Thursday, September 10, 2009


by Sofi

Riding up in the Stanhope’s elevator with Riccardo, I am a bright doomed fish trapped in a gilded aquarium. When the door opens on the 15th floor, a sharp hook will snag my mouth and pull me gasping and flopping to my death. My mind swarms like a nest of bees around the certainty that in seconds I’ll be in a plush uptown apartment overlooking Central Park, staring down my rival, my man’s other lover, the lover he was so quick to take up with while I traveled Eastern Europe with my father. Christ, he (Ricc) practically pushed me out the door. Said it was “my duty to my father.” Said it would be “my adventure.” Said when I returned that “everything would be the same.”

Yes, I am still the mistress of a married man twice my age.
He is still my boss and mentor.

No, I was not a nun while I was away. I had my adventure. A couple of them actually.
I’m not even over my jet lag, but I know with certainty that he lied once, maybe twice last night and that alone means nothing is the same.

The car lurches to a stop on the 15th floor. We walk past one entrance and Riccardo touches the second door. Slightly ajar, it opens on a view of her, a small, impossibly elegant olive-skinned woman swooping down the hall, descending on us. She's wearing something small and tight that was probably on a Paris runway last fall. Glossy raven hair, smooth unlined skin, high cheekbones, sensual, pouting lips--all the double-barrel allure of Italian women, and how I suddenly hate them, zipped into no more than a 4 foot 9 package. And how she smells? Oh my God!

“Hello darling,” she says, pecking him on both cheeks, dark eyes flashing. “How’s the head?”
“Better.” Riccardo rubs the welt on his forehead that he wouldn’t explain to me. I get a quick once over.
“And hello dear...”
“Sofi Levonov, I'm Riccardo's production assist ...” I stammer.

“I know, cara. But we must go now. My apologies.” She hustles us back to the elevator.
“Slight change of plans. Basta, basta. We must go. ”

The door closes, the car descends with a slight shimmy and she extends a poised hand which holds an elegant business card with a small purple dot by her name, Violetta Este de Calinni, in a scripted font. On the back of the card is a short, handwritten note. What is that amazing scent she's wearing?

“This, bellissima, is for you.” As I take it, Violetta sizes me up again. I can't read her face. Her eyes make me feel naked. “You are exquisite.”

When I'm wound up or tired or both, I chatter like a squirrel. She won't find it endearing. I fully intend to pull off a cool, aloof, “Thank you.” What I actually say (in a headlong blur) is:
“You are beautiful too. I know we have like an issue here. But I’m sure we can work it out like adults. After all …” Violetta cuts me off, not rudely, but decisively. I am almost grateful.

Scusa mi. Truly, I am late for my meeting. We’ll talk ....” Her hand finds Riccardo's, and one beautiful nail, a sliver of polished jade, scratches out a sensual Morse code on his palm; a gesture I’m sure I’m supposed to see. The elevator door whooshes open.
A domani?” she asks, staring me down, then before I can respond, bounds off quick as her clicking heels can carry her. Quicker than I ever could in those damned things. Damned if I know what I am supposed to say.
“She keeps busy.” I fix an icy stare as Vi’s receding form hops in a small limo.
“She volunteers at The Met. Something with reform school kids. And she now sits on the board.”

My lover and her doorman say goodbye. They’re on a first name basis. In the bright daylight, Riccardo tries to cop a look at the handwriting on back of the card in my shaking fingers. I obscure it deliberately. I tease him a little. He deserves it.

