The Worst Threesome I Ever Had

a paperback copy of the Penguin edition of Lucretius' The Nature of Things
Image by James Shelley / CC BY

2000

The worst threesome I ever had ended before it even started.

It caught me off guard how much I enjoyed kissing Derek.  We’d spent some months getting to know each other, but we were mostly just friendly. Social. Hanging out with the one person we had in common.

And now that we were here sitting on his bed, I lost myself in a kiss that was way better than it had any right to be.

But I was soon brought back to Earth when I was pulled away from him and slapped in the face by his girlfriend Rebecca.

She glared at me. “Get out. Now.”

I froze, horrified and stunned. Rebecca had been asking me for weeks to join them in bed. And despite my initial reservations, I’d finally agreed. We’d discussed what we were comfortable with at great length.

And it had been her idea for me to kiss Derek. All of this had been her idea, really. One I’d mostly gone along with because I knew it’d be the easiest way to get to be with her.

But now here she was. Pissed at me.

“I said get out!” she said.

Lucretius Knows

I’d met Rebecca six months earlier in my honors seminar. I clearly remember the moment I started to like her. Our class section was reading On the Nature of Things, and Rebecca and I were the only two who came to Lucretius’s defense.

“It might sound silly to us as modern readers, the idea that all objects are made up of smaller versions of themselves. A regular table being made up of teeny tiny tables,” she said. “But we’re not in ancient Rome.”

“And if anything,” I chimed in. “That’s a poetic, if imprecise, way to describe atoms and molecules.”

Rebecca smiled at me, and I almost melted right then and there into my chair, thinking I might disappear into its molecular structure.

The Requisite Collegiate Existential Crisis

Afterwards she asked me if I’d like to have coffee with her. I did, spending a few hours nibbling on my everything bagel and trying not to stare too long into her deep brown eyes.

She was studying to be a teacher, she said. History. Her favorite subject and a personal cause. Since those who don’t understand history are doomed to repeat it.

She’d seen a poster for one of my plays, The Pocket Jesus. Announcing auditions. She wanted to know what it was about.

“On its surface it’s a silly fever dream about some Christian figures and Roman gods. But it’s really based on a fling and an existential crisis I had. You know, the one you’re required to have when you get to college,” I explained.

She laughed then, and it was so genuine I wanted to kiss her.

But it was at that exact moment she looked away and started waving at someone.

“Page,” she said, as the boy approached our table. “This is my boyfriend Derek.”

I forced a smile, feeling the floor fall out from under me. I’d known it was a long shot, dating her, going in. That, like most people, she was probably straight. But somehow there being a boyfriend in the picture made it feel all the more final.

“Nice to meet you,” he said.

“Page is a playwright,” Rebecca said. “Derek’s an actor. You two should talk.”

Gay-ish

And we did. Derek and I knew some of the same people. And we laughed at stories we’d both heard. From different sources. Told to us each  in wildly different ways.

“Isn’t it funny how rumors have a life of their own?” he said.

“They do,” I said.

“There are a lot of rumors about you actually,” he said.

And I started to panic. Oh lord, what has he heard about me? I cocked my head. “Like what?”

“Well,” he said, lowering his voice and leaning forward, “And don’t take this the wrong way — but are you gay?”

I smirked. “Sort of.”

“Sort of?” he said.

“I’m gay-ish,” I said.

“Gay-ish,” he said. “I like that.” One of his best friends was gay, he told me. And they’d told him about the Kinsey studies in the 40s and 50s. “I don’t remember the exact percentage or anything, but something like only ten percent of people are completely straight. Supposedly a lot of people are gay or somewhere in between. What do you think of that?”

I shrugged. “To tell you the truth, I don’t know about anybody else, but I’m still getting the hang of what I am.”

“I think theater’s a good place for that,” he said.

“Oh?”

“You can try on different personalities like costumes. See which one fits. And wear it home after the show,” he said.

“I don’t know about that,” Rebecca said. “That doesn’t sound terribly ethical.”

“Why’s that?” I asked her.

“Forcing yourself to be something you’re not,” she said.

“Ah, but how do we know what we are unless we have a good handle on who we’re not?” Derek said.

“You just know,” she said. “Do you really not know who you are?”

Derek said nothing.

My New Debate Partner

I envied Rebecca for her certainty. She saw everything as straightforward, clear. Where I would look out at things and see only ambiguity. Complexity. Muddiness.

This difference helped us have some great debates as we walked all over campus. We’d become walking partners because she’d played sports in high school but with her heavy course load didn’t really have the time for the travel that collegiate sports would require. So she needed exercise somehow.

And me? I just wanted to listen to her talk.

To hear her voice.

And yes, to argue with her.

We were so good at arguing. I had some of my greatest debates with Rebecca.

Often we’d meet up with Derek for dinner or an evening guest lecture in whatever topic we could find that looked interesting. And as time went on, it became a very comfortable companionship, the three of us.

