tagIncest/TabooSleeping with Ellie

Sleeping with Ellie

byXarth©

Author's note: Thanks to Lizhaze for editing.

****

I'd only been in bed for a few minutes when there was a knock on my door. It was a little unusual for anyone in my family to disturb me so late at night, but I didn't really mind. If one of them needed something, I preferred they get it now rather than wait until I was asleep.

"Come in," I called.

The door opened to reveal Ellie, the oldest of my three younger sisters. She was wearing a t-shirt and pyjama pants, indicating that she was heading to bed soon too.

"Hey, Neil," she said. "Sorry, I know you're trying to sleep and everything."

"Nah, don't worry about it. I only just got into bed. Do you need something?"

"Sort of. Maybe. I just... I started getting a little panicky about a couple of my classes is all."

Ellie took a step into the room. I leaned over and switched on my reading lamp. The extra light made it easier to pick out the signs of worry on her face.

"Come sit," I said, gesturing to the side of my bed.

I sat up as Ellie closed the door and made her way over to me. She took a seat toward the foot of the bed and pulled her knees up to her chest. She didn't look overly upset, so whatever was bugging her probably wasn't too big a deal. Then again, the women in the house were pretty talented at hiding things from me. Sometimes it was tricky being the only male around.

"I wasn't really sure who to talk to," she said. "But I thought we're more or less in the same situation and everything, so maybe...."

"You mean 'cause we're both going to university and I've already taken some of the classes you're in?" I leaned closer. "Are you gonna ask me to help you cheat?"

"What? No! You goof. I just wanted to talk, not get us both kicked out."

"We'd only get in trouble if you get caught. And you'd probably be the only one getting kicked out, unless you ratted on me."

Ellie tried to fight back a smile, but was slowly losing the battle.

"I don't need to cheat, okay?"

"Okay. Just making sure. What did you actually want to talk about?"

"I don't know. Just... stuff. Like, do you ever feel like it's only a matter of time before you fuck up royally?"

"Always."

"I'm serious!" she said, her continued smile betraying her attempt to chastise me. "I just finished a paper and I can't help feeling like it's no good. And that's stupid, because I know it's not that bad, but...." She shrugged helplessly. "Plus I have a test tomorrow too. And I have to keep my grades high enough to maintain my scholarship. And--"

"Whoa, Ellie, come on. You know you'll do fine. You're the smart one in the family, remember? I have yet to see you get a less-than-acceptable mark on anything."

"I know. It's stupid to worry about it, isn't it?"

I shook my head. "It's not stupid. It's unnecessary and counter-productive, but not stupid. Everybody worries."

Ellie nodded, then crawled over to sit beside me. I scooted to the side a bit so we had room to sit next to each other and lean back against the headboard of the bed.

"I was pretty sure I was just panicking over nothing anyway," she said. "It happens sometimes. I think it's worse 'cause there's been more stuff going on with my classes than normal recently."

"Yeah, you might just be a little overwhelmed. It'll calm down again soon. Most professors really aren't trying to make your life difficult. Although I did have one last year who was kind of an asshole...."

"Uh huh. I guess I should just remember that if you haven't failed any classes yet, I'm in no real danger."

"Hey!"

I aimed a punch at her shoulder that was light enough to be little more than a tap. She giggled and pretended to be knocked over by the blow before sitting back up.

"Sorry," she said. "You know I'm just kidding."

"Enh, it's not like you're wrong. Besides, you've been getting the best grades so long that all the pressure's on you to make Mom proud. She didn't even ask me what my marks were for last semester."

"Oh god, like I need to be reminded of her expectations right now," Ellie said while rolling her eyes. "I mean, that one time I failed a test back in high school... I still remember how disappointed she looked."

"Sorry," I said, feeling it was my turn to apologize. "Guess that wasn't helpful."

"Not so much. It's okay though, I'm actually feeling a little calmer now. I think I really did just need to talk about it." Ellie climbed off the bed and made her way to the door. "See ya tomorrow, okay?"

"Yeah, okay. Night, Ellie."

"G'night, Neil."

****

Breakfast the next morning was, as usual, disorganized. None of us ever seemed to eat it at exactly the same time, except perhaps for Lily and Alice. They tended to be more in sync than any of the rest of us were. It probably had something to do with being twins.