“This doesn’t say so, but I did some digging. Did you know your Violetta is actually Contessa Violetta Este de Calinni? Her husband is a Count Marco Di something or other and they come from two of the oldest, most important families in Italy.”
“I knew all about it.”
“So how does that not intimidate you?” I’m making the effort to stay cool. Riccardo adjusts his sunglasses and takes my hand.
“I don't know. It just doesn’t.”
“Well she scares me. This ..." I wave the card at him. "Lunch tomorrow, Café Japonais, 12:45. These Italian nobles these Medicis, Borgheses, Calinnis. They don’t play. So, do I go? Just us girls, sipping sake, eating sushi? A quiet tête-à-tête?”
He chuckles like I said something terribly funny.
“Tomorrow's just the museum shoot. The crew was booked weeks ago without you. One head more or less … ”
“You really think humor is the way to play this?"
 “No, I don’t sorry.”
He touches the bruise above his right eye. I now have a real good idea how it happened, but I want to hear him say it.
“What happened last night?”
“Nothing really." Mr. Evasive. He deserves another pop to match the one he’s got.
“I just think it’s fuckin’ weird.” He shrugs noncommittally at me overtop his sunglasses and it sets me off.
"Riccardo, I’ll call it off. I swear. I’ll call everything off!” Passersby turn to stare. So much for keeping my cool.
“She just wants to know you. That's reasonable.”
"Sofi! If you want to call it off, say the word. Say it. Do you?”

Do you? Do I?

It’s a cruel question, those two words, because he knows exactly how I’ll react.

As if relationships like ours can be undone with a flash of his assassin’s eyes or the cruel snap of two cruel words. I hate him pushing me to that edge, time and time again. Forcing me to look over. I won't push back; I will bend like the willow. I turn quickly and dab under my shades so he won't see the two perfect tears dribble down my cheeks. He adjusts his sunglasses and his eyes are just as unavailable.  I will squeeze his hand and find better words for what’s in my heart.
"You don’t love me as much as I love you."
"Not true!" He denies it so vehemently, his face stung, a rattle catch in his voice that I am happy to hear. However temporary, his pain means something.
“But” I say.
“But” he interrupts, “I'm not keeping score. Who loves who more—You already know how I feel." Already he’s recomposed himself so I do too. I take a step back and tell him what he wants to hear.
“I know you love me. I’ve not come halfway around the world to lose you. Your Contessa. She scares me. But ... she’ll never get the better of me.”
"I expect not."
The sun’s warmth lays up against my head. A handful of wispy hairs fall across my forehead. I flip them back. It's his cue. Our latest in a long line of parting kisses is soft, sad and guarded; his usual gratitude, with added tenderness I expect comes from guilt. We’re always saying goodbye. I started out trying to tell him there’s no way I’ll do this, but he insists, as much as a man with two mistresses can insist on anything. The express train from my heart arrives at my lips so I kiss his earlobe and deliver my parting shot.

“I can’t help but feel you're feeding me to the lions."

Showdown@Café Japonais

Of course she’s there first, Countess Killer Fish, floating, serene in her element, awaiting the arrival of her prey, me. Like flicking a switch, her half smile lights up several dozen kilowatts when she sees me. On the table a tokkuri of cold sake waits unpoured beside a small silver mirror, more swirls of exquisite preparation. She makes an almost invisible gesture to the waiter who turns on his heel and darts into the kitchen. This is how generations of aristocrats summoned the world’s riches to their tables. Later she’ll dismiss me too, with just such a wave.
“Hi. Are there menus?” I ask as I sit. No doubt any item but the water would set me back half a day's wages at Café Japonais.
“It’s so good of you to come on such short notice. I’ve ordered. I hope you …”
“No. Me? Of course not.”
“So, while we wait, tell me about living in Russia. I’ve only been once. Was it very exciting?”

Oh she's so damned clever. Steering this conversation off "our dilemma." Getting me to reveal myself. So sweet, so incredibly cute (for her age), so very clever. So, of course I start yammering away until she changes the subject.

“Tell me how you came to study film. What do you hope to do?”
She pours a second, then a third cup of the premium sake. It tastes like mineral water, only sweeter and slides down effortlessly. I’m evening out now as she pours a fourth time. My cheeks feel flushed, so I take a deep steadying breath and set the undrunk cup down. Jeweled plates of raw and delicately seared seafood have magically appeared on the table.

"I love cold sake and this looks amazing."
"I asked him. He thought you'd like it."
"I was very nervous about meeting you."
"I am nervous."
"I don't believe you."
"You should. I won't lie to you."
“Then you are not at all what I thought you'd be.”
Un complimento?”
“A compliment? Yeah. Sure. But you gotta know something."
"And that is?"

"You can get me drunk as a skunk, but it won’t make me stop seeing Riccardo.”

