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Book 3 – Growth
Chapter 1 — Off the Record
Wednesday evening Ken and Dave sat at the bar in the media room watching a re-run of an old football game. The TV wasn’t that important; the discussion was. Ken had just finished a ninety-minute flight lesson with Alice. Pam was traveling again.
Ken tentatively said, “Last Saturday night blew me away. Thank you for seeing me. I want to be sure there are no ill feelings by you about me because of my relationship with two of your wives.”
Dave laughed, “I bet the night did blew you away, and I have no animosity or resentment about you in any way. In case you haven’t noticed, we all live in a large open marriage with each other. Are you all right with the way things turned out? I know the women ganged up on you and you’ve been invited to a more permanent status with us.”
“Yeah. I’ve been chewing on things since. I couldn’t concentrate on much else other than what happened. Nancy talked to me by phone yesterday about my housing situation. Tonight’s dinner with everybody that was here also helped me decide. I do want to join the Circle. I’m not sure of the economics and whether I can afford it, but I’m more than willing to try.”
“There were almost bets that you’d decide that way. Why did you hold off?”
“I have this thing about intimacy and sex. I think I should develop intimacy with a woman I like before we have sexual intimacy. I’m a ‘mind, body, and spirit’ guy. First we meld our minds together, then our bodies, and then, hopefully, we find that our spirits blend together and we find a unique closeness with each other on many planes.”
“And Saturday was putting the cart before the horse?”
“With some of the women. I was in the process of developing a closeness with Alice and Pam, and then we had sex. I’m cool with that, because we keep talking together and growing our relationship. Rachel and I started on that path, too, and then I gave into lust and we started to make love.
“But then Wendy, Kat, and Grace … attended to me.”
“You can say fucked. My sensibilities won’t be upset.”
“OK. They each came to me that night and we fucked. I didn’t have the emotional attachment with them yet. I found the attachment times a thousand with Grace, but I never had time with the other women.”
“Ken, I think you’ll find that you grow that attachment over time. I’ve had some of the same feelings, especially with some of the new people or a woman I meet for the first time, and then we’re fucking moments later. I can tell you that my feelings of intimacy and closeness to each of them has grown over time. Allow yourself to be open to the experience of sexual intimacy first, and then take the steps to pursue the other kind of intimacy. You’ll move between the two as each develops, like putting the weight on alternate feet as you walk.”
Ken thought about that. “I can do that.”
Dave teased, “As a jet jockey, I expect you’ve of had a line of women around the block that you were boffing.”
“Not me. I allowed my ego to take me in that direction a few times when I was younger, but I quickly found that the more meaningful relationships and the ones that made me happiest were with women I could talk about anything with, could confide in, and who were my equal. That’s how I feel about Alice, Pam, and now Grace, and somewhat with Rachel.”
“I heard you kind of fell for Grace.”
“Very hard. I think she likes me as well.”
“She does. I heard about that third hand.”
Ken looked exceptionally pleased.
Dave asked, “Did Alice or someone talk to you about our … rules, but I hate to use that word. It sounds so authoritarian.”
“Try me,” Ken said.
Dave said, “Where do I start because they’re all interwoven. First off, I guess is our assumption that we live in a world that is loving, kind, and fundamentally spiritual. We aspire to be that way in all our interactions with others. We do not see most things, including relationships as a zero sum game.”
“Zero sum game?” Ken asked.
“If I get some, then you don’t. If someone loves me, then they can’t love you. If I give my love to someone then I have to take it away from someone else. Those are examples of a zero sum game. The opposite is to believe in a life filled with abundance. The more I give away, the more I receive in return. I give my love to each woman in our Circle, and I receive ten fold back to me. That’s hardly a zero sum game.”
“Accordingly, we are not jealous. That is an unwanted emotion in our Circle. We are not possessive. We treat each other as equals. We share ourselves, but it is all right to say ‘No’ once in a while. ‘No’ means exactly that.” Dave stopped.
Ken waited and then said, “You didn’t say anything about the sex.”
“I don’t know what else to say about it. Maybe ‘consenting adults can do whatever they want about sex.’ That’s a good adage because it puts the emphasis on consent and not to base what you do or try to do on assumptions. To execute that gaziantep escortlar statement properly calls for some kind of communication between you and your partner or partners. Communications is a hallmark of the Circle.
