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Page 66

I have to admit, I've never quite seen it like that, but as usual Beth is spot on. One might think that after the many wise conversations I've had with her, I should be used to it by now, but she will always remain my sage, no-nonsense mentor, in one way or another.

"Then I'm glad it only took me half a year to get my head out of my ass. It's more fun having something else shoved up there anyway."

"You're such a hopeless romantic! No wonder Bella and Jazz both fell for the amazingly sweet things you say!"

We both laugh at that, until companionable silence settles over us.

"Any chance that the three of you might want to come over for a scene or two any time soon? I can't help but notice that whenever we talk about sex, Bella will sooner or later bring up the fact that she's living in sausage-fest central with a dire lack of tits and cunt."

"You know I'm game for almost anything. You should also know that while Jazz would have no problem coming to a play party, I don't really see him wanting to have to deal with anyone except Bella and me in closer contact.

He's scared of you, even if that doesn't make any sense, and I don't think his confidence could take the extra scrutiny yet."

My remark makes her draw her forehead into a frown.

"You really think he'd be self-conscious just because I was around? He should know that I wouldn't do anything to him or talk him into doing anything that he doesn't want to do."

"I don't think it's that. It's hard to explain, but he seems happy where he is right now. With us, included as an equal, loved and cherished, but without any responsibilities or anyone having any expectations of him. He obviously likes to top in a scene, but he doesn't want to be a Dom, and I don't think that will change much. You know that not all of us get off on having to care for someone else like that."

"Don't even dare to speak another word. Last time I checked, I was the one telling you it was okay to be into power play but that it wasn't necessarily a prerequisite, just like everything else. Different folks, different strokes, right?"

"Yes, Mistress."

I get an eye roll for that, and I'm disappointed when she doesn't even try to slap me playfully. It's moments like this when I miss what we had years ago. Try as they might sometimes, neither Bella nor Jazz will ever come even close to the way she made me feel when I was kneeling before her.

That is a different part of me and my life, over now, and I wouldn't change what I have for the past, not even for one second.

"Speaking of things that don't concern me but interest me terribly, how is Rose doing with her kid? Last time I called her she sounded incredibly tired, but I guess that's to be expected."

"She's doing okay, I think. Tired, yes. Happy to rant for hours about how everything falls to her and complain about how Emmett manages to shirk his duties at a father in the most heinous ways, yes, but you should see how she smiles whenever he's home and carrying their kid around. They're so sweet it makes my teeth ache."

Beth nods but I can tell she doesn't buy my jibe, although she's too good to rub it in that, contrary to the future mother of my children, I can't wait for the day when Bella tells me she's pregnant. I've never quite understood why.

Maybe it's because part of me resents growing up without ever really knowing my father, despite eating breakfast with him four days a week for years, and I want the chance to do a better job of it. I know a couple of people I'm not related to or in love with who I like better than him. And it's not like the relationship that my father and I have is any worse than what eighty percent of people have with their parents. It's just not what I want with my own children.

"I guess I should go home now. Who knows what Bella and Jazz will come up with if I stay away too long? I wouldn't put it past them to eat all the food or start drinking without me."

"That would really be such a shame."

We hug before I leave. The drive home is uneventful, the usual weekend traffic not yet in full swing. Leaving the boxes in the car for later, I just grab the two bags containing Bella's plants, then walk up the path to the front door.

I don't know why it even surprised me that just in time for our anniversary, my mother suddenly turned up on our doorstep, and taking a look around the living room of our condo proclaimed that it was really getting crowded.

And she just happened to have hung on to a certain house on the other side of town that I made her promise to sell when Bella and I moved to the condo. Apparently, lying to your son is fully acceptable 'when you've always known he would change his mind eventually.' Of course we didn't protest when she offered us to just switch, claiming she could sell the condo a lot easier than a nice house in the suburbs. So it came to be that, somehow, we've ended up exactly where we started a year ago, in at least one sense of the meaning.

