Willow lay holding onto the blonde's body tightly, enjoying the freedom to do so as she had wished to do on many occasions and analysed the kiss they had just shared with such gentle need and passion, and as her body calmed from its previously heated state she felt the warmth of Tara's breathe against her neck, Tara's body laid gently against her own and Tara's hand stroking idly at her collarbone as she rested her head on Willow's shoulder.
The kiss, which the redhead had fantasised about on many occasions was better, she thought, than any kiss she could have imagined and she felt she had underestimated the softness of Tara's lips and the warmth of her mouth. She had certainly underestimated the blonde's feelings for her, for had Willow been looking closely enough she would have seen the wistful gazes and the daggers that were aimed at Carl as he held her firmly with his own hands. She would have noticed the thought behind the gifts and gentleness in Tara's voice when she spoke her name 'Wil.'
In her effort to try and assuage her own unexpected feelings she had completely missed the very obviousness of Tara's feelings towards her. Now though, she could see them as though they were written in bold letters on Tara's forehead.
Gently tapping Tara's shoulder where her hand rested, Willow gained the blonde's attention and received the wanted action as Tara looked up. Willow inhaled sharply at the large blue eyes that pierced her own with uncertainty and fear and then she smiled softly, leaning down to place a feather light kiss on those very addictive lips.
She pulled back and saw some of the fear had disappeared, but had only been replaced by more uncertainty and she hated to see such a pained expression on the very face that always made her smile.
"I meant it." Willow said and received a raised eyebrow in question, she loved that eyebrow, so clear in it's intent and one of the things that she found endearing about the blonde. "When I gave my thanks I meant it, without you I don't know what I would have done to get through something so... so blech-y."
"You can hardly call a car accident blech-y." Tara spoke for the first time since they kissed, her voice was thick and unusually low sending a shiver down Willow's spine.
"Seen as how it was me that got in the way of a car I reserve the right to call it blech-y ....and anyhow we're going off topic." The redhead answered stubbornly.
"You meant what you said, I'm glad you did because I wouldn't let you take them back. Those words are mine to keep."
"Yes they are." Willow agreed and received a half smile in return which she had to respond to. Bending her head she captured Tara's lips again and held them for a moment, enjoying being able to feel those lips upon her own whenever she pleased. When she pulled away Tara kept her eyes closed as though she was savouring the moment, then opened them and sighed.
"Will... this is all very nice, but the last thing I knew you had a boyfriend and didn't like girls and..."
"I don't have a boyfriend." The redhead interrupted firmly.
"But that message on the machine..."
"That message on the machine I haven't heard, Tara. Have you seen a short man with hair that changes colour and is oddly intimidating for a short guy?"
The blonde shook her head.
"Neither have I, Tara. In nearly five weeks I haven't seen him once and it was two months before that. He isn't my boyfriend and truthfully, he hasn't been for a long time I just couldn't let three years go easily and didn't want to admit defeat." The redhead sighed and thought back to that fateful night, the sky was dark, the moon was bright, the air was cold, but Oz was nowhere to be seen. "He was the reason I was out there that night. We were meant to meet to talk about our relationship and I waited like... forever. He stood me up."
Tara's eyes widened and her mouth gaped then she frowned. Willow knew this to be the blonde's 'annoyed' face and she found it endearing that Tara would display such an emotion for her sake.
"That he would do such a thing is beyond me." Tara shook her head at his callousness.
"Well he did and I'm not mad at him, how can I be? I know this doesn't sound right, but despite all the pain and discomfort I've been in these past few weeks I can't help but think, so what? I've had some other, more important stuff to deal with up here." Willow tapped herself on the temple with her finger and looked up at Tara to make sure she understood.
Tara smiled reassuringly and nodded, she understood now Willow's moodiness, the way she would clamp shut or disappear into her own head and Tara understood that for a few weeks Willow had been having a non-stop babble debate in her head about how she felt for her. She also understood that Willow still needed time to get used to these new feelings.
