While the argument between Sharon and her closest friends was taking place, her cousin and her girlfriend decided to leave them alone. Resisting the temptation to eavesdrop, Simone and Tarja left the kitchen through the back door and spent some minutes in the garden freshening up.
"Looks like it's gonna take a while..." the redhead commented as she sat down on one of the steps
"Oh yes, like any tense conversation with Sharon."
Simone stifled a giggle. Both women shared a knowing smile as Tarja slid down to join her younger friend. She sighed and placed her head on the Finn's shoulder.
"I know it's not a nice moment to say this, but I'm kind of bored... and cold..."
"Yes, me too" the green-eyed girl agreed "Hmm... we could go out if you feel like..."
"That'd be awesome, actually."
"I know some good clubs you'd really like."
The Dutch girl smiled widely to hear those words. Going out with Tarja always meant fun, and now that Sharon was busy with something else, she wouldn't complain about them spending too much time together.
"Just let me get my purse and I'll be with you in a few."
About a quarter of an hour later, they both got in the car while Sharon and Johanna kept yelling at each other. They had no idea what they were discussing, and they honestly didn't want to ask.
"So, your bars or mine?" Simone asked.
"Yours, this time. You're the one who needs a boyfriend" the older woman winked with a smile as they drove off.
Simone rested her head, still grinning happily. Her intuition was telling her that it would be a great night. Not because she was interested in getting herself a boyfriend - she knew she could get one without much effort anytime she liked, and she was glad to be single anyway. She was just excited to spend some time in Tarja's company. In those almost three weeks they had spent together, they had grown very close, so much that she sometimes got the impression that the Finn had told her personal things she wouldn't share with her own girlfriend. In fact, she probably understood her better than Sharon in many ways.
A breath of hot air slapped her on the face. November was slowly coming to an end and it was cold outside, but behind that bar's door it felt like a sauna. Tarja thought she could even smell the hormones floating around, which was one of the reason why she hated straight bars. Not that it was too different from the kind of places she would normally go to, but at least in The Rainbow Garden there were pretty girls to look at and no machos trying to get her into bed. Some pop hit she had heard a couple of times accidentally on the radio while driving, when she needed to concentrate on something else than choosing some good music, muted the clicking of her high-heels against the wooden floor. Disappointed to see that there was not much place left to sit, since all the couches were crowded, she led Simone to the counter and they both occupied two high stools. She had been careful to choose two that were more or less isolated so they wouldn't be disturbed while talking.
The younger girl insisted on paying the first round of cocktails. Both women made their frozen strawberry margaritas clink against each other and had their sips, toasting to themselves, the prettiest girls in the bar. The Finn smiled at the sight of the redhead sucking on her straw, the colour of her nail polish and lipstick matching with the drink. A light above her illuminated her doll-like face, showing the nice work she had done with the blusher. There was something Hollywood-like in her body position and the way she was drinking.
"Now you do look like an actress, Simone Sunshine" she smiled.
Simone responded with a chuckle.
"You know I'll love you forever for that stage name you gave me, right? I'll surely become famous with such a name."
"True, not to mention the fact that no-one around here will ever be able to pronounce Snijders correctly... the already have problems with Koskela" she rolled her green eyes.
"Well, I'll mention you in my acceptance speech when I win the Oscar either way."
"Oh, please do it!" Tarja raised her glass with a grin "Now let's toast to Simone Sunshine, the future queen of Hollywood!"
Giggling loudly, both women put their drinks together once more. Tarja had to admit that even though girly girls usually annoyed her to no end, she truly liked Simone. She was not just a pretty face - a very pretty one, by the way - who spent hours shopping and simply wanted to be looked at; she had interests and aspirations, so their conversations were great. It was nice to see the way her blue eyes widened and sparkled whenever she spoke about photography or showed her pictures she was particularly proud of. Same in a more personal territory. The Finn had felt strangely touched when she heard her say that she tried to motivate herself by thinking that becoming a lawyer would help her change the world, but knew she didn't belong there after two weeks at university. Moreover, in a way she liked how the redhead seemed to awake her girly side and infected her with her bubbliness.
"I'll be right back" Simone excused herself.
Tarja's gaze followed the younger woman as she made her way to the bathroom. She could perfectly picture her walking on a red carpet. Distracted by her slender figure, she didn't notice that someone had occupied the seat next to hers until she heard something behind her.
"Hello honey! Can I get you a drink?"
Just to hear the word 'honey' pronounced by a male voice, she turned around with a glare, ready to chase him away. There he was, undressing her with his looks and leaning against the bar with that stupid smile on his face. Her stomach turned at the very sight of him.
"I already have one, are you blind?" she pointed at her glass.
Yet that didn't seem to put him off. To her dismay, he placed a hand on her knee and leaned a bit closer as he spoke.
"A tough woman... I like that. Tell me more about yourself, sweetheart."
"Leave me alone!" she moved her leg away from him, disgusted.
"Baby... you need to relax" unwilling to give up, he put his hand back on her lap "There's no need to be so tense..."
When Simone returned from the bathroom, the first thing she noticed was some weirdo shamelessly hitting on Tarja. Although she couldn't see her face, the way her body was stiffening made it clear that she wasn't enjoying it at all. So she decided to act without thinking and come to rescue.
"Oh, there you are, darling!" she exclaimed cheerfully as she wrapped an arm around Tarja's waist.
Not giving the guy the chance to ask questions or Tarja a moment to know what was going on, she pulled the Finn towards her and kissed her deeply. The older woman responded, so she understood that she knew what her intentions were.
