Return to Spark to a Flame Chapter Three

Spark to a Flame

Author: Auburn
Rating: NC-17
Disclaimer: I don't own these characters but the story is mine.

After a full night of much needed sleep Tara woke feeling revitalised, the past five days drained so much of her energy she had been running on empty for at least two of them and it was starting to show in her eyes. The blue orbs always gave away any indication that she wasn't feeling to good, no matter how she tried to hide it, those who knew her could easily tell and Mrs Brown had been adamant that a nice hot bath and good nights sleep was in order.

Tara had to admit, even though she had been reluctant to allow herself to relax whilst her mind worried about the redhead laying in hospital by herself, that a good nights sleep had been just what she needed.

Slipping her shoe on Tara was interrupted by a knock on the door, answering it she was greeted with the beaming face of Mrs Brown. Stepping aside she allowed the woman entrance and pointed to the chair in front of a small table for her to sit on.

Mrs Brown took in the form of her tenant and friend, deciding that Tara had taken her advice and had a good nights sleep she was happy not to press the matter and instead handed the blonde a small envelope.

"Is there any special requests today Mrs Brown? Do you need me to go to the pharmacy or anything? Because I have to warn you that the last time I did the outcome was not pretty."

The old woman chuckled lightly and shook her head. "Not today dear, just my usual Wednesday shopping if you don't mind and what have I told you about my name."

Tara blushed a little and smiled sheepishly. "Sorry Lydia... do you want some coffee?"

"No no child I'm sure you've got a lot you need to be doing today, don't want to be sitting here talking to little old me when you could be spending your time doing more productive things." The old woman said, whilst standing. "Now everything's in there that I would like you to get for me sweetheart and wrap up warn it's cold outside. No doubt you'll be going to see your friend in hospital please tell her I send my regards."

"I will." Tara stood and led the old woman to the door. "See you later Mrs Brown I won't be too late."

Tara scanned the isles of the supermarket for the items written on the list that her landlord had placed in the envelope and also for some items she needed for herself, the store seemed quiet and the blonde figured it was because most people were at work. Dumping a block of cheese in the shopping cart Tara's eye caught sight of the magazine rack at the bottom of the isle and a thought came to her head.

Guiding the cart to the rack she picked out some magazines, not knowing the redheaded woman that well Tara went by her own preference and hoped it was good enough. This should at least pass a little time for Willow when she started to feel less drowsy.

Having gotten the asked for items for Mrs Brown and herself plus a little extra, Tara dropped the stuff off at her apartment building accepting a nice hot cup of coco from her landlord to warm her chilled digits that the merciless breeze had made stiff with its unrelenting bitterness. The blonde then made her way to the hospital in the freezing cold, the only solace in the cold weather was thought that Christmas wasn't far off, the holidays always brought a sense of peace as she shared that special time with her mother and older brother.

Tara shook herself as she realised she had been daydreaming for most of her journey to the hospital. Stepping into the large building that housed many sick and injured people, the blonde made her way to Willow's room.

As the blonde opened the door she immediately stopped when three sets of eyes turned to look at her, standing in the doorway her cheeks started to burn and she backed up slowly.

"I'm sorry... I'll come back later."

"No, it's ok come on in, take a seat." Willow smiled reassuringly, her eyes studying the blushing face of her rescuer.

A woman that looked alarmingly like an older version of Willow watched her every move as she pulled a chair closer to the redhead's bed and a man nodded his head in greeting.

"Tara these are my parents." The redhead introduce them, "Mom, Dad this is Tara, she rescued me."

"Well I don't know about that all I did was call for an ambulance." The blonde protested lightly, the colour of her cheeks spreading down her neck.

"Either way I'm grateful." Willow grinned, enjoying the flush of her new friend's skin.

"Yes, Tara we spoke on the phone, It's very nice to meet you." The older woman smiled warmly, "I'm just sorry it was in such appalling circumstances. Well darling, we need to get going and get ourselves organised." Mrs Rosenberg announced bouncing up from her seat she took her husband by the arm and pulled him up also. "We'll be back after dinner to check on you, not that you'll be going anywhere."

Willow smiled weakly at her mother and raised her cheek so her farther could kiss her goodbye.

Tara watched as the two older people retreated into the hall and closed the door behind them, turning back to face Willow she noticed the redhead visibly deflate into the bed and lifted an eyebrow in question.

"They're a little overbearing." The redhead explained, but the playful rolling of Willow's eyes softened the statement.

Tara however didn't buy that explanation. When she first walked into the room she was glad to see the redhead had perked up a little, but the visible deflation when Willow's parents left told her that it was an act for their benefit, probably to worry them less.

