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“Wait,” I squeaked, jumping out of bed and running after him. “It’s not how it looks.”
I gabbled out an explanation. We’d gone out for a drink to wind down after all the chaos at work, it had gotten late, we’d ended up here. The couch is small and the bed wide: where else was she going to sleep?
“Look,” I said. “I still have my underwear on. Would that happen if I’d just been through a night of passion?” It was a good argument. This was the man I’d slept naked next to, just the night before last. I stood before him now, doing my best to look forlorn. The damsel in distress routine goes against every principle I have. But as I may have said before, there are times when playing it straight just doesn’t get the job done.
I recalled what Jamie had said last night — how confessing to the smaller crime would come easier if I committed a bigger one and kept it secret. She had it backwards. I could plead forgiveness for a night of passionate lesbian sex, easily and with a clean conscience — doubly so as it never actually happened — but to say sorry for putting a work crisis ahead of drinks with Paul was still further than I was prepared to go. You may consider that a warped sense of priorities, but there it was. I felt what I felt and there was no changing it.
Was Paul wavering? Perhaps a tear would help? I tried, but my physiology proved it has more integrity than I have. No tears came. Still, a girl trying to summon up the wherewithal to cry on demand looks almost as pathetic as a girl actually crying. I felt an added pang of disappointment that the room lacked a mirror in which I could have assessed my performance. Still, there was the mirror of Paul’s face. It softened. He started toward me. Stopped. My bottom lip quivered. He started again. We hugged.
I was still in my bra and panties and it did occur to me to wonder whether this might have the effect on Paul that it normally would. It didn’t seem to, but then perhaps he was tangled in his underwear.
“Work was a complete shit show,” I repeated. “By the time all the mess got cleaned up, it was already late. I was too wired to go straight home. We went for a drink, that’s all. Just me and Jamie. Came back here to sleep it off. Nothing else. Honestly.”
“It’s all right,” said Paul. “I believe you.”
“You do?” The way he said it was not entirely convincing. I gave him an extra squeeze but his body remained stiff in all the wrong places. I tried a different angle. “Getting caught in bed with another woman is not something I ever expected to have to find excuses for.” I forced out a little laugh. “That’s probably why I can’t think of any.” This was true. “All I’ve got is the truth. Nothing happened.”
“Relax,” he said. “I get it.”
“Jamie’s a lesbian,” I added. I realized this was unlikely to help my cause, but felt I should put it out there in the spirit of full disclosure.
“A lesbian?” repeated Paul, a note of curiosity in his voice that my previous explanations had not elicited.
“Yeah. Just a fun fact. But it doesn’t change that nothing happened.”
“Okay… And you’re telling me this because …”
“I have no idea. Because it’s true. Because I’m hungover and I’ve just been dragged from sleep by a nasty shock …” None of this seemed to be getting me anywhere so I changed tack. “Look, you want to be a good boyfriend? What I need right now are coffee, breakfast, and a large glass of water.” A tip, girls: give your man a chivalrous deed to do and you’ll soon have him wrapped around your finger.
I untangled myself from Paul to poke my head back through the bedroom door. Jamie had dressed while all this had been going on, was standing by the bed looking her usual nervous self.
“It’s all right,” I told her. “You can come out now. The beast has promised not to bite.”
Out she came, head slightly bowed and with a nod to Paul that was almost a curtsy. “Good morning,” she said. “Lisa’s right — I am a lesbian. But, honestly, nothing happened.” She lifted her head. “She’s very attractive — as I’m sure you appreciate — but she plays hard to get.”
It was an extraordinary thing to see: in the space of a single sentence she had gone from apologetic to impertinent. Were it not for the words I am a lesbian, I might almost have thought she was flirting.
This sudden deluge of events was making my head spin — a head that had been none too steady to begin with. I tottered over to the kitchen to see what was on offer, getting that glass of water for myself and examining the cupboards. I’d been over at Paul’s so often lately that my grocery shopping had been neglected. A quick inspection found cereal and some milk of a rather dubious vintage, but nothing else remotely breakfast-worthy. I informed the others of this discovery.
