The next morning, Willow awoke to find she was indeed a snuggly sleeper. Tara was turned on her side facing away from Willow and Willow was spooned in behind her tightly, holding the lovely blonde as she slept. Willow's first thought was to detangle herself and move to the farthest edge of the bed from Tara, for fear of Tara's rejection if she woke to Willow holding her so intimately. That thought was quickly replaced by her heart commanding her to play dumb and act like she was still asleep if Tara woke up. Willow's eyes took in the form of the angel that she was holding. she could see half of Tara's face from where she lay and she busied herself memorizing it. The round eyes, shapely cheekbones, her slightly curved nose, and her full lips. The dark blonde hair that spread out like honey on a beehive. Her scent was almost indefinable, but Willow thought it resembled something like lilacs and roses after the first spring rain. Willow took in breath after breath of that scent, committing it to her sensory memory and labeling it the most wonderful smell in the world. The sun was beginning to peek over the horizon and Willow was grateful that Tara had come on a Saturday, and that today she wouldn't have to work at the quarry. It was Sunday, the town's proclaimed day of rest. Nothing was open today. Not the general store, the post office, the quarry, nothing. There was work to be done on the plantation but at least Willow would be within viewing distance of Tara all day. The lone rooster began to crow outside and Willow took one more sniff of Tara's hair before she carefully untangled her limbs from Tara's, dressed in her work trousers, white shirt, and boots, then left the room.
Tara had been awake for a while, and she felt Willow starting to awaken. The redhead laid still, her arms wrapped around Tara's waist and her body molded to Tara's back. She could feel the hardened muscles in Willow's body, mainly in her abdomen and arms, but the embrace was tender and comforting. She reasoned she should stay still as long as possible so she could enjoy the feel of Willow's strong ody touching hers. She wondered if Willow would pull away once she realized their proximity but she lay still, and Tara could feel her warm breath grazing her ear lightly. She had the feeling that Willow was watching her and the idea was just fine with her, if not perhaps a little embarassing. She continued to pretend she was asleep until Willow decided that evidently it was time to get up. She had the distant thought pass through her mind to turn over and kiss Willow full on the lips to keep her in bed, but she reminded herself that it was likely Willow wasn't like herr at all and she suppressed her hormonal urge. She heard the bedroom door close softly with a light click, and she knew her dream lover was gone. She rolled over to the still warm pillow and pulled it close, inhaling deeply Willow's rich, earthy scent. She smelled like fresh rain on newly tilled soil. The pillow had a few strands of red hair on it and Tara picked at them absentmindedly as she lay there wondering what Willow's lips tasted like.
Willow came downstairs and into the kitchen to the sight of Dawn and Elizabeth making breakfast together.
"Good morning. i was beginning to wonder if you were going to sleep all day." Dawn smiled at her sister. "Is Tara still asleep?"
Willow ran her hand through her long red locks and around the back of her neck.
"When I got up she was." Willow shrugged and sat down at the table. Elizabeth was cooking ham in a skillet and Dawn put a steaming cup of coffee in front of Willow. Willow took a sip and looked around the kitchen. Anne sat quietly at the table watching Dawn stoke the fire and stir whatever was cooking in the pot over it. Someone else was missing though.
"Where's William?" Willow inquired of Elizabeth.
"I believe he's already out tending to the horses. He's already eaten and had his coffee."
Willow nodded. While she was not lazy, she didn't mind someone else taking care of the horses this morning.
"Will, can you go wake Tara and tell her it's time for breakfast?" Dawn addressed her elder sibling. Willow nodded and took another sip from her coffee before getting up from her seat and quietly climbing the stairs. She got to her room and opened the door softly, peeking in the crack before opening it all the way. What she saw made her smile. Tara was wrapped around her pillow, snuggling with it as tightly as Willow had been with the blonde the night before. What was more was the look Tara had on her face. A placid smile of pure happiness. Willow observed her for a few moments, then wnet to the bed and sat on it carefully so as not to startle the gentle girl.
"Tara, it's time to wake up," Willow gently called to her. Tara decided to play hard to get up. Willow tried a little harder, this time gently shaking the blonde.
"Tara come on. It's late." She said again. Tara simply continued to sleep, or so Willow thought. Tara was doing her best not to smile. Willow, thinking that Tara was in a very deep sleep, decided to do something that would be monumentally stupid if Tara woke up. Checking once more to make sure Tara was asleep, Willow was satisfied and leaned down over Tara, hovering for a moment and studying her features again. Then she pressed her lips ever so softly to the blonde's. Tara barely registered the contact and might not have at all if not for the warm air from Willow's nostrils. She fought the urge to kiss her back, afraid to give herself away if she returned the gentle pressure. Willow pulled away and did another study of Tara's face. She noted that where her skin was slightly tanned and freckled, Tara's was pale and soft and her hair was thick and glossy, and the most beautiful shade of deep gold that Willow had ever seen.
'Alright, enough staring, just wake her.' Willow thought. She reached down and shook Tara a bit harder than the first time. Tara slowly opened her eyes and gazed deeply into Willow's green depths.
"Good morning. You're a deep sleeper." WIllow couldn't stop the slight blush that crept over her face at the though of her stolen kiss. Tara smiled serenely.
"Thank you for w-waking me so gently. Everyone else is a-always s-so mean."
"Well I'm not everyone else. I don't know who could be mean to you." Willow smiled back, finding the girl's stutter slightly endearing. Tara's face turned to one of sadness.
"Y-You didn't k-know my f-family." Tara stumbled badly over this particular sentance. Suddenly the stammer wasn't so cute.
"I don't know what your family did to you but I swear that they'll never hurt you again. I promise. If you ever want to tell me about it, I'm here to listen."
Tara nodded tearfully and brought her arms up and around Willow's neck, pulling the redhead down on top of her. Willow did her best to return the awkward embrace.
"Shh, it's alright. Please don't cry Tara. I can't bear to see you upset." Willow whispered. Tara sobbed a moment more before she let go of Willow and began to wipe her tears away.
"I'm t-terribly s-sorry. I d-didn't mean to-" Tara began, only to be cut off by Willow's finger against her lips.
"Shh, you don't need to apologize. You're in pain. I understand. I'm always here now. I'll never let you get hurt." Willow brushed away a few wet strands of hair that were stuck to Tara's face by her tears. She leaned down so close that her breath mingled with Tara's ragged exhalations, their lips nearly touching. Willow looked deep into Tara's eyes and what she saw was not revulsion at the closeness but rather a welcoming warmth and desire. It was now or never, Willow decided and she leaned down further, closing the distance and firmly pressing her lips to Tara's. Her right hand found itself entangled in the golden locks framing Tara's face while her left hand supported her weight against the mattress. Tara returned the kiss with as much fervor as Willow and the two stayed locked in their passionate exchange, each feeling as if they were in heaven. Willow tasted Tara's lips deeply and relished the sweet honeyed essence of them. Tara could taste Willow's morning coffee, strong and appealing, just like Willow.
"Will, is she up-" Dawn entered the room, stopping dead in her tracks just inside the doorframe. "yet?"