By John Yager
This is the forty-second chapter of an ongoing series. Thanks again for all your comments on this series.
I always appreciate hearing from you and try to answer all messages promptly. If I am slow at times it is only because of the pressure of work or my somewhat demanding travel schedule.
Andrew has continued to give much needed proofing and editorial help, for which I am sincerely grateful. I could not post chapters as quickly as I've been doing without his invaluable assistance.
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We were into uncharted waters, beyond all the maps and out of sight of land.
If anyone had gone this way before, they had left no records of their journey.
Some young gay men and perhaps a few more young gay women have been fortunate enough to find a guide, a mentor, who could help them through the minefields of life outside the margins of the heterosexual society.
We knew no one who had ever attempted to live as we now proposed to live.
There might be a few couples who'd taken a third person into their lives, but we knew none who'd chosen to live together as a group of four, in mutual commitment and love.
"I think it might work better than three," Daniel said as we lay together in bed that night. "With three there's always the possibility that someone will feel left out. With the four of us, we can always pair off and each of us has someone, even if it isn't the person we'd expected to be with."
"Hold that thought, Daniel," I said as I snuggled against him. "I can still see lots of opportunities for someone getting hurt."
"Well, for now," Daniel said as he kissed my neck, "I'm very happy to be here with you, Rob. I hope you know that."
"I do, man," I said, "I really do. I love being with you, too. I just wonder what is going to happen when one of us decides they want an exclusive relationship."
What had happened that afternoon? I've asked myself that question a thousand times.
For one thing, Steve had managed again to steer our lives, individually and collectively, down a path I for one had never imagined. I wondered if he'd thought it through, if it had been a part of his plan all along, or if it was some spontaneous jump into the unknown, for him and for the four of us.
I also wondered what Sammy and Daniel really thought about this new arrangement. Did Steve really mean for the four of us to live together in some sort of fluid sexual relationship? If so, what did that really mean? Would I spend one night with Daniel, having sex with him, the next with Sammy, having sex with him, and then the third with Steve, having sex with him? Would we establish some sort of regular rotation? Would we just take each day and each night as it came, not knowing where we'd end up sleeping, and with whom? I had no idea and I wondered if Steve had really thought it through?
Was Steve really suggesting that the four of us live together in such sexual openness and fluidity? If so, I for one, wasn't at all sure how I felt about it.
When he'd first proposed that we invite Sammy to spend Spring Break with us, I had figured he'd want to have sex with Sammy, as well as with me. I assumed he had some sort of "Three-way" sex in mind, but hadn't really envisioned what form it might take.
When Steve had gone one step further and suggested we also invite Daniel to join us, I had begun to think he envisioned Sammy and Daniel as a sort of ad hoc couple, sharing some time with Steve and me, but relating to one another more or less independently from us.
Now I saw our foursome as an end in itself, at least in Steve's mind. It might work over a few days in Gulfport, but could we keep such a bizarre association going over the long term? Again, I had no idea.
For the time being, at least, I was willing to just relax and take things one day at a time.
Daniel and I snuggled together, our naked bodies settling into positions we'd found affectionate and comfortable before. We slipped into gentle sleep.
At some point later in the night, I felt the bed move and woke to find Steve and Sammy sitting on its edge. Steve began to gently stroke my shoulder as he bent over and nuzzled my ear.
When both Daniel and I had wakened, Steve said, his voice low and reassuring, "do you think there's room for the two of us?"
As I moved over a little, freeing what space there was, I wondered if he was asking if there was room for him and Sammy in our bed, or if he meant the question in the larger context of our relationship.
In either case, we made some room for them and they slid under the meager covers with Daniel and me. It was a large bed, but with four guys trying to share it, it seemed cramped. It was also a warm, humid night, and the presence of four bodies pressed together soon made it intolerable.
I rolled over onto my back and sat up.
"There is another bed in the other room," I said, giving Steve a little shake.
"We know that," Steve said, his own voice groggy.
"So what's the point?"
"Well, Sammy and I thought the four of us should be together."
"Not in this bed," I said, "I'm burning up."
"We need a bigger bed," Sammy said. He sounded fully awake.
"Let's put both mattresses on the floor and make one big pallet," Steve suggested.
"Come on," Steve said, rolling from the bed.
Within ten minutes we'd taken the bed apart and placed the mattress on the floor.
