Author: MissKittys Ball O Yarn
The drive back to Cullison seemed to happen in slow motion. Donny couldn't focus on anything aside from random lyrics to songs he'd heard throughout his life. They plagued him, repeating themselves over and over again as he fought the urge to sing out loud. His fingers clenched the steering wheel so tightly that his knuckles had turned white with the effort, and every song he had ever heard kept right along playing non-stop through his mind, as if some glutton for punishment had put all their quarters into a jukebox and had pushed every button combination imaginable.
Although the karaoke style format in his brain was a better alternative to the thoughts he could have been having about his father and certain misdeeds, so he couldn't claim to hate his current thought processes. Donny was able to ignore the incessant music for most of the drive, but he drew the line when he started whistling Yankee Doodle. Muttering something under his breath the moment the high-pitched blast of wind had erupted from his lips to the blasted tune, he leaned forward and pushed the radio on with a heavy hand.
Tara cuddled into Willow's lean body; her face nuzzled the outer surface of WIllow's small breast. She heard her lover moan as Tara's lips moved to capture a pretty pink nipple beteween her lips. But Willow laughed and squirmed out reach when Tara sucked the pink delicacy into her mouth. Tara raised her head and lifted a questioning brow at her lover.
"You promised snuggles...." Willow pretended to pout. She stuck her lip as far out as it would go.
Tara smiled crookedly at the long whine strung through Willow's words. "Okay, I'm sorry...can you accept my deepest and most sincere apologies?" Tara tried to sound serious, but she could tell Willow had picked up on the tease in her voice. She should try and be good, she knew Willow was exhausted. They had made love all afternoon and were both pretty much ready to sleep for the next couple years. Tara sighed when Willow moved closer to her, allowing Tara her breast as a pillow, but nothing more. Tara felt Willow's fingers trace a path along her face, traveling behind her ear as she tucked a loose strand of blonde hair away from Tara's eyes.
"I love you Tara." Willow said suddenly, the easiness in her voice mirrored by the dreamy look in her eyes.
"I love you too...." Tara murmured against the sweet oatmeal scent of her lover's skin. She closed her eyes under the weight of the tiredness she felt resting against her eyelids, but opened them again as another thought sprang into her mind. "Where do you think Donny went?" She said suddenly. The thought of her brother and his whereabouts seemed to have replaced any naughty thoughts of ravishing her lover she had been having.
"I don't know....he's not back yet?"
"I don't think so....I don't remember hearing the truck pull up...Do you?"
"Well.... we were kind of wrapped up in our own activities" Willow said, kissing Tara chastely on the lips. "Are you worried?"
"No…Donny's a big boy...I was just curious." Tara settled against Willow's shoulder once again, but this time, as Willow drifted off into sleep just under her, Tara could find no such rest. She didn't know why, but something about her brother being gone all morning and into the night worried her. It was so unlike him to leave without saying anything to her, or mentioning when he planned to be back.
Tara closed her eyes, deciding that worrying about her brother wasn't the best way to spend this moment with Willow. Tara turned her attention to the feel of her lover's bare skin against her cheek, and the tingly warmth of her skin. As they lay together naked under the thin sheet that just barely covered them, Tara fell asleep.
Tara stood on the ladder, brushing the white paint onto the side of the house in slow languid strokes. It really was too hot to be doing that type of work, but she wanted to get as much done as she could before the end of August, before it was time for she and Willow to leave for California.
Tara heard the truck crunching up the driveway and before she could turn around to look, Donny was already stomping onto the wooden porch. He didn't even stop to say two words to her as he brushed passed the ladder. Donny went into the house, slamming the screen door behind him. Exchanging a glance with Willow to let the redhead know that she would be alright, Tara came down off the ladder and went into the house after her brother.
She found him, sitting at the kitchen table, with his arms folded across his chest and his boots extended out in front of himself in what seemed to her to be a mock attempt to appear casual. Tara knew her brother enough not to be fooled by this though. His curious behavior was only becoming more curious by the second "What's going on Donny?" Tara asked, leaning against the counter. The edge of the hard surface cut into her bottom as she pressed her weight against it. Donny wasn't looking at her, nor did he look at her for a long moment after she spoke.
A few minutes of silence passed before Tara began to question if her brother had heard her at all. He was staring off into space as if he didn't recognize she was even in the room with him. Tara opened her mouth to say something else, but was cut off by Donny's sharp movement. His eyes darted to hers and Tara recognized a muted version of the look she had learned to be so afraid of as a child.
Tara wasn't worried that Donny would hurt her, or do anything to harm her, but she was concerned about what had happened to cause that look to be there in the first place. "Donny, what's wrong with you?"
"Don't tell me nothing...I haven't seen you this way since... before mom...." Tara's voice trailed off. She couldn't bring herself to finish the sentence.
