tagIncest/TabooAnnie's Yuletide Gamble

Annie's Yuletide Gamble


Additional categories: BDSM, Lesbian, Reluctance


Peace In Earth ('Twas Two Nights Before Christmas)

Monday, December 23rd, 1996, 3:21 p.m.

Tarra Jacobs sat at her dining room table, launching into a fresh hand of solitaire. Adult contemporary Christmas music wafted from the radio. Her halls were decked inside and out, twinkly lights blinking on the windows and tree. She hummed along, awaiting the return of her niece and cohabitant Annie. The two were related maternally. They'd shared the same roof for eight years. They spent their together time at home watching TV, trading accounts of their days, and playing table games. Quite a few table games. A miniature tournament of table games. A tournament that was largely one-sided.

Aunt Tarra heard the car door slam outside. The next moments brought hurried footsteps, and a key rapidly turning in the lock. The door whipped open, one freezing niece Annie Sterlish hastening inside. She stamped her boots on the mat and zipped them loose.

"Holy crapola!" Annie exclaimed through chattering teeth. The next she removed were her coat and gloves, shaking the snow from her hair. "I am cuttin' glass! What is it, minus-17 freakin' degrees out there??"

"Welcome to freakin' Minnesota."

"Heh! Well, peace in! 'Sup, b.?"

The middle-aged Tarra looked up from the cards. She'd heard a lot of Annie-slang, but this sounded like a new one on her.


"Yeah, 'b.' 'S what we call our home girls. You're my 'b,' b."

"...That better stand for beautiful."

Annie gave a patronizing, loving laugh. "Yeah. Sure, Tare." Pants off, she toted them through Aunt Tarra's toasty 74° house and deposited them in the hamper. 74 was a little warm for her preference, but she'd rather be a little warm than minus-17 cold. She returned in the same top and panties, and a pair of fishnets. She flopped on the sofa, flipped on the TV and started channel hopping. Ten feet away, Tarra was hardly disconcerted to have her Christmas music joined by a television show. It was Annie's home too—though Aunt Tarra who paid the bills—and her niece should be able to come and go as pleased. Within reason. Besides, Tarra didn't want to risk pissing her off and making Annie drown her in a tirade of '90s-speak. It was like her generation's own separate language. If Aunt Tarra could get a grasp on this Internet thing, maybe she could look up what these weird expressions meant.

Annie settled on a festive program, and got back up a moment later, now with a bit of a hankering for popcorn.

"Oh, what'cha watchin', babe? Home Alone 3??" Tarra laughed.

"Nah, that's not s'posed to be out till next Christmas. At least that's what they're sayin' at work."

"...Y—...Annie, I was kidding. You mean they really are coming out with another one?"

"Face it, Tare, they never have known when to cool it with sequels."

"Crying out loud. So how was work?"

"Ah, pretty chill," Annie called back. "Y'know, peeps might still hit Toys 'Я' Us in a damn snowstorm two days before Christmas. But not Blockbuster. They know they gotta bring the tapes back, and it's just not the best few days to rent movies. It is good to know I got steady work, though; Blockbuster's gonna be around forever. Just wish I could say the same for your VCR."

"What? Why, what's wrong with the VCR?"

"Nothin'. But Blockbuster's gettin' the word soon they're gonna start puttin' movies on DVDs."

"On what?"

"DVDs. They're like CDs for movies. They're s'posed to have better quality, click-screens, and extra stuff, like, related to the movie. So you can see the actors and the people who worked on it, they tell you about the movie while you watch it. Stuff like that."

"Oh, geez," said Tarra, finishing her current hand. "Well, isn't that perfect timing. Just when I become queen of my VCR. I swear, I just mastered how to do everything with it. Well, thank god I've got you."

"You'll be down with it, b. Gotta get into the whole digital thing sooner or later. 'Dya get online today?"

Aunt Tarra sheepishly shifted her eyes. Her 18-year-old niece had a way of making her feel like a flighty 46-year-old schoolgirl who hadn't done her homework. She collected up the cards and shuffled.

"Nah...AOL's not my friend. 'S like some impossible video game. I can barely get past the first screen."

"Oh, that's no impossible video game," said Annie, emerging a sec from the kitchen. "I'll tell you what's an impossible video game. Chrono Friggin' Trigger, that's an impossible video game. But so worth it. So damn fresh."

Before Aunt Tarra could ask for a translation, Annie switched the subject, hearing a familiar singing voice from the TV.

"Yo! Mary J.!"


"The chick doin' this song!" Annie explained. "Mary Jane Blige! I love her! She's my home girl!"

"Uh-huh. Well, that's nice."

