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

General Chat  || Kitten  || WaV  || Pens  || Mi2  || GMP  || TiE  || FAQ  || Feed - The Kitten, the Witches and the Bad Wardrobe

All times are UTC - 8 hours



Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 115 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4
Author Message
 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Oct 8th 2019)
PostPosted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 10:55 pm 
Offline
4. Extra Flamey

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
Posts: 201
The second part of this chapter was really painful to read. My heart ached for Willow and Tara both.

Quote:
“I get it. My issues are hurting you and they're hurting us. And maybe the right, proper thing is for me to go away and become a better me by myself. And if you ask me to do that I will. I'll do this trip on my own, I'll make sure we're not in the same place at the same time, I’ll take this journey and hope you find your way back to me.”


She scooted closer on her knees.


“But if there's any chance you think we can work this out together…I love you and I just want this to work. I am so sick and tired of being afraid all the time. I just…”


“What?” Tara prompted softly.


Willow exhaled, keeping Tara’s gaze.


“I just want to be happy. And you're a big part of that.”


This was everything Tara had ever wanted to hear but she knew Willow, and she knew Willow was great at telling people what they wanted to hear.


“We can't stay in this stasis. I need to feel like you want a real relationship. Not this…rollercoaster. Not one way behind closed doors and another outside. Because if all you want is friends…or friends with benefits…you have to tell me. I-it’s not fair. I promised I’d always be your friend and I will, but I can’t if you—”


“I don’t mean to cut you off,” Willow cut in, sniffling, “But I’ve never wanted to be just friends. I didn’t always understand what that meant, but I do now and I don’t feel any different. I want you to be my…everything. You are my everything.”


Tara’s heart fluttered at the emotion passing over Willow’s face. She watched as Willow took in two short breaths, then crawled on her hands and knees and leaned in to kiss Tara square on the mouth.


Tara could almost feel Willow’s heart thudding just from proximity. She knew how much this was taking and the gesture Willow was making. It was hard not to melt into it until she felt her cheek get wet.


I really hope that is the breakthrough they needed and that Willow will be able to commit to their relationship more from now on and overcome her self-hatred. It might be a good idea for Willow to get some psychotherapy after their trip either considering the depth of her issues…

Quote:
“You don't get to decide your worth to other people.”

Very wise of Tara.

Quote:
She kissed Willow again, who accepted it gladly with a smile to Tara’s mouth as the doubt-puddle evaporated.


It would fill again, but for now, it was gone.


Tara moved her hand over Willow’s head and fell off at her neck.


“Goodnight, Willow,” she whispered as her arm naturally fell to hold Willow’s around her waist.


Willow felt the most peace she’d ever felt by falling asleep with the scent of Tara’s lotion on every inhale.


“Goodnight, Tara.”


I'm glad the chapter ended on a hopeful note. But I see much more relationship-trouble on the horizon considering this piece of conversation:

Quote:
“I have to say, I’m very grateful there’s a real bed and not a bunk bed coming my way.”


“Bunk bed?” Willow asked with a scrunched up face but didn’t have time to contemplate as Tara caught her attention to show the city coming into view.


So Willow isn't aware that Tara wants them to sleep in hostels for the next year with bunk beds and - much worse - shared bedrooms and communal bathrooms they'll have to share with strangers (in some hostels even "mixed-sex")?!
That would be a deal-breaker for me and is most certainly a nightmare for Willow. Tara really should have made her plans for their accomodation during their trip perfectly clear to Willow beforehand instead of just telling her about the places she wants to visit and the sights she wants to see.

I really hope they can work out the money-issue and reach a compromise that they will only sleep in double-rooms but in low-budget hotels or boarding-houses and that Willow may pay for the cost-difference to hostel-accomodation.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Oct 8th 2019)
PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2019 3:29 pm 
Offline
3. Flaming O
User avatar

Joined: Sun Feb 28, 2016 9:37 am
Posts: 106
Topics: 4
Location: Pacific Northwest
I am glad, in a way, to see them a little annoyed at the other- it's true to life. But dang, Willow needs to go down to Main Street and buy herself a filter- I felt for both of them, Willow has so much self-loathing that is getting in her and Tara's way and Tara is , as you said, on a rollercoaster with Willow and it's not fair to her.
That conversation at the end was very very needed, and I also hope that Willow remembers and strives to either really be in it with Tara and/ or figure herself out some more. Obviously they will end up together- this being pens and all- I am interested to see how you show this growth and self-acceptance. And I hope Tara does keep speaking up. I almost feel like they should have had this conversation before getting on a plane to the other side of the world, but I can see how they didn't want to squash the excitement of going and I know Tara was hoping Will would relax a bit more so far away from her constraining life. I trust that we will get there.

- shirrey

_________________
You ARE Magic ~ Tara


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Oct 8th 2019)
PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2019 4:00 am 
Offline
Ms. Moderator Fantastico
Ms. Moderator Fantastico
User avatar

Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 1:22 pm
Posts: 4127
Topics: 36
Location: Ireland
DaddyCatALSO

Quote:
There was so much in the early chapters, and it's hard for me to post at work, so I went back over it all, took notes to post at the library last Sat., and lost the notes. So I figure I'll put it off and do it this week.

Then I read this. There's no longer the right time to discuss those other details.

All I can say is, I expected this, I was sure deep down Willow would react sort of like this, hoped I was wrong, and I came to this chapter and I was the other kind of wrong, it was way worse than I expected. I know, board rules, they'll get past this, but wow, that was hard to read.


I'm sorry you found it so hard to read! I hope that when you went back to read the last few paragraphs you found some comfort in their reunion and promises of how to move forward, because they will be moving forward together :)

Thanks for your comment!

taranwillow4ever

Quote:
Laragh, that was painful, very painful. I feel am pretty sure that I will be a minority, but I think that Tara is a little too hasty to run away. This could get her in BIG trouble in some of the countries they may go to.


Okay so just to be super clear here, she didn't just run aimlessly into traffic or anything like that — she just heard the person she loves most in the world call her disgusting and it felt suffocating and she went to get some air and walked to a place she knew how to get to and from for some space. Willow was catastrophizing a bit imagining her wandering around lost.

Quote:
It would have been good for her to wait and let Willow get her thoughts out in the way that she meant. I think they should have been more upfront about their relationship before they decided to go on a yearlong trip around the world. Traveling with someone can be difficult. Tara needs to explain how Willow’s view toward money annoys her. Willow has grown up very comfortable, and face it, money can gain some comfort. They should make an agreement to talk to each other and decide is this an opportunity to let Willow’s extra cushion help them, or are they going to tough it out. It bothers me that Tara has not talked to Willow about hostels, not that Willow couldn’t have looked it up, but how Tara planned to save money via hostels should have been clearly delineated. I feel like they did not have some important conversations, but I guess without this angst, the story would be all roses and teddy bears...looking forward to Friday, thanks for writing. :applause


Well, I honestly don’t see this as angst that is just there for angst's sake. I say this as someone who has absolutely done that before because I thought it was ‘required’. This to me is a real and organic portrayal of how I see this relationship blossoming. I think it would be glossing over the reality of their situation if they did everything perfectly.

Yeah, it would be fantastic if they did everything you talked about, but they didn't. Because they're 18. Because they're in their first relationship with each other. Because it's been a secret for the last year and Willow wasn't very honest on all of the reasons why it was secret and now they've been thrust into this very new situation and realizing they have some differences they've never had to confront before. We don't all have the perfect foresight and maturity to anticipate these issues and moderate our reactions accordingly. People react as things come up. They're reacting.

(And by the by, they did discuss budget and Willow knows what Tara's is. This is mentioned briefly when Willow has the conversation with her parents. She's just supplementing it without considering if that's okay or not because it's just always been how her life is. And Tara's unsure how to deal with it because she's never had to before either. They're figuring it out. They're kids :) )

Thanks for commenting!

Finey_McFine

Quote:
Well, that was a tough, tough read but necessary for them to be able to move forward. You are absolutely nailing the late-teen angst. The poor communication, the running away, the panic, the lack of relationship experience...all typical for that age. Then add the awkwardness of learning how to coexist 24/7 with big old relationship question mark floating above your heads, and disaster was inevitable.


Hi JMT! :bigwave You get it! I mean, jeez, I look back at being 18 and I was such an idiot and I had none of this drama going on! You don't wake up knowing how to relationship, you have to learn. And sometimes you learn by making mistakes.

Quote:
Tara, for sure, needs to bring up the money stuff before it becomes a huge issue. Unfortunately, it's about priorities and the relationship stuff is a bigger priority. Right now she's kind of stuck in "pick your battle" mode.


And (and this is a HUGE 'and') Tara has never in her life confronted Willow about anything before their relationship (Willow remarks on it during the prom stuff). She's always and forever let Willow take the lead. So she's not just going to jump into bringing this up, it's going to have to build to her breaking point because she doesn't know how to nip this in the bud. Think Nate obviously crushing on her and her waiting for it to boil over; Donny throwing her down the stairs before anything came out in the open. She has been painfully confrontation-avoidant her whole life. A lot of this fic so far has been focused on Willow's growth, sometimes to Tara's detriment. This trip is about them growing as people and as a couple. The first has to happen before the second can.

Quote:
This, this really got me. I truly feel sorry for Willow, not only is she scared to death to admit she's gay and scared to death of losing Tara, but she also has no idea what a solid loving relationship looks like. That was obvious in the last chapter when she saw her parents embrace for the first time in forever. She has no positive role models and just assumed Tara knew she was in love with her.


She's really trying - that wasn't just guff. But I think Tara sees that, I think them cuddling at the end shows that. And she believes in Willow - and for Willow, that's the example she's going to learn from.

Quote:
But Tara didn't let her off the hook and also stood her ground. Willow can only have so many free passes.


And for Willow's sake as much as Tara's. She needs the push and responsibility of loving Tara openly and not just subliminally.

Quote:
Willow can say this a thousand times, but now she has to prove it and walk the talk.


Yup, YUP

Quote:
*Sighs* Great chapter my JMT. I can't wait for more:)


I hope you continue to enjoy it. We're riding out a few weeks of working out the kinks but I PROMISE the vast majority of the rest of this fic is them exploring the world together in co-existing peace :)

Thanks for your feedback :)

Will's redemption ⁠—

Quote:
The second part of this chapter was really painful to read. My heart ached for Willow and Tara both.


For me too to write it, but necessary pain.

Quote:
I really hope that is the breakthrough they needed and that Willow will be able to commit to their relationship more from now on and overcome her self-hatred.


It's a journey, but she's on it.

Quote:
It might be a good idea for Willow to get some psychotherapy after their trip either considering the depth of her issues…


I 1000% percent agree with you there. You have no idea how right you are.

Quote:
Very wise of Tara.


She is wise but like us all can make mistakes!

Quote:
I'm glad the chapter ended on a hopeful note. But I see much more relationship-trouble on the horizon considering this piece of conversation:


Like in life, all our issues don't come out at once, they creep out over time and in different waves.

Quote:
So Willow isn't aware that Tara wants them to sleep in hostels for the next year with bunk beds and - much worse - shared bedrooms and communal bathrooms they'll have to share with strangers (in some hostels even "mixed-sex")?!
That would be a deal-breaker for me and is most certainly a nightmare for Willow. Tara really should have made her plans for their accomodation during their trip perfectly clear to Willow beforehand instead of just telling her about the places she wants to visit and the sights she wants to see.


Well, she did tell Willow. She told Kimberly Willow hadn't 'wrapped her head around the idea yet' so the conversation happened. She just underestimated quite how much Willow hadn't wrapped her head around it. Tara's had years to figure this stuff out and forgets maybe that this all happened in a few weeks for Willow. Willow, in turn, assumes she can throw her money at the situation and doesn't consider how that might make Tara feel or if she even wants that. They're both assuming the other is coming from the same perspective and well, you know what happens when you assume...(the biggest hint to all this is when they talk about how they never really ate out together or went to the mall - obviously Tara knew Willow came from wealth but she's never actually had to deal with it as part of their relationship/friendship. This is the crux of the conflict. They think they know each other endlessly and like most traveling reveals, they’re discovering new things!)

Quote:
I really hope they can work out the money-issue and reach a compromise that they will only sleep in double-rooms but in low-budget hotels or boarding-houses and that Willow may pay for the cost-difference to hostel-accomodation.


That isn't necessarily the compromise that is right for them, but I promise they will find the one that is!

Thanks for your feedback :)

shirrey

Quote:
I am glad, in a way, to see them a little annoyed at the other- it's true to life. But dang, Willow needs to go down to Main Street and buy herself a filter- I felt for both of them, Willow has so much self-loathing that is getting in her and Tara's way and Tara is , as you said, on a rollercoaster with Willow and it's not fair to her.


They are very deep issues that she has to process - but she's already getting it to a point by recognizing that and not promising to do better and be perfect immediately, as she often does. So I believe in her :)

Quote:
That conversation at the end was very very needed, and I also hope that Willow remembers and strives to either really be in it with Tara and/ or figure herself out some more. Obviously they will end up together- this being pens and all- I am interested to see how you show this growth and self-acceptance. And I hope Tara does keep speaking up.


Of course they'll end up together - this is pens and also me; I have no interest in having them break up. Sometimes some space is needed but that love is there and strong and not going anywhere.

Quote:
I almost feel like they should have had this conversation before getting on a plane to the other side of the world, but I can see how they didn't want to squash the excitement of going and I know Tara was hoping Will would relax a bit more so far away from her constraining life. I trust that we will get there.


Oh they should have, for sure, but they didn't. For a lot of reasons, some of which you mention.

Thanks for commenting :)



Update Directly Below

_________________
Amber Benson killed me once.

Check out my finished fics

The Love… Series ... Two For Joy ... Inevitable


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Oct 8th 2019)
PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2019 4:00 am 
Offline
Ms. Moderator Fantastico
Ms. Moderator Fantastico
User avatar

Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 1:22 pm
Posts: 4127
Topics: 36
Location: Ireland
CHAPTER RATING: NC-17

NOTE: Please note the rating change for this chapter and read or don’t read accordingly.

Chapter 19



Auckland

(Part 2)



Every Breath, Every Hour Has Come To This



“Thanks!”


Willow took the two bottles of water from the vendor and stuffed her change into her wallet. She hadn’t quite mastered the new currency yet and so was paying for everything with bills and shoving the change back into the pocket. She’d come to dread the places she couldn’t pay with her card.


She walked from the little café out onto the deck of the boat. She brought the drinks back to Tara and slid onto the bench beside her on the side of the boat where they had the best view of the water and surrounding islands.


Tara smiled gratefully as she opened her bottle of water.


“We need to get reusable ones. This plastic is so bad for the environment,” she said as the bottle squeezed the air out under Tara's grip, “It’s so beautiful isn’t it?”


Willow smiled back and nodded.


“Very.”


The boat sailed by one of the islands in the gulf and Willow began pointing.


“Look! Look, little penguins!”


She jumped up to take a picture but misjudged her footing and went skidding on the slick surface. Tara caught the back of Willow’s shirt before she risked being thrown overboard and both of them ended up on their butts, but at a safe standstill.


“Whoops,” Willow said, blushing profusely as a few laughs carried through the wind from the other people on the boat, “Thanks for saving me.”


They helped each other stand; Willow avoiding the gazes of anyone around her, though if she had looked at them, she would see they weren’t looking back anymore.


“That was close. I can see the headline now, Safari Skidding Stupidity: Dumb Tourist Gets Eaten By Orca.”


“Whale,” Tara whispered, looking past Willow.


Willow started to shake her head.


“Actually orcas are dolph—”


“Whale,” Tara interrupted louder than before and pointed in front of her.


Willow spun around and gasped softly as she saw the humongous outline of the whale in the water just a few feet in front of them.


“Whoa.”


Everyone gathered around the railing to watch the whale slowly come to the surface.


“It’s frickin’ huge!” a young boy, seemingly another American tourist, shouted causing a scowl from his mother and a shushing from his father, while most everyone else just smiled.


The whale started to lift its tail fin and moments later it made a resounding smack against the water again, causing a ripple in the water that shook the boat for a minute and a ferocious splash to soak everyone standing over the railings.


Willow spat out some of the seawater that went into her mouth whilst Tara ran her hand over her face to dry it somewhat. They looked at each other and started laughing.


Things hadn’t been tense between them, but they had been a little…off, at least in Willow’s mind. She felt awkward in their interactions. But Tara’s laugh was her happy place and laughing with her was as natural as breathing.


Willow smiled coyly and looked away to take some pictures.


She felt Tara’s arm slide around her waist and a squeeze of fingers around her hip bone. She wanted to look around, to see if anyone was looking, judging, but she didn’t.


She faced forward because she knew the only way she was ever really going to move past this fear was to genuinely stop caring. Until then, fake it ‘til you make it.


Besides, it felt nice to be held like that. Just the loose grip made her feel steady, protected. And she would be lying if she said the soft caress of Tara’s thumb above the waistband on her pants, brushing against the small patch of skin where her shirt rode up, wasn’t disproportionally sensual.


They rode out most of the rest of the boat ride like that, mostly silent but to highlight some wildlife to each other, and continued to get the occasional spray of water from the more playful amongst them.


As they approached the harbor with the sun starting to set, they hiked up to the top deck of the boat where they could sit and watch it disappear beyond the horizon.


“Okay, we definitely need to get out of these wet clothes,” Tara said as they disembarked, thanking the crew member helping them off as she did so.


“Lucky the hotel is just a block away,” Willow replied, her shoe squelching for a moment as she stepped onto the grass, “That was really amazing.”


Tara smiled.


“Yeah, it was.”


She brushed her hand lightly against Willow’s.


“My mom will be so jealous we saw dolphins.”


“I got good pictures,” Willow replied, somewhat bashfully, “You can send them to her.”


“Thanks,” Tara replied gratefully.


They got back to the hotel and wrung themselves out as best they could before entering the lobby. They moved into the elevators as quick as possible and Willow pressed the button for their floor. Just before the doors closed, another older couple stepped in. They took one look at them both, clothes slightly stuck to them and hair bordering on frizzy and promptly stepped back out.


Willow took offense and scowled at them as the doors closed.


“Sorry our clothes aren’t perfectly waterproof!”


Tara pursed her lips, but couldn’t help the laughter tumbling out. Willow looked at her and joined in until they were both almost doubled over.


They just about composed themselves by the time they got into the room and were sobered completely when they stepped into the room and were hit with a blast of heat like they were at one of the volcanoes peppered around the island.


“Whoa,” Tara said, pulling the collar of her wet shirt away from her neck, “It’s hot in here.”


Willow grimaced and went over to the thermometer after dropping her stuff at the table.


“I’m so sorry, I turned up the heat this morning because we got up early and it was chilly. I forgot to turn it back.”


“It’s okay, don’t worry about it,” Tara reassured, “It’ll help our clothes dry out.”


Willow turned into the bathroom and grabbed a towel, which she tossed across the room.


Tara caught the towel and threw it over her neck.


“Thanks, baby.”


Willow nodded in acknowledgment with a curious smile on her face as she ducked back into the bathroom.


That hadn’t felt weird at all. The whole day hadn’t, in fact.


Honestly, if Willow was being truthful with herself, she had only felt things were off because Tara hadn’t ‘tried anything on’ with her since ‘that’ night. Willow didn’t know if she just didn’t want to anymore or…


Maybe she’s waiting for me to do it.


Willow peeled her clothes off and sunk down to sit on the closed toilet lid. She thought some more as she idly wiped herself down with the towel.


She’d unloaded a lot on Tara that night and woken up to a few things too. Tara hadn’t known she loved her, because she’d never shown her.


I’ve always put the brakes on…I guess now I have to step on the accelerator.


Tara had put herself out there so many times, so even if Tara rejected her, it was her turn to put up or shut up. It was her turn to make up.


Starting right now.


She nervously stood up.


She wrapped the towel around her and went to the sink to brush her hair, her teeth and give her underarms another roll of deodorant.


Am I really doing this?


She crept out of the bathroom and watched Tara, sitting on the side of the bed with her back to her, changed into a tank top and some shorts she slept in while tossing her hair through the towel.


Willow gulped as she watched Tara throw her slightly curled hair back. Unkempt hair shouldn’t be so sexy.


“Do you mind if I put on some music?”


“Sure, go ahead,” Tara replied nonchalantly, with no idea of how she was affecting Willow, or how much she was just cementing in Willow’s mind what she wanted to do.


Willow brought her phone to the clock radio on her nightstand, which doubled as a docking station. She found the T Time playlist and set it to play low, just a bit over background noise. Sade was first up and Willow glanced at Tara out of the corner of her eye, but there was no reaction or recognition of the music Willow always played when they got close.


Though they'd never been as close as Willow was about to suggest.


Willow turned the music up just a touch higher but Tara just moved the towel down from her hair to her arms, still clueless to the tone Willow was trying to set.


Willow bit her lip, watching Tara’s shoulder muscles ripple from behind.


She took in a long, silent breath, then flicked her fingers over the tuck of her towel and let it pool at her feet, leaving her very much naked.


She took a step forward and then suddenly stilled, the enormity of it all hitting her. Two shorter breaths followed and she brought one knee up onto the bed.


Tara felt the sag of the mattress and then some additional trembles through the bed as Willow crawled over to her, but still wasn’t paying much attention. That was until she felt a hand brush away hair from the back of her neck and then soft lips pressed into the spot below her ear and then further into the crook of her neck.


Still completely unaware of the sight that was waiting behind her, Tara tilted her neck to offer more skin and closed her eyes to really savor it, as she’d learned to do from any affection from Willow.


Willow kissed along Tara's shoulder and with her eyes still closed, Tara turned her head and found Willow’s lips, kissing her softly.


She held Willow’s chin under her fingers and opened her mouth to encourage Willow’s tongue into it because honestly, it had been a while since they’d made out properly and she missed it.


She felt Willow’s tongue slide against her lips and she moaned, her hand sliding behind Willow’s neck so her fingers brushed the downy hair at the nape. Her hand slid back over Willow’s shoulder so the base of her palm sat above her collarbone. She could feel the deep thump of Willow’s heart through her skin and her eyes fluttered open to question it.


Her eyelids flickered several times as they focused and then looked downward, realizing Willow was naked. Her eyes shot up sharply to meet Willow’s timid gaze.


“Only if you want to,” Willow said quickly, quietly; enclosing her bottom lip under the top nervously.


Tara took in a soft but audible breath as she realized what was happening. She lifted a hand and cupped Willow’s cheek, running her thumb over Willow’s lips.


“Are you sure?” she asked softly, “Because I meant it. I don’t mind waiting if you’re just honest with me. I don’t want anything you don’t want.”


Willow very gently bit the pad of Tara’s thumb and watched as her pupils completely blew out with arousal. It stirred a level of eroticism in her that she hadn’t known was there.


“I want you,” she said emphatically and emboldened from being on the end of such a penetrating stare.


She brought their faces close together and tugged Tara’s bottom lip between her teeth.


“How’s that for honest?”


Tara now knew why Willow’s heart was pounding so hard because hers was doing the same.


She caught Willow’s neck again and pulled her into a proper smooch. The towel fell off her lap as her waist twisted to be closer to Willow. Her butt scooted back until she could swing her legs onto the bed and she fell back until her head hit the pillows.


Her palms stayed flat on Willow’s collarbone, holding her up on top. Her eyes stayed locked on Willow’s eyes for several seconds before they dropped to finally fully take in Willow’s body.


“Wow.”


She’d imagined this so many times; so many ways but even the most fleeting glance overwhelmed her in a way she hadn’t, couldn’t, anticipate.


Her fingers had touched Willow’s skin, but never so unrestricted, so unconstrained by clothing as a mask for fear.


Willow was soft with gentle curves that Tara knew were there, but were often hidden. Her breasts sat perky and surprisingly symmetrical on her chest with dusky pink nipples taut with no chill in the air to blame it on. Her stomach was flat and met her hip bones at the apex of a V where a flash of red hair flamed between her legs.


Tara’s stomach somersaulted as she felt a direct response between her own legs.


She dragged her gaze upward to where Willow was trying and failing not to look nervous. Tara pushed herself to sit back up and brought her mouth to Willow’s ear.


“Wow,” she breathed again as she sunk her lips into Willow’s neck.


Willow gasped softly; even the touch of Tara’s lips felt electrifying in a way she’d never known before. She turned her head in and sought a kiss, which Tara gave willingly.


She felt hands wrap around her and roam her back; the longest contact on her bare skin she had ever received. Heat was pooling between her legs and she was scared by how aroused she was becoming, by how out of control it made her feel, but being pressed close gave her a feeling so warm and encompassing she couldn’t imagine being outside it ever again.


She broke the kiss and Tara immediately sought it out again; hungry, thirsty for her. Willow let her lips be taken for another searing moment, then placed a hand on Tara’s cheek to stall again.


Tara’s eyes fluttered open in question and Willow paused to take in just how beautiful Tara looked with her lips bruised and skin flushed.


“I love you,” she said through a soft and awed inhalation of breath.


Her thumb brushed Tara’s cheekbone.


“I haven’t said it since that night…and I don’t want you to think I was just saying it to get out of something…I wanted to wait and say it again when you wouldn’t think I…”


She closed her eyes and shook her head, feeling a babble rise in her throat and threaten to ruin this moment.


“I love you,” she said again finally, surely.


Tara put a finger under Willow’s chin and guided their lips together softly.


“I love you too.”


Willow smiled against Tara’s mouth as it descended on hers again and she forgot everything but kissing the woman she loved.


Tara fell back again and took Willow with her this time.