A few moments of silence passed as the blonde removed her coat, she was about to ask the redhead how she was really feeling, but as she looked up, green orbs were hidden by the delicate skin of Willow's eyelids and deep, steady breathing indicated that the redhead was asleep.

Tara shook her head and sighed, Willow had obviously pushed herself to stay awake for her parents visit. Settling herself comfortably in the chair, the blonde pulled out her pen and pad and succumb to her imagination.

Willow awoke to the distinctive noise of pen scratching against paper, her curiosity peaked, she opened her eyes to the sight of Tara concentrating wholly on her task, whatever that may be.

The redhead lay for a few moments watching what she recognised very well as memories from the blonde huddled against a tree flooded her mind. Surprisingly this image brought warmth to her chest and a smile to her face that she couldn't quite explain, but the familiarity of the scene before her was pleasantly comforting.

Tara had decided to stay as Willow slept in the bed beside her, her pen and paper had provided much amusement as her imagination once again soared with the presence of the redhead. Nurse Carmichael had been and tried to make light conversation whilst changing Willow's catheter bag and checking various monitors, but Tara had simply grunted barely registering the woman's presence, to caught up in the story spilling out from her mind and unfolding on the paper before her.

A soft chuckle finally penetrated Tara's overactive mind and she looked up at the culprit to be greeted with playful green eyes and the image warmed her heart. Although she was a little surprised to be caught off guard the blonde raised her eyebrow in question of the chuckling, but this only served to add fuel to the fire.

"What's so funny?" Tara asked, looking around the room to see if she had missed something.

"You." Willow said simply.

A smile tugged at the blonde's lips as she was baffled by the response.

"You were concentrated so hard I thought you were going to bite your tongue off." The redhead explained, referring to the involuntary action Tara often did whilst concentrating. "Plus you had this crease between your eyebrows that looked as if it was going to be made permanent, I thought I'd better rescues your pretty face from such treatment." The redhead noticed the immediate blush of Tara's cheeks and she smiled softly.

"Well what about you? You were snoring so hard I thought you were going to suck up the furniture."

Willow gasped in mock outrage, "That you would make fun of a hospital patient is disappointing Tara. What were you doing anyway?"

Looking at the pad still resting on her lap Tara wondered just how much she should say, Willow didn't know Tara was a lesbian and if she told the redhead she was in the midst of writing a lesbian novel of which a woman that was described to look suspiciously like her was the main character, she was pretty sure that wouldn't go down well with her new friend.

"I was writing, I'm a writer." Tara gave a minimalist response hoping that would be enough.

Willow studied the blonde's face noticing the crease between Tara's eyebrows had returned and that piqued her curiosity to probe a little.

"Do you have any books published? What are they called? What kind of stories do you write? Can I read one?..... Are you going to answer?"

Tara let out a hearty laugh at the barge of questions that had been directed at her from the very impatient redhead and she shook her head lightly deciding to answer the questions in the order of which they had been presented. "I have one book published and it's called 'From Hell To Heaven' it's a romance story of a different kind, I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be your thing... I think I answered all your questions."

Indeed, Tara had answered all of Willow's questions, but also she had managed to create a whole set of new ones that were about to spill out into another question-fest before Nurse Carmichael entered the room followed by a woman in a white coat looking suspiciously like a doctor.

Sad that she had to leave the presence of her new friend, but also glad from the reprieve of what she knew would be another load of questions that would make her uncomfortable, Tara packed her pen and writing pad in the bag she almost always carried with her and gently grasped Willow's had giving it a soft squeeze.

"I'll be back tomorrow, is that ok?"

"Absolutely." The redhead's smile was somewhat subdued by her obvious tiredness, but it showed clearly that she was looking forward to the visit.

Tara pressed the button for the coffee machine to give her the much needed caffeine her tired body needed after spending half the night reading, readjusting then rereading what she had written. When she had finally gotten herself into bed it took her a long while to give in to sleep and even then she awoke a mare three hours later as restless as ever.

The last few days Tara had fell into a routine, she would go to Willow's house around noon to spend some time with Lightening, the energetic bundle of fun always provided much amusement with its acrobatic dangling from the bars of it's cage then she would either go home for lunch or pick something up on the way to the hospital. She had even sneaked in some chocolate muffins, much to the delight of the redhead whose energy levels were rising and she was beginning to get restless. They had spent hours just talking about nothing in particular. Tara learned that Willow was the head of an electronic gaming company, which was probably going to pot while she was pinned to the bed by two casts that weighed almost as much as she did. Tara had also learned that Willow had the tendency to over exaggerate; she didn't express that though, of course.

