tagIncest/TabooNearly Midnight

Nearly Midnight


Nearly midnight. I would have long since been asleep except I'd been having trouble sleeping at all lately. My brother wasn't home yet. I'd checked. Sometimes he'd still be awake too and I could talk to him for a while. Sometimes he'd be asleep. Sometimes, as I suspected tonight, he'd still be out trying to pick up girls.

I busied myself with making a cup of 'sleepy' tea. Just going through the motions had become soothing somehow. It held a ritualistic quality for me. An offering to the Sandman.

I turned off the lights and padded barefoot through the dark and empty house, cradling the warm teacup in my hands. There was a time when scattered children's toys would have made nighttime walks hazardous, but those days were long since passed. Seth and I were adults now. It was such a strange concept. Growing up hadn't really come with the tangible milestones it was supposed to, but it had happened all the same. I cleaned, shopped, worked, and generally kept myself alive, yet I still waited for the day I'd actually feel like a responsible adult.

Light danced across the wall, then the faint sounds of a car pulling up to the house. I looked for the clock before remembering the batteries still needed replaced. I went to the living room, to the large window looking onto the street. A cab was just pulling away. It had left behind two passengers.

They were drunk, of course. The girl was holding her heels in one hand, presumably walking in bare feet, and still could barely keep herself upright. Or maybe she was just using it as an excuse to hang off my brother. He seemed to be doing better, but still fumbled with his keys at the front door. It wasn't even locked.

"Dingus," I whispered to myself.

A torrent of giggles and shushes preceded the pair's entrance into the house proper. 'Giggle' I'm so drunk and gonna get laid. Ditto but 'shush' my sister's asleep. Etc.

I stood right where I was, unhidden but unmoving. Neither of them saw me in the shadows as they stumbled by. I waited until I heard Seth's door close before tiptoeing to the hallway. There was a crack of light coming from under my brother's door. I glided up to it and leaned against the wall next the doorway.

Yet more drunken giggling escaped from within. The giggles slowly turned to bedsprings and moans. I sipped my cooling tea and stared at nothing. They were having fun. I just wanted to sleep.

I slid my back down the wall until I was sitting on the floor. The muffled sounds of sex lapped at my eardrums. I closed my eyes; there was nothing to see anyway. My tea had lost most of its warmth and I set it beside me. I focused on my breathing for a while, inhaling slowly and deeply, then exhaling at the same pace. My thoughts faded with every breath. My mind went blank.


I didn't remember getting to bed, but that's where I woke up so it must have happened. I swung blearily out of bed and threw on enough clothing to be presentable before shuffling out of my room. Seth's door was closed so I banged on it a couple times before moving on. I might have been nice and let him and his new 'friend' sleep except I knew he had a shift that morning and needed to get up. That and I didn't want to suffer morning's wrath alone.

The coffee maker was ready to go with the push of a button thanks to my past self's foresight. It gurgled and spat as I listened to the sounds of not-quite-hushed-enough voices, doors opening and closing, and the bathroom being hurriedly used. I was sipping on a fresh cup of coffee by the time last night's girl tried to sneak out the front door.

My mug hid my mean-spirited smile as my brother's dishevelled bed-partner froze at the entrance to the kitchen. She stared at me, I stared back. Neither of us said anything. She knew I knew what she'd been doing last night. What I didn't know was who she thought I was. Had she been told I was the sister? Or was I the girlfriend in her mind? Maybe just a roommate.

The poor girl looked worse than I felt, even more so after seeing me. I almost took pity on her. Almost.

"Uh, hey," she said.

"Hey. Coffee?"


"You have fun last night?"

"I, uh... I should be going."


I kept my eyes on her as she walked by me to the front door. She had nice legs. I imagined her butt was pretty nice too, although it was harder to tell with her dress not sitting quite right.

A minute later it was like she'd never been there. The house had all the right sounds again, just the ones me and Seth made. I heard his footsteps and had coffee poured for him as he came in.

"You scare her off already?"

He was grinning like a guy who'd just had sex. It made me want to 'accidentally' spill some hot coffee on his toes.

"I offered her coffee."

"Alongside your patented 'fuck off' look no doubt."

"I was civil. She was hungover. And I can't help but feel she didn't know whether or not she was encroaching on my territory."