There, my Ace. My trump card. My entire hand, really. Read ‘em and weep Countess. What I’m expecting next, a persuasive, condescending argument like a vice closing, why it would be better for me to bow out, why I’m too young, how I can never this or meet his that; this never comes. What comes is a total kick in the nuts.

"Brava darling. Brava. But I don't want you to stop." Violetta regards a small piece of seared ahi she’d speared with her chopsticks. "On the contrary. You must see him as much as you want.” Her eyes have this glint of humor and something else.
“You’re kidding?”
“Of course I'm not. And from now on you must use my apartment as your own."
"Give me one good reason."
"He's a family man and you'll and stop wasting his money on hotel rooms."  She says this with a hint of disapproval. Those are two good reasons. I’m staring at this dark, smoky somewhat slimy looking piece of fish I know is eel. I could never "belly up" to eel. I don't trust it.

“Your apartment is beautiful. What I saw of it.”
“Eh. It’s not so much to my taste, but my old auntie adores it. When she passes I sell it and get something smaller, more modern, maybe downtown, closer to his studio.”
Vi nibbles daintily on salmon eggs waiting for my response.
The wine and my emotions bring another blush to my face. I don’t for a moment believe her, so I press her to explain. "I see him when I want? In your apartment?”
Si, naturalmente.”
“And the catch?”
“Yes, the catch, as you say.” She doesn't answer. I can't read her face. It's like she's frozen.
“Is this the fugu?" I ask, poking at a pale, pink white mound with one chopstick.

Her stone-face shattered with a very unladylike snort of laughter. It’s unguarded, cute and genuine. She takes a sip to steady herself, presses her lips to a dainty handkerchief, folded precisely so I can see the elaborate “V” monogrammed in the corner.

"He's right about you. So funny and perceptive for one so young. And so, so, beautiful. Oh bellissima,” she sighs “I am the catch.”
Exactamente. Si. I am always in the picture. I do not push you out. You do not push me out.” She gestures around her, “Outside, we carry on our separate lives, but il mio appartamento …"
The floor feels like its giving way under my feet and I’m shaking my head from side to side, not daring to believe.
“Holy shit! You’re serious.”
“Oh, I am.” Very”…
“We …”

“Share him?” 

There’s a flash in my head, 
like anger, like greed, 
like the pop of a strobe of light.

“I don't believe it. Look at me. Look at you.”
I pick up the mirror and show it to her. She flinches at her own reflection and jerks her head away, the most puzzling response imaginable from a woman who is so naturally beautiful and sophisticated. I’d expected an icy killer stare, anger, something, not this, this tragic vulnerability that, I, relate to as a woman. I feel the need to defend her and at the same time, test her.
“Vi. Stop that. You’re so gorgeous!”
“You are moreso. And you're so young.”
“But that doesn’t … whatever, there’s a world of men out there.”
“Fewer than you think.”
“Even so, why does this one deserve either one of us?”
“I don’t know. It’s complicated.”
“Not really. He cheats.”
“Cheats you say?” Her eyes widen.
“Yeah," I press, "Two nights ago. On you, with me."
Violetta's laughter pops like champagne. bubbles. I decide I like her laughter, even if I won't like what she says.
“So he cheats on me. He cheats on you with me. He cheats on his wife with the both of us and he even cheats on us with his wife. We're so quick to point fingers. But for every man, a woman, maybe two or more, who also cheat. We have our appetites too.”
“But do we ever get what we need?"“
“Ha. Who does?”
“Alright. Let's say I don’t have a lot of room in the cheating department."
"Let's say."
"There’s something I just detest. And I told him so.”
“I know.”
“The lying. “
Exactamente! “
“So again, why him?”
“You tell me. I have many reasons.  I don’t know. He is sweet and kind ..."
"Brilliant, accomplished."
"Si, and he has loved me in ways that I never imagined possible.”
“Oh my GOD!” I’m the one who blurts it out, but the spark in her dark eyes says we’ve both clenched at the same time.
“Si. And because he does, I surrender. I give to him everything.”
“Everything?” She doesn’t mean “You don’t mean? …”
“Oh yes. I do.” She accents every syllable. “Happily." My eyes must be wide as saucers. Hers twinkle. Like a fucking schoolgirl, I giggle uncontrollably.

