Ashley Ch. 03byShiggyMoto©
Ch. 3: Changes
For the second morning in a row I woke up to the wonderful feeling of Ashley's slender figure against mine. She was half laying on top of me with her right leg draped over my thigh, arm across my chest, and breasts mashed into my side. A small rivulet of drool trailed from the corner of her mouth onto my shirt. If she were anyone else, I would've lifted her off me in a heartbeat, but I found it adorable my perfect sister could have such a natural quirk.
Glancing at the clock on her far wall, I read the time as half past eight; our parents were long-gone for work by now. I couldn't remember what time we went to bed the previous night, but I was feeling invincible. It would take me days of non-stop running with an elephant tied to my waist to exhaust all my stamina. But exercising would be a complete waste of energy. I had other plans on how to use it.
If only Ashley would wake up. I must've done a pretty good job of satisfying her if she's still asleep at this time - if I did say so myself. I've woken up later than her for years, for as long as we've had separate bedrooms.
During my first two years of high school, Ashley would personally sneak into my room and wake me each morning. Sometimes she'd sit on her knees and bounce on my bed until I swiped my hands like a zombie. Other days she'd stand beside my bed and repeat my name over and over again until I told her to leave me alone, which I never really meant and she never really did.
As with her pet name for me, my sister stopped waking me up for school without any reason why. I hoped our recent confessions to one another would encourage her to jumpstart my days with her splendid smile again. And if I played my cards right, maybe she would find another way to wake me up.
Although we had only spent two full nights together, it felt like something we've been doing for a lot longer. I couldn't imagine spending another night without someone to share a blanket with. I have a dangerous habit of becoming overly obsessive about things, and Ashley was easily at the peak of my current obsessions. I caught the elusive carrot on a stick and there was no way I was going to let it escape.
Still, I couldn't help but wonder how much longer we could keep this up. If it were just her and me, there'd be no doubts we were doing what we should've been years ago. Why did it take us so long to find the courage to cuddle in each other's embrace? I suppose the answer should be rather obvious to me: Ashley's my sister.
But as I watched her sleep, I couldn't convince myself of that. There was something different, something unique that made her a new woman. Her hair, maybe. She's been letting it grow past her shoulders for a few months. I had suggested she give it a try once or twice, though I never imagined she would look so dazzling with longer hair. But that couldn't be it. It was just a new style. Maybe I was being flustered by the scent of berries on her skin. The smell was more alluring than the things I've normally woken up to. Nah, that couldn't be it either. My head was as clear as a fishbowl. Whatever the difference, it had me completely infatuated.
Each tick of the second hand came deafly slow and it seemed like my sleeping beauty would never open her eyes. I pointed my finger out in front of her mouth, feeling each of her small and steady breaths. I gently pinched her nose between my finger and thumb, but all that did was make her snore a little. Brushing away the golden hair over her eyelids, I pulled her up a little higher so we lay face to face on our sides, her breaths now tickling my lips.
I closed my eyes and moved my mouth closer to my sister's. Our lips pressed softly together. Hot air entered my mouth. I curled my tongue against the underside of her upper lip. Her mouth remained open, so I delved deeper, tasting the top of her tongue. Ashley sighed peacefully. I closed my mouth over her lips and sucked on the pink velvet. They were tender and moist, as if they were meant to be continuously kissed till the end of time, even when dormant.
As luck would have it, my sister didn't stay lifeless for long. Her tongue abruptly forced its way into my mouth. I moaned at the welcome intrusion. Her arms, which had been around my waist, pulled us closer together. With my eyes still shut, I lowered my hand to her calf and raised her leg over my waist, letting her straddle me.
Ashley nudged me onto my back, her body rolling on top. She grabbed my hands from her calves and placed them on her smooth, round butt. I rubbed her cheeks with my palms, gently digging my fingers into her creamy flesh through her cotton pajamas.
We made out like this for a few minutes.
Ashley lifted her beautiful face above mine. "Mmm, I missed you, Tiger. You sure know how make a girl feel special in the morning."
My hands glided along her lower back, tracing the contours of her physique. "I can't control myself. Even when you're asleep I have to kiss you. Does that make me weak?"