"So, shall we go?" Simone asked her, offering her hand.
"Of course, love!"
Hand in hand they left the pervert behind, turned on and disappointed all at once. Once they were out in the open air, both burst out laughing.
"Oh dear! You saved my life!" Tarja squealed.
"You're very welcome. I had to make sure that idiot didn't go too far."
"Well, it worked. I don't even want to imagine what might have happened if it hadn't been for you..."
"Ah, I'm sure you would have beaten the crap out of him" the redhead grinned "What do you wanna do now? Wanna go home or to a different club?"
"If it's alright, we can go somewhere else, but I'd rather visit one of my bars..."
"No worries, I understand. I guess you're not in the mood for dealing with horny men."
"You guessed right. Let's go."
The shock was forgotten soon when they both huddled in one of the booths at Eve's, the other main gay bar in town. Unlike The Rainbow Garden, this one was more like a pub or café and restricted to women only, so the atmosphere was a lot quieter. Simone had to admit that the waitresses that rushed around between the tables were quite attractive, even more than the naked women that gave her seducing looks from the walls.
"This place is nice" she commented, taking the beer to her lips "Quiet but cozy."
"Yeah. This is one of the best places to go out on the make... if you're a lesbian, of course. Ironically, though, it was a lot easier for me to flirt with someone in The Rainbow Garden than here."
"I understand... girls come here with their friends and they're too... sober..."
"Yeah, sober, that could actually be the word" the Finn chuckled "Anyway, I'm happy to be in a place with no men bugging me."
"I can imagine" her grin turned into a serious expression as she added "By the way, you don't have to answer if it's too personal, but... did you have any bad experiences with men?"
Tarja raised her eyebrows. She was rather amused by how solemnly Simone had asked that question. It sounded as though the redhead was thinking of something very dramatic, such as abuse.
"Actually, I... have no experiences with men whatsoever" she smiled wryly.
Her confession stole a gasp from Simone. Expressive as usual, she thought to herself.
"Seriously? So you've never... slept with a man?"
"Never" Tarja shook her head "I've kissed very few, but it was mostly just as a joke or pretending."
"Wow!" the wide-eyed redhead exclaimed "So you've always known you were into women?"
"Pretty much."
"My god... I really can't imagine! And aren't you curious about what it feels like to have sex with a man?"
"Not at all! Right from the first time sex was explained to me, I knew I wouldn't like it. Of course, no-one told me sex with women existed back then."
Simone giggled at that last comment. Even so, she was still slightly shocked by that revelation. If Tarja had been straight, she'd probably have the whole world at her feet. A beautiful, classy woman like her would definitely have many admirers.
"And what is it like to sleep with a woman?" the Dutch girl wondered with a grin, toying with the rim of her bottle "I've always wondered... I mean, I do know I like men, but still... I'd be curious to know what it feels like."
Looking down at her bottle, the older woman shrugged. It wasn't an easy question.
"I don't know how I could describe it to you. Especially because I couldn't compare it to sex with a man..."
"True. But I mean, what makes it so special for you? I've never had sex with a woman, but I've sometimes made it out with them... nothing serious though" she bit her lip "But even so, I've noticed that it's something completely different. Feels quite good, actually. Sharon is a great kisser..."
"Wait! Sharon? My Sharon?" Tarja gasped.
"Yeah, my cousin. Sometimes when we go clubbing in Holland we like to make out and see how everyone looks at us. But it's not like I was attracted to her or something. I mean, it's not an incest. It's more like just a joke, like you said before about men."
The Finn didn't know what disgusted her more, whether knowing that Simone and Sharon had an almost incestuous relationship or thinking that she had made out with women just for fun. She hated those girls who just pretended to be lesbians or bisexual to get a man's attention, but she liked Simone, and it hurt to see her as one of those. With a sip of beer, she drowned her disappointment. After all, games aside, she could understand why the redhead would want to kiss Sharon.
"I see" she merely said.
"One thing I do have to admit - women are better kissers" the younger one spoke "They are a lot softer and always taste good. And the kisses are more subtle, so it makes everything more exciting."
"That's quite a good description. Well, to me kissing women... loving women... is not a game - it's part of who I am, so it's something very special and meaningful to me."
"But what do you like best in a girl?" Simone asked curiously, resting her elbow on the table.
"What's there not to love in them?" Tarja exclaimed "I adore female bodies from top to bottom - their curves, their softness, their smell... You have no idea how special it is to take a girl's clothes off little by little and discover the hidden beauty underneath them. But that's just the beginning. Just to think that you can experience this wonder with all your senses and give them pleasure..."
The redhead had to bite the rim of her beer as a rush of arousal spiraled within her. It wasn't only the poetic way in which her friend had spoken about lesbian sexuality or the passion in the gestures that accompanied her speech... Curious by nature, her mind wandered while she was listening. She imagined Tarja undressing her, laying her between the sheets and kissing her skin. Or what scared her even more - she pictured herself doing her cousin's girlfriend all those things she had described.
Suddenly she felt the irresistible wish to explore that territory only Sharon was allowed into. Although she had never been attracted to a woman or had a doubt about her sexuality, it was completely different with Tarja. She was very drawn to her and could perfectly understand why her cousin loved her enough to forget that men even existed. Before her head had time to figure anything out, she found her body sliding closer to the other woman on that couch and repeating the scene at the straight bar. Yet this time there was no annoying man to chase away and her hands had moved instinctively to the Finn's hips. And much to her surprise, not only did Tarja not pull away, but she actually kissed her back...