A blue-haired dowager at the next table shoots me eye-daggers, fork quivering in mid-air above her gaping jaw. She's intimidating, but Vi, quick to follow my gaze, turns over her shoulder and withers the old busybody with such an arctic blast that the old crone’s lips flap once, twice then sink with her eyes back into her wilted salad. When Vi turns back to me, she takes my hands over the table and draws me into her confidence.

“I know you love him. And I love him too. I am happy for the first time in thirty years.  With the only man who loves me the way I must be loved. Must. Capite? Do you understand?”

I don’t and it frustrates her.

“How to explain? I played such a terrible gamble. I let my husband take my lovely daughter away from me. To boarding school in Switzerland. She used to live here, with me. Her momma. Now I will see her not even four times a year.”
"That's sad."
“I’m sorry, but I still don’t …”
“I came back for Riccardo. Or perhaps just the dream of him. We were only casual friends. I’d no reason to believe he’d love me. You must believe.”

I do. I feel waves and waves of tragedy rolling off this beautiful woman I’d truly hoped I could hate. She’s dropped her guard and she knows it. She’s exposed herself to me in ten, charmed me in twenty minutes. It's hard to take in.

“I can’t imagine. No offense, but your story is sad."

Vi sighs philosophically.
"It is. It was. Someday, perhaps I will say more. But the point is that I’m not so sad anymore. Tutti bona fina. I found him. And now you."

This crazy insane giggle pops out of me. I guess it's relief. I realize I dont have to be angry anymore and I raise my finger in the air, ready to make like a really important point, then stupid bunny, totally blank on it. To cover, I down glass number four of the sake. Then I remember, but I don’t say it out loud. I never expected relationships to simple. Living with my parents and my own short, unhappy experiences taught me everything I needed to know about “happily ever after.” Even with that kind of history, Riccardo came along and threw my whole curve out of whack. And now her.

The waiter presents the check. I try to extract some cash from my tight jeans, knowing I can't even cover my share of the meal. Violetta ignores my effort and whips out her Platinum card for the waiter who disappears and reappears so fast he is truly frightening. She stands and offers her delicate hand to me. On it, two beautiful jeweled rings, each worth more money than I could make in any year. But no wedding band.

"Lovely. ”
Violetta folds my hand firmly in her own small ones and as we step out the door, her hands caress mine and she whispers in my ear and plants this warm soft kiss on my cheek.
“I can help you. If you let me.”
The handstroking and the little kiss send little electric zingers straight down you know where. The tight seam of my jeans has ridden up and presses into me with each step. The bees are buzzing again. Does she really? … Is she? Is that what she’s after? I try to pull away but she won’t let me.

"Violetta, I’m not a ... I’m not that way!"

Vi’s eyes grow very dark. “What way?” she snaps.
“You know. Don’t make me say it.” Her face breaks wide with relief.
“Oh. Oh. Heavens! Neither am I.”
“Oh thank God.”
“Sofia, sweetheart, in Italia, girlfriends kiss, we hold hands and walk arm in arm. It is our culture. If you are uncomfortable, I let go, but I think you will fall."
While my mind seemed perfectly clear the whole time, my feet weren't reporting in inside the restaurant nor at this particular moment and if she does let go, I will likely collapse in an embarrassing pile at her feet. I let out this tipsy-laugh.
“I am drunk. I will fall.”

She takes me under the elbow and guides me, pressed against her tiny frame. She is tiny, smaller than I was at fourteen, but there is in her compact frame, the solidity of a woman, my rival, my confidante, my better, wearing the same haunting perfume that scrambled my head yesterday. So arm in arm, European style, she steers me into the square. Flowering trees are just beginning to strut their stuff on this early spring Midtown afternoon. This moment, I feel what it’s like to be her, a woman of leisure, unapologetically indulging my choices, senses and pleasures, oblivious to that larger part of the city that grinds away at things that have nothing to do with love, sex and the laws of attraction. The fog in my head lifts as we walk and though she still terrifies me, I'm pretty sure that today, I’ve made a new, though unexpected friend.

