"Gonna shower," I said. "Feeling woozy."

"Sun, insufficient food, too much wine. Told ya," he observed.

"Uh huh. Olly?"


"Seriously, I think I need some help getting upstairs."

He was by my side immediately, concerned. "Shan, you OK?"

"Feeling light-headed. Just a bit, but don't particularly want to fall downstairs and bleed everywhere again."

"Once was enough, thanks," he grumped, and I laughed at the memory of my tumble at age seventeen and the drama it had orchestrated.

"It could be exciting. Think of the ambulance ride, the emergency room, the new and interesting people," I teased him.

"Can it, Shannon. Seriously, not funny."


"Take my arm, you crazy wench," he said, exasperated but grinning in spite of it.

"You say the most flattering things," I laughed, but I was grateful for his solid presence beside me as we climbed upstairs.

"I'll be OK from here. Thanks." I hugged him; kissed him gently on the cheek. "My hero."

"Call me if you feel dizzy, OK?"

"Will do. I'll leave the bathroom door open. No peeking."

Olly shook his head and stalked off downstairs; I leaned against the wall and watched him for a moment. Then I stepped into the bathroom and cranked open the shower. As the room heated up I loosened my hair, then I stripped out of my clothes and folded them over the towel rail for afterwards. I stepped into the shower and let the hot water sluice over me. I reached for the soap, intending to wash myself.

But something was wrong.

I watched the water, confused. Sparkles of light danced in my vision, and before I knew it I was slumped on the shower floor, water spraying in my face.

"Olly... Olly... OLLY!" I screamed. I heard footsteps pounding up the stairs, and he appeared in the doorway.

"Jesus Christ!"

"Help," I cried.

He lunged into the shower, turned off the water and got his arms under my shoulders. He dragged me out into the bathroom proper and wrapped me in a towel, then held me to him.

"Shannon, Shannon, talk to me. Talk to me, sis."

"OK... I'm OK..." I gulped. "Fuck... fuck, Olly, I have no idea what happened."

"Did you hit your head?"

"Don't think so."

"Think it was the heat?"

"Think so."

"OK. Let me get your clothes."

"No," I cried, clinging. "No, no, no, don't go, please, please just hold me..."

He wrapped his wiry arms around me and cradled my head against his chest, rocking slowly back and forth. "Shh, shh, Shan, shh, you're OK... you're OK..."

It was some time before I'd let him go.


He slipped my arm behind his neck, and lifted me into his arms, my face nestled into his neck. He carried me, silent, down the hallway to my room, where he put me gently down on my bed. "Shift," he whispered, and as I did he pulled aside my crumpled duvet and sheet for me, then pulled them over. He sat, staring down at me.

"What?" I asked, tired.

"Waiting for my heart to start again," he answered, softly. "Haven't been that scared in a while, Shan."

"Sorry. Sorry for scaring you like that."

"You have to take better care of yourself, Shan. You have to. Do it for me if you can't do it for yourself."

"Olly, please. It wasn't intentional. I just forgot to eat lunch, and I've had a busy day and too much sun."

"Mm. Well. I'm going to drag my futon in here so I'm within reach."

"Olly, don't be daft. It's a double bed, there's space enough for you in it."

"It's your bed, Shan."

"And I'm saying there's space in it for you. Olly... that frightened the fuck out of me. I'd... I'd really appreciate it if you were close enough to touch, tonight." I swallowed.

He nodded. "I'll be with you shortly, OK, Shan? Just going to wash the smoke off me and get my PJ's."

"I'm not going anywhere," I replied, shivering. "Please be quick though, I don't feel well."

Olly was true to his word; I'm sure he was exhausted and would have loved a proper bath or shower, but he was back in under five minutes, wearing his tatty old linen sleeping trousers and carrying two bottles of water. I wriggled over and he slipped under the covers.

"Well, this brings back memories," I observed after a brief silence.

He snorted. "Bit different at our age than when we were twelve, Shan."

"Not really. You're still my best friend and my best slave," I smiled.

"I'm going to be staying a while," he said, apropos of nothing.


"To make sure you're well."

"Olly," I protested.

"Stow it, Shannon. I'm bigger, uglier and a metric fuckton more stubborn than you are."

"Well... I wasn't going to protest much, you know. It's nice to be around you again, and I won't say no to you being around more."


I rolled away. "Night, Olly. Love you."

"Love you too, Shan. Sleep now. Wake me if you need me."


