It was no secret that I wanted her sister.
At least in theory.
Brooke and I were in the constant state of in between that formed so many of my early romances, but for all practical purposes, we were dating. We hung out every day, we kissed in the back seat of the car, and we sat at the diner chain-smoking cigarettes until three in the morning.
We met under a bridge in Central Park.
It was supposed to be quick and dirty, and that’s just what it was. I fucked her against the wall, her skirt around her waist as the tourists trampled overhead, ignoring the couple on a first date right below them.
When we finished, we walked out separate sides, took our time leaving the park, and didn’t say another word until we met at the bar above the tiny museum at Columbus Circle.
“It’s nice to see you again,” I said, kissing her cheek as we blushed at one another. I pulled out…
“I’ll totally do it,” Katie said.
The three of us turned and looked at her, each one of us questioning everything. There was nothing in her face that hinted at a joke, and we all knew it. But just because she was willing to do this one thing didn’t mean she’d do more. How could it? It didn’t mean a thing.
“Well, I’m down then,” Mark said, getting up from the couch. “You two gonna wimp out? We’ll be fine on our own.”
“Are you sure they’re not home?” Thom asked. He was always the cautious one.
“They’re on vacation…
The game was simple, but it was creepy enough to make us all question our morality and life choices. Nevertheless, Robbie was as adamant as Susie that it would be hot and I couldn’t say no.
When I arrived at their apartment, the scene was set and there was no going back. I bit my lip as I knocked on the door, and I reminded myself for the last time that I was playing with two women who knew what they liked and didn’t care what anyone else thought.
And besides, it was only a game, wasn’t it?
The pool on the roof was still open but the chairs and tables were chained together and covered. The bar was shuttered, the ashtrays put away, and the doors allegedly locked.
But when we pushed, it opened and together we snuck out into the cold night to see the steam rising off the water. The party inside was too loud for me to think, and you were always more mischievous than social.
I’d like to say I winked at you before stripping off my clothes and launching myself into the water while you looked on and laughed.
But the truth…
I met her in St. Tropez.
She was standing by the pool in a hat I had only seen once, and that was in Paris before the war. Her bathing suit was topless–it was all the rage in St. Tropez–but it wasn’t her tits I cared about.
I waved the waiter over, the light from my watch catching his eye before my finger. Two glasses of Kina Lillet (a thin slice of lemon in each) and a tin of caviar. …
The club was crowded, but they stood out like lightning in a blackened sky. She was pretty. He was handsome. And instead of eyeing one another as lovers do, their glances danced about the room in hungry anticipation.
It was an easy decision.
“Can I buy you two a drink,” led instantly to a dark corner of the club where we could talk, and the closer I stood to them the more I felt hope rising within me. They were polite and kind. But even better, they were familiar. …
“We finally stopped using condoms,” she said like she was telling me what time it was.
“Do you like it?” I asked, leaning back on the couch. We had been dating for a few months, but the guy she was dating for nearly a year now tended to get the bigger perks. I mean, it’s not a competition or anything, but there you have it. Perks.
“Yeah, it’s easier most of the time. Messier though. You know what I mean. You’ve done it before.”
“Sure, but not with you.” I wasn’t trying to be grouchy about it, and I definitely…
“I don’t fuck my friends,” she said.
“If you’re not fucking your friends, then who the hell do you fuck? Come on. Do you fuck people you don’t like? What’s the point of that?”
I won’t say I was mansplaining, but I was feeling self-righteous. My friends are hot and friendly and if we didn’t fuck each other we wouldn’t know what to do with ourselves.
And that old myth about how sex always ruins a friendship has been put to bed a thousand times without its supper. …
I used to say that a bicycle with no brakes is like polyamory with no condoms.
When she stopped me on the street to ask me where Angel’s Share was, however, I almost couldn’t talk. She was wearing a dress short enough to kill a nun and the bike was engineering perfection: one gear, no brakes, and light as a feather. When she stopped, she stood up with the bar between her legs and I could see the tattoo on the back of her leg that said, “The nail that sticks up gets hammered down.“ In Japanese.
She took a…