Ménage à quarte
Monday mornings, off and running early in an attempt not to run into anyone, again, not too interested in rehashing my weekend. Unfortunately, everyone is on to me. I walk into an ambush in my office.
“I am Team Nate!” Claims Angel before I could even get my purse down, at least he brought me coffee.
“I am Team Tommy”, giggles Kristie.
“I think we should just put them all in a ring and let them duke it out,” suggests Sylvia.
“I am Team Valentina and you all need to just slow your roll.” I fall into my chair and take a long sip of my iced coffee, hoping that caffeine can solve all my problems.
“Oh dah-ling, let us have fun! I mean, we have all had a Menage à Trois, but you get a shot at a ménage à quarte!”
We all look at him sideways, “what? Oh, pa-leease! You puntas play all innocent, but I got your number, and it’s Tres!”
We all laugh, what else is there to do at this point. We have either had threesomes or fantasized about them, either way, Angel is right.
“You know we have to meet Jake now, for all I know I may be team Jake instead of Tommy.” Kristie has been trying to get the scoop on Jake out of me for weeks now.
“This is not the foursome I had in mind.” Not going to lie, they have crossed my mind often during my self-play.
“See, white-straight-girl issues! A gay man would have had all three men in bed already.”
“Something tells me it was enough to just have two of them in the same room Saturday night,” Sylvia is also right. “And Nate isn’t even in the runnings.”
“Girl, he should be, and I am cheering for my fellow Latino!”
“How about all three of you, date all three of them, and I go back to focusing on me.”
“Don’t be so selfish,” Kristie commented enviously, “how often do we have three amazing men fighting for us? You should feel grateful and try to enjoy this.”
“Again, being gay is more fabulous because I have had three men.”
“I said chasing you, not…” I cut off Kristie before this conversation gets a little crusty.
“I am sorry if I seem sour. I know you guys are looking out for me. This just isn’t my thing, dating isn’t my thing, to begin with, let alone dating more than one man at a time. Plus Nate doesn’t see me that way.”
“Only because you placed him in the friend’s zone and refuse to let him out.” Sylvia reminds me.
“To my defense, he put me in the friend zone first.”
“Hun, logistics is all that is. That devoted man has been in love with you since the first day he met you. You can tell by the way he looks at you. And I love the digs he gave Tommy, I might be leaning Team Nate too.”
“I still don’t understand all you straight girls. How do you ever put a man that fine in the friend’s zone? And when is it an issue to fuck a friend? In the rainbow world, we call them fuck-buddies. So get over your good-girl self and make Nate your fuck buddy.”
“Oh Angel, one day so long ago before I fell into the word of serial monogamy. I was a gay man trapped in a woman’s body. Had you known me back then, you would have been proud. All my life I preferred to fuck ’em and run. Sadly Tommy converted me into the world of monogamy and I have this thing called Catholic Guilt. I want so badly to just move to London. Sylvia, can you see if I can work out of the London office?”
“No way Boss! You need to see this one through, plus we are all invested in this and you owe it to us to work through this. We are all here for you. And if you need us to hold the video camera during your foursome, we will gladly be your film crew.”
With that, we all laughed. It feels so great to have friends that get me. In all fairness, this may be the first time that I am me. So I can’t fault those that love me back in Berkely. Back there I was a good daughter, good friend, good student, and good fiancée. I was always doing what I thought everyone expected of me, not so much allowing myself to just be me.
Here in New York City, I am finally beginning to understand who I might be. Which, is all the more reason for me to stop this madness. Already the focus on my amazing career is being trumped by my potential love life.
“It’s because we all have an amazing career, but we surely don’t have the love life you have right now my darling,” Angel enlightens me. “So let us live vicariously through you. Next Saturday throw a dinner and have all three men there and let’s see how it all turns out.”
“Yeah, that’s a no way!” I rebutted, “I know for sure that Jake and Tommy will not play nice. The one between Nate and Tommy was bad enough.”
“Girl, what fight? Tommy took one look at Nate and considered my side of the tracks!” Angel high-fives Kristie. “That was just MY Nate serving Jessica’s Tommy some Latino spanking.”
As if on cue, a platter of bagels and lox and a box of pastries is delivered. From Tommy, of course, thanking us all for a great evening. Presumptuous of him to think we would all be in my office talking about him. Sadly, he is right, as always.
“See, Team Tommy!” Jessica announces as she dresses her bagel and grabs a chocolate croissant and heads to her office.
“Team Nate!” Angel emphasizes as he follows her out.
“You are fucked.” Sylvia reminds me with a grin.
I decide to call Nate and see if he is up for seeing the Yankees play tonight. Grateful he said, “yes”. I want to go back to the months my biggest struggle was to spend my night with Nate or Sylvia. Things were so simple before I met Jake and then add Tommy showing up. Shit! Tommy is here. What do I do now?
