By the time Tara was up and showered, she heard Willow in the kitchen and smelled the familiar aroma of coffee. Emerging from her room, she spotted the red head looking in the fridge, her ass apparent. Tara didn't mean to, but she did. She looked with longing at Willow's ass until Willow stood up straight and turned around. The red head smiled at her.
Willow was wearing a white tank top, her bathing suit showing through it underneath and black cheerleading shorts. The red hair that flowed freely yesterday was pulled back into a nice ponytail, with sun glasses sitting on top of her head.
Tara loved the casual look on Willow. The phrase 'love a woman in uniform' only goes so far. Tara didn't look so bad herself. She wore white shorts and a pink t-shirt that fit snuggly on her form. Her pink flip flops were nothing special, but Willow thought they were the most beautiful shade of pink ever mixed.
"Want some waffles? Made 'em myself. I had a hard time sleeping last night, so I got up extra early and cooked. There's coffee too," Willow explained as she sat down at the table and began eating, not taking her eyes off Tara.
The blonde fixed herself a plate and sat across from the red head at the table. Willow cocked an eyebrow at her. Tara had this lazy smirk on her face, and Willow, for the life of her, couldn't figure out why.
"What's so amusing?" she asked, giving Tara a suspicious look.
Tara shrugged and began eating. After a couple of bites, making Willow wait longer than she should have, she spoke. "Nothing really. I just didn't know where you are going to put your gun," she said, giving Willow a quick smile and then returned to her food.
"You enjoy that, don't you?" questioned the redhead. She gave Tara a very disbelieving look. Tara couldn't help but giggle.
"I won't lie, I do enjoy it, but I don't feel bad for doing it. You enjoy it as much as I do," she said matter-of-factly.
The two finished up their breakfast and Willow slipped on her black flip flops.
"Ready to go protect the innocent and save the needy and help the helpless?" inquired Willow. With Tara's nod, they drove down to Main Beach, unfortunately, it was already packed. Tara looked at her watch; it was only 8:00. The sun had been out for fifteen minutes!
"Wow, people really get out in the sun here, don't they?" she asked.
"Our name isn't Sun Island for nothing," Willow commented as she stepped out of the truck. Tara soon followed, but walked extremely close to Willow. Tara chose to do this for two reasons: she was nervous being in a public place without knowing anyone but Willow and she liked the proximity with the red head.
Willow noticed the short distance between her and Tara, but left it alone. She too enjoyed the close contact. Sensing Tara's nervousness, she took Tara's hand and squeezed it gently.
"Don't be nervous around these people. They're nice and they won't bother you too much," she said as she dropped her hand from Tara's. They both frowned at the loss of contact.
Just as they reached the steps that led down to the sandy beach, an overzealous blonde came up right beside Willow and hugged her tightly. Again, Tara felt a pang of jealously.
"Willow, hey! How are you?" she asked, letting the chief go from her grip. The woman smiled brightly at the two women, and Willow smiled back. Anya then wrapped an arm around Willow's as the three descended to the beach front.
"Hey Anya, I'm as good as I can be for the moment. Oh, this is Tara Maclay, she's helping out the police in the accident cases," she said to the newcomer, "Tara, this is Anya Jenkins, the Sol Paradise creator, manager, editor, and lead reporter," Willow said, finishing the introductions.
Tara smiled curtly at Anya, still not happy that she was leaning on Willow. But then again, Willow wasn't Tara's and Tara couldn't prevent that. This little fact did not ease Tara's jealousy a bit.
Anya smiled at Tara, but sensing the animosity from the other blonde, she decided to let go of Willow's arm.
Must be a looker for Willow. Oh hey! They would be so cute, but knowing Willow she'll let this one slip right between her fingers!
"So, she's helping with the shark problem then? Anything new to be concerned about? Any more attacks?" she asked, letting her job interfere with the friendly conversation.
"Urg, Anya, you are already on my bad list for printing that story yesterday. Don't be all business today please. I mean, you're the only girl friend on this island that I talk to. I don't wanna talk about the cause of my migraines this morning," she pleaded. Anya shrugged, but turned the conversation to recent events in Willow's life.
After about thirty minutes, the water that was protected was swamped with people. Swimming, splashing, and kicking, the crowd frolicked around like yesterday's paper was an illusion. This didn't surprise Willow.
There were five boats in the water, with at least five men on all of them and all with shot guns. The net was set up, but how protective can a net be against razor sharp teeth? They had two towers with look outs standing by, three cops on the beach. However, to prevent alarm, the cops disguised themselves as beach goers. Xander and Amy tended the sunbathers section of the beach, so no swimmers would sneak in unattended.
"...so anyway Willow, how did dinner go with Kristen the other night? Good?" questioned Anya, oblivious to the fact that Tara and Willow were discreetly flirting. Every time Willow shifted toward Tara on her beach towel, Tara mimicked her move toward Willow. Minor "accidental" touching ensued when one asked for a drink from the cooler Willow had brought.
