Kala’s bag falls from her hand. She stands in the doorway of the bedroom and stares. The double bed is gone. Replaced by what appears like the biggest bed in the world.
“Oh, good, it’s arrived.” Rajan’s hands on her shoulders are gently urging her out of the way and Kala moves to one side, still staring at the new acquisition. She watches, bemused, as Rajan pulls away the plastic protective cover from the mattress.
Rajan’s folding the plastic neatly. He looks up and his smile is so wide and excited that Kala can’t help the answering tug at her own lips. “You don’t think it’s a bit… big… for the room?” Kala tries to be diplomatic. It’s an understatement. There’s barely room for the dressing table, and she’s not sure they’ll even be able to open the wardrobe door.
“We can knock out the wall between this room and the guest room,” Rajan says enthusiastically as he shakes out a sheet over the bed. “It’s not like we’ll be needing it,” he says, as the sheet floats to the bed. He reaches for a corner and tucks it in.
Rajan had been a revelation. Kala’s initial worry, when they’d woken up the morning after Nomi and Amanita’s wedding, had been that Rajan had only gone along with making love with Wolfgang because they’d ambushed him. But when she’d seen the way Rajan gazed at the still sleeping Wolfgang, sprawled naked across the bed, that concern had been dispelled. Rajan’s expression had been full of wonder when he’d looked up at Kala and seen her watching him.
They’d planned to spend the next day before flying home visiting the Louvre. Instead, they’d barely left the bed. That day is a blur now, of food and drink and lovemaking. They’d ordered room service and gorged themselves on buttery melt-in-the-mouth croissants and fruit, and on profiteroles stuffed with custard and Chantilly cream, smothered with chocolate ganache. For dinner they’d consumed stacks of delicious savoury crepes smothered in feta and spinach and prosciutto. They’d barely had room to fit in their dessert of crème brûlée, although they’d managed. And everything washed down with an assortment of vintage champagnes Rajan had been keen for them to try. They’d been a bit tipsy by the end of it, so that neither Kala or Wolfgang had taken him seriously first, when Rajan had suggested that Wolfgang accompany them home, but he’d assured them that he’d been thinking about it for a while, even before Kala was even released from the hospital, and when they’d woken up the next morning, there was an extra first class ticket waiting for them already, courtesy of Nomi.
“Is he normally like this?” Wolfgang murmurs in her ear.
On the other side of the bedroom, Wolfgang is tucking in the fitted sheet at the top corner of the bed, and just like that, the vast expanse of mattress is covered with smooth, plum coloured Egyptian cotton. Rajan looks up and smiles warmly at him.
Kala glances at the Wolfgang beside her. “He wants me to be happy.”
“That’s a good thing, isn’t it?” Wolfgang says, watching himself return Rajan’s smile and waggle his eyebrows in a lascivious manner. It’s the same gesture he’d made when she and Rajan had first seen him lounging seductively on their bed, when he’d patted the sheet in front of them, when their whole life, their whole marriage, had irrevocably changed.
“Of course it is.”
“But what about him?”
“You know him better than I do,” Wolfgang says. “Don’t you think he’s happy?”
Kala bites her lip. “I hope so.” It’s one thing to embrace your wife’s lover on the other side of the world, where no one knows you. She hadn’t expected… this. When Rajan had invited Wolfgang to come home with them, she’d assumed he’d meant as a vacation.
Wolfgang by the bed leans over and holds out his fist. Rajan seems puzzled for a brief moment but then leans over and extends his own fist for the manly fist bump Wolfgang has initiated.
“I think we should christen it, don’t you?” Wolfgang says, kissing Kala’s neck as he also begins to strip off his clothes, his eyes locked with Rajan’s.
“Um,” Kala says. Wolfgang’s crawling across the bed now. Rajan’s eyebrows have shot up. It’s more like a prowl than a crawl, though, and the way he’s staring at Rajan as he approaches… Kala can feel the blush rising in her own cheeks, but then she catches sight of Rajan’s expression and forgets to be embarrassed, because Rajan is clearly transfixed.