Strange as it seems, this is how it will be. Because say I go to Riccardo and demand he leave her, he might or might just as easily turn around and leave me. Had she demanded the same, well all I can say is he has one welt on his forehead. What did he expect? That we’d go like gladiators into the arena, one destroying the other, emerging to claim the prize. We’d both end up with empty arms. So here it is, new world, old world, détente, perestroika, this dark giddy jump down the rabbit hole I’m about to consent to with no assurance that my feet will find a solid surface. I can never let her see how scared I am. Like some scene from “The Godfather” I take both her hands now, draw her in close as if I am about to kiss her, which I am not.

I whisper like a lover who has consented to go to bed with her, whisper, "I’m not afraid of you. I’m not afraid of anything or anybody. I’ve made my decision.”

“Brava. Tell me.”
“I’ve decided I like you.”
“Buona. I liked you the moment I saw you.”
“And I want you for a friend.”
“I like that idea too.”
“And if that means sharing him …”
“Si. This is no competition.”
“Sharing him equally with you, then …”
“It is … how you Americans say, ‘a shrewd bargain,’ between two women of the world?”
“Then we have a deal?”
Si. L'accordo più fortunato possibile.”

We did kiss and hug too. There was warmth, but (thankfully) no sexy zingers in my puss. Next, we shook hands like a couple big-ass Wall Street tycoons who’d just bought the moon and Manhattan for beads and blankets. Arm in arm, we strolled, each in safe accord with our own warring souls, each grateful for the other’s silent company and the early signs of spring busting out all around. Out of the blue, Violetta broke the silence: “I pray there’s enough of him to go around.” She gave my waist a tight, lusty squeeze, just to make sure I got it.

“Oh Hell! Don’t even think I’m gonna go easy on him,” I replied.

Our witchy cackles cut through the bright square as pigeons scattered before us in pigeon terror. I saw the time and we made quick, whispered plans for the evening. She blew me a kiss when we parted.

There’s no way I was going back to work that afternoon. I needed to be in and out of Daddy’s apartment before he returned and started asking questions I’d never be prepared to answer. I texted Ricc and told him to show up at Vi’s at 9:00 pm. Then I turned my phone off. I went home and packed an overnight. I went to the faculty gym and worked out until my muscles ached and the growl in my stomach meant hunger not nerves. Then I hopped the A and for the second time in two days, rode up that bright elevator to the fifteenth floor where I met old Zia Maria who fed me pasta with salmon and capers as Vi showered. As I ate, the old lady stroked my hair and bid me goodnight.

It is near 10 and he's finally here. Vi’s apartment door is already open to him.

The kitchen and sitting room are dark. At the end of the dark hallway, with all doors closed but one, a flickering glow from the bedroom will draw him. She’s in bed reading. On a little side table she’s arranged little baguettes, a chèvre, three lit beeswax candles, almond flames flickering, an open bottle of this killer Barolo, two glasses and a bud vase with three tiny roses. He’ll greet her with a kiss, which she’ll return with open affection. She’ll pat the bed, so he hurries to undress, here, her, with her open book, a quiet Friday night in bed after a long day, this scene, this new beginning, more enchanting than any glittering society affair any of us could imagine.

“I must be getting old,” he’ll mock himself as she animatedly recounts the lunch date to him. He’ll listen more attentively than he cares to show, picking at the bread and sipping his wine.
“She said you both should leave me? I don’t believe it."
"Call her then." She’ll push a button on her little phone and thrust it at him. " Prendalo. Talk to her. Go on."
He’ll stare at the phone as if an insect were crawling on it, then use it.

Just like we planned.