Willow was hyper-aware of her naked skin scratching against Tara’s clothes but somehow it didn’t feel so terrifying anymore.


Lying with Tara; kissing, necking, giggling.


Just embracing the comfortable connection in their own private little world.


And it really had been awhile.


“We haven’t made out in forever,” Willow said as she stole another kiss and briefly curled her tongue behind Tara’s lips.


“I know,” Tara smiled with a soft laugh, then an even softer look, “And if you only want to make out, that’s okay.”


Willow paused. Tara was giving her an out if she wanted it.


She looked down at Tara and tried to remember how long it had actually been.


Tara’s Prom.


She remembered now.


How she’d almost ‘given in’ that night.


Remembered falling into her bedroom and locking the door to the empty house.


Keeping the lights off because she knew if she saw more than a flash of Tara’s face in the darkness she would have lost that knot of control she was holding onto in her stomach.


Letting Tara’s hand disappear up her dress and under her panties to give her that perfect moment where she was free of fear or insecurity or worry…


…and then she’d closed her eyes and fallen asleep because she’d wanted Tara too much too much to touch her back and there was too much else up in the air to let that part of her unravel.


Willow closed her eyes, back in the moment on the bridge, remembering Tara asking if she just wanted a friend that gets her off.


It had felt so harsh at the time, even after everything that had been said, but Willow saw it now. All of the untruths she’d allowed fester just to try and hide the real truth.


“All of the mistakes I’ve made,” she started, words coming without her planning them, ”None of them have been because I don’t want you.”


Tara curled some hair around Willow’s ear, comforting her as her voice took on a note of strain.


“I know.”


Willow swallowed deeply.


“I have to keep telling you because…I told you so different for so long. I have to know that you know.”


Tara’s hand trailed down Willow’s back and she felt the twitch in her spine and the way Willow shifted in microscopic movements to keep their skin touching.


“I stayed,” she said, keeping Willow’s gaze locked on hers, “Because even when your head denied…your body never did. And I knew you’d catch up. You were never one to fall behind for long.”


She smiled but Willow gulped again and felt Tara’s hand curve on her cheek.


“Darling,” she said gently; a tone so loving Willow didn’t think she’d ever experienced from anyone ever before or ever would again, “Don’t be afraid.”


Willow slowly smiled; the most real smile to grace her face in a long time, a lifetime.


“I’m not,” she said through a single, heavy breath, “I want you.”


Tara curled her fingers around the back of Willow’s neck and pulled her that last inch down until their faces were touching.


“Then you better hurry up and undress me so you can come get me.”


Willow felt arousal spill from her and she would have been embarrassed had she not been so stunned. Tara placed a finger straight under Willow’s chin to close her mouth and it snapped Willow’s attention forward.


She caught the hem of Tara’s tank and pushed it up under her breasts. Tara’s tattoo peeked out, so striking against her creamy skin. Willow ran a finger over the clef and brushed against the underside of Tara’s breast. Tara lifted her arms over her head and let them rest in a circular shape on the pillows.


Willow was panting slightly in anticipation as she peeled Tara’s top up and over her head.


She actually knew Tara’s breasts quite well, by touch.


It wasn’t gay if she only pawed at them and didn’t look, you see.


Clothing cocooned confession.


God, she felt like an idiot.


Especially because despite knowing the curve of Tara’s breast in her palm and how her nipple tightened under her thumb, she was not prepared for the full slight beneath her. They were bigger than she could tell by touch or scattered glances of cleavage. She couldn’t feel more than what could fit in her hand, she supposed.


More surprising was the color of Tara’s pigment where her areolae swelled up to her nipples. She hadn’t really considered that anyone would look anything different to her own lightly blushed pink nipples, but Tara’s were a dark purple and covered a larger expanse of skin.


She felt an immediate oral fixation; her mouth actually watered at the thought of taking them between her lips.


Her hands slid down Tara’s chest and cupped each breast fully. Tara’s back lightly arched into the touch and Willow gasped at that subtle display of desire. She rolled Tara’s stiff nipples in the space between her fingers and watched Tara’s face flutter with pleasure as did so; teeth lightly digging into her bottom lip and nostrils flaring in perfect sync to when Willow pinched her fingers together.


Watching Tara’s face when she touched her had always been Willow’s guilty pleasure, but now she felt the pedal swing entirely from the ‘guilty’ end to the ‘pleasure’ end.


“You are so beautiful.”


Tara’s eyes settled on Willow’s, glassy and dark, and Willow was suddenly desperate to get Tara’s shorts off and remove that last barrier between them. It was a move a long time coming, much longer than her stripping off and kissing Tara’s neck.


She wasn’t sure what made her do it, but she scratched Tara’s stomach muscles lightly on the way and made Tara’s hips jerk right off the bed. A short groan left Tara’s lips and rang in Willow’s ears, reverberating straight between her legs and only adding to the absolute pool forming there.


She didn’t know how it wasn’t gushing down her legs; it felt like a dam ready to burst.


She curled her fingers beneath the elastic waistband of Tara’s shorts but just before giving that final tug, she looked up at Tara for confirmation.


“Yeah?” she asked breathlessly.


Tara’s chin hit her chest so she could meet Willow’s eye. One messy eyebrow arched on her sweaty brow.


“Are you joking?”


A giggle rose in Willow’s throat and burst out, lighting up her whole face.


Tara lifted a hand and cupped Willow’s cheek.


“You are so beautiful when you smile.”


She brushed her thumb over Willow’s lips and dropped her hand while lifting her hips from the bed again. Willow swallowed to put a little moisture back in her mouth before dragging the shorts down and off Tara’s legs.


Tara bent her knees together and back to help and then let her legs fall open in a V around Willow.


Heart pounding anew, Willow took in Tara’s body; the very thing she’d been so afraid to embrace for so long.


It was terrifying but only in that she could lose this.


Lose her.


She laid down on top of Tara, their hips touching first and then their chests before the final sublime slide of limbs where they got the first press of each other between their legs.


“Oh god,” Willow breathed, her head falling into Tara’s neck to plant wet, open-mouth kisses there as the barest brush of Tara’s thigh made her quiver all over.


She suddenly became overwhelmed by the prospect in front of her. Her lips had never trailed deeper than the swell of Tara’s breast and she didn’t know if what she desired to do was what Tara desired her to do.


Her mouth stalled on Tara’s throat when she felt her larynx protrude on a deep swallow and she slowly pulled her head away.


Tara kept her neck tilted for a few moments until the lack of contact became noticeable. Her eyes opened and head turned to the other side to see Willow frozen.


“Hey…” she said softly, brushing her fingers on Willow’s cheek.


Willow averted her gaze, embarrassed.


“I-I don’t know what to do.”


Tara just smiled softly.


“Me either. We’ll figure it out.”


Willow’s eyebrows rose as if to say ‘really?’ and Tara’s index finger gently tickled under Willow’s ear affectionately.


“Do you remember when we were young and we were playing Twister with Donny? Remember he bet us our allowance he could beat us and if he didn’t he’d leave us alone for a week?”


Willow stared in confusion for a moment. This wasn’t the most optimal time to rehash a childhood memory.


Still, the words triggered the images and Donny breaking the spinner right off the board when he lost.


She nodded that she remembered and Tara smiled fondly.


“He thought he had it all sewed up because we were too young to realize that having two people just hurt our chances. One of us was more likely to fall over the other.”


She twirled a strand of Willow’s hair in that finger and gave it a light tug that Willow found surprisingly arousing.


“But we took our time and we were careful and we twisted our bodies together until he had nowhere left to go but down and we anchored each other up. We figured out how to get our bodies to move together and come…out on top.”


Willow felt Tara’s knee bend and her outer thigh be caressed with Tara’s inner one.


“This is like that…but with kisses.”


Willow’s anxieties fluttered away; even if she wasn’t confident she felt in very good hands.


“And boobs,” she joked; Tara’s resulting smile filling her with the confidence she was lacking.


She made a spinner board in her mind and mentally spun it, but there was only one answer her brain was going to return; what she’d wanted since the moment Tara’s top came off.


Left nipple, mouth.


She met Tara’s eye and smiled shyly.


“Can I?” she asked, referring to nothing and everything all at once.


Tara returned the same smile.


“I’m yours.”


Willow pressed her lips to Tara’s lips softly, then ducked her head lower to Tara’s chest.


She pressed kisses in concentric circles around Tara’s breast until she got to the where the skin puckered and swelled. She could see how taut Tara’s skin was pulled together and it felt so natural now to close her lips around it and soothe it with her tongue.


Tara moaned and her skin just seemed to grow even tighter and strain for more touch. Willow found that reaction fascinating and enticing and was quite willing to give what was asked.


Tara's chest heaved as each breath became more and more labored.


She’d dreamed of this so many times.


When Willow would stop just short; when she was alone in the dark; when she would lick the pad of her finger and pinch herself in the hopes that it might just satisfy that craving for the sensation she did not know, yet yearned for.


Willow’s mouth was hot and wet and reminded her of how she felt between her spread legs. She imagined Willow’s mouth touching her there the way it was touching her now and she was sure she must’ve left a wet patch on the sheet such was the strength of her reaction.


Unable to be so passive with the massive thumping between her legs, she cupped each of Willow’s shoulder blades, gripping her with four fingertips digging into Willow’s back and her thumb pressing into collarbone on the other side. She massaged those spots a few times, digging into Willow’s skin in time with the twitches of her clit, then gently tugged Willow back up and kissed her.


Willow’s brow creased; worried she’d done something wrong.


“That was so good,” Tara whispered between kisses before Willow could even ask the question, “I want yours.”


She put Willow onto her back and sat back to look at her. Willow might have felt self-conscious only she was too busy looking at Tara too. She ran her hands down Tara’s side and held her by the hips.


Her hand pressed flat over Tara’s bellybutton with the heel of her palm brushing against the hair on Tara’s mound. Before she could process the molten wave she felt inside her as she caressed Tara’s skin, she watched Tara’s head drop to her breasts and felt lips close around her nipple.


“Oh!”


She was surprised by how intense her belly burned as Tara’s tongue ran around her. Her nipples had never been that sensitive to her, never an area she lingered when by herself, but Tara’s mouth was something else entirely and she felt a correspondingly intense responsive twitch in her clit.


Tara’s mouth left her and even in the warm room, she felt a chill hit it and highlight the loss. Tara didn’t leave her hanging in desperation though, as two fingers reached up to twist the peak as her mouth landed on the other side.


Willow felt her breath catch in her throat at the duality of sensation and if she looked down she’d see her chest had become a bright red.


Tara’s palm rolled around her breast and squeezed her flesh and Willow thought, hoped, there might be little nail marks left in her skin; something that left Tara’s brand on her and marked her in the way she’d been so afraid to until now.


Tara felt Willow’s body writhe into her, so willing and wanting and open in a way she just never had been before. It went beyond the lack of clothing, Willow was expressive and eager and giving herself over entirely. It was on a plane Tara had never even known before.


The music was still playing; Massive Attack she thought now.


She’d never been in charge of this playlist mostly because they usually did ‘stuff’ in Willow’s house. Willow was the one who seemed to need more sound in the room when they were getting hot and heavy anyway. Though Tara did have ideas for melodic enhancement to these moments, she actually liked to listen in other ways.


For Tara, her music was how the susurration of the sheet echoed in her ear as Willow’s body wiggled and squirmed; how the headboard banged lightly off the wall when Willow’s torso lifted and dropped sharply back into mattress, driving it backward; when Willow's head rose and her neck strained back and made the pillows deflate with a whoosh.


All of this still paled in comparison to the symphony of sounds Willow herself was making; the low moans, the sharp gasps, even the slap of thighs as her legs grew straight and pressed together to try and quell the pounding between them.


Tara had played in front of hundreds, sometimes even thousands, of people in the band, as part of orchestras, even busking on the street but nothing was as exhilarating; nothing made the hair on the back of her neck rise with more intensity than playing Willow’s body to the best of her ability.


Her hand rolled over Willow’s breast one last time and started to slide across the expanse of her stomach. She felt Willow’s muscles jump and then a tremble as her fingers brushed past Willow’s mound. She tapped her fingers there as a tickle of anticipation before sliding between Willow’s lips.


Willow moaned, but it turned into a deep groan when Tara moaned too, around her nipple. Her hips twisted and Tara’s fingers slid down more, pressing against her opening for the first time ever.


“Oh shit,” Willow gasped before a whimper fell out of her mouth when two of Tara’s fingers slid back up over her clit.


Tara left Willow’s nipple as a taut, wet nub that made her hiss with pleasure when the friction of Tara’s body ran over. Tara made a point of slowly returning to fully alignment with Willow. With her hand still sliding over Willow’s clit, Tara pressed their mouths together again and felt a string of words and wordless moans fall down her throat.


She toyed with Willow’s tongue and felt a shiver go down her spine when Willow grabbed her cheeks with both hands and kissed her back so desperately.


Two fingers sank deeper again and really toyed with Willow's opening this time, both of them twitching with anticipation. Willow was slick and Tara could already feel an even deeper heat enticing her inward.


She paused with her forehead on Willow’s and waited until their eyes connected. She raised her eyebrows slightly in question and Willow quickly nodded, her face flushed.


Tara pressed her fingers into Willow’s opening; barely inside, just to the length of her short nails, a half-knuckle. It was like rubbing against silk but so much hotter, a heat Tara just wanted more of.


She slid her fingers up more, maybe a little too quickly, and felt Willow stretch around her.


Willow’s face scrunched and she took in a sharp breath as she processed this new sensation.


“Oh, ah! Mmm…”


Tara’s cheeks immediately drained of their color and her hand snapped back, earning a smarting clench from Willow who immediately missed the intrusion.


“I’m s-s-so sorry,” Tara stammered, her throat tightening like she was about to throw up.


Willow gasped with the ache of the loss; though the despairing look on Tara’s face hurt her much more.


“You did nothing wrong!” Willow said quickly, waving her hands in front of her wildly. “It’s my fault, I’m not—”


“No, absolutely not, I…” Tara started to interrupt, but Willow stopped her with a hand on the shoulder.


“You didn’t hurt me,” she said, staring Tara in the eye to make sure she heard her, “You didn’t. I was just surprised, I…I didn’t know how it would feel. ”


She squeezed Tara’s shoulder and her hips rolled toward Tara again. Her voice lowered an octave.


“I don’t want to stop. I wanna try again,” she said, evocative and sure, before she smiled a little, “Maybe just slower.”


Tara closed her eyes, exhaling two short breaths.


“I should have known that. I never asked you if you’d ever…”


She shook her head and quite a few thoughts flew into Willow’s head but she focused on coaxing Tara back into the moment.


“It’s okay. C’mere.”


She sought Tara’s lips and only had to wait a second until the kiss was returned. She felt Tara’s hand touch her cheek, her fingers wet from her brief quest inside. Willow caught her own scent and her stomach churned with arousal. She wondered if Tara smelled the same.


She turned her head and kissed Tara’s fingertip as they sped past before Tara began to disappear back down her body.


Willow’s eyes fluttered closed again as she felt Tara’s hands fall over the curves and peaks of her body back down to her thighs. Willow opened her legs again in anticipation of Tara’s hand finishing its journey there, and so was surprised when instead she felt a mouth seep into her wetness.


“Whoa-oh!” she gasped, followed immediately by a long groan as Tara’s tongue licked her length.


Her legs fell open completely, helplessly. Never had she known something to pull from her and fill her all at once but Tara was doing it and doing it so well.


Tara found herself swallowing again and again and she couldn’t even tell whether it was from the amount of wetness Willow was producing or just how much her mouth watered for it. She’d known Willow’s scent but never close like this, never so deep in her nostrils that it made her brain hazy. Her taste on top was the definition of intoxication and Tara couldn’t stop herself from imbibing.


Willow groaned and moaned and writhed as her body asked for more and more. The clenching inside her just became more and more intense as she craved that feeling of completion she’d briefly flirted with.


“Tara, I…” she moaned, pressing her hips high to meet Tara’s mouth over and over again, “I-I want it. I need it. You. Inside…Please…Oh, please…”


She wouldn’t have imagined herself one to beg but the pull inside her was so deep and unrelentingly empty.


Tara looked up and paused, her lips glistening. She sat up a bit and wiped her arm across her mouth before bringing her hand to Willow, cupping her.


Willow hissed with pleasure and Tara’s fingers were immediately hit with wetness. She, somewhat nervously, dipped her index finger at Willow’s opening, which was completely gushing at this point.


She pushed in very gently to the first knuckle and faced no resistance.


“Is that okay?” she asked, watching Willow very carefully for signs of discomfort.


She felt Willow squeeze her finger; once, then twice and both of their eyelids grew lidded.


“Yeah…” Willow sighed, her hips dragging right back against the sheet, “More.”


Tara wanted it just as much, wanted to feel everything Willow’s depths had to offer.


“Are you sure?”


Willow nodded quickly and found her hand twisting in the sheet as Tara’s second finger stretched her, but so deliciously this time.


“God, yes, Tara!”


Encouraged, Tara began to gently move her fingers in and out and used her expertise in time-keeping to find the rhythm Willow was setting instead of trying to control it herself.


It was a sight to watch Willow unravel; so uninhibited to how she’d ever been before. She’d always hid a little when she came, obscuring her face in the pillow or Tara’s neck but now her whole body was as open as it could be and losing itself in Tara’s touch.


When she was confident her fingers were only pleasing Willow and not adding any pain, she figured out how to angle herself again to return her mouth to Willow’s throbbing clit.


She felt Willow’s thighs tremble when she did so and suddenly she was like a volcano inside; gushing and red-hot and overflowing.


A new sound joined the Willow symphony, a higher pitched cry which Tara realized after a moment was peppered with words.


Words she did not understand but recognized.


It almost sounded like listening to Willow read the Torah at her Bat Mitzvah.


She looked up to try and reconcile what she was hearing but was distracted watching Willow’s back arch and her breasts thrust upward so invitingly. She reached up with her second hand and palmed one breast; the groan it produced only making her wetter. She couldn’t focus on herself right now though, so she released Willow’s breast and let her hand settle on Willow’s stomach.


She massaged there and felt Willow start to jerk, teetering right on the very edge. She watched Willow’s hand twist and turn in the sheet until her knuckles were white, then her fingers curl under themselves. She slid her hand off Willow’s stomach and moved it up the sheet, linking her fingers with Willow’s.


Willow’s fingers caught her and squeezed her tight just as her inner muscles did at the exact same time and released all the way down Tara’s wrist.


Tara didn’t dare move, nor could she really, because Willow had her held down on all sides. She slowed her mouth and just rested her lips on Willow as she caught her own breath and felt Willow catching hers.


When Willow relaxed her grip, Tara slowly withdrew from all quarters and lifted herself back above Willow’s body. Her eyes were closed so Tara just pecked Willow’s lips and lay down beside her.


She was sweaty, though not as sweaty as Willow’s glistening body. And she was wet, though not as wet as Willow’s glistening lips, still engorged between her legs.


Though with a minimal movement of her own thighs chafing, Tara thought she may very well be just as wet as Willow, but with no satiation.


At least, of a physical kind. She was definitely very satisfied by knowing the feeling of Willow’s heartbeat around her fingers; from hearing the cries that had fallen from Willow’s mouth, coming from a place deep inside that Tara had never reached before; from seeing her spent body thrown back on the bed still catching the breath Tara had pulled from her.


That was definitely satisfying.


Extremely.


After a few minutes of processing everything on her side, she glanced over to Willow, whose eyes were open again, staring up at the ceiling in silent contemplation.


Tara felt a moment of panic rise in her throat, but she pushed it back down. If Willow was panicking too, her adding to it wasn’t going to help things.


She slowly shifted onto her side, holding the sheet up against her chest and casually throwing the other side over Willow.


Willow didn’t really react and Tara swallowed deeply.


“Willow, did I hurt you?”


Willow blinked several times as she turned her gaze to Tara as if remembering she wasn’t alone in the room.


“No, no,” she said evenly, shaking her head from side to side, “Not at all.”


Tara exhaled a gentle breath of relief.


“Are you okay?” she asked softly, “It’s okay if you feel weird. We can talk about it.”


Willow stared at Tara for several moments, taking in each delicate feature on her face. She blinked twice more, heavy lids that closed for more than a second each time and released a breath that made her shoulders slump back gently into the mattress.


“I feel like I’ve felt weird my entire life…and this is the first thing that feels completely right.”


Tara slowly smiled and Willow returned it, then suddenly became very aware of her own body again and the lingering sensations running through her.


“Okay, it’s definitely a little weird that you were just inside me,” she reasoned, brow scrunching adorably as she looked down at herself, “And that I’m totally naked right now.”


“It would have been kind of hard to do if you weren’t,” Tara replied innocently.


Willow’s eyebrows rose considerably, then a bigger smile broke out on her face and she began to laugh convulsively. After a few seconds, her legs jumped together under the sheet and she smiled sheepishly.


“Oh-kay, new muscles.”


Tara’s hand disappeared under the sheet and moments later settled on Willow’s tummy and rubbed gently.


“You okay?”


Willow looked at Tara like she was the moon and the stars.


“I’m wonderful.”


Tara moved her head down to rest on the pillow beside Willow.


“I think so too.”


Willow saw the truth in Tara’s eyes and felt the tenderness in her belly rub and knew she was the safest she had ever been.


Tara kissed Willow’s eyelids and bridge of her nose and trailed off at her ear.


“I love you,” she whispered.


Willow nuzzled her nose against Tara’s cheek and left soft kisses there. Before she could return the sentiment, Tara spoke again.


“Can I ask you something?”


Willow nodded and willed her legs to shift from their jelly-like state so she could comply with whatever request Tara made of her.


And oh wow, she was going to do whatever Tara asked of her. There was definitely an awakening somewhere but she was going to need it to press pause for a moment because—


“Were you speaking in Hebrew?”


Willow did a double-take as she shifted from her own thoughts to Tara’s question.


“Wh-what?”


“When I was…” Tara paused and looked bashful, “Um, it sounded like you were speaking Hebrew.”


Willow shut her eyes tight and tried to remember. Tara was…and then she…yep. Her eyes sprung open, wide.


“Yeah, I have no idea where that came from.”


“Oh,” Tara replied, nodding along, “Okay.”


“My dad would be proud,” Willow joked, then pulled a disgusted face, “Not that I will ever tell him.”


She reached up and tucked some hair behind her own ear shyly.


“It’s um, a prayer, a blessing. We say it to celebrate special occasions…for being thankful for new experiences.”


She cast a furtive glance at Tara to gauge her reaction, but Tara just looked back casually.


“Most people just say ‘oh god’.”


Willow was sure she could see the smirk tugging Tara’s lips into a crooked smile, but all she could focus on was the glint in Tara’s eye, the new flicker of untamed passion and it made her feel wild.


She splayed her fingers out on the back of Tara’s neck and drew them close.


“Do you?” she asked, with only a brief moment of stammering in her words when she felt Tara’s hot breath hit her lips.


Tara felt her stomach clench as she allowed herself to feel the thumping between her legs again.


“Why don’t you find out?”


Willow’s eyes clouded with arousal and she tugged Tara that last quarter inch into a kiss.


Her legs behaved themselves as she rolled onto her side and coaxed Tara down onto her back. She pulled Tara’s bottom lip into her mouth and released it before quickly popping kisses down into Tara’s neck. Her hand found a pert breast and her lips felt the inhalation of breath on Tara’s throat when she closed her hand around it and brushed the nipple.


She started to kiss down Tara’s body, finding the temperature of Tara’s skin to increase the lower she got. Just below Tara’s bellybutton, she found her hands sliding on Tara’s thighs and could feel all the wetness spilling out. She felt her heart start to hammer.


It wasn’t that she was unfamiliar with the area in question. She knew where Tara’s coarse hair became slick skin; exactly where the bump in Tara’s flesh lay and exactly how to engorge it; knew what it felt like to make Tara wet but already this was so different.


She was used to her hand disappearing under Tara’s clothing, sight unseen. She was used to her hand being trapped there with only a limited amount of movements possible. She was used to Tara’s arousal being contained but here she was, on display and overwhelming every one of her senses.


She kissed above Tara’s stomach, her lips slowing.


After a minute or so, Tara brought Willow’s head back up to her and kissed her softly.


Willow felt Tara’s hand on her cheek, thumb caressing her cheekbone and opened her eyes to see Tara looking at her, unassuming and patient.


Willow relaxed a little; it was comforting to have someone just get you and what you need.


“I still don’t know what to do,” she admitted.


That wasn’t strictly true, she knew what to do.


It wasn’t like she hadn’t fantasized about this plenty of times.


She knew the mechanics and she’d also just experienced Tara turning her on and letting the faucet of pleasure overflow through her.


That was the real problem; she didn’t think she could make Tara feel how Tara had made her feel.


“What you always do…what you want to do…what feels right…all of the above.”


Tara’s smile was so genuine and soothing, Willow felt herself calm down a little.


She could start with the first one.


Her hand moved diagonally from Tara’s thigh and her fingertips sunk between her lips.


“Wow,” she whispered as her fingers began to glide so easily.


Instantly wet, she brought them back over Tara’s clit with ease. Tara’s body shuddered, a shudder Willow knew; a shudder Willow loved because she knew she was doing something right.


She repeated the movement as she had so many times before, but it was so much more this time. She could hear her fingers as they moved, could feel the skin on Tara’s thighs as they quaked, could smell Tara’s arousal as it permeated the air.


