The Kitten, the Witches and the Bad Wardrobe - Willow & Tara Forever

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 Post subject: Re: Learning To Laugh (September 29, 2019)
PostPosted: Sun Sep 29, 2019 5:16 pm 
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8. Vixen

Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 5:33 pm
Posts: 707
Topics: 2
Location: North Carolina, USA
mmmh-Hot-Sauce: Glad you like the comic banter and especially the end of the section. I was proud of that interchange. :blush

Will's redemption: I guess I should have made her a little more neurotic...but I think that Willow is feeling somewhat empowered. I am sure the inner critic will rear her ugly head, but maybe not right now.

leftindust: I am glad that your liked it. Thanks.


Part 31

“Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday Dear Willow, Happy Birthday to You.” Tara whispered into Willow’s ear when the clock struck midnight.

Willow stretched and looked at the brown-haired girl laying beside her in the bed. “Did I fall asleep?”

“Yeah, I did too, but when I woke up as saw that it was midnight. I couldn’t resist beginning your birthday right now.”

“I think you’ve tired me out,” said Willow as she realized that she may be the most relaxed she’d ever been in her life. “Do I get 20 kisses today?” asked Willow.

“Definitely, at least 20 special kisses.” Tara looked at Willow with a sultry look on her face.

“Yay me, and Yay turning 20.”

“What else do you want to do for your birthday? I have 2 wrapped presents, and two special meals planned.”

“Presents, when do I get my presents. I haven’t gotten birthday presents since I was 10. My parents used to just send me money and tell me to buy what I wanted.”

“Well, I don’t want you to get your hopes up. They are just little presents.”

“Anything from you is extra special. Can we just spend my whole birthday naked except for when we are eating the two meals and taking Taffy for a walk.” Willow brought her hand underneath the sheet and began making circles on Tara’s abdomen.

Tara looked at Willow, pecked her on the lips and grinned. “That could be arranged. Does taking another one of those great baths count as naked time?”

“Definitely. I want another bath. We get all sweaty, need to get nice and clean for naked fun. I see at least one bath and a shower in our schedule. I like wet Tara.” Willow started giggling realizing that her comment had a double meaning.

“Not as much as I like wet Willow.” Tara joined her lips to Willow’s. She gently nipped at Willow’s lower lip and used her tongue to gain entrance to Willow’s mouth. Simultaneously, Tara began moving her hand to Willow’s already wet, red curls and below. “Um…wet Willow…” Tara sighed as she removed her mouth from Willow’s for a moment and then joined her lips to Willow’s again.

“Whenever I am around you,” muttered Willow as she felt Tara exploring with her fingers. Willow gasped as Tara plunged one finger into her canal, while using her thumb to tease the bundle of nerves. Tara hooked her finger and found the slightly rough patch inside Willow. She was rewarded with a gush of more liquid and a wiggling Willow. “That feels so good.”

Tara added a second finger and moved her lips to one of Willow’s pink nipples. She sucked Willow’s breast in tempo with her fingers moving in and out and Willow’s breathing. Increasing the speed as Willow’s breath began to quicken. Willow took a deep breath and Tara plunged her fingers into Willow and circled Willow’s clitoris quickly. “Oh...Oh…Oh…Oh…” Willow moaned, as Tara returned to the frenetic movement of her fingers and mouth. Willow came with a scream of pleasure and an announcement of “Happy Birthday to me.”

Tara slowed her movements and helped Willow come down from the high. When she started to remove her fingers, Willow said, “Don’t go. It makes me feel so complete. It feels so right.” Tara returned her fingers and looked at her lover. Willow had a sex flush from between her breasts up to behind her ears. Tara kissed a trail through the red spots. She nibbled at the spot behind Willow’s ear that she knew was an erogenous zone. She could feel the response to this in the tightening of Willow’s channel and Willow’s moving so that Tara’s thumb pressed against her pleasure center. Willow moved onto her side and explored the brown curls at the apex of her girlfriend’s legs. “You’re wet too.”

“How could I not be. Happy Birthday to me and stay inside me.’ It so totally arousing to watch and hear you come.”

“I like to watch you too.” Willow teased Tara’s entrance and entered her with one, and then two fingers. The two took turns leading and following until they both reached climax and were laying spent on the bed.

“That felt so good.” Tara moved her head so that she could look at the heavily lidded emerald eyes gazing at her. “I love you Willow Rosenberg.”

“I love you too, Tara Maclay.”

“Are you at all sleepy?” asked Tara yawning.

“Yeah, but I don’t want to miss a moment of this experience.”

“We’ll have all day today and even tomorrow. Let’s go to sleep for awhile and who knows what the early morning will bring.”

“Promises, promises.”

“Promises that I know that I will keep.”

***
“Do you want funny shapes or circles?” asked Tara as she checked the griddle to make sure that it was hot enough to cook the pancakes well.

In the interest of safety and Willow’s rules that eating food was not something to be done in the nude. The two girls had put on their pajamas. Willow was sitting on a bench at the island while Tara was stirring the batter.

“Funny shapes. Birthday Shapes. Today is my birthday.”

“Like I’d forget.” Tara smiled at Willow.

“Already this is the best birthday ever,” exclaimed Willow, and it is only 10am.”

Tara poured the batter so that it formed something that resembled a birthday cake and an “H”, “B” and “W”. She watched the batter bubble and carefully turned the cakes over so that they were perfectly brown on both sides. She put the cakes on a plate and gave them to Willow who slathered them with butter and syrup. Tara made similar shapes for herself and they sat down at the table to eat their breakfast.

Willow looked at the maple syrup. “If we were not in somebody else’s house or I was pretty sure that I could be neat, this could be an interesting addition to our activities.”

“We can try that out some time that Anya’s out of town for the weekend.”

“Ok. These pancakes are the best I have ever had. What is your secret?”

“It’s a secret that my grandmother, taught my mom, and my mom taught me.”

“And you’ll teach our daughter.”

“Will, you are getting a little ahead of yourself.”

“Maybe, but I think that we’ll have a daughter. Maybe parthenogenesis will be a reality when we are ready to have kids. You do want to have kids don’t you.”

“I hadn’t really thought of it. I figured that being gay kind of precluded the whole reproduction thing.”

“I hope not. I think you’d be a good mom.”

“This is a little heavy of a conversation when we’ve basically had about five hours of sleep and more orgasms than I thought possible.”

“And the day is early.”

“Vixen.”

“Yep. That is Ms. Birthday Vixen to you.”

Just then, Taffy came to the door and asked to be brought in. Willow gave the dog a treat and scratched behind her ears. Taffy walked to her bed and lay down. “She is a good dog.”

“Yes. She is. When do you want to take her for her walk?”

“Later today. Now I want to shower, hopefully not alone, brush my teeth, and return to the naked birthday celebration.”

“Seriously?”

“Yeah. Watching you cook got me all hot and bothered.”

“Willow, you are incorrigible.”

“Perhaps, but I’m ok with that.”

_________________
Atlantic Antics Meeting Expectations
Learning to Laugh What I Discovered at Band Camp


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 Post subject: Re: Learning To Laugh (September 29, 2019)
PostPosted: Tue Oct 01, 2019 9:47 am 
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3. Flaming O

Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2018 12:38 pm
Posts: 83
Dibs! Tara pancakes put in an appearance! This chapter was a little bittersweet for me because Willow is only 20 yet has had no birthday specialness in her life for the past decade. Tara is hopefully gonna make up for that. Happy Birthday Willow.


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 Post subject: Re: Learning To Laugh (September 29, 2019)
PostPosted: Tue Oct 01, 2019 2:09 pm 
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4. Extra Flamey
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I really want to see a birthday cake pancake.

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 Post subject: Re: Learning To Laugh (September 29, 2019)
PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2019 10:24 am 
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7. Teeny Tinkerbell Light
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Great update! Loving this story more and more. Can't wait for the next chapter.

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Alyson, oh, Alyson why don´t you join my band? So you could play the flute like this one time in band camp.
I Am Forever / A Special Christmas of Sorts / Maybe It's Just Me / Honeysuckle Rose /Blackouts and Breakthroughs / When Love Arrives


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 Post subject: Re: Learning To Laugh (September 29, 2019)
PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2019 10:15 am 
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8. Vixen

Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 5:33 pm
Posts: 707
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Location: North Carolina, USA
Northernlass: Didn't mean to make it bittersweet. This will definitely rank as number 1 in her last 20 birthdays.

leftindust: Wish I knew how to do graphics. I sort of imagine it as two ovals with sticks coming off it.

mmmh-hot-sauce: Hope you like it. My pieces are not as long. I've lost a little momentum in my writing. But I hate unfinished gestalts and this will not be a 10 year story.

Learning to Laugh
NC17
Joss, ME and television networks make money off them. I just imagine them having different lives. Thanks to Amber and Aly too.
This chapter is totally smutty fluff. Sorry to those of you who were happy that I included banter and other things rather than just sex, sex, sex. But they are 20 and this is all new and I don't think that they can get enough of each other....

Birthday continued


“You want one of your presents?” asked Tara as she toweled off her hair. Willow was sitting on the bed watching her girlfriend with rapt attention.

“Sure, as I’ve said I like presents,” answered Willow.

Tara walked over to her suitcase and picked up a small square present. “I hope you are not disappointed; they are just two small presents.”

Willow took the present from Tara’s hand and opened it. It was a tape.

“Yay, another mixed tape from Tara. I love your mixed tapes!” Willow exclaimed.

“This one should be better because it doesn’t have to be all subtle, ‘I like/love you.’”

“I loved the first one, and I am sure that I will love this one too.”

Willow looked at the neatly written songs. Walking on Sunshine (Katrina and the Waves), No More Lonely Nights (Paul McCartney), Smooth Operator (Sade), Voices Carry (‘Til Tuesday), Lay your hands on me (Thompson Twins), What About Love (Heart), Crazy for You (Madonna), “Take On Me (a-ha), “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go (Wham),Against All Odds (Phil Collins), Hello (Lionel Richie), Time After Time (Cyndi Lauper), Talking In Your Sleep (The Romantics), I Just Called to Say I l Love You (Stevie Wonder), Islands in the Stream (Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton), Head Over Heels (The Go-Go’s).

“These are great. We’ll have to put it on.”

“I tried to put the active ones on one side and the softer ones on the other, like last time.”

“Yeah it seems perfect. Thanks so much.” Willow went over to where Tara was sitting and enveloped her in a hug and started kissing her neck and throat.” She whispered, “I don’t want to listen to music, I want to hear the music coming from you,” in Tara’s ear.

“It appears that 20-year-old Willow is a sex-fiend.”

“I don’t think it has anything to do with my birthday…I think it has to do with my beautiful, girlfriend sitting in front of me, in a towel. Maybe it does have to do a little with my birthday; remember my request to spend my birthday sans clothes.” Willow began to suck Tara’s pulse point. “But if you don’t want to…I guess we could get dressed and watch a movie or something.” Willow walked toward her bag. She bent over her bag.

Tara followed her, grabbing the towel that was wrapped around her petite girlfriend and unwrapping it.
“Humm…I get to unwrap something too.” She pulled Willow toward the bed and they flopped onto it.

“I promised you 20 special kisses. Do you want them all together or spread them out over the course of the day?” Tara purred into Willow’s ear.

Tara’s breath and words caused goose bumps to spread across Willow’s body. “Hum…that seemed to cause some autonomic nervous system action, eh? or Are you cold?” asked Tara as she saw that along with goose bumps, Willow’s nipples were puckered. Tara took one of them between her fingers.

“Have I told you that it is a turn on when you talk all scientific?” commented Willow.

“No. I guess I’ll have to improve my scientific vocabulary, especially Biology.” Tara trailed her finger down Willow’s torso, stopping right below her belly button. “So, kisses?”

“You’re the gift giver. Whatever you want.”

“So, it is up to me?”

“Sure.”

“Ok, so I want to make love to you while I give you some of these ‘special birthday’ kisses. I want you to lay back and enjoy. I am sure that we’ll have several more ‘making love with’ opportunities, but I want to make love ‘to’ you, understand?” Tara whispered into Willow ear.

Willow felt that she was conscious of every nerve ending in her body and they were all excited. She nodded.

Tara kneeled with her legs straddling Willow’s and her arms on each side of her shoulders. “One.” Tara kissed Willow’s forehead. “Two.” she kissed Willow’s right eye. “Three.” She kissed her left eye. “Four.” She joined her mouth to Willow’s. She nipped at Willow’s lower lip and used her tongue to request access. When Willow’s tongue began responding, Tara removed her mouth and brought her lips to Willow’s ear again. “To…not with…” Tara nipped Willow’s ear. “You just wasted ‘five’.” She kissed behind Willow’s ear. Willow willed herself to be passive and grabbed the sheets so that she wouldn’t be tempted to ‘waste’ any more of her birthday kisses.

“Six.” Tara kissed the indentation of Willow’s throat. “Seven.” She kissed between Willow’s breasts.

“Eight.” She took Willow’s right breast into her mouth. She used her tongue to tease the areola and lick around the nipple until finally sucking it. This caused Willow to moan, tense her muscles. “Nine.” She moved her ministration to the left breast while playing with the right nipple with her fingers. Willow could feel Tara’s erect nipples pressed against her stomach and had to clench the sheets to not touch Tara.

“Ten.” Tara kissed Willow’s belly button and dipped her tongue into he slight indentation. “Eleven.” Tara kissed the spot right above where Willow’s coppery curls began. Tara moved her body so that she was now kneeling between Willow’s legs. She pushed Willow’s feet so that her legs were bent, and Willow’s sex was open before her. Willow opened her eyes and saw Tara examining her. “So beautiful, you are so beautiful. I can see why people say they look like flowers.” Willow smiled. It’s kind of embarrassing, but kinda hot too.

“Eleven.” Tara kissed Willow’s right knee. “Twelve.” She kissed her left knee. “Thirteen.” She kissed Willow’s left inner thigh. “Fourteen.” She kissed Willow’s right inner thigh. “You smell so good; I can’t imagine how good you are going to taste.” Tara purred. Willow looked at her lover’s eyes. I can hardly see the blue her eyes are so dilated. Tara smiled at Willow and said, “Fifteen, now for the most special kiss.”

Willow had tried to imagine what this experience would be like. But her imagination was not vivid enough to even begin to conceive of what it felt like. Tara used her fingers to open her up and her tongue was gently exploring Willow’s womanhood. It was causing sensations that she had never even dreamed of. She’d thought that Tara had already brought her to the peak of pleasure, but this was different, it was more intense. Tara was licking and sucking and making noises that hummed throughout her body. Willow’s hips rose off the bed as Tara movements became more frenetic. Tara inserted one finger into Willow’s channel and found the rough patch that caused Willow to moan and release more fluid. Willow could feel her orgasm coming, she’d get to the peak, and Tara would change her movements, slowing them down and then bringing her back, finally Willow could not take it anymore and she screamed “Please.” Tara began pump her fingers in and out of Willow while sucking her clit. Willow worried that she was going to somehow hurt Tara as her body bucked from her orgasm, but Tara rode the waves with her as they crashed and crashed and crashed. Willow lost consciousness for a moment, and it took a few minutes for her to gain control of her body. She opened her eyes and looked at her girlfriend. “I need you up here, on top of me.” Tara crawled up her body, bringing her lips to Willow’s and leaving a leg pressed against Willow’s center. When they paused to breathe, Willow said, “That was amazing. I love you so much. That was the best birthday present I have ever gotten in my entire life.”

Tara smiled her crooked smile and said, “I think it was the best birthday present I’ve ever given anyone too.”

_________________
Atlantic Antics Meeting Expectations
Learning to Laugh What I Discovered at Band Camp


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 Post subject: Re: Learning To Laugh (September 29, 2019)
PostPosted: Mon Oct 07, 2019 11:48 pm 
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6. Sassy Eggs

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
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Dibs! :whip
smut + yummy Tara-pancakes + more smut = :drool = very happy birthday girl - and happy readers as well! :bigkiss

I'm glad that the girls take as much intimacy out of their alone-time as they can get. Back in the dorms and later at Tara's home the opportunities for long, undisturbed love-making will be rare.


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 Post subject: Re: Learning To Laugh (September 29, 2019)
PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:09 am 
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3. Flaming O

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That was hot. Certainly a birthday to remember!


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 Post subject: Re: Learning To Laugh (September 29, 2019)
PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2019 6:57 pm 
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20. Not one Much for the Timber
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I'm loving all of this alone time for our girls and I'm thrilled to see Willow FINALLY loosen up, relax and trust that Tara does love her. They needed to be alone; away from the stress of their day to day responsibilities and roommates and the severe lack of privacy. I seriously hope they don't get too carried away, lose track of time and get caught by the professor. That would really suck...and not in a good way.

