Three of a kind

We found a simple way out of a complicated mess...

Published by: Polly Taylor & Paul Carter
Published on: 24th March 2011

The lights were dimmed and the lasagne was warming in the oven. Pouring the wine, I handed a glass to my boyfriend Dan, 25, and snuggled up beside him on the sofa.
‘This is nice,’ I sighed happily, as he wrapped his arms around me. ‘Just the two of us….’
At that moment, the front door slammed, jolting us back to reality. Huffing and puffing, my best mate Neve, 25, burst into the living room, flicked on the lights, and threw down her handbag.
‘That’s it!’ she fumed, kicking off her shoes and flopping on to the sofa beside me. ‘Never again!’
‘Not another bad date?’ I asked, raising my eyebrows.
‘The worst I’ve ever had,’ she sighed, gesturing at the bottle of wine on the table. ‘Mind if I have a glass?’
‘Not at all,’ I said, pouring it for her.
‘There’s dinner in the oven if you’re hungry,’ Dan added.
You’re probably wondering why I wasn’t more annoyed that my romantic evening had been scuppered – as they say, two’s company and three’s a crowd after all. But the truth was, Neve’s interruption didn’t bother me at all.
Ever since I’d met Dan and Neve in the student bar at University of Canterbury, the three of us had clicked. And even though Dan and me had ended up becoming more than just mates, my relationship with Neve was every bit as important.
With exactly the same sense of humour and a shared love of live music, she was like my sister, my shadow. We did everything together.
Even after university, when me and Dan moved in together, I’d missed my best pal.
‘Can Neve move into our spare room, honey?’ I’d asked him, giving him a force 10 flutter of my eyelashes.
‘Fine,’ he’d chuckled, rolling his eyes. Dan never complained about Neve being around, bless him. In fact, he’d taken on the role of her agony uncle to my agony aunt, counselling her through her turbulent love life.
Ever since I’d known her, Neve had gone from one dating disaster to the next. But Dan had become determined to help her find Mr Right. Like now….
‘You’re such a great girl,’ he said, giving Neve a hug. ‘You’ll soon find a man who deserves you.’
‘Thanks, but I’m swearing off men for good,’ she chuckled. ‘In fact, I might start dating women.’
‘I’ll take you out,’ I laughed. ‘Dan has plans tomorrow, so what do you say to a night out, just you and me?’
‘Sounds like a plan,’ she winked.
The following evening, the two of us got dolled up and went to a bar in town.
‘This will help you forget all about men,’ I giggled, handing her a multi-coloured cocktail. ‘Get that down you!’
‘Cheers!’ she grinned, as we clinked glasses.
‘Two more, please…’ I waved to the barman.
By the time we stumbled through the front door hours later, I’d lost count of how many cocktails we’d drunk.
‘Shh, you’ll wake Dan,’ I slurred, as we clattered up the stairs, giggling.
‘He’s not here, silly!’
Neve laughed as she tottered into my room and collapsed on to the bed.
‘Oh yeah,’ I snorted, flopping down beside her. I’d forgotten Dan had text to say he was staying over at his mate’s house.
In a fit of giggles, we kicked off our high heels and crawled under the inviting duvet...
The following morning, my head throbbed as I prised open my puffy eyes. Memories from the night before flooded back to me…cocktails, dancing, falling into bed with Neve…. Gingerly turning my head, I could see she was still fast asleep beside me.
Just then Dan appeared in the doorway holding two cups of tea.
‘What are you two like?’ he smiled, sitting on the edge of the bed and giving me a kiss. ‘I take it you had a good night?’
‘Oh yeah,’ I smiled as Neve stirred beside me. ‘It was really… fun….’
After that night, with my help, Neve seemed to forget all about men.
Whenever Dan went out, we’d curl up on the sofa and watch DVDs, or climb into bed and flick through magazines.
But while it was always great to spend some fun time with my best pal, a few months later it was Dan’s turn – it was our three-year anniversary.
‘I’m cooking Dan a surprise meal,’ I whispered to Neve, while he watched TV in the living room.
‘Say no more,’ she winked. ‘I’ll make myself scarce.’
‘I just need to pop to the shop for the ingredients,’ I said. ‘Can you hang around, and distract him until I get back?’
‘Of course,’ she smiled, as I grabbed my handbag and walked out of the front door.
When I arrived at the supermarket, though, I realised I’d left my purse behind on the bedside table, so I had to virtually jog
back home.
Tiptoeing up the stairs so Dan wouldn’t hear me, I pulled open the bedroom door, and… ‘Dan!’ I gasped, my breath leaving my lungs as though I’d been punched in the gut.
My boyfriend was in bed… and I could see there was a woman on top of him!
I took in her smooth, pale skin and long dark hair, and realised with a sickening jolt who it was making love to him – Neve!
Rage pulsed through me as I steadied myself on the door frame, my legs threatening to give way.
‘Get off him,’ I fumed.
As Neve scrambled off the bed, covering her modesty with the duvet, Dan’s face turned pale.
‘Jane, I…’ he spluttered.
‘I don’t want to hear it!’ I yelled, turning and running back downstairs.
Sitting down at the kitchen table, my heart hammering in my chest, tears streamed down my cheeks. My boyfriend cheating on me was one thing, but with my best friend…?!
