Tara came awake slowly as the sunlight coming through the window grew in intensity. She lay on her back and the rays of light filtered through the blinds were at just the right angle to fall across her eyes. Half-awake, she twitched her mouth in annoyance and turned over on her side.
Willow lay on the left side of the bed curled up in a tight ball. Tara shifted and snuggled up, molding her body to the curve of Willow's back. She snaked her arm around her waist and sighed contentedly.
One of the favorite parts of her relationship with Willow was snuggling. Their time spent in bed together touching, cuddling, whispering silly things, it was all part of what kept them connected to each other and drew them closer. She didn't know how she could have missed something she never had in the first place, but almost as soon as snuggling had become part of their routine, Tara felt its acute absence color her memories of time B.W.E. - Before the Willow Era. Now she couldn't imagine what her life would be like without it.
Though Tara had tried to be quiet while shifting around, the disturbance made Willow stir. "Is it morning?"
"No, baby," Tara said, stroking Willow's cheek with the back of hand. "I mean, yes, it's morning, but it's pretty early. You can go back to sleep."
"If you keep doing that, I will," Willow said, practically purring as Tara continued to stroke her cheek and ran her fingers through her hair.
Tara smiled and hugged her, the warmth under the sheets and blankets also lulling her back to sleep.
Some time later, Tara woke again, this time by a pressing need to visit the bathroom. Shouldn't have had three cups of tea before bedtime. She glanced at the clock as she eased open the door, the green numbers glowing 9:26.
When she returned, Willow was awake, blinking at her from underneath the blanket and rubbing her eyes.
"Are you ready to get up?" Tara asked.
Willow stretched and yawned. "Can't we go back to sleep?"
Tara took a running jump and landed next to Willow, who let out a surprised "eep."
"No, we can't go back to sleep. It's almost 9:30," Tara said, rolling over on top of Willow and bracing herself on her elbows.
"But it's Saturday," Willow protested.
Tara leaned down and planted a kiss on her neck. "If you sleep any more, you'll be groggy all day."
Willow reached up and put her arms around Tara's waist.
"Can't I convince you to come and snooze some more?" she asked, wriggling her fingers under the hem of Tara's pajama top.
Tara grabbed Willow's wrists, and trapped her arms down on the bed.
"No tickling," Tara said sternly. "Now get up and make me breakfast."
"I'll make you coffee if you do," Tara said.
At that, Willow's face brightened, and Tara released her arms.
In the kitchen, Tara busied herself with the coffee while Willow opened cabinets.
Once the coffee pot was gurgling, a clatter made Tara look over. Willow sheepishly looked up from the kitchen floor, surrounded by a pile of plastic and metal mixing bowls.
"Buffy puts the dishes away all haphazardly," Willow said by way of explanation.
Together they picked up the bowls, and Willow selected two of them. She rummaged in the fridge and removed several ingredients.
"What are you making, hon?" Tara asked.
"Waffles," Willow replied.
"Need any help?"
"Nope," Willow said with a grin. "You just sit down and relax. Chef Rosenberg is at your service."
"Can I use your computer while you're cooking?"
"Of course," Willow said. "You don't have to ask."
"I know, but I still like to." Tara carried her coffee into the living room and booted up Willow's computer as her girlfriend switched on the hand mixer and a loud racket ensued in the kitchen. Sipping the coffee, she checked her e-mail, scanning the items in her inbox. Nothing very exciting was there - some messages from professors and students from her study group about classes. These days, her exciting e-mail tended to come from Willow.
"Breakfast is served, hon," Willow called. Two plates of steaming waffles topped with strawberries awaited them on the kitchen table.
"Any new stories in the ubersmut account?" Willow asked, passing the syrup.
"I didn't check it," Tara replied.
"Well, we can check it together after we eat."
Once they had eaten breakfast and cleared away the dishes, they settled in together on the couch. Willow logged in to the ubersmut account and said with delight, "Three more stories! Do you want to read them now?"
Tara nodded, noting with some amusement that she already seemed to be aroused, and they hadn't even started reading. I feel like one of Pavlov's dogs, except it's not a bell that gets me going - it's a laptop computer and an internet message board.
She snuggled closer to Willow as they read the first story. It was relatively short, and they both were fast readers, so they finished quickly.
