Tara closed the barn door behind her and leaned back against it. <Wow... that was... .she was... Wow.>
"Mac... come look at Frankie and tell me what ya think."
The blonde was reluctantly pulled from her reflective moment. But, duty called and for the moment this is where her heart belonged.
She walked over to the spotted pony and gave him a thorough inspection.
"Well... he's still not eating as much as I would like for him to be. His hooves look much better... still... I think we should call the doc and have her come and take a look at him."
Doug nodded his head in agreement.
"Sure thing Mac, I'll go give her a call right now."
Doug took up the stairs to the business office that had been added on in the spring. It sure had helped a lot. Now, all the papers for each horse could be kept close by which was great if the vet needed history on a particular horse.
Of course, Tara prided herself on knowing every detail of history on each one of the horses. Her love for the animal and an eye-opening trip out west had prompted the young woman to begin what she now called The Pegasus Foundation.
At 24, Tara Maclay had found her calling in life. To rescue abused and abandoned horses, nurse them to health and help find them new homes if they were able. The foundation was a non-profit organization that relied on donations of all kinds. There were monetary needs, medicine, food, tack and always those hidden costs that seemed to jump out of nowhere. But Tara was grateful and felt extremely blessed with the set up she now had.
It seemed like fate had led her to James Rosenberg's farm. He seemed to love animals of all kinds just as much as she did. After their first meeting, he agreed to house the sick horses and foster the one's waiting for adoption. It had worked out great for both of them.
"Don't worry Frankie... the doc will be here soon to make you all better."
The small pony leaned into the gentle touch. Tara smiled as she patted his neck, remembering the day she found him.
It was an abandoned farm outside of a small town called Hillsboro. The drive didn't take long but catching Frankie did. He had been left in an open field that was nothing but mud. No grass to eat, no hay, no water. Nothing. And as horrible as his living conditions were, he ran from the blonde now softly cooing at him.
It took about 3 hours to finally catch him. Tara drove him back to the farm and the two of them instantly started to bond. It was as if he knew Tara had saved his life, and the truth of the matter is she did. He would have died had he been left there much longer. Now, all she could do was hope and pray that he would pull out of his current condition and live a long and happy life.
Doug's heavy footsteps coming down the stairs caused the small pony to jump a bit.
"It's okay... Frankie... it's just Doug... easy... good boy..."
Doug watched the blonde calm the pony right down.
"Vets on her way... should be here in about 20 minutes."
"Good. How are the other two?"
Doug pulled his hat off and scratched his head.
"Well they seem to be fattening up a bit... but I think we should have her take a look at 'em just in case."
"Couldn't hurt anything."
The two handlers passed the time by rubbing down the horses and talking to them. They wanted them to get used to human voices. They were still a bit skittish, but nothing like when the first arrived.
In no time, the vet pulled in and had begun examining Frankie. His lungs sounded congested and that worried her. She continued her exam as a soft knock fell on the barn door.
Both, Tara and Doug jumped to get the door. Doug's long legs got him there first, but the blonde was right behind him. Willow was a bit startled at the two smiling faces that greeted her so quickly.
"Hi... umm... I hope I'm not interrupting."
Willow had watched as the truck pulled in. She couldn't miss the large black letters on the side of the white truck. Ross County Equestrian Veterinary Medicine.
After a few minutes of playing tug-of-war with her reasoning skills, she had decided to make her way out to the barn.
Doug smiled and hooked his thumb in his belt loop.
"No ma'am. Just had to get the doc over to check on Frankie."
He put on his most charming face, the one that worked with all the girls, and was somewhat surprised when the concerned looking red head looked right past him to the blonde behind him.
"Is he ok?"
Tara smiled at the worried expression on Willow's face. She could spot an animal lover anywhere and the young woman standing in the doorway had a sincere worry about Frankie. This pulled at Tara's heart.
"We don't know yet. Doctor Turner is looking him over right now."
"Doug... can you give me a hand?"
The tall man looked defeated as the vet called for his assistance. He would just have to try again later.
"Sure thing doc..."
Tara felt relieved that Doug had removed himself from between her and the red head. Now all she could do was smile shyly as she tried to think of something to say. Willow however had a ton of questions.
"Tara... why are these horses in such bad shape?"
There was a flutter in Tara's stomach as the sound of her voice rolling off Willow's tongue danced in her head. <Has my name always sounded that good?>
"They are rescued horses."
"Oh. Well... who rescues them?"
Tara smiled again as she began to explain about the Pegasus Foundation and the agreement she had worked out with Willow's uncle. Willow listened as Tara explained and she felt an overwhelming since of pride swell up inside her for the blonde.
Willow watched as Tara ducked her head. <She's blushing... how cute. I made her blush>
"Well... actually there are a lot of things that we need to talk about. "
Tara thought that sounded very boss-like and she didn't want to sound boss-like.
"I mean... you know... when you have time... after you get settled in and all."
Tara let out a deep breath as the two young women stood lost in the moment. Both of them feeling a bit giddy while exchanging shy smiles.
<Can she get any cuter>
"Mac... the doc needs you."
The quick pout on Tara's face answered Willow's question. <Cuter by the minute>
The moment faded as Doug's voice broke the smile-fest.
"I'm free tomorrow... if you wanted to come by and talk... I could make us some lunch... or something."
Willow's words trailed off as she saw the answer shine in Tara's eyes.
"Yes... I mean... I usually come by every day... but tomorrow will be a special day..."
Willow grinned. <Special Day! I like that>
"Great... then I'll see you tomorrow..."
Both girls continued to trade smiles. It felt as if they were ending a first date and just didn't know how to bring it to a close.
Tara nodded her head as she heard Doug call out to her one more time.
"I gotta go..."
"Of course... see ya tomorrow."
Tara turned and made her way over to Frankie as Willow walked back to the house. Her mind racing on what to fix for lunch and what to wear. <Maybe I should call Buffy... get her thoughts...>
With an extra bounce in her step the red head made her way into her new home and busied herself by putting things away. If she didn't she knew she would be sitting in front of the window like a crazed stalker waiting to get a glimpse of the blonde as she left for the night.
<But who wouldn't want a glimpse of her. She's beautiful... and sweet... Oh! And those eyes... and those lips...>
Willow grabbed a box and cut it open. She definitely had to get working or things would not get put away tonight and she didn't want Tara to see a bunch of boxes sitting around tomorrow when she came for lunch.
"Yay... a special day... with a special woman."
Before she finished the first box, Willow had pushed it aside and grabbed the phone. Her excitement couldn't be held back. <Boxes be damned> Her fingers dialed the familiar number and the planning began.
"Buffy... it's Willow..."