(Day 09 - Friday, November 16, 1984)
Willow was confused by Tara's apparent reluctance to lay claim to her, but when she heard the whispered words, she thought she understood. She loved the way Tara seemed to understand her geekiness and would communicate ideas so Willow would get it. In turn, Willow had been willing to give Tara a sign of her devotion. Tara had asked Willow to wait for her and she wanted Tara to know she was committed to her.
At the moment, Willow thought she would do anything Tara wanted. She wasn't sure if that was for simple assurance or complete surrender. Willow had never thought she would feel that way about anyone. The notion that she could so easily give herself completely to another person suddenly left her a bit unsettled.
"We should go." Willow interrupted her own internal babble before it began.
Tara felt positively slumberous. She wanted to melt into Willow's arms and stay there forever, but she was coming back to her senses a little bit. Willow had been just laying there ready to let her leave a mark on her. Her red hair flamed brightly against the drab color of the mission bed linens. She was positively adorable. Tara had to fight every instinct she had not to become more intimate with Willow.
She said something. Tara blinked. She sensed a change in Willow. She'd hoped that Willow would recognize her reluctance to move their kissing boundary below the garment line, but one could never tell exactly where Willow's thoughts would lead her. She wanted to reassure her somehow that it wasn't about her.
"You're right, it's late." Tara started to move off of Willow and set her feet on the floor while resting upright on one arm. Better let you get bed, you need some snurgle time."
Willow sat up slowly. Her eyes darted up and about as though she was trying to see something on her eyebrows. She furrowed her forehead in frustration and her nose twitched. The definition was simply nowhere to be found.
"Huh? What now?" Willow's facial expression reflected complete confusion.
"Having a bit of trouble with 'snurgle'?" Tara made a half, half grin. She put a stray hair behind Willow's ear.
"Yeah, it's not English, Japanese, or Spanish, and didn't seem to be Jaspanglish. There were no other funky words in that sentence so you weren't trying for a spoonerism." Willow tilted her head in silent request for a definition.
Tara took a quick breath. "When you were sleeping the other day, there was this cute little purr of a snore and you were sort of gurgling. It was cute; so I made up a word for you. Snore and gurgle - a snurgle. You were snurgling."
"Humph." Willow made a little frown as she processed this bit of information. She gulped. "There wasn't anything else was there?"
Tara raised her eyebrows, she knew she'd set Willow's mind reeling. At least this line of thought would not lead Willow to feel badly about herself.
"Oh... like what?" Tara stifled the urge to giggle. "You know there are the photos, of course."
Willow shook her head, "No, not those photos, I mean sleepy me sounds."
"Hmm, well ... Sister Smith did say something about a strawberry patch or something like that." Tara smiled genuinely.
"Uh huh. What else has that Sister Smith been telling you?"
Tara smirked, "Wouldn't you like to know." She finally let a little giggle out.
"Well, Miss Maclay, I believe you're holding out on me." With that, Willow nudged gently against the arm Tara was using for support. Tara was caught off guard, lost her hold and started to fall backward. Willow took advantage and leaned over her. Willow felt a little self-conscious.
Tara settled to a more comfortable position on her back and moved her head a bit to try and get some wayward hairs back out of the way. She raised a hand and tenderly stroked Willow's cheek with just a few fingers. Willow raised her own hand and covered Tara's for a moment, molding her cheek into Tara's open palm.
As Willow gazed down at Tara she realized she had to make some hard choices and none of them would be easy. She resisted the urge to place many, many kisses on Tara's lips. After a few seconds, in one smooth motion she turned Tara's hand so her palm was resting near her mouth and Willow lovingly placed a gentle kiss on the inside of Tara's wrist. She sat back up, and put their hands down and rested them on her lap.
"Tara, we really need to figure out what we're going to do." Willow began the difficult topic. "I feel so torn." Willow looked down and averted Tara's gaze. Willow knew that the beautiful blue eyes would be searching her own for some indication what she was feeling, and she wasn't ready for Tara to see that.
Tara realized the conversation was coming, and she wasn't ready for it. To actually discuss the topic meant that she would have to deal with all the implications of whatever decisions she made. "I know." Tara closed her eyes and left them closed for a moment. When she reopened them again she continued. "Sometimes I just want to keep you here forever and to ignore the world outside. If I don't think about it, then it's not really a decision, you know?"
"I know." Willow stayed quiet; she didn't want to start babbling. This was important.
Tara sat up and positioned herself next to Willow and looked down as well. "Before I met you, I just figured everything would work itself out according to the plan. Go to church, keep the commandments, do the things Heavenly Father wanted me to do, and eventually if I just kept on the right path, someone would come along and then I would know he was the one." Tara took a long breath and continued. "Then the right path seemed to be a mission. My Bishop recommended that I go and I was really afraid. I had thoughts you know, feelings that were wrong."
