Starsky did not think of himself as sexually inexperienced. He wasn’t, in fact. It wasn’t bragging to say he was quite good in bed, and he didn’t mind saying so himself. He’d even go so far as to say he was more experienced than average, and pretty adventurous besides. A few times before he joined the force, he’d gone out and exchanged handjobs with anonymous men in backroom bars. Starsky had never admitted that to anyone, not even Hutch, and never planned to. He never expected to go any farther than his decade-past short stroll on the wild side.
And then he met Sandra Lee.
She looked sweet, with her pixie hair, big brown eyes, and short, soft frame. He’d heard more than one stranger exclaim that she looked just like a china doll, rudely acting like she wasn’t right there to hear it. That sort of thing seemed to happen to her all the time. One idiot at Huggy’s had nudged after Sandra left for the bathroom and made a joke about mail-order brides. He and Huggy had shared the pleasure of showing that guy the door, but Sandra had no trouble proving people wrong if they assumed Asian women were dainty and demure. She was a union officer and organizer on top of her nine to five job, with half a dozen stories of getting knocked down on picket lines, and she delighted in going far beyond what Starsky’s understanding of women’s lib had been before he met her.
Starsky had never once seen Sandra blush. She knew what she liked and what she wanted, and she would tell him exactly what was on her mind. He, on the other hand, hadn’t blushed so much about sex since before he’d had it, and it was half from the fact that Sandra Lee didn’t think twice about looking him right in the eye over dinner and saying she’d like to go home now and ride him.
She was so frank with him, Starsky sometimes didn’t know how to take the things she said. Once, when they were eating lunch from the taco place on Presidio, she started smiling at him.
“I was just thinking how much I like your face.” She was wearing round hippie sunglasses that she’d gotten from a thrift store. The pink lenses weren’t very dark, so she was still squinting against the light when she licked the salt off her finger and tapped the damp tip on the bridge of his nose. “I love this nose. I thought the second I saw it that I’d like to take you home.”
“Well, it’s been known to happen.” To tell the truth, he was quite flattered. Starsky thought he was good enough looking, but his nose was not what he considered his best feature. An old girlfriend had once said it suited his face, which was about as good as it was. But Sandra was so brazen with the things she would say to him about sex that he thought he knew what she was really getting at. “I hope I lived up to the rumor about big noses.”
She flicked his ear. “Don’t fish. But I mean it, Dave. I like your nose, full stop.” Her smile widened. “Though I do like that you put it to good use, too.”
Sandra didn’t mind being sexual in a different way than Starsky was used to. It wasn’t like he had only dated prudes before, but with other women, there’d always been a sort of talking around the bed they both wanted to end up in. He didn’t even talk to Hutch as frankly as Sandra did with him. With her, sex was a topic of conversation like any other. On their very first date, parked out in front of her building, Sandra had turned on the Torino’s bench seat so she could face him straight on and said, “I like you a lot, Davy, and I want to invite you up.”
“I’d like to come up, so it works out pretty well so far.”
“That’s just it. I want it to work out, so I have to ask. Do you eat pussy? Only I—”
At least, Starsky had thought that was what she was saying when she got interrupted by the horn going off under his elbow. He’d heard only a few women ever say pussy before then, and only one of them had been someone he was trying to get off with. That had been after several weeks of getting off together and deciding to add some dirty talk to their repertoire. The last woman who he hadn’t seen naked who said pussy to him was Thin Lizzy, a coked up prostitute he and Hutch had brought in for a noise disturbance after one of her johns didn’t pay her in full. Sandra had said it in the same sort of matter of fact way as Thin Lizzy did, which was a weird realization to have at midnight after an otherwise very nice date.
“I, uh—I mean, I do, but I wasn’t necessarily—well, that’s not—yes. Yes,” he said more firmly, “I do. If you want—that.”
“Hell, yes, I want that. I’m not going to bother sleeping with a guy who won’t go down on me. I had a good feeling about you, but I wanted to make sure.” She eyed his hands, white-knuckled on the steering wheel. “You still want to come up? I know it freaks some guys out to hear what women want.”
That had been a challenge, and one Starsky absolutely was not going to decline. He had his pride. Plus he really did want to sleep with her and he knew she wanted him just as much. She was a head shorter than him, and all night, she’d been putting her hands on his chest and standing on her tiptoes so he could hear her over the music. Starsky wasn’t imagining that her hands had lingered or her gaze up through her lashes had flicked between his eyes and his mouth. That gave him enough courage to look her square in the eye.
“You startled me, is all. You still want me to come up?”
“If you want to.” When she smiled, she had a dimple in her left cheek. It was the cutest thing Starsky had seen in his life, even when her smile was really filthy. “I really think you should.”
It wasn’t like he was unwilling to go down on a lady, though it was usually something that happened later in a relationship. He’d known a few women who thought it was unspeakably dirty. Starsky secretly liked doing it. Regular sex was great, obviously, and he liked blowjobs as much as any guy, but there a special satisfaction he tended to get only with his mouth on a girl’s pussy. He didn’t think about it until he was dating Sandra, but he liked it for the same reason he liked her: he knew exactly what she wanted and what he was doing right. She would tell him straight up, with her body and with her words. He could tell by her heel digging into his back and her hand pulling his hair when he had found the right pressure and angle to get her off. He could also tell what wasn’t quite right and alternate between them to keep her on edge until she was gasping and cursing him and he couldn’t take it anymore and made her come, dragged on a condom, and tried to set off aftershocks with his hips instead of his tongue.
“Was it good for you?” Starsky asked afterward, just to be a jerk because he knew the answer already.
“Shut up.” She pushed him onto his back so she could climb on top of him. “Be honest, would you have fucked me that good if I hadn’t asked?”
Distracted by the hickey he’d left on her breast even before they got their pants off, Starsky made a vague noise instead of a proper response. He sat up under her to kiss that spot again, gentler now. She scratched her nails lightly over his scalp, so he knew she didn’t mind.
Starsky felt warm and sleepy enough that he was considering how to stay for a little nap, when she offered out of the blue in that bold, frank way of hers.
“You can sleep here, if you want.”
“So it was good for you?”
She tugged his hair for that, but she was laughing with him when she kissed him, so it was just playing. Starsky also loved this part of sex, where everybody was happy and starting to cool down but the other person was warm and just as hungry for touch. The smudges of Sandra’s lipstick on him looked just like the bruise he’d made on her skin.
He sighed. “I wish I could stay, but I’m looking after my neighbor’s place while she’s on vacation. Promised her I’d look in every night, water her plants and all.” His back was getting cold, so Starsky laid down again, pulling Sandra with him. She left her leg thrown over his waist but arranged herself on her side next to him, head propped up on one hand so they could see each other. Her other hand was on his chest, absent-mindedly petting the hair under her fingertips. If he closed his eyes, he’d be asleep in a minute.
“Plants would probably survive one night without a drink,” he bargained. “Right?”
“Sure,” she allowed. “But you’d have to get up real early if you wanted to shower and change before work. Traffic’s terrible going that way in the morning.”
Starsky hated to cut this part short, but she was probably right. Plus, he was supposed to pick up Hutch tomorrow morning because his stupid car was on the fritz again.
“I guess I should go.”
“Uh-huh. You know you’re burrowing into my bed right now?” And all right, maybe he had been wiggling a bit to get his head in the pillow just right and pulled the sheet up across the parts of his body Sandra wasn’t already keeping warm, but ‘burrowing’ was a strong word.
“Don’t scowl. I think it’s cute.” She pressed slow kisses up his neck and jaw. “You’re cute. I can’t believe you can eat me out like that but you can’t say pussy without getting bashful. Do it now.”
“No, I’m leaving,” which was a blatant lie.
“Come on, you’re adorable when you blush!”
Starsky put up token protests, but mostly to give himself time to prepare and hopefully not flush when he gave in and said as flatly as possible, “Pussy.” Right away, he could feel his neck and ears get hot. Sandra had to stifle her giggles against his chest.
“Now use it in a sentence.”
“You’re unbelievable. Now I am leaving.” But instead of getting up, he was pulling her closer.
“How about this,” she said after a pleasant little while. “Close your eyes for fifteen minutes. I’ll kick you out after that, but you’ll get a preview to decide whether you want to call me again.”
“I’ve already decided. You free Friday?”
“I have a union meeting, probably won’t get out before eleven. Saturday?”
“Okay, but I get twenty minutes.”
“Deal.” They smiled at each other, then Sandra murmured, “Better close your eyes, you’re on the clock.”
She hummed thoughtfully as she put her head down on his shoulder. “Mm, I like that.”