"Uh, Kristen? Oh, yeah, not so good. She was, well, kind of obsessive and not in the good way," explained Willow, feeling uncomfortable talking about her date with Tara sitting right there.
"Oh well, she wasn't good for you anyway. You are so much more...how should I put this...nice, funny, beautiful, caring, generous, and most importantly - loving," came a new voice from behind the group of three. All three heads swiveled around quickly and Willow jumped up.
"Amy, what the hell are you doing over here? You're supposed to be helping Officer Harris with keeping the swimmers out of the water, not flirting with your commanding officer!" Willow whispered harshly, so no one in hearing but Anya and Tara could hear.
"Oh please, there are only two people over there! I came over to get a hotdog and saw you looking oh so good, so I decided that I should try my chances again," she said, throwing a sexy smile toward Willow.
"Don't go to Vegas, your gambling sucks," commented Willow, conveying a sneer from Anya.
"Shut up Anya, I could kick your ass any day and you know it," Amy retorted. Anya sent her a glare, but Tara stood up. She filled the space between Willow and Amy.
"Hey! You're gonna back off! She said no, alright? And if you want to keep advancing her, you're gonna have to go through me, understood?" she said, crossing her arms over her chest.
"Oh, butch one. Where's your little st-st-stutter?" asked Amy, now taunting Tara. Willow opened her mouth to speak, but a scream from Xander's direction cut her off. Willow's blood ran cold.
"Shit!" she said as she ran toward to sound. Amy too broke into a sprint in the sound's direction. Tara and Anya quickly followed, not wanting to get in the way of the officers.
A crowd of people had formed a half circle by the water by the time Willow and Amy arrived. The red head pushed her way through the people and saw a woman lying on the beach. Xander was administrating CPR on her. Willow moved over next to him.
Willow didn't speak until the woman came to, and then Xander looked at her with sad eyes. He intercepted the question before she even asked it.
"She was sun bathing and wanted to get a little wet. So I said, 'sure go ahead, but don't go out too far' and she didn't, I made sure of that. But she thought she saw something big, grey and she panicked and screamed. She went under and I pulled her out. Now we're here," he explained, almost guilty.
"Harris, calm down. Is the girl gonna be alright?" she asked, hoping Xander would settle his nerves.
"Yeah, yeah, she's fine. She saw the rock formation over there," he said, pointing to the rocks to the left.
Willow nodded her head. She glanced up as a shadow blocked the heat of the sun.
"Rosenberg," came a very low voice, "can I speak with you for a moment please?"
Willow stood and made eye contact with narrow brown eyes. She followed the man to the side of the crowd, where there wasn't much attention.
"Rosenberg, I have about fifty people in a mass surrounding a woman's body, there is no one in the water anymore, and I have a tour group who planned to go swimming, but now refuse because of the allegations that there is a shark in the water! Tell me what's wrong with that picture!" Finn whispered, now very agitated.
"Sir, what's wrong with the picture is that the beaches are open and you deny the fact that there is a predator in the very waters that you are begging people to swim in!" retorted Willow, raising her voice.
"You are about ten seconds away for being relocated to Sunnyhell if you don't watch that mouth of yours. Look, just gather the people and tell them that this was a false alarm and the beaches are safe in the designated areas, alright?" he said, storming away to rejoin the tour group.
Willow sighed and put her hands on her hips. She walked over to the crowd and whistled loudly.
"Alright folks, this was a false alarm! There was no shark in the area. I assure you that the area within the net is safe and secure from attacks. As of right now, the sunbathers sections is forbidden, so please vacate this area. Please return to your activities," she shouted, making sure everyone, including Riley, heard her.
After a few moments of gossiping to one another, the crowd dwindled down and Willow was left with Anya, Xander, and Tara. She walked over to them and half-heartedly smiled.
"I think that fire is out. Let's head back to the beach and try to relax, ok?" Anya told the group. Willow nodded in agreement and they walked slower than usual back to their towels.
Once there, Willow and Tara sat entirely too close to each other, but neither of them minded. Anya and Xander certainly didn't say anything. Willow deserved happiness, especially after the break ups she had been through. The four talked about random things, and before they knew it, it was lunchtime. Almost ten minutes after they completed lunch, an annoying buzz sound came out of nowhere.
"Officer Harris, come in Officer Harris, over," buzzed Xander's radio on his hip. He unhooked the walkie-talkie and spoke into it as clearly as possible.
"This is Officer Harris, what's the problem over."
"Sir, no problem, wanted to know if you'd like to switch positions. The men are getting a little restless, sir, over," came the voice.
Xander looked at Willow who thought for a moment. She finally nodded her head; Xander spoke again, "Good plan Cooper, drive it on in buddy over."
The boat swerved around from the location spot it was in and headed for the docks. Willow and Tara didn't know why, maybe instinct or spider senses, but they both watched the boat intently.
Suddenly, a huge mass of blackish grey rammed the boat from the side, causing it to crack. The impact also sent a young cop named Gunn off the side.