She caressed my cheek. "No, of course it doesn't. Don't fight your feelings. Follow what your heart tells you."
"My heart is telling me... not to get out of bed."
She sat upright and brought my right hand to her chest. "Mine is telling me the same thing."
It was amazing how close I was to Ashley at that moment. I felt warm and fuzzy, and not from the exquisite touch of her left breast in my hand, but because I could actually feel her heart speaking to me, repeating what I had just heard with each firm beat.
My thumb drew ovals on her breast. "So what should we do while we're here?"
"We can talk." Moving off my stomach, she lay beside me, still holding my hand against her.
"Okay. What do you want to talk about?"
So we talked. And oh boy did we do a lot of talking. Our conversation was entirely trivial, but I didn't care. Seeing her face beam in joy every time I made her laugh was all I required to feel alive. Leisurely chitchat was exactly what I needed to remind myself that despite everything we had done, we were still young foolish kids who care for each other above all else. My love for Ashley was more than just physical attraction. By far! She has been the only girl I can connect with on a more intellectual level. If you can consider discussing the pros and cons of deep-dish pizza to be intellectual, that is.
Ashley hopped onto her knees. "Gosh, I'm hungry. Let's go out and have some pizza."
I gave my sister a curious look. "Now? It's too early for lunch."
She shrugged her shoulders. "Who said anything about lunch? It's not too late for breakfast."
"Pizza? For breakfast?"
Ashley shook her head, her hair bouncing merrily.
"All right, let's freshen up a bit," I said. "But you know, this is going against what our hearts are telling us."
"My stomach takes precedence right now."
We stood up together. "I'll tell Nikky to get ready so we can drop her off a little early."
My other younger sister, Nicole, was often "babysat" at her friend's house during the weekdays. It couldn't really be called babysitting when the kid volunteered to be babysat, but the arrangement worked out nicely for the three of us. Nikky got to hang out with her friends for the day while Ashley and I got some alone time in the house.
Funny how things turn out sometimes.
Nikky was watching her morning cartoons when I spotted her in the living room. Less than thirty minutes after the three of us had gotten dressed, we all clamored into my car.
* * *
"So where are you two going?" Nikky asked.
Pretending to be self-absorbed in my steering, I waited for Ashley to answer her. I didn't want to tell Nikky that Ashley and I were planning to have lunch without her, but I also didn't want to lie. Telling fibs wasn't something I was very good at, especially when it came to kids. They tend to accept answers by asking more questions, and that has caused me to trip on my words more than a few times. I was hoping Ashley's closer bond to Nikky would allow us to sneak by an afternoon without her.
"Brian and I are going out for lunch," Ashley replied coolly.
That's one way to avoid lying.
"Oh. Between adults?"
"Yeah, you can say that." Ashley turned around between our seats. "Nicole, Brian and I both love you very much. Don't take this the wrong way, okay?"
"It's cool, Big Sis, I understand. Ma and pa warned me that because you're going to college, you guys will be busy with adult stuff and I shouldn't worry if you two spend more time together without me."
"Thanks, Nikky, for understanding."
"No prob. I can't wait until I'm older so I can do adult stuff, too."
"Don't grow up too fast. You only get to be a kid once. Enjoy it for as long as you can."
"That's what ma and pa always tell me..."
A few turns and stop signs later, we arrived at a gigantic two-story Venetian mansion. It always left me dumbfounded when I saw it come into view. The ivory chateau was easily three times the size of our house, with the yard itself larger than our whole estate. The only thing missing was an electronic fence and a pack of hound dogs guarding the driveway. If the interior was anywhere near as rich as the exterior, it was plain to see why Nicole had no objections to being babysat.
"Bye Big Sis, bye Brian."
"Bye Nikky," we shouted after her.
We watched our intrepid sibling skip along a never-ending stone pathway. Nikky's friend opened the front door before she could knock on it, and even though the kids looked like ants from our distance, I could see their smiles as they greeted.
Not a moment too soon, Ashley and I were on our way.
"I feel bad for her," my sister said.
"Why do you say that? Nikky looks happy to me."
