Author: Paint the Sky
It wasn't like the blank white page and black flashing cursor was mocking her, but, dammit, they were mocking her. What else could it being doing?
Tara Maclay, bestselling children's author, was back in the land of Writer's Block. There had to be a reason this kept happening, but Tara couldn't quite fathom it. All the pressure that she had felt working for Anya Jenkins had long gone, and Rupert Giles was more than happy just to have her on board. He had given her assurances that there would be no frantic phone calls demanding her to write to a deadline. The Children's Library understood the creative process had been Giles words on more than one occasion.
This didn't make Tara feel any better, though. Deadline or not, she had to be businesslike. To take advantage of the Christmas market, her latest book had to be finished by August, proof read, edited, and on the shelves for the last quarter.
Ugh!! I sound like Anya!
It had begun easily enough, and the illustrator had even made initial sketches based on the outline Tara had provided, but even that bothered Tara.
The outline hadn't fleshed out the way she had hoped. Teddy Bumkins and the Cave of the Snarfledarg was less than half complete.
"Come on, Tara, Squirgleland isn't such a big country, and the Cave of the Snarfledarg shouldn't be that hard to get to," she chided, "he already has the map given to him by King Wibble-long."
"Yes, he has," she answered, "but his balloon is damaged, so how does he cross the Sugarcoated Mountains?"
Her books may have been for children, but Tara wanted no easy fixes in them. Children were smarter than that, they knew when you were cheating them. She felt a responsibility to them, they needed to learn that sometimes the journey would be hard, but no matter what, you could achieve your goal.
She frowned at the computer screen, "Stop mocking me."
It had been a long morning. A morning only made better by copious cups of coffee and sweet thoughts of her red-haired lover naked on the bed, dripping sweat and honey. She pushed Teddy Bumkins trials from her thoughts and concentrated on the one thing that would make her day happier.
Willow was rarely home in time to cook dinner, but the previous evening her lover had waited on her hand and foot. She giggled as she remembered Willow's discourse on that.
"Hand and foot? I mean, what does that really mean? 'I was waited on hand and foot'. I know when to use it, and I know it means to do everything for someone, but why hand and foot? What's so special about the hand and foot? There are more interesting body parts!"
It had been a wonderfully slow relaxing evening. Willow's dinner of baked salmon with a crisp garden salad tasted fresh and inviting accompanied by a cold Chardonnay and warm candlelight. They talked about their day, Willow filling Tara in on Buffy's lovelife, and glossing over the boring parts. Tara, for her part, told Willow about her nagging feeling that the illustrator at The Children's Library wasn't quite getting Teddy Bumkins and the Squirgleland inhabitants the way she wanted.
"How do you see them?" asked Willow.
"I know they can't be exact copies of the previous books, let's face it, Anya screwed us over with that one. It never occurred to me that with Dawn contracted to Anya's company, that we would have to modify the illustrations for the new books, but, I don't know, there's just something I don't like about the new ones."
"Maybe they just need a little work. Do they need to change much?" Willow sipped her wine as Tara thought about her question.
"Not too much, I don't want to change them beyond all recognition, but there has to be changes - I don't want them too cutesy and Disneyfied," Tara stated, "I don't want them Poohed on, you know how much I dislike that."
Poohed on, was an expression Willow had coined when Tara had first told her how much she loved E.H. Sheperd's illustrations for Winnie the Pooh, and how she felt Disney had corrupted them too much by making Pooh too round, and Eeyore less gloomy.
"Where are you going?"
"Come with me," Willow smiled taking Tara's hand, "Let's get comfy on the couch and I'll read to you."
Who would have thought reading Winnie the Pooh could have led to such sexy fun.
Oh, it had started innocently enough - but then, these kind of things always did.
"Who would you rather be? Pooh or Tigger?"
"I should be Pooh," Willow stated, "My name begins with a W, so it stands to reason I'm Winnie, and you, Tara, beginning with T, should be Tigger."
"Ah, I see the logic in your argument, sweetie, but there is also a flaw."
Tara closed the book and set it on the coffee table; turning to her girlfriend she smiled and took a lock of her hair between long fingers. "This is why I should be Pooh. Pooh is golden honey coloured, and so is my hair. You, on the other hand, are not - Tigger is orangey red, and those beautiful red tresses indicate definite Tiggerish tendencies."
"Red, not orange - I don't have orange hair, anyway, you're not a real blonde, so it doesn't count," Willow giggled, "My drapes match the carpet!"
"All true, my love, but there is another reason why I should be Pooh."