As Willow got faster, her fingers would fall lower and lower on each downward slide as she struggled to maintain friction with Tara gushing more and more arousal with every passing second. On a particularly slippery push, three fingertips lightly flicked Tara’s inner wall right at her opening.


Willow gasped and quickly balled her hand into a fist, while Tara moaned and tried to push into the touch that was now gone.


Willow watched Tara’s face and listened to her moans and had to make a decision.


Want to…feels right…okay, here I go.


She brought her fingers back down there and ventured inside, just one this time. The sensation was mind-blowing and the sounds coming from Tara as she moved in and out felt just as good as when Tara was touching her.


Except the music was still playing and muffling some of those noises and that was not okay.


As much as she liked Prince, he was not making her feel like a sexy motherfucker.


She reached out with her other hand and popped the phone from the speaker.


“Do you mind if I shut that off? It’s drowning out the good stuff,” she gushed, then blushed, “Um, I mean, y’know…”


“I do know,” Tara breathed, smirking lightly but with her eyes also silently pleading not to stop.


Willow saw it and pushed in with two fingers, slowly. It wasn’t a stretch at all really but she studied Tara’s face just in case.


“Okay?”


“Oh yes,” Tara moaned.


Willow tried to use her other hand to rub Tara’s clit while she moved in and out but it was a bit of a ‘rub your tummy and pat your head at the same time’ kind of situation and she couldn’t quite pull it off.


She looked down at the way her hand was moving and after a minute or two of watching hypnotically as she disappeared inside, she let her fingers slide all the way out and up to rub before plunging back inside.


That really seemed to get Tara going, her back arching and body twisting as her unstifled moans were rising toward the ceiling.


There was a rising inside Tara too, that beautiful swell that was growing below her stomach and was just a few well-timed thrusts away from imploding. She rolled her hips harder as sweat broke out on her brow and she strained for what her body wanted so badly.


Willow felt Tara get so hot she thought the flesh might actually melt off her fingers but it only made her dig in more. She thought, too late, that that might be a bit too rough, but instead felt Tara immediately come around her.


Willow’s hand was trapped again as Tara’s thighs clamped together but it was a cage she’d never fight to flee.


“Wow,” she whispered in awe, almost entirely inaudibly as Tara pulsated and contracted and made Willow feel as close to heaven as she ever had been.


Or at least a level draw with when their positions had been reversed.


She stayed there as long as she could, then pulled her hand away, looking at it like something so profound had changed that would never be the same.


She would never be the same.


She curled her fingers into her palm and though they were soaked, she had no concern with wiping them like the first time she’d ventured beneath Tara’s panties. She was very content with letting Tara absorb into her skin.


She lay back down beside Tara and watched the gentle heave of her chest settle peacefully. When Tara’s eyes opened, she reached out lazily to brush her fingers on Willow’s cheek.


“You felt good.”


And Willow just laughed, because that felt like the understatement of the century. She turned her head and kissed Tara’s fingertips.


“You felt so good.”


She leaned in and kissed Tara’s cheek and found her arm curving around Tara’s waist. She needed to stay close.


She was almost asleep when she felt Tara start to shuffle.


“It’s so hot in here. I’m going to open the balcony door.”


“No, don’t!” Willow exclaimed, shooting up suddenly, then looking sheepish when Tara raised an eyebrow, “I um…I like the heat.”


She didn’t care for the heat, actually. At home she always kept a cool room, preferring to add a blanket if needed rather than be uncomfortably warm.


Tara knew this, of course, so figured out immediately that Willow didn’t mean the heat, she meant their heat; that heaviness in the air that was thick with their combined scents and the energy they’d expended.


“Okay,” she agreed easily.


Willow started to look guilty.


“Never mind, if you’re too hot—”


Tara put a finger against Willow’s lips.


“I have never been more perfect than I am at this moment.”


Her finger trailed down Willow’s jaw and off her chin. Willow started to duck her head to rest on Tara’s shoulder, but it popped back up at the last second. She bit the corner of her lip shyly.


“Was that okay?”


And now it was Tara’s turn to laugh at the understatement.


“It was so much more than okay.”


She held her hand up and Willow linked their fingers and settled back with her arm over Tara’s waist, conjoined hands at her hip. Her cheek rested on Tara’s shoulder and the rest of her body naturally curled around Tara. One leg was thrown between Tara’s to tangle their limbs together and never had she felt so comfortable to just melt into another body.


Never had she felt so little anxiety about…this.


Or anything.


There was nothing in the world but the simple curve of Tara’s ankle around hers.


She watched herself wiggle her toes against Tara’s and smiled when Tara did it back.


Tara couldn’t help but think in the silence.


“Did you ever imagine it could ever be like this?”


Willow sighed softly.


“Only in my weakest moments.”


A smile graced Tara’s lips, one that didn’t quite reach her eyes but stayed on her face, contemplative.


“Funny. Thinking this could be true were some of my strongest.”


Willow frowned, also contemplatively.


After another stretch of silence, she spoke up quietly, almost so low Tara wouldn’t hear only there were so close and there wasn’t another sound in the room.


“I don’t know why you put up with me sometimes.”


“Oh, Willow,” Tara sighed sadly.


She sat up, which made Willow frown more because she had been enjoying the cuddling immensely.


Tara pulled her hair into a ponytail, then let go, letting it all fall around her shoulders again. She turned to face Willow and caressed her neck tenderly.


“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres,” she said emphatically with a pointed look, “That’s why.”


Willow tucked some hair behind her own ear again and forced a smile.


“I didn’t know this is what they meant when they said to know someone biblically.”


Tara knew a Willow-deflect when she heard one but it wasn’t the time to smother Willow out of her insecurities. At least not verbally. She opened her arms and gestured Willow into them, kissing her on top of her head when she settled.


“C’mere.”


She closed her arms around Willow’s middle and let them hang loosely and rested her chin over Willow’s shoulder.


Willow sighed happily and started running her fingers through Tara’s fingers. She lifted Tara’s hand and followed the lines on her palm.


“How are your hands so soft and smooth when you play so much?”


“I take care of them,” Tara explained, “Moisturize…file.”


Willow nodded, then stopped suddenly.


“Wait, you file your nails or your fingers?!”


Tara curled her fingers into a ‘C’ shape and ran her thumb over them to show Willow.


“There’s little calluses there, they help me play guitar. I keep them as small as I can,” she said, dropping her hand to rub them against Willow’s thigh, “I don’t want to miss out on the feeling of touching… other things.”


Willow felt a new tingling start at the base of her spine and turned her head in to kiss Tara’s neck.


“You’re a badass.”


Tara chuckled and she may as well have done it around Willow’s clit for how much it turned Willow on.


“I was always jealous of how well you played, you know,” she said, changing gear in the hopes her body might calm down and she wouldn’t reveal herself to be an insatiable fiend, “But I am just not gifted in the musical arts. As you know.”


Tara smiled at the memory.


“I liked teaching you guitar. I would have kept doing it, but you wouldn’t.”


Willow shook her wrist out in front of her.


“I got my hand stuck in the, the…”


“Soundhole,” Tara provided, but Willow just frowned.


“Don’t dumb down the terms for me.”


Tara smiled again.


“That’s really what it’s called, honey.”


“Oh,” Willow replied sheepishly, “Well, anyway. I’m glad I found out at the ripe old age of 10 and that my parents bore witness and never forced me to take lessons in anything else.”


Tara’s hand ran down Willow’s arm and took her hand, holding it by her stomach. She then took Willow’s other hand and held it higher, positioning both as if she was holding an invisible guitar. She used her fingers to move Willow’s fingers in the right motions to ‘play’.


“I remember you being quite good at the… fingering,” she said in a low voice right in Willow’s ear, which she then dropped to an even lower whisper, “You’ve only gotten better.”


Willow felt her stomach bottom right out and quickly turned in Tara’s lap.


“Okay, yep.”


“What?” Tara asked in confusion and surprise.


Willow took Tara’s face in her hands and pulled her forward.


“Now, you c’mere.”


Tara allowed herself to be pulled into a kiss and then pulled under Willow’s body and then pulled beneath the sheet so Willow could pull another orgasm right out of her.


With a fresh layer of sweat cooling on their bodies, both heads popped out, hair tousled and cheeks red.


“Water,” Willow gasped, trying desperately to lick her lips.


Tara raised her head just an inch off the pillow and looked around aimlessly.


“Where?”


Willow frowned and cast a hazy eye around her room. She spotted her backpack on the floor at the foot of the bed and sluggishly turned herself around to reach for it. She had to keep shuffling forward until she almost fell right off, but then felt Tara’s hand close around her ankle. Willow grabbed the bag, shuffled back and threw herself alongside Tara again.


“Teamwork,” she said, holding her hand out for a high five before she unzipped the bag and produced the bottle of water from the bottom.


As she downed the liquid down her grateful, parched throat, Tara looked over her shoulder to the other contents in the bag.


“Are those chips?”


Willow passed the water over and dug out the bag Tara was referring to.


“Pitta chips!” she said victoriously, reaching in for a tub poking out, “WITH pesto hummus.”


Tara glugged some water and wiped her mouth with her arm.


“Oh if I didn’t love you before…”


Willow giggled and cracked open both the chips and the dip. They both dug in with plenty of hunger and little grace but neither cared.


“This is so unattractive,” Tara said, using her hand to cover her mouth so she wouldn’t expel anything she was enthusiastically chewing on.


“I don’t even care,” Willow replied, doing the exact same thing.


They both looked at each other and giggled, the smiles exchanged through their eyes if not their covered mouths.


When Willow had finished chewing, she wiped at her mouth and leaned over for another kiss on Tara’s cheek.


“I love you.”


Tara caught Willow’s hand between them and squeezed it.


“I love you too.”


Her fingers brushed over Willow’s knuckles and god help her if Willow didn’t feel something bloom again.


She felt like a broken faucet; any minor touch had her overflowing everywhere.


With just enough cognizance to get the chips and dip off the bed so they weren’t rolling around in a basil-y mess, she launched herself at Tara again and was met with a quite willing response.


Many hours later, with the room in darkness but for slivers of light breaking through the curtains, they lay in a tangled heap of limbs and sheets, passed out together.


Tara was the first to stir to a pattering noise somewhere in the distance. She raised her head from the pillow, which she quickly realized was Willow’s breast and enjoyed a moment of staring before moving her gaze away.


She brought her hands up to rub her eyes and gently stretched, trying to avoid too much motion that might wake Willow.


Her body felt odd — like she’d run a marathon but had also just gotten a thorough post-run massage. Muscles worn out but relaxed and an echo of past exertions aching deliciously in one place in particular. It was like a pleasure hangover but she enjoyed the dizziness.


Everything felt full; her breasts, her heart, her…oh, her bladder.


She carefully tried to extract herself without waking Willow and thought she got away with it as she slid off the bed and hurried toward the bathroom, holding the sheet to her chest with the rest of it trailing behind her.


Willow woke as the sheet scurried past her legs and then heard the click of the bathroom door closing. It took a moment, but just a moment, to put that together with the empty bed and figure out where Tara was gone, but that moment was a sick feeling that this had all been a dream.


But then she smelled Tara’s vanilla-y scent on the pillow and she knew it was real. She glanced down at herself in the dark and wondered if her body looked more womanly. She felt more womanly, whatever that meant.


The bathroom door opened again and Tara crept into the room. Willow watched her walk over to the curtain with raised eyebrows. Not even the cover of darkness could stop her noticing Tara’s round butt staring back at her. As Tara peeked out of the curtain, a ray of light shone in and hit her like a perfect halo.


Willow could only nod silently in agreement with the early sun.


She picked up on the same sound that had woken Tara and noticed little droplets on the sliver of glass that was exposed.


“Is it raining?”


Tara jumped, dropping the sheet and quickly bent to pick it up again with a blush.


“You’re awake.”


“Mm-hmm,” Willow replied, smirking at the flash she got.


Tara pulled one half of the curtain back, enough to let the light in and show Willow it was bucketing down outside.


“Yes, it’s raining. Pouring, in fact.”


It was Willow’s turn to blush as the stream of light that came in very much focused on exactly where she was lying, and she suspected on purpose.


“Glad we’re not on the boat today,” she said, casually rolling onto her stomach, “There’s nothing planned for today at all actually…did you want to…do something?”


Tara leaned back and made a point of dragging her eyes down Willow’s body slowly.


“Well, there’s no point in going out just to get… wet.”


Willow was completely captivated by this new, bold tone Tara had adopted.


Being friends for so long, there had always been a certain comfortableness and familiarity between them, but Tara seemed to have a whole new self-assuredness and it made Willow tingle in all the right places.


She smirked.


“I guess we’ll have to entertain ourselves indoors.”


Tara smirked back and started to step toward the bed but stopped when Willow pointed at the door.


“Wait, put the Do Not Disturb sign up.”


“The what?” Tara asked, brow scrunching adorably.


“On the door there. The hanger that says ‘Do Not Disturb’. Just hang it outside,” Willow explained, “It’ll stop housekeeping from coming in at an… inopportune time.”


Plus Willow got to see a little more of Tara’s butt moving about.


Tara checked the things hanging off the inside of the door.


“I don’t see it.”


“Oh?” Willow asked innocently as if she hadn’t hung it there the day before already, “Check outside?”


Tara hid her body behind the door and pulled it open just enough to check if the sign was hanging off the outside doorknob before quickly closing the door again. She turned back with a blush.


“It’s there but I think the cleaning lady caught me.”


“You were just checking the sign,” Willow replied with a soft shrug, “She doesn’t have secret x-ray vision. She doesn’t know what we’re doing in here.”


She ran her palm over the sheet where Tara’s body had vacated.


“Or what we…should be doing.”


Tara crossed over to the bed in record time and slid back onto the under the sheet.


“And what’s that?”


Willow yanked some of the sheet Tara had wrapped around her body over her, tugging them together in the process.


“Sharing the sheet.”


She turned her head in and kissed Tara’s lips; both of them smiling against each other.


Tara started to lean over on top of Willow, but after she brushed her hand over Willow’s stomach, there was a squeal. Tara’s hand sprung back.


“What is it?”


Willow’s face bunched up in a grimace.


“I have to pee. Sorry!”


Tara could only chuckle.


“Go,” she said, lightly pushing Willow away as she slid off the sheet and scurried off into the bathroom.


When she was finished washing her hands she looked in the mirror and paused for a minute. She turned her head from side to side, then up and down and ran her hand down her neck.


She looked the same.


She sure as hell didn’t feel the same.


She tried to isolate the many feelings, physical and emotional, that poured through her and she realized her reflection was different. She was smiling.


Unconditionally, unreservedly smiling.


And she didn’t hate the person who was staring back.


She picked her toothbrush up from the sink and tossed it to her other hand, humming as she wet it and spread some toothpaste across the bristles.


Why'd it take so long to see the light? Seemed so wrong, but now it seems so right What a lady, what a night.


She quickly ran the toothbrush over her teeth to freshen her mouth for the copious activity she planned on doing with it. She rinsed and quickly splashed her face before returning to the bed, more comfortable with her nakedness than she’d ever been, even on her own.


“Sorry,” she apologized for the disruption, “Very unsexy.”


“I think you have a lovely voice,” Tara countered sweetly.


Willow hesitated with her legs almost on the bed.


“I meant the running off to pee,” she clarified, then blushed as she realized what Tara meant, “You heard that?”


“You peeing?” Tara asked with a raised eyebrow.


Willow shook her head.


“No, the—” she stopped and tensed her jaw to stop from talking, “I think I’m going to shut up now.”


Tara crept closer, smirking with a mixture of amusement and seduction.


“I think I might be able to help with that…”


The last word Willow would use to describe Tara was ‘predatory’ but there was no other word to describe the look in her eye as she climbed over Willow. Yet instead of feeling helpless, Willow willingly surrendered as Tara molded their bodies together and kissed the breath from her lungs.


Outside, the rain poured and poured, soaking the city.


Plants drank, puddles formed and most people grudgingly got on with their day tolerating the disruption, except for the inhabitants of room 1113 who focused all their attention to the dripping between each other’s thighs and not what was sliding down the window pane.


Tara lay upside down on the bed, chewing on a protein bar for dinner that had been rummaged from the bottom of her cabin bag when they’d run out of their supply of local snacks.


Willow’s feet were by her head and she couldn’t resist reaching one finger out to brush the sole of the nearest one. Willow’s feet immediately tucked in beneath her.


“Hey!”


Tara giggled.


“You have cute feet. I was just admiring.”


Willow turned around and threw her naked body alongside Tara.


“Your admiration felt a lot like tickling.”


“It’s my love language,” Tara countered, biting a peanut butter chip from the bar, unintentionally and effortlessly seductive.


She offered the end of her bar to Willow by holding it against her mouth and brushed her thumb against Willow’s lips as she pushed it inside.


Willow had to close her eyes because she probably would have choked if she tried to eat and look in Tara’s eyes as they were at that moment.


She’d spent the whole day watching them close-up and how they changed based on movement, or sound, or words, or stage of climax (that was her favorite bit to watch) and she didn’t think she’d ever reach a point where she wouldn’t find them fascinating.


She’d spent 15 years looking into the same pair of eyes almost every day and somehow they managed to be so comfortably familiar and newly thrilling all at once.


She felt Tara’s finger trail under her chin and down her throat right as she swallowed. It dipped into the hollow and Willow had no idea how Tara could be turning on again after everything they’d gotten up to in the past hour, the past several hours, the whole day and night.


It shouldn’t even be possible. Surely there was a point where it was enough, but she didn’t seem to be reaching it today.


Tara’s lips ghosted that same spot, lingering there for a moment before kissing back up to Willow’s mouth. She kissed the corner and gently turned Willow onto her back, letting her body roll on top before she finally quenched the mutual thirst for a kiss.


Willow’s hands ran from Tara’s scapula down her spine and took two handfuls of her butt. It still felt naughty but any residual weirdness was well and truly gone.


Her hands, Tara’s hands, mouth, teeth, thighs; it didn’t matter. Any part of Tara was welcome to touch any part of her and she considered it a personal mission to know Tara’s body in the way she knew her personality and humor and love.


Because, oh boy, did she know Tara’s love. She’d never appreciated it enough because she was so afraid to admit it even existed but even in just a few days of lifting the veil she’d become so aware of it, like an invisible security blanket that was always there but only now could she see it in all its glory and was able to hold on tighter.


She could also hold Tara’s ass tighter, and did, squeezing her buns and using the leverage to move Tara’s body gently on top of her.


The grinding got a little more intense and Willow’s hands ended up in Tara’s hair, pulling her closer and thrusting her hips upward.


Tara gripped Willow’s bucking hips and kept the them both locked together at the mouth as she sat back in the midst of the passionate kiss. She sat in the middle of the large bed and spread her legs outward, holding Willow in her lap with a leg tossed either side of Tara’s waist.


Willow could almost feel Tara burning between her legs from the close proximity, especially when Tara would lightly tug at her hips. Tara’s hand reached over and brushed over the hair at the apex of Willow’s thighs. Fingers dipped into her wetness and over her clit and Willow dropped a string of moans into Tara’s mouth.


She quickly dropped her hand between Tara’s legs and found her wet and ready and eager for her touch. She found Tara’s clit quickly and circled her fingertips back and forth, subconsciously taking on the same rhythm Tara was using on her. It worked, letting their arms slide without getting in each other’s way. They both had to scoot back together once or twice but they never broke the kiss, just smiling against each other when they had to make the little readjustments.


Willow started to come first, reducing her participation in the kiss to a few sharp breaths but only slowed completely for a few moments before resuming the pressure of her fingers so Tara could follow. It was only about a minute or so later that Tara shuddered into Willow’s neck and finally slumped forward.


Tara left a messy kiss on the side of Willow’s neck and moaned just under her earlobe.


“You’re so good at this.”


Willow shivered at the feel of Tara’s breath on her skin and sighed happily.


“I am?”


Tara left a light kiss below Willow’s ear, so light Willow thought she might have imagined it, and fell back onto the bed. Her head hit the pillows and her back did a perfect arch as her legs stayed open in a V around Willow.


“Mmhhm.”


Willow couldn’t help her eye being drawn down to Tara’s very open legs. Tara’s words echoed in her ears and she licked her lips.


“M-maybe I could—”


Suddenly there was a knock on the door, which came as a complete shock to the two of them who had forgotten that other people, or anything else in the world, also existed.


Tara looked at Willow to see if she knew who it was, but Willow just shook her head silently. Tara nodded in that direction.


“Go get it.”


“Why me?” Willow asked frowning.


“I can’t,” Tara explained.


Willow held up her hands in question.


“Why?”


Tara blushed, but it was coy.


“I can’t move, I just…”


“So did I!” Willow replied indignantly.


Tara lazily reached and brushed her hand against Willow’s outer thigh.


“You’re already halfway up, and you’re closer to the door…”


There was another knock and Willow sighed as she found her legs under her and quickly threw on the hotel robe as another knock rang out.


“I’m coming, I’m coming.”


“You were a minute ago,” Tara whispered, but Willow heard it and shot her a look.


Willow went to the door and only opened it enough to poke her head out, but Tara was quick to cover herself up with the sheet just in case.


A man stood on the other side, walkie-talkie in hand. Willow’s eyebrows lifted in anticipation.


“Hi.”


The man looked relieved and hooked his walkie back to his belt.


“We’re just doing a welfare check, ma’am. We do it on all rooms with the do not disturb sign up for an extended period. Is everything okay?”


Willow knew her blush would be all too evident under those harsh hotel lights.


“Uh huh. All good.”


He just nodded, relieved there was no mess to clean up. He held up his hand as she began to walk away.


“Sorry to bother you, ma’am.”


“No problem,” Willow replied in a high-pitched voice, slamming the door closed again quickly.


She leaned back against it and smirked at Tara’s hasty attempt to cover up. She returned to bed, dropped her robe and climbed over Tara.


“I’m just holding a girl hostage and rendering her immobile through a series of…” she stopped, embarrassed, then grew more embarrassed at her own embarrassment, “Um…kisses. And…”


“Kisses,” Tara echoed, pressing her lips to Willow’s softly, just for a moment, “And…?”


Willow collapsed beside Tara and scurried under the sheet with her.


“This kinda…”


“Love?” Tara suggested.


“Love,” Willow agreed with a slow smile, “I kinda forgot the real world existed.”


“Me too,” Tara replied, finding Willow’s hand under the sheet and linking their fingers.


She leaned her head down against Willow’s shoulder and Willow turned her head in to kiss the top of Tara’s head.


“I’m starving,” Tara said, briefly running her hand over her stomach before lifting her chin up to smile at Willow, “But I’m not leaving this bed for anything.”


She pecked Willow’s lips again and then her nose scrunched up.


“Well, just for a minute.”


She smiled softly and scooted out of bed to go into the bathroom. When she came out a few minutes later, Willow was checking her phone.


“Oh, now the real world really is back,” Tara said with a wry smile as she joined Willow in bed.


Willow placed the phone screen-down on the sheet.


“Sorry.”


“It’s fine,” Tara replied as she snuggled in, “What’s happening on the outside?”


Willow shrugged one shoulder.


“Nothing.”


She brought her phone up in front of them and showed Tara the random social media chatter.


“…it all seems so trivial. Doesn’t it? I mean how can life just seem so the same out there when…”


Tara brushed some hair from Willow’s brow.


“When it changed so much in here?”


Willow shook her head with self-derision.


“Silly.”


“Not in the slightest,” Tara replied and leaned up to kiss Willow’s cheek.


Willow smiled at Tara and shoved her phone away again. They cuddled up and chatted comfortably until there was another knock on the door.


Tara’s eyebrow arched in annoyance.


“Again?”


Willow smiled and threw her legs out of the bed.


“No, it’s me this time,” she said, getting the robe back on and opening the room door, stepping outside it, “I’ll bring it. Thanks.”


Willow grinned as she pushed a cart in with two silver domes sitting on it.


“Food, glorious food.”


Tara sat up, holding the sheet to her chest.


“Room service?” she asked anxiously, “Isn’t it crazy expensive?”


“Don’t worry, I got it,” Willow dismissed, then frowned when Tara continued to seem concerned, “You said you were hungry.”


Tara felt conflicted but she couldn’t — wouldn’t — let them fight now.


Not today. Willow was only being kind.


She finally smiled.


“Thanks. That was really sweet. What have we got?”


Willow beamed and rolled the cart by the bed. She took the first dome off.


“I wasn’t sure what you wanted, so I got us a platter.”


Tara’s belly rumbled as she took in the spread. There was halloumi cheese, a variety of dips, arancini, cubed watermelon, flatbreads, rolled prosciutto and mini bruschetta. It was like the fancy platters Tara used to have to serve at the country club but had never actually had opportunity to sample.


Tara spread some hummus on a flatbread with halloumi and prosciutto and took a bite. She couldn’t hold back the smile.


“‘Kay, is ’eally goog!”


She blushed and swallowed what was in her mouth.


“Okay, it’s really good.”


Willow shed the robe once again; surprised, but also not, that nakedness was actually becoming her preferred state of being, at least when it was just her and Tara.


They ate each and every bit of the platter (the quantity of contents actually meant to generously serve four adults), and barely left any crumbs. When they were done, Willow cleared everything back to the cart.


“Dessert?” she asked with a mischievous smile and just as Tara was about to lean in to claim said dessert, Willow took the second dome off and revealed the actual dessert.


Two imperfect discs of meringue, separated by layers of berries and cream with the fresh fruit of the juice running down the sides.


It was a pretty good second choice, Tara reasoned.


“It’s pavlova,” Willow said as she handed Tara a fork, “National delicacy but not one of those objectionable ones made from questionable animal parts.”


