Jerry woke feeling fully rested for the first time in a week. Jay was cuddled next to him, but Lisa was missing. He inhaled deeply, smelling the pungent odor of last night's sex. Then, he sighed, stretched and eased himself away from Jay and out of bed. He sniffed his arm pit and grimaced; a shower was in order.
He came out of the bathroom toweling his hair and noticed that Jay had kicked the covers off. He paused to observe his male lover sleeping. The boy was laying on his back, one arm above his head and the other encircling a pillow, half hard dick resting on a thigh, nut sack hanging low between his splayed legs.
“God he's an erotic sight even when he's asleep,” Jerry thought. He looked down at his own rising cock and laughed. “He DOES inspire me.”
He donned his briefs and made his way to the kitchen in search of coffee. Lisa was there, fresh from a shower also, dressed in a short robe that left nothing to the imagination. She turned from the coffee machine and smiled evilly spying his distended underwear. “Well, as some movie goddess once asked, 'Is that a gun in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?' “
Smiling, he gave her a peck on the lips. “Both, Miss Smartass.”
Unable to stop her hand, she reached out and massaged his erection gently. His smile faded as he groaned with satisfaction. He leaned in and kissed her for real. His arms encircled her body and drew her into a tight embrace. She pulled back slightly and untied her robe, exposing herself to him. His hands roamed her breasts and down to her moist vagina.
He broke the kiss and gave her a questioning look as his fingers easily found their way into her. She gave a small self-deprecating laugh. “Jerry, when I walked out of the shower this morning and saw you two cuddled together, I thought about what you would look like making love together and I got wet immediately.”
He chuckled. “That's why I'm hard Lisa. I saw Jay laying there buck naked and I boned up.”
“Well, since we're both 'up' for it, let's enjoy ourselves.” She shrugged out of her robe and pushed Jerry's briefs to the floor. When he kicked out of them, she sat him on one of the kitchen chairs with his butt close to the edge. Next, she straddled him and threw her arms around his neck. “Put your dick inside me Love,” she crooned into his ear.
Then, she slowly sank onto his hard cock. “Ooooo,” they moaned in unison. They closed their eyes as their hips commenced to rock against each other. Jerry's lips found her mouth and sucked her tongue into his.
She pulled back from the kiss to allow his hands to explore her breasts. “Mmmm,” she signed as Jerry kissed his way across her throat. “Your fingers are so hard, so muscular,” she breathed.
“It's from throwing people out of their houses when they default on loans,” he whispered as he sucked gently on her earlobe. Her vaginal muscles tugged hard at his dick. He moaned in response, sucking the tender skin under her ear.
The bucking of their hips picked up in pace. Lisa breathed, “Jay's fingers are so soft and tender,” as she licked and nibbled at his Adam's apple.
He speared her ear with the tip of his tongue. “He's a cop, so that's from licking his fingers after eating glazed donuts,” he panted as her cunt muscles rapidly stripped his stiff prick.
“Oh God,” she exclaimed, “this is so hot!” She kissed her way up the side of Jerry's neck, leaving small bruises. When her tongue licked behind his ear, she groaned, “You're soooo sexy! When you get hot, the musk behind your ears drives me wild!”
He wrapped his arms around her, pulling her close and shouted, “Ahhhh, ahhhh, ahhhh, Lisa, I'm gonna...”
“I'm right with you Love,” she interrupted.
Their bodies smashed into each other as their orgasms overtook them. They threw their heads back and moaned loudly as they shuddered with pleasure. They hunched and hunched for a full two minutes. But gradually, they settled against each other, completely relaxed, their heads resting together.
Jerry first became aware of Jay when he smelled his musk, and his dick grew even harder in Lisa's vagina. Lisa heard the soft sound of Jay's foreskin popping as he jacked his dick. They smiled up at the serious look of lust plastered on his face. “Man, that was hot!”
Jerry pulled Jay close so that his hard cock throbbed between their faces. Grinning at each other, they leaned forward and simultaneously ministered to both sides of his quivering shaft with their lips and tongues.
Jay stammered, “I was having a dream about watching you two making love. And I was just about to cum when the sound of your moans woke me up.” He stopped to take a deep breath. “Oooo, that feels fantastic!,” he exclaimed as their tongues rhythmically licked every inch of his prick. “I'm soooo close!”
