Return to Latter Days/Lonely Nights Chapter Six

Latter Days/Lonely Nights

Author: Willownut
Disclaimer: Blah, blah, blah. Many characters are Joss Whedon's. Yada, yada, yada. No harm intended with the use of these revered characters. Peas and carrots, peas and carrots.
Italics are thoughts. For those who could excommunicate me or send me unwanted literature, I wish you no ill will. My thanks to LVK for the use of her song lyrics, you have my deep respect, and I would have asked first if I knew where you were.

Note: This story uses the Comic Sans MS font to represent Willow's handwriting in sections. This font is available for download here: Comic Sans MS. If fonts are not installed on your PC, sections of this story will be rendered in large text. Fonts sourced from

Some times, in the mundane, we find truth. We have connections to the world around us, and if we listen carefully enough, we can hear the answers to questions of the heart.

.... What's the question? Willow feared it was too easy, to just ask the thing, the question really on her mind. Is it that simple?

"It is that simple," Tara said to her companions. We all have to figure out what we have to do and fit it in by noon. "The temple takes about two hours, but it's a short walk across the street. The mall is an hour or so, plus a bus ride and that's if we find the perfect schedule. We just have to get up earlier than we normally do. We can do this."

Colson rolled her eyes, "I just don't think we can fit it all in."

Conley nodded in agreement. "We can go next week to the mall. You've forgotten we need time to eat."

"And get dressed, and I was looking forward to my sweats time." Colson added with a slight pout.

"How bout this: we start the laundry when we get up, run over for breakfast, and then dry when we're done, then go to the temple." Tara threw out a possible plan to the two sisters. "We can go to the mall if we have time after, we can do our letters on the bus ride over and grab something at the mall to eat before we come back." She was struggling now, she really needed to go to the temple and get her reverence time, but the other sisters were not cooperating. She also had mall things she wanted to do. She needed to clear her head and possibly plan and plot. But Sweats time. Tara considered that for a moment. Just be comfy for a bit. Mmmm, that would feel good.

"Yeah, that feels good. Is it alright?" Willow finished adjusting her shoulder pad that had slipped in the back a little bit. Who invented these things anyway? This has to be the dumbest thing ever. Do I look like a football player? Sometimes, I just want to cut them off and stuff them here, you know." She made a circular motion in front of her emerald green sweater.

Kitchen giggled a little at that. "You are so funny Rosenberg Shimai. Where do you get all that energy? You just seem extra bubbly today."

"Well it could be the extra helping of sugar frosted flakes I had this morning." Willow's knee was starting to bounce up and down nervously now.

"Yeah and that was after the big bowl of Rice Krispies. I've never seen any thing quite like it. It was like you were on a sugar binge. It's a good thing we didn't have to open all the packets; we'd still be watching you eat. How on earth do you stay so thin eating like that?" Smith tossed out the backhanded complement.

"I'm sure she doesn't want to get into all that." Kitchen gracefully jumped to Willow's defense. "We should probably think about getting over there."

Willow was relieved she didn't have to respond. "Do you want to, right now, now?"

"Oh I do want to, very much." Maclay replied.

Conley took a breath. "Okay, you seem really anxious to go do all this stuff, but there's no way I'm getting up at five on my morning off to go do the temple and then laundry. I'm just being honest. I want my comfy clothes time too. It's just not going to happen. I can be good in my intentions, but I know I wouldn't be able to get up." She added sincerely.

"We can go to the mall when it opens and when we get back, we'll do laundry. We'll do the temple next week and maybe the other sisters will want to come too or visa versa. I just think we need to pick one."

Conley looked hard into Maclay's eyes. She started to get up. "It's time for us to go on over." They gathered their stuff and headed for the door. Conley walked up closer to Maclay and said quietly almost a whisper in her ear, "We'll have plenty of time and you'll get done exactly what you need to. We'll do whichever. Just pick what you want to do most and do that."

That would be so easy; Tara cringed inside, her p-day schedule no longer on her mind. But what if I did?

"Really? Could you? That would be cool if we could." Willow was hopeful.

"I'm sure they'll let us take notes. One of us will do that for you." Kitchen added.

"Maybe we should take some paper with us just in case." She had finished her cereal and was looking through her Japanese text absent-mindedly. "I think we're supposed to go over in about ten more minutes." From the corner of her eye, she saw Tara and her companions getting up to leave. "Maybe we should go back to the room and get a notebook or something?"

Willow quickly picked up her things to encourage a hasty exit. They left closely behind the other sisters. Kitchen, Smith and Rosenberg headed out of the cafeteria and down the hall toward their room. Willow glanced back and saw the other three heading the away from them way toward the front of the building. Willow projected her happy calming thoughts as her mind drifted once again to the blonde.