Starsky had been dating Sandra for about a month before she met “the famous partner” properly. Hutch had been keen on meeting her, too, interested to see who had Starsky feeling so chipper. They went out for drinks and dancing with Hutch and some girl from the city planner’s office. Sandra didn’t like dancing as much as Starsky did, but she said that it was always worth going since they’d be horny and limber at the end of the night.
Starsky had been a little nervous about her meeting Hutch. It wasn’t that Hutch was sheltered, but he talked around sex in a way that made absolute sense when you learned he’d been raised in a midwestern Lutheran household. If Sandra made a sport of making Hutch blush the way she did with Starsky, he might not take a liking to her.
“Oh my god, Dave, I don’t talk about sex with everyone! I talk about it with you because we’re doing it.”
“Okay, but there’s talking and then there’s teasing. You tease me all the time. And just,” he waved his hands like he was presenting an invisible jewelry counter, “announce stuff. About your feelings and experiences.”
Sandra scoffed, “Yeah, because I’m trying to get with you! I don’t do that with random men.” Her eyes narrowed in dramatic suspicion. “Do you think I’m going to try to get with your friend? Is he cute or something?”
“Of course I don’t think that! Hutch is very handsome, but he’s not your type.” He had a hard time imagining anyone not liking Hutch, actually, but Sandra had the same sort of bossy, college-educated personality as Hutch. Starsky was counting on them being too similar to be really into each other.
Hooking her fingers between his shirt buttons, she tugged him close. He didn’t touch her yet, starting to build the frustrated desire that would drive them back to his place for satisfaction. Sandra glittered with the shared anticipation. “What do you know about my type, David?”
“Well, you like big noses. And hair you can get a good, tight grip on.” He swayed closer and dropped his voice to a murmur. “You like to be in charge, so you like someone who likes being told what to do.”
“And Hutch isn’t like that at all?”
“He doesn’t hold a candle to me.”
Looking delighted, Sandra made a soft, hungry sound. “I have work tomorrow. I need to be up early, so we’ll have to leave early.” She caught his belt loops in both hands and pulled just enough to let him feel it. “Know what I mean?”
“We are on the exact same wavelength. How does eleven sound to you?”
“Doable, if we go inside right now.”
Starsky spent most of the evening half hard in his jeans, torn between wanting to go home and get in Sandra and wanting the heightened feeling of expectation to last forever. Hutch’s date turned out to be pretty but bland, but Hutch and Sandra got on swimmingly. She liked to talk fancy and deep sometimes, too, which he had thought Hutch would like. Starsky even danced with Susan or Anna or whatever her name was while Hutch and Sandra tried to debate philosophies of political change over the music.
“What?” Starsky ducked his head to hear what maybe-Amanda was trying to tell him.
“I said, you two are so cute together! Where did you meet?”
“Department store! She saved me from buying an ugly cake stand for my mother.”
Lana laughed more than was warranted. “She’s so sweet! And her English is so good!”
Starsky had no idea how to respond. Sally obviously meant it as a compliment, though he’d been dating Sandra long enough to know that it was anything but. She was from San Francisco, and her parents hadn’t let her or her siblings learn Chinese to try to prevent people like Sally from thinking they were outsiders. He wanted to say something, but the double date had been going so well and it was technically possible he had misheard her. Plus, he could tell from the way Hutch acted that she wasn’t going to be around too long, so he took the path of least resistance. He kept dancing, stepping away again so they wouldn’t be able to talk anymore.
Thankfully, when the song changed, Hutch and Sandra cut in. Not long after that, he and Sandra begged off early, saying the polite, semi-true thing about work tomorrow even though the real reason was obvious. Starsky saw Hutch watching Sandra’s fingers slip into the unbuttoned vee of his shirt; he might have glanced down and even been able to tell that Starsky’s dick was uncomfortably tight behind his zipper again. Sandra might have seen the state he was in and seen Hutch seeing, too, if her smirk was anything to go by. Starsky had always liked getting wound up in front of Hutch because knowing he had made Hutch embarrassed made sex better for some reason. Conspiring with Sandra to do it was even better.
“Try to send him back in one piece tomorrow,” Hutch called after them.
Sandra waved back at him and then casually opened the next button on Starsky’s shirt. He was bared to the waist as they walked outside, making him shiver as they left the humid crush of the disco. They could have walked quicker to the car if they didn’t have their arms around each other, but Starsky didn’t want the warm press of their bodies to end.
“She was a bit of a dud, but you liked Hutch, right?”
“God, wasn’t she? And yes, I like Hutch. I like the two of you together,” she added, dimple deepening as her smile widened. “You were right about him being handsome, but I was on my best behavior. I didn’t even mention orgasms to him. I thought about it, but I think you were right; not my type. Well, less than you, anyway.”
Starsky pressed her up against the side of his car for a wild kiss, and Sandra pulled on his shoulders, trying to get higher to rub against the bulge in his jeans. It was good, but he would regret it if they scratched his paint, and they hadn’t wound each other up all night just to come in their pants on the street. Sandra must have agreed because she dug the keys out of his pocket and opened the driver side door with him pressed against her ass. She crawled to the passenger side rather than take the time to walk around. Starsky scrambled in after her.
“Your place,” she ordered breathlessly. Then she fell into the seatback, laughing, as he pulled away too quickly. “Eager!”
“You better believe it, baby.”
“Hey, Starsky.” She hadn’t call him by his last name before hearing Hutch do it tonight, so it got his attention as he perfunctorily slowed down at a stop sign. When he glanced over, Sandra squirmed in the seat like she was as desperate as he was for release. “You heard what Hutch said when we were leaving, right? When you go into work tomorrow, he’s going to wonder what we did tonight. He’s going to look at you and imagine what I’m about to do to you.”
“Fuck,” Starsky came out of a too-sharp turn and had to push hard on the base of his cock. “You can’t just say that!”
“First thing in the morning when you see him, you’re going to blush. Is his imagination good enough that he’ll blush, too? Starsky,” she groaned, making him look; she also had her hand pushed into her crotch, leaning into it to grind against the heel of her palm. “He’s going to sit here, right where I am now. I bet you get so turned on you get a little bit hard, right there in broad daylight while you’re at work.”
“God, Sandra, I’m trying to drive!”
“I know, but thinking Hutch might see you so turned on remembering this is just going to turn you on even more, isn’t it? You love showing off, and there’s no way he’s getting it as good tonight as I’m going to fuck you. You could let him see, Davy, I don’t mind. You could show him—”
They ended up coming in their pants while parked so haphazardly they were half in the street after all. The next day, Hutch blushed twice; Starsky got turned on.
“It’s getting serious with Sandra, isn’t it?” Hutch said out of nowhere, one day while they were waiting to see who came and went from a suspected chop shop.
“Yeah, I guess so. We’ve been going out almost five months.”
“And you can barely keep your hands off each other. Still!” Hutch chuckled, and clapped him on the shoulder in some kind of weird congratulations. “So are you going to marry this girl, or what?”
Starsky splashed coffee all over his lap, mercifully long since gone cold. “What?”
“Sandra,” Hutch repeated impatiently. “Are you going to marry her?”
“I heard you!” Scrubbing at the stains, he shot Hutch a dirty look. “What are you talking about? I just said, we’ve only been going out five months.”
“Don’t you love her?”
“Of course I do!”
“Well, call me crazy, Starsk, but where I come from, we have this cute little custom that when two people love each other, they get married.”
With extraordinary restraint, Starsky did not bring up the late ex-Mrs. Hutchinson. “It’s not that kind of relationship.”
“What other kind of relationship is there?”
“Lots of kinds! Why are you interrogating me about this?”
Hutch slouched farther into the seat, a sure sign of moodiness. “It’s not an interrogation. I’m just asking my good friend about his girlfriend. That illegal or something?”
Taking a deep breath, Starsky resigned himself to having cold, sticky thighs for the foreseeable future. “Look, you’re just being a little weird about this. I thought you liked her?”
“Of course I like her! Why wouldn’t I—” Hutch cut himself off abruptly. “I like Sandra a lot. She’s smart, funny, recognizes that you aren’t funny. Clearly, she makes you happy. Not to mention, you know,” he made an indecipherable gesture in the direction of Starsky’s lap, “happy. And if you love her, too, isn’t marriage the next step?”
“Not for us. I mean, we’ve talked about it,” he confessed. “I was kind of thinking like you are, but I’m not in a place to really settle down and Sandra isn’t too hot on marriage. What we have is really good, just by itself. It’s nice to just be together and have fun together with no countdown to the next step ticking in the background, you know?”
