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Jeremy & Merissa have a fun day out

Written by: Kaadorix

M/F, F/F and a whole lot more

Chapter 03: "Devastation"

-*- Friday, April 21, 2017 -*-
-*- Kansas City, Missouri -*-

Friday ushered in clear skies and bright sunshine; a
perfect day for a trip to the _Kansas City Zoo_, made even
more perfect by the fact that Merissa and our 22-month-old
daughter, Madison, were with me. Not to mention Cooper, my
three-year-old son with Alexa (who was working at the gym).
As the four of us toured the orchid and butterfly garden of
this beautiful and picturesque zoo located on the Missouri
side of town, Cooper and Madison seemed enthralled by the
magnificent, fluttering wings of the colorful insects all
around us, and happy to watch them swoop and glide. When
one landed on my shoulder, I slowly bent down so Madison could
get a closer look. Her eyes grew big and curious, and she
clapped her hands together and squealed in wild delight.

Yet the quick movement and sharp noise seemed to startle
the butterfly, and it flew off in a hurry. There were so
many, though, that it was not long before another one - and
then a second and a third - ventured toward us to feed on the
sugar paper that Merissa held in her hand. Madison loved
watching the butterflies from a distance, but the little
sweetheart screamed in abject horror when one of them dared
to land on the guardrail of her stroller.

The butterfly in question chose not to go far. It flew
from Madison's stroller and settled on top of Merissa's head.

"I have a big piece of sugar paper in my hand," she said,
confused. "Why do they keep landing on my head?"

"Because your hair smells like peppermint and lavender," I
noted. "It's that shampoo you use."

Merissa seemed skeptical. "You really think that's what
is attracting the butterflies? Seriously?"

"It's attracting me," I confessed, dipping my head to
nuzzle my wife's ear and sniff her hair. The swirling aroma
of her lavish, scented shampoo was purely intoxicating.

Merissa stifled a laugh, but I felt her body momentarily
shiver when I gently nipped at her earlobe. She put a hand
on my chest and pushed me away. I grinned and backed off.

Along with dozens of other visitors and families alike,
Merissa and I marveled at the exhibit where butterflies were
shown in their various stages of development - from egg to
larva to cocoon to butterfly. I promptly knelt down next to
Cooper and Madison, and urged them to look at the butterfly
emerging from its cocoon. One of the zoo caretakers had
informed us that the transformation was about to happen,
pointing out the wings clearly visible through the transparent
shell, and comparing it to the other cocoons which were solid
and dark green in color. It did not take very long. Madison
may have been a little too young to comprehend, but Cooper
seemed transfixed as Merissa and I watched in unison with him.

I shook my head in amazement as the butterfly unfurled its
vibrant orange, pink and black wings for the first time in its
life. "I've never seen anything like this before."

"It's incredible, isn't it?" Merissa grinned, before
focusing on my son. "Cooper, look! Isn't that pretty?"

"Yeah," he agreed, nodding his head with a grin.

"Remember," I said to Cooper as one landed on his little,
outstretched hand, "be nice and gentle with the butterflies.
Yeah, be loving with them. Don't pinch."

"I feel like my stomach is going to RIP open," Merissa
deadpanned as we moved on from the life exhibit. "I made
some breakfast earlier, and then I went to get Cooper and
Madi up because it was time, and it's like, it's right here,
on this side." Merissa palmed and rubbed the right side of
her swollen abdomen, under her ribcage, near her kidney area.
"This side always hurts really bad."

"What do you expect? You're eight months pregnant. Yet
just as beautiful as ever." I snagged a quick kiss from my
blushing, radiant bride, then focused on the spot in question
with my eyes. "Asher always kicks there."

Merissa shrugged her shoulders. "I feel like that boy is
going to break my skin." She pouted dramatically. "So I just
sat down for a long time this morning when I felt all that
discomfort, and tried to relax. It was all I could do."

I threw out a possible idea. "Do you think... hydration,
moisturization? Would lotion help at all?"

"No," she responded, shaking her head. "I just think Asher
is ready... he's just finishing up. He's nearly cooked. I put
lotion on multiple times a day, and I've been drinking water,
and I'm... I'm about to pop." Merissa stared up at me for a
moment, then her brown eyes began to flutter in the saddest,
yet most adorable of ways. "And I got four more weeks to go."

"You won't have to wait much longer."

Merissa leered at me. "Says the spouse who is NOT pregnant."
She smiled. "It's ALWAYS easy when you're on the other side."

Suddenly appearing as if he was overly depressed as well,
Cooper tugged on Merissa's right wrist. "Me-Me, where Mommy?"

"Ohhhhh," Merissa smiled down at him, laughing somewhat.
"Cooper, you are such a sweet boy. We told you earlier.
Mommy is at work right now. But when we leave the zoo in a
few hours and go home, Mommy will be there waiting for us.
She already texted me and says she wants to play with you."

Cooper's face lit up like a fireworks show. "Games?"

Merissa nodded. "Lots and lots of games."

"Cool!" he swooned, happy. That's all it took.

I glanced around and did a little survey. "Why don't we
go find someplace shaded to have our picnic? I'm hungry."

"That's fine with me," Merissa said. "I'm hungry, too."

I brought her hand to my lips and gently kissed it.
"Afterwards, I want to take Cooper and Madi - if she's awake -
on the African Sky Safari ride. And I definitely want to
catch the Sea Lion Splash Show at one o'clock before we go
home. Alexa told us to take our time today - don't come
rushing home just because she gets off of work at one."

"That's fine, but I ain't going on no sky ride," Merissa
informed me. "I'll get sick that high in the air. I'll
find a comfy park bench and wait on solid ground for you."

Soon, Merissa and I (and the kids) made our way toward the
exit of the butterfly gazebo. There were walking areas and
colorful gardens everywhere, plus picnic tables and playground
structures galore. As we followed the main pathway out, I
noticed one final assortment of butterflies circling around
the stroller. I leaned down to draw Madison's attention
toward the pretty, vivacious insects, but found that she was
actually fast asleep.

"That chick can fall asleep anywhere, at any time," Merissa
noted. "And obviously without a warning." Her eyes flared
for a moment. "Cooper, keep your hand on the stroller! We
don't need you wandering off and causing trouble."

"Aunt Merissa wouldn't be able to catch you if you tried to
run off," I said to Cooper, keeping a strict eye on him. The
trip to the zoo really had him worked up today. Cooper was
seriously having a blast. "Her and that big, pretty belly."

"Keep your hand on the stroller. You need to protect your
little sister. Madi likes having you close by."

Cooper looked up and whined, "I am, Aunt Me-Me!"

"You talk to your mom this morning?" I asked a moment
later, steering the stroller off of the main path and toward
the shaded area being provided by a majestic, towering oakwood
tree. But I already knew the answer, so I asked, "How is
Michelle doing? And your brother, Rick?"

"Oh, they're hanging in there, I guess."

I took a blanket from the stroller's base and spread it
out across the grassy knoll underneath us, a frown upon my
face. "They must be happy the tombstone is finally up."

