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It is the privilege, some say duty, of the young to embrace the fullness of life before they are overtaken by age and responsibility. That was the philosophy that I lived by in the wild and wonderful years shortly after I graduated from university. I was lucky enough to land a decent job in a great city, and had begun to spend my nights exploring the fascinating demi-monde of nightclubs, dive bars and all night parties. Over time, I had managed to accumulate a solid, trusting circle of friends with whom I could greet life in all of its glory. Never blinking. Never turning away. I was young, unfettered and the only thing I had to fear was regret.

The night was cool and chilly as I arrived at Jessica’s apartment building. I was there to pick her up as we headed to our friend, Malcolm’s, 30th birthday. An enfant terrible in his own right, Malcolm was one of the more extravagant friends I’d ever known and he had built up a notorious reputation for throwing fantastic parties, so there was no doubt that he was going to see his twenties off in high, decadent style. Now the only question was what qualified as high decadence.

“Hey, Chris, come on in. still getting ready. Sorry. You know how girls are.”

Though, I quickly pushed such speculation from my mind as Jessica opened the door and greeted me. Jessica and I were friends going all the way back to university, when she was roommates and best friends with Teresa, my old ex-girlfriend and now Malcolm’s fiance. Teresa and I had been together throughout our school days, but had broken up on near the end of our senior year. We were both young, both changing, and frankly, both stupid; unable to make up our minds about whether or not we wanted to be with each other. Arguments about needing some space turned into misinterpretations of cheating turned into jealousy and messiness. I kept my distance from Teresa for a while, but we both moved in the same circles, and we’d see each other around. Jess was always good, though, about playing the neutral mediator and playing down any awkwardness, always patient and always ready with a charming distraction.

“Make yourself at home, Chris. I just need to put some makeup on, and I’ll be ready to go.”

True to her word, Jessica didn’t leave me waiting for long before she emerged, looking quite fetching indeed. She had donned a light gunmetal grey vintage-y dress that worked with her dark hair to bring out the blue in her eyes and clung to her body in all of the right ways. Jess could go on in lengthy tirades against the twigs that represented modern women’s fashion, and unlike Teresa, who had a lean, dancer’s body, Jess had curves that she was never shy of accentuating.

“So,” Jessica asked as she grabbed her jacket, “any ideas what’s in store for tonight?”

“No,” I replied. “Do you have any theories?”

“Well,” she said as she rooted about for her house keys, “Mal’s been spending a bit of time talking to Tim and you know what that might mean.” …

Tim was our friendly neighborhood drug pusher; though he preferred the term “facilitator.” While my friends and I were hardly what one might call addicts, we all certainly were experienced, most of us had enjoyed the occasional line of ecstasy or tab of LSD at a party in the past. Some folks use a vodka and Red Bull to prime themselves for a night out; we used amphetamines. It lowered inhibitions, made the night more fun, and so long as everyone knew what they were getting into, the drugs usually didn’t create too much carnage. Usually.

“What do you think of that?” I asked Jessica.

“Well …” she trailed off while considering her answer. She looked at me then, her blue eyes locking on me with her usual intensity. “We’re all consenting adults. Besides, you’re only young and invulnerable once, right?” …


In no time, we were in my car, heading down the city’s main boulevards to Justin’s downtown loft. Fast music on the stereo, anticipation building in our minds.

It was Justin who was hosting Malcolm’s party. Best friends since before I knew either of them, Malcolm and Justin were an ideal pair, sharing tastes in wine, women and whimsy. Though, while Malcolm was the bon vivant, the dynamic center of gravity for any social situation, Justin was the quiet, more cerebral fellow who took care of all the details, planning events, setting the stage and making things happen. It was a division of roles that suited both of them quite well.

Even now that Justin was engaged to Olivia we hardly noticed any slowdown in his partying; and if rumors were to be believed, it seemed that Justin was still one to share his pleasure with his dear friend. Of course, I was never one to give much weight to rumor.

On the way there Jessica asked, “looking forward to seeing Teresa again?”

The time apart between Terry and I had been good for us, and we had both eventually gotten over each other. Now that she was engaged to Malcolm, the earlier tension between us had dissolved, though aydın escort there was a still a way that we held each other’s gaze a bit longer than everyone else.