"She is the shiznit! She's 'Da Bomb, with a capital 'd'!" She returned to the kitchen.

"...And, whatever that was you just said, I'm sure you meant it, and I'm sure I'd agree...if I understood it."

"Quit kiddin' around, Tare. You know it means she's all that."

"...Mm-hm," remarked Aunt Tarra, pretending she got that too. "Well, uh...how 'bout a game more your ol' auntie's speed? Whaddaya say to a little gin or checkers, huh?" She patted the seat beside her at the table. "C'mon."

Annie sighed, reluctantly slipping back out. She had a little time to kill while the popcorn popped, and it wasn't that she didn't enjoy doing things with Aunt Tarra. It was just that every time they played a game like this, her aunt absolutely wiped the floor with her.

"Y'mean so you can open up another can of whoop-ass on me?"

"Oh, sweetie, don't be such a sore sport. But yes," she (half-)kidded.

"Can't we play som'n' I could beat you at for once? Like Mortal Kombat? Or Mario Kart? Or even a game without the same initials?"

"Annie, if I can't even find my way around the Internet, how'm I gonna compete with you at Mario Kart?"

"Exactly!" Annie insisted, as her aunt started dealing. "Tare, if you let me get you more into technology, I bet you'd really like it. Y'know, they're comin' out with a new Mario Kart for the N64 soon."

"Ah, hon, that stuff's just not up my alley. Besides, I don't even know what the N64 is."

Annie resigned herself, supposing it was okay her aunt wasn't tech-fluent just yet. She could always surf the Net and play video console games with her own-aged friends. Why not just go along with what Tarra wanted to do, she reasoned. She guessed the important thing was that they were spending time and bonding. And who knew, she might even win a game today.

Tarra dealt a first hand of seven-card gin. They let silence settle, listening to the radio and TV. Annie smiled in the knowledge that they were immersed in Christmas spirit. It was just after the winter solstice, and especially here in the Midwest, it'd started getting dark very early. Before long, the multicolor and icicle lights around the house would be even more beautiful and festive. All their shopping and other preparations were taken care of. The next day was Christmas Eve. Both were off work—Annie from Blockbuster, Tarra from her accounting firm—and the tubular twosome would likely spend the day watching the snow, arranging presents under the tree, enjoying some cocoa and just hangin'. Then on Wednesday, they'd have their other relatives over for the big occasion.

In fact, Annie thought...she could fix them up a delicious helping of nog right now. With a sweet little shot of rum, no less. Oh, she should be liberal with the rum, to be sure. She wanted to get a good buzz going. She wasn't old enough to drink legally, but neither minded her drinking in their own home. They drew and threw a dozen or so cards, in the midst of which Annie broke out the popcorn. She kept on her poker face, though growing excited as she took another card. She'd gotten two 2s and two 10s in the deal, and another 2 a few cards later. Her next pick was the 10 of spades.

Whoa, she thought. Oh, yes! I'm only one card away!

Aunt Tarra drew her next card. Her face alit with a gasp.

"Why!" she announced, overdramatically. Annie believed she knew what this meant.

"Would you look at this!"

She looked up and beamed at Annie—almost a bit malevolently, it would seem—as she laid down her cards. Annie looked, more or less as a formality. Three queens, and four consecutive diamonds: 4, 5, 6, 7. Yup. Annie mouthed the word along with her.


Annie dropped her own three hands to the table, and her head on top of them. Face buried, she gave a whimper. A whimper that conveyed, "You win again," and that showed she was trying to be a good sport. From above her, however, she heard the familiar sound that made it so much harder. Aunt Tarra's sweet-natured, deceptively innocent-sounding, triumphant giggle.

"Hee-hee-hee-hee-hee!..." Annie felt her aunt gingerly tousle her hair, as if to lovingly rub it in. "Looks like I win again!"

Annie raised her head with a sigh. "Looks like you do, b. How's 'at horseshoe up your ass, by the way?"

Tarra laughed once more. "Oh, Annie! I just happen to be a skilled player, sweetheart! I use clever strategies!"

Annie was tempted to point out that there wasn't that much skill or strategy involved. It wasn't chess, for crying out loud. But it was still just a game. It did not mirror her approach to the big picture of life. She was a smart college girl of 18, having enrolled earlier this year. When Annie wasn't spouting '90s gibberish, her speech and mannerisms were pretty eloquent and clever as well. Tarra appreciated this about her. Annie'd been different from most teenagers in that she hadn't much of an attitude, or thought of her guardian as a lame-o. And Tarra loved having her around and taking care of her. She was, in Annie-speak, "all that 'n' a bag o' Cheetos." If the truth be told, she was a little afraid of Annie moving out someday. She supposed she had to face it eventually, but she couldn't see that logically happen any time soon.