Then she’s looking up at Rajan, from on hands and knees and Rajan is staring down at her with a familiar expression of amazement and lust, as though he can’t believe this is really happening. “Husband,” she murmurs and Rajan blinks, his brows drawing together. He turns his head. Kala follows his glance, to where she’s standing in the doorway, and Wolfgang does his little eyebrow jiggle again. It’s disconcerting to watch her own face make that ridiculous expression.
“Oh my God,” Rajan breathes.
Then Kala’s in her own body again, her arousal and Wolfgang’s intertwining, echoing and amplifying the sensations. She’s impatient now, and she can’t tell how much of it is her and how much is Wolfgang. She’s stripping off her dress, letting it crumple to the floor in a way that would normally horrify her. She’s unhooking her bra. She’s sliding her panties down her legs. She’s wrapping her arms around Rajan’s waist, pressing her nakedness against him, her breasts against his broad back, her pubic mound against his jean-clad backside. She’s lost for a moment in the sensory memory of her cock sliding between his cheeks, pressing into him, the heat of him, the tightness, the overwhelming sense of rightness she’d felt. She groans, sliding her hand down his firm stomach to close around his rapidly hardening manhood. She aches to fuck him, to be fucked.
Wolfgang is pulling Rajan down on top of him and she’s tumbling down too. She loses track of whose hands are tugging off Rajan’s clothes, whose hands are stroking Rajan’s chest, whose hands are fondling Rajan’s balls, whose hands, wet with her juices, are sliding between Rajan’s cheeks, whose cock is pushing their way slowly into Rajan. She’s Kala and she’s Wolfgang, and she can’t tell where one starts and the other ends. They’re one mind in two bodies, utterly focused on their lover. They’re aware only of Rajan’s gasps, Rajan’s moans.
But then Rajan’s tongue is inside them, Rajan’s fingers are working their clit perfectly, and the sensation is juxtaposed with the feel of the slick sweat of Rajan’s arched back against their chest. Then they are aware that Rajan is gasping endearments, moaning their names. Rajan is stiffening, his seed spilling over their hand as they spill themself into him in turn. And they’re also spasming against Rajan’s fingers working inside them, their orgasm simultaneously concentrated in their groin and echoing throughout their body. They’re aware their limbs are shaking; their face is wet with tears as they kiss Rajan over and over until he gathers them in his arms. They drift, their consciousnesses drawing apart slowly. Kala comes back to the awareness of a gentle hand stroking her back. She opens her eyes to find Wolfgang regarding her from under Rajan’s other arm, his head resting on Rajan’s chest too, facing her.
“Wow,” she mumbles.
“Wow, indeed,” Rajan agrees, and she can hear the smile in his voice.
“I think we can agree that your new bed is officially christened,” Wolfgang says, smartly. He’s smirking, but Kala catches the wistfulness behind his smirk, the ache in his chest.
Rajan’s arm tightens around Wolfgang and he leans down to kiss the top of his head. “Our bed,” he says firmly, and the ache in Wolfgang’s chest disappears to be replaced with a warmth he doesn’t know what to do with. Kala doesn’t think she can love Rajan any more than she already does, but she continues to be awed by his generosity of spirit.
“Your cousin Mita’s wedding is coming up soon, isn’t it?”
Rajan looks up from the article he is reading. “Yes indeed. The family are quite relieved. I think some of them were taking bets that she would call it off. He’s from a quite a traditional family and I think Mita has been concerned that she may not have the freedoms she’s been accustomed to, once she’s married.”
Kala thinks of the conversations she’s had with Rajan’s strong willed and very modern cousin. By the sound of it, Mita has her intended wrapped firmly around her finger. “I haven’t had time to go shopping for an outfit yet.”
“We’ll have the tailor come to our apartment. You can tell him what you want.”
“I was thinking, we could dress to match?”
Rajan smiles. “Whatever my lovely wife wants.”
Kala bites her lip. She looks at Rajan under her eyelashes. “A shade of blue that will match Wolfgang’s eyes?”
Rajan regards Wolfgang, lounging on the couch, flipping channels in a desultory manner. He nods. “I approve.”
