For Us, It IsbywakingDown©
The sun rose. Another long night behind him. Darrel was awake well before the sunrise, but had lain quiet until the first beams of light crawled across his window sill. It had been a quiet night, thankfully, but Darrel still hadn't gotten much sleep. He dressed quickly, then went to the bedroom next to his and peeked in. Lizzie was dressed, sitting on the edge of her bed, just as he knew she would be. She stood as soon as he checked on her and followed him out to the hall.
"'Kay, morning chores and then I'll fix us some food." He whispered, leading her out to the backyard as he did every morning. They set about their morning chores as always, without needing to be told what to do.
Liz fed chickens, fed goats, and pumped water into troughs. Darrel ran the main pump at the well, making sure there was water in the lines for Liz to pump and for the house. He was just a bit young to be doing this, but there was nothing for it. He stretched up as high as he could open the pump and heaved down with all his weight to prime it, doing this over and over for nearly twenty minutes to make sure all the water lines had been primed. After the last pump, he kicked the valve lever over to hold and walked over to the small tractor on the other side of the barn. Today was Tuesday, so today he had to drag two bales of hay and a bag of feed over to the pens. He started lugging over the first bale over to the sled hooked to the tractor as Liz came in and started pushing on the tractors primer button. She finished and went to help Darrel drag the second bale over.
"I got it," he protested, as always.
"I know," she answered, as always, and helped him anyways.
Together they wrestled a large bag of chicken feed onto the bales. Liz sat on the bales, her hands resting on the bag of feed as Darrel climbed into the seat and started turning the key and pumping the gas. After a while the engine gave up and grudgingly rumbled to life. A short drive back across the yard and they began hauling the feed bag up to the hopper outside the chicken coop and soon had it wrestled into position. Darrel ran his buck knife across the seam of the bag and as it began spilling into the bin, they went back to the tractor and hauled the hay over to the goat pen, and started spreading the hay around in the bedding shed.
When the hay was spread, the feed bag put in its bin with the rest of the empties, they rode the tractor back to the barn and Darrel carefully backed it into its place, following Lizzie's guidance. When it was parked, he shut it down and pulled the large barn doors closed and dropped the plank into the hooks, keeping it from swinging open again. As soon as it was placed, he turned and Lizzie hugged him tight for a moment, before turning and walking out the normal sized side door. Darrel followed and locked the side door behind him.
The hug after the bar doors were sealed was something she had started doing a few weeks ago, and Darrel didn't think much of it. He figured she just needed something like that as a reassurance, since Dad was getting worse. He didn't mind, a good hug every couple of days made him feel a bit better, too. They walked back to the house, holding hands.
Darrel went about frying up the eggs and bacon while Lizzie washed up and set the table. She had coffee brewing and was pouring water in all the glasses as Mom came in, looking haggard and worn out. Lizzie poured Mom's coffee and added sugar. She began pouring Dad's into his large Thermos when he clumped into the kitchen.
"Good morning, sir." The three of them chorused.
Dad grumbled something unintelligible in return.
The table was quiet except for cooking and eating. Dad was served first, and he shoveled his food into his mouth quickly. He was done and leaving the table before Lizzie had dished up Mom. Dad could be heard in the front yard, working on the truck and cursing under his breath. Mom soon set about the housework, after telling the children to try to stay out of sight.
"Your father took a bottle of booze out to the truck with him, so stay quiet and out of sight." She instructed before getting to work.
"Come on, Liz." Darrel said quietly, leading her out the back door.
They started across the yard; Darrel headed towards the trail intro the woods. Soon Liz took his hand. She was happy to be out of the house. During school, they were out of the house a lot and it was better, but summer had just started and they had to find ways to keep out of Dad's way unless they wanted a beating. The woods were a good place to hide, but it still made her a bit nervous. She was 18, old enough that the woods shouldn't scare her, but her and Darrel had gotten lost when she was ten, and she had been terrified that whole night, hunkered next to her brother, cold, hiding at the base of a fallen tree until daybreak. She still got goose bumps every time they stepped out of the grass of the yard and down the trail at the tree line. She looked up at Darrel, barely a year older, taller than her. He had Dad's dark, thick hair, but everything else was clearly Mom. He was a quiet boy; he had learned early that speaking out against Dad was not wise. The scar along his jaw was fading, but would still be clearly visible for a few more years. It went from his chin across his right cheek, where it forked, one split up the side of his nose, the other across his temple into his hair. The rough stitch work was still clear as rows of uneven dots and swirls along the edges of the scar.
