The next morning dawned with a crow from the rooster promptly at five a.m. For once in her life, Willow willfully ignored the incessant crowing and continued to lay in her bed. She happily noted that she hadn't moved from the position she had fallen asleep in, and neither had her new lover. Tara still lay with her head on Willow's shoulder and her arm over Willow's middle. The redhead waited for any sign to see if the crowing of the rooster had woken Tara, but all she observed was the slow and steady rising and falling of Tara's side under her hand. Willow smiled and placed a tender kiss on the crown of Tara's head. She inhaled the deep, rich scent that had burned itself into her brain and then gently began to move her hand up and down the blonde's side. Tara stirred at the touch and looked up at Willow through half open eyes.
"Mmm, good morning." She mumbled through a yawn. Willow's heart nearly leapt out of her chest at the sound of Tara's voice.
"Good morning beautiful." Willow said with a small smile and another kiss, this time on Tara's forehead. Tara grinned sleepily and snuggled closer to Willow, if that were possible.
"It's time to get up. I have to go to work today." Willow pouted. She hated the quarry. It was dirty, physically demanding work and she often came home sore and filthy. Not to mention the way the menfolk treated her. She was looked upon as a weakling and a worthless woman. The men there were no better than her father. Willow always made it a point to be doing something extra strenuous when her foreman came around. She wanted to show them that she was no weakling and that she was worth her keep.
"Will?" Tara's quiet voice broke through the redhead's thoughts.
"I was thinking last night at supper how you said that you never went to school like Dawn gets to. I was thinking that maybe as a form of gratitude toward you taking me in, would you like me to teach you to read and write?"
Willow's eyebrows shot up and she shifted slightly under Tara to sit up a little.
"You would do that for me?"
"Of course. Look at what you are doing for me. It's the least I can do Will. Please, let me teach you."
"Okay," Willow said after a moment of thought. "Only if you promise to be patient. I'm not the fastest of learners."
"Alright." Willow grinned as she settled back down on her pillow with Tara. The blonde's body warmed Willow's and she felt herself growing more sleepy by the second. There was a pounding on the floor and both women faintly heard Dawn's voice downstairs.
"Will! Tara! Wake up! The sun will be up soon!"
The blonde and the redhead looked at each other and began giggling uncontrollably. Neither knew what was funny about their impromptu wake up call, but both seemed to find it very humorous as they laughed for several minutes. When the laughter had subsided to broken giggles, Willow sat up in bed, taking the sheet with her accidentally. Tara felt the warmth dissapate as the sheet swished off of her naked body. Willow stood and stretched, then turned as Tara was scrambling for the sheet or something to cover her nude form. Both stopped in mid-movement and stared at appreciatively at the others nakedness as if seeing each other for the first time. Tara was the first to move as she felt a sudden rush of cold air over her bare skin. She grabbed the sheet and pulled it back over her prone form on the bed. Willow blinked and shook her head slightly, pushing aside the images of passion from the night before, of Tara's body in the light of the raging storm.
"Why do you hide yourself?" Willow's question was innocently curious. She clearly was unashamed of her nakedness as she rounded the bed and stood at Tara's side, waiting for an answer.
"I-I don't know. I'm embarrassed, I suppose." Was Tara's almost whispered response. She fought herself from putting her head down. Willow's curiousity was heightened as she cocked her head to the side and furrowed her eyebrows.
"Why are you embarrassed? I've already seen you naked."
Tara merely stared up at the redhead. Willow held out a calloused hand.
"Come. Stand up."
Tara hesitated, then took Willow's hand and stood, still holding the sheet against herself with her free hand. Willow tugged her hand away from her body and the sheet slipped to the floor, once again exposing Tara to Willow's green eyes. Willow took her in with a longing gaze at her body, then lead her by the hands to the full length mirror that stood against the far wall. Willow gently guided Tara in front of her. Tara stood facing her reflection in the mirror, turning red from staring at her own body in the reflection. She attempted to cover herself with her hands, but Willow anticipated this and reached for her hands first, easily guiding them down to her sides.
"A naked body is a beautiful thing Tara. Something of which you should never be ashamed of. Especially yours. Look at all of the wonderful hills and valleys. It's like looking at the countryside from the top of the trees. It's such a wonderful sight." Willow ran her hands lightly over Tara's many soft curves. The touch was feather light, just barely grazing Tara's skin, but it was enough to make goosebumps cover her body and her nipples stand out slightly. Willow went all the way down to the blonde's calves, then back up to her shoulders.
"See? Beautiful." Willow said as she stared at Tara and herself in the mirror. She wrapped her arms around Tara's middle and Tara hands over Willow's.
"What do you see?" The redhead asked quietly. Tara stared hard at the mirror and an image flashed in her mind's eye of her mother standing in her bedroom in a brown dress, her curves accentuated nicely by the soft fabric. She had always thought her mother was beautiful.
She looked at her reflection again and tears formed in her eyes. She never realized just how much she looked like her mother.
"I see my mother. She always looked so beautiful. She had the bluest eyes you have ever seen and the silkiest brown hair. She had lots of hills and valleys like me." Tara said with the merest hint of a smile. Willow smiled and kissed the curve of Tara's neck.
"What do you see?" Tara asked more quietly than usual. The blush that had somewhat gone away was renewed when she spoke.
"I already told you what I see." Willow said as she turned Tara towards her and wrapped her arms around her waist once more. She kissed her gently and stared deep into the watery blue pools. "Beautiful." Willow whispered.
Tara's tears finally fell as she wrapped her arms tightly around Willow's neck and hugged her.
"I love you." Was Willow's response as she held the blonde closely and took in more of her defining scent. Tara could only nod as she clung to the one person she thought she would never find; her soulmate.