Tara shifted uncomfortably on the couch. Would Willow want to try the new activity that was described in the fic? She wasn't at all sure that it was a...location that she felt ready to explore right now. Or anytime soon.
Next to her, Willow coughed.
"What do you say we omit the beta test of this one?" the redhead suggested.
"Yes," Tara responded instantly. "Let's just skip it."
Willow grinned at the quick response. "I was pretty sure from the title that we'd be skipping it, if you want to know the truth."
"I didn't get it at first - I thought that Deliveries in the Rear just meant it would be a story about shipping and receiving."
"Which it kind of is," Willow giggled.
Tara laughed as well. "What do you want to do today?"
"How about we hit the mall?"
"That sounds like fun," said Tara. "But first, shower time."
"Want some company in that shower?" Willow asked.
"Sure," Tara said.
"I'll be right in. Try not to drop the soap till I get there."
A scandalized chuckle was the only answer that she got.
Tara rifled through the racks of clothing, selecting the loudest, most outrageous skirts and tops that she could find. Neither she nor Willow needed any new clothes, so they had decided that instead they would amuse themselves by trying on humorous outfits.
She walked back to the fitting rooms, where Willow was already inside. She knocked on the door, which Willow opened a crack, peering out to make sure that no one else was there, since she was topless.
"Can you help me with this?" Tara asked, overburdened by her large pile of ill-matching garments.
"Sure," Willow said, taking half the stack and hanging it up on the wall, and then returned to putting on the sweater she had been trying on while Tara was out.
Tara hung the rest of the clothes up and caught her first real look at what Willow was wearing.
"Oh my GOD, Willow, where did you find THAT?"
'That' was a light pink sweater covered with embroidered daisies, and a pair of matching tights.
"Do you like it?" Willow laughed.
"It's heinous! It clashes so much with your hair."
"I KNOW," Willow said. "Ha! It looks like you got some good stuff."
A knock at the door interrupted them.
"Girls? Is everything all right in there?"
"It's one of those perky sales girls," Tara whispered to Willow. "We're fine!" she said.
"Let me know if you need any different sizes, okay?"
"We will!" called Tara. "Where was she when I was trying to carry ten different things, that's what I want to know," she said in an aside to Willow.
"They probably don't work on commission."
"Anyway, let's try on these dresses," Tara said, pulling her shirt off over her head and selecting one of the dark dresses with a maroon floral pattern.
"That looks like curtains!" Willow said.
"Totally, I got one for you too - it's just as disturbing but in a slightly different way."
As Tara undid the buttons on the back of the maroon garment and slipped into it, she thought about the second and third stories they had read that morning. They had involved Xena and Gabrielle having spontaneous and erotic sex in unusual locations - a public restroom, and the shower at the gym. We've never gotten naughty in a semi-public place.
"Help me do up these buttons?" Willow asked as she slipped into the second dress.
"I don't know whether to fasten these buttons or to hang you on my window," Tara giggled. A germ of an idea had planted itself in her mind. She began to reach around to the front of Willow's torso, reaching for her girlfriend's breast.
Another knock on the door. "How are those dresses working out for you, ladies?" the perky salesgirl's voice floated over the top of the partition.
There's too much activity here. Maybe somewhere else, later...
"Why do we have to go in here?" Willow complained as Tara dragged her into the public restroom near the mall exit.
"This won't take long, honey," Tara said, closing the door behind them.
"I don't even have to go," Willow said. "Do you? Why can't we just use the bathroom at home? It's not far."
Tara walked along the row of stalls, glancing down below all the doors to verify that the restroom was empty except for the two of them.
"Come in here," she said, taking Willow's hand and leading her into the large handicapped stall at the end of the row, furthest away from the door.
"Why do I have to come into the stall with you?" Willow said, bewildered. "Is this a new fetish? Because I think we should talk about it first."
Tara cast a dubious glance at the grimy floor and hung her purse on the hook.
"Okay, I was thinking as we were walking around," she said. "In those other two stories, Xena and Gabrielle were doing it in public places. And I was thinking, we've never done it in a semi-public place. Maybe the possibility of getting caught adds some spice to the experience. Although I didn't really envision that bathroom looking like this one," she said, looking at the dull yellow tile on the floor which was the exact shade of digestive bile that she remembered from her biology textbooks. "It was kind of an impulse thing."
