Willow found it difficult to sleep that night. She felt agitated and restless. Unsuccessfully, she tried to blame the heat.
The following day, she found it unusually hard to put on her perky persona for the customers. The hours passed slow as molasses. At six-thirty, Joyce looked at her and sighed.
"Willow, would you just go and do what you're so eagerly awaiting to do. "
"I don't really have to go for another hour..."
"Go. You're a pain in my rear."
Willow smiled and gave her a peck on the cheek on the way out.
She was so deep in thought on her way to Witches Lake that she was almost out of the woods before noticing that someone was already there. She stopped dead in her tracks as Tara resurfaced with a splash, flicking her hair back over her shoulders, walking out of the water with a blissful smile on her face. And nothing else.
Lust got Willow like a dagger in the pit of her stomach. A wave of panic followed. She'sagirlshe'sagirlshe'sagirlsostopit! But no thought could remain in Willow's mind as the naked glory of Tara crouched unawares in front of Willow. In the redhead's mind, the battle between lookawaylookaway and thank god she can't see me behind these bushes, began.
The latter won, of course.
Tara squeezed excess water from her long hair. Willow found that something was pressing on her chest as she followed the rivulets of water down smooth neck, snowy shoulders and between rounded breasts.
Willow Rosemount wasn't religious. Still, ohmygod, was the only word that went through her head at the sight. She hadn't been this close to praying in years.
Her eyes kept chasing the streamlets. A feminine waist, deliciously rounded hips, ivory stomach almost untouched by the sun. And... Willow's cheeks burned hot and there was an intense throbbing in her lower abdomen as the water reached the patch of light brown curls in the apex of Tara's thighs. Willow shocked the hell out of her self by wondering what Tara's sex would feel like against her fingers.
The blonde was crouching down to wash her clothes. Hardly daring to breathe for fear of exposure, Willow clung to every movement of Tara's as the blonde moved with an ease that comes only from the supposed certainty of solitude which makes you loose self consciousness. There was nothing shy about Tara's body language. And the only thing that stuttered was Willow's lust hazed mind. She realized that the butterflies which moved in to her stomach sans invitation every time she was near Tara was a crush the size of the Milky Way and that's what her body had been trying to tell her all along.
Tara rose from her crouching position and turned to face Willow. The wailing alarm signal of discovery that resounded in the redhead's mind was turned off at the realization that the blonde merely intended to hang her wet clothes on a thick tree branch in front of her hiding place.
Tara's limited access to food showed on her body, which told a tale that it was meant to look just a little different. However, it seemed impossible to Willow in that moment that anything could be more delicious than the sight in front of her. Having a girlish body herself, the drinking in of Tara's womanly shape did nothing to quench her thirst. It just created a bigger one. Her eyes wanted to look closer, her lips wanted to touch and taste. She tried to imagine what the rose colored fullness of the blondes lips would taste like when kissed. Her eyes strayed towards the pink nipples, still hard from the cold water. She wanted to take one of them into her moth and suckle it like a baby. As Tara turned, images of pressing herself against her shapely backside, kissing her way up her spine flashed through Willow's mind.
She was rudely awakened from her reverie when Tara turned again and stared right at Willow, unawares. With a pang of guilt, her green eyes looked straight into unsuspecting blue. Suddenly, she felt like a real shit for looking at Tara like that without her permission. Before finding the time to regret it, she silently stepped a few steps back through the soft moss and turned to walk back in a wide circle. She started to whistle Man of Constant Sorrow loudly and tunelessly, to alert Tara of her coming.
"Yup, it's me!" she hollered back.
"Could you just hang on for a moment there? I'm kind of n-naked..."
"Yup! Sure thing"
Willow had assumed that Tara had brought a change of clothes, since she was washing the other set. When the blonde called out to her, she stepped out of the foliage and desperately tried to avoid staring at Tara, wearing nothing but a pair of men's shorts and the moist shirt clinging to her body in all the right places. Or wrong ones, if you tried not to stare... The redhead's eye's landed involuntarily on Tara's breasts, clearly visible through the wet material. She decided on the spot to look no lower than Tara's forehead for the rest of the evening.
"Sorry I'm not exactly decent, but I reckoned this would have time to dry off a bit before seven..."
"I can, you know, leave for a walk and come back later if you're bothered. There's plenty of really exiting plant life around here. All about exciting plant life, me. That's why I'm here so early, because of the plant life...Yup. And a large frog colony over by the swamp, but I have frog fear, you know, so I'll probably stay away from there, but just say the word and I can..."
Tara shook her head and smiled shyly.
"I'm ok as long as you are. We're both girls, right?"
