Three young men—Jessie, Henry, and Frank—have known each other since they were five years old, when their respective families each wound up moving to Magnolia Terrace at roughly the same time. Jessie was the jock, Henry was the brainiac, Frank the artsy one. This is the story of how they grew up together (and boy howdy did they grow!).
Jessie (March 5), Henry (April 11), and Frank (May 19) were just weeks apart in age and their respective families had all moved to Magnolia Terrace within a few months of each other when they boys were just getting ready to start kindergarten. The Millers (Jessie’s family) arrived first. They lived in No. 17, a 2-story fake Tudor with Jessie and his two older sisters, Nancy and Helen. The Judsons (Henry’s family) showed up next, taking up residence at No. 20, an ersatz Dutch colonial directly across the street from the Millers. In addition to Henry, they had a baby girl, Bonnie. The Hunters (Frank’s family) arrived last, moving into No. 22, a “contemporary” ranch next door to the Judsons. Unlike Jessie or Henry, Frank was an “only” child.
The boys hit it off immediately, although it was clear there were some basic differences. Jessie was outgoing and athletic; Henry, even at five, was prone to have his nose in a book; and Frank had a flair for the dramatic, which is by way of saying he was a bit high strung and capable of total, “drama queen” meltdowns. The Millers, the Judsons, and the Hunters counted themselves lucky that the three little boys, none of whom had brothers, played so well together, and at any given time all three of them were apt to be in any one of the houses. The dads often teased the boys that they were really “Hunjudders” or “Millhunsons” or “Judmilters,” not Millers, Judsons, and Hunters. The moms were pretty pleased, too.
“They complement each other,” said Mrs. Hunter. “Frank’s a little bit less of a flaming sissy when he’s around Jessie.”
“And it certainly doesn’t hurt Jessie to look at a book every now and then,” agreed Mrs. Miller. “Before Henry and Frank showed up, I practically had to tie him down for story time.”
“We have our own little troupe of musketeers,” Mrs. Judson pointed out. “It’s going to be fun to watch them grow up together!”
And, in fact, that’s exactly what they did. As luck would have it, the three families seemed to miss out on most of the crises that afflicted the typical late 20th century suburban American family. They stay married, they kept their jobs—and they loved Magnolia Terrace. (Nearly 30 years later, the three couples are still on Magnolia Terrace, albeit retired now and forever traveling to see kids and grandkids or to check out couples resorts in places like Jamaica. But that’s another story!)
Frank’s mom listened to the radio while cleaning the house and Frank, while playing in the back yard (usually with Jessie and Henry), liked to sing along:
Jessie is a friend, yeah
I know he’s been a good friend of mine
But lately something’s changed
That ain’t hard to define
Jessie’s got himself some friends
And I want to make him mine
Oh I wish that I was Jessie’s girl
Frank belted it out. Henry started laughing.
“What?” Frank said.
“That’s not how the song goes,” Henry said.
“I’m sure that you are wrong,” he replied, using his dad’s best professorial tone.
Henry shook his head.
“No silly, it goes like this…I wish that I had Jessie’s girl.”
“What’s the difference?”
“Well, dummy, think about it. You’re not a girl.”
“Hmm,” he said, thinking about it. “Well, yes, that’s true but I still like my version better.”
“Well, just don’t sing it around Jessie, or he might get sore.”
Frank was beginning to think that Henry was a know-it-all.
“Where is Jessie, anyway?” he asked.
“Canada,” Henry answered. “They’re visiting cousins or something.”
“I know,” Henry said. “I miss him, too.”
Then Frank giggled.
“But it’s a great time to play dress up, huh? Jessie always hates to play dress up!”
The two raced inside Frank’s house.
Billy Hester was beating the shit out of Henry Judson. A lot of the time, Henry was too smart for his own good, especially around someone like Billy, whose picture was in the dictionary next to “12-year-old blockhead.”
Jessie’s kick to Billy’s big fat ass was audible up and down the block. The big kid went sprawling on the sidewalk and before he knew what hit him Jessie was on Billy’s back, yanking on the stupid mullet Billy was so proud of. Meanwhile, Frank swooped in and pulled Henry to his feet, made sure there was no obvious damage (other than Henry’s wounded pride), put Henry on his bike and shooed him towards home.