On a side note...I LOVE THE MIX TAPE! I graduated HS in '85 and boy did that take me back. :clap

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Shelby - Racing The Rain (IN PROGRESS) / Baby Makes Three (IN PROGRESS) / The Santa Line / Everything She Does...Is Beautiful / Calfornia Grass

"Transform your pain. Release your past. And ... uh ... get over it."
~Willow, Where The Wild Things Are


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 Post subject: Re: Learning To Laugh (September 29, 2019)
PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2019 1:41 pm 
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7. Teeny Tinkerbell Light
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Aww, super sweet update, bummed I'm getting to it so late, but guess that means a new chapter is right around the corner :pray .

Quote:
Hope you like it. My pieces are not as long. I've lost a little momentum in my writing. But I hate unfinished gestalts and this will not be a 10 year story.


I know what you mean, I'm one of those 10 year writers. :ashamed I get so many ideas in my head that I want to write about but then I get bogged down with real life or worse yet, writers block and story's get left behind. Anyways, keep up the fantastic work!




P.S. I loved the idea behind the 20 birthday kisses.

_________________
Alyson, oh, Alyson why don´t you join my band? So you could play the flute like this one time in band camp.
I Am Forever / A Special Christmas of Sorts / Maybe It's Just Me / Honeysuckle Rose /Blackouts and Breakthroughs / When Love Arrives


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 Post subject: Re: Learning To Laugh (September 29, 2019)
PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2019 4:10 pm 
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8. Vixen

Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 5:33 pm
Posts: 707
Topics: 2
Location: North Carolina, USA
Will's Redemption: Glad you liked the mix of sweet and smut. Thanks for reading.

Northernlass: : Definitely Willow's best ever. Thanks for commenting.

Finey Mc Fine
: Yes, the 80's had good music. They won't get caught. That is not angst I wanted to create. Always feel like I won the lottery when I get a comment from you. :blush

mmmh-Hot-Sauce: Glad you liked the 20 birthday kisses. Thanks for going on this crazy ride with me.

Learning to Laugh
PG-13
Joss and television networks own everything. I just like to imagine better lives for Tara and Willow.


“Do we have to go out?” whined Willow. “I like staying like this.” She pulled at Tara’s arm as she was trying to leave the bed and brought her back to a prone position.

“Well, we’ve got to take Taffy for her walk, and I figured after than I’d take you out to dinner for your birthday.”

“Can’t we just take Taffy for two walks tomorrow?”

“She’s been nosing around the door for the last hour. I think she is feeling neglected.”

“Ok.” Willow kissed Tara and jumped out of the bed. “Sweetie, I really appreciate that you want to take me out to dinner, but I’d really prefer to just throw on sweats, take the dog for a walk and come back have a grilled cheese sandwich or something and return to my naked birthday celebration.”

“You haven’t had enough?” quipped Tara as she began to put on her jeans.

“No, have you? Am I asking too much of you.” Willow started to panic.

Tara walked over to where Willow was standing in her underwear and put her hands on Willow’s shoulders. “Sweetie, you are not asking for anything that I am not willing to give. I didn’t want to sound like a horn-dog and I’d promised that I’d take you out for your birthday. I didn’t want to renege.”

“Renege away sweetie. I feel like we need to take advantage of this being alone opportunity while we are here. Even at times are roommates are out, we still have lots of other people on our halls and very thin walls.” Willow pulled on her sweatpants and a sweatshirt.

“Yeah, I’ve been thinking about that. I think I now understand why sometimes people’s music seems to be up extra loud, they are probably doing ‘it’” Tara put on a shirt and a lavender sweater.

“Yeah probably. I hadn’t really thought about it either. I wish we could just stay here forever.” Willow said as she began to tie her sneakers.

“I don’t think Professor Walsh would be too happy if we took over his guest room, and I am pretty sure that he wouldn’t want his kids hearing us either.” Tara sat down on the bed and put on her socks and boots.

“Yuck, you had to put that in my mind. You know I was imagining it as this being our house and all we needed to do was take care of the dog and hang together.”

“If we ever want to have a place like this, we’ll definitely have to keep up our studies and probably both get advanced degrees. We need to go back and finish our undergraduate programs.”

“It’s my birthday, I want to live in my dream world that this is our house and all we have to do is take care of the dog, take care of our own needs and make love.”

“Definitely, we don’t have to think about the real world until Sunday. We’ve got a whole ‘nother day to spend how we want.

Taffy bumbled into the room as soon as Willow opened the door. “It’s ok girl,” Willow patted the dog on the head, “We didn’t forget about you. You ready for a walk.”

The dog began panting and jumping up and down. Willow put the dog’s harness on while Tara grabbed their jackets.

They left the house and began walking the dog down the sidewalk. They were walking beside the road when they came face to face with another dog and its owner. ‘’

“Is that you Willow?” asked the person.

Willow dropped Tara’s hand which she’d been holding.

“Hello, Professor Travis. I didn’t know you had a dog.”

“Yeah, it is not something that I usually talk about at school. What are you doing walking Taffy?”

“Professor Walsh hired us to house and dog sit.”

The professor looked Tara up and down, “Who is your friend?”

“Professor Travis, this is my friend Tara. Tara this is Professor Travis. He teaches Chemistry.”

“Hello, sir.” Tara outstretched her hand. He met it with his own and gave her a lackluster handshake.

Taffy and the professor’s dog were nosing around each other. “What’s your dog’s name?” asked Willow.

“Trent, he and Taffy have been friends for a long time. Professor Walsh never said anything about having a student house sit. Why didn’t you go home for Thanksgiving?”

Willow looked at the professor. Why does he care? What do I say? It is not like I want my professors knowing my life story… It just didn’t work out this time. Well, we’d better get going, Taffy needs her exercise. Nice seeing you.” Willow began walking briskly away.

When they were far enough away from him for Willow to figure that he couldn’t hear her, Willow muttered, “Do you think he saw us holding hands?”

“Why does it matter, Willow are you ashamed of me.”

“No. Definitely not, no I am not at all ashamed of you. Want me to hunt him down and tell him that you are my wonderful girlfriend.”

“No, that is definitely not needed. I would have probably dropped your hand too if we’d run into one of my professors. I just think it isn’t fair. If one of us was a guy, we’d not feel ashamed,” commented Tara.

“The wonders of internalized homophobia, as well as, externalized homophobia,” responded Willow.

“I’ve never quite understood why it’s called a ‘phobia’. It’s not that people are afraid of gay people, it is more of a -ism ‘homoism’, I guess that doesn’t have quite as good of a ring. Gayism.”

“Orientationism?”

“Identityism.”

“I guess it is a ‘phobia’ because people are afraid that it is going to happen to them. What if he says something about it to Professor Walsh. I didn’t tell him that you were my girlfriend. I don’t want him to think that I took advantage of his generosity and used his house to do you know…”

“Didn’t you?” asked Tara trying to make the situation a little lighter.

“Yeah, but I don’t want him to know that. He may not hire me again. I was sort of hoping he may need a dog sitter for the Winter Holidays. I’d much rather spend some of the vacation in a house rather than having to move to whatever dorm they keep open for the vacation.”

“Speaking of that…” Tara commented.

“Of what?” asked Willow.

“Of the winter holiday break. I was sort of hoping that you’d come home with me for the vacation. I want to spend the winter holidays with you.”

Willow stopped and looked at Tara with an expression that communicated utter confusion. “I can’t… I have to… your family…go home with you. I can’t… I have to work.”

“You have to work on Christmas? What job do you do on Christmas? I know the theater can’t be open on Christmas. Do you have some secret job that you’ve been keeping from me?” said Tara with a tone of sarcasm and frustration.

“Not on Christmas per se, but the week after New Years until school opens again on January 21st.” Willow began walking rapidly back toward the house.

Tara ran to catch up with her. “Therefore, you could come home with my for Christmas and then take the train back to school.”

Willow stopped again and looked at Tara with an expression that communicated a lack of understanding of what Tara was saying.

“Do you not want to spend the Winter Holidays with me?” Tara said with a hint of sadness.

“No…” Willow stuttered.

“No?” said Tara flabbergasted.

“No, I don’t mean no, sure I’d like to spend the holidays with you. I want to spend every moment that I can with you, but go home with you? What about your parents? What if they figure it out?”

“Willow, there is nothing to figure out. They know you are my girlfriend, or at least my mom does. She told me to ask you. I don’t talk about this kind of thing much to my dad, but he is always ‘the more the merrier’ kinda guy.”

“You parents know about me?” Willow practically shrieked. She began walking even faster.

“Willow, slow down, breathe.” Tara took the leash out of Willow’s hand and put her hand on her shoulder.

“What…what if…what if they change their minds…what if they don’t’ like me? What if they think I’m not good enough for you,” Willow began to panic.

“Willow, breathe. I am sure that they will like you, what’s not to like. My siblings have brought some doozies home in the past, and my parents were nothing but nice to every one of them.”

“But none of them were a girl.”

“Actually, my brothers always bring home girls.”

“You know what I mean.”

“Yeah, this will be the first time someone brings someone of the same sex home for the holiday. But nobody is going to care?”

“How do you know that? They could freak. I never imagined that my parents would freak, and look, total freak, disowned their only kid freak…”

“That’s what this is about, isn’t it Willow. You are afraid that my parents are going to disown me if they meet you. Do you want to talk to them, do you need my mom to promise you that she won’t disown me?”

“I don’t want to give them any ideas. What if they didn’t ever think about it before. I don’t want to give them ideas.” Willow sounded frantic.

“Willow, calm down. Let’s walk the dog home, feed her and sit down and talk about this rationally.”

They walked in silence for a few minutes. “I’m sorry Tara. I’m not handling this well at all.

“Willow, you are handling it the way you handle it. It’s ok.” Tara bumped Willow’s hip.

They continued to walk back to the house. Once they got back into the house, Tara began rummaging in the kitchen for something for dinner while Willow changed Taffy’s water and gave him some dog food.

“Are you sure you don’t want to go out?” asked Tara. “We don’t have to go anywhere fancy. We could just get pizza.”

“I don’t want to go anywhere. I just want to stay here with you.”

“Fine. Peanut butter and jelly or grilled cheese?”

“Which ever you want.”

“It’s your birthday.”

“Ok, do we have enough cheese for grilled cheese?”

“Yep. I wouldn’t have offered it if we didn’t” said Tara in a slightly snarky manner.

“Ok, sorry. Grilled cheese, please.”

Tara began moving around the kitchen finding the pan that she’d used before and taking out the cheeses that she’d found. She grabbed two plates and put some chips on each of them, and peeled carrots, cut them into sticks, and put the carrot sticks on the plates. As soon as the griddle was hot, she began to grill the sandwiches.

“I’m sorry that I was snarky. I just didn’t expect you to freak so much when I asked you to come home with me.”

“It’s ok. I know I overreacted. I’ve just been thinking a lot about my parents disowning me. It’s my 20th birthday and it’s been over a year since they’ve called me or talked to me. I guess that I just keep on thinking that they will call me and apologize or just to say Happy Birthday. Not that they’d have any way to know that I am here. Maybe I should have stayed in my room.”

“Sat by the phone to wait for their call?”

“That’s what I did last year. It really sucked. I got depressed.”

“Understandably. I can imagine you worrying about going to the bathroom, thinking you’d miss the call.”

“Yeah, I hardly drank anything.”

“I was kidding.”

“I know, but it was true. I took my phone of the receiver, so they’d get a busy signal when I went to the bathroom.”

“Oh, Willow. I wish I’d known you then. I would have sat in your room with you. You will never have to spend a birthday sitting and waiting for a phone call alone again.”

“Do you think they just never really loved me and took this as an excuse. Maybe they never wanted to have children.”

Tara took the sandwiches off the heat and walked over to Willow and enveloped her in a hug. “Sweetie, I don’t know. I’ve never met them, and I figure I’ll never meet them. I don’t understand how anyone could disown someone as sweet and beautiful and wonderful as you. It’s their loss. They must be really stupid.” Tara kissed Willow’s neck.

“My parents are really smart.”

“Maybe they are book smart, but they’ve got to be emotion dumb because they disowned you.”

“It’s not them, it’s me,” said Willow.

Tara walked back to where Willow was sitting. She took her hand and brought Willow’s face up so that they were looking straight at each other. “It is them. There is nothing wrong with you. You are a special, wonderful, beautiful, spectacular, awesome, kind, caring, smart, and amazing woman. It is their problem.”

“I don’t think so.” Willow struggled out of Tara’s grip and looked back down at the floor.

“Well, I love you Willow Rosenberg. I’m going to tell you and show you and do everything I can until you are able to see the situation the way I see it, and you can say confidently that it’s their loss, it is their problem.”

“Ok.” Willow looked up at Tara’s blue eyes. “The grilled cheeses smell like they are trying to burn.”

“Tara rushed over to the pan and flipped the sandwiches onto the plates.”

“A little crispy, but not too bad.”

“I like mine a little crispy. I love the color dark brown.” She smiled at Tara.

***
“How did you remember that I wanted this book?” asked Willow as she opened the wrapped present. They were cuddling on the bed watching television.

“It wasn’t too hard. You said it was one of your favorite authors. It wasn’t too hard to go back to the bookstore and purchase it. I was going to give it to you for one of the winter holidays, but then I found out about your birthday.”

“It can count for the holidays too. You keep calling them the “winter” holidays instead of Christmas. Doesn’t your family celebrate Christmas?”

“Yes, we celebrate Christmas, but we also celebrate the Winter Solstice. I told you that my mother’s family are Wiccan. My mom’s mother has always tried to make the Solstice a major holiday. It’s sort of the Solstice celebration with my mom’s family and Christmas with my dad’s family.

“If I come home with you, I’ll really meet your whole family?”

“Yeah.”

“And you think that they will like me?”

“I am positive they will like you.”

“How can you be positive?”

“What is not to like sweetheart.”

“I feel like this conversation is going in a circle.”

“Why?”

“When you say, what’s not to like, it makes me think about my parents not liking me.”

“Let’s keep that negative talk out of the room.”

“Ok. So holidays, when is Chanukah?”

“It starts the 8th and ends on the 15th. Exams start right after it ends.”

“Does the campus Jewish group do anything for it?”

“Yeah, usually there is a party either the first or the last night and we make latkes and eat jelly donuts.”

“Can I come with you? I’ve never had a latke.”

“Have you ever had a potato pancake?”

“Yeah.”

“Then you’ve had a latke. They are the same thing.”

“Oh. Well, I like jelly donuts.”

“Me too, especially raspberry ones.”

“Little did I know about you and liking raspberries. So, can I come?”

“Of course.”

“So, I am pretty sure that I have six more kisses to give you,” commented Tara looking at Willow in a seductive manner.

“Happy Birthday to me.”

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 Post subject: Re: Learning To Laugh (September 29, 2019)
PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2019 1:30 am 
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6. Sassy Eggs

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Dibs! :whip
Quote:
“You haven’t had enough?” quipped Tara as she began to put on her jeans.

“No, have you? Am I asking too much of you.” Willow started to panic.


So Willow's self-doubts are back - it was to be expected, of course...
Quote:
“Is that you Willow?” asked the person.

Willow dropped Tara’s hand which she’d been holding.


And the harsh light of the outside world is back too, sadly.

Like Tara I didn't expect such a major freakout from Willow because of the invitation to accompany Tara home for christmas. But their conversation at the end gives me hope that Willow will get used to the idea and accept the invitation in the near future.
Quote:
Maybe I should have stayed in my room.”

“Sat by the phone to wait for their call?”

“That’s what I did last year. It really sucked. I got depressed.”

“Understandably. I can imagine you worrying about going to the bathroom, thinking you’d miss the call.”

“Yeah, I hardly drank anything.”

“I was kidding.”

“I know, but it was true. I took my phone of the receiver, so they’d get a busy signal when I went to the bathroom.”

“Oh, Willow. I wish I’d known you then. I would have sat in your room with you. You will never have to spend a birthday sitting and waiting for a phone call alone again.”

Poor Willow, my heart really ached for her here!

Quote:
“It’s not them, it’s me,” said Willow.

Tara walked back to where Willow was sitting. She took her hand and brought Willow’s face up so that they were looking straight at each other. “It is them. There is nothing wrong with you. You are a special, wonderful, beautiful, spectacular, awesome, kind, caring, smart, and amazing woman. It is their problem.”

“I don’t think so.” Willow struggled out of Tara’s grip and looked back down at the floor.

“Well, I love you Willow Rosenberg. I’m going to tell you and show you and do everything I can until you are able to see the situation the way I see it, and you can say confidently that it’s their loss, it is their problem.”

Tara is so right! I'm glad about her resolve and trust in her patience because I fear it will take quite a long time until Willow will feel this way.


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 Post subject: Re: Learning To Laugh (September 29, 2019)
PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2019 8:16 am 
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3. Flaming O

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I'm dying for the winter hols at Tara's, and for Willow to experience a loving family festive time. I have a feeling Tara's mom will be key to this, then maybe Willow will begin to feel she's worthy of love.......


