Return to Latter Days/Lonely Nights Chapter Forty-Four

Latter Days/Lonely Nights

Author: Willownut
Disclaimer: Blah, blah, blah. Many characters are Joss Whedon's. Yada, yada, yada. No harm intended with the use of these revered characters. Peas and carrots, peas and carrots.

(Day 10 - Saturday, November 17, 1984)

Willow stood in front of the mirror in the bathroom mindlessly looking at her reflection. Images from her nightmare were starting to fade away, but something was bothering her about the parts of the dream she still remembered. She felt like there was a message in there somewhere. She definitely wanted some journal time. She wondered why everyone was gathered around her bed when she woke up and what was Smith up to? Her thoughts were interrupted.

"What are you doing now?"

While holding her fingers against a small spot on her chin, Willow muttered, "Pimping a popple." She didn't bother to turn her head. She just looked into the mirror in the direction of the voice and confirmed that Smith Shimai had inquired.

"What?" Willow thought Smith's agitated tone resembled one of the characters from a Monty Python sketch.

She turned and said flatly, "I'm popping a pimple." Willow turned back to attack another area under her cheek above her lip. "Too many M&M's," she muttered nearly unintelligibly.

"Have you even had your shower?" Smith's tone was grating Willow today.

Willow exhaled loudly, "No, not yet."

"We need to get moving." Smith was insistent.

Willow nearly rolled her eyes. Pot calling the kettle... How many times have we had to wait for you, Miss bionic hair woman? Willow smiled and said cheerily, "Almost done."

Willow continued to watch out of the corner of her eye as Smith took hold of her hairspray and started shaping the massive blonde tufts of hair and applying the product. Willow didn't understand why she spent so much time working on the huge hair tower; it was just going to go all flat anyway. Crazy gal. Smith kept working on her hair, applying more and more of the noxious spray. Willow coughed quietly and wheezed a little. She suddenly imagined Sigourney Weaver's (Dana's) hair post-possession in Ghostbusters. The similarity was striking.

A series of scenes from Ghostbusters flashed quickly through her mind. Bill Murray, (Venkman) stood at the door, knocked and the door opened slowly. Mystical wind flowed around the woman accentuating the supernatural changes that had taken place and, of course, to highlight the beautiful peach colored evening dress draped seductively off one shoulder. Dana husked in a throaty moan, "Are you the Key Master?" The door closed when Venkman answered incorrectly. Willow tried not to giggle. A poor imitation of Rick Moranis' voice in her head followed, "Are you the Gatekeeper?" Willow decided to continue her fantasy.

As Willow created more Ghostbusters images with Smith in Sigourney's role, she tried desperately to contain her giggles. One picture after the other played out in her mind's eye: Smith being used by supernatural forces for some evil plot, Smith taken forcefully through a door on the chair and being sucked into another realm, the failed seduction of Venkman, heavy panting, and then magically rising from the bed. Now that would be convenient during sex. Sure would solve many clumsy clothes removal moments. Willow shook her head to clear that visual and continued her "moments from Ghostbusters" mosaic. She realized that until Dana transformed into the big stone dog thing, her hair just got more and more out of control. Okay, the character is not quite right though and the sex stuff was just, ewww.

Willow glanced over at the cloud of mist swirling around Sister Smith. Good thing no one ever lights a match in here, probably would be a fireball the size of, well... She conjured a host of fiery images and settled on one. Gee Sister Smith, do you remember the explosion when they shut down the protection grid - that could be this bathroom and it would be all your fault. She envisioned the EPA man, Walter Peck. Nice name, how appropriate.

She mentally ran through the list of major characters and matched them against Sister Smith's qualities. She was having trouble deciding if Smith Shimai was more like that Peck or the Rick Moranis character. She decided the secretary's voice was closest in nasal tone, but the accent was all wrong. She let her mind drift again. Hmm, Smith with a coat and tie or Smith throws a lame party. Willow grinned inwardly. Smith chased by a mystical dog through the streets of New York. She particularly liked that one. When she had fashioned images of both characters with the big hair, she decided she was really heading off track. That Stay-Puft marshmallow guy, now that was a funny...with his little hat ... Willow suddenly felt like sugary nibblets for some reason.

Willow headed off for a speedy shower just to get herself more awake. 'Ray, if someone asks you if you're a god, you say YES!' Willow giggled quietly trying not to appear she was laughing at the other girl. "I'll be just a sec." She could have sworn she heard a forced sigh from Smith. She knew her Smith visualizations were really in poor taste, but it seemed to help with her frustration with the girl. Moreover, Smith as the big Stay-Puft Marshmallow man was an interesting idea.

Willow was about finished with her shower. Once she was away from Smith, her mind drifted to other things. Unfortunately, the candy craving had remained, so naturally, she had thoughts of Tara. Since she had been at the MTC, candy and midnight sweets were becoming a shared event for the two of them. Mmm sugary nipplets, er nibblets. Nibblets! In desperation, she turned the hot tap to reduce the shower temperature to a more spiritually conducive degree. This has to stop! I'm going to hell. Willow sighed in defeat. Tara is NOT just a tasty morsel. And as an afterthought she added, and Smith is not a giant marshmallow.... Well she kind of is, but that's beside the point.

