Kenny had come home from work already and was in the midst of a nostalgic exercise when Dmitri came home. He had just reread a classic from his childhood and was doing what he had always done when he read it in his youth. This time, though, he was saving the last bit of his exercise for after Dmitri came home. So he was flushed and yearning, and had reached the point where he had decided he would go hands-off for the duration, and the front door was vibrating to the footsteps arriving in front of it, and Kenny very quickly rearranged his clothes to be ready to greet his lover and disarray them again. He didn't need to hide what he had been doing, but the reading material had been put away already, as it was unnecessary to the rest of the exercise.
At first he was a bit thrown off when two people entered the door instead of just Dmitri. But when he saw who Dmitri's captive was, he was willing to put his project on hold for the day. He ran gushing to Yermo's side, pulling him into an embrace and deeper into the apartment, demanding the answers to six questions as once, two for Dmitri and four for Yermo, who was adorably flummoxed and couldn't say a word even if there had been a space to breathe in all of Kenny's effusive outpour.
Dmitri's frown eased on seeing Kenny's delight. He fell into the capacitous couch and just watched with the kind of indulgent smile a person might reserve for kittens binding each other with yarn or puppies pinning each other to the floor. He could tell that Kenny's excitement was somewhat enhanced, and he figured he knew what Kenny had been doing before he got here, and also that the timing could not have been accidental, so that it must have been meant for him to harvest, and he thought that right there was pretty well adorable. And to see how it morphed into this fuss Kenny was making over the still-mute, still-awkward Yermo added more fuel to his certainty that he had worked out the puzzle and its solution, so that was a source of satisfaction.
He was a little bit wrong, but not disastrously so, so you can forgive his little moment of smug, probably.
Before Yermo knew it Kenny had steered him to the couch between the two of them, and he wasn't sure whether he wanted more to flee or curl up and fall asleep right there breathing Kenny and Dmitri. But then Dmitri said, "Tell Kenny where you've been living and why you're there," and Yermo just wanted to cry because he couldn't tell Kenny that, could he? Though he should have been expecting this since Dmitri had been hammering at him the whole drive over, which was longer than it ought to have been because there had been a fire on an electrical pole at a major intersection halfway through town and they had been forced to take the most picturesque detours to get here.
Dmitri repeated his demand once, but he didn't have to keep repeating, because Yermo couldn't stand it. "I'm not really living there, not long-term or anything, it was just a quick sublet so I could get out of the way and you could get somebody to take over your lease without waiting for me to get out of the way, and I'm still -"
"Out of the way? Why do you keep saying that? Out of the way?" Kenny was even more outraged by the choice of words than Dmitri had been and Yermo was even more puzzled than he had been before, and distressed, because nobody really wants to be around Kenny when he's unhappy about something he thinks is unfair. Which is what he said about this: "How could you be so unfair? You know you're my best friend and you'd never be in the way to me. We have this whole thing set up to be just right for you and wait - where are you living, anyway? What's so special about it?"
"It's not very nice, it's just a studio sublet in Lower Salsi -"
"It's a malodorous basement room two doors down from a meth lab, you can smell the fumes right on the front stoop, and there's mildew on the wall right about the frat's nest he's u9sing for a bed," Dmitri said, in a faux-neutral voice, idly and affectionately scratching Yermo's head.
Yermo pulled out from under Dmitri's arm. "I never noticed a meth lab. And it's just temporary! I haven't even unpacked my boxes. I'm moving as soon as I find a place."
"Good, you're moving tonight then," Kenny said. "Did you ever even see your room here? It's perfect for you"
"I don't want to live here," Yermo said.
"Why not? I promise we won't be shoving excessive PDA down your throat, if that bothers you. The streetcar leads straight to your job, there's room for everything, Dmitri even promised you could hook up all yours whatsis to the television and whatever, and the kitchen -"
"I know about the streetcar and the kitchen," Yermo snapped. "And I know a lot of other things too. Right? You both like sex in the morning, I know that. I know what you like for breakfast and when you like to be quiet. I know what you like in a blow job. Right? I know what you're like when you like to take it and when you like to give it. And I know you've got what you want, both of you, and I don't need it rubbed in my face."
