I closed my eyes and felt my heart beating very quickly. Lying there next to the two of them so close, the loss of her touch made me feel painfully empty, alone, and incomplete. I wanted nothing so much as to be lying between them, comforted by their bodies against mine, like a baby between her parents.
I was not, at that time in my life, a terribly analytical person. For better or worse, I usually let my impulses have their way. I put one hand lightly on Barbara’s waist and moved closer, so that I could almost feel the warmth of her body on mine, but I was ready to withdraw my hand and my body at the slightest suggestion that they were unwanted.
In the shadowy half-light, I met her eyes. I could not read the expression on her face. She lifted her arm toward me.
I took it as an invitation, and I closed the small space between our bodies, burying my head in her shoulder, feeling her full breasts against my chest, her arms around me. I felt all the comfort and pleasure of a child cradled by her mother.
I had never, as an adult, lain with another woman; much less a woman and a man, and I truly did not know what would happen next. I felt calm and content, excited and nervous; I was drowsy and sleepy, preternaturally conscious and awake; holding her and being held by her seemed natural and simple, revolutionary and dangerous.
My lips were touching the soft skin at the base of her neck, and I kissed her there gently, tentatively. She was stroking the back of my neck slowly and softly.
So much has been made of the question whether women want love or sex or both. Which did I want then? I can’t say that my yearning distinguished one from the other. I wanted to be enveloped by Barbara’s love, in whatever way she might want to envelope me. Had it worked out that way, I would have been content, I think, to fall asleep in her arms.
But with Steve in the bed, that was not to be. I could feel him nestled against his wife’s back. My arm, around her waist, was between them. I could not be sure, but it seemed he was kissing her neck.
He slipped his hand between Barbara’s chest and mine, cupping her breast. The back of his hand pressed against my breast. I felt it moving as he gently turned the nipple in his fingers.
If Barbara did not want something to happen, it was the time for her to say so. But she only sighed.
Steve pressed himself against her in a steady rhythm, and I withdrew my arm, which had been between them, and put my hand on her shoulder, lightly, tentatively, ready to withdraw.
I lifted my head to look at her. She met my eyes with a steady gaze, but in the dim light, her expression was undecipherable. My heart was pounding as I had never felt it before. We were, I knew, moving into new territory.
I let my body fall back slightly. The sheet had worked itself down the bed, so we were uncovered to the waist. Steve’s hand roamed over Barbara’s breasts, stroking them through her nightgown. Her lips parted slightly. He tucked his fingertips into the low neckline of her gown and slipped it down, baring her breasts. When he brought his hand back to her breasts, she sighed deeply. The sight of his hand on her breasts, so close to me, was profoundly arousing. I wanted to touch them as he was touching them, to lower my lips to them. But I lay without moving, watching her become more and more aroused.
After a long time, his hand left her breasts, sweeping down her hip and thigh, pushing the sheet farther down and gathering the fabric of her nightgown’s skirt and lifting it up to her waist. He brought his hand to her sex, petting her pubic hair before moving between her thighs. I watched his hand move, incredulous that I was being allowed to witness this, fascinated and terrified and excited.
The aroma of our arousal was almost overpowering. I had the sense that I could distinguish Barbara’s odors from my own.
Barbara sighed deeply, and my eyes flew up to her face. I was surprised to see that her eyes were still open. As my eyes met hers, she smiled, and reached out and put her hand lightly on the side of my neck. A shiver ran through me.
I felt a movement, a shift of weight in the bed. Barbara had lifted her upper knee. She sighed again, and I could tell that Steve had entered Barbara from behind. The bed rocked slowly with the unmistakable rhythm of lovemaking.
I did not know what to do, and I looked into Barbara’s eyes for a clue. She smiled slightly, and with her hand on my neck drew me toward her. Awkwardly, I slithered forward again, closing the space between our bodies. As I did, Barbara reached for the hem of my nightshirt and pulled it up to my armpits.
I felt our bodies touch in so many spots: our lips and our breasts and our bellies and our thighs and legs. And there, at our centers, keeping our sexes from touching, was Steve’s hand where he was caressing her.
But almost as soon as my body touched the back of his hand, he withdrew it, and in the next moment I felt Barbara’s sex on mine, pressing and then retreating in the rhythm of Steve’s hips. A moment later, I felt Steve’s hand on my side.
His hand moved further, to the small of my back, where it met Barbara’s hand, and pulled me closer. My upper leg slipped between Barbara’s legs, and our sexes touched more fully. I could almost feel Steve’s penis as it thrust into her more and more urgently. It seemed he was very close to orgasm. We were all close.
Steve’s hand moved down from my waist, at first cautiously, no more, than an inch or two. After a moment, his hand moved farther down, cupping one cheek of my bottom.
As soon as he did, he groaned, as if shocked by his own audacity. It was a startled, frightened, almost disappointed sound, and he shook very powerfully, squeezing my bottom as he thrust himself into Barbara. Barbara quivered against me, pulling her mouth from mine as she gasped and moaned. My own orgasm shuddered through me powerfully as I felt them vibrate against me.
Slowly, the arms around me loosened, and we gradually moved apart. Barbara rolled onto her back and, for the first time since we had gotten into bed, Steve and I could look at each other. I saw that he was still wearing his pajama bottoms, and his penis had already disappeared into its folds.
Steve and Barbara kissed each other softly and then, both turning to me, somewhat awkwardly, kissed me.
Drawing apart again, we all looked at each other. It seemed they were as surprised as I was.