Double Dating With The Parents - Version Alpha

by Lubrican

Chapters : 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | Epilogue

Chapter Nine

The car ride home started out in silence. They were almost halfway home when somebody finally spoke.

"I'm sorry," said Jack.

Karen stared straight ahead, as if she were angry, but her voice didn't convey anger.

"I'm so frustrated with you," she said." Part of me wants to scream at you and lock you in your room. But part of me knows that it wasn't your fault."

"Mandy didn't make me do anything," he said.

"I didn't mean it was Mandy's fault. What the two of you did was normal. What frustrates me is that I don't want you to be normal. Not in that way. But I know that's not right either. I should have paid closer attention. Bob was right. We were miserable chaperones, and because of that, things you couldn't control got out of hand. We should have controlled them for you, and we didn't, because we were doing exactly the same thing you were ... falling in love."

"How could you have controlled it?" asked Jack.

"By making sure you didn't do anything more than a simple, non-sexual good night kiss," she said. "And by not doing things in front of you that you later wanted to experiment with."

"That's the funny part," said Jack.

"What?"

"I would never have admitted it to you before this, but I've seen all that stuff before, on the internet."

"Great! Now my son is addicted to porn," groaned Karen.

"I'm not addicted. I've just seen stuff now and then. You know, like when some cute girl says hi in the halls and you get a boner that won't go away, so maybe you surf around for a picture and look at it while you jack off. That kind of thing. I'm not surfing porn every night, Mom."

"You shouldn't surf porn at all," she grumbled.

"What I'm talking about is that I've seen guys sucking on women's nipples before. And it felt exciting to watch. But it wasn't anything like what I felt when I saw Bob sucking on your nipples. That's why I wanted to do it to Mandy so much." He sighed. "And that was before I saw him on top of you ... like that."

"I'm sorry you saw that," she said. "I thought he closed the door."

"The door was closed, but when I touched it, it just came open somehow."

"Why did you touch it?" she asked.

"Because it sounded like you were dying in there," he said.

"As you can see, I didn't die."

"Yes, but that's why I think I ended up finding out why you were making those sounds about fifteen minutes later."

Now she looked over at him.

"Did you 'slip' on purpose, Jack? Did you take Mandy's virginity without asking her if you could?"

"No!" he said instantly. "It really was an accident. But once I felt it, I don't think I could have stopped if she'd begged me to. I mean I did stop, for a few seconds, but then she grabbed my butt and I knew I wasn't taking it out until I was finished. It scared me, Mom, and yet it was the best thing that ever happened to me."

"I understand," she said. "That's why we have to keep you apart now. If we don't, you're going to want to do that again and again."

"Do you feel that way about Bob?"

"It's one reason I want to marry him," she said.

He went silent then, and stayed that way until they pulled into the driveway. She sensed something was bothering him.

"We have to keep you apart, Baby," she said. "I know that hurts, but we have to. At least for now."

"I can live with that," he said, gruffly.

"Then what's wrong?"

"I can't get it out of my mind," he said.

"You and Mandy?" she asked, sympathetically.

"No."

He looked over at her helplessly.

"Bob ... on top of you."

"Oh," she said, faintly.

"I don't understand," he moaned.

"I love him," she said, helplessly.

"No, that's not that I mean."

"Then what?"

"I can't understand why thinking about that gives me a boner," he said.

"Daddy?"

Mandy's voice was hesitant. She was standing in the doorway to his bathroom, something she'd done hundreds of times before. He was putting lotion on his beard, to soften it and keep it from drying out and itching. Both were ready for bed, Bob in his PJ bottoms and she in her panties and T shirt.

"What?" he asked, a little truculently. He was still thinking about the forced separation from Karen. And who had causedit.

"Does this mean you won't give me a goodnight hug anymore?"

He turned to look at her.

"What? Of course not. Where did you get that idea?"

"You just seemed so mad," she said. "It's like you hate me all of a sudden."

He wiped his hands on a towel, feeling like a beast. He put his hands on her shoulders and pulled her to him.

"I don't hate you, Baby," he said, sliding his arms around and across her back.

She snuggled up against him.

"I'm just frustrated, that's all."