The inside of the bathroom stall was covered with graffiti stating things like 'I love Nicole,' 'Martin is a wanker,' and even some outdated political commentary, 'Lick Bush and Dick in '04.' The walls were the same yellow color as the floor, and looked even more washed out from the dim fluorescent lighting overhead. A slightly sour smell seemed to emanate from all sides, as if the bathroom wasn't cleaned very often.
"You brought me in here to seduce me?" Willow asked.
"I guess so," Tara said.
"In the Sunnydale Mall Women's Restroom! You really know how to show a girl a good time. Forget dinner and a movie - all I need is toilet paper and a hand dryer."
"Okay, maybe this wasn't such a good idea," Tara said, her face flaming red as she reached for her purse.
"Aw, honey, wait," Willow said, reaching out and enveloping Tara in a hug. "I'm sorry, I was just teasing you."
Tara hugged Willow back. "I guess I deserved it. And it is kind of funny, when you think about it. I mean, it's not like most people are usually so overcome with lust that they run off to the nearest restroom to get busy." She giggled.
"Well, there's nothing that says we can't give it a try," Willow declared. "I mean, as along as we're in here and all." She kissed Tara.
The kiss deepened, and Tara found herself forgetting about the less-than-appealing environment. She rubbed Willow's back as they continued the kiss, and then moved her lips to the redhead's neck, nuzzling the skin.
Willow inhaled at the sensation. It seemed that Tara was right - there was an extra sense of...danger, knowing that they were in a place where anyone could come in at any moment. She leaned back against the wall as Tara licked and suckled her neck.
"Oh, baby," she said, the sensations flickering through her body.
Encouraged, Tara reached a hand under Willow's shirt, gently cupping her breast.
Willow moaned. Tara's hand caressed her erect nipple through the thin material of her bra, and reached between the redhead's legs with her other hand. She gently rubbed the area and licked Willow's earlobe.
"I want to taste you," Tara murmured in her ear.
Willow opened her eyes, surprised at Tara's boldness.
"I want that too. Um, what would be the best...position for that?"
Tara considered this. "Well, I guess I could kneel on the floor. Wait, scratch that," she said, as she looked again at the floor. In addition to being grimy, there was a puddle on the floor. I hope that's just water, but even if it is, I'm definitely not kneeling in it.
"Maybe I could sit on the toilet..." Tara said. She shook her head. "Ew, did I actually just say that? It's kind of gross being in here with a toilet, actually."
Willow started to respond, but froze as she heard the outer door to the bathroom open. Footsteps echoed across the tile, and a stall door banged closed as the person closed the latch. She caught Tara's eye and immediately looked away as an almost irresistible urge to giggle struck her. For her part, Tara clapped a hand over her own mouth as her shoulders shook with suppressed laughter.
The occupant of the stall began to pee, and the sound echoed loudly inside the otherwise silent restroom. Willow bit her lip to keep from laughing, and almost lost the battle as the person let out a loud sigh.
Tara grabbed Willow's hand and clenched her teeth together. Not laughing was almost physically painful at this point. The toilet flushed, footsteps again echoed on the floor, and the outer door slammed closed as the person exited.
Willow scrunched up her nose as she looked at Tara. "That person didn't wash their hands."
"Do you want to call this off as a bad idea, and just go home?"
"Yes. It kind of smells in here."
Much later that night, after going out for dinner, taking in a late movie, and laughing every ten minutes about the mall bathroom, they were back in bed.
"Baby, I'm sooo tired," Willow said, burrowing under the covers and insinuating herself along Tara's side, resting her head on the blonde's shoulder.
"We had quite a day," Tara said, scratching her girlfriend's head.
"I think this is the first time ever that we haven't beta-tested an UberSmut story," Willow said.
"The night is young," Tara replied, mischievously reaching inside the waistband of Willow's pajama pants and tickling the crack of her bottom with a couple of fingers.
"Get away from there!" Willow said with a laugh, shimmying her hips.
Tara laughed. "I think that sometimes it's okay to be vanilla."
"Me too," said Willow. "And our entire sex life can't be based around fan fiction." She propped herself up on a elbow to give the blonde a lingering kiss.
"I like just being together - you and me, no script, no fan fiction author dictating our every move."
A hug and a passionate return of the kiss was her reply.