Return to Latter Days/Lonely Nights Chapter Thirty-Four



Latter Days/Lonely Nights
CHAPTER THIRTY-FIVE: KEEPSAKES

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.
Authors note: I just wanted to express a special thanks to all of those who have contributed to the production of this now epic tale. Without your encouragement, support, ideas, collective creative talents and unique abilities much of the flavor of this story would be lost. This is truly a community effort. Thank you all.
And to my exalted "alpha betas" a heartfelt thank you for all of your technical, linguistic and life experience additions.
I will be accepting recommendations for a special Greek letter for those who do doodle for me. Alpha is a writer, Beta is a checker-editor, but what shall we call the art support? Email me with any thoughts.


Day 8 -Thursday, November 15, 1984)

Willow had run ahead of Tara into the bathroom. She checked under each door and looked inside each shower stall just in case. Tara followed in behind and went to the mirrors. She looked to Willow for confirmation that they were truly alone. When Willow nodded, Tara tried to pull back her jersey shirt to evaluate the love mark Willow had left for her, when she couldn't see it she shot Willow a glance and shifted her gaze toward the entrance. Willow understood the nonverbal request and responded with a reminder of her own. She looked toward the second entrance. Tara would need to hurry, just in case.

Tara slowly unbuttoned the top button of her cotton shirt, carefully drew back the collar catching the neckline of her garment in one motion and pulled down to reveal a very large hickey. Willow was watching in anticipation. Tara ran her finger over the mark to see if it felt different on her skin. Her lips turned up a little when she when she touched it. Then she looked at Willow with a lopsided grin, "Kitsune."

Willow made a funny face, "Kitsune?"

"Uh huh, that's actually the right way to say it." Tara laughed, "I guess my teacher is better than yours." Tara resumed looking at the mark. "I may need a refresher for this keepsake. Where will you be next Wednesday?"

"Oh, well I'll have to check my calendar. Did you want me to put something in my date book?" Willow started washing her hands. Just standing in the bathroom seemed kind of weird; she preferred the lounge where there was no echo.

Tara let go of her hold on the jersey shirt and undergarment and then lifted just the jersey shirt away and tried to see in the mirror if it was visible through the material. "Can you see it?" She turned toward Willow, with her t-shirt still pulled back.

Willow's eyebrows went up. "yeah." She sucked in her lips in thought. "Uh...um...you're gonna have to cover that." Willow appeared to be in thought for a moment; Tara resumed inspecting the evidence of their earlier adventure: looking in the mirror, and feeling the skin. She actually was proud of Willow's efforts. "Do you have any makeup that would work?" Willow inquired.

Tara's concentration was interrupted, "What?

"Makeup...base, something to cover it?"

Tara considered the thought for a moment, "I don't want to."

Willow was shocked by the Tara's statement, "What? Tara, no, you can't, you have to hide that." Willow was trying to study Tara's face to see what she was saying, but Tara was still turned toward the mirror. "Tara?" Willow's voice was just above a whisper.

Tara wanted to choose her words carefully so Willow would understand. "I don't want to cover it up. I know I can't, we have to hide it, but if I cover it up then you might think I'm not proud of it."

She said we.

Tara continued, "This is something that is just ours. And I'll be careful with it, but I'm not ashamed of it." Tara glanced at the clock; they still had a little time. "Plus I don't really have anything to cover it with that wouldn't rub out on this." She ran her fingers along the lacey texture on her garment. "And a band-aid would look pretty funny there - plus - hello miss jumbo size." Tara's face erupted into a toothy grin.

Willow smiled back, but after she contemplated Tara's statement for a moment she continued, "Tara, it's not worth the risk, what if someone sees it? What if it's an accident, like when you're half asleep or something? I never expected you to put your mission at risk. It's the mission that matters."

Tara knew what Willow had said, but Willow needed to understand. "Come on, let's go." Tara went out toward the lounge area where their books still sat untouched. "Grab those." Tara was taking charge and Willow complied.

Tara collected her books as well. While she waited for Willow to gather her organized lineup of colored pencils, she smiled from her heart. Her face showed it; she was completely content. When Willow had everything in her arms, Tara began to leave the lounge area; she was heading back toward Willow's dorm room again. She was walking fairly slowly, so Willow matched the turtle's pace.

Tara began carefully, "The mission does matter." Tara looked down as she walked, "But so do you and I. I don't want to sound all "Saturday's Warrior" or anything, but," Tara stopped and turned her body toward Willow, she shifted her books against her chest and clutched them tightly, she was still looking down toward the floor when she asked, "Would you wait for me?" Tara had spoken quietly, but Willow heard her.