"Get a clue. She's obviously hiding her real feelings from us."
"I'm sorry that my detective skills aren't up to par with yours but I really don't get what you mean."
"We're growing distant from her."
"What? No we aren't. I mean, beside last night at the golf course and maybe right now, we haven't been ignoring her or anything like that."
"It might not seem like a big deal to you but she's starting to grow into a young teenager if you haven't noticed. She'll need the two of us to help her deal with everything that life's going to throw her way. If we separate ourselves from her now, she won't feel comfortable about coming to us when she needs to talk about boys and peer pressure and -"
"I understand that, but Nikky and I can't really talk about serious stuff. Although we get along fine, she can never open up to me. What makes you think I'll be able to help her?"
"Because you've been able to help me."
I heard Ashley loud and clear, yet I couldn't comprehend what she meant by that. Peering toward her, I caught a glimpse of the solemn shadow cast over her face.
She continued. "Without you, I would've been completely lost while I was growing up. You had so much experience in the world by the time I started middle school that all the stories you've told me when you graduated from it were like life lessons. You have no idea how much I learned from you: what kind of people to watch out for, how to manage my class work, what food to stay away from. It may not seem that important to you but it was to me.
On the first day of school, it felt as if the rest of my future had been planned out for me. I knew exactly what was going to happen, and even though I had only your stories to guide me, it was like I experienced it all already. That gave me a lot of confidence I never had before. It was a new feeling. A good feeling. I don't think I could've made it without you. And not just middle school, but high school, too." Ashley grasped my right hand with both of hers and held it to her lips. "I want to thank you, Brian. For everything."
I was speechless. Overwhelmed, even. I always believed Ashley was born with an irresistible flair that made everyone adore her. A positive aura radiating from her bright personality. It was mind-boggling to think I may have played a part in turning Ashley into the wonderful girl she grew up to be. I remembered my early teenage years and the difference in my confidence compared to hers was like comparing an infant to Michael Jordan. If one of us had done any teaching, it had to have been her.
On the days I treaded home from high school, Ashley would wait for me at the front door, ready to tell me everything that had happened to her in the seven hours we were apart. She reminded me of a housewife greeting her husband with open arms after a grueling day of work. Yet Ashley would greet me with more than just open arms. She would kiss me on the cheek, then help me carry my books to my room as she summarizes her day. Her short stories were like inspirational tales for me to use in my own life. She taught me how to become a better listener and observer. But most importantly, those moments of sibling intimacy taught me I was in love my sister.
"Ashley, you're right. I have no idea how much that all means to you. When we're alone together, it is so easy for me to open up to you about everything that I blurt out whatever is on my mind. I wonder sometimes if you really listen to me, but I get so caught up in my own thoughts that I need to say them out loud, whether you care or not."
"Of course I listen. And of course I care. You mean a lot to me and I want to know everything that goes on in that brain of yours." Ashley playfully ruffled my hair. "I want Nicole to have what I have. People she can look up to. Please say you'll try?"
"I will. I'll try harder. Starting this Wednesday."
"We'll spend the whole day with Nicole. We'll take her somewhere. Do whatever she wants to do, talk about whatever she wants to talk about. Anything goes."
"That's a great idea. I can't wait."
The one thing I admire most about Ashley is her mindfulness of everyone precious in her life. It's what sets her above the most righteous of saints. Sure, she and I have a unique relationship, but she isn't going to let that interfere with the well-being of those around her. Family means a lot to us, and it's remarkable how much she thinks about them, even when they're not around.
Shortly after our chitchat, we arrived at what would be the busiest street in town on Friday and Saturday nights. Diner's Boulevard, it was named, has more restaurants than I have teeth lining the extravagant strip. Whatever type of food you're in the mood for, that lane has the best of it. Don't expect drive-thrus and dollar specials here. Nothing less than four-star cuisines at five-star prices bordered every menu.
Because it was early in the afternoon, the pizza joint was mostly empty when Ashley and I entered. There were a few preoccupied stools, but the tables and booths were void of any hungry guests. That didn't prevent the aroma of tomato sauce and every type of meat known to man from fusing into the air, however. An oldies radio station played overhead, giving the place some much-needed tranquility over the roaring ovens in the kitchen.