Merissa sighed. "Yeah, they are."

We were making reference, unfortunately, to Merissa's
younger brother (Colton) who perished in a motorcycle
accident during a joyride in Florida this past September at
the age of 19. Colton's loss undoubtedly devastated Merissa's
family, which had seen its fair share of tragedy over the
years. All that was left for my wife was mother Michelle and
her older brother, Rick. At the mere age of seven in 1999,
Merissa unexpectedly lost her father (just 40 at the time) to
a massive heart attack as well. Long before his time.

My poor wife had experienced so much grief and loss in her
young life thus far. She was only 25.

In memorium and tribute to her father, Merissa had a small,
stylish tattoo etched onto the right side of her neck the
very day she turned 18 - the letters _RSR_ (her father's
initials). This way, Merissa said, her dad would always be
there for her, and protect her. It was the lone piece of
artwork, the only tattoo, that she had. Or would ever get.

"Now that Colton's tombstone is finally up," I offered, "I
definitely want to hop into the minivan and take a road trip
to Georgia so we can visit it and pay our respects after Asher
is born. Me, you, Alexa, the kids... all of us. A month?
Two months after he is born? At six or eight weeks, Asher
should be able to hold up to an 800 mile road trip without
any issues whatsoever."

"We would have to stop every few hours and give him a
break," Merissa reminded me. "Change, feed, cuddle and
soothe if he is cranky at all. Not to mention Cooper and
Madi. Making that trip has never been easy for us. I wish
Mom never decided to take that job in Atlanta in 2012."

"You getting to see Colton again, your little brother, is
well worth any issues we may face," I assured her. "I know
how important getting to see his tombstone is for you."

Merissa helped me arrange the blanket just perfectly,
then sat down on top of it, leaning back on her elbows and
stretching out her legs. "I still cannot believe that he is
gone. First my dad, and now my brother."

I checked on our daughter in the stroller to make sure
that she seemed comfortable in the middle of her little snooze.
"I know, sweetheart. I know." I spread out beside Merissa on
the blanket and reeled a babbling Cooper into my lap. "It just
seems really odd that to me that they waited six months to put
the tombstone up. Seems it should be up within a month."

"The company insisted on waiting until the weather got a
bit warmer," Merissa prompted me. "They told Mom and Rick
that if they installed the tombstone in the winter, when it
was cold, it would not settle in right for the long term."

Just talking about Colton was upsetting to Merissa, so I
decided to steer the discussion onto a much different and
lighter topic. I did not want her to become too upset. No
need to take that risk with her eight months pregnant.

"You and I had a good meeting earlier, but we need to get
Alexa involved in on it, too." Every once in awhile, we
would sit down as a family - the adults, at least - and talk
about some of the things that needed to be taken care of.
Whether it be around the house, work or personal issues,
things that the kids needed... whatever. Generally, all of it
got jotted down into a notebook.

"So we got blinds around the house that we need to do,"
Merissa rattled off, "we have car stuff that we need to get,
oil changed, some other stuff I want to get taken care of.
I'm sure Lexi will add to the list when she gets home."

She then turned toward the three-year-old. "Good grief,
Cooper. It was a rainy... rainy, rainy day when you and
Mommy went out to the grocery store yesterday once she got
home from work." Cooper nodded at her as she continued,
"You helped Mommy pick out a bunch of stuff, didn't you?
Treats, cookies, drinks, and stuff to make... the sweet
potato soup that we had last night for dinner."

"Next time I have... kawn dogs."

"Corn dogs?" Merissa laughed at him and tickled his
stomach with her fingers. "How come you're so cute?"

"It doesn't seem like the zoo got all that much rain,"
I noticed, glancing around. "Everything seems dry here."

Merissa gave my hand a thoughtful squeeze. "Didn't you
say you were hungry?"

I dutifully unpacked the contents of the lunch cooler -
sourdough buns piled high with meats and cheeses, carrot and
celery sticks, apples, oranges and chocolate chip cookies.
There was a half-gallon jug of sweet tea for us to share and
four juice boxes for Cooper and Madison, paper plates and
cups, napkins, and antibacterial hand wipes.

"You sure know how to pack a picnic," Merissa remarked.

"There's nothing very complicated in here."

"These cookies look homemade."

"Not by me."

"Alexa?" she guessed, and I nodded. Merissa smiled and
seemed appreciative when I unwrapped the first sandwich and
gave it to her. I then handed a boxed drink to Cooper.
"You need to take your lunch vitamin," Merissa directed him.
"Daddy has it, and he will give it to you."

"Uh huh," Cooper nodded.

"It will help make you grow up big and strong, like Daddy."

I smiled at Merissa. She loved Cooper as if he was her
very own son. In certain ways, I suppose, he was. Merissa
was married to both Alexa and yours truly, and those two
ladies seemed to share motherhood roles and responsibilities
equally with Cooper and Madison. Likewise, Alexa was hugging
and doting on Madison at all times - as if she was her very
own (biological) daughter, too. Best of all, Cooper and
Madison respected and listened to Alexa and Merissa equally.

Our three-way marriage was unique and we realized certain,
unenviable challenges and obstacles were waiting for us in
the future. But as for right now, everything was awesome.
We all had our heartaches and disappointments in life (even
us), but why trade this for anything? Really?

Merissa tore off a piece of cookie and popped it into her
mouth. "Such a good boy, Cooper. I'm so proud of you for
eating your vitamin and not throwing a fuss about it today."
She smirked. "You loved eating those crackers earlier too,
didn't you? The ones Mommy left for you and Madi in the
sandwich bag? I like that you wanted to share with her.
That was very, very nice of you to do."

"Owwie oh, eat crackers go see Ollie?" he babbled.

"Yeah, we went to go see Ollie on Monday," Merissa nodded,
making reference to the two-year-old son of my business
partner and best friend, Mike. I could not believe it, but
Mike - a truly wild and flamboyant womanizer for the first 40
years of his life, met his _soulmate_ and fell in love three
years ago, and actually married her. Mike, who once enjoyed
eight women all in the very same night (at the same time, no
less), was now a devoted, faithful husband and family man.

Who would have ever thought THAT was possible?

"Yeah!" Cooper grinned.

"Maybe we can go see Ollie again?" Merissa suggested.


"Or Ollie can come see us at our house."

"OUR HOUSE!" Cooper roared.

"And you know that little cousin Gaines has a new house?"

He held both hands out. "What house?"

"Maybe we can go visit her, too."

Cooper was so curious, so adorable. "What house is it?"

"It's a new house!" Merissa chirped. "Do you remember,
sweetie, when Ollie was a baby?" He shook his head. "Ollie
was a BIG baby. He looked so cute."

"And what... Madi?"

"Madi, when she was a baby, we all thought she was so
cute too. And tiny. She would eat hot tamales, and they
weren't even hot to her!" That last part was a minor fib on
her past, but Merissa had Cooper enthralled at the moment.

"Let talk about uhh... Daddy."