Just then, Neve appeared alone in the doorway wearing her dressing gown.
‘How could you do this to me?’ I croaked, breaking down, as she calmly sat opposite me. Meeting my eyes, she reached across the table and took my hand.
‘You’re my best friend and I love you,’ she sighed. ‘But you’re not exactly whiter than white….’
My anger was quickly replaced with a pang of guilt as her words sank in. She was right!
How could I sit there talking about betrayal when only a few months earlier, I’d done exactly the same thing to Dan… with the same person!
The night Neve and me had stumbled in drunk, kicked off our shoes and crawled into my bed, we hadn’t gone to sleep. Cuddles under the duvet had led to kisses and, before we’d known it, we were in the throes of passion.
We could have easily left it at that, put it down to a drunken mistake, never spoken about it again – but the truth was, whenever we’d snatched a moment alone together since, one thing inevitably seemed to lead to another.
It wasn’t just sex, either… since we’d started sleeping together I’d developed very strong feelings for Neve and, looking at her now, I could tell she felt the same about me.
No wonder I hadn’t noticed my boyfriend and best friend sleeping together behind my back. I was too preoccupied with Neve.
I still loved Dan, but the way I felt about Neve was new, exciting. I couldn’t help wondering if she had actually made this situation easier for me. Now was my chance to get everything out in the open, and decide where to go from here.
Although, it seemed Neve already knew what she wanted to happen. ‘I want us to be together,’ she said.
‘Neve, I love you – but I love Dan, too,’ I told her.
‘I don’t mean you and me,’ she said quietly. ‘I mean the three of us.’
A three-way relationship?! She had to be joking!
‘It makes sense,’ she went on. ‘We all love each other, we’ve always shared everything anyway.’
Yeah, but there were limits! Although… the more I thought about it, the more it made sense.
As I’d struggled with my secret love, I’d found myself wishing I could mesh Neve and Dan together to make the perfect partner. Now, in some weird way, I could.
‘Could this really work?’ I asked.
‘There’s only one way to find out,’ Neve shrugged.
Taking my hand, she led me back to the bedroom where Dan was sitting, holding his head in his hands.
‘I’m so sorry, Jane,’ he sniffed, looking up, his eyes filled with tears. ‘Is it over? Do you want me out?’
‘No…’ I started, sitting down by him.
I took a deep breath. ‘I want to be with you… and Neve,’ I said.
‘Neve?’ he frowned. ‘I don’t….’
‘We’ve been having an affair,’ I said gently.
The look on Dan’s face was a picture. He looked like he didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
I knew how he felt. So many conflicting feelings were running through me at that moment – anger, betrayal, shame, hope…
‘We’ve all made mistakes,’ Neve said. ‘But there’s no denying how much we care for each other.’
There was a long pause, and I could hear my heart pounding.
Slowly, Dan began to nod his head. Standing up, he put an arm around each of us.
‘Let’s give it
a try,’ he said. ‘But how will
this work?’
Over the next few weeks, we tried to work it out. Dan and me continued to share a bed, but occasionally Neve would join us. When Dan was out, me and Neve would be together, and if I wasn’t home….
‘I’m not sure about this,’ I said, the first time I went out with friends, leaving Dan and Neve alone.
I spent the whole night obsessing about what they were up to.
Was I really cut out for this?
Back home the next day, they did everything to reassure and make me feel loved – and it worked a treat.
Everything seemed to be falling into place. It was as though I finally had everything I’d always wanted.
But how was I going to convince other people in my life this was the right thing to do?
Sitting down to dinner with my mum Lily, 56, and my sister Annie, 21, one Sunday, I took a deep breath and plunged in.
‘You know how close me and Neve have always been?’ I started. ‘Well, there’s something I need to tell you….’
The looks on their faces as I tried to explain it to them!
‘That’s disgusting!’ Annie spat, screwing up her face.
‘Honestly! What on earth are you thinking?’ said my mum looking mortified. ‘It’ll all end in tears.’
Of course the three of us accept that most people aren’t going to approve of our relationship, but we love each other and we’ll do whatever we can to make sure none of us gets hurt.
If Dan and me decide to get married and have children, or if Neve meets someone she wants to settle down with, things will have to change.
For now though, it works – three is most definitely not a crowd!

Neve Kennerley, 25, said: ‘I felt guilty for having an affair with Jane behind Dan’s back, but then I found myself feeling attracted to him, too, and things did begin to get rather complicated.
‘Sleeping with him behind Jane’s back was a mistake, but I’m glad about the way things have turned out. I can’t tell you how well we all get on together.’

Dan Roberts, 25, said: ‘My mates think I’m the luckiest man alive having two girlfriends – but I find it hard knowing they sometimes sleep together when I’m not around. I know the day will come when the three of us will have to make some big decisions but, for now, we’re happy.’
Jane Carroll, 25, Canterbury, Kent