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An Evolving Palate

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Stevie knows what most people think of Jake. But Stevie likes him. He’s a good guy, genuine and honest, but most importantly, he’s easy . And not that he’s “easy,” like easy to get in bed— well, he is, but that’s not the point she’s making here. 


Being with Jake is simple. It’s always fun and he knows what he’s doing and he’s generous with those skills. It feels good and Stevie’s never at risk of catching feelings with him (and vice versa, for that matter). Despite a misguided throuple proposal, and then an unfortunate pet name disclosed to their ex and his new boyfriend, it’s the least complicated relationship in her life. 


Hours or a lifetime ago, she’s too stunned at the moment to recall, Stevie stopped by Jake’s for a whisky. They’d bumped into each other at the café and he’d extended the familiar invitation on his way out with a brief but firm kiss goodbye. It was almost chaste, by Jake’s standards, but the faint buzz of arousal that hummed under her skin was enough to convince her she was up for “a whisky or whatever”.


Easy . Simple . It’s what she always looks for in a hook-up, with Jake or whatever random she might pick up at one of his parties. But she thinks what’s happening now is anything but easy or simple.


Stevie’s doing something she’s done hundreds of times before, but it’s also very new. Everything about it is just a little bit different, every sensation slightly altered. 


The faintest bite of a sharp nail is pressing into the skin behind her ear, where she’d usually expect rougher, maybe calloused fingertips. Lip gloss eases the slide of a mouth against hers, no chapped lip friction to be found. The tiny gasps and moans floating in the air between them are breathy and high-pitched, not the low and deep rumble she’d usually feel echoing against her chest. 


Despite a rich sexual history with a variety of partners, Stevie’s never done this, and she didn’t know she’d like this; in fact, she’s insisted more than once in the past that she didn’t want this. This is anything but a run-of-the-mill hook-up and the whole thing feels a little overwhelming, honestly, not that she’d ever admit that to anyone. Her brain is working overtime, trying to process and catch up with what’s happening, but her body seems to know what to do and it feels good enough to just go with it for now. 


It’s more than good, really— it’s kind of thrilling.


The lips against hers are soft and gentle but not timid. The tongue flicking against her upper lip is confident and playful. The expanse of warm skin under her hand is smooth and yields under the pressure of her fingertips, and the silky hair sliding through the fingers of her other hand is long, long, longer than she’s used to. Her brain slows down and focuses long enough to think she might like to get used to it, to all of this.


Maybe simple and easy are overrated. Or maybe this is simpler and easier than she would have expected.


Stevie parts her lips for the tongue that’s been teasing them and the first lick into her mouth leaves behind traces of her partner’s drink, some fancy wine with a label in a language that might have been French but she definitely didn’t recognize. Her racing mind stutters over wondering where someone would find a wine that fancy around here, when she suddenly realizes it was a white wine. 


Unbidden, a long-forgotten memory rises to the surface: a conversation with David amidst dusty shelves of cheap liquor, a gentle explanation in the context of red wines and white wines and labels. 


The coincidence of the taste in her mouth almost startles Stevie out of the moment, but she reins it in— whether it was going to be a laugh or a snort or a groan, she’s not even sure.


She is sure she doesn’t care. She’s sure she’s going to tell David about this eventually, and she’s sure he’s going to smirk and tease and wonder aloud if she’ll try a rosé next— all attempts to hide any sappy feelings, per the unwritten bylaws of their friendship. But that long ago conversation in the middle of the Schitt’s Creek General Store opened her eyes and, she might assume now, explains how this could be happening.  


Stevie is also sure none of that matters yet. Her brain is quieting down and her body is taking over and she realizes it’s not that complicated at all. She still decides what’s simple and what’s easy and what she likes. Right now, she likes this and all she has to do is be present. Everything else is just labels, and it’s not about that, right?


Feeling like a weight’s been lifted, Stevie commits her focus to the woman in front of her. She tangles her fingers in the long curls she’s been absently stroking and tugs gently. Her tongue deliberately seeks out any traces of the astringent flavor of the wine on her partner’s tongue and lips, then uses the grip in her hair to tilt her head back to kiss and suck at the softest skin Stevie’s ever tasted. Urged on by quiet gasps of encouragement, Stevie nips and soothes her neck and noses behind her ear, picking up traces of a musky, faintly floral scent Stevie would never wear herself but finds unexpectedly provocative here. 


Her other hand tightens on a gracefully curving waist, short nails digging into smooth and supple skin. She pictures the tiny indentations she’s leaving behind and groans into that soft neck. Tendrils of hair are tickling her face, another unexpected thrill, so different from the sharper scrape of the whiskers she’s used to. Stevie dips her head lower to taste and tease where the column of her neck meets her shoulder, finding more bitter traces of that perfume instead of cologne.


Stevie becomes aware of hands slipping underneath her leather jacket. They gather fistfuls of the flannel draping her sides, then slip underneath that, too, and the tee-shirt below that, maneuvering past each barrier to finally reach skin. They spread across her bare back, cool but leaving trails of fire in their wake. Fingertips slip just past the waistband of Stevie’s jeans and she feels each individual point of heat as tiny brands in her skin.


Stevie groans and latches her teeth around a delicate collarbone. The resulting moan is deep and she can feel it reverberating in the chest under her lips. A jolt of arousal settles between her thighs.