Willow felt disappointed that Tara saw her as harmless.
Well, what do you expect? She doesn't think of girls that way, dummy...
But she was relieved that she could stay. She brought out the blanket and the fruit she had brought for them in lieu of dinner .
"You sure? I'll drip on that..."
"No problem. This is old..." And how I wish I was that blanket...
Willow started out carefully trying to scan the territory:
"Tara? How come you and your family...travel...?"
"Why we're bums, you mean?"
Tara said it levelly, without rancor.
"That's not what I meant. I just wondered, how came you came driving this way? Where are you heading?"
"Anywhere we can make a few bucks. Pa lost our farm after the big crash, so we didn't really have anywhere to go. Had to leave in the middle of the night to escape the creditors."
"Tara, that's horrible! Have you lived on the road since then?"
"We lived at my cousin's place for a while. She married a rich fellow from the next county who didn't mind some cheap manual labor. But he got sick of us eventually. To tell you the truth, I was glad to get out of there. He's not a nice man. And cousin Beth's real religious. Ain't nothing that's not a sin to that woman. "
Tara smiled. Willow really wanted to do some sinning too when she did that...
"That's why my daddy likes me to dress like this. He said that Beth's husband used to l-look at me wrong and that made her upset. She said it was my fault, so Pa made me dress like a man. He says no one'll look twice at a girl looking like this. I guess he's afraid I'll run off and leave him. Don't know why he's worried, though. What man would want a bum, except for another bum..." Tara smiled self deprecatingly at Willow and shrugged again.
"Well I guess he got that wrong, then..."
"Pardon me?" Tara shot her a confused look.
Willow became acutely embarrassed when she realized that she would have to explain herself.
How do you explain to someone that they're the most beautiful thing you have ever seen? How to you tell someone casually that you expect to drop dead from the electric shock that goes through your system every time they touch you?
"I just mean that men will probably look at you anyway, since you're really pretty and all..."
"T-thank y-ou." Tara's stutter was suddenly back with a vengeance.
Silence fell between them. Willow tried to find something else to say.
"And your mother? Is she on the road with you?"
"Ma died before we lost the farm. Just as well. Her family lived on that land for centuries. It would have ruined her to loose it."
"I'm sorry." Willow felt like a prize idiot for bringing it up. She gently laid her hand comfortingly over Tara's. Or at least she had intended it to be comfortingly. But it really just made her more worked up and physically aware of the other woman. The blonde looked her deeply in the eyes and Willow was seriously worried that she would swoon like an Austen heroine.
"Listen to me all self absorbed." Tara looked embarrassed.
"What about you? Your accent isn't from here, is it?"
Willow shook her head.
"My dad used to be a businessman. He bought a group of big companies down here and brought the family here to live. He thought they wouldn't like jews here, so he changed our name to Rosemount. It's Rosenberg, really. But as it turned out, that didn't matter anyway. The companies went belly-up when the depression came. The diner is the only thing that survived. Ironic, since he didn't even want that one, it just came with the package. Dad had to go back up north and take a low pay job at General Motors. Mum went with him. She'd be useless in the diner anyway. I'd be useless too without Joyce."
"What did you do before the diner?"
"I was at Brunsford College, when dad lost our money. Since I was a girl, I couldn't get a full scholarship. So I came back here to run the business, thinking I might make enough money eventually to go back to school. Didn't happen that way... I guess no-one thought things would stay this bad.
"You were at college? They take female students down here?"
"I was the first female student to study engineering. Some of the boys in my class had a hard time with it. There was one guy called Warren Mears who kept making speeches on women's sacred duty to take care of husband and home. I guess it just bugged him how he kept flunking exams when I made top of the class."
"You were top of your class?" Tara looked at her with wide eyes.
Willow felt mortified that she had been caught boasting like that. She just nodded curtly and started picking nervously at the hem of her skirt.
"Is the diner named after you?"
Tara reached out and touched her hair with a tentative smile.
"Oh, right... No, it's funny actually. It was called Red's Diner when he bought it and it just cost too much to get a new sign. Red is really the grandfather of the former owner."
"It sure is red, though..." Tara tugged gently at one of the red tresses.
"What's it to you, Blondie?" Willow nudged her shoulder gently and playfully, feeling at once nervous and elated by Tara's fingers in her hair.
Color rose in Willow's face at the compliment.
"I'm making you wet..."
Willow stared at the blonde in utter surprise before realizing that she was talking about moisture dripping from her sleeve onto Willow's shirt.
"Come swim with me?" Tara urged impulsively.
"But I don't have a swimming costume... And there might be frogs!"
