It was a game one could only discover with a partner one knew very, very well.
Magenta and I had been close as clamshells since high school, when she’d huddled in my arms till 4 a.m. in my parents’ basement—beautifully drunk, tearfully disgusted with the state of her life mid-way through senior year, and completely accepting of my platonic hugs. I don’t remember much about the party we’d just left—I was her ride, a conscientious “designated driver” at 18—but I’ll never forget the warmth I felt in that basement, on a single-digit winter night.
Mind you, she wasn’t called Magenta back then. Just Maggie. It took two semesters of arts-driven blossoming at a small New England college before she emerged as Magenta.
Some of our high-school acquaintances snickered. But I, glimpsing the unmistakable flicker of adventurous joie de vivre in her eyes whenever she came home for a visit, applauded her new choice of name. And it seemed to mean a lot to her that I did so.
In my lazy way, I’d acquired my own version of joie de vivre. I attended local college, worked summers, went to indie-rock concerts, dated when something fell into place, and generally enjoyed myself. Truth was, I was still in love with Mag, but I’d accepted the reality that my feelings were unrequited.
And that was long before the spring break visit when she told me she was “ninety percent lesbian.” She said it the way you might say you were “three-quarters Italian and one-quarter Irish.”
She was sitting at my kitchen table, the afternoon sun streaming through the window onto her face, as she made this earnest revelation. I’d been puttering around while we chatted, but now I joined her.
“Hey, I’m so glad you’re finding yourself,” I said. “First step to happiness, right?”
“First step to happiness at the moment is you baking me some of your famous peanut butter cookies,” she coaxed. “I’ve been thinking about them all semester.”
Later, when she was munching cookies at the table, I said, “So, I’m curious. What’s the other ten percent?”
She broke an edge off her cookie, and her hands toyed with it as she answered.
“The other ten percent is that when I’m in figure-drawing class and we have a male model, I spend a lot more time looking at his dick than is, shall we say, artistically necessary.”
She had such a way with words. Not to mention a way with the chunk of cookie that she kept rolling between her sensitive fingers.
She continued. “I think the difference between how I feel about sexy women and how I feel about sexy men is sort of like the difference between how I feel about painting versus sculpture. Paintings are my whole world. I eat, drink, and breathe them, I’m thinking about them all the time, and I practically live in the landscape gallery of the museum at school. If I could, I’d crawl into a painting at night instead of a bed. Whereas sculpture—hey, I like fine sculpture. Nice stuff, keep up the good work. But I wouldn’t put one in my house or anything.”
I made a wry, wistful sound—half sigh, half chuckle.
“What?” Her eyebrows knitted the way they did when something puzzled her.
“Nothing,” I said. “Only I never thought of myself as ‘just a sculpture’ before.”
“You are not ‘just a sculpture,’ Nicholas. You, my friend, are the David.”
I smiled. “You’re re-writing Cole Porter, you scamp, and I love you for it.”
I was resigned to the fact that Mag and I were always going to be just friends. But there was still nobody I’d rather spend time with. All of the weekends she came home were blocked off in impregnable rectangles on my calendar. And it made me happy to observe that the bond was strong in both directions. Aside from some obligatory family time, it seemed like she was glad to let me monopolize her for the duration of each visit.
And so we found ourselves snuggling on my couch one evening, during our junior year in college, watching Marx Brothers movies. I remember thinking, as I followed the antics of those manic siblings on the screen, that Magenta felt like the sister I never had.
That night, things felt so comfy and cozy, that when she asked the question that launched the game, it startled me, jolting me back to the sexual undercurrent I’d kept at a low, inaudible simmer.
She had telegraphed the change in tone by shifting her position just slightly—straightening up against the back of the couch, without losing contact with my body. I could tell she was about to broach a new subject. Beyond that, I had no idea what was coming.
What she said was, “What do you think we’d be doing right now if we were, you know, more than just friends?”
Time froze as I took her in from tip to toes. I drank in her thick, floppy mane of red hair, her pale but glowing face, the small, delectable breasts that shaped her aqua top into a dream, and the petite bare feet that sprouted the ten cutest toes I’d ever seen.
Despite being taken by surprise, my talent for repartee did not fail me. “I’m not sure,” I said cautiously, “But I’m thinking that the Marx Brothers might not factor so heavily into it.”
She laughed, and her eyes twinkled. Maggie had always laughed—and twinkled—at my one-liners, even when she’d been in the grip of a bleak teen winter. And my cheerful, grown-up Magenta was inclined to laugh even more heartily.
So I was surprised when her brow suddenly furrowed. “I’m sorry, Nick,” she said. “I’m afraid that was an insensitive thing to ask. I mean, because of how you feel.”
I took her hand. “No Mag, please, no worries. Yeah, it was sort of a strange question to ask. But when has that ever stopped us? And as a game, a theoretical discussion let’s say, it appeals to me. It lets me indulge my fantasies.”
I instinctively pulled myself away from her a little bit as I said it. Even though she had started this whole thing, I wanted to be careful not to make her uncomfortable. But Mag immediately closed up the distance again, as she relaxed back into the sofa cushions.
“To be honest, I don’t even know why I asked it,” she said. “But I think maybe . . .”
She swallowed. “Okay, I think it’s about how I feel so close to you, so intimate in some way. And though I know it’s only a friendship thing, well, there’s no harm in buddies playing a little game of ‘What if we were more than friends,’ is there? Especially when you’re sitting there looking so sexy.” She blew me a kiss—an old habit of hers, and something not everyone could pull off like she could.
Watch for Part Two of this sexy tale to be posted one week from today.
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Jeremy Edwards is the author of the erotocomedic novel Rock My Socks Off and the erotic story collection Spark My Moment (both published by Xcite Books). His libidinous short stories have been widely published online, as well as in over forty anthologies. His work was selected for The Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica, vols. 7, 8, and 9, and he has read at New York’s In the Flesh and Philadelphia’s Erotic Literary Salon. Jeremy’s greatest goal in life is to be sexy and witty at the same moment—ideally in lighting that flatters his profile. Find Jeremy here: http://www.jeremyedwardserotica.com.