Flush at sixteen, Zehra was always half-embarrassed of Harish: of his writing that just wasn’t up to par, and his looks that left something to be desired. Despite herself, though, she melted into his AXE embrace. He understood her at a time when she really needed someone to get it. They raged at each other Sunday-style. They might as well have flung china at each other for all the phantom bruises. Daggers don’t need steel if they’ve got words. Harish wanted me too, but this was a bitter subject between us. She wanted to be polyamorous but she felt so consumed with jealousy.
We return to India soon after Zehra’s second suicide attempt. We’re just fools. Silly, topsy-turvy fools — our diaspora exposed. Such grinning loyalty, bemused and vapid. We’re twenty two and smiling, dust wrapped around our noses, snot trapped by dry air. Messy hair and sixteen hour flights coalesce to some kind of ruin. Creaky chapped skin — we feel fried, we do. We pretend like her recent hospital stay didn’t happen, like she wasn’t just sobbing into starched pillows. We’re here to visit family, to act like things are all just fine.
We haven’t seen Harish in four years, but he’s in town now. Zehra and Harish keep going in roundabout circles about whether we should all meet or not. All these vague flirtations and hesitant passes and maybe, just maybe, they wouldn’t have to ruin each other again, but…
He writes, “I am not ashamed to say that I still long to make love to you.” Maybe because I am just that unsympathetic, I write back, “Hey, Harish? Let’s have a threesome.”
Harish is a senior at UCLA now. We meet for falooda. Zehra and I are sitting at a table in the half-outdoors café, her legs jigg;ing madly, my hair a flyaway mess. When he arrives, Zehra stands up too fast and steps on my foot. I quickly turn my grimace into a smile as I greet him. “Hello, Harish. It’s been so long!”
Zehra stutters something unintelligible. He kind of looks the same. A little heavier, a little more formally dressed. He is warm and graceful as he greets us. He sits down and I can tell he is nervous, edges of sweat still dancing about him. The conversation is almost simple, practical. We order falooda and kulfi. Familiarly, Harish runs his hand over his close-cropped hair. I facilitate the awkward pauses. He buttons the second button of his pink collared shirt and then unbuttons it. Our sweets arrive. Zehra keeps winding a strand of her hair around her finger. I start to eat my kulfi, and then I remember to offer Harish some. He accepts, and our hands brush over forks. I look up at him and our eyes meet like we’re being filmed. I laugh.
I want to say there’s nothing new about this, but everything is different. Zehra told me Harish interned in a psych ward last summer. Zehra’s mentioned being hospitalized to him, but it’s not the kind of thing she could confront him about. Not really, not after their clusterfuck of a teenage romance. I can tell he still worries about breaking her by the way he’s still being so careful, even now that we’re all face to face.
We’ve arranged to go back to his brother’s place, strategically at a time when no one will be home. We’ll reach just after the maid and the driver have left, when his brother will be in the middle of a work project.
Of course, it feels undeniably sordid when we actually reach the place. It must be nice to live in Bandra like this: such a western home to show off. The furniture is a mismatch: minimalism meets kitschy madhubani. We barely talked during the taxi ride over. I sat in between Zehra and Harish. I held her hand and then let go. What did the cabwallah think? I wish I could just keep my cool, but I lose myself when I’m back here, back home.
Harish gets up to get some water for us, and I follow him. I lean against the wall as he slides cups underneath the ice water dispenser. As he sets the cups on the kitchen counter, our eyes meet. “Do you really want to do this?” I ask, touching his hand.
He starts a bit at that, laughing awkwardly. I think about the Skype conversation that Zehra showed me, where he was talking about feeling horny and his problems with sexuality. It was a weird conversation — bizarrely close, casually sexualized, considering all the distance and fallout between them.
I let my fingers trail over his wrist slowly. He takes my hands firmly in his, making eye contact. We are so close; this could almost be sophisticated. “Yes,” he says, and I breathe in a little sharply. I reach for one of the cups of water, taking a sip.
Zehra’s come up to us. “What’s going on with you two?” She asks, rather flirtatiously. Harish turns towards her, pulling her into a hug. “I have missed this,” He murmurs into her hair. I watch her sink into his arms. They draw apart slowly. She opens her mouth a little as though she might say something, and I quickly interject, “Come on.” Leaving the water behind, I take their hands and lead them to the sofa. They sit beside each other and I linger behind them, playing with Zehra’s hair.