Kenny made a conscious decision that he would not cry at this moment though he wanted nothing more than to do it. It sucks when an honest expression of your emotions is almost exactly the same thing as a grand manipulative gesture. "I don't want to rub it in your face, I want to share it with you," Kenny said, and he realized that, yes he did, and not only in the way he had thought he meant when he opened his mouth to say it.
Yermo rolled his eyes. "There's things you can't really share with a person who's not part of them."
Dmitri said, "Sometimes a person thinks they're not part of something they actually are a part of."
"That doesn't make any sense in this conversation," Yermo said.
"Maybe not, but it probably will in later ones," Dmitri said. "Anyway, I was thinking we could all make dinner together and continue this conversation afterwards.
Yermo was pretty sure he should beg off and just leave, that he should have stood his ground at the beginning and never come, but Kenny looked so hopeful and Dmitri sounded so sure of himself that he acquiesced. And had a great time chopping onions at Dmitri's kitchen table, even if they did make his eyes water more than usual. "What kind of onions are these?" he asked.
"Germantown Extra-Sharp, from the True Heart Produce next to Birdy's," Dmitri said. "They're worth the hassle. They cook up like heaven."
Yermo hadn't been to the True Heart Produce since about a week before he moved out of Kenny's apartment. There was no point. There wasn't enough kitchen in the basement studio to make a decent supper, and the smell of the place made everything taste kind of bad anyway. He'd always been a careful shopper there, as the proprietors were in the habit of showcasing absurd items like star fruit and tiny blue-grained rice for five times the price of a decent jasmine rice, but he'd been happy to pick up a tomato or a chile there. As he moved on to the garlic, he thought how he missed going there and bringing home something nice and fixing it with Kenny. Or Dmitri, depending on which regret he was going to entertain at the moment. And then he lost the thought because he was caught up in a wide-ranging, entertaining conversation, like he hadn't had since . . . but he didn't even finish that thought, because the conversation pulled him away from remembrance again.
Kenny didn't know what Dmitri was doing, and he probably would have objected at this point if he had, but he certainly knew what he was doing. He was actively courting Yermo. For what end, he didn't know, but he wanted Yermo to stay. He didn't tell himself that he understood Yermo or knew what he was thinking at any time, and he did know that most of the time they had lived together Yermo had done most of the manipulating. He had noticed that Yermo had produced the nicest meals when Kenny was depressed, that Yermo had mainly only reminded Kenny how unaverse he was when Kenny really needed it, that Yermo had just generally maintained somewhere in his head a barometer of Kenny's moods and needs and had -almost - always been there with a metaphorical raincoat or sunshade or whatever Kenny's internal weather needed. But though Kenny's mode was generally not subtlety, he was not incapable of it. And he was sure, whatever Yermo's thing was, subtlety was called for here. Yermo couldn't know that Kenny was courting him.
He didn't think there was any problem with Dmitri knowing it, though. Since Dmitri had clearly brought him here for something like the same purpose, though he was being awfully clumsy about it, Kenny thought.
So, dinner was made and eaten in this atmosphere. Yermo was forgetting himself entirely and having a great time with the two people he liked best in the world, which was saying a lot, since Yermo liked almost everybody he met who didn't actually frighten him, and some who did, and he wasn't even warning himself not to overreach. Every so often he'd catch a bit of a smolder from Dmitri or Kenny, but he was pretty sure that was either his imagination or a bit of nostalgia on their parts, nothing to worry about. Anyway, most of the conversation was about sure-fire topics directed by Kenny, guaranteed to evoke laughter and good feeling. Kenny was doing this effortlessly, apparently, and Dmitri admired him for it. It wasn't exactly the same as the tarantula and the kitten, but it was evidence of the same kind of mind, he thought: one that was capable, when the situation called for it, to see beyond the surface conflict to the more interesting real issues below.
And then Kenny managed something Dmitri thought he could never have done in such a short time: he got Yermo to agree to not one, but three outings in the next week, and to watch a movie right here, right now, and the movie Kenny had talked him into was three hours long. There was no way Yermo was going back to that hovel tonight . . . even if the buses were still running after that, Yermo wouldn't be such an idiot as to insist on catching one to Lower Salsi at such an hour.
