tagIncest/TabooIt Wasn't Meant to Happen

It Wasn't Meant to Happen

byharding©

Neither of us meant it to happen the way it did, it was just one of those things, and it came about so slowly, so naturally, we were in way too deep before we knew it. In too deep to stop. Not that either of us wanted to by then.

I hadn't seen my sister Steph in almost five years, not since the day I'd watched her walk down the aisle with a no-good bum who broke her heart less than three years later. I walked beside her that day because there was no-one else. Pop had died two years before in a car wreck, though it was booze that killed him—he'd been so wasted that everyone was surprised he could even find his car, let alone drive it into an underpass. Mom was gone a year later. Broken heart, though the doctors called it cancer of the pancreas.

I'd flown back for the wedding, flown out the following day and not stepped on American soil since. The dirt on my boots was African. Before that I'd served three years in Afghanistan, invalided out when a IED went off under my left boot. I'd been lucky two ways. Whoever had created the device had been bad at their job, and the medic who attended me was good at hers. I walked with nothing more than a limp these days.

After I was invalided out — Uncle Sam wants only one hundred percent functioning grunts — I'd gotten used to hot climates and spent a couple months bumming around Thailand, Australia, ended up in Kenya and fell in love with the place. I met a guy who asked if I wanted to help him run safari trips for rich Americans and Europeans and I said yes. I fell in love with the work too, the country, the animals and the people. But on my last Skype call with Steph she sounded real low, so I asked for a month off and boarded the next flight to San Diego. When I knocked on her door and she answered I thought she was going to pass out.

"Surprise!" I said, a grin plastered across my face.

Steph shook her head and hugged me, then hugged me even harder as I lifted her off her feet and swung her around.

"Matt!" She squealed and I swung her harder. It felt good. Damn, she felt good and a little guilt sparked inside me. Not enough to make me stop, but enough to slow me down a bit.

"What if I'd been away?" Steph said later, after her feet were on the floor again and she'd made coffee for us both. We sat at her kitchen table in the small apartment she called home. There was a great view through the tall windows which stood open, letting in a baking heat I found comfortable, and offering a great view of the bay.

"But you weren't," I said. "Besides, where would you go?"

"I do have a social life," she said, but there was a brittleness to her voice, the same brittleness that had brought me across half the world. Physically Steph looked great, better than I'd ever seen her. She was two years my junior, which made her twenty-seven, and four inches shorter, which made her five-eight. She'd inherited Mom's auburn hair shot through with streaks of red and gold, but had acquired her figure somewhere else. A gift from the gods, most like, because she was stunning. She tried to hide the swell of her breast and the curve of her hips under sloppy clothes but I was an expert at judging women. Except it felt strange to be judging Steph that way and after a while I made myself stop.

I'd dropped my small weekend bag near the door and as Steph poured more coffee she glanced at it.

"I've got a room booked at the Holiday Inn," I said.

Steph shook her head. "No you don't, Matt. You're staying here."

I looked around the apartment I'd never seen before. It was compact, and that was being kind.

"You got another bedroom hidden away somewhere?" I said. "In a closet maybe?"

Another shake of the head. "But I got a fold down couch and no fuckin' way are you going to hunker down anywhere but with me."

I smiled. I'd forgotten how much she liked to cuss.

"They allow cancellations before six," I said, glancing at the wall clock. I might make it if I called right that instant. I pulled out my cellphone and Steph laughed.

"What the holy fuck is that?"

I turned it over in my hand. "I live in Kenya," I said. "Out there this is the latest thing, let me tell you."

"Call 'em, then," she said. She got up and padded across the room and found her own phone, the latest model from Apple. She spoke into it, her voice soft, then lifted it to her ear. I thumbed the hotel number into my phone and waited while it rang, watching the second hand tick across the face of the kitchen clock.

"Holiday Inn, how can I help you?" A nice voice, sexy. I guess it was one of the recruitment factors.

I cancelled the room and the sexy voice had no problem with that at all. Probably freed it up for some late business exec they could charge a higher rate for. I glanced at the couch. It looked wide and soft and welcoming.

Steph finished up her own call and put the phone down without even checking Facebook or Twitter or anything. Damn, she was hard-hearted.

"I booked us dinner for tonight," she said. She cocked her head to one side, hair tumbling over her shoulder. "Is that all right, or are you jet-lagged to fuck?"

