Three Necessary Pieces

I was having a rough time of it last Wednesday, so much so that I decided that going to BaGG that evening would be too much for my fatigued body.

I was hitting drop from all angles and just needed to go home. At that moment in time, however, I couldn’t. I didn’t have my wallet. Foolish me had forgotten it in a jacket pocket back at the apartment and I was waiting on my roommate to bring it when she came to BaGG. On top of that, I hadn’t gotten to duel with James yet.
He rolled in when I was lost in melancholy thoughts and pulled me out of them, slamming me with a new brutal deck that I both hated and loved at the same time. There was no way that he didn’t see how eager I was; that he missed my eagerness when I begged for a duel. It remains our play; as safe as it can be nowadays. We are incomplete, he and I. The story isn’t finished, and forcing chapters to completion hasn’t helped. Because of this, we’ve mostly just left it be. I push back when I need to. Like with Surrender; I begged for photos of my partners and I and pressed how important it was that they get captured (an entry for Surrender shall follow later). And he did as I asked, often taking shots when I was too far gone to notice where the camera flash was coming from; piqued in an intense orgasms or being shocked by a violet wand. He’s good like that; capturing those unfathomable moments, but I digress.
I’ve been through four Surrenders and seven cons total; con-drop is not new to me. I knew to pace myself, to give myself Monday off from work, to sleep in and self-care. What I hadn’t expected was the whole separate drop when Ace left.
At the very beginning of our dueling a dear friend, Sage, joined us in our little corner of Wicked Grounds. She passively worked while commenting on our game from time to time, chuckling when James made me curse or when I begged for mercy. When his alarm went off to go over to the club James pulled me into one of his REAL hugs and humored me; he let me bury my face in his hair, relax in his arms for the briefest of moments and let the tension leave my body. There is still something about James’s scent that drives me bat shit; I’ve never been able to figure it out and I’ve never been able to shake it, but in moments when I am at my limit I am grateful for that fact. I’m grateful for the knowledge that a hug and a moment of touch from James is usually enough to calm me down.
Sage remained behind after James rolled off to the club, worried eyes on me. She asked what was wrong and I explained that I was just feeling… off. That I was tired and feeling at my emotional limit and just wanted to go home. A call to my roommate had informed me that she was still 40 minutes out and I was done, so very done. And frustrated without enough gas to get me back.
“And it’s been..how long since Ace left? 24 hours?” They had met at the con when Ace was on security duty and I was curled up at his feet. She had seen him throughout Surrender and began singing his praises when I told her it was his first con, ever.
The truth is, Ace had blown me away that weekend. I hadn’t expected him to take to Surrender like a duck to water, and he had. He made new friends with ease and giggled each time he mentioned my name to find that these new friends knew me already. He excitedly gobbled up information from classes, learning for himself, for me, and for my dear meta (his nesting partner) back home. He even got in a little pick up play and was a good, brave boy and bottomed to me. He paced himself well, ate when he needed to, and blended into my crowd as if he had always been there. And it had felt like he had. My Ace, my constant anchor, navigated my world with shocking ease that there was so much reluctance to give him back. I knew I had to, and know that I always will, but it was not easy.
Ryan, on the other hand, struggled more. He attempted to make new connections but I saw him drifting back to knowns. He circled back to me whenever I was working and spent more time messaging me on shifts than socializing with new people. Another bottom he plays with was also at the event, but with restrictions that prevented him from playing. He kept me going and pleased me to the best of his ability, but having never been through a con didn’t know how to pace himself. He was burnt out by early Sunday evening, unable to do the final scene that he and I had talked about. And yet still, even while he was burning out completely, he took me to the hotel restaurant to make sure I was fed and not crashing with five more hours left that evening.
And then there’s James.. Balancing Ryan and Ace, while also remembering what Surrender was, what it meant to James and I, was hard. There was an ache there when it reached late into Saturday and I hadn’t quite connected with James yet… It’s hard, with Ryan around. The two butt heads at an almost toxic level at this point and don’t particularly social well with one another anymore. When Ryan left early on Sunday it was.. a slight relief. I drifted upstairs to a cigars and chocolates social and found James playing with the cigar cutters up there. We talked, joked, even flirted a little, and I made a point in saying that I would be there till the end and I wanted to say goodbye (the year before I hadn’t had the chance to because of my security shift and it..bothered me a great deal). We talked, shared stories, smiled…and I felt better.
I relayed all this to Sage when she asked about my Surrender, and she smiled as I voiced my frustrations over James and Ryan. “You know why they fight, don’t you?”
“Because they’re two Dominant assholes in a pissing contest?”