And then there were the dishes to do, and Kenny made such a production out of it, stopping everything while he shared some story about his time with Yermo. More proof, Dmitri thought, that Kenny was in deep: nobody but a thoroughly smitten lover could have that many shaggy dog stories to tell about what had, after all, not been such a long time in the same apartment. Since Dmitri was unafraid to admit that he was also still in love with Yermo, he just added this to the sterling qualities of his Kenny. That he could fall so thoroughly in love with a guy like Yermo, and stay that way and also be as sincere a lover with Dmitri as he seemed to be.
Of course it crossed his mind that Kenny wasn't "really" in love with Dmitri after all, but that thought didn't stay long, because he knew how he felt himself, and he was pretty sure that if he could love two men, so could Kenny. The sacrifice he was about to make wasn't losing Kenny to Yermo. It was not demanding a piece of Yermo, so long as he got his piece of Kenny. Yermo could have Kenny, and Dmitri could have Kenny, and Kenny could have Dmitri and Yermo, and nearly everybody could have nearly everything they ever wanted. And that would be okay: nobody ever gets everything they want. Almost everything is more than a lot of people get.
Dmitri was, as we said, only a little bit wrong, and not disastrously so.
"We'd better put on that movie or I think I will fall asleep in the opening credits," Yermo said at last.
"Okay," Kenny said, reluctantly. The sooner he put in the movie the less time he would have to actively court Yermo. But soon they were ensconced on the couch, Yermo firmly sandwiched between his exes and suddenly feeling really uncomfortable and a little bit sad, because he was pretty sure this was the only time he'd ever do this. He was having a really intense reaction to sitting next to these men.
Kenny was regretting his choice of movie. He'd picked one that was heavy on the sense of wonder, because he knew Yermo would really like one like that and would probably sit through the whole thing. But it had the additional effect of dragging Yermo completely in to the movie's world, distracting him completely from the issue at hand and keeping Kenny from being able to talk to him. Well, Kenny could talk: Yermo wouldn't object - but he didn't have any answers either. Eventually Kenny gave up and reverted to his old pattern, curling up against Yermo, completely comfortable, almost ready to fall asleep, especially when he felt Yermo's hand absently but tenderly caressing his scalp. . .
And his eyes flew open when he realized there were two right hands on his head, Dmitri's crossing Yermo's, fingers intertwined. He settled in again, smirking. Another mark for Dmitri as the perfect lover: he knew when affection like Yermo's was unthreatening.
He did, too. Dmitri had slung an arm around Yermo in the same spirit as Kenny's snuggling, and realizing where Yermo's hand went, he went too. Talk about affection - it was affecting Dmitri all right: he couldn't really concentrate on the television. As far as he could tell the movie seemed to be more about Mandelbrot sets that anything else, though there were characters and actual landscapes as well. People said things, and there were a few chases and explosions, but mostly there seemed to be special effects not related to anything else. But he didn't mind. He wasn't sitting here to watch the movie anyway. He was sitting here to watch Kenny and Yermo.
Yermo allowed himself to be lulled by the movie and the familiar presence of his favorite men. He didn't notice how they encroached more and more upon his body - or he did, but he let himself not care because he liked it. And his only concern would have been that sooner or later they would regret the closeness, anyway.
Yermo wasn't familiar with this movie, and neither was Dmitri. So they didn't know that it made a sharp turn in the last hour and turned into an erotic romance between the buddy-protagonists who had been running from the menace for the first hour, and turning the menace around for the second hour, and now were expressing undying love for each other with great physical urgency because though it looked like they would have a good chance at vanquishing the menace, they had less than a good chance of surviving it themselves, and of course, in the anxious moments between the action, they were getting closer and closer to consummation.
The climax of the action was immediately followed by an action leading to climax. By this time all three of our young men were mesmerized, and when the movie clicked off, they were as flushed and breathless as if it had been them up there. Dmitri knew an opening when he saw one.
"I think," he said softly, brushing Yermo's neck, "Kenny needs a blow job."
"Oh," Yermo said. It was late. He'd probably have to walk home. He should apply cold water or something to make it less difficult. "I should go. Can I use the bathroom first?"
"I was thinking that Kenny needs a blowjob from you," Dmitri said. "He can get one from me any time."
"That sounds wonderful," Kenny said. "But are you sure you don't mind?" He could have addressed the question to either of them. Maybe he was asking them both,
Yermo moved to get up.