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 Post subject: Re: Learning To Laugh (September 29, 2019)
PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:41 am 
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1. Blessed Wannabe
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Wow, wow!!! I have so many feelings. Your Willow and Tara are both wonderful! I love that Tara has a wonderful family! This fic is amazing!

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Willow: You two (Giles and Tara) have been talking about me behind my back. Tara: No! God. Willow: You know how that makes me feel? Tara: Willow, you are using too much magick. What do you want me to do, sit back and keep my mouth shut? Willow: Well that'd be a good start Tara: (Shocked) If I didn''t love you so damn much I would!


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 Post subject: Re: Learning To Laugh (December 4, 2019)
PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2019 6:47 pm 
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8. Vixen

Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 5:33 pm
Posts: 707
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Location: North Carolina, USA
Mouselafay: Glad you are liking the story. Thanks for feedbacking.

Northernlass: The winter holidays will be the next big update. My goal is to have the chapter(s) written before the actual winter holidays occur in the RW.

Will's Redemption: Thanks for the dibs. Yes, Willow is still neurotic, but every day that she is loved by Tara, she gets a little better. Thanks for sticking with my story.


Learning to Laugh
Disclaimer: Joss owns everything. I just imagine different lives for his characters.

This is just a transition to get us to the holidays. My goal is that I'll have the holidays written before the 2019 Solstice.


December 1, 1985

Dear Tara,
So much to write, so much has happened since the last time I was in my dorm room. I have a feeling that my bed is going to feel lonely without Willow. Part of me wanted us to figure out a way that we could sleep together, but I know I am not ready to sleep with Willow with other people in the room. Anya did an excellent job with the surprise party. I think that Willow was really surprised. She didn’t seem to have any suspicions that I was purposely trying to keep her from going back to her dorm. Leaving the professor’s house felt like leaving home. Just those few days of domesticity made me ache for the time that we will be together always. It kind of sucks to be college students at the moment. Hopefully we can be roommates for next year and we won’t have to worry about it.

All the things that happened. I don’t know what I expected my ‘first time’ to be like, but it was amazing. Words can’t do it justice, and I am pretty sure that I don’t need to write about it to remember it. No question, Tara Maclay likes sex.

So, Willow’s birthday party… We got there any all of her friends were in the room. Willow’s eyes bugged out and for the first time, she seemed to be speechless. Anya had done a really good job pulling all of the people from her different areas of life. I was also really surprised at how good of a baker Anya was. The cake was really good. It was interesting to see what different people thought were good birthday presents for Willow. She got several “women’s music” albums, Cris Williamson, Meg Christian, Theresa Trull, and Alex Dobkin. I am looking forward to listening to them. One of the Meg Christian songs is called “Ode to a gym teacher.” I am guessing that it will be funny. The theater people gave her books of plays and some black tee-shirts. Amy gave her a tee-shirt that said, “I’d rather be hanging lights”. The science people all got together and bought Willow what I guess is a really good calculator. I don’t know, but Willow was really happy. Willow seemed really touched that so many people cared about her birthday. I stayed after to help Anya clean up. As I said before, it was really hard to leave, but I’ll see her tomorrow. I think that she’s come around to the idea of coming home with me for Christmas. Not that we’ll have any time alone there, but I really want everyone to meet her. We’ve got sixteen days until Christmas break. Exams start in 10 days. I am guessing it is going to be really busy. Willow was already starting to make up study materials for her exams this weekend. Academically, she really makes me look like a slacker. I have 2 exams and 2 final projects. Willow’s got four exams and some big computer program that is due the last day of exams. I hope that I’ll get to see her some in the next two weeks, but I figure that it is going to be intense.

December 4, 1985

Willow made up this big schedule for the next two weeks. It’s got everything that we’ve got to do before leaving for Christmas. She broke it down in one hour increments. She used all of these different colored pens. It is a sight to behold. All of my stuff is in blue and hers is in red. I laughed when I saw that at least once a day there was a block of purple, with nothing scheduled. When I asked, she just raised her eyebrows and gave me a sly grin. Good to know that I’ll be getting my Willow time. Count down to bringing my girlfriend home for the holidays….

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 Post subject: Re: Learning To Laugh (December 5, 2019)
PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2019 12:00 am 
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6. Sassy Eggs

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
Posts: 421
Dibs! :whip
I was worried that you might have abandoned this wonderful story, so yay for the update! :applause
I'm glad to read in Tara's diary that Willow's surprise-party was a success.

Quote:
Willow made up this big schedule for the next two weeks. It’s got everything that we’ve got to do before leaving for Christmas. She broke it down in one hour increments. She used all of these different colored pens. It is a sight to behold. All of my stuff is in blue and hers is in red. I laughed when I saw that at least once a day there was a block of purple, with nothing scheduled. When I asked, she just raised her eyebrows and gave me a sly grin. Good to know that I’ll be getting my Willow time.

:laugh This is so Willow, quirky and adorable!

I'm looking forward to their winter-vacation at Tara's home.


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 Post subject: Re: Learning To Laugh (December 5, 2019)
PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2019 8:58 am 
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10. Troll Hammer

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Great how they're spending time together, and Tara's awakening to an adult approach to sexuality :applause . Willow's panic about meeting Tara's folks, or the profs discovering anything, and her, let's be blunt, clinginess, reminds me again that she is a mental health consumer (like folks I knew in the 80s) and she just plain will often not have a handle to grasp for various situations. And as important as Tara's feelings and presence are, that can't fix all of it.

Willow's doubts about the term "homophobia;" reminds me of a letter in Fantastic magazine back in the early 70s when the term wasn't heard of, fan writer Roger Clorese, taking issue with something in a previous editorial, proposed the term "sexualism" to prejudices based on orientation. It could have been useful if it had caught on.

I feel for Willow on having family members who want nothing to do with oneself. :sigh

_________________
Snapshots:http://thekittenboard.com/board/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=10210 a Love Story
____________________________________________________________
Kim: (breaks off the kissing) I l... (Sue stops her with a hand)
Sue: We don't talk about things like that right after, you know that, no saying those things in The Moment.
Kim: (moves the hand aside) Screw The Moment. I *love* you.


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 Post subject: Re: Learning To Laugh (December 5, 2019)
PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2019 9:29 am 
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7. Teeny Tinkerbell Light
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I was so excited to see an update to this story, I really enjoy it. Glad to see that so many of Willow's friends showed up to her surprise party and that she had a good time. Can't wait for the next update and how their trip to the Maclay household will be.

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I Am Forever / A Special Christmas of Sorts / Maybe It's Just Me / Honeysuckle Rose /Blackouts and Breakthroughs / When Love Arrives


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 Post subject: Re: Learning To Laugh (December 5, 2019)
PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2019 6:07 pm 
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20. Not one Much for the Timber
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Very nice to see you writing again, and more specifically, updating this fic.

Quote:
All the things that happened. I don’t know what I expected my ‘first time’ to be like, but it was amazing. Words can’t do it justice, and I am pretty sure that I don’t need to write about it to remember it. No question, Tara Maclay likes sex.
The last sentence made me lol.

I totally get the need to want to be together all the time and have more alone time and not just the sex part. Having that snuggly time is an important part of any close relationship. If I was them, I'd be changing dorm rooms before the start of the next semester. Introduce Anya to Tara's roommate, hope they hit it off and switch! :lol

On a side note, down memory lane: When I saw those dates, boy did I get a memory rush. I turned 18 on December 15th, 1985, one day after my first semester of college ended. My grandparents were out of town for the weekend to a family reunion and I had this huge party at their house. Most. Fun. Ever.

Ok, back to reality. Nice chapter...hoping to see more soon!

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"Transform your pain. Release your past. And ... uh ... get over it."
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 Post subject: Re: Learning To Laugh (December 5, 2019)
PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2020 7:08 pm 
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3. Flaming O
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Dag-Nab-It! It really is hard keeping to a New Years' resolution!
Anyway, I resolved to post on the boards, in the FICS I'm reading, to let the authors know. Well, Not to know that I'm reading but to let them know how much I enjoy their FICS.
So, ....I'm really enjoying this FIC and I hope you'll post an update soon.
Thanks for writing & Blessings

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 Post subject: Re: Learning To Laugh (December 5, 2019)
PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2020 3:36 pm 
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8. Vixen

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MotherD: Thanks for commenting and keeping to your resolution. As I've written frequently, feedback motivates me to write.
Finey_McFine: I am glad that I made you laugh out loud and remember fondly your 18th birthday. Thanks for reading and commenting.
mmmh-Hot-Sauce: Sorry you are having to wait. I gain motivation from you and your stories. Thanks

DaddyCatALSO: Thanks for commenting. I didn't realize that I was writing Willow as cling, but yes, her mental illness is a factor. Thanks for writing.

Will's Redemption: Thanks for commenting.

Learning to Laugh
Taranwillow4ever
PG-NC-17 (This one is PG)
Disclaimer: Joss owns it all, I just imagine different lives for Willow and Tara.
Setting: Small college in MA 1985.

Notes: Well, obviously my goal of getting the winter holidays done before the winter holidays did not work. My muse was on a cruise and I was busily making presents for family so writing was not on the agenda. I think I got another spark of motivation by finding out that the story I wrote for the Clexacon anthology was accepted. I've been published in professional journals, but this will be a first for my writing. I have a lot of scenes for the trip to Tara's family in my head, I just have to figure where the scenes fit. I will try to post again this month. Thanks you all for reading.


Preparing for Winter Break

“Breathe, Willow. In through your nose, hold for four, exhale for four, breathe in for four, hold for four, exhale for four.”
Willow had entered the therapy room and couldn’t sit down. She’d been pacing around the room and talking so fast that Dr. Lehane couldn’t tell where one word ended and another one started.

“Can you sit down?” Dr. Lehane pointed to the chair where Willow usually sat when they had their sessions.
Willow nodded and sat down, her legs still moving a shaking double time.

“Have you been taking your meds?”

Willow nodded in the affirmative. “YesIvebeentaking my meds, Iam not stupid, I know I havetotakethem. I amnotmanic, justbusy. Itsjust that it is exams and Iamsobusy and I havesomuch to do and I had my birthday andtheygavemeaparty and TaranandItookourrelationshiptothenextlevel and I bumpedinto a professor and now I swearthat all the math professors are lookingatmeweird and Tarawantsmetocomehome with her forthe holidays”. Willow had to pause to breathe.

“In for four, hold for four, out for four,” the therapist repeated.

Willow followed the instruction, holding her breath for a few seconds more and exhaling slowly. She put her hands on her legs and pushed them to make them stop shaking.

“Sorry.” Willow looked at the therapist realizing that she was being a ‘spaz’.

“Nothing to be sorry about. What I understood of what you just said was that you were taking your meds, you think you are busy, not manic. Something about a party and your professors are looking at you weird, and something about the holidays?”

“Yeah, that and other things.”

“Can you slowly tell me the main points.”

“Sure…” Willow took a breath, “I am taking my meds. I got a lithium level taken a few days ago and it was in the therapeutic range. I am not manic, just really kinda busy and there is so much I think I should talk to you about and I am so busy, and I have so much that I need to do. I have so much studying.”

“You feel that coming to therapy is getting in the way of your studying?”

“I know that it isn’t. I can’t study all of the time. I just am worried. I have some really hard exams coming up.”

“How much sleep have you been getting every night.”

“Four or five hours.”

“You know that you need 7-8 hours a night.”

“That is too much, between classes and preparing for exams and spending time with Tara, all I have left is four or five hours.”

“You know that you need more. You’ve admitted it to me before. You know that you are more at risk for getting sick, both physically and emotionally if you don’t get enough sleep…what about eating? Have you been eating at least 3X a day? Drinking at least 8 glasses of water?”

“You sound like Tara. She is always worried that I am not eating and drinking enough. She’s been bringing snacks and juice to me every night. We meet for lunch and dinner almost every day, and I’ve got a bin full of food for snacks if I get hungry.”

“Have you been hungry?”

“Sometimes, I have never been a big eater, but here eating is a social occasion, so yeah, I’ve been eating.

“It is just the sleeping. You know as well as I do that you need at least seven hours of sleep a night. I’d really like you to work on that, as well as, practice the breathing exercises I’ve taught you.

Ok.” Willow slumped into the chair.

“Do you feel like I am criticizing you. Your demeanor and energy just changed.”

“No, I know you are right, and that breathing does calm me down.”

“Yeah, breathing. It is a good thing. Now that you are here both in body and mind, what do you want to talk about?”

“What do I WANT to talk about, or what should I talk about?”

“Are they different?”

“Usually…not really. I don’t know… I feel like so much has changed since I last saw you and I don’t know what I should share, or what isn’t important.”

“Well, you can share whatever you want, and anything that you tell me is important. We’ll have one more appointment before the winter break, so I guess whatever you said about winter break may be a priority?”

“Tara wants me to come home with her for winter break.”

“Ok… do you not want to do that?”

“I do, but it scares me.”

“What scares you about it?”

“What if they don’t like me?”

“Why wouldn’t they like you?”

“I don’t know. I’m a girl. I’m a Jew. I’m a geek. Take your pick. What if they think I’m not good enough for her, what if they realize that they thought that they were ok with her dating a girl, but they realize when they actually see us together that they don’t like it.”

“What if they react like your parents and disown her…”

“Yeah. She says that it would never happen, and her parents are cool, but I never thought that my parents would do it either.”

“Willow, you say that, but other things you have told me about your parents, particularly your mom, make it sound that she was never that accepting of any decision that you made that she did not like.”

“Honestly, I am not surprised that my mom has stuck with it. I am sure that nobody knows that they’ve disowned me. I am sure that they pretend that I am busy and chose to stay on campus all the time. I suspect that the life that they report I have is nothing like the one that I actually do have.” Willow paused, “The thing is, I never thought that my dad would stick with it. I keep thinking that he’ll just show up and apologize, or he’ll want to see me behind her back…I was sure that when I got back to my dorm that he’d have left a message saying happy birthday.”

“You didn’t hear anything from him?”

“He sent a card with some money, but just signed it, Dad, not even love Dad.” Willow could feel the tears welling in her eyes.

“Do you think it would be too hard to see Tara’s family? From what you have told me in the past, it seems that Tara comes from a pretty close and warm family, is that why you don’t want to go?”

“I don’t think so. I really want to go. I want to spend as much time with Tara as I can. I’d spend all my time with her if I could. But I don’t want to create any problems for her.”

“Has she said anything that leads you to believe that it is going to make problems for her?

“No, from what she says, there will be so many people around that I’ll hardly be noticed. It seems that all of her older siblings will be bringing their boyfriends and girlfriends. She must have figured it made sense to invite me. I just worry that she thinks it is something I expected her to do…I am fine staying here on campus. I did it last year and I was fine.”
“Do you feel like she felt obliged to invite you, did you do anything to try to get yourself invited to go home with her for the holiday?”

“No, I’d never really thought about it. I was really surprised when she asked. I had just assumed that I’d be spending the holidays here. Actually, I was hoping that I could house sit again so I wouldn’t have to spend all my time in the dorms, I really like Professor Walsh’s dog.”

“Yeah, how did that go? Did you and Tara have a good time during your birthday and Thanksgiving.”

Willow blushed, “It was great. I felt like we were getting to be a real couple living together. I was sad when we had to come back to the reality of college life.”

“I can imagine.” The older woman smiled. “Decision making, let’s try to make a list of the pros and cons of going with Tara home for the holidays.”

Dr. Lehane grabbed a small chalkboard and wrote pros and cons on it.

Willow began listing, “Pro: I’ll get to be with Tara. I won’t have to be at the boring campus for a month. I’ll get to meet her family. I’ll not be lonely…the food will probably be way better than the cafeteria…I’ll get to be with Tara even though we won’t have any privacy.” Willow blushed, “I’ll get to see upstate New York…”

“Cons?”

“They won’t like me. She’ll realize that she doesn’t like me. What if they find out that I am mentally ill? What if they don’t think that I am good enough for her. I’ll be stuck in upstate NY. She has a really big family and I don’t have money to buy everyone presents.”

“Do you have enough money to give something to Tara’s parents to thank them for having you for the holidays? That is probably all that would be expected.”

“Yeah. I’ve already thought of some stuff for Tara, and I still have my birthday money from my dad.”

“Does her family sound like people who would not like someone because they have an illness? What if it was Diabetes?”

“You know there is a big difference between Diabetes and Manic Depression?”

“No, I don’t know. Both of them are an illness where a part of your body doesn’t do what it is supposed to do. Diabetes, the pancreas, Manic Depression the brain. Willow, having this illness does not make you defective. It is not your choice. It is not your fault.”

“I should be able to control my brain.”

