When the three of them had decided to find a place to live and work out of together, one of the few things they’d all agreed on from the start was that they each needed their own bedroom. It seemed natural that three criminals with their own quirks, only a few years into the habit of working on a team at all, would need some private space. Jules would get deep into planning and researching upcoming jobs and hide away for days; Ellis exercised alone sometimes but would, as far as Anthony could tell, just sit in stillness on the floor for an hour or two from time to time; and every few weeks Anthony himself got the bug to hole up and hack into a government agency or two just to prove he still could. It made sense.
What also made sense, though, was to make sure they made time to be together even in the midst of distractions, which is why Anthony had grown to love Sunday nights. When he’d suggested they set up a standing time to have dinner together and talk about new work and projects they’d be taking on, he wasn’t sure anyone else would be on board for it. But Ellis enjoyed any chance to cook for them, no matter how much he grumbled about it, and Jules needed a less scattershot way to let them know what she had in the pipeline for them, and to his amazement what he thought might be a failed experiment that fizzled out after a month was going strong half a year later. In a rare case of punctuality for all of them, 9 p.m. each Sunday saw Anthony and Ellis curled up on their large sofa, plates in hand, watching Jules pace around the room while she filled them in on new clients or brought them up to speed on active cases.
This week Jules had a new case for them involving the Purple Pony gentleman’s club. Five months before, the owner, James Alderman, had hired a man by the name of Cartwright to handle more of the day-to-day details while he went out of state to open a second club. The owner made a big deal about how policies wouldn’t change under new management, but shortly after he was out of the picture, Cartwright started letting his friends get too handsy with the dancers, raised dancer fees, and was suspected of stealing tips from them outright.
An additional complication was that some of the dancers were undocumented, and Cartwright had been threatening to report them to the authorities if they raised a fuss. The owner wouldn’t return the dancers’ calls, and none of them trusted the police to help out; it was the exact sort of situation that drove people to navigate the twisty trail of word-of-mouth connections that led them to Jules, and by extension the rest of the team.
Jules said, “Of course, people can move to new clubs, but finding a good place is tough, and it takes a while to build a following. What the employees really want is to buy the place themselves and run it as a co-operative. A few clubs have done it, there’s precedent, but it’s a big investment, and of course they’re getting ripped off right now. Pilar, my main contact at the Purple Pony, is pretty sure Alderman won’t sell with Cartwright in the picture, so our goal is to figure out a way to get their money back and figure out what he’s doing with enough evidence to get Alderman to cut him loose.
“Ellis, he just so happens to be hiring a new bouncer to start ASAP, I need you to make sure that’s you. Find out what you can about whatever Cartwright’s up to. Scope out his office if you can, but that’s not your goal. Phase one is just gathering information as low-key as you can, got it?”
Ellis nodded, and turned to Anthony. “Can I use my normal bouncer ID for this one? Is he up to date?”
Anthony put his hand to his chest in mock surprise and flopped his legs out dramatically, nudging up against Ellis’ thigh; Ellis rolled his eyes, but didn’t push him away. A good sign. Putting on his best long-suffering voice, Anthony asked, “Do you think I would somehow NOT be meticulously maintaining our stockpile of aliases? You are tarnishing my good name with such talk. Your good friend Spence Miller is up to date and ready to apply for work at any time.” In truth, the three of them had enough aliases between them that he wasn’t constantly keeping them all active enough to be usable at a moment’s notice, but no one else needed to know that. Ellis played the meathead security guy often enough that Anthony made sure that identity in particular was always ready for action.
While Ellis got settled into his role as Miller and started getting the lay of the land in the Purple Pony, Jules and Anthony kept themselves busy with their own projects. Even mostly reformed thieves and con artists had their own vices, and the fact that they usually used their skills to help out folks who couldn’t afford decent lawyers or even trust the judicial system to treat them fairly at all hadn’t entirely burnt those urges out of them. Jules sometimes took jobs on her own, if all someone needed was a simple recovery of cash or documents in a poorly-guarded pocket or safe, so she caught up on a few of those. Anthony spent some time beefing up the stockpile of aliases he’d been neglecting; doing it properly took a lot of time so it was nice to have the downtime to take care of it.
