In that place between waking and dreams, the truth was revealed. I was in her room, on her bed and nestled in her embrace. My one eye, the one that wasn't completely covered by a goose down pillow, slowly fluttered open. I took a peak over at her night stand where her clock radio stood, its red numbers changed to 6:47 AM. It was still early.
Beams of light from the early morning sun filtered through her curtains into her darkened bedroom mottling wan light on the collection of framed paintings that aligned her walls.
A small table by the window was littered with an assortment of brushes and paints, no doubt ready to be used when inspiration struck. By the door hung a small pegboard covered with handwritten lists of chores that needed to be completed. There were photographs of various people having a good time at some sort of gathering, holding up their drinks to the camera in a toast, and one of Tara smiling; cradling a small hound with one arm while the other held up his paw, waving it in front of the camera. Colorful tacks kept everything neatly secure.
Her breath tickled the fine baby hairs on the nape of my neck. Her soft breasts pressed against my back and her honey curls tickled my thigh. I was still in disbelief. Had we really done what I think we did? Yes. Happiness and excitement stirred within me as the scent of last nights new found discoveries permeated my senses. A delicious chill traveled down my spine. It smelled like love. I burrowed deeper under the cool, comfy covers and felt the warmth and ease of her being...that is until realization of what we had done the previous night overcame me with the force of a Babe Ruth homerun, hit with his trusty Louisville slugger. Hey, computers are not the only things I'm into...I enjoy watching a game...or two.
Alarm bells went off in my head as I felt my neck and shoulders stiffen with worry. Its funny how in one moment I was able to go from complete blissfulness to suddenly feeling a sense of dread and confusion mixed with...hope? My mind is a complex maze. It's filled with little me's running around. No, let me rephrase that... bouncing up and down, hyped up on coffee goodness and trying to figure out how to live our lives in a society that puts constant pressure to achieve, to produce and succeed. Levelheaded Willow was wide awake and questioning our actions. And spontaneous Willow? She was still asleep...spent and sated from the previous night. Of course, she got her way.
What did this mean? Ughh...I hate that part...the dreaded morning after.
See here's the thing, we...we...we made love, before we even had a chance to go out on a real date. There are steps, aren't there?
Second date with smoochies...
Several more dates after that with a greater degree of smoochies...
Somewhere along the line; a picnic with additional smoochies...
Declarations of love that eventually lead to the crushing of soft, delicate, sweaty, and sleek body parts.
We so bypassed all of that. Does that mean I can't go back and start with a date?
Or was this it?
I'd never see her again. "Thank you for a nice night, but you must leave now."
I, for one, didn't want this to end. Screw the rules! We'll make our own rules. Wait! Did I just say we'll? As in the two of us...together...her and me...me and her...eep! What if she didn't feel the same way? I distinctly remembered her saying, "You have no idea how many times I've thought about being with you." Ughh...I wanted her to wake up so bad so we could talk.
It wasn't just my attraction to her. Last night cemented that for me. She's special. There was an intensity in the way we made love. The simple fact that I'm using the phrase 'making love' as opposed to 'sex', tells me how much our throw caution-to-the-wind actions meant to me. I'd just hoped she'd felt the same way.
"I see your favorite thing to do in the morning is snuggle. Mmm, I know I could get used to that. M-morning." She hummed, squeezing and pulling me further into her.
I was caught red-cuddled-handed...had she meant she wanted more snuggles...like later on, in the future? "Morning. Did you sleep well."
"Never better. You?"
"I don't remember ever having slept this well. I must have been more tired than I thought." Was I worrying? By the size of the grin plastered on my face how could anyone tell that; green, slimy, evil little toads were hippity-hopping inside my belly making me feel blechy.
"I w-wonder why? V-vixen." She teased, slightly tugging on my arm so we faced each other.
"Me? I didn't even get the chance to...to..."
"To what?" She challenged, her fingers lingering over my erect nipple sending goose bumps with her clandestine touching .
"To return the ACT of kindness..." I can tease too, albeit blushing furiously.
"ACT of kin..." She begun to ask, raising an inquisitive eyebrow when I had cut her off in mid sentence.
" ...to make you feel as wonderful as you made me feel last night." Emotional Willow decided to make her presence known. I keep trying to suppress her, but she's relentless. This time she brought out the heavy artillery...'The Love Mallet'. I was doomed.
"Tara..." I knew she'd notice my worried expression.
"What is it Willow? You can tell me anything." Just a simple loving touch of her soft fingers on my burning cheeks and an intent, encouraging look was all it took for me to relax. I exhaled air that I hadn't known I was holding in. That was the moment I knew I could be honest with her...with myself. She wasn't just looking at me, she was searching within me, finding my soul and comforting it.
