Juggling a half empty Starbucks mug, Philly newspaper and overstuffed briefcase, Willow practically fell through the front door while unlocking it. With the door still half open, she dumped her things in the nearest corner, kicking it closed with her heel. Talk about a long day, she thought tiredly. I feel like I've been ridden hard and put up wet. The redhead giggled a little at the connotation that flitted through her mind. She decided that Becca was far too much of a bad influence on her.
Willow wandered into the kitchen to pour herself a glass of Shiraz, pausing only to toss her keys on the polished oak phone stand near the door on the way and press the blinking red message light on her digital answering machine.
Beep! "Hi baby! It's just me." Oooooh, Tara-voice. "Just wanted to let you know that I'm home already. My flight was earlier than usual (shocker of all shocks), so I decided to ditch the city and relax in a nice hot tub. I've not quite reached the bathroom yet, however. Care to join me? Call me when you get in. Love you!" Beep!
Willow's emerald eyes darkened as she shuddered with pleasure at the thought of being deeply immersed in suds, hot water and smooth, silky Tara-skin. She could feel her own skin tingling at the prospect of being close to Tara again. The months they'd been away from each other had clearly taken a toll on the redhead; she had deep circles under her eyes from stress and lack of sleep and her skin was slightly pale. She hurriedly packed a few things into a leather Kenneth Cole overnight bag, taking small sips from her chilled glass every now and again.
Every second they spent apart had been driving Willow to distraction. She thought she'd be ok with Tara spending so much time away, that she could finally sort out all the confusing feelings in her head. But the separation only helped to deepen the ache she felt when Tara wasn't near. Willow told herself that had to be a sign... of what, she still wasn't sure.
The late afternoon sun filtered in through the clear glass of the patio doors, lending the last vestiges of its warmth to the living room. The erstwhile hacker sat brooding while finishing off the last of her wine, her eyes unfocused and pale green in the gathering gloom. She idly fingered an intricate carved amber & silver necklace that hung low on her chest, a spontaneous gift from Tara while she was in St. Petersburg, Russia. The blonde had been so giving and loving, not only to Willow but also to her friends and family. It was a rare gift indeed to find someone so selfless. Willow berated herself for even balking at committing to Tara. What's not to love? she thought. I couldn't ask for a better lover, a better best friend. Her eyes narrowed as a sudden thought zipped through her head like lightning. Willow placed her wine glass in the sink, quickly gathered her things and headed out the door. Once she left her driveway, she flipped open her cell phone and punched in a few numbers. "Chad? It's Willow. Remember when you said that you owed me a big favour? Well, sweetie, it's time for me to collect," she smirked. Oh yes, this is going to be schweet!
Willow was greeted with a tiny note on the front door of her girlfriend's home when she arrived fifteen minutes later. Come in, baby but make sure you take off your shoes. *ILYTMD* --Tara <for those that don't know, this is a personal lover thing... ILYTMD = I Love You Truly Madly Deeply... get it??>
A loopy grin cross the redhead's face as she read it, her heart beating fast with anticipation. She pushed open the door and gasped in surprise. Warm candlelight filled the entire living room, reflecting the colours of the mixture of soft red rose petals and gold/red leaves spread out like a trail on a white sheet from the door to the bedroom. The atmosphere was ethereal and Willow turned round and round in wonder. She started in surprise when she heard a woman singing softly in the direction of master bathroom. Tiptoeing quietly up to the door, she gave it a gentle push and uttered a small gasp. Candles were dripping wax everywhere, a bottle of Two Paddocks 2000 Neill Pinot Noir was sweating in a wine chiller by the porcelain clawfoot tub in rather large bathroom and Tara-skin was gleaming in the candlelight, making her seem if she were made of pure silk. Poor Willow, a wicked little voice chortled in the back of her mind. You never had a chance in hell. If you hadn't completely fallen for her before, you bloody well have now. Willow mentally swatted her demon libido and went back to swooning a bit more.
"You know," Tara said archly. "You could come in and wash my back instead of gaping at me with the door open. You're letting out all of the warm air."
"Ahh but what fun would that be?" Willow smirked. "Besides, I really think you love all this adoration stuff, even though you doth protest too much."
"Hmph, I'm a simple girl, dear. And I simply want you to come here and start kissing me. Can't have me wasting away for lack of attention, can we?"
"Nope, that simply won't do," Willow remarked as she stripped down to the bare essentials and slipped into the tub behind her girlfriend. Tara gave a contented sigh as she leaned back against her lover's chest.
"Now this is what I have been waiting to do for months!"
The hacker kissed the blonde's bare shoulders and neck as if distracted. "Baby?"
