She felt the bed shift as her lover stood, presumably to go to the bathroom, but she became puzzled as the redhead rotated the CDs in the changer from Enya to The Downward Spiral. Tara kept her eyes shut and faked her slumber when she heard the scrape of their oak drawers sliding open, softened by hands willing them to quiet without the aide of magick. She got a sinking feeling in her stomach, as if it tied itself into a knot, just thinking about what those sounds could mean.
I hurt myself today
A quiet snuffle came from her lover, sending shards of hurt throughout her body more painful than even the betrayals that rocked their world to its core. Still, she could not open her eyes or even move to offer some kind of resistance to what was happening.
The needle tears a hole
A silent tear worked its way from slate blue eyes to the soft pillow beneath her head. *Oh, Willow...* she thought, *Why...?*
What have I become?
Another tear followed its brethren to the pillow, but she could not move nor could she speak, the lyrics haunting her. *Is this what you want to say, Willow?*
You could have it all
*No, please, no, baby...I may have said we canĎt work it out, but you canĎt think that, too!* the blonde thought, but the words couldnít come. Her blue eyes were shut tight against the implications of what she could only hear.
I wear this crown of shit
She strained against her flood of tears, trying to keep them behind the dam. *Maybe sheís...I dunno...gonna get started early, maybe this isnít what it sounds like,* she thought before she heard a zipper open slowly and as quietly as possible. *Or maybe sheís leaving me...*
Beneath the stain of time
*Gods, Willow...please,* Tara thought, unconsciously tucking herself into a fetal position, the zipper behind her closing torturously slow.
What have I become
Her ears pricked up as she heard the scratchings of a ballpoint pen against paper. Her already broken heart shattered into a million more pieces.
You could have it all
She heard the red head slide whatever she was writing into an envelope and pick something up. She walked to the door, opened it and stopped. Tara could feel jade green eyes roam her body one last time.
If I could start again
"I love you, Tara."
Willow walked out of the room and silently closed the door behind her, the CD player turning itself off once the song ended, as she programmed it to. Tara flew upright, her face painted with streams of tears, and looked around, hoping that maybe it was some cruel, sick test and the red head was crouching in a corner, but that was not to be.
"WILLOW!" she tried to shout, her throat closed off due to unshed tears. She climbed off the bed and collapsed to the floor under legs that wouldnít hold up her sadness. She heard the front door close and pressed her forehead, hot with emotion, to the cool floor below her.
Slowly, Tara tucked away the pain enough to stand and walk over to their desk to retrieve the letter the red head wrote. She picked up the delicate blue envelope and ran her fingers over the indentations made when Willow wrote her name.
More tears raced down her cheeks, but she maintained her composure enough to make it back to the bed where she gently pried the envelope open and pulled out the letter.
"My dearest Tara:
I love you and I hope that when I return from what I have to do, Iíll be a better woman, someone worthy of being with you. Until then, I want you to be free to love. You canít do that if Iím right there.
I love you, Tara...more than any measly piece of paper can tell you, more than I can say or ever show you.
I didnít mean for any of this to happen...I got carried away and I let it happen because I didnít want to be who I was. I need to go away and see if I can fix myself before I can try to fix us.
I love you, Tara.
She hugged the letter close to her as she lay back down in a fetal position. Her body shook with sobs as the dam broke and her heart poured its way out of her.
Outside, Willow took one last look up at the window of the room she used to share with her soulmate, her lifeís blood, Tara, and then, with heavy steps, turned and walked toward the bus station.