"Hello Darling," my voice pours out, all warm honey oozing from the receiver. "It’s true. We almost decided you didn’t deserve either of us.
Him: “I heard. Where are you? I was worried.” I don’t answer. I won’t. Not until I heard what I expect him to say. Just a short pause. It didn’t take long. “Lying was wrong. To both of you. It won’t happen again but I understand if you …”
Me: “But sweetheart, neither of us is mad at you anymore. Be happy."
"I am Sofia, but where are you?"
"Right here, as promised." Cell phone at my ear like a seashell, I slip from Vi’s daughter’s empty room, from the shadows into the bedroom light, one hand twirling my wineglass at a dangerous tilt, naked as I was born, but this is no baby framed in the white doorway, my skin Raphael’s amber by the parchment shaded lamps. Violetta in her strappy black camisole, reading glasses aperch on her nose, stares so intensely that I blush and drain my glass. I take a wobbly step toward the bed with a sweet, tentative smile for him. I need not speak it, his look says he knows my thoughts though I can't imagine how he can.

Three roses, three candles, three glasses, three bodies, one bed, so edgy, so delicious as conversation lunching très très chic Midtown at noon, but now it’s night and I’m naked. Three days ago and half the world away, I was sure I had but one true love and here he is with his new lover or am I the new love? Their unearthly eyes call me. Why does she stare so? Is she really going to do this? Am I really going to do this?

Look at the both of them. There they lay, the very picture of middle-aged, middle-American domesticity, up to the very point when I climb into that bed too. Then everything changes. Everything.

I should run.

Violetta carefully marks her page and puts her novel down. Her long strong nails scratch Riccardo’s back, making him purr like a big tomcat. But what really draws my attention is her other hand, the delicate manicured fingers, free of all jewelry, sliding lovingly over the silken bedsheets to trap his growing package beneath the fine fabric. She bends and blows a little puff of hot moist breath on it. Inch by inch, she teases the sheet down for my benefit. Oh my God.

I bite my lip and take one more step as her mouth descends greedily into his lap.

One more step and I am in reach and he begins to touch and trace the arc of my butt, gently probing toward the ‘special hole’ I know he wants. But despite Violetta’s enthusiastic endorsements over lunch, I am not ready to surrender that to him NOT just yet. He doesn’t get everything. Not tonight.

I sit tentatively at his feet and watch in fascination. This is so much better than some stupid porn flick. Vi’s skill, her obvious enjoyment of this act go beyond anything I’d ever anticipated. Her tongue dances everywhere. She alternates with strong sucking movements and deep throat. It clearly excites her, this thrill of commanding his rising erection and moans of pleasure. Twice, three times, she grabs his thrusting hips forcing his rigid cock deep into her throat. Gurgling sounds and bright trails of saliva escape from her lips.

It is terrifying and glorious. Obscene and beautiful. I’m frozen in place until like a cat over her prey, Violetta surfaces, beckoning,

”Come and relax my love; you are gorgeous and you know Riccardo cannot wait to fuck you.”

Violetta, leopard woman, sleek and wiry beneath her sheer camisole, throws up her arms like a little girl and allows him to slip the little garment off while I coil at their feet, between them, all lush curves and false modesty, rolling this way and that, one long arm to across my tingling nipples the other thrust down, my hand cupped over my dripping, golden bush. Riccardo grabs one arm and Violetta the other and they hoist me, laughing girl, up between them. Violetta’s finger absentmindedly toys with my nipple. My eyes flutter. In my head I play Scarlett swooning in the arms of Rhett, (Rhett, don’t I shall faint!) my long overdue ravishment at hand. (Yes!) I try to wring out the trickly itch building between my legs by squeezing my eyes shut, but it didn't work for Scarlett and it doesn't work any better for me.

Violetta emboldened, pinches my other nipple. “Touch yourself,” she instructs and I comply, both hands finding my soaked crotch. “Are you wet?”
I nod.
“Riccardo, I want to see how you make love to her. As if I wasn’t here." Violetta’s insistent finger traces a wider circle on my breast. Then she stands.
“Where are you going?” I moan.
“Nowhere, carissima.”

