Willow groaned as she sat splayed in the seat, a half eaten piece of chocolate cake in a plate on her lap. She shifted slightly and could only watch in horror as the plate started sliding off her lap in the direction of the imported Persian rug at her feet. Tara lunged forward with a speed she didn't know she possessed and grabbed the plate in two steady hands. After setting it safely on a nearby table she turned to regard the still groaning Willow with a loving smile.
"Okay... " Willow had to concentrate hard to force the words out, "Whatever you could say about this night and this party... that was one very, very fine chocolate cake. Ow, no it wasn't... evil chocolate cake!"
"I don't think it's possible for anything with chocolate in it to be evil," Tara wrinkled her brow in concern as Willow clutched her stomach.
"Oh yes it is... anything that lures you into having three huge helpings is evil in my book," Willow knew full well her suffering was self-inflicted but she enjoyed the look of tender concern on her girlfriends face, "Ow, tummy!"
"Want me to rub it?" Tara asked softly, a willing participant in Willow's little game.
Willow managed a smile, "Baby, there is nothing I would like more... but... "
Willow glanced around them. The party guests had been steadily leaving for the past hour but enough people still remained. Besides, although it would probably make her feel better, she was sure Tara's hand on her stomach would only elicit groaning of a different sort. Aunt Elizabeth was still present in all her harpy-like magnificence and Willow wasn't exactly in her good books that evening.
"It's getting late," Tara looked at her watch.
"Oh... oh, it is... do you want me to call Mr Weiss and get him to give you a ride back to your hotel?" Willow tried to hide the disappointment in her voice.
Tara grinned and winked at the redhead, "I said it's getting late... I most certainly didn't say anything about heading back to the hotel."
Willow seemed to perk right up after that, chocolate poisoning or not she managed to stumble to her feet. An ingenious scheme flitted into her mind... and she thought if she put on her best puppy dog face it might just work. She took Tara's elbow gently between her fingers and propelled them towards Aunt Elizabeth.
"What are you doing!" Tara hissed in alarm, "I don't want to be anywhere near that woman!"
"Trust me," Willow replied before striding confidently up to her aunt, "Aunt Elizabeth!"
The older woman looked down, past her nose at her impudent niece and raised her eyebrows. It was a look that said ‘this had better be good.' Tara discreetly shrunk behind Willow, out of the line of fire.
"The party was so amazing we're exhausted and it's become quite late, so Tara's staying the night... if that's alright with you Aunt Elizabeth," Willow's tone was all honey and sugar.
"Well I suppose so," the old woman said grudgingly, "But all our guest rooms are full... "
"Oh, that's no problem at all!" Willow hoped she didn't sound too enthusiastic, "We'll just share my bed."
Willow Rosenberg... you are a genius!
Aunt Elizabeth shrugged her shoulders and gave the barest of nods as though she didn't care what Willow did anymore. Not wanting to risk a sudden change of heart, Willow made for a quick exit.
"Thanks so much ma'am," Tara called as Willow started leading her away, "Great party... and you don't look a day over forty."
Willow's eyes shot up and with a speed that was uncanny she yanked Tara right out of the ballroom in a walk so fast it might as well have been a run. She didn't stop until they had reached the bottom of the stairs. Tara was a little breathless but giggling all the same. Willow smirked too, about to laugh before she remembered how close Tara had come to being eaten up, chewed thoroughly and spat back out. She stroked Tara's cheek,
"Baby, I think it's best if you don't say another word to Aunt Elizabeth... I like you very much the way you are... with all your limbs."
Tara bit her lip, a giggle still escaped anyway, "Sorry... I'm just trying to be polite and the stupidest things pop out."
"They're cute, not stupid... and if it had been anyone besides Aunt Elizabeth, I would be laughing my head off. She's the wicked witch of the west Tara, you don't want to get on her bad side. I think she at least tolerates you now... it's a good idea to try and keep it that way."
"Okay, I understand... I think," Tara pursed her lips together thoughtfully, "I don't say anything, you do all the talking!'
Willow nodded and lead Tara up the stairs, a strange nervous flutter growing in the pit of her stomach.
"Well, this is my room," Willow flicked on the light switch to bath the room in a soft glow.
Tara looked around appreciatively, it was a good five times or more the size of her old room. It was lavishly overdone of course and although everything was obviously very expensive... nothing really matched. It made Tara wonder what Willow's own bedroom was like until she began dredging up unpleasant thoughts of returning to New York. She instead turned her attention to the rest of the room and her gaze obviously turned to the bed. It was an old-fashioned four-poster, quite large with plenty of room for the two of them.