We moved the mattress from the other bedroom and spread the sheets back over the combined expanse. Then, still naked, each of us crawled onto the huge pallet and settled down for the night, or what was left of it.
There was some rolling around, a little shifting of positions. I woke up at four and found myself between Daniel and Sammy. Steve was on the far side of Sammy. It somehow seemed fitting. Daniel and Steve were on either side of our strange group and Sammy and I were in the middle.
At a quarter to eight I was woken by Daniel moving next to me. He'd apparently gotten up to go to the bathroom and was in the process of crawling back into bed.
"Guys," Daniel said, which caused Steve and Sammy to open their eyes and look at him, as I was already doing. "I've been thinking about this, what Steve has proposed. It sounded totally whacked to me last night, but I've been thinking about it."
"Yeah?" Steve said, setting up on our huge makeshift bed. We were all still naked, of course, and we were all hard with our usual morning wood.
"Well," Daniel continued, "I think it might work."
"Great," Steve said, now considerably more awake. "One more convert to the cause."
We all sat up and ended setting in a circle, cross-legged like a war council or something.
"What made you decide to go along with it, Daniel," I asked, still feeling fairly skeptical.
"Well, think about it, Rob," he responded. "We're four typically horny guys. We all love sex and I suspect Sammy and I haven't been getting nearly as much as we'd like."
"How about none," Sammy grinned.
"I ran around with a bunch of friends in high school who were fairly open about sex. Rob, you and Steve know Star and you know she and I occasionally got it on together."
"Yeah," Steve and I agreed.
"Well, we wouldn't have admitted it. I guess we didn't think it was cool or something, but there was a lot of sleeping around within our little circle of friends. A couple of us would pair off for a while, usually not more than a few weeks, then we'd break up and move on to someone else."
"The usual merry-go-round," Steve said.
"Exactly," Daniel said. He paused and then went on, "I've told you I was having sex with a few of those girls and a few of those guys, so it isn't any secret."
"Yeah," we all agreed.
"Well, the result was a lot of uncertainty, some hurt feelings, maybe even a broken heart or two. That may be overstating it, but there were hurt feelings, for sure."
I guess I was the only one of the four of us who'd had some sort of relationship for a longer period of time and when I stopped to think about it, Rick and I were only together a few months.
"I guess all of us but you, Sammy, have had sex with a few girls, as well as with other guys, right?"
Again, we all confirmed what Daniel had said.
"Well, here's my next conclusion, and I guess this one is directed more to you, Rob, and you, Steve, so we can leave Sammy out of it."
"Okay," Steve said, answering for both of us.
"I think the three of us have really figured out where our sexual preferences are, just by the way we've handled the time we've spent together this week."
"What do you mean?" Steve asked.
"Do you like girls, Steve?"
"Damn straight," Steve shot back.
"What about you, Rob?"
"Well, just going by my experience with Joyce last Christmas, I enjoyed it a lot."
"Then why aren't you spending Spring Break in Hartford with her?"
His question hit me like a ton of bricks. I realized I'd never even considered going to see her.
"And you, Steve, if you are so into girls, why are you hanging out with three other guys? Why aren't you out there on the beach chasing snatch?"
Steve, for once, was silent.
"I think the truth, gentlemen, is that we're exactly where we want to be. It's just that Sammy is the only one of us who's admitted it."
Steve answered before I could.
"I guess I agree, Daniel, and when I proposed our arrangement yesterday evening, I was still thinking of it as sort of temporary. It might not last long at all.
I can see how it might last for the rest of our time at Oxford."
"Three more years," I said.
"Yeah," Steve said, looking over at me. "But I guess I still figured that at some point we'd all go our own ways. I'm not willing to say that at some point I may not want to find a woman and get married. But in the meantime, as long as you guys want to buy into my plan, I'm ready to agree to it, to just have sex with the three of you."
"Okay," Daniel said, "membership is completely voluntary. We won't try to hold anyone to the bargain who wants out," he paused, looked around at the three of us, and added, "whoever, whenever, and for whatever reason."
"Agreed," Steve said.
"So," Daniel went on, "I figure it's a win - win situation. How else could I count on getting all the sex I want, and having three great guys available to me whenever I want one of them."
"And visa versa," Steve grinned. "Don't forget you're available to us."
"I think I can handle that," Daniel said, also grinning.