Willow quickly dried and dressed. As she did so, she resumed her reflections on her recent nightmare. Willow's thoughts were interrupted again when she heard Smith's voice outside her shower stall. "We better hurry." Smith's comment was obviously intended for Willow alone. Willow mouthed to herself, 'coming mother' and rolled her eyes. This was going to be a long day. She emerged from the stall and nearly choked when she saw Smith standing there with both hands on her hips. She was clad in her big green t-shirt for gym. Willow stifled the urge to retort, 'Got a swim ring for that?'

Tara was just walking down the hall to meet them when Smith and Willow came out from the bathroom area. Willow felt justified, "Great! Perfect timing." She grinned and shot a quick glance over to Smith to gauge her reaction. Smith looked annoyed. Willow jiggled her hair with her fingers. She looked at Tara with a conspiratorial grin, "I just need my shoes, and we can go." She turned to Smith, "You about ready?"

"Almost." Smith was clearly deflated.

As they reached the room, Willow asked both Smith and Kitchen, "Would you guys mind if we went on ahead?" Tara smiled and bobbed her head shyly.

"Sure, dozo," [go ahead] Kitchen Shimai cheerily replied for both. Willow thought Smith looked like she'd just sucked a lemon.

"Thanks," Willow held out the "s" for a beat. Then she corrected herself, "Arigato." She turned to Tara, "Ikimasho ka?" [Let's go?]

"Hai," Tara replied sweetly. "Ikimasho." They started down the hall. When the door shut behind them, Tara continued, "What's up, erm, nani desu ka?"

Willow fiddled with her fingers and then jammed both hands in her pockets. She took a deep breath before she began. "I had a nightmare; well it was technically a morningmare, because it was right before I woke up this morning. And as I say that, I am thinking that it's appropriate that the word mare is involved for a bad dream, since I have horse fear...there was an unfortunate incident when I was four. I had a bad birthday party pony." Tara nodded through the babble taking mental notes. "...And Smith Shimai and Kitchen Shimai were standing over me when I woke up and I think Smith is writing down my morning dream chatter - which is really bad. And in my dream, there was a wave ... not a wave as in hand wave, although that was there too, from Kitchen Shimai who had on a roller derby outfit including skates and a helmet and she was making a quick getaway. It was a really big ocean watery wave, and I think you named it Jim. And I was really scared, and Smith had on frog swim stuff, which I'm also afraid of - frogs, not the floaty thing, and now I suddenly realize is important especially since she wears that green shirt sometimes for gym and I am really rambling. I'm sorry. Did any of that make sense?"

Tara reached over and tapped Willow on the arm to indicate they should stop. She turned and looked directly in Willow's eyes. "Bad dream, frog and horse fear, fear of Smith and big waves - check." Tara accentuated the word 'check' as she'd seen Willow do on several occasions. "Go on."

A slow smile emerged on Willow's face. She was always so impressed with Tara's ability to understand her ramble and get the key points. "There were other outfits, and mine was really bad and I felt uncomfortable. You were there, we were running, and we had to climb all these stairs to try to get away from the wave. We kept looking over our shoulders at it getting bigger and bigger and still it didn't come in. Then right before I woke up, the wave crested and was coming inland towards us, but we'd found a building by then to hide in, and the noise - it was so loud in my head."

"What kind of outfit did you have on?" Tara inquired.

Willow blushed, "Well, let's just say skimpy doesn't begin to do it justice. Wearing garments with it would not work." Willow looked down and then made some gestures to indicate the limits of her dream attire.

Tara held her breath a moment, and then exhaled into her response, "Oh."

And then this morning, I was daydreaming and I made Smith be several the characters from Ghostbusters: big hair, whiney voice, and a great big giant smiling marshmallow of death." She sighed in frustration. "What is wrong with me?"

Kitchen and Smith caught up with them and Smith started in straight away, "What are you guys talking about now?"

Smith's tone had a hint of accusation. Tara quickly turned defensively to head off any further comments from her, "Dreams." Tara smiled easily, "I turned Shakespeare into a couch potato, what did you do this morning?"

Kitchen Shimai promptly jumped in, "Me and Bruce R. McConkie went to a BYU football game. He was yelling at the ref, "That was false, false, false!"

The girls giggled.

She continued, "He threw a chili dog at a San Diego State fan. It must have had a slice of cheese on it, 'cause some of it stuck to a bald guy's head. He turned around and it was President Shepherd."

Willow let a tiny smile linger, before she asked, "Wait, he was bald in your dream?"

Kitchen looked at her in amusement, "Of course he was bald, but we didn't know that at the time, the hotdog bun knocked off his toupee."

Willow chuckled.

"And," Tara added with a grin, "And he wasn't rooting for BYU?"

"Blasphemer!" Willow jeered in jest.

