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(1) New Bloke
(2) Truth or Dare
(4) Tom's Story
(5) Adam's Story
(6) Adam and Jasper
(7) Dinner for Two
(10) The Cottage
(13) He Who Dares
(15) Meet the Media
(18) A Night at the Ballet
(20) Sean and Will
(22) A Visit to Sydney
(24) Remorse and Love
(29) Sean and Emma
(30) Will and....
(31) That Which We Are, We Are
(32) Lunch in Carlton
(35) Grand Final
Will was home. Sean and Emma had fetched him from the rehab center. He had a carry-bag full of pills and prescriptions, and a head full of advice. But he was—they all were—too happy to listen, or remember. For the moment, they had set aside the concerns and doubts about the future.
Emma had filled the house with flowers, had placed a gleaming bowl of fruit on the kitchen table, had changed the sheets and the towels. If she'd thought about it, she'd have realised that she was preparing the house for a guest, that Will was used to the normal mild chaos, that perhaps he might have felt more at home in a less than spotless house. But Emma had been too excited to wait without doing something to keep her mind occupied, to fill the hours till Will was home. So she had vacuumed and dusted and cleaned, prepared food for their supper, scrubbed windows with vinegar and newspaper, slipped out to the florist on Lygon St to buy flowers.
So, when at last Will got home, she didn't know what to do. None of them did. In the end, Sean opened a bottle of wine, and they all sat down in the too-tidy sitting room to drink. The room where Will had tried to kill himself, where Sean had found him. For a moment they were silent.
At last Emma said, “Welcome home, Wilbo.” She spoke quietly but with deep sincerity.
Will wiped his eyes with his fingers, but he was smiling.
Emma turned to Sean. “I’ve made up a bed for you in your room.”
Emma nodded. “With a double bed.”
Sean thought she was endearing and very pretty when she blushed. But he was embarrassed. “Oh. Good!” he said, himself coloring much more fiercely.
Will started to cry in earnest. “I’m so sorry. You’ve both been so amazing. I’m sorry. I’ve been such an arsehole.”
Sean sprang out of his chair and knelt in front of Will. He took Will’s hands in his. “I – we – love you, dude. We’re here for you.”
“I know. I know. But I don’t deserve you.”
Will turned to look at Emma. She couldn’t read his expression. She stood up and sat on the armchair’s padded armrest next to Will. “We’re here, Will. All of us, together. Always.”
Emma looked not at Will but at Sean. “Always,” she said.
Sean’s eyes locked with hers, looking up into her face. “Always.” He turned to look at Will. “Always, love.” He leaned in and kissed Will softly on his lips, and stood up.
Emma kissed Will on his temple. “C’mon, let’s eat.”
She’d laid the table in the kitchen, where she and Sean had eaten. Was it only ten days ago? It seemed as if it was something from years before, a taken-for-granted part of her life, a constant from the very depths of her being. She hadn’t put out the best silver or crystal, because she’d been afraid that the formality would intimidate. All the same, it was a celebration of homecoming, a ritual of hope and optimism. So she’d compromised by using the everyday cutlery and crockery but also by putting flowers in a vase and spreading the table with the red and white chequered table-cloth, which had seemed more cheery than the formal damask cream one. She made Will sit at the head of the table, and she and Sean sat facing each other. First course was a salad of sweet pale golden-green lettuce with olive oil and lemon juice and garlic.
“Very French, darling,” said Will with a grin, his eyes still a bit red from his earlier emotion.
“Mais, chéri, nous sommes bien français, non?”
“Oui, oui!” Sean was grinning.
“Oh, French, is it?” Will was in a fey mood. There was candlelight gleaming on the cutlery, and the scent of flowers – the heady, too-sweet wash of freesias, as well as the prickly chemical riff of marigolds, and the rich fullness of roses. Garlic, wine, roasting meat and potatoes. Home. He felt good, emotional, as likely to laugh as cry. But good. “French, huh?”
“Mai oui.” Sean’s bogan-accented French was amusing, but all at once Will was unbearably moved. He swallowed the lump in his throat. Sean went on, “I’ve been learnin’ it. It’s cool.”
Will looked at this man whom he’d chosen in the bar because he’d looked so tough, so manly, so brutal, so unlikely to love him, and wondered when he’d changed into this tender, loving, caring bloke. And why it felt so right. He’d wasted a lot of time lurking in gay bars, a lot of time fucking strangers, a lot of time being hurt and humiliated. Sean had changed all that. Sean loved him even though he wasn’t as strong as Sean was, even though he had to share him. Will’s joy and humbleness fitted perfectly together. He smiled at Sean, his eyes shining, his mouth soft.