Liz didn't even see the scar anymore unless she was looking at it specifically; it was just another part of his face to her. Darrel, however, didn't think it was just another part. He saw it as an ugly, stark, twisted chunk of his face. He felt ugly because of it. He figured others wouldn't want to look at him, if they didn't have to. He didn't blame them; he couldn't even stand to see it. He shaved as little as he could so he wouldn't have to look in the mirror. He always got ragged on at school about it, and he didn't fight back or argue, even though he knew he could whip the shit out of those that made fun of him. He figured if it was someone else, he might be one of the ones making fun.
They walked down the trail, Darrel taking lefts and rights though the network of trails with barely a thought. Since getting lost, he had forced his brain to commit the trail layout to memory so that he would not have to make his sister suffer through another night of cold and fear. He was heading to the stream, about three miles from the backyard. The stream was called Forkfinder's Run, but Darrel just thought of it as Forkers. He knew Liz liked to watch the small minnows and frogs and whatnot going about their business in the water.
"Why does Dad have a family if he doesn't want one?" Liz asked quietly as they walked.
"I don't know. I think we were accidents. I don't know why he hates Mom. Maybe he blames her for us coming along." He answered. They had had this conversation many times before, but he always went over it again, as it seemed to help Liz.
"Why doesn't he just leave? If I could leave something that I didn't like, I would."
"I don't know. Maybe he will someday. I don't see why he wouldn't." Darrel answered as he always dad.
"I wish he would." She almost whispered.
"Me too, Liz. Me too." He answered, not whispering. He hated his father passionately, and made no excuses for it. Liz was a little less vehement, actually a little ashamed to say that she didn't like him.
"Is it wrong to hate Dad?" She asked quietly. "I feel like it's supposed to be, but it's the way I feel." She asked quietly, with a little hesitation.
"I think it's supposed to be wrong. I think you're supposed to love your parents. But I also think that they are supposed to love you back. So I think for, us, it might not be wrong. Whether it's right or wrong, I hate him. I don't care what others may think about it. He hates us, he hurts us, he hurts Mom, so I hate him. If it's wrong, well, then I guess it's wrong. I'm not gonna let that stop me though." Darrel answered as they slid down the small embankment to the water's edge. Darrel sat on the log where he always sat, leaning against the spray of roots at the bottom of the trunk.
"So it might be okay for us, even if it's normally wrong?" Liz asked, sitting next him.
"Yeah, I think so. I think so." He said, watching the water. The frogs and minnows were neat and all, but he liked to watch the surface of the water. How it moved over the two large rocks that barely stuck out of the water, always splashing up in the same spot, but always in a different way, each moment different and the same, just in two different ways of looking at it. It soothed him.
"Okay Darrel. I hope you're right. "She answered, watching as three small minnows darted around in the small pool on the edge of the water, close to where her feet sat. She could watch them for hours as they went about their little lives, seemingly unaware of the creatures above them looking down. She liked to think that they maybe did know she was watching, and were dancing around in a small ballet just for her.
They sat in silence for a while, just watching the stream, letting their minds wander empty. Lizzie took Darrel's hand again and leaned against him, resting her head on his shoulder. She liked to feel him, whether holding hands, or against his arm, like this, or a quick hug in the barn. She simply liked the contact. He liked it as well, feeling like he was keeping her happy and safe. All he wanted was to protect her and make her smile.
After a while her breathing slowed and became regular. She had fallen asleep against his arm. He smiled a bit, and kept watching the water. Soon, she wriggled a bit and pressed into him a little more snugly. He worked his arm from under her, slowly, and easily, so as not to disturb her, and put it around her shoulders, his hand resting on her right arm. She snuggled in a little more and stilled again. Darrel thought he could sit like this forever, just holding her.
