"What just happened here?" Xander asked.
"We've been hoodwinked." Buffy replied emphatically. Smiling cheerfully and out of place, she patted Xander on the back as she continued past him.
Running awkwardly to catch up, Xander shouted "Yeah... I kinda got that... But what just happened here?"
"Forget about it Xand." Buffy shouted over her shoulder.
Tara walked quickly through the park. She had to consciously keep her legs from picking up speed. What are you running from Maclay? Tara asked herself, she was very confused, mostly because she had been under the impression that Willow was "Out" and Tara wasn't prepared to start this relationship in the closet. She'd spent most of her life in a closet and at this moment couldn't face returning. Also... Willow's friends reaction to the news didn't seem exactly promising either. Yes, it was the best Idea to end whatever this was becoming before it manifested into something out of her control. Isn't it out of your control already Tara? In truth it had been spiraling drastically out of control the day she'd encountered Willow.
The red-head had forged a permanent place in Tara's heart and it was as impossible to deny to herself as it would be to Willow herself. Tara was torn, part of her wanted to turn back, go and find Willow and live happily ever after... but the other part of her was scared and wanted to run, run away as fast as she could.
Its not like she was a stranger to running... she'd done it practically her whole life. Literally running for her life. Her father had always had a thing against women and he'd been less than kind to her for as long as she could remember.
Her mother had always been her refuge... her safe harbor when times had gotten so bad that she thought she couldn't take life anymore. Her mother had rescued her, sheltered her...but her mother was gone now...had been gone for a long time. and there was no one Tara could turn to. She was now good friends with her brother but while she was growing up they had their problems.
He brother had changed so much over the years... but from what she'd heard, her father hadn't changed at all. Luckily Donny was looking out for her. He was her eyes and ears as far as her father was concerned. If her father ever found her... Well... Tara didn't like to dwell on that thought for too long.
She hurt for her father, but she was also terrified of the man. He was a strictly religious man that believed whole heartedly that homosexuality was an abomination against God and that those "sinners" should be punished. Tara didn't share his views so she'd left home... her mother died shortly after that from cancer. Her father had placed the blame on her, saying that her "Sin" had infected the "family" and was the cause of her mother's cancer. Tara knew this wasn't true, but she was all to aware of what her father was capable of...
Tara realizing that she was crying, quickly dried her eyes as she heard Willow coming up behind her.
"Hey... there you are..." Willow said trotting up behind Tara. She could see the blond had stopped walking and was now waiting for her to catch up.
"W-willow..." Tara said turning to face the red-head. She paused before continuing. "Is everything alright with y-your friends?"
"I think so... Look... I'm sorry about what happened back there... My friends... well... they're special sometimes."
Tara nodded "They're just l-looking out for you." She wanted to make sure Willow knew that she understood. She didn't want the red head to feel bad about what happened.
"Yeah... Literally... and from behind bushes..." Willow smiled apologetically.
Tara couldn't help but join Willow's smile with one of her own.
"Hey... you wanna go get coffee or something...?" Willow asked, suddenly feeling much better.
Tara hurriedly agreed, she didn't want their first date to end early and coffee would be the perfect pretense to lure Willow into her apartment. Tara smiled. The prospect of Willow inside her apartment was more than enough goodness needed to push the awful thoughts of her father completely out of her mind. She was after-all an adult and she couldn't let her fear about her father continue to control her.
"Why don't we go back to my place... and I can make us some." Tara felt Willow's hand lightly graze her shoulder, before sweeping down the length of her arm to entwine her fingers with Tara's.
They smiled at each-other as they walked back to the picnic spot to gather their things before heading to Tara's.
The fire-place popped. Willow and Tara lay on pillows on the floor in front of the fireplace. They had been talking for hours, neither woman ready to declare the date over and neither woman ready to make that move that would bring their relationship into the more intimate level. The conversation had been flowing at an easy pace and though they were no stranger to kissage, nothing had happened yet that evening. It seemed as if both women were still feeling out the situation. They seemed quite content to lay on the floor facing each-other while the glow of the fireplace cast a warm light over their bodies. Willow had taken off her shoes and now her feet still clad in socks were making footsies with Tara's.
"What makes you happy?" Willow asked, lightly tracing a path across Tara's stomach with her finger tip. It was amazing to her how they could talk for hours and never run out of things to say. Willow wanted to know everything about this beautiful woman next to her.
Willow was still concerned that the scene with Buffy had spooked Tara a little more than the blond was letting on. She studied Tara face, before her eyes drifted to the blond's hair. It was tucked back behind her ear on one side and on the other side it was lightly framing her smooth cheek bone. Her head was propped up on her hand as she lay facing Willow.
