in our one normal "day people" ritual. In fact, it's The Great American Pastime. No, not baseball! Bitching about work, of course.



Speaking of lunch, I don't eat when you do either. I'm absolutely ecstatic that more fast food places are keeping their drive-thrus open late or even all night. C'mon, let's face it, you can only watch so many drunks barf on their waffles before you decide you need to start cooking for yourself, and me in the kitchen is an unspeakably dangerous prospect.



I belong to a 24-hour health club and regularly workout with people whose skin tone obviously marks them as being just as alien to the sun as me. My video store is open all night too. If I pick the night right, I never have a problem getting new releases. I just have to remember to stay away from the room at the back of the store with the beaded curtain, especially between 1 and 3am.



The grocery store is always an adventure too. You may rush through as quickly as possible, hoping your kid doesn't knock over the huge display of processed sugar and marshmallow cereal, not even registering your cashier's gender much less their name. The third shift produce stocker at my grocery is named Diane. She has nine tattoos and fourteen piercings, and is the proud grandmother of five.



If I go early enough in the night, especially in the summer, I'm guaranteed to see a group of teenagers giggling their way through the store. They're usually each carrying a four-pack of toilet paper, as if no one will know vandalism is in the works and that suddenly all seven of them had a late night case of Montezuma's Revenge.



If I go late enough, I'm bound to see some over-achieving woman who's just come from her dawn workout on the Stair Master to grab coffee and a bran muffin before getting ready for work and shuffling the kids off to school. I hate her and her energy, and resent her intrusion into my nighttime world.



Laundry was always a challenge for me as I don't have a washer and dryer in my apartment, and there was no place open all night. I was almost giddy when I saw the advertisement in the paper for a new 24-hour laundromat. I giggled over the name: The Moonlight Spin & Rinse. It made me think of a 70's roller rink. I couldn't wait for it to open.



There was nothing I hated more than to have to venture out in the middle of my night to wash clothes. I could only wash my underwear in the tub and hang them up to dry so many times before the need for fabric softener became painfully evident though.



But in addition to soft undies and fresh smelling t-shirts, something else happened to me at The Moonlight Spin & Rinse: the extraordinary walked into my ordinary life.



She was my height, blond hair and blue eyes bright enough for me to see even across the double loader washers. She had a shy smile and a curvy body and absently chewed her left thumbnail when she read. Even dressed in baggy sweats, her hair pulled up in a haphazard ponytail, with a backdrop of sudsing washers and spinning dryers, she made my heart race. Every Saturday at 2am, I would arrive as she was loading her clothes in the washers.



I studiously avoided her.



Now, don't misunderstand! I obsessed over her no matter the hour, wondered what she was doing right then, guessed at what she did to make her one of "us". I imagined having dinner with her. Not like real people, of course. No, a fast food dinner of overly processed beans and cheese in tortillas (I would wipe the dribble of sour cream off her chin.) out under the stars, parked in the empty high school parking lot was what I envisioned.



There was never anyone in the laundromat at the same time as she and I and, for a while, I had nightmares that the place would go out of business. I would sometimes sit straight up in my bed babbling something about promising to come in more often than once a week if they would just stay open.



Have you ever played the laundry game? It didn't matter how many times I saw the same clothes, I always tried to discern what I could of her life from her laundry.



White cotton underwear: a sensible girl. Towels- dark blue; light blue; maroon; green; white with blue, maroon and green stripes; hand towels; kitchen towels with duckies: someone that believes in cleanliness.



Well, OK, or someone that spills a lot.



A pair of well-worn jeans: a laid back personality. A long denim skirt: feminine. White cotton socks with a pink stripe across the toe, white cotton socks with a red stripe across the toe, white cotton socks with no stripe across the toe, white cotton socks with a grey heel, white cotton socks with a pink heel... I'm seeing a pattern. She either likes comfy socks or has sweaty feet.



I can live with that.



There's a periwinkle night shirt bearing Eeyore on the front with his sad eyes and droopy "Thanks for Noticing Me": a sweet shy side, no doubt. Once, she brought in a comforter and stuffed it into the triple loader. It was midnight blue and covered in smiling suns and snoozing moons. I had dreams of her curled up in peaceful slumber underneath it for days afterward.



The best part of the laundry game was realizing there was no man involved in her life. There were no jeans obviously too big for her, no uniform shirts proclaiming they belonged to "Roger", and no men's underwear bearing a permanent and rather unfortunate stain.



The coup de gras came when I first saw the t-shirt asking the most important question possible.



What Would Xena Do?



In my mind, the answer was immediate: Be convinced you're a lesbian and ask you out. But what if some of those clothes belonged to another woman?



That was another anxiety attack in and of itself. I spent my spare time at work making lists, flow charts, graphs, figuring statistical probabilities and basically agonizing over the possibility of a girlfriend. There was my Spazz Mind screaming: She’s breathtaking! Of course she has a girlfriend, you nimrod! Then there was my Logical Mind pointing out all the obvious evidence: 1) She has enough socks and towels for a small country, but she also does her laundry as often as you do – so, limited amount of clothing. 2) She always comes in alone. If your girlfriend was that hot wouldn’t you spend every moment possible with her? 3) She does her laundry on Saturday night. What other single woman do you know that does her laundry all by herself on a Saturday night, hmm?



So, despite the convulsions of my Spazz Mind, the mounting evidence forced me to admit that she was either unattached or had the single most inattentive, blind, foolish girlfriend on the face of the planet



She was single and gorgeous, and she scared the shit out of me. I barely talked to my co-workers, how was I going to talk to her?



So, I didn't.



I would make eye contact long enough to smile and get a shy smile in return, maybe even a whispered “Hi”, and then for the next two hours I would sneak glances and daydream. This torrid affair taking place solely in my mind went on for weeks.



And then, one night, something strange happened; strange in that it was out of the ordinary, though not particularly extraordinary.



I had just come into the laundromat and was at a table sorting through my clothes. The lights were their usual glaring shade of too bright, and despite the low hum of the air conditioner there was a warm humidity that always made me think of the first true night of summer. She was sitting on the bench perpendicular to my table. Her back was to me, her right leg tucked underneath her, and she was, as always, absently chewing her left thumbnail. The paperback she was reading was badly dog-eared and just a little too far from her face. She snorted delicately and shook her head. Something amused her.



I shifted my weight back and forth on the tiled floor. My pink tennis shoes creaked softly and I had all but forgotten my whites and colors. I was lost in thoughts of the creamy skin of her neck and imagining what she tasted like on that spot just below her ear. The table felt cool under my sweating palms and I wondered if the flesh of her bare arms would feel that way too or if they would hold onto the damp warmth of the room.



My knees nearly buckled when the bell above the outside door rang. Her head shot up, thumbnail forgotten, the shock registering on her face as it rumbled through my belly. I turned to see who had come in. As I’d said, no one had ever intruded on our time together before.



It was a police officer. He brushed at the rain on his shoulders as the door thunked close behind him. The shower had started as I was coming in a few minutes earlier and now appeared to be coming down in full force. He pulled his right sleeve down and used it to wipe at the droplets standing on his badge. He then started to smooth his hair, though what he was actually smoothing I couldn’t tell you. His sandy blonde hair was buzzed in a crew cut. He continued to fuss with his appearance, brushing water from his uniform and muttering to himself occasionally.