“Oh my god,” Zehra starts to laugh. She turns to Harish. “Do you remember the Orgasm in Baskin Robbins poem?” Harish turns red. “Yes, yes. I do. Um. You said that was the best orgasm you’d ever had.” And we’re all laughing. And she doesn’t say anything about how that was a lie, about how it was actually an agonizing orgasm that took too long. She doesn’t say anything about the time months after that, either, when they met again at Baskin Robbins, when he rashly gave her jeans a hand job and she scathingly wrote another poem about it.
I walk around and slide down in between them on the sofa. I turn towards Zehra, cupping her face. I kiss her in the middle of her shaky laugh. She responds with more vigour than I thought she would. I hear Harish make a sound somewhere between surprise and a chuckle. He’s always known about us. I guess he’s happy that we’re giving him his typical lesbian fantasy.
I feel Harish’s hand on my shoulder. I turn towards him, letting my hair brush his cheek. Our eyes meet again and I let out a short, heavy breath. Then I’m kissing him, I’m climbing on top of him, I’m straddling him. I can feel his erection and my shalwar is getting twisted but I don’t really care. One of my sandals slips off and he’s groping my breasts. My dupatta is slipping away, and then Zehra whisks it away entirely. She pulls me away from him, pushing me down against the hard cushions. She kisses me swiftly and then climbs over me towards Harish.
I gather myself, trying to wind my hair behind my head. Zehra and Harish are kissing more fervently than he kissed me. They are vivid and scrabbling at each other. I try to get up but they fall back into the imprint of my body.
He pushes her kurta up and buries his face in her breasts, scrambling to undo the hook of her bra. I slide out from under them, sinking to the floor, watching them. I help Zehra get her kurta off. Her bra slips to the floor. He’s squeezing her breasts hard — “God, I missed this,” and “Your breasts never stop growing, do they?” I cringe inwardly, yet I’m feeling self-conscious about my own breasts, so much smaller than hers.
She unbuttons his shirt; they are getting undressed so rapidly. I’m still here on the floor in my shalwar kameez, a butterfly clip still awry in my rumpled mess of curls. I watch them fumble at her slacks. He slides her underwear down in a mess of flesh and toenail scratches. I watch her legs wind up around his neck as he eagerly licks her cunt. Her back arches and her breasts flop and rise as she moans. I watch his erection increase inside his briefs as he pushes up against the sofa, his face only emerging to raspily groan. The scene starts to glaze over for me.
I think she might actually have an orgasm, but then she pulls him up and kisses him, all breathy and desperate to taste herself. She roughly yanks his briefs down. I momentarily observe his erect, full, uncircumcised cock. “We need a condom,” He stammers abruptly. I roll my eyes, getting up to retrieve my purse. They’re still floundering when I return. “Here,” I pass him the small packet, carefully averting my eyes from his cock. He seems to suddenly remember that I was in fact part of the original plan. “Are you—?” It’s all so awkward. “I’m fine,” I smile, so polite. Zehra gets up a little, crossing her arms over her chest, crossing her legs. “It’s okay, really,” I demur. I crouch down and take her hands, exposing her breasts. “You’re beautiful,” I murmur, trailing my hand across her thigh. I kiss her softly and then I kiss him too. They’re both sitting up next to each other, plaintive and pliable, like it’s a class and I’m the teacher.
Zehra laughs a little, apologizing unnecessarily. Another questioning glance at me that I respond to with a soothing nod. She turns to Harish, kissing him and pushing him down. She climbs on top of him. (She always likes to be on top, doesn’t she.) I watch them fumble with the condom and I feel embarrassed. I lie down on the floor, stretching my legs out, looking up at the spinning ceiling fan. They fuck above me like it’s their first time. Little pronouncements of gasps and shudders. “Are you okay?” “Is this—?” “Yes.” “Please.” “Yes! Do that again.” “Oh—!” “Are you sure?” “Yes.” I recognize Zehra’s haggard breathing, her little yelps. He is rougher now. I hear him push her over so he’s on top. I hear the slap-pant-grunt of them fucking. “Come inside me,” She begs. I don’t know how many times she’s said that. It’s so familiar. “Oh god—” I hear him groan, and then a desperate whine and more gasping. I hear him come in one great sigh, then fall back against her. I still haven’t looked at them.
