“What’s this?” I asked as I passed a glass of juice and sat down next to her on the couch.
“Tom and Jerry.” She was sitting there, her legs gathered up under her in the seat – in her pink fuzzy Pjs with her fluffy tiger slippers. Holding her pillow closely to her chest and with an adorable case of ‘bed hair’. She took a sip of her juice and looked at me. “I just like how Tom’s all sneaky but incredibly stupid and Jerry totally out thinks him every time.”
I smiled. “You want something to eat?”
She shrugged. “No, I’m okay” She bit her lip, offering me a guilty look. “Why are you being so nice to me….I was being a big old spaz this morning, all with the throwing around of the cereal…”
I shrugged back...trying to hide the smirk of amusement as I remembered the scene. “I’m being tolerant I guess…besides I can use it as some serious leverage the next time I see something to buy for the apartment you don’t like.” I flashed a grin and she smiled back at me.
“I think we should just get out…take in some fresh air..food…a stroll?” Her eyes were begging. Her eyes rolled up to the ceiling. “Hmm out door smoochies….” She trailed off, eye brows waggling.
I nodded, being stuck inside was doing neither of us any good, after all it had been a day and we’d seen no sign of anything unusual. Getting her to go change was a total battle of good against evil.
Our journey to the park was far more relaxed and after a few cautious stops we almost completely forgot about the excitement of previous days. We found a place under a large old oak tree and ate our lunch, unwinding and making jokes, which ventured into some fairly rude ones about Xander’s new ‘deluxe’ tool belt. We fought with limp sticks of celery, more jokes ensuing and settled back enjoying the peace and serenity.
I didn’t even notice the heavy storm clouds rolling in. A little drop of rain gracefully dropped on to my ankle and I looked up. We huddled up a little closer and the rain started to fall.
“Shoot!” Willow declared and curled herself around my arm just a little tighter. “Guess we’re stuck here then…Alone…Together…it’s awful.” I bit the inside of my cheek and tried not to laugh as she sighed. “Did I mention…Alone?”
“You’re right it’s terrible. Whatever shall we do to pass the time?” Willow didn’t even look in my direction but the smirk was already there.
“We could play I spy?” I helpfully suggested with a little movement of the shoulders.
She scowled and tilted her head. “I spy with my little eye…something beginning with…Y.T.S.W.M.”
My eyes went comically wide. “Whoa there, not a rocket scientist.” I commented pointing firmly to my brain. “Hmm…but I’ll play…mmm…Young. Trees. Saturated. With. Moisture?”
Willow grinned. “I’m impressed with your non rocket scientist brain…though you’re not right...”
“Oh really? I was sure I was close…hmm; I’ve overexerted my poor thinking cap with that bold manoeuvre though. So I’m going to have to give up.”
Willow jumped about with excitement and then leaned against the trunk of the tree. “You wanna know?”
“Yummy. Tara. Stranded. With. Me. So I propose that I’m sooo the winner and therefore – enough with the silly time occupying child games...” She leaned forward lowering her voice to more of a growl as she whispered in my ear. “And lets’ find something just a little more adult to be doing.” Without hesitation she began to trail little warm kisses across my neck.
I forgot about the rain, I forgot about the people dashing around trying to find shelter. I completely forgot about the excitement with our stalkers and quite frankly they could jump out of the bushes right now and I wouldn’t care. I was lost in my own personal Willow world. I no longer felt the chill that had accompanied the change in weather.
A flash of lightning followed immediately by a loud roar of thunder brought my attention back to the real world. Both Willow and I raised our heads to the sky, high above us lightning was dancing between the clouds. We stood.
“Conspiracy of interruptions...” Willow mumbled. “Even the damn weather’s at it now!”
The thunder was so deep it rumbled beneath our feet. “Okay, okay..I was just making an observation. No need to get cranky!”
I took a big breath. “Well isn’t this a funky storm?” I looked over and pointed vaguely back in the direction of the center of town. “And it seems to be our own private anomaly.” The sky was brilliant and sunny.
“Well it’s probably best to get out from under this tree then.” Willow suggested, with her eye still on the dancing lightning. We grabbed our things together and made a run out of the park and back into town. We were beginning to get drenched as the rain got impossibly heavier, our hair and clothes clinging to us. We walked around the corner and on to Main Street.
But it wasn’t here…
We were back facing the Park?!
“Did we just make ANY about turns?” Willow whispered
I just shook my head – somebody didn’t want us getting very far. We both turned back the other way and took a right down an alley opposite. And ended up by the Sun Cinema. I turned my head to look behind us. Something moved…It was the very same green flash I had seen in the gardens. There were almost certainly more this time. The ‘Lizard men’ scrambled from their hiding places. Each one, its beady black eyes following us as we carefully and respectfully backed away. Their tongues darted out testing the air.
I placed my body protectively between Willow and our new friends. “When I say…I want you to run...”
Willow shook her head. “Whatever the plan, we do it together…I’m not leaving your side.”
I squeezed her hand tightly and nodded. One of the lizards sniffed the air then looked directly at us. Willow swept her free hand from right to left pulling the dumpster from its resting place and colliding with the nearest creature, throwing it’s now limp form to the ground. The rest looked up and hissed.
“Okay, NOW we run!” I said as we hastily backed down the alley and out into the open, coming to a stop in front of the jewellery store. People passed us by with bewildered looks; we were soaked to the bone and gasping for oxygen. I turned my head back to the alley. There was nothing there. We made our way to the nearest safe haven. The Magic Box.