Author: MissKittys Ball O Yarn
"Would you like to come in for coffee or something?" Tara was leaning against the front door; she hoped the "or something" hadn't come out sounding as smutty as it had in her own head.
"I'd love to, actually...but..."
"But you can't?" Tara tired not to sound as disappointed as she felt. She was still feeling tingly from the kiss they had shared earlier and it was making it difficult to sensor her tone.
It was an undeniable feeling of want that had pulled Tara against Willow's lips in the parking lot that evening and she was still feeling it - a residual pull toward the redhead, as if at any moment the gravitational equilibrium between them would crumble and she'd be against Willow's body, holding on for dear life. Tara licked her lips subconsciously, but the muted glow of the porch light subdued any actual action she might have taken...for the moment anyway.
"I have an early meeting tomorrow - with my travel agent," Willow silently cursed. This was one meeting she couldn't put off any longer. If she didn't book something within the next few days, she doubted there would even be a spot for her at the convention. Not to mention the fact that she also had to meet with Kirkland Jr. tomorrow afternoon, as well. She still didn't know how she was going to tell him she hadn't found another artist to take on their project.
She knew if she kept up this pattern of all play, and no work, there was a fairly good chance she would have to forfeit the project altogether - a prospect which completely chilled her to the bone. This million-dollar project was what she'd been working up to her whole career; and she just knew that if she failed she would never be able to let it go.
"Are you going somewhere?" Tara asked curiously. She wracked her memory, but couldn't remember Willow having said anything about a trip or vacation.
Tara‘s words pulled Willow out of her own thoughts. "In a few weeks I'll be in Japan for a graphic artists convention," she explained.
"That sounds really exciting." Tara thought Willow's world sounded a little hectic but also kind of adventurous. Tara wondered if she could ever do what Willow was doing, but she figured that she could not. She liked the quietness of her life too much, and once she'd left the bustle of corporate business she'd told herself she would never go back to it. She wondered if Willow ever felt like slowing down.
"It is. It's fun."
There was a silence and then Tara spoke, "Willow...can I ask you something?" She played with the bracelet around her wrist. Her own words had come as a surprise to her.
"Sure. Anything, Tara." Willow sounded confident and casual on the outside, but inside, the sudden nervousness she felt made her knees go weak. Tara was looking seriously at her now and she just knew the blonde was going to apologize for what happened in the parking lot. She didn't want Tara to apologize; she wanted her to do it again.
Tara took a deep breath. She didn't know what she was going to say until it came out, "Do you have a lot of girlfriends?" She held her breath, waiting for Willow's response. The redhead looked pensive for a moment and then met her gaze. Tara had been thinking about what the receptionist, Anya, had said, on and off the whole car ride home.
Kissing Willow had awakened more than just desire and a need for the physical inside of her; it had also awakened a need for questions, and the need for answers to those same questions. There was more to think about than simply satisfying a lusty craving and she knew it. There was more to consider, and before she let her emotions for Willow pull her into another emboldened move - like the one tonight, she would have to ask those questions. She had to think about what was best for her son. She had to think: Did she really want to bring another person into his life at that point, when things were still so difficult with Logan? Tara didn't have any answers. All she had were questions, and the sensual flooding of her system each time she looked at Willow.
"No. I guess usually...but not recently. At the moment I'm pretty much girlfriendless." Willow was a little surprised that Tara had asked about her present tense relationships because she thought that she‘d been perfectly clear about being single. So she had to assume Anya had made a comment about it the other day. Willow was just happy that Tara hadn't apologized for what happened earlier - she didn't think she could take it if Tara regretted anything.
Willow lifted her eyebrows at the blonde, hoping she would pick up on what she had implied; by the blush that crept across Tara's cheeks Willow guessed she'd gotten it.
"That's good - Uh..." Tara stumbled over her words. Had Willow meant what she thought she meant? "I mean..." Tara could feel herself blushing, and found herself wondering where all her earlier daring had fled to. She would have given a sack of gold doubloons for a teaspoon of what she'd felt in the parking lot just before she'd kissed Willow. At this moment her knees were going a little weak.
"It's okay, I know what you meant." Willow smiled warmly. She licked her bottom lip as her eyes drifted from Tara's eyes in the darkness to her full lips. She wanted to be kissing Tara again, not hashing up old files on past lovers, though she completely understood Tara's need to know.
Willow moved closer to Tara. She started to talk but all she could see was the blonde's deep blue eyes and her full pink lips. "Is your van still...? Willow said slowly, trying to uncloud the mist of want that had settled over her. She wondered if Tara was feeling the same cloud.