“You know better than that, but we will agree to disagree. Do you think that Tara is going to stop liking you? Has she given you any indication that she is not committed to the relationship? You usually don’t invite someone home for the holidays if you don’t really like them. I ask again, has Tara given you ANY indication that she doesn’t like you?”

“No, everything that she says and does says that she loves and likes me. She says it every day.”

“So, what is keeping you from saying “Hell yeah, when are we leaving?”

“The usual, fear of the unknown.”

“So, are you going to let fear run your life?”

“No…no I don’t think so. It think that it would be stupid.” Willow smiled, “I guess I am going to NY for the holidays.”

“Do you think that Tara will be pleased?”

“Definitely, I could tell she was sort of upset that I didn’t immediately say ‘yes’. But she’d been trying to give me space to think. I think she knew that I needed to come talk to you about it.”

“She’s been being patient.”

“Yeah, she’s a really patient person, I love her so much for that.”

“Does she know that?”

“Yeah, I’ve told her that a few times.” Willow blushed.

“That’s good. Relationships work best when you are honest with each other. You should probably talk to her about the present thing. Most big families have some sort of way to handle gifts in a way that prevents everyone from being broke.”

“I know that Tara has made presents for her family in her 3-D class. I wish that I had some sort of skill that could be used as a present making device. I doubt anyone needs a COBOL program or an explanation of the physics of organic chemistry.”

“You never know, but I do understand that your major does not lend itself to present making.”

“You said that a lot of other things have changed since we last met?”

“I guess I did, but it is not really true. It’s not like Tara and my relationship has changed, it has just deepened, which is a change, but it is a good change, and not something that I really feel like I need to talk to you about. It has really been the should I or should I not go home with her for the holidays. You don’t think that two months is too soon to meet the parents?”

“I don’t think that it is a time thing. I am guessing if your situation was different, if you had somewhere to go for the holidays, this would have been a bigger deal. The first time you tell your parents that you are choosing to spend the holidays with someone else’s family is a major thing, but your parents are not in the mix.”

“What should I tell them about my parents? Should I make up an excuse? Pretend that they are too far away for me to go be with them? It’s kinda awkward.”

“As far as you know, where are you parents?”

“The postmark was from Georgia. I am guessing they are at Emory. But who knows whether they are spending the winter holidays there or going overseas. Honestly, they could be anywhere.”

“Do you wonder where they are? What they are doing?”

“Sometimes. Most of the time I just focus on being me and preparing for when I’m out of school. Oh, like I need another thing to do, but I’m going to get a credit next semester for being a TA in the Intro Calculus class. I really like teaching, and people have said that I make math understandable.”

“Do you think teaching is something you’d like to do?”

“I like doing it, but I doubt that I will do it as a career. I am pretty sure that I am going to be working with computers. Next semester I’ll be taking a graduate math course at MIT. I’ve taken all the math that this college has to offer. “

“Next semester is going to be even busier than this one. Do you think that will be good for you?”

“Yeah, I think so. I’m going to be TA on Monday and Wednesday mornings, going to MIT on Wednesdays, I’ll have my Organic Chemistry lab on Mondays and Class Tuesday/Thursdays, Backstage Craft and Human Information Processing on Tuesday and Thursdays. I am doing a Computer Independent Study. I don’t know when I’ll be meeting with that professor. For once, I don’t have any classes on Fridays. Neither does Tara, so that will be our time. She may even change her library shift so that we have nothing scheduled on Fridays other than my dorm stuff every five weeks.

“It’s not even the new semester and you seem to have it all set up.”

“I need to know what to expect. That is why the idea of going to NY is scary. I have no idea what to expect.”
“Just ask Tara, she should be able to give you a clue."

***

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 Post subject: Re: Learning To Laugh (February 3, 2020)
PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2020 12:36 am 
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6. Sassy Eggs

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
Posts: 421
Yay, you're back! :bounce Dibs! :whip

I'm glad that Willow's trust in Dr. Lehane has strengthened and that she so openly talks about the things that are bothering / worrying her.
I think they should have talked about this mention of Willow's fear too:
Quote:
I bumpedinto a professor and now I swearthat all the math professors are lookingatmeweird


Quote:
“Does her family sound like people who would not like someone because they have an illness? What if it was Diabetes?”

“You know there is a big difference between Diabetes and Manic Depression?”

“No, I don’t know. Both of them are an illness where a part of your body doesn’t do what it is supposed to do. Diabetes, the pancreas, Manic Depression the brain.

Dr. Lehane is right somehow, but on the other hand certainly couldn't deny that most people feel different interacting with someone who they know has a "mental disease" then with someone who is physically ill. Nevertheless I trust that Tara's family won't treat Willow differently than the girlfriends / boyfriends of Tara's siblings. It might even be good that it will be such a big family gathering because it will probably prevent Willow from beeing "in the spotlight" too much.

Quote:
“So, what is keeping you from saying “Hell yeah, when are we leaving?”

“The usual, fear of the unknown.”

“So, are you going to let fear run your life?”

“No…no I don’t think so. It think that it would be stupid.” Willow smiled, “I guess I am going to NY for the holidays.”

Yay! I'm glad that Willow came to this decision. I'm really looking forward to their trip.


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 Post subject: Re: Learning To Laugh (February 3, 2020)
PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2020 4:53 am 
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7. Teeny Tinkerbell Light
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Glad to see you back. I like that although scare, Willow is facing her fears and branching out. Can't wait to read about her visit to New York

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 Post subject: Re: Learning To Laugh (November 4, 2020)
PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2020 5:02 pm 
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8. Vixen

Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 5:33 pm
Posts: 707
Topics: 2
Location: North Carolina, USA
Title: LEARNING TO LAUGH
Author: Taranwillow4ever
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: Josh owns all of the characters; I just imagine different lives for them. No spoilers, no monetary gain, just an opportunity to write.
Feedback: YES PLEASE
Summary: Willow and Tara meet in college, but it takes a little while for the romance to set in. Time of Meeting mid 1980’s therefore no cell phones, no tablets. Computers are in labs and it is only the lucky few who have their own.

Thoughts in italics

Well, I said that I wanted to write this submission before the winter holidays, I guess I shouldn't have said the 2019 Solstice. The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a lot out of me. I have been making masks in my free time rather than writing. However, like my finally finishing Meeting Expectations, I can't stand a unfinished Gestalt, so I am going to start posting again. I've know what I want to happen during this trip to Tara's house, but how to put all the things I have decided need to occur has baffled me. I am just going to write (I actually wrote 28 pages longhand while waiting on my car to be fixed) and the events that are important will come.

L2L Continued

“Are you sure that your parents are going to like the things we picked out? We could always stop somewhere else and get them something better. They are letting me stay at their house for over a week, the least I can do is give them a good present…” asked Willow.

Tara interrupted the ramble by putting her hand on Willow’s leg. They were a few hours into the drive to her house and she could feel Willow’s emotions increase as the miles ticked by. She had sensed that Willow’s anxiety had escalated when she saw the “Welcome to New York” sign on the border between Massachusetts and New York.

“I would not steer you wrong sweetie. My parents are going to love the things you bought them, and for sure they don’t expect renumeration for their hospitality. Seriously my mother has always been ‘the more the merrier’. I think that she would have had even more children if she could. She had some difficulties with my younger sister’s birth, so no more kids,” commented Tara.

“That must have been hard. However, I can’t imagine having more than five kids. Do you think your siblings are going to like me?”

“I am pretty sure they will. I know that both Kathy and Trinity are really excited to meet you. Andy and Kyle, I haven’t much talked to them, in fact, I haven’t come out to Andy, so I am guessing it might be a bit of a shock, but I’m pretty sure he’ll just roll with it.”

“Why haven’t you told Andy?”

“No reason, I don’t really talk to him much. He’s busy with his life, I’m busy with mine.”

“I thought your said you all were close?”

“We are as close as any other siblings that I know. We’ve all got our own things going. Andy’s focus is on making money. He wants to make sure that he can support Tanya and they can stay in Boston or some other metropolitan area. He’s always wanted to make money. Trinity has always been interested in politics. I won’t be surprised if she ends up going to law school and running for office someday. She was involved in school politics all through high school and was the president of her senior class. If you think I’m outgoing, Trinity makes me seem like I’m shy. Kyle’s always been the sports kid. He’s played soccer, baseball, basketball, football, and lacrosse. I can’t count the number of games I have sat and watched him play. Unless we were working or studying for something specific, it was expected that we would all go to his games. Togetherness was always really important for Mama. “

“What’s Kathy into?”

“I’m not sure. You’ll have to ask her. She loves to talk and to ask people questions. I suggested that she might like working for the student paper or something, but she’s kinda oppositional. It’s gotta be HER idea or she will rebel against it. I’ve stopped suggesting anything.”

Willow looked out the window at the grey landscapes going by. She yawned.

“If you are tired, feel free to take a nap. We’ve got about an hour and a half more to drive,” commented Tara.

“I don’t want to waste our time together. I feel like I’ve hardly seen you in the last week.” Willow clasped her hand with Tara’s that was still on her leg.

“We saw each other every day, but I know what you are saying. You were kinda always in ‘super student’ space. I knew that you were trying to relax and enjoy our time together, but there was always a little bit of you that was worried about not making good use of every second of study time.”

“Did you feel like I wasn’t giving you my full attention?”

“No, it’s not that. I just could tell you were anxious and a bit preoccupied.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Nothing to be sorry about. I am just glad that we’re going to be able to have some time together when you don’t have to worry about school. Not that we’ll have a lot of ‘alone’ time, the house is going to be packed, but I am hoping that you will be able to relax a bit.”

Willow continued looking out the window. “Do you think it is going to snow?” asked Willow, How can she think I'll be relaxed if I am trying to impress her family.

“It sure looks like it. But I hope it holds off until we get home. I can drive in the snow, but I don’t really like driving on the highway when it snows.”

“Maybe we’ll have a white Christmas.”

“It wouldn’t surprise me. It snows a lot in New York.

Willow began thinking about Christmas. This reminded her of the information that Tara had shared with her about the Christmas celebrations.

“Babies. You have some baby cousins, right? You said that you always ended up being the baby wrangler.”

“My dad is the oldest of five kids, his youngest sister, Kelly has a nine-month-old Hannah and a two-year-old Patrick. His youngest brother, Simon, has twin four-year-olds, Alex and Zoey. Then there is Uncle Sid who isn’t married, but has been dating Aunt Kay for years, they don’t have any kids. Then Aunt Mary, whose kids are I think 10 and 12 now. We don’t see them very often, and we won’t see them this year. They are in New Hampshire with her husband’s family. “

“So, one baby and three preschoolers. We will see them for Christmas?”

“Yeah, maybe earlier. Often when I am home, Simon and his wife ask me to babysit. They live in Syracuse. Kelly and her husband Tom sometimes do too. Would that be ok if we babysit?”

“Sure. I don’t know much about babies or toddlers, but I’ll help however I can.”

“Sunday we’re celebrating the Solstice with your mom’s family. She has two siblings, Bell and Giles. Bell is younger and she’s not married. Giles’ wife is Jenny, and they have two kids, Billy who is your age and in college, and Heather who is 11. Your grandmother’s name is Ruth, but everyone calls her Gramma and her sister is Gertie. Gramma's husband, your grandfather died ten years ago….”

“Willow, there is not going to be a quiz.”

“I know, I just want to make sure that I have an idea of who is who.”

“Willow, seriously nobody is going to be offended if you don’t remember their names.”

“I’ve never met anyone’s extended family before. What if they don’t like me. What if they decide they liked whatever boy your brought home before better?”

“Willow, only one guy ever came over for Christmas, and you are the first person I have ever invited to our Solstice celebration. We live in a small town; it is not well known that Grandma and Mama practice Wicca. For all everyone knowns, the Maclays are fine upstanding Christian family.”

“Is it just your family that celebrates the Solstice or are they part of a bigger group?” asked Willow.

“There are only two other families in town that are part of our group, but actually the family makes half of the coven. There is Mama, grandma, ,me, my great aunt Gertie who is grandma’s sister, Giles, Jenny, Andy, Alison, Kyle’s old girlfriend, Heather and if needed Trinity. She doesn’t really practice, but if we need a 13th and she is around she’ll help out.”

“It sounds sort of like a minyan.”

“What is a minyan.”

“For a service to ‘count’,” Willow made air quotes, “you have to have ten Jews over the age of 13. At our synagogue only men count. Another reason that I didn’t particularly like going there. Pretty misogynistic.”

“Well, our group is certainly not misogynistic, there are more women than men. Andy is always saying that he is going to try to find some more guys to join. He tried to get Kyle to be part of it, but it just wasn’t his thing. Being normal is really important to Kyle. He got frustrated when Alison got into it. But she’s got some natural talent, so he couldn’t fight it.”

“Like what kind of talent?”

“She’s really good with plants. She is studying Botany at Cornell.”

“That’s not too shabby.”

“Nope. Ivy League education at In-State tuition rates.”

Willow yawned, “are you sure you’ll be ok if I take a little rest? I didn’t sleep very much last night. My program had a glitch that bugged me until about 4 this morning.”

“No problem sweetie. You close your eyes, I’ll listen to the radio and do this drive that is very familiar for me.” Tara patted Willow's knee.


“If you don’t mind.” Willow closed her eyes and found that the warmth of the car, coupled with the sweet smell of her girlfriend’s soap, lulled her into a sensual quiet place. She was asleep in a few minutes and didn’t wake up until Tara told her that they were turning onto her parent’s road. Willow sat up, took a look at herself in the mirror, and tried to push down the cowlick that liked to show itself an inopportune times. She tried to remove the wrinkles from her pants and look presentable.

“You look fine sweetie. My parents are probably going to be in jeans and sweatshirts. We’re not much of a dressing up family. “

“That is a big difference from my family. Every time I saw my parents, my appearance needed to be impeccable, and regardless, my mother always found fault in some part of my choices. “

They pulled into a long driveway in front of a large white house. There were multiple cars in the driveway. Tara parked her car on the side of the house. As Willow was unbuckling her seatbelt, she saw a woman heading for the car. If I didn’t know better, I’d think that I just saw Tara from the future. Willow thought to herself. The woman enveloped Tara in a hug and asked questions about the drive. The woman then came over to Willow and gave her a similar hug as she had Tara.

“I am so glad to finally meet you Willow. Tara’s had nothing but great things to say about you. I look forward to getting to know you better.” That must be what a maternal hug feels like, hugging my mom was like hugging a statue, no warmth. Willow knew it was cliché, but she thought Mrs. Maclay smelled like freshly baked bread.

Tara and Willow grabbed their bags from the backseat and followed the older woman through the side door of the house. This room was filled with various outer garments, boots, and a variety of other footwear. Willow shadowed Tara as she removed her coat and put it on a peg below a large wooden “T” and removed her sneakers. I’m glad I wore socks without holes today.

The next room they entered was a large, bright kitchen. Willow realized why Mrs. Maclay smelled like freshly baked bread, there were multiple loaves cooling on the counter adjacent from the six burner stove and double oven.

“Yum, it smells amazing Mom,” exclaimed Tara.

“You did always love the smell of fresh bread. I used to have to guard the loaves so a heel wasn’t missing from several of them,” commented Mrs. Maclay.

“I couldn’t help it. It was always the best fresh out of the oven, especially with your homemade butter.”

“That is true. I’ve been making loaves for the Church baskets that your father will be delivering on Sunday, but most of these loaves are for dinner.” Mrs. Maclay sliced off a hunk of bread, buttered it and handed it to Tara.

Tara being Tara, tore the bread in two and handed a piece of the piping hot bread to Willow. Willow took a bite, it tasted as good as it smelled. She now understood why Tara had been so adamant about buying bread from the bakery. It was closer to this bread, but still far off. I don’t think I will ever like sliced bread again,

“What do you think Willow?” asked Tara.

“I think that it is the best bread I have ever tasted,” replied Willow.

“I told you that my mom made the best bread.”

“I never doubted you, but I didn’t imagine something as yummy as this.”

“Thanks for the compliment Willow,” responded Mrs. Maclay.

“You’re welcome, ma’am,” answered Willow.

“Do we get some too?” asked one of the three women sitting at the kitchen table.

“It we eat it all now Trinity, what will we eat with dinner?” asked Mrs. Maclay.

“You could raid the church’s loaves and then Tara could make some more after dinner. She makes it almost as good as you do,” commented Trinity.

“I’m sure that Tara doesn’t want to spend this evening baking. She just drove across one and a half states,” commented Mrs. Maclay.

“It would be fine, I’ve always loved making bread and then I can show Willow some of my culinary skills. How could I begrudge my favorite older sister warm bread,” asserted Tara.

“I am your only older sister,” Trinity responded.

“Makes it easier to pick a favorite.” Tara headed to the staircase in the back of the room. Willow was about to follow Tara up the stairs where she said her bedroom was, when Mrs. Maclay pointed to a small office off the side of the hall. “We thought that Willow would be more comfortable if she had her own space. She’ll be sleeping in Dad’s office.”