Seth's smile only broadened. "Aw, come on, Izzy. She knew you were only my sister. Probably. I mean, I'm sure I mentioned we lived together."

"Before or after she got drunk enough to sleep with you?"

"Who knows. It all kinda blurs."


Seth snorted in amusement. He leaned in and kissed the side of my forehead, then went to scour the refrigerator for breakfast.

"One of these days you're going to accidentally fall for one of these girls," I said. "What are you going to do then?"

Seth came out with a partial carton of eggs and carried them to the stove. "Nah, you've got it wrong. I've got failsafes and shit. You scaring girls off in the morning is just one facet of the master plan."

"Oh god. Master plan? You're so full of yourself this morning. What'd she, like, let you put it in her butt or what?"

"Ha, no. Although she did do this thing where-"

"Don't wanna hear it."

"Oh, right." Seth frowned, then started cracking eggs into a frying pan. "Well anyway, the trick is that it's really hard to develop feelings for a drunk girl. Not impossible, but harder. Pick a pre-drunk girl and bam, save money buying her drinks, save time, save... I dunno, some third thing. It's wins all around is the point."

"Goddamn, dude. That's horrible. And somehow inspirational."

"Story of my life."

I walked up behind my brother and hugged him. I held it longer than necessary, enjoying the warmth and solidity of his body. It helped my mood almost as much as the coffee.

"Hey, Izzy?"


"Your boobs feel nice and all, but I really need to grab a spatula before my eggs burn."

I couldn't help smiling, but I wiped it away before releasing him "Fuck you, dude," I said without malice. I punched him on the shoulder to emphasize my point. "Fuck you so much."

"Fuck you too, sis."


Work was miserable. Customers and coworkers often make or break the day. This time around, they broke it. They broke it hard. I was drained from holding all my frustrations inside until I could escape.

Seth was already home when I got back. Judging by the grunts coming from his 'weight room' he was busy trying to build some muscle again. He was much too inconsistent about it to make any real progress, but something was better than nothing. At least it seemed to keep him from getting chubby the way he'd been in his teen years.

I walked quietly to my room and stood on my bed to lift up one of the ceiling tiles. I had to fish around a little to find the half-pack of cigarettes I'd hidden there... a month ago? Longer? I couldn't remember anymore. I'd ostensibly quit the habit, but there were days when I just needed... something.

I took a cigarette out and re-hid the pack, then grabbed a lighter. After making sure the sounds of weightlifting continued unabated, I snuck out of my room to the back steps. Seth couldn't see me from there.

The first inhalation was exquisitely disgusting. It tasted bad, was awful for my lungs, and would make me feel guilty later, but goddamn was it just what I needed. I savoured my cancer-stick, holding each lungful as long as I dared before letting it slip back out a small gap in my lips. Each stream of smoke carried some of my tension away with it.

"Bad girl," said a voice from behind me.

"Fuck," I said.

I didn't turn as Seth came up next to me and sat down. He could be such a goddamn ninja when it was least convenient for me.

"Rough day?" he asked.

"Yep. People suck. Customers suck. Remind me why I need a job again?"

"'Cause you're an adult now, sucker."

"So that was my mistake."

I raised my cigarette to my lips again, but it was expertly snatched away just before contact. Seth ground it out on the grass by our feet, then set it carefully on the step beside him.

"Dick," I said.

"You know it."

He scooted back, then swung a leg around to my other side. I made room for him to spoon up behind me, correctly assuming that he was about to make it up to me. I melted a little at the first touch of his hands on my shoulders. We sat in near silence for a few minutes while Seth massaged my day away. I slowly leaned back on him more and more as he worked on me until finally he gave up and wrapped his arms around me instead.

The sun was going down. I watched the imperceptibly slow changes in the sky and felt my brother's heartbeat drum softly into my body. His breath tickled my ear.

"I can see down your shirt," he said.

"Lucky you."

Silence again. A single mosquito buzzed into hearing range, threatening to ruin my peace.

"You need a shower," I said. "Doing weights makes you sweaty."

"Very true."

Seth shifted and began to withdraw his arms. I grabbed his hands and pulled them back into position.

"Not yet," I said. "In a minute."