They pressed their mouths tightly on either side of his dick as he frantically began to thrust between their lips. “Ugh...ugh...ugh,” he grunted as cum poured out onto their bodies.
In a minute, he placed a hand behind each of their heads to still their tongues. When they looked up, he chucked at the sight of cum dripping off their chins. Happily, he licked it off, giving each a kiss. Then, he completed the task by lapping the sweet nectar off their chests.
His glance happened to fall on the wall clock. “Oh jeez it's late. I've got to take a shower before I report in for my shift,” and ran back into the bedroom.
Twenty minutes later, fully dressed in the spare uniform he kept at Lisa's house, he strode back into the kitchen to find his lovers still connected, in the chair, talking softly to each other. He immediately boned up again.
Standing before them, his fists on his hips, he said with a smile, “I suppose you know that I'm gonna wear this hard-on all day thinking about you two back here making whoopee. And, my patrol partner is gonna tease me unmercifully.”
Jerry glanced down at the obscene bulge in Jay's trousers and laughed. “Too bad. God hands out punishment for being a horn dog ya know. And that big lump is the penalty ya pay for wearing boxers instead of briefs.”
Jay playfully punched Jerry on the shoulder and said, “Asshole.” Then, he kissed them goodbye. “I'll see you two in about nine hours.”
After Jay departed, Jerry's face rearranged itself into a mask of doubt. Lisa looked at him quizzically. “What's wrong Jerry?”
“Lisa, I don't know that I can make love with you . . .if Jay's not here.”
“Well, I've never been with a woman before, by myself, and I don't know what to do. You guys have shown me all the moves to make so far.” He squeezed her shoulders. “Remember, this is new territory for me.”
Lisa stood up, pulling off of him and looked down at his still hard dick, smiling. “Well Jer, you seem to be doing okay to me. Maybe all you need is a lesson in mechanics to restore your confidence.”
She took his hand and led him back to bed. Reclining there, she spent the rest of the morning teaching him every technique she knew to please a woman. He tried each one of them and she lavished him with praise when he did them well. To his credit, he maintained an erection through the entire lesson.
He longed to be able to please her, for he knew that their lives were inextricably connected now. But, he wanted to be able to make REAL love to LISA, not just mechanical love to a FEMALE. To accomplish that, he would have to fall IN love with her. As a gay man, could he do that? The question echoed in his mind.
At noon time, they prepared a sumptuous lunch, for they were very hungry. Afterward, they lay down for an hour's nap. Then, they racked their bikes and rode for about four hours, climbing Morgan Hill in the process. Back at Lisa's house, they showered together.
The endorphins released by their ride coursed through their bodies, giving them a thrilling sense of well being. Consequently, as they scrubbed each other, their ardor rekindled, prompting Jerry to guide Lisa through the process of washing her hair. After a thundering climax as he washed her tresses, he dropped to his knees and performed a credible job of cunnilingus on her while she shampooed his hair.
They dressed, went grocery shopping, and prepared a delicious dinner. After storing it in the oven to keep warm, they undressed and returned to the bedroom. They opened the windows to air the room, changed the linen and lay back down to rest.
This is how Jay found them when he returned. He noticed Jerry's limp dick and wondered how the day had gone.
They rose and pulled him into a group hug. At his question, they began to recite the events of the day while they undressed him. Jerry ended the report with, “And you need a shower. I think Lisa should wash your hair for you.” He winked at Jay as Lisa led him into the bathroom. “I'll set out dinner while you guys are in there.”
They ate in the dining room wearing robes, but doffed them quickly when they returned to bed. For Jay's benefit, Jerry eagerly demonstrated everything that he had learned from Lisa that morning, bringing her to many orgasms. Eventually, she protested exhaustion and urged them to fulfill a fantasy for her by showing her how they made love.
Both boys were extremely aroused, but they paused to give each other a questioning look. Did they really want to demonstrate homosexual love making before their female lover? They smiled a each other. Of course they did!
Jerry lay Jay on his back and knelt between his lover's legs. Already panting with lust, Jay immediately propped himself up on his elbows to watch Jerry, in eager anticipation. They locked eyes and smiled as Jerry slowly leaned forward and began to kiss his way up the inside of Jay's thighs. Without breaking eye contact, Jerry's tongue laved his testicles and proceeded, with agonizing slowness, up his shaft. In response, Jay began a low pitched sound somewhere between a wail and a moan deep in his throat.