Tara made the fork glide through the meringue, making it crack and flake with a crunch as she scooped it onto the utensil. With a little bit of everything perfectly balanced, she held it out for Willow to eat.


Willow smiled and closed her mouth around the offering. It all melted together on her tongue and as she swallowed she felt Tara’s thumb brush an errant bit of cream from the corner of her mouth. Not to be outdone, Willow offered Tara some of the dessert in the same way. They fed the whole plate to each other, often purposefully dabbing cream in opportunistic places just to rub or kiss it away.


Willow dragged her finger across the empty plate to get the very last bit of it and brushed it on her own lips with a grin. Tara returned the smile, leaned in and kissed Willow and very slowly pushed Willow onto her back and hovered over her on her forearms.


She gently nuzzled their noses together.


“I love you.”


Willow closed her eyes as Tara peppered kisses along her jaw. She brought her hand to Tara’s cheek and opened her eyes as she smiled.


“I love you too.”


Tara kissed Willow for a moment and rolled off, holding her stomach.


“I ate so much.”


Willow brought the blanket around them comfortably. She snuggled in.


“A little rest is probably a good idea anyway.”


Tara’s arms found their way around Willow to hug her close.


“But just a little.”

_________________
Amber Benson killed me once.

Check out my finished fics

The Love… Series ... Two For Joy ... Inevitable


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Oct 11th 2019)
PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2019 12:09 pm 
Offline
7. Teeny Tinkerbell Light

Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 5:33 pm
Posts: 663
Topics: 2
Location: North Carolina, USA
DIBS :applause :banana :applause

Everytime I think you can't outdo yourself, you do. You captured the experience of 'first time' SO spot on, and so perfectly.

I laughed out loud several times, and pleasantly remembered that feeling of the world after a 'first' experience. I also resonated with the idea that allowing yourself to be naked in both the physical and emotional/spiritual sense allows you to feel more comfortable in your body and more comfortable with nakedness. How many more days do they have in the hotel? I look forward to seeing how they are able to continue 'getting to know each other' and stay close as they travel in a less posh manner. Abstinence makes the heart grow fonder? As I have said, I continue to LOVE this story and am happy when I know a Tuesday or Friday is about to arrive.

Sorry if my comments seemed judgmental, I was not accusing you of creating angst for angst sake. I realized as I thought about it, I was assuming that there was an adult who could guide them in the requisite conversations about traveling with someone. I was also projecting my own anxiety filled life on them and that they would have already thought of how to deal with all of the awful things that could happen including them deciding that they could not stand each other. I think sometimes I get so into the stories that I forget that they are that, stories, I look at it with too realistic of a lens and obviously with the bifocaled lenses of someone who has not been a teen for almost 40 years.

Thanks for writing.

_________________
Atlantic Antics
Meeting Expectations
Learning to Laugh


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Oct 11th 2019)
PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2019 6:51 am 
Offline
3. Flaming O

Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2018 12:38 pm
Posts: 66
Feedback for the last two chapters. Oh my, that first one was super angsty. Travel is incredibly stressful anyway, and Willow just made things a whole more complicated by finally having the space to finally and properly examine the feelings she's pushed deep deep down. Tara deserves better!

But then........wonderful, loved up chapter. And I love Massive Attack!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Oct 11th 2019)
PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2019 3:41 pm 
Offline
4. Extra Flamey
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jun 15, 2006 10:19 am
Posts: 172
Location: Wales
The impending money fight is going to be a doozy, but good to see Willow face some fears!

_________________
- I am a poster girl with no poster, I am 32 flavours and then some -


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Oct 11th 2019)
PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2019 4:03 pm 
Offline
3. Flaming O
User avatar

Joined: Sun Feb 28, 2016 9:37 am
Posts: 106
Topics: 4
Location: Pacific Northwest
That was one of the best (if not the best) first time scenes I have read. The way you weave their personalities and quirks throughout- Of course Willow has a curated sexy time with Tara (and points for great taste: Massive Attack is definitely sexy time music!) and Tara, her intuitiveness, her training as a musician giving her that ear and patience to know how to play her instrument :wink

The clothing metaphor is great and so true, before Tara was really just a friend with benefits- in actions if not feelings, but this is vulnerability and it is the only way to truly trust and connect.
I liked that it wasn't perfect- and yet it was.

_________________
You ARE Magic ~ Tara


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Oct 11th 2019)
PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2019 7:59 pm 
Offline
20. Not one Much for the Timber
User avatar

Joined: Tue Sep 21, 2010 6:32 pm
Posts: 3151
Topics: 14
Location: H-Town, Texas
So, the first time I read this chapter the timing felt a little 'off.' We went from no, No, NO...to yes, Yes, YES and I was thinking, well, that seemed super fast. Then I waited a couple of days and read it a second time and I realized that it wasn't really fast at all. I think it felt a little weird because I wasn't sure how much time had passed since "that day." Was the whale watching the next day, two, three days later? Anyway, upon the 2nd read through, I realized how much it didn't matter. I got used to something happening between them and then a month passing before they worked it out. They had school, jobs, family, etc, etc. So yeah, things are going to move slowly. Now they're together 24/7 with no interference, so the speed from confusion to bed makes perfect sense. So, now that I'm done rambling...

Quote:
Honestly, if Willow was being truthful with herself, she had only felt things were off because Tara hadn’t ‘tried anything on’ with her since ‘that’ night. Willow didn’t know if she just didn’t want to anymore or…Maybe she’s waiting for me to do it.
Epiphany!

The rest of the chapter was wonderful and perfect for their first time. Especially this part...
Quote:
“All of the mistakes I’ve made,” she started, words coming without her planning them, ”None of them have been because I don’t want you.”

Tara curled some hair around Willow’s ear, comforting her as her voice took on a note of strain.

“I know.”

Willow swallowed deeply.

“I have to keep telling you because…I told you so different for so long. I have to know that you know.”

Tara’s hand trailed down Willow’s back and she felt the twitch in her spine and the way Willow shifted in microscopic movements to keep their skin touching.

“I stayed,” she said, keeping Willow’s gaze locked on hers, “Because even when your head denied…your body never did. And I knew you’d catch up. You were never one to fall behind for long.”

She smiled but Willow gulped again and felt Tara’s hand curve on her cheek.

“Darling,” she said gently; a tone so loving Willow didn’t think she’d ever experienced from anyone ever before or ever would again, “Don’t be afraid.”

Willow slowly smiled; the most real smile to grace her face in a long time, a lifetime.

“I’m not,” she said through a single, heavy breath, “I want you.”


I know there will be bumps in the road as they move forward, but now that they've connected completely, there is no going back. I feel like the more they travel and the more Willow sees that most people are cool and even when they aren't, it doesn't really matter. Seriously, her love for Tara will overpower the negative. She will become more and more comfortable in her skin.

One last thing, I totally get what you meant when you said Tara has never confronted Willow about anything. They're both so scared of losing the other that they're tiptoeing around a lot of stuff. I feel like the money stuff will come up, but it won't be the 'worst thing in the world' when it does...at least I hope not.

Ok, I'm done. As always, FANTASTIC chapter, and looking forward to tomorrow!

-JMT

_________________
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


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Oct 11th 2019)
PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2019 11:53 pm 
Offline
4. Extra Flamey

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
Posts: 201
Quote:
She felt Tara’s arm slide around her waist and a squeeze of fingers around her hip bone. She wanted to look around, to see if anyone was looking, judging, but she didn’t.


She faced forward because she knew the only way she was ever really going to move past this fear was to genuinely stop caring. Until then, fake it ‘til you make it.


I'm glad that Willow is trying to "loosen up more" in public. It probably will take months until she can be comfortable with "real" PDAs like kissing which indicate they are a couple. But it's an important first step for Willow to dare affectionate behaviour in public that mere friends would show without second thought.

I'm so proud of Willow for "offering herself" to Tara and not retreating it when Tara gave her the chance.
Quote:
Starting right now.

Canon-Easteregg!

Their lovemaking was beautifully written. This part made me giggle, so Willow:
Quote:
She made a spinner board in her mind and mentally spun it, but there was only one answer her brain was going to return; what she’d wanted since the moment Tara’s top came off.


Left nipple, mouth.


Quote:
When she was finished washing her hands she looked in the mirror and paused for a minute. She turned her head from side to side, then up and down and ran her hand down her neck.


She looked the same.


She sure as hell didn’t feel the same.


She tried to isolate the many feelings, physical and emotional, that poured through her and she realized her reflection was different. She was smiling.


Unconditionally, unreservedly smiling.


And she didn’t hate the person who was staring back.


Yay! I'm overjoyed that Willow has broken the bounds of fear and self-hatred. I guess she will still struggle with doubt if she is "good enough" for Tara from time to time, like here:
Quote:
“I don’t know why you put up with me sometimes.”

But I'm confident that with Tara's continued, endlessly loving support those moments will be less and less.

Quote:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres,” she said emphatically with a pointed look, “That’s why.”

:flower

Although Tara doesn't seem religious I understand that she can cite this passage of the bible (I think it's the "Highsong of love" out of Paulus' letter to the Corinthians, am I right?) because it is not only beautiful but fits to her gentle, selflessly loving nature.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Oct 11th 2019)
PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2019 6:00 am 
Offline
Ms. Moderator Fantastico
Ms. Moderator Fantastico
User avatar

Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 1:22 pm
Posts: 4127
Topics: 36
Location: Ireland
taranwillow4ever

Quote:
DIBS :applause :banana


:applause

Quote:
Everytime I think you can't outdo yourself, you do. You captured the experience of 'first time' SO spot on, and so perfectly.


Oh thank you so much!!

Quote:
I laughed out loud several times, and pleasantly remembered that feeling of the world after a 'first' experience. I also resonated with the idea that allowing yourself to be naked in both the physical and emotional/spiritual sense allows you to feel more comfortable in your body and more comfortable with nakedness.


Yes! And it's an ongoing process I think too, it can ebb and flow depending on the moment/s until you realize you're just in a natural state of not caring any longer.

Quote:
How many more days do they have in the hotel?


...pretty much none!

Quote:
I look forward to seeing how they are able to continue 'getting to know each other' and stay close as they travel in a less posh manner. Abstinence makes the heart grow fonder? As I have said, I continue to LOVE this story and am happy when I know a Tuesday or Friday is about to arrive.


I hope you enjoy where it goes. They're definitely continuing to get to know each other (and themselves) and how to live together like this.

Quote:
Sorry if my comments seemed judgmental, I was not accusing you of creating angst for angst sake. I realized as I thought about it, I was assuming that there was an adult who could guide them in the requisite conversations about traveling with someone. I was also projecting my own anxiety filled life on them and that they would have already thought of how to deal with all of the awful things that could happen including them deciding that they could not stand each other. I think sometimes I get so into the stories that I forget that they are that, stories, I look at it with too realistic of a lens and obviously with the bifocaled lenses of someone who has not been a teen for almost 40 years.


I didn't think you were judgemental at all, I was just explaining how I saw the story unfolding from my POV. I have a history of being a very fluff-centric writer and I still ascribe to that. I'm here for giving W/T lots and lots of good times. The overwhelming majority of this fic gives them good times, I promise. But they gotta get through some stuff to get there and I'm trying to portray it as realistically as I envision it happening given their history, personal and together, emotions, age etc

I will let you in on background info: almost all of their issues are resolved by chapter 27. After that, any little squabbles are minor things like crankiness and resolved in-chapter and any big issues are talked about instead of avoided. I'm telling you that so that if you get frustrated with them (which is understandable because they're both behaving frustratingly sometimes!) that you know that it's not stretching on forever.

Quote:
Thanks for writing.


Thanks for commenting!

NorthernLass

Quote:
Tara deserves better!


I'm structuring the response this way because this was the first thing I read and I was like oh shit! But then I realized you were commenting on the previous chapter and I was like, oh okay, sure, yeah, totally I agree, she does! And Willow also deserves the chance to be better :)

Quote:
Feedback for the last two chapters. Oh my, that first one was super angsty. Travel is incredibly stressful anyway, and Willow just made things a whole more complicated by finally having the space to finally and properly examine the feelings she's pushed deep deep down.


It was a whole tumbling mess of emotion really, but I think they needed it. Like Tara said, they'd been in stasis. Something big had to give.

Quote:
But then........wonderful, loved up chapter. And I love Massive Attack!


Willow will feel vindicated that you liked her choice!

Thanks for commenting!

leftindust

Quote:
The impending money fight is going to be a doozy, but good to see Willow face some fears!


Yes, it is a-blooming but once they get through it, we're looking at some real growth and I for one am excited about it!

Thanks for your comment :)

shirrey

Quote:
That was one of the best (if not the best) first time scenes I have read. The way you weave their personalities and quirks throughout-


Thank you so much, that means so much! First Times are a personal fave of mine, to read or write, because I just love the emotion that can be carried through.

Quote:
Of course Willow has a curated sexy time with Tara (and points for great taste: Massive Attack is definitely sexy time music!)


:lol :lol I've added a line to this chapter just for you and NorthernLass!

Quote:
and Tara, her intuitiveness, her training as a musician giving her that ear and patience to know how to play her instrument :wink


Oh she is skilled in that department :wink

Quote:
The clothing metaphor is great and so true, before Tara was really just a friend with benefits- in actions if not feelings, but this is vulnerability and it is the only way to truly trust and connect.


Willow got a harsh reminder that her actions needed to be overt but she really reflected on the feelings that had been expressed too.

Quote:
I liked that it wasn't perfect- and yet it was.


Thank you so much :heart :heart

Finey_McFine

Quote:
So, the first time I read this chapter the timing felt a little 'off.' We went from no, No, NO...to yes, Yes, YES and I was thinking, well, that seemed super fast. Then I waited a couple of days and read it a second time and I realized that it wasn't really fast at all.


I guess, in my mind, this has been building for nearly a year and their physicality in particular for six months. Willow hasn't not wanted to do it, she's just been scared and her fears got blown up in her face. We had Tara sort of assuming they would once they were 'alone' (hence why she tried initially without really broaching if it was a 'ready' thing - she thought they were. She thought Willow thought they were). So I think the 'no, no, no' has to be recognized as a symptom and not an actual reaction. Willow panicked so much because she was actually screaming 'yes, yes, yes' and didn't know if she could deal with that. Turns out, she definitely could.

Quote:
I think it felt a little weird because I wasn't sure how much time had passed since "that day."
Was the whale watching the next day, two, three days later?


That should have been more clear. It was vague on purpose to leave the timeline flowing better, but you can assume 3-5 days if it helps you work out the emotion better.

Quote:
Anyway, upon the 2nd read through, I realized how much it didn't matter. I got used to something happening between them and then a month passing before they worked it out. They had school, jobs, family, etc, etc. So yeah, things are going to move slowly. Now they're together 24/7 with no interference, so the speed from confusion to bed makes perfect sense. So, now that I'm done rambling...


And again, really, they were not at a point of confusion that day they had the fight. Willow said it herself, she was losing her bargaining chips, she was bottoming out because she couldn't resist how much she wanted it she just didn't want to admit it. So the combination of that and them suddenly being in this place of constant togetherness as you say was really only a short hop.

Quote:
Epiphany!


Big one!

Quote:
The rest of the chapter was wonderful and perfect for their first time. Especially this part...


I'm so glad you enjoyed it!!

Quote:
I know there will be bumps in the road as they move forward, but now that they've connected completely, there is no going back. I feel like the more they travel and the more Willow sees that most people are cool and even when they aren't, it doesn't really matter. Seriously, her love for Tara will overpower the negative. She will become more and more comfortable in her skin.


You are 100% right. It will start slow but she'll be a whole new Willow by the time they return home. And I think the coolest thing is that it just happens a little more every day until she can't even remember being that ball of angst she once was.

Quote:
One last thing, I totally get what you meant when you said Tara has never confronted Willow about anything. They're both so scared of losing the other that they're tiptoeing around a lot of stuff. I feel like the money stuff will come up, but it won't be the 'worst thing in the world' when it does...at least I hope not.


That first part with be HYPER IMPORTANT a few chapters down the line.

As for the money stuff, you have to remember this isn't just working out who pays for dates or being overgenerous with gifts. We're talking their entire lifestyle for the next year, one that they've pretty much both dived into (the together part) without much consideration. It's a pretty big wedge. BUT it will be resolved and not with too much pain either

Quote:
Ok, I'm done. As always, FANTASTIC chapter, and looking forward to tomorrow!

-JMT


Thanks so much JMT! I hope you continue to enjoy it! And please, I'm definitely always happy to discuss where I'm coming from and hear your thoughts if you think something didn't mesh right!

Thanks for your feedback!

Will's redemption

Quote:
I'm glad that Willow is trying to "loosen up more" in public. It probably will take months until she can be comfortable with "real" PDAs like kissing which indicate they are a couple. But it's an important first step for Willow to dare affectionate behaviour in public that mere friends would show without second thought.


Exactly right. She's trying, she is, and Tara will recognize that and be able to emotionally rationalize it better too. It's so important for both of them.

Quote:
I'm so proud of Willow for "offering herself" to Tara and not retreating it when Tara gave her the chance.


I mean, Willow wanted it too, for sure! But she was brave in taking the step.

Quote:
Their lovemaking was beautifully written. This part made me giggle, so Willow:


Who doesn't mentally play Twister when figuring out how to touch their girlfriend for the first time? :lol

Quote:
Yay! I'm overjoyed that Willow has broken the bounds of fear and self-hatred. I guess she will still struggle with doubt if she is "good enough" for Tara from time to time, like here:


It's been a big part of her life unfortunately. Slowly but surely...

Quote:
But I'm confident that with Tara's continued, endlessly loving support those moments will be less and less.


We share the same confidences

Quote:
Although Tara doesn't seem religious I understand that she can cite this passage of the bible (I think it's the "Highsong of love" out of Paulus' letter to the Corinthians, am I right?) because it is not only beautiful but fits to her gentle, selflessly loving nature.


'Love is patient, love is kind' is what Tara's mom told her when she came out. It struck a cord with her and she used it in one of her little 'ditties' later on to technically tell Willow she loved her for the first time (indirectly). So it's a passage that has come to have a lot of meaning for her and for her relationship with Willow since 'patience' had always been how she'd rationalized her relationship with Willow before that and well, Tara is kindness personified.

Thanks so much for your feedback :)



Update Directly Below

_________________
Amber Benson killed me once.

Check out my finished fics

The Love… Series ... Two For Joy ... Inevitable


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Oct 11th 2019)
PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2019 6:00 am 
Offline
Ms. Moderator Fantastico
Ms. Moderator Fantastico
User avatar

Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 1:22 pm
Posts: 4127
Topics: 36
Location: Ireland
CHAPTER RATING: PG-13

Chapter 20



Auckland

(Part 3)



Baby, You're My Open Road
You Can Take Me Anywhere The Wind Blows



Tara skidded out of the hotel, still trying to smooth out the collar on her sweater with Willow on her heels tucking her shirt into her pants.


Willow pointed ahead aggressively.


“There!”


“Where?” Tara asked, looking between a line of different cars.


Willow ran to a Toyota and opened the back door.


“This one!”


They both slid into the back seat, panting and their driver smiled at them through the rearview mirror.


“Hey ladies. Off to the bridge?”


“Fast, please,” Willow requested politely. She fixed her seatbelt over her body and threw Tara some side-eye and lowered her voice, “This is your fault.”


Tara looked at her incredulously.


“Me? You were the one who…!”


“You bent over!” Willow hissed.


“I was putting my shoes on!” Tara retorted, finally settling her sweater around her neatly.


Willow crossed her arms over her chest lightly.


“You knew what you were doing.”


Tara rolled her eyes and took in a deep breath to catch her lungs up from the run from the room.


Willow watched Tara’s chest lift with the breath and found her hand automatically creeping toward Tara’s thigh.


Tara caught Willow’s hand as her fingers brushed the inseam of her jeans and pushed it off.


“Stop it!” she whispered, though her harsh tone contrasted greatly with the blushing smile blooming across her face.


The car got them to their destination fast, as requested, and parked in a little lot that lay parallel to the bridge. Their driver lifted his hand to wave goodbye.


“Enjoy the climb. Don’t look down, huh!”


Willow and Tara returned the friendly smile as they rushed out of the car toward the little unit where they were to check in. A young man stood in there with an iPad and smiled as they came in.


“Kia ora.”


Willow stepped forward.


“Um, hi. I’m Willow, um, Rosenberg,” she said, blushing lightly, “This is my girlfriend. Tara. Sorry, we’re a little, um, late.”


Tara looked at Willow, shocked for a moment but Willow didn’t notice as the man with the iPad came to greet them.


“That’s no problem, you’re the only two booked for the tour, eh!” he said cheerfully, “Some people got spooked by the rain we’ve been having but couldn’t ask for a nicer day out there. Let me run you through how things’ll work today and then we’ll get you suited up. I’m James, by the way.”


After a short but thorough briefing, they were brought to get into the safety suits and don helmets for their climb across the Auckland harbor bridge. The suit was grey and black and zipped right up to the neck.


“I feel like a Ghostbuster,” Willow said as she turned out the cuffs, “I keep expecting a 40-year-old white guy to come over and tell me I’m ruining his childhood.”


Tara laughed and Willow looked down bashfully.


Another woman approached, cheery.


“I’m Shan, I’ll be your guide today. Looks like you’ll be getting a private tour. Lucky, eh? First, we’re going to be climbing under the bridge to get us to the walkway, so keep those helmets on securely. Let’s clip you into the railing here.”


Willow went ahead of Tara, but they trailed closely together as they started the ascent up to the top of the massive, sprawling bridge that stretched out over the water.


They walked under the structure at first and were given an informative lesson on the history of the building of the bridge. They got to a stairway that led them up to follow the outer curve of the bridge and immediately they could see the city and the harbor for miles.


Cars sped past beneath them and it was exhilarating to watch them zoom past and be so high above them.


Both kept their nearest hands on the railing to keep some steadiness in the somewhat-shaky arching walk but Willow kept looking back to smile at Tara and see if she was finding it just as thrilling.


At the very top, the wind was whipping their faces but the sky and water reflected a serene blue against each other and the sun poking out from behind the clouds made the cityscape glimmer in the distance. It was awe-inducing.


Shan had a camera to take pictures of their reactions and caught them both with various city and water backdrops.


“It’s amazing up here,” Willow said loudly to Tara to be heard over the cars rushing below, “I thought I’d be scared but I’m not.”


Tara smiled and snuck a very quick kiss on Willow’s cheek from behind. It was a split second but Shan caught it in a picture and then stayed a few feet away to let them enjoy the feeling of being on top of the bottom of the world.


The journey back down was more of a leisurely stroll but things started to bustle again as they returned to the small building they’d arrived to and prepared for the second stage of this adventurous morning.


They’d gone up and now it was time to go down.


They took off the coveralls and helmets and were fitted with new harnesses that attached over their chests and around their waists.


There were a few more people waiting this time and they joined the group to follow them back under the bridge. They went across a walkway to a new staircase that brought them to a small pod set up with equipment and crew and had a window behind it where everyone was brought to wait for their turn.


They were safely behind a see-through wall but it did nothing to stop Willow from seeing how far down it was. With no trusty clip to keep her anchored this time, she started to feel nervous.


It only grew as the first person in the group finished getting set up and jumped from the launch pad like it was only a few inches down. Willow felt her stomach drop with him.


Tara noticed Willow start to sweat on her brow and discreetly took her hand between them.


“Honey, are you okay?”


Willow turned to her, pale.


“I don’t think I can do it,” she whispered, a quiver in her voice, “The scared stuff, definitely hitting me now.”


“You can, I know it,” Tara whispered back confidently.


Willow was moments away from a full-blown freakout.


“No, I can’t, I can’t. You go, I have to leave, I—”


“What if we did it together?” Tara interrupted her voice still low and not disturbing a single another person in their midst.


Her hand held Willow deceptively tight with just enough pressure to be reassuring but not too much to make her feel trapped.


Willow’s breath evened a little bit.


“C-Can we do that?”


“Yeah, we can do a tandem jump,” Tara replied with a soft smile, “We can make each other brave. Please? I could use the help.”


Willow gulped and blushed.


“Yeah, okay,” she replied, feeling a weak but renewed sense of gumption, “For you, I can…I can do that.”


Her heart was still hammering but it was easier to breathe through it. Surprisingly, she felt herself get calmer as she got closer, but she thought that might be because they started to tether her to Tara.


Where Tara went, she would go too, and that was the safest feeling in the world.


Their feet were weighted down and the ropes were attached and everything started to feel very real. Though the line between terror and elation started to ebb in the latter’s direction.


The ledge grew near and Tara started to feel her anxiety rising as well. But then Willow squeezed her hand at just the right moment and they shared a look and stepped forward together.


A three-second countdown felt like at least fifteen as they both stood on the edge, arms wrapped around each other, staring down at the vast body of water beneath them.


Tara looked at Willow and mouthed ‘ready?’


Willow shook her head from side to side, but then a slow smile spread across her face and she was the one to bring them over the edge and free-fall 130 feet to the water’s surface.


Willow screamed a series of, or perhaps one very long, giggle as they fell; their arms wrapped around each other as tight as could be. Just before the upward swing, they locked eyes and Willow didn’t hesitate for a moment to shut herself up with Tara’s lips. She allowed her arms to go freely and gave herself over to the rush of it all.


Tara’s exuberance was quieter but no less profound as colors and shapes rushed before her eyes and then Willow’s lips were on hers and her whole world was in a spin. When Willow’s arms let go of her waist, Tara did the same and their bodies slowly swayed and bobbed to a halt.