“If you’re kind, patient, loving, full of compersion — the opposite of jealousy, sharing, non-possessive, and treat people equitably — I guess like the Golden Rule, then everything else in our Circle follows, including the sex.”
Ken said, “I think I’ve been living pretty close to that model, although the bridge to sharing a woman I love with another man is a large one.”
Dave smiled, “Look around you and see whether breaking that model has hurt any of us. If you feel it has, please come to me and talk. I want to know about it, or to try to understand better than I might with superficial knowledge.”
Ken shook his head, “When I first met you, and Alice and Pam were coming on to me, I was really confused. They assured me that you were fine with whatever they did, even having sex. I thought you were a cuckold, but you’re not. I would have expected much different behavior, but you come across as a sane, stable, thoughtful, brilliant, man that’s a good leader for the Circle.”
Dave laughed, “Ah, good. My disguise is working and I’m still fooling people.”
Kat and Alice came into the room. They’d been part of the after-dinner cleanup crew. Alice sat is Dave’s lap, and Kat in Ken’s.
Kat said, “We’re feeling deprived.”
“Deprived?” each of the men said in unison.
Alice explained, “It’s been several hours since we had sex, and we were hoping the two of your could fix that situation for us. We’ve talked and we’d like side-by-side repairs to our little pussies, with lots of switching back and forth until we are well and truly lubricated with your internal man oils that you can inject into us.”
Dave laughed, “Sounds like a plan to me. Here or in the house?”
“Oh, here. Others might also get the idea and join us. We need all the help we can get starting with you two handsome devils.”
Before Alice had finished speaking, Ken and Kat were in a deep embrace French kissing. Dave chuckled to himself, ‘So much for some intimacy and knowing someone well before sex.’
* * * * *
Nancy and Jack sat across the table from Dave and Ty, the vice president and president of the Circle Cohousing Project. They were at the larger dining room table in the core on Saturday afternoon.
Nancy said, “Since I raised my idea, I’ve talked to Ken, Holly, Christie, Roy, Owen, and Jack — basically all of the single people in the Circle. Dave, I didn’t treat your wives as single. I also skipped Rachel due to her young age and her admitted lack of funds, but she might be interested in this over time.”
Jack said, “I like the way Nancy thinks, plus there’s precedent for things like this in some other cohousing projects around the country. I grabbed some sketches of multi-unit town houses similar to the architecture style of your homes on the Circle. I also paid more attention to the site, and I think a nice location for something like this would be ninety degrees around Circle Drive, kind of opposite Roy and Owen’s homes. There’s a bit of a hollow there the new homes could sit in, so any building would sit lower than they otherwise would be.”
“How many square feet?” Ty asked.
Jack responded, “I’m guessing around fifteen hundred or so for each unit, might suffice for each unit. I don’t think we’d have to go much higher, especially since we assume the residents will be making extensive use of the core facilities.”
“How many units do you think we need? What if more people come and join us? I’m thinking we have something very unique here and people want ‘in’ on it. The other thing is that we sold off our guest house to my brother and his wife, so maybe we need space for guest visitors.”
Jack held up his hand. “Hey, I’m the architect. I create buildings and modifications that meet my client’s needs. The Circle is my client in this case, and I am only one opinion. I would need to talk to everybody in the Circle to get their opinions and wishes in order to answer those questions. Nancy has made a start on it. The question about the future of the Circle sounds like the more important one to me.”
Dave said, “One thing is going to create a major disruption to our way of life in the near future, babies. That may not impact the idea of town houses or apartments, but it will sure change our way of life in other ways.”
“Are you trying to tell us something?” Ty teased as he sat back in his chair.
“No, but I can hear a loud synchronized ticking sound every time we’re all together, especially when Matthew is around playing near the pool, for instance.”
Ty’s statement about the Circle having something very unique and that other people would like to get in on it turned out to be prophetic. On Friday, he called Dave to explain.
“Dave, I got a call from guy named Carl McNally. He works at the Tampa Tribune, and they are affiliated with the Sarasota Herald in some way. He wants to do a story on the Circle Cohousing Project.”