Jerry's progress, never faltering, continued. His talented tongue explored Jay's navel. Then, his lips suckled each brown nipple. His tongue and lips nipped and sucked the soft skin of Jay's throat. At last, he rested his body on Jay, crushing their cocks together.
Jerry's face, looming over his lover, smiled down. He took Jay's face in his hands and gently sucked his lower lip into his mouth, savoring its taste and texture. Jay shivered with delight. Slowly and with loving care, he explored the boy's mouth while Jay's trembling hands stroked Jerry's back and sides.
As their passion mounted, their movements slowed, savoring the sensations their touching produced. Jerry pulled back from the kiss and snaked his body forward until the tip of his cock rested on Jay's lower lip. Jay looked up at his friend, nodded and opened his mouth. Jerry flexed his hips and slowly inched his dick into his lover's mouth. Jay's full lips accepted the tasty morsel and his tongue and throat muscles worked furiously. Jerry moaned with pleasure and began to slowly pump, allowing Jay's mouth complete access to every inch of his dick.
Minutes later, as their ardor grew to fever pitch, they picked up their pace. As Jerry pumped his dick in and out of his lover's receptive mouth, Jay's hands kneaded his buddy's butt cheeks, urging him on.
Panting with anticipation, Jerry abruptly withdrew his cock from Jay's loving mouth. Both boys groaned in disappointment, but they wanted this beautiful demonstration of love and affection to last. Jerry knew what Jay wanted and what they both needed at this moment.
Jerry gave Jay a quick kiss, then moved him over to the edge of the bed with his head hanging off the edge. Standing beside the bed, Jerry gently moved his hips, playing the tip of his dick across Jay's pouting lips. Jay's tongue immediately snaked out and licked the underside, telegraphing messages of pleasure through Jerry's loins.
Jay opened his mouth wide. Eagerly, Jerry sank his dick in to the hilt and began to pump slowly. Jerry leaned forward, bracing himself on one hand and used the other to caress his lover's body. He combed Jay's chest hair, pausing to pinch his nipples. Then, he traced Jay's treasure trail past his bellybutton down to his pubic hair, and on to his ultimate goal.
His mouth watered as he contemplated Jay's perfect cock, already drooling pre-cum. He pursed his lips and sucked the dick in, licking the tasty reward. Inserting his tongue under the foreskin, he pushed it back to gain better access to the sensitive head.
By this time, Jay was again at fever pitch. He moaned continuously as his hands roamed all over the parts of Jerry's body they could reach, particularly his testicles. One hand squeezed and tugged them while the fingers of the other traveled up the crack of Jerry's butt. Finding that most intimate of places, he inserted a finger and found Jerry's prostate. As he stroked it, Jerry bucked and groaned, and drops of cum began to dribble into Jay's mouth. (Earlier in their relationship, Jay had learned that milking Jerry to a climax was one of his lover's favorite things. It quickly became one of Jay's favorites too because he could enjoyed more of Jerry's cum that way.)
Jerry picked up the pace of his thrusts and renewed his sucking efforts on Jay's luscious cock. Being almost past the point of no return himself, he opened his eyes just in time to see Jay's nut sack draw up tightly against the base of his cock.
Then, lightening seemed to strike both boys. But, all they could do was buck and moan since each had a mouthful of the other's erupting cock. So, they continued to shudder and groan until their nuts were empty and their dicks were too sensitive to bear any more stimulation.
Reluctantly, they pulled apart. Jerry turned Jay around on the bed and they fell together in a lover's embrace, rolling around on the bed laughing and kissing. Eventually, they settled into what had become one of their favorite positions, sitting face-to-face and dick-to-dick with their arms and legs wrapped around each other.
They stared happily into each other's eyes. In their heat of passion, they had forgotten Lisa's presence, and did not realize the effect their performance had on her until they heard her shriek with pleasure. She had become so caught up with their ecstasy that she achieved orgasm with only a single touch of her crotch.
Now recovered, she crawled across the bed to them, kissing each on the cheek. “Thank you. You've no idea how much I wanted to see that. It was the most beautiful and erotic expression of love I've ever seen. Now let me give you a gift in return.”
