At the beginning, he wasn't sure how this was, how they were going to work. So he backed off a lot, to give Chris and Justin space to define their relationship. He forgot, really, that they already had one, a good solid one, and that redefining wasn't the same as starting.
So backing off, it turned out, was a big mistake. Chris and Justin thought he was pulling back, was uninterested in the relationship. Chris got pissed and Justin turned into a snarky bitch. In response, Nick pulled away further. It went on like that for a while, until one night Howie showed up at Nick's place and found him half-drunk.
Howie's questions about what was going on were greeted sullenly, with monosyllabic answers. Considering what he knew of Nick, and what he wasn't saying, Howie figured his best bet was to get Nick more drunk. Nick was usually a pretty talkative drunk, and this time was no exception. Eventually, he confessed that he was pissed off (at Chris and Justin), and hurt (by same) and figured he was probably losing them both. Howie'd heard about the three of them, and while he didn't really approve and wasn't happy about it, he'd figured if Nick was happy about it, c'est la vie.
Now, though, Nick was decidedly not happy, and Howie wasn't sure what to do. So he considered and then asked, "Do you want to lose them?"
Nick answered quickly, "Hell no!"
"Ok, then," reasoned Howie, "so go fight for them."
"Now?" and Nick was staring at him, stupid-confused and not a little drunk. Howie took charge.
"Yes, now. Go. Upstairs. Shower." When Nick stayed in place— "Now, Nicky!"
That got him moving upstairs, stripping out of the track pants and wife beater he wore. The shower was lukewarm and he got out shivering. He dressed, this time in jeans and t-shirt, and headed downstairs drying his hair. Howie looked at him, handed him a cup of coffee, and then bullied him back upstairs and into nicer jeans and a button-down shirt. When Nick complained, he said, "It can't hurt."
They were in Howie's car on the way to Chris' hoping the two of them weren't at Justin's since Howie didn't know the way, when a sobering Nick realized he had no idea what to do or say. Howie glanced over, saw the incipient panic, and moved to stop it.
"What are you going to say to them?"
"Ummmm, uh..." Nick stuttered, helpless, and then Howie stepped in.
"How about, 'I have a right to at least a third of this bed. Move the fuck over.'"
It was just wild enough, coming from Howie, to set Nick laughing, which calmed him down. By the time they were in Chris' gated neighborhood, he still wasn't sure what he was going to say, but he decided he'd say something, at least.
And then he was out of the car and knocking on the door, and Justin answered it, casual in a soft-looking t-shirt, obviously old and shrunken from many washings, and too-baggy jeans. He was obviously surprised to see Nick, and opened his mouth to say something bitchy, but Nick beat him to the punch, caught him in a kiss, open-mouthed and wet. When Justin stopped resisting, was actively participating, Nick opened an eye and started walking them back to the wall, catching the door with his foot and closing it as he went.
He'd kissed Justin before, but not often, and not with this much heat. He'd been reserved with Justin; it was Chris' show, he was just a guest. Now he let go, taking the opportunity to explore Justin, sucking his tongue, licking his teeth, getting to know his whole mouth and Justin was melting under it, gone loose and boneless, one arm wrapped around Nick's neck, bringing him closer.
Chris came out to investigate, as Nick had known he would, and now he stopped, stared, and leant against the wall to take in the sight before him: Nick, tall and solid, sexy and strong, pressing Justin, just as tall, but leaner, more lithe, sensual, against a wall and just claiming him. And Justin seemed to be ok with it, though Chris, who'd been on the receiving end of that intensity, figured Justin hadn't really had much chance. He watched the live sex show in front of him for a while, until he finally figured he should break in before Justin got fucked where he stood. Though that'd be nice, too...
"What the fuck are you doing with my boyfriend, Carter?" The question was challenging, anger beneath it, and wariness.
Nick drew back from Justin slowly, keeping hold of his lower lip with his teeth for a minute. He turned his head lazily, keeping Justin pressed against the wall. Looking Chris straight in the eye, he said, "He's my boyfriend, too."
"Does he know that?"
"He does now," Nick said, leaning in for another long, wet kiss. And then he drew back a second time, and turned to Chris again, continuing, "So are you."
Chris considered, reluctant to forgive—a lot was at stake. "You've been a pisspoor boyfriend lately, you know."
Nick stood still a moment, then nodded and said, "You haven't been boyfriend of the year lately, either."
"So?" Chris was all but growling, and he was tensed to fight.
"We should probably talk." On 'talk' Nick's nose wrinkled up and he frowned. "But a fuck would be more fun."
Chris looked from Nick to Justin, who still looked a bit dazed, and then back with a nod. "The bed's pretty big."
Nick beckoned him forward, caught his mouth in a hot kiss, lots of teeth and tongue. "The foyer's pretty nice, too," Nick told him. Chris hesitated a moment, clearly weighing the options and then said, "Upstairs."
Lazily grinning, Nick nodded, and asked, "Do you want to handle the baby, or should I?"
Chris saw Justin blinking, starting to realize a little what was going on, reacting to Nick's confident sexual predator draw and reacting badly. "Me," he told Nick, and then walked right up into Justin's personal space while Nick slid back to wait, a wary look creeping into his eyes.
"Justin. Justin..." Chris followed the repetition of his name with a hungry kiss, and Justin had grown used to this kiss, this mouth, and he slipped into trust easily.
"Nick's coming with us, Justin," murmured Chris in his ear.
"He'll explain why he was being an asshole later, ok, Just? Right now, we're going to go upstairs and fuck his brains out, J, ok?" Moan. "He's so good, Justin, and he wants to play with you, with us..." Chris finished with a little squeeze to Justin's crotch, which had him arching, and he was sold, so sold, and Nick led the familiar way to the bedroom. Neither Chris nor Justin was far behind.
Once in the bedroom, Nick stripped out of his clothing and set about seducing Justin, and Chris divided his time between the two equally, watching both with the same care. Justin, with Chris a reassuring presence, sank into the moment, accepting Nick and his directions. The sex between them seemed to flow, and even during awkward moments the feeling that this was right and good pervaded. When Nick was on his back, Justin over him, in him, and Chris beside muttering dirty sexy things in his ear, he felt something more, something beyond the pleasure he was receiving. It made him gasp and strain until Chris' hand stroked his face to gentle him and Justin lowered his head to kiss Nick's lips and lick across his jaw.
"So much," mutter Nick, and he arched and came, taking Justin with him over the edge. Justin dropped down to cover him, breathing hard, and Chris slid closer, hard against his hip, thrusting. Nick let his hand slip sweat-slick from where it rested on Justin's back to grip him; Justin had the same idea. Their hands met and together they jerked Chris, panting and swearing, until him came against them.
When the three of them were cuddled together, sated, Nick tensed, opened his mouth to say something. It was Justin, surprisingly, who stopped him, placing fingers at his lips. "Later, Carter."
He stared up, blinked, and then Chris' lips were on his. When they parted, Justin leant to kiss Chris, then moved over to Nick. Chris whispered in Nick's ear, "Love you."
Nick closed his eyes tight, but relaxed and held Justin close, snuggling into Chris. He felt Nick's hand in his hair as he drifted off to sleep.