Tara's lip trembled as she turned her back on the embracing couple. Buffy looked on, somewhat bewildered at her friend's behavior and frowned when she noticed Tara's crestfallen features. Willow and Leah continued talking, both oblivious to the stir of emotions that emitted from the others.
"Why isn't she killing her by now?" Anya asked, confused and eager to see a little bloodshed. She knew the details of Willow's relationship with her ex-girlfriend, at least the bits that she happened to eavesdrop on, but nonetheless she knew enough to be entitled to a little violence. Or so she thought.
"Um, I-I'm g-going to s-see if a-anyone n-needs help," Tara stammered horribly, just wanting to get away as Anya continued raving on about throttling, kicking or something of that sort. Tara had already blocked out all other sounds, except the thud of harsh beats ringing in her eardrums. Her heart pounded fiercely, throat muscles constricting tightly as she fought to keep the tears behind burning eyes.
So this was it. Willow was going to leave her, and all she could do was cowardly turn her back and let it happen.
She inwardly berated herself as the thought leaked into every part of her mind, causing her to fumble with the empty trays in her hands. Regaining some of her composure, she turned to see if anyone had noticed and caught Willow's stare as she did so. As if by instinct, she held Willow's gaze, but dropped it when the redhead smiled at her. She had wanted so badly to smile back, but feared that the movement of her cheeks would only cause her unwanted tears to fall.
A hand on her shoulder made the blonde jump. "We could always club her over the head and drag her out back, if you want." Anya whispered, seriously. It was plain to see that she and Willow weren't exactly the best of friends, but Anya still remembered the bout of depression that the redhead had went through when Leah left.
"Think about it," she encouragingly patted Tara's shoulder, and walked off without waiting for the blonde's response.
Though oddly enticing, Tara shook Anya's suggestion off as a comforting gesture and snuck another glance toward the other side of the restaurant. She reluctantly toned into her surroundings again, and happened to catch a low 'thank you' from Leah's mouth, before turning back to the empty tables.
Tara happened to look up again when Leah walked toward the door, and saw Anya behind the departing woman. With eyes wide in anticipation and a cheeky 'how 'bout it' grin, Anya's eyes darted from Tara to Leah, then back again. Tara bit her lip and quickly waved for the young woman to let it go. However pleasing it might've felt to see Anya in action, it was still callous and Tara didn't want anyone getting hurt on her behalf.
When Leah left, Buffy came up and nudged Willow, but the redhead's eyes were glued to Tara. "Okay, so what was with the smiling and hugging?" Buffy asked. She wasn't expecting anything violent, like Anya, but a happy reunion wasn't exactly on the list either.
"I remember when a certain redhead could barely get out of bed, let alone smile." Buffy continued, finally getting Willow's attention.
"If you can't be friends after, you were never friends before." Willow said, simply. "I mean yeah, it was hard when she left, but with the right amount of time... the hurt lessened. There's still a little anger left, but only when I think about it."
"Why now? Why did she come back?" Buffy pressed.
"She came to apologize," Willow half-listened as she tried to catch blue eyes. But Tara hadn't looked at her since Leah left, and Willow could guess why.
"And that's it?" The cook frowned, incredulously; not believing how calm her friend was about seeing her ex-girlfriend after more than a year.
"Yep, that's it." The redhead shrugged and smiled back at Buffy, "It was time to let go." Her smile shifted to Tara, "And I think I've already found something better."
"Go ahead." Knowing what Willow was thinking of, Buffy nodded and gave her friend a playful push toward her girlfriend.
Using small, almost timid movements, Tara faced Willow when she saw the redhead move closer from the corner of her eye. Nervously, she watched as Willow closed the space and reached out for her hand.
Dewy palms stuck to soft skin, and Willow suddenly felt guilty for what she was sure Tara had been thinking, while she was speaking to Leah.
"Are you okay?" Willow was surprised to hear the words coming from Tara's mouth, rather than her own. The blonde had used every ounce of will to keep from stuttering, believing that it would only add more pity.
"I'm great," the redhead smiled, and then sighed gently when a shadow of sadness crossed Tara's face and her eyes dropped. "Hey," she lifted the blonde's chin with a single finger. She could sense that Tara already knew about Leah, though the short version, it was enough to spark doubt in her girlfriend's mind. And of course, the hugging didn't help.
