Thanks to: Dowyd, Dragonsweb & DuffieDawg
They were the best of friends and the absolute worst of rivals.
Sounds like something from Charles Dickens but it was true. Robert and Martin (here after called Rob and Marty) had been the tightest of close friends since they meet at college. Both were big football heroes at their alma mater (a big SEC school that shall remain nameless) and just barely missed getting a National Championship. Rob was a Heisman nominated quarterback in his junior year before he tore his knee up for good at the start of his senior year. Marty broke every receiving record for tight ends that same season during his senior year and was also a potential finalist for the Heisman. His hope for professional pigskin glory fell to injury also when during the second to last game of the regular season he jumped up to catch an overthrown ball and was creamed hard by two opposing linebackers. He broke several bones and received some minor but permanent spinal damage.
The friends and teammates competed for everything, awards, trophies and getting the hottest girls on campus but the biggest prize of all, a fat NFL contract, was now permanently lost forever for both of them. Even after years of physical rehabilitation and therapy, neither could ever pass a medical physical to ever play professionally again.
Both remained intensely bitter about it. It hung like an ugly shadow over everything that they had done since and all their future successes seemed to pale against this one great failure.
Rob and Marty had both come from families with both money and good genetics for smarts. They both avoid the usual easy jock classes and graduated with honors; Rob with an electrical engineering degree and Marty was near the top of his law school class. Both then proceeded to go out and make money like gangbusters. Their careers took them apart for awhile but make no mistake, they were both watching with an eagle eye everything the other was doing - and keeping some sort of internal score.
Rob went into the computer business and had two extremely successful startup companies that he built from the ground up until their IPO's (Initial Public Offering of the stock) and was now starting on his third. Typical Rob, he enjoys creating something new but becomes bored very quickly when faced with only mundane and routine work. I'm not sure exactly how much loot Rob had stashed away in the bank but it had to be at least a metric crapload. If the new IPO is even half as successfully as the previous ones, then Rob might become one of the youngest guys ever to make his first billion all entirely on his own.
Marty refused to surrender the race however. He made partner of a major law firm within a few years of the start of his law career and when he left to start his own law firm a few years later, he took half of the lawyers and staff of the old firm (and 90% of its clients) with him. A few years later he had branches of his law firm in nearly every major US city. Marty even steps into the courtroom himself on occasion charging the highest per hour fees ever heard of for any attorney and still has way more business than he can personally handle.
At the age of 32, when they both moved to San Francisco, the race for supremacy was still a virtual dead heat. They rekindled their friendship and their rivalry to new levels. They became near constant companions once more, always together again, playing golf twice a week, sailing in San Francisco Bay, hunting big game in Colorado or Montana and pursuing the most dangerous game (attractive young females) together every weekend. And always keeping some sort of 'score'.
This is about where I enter the story. My name is James and I've worked for Rob these last five years, starting off first as a contract programmer during the late days of his first IPO. I didn't get any of that gold from the pot at the end of that rainbow, but I was in at the ground floor for the second one and got enough of a nest egg to buy a decent house with a nice Pacific Ocean view in San Francisco. This third IPO should set me up for good and I'll probably never have to work again — but I'll probably keep doing so anyway. I just like to stay busy.
Currently I'm Rob's Director of Planning and Operations, which is a glorified way of saying that I'm Rob's external 'voice of reason'. Rob does 99% of all of the planning and operations management by himself and has never learned how to delegate a single bloody thing. Nearly everyone else in management who has ever worked for him in the past left after the last IPO. They made their money and were all sick and tired of being micro-managed and second-guessed by Rob. I can't say that I blame them. I got a big pay and title increase to stay on with him, not to mention an obscene stock package. Most days though I feel like I've earned every penny of it and I'm not sure I could handle doing yet another future start-up company with Rob, so I'm done too after this one!
Really, my main job is to provide some sort of an anchor to his boundless enthusiasm. To tell him if something can't be realistically done before he promises the impossible to a potential client. I've got a talent for finding that hidden dark cloud hiding behind every silver lining — Murphy's Law and I are old friends. Rob will examine a new idea with the goal of finding out what the best possible result could be — I attack the same idea from the reverse end to figure out what new problems we will be likely to encounter.
I also like to think that I'm the resident 'Jiminy Cricket', "have conscience — will travel." Sometimes ... once in a great while, he even listens to me!
In short, Rob is an endless optimist and I'm an eternal pessimist. We're polar opposites but we do work well together. We've become cautious, but fairly good friends outside of work but don't think for a moment I'm even in the same ballpark with his friendship with Marty. I'm simply a second string benchwarmer as far as that one goes. Ask Marty's friend Donald, he and I share the same boat pretty much.