“What about grandma? She usually sleeps there?” asked Tara.

“When she’s staying over, I guess Willow can camp out on your floor,” answered Mrs. Maclay.

“That’s not fair, my boyfriends can’t ever sleep in my room,” said Trinity.

“Well, it’s not like I can put Willow in the room with all the boys. I thought the library would be a good compromise. “

“I guess…” pouted Trinity. “Tara was always your favorite anyway.”

“You know I love all of my children equally Trin.”

“I know, I just never thought that a positive of being gay was that you may not have to do the stupid pretend that you don’t usually sleep with your significant other, “ replied Trinity, “and you don’t have to worry about Tara getting pregnant.”

Willow blanched and Tara looked at her sister. “Trin, stop it.”

Trinity looked at Willow who was white as a ghost. “Sorry, Willow, this is just how we are…”

“It’s ok,” squeaked Willow.

“Do you have brothers and sisters?” asked Trinity.

“Nope, I’m an only child.”

“Well, I hope that it’s not too much of a shock to your system to be around all of us.”

Tara and Willow walked to Tara’s father’s office.

Tara turned to Willow, “Sorry about her. I told you that she was a tad outspoken.”

“Yeah, I don’t think you could have warned me enough.”

“She’s all bark and no bite. Sorry about this.” Tara pointed to the office. “I guess Mom is trying to be consistent.”

“Yeah, I understand. It’s only fair, I just had thought that I’d at least be in the same room.”

“Well, gramma will be here day after tomorrow and she’ll stay two nights, so at least 2 of the 10 days…”

“That’s good.” Willow put her bag down on the chair beside the desk. “So, can I at least see your room?”

“Sure.”

They walked up the stairs and into a bedroom kitty corner from the staircase. Willow started walking around the room while Tara placed her bag on a chair in front of a small white desk.

“So this is the room you grew up in?” she stated as she began to look at the bookcase on the side that was clearly Tara’s.

“Mostly. When I was really little, and Dad was still in the Army, we lived some other places, but this is where I lived most of my life.”

Willow bent down to look at the books on the lower shelves of the bookcase. “So it looks like you really liked Pippi Longstocking.”

“I guess I’ve always had a thing for smart red-heads,” replied Tara coming over, kneeling behind Willow, and putting her head on her shoulder.

“You had good taste in books. All of them are ones I remember enjoying too. “

“I used to spend my babysitting and birthday money on Scholastic Books,” stated Tara.

“Yah, me too. I haven’t thought of those in ages. I bought every issue Dynamite I could. My mother always thought that I was choosing garbage and wanted me to read more mature materials, but my dad would always write a check for whatever I had chosen. I’d sometimes hide them under my bed so that my mom wouldn’t know.”

“Who would have thought that kids books would be treated like porn.”

“Porn, whose talking about porn?” asked a young women with brown hair as she flopped onto the bed on the other side of the room. “Girl porn or boy porn? Tara do you buy your own porn now, or are you still hunting around other people’s bedrooms. I guess we should have suspected something when you raided Andy’s stash.”

“Kathy!” said an exasperated Tara as she stood up, “That was one time and I was 12.”

The girl got up and walked over to where both Tara and Willow were standing, she reached out her hand. “Hi, I’m Kathy and I probably have the most dirt on Tara of anyone.”

“Hi. Glad to finally meet you,” replied Willow as she shook the younger woman’s hand.

“Whatever Tara has said about me, only half of it is true.”

“She hasn’t said anything negative about you.”

“Just wait. I love to get under her skin. She has always been the most sensitive of us five. She was always running off to the barn,” she paused, “Speaking of which, I get a respite from mucking Shadow’s stall for almost a month, he is all yours.”

“Yeah he is mine, and I paid you well to take care of him.”

“I know, but it’s getting cold and YOU can freeze your ass off.”

“Shadow?” asked Willow.

“Shadow, my horse. I told you about him, remember.”

“Yeah, I guess I just repressed that you had an arm biting animal.”

“Arm biting?” asked Kathy.

“It’s a long story, sort of like you and mice,” commented Tara to her sister.

Willow was looking at the walls and the upper shelves of Tara’s bookcase. There were posters of horses, and several trophies with horses. “You really like horses.”

“Yeah, I guess. I like all animals.”

“I liked animals until all of you went off leaving me to have to do all the dirty work," commented Kathy.

“You know that was never the intention,” commented Tara.

“Sure, like Kyle really liked those stupid chickens.”

“It was a 4-H project. Who knew that mom was going to decide that farming would be a lucrative side business?”

“So, you have a lot of animals?” asked Willow.

“Three dogs, one horse, three barn cats because Trinity is allergic to them, fifteen chickens and five goats.”

As if on cue, a brown lab entered the room and rubbed himself on Tara.

“Hey Scout,” said Tara rubbing the dogs back.

“You should feel honored. He doesn’t brave the stairs as much anymore. He’s got arthritis, sometimes Dad has to carry him down the stairs if he gets up.”

“He is pretty old, aren’t you?” said Tara rubbing the dog’s back even harder.

“He kind of reminds me of Taffy,” commented Willow.

“Yeah, he’s got a pretty similar disposition.”

Willow kneeled down and introduced herself to Scout, “Hey, I’m Willow.”

After a few minutes of dog petting, they heard Trinity yelling from the bottom of the stairs for everyone to come down.

Willow was somewhat surprised to see all but one of the doors on the second floor open and several people exiting the rooms and stomping down the stairs. Tara and Willow followed after the rush.

When they got downstairs, Willow looked at all of the people sitting at the large kitchen table. She saw that there was a Tara sized space left on one of the long benches. She followed Tara as she stepped into the allotted space.

“Ok crew, dinner is a six. Dad won’t be home until probably 5:30. I thought about making a chore chart like I used to when you were little, but I figured you could figure it out yourselves. Tonight we have feeding the inside animals, feeding the outside animals, gathering the eggs and putting the chickens up to roost, making a salad and setting the table.”

Kathy piped up, “I’ll do the inside animals.”

“We got the salad,” said one of the older looking women.

“We will do the chickens,” replied Trinity.

“Willow and I can do the outside animals,” volunteered Tara.

Willow looked at Tara, willing her to realize that she had no clue how to feed animals. She figured that she would just follow Tara and take her lead.

“I guess that leaves me with setting the table,” commented Mrs. Maclay.

“We can do that too,” said the woman who had volunteered to make the salad.

“Where are our manners,” exclaimed Mrs. Maclay. Willow you haven’t met everyone yet have you.”

Willow nodded in the negative.

“I am Tanya, I am Andy’s girlfriend,” said a brown haired, blue eyed woman.

“I am Andy, Tara’s oldest brother,” said a man with the same brown hair and blue eyes as Tara.

“You’ve already met me, this is my boyfriend Louis, and my friend Kate from Boston.” Trinity pointed to a dark haired man who was sitting next to her and a blond woman beside him.

“We met a few minutes ago, I’m Kathy.”

Willow waved her hand at everyone, “Hi, I’m Willow.”

“Ok troops, see you back here at the house,” exclaimed Mrs. Maclay. Most of the young adults got up and one by one put on their jackets and boots and headed out the door. Tanya and Andy began bringing vegetables out of the refrigerator.

“Willow and Tara held back. “Mama, can Willow borrow your boots? I don’t want her sneakers to get all mucky.”

“Of course, I am a size 9, I hope they fit.”

“That will be perfect, “replied Willow who wore a size 8. Better big than small.

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 Post subject: Re: Learning To Laugh (November 4, 2020)
PostPosted: Sun Nov 08, 2020 1:20 pm 
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8. Vixen

Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 5:33 pm
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Location: North Carolina, USA
Winter Holidays, continued

Tara pulled socks from a pair of well-worn boots and put them on before the boots. She gestured to a pair of boots near the door, and Willow put them on. Tara then handed Willow her jacket before putting on her own. Tara exited the door with Willow following.

Willow almost laughed when she saw the red barn. The house was white, the barn was red, she figured that inside the barn was a green tractor. Willow thought back to the Fisher Price toys that were in this color scheme. Tara entered the barn through a door that was adjacent to the larger barn door.

“This is where we keep all the feed. Don’t worry, you don’t have to really do anything. I just didn’t want to leave you in the house with Mama.”

“Your mom seems nice, why were you worried?”

“Mama likes to ask questions, and I don’t want you to have to get the third degree the first night you are here.”

“Well, if I am out here, I might as well help you.”

“Ok, the cat food is right here,” Tara motioned to a large bin with a picture of a cat on it.

“Their dishes are over there,” she pointed to a set of dishes adjacent to the green tractor. "You can refill their water dishes at the spigot that is right behind the tractor.”

“How much do they get?”

“Just a scoop. They pretty much hunt for their own food, but we give them the kibble to make sure they get all of their vitamins. When you are done, meet me at Shadow’s stall. I want to introduce you to each other. I promise there will be no arm biting.”

“Good, it would be hard to help with only one arm, not to mention….” She looked at Tara with a suggestive grin.

“Vixen,” Tara commented and pulled Willow toward her and they began kissing.”

“Oh my God,” exclaimed Trinity as she entered the area. ‘Are you two going to be doing that everywhere. Can’t a girl just grab chicken food without having to be exposed to PDA?”

“Hey,” exclaimed Tara. “It’s not like I didn’t walk in on you doing worse. Remember Trout? He had his hands down your pants.”

“Ok, don’t ask, don’t tell. I don’t need Louis getting jealous.”

“Trout?” asked Willow.

“He had a really big mouth both literally and figuratively,” answered Tara.

Trinity grabbed the chicken feed and exited out of the barn.”

“Let’s get going. It’s cold.”

“I didn’t notice. I was actually feeling hot after that kiss,” flirted Willow.

“Goof ball,”

“That’s your goof ball.” Willow followed Tara’s directions and brought a scoop of kibble to the dish that Tara had pointed to. As soon as she put the food down, three cats came running and began eating the food. She dumped out the water bowls and went to the spigot to refill them. The water was ice cold and Willow understood now why Tara had put on thick waterproof gloves. Willow put her hands in her pockets to warm them up. She walked to the stall that Tara had indicated contained Shadow. Tara was quietly talking to the large black animal and feeding it from a bucket. How can she be so close to that humongous animal?

“Shadow, this is my girlfriend Willow,” said Tara. “Willow, this is my horse Shadow. Do you want to help me feed him?”

“I’m good where I am,” responded Willow. Does Shadow need water?”

“Yeah, the bucket is over there.” Tara motioned to a galvanized bucket in the back of the stall.

“I’ll happily fill it if you bring it over to me,” said Willow there is no way in hell I am going in that stall with that arm eating animal.”

Tara looked perplexed but agreed. She grabbed the bucket and handed it to Willow. Tara noticed that Willow’s hands were bright red. “Do you want to wear my gloves?”

“I’m Ok, but next time if this is our chore, for sure I will take you up on your offer of wearing your mom’s gloves.”

Willow filled up the bucket and brought it back to the entrance of the stall. “Is there anything else you need me to do?” Willow watched Tara putting hay into a slot in the wall.

“All that is left is the goats." She looked perplexed. "Shoot, I forgot the bucket.”

“What bucket?” asked Willow.

“Mom’s compost bucket.”

“Where is it?”

“Near the back door.”

“Is that different than the door we came out of? It’s kinda on the side, not the back.”

“Yeah, that’s the same door. I don’t know why we have always called it the back door.”

“Ok, I’ll go get it.” Willow walked out of the barn, walked back to the house and found a galvanized bucket full of food scraps beside the door. When she entered the barn again, she found Tara at another stall using something that looked like a big fork to throw hay into the stall. When she got closer, she realized that Tara was putting the hay in a something that looked like a table without a top.

“What’s that?” asked Willow pointing to the place where Tara was putting the hay.

“It’s a hay feeder. It keeps the hay off the ground. Goats won’t eat hay off the ground.”

“Good to know. Where do I put the scraps?”

“In the bucket without water in it.” Tara pointed to a pair of buckets.

Willow reached over the side of the stall and put the scraps in the identified bucket. “Anything else?”

“They need grain. It’s near the cat food, but the canister says, surprise, surprise, ‘goat feed’. Put two scoops in the scrap bucket and then bring it back.”

“Okay dokey,” responded Willow as she followed these directions. [i] who would have known I’d be feeding goats
she thought to herself. “I’m guessing they need fresh water too?”

“Yeah, I’ll hand you the bucket.”

Willow grabbed it from Tara and went to fill this bucket. The water sloshed over the side of the bucket and Willow was thankful to be wearing the rubber boots. My sneakers would have been soaked.

Tara opened a sliding door at the other end of the stall, and the goats came into the barn. Tara closed the door behind them. The goats rushed to the food bucket and began eating.

“Do they have names? “ asked Willow.

“Of course, this one is George,” she pointed to a brown goat, “this one is Ringo,” she pointed to a white and brown goat, “that one is John, and the last one is Paul.” She pointed to two black goats with white patches.

“Who named them after the Beatles?”

"My dad thought he was being funny. They are all actually nanny goats. Mom keeps them for the milk. She makes cheese and soap with it.”

Willow realized as she stood still, that it was getting very cold. I understand why Tara put on extra socks and gloves. Next time, I will have to do the same.

When they exited the barn, it was almost totally dark. Willow was glad that the house was well lit and that Tara had grabbed her hand, because there were a lot of ruts in the ground that Tara seemed to be able to navigate effortlessly.

It appeared that they were the last people to finish their chores. Almost everyone was in the kitchen, most sitting at the table, but others standing around the large room. Mrs. Maclay was at the stove stirring a large pot. whatever that is, it smells delicious.

“Don’t forget to wash your hands, Tara. You know the animals are not the cleanest.”

“Mom, I’m 20 years old, I know that I have to wash my hands after being with the animals. “ Tara went to the big sink and grabbed a bar of soap and washed her hands.

When Tara was done, Willow followed her lead. Willow put her hands under the faucet and was surprised that the warm water hurt her hands. She winced.

“What is the matter?” asked Mrs. Maclay as she walked over to Willow.

“Nothing, ma’am,” replied Willow instinctively.

“It’s something. Let me look at your hands,” instructed Mrs. Maclay.

Willow followed the order and showed the woman her hands.

“Tara, did you not give Willow gloves? Her hands are bright red.”

Tara walked over and looked at Willow’s hands. “Why didn’t you tell me?

“Tell you what?”

“That your hands were getting chapped, freezing?”

“I don’t know, I figured that it was just part of doing what we were doing. It was my fault for not taking you up on the offer to wear your mom’s gloves.”

“Sorry,” she turned to her mother, “Mama, can you help her?”

“Of course,” Mrs, Maclay took Willow’s hands in her own. “Kathy, can you go to my room and get my balm?”

“Sure, Mama,” replied Kathy, as she ran up the stairs. Kathy quickly came back with a jar.

“This should make your hands feel better,” said Mrs. Maclay as she put the balm on Willow’s hands. Willow could feel the lotion warming her hands, and a warm, tingling sensation went through her hands and into her arms. By the time Mrs. Maclay finished rubbing the lotion into her hands, they were several shades lighter. “No chores without gloves," admonished the older woman.

“Yes, ma’am,” responded Willow.

_________________
Atlantic Antics Meeting Expectations
Learning to Laugh What I Discovered at Band Camp


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 Post subject: Re: Learning To Laugh (November 8, 2020)
PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2020 9:21 am 
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6. Sassy Eggs

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
Posts: 421
Dibs to the last two chapters! :whip
I'm thrilled that you are continuing this story! :bounce :applause
From what we've read so far about the family members they are all very likable and I hope that Willow will soon feel more at ease around them. I'm wondering if she will ever dare to get closer to and pet Tara's horse.
Working in the winter cold barn and handling ice cold water without gloves was pretty careless of Willow - she'll have to work on taking better care of herself.


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 Post subject: Re: Learning To Laugh (November 8, 2020)
PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2020 5:57 pm 
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8. Vixen

Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 5:33 pm
Posts: 707
Topics: 2
Location: North Carolina, USA
Learning to Laugh
PG13 for awhile
Josh, Mutant Enemy etc. own it all. I make nothing other than the enjoyment of writing. Thanks to Amber Benson and Alyson Hannigan for these characters for whom I imagine different lives.

I realize that I need some of the perspective of Tara for this part of the story, so I am going to be a bad writer and just decide to change my POV for a bit. The chapters will only be from one or the other’s point of view. Sorry to the POV purists.


Will's Redemption: Thanks for the feedback. I am pretty sure that Willow has never in her life done farm chores. She may not of ever even had a snowball fight, so she is unaware of the need for gloves and how quickly hands can get cold (especially in northern New York). Will she ever touch Shadow, who knows. I am a seat of the pants writer with scenes that are going to occur but little awareness of how they are going to get there.