Willow jumped to Tara's defense. "No Tara, they are not wrong, no feelings are wrong, they are just feelings."
"Yes, they are wrong. They were impure and not in keeping with the teachings of The Church." Tara hung her head. "I knew they were wrong, I felt it. I still feel it sort of. Every time I touch you, in the back of my mind I wonder how I can have these feelings for you that seem so normal and right, and I feel guilty for thinking that."
Willow turned to look at Tara, "So you felt that your feelings were wrong before - in an impure and unwholesome way - but now you feel guilty because you don't feel that way anymore?"
"It's stupid isn't? It doesn't make any sense." Tara finally looked up.
Willow smiled, "No, it makes perfect sense actually."
"How?" Tara's question came out as a plea? "How can this be right if it's so complicated and confusing?" Tara tried not to let her emotions take over the conversation and she choked back her feelings. This needed to be a rational discussion.
"Well let's think about it for a minute. What exactly did you feel for the - I'm assuming you mean you had girl feelings before - What did you feel about them?" Willow was also processing what her own responses to these questions would be.
Tara blushed. "Well, when I was little, I wanted to feel them, not in a gross way or anything, just touch them, their hair, hold their hands, and maybe hug them just a little longer than they wanted to hug me, you know?"
"Yeah; I get that." Willow smiled. "As girls we can actually do that more than the boys can, so in a way I guess we're luckier than them."
Tara shrugged, "Yeah, I guess."
"And when you got older?" Willow probed.
"When I got a little older, I had a friend. I felt jealous if the girl liked a guy. I wanted her to feel like that about me. I wanted to be with my friend all the time, but the only way to do that was to hang out with her and the guys she liked at the moment. I always felt like a third wheel."
"Well, you were." Willow smiled again and patted Tara's leg. "What was inappropriate about that?"
"I don't really know, I knew the jealousy was wrong so I talked to my Bishop about that. That's when he said that my feelings weren't normal and that I needed to work hard on getting over those feelings. He recommended that I stop hanging out with my friend, so in obedience, I did."
Willow wasn't sure what to say, "That's terrible."
"Yeah, I guess. But it happened over and over again, so whenever I got close to someone and started having those thoughts, I tried not to think about it and that just made it harder. Then I would dream about them, about kissing them and holding them, and that was worse. When I had those urges, I would just stop hanging out with them because that's what the bishop had said that one time, so that was the course of action I followed."
"So first, the Bishop defined your feelings as bad and so they were; and then the Bishop determined that you would deal with your feelings by walking away from them." Willow wanted to make sure she'd comprehended the Bishop's role in Tara's history.
"Yeah, that and concentrating my efforts on Church related activities." Tara considered what Willow had said for a moment.
"And here you are, doing the right thing and you meet me." Willow began. "And suddenly the Bishop's counsel doesn't apply or you don't feel the Bishop's counsel was correct?"
Tara sighed, "It's not like that."
"Well what was different about me then?" Willow was truly interested, yet she didn't want to upset Tara. She knew she was walking a fine line.
Tara suddenly felt very nervous, as though if she said anything, that her inner most thoughts might actually leak out, and she wasn't sure she even knew what those where. All this was so unfamiliar and scary.
Willow saw Tara start to fidget and tighten her hands and play with invisible loose skin on her nails. "Its okay, take your time." After a long silence, Willow asked the question again almost in a whisper, "What was different about me?"
Tara's voice was throaty, "I didn't heed the counsel and I kissed you." Tara looked defeated.
"And that was bad?" Willow started to feel bad herself.
Tara suddenly realized what Willow must have thought, "No, it was good...but it was also bad. I was bad, I didn't follow the plan, I kissed you and I didn't feel bad about it, and I thought I would and that would have confirmed what the Bishop had said all along, but then I didn't and I got confused." Tara took a very deep breath. "And I wanted to do it again." She exhaled the breath, "So I did."
Willow bit back every impulse she had to compliment Tara on her kissing ability but she remained still.
"And I don't want to stop." Tara admitted, "And I should feel bad about keeping you off track."
"And you don't," Willow finished Tara's thought.
"No, I really don't." Tara admitted. "And I feel bad about that."
"You mean you feel guilty?" Willow reconsidered her word choice, "Or ashamed?"
"You know, I really don't know what it is." Tara confided. "This is sort of new, this thinking about my feelings thing you know." Tara attempted to lighten the mood a little.
Willow smiled, "Yeah, keeping these things on the peripheral is so much easier, but we're kind of beyond that now, I think we need to face it, and what better place to face it, than here."
Tara considered Willow's comment for a moment, "That's the thing though isn't it. We are supposed to resist right now, and focus on the work, and remain true to our temple covenants, which I feel like I am," Tara suddenly flashed to her earlier nipple fantasy. She tried to stifle the twinkle in her eye which Willow politely ignored, "for the most part anyway..." Tara continued quickly, "But the questions that you have to answer to get there, that's where I'm failing."
