"You like? I was thinking about getting a couple more. You know, for making a setup like this more like a real restriction," she adds, then laughs softly when I tug gently on the padlock still connecting the two rings.

Jazz groans dismally, surprising both Bella and me. When he sees the looks on our faces he huffs, pushing himself off into a sitting position.

"I'm not protesting per se. But doesn't that mean I wouldn't be able to eat your pussy for another three months? You can't do that to me, Bella. You can't be that cruel!"

I wisely press myself deeper into the mattress when Jazz crawls over me, narrowly avoiding getting kicked in the process. Bella starts laughing when he moves up her body from the foot of the bed, on the way kissing and licking her calves, knees and thighs. The sound turns into a high pitched shout when he stops hovering over her pussy and blows on her clit, obviously tickling her. Shout eventually turns to moan when he lowers his head and starts tonguing her clit.

Jazz stops after a bit, grinning up at her, then looks over at me.

"As hot as it might be, it's a bit impractical right now."

Bella makes a sound between a groan and squeal when he catches the padlock between his teeth and gently pulls on it, as if to make a point.

Laughing at his antics, I reach over to the nightstand and get the small key that fits into the lock. Jazz eagerly takes it from me to undo it, then gives Bella a sidelong glance to see what she wants to do. Pushing herself up onto her elbow, she reaches over to gently run a finger down his chin, still not touching herself.

"I love it when you or Edward play with them. Just do whatever you want."

Urged on by her words Jazz sets to removing the rings, but puts them back through the piercings vertically, one through each of her labia now. Bella meanwhile turns her head to me. When she smacks her lips I get the hint and move closer, eagerly kissing her again while I pull her onto my arm so that she can rest her head on my shoulder. Her moans get louder when I run my hand up her stomach and start playing with her breast, while Jazz dives between her legs again.

In a movement typical of her, Bella eventually pushes me away, her eyes bright and her cheeks flushed.

"Edward?"

"Hmm?"

"Are you going to do me a favor?"

"Anything you want."

I can already guess what she's up to when she glances from me down to where Jazz is still very enthusiastically eating her out.

"You know what would be even better than having my pussy licked like that?"

"The same while you watch me fuck him?"

Her breathy laughter somehow manages to be dirty at the same time.

"You can always read my every wish from my eyes! Just one of the reasons I love you."

Leaning into her I kiss her again, then get the lube. In the meantime, Bella shimmies upwards on the bed so that she ends up with her head and shoulders comfortably propped up on a pillow against the headboard. Now there's actually enough room at the other end of the bed so I won't fall off.

Jazz follows her, seemingly without breaking stride, and moans appreciatively when I run my hand over his naked, raised ass. So much for preferences either way with us.

My cock isn't entirely hard yet so I squirt enough lube onto my palm so I can slick up my fingers and spread him open and stroke myself at the same time. Bella's eyes stray from watching Jazz lick her to what I'm doing, idly chewing on her bottom lip. I take my time, knowing how much she loves watching me jerk off.

Finally I stop, taking my hard cock into my hand and slapping it against Jazz's ass a few times just for the hell of it. He grumbles something that neither of us understands, and makes me crack up as the sound becomes a low moan when I slowly push into him with my dick. Jazz lets out a string of profanities, muffled beyond recognition, and Bella's only answer is to grab his hair with one hand and grind her pussy into his face.

I set a slow and relaxed pace – for one I just love watching Bella writhe under Jazz's mouth, for another I am aching all over from yesterday's exertions. As much as I don't mind pain in general, feeling my thigh muscles lock up because of that strain is not something that gets me all hot and bothered.

Taking Bella's invitation for what it is, Jazz seems to increase the intensity of his ministrations because soon she is moaning constantly as she comes, one hand still gripping his hair, the other digging into the mattress. When she goes slack again it is with a glow on her face and a decisive "Ouch!" as she shifts her weight off one hip, wincing briefly.