I was the last one to make it to the kitchen, just behind Ellie who was in the process of pouring herself some coffee. Mom was already on her way out the door and only stopped for a moment when she saw me arrive.

"Morning, Neil," she said. "I already told the girls, but I left some money and a list of groceries. I don't care who deals with it, so long as it gets done."

"'Kay Mom," I said. "Don't worry about it. Have fun at work."

I put all the sincerity in my words that Mom had every time she'd told me to have fun at school. She never found it nearly as amusing as I did when I gave it right back to her. To her credit, she didn't even roll her eyes this time.

"Alright, see you all tonight," she called as she headed out the door. "Love you."

There was a chorus of goodbyes from the kitchen, then back to near-silence broken by the muted sounds of eating and sipping coffee. Ellie was still standing by the counter with her mug, while Lily and Alice were at the table eating their bowls of cereal.

I glanced at the clock, then back to my youngest sisters. Getting them out the door in time to catch their bus was a bit of a pain at times. They were eighteen and, to my mind, old enough to look after themselves, but they did occasionally live up to their shared status of being the babies of the family.

"We're hurrying," Lily said, not even waiting for me to speak. "You don't need to crack the whip."

"Did I say anything?" I asked.

"You were gonna. You had your serious face on."

Alice just giggled and let her twin argue with me. Ellie was no help either. She just stood there with her mug held in front of her face to hide her smile.

"Well, just as long as you understand you're not getting a drive if you miss your bus," I said. "You've used up your chances for this year. You'll just have to walk if it happens again."

"Hey! It's not like I can help it if the bus driver's a jerk," Lily said. "Sometimes he gets here early and doesn't wait."

"Right. I suppose there's no way that it's just you being slow and not getting out there in time." I held up my hand to cut off her protests. "Anyway, point is, you better get on that bus."

Lily rolled her eyes and stuck her tongue out at me. I took a menacing step toward her, making her hop out of her chair. We held the stand-off for a moment, then Ellie finally stepped in to help. While I distracted Lily, Ellie moved silently behind her and swatted her on the butt. It wasn't a hard blow, but it was enough to make Lily squeal and turn toward her big sister with the look of a girl betrayed.

"Your bus is gonna be here in, like, ten minutes," Ellie said, not falling for Lily's puppy dog eyes any more than I was. "Get your butt moving."

Lily knew she was outgunned at that point. If Ellie or I hadn't been there to back the other up, she could have dragged Alice into the argument and outnumbered us. As it was, the twins had never been a match for their older siblings working as a team.

"Come on, Allie," Lily said, grabbing Alice's arm. "Let's go get ready."

Alice followed her sister to the room they shared without complaint. She was a lot more prone to doing as she was told than Lily was, or at least appearing to. I sometimes suspected that she was simply better at picking her battles.

****

Ellie and I drove to our university campus together, as we did most days. Our schedules weren't different enough to cause too many problems with a carpooling arrangement. More importantly, our family only had two cars and Mom rarely surrendered hers to any of her kids. That tended to leave us with few options.

We headed home sometime in the early evening, after Ellie's last class was finished. I'd pulled the car around to wait for her nearby, so as soon as she got in we were on our way. Aside from her backpack, I noticed that she also had another bag full of stuff that I didn't remember her bringing with her that morning.

"What's all that?" I asked as she shoved her bags into the back seat to get them out of her way.

"School stuff," she said. "Duh."

"I know. I was just questioning why you seem to have twice as much of it."

Ellie rolled her eyes and sighed, though I got the impression that I wasn't the one she was annoyed at.

"I got a project thingy to do. I'm supposed to use library resources for research, or some bullshit like that. I think it's supposed to teach me something about not relying on the internet. Mostly it just means more books to carry."

I couldn't help chuckling.

"Let me guess. Is the professor who assigned this, like, ancient?"

"He looks like he pre-dates the pyramids, yeah. Has to have a TA do anything computer related for him. Fun times all round, let me tell you."

"I bet. You're not gonna get all crazy and overwhelmed again with this project, are you? Should I expect you again tonight?"

Ellie sighed again. This time it was unquestionably directed at me.

"Great," she said. "I go to you with a problem one time, and now you'll be teasing me about it forever. This is the sort of thing that gives people issues, you know."