I had a brief thought of Bianchi and Buono dressing as cops. I looked down at her and she cocked a worried eyebrow at me. I shrugged subtly and trained my eyes back on our potential serial killer.



If he went for his gun we definitely had a problem, but otherwise, I thought I could take him. He barely looked driving age. I could see his acne from across the laundromat. And while I might not exactly be Muscle Girl, this kid definitely needed a few more cheeseburgers on his bones. I edged closer to my jug of liquid detergent. It was brand new and more then heavy enough to cause some damage.



He finally stopped fussing and took a deep breath. He looked up at the two of us, his brown eyes honest and eager. He smiled brightly and began to walk toward us confidently.



He made it about four steps before the wet soles of his spit-shined black leather shoes betrayed him. His left foot flew out from under him in a kick worthy of the Rockettes, while his right leg twisted awkwardly underneath him. She was suddenly standing next to me, but neither one of us could have gotten to him. We were still at least fifteen feet away. He managed to save himself by flailing his arms out to his right and grabbing a table.



His eyes wide, he pulled himself upright and adjusted his duty belt. He took another deep breath and looked up at us again. He smiled tentatively. “It’s uh…” his voice cracked badly. He cleared his throat and tried again. “It’s wet out there,” he said lamely and let loose a tinny laugh that made the hair on my arms stand on end.



I picked up my bottle of detergent this time and went to stand right next to her. I held the bottle in front of me with both hands, my right hand twisting around the plastic handle. If I could get in one good swing, she could make it to the door.



Oblivious to my homemade weapon, he picked his way gingerly over to us and stopped a few feet away. I turned toward her slightly, instinctively wanting to shield her. “Uh, hi,” he said brightly, waving at us uncomfortably. “I’m Officer Baxton,” he said as he stuck out his right hand. I immediately reached forward. If he grabbed me first, I could drop the detergent at her feet and she could hit him.



He squeezed my hand and smiled even bigger, as if he was thrilled I had actually shaken his hand and not run off screaming. She smiled sweetly at him when they shook hands and he actually began to rock up on his tiptoes and back again.



I briefly wondered if I looked like that when I was excited.



“Sorry to startle you there,” he said, thumbing back toward the door.



“Are you alright, Officer Baxton?” she asked.



“Oh, yes ma’am,” he said, raising his right hand. “Just fine. Police officer has to be in good shape you know.”



He was trying to play the confident cop now. I saw no reason to burst that bubble. I loosened the grip on my detergent. I knew a fellow geek when I saw one up close. It was what kept me from laughing quite frankly.



“This is my new beat,” he announced. “So, I’m just going around introducing myself to all you night owls,” he said, still rocking back and forth. We laughed politely and he chuckled along with us, oblivious. “Actually,” he said, “this is the best reception I’ve gotten so far tonight. Most of the fast food places thought I was some loony or a serial killer or something.”



I’m sure I blushed to the roots of my hair.



“Can you believe that?” he asked with his tinny laugh. “Me?”



She and I exchanged a glance and looked back at him wide-eyed. His smile faltered and he cleared his throat uncomfortably. I felt her fidget next to me. “Officer Baxton, I think it’s terribly…” she started and I could see her grappling for words. “…community-minded of you,” she finally finished and gave him that endearingly sweet smile. My heart melted at her generosity.



His smile returned full force. “Well, thank you, ma’am!” he said exuberantly. “I just wanted to let you ladies know that I’m around if you should ever need anything,” he said, puffing out his chest. “Isn’t it awfully late for two pretty ladies like yourselves to be doing laundry on a Saturday night?” he asked suddenly, as if it had just occurred to him that it was 2:30 in the morning.



“I work third shift,” we said in unison. I looked over at her and she gave me a shy half smile that made my mouth go dry. I smiled back and she ducked her head. I was suddenly conscious of just how close we were standing. I could feel the heat of her body on my bare forearm.



“Ah,” Officer Baxton said sagely and I was drawn out of her cocoon. He continued to rock on his feet, his expression becoming more thoughtful as he regarded the two of us standing there together.



He suddenly stood stock still, his eyes growing wider and wider. I looked behind us, wondering if some sort of master criminal had managed to teleport through the wall and was now sneaking up behind us.



But no, the bathroom and a triple loader washer.



I snapped my head back around when he yelled, “OH!”



Huh?



He looked like he’d been hit by a bolt of inspiration. “You!” he exclaimed, pointing first at her and then me. “Oh!” he yelled again.



“Oh?” I asked. She looked just as bewildered as me.



“Right! I get it!” he said, putting his hands up as if to say “no wait, don’t tell me”. “Hey, that’s great!” he said, his huge boyish smile plastered across his face again. “I protect and serve all citizens,” he reassured us.



I thought it sounded slightly kinky and judging by the blush spreading across her cheeks, she must’ve too. Or else I was missing something.



We stood there for a few moments in a bizarre silence; me processing, her blushing, and him grinning and rocking like an autistic child with a gun.



Only third shift. I swear.



He suddenly laughed again and a shiver skittered down my spine. “Well, I’ll just be on my way now,” he said. I was thankful. The night had been just a bit too weird for me. He raised his hand in a wave and started backing away.



I waved back as she said, “Have a safe night, Officer Baxton.”



“Thank you,” he said and turned on his heel and practically skipped toward the door. He almost made it out, but must have hit a newer tile at about the same place he had slipped coming in. His feet went flying out from under him and he had to thrash to catch himself on that same table. He pulled himself up and launched himself the last few steps to the door, turning his beet red face toward us and waving as he stumbled out the door. It thunked close behind him, leaving us with only the slooshing sounds of her washers.



She blew at her bangs and sat down heavily on the bench. I sank down next to her gratefully. I stared at the empty dryers staring back like dilated pupils. “Please tell me I wasn’t the only one thinking serial killer when he walked in here,” I said.



She chuckled and I looked over to find myself being regarded by those liquid blue eyes. “I was so thinking Hillside Strangler,” she said softly. “Of course, I ended up thinking he was pretty brave.”



I smiled at her. Her soft alto voice was like a lullaby. Everything about her was so soothing. “Yeah,” I agreed. “I certainly couldn’t wander around introducing myself to random citizens at two in the morning.” She laughed her soft deep laugh again and I couldn’t help but study the simple symmetrical beauty of her face.



She ducked her head away from my scrutiny. I desperately wanted to see her eyes again and cast about in my mind for anything to get her to look up at me. The book registered. “So, what are you reading?” I asked.



She looked up at me and seemed to study me in return for a moment. She looked down at the book and then flipped it over for me to see the cover. I saw her look up at me again just before I looked down.



My heart lodged in my throat. It was a romance novel. Had I been wrong? Had Xena led me down the prim rose path only to cut my heart out with her flying, spinning disc-thingy?



“I don’t know why,” she said, her voice cutting through my panic like a bell, “but my mother devours these.” She shrugged. “I read them for the comic relief,” she admitted. “I mean, do guys really act like this?” she asked with a laugh, but looked at me pointedly as she said it.



Realization dawned. She was testing me. I didn’t have a Xena t-shirt.



