Author: MissKittys Ball O Yarn
The creek flowed smoothly just on the outside of the line of trees. The land they were standing on used to belong to an elderly farmer.
Tara's brother used to work for him in the summer months, doing odd jobs like, hauling bails of hay to the man's barn and bringing in armfuls of wood for the man's fire .
He had been a widower and had no family, so when he died and there was no one to pass the property to, the bank took repossession of it. The farm house had long ago been demolished, but as for everything else, it stood mostly as it had been. The bank had little to do with a property such as this, there was just no use for it way out here, so it stood untouched.
Tara noticed an apple tree a few yards away from where she stood. The apples were small and red. They were nothing at all like the perfectly shiny apples found in the grocery stores in town, but they would do. Tara reached up, breaking first one, then another off of the lowest hanging branch of the tree.
She looked over at Willow, who was sitting on the ground next to the stream. The sun seemed to be enveloping the redhead in a shimmery cloak of light and heat making her hair shimmer and look more red then Tara had ever seen it before.
A butterfly fluttered past Tara. It stayed just out of her line of sight even as she tried to follow it's path with her eyes. Tara's vision was able to catch up with the butterfly when the beautiful creature landed on a small purple flower growing a few yards from her foot. It's wings were a crisp white, like a good linen hanging on the line just after a wash. The creature looked so delicate just sitting there. Having had it's fill of sweet nectar It flapped it's wings again before taking off into the air. Tara followed the flight of the butterfly much more easily this time. It flitted around in the hot summer air a moment before bumbling over to where the red-head was sitting in the grass.
Tara's eyes were drawn back to Willow as the Butterfly took up residence on a blade of grass resting next to Willows fingers... Willow's legs were crossed underneath her and she was idly picking blades of grass out of the ground with her fingers. The butterfly rested silently, never moving even as Willow's hand inched closer and closer to it. Tara envied the butterfly, she wished she could be that calm with Willow so close.
Willow could feel Tara behind her. Willow picked at a blade of grass next to her leg. She had nearly fallen earlier, but Tara had caught her. Willow could still feel Tara's breath, it had been warm and sweet... Willow closed her eyes. She had to stop thinking these kind of thoughts. Willow was aware that she was dancing dangerously toward a line drawn in the sand. If she stepped so much as a toe of her shoe across it, there would be no coming back from that. But the thoughts were becoming more persistent and she was finding it harder and harder to ignore them. She didn't know if Tara felt it. She didn't want to make a mistake. Though their friendship was solid, the budding whatever it was, was still tenuous and fragile... like the blade of grass in her hand. Willow regarded the green shard, turning it over between her fingers before blowing it from her hand.
The blond sat down on the grass next to Willow. She offered the red-head an apple.
Willow smiled as she took it. "Thank you," She said, bitting into the juicy fruit.
Finishing their apples Tara extended her hand and waited for Willow to give her what remained of her apple. Willow did, and Tara whistled a short whistle. Kaneeda's head perked up from where she was munching grass. Spying something better than grass to eat she came over and Tara gave her the apple cores. Eating first one then the other the horse nuzzled Tara's palm before once again wandering away from the girls.
Willow bit her lower lip. she was aware of Tara's nearness. The palm of Willow's hand itched. lifting tentatively from its home in her lap, Willow moved her hand slowly the few inches across the air between them and taking the greatest chance of her life, she slid her hand onto Tara's knee. She couldn't help but looking down at the appendage and then into Tara's eyes. She didn't want to overstep any boundaries between them, she needed to know if this was okay... Willow was relieved to see acceptance in Tara's eyes. Tara was looking at her. They were silent. they didn't talk about willow's hand or the implications of such placements. It simply was.
"Willow..." Tara unexpectedly laid her head against Willow's shoulder.
Willow studied the water as it flowed over the rocks, the stream was a clear amber color. It was beautiful but not as beautiful as Tara and it was peaceful, but not as peaceful as sitting here with the blond's head on her shoulder.
Even when they were back on the horse and heading home, Willow still felt warmed by the days events. Her anxieties about being on Kaneeda had all but disappeared and there was a sense of simpleness regarding her relationship with Tara. There was something between them, it wasn't defined, but that was okay. now wasn't the time for definitions.
"What are we going to do?" Willow asked, as Tara handed her a bucket
Tara smiled at her. They had tied Kaneeda to the fence post just outside of the row of stalls. Tara still remembered when a much healthier version of her mother had raised horses. They had always had at least eight of them, but when her mom became ill they had to give them away, Only Kaneeda was left.
"We're going to give Kaneeda a bath"
"In this?" Willow pointed to the wooden box filling up with water. She was confused, The box looked much smaller than the big horse, she didn't know how they were going to shove her in there far enough to wash her.