"You don't have to," Kenny said. "It would just be nice."
"You don't have to," Dmitri repeated. "But I think you want to and I know Kenny does and I want you to also."
"Why?" Yermo asked, thinking, no, I should have just said no, and gone to the bathroom and walked home. This question will cause so much trouble.
"Because I love Kenny, and I love you, and you love Kenny, and Kenny loves you, and what more reason do you need?"
"You left out I love you and Yermo loves you," Kenny said.
"Well, I know you love me, but Yermo asked why I want you and him to get it on, he didn't ask who loves who." Dmitri didn't argue the point about Yermo loving him, because it was sweet of Kenny to assume that, and it was beside the point.
Yermo heaved a sigh.
"What? You always said that about being not averse to things," Kenny said.
"I wasn't, but this is different. In the morning you guys are going to look at each other and wonder why you did this and you're going to have to blame somebody and it's going to be me because you really do love each other and you're going to have to have a story that allows you not to be uncomfortable with each other."
Kenny put his head on one side like a bird studying a shiny pebble. He worked his mouth but he didn't say anything. He wasn't sure, but he thought Yermo might be right, unless Yermo moved in. And not to the spare bedroom.
He'd been having visions of the three of them in Dmitri's huge bed for a long time anyway, why shouldn't it be true? But how would you go about convincing Yermo?
Dmitri moved forward so he could turn and demand Yermo's attention. "You're misunderstanding something, though. This isn't a one-time deviation. Kenny's been pining for you ever since you disappeared while we were moving him in. He really thought, all along, that you'd be here. He doesn't seem to have figured out he wanted you like that too, but he did. Does. What I'm saying is - in the morning the only reason we'd blame you is if you ran away and didn't talk to us again."
"I'm going to the bathroom," Yermo said. He got up and when he came back the same spot was open on the couch and Dmitri pointed to it.
"I should go home . . ." Yermo said.
"You should not. You don't have to be at work till four tomorrow and your apartment is a horrible place to sleep after a conversation like this, whether you get it on with Kenny or not," Dmitri said. "If you don't want to, if you don't want to talk either, you can go to bed, either in the big bed or the other bedroom, your choice but I'd prefer the big bed if it's all the same to you, and I'll take you home tomorrow in time to get your clothes but I'm not sending you out that door tonight, that's dumb."
"Please," Kenny said.
Yermo sat down on the floor, his head in his hands. "You guys don't know how hard this is. How unfair."
"I get that it's unfair and hard," Dmitri said. "But it would be easier and more fair if you'd let us make it that way."
"How is it ever going to be fair? You have each other, and I'm never going to -"
"You have us," Kenny said. "Any way you want us."
Yermo shook his head.
"Look, let Kenny kiss you, just once,"" Dmitri said. "It'll be an honest kiss."
"Not unless you kiss him too," Kenny said.
"You're the one he wants," Dmitri said.
"Not only," Kenny said.
"He as mush as said so," Dmitri said.
"You misunderstood him," Kenny said. "I'm not surprised because I don't think he actually said so in so many words. This is Yermo we're talking about. he pretends he doesn't do that sort of thing."
"I didn't say anything," yermo said to the floor. "I don't. I said if I was him I'd be home with you instead of yelling at me."
"And Dmitri thought you were saying you wished you were here with me instead of him. Dmitri, you're smart, but not as smart as you think you are."
Dmitri didn't take offense. He was charmed, as usual, as he was by everything Kenny said or did. Almost everything. "So, since you are smarter than me, what is your interpretation?"
"He wants you, Dmitri."
"I don't," Yermo said, again to the floor. "Neither of you understand anything."
"Really?" Kenny said. "Why don't you tell us?"
"I don't have to," Yermo said. The floor was becoming his closest confidante.
"No, you don't have to. But it would probably be a lot better if you did. I bet you haven't told anybody whatever it is that's going on in your mysterious but beautiful mind."
"I'm not beautiful, that's dumb," Yermo said.
"Could I kiss you if I asked nicely?" Kenny said.
"And if I asked nicely too so you know I won't do a jealous husband act afterwards?" Dmitri added.
"I don't even know why you want to! You have DMitri, Dmitri has you, what are you guys even on about?"