Starsky knew Hutch had had plenty of one-night stands and casual girlfriends, even in the time since he’d started dating Sandra, but Hutch squinted skeptically at this idea. “If you say so. I guess I don’t know how you can love someone and want them and not want to be with them. Even if it’s not what you’ve talked about or what you expected. Even if it turns your whole life upside down.”
Starsky had the vague idea they were talking about something bigger than whether or not he and Sandra had wedding bells in their future. “I really like how my life is now. Criminal elements aside, I mean.”
“Yeah,” Hutch sighed, seeming ready to drop the issue. He used Starsky’s headrest to help pull himself upright again from his slouch, straightening his legs as much as he could under the dashboard. “Criminal elements aside. I don’t like the idea of Gemble getting smart enough to use airport parking to hide his tracks.”
“We’ll get him.” Starsky patted Hutch’s arm in the normal, supportive fashion. “And hey, you’ll be turning your life upside down in no time after I introduce you to Sandra’s girlfriend, Stacy. Get this, she studies women of medieval Spanish and Italian royal courts. Or maybe it was French and Italian. Anyway, she speaks a bunch of languages and she’s so smart, it’ll knock your socks off.”
Hutch and Stacy dated for about five weeks, then amicably drifted apart while Stacy tried to finish writing her book.
“I don’t think it’s about whether she was right or wrong,” Sandra said when Starsky wondered if he had pressured Hutch into dating the wrong girl. “And you don’t really think Hutch would go out with someone he didn’t like.”
“No, he wouldn’t.”
As the lights went down in the theatre, Sandra pulled her feet up onto the seat. She always sat criss-cross when she could get away with it. “I still think he was jealous.”
“He is not!” He flicked a piece of popcorn at her. “Hutch just likes being paired up.”
“And I keep telling you, you are paired up.”
“Not like that!”
Someone shushed them, even though they weren’t that loud and it was only the preview for some boring looking movie involving lots of men in suits. Sandra leaned into his side to whisper, “Why not like that? I’m serious! Just think about it, okay? Really think about why it’s impossible, because I don’t think it is.”
He tried to glare at her, but Sandra either couldn’t tell in the dark or, more likely, didn’t care. Not that she didn’t care about his feelings, but that she knew he was being dramatic. They’d had this conversation before. Every time Starsky insisted Hutch was straight, Sandra would remind him that he used to think he was, too. She could say it all with just a raise of her eyebrow now. But what were the odds that they both swung that way, too? Just the possibility was hard to wrap his brain around. Once, he’d gotten frustrated and demanded why she was pushing the idea.
She’d thought about it before answering. “I like giving the people I love what they want. You want Hutch, and I already like you two together. I want you to have him. I want to have you while you’re having him, just like we talked about. He’s already so important to you, and he would adore you like you deserve, Davy. I know he would. You don’t think that would make you happy?”
It made him hard enough to hammer nails, but trying to imagine it happening in real life filled him with cold dread. What if Sandra was wrong and Hutch was repulsed? What if she was right, but it ruined his relationship with Sandra or his partnership with Hutch anyway? What if it all went right, but somebody found out? What if real gay sex actually disgusted her or freaked Hutch out? What if he wasn’t really attracted to Hutch, just to the way Sandra talked dirty?
Like she could hear his thoughts, Sandra slipped her hand into his and squeezed. Her face was lit in flashes of blue as the movie started, watching him instead of the screen. Full to bursting with affection for her, Starsky squeezed back, then brought their hands up to kiss her fingertips. She laughed and returned the gesture. They held hands until the credits rolled.
The thing was, Hutch had been a silent partner in their sex life for months. Starsky had genuinely thought it was the idea of being watched that turned him on so much, until Sandra pointed out they only ever talked about being seen by Hutch.
Of course, like she always did, she had asked plainly, “Do you want him to join in?”
“No! What—of course not! I—no! Why would you even say that?”
She had stared at him, expression somewhere between surprised and amused. “The easiest way to wind you up is to tell you that Hutch will know we’ve been fucking or think about us fucking.”
“That’s just—” he’d spluttered, sitting down hard on the side of his bed. “That’s just kinky. Maybe I’m a secret exhibitionist. I don’t know!”
She’d made a thoughtful noise and climbed up behind him. Kneeling with her breasts pressed to his back, she’d put one arm around his neck and trailed the other hand down his chest. “You’re not as turned on by the idea of anyone else seeing us,” she had mused as she pinched his nipple. “Definitely not your boss. Not Huggy. Not Stacy or Carlos or any of our other friends. Just Hutch.”
His breath had hitched.
“A-ha. No, let me see you, baby. I know you like when I make you hard in public and there’s no way he doesn’t see.” She had popped the button on his jeans, giving her just enough room to stick her hand inside. “And you like thinking about me fucking Jeanine, or us both fucking Jeanine, but not as much as you liked eating me out at Dino’s and wondering if Hutch could hear us through the wall. There were forty people in that room, but we only talked about Hutch.”
Sandra had shushed him, dragging so slowly up and down his cock it had barely qualified as a hand job. He’d been gripping the edge of the mattress so hard, his arms shook. “I love how you look when you’re so turned on you can’t see straight. Don’t hold back on me now, Davy. What if Hutch had heard us at Dino’s and came in and saw you looking so good on your knees? So pretty with your face wet, he wouldn’t be able to resist you. You’re so good for me. Would you be good for him, too? Would you have let him use your mouth, too?”
“Fuck, fuck, Sandra—”
“It’s okay, it’s okay. It’s turning me on, too. Feel how wet it’s making me.” She had shifted position so he could, two fingers sinking into her easy as anything, making her gasp. In return, she had put two fingers in his mouth, the taste of semen on his tongue seeming to electrify her as much as it did him. “Fuck, Davy, come on—”
He had never been in a relationship before where being attracted to other people was something he did with his girlfriend. Normally, it would make him feel guilty, to think about having sex with someone other than his current date. Not only did Sandra not mind, she drew it out of him with teasing and encouragement like it was any other kind of foreplay. To his surprise, Starsky liked hearing about her attractions as well. It probably helped that she swung both ways, too, maybe even farther than he was with all the girls she fantasized about with him. He tried not to wonder what anyone else would think of the way they talked about sex they’d previously had or wanted to have until they couldn’t hold back any longer. He wasn’t sure if they were crazy and perverted or if they had figured something out that everybody else hadn’t. It felt so good, it had to be right, didn’t it?
At first, it made Starsky incredibly anxious to admit to himself that he might be attracted to a man. Admitting it to Sandra was easier, but it was difficult to get past the instinct to feel ashamed and guilty. His relationship with Hutch was so intuitive, just looking at it felt dangerous.
“I love you,” he had insisted once while trying to avoid doing so. “We love each other, don’t we?”
She had thrown up her hands in exasperation. “I know you do. You’re telling me you don’t love Hutch, too? Forget the bullshit about what it means, don’t worry about what comes next, just do you love him? Do you want him?”
He did. Of course, Starsky did. Hutch was the bedrock of his personal and professional lives. They spent all their time together and touched each other constantly. Starsky thought Hutch was handsome and smart and kind and generous and fun. He admired and respected Hutch, loved to get to see him be particularly clever or deadly in action. He had a favorite pair of Hutch’s jeans that showed off his long, long legs and his slim hips.
It took time to get used to sharing this realization with Sandra, but then nearly no time at all to let Sandra make him come on her strap-on cock. He licked his own come out of her pussy while she told him it was Hutch’s. She brought him off in her mouth, eyes gleaming in delight as he told her about wanting Hutch’s mouth when he was worn out and panting after boxing, or when Hutch bit his lip to keep from laughing when he shouldn’t.
More unnervingly, he found out that wanting Hutch as openly as he did with Sandra didn’t change Starsky’s life very much. He and Hutch still worked together, still touched each other, still drank at Huggy’s and bucked Dobey’s orders and busted criminals. It made Starsky wonder if he’d always been close to overflowing with this desire he hadn’t recognized for what it was was for so long, and what would have happened if Sandra hadn’t made a place where he could let it spill out.
He still worried every day that it would become too much for her or for his partnership with Hutch. Then they would go out to dinner with Hutch and whatever girl he was seeing at the moment and Sandra would look over during the conversation and it would brace the nerves he still got in the pit of his stomach that they were doing something wrong, that he was wrong.
“I want every part of you,” she told him, over and over. “I’ll tell you as many times as you need to hear it. If you don’t want to give it, alright, but I’ll want it. And everything you want, I want to help you get it.”