Since the Purple Pony closed at 3 a.m., Ellis came home long after everyone else was asleep and kept odd hours, so he spent more time than usual in his own space; after a few weeks of this, Anthony found himself looking forward to Sunday night even more than usual. While he didn’t outright say it, Ellis was clearly missing them as well; there were little carrot rosettes on his and Jules’ plates of pasta that night. Ellis never bothered with garnishes unless he wanted to make a good impression.
Distracted by warm fuzzy feelings (and Ellis’ slow-cooked roasted garlic tomato sauce), when Jules started her update, Anthony didn’t quite follow the conversation for the first minute or two. It wasn’t until he saw her pull something out of a package she’d had sitting out on the counter that Anthony realized he’d missed something important and asked, “I’m sorry, you need me to do what?”
Ellis had taken note of Cartwright’s habits at the Purple Pony well enough for Jules to feel confident moving ahead with things: they just needed to find the right time to break into his office, find what they needed, and get out.
Which led, somehow, to the tiny, shimmering gold briefs in Jules’ hands that Anthony was staring at in the slowly-dawning realization that they would soon be on him. “Oh no. No. This is not — no. There is a distinct difference between ‘helping out strippers by hacking into their boss’ computer’ and ‘becoming one myself’ and you know it. I was not prepared to be part of that latter group.”
Jules rolled her eyes at him. “You know the best chance we have to get into Cartwright’s office is to have one of us in a position where we spend time backstage. Ellis is either working the door or roaming the floor every night, he’ll be missed. That leaves one of us, and since we know most of the information we want is on his computer, you’ll have better luck getting it quickly. Your job will be to get on stage, then backstage, and my job will be to have a little encounter with Cartwright before you perform so I can pass anything I find on to you. Anyway, you don’t have to pretend to be a real dancer there. They have ladies’ night twice a month, and one of those features amateur walk-ons. That’s how we’ll get you in.”
Anthony took a deep breath. “Okay, okay, I got this. I can do it. The only dancing I’ve done in years is the little shimmy I do when I’m flipping pancakes, but sure! Yeah. How hard can it be?”
“Calm down,” Ellis said. “No one expects you to be good if you’re just an amateur. They had one of those my first week; no one’s great but the crowd doesn’t care. If you’re good-looking and taking clothes off, that’s enough to make most of them happy. And if you do impress them, well. That’s a bonus.”
Anthony dropped his face in his hands. “Wonderful, so the best I can really hope for is ‘good enough that no one tries to throw me off the stage.’ And I get to do it in that.” He poked the tiny briefs, which shimmered back at him. “Lovely.”
“Oh no, there’s more!” Jules said, either not noting his discomfort or enjoying it; based on her observational skills he suspected it was the latter. She pulled out a black mesh shirt and a pair of black pants with velcro sewn up the seams. “Listen, you may not be crazy about these, but I promise, most of what I found online was worse.”
“Either tackier, if you can believe it, or super racist. You could have had underwear with an LED screen on the front that says STUD, or a Tarzan loincloth. Trust me, this was the best I could find. Also, I sent you some homework, so check your email. The next amateur night is this coming Saturday, so you only have a week to get ready.”
Thankfully, conversation moved to other topics after that; Anthony found he couldn’t quite formulate a decent argument against this plan, but he still wasn’t looking forward to playing his part in it, so he was happy to just set the matter aside for the moment. But the next morning, he checked his email first thing to see Jules’ “homework” waiting for him: a link to a Youtube playlist labeled Dr. Sensual’s Dance Moves for Male Entertainers. “I guess it’s time to say farewell to my dignity,” he said to the empty living room, before reluctantly hitting the play button.
Despite his initial hesitation, Anthony found that his homework was at least a little bit fun, although his enjoyment was replaced by embarrassment when Ellis asked for a demonstration one night before he went to work. “If you can’t do this for me alone, how will you do it for a room full of people?” he’d asked, and Anthony didn’t quite know how to explain that dancing for him felt much more high-stakes than performing for a crowd of strangers, despite the fact that he wasn’t ready to do that, either.
