Much later that evening, Willow lay with Tara gently snoring on her chest in the deep quiet of her parents' house. Moonlight from an open window filtered into the room, casting their bodies in nocturnal ghostliness, pale and peaceful. She was somewhat surprised at how easy it had been to get Xander, Anya and Buffy to tend to her caretaking duties (though they were becoming less duties than more just simply keeping an eye on her parents) while she was away on a much needed holiday with her sorely missed lover. Tara shifted slightly and her hand brushed Willow's exposed nipple causing her to hiss with a sharp intake of breath. Said nipple raised perkily in response to the touch. She cocked an amused eyebrow at her body's automatic reaction to her lover's touch and returned to her musings. A slight frown creased her features as she recalled her parents' noncommittal reactions to her brief respite in Las Vegas. Ira Rosenberg just muttered something about finally being able to smoke his pipe in peace; Sheila Rosenberg didn't seem to care very much one way or the other. She just said, "Make sure to keep in touch, dear," and went to bed. Willow bristled at the memory but shrugged it off.
"It's not like I expected them to be any different than they normally are," she thought bitterly. "No 'thanks for coming home, Willow', no 'be careful, Willow', no 'good to have you home, Willow'. Nothing."
"And what?" her inner voice asked. "You're surprised by this?"
Willow chuckled silently and closed her eyes in an attempt to get some sleep. Tomorrow was filled with possibilities.
They arose at 5 am, early enough to leave without dealing with Willow's parents. Of course, Willow was somewhat grumpy; she was obviously not a morning person. However, she was glad to be up and out of the house. Tara helped Willow get dressed and moving, gently prodding her when necessary. As Tara started the rental car and drove out of Sunnydale, Willow felt as if an enormous weight that she had been carrying around for the last three months was lifted from her slim shoulders. She sighed contentedly, turned on the radio and leaned back in her seat. The car filled with tinkling mandolins and haunting young voices from a group the radio announcer called Nickel Creek.
I wish you out of the woods
Tara reached across and held Willow's hand as Willow drifted into a light doze. "We're not quite out of the woods yet, baby. Hopefully, this trip will help you decide if us is what you're really wanting," she pondered. Glancing down at her watch, she noted that time was fast slipping away and Los Angeles was still a long way off.
A few hours later, they waited in a surprisingly short line to board Southwest Airlines, Flight 5672 bound for Las Vegas. Though they spoke little on the drive to LAX, nervous excitement moved through their veins like a direct hit of caffeine. Willow was excited because she had never been to 'Sin City' before and Tara was looking forward to everything she had planned to make their trip memorable. Neither of them did a very good job of sitting still throughout the flight. Their restless energy managed to completely annoy their seatmate, who huffed grumpily every time one of them got up to use the restroom or rummaged through their carry-ons. The plane finally touched down in McCarran International Airport after what seemed like the longest hour of their lives.
A ridiculously cheerful Southwest Airlines employee (who looked like he was an aerobics instructor in his spare time) greeted them as the passengers stumbled off the plane.
"Welcome to Las Vegas, everyone! Enjoy your stay."
Tara was tickled pink at Willow's reaction to the ornate opulence of Bellagio's registration area. Turning round and round in childlike wonder, Willow lay on her back in one of the lounge chairs and gazed at the colorful blown glass ceiling sculpture, the only one of its kind in the world. From the Italian marble floors to the intricate décor, nothing escaped her notice. After arranging for their bags to be delivered to their room, Tara practically dragged her to the elevators. Willow had not thought it was possible that she could be more in awe until she saw their accommodations. She practically fainted on the spot when she walked through the door. A 180 degree view of the eastern part of the Las Vegas Strip greeted her as a young bellhop opened all of the curtains to let more light into the room. To say their suite was spacious would have been a gross understatement. What drew both of their attention, however, was the rather large marble Jacuzzi in the center of the suite. One could almost hear the wheels of possibility churning furiously in their heads. Willow turned to face Tara, who caught the wicked gleam in her lover's eyes.
"Not quite yet, darling. Later. I promise," she murmured, still very aware of the presence of the bellhop arranging their luggage in the room. Willow pouted slightly and wandered to the window to take in the view. She was amazed at how much she could see from just this one place. The giant gold lion that prefaced the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino kept watch over the rather congested intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Tropicana. Across the street, an amazing recreation of the Eiffel Tower jutted out of the side of the Paris; the larger than life façade of the Statue of Liberty burst forth from the micro-skyline of New York New York. The Arabian Nights theme of the Aladdin seemed to appeal to her the most as well as the Ancient Roman era-style theme of Caesar's Palace. However, it was the riotous colors streaming up and down the Flamingo and Excalibur that practically gave her sensory overload. She was so intent that she barely noticed that Tara had come up and wrapped her arms around her waist.
"So... did I do well?" Tara asked in a small voice.
"More than good, baby," Willow beamed. "This is better than I could've hoped for."
She leaned her head back; giving Tara unrestricted access to her pale throat. Never one to pass up Lady Opportunity when she comes knocking, Tara nipped lightly along the base of her neck.
"You know," she said between light kisses. "We still have a little time before we need to get dressed for our dinner reservations. What do you say we find an activity to help while away the hours?"
The redhead chuckled musically. "I never thought you'd ask," she said, removing her top and bra in one surprisingly swift movement.
"Wow," Tara laughed. "Beautiful and talented. I'd better be careful. You might just try to steal my heart completely."
"I have to try now?" Willow muttered distractedly. She was very focused on disrobing Tara, one button at a time.
Cobalt blue met emerald green, light fingertips caressed flushed pink nipples, sexual energy flowed through and over them like heat lightning. What had been two, now suddenly melded into one and time no longer seemed to matter anymore.