When you meet her, the second things you notice about Melinda are her eyes.

They’re piercing. The deepest blue, they seem to bore into you. Her eyes see through all pretense. They show her compassion and her wisdom. And her love.

I lost myself in those eyes. They radiated a soft, post-coital glow. We held each other as morning’s early rays shone into our bedroom. It was quiet. Peaceful. The perfect Blue Ridge day.

She cradled me in her arms, our bodies pressed together. Her hands ran absently up and down my back. Her soft featherlight touch left a trail of goosebumps on my skin.

I glanced over at the clock and groaned inwardly. Time to go.

Leaning in, I kissed Melinda one more time.

“Down boy!” she giggled, rolling me off her. “We have to get up.”

“That’s what I’m doing,” I replied with a sly smile, humping up against her.

“You’ve already had it once this morning.” Melinda slipped out of my grasp. “Save some for the trip.”

She went into the bathroom of our master suite, wiggling her backside at me teasingly. I followed her into the large stand-up shower that could easily accommodate all four of us; she already had the water running. It washed over us and cleansed away the previous night’s exertions.

Reaching around, I cupped her round breasts and pressed against her ass. I rolled her erect nipples in my fingers.

“I love you,” I whispered in her ear.

“You’re only saying that because you want something.”

“And?” I kissed Melinda on the back of the neck. In that one spot that makes her skin crawl.

“Mmmmm . . . I love you, too.”

She put her hands against the wall, leaned over and gave in to the inevitable.


It was eleven years after our magical week at Disney World.

Melinda, Leah, Katie and I still live in our home outside Asheville, NC. Melinda’s and my daughter Kaylee is five now; her brother Bryan is two. There is another pair of other kids in our house now; Katie and Leah adopted Gwendollyn and Gabrielle, gorgeous twins from Vietnam who are also two.

Katie, the youngest of our foursome, was about to turn 30. Or, as we say in our house: she was about to have her second annual 29th birthday celebration. We mulled around several different vacation ideas and finally decided to rent a cabin out in the woods for a long weekend and just be together. After all, the three girls all worked while I stayed home and raised our children, so we didn’t get a lot of time for just the four of us alone, and that’s what Katie said she wanted for her birthday.

We searched the internet, made some calls, found a cabin in a little community north of Atlanta and decided to go there for a long weekend. Sounds funny, doesn’t it? We live in the Blue Ridge Mountains, in some of the most beautiful country on God’s entire creation, and we’re going to Georgia. Truthfully, we just wanted a change of scenery. Plus it was only about three hours away, so it was close enough we could get back if there were an emergency, but far enough away that we couldn’t just get up and go home.

To help with the kids, Melinda’s folks and Katie’s dad came in. Not long after Katie and Leah’s “wedding”, Katie’s parents divorced, so he spends a lot of time with us. Katie and her mom haven’t spoken since and it tears her apart.

Despite all the best efforts of those around her, Katie’s mom can’t get it through her head that her daughter is in love with another woman and that Leah isn’t going away. Katie sends her cards on her birthday, presents at Christmas and flowers on Mother’s Day. Sometimes the cards and packages come back unopened. Sometimes she never hears a peep. And every now and then, she gets a terse note berating her for her lifestyle choices.

I guess that’s what passes for “thank you” in her mom’s world.

A couple of years ago, Katie went home to Jacksonville. Her sister let her in the house, but her mom locked herself in the bedroom and wouldn’t come out. That’s when Katie’s dad left.

He said that he wouldn’t stand for her treating their daughter like something less than a person. Like most parents, he doesn’t like all the choices his kids have made over the years, but he loves them just the same. He has voiced his reservations about our living arrangements several times, but he is never irrational and never does it in front of other people or the children. He still lives in Jacksonville, although I think when he retires he’s going to move closer to us and Katie’s other sister in Atlanta.

Melinda’s folks came to terms with their daughter’s choices years ago and are openly supportive of the way we live. Granted that it’s a little unorthodox, but they say that we’re the ones who have to do all the hard work, and as long as their daughter is happy, they’re happy. Plus, it means extra grandchildren for them to spoil.

