Third Leg


“So,” Alina says to me as she ladles out a helping of raspberry mouse onto a plate, “Jason’s coming over tomorrow.”

“Mhm, uh…” I swallow as she pushes the dessert toward me. “Cool.”

I stew on this for a few seconds. It’s taken me most of twenty-three years to pick up on this, but I have some issues managing my first impressions of things.

“Should I clear out, or…?” I trail off and wait for her to continue.

“Oh, no!” She looks genuinely surprised. “We were going to make tarts together. I’d be happy to have you stay and help.”

Looking at me with faintly hurt doe-eyes, her glossy chestnut ponytail draped over the shoulder of her faded pink t-shirt, Alina exudes the sort of domestic sweetness which I thought, when I first met her, would fit perfectly into a TV advertisement in which she describes her idyllically wholesome life, and rounds off by telling the audience “And I’m a Mormon.” I have never been religious, but if she had ever visited my home and asked me about my relationship with Jesus, I might have spent half an hour of my life feigning a deep investment in God.

“Oh, thanks.” I give her an almost-certainly awkward smile. “But, um… I kind of have a big paper on the standardization of the seal script coming up, and I was planning to spend most of tomorrow in the library hammering it out.”

This is completely, one hundred percent true. What does not need to be said in this instance is that I flubbed my chance at having a non-awkward relationship with Jason months ago, and have been tiptoeing around the two of them whenever they’re together ever since.

Alina, being Alina, of course managed to pick up a boyfriend within a few months of moving across the country for her degree program. If it comes to that, Jason looks like a guy you’d never see dating normal people. He looks like someone normal people would have on their lists of celebrity exceptions, like an actor who’d be cast to play a particularly dark and sensitive brand of comic book action hero. And even though I’m sure people graced with star power usually aren’t so blessed in every element of their lives, knowing Alina and Jason, I can’t help but suspect that they also have an incredible sex life which they fit in wherever they can get away with it.

Alina gives me a slightly wistful look, as if she’s making a deliberate effort not to pout.

“Well, okay, if you’re sure. We’ll save you some at least. As many as you want.”

Inwardly, I wince a little. A person could kick puppies to work their way up to making Alina feel disappointed. Nearly as long as they’ve been together, she’s been trying to get me to feel comfortable around Jason, encouraging me to connect with him and find shared points of interest. It’s part of why I’m pretty sure she already sees him as a serious, long term partner. She probably genuinely does want me to stay and hang out and make him feel at home.

“I mean, I’ll still be here until lunch.” I backtrack. “I’m probably not much good with tarts, but I could help you get started?”

She smiles. “Sure, that’d be great.”

Despite her best wishes, it’s probably going to be awkward. Back when they’d just gotten together, when I’d only seen him a couple of times, Alina asked me, ‘Guess what Jason does for a living?’ He’s a translator, quadrilingual, majored in Chinese like me. She thought the two of us would have loads to talk about. If I weren’t the sort of person whose feet gravitate to my mouth, maybe we could have.

Instead, my guess was ‘Underwear model?’

I smile back at her, putting up my best pretense of being unfazed by this conversation.

“Yeah. Um… Any time.”

After dinner, I hole up in my room and get a bit of work done on my paper before settling in and relaxing with a book, stockpiling my social energy for tomorrow. As I drift off towards sleep, I imagine the three of us traveling together on some kind of quest for magical jam, like a very domestic Wizard of Oz or Journey to the West.

Jason arrives before noon the next morning, and the two of them have things set up while I’m still barely awake, with their morning-people powers. While I’d envisioned jam tarts, instead they’re making fresh fruit tarts, and I join them already hard at work slicing up the fruit to arrange by hand. It’s slow work, but at least gives me a convenient excuse to break eye contact at any given moment. Alina asks me about the paper I’m working on, and I stumble through an explanation of the standardization of China’s system of writing in the Qin dynasty. She nods along in rapt attention, even though my explanation is probably as opaque as when she tries to explain her work in cellular biology to me.

Alina turns to Jason. “So, can you read seal script?” she asks.

He laughs and shakes his head. “God no. Small seal script was already outdated by the time they invented paper. I can only recognize about half the characters tops, and that’s just the stuff it shares with modern script.”

