I carried her Caramel Swirl Latte as I made my way to her office. I shuddered as I considered the sacrilege that was being done to the noble coffee bean in the name of customer choice; at least she drank it hot, I'd heard there were even some Philistines that drank it iced. Still it was her only fault, if fault you could call it. In all other respects she was pretty much perfect: witty, seriously smart and very, very sexy. It was all I could do not to break down and ravish her each time I saw her. But I was her mentor and the company frowned upon that sort of activity, in a serious manner that reeked of broken contracts and lawsuits. I leant myself against the doorframe and admired her as she went about her morning routine. Time to make my presence felt.
"Good morning, Gorgeous. How are you today?"
She looked up in surprise and for a second I could see an expression of yearning, swiftly masked by a smile of genuine pleasure. Her eyes twinkled warmly as she took in my Dilbert-style disarray. I placed the Latte on her desk in front of her.
"I'm just fine. Thanks for the latte. How are you this lovely Friday morning?"
I thought about the surprise that Kasia, my wife, and I were planning to spring upon her later tonight and I grinned at her. Not trusting myself to answer her without giving myself away, I winked and turned away. As I walked to my office I remembered the first time that I had met Nina.
"Eric, this is Nina. I'd like you to take her on as your protégé. Nina, Eric will be your Mentor. If you have any questions he'll be around to answer them. Okay? Now stop wasting my time and introduce her around." This last command was given with a smile that removed any possible offence from the overly brusque phrasing that was our HR partner's carefully cultivated, good-old-boy manner.
She smiled at me, a little uncertain about Ted, and it was then that it hit me: I was in love!
As I grew to know her better over the next few hours the feelings only got stronger. I spoke to my wife. She was, as ever, very practical.
"I'll meet you at work, you can introduce me and I'll give her the once-over."
I had introduced the two loves of my life to each other and Kasia was entranced with her almost as deeply as I. So now both of us were smitten. Nina was simply adorable and our days and nights out with her were spent in a haze of shared lust and adoration. We were careful to allow none of our feelings for her, beyond a deep friendship, to show. That first spontaneous dinner invitation had led to many more and we were a three-some in spirit, if not in fact.
Nina and I spent most lunch times together where I regaled her with tales from my not so innocent past and almost every weekend was spent with Nina, in some activity or other. Nina's bi-sexuality came as a welcome surprise and it was about this time that Kasia and I conceived our plan. In the meantime we tried to spend as much time as possible with her. And the more time that we spent with her the more we felt that she was right for us, we could talk for hours about everything and anything no topic was off-limits. God how we loved her and lusted after her!
It was clear that she becoming very attached to us, this was both welcome and disturbing. Welcome because it boded well for our plan and disturbing because it was obviously killing Nina as she tried to hide her feelings for us. As I said we had a plan and today was the day when we would start putting the plan into action.
"Nina, Kasia's going to be joining us today - okay?" It was lunchtime, and as usual I was collecting Nina.
"Great, just let me freshen up and I'll be ready to go."
I waited as she headed off to the ladies room, I don't know why she bothered really - she looked perfect to me. Individually, I suppose, none of her features was perfection, but taken together and animate them with her quick wit and blinding intelligence, she was just gorgeous. She smiled as she opened the door and saw me waiting for her.
"I thought we'd go Chinese today, that's what I've arranged with Kasia, is that OK?"
"Great! What are we celebrating?"
She was correct, of course; we usually saved the Chinese restaurant for special occasions. I grunted noncommittally
The two women that I loved most dearly greeted each other with a hug and a kiss. Then Kasia was kissing me; she winked and pretended to be Sarah Michelle Gellar to my Selma Blair. I could see that we were turning Nina on, but then, what my wife was doing to me took my whole attention for a while. When we stopped kissing, I whispered my question into her ear.
"Is it all set?"
Kasia nodded and opened the door so we could all go in. I could hardly keep still as we got ourselves seated and gave the waitress our orders. Evidently Nina could tell something was up and finally she could stand it no more.
"What? You two are up to something... I've seen that look before."
"You tell her."
"No, you tell her."
We tossed the conversational hot potato back and forth until Nina got exasperated.
"Would you quit arguing and one of you tell me whatever it is you want to tell me, please."
Like guilty school kids we continued for a bit longer silently until finally I grabbed the conversational bull by the horns so to speak and told her the first bit of our news.
"We found a house."
Nina was almost as pleased as we had been when we had decided to commit ourselves to the purchase and the magnitude of the decision that we had made had sunk in. We found ourselves reliving our joy as we all made incoherent sounds of pleasure. Nina jumped up and hugged us both. And then were on the receiving end of a staccato series of questions, as Nina was determined to extract the maximum information in the minimum time.
"So where is it? How many bedrooms? What's the neighbourhood like?"
We grinned at each other: our plan was coming together and we were loving it. Kasia took pity on Nina.
"Actually, we'd like you to come look at it with us tonight. We're going through it again before we put an offer in. We already told out agent that we were bringing someone along. Please say you'll come. We can have dinner together after to celebrate..."
This was an important precursor to our plan and we'd be stymied if she said no - not that there was any real chance of that, but it never hurt to be sure so I put on what Nina calls my 'puppy-dog eyes' and waited. It must have worked because she said, "Sure, I'd love to come look at it."
