by Morgan Broom
It was the do-or-die game of the series -- and Donovan wasn't even sure who was winning. Every time he tried to focus on the television, his eyes drifted back to Richard and Sheila, sitting across the room entwined on the couch. The gin and tonic he clutched in both hands wasn't helping. He drained the glass in one swallow, then squeezed his eyes shut as the room swam alarmingly.
"Why don't you sit on the deck?" Richard suggested. "Cool off a bit."
"I'm fine," he said, but he thought, why don't you come with me? You would if you were alone. But for the first time in all their summers together, Richard was anything but alone.
He had Sheila, with her soft brown eyes and husky laugh, Sheila who liked to dance naked on the deck when she thought no one was looking. But Donovan had been looking all week, watching her skin glow like gold in the sunlight, and then be eclipsed by Richard when he stole up behind her. Their childlike scuffling always turned, within seconds, into something else and sent Donovan scurrying off, face blazing and groin throbbing.
A ball of energy when she was awake, she now seemed fragile as a rag doll as she dozed in the heat, tucked securely under Richard's arm. Her head rested on his chest, her brown curls hiding most of her face. All three of them had stripped down to the bare necessities. Like Donovan, Richard wore only a pair of khaki shorts. Sheila wore a white linen tank and white linen briefs. Richard's hand rested lightly on her breast, stroking the rosy nipple that was just visible through the loose weave.
Donovan sucked on an ice cube that he desperately wanted to drop down the front of his pants. When the ice had melted to just a sliver, the frustrated little devil in him said aloud, "I thought she was sensitive."
Richard looked at him in surprise, then down at Sheila. "What?"
"You told me she's sensitive." Donovan leaned back with just the slightest tremor in his gut. "Well, with all your manhandling, her nipple still looks soft."
"Manhandling," Richard repeated softly. "You're just jealous."
Donovan glared. "What the hell is that supposed to mean?"
"Well, something has had your panties in a bunch this week," Richard said. "Worry about yourself and I'll worry about what revs my girlfriend's engine."
"Whoa there, boys." Sheila unwrapped herself from Richard's arm. "First of all, I am not asleep or deaf. Nor am I a car," she added in a haughty voice as she scooted across the couch.
Richard glowered at Donovan even as he tried to hold onto Sheila.
"Sorry," Donovan mouthed.
He escaped to the kitchen as the two wrestled on the couch. He glanced at the bottle of gin, then shook his head and filled a dishtowel with several cubes of ice.
"What a way to end the summer," he muttered, and held the towel against his groin.
By the time his big brain resumed full functioning, he realized he needed to apologize, at least to Sheila. He and Richard weren't kids anymore. They were adults. Adults developed new relationships. Feeling very mature, he took a deep breath, exhaled slowly, then marched into the living room.
Richard had dragged Sheila onto his lap and pulled down the neck of her tank to expose one generous breast. His dark head was bent as he laved her nipple. One hand pistoned between her legs. Donovan squeezed his eyes shut and realized there couldn't possibly be enough ice in the cabin for his needs. He took a step backwards. Maybe the lake...
"Van, don't run away."
Donovan opened one eye. It was Sheila, one hand knotted in Richard's hair, the other extended to him. Her eyes held only invitation. He took a deep shuddering breath and crossed the room.
As he knelt against Richard's legs, he started to mouth her unattended breast. But Sheila, grinning wickedly, shook her head. She tugged on Richard's head until he released her. Without glancing at him, Donovan covered the freed nipple. It was soft and warm in his mouth, tasting of Richard. As it tightened against his tongue, he growled and bit down gently. Sheila's moans rose.
A strong hand massaged his neck. "See, she does get hard."
"What did I say about not being deaf," Sheila murmured. "Now kiss me."
Donovan glanced up. Sheila held Richard close, sealing their lips, until Donovan wondered who breathed for whom. Sheila arched her back, thrusting her breast against his lips. Smiling, he returned to his task, using Richard's legs as his anchor, licking and sucking, urged on by Sheila's writhing and guttural moans. Finally, she trembled violently, stretched, and subsided, her nails raking his shoulder.
He basked in their heat for a precious moment, then stole away, evading their touch and eyes and soft-voiced pleas. He hobbled into the kitchen, painfully aware of his unmet needs. He poured a glass of water. He held the glass to his chest to ease the pounding of his heart, which suddenly hurt much more than the pounding between his legs.
"That was unexpected." Richard came up behind him. His breath teased the hairs on the back of his neck. "Are you okay?" he said softly.
Richard sighed as he placed his hands on Donovan's shoulders, kneading the tight muscles. "Are you sure?"
Donovan leaned into his friend's touch until he felt Richard's chest against his back, solid, warm, moist. Richard's erection pressed against the small of his back. "No."
Richard took the glass from his hand and placed it on the counter. Then he rested his hands on the waist band of his shorts. "I didn't think so. What's wrong, for real?"
"Sheila," Donovan began breathlessly. The thought evaporated as Richard's hands tightened. "God, I don't know..."
"You're my best friend. If you like Sheila, it's okay." Richard's lips brushed his ear. "I'm even glad..."
"I don't want to, but I do like her," Donovan murmured. "But she's not the one making me so hot I think I'm going to melt. You are."
Richard forced him to turn around. "What?"
"You," he repeated it as if that one word said it all. And perhaps it did, because suddenly his whole world, his universe really, froze as a pair of clear gray eyes bored into his soul. Then Richard blinked and the universe began to expand once more.
Richard lowered his head, but there was no hiding the smile stretching across his face. When Donovan touched his blushing cheeks in wonder, he looked up. "Sheila knew all along. She kept saying she liked the fact that you liked me. I kept replying, of course, he likes me. Why wouldn't he like me?" He shrugged. "She called me vain."
Donovan laughed, suddenly liking far more than Sheila's body.
Richard smiled. "It's good to hear you laugh. You haven't laughed all week." He glanced over his shoulder. "She's on the deck, waiting."
Donovan struggled not to withdraw. "For you."
Richard leaned forward. "Us."
"If I join you now, what will I be?"
Richard kissed him lightly on the lips. "What you have always been. My friend." He turned to walk away. "My heart."
Donovan leaned against the kitchen counter and raised a hand to his lips. As he rubbed his fingers over them, he tasted sweet and sour, some salt. Richard, Sheila, and himself, all mixed up.
The sounds of Sheila's laughter drifted in from the deck. It was a sound he could grow used to.
He listened for a long while, then he wandered outside to join them.