Return to Slipping, Tripping and Falling In Love Chapter One

Slipping, Tripping and Falling In Love

Author: LadyB
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: I do not own anything but my own thoughts. All characters, quotes, and references to BtVS are owned by Mutant Enemy, Joss Whedon, Fox, UPN, et al.

"Damn. Why is it that whatever time I decide to do my grocery shopping I get here and it's packed to the rafters! Argh!" Tara shook her head, glanced at her watch and roamed the parking lot. It was 9:00pm when the blonde had pulled into the sea of parked cars. Ten minutes whittled by and she was still searching for a space. "Oh for crying out loud! Has everyone decided to take residence at the Safeway? I wish someone would pull out." As if the Powers that Be heard her siren call, an old man in the world's largest Cadillac backed out of the parking space and inched his way down the lane. "Yes!" Tara exclaimed as she hit the gas, ready to stake her claim on the single spot. 'I wonder if I should try wishing for that million dollars again.' The professor chuckled a bit, however, she decided not to press her luck. "Nah. I'll be content with the parking spot. Don't want to get greedy." She pressed on the brake, stopping her vehicle... a perfect parking job. Tara got out of her car, locked the door and headed toward the entrance when the car next to her caught her eye. It wasn't the car, although sleek and stylish, that piqued her interest. It was the license plate. She stared at it, reading the letters aloud. "W-L-D, R-D-H-D. I think it says 'Wild Redhead'... hmm, interesting. I wonder if all redheads are wild." She smiled that half-grin, walking into the store, as she once again abandoned herself to the same thoughts that filled her mind over and over these past three weeks.

Journeying further into the store, the anatomy professor shook her head and sighed. "Of course," Tara muttered to herself, "There's only one shopping cart left. Let me guess, it's the one that has gum stuck to the bottom of a wheel and squeaks." She moved the cart a couple inches and sure enough, a hideous sound probably only a smidgeon away from the frequency where only dogs can hear it resonated through the front of the grocery store. "Lovely." She glanced around hoping to see a clerk or a bagboy, but alas, they were all hard at work packing heavy cans and bottles on top of bread and eggs. Resigned to having to deafen everyone while she picked up the items on her hastily written list, Tara started her scavenger hunt.

After about a dozen squeaky steps, Tara halted her movement, hearing a voice cry "Ma'am! Ma'am!" Turning around, wondering if the voice was calling her, she saw a skinny teenaged boy running toward her, dragging along another shopping cart. The poor boy was huffing and puffing as he stopped right in front of her. "I'm so sorry," he puffed. "I was trying to bring in more carts when a situation happened in the parking lot. Here." The stock boy gave her a new cart, "Why don't you take this one? I think I'd like to take that one out back and give it a dignified funeral, or at least a shot of WD-40." Tara smiled at the stock boy and gave him the ailing grocery hauler. He gave her the other one and sprinted away (squeaking obnoxiously, of course), not giving her the slightest chance to convey her thanks.

With a renewed energy, knowing that she wouldn't be walking around the store sounding like an alarm, Tara restarted her shopping excursion. Wheeling along the aisles she grabbed items both on and off her list. "Hmm... ooh! Whipped cream in a can! I love that stuff!" A couple other store patrons chuckled as they heard the blonde's exclamation. She reached in the dairy case and grabbed one. 'This'll go great with the ice cream I bought last night,' she thought. 'Oh, but that's a large container. Don't they have a smaller one?' She looked around, but didn't see anything other than the same size can. 'Oh well, I'll get it anyway. I'm sure I'll find something to do with the rest." She tossed the can in the cart and kept on.

A few minutes later, Tara had made her way through two-thirds of the store, with only the meat-seafood and vegetable-fruit sections to go. She glanced at her list and headed for the fish section. In her short time living here, the blonde had discovered that this supermarket was considered the freshest in the city. One of its hallmark attractions was the open fish market. Patrons had the ability to pick the exact fish they want, weigh it themselves, and only hand it to the clerk for wrapping. Tara ambled over where the whole salmons were located, and picked one up to inspect. She turned around to ask the fish clerk a question when a vision caught her eye. Ignoring the clerk's "may I help you," Tara attention focused solely on the stunning redhead that was Professor Rosenberg. "Willow..."

Tara's eyes blocked everything else around her as she became transfixed watching Willow in the fruit section. The rhythm was hypnotic, a simple repetition of bending and standing as the redhead thumped melons, checking for ripeness. Without command, her mind took over once again, filling her head with images of sharing an intimate (yet strangely awkward) dance to the rhythm of Willow's movement. Tara could imagine walking up behind Willow, spooning her from behind, covering the redheads arms with her own and engaging with her in a sensual serpent-like movement, all points of contact so close, not even air molecules could share space. Tara sighed as the mental image continued, pressing forth, her physical movements involuntary as she could see herself moving her arms down Willow's arms, dragging them slowly over her hips and down to trace the trance-inducing moves of her backside. She could feel her hands clench, eager to feel the scaly mounds of Willow's rear... Tara's mind jerked into reality. Scaly? She opened her eyes only to discover her fingers weren't pressed into Willowflesh, but instead fish flesh. Tara overactive imagination caused the poor salmon she was inspecting to be subjected to a death grip of monumental proportions. The fish clerk, watching the odd actions of the blonde, arched an eyebrow and cleared his throat.