When she pushes his head away he rests it briefly on her thigh, but Bella is not done with him yet by far. Instead of just lying back now, she starts inching down the bed until she's lying underneath Jazz, their faces almost flush with each other.

"Let me take care of that," she coos, reaching for his cock and starting to stroke it with determination. Jazz leans further over her so that it's impossible for me to see what is going on between them anymore, but when Bella sighs contently it's not hard to imagine where his cock has ended up. I speed up my own pace a bit then, making him rock forward a bit more in reaction, and get rewarded with a low moan from her in turn.

Turning his head to the side Jazz begins nuzzling Bella's jaw, then finds her lips and kisses her slowly, almost in sync with my thrusts into him. Her arms wrap around his shoulders, the hand that ends up lower on his back briefly brushing against mine there.

Watching them both like that, gentle and almost intimate between their small pants and the sounds of sloppy kissing, makes me want to draw the moment out forever, but my own need is soon too overwhelming. As I speed up, Jazz's motions become more jerky in return. Eventually he stops kissing Bella and instead rests his forehead on her shoulder, his moans and grunts half-muffled against her. She smiles at him briefly before she turns her head and looks up at me, a wry grin on her sweat-slicked face.

I hold her gaze as I speed up until it gets to be too much. My eyes fall closed, need racing through my body and wiping my mind clear of any coherent thought. I vaguely register Jazz crying out when his own orgasm drags him under, leaving us both panting heavily while Bella laughs softly.

On any other day I would just have sagged down on Jazz, dragging him onto the mattress, but I don't want to add any additional strain to Bella's already aching body so I pull out of him and push myself away. He does the same, leaving Bella lying on her back alone, her pussy and thighs sticky with their combined juices, and maybe even some of mine.

"Now that was fun!" she laughs, then crawls back up towards the headboard. She flops down onto her stomach, seemingly lifeless, and not unlike she was before Jazz came in earlier. Jazz quickly follows her but stays propped up on his side next to her, studying her exposed backside.

Yearning for more physical contact now I snuggle up to her body, resting my head on her shoulder so that I can both kiss her there and look at Jazz while I let my hand roam over her ass and back. Bella utters a contented sigh, moving ever so slightly closer to me, at least until I poke one of the remaining welts on her left ass cheek.

"Bastard."

I let a dark chuckle be my only answer next to a pacifying kiss. Jazz finally settles down completely, mirroring my position so that we end up both cuddling Bella between us, stealing a few kisses from each other while we all calm down and relax.

Bella's breathing eventually evens out until she starts snoring slightly, making me grin as Jazz rolls his eyes. I feel myself drift off, only rousing when I feel Jazz shift so he can drape one arm halfway over my back, too.

He smirks at me when his hand drifts lower to grab my ass, but I don't react, just happy to be exactly where I am.

Chapter 38

"Can I get you anything else, or will that be all?"

Handing Raven back my signed receipt, I smile at her and shake my head.

"No, thanks. Assembling all of this and putting the new equipment through a series of stress tests should keep us busy for a while."

It's still somewhat weird, but without a doubt more relaxing, to just get a nod and my credit card back from her.

"If you change your mind, we have the scented lubes on sale until after the weekend."

"I'll remember that. Thanks," I reply, then grab the last package and carry it to my car, barely managing to close the rear hatch after I add my purchases. When I go back into the shop I see that Beth is finally done talking to the woman she has been holed up with in a corner of the café area for the last half hour. I wait until she has left the shop before I saunter over to my former mentor, hugging her before I take the seat opposite her.

"I take it everything is okay - you spent an extra twenty minutes hanging around here just to talk to me, but you still look relaxed and at ease."

"And by that do you actually mean I look like shit, just as I always do when I'm coming home after an endless shift in hell?"

Her wide grin is answer enough, and I happily accept the extra-strong espresso she hands me. Beth keeps watching me while I drain half of it way too quickly, letting the heat and sugar chase away the grogginess that threatens to overwhelm me.

