Title: The First Blush of Love
Category: Romance, Lesbian, Genderfluid
Pairings: Terry Rivkin/Stevie Wells
Characters: Terry Rivkin, Stevie Wells
Summary: When Terry went to the local non-heteronormative bar in her neighborhood they had no idea how their life was going to change. They just hoped it wasn’t going to end in heartbreak once more.
Tags: LGBTQ, Non-binary pronouns, non-binary couples
Beta: None. No non-consensual Beta
* * * * *
Terry walked into the new geek-themed bar that appeared to be catering to the non-heteronormative community of Weston Hills, California located two hours north of Santa Barbara, but more inland. They were a big tourist town on par with Solvang. Wineries were the norm and recently the town was seeing a few distilleries popping up ever since California lifted the ban on individual alcohol distillation.
Heroes Unite was a unique bar in that it was all geek themed. Ever since the rise of the superhero genre in cinema more and more non-geeks started to get in on the fun of comic books and comic book heroes. Terry’s personal favorite’s currently were Constantine, which they had read Hellblazer growing up and identified with John Constantine more than they cared to admit. Terry’s other favorites were Captain America, Hellboy, and Nightwing. When they walked into Heroes they were impressed by the colorful but understated decor. Posters from various movies and comic themed tv shows were prominent on all the walls. The waitstaff were all dressed as a particular superhero, or villain. Terry couldn’t help eyeing Loki. The outfit was sexy but understated and the person wearing it was having fun with the patrons and putting on a rather good show.
Terry sat at the bar, smiling as they looked around getting a feel for the atmosphere.
“What can I get you?” The bartender asked as they came over and leaned forward waiting for Terry to order something.
“This is my first time here. I don’t want to get my usual rum and coke, what would you recommend?” Terry flirted back as they leaned in closer.
“Why don’t you let me surprise you.”
“As long as you promise not to make it too strong. And, how about something with Vodka, but no mint and no cinnamon.”
“I can work with that, give me a few moments.” The bartender moved away and took a moment to think then they began working on Terry’s drink. Taking their attention away from the bartender, Terry turned to look at the other patrons and noticed a variety of couples. Enjoying the people watching Terry had not noticed when a drink was set down at their elbow, but a noise from the bartender had Terry turning around.
“Oh, that looks good.”
“I call it ‘The Tesseract McGuffin'”
Terry laughed at the name and couldn’t agree more. It was a point of the MCU that they had never been able to truly pin down the timeline for who had it when and where.
“That is a great name.” Terry took a sip and hummed in pleasure at the taste explosion. The bright blue drink obviously had blue curacao. They could also taste the Vodka, but some of the other flavors were elusive, but Terry didn’t care, it was delicious. Concentrating on the drink, Terry had not noticed when someone sat next to them and spoke to the bartender. The voice was familiar. It was the voice of someone Terry had been crushing on ever since they had moved to Weston Hills. Stevie Wells. She was tall, had wild plum colored hair, a face right out of one of Brian Froud’s fairy books, and an outgoing personality that Terry secretly envied.
Terry was shy, even though at work she easily talked to customers. It was meeting people outside of their ceramics shop that was difficult for them. The hardest part for Terry was how people kept trying to change them. Terry did not identify themselves by their birth gender. They identified as bisexual, genderfluid. Many she had dated had tried to get them to make a choice on how they were going to identify themselves. Many misidentified them as a trans person, but Terry had no interest in changing the female aspect they were born with. There were just days, like that day, that Terry felt more masculine and would go out of their way to minimize their female aspects and take on a more masculine outward appearance. The short close-cropped asymmetrical haircut Terry preferred helped with their day to day identity.
“Hello, Terry. I’m surprised to see you here tonight.” Stevie smiled a smile that had Terry’s heart fluttering and her stomach-churning.
“Hey, Stevie. I thought maybe it was time for me to crawl out of my apartment and try to join the world at large.”
Stevie’s smile widened as she leaned an elbow on the bar and slid a hand in her wild curly hair that Terry sometimes wanted to tangle her hands in.
“That is good to hear.” A beer was set before Stevie, who took it up and drank a good portion down before setting it back on the bar. “So, are you a closet geek, then?”
“No. I am a full-on out and proud geek. Why? Are you a closet geek?” Terry couldn’t believe that they were actually flirting. Trying not to think too hard, Terry took a deep breath and smiled at Stevie.
“Hell no. Been into comics since my Mother got me into them as a kid. I lean more towards Alan Moore, and Jim Lee during his Image period. Love and Rockets, Tank Girl, Hellblazer…”
“Hellblazer? You’re a fan of Constantine?”
“Love him. Love what a jackass he can be. But I also love how he is unashamed in his bisexuality. Even if he treats his lovers like crap, there is an underlying purpose to who he is and what he does. The tragic hero.”
