I watched Richard's body while I did it. His whole body writhed, his frantic breathing making everything from his stomach to his shoulders move. Both his hands were clasped in Jean-Claude's hands now. Richard's hands convulsed, until the muscles in his arms bulged, and he came up off the bed, crying a sound that was both a moan and scream that ended with my name. He settled back to the bed, his eyes closed, and I had a moment to look into Jean-Claude's face without Richard watching. For an instant Jean-Claude let me see how much this meant to him. The feel of all that strength in his hands, that Richard's struggles had pressed more of his body up against Jean-Claude's legs, that he was able to be here while Richard gave himself over to such abandon. For an instant it shone in his eyes, and I knew in that moment that as patient and careful as he'd been with me, it was nothing to how careful he had been with Richard.
"Stop," Richard said, "stop, or I'll go. Oh, God, stop." He raised his head up, laughing, breathless, and the look on his face was joyous, free in a way that he seldom looked these days.
I slid him out of my mouth, while I watched his face. He let his head fall back to the bed, his arms, shoulders beginning to relax, beginning to slide away from Jean-Claude's hands. I licked the head of him, and he convulsed again, muscles cording in his arms and chest, his hands crushing around Jean-Claude's. If there'd been a headboard, it might not have survived. But vampires are made of sterner stuff than wood, or metal.
"Please, Anita, please, stop. Let me catch my breath, or I won't last."
I stroked my hand up the wet, thickness of him.
He shuddered, and said, "Hand, too, God, just stop, please!"
The last please did it, an element of franticness. I took my hand away and knelt beside his body, my hands in my lap. It's hard to be demure when you're na**d in a bed with two men, but I did my best.
Richard let himself relax into the bed, let the tension of pleasure slide away. His head rested against Jean-Claude's thigh, his hands still loose in the other man's hands. Either he was too high on sex to think about it, or he didn't mind. As a shapeshifter he shouldn't have minded mere physical contact with someone. Hell, the shapeshifters slept in big na**d puppy piles, but Richard had always made a very clear line between vampires and shapeshifters. Vampires didn't get the up-close and personal stuff, period.
He turned his head, found that he needed a better angle, and used Jean-Claude's thigh like a pillow, to raise his face up enough to look at me comfortably. He moved his hands out of the other man's, but he kept his head propped there, and the two of them were framed against the dark of the wall and the crimson of the sheets, both nude, both so terribly right. It was as if I'd waited a long time to see them like this. If we hadn't been shielding so tight, I'd have wondered if it was my thought, or someone else's.
"Give me a few minutes, or the next thing we do will be the last thing we do, and it won't last long. God, you were good before, but not like that." He rolled his head back so he could look up the line of Jean-Claude's body to his face. "Did you teach her that?"
"Why is it that all men assume that only men can teach a woman how to have good sex?" I said.
Richard turned back to me and smiled--a smile more relaxed than any I'd seen in so long from him. "Are you saying you learned this from another woman?" He was teasing and let it show in his voice.
The teasing tone made me smile. "No, I figured it out on my own, thank you very much. Like I said, I've been practicing."
He rolled his head back to look at Jean-Claude, who obliged him by looking down to meet Richard's gaze. "On you?"
Jean-Claude smiled, "Non, man ami, I am well-endowed, but not so blessed as to help ma petite learn such technique."
Richard looked back down toward me. There was a look on his face that I'd seen all too often lately, a not-happy look. "Who?"
"I'll make you a deal, Richard. You don't ask me about my lovers, and I won't ask you about yours."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"It means if you weren't a lycanthrope, I would never have gone down on you like this until you proved you were disease free. You can get AIDS, gonorrhea, hepatitis, all just from o**l s*x. But lucky for you, you can't get anything. The lycanthropy destroys everything but itself, so you're disease free. Do you even know how many of the women in your pack and Verne's you've slept with?"
"Yes," he said, and the anger was still there.
"Do I want to know the number?"
"No," he said.
"But I'll bet I've never even come close to a number that large in my bed."
"I thought you said you hadn't kept track of what I was doing."
"I've heard a little, enough to know you've cleared three digits, or close to it. So let's agree not to get too possessive, or too self-righteous. Neither of us has the room for it."
He covered his face with his hands and made a sound, almost a growl.
Jean-Claude looked at me, his face was fighting for neutral, but not quite making it. We were closer than we'd ever been to being a true triumvirate, and Richard and I were blowing it.
"Fine, you're right, you're right. If this is going to work, you're right," Richard said.
I was the only one who saw the relief and surprise on Jean-Claude's face. By the time Richard lowered his hands and sat up, Jean-Claude's face was back to pleasant and unreadable.
I guess my face was surprised enough for both of us.
Richard smiled at me, though his eyes were still not happy.
"I wanted you in this bed. I'm not going to throw it away being stupid." His smile brightened and finally filled his eyes. "Alright, I'll try not to be too pigheaded, but lately I can't seem to help it."
"Welcome to my world," I said.
The smile got warmer. "Trade me places," he said.
I frowned. "What?"
"Trade me places." He scooted away from Jean-Claude and patted the bed next to the other man.
I was still frowning, but not unhappy. I was more puzzled than anything. "Why?"
"I want to return the favor."
"Lay down," he said, and patted the bed again. "Let Jean-Claude hold your hands."
I couldn't help frowning harder. "I'm not a headboard rider. He doesn't need to hold my hands."
"I felt how strong he is. Strong enough that when he holds your hands down you won't be able to get free."
I looked at his face.
"I am to be your ropes," Jean-Claude said.
Richard nodded, but kept looking at me.
"And what will you be doing while Jean-Claude holds me down?"
"Whatever I want to do."
I frowned harder. "Uh-unh, I need more of a clue than that."
"Don't you trust me?" And just the way he said it, the look in his face made me want to say no. If we'd been alone I don't think I'd have let him tie me up without a detailed list of planned activities. But Jean-Claude I trusted to referee. This new, more reasonable, more seductive Richard, I wasn't sure of yet.
"Anyone who's said 'trust me' or 'don't you trust me' to me couldn't be trusted."
"So you don't trust me," he said, and the smile faded at the corners.
"I didn't say that."
"What did you say, ma petite?" Jean-Claude asked.
Richard frowned at me. Jean-Claude made a small line in his forehead, for him a frown, when he was trying not to show anything.
"Yes," I said.
Jean-Claude smiled. It took Richard a moment longer to get it. "Yes," he said.
"Yes," he said again.
I nodded, again.
He smiled, and the smile was that wonderful smile. The one that made him look younger, more relaxed, more... himself, somehow.
I felt a smile spread across my face, a smile that I couldn't stop and didn't want to.
"Yes," he said, still smiling.
"Yes," I said.
"At last," Jean-Claude said, and he was smiling, too.
Jean-Claude's hands on mine, his body spilled out along the head of the bed. The pillows had all been thrown to the floor, so there was nothing but the silk sheets and the three of us. "Trade places," Richard had said. It had seemed so simple. I should have known nothing about Richard was ever simple.
He put his hands on my arms, just under where Jean-Claude held me. He wrapped those big hands around my arms, then began to slide his hands down my arms. He was only touching my arms, such an innocent place to touch, but he made the movement slow, and sensuous, trailing an edge of fingernail like the tiny press of something harder, and so much more dangerous against my skin. His hands reached under my arm, the trail of nails tickled, and made me writhe and giggle. Half because it tickled, and half because of the slow, sure movements of his hands. I'd forgotten what it was like to have all of Richard's attention in a bed. When you think you'll never be able to touch someone again, you try to forget.