"Oh, can we stop off at the bathroom first?" Kitchen asked.

Willow remarked offhandedly and smiled, "Fine by me," she added, "it's not like I'm gonna say no to that."

"I'm not sure I can." Tara was looking at her top. "I might as well have spilled red wine or kool aid on it. I think it's ruined." Tara was pointing toward the spot that the others had just noticed on her top.

"How did you do that? I don't even remember you eating anything red. Was it even today?" Conley asked.

"After we're done here we're going to have to go back and get you changed before the next class," Colson interjected. "I can't believe I didn't see it before."

"Oh, come on guys, it's not that big... is it?" Tara suddenly looked worried and apprehensive about the spot on her sweater. "Fine, I'm gonna meet the president of the MTC and he's gonna be looking at my ... er ... spot."

"Maybe you could put your badge over it," Colson suggested.

"Oh right, so instead of him looking at the spot on sweater, he'll be looking that the poor placement of my badge. There's just nothing that says ‘sacred calling, set me apart' than a misplaced badge poking out in the front there." She made a big over-emphasized "O" gesture with her hand around the "spot" which made Conley stifle a giggle. They had arrived at the mission president's office.

Tara admitted, "There's really not much we can do about it now, anyway. We're here"

"That's okay, I can wait," Willow said to Kitchen and Smith as they headed in to use the bathroom.

She nervously thumbed through her books while she waited standing near the sink. This is going to be the longest day. She was all twiddled inside. Moreover, Smith had even noticed how much sugar she'd piled into her. Truth be told, she was hoping it would keep her awake. After her late night out with Tara, she was still feeling a little sluggish, nervousness not withstanding. She was interrupted by a flush and then another.

Kitchen came out first, followed by Smith. They came over to the sinks where Willow was fidgeting with a paper towel. After she washed her hands, Kitchen took the paper towel from Willow and threw it away for her. "You ready?" She looked at Willow with sincerity.

"Yeah. You guys good to go too?" Willow inquired. The girls nodded and the three went toward the room to get notepaper and then go to be set apart.

They walked in silence over to the dorms and to the room to gather their notebooks and then back to the main building to the president's office. As they were entering the office, Willow heard Tara talking to her companions.

"We have to wait, but not very long." She glanced up at Willow just as she finished speaking their eyes connecting in shared understanding.

Willow's palms started to sweat, her heart skipped a beat, her mouth went dry, and she tried to swallow. How does she do that? She looked out the window and noticed it had started to rain.

We have to wait, but not very long. It seemed to echo in Willows mind.

They waited in reverent silence for their respective turns. Each seemed to be lost in personal contemplation. Willow bowed her head with the others but was unable to concentrate; the sugar rush was making her all jittery. She started absent-mindedly looking around at the pairs of feet on the floor. She looked from one comfortable pair of shoes to the next until her eyes fixed upon a familiar pair of feet. When she felt her emotions start to rise, she knew she was in trouble. Oh, Willow, they are just her feet.

Oh oops. Don't say that - that is like saying what else could go wrong or don't look now. You just don't do that. Sure enough without even thinking, her eyes started examining the shape of Tara's foot. Willow started screaming in her head. Stop, no, don't look, don't, stop. Don't. Her eyes did not obey her internal commands. Her gaze began a slow cascade up the perfectly shaped ankles passed the tone calves to the grey skirt Tara had chosen to wear. Unable to slow their ascent Willow drank in the sight before her, the womanly curve of her hips, the soft contours of her waist and stomach. The light blue sweater perfectly complemented her ocean blue eyes. Oh please, I just have to stop. Stop looking, stop, oh... Willow hitched a breath. She was unable to deter her eyes from the perfection of the soft delicious mounds before her; that's when she saw the small red stain on Tara's breast.

Willow forced herself to blink to move her focus up toward the sparkling blue eyes. She sensed a shift in feeling in the room Willow quickly glanced up to see Tara looking at her nervously. Willow quickly guessed the reason behind Tara's reaction and sprang into action.

She rose off her seat, crossed the room and knelt in front of Tara.

"It's not that noticeable."

"You saw it."

"Well, yes. But, I'm abnormally observant when it comes to things related to you. Oh, I mean, not that it's abnormal to be observing you. No, that's not it, I'm not like staring at you or anything like that - well actually I was a little, and I'm really embarrassed to admit that right now, but it's kinda true and I really need to stop talking ‘cause there are things that should not be said aloud. But I just can't seem to help it when I talk to you. I just sensed that you were uncomfortable, and I saw you were looking at me, and well that's where I was looking at the moment when you caught me. Well not that I was doing something that I shouldn't be doing because getting caught implies wrong, I don't think it was wrong to be looking at you, but then I got all embarrassed. And I just really need to stop talking don't I?

