It's a quiet Tuesday night.
Sharon is busy with serving her few customers and chatting with Hugo, her co-worker.
Every now and then she wipes the bar where someone has put his drink. But other than that there's nothing interesting to do.
It gets nine and Hugo turns the music louder. They're playing Evanescence, Hugo's favourite band.
Sharon is not too fond of it, she likes them but she prefers harder music. Nonetheless she bears with it. She only has to work until midnight today, which is only three hours away.
It's not a Saturday, when the bar is open until dawn.
Hugo leaves around ten, throws Sharon the keys and waves.
And Sharon immediately changes the music to something harder. She grins as the few guests look around confused, like, why is there sudden growling around them?
A few of them are leaving, a few of them place themselves further away from the speakers.
One and a half hours are left, as a woman stumbles into the bar.
She looks distressed, done, completely worn out.
She sits down at the bar and places her head down on the counter.
Sharon sighs and turns the music down.
"What can I bring you?" she asks and the woman sighs loudly.
"Just anything. Anything to drink my sorrows away," she replies in English.
"I suggest a shot, then," Sharon says, having switched to English as well, and prepares her drink.
The woman doesn't even hesitate, she gulps it down in a second. "Can I have another one?"
"Want a glass of water too?" Sharon asks, but the woman declines.
"I don't want to feel anything tomorrow. I just want to sleep the whole day." She looks at the speakers, as Amon Amarth changes to Arch Enemy.
"Did I land in a metal bar?"
"Not really. It's just a personal preference. My boss only plays jazz and stuff, and my co-worker and I have Tuesdays for ourselves, so we kinda seize the opportunity and play whatever we want."
"I'm lucky to have found the bar today, then," the woman sighs and gulps down her second shot. "Hey, could I have like a ... Johnnie Walker?"
"Sure," Sharon laughs. "You don't sound all to convinced, though."
"Not really into Whiskey," the woman sighs.
"I can see that," Sharon replies but pours her a glass anyway. "Wanna talk about what's bothering you?"
"Maybe not yet," the woman mutters and knocks down the Whiskey. "Brr. Ew."
Sharon laughs. "Shall I mix you a cocktail?"
"Sure. Mix me a cocktail. Make it strong."
Sharon grins. She knows what's her purpose for this night is, now.
To make that woman feel good.
"I'm Sharon," Sharon says as she places the colourful cocktail in front of the woman.
"Whoo, such colours," the woman just replies. "Looks like a rainbow."
"That's intended," Sharon says with a light grin. "Come on, what's your name?"
The woman takes a sip. She looks into the colourful drink and swallows. "Tarja."
"Tarja. Wow, I've never heard that name before."
"Yeah, probably because I'm from Finland."
"Really? So, what are you doing here in Amsterdam?"
"It's a long story," Tarja sighs. "Can I just drink?"
"Of course." Sharon watches her for a while.
Now that Sharon knows, Tarja looks pretty Finnish to her. She doesn't have blonde hair but she has a beautiful, sharp face. Edgy.
Sharon likes that.
And she's small and petite. Those four drinks are definitely enough for her already.
She still stares down into her rainbow drink and suddenly Sharon is by her side again.
"You really don't wanna talk about what's bothering you? I'm a barkeeper, which is almost as good as a shrink. Maybe even better, since barkeepers aren't as awkward as shrinks."
Tarja smiles lightly. "Well ... I was kicked out of my band."
"Ouch," Sharon replies. "That sucks. Why?"
"My relationship with that one guy from the band ended. We've been together for seven years. Seven years! We wanted to marry, have children, ... and suddenly he breaks up and kicks me out of our band. The band we formed together!"
"What?" Sharon replies in shock. "He broke up and kicked you out? All together?"
"Yup," Tarja says bitterly. "We need to talk, Tari, he says. And, you know, he used my nickname! I was like, naww, maybe he's gonna ask me to move in with him now. But no! He just says, we've been together for seven years and four months and I'm kind of sick of this relationship. I want my freedom and as much as I love you, I feel trapped being with you. That's it. And I cried and cried and as if that wasn't bad enough, he says, of course you can't stay in the band. I don't want to have a band with my ex girlfriend."
"What an asshole!" Sharon shouts. "Now I want to smash his face in."
"Already done so," Tarja mutters. "And it wasn't half as fulfilling as I thought."
Sharon laughs. She likes her.
"So you did that and then escaped to Amsterdam?"
"Yeah, correct!" Tarja says. "Took the first flight possible. I arrived around an hour ago. Without anything but my money. I just needed ... space."
"I admire you," Sharon says. "I could never do that. Just leave my home and go to a foreign country completely alone."
"We've been touring for a while. I'm used to foreign countries."
"Do I know your band?" Sharon asks carefully.
"Ex-band," Tarja sighs. "Could be. Ever heard of Nightwish?"
"Heard, yeah." Sharon grimaces. "Though I can't think of a song right now. Would you kill me if I put on a song?"
"No. I don't hate the music or anything. Put on 'Nemo'. It's calmer than what you listen to, though."
"That's okay. Let me just go to the music, be right back."