“Jessie will take care of this,” Frank said.
And, indeed, Jessie was doing precisely that.
“Don’t. You. Ever. Touch. My. Friends. Again,” Jessie yelled at Billy, pulling on that stupid mullet with every word. Billy finally heaved himself off the ground and fled in the opposite direction. Jessie dusted himself off.
“Way to go, stud man,” Frank, drawled.
Jessie shot him an evil glance.
“What am I gonna do with two of you?”
Frank rolled his eyes.
“Hey, you don’t see me getting beat up. I know how to keep my head down. Henry is the one with the smart mouth.”
Jessie shrugged his shoulders. For a 10-year-old he had a great bod, broad shouldered and lean.
“Well, I guess…”
“Well, it probably helps that I’m a tub o’ lard, too,” Frank said, looking down at his jiggly boy boobs. “Too much work!”
Jessie laughed and wrapped his strong, tanned arm around his friend’s shoulders.
“Nah, yer just getting ready for your growth spurt, that’s all,” Jessie said. “In a year or two you’ll start growing up and then you won’t be fat at all.”
Frank paused for a minute to digest that left-handed compliment.
“Well, maybe so,” he allowed, finally. “Uh, speaking of growth spurts…”
Jessie looked at Frank.
“Are you, uh, growing hair in strange places…?”
It was Jessie’s turn to laugh.
“Well, d’oh, of course! You’ve seen your dad naked, right? That’s what we’re going to look like eventually!”
“Well, actually, now that you mention it…”
Jessie gave Frank a quizzical glance.
“Really? You’ve never seen your dad…?”
Which is how Jessie and Frank and Henry wound up spying on Jessie’s dad one weekend not long after. Jessie’s mom and older sisters were off at Girl Scout camp for the weekend and Jessie suggested that they have an “All Guy” weekend with his dad. Years later the boys couldn’t really recall how they’d managed it but they never forgot that Jessie’s dad unclothed was quite a sight. Like Jessie, he was a natural athlete and unlike Frank’s and Henry’s dads he still stayed in shape.
“Jeez, he’s so furry,” Frank whispered.
“And look at that…!” Henry added.
Jessie elbowed him in the ribs.
“Hey,” he growled. “That’s my dad!”
Henry looked at Frank and Frank looked at Henry.
“So that’s what you’re gonna look like when you grow up?”
They said it at the same time. Jessie smirked.
“If I’m lucky…”
March 5, 1989
It was Jessie’s 13th birthday and he had gotten his growth spurt. At 5’8” tall he was at least a head taller than Frank, who was exactly the same weight he’d been at age 10. Ditto, Frank was a head taller than Henry, who at 5 ft. and 95 pounds was feeling very put out about his shrimp-like dimensions. Despite the early spring chill, the birthday party was surfer themed, with board shorts, flip flops, puka shell necklaces, tank tops, coconuts, and fake dolphins everywhere.
“Why the heck are we freezing our buns off?” Frank wanted to know.
“That’s easy,” he answered. “It’s because Mr. Handsome over there looks good in this crap.”
Mr. Handsome was chatting up Jenny Gregory, the blondest, bustiest girl in their 7th grade home room.
“I don’t know what he sees in her,” Frank said.
Henry rolled his eyes.
Oh, brother, he thought, time for another lesson.
“Well, what do you think she sees in Jessie?” he asked.
“Oh, that’s easy,” Frank said. “Perfect skin, perfect teeth, killer green eyes, wavy, sandy blond hair, nice muscles—what’s not to like?”
Henry nodded his head.
“Well, if you actually looked at Jenny Gregory you would notice that she has perfect skin, perfect teeth, hair to die for, and some bodacious ta-ta’s.”
Frank peered over his punch cup at Jenny, as if examining some rare tropical moth.
“Oh! I get it. You mean…?”
“Yes, that’s what I mean. Gods attract Goddesses and vice versa.”
“And just where does that leave mortals like us…?”
Henry slapped his friend on the back.
“Oh,” Frank said. “That song.”
“Apparently, we’re Jessie’s Girls now.”
Frank winced, then giggled.
“Weren’t we always?”