Sure, I was secretly in love with her, and part of me felt sad that we’d likely never be more than friends. But I enjoyed the time I spent with her. And yes, with Derek. He was a pretty okay dude.

“I’m Starting to Think I Might Be Bisexual”

And then one day while we were out on one of our walks, the tenor of everything changed.

“I haven’t told anyone this yet, Page, but I’m starting to think I might be bisexual,” Rebecca told me.

My blood started to pound in my ears. OMG, OMG, does she feel the same way about me? 

Externally, I struggled to maintain my composure, play things cool.

“Why do you think that?” I said.

“It’s just… knowing you and being your friend,” she said. “So much of what you say and what you do, it resonates with me. We’re a lot alike… I dunno. This probably sounds stupid.”

I stopped in my tracks. “No,” I said sternly. “It doesn’t sound stupid at all.”

“Please don’t tell Derek,” she said.

“I won’t.”

“Promise,” she said.

“I promise.”

“It’s just… I don’t want him thinking he’s not enough, you know?”

“I do,” I said, nodding. Sadly, even the revelation that I was bisexual had been threatening to some men I’d dated. They worried incessantly that I was just limping out into being gay, what I really wanted. That being bisexual was like a trial period for the full thing. And that when I found my footing, it’d be a one-way ticket to Lesbian Town.

Well, the ones who weren’t constantly pressuring me to have threesomes, anyway.

Still, I got Rebecca’s point.

“Thank you, Page,” she said, with sudden softness in her voice. She hugged me for what felt like eternity by the library, the people passing us on the sidewalk likely interpreting it as a friendly hug.

But there was no doubt in my mind: This was something different altogether. Incredibly intimate.

When she finally had to go to class, I walked back to my dorm room, all the while wondering where this was going, whether I’d betrayed Derek just now — or if I were about to.

The Freedom to Explore

It turns out that Derek wasn’t clueless. I didn’t hear this from Derek but through Rebecca, on our next walk.

“I thought I’d have to hide it,” she said. “But he figured it out.”

“Oh,” I said. “How’d he take it?” Again trying to sound nonchalant, like my heart weren’t wrapped up in all of this.

“He was really supportive, actually,” she said. “He said he’d be okay with whatever I had to do. That he loved me enough to give the freedom to explore this.”

“What are you going to do?” I said.

“Well,” she said. “That’s what I wanted to talk to you about.”

When she told me she wanted to go to bed with me, I almost passed out.

“Well, maybe we could kiss first. Or at least you could buy me dinner. I promise I’m worth it,” I joked.

She laughed. Told me she wanted all of that. But that the easiest way would probably be if I went to bed with both of them.

“Both of you?” I said. “I’m crazy about you, but I’ve never really thought of Derek that way before.”

“No?” she said. “You two are always talking. I thought for sure you liked him.”

“Well, I do like him. As a friend. And he’s pretty nice looking. I don’t know, I just…” I shrugged.

She sighed.

“I mean,” I said. “It could be fun maybe. The three of us some night.”

“It just would seem less like cheating and more fair this way,” she said.

“I’ll think about it,” I told her.

And some weeks later, after talking through all of my doubts and taking some time to really consider it, I agreed.

The Aftermath of the Worst Threesome I Ever Had

After Rebecca slapped me and kicked me out on the night of the would-be threesome, I didn’t talk to her for weeks. Walking to class, we’d spot each other in all the old familiar places on the campus mall, and Rebecca would shadow step away from me. I’d quickly avert my eyes and sweep an equal distance away from her.

It wasn’t until we wound up at the same mutual friend’s party that we exchanged words again, and even then, I kept my distance.

And so did Rebecca. Until she’d had four shots of tequila.

“Page, I miss you,” she said. “I’m so sorry about what happened.”

“Why did you slap me?” I asked her, pointedly not accepting her apology.

She sighed. Her eyes started to water up. “When I saw you kissing Derek, something in me snapped. I don’t know. You weren’t Page anymore to me. You were some woman trying to steal my boyfriend.”

“Rebecca,” I said. “I never would have stolen Derek. I was in it for you. Not him. I only kissed him because you told me to, and I was a little curious about what it would be like to kiss him, especially right after kissing you.”

“I guess I hadn’t seen you as a woman before,” she said.

“What? If I weren’t a woman, then what was I?” I said.

“You were Page,” she said, as though that explained everything.

Derek came over. “C’mon, Rebecca. Time to get you some water.” He met my gaze uncomfortably before escorting her away from me.

I never spoke to either of them again.

*

Books by Page Turner:

A Geek’s Guide to Unicorn Ranching

Poly Land: My Brutally Honest Adventures in Polyamory 

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3 Comments

  1. ah, i feel you so much, sister… <3 your words went right in my heart. been there so often (minus the slap)… above all – amazing writing!

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