Winter Holidays (continued)

“Mom, did you put a spell on my girlfriend?” asked Tara as she entered the kitchen, kissed her mother, grabbed some bacon from the counter beside her mother and put it between a piece of toast that was on the table.

“Your girlfriend?” exclaimed Andy. “Since when do you have a girlfriend?”

Tanya bumped his shoulder and said, “Get with the program Andy. Tara and Willow are an item.”

“Oh, I just thought that Willow was Tara’s friend.” He turned to Tanya and asked, “How did you know?”

“Well, I’d say that it is just obvious if you look at them, but there was a whole thing about Willow sleeping somewhere else most of the time, so your mom could be consistent in upholding the rules.”

“Oh, I get it. I was wondering why Willow was in the office,” commented Andy.

“So, mom. I repeat, did you drug my girlfriend. She is out like a light in the office. I don’t think a herd of wild animals could wake her up.” asked Tara.

“Of course I didn’t drug Willow, I just gave her a nice cup of tea to help her sleep.”

“And you didn’t say anything over said cup of tea that would help her relax and sleep?”

“You told me that she was stressed out and had a tough week. I thought that some of my special night time tea would help her get some sleep in an unfamiliar setting.”

“Well, who knows when she’ll wake up. She’s got a sleep debt that is measured in weeks, not hours.”

“She can sleep as long as she needs to,” commented Mrs. Maclay.

“You’ll be nice to her when she wakes up and not give her the third degree if I go out with Daddy, right?”

“When have I ever not been nice to any of your friends?” asked Mrs. Maclay.

“You are always nice. But you ask a lot of questions, I think that is where Kathy gets it." She sat down and grabbed another piece of toast. "I just worry that Willow is more fragile than the other people that I’ve brought home. This all is completely new to her. She’s never celebrated Christmas or the Solstice. It is going to be a lot to take in.”

“We can explain it all in little spurts." Mrs. Maclay brought over a plate of bacon and sat down at the table. "I think you are probably underestimating her though; she seems tough enough,” replied Mrs. Maclay.

“Yeah, she is tough. I've been thinking that we should probably tell her when we are using our mojo. I’ve used it a bit to help her calm her mind down… I wish I had been honest with her the first time. But we didn't know each other very well, and I was afraid of saying 'oh, by the way I am a witch with healing powers, do you mind if I rub your head and help you relax?'"

“It’s a lot to take in. So, you haven’t even broached the subject of the ones of us with powers?”

“I mentioned that Alison is good with plants, but I don’t think that she totally got what I was saying. Just be careful Mama about the herbs. She’s on prescription medication and I don’t want your to inadvertently give her something that interferes with her meds.”

“What is she on?”

“I don’t think she’d be comfortable with me sharing that…” answered Tara.

“Sharing what?” asked Kathy as she entered the kitchen.

“None of your business," replied Tara.

“Secrets, secrets, you know I am good at finding out secrets,” bragged Kathy.

“Just focus on yourself, squirt,” commented Andy. “You going to help Tanya and I go pick up Kyle in a bit?”

“Sure.” Kathy sat down at the table and began buttering some toast.

Just then, Mr. Maclay came into the foyer. “Tara you about ready?” he asked.

“Yes, sir. Let me just put on my boots.” She grabbed her socks and began putting on the boots. “Have you already saddled up Shadow?”

“Yup. She’s all ready. She wasn’t too happy to see my four-wheeler, but I think she’ll be ok.”

“She always is,” stated Tara.

Tara and her father left the house. Tara got on Shadow and Mr. Maclay started the four-wheeler. They drove through the densely packed trees. Tara’s father led with Tara following. After about 20 minutes, they came up to some broken fence. Mr. Maclay grabbed some tools while Tara tied Shadow up to a tree and gave her an apple. Fixing the fence and other things out in the forest was an activity that they’d done hundreds of times, so they fell into a familiar groove of working. After a few minutes, Mr. Maclay broke the silence by asking. “Do you think this liking girls thing is going to last? Or is it a college thing?”

“Dad!” exclaimed Tara.

Mr. Maclay threw up his hands. “Not that I care. That girl Willow seems like a nice person. She seems kind of quiet, but who can get a word in edgewise with our bunch.”

“She’s wonderful. I think she’s the ‘one’.”

Mr. Maclay grabbed a hammer and started fixing one of the fence posts. “You haven’t known her that long. I just heard about her a few weeks ago.”

Tara held the post as her father hammered. When he stopped, she said “You and Mama got serious pretty quick. Mama always says that she knew immediately.”

“Well, that is rare, Tara. I think that our story is the exception, not the rule." He paused, "How much do you really know about this girl? Have you met her parents?”

“No, Daddy and I probably won’t. They disowned her. She hasn’t talked to them in over a year.”

Mr. Maclay seemed to be thinking. He started fiddling with his tools. “That’s not right. There is nothing that any of you could ever do that would have me or your Mama disown any of you. What do her parents do?”

“They are both law professors. Actually, her mom is a famous tort lawyer and her father just follows Mrs. Rosenberg wherever she is located. Willow spent most of her childhood moving from one place to another.”

“Well, you know that kinda life.”

“Yeah, but I always had my siblings. She was alone.”

“Her parents are professors?”

“Yeah, she is really smart, like genius smart. She’s been helping me with my reading and I am pretty sure that my grades are going to be great this semester.”

“Yeah, reading was always a struggle for you. But you persevered, you were always like the Little Engine that Could.”

“Let’s leave that comparison here in the forest. I don’t want anyone to pick that up as a nickname for me.”

“Yeah, I can understand that.” Mr. Maclay stopped fiddling with his tools. He looked Tara in the eyes. “So, you really like this girl?”

“Yeah, Daddy. I love her too. She is the smartest, sweetest, caring individual that I have ever met outside of our family.”

“Well, I’ll take your word on it. That lifestyle isn’t going to be easy. You can’t join the Army.”

“Daddy, I have never had any interest in joining the Army. I am a serious pacifist. I know that the Army puts food on our table, and I am thankful for that, but military life is not something I want. “

“Actually, when you were, little… maybe four or five, you used to say that you were going to join the Army and get the ‘bad guys’. I’d try to tell you that girls couldn’t be in combat, but you’d say that when you got big, they would be able to. You’d tell me that Mama said you could do whatever you wanted for a job, and you wanted to kill bad guys.”

“Well, she did say that.”

“I know. Still, I don’t think that there will be women in combat for a long time.”

“I guess, we will see.” They finished the fence and got back onto their respective rides and continued down the narrow trail.

When they stopped for the second time, Tara’s father asked her, “So what does she know about our family? Rosenberg…Jewish right? I don’t think I ever met a red-headed Jew.”

“I don’t know. She was raised Jewish, had the whole Bat Mitzvah thingy, but she doesn’t practice.”

“What does she know about our interesting family?”

“She knows that you are Christian and that Mama and a bunch of us practice Wicca.”


“Does she understand what that means?” he asked.

“I’m not sure. She’s read a lot of Starhawk and other theoretical books, but I don’t know if she truly believes.”

“Well, she’ll be in for it tomorrow then.”

“It’s not like we’ll be skyclad. It’s going to be 20 degrees solstice morning. I have a feeling she’ll take it in stride. Sort of like you and Kyle.”

“I still don’t know what I believe, I know that you and your mama and her mama have some sort of healing touch. I don’t know if it is the power of positive thinking, or another kind of power.”

“Seriously, after 30 years, you still don’t believe?”

“You have your beliefs, I have mine. Your mama and I have agreed to respect each other’s beliefs. She comes to church with me most of the time, and I let her go out with all of you and do whatever you do.

“You know that you don’t LET Mama do anything.”

“I misspoke, please don’t repeat that. I leave you all to do whatever you do.”

Tara looked around at the fence. “How much more do we have to do? It is getting cold.”

“One more, and then I thought that we’d get the tree while we are out here.”

“Won’t everyone else be upset if they are not included?”

“As you said, it is cold. As long as we get a good tree, people will cope.”

_________________
Atlantic Antics Meeting Expectations
Learning to Laugh What I Discovered at Band Camp


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 Post subject: Re: Learning To Laugh (November 10, 2020)
PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2020 10:34 am 
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8. Vixen

Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 5:33 pm
Posts: 707
Topics: 2
Location: North Carolina, USA
Learning to Laugh, G, Taranwillow4ever, I own nothing. I just imagine different lives for Tara and Willow. Continued thanks to JustSkipit, Laraugh, Amber, Allie, and all the other Kittenboard authors and of ME and Joss for creating the characters.

Write for yourself, they suggest. I can see that people are reading, so I'll keep up writing.

Winter Holidays (cont) Perspective Willow

Willow woke up to the sound of quiet. This was not a sound that she had heard since she entered the Maclay homestead. Dinner had been a cacophony of sound. Multiple people talking, lots of laughing and banter, and it was clear that they all cared a lot about each other. It appeared that Trinity’s friends had been privy to a Maclay meal because they participated in the craziness with the rest. Several times Tara had taken Willow’s hand a quietly asked if she was ‘ok’. Willow answered in the affirmative at each question and enjoyed listening to everyone. After dinner, Tara had talked her through making bread. She showed Willow how to knead the dough. Willow tried, but her loaf did not look as good as Tara’s, but she felt proud that she helped make something that others would eventually eat.

After baking, they joined everyone else in the living room. There was a fire in the fireplace and the room was warm. Willow found herself falling asleep on Tara’s shoulder as she drank the tea that Mrs. Maclay made her. She apologized profusely for not being able to stay awake. Willow changed into her pajamas, took her medicine, and brushed her teeth. Tara was waiting for her in the office. Tara tucked her in, apologized again for them having to be separated and kissed Willow goodnight. Willow figured she fell asleep before her head hit the pillow.

Willow looked at her watch and saw that it was almost 10:30. She had not slept that late in weeks. She had been getting up at 5 to work on her projects and study for her exams and had only gone to bed earlier than 12 once in the last two weeks. It cannot be that other people are not awake, after dinner we had another planning discussion for the morning chores. I volunteered to water the animals again, with gloves this time. Tara was supposed to help her dad with some fence repair that required Shadow.

Willow got up and got dressed. She tried her hardest to make up the couch/bed so that it looked like it had before she’d fallen asleep. She put all of her things in her backpack and went to the bathroom to brush her teeth. When she returned to the room, she put her kit next to her backpack and walked from the office to the kitchen. The only person who was in the room was Mrs. Maclay and she was sitting in a rocking chair reading.

The older woman looked up and said, “Hello, Willow. Did you sleep well?”

Willow replied, “Yes, Ma’am. I must have been more tired than I thought. I think I fell immediately to sleep and I just woke up. Where is everyone?”

“Out doing various things. Tara’s out with her dad, I’m sure that is really the only person you are interested in.”

“No…yes…kinda.” Willow looked around the room. “I should probably go water the animals.” She headed to the back door.

“Hold up, Willow. That was done hours ago. Come sit down and chat with me a bit. It’s a rare occurrence that nobody else is here. I was hoping we could talk.” She pointed to the chair across from her.

Willow gulped and sat down

“Are you hungry?”

“No, ma’am. I don’t usually get hungry until a few hours after I wake up but thank you.”

“Something to drink?”

“That tea you made was good.”

“Well, that was nighttime tea, but I have some good morning tea brewing.” Mrs. Maclay got up and poured Willow a mug. “Do you take milk or sugar?”

Willow took a sip of the warm liquid. “It is good, thank you.” I wonder what she wants to talk about

Mrs. Maclay sat back down on the rocking chair and looked at Willow. No question where Tara got those caring blue eyes from. What does she want to know? I feel like she is trying to gaze into my soul. After what felt like minutes, but was probably only seconds, Mrs. Maclay said, “Tara says you are really smart.”

“Not really, I’m no smarter than other people. I just really like school.”

“Tara bragged to me that you’ve exhausted the math at your college and are going to MIT next semester.”

“Well, that is just math…”

“I have the feeling you are being humble. It is ok to be smart. I always liked teaching the smart kids. They seemed more interested in learning. My school would reward me with one advanced English class in exchange for the low and slow learners classes the rest of the day.”

“That must have been both frustrating and rewarding.”

“It was never boring. I was able to teach a few kids to read who others had said were unreachable. Others, I think I helped them discover the joy of reading. Some others, ended up moving into the middle English groups.”

“You must have been a good teacher.”

“I like to think so. Do you enjoy reading Willow?”

“Yes, ma’am. I read anything that is put in front of me, cereal boxes, magazines, sometimes when I am bored I just look for a word and try to figure out how many words I can make out of it.”

“Tara never really liked to read. Actually, none of my kids seemed to read much for pleasure. They were always so busy doing other things, sports, drama, playing with friends.”

“Because we moved so often, I didn’t have a lot of friends, so books were my friends. Every school librarian got to know me well.”

“You moved a lot when you were young.”

“Yes, ma’am. My parents are both law professors. My mom is a bigwig in tort law and she has had visiting professorships all over the United States. The longest we lived in one place was two and a half years in New Haven, CT.”

“Yale?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“And your father?

“A job for him was always part of mom’s contracts. He taught general law, advised students, helped others study for the bar exams. Once he ended up teacher history. I think it focused on The Constitution.”

“I’m sure that Tara has told you we moved around a bit as well when she was younger.”

“Yes, she did. She said it was easier for her because she always had her siblings and both Trinity and Andy were charismatic and made friends easily. And Kyle always joined the sports teams, so there never was nothing to do.”

“Our lives were always busy. Five kids guaranteed that. Do you have siblings?”

“No, ma’am. I am an only child. I think my mother quickly discovered that she didn’t really want to be a mother. I was a big disappointment to her.”

“Why do you think that?”

“Well, other than she saying it several times to me. My mom and I were never that close. I am not what she planned for. I think I was a mistake. She expected to have a little Sheila, my parents are Sheila and Ira Rosenberg. I think that she thought that her interests would be my interests. She loved English and History. I was drawn to Science and Math. She loved getting dressed up, putting on makeup and pretty clothes. I preferred tee-shirts and jeans. I feel like a clown when I have makeup on, and I don’t feel comfortable in a dress.”

“I guess she didn’t get the memo that children are their own person.”

“Nope, she probably wouldn’t have read the memo anyway. The idea of kids being separate from their parents is like that chapter in The Prophet .”

“Yes, I always liked that part. I think it explains the expectations of parenthood.”

“Well, I am not sure that my mother ever read The Prophet . She was not particularly interested in religion or philosophy. She knew enough Torah to get by and didn’t think she needed to know anything else.”

“You are not painting a pretty picture of your mother. Tara says you are estranged from your parents?”

“Yes, ma’am. I like that word, ‘estranged’ it sounds so much better than disowned. That sounds like I am something they own. Nevertheless, they disowned me last year. Fortunately, I was able to get scholarships to stay in college. That is why I am so focused on my academics…estranged, it also gives me hope that maybe it can get better.”

“I can’t imagine being estranged or disowning any of my children or my other relatives. We are all so close.”

“My mom and dad were both only children. I don’t think that they were that close with their parents either. My mother always said that I was a lot like my grandmother, her mother, another person with whom my mother was ‘estranged’.”

“Are your grandparents still alive?”

“Nope, my mom’s mom died when she was 20, her father before I was born. My dad’s parents died in a car accident when he was in law school.”

“How tragic.”

“I guess. I never knew them, so I never felt the loss.”


Mrs. Maclay got up, walked over to Willow and gave her a hug. she smells like fresh bread even when she is not baking and said, “Well, as long as you are with Tara, which I hope is a long time, you’ve got a family here. I am so sorry.”

“Huh? I mean excuse me.”

“Your parents taught you good manners.”

“Actually, it was my live in babysitter. She believed that good manners she always said that ‘good manner would take you far.’”

“She is probably right.” Mrs. Maclay paused, “I was saying that I was sorry about your situation of being on your own.”

“I am getting used to it.”

“It is not something that a 20 year-old should get used to. I am 54 and I still am close to my mother. I talk to her almost every day. “Mrs. Maclay looked around the empty kitchen. “This zoo must be quite different for you.”

“It’s not a zoo. It is nice. I always wanted siblings.”

“Well, tell me before you leave if it is still something you regret not experiencing.”

“What is Willow going to experience?” asked Kathy as she entered the kitchen.

“A big family. What are you doing here, I thought you went with Andy to get Kyle.”

“I decided not to” she turned to Willow, “Well, we are most definitely a big family.” She turned to her mother, “Where is everyone else?”

“Andy and Tanya went to pick up Kyle. Trinity and her friends went to the store. Dad and Tara are out fixing the pasture fence, and Willow and I are here getting to know each other.”

“She’s not giving you the third degree, is she?” asked Kathy.

“No.”

“That is good. She’s scared a few of my boyfriends with her questions.”

“Who have I scared?”