Ready or not, though, the following Saturday night found him at the Purple Pony, dressed in his tearaway finest and trying desperately to look calm and confident as he waited for his chance to perform. A couple songs before he was set to go on stage, Anthony took the risk of peeking out at the crowd from a side door. The regular dancers were making the rounds, dancing for the guests and flirting for tips, but the amateurs were meant to stay backstage, only coming out for their stage performances. That suited Anthony fine – otherwise he wouldn’t be able to explain his absence while breaking into Cartwright’s office – but it did mean he had a harder time watching Jules at work, and that was by far his favorite part of any con.
It took him a minute to find her; he’d been looking for someone on her own, but of course Jules knew that would make her more noticeable, and eventually he saw that she’d attached herself to a raucous bachelor party where everyone seemed drunk and rowdy enough that they all assumed she was someone else’s friend. Jules was wearing a short, shimmery teal dress that looked so tight he wondered how she was managing to breathe, and her black hair was pinned up, which meant she had a nest of lockpicks in there even though she wasn’t planning on breaking into anything herself tonight. He smiled; his girl was always prepared, and he loved her for it.
She was sipping from a drink he was sure was a plain tonic with lime, but from her exaggerated laughter he could tell she was acting as drunk as one might expect a short, whippet-thin woman to be after several stiff drinks. He knew he needed to duck backstage soon and get ready, but he saw her stand up while clutching her tiny purse and waving towards the sign for the restrooms, and stayed just a moment to watch her in action.
The three of them were all good at what they did; there was no way they could have lasted so long in their line of work without a lot of skill. Anthony enjoyed hacking into people’s financial records and creating aliases, obviously; it was fun, but he took it seriously and had pride in his work. Ellis made sure not to fuck people up more than he had to in a fight, but when the need arose he could take on just about anyone, and Anthony knew he felt strongly about protecting Jules and himself. Jules, though, with her quick fingers and quicker mind…when Jules worked, it was art.
The restrooms were near the VIP area, and he could see Cartwright walking up to meet two men who were seated there. Jules had timed her path perfectly so that when she wobbled a bit on her stiletto heel and collided dramatically with him, nearly knocking them both over and spilling a couple items out of her purse, it looked entirely natural. He couldn’t quite hear her drunken, exaggerated “Whoops!” from where he stood, but he could see it, and see Cartwright’s expression relax a bit as Jules teetered into him once more. He looked angry at first, but she was so clearly drunk, and so clearly taking the opportunity to flirtatiously smooth out his shirt and brush dust off of his lapel after gathering up her lipstick and keys, that he calmed down a bit, and even put his hand on her hip, steadying her as she continued to sway slightly. He said something that made Jules blush – more likely out of anger, Anthony knew, than titillation or embarrassment, although she’d gotten much better at masking the difference – and smacked her ass as she walked away, which made him take a very deep breath to calm himself down. She could handle herself, and making a fuss now would ruin everything.
The music blared into a new song, and Anthony startled – this was the one before his, so he needed to get his ass backstage and ready quickly. He’d distracted himself enough to lose the butterflies in his stomach, but now they’d returned with some extra friends. Grasshoppers, maybe? He hurried back and found a quiet spot to stand with his eyes closed for a minute, focusing on the task ahead. He was more nervous about making a mostly-naked spectacle of himself on stage than he was about breaking into some douchebag’s personal computer to find incriminating data. That, he could practically do in his sleep. If things went south, he had a team to back him up. The only time he was onstage naked in his sleep was during particularly stressful dreams when no one was there to help.
Pretend you’re doing it just for them, he thought to himself. They’re the only people in the room. As nervous as the thought had made him earlier, now that he was faced with the noise of the club and the size of the crowd, maybe a private performance at home didn’t sound so terrible after all. He allowed himself a moment to imagine it, but knew he couldn’t keep that illusion up for long; he had to play to the crowd, after all. Ellis was somewhere in the shadows of the back of the club, out of sight, but now that he knew where the raucous bachelorette party was sitting he knew where to find Jules; maybe focusing on her for just a bit longer than anyone else wouldn’t be too noticeable, and her presence would calm him down. It always did.
Before he had much longer to think, a final burst chorus of cheers and screams came from the audience as the act before his finished up; everyone seemed to be having a good time. A terrifyingly buff, deeply tanned man with floppy blonde hair loped off of the stage and patted Anthony’s shoulder as he passed by. “I warmed ’em up for you, bro!”