"I'm sorry," she said, beginning to cry. Some of that emotion was relief at learning her father didn't hate her. She pushed back, as all teenagers do in a parental relationship. But some of that push-back was the same kind of resistance, or perhaps assertion, that a wife does with her husband. They were in a symbiotic relationship, but neither of them had spent any time thinking about that. They just fed off of each other, in a mildly parasitic manner, and when the other did something to disturb the flow of "nutrition" being exchanged, it created conflict.

"It's not your fault," he sighed. "I knew this could happen to you and I did a miserable job of making sure it didn't."

"I love you so much," she cried, burrowing her face into his pectoral muscle.

"And I love you," he said, squeezing her.

The next day felt odd for Bob and Karen. Considering the results of the conversation the night before, their children should have been subdued. But they weren't. Both were chipper the next morning, alert and in a good mood. Knowing your parent still loves you when you've screwed up royally will do that for you.

If anything it was the adults who were subdued. It was Friday, which meant both had to work. They talked during lunch but every idea either of them thought up had serious flaws in it.

"We can talk about it tomorrow," said Karen. "We'll have all day, then."

As it turned out, they didn't have all day. Saturday morning Karen's boss called her and said two of the clerks scheduled to work had called in sick. He asked her to come in and offered to pay her overtime. She couldn't pass up the extra money and agreed. She called Bob, who said that was fine.

"I still don't have any ideas anyway," he said.

"We'll get together tonight," she said. "Thanks. I love you."

"I love you too. So why is this so hard?"

"I wish I had the answer too," she said.

That evening the Rosses didn't get to the Thurlows' until after supper.

The parents looked at their children.

"Do you promise not to do anything you know we wouldn't like while we talk privately?" asked Karen.

They both nodded.

"Promise me!" she insisted.

"We're not animals who can't control ourselves," said Mandy.

"Promise me!" said Karen, almost shouting.

"I promise!" yipped Mandy.

"I promise, too," said Jack.

"Thank you!" snapped Karen. "I don't know how long this is going to take."

"Are you going to have sex?" asked Mandy.

Karen stared at her. "I seriously doubt it," she snarled.

"I was just curious," said Mandy, sounding hurt.

"Watch TV. Or play a board game. Just let us talk this thing out," said Karen.

"Got it," said Jack.

In Bob's bedroom, Karen paced.

"What are we going to do?" moaned Karen. "I want to marry you. I really don't want to wait two years to do that. But if we live together, they'll be in the same house, only feet apart at night. And we both know what that will eventually lead to."

"What if we let them get together, just every once in a while, under conditions we could control?" he said.

She looked up at him.

"Really?"

"Why not?" he asked in frustration. "What else are we going to do? If we try to keep them apart they'll find a way to get together again, sooner or later. And if they do that we won't be able to exert any kind of control."

"But we can't just let them act like a married couple," said Karen.

"You want to hear something crazy?" he asked.

"Is there anything about this that isn't crazy?" she responded.

"Actually, one of the things I thought about is just getting married and letting them live together while we live together," he said. "It would solve the problem."

"Until they have a fight over something and break up," said Karen.

"We'd be there to help them move on. And if they lose interest in each other that way, they'd still have separate rooms. Assuming we find a place big enough for that."

"They'd agree to that," said Karen. "Living together, I mean. Having access to each other."

"Then is that what you want to do?"

"I do want to get married and live with you," she said. "I want to go to bed with you every night."

"Let's go see what the kids think," he said.

They'd only been gone ten minutes. They found the kids sitting Indian style on the living room rug, facing each other and talking. Both looked up in surprise.

"We have a possible course of action," saidBob.

"What?" Neither teen got up.

"We find a house to all live in together. Karen and I would get married. Each of you would have your own room, but you would be allowed to spend time together whenever you wanted to. Then, later, after graduation at a minimum, if you both still feel the way you do now, you can get married."

Jack's mouth dropped open.

Mandy's face clouded over.

"Except that we couldn't," she said. "I've already said that if you get married now it will make us brother and sister. I like the other part just fine. What happens inside our houses is our business ... private ... but if you get married everybody in town will look at us like we're brother and sister. We can't be happy like that, because we can never get married if that happens."

"But you won't really be brother and sister," said Bob. "Your lineage is completely different."

"I know a girl named Becky Thompson. Her mom got married three times and she had two different sets of step brothers. Every time she talks about one of them she calls him her brother. Not step-brother ... just brother. And everybody else who talks about them calls them her brothers."