“Whoa,” Willow breathed as the ropes steadied and their bodies began to be pulled upward.


“Whoa,” Tara agreed, swallowing deeply during the time it took for the brief ascent.


They stumbled back onto the platform and it was a blur of getting freed from the ropes and joining the rest of the group to return back down to the ground.


Willow looked through all of the pictures and video that had been taken of them and though initially, she considered those extra packages to be a bit of a scam, she felt something like liberation in her heart when she watched the video of the jump and how freely she’d kissed Tara in the moment. The photos on the bridge were quite intimate and Willow realized their guide must have known what was up and passed no remark.


In fact, she continued to take pictures of them. It was another flicker of hope that pushed away some of the fear of being othered that lived in her deep down inside.


“Can I get copies of everything? Thanks.”


James the iPad guy handed her an envelope with a USB key and business card with a link to download. Willow had never as easily parted with a couple of hundred bucks. She would never forget this experience or the 30 or so seconds where she’d felt utterly free.


Willow made her way out to the front of the building where Tara was waiting.


“Hey.”


“Hey!” Tara greeted enthusiastically, folding her arms around Willow.


Willow smiled at the surprised envelopment but completely understood. They’d been bonding emotionally and physically more than ever lately and sharing that adrenaline rush only added to it.


They reluctantly parted but stayed close.


“We have to get back to the hotel,” Willow said, holding the envelope with the media in it close to her chest so she didn’t lose it, “They could only extend check-out for an hour. We didn’t plan this very well.”


“Well we didn’t put staying in bed so much on the itinerary,” Tara replied as she blushed and reached behind to scratch the back of her neck, “They have a shuttle that drops us around the corner from the hotel over there. Oh, it looks like it’s leaving.”


They both hurried toward the bus but went different ways around a lamppost and Willow skidded right through a patch of mud still in a puddle from yesterday’s rain.


Tara heard the thump of Willow hitting the ground and spun back around.


“Willow!”


Willow grimaced as she let Tara help her back up. Her chin was smeared down her neck and her hands were covered in mud she had to sheepishly wipe on the grass and then against her pants.


“I’m okay.”


The bus turned out onto the street in front of them. Willow sighed.


“Guess I’m walking. No one is going to let me in their car like this. Hey, you go ahead.”


Tara shook her head.


“I’m sticking with you.”


She brushed her hand against Willow’s and Willow smiled as their palms touched, mud be damned.


The walk back to the hotel took them straight along the harbor back into the city and really was a lovely way to get their last views of the city.


“I almost can’t believe we’re leaving…” Willow said sadly, “I know we’ve only been here a little while but…it just feels like so much has happened.”


Tara squeezed Willow’s hand.


“We’re not leaving it behind, we’re bringing it with us.”


Willow briefly leaned her head against Tara’s shoulder.


“I love how you see the world.”


They arrived back at the hotel and hurried quickly through the lobby.


“I think they think we’re the most uncouth guests they’ve ever had…” Willow whispered as she repeatedly pressed the elevator button.


“I got used to that attitude when I worked at the country club,” Tara whispered back, smiling playfully.


Willow swallowed guiltily. That one still hung on her mind.


They stepped into the elevator and Tara pushed out a breath of reminiscent frustration.


“Thank god I got out of there. I could never have justified quitting but I hated it there.”


Willow lifted an eyebrow, surprised.


“Really?”


“Oh yeah,” Tara replied, then smiled apologetically, “No offense.”


Willow quickly shook her head.


“Zero taken. I hate it there too,” she replied, then slowly continued, worried about putting this out there and having her guilt compounded, “Does it not bother you, you know…being fired…having that on your record?”


Tara shrugged gently.


“I don’t think one job at 17 is going to follow me around. And it pushed me into the job at Honkerburger because they were the only place I could find that didn’t ask for a reference. I made good money there. The country club people never tipped. I might not have been able to scrape together the money for the ticket when the accident happened if I’d stayed there.”


Tara gently brushed her shoulder with Willow’s and lowered her voice.


“And it was never your fault.”


Willow should have known better than to think she could sweep that under the rug without Tara ever knowing. Tara always knew.


“I should’ve stuck up for you,” she admitted, “I just let it happen.”


“I slacked off is the truth of it,” Tara replied evenly, “And I got caught insulting a guest. I forgot it wasn’t just the two of us giggling in your bedroom. That’s my fault.”


She smoothed her hand over Willow’s hair.


“Really, it’s for the best I don’t work anywhere where you’re also going to be because you’re just far too tempting.”


Her hand fell off at Willow’s neck and flicked a tiny pebble stuck there with mud. Willow blushed.


“I need to take a quick shower.”


She went straight to the bathroom when they got back to the room and Tara went about checking everywhere to make sure they hadn’t left anything unpacked.


As she shoved some empty wrappers into the trash can, she felt her phone buzz in her pocket and took it out to see her mother requesting a video call. She accepted it and sat at the foot of the bed, offering a smile through her front camera.


“Hi, mom.”


“Oh hello, sweetheart,” Kimberly’s voice came through as she picture focused, “Oh, it’s good to see you.”


“What time is it there?” Tara asked, glancing briefly at her watch.


“5:45 pm,” Kimberly explained, “I’m just getting ready for a night shift. I thought I’d try you before it got too late. Or early. Or…well, it’s all very confusing. Where are you two?”


Tara leaned back on one arm, holding the phone up to her face with the other.


“We’re just gearing up to leave Auckland. We got a free ferry pass with the car rental so we’re driving down to Christchurch but we’re stopping along the way. We’re going on the ski tour from there and then we leave for Melbourne.”


Kimberly rested her chin on her fist and listened to Tara, smiling.


“It’s all so exciting. Are you having all the fun you dreamed of? The adventure?”


Tara hesitated cautiously for a moment.


“We did a bungee jump today.”


Kimberly’s face fell and her eyes widened.


“You did WHAT?!”


“That’s why I didn’t tell you beforehand,” Tara replied, swallowing, “Everything is okay. Nothing was broken or dislodged. Just a lot of endorphins and adrenaline.”


Kimberly sighed and shook her head.


“Yes well in future please continue to not tell your mother when you’re about to throw yourself off cliffs.”


“It was a bridge,” Tara replied cheekily and received one of those trademarked ‘looks’ that only a mother could give.


Willow came out of the bathroom wrapped in a towel with freshly de-mudded skin.


“I think I’m just going to toss those clothes, I don’t have time to wring them out and I don’t want to pack muddy clothes…”


She saw Tara was on the phone and mouthed ‘sorry’. Tara gave her a quick once-over and briefly cast her gaze back to her mother.


“Um, I have to go. I need to pick up the rental car before we check out.”


“Please be careful driving on the wrong side of the road,” Kimberly pleaded.


“Yeah, uh huh, bye,” Tara nodded and hung up without waiting for a response.


“Is that your mom?” Willow asked without realizing Tara had hung up, “Tell her I say—”


Before she knew it, Tara was pressing her up against the dresser.


“Oh, hi.”


“Hi,” Tara replied breathlessly.


Eighteen or so minutes later, they ran down the corridor with their luggage weighing them down, tucking their clothing into places to preserve modesty yet again.


“This one was definitely your fault,” Willow said, face still bright red.


“We can argue later,” Tara replied, poking the elevator button repeatedly, “The guy who phoned from the lobby said they’d charge us another night if we didn’t check out in 10 minutes.”


“Not the coitus interruptus I learned about in health class,” Willow muttered sullenly under her breath.


She looked at Tara’s sex-swept hair and leaned up to press a kiss to her cheek.


Previously tucked shirts were untucked by the time the elevator doors opened in the lobby and they had to extract themselves with serious blushing as they pushed past the people waiting.


Tara looked at the time on her phone as they got to the line at the desk.


“Are you good with these if I run to get the car?”


Willow thought that was a good idea. She wasn’t even sure an open lobby could dissuade her from pouncing on Tara at this point.


“Yeah, yeah. I’ll just drag ‘em outside. Go.”


Tara ran off and Willow spent several minutes in line just exhaling and trying to calm down every jumping nerve inside her body.


She tried not to think about how she’d been just minutes before; bent over the bed while Tara had one hand between her legs determined to get the job done while the other held the room phone to her ear and spoke politely to the desk clerk telling him they’d be right down.


She tried, but it was futile. The memory was forever burned into her brain.


She was pretty sure she had given them away with a telling, high-pitched cry and so approached the desk with an even more furious blush.


It was the same polite but animated young man who had checked them in that first morning.


“Checking out?”


Willow wordlessly slid the room keys across the desk to Theo, whom she was sure was smirking. A spool of purple hair flicked mockingly, seemingly by itself.


“I hope you enjoyed your stay and found your satisfaction.”


“W-what?” Willow asked, her heart hammering in a fresh, erratic rhythm.


Theo just smiled innocently, the same way Tara smiled innocently when she used some spicy talk.


“I hope you enjoyed your stay and found everything to your satisfaction.”


Willow took the receipt that was handed across and folded it into her purse.


“Thanks. Um…bye now.”


She tried to slink away without drawing any more attention to herself but failed spectacularly when she tried to bring all of the luggage with her and managed to make it all fall in different directions.


A bellhop kindly came over to help her out the door and she silently shoved some cash into his hand and waited as inconspicuously as possible. This whole morning had left her feeling very exposed.


A little while later, an old grey three-door compact car that looked like it might just be older than she was pulled up on the curb. Tara popped the trunk and hopped out to lug the bags in.


Willow looked at it, slightly unimpressed.


“This is…a car.”


“Were you expecting a truck?” Tara asked with a smile.


Willow shook her head.


“No…but maybe something a little sexier.”


“Well, this is what I got,” Tara replied with some concealed frustration, “You gonna help me?”


Willow nodded and quickly helped Tara load everything up. She automatically went to get into the passenger seat but found herself sitting in front of the wheel, confused.


A moment later, Tara knocked on the half-open window.


“I think you’re in my seat.”


“Right,” Willow blushed, “It’s on the other side. Autopilot.”


She went around to the passenger side and buckled herself in. She watched Tara check her mirrors and start the ignition and smiled to herself.


“Wow. Wow. You’re actually making this jalopy look sexy.”


Tara offered her a coy smile and a wink so sly Willow wasn’t sure she even saw it.


Sometimes Willow wasn’t sure if Tara was being provocative on purpose or if she was just imagining it because she liked the rush it gave her. It used to be a rush of fear, or at least that’s what she covered the actual feeling with. Now she was beginning to allow herself to feel it for real and it was all still a tad confusing.


“You don’t mind driving?”


Tara shook her head.


“I think it’s best.”


“Hey, I’m a great driver!” Willow protested indignantly, “I got 103% in Driver’s Ed!”


“You just don’t have much practical experience. You never drove at home,” Tara replied delicately, “And I need you to give me directions.”


Willow took her phone from her pocket and put it in the little holder on the dash.


“You know they call out the directions step-by-step these days.”


“I bet its voice isn’t as pretty as yours,” Tara returned sweetly.


Willow blushed lightly and distracted herself by keying in their destination to the map app.


“We’re staying in the… Kai Iwi Motel right?” she asked, resisting the urge to pull a face, “Sounds…motel-y.”


“It was the cheapest place with a safe parking lot,” Tara answered with her eyes on the road, “Am I going left or right?”


“Turn left at the 1st cross street onto Halsey Street,” the app called out right on cue.


“I have to say, maybe I was wrong,” Tara said with a grin, “Pretty cute.”


“Hey,” Willow said with a pout, taking her phone in her lap and tapping the button to turn the voice off, “I’ll call them out. I’m not losing you to some skanky cute-voiced navigator.”


Tara briefly reached over and rubbed the back of Willow’s head affectionately before returning it to the wheel.


Willow smiled and leaned into Tara’s hand, then settled her head back against the headrest.


“Will I play—take the next right—some music, or—”


She paused, eyes slowly widening as she reached out to push her fingers through a little flap on the center console.


“Is this…a TAPE player?!” she asked, incredulous and amused, “How did you even find a car this old? It must have taken real effort.”


“Most of the rental places didn’t want to rent to an 18-year-old, or they wanted crazy money for it. I had to compromise,” Tara replied calmly, “It’s a car. It will get us where we need to go.”


“If we’re lucky,” Willow muttered, then sighed, “Guess no tunes.”


Tara dropped a hand into the side pocket and brought up a cassette tape up between two fingers.


“I prepared.”


Willow took it and turned it over several times.


“You brought a tape?” she asked, eyebrows disappearing into her scalp, “A TAPE? I didn’t realize this was a DeLorean.”


“I didn’t realize you were Carol Burnett,” Tara shot back with a slightly cocky grin.


Willow opened the cassette case and suddenly had a memory of being small and Tara teaching her how to rewind with a pen. Even way back then CDs were more popular. Tara had just liked them.


“Where did you even find this? I don’t think I’ve seen one since I was 5 years old. Keep ahead until the turn-off for the highway. We’re good for a while after that.”


“I’ve been making mixtapes for years,” Tara answered, tapping her fingers against the steering wheel.


“What for?” Willow asked, confused when it was so much easier to make compilations with technology.


Tara’s lips twitched at the corner.


“Fun.”


Willow ran her thumb over the ‘road trip’ label on the tape and the ever-so-slightly frayed edges.


“How come you never made me a romantic one?”


Tara’s back shifted uncomfortably.


“Because you’d laugh at me.”


“No, I wouldn’t,” Willow replied, brow creased and tone affronted.


“You’re laughing at me now,” Tara replied, casting Willow a momentary pointed look.


“No,” Willow replied quickly, placing her hand on Tara’s upper arm, “No, I promise. I think it’s cool. And it’s very you, very retro. Very…quirky.”


Tara smiled sideways.


“Two peas in a pod, you and me.”


Her pinky lifted from the wheel and Willow wrapped her pinky around it.


“Let’s see how this works,” she said as she slid the tape into the deck and pressed play.


‘Mr. Blue Sky’ played and Willow started to bop along in her seat.


“Hey, I like this one!”


“You don’t trust my choice in music?” Tara asked, her smirk teetering toward teasing, “You’re the one who plays Barry White during sex.”


Willow’s mouth hung open, first in shock at Tara’s brazen statement, then in a huff as she registered the insult.


“Hey! Those are classics!”


Tara nodded along, seemingly in agreement, but her smirk was still there as her eyes playfully bounced, taking in Willow’s affront.


“But what’s your excuse for Kings of Leon?”


Willow’s mouth snapped shut.


“It’s relevant! ‘Sex’ is literally in the title!”


Tara’s face scrunched up.


“I don’t like to think about…”


She threw some fingers off the wheel indicatively, but Willow just looked blank. Tara sighed.


“Blowjobs,” she whispered with a brief curl of disgust on her lips, “Especially…at that moment.”


Willow looked like she’d been slapped.


“THAT’S what it’s about?!”


“Look at the lyrics,” Tara replied, concentrating on the road for a moment as she did a difficult merge and had a brief surge forward when she glanced in the wrong direction as another car passed.


The track changed to ‘Road To Nowhere’ but the more striking noise to fill the car was Willow’s sharp gasp as she googled the aforementioned lyrics and read a line she’d previously never picked up on. She pushed her phone face down between her legs, scandalized as if she’d seen images of the actual act and not just a tame lyric about it.


“On reflection, I should have left it up to you. This is your area.”


Tara shook her head.


“No, I don’t have a bigger claim on music than anyone else.”


Comfortably in her lane, she glanced over at Willow and reached over at a moment, brushing her fingers against Willow’s cheek and down her arm.


“Besides…I like the soundtrack your body makes.”


Willow felt her skin tingle every place Tara touched. She gulped.


“So…no music then.”


Tara brought her hand down and danced her fingers along Willow’s thigh.


“Well, a song is more than just the lyrics. You put the right notes together and it can make you laugh or cry or…feel things. There’s definitely an opportunity for the mood to be set. Or…enhanced.”


Willow’s legs snapped together at Tara’s touch and Tara took her hand back, smirking.


That smirk did things to Willow she blushed just thinking about, never mind saying.


“Have you ever listened to a song and felt a little shiver at the base of your spine? Like your ears don’t just hear it, your body actually recognizes the rhythm?”


Willow nodded slowly.


“Sure. Makes you wanna dance.”


“Exactly,” Tara replied, lips brushing with a grin, “Barry White just…does not make me want to dance.”


“Harsh,” Willow said with the start of a pout.


“I’m not mocking your choices,” Tara reassured quickly, “They have a very solid, old school vibe. Massive Attack certainly have a wanton vibe I can get behind.”


Willow was still pouting.


“That sounds like code for ‘lame’.


“Darling, no,” Tara replied, squeezing Willow’s thigh for a moment, “They’re classics for a reason. I guess I just…march to a different beat.”


Willow smiled softly and covered Tara’s hand on the wheel affectionately for a second.


“That’s true. Tell me your beat.”


Tara was contemplative for a moment as she focused ahead on the road.


“A good sex playlist has five songs, total.”


“Five?” Willow questioned, eyebrow arching, “Seems…short.”


Too short.


Especially for Tara, in Willow’s experience.


“Yes, five,” Tara nodded definitively, “After that, you should be making your own music.”


Willow had to bite her lip to stop herself from the soft moan that threatened to come out at the look Tara shot her way. It was hard to maintain her indignation.


“I guess good ole Barry doesn’t make your five.”


Tara’s chin lifted and her eyes blinked slowly several times, then her head started to bob.


Willow had watched this many times; Tara getting into the music space in her head, but it still captivated her how much Tara’s body was just taken over by an invisible beat.


“I’d start with ‘Always Be My Baby’.”


“Mariah Carey?!” Willow asked incredulously with a teasing smile, “You’re giving me shit for Barry White but your first choice is Mariah Carey?”


“Yes,” Tara replied assuredly, “It’s mid-tempo and it’s fun but it still has that R&B undertone. It’s perfect for setting the mood. You hear those vocables, that ‘do do doop do doop da dum’ and it hits you like a slow shiver. It’s the ‘come a little closer’ song. It’s fun. It’s rhythmic. The dance floor seduction, if you will.”


“I definitely will,” Willow answered, a little too quickly.


Tara smiled.


“Then the real seduction starts. You want the tone to shift enough to know that ‘this is happening’. You have to go in strong, so I’d pick ‘Redbone’, maybe controversially… but those opening bars just make me want to move my body… against another body. Against your body.”


Her body rolled in the seat, a subtle movement but Willow swore she could see the shiver rise on her spine.


“Then I’d move onto ‘Acquainted’. Those drum beats, ooh. Every time. I get that squeeze in my belly like every touch is the first. The beat change is straining and elongating and it lets you get lost for a few minutes.”


The way she said ‘ooh’ made Willow feel her own beat between her legs.


“And then I’ve always been a fan of ‘I Wanna Be Yours’ when things are revving up. It’s very visceral, it’s very sexy, it’s like that moment when you know the tide is turning and you’re getting down,” Tara continued, looking off to the side yet still engaging Willow with an occasional smirk, “And the sultry overtones gnaws on that gut feeling, the fire in your belly, that stretch where you’re ready to give yourself over. It’s the perfect interlude.”


She paused, her cheeks starting to lightly color and her breath speeding up just enough to be noticed.


“Then, well, this is where things change up a bit. This is where it all hinges, this is where you change from mood to pace. Your outro. It has to pack a punch but also transition you perfectly into the rest of the act.”


She paused and shot that smirk at Willow again so quick she barely had time to register it.


“Going fast I would maybe play something like ‘S&M’. It’s a bit on the nose but it’s fun and fast is about fun.”


Willow watched Tara roll her neck like she was stretching it but she saw it for the vulnerable exposure it was.


“Anyway, I’m much more interested in going slow,” Tara added on, her tongue leaving her mouth for a moment to wet her dry lips, “And for that I would absolutely end on ‘I’m Kissing You’ because it’s rich and romantic and I know by then I’ll be consumed by how my lips feel against your skin.”


She gasped softly, her lids closing for a second longer than was wise behind the wheel.


“Yeah, that’s perfection.”


She could hear Willow’s breath quickening and knew her own was quivering.


“And after that, it’s all going to fade away because…”


She let out a shaken breath.


“All I’m going to be listening to is you.”


Willow didn’t know if she could cope with the sexual tension building up in the small space.


“I-I don’t think I know some of those.”


“I’ll have to play them for you sometime,” Tara offered, her voice so wonderfully melodic, full of all of the promise hidden in her words.


Yep, Willow definitely couldn’t take it.


Her hand slapped around for a button to roll the window down and it eventually landed on the crank handle. She turned it several times until a cool breeze was rushing past her cheeks.


“Sounds good! Great! Just…swell!”


“Swell,” Tara agreed and Willow had never felt so good about being mocked.


After a moment, Willow frowned.


“Wait, who were you listening to all that with?”


Tara arched an eyebrow and pursed her lips as her cheeks turned pink.


“Myself.”


Willow gulped again and tossed her face to the other side again to get some air on her cheeks.


She spent a while just looking out the window and marveling at how beautiful the scenery even surrounding the highway was.


Lush greens, hazy mountains, and blue sky. She’d been driven up and down the California coast and seen many an overhead landscape from a plane but there was nothing quite like this.


“So…” Tara spoke out with a nervous lilt over the opening organ music of ‘Where the Streets Have No Name’, “You used the ‘g’ word today.”


Willow turned her head from looking out the window toward Tara. She smiled softly, peaceful, a feeling she was still getting used to.


“…gumdrop?” she asked, grinning as her lips popped the ‘p’, “Gnome? Gravi—”


“Girlfriend,” Tara interrupted, a little too quickly.


Willow’s mouth closed silently. It lasted just a bit too long for Tara, whose knuckles tightened on the wheel and she looked ahead, steely.


“Sorry, just forget about it.”


“No, I’m—” Willow started to reply, feeling an unpleasant squeeze on her heart at the look Tara was trying to hide on her face, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to shut down. I was just surprised. I hadn’t realized…it must have just felt right at that moment.”


She looked down at her lap where she saw her hands twisting around each other and she made herself flatten them on her lap.


“I’ve always been a little scared of that word, actually. Not just because of its…description,” she said, tone dropping guiltily for a moment, “I’ve just always known you as you my… my friend. My best friend. I was afraid of the change. I know that’s stupid when so much else has changed…or…well, I guess it hasn’t really, has it? This, us, has always been…just always been.”


Nothing but Bono’s voice filled the car and Willow felt her heart start to hammer nervously.


“A-are you? Do you want to be?” she asked, just above a whisper, before casting her eyes in Tara’s direction to seek an answer, “My girlfriend?”


Tara’s hands slid up and down the wheel for a moment. She took a few even breaths and then glanced back at Willow.


“I think the question has always been ‘are you mine?’”


Willow was surprised by how little hesitation she felt in answering that.


“Yes,” she said, closing her hand over Tara’s on top of the wheel.


She could only look on from the side as Tara’s whole face lit up, her posture straightened in the seat and her shoulders relaxed right down.


It really hit Willow hard that Tara shoved down her own feelings to cater to her. She wanted to be a real girlfriend to her, an equal, a caretaker of Tara’s heart whether it was aching or soaring.


She felt Tara’s hand slip out from under hers on the wheel and cover it again, squeezing her tenderly.


“Girlfriend still has ‘friend’ in it, you know.”


At that moment Willow knew that she would be with Tara for the rest of her life.


Unable to express or even fully comprehend the feeling that sat deep in her bones, she just leaned over and pressed a lingering kiss to Tara’s cheek, only breaking with the loud sound of her lips popping off to turn up the volume on the tape.


“Hey I love this one!” she gushed, radiating happiness, “Life is a highway, I wanna ride it all night long!


Tara only knew Willow to sing when she was really relaxed, and even then often only when they were making up homework songs and she thought they were being hilarious. Feeling just as bright as the sparkle of Willow’s teeth showing as she sang through a smile, Tara joined right in and sang with her girlfriend as they drove along the highway.


If you're going my way, I wanna drive it all night long!


They spent the next stretch of road cycling through the ‘A’ and ‘B’ sides of the tape and singing along loudly, which had been Tara’s express intention when she made them.


Road trip songs have to be the kind that can be screeched at the top of your voice without breaking the windows and Tara’s selection did just that. They also mostly had titles relating to driving or traveling, but that was just for her own whimsy.


As one of the last songs played, Willow pointed excitedly at a welcome sign.


“Hey, look! We’re here!”

_________________
Amber Benson killed me once.

Check out my finished fics

The Love… Series ... Two For Joy ... Inevitable


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Oct 15th 2019)
PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2019 11:04 am 
Offline
7. Teeny Tinkerbell Light

Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 5:33 pm
Posts: 663
Topics: 2
Location: North Carolina, USA
It's Tuesday :banana It's Tuesday :eatme DIBS for TW4E!

_________________
Atlantic Antics
Meeting Expectations
Learning to Laugh


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Oct 15th 2019)
PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2019 11:03 pm 
Offline
4. Extra Flamey

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
Posts: 201
The bridge-climb sounded great, but I would have passed on the bungee-jump, single or tandem…

Quote:
“I don’t think I can do it,” she whispered, a quiver in her voice, “The scared stuff, definitely hitting me now.”


“You can, I know it,” Tara whispered back confidently.


Willow was moments away from a full-blown freakout.


“No, I can’t, I can’t. You go, I have to leave, I—”


“What if we did it together?” Tara interrupted her voice still low and not disturbing a single another person in their midst.


Her hand held Willow deceptively tight with just enough pressure to be reassuring but not too much to make her feel trapped.


