One is bad. Two is unforgivable. But three… three is the jackpot.
When my best friend Casey ghosted me for an entire summer, my life took a crazy turn. So crazy, I think I might’ve just circled back to our last conversation the night after she popped her cherry with two honest-to-god Doms. Now I really need to talk to her because I think for the first time I might be able to one-up her in the kink department. Spoiler alert: I have my own pair of kinky guys now too. The twist? Mine are twins.
Reuniting with them after three years apart is more mind-blowing than I can imagine. We‘re no longer innocent, limited by circumstance, and they’ve been busy, inventing and building the most epic sex toy I‘ve ever seen.
When a sexy venture capitalist arrives to invest in the twins’ fancy sex machine, all three of us are in a run for our money. Not only does the investor want to gamble to the tune of millions for the plans, he wants to own it. And he’s willing to invest even more to have the inventors and their girlfriend.
What I had with the twins was never innocent, even though by society’s standards, none of us were adults when we first started breaking the rules. We knew what we did was wrong, which only made it even more enticing. But we weren’t thinking, and not thinking leads to mistakes.
Despite knowing our actions were taboo, and despite having wallowed in heartache ever since, I don’t think I will ever regret the things I learned about myself that summer.
I blame myself. Maybe they blame me too; I don’t know, because I never got a chance to talk to them after the fact. My parents were only fostering them, two teen boys among a houseful of kids of varying ages and backgrounds—almost all disadvantaged in some fashion.
But I was the only biological child in the mix, so it wasn’t as if my parents would kick their own daughter out when they caught us.
The twins were seventeen and on the verge of aging out of the system. I was only slightly older. Legally I was an adult, and testing boundaries—my own, mostly. I could claim it was because my best friend Casey was a bad influence, but the truth was that learning a little bit about her dark secrets allowed me to open up the box of my own taboo desires and explore them.
That was the summer of discovery and self-condemnation, and I’m still not quite sure how to process everything that happened. Jude and Simon ran away before they got kicked out. My parents forbade me from taking the summer trip Casey and I had planned as newly minted adults. And I was stuck at home, encouraged to reflect on my mistakes while I waited for my first year of college to begin.
But Casey had already pulled away by then, which was one of the catalysts for what happened with the twins. By the time I called to cancel our trip, she had more interesting things going on anyway, so she was too distracted for me to bother filling her in on why I couldn’t go.
After that, I did the only thing I could to move on: I boxed all those feelings back up and shoved them into a dark place, unsure whether I’d ever look at them again.
The neighborhood where my parents live is one of those places that never changes, so when I drive home for the first summer in three years, I feel like I’m traveling back in time. The trees lining the street might be a little taller, but the houses look the same as I remember them.
A slight pang hits me when I pass the cul-de-sac where I used to spend so many days after school at my best friend’s house. Impulsively I turn down the street, though I don’t know why. Casey hasn’t lived there since that summer three years ago when we lost touch. I heard her mom sold it and moved to another city not long after she divorced Casey’s stepdad.
He isn’t her stepfather anymore. That was a change I had a hard time wrapping my head around. One of my many regrets from that summer is not really listening to Casey when she admitted she was in love—really ~in love~ for the first time—with her stepfather Max. I probably could’ve gotten over her having those feelings, but then she dropped all those other bombs, and I doubt I reacted in the way she’d hoped.
I definitely didn’t react the way a friend should have when she added that she was also in love with Max’s best friend Rick, the pair of them were closet Doms, and she’d discovered she was a submissive—and was now ~their~ submissive.
Honestly, the first two things weren’t that hard to process. Max and Rick were ~the~ hottest men in the neighborhood, and I admit to doing my share of drooling over them at summer barbecues. What girl hasn’t fantasized about having two delicious, muscular, tattooed hunks like them catering to her pleasure?
It was the submissive part I couldn’t understand. We always fancied ourselves feminists, making plans for school and careers with the hopes of being strong, self-actualized women. We didn’t ~need~ boys. So how could Casey—a smart, beautiful, strong young woman—debase herself for the pleasure of not just one, but ~two~ men?
I answered that question for myself about a month after we last spoke, but by then it was too late for me to apologize. She wouldn’t take my calls, and so I left for college, never putting things right between us. We haven’t spoken since.
Now I can’t help myself. It feels like ancient history when we sat outside in my car after a night out, making plans for our big adventure that summer. Little did we know that her accidentally missing curfew by a mere five minutes would change everything.
As I pull closer, the house looks the same, except a new family lives there. I circle the cul-de-sac and drive out as I head to my parents’ house the next block over.
Jack and Sheena Nolan—aka Mom and Dad—are borderline saints. Which is why I still feel a tangle of shame and guilt in my belly when I pull into the driveway, even though it’s been three years since that fateful summer. I should feel guiltier about not coming home since then, but it was easy to make excuses. I had a good summer job interning at an NGO that extended through the next year as a paid spot, also earning me college credit. And besides, they could use my room to foster another child in need.
The shame I feel has nothing to do with my absence, though. And when Mom and Dad both greet me with enormous hugs, and the dogs bound across the lawn with tails wagging, and my two younger foster sisters creep out with hesitant smiles, I’m still anxious about stepping foot back in the house.
There are memories there. Ghosts. Bittersweet remnants of a month of discovery that turned into blame and ultimatums.
Steeling myself, I accept their love. After all, I seem to be the only one who still believes I don’t deserve it.
“Baby, your room is unoccupied, so we have it all set up for you,” Mom says.
“What happened to…what was his name? Brian?” I ask.
“Bryce,” Dad says. “He got adopted by a family across town about a month ago.”
“So it’ll just be the five of us,” Mom says.
“And I’m yet again outnumbered by girls,” Dad jokes.
I’m about to step through the front door when both Abigail and Hazel work up the courage to tackle me with desperate hugs.
“We missed you, Sarah!” Abby cries. “You were gone forever.”
“I know. And I’m sorry,” I say, crouching before I realize I don’t need to crouch as far as before to meet the girls’ eyes. “My god, you two got big.”
A lump forms in my throat as I take them in. They’re eight and nine now, about the age I was when Casey moved to the neighborhood and I found my first true friend.
We all head in together and I bring my things up to my old room. My stomach does a flip when I pass the door opposite mine, but when I peek in, it’s no longer decked out in bunkbeds with the detritus of two athletic teenage boys strewn around. Abby brushes past into the room, bouncing on her toes, excited about showing me her new digs.
I hang with my sisters for a few minutes, trying to banish the memories. Then I head down for dinner.
Halfway through the meal, Mom offhandedly says, “Oh, Sarah, Casey called a few weeks ago asking for your number. Did she ever get in touch with you?”
My heart leaps. Casey was looking for me? I shake my head. “No. Why would she need my number? It’d be easier to just message me on social media.”
“Not sure. She didn’t say why she was calling. I guess she’s close to graduating from Columbia. I still don’t understand why you didn’t choose the same school. You two were so close.”
I give a noncommittal shrug. “Friends grow apart. It happens.” And I really needed to just get away from New York, so I chose a college in California instead—about as far from New York as I could get.
But when I get to my room and pull out my laptop, I give into the urge to look Casey up. Impulsively, I send her a friend request.
Then, with my heart in my throat, I type in two other names.