If you have any talent for bullshitting, there are some torpedoes you can see coming and prepare for with a little well-intentioned manipulation. Evil questions like ‘Do these pants make my ass look fat?’ or ‘Do you think that girl’s hot?’ can be deflected with a casual compliment to the fine derriere of the former, or the snarky comment about dime-a-dozen looks to the latter, because unless she’s really looking for a fight, she’ll accept the validation. That’s what Jahn liked to tell himself, anyway, because the rule had always seemed to apply with his ex.
Fiona had dropped a similar grenade on him, anxiously asking after their second time together whether he thought her breasts were too small. He liked her tits just fine, in fact: dark-nippled and delightful domes of flesh that gave her womanly curves even if they didn’t seem to satisfy whatever inferiority she felt towards her sister’s far larger breasts. Blue-sky lob, that throw was, and he’d managed to cover his ass by asking what she thought of Reanna Chevriez’s figure. Inspired remark, it turned out, as they both knew Fiona had a girl-crush on the songstress, a tall, dark and beautiful woman…. who just happened to be flat as a board. He supposed that reply could come back to haunt him if she really wanted to make an issue of it, but she’d laughed and let it lie.
There was no such inspiration for Jenny’s question. What were he and her father saying about her and Fiona? Jahn couldn’t very well lie about it. Jen had been standing right behind him while they were talking, and while he’d done some beating around the bush in an attempt at being circumspect, the inference was clear.
So he told her, attempting to explain why he’d responded to her father the way he had, why he’d given the man that much information. Truth or not, it wasn’t what she wanted to hear. Glancing at his girlfriend from the corner of his eye while driving, he could see the pale skin of that pretty face darkening, and knew it wasn’t a blush but real anger. Directed where? No illusions: choice curses peppered between a stream of ‘How could you?’ and ‘That’s my father you were talking to!’ made it clear that he was the target. Closest they’d gotten to fighting, and he couldn’t really defend himself, because while he might have the truth on his side, it sure didn’t feel righteous.
Pulling the Taurus onto an off-exit, he found a place to park and turned to her. “Look, I’m sorry, okay? It’s not an excuse, but I couldn’t think of the right thing to say, and I’ll admit – he was pissing me off, the way he talked about Fiona. You said he’s racist, I get that. But for fuck’s sake…”
Long blonde locks fell forward as Jenny ducked her head, and it took him a moment to realize that she was crying. Reaching out, a hand on hers, he waited for her to subside. When the tears had finally ceased, she said, “I love them both, but Daddy always hated her so much. I used to try and tell myself that it was just because she wasn’t his daughter, but I know. It’s why Mom threw him out. He never raised a hand to Fi, but the words… hurt so much more. I tried to stick up for her, be a peacemaker, but I was like… 6. Mom knew, knew that he was hurting all of us with his hate.”
“He’s a bad person, I know that, but sometimes I think it’s because of the way he treats Fiona. Not because he killed someone.” Fresh tears flowed. After a moment, Jenny got hold of herself again. “It’s so fucked up. There’s something wrong with me, I know it.”
Squeezing the smooth flesh of her fingers tightly, he said, “No, Jen. You love your family, and family doesn’t always make sense. They don’t have to; they are what they are and we love them anyway.”
Consolation wasn’t enough, and he could sense that there was still an undercurrent of anger at whatever presumption he’d had in explaining the situation to Donovan, but for the time it was directed elsewhere. The remainder of the drive took place in silence, and when he dropped her off, he said, “Give me a ring when you’re feeling better, we’ll go dancing or something.” Jen nodded wordlessly, and he couldn’t help but notice how much like Fiona she seemed as the door closed in her wake, quiet seriousness that was utterly unlike her.
God help me, I hope I didn’t hurt her by running my mouth, he thought, invoking an unspoken prayer.
A week passed without a word from either of his girlfriends before the phone finally rang again. “Hello, Jahn. Sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner. I talked to Jenny on Saturday, and she said she wanted some alone time. I figured we could all use a break from each other. Things have been a little… tense, here as well. I just don’t want you to take it the wrong way.” Fiona’s voice echoed over the phone with her usual confidence and self-assurance.
Working her words over in his mind, he responded, “Yeah, I guess we _have_ been seeing an awful lot of each other over the last couple months.” That was an understatement. Jahn could count on one hand the number of days that he hadn’t been with one sister or the other. Mostly Jenny, now that he thought about it. Potential problem? He made a mental note.
