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Chapter 46: Quiet Early Mornings

Willow was sleeping, happily entangled in Tara's arms with her head resting on the blonde's bare chest. Tara shifted to get comfortable causing Willow to wiggle closer. This tiny bit of movement was just enough to rouse Willow and spark her dream babble.

"It's my turn," the redhead whined, "Hunter, get off the swing…my turn," Willow whined.

"Shhhh," Tara hushed her, twisting her head and leaving a soft kiss in her hair.

"Ermmhmmm, I said get off. Rach, tell him it's MY turn," Willow squirmed and tossed a leg over Tara's hip into the security of her lover.

"Will," Tara whispered, her voice raspy with sleep, "S'ok baby, just a dream." Tara was not fully awake, but was getting so used to soothing Willow out of her babbly dreams, that she was literally doing it in her sleep.

"Mnhmm," Tara moaned deeply. The knee that Willow had thrown across Tara was now pressing into her center and Tara was waking quickly. She started to caress Willow's back and gently bucked her hips into Willow's wonderful knee.

Willow whimpered slightly, feeling Tara's hands on her and turned her head upward; placing tiny butterfly kisses on Tara's neck.

"Ummhmm, love Willow kisses…" Tara groaned seductively, sounding more coherent as she pulled Willow on top of her.

As Willow was edging closer to full consciousness, she found herself grinding into Tara's leg that was now nestled into her ever-moistening center. She shifted and pressed her lips to Tara's, sliding her hand up the blonde's side and cupping her full breast. Willow instantly began moving her thumb across Tara's nipple in slow, deliberate circles. She took great pleasure in the way Tara responded; how she trembled and moaned and arched her back. Willow loved knowing it was all because of her. The redhead's eyes finally fluttered open, as she wanted to enjoy all of Tara's reactions.

Tara couldn't get enough of Willow, her hands running the length of Willow's back and coming to rest on her firm ass. Tara squeezed and pulled Willow closer, roughly grinding herself against her girlfriend's muscled thigh. Tara moaned at the sensation and passionately kissed Willow harder. She finally broke the kiss; turning her head to attack the delicate freckled skin of Willow's neck. She sucked hard and elicited the most wonderful groan from Willow.

"I love you," Tara said huskily, pulling away from Willow's neck and capturing Willow's lips in a long languid kiss.

Willow's breathing was becoming ragged and she moaned as her girlfriend's tongue entered her mouth. Their tongues swirling in a delicate dance as Willow flipped them over, with Tara now on top. Their breasts pressing firmly together, their legs intertwined as they instantly began to rub against each other.

After several minutes, Tara broke the kiss and began to slither down Willow's body into a kneeling position between her legs. Tara ran her hands up Willow's thighs; gently teasing her center with outstretched thumbs. She kept her eyes locked intensely on Willow. The girl looked incredibly sexy, lying with her arms out stretched above her head; Tara wanted to see the redhead's every move. Willow was becoming increasingly aroused and began to squirm as the delicious tension built. Tara finally succumbed to the allure of Willow's warm center; spreading her girlfriend's legs, she stretched out and nestled comfortably between them. She looked up at Willow, smiling warmly before pressing her tongue through the beckoning wetness.

Tara continued to tease Willow, using her tongue to penetrate her girlfriend, then lightly flicking it across her swollen clit. "Tara!" Willow gasped, as she felt Tara work her magic. The blonde smiled as Willow's fingers entangled her hair. She continued to flick her tongue across the stiffened nub, each time increasing the pressure. Tara pushed Willow's legs further apart and used her thumbs to spread the folds wider as she increased the speed of her tongue.

Willow's grip on her head tightened and her hips bucked rapidly as her entire body began to shake and convulse uncontrollably. "Oh God…Oh Tara!" Willow shouted, pressing Tara's head downward and groaning deeply as her world exploded and she spiraled into an abyss of pure pleasure.

Tara released a satisfied moan as she rode out Willow's orgasm; reveling in the feeling of her girlfriend's clit throbbing against her tongue. She was loving every minute of this; the intensity of their lovemaking; loving her sweet taste and simply loving Willow.

When Willow finally recovered, she noticed that Tara was next to her and snuggling against her. She turned and pressed a kiss to Tara's lips, "I love you, my Tara…"

Tara smiled in response and brushed the sweaty hair from Willow's face, "Good morning my Willow…I love you too."

"Mmhmm, definitely a good morning," Willow breathed, before rolling on top of Tara, suddenly very eager to show Tara exactly how much she lover her.

