Victor has loved El and En since high school. The problem is, they love each other and only see him as a friend. Victor leaves town, unable to cope with watching them together, but now he’s back—and his heart still feels the same.
El and En have had feelings for Victor for a long time, they just haven’t said anything. After all, a poly relationship isn’t something society looks upon kindly. But that isn’t going to stop them, not now they understand what missing Victor is like. They want their third, no matter what anyone says—they just have to find out whether Victor is up for the challenge.
Together again, individually, the three men know they’re meant to be a trio. The thing is, who will say so first? And will the dynamic work if Victor joins a stable couple? Can Victor fit in and have the relationship he’s dreamed of with the two men who have held his heart in their hands for what feels like forever?
Find out in Together.
Together was previously published in Beautiful Skin: A People of Color Anthology. Content has not changed.
Publisher: Independently Published
Heat Level: 5
Romantic Content: 5
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Bisexual, Gay, Polyamorous
Protagonist 1 Age: 26-35
Protagonist 2 Age: 26-35
Protagonist 3 Age: 26-35
Tropes: Friends to Lovers, Interracial Relationship, Menage, Second Chances, Slow Burning Love, Unrequited Love
Setting: United States, Georgia, Atlanta
Languages Available: English
Sitting on the patio outside our favorite North Atlanta diner on a spring-like April Friday should not have been cause for melancholy. This was, after all, our regular weekly lunch whenever we were all in town. But it had been around this time, three years earlier, when my best friends, El and En—Miguel Armenta and Enrique Cruz—had dropped a life-changing bomb on me. I couldn’t help thinking back to high school when they’d told me they were moving in together after graduation.
My world had gone dark that day.READ MORE
I hadn’t let it show. I’d hugged them gently, told them that they were my best friends and we would keep in touch, while hiding behind my shoulder-length black dreads. I quietly changed all my post-graduation plans, embarrassed that I was running but certain I didn’t have any other choice. My pain was too great. Fortunately, I hadn’t told them of my plans before it had happened. It was around that time I had begun to realize I had feelings other than a simple crush for my best friends in the months before we got our diplomas.
I almost had another panic attack shortly after heading for university when I realized I wanted both of them; I couldn’t choose between them and proceeded to break up with my then girlfriend so I wouldn’t string her along for any protracted length of time than I already had. I had to get as far away from the ones I desired so I hightailed it to California like my ass was on fire.
The subsequent change of scenery had triggered a lot of soul-searching. During that time, I came to the realization that I could have feelings for both men and women. Following that, ménages were not unheard of as far as committed relationships went. I returned home from school three years later after graduating early with my newly minted degree in systems engineering. I went back to my hometown in Metro Atlanta because of the availability of tech jobs even though I knew returning would put me in their zone again. They had never left the small town north of Atlanta where we’d grown up. The lower cost of living in the region and my initial salary made it an easy decision. In reality, I had missed them while in school too much to stay away. I was sad sometimes but I had other interests and friends, kept in shape with kick boxing, and hung out with them on a semi-regular basis. I had made my peace to be near them again but was about to find out that may not continue.
I had taken another bite out of my sandwich while they had been quietly talking and reminiscing when a shout of surprise penetrated my consciousness. It was the expectant looks on their faces that finally registered, and I realized that someone had asked me a question while I hadn’t been paying attention.
I chewed quickly so I could focus on the two dark-haired, golden-skinned, Latino men sitting across from me.
“What? Did I miss something?”
My heart squeezed as I looked at their gorgeous faces. They both had slightly oval-shaped jaws, and mustaches, but En had trimmed scruff along his jaw while El was clean-shaven. My attraction to them had never waned, but I wasn’t going to break them up to satisfy my selfishness. I ignored the familiar pain, just as I had for the previous eight years, and waited for them to respond.
El rolled his dark blue eyes at my tendency to get stuck in my head and answered for them both. He usually did—being the one who was six-two standing and slightly taller than En, while En was the quieter one. El was protective of him, too. Considering En is a writer and El a lawyer, they fit. The thought flitted through my mind that I wanted to hold and protect them both. I mentally shook my head and focused on the repeated question.
