When I woke up the next morning, I was alone in the bed. Tom's bedroom had an attached bath so I heard the shower running. I got up and dressed. I went to the kitchen to get something to drink. Ben was nowhere to be seen as I went to the fridge to get orange juice. I had just poured my glass and returned the carton when Ben appeared. He went straight to the coffee pot and made a fresh pot; while he waited on it to brew, he turned to me to give me a kiss after saying good morning. I put my hand on his chest and stepped back away from him before he could kiss me.
"So I guess you've chosen Tom," he said in response to my actions.
I moved to the other side of the island counter and said nothing. Tom walked into the kitchen then and greeted us both merrily before leaning in to kiss me. I put my hands on his chest and held him back too. He looked hurt and confused. "Is everything OK Darling?" He asked.
"No, everything is not OK," I replied. I finished my juice and left the kitchen.
I went down the hallway to my room and stripped off my clothes. I put on a bikini, sunscreen and my rash guard shirt. I wasn't going to ask either of them to put sunscreen on my back. I was so conflicted inside that I just wanted to go out to the ocean for a while.
They were both still standing in the kitchen, drinking coffee now, when I went through to go outside. "Clarice, we need to talk!" Ben called to me.
"I'm aware of that," I retorted as I walked out the French doors.
I went downstairs, grabbed my surfboard and went out to ride the waves. The few times I came back to shore, I could see Ben and Tom on the deck above. I went back out to the water every single time. I eventually got tired enough to need a break. I went to shore, put my surfboard in the sand and sat down in the wet sand where the water would rush in over my legs every time the waves kissed the shore. I sat there peacefully for several minutes. Finally I saw two long shadows on the sand, one on each side of me. Ben sat down on my left, Tom sat on my right. They were silent for a while; neither of them tried to touch me. Finally Ben was bold enough to break the silence: "We really need to talk Clarice."
"We've established that Ben."
"Have you chosen one of us? It feels like you have, to both of us. Frankly, we're confused. You told me you wanted to give me a baby and then last night you cried in Tom's arms and told him you loved him. Who do you want Clarice? You're really screwing with us both and it's not funny."
"How the fuck do you think I feel? You've both been toying with my feelings too."
Tom got angry. "I have never toyed with your feelings! I told you that I love you and I meant every word of it. I want to be with you for the rest of my life and I thought I had made that pretty clear. I understand that you're scared and I'm willing to help you with that; I want you open your heart to me and let me love you."
"If you love me so much then why did you agree to try a threesome with Ben? I know we'd been talking about sexual fantasies and when you asked what was my dirtiest fantasy...I didn't expect you to agree to make it happen. I was shocked when you asked Ben if he'd do it with us; I was even more shocked when he accepted." I then turned to Ben and asked, "Why did you agree to it?"
He actually blushed and looked down at the sand. "I'd wanted to have sex with you again for eight months. It felt like I was handed a golden ticket and I just couldn't refuse. Damn, Claire, you're beautiful and I'm very sexually attracted to you. I honestly thought I could separate my growing feelings for you and just enjoy the sex for the weekend. I did not expect you to have sex with me alone, much less admit to loving me. I thought you had no feelings for me at all and just agreed to it because I'm Tom's best friend and he's comfortable around me."
Tom then said, "I think you're going to have to choose this time Clarice."
I looked from one to the other of them feeling panicked. I finally blurted out, "I'm pregnant!"
They were both shocked and speechless at first. Ben finally said, "Well it has to be Tom's baby because this weekend is the first time we've had sex in eight months and you're certainly not eight months pregnant."
"No it just happened. I'm not even far enough along that it would show up on any pregnancy test."
Tom was clearly confused. "Then how do you know that you are pregnant?"
"I just do. Oh come on guys, y'all know I'm not like normal people. I see, hear and know things that other people don't. I'm a total freak of nature! Is it really surprising that I would know I'm pregnant from the time I have conceived?"
Ben snorted. "No it's really not surprising. I have seen the demonstration of what you are really capable of and I don't care to ever see that again. It was pretty scary. Although, I do appreciate the fact you can find absolutely anything I misplace."
"Do you have any idea which one of us got you pregnant?" Tom asked.
"Sorry boys, but I'm pretty sure it happened yesterday so it could be either one of you."
Ben furrowed his brow. "I didn't come in you that way. I was in the other hole. Only Tom did."
"You did earlier in the day when we had sex on the deck outside."
"Oh right, I did. You didn't specifically state it was during the threesome, just the same day. Sorry I'm still trying to adjust to the news that you're pregnant. So I guess this means a paternity test will be in order in a few months?"
"I'll be a high risk pregnancy. There is not an obstetrician worth his degree who will perform an amniocentesis on me for the sole purpose of a paternity test. You'll have to wait until after the baby is born."
"Then we'll wait," Tom declared. "In the meantime, you need to take good care of yourself and our child. Come on inside and get something to eat. I realise you haven't eaten today."
He helped me up, while Ben grabbed my surfboard to put it away. I followed Tom in the house. He fixed me something to eat while I showered.
Things were tense between the three of us over the next five weeks though they both tried not to bicker and to take care of me. I started experiencing morning sickness by this point and it often reoccurred in the late afternoon. I had taken to practically living on Altoids and ginger ale. I had to interrupt filming a couple of times because I just couldn't keep it down. This was the worst morning sickness I had ever experienced. When we weren't filming and I wasn't throwing up, I slept. I was so tired all the time. Tom's assistant found me a high risk obstetrician in the area since I didn't have to time to search, nor was I familiar with the city.
