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let's all be with us

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Twyla's gaze is pulled away from the table she's wiping down at the front of the cafè by the sound of footsteps approaching the countertop. She stops for a moment to study the person's face once they're parked in front of her. "You were in here earlier, right?" Albany nods with a frown, sitting down on one of the cafè's battered stools and setting her right cheek in her hand.

"Yeah," Her tone is filled with a certain sadness Twyla can't pinpoint however, she worries that she accidentally overstepped nonetheless. She opens her mouth to speak again until she's abruptly cut off by the woman across from her. "It's okay, I just had a bad night."

Twyla reaches a hand across the table to take Albany's free one in her own. "What happened?" She asks sincerely.

"One of my 'friends' confirmed my suspicion that she as well the rest of our group hates me. We were at a bar, but she was sober so I know she was being truthful."

Unsure how to verbally respond right away, Twyla rubs her thumb and forth against the back of her palm for a second prior to clearing her throat. "I'm sorry about that, can I get you anything?"

Albany thinks for a moment, trying to picture the menu from earlier. "A burger. I don't care what's on it, I just need some red meat in my system." She looks around the space momentarily, eyes meeting an undeniably attractive man. "I'm gonna… use the restroom—" She trails off before being interrupted by Twyla.

"Coming right up," She smiles, handing the order off to George.


Jake's eyes trail away from the vanilla milkshake in front of him towards the gorgeous figure walking past. With long, straight mocha brown locks cut past the bicep and a knee-length ballet pink skirt hugging the hem of a dark green camisole tank to match the leaf pattern adorning the fabric covering her hips so beautifully, stunning is an understatement.

"Hey, pony," Stevie looks up from her meal. "I'm gonna go... use the restroom." She nods and he follows Albany into the hallway where they're located.

Putting a hand up the side of her face against the wall, Albany squeals. "Who are you?"

"I'm Jake, and I couldn't help notice how pretty you are tonight." He leans down to press a quick peck to her cheek. Albany leans into the gesture, desperate for a hook-up. It's been so long since she's has sex anyone, her body count is virtually years behind all of her peers.

"Well," She sets a hand upon his waist. "You're quite the handsome slice yourself, Jaden, was it?" Albany loves teasing, and this was the perfectly opportunity to.

"Jake." He corrects blandly, dragging her into the women's room after making sure it's empty.

She quickly locks the door behind them before flipping him around. "Sexy name," She whispers, kissing the spot behind his ear. "So hot."

He moans into her mouth, his back arching against the wall. Eventually, after a few more moments of agonising teasing, Jake gives in and connects their lips; the kiss is instantly heated, like they both have a reason for needing this that goes deeper than just wanting to fuck.

And they do.

Albany wants to fit in. Did she abandon her only acquaintances earlier in the day? Sure, but she was on the outskirts of society even before knowing them.

She's tired of it.

She's so fucking tired of it.

She craves a group of people who truly care about her and want her around.

Maybe if she hooks up with enough people she'll stumble across a hidden gem, someone she connects with outside of a condom.

As for Jake? He shows his affection towards other people so outwardly due to a lack of love growing up. It's caught up to him so, in an attempt to make up for shitty parental figures growing up, he greets people with kisses on the lips and compliments their appearance to let them know they're appreciated at least by one person: him.

They keep themselves connected at all points of their bodies throughout the growingly vehement meeting of their lips.

Their mouths are touching.

Their shoulders are touching.

She's grinding against him.

He's holding her tight on top of her still clothed hips, fingertips squeezing the fabric every now and then at a particularly rousing gesture.

Stomachs on stomachs, feet touching at the toes with Jake's feet pressed against the brick wall he's standing atop.

Breathless after minutes straight of uninterrupted attachment, there's a knock on the door adjacent to them.

"Jake? Are you in there?"

It's Stevie. Fuck.

"Yeah, I—I must've gone in the wrong bathroom by accident. Haven't been back here before."

Stevie sighs on the other side. "I know that's bullshit, but since we aren't exclusive, I'll pay. You're covering the tip, though!" She exclaims, sauntering away.

Setting her pointer fingers on Jake's shoulders, Albany leans in to whisper once again. "How about we take this to the floor?"

Before she has time to react, her back meets the sticky and grimy light green tile in dire need of a power wash, Jake's body providing a comforting weight above her.

She could get used to this.

She hopes she gets used to this.

"You could've done a better job at fixing your hair." Stevie says plainly, crossing her arms over her chest to exhibit the look of not giving a fuck when, in reality, she does. "I wouldn't be upset if this was the first time you've gone off and fucked someone else without telling me, but alas, it isn't."

Jake removes his hand from the small of Albany's back to reposition himself in the same seat he sat in prior to leaving Stevie. He gestures his head towards the empty spot next to him, patting the beaten fabric for Albany to join them. She complies without too much resistance. Once she's finally settled in, Jake wraps an arm around her shoulders, pulling their bodies flush against one another. Stevie scoffs, rolling her eyes at his audacity. "Look, I'm sorry, Stevie, but I thought you were fine with it."

Stevie removes her arms from their place against her chest to pick at her fingernails instead. "That's what you said with David, so it doesn't seem like you're sorry to me." Jake opens his mouth to speak, closing it suit as he's cut off by Stevie's continuation of words. "I love the way you celebrate my body, there's no denying that, I just wish we could have a conversation about these things."

"Let's do it now," Jake shifts in his seat, taking Stevie's hands in his own after plucking Albany out of his embrace. He clears his throat before continuing. "Stevie Budd, would you like to be in an open relationship with me?"

"No," Stevie shakes her head, seething her ends out of Jake's grip. "Not with her here." She starts to get out from the booth, however, she's stopped by Twyla, of course.

She smiles, dropping a check onto the table in front of her. "There's the check; no rush on getting it back to me. Flag me down when you're ready!" And, at the drop of a hat, she's gone just as quickly as she appeared.

Stevie is redirected back to the interrupted conversation at the sound of Albany's voice, her vulnerable and surprisingly luscious voice. "Why not? I think you're cute and obviously Jake here is." She giggles, connecting their lips together in a hurried kiss like it was exactly what they both needed, an unspoken, yet clear connection if you will.

Threading her eyebrows together, Stevie taps her fingers rhythmically across the wooden tabletop in thought. "So, you're saying you'd like to join me and Jake?"

"I was thinking more you'd join us," Albany says simply, tossing a lock of hair over her left shoulder. She does have that silky smooth hair I'm jealous of, Stevie thinks to herself.

"Considering we were together first," Stevie reaches for Jake's knuckles, placing light pecks across each one, taking her sweet, sweet times as she locks eyes with Albany. "I think I'm right."

Jake decides it is time to cut into the conversation. "Ladies," He looks at Albany. "Ladies," He repeats, his gaze stopping on Stevie this time. "There's enough of me to go around."

Stevie and Albany shoot each other a quick death glare, although they forget about their rivalry moments later. "We need to set some boundaries," Stevie gestures to Jake who nods. "Only with her, no more than twice a week, and dear Lord, don't bring it to the motel. Condoms, obviously, with check-ins every Friday."

"You sound like you've already given this thought." Jake chimes.

Shrugging, Stevie re-crosses her arms and leans back. "I might've been wishing you brought me along," There's a silence stretched across the three of them. "What if you join us tonight and then we can start the whole open part this weekend?"

"I'd be very into that," Albany stands up, sitting next to Stevie and effectively pinning her against the wall. "Take it to my room?" She whispers into Stevie's ear as she bucks her hips at the contact of Albany's lips against her skin.

Maybe she should've initiated this conversation sooner, after all.