Author: TazRaven (Sara)
I slept on the floor again that night after dinner, and the next morning, Tara and I made a trip to the local precinct. Even though they assured us they were in no way working for Malone, I made sure I never left Tara's side.
The sergeant brought us to a room where we could talk, and Tara told her story. I felt as though a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders with each word that Tara spoke, and then felt my shoulders slump right back down when Tara's story was complete. There was nothing they could do for us, the sergeant said. They didn't have jurisdiction in the matter. The only way that Tara could report what she'd seen would have been to go back to Chicago, but there was no way in hell I was going to let that happen.
That's when we got the number for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Tara spoke to someone who actually seemed to care, and they arranged for an agent to come and talk to her at the precinct. The investigator talked to her for hours, and though I wasn't allowed in the room that time, I never left the chair I'd parked right outside the door. Although Tara didn't speak about the interview a great deal, she did tell me that the information she'd given to the Bureau was going to be entered into evidence for a case they were currently building against Malone. They hoped to build enough of a case to bring him into court within the month.
The week after that was almost welcomingly calm. For the first few days, I constantly checked over my shoulder, convinced that I would see someone behind me. But there wasn't, and so I stopped checking so often, then less and less.
I continued to sleep on the floor. Judith didn't speak to me and Tara followed suit, but she wasn't rude: Judith was, but I was grateful for her silence. If I asked Tara a question, she usually responded, but I knew that there was little I could ask her beyond how she was feeling or if she was hungry. There was nothing I could say to help her understand or make things better. So I didn't.
But she did.
I heard her voice from behind me, soft and warm. I turned my head to glance at her from the chair on the porch where I'd been sitting. The day was cool and clear, so I'd taken advantage of the good weather to relax outside. The chilly air helped clear my head, and for the past few days it had needed a great deal of clearing. I had too many thoughts on my mind, most of them about the person who had just called my name.
"Hey," I said with a smile. Tara's lips lifted slowly, her expression mirroring my own.
"Could I talk to you?" she asked, the trepidation evident in her voice.
I nodded my head and she walked forward onto the porch from the door until she was in front of me. I looked up at her from the chair. Her hair sat lightly on her shoulders, the calm wind blowing a few strands in front of her eyes. And even though I'd thought it a thousand times, I thought it again. I love her.
She met my gaze and blew out a breath. "You're an ass."
I blinked my eyes and dropped my jaw.
"No, that's not what I mean." She shook her head. "Well, yes, it is. You're an ass, Will."
I blinked my eyes again as the words finally registered. "Who do you think..."
"Shut up and listen to me." I snapped my jaw shut out of pure annoyance. "I mean, you pretend to be a man so you can get a job, and you don't tell me, which was sort of a jerk think to do, if you don't mind me saying..."
"...And then, you kiss me, and I liked it. A lot. I really did, and that kiss was amazing..."
I felt my lips curl into a smirk.
"...And don't smirk at that!"
The smirk fell off my face.
"So, then there's all this stuff with Malone and guns and running and you were so sweet to help me out, but you're a girl, and you neglected to tell me that for a month, and..." She stopped, shaking her head with obvious frustration. "God damnit, Will!"
I had never seen Tara like this, struggling to find her words. I let my gaze fall to the weathered boards of the porch as I waited for her, staying silent to give her the room she needed to think.
"I don't want to love you. I want to be angry and hurt, but I just can't stop it."
I lifted my eyes to hers just as she leaned closer, tilting her head so that her lips covered mine. The kiss was sweet and wonderful, soft and hard at the same time, slow and frantic. It was love. It was passion. It was Tara.
I breathed deeply, inhaling her scent, as she removed her mouth from mine. I could still taste her lips. My eyes wandered lazily up to hers and I smiled in what I'm sure was a goofy way. She was like a drug; the smell, the taste, the sight of her left me light-headed and only wanting more.
So I gave in.
I stood from my chair, wrapped my arms around her just like I had in all my fantasies, then quickly prayed that I wasn't currently in one. But the feeling of her underneath my palms, the heat of her body was enough to convince me this couldn't be a dream.
"Are you going to kiss me again, or were you planning on just standing there?" I could hear the laughter in her voice, and her eyes sparkled. My face broke into one huge grin as I fought to keep myself from dragging her upstairs and throwing her onto the bed. Did I mention that I love her?
I leaned forward and let our lips touch, savoring the sensation. "I love you, too," I spoke against her lips. "Just in case you, um, didn't know."
I felt her smile rather than saw it. "I think I figured that one out, Will."
"Tara!" Judith's voice rang out, piercing the calm.
"Shit," I said. Releasing my hold on Tara, I jumped backwards without thinking and fell into the rocking chair. My momentum pushed the chair over, and I felt the air whoosh from my lungs as the chair hit the ground. Closing my eyes as I struggled to catch my breath, I heard Tara's soft laughter from above me.
"She's in the kitchen," Tara said through her giggles. Clearing her throat, she shouted, "I'll be there in a minute, Jude!"
"Oh," I wheezed. "Kitchen. Right." I felt my face turn bright red and reached up a hand which Tara grabbed. She pulled my to my feet then kissed me on the nose.
"You're cute," she said, pressing a hand against my cheek. She leaned forward and kissed me again, this time on the lips. "You know that?" she asked as she pulled away.
Letting her hand slip from its place, she left the porch, opened the door, and walked back inside. The screen banged shut behind her. I sat back down in the rocking chair and waited for my face to return to its normal color.
I slept in the bed with Tara that night. She insisted on it.