We’d turned The Void red for Valentine’s Day, the music was sexy, the lighting low, the perfect place to bring your date after dinner. Unless your date was an amazing cook and insisted on cooking you a delicious meal, followed by the chocolate ice cream you’d bought because it was their favourite. Under those circumstances, you also brought along a playlist and you dimmed the lights and danced right there in the kitchen.
“I can’t believe you’re doing this,” Luc grinned happily at me as he rested his hands on my shoulders, while mine were on his hips.
“I know, I’m amazed I can move after that meal,” I said with a smirk and he rolled his eyes.
“You know I mean the dancing,” he scolded and I leaned in and kissed the fake pout from his lips. As usual the chaste brush wasn’t enough and before I knew it Luc had me pinned against the counter as he sucked on my neck and I tugged his shirt from his jeans so I could get my hands on him properly. “I thought we’d go slower,” he said on a gasp as I made contact. “Being the third date and all.”
“I know,” I agreed on a ragged laugh. “Your boyfriend sucked me dry and your girlfriend didn’t even feed me before she jumped me.”
Luc groaned as his fingers found the hem of my tshirt and started to tug it up. “You want me to tell you what they did to me, or you want to guess?”
My laugh was muffled as he pulled my tshirt over my head. “Well let’s see. You had breakfast with Levi so no doubt you cooked and he stumbled out half asleep when he smelled the bacon then was too full of food to do anything fun. Then you had lunch with Jorja at work so if you were lucky you got a little tongue with your kiss goodbye.”
“Hah wrong!” He grinned. “I got a little tongue from Levi too,” he said triumphantly and I laughed.
“I think I can match that,” I said and crooked a finger to beckon him closer but he shook his head and took a step away from me.
“I think we can do much better than that and I want you all to myself in our bed.”
“Your bed,” I corrected out of habit as Luc grabbed my hand and took another step backwards.
“It’s yours anytime you want it to be Zander. You know we all want you here with us-”
“I know,” I cut him off. I didn’t want to have this discussion again, didn’t want to ruin the surprise and I couldn’t lie to him. “Soon,” I promised as he led me into the bedroom.
It was after midnight when I let myself into my apartment. I stripped down to my underwear in the bathroom before I fell into bed, exhausted. It had been a long day, and one that I had never dreamed I could have. Everything had changed on New Year’s Eve when Jorja had confronted me, angry that I had hurt Luc’s feelings…
“Yeah, he looks all torn up,” I scoffed as I watched him dancing with Levi then I walked away, into the storeroom and stood staring at the shelves of liquor until the door closed with a sharp crack and I turned to find Jorja glaring at me. She wasn’t the timid woman I had met all those months ago, she had confidence and bravado.
“Stop running away Zander,” she demanded, a scowl on her gorgeous face.
“That’s rich coming from you Sugar,” I said with a smirk, both of us knowing that she had run from me to start with.
She growled, actually growled and stalked over to poke me in the chest. “Yes, I ran. I was scared okay, scared of what you made me feel, so I ran.”
“Yeah, straight into their arms. Worked out pretty well for you all.” I looked down at the finger still pressed against my chest and shrugged. “Maybe I’m just looking for the same thing. Got any tips for me?”
“Tips?” she repeated with a scowl then pursed her lips and nodded and I was a little afraid of the look in her eyes. “I do actually. Buy me dinner and I’ll share.”
“What?” I blinked as she stepped back.
“Meet me Wednesday night at that pizza place you and André went to.”
“What?” I watched as she turned and opened the door then shot me a grin over her shoulder. “See you at seven. Don’t be late.”
I grabbed a bottle of whiskey and went back out but got caught up pouring champagne for the big moment then by the time all the yelling and kissing was over Jorja, Luc, and Levi had disappeared. I thought about standing her up. I thought about sending a message to cancel via Luc since his details were still in my phone. But in the end I showed up early, if I was going to blow her off, I could at least do it in person.
I sat in a booth and ordered a coffee and when the waitress stepped aside Jorja was there, sliding into the booth opposite me, grinning as she added her coffee to my order.
“So this is awkward,” she said cheerfully once we were alone.
“Oh you and the waitress have some history?”I asked with feigned surprise.
“What gave us away?” she asked with a grin then shook her head. “I actually haven’t been here in a while, it’s not really in my neighborhood.”
I frowned at the thought of her traveling across the city alone at night. “We could have met somewhere else, closer to…” I trailed off as I realized I had no idea where she lived. “Wherever home is for you.”