For her part, Jessica had been a steadfast friend to both of us, giving me an attentive ear and supportive heart. While a part of me wondered what would have happened if things had been different, if I had started dating her instead of Teresa, another part realized that such speculation was useless. Our histories are our histories, and we can only think of what we can do, not what we could have done. Jess, for her part, always blushed whenever I brought the subject up and said it was just weird to think of it. She was our friend. That’s the way she wanted it, and that’s the way it would be.

We arrived at the party, and were apparently one of the last ones there. Justin was at the door to greet us.

“Good evening. We were about to cancel the party if you didn’t show up.”

“Oh gosh, why the pressure?” Jess said with mock embarassment. “We’re not the ones having the birthday.”

“Ah, but you, my dear are the one bringing all of the charm.”

Probably the oldest member of our circle, a high paid software architect at some tech company, Justin had built a fairly nice life for himself in the way that all architects do … one step and structure at a time. I always had the feeling that every word and every deed of his had some agenda or idea. Nothing nefarious, of course, but just constant and deliberate.

Behind him was his fiance, Olivia, a devastatingly gorgeous redhead with warm, green eyes, cute nose and luscious lips. The two of us had also been friends, but nothing more. Either I was in a relationship while she was single, or she was involved with someone when I was free. Now that she was engaged to Justin, it was just inconvenient, yet we both were fond of flirting with each other. That the ring on her finger made it clear how far either of us could go. She kissed me on the cheek and said that she was also glad that we had arrived.

As we advanced further inside, I made eye contact with Tim and his girlfriend, Wendy, both whom looked quite pleased with themselves. Tim was a handsome fellow with a roguish goatee and swanky wardrobe. Wendy was nubile young blonde with long hair, dark eyes and a charming smile. She was dressed in a short skirt and a cap-sleeved top with a plunging neckline that emphasized her impressive cleavage. How impressive? It is perhaps enough to say that Wendy was 24, and as some men know, 24 is a rare and lovely age for a woman’s tits. As she approached to greet us, those delightful eyes twinkled and she asked, “looking forward to tonight?”

I had tried to pump her for clues about what was planned for the evening, but Wendy played it sly and told us that we just had to wait and see. The last bit she said as she moved on, leaving me the lovely sight of how her skirt flounced with her stride.

It was Malcolm who found us next with Teresa on his arm.

“Chris! So glad you could make it.”

From anyone else, that would’ve sounded trite, but I’ve known Malcolm well enough to know that he’s always been sincere about it. We’d known each other for years. Partied at the same clubs. Chased the same women. Cried on each other’s shoulders and celebrated each other’s successes. Now, here he was, turning thirty and getting old, and glad to have me with him on the next phase of his journey.

Though, from the gleam in Teresa’s eye, Malcolm wasn’t the only one who was glad that I was here. While her engagement to Malcolm was a relatively recent thing, it was probably the one thing that we needed to finally settle things with each other. She was now engaged, committed, and the way that we looked and smiled at each other could now be seen as simply friendship rather than the embers of romance. That was what we needed to be friends again.

We all chatted over our past, sharing war stories and waxing nostalgic over memories before Jessica interrupted, saying, “listen to us reminiscing. We’re all starting to sound like old folks in the retirement home.”

“Oh believe me, my dear,” Malcolm said as he regarded her coolly. “I have no intention of retiring anytime soon.”


I could recognize Misha’s voice anywhere. All the moreso now that she was barrelling across the room to hug us in greeting. A friend of Jessica’s that she had brought into our circle; the appearance of Misha was a sure-bet at any event where Jessica might be attending. With a Japanese father and a Russian mother, Misha was a mutt, albeit a fascinatingly exotic one, possessed of long, lustrous dark hair and proud Slavic cheekbones. Her boyfriend Francis was here as well, chatting with Alexis and Quentin at the other side of the room. As Misha dragged Jessica away to catch up, I excused myself as well and made my way over to Quentin’s side.

