The conversation between Anne, Willow and I left me feeling haunted. I ached for the woes that we all suffered, and most especially for Anne and Willow who had lost so much. We had sat in silence at breakfast, finishing our coffee while collecting our thoughts. Anne then excused herself quietly, wishing me a good day. Willow sat in front of me, clearly struggling to maintain her silence. Both of her hands fidgeted with something - her left with the hem of her men's shirt, the right with the binding of the book she had been reviewing with Anne earlier. I was gazing into my coffee, but I felt her eyes on me.
When I looked up, her eyes skittered away from me and she stared into her lap.
"Willow, will you show me to the telegram station now? I'd like to get a response out to my brother before we begin our day."
Willow than perked up and smiled at me, her attention once again able to focus on an action.
"Of course Tara. We have several of them actually. There's one just down the hall near the stairs. We can do that before we go to the Science rooms. Oh! There's even an embossed code manual you can use to send your message. That is if you need it. You're so smart and all, I assume you know code. Not to say you're not smart if you don't know code! It's hardly the measure of a man." Then, lightly smacking her forehead, she continued. "A woman! You're a woman, not a man! Stupid me!"
And suddenly, like her smile had dug into my soul, her silly rambling lightened my mood and lifted my spirits. I felt new again. I laughed at her merrily and leaned towards her, placing my hand on her knee in reassurance.
"Yes, I am a woman silly. I also know code. And thank the lord that isn't how I am measured."
Willow smiled sheepishly at me, and then gazed down at my hand. I had scarcely realized what I had done and it suddenly seemed extremely forward, especially for me. I slowly retracted my hand to my lap and stood.
"To the telegraph station then Willow?"
She stood as well. "We shall" she responded.
The telegraph station she was referring to was located at the base of the bottom floor's main stairs, in a narrow hallway alcove. It was dark and rather hidden, but a room in itself. Willow stood politely in the hall as I sat down in the alcove to send a response to my brother. I quickly tapped out a friendly note to my brother, telling him I would meet him in May when he arrived and that all was wonderful at my new job. There was so much more to tell him, but I certainly couldn't detail it in a brief telegram. I would have to write him a lengthy letter at the end of the week.
When I was finished, I stood and left the small alcove. I lightly tapped Willow on the shoulder as I exited the room and she spun around quickly, almost knocking me over. Instead, I found myself propelled against one wall of the confining hall; Willow now mere inches in front of me. Surprise was written all over her face as if I had scared her. Then she moved impossibly closer, her eyes roaming my face.
"You startled me Tara," she whispered. I felt her breath on my face and her nearness to me finally registered in my foggy brain. Suddenly my dream from last night rushed forth and consumed me. There in front of me, green eyes boring into mine, was the object of my heady and secret fantasy. I went instantly weak as I felt the wall behind me; Willow in front of me.
For an impossibly long time, though it was probably only a few moments, our eyes explored each other's faces. Willow's breath was coming in shallow gasps as if she had just finished running and her lips were parted. My body instantly responded and I too felt out of breath. I wet my lips, watching her eyes follow the action and spoke incredibly softly to her.
"Do you feel this Willow?"
Willow then sunk into me, her body flush against mine. I felt her everywhere. Her hands reached up behind my neck, pulling her impossibly closer to my body. On a shaky sigh, she leaned forward and spoke into my ear, her breath tickling my ear and making me shiver uncontrollably.
"Oh god yes Tara. I've felt it since the moment I saw you. I think I've just been waiting for you."
And then she pulled back, staring into my eyes again. She was asking me a silent question. Could she kiss me? Could she touch me? Could she feel me? I read it all in her eyes in that one instant. And all throughout my body, in every limb, flowing through my blood I felt the answer. Yes. Yes, she could have me.
"Yes," I sighed. Trembling with anticipation, I watched her lips drift towards mine and my eyes slipped shut.
I felt impossible softness slide against my closed lips. Willow was kissing me. It felt divine. It felt right. It felt like home. Instantly, my body quickened in response to her touch. Never had I felt anything like this. I was warm all over, and my skin was shivering with awareness. A tingle was rushing up and down my spine from the point where her hand rested on my neck, lightly kneading the skin there.