"Iknow one of her brothers," said Jack. "Step-brothers, I mean. One day he saw me looking at Becky and asked me if I thought his sister was hot. He didn't call her his step-sister either."

"I don't see how it will matter whether we wait until you're eighteen or not," said Karen, frowning. "Either way, you'll become each other's step-sibling when we get married."

"Where's your laptop?" asked Bob, looking at Karen.

She got it for him and he opened it. He brought up Google and started searching. He found dozens of pages related to "step-sibling incest" but none of them talked about marriage. What they did talk about was how terrible it was. There were a few on the other side of the fence, who pointed out that there was no blood relationship, but there were many more who thought it was perverted. He didn't read those to the rest of them.

He fared much better when he changed the search parameters to "step-sibling marriage". There he found dozens of posts by people who had engaged in that very pursuit, as well as posts by those wanting to and looking for information. There were conflicting comments about what the law was, which made sense, because marriage law is almost always state law.

Of particular interest were the difference in the stories of those who grew up together and then got into a romance or marriage, and those whose parents had come together while the love birds were in their mid to late teens.

The ones who grew up together had a much rougher time of it. The ones who had been adopted by a step-parent were flatly forbidden to marry, blood line or not.

Only the ones whose parents got married when the kids were older, or after they turned 18, had less, or no difficulty with the law.

One post said, "We went to a different city to get married. We had different last names. Nobody thought a thing about it. Then we went to college as a married couple. By the time anybody who had known us in the past found out about it, she'd already had my kid."

"Well," said Bob, closing the laptop. "There's good and bad news."

"What's the good news?" asked Karen.

"If they wait until they're 18 and never live together under one roof, they can probably get married without anyone raising an eyebrow."

"You don't have to tell me the bad news," said Karen, her voice tight. She looked at the kids. "To allow for your happiness, we have to give up our own."

"There has to be something else we can do," moaned Mandy, who felt like she knew exactly how Karen felt. She'd felt the same way when she thought she wouldn't be able to be with Jack any more.

"If you have any ideas, I'd love to hear them," said Karen.

Jack raised his hand, as if he was in school.

"I have an idea," he said. "What if we kept both houses, but only lived in one of them? I mean, technically, our address would be different from their address."

"Wouldn't work," said Mandy. "We have friends, and they come over. They'd find out we were all living here."

"Who said your house?" asked Jack.

"Wherever!" said Mandy. "The point is we have to live apart and they want to live together. It has to at least look like we're living in separate houses. It's fine for them to be going together and go out on dates and kiss in public. Nobody will think a thing about that."

"So," said Karen, playing devil's advocate. "What happens when you two are high school sweethearts and everybody knows it, and then after you graduate we get married? You think they'll cut you any slack then? I don't. I bet a dozen of them would tell you that you have to break up, whether you've graduated or not."

Mandy bit her lip. She knew how her friends thought, and Karen had pegged them pretty well.

"But that means we're all separated from each other," she moaned. "Except you two can still go out on dates."

"Sometimes the things you want in life mean you have to make sacrifices to get them," said Bob. "In this case, you want to be able to get married after you graduate. The sacrifice being required of you is to wait a little more than two years and then convince people that you didn't get interested in each other until after we got married. The sacrifice you're asking Karen and me to make isn't about our happiness. It's about yours. There's nothing stopping us from getting married tomorrow ... except that we want you two to be happy too. And, as parents, we're used to making sacrifices for our children. But this is a big one. If we do this for you we're going to have to be able to spend enough time together to keep our own relationship healthy."

"You can do that," Mandy assured them. "Whenever you guys want to have sex we'll leave you alone."

"I'm not talking about just sex," said Bob. "Our relationship involves much more than just sex."

"Right!" said Mandy. "Whatever you need. But can we ask for something too?"

"Shoot," said Bob.

"We could agree to your original idea and be able to live together and have sex and all that stuff," she said. "But we're giving that up because there's more than sex to our relationship too. We're thinking about the future. But we need to be able to be together sometimes. Like, maybe ... once a week?" Her voice ended up on a hopeful note.

"That's too often," said Bob. "You're on the pill, but the pill isn't foolproof. Once a month would be safer, when you are least fertile."

"Would you be satisfied with once a month, Daddy?" she asked him, unabashedly.

"Twice a month," suggested Karen.