"Out of commission?" Tara smiled as she finished for her, she could see Willow was struggling to make complete sentences and a little bit of that boldness crept back. "Yeah. I wont get it back until next week."
"Oh. How are you going to get Spencer to school in the mornings?" Willow asked.
"Actually I hadn't really thought about that. It's Friday so I guess I have this weekend to figure it out."
"I could come by...if you want?" Willow let her voice drop to an almost inaudible level.
"No. I mean...I couldn't ask you to do that."
"You don't have to ask me. I'm offering."
"That's very sweet but...I would really rather figure it out on my own." Tara silently questioned her words even as she spoke them. Why was she refusing Willow's offer to help? And then she knew. "You don't need to do anything to make me like you," she said seriously, but Willow ducked her head and Tara waited until the redhead's green eyes met hers again. "I like you, Willow..." She spoke slowly, letting her words take shape in the air between them.
"I like you too..." Willow leaned in, unable to keep herself from doing so any longer, as Tara moved forward. Their lips met.
"Goodnight, Willow..." Tara said softly, her lips pressing lightly against Willow‘s. She felt the blush return to her cheeks, only this time it wasn‘t because of embarrassment. She knew it would be best to say goodnight to Willow and that be it for the night; but what she really wanted to do was pull Willow into the house by her jacket and into her bedroom. Then she remembered Ginny was still inside and she knew the awkwardness of that would have ruined the moment. So she pulled back a little more until their lips were barely touching, but she couldn't do more; that was as far as she could pull away from Willow, and one word crept back into her mind: Gravity.
"Goodnight," Willow whispered in return, almost unsure that she'd even actually said anything at all. Her lips were a breath away from Tara's intoxicatingly sweet taste. She wanted more...but Tara was speaking again and she didn't want to interrupt.
"I had a really good time tonight," Tara added slowly. Willow's hands had slid down her arms and now held her hands. They stood linked by fingers under the yellow glow of the porch light. Neither making a move to pull any further away.
"Me too..." Willow breathed, and she could feel the heat of Tara's mouth so close to her own.
There was a sigh and then their lips met again, this time more passionately. With eyes closed, Willow felt Tara's hands come up to cup her face, Tara's fingers tangling in her hair as their lips crashed against each other over and over again.
There was still a distance between them, their bodies slightly out of reach of each other. Willow's hands held Tara around the waist, her fingers twisting Tara's leather jacket as her tongue traced a path along Tara's full lips, until they parted under her tongue.
They kissed for a long time, but Tara was the one to pull away first. And this time it was Willow's turn to ask the question she'd been thinking about the entire time in the car. "Tara, did you mean what you said in the parking lot?...About wanting to kiss me for a long time?"
"Oh yes," Tara said breathlessly. She smiled and their eyes met again. Willow's expression melted into the warmest smile Tara had ever seen.
"Me too..." Willow confessed. She kissed Tara once on the cheek, and then turning, she made her way down the stone steps and onto the concrete walkway. She turned back to see Tara still watching her. "Goodnight, Tara." Willow said again as she pulled the driver's side door open and got in. She saw Tara wave from where she'd left her on the front porch.
"Goodnight Willow..." Tara lips tingled where Willow's lips had been against her and her cheek burned with that last kiss. She watched Willow drive away into the dimming light from the streetlamps, before she turned left at the corner and could no longer be seen.
"Hmmm?" Tara answered, sleepily. She stretched her arms above her head in a long stretch that pulled everything from the tips of her toes to the muscles of her shoulders into alignment. She couldn't remember a night that she'd slept so well since she was a child on her parents farm. She knew it had everything to do with Willow and the wonderful time they'd had together the night before. She'd drifted off to sleep with the redhead on her mind and she still felt warm and cozy because of it.
Wanting nothing more than to stay in that place, Tara's mind fought against clearing. The world outside her sleepy-morning-mind seemed distant and muddled. But then she felt hands on her, shaking her and the sound of Spencer's voice close to her face. Her warm fuzzy dream world began to fade as the real world seeped in around the edges.
"What is it, little man?" Tara said around a yawn. Spencer came into focus and Tara sat up a little. And then she became worried that something was wrong. She looked at the clock next to her bed to see that it was only six thirty in the morning. She'd only slept five hours. "What are you doing up so early, sweetie?" She felt his forehead to check for fever. There was none. "You don't feel warm. Are you okay, baby?"
"I'm not sick, Mommy. But there's a man outside."
Tara came the rest of the way awake. She didn't know any men other than her father and brother, but she really didn't think they would come all the way down to Los Angeles just to see her; she hadn't even spoken to her father since her mother's death almost four years ago.
