So, I started this affair with Chuck and Julia back in February. For a while things were great. I mean, if I ignored the nagging feeling in my gut that I was just a piece of meat, they were totally peachy keen.
There was the wild thrill of it all. I can't deny it. Getting caught up between two bodies, one male, one female, was in a way the perfect situation for me. I hadn't really felt much attraction to women since becoming Tori, but it wasn't as if I was turned off by them. I just stopped seeing them as potential romantic partners, because they stopped seeing me that way, and in time turned me attention to the men who were giving me attention. Which in the end, worked out, because I gained so many valuable female friendships... most of which have sadly fallen away as the girls have gotten on with their lives, moved away, or been tricked into going to the Inn in Sara's case. And I've been eyebrow-deep in work for so long that I couldn't really sustain the kind of romantic relationship (or friendship) I wanted.
So this was win-win. A way to get my (physical) needs served, expand my horizons even further, make up for lost time, and not worry about sustaining an emotional bond.
And I should point out that they were very good about the whole thing. Not just kind about opening their bed up to me, but about making me feel wanted, sexy, pleasured and pleasurable. It wasn't two women sharing one man, it was three people as a unit, together in a kind of physical poetry. Like wow.
It was everything at once: awkward and exciting, uncomfortable and welcoming, friendly and cold. Sexy and mechanical.
Meaningless sex isn't wrong, but after a few months of that, I started to feel like a ho. That's even a lie: I felt like a bit of a ho immediately, but I pushed that thought to the back. I had nothing to be ashamed of. I felt I had reasonable proof that I couldn't sustain a real relationship - my miserable online dating rounds and the frustrating months of on-again-off-again with Boy-X. There was nothing wrong with consenting adults seeking a bit of pleasure. But I felt weird for giving in to that impulse. Then I felt bad for feeling so weird about it, like I couldn't appreciate it or shed my hangups.
"There's gotta be someone out there for me..." I muttered into my pillow some nights, doubtful that what I was saying was true. I reassured myself: "I'm just killing time until I find him. it'll be so much easier when I do." The question was: when would that happen? The more I avoided it, the more I felt the pressure to get back out there and stop fooling around.
Sometimes I hang out with Julia, for drinks or coffees if Chuck's not around, usually at their place so she can watch the kid. I promised I wouldn't see him outside of the context of our agreement (or work) but I never made any such promise about her. At first I hardly felt like I could face her, given the somewhat schoolgirlish crush I held for her husband, but as time wore on I felt more and more close to her, as a person and a woman, not just a sometime-sexual partner.
I confided to her that it was starting to get to me, that I would have to see myself out at the end of the night, sometimes fighting back tears while they stayed in bed and cuddled.
"I don't want you to feel used," she said. "If you're not comfortable..."
"It's not that, I'm just... jealous I guess. I want what you guys have, but I can't ever seem to get it."
"I know it's not easy," she said sympathetically, "But my big sister used to tell me this when I was young and had dating problems: You only have to get it right once. And from where I am now, I see she was right."
That didn't comfort me much. "I feel like my life is too complicated for that opportunity to ever arise."
"Well, if you don't get out there, it won't," she said. "I mean, what we're doing is fun, I'd keep doing it as long as we're all happy, but if you're not, then I don't want you to feel like you don't have options. You owe it to yourself to find happiness."
I sighed, "It's hard for me. I have a pretty demanding job, a ton of baggage, and an inability to decide what I want."
"I disagree," she said.
"All of it," she said, "First, lots of people have jobs. You work around it, and you make time. If he can't take the fact that you're career oriented, he's not for you.
"Second, I think you do know what you want. You're just tempted to settle for less. Don't. Hold out, but don't close yourself off to new possibilities.
"Third, I seriously don't think you have any more baggage than anyone else out there. Don't let it weigh you down."
I wanted to refute that last point, but it would involve bringing up the whole "used to be a guy" thing (as well as the "manipulated by the Agency" thing) and how that affects my dating. It shouldn't: I'm a strong, competent woman with a lot going for me. The right guy would probably help me let go of that baggage once and for all.
"You're also really good looking, smart, fun to be around, and intensely sexual," she said admiringly, "That'll intimidate some guys, but it doesn't have to. Watch out for that, don't let them get away. Just believe in your own heart. Like I said: It only needs to work out once."
For now, I'm keeping up our arrangement, although I wonder if Chuck senses me just going through the motions sometimes, or if it makes a difference. I sat and thought about my next step, and how to go about breaking things off with them, should the occasion arrive.
Which brings me to the dreaded Wedding Season.
I've been invited to a few weddings this summer... sigh... and it's not like I can bring Chuck and Julia. I don't even really mind going stag (or, I guess it's doe? Stag-ette? Whatever, alone.) but you sort of need a buffer, a shield. Weddings are... tough, as a woman. People expect you to be marriage-minded/wedding-minded/baby-minded (ick, no.) If you're single, people expect you to be vulnerable and therefore approachable, and sometimes that attracts good attention, sometimes bad. They're fun, and a lot of pressure, and part of me does not want to deal with them. But I figure diving headlong into this wedding season is just the kick in the ass I need.
I have a wedding coming up for an old friend of Tori's. Someone I know, not necessarily as well as I eventually got to know Raine and Sara, but decently well. Raine, in fact, will be there.
And I thought, well, if he's interested... I should invite Cliff down.
It's potentially a very hairy situation. He hasn't seen anyone from Philly since he was Sara. Maybe meeting them like this is a bad idea, maybe it could be therapeutic, I don't know. At one point he was going to move out to California to be with some girl, but that ended up not working out and he wasn't seeing anyone, so I asked if it wouldn't be too hard to see the old gang, and he said yes.
"As... friends, right?"
"Of course :)" I replied. "You can be my wingman. I'll be your wing girl."
"I don't need a wing girl, haha" he said.
"Oh, cocky much? ;P"
"Recently, yes. But enough about what's between my legs..."
"Don't rub it in, when it was mine I couldn't drum up any interest!"
"I'll rub it any way I want... you gave it to me. Haha, oh God I can't believe you let me make jokes like that."
"I think it's important for people like us to be able to confide in each other. If that means you making gross references to your junk, well, I'll take it."
He told me thanks again, and has periodically messaged me over the weeks to tell me he's actually getting excited to see the old hometown.
This could be fun... or interesting, anyway.