“Uh yeah, thanks?” Anthony barely had time to react before the DJ started talking. He knew he was being introduced, but he couldn’t focus enough to even parse what he was saying over the noise of the crowd and the blood rushing in his ears. Janelle Monáe’s “Primetime” started up, and Anthony forced himself into character. This is just another con. Act like you belong there and you’ll be fine. Taking a deep breath, he sauntered out into the spotlight.
Despite his goofy name, Dr. Sensual had actually been a decent teacher; one of his first suggestions had been “play to your strengths.” As out of practice as he was, Anthony didn’t have the chops for fast and flashy moves, but a slow tease was well within his skillset. Something downtempo and soulful had definitely been the right choice. His greatest downfall in practice had been that he’d concentrated so hard he frowned through his performance, so as he slid his hand under the ridiculous mesh shirt, flashing his abs for a moment before letting it fall back down again, his mind was an endless loop of EYE CONTACT NO SCOWLING LOOSEN UP EYE CONTACT, and it turned out he was focusing too hard to be nervous at all.
By the time he’d thrown the tearaway pants over his shoulder (turned out the crowd loved the terrible gold briefs Jules had picked out, thank the Lord), Jules had made her way to the front of the bachelorette party group and was enthusiastically waving what looked like a couple of hundreds at him. He made his way across the front of the stage, flashing his best bedroom eyes to every woman along the way and peeling off the mesh shirt by the time he reached her. As he approached Jules, Janelle was murmuring I don’t want to be mysterious with you, and he spun down to his knees, which put his blindingly gold crotch right at her eye level. Still acting drunk off her ass, Jules fumbled a bit to get her bills past his waistband, conveniently hiding the fact that they were wrapped around what felt like a keycard and something else. “There’s a little extra for you, baby,” she said with a wink before giving a tipsy whoop and stumbling backwards to let her “friends” shove their own tips in as well. He slipped into autopilot once this most important part of his performance was over, and while he probably wasn’t the smoothest guy at amateur night, the number of bills sticking out of his tiny pants by the end made it pretty clear that the audience approved. Or maybe the benefit of a two-drink minimum was that the crowd was ready to cheer for just about anyone, as long as they pulled off enough clothing.
Once he was offstage, Anthony was too focused on the job ahead to think too much about his performance, which was a blessing. In the chaos of the dressing room, he shoved the crumpled bills into his duffel bag before hurriedly pulling on his purposefully dark and nondescript street clothes. He held onto Jules’ carefully folded hundreds, though, and managed to find a relatively private corner to unfold them, revealing a keycard and a small safe key. He grinned. That’s my girl, he thought. Always getting the job done.
Ellis’ sketched-out map of the club’s back area had been accurate; he was able to find the owner’s office without having to suspiciously look around or backtrack at all. Cartwright’s general habit was to stay out on the floor until about 1 a.m., and it was just after midnight now, so he should have enough time to get in and out with no trouble. Should didn’t always have a lot to do with how things actually went, though. Anthony slipped on his gloves before pulling the keycard out of his pocket, winced at the beep the door gave as it unlocked, and slipped in as quietly as he could, letting the door latch behind him.
It turned out that for all his sinisterness, Cartwright was almost comically incompetent at covering his tracks. The safe contained several bank-deposit bags full of cash, divided up into dated envelopes, and documents on the computer (password-protected so poorly that it took under ninety seconds to crack, a complete waste of Anthony’s skills) had a list of dates and amounts that lined up with the safe contents, with the helpful label “extra employee cash.” Interestingly enough, he also found the document Alderman had signed transferring ownership to Cartwright, with some very specific stipulations relating to treatment of employees that had pretty much entirely been ignored; that would almost certainly be a huge help as the dancers built their case against him. He used his phone to scan the document, transferred all the incriminating files onto his USB drive, and threw the cash in his bag. As he was straightening things up to hide evidence of his presence, his phone buzzed in his pocket. He had just received a text from Ellis: hurry up
Shit! He scrambled a bit, banged his knee on the desk, and swallowed his yelp in case anyone was close enough in the hall to hear. He slid out the door and pulled it closed as quickly and gently as he could; thankfully the click, while audible, was fairly quiet. Slinging the duffel over his shoulder, he focused on keeping his steps slow and casual. He had plenty of practice deflecting suspicion, whether he was dealing with marks or cops. He could do this. He was almost out. He was–
“You lost, son?” The question was so aggressive and growly that he panicked, despite the familiar face at the end of the hall. Ellis stalked towards him, radiating authority. Dammit, that shouldn’t be hot, and he shouldn’t let himself be distracted during a job while he was holding stolen property.
