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  • Writer's pictureJill Marie Denton

His Three Friends | Apr 4, 2020

An hour later, Mark and I were bundled in blankets, a bowl of popcorn between us as a B-grade horror movie played on his massive home studio system. Every squeaky door sound, every bug chitter and every knife swoosh shook the living room as he laughed. The movie was so bad, it was practically criminal. He was like a little kid, adorably enjoying movie night with no outside thoughts in the world. I envied him endlessly in that moment.

“I’d feel bad for keeping you awake but I think you’d be doing this anyway,” I admitted, tossing a kernel of popcorn into his sweep of dusty, golden hair.

“Probably,” he replied, plucking it out and tossing it back at me. “I’m too wound up after work to sleep right away anyway. Besides, I don’t get to entertain much these days.”

“You’re not entertaining now. I’m just sitting here.”

“Enjoying the mastery of one of Hollywood’s most underrated horror creators, you philistine. Now shut up and watch this.”

On the screen, a giant bird shaped like a biplane with plastic wings swooped in and plucked an actor’s head right from his shoulders. No blood, no noise, just a head swept away by a ridiculous-looking animatronic beast.

“This isn’t entertainment, it’s an endurance test. No wonder your girlfriend leaves town so often.”

His eyes tipped down for a second and his tone was muted. “I don’t have a girlfriend. Not anymore, anyway.”


“I was too much,” he replied with a shrug. “She didn’t want to be held down.”

“Are you fucking kidding me?” I exploded, shocking Mark into missing his mouth with a palmful of popcorn. “Tell me you’re messing with me. That’s the biggest load of shit I’ve ever heard.”

“Nope. I guess the jet-setting lifestyle is more her speed, so she couldn’t see herself settling down in a town like this one. We broke up a little over a week ago. I guess I’m over it.”

“You should be. Jesus. What a worthless piece of shit and what a complete waste of your time. I’m sorry, Mark. You deserved much better.”

“Maybe. I mean, it was fun while it lasted. But I do need to be here, to stay put, so there’s nothing I could’ve done about it anyway. Don’t worry about me. I’ll get by just fine with my frozen dinners, tv and game systems.”

I snorted and rolled my eyes while inside, I was doing somersaults. Now he had no moral quandaries, no foreseeable objections. The next steps of my plan were critical.

“No conquests on the horizon?” I asked quickly with my eyes on the screen.

“Nope. I’m sure some lovely lady will condescend to deal with me at some point.”

“But you have needs. We all do.”

“Sure, but I wasted a lot of time on this one. I’m not really feeling wasting a bunch more time on anyone else right now. If something happens, great. If not, I’m all right waiting.”

Oh, something’s going to happen.

“What if it happened with someone who’s already in your life? A willing partner you already know?”

He considered with a long hum. “I mean, I guess it would be okay with me. Like I said, I’m not looking for it, but if it shows up and it’s a good thing, why wouldn’t I?”

“Interesting. What would the rules be?”

“Mine or hers?” He glanced over his shoulder at me with a brow raised.

“Yours. What are your ground rules?”

“Well,” he considered for a moment, gazing at the ceiling. “I guess it depends on what their intentions were. I’m not completely disagreeable. I’m willing to compromise. But I’m not feeling a bunch of commitment right now for obvious reasons.”

“Right. So, maybe a friends-with-benefits type of situation?”

“Those get sticky, though,” Mark retorted, grabbing his mug for a sip. “Especially when the friendship isn’t the same afterward. Either you end up together or never see each other again. I think it’s tough for anyone who’s had sex to stay around an old partner and not have some type of feelings about it. Maybe I’m too sentimental or something, who knows. Rex seems to handle that pretty well.”

I nodded. So far, so good.

“So, a quickie then. That would be okay?”

He snickered. “I haven’t heard it called a quickie since high school. That’s even trickier, I think. Who’s to say it’ll be worth the chance of ruining something great? Again, once you’re naked with someone, it’s pretty hard to unsee that.”

“I wouldn’t want to unsee it.”

He froze for the briefest of moments, his brows lowering. “What?”

“Speaking in pure hypotheticals here, but if it were me,” I murmured, reaching out to lay my hand on his. “I wouldn’t want to unsee it, to forget about it. I’d want to remember it. I’d want to remember you, how you felt, how you moved. I’d want to remember it all. And I wouldn’t feel any guilt in the slightest.”

His palm pulled back as he moved to sit on the floor outside arms reach. “Um, I… that’s too weird, even as a hypothetical, don’t you think?”

I shrugged. “Not really. I think it’s kind of ideal, actually.”

His golden brow arched as he sat forward. “I don’t think you’re speaking in hypotheticals anymore.”