The simplest answer came to me unbidden. “I wouldn’t know,” I said softly and was delighted to see the bright smile spread across her face even as she ducked her head again.



Now, do you remember how this all started? How I told you that some utterly ordinary moments end up being truly extraordinary, but you don’t realize it until after the fact? Well, pay attention, you just might miss it, because that’s what happened next.



She looked up at me again, and a crooked smile crept up the left side of her face, making my heart skip a beat. She stuck out her right hand and said, “Hi, my name’s Tara.”









Did you see it?



***





















Trom's Brain: Rubbing the World the Wrong Way



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 Post subject: I loved it!
PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2004 4:48 pm 
Well, let me be the first to congratulate you on such a great fic! I loved it! :applause Seriously, at first I thought the Willow was a vamp, but then I realized that it was very unlikely later on.

Absolutely perfect how you describe the madness of third shift, priceless really.

The encounter between Willow, Tara and the would-be-Serial-Killer was incredibly funny and the way that Willow was ready to defend Tara was so cute!

I can't wait to see how Willow's obsession will work out. More please? :aww



Edited by: Whisper at: 11/30/04 5:07 pm


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 Post subject: Re: The Laundry Diaries
PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2004 5:52 pm 
This is a lovely vignette! The writing really sparkles and it was so easy to be present in the moment with Willow. It also brought back a rush of memories about my first job after college, working the phones from 4pm to midnight. Ugh. It paid the rent, I suppose, but I didn't feel entirely human again until I found a "regular" job.



I look forward to Tara's perspective.



babyblue



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 Post subject: Re: The Laundry Diaries
PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2004 6:07 pm 




Atty! Wow... very vivid. You described the disconnect of living outside of the norm so well. Anyone who has been in a grocery store after midnight knows how creepy it is to stand on the cereal aisle, yet clearly hear a conversation from the deli twelve rows over because there's just nothing else going on (besides the piped in Christopher Cross tune on the storewide speaker, of course). You also nailed that weird comraderie amongst people who work odd hours, just spot on.



Loved Willow's quiet, frantic fascination with Tara. You give us so few clues about Tara, just enough of a peek to understand a bit why Willow would be freaking out and fantasizing. You didn't define Tara, try and sell her as the perfect girl, the one, etc, you just let Willow have her neurosis, which I think is great. So looking forward to Tara's POV.



I'm gonna say it, this is begging to be filmed. Great job, S.





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 Post subject: Re: AU Vignettes: The Laundry Diaries
PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2004 6:17 pm 
i love this! this is soooo sweet. love the "serial killer" cop. how could Officer Baxton see the chemistry within a couple of seconds while these girls have been washing clothes "together" for weeks and still need a xena shirt for a clue? can't wait to read tara's pov.



keep up the good work

ange



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 Post subject: Only On The Night Shift
PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2004 7:25 pm 
Oh yes, I too can relate to living life on the third shift, in a hospital, seeing way too many odd things to even go into. And trying to get sleep when the sun is shining and people are mowing and of course, the ever popular telemarketers calling...I'll stop now.



Anywhoo, this is totally delicious. Totally loved Willow's POV, so engaging, her fantasies and playing the laundry game is just so much fun. Her brain is like a big fun playground.



Can't wait for the next one, and I would really love to see more after that, and after that, and ...



Wimpy





"There was plenty of magic." ~ Tara



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 Post subject: Re: Only On The Night Shift
PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2004 8:37 pm 
Great start. I am intrigued.

Tara: My heart doesn't stutter.


Tara: Willow, I got so lost.

Willow: I found you. I will always find you.




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 Post subject: Re: AU Vignettes: The Laundry Diaries
PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2004 9:04 pm 
wow, this took me back to all of those 2nd and 3rd shift jobs during the college years, and that feeling of living parallel to the rest of the world but not quite in it. this was such a great look at the wheels turning in willow's mind, and this line "had xena led me down the primrose path only to cut my heart out with her flying, spinning disc thingy?" so cracked me up-love her sense of betrayal there.

and i think officer baxton deserves a little reward for getting them off the dime, (nothing like bonding thru fear)-looking forward to part 2-mary

let's do it let's do it let's jump
in with both feet~julia fordham



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 Post subject: Re: Only On The Night Shift
PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2004 9:20 pm 
YAY this was great very funny and touching although being a nightowl myself by nature not cause of a job I get what Willow is talking about when your out late at night most people out just tend to mind there own business although I was glad there was a positive impact to Officer Braxtons insane idea :laugh



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 Post subject: Re: Only On The Night Shift
PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2004 2:25 am 
That was absolutely adorable! And I know all about third shift, you can tell just by looking at the time of my posted reply. ;) I wouldn't mind a continuation of this story. Just a suggestion.

:peace Pax! -Bev



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 Post subject: Re: Only On The Night Shift
PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2004 8:47 am 
That was seriously great. Excellent writing style, made it easy to read and mucho enjoyable.

I'll agree with the not minding a continuation of this story. I've become picky as to what I'll read, but this is something I would defintately make a point of reading.



Nice one.



Ali :pride

~If society was a physical being, I'd kick it's arse~



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 Post subject: Re: Only On The Night Shift
PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2004 10:09 am 
:)



I really enjoyed reading this - it's fun, it's adorable, and it's well-written. I'm always impressed when someone does first-person PoV well, and you did this very well, indeed. Our narrator Willow does a great job painting a portrait of life on the third shift (as a random sidenote, I've always heard this called "graveyard shift" - is the name difference regional? By type of business? Random things to wonder about ...).



Willow's thought processes are just wonderful - I loved the setup, then her totally logical but off-beat observations regarding Tara. And, gosh - gotta' love Officer Braxton, the overly-eager civic-minded cop who oh-so-delicately assured the girls he wasn't a 'phobe in such an obscure manner as to leave confusion in his wake. I'm still chuckling over that one.



So, thank you for writing this, because I certainly enjoyed reading it.



-Sass



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 Post subject: Re: Only On The Night Shift
PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2004 10:40 am 
This is one of the best stories that I have had the chance to read in a long time. The way that you brought out ladies together was just amazing. I like how you didn't take away from who they really were as characters. Some people take them so far away from who they were on the show that it takes away from the story. But you didn't do that. You kept them both true to who they are so I thank you for that.



I hope to be able to read more soon. It is a fantastic story. Keep it coming!!!!







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 Post subject: Re: AU Vignettes: The Laundry Diaries
PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2004 2:47 pm 
Trom!



Hey, long time no talk. I was so happy to see you post one of your works here. This was so good. I really love the instant chemistry which you make us feel so well. I can easily imagine the sly glances and smiles - it really brings the reader to recall their own experiences. The bit with the Police officer was a sweet, funny moment. Hopefully, you will keep this thread going and give us some more. Great job!



:peace

-pipsberg



"We live our lives, do whatever we do, and then we sleep - it's as simple and ordinary as that."

Michael Cunningham, The Hours



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 Post subject: Re: AU Vignettes: The Laundry Diaries
PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2004 5:33 pm 
:sheep I so totally love this!! I so hope you are planning on expanding on this story... If i had a million dollars I would soooo give it to you if you'd just promise to continue! I love your writing style!! :bow :bow :bow :bow :bow :bow :bow



This fic is at the top of my "list of favorite stories" :peace





xoxo

Emms

I can wax philisophically on a variety of different subjects...that doesn't,however, mean that I have anything constructive to add to the conversation.