Of course, her dad did threaten me with unimaginable retribution if I treated his daughter badly, but what father doesn’t? I’ll tell you this: If any boy breaks one of my little girls’s hearts, before I am done, he will beg me to allow him to die.

My folks and Leah’s parents have been friends since we were in middle school. We did a lot of the same activities so they spent a lot of time together at Brain Brawl tournaments, school dances and band concerts. I think they consider themselves in-laws, even though Leah and I aren’t actually married. At first none of them were thrilled with our lifestyle, if only because it was so different. They came around, though; after all, what choice did they have? Both Leah and I have a “if you don’t like it, go to hell” attitude and our parents all know it. Besides, they like each other, and they like all of the partners in our relationship.

Melinda is usually the first one out of bed, but not with her dad in. At least she comes by it honestly. We toweled off and got dressed. Then I went into the kitchen. She went upstairs.

Her father was up and had a pot of coffee going.

“When are you heading out?” he asked, looking up from the paper.

“I’d like to be on the road by nine.” I scrounged around looking for something to eat.

“How long’s the drive?”

“Mapquest says it’s three and a half hours,” I got the eggs and bacon out of the fridge. “But the way Leah drives, I’d say we’ll be there by noon . . . Unless the girls find an outlet mall on the way.”

“God help you,” he chuckled. “At least you’re don’t have to go anywhere near 285.”

Growing up in the south, the joke is that when you die, the way to Heaven goes through Atlanta, with a traffic jam on I-75 and a delayed connection out of the airport.

I heard water running from the other end of the house. It sounded like Katie and Leah were up.

“Are you guys going to be okay with the kids?” I asked.

“If by ‘okay’ you mean, ‘Are we going to spoil them rotten as revenge for all the things Melinda did when she was young?’, then the answer is yes,” he said, a mischievous glint in his eye.

“Just no cotton candy and Mountain Dew together this time, please,” I patted him on the shoulder.

The patter of little feet coming down the steps preceded Kaylee bursting into the kitchen.

“Grandad!” She flung herself into Melinda’s father’s arms. Melinda and her mom followed, the latter holding a still-sleepy Bryan in her arms.

“Are you all packed?” her mom gave me a quick kiss on the cheek.

I grinned. “I hope so. If it’s not in a suitcase, we either don’t need it or we’ll buy another one.”

“Ready for five days of peace and quiet?” She had become quite adept at holding one of her grandchildren while still performing all of the other things she regularly did, like pouring her morning cup of coffee.

“The real question is are you guys and Poppy ready for five days of the rugrats?” I said, referring to Katie’s dad. Around our house, all our parents lost their real names. My folks were Grandma and Grandpa. Melinda’s parents were Nan-nan and Grandad. Leah’s folks were Granny and Papaw.

“We’ll be fine,” Nan-nan replied with a wink. “They’ll be spoiled rotten when you get back.”

“They’re spoiled rotten now,” Melinda said with a grin. “Where’s Poppy?”

“Probably sleeping in with the girls.” I handed her a mug of coffee.

Unlike most little kids, Gwen and Gabby are like Leah. That is, they like to sleep in late. Of course, they also like to stay up late, but even when Leah and Katie started putting them down to bed early, they still slept in.

When we built the house, we had just bought a couple of acres of land. We have a gorgeous view of the Blue Ridge Mountains and more space than we could possibly need. I have a cousin who is an architect and although he didn’t design our house (he specialises in commercial storage buildings), he hooked us up with another guy in his firm who was absolutely first rate.

We have two master suites downstairs, one on each end of the house. Melinda and I occupy one, Katie and Leah the other. In between, we have a kitchen with a dining area, a library/home office, a family room, a formal dining room and a small utility room with a washer and. Down one level from that, we have a four-car garage that lets out around the slope along the back of the house, a game room for grown-ups offering billiards and ping-pong, a room for our exercise equipment, a home theater room for our movie nights and a big space for the kids and their toys.

Hidden in the back, just off the exercise room is a door that leads to our other “adult” play room. We keep the door locked and thank God we have a couple more years to come up with a plausible explanation for the kids as to why they can’t go in there.

