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Lesbian LGBTQ+ Drama

We were struggling to make our way up the mountain, our steps unstable on the pebbles under our feet and the fresh morning air filling our lungs, when Tara suddenly halted, took a long sip from her water bottle and faced me with a huge smile. “Audrey, will you marry me?” 

I laughed because surely she was joking. Tara had such a quirky sense of humour, which was one of the things I liked most about her. But her expression was totally serious, which stopped my laughter in its tracks, leaving an awkward and expectant silence in its place. “Tara, it’s only our third date.”

“So? Why wait, if it’s right? Life is short, and I want to spend what we have left together.” She knelt, revealing a ring nestled in a velvet box that glistened in the sun, her hopeful eyes searching mine. 

We had met on the apps a few weeks ago. I was listlessly swiping late one Friday evening when I came upon her profile. (Swiping when you’re lonely should be avoided in the same way as shopping when you’re hungry.) I had done my old trick, turning my profile open to men for a while so that I can then go back to women and appreciate more what was on offer. After the fifth consecutive fish pic, I switched back to women-only and her profile was the first I saw. And though my trick may have played a tiny part, her profile really did stand out from all the other women I had seen that night. The first picture was a close-up that made it immediately clear that she was my type: short hair, playful eyes, a nice smile, and unmistakable they/them vibes. The second photo was full-length, showing off her amazing body and strong arms. The third was with friends, a good sign, the fourth with her adorable cat, and the last one was of her playing the drums. These ticked all the boxes. The bio was short but punchy: Beat-loving, cat-cuddling, craft-brewer hiker seeking her forever plus-one. Must be loyal and kind and love cats. No couples / ENM please! 

That was only a few weeks ago. And now here we were, halfway up a mountain, Tara waiting for me to respond to her proposal. “It’s way too soon, even for lesbians.” I laughed nervously. “Please get up.”

“When you know, you know. You’re the Carol to my Therese,” she pressed. “I want to be with you forever. So let’s make it official?” 

She wasn’t smiling anymore, and the intensity of her stare was unsettling, anchoring me to the spot. Her certainty was causing me to question myself. Was my hesitation a shield against past hurts, or a barrier to future happiness? Should I take a chance? Tara’s words, ‘When you know, you know,’ echoed in my mind, but all I knew was a tangle of fear and longing, a desire to leap yet a compulsion to look before I did. But surely looking before jumping was a good thing? Something that kept you alive for longer?  

“Well, that’s...fiction. Besides, I don’t know you well enough; I need more time.”

Disappointment flashed in her eyes. “I see. You know, my exes never really understood what commitment meant either. I was hoping you’d be different.” She got up, pocketed the ring, and resumed walking. 

What was all that about? This was the first time she had brought up her exes, and her tone was disconcerting. How much did I really know about her? Was I allowing my attraction to her to blind me to all the warning signs? I had promised myself I wouldn’t let this happen again! 

Our first date was free of any red flags though – she had passed with flying colours. We had gotten take-away coffees and went for a walk along the waterfront. It was my go-to first date, simple and safe, as you could easily cut it short if you needed to. But with Tara, I didn’t need to; our conversation flowed effortlessly. She was charming, interesting and interested. Our hug goodbye was comfortable and intimate, and I had the impression that I had known her for much longer than just a few hours. 

Our second date happened shortly after the first. I went over to her place for lunch, after which we snuggled up on the couch to watch Carol, her favourite movie. Our physical connection was both intense and immediate, a rarity for me. There was one thing that bothered me slightly, though. Halfway through the movie I got a notification on my phone, which I quickly checked. 

“Who’s that?” she asked. 

“Oh, just my friend. We’re making plans for next weekend,” I said, before turning my attention back to the movie. 

“Which friend is that?”

“Vanessa.”

“You’re always hanging out with her. Sounds like you two are pretty close, huh?”

“Well, yeah. She’s my best friend.” 

“But you’re just friends, right?”

“Yes, we’re just friends,” I said, getting a bit annoyed. “Why the sudden interest in Vanessa?”

She looked taken aback but recovered quickly. “Sorry. It’s just that I was really hoping to spend more time with you next weekend. I’d like to plan a special date for us.”

And now we were on this special date of hers, where she decided to propose. And this memory from our second date kept replaying, the Netflix of my mind glitching, like it was trying to tell me something. Was it an isolated incident, or an indication of a larger problem? An awkwardness had crept into the day, draining my energy. We had been walking in silence for some time, until she finally broke it with another question I wasn’t expecting, though perhaps I should have. 

“Is there someone else?”

“What? No. I mean, I am chatting to other people because we haven’t discussed exclusivity yet. But nothing serious.”

