Moving In and Moving OnbyXarth©
I ignored my phone when it rang the first time, it was just going to be my very recently ex-boyfriend calling and I didn't want to talk to him. Not the most mature move on my part of course, but whatever. He needed to get it through his head that we were done.
A couple minutes my phone rang again, and again I ignored it. The third time I gave in and answered it.
"What!" I demanded.
"Hey Debbie, how come you don't wanna talk to me?"
As soon as he started talking I realized I'd been wrong about who was calling. Even if I hadn't recognized the voice only one person I knew was suicidally stupid enough to call me Debbie; my brother. He did it just to bug me too, when he thought he could get away with it.
"Thought you were someone else," I mumbled, as close to an apology as he was going to get.
"Well I guess it's a good sign that I'm not the most annoying person in your life right now," he said.
"Whatever. What do you want Jack?"
"Oh yeah. Um, do you think I could crash with you for a bit?"
My first instinct was that I didn't really want him around, but I knew that was only because I'd been sulking around my house for the past couple days ever since I became single again. It had definitely been the right call, but that didn't mean I was completely happy about it. Having Jack staying with me would at least distract me a little from my self-pity.
"Okay, fine. You can have the spare bedroom if you want it. When do you think you'll be here?"
"About, say, five minutes ago. Ish."
I repressed a sigh and levered myself into a standing position. Sure enough as I looked out the window I could see my brother's car in my driveway, and my brother too. He gave me a small wave with his free hand while he held his cell phone with the other.
"Door's unlocked," I said simply and hung up.
Pain in the ass, he always had been. Even now that we were both in our mid-twenties, you wouldn't necessarily know it by the way he acted sometimes. Not to the point of truly being an asshole or anything, he just tended to be a little too self-centered and oblivious to the world around him. Charming enough to get away with it too when you didn't know him well enough.
I heard my front door open and waited until Jack's footsteps got close before turning around and acknowledging his presence.
"You could have called ahead you know," I said.
"C'mon Deb, I was going to but I had a lot on my mind."
He flashed me that irritating smile he used whenever he wanted to disarm someone, a smile that I knew worked far too well on far too many people.
"Seriously. Tracy kicked me out and I'm kinda lost, you know? I'm pretty sure it's not gonna blow over either."
I softened a little since I could relate to that more than I wanted right now, even if I'd been on the other end of it. If I thought he wouldn't have a new girlfriend by next week I'd have been even more sympathetic.
"Well, sorry about that. It was probably your fault though."
"Probably," he agreed. "It's not like I meant to forget her birthday though."
I didn't bother attempting to hide my sigh this time.
"Dammit Jack, you need to stop doing shit like that. I know you usually get away with it, but... oh who am I kidding. I've been telling you this for years and you never listen."
"I know, I know. But hey, on the bright side we get some quality time right?"
"Oh joy. As if you're not going to be working on hooking up with some new hot girl who doesn't know any better."
"Nah, not for a while I don't think. Need a break. Besides it'll be nice to be around a hot girl who does know better, keep me on my toes."
He said it so casually I almost didn't clue in that my brother might have just complimented me. Sort of.
"Did you just call me hot?" I asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Yep. Your boobs are looking especially nice today."
He grinned infuriatingly and I remembered that, since I hadn't been in the mood for going out of the house, I hadn't bothered putting on a bra. That fact was apparently a little more obvious than I would have liked.
Jack had carefully positioned himself out of range so I lunged at him hoping to catch him off-guard, but no such luck. He knew it was coming and started moving almost before I did, darting out of the room just before I could grab him.
Given a clear stretch I had no doubt he would have been able to keep ahead of me, inside my house he didn't have a chance. There were only so many places to run and he didn't know the layout nearly as well as I did. I could have just cornered him, but instead went for a more satisfying tackle as he slid on the kitchen floor.
We crashed together on the floor with Jack's head barely missing the edge of the counter. It was the kind of tackle that would have given mom a fit back when we were kids. She would have gone on forever about how dangerous it was to play like that in the kitchen, never mind how much he deserved it.