Anthony babbled for a moment, his mind completely blank. “Ah, ah, I uh. Yes! Just got turned around a bit looking for the way out, sorry, I’ll be going now…” He heard approaching footsteps, and Ellis’ face got progressively scowlier. He hissed, “What?” at him, and Ellis shot back, “Dammit, your hands” before saying louder, “Yeah buddy, you need to either get back to the dressing room or get out of here, ok?”
Anthony barely managed to whip off his black leather gloves, which practically screamed “Hello, I am a criminal here for crime!” and shove them into his pocket before Cartwright rounded the corner, looking suspiciously between the two of them. “Is there a problem here, Miller?”
“No sir,” Ellis said. His hand clamped down on Anthony’s shoulder, and he began to pull him back down the hallway. “This gentleman got a little lost, and I’m showing him back to the dancers’ area. No problem at all.”
“Why is amateur night always ‘morons who can’t read signs’ night?” Cartwright said. “You can show him out, Miller. I don’t like anyone poking around back here.”
“Ah, s-sorry sir, I really did just get lost,” Anthony began, trying to project as much docile incompetence as possible, but he stopped at the glare Cartwright turned on him.
“I don’t want to hear why you were here. I just want you gone, is that clear?”
Ellis tightened his grip on Anthony’s shoulder and pushed him around the corner before either of them could say more. Anthony slouched along, realizing he shouldn’t look too happy to have an angry security guard propelling him towards the exit. As they passed by the dancers’ dressing room, he saw Pilar standing in the doorway trying not to look like she was watching, and he gave her the subtlest thumbs-up he could manage. She nodded and slipped back in the room. In the morning Jules would give her a call and set up a time to bring her the cash and evidence, but they knew better than to try to do it right then; if Cartwright had a spare safe key and figured out what had happened that night, it wouldn’t do to have the cash still in the building.
After the bright, sweaty heat of the club, the cold outside hit Anthony like a slap to the face, but it was welcome. Ellis walked him a short distance from the door before releasing his shoulder and stalking off to their dark van, parked in the back of the lot. He scrambled to match his stride, and bumped Ellis’ shoulder with his own. “You could keep manhandling me if you wanted, I wouldn’t argue.”
“Not until the job’s done, you know that,” Ellis replied. But he did return the shoulder-bump, and said, still in his growly security-guard voice, “You know I’ll take good care of you when we get home.” Anthony completely failed to repress the full-body shudder that went through him at that. Home was much too far away.
Once Anthony had stashed his duffel in the hidey-hole he’d installed under the middle seats of the van, he texted Jules to let her know they were out. A couple minutes later, they saw her crossing the parking lot, with just enough weave in her step for her to look the part of the drunken party girl, although the farther she got from the crowd milling outside the club the straighter and longer her stride became. “What the hell did we do to deserve her, man?” Ellis asked, and there wasn’t anything Anthony could say to that, because. Well. Somehow they all felt like they’d wound up with more than they deserved.
All things told, the job had gone smoothly, and both Anthony and Ellis could feel the exhilaration pouring out of Jules in the van on the way home. She was quiet, most likely replaying the events of the evening in her mind and making mental notes for later, but she was clearly pleased. Anthony knew her silence would likely be gone by the time they returned home.
He was right. The moment they entered their apartment, she turned around to face them, placing a hand on each of their chests. “Gentlemen, I am going to put our spoils of war in my safe, and then we can celebrate a job well done. I propose the two of you wait for me on Anthony’s bed, if that sounds like a good idea?” Anthony grinned and nodded, knowing Ellis was doing the same. “Good.” Her hand was stroking his chest now, her nails dragging tantalizingly close to his nipples. “Ellis, I want that ridiculous uniform off; that’s not you so it has no place on that bed. Hmm. You think Anthony should keep that sweet little gold thing on?”