Liz slowly opened her eyes. She didn't know how long she had been asleep. Not long by the sun light coming in through the trees. She found Darrel's arm around her and smiled. She wrapped her arm around his waist and pulled tight to him. He seemed to be asleep, and pulled his arm tighter to her, snorted softly and stilled. She wondered what he dreamed about. He always said he never remembered his dreams, but he tended to mutter a bit when deeply asleep, not anything she could make out, but it was clear that it was almost talking, not just noises or grunts. She looked up at his face, looking past the scars, and saw a handsome young man that, even in sleep, was frowning a bit. She knew he was sad and angry a lot. She knew he was not angry at her, he was never angry at her, but she could not figure out how to stop him from being sad. She had been trying for a few years now to figure out how to keep him from being sad, but it just seemed to be a part of who he was. She took her hand from his waist and gently rubbed her finger on his brow, between the thick eyebrows where it was always a little scrunched. She rubbed in small circles until his brow smoothed and relaxed, then put her arm around him again and went back to watching the water. She watched a small frog trying to swim across the water a little further up, struggling against the current, and making little progress. She felt Darrel tremble and his arm tightened around her. She looked up and saw his face was pinched, his frown deeper than ever, his jaw clenched, his upper lip twitching up like an angry dog.
She sat up a little and started gently rubbing his chest, whispering his name and making quiet hushing sounds. Soon, he started relaxing and his face loosened. She knew that he frequently had nightmares, and that he did this when they came. She kept calming him until he was sleeping normally again, then gave his lips a brief, gentle kiss.
His eyes fluttered open, her face still near his, maybe an inch away.
"Shh, easy. You had a nightmare. You're okay." She cooed quietly, staring into his dark blue eyes. He stared back at her, amazed as always by her own eyes, a very light grey from a distance, the faint blue tint not really visible until you were very close.
"Thanks, Liz." He whispered, holding her a little tighter. She smiled a bit, then leaned in and kissed him again, lingering a moment longer this time.
"What was that for?" He asked, a small smile touching his own mouth.
"To make you feel better."
"Well, it worked."
"Good." She chuckled, and pecked his cheek before turning back to the stream.
They spent the rest of the day there, watching the stream and its various forms of wildlife, talking quietly now and then, but mostly just enjoying the quiet and each other's company. As the sun began to ease down, painting the trees in a blaze of orange and green, they made their way back up towards home. They took their time, having nothing else to do today besides make dinner a little later. As they stepped back into the clear of the back yard, they grew quiet again, dreading what they may find when they got to the house. Their dread was not unfounded.
They could hear the shouting from a distance. As Darrel eased the back door open, they could clearly hear Dad ranting at Mom about anything and everything. Darrel took Lizzie's hand and took her quickly to the side of the kitchen doorway, next to the fridge, listening for Dad's voice to make its way to the other side of the living room, which it soon did. When Dad was on the south side of the living room, he couldn't see the foot of the stairs. When he went over there Darrel quickly and quietly led Lizzie out to the foot of the stairs and up. They made it up to the second floor without Dad noticing. Darrel went to his door and Liz stepped up next to him. He went in and she shut the door behind them.
"Let me stay with you tonight? Please?" She asked quietly, her hands clasped in front of her, her eyes brimming with tears, as though he would say no. He would not, of course, but she wouldn't think to presume.
"Yeah, of course," he answered, wrapping his arms around her, letting her sob silently into his chest.
"I hate him," she whispered into his shirt, ashamed to say it but unable to stop herself.
"I know, I do too." He replied, rubbing her back. "Go grab something to sleep in, I'll watch the stairs. If you hear me knock on your door, lock it." He told her, stepping back and wiping her tears off her cheeks.
"Okay. I love you, Dare." She whispered.
"I love you too, Liz."
She stepped into her room and shut the door, Darrel standing in front of it, waiting to see if Dad would carry his rampage upstairs. She grabbed the long shirt she usually slept in, a change of panties and a pair of socks in case her feet got cold. As she stepped out, she turned the lock and shut the door, so if Dad banged on the door, he would just think she was in there being quiet.
