Allie has held a brightly burning torch for Wade since college. They were part of a writing group together, and everything about those days with him and their friends Kitty and Cameron fills her with longing. When their former Professor leaves them his rambling mansion in his will, it's a chance for them to reunite. But there's more than friendship bubbling beneath the surface.
As secrets are revealed and relationships rekindled, the stories get dirtier and the stakes get higher. And now Allie's realized that she isn't quite sure who she wants…fun-loving Wade, or quiet, restrained Cameron. Neither have been honest about their feelings, and now they have the chance to act on all of the tales that ignite their most primal desires.
“But anyway. Back to the sex--ghosts,” Wade says abruptly, as though maybe he spotted the glittering cool beneath Cameron’s steady stare too.
Sadly, this only puts me in the spotlight again. I feel like a Vegas stripper, only without the feathers. Or spangly nipple--covers. Or skin.
“I really have absolutely no idea what you guys are talking about.”
“Your stories were always like that, Allie,” Kitty says, because she’s a goddamned traitor. “But it’s OK, ’cause mine were too.”
OK, maybe not a traitor, exactly. Maybe more like a really evil partner in crime who drags you down with her, into disaster. In all my many dreams of how this reunion would end up going—-minor explosions, someone killing someone else, nervous breakdowns—-none of this ever featured in even the tiniest, remotest sense. I didn’t even imagine myself ending up in bed with Wade, really, because whenever I let myself want something it almost never happens.
Did I do the opposite of wanting this chat about sex stories?
“Yeah, also guilty,” Wade says, and I rack my brain trying to think of where they crammed all this boiling lust into tales about being a pig who could fly (Kitty) and a cyborg from the future (Wade).
Maybe the pigs and the cyborgs had a lot of sex I just don’t know about.
“It’s OK, Cam, you don’t have to put your hand up for this one,” Wade adds, and my brain automatically makes an odd little dinging noise. As though it’s decided to tally up all the little digs Wade’s going to get in about Cameron, for no apparent reason. “Everyone knows that you’re not a part of our dirty perverts club.”
Seriously. Were they like this before? Because that last part seems even meaner than the first bit, as though Wade would like nothing better than to slice Cameron right out of our group forever, for some end I can’t quite see.
I can’t see it so much that I’m compelled to say something in too big and too funny a voice, as though I can just smooth everything over by being ridiculous.
“Hey, how do you know he’s not a dirty pervert? You seem really perverted to me, Cam, I swear.”
By being really ridiculous. Because in truth, there isn’t a person on earth who seems less sexual than Cameron. I’m sure Mother Teresa was more adventurous with her lovers than Cameron is with his. In fact, now that I’m thinking about it…I’m not even sure I’ve ever seen him with someone I could loosely term a “lover.”
He probably has constant, epic sex with the robot girl he’s built.
Annnnddd…now I feel mean. Especially when he then says: “Thank you, Allie. Your faith in my perverted--ness is very…welcomed.”
He actually does seem heartened too. When I look at him he’s getting really close to smiling in this strange, almost--definitely--drunk way, and after a couple of long, weird moments have ticked by I find my mind rolling back and back to that word he used.
Welcomed. And the pause he had before it, as though he had a couple of other contenders before he settled on something so mundane. Though for the life of me, I can’t think what other word he could have slotted in there. What replaces welcomed, easily? Pleased? Sweet?
And then my brain throws up arousing like an insane hiccup, and I move along quickly.
“OK, so, maybe I liked to occasionally write about sex--ghosts,” I say, but it comes out less funny and more wounded than I intend. And Wade spots it, which is weird because he never used to. He never used to know when I’d taken a mortal hit and was down for the count.
“Hey, what’s the big deal?” he says, and there’s this creamy, smooth note of conciliation in his voice that sounds weird. Weird, but not exactly unwelcome. “We’re all grown up now. We can be perverts if we want to be.”
“I didn’t care about being a pervert before, quite frankly,” Kitty says.
Of course, my mind flicks to her bonking the living daylights out of Martin Carruthers in the bed next to mine, in our tiny dorm room. Though I’ll admit, my mind sometimes goes to her bonking the living daylights out of Martin Carruthers when I’m busy plunging the toilet or waiting for a kettle to boil, so it’s no real commentary on the things we’re talking about now.
“So where are the stories, Kit? The dirty stories, about something other than magic balloons that get lost?” Wade asks, and Kitty heys!
Then tries to hurl a cushion at him and fails, miserably.
“I wrote loads more than kids stories, you doof. I wrote fabulous tales of rip--roaring sexual adventures the likes of which the world has never seen.”
I can well believe her. One of her postcards just had the word “five--way” on it in big letters.
Is five--way even a word? I’m not sure and largely felt too afraid to ask.
About the Author Charlotte Stein:
Award-winning author Charlotte Stein writes short stories, novellas, and novels. Her first novel, Control, was recently called “a non-stop crazy-hot sex book.” When not writing, she can be found watching terrible sitcoms eating jelly turtles. She lives with her husband and their imaginary dog in West Yorkshire.
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