A Taste of A Life Less Monogamous – Chapter 20
Their car cut through the night. A giggle escaped Jennifer’s lips. Ryan followed with his own laugh. They held hands across the center gap between the seats. “I mean,” said Ryan.
“What?” she asked, trying to affect a coy attitude, but coming across far more seductively than she even intended.
Ryan turned to face her, and she could see something in his eyes that she hadn’t expected. Her husband was impressed. She’d expected surprise, perhaps shock and awe, had been prepared for jealousy even, but she hadn’t expected him to be joyously impressed. “What?” he asked, emphasizing it with what sounded like an entire paragraph’s worth of exclamation points and question marks.
“Okay.” She felt she should be bashful. Everything told her she should be bashful, embarrassed, something. Wasn’t what she did the same thing that college girls did at bars to impress their boyfriends? Make out with the hotties? Make out with each other? To amp up their men for a good pounding later in the evening. To bring out…well, honestly, having worked through college and lived at home, she didn’t quite know beyond what she’d seen on TV, but it seemed like it brought out the worst in them.
“Barsexual,” Ryan had called it dismissively, once upon a time. “They don’t want to do it, they just do.”
Tonight hadn’t been that. Not with Paige. Tonight had had been… “Wow.”
“Wow, indeed,” returned Ryan. “I applaud your form jumping in. That certainly seemed to catch them off guard.”
“Oh, god,” she said, considering that. “You don’t think in a bad way, do you?”
“I don’t think they’d be coming over right now if you’d caught them off guard in a bad way.”
He smiled. “I’m sure of nothing here, hon, we’re sort of off the map. I’ll tell you a few things from my perspective, though. One, you surprised and delighted Paige. Two, you surprised and delighted Bruce. Three, you surprised and delighted me.”
“Yeah?” Jennifer lost herself in the memory of the kiss. The way Paige had felt, the moisture on her lips, the scent and taste of her breath, her perfume, her hair, all mingling together to form a most intoxicating bouquet.
“And how about you?”
“Hmm?” she asked.
“How do you feel?”
“God, she was soft.” Jennifer lightly ran her tongue over her lips. “And she tasted good.”
He laughed. “Fuck.”
“An operative word.” She took a deep breath and squeezed Ryan’s hand. She let the processing take over and took another deep breath. The realization that the evening, rather than ending, had just begun, pounced on her. “We invited them back to our house to fuck them, right?”
“I think so,” he said, his face also growing pale.
“Is the bedroom clean?”
“I can throw everything in the closet if we spend some time downstairs first.”
“Good. Maybe light some candles. I don’t know. Is that weird? That’s weird, isn’t it.” The welling panic, her heart pounding.
“It’s not weird.”
“What the hell are we doing?” she asked.
“Do you want to call it off?”
“No!” She stared at Ryan, shocked he might even suggest it. “I may be freaked out about the particulars, but I damned sure want to see what else that kiss might lead to tonight.”
“Okay,” he smiled, holding his right hand up, palm out. “Well, before we do this, do you think there are any like, details, limits, stuff like that we should work out?”
She nodded. “Probably.”
“Oh,” she said. “I don’t have any on deck or anything.”
“Condoms, absolutely.” She nodded. “Penetration?”
“Meaning penis and vagina.”
“Yeah.” She frowned. “Or butt, I suppose.”
“Not off limits?” he asked.
“Not for me. I mean, I don’t want it, but it’s not a limit where I would say you shouldn’t do it or anything.” She thought about it and turned to him. “But we sleep together. Right? No matter what?”
“End of the night sleep, or sex sleep?”
“End of the night,” she said, “I want to be with you for that.”
“Yeah, absolutely. I want that too.”
“Good,” said Jennifer. She turned to look out the window, seeing the SUV behind them. In the passenger seat, Paige put on lipstick. Her breath fluttered at the sight.
Paige snapped the mirror closed and flipped the visor back up.
