Author: Willow Watcher
Fire was burning half way down the match stick as a young redhead sat there holding the end of it with her fingers. She watched the flame come mere centimeters from her nails then grabbed the burnt end with her fingers on her left hand and watched the fire finish off the wood and fizzle out.
She pulled another one out of the box that was sitting on the bar and lit it.
"Your gonna burn yourself." A woman's voice said above the background music playing through the small room.
"No I'm not." The redhead replied in a concentrated voice watching the fire reach a quarter of a way down the stick. She heard footsteps approach and saw blonde hair come into her peripheral vision. She looked away from the burning match at the woman standing there staring at the flame in her hand. Her mouth dropped open at the beauty that was standing beside her.
"OUCH!" The redhead shouted out as she quickly let go of the match and it fell perfectly into the ashtray sitting in front of her. She blew air on her fingers and waved them in the air trying to cool the tiny rising blisters.
The blonde sat down on a stool. "Told ya." She smirked.
"Yeah well, I was distracted and you broke my world record. I was trying to find out how many matches I could burn from one end to the other without getting burned. Now I have to start all over again." The redhead sighed and rattled the box of matches that was on the bar.
"What number were you up to?" The blonde asked looking at the small growing pile of burned sticks in the ash tray.
"Fifteen. I know it isn't much but it was a good start."
"Tara Maclay." The blonde said.
The redhead looked down at the offered hand that was extended out. She took it carefully into hers. "Willow Rosenberg, pleasure." She gave a smile then picked up her box of matches and put them into her pocket.
"So is that all there is to do around here is burn matches and then yourself or is there something less entertaining?" Tara asked sarcastically.
"Oh there's plenty to do around here. Today we're having a lizard pitching contest." Replied in her own sardonic manner.
Tara's brows crinkled. "Poor lizards. Do you eat them afterwards?" Willow whipped her head around; her shoulder length hair flying behind her. "Who are you?"
"Tara Maclay. I thought we already went through the intros?"
"Well Tara Maclay, we might not be a huge town and there might not be much in the way of entertainment around here but we get by!" Willow's anger was rising.
"As for example pitching lizards?" Tara asked loving the reaction coming from the cute redhead.
"Is there something I can get you?" A man behind the bar approached the two women.
"Ice water please." Tara requested.
"Beer." Willow told him.
The man nodded and turned away.
"Kinda early to be drinking." Tara stated.
"What are you my mother?!" Willow snapped.
"No, I was just stating a fact." The blonde said in a low tone.
"Well, miss full of facts, I'll have you know that it's hot outside and if I want to have a beer at three in the afternoon it's really none of your business and plus it wasn't a fact it was your own opinion."
"Tara Maclay." Tara held out her hand again.
"Huh?" Willow looked at the woman with total confusion.
"Look, I'm sorry if I've offended you. Let's start over. My name is Tara Maclay."
Willow sighed. "Willow Rosenberg, nice to meet you." Willow shook Tara's hand again. "What brings you out here to Arizona?"
"I'm moving to California." Tara said happy that the tension between her and the redhead was breaking. "And thought I'd drive my way through."
"Where are you originally from?" Willow asked now having an interest in the annoying blonde.
"Alabama." Tara said.
The bartender placed Tara's water down and Willow's beer down and walked away.
"That's a good distance." Willow imputed. "What's in California?"
"My friend and her sister live out there. They need some help since their mom is sick."
"Must be a special friend?" Willow asked raising her brow.
"Special?" Tara asked looking at the expression on the redhead's face. "Oh! No not that kind of friend. Just a friend."
"So why didn't you just fly out there? I mean it's a long drive and it seems like your friend needs your help so I was thinking that the air would be faster than the road." Willow babbled taking a long drink from her glass.
"I couldn't leave my baby in Alabama." Tara said pointing outside.
Willow spewed her beer in the floor. "BABY?!" She wiped her mouth with her hand. "You have a baby outside in this heat?! Are you insane?!" The redhead jumped up from the stool and rushed out the door.
"Willow!" Tara called out as she ran outside.
The redhead stood outside looking from left to right. Tara rushed out the door and ran right into her.
Willow straightened herself up. "Where?"
"What?" Tara asked.
"Where's the baby?" Willow walked forward still scanning around.
Willow turned and looked. There she saw Tara in a new light.
The blonde angel was standing there with her arms crossed and her body leaned back on a cherry red '65 Mustang convertible.
Willow saw the tan skin of the long legs going all the way up to the cut off shorts and the flannel shirt that used to be long sleeved was tied at the waist and beautiful golden blonde locks that flowed down to the top part of Tara's arms.