"When Daddy was a baby?"

He nodded. "Uh huh."

"I didn't know Daddy when he was a baby. Daddy was born
18 years before I was. That's a long, long time. 18 years
is a long time, isn't it? But I've seen photos and plenty of
home videos of Daddy when he was a baby. And guess what,
honey? He looked just like you. Just. Like. You."

"Really?" Cooper gushed, not believing her.

I grinned leisurely at their exchange, my heart overflowing
with warmth and sheer love. God, I loved our little family so
much. "You look much better than I ever did, kiddo. Trust me.
You have a lot of Mommy and her good looks in you, too."

"Mommy... baby?"

"When Mommy was a baby, she had curly hair."

Cooper's eyes loomed large at Merissa. "What courwee hair?"

"And you know what? Mommy was actually yellow. She had to
stay in the hospital to get lights on her." Among other things,
I must add. Alexa barely made it out of the NICU as an infant.

"Uh huh. And Mommy cried?"

"She did," Merissa nodded. "Mommy had to stay in the
hospital for a whole month before they even let her go home."

Suddenly, Cooper was smiling. "Let talk about when, we...
Spizerwan was, uh baby."

Merissa laughed. "When SPIDERMAN was a baby?"


She shook her head at him. "I don't know. But I bet he
was pretty fast."

"Uh huh."

"I bet he... wriggled all around." When Cooper began
munching on a cookie, Merissa ended, "You're a goof ball!"

I simply could not resist it any longer. Leaning forward,
I pressed the smallest, most simplest of kisses to Merissa's
inviting mouth. Watching her and Cooper interact like this
had me on cloud nine. I reveled in the kiss for a moment as a
buzzsaw of arousal erupted within my inner soul. "I've been
wanting to do that for quite a long time now," I admitted.
"Kiss you today, that is. God, I love you so much."

Merissa smiled and glanced at my (our) son. "Uh oh. Daddy
just might go on one of his famous kissing rampages, Cooper!"

When the 25-year-old closed her eyes, I kissed her eyelids,
then the corner of her mouth. We were in a public place with
lots of families and little children milling about. Not to
mention Cooper and Madison, who could wake up at any moment.
It took every last ounce of willpower I had not to take Merissa
into my arms and kiss her the way that I wanted to kiss her
right now. And the way she would have preferred me to kiss
her, in all honesty. Yet, I had to pull back. Shuddering, I
soon brushed my thumb over Merissa's slightly parted lips. "I
just need one more little kiss."

"You do?" she whispered, tilting her head ever so slightly,
allowing me a better angle to take what was mine. I kissed
Merissa slowly, lightly; as gently as I could. Merissa
tasted of sugar and a hint of sweet tea and, beneath it all,
wild heat. Did she want me as much as I wanted her?

"There now," I gasped, grinning. "We should stop now.
There is still plenty more to see here at the zoo. And I
know you like keeping things private between us. No need
for such a big public audience, right?"

Merissa touched her fingertips to her lips, her gaze
fixated on me. "That was a very little kiss."

"I can do better."

Merissa laughed, a bit shakily, and caught her bottom lip
between her teeth. "Oh, I know you can." She held up a hand
when I clasped her sides to ease her closer. "But I don't
need a demonstration, or a reminder, right now. Maybe later."

"I know you don't like public displays of affection," were
my words, "but I just couldn't help myself."

"It's Alexa's chocolate chip cookies, isn't it?"

"I'll admit, they undo me. They give me the power to take
on the world." I brushed my fingers through Merissa's hair,
yet let my hand drop when I felt her body momentarily stiffen.
"But not as much as you." I then spoke in a much lower voice,
so Cooper wouldn't hear us. "You kept me awake last night,
you know that? I had you in my arms all night long. And all
I did for HOURS was stare at you."

Merissa swallowed. "You did?" Her voice was a whisper
too. "What about Lexi? Where was she in all of this?"

"Hugging me from behind, but asleep."

Merissa's eyes turned inquisitive. "You should have woke
me up. But I was pretty tired last night."

"You were," I nodded. "So I let you sleep." Hmmmmm. She
looked so tranquil and utterly sublime when she slept.

"Cooper, stay here!" Merissa suddenly reprimanded him as
he returned to us with a guilty, sorrowful look on his face.
"You know you're not allowed to get up and run off like that!"

"I sowwy, Aunt Me-Me."

"Sit," I told him sternly, pointing at the picnic blanket.
I gave him a hard, serious look, indicating that I meant
business. When Cooper seemed prime to obey, I focused on
Merissa again. "Do we know why the potato salad is green?"

She peeked into the cooler at the small container.
"I have no idea, and now I'm a little afraid for you."

The wide-eyed expression upon Merissa's face had me
chuckling. "You're the sophisticated one here. Definitely
the smart one amongst the two of us. You're supposed to
know this stuff. Here, you try the potato salad first."

She shook her head emphatically. "No. Freaking. Way!
I draw the line at leprechaun-infused potato salad." That
did it. My eyes bulged and I took a moment to collect myself,
and not break out into uncontrollable laughter in this
enclosed picnic area with other families enjoying themselves
nearby. Deep breaths, deep breaths. Merissa leaned in and
whispered, "Maybe there actually wasn't a pot at the end of
the rainbow, but a big kettle of expired potatoes."

And thus, I lost it. I held my throat and again breathed
deeply, trying to taper my laughter. Merissa was laughing
now too, and the other visitors beneath the forest of trees
close to us looked with curious amusement in our direction.
Cooper was following along, laughing as well.

"Looks like Alexa blended up some spinach and mixed it in
with the potato salad," Merissa finally deduced, perhaps
solving the puzzle. "But I don't like the way it looks, its
color. Reminds me of a scary green monster! A troll!"

And I was laughing again, covering my mouth with a napkin.

* * *

"I'd say that was a fun, little trip to the zoo," Merissa
mused as we later walked back to our vehicle, a silver 2016
_Chrysler Pacifica_, in the parking lot of the _Kansas City
Zoo_. "Best of all, Cooper and Madi had fun. That is the
most important thing. So much fun, in fact, both of them are
zonked out right now. Totally asleep."

"Uh hub," I nodded, glancing down at our little daughter,
who was once again snoozing away in her stroller. After her
impromptu nap earlier, Madison woke up for a bit and nearly
guzzled down an entire fruit drink box before becoming sleepy
yet after a half-hour on the African Sky Safari ride. She
quickly faded back out. This was quite normal for her.

As for Cooper, I had him hunched up upon my shoulder. He
had been so excited and had expended so much energy at the
zoo, and was now feeling the effects of it. Oh, he was going
to nap hard and heavy once we returned home. As it was,
Cooper was already fast asleep.

Yet, I felt very uncomfortable. Ever since we had kissed
earlier, my mind had been racing with ideas of all of the
many, wonderful things that Merissa and I could do if the
local zoo was not such a public place.