“I’ll let Jenny work out her funk first, but we’ll set things right again,” she concluded.
“Sounds good. Say, a question while I’ve got you on the phone…”
Hesitating, unsure of how to phrase what might be considered unnecessarily snoopy, he asked, “Jen’s father said he has a friend outside who keep an eye on her. What does that mean?”
There was silence as she considered the question. “Margrave.”
“I don’t know the name…,” but damn, it sure sounded familiar.
“Big man across the street. I’m sure you’ve seen him around.” Ah, name on the mailbox. Heavy-set man. “He’s got an unpleasant disposition, but he used to run off any kids that gave Jen a hard time.”
“Okay, got it. Wanted to make sure I wasn’t dealing with a dangerous asshole rather than just some nosy but otherwise harmless bastard.”
“Mom told me once that Margrave was one of Mr. Donovan’s buddies from way back and that we should stay away from him. She said they were a bad influence. You can probably guess why.”
“Yeah, I can. Thanks for the call, Fiona. Take care, both of you.”
There was no response for a moment, and it seemed she’d hung up. Instead, a heartbeat before his finger cut off the call, he heard the faint reply “I love you, Jahn. Be well.”
One grenade after the next, Jahn thought, absently studying the cellphone nestled in his palm. I love you, Jahn. What am I supposed to say to that? He already knew how strongly he felt about Jenny, though he wasn’t sure she felt the same - unless the insatiable sex streak was her strange way of expressing it. Fiona, on the other hand… there was an increasingly warmer spot in his chest for her each time they were together. The prospect of eventually having to choose between them... that felt like sacrificing a family member.
Goddamnit, he thought, squashing the thought ruthlessly. There’s gotta be a way to ensure this works. Mulling the problem over his head as he took care of the cleaning he’d been neglecting since New Year’s, he found himself at a loss. It wasn’t like he had anyone he could ask for advice. Despite their usual bragging about sexual conquests, he knew none of his work buddies had anything useful to offer on the subject. Either married, or perpetually single, that was their lot.
The internet? Desperate times call for desperate measures, he thought grimly. I’ll probably get nothing but trolling, but whatever. After some searching, he was able to find what looked like a reliable forum for relationship advice. A little hesitation at first, but he finally typed out:
~Luckystarz: Hey people, newbie looking for some advice here. I’ve got relationships with two great women who know about each other and are okay with it… for now. How do I maintain this? How do I make it work?
Leaning back, he waited for a few minutes before replies started popping up.
~Guest12: fuck em both lol
~AdonisLives: tits or gtfo
Die in a fire, he thought with a spike of irritation.
~Ladiesman42: bullshit, get out troll
“Karma,” he sighed resignedly. How many times have I posted something like that when some dude started ranting about his supermodel girlfriend?
~ModGod: Cool the flaming, kids. You know the rules. Real advice only, even the requests seem unreal. Love takes many forms.
Things got quiet after that, and the wait lasted what felt like eternity, stretching to an hour. Bored, he took a break to take care of his bills. When he got back to his computer, nothing much had changed, with one small exception.
~Birdwatcher: LS - speaking from experience, here – balance is part you part them. Treat them with respect and love always, but you have to know that if they feel the situation is unfair or wrong or something else entirely w/e your best intentions there’s nothing you can do. You cant make them change. It didn’t work out for me and I couldn’t choose so they both left. Sad story boo hoo sure but do what you can and pray for the rest.
Is that really all there is? He wondered, bookmarking the site. Love them as best I can, and hope they feel the same? Could it last, like that? Jabbing a button, he cut the power.
A rollercoaster, he thought. Up ‘n down ‘n away we go, screaming into oblivion. As Jahn pulled into the Reed driveway, he recalled the surge of sheer pleasure and adrenaline when Jenny had at last called him the previous evening. A full week of moping around his apartment, waiting for advice from people that didn’t seem to have anything worthwhile to offer – depression to exultation, that’s what this was.
Jen had told him that she’d made reservations, though she wouldn’t say exactly where, and that she wanted him to see her dress before they left. Excuse for a quickie, he was betting, but he’d settle for admiring a new dress too, if that’s really all it was. Snatching up the rose he’d gotten for her, he let himself into the house.
“Knock knock?” he shouted, not seeing any sign of the blonde in the kitchen or living room.
A faint, “Yeah, come on up,” greeted him. Quick negotiation of the stairs led him to her room and he paused with a frown. What the hell was that smell? Sand? Incense? Was she burning something? Alarmed, he yanked open the door to her room. What he saw stunned him into paralysis.