The first few attempts failed. The very first attempt hadn’t even been planned.
They all had been at a housewarming party for Jeanine and a couple of other girls working in the Duncan Avenue strip mall who had rented a big house together. While most of the other guests were playing charades in the living room or slapping the mosquitoes away out on the patio, Starsky was pleasantly buzzed on the floor of one of the bedrooms with Sandra next to him, putting peachy eyeshadow on him. There was a record on in the other room, but he couldn’t quite hear what it was. Hutch wandered in and sat on the bed. Starsky felt the mattress against his shoulders shift under Hutch’s weight.
“Trying to make him pretty, Sandra?”
“Au contraire; he’s already so pretty, I couldn’t resist. Close your eyes, relax your face.”
The tip of the little wand felt cool and slick against his eyelids. Hutch’s attention was making the hair on the back of his neck stand up.
“Are you sure that’s his color? It looks a little,” Hutch trailed off, not finishing the thought.
“This is a daytime look. It’s supposed to be subtle.”
“I wouldn’t let her put the sparkly one on,” Starsky mumbled, trying not to move.
“Spoilsport.” Taking the brush away, she lifted his chin, turning his head side to side to check her work. She made a dissatisfied sound, rummaged in her purse, and clambered into his lap. He caught her hips instinctively. Sandra was watching him intently, a smile starting to tug at her lips. She waggled a tube of eyeliner at him questioningly. “I think it could be a little stronger. Close again?”
Starsky ran his hands up her thighs over her skirt and tugged her close to feel the swell in his jeans. He left his hands on her ass. “You’re not going to make me look like one of those punks, are you?”
She scoffed, “You couldn’t pull it off.”
The mattress shifted again as the brush dragged across his eyelashes. Starsky could imagine how Hutch was on the bed now, leaning on the edge so he could watch what was happening. The atmosphere was heavy and hot, like a storm back east, about to break. Starsky wasn’t sure if he was horny or nervous. He about jumped out of his skin when Sandra blew on the liner to dry it.
“Now how’s that? What do you think, Hutch?”
Starsky couldn’t look over at first. He was getting hard, and Sandra definitely knew it, but her skirt was covering it up. If he looked at Hutch, he was sure it would show on his face. But that thought sent a bolt of lightning through him, so he tilted his head back and turned.
Looking flushed, Hutch had to clear his throat first. “Yeah. You’re almost ready to work vice, Starsk. Just need a little lipstick.”
Sandra made a considering noise. “I only have gloss. But there’s always the traditional method.”
He would have asked what the traditional method was, but it became clear when Sandra kissed him, hard, with teeth. She pulled on his hair, too. The combination with her teeth and Hutch being right there, so close Starsky could almost feel his body heat, had him panting.
“Um, okay.” Hutch sounded startled and mildly alarmed.
Sandra rocked up against his hardon, and Starsky helped her.
“I guess I should—I should go.”
“I don’t mind if you stay.” Eyes bright as she looked down at Starsky, Sandra bit her own lip. “Neither does Dave.”
Hutch made a noise like he was choking; Starsky agreed entirely. His eyes were so wide, all the makeup must be hidden.
“Seriously,” Sandra grinned at Hutch while she popped the button on Starsky’s jeans. “Stay if you want.”
The sound of his zipper opening seemed incredibly loud.
The bed jerked into Starsky’s back with the speed with which Hutch leapt up, but Sandra’s hand was on his dick before Hutch managed to get out the door. It slammed behind him. He had his eyes closed kissing her again, but Starsky imagined Hutch looking back at them as he left, knowing Sandra was jerking him off. Maybe he would wish he’d stayed. Starsky made a mess on the inside of her skirt and the front of his jeans.
After that, they became positively scandalous. Starsky felt almost bad about all the nearly-public sex considering he was a cop, but the sex was amazing. Maybe he had a secret exhibitionist streak after all. She definitely did.
Sandra and all her dirty talk about Hutch could set him off anywhere. He would feel guilty about constantly inviting Hutch to join except Hutch still hung out with them all the time, still liked talking with Sandra about rent control and redlining and all the political stuff Starsky couldn’t bring himself to care about in the abstract, still dated each of Sandra’s female friends for a couple weeks in turn. Every time, Hutch stayed until clothes started coming off.
“We can stop, if it’s too much.”
“Nah,” Starsky sighed happily. His back was going to hurt tomorrow from holding her up against the wall so long. “It’s obviously working for me.”
Pressing on the bruises forming under her thighs with great satisfaction, Sandra complained, “He must be working very hard to misunderstand what we’re after. I wish you’d just tell him you want to fuck him.”
“You tell him.”
“I’m not telling him for you. I already have for me.”
Starsky already knew that, because Hutch had been far more deeply disturbed by the idea that Sandra might cheat on Starsky than he had been by them getting off in front of him.
“Look, there’s something I have to tell you,” he had blurted out one day while they tried to get chili dogs before the next call came through. He had looked miserably earnest. “I’m sorry, but I think Sandra was coming onto me last night. Well, I know she was coming onto me. She didn’t seem to think you’d mind, but I know you love her.”
Starsky would have liked to spontaneously die and get absorbed into the dirt like a spilled soda. “I do love her, but it’s okay. I mean, you could—”
“It’s a thing for her,” Starsky had mumbled, busying himself with his food to avoid looking at Hutch. His cheeks had been burning. “Like, two guys, you know. She’s into that. And I’m—it’s fine. She’s into lots of things. Good things! It’s—she’s fun. We—anyway! That would be fine. With me. If you wanted.”
Stuffing his mouth for a distraction, Starsky had risked glancing over. Hutch had looked slightly poleaxed. “She isn’t making you do anything, is she? I mean,” he stammered, since Starsky hadn’t been able to head him off while choking on half a chili dog. “I mean—well, she grabs your hair a lot. And you always—let her touch you. In public. Obviously, I don’t know about in private!”
Which even at that point had been untrue. But by the time Starsky had managed to swallow and deny he was being abused or whatever weird idea Hutch had, a new call had come in. Somehow, a brawl had broken out at in the middle of a nice restaurant at one o’clock on a Monday. They’d had to throw away the rest of their food and Starsky never got around to another attempt at explaining Hutch was welcome to join them in private sometime. But Hutch and a girl from his laundromat then came bowling with him and Sandra on Wednesday, so Starsky must have convinced him not to worry at least.
Sandra huddled into his chest and rubbed his lower back to ease the strained muscles. “It’s not like you to be so shy with Hutch.”
“It’s a delicate business! I’ve never done the whole threesome thing.”
She pinched him on the ass. “Neither have I.” Rubbing that pain away, too, she looked up at him. “But you still want it, right, Davy?”
“Yeah.” He smoothed her sweaty bangs away from her face and arranged the longer hair over her ear so it curled onto her cheek like Audrey Hepburn. “Yeah, I still want him.”
“Oh, good. Because I’m starting to get really invested in the idea.” She giggled at her own joke, then got serious. Sandra was a good planner, good at guessing what would make people listen to her and agree with her. “That’s how you have to be when you’re not white and you work retail,” she had told him once. “It’s like my whole life was leading up to labor organizing.”
Sandra also said that she liked him because Starsky always wanted to live up to what she wanted rather than the other way around: “God, you’d do just about anything I wanted, isn’t that right, Davy? You want to just lie there and take it, don’t you?”
Sandra frowned and tapped her fingers against his side as she thought. She approached the problem of how to get Hutch in bed with them with nearly the same level of consideration she put into convincing teachers and garment workers to unionize. A sex union of three, Starsky thought suddenly, and had to curl a little closer to her and feel the delicious ache of his recent exertion again. He’d never known anyone like Sandra Lee.
“If it hasn’t already, I don’t think subtle is going to work.”
“Have we been doing subtle?” Starsky wondered bemusedly.
“Well, it hasn’t gotten through enough to even get a refusal, has it? He’s so midwestern! He’s going to politely misunderstand until we all die unless we do something really obvious.”
The really obvious thing, it turned out, was Sandra sucking Starsky off, spending forty minutes fingering him until he could barely think straight, and then tell him to put some clothes on so she could get Hutch in the door.
“I thought he was coming over for dinner!”
“It’s only five-thirty. We’ll fuck and then we’ll order a pizza or something.”
Swearing, Starsky refastened his jeans over his still hard prick and threw on a shirt right as Hutch knocked.
“You’re early!” Sandra greeted him brightly, all but towing him inside her apartment. Hutch did a double take at the state of Starsky’s hair.
“Hi, sorry. I’m not interrupting, am I?”