Henry socked him in the arm.
“Owwww,” Frank complained. “What was that for?”
That evening they headed over to Jessie’s for dinner and video games. Jessie had been at the gym when they were on the way home and, well…Fuck, he’s hot, Henry and Frank thought to themselves.
At 17 and 6 ft. tall, Jessie was 185 pounds and in tip-top shape, not an ounce of fat on his body, broad shoulders, beefy 17½” biceps, and 45 inch chest tapering down to a minuscule, rock hard 29 inch waist. Frank and Henry had finally caught up, or close enough, in terms of height, 5’11 and 5’11½ respectively. Otherwise, the same dynamics that had seen them through childhood continued to apply, i.e., Henry was a stork thin 135 pounds; ditto, Frank was 10 pounds heavier than Jessie but with no muscle tone (he was basically a pear-shaped version of Henry.)
“So what are we going to do about prom?” Jessie asked.
His two friends looked at him like he was a loon.
“Well, duh,” Henry said. “You’re going to prom with a gorgeous girl…”
“And we’re going to stay home,” Frank added. “And pretend like we have the flu.”
Jessie leaned back and put his hands behind his head, bouncing his softball size biceps up and down, completely oblivious to the effect they were having on Frank and Henry.
“Well, see that’s the thing,” Jessie said. “There’s not anyone I want to go to prom with. Right now they’re all either mad at me, or totally in lust with me, and if I pick one and not the other I’m never going to hear the end of it.”
Frank and Henry stared at Jessie, their mouths hanging open.
“And I mean, well, you are my girls, aren’t you?”
Frank choked, Henry spluttered.
“Oh, c’mon, you know the guys that say that are all a bunch of tards,” Jessie said. “You’ve been my best pals forever. I think we ought to go stag.”
The word stag sent images crashing through Frank’s and Henry’s respective imaginations in a way neither would really want to admit.
“You know it will be fun,” Jessie added. “And I’ve seen the two of you dance, you’ll do better than anyone else there!”
“You just think I don’t pay attention when you put on that disco crap,” he pointed out, running his hands through his golden tresses. “You’re wrong!”
So that’s how they ended up going to the junior-senior prom together. They stood in the middle of the dance floor, as if they were the prom court, not Bobby Hester (Billy’s younger brother) and Michelle Quatrain. Jessie danced with every girl who asked him to do so, including Michelle, and every girl who came back for seconds got Frank or Henry.
“Hey, Jessie,” Sally Ribicoff said. “I’m glad you dragged these two clowns out here tonight.”
Sally was hands down the hottest girl in their class, a perfectly proportioned brunette who could (and would someday) be a fashion model.
“Would you like to dance, Sally?” Jessie asked smoothly.
Sally pinched Jessie’s cheek, as if she were some ancient babushka, and then said.
“I sure would like to dance—with Henry!”
Henry was only too happy to grab Sally and head for the dance floor—the girl had the best moves of anyone at the party, after him! Jessie and Frank just stood there with their mouths hanging open.
“You’re attracting flies,” Sylvia Sydney pointed out to them.
“It’s a new world order,” Jennifer Jones noted.
“But we will dance with you,” the two said together. “Unlike Sally, we’re not picky!”
A year later…
“Uh…” Jessie started.
Henry and Frank looked at him.
“It’s okay,” Henry said.
“We’ve heard already,” Frank said.
Jessie gave them a glance.
“You’re going to the prom with Sally,” Henry pointed out.
“I haven’t even asked her yet!”
Henry and Frank laughed.
“It’s okay,” Frank said. “We’ve already talked to her. She’s asking you tomorrow.”
“But what?” Henry asked. “We know you want to go with her.”
“And we already have plans,” Frank pointed out.
Jessie’s eyes bulged.
Frank patted Jessie on the knee.
“We’re double dating,” he said.
“Us and Sylvia and Jennifer,” Henry added. “They’re not Sally, of course, but they’re still good dancers and they don’t mind if Frank steps on their feet.”
“Just make sure you don’t step on Sally’s feet,” Frank added. “Or I’ll never hear the end of it.”
But, but, but, Jessie thought to himself, his mind reeling.
“It’s like you said,” Henry allowed. “We’re your girls—who’s gonna watch out for you, if not us?”