Nearly midnight. I sipped at hot tea and padded through a dark house. Not an empty one this time; Seth's snoring radiated from his open bedroom door, a constant reminder I had company of a sort. It wasn't clear if that was better or worse. My brain puzzled away on that problem while I crept out the to the back step.

My half-cigarette was still right where it had been viciously abandoned earlier. I rolled it between my fingers and tried to decide if it was worth fetching my lighter. It wasn't. I still felt bad about the half I'd already smoked. I lodged the small cylinder in a gap between the top of the door frame and the house. The rain would probably get it before I remembered it was there.

The moon was only about half full. A lost, lonely cloud drifted past it. I watched, and sipped, and wondered what the point of it all was. Finding happiness, maybe. That was very in these days. Once I got this sleep thing figured out I might have to give happiness a whirl.

It felt quite unfair that some people could fall asleep on a whim, while I had to work so very hard at it. Seth's snores taunted me as I reentered the house. I put my emptied cup in the sink and thought about rinsing it. That was the sort of thinking that separated me from a sleeping person. I needed to work on that.

It was time for sleep. This time for sure. I retraced my earlier steps to my bedroom, already imagining how the pillow would feel when my head landed in it. I ended up at my brother's room. I should wake up him just so I wouldn't be miserably un-asleep alone, I thought. I walked closer to his bed. No, I decided, that would be mean.

Seth had a nice bed. He'd bought himself a newer, bigger one about a year ago, the better for entertaining guests. He wouldn't mind if I borrowed some of it for a few hours. I'd give it back in the morning.

I pulled back the corner of the covers and slipped in next to my brother. His breathing didn't change. I curled up and closed my eyes. His body heat had pre-cozied my spot for me. Very thoughtful of him.


"Wakey wakey."


"Time to get uuup Izzyyy."

I swatted my hand in the general direction of my brother's sing-song voice. "F'koff. Get outta my room."

"I'd love to except we aren't in your room."

I cracked my eyelids. He was right, we weren't in my room.


"Scary monster under your bed?"

"Shut up."

"Maybe a ghostie woastie in the closet?"

"Shut up!"

I swung at Seth again. He easily dodged my clumsy, flailing hand. His grin only grew larger and more irritating.

"It's okay to have nightmares, Izzy. Lots of children have them. Just because you're much, much older than-"

I let out a feral growl and launched myself directly at my brother's mid-section. My surprise attack caught him off balance and we went crashing to the floor.


I got a few punches in before he managed to grab my wrist. I pushed myself into a kneeling position straddling his waist and he cautiously let go of my arm.

"You know, when I wake up next to a girl, it usually-"

I took my weight off my knees and drove my butt into my brother's abdomen. His sentence was choked off as I knocked the air out of his lungs. He choked on his laughter even as he struggled to regain his breath.

"Sometimes, Seth... sometimes I wish you'd never learned to speak."

"Oof, harsh."

I stood up and straightened out my hair a little. Seth remained on the floor. The mischievous smile had yet to leave his face.

"You're cute when you're pissed off," he said.

"Maybe when I'm pissed off is not a great time to mention that."

"Or maybe the timing is what makes it funny."

I sighed. There was no way I was going to win this one.

"Screw this, I need coffee."

"Wait! There might be a skeleton in the kitchen! You should-"

The nearest throwable object was a hardcover book. It made a satisfying thunk when it landed on my brother.


I was in bed the next time my brother brought a girl home. They made more noise than last time, or maybe it just seemed that way because I was trying to sleep at the time. Knowing they'd be locked in his room fucking somehow made my efforts all the less attainable. It was not a particularly logical causal link, but it was what it was.

My brain refused to shut off. My imagination conjured image after image of what the new one looked like. I made wild guesses at how good the sex would be, how drunk they both were, whether they'd ever talk again after tomorrow morning. I laid out scenario after scenario, none of it based on reality or remotely useful to me in any way.

Eventually I gave in. Something had to be done, and lying around with my infuriating fantasies keeping me company clearly wasn't that something. I stood up on my bed, then swung a leg out so that my foot landed on my windowsill. I carefully pushed my weight onto that leg until I was able to bring the other one up along with it. It left me in a precarious, half-crouched position with only a tenuous grip on the edge of the window frame keeping me from falling backward.