The girls spent the rest of the early morning making love to one another and drifting in and out of sleep. They were caught up in their own world, their mutual bond growing ever stronger.

They snuggled close, facing each other while Tara lazily traced a finger along Willow's hairline, "You have the sexiest widow's peak," she whispered. Willow glanced at Tara and arched her eyebrows. "I'm serious," Tara said as she continued the idle tracing, "It…it's you; unique and one of the things I love about you."

Willow began to blush, "What other things do you love?"

"Hmm, I love your luscious lips," Tara said as she traced Willow's lips. "I love your adorable freckles," The blonde ran the pad of her index finger down the bridge of Willow's nose. "And your eyes..." She finished as she kissed Willow gently.

Willow gazed dreamily at her lover, "I love you, Tara," Kissing her lightly before continuing, "I love your sexy half smile and the way you bite your bottom lip when your lost in thought, and your touch..." Willow kissed Tara on the cheek, "But most of all…I love that you love me."

Tara swallowed hard and closed her eyes, but it wasn't in time and a lone tear dripped down her cheek. Willow smiled sweetly and wiped the tear away, gently kissing her again. Nothing else was said as they lay forehead to forehead and drifted off to sleep.

A couple hours later the shrill ring of Willow's cell awakened them. Willow grunted as she slapped her hand around on the nightstand, blindly trying to locate her phone.

"Hello," She mumbled.

"Hey it's Hunt, sorry to wake you, but Milo is here and he wants to come up. I don't know how much longer I can keep him down here."

"Ermmm, give us about ten minutes, ok?"

"Sure, but hurry because I have to leave soon."

"Where's Eli?"

"He's busy with Dad, Mom is already cooking, Stella is out with friends-"

"Ok, ok…got it. I guess I'm designated babysitter," Willow grumbled.

"Technically he's supposed to be hanging out with Mom, but you know he'd rather be with you."

Willow sighed deeply, "I know…ten minutes," she mumbled as she hung up the phone; placing it back on the nightstand.

"Everything ok Sweetie?" Tara asked, snuggling to Willow's side.

Willow smiled, running her fingers through Tara's hair, "Yeah, everything is perfect. Love you Baby."

"Ummm, love you too."

"Do I say that too much?" Willow asked.

Tara felt her breath catch when she saw uncertain look in Willow's eyes, "No sweetie, you could never say it too much."

"Good, because I like saying it."

"And I like hearing it, almost as much as I like to say it," Tara whispered, punctuating the last sentence with a lingering kiss, "I love you Willow…forever."

"Forever just doesn't seem long enough…" Willow let the words linger as she kissed Tara again. They hadn't discussed any long-term plans for the future and this was weighing heavily on Willow. She would be graduating in seven months and what then? She decided that now wasn't the time to bring it up, but the discussion loomed and Willow worried. "We need to get dressed, Milo is coming up in a few minutes. I guess we're babysitting today."

"I thought we were cooking?"

Willow chuckled at Tara's puzzled expression, "I think we're doing both. Welcome to the world of the youngest child. No one ever asks you, they tell you what you're doing. Ugh, I'm exhausted."

Tara giggled, "You didn't seem so tired earlier." She teased as she used her fingers to draw circles on Willow's bare stomach.

"Ummmmm, earlier…" Willow turned in Tara's arms grinning and kissed her soundly. "I wish we could stay like this all day. No, scratch that…I wish we could stay naked and in bed forever."

"That is a nice thought, but I think at some point, we'd need to shower."

"Speaking of, we kinda need to right now. Wanna take turns?"

Tara nodded, "I'll go first?"

"Ummhmm," Willow moaned, as Tara began to roll out of bed, "Wait…c'mere," Willow grinned like the Cheshire Cat and pulled her back into the bed; placing her hands on Tara's cheeks and kissing her tenderly. Breaking the kiss, Willow began to giggle.

"What?" Tara asked.

"You still smell like me. Hold on…" Willow leaned over and opened the drawer on her nightstand; pulling out a box of baby wipes, "…here, just in case.

Tara pouted and reluctantly wiped her face, "I'm gonna miss you on me."

"I know, but you know, Milo…" Willow's words lingering as she wiped her own face.

Tara smiled and acknowledged Willow's concern, kissing her one last time before rolling out of bed. She found their robes and put hers on before tossing Willow's over to her.

"Thanks Baby and just in time too," Willow stood and wrapped her robe tight, hearing Milo's feet thudding on the stairs. A few seconds later the little boy burst through the door and threw himself at Willow, knocking her back onto the bed.