It turned out that Henry, all 140 pounds of him, and Sylvia, who outweighed Henry by a good 30 pounds, most of it in her chest and ass, were elected King and Queen that year, not Jessie and Sally.
“I, well, uh, I mean, gee, Sally…”
Jessie was mortified. The 210-pound football stud wasn’t sure what to think of being outshone by his geeky best friend. Sally just laughed.
“Babe, not to worry,” she pointed out. “You don’t get to be Prom King with two left feet, no matter how good looking you are. I knew what I was getting myself into.”
They slipped out a while later, headed for, well, Frank and Henry didn’t quite know but they had a good guess, mostly because Sylvia and Jennifer were headed to the same place.
“You guys are the best,” they said, hugging each in turn.
“What would girls like us do without guys like you?”
Funny, Henry thought.
“I was thinking the same thing,” Frank finished for him.
“Ya gotta teach us how to work out,” Henry told Jessie.
“What? Since when have either of you had any interest in working out?”
“Well, you see…” he began.
“It’s like this, Jessie,” Henry continued. “Frank needs to lose 30 pounds by the time school starts if he has a chance of getting into that dance class he wants. And I figure if he’s going to work out, I will, too—I’m tired of being a pencil-necked geek!”
Jessie just stared.
“Surely it’s not that hard to figure out?” Frank observed.
“It’s not hard at all. I’m both flabbergasted and delighted. I never thought I’d ever get your asses in there. You know what they say…”
“We’re not horses, ya know.”
“Speak for yourself,” Henry countered.
Jessie shook his head.
“I don’t know what that’s all about.”
“And you don’t want to,” Frank chimed in.
So that’s how they spent their last summer together on Magnolia Terrace—in the gym.
Jessie was pleased to learn that Henry and Frank weren’t quite as hopeless as he was afraid they might be. Yes, it took a fair amount of instruction before they got an exercise down; Frank was apt to start doing something totally random before being reminded that they were actually working traps, not calves. Henry invariably complained about having to eat more, Frank invariably complained about having to do cardio. And…They learned. They were consistent. They were disciplined. They kept at it.
“Well,” Frank said. “I don’t think you should be that surprised.”
Henry nodded his head.
“We’ve always been straight A students and we’ve always had to work at it.”
“Just a different form of exercise, that’s all.”
In 12 weeks, Frank lost 30 pounds, including 7 inches off his waist. Everything else was harder and thicker than it ever had been before. During the same time, Henry gained 25 pounds of solid muscle.
“My gosh,” Jessie said. “Look at you! You’re twins!”
Well, not exactly. The two boys’ coloring was completely different but if you put bags over their heads, Jessie definitely had a point. One was 5’11, the other 5’11½, and both 165 pounds of lean, well-proportioned muscle.
“You look like marathoners,” Jessie said.
They both beamed.
“Of course…” Frank said.
“Compared to you…” Henry added.
Not much of a comparison, really. Jessie had added another 10 pounds over the summer. At 6 ft. and 220 pounds, he was ripped—and made his two best friends, even with their new hard bodies, look like little boys by comparison. He at least had the decency to blush.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do without you two,” he mumbled. “I, uh, well…”
Frank and Henry burst out laughing.
“Oh, can the mushy crap, Jessie, we know exactly what you’re going to be doing without us,” Henry said.
“Boinky boinky boinky,” Frank chimed in.
What are we gonna do without him? Henry wondered.
Jessie was going to Wake Forest University to play football and get a decent education. Frank and Henry were going to Emory University on academic scholarships. Winston-Salem and Atlanta aren’t that far apart but they weren’t likely to see each other until Christmas, especially given Jessie’s football schedule.
“Well…” Frank said.
“We’ll see you then,” Henry added.
Jessie hugged his two friends tight, and for a long time.
“I love you guys,” he said, his voice full of emotion.
Frank and Henry looked each other in the eye, and they both murmured at the same time.
“We love you, too.”
“Jesus,” Jessie said.
“Well, yes,” Frank replied.
“It IS his birthday,” Henry pointed out.
Jessie shook his head.
“That’s not what I’m talking about, dummies. Fucking look at the two of you!”