“Yeah,” Ellis said. “He should. I didn’t get to see it too well from where I was standing.”
“Oh lord,” Anthony moaned, “can’t I just end the humiliation now and get rid of this thing forever?”
“That settles it! Two out of three wins. Boys, go get comfy.” And with that, she grabbed the duffel from Anthony’s suddenly slack fingers and sauntered off to her room.
Ellis smacked Anthony’s ass, making him yelp in surprise. “Now I’ll manhandle you all you like. C’mon.” Faintly, Anthony thought to protest at someone else inviting him into his own bedroom, especially when he was cursed to wear ridiculous gold underwear forever, but considering the circumstances he had no real objection to it. He was already pulling his t-shirt off over his head as he entered the bedroom, and tossed it in the general direction of the clothes-pile on his closet floor. After shucking off his pants, he sidled up behind Ellis, reaching his hands around to fumble at the buttons on the front of his uniform shirt.
Ellis grumbled a bit at this, but any real protest was cut off by his sharp exhalation as Anthony nuzzled through his hair to kiss the juncture of his neck and shoulder, before giving a nip as he pushed the shirt off. He turned Ellis around, grabbing the nape of his neck and pulling him in for a kiss. Ellis moaned into it, and gently pushed Anthony back until his knees hit the bed and he tumbled down, pulling Ellis on top of him. He scrabbled at Ellis’ belt until he sat up and pulled it off himself, wriggling out of his pants and boxers before leaning back down to kiss him. His cock rubbed against Anthony’s thigh and Anthony ran his hands down to his hips, holding Ellis closer as he ground into him.
The bed shifted a bit as Jules sat down on the edge. Anthony and Ellis broke off the kiss, looking up at her expectantly. The dress was gone, and Anthony felt overdressed in his gold briefs, but since they had asked him to leave them on he was determined not to complain. “Sorry to interrupt, boys, but–” She was cut off as Anthony pulled her down to nestle in between them, kissing her hungrily. She gave a squeak as she hit the mattress, but relaxed into their shared embrace, humming approvingly. She lay between them for a few moments, trading kisses and soaking up their touch, and then slipped out from in between them and settled herself into the pile of pillows against the headboard. She was flushed, with wisps of dark hair framing her face from where it was slipping out of its bun. It probably meant he’d roll over and find a lockpick in bed that night, but Anthony hardly minded.
She motioned for Ellis to settle on his back between her legs, with his head resting on her chest. “Now,” she said to Anthony, “I know how much you love his dick in your mouth, and after you did such a wonderful job tonight I think that sounds like the perfect reward, don’t you?”
Anthony made eye contact with Ellis, waiting for his nod before continuing. He took a moment to admire the image before him: perfect was the exact word that mind. Jules, slender and angular, with solid Ellis holding her down like an anchor. He wasn’t that big – in fact, he was a couple inches shorter than Anthony – but it was easy to forget that for how sturdy he was. Anthony ran his hands up Ellis’ amazingly thick thighs, deliberately avoiding contact with his cock as he traced the line of his hipbone, padded by layers of fat and muscle. He could have taken his time a bit more, but it was true that he loved any chance he could get to suck Ellis off, and any time Jules was in the mood to run the show the two of them were happy to indulge her, so he didn’t waste too much time, although he couldn’t resist a moment spend lavishing attention on Ellis’ nipples. Jules, always thoughtful, continued to rub her knuckles over them as Anthony focused his attention downward.
He spread his hands once again on those delicious furry thighs and gave the underside of Ellis’ cock a slow, wet lick. Ellis twitched a bit, then settled back against Jules, tipping his chin up for an kiss; it was an awkward angle, but she obliged him, and he moaned into her mouth as Anthony sucked the head of Ellis’ cock into his mouth and held it there, caressing it with his tongue and getting used to the sensation. It wasn’t particularly long but it was thick, and while it could be a challenge to relax his jaw and throat enough to take him all the way in, having his mouth filled so completely was overwhelming in a way he couldn’t properly describe. He heard Ellis moan, and Jules murmuring something he couldn’t quite make out, and took this as a sign he was doing well.