"Ow," Jack said after enough of a pause that I knew it wasn't serious. "I think my elbow's broken. That cupboard's hard."
"Good," I said. I got off him just enough to let him roll over but kept him firmly pinned to the ground. "Now what the hell were you doing looking at my boobs?"
"Can I help it if you're wearing a tight shirt? And your nipples... I mean come on, they're practically daring me to look."
I don't know what I expected, but I shouldn't have been surprised. Jack wouldn't back down until I made him.
I stood up and opened my fridge, probably confusing the hell out of my brother in the process. There was a partly-empty bottle of juice in there that I'd bought a few days ago and didn't even like that much. Perfect. It would make a mess, but it would be so worth it. Linoleum cleaned easily anyway.
Jack was just sitting up and looking at me questioningly when I turned back around and dumped the contents of the container over his head. He tried to push me away but was in no position to get any real leverage. Soon enough the bottle was empty and he was soaked.
He tried to give me a pitiful look as I crossed my arms in satisfaction, but he couldn't hold it and just started laughing. After a couple seconds I did too. It was so nice to have problems that could be resolved so simply. Childishly even.
"I missed you, you know," Jack told me.
"Yeah, me too. Even if you are massively irritating."
"You get bored without me around, don't pretend like you don't."
"Maybe sometimes. A little."
"Anyway, seeing as how I'm both wet and kind of sticky now thanks to you, mind if I use your shower?"
"Go ahead," I said, waving my arm in the general direction of the bathroom. "There should be towels in there, if not then you're out of luck."
There was a fair amount of juice puddled on the floor once he got up and I decided I really should clean it up instead of just leaving it. I wasn't much a fan of cleaning up my messes, but this one had been so, so worth it.
Jack took a long time in the shower, not unusual for him. I used to tease him about how much of a teenage girl his bathroom habits made him seem. When I was feeling particularly malicious I toyed with the idea of accusing him of jerking off in there, but I never actually brought it up.
It was by sheer coincidence that I was walking by when he finally emerged into the hallway; hair damp and shirt conspicuously missing. Annoying brother or not, I couldn't help noticing he actually looked pretty good topless. A lot more toned than I remembered him.
"Well you're making yourself at home quickly," I said.
He shrugged. "My shirt's kinda wet. And sticky. Dunno how that happened. It's almost like someone poured juice all over me."
"Weird," I agreed.
"Yeah, and my other clothes are all in my car still. Didn't have much of a choice."
I wanted to dig at him a little more, but I was distracted by strange thoughts flitting through my head. Like how it might actually feel good to hug Jack just to feel him pressed against me. That was getting kind of desperate considering it hadn't been that long since my breakup. Maybe I was taking it harder than I thought. I must have been if my brother was suddenly some kind of an acceptable candidate for that kind of physical affection in my mind.
Jack obviously had no idea what I was thinking, but he did notice when I hesitated and he tilted his head curiously.
"Well, whatever," I said, completely blanking on any kind of rebuttal.
I moved past him, making sure not to so much as brush up against him a little, and went straight to my bedroom. With the door safely closed and locked I curled up on my bed and tried to figure what the hell was going on with me.
It wasn't a big deal in some ways, he was my brother after all and I did love him, but that love usually manifested more as a punch on the arm that wasn't as hard as it could have been rather than hugging. Probably I'd just been shutting myself away by myself too much lately and I was starting to crave more than our relationship tended to offer. I just needed to get out more, that was all.
And if Jack happened to look better without a shirt than I thought he should, then that didn't matter either because it wasn't like that situation was going to come up a lot. I'd hardly ever seen him in a state of semi-undress that much back when we lived together before, that probably wouldn't change. Although... I almost wouldn't mind if it did. Just as long as I made sure to keep my urges in check then there was no harm in looking. He's the one who commented on my boobs after all. He started it.
I gave myself a few more minutes, then carefully stepped out of my sanctuary. I half-expected Jack to be right outside my door waiting for me, though I wasn't sure why he would be. He wasn't the one going crazy.