Tara just stared at Willow.

"Okay, maybe just a little more talking. I had an idea." Willow started to take off her name badge. "Here, my over jacket will look perfect with your outfit." Willow's green sweater looked fine without the matching suit top and she was warm enough that it wasn't necessary for comfort. After the name badge was removed, she took off her jacket and held it with both hands.

"Here, take it."

Tara ducked her head a little, and Willow thought she saw a hint of a smile return to the beautiful woman before her.

Tara recognized the gesture for what it was. Willow wanted to help her. And the red head was so cute that she simply could get lost in her eyes, her face, and her smile. She truly had found a gem in this girl, this babbling girl full of energy who had filled her thoughts as of late. Yes, she was afraid of what the she represented: Desire. Belonging. Love. She wasn't supposed to have that here, now, and especially with Willow. This isn't what the plan was supposed to be. Yet here she was.

Willow knelt before her with both hands outstretched holding the jacket up for her in supplication. She was lending her a jacket. The significance was not lost on Tara. She gratefully accepted Willow's offering and was rewarded with a beaming smile as she removed her nametag, gracefully placed first one arm and then next in the over jacket, pulled it around her as if in a shared embrace. She then affixed her own nametag a few inches above her heart.

Tara inhaled deeply taking in the scent of Willow from her jacket. A warm rush flew over Tara and she was overwhelmed with love and gratitude. "Thank you."

A moment, a breath, a heartbeat. The silence. The knowing.

"Sister Conley, we're ready for you, did you want to bring one of your companions in with you." The woman attending the office inquired.

Sister Conley looked at her companions and nodded toward Colson and the two disappeared into the mission president's office.

It would be just a few more minutes. Willow rose from in front of Tara and sat in the chair next to her. Her companions sat on the other side of the room quietly, engrossed in their own personal contemplation. They waited in silence as if strangers in a doctor's office. Willow resumed her downward gaze and settled back to studying her own shoes; that was much safer.

Tara also seemed captivated by her hands, which were resting together on her lap. She hated waiting. There was only one thing she could think of.

"Um, Sister Rosenberg?" Tara said almost in a whisper, "I-I don't want to disturb you if you need to be quiet right now, but if not, could we maybe, I don't know, do something?" She looked at Willow expectantly.

"Sure, that would be great. What did you have in mind?"

"Well, I'm kinda nervous and I wondered if you knew how to thumb wrestle?"

"Oh yeah, back at home I majored in thumb wrestling" Willow shifted into their usual good-natured banter. Maybe we should just start slowly, work our way up to the harder stuff: two handed and blind wrestle or cross-handed two-thumb wrestle in the dark with ticklers.

"Why, I believe you may have met your match, Miss Majored in Thumb Wrestle. I too am well-versed in a variety styles and accomplished in many techniques both passive and aggressive in the art of the wrestle of thumb."

Both sisters felt the tension slipping away as they joined in their lighthearted conversation about the joys of thumb wrestling. They were preparing for their first match when the woman returned to the room calling for Sister Maclay.

Willow was sad, but knew that thumb wrestling had to take a back seat to the needs of the missionary work they had been called to do.

"We will meet again, Miss Maclay and have that thumb match."

"Indeed we will. ... Why don't you guys swing by tonight after language and we'll have our match and unwind a little?" Did I just ask her on a date? I can't believe I just did that. Tara was stunned by her sudden unguarded behavior.

Willow responded in the only way she knew how - with a huge beaming smile.

Tara disappeared behind the door and after a moment, Sister Colson made her way out from the office.

"We're having a party at your room tonight after class." Willow announced while bouncing a bit in her chair.

"Oh we are? Great!" Sister Colsen looked happy with the thought. She sat down in the chairs waiting for the other two to come out. She seemed to be thinking for a moment. "Do you want us to stay behind to sit with the one who doesn't go in?"

Kitchen Shimai looked around the room suddenly realizing again another problem with threes being shoved into a two situation. "Ya know, I keep thinking of that puzzle, the fox, the hen, the grain, and the man that has to take them all across the river in a boat."

"Yeah, me too." Willow said. "Except I'm not gonna eat any of you..." Why do I even try to talk? Willow ducked her head in shame hoping that she was the only one who had any clue what she had just implied. You know, in a different time and a different place that just would have been down right hysterical.

Willow resumed her earlier personal contemplation. As she considered the implications of her thoughts, she looked up, and glanced out the window and watched as the rain trickled down the windowpane. She suddenly realized that when something is right, it is that simple. However, it's not always easy.

Continue to Latter Days/Lonely Nights Chapter Eight

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