“Let me buy you breakfast,” said Jamie. When Paul protested, she shushed him. “I owe it to you. I’ve been nothing but a jinx so far. One of my people made the mistake that kept Lisa back at work last night. And this casino siteleri morning I nearly caused a major misunderstanding between the two of you. Seems breakfast is the least I could do to make amends.”
As Paul blustered something about how we “couldn’t possibly”, a sudden chill in the morning air reminded me that the other two were fully dressed whereas I was still in my underwear. “You two figure it out,” I told them. “I need to shower and change. I won’t be long.”
From the bathroom I could hear Paul’s voice through the wall — some lame joke about the Rights of Women, which included taking her own sweet time about getting ready. On another day I would have poked my head back out and said something cutting in response. Instead, with matters seemingly on their way back to some sort of normal, I let it slide. Even the sound of Jamie tittering in response failed to provoke me.
Stepping into the shower was pure bliss. I stuck my head under the nozzle, nudged the temperature up a notch or two higher and let the flow of water flush the thoughts from my head as it washed the dirt from my body. For a while I just zoned out.
Not long after I was ready. It hadn’t taken anything like the half-hour Paul had predicted. No more than twenty minutes at most.
So off we went. Jamie and Paul went through the usual get-to-know-you routine while I trailed along in silence, wondering what they could have been talking about while I was in the shower. Jamie was being quite bubbly by her standards, showing no ill effects from the night before. A morning person, no doubt. None of this was helping my mood.
Had Paul bought my story — my true story? It was hard to tell. Normally I would have pushed him about it but that wasn’t really possible with Jamie tagging along. At least the café wasn’t far. The need for coffee was becoming a life mission — one achievable goal at least.
Once we were seated and had ordered, Paul and Jamie launched into a discussion of sexism in the workplace that somehow segued back to the topic of lesbianism (you might have though Jamie would be heartily sick of the subject by now, but apparently not). Paul, too, seemed to have acquired an interest I’d seen no sign of in the past. Meanwhile, neither of them was doing anything to keep their voices down. The couple at the table next to us were staring avidly into their phones, but they weren’t fooling me. Their ears were as good as flapping in the breeze.
Wine aside, dinner last night had been a slice of takeout pizza eaten on the run followed by bar snack peanuts for dessert. The hole inside me was more than a glass of water could fill. Mercifully, the coffee was quick to arrive. A flat white. The first sip was a full-body experience: a rich nose-filling aroma, a pleasant bitterness on the palate, a flow of warmth down my throat, best of all that a feeling of caffeine hit permeating its way to every last corner of my body.
I sighed inwardly. Feeling a little more human now, I zoned back into the conversation.
“… I’m told that for some men, the idea of lesbian sex is quite a turn on.” I marveled again at Jamie’s talent for saying things like this with a straight face.
Paul responded in kind. “Yes. But that hardly makes them feminists. Men just like to see naked women. Even better if the naked women happen to be engaged in a sex act. But having a man in the picture kind of detracts from all that. Hence the popularity of lesbian porn.”
The women at the next table could tell that I was onto her. She took a hurried sip of coffee to cover the twitching of her lips.
“So what you’re saying is that, in a perverse way, men’s interest in lesbianism is actually a manifestation of homophobia? They just can’t deal with other male bodies.”
They were like two professors discussing the mating habits of tropical fish.
“Finding the sight of naked men off-putting isn’t quite the same thing as homophobia,” said Paul. “The thought of my parents having sex is pretty off-putting too, but that hardly makes me parent-phobic.”
I was at the delicate stage of my eggs benedict, focus split between what they were saying and my determination to slice into the runny yolk in such a way that it wouldn’t all leak away to a shallow and unappetizing puddle on the platetop.
“Hmm,” said Jamie, mulling this over. “I’ve never thought of it like that before. What I do know is that lesbian porn for men and lesbian porn for lesbians are two different things.”
Forcing down my mouthful of egg, I wasn’t able to remain silent any longer. “And you know this how? A large personal collection?”
My sarcasm might as well not have been there. Jamie smiled demurely. “The two of you are welcome to come over for a private viewing if you like.” She shot a glance at Paul. “Maybe a threesome afterwards?”
I am not often lost for words. Mark this as one of those times. For a moment, the only sound was a splutter from the table next to us.
We farewelled Jamie slot oyna at the café and then walked slowly back to mine. On the way I remembered something I had meant to ask. “Why did you come to see me so early anyway?”