"Uh, ma'am? I'm sorry but, you squeeze it, uh, you, like, buy it." Tara snapped herself back into focus and turned to the fish clerk, embarrassment shown clearly on her face.

"Oh, um... yes, of c-course. Sorry, I uh got l-lost in thought." The blonde cursed herself for stuttering. Over the years, Tara made great strides in her speaking ability, so much so that she now only stuttered when extremely nervous or embarrassed. She stopped chiding herself realizing that this was indeed an extremely embarrassing situation.

"Do you, um, want me to, like, wrap that up for you now?" The fish clerk questioned the professor, internally wondering if she was going to continue to womanhandle the salmon.

Tara immediately handed the fish over to the clerk, wanting to remove herself from his line of sight as quickly as possible. The fate of her red face depended on it. Thirty seconds later, Tara had a fresh, albeit slightly squished, whole salmon in her cart. Too mortified over her own thoughts and actions, she had no intention of walking up to Willow as she was thumping melons. With a sorrowful sigh, Tara made up her mind to finish her shopping and head on home. "Goddess, I have to be the biggest dork on the planet. I've only spoken to this woman once, but I can't get her out of my mind. And now, I've maimed tomorrow night's dinner thinking about her butt! I so need a hobby." The blonde professor wheeled her cart a few feet and stood in front of the meat case. Surveying the different cuts contained in the case, Tara never gave a second thought to the sound of footsteps approaching behind her. With that in mind, she was not prepared for the shoulder tapping that was to come.

Jumping at the sensation on her shoulder, Tara whipped around only to come face to face with the woman of her daydreams. "Willow!" She shrieked and took a step back. And with the bad luck that seemed to follow Tara like a little stray dog, that step went directly into a small puddle of water, which then caused the blonde to lose her footing, propelling her backwards until she backed up against the thigh-high edge of the cold meat case. Momentum being the bitch that it is, her movement continued until finally Tara ended up jackknifed, bottom-first into the meat case.

"Tara! Gods!" Willow exclaimed, her eyes wide and expression horrified. The fish clerk a few feet away heard the redhead's outburst and ran over to see what was the matter. "Oh goddess! Tara, are you ok?"

"Um, uh... uh, I'm uh, c-cold?" Even though her rear was freezing, her face felt on fire as she blushed furiously.

"Oh! Of course, goddess, let me help you out!" Willow grabbed Tara's hand and was immediately transported back to the feeling three weeks ago when they first met. The energy crackled, flowing through them in a rush of sensations, and as wonderful as it felt, it unfortunately left Willow a little short of strength. She tried to pull the woman out, but couldn't sustain the force long enough to do any good. The fish clerk then grabbed Tara's other hand and the two of them tried again. Slowly, Tara began to lift up off the cold meat, sensing freedom. A moment later, the professor was almost completely out of the case. A hair's breadth away from extrication, the grip the fish clerk had on her hand slipped, causing Tara to lurch back into the meat case, flinging a helpless Willow toward her. The image of the end result was picture perfect...Tara again rear-first, arms spread and legs wide open dangling over the edge of the meat case...and Willow, dear, sweet Willow, doubled over half in and half out of the refrigerated case, her upper-body sprawled over Tara's, her face nestled in the blonde's cleavage. "Mmph? Mm-ra? Mm-lo?" The action happened so fast, Willow wasn't exactly sure where she was.

"Willow..." Tara sighed, both embarrassed and exhilarated by the situation she found herself in. She could feel the redhead's warm breath hitting the center of her chest and she struggled not to let herself respond to the sensation. 'Yeah, that'd be just what I need, let her see me all flustered and aroused by breath. Oh yeah, biggest dork in the world.' Tara chuckled at her musings causing her chest to move.

"Mm-ay... Mmra?" Willow's face squished slightly with each movement of Tara's chest. The psychology professor moved her head back just enough to realize where she was. "Tara?" She looked at Tara's face and where her face had been, back to Tara's and then back to her head's resting place. Then, she lost all control of the words leaving her mouth. "Oh... wow... uh... oh my gosh. I, uh, didn't realize that uh, I was, well, uh, here, er there, uh, oh boy. Um, I hope I didn't, uh, hurt you, uh. Well, um, I'm ok, I mean, I uh, landed in a, um, well, er, a soft place. Uh, not that you're all soft, er, well, at least there you are, and um, well I'm not exactly saying things right, um, uh, sorry. But, you know, it could've been worse. Like that song says, uh, 'everybody needs a bosom for a pillow.'" Tara stared wide-eyed at Willow, not knowing how to respond to that last utterance.