I wondered how she managed that mouth at work.

"Not too bad. It was a long flight so I got some sleep."

"How long?" She stepped close and slipped her arm through mine, leaned her head against my shoulder. Steph had always been tactile. Before it had never bothered me. Now, just me and her in the tiny apartment it felt a little awkward, but that was likely just me so I let her lean and hold on. I had come to offer comfort, after all.

"A whole day," I said. "Stop-over in London."

"Fu-uck," she said, her voice soft, drawing the word out.

I disentangled myself and walked to the sliding doors. The apartment might be small but the view was stupendous, out over the bay. A narrow balcony lay beyond the door and I slid it aside and stepped out. The afternoon heat enclosed me and I welcomed it as a familiar friend.

Steph came to join me. Again with the arm and the head against my shoulder. She smelled good, felt even better, and after a moment I lifted my arm and put it around her and she leaned harder, her own arms circling my waist.

She sighed, long and hard, a lot of meaning in that one sound.

"That tough?" I asked.

"Fuck, yeah," she said. "And some."

A tremor started up against me and it took me a second to recognise it. Steph was crying, trying not to make a sound. I turned her to face me and she sniffed and wiped an angry hand across her face.

"I wasn't going to fucking cry, Matt, and then you went and fucking hugged me. Shit!"

"Hey, it's OK." I squeezed her shoulders. "What's this all about? If it's some guy he's toast."

Steph tried a small laugh but it didn't work right. "There is no guy. This is all about me. Maybe if there was a guy I wouldn't feel the way I do, but then it's guys who make me feel this way." She sniffed again, wiped her nose with the back of her hand, real lady-like. "Ah, fuck, Matt, why can't men be more like you?" She put her arms around my waist and leaned against me. Breasts pressed to my chest, making me uncomfortable. I hesitated then put my arms around her too because it looked like she needed it.

"I'm no catch," I said, pulling her tighter against me despite the guilt. "I've broken a few hearts, too."

Steph sniffed against my shirt. Nice. "Not mine though."

I smiled and kissed the top of her head. "No, never yours, but I guess there's time for that too. You want to talk about it, babe?"

She shook her head against my chest, smearing whatever she'd deposited there just for luck. I had two more clean shirts.

"What's the point? Men are all dicks — present company excepted, of course."

"Naturally. You ever tried women? I hear it's all the rage these days, and they do claim to possess the emotional skills we men lack."

"Ha." It was all she said, and I got curious wondering if she had indeed tried women, but I was too chicken to press it. Maybe later.

It felt good holding Steph. There had been women in Africa, but those relationships—no, too definite a word for what they'd been—were shallow and based on nothing more than a mutual need to get laid fast. Steph was different. Softer. Sweeter.

She sniffed a final time and looked up at me. "Can I say something to you, Matt?"

Her face was a mess, but a beautiful mess. "Sure."

"You stink. You're gonna need a long shower before we go anywhere." She continued to stare, her face all creased and serious, and I wiped snot from her nose with my thumb like Mom used to do to us when we were kids.

"Point me," I said.

Steph did exactly that. I grabbed my bag and she led me into her bedroom—a better size than I imagined, and very feminine—to where the bathroom lay through another door. Back to tiny again, but at least the shower cubicle looked big enough to take me.

"Take your time," Steph says. "I'll get you some clean towels."

It didn't register. By the time she came back with a stack of blue towels I was naked facing the door.

"Oops," Steph said, but she didn't back off and she didn't look away.

I guess it was too late to cover myself up so I just took the towels and said thanks.

Steph made a slow study of me then laughed. "What the fuck do you look like?"

I glanced down. My arms, neck and face were tanned a dark brown. The rest of my body was pale white.

I shrugged. "African tan," I said.

Steph laughed again. "Nice look, Matt." She turned away, turned back and did another slow study. "Nice bod, too."

When she had gone I checked out the door, but there was no way to lock it.

***

I was done inside half an hour. Steph was still in the bathroom ninety minutes after she went in. I was half tempted to surprise her the way she had me but though I thought she'd probably get the joke I decided against. Instead I caught up on some sleep.

When she shook my shoulder the light was fading from the room. Steph's face was close to mine, fragrant hair tickling my cheeks as if we were draped inside some scented cave.