"...and as for me not liking girls... that is still true. I don't like girls I like A girl... a very blonde, very pretty and as I recently discovered, very good kisser kind of girl..."
"I get your point." Tara interrupted blushing profusely.
"I don't usually use so many words to say something that little, but do you get it at all?"
Removing herself from on top of Willow, the blonde pulled the redhead into a sitting position and propped herself against the pillow then pulled the redhead back down onto her chest, a position they had adopted many times for Willow to settle her exhausted body and rest. Tara gently stroked the soft red hair with her fingers and sighed.
As the two women held each other and the room grew silent, the blonde thought she could almost hear what was going on in Willow's head and after a while the redhead's breathing became slow and steady indicating that she was asleep. Tara lay studying the smaller woman who laid peacefully against her chest. Her lips still tingling from their heated kisses, the redheads imprint still burning on her mouth. Her head ached from trying to piece together the significance of what had passed between them and for all of Willow's gentle words or reassurance she had a twinge of insecurity that couldn't be washed away.
Willow awoke with her head still resting on Tara's shoulder, she was surprised by the blonde's presence as the sun had clearly gone down and the house seemed still. Usually when she woke up Tara had had to leave and she would have a sense of emptiness which would only be assuaged a little by the knowledge that the blonde would be back soon.
Glancing up at Tara's face the redhead was stuck with an overwhelming feeling of tenderness that tightened her chest and made her bite her lip at the intensity of it, she had never seen Tara sleep before and the sight before her made her want to weep and laugh at the same time. The mixture of emotions were so powerful, her right hand involuntarily touched and stroked her fingers along the soft skin of Tara's cheek. Her index finger grazed the blonde's lips, remembering their softness and skill from when they had kissed her earlier.
Tara stirred lightly, rearranging her body so she was half on her side and half on her back, her right hand resting on the redhead's stomach, her lips parted slightly and a stray lock of hair slid in front of her eye.
Willow softly stroked the hair back and felt it's silkiness against her fingers, she trailed her hand down the blonde's neck gently, enjoying the feel of skin beneath her digits.
Blue yes fluttered open as Tara stretched her body, her hand grazed along Willow's stomach when she extracted herself from the redhead to ease out the aching in her limbs at having been laid in one position for too long. She yawn wholeheartedly placing the back of her hand over her mouth and straightened out some wayward hair that was refusing to play nice then she turned in the bed and was startled to see Willow watching her in the darkness of the room.
The blonde reached out behind her to the lamp that was sitting on the bedside cabinet and when she flipped the switch both women squinted at the contrast of the darkness to the light that now filled the room.
"Hi." Willow smiled softly, resting her casted arm on her left hip as she turned as best she could to face Tara more fully. She received a warm smile from the blonde in return.
"How come you're still, I mean not that I'm complaining because hello I'm all big with the Tara stay-age, but shouldn't you be at home?"
"Well if it hadn't of started snowing and your mother hadn't of insisted that the roads were in no condition to be driven on, then I probably would be." Tara explained. "Donny's in your dads office on the fold out bed, mom's in the guest room and I've been assigned Willow-watch."
"Willow-watch?" The redhead scrunched up her nose and chuckled at the phrase.
"Your moms words not mine, she gave me specific orders. If you have to pee, eat, drink, have more blankets, or come up with some insane request, which she said you were famous for, then I Tara Maclay have solemnly sworn to take on the responsibility of ensuring that said needs are met."
"She made you take an oath?"
"More or less."
Willow laughed then held her hand over her mouth at the noise she was making in the silence of the night, the atmosphere around them seemed still as they lay in the cosiness of the room.
"Well, I'm in need of Tara snuggles right now do you think I could possibly get some?"
"Absolutely." The blonde said with certainty then gathered Willow into her arms, the redhead sighed into the embrace and enjoyed the feeling of Tara's fingers gently tickling her back through the thin material of her shirt.
"Tara?" Willow spoke after a few moments of what she could only describe as 'bliss'.
"I think... I think you're a big part of my second chance..."