With the kids totally out of commission for the time being,
could I actually keep myself in check until making it back
home? The task would not be made any easier by being held up
in the minivan with Merissa, where the slightest hint of her
scent or a brief glimpse of her tousled, brownish-blonde hair
and dazzling, pregnant aura could set my blood raging.

Merissa secured Madison into her car seat in the back. I
did the same for Cooper and started the engine. Merissa was
now in the passenger seat texting Alexa, letting her know
about our trip to the zoo and that we would be home soon.

I slid my seat belt down and hooked it. "I'm pretty
sure that old guy we saw earlier had a serious crush on you.
What did he say his name was? Robert?"

Merissa laughed as I pulled out into the rush of traffic.
"What? The guy working at the wild bird exhibit?"

"He seemed pretty frisky and lively around you."

"The man was probably pushing 70, Jeremy, and he seemed
more interested in making Madi smile and laugh than anything
else." Merissa shook her head and made a face. "Why do you
always think guys are trying to hit on us? Your wives?"

"Because they do. I see it all the time." I stretched
my legs out in front of me. This vehicle was incredibly
spacious and comfortable. "And I don't like it."

"Ohhhhh," Merissa sighed, giggling. "You jealous, baby?
How do you think we feel when some random woman tries hitting
on you? It's not fun at all."

"The amount of times a woman tries flirting with me pales
in comparison to the amount of times guys try flirting with
you and Alexa. There is no comparison."

"Point taken."

"That old guy wanted you real bad today."

Merissa shot me a look. "You're maddening, Jeremy. He
was a sweet, old grandpa, and he wanted to make Madi laugh.
That's ALL he wanted."

I pouted theatrically. "He definitely wanted your cookies."

She giggled. "Stop being so silly!"

I was leaned sideways in the seat, watching Merissa for a
moment as I drove. I greatly enjoyed these one-on-one outings
with my wives. They were fun, and allowed the specific wife -
in this case, Merissa - to be the absolute center of my focus.
I just loved giving them that attention, because they deserved
it. Yet getting to be with Merissa and Alexa together at the
same time, as was our plans for tomorrow, was even better.

I reached across the small space between us and gently
stroked Merissa's shoulder. "I'm still thinking about those
kisses we shared earlier during the picnic."

"Why does that not surprise me?" my wife retorted. "Your
libido is the size of the planet."

"That aside. Oh, I know that. It is the size of the
planet. It's that way because you always kiss me back."

"Reflex," she giggled in defense. "Pure reflex." Yet
when I traced slow, tender strokes up and down her forearm
with my finger, Merissa's body had a definite reaction.

"Right," I nodded, my voice slow and teasing. "Try again.
This time, try telling the truth."

"Jeremy!" she whined in (mock) protest.

I leaned in even closer. My fingers found the back of
Merissa's neck, and she shivered. "Maybe you and I could
expound on those kisses from earlier when we get home? What
do you think?" I toyed with her earlobe, gently tugging it.

Merissa hunched her shoulder to pull away. "Stop that."

"I can't help myself. Lexi could join us, you know."

"You're a pest! And a perv!"

"I am. And a nuisance." I sighed, glancing downward. "I
hate this seat beat. If I could just get a little closer..."

"You," Merissa sniped, taking one hand and poking a serious
finger into my chest, "stay right there, and keep your hands to
yourself. Keep your hands on the steering wheel, actually, and
your eyes on the road. And I'm not doing anything when we get
home, except laying down and taking it easy for awhile."

"Spoil sport!"

"Walking. Human. Condo!" she corrected me.

"Why are things always so stuffy when you're around?"

Merissa again glared over at me as I continued to drive.
Her face was clearly flushed, but she saw the humor in my
playful, uncharacteristic teasing. "You're going to get us
into an accident if you keep messing and playing around,
Jeremy. You are DRIVING, you know. You need to concentrate."

I flashed her an innocent expression. "I thought you were
much too responsible and totally unaffected by my boyish charms
while traveling through these busy city streets?"

"I'm working on it." She then made another face. "Wait a
minute. Did you just say... your... BOYISH charms?"

"I'm one huge hunk of man."

Merissa almost spit out her bottled water drink. "You're
one huge hunk of something, that's for sure! Especially today,
with the attitude and mindset that you're currently in!"

Undeterred, I traced the shell of Merissa's ear. "I don't
suppose we could check into that new pay-by-the-minute hotel
on the other side of the block? It sounds intriguing."

Merissa threw her head back and laughed. "Absolutely not!
There is no way I am checking into a seedy motel like that
with you or anyone else."

"Well, I'm very glad to hear that. I surely do not want
you going to such a place with innocent, little Lexi and, if
you checked into it with that old guy from the wild bird cages,
I would be very, very jealous. Or any guy, for that matter."

"You have nothing to be jealous about," she murmured. "I
don't have eyes for any man other than you, Jeremy. And
certainly no woman other than Lexi. I'm not even attracted
to other women that way. Just attracted to Lexi."

I glanced into the back seat for a moment to make certain
that Cooper and Madison were sleeping. "I am still pretty
excited and amped up, honey, over what Lexi and I did for the
first time this past Sunday night."

Merissa shot a look toward the kids as well, then silently
mouthed the word to me, "ANAL?"

"You know how long I've wanted to do with that her?" I
asked in all seriousness. "Oh, my." Again, I spoke lower.
"That... backside... of hers, has been a constant mainstay in
my fantasies, really, since the very first day I met her."

Merissa shrugged her shoulders. "It is really nice."

"Wow, Sunday night was something else! You have no idea,
honey. No idea. I still cannot believe it happened."

Merissa smiled. "Probably all the more sweeter at the end
of the journey because she made you wait seven years for it."

I chuckled. "No, not really. I wish Lexi gave it up to me
back in 2010 like she did the rest of her body. I wanted that
sweet, little thing on a silver platter for the longest time!"

"Oh, Jeremy. Hush." Merissa giggled at her own words.
"You sound like Mike used to before he finally got married.
Like a big, ole perv!" Merissa paused for a brief moment,
apparently lost in thought. She then broke out into a rage of
wild, heated laughter and slapped my shoulder with a backhand.
"I'm gonna text Lexi and tell her that you're going on about
her butt again!" With that, Merissa began typing away rather
furiously on her smartphone.

"I'm gonna text Lexi and tell her!..." I mocked my wife
with a very snide, terrible imitation, twirling my head about.

But as always, it was in good fun.

* * *

"A spotted dog. A horse. A rabbit," Alexa said in quick,
rapid-fire succession as Merissa scribbled furiously on a
large notepad. She shook her head and continued to draw. "A
hydrant. A man on top of a hydrant. Genghis Khan!" Merissa
shot Alexa a what-the-hell look just as the timer buzzed.

"Genghis Khan?" Merissa bopped her on the head with the
flimsy notepad. "It's a fireman, you dumb blonde!"

"Clearly a fireman," Alexa's mother (Angela) nodded, eyeing
the drawing.

"What?" Alexa retorted and motioned toward the notepad.
"Looks like a man in charge to me. A dictator."