“I can’t really read it either.” I confess. I think just Escort bayan because I’m in a grad program in Chinese, Alina imagines I’m way more knowledgeable than I actually am. “I mean, I know a bit apart from the modern characters, but I’m basically just blundering through any time I try to get anything out of it.”

“That’s still really cool though.” Alina gives me a reassuring smile. “I mean, it’s thousands of years old, right? I think it’s amazing there’s anyone around now who can read any of it at all.”

Alina is somehow so adept at cutting fruit that she never needs to break eye contact, but I’m definitely not. The conversation wanders around ancient languages and history, but even if this is a subject I’m supposed to know something about, I keep envisioning myself swinging the conversation around to awkward places. In my mind’s eye, I ask Jason ‘How did you get so ripped anyway? Do you do kung fu or something?’ And then the two of them stare at me until I melt through the tiles of the floor. Once I feel like I’ve adequately discharged my fruit-cutting responsibilities, I excuse myself and leave the two of them to enjoy each other’s company unimpeded.

I still feel a bit wired by the time I reach the library, but thankfully, this is actually a productive mood for me. After just a little bit of time to settle, I find myself sailing through my work, charged with nervous energy. It’s not until several hours in that I bother to check my email and see a notice from the professor extending the deadline on the paper back a full week. I could wrap up for today and still not have to worry about a deadline crunch, but screw that, I’m on a roll right now, and I might as well make full use of my time out of the house anyway. By sundown, I have the paper fully assembled. I’ll take the time to revise it a bit before it’s due, but I’m comfortable in the feeling that I could already submit it as-is. I treat myself to dessert on the way back, congratulating myself for making such productive use of the day, and it’s not until I’m nearly home that I remember that I already have tarts waiting for me.

I open the front door feeling a bit sheepish, ready to apologize to Alina for forgetting she’d left dessert aside for me, but before I can announce myself, a voice cuts me short. Not just a voice. A moan. I freeze by the entrance, struck by a flurry of realizations. The first is that Alina and Jason have clearly forgotten to expect me back by now, just as I’d forgotten about the tarts. Second, it hits me with a sudden shock that for several months now, I’ve completely misjudged how soundproof our rooms are. I imagined that we had a fair amount of privacy in our own space, but it seems that all along, Alina was simply being quiet. Now, I can hear her loud and clear, down to the wavering tremors in her voice. Third, I realize that she and Jason have not, after all, been having sex while I was in the house. I always imagined that they had, but now it feels obvious, there’s no way they could have kept it hidden.

But, as a flush of heat runs through my body, at once sinking down from my core and rising up palpably to my face, I find myself gripped with certainty that I was right about one thing: Alina and Jason must after all have a really incredible sex life.

I ease the door shut behind me, painstakingly slowly. I stand motionless inside the living room, listening. I can hear, not just an occasional moan, but a constant stream of sound, slowly rising in volume, becoming faster and more desperate. I’ve thought before, more times than I can count, about how sweet Alina’s voice is, how she fixes my attention on her words. If I’m honest with myself, I’ve thought at least a few times about what she might sound like having sex. Her moans ring out high and clear, saturated with pleasure and lust. I strain my hearing, trying to catch Jason’s voice along with hers, and I notice the sound of my own breath, whisper quiet and shaking.

Standing and listening, trying to pick out every nuance of sound, I feel a shock of nostalgia blended with my excitement. I remember the times, ten years back or more, when I would use our family computer to explore my earliest fantasies and curiosities in the dead of night, my heart pounding with nervousness and unfamiliar arousal. With the same feeling as back then, of desire overcoming guilt, and with the same scrupulously silent footfalls, I walk to my own room, carefully crack open the door and slip inside.

With my door shut, the sounds from their room abate a little. But only a little. No wonder, considering how little a barrier their own door has turned out to be. I slip off my shoes and pad across my room to my bed, where I settle down- as much as I can under the circumstances- to listen.

Almost as if timed to my arrival, I hear a change in the pitch of Alina’s voice, and the emergence of words.

“Oh… oh… oh… oh… Oh fuck! Oh fuck! Oh fuck! Oh fuck!”