Wolfgang’s eyes are suddenly sharp as he looks over at them. “What?”
“You’ll need a sherwani made. You can’t just buy them off the rack. If they don’t fit well, they just look shabby.”
“That’s not necessary.”
“It’s entirely up to you, of course," Rajan assures him. “It is not uncommon for guests to wear Western attire to weddings nowadays, especially foreigners. We could just have a tie made of the same fabric as our outfits.”
“Rajan,” Kala says chidingly. After all these months, with Wolfgang fitting so smoothly into their lives, it’s jarring to think of Wolfgang as a foreigner.
“No, I mean, it’s not necessary because I’m not going.”
Wolfgang finally looks up from the television. “Weddings are for family and friends.”
“You are family,” Kala says vehemently.
Rajan puts down his tablet and sits forward, sliding a reassuring hand onto Wolfgang’s shoulder. “Of course you are coming, you are our husband – in our hearts and our home, if not in law.”
There’s a slight flush across Wolfgang’s cheekbones. Kala feels his pleasure in their insistence, along with vague disbelief that this could be real, and deep, deep down, the echoes of rejection from his childhood, scars on his soul that Kala’s not sure all the love in the world from his lovers and his cluster will ever truly be able to dispel.
Wolfgang shrugs. “They don’t know that.”
It’s true, they haven’t told their families the truth about their living arrangements. Not yet, anyway. And she and Rajan haven’t exactly discussed the possibility of formalising their arrangement. It’s not very common for a woman to have two husbands, not in the cities, anyway. And, not in families like Rajan’s that have embraced modernisation and reject traditional customs. Manendra, with his political aspirations, would not look kindly on his son’s domestic situation.
They haven’t exactly hidden it, though. They haven’t made up any excuse for the sudden appearance of a strange German fellow in their household, and when asked if he plans to find his own place, or when he’s ‘going home’, they smile and tell people that Wolfgang is home.
Once, Kala’s mother had opened the door to the guest room that didn’t exist anymore. Kala hadn’t been there at the time, but she’d felt the spike of apprehension from Wolfgang, the way his muscles tightened as if preparing for battle, and she’d been looking out of Wolfgang’s eyes in time to see her mother standing frozen in the bedroom doorway, staring at Wolfgang in the en suite doorway opposite. In the reflection from the dressing table mirror she could see that Wolfgang was naked and damp from the shower, his modesty covered only by a towel wrapped around his waist. “Oh, no,” Kala had moaned, loud enough that her lab assistant had bustled over to see if she was okay. She hadn’t been able to tell if the defensiveness that clenched Wolfgang’s hands into fists came from him or from her. She’d half expected a hysterical call from her mother, or worse, a disappointed one from her father. It had taken a while for her to stop holding her breath whenever her phone rang, or she found herself alone with one or the other of them.
In any event, neither of her parents have mentioned their living arrangements. Occasionally she catches them looking from her to Wolfgang or from Rajan to Wolfgang, worried expressions on their faces. Kala wonders if they’re waiting for her to bring it up, or if they have officially chosen to live in denial about their daughter’s apparently immoral lifestyle.
Wolfgang’s happy. Rajan jokes about him being their house husband, and it’s not entirely inaccurate a description. Wolfgang maintains an interest in his club, but trusts the running of it to Felix, providing advice when Felix asks, but otherwise leaving him to it. He and Nomi have their own successful international security firm, and periodically he travels to meet clients, or to supervise the set-up of a new system, but mostly he can be found at home.
He likes to cook, so unless they’re going out of an evening, they generally come home to dinner on the stove, the table set, and a gorgeous blond greeting them at the door with a kiss. If he’s in a playful mood. Usually he’s on his phone or his laptop, ‘shooting the shit’ with Felix, as he calls it, or sitting out on the balcony, his feet propped up, his head tilted back against the cushions as he hangs out with Lito in Hollywood. Or, Riley’s famous internationally now, she tours in cities around the world and when the time zones align, Wolfgang’s jumping along with Will in front of the stage. Kala will join them, just to enjoy the exhilaration on Wolfgang’s face, the frenetic energy that courses through their bodies, the way it energises Wolfgang so that his lovemaking afterwards is enthusiastic and extended.