“Language!” Henry chirped.
“Potty mouth!” Frank added.
Jessie whacked both of them on their heads.
Frank and Henry beamed.
“You grew muscles!”
Once they got to Emory, it turned out Frank and Henry had been severely bitten by the iron bug and the Emory weight room was a great place to indulge their new obsession. Not to mention Cox Hall (“Cox Hall?! Bwaahahahahahah!” was their reaction) was “all you can eat, all the time.”
Frank had gained back 25 of the 30 pounds he had lost over the summer, all of it muscle, and now weighed in at 190 pounds, which Henry had packed on a staggering 30 pounds, all of it in the right places.
“Jesus,” Jessie said again. “Henry…”
Frank poked Henry’s bulging pecs.
“Jesus is right, actually,” Frank noted. “Henry is now 195—that’s 55 pounds of muscle in six months.”
Jessie shook his head again.
“That’s insane,” he pointed out.
Henry lifted his right arm and flexed.
“Fuck,” Jessie said.
“More precisely, 17½ inches of fuck,” Frank pointed out.
Henry fake-punched Frank’s shoulder.
“Look who’s talking, Mr. Gained 25 pounds and lost an inch off his waist,” he observed.
Frank pulled up his shirt. His eight packed was riiiipped.
“Damn, boys, yer showin’ me up,” Jessie spluttered.
The two laughed.
“Oh, give me a break,” Frank countered.
“You gained how much?” Henry asked.
“Not nearly as much as you guys, shit, just 5 pounds, that’s all.”
Frank rolled his eyes.
“Which brings you to 225 pounds, Mr. Stud Man, in case you’ve forgotten—absent our assistance—how to do simple arithmetic.”
“Perhaps that’s the case,” Henry agreed. “Otherwise he might have noticed that he still outweighs us by at least 30 fucking pounds.”
They spent the next two weeks in the gym. Well, that is, except when Jessie wasn’t catching up with every girl from their graduating class, including Sylvia and Jennifer, who specifically requested that Jessie bring Frank and Henry along.
“Well,” they said, looking pointedly at Jessie.
“Well what?” he asked.
“Well, Sally, of course.” It was always hard for Jessie to figure out which one, Sylvia or Jennifer, was actually doing the talking.
“Freshman 15,” Frank said.
“More like Freshman 30,” Henry added.
“She hasn’t gained an ounce,” Jessie said. “But she has developed a thing for older guys.”
Frank rolled his eyes.
“And philosophy majors,” Henry added.
“Of the French exchange student variety,” Frank chimed in.
Sylvia tsked, Jennifer tutted.
“And what about you two…?”
Frank snorted Mountain Dew out his nose, Henry tried to choke on his pretzel. Jessie pounded Henry on the back while Sylvia handed Frank a napkin.
“Well…?” Jessie asked.
Frank and Henry blushed.
“School is going great,” Frank squeaked.
“Gym is going better,” Henry muttered.
Sylvia and Jennifer gave each other a glance.
“Jessie, y’know, we’ll be happy to take Frank and Henry home,” Jennifer said.
Jessie looked at them.
“You’ve got a date with Heather, right?”
“S’Okay, Stud Man, the girls have got you covered,” Frank said.
Y’know, Jessie said to himself, sometimes I wonder…
“And, yes,” Frank said.
“About a week after school started.”
Jennifer looked at Sylvia.
“About time,” Sylvia said.
“Well, you know…” Henry continued.
“It’s just that…”
Jennifer shut them off with a cutting motion that worked well for her in karate class.
“Oh, give it a rest, guys,” she said. “We know that you’re totally in love with him.”
“And always have been,” Sylvia added. “But he’s just not…”
“Gay?” Frank asked.
“Into us?” Henry queried.
The two lesbians hugged their two gay best friends.
“He’s clueless, fellas,” Jennifer pointed out.
“He likes dipping his wick,” Sylvia added. “My guess is…”
“Any hole will do,” Jennifer continued. “But he hasn’t figured that out yet.”
Frank and Henry hugged each other.
In the meantime, Frank thought.
“In the meantime,” Henry said.
Jessie isn’t the only one who is clueless, Sylvia thought.
But they’ll figure it out, Jennifer said to herself.