“Shit. How’d he hear about us? We’re not exactly main stream story material or known about that widely.”
“He didn’t say and I was too flummoxed to ask at the time. He wants to meet with me and you — officers of the board, and then also talk to at least two women who are part of the Circle. He didn’t seem to know anything about the sex, but he knew we’d been neighbors back over in Oakwood and had formed this instead of living near each other over there. Maybe one of our old neighbors cued him in. Anyway, he’d like to meet with us next week some time.”
“Evening? Weekend? I’m away for a few days during the week. We need to invite a couple of the women, too. Saturday, late morning, or afternoon would work best for me.”
Ty said, “I’ll see whether I can get him to meet with us then. You, the two women, and I should talk about what to say before we talk to him.”
“I agree. Maybe Sunday afternoon, and then we have a week to think about it. I’m thinking that Pam and Wendy should be the two women. They’ve been on the project since its conception and are both articulate and not related to you or me.”
Sunday afternoon Ty, Dave, Alice, Pam, and Wendy sat around one of the patio tables. They were nude and working on their all-over tans as they chatted about Carl McNally’s impending visit the following Sunday shortly after lunch.
Wendy laughed, “So, we don’t tell him about our nightly orgies, the wife swapping, and the dens of iniquity that we’ve created? That’s all the really interesting and newsworthy stuff.”
“Not unless we want several hundred peeping toms and dirty old men slinking around the perimeter of the Circle trying to view it all,” Dave said with a chuckle.
“Oh, I look forward to the guys with raincoats flashing us as we drive in and out of the gate. Maybe we can flash them, too.” Wendy hefted up one of her bulbous tits and oscillated it around.
Ty brought the meeting back to order. “So, if the questions are about the mechanics of the Cohousing Project, refer them to Dave or me, and if they’re about how we ‘feel’ about the Project and living here, we defer to the women, but also the men can answer as they see fit.”
Alice asked, “What else would we get questions about?”
Wendy speculated, “What’s it like living here? Why cohousing? We can talk about that: committee work assignments, our social life — the public version, community meals, our library, ride sharing and carpooling, the core library, and the other stuff.”
Ty volunteered, “I’d think about joint exercises, the gym, our meditation sessions, the flying lessons you’re taking, and that kind of stuff, too.”
“Does everybody else know to be on their best behavior?”
Ty nodded, “I think so. I put a sign up on the white board about next Sunday.”
Wendy said, “We should be sure that Matthew is here, maybe even with Heather’s mother. His presence will give the Circle a family atmosphere. The newspaper guy will love that aspect of things. Tell him how Holly taught Matt how to swim and dive. That’ll help tout the benefits of this life style and the Project.”
* * * * *
Sunday a week later at one o’clock, Dave buzzed Carl into the Circle property. He went to curbside to welcome the news media reporter. Not only was Carl McNally in the car, but so was Erin Steckler, another reporter in her twenties. Dave led them through his home towards the core.
“I thought I’d pass you through my home so you’d get a feel for things. Those of us living in the Circle all have homes of this style and architecture, although we chose different square footage homes for various reasons. Mine happens to be the largest.” Dave kept walking towards the corridor to the core. “All of the homes have a covered walkway to the core facilities. In good weather we open it up. If it’s cold or hot, we can close the sides and have it heated or cooled. Any of the homes can reach the core rooms without needing to go outside.”
Dave put in a plug for Suntech, the company he’d just become a director of. “We may go for solar electric in the near future, at least for some of our power needs. We still need to evaluate things, look at costs and such, but the idea is on our radar screen.”
Dave led them into the core, coming out right between the core building and the pool patio. “We share the patio, large pool, pool house, pergola, and all the outdoor dining equipment — the grill, tables, chairs, chaises, and so on. Inside the building, come this way, are our common area living room, library, media room, dining area, kitchen, gym, sauna, indoor Jacuzzi, and a few other rooms for special projects. The walls are all kind of temporary so we can move them around as our needs change.”
Dave walked them through the interior of the core building, chatting as they went about how the various facilities were used. Eventually, they exited the core building back to the patio near the pergola and joining, Ty, Wendy, and Pam. Introductions were made.
Erin asked, “So, you eat most of your meals together here in the core?”