"Of a HYDRANT?" Merissa shot back, incredulous.

Next to me, Alexa's father (Bob) nodded. "A fireman."

"A total fireman," I agreed.

Merissa slid the cards to us in total resignation. "You're
up, Jeremy and Angela. No point for us. Probably no chance
at winning, either." Merissa sighed and shook her head,
clearly frustrated. "Positively no chance."

"Genghis Khan," Bob chuckled lightly, eyeing his daughter.

Angela selected a card, glanced at it, and picked up a
pencil. This was it. I had never felt more confident in my
whole, entire life. Angela and I were the undisputed tag
team champions when it came to playing _Pictionary_. We were
going to defeat my two wives yet again tonight, which I found
strangely thrilling. Angela began to draw.

"The Olympics," I said calmly, and she nodded. "A man at
the Olympics. An Olympic athlete. A runner? A runner
carrying a torch! It's a torch." Angela put her pencil down
and smiled at me in total triumph. Bob, the self-appointed
referee, moved our token one spot ahead and over the finish
line. "I'm sad to say this ladies, but that's the game."

"I hate them," Alexa said to Merissa, although there was a
grin on her face. She pointed at us from across the dining
room table. "I demand a rematch at some point."

Angela smiled. "You're on."

"I'm never partnering with Lexi again," Merissa proclaimed
and stood from the table. "She's a lost cause."

Alexa responded with a gentle headlock and ruffled Merissa's
hair. "Yes, you are, baby! We will be the _Pictionary_ dream
team, reunited. Just you wait and see!"

Merissa rolled her eyes.

"Let's get everything cleaned up, and wind down for the
night," I told the group while tenderly patting Angela's
wrist from the side. Oh, the taste of victory was so sweet!
"Get everything put away. Bob and Angela need to go home."

"I have to be up for work at five o'clock," Bob said.

Alexa's blue eyes flashed at her father. "_I_ have to be
up at three o'clock in the morning for work. So... there!"

"You working tomorrow, Lexi?" Merissa suddenly whined.
"It's SATURDAY! I thought we were going out as a family."

"Only for four hours," Alexa responded, lightly gripping
her wife's wrist. "My boss is making me. I'll be home by
9:30 in the morning, and then we will have the rest of the
weekend to ourselves as a family. Don't worry, honey."

Merissa pouted. "I wanted to have breakfast with you..."

Alexa offered her wife - and those pregnant hormones that
could quickly burst and go on a rampage at any given time - a
reassuring smile. "I'll bring home some coffee and doughnut
muffins from _Perky's_ after I get off of work. You and I
will have breakfast tomorrow morning, baby. I PROMISE."

"Okay," Merissa accepted, still pouting.

"I'm going to walk Mom and Dad out to their car," Alexa
informed us before a round robin of goodbye hugs ensued.

Ever since I first met them seven years ago, I have had a
really good relationship with Alexa's parents. I was a bit
frightened to meet Bob and Angela initially, mostly because I
was actually older than both of them (Bob by six months, and
Angela a month) and was not entirely sure how they would
respond to me dating their (at the time) 18-year-old daughter.
I, of course, was 36 back then.

But Bob and Angela, though a bit skeptical and suspicious
in the beginning, were cool with it. They quickly saw that I
had real, genuine feelings for Alexa, and would never hurt her.
I was not looking for a quick, cheap thrill. I loved Alexa to
the stars and back again from the very first moment that I laid
eyes on her in 2010. I wanted to marry her right away. In due
time, her parents realized that.

Bob and Angela even gave their blessing in 2014 when Alexa
informed them that Merissa was now part of our personal,
loving relationship, and we had plans to marry HER. Such news
would be a major shock, appalling even, for almost any other
set of parents in the world - their happily married daughter
wanted to add another woman to the mix and make it a three-way
marriage - but keep in mind that Alexa and Merissa had been
best friends since the age of four. They grew up mere houses
apart, were closer than most sisters, and had been inseparable
since. Merissa was like a second daughter to Bob and Angela.

Even Merissa chose to stay here in Kansas in 2012 with
Alexa (long before there was any romantic notions between
them) when her own family moved off to Georgia. Merissa's
mother, Michelle, was offered a hefty promotion at her job,
but had to relocate to Atlanta in order to take it.

Bob and Angela knew how tight Alexa and Merissa were.

"Your daughter is finally coming out!" Angela gleefully
told Bob in 2014 after explaining our long-range plans in
detail to him. "She finally has feelings for Merissa!"

"Well, that's great!" Bob responded, stepping forward and
hugging Alexa at the time. "We're surprised that this - you
and Merissa - did not happen YEARS ago."

Michelle was much less accepting of our three-way marriage,
yet accepting nonetheless. I had yet to gain her trust, it
seemed, even though she did not have any problems with Alexa
(considering their years of history). Merissa's brother
(Rick) was very protective of her and I could tell that he
did not like me. How could I be married to two different
women, one of them being his little, baby sister, and give her
all of the love and attention that she so richly deserved?

Rick did not understand or approve, but at least he was
somewhat cordial and sociable whenever we spoke. We had a
decent understanding, though things always seemed tense.

And then there were MY parents.

I knew Mom and Dad - old school relics still living in the
past, refusing to embrace today's technological world - would
never approve of my three-way marriage with Alexa and Merissa.
Neither of them would even consider accepting it for a second,
despite the fact that in the beginning, they got along fairly
well with Alexa. But when Merissa was added to the family, I
made the decision that we were not even going to tell Mom and
Dad about it. They would throw an absolute fit.

And sure enough, eventually, they did. And much worse.

There were suspicions all throughout my family as Merissa
moved in with us in 2014. Why had Alexa and I brought in a
young woman as a _house-mate_ after Cooper had just been born?
Alexa and I have very good jobs, I must say, and my parents
knew that we did not need to rent out a room or a floor in
our home to make financial ends meet. I could easily support
us with just my doctor's job alone. They saw, over time,
how Merissa was integrating herself with us. They probably
saw the winks, the smiles, the subtle, tender looks between
us as our relationship later progressed and became much more
intimate, even if we did not realize we were expressing them.

When Merissa became pregnant later in the year, Mom really
began to dig and snoop, and she found that (through some very
disrespectful means) that we were in a three-way relationship.
Sure enough, Mom and Dad erupted at me (and Alexa), calling
us unholy sinners who would forever rot in Hell if we did not
seek help and clean our acts, our marriage, up. They even
went as far as to say that we did not deserve to have Cooper
as our son. We should give him up for adoption immediately.

While I admit that there will be some tough challenges
ahead as it pertains to Cooper, Madison and Asher (and any
other children we may have), explaining to them our unique
love and three-way relationship as they grow older, I do not
believe that there are better parents for them out there in
the world than us. We give our kids everything, and it shows.
They are healthy and well taken care of, and extremely happy.

Once fairly close with Mom and Dad, I had not spoken to
either of them since December 2014. At all. They had yet to
meet Madison, their innocent, little granddaughter. Because of
my relationship choices, Mom and Dad basically disowned me as a
son. It hurt, yes. But I was not about to give up my two wives
(or even one of them) for anything.

