Channing’s pause burned through Chassie’s patience. “What?”
“What do you think about Edgard?”
“The first thing that pops into my mind?” Chassie paused and admitted, “I’m jealous.”
“Of their past?”
“Sort of. Mostly it’s because Edgard has a part of Trevor I’ll never have. A part that was so special to Trevor he couldn’t even tell me about it. And the flipside of that paranoid feeling is smugness, because I know if I demand Trevor send Edgard away, Trevor would do it. He probably wouldn’t be happy. He’d secretly resent the hell out of me, but Trevor would do it.” Frustrated, Chassie smacked the pillow. “Dammit. I wish I could just hate Edgard. It’d be easier.”
“Besides the fact he wants to f**k my husband?”
“Fine. The man is flat-out beautiful. That sexy Portuguese accent is hot enough to melt the polar ice caps. He’s sweet. Lord, he’s so damn sweet.”
“I always liked that about him,” Channing murmured.
“He’s a damn hard worker. He’s quiet, but it’s a quiet strength, which is something neither Trev nor I have. He’s refereed a couple of arguments between me and Trev, so he’s got a diplomatic streak we’re lacking.”
“Edgard used to get pissed off if he thought Colby was being mean, or if either Trevor or Colby were putting me in a traditional role as cook, cleaner, and laundress.”
Chassie drummed her fingers on the cushion. “You know, that reminds me…Edgard was the one who calmed me down after I saw them kissing today. He’s the one who urged me to stay and listen to Trevor when I tried to bolt.”
Channing’s eyebrows rose. “He was?”
“Yeah. Hell, he even apologized. Said he wouldn’t do anything to hurt me.” Chassie fell silent as all the questions without answers spun around in her head. “And it might sound stupid as shit, because it’s in complete opposition to everything I’ve just said, but how can I ignore the fact that Edgard loved Trevor so much? And Edgard walked away from Trevor—even when it wasn’t what Edgard wanted?”
“You can’t. You shouldn’t.”
“Edgard loved Trevor enough to let him go.” That idea sank in, low, seeping into the marrow of her bones and she shivered with raw fear. “God, Channing, I don’t know if I could do that. I don’t know what I’ll do if Trevor decides he made a mistake marryin’ me and wants to…”
“Wants to what? Leave you and run off with Edgard?”
Chassie nodded and wiped her cheeks.
“I won’t try and convince you that’s an irrational fear. But I will ask what you’d be willing to do to keep that from happening?”
“Anything.” She repeated vehemently, “I’d do anything.”
“Be more specific. What would you do?”
“You mean like go to counseling or something?”
Channing shook her head. “I mean would you really do whatever it takes to keep Trevor happy and with you? Even if the option he chooses isn’t the easiest one for you?
Or Edgard? Even if the solution is the best one for Trevor? Even if it’s an unconventional solution?”
Chassie frowned, not following Channing’s train of thought.
“Think of it in the terms of that old saying ‘my friend’s enemies are my enemies’, not that you and Edgard are enemies.”
“You’re suggestin’ something like…my lover’s lover is my lover?”
Her gaze flicked to Channing. “Whoa. All three of us? Living together in a…ménage?”
Channing nodded. “The French word ménage a trois originally meant household of three, and it didn’t just refer to sex as a threesome, but three people living together under one roof, so that…lifestyle choice has been around for a long time. It’s nothing new.”
“It’s new to me! I’m supposed to consider welcoming my husband’s former male lover into our life? And into our home? And into our bed? Sharing Trevor with Edgard?
Just to make Trevor happy?”
“Stranger things have happened in the name of love, Chass. And you already told me you’d do anything. If you are serious then you’d better not discount the possibility because that is a reasonable, fair and possible solution.”
“But…I can’t fathom how much more complicated that’d make…well, everything.”
Wouldn’t it? Wouldn’t that be harder?
Not harder than losing Trevor for good.
A cry sounded from the baby monitor, startling Chassie.
“There’s my boy. Think about it.”
“I doubt I’ll be able to think of anything else.”
“Good. Be right back.” Channing disappeared down the hallway.
Crazy thoughts spun in Chassie’s head. How would a three-way relationship succeed for the long term? Dealing with sexual situations? And jealousy? Sleeping arrangements?
Financial responsibilities? Raising a family with one mother and two fathers in a part of the country that shunned anything out of the norm?
From the monitor came, “Mama, Mama,” and bouncing squeaks Chassie imagined were from Gib jumping in his crib at the joy of seeing his mother. Channing murmured and the boy giggled.
That sweet sound made her smile. Chassie definitely wanted children someday and she knew Trevor did too. Did Edgard? Or did he have that sneering “breeder” mindset so many same-sex couples had?
Thump thump thump. A little ball of energy barreled around the corner and ran straight at Chassie. Gib hit the soft couch cushion belly first, grabbed hold of the fabric in his fists and hoisted himself up. The boy didn’t sit; he bounced. One, two, three times and the last bounce he landed on his diapered butt.
Chassie gasped and he giggled.
“Gib. No bouncing. I mean it.”
He blinked innocently at his mother. “Daddy?”
Channing sighed. “Daddy’s gone, so you’re out of luck with his ‘boys will be boys’ parenting philosophy.”
“This darlin’ face is impossible to resist, Channing.”
“Tell me about it.” Channing straightened Gib’s shirt. “Can you say hi to Chassie?”
Gib stared. No doubt the kid was all McKay. No doubt he’d be hell on wheels, a serious heartbreaker with those deep dimples, mass of unruly black curls and enormous blue eyes. When Gib said, “Hi,” and crawled in her lap, Chassie melted…for the thirty seconds the kid actually sat still. He heaved himself to the floor and was off again.