“Um, Jeremy, Josh, Kevin…to name a few.”

“I just asked them what their college or post-graduation plans were.”

“I know, but all of them felt that their answers were not sufficient to gain your approval.”

“Well, that wasn’t my intention. I just wanted to know them better and what way better than to talk about their plans.”

“You know, not everyone wants to go to college, right Mom.”

“Well, I think college is a necessity unless you planning to join the military or learn a trade. Those kids you mentioned all seemed to be planless.”

“Most 16 year-olds don’t have their lives figured out yet, Mom. Shouldn’t it be sufficient to just be focused on graduating high school?”

“Ok, Kathy. I got the message, no talking about future plans with your beau’s.”

“Well it doesn’t really matter anyway. I’m not dating anyone right now anyway. Oh, by the way, I invited Erica to our Solstice Celebration. She’s really interested in what we do.”

“Well, that is nice. Remind her to dress warmly. It is supposed to be chilly.”

*** (Perspective Tara)

“We found the perfect tree,” announced Tara, as she walked into the kitchen. “A 10 foot tall blue spruce. It doesn’t even have a bad side.”

“That’s not fair, we were all supposed to go,” whined Kathy.

“Well, one it is sleeting. All you missed was the sensation of ice flying in your face. This tree was obviously the one in the grove that was meant for us. I almost heard it calling to me. I suspect if Alison had been with us it would have talked in complete sentences to her,” said Mr. Maclay.

“That is a lot coming from a non-believer like you Daddy,” commented Kathy.

Tara and Mr. Maclay’s eyes met and his facial expression reminded her that she should not share the “let” conversation with her mother.

As Tara looked around the room, she was surprised to find Willow sitting at the kitchen table decorating gingerbread men. She knew that Willow frequently avoided activities that had this type of artistic requirement. she looks so cute and serious. She is looking so intently at the gingerbread men. Her tongue is sticking out just like it does when she is going a difficult math problem.

Tara walked behind Willow and put her hands on her shoulder.

“Mama’s got you working?”

“Yeah, I asked if I could help with something. This seemed to be the lesser chance of me messing up and doing something that could hurt or poison someone.”

“Poison someone? What were the other options?”

“Make a vegetable tray. I was afraid I’d try to prep something that needed to be cooked, or I’d forget to take some part off the mushrooms that was deadly and everyone but me knew needed to be removed.”

“Mom wouldn’t set you up like that.”

“I’d at least point out the poisonous parts of the mushrooms,” quipped Mrs. Maclay.

Willow’s eyes got wide. “What there ARE poisonous parts?”

“No sweetie,” Tara rubbed her shoulder, “Mom is just messing with you.”

“I am guessing that nobody has taught you to cook. Tara has been cooking with me since she was a toddler. I would put the cookie dough on the floor in a big bowl and have her stir it. She’s actually the only one of my kids who seems to enjoy cooking. They all can make a few basic meals, I made sure of that, but Tara was always my helper. Maybe while you are here, I can teach you a bit.”

“That would be nice. I took cooking in Home Economics when I was in Middle School. But I usually paired up with someone like Tara who already knew how to cook. Without their help, I would have probably ruined my middle school GPA. Now Shop, I loved that. I did really well, I built a cabinet, and learned to draft, made a rocket and a flashlight. “

“When I was a kid, the girls didn’t get to take Shop. Girls took Home Economics and boys took Shop. I’m glad it has changed.”

“Willow, you know your way around a woodshop?” asked Mr. Maclay.

“Yes sir. We’ve got a great shop in the theater. I love working with the bandsaws and the router.”

“Maybe you could help me with a project I’ve been doing in my shop. Just like cooking, none of my kids have been interested in woodworking.”

“Sure. I like to help out and be useful.”

“Willow, stop making us look bad,” Exclaimed Kathy.

Willow blanched and said, “I didn’t mean to, sorry. I’m always making comments and not--”

“You really don’t get the jokes do you? Do you take everything literally? How can you be with someone who doesn’t have a sense of humor.”

Tara became defensive, “Willow’s got a great sense of humor.”

“Taking things literally is one of my fatal flaws,” said Willow trying to keep Kathy and Tara from fighting.

“Well, I guess we can’t all be perfect like me.”

“Kathy, stop teasing Willow. What is it with you and Tara’s friends?” admonished Mrs. Maclay.

“I can’t help it. It is my job as the youngest to give my older siblings trouble, and Tara is such an easy target.”

“Maybe we need to find you some other jobs. I don’t like you making our guests feel unwelcome.”

“You don’t feel unwelcome do you, Willow?” asked Kathy.

“No…No I feel very w..w…elcome. You are all so nice, “stammered Willow.

As Willow was saying this the back door opened and in came a tall, young man.

“Kyle!” everyone exclaimed.

“Take off your boots before you come into he kitchen,” ordered Mrs. Maclay.

“How could I forget the rules, Ma. I’ve only been gone five months. You’ve been drumming that rule into my head for years.”

“Not enough years for it to be automatic. You are the one that always brought mud and snow into the kitchen, and I always stepped on it and got my socks wet and dirty.”

“That was years ago.”

“Actually, it was this time last year. Remember you had gone out to—” started Kathy.

“We don’t need the stories told, how are you doing squirt,” asked Kyle. He walked to where Kathy was sitting and rubbed her head.

“Good.” Kathy replied.

Kyle looked around the room and saw Willow. Kyle walked over to her and introduced himself, “Hi, I’m Kyle and you are…”

“Don’t go barking up that tree, Kyle. That is Willow, Tara’s girlfriend,” said Kathy

Kyle looked at Willow as though she had just grown an extra head. She looked at his sister who was still standing protectively behind Willow. He seemed to receive an unspoken message from his sister and tried to fix everything by saying, “Oh, Willow. I didn’t know you were going to be here. So nice to meet you.”

“Nice to meet you too,” squeaked out Willow.

After the hullabaloo of Kyle’s arrival and Trinity and her gang all piling into the kitchen. Tara sat down beside Willow, she put her hand on Willow’s knee and smiled with the crooked smile that always made Willow’s knees melt.

“So is Kathy going to ‘out us’ to everyone immediately upon their arrival?” whispered Willow to Tara when it was so loud that she figured nobody would hear her.

“Hopefully, not. I’ll talk to her. That was more about Kyle putting on his masculine charm. He think’s he’d God’s gift to girls. I don’t think she thought of it as ‘outing’ us.”

“She’s a piece of work.”

“I told you so.”

“What did you tell her?” asked Trinity as she sat down next to Willow.

“Nothing. It’s not important. Is it still sleeting?”

“Nope, it’s snowing. It looks really pretty. Dad and the boys should get the tree in before it is totally covered though. Mom’s not going to be happy if they tromp through the entrance way with snow on their boots.

As if on cue, Louis, Andy and Kyle followed Mr. Maclay out of the house. Several minutes later, she could hear them coming in the front door, kicking off their boots, and shuffling into the living room.
***
Once the cookies were done and were drying on the table, Mrs. Maclay announced “lunch is on your own. I’ll put the stew on the stove and there are sandwich fixing in the fridge and other foods in the pantry. Thanks to Tara and Willow, we’ve got good homemade bread too.” She put the bread on the counter and grabbed the vegetable plate and put it on an empty part of the table.

“Are you hungry?” Tara asked Willow.

“Sort of, but if you’re not, I could wait a bit.”

“Have you eaten anything today?”

“Your mom made me some tea and I ate two bottom halves of cookies that were in the container.”

“Just bottom halves?”

“I didn’t see the tops.”

“Well, I’m going to make myself a turkey sandwich. Do you want one?” said Tara as she stood up and walked to the refrigerator.

“Sure, I can help you,” replied Willow starting to get up.

“Why don’t you just stay there. If everyone is moving around the kitchen, we’ll all start bumping into each other.”

Willow watched Tara as she grabbed things out of the refrigerator and sliced the loaf of bread that Willow had made. Several people, including her father asked for her to make them sandwiches and Tara effortlessly took orders and produced made to order sandwiches for the people who requested them.

“You better eat yours before someone steals it.” Tara said as she put their sandwiches in front of the seats that they had claimed.

Fortunately, nobody had the gall to take the sandwich out from under Willow’s nose, but Tara’s was seen as fair game. Kyle grabbed it as he walked past.

“Hey!” exclaimed Willow.

“Don’t worry, Tara’s used to me doing this. She’ll notice hers is gone and will make another.” Kyle said with his mouth full as he exited the kitchen.

Finally, Tara was done making all of the sandwiches and came to sit down next to Willow, a fresh sandwich on a plate in her hand.

“Does that happen often?”

“What? Kyle eating my food?”

“No, you end up making food for almost everyone?”

“Yeah, sometimes, actually a lot of the time. But Mama ends up getting a break, so I don’t care.”

“That makes sense. It seems like your mom rarely gets to sit down. Other than when you all were gone and I was asleep, I think she’s been doing something in the kitchen all the time.”

“Yeah, this time of the year especially. That bunch of cookies you decorated are only one of probably ten tubs of cookies she has made for the church baskets. One year we made 50 batches of cookies, and they were all gone by midday on Christmas.”

“Wow.”

***
“Do you want to go up to my room and chill?” asked Tara after they had finished lunch and had all arranged for what chores were assigned for the afternoon/evening.

“Yeah,” answered Willow.

“Don’t forget to keep the door open,” piped up Trinity.

“As long as you remember the same,” responded Tara in a similar tone to Trinity.

“Yeah, not that I’d forget with Dad around.”

“Good point.”

Willow followed Tara up the stairs and into Tara’s room. Tara left the door half open and went and flopped on her bed. She motioned to Willow to join her.

“I told you that there would be no privacy.”

“That you did.” Willow sat down next to Tara.

“I didn’t even get to kiss you good morning this morning. You were fast asleep when I got up.”

“Yeah, I don’t know what happened. I have never slept that deeply. It must have been that tea your mom gave me. It was like it was magic. As soon as I started drinking it, I felt relaxed and sleepy. I’ve only felt that relaxed when you know…” she raised her eyebrows.

“Yeah, my mom is famous for her tea that helps people sleep. Speaking of that I’ve been wanting to tell you—”

Just then, Trinity entered the room. “Hey, just checking on you two. Don’t do anything I can’t do.”

“Don’t worry about it,” said Tara as she made a hand motion for her sister to leave.

After she left, Willow looked at the half closed door and then back at Tara.

“There are going to be people coming in and out all the time aren’t there, and your dad roams around and checks up?”

“Not really. He usually pokes his head in once in a while. He wants to make sure that nobody gets pregnant on his watch.”

“I can’t get you pregnant.”

“I don’t think he’s going to be checking here. I think he’s kinda wigged out about the whole girlfriend thing.”

“Why do you think that?”

“Well, he was asking me a bunch of questions. He wanted to know if it was a phase or something that I was going to stop after college.”

“What did you say?”

“Oh, of course I said it was a phase.”

“You did?”

“No, silly. I told him that I thought that you were ‘the one’.”

“You think I’m the ‘one’?”

“Yes, you know that. I’ve told you that multiple times.”

“I know, I just like to hear it.”

Tara reached up and pulled Willow on to her and they started to kiss. They each buried their hands under the other's shirts to get the feeling of warm skin.

This activity was shortly ended when they heard Kathy loudly stomping on the stairs and announcing, “I’m going to me room if anyone needs me.”

Willow sat back up and tried to look innocent when Kathy entered the room.

“Was that good enough warning?” asked Kathy.

“Perfect,” answered Tara.





“I thought you’d be happy to hear that Daddy’s sent Andy out to get Grandma. It is supposed to snow hard tonight, and he doesn’t want to take the chance that she’ll get snowbound. I’m sure Willow, you’re so sad that you’re going to have to bunk with us an extra night. “

“Heartbroken,” responded Willow with a deadpan manner.

“I’ll go get fresh linen for Grandma’s bed. You just go grab your stuff and bring it upstairs. My sleeping bag is in the closet and there should be at least one camping mat in there too,” said Tara excitedly.

“Like she’s really going to be sleeping on the floor,” commented Kathy.

“Of course I am, that’s what your parents want,” answered Willow.

“What my parents don’t know, can’t hurt them,” responded Kathy.

“I have a feeling that it is in Tara’s best interest to follow the rules. I don’t want to be responsible for you getting any more ammo that you can hold over her head.”

“Me hold things over Tara’s head. Never.”

“That’s not what I heard--,” said Willow.

“That’s not what I said--,” stated Tara.

“I am more mature now, trust me.”

“Famous last words.”

“Should I feel offended?” asked Kathy.

“It’s up to you.”

Tara and Willow got up and left the room. Tara grabbed linens while Willow waited and they went to the office, stripped the couch, and put new linens on it. “I’ll go put these in the laundry. You grab your backpack and meet me upstairs.”

Willow grabbed her backpack as Tara exited the room.

Mrs. Maclay stopped them. “As soon as Gertie and Grandma get here, we are going to start decorating the tree. Could you and Willow go collect the eggs now, I need some for cookies, and the weather is getting bad. Their probably ready to go into the roost now.”

“Sure, mom.”

“I can take your backpack upstairs for you,” offered Mr. Maclay.

“Thanks,” Willow handed the pack to him and followed Tara into the entryway. This time she put made sure to grab a pair of gloves out of the basket of outerwear.

As they walked outside, they looked at the lightly drifting snow. “It looks like you may get your White Christmas. For sure we’ll have a white Solstice. But it is going to be freaking cold at sunrise.”

“Sunrise?” choked out Willow.

“Yeah, we have rituals that we do at sunrise and sunset. You don’t have to do both if you don’t want to. Everyone does the sunset rituals, just Grandma, Aunt Gertie, Mama and I usually do the sunrise rituals.”

“Whatever you are doing, I’m doing. I’m less likely to find myself alone with anyone if I stick with you.”

“Did Mama grill you?”

“No. It was ok. I’m just afraid that I’ll say something wrong.”

“Just be yourself, you can’t go wrong.”

“Now those sound like famous last words.”

“You are a goof.” Tara took her hand and they walked to the chicken yard. As Mrs. Maclay had suspected, there were not a lot of chickens out in the yard, most were in the coop. Tara opened the gate, ushered Willow in quicky and closed the gate behind them.”

“Some of them like to escape.” Tara explained.

“No having to chase chickens in the snow.”

“No, that is not fun.”

“We are supposed to get eggs, and put them in the basket your mom gave us?”

“Do you just want to watch and hold the basket, or do you want to learn how to gather eggs?”

“I want to learn whatever I can so I can be useful.”

“What is it with you being useful? You don’t have to be useful.”

“I think it is something from my mom. She used to make comments about me ‘making myself useful’. That usually meant that she wanted me to do something for her.”

“Well, you are useful just being you.” Tara kissed Willow on her nose. “We have to go into the coop and look around to find the eggs. Most of the eggs are under the chickens, but sometimes there are ones in the corner and other places”. They walked into the coop which was just a little taller than Tara.

“You put her hand under the chicken, find the egg and just pull it out.” Tara demonstrated and brought an egg out and put it in the basket.

The idea of putting her hand under a chicken butt was a little disconcerting, but as Willow watched Tara, she got up her nerve to try. Willow noticed that Tara had been talking to the chicken as she got the egg. She walked up to a chicken. “Hello, Ms. Chicken. I am Willow. Hopefully my hands are not too cold. I am just going to reach under you and get your egg and you won’t have to be sitting on the hard thing. Tara says you are used to this, so it shouldn’t be a big problem.”

Willow took a deep breath and put her hand under the chicken. She found the egg and tried to remove it. The chicken began to squawk loudly and flap its wings. Willow quickly removed her hand and the chicken stopped making noise.

Tara began to laugh. “Your expression is priceless. Honey, did she scare you?”

“The chicken didn’t scare me,” puffed Willow.

“I was talking to the chicken.” Tara walked over to the chicken and grabbed the egg out from under her. She handed the egg to Willow.

“It’s warm.”

“Of course, it’s been under a chicken’s butt.”

“How do we know that there isn’t a baby chicken inside.”

“The rooster is in a different pen, so no baby chicks.”

“Are you sure. I don’t want to take a baby away from its mother.”

“There are no baby chickens, but if it will make you feel better. We can candle the eggs and make sure none of them are fertilized.”

“Candle them?”

“Yeah, actually we use a flashlight usually. You put the flashlight up to the egg. Fertilized eggs look different than unfertilized ones.”

“I learn something new everyday when I am with you. Who knew that you had all these other talents? Bread baker, egg checker, cookie maker… I love you.” Willow placed a gentle kiss on Tara’s lips.

“I love you too. And yes, the chicken coop is somewhere we can be alone, but it’s cold. You hold the basket and I’ll grab the eggs. You can bring the eggs into Mama, and I’ll get their feed and put them in for the night.”

“Sounds like a plan.”