“Vic, would you be our best man at our wedding in two weeks?”
I reared back in shock. “What! How? When did this happen?” I stood instantly to my full height of six-five, almost toppling the chair in my haste. Slightly embarrassed at my reaction, I continued to deflect, “Of course I’ll be your best man. Together?”
El and En stood with me, and we migrated close to each other as we talked.
At En’s nod, I continued, “That’s going to be some interesting coordination. Yes, sure! Where?”
I smiled through the searing pain that lanced my heart. I had gotten used to hiding my feelings from them for so long it was second nature.
Seemingly a little nervous, En showed the rings he had and said softly, “I just asked him now spontaneously.” He gazed at El lovingly while holding him around the middle, his head tucked under El’s chin, and his pretty brown eyes radiating happiness.
El wrapped his arms around him, grinning widely, and he eyed me intently.
“I said yes,” he confirmed as well.
“Awww, that’s cute,” I said, outwardly amused but inwardly I was shattered. “Sorry about missing the request the first time around. You know how I get lost in my head sometimes.” I walked the few steps to them and gathered them both in a group hug, my long arms almost encircling them.
I had no hope now, since I never saw any signs they were interested in me romantically, but I didn’t want to lose their friendship and so I’d never told them of my feelings. While I knew about polyamory, I wasn’t sure they did, and they never gave any indication that they were interested in something more than friends. I enjoyed the contact for a few more seconds then pulled back a little, catching my dreads in a loose ponytail with a hair looper I had on my wrist most of the time. “You haven’t figured out how to do the deed yet, huh?”
“Actually…we have,” El answered excitedly, practically jumping in our three-way hug. “We’re going to ask one of our friends who have their online ordination to marry us in Piedmont Park that Saturday. I’d been about to ask En tonight at home as I already got a marriage license last week.” He focused on En sheepishly, kissed him on the top of his short-haired head, and only separated some as he continued, “Apparently, great minds think alike and all as he had the rings with him today.”
Adorable. My heart turned over at how cute they were. God, I loved them so much. I’d thought it was just friendship with them growing up as I hadn’t ever had any feelings for guys. I’d liked girls as a kid and loved touching them. I’d noticed guys but only in passing, and it was fleeting, so I’d never thought about guys that way for many years. For fuck sake, I had a typical high school sweetheart cheerleader to my wrestling jock self!
It had never occurred to me that I was bisexual when I’d transferred to Appleton Middle School at the tender age of thirteen. My parents and I moved from Jamaica because of political unrest at the time. With a June birthday and different grade entrance laws in Georgia, I had to repeat sixth grade, so I was two years older than them. I was the ebony dark guy to their golden Latin American in a school system with only a smattering of non-whites to satisfy the diversity in the upper middle-class school system we had attended. People eyed me warily when I’d first arrived. Whispers of that N word and occasional other derogatory name-calling crept up over the years. I came to realize the stories of discrimination I had heard but hadn’t paid attention to before the move about the US in general, and the southeastern states in particular, were true. En and El became my best friends despite the lack of true diversity at the time and had me join them for lunches in the school cafeteria from day one. We’d continued the lunches over the years and only interrupted them when I went to college.
It hadn’t surprised me much when they’d started behaving differently with each other in sophomore year. They came out to me as gay about the same time they told me they’d begun their romantic relationship toward Christmastime that same year. It was a wake-up call, and I realized I had a crush on El first, then En invaded my heart later. Since I was eighteen at the time, I considered running from the feelings they evoked. Even then, I couldn’t leave as I didn’t want to lose our friendship. At Appleton High, I dated the head cheerleader, probably more due to being on the Varsity wrestling team despite the mixed-race pairing we were. I hadn’t understood why my heart ached even though I had no issues being intimate with Gwen until that fateful day that spring.
And now they’d done it to me again.COLLAPSE