In fact he was in my living room watching tv, a hockey game it looked like, and draped casually across my couch. He still had no shirt on.
"Oh hey," he said once he noticed me.
"I guess we're still going with a 'shirts are optional' approach are we?"
Jack rearranged himself into a more normal sitting position.
"What, you want me to go grab my stuff like this? I mean, I don't mind but I didn't know if you'd want neighbours seeing me or whatever."
"It's not as though it's a bad look for you," I said as I sat down too.
"That... almost sounded like a compliment."
"I know. Weird day for both of us isn't it."
"Seriously though, is everything okay? It seemed like something happened earlier, back in the hallway, and I don't think it was anything I did. I usually can tell when I'm getting on your nerves."
"You're right, it wasn't your fault. I just... I broke up with my boyfriend a couple days ago. Part of me still wishes I hadn't. I'm a bit of a mess right now."
"Ooh, rough. Guess we're both in the same boat then. Sort of."
"Yeah, sort of," I agreed.
There was silence for a couple minutes and Jack turned back to the hockey game he had been watching while I pretended to as well. Instead of focusing on the game though I was mostly sneaking peeks at him and trying to figure out how to say what I wanted to say. I also idly wondered if he'd started going to a gym or something, anything that would explain why my decidedly unathletic brother looked more properly filled-out than his lifestyle should have allowed. Whatever the case, I had no doubts it had been to impress some girl. He was predictable enough that I could be sure of that.
What I wanted to know more and more was how exactly did Jack see me? With some of the things he had said it was clear that he at least acknowledged that I was a girl, but that could have been purely for the sake of bugging me rather than anything deeper.
"Jack?" I said a little hesitantly, still unsure I really wanted to actually ask the question.
"Before, when you said you thought I was hot, did you mean that?"
I could tell from his expression he was expecting it to be a trick question. That was fair, since most times it would have been.
"Yeah, I guess I did," he said, tensing up slightly, almost unnoticeably if I didn't know him better. "I mean... you are, you know. Just 'cause you're my sister doesn't change that. I'm sorry if it bothered you or whatever."
It was kind of surprising that he thought I might be upset about it, but not nearly as surprising as getting an unprompted apology out of him. Instead of replying I leaned over and rested my head on his shoulder, smiling to myself as he tensed even more at the contact before slowly relaxing again.
"I think maybe being alone the past couple days was a bad idea," I said. "Don't let it go to your head but I think I'm actually glad you showed up today."
"Well that works out good for both of us then. And if you really like it, I can go without a shirt around the place. Help cheer you up."
I knew it was meant as a joke, but it wasn't as far off the mark as I would have liked. I stayed quiet even though he might read more into that than I wanted at that point. Then again, maybe I wanted him to read something into it.
Whatever he was thinking, after a brief pause he slid his arm out from under me and wrapped it around my shoulders. I happily snuggled closer while trying not to make it too obvious that's what I was doing, though he must have realized anyway. Never mind that it was my brother, it was physical contact and that was what I needed. Any of my concerns over what I was feeling, or even what he was feeling, could wait for later.
A mutual need for food eventually drove us both out to the kitchen. I didn't have much for food really, I could be pretty slack about keeping stuff in the fridge and it wasn't like I had been expecting anyone else to be around.
"We could order pizza or something," I suggested when nothing immediately presented itself.
Jack shrugged. He was being quieter than I could ever remember and it had to be because of how I'd been acting. I didn't know if was getting weirded out or if he was just thinking. Or both.
Hoping that maybe he'd give me some input if I came up with a suggestion he liked I started systematically going through my cupboards more thoroughly than the quick peek I'd already tried. I had various cans lying around; soup mostly, and some tuna. I didn't really know why I had bothered, I very rarely ever used them. Probably for situations like now when I didn't have anything else I supposed. The flaw in the plan being that I still didn't really want soup.
In one of the upper cupboards I found a bag of potato chips that I already knew was there, but also a bag of tortilla chips. I had cheese in the fridge so I might actually be getting somewhere.
"How 'bout nachos?" I said. "I don't know how much I've got to go on them, but it'd be something."