"So you're aren't holding out for some sort of special exemption with Star?" I asked.
"Nope," Daniel said.
"Well, I'm impressed, Daniel," Steve said. "You were the one talking about `pre-existing relationships' and I, for one, was ready to give you that, just to get you in."
"No," Daniel said. "I really thought about this a lot during the night. I didn't sleep all that well, but I did manage to think it through. If the four of us want to try this, we need to make it a closed circle, just us, no more. If and when someone wants out, they leave. If they want back in later, after some sort of extracurricular fling, it will be up to the remaining three of us to decide if they get back in or not."
"Isn't that sort of harsh?" I asked. "I mean, if you were to say you wanted out over the summer so you could be with Star, but wanted back in next fall, I could agree to that."
"Well, we can talk about it if and when a situation like that comes up," Daniel said, "but I really think for this to work, we need to make a really solid commitment and I'm willing to do that."
"Well," Steve said, "like I said before, I'm really impressed."
"There's one more thing, guys," Daniel said, lowering his voice and looking down at the rumpled sheets.
"What's that?" Steve said.
"Last night you sort of made a thing out of wanting Sammy to fuck you," Daniel said to Steve. "I thought it was hokey at best and really embarrassing at worse."
"Yeah?" Steve said. "I guess I should appreciate that you're being honest about how you felt."
"I did feel that way. I suspected Sammy wasn't all that comfortable with it and it also seemed to me that if you wanted to do it, to sort of complete the circle or something, you should have just taken Sammy off to the privacy of the other bedroom and done it."
"Okay," Steve said. "Point taken."
"No, Steve," Daniel said, stopping Steve before he could say anything else. "That's how I felt then. In fact, when you and Sammy wanted to move into this bed with Rob and me last night, I was still sort of put out. It just seemed sort of pretentious, like you were making it into some sort of rite, our wedding night together or some other sort of crap." He paused. This time Steve didn't interrupt.
"That's how I felt last night." Daniel said. "But like I said, I did a lot of thinking while you guys were sleeping. I kept looking over at the three of you. I have to admit, you looked like three sleeping gods. I was amazed at how beautiful you guys are. You sort of took my breath away. The three of you! If I were asked to choose three guys I`d like to have as my closest friends, I`d choose the three of you, no hands down, no hesitation."
He paused again and ran his hand over my leg.
"If somebody told me I could have a sexual relationship with anyone I wanted, I'd have one hell of a time deciding between the three of you." Daniel said. "And there I was throwing out all these hang-ups about the sort of arrangement you were proposing, Steve." He paused again and then said, "I think I finally got the point."
"Which was?" Steve said.
"Well, for starters, I want in, no holds barred. I want in all the way and I sure as hell hope this works."
He looked around at the three of us and then fixed his eyes squarely on Steve. "I also figured out what you were doing last night. It really was a sort of ceremony. You were saying that you'd started this whole thing as the guy who was in control, the top dog, or top man, or whatever."
The three of us just sat there, looking at Daniel, waiting for him to go on.
"You were submitting to Sammy because that was the best way of saying, of demonstrating your complete equality with the rest of us. I don't want to embarrass you, Sammy, or belittle you but, Steve, you were sort of being the bottom to the one of us who is the self-proclaimed bottom."
Both Steve and Sammy just nodded.
"It really was important for Rob and me to witness that." Daniel paused again and added, "not just witness, be a part of it."
"Yeah," Steve said, looking down at the sheets.
"Well," Daniel said, "now it's my turn."
"What does that mean?" I asked.
"Well, for starters, Rob, my real reason for coming along on this crazy week by the sea, was because I wanted to get closer to you." He looked over at Steve again and said, "I really hoped I could break you and Steve up and move in on you myself."
"Don't you think I'd figured that out, Daniel?" Steve said.
"Well," I jumped in, "I sure as hell hadn't."
"It doesn't matter, Rob," Steve said. "I think that's all changed."
"Yes," Daniel said. "There is one thing left for me to do, though."
"Which is?" I asked.
"Steve's gone on about `completing the circle.' At first I thought it was a load of crap, but it wasn't. For this to work, the circle really has to be completed."
"So, what's left to do? If we agree to try it, we agree to try it," I said, still not fully seeing what he was driving at.
"Have you all forgotten," Daniel said, "or maybe you failed to realize, that Sammy hasn't fucked me either?"
To be continued.