Acting out a fantasy.
Talk to me."
"Ok, you are right," she agreed with a heavy sigh. "I want to make sure you are good with this living situation and that I didn't make a mistake."
Her second guessing of herself caught me way off guard. I did not expect this at all and was unsure how to reply. I crawled out from under my desk and looked up at her curiously.
"Pen, are you ok with it," I inquired.
She smiled as brightly as I can ever remember her smiling.
"Yes," she stated gleefully. "I am more ok with it than anything I can remember. That is why I am unsure of it. I feel like I am being selfish. I hope you don't think I was trying to hurt you or Brooke by making this change. I have to admit, I really like this idea and I am hoping you do too."
I stood up and walked over to her. I threw my arms around her and kissed her forehead as she stood there limply.
"Penelope, I love you," I revealed, surprising even myself in that moment. "I really do. This will be as good or bad as we make it, so let's make it great. Brooke is still a big part of this game and a big part of me. Don't be afraid of that, though. Just know that it is part of how it is and we will all be fine. Brooke is handling this incredibly well, she keeps everything balanced."
Penny threw her arms around me and hugged me tightly.
"You love me or you are in love with me," she asked.
"I love you," I repeated.
"And you are in love with Brooke," she surmised as she continued to squeeze me.
"I don't know," I disclosed. "I have heavy, strong feelings for her, but let's see how the game develops. I have cared for you for too long to jump the gun on anything. You don't have to compete with Brooke for me. I am here for both of you, as much as either of you will have me."
"Do you remember the first time we were together," Penny asked me, her voice muffled in my shirt to hide her tears.
"Of course, the corporate awards party," I acknowledged. "You were amazing that night."
"I almost broke the rules that night and begged you to stay with me," she confessed. "The first time I saw you in the office, I wanted you. But after I had you, I wanted you to want me."
We laughed together as I held her. Time seemed to stand still as neither one of us spoke. I didn't remember hearing the doorbell right, but that didn't stop Vivian from announcing that someone had visited us.
"Pizza's here," Vivian yelled up the stairs to us.
I took Penny by the hand and led her downstairs. Vivian was waiting for us at the table in the dining room. I recognized the oak table from Vivian's condo. She had set out a glass of wine for both her and Penny and a beer for me. This was nice touch. Penny and I joined her at the table and we all sat down.
"I propose a toast," Vivian said as she raised her glass. "To the game and the players."
We toasted before opening the box and tearing into the pizza before us. We joked and laughed as we told stories while we ate. Penny told of her first date with Pete and what a disaster it had been. Vivian told of when she was a child and Emma was a teenager, how she followed her sister and mimicked everything she did and how that behavior sent Emma into rages of teenage angst. I mentioned my youth back east, my love of baseball and various family mishaps. It was one of the nicest dinners I had ever had and our new place started to feel like a home.
When we were done, the pizza was gone and so was the entire bottle of wine. There were 3 beers left in the six pack I started with, so I was a little surprise when Vivian opened one and began drinking it. Penny followed her lead and opened one for herself as well. I laughed at them playfully.
"I think it's time to discuss the house rules," Penny stated.
"Go ahead," I urged her.
"First, no sex in the house outside of the game," she declared. "Also, everyone must sleep in there own bed, alone at least 3 nights per week."
"No surprises in either of those rules," I admitted.
"Not really," Vivian agreed. "Anything else?"
"Actually, there are two more rules," Penny ann