The blonde smiled shyly and gave Willow a little wave.
"Hello Willow," She managed in a quiet voice. So quiet in fact that Willow barely heard her.
"Hello Tara. Please call me Will. I like it better. Willow always sounds like my mother scolding me for something when I was a child."
That elicited a small giggle from Tara and that small giggle brought a smile to the redhead's face. Dawn placed three bowls of hearty stew on the table in front of them and they sat down to eat. Most of the meal was spent with Dawn and Tara amiably chatting. Will ate hungrily from her day's work, not saying much except to answer a question that was asked of her now and again. They talked about the war, the farm, work. Then it came.
"Will, where d-did you learn to r-read and write?" Tara asked.
Willow stilled for a moment. Then she put her spoon down in her bowl and looked at her lap, seemingly embarrassed. Tara sensed the change in her mood. Finally, after several moments, Willow answered without looking at the blonde.
"I can't read or write." Was her simple admission.
"Oh," Tara sounded surprised and looked a little disappointed that the letter might not have been from Willow at all. "I thought you w-wrote that letter to m-me upstairs."
"I told Dawn what I wanted it to say. Dawn wrote that."
"I only did the writing part. It was Will's words on the paper," Dawn quickly clarified. She wanted Willow and Tara to be together. She already liked the blonde and could tell Willow was falling in love with her.
"Well i-it was a sweet n-note," Tara said as Willow looked her in the eyes. A moment passed between them and she spoke again, this time to Dawn.
"Dawn, where did you learn to r-read and write so well?"
"Oh there's a local teacher around here. His name is Mr. Giles. He was a friend of Willow's mom. He used to come by everyday but he said that I'm really smart for my age and now he just drops my work off every Tuesday."
"Well, I'm glad to hear w-we have a genius in the f-family." Tara praised. Willow's eyes snapped up at the word 'family'. She looked at the blonde and realized that Tara liked it on their plantation, enough to already consider them family. She smiled fondly at Dawn. Now the young woman would have someone to look up to and good role model that could be around all the time. Willow always felt guilty about leaving her sister alone for most of the day. It wasn't supposed to be for a long time, just until Willow earned enough money to get more supplies and seed to keep up the plantation. She was almost there. She and Dawn had figured it up and she would only have to work another month at the quarry. Suddenly there was a knock at the front door.