Bruce hit his blinker upon seeing Ryan turning right. “I think we need to assume that they’re just exploring. We shouldn’t read too much more than that into it.” He thought for a moment. “I mean it’s probably just—”
“Misplaced college experimentation?” offered Paige.
She shrugged. “I could be okay with that. Being the token wild swingers. Couldn’t you?”
He laughed. “Yeah, I think so.”
“I mean he’s really cute. And, well, Jennifer…”
“Yeah,” Bruce agreed, “She’s—”
“Something else.” Paige shuffled through her purse and pulled out a tin of ginger mints. She popped one in her mouth and offered them to Bruce.
“I’ve got the Altoids, all good.” He patted his breast pocket, where a tin of wintergreen Altoids clinked.
“Not my fault you don’t have any taste.” She sucked on the small mint, and the flavor of ginger began to fill her mouth. “Barb’ll kill us if we ruin them.”
“We’re not going to ruin them,” he said. “Honestly I think that no matter what we do in this situation, Barbara will be upset.”
“They have to make the first move,” he pointed at the tail lights in front of them.
Paige laughed. “She made the first move. Then they doubled down by inviting us over. On a school night!”
“They made a move. But I don’t think they really have any idea what that move is. They drew out their queen very early in the game, with no plan.” He nodded toward the rear window of the Lamberts’ car, perhaps wishing it could tell him something, anything, about what they might be up for tonight.
She watched him for a while. “You’re such a dork,” she said. “But for some reason all the pretty ladies still seem to want to fuck you.”
“And one even married me!” Bruce lobbed back. “It’s dorky charm.”
“Is that what it is?”
“And, excuse me Mrs. Shepard, but I’m not the one who used the word noobs tonight.” He stuck his tongue out at her.
“Don’t stick that out unless you intend to use it.” She smiled. “You know, on me, or on the beautiful Jennifer…”
He took a deep breath. “I wonder how much further to their house.”
“I wonder how much further to their bed.”
Five minutes later, they pulled into Ryan and Jennifer’s townhouse driveway. The young couple stood next to their car, waiting.
Ryan fumbled in his pocket for his keys as Bruce and Paige climbed from their SUV. Here he was, inviting swingers into his house. They’re not vampires, he thought. Such an unexpected turn of events. Just a few days ago he’d resigned himself to never having a new and exciting sexual experience again, and now this, this…potential.
“Welcome,” he said.
“Thank you,” said Bruce.
They moved to the door. The keys all looked the same. Why hadn’t he turned on the outside light tonight? Well, he hadn’t because it had burned out, and he hadn’t replaced it because he hadn’t intended to bring back visitors, now had he? “It’ll just be a moment.”
He saw Paige slip her arm around Jennifer out of the corner of his eye. They looked into each other’s eyes. Ryan was distracted. Focus on the task at hand! He told himself. That feels like the key.
“Things are heating up here, Ry, right on your front stoop.”
“Yeah,” said Ryan, jamming another key into the lock. It turned. We have a winner! “Yes! Got it!”
He swung the door open, and held the storm door for Jennifer and Paige. After the women stepped past him into the house, his wife planted a soft kiss on Paige’s lips. Ryan stared into the foyer at them, not moving.
Bruce stepped toward the door, but stopped, leaning toward Ryan, who could smell aftershave, wine, and the leather of his coat. “You know,” he said, “this sort of decision has the potential to change your lives.”
Ryan turned toward him. Emotion welled up. To hear those words spoken outside their silly mantras from Dr. Petrillo, spoken by someone he had such respect for, someone he yearned to be like. To be as cool as Bruce, as smooth, as confident, all of that.
“Promise?” Ryan asked in a whisper.
Bruce smiled and clapped him on the back. “After you.”
Ryan walked into his house. Bruce followed.
Ryan closed the front door and looked up the flight of stairs to the main floor of their town house. On the landing at the top of the stairs, Jennifer and Paige stood, their fingers in each other’s hair, their lips locked together. Hands moving, jackets being pulled off.
A brand new door swinging open.