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Three Plus One

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Constance could hardly stand it anymore. All she could see, every time she turned the corner, every time she walked into the kitchen, every time she slept was the loving gazes Reynie, Kate, and Sticky were giving each other. They would hang around the house all summer, seeing as how none of them had any pressing obligations, and they’d laugh and have a good time, including Constance with them but regardless, she always felt a little left out. The other three had been dating for years and Constance had barely turned eighteen this year, and never before had she been so bothered at the fact that the other three were so lovey-dovey.

It wasn’t that she didn’t know why. She knew exactly why this was bothering her so much. She wanted to be part of their relationship. It didn’t even have to be with all of them. She would settle for being with even one of the people she loved. But every time they hung out, Kate would kiss Reynie’s cheek, or Sticky would hold Reynie’s hand, and they’d all be sitting close together, giving Constance her space.

She would dream about them at night. Being together, all four of them, getting up to mischief and laughing and running around like old times. Making new memories, too, and sometimes the dreams would venture into X-rated territory, which always woke her up in a cold sweat.

After a night like that, she kicked the blankets off her bed and got ready for the day, the first few cracks of dawn already starting to show up. Kate would be going on her morning run soon, if she hadn’t already. Constance had twenty minutes to get to the others’ apartment before anyone at Mister Benedict’s woke up.

She slipped downstairs and out the front door, and as loathe as she was to run, she took off at a quick pace to get to the apartment faster. Her feet pounded on the sidewalk, faster, faster, propelling her forward. Her heart pounded in her chest and she was feeling short of breath for more than one reason. She desperately wanted to get to the apartment, and she couldn’t stop her excitement from keeping her running, fast as she could, to the loves of her life.

Kate came into view on the opposite side of the sidewalk, and Constance grinned, waving her arm to get Kate’s attention. Kate caught sight of her and grinned, pulling out her earbuds and saying, “Morning, Constance. I wasn’t expecting to see you out this early! What’s up?”

Constance stood there a moment, trying to catch her breath. “I wanted to talk to you. And Reynie. And Sticky. If you guys don’t mind,” she panted.

“Of course not! Everything’s okay, right?” Kate asked, walking inside and letting Constance in the building. They took the stairs to the apartment, and Constance chewed over her words the entire time.

“I guess everything’s okay,” Constance said, shrugging. “Things could be better, though.”

“Better? Better how?” Kate asked.

They walked inside the apartment and Kate walked to the kitchen, putting the kettle on for tea for Reynie.

Constance felt her heart race and she blurted, “I’ve felt left out with you three lately.”

“Oh,” Kate said softly. “Oh, Constance, I’m sorry. We’ve been wondering if there was something going on with you, because you’ve been withdrawn. But we didn’t want to press you, so we didn’t say anything.”

Constance’s heart ached. Yeah, those were her best friends for her. She moved to sit on the counter in the kitchen, and sighed. “I know you three have been dating, so it only makes sense that you would be close, but...what if I wanted to be that close to you too?”

Kate looked shocked for only a split second, before she turned decidedly nervous, glancing to the bedroom. “Constance...are you sure that’s what you want? I don’t want to say no, but I want to make sure that’s something you really want before you end up with us.”

“Kate,” Constance said sternly. “When have I ever been mistaken about what I want? I want you. And Reynie. And Sticky.”

Relief filled Kate’s face. “And here we were worried that you might be dying!” she laughed quietly. “I’ll admit, Constance, I don’t know exactly how I feel about a relationship between us, but I’m willing to give it a shot.”

Constance grinned. “Do you know how to celebrate this revelation?” she asked.

Kate smirked, saying, “Oh, yeah,” before leaning in and kissing Constance.

Constance kissed back, putting her hands on Kate to pull her closer. Kate hummed and Constance shivered, eyes closed in pure bliss.

“Uh...” A voice from behind them caused them to break apart. Constance turned to find Reynie standing there, looking decidedly bemused.

“Constance and I are a thing now,” Kate said simply.

Reynie nodded. “Right. I’m not awake enough for this.”

The kettle whistled and Kate laughed, making Reynie a cup of tea, which he took with a groggy, “Thank you.”

Sticky walked in shortly after, blinking owlishly behind his glasses. “Constance? What are you doing here?”

“She’s confessing her love to the three of us,” Kate said with a smirk.

“Kate!” Constance snapped.

“Oh, come on, you would have said the same!” Kate said.

“Not like that!” Constance declared. “I would have said it with a little more dignity!”

Kate laughed and Constance grumbled. Reynie, having downed half his tea and looking decidedly more awake, said, “Okay, Constance, mind explaining your side?”

“I’ve seen you three together for years now,” Constance said. “I’m eighteen. I want in.”

“I’m dating her, regardless of what you two decide,” Kate said, wrapping an arm around Constance and making Constace’s stomach flip.

“I mean, I’m not against it,” Sticky said. “I’m definitely willing to try a relationship. Reynie?”

Reynie hummed. “Constance, if I’m going to date you, I’m doing it properly. That means dinner dates, movie nights, and lots of potential for sappy letters. Are you willing to put up with that?”

Constance turned red. “That sounds...really nice,” she managed to choke out.

Reynie nodded. “Then it’s settled. Our trio has become four.”

Constance grinned in relief, Kate hugging her and Reynie kissing her cheek, while Sticky grabbed her hand and refused to let go. “You do realize what this means, though, right?” Constance asked. “All three of you are going to have to answer to Mister Benedict if you break my heart.”

The three of them shared horrified glances and Constance laughed, just before there was a frantic knocking at the door and they could hear Number Two call through the wood, “Constance, if you’re in there, you have a lot of explaining to do!”

“You didn’t tell them you went out?!” Kate asked with horror.

“No one else was awake yet,” Constance said with a shrug, walking to the door. “Relax, I’ll explain everything. But you three had better prepare for a talk with Mister Benedict!”