"You look happy. Even if you look like crap, it's still a happy kind of crap."

I snort, then put down the cup.

"Probably because I am happy. Nothing to complain about."

"Nothing? Seriously? That sounds so boring."Her jibe makes me laugh."Well, if you ask me that way, of course there are some issues. Jazz has been hounding me because I keep forgetting to put the dirty dishes into the dishwasher and tend to forget my things in the dryer. Bella insists that my snoring is driving her crazy, we always run out of milk and no one ever admits to being the one who opened the last bottle. Jazz gets bitchy at times and Bella says we act too immature for our own good. I could go on like that for days, but in the end none of that matters. Things are great."Beth smiles and inclines her head, although I get the feeling that the milk issue in particular isn't news to her."Who would have thought a year ago that things would turn out this way?"Although her words sound cordial enough, they still make me think, and I can't shake off the feeling that she's fishing for information. Holding her gaze without blinking I finally shrug, taking a sip from my coffee."Let's just say that on some level I always hoped it would boil down to this.Even if I couldn't admit to myself that I wanted Jazz to be more than just my roommate back then.""I'm sure you weren't the only one not wanting to go down that road at the time," she replies, her words and tone unfamiliarly gentle for her. I raise my eyebrows, silently urging her to elaborate, but she leaves it at a bland smile. Getting stonewalled like that by her of all people is a strange and not entirely comfortable feeling, but I guess I really can't call dibs on her as my sounding board anymore when I tell the other people in my life to go talk to her if they need someone's honest and unprejudiced opinion."I take it that everything turned out fine after your last visit here?"Mentioning our scene with Bella and the others makes me grin again, and I incline my head."As Bella very likely already told you, no problems at all, besides Jazz being a little grumpy that we keep underestimating him.""Yeah, I know. Eventually they grow up and you have to accept that they're not children anymore!""Now that's a really disturbing idea."Beth joins in my laughter."And where do you see yourself five years from now?"Snorting, I narrow my eyes at her."Why do I get the feeling this is turning into a job interview now?"She shrugs, noncommittally."Sorry. I watched too many bad TV shows last week on my own. I'm too lazy to disguise my nosiness any other way right now.""Fair enough," I grunt, then think about the question for a while. "I really don't know. Probably right where I am now, sipping coffee, answering seemingly harmless questions.""You know I didn't mean it that literally.""Actually, with you? No. But my answer stays the same. I don't think anything will change that much by then, if we're lucky."Now she's the one waiting for me to go on, so I do."I don't think either of us will get tired of the other two and leave the fold.Living together might not be easy, but by now we've managed to find our places in our very own little ecosystem, falling back into old patterns or establishing new ones. I also think that with the way things went downhill so fast before, we're all loathe to do anything that might seriously unbalance us without talking about it first. And we always manage to make good decisions together. Bella is still giving me that weird look whenever I mention children so I doubt we'll hear the pitter-patter of little feet running through the house any time before we hit thirty. And considering how unlikely it is that same-sex marriage will be legal everywhere in the country in the next years, I doubt they'll pass a bill allowing us to legalize our relationship as it is."Beth inclines her head ruefully, her smile wry."Yeah, I've come to terms with officially dying an old spinster as far as the law is concerned, but that's no reason to give up hope or stop fighting. But speaking of bringing more quirky, evil bastards into this world, have you still been weirding Jazz out by whining that none of your eventual spawn will have his golden birdie locks?"I almost choke on my coffee, then push the cup away from me before I can accidentally knock it over."Bella really told you that?"Beth's grin has a definite feline quality to it now."Of course she did - holding her sides, tears in her eyes, while managing to look horribly grossed out at the same time.""Ah, I know. I can be such an ass sometimes, but I can't help it - I love to try and squick them out from time to time. And there's really not much else I can say that will make them both stare at me with that look of utter, horrified disgust. I mean, I know with Jazz being sterile he can't have any kids in the first place, but I doubt that