© Copyright 2002
I hadn't liked taking a vacation day to deal with a contractor, but I had finally succumbed to peer pressure. The green carpets fronting every other house in the neighborhood weren't noticeable in and of themselves, but when driving past our patch of regularly mowed weeds, the lack of investment was evident. To put things aright, a lawn sprinkler system was going to be needed, mostly because I was too busy, I kept telling myself, to move a hose and sprinkler around the yard from day to day.
But my vacation wouldn't be ruined, if, that is, the contractor showed up roughly on time. He was already half an hour late. I liked planning things, and plans called for tasks, and there were times for each task.
9:00 - Load the car for the camping trip. Done.
10:00 - Meet with the contractor.
11:30 - Meet Hayley at the Mall for lunch.
12:30 - Go to a convenience store, fill up the car with gas, and pack a cooler with ice.
12:40 - Leave to go camping for the weekend.
3:30 - Arrive in the Great Smokies.
4:30 - Pitch a tent.
5:30 (and thereafter) - Screw like bunnies.
A simple plan indeed. The phone rang inside. Surely it was the contractor, calling to tell me he was just around the corner.
"Hello." I managed to say it without any condemnation or venom. The worm.
"Hi Steven. It's a blast from your past!" My mind was fractured by damning the contractor while wondering who this was. A familiar voice, yes.
"Okay, I give. Who is this?"
"Ahhh, come on. You have to at least guess." A slight southern drawl.
"The voice of Christmas past come to torment me. Who is it?"
"Not even a guess?"
"Oh, fine. How about a hint?" I wasn't much in the mood for games, but I knew this person, and it certainly beat stepping on ants in the driveway waiting for the contractor.
"Good on a sweet potato. Also a Rolling Stones song. How about another one?"
"Banner Hall, Room 3... something or another."
Ah! I thought I knew who this was, but decided to play dumb. "College. I lived there."
"Run, rabbit run. I want to shoot you with my gun."
"Bateson!" Eric, a college roommate for a year, who always changed the words to that particular Pink Floyd lyric.
"Yeah, man. How's it going?"
"Good, I guess. All 12 years since I've heard from you. You pretty much dropped off the planet. How about you?"
"Good. I've been managing forest tracts for a paper company in Virginia for the last five years. I decided to take a road trip to Florida for a couple of weeks and thought I'd stop by!"
Stop by? "Where are you?"
"I-85 and Sugar Creek Parkway. You live near here?"
"Yeah, only several miles. But bad timing. We're leaving shortly to go camping. You ever heard of calling ahead?"
"Yeah. You know me, though. I just like to get into the car and drive. I didn't even know if you still lived here until I found a phone book."
"I'll have to introduce you to the internet. I gather you're still single?"
"Yeah, mostly not by choice, or, mine anyway. Where are you going?"
Paradise, I thought. Hayley and I had scouted a primitive camp site two years ago and had camped there once last year, which had been perfect. Perfect for... my mind digressed. "Eh, in the Smokies, just on the Tennessee side, in the National Park."
"Hey, if I'm not being too forward, I could go with you. I'd like to go there. I was going to camp at some beach in Florida, so I have a few supplies with me, although I was going to stay in motels too."
Three of us? It would be rather odd. And it would certainly change my expectations for the weekend. "Let me, ah, think about it. Why don't you come over for a bit? I'm waiting for a contractor and then I was going to leave. I may end up never leaving at this point."
Having given Eric directions, I called Hayley's cell phone. No answer. Either the mall was blocking the signal, or she had it muted. Great. I had to make an executive decision.
I had met Eric through Hayley, in college. She had several classes with him during her short duration as a Forestry major before concluding that, despite the romantic notion of working in the wilderness, there weren't many jobs out there that appealed and that paid respectably. I also knew that she would enjoy getting together with him to catch up on his life. We three had enjoyed good times, particularly in the summers when Eric and I were working and Hayley would visit for a weekend. I just didn't know if this was the right time. Maybe he could stop by the house on his way back.