“Not at all, we were just talking about you.” Sandra took the bottle of wine Hutch had brought and tossed it onto the couch without a glance. “Literally, we were just saying how much we were looking forward to having you.”
Starsky covered his face with both hands, not sure if the noise he wanted to make was laughter or something more fear-driven.
“Uh, thanks. Happy to be here.”
“Look, we’re all busy people, let’s get right to the point.” When Starsky looked through his fingers, they both had their hands on their hips, Hutch looking out of his depth and Sandra looking determined. For the first time ever since Starsky had known her, there was a nervous flush on her cheeks. “You know what you’re here for, right?”
“You said dinner,” Hutch pointed out faintly. He kept peeking over at Starsky, looking for backup. He was wearing a dark turtleneck under his tan leather jacket, an outfit Starsky knew he liked for dates. Catching sight of his own cuffs, Starsky suddenly realized his shirt was on inside out.
“That was a polite fiction, Hutch.” Sandra herded him next to the coffee table and then stepped up onto it so she could look him square in the eye. She put her hands on her hips again. “And I think you knew that. It’s time to be frank.”
“Were you trying to be subtle before?”
That startled a laugh out of him, briefly drawing Hutch and Sandra’s attention before they went back to negotiations. Starsky leaned on his elbows on back of the couch as he watched them, the two most beautiful people he knew.
“Now, this is a—a delicate business, I know, but I need your help. Call it a pet project.”
“Oh?” Hutch raised his eyebrows, fake innocent. “You need help building a bookcase or something? Nails need hammering?”
“Well,” she smirked, “not nails.”
They were flirting, Starsky recognized. This was how Hutch and Sandra flirted with each other. She looked past Hutch at him and whatever was on Starsky’s face made her grin and square her shoulders confidently.
“You know Dave really well. You know how good he looks when he’s been—let’s say taken care of. That’s all I want: to really take care of him. Properly, you know. You take care of Starsky, too, don’t you, Hutch?”
Hutch was starting to resemble a blond tomato. “Well, I—that is, I do, but not—”
Sandra talked over him, “Now, we could stand here going back and forth about if you want to and how you couldn’t possibly, but we’ve already been doing that for months. This time, let me tell you how it’s going to go. You,” she patted him on the chest, “and me are going to fuck Starsky so good, he won’t be able to form sentences for an hour.”
Dumbstruck, Hutch swayed back onto his heels. “Oh.”
“Maybe two, if you’re really good.”
Starsky had to cover his mouth and bite the base of his thumb to stop from making noise. He didn’t know what would happen if he interrupted, and he didn’t want to find out when Hutch hadn’t walked out yet.
Looking very sweet with her dimple and her button nose, Sandra caught Hutch by his jacket pocket. “You thought you were going to fuck me, huh? Maybe some other time. He looks better than me on his back.” She tugged him closer and leaned in to share a confidence. “He loves it, too. Makes the best noises when I fuck him.”
“Sandra,” Hutch said hoarsely.
She put a finger to his lips. “I think this might be easier for you if you don’t have to say anything. Unless you’re saying no?”
Hutch’s jaw clenched, but he didn’t say anything. Sandra nodded in approval and pulled Hutch by his jacket collar into a quick kiss. They looked lovely together. Groaning, Starsky jerked his hips against the couch for a little stimulation.
Hutch glanced over, eyes wide and dark with arousal, and drew in a sharp breath. Starsky couldn’t imagine what he looked like to Hutch. He could still tell that Hutch was in, and he knew that Hutch could tell the same about him. It wouldn’t be the first crazy thing they’d done together.
“God, Starsky, you’re really—you do want—” He broke off in a gasp when Sandra palmed the front of his jeans.
“I got him ready while we were waiting for you,” she told Hutch conversationally. “I had him up to four fingers. I bet he’s been hard and desperate the whole time you’ve been here, haven’t you, baby?”
Starsky whimpered. “Uh-huh. God, please—”
“Gone out of your way to make it easy for me, haven’t you,” Hutch observed, voice uneven. Knowing Hutch was hard, too, being ignored by him was almost as good for Starsky as Hutch watching him.
Sandra shrugged again. “Just for the first time.”
Hutch caught her hand against his straining jeans. “First time?”
“Yeah. I don’t mind sharing; he wants to be shared. I don’t think any of us would be satisfied with a one-off deal.”
“That true, Starsk?” Swallowing hard, Hutch looked over at him again. “Do you—”
“Yeah. Yeah, Hutch, I—” Starsky had to put his head down in his arms with a rough noise, half laugh, half moan. “I can’t—words are—yeah. Please.”
“Well, then,” Hutch said after a moment, turning back to Sandra. “We should take care of him.”
Starsky could hear them kissing again, the rustle of hands on clothing, and the creak of Hutch’s jacket, and decided not to look. It would be too much right now. They were murmuring something, purposefully too quiet for him to hear. He shuddered with anticipation.
Sandra stepped onto the couch and climbed over the back, tugging his arm. “Come on, Davy. Bedroom.”
“But Hutch is—”
“He’s coming. Get your clothes off.” She slapped his ass as he proceeded her inside. He hissed as he opened his pants, releasing his cock from being pinned underneath the waistband. Sandra watched him while she shimmied out of her sweatpants, color high in her cheeks. She looked bright with excitement.
“You can kiss me later.” But she gave him a quick smack on the cheek anyway. “On the bed. Grab the headboard.”
He had to tug his balls down first, but Starsky did as ordered.
“Wish I knew how to make him listen to me like that.” Hutch had taken off his jacket, holster, and belt before coming in. Starsky hadn’t heard him, so he must have taken off his shoes, too. Hutch was watching him intently.
His pants were unbuttoned, and his cock angled to the left.
Starsky heaved a shaky breath, fighting the urge to let go of the headboard and cover himself. Hutch had seen him naked before, but never like this. Not laying on a bed, waiting for Hutch to come and fuck him, with Sandra watching him wait. He was going to have a threesome with his girlfriend and his best friend. They were going to make him come apart. If he wasn’t careful, he was going to spontaneously come all over himself, without a single finger on him, and then Starsky would have to go into the bathroom, lock the door, and never come out.
“There’s no secret to it.” Sandra told Hutch as she settled onto the bed next to him. After a searching look into his face that made her quirk up the corner of her mouth, she trailed the backs of her fingers down Starsky’s arm. He shivered; her dimple deepened. “Sex is different from real life. Sometimes he likes being told what to do. Sometimes he’d rather be a brat and make me make him do what I want.”
Hutch cleared his throat. Starsky couldn’t look, so he flinched when Hutch touched his ankle. “Maybe it’s not so different then.”
“I knew it! Is he shameless?”
“Oh, terrible,” Hutch agreed. Starsky could hear him smiling at Sandra’s obvious delight. He could see Sandra smiling at Hutch, entertained and frankly admiring like she did with him, with everyone she was attracted to. She looked down and caught Starsky’s eye.
Sandra swatted his side. “Shut up!”
“You alright, Starsk?” Hutch asked, amused. “You’re looking kind of dreamy there.”
“You’re dreamy,” Starsky shot back automatically, which had made both of them laugh. “I mean, awful. You’re both awful.”
“Guess you must like that sort of thing.” His hand brushed the top of Starsky’s thigh, close enough to make his point. He was watching when Starsky’s dick twitched, his mouth falling open at the sight. “God, Starsky, you look—can I kiss you? Is that—?”
Starsky huffed a breathless laugh. “Yeah, that’s okay. Yeah, Hutch.”
Hutch looked over at Sandra for permission, too, and with some silent agreement, she followed him down to the bed on the other side. Starsky somehow felt more exposed like that, Sandra lounging next to him in her sweatshirt and panties, Hutch on one hand over him almost fully dressed. Starsky was on display, just begging to be touched the way he wanted. Finally, Hutch was leaning over to oblige. Starsky lifted his chin to meet him, and he heard Sandra’s breath catch. Hutch took the kiss gentle and slow, fingertips just touching the curve of his jaw. It was the sort of kiss that happened in old movies and made the ladies with their sculpted updos and skirt suits swoon. It was perfect, except Starsky was absolutely dying to come.
Without deciding to, Starsky let go of the headboard to grab the hair at Hutch’s nape, demanding more. Hutch obliged, but in his annoying way of going along while dragging his heels specifically because Starsky wanted him to go faster. His hand on Starsky’s jaw was stronger, but only to hold him back from deepening the kiss even more. He made a frustrated noise; Hutch, the bastard, laughed and pulled back. He was already ruffled and pink, and he flushed more after glancing over at Sandra.