She feels a tug against the hair twisted through her fingers and releases it. The hands slipping under her jeans are now outside them, squeezing her ass once, then pushing Stevie’s hips to direct her back against the wall. One hand settles high on her waist, thumb brushing the velvety skin of Stevie’s stomach. The other grips Stevie’s leg above her knee and briefly lifts, making room for the leg settling between Stevie’s. 


They’re slotted tightly together now and Stevie’s breath hitches when she feels her heat, even though layers of denim, pressing against her upper thigh. The firm thigh pressing against the growing arousal between her own legs feels even better. This isn’t unfamiliar; her body takes over again and begins a slow but deliberate grind against the one crowding her against the wall. Her impulse must be right because the hands grip her ass and guide her into a steadier rhythm, complementary moans spilling out of them both.


From there, it’s all instinct, as natural as breathing. Hips press and release, slide and grind, delicious friction building between them. Kisses are sloppy and uncoordinated, more teeth and huffs of air than anything else. They give up and tuck into each other’s necks, licking and sucking at whatever skin they can latch onto. 


Those hands stay planted on Stevie’s ass, guiding their movements against each other, but Stevie’s hands start to roam. Trembling slightly— though, again, she’d never admit it aloud— they explore the dips and swerves of another woman’s torso for the first time. The thumbs brushing higher and higher up her sides still haven’t met the band of fabric Stevie expected to find and her own nipples tighten when she realizes there’s nothing to discover but bare skin. 


Stevie steadies herself with one hand high on her waist but the other spreads out and forward and across until fingertips brush against a firm swell. She pauses, unsure of herself and of consent, but she hears the hiss of a “yes” pressed against her neck and continues. Stevie’s long fingers nudge a pebbled nipple as her hand eventually surrounds and massages her breast. She can feel the nipple pressing into the palm of her hand now and is nearly overcome with the sudden urge to wrap her lips around it next. 


A long, reedy moan escapes the woman’s throat. One of the hands guiding the rhythm of their hips abandons Stevie’s ass to sneak under all those layers again and grip Stevie’s breast through her bra. A reciprocal moan from Stevie urges her on and her fingers seek out and pinch Stevie’s nipple through the sheer fabric. Stevie copies the gesture on the breast filling her palm and the cadence of their hips falters for a moment, then gains speed. 


It almost hurts, now, the thigh pressing and pushing between Stevie’s legs. Not enough to stop, hell no. It’s rubbing the thick seam of her jeans against her pussy, hard enough to feel against her clit; not consistent enough to get her off, but with enough pressure to ride the edge of discomfort. She wants more. 


She feels surrounded, wrapped in a bubble of silky hair, subtle perfume, soft hands, and endless curves. She revels in that almost claustrophobic feeling, she enjoys being pressed down and caged in, but in the back of her mind, she registers the sensation of eyes lingering on them, hears the occasional moan and whisper above the quiet music setting the mood in the room. It’s breaking through the illusion of privacy they’ve built for each other in this dark corner of the room, and it’s starting to bother her.


Stevie doesn’t mind being watched when the time is right, but the urge to indulge in a different kind of intimacy is taking over. She wants room to explore and feel out the edges of this thing without the prying eyes of strangers. But she’s never brought anyone home from one of Jake’s whisky nights before. 


It’s not like she qualifies her apartment as a sacred space, or so exceptionally guards her privacy, or anything like that. It’s more that she goes into these nights knowing what she wants, knowing what to expect, what it will feel like, what she’ll get out of it. And that usually gets accomplished right here— that’s sort of the point. And that’s usually what everyone else expects to happen, too. She’s unsure what kind of reaction she’ll get to an invitation to continue this elsewhere.


Stevie watched David get a little softer when Patrick came into his life. She saw the sharpest edges of his armor smoothed out to make room for someone else to break through them. She secretly admires that he was brave enough to make that leap, and despite how similar they are, she’s wondered before if she could ever do that.


This night of surprises and revelations seems to be suggesting she and David have more in common than she ever realized. So maybe she can follow his lead and muster up a little faith in someone new. Maybe she can take one more risk tonight. Maybe she can chase the unexpected for once, and this woman pressing her against the wall and taking her apart with every grind and slide and squeeze will follow her. 


“Hey.” Stevie’s lips brush her ear, a tongue flicks. “You wanna get outta here?”


For a moment, everything stops. Stevie sucks in a breath, ready to take it all back, then feels the warmth of a gentle hiss against her neck and lets it out in a slow exhale. The body crowding her somehow presses even closer, every point of contact caging her in so tightly her head spins, before pulling away. Waves of golden hair fill her field of vision and Stevie lifts a hand to sweep them over a delicate shoulder, revealing a pair of shiny, swollen lips lifted in a shy smile. Sparkling eyes meet hers and after a slow blink, the woman nods.


Stevie grins in return and pushes away from the wall. She grasps the woman’s hand and leads the way out, detouring around the pairs and groups of people scattered throughout the room. Once the door is shut firmly behind them, leaving them alone and in silence, Stevie gathers up her courage once more and takes charge, gripping the woman’s hips and pulling her close for one more bruising, thorough kiss. 


Stevie breaks away when the lack of oxygen has her head spinning again. Threading their fingers together once more, she tugs and the woman follows without hesitation. They make their way downstairs and outside, and Stevie sucks in a lungful of cool, fresh air. Out of the corner of her eye, she sees her companion do the same and exhales in tandem with her.


They walk hand in hand into the night, and Stevie is starting to think she likes this for herself.