"Okay, twice a month for sure," said Mandy. "And, just every so often, on special occasions, an extra time."

Bob thought about it.

"We'll give it a trial period," he said, instead of a yes or no.

A trial period was fine with the kids.

The agreement having been made, Bob and Karen watched their children walk hand in hand toward Mandy's bedroom. Bob's awaited them.

"Wait!" said Bob, suddenly. The teens turned. "You haven't been on the pill long enough for it to take full effect," he said.

Both kids just stared at him. He could tell what was running through their minds. They'd been anticipating something that had just been jerked away from them.

"Mandy, when was your last period?" he asked.

"Daddy!" she moaned, covering her face in embarrassment.

"You want to do adult things," he said. "This is part of making choices like an adult. When's your next period due?"

She dropped her hands, but her face was still red.

"A couple of days," she said.

Bob looked at Karen. His unspoken question was clear.

"Do you have a condom?" she asked.

"I meant to get some, but things have been crazy," he replied.

"If she's due in two days, that's a pretty safe time," said Karen, frowning.

"If we want them to make decisions like adults, then we have to set the example," Bob said.

Karen looked away. Bob looked at the kids.

"I have to ask another question that's going to seem very personal," said Bob.

"Okay," said both kids in tandem.

"Jack said you asked him to perform cunnilingus on you," said Bob.

"What?" asked both teens, again in tandem.

"I believe you phrased it as sucking her pussy," said Bob, ruthlessly.

"Oh." They might as well have been twins, saying everything at the same time.

"So ... did you?" asked Bob.

Now they were quiet in tandem.

"Let's just cut to the chase," said Bob. "It's still too dangerous for you to have intercourse. Your sperm in her vagina is a bad idea right now. But your sperm in ... um ... other places, isn't so bad."

Mandy tumbled to what he was saying first.

"You want me to give him a blow job?" She sounded incredulous.

"Have you done that before?" he asked, steeling himself. "You saw Karen doing that to me. Everything else you've seen us do, you did, too."

"Maybe," said Mandy, her face flushing bright red.

"Well, maybe you should do things that way until your pills kick in," said Bob, who was pretty red himself.

"Okay. Sure. Can we go now?"

"Yes. Fine." Bob looked away from them and to Karen, whose eyes were round as saucers.

What else was I supposed to do?" he asked. "I couldn't just tell them to watch TV."

Karen, perhaps in some form of empathy with her son and Bob's daughter, was sucking Bob's prong. Her end game was different, of course. She planned on getting his hard prick in her pussy before much longer. Then, suddenly, she stopped and pulled off of him.

"I just thought of something," said Karen, her eyes widening with the epiphany she'd just had.

"What?"

"Why do all their friends have to know they're sweethearts? What if we could convince them to date other people? It would just be for show, unless while they were doing that they found out they're not 'in love' after all. If they fall out of love, we can get married and all live together. And if they weather the next two years, then no one will know they were sleeping together at home and after we're married, they can 'fall in love.'"

"That's brilliant," he said. He started to get off the bed, his intent clear. Karen snagged his wrist and held him back.

"You might want to wait. It's possible you wouldn't like what you see when you open that door."

"Shit, he groaned. "You're right."

"Stay here," she said. "I'll do something to take your mind off of it. We can talk to them anytime."

She was right in one sense and wrong in another. When Bob had started to go talk to them, the teens were already naked, locked in a torrid embrace, with Jack's boner sawing in and out between Mandy's legs while they stood, kissing hotly.

By the time Karen lowered her mouth onto Bob's aching boner, Mandy was doing the same thing. Where Karen was wrong was that her intent was different than Mandy's.

Once Mandy had him fully hard, she didn't want to taste his spunk, and soon Jack was on top of her, dry fucking her again.

"Your mom is right. My period is only two days away, so I probably can't get pregnant right now. Plus I'm on the pill. I want to feel it one more time. Then we'll do what Daddy wanted us to do." panted Mandy.

"Okay," gasped Jack.

Both males slid inside their chosen mate within a minute of each other.

Jack groaned, pushed in deep, and ejaculated much sooner than Bob did, though.

It was a night of firsts, in a sense.

It was the first full night Bob and Karen spent in his bed, in comfort, without having to worry about where the kids were or what they were doing.

And it was, of course, the first night Mandy and Jack had ever spent alone, in any bed, able to do whatever they wanted to.

