#25 I can't do this
When Thomas shows up for dinner on Saturday, I’m nervous. We’ve been hanging out at the gym a lot, but there are always people around, so it’s all friendly banter. A little flirty, of course, since we’re both like that. Tonight is different. We all know that after dinner we’re gonna fuck again.
I’m apprehensive and hot and a million different things in between.
“Relax, baby,” Michel says, kissing my neck softly while I pour myself a glass of wine in the kitchen. “Here, pour Thomas a glass too.”
“He doesn’t drink wine,” I say, already moving to the fridge to pull out a beer.
“You know me so well,” Thomas comments from his spot at the dinner table, winking at me.
“Like the back of my hand, baby,” I shoot back, clinking my glass to his beer bottle.
Michel pours himself a glass of the fancy wine that pairs best with the appetizers he made to enjoy before dinner. I smile when I see the oysters in the middle of the table, and I grab our fluffy white cat from the floor, cuddling her for a moment. Oyster lives with us, and she’s such a nice little addition to this furry family.
“Ahw, come here, cutie,” Thomas says, holding out his hands.
“No thanks, I’m good where I am,” I joke, laughing when he breaks into a full-blown grin.
“I was talking about the kitten, baby, but you’re pretty cute too, I guess.”
Michel clears his throat and hand me an appetizer with a smile that is strained at best. Well fuck. I guess he doesn’t like seeing how easy Thomas and I interact with each other. I get that. It reminds him that Thom is not just someone we fucked once. He’s my friend, and my ex-fuckbuddy. That’s gotta hurt.
“So, Tracy tells you that you own your own tech company?” he asks, sipping his wine.
“Yeah, with my best friend Dylan, started it in college.” Thomas says it off-handedly, like it’s no big deal. “Just a small company really.”
“Please,” I scoff. “Don’t be modest. He’s amazing. He made this app for people to walk other people’s dogs and I already found three people to walk Pumpkin when I can’t get away from work and you’re not able to get home in time.”
Thomas looks at me with a strange look in his eyes. “You’re using my app?”
“Of course I am, it’s amazing. I also saw the website you did for that charity. Beautiful. Peter, Delilah and I always help out with the adoption program when we can, offering free check-ups and stuff. I think it’s great that you pitched in as well.”
“Okay, yeah I can’t do this,” Thom says, his voice strangled all of a sudden. “Aston was right. I’m such an idiot. I’m sorry.”
“Can’t do what?” Michel asks, leaning forward a little, his hand on my knee under the table, almost like he’s keeping me in place. “Have dinner with us?”
“I can have dinner with you, but that’s it,” he says, sounding like he wants to bolt. “I thought I could do this, but I can’t. You’ll have to find someone else.”
Oh God. I can see pain in his eyes, but I don’t know why. “Is this because of what we talked about the other day?” I ask softly. “Because I told you not to worry about that, and I still mean that. I’m fine.”
“Why wouldn’t you be?” Michel asks, sounding on edge now. “What is going on?”
“I should just go,” Thomas says, pushing Snoopy off his lap, who was just about to settle in. All the animals love him, more than they like Michel, actually. “I’m sorry to waste your time.”
“Thomas!” I look at Michel, but he looks as shocked as I do. I rush after Thomas and catch him about to leave, his hand on the doorknob. “Wait, Thomas, talk to me. I don’t care about some stupid threesome. You look spooked. Talk to me. You’re my friend. What’s going on?”
He takes a deep breath and turns around. “I’m completely okay with having a threesome with you, but not with Michel. I don’t think he’s right for you, and I hate having to share you with him.”
“I love him,” I say, not sure what else to say. “So that means we’ll have to go back to being friends.”
“I’ll try,” Thomas says, his blue eyes sad. “It’ll be fucking hard though, since I’m falling for you.”
“W-what?” I stammer, jumping in shock when I feel Michel’s hands on my hips from behind me.
“Yeah, what?” he asks, sounding dangerous now.
“I’m in love with your girlfriend,” Thomas tells Michel, forcing the words out. “So I won’t be fucking her again unless she dumps your ass and decides to be with me instead. And I definitely don’t want to be forced to watch you treat her like she’s worthless.”
“Get the fuck out of our apartment!” Michel yells, pulling me behind him. “I fucking knew it. It’s a good thing I didn’t let you do more than get a blowjob from her!”
“I’ve been inside of her more times than I can count!” Thomas yells in his face, cracking his knuckles. “And unlike you, I don’t call her a whore when I sleep with her. I treat her like the wonderful girl she is. And guess what? I get her off without calling her names. I get her off. Every. Single. Time.”