“Well, yes. But there’s more to it than that.” She paused. “Who has your collar?”
“But that doesn’t matter! The collar is null-en-void. It’s been discussed that if we restart we restart fresh and-”

“And you’re right. It doesn’t matter.. The restart, that is.” She smiled, sadly. “You love each other. It’s very apparent, even in small things. That love is very there, and very apparent to anyone with eyes. It’s only a little threatening to someone who wants to be important in your life, especially when you love the other person more.”
I sat, gobsmacked for a moment. I had been wrestling in my own head for months with my feelings for Ryan and James, trying to tell myself that those with Ryan were growing while those with James were fading.
“You two aren’t done, you and James. You aren’t in your final form yet. Right now, what you two are in is limbo, and it’s driving Ryan crazy. You two are either going to grow closer together or further apart, but until then the two are going to fight over you like open game because they both see you as their’s. Whether or not a certain red head admits it.” She smirked. “You are still his, Rene, and that’s okay. You’ve learned to live with that in a way that is much more healthy for both of you, but it’s a different type of love than what you have for Ryan.”
“And I do love both of them! I love Ryan very much!” And it’s true, I do, with a depth of feeling I didn’t think myself capable of.
“Oh, sweetie, I know you do. It’s just different.” And then my wise friend told me about three crucial love figures in ones life, and about how I was blessed to have all of them, whether or not they worked out.
There’s the one you learn from, the one love stories come from, and the one that stays.
Ryan is the one I learn from. Since being with him I have truly learned what self-care is, and how to better take care of myself and set my own limits. I eat better, sleep better, and I honestly relish being Daddy’s little girl. I feel taken care of, loved, cherished…but not claimed. It’s a soft love, a nurturing love. I enjoy doing his dishes, helping to tidy around the house, and yes, I enjoy the fantastic sex.. but even our rough is not too rough. There is a softness and a sweetness to Ryan that I cherish; a rarity that  you don’t often find in tops. There is also sometimes a cockiness about him in that Father Knows Best sort of way that often rubs me the wrong way.
“I had a Ryan for YEARS”, Sage shared with me. “He taught me so much about myself; how to live, how to be, how to help me be more me. I’m incredibly grateful for the time we had together, but it’s not the kind of mind blowing, bone-deep soul connection love I had with my James.” She locked eyes with me. “And you know exactly what I mean by that.”
She’s right. I do. James is the one my love stories come from. It is a bone-deep love that I can’t shake, no matter how I try. It’s why his scent gets to me, why I’m hyper sensitive to him being in a room. Why my loyalty to him just..doesn’t sway, doesn’t go away. Because those moments of sweetness exceed any others even as the sour moments destroy unlike anything else. He has the power to rip me in two; he always has. He almost did once. There remains this pull between us; this interaction that goes passed friends but doesn’t know where to extend beyond that. I can see why that’s a threat to Ryan; because if that gets re-established, then he gets bumped from spot one, and he knows that. Then James gets all the power again, and Ryan doesn’t want that. Right now, I don’t want that, but I miss sweet kisses and brutal hands.
“And then there’s your sweet boy”, Sage said, smiling wistfully, “the rarity we all search for. A gods honest everlasting love.”  The one that stays.
My Ace, my beautiful rarity. Without him, loving the other two would be impossible. He has been my anchor, platonicly and otherwise, for a decade now. When my engagement ended he was a text away. When my first boyfriend broke my heart I could call him. We Skyped to make each other laugh through the tears when his wife and him had a fight or I broke up with yet another partner. He’s always been there, the carrot dangling in front of my face just out of reach. While I may not be able to share a bed with him every night, and while our lives are in many ways very separate..they have always included the other. Even when we weren’t actively engaging with the other. When we lost contact I thought about him, and he about me, and we both knew that eventually one would reach out to the other and all would be right with the world again.
And so it was. And so it always will be.
If I didn’t have my Ace, I would not survive Ryan and James; the ebb and flow, up and down intensities of love. My good, sweet, mellow boy that takes to my world like a duck to water… because he’s always been there, and was always supposed to be there.
“You have what so many of us search for, especially those of us that are poly. You have managed to find an actual love of your life, and hold on to one another for all of this time.” She got tears in her eyes as she said this, and I smiled. “Is it any wonder that you’re dropping, honey, with all these moving parts in your life?”
No, it was no wonder..and after the talk with Sage so much more made sense. There is a lingering of guilt there, for James being the one I write love stories about…but I can’t change my nature, and what I am instinctively drawn to is..him. The edge of him, the gruffness, the growl with a hint of sweetness… What I knowingly go to are soft, kind hands that hold and caress and teach. What I’ve always known, always wanted, and will always gravitate to is an open heart that constantly wishes to learn more, see more, do more, and sees all of it eagerly and wide-eyed with an innocence I don’t think I’ve ever possessed and a nature that is truly… good. No ego. Just good.
Willow gave me gas money to get home when I collapsed in the chair across from her, more emotionally exhausted than I was at the start of all of this. “Go home. Rest. And smile.” She grinned. “It could be worse. Your soul mates could be boring, complacent partners instead of the pains in the ass they are. Now where would the fun be in that?”
Where would the fun be, indeed?
Yours, piece by piece
-Rene
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