Tara frowned a little not really understanding and urged the redhead to go on.
"At thanksgiving I said I have a second chance and that I don't intend to waste it. I realised... I mean really realised that it's true, and I don't, but I want you to be here with me because this second chance wouldn't mean that much if I didn't have you to share it with. I'm a little scared, a little excited and very very confused, but this is what I want." Willow blushed the colour of her hair, but looked directly into the blonde's eyes she then buried her head in the crook of Tara's neck and hid shyly.
Tara felt her eyes watering and sniffled, trying to regain her composure she tightened her grip on the smaller woman and sighed.
Tara stood outside the Rosenberg home, the unrelenting cold causing her to shiver as she waited impatiently for her mother to say her goodbyes. The day had given way to night and there was an eerie calm as the wind whipped mildly at the leafless branches of trees. Donny came up besides his younger sister and wrapped a large arm around her slender shoulders to help keep her warm as he watched their mother chatter on endlessly.
"She's cute." He said nonchalantly although he knew his sister would get the meaning behind his words.
"Yes, Willow is cute." Tara agreed deciding to try and avoid the road this conversation would inevitably lead. "I'm not gunna take the bait, I've had this conversation with mom already."
"Yes but you hate that mom's always right so you tend to deny whatever she's accusing you of."
Tara nodded her head in agreement, but her happiness at the previous days events prevented her from being able to come up with a feasible defence and instead she poked him in his ribcage
The journey home went quickly as Tara disappeared into her own mind, lost in her own thoughts, unable to process anything except that Willow had kissed her. Willow's lips had explored her mouth and she had in turn explored Willow's. her body had been pressed against the redhead's, she had felt the heat and acknowledged the want in the woman that squirmed beneath her and that woman had been Willow.
All the time she had spent in the park, admiring, studying, fantasising, wishing and wanting it was hard for her to believe that finally, she had gotten what she wanted and something within her told her it was all a dream, it wasn't real and someone was going to shake her into wakefulness at any moment.
Tara climbed out of the car on auto-pilot, not really paying attention to anything around her and she didn't notice the shared glances between mother and son.
When she entered her apartment, made some coffee, took a shower and clambered into bed. Nothing went through her mind except Willow and her kisses.
Willow sat in the doctors office, her patience running thin because the doctor was late. Her casted leg stuck out from beneath a large blanket, the stirrup of the wheelchair holding the brunt of it's weight and her casted arm hanging heavily in a sling around her neck. She was tired and cranky and just wanted to see Tara.
She had woke up that morning to a very cheerful and very irritating Mrs Rosenberg, the older woman was enthusiastic because this particular check up was to monitor her daughters recovery and she wanted Willow to be out of those darn casts and at least have improved mobility before Christmas, which was just under a month away. At best this appointment could shed some light on when those overbearing casts would possibly be removed.
Looking at her daughter Mrs Rosenberg studied the angelic face intently, a realisation that she could so easily have lost something so precious struck her and a wave of guilt made her sway in her seat. All those times she had been working out of town were times she could have been home with her daughter, watching her grow into the young, intelligent, independent, attractive woman she had become. Mrs Rosenberg realised that perhaps she didn't know what every mother should know about their daughters and she was truly disappointed with herself.
Willow shifted uncomfortably under her mothers intense gaze. The older woman's eyes pierced her own and she glared back in annoyance, her mood turning from bad to worse at having to wait for the doctor and her mother's strange ogling. Her mind occupied itself with the only thing it had been thinking about for just over a month , blue eyes, full lips and a half-smile that could melt an iceberg. She thought about their kisses and Tara's body hovering gently above her own, the sensuality of the womanly body brought a fierce need spiralling through her that she didn't recognise. Never had the need been so great to be so close to someone. Willow cocked her head to the side, that statement making her brow furrow at it's honest truth. She had felt something for Oz, but it hadn't been this intense.
The redhead thought back to all her mornings in the park, she had caught herself many times secretly wishing that the blonde girl would be there. There had only been two times that she hadn't and on both occasions a disappointment ran through her that she quickly disregarded and ignored.