“None of that.” Impatiently, Sandra gestured Hutch back so she could grab his hair for a kiss, too. It looked both lovely and obscene from his perspective, beautiful people making out over his heaving chest, his cock bobbing in the background. Restless for stimulation, Starsky ran his free hand over his own chest.
Humming happily, Sandra let Hutch go. “Now that we’re all compatible, should we put Starsky out of his misery?”
“Yes, please,” Starsky interjected before Hutch could answer. “Please do that.”
“You’re awfully demanding for someone who isn’t holding the headboard.” Sandra smirked at how fast he reached back for the bar. “See what I mean?” she said to Hutch.
But he had been stripping off his turtleneck and had missed it. Telling himself it wasn’t so Hutch would see, Starsky arched his back while adjusting his hands. His left hand and forearm were getting stiff from holding the bar so tightly all this time, but however it looked was worth it; Hutch physically swayed toward him like Starsky’s body was exerting a gravitational pull before catching himself.
“Shameless,” Hutch scolded with a shake of his finger.
“You must like that.”
Hutch hummed absently, eyes roaming over Starsky’s body.
“Do you want a condom?” When Hutch looked bewildered by the little foil packet Sandra was offering him, she turned to Starsky. “Do you want Hutch to use a condom?”
Oddly for how often he’d privately imagined and fantasized out loud about this scenario, Starsky hadn’t considered this question before. The possibility had been so remote before right now, he’d never worked out the practical logistics. It seemed so unlikely that Hutch had anything serious, and it wasn’t like he could get pregnant. Starsky met Hutch’s eyes and wanted to hide his face, knowing they were both thinking about Hutch’s come dripping out of his ass.
“Okay,” Sandra interrupted their stunned silence. “Executive decision: condoms for the sake of cleanliness. My laundromat just raised their prices again.”
Hurriedly, Hutch got out of his pants and took the little packet. Starsky would bet Hutch felt as relieved as he did that someone else was in charge and keeping things from getting awkward. Keeping her sweatshirt on, Sandra skimmed off her underwear before rolling a condom onto Starsky’s cock with practiced ease, pinching him to take the edge off his arousal. She definitely didn’t mind playing director; Starsky could see the pleasure of control gleaming in her eyes as she prompted him to bring his knees up.
“Hutch, you get your cock in him first, then Davy will put his legs around you and I can get on top. I want him to see us fucking him at the same time.”
And even if he was inside her, when Sandra rode him, it was definitely her fucking him. Especially when she told him to hold the headboard. When she used the strap on to literally fuck him, Sandra usually took him on his back with him on the edge of the bed so she could get the leverage to really make him moan. It was different with Hutch, who loomed easily even on his knees. But he helped Sandra stuff a couple pillows under Starsky’s hips and then it was happening. It probably hadn’t been ten minutes since Hutch had knocked on the door.
Hutch’s cock looked similar in size to Sandra’s, but Starsky would have been able to tell the difference blindfolded. Hutch was hot, and he went slow. Starsky would bet almost anything he’d never done this before, and the way Hutch gasped seemed to say he was right. Sandra had made it easy for Hutch, the extra lube hardly necessary when Starsky was still loose and slick from her fingers.
“Fuck,” Hutch said tightly. Starsky had to laugh, and they both flinched at how that felt where they were joined.
“All right?” Sandra petted his hair, sounding breathless. “Okay, don’t come. You already came, now it’s our turn.”
Not coming was easier said than done. There was an awkward moment of figuring out a rhythm for three bodies, and then it was like one of those blue sci-fi paperbacks Starsky had found in the back of a used bookstore, the ones where there were machines to fuck you while you were watching hologram porn. He was overwhelmed with sensation, and that was beside watching Sandra and Hutch. The way they moved together, how Sandra sighed and leaned back on him, his hand sliding up under her sweatshirt, it did look like Hutch was fucking her, but it was Starsky feeling it from both sides instead. It would be easier to not come, maybe, if they didn’t keep looking at him, making sure he was watching, making sure Starsky knew that they knew he was hanging on by a thread.
Without looking away or pausing in kissing Sandra, Hutch leaned them both forward. Not far, but enough to make them all feel the change in angle and for Hutch to put his fingers in Starsky’s mouth. Hutch watched his mouth hungrily, fingertips pressing back against Starsky’s tongue. Too soon, he took them away. Starsky stared open-mouthed as Hutch brought his spit-slicked fingers to Sandra’s clit.
He was a little fuzzy on the timeline, after, but Starsky thought he probably came before them both after all. It felt like the longest orgasm of his life, though, so that must count for something.
He was sore and shattered. Starsky grinned dopily at Hutch, who rolled his eyes but looked less worried.
“It’s only been fifteen minutes. If he’s coherent at all, we’ve failed.”
“We can always try again.”
Sandra looked warmly at Hutch, long enough that he blushed. Beaming, she settled a hand on Starsky’s head and reached for the phone with the other.
His arms ached deliciously as Starsky plucked the phone away and tossed it to Hutch. Sandra, he tugged to straddle his face. They’d have at least twenty minutes before the pizza came, and it was a crime she had only come once so far today.
“Oil up, boys. Day like this, it’ll try to sneak up on you.”
They rolled their eyes, but she tossed them the tube and they obeyed. Sandra’s father was a dermatologist in San Francisco, and she never went anywhere without sunscreen. Hutch had been vain enough to follow the fashion to get a tan, but that was before Sandra’s dire predictions that it would give him wrinkles, liver spots, and cancer. He was skeptical, but not so much that he didn’t carefully apply the lotion to his face. Starsky did his own hastily, then helped Sandra apply some to her back where it was exposed by a cutout. He took longer than was strictly necessary, slipping his hands teasingly into the sides of her jumpsuit.
“Starsky, there are kids around,” Hutch said, even though the only child Starsky could see was the baby presumably in the shaded stroller that had already passed. “And you missed a spot.”
Hutch rubbed the stray lotion on Starsky’s forehead with his thumb, more gently than he had pointed it out, fingers splayed through his hair. They hadn’t had sex for a week, since the last time Sandra could meet them. Hutch had sucked him and moaned around Starsky’s cock when he pulled his hair. From the look on Hutch’s face, Starsky could guess he remembered, too.
“Okay, let’s go!” Hutch wheeled around toward the beach like he could outrun his blush.
Hutch was deeply embarrassed by the near-exhibitionism, now with three participants and no specific audience. Starsky would put an end to it, but it was apparently the kind of embarrassment that turned Hutch on to no end. “We shouldn’t,” he always said, while doing absolutely nothing to stop Starsky unzipping him. Sandra joked that he must have a hollow leg to have enough blood to be that hard and that red in the face at the same time. Starsky was developing a Pavlovian response to Hutch blushing, and a long walk on the beach followed by lunch suddenly sounded unfulfilling.
“What if we had an early lunch,” he bargained. “And then went back to Hutch’s place.”
“Sounds like a recipe for making me late for work.” She had an afternoon shift back across town. Hutch had picked her up that morning, and he’d probably guilt Starsky into dropping her off.
“I promise I’ll get you there in time. Come on,” he wheedled, “you’re telling me you’re not itching for it?”
Sandra waggled her hand in a so-so gesture. “I’m on my period. But I got myself off this morning and last night. No need for you and Hutch to hold back on my account.”
He had been on the phone with her last night, so he had gotten off, too. He’d been hoping for a repeat performance featuring Hutch today, but “No, that’s okay. We can wait.”
She wrinkled up her nose in bemusement. “What for? Wait,” she stopped. “You know you can fuck him without me, right?”
Automatically, Starsky looked around to make sure no one was in earshot. There was nobody nearby except Hutch, standing in the surf with his jeans rolled up, shading his eyes with his shoes as he glanced back at them. Starsky’s stomach swooped.
“I didn’t know I was allowed! Why would I be allowed? That’s not—”
“I know you’re not about to tell me something’s not normal. I know we’re not going to have that conversation again.”
He didn’t love the condescending tone as much now as he did in other situations. But there was something comforting in Sandra’s insistence that the only thing that mattered to their relationship was what worked for them. She and Hutch had deep discussions about it, arguing over the value of social pressure to conform. Starsky wasn’t totally sure which side each of them was on, but he knew for sure he was better at the threesome thing than Hutch was. Hutch still went on obviously half-hearted dates with other women, despite Starsky and Sandra teasing him about it.
But maybe he wouldn’t do that if he and Starsky could have sex more often than Sandra could find the time between her two jobs to see them.
“And there’s the lightbulb,” Sandra laughed, slipping on her sunglasses.
