Tara woke up first and made her way out of the tent. She used the term 'woke up' loosely, considering she really never went to sleep. She had felt terrible about what had happened to Officer the night before. Even as horrible as Officer was, she really didn't like to see anybody hurt.
She was thinking about what happened and she knew that she had felt the same tension in Officer that she had felt in herself. That tension being of a sexual nature, and she found it odd that she had felt really quite disappointed by the fact that Officer didn't want to participate in a little bit o' lust a lot with her. Not that Tara was one to engage in this sort of activity. She actually couldn't remember ever being that forward or the last time that she had felt that desire. She chalked it up to the visual stimulation of the bathing incident and was now wishing she had listened to Good Thought.
She thought that perhaps Officer was straight. That could well have caused the freak out response from her.
Oh, well. She just had to move on from here. They had much more important things to think about right now. Those things being Joss. She was concerned because she knew he was on the move. Had he not been they would have almost certainly would have found him by now.
She had finished rolling her sleeping and was heading toward Officer's tent to wake her. Officer would no doubt be back to being... whatever it was that Officer was, by now. She felt that she may be in for another ticketing scenario. Are there laws about that? Gay women trying to force themselves on straight women?If there were, Officer would let her know. That was certain. Either way, she knew that she was in for a bumpy ride.
She stood outside the tent and said, "Officer?"
"WHAT?" Officer snapped.
"Are you ready to head out?"
She heard noises inside the tent, things being tossed around, some under-breath cursing and Tara was now backing slowly away from Officer's tent. She wasn't quite sure just what might emerge from the mouth of the tent, and she wasn't taking any chances.
As she was backing away she felt herself bump into something and it almost sent her over. She turned around and she saw Millo. He was sitting, staring up at her, wagging his tail, panting, with his tongue hanging out the side of his mouth.
She smiled at him and bent down to give him a scratch.
"Well you're a cute little guy, you know that?" He did a little tap dance thing with his two front paws, but remained in a sitting position and Tara had to laugh.
She gave him a good scratch behind the ears and then she heard, "What are you doing?"
It was the beast thing from the tent.
"Petting Lillo," Tara answered.
"Millo, and stop it," Tent Monster said.
As soon as the TM had birthed itself from its vinyl cocoon, Millo b-lined over to her and jumped and circled, wagged his tail and rolled over. The animal was obviously too ignorant to realize the danger he was in.
TM then bent down, smiled, and began to rub his tummy and speak to him in a silly voice. Tara was confused. TM looked up at her and scowled. This creature obviously possessed incredible shape-shifting ability.
"I was just petting him. I'm sorry."
"Yeah, well," TM said.
"Yeah well, what?"
"Nothing. I think we should sit and look at this map for a minute. I found an area here that I think is a likely spot for him to be in. I was following possible trail routes from where the family had said he had started out from and it think it's the most likely direction. I want to see if you agree. Give me five minutes to get geared up and I'll be out." Officer went back into the tent.
Tara shook her head and went to begin collecting her gear . She was curious about Officer's evaluation seeing as she had spent the better part of last night doing the same. It also hit her that they could well have saved a great deal of time had they actually done this together the night before. Time was important here and wasting it wouldn't do. She would bring this up to her in a few minutes and prayed that she would survive the telling of her observation.
Officer came over to her carrying a cup of coffee in her hand and a map in the other. Tara turned around and walked in her direction.
"So anyway here is what I'm thinking." Officer placed her pack on the ground and placed a foot on it. She bent down and put her coffee cup down then placed the map on her leg using it as a sort of table. "This is where he started out, and if you go with what his sister said, he took off this way after the frog."
She was using the index finger of her right hand to show Tara the path that she thought would have been the most likely route, "and now, you being a Ranger, what do you see here that makes you think that were possibly going in the wrong direction?" Officer asked. Tara looked down at the route that Willow had been pointing at and a smile crossed her face. She was quizzing Tara. She knew that. Even better, Tara knew what she was getting at.
"Well Officer, from what I know about frogs, they rarely move in a straight line. So were it being pursued, it would have more than likely gone in a route that it would hope would confuse the predator but keep himself in close proximity to where he would be able to get back to his original location."
She then moved her finger down and pointed to the route that would be most likely the way the frog would have gone. She put her finger on the map and applied a light pressure and began to move it in the path it would have taken.
"He probably would have gone, more than likely, in a semi circle and led Joss back around to the opposite side of the creek." She looked up smiling, finger still in place on the map, proud of herself that she knew what Officer was implying.
When her eyes caught Officer's face she could see that she was flushed and her mouth was slightly open. She cautiously raised her eyes upward till she saw Officer's. It was clear that Officer was... well, turned on. Tara quickly went to pull her hand away and Officer stopped her, holding it in place with her own hand.
"Wait," Officer said with a slight shake in her voice. Their eyes remained locked. She placed her hand flat on Tara's and stretched her finger over the top of Tara's and continued.along the path on the map guiding their fingers across the line that marked the route .