So I dove head first into an ocean of honesty hoping beyond hope that I wouldn't drown in a sea of uncertainty and disappointment. "Okay, about to bare my soul here so if you start to feel uncomfortable, or if it becomes too awkward for you, and if at any time you feel like tossing me out of your bed...your room...your house, I'll completely understand. It's not everyday that I tell someone exactly how I feel...that's scary, and I for one do not like to be scared or worried, or sad...rejection is bad, very bad...this one time at a science fair..."
"Willow...inhale...exhale, good." She reached for my hands and held them securely within hers. "Now, if this is too m-much for you Willow, then you don't have to tell me a-anything. But if you do decide you want to share with me whatever it is that's taking up so much room in that head of yours, I can assure you that I w-won't toss you out of my bed, the room or my home. U-unless you tell me that you v-voted for George W. Bush, that's just simply unacceptable." Her smile reached my heart and my courage shot up ten-fold.
"No, no George Bush here...um, um." Revelations are very scary. " Tara, last night...last night meant more to me than you could ever imagine. I've had such a huge crush on you since I first saw you two years ago on my first day on the job. I've dreamt about asking you out on a date, us going on said date, having more dates after that. When you announced you were leaving the company, I panicked. I thought I would never see you again. I felt I had lost any chance to let you know how I felt because I had been too much of a coward before. Tara, I like you a lot and even though we...um...last night, we...you know..."
"Yes Willow, I know." She whispered, the glint of shyness in her cerulean eyes melding with the huskiness in her voice.
"Yeah, well... I still want to go out on those dates with you. I mean...that is...if you want to?"
I considered running out of the room, as fast as my scrawny legs could carry me, and never turning back. Why? Because of the silence that soon followed. Her eyebrows kneaded together in a frown of concentration. If I had been worried before, well... I was now nearing a full meltdown.
Letting go of my hands, Tara began shifting under the covers. She grabbed the edge of the comforter and tossed it aside as she got out of her bed. "Pancakes, waffles, or crepes?" Came her, I'm-just-going-to-ignore-your-previous-question, reply.
"What...huh?" I had no idea where she was going with this.
Her eyebrows rose in amusement, smirking at my lack of understanding. "Which one of these yummy choices would you like to have cooked for breakfast? Numero uno, pancakes. Numero dos, waffles. Or Numero tres, crepes?"
Oh...I finally got it. Did I say Buffy was dense? Well I guess being roomies, some of her dense-iness rubbed off on me, like a virus or something infectiony. "Um...uno?"
"Are you sure? Because there will be no substitutions, exchanges, or refunds." Double-meaning much?
"You sound like Anya in accounting." She giggled. I was growing on her. "And I'm sure."
"Well, g-good then." She stated, with an affirmative nod. "Well, t-this makes it official then. Our first d-date, at 'Tara's Pancake Palace', conveniently l-located just down the hall, past the living room and to your right, will now commence. And then m-maybe after breakfast we'll see if you could...um... return that 'A-ACT' of kindness. Buffy bought me a lovely last-day-on-the-job gift and I would like to put it to good use."
"First date? Really? But, hey! I wanted to be the one to ask you out. I mean, I don't mind at all that it was you who asked...or should I say...declared...but I was the one with the whole 'proper-dating-etiquette' proclamation. I wanted to ask you out...first." I would say that my pout probably stretched out about the length of three football fields.
"Okay, so ask me?" She said gently, unable to stifle a laugh.
"Tara, I can't now. I mean you offered to cook breakfast. I'm being silly. After last night, etiquette-schmetiquette, I'm hungry...lets eat!" I declared rubbing my hands together in anticipation. "Pancakes go in bellies."
I enveloped Tara in my arms, entwining my fingers in her hair when she leaned forward and placed a chaste kiss on my lips. Her expression was equal parts bemusement and wonder. "We should wash up first. Let me just give you something to wear."
"Thanks. Oh, and Tara." Carpe-diem.
"Yes." She replied curiously, as she had walked to her drawers searching for something for me to wear.
"Would you like to have dinner with me this evening at the pier and maybe afterwards... we could...um... oh, I don't know...take a ride on the ferry around the marina? It's a lot of fun." I looked up with hopeful anticipation.
"I would love to, Willow...but maybe we should get through our first date...first."
I nodded her agreement. "Sounds like a plan."
I couldn't completely hide my small smile. I sat there on her bed my eyes caressing the supple and velvety outline of her body. One phrase came to mind...buxom enchantress. I should have felt vulnerable and exposed due to my lack of clothing, but I didn't. I felt safe and wanted. It was like something out of a dream. Only this time the hard cold light of reality didn't rear its ugly fašade.
A range of new possibilities were upon us, because just like that, Tara and I had effectively set-up two dates in one day.