Standing innocently in the corner of the large bedroom is a full length valet mirror, far older and more ornate than my grandmother's, but frankly, in a room filled with beautiful objects, I'd not paid much attention to it. Oh but that sure changes as Vi drags it to the foot of the bed and positions it just so. I've seen myself this way before, but she's not done yet. She pulls my feet to position me at a slight diagonal. Looking in the mirror, Satisfied with her handiwork, she returns to bed. I can now see Riccardo, coming and going as he climbs wordlessly between my legs which I’ve spread so eagerly for him. He looks to Violetta who nods her approval. He lifts my left leg over his shoulder, opening me even wider. There isn’t even a hair’s breadth between my glistening pink vulva and his quivery cock which she grasps by the base. She gives it a good hard shake thrashing its tip against the tip of my clit. Each desperate moan, each shudder, pumps out new waves of juice. Finally, she presses down and the purple bulb dives beyond sight inside my weeping slit. We gasp in unison as he completes the circuit, closing in a wet grinding, flesh to flesh, bone to bone kiss.

Riccardo closes his eyes and the dance begins, long and slow, his hips rock to a juicy rhythm, punctuated by kisses for Vi and kisses for me. She takes his hand and places it on my breast.

“Pinch her nipple.”
Riccardo complies, his breath quickening.
“Come inside her.” Violetta orders.

“Come … inside … me … now.” My own request timed with my own staccato hip thrusts. Violetta grabs his free hand and mashes it into her cunt and I lose it, I just scream it out, as he yells out and he spurts inside me with Violetta thrashing against his hand. When it’s over we just stare at each other in this wondrous frozen moment, then collapse in a pile of limbs, hair and slick, dripping sticky bodies, giggling like mad children who’d just pulled off the world’s greatest schoolyard prank.

“My God,” I am struggling to sit upright, but my dizzy head and pounding heart won’t let me, so I sink into the bed again, into the warm pool of our afterglow. “My God! My my my my God.”
Riccardo: “If that’s a prayer…” He doesn’t finish the thought.
Vi: “I love the flush of rose in your cheeks against the pale skin. Tutto il naturale.”
I finally rise to one elbow, laugh and toss my hair. I kiss her hard on the lips, then a harder one for my Riccardo, long and deep, so I hope he knows how I feel now. As I kiss him, my hand tunnels between his legs and clamps on his flaccid cock, still dripping with the wetness he pumped from me. His eyes widen in surprise.

“What? Again?”

Like little Molly Milkmaid, I nod and squeeze him once, twice.

“Not for me. Vi needs you now. Accosentita Vi?” As per our agreement.
Si, accosentito Sofia.” I don't even let him go when Vi and I shake hands like we did this afternoon and his eyes say he’d give anything to have been the fly on our wall today.

I am nothing but a quick study. It’s time to put into practice what I’ve just learned. I flip my hair out of my face and tuck it behind my ears, all business. Riccardo nods in mute approval. I am pleased and yes, a bit flattered when after only half a handful of minutes, he returns from half mast to full staff in my juicy, eager mouth. With a beaming smile I come up for air and present him to Vi who like the cowgirl in the spaghetti western wastes no time sinking into the saddle, all sharp gasps and squeals of pleasure as they ride to a fast, explosive climax. Spent, sweat soaked, she clings to him, curled, shivering in his arms, while I stroke the delicate curve of her back.
Dio mio.” Violetta.
Si mi amore.” His reply slurred, barely aware of the words, he sinks into the bed, already adrift, floating off, warm, liquid floating … He’s gone before Vi even turns off the reading lamp.

We gaze out the window, where a handful of the brightest stars compete with the Manhattan skyline for our attention. Between us, our lover’s breaths are deep and regular. My hand trails along his thigh, approvingly. Her hand mirrors the caress on his other thigh. Supposedly, H.G. Wells was a real lady killer, irresistible to women because of pheromones. He smelled sweet to them, at least according to my freshman English teacher at Berkeley. I was pretty naïve, but not that naïve. Besides, the guy smelled like mushrooms under his cheap cologne. My Riccardo’s sleep-warmed skin touching mine smells like honey, chamomile and salty sex.

There’s something to this pheromone business after all.

I am aware of Vi’s wakefulness.
She is aware of mine.
Neither of us recalls who went to sleep first that night.


  1. If only I had known how worried you were to meet me, Sofi carissima, I would have hugged you on the spot and told you how delighted I was to have finally met you and that you had nothing to be scared of!

    I am just a woman like you, background, family and country cannot deny the fact that we are just two woman who have fallen in love with the same man. ....