Sharon goes to to the computer to look for Nightwish and put Nemo into the queue.
As she walks back to Tarja, she has emptied her rainbow drink.
Sharon laughs. "Was it good?"
"Oh, yeah." Tarja covers her mouth and Sharon swears she can see her stifle a burp.
Why does she get certain vibes from her all of a sudden?
Sharon grins and leans forward, showing off her cleavage. Tarja doesn't react though, doesn't even look.
"He's the love of my life," she says instead. "Or ... he was. I really thought I have found him."
"Did he tell you why he broke up?"
"Not really. Just said it didn't work anymore. He didn't specify. Maybe it was the sex, I'm not sure ... I mean, I've been worn out lately ... do you think it's because I haven't given him a blowjob in a year?"
Sharon starts laughing. "I mean, my ex-boyfriend didn't mind I wasn't giving him that. I can't say that goes for every man, though. It's really important for some men."
"Hm," Tarja replies and shrugs lightly.
"How old are you, Tarja?" Sharon asks.
"Twenty-eight," Tarja mumbles, almost ashamed, as if it's a bad thing that she's almost thirty and not in a relationship.
"I'm thirty-two," Sharon tells her. "Not married, single even, working in a bar at night to finance my studies during the day. Oh, and I haven't had a boyfriend in what now, ten years?"
"Wow, how do you survive without sex?"
"I don't need a guy to get what I want," Sharon replies cheerfully and pours two glasses of wine. "Cheers, Tarja," she says, just as Nemo comes on. "Oh, I think I know that song."
"You sure do," Tarja says. "So you've been single or ..."
"Only had girlfriends during the last ten years," Sharon replies and she can swear that there's a blush creeping over Tarjas cheeks.
"Sorry. I didn't suspect. You don't ... you ... how can I say that without sounding weird?"
"If you want to say that I don't look like a lesbian, you better say nothing. That's not a nice thing to say. Lesbians don't all have short hair and walk like guys."
"It's fine. Also, I consider myself as a bisexual with a preference for women. A strong preference, to be honest, but if I ever fall in love with a man again, that's okay too. I'm still into guys as well. People regardless of gender, actually. I think it's the personality that counts."
"That's beautiful," Tarja mumbles. "I've never thought about it ... I mean, I think I'm straight. But - hm."
"Would you kiss a woman?"
"I have, actually."
"Ever had sex with one?"
"Why not? I mean, I've heard about the benefits."
Sharon laughs. "You sound bi curious."
"I don't know what that means but I can imagine."
"It means exactly what it sounds like," Sharon replies. "I like your voice, by the way."
She closes her eyes and sways to Nemo.
As she opens her eyes again, Tarja looks at her with her eyes wide open.
"What?" Sharon laughs.
"When do you close your bar?"
"At midnight, why?"
"I don't have a place for tonight. Would you ... Would you help me looking for a hotel and maybe have another drink and talk with me there?"
"Wow." Sharon's heart jumps. It has been easier to talk her into something like this than expected. "Don't be stupid, you're not paying for a hotel. You stay with me this night."
"But you don't know me. I could be a psychopath!"
"I could be one too," Sharon says. "Nah, don't worry. You're too cute to be a psychopath."
Tarja blushes again. "Thanks. You're ... You're cute too."
"I take that as a weird try to flirt," Sharon laughs.
Then she has to leave for a while, as other customers are coming to the bar.
Tarja watches her for a while, feeling something strange inside her chest. Is she just nervous?
Sharon is beautiful. And she's curvy. And very nice.
Tarja has kissed a woman before, her best friend. They had been drunk and it had been too funny to mess with the boy's heads.
Tarja remembers that kiss and what she can say is, that she has liked it back then.
But this is someone completely strange. And if Sharon wasn't a woman but a man, Tarja would be freaking out right now. She'd be repudiative and she would never have the courage to sleep at his place.
Or sleep with him, for that matter.
What is different about Sharon being a woman?
As she said, she could also be a psychopath.
She doesn't look like one, really not.
She's treating her customers nicely, smiles at them, laughs with them.
And as she returns to Tarja, her dark eyes are are filled with joy.
Tarja has to smile too.
"They just told me they love Nightwish, so you better don't turn around," she warns her and Tarja nods. "It's really a good song, by the way. They wished for another one but I've already forgotten the name again ... something like 'Beauty and the beast'?"
"Beauty and or beauty of the beast?" Tarja asks. "These are two different songs."
"Oh, okay. What's the difference?"
"My ... ex sings in Beauty and the beast," Tarja says with a dark voice and Sharon grimaces.
"I better put on a completely different one. Name anything."
"She is my sin," Tarja says promptly and Sharon nods, putting the song on next.
"Oh, I like that beginning," she says as it comes on. "It just sounded like the announcement of news on TV."
"What!" Tarja laughs. "It actually does, you're right! Oh my god, I've never noticed that before!"
They laugh together, their faces get closer, and suddenly their lips are on each other's and they're kissing.
Just a little. Slowly, exploring each other's mouths.
Sharon pulls away before the chorus of 'She is my Sin' starts and looks at Tarja, who's eyes are closed.