Emma watched this exchange and felt a pang. She seemed to be outside this perfect couple. As if they’d read her thoughts, they turned and looked at her.
“Emma’s gonna taich me, aren’t you, Em? Books are no good.” Again Sean’s expression was unreadable. Yet she could sense his affection for her, his determination to make it work. And underneath, the teasing pleasurable trickle of desire, the desire you know cannot be fulfilled but which still colors and makes magic your relationship.
She smiled. “Of course. But not tonight.”
Sean grinned at her, his eyes alight, his mouth curled up warmly.
Deep, she thought. I mustn’t underestimate him. I mustn’t be misled by his accent and class to think him stupid. And then, he’s an ally. I’m glad he’s on our side. And she knew it was ‘our’ and not ‘his’. For now, at least.
“Well,” she said briskly, “This is the French way of keeping slim. A salad as a course. Pour la santé.”
They ate their salad in silence. It was delicious. They were all on their second glass of wine, and already feeling more relaxed. She and Sean spoke at the same time.
“Have you... ”
They both stopped and waved the other on. Sean waited for a few heartbeats for Emma to speak, then said, “D’ya want a lift to work on Monday.”
“You’re talking about work on a Friday evening?” Will was incredulous.
“Yeah, you’re right. We have the whole weekend. Well, almost. I hafta work on Sunday evening. The General and Lady Sutton need me.”
“Cow,” said Will, without any particular animus.
“Yeah.” Sean studied Will’s face for a moment, wondering why Will was avoiding the topic of work.
“So d’ya wanta lift to work?”
Will avoided his eyes. After a minute, he said, “I dunno if I can do it.”
Sean’s gaze was intent. “Yeah, you can. For sure you can. Adam and Tom need ya. They told me.” ‘Need’ came out as ‘naid’. No one noticed or cared.
Will just shook his head.
Sean looked at Emma. She’d been following the to-and-fro with concern. Will couldn’t be left alone, not yet. If he didn’t go to work, then he’d mope around the house. Perilous. Maybe Sean could stay with him. As she thought this, she smiled wryly at herself, at the situation. Sean – her rival, once – keeping Will safe. Sean looked back at Will. “OK, then, we’ll just go in and look at their office, naow worries. Aisy. Have a cuppa, maybe,” and he raised his eyebrows ironically, “a latte.” He mocked the word with a slight emphasis.
Will looked dubious.
“C’mon, love. After, we c’n go to the Nova. There’s a good film on.”
“Brokeback Mountain. And it’s half price on Mondays.”
Will gave in. “’Kay. That’ll be good.”
Sean turned towards Emma. “Sorry. What was it you wanted to say?”
Emma was thrown for a moment. “I forget!” They all laughed.
The second course was a roast. Emma had made it earlier, and it was a little dry, perhaps. Patrice would have disapproved. But both men fell on the meat as if they hadn’t eaten for weeks. They opened a second bottle. The candlelight was a warm yellow, and in it, their faces were warm, too, filled with friendship and love and affection. The talk was relaxed, now. Dessert was home-made spotted dick. Emma had to get up during the meat course to check that it was OK, and this traditional role for a woman amused her. She was a senior manager at her firm. She decided she’d teach Sean to cook. He’d enjoy that.
They didn’t go back to the sitting room. The kitchen was too comfy and friendly to move back to the formality of the other room. They sat around the big table and the wreck of the dinner and chatted about their lives. No one had been aware of how the time had passed, and it was late when Emma yawned and said, “I’m off to bed. Sean, let me show you your room.” They all rose from the table and went upstairs. All three of them clustered around the door to of Sean’s bedroom. Sean felt a lump in his throat. How hard Emma must have worked to make him and Will feel at home! There was a double bed, a bowl of flowers, a folded towel on the dresser, all the signs that Emma had toiled to make sure he was an honored guest. He looked at her. “Thank you.”
She knew he was thanking her for far more than just the trouble she’d taken. She bowed a little. “De rien,” she said, smiling. She felt all at once very French. “Till tomorrow.”
“Yeah.” Sean ruffled Will’s hair and kissed her cheek and went in.
