They were sitting on Tara's bed. Not really close to each other. On opposite sides, actually. Tara wanted to make a move but she didn't even know if Willow liked girls. Not to mention the whole making of moves was, in general, pretty frightening. What little she'd said to Willow had been her version of forward. She figured small talk always worked.
"You know, it's funny. When there's no voices around, you hear things."
"Yeah," said Willow. "Everyone's shoes are all stompy and corduroy is like the shoutiest fabric in the world."
Tara smiled at this. "And your stomach was all like 'Rawr, I'm digesting!'"
Willow blushed and looked at her socks. Great. Tara had made her self-conscious. "I m-mean, mine was kind of noisy t-too. It's no big deal."
Willow sighed. "No, it's just...nerves give me an upset stomach sometimes."
"Oh. And with the mortal peril..."
Willow looked even harder at her socks. "No. Not, like, danger nerves. I just...You're great and I really...I want you to like me."
Tara tried her best to be smooth. "I give you butterflies?" She immediately wanted to take it back.
"I guess. Butterflies sound cute, but, the real thing is all churny and, um, bloaty." She sort of mumbled the last few words.
"Yeah, I feel pretty gross right now."
"I'm s-sorry. Can I..."
Willow sat quietly for a bit, and then kind of groaned. "I'm gonna, um, go use the bathroom." She walked off briskly, with a pained expression on her face. Poor Willow.
Tara pulled one of her books on herbalism off the shelf. She wasn't sure how much of her what she had in the dorm room helped with tummyaches, but she wanted to do something. She opened to the index and sort of stared at it without really reading. Willow had called Tara great. Willow had said she wanted Tara to like her. That was a lot to digest. So to speak.
She was suddenly very conscious of the fact that her laundry hamper was overflowing, that she had a bowl with little bits of oatmeal from breakfast stuck to it, that her toothbrush was just sort of sitting on her desk. She put down the book and tried to tidy up a little.
She thought for a second that Willow had just left for good. She was probably too embarrassed, or had decided this was all too much and why did Tara have to go and try and be all flirty anyway? That butterflies line was so stupid.
There was a knock on the door. She exhaled a little in relief.
"Sorry that took so long," mumbled Willow. She walked over to the open book and scanned it for a second. "Aww! Tummy plants! That's sweet!"
Sweet. She'd said sweet.
"Y-yeah, I, um, thought maybe there was something I could do."
"I, um, feel a little better after..." Willow trailed off. She was blushing. "Gosh, this is so unattractive."
And now she was talking about wanting Tara to find her attractive. This was happening. Tara noticed her hands shaking a bit.
Tara touched her shoulder. "It's okay. I can still make something that'll make you feel better. I think. I need to look up w-whether I, um, actually have anything."
"You can rub my tummy," said Willow, suddenly sounding very upbeat.
"I can?" Tara's ears were probably bright red.
"Sure. I know there's no medicinal value or anything, but, I had time to think--you know, in the, uh, bathroom--and I think I really really want you to rub my tummy."
Tara sat, and Willow lay across her lap. Tara felt a little like she was floating. Willow pulled her shirt up about six inches above her navel.
"Pretty sure skin-to-skin is the FDA-approved method," said Willow, in a slightly sultry but mostly shaky voice.
Tara placed her hand on Willow's belly, hesitantly at first, and began to make little, gentle circles. She sort of figured an unhappy stomach wouldn't want her to press too hard.
"Oh wow," said Willow.
"Yeah. Wow." They were touching. They were touching because Willow said so. Wow. "Still nervous?"
"All kinds of. But, you know, happy-nervous."
Tara knew exactly what she meant.