--- Me



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 Post subject: Re: AU Vignettes: The Laundry Diaries
PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2004 6:03 pm 
Really liked seeing the world through Willows eyes ! The what would Xena do shirt was a neat touch. Beautifully written :bow .



behindhereyes

Kim

"To the world, you may be one person; but to one person, you may be the world"



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 Post subject: Re: AU Vignettes: The Laundry Diaries
PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2004 7:09 pm 
Title– The Laundry Diaries: The Musings of a Tumble Dry Mind

Author name– Trom DeGrey        

Email Address- trom_degrey@yahoo.com

Disclaimer- I don't own these characters and I'm not making any money. I'd be a lot happier if none of that were true though.

Feedback- Flail away!

Summary- Never let an opportunity pass you by.

Notes- Everyone and their mother beta-ed part one. No one has beta-ed part two. Can you say ‘extremes’? I knew ya could!





***



Have you ever done something truly brave? Bravery isn’t nearly as complicated as you might think. It isn’t just about saving a mother of three from drowning in the ocean or rescuing a baby from a burning home. Bravery can be in the little things too.



It can be about standing up to the school bully or speaking your opinion even though you know it will be unpopular.



It can even be about just saying “Hello”.



But whether you wear your politics on your bumper and wield a weapon no more dangerous than your wits or you wear a military uniform in a country you’d never heard of until three months ago and wield a weapon of the latest technology, one thing is for certain – your act of bravery will change at least one life. Most likely, your own.



I was brave once.



It changed my life irrevocably. If you’ve got some time, I’d love to tell you about it.



I suppose I should start by telling you a little something about myself. All good storytellers give you background – set the scene, right? Well, I guess that means I have to talk about me a little bit to get to the good parts. Just bear with me?



I’ll start by telling you that I am a creature of the night.



No! Not that kind of creature! I work third shift.



Do you sleep with the radio on? Have you ever woken up at 2 in the morning from a nightmare? You’re lying there sweating, gasping for air, your heart’s racing and then you hear something. There’s this voice coming from your radio and it grounds you. You suddenly remember you’re safe in bed and it was all just a silly dream.



Well, that voice is me.



Here in this town anyway. I hope you have a soothing voice on your radio at 2am wherever you are too though. I used to be the early voice that woke you up before the annoying morning show started, but those morning shows are annoying for a reason – the DJs.



I dreaded crossing paths with them. One of them always had something to say as I left the booth and they went in. I put up with their little comments and lecherous looks for a while, but I’m only willing to deal with so much. So I asked for a different shift where I wouldn’t have to see them and wound up with the graveyard.



That’s fine by me.



It lets me live exactly how I want and I don’t have to worry too much about interruptions from the complexities daylight seems to bring. My mother, of course, abhors it. She says that it isn’t safe and I need a tan and I’ll never meet a nice girl… Typical mom.



So, anyway, I get to live at my own pace. What does that mean? Well, for starters, I don’t “do” lunch. The only person I have to “do” lunch with, usually, is my production engineer and I normally have to wake Roger up by winging my wadded up playlist at him. Actually, Roger is the reason I’ve gotten so good at cooking for two.



His diet was atrocious.



I swear he lived on peanut butter and butter for the first six months I knew him. Then some of the fast food places started staying open late and even all night, so he got a little variety. When he brought me in a bean burrito for the fourth night in a row, I knew something had to give though.



Now, don’t get me wrong. I enjoy overly processed beans, cheese and sour cream in a tortilla cooked under a heat lamp as much as the next girl, but only when I feel like shortening my life by a few months. So, I cook. And Roger has discovered broccoli.



I don’t own a TV. There’s nothing much on when I’m awake anyway. Sometimes I wonder if there’s much of anything on when I’m asleep though too.



I used to belong to a gym, but let’s just say I’m not the most coordinated person on the planet, shall we? I just do my yoga routine in my living room now. That way if my Tree falls over or my Extended Triangle over extends an ab muscle or my Dead Body turns into a light nap or my sticky mat becomes a Slip-N-Slide under my sweaty feet there’s no one there to see it except the cat.



And she’s not talking. She knows who feeds her.



The grocery is an experience. I’m a dawdler by nature. It used to make my mother crazy. She could never get me anywhere in a timely fashion. Living a nocturnal life is perfect for this. I don’t have to rush through the store to avoid long checkout lines or grumpy parents who never should have become parents in the first place.



I can take the time to chat with Diane as she haphazardly tosses out more broccoli and eggplant. She’s always telling me I could get a girlfriend if I would just get my tongue pierced like hers. I just giggle and ask her what color she’s planning on dying her hair next week.



We should all have a grandma like her.



Summer is my favorite time at the grocery. I like to go early in the night and speculate with Angie at the service desk about the toilet paper toting teenagers roaming the store. I have to wonder who they think they’re fooling. Of course, we were all that young and dumb once I suppose.



I don’t like to go to the grocery store too late at night (very, very early in the morning for you day people) no matter the time of year. If I do, I’m likely to see some Super Mom in her too-expensive jogging suit with her I-just-worked-out light sweat and nauseating energy marching around. I just want her to get her odd smelling coffee and colon-clearing muffin and go home to her nuclear family. I feel less guilty about buying custard filled donuts when she’s not around.



At any rate, the only thing that really bothered me about being nocturnal was my laundry situation. Mom was always telling me to do my laundry at her house, but my tennis shoes clunking around in the dryer at 3am was not exactly conducive to a good nights sleep for her.



I’m not exactly a clothes horse though. I mean, c’mon! Who’s going to see me? I’m a third shift radio DJ. So, I had to either go to Mom’s and risk waking her up or drag myself out of bed and go during the day. Not a pretty picture.



An ad in the paper held promising news though. An all-night laundromat was coming to town. The name of the place made me giggle: The Moonlight Spin & Rinse. It made me think of a Barry Manilow song.



Mom wasn’t thrilled, but I was. I would have clean clothes and she would get a full nights sleep. What I didn’t expect from The Moonlight Spin & Rinse was the ultimate test of my bravery.



No, the place wasn’t held up.



The second Saturday I was there she walked in. She had red hair and green eyes, a cute little boyish figure and a smattering of freckles over every bit of skin I could see. Lithe was the perfect word for her.



Of course, spazz was a pretty good word for her too.



She was the most kinetic person I had ever laid eyes on. She was hardly ever still. Her feet, her hands, her heart stopping green eyes: they were almost always on the move. The only time she was still was when her washers went into their spin cycles. She seemed to be mesmerized by her spinning wet clothes and I wondered if it was a kind of meditation for her. I probably would have been a little freaked out by this except that I often caught myself studying my dryers for the Tootsie Roll Effect: That bizarre phenomenon when all your clothes congeal themselves together in a big roll and just flop from the top of the dryer to the bottom without actually getting dry.



I had seen her in the grocery store once or twice, but I don’t think she ever noticed me. She always looked completely absorbed in her list or too busy avoiding Ralph who is a chronic, if harmless, drunk that likes to talk to the pickles. Diane told me her name was Willow.