“Fine, but you didn’t tell me I was allowed either. Should I have assumed how you felt about that?”
“I think you could have made an educated guess, or asked,” she poked him in the chest. “But point. Anyway, I’m here, so we don’t need to worry about it today. I am very happy to watch.”
Sandra said this as cheery as her yellow jumpsuit with pink bits around the pockets to match her pink sunglasses. It wasn’t hot yet, but it was muggy and by the time that burned off, they’d all be glad of the shade by the taco joint. Starsky caught her up in a hug, lifting her to her toes and kissing her cheek. She smelled like Coppertone.
They joined Hutch and all walked farther down the beach, carrying their shoes and dodging the surf like terns. More people came out as the morning haze cleared, but it was a Monday, so it was almost entirely mothers with kids too young to be in school and folks too old to be at work. Effectively, they were still alone, and more so as they went. The sand got rockier and the road turned away from the beach, though they could hear it beyond the scrubby bushes on top of the stone outcropping. This, Starsky decided, was paradise; his girlfriend, his best friend, and no nagging cases or suspicious onlookers to distract from the simple pleasure of being together. He felt full to bursting with fizzy joy, like he could step too brightly and accidently start floating.
Hutch caught him by the shirt mid-bounce. “Race you to the seaweed?” He pointed it out, about two hundred yards down the beach. “Loser buys lunch.”
“Okay, but Sandra counts off. He’s a filthy cheat,” he told her. “He’s been kicked out of pickup games.”
Sandra nodded seriously, “I get that vibe.”
“I wasn’t kicked out. There was a disagreement that led to the game getting called off.”
“A disagreement over whether he’d fouled the defender.” Starsky had taken Hutch’s side, obviously, but he definitely had committed the foul.
Sandra peered over her sunglasses at Hutch. “This is a whole new, unexpected side of you. He’s actually a bad boy, isn’t he.”
“You know what, forget it.”
“No, no, let’s do it! You won’t even be able to catch me to foul me.”
Hutch gave him a playful shove. “Yeah, we’ll see about that.”
Sensibly, Sandra took them down to the damp sand left from high tide where there were fewer large rocks to trip on. She traced a line with her foot and made a production of making sure they were both behind it. Hutch looked smug as he dropped his shoes, but Starsky felt like he could run forever.
He was off in a sprint the moment Sandra said go. Hutch had a stride length advantage, but he was more of a distance runner. Starsky bet he was faster going flat out on a regular day, and right now, he could run all way to Mexico without stopping, heart and lungs rushing with the tide. He ran straight through a wave that washed up suddenly, soaking the bottom of his jeans but barely feeling the cold. Hutch wasn’t even keeping up.
Starsky skidded to a halt past the clump of seaweed and wheeled around triumphantly. Hutch and Sandra were back at the starting line, doubled over in laughter.
“Why didn’t you stop?” Sandra yelled. “I called you back!”
Hutch couldn’t stop laughing enough to talk.
“You bum!” Starsky chuckled breathlessly despite himself, still too up to be really embarrassed. He started jogging back, then stepped on a pointy shell and decided to go sit and catch his breath instead. “Hutch! You’re still buying lunch.”
Hutch waved his assent and picked up their shoes. Sandra took his hand and said something that made Hutch giggle and shake his head. They walked over slowly, sneaking glances at Starsky, clearly conspiring. Even leaning against the sun-baked rocks, anticipation made him shiver.
“I’m sorry for laughing.” Sandra looked like she was struggling to keep a straight face. “You ran really good, babe.”
“I told you he’s a cheater.”
Hutch dodged his lazy kick. “Careful what you say about the guy buying you lunch.”
“Speaking of which, what time is it? We should probably head back soon.”
“Soon,” Hutch agreed, sharing a look with Sandra.
With the air of someone with a plan, Sandra dropped her shoes. “I’m climbing the rock first. Scooch.”
Her bell bottoms brushed sand on him as she went past. “Come on,” Hutch offered him a hand up. Starsky didn’t know exactly what was coming next, but it promised to be good. By now, he had a lot of practice surrendering his trust to his partners. He and Hutch left their shoes in a pile and followed Sandra from the ground.
She found a rock she liked and scanned both directions down the beach before settling down to one side. “Here we go. Hm, watch out for the dead crab.” There was indeed a dead crab, but there was plenty of space for Hutch to back Starsky into the rocks where they were shielded from view and Sandra could keep lookout. She was within reach, but she didn’t touch him or say anything. Without a word, Starsky knew she had meant what she said about watching, and only watching, today.
Hutch’s hands slid down his arms to rest at his waist, questioning on his belt. They were gentle, but his gaze was heavy and heated. Shaded by the outcropping, the sand felt cool beneath his feet. Starsky shivered again.
Starsky traced Hutch’s jaw back, buried his fingers in the hair at the nape of his neck, testing, before pulling him in. It was their first kiss in public. Or what Starsky considered public. Panting into each other’s mouths while giving rushed handjobs in restaurant bathrooms or the backseat of a car parked in an alley didn’t count. Hutch pressed closer, feet shuffling into his with a rough scratch of sand, as he fumbled for Starsky’s belt buckle.
“No,” Starsky caught his hand without letting go of Hutch’s neck. “I want something else.”
Hutch went easily when Starsky led him to switch places. It felt more exposed with his back to the open shore, but that was what he wanted right now. He wanted the well-worn fantasy from before, the one where Hutch walked in on him eating Sandra out and knew what Starsky was really like. Sandra met his eyes for a moment over Hutch’s head. She smiled like she knew what he was thinking about, then deliberately turned away. Starsky knew she would still watch, but physically, this one was all him and Hutch. Like training wheels before really going off on their own.
He sort of wished she would talk. Hutch was watching him, waiting, and Starsky had to look down. They’d been naked together countless times, Hutch’s dick had been in him a dozen times, but for whatever reason, being fully dressed and kneeling in front of Hutch on a beach had Starsky tongue-tied. He should crack a joke, break the silence thick between them, except he was painfully hard without a single touch. His hesitation ended when Hutch put his hand in his hair again, the same gesture from that morning. Exhaling shakily, Starsky gave into the urge to press his open mouth to the bulge in Hutch’s corduroys.
“Here, Starsk. Let me—” Hutch unbuttoned his fly and pulled his dick out the Y-front of his briefs, rubbing it against Starsky’s cheek. “Go on, babe. Give me—”
In the fantasy Starsky had regularly pulled out on nights alone, Hutch used him like a toy. Sometimes he imagined Hutch would barely pay attention to him, or talk over his head to Sandra. Other times, the squirming shame that got him going came from Hutch telling him he was a slut, good for nothing but being on his knees. He had always imagined Hutch’s fist in his hair holding him in place, but Hutch knew him better than that. In reality, it was delicate, almost worshipful, because Starsky didn’t need to be held in place. He was happy to be there, stroking most of the shaft because he knew he was likely to go too far and choke himself otherwise, and torn between the sensual pleasure of a cock on his lips and tongue and watching Hutch watching him lick up every drop of pre-come as it came. Hutch’s hand was restless in his hair, but he stayed gentle. He murmured Starsky’s name and told him how sweet his mouth was, how good he was doing, which somehow pushed all his buttons better than real dirty talk.
When Hutch started coming, Starsky leaned in eagerly to take it all, letting it fill his mouth before he swallowed and pulled away from a sucking pop. He milked the last, weak pulses to the tip, letting his mouth hang open so Hutch could see himself spill on his tongue.
“Starsky—god, you’re—oh, too much, too much!”
Without the oral distraction, the ache in his own cock could not be ignored. He scrambled to get his jeans open only to come as a shock that made him yelp, almost as soon as he got a hand on himself. Starsky slumped face first into Hutch’s thigh, shaking from release.
Hutch petted him through it. “I was really looking forward to making you come. You’ll have to let me do all the work sometime to make up for it.”
He nodded without lifting his head, making Hutch chuckle. “Come on,” he tried to pull him up, but Starsky put Hutch to rights first, doing up his buttons with all the focus he could muster while he was still coming down. He felt limp and cracked open, like the remains of a lobster dinner heartily enjoyed.
“That’s good, thank you, Starsk. Up, up, come on, let me get you.”
Their foreheads bumped as he watched Hutch’s hands on his zipper. Hutch pulled him by the waistband and Starsky stumbled into him. His chest hit the familiar butt of Hutch’s gun under his shirt, which was surely going to be absorbed into his armpit one of these days, as Hutch kissed him. He always liked to taste himself in Starsky’s mouth.