Willow's wits seemed to have left her once the door was shut behind them... they were well and truly alone. She wanted to reach out and flick the lock across but she couldn't quite bring herself to do it for fear of scaring Tara.
"What are you waiting for?" Tara asked with a grin as Willow stood uncertainly by the door.
"Aren't you going to lock the door?"
Willow slid the lock across, feeling very naughty and at the same time... so very terrified. She had no clue as to what to do. She was standing in her room with her girlfriend and she couldn't do anything except stare stupidly. There were so many thoughts and images of what she should do running through her mind that they kept intruding on one another until she wasn't sure just what she wanted anymore. The terrified part of her wanted to unlock the door and bolt down the hallway to escape the awkward situation.
I don't know what to do! Um... run? stay? Run!
The sensible part of her was suggesting that she really ought to show Tara where her bathroom was and find her something to wear to bed... a nightgown or a shirt at least.
Okay, feet moving Rosenberg... your nightgowns are in that dresser over there, you should have one that fits, you know... the one with yellow ribbon on the bodice... and the bathroom is through the door on the right. Tell her not to go through the door on the left because that's just the walk-in wardrobe...
The much-repressed naughty side of her was predictively interrupting sensible thoughts with the impudent suggestion that Tara didn't need to wear any clothes at all to bed.
Mmmmm... naked Tara... preferably next to naked Willow, the sensible side butted back in again, Naked Willow! I've never been naked in front of anyone before... golly gee whiz, how nerve racking would that be!
The naughty side was also screaming at Willow an idea which made her blush furiously. She imagined herself losing all inhibitions to cross the floor to Tara and sweep back to the bed where she would press her down and begin kissing her thoroughly and confidently. Her hand would find its way to the hem of Tara's dress, inching it upwards to reveal creamy, soft thighs...
"Ah, Willow?" Tara asked the seemingly shell-shocked redhead.
"What... ah, Tara... in my room, right," Willow blinked a few times as though the movement made it easier to focus... it didn't really but then again, she didn't think anything would, "Um... nightgown!"
The sensible side was the eventual victor when Willow finally managed to lift her feet from the spot they had been concreted to for the last few minutes. She drew out the nightgown she had been thinking of and handed it to Tara... their hands brushed each others lightly and Willow's heart performed a funny little flip. Willow didn't let go of the nightgown... she just held it and stared at Tara. There was something else she was supposed to be saying, if she could only think of it...
"Um, the bathroom is right through that door there... not the left one because that... that's the wardrobe and there's nothing there except frocks and coats and some shoes and other stuff... but you really didn't need to know that did you... "
"Willow, if you let me have the nightgown, then I can go and get changed," Tara said shyly.
Willow looked down in horror and saw she was still clutching the nightgown firmly. She let it go and Tara smiled before moving to the bathroom. As soon as the door was shut behind her, Willow reached up and grabbed her hair in frustration.
"I am such a babbling imbecile!"
"Did you say something?" Tara's voice asked from behind the door.
"Ah, is there anything else you need?" Willow asked, hitting herself on the forehead with the palm of her hand.
Tara assured her she was fine and Willow immediately set to undressing herself. It was a slow process, although hurried somewhat by the fact that Tara would have to eventually emerge from the bathroom. Despite harbouring the secret desire that Tara would come out to find her completely naked, Willow wasn't so sure she was quite ready for it.
Once modestly garbed with her party dress safely tucked away, Willow scrambled into the big, old four poster and looked in disgust at the amount of room left free. There was a wide expanse of bed in which Tara could crawl and Willow wouldn't be able to find her for a week.
This is so not what I had in mind when I imagined sharing a bed with her... I need a single... one of those tiny little ones where we'd practically have to sleep on top of each other!
Tara emerged from the bathroom nervously to find Willow sitting in the bed with a stupid grin on her face. A grin which was very quickly wiped off when she saw Tara. Willow was not the only one who had problems with the size of the bed, Tara eyed her side of the bed and almost scowled when she saw how far away she would be from Willow. She scrambled in and sat propped up against the mountain of pillows behind her. The two of them sat like that for some minutes, both with matching disgruntled expressions but neither wanting to be the first to suggest moving to more agreeable positions.
"Willow," Tara finally said at the precise moment that Willow said, "Tara."
Willow laughed lightly, "Ah, so I can hear you from all the way across there."
"Barely," Tara replied with a fake pout.
