“It seems a little hypocritical for you to judge them for their sex lives, given the fact that you’ve always been sexually… free.”

She stiffened. “You say free like it’s a bad thing.”

“You’re calling them swingers like it’s a bad thing. Why are you allowed to sleep around and they aren’t?”

“Ummm… because they’re MARRIED?” She cocked one brow at me as if I was dense. “Monogamy, Elle. It’s what is supposed to happen when two people agree to spend their lives together. And besides, didn’t you hear? I’m celibate.”

I swallowed my response to that, saved by the waitress, who took my order for fajitas and Chelsea’s for tacos. As soon as she left, Chelsea dove back in.

“But seriously, how would you react if Easton wanted to start banging side pussy?”

“If he wanted to start banging side pussy”—I said carefully, watching the volume of my words—“I would not be okay with that. But is that what Brad’s doing? I thought you said they were swingers. That’s different than being in an open marriage.”

And let me just say that in this arena, thanks to lengthy Internet research and soul-searching, I knew my shit. Open marriages were when married individuals were given permission to date and/or have sex with people other than their spouse. It allows them to live a separate life, often under a different persona, with the full permission of their spouse. And some open marriages were one-sided. The wife, for instance, was allowed to do her own thing, while the husband remained faithful.

Easton and I had discussed open marriage and agreed, with complete certainty, that it was something neither of us was interested in.

On the flip side, swinging was swapping or sharing that was done together. The premise was that of a shared and honest experience, which I was one hundred percent on board with.

“They’re the same thing,” Chelsea bulldozed on. “And who knows the lines they do or don’t cross. I don’t know why you’re arguing with me on this. You just said you wouldn’t be okay with it.”

“I wouldn’t be okay with Easton fucking another girl on the side. I didn’t say I wouldn’t be okay with something that I was a part of.”

She gawked at me in the sort of overblown manner of someone attempting to make a point, then laughed loudly and hysterically. I sipped my tea and waited for her idiotic show to be over.

“A threesome?” she sputtered. “Please. You’re the biggest prude I know. You could never have a threesome.”

“Okay.” I unrolled the napkin and placed it on my lap, then lined up the silverware on either side.

“Oh, you think you could? Elle, I’ve had a threesome. You don’t understand what it entails. Just, trust me on this.” She got a look on her face, as if she knew everything and I knew nothing, and I struggled not to reach across the table and slap her.

“You’ve had a threesome?” I confirmed. At her nod, I raised my brow, not certain I believed her. “When?”

“At Florida State. A Pike party. With that hot guy. Hunter whatshisface. A bitch from KD and I gave him head. No biggie.” She shrugged.

“I’m not sure that I’d consider that a threesome.” Though, two months ago, I would have. Two months ago, I would have been slack-jawed and shocked at the thought. Also, slightly turned on, the arousal taken care of in the shower, right before I had pleasing and mostly vanilla sex with my husband.

“Oh please… it was a threesome.” She rolled her eyes and pulled her giant Dior sunglasses off the top of her head. “And trust me, you would never ever, ever do it.”

It was the second ever that got me, looping its four letters around my tongue and yanking it into action. “I’ve already done it. So don’t never ever, ever this shit with me.”

She let out a strangled laugh. “No, you didn’t.”

I held her gaze, my face stiff, my lips beginning to pinch in the way that always clued E in that I was about to lose my shit. “I did.”

“With who? E?”

“Yeah.” Beneath the table, my fingers began to drum insistently at my thigh.


Careful… “In the past.”

“At Florida State?”

“No. After that.”

“After you got married?”

“Yes. It’s called ethical non-monogamy, so please don’t pull out your soapbox and spout shit at me.”

Chelsea’s eyes widened and I tried to remember the last time I had spoken to her like that. Or the last time we’d had a fight of any kind. Sophomore year. Someone had been stealing items from the sorority house, and I saw Kelly Snyder pick a pair of forgotten Manolo Blahniks up from the foot of the staircase and stick them in her bag. Kelly, who could never afford a pair of Manolo’s and was in on scholarship. Kelly, who was kicked out of the sorority after I told Chelsea and Chelsea told Brandi Hodgkins, even though I had sworn her to secrecy. Kelly, who had found me a week later and screamed at me in the middle of the library, and called me a bitch, and made me feel like absolute shit, all because Chelsea made the executive decision that the secret I told her wasn’t worth keeping.

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