She pushed the boys back until they rested on their elbows, exposing their rock hard cocks, standing tall rubbing against each other. Licking her lips, she knelt reverently and began to worship them. She kissed them, licked them, rubbed her face over them. She delicately chewed on their foreskins, then ran her tongue underneath and swirled it around the sensitive heads. She retracted the foreskins, pressed the heads together and sucked both into her mouth.
Her ministrations had both a physical and psychological effect on the boys. Physically, she was working them up to another thundering orgasm. On the other hand, the sight of their female lover showing so much admiration for their dicks overwhelmed them. Their chests filled with air; their breaths became short; their mouths opened wide; and they bellowed, heralding the arrival of their climax. Stars danced before their eyes as their cocks gushed into Lisa's waiting mouth. She tried valiantly to swallow it all, but her efforts were in vain, for she had coaxed the maximum contribution from her idols of worship.
The boys lay down on either side of her, gently cleaning her face with their tongues and murmuring words of love. They lay like that for many hours, touching, kissing and caressing each other as they fell into dreamless sleep.
The next morning, they rose late and took separate showers in deference to their tender genitals. They enjoyed Sunday brunch at a cozy restaurant and joyfully competed with many children for the rides at a local amusement park.
They returned to Lisa's house early, for Jay had to go back on patrol at four o'clock. Reluctantly, he took his leave of them, promising not to wake them when he returned well after midnight.
After Jay's departure, Jerry turned to Lisa and said, “Are you sure you want me to stay the night?”
Lisa smiled, “Why not? Tomorrow's a bank holiday, so you don't have to go to work.”
“Well, I just...”
Lisa took his face between her hands. “Still afraid of making love to me when Jay's not around?” He nodded.
“Well, who says we have to make love? I just want to enjoy your company as long as I can.”
“Then it's settled. You're staying.” She led him into the kitchen. Looking around with distaste, she said, “I don't feel like cooking. Want to go out for dinner?”
“Sure.” He smiled with inspiration. “And how about going dancing afterward?”
“Great!” she said with enthusiasm. “I haven't been dancing in a long time. And I know just the place to get started.”
They dressed in comfortable clothes and drove to an Irish pub. Smiling, Lisa touched her flaming red hair. “It's my heritage.” They dined on corned beef and cabbage, and as they were finishing their meal, a live band began to tune up. The band leader announced that the first hour would be devoted to a beginners dance class.
Lisa jumped up, dragging Jerry out of his chair and onto the dance floor. “Come on,” she yelled, this is gonna be great.” And, she spent the next hour teaching him traditional Irish dances.
In retaliation, their next stop was a country and western bar where Jerry taught Lisa the two-step. Then, they did an inspired pub crawl through three gay dance clubs. They paced their drinks but did not hold back any energy for dancing.
Consequently they were somewhat foot sore and butt weary when they returned to Lisa's house. Refreshing showers perked them up somewhat, but Lisa still flopped face down on the bed, protesting muscle cramps in her butt and legs. Crawling onto the bed beside her with a bottle of lotion, Jerry readily agreed to give her a massage.
He warmed a glob of lotion in his hands and began to smooth it onto her legs. As he massaged her flawless skin, he thought about how he enjoyed her companionship. They had enjoyed every minute of the evening. It hadn't felt like a date; they were just having fun enjoying being with each other. It felt good.
His fingers gently worked their way up her legs, eliciting moans of gratitude from her. He came to her shapely buttocks, almost as muscular as his. Straddling her thighs, he worked the taught bands of muscles into submission. Then, he allowed his hands to travel up her narrow waist and back, appreciating their shapely beauty. Her body was so different from a man. Leaning forward, he drank in her feminine scent, also so different from male musk.
Surprisingly, his dick began to rise. He looked down at himself in astonishment, but continued to stroke and massage Lisa's back, continuing up to her shoulders and neck. She had ceased to groan in appreciation of the massage. Her lips were parted slightly and she was breathing deeply. He could also detect a slight increase in her body temperature. Or, was it his body temperature that was rising? Both, perhaps?
He turned her over gently. Their eyes locked, shining. Then, Jerry leaned in and kissed her tenderly as he smoothed a bit of lotion on her breasts. He massaged them until the nipples were hard and red. He kissed his way down to them, worrying first one then the other with his lips. All the while, his right hand stroked her pubic mound. As he suckled her breasts, his fingers worked their magic. Her clitoris hardened and popped out. He stroked it gently as he masturbated her.