When Michel pulls his fist back, I jump in between them, not wanting things to spiral even more out of control. Besides, Thomas will fuck Michel up if they truly start fighting. I don’t want that. Michel may think he’s big and bad, but he’s got nothing on Thom. He’s getting so good at boxing by now that he can almost take on Aston, and that’s not something anyone else at the gym can say. Hell, no one in the fucking city can take Aston in the ring. Thomas is a god when he fights, and he’d wipe Michel out in three seconds flat.
“I think you should go,” I tell Thomas, even though I’m aching to hug him. I hate how hurt he looks. I need to talk to him about this, but not now. Not with Michel wanting to rip him to pieces.
“Yeah,” Thomas agrees. “I think you’re right. See you later, Tracy.”
“Like fuck you will!” Michel shouts after him. “Stay the fuck away from her, you gangster hippie!”
I shut the door behind Thomas, leaning against it so Michel won’t try to open it and go after Thom. This was supposed to a fun, sexy night filled with orgasms and new experiences. Instead, I’m feeling like I want to break down and cry.
Thomas is in love with me.
What the fuck am I supposed to do with that?
I’m with Michel, and it took us six years to get to the point where I’m comfortable enough around him to let down my guard a bit, let him hold me when I wake up trembling from my nightmares, and to let him move in with me. Okay, he’s still got his own place just in case, but for me that’s a huge deal. What was Thomas thinking telling me like this, with Michel in the room with us? This was so not the way tonight was supposed to go.
“You’re not seeing him again,” Michel tells me, looking at me with rage in his dark brown eyes.
“That’s not for you to decide,” I bite back, annoyed with him, even though I get that he’s scared to lose me right now. “He’s my friend. I want to talk to him about this.”
“You mean you want to get naked with him again.” He puts a hand on either side of my face and leans down, his hot breath tingling on my skin. “You already cheated on me once. Who says you won’t do it again?”
“You were turned on by me fucking Thomas when you still thought you could control it all,” I remind him icily, refusing to be intimidated by him. “And you weren’t angry at me when it happened, telling me that it was okay, that I was drunk and not in control of myself, that it was to be expected that I’d get carried away when he agreed to fulfill my fantasies.”
“It was still cheating, Tracy,” he says, taking a step back and dropping his hands to his side. “Do you have any idea how scared I am to lose you? All. The. Fucking. Time. I thought that if I gave you what you crave the most – a threesome with that asshole – that you would see that I love you more than anyone ever will. And I truly thought that I was in control of the whole thing, and I was, and then he had to go and profess his undying love for you, the stupid motherfucker.”
“Michel…” The pain in his eyes is like a knife to my heart. This is all my fault. He’s right. I did cheat on him, and maybe me talking about my fantasies all the time and watching porn during sex pushed him to think he needed to give me this. “I love you, okay? We promised we’d try, and you’ve been working so fucking hard to give me my space and allow me to see Thomas, even though that must be hard for you. And I’ve been opening up more, trying to be the girlfriend you deserve. I’m not willing to give up on us yet. We always call things quits when we get to a point like this, yelling at each other in the hallway. How about we break that cycle right now and decide to work through it for once?”
“You’re not leaving me for him?” Michel asks, his voice trembling.
Oh God, I think I broke him.
“No, I’m not,” I vow, even though my heart is already breaking for Thomas. And for me. I like him, I really do. I love spending time with him. And I know that agreeing to stay with Michel means no more Thomas, because that would be too hard on Michel. I get that. I wouldn’t feel comfortable with him hanging out with a girl who was madly in love with him every other night. A girl he used to fuck. I can’t do that to him, especially not since I technically did cheat on him with Thom.
Fuck, this is why I never used to do real relationships. It’s so fucking hard.
“You’re still mine?” Michel asks, taking my face in his hands.
“Yes, I am,” I promise him, leaning in to kiss him. “Come on, let’s go enjoy that delicious dinner you prepared, okay?”
He picks me up and hugs me tightly, and I feel his sobs rocking both of our bodies. Part of me wants to cry with him, but not because of him. Because of Thomas. I hurt Thom too, and I know that it’s all my fault if he’s feeling worthless right now. Like I always do, I shove those feelings deep, deep down, and plaster on a fake smile.
I’ve still got Michel, and I was never meant to have Thomas anyway.
No reason to break down, Tracy. Just take a deep breath and ignore the sadness.
Packards don’t cry.