Willow felt the mood change, and she was doubly sure when Tara leant toward her and teasingly ran her tongue over soft pink lips. She swallowed hard, "Why's that, Tara?"
"Cos, Pooh loves honey, and you know how much I love your honey, all sweet, sticky and warm and dripping from your honeypot."
Tara smiled. The best way to win any argument with her girl was to deflect logic with seduction.
But nothing could deflect the impasse she now felt as she debated whether to shut down the computer and just accept a day where nothing was going right for Teddy Bumkins, or to struggle on and try and write something, anything, as long as there were words on the screen.
The smile gave way to a sigh as Tara pushed her chair away from the desk, "Lunch." she said out loud. "Maybe a little food to soak up all the coffee would help."
Leaving her office door open she entered the bright spacious hallway and continued on to the kitchen checking her cell phone on the way. While trying to work she had put the cell on silent, and she grinned widely opening up the inbox that contained three texts from Willow.
With one hand she opened the fridge door, and the other opened the first text from her girl.
A gale of laughter erupted as the picture message loaded. "Is this Tigger enough for ya?" the legend asked.
Tara had to sit down. She couldn't stop laughing as she looked at the picture message again.
Willow's smiling face had been transformed into Tiggerish features. The red hair was streaked with black, and orange and black stripes followed the contours of her cheekbones, and whiskers sprouted from the sides of her nose.
"Oh, sweetie, you are a complete nut," she said with total affection.
The second showed Willow's torso, naked and painted with more stripes of the same colour. "What about this?" the accompanying text asked.
"A completely crazy, but very sexy nut," Tara said laughing.
"Oh my God!" Tara exclaimed as the third picture opened.
She blinked, and then blinked again. The picture was of Willow's legs. Wide open legs, Tara amended. Wide open and tiger striped, she further amended and a black crayon-like scrawl with a downward pointing arrow said "Hunny." "And this?" was Willow's last question.
"And this," Tara said, "this is proof that if there weren't enough reasons for me to love you, you would always find more."
Tara scrolled through the pictures again, examining them in detail. She couldn't tell if they had been photoshopped or not. Surely Willow hadn't spent the morning with body paints - had she? And if she had, did she do this at the office?
Try as she might, she lingered on the third picture longer than necessary. Her lover really did have a delicious looking 'hunnypot', and it tasted just as delicious as it looked. Tara's mouth watered as she tilted the phone this way and that to get a better angle.
Her tongue slipped out and she moistened her lips as her thumb caressed the screen on her phone. She could imagine the texture of Willow's skin, and the scent it gave off. Tara's heart beat a little faster and she felt her pulse rise in all right places.
She growled softly and snapped the phone closed and sat it on the countertop.
"Oh, Willow, Willow, Willow," she whispered softly, "the things you do to me ..."
Lunch had almost been forgotten until a grumble in her tummy reminded Tara that she had had nothing since breakfast except for coffee. A quick look in the fridge yielded nothing of interest which prompted Tara's next move.
She retrieved the cellphone from the countertop and left the kitchen to go upstairs.
Sitting on the bed, she pressed #1.
A moment or two later she heard Willow's voice say "Hi, baby."
"Hi, yourself," Tara replied, "You busy?"
"There's nothing that can't wait, everything is going great - oh, I shouldn't have said that, bet it all goes kablooey now," laughed Willow.
"I'm sure it will be fine, sweetie. I was wondering if you have time to meet for lunch. I'm kind of hungry and there is nothing here that will satisfy my appetite," Tara said brightly, but full of purpose as her mind flicked back to the stripy goodness in picture number three.
"Oh, that's a shame," Willow pouted, "my baby's appetite should always be satisfied. What do you have in mind?"
"How about I pick you up at the office and we eat al fresco. I just need to get outside for while, work off some of this caged up feeling," Tara told her. "How's your afternoon, anything that can't be put off?"
It was a hopeful question, Tara knew that, but there was always a chance that Willow could juggle things in their favour.
"Ooh, let me check my schedule."
While Willow checked her diary, she smiled and hummed to herself. Whether deliberately or not, "The wonderful thing about Tiggers" filled the silence and had Tara stifling a laugh while she imagined Willow bouncing in her seat.
"Good news, baby, there's nothing that Buffy can't take care of, and my next meeting is tomorrow afternoon," Willow almost sang down the line.
"Yes! I'll see you soon, just need to shower and change and I'll be on my way," beamed Tara.
"See you soon, baby. Um, Tara, where are we going?"
"Willow, how long has it been since you went to Zoo?"
"Huh? ... Um, not since a day trip in High School. Why the Zoo?"