Her repetition is cut off by a high, penetrating wail. Gasps for breath. The thought reverberates Bayan escort through my mind: She just came. Alina just came. I just heard her come. I realize as I kneel in bed that my hips have started to move unconsciously, grinding against nothing. My hand is shaking slightly as I slip it down beneath my waistband. Conscious of the pace of my own breath, of how easily I could hear Alina, I maintain a practiced silence through the shock of pleasure as my fingers reach my clit. My attention shifts inward for the first time, and I realize that I’m already completely soaked.

I tease myself slowly, gingerly exploring just how far my arousal has already built without a single touch. I strain my ears, ready to stop at a moment’s notice if the two of them are finally finished. For the first time, Alina has gone quiet, and I can hear Jason’s voice- a deep, muffled sigh, as if his lips are locked against her. A kiss? Maybe sucking her breasts? Her neck? All of those play through my head, before I settle on an image of him pinning her to the bed, still hilted inside her, her head craned back as he grasps her ponytail tight in his hand, kissing her neck. I run my fingers over myself, feather light, just barely teasing my clit, but I can feel myself twitching at the thought.

Suddenly, Alina’s voice cuts through again; a sudden intake of breath, as if they’ve just broken away from a kiss. Once again, I catch words scattered among her gasps for air.

“Oh god… Oh god… fuck, Jason… fuck me…!”

I let out a shuddering breath, and almost clap my free hand over my mouth. They’re still going! The sounds from their room aren’t winding down, but regaining heat. I press down a little harder against myself, picking up my pace along with them. Even keeping my touch soft, the thought of Alina’s face vivid with pleasure, of the muscles rippling across Jason’s back as he thrusts into her, has me coasting close to the edge. How long can they keep this up? I have no idea, but I want to follow along with them to the end, to feel like I’m a part of this. I realize that my breathing, soft, rasping, kept down to a volume that’s quiet even in my own ears, has fallen into a rhythm with their voices. My fingers thrum across me at the pace of their movements in my head.

Alina’s voice falls into another wordless crescendo, her moans coming in faster, louder, more desperate. Unconsciously, I pick up my pace along with her. As she lets out a shuddering cry, I catch myself in a gasp. My hand freezes, and for a moment I try desperately to hold myself back. It’s too late. I’m past the point of no return, unable to pull myself back from the edge. Giving in, I let my fingers move again, drawing out a shuddering orgasm, a soft whine leaking from my lips, ecstasy mixed with disappointment.

I feel a flicker of shame rise up in me. Not for masturbating listening to the two of them having sex; hearing the two of them still going, the thought of that still seems irresistible and unavoidable. But it gives me a faint feeling of bitterness that I wasn’t able to follow along to the end with them like I’d planned. The sounds from their room continue, carrying on uninterrupted even after Alina came. But my clit is throbbingly sensitive now, too much to tolerate my fingers, and I can’t carry on with them like before.

A consoling thought comes to me: I came with her. Alina made me come, with her voice. No, she and Jason both did. He fucked her, and made her come, and made me come with her. I came together with Alina, I couldn’t help it.

But, the two of them are still going, and leaving me behind. I rock back on the bed and sit, weighing my options. I could, I’ve learned this from experience, give myself a moment to rest, then grind myself against something soft, the broader, gentler pressure still tolerable in my post-climax sensitivity, and build to another orgasm, and even to more after that if they keep going. I might even try to match the pace of my hips to theirs, following along in time. I eye my pillows appraisingly. But the idea is just too risky. If I try to keep pace with them like that, they would probably be able to hear my bed rocking, just like I can hear theirs beneath their voices.

Another thought starts to surface, one which I shy away from at first. But as I listen, it becomes more and more enticing. Once the idea is fully formed, I know I can’t bring myself to resist. I get up from my bed and pad silently across my room to my dresser, and open it. Not my underwear drawer, which would be too obvious, but my sweater drawer, at the very bottom, under a sweater I never wear. I retrieve my most embarrassing possession: a dildo, flesh-colored and veiny, with slight flexibility and give. As sensitive as I am right now, vibration is useless to me. But more and more as I listen to the two of them, I feel desperate to have something inside me, to feel myself being penetrated the way Alina is right now.

I’ve never used this before when someone else was in the house. This is a toy I’ve only ever Escort used for playing into intense, drawn-out fantasies, ones I’ve only ever entertained in long periods of guaranteed privacy. And I’ve never before crossed the line of using people I know in real life as fantasy fodder. Not before tonight anyway. But that line is already behind me now, so I might as well make the most of it.