“Why do you think? I didn’t like the way we left things last night. I came to hear your abject apology. After that I was thinking maybe some vigorous make-up sex.”
“I’m not going to say sorry. Not for last night.” About standing him up, I meant. I still wasn’t entirely sure about Jamie — bringing her into our lives might yet become something for which I could legitimately apologize.
“I know you’re not. But it’s okay. I’ve let it go. Just remember to call me next time.”
My hackles rose. “I didn’t not call you on purpose, you realize? It was a madhouse there for a while.”
Paul held up his hands. “Really. It’s behind us now.”
I examined him closely but could see no direct evidence that he still considered me the guilty party.
“What about Jamie, then? I saw how you reacted to her threesome invitation.”
Paul looked bashful. “I was thinking of you. Imagine when you’re old and grey. You’ll look back on your life, you’ll bask in the memory of all your glorious achievements — but then one little thought will enter your mind and keep niggling away. ‘I had the chance to do a threesome, but I let it slip.’ Too late, you realize your life will never be complete. Suddenly all your accomplishments are as nothing.”
Typical Paul. Everything to be turned into a joke. Not that I really minded. It wasn’t jealousy that was bugging me. Not sexual jealousy, anyway.
Scientists who study designs for androids have found that maximum creepiness happens not with clunky robots nor exact replicas of a person, but when something looks almost but not quite human. They call it the uncanny valley. Jamie wasn’t in the valley as such, but she was somewhere in its foothills. It wasn’t the boyishness of her appearance, nor even the way she reminded me of my ex. It was something in the way she acted with other people. The word shifty came to mind and it seemed a perfect fit.
What really frustrated me, though, was that I just couldn’t make up my mind. Was she creepy or was she fascinating? Could she be both at once?
Another thought occurred.
“You saw them, didn’t you?”
“When you burst into the bedroom. Jamie’s tits. That’s what this is all about isn’t it?”
I had misidentified the sin. It wasn’t jealousy that I’d seen on Paul’s face when he’d discovered me in bed with Jamie — it was lust. And envy. Envy that I was the one (in his imagination) who had held those gorgeous plums in the palms of my hands, who had explored them with my tongue — whereas all he had was a momentary image burned forever into that one-track male brain of his, serving no purpose but to taunt him with their perfection and their unavailability.
“I may have caught a glimpse …”
“And they were an impressive sight. So what?”
“Admit it. You’ve seen them once and now all you can think about is arranging another viewing.”
He thought this was funny. “Lisa, really, there’s no need to be jealous. However wonderful her tits, they suffer from a fatal flaw. They are attached to her rather than to you.”
“Yeah?” Paul can be quite gallant on occasion, but I still wasn’t quite ready to let this one go.
We stopped at the entrance to my apartment and he took me in his arms. “Lisa, I love your breasts just the way they are. Honestly. And remember, you’ve no reason to feel inadequate. You’re the one she’s smitten with, not me. I saw how she kept looking at you over breakfast.”
I rested my head on his shoulder, thinking this over. “What really bugs me about her is that I don’t know how to take her. And that’s just not me — I always know what I think.”
“That’s true. You’re usually the one telling other people what to think.”
I smiled modestly. Reasons why I love my man
2: he’s a dab hand at praising with faint blame.
“I don’t trust her. She behaves differently with different people.”
“Maybe. I don’t know. I just can’t figure her out. It’s annoying me because I thought I already had.”
“I can think of one way to resolve that.”
I sighed. I think I understand men pretty well. They have dicks that make their decisions for them. Sometimes I envy them the simplicity. I couldn’t really blame Paul though. He was right: whatever was going on here, it wasn’t jealousy that was the issue. Suddenly the whole situation seemed hilarious.
“What is it?” asked Paul, alerted by the tremors of laughter that ran through my body.
“You know what this is, don’t you? A love triangle. No, let’s get the terminology right — a lust triangle. Jamie has the hots for me. I love you. And you’re lusting after Jamie’s breasts. How tacky can it get?”
Paul began to issue a denial, but I shushed him. I’m meant to be the heroine of these canlı casino siteleri stories — my stories — not a mere incidental character tossed about by the personality flaws of the protagonists around me. I needed to do something, anything, to wrest back control of the narrative.