    I would have immediately said 'Let us try to work something out, something that may lead to a relationship more beautiful, even more erotic, than either of us could ever imagine we would experience in our lives!'' But my natural reserve and inbred courteousness prevented me from being so forward at that delicate moment when we had just met in my apt with Ricci. But in the end we enjoyed that first lunch together, did we not? And did we not enjoy our first night even more? It is such a powerful memory for me, one that I revisit often now that I am separated from the two of you. And this I think, is your best writing to date and I am now so inspired to write another post about my present life here in Rome, and my short visit to Paris to see my old friend Eliane last week, whilst all along wanting to come back to you and Ricci in NYC! More to follow, Baci di piu, Vi

  2. It's the rare, lucky man who gets to truly see himself revealed through the eyes of the women who love him and he loves. Not always flattering, but an incredibly perceptive and accurate portrayal of the two days our lives were irrevocably altered and we became three.

  3. I now cannot imagine what life would be like without the other two parts of my trio. However at present I feel so bereft here indeterminately in Rome as just one side of our triangle. I am incomplete and find it hard to overcome my daily obstacles without you both. I cannot get the image of my walking to the gate at Fiumicino out of my mind...oh for the day when I will be boarding my usual AA flight back to NYC. La vostra Vi

  4. Steven B from the UKSeptember 16, 2009 at 9:53 AM

    How enviable is your seemingly ideal threesome! How many men, and even women, fantasize contantly about such a relationhip! Cherish it whilst it lasts! I am tinged with envy as the 2 women I desperately loved and dated at the same time would never accept each other or that it was possible for a man to love them both at the same time! Eventually I lost them both! The younger one to marriage with a chap her exactly her age age and the older one went back to live with her first husband in New Zealand! We all lost touch and I have searched for them through various online social networks without luck! I did so want to at least keep them as dear friends but my, what they perceived as selfish, behaviour drove them both away from me forever, it seems!

  5. Steven,

    I was touched by your comment. I'm sure some readers would think my situation is a middle-aged man's fantasy wank (and how I love you British for furnishing such a descriptive word). I don't know the particulars of your affair, but I sympathize so much with you and what you've lost. Jealousy is a hard thing to manage and it may well have been the real reason for the breakup of your relationship(s). I'm not saying we have no conflicts, rather that we have deep understandings that keep us in balance. I don't know what the future will bring, but I can only tell you that I'm happy now, for the first time in my life and though my life and relationships are complex, they work because all three of us are committed to making them work. That is the key. I hope you find love and happiness in the future--in whatever form you can. You are obviously a man of deep passions that I certainly understand.

    Best of luck, r

  6. Steven from Herts, UKSeptember 23, 2009 at 8:03 PM

    Thank you fo you very kind words.Just recently I was in Paris with the French wife of an old schoolfiend of mine. She and I have known each other for years but met infequently. She is now divoced from my old friend and when we met for drinks this time I felt uncomfortable. Strange for a man who had once handled a complex love trio and thought he understood women.She hinted that we should go to a club ina suburb of Paris where some married friends of hers go on a regular basis and that she and Malcolm, her ex husband, used to go there. She said I would enjoy it as she knew how open I was to 'exploring'; she and her ex husband, my friend who had gone to Abu Dhabi to work, had met both my ladies. Was she tryig to seduce me or invite me into the world of the echangiste, French for swingers? This is frankly not something that ever appealed to me and I had no idea that she ad my old friend had been into this scene. I am still debating as to whether I want to go down that road after the unbelievalble relationship I had with my now departed 2 ladies. I love your blog that I fell on by chance, and feel some connection with you, Riccardo. So I am curious as to what you would do in the same position. Best regards, Steven from Herts, UK.

  7. Gosh Steven, I guess it comes down to what they mean by "exploring" and whether you are comfortable with it. You don't talk about your current romantic status, so it's even harder to say what would be right for you. What do you need? Where or with whom are you most likely to get it? You didn't fall off the turnip truck yesterday and you say you're debating your next move which also suggests some searching is in order. I say, poke around a bit. Sorry. Cheers. R