Wedding Bells for Mariah and Tessa on ‘The Young and the Restless’ ?

Did you hear that sound? Could it be the sound of wedding bells for a certain favorite lesbian couple on The Young and the Restless?

This past August, lesbian fans, bloggers and Facebook groups were teased with the tantalizing possibility that Mariah (Camryn Grimes) and Tessa (Cait Fairbanks) might head down the aisle sometime in the future.

The big “Teriah Tease” occurred at the nuptials of Kyle Abbott and Lola Rosales, whose own relationship has been as drama-filled as Mariah and Tessa’s. Their whirlwind Rich Brat Boy falling in love with Struggling Working Class Girl courtship had to overcome some truly ridiculous soap opera plots. But even with a few minor mishaps, Kyle miraculously pulled off the wedding of Lola’s dreams.

Gay and lesbian TV and movie characters have always taken a back seat at straight weddings, so it was refreshing to see Tessa and Mariah, who’ve grown quite close to Lola, help calm the nervous bride with their warmth and whimsical humor. Their prominence at the wedding was no accident, however.

At the reception, Kyle and Lola called the guests together for that most turgid of wedding traditions: the tossing of the bouquet. Lola turned around, tossed it over her head and saw that even a bouquet tossing can be full of drama. It landed not with a bang, but with a frenzied thud… into the arms of four different single women from the prominent Abbott/Newman families. They couldn’t get rid of it fast enough.

First, Abby Newman caught it, who threw it to Summer Newman, who flung it over to her mother Phyllis, who sent it to Ashley Abbott, who sent it to its final destination: Mariah, who was standing way off to the side with Tessa. Mariah kept it, kissed Tessa and let the possibilities of matrimony hang in the air between them.  It was an extra nice touch on the part of the writers to have “Here Comes the Bride” play in the background.

As satisfying as the scene was, I couldn’t help think about what a long and frustrating road it’s been for this couple.  Given the couple’s disappointing history, their tentative kisses and strangely platonic gal pal bonding, we were all losing hope that “Teriah” would become another casualty of the “we don’t know what to do with the lesbian” syndrome that’s killed off too many TV lesbian characters. I know I’m always scared that ANY Mariah and Tessa scene will be the last.

But I’m happy to report that the writers are really giving them a chance to shine. Since writing about Mariah and Tessa’s first real passionate lovemaking scene back in May –a truly pioneering moment for CBS soaps– the couple’s scenes together feel real, sexy and tender, the way a long time couple would act. So, who’s ultimately responsible for teasing out the possibility of a Mariah/Tessa wedding?

Here’s my theory: I’d like to believe that Lola was behind it all. Behind that goody two shoes, placid exterior lies a strong woman whose wedding teetered on the brink of disaster. I’d like to believe she secretly planned all along to have that bouquet land in the arms of her lesbian friends as a big, fat “thank you” for their unselfish support, and as an even bigger, fatter “screw you” to the family and friends who caused trouble.

This month, Mariah and Tessa also just celebrated their one year anniversary of living together. And they did it in true quirky Mariah/Tessa style: Mariah put headphones and a blindfold on Tessa to tease her into thinking there would be a huge surprise party at Abby’s Society restaurant. In reality, the couple sat down to a small dinner with friends and family. Clearly the writers are treating this same-sex couple with the respect and dignity accorded to heterosexual couples…I mean, as much as they can be given respect and dignity in the bizarre world of a soap opera. Now it’s time to mail out the invitations and let the festivities begin!