“Absolutely. I’m done playing coy.”

“How, pray tell? How could this possibly be ideal?”

Mark’s logical mind, the need for reason above emotion, always won out over his impulses. It made him great as a first responder but terrible at accepting flirtation and inuendo. He preferred the straight ahead and I was more than happy to provide it.

“Well,” I murmured, moving off the couch to join him on the floor. “I’m not sure how this’ll make me sound but I’ve been pretty desperate lately. I’ve considered going to a bar outside of town where no one knows me from the news, flirting a bit too much, picking up a stranger, going back to his place.”

“No way,” Mark interrupted. “Way too dangerous.”

“Right, but what other options do I have? If I go out in town, it’s easy to get recognized. People feel bad for me. They offer to buy me drinks, they cry for me and they stand a hundred yards back. It’s not like I want a relationship or anything, but some company would be nice. Maybe someone could just talk to me like a normal human, show me some compassion without treating me like I’m going to shatter at any moment.”

“This isn’t compassion you’re looking for, and for the record, it would be logical to shatter,” he argued, his arms folded. “These circumstances are something most people can’t even understand let alone sympathize with. Hell, I’m not even sure what to say to you half the time and I’ve known you since high school.”

“Exactly. And I’ve been alone, dealing with this and needing release for weeks. So how am I supposed to get my needs met when no one will even approach me as a human, let alone as an abandoned woman?”

He sighed, averting his gaze back to the paused movie screen. “These needs, can’t you meet them yourself?”

“What’s better, a living breathing human’s body heat and passion, the feeling of sweaty, amazing surrender, or your right hand and some lotion? You should know.”

He laughed again, a self-deprecating one that made me snicker. It was a low blow to the newly single but long abandoned male. “All right, all right, I get it. So back to the subject at hand. How is this ideal, again?”

It was time for the big guns. I wasn’t above begging.

Carefully, methodically, I edged closer to his hip, turning rounded eyes on him like a lost puppy and keeping my voice a threadbare whisper. “Mark, you know me. We’re alike in a lot of ways. You know how alone I feel. You know I can’t go hook up with some rando whose name I won’t remember. It’s not in me. I just need a few minutes, a little bit, just to get through. All I want is a quick fix, a release, something to make me feel human again.”

He broke our gaze on a long blink. “And you want me, of all people, to help with that?”

Taking a chance, I reached out for his forearm. “That’s what I’m saying. You said you’d help me if you could. I’m here asking.”

“Help as in mowing the lawn. Not sleeping with my friend’s wife.”

“I’m no one’s wife,” I declared calmly, shifting onto his lap. “He’s gone. I’m here. And I need you. I need your warmth. I need these,” I paused to touch his lips with my fingertips. “I’m going away for a while after the funeral. This is it for us. Just this once. I’ll never ask again.”

He was deathly still while I perched on his lap, but he didn’t push me away. Apprehensive silence lingered between us. I kept my eyes on his parting lips, my breath speeding up as I contemplated capturing his mouth without permission. But as his tawny eyes swept over the swell of my breast and up to my eyes, I saw doubt and temptation haunting his gaze.

“I… Look, you’re seriously hot and you know it. I just don’t think…”

“I need you to stop thinking for one minute. I need you. I need this,” I cooed, pressing into him with pleading eyes. “Please, Mark. I’m begging you. I need to feel better. I need you inside me. Please.”

I felt him quiver where our laps touched, heat building as he reached up to snake his fingers through my hair. His face edged close to my neck as he whispered so softly that I almost didn’t hear him. “You need, and you deserve, much better than that.”

His palms cupped the back of my head, bringing my lips to his. His kiss was intense, heady from the start, the kind that leaves no room for negotiation. My eyes fluttered closed as he ran his hands down my arms to my waist, encircling me as I leaned in to press demandingly against him.

I went for the buttons of his uniform, eager to see what awaited me below. With skimming nails, I separated the placket slowly to reveal smooth skin and the four-inch serpent tattoo peeking through the V-neck tee’s gap, just below his right collar.

“Mm, I forgot you had that,” I sighed, nibbling at the blue and white ink as his head fell back against the cushion. His groan, resonating from deep within his chest, was pure sin.

I gripped the hem of his shirts, pulling them both off in a quick sweep as his lips returned to assault mine. Eager arms wrapped me up and needy fingers returned to my hair as he smothered my neck with impatient kisses. He was growing harder against my lap with each passing second.

“Bedroom’s more comfortable,” he murmured, lapping at my cleavage above the camisole’s hemline while I arched against him.

My reply was a soft moan of approval. He got the message loud and clear.

{Part 3.2 Coming Apr 11, 2020} <3 JMD

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