At my first appointment he confirmed I was pregnant and sent off for my medical records from the hospital in my hometown and my previous obstetrician so he would know what was going on with me. I wasn't scheduled to return for a month; in the meantime, he scheduled an ultrasound at the diagnostic lab on the opposite side of the building from his office.
I went back to the set after my appointment and they both pounced on me at the first opportunity with a barrage of questions. "Guys, there's really nothing to tell you yet. I'm almost six weeks along, he sent off for my medical records and I'm scheduled for another appointment in a month with my ultrasound being in three weeks."
"You need to have an ultrasound all ready?" Ben questioned.
"Yes, it's perfectly routine with a high risk pregnancy. I can be expected to get a few of them for the duration of my pregnancy. Now if y'all will excuse me, I have to go talk to Joss because there are some things I'm not going to be able to do anymore and he needs to know."
I walked off to talk to Joss about my new pregnancy related restrictions and to announce the fact I was expecting. He congratulated me as soon as I told him and said he thought Tom would make a great father. I did not divulge the fact that I had no idea which one of them was the father. I just went into the discussion about new restrictions due to the fact I was considered high risk. He said he could easily work around them and it wouldn't be an issue. I thanked him profusely.
The day of my ultrasound arrived and they both insisted on going along. I tried to tell them that the later ones would be more interesting because right now the baby was so tiny. Neither of them cared and still wanted to go. They both wanted to go to every ultrasound I had. Oh yes, this was turning out to be a stress free pregnancy! I relented and let them both go so they wouldn't bicker.
Thankfully, the office staff didn't make me wait out front considering our situation. Ben and Tom were both dressed in jeans and t-shirts with hats and sunglasses on; we were still getting some curious stares in the waiting room while I checked in at the desk. A receptionist immediately escorted us to a private waiting area where we waited alone for about ten minutes. They both followed me to the exam area. Tom got the privileged position of sitting closest to my head where he held my hand the whole time. They were both transfixed by the screen as the female technician moved the wand slowly over my abdomen. She soon discovered something completely unexpected: I was having twins. She distinctly found two babies in my womb. We were all shocked. This completely changed everything and increased my chances of something going wrong. After having seen their babies on the screen, they stopped bickering and started focusing on taking care of me. They were both determined to make this pregnancy as easy on me as possible so the babies would be born healthy and hopefully not too premature.
I went to the doctor every month for a checkup. I had another ultrasound at nineteen weeks. Tom reluctantly allowed Ben to have the position of honor sitting closest to me. All three of us eagerly agreed to know the babies' genders; both of them were girls. I was so thrilled to be having girls that I couldn't help but cry. When we got back to the beach house, I kissed them both and thanked them for giving me daughters. They both wanted to do more than kiss, but I wouldn't allow it. I refused to have sex with either of them at this point because I knew in the end, they would both be upset even if both of them got it.
One Saturday, a few weeks later, Tom gathered us all in the living room because he felt it was time to start preparing for the babies' arrival. He greatly feared them being premature and wanted to have everything ready well in advance. The first thing he pointed out was the fact that the beach house only had three bedrooms and we needed a nursery.
Ben sighed and announced, "I'll move out. There are no other beach rentals around here and I know how much living by the ocean means to Clarice."
"You wouldn't have to do that if we doubled up in one of the rooms," Tom replied as he gazed at me with pleading eyes. He wanted me to invite him into my bed.
I responded, "You and Ben could share your room. It is big enough for two beds and then the girls will be near me so I can respond to them easily at night."
They glared at each other. Through clenched teeth Tom replied, "Sure we could do that."
Ben then turned to me and said, "Or you could choose who you want now."
"What if I choose one and the children belong to the other? I don't want to even think about those legal ramifications. If I must choose, I'll do it after we know who the father is."
Ben sighed and said, "How about Tom moves into your room, I go to his room and then my room can be the nursery?"
"Are you sure?" I asked.
"Yes I'm sure. Tom, would you mind if we had a few minutes alone?"
"Um, yeah, OK." He replied as he turned and disappeared into his bedroom, closing the door behind him.
Ben turned to me and said softly, "Clarice, I know in your heart you love Tom more than you could ever love me. I love you, but I miss my best friend and I'm tired of everyone fighting. This is not a good environment to bring these babies into; there's way too much hostility. I want you and Tom to get married and have a life together. As soon as I can find somewhere else to live, I'm moving out. I want you and Tom to raise the girls, no matter who is their biological father. If they are mine, I want to be able to visit, but they never have to know me as anything other than Uncle Ben."
I could feel tears welling up in my eyes. I gazed into his eyes and could see tears he was fighting to keep down. We leaned toward each other and kissed on the lips. When he withdrew, he whispered in my ear, "Tom loves you with all of his heart and will take care of you. I'm sorry I was such a stupid ass all of this time and lost a wonderful woman."
I couldn't keep the tears within any longer. He moved and caught the first one with his lips. "Don't cry for me Darling. We both know we weren't meant to be. I should have been nicer to you from the beginning and maybe you would have loved me first. You are an intelligent, beautiful, and wonderful woman. You deserve a man who has always treated you right since he first met you."
He gently kissed my lips again and rose from the sofa. I impulsively grabbed his hand and said, "But you're the one I love."
He leaned over and kissed my forehead. "You only think you do because you're hurting inside right now. Once I've been gone for a while, you'll see we've made the right choice."
I Guess This is Goodbye