Will and she went through to their bedroom. She remembered then that Will and Sean had probably made love there, and she had to struggle hard against a surge of jealousy and rage. Will was watching her. She forced herself to calm down, telling herself that no doubt the two men might make love there again in future. Will smiled at her. “Come on, love,” he said, and his voice was so warm and sincere, his eyes simultaneously so happy and anxious, she melted. He took her hand and pulled her closer. He kissed her, softly at first and then with more intent. His mouth tasted of him, of the food and wine they’d eaten, and it reminded her of all the other times they’d kissed and made love. She could feel his erection through his jeans pressing hard against her. He moved his mouth from her lips and kissed his way down her neck to the top of her shirt.
“I’ve missed this,” he mumbled into the soft skin of her chest, and then undid the top button.
“Me too,” she whispered, an unaccountable lump in her throat making it hard to speak.
“C’mon,” he urged again, leading her to the bed.
She could feel the way his body trembled as he touched her. She sighed and pulled his head closer to her, her hands remembering with pleasure the feel of his thick curly hair. He undid the remaining buttons on her shirt. She wasn’t wearing a bra. She hadn’t thought it through consciously, but it had seemed to her that she had wanted to appear open and welcoming to him. He’d never much cared for her bras, often complaining that they got in the way and were tricky to take off, and that she looked better without them. He’d loved her panties though, and she’d bought a frilly magenta and royal blue thong just for that night. She knew he would like it. “I like your smell,” he’d often said, holding her undies to his nose and sniffing, his eyes parkling with lust and pleasure.
His mouth moved softly over her nipples, and his tongue, soft and tender, caressed them. Emma loved the way he was so careful with her until she was fully aroused. She felt the familiar warmth begin inside her, the bright glow of love and desire.
His tongue traced lines down from her nipples to her groin, and as he moved his head down, he’d stop to suck and kiss and nip her skin. He pulled the thong down, and his tongue entered the folds of her body. She made an inarticulate cry of pleasure, and he lifted his head and looked at her. His eyes gleamed with happiness. He leaned forward and kissed her, deeply, then started to kiss her nipples. This time he was more aggressive and she felt electric jolts sparking between her pussy and her breasts. He moved down again to her cunt. His tongue was warm and clever and she felt her orgasm building. Just when it seemed it would become unbearable, he moved his mouth back to hers, and entered her. He angled himself to maximise her pleasure. One of the reasons she would never have guessed that he was even a little bit gay was that he was so good in bed, such a thoughtful and accomplished lover.
Wave after wave of bliss engulfed her, and then she felt the familiar burst of exquisite joy explode from her cunt and spread like wildfire across her whole body. As she came down, she became aware that he had climaxed too. They hadn’t come together for a long time.
They lay in silence for a while, Will’s head resting on her shoulder.
At last he said, “I love you so much.”
“I know.” She sighed.
“I'm sorry I hurt you.”
Now it was his turn to sigh. “I... dunno what I am. I mean, you know, with Sean... and the others. I never meant them to... come between us.”
“Stop saying 'I know'!”
“What is there to say?”
“'I love you'?”
“Yeah. I do.”
“Say it.” His voice was quiet, but insistent.
“I love you, Wilbo. Despite everything.”
“I love you, Em, because of everything.”
After a few minutes more of companionable silence, he kissed the side of her cheek, and his hand traced a teasing, tickling path down to her crotch. He began to rub it gently, his touch as skilled as ever, and once more she felt the building wave of ecstasy until, overcome, she groaned with pleasure and passion.
Afterwards, she asked, “What about you?” reaching for his cock.
“Yeah, ’course. Always ready for more!”
He kissed her neck. “Yeah.”
She wanted to ask whether Sean and he had sex like that, and who fucked whom, but she knew it wouldn’t make it any easier for her to know. The essential in their relationship, for all three of them, didn’t lie in that. Yet to her surprise and amusement, when she let herself think about it, she realised that she found the idea of the two men together both touching and a turn-on.
Will was woken early by the spring light pouring through the gaps between the curtains. Emma was sprawled on the bed next to him, her mouth open a little, snoring gently. Her long eyelashes were dark against her cheek, and her hair was curled around her head, framing it. She was so endearing he had to kiss her, but he was careful and gentle. He didn’t want to wake her just yet. Saturday morning! The promise of a whole weekend, a weekend with Sean and Emma, and hope – even though he was horribly afraid – that this week his new life would begin, with a job and real friends and more love than he’d ever thought possible. He went downstairs and put on the kettle.
2012 Nick Thiwerspoon. All rights reserved.