I heard the footsteps as Jack moved closer to me while I was grabbing the chips. He wasn't touching me, but in my mind I could feel exactly how close he was. It took a lot of effort to look calm as I turned around, and even more once I realized he actually was almost as close as I thought.
"How about we get that pizza," he said. "I'll pay if you call and get some garlic fingers with it too."
"'Kay," I said.
Pathetically, I started trembling just the tiniest bit when he reached toward me, only to be disappointed when I figured out he was actually just grabbing the bag of potato chips. What the fuck did I think he was doing anyway?
When he opened the bag I grabbed a quick handful before he could and retreated to grab my phone from the other room. I finished them all before the guy at the pizza place even picked up, clearly hungrier than I thought. I knew it was going to be at least half an hour before the delivery guy showed up and I was kind of worried I'd binge on chips before that happened. Luckily Jack wasn't likely to surrender them to me that easily.
I returned to the kitchen just in time to find my brother headed toward the front door. I shot him a questioning glance as he caught sight of me.
"Just thought I should grab some things out of my car," he explained.
"Yeah, you probably should," I agreed.
What I probably should have done at that point was help him carry his stuff inside. What I did instead was watch him from the window when he was outside and follow him to his temporary bedroom when he returned indoors. He had to make a couple trips, making me feel a little guilty for not helping after all, but only a little.
I sat cross-legged on the bed while he distributed clothes and other possessions around the room. I was fairly impressed that he was getting organized so soon after his arrival instead of putting it off as long as possible, though most of his clothes weren't folded so he hadn't changed completely since I last saw him. Honestly I'd probably be worried if he had started putting too much effort into things he didn't have to.
To my disappointment, hopefully not too visible, Jack grabbed one of his shirts as he was shoving them into the dresser by his bed and started to put it on.
"You don't have to do that," I said. "It's not like I minded."
He smiled a little, but finished pulling it over his head anyway.
"Deb, if you keep staring at me like you have been my ego's gonna start getting dangerously inflated," he said. "Wouldn't want that."
"Wasn't," I mumbled, even though we both knew that was a lie.
Jack sat down beside me on the bed. He wasn't done unpacking, but maybe he'd just lost interest.
For a couple minutes we just sat there without speaking. It might very well have been the first time we had spent so long together, with no distractions, without picking a fight out of habit.
"You'll get over it," he said eventually. "Whatever's going on right now, it'll get better. There's no way this guy's worth being upset over."
That wasn't really the sort of thing I wanted to hear. From anyone else it would probably have pissed me off, but from Jack I knew it was legitimately him making an effort. That was more weird than annoying in some ways.
"I mean, if you didn't want to get rid of him you wouldn't have right?" he continued. "And you could always go replace him whenever you want. All you'd have to do is flash your boobs a little. You're hot enough that-"
"Jack," I interrupted, "you seriously need to learn to quit while you're ahead."
I turned my head toward him and we stared at each other, me daring him to say something else and him fighting the urge to say it. As soon as I saw that he was about to lose the battle and add something despite my warning, I moved first. I had no idea how I worked up the nerve for it, but somehow I did. I kissed him.
He reacted slowly, but before I broke off I at least felt the beginnings of a response. Once again we stared at each other and at least this time he had no intention of trying to give me 'helpful' advice.
I wasn't entirely certain who started it the second time, only that at almost the same time we both leaned in and our lips met again. I had no idea why Jack was going along with me on this, but then I didn't really know why I was going along with it either. What I did know is it was a substantially less weird experience than it should have been.
Perhaps just to avoid thinking too much I shifted even closer to my brother and managed to climb to my knees. Tenuous as our positions were getting it wasn't long before he lay back on the bed and let me straddle him, not once letting our faces part for more than a second or two at a time.
Jack's hands went to my sides to help steady me as we moved and they didn't leave even after I was stable. He gradually explored lower and lower on my body, eventually making it to my butt without any kind of protest from me since I had no intention of trying to stop him feeling me up. I wanted it, I needed that reassurance that however crazy what I was doing was, at least I wasn't alone in it. And yet....