Buffy looked concerned as she watched Willow in the reception area. The security system that she had installed with tips from her sister provided a perfect view of the desk and the customers entering. Willow looked tired and a little drawn; she would not be happy with Dawn, Buffy decided, if Tara had hurt Willow. Her little sister knew quite well how precious her friend was to her. She was also feeling a little put out that Willow had left with Tara before the end of the dojo opening. Yeah she had celebrated with Dawn when their plan had worked, but she missed Willow when they went out to celebrate the night's success.
She prowled around her office impatiently waiting for Willow to appear. She heard the knock on her door. Buffy dropped into the chair behind her desk and tried to appear relaxed. "Come in."
"Hi Buffy," said Willow, smiling as she entered the room. "Are you ready to work out?"
"Sure," said Buffy, surprised that Willow wanted to get down to action because she usually liked to chat for a while. "What do you want to do first?"
"How about the air shields and the punch bag," said Willow.
Buffy held the shield as Willow pounded kick after kick into the pad. Even after the half an hour she had spent on the punch bag she was still hitting the shield pretty hard. "Plenty of energy there but you're losing some form. Take it easy and concentrate more on pushing your hip into the kick, you'll get more power. Do you want a water break?"
Willow nodded, too breathless to talk.
"You have some serious energy to burn off. I thought you might have been working it off with Dawn's friend from the force that you disappeared with last night," said Buffy.
"Is that a very unsubtle way of asking how things went with Tara last night?" asked Willow, finally getting her breath back.
"Well I thought that's why you came in today, to talk about her," replied Buffy. "I didn't expect to find you actually wanting to train, so I take it things didn't work out."
Willow took a big swig of water, knowing she was keeping Buffy on tenterhooks. "I wouldn't quite put it like that."
"So how would you put it Will? Come on spill," said Buffy.
"You know I think I've had enough now. I am going to hit the showers," said Willow, turning from Buffy with an evil smile on her face. She walked into the showers leaving her astonished friend staring after her.
Buffy went back to her office, confused by Willow's behaviour. This wasn't how she was expecting Willow to act. She thought she would either be excited or deflated, but she was neither, instead she was full of energy but focused as if she was keeping something inside her. Buffy shook her head, she was analyzing too much. She needed to wait and let Willow tell her what was going on.
A knock signalled Willow's presence at the office door. "Come in Will," said Buffy.
Willow walked in, her skin and hair gleaming. She sat down and smiled at Buffy.
"So?" asked Buffy.
Willow looked puzzled. "So... so what?"
"Will, enough teasing, how did it go with Tara?" asked Buffy, turning her back on Willow for a second as she put her coffee machine on.
"It was... it was amazing. She is great, I had one of the best nights of my life," said Willow, looking wistfully out of the window.
"So she was good in the sack..."
"She wasn't good in the sack?" teased Buffy gently.
"She was great, not as if it's any of your business. What I meant was it was more than that. I know it sounds corny, but I felt a real connection between us," said Willow quietly.
Buffy rolled her eyes; this wasn't how Willow usually talked. She had been hoping that Willow would just have some fun with Tara to lift her out of the stress she was under at work. Willow could do with blowing off some steam. "Do you want a cup of coffee?"
"Sure," Willow answered. "Buffy, I think there could be something starting here between me and Tara; I want you to be okay with that."
Buffy filled the cup with coffee and passed it to Willow, but as she did she grabbed her wrist, causing the coffee to spill all over the desk.
"Buffy, what are you doing..."
"What am I doing? What are you doing? What is this Willow?" demanded Buffy, pointing to the line of bruises that circled her wrist."
Willow snatched her arm back from Buffy rubbing her wrist slightly. "It's none of your business."
"What, did she beat you?"
"Don't be stupid," said Willow, her face flushing with anger, shocked at what Buffy was suggesting.
Buffy was looking at Willow's left wrist and could see the tell-tale bruises there, too. "What am I supposed to think... you called me wanting to work out, you've hardly said a thing about what happened. You have bruises on your wrists, I take it from some type of rough sex... you are acting strange, Willow."
"Strange... strange because someone wants me... strange because I have some fun?"
Buffy could see the danger signs flashing in Willow's eyes, so she lowered her voice. "Did she cuff you; is that your idea of fun now?"
"We were having fun, which again is none of your business. Buffy I don't get what you're getting so wound up about; I thought you would be happy for me," said Willow, defensively.