Upstairs are a small room for the kids’s TV and some more toys, four bedrooms and a hall closet with another washer and dryer in it. No sense in hauling all the kids’s stuff up and down the steps if we don’t have to, right?

On top of that, we have another small house around back. In the original design, it was called a pool house, but we converted it into a workshop and maintenance garage. There’s a woodworking shop on one side and a hydraulic lift for my latest car project on the other. There’s also a small studio apartment with a kitchenette on the second floor.

I don’t think anyone has ever spent the night out there and I jokingly say that’s where the girls are going to send me once the kids are grown and they want to be rid of me. It’s my little sanctuary for the few occasions I get to escape from diapers, Disney Princesses and laundry. Of course, it’s also a nice place for trysts when some combination of the four of us wants to sneak away for a little while.

Kaylee has her own room, as does Bryan. Gwen and Gabby still share a room, although they will probably each get their own if/when they get tired of being so close to each other’s space. The fourth bedroom is our guest room, which was occupied by Katie’s dad for now.

Melinda’s folks had spent the night on the pull-out sofa downstairs, but they would be moving into our room for the week when we left for our vacation.

Leah and Katie emerged from their room. Katie gave everyone a good morning kiss while Leah headed upstairs to see how the girls were doing.

I fixed a quick and light breakfast while Melinda double-checked everything we packed and Katie played with the kids. Leah and Katie’s dad came down a short time later each holding one of the twins.

“Poppy!” Kaylee hopped out of Grandad’s lap and rushed Katie’s father. He shifted Gabi to one arm and scooped Kaylee up in the other, planting a big kiss on her cheek, before settling down at the table for a cup of coffee and some toast.

Melinda and I went over the checklist again. Camera. Butt plugs. Cell phone chargers. Medications. Blindfolds. Credit cards. Laptop. Kentucky jelly. Clothes. Strap-on harness. All good to go.

I whipped up a big plate of scrambled eggs and bacon. Melinda’s mom got out the Bisquick and was on waffle duty. The girls sat down with the kids and made sure everyone got fed. I’ve never been much of a breakfast person, but I did manage to sneak a few strips of bacon and half a waffle with some yogurt on top.

“Don’t worry about the dishes,” Melinda’s mom told me. “Get out of here.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes,” she said, her voice firm and playful at the same time. “Kaylee loves to help out with the dishes, don’t you, honey?”

“Mmm-hmmm,” my little girl smiled. “When are you going to come home, Daddy?”

“Next Monday,” I took her in my arms and twirled her around the kitchen. “Can you do something for me? I need you to be very good for Nan-nan, Grandad and Poppy . . . You need to be the big sister for Bryan, Gwen and Gabi. Can you do that for me?”

“Yes,” she said in her big-girl voice.

“Good,” I gave her one more kiss then picked up her brother.

“I share with you,” he said reaching for a strip of bacon off my plate. He tore it in half, stuffed one piece in his mouth and then handed me the other. “Luff you, Da-dee.”

I laughed and gave him a big hug and a kiss. “I love you, too, buddy.”

“Ready to go?” Poppy asked me.

The girls and I cycled through all the kids, giving them some hugs and kisses, then with the grandparents distracting them, we gathered all our stuff and went to load up the Odyssey. I was putting the last of the suitcases in the back when I heard Kaylee yelling for me from the top of the steps.

She waved and blew me a kiss. I caught it and put it to my puckered lips. She shut the door and went back to her grandparents, knowing they were going to spend the next five days spoiling her and her siblings with attention and love.

We left a number where we could be contacted on the fridge along with all the important numbers for the kids. This was the first time all four of us had gone out together since Gwen and Gabi’s “gotcha day”, so the girls were a little anxious about leaving them alone. But we knew our folks had more experience parenting than the rest of us, and soon we were on the road to north Georgia.

Leah was driving. She’s the most prone to motion sickness so she likes to sit in the driver’s seat. It helps she has the best temperament for long road trips. She drives a little faster than the average person, but she’s very safe and cautious at the same time. I was navigating; in my daily life, I spend enough time hauling the kids around and given the choice, I’d rather not drive.

Melinda and Katie were in the captain’s chairs in the middle of the van. They were pouring over a map of some outlet malls that weren’t far from the cabin like a pair of Rangers planning an airborne assault.