Anthony was incredibly, painfully hard, but he was patient, too; he allowed himself to rub against the bed a bit but no more than that. Ellis had said he’d take care of him, hadn’t he? He was in good hands. Ellis was getting louder now, which meant he was close, and Jules was still holding him, still telling him how good he was and how gorgeous her boys were together. He slid a hand up the bed to where Ellis was gripping at the bunched-up sheets, and at the touch of their fingers he grabbed onto Anthony’s hand instead. His grip nearly crushed Anthony’s hand as he rode out his orgasm, but he found that he hardly minded.
Ellis slumped back, boneless and disheveled, and reached out to Anthony as he wiped his mouth on the back of his hand. “C’mere you,” he said, and Anthony obligingly leaned up for a deep kiss.
“My turn,” Jules said, and Anthony straddled Ellis’ chest and kissed her too, burying his fingers in her hair and opening his mouth to her. She guided him down onto his back, and kneeled above him, tracing her thumb across his full lips. “You ready for more?”
Anthony sucked her thumb into his mouth and slid his hands up her thighs, drawing her closer. “I’m always ready, you know that. Jaw of steel, that’s me.” He slipped one thumb between her outer labia, feeling how wet she was and just barely grazing her clit as he slid against her. Jules gave a little shiver and grinned down at him, then yelped as he delivered a bite to her thigh.
Where sucking Ellis off was overwhelming from the sensation of being filled, this was doubly so for being enveloped. It was easy to lose himself entirely in the scent and taste of her cunt surrounding him, the fluttering twitches in her thighs as he sucked gently on her clit, the occasional sharp breaths that let him know he was on the right track. Jules tended to be pretty quiet during sex, but it was still easy to tell when she was enjoying herself. She spent so much time playing the part of someone else – more than he or Ellis did, even – that it seemed to be a relief for her to have these moments to be completely open.
He was dimly aware of Ellis tugging off his briefs, but the first touch to his cock was still a surprise. Jules laughed as he was thrown off his rhythm for a moment, but it didn’t take him long to ease back into it. Ellis was teasing him, alternating between stroking him and taking his cock into his mouth for a moment, never giving quite enough to tip him over the edge, but it didn’t matter. He refocused on Jules, on her breathing, and let everything else slip into the background.
It wasn’t long until he could feel Jules start to tense up more, her thighs squeezing against him as she rode the first wave of orgasm. He knew to ease up on the pressure but keep going until she told him to stop. Ellis then pressed his hand over his where it was on the curve of Jules’ hip, and that – the feeling of Ellis’ fingers interlacing with his – is what set him off. That is cheesy as hell, he thought, as his own orgasm hit, but I’m into it.
For a few moments afterwards they collapsed, breathless and sweaty and joyful, into a puddle on the bed. Anthony had the presence of mind to drag himself up to give himself a quick swipe with a wet washcloth and hit the lights, but soon he was back in bed, nudging Jules and Ellis awake enough to slip back the covers and pull them under with him.
Anthony didn’t mind the nights he had the bed to himself, or when only Jules or Ellis stayed with him while the other retreated to their own room. Sometimes he needed to sprawl out across his bed alone, and sleeping with only one other person had its own intimacy that he enjoyed. But his favorite, his absolute favorite, were times like these: where the three of them came together in whatever way felt right in the moment, took joy from each others’ bodies and closeness, and collapsed in bed, his huge and many-pillowed bed, afterwards. Sometimes they’d just fall asleep where they fell, sometimes they’d scoot into certain arrangements, but overnight they tended to drift to the same positions.
In the gray half-light of early dawn, he woke up to find them there, in their proper places, and felt more calm and complete than he ever had. Like so: Jules, more open to affection in sleep than she was awake, curled around him, her breath on the back of his neck, her strong, long-fingered hand draped and slightly twitching over his hip, restless but reassuring; Ellis, always the protector, stretched across the foot of the bed where he wound up more often than not, his weight a solid presence against Anthony’s feet where he leaned into them. Was it weird? Shit, at this point his entire life was weird. It didn’t matter. This was his crew, his family, his home. They’d had to learn and build it together as they went along, and as long as it was right for them, well. That was all he cared about.