Something did wake me; some subtle strangeness. I lay, eyes closed, listening, trying to work out what it was.

Olly's breathing was odd; it sounded slow and deep, different. And there was something else; the soft rasp of moving fabric.

I rolled onto my back, faked a sleepy murmur, and then lay, silent as the grave, listening. Olly took a soft breath, and I felt him shift alongside me. I waited, curious, and after some time I felt him moving again. Strange, rhythmic sub-vocal sounds, the rustle of fabric... I turned my head slightly, opening my eye a sliver.

He lay next to me, on his back, eyes closed, right arm moving gently under the covers. I suddenly realised what he was doing, and the shock nearly made me call out. Somehow I didn't. Instead, I lay there, heart thumping, listening to him as he slowly stroked himself. He shifted a leg slightly, arched a bit, and a bit more. The note of his breathing deepened. Then, he stopped, turned his head towards me; watching me for a moment before he slipped out from under the duvet and snuck out of my room. The bathroom door clicked softly closed.

I let out a shuddering breath, and squeezed my legs together as I realised how aroused I was. I slipped my hand under the waistband of my pyjamas and snuck a finger down to myself, over the short-stubble of my shaven mons to my slick, tingling lips and clit.

I stroked my index finger along my slit, feeling the damp heat of my entrance against my fingertip. I hadn't masturbated in a long while; but the need to do so had taken hold of me. Hardly thinking of the possibility of being caught out, I started to touch and caress my clit with my right hand while I slowly worked my left index and middle fingers into myself.

My vagina spasmed tightly down on me and I whimpered - it had been an age since I'd felt more than a passing, peripheral need, and this, this aching urge, was something I'd almost forgotten.

I teased around my clit, thinking of Olly touching himself, lying in bed next to me, hard and throbbing. I opened my legs, pushed into myself, spread myself, arching backwards, lifting myself up off the bed as I ground down against my hand.

I visualised Olly, imagined him hunched over, cock in hand, thrusting and stroking himself to climax, and I stepped up the tempo of my play; urgent now, desperate in my need to finish before he came back, because I knew that if he came back before I found release I'd never be able to sleep.

I felt my pussy throb once, then again. I gasped a quick breath. I drove my fingers hard into myself, arching my hips up against my hand for extra depth. I struggled for another breath, then another as I pressed and teased my fingertips against the front of my vagina.

I felt myself rising, rising, plateauing... and then, just as I heard the sound of the toilet flushing I managed to drive myself over, curling my fingers over in me, spreading myself, groaning as my belly spasmed and my muscles contracted on my slick fingers.

"Oh, oh, oh..."

I bit my lip, trying to muffle myself, trying not to give myself away.

Slowly the spasms subsided; slowly I unwound myself; took a shuddering breath.

Footsteps in the passage.

I barely had time to pull out before he slipped back into the room. I lay still, heart hammering, as Olly climbed slowly back under the covers. I paused, silent, for a moment - then I rolled onto my side, away from him, and sighed softly, pretending to be asleep.

"Shannon?" he whispered; I didn't answer, and that seemed to satisfy him, because he gently wrapped his arm around me, and pulled himself in until we were spooning.

The sensation of his slowly softening cock against me kept me awake and aching long after he'd begun to gently snore.


"Good morning," came the quiet whisper, and I rolled over, brushing the sleep out of my eyes.

"Hi," I smiled, groggy.

"I've got breakfast on the go downstairs," he said. He stroked my fringe gently out of my eyes. "How are you feeling?"

"Tired," I yawned. "Strangely so."

"You were a bit restless last night. Think your body was letting you know it was unhappy."

"I dreamed someone was spooning me. Was that you?"

"Guilty as charged," he said, blushing. I pretended not to notice.

"It was nice. I felt warm and safe."

"You were. You able to stand?"

"Yeah. I feel OK. Not dizzy... just... wrung out, you know."


I pulled back the duvet, and Olly helped me stand. "You want some clean clothes?" he asked, and I shook my head. "These are OK, thanks."

"Shan... um... you need a bra," he offered, blushing more.

I glanced down, saw my hard nipples showing through the thin cotton of my top, and laughed. "Olly, I'm sure you've seen girls smuggling smarties before. It's nice to not be constricted all the time. But if it bugs you I'll put something on."

"No, no," he protested, "I don't mind."

"I'm sure," I grinned.

"I surrender. Come. Take my arm."

Olly led me downstairs and sat me down at the kitchen table. "Here," he said, putting a small plate of bacon and scrambled eggs in front of me.

