Home > The Proposal(3)

The Proposal(3)
Author: Kitty Thomas

And I didn't. What are the odds? I admit that as I leveled up the quality of the men on my roster, I had the concern in the back of my mind that they might run in the same social circles. Once you reach the top echelon in a city, everybody seems to know each other. But it's a big city, I was discreet and thought that was enough. Obviously not.

“Well, we do,” he says as if this clarification were necessary and will somehow spark off some deep tearful confession on my part—which it does not.

So far Griffin is the only one who has spoken. The other two have been watching me shrewdly, observing all my reactions as if they are human polygraphs determined to spot the lie.

“And?” I ask.

I'd like to get this witch burning over with so I can start my lonely cat lady future. There was a grey male cat with only one eye at the clinic last week. He's up for adoption. I could call him Mr. Wednesday.

Griffin continues, oblivious to my insane pet acquisition fantasies. “Imagine our surprise when we found out we all just happened to be dating a wonderful girl named Livia. Did you think we wouldn't find out you'd been playing us? Did you really think we wouldn't know each other?”

“I'm not playing you,” I say, leveling a hard glare at him. I can't believe he has the nerve to act as though I've been doing something dirty this whole time.

“Hmmm,” is his only response. He takes a sip of his own water. “Are you saying you have actual feelings?”

He says this as though I'm some sort of sociopathic robot who has stalked them all like prey. I want to point out that every single one of them approached me.

But instead I just say, “Yes.” Though my actual feelings in this moment are running more to terror coupled with anger than love. Even so, I'm sure I would pass a polygraph because terror and anger are definitely actual feelings.

“Which one of us do you love?” he demands.

I make eye contact with each of them in turn. “All of you.” And it's true. It was the one sticky issue I failed to account for. What if in playing this game to protect myself, I ended up falling in love with more than one man? I'd decided that was a problem for future Livia. It was a bridge I would cross when I got to it. And here's the bridge, looking far more rickety than I'd originally imagined it would.

None of them betrays any feeling they may have about this proclamation on my part.

“I thought your goal was to date and not be tied down until you found the right man and he proposed. You didn't want to be in the Girlfriend Trap while a man kept you on the hook indefinitely.” He recounts this to me as if he's somehow revealing a lie somewhere.

“That's right,” I confirm. This feels like the recap of a reality show and part of me wants to look around for a camera crew.

“But you love all of us?” he clarifies again. Seriously, is he wearing a wire?

“Yes,” I say.

“If one of us proposed marriage, would you accept?”

I only hesitate a moment before I say, “Yes.” I can't let my feelings cloud things and cause me to lose sight of my real goals. One man that loves and provides for me. But in the past few months in their company I've gotten greedy and haven't wanted the ride to end.

Sitting face-to-face with all three of them it's only now sinking in just how ruthless these men are and what fire I've been carelessly playing with. These aren't college boys or blue collar plumbers. These are powerful men, very used to having a harem of women hanging all over them, but no doubt unused to dating a woman pulling the same power play on them. And suddenly I feel like the checkmate is coming, and it's not me winning the game.

“Okay, so let's say one of us proposes. What about the other two?”

“I'd end it with the other two.”

I'm not sure where this is going. Are they going to arm wrestle for me? Such an outcome seems unlikely, especially considering the venue.

“Well,” he continues unruffled, “Here's the thing. We don't just all know each other. We pledged the same frat in college in the same year. We've been in some strange and interesting situations together. We've shared many unconventional experiences, and we are quite accustomed to sharing our women.”

I've just taken a sip of water when he says this and nearly choke on it.

The predatory way the three of them are looking at me makes me want to get up and flee the restaurant. I glance around to see if guests at nearby tables have heard any of this because I'm certain right now my face is the same color as my dress.

While Griffin is giving this speech, I have the feeling he isn't giving it because he's some agreed-upon de facto leader of the group. It's more because tonight was his date night with me, so it seems only right that he do all the talking. Dayne or Soren could have just as easily carried this speech with the same intensity.

“So here's the deal,” he says. “We've decided we're a package deal. You will marry one of us legally—we'll put on the respectable show for all of our friends and family—and you will have binding private contracts with the other two. And then the four of us will live together.”

Wait, what?! All three of them? And I notice nobody is asking me to marry them. It has been declared. I have been claimed. And instead of competing for one of them to win me, they've decided they'll all enjoy the spoils. How nice for them.

This idea sets my body on fire. The place between my legs flares to life in the most visceral way. It's been a long bout of celibacy—a level of self control I'd deemed mandatory to get my happily ever after without over-attaching too soon to one man and hormonally bonding to some loser while overlooking all his flaws.

I thought I had every angle figured out—every possible way of protecting myself from narcissists, losers, players, commitmentphobes, and general all around dirtbags. But this possible outcome never occurred to me. And while my mind screams no, my neglected body is all in.

I rise on shaking legs. At least half of this shaking is arousal, not fear or anger. But I'm not about to play into their hands. For all I know, they've decided this is the way to win, conquer me, get me to lower my guard in some marathon orgy, then laugh and discard me the next day. If that's their plan it would break me completely.

If they did that I would have just had three players playing the long game on me. No, thank you. No way am I doing all I've done just to have the same ending... Again.

“I most certainly will not!” I practically hiss at them.

I can't do this. It's insane. And even if I could, it would break every pretense I've set up that I'm some kind of classy lady who doesn't just share my body with anyone. I can't give myself to all three of them. It's too fucked-up even for my twisted fantasies.

“Sit!” Griffin says.

People at nearby tables actually turn and stare. I'm torn between fleeing—which will only call more attention to myself—and just sitting back down. I choose to flee.

 

 

Livia

 

 

When it rains it pours

 

 

One year ago. Last June.

 

When I tearfully packed up my stuff and left my boyfriend last year I decided then and there that this would never happen to me again. I'm not completely sure he even was my boyfriend. We just sort of moved in together. And stupid me thought that meant something. He wasted two years of my life in this situationship.

Hot Books
» House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1)
» From Blood and Ash (Blood And Ash #1)
» Deviant King (Royal Elite #1)
» Chasing Cassandra (The Ravenels #6)
» The Play (Briar U Book 3)
» Sweet Temptation
» Steel Princess (Royal Elite #2)
» Archangel's War
» Angry God (All Saints High #3)
» ENEMIES
» Twisted Kingdom (Royal Elite #3)
» Fake It 'Til You Break It
» The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air #
» Serpent & Dove(Serpent & Dove #1)
» Credence