"You know what," Willow said, speaking louder as though Tara really couldn't hear her, "This side of the bed is so much more comfy than that side."
Tara wriggled and frowned playfully, "You're right, there are lumps!"
"C'mere you," Willow held out her arm and Tara eagerly made the long trek across the bed.
She scooted into Willow's arms and Willow shifted so they could look each other in the eye. They each let out a matching sigh of relief quickly followed by a matching giggle. Willow reached up to trace a line with her fingertips from Tara's forehead, down around her eye and over her jaw line to rest on her chin. She cupped it in a soft hand, brushing her thumb over Tara's full and gorgeous lips.
Tara let out another breath beneath the Willow-touch. She kissed the thumb which was exploring her lips lightly.
"Gee you're gorgeous," Willow whispered continuing to trace the lips as though she were studying them for a sculpture, "I'm still having trouble believing I found you... isn't that funny? I can't believe it and yet I'm holding you in my arms, I can touch you and you're there."
"I know exactly how you feel... I still don't understand why you love me," Tara whispered.
Willow's expression turned serious and she cupped Tara's face in both her hands, smoothing back her hair repeatedly, "Baby, can you not see how amazing you are. I mean, you're gorgeous yes... any fool can see that... but you're this amazing person on the inside as well. Someone who makes me feel giddy with just a glance... who makes me feel loved just by being there... you're strong and brave even though I don't think you know it."
"I'm not brave."
"You are too! The way you strolled up those steps tonight as though nothing in the world could phase you... and the way you spoke to Aunt Elizabeth! I mean, I've known her for years and I wouldn't speak to her like that... you terrified me, I mean, I thought she was going to eat you or something equally horrible... "
Willow stopped, she felt Tara trembling beneath her hands, her eyes twin pools of ocean on a calm, moonlit night,
"Are you alright?" Willow whispered.
"Of course I'm alright, why would something be wrong?"
"You're trembling... "
"I'm trembling because the woman of my dreams is holding me in her arms, about to kiss me, but instead she's trapped in some sort of babble cycle when she should be kissing..."
Tara's words... as well as her train of thought... were immediately cut short when Willow lent forward. She found lips pressed a little too firmly to hers as though Willow had launched herself into her movement in a rush for fear of stopping mid-point. They lay with their lips pressed together, not moving for fear of the other pulling away.
Willow felt surprised, as though she couldn't quite bring herself to realise what she had just done. Then however small details began falling into place, she realised her lips were pressed against Tara's and that they were kissing... she was kissing Tara! Gradually her lips softened as Willow relaxed, her whole body had been tensed in those first few moments. She moved her lips against Tara's, caressing ever so gently. More feelings assaulted her senses... Tara's lips were soft, moist... and delicious. She explored hungrily as though she had been waiting for this all her life.
As Willow relaxed, Tara did too and allowed herself to melt into it. At first, there was just the taste of each others lips until Tara parted her mouth ever so slightly, inviting Willow's tongue in. Hesitant but eager, Willow accepted the invitation. A soft gasp came from Tara's throat and it sent very pleasant chills down Willow's spine. Their tongues met, in hesitant darts at first before they settled into a luxurious rhythm. Caressing and stroking tenderly as two people who knew they had all the time in the world to get to know each other intimately.
Time seemed to come to a complete standstill as they revelled in the fact they were tasting each other's lips for the very first time. It no longer had any meaning... there was only the two of them and their love.
Willow and Tara pulled back a mere fraction to catch their breath, only a hairsbreadth separating their lips. Both were flushed bright red even though the actual kissing had been hardly any exertion at all. They stroked each others faces with trembling fingertips, feeling each other on their lips and in their mouths.
"Mmmm... Willow-tongue," Tara whispered softly.
Willow grinned and pressed her forehead to Tara's, "Better get used to it."
"Yes ma'am," Tara grinned as well.
Willow reached back to the bedside table and flicked the lamp off, shrouding the room in darkness at first before their eyes became accustomed. She snuggled back down into Tara's warm embrace, burrowing and cuddling contentedly. Time became quite meaningless as they lay in the partial darkness, both trembling uncontrollably and yet revelling in the joy of having found one another. At some stage, Willow's breathing became more steady when she slipped off into the land of very pleasant dreams. Tara was content to lie and watch her, stroking the soft red hair over and over. She felt as though she had been born again. Almost as though Tara Maclay hadn't existed before knowing Willow Rosenberg. Her family, her home in New York... none of it had ever been real.
"I think I just found a new home," Tara said quietly, cradling the sleeping Willow to her chest.