Not even my parents.

Alexa and Merissa were my universe, along with the kids,
and nothing was going to change that.

Suddenly all alone in the dining room with Merissa back in
the present moment, I glanced over at her and shrugged my
shoulders. "It's official. Everyone has ditched us."

Merissa pouted in mock sadness. "They have."

"No one wants to help with clean up, and putting the game
away," I lamented. "Lexi, Bob, Angela. Who plays _Pictionary_
and leaves so soon afterward?" I then grinned at my wife.
"Let's make a date out of our sudden loneliness, then."

Merissa's eyebrows rose. "A date?"

"Go downstairs to the family room and relax," I suggested.
"You and I. Cooper and Madi are fast asleep by now, and Lexi
will take forever talking to her mom and dad outside."

"Yeah," she nodded.

* * *

"What are you thinking about?" I asked perhaps 20 minutes
later, playing with Merissa's hair. We sat along in front of
the cackling, roaring fireplace, my arms around her from behind,
as she casually leaned into me. Outside, a cricket chirped.

"Just about how my life has changed." I watched Merissa
shake her head, her hair tickling my hand. "So much."

"It has," I agreed. "You're happy now. And safe." I
kissed the side of her head and we continued to sit there in
silence, enjoying the night and the gentle sounds of the
fireplace as its flame danced and leapt before us.

"Do you know what else I am thinking about?"


Merissa nodded a couple of times as if she was gearing up.
"Okay, I was thinking about how much I have enjoyed myself
today. With you, Jeremy. The trip to the zoo, a quick and
sudden trip to the mall... just spending so much of the day
out with you and the kids, alone. Even right now, alone with
you - here downstairs, on the floor - as the day winds down."

"You're so sweet," I grinned, kissing her and holding her
sudden gaze. "I love you."

"I looked forward to today ever since Tuesday, when I
first learned that you planned on taking me and the kids to
the _Kansas City Zoo_. Talking or not talking, I simply
enjoy being around you, Jeremy. You make me feel so
special, so much at ease. Going back and forth with you on
the way home about everything was the highlight of my day.
The playful bickering. I had so much fun during that ride."

I shook my head and gazed deep into flames. "I still don't
like the way that old guy at the bird exhibit was looking at
you. He was totally undressing you with his eyes."

She giggled and squeezed my arms tighter into her front.
"He was not, Jeremy! He was just trying to make Madi laugh."

"Be honest now, Merissa," I said, sounding serious. A
time to switch directions again. "Tell me one thing in life
that you're afraid of. One thing."


Dumbfounded, I glared at her from the side. "Eh?"

"Mini-Me from the _Austin Powers_ movies," she elaborated.
"You know, the midget. When I was a kid, I was terrified of
him. I was convinced he lived under my bed."

I laughed and immediately recognized her answer as a true
deflection - standard Merissa. "Let's go for two, just for
fun. I want to hear something else that you're afraid of."

Merissa sighed, and took a moment to think. "You're not
going to let me off that easy, huh?"

"I was a hardcore news reporter in a prior life."

She smirked. "Sure you were. Which newspaper?"

"Never mind," I teased. "Tell me what you are afraid of.
Something that really terrifies you."

Merissa hesitated, then turned around and faced me,
meeting my eyes. The vulnerability on her face was evident.
I was immediately struck, not expecting this. I had not seen
this type of look on Merissa's face in a long, long time.

"I am... I'm afraid of... waking up, and realizing that
everything with you and Lexi is just a... dream," she said
quietly. Those words hung in the air thickly, and their
true meaning tugged at my heart. Her words went much deeper
than they sounded at face value.

Because before she fell in love with us three years ago,
Merissa was once engaged to her high school sweetheart
(Grayson). Unfortunately, Grayson had a nasty temper, and
could not control his ongoing habit of throwing his fists
around. He physically abused Merissa for years and put her
in the hospital twice. The last time, in early 2014, Merissa
was really busted up and had to stay in the hospital for
three whole weeks. Grayson was escorted off to jail and,
soon thereafter, Alexa and I brought Merissa into our home as
a platonic friend so she could start over, and get her life
back in order. Things quickly happened and, just a few months
later, Merissa was sharing our bed with us every night.

I laced my fingers through hers. "You will never wake up
one day and find all of this is a dream, honey." Even worse,
Merissa probably had fears that she would wake up and still
find herself with Grayson. "You know it's real. You feel
Lexi and I every day. Right here." I placed my hand over
her heart and she blinked back several tears before finally
losing the battle. "Please don't cry." I wiped at her cheeks
with my thumbs. "I don't want you to cry."

"That's the best part of all this," she choked, placing
my hand back over her heart and covering it with hers. "The
world feels very different now that I know there's a you.
There's a Lexi, there's a Cooper, a Madi, Asher, and so on.
Truth be told, Jeremy, you and Lexi are the ones who truly
taught me how to love and trust in others again. I... I
was dragged through the depths of Hell, living with Grayson."

"I think our family as a whole has taught everyone in it
how to love and trust, and always look for the good in others
no matter what." I pressed my forehead into hers and just
lived there for a moment. We shared a kiss and, as our lips
hung on, I felt my insides fluttering with love and happiness.

"Let's go to bed," Merissa whispered.

As we made our slow trek upstairs, walking hand-in-hand,
Merissa turned on a lamp in the entryway so Alexa could see
when she came back inside from saying goodbye to her folks.
Yet when a warm glow from the light danced across Merissa's
face, a shiver went right through me. I could feel her gaze,
warm and piercing as it was, moving up and down my body.

Merissa wanted me.

The quiet in the front foyer amplified the tension.

Still, I was in a playful mood. I had been in one all day,
actually, and loved making Merissa laugh. I absolutely loved
seeing her smile. I just had to do it again.

"Want to make brownies?" I asked like an idiot.

She shook her head and the side of her mouth tugged upward.
"Not what I had in mind."

"Take in a marathon of superhero movies?"

Her smile grew. "No."

"You want to play _Panic Penguin_?"

She full-on laughed at that one.

_Panic Penguin_ was a stupid, little game that Merissa and
I played together from time to time. Basically, we would
stand across from each other and start acting like panicked
penguins (flapping our little penguin arms up and down, making
pinched faces, etc.) for an extended amount of time. There was
no point to the game, other than the fact it made Merissa and
I laugh. Fortunately, Alexa had yet to witness us doing it
yet. She would surely not know what to think. Sometimes, we
tossed little kisses to the face or neck in for good measure.

God, I know Merissa and I are weird.

"Maybe we can play _Panic Penguin_ at some point tonight,"
Merissa grinned. "But not now." She did not say anything
else. She did not have to. Merissa walked toward me, biting
down on her lower lip and looking very much like a fantasy come
to life. In a flirty, 1950's inspired look, Merissa wore a
butter yellow, short-sleeved maternity sweater with a deep,
plunging neckline that was perfectly paired up with a billowy
and very pretty mid-calf white prairie skirt. Staying true to
the classic look, Merissa's bouncy hair was casually brought
back away from her face with loose curls at her neck.