Willow’s breath evened a little bit.


“C-Can we do that?”


“Yeah, we can do a tandem jump,” Tara replied with a soft smile, “We can make each other brave. Please? I could use the help.”


Willow gulped and blushed.


“Yeah, okay,” she replied, feeling a weak but renewed sense of gumption, “For you, I can…I can do that.”


Her heart was still hammering but it was easier to breathe through it. Surprisingly, she felt herself get calmer as she got closer, but she thought that might be because they started to tether her to Tara.


Where Tara went, she would go too, and that was the safest feeling in the world.

Awww! :flower I love that Willow battled her fear for Tara and already has the "were you go, I go"-conviction. Hopefully this will also apply to crappy motels…

Quote:
Hey, you go ahead.”


Tara shook her head.


“I’m sticking with you.”


She brushed her hand against Willow’s and Willow smiled as their palms touched, mud be damned.


:flower Through thick and thin!

Quote:
“Um, hi. I’m Willow, um, Rosenberg,” she said, blushing lightly, “This is my girlfriend. Tara.

A good sign that Willow has become comfortable in their relationship that the term girlfriend slipped out without conscious thought…and that she does confirm it later on after conscious thought:
Quote:
“A-are you? Do you want to be?” she asked, just above a whisper, before casting her eyes in Tara’s direction to seek an answer, “My girlfriend?”


Tara’s hands slid up and down the wheel for a moment. She took a few even breaths and then glanced back at Willow.


“I think the question has always been ‘are you mine?’”


Willow was surprised by how little hesitation she felt in answering that.


“Yes,” she said, closing her hand over Tara’s on top of the wheel.


She could only look on from the side as Tara’s whole face lit up, her posture straightened in the seat and her shoulders relaxed right down.


:bigkiss :dumbo

I didn't recognize any of the song-titles Tara mentioned (except "S+M"). Could you post a playlist, please?

Quote:
“I feel like a Ghostbuster,” Willow said as she turned out the cuffs, “I keep expecting a 40-year-old white guy to come over and tell me I’m ruining his childhood.”

I don't understand the joke but it's been ages since I've seen the movies...Did what Willow mentions happen in one of them?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Oct 15th 2019)
PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2019 5:00 am 
Offline
Ms. Moderator Fantastico
Ms. Moderator Fantastico
User avatar

Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 1:22 pm
Posts: 4127
Topics: 36
Location: Ireland
taranwillow4ever

Quote:
It's Tuesday :banana It's Tuesday :eatme DIBS for TW4E!


:banana I love how enthusiastic you are about dibs!!

:)

Will's redemption

Quote:
The bridge-climb sounded great, but I would have passed on the bungee-jump, single or tandem…


I am with you there! My mom went skydiving last Christmas and broke both of her legs. Cue me suitably turned off from any kind of high jumps for life!

Quote:
Awww! :flower I love that Willow battled her fear for Tara and already has the "were you go, I go"-conviction. Hopefully this will also apply to crappy motels…


Oh we'll get there. I promise.

Quote:
:flower Through thick and thin!


...thick or thin mud? :laugh

Quote:
A good sign that Willow has become comfortable in their relationship that the term girlfriend slipped out without conscious thought…and that she does confirm it later on after conscious thought:


Having sex is one thing to show love and commitment, but she's got to put up or shut up to the outside world too...and she is!

Quote:
I didn't recognize any of the song-titles Tara mentioned (except "S+M"). Could you post a playlist, please?


Sent you a PM about this!

Quote:
I don't understand the joke but it's been ages since I've seen the movies...Did what Willow mentions happen in one of them?


When the all-women reboot happened there was A LOT of online backlash (from mostly middle aged straight white guys) that claimed it was a gimmick, it was stupid, it was somehow sexist, it ruined the franchise blah blah blah. So the joke is me making fun of them for being babies petulantly crying that having a female reboot ruined their childhood association with Ghostbusters.

Thanks for your feedback!



Update Directly Below

_________________
Amber Benson killed me once.

Check out my finished fics

The Love… Series ... Two For Joy ... Inevitable


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Oct 15th 2019)
PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2019 5:00 am 
Offline
Ms. Moderator Fantastico
Ms. Moderator Fantastico
User avatar

Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 1:22 pm
Posts: 4127
Topics: 36
Location: Ireland
CHAPTER RATING: PG-13

Chapter 21



Rotorua



If I’m Going To Be Someone Equally Free, There Are Things That I Must Unlearn



“Aww.”


Willow frowned as the tape clicked into silence.


“I was enjoying that.”


“Don’t worry, I made a few more to cover the trip,” Tara said as Willow slid the cassette back into the case, which she noted did in face have the number ‘1’ next to ‘Road Trip’ on the label.


“Of course you did,” Willow replied fondly, reaching over to squeeze Tara’s shoulder, “I love you.”


Tara smiled back and Willow dropped her head back against the rest, pensive for a moment.


“You know I mean I’m in love with you when I say that, right? It’s just, I said ‘I love you’ before we were, uh, and…well, I guess I meant it then too, huh.”


“It’s a mind-trip sometimes,” Tara agreed with an elongation of her soft smile, “I know what you mean when you say it. Funnily enough, you not saying it all that time makes me sure now. I’m glad you didn’t blur the lines and you waited until you were sure you were returning the same words I was. That you cared for me enough not to mess me around emotionally like that.”


Tara’s words were like a massage on Willow’s heart, relieving some of her grief.


“And I love you, too,” Tara finished and Willow wrapped her arms around herself because she needed a squeeze and her squeeze of choice was busy driving.


She got a little lost in her own embrace and didn’t realize Tara was looking for her attention until she felt a tugging on her sleeve.


“Sorry, what?” she said, shaking her head out of her daze.


“Directions, please,” Tara said with some urgency in her voice.


“Shit!” Willow replied, scrambling to pick up her phone under her, “Um, turn to Ha, um… Hip, I mean Hap…I don’t think I can pronounce these names just from text! Uh…okay, next left! 30 feet!”


Tara turned onto a city street that looked distinct from the surroundings they'd come up. There was lots of buildings that hadn’t been updated in a while and lots of people walking around, smiling and waving at each other.


“It’s like driving through the Pleasantville but in the 90s,” Willow commented, then suddenly pointed to something outside Tara’s window, “Look, there’s a video store! An actual video store! I thought our old battered copy of The Little Mermaid might be the last the world but that place is full of them!”


Willow began to roll down her window, but almost immediately started winding it up again.


“Whoa, what is that smell?!”


“They don’t call it the geothermal wonderland for nothing,” Tara replied, nose scrunching as she too caught the pungent sulfuric scent that was unique to this particular town, “It bubbles up through the street cracks. Pretty cool when you think about it.”


“Very cool,” Willow agreed, rubbing her hand under her nose to ‘lose’ the smell, “And also very stinky. I didn’t get much time to research every stop along the way. I didn't know it smelled like this here.”


“Well I’ve only spent the last half-decade or so doing it, so don’t worry,” Tara said, slowing the car at a stop light, “Besides, we’re traveling to have experiences, not just read about them.”


“Next right,” Willow said as the light went green, “Makes me a little glad I’m not hanging around tomorrow. I don’t know if I could cope with a whole day of that stink.”


She brushed against Tara’s arm.


“You sure you don’t want to come? Keep me company?”


“I know you really enjoy it, but the Lord of the Rings was never really my thing,” Tara replied carefully.


Though it hadn’t stopped her sitting through each and every movie with Willow in a dark theater when they had special showings pretending they were on a date, though. With Xander on Willow’s other side, her pretending to be on a date with him while he obliviously munched on some popcorn.


“The scenery is supposed to be really beautiful,” Willow added in, voice rising hopefully.


“I believe it. Even the highway scenery was beautiful,” Tara nodded, then cleared her throat, “Honestly Willow, it’s too expensive.”


Willow’s brow creased.


“It’s cheaper than the bungee.”


Tara sighed but contained it so it wasn’t obvious. She knew Willow knew she had a budget, she had shown Willow it in her big binder. Willow had used it as a reference for her own budgeting but seemed to be throwing caution to the wind a lot more than Tara ever could.


“The bungee was a special expense…something on my ‘must do’ list. And it was amazing, I’m still all tingly from it. But we’ve been away for more than a week… and there’s 51 more to go. I can’t do every single thing.”


Willow opened her mouth.


“I’ll—”


“No,” Tara cut her off before the words could even come out, then continued firmly, “Which way?”


Willow looked down at her phone glumly and directed Tara the rest of the way to the motel.


Tara got the keys and helped Willow bring their stuff in. It was small, just a double bed in the corner with wall shelving over and alongside it, a trash can and a rectangular window six inches below the ceiling that even if they stood on the bed to look out of, would only see a brick wall.


Willow stood to the side and spied each corner as Tara lifted her bag onto the bed to unpack the few things she wanted to hand, like toiletries and her phone charger.


“Um, is the door to the bathroom invisible?”


Tara looked over her shoulder, brow furrowing a little.


“It’s down the hall.”


“Shared bathrooms?” Willow asked as if she’d just been asked to drink a rat smoothie, “What if you have to go in the middle of the night?”


“The same thing you do at home?” Tara suggested with a raised eyebrow, “Go and come back to bed?”


“Big difference from where we’re leaving,” Willow grumbled.


Tara pursed her lips and tried not to get annoyed.


“Welcome to backpacking, hun.”


“It is super cheap,” Willow tried to reason, but immediately her eyes wrinkled with concern, “But doesn’t that make you kind of nervous?”


“Not really,” Tara shook her head, “It’s clean, it’s functional, the bed is even vaguely comfortable…”


She pressed down on it indicatively and Willow came over to perch on the edge.


“No memory foam mattress, I’m guessing.”


Tara didn’t really have time for Willow being grumpy but had to admit feeling a little turned on.


Willow’s pout had always done that to her. Her lips were puffed out and her eyes were dark and dangerous, even if it was just the danger of being on the other end of a scowl.


She wanted the bungee jump, and not their emotions, to be the only up and down they remembered of this day. Willow would have to get used to these types of lodgings. The place they were in right then would probably be amongst the nicest they stayed in, anyway. It was private, for one.


She casually slid sideways to where Willow was sitting and sat delicately into her lap.


“I’ll be your memory foam mattress,” she offered, caressing Willow’s plump, pouty bottom lip with her thumb, “I’ll never forget the press of your body against me.”


Willow’s eyelids grew lidded as Tara’s hips moved into her in a gentle grinding motion.


This was a pretty prime position to be in, Willow thought.


Tara’s legs spread open on top of her, just needing a single head tilt up to Tara’s lips or down to her breasts; her hands now free to roam every inch of Tara’s gorgeous upper body. Even fully clothed, Willow was immediately stimulated everywhere at once.


Forgetting her grump entirely, Willow made the best use of her optimal head positioning to begin kissing Tara’s neck; the best of both worlds. Her cheek would brush Tara’s cheek, her lips would find the swell of Tara’s breast and she got to pay special attention to that spot under Tara’s ear that made those sweet moans float into her ears.


Her teeth may have given it a little nibble and suddenly they were both tumbling back onto the bed when Tara’s hips responded a little too forcefully. They giggled as they collapsed back together.


“You wanna get some dinner or are you full of car snacks?” Tara asked, brushing some hair from Willow’s face as gravity made it fall into her eyes.


Willow wanted Tara’s hand to make its way off her face and move lower, but she had to admit a low rumbling of hunger in her stomach alongside the arousal.


“I want dinner,” she answered, turning her cheek in to nuzzle Tara, “In a minute.”


They cuddled for a few minutes before getting up to head out.


“I’ll go ask where to go to eat at the desk,” Tara said, swapping out her light sweater for something warmer.


“Guess I’ll try out that shared bathroom,” Willow replied grudgingly.


They left the room and went in different directions. Willow found the bathroom and grimaced at the row of showers. It reminded her way too much of gym class, although at least each one here had a privacy door. She'd always hung back to help gather the balls or clean up the equipment just to avoid using them with an audience. Her reputation as a Teacher's Pet actually helped her sometimes.


There was just one other young girl in there, who was applying lipstick in the mirror but the row of sinks was pretty caked in make-up. Greasy soap stains were pointed against the dark splots of fake tan and old bunched tissue were strewn under and between sinks.


Willow went into the first cubicle which she was happy to find was fairly clean compared to outside but when she was finished she found the only trace of toilet paper was a sliver the size of her pinky finger stuck to the empty roll. It wasn't surprising considering most of it seemed to be around the sinks anyway, but it was frustrating.


Not feeling like doing the cubicle shuffle in front of lipstick girl and whoever else may have walked in since she arrived, she took her phone out and brought up her chat log with Tara.


Image



A minute or two later there was a knock on the door and Willow recognized the Birkenstocks poking in from underneath it.


“Will?”


“Yeah,” Willow grumbled, clearly embarrassed.


A pack of tissues was pushed under the door.


“No one else is here, don’t worry,” Tara reassured, “I’ll wait outside.”


Willow finished up and washed her hands before meeting Tara outside.


“Now we know to carry tissues around,” Tara tried to joke softly when she saw the grump returned on Willow’s face.


“Is this really worth saving a few bucks?”


“It’s not a few when you multiply it over a year,” Tara replied, gently squeezing Willow’s arm, “I got good recommendations for dinner. There’s a whole al fresco style street food area with bars and restaurants and stuff. Sounds really cool.”


She dropped her hand to link her fingers with Willow and smiled.


Willow was a sucker for that smile.


“I am pretty hungry.”


“Then let’s go eat,” Tara replied, swinging around to walk them forward and out of the building.


The sun had set while they’d been inside but the streets were lit with enough bright light to get around unaided.


They’d only walked a little ways down the street when Willow’s nose scrunched up again.


“That smell is not very appetizing. How do the locals stand it?”


Tara shrugged one shoulder.


“I’m sure they get used to it. I’m kind of getting used to it already. They say some tourists miss it when they leave.”


“I’ll believe that when I smell it,” Willow replied with a grin and Tara bumped her shoulder playfully.


They walked into the main hub of the city using the directions Tara had scribbled on a pamphlet and arrived at a long street, more like a covered walkway, that had music pumping and was lit up in blue, red and green hues. Inside, restaurants and bars all bled into each other, al fresco style as Tara had been told, and a lot of people were walking around barefoot to take advantage of the naturally heated sidewalk from the geothermal activity bubbling below.


“Hey, this is cool!” Willow said as they stepped through, “Smells better too.”


They picked out a place to eat that seemed to have the most customers already present. A lot of them appeared to be Māori too, which was always a good sign when the locals liked to dine somewhere.


They self-seated and picked up the menus sitting at the table already, reading over it until their server came, one of the young Māori man in a tight white t-shirt that his bicep muscles were rippling out of, approached to take their order.


“Kia ora, my name is Te Koha. What can I get for you this evening?”


His smile was charming and he was clearly used to people feeling charmed by it.


“I’ll get the vegetarian noodles, please,” Tara asked politely, handing her menu back to him.


“Is that all you want?” Willow asked across the table.


“Uh huh,” Tara nodded.


“Okay,” Willow shrugged, “Can I get the stone grilled rib eye, please?”


Te Koha wrote it down and stuck his pen back behind his ear. He seemed curious more than annoyed that they weren't fawning over him. He, admittedly, had always done pretty well with the American tourists over the years.


“Can I recommend a local craft beer to go with your steak tonight?” he offered, “Or perhaps a signature cocktail?”


Willow stared at him, a little caught off guard.


“Can I get a… Negroni?”


“With ice?” Te Koha asked.


“Yep,” Willow nodded swiftly.


Te Koha looked at Tara, who tried to quickly read the back of the drinks menu.


“I’ll try a…cider. That’s a hard cider, right?”


“You mean alcoholic? Oh, yeah, all our ciders are alcoholic out here,” Te Koha nodded, “Would you like to try one of our elderflower and lime or strawberry pomegranate flavors?”


Tara tried to imagine each of those flavor profiles.


“I’ll try elderflower and lime?”


“Coming right up, ladies,” Te Koha said and began to back away, then peered back in curiously, “Canadians?”


Willow shook her head.


“Californians.”


Te Koha smiled to himself, seemingly amused.


“Huh.”


He directed his smile back at them and nodded cordially before weaving back through the tables.


“What’s a Negroni?” Tara asked when he was out of earshot.


“I don’t know; I heard it on a TV show,” Willow admitted and started to grin, “I kinda forgot we can legally drink here. I feel naughty.”


Her nose scrunched in confusion.


“And what’s an elderflower?”


Tara held her hands up in a shrug and they both giggled.


Their drinks were brought down on a tray by a bar hand and Tara poured her bottle of cider into a curved glass while Willow held her short, round glass and glanced around, not sure if she wanted everybody to be looking at her or nobody.


Tara held her longer glass fully around her palm, appreciating the cool condensation against her fingers. She took a sip and was pleasantly surprised. The last time alcohol passed her lips was straight vodka from the bottle at band camp. She’d enjoyed it only because the biting taste was a good mask for the taste of rejection.


“This is really nice. Whatever elderflower is, it’s delicious.”


Willow took a bigger gulp of her deep red concoction than necessary and had to suppress her coughing as she struggled to swallow.


“That is strong,” she wheezed.


She caught her breath and licked her lips, then quickly took another sip. Tara’s lips quirked upward.


“But good apparently.”


Willow frowned.


“It’s weird. Kinda bitter. Like grapefruit. But… enticing. My mouth feels tingly and naked like when you stop kissing me and I want more.”


The ice rattled against the glass as Willow lifted it to her lips again.


“Want some?” she offered Tara.


Tara shook her head.


“I’ll save my naked lips for you.”


Willow turned as red as her drink and had to use her napkin to dab at her mouth and hide her sudden influx of color.


By the time their food arrived, the restaurant and all of the surrounding ones had every table and bar stool occupied and there was a lot of cross-talk throughout the walkway as people maintained conversations from all sides. Te Koha was clearly being sent to the tables with women by the manager and Willow and Tara started to giggle together as they realized he'd tried all of his moves on them too.


Willow’s steak was brought down on the hot stone and placed in front of her with the sides in little pockets on the board the stone was sitting on. Sea salt was crackling underneath it and the meat had a beautifully caramelized char.


“See, you just slice it and cook it how you want it,” Willow explained as she cut into her steak, “They used to do it at the club.”


“I know, I served it to you once,” Tara replied, picking up her fork to twirl her noodles, “I can’t tell you how many times one of those things burned me.”


Willow blushed.


“Right. Sorry.”


“Not your fault,” Tara smiled.


Willow turned her slice of meat over on the hot stone to get it to the pinkness she desired.


“I really hated you serving me,” she said, then suddenly went wide-eyed when Tara’s eyebrow arched, “Not, no! I mean, not that you were bad at it! You weren’t, you were awesome! Just…my parents were always so rude and… tipping you is weird and I really hated that whole place. ”


Tara nodded along.


“If it makes you feel any better, your parents never tipped.”


Willow’s mouth dropped open as her slice of meat sizzled toward well done.


“Are you serious?! That’s even worse!” she said with a disgusted look on her face, “Assholes.”


She realized her meat was burning and quickly lifted it from the heat and dipped it in the sriracha mayo. She chewed thoughtfully before swallowing it.


“You know what the club motto is?”


“‘Ex nihilo nihil fit’,” Tara recited verbatim, “I had to read it on every single damn napkin I folded.”


“Do you know what it means?” Willow asked and Tara shook her head, “‘Nothing comes from nothing’. You have to work hard to succeed, basically. Most of the people there have been there for generations, inheriting the same money. Even families like mine at the very least got a mega head start. They’ve never worked hard in their lives.”


She paused and frowned.


“I guess I haven’t either.”


A silence hung in the air for a moment.


“You worked hard for your grades,” Tara supplied kindly, “And you’ve been working hard to shift those unhealthy attitudes.”


She brushed her hand atop Willow’s.


“You've been hiding, never letting it show. Always trying to keep it under control.”


Willow looked over vulnerably.


“You see me.”


Tara smiled softly.


“I do.”


Willow gulped and tried to take a sip from her glass. She realized it was empty.


“Gonna get another one of these Negronis. You want?”


Tara still had half a glass, but just nodded and briefly rubbed Willow’s arm as she passed.


A few hours later, their dinner plates had been cleared and they’d relocated to the bar where a group of locals was talking with them about what it was like living in California.


A round of tequila shots appeared from somewhere and Willow giggled as she picked up the salt cellar.


“Hey Tara,” she said, looking at her with glassy seductiveness, “C’mere.”


Tara frowned with drunken confusion but it turned into a look of arousal as Willow lifted Tara’s hand, kissed it and then shook salt onto the spot. She lifted a lime wedge and put it flesh-out between Tara’s lips, then downed the shot, licked the salt from Tara’s hands and brought her mouth close to suck on the lime, their lips painfully almost-touching.


There was a round of cheers until Willow’s head reeled back, face pinched and she spat the sour wedge into her palm. She grinned and raised her arms triumphantly and a fresh cheer went around the bar.


Te Koha cleared the shot glasses with a knowing smile. He lifted two fingers against his temple and offered a salute.


“My sister, too. Takatāpui wahine. On the house, yeah?”


Tara made some clueless nodding motion and sat on her bar stool, a little stunned by the public display. There was some lime juice still wet on her lips. She licked it off and followed Willow with her eyes as Willow hurried over to the dart board as the people who had been playing there moved away.


“I wanna try!”


Tara saw her chance and rushed to follow. She stood behind Willow and folded her arms around Willow’s waist from behind. She wasn’t sure if she was drunk on cider or the thrill of Willow’s open affection but her hands firmly held Willow there and her fingers dipped under the hem of her shirt.


“You gotta square your hips,” she whispered in Willow’s ear, aware there were eyes on them but maybe for the first time not self-conscious about being the target of strangers’ gaze.


Willow held a dart in a prime throwing position and leaned back against Tara.


“I didn’t know you knew how to play darts.”


Tara’s nose brushed the back of Willow’s neck.


“I don’t.”


Warmth spread in Willow’s stomach that burned more than any alcohol ever could and her arm jerked, sending the dart flying only a few feet in the air but still only narrowly missing hitting someone in the packed space.


“Whoops!”


Te Koha came over to them and picked up the dart from the floor as he offered them a friendly smile.


“I think you have a little too much on board for a thing this sharp, eh?”


“I’m per-fet-ly sharp,” Willow tried, then snickered and leaned into Tara to whisper, “I said per-fet-ly.”


Tara pressed her fingertips into Willow’s skin, a hidden movement under the cover of clothing.


“Maybe we should go home.”


“Noooo, I’m having fun,” Willow protested, but still felt the air rush from her lungs when Tara pressed right up against her back.


“I can think of something more fun.”


Willow was immediately convinced and spun around, pointing jaggedly toward the exit.


“This way?”


They started to rush out, but some of their new bar pals shouted them back.


“Eh, you were going to tell us about the Zodiac Killer!”


Willow stumbled wordlessly for a moment.


“Um, real bad guy. Killed some people, sent letters to newspapers with codes that were never cracked. One was. I think. Um. Never caught. Senator in Texas. Almost became president. Bad situation.”


She looked to Tara for confirmation, who nodded swiftly.


“So he’s still out there?” one of the guys asked.


“The puzzles weren’t solved?” his buddy added in.


“Never,” Willow replied, then looked to Tara wide-eyed, “We should, we should go solve them.”


Tara’s eyes widened in hesitance but she slowly agreed.


“Uh huh, yeah, we should.”


Willow grabbed Tara’s hand and started to drag her away.


“Great, we'll, uh, go check it out and uh, we'll give you a call.”


“Yeah, this could blow the whole thing wide open,” Tara couldn’t help but add in before turning her back to rush out Willow.


The walk was just about ten minutes — just a few blocks really — but they made it in seven, even factoring in the occasional stumble.


Willow pulled Tara into their room giggling and backed her right up against the wall. She kissed her again, deeper this time, letting her tongue slip into Tara’s mouth.


Tara’s hands cupped Willow’s rear and pulled her close, feeling that first press of skin at their stomachs where their shirt rode up as they rubbed against each other. She pushed Willow back until she fell down onto the bed and jumped on top, knees either side of Willow’s legs.


She leaned down to press a line of kisses along the exposed rim of skin toward her navel.


Willow let out a soft moan of pleasure and Tara felt herself respond in a particularly wet way. She sat back and started to lift her shirt over her head. With her arms trapped, her head got stuck when it didn’t come off as cleanly as she’d like.


“Will…little help?” she asked as her body twisted to free herself.


Finally, after more than a minute of fighting, her head came free and she threw the garment off her arms with a red face and mussed hair.


“Will?” she panted softly in confusion as her eyes focused again.


Willow lay beneath Tara, eyes closed and mouth open as she snored softly.


Tara slumped as her breath caught up with her and she forced two strong exhalations to calm the twisting squeeze in her stomach.


“H’okay,” she breathed as she moved off Willow and gently massaged the back of her neck to rid herself of just a little tension.


She changed into pajamas and made her way to the bathroom, where there was just one other girl at the other end of the sinks wiping off her make-up (and leaving the wipe on the sink). Tara wasn't too impressed by that either but she knew what she was getting into so just ignored it. The nice buzz from the cider helped in keeping her unbothered and she found herself smiling into the mirror as she brushed her teeth.


When she got back to the room, Willow hadn’t moved an inch, so Tara did her best to get Willow’s shoes off and the blanket out from under her to cover them both.


As Willow’s nose whistled, Tara pressed a light kiss to her cheek, wished her sweet dreams and closed her eyes beside her.