Eric arrived shortly thereafter, and after a quick tour of the house and remarking on each other's graying hair, the blasted contractor arrived. He had a good understanding of the job needs, and all I wanted was a quote and his availability. I suffered through the sales pitch as he measured the yard, and sent him on his way to prepare a bid. Crap. I was going to be 15 minutes late meeting Hayley.
It turned out that Eric would be returning up the coast of North Carolina to visit with his sister briefly on his return trip, so I decided. I had better not make the decision. I put another camping chair in the van, as well as a small backpack, just in case, and added several more beers to the cooler.
Eric followed me to the mall to meet Hayley. She was waiting, somewhat patiently, it appeared, at the entrance to Ruby Tuesday's. "Hi, honey. Sorry I'm late, but the contractor didn't show until 11:00. I tried to call, but I couldn't reach you."
"I left it at home to charge. Sorry."
I saw a large shopping bag with no name on it. It was strange that any store in the mall would sell something without advertising their name on the bag. "Aha. I gather you and Denise had a good time shopping?"
"Yeah. We did. She just left, actually. But I think you'll appreciate her input to what I bought."
Whooee. Maybe that meant that she, for once, actually walked inside Victoria's Secret rather than "admiring it from afar." Back to the business at hand.
"I've got a surprise for you."
She slipped a hand on my butt and gave a squeeze, "And I've got some surprises for you."
"Let's do mine first. We'd like a table for 3." Hayley looked at me questioningly as the waitress gathered the menus to lead us to the table. "Behind you."
She turned, to meet Eric's wry grin. She only took a moment to recognize him, and gave him a huge hug. "It's so good to see you! This is such a surprise!"
When we were seated, we caught up briefly on careers, bragged on our kids, and listened to a short recounting of Eric's girlfriend woes. Hayley finally got around to asking him what brought him through town, and the discussion quickly arrived at "the question." Would Eric go camping with us?
This wasn't just any question. This question encompassed a history of which Eric was quite unaware. This was more akin to that single point in time in a movie when the protagonist is forced to make a decision, in short order, that could have far ranging consequences. A complication was that it should be a joint decision, but we couldn't even speak of it in its proper context.
And this was the context: We didn't know if we were like every couple, or like just a very few. But from whatever source, be it imagination, an erotic story in "Penthouse," a movie, TV show, a book, or an attraction of a married person to someone else, the idea of a threesome had been a frequent fantasy discussed in our lovemaking. And in terms of our sex life, the discussion had always sounded so... real. During foreplay, Hayley's juices would pour in far greater quantity than I could manually stimulate. If she wasn't really in the mood for sex but was doing it only as a gift to me, a few words about a cock in each hand, or lips at each nipple were sure to engage her passion, and a very vocal one at that. The thought of watching while my wife fucked another man... there was no plateau that was higher in our sexual passions. The question was, could we envision, in reality, having another man join us in bed. And the answer had been a very pleasurable "Yeessssssssss!"
Until just after the climax. Then came the other questions. Could we really do it? Yes. We agreed. Only a "yes" gave legitimacy to the sexual excitement that we experienced. But then the other questions arose, of possible jealousy, public exposure, disease, remaining satisfied with one partner, a break in our relationship and commitment to each other. We could seriously do it, but we could never seriously do it. It was a paradox, and we were thankful for what it was, a great fantasy. But the answer was necessarily a "no," and we had never made any attempts to make it happen.
Having been married over 15 years, there had been a number of times when, as we imagined her impaled on someone else's cock, whose cock that would be. It was part of our wordplay as we built the fantasy. A name. It would have to be someone that we both liked. Someone that she found attractive. It couldn't be a stranger; there was too much risk involved. It couldn't be someone that she could fall in love with. The person had to have other flaws about him that, regardless of sex, wouldn't appeal to Hayley as a "better relationship" than what we had, yet he still had to be a friend. It would also have to be someone that didn't run around in the same group of friends, preferably from out of town. And so, each time the "who" question came up after its first posing, the question became, have you thought of anyone better suited than Eric? And the answer had always been "no."
.... There is more of this story ...