Like many hopeless romantics, Sara had been so disenfranchised by the whole business of love and dating that she tried to convince herself that she did not even want a lover, a partner, a man to take care of. Like many hopeless romantics, also, Sara kept a vain hope that this belief would be proven wrong by some man, who would, by virtue of his existence, disprove many of her deep-seated theories about relationships and dating.
It all began as Sara was fumbling her way through a high-school relationship with a boy named Matt, who often seemed more interested in his game console than in her. When her friends talked about their boyfriends she wondered in her head why they were making such a fuss. Beyond the initial lust period of about three weeks, Sara saw no difference between being single and being committed. After a while, she even began to look for ways out of the relationship. Would he break up with her if she cheated on him, if she burped at a nice dinner with his parents?
This presented a good example of what is known as a catch-22. Because while Sara harbored a lingering, ever shrinking hope in the deep down basement of her soul that she would find the right man, someday, she did not allow herself to be remotely open to the possibility of love, and hence was steadily and almost certainly on her way to becoming a lonely old woman with a cat as her main companion. In fact, she searched for ways out of the relationship so much that Matt eventually caught on, and ended it, mercifully for Sara, who tended to hate confrontation. The only thing that would prevent her from becoming a crazy cat lady was Rose, a girl who had a lot of graffiti written about her in bathroom stalls all over the city.
While Sara was looking for ways out of her unhappy high school romance, Rose was methodically dating her way through the available women in Meadow Lark. This number was limited to begin with, but with Rose’s distinctly unpicky dating habits, she had managed to make large swathes through the lesbian population of the relatively small Meadow Lark.
After Rose came out to her parents and friends to little fanfare and much less surprise (“We’d kind of figured all along, honey,” her mother had said when she’d told her of her preference) she proceeded to date most of the available girls and women of a certain age.
Of course, small towns being what they were, and even with Rose’s lack of particular prejudices, the well of available women dried up within a few years. Luckily, it was just around this point that she met Sara.
Having recently graduated from a local state school, Sara found a good job, good pay and all that. It was all going swimmingly until her friends took her out drinking, at the only lesbian bar in town, a tiny hole-in-the wall sort of establishment that inexplicably had the best and cheapest margaritas in town.
Later on, Sara would remember that night as a hazy, blurry brush-strokes sort of Impressionist painting experience, because those margaritas were apparently evil. She woke up with the distinct feeling that her brain was too big for her skull, and was trying to fight its way out. It was not a pleasant feeling. The afternoon became less pleasant very fast, when she went to wash her face and discovered a series of hickeys trailing their way down her neck and to the tops of her breasts, and a name and phone number written in pink sharpie on her palm. The number apparently belonged to a Rose G.
This was worrying.
Not to say that Sara ever worried about lesbians hitting on her, particularly. In the grand scheme of things, she tended to worry about amorous lesbians as much as she worried about pollutants in the tap water causing interesting and comic-book-like transformations. It was possible, of course, but distinctly unlikely. Besides, it tended to work out that Sara wasn’t particularly attractive to anyone, because she suffered the lack of proper self-esteem that many closet romantics tend to develop. She did not, in short, believe that anyone could love her if she did not love herself.
The hickeys on her neck, though, provided very real proof that someone could love her. Very enthusiastically, it seemed.
But even the proof that someone clearly found Sara irresistible enough to ravish her quite well was not enough to bring her to consider herself worthy of love, and therefore call Rose. She wrote off the experience as a warning against both margaritas and friends who took her to seedy lesbian bars, and proceeded to ignore her wild weekend and go into work on Monday like usual, having completely forgotten about Rose G. It helped a great deal that her hickeys had healed, for the most part, and she was able to get rid of her lingering margarita headache, until, that is, one of the guys she’d gone out with, Kevin, asked her about the girl she’d made out with the entire night.
Damn that Kevin.
“Damn you, Kevin,” Sara said.
Kevin just laughed.
Rose, having learned a long time ago of the potency of the Lizard Lounge’s margaritas, and how to hold her liquor accordingly, did not forget the night, and in fact found herself thinking of the girl more than once, an odd thing for a girl who did her best over her dating career to love and leave as most men only wish they could.
The truth was that the vigorous kissing had been the most action she’d gotten in a long time. Never one to pass up a good opportunity, Rose had taken the signals of welcoming innocence and slight curiosity for an unspoken invitation, and had swooped in for the kill.
Or the kiss, rather.
And, in light of the possibility of such future encounters with other girls in Meadow Lane, which seemed highly unlikely, or simply moving out of the city to somewhere much, much bigger, which was not a move she wanted to make, pursuing the girl seemed like the best option. It didn’t hurt that she kissed pretty well, either.
Rose had no qualms whatsoever about hitting up any and every contact she thought would enable her to find the girl again. Though she was prepared to follow a bunch of leads, do some investigating, wear a catsuit, rappel down into highly secured buildings, all it took was a few pointed questions to the Lizard Lounge’s bartender, Steve.
“Oh yeah,” Steve said, “That girl you were draped all over last weekend? Her name is Sara. She forgot her ID here. You want to give it back to her for me?”
Surely opportunities like that only popped up in the most predictable of films, but Rose wasn’t the sort of girl to let a good chance at more kissing pass her by, so she readily agreed to return the girl’s ID.