Terry tried their hardest not to squeal inside, but they weren’t successful as a squeak came out their mouth making Stevie laugh.
“So, Terry. You haven’t really talked about yourself much. What made you get into ceramics, and to open a store in this sleepy little tourist trap of a town?” Stevie’s teasing tone belied the words she used making Terry chuckle at the woman’s unabashed cynicism.
Terry sipped their drink and set it on the bar thinking carefully on what they wanted to say.
“I took it as an elective in High School and found that it helped my stress and anxiety. I had a hard time during school with trying to come to terms with my identity. People assumed I was trans because I kept wearing boys clothes, had my hair short and days where my whole demeanor was more male. But, there were, and are days that I enjoy being a girl. Ceramics helped to center me and give me a creative outlet to manage my stress.
“After High School, I got an art scholarship to the Pasadena Art Center. I had a girlfriend though college, but she ended things because she wanted to go to Europe to study fiber art. I wanted to stay here. So, I decided to pack up and began to drive up the coast of California to see what it had to offer. On the way back, I found this town and decided to stay.”
“I have to say, I’m glad you did.” Stevie’s dark crimson covered lips quirked up in a sexy smile that Terry wasn’t sure what to do with. Was Stevie really flirting with her? Terry had feared for a moment that she had imagined it and was pleasantly surprised to know she hadn’t.
“Oh, ah, I ah, thanks.” Terry mentally kicked themselves for the rambling.
“Do I make you nervous?”
“Good. Come dance with me.” Steve stood up and held out her hand for Terry who took a moment to comprehend what was going on. Taking a deep breath Terry reached out and put their hand in Stevie’s, then slid off the stool and walked towards the dance floor. The music that was currently playing was from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. It was slow and sensual. Stevie pulled Terry close and took charge, swaying the both of them while Terry closed their eyes and let themselves be led. Stevie had her left arm wrapped around Terry’s waist, and her right hand was twined with Terry’s.
Terry laid her head on Stevie’s shoulder and tried not to think about how comfortable they felt in Stevie’s arms. The two danced through several songs, talking intermittently about themselves, their wants, likes, and hopes for their future and Terry found they had a lot in common with Stevie.
“I’d like to kiss you, have ever since the first time I saw you when you were getting your shop up and running.”
“Really?” Terry pulled back and saw the smile slowly form on Stevie’s lips. The sparkle in her eye almost stopped Terry’s heart right there on the dance floor as they swayed to the music pouring out of the speakers.
Closing their eyes, Terry leaned in and a mere moment later soft, warm lips touched theirs in a kiss so sweet it made them weak in the knees. Stevie’s hand gripped Terry’s waist pulling them in closer at an attempt to deepen the kiss. Terry let all of their insecurities go for the moment and let themselves get lost in the sensations coursing through their body. Taking a chance, Terry did what they have wanted to do since first meeting Stevie, slid a hand in those tempting curls. The soft moan that escaped Terry’s lips as the kiss went on, without complaint from either one of them.
When it got too much, Terry pulled back and let their forehead touch Stevie’s. “Wow. No one had ever kissed me like that.”
“Their loss. You should always be kissed like that. You should be cherished, Terry.”
The music changed to something faster and Stevie led Terry over to a table where they sat down and ordered food before turning towards each other again.
“You don’t care that I don’t really identify as a particular gender?” Terry bit their lip as their shyness reared its ugly head.
“No. You, Terry Rivkin are perfect just exactly like you are. There is nothing I would ever try to change about you. I like you for who you are, for exactly who you are.”
Terry hand to look away to try to rein in their emotions. No one had ever said that to them, even their girlfriend in college. Anna had been one to try to make Terry choose. Turning back to look at Stevie, a gentle finger caressed their cheek wiping away a tear that fell.
“I never thought someone would care about me as I am. You’re the first person who has and I’ll admit it scares me a little. I don’t know what you want, but I’ve known for a while that there was something between us. Something more than just friends.”
“I felt it too. I want to spend more time with you, Terry. I want to get to know you more. I want to take you out and dance or go to a geeky movie. I want to on stupidly romantic dates and show you that you are worth anyone’s time and care. I want to make love to you when you’re ready. I will never push you for what you aren’t ready for.” Stevie reached over the table and took Terry’s hand and twined their fingers together.
“I want that too. All of it.” Smiling, Terry felt a sense of joy they had not felt in far too long. Stevie and their feelings for her were like the first step towards a life that felt real and far less lonely than it had been since leaving college.
“Good, because I am going to show you your worth. I want to be yours for a long time to come.”
Terry leaned across the table and gave Stevie a chaste kiss, but it was sweet and held promise for many years to come.