"You," Kenny and Dmitri said simultaneously, and Kenny threw caution to the winds, and went down on the floor and crawled right up to Yermo. He slipped his hands between Yermo's arms, gently, slowly, questing for permission or resistance. Finding only utter passivity, he pushed his luck, tentatively moving in, hovering right before Yermo's head, hesitating. When Yermo looked up with a hopeless expression, he hesitated again. What kind of despair was it?
"Kiss him already," Dmitri said. And Yermo's eyes widened, but he moved his face forward, opening his mouth just so slightly, and Kenny was surprised to find that really, Yermo was kissing him.
"Yesss, thank you," Kenny said, and deepened the kiss, daring to put his hands on Yermo's actual body, which was shaking a bit, but probably mostly because they were now in an impossible position, physically speaking, and they were going to have to tumble over one direction or the other,
They tumbled over in Yermo's direction, Kenny on top. "Are you okay?" Kenny asked.
"I don't know," Yermo said.
"We need to figure that out, because I want to keep going, but not if you're not okay," Kenny said.
"What the fuck, all right, let's do it," Yermo said. Yes, there would be hell to pay tomorrow, but he was already miserable, so why the hell not have this last bit of Kenny - and maybe Dmitri too, why not? In a couple of days, he'd call Sean and cry about it, and Sean would say "I told you so," and he'd - well, not exactly feel better, but be able to return to some sort of equilibrium, anyway.
:Thank you thank you thank you," Kenny said, rolling to the side and plucking at Yermo's clothes. There wasn't that much to them, and he was naked pretty quickly, and his handsome modest-sized erection was right there where Kenny could hardly keep his hands off it and wait -"Dmitri, why are you all the way over there?" Kenny said breathlessly, looking up for a second.
"I don't want to scare our guy," Dmitri said. "Besides, I'm fine."
"Does Dmitri scare you more than I do?" Kenny asked Yermo. Yermo shook his head.
"Can Dmitri join us?" Kenny asked. Yermo croaked, swallowed, and said, "If he wants to."
Yermo could not have predicted that having Dmitri's bulk and voice behind him would be so reassuring. Dmitri had been the one to be angry with him, after all - Kenny was always so sweet. But he was able to take Kenny further in than ever, with Dmitri's murmuring voice and gently stroking hands, and that was interesting. And Kenny was so appreciative.
And when Yermo would have reached for his clothes afterwards, Kenny was finally able to overpower him, push him back against Dmitri, and return the favor. He did check as he went down: "You okay with this? You never let me before. I mean, not after I came."
And Yermo nodded. "As well be hung for a sheep as a lamb," right? And that was Dmitri's cock against his back, and Dmitri's hand.
"You could put it in," Yermo said, his voice cracking twice, hoping he didn't have to repeat himself. "That would be okay."
"You're sure?" Dmitri asked.
"Yeah. I mean, I love you too, you know that."
Kenny grinned. "Told you so," he said, and sat back on his heels long enough to help Yermo lift and settle again, and to reach under and help guide Dmitri in. As soon as they were settled, Kenny went back to work on Yermo's cock.
For Kenny, too, the sound of Dmitri behind Yermo was reassuring. Especially as both Dmitri and Yermo came closer to coming. Looking up, he saw Yermo throwing his head back on Dmitri's shoulder, and Dmitri rubbing his nipples, and he thought he might come again too. When Yermo came, Dmitri clasped him around the belly, thrust again a couple of times, and grunted. Then they were all in a heap, breathless, both Dmitri and Kenny wrapped around Yermo, as if to keep him from floating away.
"Stay till morning? Please?" Kenny said. "We can talk over breakfast. We'll get you to work on time, I promise."
Yermo nodded, too spent to even worry.
It was Kenny who went to get washcloths for them , and Dmitri who led them into the big bed. Even after all this time it seemed familiar to Yermo, probably even more so now that the scent of Kenny's hair was embedded in the pillows. He was asleep before the others were arranged around him. Kenny was asleep almost immediately after. Dmitri stayed awake a little longer, considering what he was going to say to his mother when he called her.
- end -
yep, that's the end. There's a reason to stop it here. The next stopping place in their story would be a whole novel away, and honestly, I think that novel would be a lot less interesting than this novelette.