“What do you mean you’re not coming home for the summer?” Jessie squawked into the phone.
“Just what I said,” Frank replied.
“We found an apartment,” Henry added, on another line. “Plus I have an internship and…
“And I have a job,” Frank finished up.
Hmmf, Jessie thought. It’s gonna be one helluva boring summer.
“What kind of job?” Jessie asked.
“Oh, just a summer job,” Frank replied, which caused Henry to snort.
“Summer job doing what?” Jessie demanded.
“Uh, well…” Frank hemmed and hawed.
“He’s going to be a personal trainer,” Henry said.
Jessie was having a hard time featuring Frank as a personal trainer in Atlanta. A year ago Frank had been begging Jessie to show him how to work out. Now…?
“Well, when will I see you?” Jessie demanded.
“When you get your butt to Atlanta,” Frank replied.
“But, but, but…”
“No buts,” Henry countered. “We know you have ‘big plans’ to go see that Italian exchange student in Florence. You’ll just have to work around it.”
Jessie went to Italy, Frank and Henry stayed in Atlanta, except for 4th of July weekend; they went home but Jessie, who’d planned to be home, spent the next six weeks on the Costa del Sol.
“What do you mean you’re not coming home?” Henry asked.
“Well, Natalya has this gig here…” Jessie began.
“Natalya Who?” Frank insisted.
Natalya the 27-year-old divorced Russian engineer from Chelyabinsk, it turned out.
Frank and Henry rolled their eyes.
Which is why they didn’t see Jessie until…
Actually, it turned out they were over at Sylvia and Jennifer’s place, so Jessie went looking for them, rather than the other way around.
“Hey, who has the fancy red Jeep out there?” Jessie asked when Jennifer opened the front door. He was still looking over his shoulder when a deep voice replied, “That would be ours.”
Jessie turned to see who was speaking and was stunned by what he saw.
“H-H-H-enry?!” he stuttered. “Is that you?”
It was Henry’s face, all right, but when did he grow his hair out and where did the beard come from and…?!!
“Holy shit, dude,” Jessie managed to get out. “Yer fuckin’ huge.”
A shit-eating grin broke across Henry’s face as he gathered his best friend up into a big bear hug and craaaaaacked his back.
“You think I’m huge,” he boomed. “You oughta see Frankie boy.”
“Yo, Jessie,” Frank said. “I see you’re still big as ever!”
Jessie stared from one to the other.
“Well, I told you about that gym job back in May,” Frank continued. “The great thing is that we could work out there any time of day.”
“Plus,” Henry continued, “deep, deep employee discount on supplements.”
“But but but…”
Frank put a calloused meat hook of a hand on Jessie’s shoulder.
“Yeah, yeah, I know. It’s not typical for somebody to put on 45 pounds of solid muscle in a year, especially when they start out at 195—like Henry did.”
“Or 60 pounds, like you did,” he added.
“Jeez, guys, yer huge!”
“Henry Boy here is 240 now, so, yeah I guess you could say he’s huge all right.”
“Pfft,” Henry added. “You’re the one who weighs 250.”
And with that they wrapped each other in their huge arms (they had to be 21-22 inches cold) and gave each other a deep, passionate kiss.
“You’re looking bigger, too,” Sylvia said brightly to Jessie.
“What are you up to?” Jenny asked.
Jessie just stood there watching his two best friends make out in Sylvia’s and Jennifer’s living room (before she went off to Paris with the philosophy major Sally explained their “d’oh, why didn’t I see that?!” relationship to Jessie.)
Frank pulled his tongue out of Henry’s mouth, grabbed Jessie by the shoulders and looked him up and down.
“Oh, I’d say he’s up to 235, or thereabouts. Put on another 10 pounds this past year?”
Jessie felt flushed, like he was coming down with the flu.
“Uh, well, yeah, I did, but I’ve lost a few pounds since Thanksgiving. I’m down to about 230 now.”
Frank sucked in his waist, still no larger than Jessie’s cinched 32 inches, and threw out a chest that appeared to be pushing 60 inches.
“Hey, it’s Christmas, we’ll feed you! You’ll gain that weight back—and more—in no time.”
Sylvia and Jennifer giggled.
