Author’s Note: This entry contains more mature themes and language than previous entries.
This is fine, I thought in a panic. It’s fine. Everything’s fine and it’s going to turn out okay.
“You mean you really didn’t know?” Devon exclaimed, leaning forward in his chair. I buried my face in my palms. Sheila had clearly answered him the first time.
“No, I didn’t, Devon,” Sheila snapped. Through my fingers I saw her glare at me, arms crossed, legs crossed, as closed-up as could be. The movie we had been watching still ran in the background, forgotten.
Sheila was pissed, I felt like I was going to throw up, and Devon? Devon looked like he was about to crack up laughing at any moment. “Damn, girl,” he said. “You’re taking oblivious up to a whole new level.”
Of course she didn’t know, Devon, I thought, unable to say the words out loud. Why did you think I was so secretive? I wiped my palms on my jeans, keeping my eyes downward. “Why are you doing this, Devon?” I whispered tersely. “You’re fucking up my relationship.
“Honey, if your relationship is fucked up that is not my fault. You did that all yourself.” Devon took a sip of his drink. His eyes darted back and forth between Sheila and me over the rim. His eyes widened. He practically spat his tea out trying to speak his next words. “Wait wait wait. Matt. Don’t tell me you didn’t know her and I have been hooking up, too.”
I froze. “What?”
“Man, y’all just need to learn how to communicate.” Devon shook his head.
“Devon, you’re gay,” I said, too stunned to come up with anything more articulate. Devon had to be the gayest man I knew. He had to be joking. There was no way he was having sex with my girlfriend.
“Labels,” Devon said dismissively. “You need to get past them, bi boy.”
“I’m not bi,” I said through a clenched jaw.
Devon leaned forward, his hand held out flat in a mockery of a comforting gesture. “See, that’s why labels are a problem. They make people angry.
I chose to ignore him. “Is this true, Sheila?” I asked. “You… you and Devon?” The thought made no sense to me. Sheila dropped hints about loyalty all the time, about wanting to get married, shit like that. Devon… I just couldn’t picture Devon with a woman. It didn’t gel at all with how I saw him. How I had seen him. You know. Intimately.
“Is it true about you and Devon?” Sheila countered.
“Now you both think I’m lying?” Devon said, clicking his tongue. “Y’all really didn’t talk to each other about this? Here I was thinking everyone was cool with this whole thing.”
“Devon. I love you, but you need to shut up.” Sheila pointed her finger at him so hard I felt it.
Devon held up his hands defensively. “No need to pull out the finger, girl.” He winked. “You can save that for later.”
“Devon!” Sheila threw her hands up. “I can’t believe you. When were you going to tell us about… about each other?”
Devon grew serious. “Look, I will say it again.” He drew his finger through the air, encircling both of us. “Your relationship issues are not my fault. It was not my business to be tattling on the two of you to each other, when both of you implied that the other was cool with what we were doing.”
“I don’t think that’s how that happened,” I said.
“Yeah,” Sheila said.
“Mmmm no, uh-uh, not happening. I am not having this put on me.” Devon waved his finger angrily. “I asked you every time if what we were doing was cool. I figured y’all had talked about it and come to some kind of agreement. I give Matt things Sheila didn’t give him, and I gave Sheila things she didn’t think Matt could provide.”
“You’re just trying to shift the blame off of yourself,” I said. “You were cheating with both people in a relationship. You don’t feel bad about that?”
“No. And I’m not the one who’s deflecting. You’re both just turning me into the common enemy because your partner did something without telling you.”
Sheila and I met eyes, finally. We shared a guilty look.
“Okay, so he’s not completely wrong,” Sheila admitted. “I should have told you what we were doing.”
“Yeah, you should have.”
“Matt,” Devon warned.
I glared at him. “I should have told you, too. Hell, I should have asked you if it was cool. I just didn’t want to ruin what we had. I didn’t want you to think I’m gay.”
“Labels,” Devon sang.
“Shut up, Devon.” I rolled my eyes. “The first time wasn’t on purpose, I promise. Devon is just… seductive.”
“Boy, you seduced me,” Devon countered.
“You’re the one who was walking around in your underwear!”
“Oh, so now you’re telling me it’s my fault that you were attracted to me because I was wearing something too revealing,” Devon said. “I think you need to do some reading about feminism. Those ladies on the internet would like to have a word with you.”
“Devon, you’re not even a woman,” I said, exasperated.
“The same rules still apply.” Devon took a sip of his drink. “It is not my fault that I have a great ass.”
I held up my hand like a blinder between myself and Devon. “What I’m trying to say is, I’m sorry, Sheila. The first time, it just sort of happened.”
“What about the other times?” she asked. She didn’t seem as angry as I would have expected. I guess the fact that she’d been doing the same thing as me helped with that.
“We never really planned it,” I said. “You’d just be out of the house, and we’d be watching a movie or whatever, and… you know. One thing led to another.”
Sheila knitted her fingers together. “Honestly, that makes me feel worse,” she said. She glanced at Devon. “Things were a bit more, ah, planned, between us. I had mentioned some things I wanted to try that I didn’t think you would go for, and he said he’d be willing to help me out. So I bought some things…”
“I tried to get him to go for that myself.” Devon shook his head. “No luck. Sorry, babe.”
“It’s alright,” Sheila said. “Look, Matt. I feel like I can’t be mad at you, because you have every reason to be mad right back at me.”
“Right,” I agreed. “To be honest, I’m still mad, but I’m fighting it. I have no right to be.”
“Hey, look,” Devon said. “This is a good thing! It’s all out in the open now, everybody knows about it. That’s never a bad. Keeping things bottled up is way worse. Now we can talk about rules and what’s okay and not okay.”
“Wait, are you saying you want to keep this up?” I asked. For some reason, the thought surprised me. I had seen his revelation as an end, not… an opening?
“Hell yes I do,” Devon said. “Look, we already live together. And I know y’all love me.” He smiled and winked. “How could you not? Nothing has to change just because you know what each other have been up to. Hell, things could be more fun now.”
For some reason, I blushed. “Is, ah… Sheila, is that what you would want?”
Sheila laughed nervously. “I mean, maybe. I guess we could try that out.”
“See, I was hoping you would say that,” Devon said. He grinned. He held up his cup. “Now. My tea is gone. Who’s going to make me some more?”