***

_________________
Atlantic Antics Meeting Expectations
Learning to Laugh What I Discovered at Band Camp


Last edited by taranwillow4ever on Mon Nov 16, 2020 1:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Learning To Laugh (November 15, 2020)
PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2020 1:31 am 
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6. Sassy Eggs

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
Posts: 421
Dibs again! :whip
The revelation that Tara, her mother and other female relatives are not only Wiccans but "real witches" brings an unexpected fantastic element to the story. I'm wondering how Willow with her scientific, mathematical mind will react to that.

Quote:
Mrs. Maclay got up, walked over to Willow and gave her a hug. she smells like fresh bread even when she is not baking and said, “Well, as long as you are with Tara, which I hope is a long time, you’ve got a family here.

Awww! :flower Bless Mrs. Maclay for giving Willow a kind of motherly affection she probably never received from Sheila.

Quote:
“Willow, stop making us look bad,” Exclaimed Kathy.

Willow blanched and said, “I didn’t mean to, sorry. I’m always making comments and not--”

“You really don’t get the jokes do you? Do you take everything literally? How can you be with someone who doesn’t have a sense of humor.”

That was pretty mean of Kathy. Teasing Tara is one thing but by making that snarky remark in Willow's presence she practically insulted Willow.

Quote:
“Don’t go barking up that tree, Kyle. That is Willow, Tara’s girlfriend,” said Willow.

You meant "said Kathy", didn't you?

Quote:
But it is going to be freaking cold at sunrise.”

“Sunrise?” choked out Willow.

:lol Come on Willow, it's the longest night of the year so sunrise is probably around 08:30 am, that's not very early!

Quote:
“I want to learn whatever I can so I can be useful.”

“What is it with you being useful? You don’t have to be useful.”

“I think it is something from my mom. She used to make comments about me ‘making myself useful’. That usually meant that she wanted me to do something for her.”

“Well, you are useful just being you.” Tara kissed Willow on her nose.

Awww, perfectly spoken Tara! :flower Poor Willow, grrr that Sheila made her feel as if she had to "earn her keep" when she was still a child.

Quote:
She walked up to a chicken. “Hello, Ms. Chicken. I am Willow. Hopefully my hands are not too cold. I am just going to reach under you and get your egg and you won’t have to be sitting on the hard thing. Tara says you are used to this, so it shouldn’t be a big problem.”

So cute! :laugh


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 Post subject: Re: Learning To Laugh (November 15, 2020)
PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2020 4:41 am 
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3. Flaming O

Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2018 12:38 pm
Posts: 83
It's great that you're posting again. Welcome back! I read the whole thing to do a little catch up, which was bigger than I remembered, but just as good. Mrs. Maclay is as nurturing and accepting as I'd hoped. Kathy is trouble! Loving your take on the Maclay family and the winter holidays, some winter cheer in these dark times.


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 Post subject: Re: Learning To Laugh (November 15, 2020)
PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2020 10:49 am 
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8. Vixen

Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 5:33 pm
Posts: 707
Topics: 2
Location: North Carolina, USA
Thank you Northern Lass and Will's Redemption for commenting. I like to hear from people who read my stories. I fixed the misquote Will's Redemption, and I'm glad that you enjoyed the re-read Northern Lass. Kathy is a little bit of trouble. I thought that if I made everyone all 'ice cream and rainbows'. It wouldn't be as accurate. Kathy's worst bit is going to come into this part of the story and then, I suspect she'll take a back seat. I hope you all continue to love my ideation of the Maclay family.

Winter Holidays Continued POV (Tara)


Willow pulled Tara aside as the family was decorating the tree. “Is your grandmother a time traveler?”

“Um…no…why would you ask that?”

“Well, I just left the bathroom, and your grandmother went into it as I left, but now she is sitting in a chair orchestrating the decorating.”

Tara started to giggle.

“Why are you laughing at me?” said Willow with a pout and moved a little farther away from Tara.

“I’m not laughing at you.” Tara took a deep breath, appearing to try to pull herself together, and getting closer to Willow. She was still giggling slightly. “Didn’t I ever tell you that Aunt Gertie and Grandma are identical twins?”

“No, I think that I would have remembered that.” Willow tried to give her best Willow glare, however decided that logic may be the better choice. “They are dressed alike.”

“If you look carefully, their shirts are a little different. They have always dressed pretty much alike. They claim that they never coordinate their outfits, but it is hard to believe. Today, Grandma’s shirt has some yellow lines in it, while Aunt Gertie’s is just red and black. They are wearing different shoes too. Grandma leaves a pair of sneakers here to wear inside the house, while Aunt Gertie tends to always choose to wear a pair of slippers.” Tara tried to subtly point to her grandmother, “Her glasses and earrings are a little different too.”

Willow looked over at the woman sitting in a large armchair and noted that she was wearing a pair of red slip on sneakers. “Seriously, you didn’t think to mention that your grandmother was a twin?” Willow put her hands on her hips in mock indignation.

“I don’t really think about it. To me, they look different. I know which one is my aunt and which one is my grandmother.”

Just then, Aunt Gertie entered the living room. “Who is your friend dear,” said the older woman as she grabbed onto Tara’s arm.

“Aunt Gertie, this is my friend Willow. Willow this is my grandmother’s sister, Aunt Gertie.”

“Please to meet you, ma’am,” responded Willow, extending her hand out to shake the older woman’s hand.

Aunt Gertie released her grip on Tara and took both of Willow’s hands into her own. “You have such a glowing aura my dear. It perfectly complements my Tara’s. You two are going to be great friends. Maybe even more.” She winked at Tara.

Tara and Willow’s eyes went wide. Tara saw Willow begin to blush. Her cheeks got red and there were blotches on her neck. The old woman dropped Willow’s hands and walked further into the room, maneuvering herself around the others. She went to a box and began rummaging through it. “Here it is,” she announced. “Mama’s angel.” She pulled out a tattered angel made of lace and put it in the middle front of the tree.

“Did your Great Aunt just imply what I think she did?” whispered Willow to Tara.

“Yeah, do you think we are telegraphing something?”

“I don’t know. Your family is pretty perceptive, they are all very special.”

“Yeah, that is true; and special, I’ve been wanting to talk to you---”

Tara was interrupted by her grandmother calling her over to where she was seated. “Tara dear, can you go in that box and show me what is in it?”

“Are you ok, over here?” Tara asked Willow.

“Yeah, go to your grandmother. I’ll be fine here now that I know that I am not seeing double.” Willow motioned to a corner where she could watch the family.
***
Tara walked into the kitchen to discover her sister showing their mom a bottle of pills. She stayed quiet and heard her sister say, “These must be the pills that Tara was referring to that she wanted to make sure your herbs didn’t counteract.”

Mrs. Maclay looked at the bottle and handed it back to Kathy. “How many times do I need to tell you not to go through people’s things?”

“You…you wanted to know…so I was trying to help.”

“Put them back where you found them,” ordered Mrs. Maclay.

Tara cleared her throat as Kathy exited to the office.

“I can’t believe she did that, “exclaimed Tara.

“I think she was trying to help…”

“Well, she’s already alienated Willow with her humor comment. If she knew that you saw her medicine she’d want to leave. She’s really ashamed that she has to take that medicine.”

“Do you know what that medication is for Tara? It is a very major medication.”

“Yes, mom. Willow and I’ve talked about it. Does it make you feel differently---”

Willow entered the kitchen. “I should have known that I’d find you in the kitchen with your mother.”

“I like to spend as much time with my mom. I also figured that she may need some help getting supper ready.” Tara went to the sink to wash her hands.

“I can help too,” said Willow pushing up her sleeves and going toward the sink.

“No, Tara. The answer is no.”

Willow looked at Tara.

“It’s nothing important. Just something between my mom and me. Mom, what can we do to help?”

***
Tara walked upstairs and into her bedroom. She was greeted with Willow frantically going through her backpack. She dumped the contents out onto her sleeping bag and began opening all of the compartments.

“You ok Will?” asked Tara.

“I can’t find my dop kit. My toothbrush and meds are in it.”

Shit, I guess I have to deal with this. I hate having secrets from Willow, but I also don’t want Willow to freak out and go ballistic on Kathy. Think Maclay, think… “Could you have left it in the office?”

“I don’t know,” answered Willow frantically. “What if someone found them. They’ll know I am a psycho. They will want me to leave. Who would want their kid or sibling or niece or friend dating a psycho?”

“You are not a psycho. Calm down” Tara sat down on the floor and began helping Willow put her belongings back into the backpack. “I’ll go downstairs and see if it is in the office. I’m sure my grandmother is not asleep yet. You couldn’t have lost it. You had it this morning and you took your meds last night. Try to breathe Willow.” Tara gave Willow a kiss on the head and left the room and went downstairs. She stopped at the office and knocked on the door.

“Who is it?” asked a quiet voice.

“It’s Tara.”

“Come in, Tara dear.”

Tara entered the room. Her grandmother was sitting on the bed in her nightgown. “Did you see a black case in here?” I know it is here. I hate playing this game.

“Yes, dear. I gave it to your mother. I found it under the chair.”

“Thanks. It is Willow’s. Goodnight Grandma. See you in the morning.”

“Bright and early. Is your Willow going to come out with us?”

“I think so. She says she wants to.”

“Does she understand about us?”

“No, and I don’t know how to explain it all. It’s not like it is something that you can just blurt out.”

“Well, if you don’t explain it soon. She may be in for a bit of a surprise tomorrow morning. Telling significant others, It has been hard for all of us. It’s not like you can just mention it during a first date. I remember your mother having the same questions. Your father had a hard time understanding too. Even when he sees it, he still has trouble believing. I think your Willow will handle it better. She’s got a good aura says Gertie.”

“Yeah, she told us.” Tara paused, “Are you not upset, freaked about me and Willow?”

“Tara, we are witches. We’ve been a part of multiple covens. There have always been women centered women. It’s part of the craft. Witches are accepting people.”

“Well, I appreciate it. I wasn’t sure how you would feel about it.”

“Tara, I’ve known you since you were born. I have always loved you, and I always knew that I would love whomever you loved. She seems like a nice girl.”

“She is. Good night.”

Tara exited the office and went into the kitchen. Her mother was making bread dough. Mrs. Maclay took the kit out of her hands and looked at the medicine again.

“Mom, she’s going to freak. One of her biggest fears is that you’ll find out about her illness and ask her to leave.”

“Why would she think that?”

“I don’t know. She feels like she is defective. I’ve been trying to help her, but she is pretty intractable.”

“Why don’t you go get Willow and we can talk over some tea and cookies.”

“I don’t need to be gotten,” said Willow in a quiet voice. “I thought I’d come down to help look.” Willow looked at Mrs. Maclay who was holding her medicine. Her eyes went wide and her face went white.

Tara was worried that Willow was going to faint. She took her arm and led her to a seat at the table.

“I’ll leave tomorrow. Thank you for your hospitality. If it is not snowing too hard, Tara could just bring me to the train station now.“ Willow appeared to be zoned out. Her eyes staring at the wall.

Mrs. Maclay walked over to where Willow was sitting and sat down in a chair beside her. “What are you talking about. I thought that you were staying until after New Years.”

“I understand why you wouldn’t want someone like me around your family. I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have come…”

“Willow, are you hearing me say you should leave.” Mrs. Maclay took Willow’s hands in a manner similarly to how Aunt Gertie had done. “Willow, look at me. I am sorry that I invaded your privacy and looked at your medicine. I don’t know what prompted me to do it. I guess I just wanted to know what kind of medicine you were on so that I wouldn’t accidently put any herbs in your tea that could counteract it.”

“You don’t hate me?”

“Why would I hate you?”

“Because I am mentally ill. My own mother hates me because of it AND I could go crazy. Tara could do so much better than me. “

Mrs. Maclay looked up at Tara who was standing behind Willow. “Is that what you think, Tara? Are you just biding your time until you can find someone better, more together?”

“No, Mama. I love Willow. I don’t think I could meet anyone better. I think she’s my soul mate. She’s my everything; my other half.”

“Willow, I don’t care if you have to take medicine to stabilize your moods. From what I’ve heard in dribs and drabs, you’ve had a rough life. If you need medication, you need medication. If you had Diabetes, we wouldn’t have a problem. We’d just refrigerate your insulin and help you keep count of your carbs.” said Mrs. Maclay.

“It’s different.” It seemed to Tara that Willow had snapped out of her fugue. “You don’t want me to leave?”

“No, Willow, I don’t want you to leave. Nobody wants you to leave, and if someone did, the rest of us would argue with them. You belong here as much as anyone else.”

“But if you change your mind, I will leave.”

“It’s not going to happen. But if it does, I’ll tell you. Now…my dear. There is some stuff that Tara and I want to tell you that will sound strange and may even seem crazy to you.

Willow looked up at Mrs. Maclay.

“What has Tara told you about our practice and beliefs?”

“That most of the family practices Wicca, and just your family almost makes a whole coven, which seems a lot like a minyan. You celebrate the Solstice, which is tomorrow.”

“That is true, and the difference is a minyan is at least 10 people, while I coven is thirteen…What would you say if I told you that some of us have special powers and when our powers combine amazing things may happen.”

“It would be hard to imagine, but for some reason, I’d believe you.”

“She already thought that Grandma could time travel,” stated Tara, “I’d neglected to tell her that Grandma and Aunt Gertie were twins, and she thought she was seeing double.”

“Is her thing time travel?” asked Willow. “I know that Aunt Gertie reads auras. She was very clear about that when I met her. She said that Tara’s and my auras were compatible and implied that she knew that we were ‘more than friends’. When she touched me I felt a tingling sensation. I thought she was holding onto my arms too tight.”

“That was her reading your aura. Gertie has always been very perceptive and can see the relationships between people. She says that they look like colored lines,” commented Mrs. Maclay.

There was a period of silence and then Mrs. Maclay continued, “Tara, my mom, and I are all healers. Kyle’s friend Alison has a gift with plants, my brother Giles is really gifted with fire and potions, and his wife has an affinity for water.”

“What about your other kids?

“They all can harness some elemental magic, even Kyle who tries very hard to suppress it. But Tara’s got the most power of the five. It seems like she got an extra dose of my genes.”

“That could explain why you two look so very much alike,” commented Willow. “When I first saw you, I imagined that I saw what Tara will look like when she’s your age.” Tara saw Willow turn to her. She’d moved from behind Willow to a seat beside her. “So, you are a healer? Is that why I feel better when you rub my head?”

“Sometimes, honestly Willow, I’ve been feeling weird about it for a while, but I didn’t know how to tell you. I spontaneously did it when we first started dating, and I thought that if I told you, you’d be scared. I’ve tried to tell you a few times in the last few days, but we are always getting interrupted.”

“Can you all cure my manic depression?”

“No, Willow. We are not that powerful,” said Mrs. Maclay. “Our skills are more simple, like that balm I used on your hands. It has healing herbs in it and I just added a little bit of my own magic. Same thing with the tea. It is mostly herbs; I just asked the universe to allow you to have a peaceful sleep.”

Willow turned to Tara. “Do you do it a lot?”

“No, Willow. Magic always comes with a price. I just use it when I think it is really needed.”

“What is the price?”

“I can get really bad headaches or nosebleeds. I have to meditate a few times a week to keep everything in balance.”

Willow paused again, Tara made eye contact with her mother, and tried to communicate that went too well I think “That makes sense. I appreciate you telling me. So, is there other stuff I will discover tomorrow. Nobody is going to levitate or disappear or catch on fire are they?”

“No disappearing, and I doubt any levitating. It has been known to happen, but not usually on the Winter Solstice. Mostly it will be utilizing the four elements, fire, water, air and earth. The majority of us are tied to the earth, but Gertie has some air power, and Giles’ wife Jenny can make it snow.”

“This is a lot to take in,” stated Willow. “Do you mind if I sleep on it. I’ll try not to ask too many questions tomorrow. I’m looking forward to watching you.” Willow yawned.

“We are looking forward to sharing it with you.” Mrs. Maclay went over to Tara and hugged her goodnight. The two girls went upstairs to go to bed.

As they were both settling into their respective sleeping areas and trying to get comfortable, Tara heard a quiet voice, “Tara?”

“Yes, sweetie.”

“Could you ask before you do magic on me? The idea makes me feel like you have some sort of power over me. I trust you, and I love you, but it makes me feel…I don’t know…vulnerable maybe?”

“You don’t want your free will tampered with.”

“Sort of.”

“I understand, and I am sorry I did it without your permission or understanding. But I wanted to help.”

“And I like when you rub my head.”

“Usually, I just ask the Goddess to help your mind calm down and feel the love that I am trying to convey.”

“Love its self is magical right?”

“Definitely. I love you and I can’t wait to share the Solstice with you tomorrow. I am so glad that you know.”

“Me too. I love you. Good night sweetheart.”

“Night.”

_________________
Atlantic Antics Meeting Expectations
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