"Woah! What's the furry hurry?" She asked.

Milo was lying on top of Willow and giggled happily, "You're funny Aunt Will."

Willow laughed at his goofy expression, "And you're a silly little boy!" She flipped him onto the bed and tickled him senseless.

Several hours later the girls were still busy in the kitchen with Sheila. Milo, having lost interest long ago, passed out watching TV on the living room couch and was sleeping soundly.

Tara had been slightly intimidated about spending time in the kitchen with the accomplished Rosenberg women; it most definitely was not her forte. Luckily for her she had an incredibly sweet girlfriend that always gave her easy things to do. Tara followed Willow's directions explicitly, mostly chopping and peeling with the occasional mixing. Tara worked diligently along side Willow listening to her chat amicably with Sheila about numerous subjects, from idle town gossip to Willow's upcoming softball season. It was the first time in 4 days that the conversation flowed comfortably and without their trademark tension. Sheila seemed more relaxed and at ease than she had been on previous days. Sheila had even caught them getting snuggly once or twice and had not reacted in the slightest. Tara couldn't imagine what had brought on this change, but she was happy about it nonetheless.

"Willow, are you going shopping with us on Friday morning?" Sheila asked as she carefully poured the pumpkin pie mixture into a pie shell.

Willow stopped what she was doing and turned to her mother, "You are kidding right?"

"Honey, I never kid about shopping. Especially on Black Friday, after all, it is a family tradition."

"Mom, how can you even ask me after what happened the last time I went!" The horrified look on Willow's face made Tara giggle.

"What happened?" Tara asked curiously.

Willow turned her head towards Tara, "Your girlfriend almost lost an eye, that's what happened."

"Oh Willow, you're exaggerating. You just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. I warned you to watch out for the crazies."

Tara peered at Willow quizzically, "To my mother, shopping is an Olympic sport and she is an insane Black Friday-aholic," Sheila was amused with Willow's dramatic rendition, "You go ahead and laugh Mom, but you know it's true. See Tare, every year she scours the sale ads, then outlines a shopping plan based on priority. She then draws up a layout of the store, divides it into quadrants and assigns us all a section. And when I say all, I mean Rachael and I."

"Don't forget Mrs. Lindenbaum," Sheila added.

"Oh yes, your partner in crime. Anyway, a few years ago Wal-Mart had a laptop on sale for $199 and I got assigned that particular quadrant. We got to the store at 3 o'clock in the morning and split off to our assigned areas. The laptops were covered in thick black plastic wrap, in the middle of the home appliances isle on a couple of wooden pallets."

"How did you know it was the laptops if they were covered?" Tara asked as she chopped celery.

"I had a mole inside the store that called me the night before with their exact location," Sheila said proudly.

"See what I mean? Ok, so there were maybe a dozen people gathered around the pallet when I got there and I settled in behind them. I was bored and pulled out my phone to play a game. Well, after about an hour I looked up to find that there were easily a hundred people now hanging out and I was right in the middle of this crowd. Everything was fine, people were chatting and laughing when out of nowhere two employees show up with a pallet jack and are taking the laptops. That's when all hell broke loose!" Willow paused for effect before continuing, "They started to take the stack and this woman, who apparently had been there, since like 9pm the night before, suddenly flung herself on top of the boxes and wouldn't let go."

"That sounds…intense. What happened next?" Tara was riveted.

"Well, she grabbed on and sunk her fingers into the plastic and they carted her away with the laptops. She was literally on top kicking and screaming while people tried to pull her off. It was insane and all I wanted to do was get the hell out of there, but I was stuck in the middle of this surging mob. It was horrible, like something you see on the nightly news, everyone was shouting and pushing. All I could do was move with them and that's when it happened. As the crowd pushed forward they knocked into the appliances and the boxes went flying in all directions. I happen to look up and got hit straight in the face with a deluxe toaster oven!"

Tara began to giggle, "Seriously?"

"Yes! It's not funny and I have the scars to prove it!" The redhead shouted indignantly.

"Oh for crying out loud, it was a tiny scratch," Sheila added, "It barely bled."

"Tiny scratch? I ended up with a black eye! Look Tare, right here…give me your finger," the blonde complied as Willow took Tara's finger and ran it under her right eye. "Right there, feel that?"

"Umm ok…yes," Tara answered, glancing at Sheila who rolled her eyes, "I think I feel…something," she said placating her girlfriend; because in reality, she felt and saw absolutely nothing.