It was the first night Bob and Karen spent together in which they felt the future held some semblance of normal hope for their own happiness, and plans.

And it was the first night Jack could push deep into his teenage lover and act like he was fertilizing her without fear of discovery or censure.

It was the first night when Karen didn't really care whether or not Bob got her pregnant.

And it was the first night when Mandy could savor every ounce of Jack's warm sperm flowing into her belly without worrying about whether or not she was procreating.

It was the first night Karen used her man so much that the time came when he simply couldn't get it up again.

And it was the first night that Jack could proudly display each revived erection, and then use it to satisfy Mandy with vaginal intercourse.

Oddly, it was the men who got up first the next morning. I say "oddly" by virtue of the commonly held belief that all the woman has to do is lie there, and it's the man who does all the work. Of course that is only believed in situations where the woman does not climb on top of the man and do lots of the work. Both women, in this situation, had done exactly that, several times during the night and, combined with not getting much sleep at all, they were both snoring softly when the men woke up and had to relieve their bladders.

Both men's balls were vaguely sore, and their abdominal muscles were distinctly in that condition, so it was relatively easy for each to resist the urge to climb back in bed with their naked mate.

Jack was dressed in yesterday's clothes when he wandered into the kitchen to find Bob already there, nursing a cup of coffee he'd made.

"Morning," he said, automatically, and then tensed.

"Do you drink this stuff?" asked Bob, who felt the tension that was suddenly in the air.

"Not really," said Jack.

"This is awkward, isn't it?" said Bob.

"I guess," said Jack.

Bob sighed. "I guess it couldn't be any other way. I've been thinking about this. Just like you were the man of your house, Mandy was the woman of ours. I guess it's understandable that each of us could be a little uptight about 'our' woman sleeping with some guy they met and fell in love with."

"Yeah," said Jack, understanding that on a visceral level.

"So ... are we going to be okay?"

"I want to be," said Jack.

"Well, that's half the battle," said Bob.

"Stuff has just happened so fast," said Jack.

"I have found that, when a woman is involved, life can be tumultuous, unexpected, and very, very fast," said Bob.

"You can say that again," said Jack.

"You sure you don't want some coffee? If you put enough sugar and cream in it it's not so bad."

"What the heck," said Jack. "My life is already full of new things. What's one more?"

They were talking about sports, just chatting like old buddies, when Karen walked in, her eyes bleary.

"Coffee!" she groaned. "I need coffee. Why do I feel like I have a hangover?"

"Maybe you're dehydrated," said Bob.

"You two seem very chummy," said Karen.

"Coffee will do that to you," said Bob.

"You're drinking coffee?" she asked, peering at Jack's cup.

"Bob showed me how to doctor it up," said her son.

She stopped, frozen, as if she'd just remembered something.

"Did you talk to him about my idea, yet?" she asked Bob.

"I completely forgot," he said.

"What idea?" asked Jack.

"Wait until Mandy gets up," said Karen, who headed for the coffee pot.

"She came up with a way that might give us all what we want," said Bob.

"I'm listening," said Jack.

"Wait until Mandy gets up," said Karen again, from the counter.

"If we can get him on board, then he can help convince Mandy it's a good idea," said Bob.

"What's a good idea?" asked Mandy, who shuffled into the kitchen wearing her robe. She obviously hadn't brushed herhair.

"Morning, Sunshine," said Bob.

"Hi," said Jack. Even in that single word both adults heard the adoration in his voice.

"Why is everybody so perky?" said Amanda, rubbing her eyes with her fists.

"Why are the women in this family so crabby in the morning?" asked Bob.

"Perhaps we are not morning people," said Karen, sipping her coffee.

"Yes you are," said Jack. "You're always up and all happy and ready to go when I'm just dragging out of bed."

"Never mind," said Bob. "Mandy, sit down. There's something Karen and I want to talk to you both about."

"I thought we were doing a trial run thingy," said Amanda, who looked suddenly more alert.

"We are. But Karen thought of something last night ... after you went to bed ... and I think you guys should hear about it."

"CanI get some cereal first? My mouth tastes awful," said Mandy.

They waited until Mandy sat with her bowl of Fruit Loops, floating in milk. Bob deferred to Karen. It was her idea, after all.

"Okay," she said. "Imagine this. I'm just going to describe it. Please listen to all of it before you ask questions or make up your minds, okay?"