Lisa's ardor rose rapidly. Now, her breath came in short gasps. Her hips began to work in time with Jerry's fingers. She reached for his hard cock. Stroking it, she found it already drooling pre-cum. Jerry withdrew his fingers from her vagina and crawled between her spread legs. Raising them, he leaned forward until the tip of his dick rested on her pussy. Rocking back and forth slightly, his dripping cock raked her hard clit. On the sixth pass, he plunged his cock into her.
“Ahhhhhhhhhh,” both of them sighed at once. She reached up to him in supplication. In turn, he fell forward onto his elbows, sinking into her completely. She wrapped her legs tightly around his hips and pounded his butt with her heels, urging him on. He laced his fingers in hers and extended their arms above their heads, resting on her body completely. As he began to pump his dick into her, he sank his teeth into the soft flesh of her shoulder. Her hips crashed up against his. A sheen of sweat bathed their bodies; their breaths came in loud gasps . . . until they froze as one body and cried out in orgasm. They continued to shudder for some minutes. Jerry's fingers crushed her hands above their heads. Tears streamed down his face as the thrilling sensations wracked his body. His seed poured into her as her juices boiled out, soaking his pubic hair.
Taking her into his arms, he continued to sob into her shoulder as his nervous system returned to normal. She stroked his back and sides, crooning soothing words into his ear.
When he could breath again, he turned his head and began to kiss her throat. She could still feel his hard cock throbbing in her vagina. Her hands drifted down to his butt and her fingers began to massage the globes of muscle. Gradually, his hips began to move again, pumping his hard spike into her. She sighed contentedly.
Jerry still rested on her body completely. Only his hips moved, withdrawing about an inch of cock at a time. She took his face between her hands and showered it with hundreds of tiny kisses. He raised up on his elbows again and looked down in her eyes.
Hips slowly pumping, they stared at each other, whispering words of praise and encouragement—for ten, fifteen, twenty, twenty-five minutes—slowly building up to another orgasm. But, this was a quiet one. They kissed tenderly as they crossed the threshold of passion again.
Jerry retrieved a towel and cleaned them. Then, they kissed and snuggled together for sleep, thoroughly sated. As he drifted off, he thought, “Well, I guess this answers the question of whether I can perform with her without Jay here.”
Nature called to Jerry just as the sun was rising. He slid out of bed finding Jay cuddled to Lisa's other side. He relieved himself, took a quick shower and headed for the kitchen to make coffee, deep in thought. Jay had had sex with many women and fallen in love with Lisa. He had had sex with only one man—Jerry—and had fallen in love with him. Jay averred that he could not have sex with any other man. Conversely, Jerry had had sex with many men and had fallen in love with Jay. He had had sex with only one woman—Lisa—and...had he fallen in love with her? He reviewed all the women he had known and was certain that he could not have sex with any of them. But, he had explored the bottomless depths of passion with Lisa last night and it had been supremely satisfying. But, did he love her?
He was jerked away from his thoughts by the sound of the shower running and Jay's moans of pleasure. He giggled. He must be washing Lisa's hair again.
When they were all presentable to the public, they went out and explored the city, enjoying each other's company and doing whatever caught their attention. Back at Lisa's place that evening, they made dinner and chatted happily until the boys took their leave of her.
This set up a pattern of behavior for them: by common consent, they only saw each other when all three could be present. And, they enjoyed everything they did together. They talked, did yard work, cleaned house, cooked, did the laundry, made love. They rode bikes, worked out at the gym, swam. They shopped, danced, went to plays and movies, haunted historic sites and museums . . . any activity that their imaginations could dream up. However, Lisa refused to go to the shooting range with them.
Over the ensuing months, Jay and Lisa noticed the difference that Jerry's presence had made.
Previously, Jay's relationship with Lisa had always felt like a date. He would call for her, go out for dinner, perhaps a movie, and return to her place for sex. On reflection, everything they did together only seemed to be a prelude to sex and not enjoyed in its own right. Was that bad? No, but when Jerry was present, they had so much fun! They enjoyed true loving companionship, plumbing the depths of their relationship, and the resulting expression of that love was mind-blowing, uninhibited sex.
