Our house. Standing outside it, this house that is now 'ours', I repeat the phrase softly to myself, contemplating the implication of those two words. It is the realisation of a vision in concrete. Actually, it is in bricks, wood and a great deal of glass. It looks down across a small valley to the sea. The sunlight sparkles on the still water. Truly, I can barely see the water for the sparkle. I imagine waking to this liquid sunlight every day that the sun shines, which is at least three quarters of the year here.
The house has five bedrooms but not as many bathrooms. Behind the house, up some steps, are a vast garden with a swimming pool and a patio with barbecue. There is also a small pool house containing a small kitchen and bathroom. On the east side of the house sprawls a wild, wooded area, at the far end of which a waterfall spills down into a wide, deep pond. There is only one way across the pond and that is over six smooth stones. The waterfall is one of the reasons we bought the house. It will be a sanctuary for each one of us at some time or other. Overlooking it all is the mountain, its slopes curving like a breast full of milk, its peak an ever-hard nipple.
We needed a five bedroom house because there are five of us. We are, Alice, that's me, Lorcan, Luca, Matt and Cal. I brought us together. The men have all been my lovers for some time. You may have heard that Librans have trouble with making decisions, and faced with choosing between them, I just couldn't. So, I decided that there was no decision to make. I would have them all. I was having them all as it was.
However, having them all had become almost a full time job. The daily round of emails, phone calls and text messages crossed nearly every time zone. I was like a newswire following the stock market openings and closings around the globe. I opened with the Hang Seng and closed with the Dow Jones. I considered having five clocks put on the wall; one for each of them, plus one for me so that I could keep track of myself. Added to this, there were the meetings. By which I mean weekends in Paris, London, Barcelona, New York, Zurich, and all points East, West, North and South. It's a good thing I love airports, and hotels of course. You might say I was an international inspector of hotel bedroom ceilings.
These times were exciting but tiring, and the worst part was the packing and unpacking. This would have been relatively simple if it wasn't for the fact that each one likes me to dress in a particular way. One suitcase does not suit all. Lorcan, for example, likes strappy dresses and high heels, what I call 'hooker haute couture'. Matt has a more classic taste, preferring linen and silk that is elegant and easy to remove. Luca loves flesh; the more revealed the better. He and Lorcan are similar in that respect, which does make life easier. Cal doesn't really care what I wear as long as I'm naked indoors. The one thing they all have in common is the 'thong fantasy'. I have quite a collection now, none of it bought by me. Now that we're living together, I will have to negotiate my way around the thong-wearing thing. The only solution I can think of at the moment is to announce I'm giving up underwear altogether, except on special occasions.
Sometimes I am amazed at how these four wonderful men came into my life at different times and by various roads. Lorcan is the oldest, the wildest and the most unguarded in his passion. He is the one most likely to duck out of a business meeting and call just to hear my voice. We laugh together until I can't breathe and my ribs ache. Luca and I make love in two languages. His foreign tongue slips between my lips and burrows into my ears, and I imagine that every time it does my blood sings in his language a little more loudly. One day I will be fluent without ever having taken a single grammar class. Matt is the most elusive. There is a fragility beneath his powerful frame that reaches out to engage my softest instincts. He is the home maker, the cook and the author of inflammable emails. Cal is the youngest. A truly free spirit, being with him is like lying in a wildflower meadow in summer. As I walk by he watches me with wolf eyes that pierce my spine. Like the wise men, each one brings me a different gift of himself. All the gifts are equal.
It took me some time to summon the courage to ask them to meet each other. The first time went better than might be expected. Getting naked together broke the tension. They realised then I truly did want them all, and that I had no favourites. Yes, it was a bit exhausting but it was worth it: they agreed to the house. After that it was a whirl of decisions, many of which I happily left to them. When I did have to make a decision I was given a limited time, just like a chess player. I'm not sure who came up with that idea. I suspect it was Matt and Lorcan.
Now, here I am outside our house. Inside they are creating order. Matt, I expect, is in the kitchen. Luca and Cal have taken charge of sorting out all the computers, the phone lines and electric sockets. My communications with all of them, happily, have returned to earth. My voice travels short distances, and I write notes to stick on the fridge door instead of bouncing my words off satellites. Lorcan is fixing an enormous mirror to his bedroom wall that I will play in front of later. In a moment I will go back inside and watch Matt gently scatter rosemary over potatoes smothered in olive oil and garlic. Perhaps he puts pancetta in it as well. He told me how much he loved this long ago. It is one of the first things I learnt about him.
Our house is an experiment that most think will explode in our faces. It no doubt will at times, but, like an alchemist I am hopelessly optimistic that the formula only needs a little of the light touch of magic here and there. As I walk back through the gate I am certain that our house is the future of love. The front door, behind which we live, is the entrance to the house of my heart. I have left it open. ++