Ménage à trois: On The Beach
They weren’t brothers but people thought they were. They had been asked three times since they had come here. Once Richard had agreed when someone asked and the stranger had nodded. They had only known each other two days. Now they sat on the shore.
Richard looked right into her eyes when they fucked but then as he got closer to coming he’d reach up and take a handful of her hair and pull it then twist his other arm under her, between her body and her arms so she was pinned with her breasts arched out against him. He would tell her he was coming and she would turn her head so his breath was warm in her ear. John was different. Slimmer. He was easier to laugh with. With him sex was rough but then he would find her mouth and kiss her with tenderness.
John got up and said “I’m going in.”
Richard turned around to face her- “Coming?”
She shook her head. They took off their clothes down to their underwear. The sun was hot. She watched them, rubbing her foot in the sand.
John moved fast and gangly like a boy. His hair in soft curls beside his eyes. Richard’s skin was gold from the sun. They really did look like brothers- John younger. They ran down to the surf, jumping over mounded piles of kelp and beached jellyfish that had started to stink in the heat. John picked one up and threw it at Richard, who pulled another one, clear like aspic, and pushed it into John’s hair. Then they both dove under. They swam way out.
She lay back in the sand. She thought about John, about last night when she had run back across the road and kissed him quite hard, while Richard had watched from the far kerb, how after a moment he’d kissed her back and it had been like a song, with verses and a chorus and an ecstatic reprise. When she had put her mouth on his time had expanded inside her and then it expanded again as she walked home. Again when she lay down. One kiss all night. She had gone home with Richard and left John on the corner but Richard had only fallen asleep, so she lived in the expanding song of the kiss until morning.
The next morning John had called to say they should all go to the beach.
She had wondered where they would stay and he’d said it was hot and they didn’t need to stay anywhere. She woke Richard with a coffee.
“We’re going to the beach. John will be here in twenty minutes.”
And Richard had pulled her into bed and did that thing he did where he only half kissed her, half touched her, until she was crazy with lust but then he pulled away and leapt out of bed when the knock on the door came- sharp and joyful in the clear dry morning
They had arrived by mid afternoon. They went straight into the water and then afterward they fell asleep on the sand, letting the salt and the wind and the sun melt away their hangovers. After a while they climbed up into the shade in the rocks at the headland and she kissed Richard and then John and John slid his hand up so his thumb rested against her bathers where they were wet between her legs. Richard buried his face in the crook of her neck, from behind, but nothing more happened. It was cooler there and soon they fell asleep, legs tangled, ants crawling over them. When they woke up they came back down to the beach.
The sun was starting to go down but it was still very hot. She sat up in the sand. The boys had gone a long way out and from this distance you couldn’t tell one from the other- they were just two shadows sometimes bobbing up in the swell.
She pulled the blanket up over her head like a tent for shade. A man walked past with his daughter trailing behind him. She had seen them earlier way up the beach- the daughter’s small hands filling a bucket with sandy mud while her father tried to help , laughing at the urgency of her little voice as it instructed him in proper bucket filling technique. She watched them until they faded away against the light and then when she looked back the boys had come in again. They came up out of the surf towards her. She could not tell one from the other. They came closer. She still could not tell. The one on the left looked down at the sand as he walked and the one on the right looked at her with what she had just now realised was the same look both of them had when they saw her – a look that lovers had. Maybe not lovers: fuckers. It was a look that said ‘I will have you again.’ The other one lifted his head up from where he had been watching his feet scuffing up shells and seaweed as he walked. He had the look.
She said “I could murder a beer” and one of them said something funny and they all laughed. They went up to the pub and got drunk. They were slow with sun and sleep. She wondered aloud “Where will we sleep?” and one of them replied that they should go under the pier. “There are fires down there and people hang out all night. We’ll take the blankets out of the car.”
While they drank, although she watched very closely, she could not tell one from the other. Sometimes one of them would say something to her that was a very ‘John’ or a very ‘Richard’ thing to say, but she thought that these identifying things were not coming distinctly or in a pattern from one or the other in particular. The one on her left made a joke and then a few minutes later the other one picked up the joke and kept it running though it was unlikely they would make this same joke. Then it would reverse and they would both be ‘John –like’ for a while. Or they would do things that were distinct to one of them; one would scratch the back of her neck very softly like John did and the other would lean back and look at her while he talked, swinging his knee back and forth so it stroked her thigh- like Richard. And then they would swap.
Eventually they went down to the beach, under the pier, to fuck. They had two blankets, one underneath and one over and they made a fire. It was warm and the breeze from the sea was welcome. She thought to herself, part way through the night when she had fallen almost asleep and been almost awakened by one of them sliding inside her again, by a mouth against her breast or arms pulling her shoulders back and pushing her into the softness of the blanket over the sand, that if there were three, four, many others here they would all be this. She wondered what woman she was for them and thought that tomorrow perhaps she would go out and find another woman and they would swim together out past the kelp, past the jellyfish, so that her and the woman were two shadows bobbing in the sea. So that then she could swim back in and just look at the other one to see what it was to be a woman to these men.