I thought it fit.



I wondered what she did for a living. It occurred to me that with energy like that, she might be a day person with chronic insomnia. I hoped that wasn’t the case. I so wanted this beautiful, fluttering, shy woman to be a creature of the night like me.



That doesn’t mean I could get up the nerve to talk to her though. Oh, no way!



We just seemed to hover in one another’s orbit every Saturday night. I would get there first and load my clothes in the washers and then try to find the perfect spot to sneak glances at her the rest of the night. My favorite place was the bench perpendicular to the table furthest from the doors. It faced the wall of dryers and I always did my best to fill all the top dryers so she would have to use the bottoms ones.



She fills out her jeans nicely. Sue me.



Have you ever played the laundry game? It was fun with Willow. The woman has a hoard of clothes! If I had that many, I wouldn’t have to do laundry for a month. All I could figure was she must like having all her choices available. It gave me more to work with when I was trying to figure out what I could about her life though.



The biggest reason I feared she was a day person was that she obviously worked in an office. She had dress pants. No, I mean she had lots and lots of dress pants. Black, navy, brown, grey, tan, grey with dark grey pinstripes, black with white pinstripes, there was even a pair of dark green houndstooth check. I cringed when she threw all five pairs from that week, no matter their color, into the same washer.



I think she had at least three shirts for every pair of pants too. Pullover, button down, short sleeved, long sleeved, you name it and in every color imaginable too. She had one of those self-dry cleaning bags that she would toss them all in to, again without regard to color.



Is it a wonder she didn’t have anything white?



There were casual clothes too. She had several t-shirts with kitties and bunnies and cutesy things all over them. Quite the paradox, my Willow. There was still a giggling little girl underneath the businesswoman.



She also had several plain t-shirts that were pale pink. No doubt victims of her minimal sorting policy. They matched the fuzzy pink tennis shoes she often wore though.



She wasn’t the sock collector that I am, but her’s told more about her than I’m sure mine do. I don’t think she owned a pair of plain white ones. They were different colors or had stripes or other designs. She even had argyle socks – yes, argyle. She had socks with penguins, dolphins, giraffes, bears – a veritable zoo for her feet. I figured she was either an animal lover or her mother had decided she should collect odd socks.



Ask me about my collection of ceramic frogs.



As best I could tell, her pjs consisted of a well-worn football jersey and a pair of yellow slipper socks with angry looking ducks on the side of them. I wondered if that was an unconscious signal that she was grumpy when she woke up.



I tried not to be all pervy and check out her underwear, but if I purposefully made her use the bottom dryers so I could watch her bend over, you know I failed in that attempt, right?



They were lace. I swear to you, they were all lace. That sort of boy leg design, you know? While I thought they’d be really itchy, my heart did race when I thought about her in them. It also made my heart race thinking about what it might mean. Was there a passionate woman in there dying to get out?



I guess it goes without saying that I wanted to find out if I could.



By far, though, my favorite piece of Willow clothing was the one that told me the most about her. She wore it on a cool rainy night the first time I saw it. It was a black hooded sweatshirt that just seemed to swallow her and on the front was the announcement that completely stole my heart.



Property of Geek Dept.



I was in love.



Of course, it occurred to me that this near stranger I’d fallen for was straight. Nothing in Willow’s wardrobe gave me any hints either. I mean, at least I had a Xena t-shirt. I figured that was pretty much my neon sign. I was only willing to trust my gaydar so much.



So, I stayed in my shell and we continued to orbit one another. There was the occasional soft “Hi” and we would catch the other staring now and then, but I couldn’t seem to find the courage for anything more.



Then one night, something out of the ordinary happened and I seized a chance to be brave.



The warm night had smelled like rain as I walked through the parking lot. I smiled when I entered the laundromat – empty as usual. That made me a little nervous sometimes to be honest though. More than once, I’d thought about buying more clothes just so I could come in more than once a week. I didn’t want the place to close after all.



I quickly loaded my washers and took up residence on my favorite bench. I hadn’t been settled long when I heard the bell above the door ring. I looked up to see her scurrying in. I could hear the rain softly pelting outside before the door closed behind her. She shook her head and some of her chin length red curls stuck damply to her face. I tried not to sigh too loudly.



I stuck my nose back in the hilariously stupid romance novel I’d borrowed from Mom and silently cursed my luck as Willow took her clothes to the table directly behind me. I could hear her sorting her clothes as much as she sorted them, but after a little bit it became quiet behind me. I was hyperaware of Willow’s nearness and I desperately wanted to turn around. I kept my head down but raised my eyes to the dark maw of dryers across from me. I caught her reflection in one of the glass doors and snorted a short laugh.



She’d stopped moving because she was standing there staring at me. I’d seen that look before. Her eyes were glazed and she absently chewed her bottom lip. I always hoped that look meant all things naughty were rolling through that brain of hers, especially when that look was directed at me.



I nearly peed myself when the bell above the door jangled. I looked up to see who on earth had come in. Willow and I were always the only two here at this hour.



It was a police officer. He was young and rather plain looking. Other than the crew cut of his light brown hair and the fact that he was painfully thin, the most remarkable feature about the officer seemed to be that he was completely obsessive-compulsive about his uniform. It was pressed to military perfection and he seemed intent on straightening and shining until it was new again.



I looked down at my own red tank top, raggedy black sweats and white tennis shoes that had seen better days and suddenly wondered how homeless I looked. Maybe that’s why Willow didn’t talk to me. Her own faded jeans and Happy Bunny t-shirt proclaiming, “Dude, you suck.” didn’t exactly scream Nieman Marcus though. So I quickly let that thought pass.



As he continued to maniacally rub the rain into his uniform and mutter to himself, the thought popped into my head that the Hillside Stranglers had liked to dress as police officers. I suddenly wished I’d picked up my hardback copy of Order of the Phoenix. I wasn’t sure how much damage I could cause with a paperback. Especially one I’d dropped in the water when I’d fallen asleep in the tub two days ago.



I turned worried eyes up to Willow. She looked ill at ease as well, but could only shrug before we both trained our eyes on him again.



He finally stopped fiddling with his uniform and looked up at us and smiled. I relaxed a little. He seemed sweet enough, just nervous. Willow still looked awfully edgy though.



The officer starting walking toward us and just about the time he hit an area of floor tiles that I had noticed had been replaced a few weeks ago, the comedy of errors began. I jumped up when his feet went flying out from under him, but, thankfully, he managed to save himself on the table next to him. Neither one of us could have gotten to him in time.



Suitably embarrassed, he pulled himself up and tugged at his uniform and belt again. He gave us a more subdued smile. “It’s uh…” I winced for him when his voice cracked. He coughed and tried again. “It’s wet out there,” he said and then laughed a high-pitched nervous laugh.



I crossed my arms as goosebumps rolled over me. Perhaps I’d relaxed a bit too soon.



I gave a silent cheer when Willow grabbed her large bottle of liquid detergent. We were on the same page. She walked right over next to me and I could hear her hand twisting against the plastic handle. One good whack would get us out of here.



He began moving toward us again at a much more sedate pace. She turned toward me slightly, never taking her eyes off him. I almost giggled when I realized she was trying to shield me.