"Wow. This is a luxury," I said, glancing up at him. "What did I do to deserve this?"

"Scared me to death."

"Are we still on this?"

"We're going to be on this till I'm sure you're OK, Shan. Eat your bacon," he added.

I watched him for a moment.

"Are you coming to join me?"

He put his own plate down and sat down next to me. "Happy?"

"Deliriously so," I teased. "Thanks, Olly. You know my buttons."

He coughed on his toast, and I grinned to myself, deciding that I liked this new power I had to destabilise him.

I snuck glances at him as I ate, watching him, watching the way he in turn snuck glances at me. Thoughts of last night came back to me, and I dallied with a slice of toast, staring out the window.

He'd been playing with himself. Masturbating in bed, next to me. And the knowledge had aroused me almost beyond my ability to control myself. I was curious what had driven him to do that; Oliver is a private boy; the thought of him fooling around somewhere where discovery was a possibility didn't sit well in my mental map of him.

He quietly washed up the breakfast dishes and the shrapnel from the prior night, while I sat, nursed a cup of coffee and watched him. And as I watched I pondered, and as I pondered I started to consider how to get inside his head; how to uncover what had possessed him last night.

I wanted to fuck with his head in the way he'd just so thoroughly fucked with mine.


I dug out some short, tight white cotton pants and a thin baby blue vest. To them I added a white bikini top. I tried to avoid my eyes in the mirror as I dressed, rationalising it away as simply a fishing expedition.

But under the platitudes, I burned. Having him masturbating next to me, in my bed, had lit a fire inside me that had been banished for a long time. Sex is something for other people; I've never had much luck with it, and the occasional urge I do feel can be dealt with with a vibrator or my fingers.

This, however... I couldn't remember this aching before. This consuming need to touch myself. To be touched.

I shed my sleeping clothes and snuck a brief, pensive look at myself. My ribs were showing more. I struggled into my bikini top, then pulled on the white linen shorts, briefly enjoying the sensation of the seam against my bare lips. I pulled on the vest, grinning at the way it accentuated the flatness of my stomach and the curve of my breasts.

Finally, I tied my hair up into a ponytail with a baby-blue hairband. The effect was everything I'd hoped it would be.

I held tightly to the rail as I walked downstairs, and didn't miss the way he froze and stared for a moment.

"It's a lovely day," I said, stretching my arms above my head. "What do you feel like doing with it?"

He cleared his throat. "How about we lurk?"

"More wine, more sun?"

"Books and the umbrella maybe? We could set up the deck chairs in the shady corner."

"Mm. That sounds nice." I sauntered over to him, then turned side-on to stare out the window. "It looks like the wind will blow later."

"Later is later," he said, softly. I glanced down at him; his expression was strange, almost intense, and I felt a zing deep in me as I realised that he was trying to fight down the urge to stare.


He dragged the deck chairs over into the shade, and set up the big canvas umbrella to give us more screening. I noticed he'd set the chairs up next to one-another but elected not to point it out. Instead, I sat, trailing my feet in the water and listened to the birds.

"The lurk spot is ready, mistress," he said, bowing.

I grinned up at him. "Don't do that, I'll start expecting it. Help me up, will you?"

He reached down, took my offered hand, waited till I'd lifted my feet and placed them, then pulled me smoothly to my feet. I stepped into him and wrapped my arms around him, squeezing myself against him. "Thanks for last night. I was terrified after that."

"You and me both," he whispered, squeezing back. "I had visions of 3am emergency room trips. Not fun."

"Mm. Well. Thanks for holding me during the night. I slept well."

"Don't mention it," he answered, and I smiled at the blush that spread over his neck. Oliver has no poker face, and I love him for it.

I sat down on a deckchair, and tucked my legs up to the side as I leaned back. "So."

"So," he agreed, sitting next to me.

"Tell me what you've been doing," I said softly.

"I thought this was lurk time."

"It is. But I haven't talked to you in what feels like ages, and I'm curious."

"Curious about what?"

"How you are."

He glanced at me; I replied with a shrug. "You know the state of my life, Olly. It doesn't change much."

"We need to get you a boyfriend."

"I need a boyfriend like I need a clit-piercing."

He choked on his coffee.

"I don't have one," I added. "In case you were wondering."

"I wasn't. It's not something I'd ever wonder about," he coughed, slightly wild-eyed.

"Well, regardless, I don't need a boyfriend."