"Oh don't worry, I won't tease you forever. Another eight or nine times tops. It'd just get boring after that."

Ellie twisted in her seat and raised her arm to hit me, then thought better of it since I was driving. She reluctantly resumed facing the front and crossed her arms over her chest.

"I owe you a punch," she said. "Don't think you're not gonna get one."

"I'm kidding, El. You know that."

"I know you are. Doesn't mean I am."

I tried to look innocent, but it was tricky when I had to keep my eyes on the road. Not that she would have bought it even if I could have given the attempt my full attention.

We continued on without further incident until I made a turn off the main road. Ellie frowned when she noticed we were no longer headed for home, then turned to me.

"Where are we going?" she asked.

"Grocery store," I said. "Or did you forget?"

"I actually did. Probably because we didn't have any kind of argument about it to make it stick in my mind. Guess you volunteered me to help you, huh?"

"Well, look at it this way. Either we both stop in on the way home, or we go home first and drag Lily and Alice into a four-way fight about who gets to make another trip to deal with it."

"Ugh, fine. It probably is easier this way," she conceded. "You're not going to be a pain, are you?"

"Who, me?"

I pulled into the grocery store parking lot and found an empty space. Ellie and I got out and made our way to the entrance of the building. I grabbed a cart on our way through and pulled out the list Mom had left that morning. It was snatched from my hand before I could even start reading it.

"Let's start with the fruits and vegetables," Ellie said as she scanned the list.

"Sure," I said.

I wasn't about to make an issue of Ellie taking charge. We'd done groceries together enough times over the years that we'd settled into roles; Ellie led the way with the list, and I followed with the cart. Occasionally I'd sneak something into the cart when she wasn't looking, which was one of the ways I kept myself amused on these trips. It was always funny when she realized two or three aisles later that we had half a dozen packages of cookies that needed to be put back. I wasn't sure how she put up with me sometimes.

Minutes passed, and our cart slowly filled up. I followed Ellie between aisles, not yet bored enough to cause mischief. Part of that was the pants my sister was wearing. Since I was behind her most of the time, I quickly discovered just how good her butt looked in them when she walked or bent over. Admittedly, it was kind of a pervy thing to do and I felt slightly guilty about it, but not guilty enough not to look. I was too distracted to realize that being so quiet would arouse my sister's suspicions that I was up to something.

"Are you staring at my ass?"

I jerked out of my butt-induced trance and tried not to look embarrassed. I'd been caught.

"Yes," I said, knowing it wouldn't do much good to lie.

Ellie opened her mouth, then closed it. Apparently she didn't know how respond to an open admission. She took a step toward me and punched me hard on the arm.

"Ow! Hey!" I protested, trying to keep my voice low enough that it wouldn't attract attention from other shoppers. "I don't think I deserved that."

"I still owed you one from before. Now we're even for both things."

She grabbed a couple cans off the shelf and lobbed them at me a little harder than necessary. I managed to catch both of them and set them safely in the cart.

"Well... sorry," I said. "But your ass looks really good in those pants."

I got half a smile out of her for the compliment.

"Thanks," she said. Then she sighed. "How sad is it that the only compliment I get all day is from my brother?"

"How sad is it that the nicest butt I've seen all day is my sister's?" I countered.

She smiled even wider this time, but I could see she was trying to fight it.

"Cut it out," she said. "Seriously. I mean, I appreciate it... sort of... but it's, you know, kind of weird."

"No more compliments. Got it."

"That's not what I... oh just shut up."

We carried on through the store, with me now making an actual effort not to check out my sister. I was pretty sure she was keeping an eye on me, but that could have been simple paranoia. I couldn't really blame her if she was. Either way, I hoped she understood that it had just been a case of my male instincts taking over. It wasn't like I'd made a deliberate decision to assess her body.

"Did you ever think this what your life was gonna be?" Ellie asked.

"Um... it kind of depends on what you mean by that," I said.

"Like, you know, still living at home, going shopping with your sister instead of a girlfriend... that sort of thing."

I shrugged. "Sounds about right. We're still young, we've got time to get to all that other stuff."

"Yeah, but... did you ever think maybe it would be different if Dad... if he hadn't left?"

"Ellie...."