Making her way through the now familiar halls of the hospital, the blonde pushed open the door to Willow's room and stopped dead when she saw the bed was empty.

Her heart began to race and she backed up, feeling the panic starting to rise within her. She almost jumped a mile when a firm hand gripped her shoulder.

"Hey sorry, I didn't mean to startle you." Nurse Carmichael apologised sympathetically at having almost given the young woman a heart attack. "You're 'sister' told me to give this to you." The nurse winked as she said the word 'sister' and imitated quotations marks with a chuckle then handed a piece of paper to Tara who's face was beginning to gain back it's colour after the initial shock of Willow not being in her room.

"T-thank you." The blonde managed to splutter out whilst opening the folded paper and reading in neat joined handwriting the message that had been written specifically to her.

'Tara, the doctor said I could go home. I'm staying at my parents house the address is 72-74 Monroe Avenue. Please come visit me.

Yours, Willow'

Without any hesitation, Tara walked briskly down the hall she had just come from, stopped off to get something she knew Willow would appreciate and to the address her new friend had provided for her.

Before she knew, Tara was stood in front of white large house down the wide street, trees strewn one the very edge of the sidewalk gave it an old feel, the houses, although very large, looked very cosy and Tara appreciated that this was the kind of place she would like to live if she ever became more successful with her writing.

Tara smiled politely at a middle-aged man walking his dog and proceeded down the driveway of the Rosenberg home, she loved the look of the well-maintained house and inspected a plaque next to the large, shiny red door. It was oval shape, painted black; the numbers were white with two little yellow hands either side and had clearly been made by a very artistic child.

Before she could press the little round button for the doorbell to ring, the door flew open to a very agitated Mrs Rosenberg. Her face was flushed as if she had been hurrying around and she blew a stray lock of her out of her face, her hand on her hip, looking very intimidating.

"Finally." The older woman exclaimed grabbing Tara firmly by the arm, "That daughter of mine is driving me to my very limits. Do this, pass me that, get me a drink, pass me the bedpan." Mrs Rosenberg continued to rant whilst tugging the blonde along the halls until they came to an abrupt stop outside a door. "Of course her farther had the right idea when he ran out of the house this morning to play golf, I love Willow with all my heart, but if I catch her trying to stick a knitting needle down her cast to have a good itch one more time I'm carting her off back to the hospital." With that the older woman turned on her heels and made a break for it, no doubt barricading herself in the basement for a bit of peace and quiet.

Tara had no idea whether to laugh or cry, Mrs Rosenberg had taken her completely by surprise and the blonde had been in a state of shock from the front door all the way to the room Willow was resting in, but the image of Willow being given a good telling off was too comical.

Letting out a hearty laugh the blonde stood there for a few moments until she managed to get herself under control, then opened the door slowly in case it creaked, she didn't want to wake the redhead if she was sleeping.

Willow was propped up in bed; her eyes riveted on the TV, but with a very prominent pout gracing her lips. The blonde spoke softly so she didn't startle Willow and she was rewarded with a huge smile that wrapped itself right around her heart.

Tara let out an exasperated sigh, feeling something inappropriate for this vulnerable woman was something she couldn't allow herself to do, no matter how endearing she was.

"Are you ok, Tara?" The redhead asked recognising the line between Tara's brow to be the blonde's 'thinking face' and patted the bed beside her with her uninjured hand for Tara to sit.

The blonde saw the chair beside the bed and looked at the space Willow had patted, but immediately put any questions out of her head about whether this was a purposeful move.

Instead she sat in the space offered and smiled at the green eyes that were impatiently waiting for her to answer.

"I'm fine now I'm here. I was worried when I got to the hospital and you weren't there."

Willow nodded her understanding, as she too had been worried that Tara would worry. "I tried to make my parents wait until you got there because you said you were coming to visit, but my mother was to impatient and told me to leave a note. That woman can't wait for anything."

The blonde let out a little chuckle wondering if Willow knew that she was just as impatient as her mother, many times the redhead had pushed the buzzer in hospital then sat there fidgeting mercilessly and muttering unintelligible words until a nurse finally came.

Willow gasped at the raised eyebrow that let her know exactly what Tara was thinking and she playfully swatted the blonde's thigh.

"I am in no way as impatient as my mother is; we'll leave it at that." The redhead tried to sound convincing knowing full well that she didn't possess the ability to wait.

"Do I smell chocolate?" She said trying to change the subject.

Letting it slide knowing that her point was made the blonde handed Willow the bag of muffins and stood to remove her bag and coat.

Continue to Spark to a Flame Chapter Five

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