//Minarets cast in shadow against a burning horizon of orange and red sun, hazy with the coming twilight. Bells tolling like vespers signal the day’s end and a call to worship. A woman stands before him, hourglass figure presenting the same contrast against the landscape, dark curves clad in translucent, diaphanous material. A stray wind whips past, colorful and clear material fluttering alike.//
The entire bedroom was cast in dim and flickering light, illuminated mostly by a circle of candles. With wonder, he realized that Jenny was standing in front of the bed, clad in something certainly, but no dress. It was some sort of… costume… that brought to mind a dozen old and dusty fantasies of harem slave girls clad in revealing silk veils, blouses and pantaloons, colorful and well-placed sashes the only nod to modesty.
//Haunting music that evokes the sense of great loneliness, in a vast and empty desert only sparsely populated with oases such as these, plays on unfamiliar instruments. Accompanying the piping notes is a woman’s voice, high rich and beautiful. While she sings, the lone dark figure standing here begins to dance.//
An odd clicking noise sounded and exotic music had begun to play. Arabesque? He speculated. No, that’s stupid.. This is truly _foreign_ music, the stuff you hear on TV specials or from singers in other countries. Jahn had no idea, and it only tugged at his ears with a sense of déjà vu rather than real recognition.
Jenny… he recognized that it was her, despite the strange garb, long blonde hair tied up in a ponytail and garbed in the feature-concealing shadows of the room… began to move in liquid sway, first raising her hands skyward and then unleashing a rhythmic dance that flowed like undertow, seeming to pull his feet from beneath him.
Holy smoke, he thought, aware of a growing erection. This is what really erotic dancing is about. Not overt and raw sexuality, but hinting and teasing at the delights that lay concealed behind a thin veneer of beautiful music and sinuous motion.
His girlfriend’s face was unreadable in the darkness, but she was communicating with him in a different way, entirely nonverbal, using her body to speak to him. First gesturing to him with open palms, keeping him at arms length, turning and whirling dervish-like in place, kneeling, bending, twisting, always in motion, while never losing that graceful and rhythmic dancing. Colorful sashes drop away, fluttering into darkness.
Cupped hands, outstretched, pulling just slightly inward, an invitation to approach, then spreading outwards as if to encompass the room’s small horizon. Jahn embraced her about the waist, but she still did not stop moving, the smooth rhythm of her slim body serving only to excite him further.
There was a roughness to the material as he pulled it away from her body revealing the pale candlelight-clad skin beneath, but it is no bar, was never meant to be, for what she is offering is his and his alone. He slid into the delicious tightness between her shadowed legs, and though he has her firmly within his embrace, it is she controlling him with her movements. A low cry of pleasure escaped him as she moved, towards, away, gyrating, within and without, the contact of outer flesh against inner flesh secure, but never the same from one moment to the next. His release is like an explosion of light, surging from his loins to hers.
A glass of ice water was all Jahn really needed, though he knew he was done for the evening. Jenny’s little … ambush seemed to have drained him of every last bit of energy he’d possessed, leaving only a dim glow of satisfaction. He’d understood the blonde was far more sexually expressive than her sister, but she’d always expressed it in raw, purely sexual acts. This was, well, wow. Setting the glass down, he wiped residual sweat from his forehead. The sound of movement from the doorway caused him to turn with a smile.
“Hey, yourself.” A small, slender woman stood in the doorway to the kitchen, and for just a second, she looked just like Jenny. No illusion though, this woman was dressed in a flattering skirt and blouse that were far more conservative than anything his girlfriend wore, and she was much older. Crow’s feet touched the corners of dark eyes, feathered silver-grey hair framing her forehead, putting her somewhere in her fifties if he had his guess. He could see something else in her too… both Jenny and Fiona
Cocking her head in curiosity, as if she were an inquisitive bird, she looked like an inquisitive bird. “Fiona’s new boyfriend, I presume?”
Unthinkingly, he nodded. “Jahn Halvers. You must be Mary Reed?”
Their shared attention was drawn to a muffled oath immediately behind Mrs. Reed, and she turned to see Jenny, still clad in her harem girl outfit, clutching a bruised leg, blue eyes wide not just in pain, but surprise.
… to be continued…
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<a href="http://www.lushstories.com/stories/love-stories/sweet-dreams-are-made-of-this-ch04.aspx">Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This, Ch.04</a>