Merissa kissed me once and met my gaze. I nodded,
answering the question that she did not actually ask. All
of the longing inside of me that had built up throughout the
day now came rushing to the forefront like an overwhelming
tidal wave. My lips were on Merissa's again and moving
quite incessantly. My hands were everywhere; sliding around
her waist, up her back, and then down again.

I walked her backward as we kissed, bumping into furniture
and walls and who the hell knows what else. I did not really
care. Yet Merissa took the reins anyway and grasped my hand,
leading me through the living room and into my personal work
office neatly tucked away in a side corridor. The perfect
place, I instantly decided, wanting to kiss her again. She
walked to the far side of the room, turned on a lamp and then
dropped a baby blanket over it, greatly dimming its effect.

Merissa turned back to me and undid the top button of her
yellow sweater. Then the second. The third. And finally the
last button. The confident, sultry look in her eyes had me
undone all by itself, and I watched, captivated, frozen in my
tracks, as Merissa slid the garment from her shoulders. Good
God, she looked absolutely stunning at eight months pregnant!
The 25-year-old unclasped her bra and let it drop harmlessly
to the floor. The sight of Merissa topless in front of me
was an image that I would never grow tired or weary of.

"You're beautiful," I said quietly, before going to her.
I reached out and gently traced the outline of her breasts
in sheer awe, lifting them, pushing my hands against them
as she closed her eyes and purred like a kitten at my touch.
This was Heaven on Earth to me. I continued to let my hands
explore, moving slowly, teasing, even squeezing. When she
opened her eyes again, they blazed with desire.

"You sure?" I said meekly, not wanting to remind her, but
feeling as if I had to. I was actually quite surprised that
Merissa had agreed to this. I knew her back was very sore,
and she was tired. I did not want her to feel obligated to
have sex with me if she would be better off resting in bed.

"I want you," she whispered. "Just be gentle, okay?"

"I won't let anything bad happen to you, honey," I swore,
tilting my head, her lips a mere inch or two from mine. She
was so close that I could feel the wild, rampant energy
circulating all around us. The only sound I heard was that
of Merissa breathing; I had completely stopped.

Finally, Merissa crushed her mouth to mine and kissed me
thoroughly, hungrily, urgently. She slid her hands underneath
my t-shirt and caressed the skin at my abdomen, causing it to
ripple and simmer in the most erotic way. She lifted the
t-shirt over my head and immediately trailed her lush lips
downward, kissing my neck, my shoulder, even the center of
my chest. My knees felt weak and I feared that my entire
body was just going to spontaneously combust even before
she and I had gotten all of our clothing off.

Merissa's brown eyes found mine and she smiled, though
her breathing was quick and shallow. "Lie down," she said
gently, motioning toward the small, plush sofa in the corner.
I did as Merissa requested, and she followed me down by
taking a seat on the floor next to the sofa. I reached for
her and blazed a path from her shoulders to her stomach,
obsessed with the way she felt beneath my fingertips; her
curves filling my palms, the ripe softness of her skin.

I then slid my hands into Merissa's hair and gripped it
tightly as she again kissed me and our mouths danced. Her
lips trailed down my jaw to my neck, her hands gliding over
every square inch of my torso, making my toes curl and point.
The young woman worked the single button and zipper on my
blue jeans and sighed reverently. "Oh, wow," Merissa said,
dropping her head to my chest and again licking it. I gasped.
I felt my body buck and churn as she reached into my jeans
and gripped my cock. "God, Jeremy. You're hard already."

She returned to my mouth and kissed me madly for a good
moment or two. I squirmed beneath her as Merissa fished my
cock out of my jeans and busily frigged it in the crisp, open
air. I wondered how I could have survived and gone all day
long without being this close to Merissa, being able to
touch her, her touch me. Wow, I wanted her so much.

When she was ready, Merissa swung one sleek, sultry leg
over my pelvis and settled her hips on top of it. Merissa
reached underneath her long-flowing dress to (I assume) slide
and maneuver her panties to the side, allowing us both access.
Then, a moment later, she found that sweet spot and lowered
her pussy down nice and slow onto my aching, ready cock. I
immediately saw white, moaning at the massive shockwaves of
hot, erotic passion that rolled throughout me all at once and
the undeniable need that I now felt. Merissa began to bump
and undulate herself atop me, even squeezing her bare breasts.

"Fuck," I muttered breathlessly, tossing my head back. I
only swore during the most intense and heated of moments, and
this was definitely one of them. Lying there with my jeans
split open and my boxer shorts stuffed somewhere deep within
them, out of the way, I watched as one of the two most beautiful
women on the planet rode my cock - at eight months pregnant. We
were moving with desire. Slowly. Tenderly. Lovingly.

"Don't hurt your back," I reminded her, concerned.

"Don't worry!" she insisted in response.

I was floating somewhere high in the clouds when I sat up
and gingerly hooked my arms around her torso, her heavenly
breasts squishing hard upon my chest. I kissed her. The air
left my lungs. I was already nearing the end, I could tell,
as I she greedily strained and throttled herself upon me.

Merissa broke the kiss and sat up straight, only to arch
her back and moan. Her breathing had become labored as well,
and those eyes searched mine helplessly.

"Easy, baby," I again reminded her in a thick, raspy tone.
"We don't want to overdo it. Our unborn son."

Yet Merissa simply could not help herself, as she clung to
my shoulders. I shook my head in pure wanderlust and again met
her eyes. I wanted Merissa and I wanted her now. I slipped
both hands down to her ass and gripped it possessively, and
watched her brown eyes widen, then close, just melting away.
I helped her gently vibrant upon me, my cock filling her
completely, while watching her face. I memorized every sigh,
each little murmur of pleasure, and what inspired it. I was
absolutely loving the sounds that our union pulled from her.
Her very long, classy white dress fanned out all around us.

I held her even closer and then the proverbial fireworks
hit; I came fast, hard, and in a powerful tumble. In the
process, Merissa went still and clutched herself tightly
around my cock, crying out and digging her long (and very
sharp) fingernails into my back. I even felt erotic pain as
they scraped against me. And I could not take my eyes off
of her as we crested through the progression of dual orgasms
together. Long, chestnut hair, with its yellow highlights,
whipped wildly around bare shoulders, her back arched,
her face overcome with excess, ultimate pleasure.


Spent and satisfied, Merissa took a moment before she
climbed off of me and then settled down onto the floor. I
stared up at the ceiling in a daze, a true state of blissful
oblivion, as she then leaned over and put the side of her
face across my chest and sighed deeply.

"Hey. You okay?"

"I love this," she whispered in response, raising her head
up to look at me. "Love YOU."

Still in a good-natured and mischievous mood, I covered my
eyes. "The zoo earlier, Merissa. The zoo! I just cannot
seem to get it out of my mind for some reason! The stupid
bird exhibit where you were all country girl and hot, and led
that old man tending to the animals on."