Pam picked up the thread; “We tend to do breakfasts and lunches during the week at home. Everybody is on slightly different schedules then, and no one wants what would be an onerous duty to keep serving food over a long time period. Dinners are mostly communal. We do a cocktail hour that gives almost everybody a chance to gather together if they want, and then the dinner squad serves up the meal for the evening.”
“How do you account for individual tastes or preferences, such as low salt or gluten free?” Erin asked.
“We know which people have dietary restrictions. Those are taken into account in meal planning and food prep by the dinner squad. We don’t have any gluten intolerant people right now. One person is lactose intolerant, so any cheese sauces or such are prepared as something that can be added separately. We note those on the buffet. Two of our residents studied nutrition in college, so they are a permanent part of the meal planning volunteers.”
Erin grinned, “This is such a cool set up. So, weekend lunches and dinners are together?”
“Saturday and Sunday, we do a brunch instead of a lunch, but yes. Anybody can go and scrounge around in the kitchen. We save leftovers for twenty-four hours, but there are few left by that time. Our cooks all seem to compete about preparing really eatable meals that will totally disappear.”
Carl noted, “You don’t have common laundry facilities?”
Ty shook his head, “No. We decided there’d be too many people competing for those limited resources, so we put those in the homes instead. It freed up room in the core for the sauna and Jacuzzi. We can always reverse that decision if we want. We built a lot of flexibility into our designs. We have our architect, Jack Anders, to thank for those ideas.”
The six of them talked sitting around the table. Carl and Erin took notes, and Carl snapped a couple of pictures looking across the pool at the core building. Just after he sat down, Julie strolled out of the far end of the core building and walked to her usual tanning chaise. All would have been well, except she only wore her microscopic G-string bikini bottoms.
Carl’s eyeteeth just about popped out of his head. Julie was as well endowed as Pam, and while he might have been fantasizing about what Pam looked like under her casual clothing, Julie left nothing to the imagination.
Dave and Ty looked at each other with a touch of panic in their eyes. Dave got up and sauntered over to Julie. “Errr, Julie. Didn’t you see the notice that we have outside guests here? Newspaper people?”
“Oh, shit, I missed it. I was away all week with Owen, as you know. We didn’t get back until late. I forgot to look at the bulletin board.” Dave passed her a towel from the pile of pool towels so she could cover up. Heather raced up a moment later, with Julie’s bikini bra in hand. She slipped it on.
Dave rejoined the speechless reporters. “Sorry about that. She didn’t get the memo.”
Erin said, “So, partial nudity around the pool is permitted?”
Ty quickly said, “We don’t have rules regarding the state of dress.”
“But they’re part of the city ordnances, aren’t there?” Erin posed.
“But we’re not part of the city. We kept this land as private property rather than throw in with the city. Our roads and the common areas are private, not public. Since we don’t have to plow snow, it works out better for us.”
Julie took it upon herself to come over to the table in her small bikini but with the towel draped around her shoulders. As she reached the table she put her hand on Dave’s shoulder in an affectionate gesture. “Please forgive me everybody. I didn’t know we were having guests, so I thought this was a normal Sunday where I could tan without concerns.”
Dave introduced her to Carl and Erin, and a few pleasantries were exchanged. Julie shook hands and almost did a close-up reveal, but knew just how to keep the towel in place.
As she left, Carl observed, “She has the same last name as you?” He looked at Alice and then Dave. “Is she a relative?”
Pam gulped. “She’s … my good friend.”
Erin asked in a puzzled tone, “But you’re married to Dave, are you not?”
“Yes,” Pam said flatly. “It’s complicated.”
Just about that time Matthew raced out from Dave’s house. He was in his swimsuit and brimming with enthusiasm for his weekend swim in the pool. He came running by the table, high fived Dave’s available hand, and then yelled, “Watch this, Dad.” He went charging towards the deep end of the pool and did a cannonball into the water, screaming in delight the whole journey.
Erin grinned, “He’s yours?” Everyone at the table chuckled at the five year old’s behavior.
Dave said, “Kind of. It’s complicated.”
Heather came out of the house wearing a full bathing suit. She waved at Dave and took a seat nearer to the pool’s edge so she could keep an eye on Matthew and play lifeguard.
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