It didn't take long for the elevator to reach its destination and the door to open to reveal they were in a large glass dome structure. The glass wasn't clear however, it seemed to be an opaque green, obscuring any real view outside but letting light in.
Exiting into the dome Willow gave Tara one of the cards and they walked towards the turnstiles they needed to pass though to exit.
Once passed though the barriers. Willow indicated the half circle shaped exit and taking Tara's hand again led her towards it.
Walking though the half circle hole, Tara saw they were in a large park area, which stretched as far as she could see. It was perfect. They were in a lush meadow with yellow and blue flowers scattered everywhere. A short distance away was a copse of white blossomed trees, under which she was sure she could see some animals grazing. Further away was a low flat-toped hill that people were sitting on taking in the sun. The air...the air was pure too...no sulphur aftertaste.
"Welcome to the Peacehaven Bio Dome," Willow announced.
"Bio dome?" Tara looked up and sure enough saw they were in another enclosed glass like structure. But the roof was at least 300 metres above them and spinning around like a top Tara still couldn't make out the edges of it, all she could see was green landscape.
"Willow this is unbelievable...it's..."
"Big," Willow smiled.
"Um yeah....Big...I'm thinking breath-taking," Tara replied totally in awe, as she continued to spin. "Paradise."
"Come on we can sit under those trees with the key deer," Willow pointed to the copse Tara had already noticed.
"They won't run away?" Tara hesitantly enquired picking up their picnic bag, which she had unknowingly dropped into the long grass.
"Let's see," Willow answered back leading Tara across the fertile green pasture.
As they got nearer to the copse, and slowing down so as not to spook the small deer, Tara could see the trees were beginning to drop some of their white load onto the ground and this was what the deer were grazing on.
Looking over at her companion, Tara noticed Willow seemed to have spied a spot she liked. So they angled to the left, making their way to one of the larger trees that was not totally carpeting the ground in white.
Scooping up a handful of blossom Tara sniffed the blooms getting a faint apple aroma.
"They're Sakura, Japanese Cherry Blossom trees, usually they just blossom for a few weeks, but these guys have been engineered to bloom 4 times a year, so they're nearly always white," Willow breathed on Tara's neck as she leaned over her shoulder to see the blooms slip though Tara's delicate fingers.
"This place, are there more of these on Earth, every city should have one," Tara smiled looking over her shoulder at blue eyes. "A place to come and unwind to just be....be with friends, family, lovers."
After a brief moment to settle down with their backs against the tree, Willow explained the dome's history.
"No, Peacehaven is unique, in North America anyway...in 2038 when things started going bad a bunch of millionaires and billionaires decided to build the ultimate gated community. There are actually 4 identical domes interlinked in a central hub. We are in Park, over there's," Willow pointed to the east, "Res where everyone lives. Over there," Willow pointed north, "is Ent where all the shops, restaurants and entertainment stuff is, and over on the other corner is Ind. A place where high tech businesses can be run from without fear of contamination from polluted air."
"Those people up on he hill, they live here?" Tara exclaimed.
"Yes the uber rich buying their way to health, and a life of not having to deal with the outside world."
"Are you rich Willow?" Tara asked with a bowed head shyly.
"My folks have done ok; Dad was a lawyer...one of his firm's clients was the son of an original founder. He saw a family picture one meeting and seeing that I was about the same age as his daughter invited us up on long weekends. Buffy hated that she couldn't come. As it turned out, Jennifer helped me to sort out a few things."
"What things?" Tara said with a cheeky grin.
"That I liked girls....we never got to fourth base but it was fun on third," Willow replied with a blush.
"I love a good coming out story," Tara winked.
"No - nope - not going down that clichéd road," Willow waved dismissively thinking of the best way to change the subject. She didn't want to spoil the picnic with tales of old woes.
"So let's see," Willow nosed into the pair's picnic bag, "what have we here."
Willow opened up the bag and pulled out a large clear container.
"Crunchy Greek Salad, nice and colourful too."
"It's with an olive oil and wine vinegar dressing," Tara added, pleased at the face Willow was making.
"Tomato Salsa," Willow said pulling out another container, "and we have baked pita wedges to dip."
"Strawberries, you got strawberries."
"I've never tasted the real thing so, couldn't resist," Tara beamed. "In the bottom is some iced tea, and lemonade. I didn't know if you liked tea?"
"Iced tea is fine. It all looks delicious. But Tara this stuff's rare it must have been expensive."
"It's ok Will, it's the least I could do, I wanted to do it right."
As they ate their picnic, Willow did open up to Tara on how she had spent teenage holidays here in Peacehaven, and the pushy rich brunette who had taught her so much. Only to crush her heart when Jennifer's disapproving father had found out about them, and sent her to college halfway across the world.
By the time the story was finished. Willow found she was lying down in Tara's lap as her hair was gently ruffled, the food all but forgotten.
"That's how we learn Will, by having out hearts broken, that's how we can know when we have found that special person."
"You're one of those people who believes there's one perfect match out there aren't you? Talking of special...strawberries...come on switch," Willow exclaimed getting up reluctantly.
"Switch?" Tara quizzically raised an eyebrow.
"Yeah if you've never had strawberries we've got to do this right, come on head down." Willow tapped her lap as she took up position against the tree.
Not needing a second chance, Tara lay down with a sigh of contentment, looking straight up to a beaming Willow with strawberry in hand.
"Open up a little bit," Willow requested as she lowered the morsel to brush against Tara's lips.
"And bite," she smiled.
Taking a delicate bite of the fruit leaving the stalk, Tara savoured the rich taste of the juices as they burst into her mouth. Willow taste she thought. "Mmm...That's so much better than an artificially flavoured drink."
After alternately eating the strawberry's both girls lay down on the grass gazing up into the bows of the blossom heavy tree.
"Thanks for bringing me here, it's a magical place," Tara said turning on her side to Willow gaze. Seeing blonde hair in the corner of her eye, Willow twisted to return the gaze with a smile "You're right it is magical, it's a shame more people can't see it."