We talked idly about the kind of things parents talk about. I snapped a couple of pictures on the digital camera. It’s during moments like that when I realize just how lucky I am. When I was 18, if someone had told me that one day I would be a stay-at-home dad, drive a minivan and love three women and four children more than life itself, I’d have told them they were certifiably insane.

Yet there I was, riding along with “my” three girls, counting my blessings and marveling at just how beautiful they all are.

Each is different, and I think that’s what makes us work together. We each seem to compliment the others. Melinda is the most level-headed. Katie is the most passionate. Leah is the smartest and most creative. I’m just there to do the heavy lifting.

Don’t get the idea that our lives are idyllic or that everything is just perfect for us, but we’ve found that we communicate well and that ultimately our love for each other trumps the petty arguments and hurt feelings.

(And then we get to have make-up sex! Yea!)

The one thing all the girls share is a seemingly insatiable sex drive. Maybe it’s because the demands of parenthood have cut into our intimate time together. Or maybe it’s because they’re all in their thirties and are hitting their sexual “plateau”. Note that it’s a plateau, not a peak; Melinda says all three of them will be going strong for another ten to fifteen years.

Me? I think my high water mark was during that week at Disney World. Now I can barely keep up with them. I’m not complaining, mind you, but I swear the girls are going to kill me. At least I’ll die with a smile on my face.

It’s also a good thing they enjoy each other as much as they do me.

The ride down started out uneventful enough. We got on the interstate until we got on US 23 south.

This is what traveling is all about: two and four lane highways. Mom and pop restaurants, local hardware stores and all sorts of Americana lining the roadways; not the fast food chains and truckstops and Super Wal-Marts that line the interstates. It’s very Route-66 romantic.

(I was going to make an analogy to the movie Cars but that would only prove to you, dear reader, how my life is dominated by two and five year-olds! It’s a wonder I can still construct a sentence that doesn’t involve making baby noises.)

It is my dream to take the girls and the kids on a road trip across the country driving just like this: US highways, local restaurants and bed-and-breakfasts. Of course, with four kids and four adults, we’ll need an RV, but that’s okay. Maybe drive the Pacific Coast Highway from Mexico to Canada or US-1 from Bar Harbor to Key West.

We’d have to wait until the kids were older, of course, but I think that would be a blast. Either that, or we’d be ready to strangle each other after four hours on the road.

Anyway, Leah and I were talking in the front seats. She had just gotten a promotion at work and we were plotting how to spend the extra money she was making. She wanted to put it away for the kids’s college funds; I said she should buy herself a bunch of shoes and a new car to replace the older model she normally drove. Go figure.

What we didn’t notice was that Katie and Melinda had fallen silent. Or rather, they had been reduced to moans and delighted squeals.

“Your Accord is six years old,” I told my high school friend, oblivious to the two in the back. “I know it’s not falling apart, but if you want that new Lexus or one of those hybrids, you should get one.”

“I know . . . It’s just . . .” Then Leah glanced up into the rear-view mirror. “Hey! What the hell are you two doing?”

I heard Katie inhale sharply. “I’m, ah . . . oh, fuck . . . getting one of my . . . Yes! Right there! . . . birthday presents . . .”

Turning, I saw both of the captain’s chairs were empty.

Leah’s wife was in the back seat, her shapely legs resting on the headrests of the seats in front of her. Her eyes were shut. She bit her bottom lip to keep from crying out.

“We were wondering . . . oh, Jesus! . . . when you would . . . OH! . . . notice,” Katie purred.

Melinda was on her knees between the middle row seats. Her face was buried in between Katie’s thighs. Our redheaded lover braced herself with one hand against the back seat. In the other hand, Katie had a handful of Melinda’s hair, pulling the blonde’s mouth into her neatly trimmed pussy.

“That’s it . . . yes! . . . Eat that pussy,” she rambled. “You are so fucking good . . .”

It’s a good thing we got tinted windows on the van, huh?

I looked on, entranced, as my wife went down on Katie. Even though I had been watching my lovers with each other for the past eleven years, the sight still turns me on. The girls get along famously, and not just in bed.