Donny sighed; he looked back at the table before his eyes returned to his sister. "It's Dad..." Donny still wasn't sure how much he should tell his sister. Part of him wanted to keep what he'd found out a secret, but the other part of him needed to share it with her...needed someone to confide in. Without really realizing it Donny had become very accustomed to talking one-on-one with Tara about his feelings.
"What about Dad?" Tara asked cautiously. She didn't know what to think, part of her worried that Donny was about to tell her that he had gone and done something to their father that he shouldn't have. Tara dismissed this thought as quickly as it had come though. Donny had come a long way in such a short amount of time. He wasn't like he used to be and she knew he would have taken the higher ground concerning whatever it was that had happened. Tara was more than sure of this.
"You're not going to believe this sis..." Donny laughed; everything seemed suddenly lighter and more amusing than it had seemed even a minute earlier.
Tara uncrossed her arms as she waited for Donny to go on.
"Cousin Beth.... and Dad." Donny couldn't help it as the laugh that had formed in the back of his throat, erupted from his lungs. He couldn't stop the rest of the laughter that had flowed out after it either. Donny looked up at Tara through watery eyes, she was looking at him like he had just lost his natural-born mind, but he couldn't contain his laughing long enough to finish what he had been about to tell her. "Cousin Beth...and Dad are...they're shacking up, sis. " he finally managed to squeeze out between the gasps of air that escaped around his laughter.
"What?" Tara's lips curled up in disbelief. She wasn't sure if she had even heard Donny correctly.
"No it's true. I saw it for myself. "
"You mean they're...living together?" Tara was beginning to understand.
"I don't know if they're living together...but she's definitely polishing his iron monkey." Donny didn't mean to be crude, but he couldn't help it. He felt crude at the moment.
Tears edged their way around Donny's eyes as he suddenly realized that they were not tears caused by laughter. Donny put his head in his hands, ashamed by the sudden display of emotion. He'd never meant to cry, in fact he hadn't cried since the day his mother died. He wasn't surprised when he felt Tara wrap her arms around him, her chin resting on the crown of his head.
Tara pulled back slightly. "Are you okay?" She asked. Taking her arms from around Donny, she took a step backward.
"I think so. It must have been the shock."
"How did you find out?" Tara asked this quietly, even though she was sure she could live the rest of her life without that information. She asked for Donny's sake though, because she could tell he needed to talk about it.
Donny pulled the piece of paper out of the pocket on in his jeans and handed the slip of paper to his sister. He could feel the tears drying on his face, causing his skin to feel tight and pulled. He ran his hands up and down the skin on his face, massaging it in an attempt to loosen the feeling of constriction he felt there.
Tara examined the paper, her eyes scanning across the written words. Part of her was hurt that her father hand gone to Donny with the fact that he needed money, and the other part understood his position. He and Donny had been close.
Tara couldn't claim to have such a relationship with their father. She had never felt too terribly close to the man, so she couldn't really empathize with what Donny was going though. But she felt bad for him and wished for her brother's sake that her father had been a more honorable man than he had apparently turned out to be.
Tara frowned, handing the paper back to her brother. She watched as he crumpled it and tossed it against the far wall of the kitchen. The balled up paper made a small slapping sound before finally landing against the kitchen floor, directly under the rim of the cabinet.
They both stared at the crumpled paper in silence for a minute, neither saying a word. Tara was startled when Donny got up with intent. "What are you going to do?" Tara was scared by her brother's sudden change in mood. She was worried that he might do something he would regret for the rest of his life.
"I don't know. I think I gotta get out of here, sis." Donny paused, looking at Tara. "But I don't want to leave you alone. "
"I'm not alone Donny. I've decided to leave with Willow at the end of August. " Tara said, looking down at her fingers. She wasn't sure how he was going to react to that information. This was the first opportunity she'd had to tell him and she worried that he would disagree with her decision
"That's for the best Tara. You should leave. " Donny said, looking down at the floor.
Tara nodded. She was glad that he seemed to approve. She didn't like to admit it, but his opinion had become very important to her. "Where will you go?" She asked, her voice small.
"Texas maybe...I haven't thought too much about it." Donny ran his hand nervously through his shaggy brown hair. "Promise me Tara...promise me that you'll leave. Don't hang around here, sis. There's nothing for you here. " Suddenly that became very important to Donny, he wanted to know Tara was going to be alright if he left.
Deep down he knew Willow would take care of his sister, he could feel it...Willow and Tara had something between them that was larger than anything he could consciously wrap his mind around, but still he felt it. Deep down inside he knew she would be okay; he just needed to hear it from Tara.
Tara could feel tears forming in the back of her eyes. "When are you leaving?"
"As soon as I can get my shit together...tomorrow morning maybe.... Will you give me a ride to the bus station?" Donny looked up, but looked quickly away when he saw the tears in Tara's eyes. She was the only part of this farm that he would miss, but he knew he couldn't stay. It was time to start things anew. Donny knew he never wanted to see this farm again. There were too many bad memories associated with this property...things he never wanted to remember for the rest of his life.
Donny hugged Tara