Annie cut, shuffled, and dealt the next hand. Round two lasted a few minutes longer, but foreseeably, Tarra cleaned her clock again. Losing every hand alone wasn't fun, but remained preferable to her aunt's confirmation of victory—from which Annie was never spared. That insufferable little giggle. Gosh, could that get irritating. Tarra Jacobs was an accountant, and performed her job with finesse. But being good with math and numbers didn't equate to whipping one's niece's ass at gin or checkers. If Annie didn't know better, she'd suspect Aunt Tarra of cheating. But Tarra wasn't a cheater. She never even peeked at a classmate's paper in school.

Annie thought she'd like to switch to checkers at this point. She also thought she could use a first good shot of nog. So she asked Aunt Tare to please set up the board while she whipped up a batch. A short while later, out came the first cups.

"MMM!" exclaimed Tarra, returning her cup to the table with a perfect arc of the arm. Annie arched her brows and chuckled in amusement. It would seem she'd underestimated Tarra's affinity for the drink. Annie leaned forward to look. Wow. Auntie'd drained three quarters of the cup in one giant gulp. She looked back up to address her.

"Good stuff?"

Tarra shook her head. "Whoo! Damn, that rum's got a kick! Gimme a word, hon. What do you kids call something really awesome?"

Annie smiled. "'Dope.'"

Tarra lifted one brow. "...'Dope'? Like...marijuana?"

"Well, yeah. Like marijuana, but not. Like som'n' hella cool, but ya don't have to be blazed off your ass."

"Oh. Well, Anns, I gotta tell ya: your eggnog is dope-a-roon-y!"

Annie placed a hand over her face to keep from laughing. At the same time, she thought, Thank god we're alone. Had any of her friends been around to hear her dear old auntie say, "Dope-a-ROON-y"...how embarrassing. She didn't feel much like laughing after what happened next, however. She looked down to the checkerboard to see Tarra jump her twice, reaching her bottom row.

"King me, sweetie."

Annie's cheekbones drooped as her smile evaporated. She sighed, taking one of two checkers she'd been lucky enough to get...and topping Tarra's king. Able to use a drink herself, she threw back a healthy gulp as well.

Whoa. Tarra was right; it was pretty dope. And kick-y. Once both cups were polished off, Annie rose to refill them.




"Excuse me, whom do you think you're calling fat?!"

"Not 'f-a-t,' Tare. 'P-h-a-t.' Means dope."


Returning a second time, Annie noted that it was completely dark outside. Snow continued to fall, but with reduced visibility.

"Here we goo-oo!" she announced, serving the second cups. She sat back down, making her next move. "Your turn, Tare bear."

Tarra took another swig. "Ah, I was hopin' you'd do that." She jumped three of Annie's checkers. "King me."

The niece gazed back up at the aunt with a predictable stare.

"I hate you."

Aunt Tarra only grinned. "I love you too, baby bear."

As Tare indicated, Annie really did love her...she guessed...but geez, were certain times harder than others. She knew she shouldn't care so much; again, these were only games. It bore repeating that they were not a metaphor for Annie Gwyn Sterlish's life. They did not reflect performance of her job or schoolwork, and should not be regarded as such. The agonizing part was how Tarra rubbed—no. Not rubbed. She ground Annie's otherwise clean nose in it, every lousy rotten stinking time. On the other hand, she supposed she could "force" Aunt Tarra to play a video game with her...and kick her smug auntie's ass across the room. The problem was, as Tarra whole-heartedly admitted, she didn't know the first thing about video games. Beating her at something she couldn't even comprehend was meaningless. It'd be way too easy, and a hollow, shallow triumph. No, Annie wanted to figure out how to conquer Tarra on a more level plane. Unfortunately, it wouldn't be this time. Five moves later, the first game of checkers was over.

"Yayyyyy!" Aunt Tarra celebrated. "Hooray for me; I win again!"

Annie resisted the temptation to pick up the checkerboard and do something uncharacteristic with it. She let off her steam psychologically instead, via swearing.

"Mother, fuck."

"Annie!" her aunt laughed. "Language."

"...You suck, y'know that?"

"Oh, Annie, don't be such a spoil-sport."

"I won't if you won't."

"There is nothing wrong with enjoying a fair and square victory."

"There is when you take it over the top, b. 'S called bein' a sore winner. 'S bunk."


"Adjective. 'Bunk': bogus, wrong, messed up."

"A-ha. Well, Annie-bananie, I don't think I'm being so over the top."