"Uh, o-ok. You, uh, m-might have a p-point there." Tara's internal chiding came back full force, blasting her infernal nervous stuttering. Her butt freezing at a rapid pace, Tara tried shifting a fraction to change position. Not realizing until too late that Willow's hand was braced on the edge of Tara's hip, her movement caused the redhead's arm to buckle, sending her straight into her chest again. "Oh! I'm so sorry."

"Mm nhht." Tara couldn't tell what exactly Willow said, but it sounded like 'I'm not.' She shook her head, dispelling that thought. While all this went on, the fish clerk picked himself up off the floor and flagged down a burly looking customer to help him try to remove the women from the meat case. With a vice-like grip, the customer wrapped his arm around and under Willow's right shoulder while the fish clerk did the same with her left. Slowly and carefully, the two men lifted Willow up off the blonde and out of the meat case. With the same care, they then removed Tara from the offending refrigeration unit.

By this time, a crowd had gathered, watching the scene unfold and applauding the rescue effort. Both Willow and Tara's faces matched the colour of the redhead's hair, and they meekly gave a small wave to the crowd before bolting down the aisle with their respective shopping carts. A few seconds later, they both stopped to catch their breath. They turned to look at each other and burst out laughing, neither one of them really sure what exactly happened. "Goddess, what was all that?" Willow asked, shaking her head and glancing back towards the scene of it all.

"Uh, I'm n-not exactly s-sure, b-but I think it involved water, slipping and you landing on my chest."

Smiling, Willow remarked, "Well, I wanted to surprise you... uh, I guess I did."

"Um, I'd uh, have to agree w-with that." Tara also smiled, but tried to turn her head away to hide her embarrassment. The blonde looked down at the contents of her cart, causing Willow to do the same.

"Interesting stuff you have there, Tara," Willow remarked, eying the whipped cream and chocolate sauce. "Having a sundae party?" The psychology professor asked, picking the whipped cream canister up and reading the label.

"Um, well, sort of, I g-guess. Kind of an ice cream party for one. They just didn't have any smaller containers. I'm sure I'll find some use for the rest of it." The blonde laughed slightly, willing her nervousness to go away. 'God, I must sound like the dullest person alive.'

"Oh! Yeah, definitely. There's uh, bound to be stuff you could use that spray can for. I mean, there's uh, pie, um, milkshakes... ooh, and drawing."

"Drawing?" The blond asked raising an eyebrow.

"Yeah, haven't you ever used it to draw little pictures on someo... oh uh, nevermind. I meant that you could, uh, draw a map on a cake or something. Yeah." Willow stammered, a deep blush starting from her neck and reaching her cheeks.

Tara's eyes went wide, 'she wasn't going to say what I think she was going to say, was she?' She shook her head, eliminating that thought from her consciousness. 'I'll save those thoughts for later.' "Well for whatever reason it's good for, I don't think I'll be using it for the ice cream tonight. The way I'm feeling right now, I've had enough cold things on or in my body for tonight." The professor shivered a little, still semi-frozen from the evening's activities.

Willow looked confused for a second until she realized what the blonde meant. "Oh! Your butt!"


"Uh, I mean, uh, well, your butt...uh, er, it was sitting on top of all that cold meat. It, er, you must be freezing."

"Well, yeah, I'm kind of a 'rearsicle' at the moment."

"Ooh, I could warm you up!"

"What?" Tara couldn't have heard that correctly.

"Oh geez, um, I meant... uh, I could warm you up with coffee."

"Coffee?" Tara's face perked up, thinking of the warm, caffeinated goodness. However, she couldn't help the slight disappointment that coffee was the means of getting warmed up.

"The Steamed Bean... my treat... whaddaya say?" The hope in Willow's eyes about blinded Tara and she realized she couldn't say anything but yes.

"I'd love to go for coffee. But..." Tara glanced at her shopping cart.

"But?" Willow looked panic-stricken that the blonde was going to say no. "Oh, well, if you can't, maybe another..."

"No!" Tara exclaimed, halting the other woman's ramble. She touched the redhead's arm to calm her down. "I'd l-love to go. I just need to d-drop my groceries at home."

"Yeah, that would probably help. Don't want the frozen things to, well, get unfrozen."

"The only thing I'd like unfrozen is m-me." Tara flashed Willow her half-grin.

"Well, like I said... I can help you with that." Willow smiled back at her.

Tara started to wheel her cart toward the front checkout. She took a deep breath and as coolly as possible remarked, "I'm gonna hold you to that... and the coffee, too." She looked back and saw Willow stop in the middle of the walkway, staring at Tara. The blonde turned back around and continued walking. "You coming?"

The redhead, without thinking, replied softly, "um, not yet, but perhaps any minute now."

"What was that?" The blonde inquired.

"Uh, nothing... I'll be right there." Willow breathed deep, took a few tentative steps and tried to clear her brain of certain thoughts. As she started to move her feet, she couldn't help but let out a happy sigh. "Tara..."

Continue to Slipping, Tripping and Falling In Love Chapter Three

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