"Ah ha! You see Mom…injured."

"So what happened to the crazy lady?" Tara asked.

"Well, it was chaos after that. They wheeled her into the back with the laptops and then the next thing I know the cops were hauling her out of the store in handcuffs. Needless to say, my Black Friday shopping days were over and I don't ever intend on going again."

Sheila sighed, "Yes and you've put a serious crimp in my ability to get what I want, especially this year. Jeff won't let Rachael go, he says he won't risk the baby."

"And he's right," Willow agreed.

"Oh phooey!" Sheila replied as the phone rang and she crossed the room to answer it.

Willow looked at Tara with pleading, puppy dog eyes, "You believe me, don't you baby?"

"Oh sweetie, of course I do. You poor, delicate little flower," Tara teased, kissing under Willow's right eye.

"Oh shush you!" Willow replied and playfully swatted Tara on the butt.

With the majority of cooking behind them, Willow, Tara and Sheila took a much-needed break and sat down with a late lunch on the patio out by the pool so they could keep an eye on Milo. The three women had spent hours in the kitchen making everything that could be made early from the green bean casserole, to the 4 pies to the cranberry sauce, and they were worn out. For Tara, it was something of a major accomplishment and she was quite proud of herself.

When she was little, she and her mother had always gone out; then later they had their meals catered or attended lavish parties. In recent years, since her mother's death, Tara had kept the holidays low key, spending them with friends or going on vacation. She was definitely excited about a good old-fashioned family holiday.

"I need to use the restroom. Does anyone need anything while I'm inside?" Willow asked.

Both Sheila and Tara shook their heads as Willow turned, running a hand across Tara's shoulder as she headed for the house.

"Wow, that child is fearless," Tara commented as she watched Milo do a flip off one of the platforms of his play set.

Sheila smiled, "He reminds me of Grayson at that age…he was a handful."

Tara returned Sheila's smile as they sat in a comfortable silence. "Did you always want a large family, Sheila?"

"Oh heavens no, I was a career girl; graduated from A&M at the top of my class…I had all kinds of big plans."

Tara furrowed her brow curiously, "What did you get your degree in?"

"Business management with a minor in marketing. I got a job at United Pipeline as a marketing manager right out of college, which was unheard of for a woman in the 1970's." Sheila paused, her eyes staring blankly as she recalled the story of her past, "Ira and I met in college my junior year, he was a year behind me, and I got him on at UP after he graduated."

"So, he's still there?"

"Umm hmm, he's a regional VP in charge of finance. We got married a year later, had Rachael and the rest as they say…is history." Sheila leaned back in her chair, taking a long sip of her iced tea as she watched Milo play.

"So, you never went back to work?" Tara asked, realizing all at once the driven executive had chosen family over career. She wondered if Sheila really had a choice in the matter; thinking about what it used to be like for women, being forced to choose between the two.

Sheila chuckled slightly, "No, I was too busy raising all these kids," glancing at Tara, Sheila noticed a look of sadness on her face, "I know what you're thinking Tara, but I don't have any regrets; raising this family, was the best thing I've ever done."

Tara snapped out of her thoughts and stammered, "Oh n-no, I didn't mean…"

"I understand, you're a successful and driven young woman…so is Willow. She's wanted to be a vet since she was little; it's all she's ever talked about."

Tara nodded, "I understand it's four more years of med school?" She asked, though it was more like a statement. She was really just trying to keep the conversation going, happy that she was finally communicating with the elder Rosenberg.

"Yes, four more years of-"

Sheila was cut off mid sentence as Willow returned to the table, "Four more years of what?" The redhead asked.

"…of vet school." Sheila finished.

Willow stiffened and fidgeted nervously, deciding that the best course of action was to just change the subject altogether, "Y-yeah…r-right…vet school. Oh Mom, I almost forgot! Did you pick up my prescription? You know, the allergy meds?"

Sheila scrunched her face, "Oh shoot! I completely forgot and I think the pharmacy closes early today."

"Oh umm, that's ok. Tara and I can go pick it up before they close. No problem, right baby?" Willow said quickly.

Tara smiled and nodded at her girlfriend, but the sudden change in Willow's demeanor did not go unnoticed. Willow's reaction was odd, to say the least and Tara was perplexed as to what had caused the sudden shift; knowing that now was not the time to probe any further, she decided to drop it and not push Willow. Not that she really had a choice in the matter, since Willow had already changed the subject.