Tara's fingers smelled of rosemary seeds as she brought the tips to her cheek, before lowering them and pressing the flat palm against her heart. "Nothing's changed." She whispered. But that was wrong, because something had changed.
"I still want to be with you," Willow went on, keeping her voice the same even as people began turning toward their private conversation. She didn't care what they thought, only the beautiful face in front of her mattered.
Tara's eyes lit up, as if the sun had literally twist drops into them. "Y-You...you do?" Like a beacon, Willow's smile caused the blonde's tears to fall. But the droplets never reached Tara's cheek, having been wiped away by Willow's thumb as they reached the surface.
"Are you okay?" Happiness flashed in the redhead's eyes, and mirrored into Tara's.
"Oh yes." Without bashfulness, Tara kissed her partner square on her lips. While rolling the taste on her tongue, like sweet water, the blonde pulled back. But only to allow Willow to breath, not because of the low gasps of disapproval or surprise, which had rung out in the restaurant during their kiss.
Both girls were beyond caring as their hot breaths mingled among the bitterness in the room. Willow was sure she heard Buffy say something to one of the customers, but just as soon as the awareness came, it passed just as quickly.
"She only came to-." Willow started. But the redhead's attempt to explain was quickly forgotten by Tara's slender finger upon her lips.
"Shhh," the blonde silenced her gently. Perhaps it was best that she didn't know the full story, at least not at that precise moment. The only thing that seemed to matter was that Willow had come back to her, though now she wasn't quite sure if she'd ever left.
Hours had passed, along with the different faces, which had occasionally wandered in and out of the restaurant. Xander had come to pick up Anya, and the couple stayed briefly but left a little bit before the ladies closed for the day.
"Hey guys," Buffy held back as Willow and Tara headed toward the car. Shifting a little under both their gazes, she wrung her hands nervously. "I'm going to take a walk." She gave Willow a knowing look and the redhead grinned and nodded.
Sunnydale didn't have a wide selection of hotels but there were a few small ones here and there, a couple of which were along the way back to Buffy's house. It wouldn't hurt to look... just out of curiosity.
Tara gave Buffy a questioning glance as she walked on, but smiled and followed her partner to the car.
The atmosphere at Tara's apartment hadn't changed since the girls arrived a little less than an hour ago.
Simply enjoying each other's company, the couple snuggled together in the back bedroom, watching television. Willow was glancing at Tara, though the redhead kept her finger on the remote as she flipped through the channels. So entranced in the view, she didn't notice what program the TV had stopped on, until Tara's eyebrow quirked and she turned toward her. Finally dragging her eyes to the screen, Willow coughed and fumbled with the remote, as Tara looked on amused.
"Sorry," Willow laughed nervously and pressed the off button. A side lamp was lit, but the bedroom curtains were closed, leaving the room in a dim glow. Shadows on the wall grew closer as the redhead leaned in, placing an almost chaste kiss on Tara's lips.
The sexual tension grew, but Willow's kisses started to feel a bit rushed to Tara. Automatically confusing them for sympathy, as if the redhead were still trying to make up for Leah's appearance, Tara pulled back.
"You don't have to prove anything to me." The blonde said quietly.
Willow frowned at the lack of Tara's lips against hers, but smiled when she realized what Tara must've been thinking. Lifting a hand up to the blonde's cheek, she ran her thumb over an ear before gently bringing Tara's face less than an inch from hers.
"I know." The conviction in Willow's voice made the blonde's breath catch slightly. All doubt had melted away into a shallow pool in the center of her body, and Tara reached over, flipping the light switch.
Candles cast a rosy glow over Willow's ivory skin, as she floated in the aftermath of her orgasm. Tara had gone to the kitchen and returned with a cup of water for the spent redhead, the whole time, with a smug grin plastered on her face. Relighting a candle, which had went out, the blonde climbed back into bed beside her lover. Tara had thoroughly worshiped her girlfriend, but the tingling in her body had yet to be satisfied.
Willow licked her dry lips as Tara's body pressed into her side. The water forgotten, Willow's own body reawakened when the blonde's taut nipple grazed against her breast. Tara was laying on her side and shifted a little to get a better angle on Willow's hip. Twisting a lock of red hair between her fingers, she rotated her center against the small curve. The movement sent a gasp through her lips and into Willow's mouth as they kissed.