"Oh my God!" Willow whispered looking at the blonde. She shook her head as she approached Tara. "Do you know what this is?" She pointed at the car.
"A 1965 GT350 Ford Mustang convertible?" Tara asked as she smiled.
"A 1965 GT350 Ford Mustang convertible!" Willow said not even listening to the other woman.
"Wow! You're good. I never would have guessed." Tara said and giggled.
The fascinated redhead walked around the car taking in every detail. "Oh, can I look under your hood, please?"
Tara smiled even bigger looking down at her chest. "Why I barely know you? Is this how you greet all the new comers to this town?"
Willow rolled her eyes.
Tara walked over and leaned over against the driver's side door.
The redhead's eyes widened when she saw the blonde's rear and the shorts stretched over the fine curves. Her breath hitched.
Tara looked back and smiled. "Ooo. Uhhh." She moaned out noticing Willow's chest rise up and down. "I almost...oh YES!"
Willow's legs were going weak. She heard a faint sound of a pop. She watched Tara walk around and pull the hood up.
"There ya go. Have a look."
Willow walked over to the car and poked her head as close to the engine as possible. "Mexican 302 block, scat cast steel stroker 347 crank, Crower Sportsman rods, Wiseco custom pistons, Techcraft/Elgin solid cam, Competition Cams solid lifters, Edelbrock Performer RPM heads, Com Cams aluminum roller rocker arms and Magnum push-rods, Comp Cams dual valve springs w/ dampers, Edelbrock Performer RPM intake, Holley 650DP carburetor, Fel-Pro gaskets, ARP bolts and studs, BHJ harmonic balancer." She took in a deep breath. "Wow!"
"Apparently you know about engines." Tara said impressed.
Willow smiled at the blonde. "My dad was a mechanic and so is my brother. I picked up things here and there."
"Wanna go for a ride?" Tara asked pulling her keys from her pocket and dangling them.
"Oh I couldn't." Willow put her hands in her pocket.
"Come on. I know you want to." Tara dangled the keys again.
Willow smiled and her eyes twinkled like tree lights. "O.K." She bounced on her toes.
Tara let down the hood. "Let's go."
Willow ran to the passenger side and jumped over the door and perfectly plopped down in the seat. "I've always wanted to do that!" She shouted out.
Tara laughed and slipped into the seat. Starting the car, she revved up the engine. Throwing the gear into drive, Willow laughed as Tara peeled out and left a huge bowl of dust behind them.
Driving down the road Willow held her arm out moving it up and down against the forcible wind. "This is great."
"You know what would be even greater?" Tara asked looking over at the redhead.
"Stand up." Tara told her.
Hesitantly Willow stood up grabbing onto the top of the windshield. She had never felt so wonderful. The wind whipped through her hair and she saw the desert mountains in a glorious new way.
"HOLD ON!" Tara shouted.
Willow held on as tight as she could. Her body shifted quickly when Tara did a complete ‘U' turn in the middle of the road.
Willow screamed with delight. "YEAH BABY!"
Tara laughed and pressed harder on the accelerator. "WOOO HOOO!" She yelled.
Willow was delirious with laugher. She plopped down into the seat. "Oh my God! That was so wild. I mean wild, wild. The wildest thing I have ever done in my non-wild life."
Tara pulled in front of the bar. "I'm glad you liked it.
"Liked it?! I loved it!" Willow grabbed Tara and pulled her into a hug. "Thank you." She whispered.
Tara patted the redhead on the back in a gentle motion. "You're more than welcome." She whispered back. The fragrance of the red hair that was against her cheek was of wild strawberries and desert wind.
Both women pulled back and smiled at one another.
"Well, I better let you get going on your trip." Willow smiled but she was disappointed to see the gorgeous blonde leave.
Tara grinned. "I was hoping that I could find a motel I could camp out for the night. It'll be dark soon and I don't want to be stuck out somewhere where there is no life except for the lizards that have seemed to escape the flinging."
Willow immediately lightened up. "Oh, I can help you. Just drive across the street." She pointed at a one level motel building. "I try and keep it decent and up to date."
"You own it?" Tara asked as she pulled up to the front door.
"Have for five years now. C'mon, let's get you settled in." Willow got out of the car and into the front office.
The blast of cold air sent chills up Tara's sweat coated skin. "This feels good." She sighed as she pulled out a bandanna from her back pocket and wiped the moisture off the back of her neck.