Tara turned slightly to look into Willow's eyes. "What's up?"
"What do you think we're doing?" Tara's eyebrow quirked up at the question. "I mean, what do you think we are to each other? Are we just casual lovers or is this the real deal for you?
The blonde stared at her with incredulity. "How could you ask me that? Don't you know by now that you're the only one for me?
Willow blushed slightly, almost ashamed at having questioned Tara's motives. "I-I didn't want to upset you or anything. I was just, you know, asking. Just wanted to make sure of you," she continued, hoping the light-hearted reference to a Pooh quote would ease the sudden tension out of the conversation. However, Tara wasn't having any of that. She turned around completely in the water and held her lover's face in her hands.
"If I have ever given you any reason to doubt that I love you and care about you very much, I want you to say so. Ok? No secrets, no hiding. That's the deal."
Willow gave an almost imperceptible nod. "Ok. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to upset you."
"I'm not really upset just concerned. You know, I don't share my bathtub with just anybody," the blonde commented, flashing her trademark crooked half-smile.
"Well then I'm glad you chose me, then."
Both women settled back into the tub and chatted amiably for a little while longer, catching up on the goings on in each other's lives, then later filling the house with warm heat from their lovemaking.
In the early hours of the morning, Willow found she was having trouble sleeping. She got up as quietly as she could, wrapped herself in one of Tara's huge fuzzy robes and walked into the kitchen to make some cocoa. She noticed an insistent green flashing light on the breakfast bar as she opened the refrigerator to get milk. At some point or other, her pager must've been going off like mad because it was still blinking angrily like a discarded lover. She picked it up and pressed a few buttons to see what the message was. All set and good to go. I think you owe me one now, girlfriend. -Chad A happy Willow-grin stretched from ear to ear. It was definitely going to be a good morning.
Willow awoke to warm sunshine on her face and somewhat chilly breezes milling about the bedroom. Apparently the bedroom window had managed to open itself slightly at some point. One green eye popped open with annoying enthusiasm despite her best efforts to keep it closed. Normally, she was an early riser but after having awakened a few times in the middle of the night, she finally managed to get back to sleep after some cocoa and very bad late-night television. She rolled over onto her back, groaning at the knots in her neck and shoulders that were making themselves known. With a languid stretch and yawn, the redhead realized that Tara was nowhere in sight. A worried frown crossed her delicate features as she reached to grab the robe she had discarded and put it on.
The front door opened just as Willow wandered into the living room, still a bit groggy and sandy-eyed from sleep.
"Morning, sunshine," Tara chirped breezily. Her skin practically glowed with the exertions of her morning run. Willow couldn't help but stare at how well her lover filled out the maroon tracksuit and mint green Zen top she was wearing.
"How is it that you can have all of this perky energy in the morning?"
"Well, I managed to actually sleep last night," Tara joked as she stopped to give the redhead a quick kiss before grabbing a container of Vitamin Water from the refrigerator.
"It's not my fault you got me so wound up."
"Um hmm... likely excuse. I kind of got into the habit of exercising in the morning after a while. Jet lag was getting harder and harder to recover from," the blonde commented while absently sifting through a small mountain of mail on the kitchen island counter. "So what do you want to do today? I wasn't planning on dealing with emails or voice mail messages until Monday."
Willow's eyes flashed with sudden excitement. "I've got a surprise for you," she singsonged.
Tara paused in the act of pitching a Publisher's Clearing House advertisement into the trash, her interest clearly piqued. "Oh, really? And what did I do to deserve such a thing?" she said, pulling the redhead into a loose embrace.
"Nothing... just being you."
"Uh huh... what are you up to Willow Rosenberg?"
"Me? Up to something? Madam, I must say that I am shocked that you would think that I could possibly be up to something," Willow said in mock horror.
Tara gave her lover that "I'm so not buying the Innocent Little Me act" look. "How about trying that again, missy."
"Ok ok... but honestly I can't tell you. That would ruin it and I really think you're going to love this. However, we do have to be done with any errands by 7:30 pm."
Tara gazed at the Kanji clock on the wall and did some mental calculations. "Well that means I'd better get showered and dressed. Care to join me or are you still trying to wake up?" she said with an amused grin.
"Uh huh, go ahead... laugh it up. Just you wait. No more kisses for you," the former hacker replied, giving her lover a moody pout. "You might want to be nicer to me because, HEY I have surprises and good things for lovely honey bunnies."
"Now now, I'll make it up to you with lots of sudsy goodness," Tara chuckled as she led Willow into the bathroom. "But I'm cutting you off after an hour otherwise we'll never get out of here.
Willow just gave her a wicked smile.