Quentin was also another friend of mine, closer than anyone else in this room. He was slightly more conservative in his lifestyle, though you wouldn’t know it from the looks of him. Like Misha, he was also Asian — Chinese, and wore his hair in a long ponytail that hid tattoos that ran across his back and shoulders. Appearing to all the world like some tough, biker thug, he rarely drank and had never done drugs. Both he and Alexis had generally excused themselves when the speed and LSD appeared at past parties. So I was more than a bit surprised to see them here tonight. But judging from their questions to Francis, it looks like that was all about to change.

Francis was a bit like Mal and Justin, a guy who liked a good time, but was less subtle and a little more brazen and blunt about things. He was a tall, big guy, with the loudest laugh in any room and the most voracious appetite at any table.

“well, it’s all about the trust you have,” Francis was saying, “your inhibitions do drop as the drug takes effect. But we don’t take advantage of that. You’re under no obligation to do anything that you’re not comfortable with. We’re all friends here.”

“Have things ever gotten really out of control?” Alexis asked, her big, green eyes wide with curiosity. “Like, you know, sex?”

“Not really,” I said as I joined in. “Ecstasy makes your skin really sensitive and amplifies pleasure, but it also suppresses blood flow, so guys can’t get erections. Women might have different results but,” I said, smiling, “I wouldn’t know.”

Alexis was another newcomer to our group, having started dating Quentin only a few months before. She was compact, barely topping 5 feet, though with an hourglass figure that seemed exaggerated by her short stature. While it can sometimes be a challenge to insert yourself into a group of folks who were tightly knit, Alexis’s bubbly, curious nature made her a natural fit for our clique.

The rest of the party passed pleasantly as we all got comfortable, chatting amongst each other. The event wasn’t as big as previous ones, but there were enough people to make mingling easy. Any suspicions that I had about whether drugs would appear tonight were more or less answered by the fact that everyone was drinking water. Alcohol tended to interfere with the drug.

Now, it was just a matter of when the substances would make their appearance; and I wasn’t sure when that would happen. In the meantime, I got into a conversation with Teresa as both of us regarded Malcolm while he made his way around the room, with Jessica in tow.

“It’s really nice to see you again,” she said.

“It’s great to see you too. Mal’s treating you well?”

“Quite. It seems weird, doesn’t it? Us getting married in a few months? You aren’t broken up about that?”

“No, I’m happy for you. Really.”

She blinked at that, looking genuinely touched before leaning in to peck me on the cheek and slip my hand into hers for a brief squeeze. “You’ve always been so sweet.”

And then she left, leaving me to wonder about what she meant, Though, I realized that I wouldn’t be wondering for too long; as Justin started tapping his glass to get everyone’s attention.

“Now, my friends,” Justin said as he unveiled two ziplock bags with white pills in them, “the real party begins. Some of us have been here before, and for some of us this is their first time ever. I hope that it’ll be great for all of us, though. A little something to note this time around. You might notice that each ziplock bag has a little sharpie drawing on them. One is the Mars symbol, for the men in the audience. The other is the symbol of Venus, and is only meant for women.”

“what’s the difference?” Alexis asked.

“Oh, the guys version is cut with Viagra.”

A hush had descended over the party now, interrupted as Justin spoke up. “Special measures for a special party. I’m sure we’ve all hit that limit of physical intimacy while we’ve rolled, and many of us have been curious about what it would be like to overcome that. Now you all will get that opportunity, but it’s a step that is yours to take. None of you will be forced to do anything that you wouldn’t want to do. If any of you are uncomfortable with the idea, you can walk away at any time.”

Yet, nobody did. If anything, Alexis and Quentin looked eager, despite it being their first time. Both Francis and Misha, likewise, looked at everyone else us with bright, excited eyes. Wendy had a feral gleam in her gaze, like she knew what awaited all of us and couldn’t wait to see it happen right then and there. I briefly made eye contact with Jessica and her face displayed a sort of quiet confidence. She wasn’t going to pull away either; no matter what might happen. So, after a few tense moments, Malcolm stood up and said, “okay then, let’s do some drugs.”

And that’s when everything began to change.

“Before we get carried away, though,” Malcolm chimed in, “here are some ground rules.”

“There are two bedrooms in this loft and an office with a pull-out couch. If you want privacy, you can go into any of those rooms and close the door or draw a screen. If you see a closed door, knock and only enter if the person opens it.

