Slanted rays of sunlight streamed in through the partially closed wooden blinds hanging in front of the bay window of Tara's apartment. What appeared to be one person snoring softly on the futon was actually two persons so enmeshed with each other that it was difficult to tell where one began and the other ended. Willow woke with a start, her bleary eyes staring incomprehendingly at her surroundings. She sat up, ran her hands through her tangled red hair and stretched. "Wow," she thought. "Talk about a heavy duty night." She brushed her fingers lightly over Tara's sleeping form, fondly remembering the events of the night before. Never in her life had she felt more at peace than she did last night. It was like the Powers That Be were finally rewarding her for all of the weeks of waiting, stressing and longing.
Willow kissed Tara's forehead and was in the process of extricating herself from her lover's embrace when her eyes suddenly opened. "Morning, bright eyes," Willow whispered.
Her greeting was met with a slow, sleepy smile. "Hey, babe." Tara sat up and glanced at the Kanji script-style clock hanging on the wall beside the CD player. "Does that say what I think it does?!"
"Yep... we've been very bad. Sleeping in until noon. No wonder I ache all over."
"It couldn't possibly be that you're sore from last night's activities, could it?" Tara smirked.
"Nah... I'm still a spring chicken! There's still lots of pep in my step," Willow grinned.
"Uh huh... whaaaaatever. Hey, I'm in a shopping kind of mood. Want to head to New Hope for a little fun? Or do you h-have work this afternoon?"
"I think I can be persuaded," Willow sighed, leaning down to capture Tara's lips in a brief kiss.
"Is a showering with me and then a hearty breakfast persuasion enough?" Tara asked raising one amused eyebrow.
"Perhaps, so long as it's your treat."
Giggling helplessly, they both retreated to the bathroom to get ready for a day on the town.
The shower took somewhat longer than they had both planned; mostly because they took great delight in each others soapy body parts, kissing and sucking on various sensitive places. Which, eventually, turned into quite something else altogether. They finally got to the drying off phase around 1 pm, neither were in much of a hurry to put on actual clothing. Tara was in a rather languid mood and decided to pop in a little Alison Krauss to enhance the feeling.
I wonder should I tell you
Willow sat on one corner of Tara's bed watching her get dressed, the mellow tone of the song and the sentimental words relaxing her, making her contemplative. She thought of the words that her Zayde (grandfather), rebbe Mischa Rosenberg, had told her once when describing his love for her Bobe (grandmother), in Yiddish, the only language he was able to share his feelings in: "Libe is wi warem Sunenschein. Dos, dos du lib hobn, is wi dos kil und bakwem Schton. Sei kumn zusamn, jeder in seier eign Weg wunderlech. Dos ken nischt on anderer sein. As du den Schton ihr Harz gefinen, wisst du. Dermonst du dich, a pitsele, nit dos iz sheyn, vos iz sheyn, nor dos, vos es gefelt."
(translation: Love is like warm sunshine. The one you love is like the cool, comforting shade. They come together, each in their own way pleasurable. One cannot be without the other. When you find the shade of your heart, you will know. Remember, my child, beautiful is not what is beautiful, but what one likes.)
Darling you've been good to me
Willow hadn't even realized that she was staring until Tara touched her arm.
"What are you thinking about?" she inquired, laying a gentle kiss on Willow's lips.
Willow chuckled and leaned back on the bed. "My grandfather would say that you are a Gutte Neshome, a good soul, even though you are a Shikse (a non-Jewish woman)."
"Is that a good thing or a bad thing?"
"Definitely a good thing," Willow smiled, pulling Tara down on the bed beside her.
Looking in the eyes of love I can see forever
She lay staring into Tara's eyes, noticing that they were a particular shade cobalt blue that morning. For the first time in her life, Willow truly believed that she could spend forever with someone. "Yep, I think my heart has definitely found a home with Tara. One day, I hope she feels the same way."
After having a very late breakfast at a local IHOP, the women headed down the tree-shaded, winding back roads of Newtown to get to New Hope. Willow had turned on the radio for some background noise but they mostly rode in silence, enjoying the sun-dappled Pennsylvania scenery. Since it was the start of the tourist season, finding a place to park was an adventure in and of itself. They both agreed that a visit to Mystickal Tymes, the local magic shoppe, was definitely in order. The day had warmed to a comfortable temperature that was perfect for outdoor wandering, dining and shopping that New Hope was famous for. A few hours later, they returned to Tara's Jeep, loaded down with purchases of various shapes and sizes.
"Whew," Tara exclaimed. "I don't think my credit card will ever get that much mileage again!"
Willow giggled helplessly. "Tell me about it. My totally frugal parents would simply die if they knew how much I spent today. Do you mind if we stop by my apartment? I want to grab the mail and check my answering machine. I'm sure that Becca has probably called a hundred times by now."
"Sure. We've got all the time in the world."
When they reached her apartment, Willow winced at her answering machine's angrily blinking red light. "Oh god," she muttered. "Looks like someone has been trying to find me."
She pressed the PLAY button, dreading what the messages might say.
Beep! "Willow! You little tart! What's up goin' off and leavin' me 'ere? You got a lot of explainin' to do, missy." Beep! Sighing deeply, she picked up the phone and dialed Becca's number. "I at least have to tell her that I'm ok," she rationalized.
A few rings later, the line was picked up by one seriously brassed-off Brit. "Oy! Where the hell have you been?! I've been worried sick after your little disappearin' act last night." Willow let her vent for a little bit before attempting to speak.
"I'm ok, Bec, really. Tara and I just went to the Khyber Pass for a bit and I took the train home with her. So things are cool, no need to worry." There was silence at the end of the line for a few moments and Willow thought that the connection might have gotten cut off. Then she heard Becca chuckling.
"Well I'll be. Good fer you, Red! Turns out, I got lucky meself. Her name is Caitlin and she's got a bit o' cheek in 'er." Becca paused to talk to someone in the background.
Willow shook her head in amazement at Becca's talent for picking up women. "There are days that I am floored by you, Bec. Gotta go. Tara's waiting for me."
"Awright, luv. Hey! How's about all of us meet at tea-time tomorrow? I want to have a look at Tara for meself and I think you might like Caitlin."
"Sure." Bleep Bleep "Oh drat. Someone's on the other line, Bec. Tomorrow then?"
"Right. Take care!" Willow pressed the Call Waiting button on her phone to click to the other line. "Hello?"
"Will! It's Buffy. Listen, you gotta come home right away."
Willow's eyes widened in alarm. "Why? Wh-what happened? What's going on?"
"Will, your mom and dad were in an accident."