Officer moved her eyes down to the map. She began to speak in a low voice.
"Joss would more than likely be disoriented. He would have thought that he was still on the same side of the creek he had started at. So his mind would have told him to head back, instead of forward, which would put him closer to the entrance to the park rather then deeper in."
She slowly raised her eye's stopping at Tara's mouth. Her finger now lightly caressed Tara's. The tip of her tongue peeked out and she moistened first the top lip then the bottom. "Don't you agree Miss Maclay?" she said slowly, in a voice barely a whisper. Then her eyes moved back to Tara's.
"Yes," Tara said, her voice high pitched and cracking slightly. She then tore her eyes away from Officer's and pulled her hand away. She took a deep swallow and cleared her throat. This time, it was Tara that was panicking.
Officer looked up at Tara, a vixeny grin on her face, and said, "Are you ready?"
"Oh, Fuck yes," Tara said to herself as she pressed her thighs tightly together, concerned that she may well be dripping at this point.
"Yes, let go," Tara said.
"I'm going to radio up and tell them what we're going to do. They can get another team up here and we'll spend today up in this area. Do you agree with that?"
For all Tara knew, Officer could have said that they were going to a hotel room and fuck each other's brains out. She would have agreed to anything at this point.
"Sure, that's sounds like a plan. That is actually what I had been thinking as well believe it or not," Tara said to Officer.
"Well, Tara, it would seem that we're starting to find ourselves on the same page. This just might work." Officer winked again at Tara and pulled her sunglasses down over her eyes.
"Oh, and by the way. You try anymore of that tailhook crap on me like you did last night, I will ticket you," Officer said smiling.
"I knew it," Tara said to herself.
They had been walking for about twenty minutes without talking. It was a comfortable silence at this point and Tara noticed that Officer had been sort of grinning the entire time. She was feeling bold and she decided to bring up the previous night's situation.
"So, Officer. I'm sorry about what happened last night. I'm not usually like that. I don't just come on to random women that I've only known for twelve hours."
"There's nothing to apologize for Tara. I really haven't thought about it."
"Oh come on. I don't believe you. How could you have not thought about it? It was intense. I know you felt it to so don't even try that with me."
"Well I may have thought about it, but not in the way you're insinuating. I just get a little nervous around people who have overly active sex drives with tendencies for violence." Willow turned her head hiding the smile that crossed her lips.
"What? What the hell are you saying to me?"
"Well, Tara, I did have to ask you more then once to stop didn't I?"
"God. I don't believe you. Why are you trying to avoid this? You 're lying and I know it. What was that about this morning if you didn't feel it."
"I don't know what you mean."
Tara noticed that Officer's demeanor was changing and decided it would be better to leave it alone.
"Just, never mind. And you don't have to worry about it happening again," Tara said a little annoyed.
"Good. That's good."
They walked a little more and Officer spoke. "So does 'Sweetie' know about this little promiscuous streak of yours?"
"Does who know about what?"
"Sweetie, the guy on the radio."
"Are you talking about Rodger Tyler?" Tara asked.
"Rodger Tyler? God you have to be kidding. I wouldn't touch him even if I was straight," Officer said under her breath.
"Not that it's any of your business, Roger is just a friend."
"Ppphhff, sure. So do you call all your friends sweetie?"
"Friends do call each other names like that Officer. I know that's probably hard for you to understand since you don't have any friends."
"Why do you keep saying I don't have any friends? Just how the hell is it that you think you have so much in site into my life?"
"Because," Tara said, stopping now, "that's what everybody says about you. I didn't believe them at first but now, now I have no doubt about it." Tara started walking again.
"I really don't care what people say about me, so this isn't having any effect on me."
"Why don't you stop flattering youself Officer. Trust me when I say that I don't like anything about you."
Officer stopped talking and turned her head in the opposite direction. She was not paying attention to Tara anymore because she had just heard a noise that was music to her ears.
Tara stopped and looked at Millo. He was standing in place calling out.
"He's got something," Officer said.
The two women ran in the direction Millo was standing in.
"What is it boy, whatcha got huh?" Officer asked the dog.
He pawed at the ground and Willow placed a flag there.
"What does that mean?"Tara asked.
"It means we go this way," Officer said smiling.
"Because he's telling me he has a hit. When he stands there like that it means he wants me to follow him." She laughed a little.
She then went down on one knee and spoke right at Millo.
"Do you know what a good boy you are? Hum? Yes you are, you're a good boy." She then gave him a scratch behind his ear. Millo stared straight into Officer's face and sat. His tail was flailing wildly, sending dust flying in all directions.
Tara was amazed by the scene. The mutual adoration evident. This is what Millo lived for. To please Officer.
Officer, in return, adored this animal. Her face radiated the emotion and Tara thought at that moment that the moonlight bathing paled in comparison to how beautiful Officer looked now.