It starts, like these things often do, with a happy accident of fate.
Or at least that’s how Darcy plans to describe it. Jemma isn’t nearly that poetic, she’s attributing it to the fact that she was the only science student in the entire summer program who likes art enough to spend a whole afternoon at the museum. (They’re visiting Italy, for goodness’ sake! It would be wrong not to enjoy some of the art and architecture.)
She’s over amongst the statues when she first hears that American drawl behind her, “Hey, wallflower.”
“Me?” Jemma exclaims, startling, and Darcy mentally high-fives herself for happening to pick out one of the few British girls in the program.
“Yeah, you,” she says, smiling to show it’s meant nicely. “There’s nobody else over here.”
“Oh,” Jemma murmurs, blushing. “Yes, hello. I don’t… know you, do I?”
“Nope, and I don’t know you,” Darcy shrugs. “Hence my coming over to talk. Darcy Lewis, hi.” And she sticks out her hand for a shake, all bold and unapologetic.
“Jemma Simmons.” She tilts her head, surveying the other girl with her scientist curiosity. It’s met not with the awkward confusion she usually gets but with an unashamed stare right back, and that’s both comforting and nervewracking (in a good way).
“Well, Jemma,” Darcy says, and somehow even the way she repeats her name makes Jemma blush (well, everyone in the program calls her by her last name, most people she’s known in her university years call her by her last name, really nobody but her parents call her by her first name anymore, but it’s not like she has a problem with it, and it does sound awfully cute when Darcy says it). “You mind a little company? I’m kinda bored of everyone else.”
“I’m, I’m not that interesting,” Jemma stammers.
“Let me be the judge of that,” Darcy insists, and in her oh-so-forward way (maybe it’s an American thing? Jemma hasn’t spent much time with most of the Americans in the program, her little cluster of science students is almost entirely UK-based) she reaches out, links their arms, and leads them off toward some room full of paintings.
Maybe an hour, hour and a half later, Darcy’s phone starts buzzing, and immediately Jemma panics: the museum is quiet enough that it sounds impossibly loud, and she’s terrified some of the other patrons are going to give reprimands, but Darcy doesn’t miss a beat, slipping it out of her pocket, checking the screen, then returning it in one fluid motion.
“Was it anything important?” Jemma asks, and damned if she doesn’t just look like she ought to be a cartoon with her cute little worried face.
“One of the kids in my group wondering where I was,” Darcy says nonchalantly. “A bunch of them are going out for dinner after they finish up here.”
“I expect you’ll be wanting to get back to them?” Jemma assumes.
Darcy raises an eyebrow. “We’re hanging out, I’m not going to blow you off,” she declares. “Besides. I wasn’t really feeling like a fancy dinner tonight. What’s your opinion of gelato?”
“I haven’t had it,” Jemma admits.
“Seriously?” Darcy exclaims. “You’ve been in Italy for a couple weeks and you still haven’t tried gelato?”
“I don’t eat sweets very often,” Jemma explains sheepishly.
“Well, tonight you’re eating sweets,” Darcy declares, smirking (although whether it’s because of the order or because she’s amused with the way she’s repeating the Britishism is unclear). “Gelato for dinner. That is, if you’re not tired of me.”
Jemma shakes her head adamantly. Darcy is so far from the sort of person she spends most of her time with, and perhaps that’s why she’s so exciting, or perhaps it’s because of her cute smile or the glasses she keeps adjusting or – well. “I’m not,” Jemma promises. “Gelato for dinner sounds lovely.”
So after making sure their compatriots know where they’re going, more or less, the girls find a little café with outdoor seats, order every flavor of gelato to share, and start in on the getting-to-know-you chatter they couldn’t do in the museum.
Darcy can guess where in England Jemma’s from (“Theater geek,” she explains, “That accent class I took finally comes in handy”) but Jemma draws a blank about where in America Darcy’s from (“I don’t have any such advantage, I’m afraid,” she smirks, and they have a nice giggle about how cliché it is that the Brit can’t distinguish one region of America from another, but it’s not like the Southwest is that distinctive, accent/mannerisms-wise).
Darcy can guess what Jemma’s specialty is (science, by virtue of them not having met before) but Jemma shrugs noncommittally and lamely says humanities for what Darcy’s is (political science, actually).
Darcy can even guess what kind of gelato Jemma’s going to like best (strawberry).