"Everybody needs someone, Shannon," he said softly. "Even you."

I stretched my arms up, clasping my hands behind my head. "I need love, not distractions. Boyfriends come with drama, with the inevitable Oh-I-tripped-and-put-my-cock-in-her."

"You're still angry over that."

"Still? Always."

"He's done his time, Shannon. Maybe you should let it go."


"Guys do stupid things when they're turned on."

I eyed him. "There's stupid and then there's fucking your best friend. Would you do that to a girl you said you loved, Olly?"

He glanced away. "No. No, I wouldn't. But not everyone has my iron will."

I laughed. "I've seen you unable to resist sweets for more than ten seconds."

"Sweets are different from spice."


"Sugar and spice and everything nice," he answered in the sing-song nursery rhyme of our youth.

"Slugs and snails and puppy dog tails," I echoed him, softly.

"I miss being a child," he said, after a while. "It was easy."

"It was."

He finished his coffee and lay back.

"You still haven't answered my question," I said after a while.

"I'm single, if that's what you're digging for."

"Why? It's been, what, a year?"


"And there's been nobody in that time?"

"Honestly? I had a one-nighter but it left me feeling so dirty I never want to do it again."

"What are you looking for?"

"Excitement. Adventure. Mischief. A partner in crime."

"Sounds nice. Maybe you can find me one too."

He eyed me. "You just need someone to fuck you silly once or twice."

I blinked. "You profane fucker. That's gross."

He grinned, and after a while I laughed at him. "Yeah, fair enough, I guess you're right. I do need someone to fuck the fun into me." I shifted my leg slightly, and took a breath. "It's been so long for me."

"How long?"

"I stopped counting at three years."

"Three..." he said, disbelieving. "What the fuck?"

I sighed. "Guys have it lucky. You get hard-on, you put it somewhere warm and moist, you come, you move on, probably without much introspection or self-doubt."

"Sometimes, maybe..."

I straightened my legs and pointed my toes. "I can't do that. I can't let a stranger inside me."

"When you put it like that..."

"It's a physical thing, Olly. I lock up. It's horrible. It hurts like hell."

"You're right, it's easier being a guy."

"Must be nice."

"It has its ups and downs."

We laughed at the pun, and I reached out to squeeze his shoulder. "Sorry, didn't mean to get so intense with you."

"No, I... I like when you open up, Shan. You are too closed."

"This doesn't weird you out, does it?"


"Talking sex with me," I said, softly.

"I've had weirder conversations, Shan. You're my twin. You're my yin. I'd feel pretty shit if you didn't feel like you could talk to me."

"Yes, but..."

"Shan, stow it."

"Yes, sahib."

He snorted back the laugh.


I leaned on the counter next to him, watching him work at the stove. Olly was an efficient, competent cook, and most of what he touched came out nicely. I tried to ignore the frequent glances he shot at me; I also tried to ignore the way he'd occasionally brush against me. Every time he did I felt electricity crawl up my legs, and it was becoming very difficult not to reciprocate.

Something was happening. Something about the night before was fucking with me in a big way. It was no longer just a fishing expedition for me; now I wanted to see how much I could get from him. Talking even briefly about sex with him had done things to me I could not understand; I'd been uncomfortably damp by the time we came inside to organise lunch.

So now, I teased myself and likely him as well; I knew how tight my pants were on my bum and my pose was chosen to make them ride up further.

I found myself thinking about him, about his body. I wondered what he was like; and I flushed..

"Sorry?" I realised he'd asked a question.

"I said, can you get the vinegar?"

"Sure." I stood, moved over to the corner cupboard, and bent to rummage.

"Got it," I said, straightening.

"Shit," he swore, snatching his hand back from the pan.


"Yeah, splash of hot oil."

"Need ice?"

"Yeah," he said, wincing. "Please."

I dug out the ice cubes, wrapped several in a wet dish towel, and then took his hand. I wrapped it in the dish towel, and then just held it; conscious of the goosebumps on my shoulders. I squeaked as he pulled me to him.

"Sorry you burned yourself," I managed after a moment of breathlessness.

"My own stupid fault, I should know better by now. It's not the first time."

I pulled back the cloth and winced at the red burn mark. "That's a nasty one."

"Bit more time in the ice and by tomorrow it will be a bad memory."

"Time heals all wounds."

"This coming from you?"

"I didn't say I believed it."



"I need my hand back."

"Oh? Oh, right. Sorry."

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