Donald (Don) makes up the last member of our golf foursome and 'Four Musketeers' Friday night panty-raiding group. He has worked for Marty for about seven years now as his head accountant and is the biggest single gearhead and geek I've ever met. Easily the smartest man in the room no matter where he's at, but frankly he doesn't have a lick of common sense and his 'people skills' are rather limited. If you want to know how to fix a problem with your iPhone or Blackberry, or how to build a perfect Victorian style 'SteamPunk' computer, or you absolutely need a Star Trek trivia question answered, ask Don. He's not quite a forty year-old virgin ... but he sure acts like one.
We had been running together, the four of us, for about six months when we met 'our wives'. We had all been very single and enjoying ourselves very much, thank you. None of us had ever hooked a fish that we had even remotely considered a keeper before. This was now about to change.
We had gone to a really nice Italian restaurant on North Beach to semi-celebrate. Rob had finally set a date to file our IPO and Marty's firm was handling all of the underwriting. Things were looking like a slam dunk after our final meeting that Friday evening and we all wanted a nice dinner with some good wine to wash it down. Two bottles of an especially nice northern Italian Cabernet that cost more than most of my suits later, we noticed that a nicely attired group of four young ladies were enjoying their own dinner with a distinctly inferior domestic Chianti. Marty, who was an incorrigible wine snob, rode over to their rescue and had a couple of more bottles of what we were drinking sent over to their table.
One thing lead to another and a few minutes later both parties moved together to a larger table where we spent the next three hours in happy conversation. Since each of these ladies has an important contribution to make for the remainder of this story, now would probably be the best time to give them a proper introduction.
There is a joke that in all groups of women friends' the ladies themselves invariable fall into one of three categories: there is the good looking one, the smart one, and then there is the 'slut'. It didn't take me long at all to figure out in this group which one was which.
Karin was, at least to my eyes, the prettiest. She wore the least amount of makeup and was casual but tastefully conservative about her clothes and hair. She didn't have the biggest tits and didn't display them to their fullest advantage, but still she had something that set her apart from other women. She just had a natural glowing beauty that shown through everything. This was a lily that required no gilding. She was a departmental sales manager for a large Union Square department store, and driven to succeed. In ten years she would likely be on their board of directors. I fell for her hard nearly at once but she appeared to have very little (if any) interest in me.
Sandra (Sandy) was the smart one and she had the naughty librarian look down to a 'T' and dressed the role perfectly. She wore her skirts short, her blouses unbuttoned nearly to her skimpy black bra and her hair invariably put up into a tight bun. Even her glasses screamed sexy. It was really all an act though, she was all look and no show — probably the shyest person I've ever met. She was, true to her form, a librarian in the Special Collections department of the downtown Main Library. For most of our first meeting however, she never seemed to take her eyes off of Don. Ah, the wonders of 'geek love'.
That left Jessica and Robin who were sisters and alike enough in looks to be nearly twins even now in their late twenties. Their temperaments were nearly identical also. Both were hyper-competitive with each other in nearly every way. It was just like seeing Rob and Marty in skirts — constant fighting for every scrap of achievement they could get. Jessica, the slightly older sister had gone to the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) and was a professional dessert baker. Robin, not to be outdone, went to Le Cordon Bleu in Paris to become an executive chef. They worked together at a local four-star hotel and had dreams of opening their own restaurant together someday ... assuming they could ever stop fighting long enough to cooperate together on anything.
They were also voracious 'man-eaters' and competed desperately with each other by every fair and foul trick in their books to bed the others boyfriends. This wasn't just some game to them; it was as serious as war. For them the grass was always somehow greener on the other side of the fence. They were the 'sluts' and certainly dressed to play, invariably in mid-thigh (or shorter) skirts or dresses and displaying as much ample cleavage as possible.
Our main cast of eight characters was now complete.
When our dinner finally ended after 11 p.m., Rob and Marty departed with Jessica and Robin each under arm and probably broke speed records getting home to their beds. Don and Sandy had hit it off equally well but were on their way to a different North Beach coffee house and Internet café and appeared to be deeply discussing some intricacies of World of Warcraft (WOW), an on-line multiplayer computer game they both avidly played. That just left Karin and myself.
We didn't kiss or even gaze fondly into each others eyes, alas. She just shook my hand goodbye for a tenth of a second before leaving without even a brief look back. We each went straight home alone to be with our cats. I did resolve though, that I would spend less time in front of my own computer and get myself into slightly better physical shape. I wasn't quite fat but obviously losing two or three pants sizes would make me a bit more attractive. I think I had been more than a bit hurt when Karin more or less dismissed me as a potential suitor with just a depreciating glance or two.
Three weeks later Don and Sandy were in a church getting married, complete with 'virtual bridesmaids and groomsmen' from their respective WOW guilds and raiding friends on-line. Their numerous other friends came dressed in Star Trek and Star Wars costumes or dressed as other fantasy or science fiction characters. It was a fandom and CosPlay wedding run amuck. All in all, it was the geekiest wedding I had ever heard of in my life - but our bride and groom couldn't have been happier. Good for them, whatever floats their boat!