"And every room has an air conditioner in it too. Clean towels, clean sheets, and you can use the washer and dryer in the laundry room at the end of the walk way." Willow pulled out a guest book and laid it down on the counter. "Sign here." She pointed out a line.
Tara looked and noticed that this was the first page and her name was the third on the list. The last entry was dated two years prior. "You don't get many people out here do ya?"
"Not so much." Willow filled out a paper and handed it over to the blonde. "That'll be twenty-five dollars."
"Man that's uh, kinda cheap for one night." Tara commented as she reached into her back pocket for her wallet.
"It doesn't cost much to keep this place up." Willow said as she reached behind her and grabbed a key off a hook. "This way ma'am." Willow led her out the door. She opened up the room next to the office.
Tara was taken back. The room was what you could call for a small town motel, elegant. Set in the middle of the room was a contemporary four poster mahogany bed and beside it was a nightstand of the same design and the matching dresser was against the wall. "This is beautiful." Tara took off her shoes as she walked on the off white plush carpet.
"And this is the bathroom." Willow stepped turned on the light and stepped aside.
A huge garden tub was the first thing Tara saw. She walked in and stood in front of a long vanity sink with a mirror to stretch the length. A shower was over in the corner and beside it was the commode. "Willow, this is fabulous."
"I designed every room myself." Willow beamed.
Tara looked around the bathroom and the main room again. Her eyes scanned up and down the beautiful redhead. "Talented." She said in a seductive tone.
Willow felt a wave rush through her. "Thanks." She squeaked out then cleared her throat. "Thank you."
"HEY WILL!" A male voice shouted out.
Willow rolled her eyes and peered out of the door. "In here!"
"Did you check out that fine c-c-c...Holy mother of God!" A dark headed man stopped in his tracks when he laid eyes on Tara.
"Yes I did. Meet the owner of that fine car Tara Maclay. Tara this is my brother Xander Harris." Willow made the introductions.
"Hi." He said wiping his hands on his pants and holding his hand out.
Tara took his hand. "Nice to meet you Xander."
"She's a beauty." He commented looking at Willow.
"Excuse me?" Tara asked not surely understanding where his compliment was being thrown.
"Your car. She's beautiful. What's her name?"
"Oh c'mon Xander. Not everyone names their cars." Willow said crossing her arms over her chest.
"Rose." Tara said smiling. "Her name is Rose."
"Pretty name." Xander told her. He kept on trying to look into Tara's eyes but she looked everywhere else.
Avoiding the man's gaze, Tara looked at Willow. "I named her after my mom."
Willow stared into Tara's eyes. Time seemed as if it had stopped. The blue was the color of the ocean with swirls of fine mist.
Tara felt like the emerald green of Willow's eyes were enveloping her in a heavenly field that she could get lost in.
Xander noticed in the short time, how the women were staring at one another. He cleared his throat. "Tara?" He spoke. "Would you accompany me to the bar this evening for drinks? They are having a karaoke competition. Its fun and I promise you'll have a good time." Tara's concentration was broken. "I'm sorry, what?"
"I asked if you wanted to go to the bar for some drinks tonight. They have a karaoke thing going on. Would you?" Xander asked again. Willow smacked him in the stomach. "No doofus. She just got here and I'm sure she wants to get some rest."
"Actually, I would love to go. Thank you." Tara told him and smiled.
"Great!" He exclaimed. "I'll pick you up at seven." He smiled and walked out the door.
Willow blushed. "Sorry I just assumed that you would want to rest."
"Oh that's O.K. It does sound like fun. Will you be there?" Willow shook her head. "I'll be here working, but you'll have a great time with Xander."
"Speaking of him, I thought you said he was your brother?" Tara inquired.
"Oh he is. The last name kinda threw ya huh? He was taken away from his parents when he was younger and since I grew up with him, my parents adopted him seeing that I cut a fit not wanting him to go to a foster home or anything like that cause sometimes those places can be horrible and I couldn't see my best friend slash brother go through that. He kept his last name though which is totally fine. Who would want a last name like Rosenberg anyway?" Willow took in a deep breath.
"Oh my God! Are you...how did you do that?" Tara asked totally taken off guard.
"Yeah I uh babble a lot." Willow looked down at her feet.
"It's cute, and I like the name Rosenberg." Tara commented seeing the redhead lift up her head and smile.
"Thanks. Well, I'll let you get some rest before your big date with my brother." Willow giggled and waved as she walked out of the room and closed the door.
Tara sat down on the bed. "I'd rather go out on a date with you." She said to an empty room.