"I'll protect you." Tara swore solemnly, placing her hand over her heart, causing Willow to break her promise not to look down on her chest.
"Well, if you promise to take care of me..."
When she started to undress, she felt at once both awkward and aroused. Naked. In the water. With Tara...
Tara politely turned her back and waded into the water ahead of her. Willow turned away from her not to be tempted to stare again. When Tara's form was safely immersed in the deep lake, back turned to the shore, Willow hesitantly followed, frog fear temporarily over won by the enticing sight ahead of her. She sighed with pleasure as the cool water washed the sweat and kitchen smell away.
"Don't you just love water?" Tara came swimming gracefully past her.
"Yes..." Willow managed to croak out as Tara's body came within inches of hers.
She swam after her, forgetting to look for frogs, forgetting everything but the naked mermaid in front of her. They swam in companionable silence for a while, both casting tentative glances at each other. Eventually, they started to make their way out of the water.
That's when Willow turned her head and saw a huge frog sitting on a moss clad stone just a yard away. She screamed like she had just seen the grim reaper. Tara came running back through the water and caught her in a firm embrace.
"It's ok, sweetie, I've got you. What happened?" She caressed her soothingly and held her tight.
"Frog!" Willow managed to croak out, clinging to Tara like she was drowning.
"Don't worry, darling, it's gone now. See?" Tara pointed to the empty stone.
Willow nodded and tried to catch her breath. But she still trembled and refused to let go of Tara.
Gradually, as Willow calmed down, they became aware of the situation. Flesh against flesh, limbs entwined.
No one was sure who made the first move, but suddenly they were kissing. Passionately, sexually. Willow had never been kissed properly by anyone, let alone the one she desired. She found it difficult to remain standing, her body trembling from the sensations. Tara's tongue felt like velvet in her mouth and she gasped with arousal when Tara's chest pressed against her own. Her hands started to roam over Tara's cool flesh of their own accord, knowing what places they wanted to touch.
A little voice in her told her that maybe she was behaving badly? After all, she was the one who had thrown herself at the blonde and maybe Tara would feel like Willow had made her do things she really didn't want to?
"Is this wrong, Tara?" she murmured into the kiss, not wanting to break it off.
The blonde froze and immediately stepped back, leaving Willow cold and confused.
"I'm s-sorry. It was my fault." Tara walked the last few yards up to the shore, shoulders tense. She picked her discarded shirt up from the ground.
Willow quickly ran after her and embraced her from behind, stopping her from getting dressed.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean it like that. I just threw myself at you and I've never kissed a woman before. Actually, I've never kissed anyone like that before and I just didn't want to make you feel that I made you do something wrong." Willow held Tara tight, desperately hoping she could make this right again.
"We live in a world were children starve to death and good people live in the streets like animals and you're worried about kissing being wrong? This is the only t-thing that hasn't felt wrong to me in a long time, Willow."
She turned Tara around and made her look up. Then she kissed her again, tenderly, to make her point.
The truthfulness to Tara's words was obvious to her as she knelt on the blanket and wordlessly asked Tara to join her. This was the only thing that really made sense...
She pulled Tara on top of herself and gasped at the soft beckoning of the blonde's body. It made her feel things she had only read about in forbidden books her mother never knew about. She moaned lustfully as Tara's full lips explored her shoulders and her neck. Cupping a soft breast in her hand, she felt a jolt of excitement at Tara's intense reaction to the touch. They kept kissing, drinking each other up. She felt overheated and tight like a bowstring, craving to be released. Tara moved slightly, so that her leg ended up between Willow's and their centers touched briefly. Willow pushed her body into Tara's wanting more contact all the time.
Tara's hands controlled Willow's body like an obedient marionette that danced under the puppet master's skillful direction. She had once believed that she desired Alexander Harris, but she wasn't sure why now, her sweat mixing with that of this dreamlike apparition moving on top of her, the last sunlight blazing like a halo around her head. The redhead took a deep breath to inhale the scent of the mane of blonde hair surrounding her face. She filled her hands with it, pulling Tara's head slightly to the side to access the long, creamy neck, sucking on the sweet smelling neck ohmygodthankyou not caring if she left a mark, Tara moving down, brushing one of her breasts with her lips, Willow almost screaming with the intensity, yesyes please more? Her nipples encircled by pink lips, the pleasure making her shake and pull the blonde closer. She needed to taste her too, gently changing their position so that they faced each other and bending her head down to kiss Tara's breast. She heard the other woman's breath become labored and saw her throw her head back and surrendering to her lips. Tara nudged her hips closer to Willow and tentatively let her hand slide down the lithe body and place a feather light caress on the inside of a white thigh making the redhead move closer to her hand, urging it on. Willow felt the anticipation turn almost to pain as the softest of hands touched her sex so gently that she wasn't sure it had happened if it hadn't been for the tiny arrows of pleasure shooting through her body. She felt no trepidation as the hand come nearer again, she just wanted as much as she could get, just deeper perhaps? And definitely more...