Darcy is clearly the kind of person who’s good with people, and Jemma… isn’t, quite, but it’s going pretty well and she’s comfortable enough in the conversation until Darcy starts eyeing up the local men strolling by and driving by on their scooters and things. “Man, I’d love to get whisked off on a Vespa,” she sighs happily.
“It might be exciting,” Jemma tries to agree, and she must look and sound so awkward, because Darcy’s smile goes all sorts of comforting.
“Another night,” she assures. “I swear I’m not going to blow you off. Actually…” Something changes in her expression, going from friendly to mischievous, perhaps. “I kinda feel like doing some whisking off myself tonight.”
Jemma scrunches up her nose. “What do you–?”
But before she can finish, Darcy is leaning across the table to kiss her, and – somehow Jemma feels like she should have been expecting this, somehow she feels like she couldn’t possibly have, and mostly she just feels like she’s overwhelmingly, unusually glad.
“I think I’d like that,” Jemma finds herself murmuring.
“Cool,” Darcy grins.
“You’re kinda new to this, huh?” Darcy asks softly when they’ve broken their kiss to come up for air.
Jemma blushes. “It’s not really a priority of mine most of the time,” she admits, scooting off the other girl’s lap shyly and looking at the walls of her dorm room, the ceiling, anywhere but Darcy’s face. She feels ridiculous, honestly. It’s not like she’s lying, usually she doesn’t even think about sex, but just now she feels like the most obvious virgin in the entire world. She supposes she’s only embarrassed because she actually likes Darcy, actually wants to impress her, and that’s – not unheard of, exactly, but not particularly regular either.
Darcy can assume most of this, and she feels awful about making it weird, and as such she moves to twine their fingers. “Hey,” she says. “Hey, it’s not a big deal.”
“I’ve at least kissed people before,” Jemma mutters. “It’s – it’s been a while, but…”
“It’s cool,” Darcy insists. She leans to rest her chin against Jemma’s shoulder. “Lucky for you, I’m kind of an expert. A sexpert, if you will.”
“Oh my goodness,” Jemma exclaims, trying not to laugh.
“Oh, c’mon,” Darcy chuckles. “I’m offering you the benefit of my sexperience.”
“Stop it,” Jemma giggles.
“This is my area of sexpertise.”
“Please, I beg you, shut up!” Jemma shouts, though she can’t stop grinning.
“Then get back in my lap and kiss me,” Darcy retorts.
“How romantic,” Jemma says airily.
“Please please pretty please come here and kiss me?” Darcy attempts, pouting playfully.
“You’re incorrigible,” Jemma murmurs, but she’s quick to obey, giggling against Darcy’s lips as she does.
“Trust me?” Darcy whispers.
“Yes,” Jemma nods, very fervently and very much more relaxed (Darcy’s totally crediting her puns).
From there, there’s really only one way it can go, which it very much does.
“Most people are surprised that I’m such a cuddler,” Darcy informs, wrapping an arm around Jemma’s naked waist and pulling her close. “But it seems kinda obvious to me. I mean, with pillow tits like these, I’d be doing people a disservice if I didn’t let them snuggle up.”
Almost obligingly, Jemma rests her head against Darcy’s chest, giggling. “They are very soft,” she agrees.
A moment passes before Darcy asks, “You okay?”
“Of course,” Jemma murmurs. “Why do you ask?”
“It’s just, y’know,” Darcy says. “The last time I was part of a deflowering, it was my own, so it’s kind of a different thing.”
Jemma looks up all wide-eyed like a Disney cartoon. “Yes, I’m – ” And she pauses for a moment, biting her lip like she’s trying to work up the nerve to say something.
“Yeah?” Darcy prompts.
“I’m sexcellent,” Jemma declares. She’s totally laughing more at her own audacity than the joke, because she knows it’s horrible.
“Nice one,” Darcy crows.
Apparently so bad it’s good.
“Thank you,” Jemma murmurs a moment later, once their hysterics have passed.
“For what?” Darcy asks.
“For making this so lovely,” Jemma says.
“I mean, it could have been lovelier,” Darcy replies, trying not to giggle. “There should have been rose petals, there should have been champagne.”
“I got seduced while abroad in Rome,” Jemma points out. “By a dashing American. I think that’s plenty lovely. It’s like a silly romantic comedy.”
Darcy smiles softly. “Well, then I’m glad,” she says.