Willow McAllister looked out the kitchen window and saw the storm rolling in over the mountains. She bit her lip, wondering if she really had the courage to go through with what was on her mind. There was no way Angel would be riding out to join the others, this would be the perfect opportunity. Maybe her only opportunity.
She loved her husband, loved the ranch they owned, but she was lonely. Their life was so busy and Angel’s work kept him away for days at a time. She handled all the bookkeeping and the budding horse breeding program while he was out with the hands making sure the fence line was stable and looking after the cattle. He was so hell bent on making the ranch a success that he sometimes forgot she was his wife and not just a business partner. The coming storm gave her a chance to remind him.
She figured she had about an hour before Angel realized he wouldn’t be leaving as planned. With a decisive nod, Willow headed for the bathroom.
Angel McAllister cursed savagely as he ran for the house, trying to beat the rain. He’d been so intent on tending to Loyal’s leg that he hadn’t realized a storm had come up. He couldn’t go out in this weather and could only pray that his men were near the line shack and found shelter. This was gearing up to be one hell of a storm.
He bounded onto the porch and snatched his Stetson off his head just as the heavens opened with a bone-jarring clap of thunder and a blinding flash of lightening. He slapped his hat against his thigh as he glared at the rain. With another muttered curse he jerked the screen door open and let it slam behind him. Angel threw his hat onto the sideboard and ran a hand through his hair. He glanced up and came to an abrupt halt at the sight before him.
Willow was standing in their kitchen wearing nothing but the apron he’d gotten her for Valentine’s Day the year before. He winced at the memory of the light fading from her eyes when she’d opened it. It had seemed like at good idea at the time, the apron being pretty and practical, but he should have done something more romantic. He’d just run out of time. He never seemed to have enough time.
She was standing there with her back to him, her long red hair falling down her back. The bow of the apron ties highlighted the sweet swell of her ass and his gaze lingered there before traveling down her long legs. He licked suddenly dry lips. “Wi-” his voice cracked, so he cleared his throat and tried again. “Willow?”
Willow slowly turned and Angel caught his breath. Makeup, his Willow was wearing makeup. He couldn’t remember the last time she’d done that. She was beautiful to him without it, but with it she was even more breathtaking. He watched her swallow nervously before she said, “Lunch will be ready soon.”
He moved towards her, loving the flush highlighting her cheeks and spreading lower. He couldn’t imagine the courage it had taken her to do this. Angel brought his work-roughened hand up and cupped the side of her face. She leaned into the caress and he breathed in the scent of her. He bent his head and nuzzled her neck.
“Will it keep?” he asked softly.
“Good,” Angel murmured just before he took her lips in a gentle kiss. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d just kissed his wife. Oh, he had plans for more, but right now nothing seemed as important as kissing his Willow.
Her arms crept around him as he teased her lips apart with his tongue. Angel wrapped his arms around her and held her tightly as he deepened the kiss. Willow moaned low in her throat and he answered her with one of his own. Without breaking the kiss Angel scooped her into his arms and headed for the bedroom, blessing the storm and the gift it had brought him.
Willow wrapped the afghan more securely around her shoulders as she used her bare foot to gently move the porch swing. The fury of the storm had gentled to a warm summer rain and she was enjoying the light show provided by Mother Nature. She looked up with a smile when Angel came out to join her. He had two mugs of the vegetable beef soup she’d made earlier in one hand and a plate of grilled cheese sandwiches in the other. He set them down on the side table and kissed her nose playfully before disappearing back into the house. She watched him go, thoroughly enjoying the view of his backside encased in sinfully soft flannel pajama pants. He came back out bearing two frosty beer bottles and the quilt from their bed.
She said nothing as he sat down beside her and arranged the quilt over both of them before handing out the food. She couldn’t remember Angel ever being quite so…domestic before. It was cute. They enjoyed their dinner in companionable silence.
The chasm that had been between them before the storm had shrunk considerably, leaving Willow with no doubt that Angel still found her desirable. A day spent in bed making love and talking quietly had done wonders for them both. They had needed to reconnect, to rediscover why they’d fallen in love in the first place. Angel had vowed he would make more time for them to be together. Only time would tell if that was a promise he could keep. Willow didn’t begrudge the time Angel spent working. She was just as driven in her own way. It would be up to both of them to not drift so far apart again.
After they were done eating, Angel set aside the dishes then gathered Willow close, snuggling up under the quilt. Night was starting to fall and a cool breeze had started up, lightly blowing the rain towards them. He lightly stroked her hair and kissed her temple as she snuggled into his chest.
“Thank you, Willow,” he said softly.
“For today, for the last seven years, for putting up with me. For everything. I love you.”
Willow looked up at him, her green eyes bright with unshed tears. He brushed his thumb over her cheek and said again, “I love you.”
She leaned up and kissed him. “I love you, too.”
Silence fell again as they watched the rain until Angel said, “Let’s take a vacation.” Willow looked up at him in surprise. They hadn’t been away from the ranch for more than a weekend for the last five years. He shrugged and continued. “Xander and Spike are more than capable of looking after the place for a couple of weeks. We need to get away. What do you say?”
“The Bahamas might be nice this time of year,” she said with a grin.
Angel returned her grin and pulled her up to sit in his lap. Her chemise rode up high as she straddled his thighs and he stroked her legs up under the hem. Her head fell back and he kissed her throat, whispering, “Can’t wait to see you in a bikini. I’ll have to beat the men off with a stick.”
Willow laughed huskily as she cupped his head and guided his mouth lower. The storm started to pick up speed again and she thanked God for what it had brought with it. She had her husband back.
AN: Hey, Gabrielle, you remember those two W/A fic ideas I told you about? This isnít either of them. J I do hope you enjoy this though. Unfortunately, my muse refused to let me write the smut.
AN the 2nd: Inspired by the song Somewhere Other Than the Night by Garth Brooks. Lyrics available upon request.
AN the 3rd: Thanks be to Elisabeth for the beta.