Laughter and casually thrown insults greet me when I walk in. I kick off my shoes in the small foyer before I walk on into the kitchen. Every bit of available counter space is full of boxes, most of them half unpacked, and I have to kick two out of the way so I can get into the living room. The achingly familiar room still looks weird as the couch and TV are the the only pieces of furniture in it right now. Bella and Jazz both look up from where they are sprawled on the sofa, too lazy or tired to get up.

"One ficus and one yucca coming up. Where shall I put them?"

Bella gestures towards the glass door leading out onto the lawn.

"Over there. We need to get the other stuff unpacked first before I can find a good place for them."

After depositing the plants where she told me to, I walk up to the couch, first kissing her, then Jazz. Or that was the plan, badly executed when Bella doesn't let go but pulls on my shoulders until I let myself be dragged onto the sofa myself, ending up between them.

"I have no idea why you're looking so tired. You didn't spend the last two days packing and unpacking boxes," Jazz teases me as he leans closer, grinning brightly.

"Yeah, I know. I'm such a slacker. Saving lives doesn't come close to the work of you two upstanding furniture movers. Which reminds me, did you finally decide which of the two back rooms you want to make into our bedroom, and which is going to be the spare?"

Bella snorts and starts laughing, snuggling close to my other side.

"Nope. Jazz keeps insisting that his former room is better because the sun doesn't shine into your eyes at the ass crack of dawn and it also has the larger adjacent bathroom. I keep insisting that I don't want to move into his previous den of iniquity. We're at a stalemate, and because we couldn't decide, the new mattress is right now blocking most of the hallway. Your vote gets to be the deciding one."

"Why me? Just so you can then both be mad at me because you think I've made the wrong choice?"

Their almost identical grins make me laugh, and I let my head fall against the back of the couch just so I don't have to look at either of them.

"I really don't give a fuck. As far as I'm concerned, the only room I'm in charge of decorating is the attic upstairs. The rest is up to you."

"You can't do that! Don't be such a pussy just because you're afraid Jazz will keep bitching like a little girl when you make the right choice."

"And what, dear Bella, is better about Edward's former room than mine? My room has the better fixtures for lights and electronic equipment, and there's even a specially built nook in the back for a small freezer!"

"Which is the reason why I think it's better equipped to be the office, not the bedroom! I so need a door between where I sleep and where you keep your porn collection. Your computer isn't coming into the bedroom, either."

"It's not porn, it's my World of Warcraft collectibles collection!"

Thankfully the sound of the doorbell saves me from having to contribute to that conversation. By the time I return with the pizza boxes, Bella and Jazz have agreed to disagree yet again. Too lazy to go hunting for plates somewhere in the boxes in the kitchen, I just keep the pizza boxes on my lap as I settle down, momentarily feeling like a zookeeper when the other two zero in on the food.

After the pizza is gone and tempers have died down due to imminent food coma, Bella switches on the TV. I soon feel myself drift off as exhaustion finally claims me. I know that soon enough I will have to get up and help the other two unpack, very likely bringing their combined wrath down upon me because I still don't give a shit about where we set up our bedroom, and or whether the books are put on the shelves in the right order.

The only thing I do care about is that I'm living together with the two most wonderful people in the world, who I love more than life itself and who feel the same way about me. I know we still have a lot to work out, and that not every day will be as peaceful and filled with inconsequential squabbles as today. I know I could never choose one of them over the other, and I know they will never force me to.

I keep hearing people tell me that their wife or husband completes them –

for us that means having not one but two people who do that job. While Bella and I have been happy together, I know now just how much was missing from our lives the entire time that Jazz wasn't in them. Just the same, I can't imagine that Jazz and I could live together without Bella.

She's the glue that keeps us together, and the voice of reason when we're both being pig-headed. The fact that the bond between them is far from being romantic, but stronger than anything else I've ever seen, only seems to complete and stabilize our triangle.

But right now, my life is perfect. And come what may, I know the three of us will never stop working to keep it that way.


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