Sometimes, though, he’s in the kitchen, stirring a pot of dahl or chopping up vegetables, and Kala slides her arms around his waist and rests her cheek on his shoulder, and just basks in the bone deep sense of contentment that radiates from him.
Wolfgang submits to being fitted for a sherwani without any more complaints. When he tries on the finished garment, Kala’s not the only one who’s impressed. She sees the way Rajan’s eyes run over his form, and when Rajan leans over and suggests expanding their order to include a range of styles and colours, Kala agrees wholeheartedly.
On the big day though, when they’re dressed and ready to go, Kala’s courage nearly fails her. Rajan’s and Wolfgang’s sherwani don’t just complement her outfit, they have clearly dressed to match each other. Rajan is gorgeous in gold silk with blue trim. Wolfgang is equally as handsome in his sky blue with gold trim. She takes a deep breath and then reaches into her jewellery box and brings out two matching gold chains she’d purchased for the occasion. She drapes one around Rajan’s neck and presses a kiss onto his delighted smile, and then turns to Wolfgang and holds the second one up. He tilts his head obligingly and she places it around his neck and then presses a kiss to his mouth too. Wolfgang’s hands settle on her waist and when Kala pulls back he’s smiling as he looks down at the gold resting against the blue silk.
Kala had half expected Wolfgang to be self-conscious, a little awkward, even. Instead, Wolfgang seems joyful as they put the final touches on their outfits. He rubs kohl on his eyelids and regards the smoky appearance it gives his eyes with satisfaction. Kala sees Rajan look at Wolfgang, his surprise turning to appreciation, and Kala recognises that expression. She steps between them and leans in to kiss first Rajan, then Wolfgang, lingeringly. “Later,” she murmurs.
They turn heads when they arrive. Rajan puts his arm around them both. “They are looking at us and wondering what I have done to deserve to have two such beautiful people on my arm,” he says, and Kala has to shake her head at the smugness in his voice.
Mita embraces Kala when they finally have the opportunity to catch up. “Nice,” Mita murmurs in her ear, and then pulls back to glance over at Rajan and Wolfgang standing shoulder to shoulder. Wolfgang’s head is tilted intimately towards Rajan as Rajan leans in to say something in his ear. From where Kala’s standing, she can’t see anything else, but she can feel it against her own skin, the hand pressed lightly against the small of her back, claiming her. Claiming him, because she can see the way Wolfgang is looking at Rajan. “You lucky, lucky woman,” Mita grins, her expression sly, and Kala ducks her head and returns her smile. She has a feeling she and Mita are going to be good friends.
Once the feast is over and the dancing starts, Wolfgang leaps to his feet and joins in without hesitation. Kala spares a moment to notice the way people are watching him. Some look surprised; some look impressed. Some—older people or people who don’t know Wolfgang—are frowning, shaking their heads. Over by the window a group of women have their heads together, shooting glares their way. But Kala can’t be concerned about them; she’s caught up in the exhilaration of the dance, of the music vibrating through her. She’s matching the moves of her men, watching as Rajan grins approvingly at Wolfgang’s style. Wolfgang doesn’t dance like a Westerner who’s recently learned the moves, even an exceptionally talented one. Everything about Wolfgang's ease, his careless enjoyment, speaks of someone who’s been doing it for his whole life. Because, right now, he has.
And then Kala’s stamping her feet beside Rajan, watching herself on the other side of the dance floor as she twirls, grinning wildly as Rajan spins her around. She watches herself waggle her eyebrows at Rajan, watches Rajan roll his eyes even as he lifts Wolfgang and spins him around and back into the women’s group. Kala laughs, herself again. Her heart is racing and her skin is tingling and she feels wild. She wants to grab her men’s hands and drag them away and kiss them both till their lips are swollen and then she wants to go home and debauch and be debauched. Wolfgang would be all for it—even now she can see him staring at her, her own wildness reflected back at her. And Rajan’s watching them both with such pride and happiness, she thinks he wouldn’t take much persuading.
