(Day 6 - Tuesday, November 13, 1984)
Tara looked at the clock. It was well after midnight. She felt a slight pressure on her legs and looked down at the sleeping figure nestled against her. Willow was still on the floor resting her head on the top of Tara's thigh, but she had turned; Willow's arms were up under her cheek for extra support. Her left elbow was tucked against Tara's inner thigh and her body sandwiched by Tara's lower legs.
Tara blinked and realized she wasn't dreaming. She watched Willow's chest rhythmically fill and retract the air in gentle swells. With each breath, Willow quietly purred, a sound Tara found completely endearing. She was grateful for this moment they had, just the two of them, even though technically one of them was missing it being asleep and everything.
The revelry was short lived as she glanced over at the unopened books on the table. She felt a little guilty that they hadn't studied, and guiltier that she wasn't more ashamed. She wanted this. She wanted to feel all of it, Willow's hands, Willow's hair, Willow's ... she closed her eyes feeling all the areas of contact they shared - yes, she wanted all of Willow. But now was not the time or the place. Tara felt a little upset when she realized that here - there was no place - even if Willow wanted her that way.
She chastised herself for her moment of weakness and leaned down to try to waken the girl.
Willow thought she was dreaming. A voice from the darkness was calling to her. The voice was sultry and Willow snuggled into the warmth that supported her. When she gently tightened her grasp, she realized her pillow was person-shaped. As she slowly drifted back to consciousness, she heard the voice again.
She knew that voice. "Mm Tara Bear," Willow squeezed in using her arms and face to hug her pillow in a sensual embrace. Tara tried to ignore the pulse of warmth that shot through her. She reminded herself, not here, not now. And then she tried to remind herself, not ever.
When Tara considered that thought, a wave of sadness overwhelmed her. Her eyes filled with tears and her normally peaceful countenance shattered. Her breath hitched and she fought back her urge to sniff. She knew crying would bring inquisition from the redhead clutching her. She hoped the girl wouldn't notice the change in her demeanor, but she knew from experience, that probably wouldn't be the case.
Willow bolted upright when she sensed the distress in her girl. Looking lovingly into the glistening blue eyes, she silently implored her. She gave no thought to decorum required between to Sister Missionaries.
"Tara, honey, what is it? What's wrong?" Willow gently prodded. Willow ignored the pain in her hip from sleeping in such an odd angle on the floor, got up onto the couch and took a consoling position next to Tara. "What is it, baby."
Tara was still trying desperately not to cry, but the words of affection, the compassion she was feeling from Willow made her feel the need to be as honest as she could be. But she was so afraid of the consequences if Willow didn't understand, or worse, if she did.
Tara took a deep breath and tried to focus on the words she knew had to be said. She needed Willow to hear them, and she needed her to understand the full impact of their meaning. But how do you convey so much want, sorrow, and guilt in simple terms while trying not to cry.
"We can't." It was all Tara managed to say. Her voice cracked and the sniff was unavoidable.
Willow considered the response carefully to this statement. She knew she wasn't going to get many words out of Tara in this conversation until she stopped crying. But the seriousness in Tara's tone confirmed that making light of the words would not be the solution.
She tried to decipher the intended meanings hoping without actually having to be told. She just didn't want to run the risk of misunderstanding. She reached over and grabbed Tara's hand and squeezed ever so gently as she looked deeply into Tara's eyes.
"Okay, you can't talk right now about it just because you're crying, right?" Willow wanted to gauge Tara's objective over the inability to state the message.
Tara simply nodded.
"But we do need to talk about it, right?'
Tara nodded again. This was actually easier than she thought.
"Do you mind our little question game to either give you time to say what you need to or me to figure it out?"
Tara shook her head. Willow always knew what to say.
"This is the second time you've said "we" in some specific context. Do you mean us specifically we or we in general we."
Tara looked at Willow. She knew Willow cheated by not asking a yes/no question. "Us," the simple word squeaked out, but she had regained some control.
"Are you upset because of something I did?" Willow knew that was an important question and she would have to read every indicator she could to gage where the conversation would go next.
Tara looked over at the eyes searching hers. She folded her arms across her chest and looked down so she wouldn't have to face her. "Not you."
Willow watched Tara fold into herself and guessed that Tara felt guilty. "Do you think you did something to upset me?" Willow knew this question would be hard, but it was a calculated risk.