"Yeah, well, with half due respect, Tarra-blueberra, of course you wouldn't."

The two of them did tend to tease, chew out and verbally spank one another, but all in the name of love. Moreover, in and around their affectionate chiding remarks, they talked about everything under the sun. Though Annie's lingo made Tarra feel the need for an interpreter, their conversations were candid, thorough and involved. It occurred to Annie, however, one subject that hadn't come up between them was sex. It certainly wasn't for discretionary reasons. Annie understood not all nieces and aunts chatted so frankly about the topic. Yet at the same time, she thought of herself and Tarra as more than just family. She liked to think of them as buddies and galpals. Annie dated both boys and girls, which Tarra knew, but her aunt seemed to have always been on her own.

In fact, as Annie thought about it, she couldn't remember the last time (if ever) she'd seen Tarra with a paramour. Of either sex. She'd assumed people were straight before finding out otherwise, until she'd started courting other young ladies. One of the things she was studying in college was women's health and sexuality, so it was on her mind lately. It crossed said mind that discussing this kind of thing made Tarra less than comfy, but she doubted it. Tarra was an enlightened, open-minded woman, and an overall very cool person. If a little behind the times technologically. Maybe she should broach the topic, Annie thought as they enjoyed yet another helping of eggnog. It definitely seemed to be helping them loosen up.

"Hey, Tare?"


Annie downed another small mouthful and asked what was on her mind.

"...You're not a virgin, right?"

In the middle of her own gulp, Tarra almost expelled the beverage right back out through her nose.

"W—...Annie!..." laughed her aunt, sniffling and clearing her throat. "What...what kinda question is that??"

"A yes or no one. Doy."

"Well..." Aunt Tarra was beginning to slur her words. "Wha-what would make you ask something like that?"

Annie shrugged. "Curiosity. It was just on my mind. I mean, I'm...I'm sure you had guys interested in you at some point. It's just, we're alone here in the crib, and I've...just...never really seen you...with a dude."

The nog going to her own head, Annie was getting more bold. Lucky for her, her tipsy aunt just laughed it up.

"Ha! Well, aren't you the nosy little snoop all of a sudden."

Annie couldn't help but notice she still hadn't answered the question.

"I can't help but notice you still haven't answered the question."

Tarra stared back at her, for a remarkable amount of time before she finally spoke again.

"...So what if I haven't?"

Annie's mouth collapsed open. She sat in dumbfounded shock. She'd almost asked this question as a rhetorical, a throwaway. She was positive she knew the answer. Talk about a slap in the face! Tarra was 46 years old! How in the world could she have never...

"OH, my god, Tare..." A smile of amusement crept across her face.

"...You're a virgin."

Aunt Tarra darted her brow-crinkled eyes back and forth, having trouble making contact with Annie's. She stuttered, patently embarrassed by her niece's discovery.

"I-I didn't say that."

Annie laughed. "You didn't not say it!"

"W-well..." Sigh. "...Okay, Annie, so I've never had sex. It's not that big a deal. I guess I just haven't met the right man yet."

It was Annie's turn to dart her eyes.

"Well...what if it's right...but it's not a man?"

"What...whaddaya mean? An animal?"

"No, dummy. A woman."

Tarra answered with a high-pitched chortle.

"I think you've had a little too much, Annie. Might have to cut'cha off."

Another laugh. "No, I mean it! Look, I...there's some dudes I like, but I've been goin' with some hot chicks too. It's not exactly unheard of, y'know, Tare. I mean, I'm not sayin' you're a lesbian, but I'm not sayin' you're not either. And if you never hit anything with an outie or an innie, how do ya know?"

Tarra went crimson in the face. "ANNie!..."

"What?? It's just sex, Tare! It's a perfectly normal, natural, totally awesome thing. C'mon, Tare, I know you. And you know me. We're not prudes. Homey don't play that. We're both adults now. We can talk about this!"

Aunt Tarra again felt sheepish. She knew Annie was right...even if she had no idea who "Homey" was, what he didn't play or why he didn't play it. But she supposed in and around the verbal gobbledygook, her niece made a good point. It just wasn't the easiest thing for her to discuss. This was an area where their generation gap came into play. During Tarra's childhood, sex in general was a more private thing, especially in her neck of the woods. And the question of homosexuality barely arose at all. Tarra didn't care one way or the other if someone was gay, or if that someone turned out to be her niece. But being possibly destined herself for a woman rather than a man...the auntie had to take some time to process that one. It threw her for a bit of a loop. It was true, she was a 46-year-old virgin. Wow, thought Annie...a middle-aged virgin. Almost sounded like a funny idea for a movie. But...nah. Nobody'd watch that.

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