Ashley made her way to a booth in the far back corner of the restaurant and I followed closely behind. Soon after we sat down, a waitress spotted us and came over to hand us our menus.
Bypassing the normal meet-and-greet, Ashley said, "We don't need the menu, thanks. My boyfriend and I are ready to order."
Joking about how we must've been regulars at the place, the waitress pulled a notepad from her back pocket. Ashley gave her our order of a pepperoni, sausage, and pineapple deep-dish pizza with two large glasses of Pepsi. The waitress nodded, bowed, and disappeared in a flash.
Ashley stared out the window past me, watching the people stroll by and the cars zoom back and forth. Pretending to read the plastic-covered menu on our table, I peeked through the corner of my eyes at her.
My sister didn't look anything like the young girl I guided through adolescence. Gone were the fluffy scrunchies, tiny pigtails, and clip-on earrings. What came in their places were glossy lipstick, long bountiful wavy hair, and luxurious silver hoops. Good-bye tee shirts of ponies and teddy bears. Hello to her white button-up blouse and black silk vest. No more knee-length shorts for my grown-up sis. Welcome her pleated thigh-high skirt.
"You look older," I remarked.
She turned to me, smiling. "I am turning nineteen in a month."
"You look older than that. Like you're twenty-two."
"Twenty-two? That'll make me older than you."
"What can I say, I like older women."
Ashley blushed brighter than tomato sauce.
The waitress arrived with our drinks and returned some timer later with our pan of cheesy meaty pizza. She was about to serve a slice of it onto my plate when Ashley stopped her.
"Thank you, I can take it from here. I want to do this for my boyfriend." The waitress watched Ashley scoop a slice onto my plate. Understanding what my sister meant, the waitress bowed again and left the table.
I watched Ashley scoop another slice onto her plate. "You must really like calling me that."
"Call you what? What'd I say?"
"You said it twice to the waitress now I was your boyfriend."
"It's because it's true. You are my boyfriend. You're also my caring brother and romantic sweetheart."
"Which one do you prefer?"
"I prefer all of them. It's not like they're exclusive to each other."
"I know that. But what I do as your brother and what I do as your boyfriend can be two completely different things."
"You don't have to do anything different around me. Just do what you've always done. Be you."
"It's not that simple. Before last Friday, I've been doing what I believed a brother should be doing for his sisters. Small stuff like making you two ice cream sundaes and draping my jacket over your shoulders when it's cold outside. And when mom and dad tell me to do something for you or Nikky, I do it, no questions asked. I want to do it - don't get me wrong - but it's also for me, to feel better about myself, like I did something right.
Now our relationship has changed. I can't look at you as just my sister anymore. Between our more... private activities, I want to see you as the little girl I've grown up with for eighteen years. But I can't, because all I see in front of me this very moment is the beautiful sophisticated woman I want to spend the rest of my life with.
This morning, when I woke up to you lying on my chest, the first thing that came to my mind wasn't that my sister is sleeping on me. It's that the sexy girl I'm crazy for is cuddling closer to me. As your brother, I should've taken every precaution to just let you sleep peacefully. Instead, I kissed you because I don't know how to control my emotions anymore. I never had these kinds of feelings before. Everything I do with you is more intimate now and I can't picture us doing things as normal siblings.
Ashley, speaking right now as your older brother, who do you see me as? Who do you want me to be when we're out eating pizza? When we're alone in the house? How do I know when it's okay for me to cross the line that separates feelings for my sister from affections for my... girlfriend?"
"Brian, please eat your pizza. You make me worry when you're not eating."
Worrying my darling was the last thing I wanted to do on this grand afternoon. I looked down at my plate and poked my fork through the cheesy dough. "Sorry, I didn't mean for this to sound serious. But I really need to know."
"I... I can't...." Ashley leaned back against the seat and took a deep breath. Her eyes flickered to-and-fro the empty restaurant, her pearly teeth biting her lower lip. She turned her attention my way and stared. I could feel her gaze piercing me, searching for what she should say to alleviate my concern. At that point, anything would've been better than the silence I was receiving.