“Similarly, there are two bathrooms in this house. If you need to freshen up, close the door, and if you see a closed door, knock and do not enter until the person inside lets you.

“There’s one for everyone here, but sometimes you need a re-charge. Since it’s my birthday and I’m generous; none of you will pay for this. It’s an open night. But all the same, don’t be greedy. Share. This is what this night should be all about. Sharing.”

And at that last point we couldn’t help but notice a significant look that Mal tossed at Teresa; who blushed slightly at the attention.

“Don’t do anything that the other person doesn’t want to do.” Justin added, “and in reverse, don’t feel pressured to do anything that you aren’t comfortable with. If you came here with someone be sure to communicate with your partner before anyone gets carried away.”

“And, of course,” Malcolm said at the end. “Have fun.”

Both Justin and I took our pills orally, popping them in our mouths and chasing with a glass of water. A few other crushed them and did lines. Doing lines got one high faster, but I never liked the burning sensation that came with snorting. Of course, the practice has always had a certain hedonistic charm to it; and as Wendy leaned forward to do her lines; her bountiful cleavage threatening to spill out of her tight dress, I had to admit that the practice had its merits.

Now, we waited. At some point, someone had lit a set of candles and distributed them around the loft, shrouding us in shadow and encouraging us to sit closer. The drugs always took some time to kick in; and that dead time between was always fraught with a certain anxiety. Will it happen? Will it be good? Will I like it?

To distract myself from such thoughts, I fell into conversation with Francis and Misha. It’s been a while since I had seen them, and they were currently talking to Jessica; so it was easy to insinuate myself into their discussion. It turned out, perhaps unsurprisingly, that the conversation was about sex, or more specifically, swinging. Francis and Misha, despite being in a relationship were far from monogamous.

“Biologically,” Misha said, “we’re meant to be in committed relationships for the purposes of raising children, but if we don’t want to have kids yet, there’s no reason for us to limit ourselves to one person. So long as you have clearly defined boundaries and a mutual sense of trust, it can make for an amazing experience.”

At this, Francis tossed both of us a significant look. I knew the way his eyes devoured Jess when her gaze was turned, but this time his eyes had a boldness and hunger in them that didn’t flinch when she looked back.

“If you don’t mind my asking,” Jessica asked as she took in his lascivious gaze, “have you experimented with other folks around here?”

“Oh yeah,” Francis replied, “we had first messed around with Tim and Wendy . Misha used to date him from back in the day, and had broken up on good terms. She once mentioned to me that she had always fantasized about being done by two guys at the same time, and Tim was a natural person to ask. Naturally, Wendy came along as well. And it’s been awesome so far. Justin’s joined in recently, and he’s trying to convince Olivia to come along.”

One thing I had to say for Tim, he bought good drugs. It didn’t take long for the substances to kick in and for my consciousness to streamline into the rush of amphetamines coursing through my system. Suddenly, everything became brighter, bolder and more vivid. The music in the room felt fuller; the bass coursing through my body and soul. I looked about for a moment and spotted Quentin and Alexis who, from the looks on their faces, were also lifting off with me.

“You guys ok?” you asked.

“Wow…” was all Alexis could say for a moment. “yeah. wow. We’re really ok.”

I explained to them what they might expect; how the drug was going to overload their senses and quicken their pulses. Their heartrates increase, their bodies warm up and every stroke, every caress will feel like pure pleasure. “Drink water,” I said, “as it’ll keep you going and keep you from getting dehydrated. That’s one of the biggest worries about ecstasy use.”

But soon, worry was the last thing on my mind, as the music at the party started to mingle with my rush. Bass-heavy groove triggered a response in my spine and an accelerated starting getting all of our pulses pumping.

It wouldn’t be long before the vibe and the blood got people heated up. Our pulses raced, and the textures of our clothes became super-real and stifling. I soon noticed that Alexis was stroking her face absently, relishing in the sensation of her own touch. Then I made eye contact with her and got her silent assent to run my hands over her firm back and rounded shoulders. Quentin then leaned in to kiss his girlfriend and as they got wrapped up in their own little rush, I got up to see how everyone else was doing.

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