Hutch jumped, startling him. “Sorry,” Sandra swung her other leg over the edge, impatient to climb or jump down. “I have to—can I get in on this?”
They were all starving by the time they walked back to where they’d parked and then up a block to the taco place on Presidio. They would have been faster, but Hutch had put his arm around Starsky, who had one arm around him and one around Sandra, who had hers around his waist, and none of them had wanted to let go until Starsky couldn’t stand the heat anymore. Hutch paid, smirking again at his dumb practical joke, and they sat at the concrete picnic table under the trees across the street from Don Carlos’s.
“Try some of this,” Starsky held a forkful of his enchilada out to Hutch. “Before you ask, it’s chicken and it’s got the green sauce and the cheese and sour cream. It’s good, try it!”
“Crema,” Hutch corrected, but he took the bite. It took two seconds for the hot sauce to hit, and then he was gulping down half his beer at once, eyes watering. “Starsky!”
“What?” he feigned innocence. “Oh, and some habanero salsa, did I not mention?”
Wiping his streaming nose, Hutch glared daggers over his napkin. “Now I’m not going to be able to taste my own food.”
“You’re so weak.” Sandra had dumped twice as much salsa on her burrito as Starsky had. “It’s lucky I’m bringing Dave if I ever take someone to meet my parents. My mom’s chili chicken would probably kill you.”
Starsky froze. “I’m meeting your parents?”
She feigned casual, nervous hands giving her away. “We’ve been together twice as long as my last longest relationship so they’re getting curious. They want me to bring you up for Christmas. But you really don’t have to. The food will be great, but everything else,” Sandra mimed a scale comically unbalanced. “It’ll just be disappointment in both of our careers and underhanded questions about when we’re getting married.”
“No, no! I’ll go with you. I’ll be on my best behavior. Or do you want me to really live down to their expectations?”
“Well, I do have a problem child reputation to uphold.”
“And then you could bring Hutch next Christmas,” Starsky enthused, making Hutch choke on his sweet corn tamale. “Oh, tell them we did get married but bring him! That’ll really throw them for a loop. You could build up your spicy tolerance by then, right?”
Hutch took another gulp of beer, looking anywhere but at them. “I mean—no, I shouldn’t. Don’t worry about me. I don’t want to get in the way of you and—well, if you’re going to be meeting her parents.”
Starsky shared an incredulous look with Sandra.
“Hutch, you dummy.”
“You jerk.” Sandra threw her balled up napkin at him. “Like we’re going to start leaving you out now?”
“Yeah, you’re going to pull this martyr act after that?” Starsky jerked his thumb over his shoulder, then corrected to point toward the beach. “After what I just did?”
“No,” Sandra declared over Hutch’s sputtering, “I’m going to settle this now.”
She leaned across the table holding her arm out straight to tap Hutch solemnly on one shoulder and then the other. “By the power vested in me as the girlfriend, I hereby dub thee the boyfriend of equal standing. Forever and ever, amen,” she sketched a cross in the air as an afterthought, then nodded briskly. “Are we all on the same page now?”
“Are we?” Hutch looked at him. Even with the sunscreen, he had gotten burned across the bridge of his nose.
As much as he and Sandra liked each other and definitely enjoyed having sex together, Hutch was in this for Starsky. He had clumsily confessed as much the day after they’d first slept together. It was the same thing then: “I don’t want to get in the way or give you the wrong impression. But I feel I have to be honest,” he had lifted his chin nobly. “Even if it means—”
“Come on, Hutch, I know. We both do. I mean, last night was a pretty big clue.” They’d both blushed to think of it, and Starsky had bumped his hip against Hutch’s. “You know I love you, too.”
Hutch had ducked his head bashfully and he’d been pretty good about trusting their unconventional arrangement since. But he had never tried to make a move on Starsky when Sandra wasn’t there, and of course Starsky had already been too overwhelmed with good fortune to fathom having more, let alone ask for it. But now it was on the table, and he wanted it as much as Hutch. It must be obvious all over his face.
And anyway, Sandra voiced it for him: “Of course we are. I told Dave the night we met I liked the two of you together, and I meant it. And you know Dave.” She dimpled mischievously. “He’ll take everything we give him.”
Hutch hummed in agreement. “He does, doesn’t he?”
“Do I even need to be here?” Starsky wondered. “You seem ready to work out the custody agreement just between the two of you.”
“Leave it to us, baby.” Sandra patted his knee, then squeezed high up on his thigh, making him squeak. “Don’t you worry your pretty head about it.”
“You are so bossy.”
Hutch snorted and went back to his food. He always was more comfortable when Starsky was flustered. “Try that line again. A body might think you liked being bossed.”
“You know, I have that suspicion myself, Hutch.”
“I don’t enjoy this,” Starsky announced, because he knew they both would know he was lying. “You two deserve each other. Just leave me out of it.”
They were cutting it close to the wire of getting Sandra to work on time after lunch, but she had brought her work clothes with her just in case. “I can change in backseat. Just don’t peek.” She winked and got on tiptoe to give Hutch a kiss goodbye. Starsky wished he could do the same, but it had gotten busy enough after noon that they had to settle for manly slaps on the shoulder.
“See you later?” Hutch raised his eyebrows meaningfully.
“You mean, like,” Starsky gestured as obviously as he could now that there were actually kids around. “Later?”
Hutch leapt forward to shield it from view with his body. “Jesus, Starsk, yes.”
“Oh, good.” Hutch hadn’t stepped away and hadn’t let go of his wrists. Starsky had to fight the urge to just stop having the last three inches between their faces. “Meet back at your place? I’ll let you do all the work. You can even make me dinner.”
Rolling his eyes, Hutch shoved him lightly. “Go home first. Get a change of clothes. Well, if you want to. I mean, you were going to pick me up tomorrow morning anyway, and gas—”
“Dave, if we aren’t hitting the road in one minute, I’m hotwiring your car!” Sandra had never mentioned being able to hotwire a car before, but some of the activist groups she was part of subscribed to a direct action theory of change. Not wanting to risk it, Starsky started fumbling for his keys.
“’course I’ll stay over. Listen, I have to go. I’ll see you, okay? I’m going to grab a bag and meet you at your place in a couple hours. Hey, get some bacon for tomorrow morning, huh? I’m not a cheap date.”
Hutch leaned on the open door, ducking down to wave at Sandra in the back. “No kidding. I’ve already bought you and your girlfriend lunch.”
“You lost the bet, fair and square. Dave, flirt with your boyfriend after getting me to work on time.” Sandra clambered into the front seat, holding her shoes and with her shirt buttons only half done up. “Bye, Hutch! See you Thursday?”
“Thursday,” Hutch shut the door and slapped the roof to send them off.
After getting her clothes to rights, Sandra dug through the glove box for gum or mints. Her hair was still mussed in the back. “Now, don’t come over all chivalrous and pick me up after work. I’ll even get a ride with Gina or somebody. You just figure out your thing with Hutch.”
Strangely, Starsky wasn’t nervous about that. Not bad nervous, anyway. They knew how they fit together by now, in all ways. And yet, Starsky was absurdly excited to sleep over at Hutch’s place, something he’d done about a thousand times before. It was just giving up the last division between real life and their secret life, making it all official. It felt different than being official with Sandra, too; Hutch very much was the marrying kind. Not being recognized by the government wouldn’t change that, and Starsky didn’t mind one bit. “But you’ll call us if you can’t get a ride.”
“Yes, yes,” she flapped her hand dismissively. “Even though it’s fine, I promise I won’t take the bus.”
“You get home by eleven?” Starsky knew she did. The bottoms of his jeans were still damp and suddenly felt heavy.
“Yeah, you going to call me? Tell me how it goes? As it’s going?”
That idea made him nearly run a red light. “So you’re really okay with me and Hutch? I know, I know you said, but—”
“Starsky.” She waited until he looked over. Starsky could see she had gotten a little sun, too, on her chest. They caught each other’s hands reaching for each other, and she squeezed, smiling. “Of course I’ll say it again. Every time you need to hear it.”
“I know,” he said again, no longer apologizing. He tugged her along the seat into his side, kissing her temple. “You are incredible. I love you so much. Are you sure you won’t marry me?”
“When we’re having so much fun living in sin?”
“Well, we would still do that, obviously. You could even get a girlfriend if you wanted.”
“Tell you what,” Sandra murmured, leaning up close enough to feel the cool peppermint puff of her breath in his ear. “We’ll get married when my girlfriend marries Hutch and we can all spend the honeymoon together.”
They didn’t notice the light had turned green until the Pontiac Star Chief behind them began honking furiously.