“Alright then,” I conceded. “Let’s do it. I’ll call her up and invite her over for dinner.”
So that’s what I did. Not long after, I shooed Paul away. “If I’ve got a night of passion to look forward to, I need to take a nap, not to mention getting this place tidied up.” I insisted on having the meal at my place. Whatever compromise I’d just made with myself, it didn’t extend to exploring the reality or otherwise of Jamie’s porn collection. There are some places I just don’t want to go. And as I explained to Paul, “Cooking is therapeutic. It’s been a hell of a week and I need to wind down and get all the gunge out of my head.”
Paul look a bit dubious at this final assertion but took himself off as instructed, his thoughts of make-up sex presumably forgotten. That was fine — I wasn’t exactly in the mood either. After he left, I stripped off and climbed back into bed, enjoyed several hours of happy oblivion.
Why did I agree? Maybe you’re thinking it was a peace offering — a way to even things up with Paul and say we’re all square. Well, wipe that thought. I don’t work that way. So if not that, what? I’m not sure I can answer. I’d somehow been cornered. To threesome or not to threesome: that was the question. Given the choice between acting or not acting, my nature is always to act. How else do you find out what happens next?
And for some reason I wanted to see Jamie bare herself again. But whatever the motivation for that, it came from somewhere other than my loins. It wasn’t like I’d turned in the space of twenty-four hours. I mean, she hadn’t bestowed the magic kiss or the vampire bite or whatever it is that sets you off. Nor was it her naked breasts that had done it, magnificent though that sight had been. There was something else at play, something I wanted resolved one way or the other and this seemed like the only way forward.
“It’s not a done deal,” I told Paul. “We’ll see how the meal goes.” I thought back to that first night of ours, when Paul had come over here for dinner and the exquisite torture of wondering how the evening was going to turn out. I felt a sense of trepidation about tonight, but that was where the similarities ended. It was a different sort of trepidation altogether.
I decided on Peking Duck as the main dish. It was early afternoon when I woke, but still enough time to acquire and roast the duck, while all the other accompaniments could be prepared in advance as well. There is something rather formal, I feel, about individual servings. I knew from experience that an intimate dinner party like this works much better if you go communal — place everything on platters in the middle of the table and let people help themselves. I only wish I had similar insights to offer about three-way sex.
I also stuck to the keep-it-simple theme for my clothes, choosing my sexiest lingerie but covering it with a simple cotton house dress, one that would take no more than a second to dispense with should the need arise. No slow unbuttoning for me tonight.
As it turned out, the meal went well. We talked of many things, avoiding the topic of sex altogether. In the end I was the one to drag the elephant into the room.
“So Jamie, how many of these threesomes have you been in in the past?”
“None. Sorry.” Jamie being Jamie, she really did look sorry.
“Um, okay… I’d just been thinking, you know, maybe you could give us some pointers.” I shot her an inquiring look. “And last night — all that time we spent talking about sex, you never did tell me much about your own tastes.”
“Oh to be a fly on that wall,” murmured Paul. I gave him a playful slap, then thinking better of it, grasped his hand in mine. I felt a sudden compulsion to put up a common front.
“I mean,” I continued, “you told me all about what lesbians do, but not what you do. Do you like to be the boy or the girl, for instance?”
The wonder of Jamie was that you could ask her anything at all and get a serious and earnest answer in reply. She didn’t disappoint.
“It doesn’t always have to split that way, does it? Aren’t there lots of different ways of making love?”
“Un unh,” I shook my head. “When you get down to it, someone has to lead and someone has to follow. Someone gets to fuck and someone gets to be fucked.” I relished the stridency in my voice.
“Maybe. But can’t you just — I don’t know — take turns?”
It was just like last night, only more so. Talking about sex in such a matter of fact way. I surprised myself a little at how arousing I was finding it. The difference this time, I guessed, was that there was every chance of talk being followed by action.
“Hmm,” I pondered. “The thing is, if we’re all threesome virgins — and we are — then it might all get a bit awkward, don’t you think? Unless someone is in charge. Assuming we go ahead with it, that is.”
Paul started to say something about “a gentleman’s duty” but I shut him down.
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