Willow had been so busy thinking up the drastic and impulsive actions, she'd failed to realize that they could take time, a lot of time, to grow and change and become the people they had hoped they'd become when they signed up for their missions. Willow's mind raced. Could we do that, be apart and then really together, together? Would we change too much? Could we really do that? How could we do that? We could plan, yes, there could be planning, that might be ok. The Church, maybe it would be too much. Maybe.... Maybe she means a longer wait....

In Mormon terms, what Tara had just done was the equivalent of a proposal of sorts. She wasn't sure if Willow realized it. Tara knew the statement might provoke a lot of internal babble. It was actually a fairly safe suggestion. There was little likelihood that Willow would meet someone else at least not right away, and Tara was pretty sure that her feelings were real enough to risk any amount of time apart if Willow agreed. She wanted Willow to think about that too. She hadn't really given a particular time frame, so that was also something she knew Willow would fret over. Willow was cute that way, always thinking out all the different scenarios.

She loved watching Willow like this. The lights were on in that brain of hers, there was a play of emotions running across her face at record speeds, her mouth usually fell open a little as realizations and connections were made. She hoped that her reaction would be favorable.

The rules talk had not gone as well as she had hoped. She didn't want Willow to feel bad for the way she felt about her, but she'd drawn the pumpkin and it nearly broke Tara's heart. She never wanted to hurt the girl, but the ache she felt had put things in perspective for her. She wanted to obey the rules for both their sakes - so neither one of them would be in a position Tara found herself in now. In a week she would have to face President Shepherd when he asked her outright if she was physically close to the person for whom she'd said she had feelings. And what if he asked for Willow's name?

The idea of Tara and her both completing their missions had seemed so important before she got the letter from Donny, but she wasn't that sure what to do anymore. If they did not finish their missions, it would reflect poorly on both of them, not to mention her family. And how would her family respond to this announcement. This had been weighing on Tara's mind the past few days.

Tara became lost in her recurring nightmarish daydream.

"Hey mom, I met someone really special.... Yeah, I think I am. Oh, I know it's kind of soon, but we have so much in common, and we connect so well...

"His name? Oh erm, Willow... Sure, I know that's a strange name for a boy... uh huh, Well we met At the MTC.

"No not one of the Elders. Well we hit it off right away.... No, not a teacher.

"Willow is adorable. Uh huh, well, she has red... what? Yeah, I did say she.

The silence was deafening.

"Mom?

"Mom?

"Oh Hi Dad, what happened to Mom? She's where? What? Why's she on the floor? Oh gosh, is she okay?

"Dad?

"Dad?"

"Daddy?"

"What? Okay - you need the phone? Oh of cour... The phone went dead.

The next image Tara created was that she was standing next to a grave site. She'd killed her mother with her phone conversation. Her brothers and sisters all were distancing themselves from her. Her father only scowled. And Willow? This was where the nightmare was fuzzy. Was Willow there or not? Would it help if she was or only make it worse?

Then the tribunal: a handful of men asked her the same probing questions about her sexual appetites to establish the depth of her perversion. They would determine her membership status or even forbid her activity within The Church. She hadn't shared that with Willow. She knew Willow would only get angry or worse, upset for her. She knew Willow would start thinking she was a vampire again. She really wasn't. I was the one who kept bending the rules, the one who was weak.

The intrusive questions of the president had furthered her resolve. The inquisition seemed almost voyeuristic, but she'd felt calm when she went in, and answered them honestly. No, she hadn't had sexual relations, inappropriate touching on any of the places he'd specifically asked about. When he started asking her about the length of time she held on in hugs and if they were full body hugs or not, and how many women she'd been with before she came to the MTC, she was offended. And when he asked her how many girls she was attracted to on the floor; that was just rude. If that's how he thought, how could he possibly think their love was real.

He probably realized he'd blown it when he used the term "regardless." Tara wondered if he had secretly wanted her to fail so he could hear all the great details at their next meeting. She also wondered if he'd orchestrate meetings with anyone else to determine who the love interest was.

Tara closed her eyes trying to rid herself of the images that had been troubling her: the mission president's words, the images of her family. She knew that her family and friends had dreams of her getting married in the temple, having children, full fellowship in The Church, but it didn't feel right anymore. The only thing that felt right was Willow.

They'd made a plan and she intended to stick to the plan, more or less, so she could answer honestly. She felt a little guilty, but the litmus test was being pure in heart. And with Willow, she was. Her feelings for Willow were the real, no matter what he said.

Several moments had passed between them. They stood still in front of one of the doors. Willow could tell something was bothering Tara and that only led to more speculation in her busy mind.

It was Willow who finally broke the silence, her voice reflected sincerity and hope in the one word answer, "Always."

Tara was startled by the unusual and strong feeling of de ja vu. It was as though the words that Willow had spoken had been uttered in another time and in another place. She blinked more to clear the thought than to clear the tears that she didn't realize had formed in her eyes. Through the glistening view, she saw Willow had experienced something similar. She looked a little shocked as well.