After what the parents had let their children do the night before, there was a new level of trust between them. Both kids nodded.

"Okay. So Bob and I get married. And when you get back to school, you don't tell anybody you're sweethearts. In fact, you go out with other people and act like you're not interested in each other at all."

Mandy opened her mouth but Karen shushed her.

"Wait until I'm finished. Please!"

Mandy spooned more cereal into her mouth.

"So, as far as your friends at school are concerned, maybe they do see you as brother and sister by marriage. But it's also obvious that you're not interested in each other. That's what the dating around is about. You go out with lots of people, but you don't become boyfriend or girlfriend with any of them. All you do is date. But at home, of course, you can be just like you were last night. Nobody outside this family will know about that. Okay. So then you graduate. Wait. I forgot. While all this is going on you need to make sure your grades are as good as possible so you can get scholarships. Okay, so now you gradate, and as far as your friends are concerned, you've never shown even one iota of interest in each other. You get scholarships and with student loans, you can go off to college, where nobody knows you. At that point you can date again, because your last names will be different and nobody will think anything about it. You can even get married there, for the same reason. And, meanwhile, Bob and I can start raising a family of our own."

She leaned against the counter and took another sip of coffee.

"So? What do you think?"

"I'm not so hot about dating other boys," said Mandy.

"Why?" asked Bob.

"Because when you go out with guys they want to do stuff with you. Duh, Daddy. Isn't that what you lectured us about?"

"Just because they want to do something doesn't mean you have to," he said. "Unless, of course you want to, like you did with Jack. Is that what you're worried about?"

"No," she scoffed. "I'd just rather go out with Jack."

"You get to sleep with Jack," said Karen. "That seems worth paying some price for your future happiness."

"Sleep with him how often?" asked Mandy.

"Whenever you wanted to," said Bob, without clearing that with Karen. "Last night's rationing plan would be off the table."

"Every night?" The tone in her voice made Bob's nut sack tighten up.

"Yes," he said.

"And all we have to do is pretend we're not interested in each other at school?"

Bob looked at Jack.

"What do you think?"

"I think that if I'm taking other girls out, they're going to expect me to try to kiss them, and if I don't, they're going to think I'm gay or something," he said.

"Where did that come from?" asked Mandy.

"I'm seeing things a little differently from when we went on our first date," he said.

Karen spoke.

"Mandy? How would you feel if you found out Jack kissed a girl good night after a date?"

"If that's all he did, and he didn't kiss her like he kisses me, then I wouldn't care," she said, shrugging. "Not if I know he's coming home to sleep with me."

"Wow," mouthed Bob to Karen. He looked at Jack.

"And how would you feel if Mandy let a boy kiss her good night?"

"I'd want to rip his head off," said Jack. "But I get it. I think it's a good idea. If it means you and Mom can get married and be happy too."

"If we do this, it's going to take a lot of trust," said Karen. "It might be hard on you sometimes."

"What we were going to have to do would have been even harder," said Mandy. "At least in my opinion."

"Mine too," said Jack.

"Once we're married, you'll be stuck with this plan," warned Bob.

"It's only two years," said Mandy. "And we get to sleep together every night."

"Every night you're still speaking to each other," said Karen.

"What's that mean?"

"I'm just saying that every relationship has bumps in the road. You two are all lovey dovey right now, but sooner or later you're going to have a disagreement, or even a fight, and when that happens you might feel like sleeping apart for a while."

"Well, that could have happened anyway," said Mandy.

"I guess that's true," said Karen.

"Do you think you two will have any fights?" asked Jack.

"It's almost guaranteed," said Bob. Karen nodded.

"But love will get you over all those bumps," she said. "The key is to communicate, and negotiate, and be willing to make sacrifices for the good of the relationship. In a way, what we're asking you to do is find out, over the next two years if you really are in love, and still want to get married when those two years have passed. If you are, then everything works out. If you're not, then you find that out too, before you get married and life gets even more complicated."

"I say we do it," said Mandy, stoutly. In her mind the second possibility Karen had elucidated was impossible.

"Me, too," said Jack, with the same confidence callow youth imbues in a teenager.

"Me, three," said Bob, who saw this as a win win situation, whether the kids broke up or not.

Karen smiled.

"I guess that makes it unanimous."

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