She went straight from work, waitressing at a local Applebee’s, to Sara’s house.
When Sara opened the door, she looked first questioning and then surprised.
“Hey,” she said, in a way that said that she clearly remembered Rose.
“Hi,” Rose said. “Can I come in?”
“…sure,” said Sara, hesitatingly. But she let the girl in. All those warnings her mother had repeated about strangers when she was a child seemed far away and irrelevant now, since she had already become rather familiar with Rose.
“Thanks, I wasn’t sure you were going to let me in,” Rose said.
“Well, I did,” Sara said.
“Yes, you did,” Rose replied. An awkward silence ensued. At some point or another, Sara realized that she was being rude by not offering anything to her guest. She went to the kitchen to get tea and cookies, and Rose followed her without a word. As she reached for the good cookies that she tended to keep on a high shelf, her shirt rode up and revealed a delicious bit of skin just above her waistband.
Rose was riveted. Simple as that. She reached out to stroke the skin of Sara’s lower back, and Sara turned back to look at her with questions written in her eyes, on her face. But she leaned back into Rose and turned to kiss her. She took a step back and kissed Rose full on the lips, gasping a bit into Rose’s mouth, not even bothering to take a breath. They both fell back against the Formica counter and Rose settled into the space between Sara’s legs, settled her hands at Sara’s hips. She pressed down with her hands, and Sara giggled, turned her head down a bit.
“What’s wrong, are you ticklish?” Rose asked.
“Yes, but don’t tell anyone,” Sara replied.
“Don’t worry. I’m good with secrets,” Rose joked.
“Psh, just kiss me again, you secret-keeper,” Sara said, but she was the one who leaned in to kiss Rose again.
“Is that what you want?” Rose asked, when she pulled back a minute later.
“Yeah,” Sara said. “That’s what I want.”
“Oh good,” Rose sighed. She stroked her way down Sara’s side, made sure to tickle her on the way there.
They stood like that for a long time, it seemed, kissing, until Sara began to feel a bit light-headed and broke away from Rose, who frowned at the loss of contact. Sara smiled and took Rose’s hand, leading her into the bedroom, shedding clothes as they went. Rose took all of two seconds to realize what was going on, and followed suit. She’d always been quick on the uptake, after all.
Sara’s bedroom was exactly as Rose had imagined, in the few minutes that she’d spent thinking about it: pale green and light, with a smallish bed. Sometimes Sara rolled over during the night, and pinned her arm underneath her until it got numb and tingly, in an effort to keep herself from falling off the bed.
Now though, the size of the bed was a good thing, and she couldn’t get close enough, touching Rose all over, like a starving man who does not realize how truly hungry he is until he sees a perfect sandwich laid out in front of him at the deli. She nipped at Rose’s neck, licking the spot afterwards, soothing the little red mark. Kissing her way down Rose’s body, she made sure to hit all the spots that she thought would be ticklish, eventually reaching the V of Rose’s thighs. She’d never done this before, but she was a woman, she knew how all the equipment worked. Giving Rose a few licks, just to taste, as though she were consuming something particularly delectable, Sara thought to herself “Hmm, this is interesting.” For a moment, she was able to be clinical about the whole experience, relishing the fact that she wasn’t drunk as hell this time, that she would remember this clearly in the morning. She imagined herself in a TV program on the Discovery Channel, or maybe National Geographic, something titled ‘The Mating Rituals of the Sexually Unsure.’ Then Rose started to swivel her hips a bit, moaning all the while, more and more until Rose froze and pushed her away, arching up and twitching all over.
A few minutes later, Rose grabbed her shoulders and pulled her up to kiss some more, did something lovely with her tongue, and Sara could no longer be clinical about any of it.
“Oh,” she gasped.
Rose had, by this point, insinuated her hand between their bodies and worked her hand down past the elastic of Sara’s most boring panties, zeroing in on her clit, and applying just the right kind of pressure. And Sara couldn’t find it in her to say more than “Oh, oh, oh,” hoping that Rose understood that she was liking this a hell of a lot more than she remembered liking it, that night at the bar. Rose was apparently a mind reader as well as an awesome lover, because she grinned like it was going out of style and said “I know,” twisted her fingers just so, and Sara came, freezing as her orgasm hit, dug her fingers into Rose’s sides, closed her eyes and rode it out.
“Mmmm,” she said, when she’d caught her breath a bit.
“Yeah.” Rose replied.
Sara put her head on her folded arm, just looked at Rose as she drifted off and wondered, idly, before she drifted off, why there was no odd feeling of disappointment or weirdness with Rose.
The next day, Sara got up for her early shift at work, leaving Rose a note with her schedule and a few hearts. Rose came by after work, and they went back to the Lizard Lounge, drank and then went back to Rose’s tiny apartment, furnished with a worrying amount of milk crates and watercolor paintings of suns and moons. They made love on Rose’s old black futon, because her bed was too covered with clothes to do anything more adventurous but sleep, and because Sara was slightly tipsy and feeling loving and warm all over and couldn’t make the effort to insist that they make it over to the bed..
She drifted off that night, and was not cold for once, because it turned out that Rose was like a furnace in her own right.
The next day, she woke up to the smell of pancakes and bacon frying, stretched, and got up to go kiss her girlfriend, morning breath and all.