I strip off my pants and underwear together at once. After a moment’s consideration, I take off my shirt as well. If I get caught, I’m not going to have a shred of plausible deniability anyway, so I want to feel myself bare for this, as if I were really in there with them. I lie back on my bed and listen, orienting myself with their sound. What are they doing right now? I catch a high, muffled moan, like Alina is releasing her breath straight into Jason’s mouth. I spread my legs wide as I imagine her, locked face to face with him, pressed down flat under his weight as he plunges into her in a rhythm just like this…

I let out a soft, hissing whine as I first ease the dildo inside of myself. It practically glides in; I’m already dripping. I’ve never been loud, either on my own or with a partner, but playing with myself while listening to Jason and Alina having wail-out-loud sex, I find my voice trying to leak out in spite of myself. I try to match their pace as best I can determine from the sound, but I keep my strokes light and shallow, giving myself a chance to adjust while making sure I can stay silent. Gradually, I start to use longer, faster strokes, slowly approaching the intensity I can hear from the other room.

Another series of frantic gasps, rising in pitch. Without thinking, I match the pace, thrust for thrust. My eyes shut, I can see her with her legs wrapped tight around him. Her face is a vivid picture of ecstasy. She comes, hard and fast, and my legs shudder uncontrollably.

This is more than I imagined. Is this a special occasion for them? Their first time in Alina’s bed or something? Or is this just normal for them? I have never, ever been fucked like this. Pressed flat against the bed, completely losing myself to someone else. I keep their pace, but we’re not synchronized; in no time at all, I’m coming again. Like I’m racing to catch up with them. I don’t know how long they can keep going, but I want to come to the end together with them.

I’m caught off guard by Jason’s voice, a sudden, growling moan. I freeze for a moment as the image in my head suddenly shifts, then race along with Jason’s final sprint. I can hear the creaking of their bed, harder than before. Panting breath. A final groan. The pace slows, but I continue on with just a faint twinge of regret. I’m almost, almost there again. I can hear Alina’s voice again, softly. A shuddering satisfied sigh. Wordless coos of affection. I clap my hand over my mouth, and a strangled whimper escapes between my fingers as the scene blurs in my vision.

It takes me a while to catch my breath. I’m not sure how long, but by the time I collect myself, I can’t hear Alina and Jason anymore, not even the soft voices from before. Maybe it was only in my state of heightened tension before that the sounds from their room seemed so clear. Or maybe I was just filling in the details with my imagination? It’s possible. But give or take a few details, there’s no question of what I heard. Settling down among my pillows with a vague sense, one which I haven’t felt in more than a year now, of not being alone in my bed, I drift off to sleep.

I wake up, unsurprisingly, in the middle of the night. I’m a night owl, and it’s impossible for me to shift my circadian rhythm so far forward all at once and sleep all the way through the night. Falling after listening to Alina and Jason was less an early bedtime and more of a poorly timed nap. Or maybe more like drowsing off after an intense fuck. I ghost around the house without turning the lights on, to pee and to retrieve a slightly shame-flavored tart from the refrigerator before returning to my room for the night.

When I get up again, it’s just barely on the near side of noon. Not that much later than usual for me, but I rush a bit getting dressed; I’d feel self-conscious here not technically being up in the morning. I’m expecting to see Alina in the living room, on her laptop on the sofa like usual at this hour, but instead the living room is empty, and her door is still shut. I jolt slightly as I turn the corner and find Jason sitting alone at the table reading, a mug set out in front of him. He hears me come in and gives me a slight smile as he sets his book down.

“Hey Amanda.” he says.

“Hey.” I answer, then pause. Was he waiting here for me? Alone? Alina should normally be up at this hour, and I’ve still barely ever spent any time in a room with him without her there. For a dizzying moment, I’m struck with the thought that the two of them must have heard me last night, that he’s here to confront me for listening in. But that seems unlikely. At the very least, they carried on as if they weren’t worried about being heard. The second possibility that comes to mind is that after last night, Alina completely conked out and is still cozied up in bed. I feel my face heating up, past the ordinary level I’d expect just from talking to Jason alone.

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