Buffy walked around the table and put her hand tentatively on Willow's shoulder, it was so rare that they had any type of confrontation, she wasn't sure if her hand would be shrugged away. She felt relieved when Willow didn't move. "Don't you remember what happened to me in college? I just don't want to see you get hurt."
Willow reached up and squeezed Buffy's hand. "Sweetie, please believe me it is nothing like that. We were fooling around with her cuffs, that's all, and before you ask it was me who started playing with the cuffs first, not her."
"But you are acting so strange... I don't know... if it was as good as you said I thought you would bursting to tell me, not kicking the hell out of a punch bag," said Buffy.
"When she left this morning the apartment seemed empty somehow and I felt it inside of me, but at the same time I had this energy I needed to get out of my system; like an electrical charge. I'm sorry if you misunderstood. I should have explained to you that I needed to get it out, but that everything was good... better than good," explained Willow.
"If you're sure?" asked Buffy, deciding with the nod of Willow's head that she would drop the subject but keep a close eye on Tara. "So uhm, when are you seeing her again?"
"That's the problem, we kinda got caught up and she realized she was on duty tonight. We didn't have time to swap numbers but she said that Dawn could give them to me," said Willow, hoping that this wouldn't start Buffy railing against Tara again.
Buffy skipped back around her desk. "Well Dawn was flirting heavily with one of my black belts at the club last night, but I think she went home alone." As she talked Buffy pressed the speed dial number for her sister. "Hey Dawn... yeah it was a great night. Dawn I have something to ask you... uhuh Willow is here... how did... okay... I have a pen here."
Willow impatiently watched as Buffy jotted some down numbers, to pass the time she took some tissue from the box on Buffy's desk and started to blot up some of the spilt coffee. She looked up when she heard Buffy say goodbye to her sister. "Have you got them?
"Yeah and it would seem that a certain blonde has already phoned her to see if she had your numbers," said Buffy, smiling in spite of herself at the way her friend's face lit up. "Here's her numbers and before you ask, yes, Dawn did give Tara your home and cell numbers."
Willow rushed over to Buffy and gave her a hug. "Thanks Buffy."
"Well I didn't actually do a lot," said Buffy.
"You did enough," said Willow. "I just realized I haven't asked you how the opening night finished; my bad."
"It was a roaring success, I have 2 more clubs wanting to join the association and we pushed a load of the gym memberships. You never know, maybe this place won't bankrupt me after all," said Buffy, smiling.
"Never happen," said Willow. "You won't let that happen. Seeing as I ran out on you last night, can I buy you dinner tonight to celebrate the success of the best dojo in New York?"
"Well, if you are twisting my arm I'm sure I can be persuaded," responded Buffy, pleased that the tension between them had dissipated.
Willow walked into her apartment; her mind flashing back to the way she had burst through the door the night before. She gave a little smile, but thinking back seemed to bring back that empty feeling that had driven her out of her apartment to Hangetsu. "This is ridiculous. I like living alone." Neko strolled towards her, then wound her way around Willow's legs, who stopped to pick the cat up. "But I don't live alone, I live with you, don't I beautiful." The cat purred loudly as she placed a kiss on the top of her head.
Willow could see the light on her answering machine blinking. She had wanted to check it and her cell phone all night, but decided it might have been rude to do it while eating with Buffy. She had been faintly disappointed when she had checked her cell and there was no message from Tara, and she left checking her answering machine until she had got back the apartment because she didn't want to compound that feeling by having nothing at home. She sighed; why was she waiting for some woman to call her? Maybe Buffy was right and she was not being herself by behaving like this.
To prove to herself that she didn't need any message to make her night complete she went to the kitchen, gave Neko some kibble and poured herself a glass of orange juice. Willow was doing her best to ignore the flashing red light but it seemed to call to her so, eventually, she went to the machine and played back her messages. The first two were from one of her partners at work who was reminding her that they needed to get moving on the project they were working on tomorrow. Willow shook her head. She wondered how the guy's wife put up with him. She considered herself a workaholic but he could outstrip her easily. The next message was from her mother and Willow listened as she sipped her juice while she complained about Willow not calling her and not visiting, nothing new there thought Willow. Her heart skipped a beat when she recognized the next voice that came on.
