Common Ground

Common Ground

Remi Jones strolled up to the bar. It was only seven o'clock on a Friday night, but to her it felt closer to eleven. She had put herself out there, again, only to meet another creep. Another guy who sexualized her being transgender, and only wanted to get into her pants for some fun. Remi had a more idealistic goal than sex with a stranger. She wanted a meaningful relationship.

"Hey Mic," she said solemnly to the bartender. "Long Island, please."

Mic turned to face her. The smile he'd been wearing, remnants of another patron's joke, faded into a look of sympathetic disappointment. He had seen this situation far too often, and lost a little bit of faith in humanity when he did. Mic was old enough to be Remi's father, and when she came in like this, it usually meant she needed some guidance.

"Another so-called Prince Charming, I take it?" Mic asked, as he wiped down the counter.

Remi rolled her eyes and shook her head. "You wanna know what this one did?" she asked rhetorically, as she pushed herself closer to him. "He flat out asked me in the middle of dinner, 'so you have a penis right?'" Remi said with a lowered voice.

Mic shook his head in disgust. "What an ass," he said, as he began to mix her drink.

"I swear…" Remi said. "I don't think there's an honest guy out there, that can date a transgirl without thinking about kinky sex."

"Most guys can't date period, without thinking of sex," Mic said. "Don't give up so easily."

"Maybe moving away from the city was a bad idea…"

"Are you kidding me?" Mic asked. "Then I wouldn't get to see your pretty face at my bar."

A subtle smile slipped across Remi's lips. The compliment actually made her blush a little bit. Remi had gone through about every phase in her transition. She came out to her friends and family when she was fifteen. Then the rejection came, followed eventually by the acceptance. By seventeen she was receiving medical help, and started her transition after high school.

Her college years had been a rollercoaster. Remi spent most of her free time learning, and exploring everything transgender; at times driving her friends insane with it. She went to classes, shopping, group meetings, and everything else as her true self. Though she never jumped into the party scene, afraid that something bad might happen. Eventually she felt confident enough to hit the bars and clubs with classmates.

That's when things really got interesting. Flirting and dancing, mixed with alcohol, and a few bad decisions, left Remi restless. She felt something was missing, and it wasn't sex. Although there were a few guys that tried to convince her she was wrong about that view. The first guy she ever made out with called her a tease; in more colorful terms. It took her awhile to get over that, and realize it wasn't her job to get men off.

There were other guys to follow, but they all had the same agenda. They wanted sex. And though Remi wasn't opposed to sex, she never quite managed to convey she was transgender before it got to that point. So naturally, out of fear, she backed out. She wanted them to know up front, and drunken make-out sessions didn't lend much to conversation.

So Remi tried a new approach; a dating app. On her profile she could put up front what she was all about, including being transgender. Every so often she would have to weed out a few rude comments. For the most part, the system worked pretty smoothly. That is until she met the guys who were supposedly "ok" with her being trans.

"So he just asked you, right there on the spot?" Mic asked, sliding a Long Island Ice Tea toward her.

"I'm surprised he didn't do it in front of the waiter," Remi said.

"Was it like… you ready for dessert? Oh by the way…" Mic asked?

Remi laughed; a rather melancholy laugh. She shook her head as she took a sip of her drink. "Nothing like that," she said. "He actually came over to my side of the booth. Which I thought was kind of sweet. Then we were talking for a bit, and all of a sudden… there it was."

Mic shook his head again.

"I mean, the implications alone…" Remi said. "But what if I'd just asked him to whip his out?"

"Don't do that," Mic said, chuckling. "They probably would."

"Probably…" Remi played with the stir stick in her drink. "I'm seriously thinking of giving up. Just focus on trying to get a career going."

Mic shrugged. "Don't give up so fast," he said. "You never know when you're going to meet the right one."

"I know it's not in my life time," Remi said, solemnly.

Mic straightened himself. "I have to go take care of them," he said, gesturing toward another customer. "Enjoy that one on the house."

"Thanks," Remi said, giving him a subtle smile.

Remi sat for a moment, sipping her drink. She studied the room. There were a few attractive men around, but after her "date," she really wasn't in the mood for more rejection. Besides, they were mostly busy trying to pick up the few tipsy college girls stumbling around and giggling about it. Mic came and checked up on her a few times, but by the time she finished her drink, she had decided to go home.

"Hey, Mic…" she said, grabbing his attention. "I'm gonna take off."

"Uh… hold on," he said, holding up his finger. He then put another Long Island in front of her.

"What's this?" Remi asked, giving him a confused smile.

"From the guy in the corner," Mic said, nodding toward that area of the bar.

Remi turned her head slowly. A young man, perhaps in his late twenties, sat alone at a table. He had dark hair, a somewhat stocky build, but didn't look out of shape. His tie hung loosely from the collar of his button-down shirt. When he lifted his hand to wave at her, a pleasant smile appeared on his face. Remi held her glass up and returned the smile. That's when the guy waved her over.

"Crap," Remi muttered, keeping her smile.