She was pretending to examine the grocery list intently, but she wasn't fooling me. Unfortunately, I wasn't sure where she was going with her line of questioning, which made it hard to know what the best response was.

"I mean, look at us," she said. "We've started being responsible for Lily and Alice, at least a little bit. Mom hardly ever bothers parenting you or me anymore. I can't help feeling like we've grown up, but not quite the way we're supposed to."

"At least we did grow up. I know plenty of people who haven't managed that yet and probably never will."

"I s'pose. It could be a lot worse, couldn't it?"

"It could totally be worse."

"Mm-hm. I mean, perving aside, you're not exactly the worst brother to be stuck with."

"Gee, thanks."

Ellie laughed, and I felt a sense of relief that she wasn't going to slip into a bad mood after all. If she really wanted a serious discussion about our issues in life, I'd much rather she wait until we had some privacy.

****

I took up temporary residence in the living room that evening. I had some reading to do for one of my classes and one of the chairs there was ideal for that purpose, in my opinion. It was both comfortable and positioned such that I could get good light from a few different angles.

The downside to not staying in my room was that I was subject to the occasional interruption. The first of the evening came from Lily.

"Where'd you put the car key?" she demanded. "I'm going over to a friend's house for a bit."

I arched an eyebrow and lowered my book slightly.

"Must be awfully urgent for you to forget to be polite about it," I said, deliberately choosing a tone of voice that would irritate her.

Lily bit back her instinctive response. If she had vocalized it, I was certain it would have been even less polite than her previous attempt. She took a deep breath and mustered an obviously fake smile.

"Can you please tell me where the key is?"

"Probably on the counter by the fridge. If not, ask Ellie."

"You couldn't have just said that in the first place?" she asked, instantly dropping her pretense of cheerfulness once she had her information. "It would have saved us both time."

"Wouldn't have annoyed you nearly as much though."

She rolled her eyes, but didn't push the issue any further. She stalked off toward the kitchen, nearly running into Alice coming the other way. The twins shared a glance, then moved past each other without a word.

"Is she really going to a friend's house?" I asked Alice, who unlike her sister didn't seem to be in a hurry to get anywhere.

Alice made sure Lily was out of earshot, then slipped closer, taking up a perch on the arm of the couch.

"I think so," she said. "But she didn't say much about it."

"Oh well. As long as she doesn't get into too much trouble."

I went back to my reading, but Alice lingered. I assumed she was deciding whether or not to watch some Netflix, so I didn't pay much attention. However, it turned out there was something else on her mind.

"Neil?" she said.

"Yeah?"

"Can I ask you something?"

"I can't promise an answer until I know what the question is."

"That's...." She shook her head. "Anyway, I just... I was wondering, like, am I too boring?"

I set my book down on my lap, leaving my finger between the pages to mark my spot.

"First off, no," I said. "Secondly, why would you think that?"

"Well, Lily's always doing more stuff than me. She's more popular at school too."

"You don't think that maybe your sister is just more...." I waved my free hand as I tried to think of an appropriate word. "Aggressive? Out-going? Some might say obnoxious? Being a little quieter isn't a bad thing. You two don't have to be exactly the same just because you're twins."

Alice smiled, and even giggled when I referred to Lily as obnoxious.

"I know," she said. "I just worry sometimes that I'm, I don't know, doing something wrong."

"You and everyone else in the world. I mean, look at me," I said, holding up my book. "I'm not exactly spending an evening full of excitement."

She nodded, and I was pretty sure it wasn't just to humour me. At the very least, she looked a little more confident than she had a couple of minutes ago.

Mom walked in shortly after that while Alice and I were still just kind of hanging out. She sat down on the couch and got comfortable.

"What are you two up to?" Mom asked.

Alice glanced at me, then back to Mom.

"Nothing much," she said.

Mom nodded. "Well, I think I'm ready just to relax for the rest of the evening. Either of you interested in watching a movie or something?"

"Sure," Alice said with a shrug. "Which one?"

"Doesn't matter. Why don't you see if you can find something interesting on Netflix. You're good at picking out movies."

Alice hopped off the arm of the couch where she'd been sitting and went to pick out a movie. In the meantime Mom turned her attention to me. I'd been trying to get through some more of my book while partly following their conversation.

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