“Um, hi,” he said and then waved. I resisted the urge to waggle my fingers back. “I’m Officer Baxton,” he said and extended his right hand. I panicked when Willow lunged forward. What was she doing? If he grabbed her first, she had the weapon!



I released the breath I was holding when she stepped back unscathed. His eyes grew as bright as a kid’s on Christmas when Willow shook his hand. He seemed so young and excited; I couldn’t help but smile when I shook his hand.



“Sorry to startle you there,” he said, gesturing toward the door.



He was still a little breathless and flushed from his near fall. Now that he was closer, I could see his eager mahogany eyes and splotchy skin. If he was a serial killer, then I was gonna die, because I was thoroughly charmed by this nervous but intent new police officer.



“Are you alright, Officer Baxton?” I asked, genuinely concerned.



“Oh, yes, ma’am,” he said, raising his right hand. “Just fine. Police officer has to be in good shape, you know.”



Do you know what kept me from laughing then? The fact that I knew his mother must be the proudest woman in the world.



“This is my new beat,” he declared, rocking back and forth on his heels. “So, I’m just going around introducing myself to all you night owls.” Willow and I laughed politely at the old stand-by nickname. He chuckled too and missed me rolling my eyes. “Actually,” he said, “this is the best reception I’ve gotten so far tonight. Most of the fast food places thought I was some loony or a serial killer or something.”



I felt awful.



“Can you believe that?” he asked with his nervous laugh. “Me?”



Willow and I exchanged a guilty glance before turning back to him. His smile faded and he looked down at his extra-shiny shoes.



I hated it.



I hated that people thought he was strange because he loved his job so much and was concerned about their safety. I hated that I couldn’t talk to Willow, yet here was this young man wandering through the night stopping and talking to everyone he met. I hated the way the world treated this brave police officer.



And I hated being a coward.



“Officer Baxton, I think it’s terribly…” I paused, wanting just the right words. “…community-minded of you,” I finally said, hoping he would see my sincerity.



I was overjoyed to see his boyish smile return. “Well, thank you, ma’am!” he said happily. “I just wanted to let you ladies know that I’m around if you should ever need anything,” he said, looking as if he was about to burst with pride. “Isn’t it awfully late for two pretty ladies like yourselves to be doing laundry on a Saturday night?” he asked suddenly.



I’m sure he was thinking we should both just be getting home from some hot date. I wasn’t going to be the one to tell him that laundry and Willow-gazing on a Saturday night was my version of a hot date.



“I work third shift,” we said at the same time. I gave another silent cheer. There was a big question answered. I couldn’t keep the grin off my face and ducked my head when she smiled back at me.



“Ah,” he said quietly. I could see the wheels turning in his head as he studied the two of us standing there together. I couldn’t help but wonder what he was thinking.



I jumped when he suddenly stopped rocking and yelled, “OH!”



He’d obviously figured something out for himself. “You!” he shouted, pointing first at me and then at her. “Oh!” he yelled again.



“Oh?” Willow asked. We were both lost.



“Right! I get it!” he said, putting his hands up as if to say “no wait, don’t tell me”. “Hey, that’s great,” he said, grinning widely. “I serve and protect all citizens,” he reassured us.



Realization dawned. He thought we were together.



I think I felt the blush start in my toes. Willow just looked at me blankly while Officer Baxton smiled and rocked like he was sure he was well on his way to his detective’s shield already.



Now, don’t misunderstand. The thought that Willow and I had enough chemistry for this nervous gung-ho rookie to pick up on it despite the fact she and I had never really spoken made me deliriously happy. But if there had been a big enough rock nearby for me to crawl under…



He suddenly laughed again and Willow and I both shivered. “Well, I’ll just be on my way now,” he said and waved as he headed toward the door. I guess he’d seen enough of Lesbian Laundry Night.



She waved back. “Have a safe night, Officer Baxton,” I said.



“Thank you,” he said and I honestly thought he was going to skip to the door. I took a breath to warn him about the floor tiles, but it was too late. His feet went flying out from under him again and it was only some impressive flailing at the same table from before that kept him off the floor. He struggled up and to the door, managing an embarrassed wave as he went out. I hoped he had better luck at the 24-hour pharmacy across the street.



I plopped down on the bench. That was the most excitement I’d had on a Saturday night in quite a while. Willow sank down next to me. She looked just as shell-shocked.



“Please tell me I wasn’t the only one thinking serial killer when he walked in here,” she said.



I laughed lightly and let myself really look at her. I loved the gold highlights in her hair and the way the freckles on her face were more concentrated on her cheeks than her nose. “I was so thinking Hillside Strangler,” I admitted. “Of course, I ended up thinking he was pretty brave,” I said, hoping Willow understood.



She smiled at me. “Yeah,” she said. “I certainly couldn’t wander around introducing myself to random citizens at two in the morning.” I laughed again, thrilled that at some level she had recognized his bravery too.



She was studying me openly and I shied from the intensity of her gaze. I could feel my courage faltering. She was so close and just so beautiful. Every daydream I’d ever had about her began tickling at my belly. But things were going OK; we were actually talking thanks to the brave Officer Baxton. I couldn’t go back now. I just couldn’t.



“So, what are you reading?” she asked suddenly.



You know, it was an absolute fluke that I had that stupid romance novel with me, but I knew an opportunity when I saw it. If I could do this right, it would answer the other big question I had about Willow. I watched her face closely as I turned it over for her to see.



Panic swept over her elfish features and my heart started to race. “I don’t know why,” I said, “but my mother devours these.” I tried to act casual. “I read them for the comic relief,” I admitted. “I mean, do guys really act like this?” I asked.



I hoped she couldn’t tell I was holding my breath. If Willow was gay, maybe she would get what I was really asking. If she was straight, I figured she would prattle on about an ex-boyfriend or something and I would, at worst, probably have a new friend.



She blinked and looked down at the book. When she looked back up at me I could see laughter dancing in her eyes and a smile tugging at her lips. “I wouldn’t know,” she said softly and I practically stood up and danced.



Now, do you remember how I started all this? How I pointed out bravery isn’t nearly as complicated as you might think? That it can be as simple as just saying hello? And do you remember how I told you I was brave once and that it changed my life irrevocably? Well, watch closely. I don’t want you to miss it, because that’s what happened next.



I looked up at Willow, smiled and did the simplest, bravest thing I have ever done in my life. I stuck out my right hand and said, “Hi, my name’s Tara.”









Did you see it?



***









Edited for a heinous grammatical error!



Trom's Brain: Rubbing the World the Wrong Way

Edited by: TromDeGrey at: 12/9/04 9:33 am


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 Post subject: Re: AU Vignettes: The Laundry Diaries
PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2004 7:19 pm 
I'm first so now I will go read the update:blush



So now that I have read the update all I can do is :bow :bow :bow :bow :bow :bow :bow :bow :bow :bow :bow



It was wonderful your Tara is so funny with her story

Quote:
That way if my Tree falls over or my Extended Triangle over extends an ab muscle or my Dead Body turns into a light nap or my sticky mat becomes a Slip-N-Slide under my sweaty feet there’s no one there to see it except the cat.



And she’s not talking. She knows who feeds her.