"Great! Come straight to the apartment and then we can drive over to the house together." Kasia gave us our orders and we ate our lunch with barely suppressed glee.
We could see that Nina was impressed. It was a big house. Six bedrooms most with attached bathrooms. The previous owners had finished the basement but left it empty so there was scope for even more living area if we wanted. She was also puzzled, long association with her meant that I could almost hear the questions that ran through her mind. 'Why did two people need all this space?' and 'How the hell are they gonna afford all this?' being the two uppermost.
I leaned over Nina's shoulder and solicited an opinion, "So, what do you think? Do you like it?"
"I love it. I think it's a beautiful house. Pretty big, though."
I nodded, "Yeah and that's deliberate on our part. We're hoping to have a big family. We don't want to buy a house and then have to sell it and buy a bigger one later. This is for keeps."
Kasia and the agent came back from whatever they'd been doing and then it was handshakes all round and we all headed off; the agent to her next appointment and us to dinner. In the joy of implementing our plan we'd overlooked the decision on where to eat so there was a brief hiatus while we couldn't decide and then Kasia gave up on Nina and me and told us what we were going to do.
"Let's just get a couple of pizzas. We'll take them back to our place and eat sprawled out in the living room."
I turned to Nina and laughed. "Don't you just love a woman with a plan?" With a surge of joy bordering on ecstasy I could see that she agreed with me. She tried to hide what she felt and murmured something vaguely in agreement, but her face was an open book to me. Kasia winked at me, she could see it too.
Later we were sprawled comfortably in our living room, relishing the fullness that comes from eating one or two slices too many of a great pizza (or two) and sipping our post-prandial coffee. Our talk ranged over many subjects, but we kept returning to the new house. Nina was starting to feel tired and suddenly she stood up and went looking for her shoes. Kasia and I exchanged a look and we agreed. It was time.
"Nina, wait." Kasia called to Nina, "Eric and I have something we want to talk to you about. Can you stay a little longer, please?"
Nina looked a bit worried, Kasia and I were less relaxed now and it showed. Nina sat on the settee and we perched on the coffee table in front of her. Now that it was time we were suddenly assailed with indecision. This was a delicate time and so much could go wrong and both of us wanted this to happen so badly. I could see that we were worrying Nina so I reached out and took her hand in mine.
"Nina, Kasia and I have had something we've wanted to talk to you about for a while but frankly, we just didn't know how you would take it. Now, with this house situation, we can't put it off any longer."
Nina was starting to panic now, "What is it? Have I done something wrong?" Oh God! This wasn't how it was meant to be! I looked at Kasia in sudden fear, what if it all went wrong and we drove her away?
"No, of course not!" Kasia reached out and took her other hand as she spoke. "We want to ask you something."
"Ask me what?"
"We'd like you to move in with us." This was not what she expected to hear. She stared at me her expression, for once, unreadable, I soldiered on, anxious to get though this part. "We've talked about this a lot, Nina. Kasia and I both have feelings for you. To be honest about it, we're both in love with you. I know this is probably a shock and we want to give you some time to think it over, but we want you to share that house with us and join our family."
We sat in silence. Nina was almost catatonic as the unspoken questions formed a maelstrom of indecision in her mind. I began to worry that she might faint she seemed so pale. I was glad that we were all seated. Eventually she spoke.
"I don't understand. Join your family how?"
It was Kasia's turn to answer, "As Eric's lover and mine, too. The three of us, together - living in that house, having babies if you want, raising the kids with two moms and a dad, growing old together."
"But you aren't attracted to women." Nina was seriously confused now.
Kasia laughed, "Whoever said that?"
"But you're married." Nina looked dumbfounded and she still didn't believe what she was hearing.
"Nina, I've always liked girls. I just happen to like men better. I fell in love with Eric and we got married. I figured that was it, the end. Him and me, together forever."
"Then you came into our lives," I carried on. "And we both realized how wonderful you are. I knew Kasia had been with women. She and I are honest with each other about everything. When I started to have feelings for you, I told her. Turns out, I wasn't the only one. When we got married, we both expected to live happy, monogamous lives. But these last few months we've come to realize that's not what we want. We love you, Nina. You're smart and sexy. You are the kindest, most caring person either of us has ever met. You make us laugh, and when you go home at night this place is empty without you. We've seen the way you look at us when you think we aren't looking. It's been obvious that you have feelings for us, too. And we know you've tried to hide it because you didn't want to break up our marriage."
It was Kasia's turn and she held Nina's eyes and allowed her love to show, "The truth of the matter is, you make our marriage stronger. We're both happier, more open people since you came into our lives. We love that you cared enough to keep whatever you feel for us hidden, but we don't want you to do that anymore. We're hoping that you love us as much as we love you and that you'll consider joining us. Permanently."
That was it. We'd made our pitch. Shot our bolt. Now it was up to Nina. Nina for her part was still looking shocked. She stared at each of us in turn. Then she closed her eyes. It was almost comical and if it hadn't have been the most important time of our lives so far, I might have laughed. Nina pinched herself. Hard. Then she opened her eyes again.
"Nina? Are you okay?" I couldn't help it. The tension was so great. I had to speak. And then she smiled, like sunshine after the rain, she was laughing and crying and trying to speak all at the same time.