Tara heard the question, and thought Willow might blame her, but she didn't sense that from her at the moment. In fact Willow seemed open to whatever Tara wanted. She remained silent not knowing how to answer.
"You haven't hurt me, you haven't upset me, I know I've upset you and made you feel uncomfortable, and I'm sorry. But I don't regret my time with you at all. Are you just upset because of me?" She used the emphasis on the words to convey what she thought Tara was feeling.
"It's not your fault." Tara had regained some composure now that Willow had formed more than two full sentences.
"We're not talking about fault here. We're talking about feelings. And you feel something so much that it made you cry." Willow let go of Tara's hand and moved closer to her so she could cradle Tara's head against her shoulder. "Tara, I would never do anything intentionally to make you feel uncomfortable."
"It's not you, it's me." Tara finally admitted. She relaxed a little after Willow coaxed her into her embrace.
"It's not just you," Willow was a little cryptic in her response, but she knew if Tara were looking at her she would see it too - she hoped Tara would understand.
"How can you say that?" Tara disentangled herself from the comforting arm and looked at Willow. "How do you know?"
After letting the question sit between them for a moment, Willow spoke, "Because I want it too." Willow responded with confidence nodding her head dramatically, but it was a little out of context and that puzzled Tara.
"What exactly do you want?" Tara responded showing her slight confusion.
Willow stood up and offered Tara her hand. "Come on, I'll show you."
"Willow, did you miss the part about 'we can't'?" Tara knew that the conversation was going into a new place, but she was a little afraid to see what Willow had in store for her.
"Trust me." Willow responded and winked at Tara.
Tara surrendered. She took hold of the outstretched hand.
"Okay, but we can't go outside." Tara realized that she didn't really know if Willow would limit their adventure to the floor let alone inside the building. She did feel better after she stood up, but part of it could have been that Willow still was holding onto her hand, leading her to wherever.
Willow took them down the hall, down the stairs to the first floor. There was no sign of activity and she guided Tara to the vending machines. She heard the familiar hum from the lights. She stood looking at the vending machine for a minute, Willow began, "This is when I knew."
"Knew what?" Tara looked at the food, and then turned to face Willow. She was absolutely stunning in this light. Tara felt another rush of passion flow through her when she saw Willow lick her lips and then gently bite down on the bottom one before she continued. Willow turned and faced her.
She let that sentence marinate a moment then, Willow stepped a foot closer to Tara so she could whisper just in case anyone was around. "I knew...you wanted me too." When Willow saw the reaction she had on Tara she asked the final question. "And that's what's tearing you up, because we can't." It was actually more of a statement not a question.
Tara heard the longing and mirrored want in Willow's words. "Willow, it hurts so much. Why can't it just be okay?"
"I don't know, I don't understand everything; why here, why now?" Willow took one more step inside to Tara's true personal space. "But I'm gonna find out, because it seems too hard and too wrong not to have you. With you, I feel complete."
Tara considered for a moment what Willow was saying. After taking a longtime mulling over her response, Tara finally closed the gap between them and held Willow close. She tried to pay attention to all the feelings she was having and where the guilt and shame were coming from.
"If you're right...." Tara whispered in her ear, she pulled slightly away from Willow so she could see her eyes. Tara brought her hand up to Willow's face. She touched her cheek and let herself enjoy the feeling. She let her thumb move at will. She felt the textures of her skin and let the pad of her thumb slip across Willow's bottom lip. Willow shivered a little, but she wanted more.
"If I'm right...." Willow let her hand follow the same course Tara's had, feeling the soft skin of Tara's face. Instead of moving her thumb across Tara's sensuous lips, Willow moved her hand back to feel the nape of her neck, and the soft texture of her hair.
Tara felt the caress and corresponding invitation when Willow applied a little pressure to pull Tara closer.
Tara tried closing her eyes to see if she could break the spell that seemed to be drawing her in to Willow, but that only seemed to intensify her instincts to devour her on the spot. Tara opened her eyes again and saw a sea of green looking at her with longing and want. She was powerless to stop it now.
Willow saw Tara's breathing had changed; she wrapped her other arm tightly around Tara's waist, stepped closer to her and increased their connection further. She looked for any sign that Tara would resist and when she found none, she closed her eyes to enjoy the new closeness. Willow leaned her forehead against Tara's.
"If I'm right," Willow repeated and while standing foreheads connecting, she opened her eyes so she could look again at the beautiful girl in front of her. "If I'm right, what do we do now?"