"Time to go," she said, her breath soft against my face. Then she kissed my cheek and I put my hand on the small of her back and she kissed me again, on the lips this time, soft and gentle. I wondered if I was still asleep and this was all a dream.

Steph pulled away and I caught a look of pain on her pretty face and wondered what I'd done wrong, or what someone else had done wrong. Bad memories, we all have them, some worse than others.

We walked side by side, drawing looks because we were a good looking couple. and Steph revelled in the attention.

"See how they look at you?" I said as we paraded along the promenade. "How come you ended up with a shit-face like Garry?" Garry was the no account husband who hadn't worked out.

"I didn't pick him for that reason," Steph said.

"So why did you pick him?"

Steph laughed. "I could tell you but then I'd have to kill you."

"Ah," I said.

Steph surprised me when she reached out and took my hand. She twined her fingers between mine.

"Can I?" she said, shy. "We can pretend to be boyfriend and girlfriend." She laughed. "Maybe then the dorks will stop staring at my tits."

"Can't blame 'em, babe." And it was true. Steph had put on a light summer dress that fell half way down her thighs. The top was cut deep, exposing a cleavage that jiggled and swayed as she walked. I'd noted it when we set out then tried to ignore the sight — unlike pretty much every male we passed.

"If you got it, flaunt it," Steph said.

"And you got it in spades."

"I do, don't I?" She shimmied the puppies and a teenager coming toward us on a bike almost ran into a bollard.

We ate Chinese, stealing delicacies from each other, and I was glad to sense a relaxation in Steph, glad too I'd made the journey to see her. We drank a bottle of wine, left a good tip, and as we walked back through the soft darkness Steph took my hand again, her hand brushing against my thigh on each step.

"Why can't other guys be like you?" she asked as we stepped into the elevator of the apartment block.

"Guess I'm just lucky," I said. "But I'm no saint, Steph, don't go thinking I am."

She leaned against me, the swell of a breast pressed against my flank. "Are you a heartbreaker, Matt?"

"Not deliberately. But sometimes relationships hit the rocks."

"Tell me about it," she said, then, "I mean, really, I want you to tell me about it — about your life. Your love life. I'm curious what you get up to over there on the other side of the world. Do you fuck the local girls?"

"Been known to," I said. "But mostly not. The guys get funny if they think you're putting it to what they call their girls."

"So who do you fuck?" Steph leaned her head against my side. Her fingers toyed idly with the buttons of my shirt but I didn't think she meant anything by it, it was just the wine.

"I'd tell you but then I'd have to kill you," I said, throwing her line back at her. She laughed and leaned closer, her breasts against my belly, and I swallowed and tried to ignore what was happening inside my pants. This was my sister, a little drunk, a little vulnerable. She didn't mean anything by it, I knew.

"Might be worth it," she mumbled. She turned, lifting her face, and I knew she wanted me to kiss her, but I was saved by the elevator jerking and the doors sliding open.

Steph looked along the hallway and sighed hard. She muttered something like a cuss as she walked away. I expected her to weave but she walked tall and straight, and I watched the way her hips swung, the hem of her skirt twitched. Then I followed, catching her up as she put the key in the lock of the door.

She glanced at me, coquettish. "Would you like to come inside with me, sir?"

I bowed. "It would be a pleasure."

Steph grinned. "Yes, I think it will be." She pushed the door and went through. "There's a bottle of white in the chiller." She walked to the balcony and leaned on the railings, staring out across the lights of San Diego, staring into the darkness cloaking the ocean. I poured two glasses of white and took them out, handed one to her. She sipped it, put the glass down on a small table sitting there, then she turned to me. I had to move fast to put my own glass down as Steph came closer still, her hands lying flat against my chest.

"What's the matter, babe?" I said, putting my hands on her hips. She swayed, pressing against me and I tried to stop myself getting hard.

Her eyes brimmed and a tear tracked her cheek. "I've fucked up my life, Matt." She leaned closer still, her face looking up at mine.

"No you haven't," I said. "You got a good job, a great place to live. You're going through a bad patch, nothing more."

She let her breath out. "I wish. Why are men such dicks, Matt?"

"If I knew that I'd be a guru, not a safari guide."

"Do you fuck the customers?" she asked, throwing me.

"What?"

"The women who come on safari. Do you fuck them?'

"Not all of them."

"But some?"