She smiles. "May I take you home with me tonight, Tarja?"
And Tarja nods, her eyes still closed.
For the rest of the hour Tarja only drinks water. She wants to be sober when she's having her first time with a woman.
She sways to the music and watches Sharon kicking out guests. In a nice way.
"But she gets to stay!" Tarja hears a man slur. He speaks English, so she understands him.
"She's my friend, though," Sharon replies and shoves him out. "Sorry, see you tomorrow!" she shouts after him and locks the bar.
Tarja has to smile.
Friend ... They have known each other for like two hours.
She offers Sharon to help cleaning everything, but the barkeeper declines.
She wipes off the tables, the counter, she washes the glasses and sorts the alcohol. Then she empties the cash and brings the money back to the safe. "Come with me," she offers Tarja and Tarja follows.
In the back, Sharon turns off the light for the front.
"I've never been at the back of a bar," Tarja says and Sharon chuckles.
"Not that impressive. I bet backstage doesn't look that much different?"
"True," Tarja confirms and watches Sharon do her work. Book keeping, balancing the cash and all.
She must be a smart woman. Tarja has no idea how that kind of stuff works.
"What?" Sharon chuckles as she notices that Tarja is staring at her.
"Nothing. I ... just ... you're beautiful."
"Wow, thanks," Sharon laughs quietly.
"What's your story?" Tarja asks. "How did you come here? What about your past, how did you figure out you're bisexual?"
"Hm," Sharon made. "Well, I've been studying. Back then I was still with Robert. One day I noticed that I'm really in love with a study friend of mine, Emelie. I broke up with Robert, telling him that I thought I was gay ... and holy shit, that destroyed him. I was with Emelie for a while but then I found out it wasn't even love ... it had just been a crush and I had been curious. I spoke to Robert again, telling him I was bisexual, even though back then I had no idea. I didn't want him to feel bad, you know?"
"Let me guess, he thought that you didn't like being with him, cause you're gay?"
"Exactly. Especially the sex part. I mean, I hope he noticed that I did like that!" Sharon chuckled. "Emelie and I ended things and Robert and I stayed friends. Emelie and I didn't stay friends but whatever. She had a boyfriend shortly after that, so ..."
"And you had a girlfriend?"
"Kind of. I dropped out of college and started working at a café. And boy, I had this gorgeous colleague ... She was a few years older than me and had a husband. One day she found out that the husband was cheating on her and she cried during our shift. After work, I asked her if she wanted to get revenge. She said yes. And I made her come so hard, she forgot her name. On the kitchen counter back in the café."
"Sharon!" Tarja laughed. "Oh my god."
"That was quite wild. I was twenty-four back then."
"And your colleague??"
"As old as I am now."
Tarja groaned. "Damn."
Sharon grinned. "My former colleague thought she was gay for a while. We met for a few weeks, had loaaads of sex and then she found out she was pregnant. And that was it ..."
"Oh. Fuck. From her cheating husband?"
"Yup. And from what I know they're still together."
"Shit. But you soon found another girlfriend?"
"It lasted a while. I liked Katrina, that was her name, a lot. I was quite broken after our ... kinf of break up. I didn't have anyone for a while and then I started going out in gay bars. I had some affairs and then I met Mindy." Sharon smiles. "And this relationship lasted for three years. It was a beautiful relationship."
"But you aren't with her anymore."
"We were both too different. We loved each other but she wanted to marry, she wanted a family. I just wanted to finish my damn studies and become successful."
"That sounds sad. Poor Mindy."
"Don't worry, she's married now. Poor me, though. More or less, I'm here with you after all." Sharon grins down at Tarja.
"Did you have someone after Mindy?"
"Some small relationships. The longest one lasted half a year. Her name was Fiona and the whole relationship was toxic. She was my last one. Now I'm here."
"Okay, that is an impressive story. I only had Tuomas for years. For seven years only him."
"And before that?"
"Only one boyfriend. In college. It was nice but he wasn't really interested in me. I ended things and I didn't have anyone for a few years. After those years Tuomas and I started dating. Apparently he has already loved me back in middle school."
"Aw. So he has loved you for what, fifteen years?"
"If he even loved me during those last years," Tarja sighs.
"I'm sure he did. I bet he still does. And I think he's going crazy right now, since he has no idea where you are."
"No one knows. Ugh. I should text my father, telling him I'm okay ..."
"So he can tell Thomas?"
"Tuomas ... but you're right. I won't tell him. I'll just enjoy life for tonight."
"Good plan." Sharon grins. "So - let's get out, I would say. We can walk to my apartment, it's about fifteen minutes. Can you walk?"
"That's fine. I sobered down a little bit during the last hour."
They walk out at the back entrance and Sharon locks the door.
And presses Tarja against the wall.
And she kisses her hard, with her tongue searching its way inside Tarja's mouth.
And her hands searching a way below Tarja's top.
She's about to take her right here, right now. Sharon needs her, there's no way she's going to wait any longer.
Especially when Tarja moans as Sharon touches her breasts.
"Damn." Sharon pulls away, panting fast. "We should ... really go home now."
Tarja nods. "Yes. We really should."