She stopped and faced me again. She looked upset, but then smiled. “Yeah, I guess that makes sense. Would you like to, though? Be exclusive. It’s quite important to me.”

Dating was kind of weird that way, oscillating between a seemingly polyamorous phase where options are explored freely, followed by the moment of decision when we’re expected to choose a single partner, supposedly for life. I liked Tara, but wasn’t sure I was ready for exclusivity just yet, especially given what had transpired today. But perhaps the proposal was just some elaborate joke after all? Or maybe she did kind of mean it, but it just proved how passionate, romantic, and into me she was? 

“I like you, and we can definitely talk about it. I just need a bit more time, okay?”

She turned and smiled. “Of course. That makes total sense.” 

“Thanks, Tara. To be honest, I’m not even sure marriage is for me.” 

“Really? Surely one day though? With the right person?”

“I don’t know… it’s such a hetero thing to do, don’t you think?” 

She didn’t reply, merely grunting a response that I wasn’t sure how to interpret. I decided to change the subject. “This trail really is beautiful. I wonder why it’s so isolated, though? We haven’t seen any other people in all this time.”

“Oh, it’s an undiscovered gem, alright. There’s complete privacy; it’s why I brought you here.”

“I can certainly see the appeal, though I wouldn’t want to get lost here on my own,” I laughed. 

“Don’t worry. As long as you’re with me, you’ll never get lost,” she said, and flashed me one of her charming smiles. 

She put unnatural emphasis on the first part, as long as you’re with me, which sent chills down my spine. But it was probably another joke? I stopped to catch my breath, looking at how far we had come and how remote we were. A slight breeze whispered through the trees, composing an eerie melody, and ahead of us the path narrowed dangerously at a bend, revealing a steep drop veiled by a thin mist. 

“Hey, I was wondering, what did you mean before about your exes? I realise we haven’t really talked about our past relationships yet. Perhaps this is a good time?” I asked. 

Her body stiffened visibly, and she didn’t turn around when replying. “I don’t really want to talk about them, if that’s okay. My last relationship in particular… let’s just say it ended pretty badly. She cheated on me, I found out, and there was a whole drama. And the one before that, well, I thought we were in love, but then she, uh, she just left me.”

“That’s tough. I’m sorry to hear that. My previous relationship was also rather intense. That’s why I’m keen to take it slow, you know?”

“Yeah, totally get it. I guess we’ve both been unlucky. Up to now,” she smiled as she turned to look at me. “What do you mean when you say it was intense?”

“Uhm. Well, it was very passionate. The physical connection was strong, but we also fought a lot, and she made me question myself in ways that I didn’t like.”

“Hmmm.”

“But anyway, tell me a bit about your childhood. Do you have siblings?” I asked. 

“Okay, well, I have an older brother. He used to pick on me quite a bit. I don’t really see him that often anymore. And my mom, well, she, uh, died when I was little, so yeah. Not really a happy story. But my childhood was pretty normal I’d say.”

“Oh god, sorry, Tara. That must have been tough.”

“Aw it wasn’t all that bad. What about yours?”

“It was quite hectic; the house was always super busy. I’m the middle child – I have two older sisters and two younger brothers. My father had some issues with his temper, when he was home, that is, which wasn’t that often.”  

“That sounds rough. I can relate to that. My father wasn’t the jolliest person either, especially after my mom died.”

I went up to her then, kissing her gently on the lips and giving her a long hug. I nestled my face into her neck, smelling her sweet scent as she caressed my back tenderly. 

After another 30 minutes of navigating the last section of the ascent, out of breath and our muscles aching, we finally reached the summit. The sight that greeted us took away what little breath we had left, a sweeping panorama that made every step of the climb worth the effort. The cliffs were phenomenal, and the interplay of shadows and sunlight across their surfaces created a dynamic embroidery of light and dark, accentuating the rugged beauty of their shapes.

“Last chance to reconsider?” she said breezily. 

“What’s that?”

“My proposal.”

“Oh, uhm,” I laughed nervously. “You’re kidding, right? I thought we put that to bed?”

“Yeah nah, all good. I just wanted to make sure,” she replied with a wink. “Give you at least one last chance.”

I turned away from her, admiring the view once more. I was starting to seriously question whether I should keep seeing Tara. I liked her, she was super cute, and we certainly did have a lot of chemistry. But I was still a bit confused about whether she was serious about the proposal, and if she was, what did it mean? I also didn’t like the way she talked about her exes, and she appeared to be showing some signs of intense jealousy. How well did I really know her? Was it worth the risk? Did we even have enough in common? 