The redhead also shifted, but only enough so that her hipbone jutted more firmly into Tara's center. Spreading wider to accommodate Willow's body, Tara lifted her left leg over her lover's thighs, letting her bent knee rub against fiery curls. The scent of sex filled the room as their grinding became more urgent. Tara's eyes turned smoky with desire as she slid herself up and down Willow's body. The pearl between her labia throbbed helplessly as she rotated her hips harder, throwing her head to the side while Willow trailed her tongue along her collarbone.
She captured one of Willow's breasts in her hand, holding the nipple between two fingers and squeezing as Willow sucked on her pulse-point. The pressure was sure to leave a small mark, but it also sent a shock through Tara's body, causing her already moist center to flood Willow's skin with more of her honey.
Yearning for more contact, Willow nudged Tara's legs further apart and dragged her fingernails over the blonde's inner thigh until it rested at the bottom of her folds. Tara inhaled loudly, her leg jumping slightly when Willow touched the sensitive flesh.
"How's that?" The redhead asked as she slipped a single finger up and between the silky folds.
Tara's response was more of a grunt, but Willow continued her slow actions. The rubbing became a little harder when another finger was added. Soapy cream rose to the velvet surface, bubbling up as Tara's body tightened around the probing fingers. Bringing her lips back to Tara's, Willow sucked lightly on the full bottom lip before grazing her front teeth over the surface.
"I want to," Willow reddened and nodded toward Tara's lap. The need to taste the blonde was making Willow shake a little, and she felt as if she would burst if she didn't satisfy her thirst soon.
The hunger in Willow's eyes sent a trail of liquid down Tara's thighs and she moved flat onto her back. "Okay." She whispered, getting more excited by the minute. They had yet to do this for each other, but Tara couldn't wait to return the favor. She could already feel Willow's honey sizzling against her taste buds, while the redhead began crawling between her legs.
Gazing down, she smiled at the brightness of Willow's face as she positioned herself. Whatever anyone may say or think about Tara's shyness, it was Willow who blushed in the bedroom.
Feeling the hot breath tickle her short blonde hairs, Tara twitched and balled the sheet within her hand. Willow hadn't even touched her, and already she felt the fluttering sensation in her tummy, begging for release.
Tara's scent swam up through Willow's nostrils, sending a chill all the way to her toes. Deciding that she'd waited long enough, the redhead looked up and caught the blissful expression on Tara's face as she lowered her mouth. Dividing the folds, she tightened her tongue and licked up with a long, single stroke, gathering Tara's fluid with the tip. Rolling her tongue back into her mouth for her first taste, Willow groaned at the sweetness.
The mattress groaned with her when Tara's hips suddenly jerked up from the bed. Panting, the blonde reached for one of Willow's hands, grasping the fingers tightly as she jumped again. The other hand went to her own breast, squeezing with each of Willow's broad strokes. Tara shuddered and shut her eyes when she felt Willow twist her tongue down the slick tunnel, then pull out to retrace the contours of her entrance.
Hearing Tara murmur words of approval and sensing that the blonde was near, Willow redoubled her efforts. Raising her sights, she found the swollen pink nub and felt it pulsate against her tongue when she swiped along the bottom, before pulling it back to twirl around the center. Trapping the flesh between her lips, she took a deep breath and sucked fiercely.
Signaling her breaking point, Tara bucked wildly on the bed and had to release Willow's hand to clutch the sheet roughly, so the pressure wouldn't hurt the redhead's fingers. A flood of liquid gushed out into Willow's waiting mouth and she lapped deeply, saving every drop. When Tara's thrashing had stopped and the last waves had subsided, Willow crawled up to lay next to her lover.
Noticing as Tara's eyes glistened with tears, Willow whispered softly and gathered the trembling woman into her arms. The blonde laid still, her eyes drooping as she fought the tiredness that had suddenly overcame her.
"Sleep," Willow whispered, having noticed when Tara tried to stifle her yawn. Tara protested, trying to sit up, but hadn't realized how jelly-like her body had become.
"But-." Tara tried to sit up again, but gave up and dropped her head back onto the pillow.
"Rest," Willow gently urged and kissed her partner on the forehead. Nodding, Tara kissed the redhead's lips, tasting the residue from Willow's intimate touch, and finally closed her eyes. It wasn't late, and Willow knew that Tara would probably wake sometime in the night. And she also knew that she'd be right there waiting for her.