I about died



Can't wait to see more soon hopefully :blush ;)

Edited by: silentinformer at: 12/1/04 7:41 pm


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 Post subject: Re: AU Vignettes: The Laundry Diaries
PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2004 7:55 pm 
I love Tara's POV as well. She has been admiring Willow from a distance all of this time, and the strangest of circumstances is what gives her the courage to say something. Lovely.



I think it is really adorable that Tara finds Willow's "Property of the Geek Department "shirt so endearing. :lol

Tara: My heart doesn't stutter.


Tara: Willow, I got so lost.

Willow: I found you. I will always find you.


Edited by: The Rose24  at: 12/1/04 8:51 pm


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 Post subject: AU Vignettes: The Laundry Diaries
PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2004 8:05 pm 
Wow!! What a response and from some of my favorite Pens authors too. Kittens are just amazing! Individual replies and then on to part two - Tara's POV.





Whisper- My first feedback! :applause Thanks so much for your kind words. I've done third shift several times and it really is a strange place to live. Tara's part to follow my replies, but I'm afraid that's it for this storyline.:( Thanks so much for reading.



babyblue- The writing sparkles, huh? Very cool! Thank you so much! Third shift has paid the bills for me too. Glad to be out of it now though. Thanks again!



EasierSaid- I knew I would see your name here, but it still made me giggle to see the author of my favorite AU fic leave me feedback. As you know, I've spent just a little too much time on third shift. Glad I got it right though. Sometimes it's hard to see things from the inside out. And filmed? Someone call Amber Benson!:lol Thanks a ton, sweetie!!



ange04- Glad you liked Baxton. He actually was the reason these weren't posted sooner. He went through rewrite after rewrite till Shamden made a suggestion and it helped me find my way with him. Thanks so much for reading!



wimpy0729- I get a kick out of so many of us relating to third shift life. And in a hospital no less! *shiver* Creepy stuff. I did third shift as an EMT for a while. People are strange at three in the morning especially when having chest pain.:lol I appreciate you enjoying this to the point that you'd like to see more. Unfortunately, Tara's POV brings this all to an end. Thanks for reading!



The Rose24- Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoy Tara's part too.



meretricious- I'm so glad you enjoyed it! This seems to be a bit of a trip down memory lane for a lot of us.:lol I'm hoping I've finally left my third shift days behind me though. I'm glad you liked the Xena line. That developed over time really. I wanted to add to Willow's panic there and "flying, spinning disc-thingy" was just so her brain. And Baxton, that poor guy went through so many incarnations. I think he really gets his due in the coming update though. Thanks so much!



silentinformer- Yeah, night life can be very solitary. I didn't really get Baxton either until I did a writing exercise looking at the whole scene from his point of view. That was when I really found his voice. Thanks for reading!



singgirl- Glad you liked it! I chuckled at your suggestion, truth be told. Everything else I write is HUGE. These were my own challenge to myself to write something short. I might have a different story ready in the near future though. Thanks again!



BigGayBear- I'm really honored that you would take the time to read my fic! These vignettes were my own personal challenge to write something short though. I might have something else ready soon though. Thanks so much for reading!



Sassette- I have a confession to make. I squealed when I saw your name in this thread. Yes, squealed, and that is so not me. Then I emailed EasierSaid and said, "Holy shit! The QUEEN of vignettes just left me feedback!":lol I am so glad you enjoyed my personal challenge to myself here. I've always loved reading your vignettes, but I always thought myself completely incapable of writing anything under 200 pages.:crazy I tend to not like first person, to be honest, but Willow first spoke to me and that's just the way it came out. I didn't even have a companion piece planned until this one was done. Then I thought I should try it from Tara's point of view also. I hope it carries as well as this one seems to have. Willow's brain is a fun place. I just have to keep it all in order.:lol And someone else that likes Baxton... You don't know how happy that makes me. Tulipp didn't like him and rather than take her advice:shock I put him through four major overhauls till he came out right. Thank you so much for reading. I'm still giddy!



glendaofoz2004- You need to be reading Neverland by EasierSaid, my friend! Talk about an amazing fic!! Thank you taking time to stop here though. I love AUs. I'm not a huge fan of the Buffyverse as a rule, but I love W&T. But AUs can be tricky, it's easy to lose track of our girls and make them into something unrecognizable. I'm so glad you think I've succeeded here. Thanks again for reading!



pipsberg- pips!!! What's up, girlie! How's RI coming? No pressure.:p I'm really glad you enjoyed this. I think instant chemistry is just a hallmark of W&T. I'm glad it came through here. Thanks so much for reading!



MissKittys Ball O Yarn- A million bucks! I could write fic all day! WHOOHOO!!!! Seriously though, Tara's POV follows, but then that's the end of this road. This was my challange to myself - write something short, dammit! I have several others in the works though. Hopefully, I can finish one fairly soon. Thanks for reading!



behindhereyes- Thanks so much. Hope you like the world through Tara's eyes too. I had to throw in the Xena tshirt. Mine got me into trouble with a Bible thumper at the laundromat once. Too funny. Thanks again!







OK! Tara's POV coming up next!













Trom's Brain: Rubbing the World the Wrong Way



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 Post subject: Re: AU Vignettes: The Laundry Diaries
PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2004 8:46 pm 
this was so absorbing that even though i knew what was going to happen, as it went along i completely forgot that i knew what was going to happen-very nicely done. and the dreaded yoga-mat turned slip-n-slide, ouch! you have a wonderful take on both characters inner thoughts, i'd love to see what you do with them actually interacting after all this observing. of course after this i'll gladly read wherever else your muse takes you-mary





let's do it let's do it let's jump
in with both feet~julia fordham



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 Post subject: Re: AU Vignettes: The Laundry Diaries
PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2004 9:11 pm 
I think one of the hardest things to do is to present two different people's views of a singular event, and have the second seem fresh and original. You managed to do that very well. I liked all of the standalone sentences, and the humor was very nice. Again, not a lot of conclusions drawn from Tara's musings, she seems content to wonder about Willow. It was a nice touch, and a nice contrast, to have her seeing bravery where Willow saw extraordinary-masquerading-as-ordinary.



Great job, S, looking forward to reading future stories from you.



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 Post subject: Re: AU Vignettes: The Laundry Diaries
PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2004 9:37 pm 
I read the first part of this this morning, and was sooo happy to see Tara's pov tonight! Loved the reveal of mutual irritation with super-mom-morning-woman; the 'reading' of each other's clothes; naughty Tara conniving to check out Willow's butt; Willow's protectiveness and Tara's understanding it for what it was.



I especially liked that you made Tara a DJ, cause it seems like it wouldn't fit her personality but it actually does. I was a DJ for a couple of years in college (mostly 3-6 am shift). Despite being really shy and unable to communicate well in person, I found it easy to talk to a microphone. I bet Tara wouldn't even stutter.



Love your writing style, and I hope you continue with this story.

:peace -Cameron



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 Post subject: Re: AU Vignettes: The Laundry Diaries
PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2004 10:38 pm 
I'm glad to see this up here at long last. I also like the follow-up that's from Tara's perspective.

I got bitten by a drunk lesbian! Does that mean I'll turn into one?