"Hi Willow it's me. Uhm that's Tara in case you didn't recognize my voice, I hope you did but... I'm getting off the point. I hope you don't mind, I got your number from Dawn. I, uhm, had a great time last night, I hope you did. I'm off point again. I hate these machines." Willow giggled at Tara's ramblings. "Anyway here goes; my partner Xander and his wife are having a barbecue Saturday night and I wondered if you w-want to come with me. I mean it's c-cool if you don't. Call me and let me know; I should be off duty by 8 in the morning."
Willow sat down on her couch a huge grin on her face.
Tara fell into bed exhausted. She looked at her clock which read 6.15, and she decided that it hadn't been such a good idea going to Xander and Chrissie's after spending the night with Willow. Sleep might have been a smarter thing, especially as she and Xander had spent the evening in a crummy bar watching a suspected arms dealer, who, it was rumoured, was hooking up with one of New York's most vicious street gangs. It wasn't the sort of place where you could let your guard down for a second and it was crucial not to get recognized as a member of NYPD's organized crime squad. She was so pleased she had been able to get home quicker than she thought; the dealer had seemed edgy and he took off before the meeting was supposed to have gone down. It meant that tomorrow night she and Xander would have to hit the streets and hit up some of their informants, but for now her body ached and tiredness seemed to permeate every fibre of her being; and she quickly fell into a dreamless sleep.
Willow was surprised that she had managed to be the first person into her office this morning. She liked to get in early, finding it much easier to concentrate on the complicated computer calculations she had to analyze. They were running simulations to evaluate the performance of a new bridge in Charleston when subjected to high wind, such as from a hurricane. She sat lost in her mental wrestling over the various scenarios when she noticed the time clock on her computer. It was 8: 30 and her heartbeat quickened as she decided this would be a good time to call Tara.
Tara woke with a start as her phone rang. She waited for the machine to pick it up, so she could get back to sleep. When she heard her name being spoken by Willow she scrambled for the phone. "Hey Willow it's me... I was asleep." Tara lay back on her bed.
"I'm sorry, I'll call back later," said Willow, hearing the sleepiness in Tara's voice.
"N-no," said Tara. "I'm awake now. So uhm how are you?"
"Fine... missing you," admitted Willow, almost in a whisper.
Tara grinned to herself. "I bet you haven't thought about me since I left."
"Oh, not more than once or twice... a minute," said Willow, following Tara's teasing tone.
"Only once or twice... I must be losing my touch," said Tara
Willow sat back in her chair relaxing, work forgotten for a second. "From what I remember there wasn't anything wrong with your touch."
"I could say the same for you," said Tara, the tone of her voice deepening. "In fact I could do with your touch right now."
Willow's hand tightened on the phone, her breathing quickened. "I wish I could lick down your tattoo again."
With her free hand Tara stroked her nipples, making them hard, and gave a small groan.
"Can you tell me what you are doing?" asked Willow, the sounds from the other end of the phone starting to turn her on.
"I'm making my nipples hard," admitted Tara breathlessly.
"Ohh god, are you wet?" whispered Willow, hoping that none of her co-workers could hear her. "I need to know, touch yourself, for me, please."
"My pleasure, literally," replied Tara, she pressed a finger between the folds of her labia. "Yes, baby, you make me wet."
Willow groaned, gripping the phone harder, her knuckles turning white.
"I'm so wet that I've just pushed two fingers inside me, they slipped in so easy," said Tara. "And my clit is so hard."
"Fuck yourself," begged Willow in a strangled whisper.
"I am baby, I am," moaned Tara. "I'm so close already... oh Willow."
"Tara please I want to hear you come," said Willow softly, her hand shaking as she gripped the phone so hard she felt she was going to break it.
Tara's fingers moved in and out if her body like pistons, and her thumb ground hard into her clit, she felt it contract as her orgasm crashed over her. "Oh Willow this is so good, oh god."
Willow could feel her own body reacting to Tara's excitement. "That was amazing, god you surprise me, what are your doing to me?"
"Nothing, just l-letting what happens happen. I know you w-want this," said Tara breathlessly, still shaking from her release, as she felt the waves of sleepiness folding over her again. "We s-should arrange Saturday."
Willow heard the sleepiness in Tara's voice again. "Go to sleep baby. I'll call you this evening and we can talk about the barbecue."
"K," said Tara. "Night baby."
Willow replaced the receiver gently, her hands still shaking; this woman was taking her places that she had never thought she would go. Her mind was whirling, she doubted that she could add 2 and 2, never mind the stochastic finite element calculations she was supposed to be working on.