"You should have seen the sun reflect off his head. It might as well have been a mirror. From then on, we couldn't see the plays properly from the glare in our eyes and all."

Smith was lost, "President Shepherd is bald?"

Tara interjected, "Well he could be, or not, but in her dream he was." She got a thoughtful look on her face before she continued. "Do you think dreams mean anything?"

Kitchen answered. "They can. I think it just depends on the type of dream, the thoughts you're having, if you're working through something and there are symbols that make sense to you in them."

"Yeah, me too. Same." Tara nodded and looked at Willow who was also nodding. Tara started the group walking again.

Smith was completely puzzled, "Huh?"

Tara continued for her, "Dreams can have meaning on a personal level. Imagery in the dream reflects what we're dealing with emotionally, spiritually, even intellectually. Some things can be very random though. You can waste a lot of time working to make sense of a little thing that's bothering you if it's out of context with the rest of the images. For instance, I don't think the cheese on some guy's head is the main point in Kitchen Shimai's dream. Having our mission president be bald, that might be an issue, or it might not depending on her. If she is having a craving for a chilidog or something was casually mentioned during the day, those things could just manifest into her dreamscape. If there was just a random bit of cheese on his head... probably means nothing unless she was a mouse in a former life or something." She giggled and quickly got more serious. "However, a little thing could be important too. If that hotdog represented something to her within the context of her dream - like she was eating it at the time, or she was hungry and he threw away something that she wanted - that could be meaningful. Only the dream's creator really knows how (or if) the images mirror their life."

The girls arrived at the gym as Tara finished her explanation. Smith looked thoughtful and then added. "I don't really remember my dreams." She opened the door for the group and headed for the crowd of sisters warming up for their exercises. Willow went straight toward the stationary bicycles so she could consider all of what Kitchen Shimai and Tara had just said. Tara glanced at the others. She waited a moment and then decided she would join Willow.

Willow was concentrating so much that she didn't see Tara approach her. She had already climbed on a bike and was peddling slowly. Tara startled Willow when she broke the silence. "You're not crazy, you're not bad."

After Willow regained her composure, she shook her head in despair, "There has to be some reason why my brain does these things."

"There's nothing wrong with you."

"Yes, there is." Willow hung her head. "I see everyone being all happy here, and I can be all smiling on the outside, but my head is working on these horrible images that are so wrong." Willow started peddling faster.

"There's nothing wrong with you."

"Yeah, right" Willow rolled her eyes. "I don't think Kitchen Shimai or Conley, or Colson would ever have those sorts of thoughts. They are so perfect."

"Have you asked them?" Even as she asked the question, she began reflecting back on her thoughts from the morning. Things are not always as they appear...Nor are people. Her own issues had frustrated her earlier, and Willow's dream had left her disquieted for some reason. They were both facing a giant wave. Willow was clearly uncomfortable. She remembered Kitchen's admonition: Be careful whom you let set your path.

"No. But..." Willow stopped herself mid thought, "And I don't mean to not include you in the list of those perfect people, cause I think you're wonderful too, I just look at them differently than I look at you. Gosh, that sounds so bad, I'm sorry. It's just, well you're you."

"That's okay." Tara appeared to be considering what Willow had said.

"I'm just... Oh!" Willow quit peddling. "This sucks." She sat in silence for a moment. "Do you ever just want to run away and leave all this for a little bit just to clear your head?"

Tara nodded, "Sure, but don't go by me." Her tone had a bite to it. I'm just icing anyway.

Willow furrowed her brow. "I hurt you didn't I?"

"No, it's okay, you didn't mean..."

"I really didn't, I'm just so confused with all this, and I'm all unfocus-y." Willow hung her head in shame.

Tara probed, "You didn't mean that I'm not like the other missionaries here."

Willow looked up. "No, I mean, yes. I mean, I don't know what I mean." Willow was becoming more distressed. "Do you think that I don't respect you?"

"Do you?" Tara asked pointedly.

"Sure I do." Willow replied hastily, almost without thinking. "You are the most amazing person."

Tara seemed dissatisfied with the answer. She realized that what Willow dreamed about her might reveal how Willow saw her as well and she thought Willow knew her better than anyone there. "That's not quite what I asked."

"I do respect you." Willow was near pleading.

"What was I wearing in your dream?" Tara inquired.

Willow recalled the body suit and smiled, "You were dressed appropriately for the occasion."

"Don't dodge." Tara prodded. "What was I wearing?"

Willow hung her head again and mumbled, "Blue wetsuit and flippers."

"Uh huh." Tara considered the outfit for a moment and frowned. Formfitting. Shows off the boobs... and big floppy feet. That's just great!

Willow smiled shyly. "You looked very nice." Willow was desperately trying to help. She looked earnestly at Tara.

"Yeah, right." Tara put her hand up. "Save it." She looked down at her tennis shoes. "I gotta go." Tara turned and headed over join the other Sisters for aerobics.

Willow just stared in disbelief.

Continue to Latter Days/Lonely Nights Chapter Forty-Six

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