She pulled her robe on and followed Spencer down the hall, through the living room and toward the front door. "You didn't open the door, did you?" Tara asked, looking at her son. She'd warned him many times before never to open the door to strangers.
"No, Mommy. I came and got you."
Tara could see out the window that the man on her porch was definitely neither her father nor her brother. The man was dressed in a black blazer and Chino's, and Ray Ban sunglasses. He looked very nice, if just a little overdressed to be standing on her front porch with the wind chimes blowing in the early morning air, with herself and her son, dressed casually in a robe and dinosaur pj's.
He held a clipboard and he was peering at her over the rim of his dark shaded sunglasses - which she found strange at such an early hour. Spencer leaned against her side, silently waiting to see what was going to happen.
"Here you go, Ma‘am."
The man handed Tara a set of keys, wrote something on the sheet of paper attached to his clipboard, and started to walk away. Tara stopped him. "Wait. As much as I love receiving random sets of keys, I'd really like to know what they're for."
The man stepped aside and Tara saw for the first time the shiny black BMW parked in her driveway. There was another Chino and Ray Ban man at the end of the walkway. "Who's this from?" she said, even though she was certain she already knew the answer.
"Miss Willow Rosenberg, Ma'am. We were under strict orders to bring it directly here. Everything's been signed and taken care of." The man nodded his retreat and continued the rest of the way down the driveway. He got into another car that was parked out on the street, his Chino brother now behind the wheel; they pulled away from the curb. Tara looked down at Spencer, who was still standing next to her. His big blue eyes gazed at the car in wonderment.
"Huh?" Willow snapped back to reality to see her travel consultant looking at her as if she'd grown an extra head.
She'd known Buffy Summers since high school and the two had attended college at the same university; she was the closest person Willow had to a best friend. Buffy was also the only person she trusted to make travel decisions for her.
"I've been talking to you for ten minutes. Where have you been? You have to make a decision."
"Oh..." Willow looked apologetically at her friend, she hadn't meant to waste the other woman's time, but she just didn't seem to be in the mood to discuss the trip, or hotels. At that moment all she wanted to do was get out of Buffy's overstuffed office and go for a walk somewhere quiet, where she could relive the night before without the interruption of decision making. But she could tell Buffy wasn't going to let her go that easily.
"Okay spill it. What's going on with you? I've never seen you this way and it's starting to freak me out."
"I'm sorry, Buffy. Look. Here...this one looks nice." Willow pointed to one of the brochures fanned out on the table between them.
"That's a brochure for the miniature golf course, Will...unless you'd like to sleep in The Windmill...but I don't think they provide room service."
Willow shot Buffy another apologetic look. She seemed to be mastering those today. "I'm sorry...my heads just kinda..." Willow made a gesture with her hands above her head.
"Complicated." Willow corrected.
"Trouble with the ladies?"
"But...? Come on, you‘ve never been able to hide anything from me. Don‘t start practicing now."
Willow met eyes with Buffy and could tell that the blonde wasn't going to let her off the hook; she was going to have to tell Buffy something, if not everything. And then suddenly she knew how much she really needed someone to talk to about it all. "I met a woman," Willow said slowly, she felt a smile forming on her lips at the thought of Tara. "She's got a kid."
"That's great, Will. How long has it been since...what was her name again?"
"No...it's not like that," Willow said quickly. She couldn't stand the thought of Buffy comparing what she felt about Tara to one of the many one-night-stands she'd had in the past. Tara was much more than that and she'd never felt about anyone the way she felt about Tara.
Willow watched the realization of what she said suddenly hit Buffy. The blonde smiled at her and Willow picked up a slip of carbon paper from the desk, fiddling with it, not even noticing the black ink it left on her fingertips.
Willow nodded, still looking at the paper in her hand.
"Willow Rosenberg is in love?"
"I think so. Actually, I'm not sure." Was she really in love? She'd never been in love...was this what it was like? "Why are you so surprised?" She said almost defensively, but soon softened the hardest edges of her tone.
"No, it's not surprise exactly...I just never thought you'd settle down with anyone...especially a woman with a kid."
"He's so sweet, Buffy. And smart, too." She met Buffy's gaze. "But it's not exactly set or anything...she did kiss me though...but we haven't really talked about what that means."
"What do you want it to mean?"
"I don't know...I've never been here before, Buffy. It's a little scary. I think I want it to mean something, but I'm not sure. What should I do?" Willow's eyes were suddenly pleading.
"Tell her how you feel and see how it goes."