But she’s not quite that lost to propriety. So, after the dance ends, she slips away, and makes her way down the path to the river’s edge. The reflection of the lights from the pavilion glitters the colours of the rainbow on the water. Kala leans against the railing and breathes in the scent of honeysuckle. The cool breeze is a welcome relief on her overheated skin and her head is clearing, her pulse slowing. The sense of exhilaration fades and is replaced by a feeling of contentment. She loves and she is loved, and it must have been destined to be this way, because otherwise how could she feel this happy, this whole?
There are footsteps approaching. The sense of Wolfgang’s presence in her soul combines with the scent of Rajan’s cologne and she can’t help smiling. They join her at the railing, one on either side, their shoulders pressing against hers.
“I hope we’re not disturbing you, my love?”
“Of course not.”
“A beautiful night for a wedding.” There’s a note in his voice… Kala looks at him and Rajan tilts his head—a question.
They’ve talked about it, of course. Rajan wants the moment to be perfect; he’s been thinking about it for a while. So far, he’s considering a picnic at the Hanging Gardens, a trip to Paris to the top of the Eiffel Tower, or a trip to a lookout over Victoria Falls. Kala thinks Wolfgang wouldn’t care about their surroundings, but when she sees how excited Rajan is, planning it, she holds her tongue.
She looks around. They’re alone. The music’s still going strong, but she can hear the sounds of the party starting to break up, people calling their goodbyes, engines starting.
She nods, suddenly a little nervous and sees Wolfgang glance at her, his eyes narrowing, and then he’s scanning their surroundings, his eyes narrowed; always their protector.
So he misses Rajan reaching into his pocket, isn’t aware that Rajan is holding the ring up, the ring Rajan and Kala had had made to complement their own, until Rajan clears his throat. “Wolfgang Bogdanow,” he says, and Wolfgang’s attention snaps towards him.
Wolfgang’s eyes fall on the ring. His entire body goes utterly still and for long moments he doesn’t say anything. He just gazes at the ring, as though he can’t process what it is. His face is completely expressionless.
Kala sees Rajan’s brow crease. He’s starting to doubt himself, to wonder if he’s made a mistake, and if Kala didn’t know Wolfgang’s soul, if Kala couldn’t feel what Wolfgang’s feeling now, she’d be worried too.
She reaches out and places her arm on Rajan’s and Rajan looks at her, takes in her eyes brimming with tears, her shaky smile. She nods, and a tear escapes, then another. Rajan lets out the breath he’s been holding. He squares his shoulders. “Wolfgang, I once told Kala that that we came from separate worlds, but that the only world I wanted to live in was one with her in it. I could never have imagined I could feel that way for another person.”
Wolfgang’s looking up at him now, his eyes wide. Rajan smiles a little lopsidedly. “But here we are. My world,” He glances at Kala, at her hand still on his arm, and moves to tangle their fingers together. “Our world,” he corrects himself, “is so much bigger with you in it, and it is not just the only world we want to live in, it is the only world we can imagine living in.”
Wolfgang’s still staring. Kala reaches out with her other hand and takes Wolfgang’s hand. He looks at her. “Be with us,” she says softly. “Share our world, and allow us to share yours.”
Wolfgang’s fingers close around hers in a firm grasp. She lifts his hand to her mouth and presses a kiss onto the back of it. “Yes?”
Wolfgang clears his throat. “Yes,” he says. He looks at Rajan. “Yes,” he says again, more firmly.
“Yes?” Rajan confirms, his face wreathed in smiles. He holds up the ring again and Wolfgang holds up his free hand—his left hand—and Rajan slides the ring onto his finger. He curls his fingers around Wolfgang’s and lifts his hand to his lips. He presses a kiss onto it the way Kala had.
Kala slowly becomes aware of their surroundings again. The sounds of celebration have faded. The lights have dimmed. They’re alone. The scent of honeysuckle surrounds them as she leans in and kisses her husbands and holds them as they kiss each other. The three of them, together. Holding on.