Rob and Marty had already started a fairly complicated dating dance of their own with Jessica and Robin. Overtly, both Rob and Jessica, along with Marty and Sandra were dating steadily with each other, and in practice I am 98% sure that some secret sampling of the charms and delights of the other partners was already occurring. The two couples were each just too competitive not to be discretely sampling what the other had. It was being done quietly though and if anyone other than Karin or myself noticed they had the good sense to keep their mouths shut.
On the other hand, it might have been better for everyone involved if the mess had come out into the open early, but I am still of two minds about this.
Weekends began to fall into a routine. Every Friday night, the eight of us would go to dinner and then a movie together. It was date night for everyone, except for Karin and me. We'd become at least friendly with each other, especially since the other three couples were all either married or dating seriously together and we really had no one else to talk with at the dinner table anymore now. Romance still didn't seem to be in the cards for us however, much to my regret. If Karin noticed at all that I was holding a torch for her she certainly didn't acknowledge it. For now we could at least talk about our work, our cats and the weather ... still I hoped for more someday.
Saturdays, the various couples would do 'couple things' together all day (mostly involving messing up the bed sheets) and we would sometimes all meet later briefly in the evening for drinks before the couples all went off on their own again.
Sundays, we guys had our normal round or two of golf and sometimes also tennis while the four women got together and did their own things, mostly shopping and/or brunching.
It was a nice routine and it lasted until Rob got his IPO launched and the daily grind of 'routine' started to wear at him again over the next few months. The stock launch was a resounding success and the stock price continued to rise even beyond Rob's most optimistic expectations. I cashed out about a third of my own stock when I thought it had reached a suitable profit peak and stashed away money enough to last me for a lifetime and left the remaining two-thirds alone to continue (hopefully) to increase in value.
By now, it was fairly obvious to everyone that our two sets of ultra-competitive couples had been playing musical beds fairly regularly, so it was kind of a shock to me when Rob actually did propose to Jessica. Robin, not to be at all left out, demanded that Marty then propose to her, which he did. Thus a double wedding was now in the works.
Frankly, I don't think this slowed down their bed hopping one little bit but at least their escapades once again became a bit more secretive.
Rob's main problem once again was that once he had taken his new company public, there was relatively little daily challenge left once more. He had not yet thought up his next brilliant scheme for a brand new company startup and the day-to-day details of running this company now bored him to tears. This is probably why he bought that small winery in Napa. Well, that as well as a chance to gain coup on Marty, who was the resident wine zealot. Soon Rob and Jessica were spending most of their time up in Napa. Marty and Robin countered by buying a large ranch near Walnut Creek and we began to alternate taking long weekends at each estate.
Not surprisingly, the dual wedding very nearly never came off. First of all there was the confusion over which sister the guys would actually end up marrying. There was a good bit of secret drama involved here as each sister fought and clawed for what the other one apparently had. Secondly, neither sister actually really wanted a group wedding. They were so competitive that each wanted to be married 'last' so that they could then outdo what the other one had already done.
Really, the entire situation was quite laughable and if any of them had any sense the entire idea of marriage should have been at the very least postponed until some sort of domestic order had been firmly established — in a year or two at minimum. Also, as I explained to them over dinner once, the only solution that made any sort of practical sense was for the four of them to just give up and declare a truce. Buy a big house together with a single huge bed and just have a hippie 'group marriage'.
None of them were remotely amused or happy at all with this solution ... except for Karin who laughed herself red in the face for at least five full minutes until she snorted her iced tea right out her nose!
In the end, we got the two couples married off reasonably happily with a minimum of competition. Rob and Jessica were taken away to their honeymoon in a rented 1935 Duisenberg while Marty and Robin were whisked off to theirs via a helicopter to an awaiting yacht in the Bay.
Any hopes for some peace and quiet after the big dual wedding was sadly dispelled. As we got back into the routine of visiting each estate on alternating weekends we found that their great competition had now started an entirely new and more serious phase.
Both Rob and Marty were richer than God at this point and neither Jessica and Robin had exactly come from impoverished backgrounds either, so it was a bit of a surprise when the two couples began an unbelievable domestic furnishings spending war.
Rob and Jessica would buy a Cezanne and then Marty and Robin would buy a Monet. Rob bought a Porsche for Jessica, so Robin then had to have a limited edition Jaguar. On and on it went with no signs of stopping. For the next year, every month there would be some new multi-million dollar purchase and open auction catalogs from Christie's and Sotheby's were laying around everywhere in both houses. None of them knew how to quit, or even to call it a tie.