Now Willow acknowledged that disappointment and shook her head at the naivety she had displayed and she knew that although she had never been attracted to any woman before, she was attracted to Tara now, and that attraction ran deep, possibly deeper than she could imagine.
The doctor finally entered and cleared his throat to gain the attention of the doting mother and the daughter who was lost deep in thought. Mr Rosenberg stood to shake the doctors hand then waited until he took his seat behind a large oak desk.
"How are you feeling Willow? Is the pain any better?" The man got straight to business.
Throughout the appointment the doctor asked a lot of questions and every time he received an answer he would write something on a piece of paper in front of him. Willow found that irritating because she wanted to know what was being written, and after a million questions and as many answers the doctor finally came to his conclusion. One that the made redhead sigh in relief.
Tara hoarded her way through the Rosenberg home straight to Willow's room after giving Mrs Rosenberg a rushed greeting, she knew of the redhead's hospital appointment and wanted to know how it went. Without knocking she opened the bedroom door to see Carl helping Willow with her exercises, her immediate mental response was to send daggers at him through her glare, but instead she smiled politely and took her usual seat next to the bed.
Willow smiled at Tara knowing what was going through the blonde's head. She held out her hand and took Tara's in her own then squeezed reassuringly. Placing the customary bag of muffins on the cabinet next to the bed Tara winked at the redhead and waited as patiently as she could for the young man to finish his caressing.
Carl stood and stretched his own limbs then turned to Willow after a few moments of exercising her right knee.
"I think that's it for today, you seem to be doing really well, you won't need me here anymore when you start your physiotherapy lessons. Keep doing isometric exercises and I'll see you in a few days." He smiled and picked up his coat sending a polite nod Tara's way before exiting the room. Both women watched him retreat then Willow turned her attention to the new arrival.
"Hi." She beamed giving a full Willow-smile.
"Hey." The blonde's smile mirrored that of her friends.
"So, I have good news and bad news." Willow stated "Which do you want first?"
"Uh... the bad news?" Tara said hesitantly hoping that it was the redhead over exaggerating.
"The bad news is, whenever you enter a room that I'm in you have to kiss me."
Tara's eyebrows shot up in surprise her smile threatened to envelope her face as she leaned over and gently pressed her lips against Willow's. After a moment she pulled back and picked up the bag of muffins handing it to her chocolate addicted friend.
"If that's your definition of bad news I want more of it!"
"Well, I'm sorry, but that's all the bad news I have for today. The good news is... I get my casts off next week." The redhead's smile threatened to take over her face and she beamed at what the doctor had told her in his office. "He said I still won't be able to walk and I'll still be pretty sore, but the physiotherapy will help with that in time."
"So, you mean next week you'll be cast free? No more big casts with their... casty-ness?" Tara waved her hand at the offending objects and stared. "I'll see your arm and leg and they'll match your other arm and leg?"
"Yeah that's pretty much the gist of it."
"Ahh! I'm so happy for you!" Tara jumped off the chair and sat beside Willow on the bed then swooped down and wrapped her arms tightly around the redhead's shoulders. "Maybe next week your mother can stop hiding the knitting needles." She chuckled.
"Hey, these casts are itchy!" The redhead defended herself and pulled back from the embrace with a pout gracing her lips.
Tara half smiled as she studied the enthusiastic Willow-pout, but her view was suddenly obstructed as those pouting lips pressed against her own and she barely had time to respond before the rosy lips pulled away to reveal a smiling redhead.
"That's the second time you've done that?" Tara said in thought completely oblivious to the reason why, not that Willow needed a reason to kiss her.
The redhead shrugged her shoulders and blushed. The blush was creeping down her neck and she had to do something to avert Tara's attention. Reaching behind the blonde she grabbed an unread magazine and thrust it into Tara's hand.
Having received her orders Tara took up her usual position with the redhead resting comfortably against her. Together they laid enjoying each others company.