Merissa gasped. "What? Now I was leading HIM on? I
MOST CERTAINLY was not leading him on. I was being friendly,
which is what I do when people try to interact with Madi.
And he was a sweet, old man. Even gave Madi a toy."

"Doesn't matter. To him you were walking brunette catnip."

She laughed. "All I know is that I could not take my eyes
off of you today, Jeremy. I had so much fun today. Every day
I am reminded of how lucky I am, thanks to you and Lexi."

I kissed her because I had to and reveled in it, again
memorizing the taste as if I could ever, in a million years,
forget. "That old man wanted you today. Badly."

"If I'd known the badly part, I may have just run off with
him," she teased. "Is that what you want to hear me say,
Jeremy? You and good 'ol Robert could have fought over me!"

"I'd just get Alexa to judo chop his ass," I informed her.
"Lexi is the martial arts expert in the family. She took all
those self-defense classes at the gym where she works. Lexi
is the fighter. I'm simply the lover."

"Yeah, you're the lover, all right!" Merissa's happy smile
soon faded as she sat up on the floor. We were not touching
anymore, and I immediately felt hollow without that safety net,
the security, the purpose it provided. A cold chill even went
throughout my body. Thus, I took Merissa's vintage, butter
yellow sweater and tossed it over me as if it was a blanket.

Merissa snatched the sweater away and waved a menacing
finger my way. "You look so bleary-eyed and content right now,
Jeremy," she said, tossing the sweater on, concealing her
bare breasts and, even worse, her spellbinding baby bump.
"Like a happy little sloth lying on the sofa."

"A sloth?" I returned, trying to suppress a smile. Yet
Merissa was too keen for that, and caught it immediately.

She leaned in, vibrant now. "Do you remember what we were
talking about earlier in the minivan? With you and this family,
Jeremy, you... you and Lexi somehow convinced me to take a
risk, do something scary that put me outside of my comfort
zone, and now I feel as if I can conquer the world. This life,
this family... it's awesome. Totally awesome. I do not care
what anyone else says or thinks about us, our marriage."

"I'm glad that we have made you happy."

"I only have eyes for you and Lexi. Nothing will change
that. Not even Robert could distract me."

I narrowed my gaze. "No way. You're a big, fat liar."

"Way!" she laughed uproariously. "Drop the thing about
the old guy with the birds, Jeremy."

I pouted at her. "Way to ruin my jealous, angry face."

"You should know that your jealous, angry face is very
attractive," she told me. "And handsome."

I shifted my lips to the side. "I'll work on it more then."

"What a night." Then her eyes widened. "Lexi must still
be outside yapping with her mom and dad." Merissa caressed my
spent testicles, my flaccid cock. "I wonder what she will
think when she learns that you got... sidetracked."

"Is that what we're calling this?" I laughed. "I think
we're both guilty of the sidetracking, to be honest. Didn't
you originally suggest that we go to bed? Instead, we wind
up here in my office, half-naked. Not that I'm complaining."

She covered her mouth and stifled a giggle. "Lexi might
get jealous of us." Her eyes twinkled playfully. "Let her!"

"I know what you want to do right now."

Her smile melted into a lazy sense of curiosity. "What?"

"You want to play _Panic Penguin_."

Before I knew it, Merissa had scooted away from the sofa
and was flapping her arms up and down. Her face was totally
pinched and she was eyeing me, trying not to laugh. My wife
was doing her best to make like a scared, panicked penguin!

And then, I was responding in kind. My own arms flapped
about continuously and I offered my tightest, most constrictive
expression imaginable. Oh, the indignity of admitting this!

Unable to control ourselves, Merissa and I broke out into
a fit of simultaneous laughter and promptly hugged each other.

Love, I had learned, was worth it. Even the goofiest and
silliest of moments. My heart had never been so close to
bursting with Merissa than it was right now. Each kiss felt
different than any before it tonight, and every caress came
with a promise. Each day, those feelings and emotions just
got more intense. Merissa and I could take on the world
together. She had chosen me and I had chosen her back. She
had chosen my Alexa too, our precious, vibrant bride.

Our marriage was the ultimate expression of sharing, of
love. And no man alive was happier than me.

* * *

I opened my eyes, not at the crack of dawn as was my usual
habit, but when the alarm went off at blaringly loud decibels
at 8:00am. Huh? What? Why? I rarely slept in this late.
I rolled out of bed, alone, my eyes burning. Truth be told, I
did not get a lot of sleep last evening... for good reason.

Merissa. AND Alexa. Just thinking about them made me feel
all warm and fuzzy inside. Staggering to the washroom, I took
a shower. I held myself under the spray, shampooing my head,
letting the water wash over me and down the drain. I felt so
alive; much moreso than normal. Last night was incredible!
The beading fall of water striking my skin reminded me of all
of the hot, sensual ways that Merissa had touched me. She was
very good with her hands, and had a skilled mouth. Oh, that
sweet mouth! Alexa cuddled with us in bed afterward and we
spoke for a good 90 minutes, as three best friends and lovers,
until it got so late that I just had to fall asleep.

I shivered and shut the water off. I toweled quickly,
dressed even more so, and was intent on finding my wives.
Wait. Alexa was working a quick, four hour morning shift at
the gym, but would be home soon. Merissa had to be elsewhere
in the house, though, not to mention Cooper and Madison. I
seriously needed to get a heavy dose of hugs from all of them!

Yet just then, my cell phone rang.

I recognized the number immediately. It was my oldest
brother, Hudson. He and I had a pretty good relationship,
though it was not as strong and as tight-knit as it once was.
Again, my marriage and and (very) unique life choices had
created a certain magnitude of rifts and fractures - some
small, some large, some monumental and shattering - throughout
the rest of my family. Hudson lived on a huge, sprawling farm
in Pleasant Grove, my old stomping grounds, where we grew up.

I may have been at serious, irreparable odds with my
mother and father since December 2014, but nothing could
ever truly prepare a son or daughter for when they receive
the telephone call, out of the blue, that is everyone's
worst nightmare. I had witnessed what such devastating losses
had done to Merissa, how they had affected her. She barely
knew her father before he passed away in 1999. And I still
remember the day Merissa received grim news about her
younger brother, Colton, and the motorcycle accident.

With this particular telephone call from Hudson, my life
came to a screeching halt and, for all intents and purposes,
I felt like it was over. I dropped the phone and nearly
collapsed in shock. Yes, Dad and I had our differences
these past few years. No doubt. But down deep, I knew that
above all of the bitter, hateful words we once exchanged
because of Merissa, Dad was still out there. There was hope.
Perhaps one day, he and I could have a reconciliation.

Mom, too.

On this morning, I felt a tightness in my chest that I
had never experienced before. I was alone in the bedroom;
no wives, no kids, not even a family pet. Alone...

Hudson told me... Dad was dead. He died last night, at
78 years old, of an apparent stroke...

<<<- End of Chapter 03 ->>>

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