Remi slowly spun away from the bar, and stood; allowing herself time for a tipsy check. The restaurant she had gone to, was a little upscale. So she had worn a nice dress with a knee length skirt, along with a nice pair of court shoes with three inch heels. Having not gone home to change, she now tried her luck with the heels. She seemed to have no problem standing, so she casually strolled over to the table.

"Hi," the man said, while Remi approached.

"Thanks for the drink," Remi said.

The man stood from the table. He held his hand toward the other seat. "Would you like to sit with me?"

"I don't see any harm in that," Remi said, giving him a pleasant smile.

"I'm Brett."

"Remi," she said, easing herself into the booth.

Brett joined her on the other side. "Forgive me for saying so, but I didn't like the sight of a pretty girl like you sitting alone," he said.

"Why would you apologize for that?" Remi asked.

"Well I didn't want to assume," Brett said. "You could have been waiting for someone."

"I'm here alone," Remi said. "Just… unwinding after a long day."

"Same here," Brett said. He fumbled with his tie. "I just got off work."

"What do you do?" Remi asked.

"I'm a pharmacist," Brett said. "How about yourself?"

"I'm actually looking for a new job," Remi said. "Just graduated college in May."

"Oh," Brett said. "I assumed you were dressed from work."

"This?" Remi asked, gesturing toward her attire. "I actually walked out on a really bad date."

Brett nodded thoughtfully.

"I'm sorry," Remi said. "I didn't want to bring it up."

"No, it's fine," Brett said. "I mean, it happens." He sat quietly for a moment. "What was your major?" he finally asked.

"Business communications," Remi said, taking a sip of her drink. "But basically right now I'm working as a glorified secretary."

Brett nodded silently.

Remi leaned in closer. "So what's your story?" she asked.

"My story…" Brett swirled his drink around before taking a sip. "Farm boy that got tired of tossing hay. Went to school and moved as far away from home as possible." Brett looked up at her. "What about you?"

For a brief moment, Remi thought about lying. She even thought about blowing this guy off, and going home. That was, after all, her initial plan for the evening. However, something felt different about this guy, and it wasn't a "stranger danger" different either. He also didn't seem to be one of those proud, boastful idiots that she usually found in bars. She convinced herself to take the path less traveled with Brett.

"It's a long story," Remi said, with a sigh. "If you have time."

"For a cute brunette like you," Brett said, "I have all the time in the world."

Remi blushed, nearly getting sidetracked. "I…" She looked up at him, weighing the possibility that this might be the most painful thing to tell him. "I was born male as well," she finally said. "At least that's the gender they assigned me at birth. But I identify as female."

Brett nodded thoughtfully for a moment. The look on his face remained serious. He leaned forward; a good sign in Remi's experience. When they leaned away, that's when she began to worry. "You're saying you're transgender?" he finally asked.

"Yes," Remi said, quietly. "I thought I should be up front about it." Her eyes started drifting down toward the table. "You seem like a nice guy, and I didn't want to lead you on. So I thought that if I just…"

"Remi," Brett said, breaking a smile. "It's fine."

Remi looked up. "Really?"

"Yes," Brett said.

"You don't seem surprised," Remi said.

Brett's eyes shifted to the side. "I think I'm the one that needs to be up front," he said.

Remi looked at him confused. She had a bad feeling in her gut. This is where it usually went downhill. The guy would either say he had a fetish, or was bi-curious and wanted to experiment. Hundreds of thoughts began to course their way through her brain. She braced herself for the inevitable.

"What is it?" Remi asked, swallowing the lump forming in her throat.

"I kind of already knew," Brett said.

"You knew?" Remi asked. "But how?"

"I'm a pharmacist," Brett said. "I've filled your prescriptions a few times."

"I don't remember ever seeing you," Remi said.

"I've been in the back a few times when you've come in," Brett said.

"Oh," Remi said, pushing herself away from the table. "So what is this? Were you stalking me?" She let out a nervous laugh.

"Not at all," Brett said. "It's just… I never got to talk to you before. So I bought you a drink. Hoping we could talk."

"I don't even know what to say," Remi said.

"I swear, this is not a put up thing," Brett said. "Just a chance meeting."

"Were you just not going to say anything?"

Brett straightened himself up. "Frankly, it wasn't my place," he said.

"I suppose that's true," Remi said.

Brett sighed. "Look… I saw a pretty girl at the bar, and wanted to get to know her. Simple as that," Brett said. "No hidden agenda here."

"So you think I'm a pretty girl?" Remi asked.

"Emphasis on the pretty part," Brett said, smiling.

Remi couldn't help but return the smile. For the next several hours, the two of them talked. Although they talked about some of Remi's history, the conversation never steered toward sex, or what was between her legs. Brett was more interested in what was on Remi's mind. The conversation went so long, that Mic had to eventually break it up; though he did so reluctantly.

Brett walked Remi back to her apartment. They shared a few words outside. Then they shared a kiss. It was sweet, and tender; stirring emotions within both of them. And it didn't feel creepy, or tawdry. Brett watched her ascend the stairs to her apartment. She turned and waved, and he returned a wave of his own. He promised to call her the next day, and he did…

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