I reached up and lifted aside the ceiling tile above my head. With it out of the way I was able to stand up straighter and reach up to the rafters above it. This was the really tricky part. Seth had always had to give me a boost when we were kids. Now I could make it on my own. Barely.

It took a delicate balance of strength and finesse to pull myself up through the ceiling without making any noticeable sound. If I'd been ten pounds heavier I probably would never have made it. As it was I had to stop and regain my breath for a moment once my weight was safely resting across two parallel beams just under the roof proper.

I missed the days when the sorry excuse for an unfinished attic had been a secret hideout for Seth and me. There wasn't much that we could actually do with the cramped, hazardous space, but it was hidden from prying parental eyes. Sometimes that was all it took.

It was an agonizing crawl to my brother's room. Every board held a threat of creaking, every gap was a chance to fall through the ceiling and make an idiot of myself. Somehow I managed to avoid either fail-state.

By comparison, silently levering out one of Seth's ceiling tiles enough to peak through the gap was hardly a challenge at all. Which is to say it was still a pain in the ass, only less so. Snooping was a lot more work than it needed to be. Once I found a semi-comfortable position I settled in and gazed down at the mostly naked bodies below.

Seth was on top. Only his socks were still on. The girl's panties were hooked tenaciously around one ankle. Otherwise their sweaty, drunken bodies were rubbing directly against each other. It was both fascinating and kind of gross. Drunk sex, as it turned out, was far from the carefully orchestrated and lit event that porn had led me to believe. Just another lie from the internet.

The girl, a dyed-blonde with visible dark roots, kept trying to get a grip on my brother's back. She was too far gone to do more than drag her long, painted nails across his skin over and over. He seemed to be ignoring her efforts in favour of thrusting at her over and over. The movement of his butt was hypnotic.

They were a pair of cats in heat. There was no planning, no concern, no tenderness; just two people trying to get off with each other before one of them lost consciousness. I hated myself a little for feeling faint twinges of arousal. I'd always assumed I had better taste. So much for that.

Before long came the rather predictable ending. Seth thrust a little more urgently for a few seconds, they both did some moaning and clenching, then it was all over. Kind of a disappointment. They mumbled to each other a bit before the girl disappeared to the bathroom. Probably exchanging congratulations and niceties.

I replaced the disturbed tile and began the laborious process of backtracking to my room. I thought about the possibility of just drilling a hole through an adjacent wall to Seth's room. Maybe in the laundry room. I used it more than he did, and if I put the hole in the corner next to the washing machine there was no reason he'd ever spot it. Now all I needed was a drill.

I almost burst out laughing at my own train of thought. That was a clear sign of sleep deprivation if ever there was one. Bedtime. Definitely bedtime.


I felt better when I woke up. Still tired, still a little out of it, but that was normal for not having had my coffee yet. It was my day off, so I didn't actually have to get up right away. I'd earned some lazing-around-in-bed time.

My thoughts didn't take long to latch onto my spying expedition of the night before. It made my stomach flutter just remembering the sight of my brother giving it to the girl whose name I'd probably never know. God. Damn. It. There was nothing about it that should have affected me. Guilt, maybe, just for the invasion of privacy. Not apprehension, not excitement, not... not some fucked up desire to go spying again.

That was what it was. Some part of me wanted to spy on him again. From the beginning if possible. Get some more of the interesting parts. The undressing, the foreplay, maybe some dirty talk...

My thighs squeezed together reflexively. Damn it. I was getting myself all worked up. I grunted in irritation and rolled over. It didn't help. The craving had me now and it wouldn't be easily dismissed.

I sighed in frustration. There was nothing wrong with starting my day by jilling off, but it was annoying that it wasn't on my own terms. Stupid body. I stuck a hand down my panties and started rubbing. Might as well get it over with.


The afterglow of orgasm left me in a better mood. I actually hummed to myself on the way to the bathroom. Still, orgasm or not, I needed coffee. Crankiness was never vanquished; it could only ever be held at bay.

I smiled when I saw Seth had beaten me to the kitchen and had already made coffee. My smile faltered when I realized we weren't alone. The girl was still here. Drinking coffee. My coffee. Bitch.

Seth met my gaze and shrugged minutely. The girl was frowning at me, trying to work out who I was. I relaxed a little when I realized I still had control. I was late to the party so I had to move fast. I dialed my smile back up to dangerous morning-cheer levels.

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