I continue to lie there until Zehra steps over to me, still naked, still sweaty and wanting. She takes my hands, pulling me up and pushing me against the sofa. She starts to roughly kiss and bite me, yanking my shalwar down in a mess of string and cotton. Equally roughly, she pulls my kameez off. I think Harish is just lying above us on the sofa, still in that after-climax haze. Zehra straddles me, sucking at my collarbones and clavicle, her fingers fumbling at my bra. I am limp and a little shaken, a little aroused. Suddenly she becomes gentle. “Do you want to?” She asks, meeting my eyes. I push her sweaty hair back, pulling at her lower lip with my teeth. I topple her onto the floor. I snap my bra off. I pull my underwear down. Straddling her now, I take her hand and press her palm against my wet, bulbous cunt. She smiles, all teeth and reddened tongue. Her fingers slide into me one by one. I gasp at the sudden intrusion. I want to come all over her again and again.
As she fucks me with one hand, her other hand clutches one of my breasts. I stroke her breasts too, gyrating against her fingers. I want her deeper, deeper. Just as I think her entire fist might dissolve in my cunt, I pull her hand away and plant myself onto her face. Her tongue hits my vulva with such intensity. I gasp as she bites and sucks at my folds. She never did go very slow. I rather love her for it. I whisk myself around so I can go down on her too. Her fingernails dig into my ass as she sucks and licks me. I let my torso fall against hers. We are both slick, panting, desirous. I push her legs apart and let her mound tease my lips a little before plunging in. As always, I’m overwhelmed by the rich, meaty, iron taste of her cunt. I lick her folds with great abandon. I have never been afraid to devour her. And I swear I’ve forgotten about Harish, I have.
Her hips and thighs shudder against my face and neck as she thrusts upward. I match her rhythm with my own thrusts against her mouth. I bite one of her inner folds and I hear her yelp and bite mine in retaliation. We play like that, little bites and sucking, lapping, poking, exploring. Doesn’t matter if our mouths are drenched, if our chins display evidence, cheeky and obstinate. We come against each other’s mouths shakily and inevitably. We make each other come again and again, losing count (we don’t need to count), our fingers supplementing our tongues. We finally fall back into each other/ we’ve always been each other. Sighing and draped against stone in backwards/forwards symmetry. Crawling so we’re curled on our sides instead, like twins.
It’s at this point that Harish stands and walks around, looking us up and down. He’s been playing with his cock, I can tell. He half-whistles: an impressed sound. “That was… Wow. That was something.” I wonder if he’s ever watched girls have sex in front of him before. Probably not. It’s comical really, how he’s standing above us, his cock hanging out petulantly. I feel a little crazy. I spontaneously sit up so I’m crouching at his feet. I drag my fingernails across his thigh, hard, while maintaining eye contact. As he gasps, I cup his cock in my hands. He staggers a bit, almost hitting the coffee table. I don’t bother to find a more opportune place for this. I keep looking at him, keeping one hand on his cock while I tuck my hair behind my ear. I take him in my mouth, licking suggestively, slowly, up from the base to the head, never taking my eyes off of his.
He moans, still so surprised. I clutch his hips, digging my nails in harder, as I lick and suck him more aggressively. His legs are going weak with pleasure. He finally yanks my head away, gulping. “We really have to find a better place for this.” He maneouvers us so that he is sitting down on the sofa. I crawl up between his legs and let his aroma envelop me as I suck him off more. I feel Zehra get up. She sits down on the sofa next to him, taking his hand between her legs, helping him stroke her folds. “Wow, you’re so wet,” he marvels. “You’re like a fountain.” I seriously cringe at that, but it’s really hot watching him touch her, and I do find his cock agreeable, so I just continue.
I know this won’t make me or Zehra come, but it’s fun seducing him like this. And when he comes, salty and warm and thick in my mouth, I swallow it all so easily, a little perplexed that I’m not gagging. I wipe my mouth almost daintily before sliding up beside him. His hand has fallen limply against Zehra’s thigh. We stay like that for a while, Harish between us, soft and almost happy.