They darted back into Darrel's room and locked the door. They did not leaving Mom to deal with Dad alone, but Mom was tough in her own right. She always sent the children away and took Dad on by herself.
Darrel sat on the bed and looked away while Liz undressed. She had told him before that he did not have to look away, but he always said that he shouldn't see her naked. When she had the nightshirt on, he pulled the blanket and sheet back for her to lie down, then got undressed himself. He faced his closet while he did, and didn't realize that Liz watched him raptly. He pulled on a pair of old loose running shorts that served as his pajamas and turned around. Liz was pulling the sheet and blanket back for him.
He turned off the lamp and slid into bed next to her. She wrapped her arms around him immediately and laid her head on his chest. He held her like that for a while as the shouting downstairs wound down. After it had been quiet for a bit, Darrel felt like he was starting to doze off when he felt movement. Liz moved closer to him and pulled her leg up over him, so her thigh was across his lap, her leg draped down his leg. He could feel the softness of her breasts on his ribs, her stomach on his side, and her crotch, feeling very warm, on his hip. Her face was now resting in the hollow of his neck, her breath warm on his throat. Her hand was resting on his chest, and began to rub gently, as she did when his nightmares struck. He began rubbing her back, moving his hand from her shoulders down to the small of her back, and back up again slowly.
Liz' face turned slightly and he realized she was softly kissing his neck, her lips lingering a moment, then moving a bit and lingering again. He loved the way it felt, but did not know if this was right. It felt different than how she usually kissed him, it felt less like the way a sister kisses her brother and more like a lover's kiss. He felt his body responding, and knew that in a moment she would feel it too.
"Liz," she whispered, his hand stopping on her back.
"Yes," she breathed, almost moaning.
"Liz, uh, stop, I'm, uh," he stuttered, his other hand trying to move her leg.
"Dare, it's okay," she whispered, and took the hand that was trying to push her leg away and set it on her hip. Her chest and hip pressed against him as she looked up and leaned over him a bit, looking into his eyes, loving the way the dim moonlight sent highlights over his features. "Dare, it's alright. Please, don't push me away." She asked softly, touching his cheek gently.
"No, I don't want to push, I mean, well, I'm, oh, shit," he fumbled, not wanting to hurt Liz' feelings, and not wanting her to feel him rising to her either.
"Dare, calm down, it's okay," she whispered, and slid a little further up, bringing her face up to his, "I know. I know, and it's alright. I've felt it before, when I've slept in here with you. I know it does that when you hold me close." She soothed, her fingertips tracing the line of his jaw.
"What? Then, but," he stumbled.
"Hush, I do something like that to. When you're close to me." Her hand left his face took his from her hip. She placed his hand on her breast, holding it there a moment, "here, these get hard," and through the thin fabric, he could feel that her nipple was very hard indeed. Her hand guided his to her crotch, lifting her leg to place his hand on her warm, moist lips. "And here, this gets wet." She released his hand put hers on his stiff member, lowering her leg as she did to keep his hand where it was. "Just like you get hard here." She whispered as she held him gently.
"Lizzie," he moaned, shocked at her behavior.
"Dare, it's okay," she said gently, then kissed him. Her soft lips pressed to his and stayed there. When she opened them slightly a small moan escaped her throat.
Darrel's other hand, still on her back, began to move again. He trailed it up her back, and down again. Liz moaned as his hand slid over the small of her back. He let his hand slide lower, cupping her firm buttock. She moaned again as he did, and he felt her tongue slide across his lower lip. He gasped at that, and when his mouth opened a bit, her tongue slipped in, toying gently with his own. She felt him kissing back, and her grip tightened on his shaft. He jumped a bit, a soft groan coming from deep in his throat.
She felt him begin to move his right hand, his fingers massaging gently where she had them trapped. Her breathing sped up a bit, and she slipped her hand under the waistband of his shorts and gripped him again, her hand moving slowly up and down his length. He was beginning to breathe quicker as well now, and moaning as she squeezed him. His left hand held her tighter, then slid up, going under her nightshirt, and wrapped around her to grab her breast. She moaned louder as he did, and shuddered. He felt a wash of moisture on his other hand.