“Hey Sylvia,” I intercom, “do we still have tickets to tonight’s game?”
“Yes, would you like them?”
“Yes I would, and since there are four of them, do you want to join?”
“I know you are trying to use me as a buffer, you are lucky I like to see you squirm. Will the fourth be Nate’s dad or Tommy?” Now, who is the smart ass!
“I was thinking that maybe you bring your flavor of the week?” I don’t need a buffer from Nate, I need a distraction from myself.
It’s the Yankees versus the Red Sox, Nate will be engrossed in baseball. Plus he is a true friend, he leaves me be. If I ask, he advises, if I don’t, we do us as we always have done.
“I will sort out a date.” Sylvia is the best!
So it is settled, baseball with Nate tonight. I decide to shoot Tommy an thank you note for breakfast and for hosting this past Saturday. “Thanks for a perfect NY breakfast and a perfect Saturday dinner with friends. I have missed cooking and throwing dinner parties! Your kitchen and fabulous apartment are perfect for both.”
“The pleasure was all mine.” Of course, he responds immediately. “How are you?”
“Great, and you?”
“Wishing you were here.”
“So, are you working from home, or are you on a sabbatical from work?”
“I don’t blame you for avoiding that comment. I just had to say it because it is how I feel.”
“Must be nice to finally deal with Wall Street in real-time.”
“Ok, you win. Yes, it is. As a matter of fact, I am waiting for the market to open with my coffee in hand, sitting on the rooftop in my boxers. Not a bad way to go to work every day.”
Oh, that’s not playing fair at all. Benji was a Fruit of the Loom man. Anyone else, I never paid any mind. When Tommy and I first slept together, his boxers did me in. Now I can picture him on a Sunday morning, walking around the house with coffee and the paper in his boxers. So sexy in every way. After that, any man in briefs, I sent home just because. Now, Jake, he is Mr. Commando. That is even sexier then boxers. So now I am visualizing Jake working on the rooftop garden of his friend’s penthouse COMMANDO! Woman! What is wrong with me! I seriously have a problem.
I decide not to answer Tommy. I have work to get done today, I don’t have time to engage in a quid pro quo with the master of quid pro quo. Then there is Jake, still radio silence.
“Sylvia, do you think I can head out for a few hours?”
“You are the Boss. We don’t have any meetings until after lunch. Go do you and I will cover for you.”
“I owe you yet one more.”
“And don’t think I ain’t keeping score.”
I hop on the 2/3 train back towards Brooklyn Heights. Maybe if I roam around our hood I will bump into Jake. I can’t stand the silence between us. I don’t know him well enough to know what could be going through his mind. I know Nate and Tommy. Nate is staying clear of all of this. He hates drama so he is rather happy in our friend’s zone at this moment. Tommy hates loosing so he will fight with all his might, but is he fighting for me, or just to win? Jake, oh Jake, where are you?
I know he lives in the building next door, although I have never dared to go there. I walk up the steps to the intercom. Praying they are listed by a buzzer. I am not sure if it’s laziness on the part of the management company or people wanting to be incognito, but I do notice a lot of my friend’s names are not by their buzzers, they usually just tell me which button to push. I see Dubois listed next to buzzer 301. I know I should push it, but I can’t get my hands to move.
“Hey lady, you looking for someone?” A thick New York accent breaks my contemplation.
I turn around to see a slight resemblance of Jake in the scrawny boy standing before me. I suddenly find myself laughing. I am surely losing it.
“Are you okay lady?”
“Yes,” I manage between hysteria. “I am just looking for your brother, Jake.”
“And that’s funny to you?”
“Sorry, no, I am just, sorry, is Jake here?” I calm myself down, remember how volatile Joey could be.
“Don’t know about no Valentina. So I don’t know about any Jake.”
Suddenly I am hurt, he hasn’t even spoken about me to his brother. How arrogant of me, maybe this radio silence is him having fun away from me. Where do I get off thinking that he may be drowning his sorrows? For all I know, he is back in Paris, loving on all the beautiful Parisian women.
“Sorry, I guess I thought Jake Benoit lived here. Maybe I am wrong. Have a great day.”
I am a real mess. I have Tommy, who moved clear across the country for me. He even bought an apartment to show me how serious he is about making all of this work. Yet here I am, on the stoop of a man that didn’t even tell his brother about me. Such a fool I am.
“Take a deep breath V, and snap back to reality,” I tell myself. “The App goes live in a few days.”
I hop on the train back to work. Grateful that I have the Yankees’ game with Nate and Sylvia plus one. Maybe this will get me back on track.