they'd think about having children together even if they were the last two people on Earth. Guess it serves me right that he's already threatened to teach our future offspring every stupid thing he can think of?""Naturally, but considering your work schedule, he'll likely also be the one teaching them every useful thing he can think of, too. You should be glad about that. Although PTA meetings are bound to be a blast."As always, the knowledge that my career will cut deeply into family time saddens me, but she's right. Just as I'm relieved now that Bella has someone to be around when I'm gone for days at a time – even if that still bothers me, and will likely only get worse if we have kids – I know that our family, as it is, will be a warm and nurturing environment for anyone to grow up and live in.The last part of her remark turns my smile into a grin again, and I snort."I already pity the unlucky bitch or bastard who calls Bella's righteous wrath down upon them. When she was out with Rose and her baby last week and someone looked at them in what she thought was a condescending way, she got right in their face. I don't want to think about how much worse it will be when it's her own brood that's under scrutiny. She really doesn't suffer fools gladly anymore.""Did she ever? I still remember a time when you didn't have the balls to confess your undying love to her because you thought she'd laugh at such a mushy sentiment, particularly when admitted after the mutual destruction of a bottle of tequila."Although it has only been a year, thinking back to a time when I couldn't just walk up to Bella and kiss her, knowing that she felt the same for me as I did for her, is almost impossible to fathom now."She tried. Hard, I think, to live up to the standards she set for herself in her attempt to find her place in the world, only to realize she wanted the exact opposite of them. And did you lace my coffee with something? I sound like I'm reciting bad prose or something.""Nope, that's all you, my dear. And, as the medical professional of the two of us, you probably know better than I do that it hails from sleep deprivation and you being so full of yourself all the time."I accept what is by her standards a gentle reprimand in silence. Her next question makes an answer to it unnecessary, anyway."Do you still beat yourself up over what you did? Your moment of weakness, probably the closest you'll ever come to 'cheating' in your life?"She even does air quotes with her fingers. I don't even have to think very long about how to answer that."I'll never stop trying to make it up to her, even if she already forgave me a long, long time ago. It helps that she agrees with me that what happened was in a way a catalyst for us to become what we are now, too.""Yeah, it's always convenient when in hindsight things just miraculously fall into place, and you can forget the months of whining in between.""I didn't whine that much!" I complain, then feel like bashing my head against the table when her toothy smile tells me I confirmed that yes, I did indeed whine."Okay. Yes, so maybe I have a certain penchant for drama queen behavior.Someone has to be the girl in our happy little family after all," I gripe back in a vain attempt at damage control."So true. And you did a good job letting Bella find her backbone while you were losing yours. The lesson in humility certainly served you well, too. You can be an awfully cocky bastard when you want to be.""Jazz usually says 'insufferable,' in case you were wondering."Beth snorts, then briefly looks away before her eyes settle on my face again."How's he coping with the whole situation? It can't have been easy for him to come back on his knees, begging for forgiveness, when he's even less inclined to show weakness than you are. Bella still isn't convinced that he's honest when he claims he doesn't care about the things you do with and to her. You should know that.""I know. She keeps nagging me about it. She doesn't realize that, just like he had so many issues accepting that she grew up, she's having the same problem accepting the changes in him. And yes, the fact that I sometimes feel like I'm loving a set of mirror images is weirding me out.""Aw, come on. You can't hold that against them. I'm not sure they even remember a time when they weren't co-dependent on each other, and hating everyone who tried to keep them apart. Ever wondered just why Jazz seemed so happy when he talked you into jumping into the breach after Bella and that guy she was dating broke up, or why she hates that Alice girl so much? They kept Bella and Jazz apart while you just pulled them closer together again. If you ask me, anything short of loving and wanting to fuck them both would have forced you into a lot of uncomfortable and weird situations for the rest of your life, if you had just stuck with Bella."