I brought my hands to her shoulders and pulled her more firmly into my body, craving her all around me. Our lips were moving sensuously against each other now in a dance I seemed to know intuitively. Willow pulled back, staring at me in wonder, her chest heaving in huge panting breaths.
"Tara, Tara, Tara" she murmured. Then, like one possessed she attacked my lips, roughly pushing me into the wall. Her hands moved hurriedly into my hair, pulling my head against her wonderful lips. I gasped into her mouth, my lips drifting open to form a more intimate fit with hers. She moaned in response, melting me further. I had never heard such an incredible sound and I wanted to hear it again and again.
Instinctively, I moved my tongue against her lips. I heard her moan again and I wanted more. I pushed my tongue past her now open lips and stroked against hers. Instantly I felt a throb throughout my body, centering in between my legs. And as our tongues started to move frantically against each other, I sought to bring myself closer to her.
Willow, most likely wanting the same, pushed me harder against the wall, inserting her upper thigh between my legs and surging up and against me. We both moaned and I could only tremble with the enormity of what she was making me feel. I felt both weak and Strong at the same time. I was burning everywhere. I wanted her everywhere on me. Remembering my dream, I wanted her hand in between my legs. Just recalling that image caused another aching throb there and I rubbed myself on Willows leg, my lips breaking from hers on a ragged sigh.
"Oh my god," I moaned against her lips. "I need you to touch me Willow."
Willow moaned in response, her forehead and all her weight falling deliciously against my body.
"Where?" she sighed.
I took one of her hands, still buried in my hair, and slid it down my neck to my chest where I guided it to my left breast.
"Start there," I murmured. Willow's eyes had gone wide in awe and desire and she gazed down at where her hand now cupped my breast. She squeezed me and my eyes slipped shut in pleasure. It felt so amazing, her hand molding me. I pushed into her hands and she squeezed me harder. Then, we were kissing fiercely again. Our tongues rubbed frantically as we clutched each other, her hand trapped between us. I couldn't get close enough. Just as I was going to move her other hand to my right breast, we were interrupted.
"Well, well, well. Won't this just chap Anne's hide?"
Willow and I sprung apart and whirled towards the voice in the hall. There stood a young woman with curly blond hair, piled in ringlets on her head. She seemed about my age. She was staring shrewdly between Willow and I, an annoying smirk on her face. As she regarded us, I attempted to straighten my hair and compose my appearance.
"It's no hope darling, it looks like Willow just took you for a tumble in the stable, which is really about what happened isn't it? How illicit this all is!" she clapped and looked back and forth between us gleefully.
I was mortified. Not only had I just had a sexual encounter with a woman, I had been caught. My time here was clearly over.
"Oh for god sakes Harris, there's no need to tell Anne." Willow spoke sharply to this woman as she too tried to straighten her appearance. Willow was looking worriedly at me, clearly as upset as I was.
"Well that all depends, Willow darling. Will you make it worth my while? And who is the lovely little tart you had up against the wall. Do tell Willow!"
With her gaze now completely focused on me, I felt some of my dignity and defenses return. Completing a flawless curtsy and taking her hand lightly I introduced myself.
"I'm Miss Tara Maclay. And you?" Though my tone was polite it was extremely guarded. I was immediately protective of myself and Willow.
Her eyebrow shot up sharply and her head swiveled to Willow.
"Oh Willow, even for you this is priceless. You're tussling the new teacher on her first day. I must say, I have a newfound respect for you. I'll keep my mouth shut as long as you keep me informed. Perhaps I could even watch a little bit more?"
I wanted to laugh at her outrageousness and lewd suggestions, but I could only stare at her. Willow had leaned again the wall, lightly banging her head as she spoke again.
"Tara, this is Anna Harris, also know just as Harris. She's a monumental psychopath, my cousin, and is married to one of my closest childhood friends. And she will not tell Anne anything." Harris started to talk, but Willow cut her off.
"And she cannot watch us do anything. That's final!"
Harris stomped her foot and looked at us dejectedly.
"Well boo hoo Willow. You're always ruining my fun." At that, she flounced out of the hallway. Willow lean back against the wall, looking at me forlornly.
"And the day's just begun Tara."
I shook my head; stupefied. Begun it had.