“Hell’s Kitchen,” she answered and I wondered for a moment if she lived with Levi. “With Luc and Levi. You should visit us sometime.”
“I don’t think that’d be a good idea.” I looked around for the waitress a little desperately. “This is a bad idea actually.” I lifted my hips to pull out my wallet. “I should go.”
“Please don’t.” Jorja’s plea and the soft touch of her fingers on the back of my hand made me hesitate, then I looked into her eyes and I was lost, couldn’t conjure up the will to resist her.
We drank our coffee and made awkward conversation. About the weather, the Ranger’s chances for the finals, the latest movies we wanted to see. Then the waitress returned and I opened my mouth to say I should go but instead I told Jorja to order whatever she wanted.
She blushed a little as the waitress left with an order for garlic bread and a large pizza then shrugged and grinned. “I don’t get to eat like this very often.”
I knew the reason why of course but I still asked, “Why is that?”
“Luc does most of our cooking and he’s… a bit of a health nut.”
“His body is a temple,” I said with a smirk.
“Yeah.” She gave a low laugh and this time the blush was caused by whatever thoughts or memories went through her mind. “He’s a little high maintenance but totally worth it.”
“I bet,” I muttered and tried not to think about it.
Jorja picked up her water glass and took a drink then set it down and shrugged. “I guess we all are in our own way right? Well maybe it’s not maintenance, but attention. We all want it, need it.” She shrugged again and her eyes dropped as she bit her lip. “What about you Zander?” She looked up and her eyes gaze was hesitant.
“What about me? Am I high maintenance?” I laughed at the thought. “Sugar, I just need to be fed and exercised on a regular basis and I’m happy.”
“You sound like a puppy!” Jorja smiled and I couldn’t resist leaning in to tease her a little.
“Well I guess if I had a tail it’d wag like crazy any time you rubbed my tummy.” Her eyes flared wide and I wondered if she was remembering that night, the way she’d traced her fingers and then her tongue over my stomach, then lower…
“Here’s your pizza and garlic bread. Can I get you any drinks?” The waitress’s cheerful voice interrupted the moment and I sat back with a frustrated sigh as Jorja declined more drinks and we were left alone again.
“This looks good.” She placed a piece of garlic bread and two slices of pizza onto her plate and I did the same. She pulled off a bite of garlic bread and poked her pizza but it was too hot to eat yet so she went back to the bread. “Seriously though, how are you as a boyfriend? Attentive, keep in contact every day, or are you the see you on the weekend type?”
I frowned as I chewed the food in my mouth then answered once I’d swallowed. “Is this one of those ‘asking for a friend’ things? Why do you care?”
Jorja tested her pizza again and took a big bite, making me wait for her answer. “Yeah, I guess it is,” she said finally with a slow nod.
“What? Luc and Levi aren’t enough for you?” I said with a laugh of disbelief.
She narrowed her eyes at me and got that same look she’d had in the storeroom at The Void. “Do you know what saudade is Zander?” she asked calmly.
“So da da?”
“Saudade.” She said it with a lilt of accent. “It’s a Portugese word. It means a longing for something or more poetically, the love that remains. It’s that feeling you have that something is missing.”
“Pretty word for such a thing,” I said when she paused even as my mind raced, wondering if she was saying what I thought she was saying.
She reached across the table and placed her hand over mine. “We miss you Zander. You’re that thing that is missing for us, and we don’t want to be without you any longer.”
Jorja’s words had stunned me, then she’d gone on to explain that the three of them had discussed it and they wanted to date me. They! I was unsure, the memory of Jorja walking away from me and the pain of wanting more from Luc and Levi, still fresh. But Jorja was persuasive and then so was Luc and Levi.
I’d learned a lot in the six weeks since that night. Levi had told me how he felt like he wasn’t enough for Luc. Luc had told me how he felt rejected when Levi wanted to watch him with someone else. Jorja had told me how she’d fallen in love with both men and how their relationship had evolved. I also learned that the fantasies I’d had paled in comparison to the reality of being with the three of them separately and together.
I looked around the room that I would soon leave, the boxes stacked up ready to be moved the next day while Luc was at work. A belated Valentine gift from all of us to him. Change was not something he coped with well so we had decided to just make the change and hope that he would be so happy that I had moved in that his anxiety would be forgotten.
Six weeks seemed fast to get to this stage but we all acknowledged that this relationship had been building for more than six weeks. It had started that very first time I had looked into Luc’s eyes all those months ago, and the only end in sight for us was the one that starts ‘and they lived happily ever after. The End.’