When I turned around to face her again, I saw her standing a few metres away, looking calm but intent. Her smile was unnervingly wide, almost maniacal, and she was clutching a sizable rock in her hands. Suddenly, she started to advance towards me with speed. 

“Tara, what are you d-”

“Look at this cool rock I found,” she beamed at me, until she saw my face. “What’s wrong? Are you scared? Shit, did you think I was gonna hurt you? I would never!” She hugged me tight. “As long as you’re with me, you’ll always be safe.”

She dropped the rock to the ground, which made me jump. “Sorry, it’s just… I’m tired and it’s been an intense day, you know?” The rock looked fairly ordinary to me. Ordinary, but large and liable to cause considerable damage. 

“I get it. And hey, I’m sorry about the proposal. You’re right – it’s too soon. Let’s take it slow. How about we go to that new Italian place for our fourth date?” she probed. 

Tara was showing so many red flags – was it time I started heeding them, or did she deserve another chance? I wasn’t sure that ending things here and now would be the best idea, high up on this mountain where no one would hear my screams. She probably wouldn’t really hurt me, not physically at least. Probably. But did I want to risk it? “Yeah, sounds good,” I said with a fake smile. 

I reckon it was time to take a break from the apps; dating was taking a dangerous toll on my health. 

February 14, 2024 08:36

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18 comments

Michał Przywara
21:39 Feb 14, 2024

Yeah, good mystery here :) Was it all innocuous? Or did she narrowly avoid being murdered? It really could go either way, keeping us guessing, and keeping the tension high. Well, either way, marriage by the third date does seem extreme, and we can see why the narrator is suspicious. But... it is also entirely plausible they have just both been burned in their own ways before, and each has developed different defences. A very tense hike - thanks for sharing!

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08:13 Feb 15, 2024

Thanks, Michał! Still a long way down, she's not out of the woods just yet!

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Trudy Jas
16:35 Feb 14, 2024

I'm so glad my dating time has passed. It's just too dangerous out there. :-) Great story! Leaving just enough breadcrumbs to make us wonder.

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08:14 Feb 15, 2024

Thanks, Trudy! It sure is! :/

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18:11 Feb 21, 2024

Your story does a fantastic job of building suspense throughout. Leaves you wondering what their relationship will look like moving forward. Thanks for sharing!

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20:07 Feb 21, 2024

Thank you, Brianna! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I'm pretty sure the relationship is over lol, at least I hope so.

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Michelle Oliver
13:41 Feb 17, 2024

Tense story, I enjoyed the second and third guessing. Is she or isn’t she a psychopath? Either way it’s important to trust those gut feelings and heed the red flags warning signs. Thanks for sharing.

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20:12 Feb 17, 2024

Thanks for reading, Michelle! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

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Danie Holland
16:49 Feb 16, 2024

Melissa, great foreboding. I fully expected our MC to get shoved off a cliff. Smart move on her part to agree to a fourth date until she finds a safer place to uh, untangle herself from all those red flags.

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20:14 Feb 16, 2024

Thanks, Danie!

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Stella Aurelius
15:08 Feb 16, 2024

Oooh ! There's keen and then there's creepy. Tara is definitely in the creepy side. This was a great read, Melissa.

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20:15 Feb 16, 2024

Thank you Stella, glad you enjoyed it!

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Tracy Phillips
18:42 Feb 15, 2024

Woah! I really liked your narrator and was literally afraid for her - I was hoping this wouldn't end with her pushed off of the mountain!! I think you really captured that weirdness of the first few dates where people are trying to figure each other out. I was immersed immediately in the story and characters - great job!

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Tracy Phillips
18:43 Feb 15, 2024

Oh, and thanks for reading and commenting on my corny little love story with the pot belly pigs! :)

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19:09 Feb 15, 2024

Thank you so much, Tracy! Glad you enjoyed it :)

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David Sweet
13:44 Feb 15, 2024

When Tara considered literally leaping then thought "Look before you leap." I knew this wasn't going to end well for this couple. I'm glad that Tara is still alive at this point in the story. It's going to be intense whatever happens next. Thanks for sharing this story. I read your bio. You said you were an economist with a knack for technical writing but not sure about your creative writing. I think your dialogue is great. Very natural and very real. You did a good job of character development over a short period of time with tidbits alon...

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19:09 Feb 15, 2024

Thank you so much for the encouragement, David! It really means a lot! I like practising and learning more and hopefully I'll gradually improve over time. On the story, I think you meant Audrey rather than Tara, unless I mixed the names up somewhere 🙃

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David Sweet
19:55 Feb 15, 2024

I may have mixed them up, but I'm glad you knew what I was talking about. It was a quick toxic relationship.

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