"I've thought about that too." Willow admitted. "I don't feel like anything we've done has been wrong. It doesn't feel like I've done anything unnatural, impure, or disrespectful of you at all. In fact the more we are together, the more respect I have for you. I admire you so much."
"So," Willow continued, "Where do we go from here?"
Tara laughed, "Not so fast there missy. You started this conversation, I just happened to go first. Something changed in you earlier. What was that?"
It was Willow's turn to blush. "Busted huh?"
"Oh yeah, so busted." Tara enjoyed catching Willow, especially since she felt like it happened so rarely.
Willow rolled her eyes. "I can't get out of it for good behavior? I didn't even start to babble or anything." Willow was pleading.
Tara shook her head quickly, "Nope, not a chance." She looked up at Willow. "Did you need a hint or two?" Tara thought back to what had prompted the conversation. Something was bothering Willow a little before that. Tara quickly rehashed the night's events incase she needed to give Willow the hint she had offered.
Willow folded her arms over her chest nervously and was almost childlike when she replied, "Ah come on Miss Tara; I feel like I've contributed muchly to this conversation."
Tara smiled, "Yes Miss Willow, but I need to know what you were thinking about when you decided to start this whole "bring it to the forefront" conversation." Tara slowly moved her hand over to the place where Willow had offered to let Tara mark her. "Were you upset that I didn't ... do that?"
Willow couldn't look at Tara; she hung her head. "Maybe a little, but it wasn't that."
"What was it then?" It was Tara's turn to probe.
Willow took a deep breath and tried her best to build her own resolve. She looked directly at Tara, "It's because I want you."
Tara took a moment to try and process exactly what Willow was trying to say. She decided it was best to let the statement sit there until Willow could finish. With a glance, Tara silently conveyed her request that Willow continue.
"I've never...um... well I've never really wanted someone before like I want you, and the fact that I do is really...unsettling."
"Oh," Tara was still a little confused. For some reason she thought Willow was more experienced than her. "Haven't you, um...been...with someone before?"
Willow blushed, "That was different."
Tara wished she could just will her to continue; instead she prodded, "How so?"
Willow tried to explain, "There's a difference between just being with someone, and giving yourself completely to someone." It was Willow's turn to look for invisible lint.
Tara was still deciphering when Willow swiftly continued.
"Tara, I want you in every way. I want to be with you completely, totally, no holds barred; I want to give you all the thoughts and feelings I hide from everyone else. I want you to have every part of me. I want you to hold me when I am sad and rejoice with me when I'm happy. I want to share moments with you that no one else can. I want to give you something that no one else has." Willow looked up and deeply into Tara's eyes. "Tonight I would have done anything you wanted me to, and that's very scary."
Tara thought Willow was being decisively cryptic. "Willow?"
Willow understood this would be hard for Tara to appreciate. Willow suffered from low self-esteem and she knew Tara did as well. She did want to give Tara a moment to let her words sink in before she continued with her explanation. "Yes, Tara?"
"Why is it scary if you've done it before?" Tara was still trying to puzzle out what was making Willow so nervous.
"Because, what I'm willing to let you have is different than what I've given before." Willow didn't know how else to explain it.
Tara was watching Willow intently.
"Tara, when I kiss you, I give you something intangible as well. I can't just kiss you without feeling profoundly in love with you. That's the difference I guess. There's nothing mechanical or superficial about it. I've invited you into my soul and I can't go back." Willow let the point sit for a moment before she continued.
Tara's eyes seemed to glaze over as she contemplated what Willow had just declared.
Willow considered carefully how to phrase her next point. "And when I say "anything," that includes letting you go if that's what you wanted."
"Oh yes, that is scary." Tara concurred.
Willow shook her head. "No, it's way harder to let you love me."
"How so?" Tara furrowed her brow.
Willow smiled, "Because then we'd have to have these kinds of talks all the time," Willow accentuated the point but letting her tongue slip out between her teeth while she continued smiling. As Tara nodded in agreement, Willow dipped her head a little and looked up at Tara with a devilish gleam in her eye, "...and maybe even while naked."
Tara raised her eyebrows. Did she just say??? Tara burst out laughing. The blush that covered her face was beyond pink.
"Tara, I think your face is as red as my hair again. We'd better go to sleep."
Tara could only nod. She knew that her dreams tonight would be filled with Willow nakedness and she actually couldn't wait to get to bed. She stood up and helped Willow to her feet. "Do you think we can be held accountable for what we dream about?"
Willow started to giggle as she headed for the door. "I sure hope not." She opened the door and motioned for Tara to proceed ahead of her. "Let's try not to wake up the entire floor on the way back. I'm sure this side is already up."