Tara stood in front of her closet, covered only by a robe, at a complete loss as to what to wear. She wanted to look good tonight. No, scratch that. She wanted to look better than good; she wanted to look amazing. She shook her head at the absurdity of it all. I want to look sexy for Willow. She frowned and picked up a skirt from the bed, holding it in front of herself and looking into the full length mirror. For Willow, who is straight, and who it is becoming abundantly clear, just politely tolerates my company.
Tara sighed and tossed the skirt back on the bed. Dinner had been... nice. Time with Willow was always nice, because she was Willow, however... something was definitely troubling the redhead this evening. They chatted amiably about their days, Willow careful to gloss over the details of her job, as usual. Tara frowned at that. Why did Willow always change the subject when the topic was herself? Tara had talked about the gallery opening she was planning on participating in, and Willow kept mostly quiet, only nodding occasionally and rarely asking questions to keep the conversation going. Toward the end of dinner Willow had again apologized for not being able to find a place to move into, and again Tara gently reassured Willow that she was no trouble at all, and that she could stay for as long as she liked.
Like forever... She looked at herself in the mirror and bit the inside of her lower lip. This isn't healthy, she thought. She had to get over this crush. Crush? Get real Tara, she scolded herself. Crushes come and go, this... this is... she trailed off. This is unhealthy, she thought again, loosing the sash around her robe and tossing the fluffy garment to the side. She picked up a beaded silk skirt and slid it up her legs.
Willow loved this piece.
She stood in the living room, staring up at the area over the fireplace. A large canvas seemed to float in the middle of the wall. How did they get it to hang like that? She idly wondered, her scientific mind switching to the probable physics involved. Willow strained her eyes, trying to simultaneously stare at the whole thing, and pick out the details, at the same time. Multitask much? She chuckled. She settled into a soft smile, still looking at the work in front of her, her head tilted back slightly. It was oil, and the paint sat high off the canvas in thick waves of choppy texture that allowed Willow to appreciate the undulation from her place far below. Colors mixed and mashed together fiercely, passionately, swirling together yet ultimately coexisting, dancing. Willow wondered at the painting. How does someone get started on a work like this? How do they know which colors to use, how to layer the paint and how to decide when it's finally finished? She marveled at the obvious skill involved, the beauty of the final product. She marveled that it was Tara's hands, and Tara's mind, that had created such a spectacular work of art.
Tara came down the stairs and stopped suddenly, seeing Willow standing in the living room, looking up at the painting on the far wall. The redhead was wearing hip hugging black pants, black high heeled boots and a form fitting maroon top. The front portion of her hair was swept up off her face and fastened with little clips. Tara couldn't see her face clearly, but could tell from the blush on Willow's cheek that she had decided on some makeup. Tara was struck speechless. That body...
She once again let her eyes wander over the redhead's frame. Willow's hips. They were so round. Surprisingly round for a woman so thin. And womanly. Tara inwardly groaned. So womanly. She drifted to Willow's rear, and down her long legs. She looked up when Willow shifted her weight, remembering that she shouldn't be ogling her straight roommate from the shadows like some stalker. She lightly cleared her throat and continued down the stairs.
Willow turned at the noise, grinning, ready to compliment the blonde on the painting, when she froze. Tara was crossing toward her in a lightweight rose colored skirt, the kick pleat rippling at her calves. She wore a white form fitting top, short sleeved and set enticingly against her creamy skin. Her makeup was flawless, her long hair fell straight around her face. Her feet were held aloft by simple strappy heels. Willow felt like she couldn't breathe.
Tara was having a similar problem. Okay, so the shirt opens at her midriff... Tara looked down and let her eyes take in Willow's bellybutton before she quickly looked back up. Breathe, left step, right step, left step, breathe, okay, stop before you run into her.
"Hey." She said, mentally slapping herself for the lame greeting. "Sorry, it took me a little longer than I thought it would to figure out what I wanted to wear." She chuckled nervously. "You know, cause, girl." She pointed at herself and then instantly regretted the stupid joke.
Miraculously, Willow smiled brightly. "I have the same problem." She confessed conspiratorily.
Tara chuckled in return, relaxing. "Really?"
Willow's face turned a little panicked. "Am I not dressed right?"
"No, I was going to say-"
"Cause, I've never been to a..." She trailed off and looked down her body. "Dark colors are out right now, right? I mean, you're wearing light colors, all ethereal a-and summery, and I'm like, dark, gothy oppressive winter girl-"
"I think you look beautiful." Tara interrupted quickly, quietly.
"Oh." Willow said. She then blushed furiously and turned back to the painting on the wall.
Way. To. Go. Maclay. Tara shook her head, chastising herself.
"How did you know when to stop?" Willow asked. Tara looked confused at the back of the redhead's head.
Willow turned around and waited expectantly. Seeing Tara's face she inwardly winced. "Oh. Sorry, my brain kinda, jumps, topics sometimes." Tara nodded, waiting and Willow continued. "The painting. How did you decide, 'well, I think that's enough paint.'"
Tara looked up at the work on the wall. It was one of her favorites, one she could never part with, no matter the offered price, and she scanned it trying to figure out what exactly it was Willow was asking.
Willow elaborated as she watched the blonde take in her own work. "I mean, it's not like a landscape where you could say 'three boats will do,' it's just, paint." Willow, unseen by Tara, grimaced in frustration, unable to express herself the way she wanted. "Just paint" - it's more than just paint. It's... perfect. Why didn't I take a stupid art class in college so I could talk to her about her work in an intelligent way?!
Tara felt her face going hot as she scanned the canvas, looking for an appropriate answer. She doesn't like it. She swallowed and tried to think of a reply. Okay, she thinks I'm just some hack who slaps a bunch of paint onto a canvas and calls it art. She didn't dare look over at the girl at her side. Get a grip Tara, it's not the end of the world if the woman you think you're in love with doesn't understand the only thing that's even remotely interesting about you. She finally shrugged and turned to face Willow. "I don't know." She said softly, almost apologetically. "I just... do."
Willow smiled equally apologetically, disappointed that she had caused the mood to shift with her inarticulate curiousity. "Wanna go?" She said after a moment. "Buffy's... probably..."
"Yeah." Tara nodded. Both women made their way to the door quietly and exited, locking the sturdy door behind them.