~my friend Mary



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 Post subject: Re: AU Vignettes: The Laundry Diaries
PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2004 11:18 pm 
Ahhhhh... this was so nice :)



I made you squeal, huh? I'm just going to assume you mean that in a good way. And I know what you mean about writing short things - it's one of the reasons I started writing vignettes in the first place. Now if I could just get the mid-length stuff down ... and yes, first person is HARD to write, and really REALLY hard to write well - congratulations on doing both! And I'm very glad you decided to do the companion piece, as it's wonderful.



As for our adorable Officer Baxton, I must confess: one of the reasons I liked him is because I love geeky men. Not in a prison way, of course. We don't go to the same prison. Still, joking aside, I thought he was great - especially after reading Tara's PoV, because he's not a random plot point, but a catalyst because he is geeky like Willow and klutzy like Tara, but still the kind of person who can walk up to strangers and say "Hi". He's like this shining beacon of shameless-stranger-greeting, who serves as a role-model to shy awkward young lesbians scoping each other out in laundromats at two in the morning everywhere. He stands tall and shouts "The Only Thing You Have To Lose Is Your Pride, And What Did That Ever Do For You, Anyway?"



But enough about Officer Baxton, before I start writing sonnets in his honor (because I'd have to look up the structure for sonnets first - I don't remember, because high school was a long time ago).



Willow and Tara. Tara and Willow. I had to rush off to work this morning when I left the original feedback, so I'm going to go back to that one. First, I really like the whole "third shift" concept of these two vignettes. It seems to me that both the job and the shift are very Willow, for several reason. The job, of course - computers and Willow are a natural fit (I'm biting my tongue on the comment about Willow and Tara ALSO being a natural fit ... I'm a little punchy, but trying to keep it PG). But the shift works well for Willow, I think. Willow is very much a people-pleaser in her need to gain approval from people in positions of authority - and people in authority are always ecstatic when they can get someone to work third shift. And, as I recall (haven't worked those hours in awhile), people who work third-shift are WEIRD. In a good way, but still. And Willow is weird. In a good way. So that works. And, lastly, despite Willow's drive to succeed, her outstanding abilities, and her inclination to endear herself to people in positions of authority (not in a obnoxious suck-up way, of course - but gosh, imagine being an employer and having someone with Willow's brains and drive walk through your door), for Willow, the day-shift crowd is the Cordelia Chase crowd, and that's not somewhere Willow feels comfortable.



Tara, also, is a great fit for a third-shifter, for so many obvious reasons. Now, the DJ thing at first glance is counter-intuitive for what we know about Tara, but looking deeper and it's great! What we know about our canon Tara is that she's deeply caring, bright, creative and shy. What we've established about your AU is two very important points: as an AU, chuck the demon thing, and Her Mom Is Alive. A great deal of Tara's canon character stems from spending most of her life believing she's a demon, and her mother's death. That's one of the reasons why she's such a fun character to write AU, because you have to peel back these layers to get at her core and work from there. As a deeply caring individual, Tara is absolutely the kind of person who needs to interact with people - a need subverted by her overwhelming shyness and lack of self-esteem in canon. This AU, however, tones down the shyness - but keeps it present - and reconciles these two conflicting motivations with a job that lets her interact with people but maintain her anonymity.



And now, joy of joys, I get to talk about the W/T interaction. Part of what's fun about this fic is that they say about four sentences to each other, and that's it. The rest is their thoughts, and it's great! Willow's thoughts regarding Tara are just so perfect - as you say, Willow's brain is a fun place. I love how mentally spastic Willow is in the first piece - the brain equivalent of Tara's description of her as a kinetic person. She analyzes and frets and daydreams about Tara with tremendous energy. Her lists, her charts, her analyses - all of these len themselves to the idea that she's in the planning stages of actually doing something, if she could only work up the courage to talk to Tara. Tara's thoughts of Willow - equally perfect - by contrast are much more mellow, and resigned to the idea that she's going to continue to worship Willow from afar. As Tara's visual impressions of Willow were echoed by Willow's busy busy brain, so were Willow's impressions of Tara echoed by Tara's more serene thoughts (naughty, but serene). Where Willow fidgets, Tara sits calmly. Where Willow agonizes, Tara wonders.



What I like best about these, though, is the feeling that they are a prologue and an epilogue at the same time. With these two vignettes, you've told the story you wanted to tell, and left me with a quiet sense that, despite the fact the story is complete just as it is, it's really just beginning.



-Sass



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 Post subject: Re: AU Vignettes: The Laundry Diaries
PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2004 5:24 am 
Hey Trom,

Well done. I must say that I like the Tara vignette better than the Willow one just because it's so funny. She's quite a funny narrator as you write her. Of course she has an advantage since part of the humor is seeing the contrast in description of the same people and things (kids with TP, super-moms, etc.) but still quite funny. I love their explanations of their parrallel lives: grocery store, laundry need, and checking out each other's laundry. Very well done and adorable.

Sign the ACLU Refuse to Surrender Pledge

"The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” - Martin Luther King



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 Post subject: boots
PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2004 7:37 am 
:bow wow.... that was totally amazing.... I don't think I've ever read anything so well written in my life! (the great novels included) Well done! It's 6:30 in the morning and I have an hour long commute to work and I was so supposed to leave 10 minutes ago, but I couldn't stop reading. hehehe you made me late for work! :D



I can't wait for your next short story.... and you have more stories out here??? woo hoo!





xoxo

Emms



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 Post subject: Re: AU Vignettes: The Laundry Diaries
PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2004 8:37 am 
I just read both halves in one go, and wanted to say they were absolutely adorable. And written with definite flair and sparkle (does that make any sense?), a real pleasure to read. The style of writing was so funny and knowing, it was kind of like it was all delivered with Tara's trademark lop-sided grin. And so many wonderful lines, my absolute favourite:

"She was testing me. I didn't have a Xena t-shirt."

But that's just one of many, many lines that brought a big smile to my face.



And it was really fun to see the similarities and differences between the two of them. And oh, if only we could have Tara's lovely voice echoing out of the radio each night :)



Could I host this on Looking-glass, pretty please? :pray



Edited to add: I can't believe I forgot to say this at first, but Yay Officer Baxter! It always does my little heart good to see the dorky and slightly spazz-inclined achieve something, even if they're kinda clueless, and fall over once or twice in the process. And yeah, it may be new-job eagerness or just naivete, but a guy who'll go around introducing himself at 2am - we need more people like that. He was a very welcome element of the story.

Chris Cook

Through the Looking-glass

A Willow and Tara for every world.

Edited by: Artemis at: 12/2/04 8:42 am


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 Post subject: Re: The Laundry Diaries
PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2004 9:37 am 
Both parts are really excellent, put them together :sheep amazing. Loved Taras POV.





behindhereyes

Kim

"To the world, you may be one person; but to one person, you may be the world"



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 Post subject: Re: AU Vignettes: The Laundry Diaries
PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2004 9:50 am 
Can I just say I'm absolutely LOVING this so far! :D Can't wait to find out what happens next. I really like your writing style--how the characters are retelling their stories directly to the readers in a very casual manner--actually reminds me a little of a novel I had to read this semester, lol. Anyways...hope we get an update soon!



~Tiffany

Edited by: Dazed and Confused83 at: 12/2/04 9:51 am


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