"No silly that's a trough... that's her drinking water."
"She gets a bath with these" Tara said handing one of two big yellow sponges to Willow. "Y-you don't have to help though, unless you want to."
"No... I want to..." Willow said placing the sponge into the empty bucket.
Tara taught Willow how to wash Kaneeda's delicate legs first, starting at the hooves and moving up the leg. They worked on their individual sides until the task was complete.
Using the hose, Tara started the spay low on the legs of the animal "so she gets used to it" Tara explained as she slowly raised the hose higher until Kaneeda was covered with water and the soap had been rinsed completely off. Tara finished by rinsing the soap out of the sponge before lightly washing the mare's face. She put the hose back in the trough. Picking up what looked to willow like the wind-shield scrapper her father kept in his car in case of an ice emergency, which in southern California was as likely as a snow storm, Tara began scraping it across kaneeda's body, causing the water on the horse to fly off the end of it.
"Y-you want to try?"
Willow nodded, taking the scraper thing from Tara she began mimicking the action Tara had been performing moments before. Only, being less skilled at it than Tara was, the water flew uncontrolled off the end of it . Willow soon became aware that she was splashing Tara with ever stroke. The blond had remained by her side to make sure she was doing it correctly, and Willow teasingly began to use this to her advantage. She began to playfully swipe it in just a way that it was sure to get Tara wet. The blond hadn't caught onto the game yet and certainly must have been thinking that Willow was quite incompetent. It wasn't until after a really expert flick of the water that Willow made the mistake of smiling. Tara saw this and instantly the jig was up.
Tara had this devilish glint in her eye, but Willow saw it too late. Tara had already done it and Willow found herself falling backward into the trough full of water behind her. It was cold. The hose filling it was still inside, the water still pouring into the trough. Willow sat stunned by the cold water for nearly a whole second before she was up and out of there. Grabbing the hose she pointed it at the guilty looking blond. "Freeze" Willow said. Tara stopped in her tracks, turning around she put a hand to her mouth "Willow!" she screamed, before turning to run down the concrete hallway of the stable.
If the blond was trying to get away from her she wasn't going fast enough. Willow stood there, she allowed Tara to get a head start. It wouldn't have been fair otherwise.
Willow knew the capabilities of the hose in her hand and if she had calculated correctly she knew the exact distance the spray would reach.
Willow was dripping wet, her hair clung to the back of her neck and her clothes were clinging to her in all the wrong places. There was no mercy in Willows smile as she lifted the hose out in front of her. Her thumb went across the nozzle, creating a pressure that blasted the spray from the hose with enough force to reach the length of the stalls.
Tara froze when the stream of Ice cold water blasted her from behind. She had only made it halfway down the hallway when the water hit her. She had been running as fast as she could without slipping on the straw that littered the concrete under her feet.
When the spray hadn't come immediately, Tara concluded that Willow was toying with her. She knew the red-head well enough to know that she would seek revenge. Tara also realized that she couldn't get away either...
Tara turned around to see Willow coming toward her slowly, a cheeky grin on her face. Willow wasn't letting up with the hose either, she kept it aimed steadily at Tara. It was cold and Tara couldn't stop laughing long enough to catch her breath. She grabbed the green hose, trying to pull it out of Willow's hands, but the red-head had a death grip on it. It was too late when she realized what was happening, the water cascading at their feet had made the ground very slippery and Tara's feet went out from under her. She felt Willow grab onto her waist to keep her from falling, but the momentum was too great. Tara, taking the red-head with her landed on her back with a splash into the water.
Willow, unable to stop her from falling had been caught off balance. Her feet going out from under her, she landed on top of Tara. It all happened so quickly that Willow hadn't really had a chance to catch her breath. She moved her hands onto the wet cement, the hose now forgotten still streamed around them. She braced her weight by placing her hands on either side of Tara's body.
Tara couldn't stifle a laugh at their current condition. It wasn't until she felt the slight weight of the red head's body pressing against her that the laughter faded, it was replaced by an impossible to resist need to tilt her head forward the two inches needed to bring their lips together. She didn't so much as move though, Her breath caught as she felt Willow was having the same thoughts.
Willow had shifted her weight, the way that Tara was looking at her brought out something primal in Willow. The sounds around them faded into nothingness, even the cool water that still ran underneath and around them was put aside.
This was the moment, it was almost so natural that Willow forgot to be nervous. She could feel Tara underneath her and the look on the blonds face told willow that she was in acceptance of what was about to happen. They understood each-other in a way never experienced before. Willow didn't dare close her eyes even as that fine line in the sand began to blur.