The shark swiftly turned its body in the direction of the splash. It maneuvered itself at an angle so it could attack the prey more efficiently. Officer Gunn, after intense training under pressure, did not panic. He began swimming with full strokes to the nearest safe place. The man increased his pace, fully aware that he was swimming in shark infested water.
The predator positioned itself in an attack stance. His fins where dropped somewhat, his back was hunched more than usual. It bared its teeth ferociously.
The poor man swam harder and faster towards the boat, but the boat had continued forward after the initial crash. It was sitting on the shallow shore of the beach now. The men were hunched over the stern, trying to grab the man's hand, but he was just out of reach every time.
Willow by now had witnessed the episode from the shore, and was sprinting to the dock. Her weapon drawn, she darted fast through the crowd to see if she could shot the animal.
Tara stayed on Willow's heels the whole time, not caring if she was getting in the way of her cop friend or not. She caught a glimpse of the shark in question, and from what she saw, the whole evolutionary world could be thrown into chaos. The two made it to the edge of the dock before seeing a struggling man and the ships crew leaning over the side of the wrecked ship.
"Gunn, swim like your life depended on it," shouted Cooper, trying his best to contain his emotions. Unlike Gunn, he knew the shark was no longer in the side of the boat. He knew he shark was somewhere under the murky water, waiting for the right moment to strike.
"AHH!" screamed Gunn as a force so indescribably hard yanked him by the waist. His entire lower body was swallowed. The next feeling Gunn felt was the crush of jaws around his stomach. The blow killed him instantly.
"Damn, I have to get a good look at that shark," muttered Tara as she looked around her surroundings. She walked down to the half way mark of the pier. Seeing she was fifteen feet from the shore, she looked at Willow.
"How deep is it here?" she asked.
"About twenty feet, why?" Willow responded, not really sure why Tara needed to know.
Without warning, Tara dove into the cool ocean water. Upon seeing Tara jump, Willow scrambled after her, shock all over her face.
"TARA!" she screamed. Anya and Xander joined the distraught woman. A look of terror was written all over Anya's face.
"Did she just?" the blonde asked, horrified at Tara's rash move.
Tara resurfaced and trod the water. She listened intently and felt a movement from under the water. She dove under and spotted the shark in the distance. The water was stinging her eyes, so she resurfaced again back stroked a few feet.
Willow was speechless for the first time ever. It occurred to her, that she could lose this magnificent woman right here in front of her own eyes. This woman that she just met, but already was falling hard and fast for. This terror was gonna kill her, just like Daniel, Veruca, Kit, and now Gunn. Tears spilled from her eyes, but no words came out.
"Come on, come on," whispered Tara, feeling nervous with what she was about to do. The shark reared up, ready to attack again. It shot at Tara like a bullet from a gun, but Tara moved to the side and caught its dorsal fin.
This trick was taught to her at Sea World. They used this to tag sharks and to play with dolphins. Tara was jerked around, but held on tightly. The shark bucked, almost like a bull, and tried hard to throw Tara off. But Tara was relentless.
The shark dove deep into the water, and Tara held her breath. It swirled about. It finally, just as Tara was about to pass out, swum back to the surface, heading straight for the boat.
Tara saw her chance and pushed herself off of the shark, swimming frantically to the boat. The men pulled her body out and looked at her in wonder.
Tara coughed up sea water just as Willow, Anya, and Xander climbed aboard the boat. Willow rushed over to the blonde and inspected her for wounds of any sort.
The red head was again, completely speechless. She just wrapped Tara into a massive hug and rocked back and forth. Finally, she let go and looked into the blue eyes that captivated her.
She turned toward the crew and Xander, "Officer Harris, get the people off the beach, and make Beach Closed signs. Cooper, take your men and dock the remaining boats-go home. Anya, don't report the incident until after the town meeting tomorrow at one. Then we'll discuss what will and will not be said, understood?" Anya nodded and left to gather her things. Willow finished, "If anyone gets in the water again, have them arrested and bring them to me. I'll take care of Tara."
The crewmen and Xander left Willow and Tara alone. Willow found a beach towel and dried off the blonde, who was now lying in Willow's lap.
"Say something Tara, please," begged Willow, caressing the blonde's face.
"W-willow don't you k-know," Tara smiled shyly, "that you take my breath away," she ended, smiling a little.
Willow laughed a little, but choked on her emotions. She began to cry softly. Then her resolve face returned and she sniffed her tears up.
"Don't ever do that again. You scared the shit out of me!" she chided softly, almost playfully.
Tara face became more serious and she looked at Willow. She gave the red head an apologetic smile.
"I'm sorry. I had to know what shark it was, how long it was, distinct features...Willow, we have a bigger problem than just a man-killing shark out there," she explained to Willow quietly, even though no one was around.
Willow watched her carefully, trying to comprehend what she was saying. She looked at her confused.
Tara slowly sat up, sheer inches from Willow's face. But unlike all the other times when the two women were close, neither one felt aroused or teased. They only felt anxious.
Tara penetrated Willow's eyes with her own and spoke clearly and slowly.
"Willow, that shark is not a Great White...it's a Megalodon."