"A few," I said. "Single women. No baggage."

"So you're not a dick, then."

"I try not to be," I said.

Steph sighed again. "I know you do. So do I, but there are times I have to go off the rails, you know what I mean?"

"Tell me," I said.

Steph tugged at me. "Come inside and I'll think about it." She glanced back as she went through the door. "But it's a pretty fucking torrid story."

I picked up both glasses of wine and followed.

Steph dropped onto the couch and patted the cushion beside her. I handed her a glass and she took a long swallow before putting it down. I sat.

"You don't have to tell me anything," I said.

"Good. Will you do something for me, Matt?"

"Sure, if I can."

She laughed. "It's not hard. Will you give me a hug?"

"A hug?" I said.

"Yeah, a hug. You remember them from when you were fifteen? Cuddling up to a girl and just holding her? That used to be nice." She nudged me with her shoulder. I lifted my arm and she came under it and I draped it around her. She slid an arm behind me, another on top. "Except," she said, "you can't be like Andy Peters."

"Huh?"

Steph giggled. "You remember Andy Peters? I went out with him for a couple weeks one summer."

"Vaguely," I said.

"My boobs were starting to get big and all he wanted was to feel me up. Not very well, either. I wasn't ready for it but he wouldn't stop."

"Another dick," I said.

"Uh-huh." Steph snuggled closer, her head against my chest.

"I promise I won't try to grab your tits," I said. "Tempting as they are."

Steph giggled. "Good. And I promise not to do anything inappropriate either. But this is nice." She wriggled closer, one ankle draping over my calf. "It makes me feel safe having your arms around me."

I pulled her tighter and she sighed.

We stayed that way for a while, our breathing growing synchronised. I thought Steph might have fallen asleep, but after a time she said, "Kissing's good, too."

"Kissing?"

"You heard me. That stuff we used to do before the necessity of all the bodily fluids came into the equation."

"Ah, that."

She tilted her head. "So, what d'you think?"

"About kissing? I think it's a great institution."

"What do you think about kissing me," she said, jabbing me with an elbow.

"You're my sister," I said.

Steph sighed. "I wasn't offering anything else, just some kissing. But if you don't want to that's OK, I guess."

"It would feel weird," I said. "Kissing you would feel weird."

"How can you tell till you try?" She came closer, climbing half on top of me and my hand rested in the narrow curve at the base of her spine. "I really want to," she said, her voice little more than a breath. "I need to."

"Maybe just a little," I said.

She smiled and climbed higher still and then her lips pressed against mine. Nothing more, not to start with, just her lips and my lips, her breath coming through her nose onto my cheek. She moved, kissed, pulled away, kissed again. After a while I kissed her back and Steph's body went slack against mine.

"Does it feel weird, Matt?" she asked, her face pressed to my cheek.

"Not too much." And it was true. It felt like kissing, the fact Steph was my sister hardly coming into it.

"I like it," she said, brushing my lips with hers. "You're a good kisser, Matt. I like kissing you."

"Me too," I said.

"And what we're doing isn't wrong, is it?" She poked her tongue out and ran it along my lips. She tasted of Chinese food and white wine. "Not really wrong. It's not like I want to fuck you or anything. And you don't want to fuck me, do you?"

"Uh-uh," I said.

Steph kissed me again, the tip of her tongue probing and I accepted it. Things were getting steamy, but she was right, it felt good, but still kind of innocent as well, just like when I'd been a teen and knew this was all that was going to happen.

She straddled me, one leg either side my waist, and held my head in her hands.

"Fuck, Matt, this is so much fun!"

I nodded.

She ground against me then stopped, a look of contrition on her face. "Oops, almost forgot myself there."

I pulled her toward me and this time our mouths opened and our tongues twined together. Steph felt wonderful pressed against me, like it was meant to be, the weight of her breasts almost demanding to be touched but I knew not to go there. She lay against me and stroked my neck and face while our mouths worked. Somehow we managed to move around until we lay side by side on the couch. Steph's leg draped across my thigh. My hand rested on the first swell of her ass. Our lips came together, parted, came together again. It was wonderful and erotic and innocent all wrapped in one sweet package.

Steph nibbled my earlobe and I kissed the hollow of her throat. She purred and arched her back.

"Holy fuck, Matt, how did you know that's the exact spot?"

"What, here?" I said, and kissed her again.

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