Taken by Two(71)

By: Sam J. D. Hunt

“Okay, this won’t be easy for me,” he paced in front of us. “I don’t do mush, but I need to get this out.” We both nodded, Nate’s hand reaching for mine.

Rex began to slowly unbutton his shirt. “So these unfortunate bullet holes pretty much fucked up my artwork, as you know. So, I went to my tattoo gal today and got some patchwork done.”

“Did you get Evelyn’s name removed?” After the shooting, I nagged him to get her name taken off and also to stop wearing his gold wedding band. All I managed to get out of him was, “Let me think about it.”

He took a deep breath. “No, Princess. I’ve thought about it, but let me explain. The ring,” he held up his right hand, “I had it resized today to wear on this finger. Maybe someday I’ll wear a different one on my left ring finger,” he shot us both a warm grin. “But, the ring is a big part of my past, and it’s a good reminder to me to never, ever let love come last again. As far as the tattoos, this is the story of my life,” he dropped the shirt to the ground. “The good and the bad, they are all lessons to me. I did, however, make an addition today.” My eyes went to the bandage across his midsection, just above the Trust tattoo. With a slight grimace he pulled it off. It was red, wrapped it some sort of cellophane looking tape, but we were there. I blinked hard to try to see through the fountain of tears that clouded my eyes.

“I can’t believe it,” I whispered in awe.

“It has to heal, it’ll look better, don’t worry…”

Nate was frozen in his seat, his hand gripping mine so tightly I was losing circulation. “You didn’t have to…I mean you already…for me…” Nate couldn’t put words together. He gulped and managed to get out, “I never thought you’d do that for me.”

I wiped the tears away with the back of my hand. In the same script as the word Trust, Penelope and Nathaniel were intertwined with the Roman numeral for three. “It’s beautiful, thank you.” He walked toward us. “You’re so damn sappy—I’ll be bitching tomorrow about how badly it itches—such fucking long names.” Nate pulled me up from my stool and we fell into Rex, who gave an overly dramatic, “Ow!” as we selfishly examined the fresh tattoo.

“Thank you,” Nate whispered, his fingers tracing the letters of his name as Rex winced.

I placed a palm on each man’s cheek. “You two complete me,” I said, the words cliché, but I meant them. Nate’s lips fell onto mine, the comforting embrace of Rex’s arms wrapped around us both. Nate and I broke our kiss when Rex spoke. “I love you both more than life,” he said as his deep blue eyes misted over.

Rex leaned in, lowering his quivering lips to mine. I loved him so much at that moment that I could barely focus. He kissed me, warm and loving, for what felt like forever—I never wanted his lips to leave mine. When we parted, he gave me a warm smile before turning his loving gaze to Nate. Despite the sexual closeness they’d discovered, Rex had yet to kiss Nate the way he kissed me. I expected him to maybe say something to Nate, possibly give him a hair ruffle or a peck on the forehead, but what happened next caused tears to pour down my cheeks. Rex kissed him—long, intimate, and without reserve. Kissing both men was spiritual for me, but seeing them kiss each other—hard jaws, scruffy five-o-clock shadows, strong lips melding together bound us as three in ways I could never have imagined.

After the kiss, Rex held up left his hand, three fingers splayed out at us. “Three,” he said. “We are three. I love you both.”

I reached up three fingers and held them to Rex’s. “Three, I love you both,” I repeated.

Nate gulped hard before holding up three fingers from his left hand to ours and repeated the words that I knew would become an oath between us for the rest of our lives—“Three, I love you both.” A joyous tear slid down my cheek as nine fingers intertwined in an unbreakable bond that exists to this day. Love finds a way to thrive—defying all labels, crashing through all boundaries, forgiving and mending the pain of the past.

We are three, and we love each other. Nothing else matters—we have found our own version of true love, and for the three of us, it’s perfect.

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