"Yes" she murmured and pulled Tara's tongue into her mouth again as the hand became bolder and ran it's fingers along her folds. Willow pushed her thigh into Tara's center, eliciting a gasp and a fiery response from the body next to her. Tara's caressing became more confident by the minute and Willow couldn't have stopped moving against her hand if she wanted to. She bit Tara's lips and raked her nails along her back, intensifying the rhythm of their passion.
Just when she thought they would be moving against each other for ever and the tension in her belly would only get worse, she felt a wave crest within her, making her sound as if she was sobbing, clinging to Tara like she was afraid of sinking.
She opened her eyes to see her new lover raising her fingers to her mouth, smelling and then tasting her. As Tara licked her fingers with curiosity and then delight, Willow felt her satiety turn back into desire at the sensuality of the act and of the smoldering look on Tara's face as she took the taste in her mouth.
Willow wanted to make Tara feel it too. She pushed the blonde back against the blanket and caressed her way down her curves, feeling pressure building up between them. Tara's thighs felt like velvet against her palm and she suddenly felt she had to bend down to kiss her there. A carving from a book on ancient Japan flashed before her eyes. Would Tara like that, or would she think it perverted? It felt so right... She made the split decision to follow her instincts and let her lips brush over Tara's sex, her tongue darting out quickly to taste her. The blonde become very still, before burying her fingers in the hair at the nape of her neck and shoot her a quick, hungry look. The redhead lowered her head between Tara's legs and closed her lips around her. Gradually and instinctively, she found the way to move her tongue and lips to make Tara's body tremble. She felt deliciously wicked for taking another woman's essence in her mouth. This morning, even the dream of getting to kiss the blonde seemed unattainable.
She sensed an increased urgency in the blonde's subtle movements against her lips and responded. It was Tara's turn to shudder. The redhead lovingly kissed the blonde's sex one more time, before edging back up her body to lie spent in her lover's arms.
They lay like that for a long time, kissing and talking about anything that came to mind, snuggled tightly together. No one wanted to leave, even though the sun was setting behind the horizon. Willow saw Tara cast a glance up into the darkening sky with a frown on her face.
"Do you have to go?" she heard the trepidation in her own voice.
"Don't care." Tara answered firmly and let her tongue brush over Willow's lips.
"But your father...?"
"Don't care." The blonde repeated, intensifying the kiss.
"Do you want me to touch you like you touched me?" Tara breathed in her ear, moving her hand slowly down Willow's body.
Willow nodded, suddenly very awake. Tara put her hand on Willow's sex and felt how ready she was. She wasted no time teasing.
Willow realized why Tara had seemed to enjoy this so much and why someone had bothered to make an instruction manual with engravings. It didn't take Tara long to figure out where the redhead's sweet spots where. Willow crashed over the edge with an intensity that could never be matched by what she had felt touching herself.
Unwillingly, they gathered their clothes up and started the long walk home, aware that it must in the middle of the night. They walked still embracing closely, both women with the same hotly blushing cheeks and sated smiles on their faces.
Tara stopped at the crossroads, kissing Willow deeply, lingering, putting off the farewell
Suddenly a bright white light blinded them, as Tara's father's truck came skidding round the corner.
Willow felt paralyzed as the man jumped out of the driver seat and started to shout at them
"You get your hands off her, you perverted little harlot!! You will burn in hell for seducing my daughter with your filth!" His face was menacingly close to Willow's, twisted up and deep red with anger.
"Get away from her..." Tara's face was ashen and the knuckles of her tight fists chalky white as she threatened her father.
"Be quiet WHORE!" The dull sound of his fist impacting with her face made Willow's stomach turn as Tara's father roughly pushed her out of the way and dragged her bleeding lover into the truck that she cursed herself for making Alexander Harris fix.
"TARA!!" She screamed helplessly as Tara's father revved the engine up and drove away.
She started running after the truck.
"DON'T GO! STAY WITH ME!! DON'T LEAVE WITH THEM!!" The car disappeared too quickly for Willow to be able to decide if Tara had heard her or not.
She half-stumbled, and half walked back to her home above the diner.
The redhead got so far as the edge of the property with the shotgun before Joyce came running out of her house in her dressing gown to stop her physically with the weight of her body.
She spent the rest of the night pacing, sobbing and throwing things before falling into a fitful sleep just before morning.