Tara wanted to be careful with her reply, but it felt as though the words were spoken from a different voice deep within her soul, "We can do this, we can make it through; we can be strong."

The last bit resonated with Willow, "We can be strong?"

Tara confirmed the statement, "Yes, we can be strong."

Willow lowered her voice, "I want to be strong for you Tara, but I also want to be weak and irresponsible, and reckless, and well to be honest, sneaky."

Tara's eyebrows went up, "sneaky?"

"Uh huh, sneaky," Willow wanted to explain, "I can't help it. You're just so, mmmm, yummy." Tara thought Willow had actually purred.

"Better than m&m's?" Tara challenged.

"Way better." Willow licked her lips. "Better than anything chocolate."

Tara furrowed her brow in disbelief, "no, there's nothing better than chocolate."

"Ya huh." Willow smiled seductively, "Way." She dropped her chin and looked up at Tara through half-lidded eyes, "Totemo way." [totally way (English)] As if to prove a point, Willow shifted her books and things into her left hand. She then reached out to Tara's right hand which was slightly closer. Tara was able to shift her items as well, and allowed Willow to take her hand. She pulled it up to her face, turned the hand over so her palm faced up. Willow took a deep breath and allowed the natural scent of Tara to wash over her. "Way."

"We still have a little time; do you want to come in?" Willow asked innocently.

"In?" Tara was puzzled by the response. Willow was inviting her in?

"Yeah, I had an idea and I need your help, plus I want an audience." Willow's eyebrows went up mischievously.

Tara was always amused with the myriad of expressions that the girl displayed. Everyday she saw a new one, and it was endearing, "That's not being very sneaky." Tara chuckled and the gleam in her eye betrayed her thoughts as she looked over Willow seductively.

Willow laughed out loud. "No silly, I had an idea for a non-mission jeopardizing activity."

"Okay, I'm in." Tara instinctively trusted Willow.

"I just want some comfy, non-couch time with you, and this seemed like a good way to do it. Plus the others, well, you'll see." Willow winked and looked around again to confirm they were alone. "And this is much safer than what I really want to do." She leaned in and whispered something in Tara's ear. The resulting blush was worth the effort. "Come on in."

Tara cuddled her books and followed Willow in. Smith and Kitchen were a little startled by the entrance, but relaxed when they saw Willow enter. Smith was puzzled when Tara followed in behind.

"You can set your books down here, but bring your notebook. This requires a little planning." Willow grabbed the extra pillow, continued over to her bunk and climbed up to the top. "Come on up." She instructed. She moved her pillow in behind her and sat with her back against the wall. She put the other pillow next to her in the same position and waited for Tara.

Tara climbed up and sat in a similar position next to Willow. They were close, but not quite touching. "Before I forget, I was wondering if I could borrow your pencils. I'm kinda working on a little keepsake for you."

"Sure anytime." Willow had opened up her note book. Oh what is she up to now? "Okay, there's Baltic and Mediterranean and community chest in between those two sea streets. Then the there's luxury tax, and a railroad, then the light blue ones.

"I think there's an orange group but is that the between the red and yellow? Or is it on the side before going to jail?" Willow pursed her lips in concentration. Innuendo was a good tool; she recalled thinking that much earlier in the week.

"No, there's a purple on the next side after the light blue, then orange" Smith chimed in but she sounded a little tired.

"And Chance," Tara had caught on as well. "Then the yellow and red are on the one side, right?" She'll like that one. Tara winked at Willow, "Then the other side is the green and blue." It was like the game was made for them. Tara continued, "I think the free parking is right by orange. So Go to Jail is between the yellow and green."

"Figures." Willow was a little deflated. Dang it. "Okay we know Blue - Park Place and Boardwalk. You want to start with those?" Willow had divided her paper and was starting to tear some medium sized squares for the game. "If we can't remember or want to make up our own we can."

"Oh we should make up our own." Tara considered for a moment. "You want the blue and yellow or the green and red?"

"Oh I so want the Blue and Yellow." Willow replied innocently but her meaning was clear.

"Oh good I was hoping to personalize the green and red too." Tara smiled at Willow and licked her lips. I like sneaky. Tara was really enjoying their innocent banter which was so loaded with double meaning.

Willow scratched her chest right under her shoulder blade. "Oh I think that's a great idea." Willow started making notes on her paper. "Okay we have 4 Railroads. We should update those too, don't you think?"

"Sure, but we don't have to limit ourselves to tradition; we could do it on planes, trains, boats or buses." Tara suggested.

"I am drawing the line at the love boat." Willow proclaimed.

"Check, no Captain Stubbing or Gopher. Plus you know that series should be over - it's so passť and predictable, this should be more lasting." Tara nodded in understanding. "Do we want Pacific and Atlantic to be more US related for the purple ones? Or do we want to go with a color theme, or new neighborhoods which could be fun as well." Tara inquired.