Jay and Lisa blessed their lover for this gift.
Their sex was never dull and never limited to the bedroom. When they felt like having sex, they did. While cooking dinner, they might sink to the kitchen floor. While gardening, they might retire to the tool shed in the back yard. While on a bike ride, they might detour into the woods.
They learned and respected their individual sexual preferences. For example, Jerry never became accustomed to giving Lisa oral sex, although Jay loved it. On the other hand, Jerry liked having his prostate stimulated, but Jay did not. Lisa loved to give the boys oral sex, but thought their excessive pubic hair was distracting. In deference to her, they allowed her to trim the hair above their cocks and to shave their balls clean. Afterward, they had to admit that licking and sucking the bare skin of their nuts was more enjoyable. Weekly trims and shave-downs became routine after that.
Jerry came up with a new position in the living room that quickly became a favorite. He sat on the couch with Lisa impaled on his cock, her back reclining against his chest. In this position, Jerry's lips could explore her neck and shoulders while his hands could stimulate her breasts. She placed her legs over his which he spread wide, exposing their genitals to Jay. Meanwhile, Jay knelt before them giving them slow, deliberate oral sex. As he gradually brought Lisa to multiple orgasms, the contraction of her vaginal muscles eventually brought Jerry off. Jay became so excited that the mere touch of Lisa's lips on his dick, sent fountains of cum rocketing into her mouth.
One Saturday morning Jay and Jerry sat at the kitchen table finishing breakfast while Lisa made a quick trip to her shop. Jay could tell that Jerry was lost in thought. He smiled and said, “Penny for them.”
Jerry's eyes focused on his lover. “What? Oh, I was just thinking about Lisa.”
“What about Lisa?”
Jerry sighed. “Well, I have to talk this out with someone. Who better than you?”
“Go ahead Baby.”
He took Jay's hand. “I'm very happy with the three of us together. You and I are in love and you and Lisa are in love. And I love Lisa; but, I'm not sure whether I'm IN love with her.”
Jay stared into Jerry's eyes for a moment. “Do you enjoy her company, doing everything with her, even the scud work like mopping the floors?”
Jerry laughed. “Yeah, I do. Doing anything with her is fun, never boring.”
“Do you enjoy talking to her, confiding in her?”
“Oh yeah. We can talk about anything.”
“Do you enjoy having sex with her?
A light blush rose on Jerry's tanned skin. “You bet. She's probably the only woman I will ever have sex with, but she can arouse passions in me just as deeply as you can.”
Jay thought for a moment, then asked, “What would you be willing to do for her?”
Jerry frowned. “What do you mean?”
“How far would you be willing to go for her?”
Jerry nodded in recognition. “Forever. There's nothing that I wouldn't do for her. No lengths.”
Jay took both of his hands. “Jer, would you answer the same questions the same way about me?”
“Oh God yes Jay. I love you with all my soul!” Then, the light dawned and he smiled shyly. “Well, I guess that answers my question, doesn't it?”
Chuckling, Jay kissed Jerry's fingers. “Yes Love, our circle is finally complete.”
Jerry's face broke into a smile almost big enough to crack his face. “I'm IN love with her!” He jumped up and danced around the kitchen. “Yaaaahoooo!” he yelled. “We're finally a family!” He pulled Jay out of the chair and danced him around the room.
Jerry pulled Jay's hands to his face and kissed his fingers. Passionately, he said, “I can't wait to tell her how much I love her!”
Jay rubbed Jerry's fingers against his face sensually, savoring the closeness of his lover. “She'll be glad to hear that. She's been in love with you a long time.”
The boys eventually moved into Lisa's house. A few months later, they each bought a third interest in the property. All three pooled their funds and installed a swimming pool and hot tub in the back yard. The “house” became a “home” for each of them, a refuge of peace and harmony, a reflection of their love.
Later, at Jerry's suggestion, they made a commitment, a pledge of faith to each other, to remain faithful in thought and deed until they mutually decided to part.
Eventually, they decided to have children. To give legal expression to the offspring, Lisa decided to marry one of her lovers. Which one? How did she choose between them? Well, some details of their unconventional relationship should remain a mystery. It is sufficient to say that in the next ten years, she had four babies, two by Jay and two by Jerry, all boys.
This is not the end, but the beginning of a beautiful, fulfilling relationship.