Washington D.C. 1969
Tara knew why she was here. It was one of those things she felt that she had to do. It was amazing how much of her life was controlled by that. Everything she did, she didn't do for herself. She did it for someone else. As long as everyone else was happy, and not harassing her, then she could be left alone to do what she wanted. Only she was too afraid to do what she wanted in case someone found out.
And that was why she was here. It was always easier when she was younger, when her mother was still alive. She let her do what she wanted, because Tara knew that mother was happy with her no matter what. Her father was much harder to please. Which is why she ended up in the Army.
And that was why she was here. Driving a bus. But she was much more glad to be here driving a bus than there, where they could easily send her. And she sympathized with those who got on the bus. Not that she could say anything though. It would disappoint her father, as well as upset her superiors.
She had no inkling her whole world was about to change.
It was just another day of picking up protesters. It was just another trail of hippies, their "Make Love, Not War" signs littering the ground behind them, filling one by one into the seats behind her. It was just....
A gorgeous redhead, her long straight hair flowing down to her lower back, her yellow and orange paisley polyester shirt and tight bell-bottom blue jeans. Tara's eyes followed the girl through the mirror to where she sat. And they stayed there until the green eyes met hers and she looked away shyly. The whole bus ride to the station Tara kept glancing at the redhead who now had her head bowed down, 'In shame? Meditation? Avoiding my glances?' Tara thought. All she knew for sure is that she'd not be able to get the girl out of her head.
"Hey Maclay, got any plans for the weekend?" asked Harris as they were back at the base, handing over the bus to a new crew.
"Not really, other than my usual sitting in my bunk and reading." replied Tara. "How about you?"
"I've got extra duty this weekend, as I've put in some time off to see my girl Anya."
"Well good luck with that." Tara said.
Tara headed to the barracks. Her plan really was to sit in her bunk. But the book would be propped in front of her as a decoy, when really she'd be fantasizing about the cute girl on the bus. But when she got there she realized that she wouldn't be able to sit still. So she put on her civvies, bell-bottoms and a white peasant top, and headed into town.
It was easy to drop the military fašade and look like everyone else when she went out. Her blonde hair was long and straight, and could be put in a tight bun when dressed up, and let down when not. Plus she hadn't quite gotten down the 'angry' face most the others had developed. She was smiling, enjoying the sunshine, the people on the streets, the old store fronts she passed, and peddlers on the sidewalks selling their wares.
She approached a small table that had beads, buttons and various crafts. A small silver ring with a moon and a star caught her eye. She knew she was severely lacking in jewelry and for some reason she was just drawn to it.
"That will look good on you." Tara heard from the other side of the table.
She looked up directly into smiling green eyes. They quickly went from smiling, to recognition to surprise.
"Uhm... Hey, bus driver." The redhead said. "You certainly, uh, look, well..." She struggled to find her words.
"Yeah, I uh, don't, uh, usually...."
They both gave a nervous giggle as they decided to just let their words go at that, and the silence broke through shortly there after.
"So, um, are you okay?" asked Tara.
"Yeah, I was a first timer, so they just photographed me and let me go." replied the redhead. "My name's Willow by the way."
"Macla.... Um I mean Tara... My name is Tara."
There was another pause.
"So Willow is your real name? I mean um, I just have a cousin Beth who calls herself 'Sunshine'." Tara said. "Oh not that Willow is a bad name, I mean, I think it's pretty."
"Actually Willow is my real name. My parents must of have known how appropriate it would be or something. But I know what you mean, one of my roommates calls herself 'Rainbow' and the other one well she just calls me Red. Which I have no idea what that has to do with anything. Actually all this," Willow indicated the table, "really belongs to Rainbow, and we all help her make some of it and sell it. And I help out because honestly it is a good way to meet girls."
They both smiled.
"So you like that ring?"
"Yeah, it's beautiful. How much?" asked Tara.
"You can have it."
"No I can't do that."
"Yes, take it. It's yours."
"Please let me give you something for it."
Willow stood, obviously thinking about what she'd like.
"Tell you what, when Rainbow gets back, you can take me out to dinner."
"I'd like that."
They grabbed sandwiches from a deli and sat in a nearby park. It was early evening, but still warm, although you would think otherwise when you saw how close the two bodies were to each other. They ate, and talked, and laughed, learning every possible detail they could.
"So are you a student?" Tara asked.
"I was, but then I realized that in the male dominated world that is academia, they only teach you what they think you should know. I mean the only reason both my parents are professors is because my mother has to follow on my father's coattails. But really only my mother supported my decision to quit once I told her my reasons. Plus it is not like I've stopped learning. I spend most of my time reading. I'm actually kind of a...." Willow paused thinking of the right word.
'Goddess,' Tara thought.
"Dweeb," Willow said. "I mean it was only recently I grew out of my humble geek-infested roots to become the woman I am today."
'And what a woman!' Tara thought. But she said, "Geek-infested roots huh? I understand what you mean. I spend most of my time reading."
With that the conversation turned to books, to movies, and then on to music....all the things two people talk about. Those often mundane things, that when really heard will tell you more about a person than when they are baring their soul. The conversation dropped with the sun, and they both sat in comfortable silence as the sky changed colors around them.
But as the sky darkened more they both realized safety was an issue.
"I think we should head indoors. My place is nearby. We can have tea, we have chamomile and mint growing in our yard." mentioned Willow, not wanting their date to end.
It was a modest little house tucked back away, where you wouldn't expect to find it. The yard, if you could call it that, was a small patch of green with a small stone sundial in the center of it and a little boxed in garden where a few herbs grew. They both however forgot about the tea and headed directly inside.
From earlier conversation Tara knew that it was owned by Willow's parents. It was their first house, fairly close to the college where they were teaching. Willow collected the rent from her roommates and pretty much kept it, like an allowance. The third bedroom was intended for another child that her parents never quite got around to. Willow guessed that is was they didn't want to give up their office and library space.
In there were four girls, including Willow. Buffy and Faith sharing a room, and a bed, Rainbow and Willow each having their own space. A space which they entered quickly to avoid any encounter with roommates.
And they stood facing each other, unsure to take the next move.
But their bodies knew as they came together in a passionate kiss and fell to the bed.
Tara awoke from a very good dream, slowly yawning and stretching out from under the sheet. She blinked a few times and rolled over just as the door to the room was opening and a redheaded goddess entered with two cups.
"Here's the tea I promised you." The redhead said as she handed over a cup.
"Thanks." Said Tara as she sat up in bed.
"So I was thinking. And I know this maybe way out of the blue, and a lot kind of quickly. But really when you think about it life is short. And so who knows what's going to happen from one day to the next. And I'm babbling again. Did I mention that I babble?" With that Tara smiled and Willow's nervousness melted away.
"I love you." Said Willow.
"I love you too."
And they lived happily ever after.