"That's easy... noodle soup." Tara said grinning
Willow grinned when the blond failed to elaborate on her answer.
"Really?" Willow asked.
"uhuh... And... what makes you happy?"
"Infatuation... and poker parties" Willow said softly.
"Is that what this is...?" Tara became suddenly very serious. she lifted her body up, leaning on her arm she looked into Willow's eyes.
"A poker party?..." Willow asked innocently, offering a little smile.
"No... I mean... do you think we are just infatuated with each-other?"
Does she think that's all this is? Willow could see the look in Tara's soft blue eyes and she knew then that Tara didn't think what they shared was simple infatuation."No..." Willows voice was full of certainty. She licked her suddenly dry lips. "What we have is..." Willow's voice was barely a whisper as her lips moved closer to Tara's.
"Much more..." Tara finished, knowingly as their lips met in a sweet kiss.
Willow felt Tara's free hand tangle its way through her hair, as the blond deepened the kiss. Willow felt the familiar wetness forming between her legs. Since their first kiss two weeks ago they have done little more than that, both wanting to take things slow. But Willow was beginning to feel like taking things slow was taking forever. All this kissing was starting to frustrate her beyond reason. She needed something more. Willow licked Tara's bottom lip, sucking it into her mouth. She felt Tara pull away from the kiss and press her damp forehead to Willow's. Willow closed her eyes and tried to stop her heart from thumping so loudly in her chest. Willow was surprised when Tara brought her own lips hungrily against hers re-initiating the kiss. Willow felt Tara's tongue enter her mouth. She moaned as Tara's hand slid down the length of her side, coming to rest on Willow's jean clad hip. She was very much aware of the placement of Tara's hand on her hip, so much so that it seemed to be burning her skin even under the heavy material of her jeans.
Tara kept her hand possessively on Willow's hip, though she made no move to draw the red-head closer. Her hand burned at the contact, and she felt the sting of desire. Tara wanted to slip her hand to the front of Willow's body and undo the barrier between her and the beautiful woman next to her. She wanted to slip her hand beneath the waistband of Willow's jeans, slip under the red head's panties and give in to the passion that was threatening to overwhelm her. She gripped Willow's hip tightly, trying to ease some of the momentum that was building up in her hand. If she didn't stop kissing Willow she might not be able to stop. Tara took her lips from Willow's, but unable to pull away completely she pressed them to Willow's cheek.
Willow felt her face drop as Tara's lips were no longer there to hold her up. Willow opened her eyes when she felt Tara pull away completely. This beautiful woman will be the death of me. Willow smiled warmly into Tara's eyes. The wetness between her legs paired with the tightness of her jeans was creating an unbearable friction.
Willow brought her finger to Tara's face, caressing Tara's face gently with the back of it. She couldn't help conveying all the love she felt for the blond in that simple touch. Though she had yet to say the words she had an over powering sense that Tara could feel the tenderness as willow traced her fingertip lightly down Tara's cheek.
They were sharing a moment. A moment of closeness and a moment of understanding and Tara knew that she didn't have to explain her reasons for pulling away from the kiss. "I'll wait until you're ready" was what Willow's touch was saying, and Tara felt love swell up inside her. She felt tears forming in the back of her eyes, the sudden emotion forced Tara to come to the realization that her reasons for pulling away from Willow went much deeper than simply wanting to take things slow. Tara was still dealing with the shame and hurt her father had instilled in her and even though she knew better, knew it hadn't been her fault.. Tara couldn't help harboring guilt over her mother's death. She looked up at Willow not wanting to hide the tears. She felt Willow take her in her arms and pull Tara securely into her body.
Willow held Tara against her. Her heart ached for the woman in her arms. Willow pressed her lips to the top of Tara's head. Willow held Tara until the blond was silent in her arms and her breathing became steady and rhythmic. Willow looked across the room at the bed, but she couldn't figure a way to get Tara in it without waking her. Willow kissed The blond's forehead. "Tara...?" She whispered softly. The blond's blue eyes fluttered open. "Come on..." Willow said gently as she helped Tara to her feet. She took Tara's hand and guided her to the bed. Willow pulled the Burgundy covers down and Tara got into bed. Willow pulled the cover's over Tara's body, and sat down on the edge of her bed. Willow waited until she was sure that the blond was asleep before getting up. As she started to get up she felt a hand touch her fingers lightly getting her attention.
"Willow... Don't go... Please..."
Tara's voice was soft and vulnerable and it pulled at the protectiveness inside Willow "I'm not going anywhere baby..." Willow whispered, she brought Tara's hand up to her lips and lightly kissed her slim fingers. She sat down on the floor next to Tara's bed. Willow was exhausted, but she kept her eyes open, she wanted to be alert if Tara needed her.