"What do ya mean, color theme?" Willow was curious about where Tara was going with this one. Her suggestions were euphemistically loaded and she was loving this. She couldn't wait to see where she'd take this line of thought.

"Well these are the cheap properties right?" Tara waited for Willow to nod. "Well I like Hicksville for one." It was Tara's turn to scratch at her hidden brand. "I think you should have the next one though.

"Hmmm, ok." Willow's mind was racing through the many directions she could take this imagery. Willow scrunched her eyebrows in thought, "gosh, all I can think of is Plainview. That sounds kinda hicky."

Tara had to bite her lip to keep from laughing. "Kitsune," she whispered and she moved her leg to bump Willow's thigh playfully. "Well now that I understand the assignment," Tara started I think this is gonna take a little longer than we have tonight. "Can we resume after we study tomorrow?"

Oh excellent, she wants another date. "Sure, plus we have do Community Chest and make Chance, this could be quite the project," Willow said with a completely innocent face. "And I haven't really figured out our tokens."

Kitchen and Smith had both turned out their lights and appeared to be falling asleep. Willow nodded toward their witnesses.

"And what are we going to use for houses, hotels and money?" Tara was suddenly very interested in how much of this Willow had already planned out. And the conversation needed to continue quietly.

"Money we're using m&ms - those are actually already divided in percentages so we should be ok there. Brown yellow orange green and tan, I think that's the right order by quantity in a bag. We may want to adjust the property prices a little to accommodate for necessary eatage." Willow smiled at the last comment before she continued, "Houses and hotels, that's gonna be fun, I'm not to sure about that yet, but I'm sure we can come up with something."

"And the markers?" Tara was just loving all the thought Willow had put into her little game.

"Well that should be small and personal as well," Willow concluded, "as tokens generally are."

"Oh, uh, like this ring," Tara grabbed her hand and had another funny de ja vu feeling. That's just too weird.

"Yeah, that would be perfect. I was kinda thinking my Chapstick cap, it's kinda like the thimble. Although I thought you'd be more a car girl. I thought I could drop over at your properties with my little dog, but that was just one thought I had in my head." Willow added.

"Oh, I'd let you stay at my hotels for free, and we could go for a ride in the car." Tara added in a low seductive voice. She was thinking of Willow's hair flying with the wind in her little convertible.

"Oh, like free parking?" Willow moved her hand over to Tara's leg and laid it softly on her thigh just above her knee cap.

Willow's touch was like magic, it always seemed to affect Tara. "I'd let you have my get out of jail free card if you needed it."

"Oh, I'll definitely take you up on that." Willow moved her hand a little further inside Tara's thigh and squeezed just a little to confirm her point. "Do you like to play with the free parking pay out?"

Willow was driving Tara mad with desire. She felt her body reacting to the simple touch. She moved her hand and placed it in the same place on Willow's leg. Willow closed her eyes in response. Tara continued, "Uh huh, definitely free parking. I think I'll let you do community chest, okay? I'll take Chance." She gently increased the pressure on Willow's leg to accentuate her own point.

"You mean, Right now?" Willow husked quietly. Tara's eyes dropped to Willow's chest and she didn't even try to shift them. Willow blushed. She was burning up with desire. She fixated on Tara's mouth. She couldn't seem to move her eyes from the moist soft lips.

"There's two green in it for you." Tara was loving this game. The greens were hundreds and that's what you get when you pass Go. And she wanted Willow to pass Go.

"Think it's time for a bag of chocolate? You got me all hungry." Willow accepted the invitation. She realized she wanted her own Token of Tara's affection, and until Tara had time to color whatever it was, she'd like Tara Lips. "Are you in?"

Tara looked around the room to ensure both girls couldn't see her. She moved her left hand up to Willows neck, put a finger in the softness at the base of Willow's throat, and slowly dragged it down the line of her sternum until she hit the "V" on Willow's flannel shirt. "I'd love to be in."

Tara tucked her fingers into her palm. She moved the top of her fingers slowly across her skin. Then she slid her fingers out in a slow and deliberate caress. She felt a gentle rise at her pinky finger and moved her hand higher up to Willow's neck to avoid the forbidden touch. She didn't want to presume Willow would allow her to reach beyond. She wanted to respect the lines, if only in deed.

"Then we should go," Willow started. She had an amusing look on her face for a moment, She looked down toward the hand that still lay flat against her skin, "When I can actually walk again. That's making it hard. That's just making everything hard." Willow blushed when she realized how frank she had been. Willow thought the comment might be a little lost on Tara, but Willow realized if she didn't understand it now, she would soon.


Continue to Latter Days/Lonely Nights Chapter Thirty-Six


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