Tara hummed along with a nameless radio station as she drove back to the motel to meet Willow for the evening.


She pulled up in the parking lot and slid out of the car, locking it up before making her way to their room.


“Hey, you’re back,” she said to Willow when she stepped in and saw her lying on the bed.


She closed the door behind her and came to sit on the bed by Willow.


“This town is so stunning. Everyone is so friendly and kind. The culture is so beautiful — I saw the most amazing art today in this little village and the food, they cook it right in the ground, it’s just gorgeous, so gorgeous. They showed us their war dance—”


“The Haka?” Willow asked, her tone a little weary.


Tara nodded.


“Yes, it was magnificent. The hair is still standing on the back of my neck,” Tara replied, smiling fondly, “How was your day? Was the Lord of the Rings tour as beautiful as you thought? Did you do anything else today?”


Willow looked uncomfortable and visibly braced.


“You’re looking at it.”


Tara looked confused.


“You mean you've been resting since you got back? That's okay.”


Willow kept frowning.


“Been resting…all day?” she said, then felt an uncomfortable burn at the way Tara was looking at her, “I could barely move when I woke up, everything hurt so much. It was early when I woke up and you were already gone. Weren’t you hungover? I swear, I’m never drinking again.”


“A little, but that’s why I got up to get out in the air,” Tara replied, brow creased, “You didn’t go on your Lord of the Rings tour? You were so looking forward to it…and it was two hundred bucks.”


Willow shrugged.


“I can go tomorrow instead.”


Tara stopped and sighed. She decided not to even ask if that meant paying for it again.


“We’re supposed to be leaving tomorrow.”


“Can't we just push it a few hours?” Willow asked, leaving out the fact that she’d already rebooked the tour without checking, and yes, at the additional cost, “The bus will be back in the afternoon. We could still do the sunset on Mount Victoria like you wanted.”


Tara withheld a second sigh.


“Yes, okay,” she replied eventually, then shook her head, “So you just stayed in bed all day?”


“No,” Willow replied in a grumble, “I went to the convenience store on the corner to get food too. They had microwave pizzas…they’re like crack for hangovers. Thankfully they also had a microwave because the kitchenette here had grime everywhere and I think I would have poisoned myself.”


Tara thought about laughing but didn't. Instead, she stood and made a hand motion for Willow to do it too.


“Well, come on then.”


Willow frowned.


“Where are we going? I was kinda just hoping for cuddles.”


“I promise cuddles are in your future,” Tara replied, offering her hand to Willow.


Willow didn’t hesitate. She hoped she would never hesitate to take Tara’s hand ever again.


Tara led them back out to the car, double checked the backseat to make sure a small backpack was sitting there, and sat in on the driver’s side.


Willow looked over at her curiously as they buckled up.


“Did we say we were going to solve the Zodiac Killer’s ciphers last night? I keep getting flashes but I feel like that one must have been a dream.”


Tara pursed her lips to contain a laugh.


“We really wanted to…” she started, casting a teasing sidelong glance Willow’s way, “Be alone.”


Willow’s cheeks reddened.


“Did we…?”


“Sleep together?” Tara asked with a serious nod, “Oh, yes.”


Willow bit on the corner of her lip and Tara just couldn’t hold back that grin.


“I got a solid eight hours.”


Willow’s brow creased for a moment, then her eyes widened in horror.


“I passed out, didn’t I?”


“But very cutely,” Tara giggled, reaching over and pinching Willow’s cheek, “Adorable snores.”


Willow gently slapped Tara’s hand away, blushing more but smiling too.


“Stop…”


She shifted in her seat and looked at Tara apologetically.


“Sorry. For falling asleep.”


“It doesn’t matter,” Tara replied softly, “You must have been a lot drunker than I realized anyway. Definitely more than me. Though I'm not surprised. I looked up those Negronis this morning. It would punch my cider right out of the ring. Not to mention the tequila.”


Willow’s head fell softly back against the rest. She had a flash of doing the tequila shot and almost kissing Tara, then practically dry humping somewhere on the floor. She gulped and shifted her gaze uncomfortably out the window.


“My headache this morning sure said so.”


So did her wallet but she hadn't really cared.


“You’re about to relax like you’ve never relaxed before,” Tara replied, before a hint of a smirk played on her lips, “Well, apart from…”


Willow cleared her throat and sunk down more in the seat. She gazed aimlessly out the window as they drove out of the city. After thirty minutes, curiosity was getting the better of her.


They were driving down a gravel road and Willow looked around slightly alarmed by how far off the beaten track they seemed to be going. How could Tara even know where they were?


“Uh…where are we?”


“We’re at the payoff for the smell,” Tara replied cryptically and nodded over her shoulder, “Grab that backpack.”


Willow looked behind and snatched the bag. She opened it up and took out a towel wrapped up with other fabric.


“Are these our swimsuits?”


Tara just smiled.


A mile of rickety road, an awkward change in the backseat of an almost empty parking lot, and a short walk a couple of hundred meters down a bush path later, they arrived at a swimming hole with a waterfall.


The water fell into a stream with a large pool of water sitting beneath before it continued downstream in little rivulets. A canopy of trees surrounded it from the top of the waterfall, offering a covering of forest.


“Come feel the water,” Tara encouraged as she carefully walked into the natural hot spring; the water hot and relaxing on her muscles at first touch, “You’ll never be able to enjoy a regular old hot tub again.”


Willow looked around a little self-consciously at the other people enjoying the spring and waded in after Tara. It was like being wrapped in a hug that went with you and she sighed happily as her body became weightless.


Tara grinned over her shoulder.


“Worth it, right?”


Willow smiled and nodded.


“Very.”


They swam under the waterfall and Tara sat on a big rock beneath it. She splashed Willow as she passed, whose mouth hung open indignantly.


“Hey!”


She splashed Tara back and it soon descended into a back and forth punctuated with giggles raining down with the heavy flow of water.


Tara reached out after a heavy splash when Willow closed her eyes to shield them and gently pulled her toward her lap. Willow instinctively twisted away and when Tara mistook it for playing, trying to hold Willow in place until Willow forced herself away aggressively.


“Stop!”


Tara held her hands up, away from Willow.


“S-Sorry.”


“No, I…” Willow started, immediately regretful.


The waterfall sounded hollow as silence hung between them until eventually Willow went and sat beside Tara, her hands skimming the surface of the water as they twisted around in her lap.


“Do you remember learning to swim?”


Tara slowly turned her gaze to Willow.


“Do you mean getting thrown into the creek by Donny and my mom screaming at him while she waded in fully clothed to get me?”


“I kicked him but my little toes didn’t have much impact,” Willow replied through a sigh, “He burst my floaties anyway.”


She lifted her eyes.


“You said if I held your hands, your floaties would keep us both up. But I was still scared so you gave me your floaties and you held my hands instead.”


Her eyes closed and she narrowly missed letting a tear escape.


“Tara…”


“Hey…” Tara comforted softly without touching her.


Willow opened her glassy eyes and mouthed ‘I’m trying’.


‘I know’, Tara mouthed back.


Under the water, Willow’s hand found Tara’s and their fingers linked comfortably, familiarly.


Tara smiled and brought Willow directly under the waterfall so they could feel the cascading warmth directly on their shoulders, hopefully working out any tension that might be there.


In a brief lull of visitors when they had the whole pool to themselves, Willow momentarily pressed her body into Tara’s.


“This is really beautiful. You were right,” she whispered, “Definitely a close second.”


Tara returned the whisper in Willow’s ear.


“I didn’t say close.”


Tara swam away backward so Willow could see the cocky grin on her face and Willow contemplated how much this side of Tara belonged to her.


Tara didn’t grin like that for anyone else, didn’t open her body or her mind for anyone else, didn’t allow herself to be known the way Willow got to know her. That was a privilege Willow didn’t intend to lose.


She followed Tara until she was backed up against the rock wall and kissed her; just for a moment, a split second longer than a peck, but an extension of promise.


She backed away and did feel conscious of the new family sitting nearby but instead she focused on the sweet smile on Tara’s face and how that made her feel. Turned out, it was a hell of a lot stronger than a kernel of insecurity.


“Catch me if you can!” she challenged and quickly swam away.


They chased each other around, playing like kids until the family with actual children arrived in the water and they decided to let them have the pool to themselves.


Back at the car, Willow dried herself off with the towel and tossed it over to Tara.


“I feel invigorated.”


“Good word,” Tara said as she ruffled the ends of her hair.


Willow watched Tara toss her hair to one side and felt a quickening of her heartbeat.


“You are so beautiful.”


Tara stopped with the towel around her neck and smiled over the car.


“Angling for those cuddles?”


Willow’s nose scrunched happily.


“Always.”



Willow came running around the corner to the parking lot of the motel and rushed right up to Tara, who was leaning against the car.


“I’m sorry, I’m sorry the bus left late and then I got a little, kinda-sorta lost finding my way back here.”


“Why didn’t you text me?” Tara asked in frustration, “I thought you’d gotten into an accident or something. I’ve just been waiting here.”


Willow held up her phone with a dead screen.


“My phone died,” she explained, then popped the trunk and rooted through her backpack sitting amongst the other luggage, “And I left my power bank…here!”


She popped the cable into her phone, turned it back on and slammed the lid back down then sidled up to Tara, pressing a lingering kiss on her cheek.


“I’m so sorry.”


Tara was starting to pick up on the long cheek kiss of apology that Willow had started doling out, but damn if it didn’t work.


“We gotta go,” she said, but the exasperation was mock at best.


“I know, let’s do it!” Willow replied, speeding around to the passenger side, “I even pre-downloaded the map earlier so I am all ready.”


She had her belt on before Tara had even sat in.


“Jeez, Tara, come on,” she goaded, grinning as Tara shot her a withering look as she sat into the car.


She started the car and quickly got on the road for the journey down to the end of the island to get the ferry across to the South Island.


“Was the tour good at least?” Tara asked once she was settled comfortably, directions at the ready and the second of her road trip mix tapes playing in the background.


Willow smiled and nodded.


“Everything was so vibrant. I didn’t know green could be that beautiful.”


Tara’s eyes left the road for a moment to stare lovingly at Willow.


“I did.”


Willow blushed lightly but had to stare ahead without response lest that compliment completely overwhelm her.


“They, uh, showed us all the sets and the hobbit homes…then we got to go to the bar that’s in the movies and had lunch and these special drinks they brew. It was really fun.”


“I’m glad you had a nice time,” Tara replied, her sweet smile turning into a chuckle, “I would have been hearing about it for the rest of my life if we came all the way to New Zealand and you didn’t get to see the Hobbit Land.”


Willow didn’t miss the ‘rest of my life’ reference but it seemed entirely natural.


Her first memory was of Tara and she wanted her last memory to be of Tara too.


She didn’t know what might happen in between, but Tara was her constant.


Once they turned onto the highway, Willow’s eyes were closing and she was stifling yawns.


Tara noticed and reached over with her nearest hand, stroking Willow’s hair for a moment before returning it to the wheel.


“Tired, baby?”


Willow nodded.


“Too much grog.”


“Or did I wear you out last night?” Tara grinned.


Willow giggled sleepily, smiling widely but with her eyes closed.


“Definitely.”


Tara smiled fondly as some memories pushed to the forefront of her mind.


“Have a nap. We have a long time to go.”


Willow exhaled deeply, barely fighting it.


“Won’t you be bored?”


“No, I like driving. I find it peaceful,” Tara explained, “And it’s a straight stretch of road for hours, so I don’t need your expert navigation.”


There was no response so Tara glanced over.


“Will?”


Willow’s breath was even and she was slumped on the seat.


Tara brushed some hair from Willow’s eye, turned the tape down to a low hum and focused back on the road and the beautiful surroundings.


Or at least, the second most beautiful, she thought.

_________________
Amber Benson killed me once.

Check out my finished fics

The Love… Series ... Two For Joy ... Inevitable


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Oct 18th 2019)
PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2019 5:46 am 
Offline
20. Not one Much for the Timber
User avatar

Joined: Tue Sep 21, 2010 6:32 pm
Posts: 3151
Topics: 14
Location: H-Town, Texas
Dibs!

Well, this was a totally lame 'dibs' on my part because I haven't had 2 minutes all weekend to sit down to do proper feedback. Mainly because, #1...THE ASTROS ARE IN THE WORLD SERIES and #2 because THE ASTROS ARE IN THE WORLD SERIES!! :banana :eatme :banana :eatme :banana :eatme :banana


Ok, on to the feedback... *sighs* I have to err on Willow's side here. A shared bathroom is a deal-breaker for me. Sad to say, but I'd probably be whiner than Willow on this trip, lol. I want to say it's because I'm more than twice their age, but even at their age...I liked my privacy. There are probably many more reasons other than the money that is messing with Willow's head right now, like the fact she's an only child and has never had to share anything in her life. She is also WAAAAAAAYYYYYYY more uptight and high strung. I totally get where she's coming from, which is why I don't camp. Tara is more of a free spirit and more than happy to fly by the seat of her pants, whereas Willow needs a plan. Period. I'm not saying that Tara doesn't because she certainly has this trip planned, but she is more of a 'go with the flow' kinda gal.

The trip to dinner and the bar was awesome and I loved the canon Easter egg:) I love drunk Willow anywhere, anytime. I don't think the drinking is or will be an issue later. They're young and have no idea what they're limits are or should be. I think they will probably drink again but in moderation. It's a learning experience all the way around. What bugged me the most, and Tara too was the missed Lord of The Rings tour. Willow most definitely should have sucked it up and gone on the tour. Even she will have eventual monetary issues if she's not careful. I mean, I get that she has savings, but it's not endless.

The trip to the hot springs was wonderful and even though Willow had a moment's panic, it's not the end of the world and they'll move on. As I said before, hopefully, she has enough positive experiences to override the perceived negative ones.

So, now it's on to Australia! Fun!!

-JMT

_________________
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


Last edited by Finey_McFine on Mon Oct 21, 2019 8:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Oct 18th 2019)
PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2019 2:17 pm 
Offline
7. Teeny Tinkerbell Light

Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 5:33 pm
Posts: 663
Topics: 2
Location: North Carolina, USA
Great chapter. Willow's going to have to control her spending, and it seems that Willow's got to watch her alcohol consumption. The hot springs scene was nice. This is very natural and realistic. Now, waiting with 'patiently' for Tuesday...

_________________
Atlantic Antics
Meeting Expectations
Learning to Laugh


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Oct 18th 2019)
PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2019 2:43 pm 
Offline
3. Flaming O
User avatar

Joined: Sun Feb 28, 2016 9:37 am
Posts: 106
Topics: 4
Location: Pacific Northwest
this is feedback for Tuesday's update, cause I am behind. also, i am having trouble quoting, I'll try to reference correctly

that bungee jump was brave! It was lovely seeing Willow so free, both of them with arms outstretched kissing in the midst of the thrill- proud of Willow here!

damn, Tara can multi-task! with Willow being bent over the bed, and Tara calmly on the phone. She's a keeper!

Tara is so on edge about many things Willow-wise, with good reason, but it seems like all that time being patient actually built up a lot of anxiety and hurt and it is seeping out now- Willow's used to the finer things in life and Tara has this vision for how things are and aren't supposed to and can be on this adventure. and I felt for both of them when Tara brought up the girlfriend thing. She has every reason to expect Willow to shy away, but Willow has said she wants to try and it has to hurt having the person you love expecting the worst. It's human though and that makes it seem more like real life. Willow did good here though, hopefully Tara will feel more and more assured as they keep having these very needed conversations. Thanks for the journey!

_________________
You ARE Magic ~ Tara


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Oct 18th 2019)
PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2019 12:02 am 
Offline
4. Extra Flamey

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
Posts: 201
Quote:
My mom went skydiving last Christmas and broke both of her legs.

Yikes! I hope she is fully healed by now!

Quote:
Willow went into the first cubicle which she was happy to find was fairly clean compared to outside but when she was finished she found the only trace of toilet paper was a sliver the size of her pinky finger stuck to the empty roll. It wasn't surprising considering most of it seemed to be around the sinks anyway, but it was frustrating.


Not feeling like doing the cubicle shuffle in front of lipstick girl and whoever else may have walked in since she arrived, she took her phone out and brought up her chat log with Tara.

:laugh Good for Willow that she takes her phone with her when going to the restroom, I would have been lost...

I understand Willow wasn't thrilled about that place, considering your description of the bathroom. That part foreshadows more trouble:
Quote:
Willow would have to get used to these types of lodgings. The place they were in right then would probably be amongst the nicest they stayed in, anyway. It was private, for one.


I hope they will reach a compromise that Willow may use her much bigger budget to buy them at least a bit of comfort accomodation-wise, especially in countries where the cheapest places are far worse. I don't want them to stay in shabby, cockroach-infected places or "hotels" where rooms are normally rented "by the hour" just because Tara is too proud to accept "financial help" of Willow.
In the future when they both have jobs Willow will probably have a bigger income than Tara and hopefully Tara won't still be calculating with different budgets then.

Quote:
Tara reached out after a heavy splash when Willow closed her eyes to shield them and gently pulled her toward her lap. Willow instinctively twisted away and when Tara mistook it for playing, trying to hold Willow in place until Willow forced herself away aggressively.


“Stop!”


Tara held her hands up, away from Willow.


“S-Sorry.”


“No, I…” Willow started, immediately regretful.


How sad that Willow instinctively still reacts with a "flight-reflex" to intimacy in public.

Quote:
“You said if I held your hands, your floaties would keep us both up. But I was still scared so you gave me your floaties and you held my hands instead.”


Her eyes closed and she narrowly missed letting a tear escape.


“Tara…”


“Hey…” Tara comforted softly without touching her.


Willow opened her glassy eyes and mouthed ‘I’m trying’.


‘I know’, Tara mouthed back.


Under the water, Willow’s hand found Tara’s and their fingers linked comfortably, familiarly.



I have faith that with Tara's continued support Willow will break out of this shell she is trapped in when she is in public (and won't no longer need alcohol to "loosen up").

Quote:
“They, uh, showed us all the sets and the hobbit homes…then we got to go to the bar that’s in the movies and had lunch and these special drinks they brew. It was really fun.”

I'm so envious! This "Lord of the rings"-tour would have been a "must have" for me too.

Quote:
“I’m glad you had a nice time,” Tara replied, her sweet smile turning into a chuckle, “I would have been hearing about it for the rest of my life if we came all the way to New Zealand and you didn’t get to see the Hobbit Land.”


Willow didn’t miss the ‘rest of my life’ reference but it seemed entirely natural.


Her first memory was of Tara and she wanted her last memory to be of Tara too.


She didn’t know what might happen in between, but Tara was her constant.


Awww! :flower I'm so glad that Willow has fully accepted her love for Tara and that they are both determined to stay together their whole lives.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Oct 18th 2019)
PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2019 8:20 pm 
Offline
3. Flaming O
User avatar

Joined: Sun Feb 28, 2016 9:37 am
Posts: 106
Topics: 4
Location: Pacific Northwest
We get to see more of uninhibited Willow, what's underneath. Unfortunately she can't be drunk all the time. baby steps.

Quote:
Willow opened her glassy eyes and mouthed ‘I’m trying’.


‘I know’, Tara mouthed back.


I really like the intimacy and preciousness of them just mouthing the words. powerful choice.

Quote:
too much grog

:laugh :laugh nice play on an easter egg!! haha!

I am dreading a blow up from Tara, she is carrying around too much frustration. Maybe it won't happen though, Willow is getting more and more sure and as importantly, more honest

_________________
You ARE Magic ~ Tara


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Oct 18th 2019)
PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2019 6:00 am 
Offline
Ms. Moderator Fantastico
Ms. Moderator Fantastico
User avatar

Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 1:22 pm
Posts: 4127
Topics: 36
Location: Ireland
Finey_McFine

Quote:
Dibs!

Well, this was a totally lame 'dibs' on my part because I haven't had 2 minutes all weekend to sit down to do proper feedback. Mainly because, #1...THE ASTROS ARE IN THE WORLD SERIES and #2 because THE ASTROS ARE IN THE WORLD SERIES!! :banana :eatme :banana :eatme :banana :eatme


:banana yay yay yay :banana

I know how much that means to you and I'm so happy for you!

Quote:
Ok, on to the feedback... *sighs* I have to err on Willow's side here. A shared bathroom is a deal-breaker for me. Sad to say, but I'd probably be whiner than Willow on this trip, lol. I want to say it's because I'm more than twice their age, but even at their age...I liked my privacy.


For the record, I'm 100% with you. I don't share bathrooms either. I don't do hostels. It's way too far outside of my comfort zone. HOWEVER they are on a year long trip and the difference in cost is huge and they are also kids who can handle a shared bathroom (don't forget, college is a similar set up) I personally would never go on this kind of trip for those exact reasons. They, on the other hand, are already there...

Quote:
There are probably many more reasons other than the money that is messing with Willow's head right now, like the fact she's an only child and has never had to share anything in her life. She is also WAAAAAAAYYYYYYY more uptight and high strung. I totally get where she's coming from, which is why I don't camp.


This is all also so true (and also why I don't camp :laugh god I hate camping)

Another point is, not only are there more reasons for Willow, there's more reasons for Tara too. She's come to experience the backpacker life. That's what she's been planning and looking forward to for years. She's worked for years to have the money to be able to do it. It's so much more precious to her (who'd never been on a plane before) than to Willow (who'd never been in coach before)

Quote:
Tara is more of a free spirit and more than happy to fly by the seat of her pants, whereas Willow needs a plan. Period. I'm not saying that Tara doesn't because she certainly has this trip planned, but she is more of a 'go with the flow' kinda gal.


She kind of has classic Poor Kid Syndrome (of which I am familiar) where you accept what you can afford without argument because you know even if more money is available that it's needed for something else. So even Willow saying 'hey, I'll pay the extra 50 bucks!' she doesn't want to feel responsible for that extra money. Ourselves and our relationship to money really informs a lot of our interactions with people (it's why money is one of the number one causes of divorce!) so it's not a simple matter of just saying 'Oh okay' without there being more to work through.

Quote:
The trip to dinner and the bar was awesome and I loved the canon Easter egg:) I love drunk Willow anywhere, anytime. I don't think the drinking is or will be an issue later. They're young and have no idea what they're limits are or should be. I think they will probably drink again but in moderation. It's a learning experience all the way around.


100% with you here. Also just the learning of powering through a hangover.

Quote:
What bugged me the most, and Tara too was the missed Lord of The Rings tour. Willow most definitely should have sucked it up and gone on the tour. Even she will have eventual monetary issues if she's not careful. I mean, I get that she has savings, but it's not endless.


YUP see above. It's wasteful on money, time, etc. She's never really answered to anyone (being left alone so often) so she's had the freedom to be self-indulgent. A sure fire way to lose that attitude is backpacking around the world :)

Quote:
The trip to the hot springs was wonderful and even though Willow had a moment's panic, it's not the end of the world and they'll move on. As I said before, hopefully, she has enough positive experiences to override the perceived negative ones.


Oh she will, no doubt. No doubt.

Quote:
So, now it's on to Australia! Fun!!


Soon, soon!

Thanks for your feedback!

taranwillow4ever

Quote:
Great chapter. Willow's going to have to control her spending, and it seems that Willow's got to watch her alcohol consumption.


Spending, yes, though she doesn't really know that yet because Tara hasn't said anything to tell her how she's feeling. And alcohol, depends on what you mean. She's 18 and getting a first taste of freedom and legally consuming alcohol so I don't think she's going overboard in that sense. But letting hangovers lose entire days of their trip? Not gonna work.

Quote:
The hot springs scene was nice. This is very natural and realistic.


Thank you! I hope so, I'm trying to portray their journey as realistically as I can.

Quote:
Now, waiting with 'patiently' for Tuesday...


It's here! :D

Thanks for commenting!

shirrey

Quote:
that bungee jump was brave! It was lovely seeing Willow so free, both of them with arms outstretched kissing in the midst of the thrill- proud of Willow here!


I'm proud of her too! She jumped off that ledge she talked about with Tara.

Quote:
damn, Tara can multi-task! with Willow being bent over the bed, and Tara calmly on the phone. She's a keeper!


I think we already knew that :wink Tara has lots of multi-tasking practice with her music.

Quote:
Tara is so on edge about many things Willow-wise, with good reason, but it seems like all that time being patient actually built up a lot of anxiety and hurt and it is seeping out now- Willow's used to the finer things in life and Tara has this vision for how things are and aren't supposed to and can be on this adventure.


You've nailed it. She's been so 'saintly' that it's actually harmful to herself AND their relationship because it's completely unbalanced. They're definitely going to have to work that out.

Quote:
and I felt for both of them when Tara brought up the girlfriend thing. She has every reason to expect Willow to shy away, but Willow has said she wants to try and it has to hurt having the person you love expecting the worst. It's human though and that makes it seem more like real life. Willow did good here though, hopefully Tara will feel more and more assured as they keep having these very needed conversations. Thanks for the journey!


Willow did great and it's a huge shift for her as well to actively think of Tara as her girlfriend, to have that shift in her perspective so she can start treating it like a real relationship. And she also feels like Tara is the only one who has ever truly seen her - so to have some of those negatives reflected back DOES hurt. And also shows her where she needs to grow.

Quote:
We get to see more of uninhibited Willow, what's underneath. Unfortunately she can't be drunk all the time. baby steps.


Baby steps but always forward!

Quote:
I really like the intimacy and preciousness of them just mouthing the words. powerful choice.