Don and Sandy frankly thought the entire thing was hysterically funny, especially when they bought Rob and Marty a matching pair of antique 18th century dueling pistols for Christmas that year. Frankly there's not much common sense between the two of them and I couldn't shake the thought that this sort of gift was a very bad idea. Karin agreed with me that things weren't at all heading into a healthy direction but we had enough issues of our own.
From the day that Don and Sandy had gotten married, Karin had been under a great deal of pressure from all of her girlfriends to at least go through the appearances of dating me. After all, the eight of us did spend an inordinate (and probably unhealthy) amount of time with each other. By the time Rob and Jessica/Marty and Robin had tied the knot, the pressure on her was frankly unbearable. On the positive side, I was now in much better physical shape, having lost about 30 pounds and I think my sense of humor had warmed her up just a bit also. We began to date a little bit on our own — slowly — we'd hold hands and even managed to kiss on occasion, but we seemed fairly stuck right at 2nd base. Still, she did seem to enjoy her time spent with me now and we were now keeping our other friends happy by at least going through the motions of being a dating couple.
There was a slight lull in the spending war between the couples when events began to take a new and more dangerous turn. It was late spring up in Napa, and the weather, which was never too warm to begin with, took a distinctly damper and colder turn. We were all sitting outside on the deck and had drunk several bottles of wine to ward off the chill when Jessica stood up and announced that she was cold and was going to get into the hot tub. She then stripped down to her panties right in front of us and climbed in.
It was a large redwood sided hot tub that could easily hold the eight of us, and the water was indeed nicely hot. Robin, never one to back off from a challenge, stripped off all of her clothes, entirely escalating the situation. Jessica's wet panties soon joined the pile as the two sisters were now nude together in the hot tub and looking expectantly at the rest of us...
Don and Sandy shrugged and shucked off their clothes as well and joined in, leaving just Karin and myself standing clothed outside. Frankly I didn't quite know what to do next.
Karin had never quite crossed this particular part of the road before either, but she was just as competitive in her own way as Jessica and Robin. She bit her lip in annoyance but she undressed as well and I soon followed suit and joined her. It was the first time that we had seen each other nude, but I think that neither of us was too disappointed in what we discovered about the other. I was a good bit thinner and had some definite muscle definition now, plus seeing Karin nude had excited me more than a little so that my little fella had arisen a good bit and put on a more than adequate display. I'm not huge but I'm definitely not a wee-willy either.
I sat next to Karin for the next hour or so and we did at least our share of wandering fingers under the water and later that night we slept together for the first time. By the following weekend we were sleeping together nearly every night and had become an item in actuality, and not just appearance.
Nude hot tubing together now became a regular feature of our weekends from that point onwards. I think it was a way for Jessica and Robin to show off and keep things exciting with their husbands and lovers. No, there was no 'swinging' nor at this point was there any overt sexual activity in public, but Karin and I were sure that Jessica and Robin were still regularly sampling their brother-in-laws on the sly. Rob and Marty obviously had to know but they pretended otherwise, channeling their competitive drives even harder in other areas. Frankly, our Sunday golf matches were now becoming increasingly un-fun and stupidly over-stressful with their constant battling over every single hole played.
Late in May, Jessica launched what would become the final campaign of her constant non-stop competition with her sister. This new battlefield was the bedroom and concerned their sex lives. Karin has a slightly better memory than I do but even she doesn't quite know how this particular fight started one Saturday evening in the hot tub up in Napa. In short, the dispute began over a casual debate about which sister was louder and more active in bed, with each husband (wisely) taking up the side of their wife. The matter was left unresolved until the following weekend when we were all at Marty and Robin's ranch in Walnut Creek and sitting in their hot tub.
Just before bedtime, Robin called us all out of the tub to come inside and watch a short movie, and putting on robes we came inside and sat in the living room to watch. I'm not sure what we were expecting to see, but a homemade film of Robin and Marty having sex was certainly not it! Still, it was interesting to watch and mine wasn't the only robe that was barely covering an erection by the time it was done.
The film was a short one, less than 30 minutes and involved Robin giving Marty a loud and sloppy blowjob followed by her being fucked by Marty on her back. Fairly tame stuff but done with a considerable amount of enthusiasm. Robin certainly was noisy in bed. Even Karin was more than a little turned on and demonstrated some unusual levels of enthusiasm of her own awhile later in our bedroom.
Needless to say this started another war. Jessica bit her lip a good deal watching her sister's movie and resolved to go forth and outdo her the following weekend. And she certainly did. The next Saturday night in Napa we were treated to a new 45 minute film of Rob and Jessica fucking. I wouldn't quite call it making love — this was much more like aggressive fucking. It was noisy, messy and wet but not entirely without interest.
This just escalated things further. Robin and Marty tried to outdo it the next weekend (receiving mixed voting for their overall success) and then Rob and Jessica tried to outdo even that one the following week. And so on. You get the idea. Soon we were up to our neck in homemade sex tapes.