“They’ve definitely gotten good at feeding each other,” Sylvia said.
The two studs had the decency to blush. For once in his life, Jessie didn’t have to wait for someone to explain it to him, so Frank and Henry weren’t the only ones blushing.
It was Frank’s turn to hug Jessie but hugging wasn’t enough—he had to throw in a twirl and then, his two meaty paws inserted under Jessie’s armpits, lifted him up over his head.
“Oh, Jeeze, Frank, put me down!”
Jessie was uncomfortably aware that his beefy 9-inch dick was tenting his parachute-fabric running pants.
“You’re home now,” Henry said. “That’s all that matters.”
Frank nodded. He and Henry linked arms while each resting a hand on Jessie’s broad shoulders.
“We’ve missed you.”
Jessie misted up.
“S’mutual,” he choked out, then he brightened. “But I think we’re gonna have to change your names.”
The two looked at him quizzically.
“To Stud and Hunk,” he added, a twinkle in his eye.
“No more Jessie’s Girls?” Sylvia asked.
Squeezing Henry’s and Frank’s massive delts, Jessie just shook his head.
“Jessie’s He-Men,” he suggested. “How does that sound?”
Frank looked at Henry, Henry looked at Frank.
“We like it!”
“I love you guys,” he said, finally.
“We know,” Henry said.
“We love you, too,” Frank added.
“And we can tell you’re not really into it.”
Jessie looked at them in surprise.
“Didn’t I just…?”
They laughed and sighed and pinched his nipples.
“You liked it,” Frank said.
“And you liked watching us,” Henry pointed out.
“But who were you thinking of it when you were doing the poking?”
Jessie looked from one to the other.
“I was thinking of me,” he said, finally. “Actually, I was thinking of me AS you, as both of you, or either of you.”
“Fucking, of course.”
Oh, Jessie thought.
“Sally,” he said. “Or Natalya. Hell, even Sylvia or Jennifer.”
Frank nodded. Henry ran his finger along Jessie’s handsome jaw.
“You’re both so fucking hot,” Jessie said.
“Who would have thought it, huh?” Frank asked.
Whack was Henry’s response.
Jessie let out a breath.
“And yet, well, yeah,” he agreed. “I was thinking about doing girls the whole time. Me doing girls, you doing girls, me as you and you as girls.”
Frank groped Jessie’s crotch, Henry nibbled Jessie’s nipple.
Henry turned Jessie’s face toward his own.
“Don’t ever be.”
Frank squeezed Jessie’s neck.
“We love you for who—and what—you are. You don’t need to be something else for us.”
It was the only time.
Fifteen years later…
Jessie’s NFL career was spectacularly successful. Frank’s career as a pro bodybuilder was somewhat less so, mostly because he never did anything to hide his relationship with Henry. It didn’t really help that Henry was just as big, which intimidated all the other competitors and made them jealous at the same time—“why isn’t he competing?”—tended to be the chief complaint.
“They’re here,” Frank called out to Henry, who was setting the table. Jessie, Sally, and the twins, Hal and Francis, were clambering out of the forest green Range Rover.
“He looks really good,” Henry said, looking over Frank’s shoulder.
“She keeps him in great shape,” Frank agreed.
The boys rushed the two freakishly huge bodybuilder and started climbing on them like a couple of jungle gyms.
“Boys, boys,” Jessie said. “Don’t wear ‘em out before we even have lunch!”
Frank laughed, catching Hal while tossing Francis towards Henry.
“Hey,” Frank said. “Just because you can’t keep up with these two!”
“Jessie’s girls, Jessie’s girls,” Francis cried out while he was wrapped around Henry’s neck, pulling on his ears.
“We wish, we wish that you were Jessie’s girls!” Hal sang along.
The two musclemen rolled their eyes.
“Who taught you that song?” they asked, in unison.
“Grampa Bill and Grampa Bob, of course!” they replied. Bill and Bob were respectively Frank and Henry’s dads.
“What can I say?” Sally asked.
Jessie shook his head.
“You know how it goes on Magnolia Terrace,” he pointed out.
The two men crushed him in their embrace.
“It’s cool, dude,” Henry said. “We’ve always been Jessie’s girls.”
“And we always will be.”