One of, if not my total, favorite W/T scenes in the whole show is when Willow mouths 'I love you' to Tara during The Body. It's, like you say, so intimate and precious. It's one of those scenes that really motivates me when I envision their closeness, particularly in private (also 'down to every last thing I do with you')

Quote:
:laugh :laugh nice play on an easter egg!! haha!


Thank you :laugh

Quote:
I am dreading a blow up from Tara, she is carrying around too much frustration. Maybe it won't happen though,


Image

Quote:
Willow is getting more and more sure and as importantly, more honest


She is. And it's so important.

Thanks for your feedback!

Will's redemption

Quote:
Yikes! I hope she is fully healed by now!


She is, but it was a long journey!

Quote:
:laugh Good for Willow that she takes her phone with her when going to the restroom, I would have been lost...


I think most people do :laugh (mostly just because it's in their pocket)

Quote:
I understand Willow wasn't thrilled about that place, considering your description of the bathroom. That part foreshadows more trouble:

I hope they will reach a compromise that Willow may use her much bigger budget to buy them at least a bit of comfort accomodation-wise, especially in countries where the cheapest places are far worse. I don't want them to stay in shabby, cockroach-infected places or "hotels" where rooms are normally rented "by the hour" just because Tara is too proud to accept "financial help" of Willow.


It's definitely a back-and-forth they're going to have to figure out. Probably not even in one conversation, it's an ongoing thing because money is such a sensitive issue. It's a whole year of balancing an aspect of their friend/relationship that they've never had to before.

Quote:
In the future when they both have jobs Willow will probably have a bigger income than Tara and hopefully Tara won't still be calculating with different budgets then.


I...would not make that assumption :wink (though when they're at that point I do think it's a different dynamic as they would have years of relationship experience under their belts and living together in a more 'traditional' sense.)

Quote:
How sad that Willow instinctively still reacts with a "flight-reflex" to intimacy in public.


She's broken it into herself so hard. But she'll get there!

Quote:
I have faith that with Tara's continued support Willow will break out of this shell she is trapped in when she is in public (and won't no longer need alcohol to "loosen up").


I agree!

Quote:
I'm so envious! This "Lord of the rings"-tour would have been a "must have" for me too.


It was never a fandom I was in, but the research I did for this fic blew me away! It truly does look amazing, on the scenery alone.

Quote:
Awww! :flower I'm so glad that Willow has fully accepted her love for Tara and that they are both determined to stay together their whole lives.


You can expect nothing less from me :wink

Thanks for your feedback!



Update Directly Below

_________________
Amber Benson killed me once.

Check out my finished fics

The Love… Series ... Two For Joy ... Inevitable


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Oct 18th 2019)
PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2019 6:00 am 
Offline
Ms. Moderator Fantastico
Ms. Moderator Fantastico
User avatar

Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 1:22 pm
Posts: 4127
Topics: 36
Location: Ireland
CHAPTER RATING: PG-13

Chapter 22



Wellington



We Push And Pull Like A Magnet Do



Willow stayed in dreamland curled up on the passenger seat, imagining sunset on the hill with Tara's arm around her.


The road was smooth and so she wasn’t woken until the repeated, and eventually annoying, ping of a phone indicating incoming messages kept bouncing around the small car.


Her neck rolled to the side as her eyes opened and she lifted her hand to massage the cramp that was forming there.


The sun had moved since last Willow had last seen it and the highway had narrowed to two lanes. It was far less busy — deserted almost.


“Hey sleepyhead,” Tara greeted enthusiastically, maybe slightly bored after all of the silence, “I was going to have to wake you soon. You’ve been asleep for hours. I saw the most amazing cloud, it was huge, just a big circle but the sun was sitting right behind it so it was lit up like a giant flaming O.”


Tara smiled awkwardly when Willow didn’t respond straight away.


“Maybe you had to be there.”


“No, it sounds cool,” Willow replied quickly, then frowned when that annoying ping went off again, “Is that your phone that keeps going off? It’s not mine.”


Tara nodded.


“Yes, sorry. You can mute it if you want.”


Willow sat up, momentarily choking herself on the belt she forgot was there. She picked up Tara’s phone from where it was sitting in the cup holder between them.


She opened the screen to mute it and watched as another message came in.


“Anya?” she read and looked at Tara bewildered, “As in Xander’s…plaything Anya?”


“Xander’s girlfriend, yes,” Tara answered, slightly pointed.


Willow stared at Tara’s phone, then back up, utterly confused.


“…why is she texting you? Why does she have your number?”


Tara inhaled and exhaled the same even breath slowly.


“We’re friends. She likes to get my opinion on a lot of things.”


Willow’s eyebrows lifted right up into her hairlines.


“You’re…friends? Actual friends?”


“Not like you and I are ‘friends’,” Tara clarified.


Willow’s mouth dropped open.


“Why would you even say that?!”


“You have a history of being confused by that term,” Tara replied, tongue-in-cheek, which swiftly turned defensive with a quick glance toward the look on Willow’s face, “I’m joking.”


Willow’s arms settled tightly across her chest.


“Well apparently being friends with Anya does nothing for your humor,” she muttered, but loud enough. She knew it was loud enough.


Tara’s jaw clenched and her hands tightened on the wheel. Willow wasn't one to insult her. It really got her goat; another thing she wasn't used to experiencing, unless it was around Donny.


“Wow,” she breathed.


“What?” Willow snapped.


“Nothing,” Tara replied with elongated annoyance, “Absolutely nothing.”


Pained silence hung where it had once been peaceful and lingered for a few tense seconds.


“You know, you are so jealous,” Tara exploded from nowhere, although in reality it was many years a-coming. Her chest visibly heaving with anger while her eyes remained hyper-focused ahead, “You’ve always been jealous of every meaningful friendship I’ve ever had. I avoided making other friends just to be open to whatever emotional whim you couldn’t deal with next.”


Willow scoffed derisively.


“Oh, I’m sorry I’m disrupting your ‘meaningful’ friendship with Anya, the woman who knows nothing but her own baser sexual instinct and how to use the pages from ‘Tact for Dummies’ as fire kindling.”


“You must have learned from her because ‘tactful’ is the last word I’d use to describe you right now,” Tara retorted harshly and tensed up everywhere.


She wasn’t a confrontational person, especially with Willow.


Willow’s lips pressed so tightly together they almost disappeared and her eyes stayed peeled angrily. She shook her head several times before throwing her hands in the air.


“What is this?! We don’t ever fight and now we’re fighting over Xander’s stupid girlfriend?!”


Tara blinked heavily.


“She’s not stupid, she’s my friend.”


Willow just turned her body as best she could to angle her back to Tara and allow herself to watch the rolling hills outside the window.


A little while later, her own phone buzzed between her legs, startling her slightly. She checked the screen quickly and instantly paled.


She glanced over her shoulder, and then fully, at Tara, whose knuckles had barely loosened their grip on the wheel.


She gulped and bit on her lower lip.


“You’re going to hate me.”


Tara’s fingers straightened out for a moment before she adopted a looser hold and she heaved out a breath of release.


“Willow, I don’t hate you, I love you, I just—”


“We missed the exit,” Willow blurted quickly.


Tara’s head snapped toward Willow.


“Are you kidding me?” she raged, her face turning red in contrast to Willow’s white, “All you had to do was tell me when to turn off. It’s all you had to do!”


Willow blanched at the harsh tone.


“Why are you being like this?! This isn’t you, this isn’t—”


“What?!” Tara challenged loudly.


Willow’s mouth opened to yell back but then she suddenly saw a blur of color from the corner of her eye.


“Tara!” she screamed, looking ahead in horror.


Tara’s gaze quickly averted to where Willow’s was and she spotted a single red car sitting motionless as Tara barreled toward it, having veered naturally to the position she was used to driving in when her concentration had been diverted.


The woman behind the wheel was just staring in shock with the car stalled and Tara just narrowly missed her by swerving back into her lane, luckily with no other vehicles to avoid.


Willow clutched her chest as her heart beat wildly out of her chest.


She swallowed a jab about Tara calling her a bad driver as they pulled over into the shoulder. She heard the skid of the other car as it got the hell away from them and watched Tara’s head drop onto the wheel.


She was visibly shaking.


Willow wasn’t sure if a comforting hand would be a help or a hindrance, so she kept her arms to herself and her mouth shut.


Eventually, Tara lifted her head and her eyes were clearly full of unshed tears.


“How long will it take us to loop?”


Willow blinked several times to process, then picked up her phone in a daze and looked at the re-routing options.


“Um, there’s traffic…m-maybe an hour or more.”


Tara exhaled a slow breath.


“We’re going to miss the boat.”


“There’s another late night one,” Willow replied softly, having already anticipated the problem and checked in the moments since, “Hey, we’ll save money not having to stay anywhere tonight.”


“Fine, whatever,” Tara replied, not curt but exhausted, “Just find the nearest place I can get a coffee.”


Willow nodded silently and did a quick search on the map app.


“The next exit is less than a mile. There’s a gas station right off it.”


Tara turned the engine back on, swiped at her eyes and pulled back into the lane once a couple of oncoming cars had passed and left the road plenty clear for her.


She kept watch for the exit but Willow did quietly tell her when to turn and where to find the gas station.


Tara parked and stepped out of the car, but when Willow tried to follow she found Tara had locked her in. She banged on the window.


“Seriously, Tara?!”


Tara turned, looked at her for a moment, then pressed the unlock button. The shaken look on her face made Willow think maybe it hadn’t been intentional.


Willow let herself out, took in a long breath of air and walked around to the other side of the car where Tara was trying to pump gas. She was fighting with the pump and losing so Willow put her hand gently on top of Tara’s and took the head.


“I got it,” she said softly, “It’s okay.”


Tara wordlessly handed the keys over and went into the store, getting an unlidded cup of black coffee and sitting down in the seating area with her head in her hands.


A few minutes later, Willow followed. She paid for the gas and soda for herself and went to sit opposite Tara at the small square table. She was hungry but she didn’t want to just scoff something in front of Tara like this. Even if it seemed like a long, long time since lunch at The Green Dragon Inn.


Tara finished her coffee and seemed to come together more, color returning to her cheeks and the shake in her fingers steadying.


Willow reached across and cautiously held Tara’s arm, her hand sliding down to link their fingers. Tara closed her hand in Willow’s and hung on, taking some strength from it.


“Do you want anything to eat?” Willow asked after a moment, and not just for her own gratification. Tara had been driving for hours, “They have a sandwich bar and a hot food section too.”


Tara nodded.


“Yeah, okay. Will you just pick something out for me?”


“Sure,” Willow agreed, squeezing Tara’s hand before letting go.


She returned minutes later with a tray and placed one of them in front of Tara along with a can of cherry cola.


“Lasagna okay? I got it with a side salad.”


“Thanks,” Tara replied, picking up the packet with a napkin and plastic utensils.


Willow frowned and held the other plate up.


“You can have my BLT if you want. I don’t mind.”


“No, this is great,” Tara replied, trying to offer a weak smile, “Thank you. I’m starving.”


“I figured,” Willow nodded, “Well there’s no rush so…take your time. Level out that blood sugar.”


Tara cut up her lasagna but was distracted. After a minute, she looked back up at Willow, eyes welled.


“Willow, I’m so sorry. I almost—”


Willow reached back over and took Tara’s hand.


“Everything is okay. We’re okay. No one was hurt, the car is fine. Everything is okay.”


Tara cracked the can on her soda, both wishing and thankful that it wasn’t something stronger, and downed half of it in one go.


“I bet you’d be great at beer pong,” Willow commented with a smile.


Tara smiled too and finally paid proper attention to her food.


They both ate slowly but hungrily, focused on eating and feeling more human.


“This is way better than the last gas station meal I had,” Willow commented as she scrunched up her nose, “I learned the hard way that sushi should never have a use by date seven days in the future. And also that use by dates lie.”


“Hard to give sympathy for that one,” Tara replied, a more real crooked smile venturing out on her face.


“Fair,” Willow replied wryly.


By the time they were heading back to the car, it was dark and Willow was worried.


“Do you want me to drive?”


Tara shook her head.


“You’re not on the insurance.”


Willow nodded slowly.


“Are you okay?”


Tara nodded back.


“Yeah, I’m okay.”


Willow tossed her the keys and Tara opened the car for them. Once they sat in, they figured out the best way to get back toward the city.


“We missed sunset,” Willow said guiltily, “We’ll still have time to kill once we get back on the right road. I could look for somewhere to hang out for a while?”


Tara sighed tiredly.


“I read that the cars line up early for the boat, so I think we should just go there. We can sleep quicker if we’re first on. We’ll just be sitting around anyway.”


“Yeah, that sounds good. Wind down,” Willow agreed, “And I just got us more snacks and drinks in there in case we need them.”


Tara just reached over and briefly squeezed Willow’s thigh, before turning the car back on and setting off again.


Willow couldn't quite smile, but did feel comforted by the interaction.



Tara drove with great care as they slowly navigated the night streets once they finally arrived at Wellington and over to the harbor.


She was hyper-aware of her position on the road, her eyes peeled and tiring quickly.


She barely saw any of the city she'd hoped to spend the evening in but they would have to pay extra if they didn't return this car on time so there was no option to stretch another night out of it.


At the very least, the drive along the harbor offered some scenic beauty to take with them.


“Wow, it’s beautiful,” Willow commented as they drove toward the docking station on the water, “Look at that reflection of the moon.”


“Stunning,” Tara agreed, the weariness evident in her voice.


She would have happily used the wheel as a pillow at that point but just about managed to keep her eyes open long enough to check them in on the ferry and get the car secured on the lower deck.


Upstairs there was inside and outside seating, and Tara just collapsed into the first chair she found inside. The chairs were reminiscent of airplane seating, but there was more leg room and she was asleep in seconds as soon as her body stretched out.


Willow took off her own sweater and put it over Tara, holding onto her own arms for warmth as the sea breeze gusted through the open doors. As more people got on board, staff started giving out blankets and Willow got one for each of them.


She sat beside Tara and rested her head back so she could look sideways at Tara’s face. Her tired lines evened out leaving her skin clear and unblemished with worry.


She looked so soft.


She always had.


Willow remembered being a small child and nuzzling into Tara’s neck at sleepovers because she was softer than any blanket. It had made Tara giggle, then.


She still giggled now, Willow thought, when her head lost itself in Tara’s neck.


So much had changed, yet so much stayed the same.


She’d always been drawn to Tara and she was an idiot to think she could ever deny it.


“I’m sorry,” she said, quieter than a whisper and took a fistful of blanket for something to hold onto as she gazed out the large windows to the outside deck.


Tara woke a few hours later, barely remembering falling asleep, to a much fuller but pretty silent cabin. Someone was brushing their fingers against her cheek and she was very grateful to see it was Willow when her eyes finally focused.


“Are we there?” she asked gruffly, lifting her head to get her bearings.


“Not quite,” Willow replied quietly, then offered her hand, “Come with me?”


Tara wanted to take every second of sleep she could get.


“Will…”


“Please?” Willow pleaded hopefully.


Tara couldn’t refuse and started to stand up, catching the blanket and Willow’s sweater sitting underneath it before it fell to the floor. She looked at it in confusion.


“Why do I have your sweater?” she asked, looking up at Willow, “And why don’t you have a blanket? It’s freez—”


Willow put a finger against Tara’s lips but accepted the blanket back and covered herself with it. Most everyone else was sleeping or playing on their phones but a few people were already sitting on the outside deck in the twilight. Willow led them past them and to a little spot near the bow where she’d laid her blanket out for them to sit.


“I know it’s not sunset…” Willow said apologetically, “And I know it’s not on top of a mountain…”


Tara glanced out over the water and the alpine landscape beginning to show against the horizon of the rising sun. She realized why Willow had woken her and briefly brushed Willow’s thigh affectionately.


“I’ve always preferred sunrise anyway.”


Willow smiled and snuggled into Tara’s side. Tara put her arm over Willow’s shoulders and they just watched the gradual ascent of the sun and its glistening reflection in the water.


“About…before,” Willow said when she thought they’d both woken up enough to talk, “I was being a jerk. I just…”


She stopped and sighed.


“I don’t get it. She just seems so…not you. But friendships are weird; lots of people would say mine are too. And I never want to stand in the way of you having a friend. I never knew that I was.”


Tara sighed too.


“It’s not your fault that I made certain choices,” she said, shaking her head to herself, “And it wasn’t like I…I didn’t think ‘oh I can’t talk to this person in case Willow gets jealous’.”


Willow turned to look up at Tara.


“What was it? So I understand.”


“You know, I don’t even know. It wasn’t conscious,” Tara replied, biting her lip as her eyes glazed for a moment, “I guess so much of our history has been sub-conscious.”


She was quiet and pensive before speaking again.


“When we started school and got put in different classes, I was so upset. I got into the habit of waiting for you to come out at recess but you would always stay in. You had that special job, what was it?”


Willow pursed her lips guiltily.


“Teacher’s Helper.”


“That’s the one,” Tara nodded, “I guess I left it too long because then everyone’s friend groups were formed. And then the years just passed and even when the teachers intervened and told the kids to talk to me, I was too shy to talk back.”


Willow’s brow creased.


“You were never shy like that with me, I never…“ she said helplessly, “And you never said anything. At home.”


Tara just smiled.


“Home had you. I was always happy when I was around you,” she said sincerely, “And things changed in high school.”


Willow nodded slowly.


“They sure did.”


Tara glanced upward for a moment, thoughtful, then back down to Willow.


“Y’know, I didn’t hold back socially because I needed to be available to you…I held back because I wanted to be available to you. When I thought all friendships were supposed to feel like you…there could just never be a comparison. It was only when I realized how I really felt about you that I could value other friendships.”


Willow frowned as she thought about how she’d taken the literal opposite approach with Xander and how she’d messed them all around in the process.


“Teacher’s Helper wasn’t a real job,” she blurted, then looked away embarrassed, “I made it up. I needed an excuse to not come outside.”


Tara silently offered her time to continue and Willow felt like her stomach was being dragged up through her throat as a vivid memory played out in her mind.


Tears pricked and she felt like a child again, that child. She looked away to hide it.


“I think I called you my girl-boyfriend or something to that effect and Cordelia picked up on it,” she said with such contrasting casualness she may as well have been talking about the weather, “Thus started her bullying career.”


Tara, of course, heard even the barest quiver in Willow’s voice and silently held her tighter without demanding anything.


“So you were protecting me from her?” she asked softly.


Willow scoffed.


“You know, even a few weeks ago I would have let you believe that to give myself an ego boost,” she said self-deprecatingly, “But no. I was protecting myself.”


She bit her bottom lip so hard it almost bled.


“I remember her laughing at me so vividly, remember wanting to run away,” she said, her breathing growing gradually heavier, “Remember feeling so ashamed because ‘Willow wants to marry a girl’.”


Immediately Tara was hit with the heaviness of Willow’s words and how it made so many things suddenly click into place; like opening the doorway to a part of Willow’s soul she’d never seen before and getting hit with the weight of everything inside before she could walk through.


“Oh, Will,” she said on an exhale, her eyes closing but her arm remaining strong.


Willow blinked several times, slightly stunned by how she was feeling. She’d buried that so much so that no one could hurt her more with it, but sharing it with Tara made her feel like a weight was lifted. Now when she remembered she could see it happening, but all she felt was Tara’s arm wrapped around her, keeping her safe.


This had gone so wildly away from what she intended when she asked Tara to sit outside with her.


“So, um, what I’m saying is,” she said with a monstrous clearing of her throat, “If Anya is your friend, then I support that.”


Tara inhaled, taking in all of the information that had been shared and exhaling the emotion.


“Thank you.”


“And let’s let the cute robot voice guide us from now on,” Willow suggested, finally turning her head back to Tara with a smile.


Tara tenderly kissed the corner of Willow’s mouth, a discreet move that couldn’t be picked up by anyone even if they were looking their way.


“I think that’s best.”


Willow noted the respectful gesture and how Tara had made it feel so intimate. She turned her head in the crook of Tara’s neck. She nuzzled and Tara giggled quietly.


Willow smiled.


“Go get some more sleep?”


Tara shook her head.


“No. Let’s ride it out together.”


Willow opened her mouth to speak right as a ray of light lit up Tara’s face and shone on her like she was heaven-sent.


“Baby,” she said almost imperceptibly, “You… light up my world like nobody else. I hope…I hope you know that. Even when I’m…”


She swallowed and Tara just smiled.


“It’s nice to hear.”


Willow nodded, understanding.


She settled against Tara’s side and watched the rest of the sunrise as it played out across the face of the woman she loved.


She thought she might finally be ready to stop being ashamed of it.

_________________
Amber Benson killed me once.

Check out my finished fics

The Love… Series ... Two For Joy ... Inevitable


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Oct 22nd 2019)
PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2019 8:19 am 
Offline
4. Extra Flamey

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
Posts: 201
Dibs! :whip

Their fight was painful to read. I can understand that for Willow Tara's sudden aggresiveness came "out of left field", but obviously Tara had reached breaking point from all the frustration and hurt she hid from Willow for so long. Then them almost ending up in a car-crash put everything in perspective again, making both realize that their quarrel about Tara's (unexpected) friendship with Anya and Willow's negative reaction to it are really minor problems.

And again Willow proved that in a "real-life" crisis she is there for Tara, helping her overcome her shock.

Quote:
Willow led them past them and to a little spot near the bow where she’d laid her blanket out for them to sit.


“I know it’s not sunset…” Willow said apologetically, “And I know it’s not on top of a mountain…”


Tara glanced out over the water and the alpine landscape beginning to show against the horizon of the rising sun. She realized why Willow had woken her and briefly brushed Willow’s thigh affectionately.


“I’ve always preferred sunrise anyway.”


Willow smiled and snuggled into Tara’s side. Tara put her arm over Willow’s shoulders and they just watched the gradual ascent of the sun and its glistening reflection in the water.


I loved that romantic gesture of Willow!

Their conversation afterwards was very important for their relationship, both of them revealing "secrets" about their past to each other. I'm glad that Willow told Tara the truth about her avoiding interaction with Tara in public from such an early age and the reason for it. I trust that it will renew Tara's patient understanding of Willow's avoidance of intimacy in public.

Quote:
“I remember her laughing at me so vividly, remember wanting to run away,” she said, her breathing growing gradually heavier, “Remember feeling so ashamed because ‘Willow wants to marry a girl’.”


Immediately Tara was hit with the heaviness of Willow’s words and how it made so many things suddenly click into place; like opening the doorway to a part of Willow’s soul she’d never seen before and getting hit with the weight of everything inside before she could walk through.


“Oh, Will,” she said on an exhale, her eyes closing but her arm remaining strong.


Willow blinked several times, slightly stunned by how she was feeling. She’d buried that so much so that no one could hurt her more with it, but sharing it with Tara made her feel like a weight was lifted. Now when she remembered she could see it happening, but all she felt was Tara’s arm wrapped around her, keeping her safe.



I'm sure this is a big step to freeing Willow of the kind of trauma that began that fateful first day of kindergarten.

Quote:
Willow opened her mouth to speak right as a ray of light lit up Tara’s face and shone on her like she was heaven-sent.


“Baby,” she said almost imperceptibly, “You… light up my world like nobody else. I hope…I hope you know that. Even when I’m…”


She swallowed and Tara just smiled.


“It’s nice to hear.”


Willow nodded, understanding.


She settled against Tara’s side and watched the rest of the sunrise as it played out across the face of the woman she loved.


She thought she might finally be ready to stop being ashamed of it.


:flower Beautiful chapter-ending!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Oct 22nd 2019)
PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2019 8:32 am 
Offline
10. Troll Hammer

Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2005 1:08 pm
Posts: 1135
Topics: 1
Location: Easton PA
Re this chapter - I am *so* glad they've made some real progress via this battle. (At first, first only it reminded me painfully of the arguments in my marriage, which never settled a damn thing. Sorry, my stuff.) I know there are a million "mental miles" for them left to cover, but a step forward is a step forward. And I can empathize with going on trips and missing things:-(. It's not really the same, but Willow's issues with Anya here reminded me of their disconnects in "Neverland."

A few trivial things form earlier chapters; as a big fan of Cordy in Go Fish, Becoming, Homecoming, Graduation Day and on Angel, it hurts to see Cordy a t what should have been S-3 acting like S-1. Maybe she'll land a sitcom:-).

Dickie Babcock: Reminds of the line form *Voyage Of the 'Dawn Treader'"; "Once there was a boy named Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it."

Two minor egotistical remarks (and, no I am *not* comparing Willow's deep existential thoughts and feelings to my own tiny little incidents, I just enjoy comparing superficial correspondences.) Their metaphorical thoughts after consummating their relationship reminded me of a bit of internal monologue I'd written back in the 90s for a fictional character who had just completed his Initial Gay Experience, thinking "I had never felt more naked, and it was wonderful." Of course, your story I assume has the advantage of being based on real events.
As for Willow's nervously looking around to see if people were looking at them, first the personal reaction tot the story, I'm so glad she realized that nobody in those parts of NZ was bothered by them. I know it'll be different in some places!
But trivially, it reminded me of the one time I actually had a date with an African-American woman. I knew about how some people would pursue a someone of a different race but then be nervous about being seen with them. and a bout how others, superficially "radical chic" types, who date interracially precisely because they want to shock a nd be stared at by others. I always thought both w ere ridiculous. And then we had gone about the first two blocks from the parking lot to the theatre, and I was mortified to realize, all two blocks my head had been swiveling, unconsciously but I still felt bad about it.

_________________
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.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 115 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4

All times are UTC - 8 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  

W/T Love 24/7 since July 2000
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group