Thankful

byPuckIt©

Literotica 2017 Winter Holidays Contest entry.

Votes would be especially welcomed by all authors competing as it takes so many just to be eligible, much less win.

All on-screen sexual encounters in the following (when they finally do occur) are between consenting adults over the age of eighteen.


***

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving 1987 found me precisely where I'd sworn I would not be; traveling in the back of a camper shelled pickup with the rest of the luggage bound for Garland, Texas and the only extended family I knew of.

Thanksgiving had always been my least favorite holiday. I couldn't eat like normal people, and watching everybody else eat turkey and trimmings just wasn't my idea of fun. I despised football. And the less said about the brutality of Black Friday, the better.

But, that year I had a special reason to feel the loathing in my heart. My family.

For perhaps the third time since I'd learned how I couldn't escape through reading, I was so aggravated. I let my book fall to my chest and focused my eyes on the crosshatching in the underside of the fiberglass camper shell. I never noticed when the cassette in my Walkman ended, much less turned it over.

I admit, the problem wasn't the entirety of my extended family, but one certain member.

Olivia and I were introduced on our first Thanksgiving when we were almost five months old, and I was finally robust enough to make the trip. We were placed in her crib together to take a nap while the others visited. Less than two minutes later, she kicked me in the face and it was all downhill for the next eighteen and a half years.

Our relationship was tumultuous enough that buckets of ice water were kept ready to hand during our bi-annual visits and there was a betting pool on precisely when our respective fathers would be called on to douse us.

I generally didn't mind the improvised ice shower as I was always getting the worst of it from my much bigger and much healthier cousin by that point.

Yet, I didn't resist, or not much, being dragged along the fourth week of November each year to celebrate Thanksgiving nor the first week in July to celebrate my birth, our country's birth, and Olivia's infiltration from Hell. Not until the events of July 1987 when we celebrated our nineteenth birthdays.

After the events of that week, I'd sworn I wouldn't return to the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex except to attend Olivia's funeral. And that, purely for the pleasure of pissing on her grave.

Then, my illustrious sperm donor had decided he had enough of marriage and family and struggling financially or something.

Two days after Priscilla had turned eighteen in September, dear old Dad had run off with his lover, the high school football coach, and about a million dollars and change that wasn't his and headed south. After that, it just hadn't seemed the appropriate time to give Mom any backchat when she started talking Thanksgiving plans in October.

Not that it should have mattered. I was supposed to be busy that week, down in Houston with Dr. Geer presenting a progress report.

Then Mom had pulled an end run around me and talked to Dr. Geer herself. I could prove nothing. But, I knew in my bones she had done it. There could be no other reason Dr. Geer would have not only changed his mind about taking me with him to Houston but taken my lab keys and threatened me with dismissal from the team if he found out I'd been on campus during the four day weekend.

With the last of my cover removed, I hadn't felt I had any choice but to be dragged along.

A loud thump on the side of the camper shell caused me to blink for the first time in hours and turn my head to the side to see our destination. I had zoned out, lost in a combination of memory and the siren song of the patterns in the cross-hatching for three hundred and thirty-three miles.

Mom and Priscilla were standing on the porch with Aunt Regina, Laurell, Michelle, and Olivia, greeting each other. The thump had been Uncle Billy coming out to get me. A squeal of metal announced his opening the hatch at the back as I determined, yet again, their house really should have some wrought iron and gargoyles to offset the hacienda look they had it built in. Maybe even some tall thorny plants in place of the well-tended flower beds and groomed yard.

"Heyla, Hoss!" Uncle Billy boomed in his usual boisterous voice. "You coming in the house? Or should we bring your meals out here?"

"Is that an option?" I rasped as I tried to remind joints, stiff from lying too still for too long, how to move.

"Oh, now, don't be that way," Uncle Billy laughed. "Between my brood and the two you brung with you and our guest this weekend, I'm feeling plumb outnumbered."

"Guest?!" I shot up fast enough if I'd been a little taller I could have saved Olivia the trouble of the beating she would undoubtedly dole out at some point in the next three days, sixteen hours, and twenty-three minutes.

Another quick scan of the porch showed only our six family valkyries.

"Ayep. Some friends of ours had to go out country for the weekend. Their daughter is staying with us until Monday."

"Anyone I know?" I asked, feeling faint.

Please don't say Tina. God, please don't say Tina is going to be here. Not after the fiasco last July.

"Well, no actually," Uncle Billy said. "That's mostly why I came out to put a bug in your ear. You see, Kelly... She's... Well, let's put it this way. She can be a mite startling the first time you see her. And she's pretty sensitive about her looks. I'd take it as a special favor if you could-"

Whatever else Uncle Billy might have said was lost in a rush of female relatives tired of us mere males taking so long.

"Hello, Nick," Aunt Regina called.

"Hi, Aunt Regina. Laurell. Michelle." As usual, I paused a beat as each greeted me by name before adding the last, and least. "Olivia."

"Space Chimp," Olivia nodded with a grin.

"Ollie," Aunt Regina sighed. "We talked about this."

"I know," Olivia said. "And I'll behave in front of Kelly. At least as long as he does."

"You two were supposed to be getting the bags," Michelle said, in full distraction mode. "Did you forget why you came out here, Daddy?"

I never quite understood why, but Mom felt she needed two full suitcases for a four-day trip. Priscilla hadn't been too bad until she'd turned fourteen and, without having to keep the bullies off me, became one of the popular cheerleader types. Suddenly, when she'd been getting by with one bag, she needed three full suitcases and smaller kit that must have held a pocket dimension since it contained three drawers full of stuff from our "shared" bathroom back home.

I handed them out to Uncle Billy (who handed them off to one of the girls) before slinging my own bag, which held more books and cassettes than it did clothes, over my own back and clambering out over the tailgate. Each of the girls carried one of the suitcases towards the porch, even Laurell carried Priscilla's small one. Uncle Billy, the only one of us not carrying a bag, held me back. Ostensibly to shut and lock the camper.

"Anyway, Nick. What I was saying before we got interrupted. Kelly's pretty damn fragile. She... Well, that's not my place to say. I'll just say you can hurt her worse than you can imagine just by staring. I'd take it as a special favor if you could go out of your way not to make her uncomfortable. And if you could kind of keep a lid on your and Ollie's usual shenanigans."

Several responses flitted through my mind. Not least the unfairness of the final sentence since I only fought back against Olivia when no one else would make her back off. Not even Pris, who had my back with any other bully.

I settled for the simplest.

"Sure, Uncle Billy. You can count on me."

"I know I can, Nick." Uncle Billy put his massive arm around my slender shoulders. "I know I can. Oh, your aunt and me got something special for you this trip."

I tried to swallow a groan, mostly successfully.

"You know you don't have to do that, Uncle Billy. I appreciate you thinking of me. But, you really don't have to give me presents every time we come visit. I'm not a kid anymore."

I liked Uncle Billy. Mostly. He was just a little too loud, a little larger than life in his affable way. But, he could tell the most hilarious stories. Particularly when he got on the outside of a few beers.

The main problem was that he got out of the Navy (where he claimed he served his entire term of service, during the Korean Conflict, in sunny Southern California as a barber) just in time to lease a shop on the ground floor of the new building in Irving that was going to house the administrative offices of the newest NFL franchise. He became the de facto barber for the Dallas Cowboys as he cut most of the player's hair and all of the coaches and executives.

And he absolutely could not let an opportunity pass without inflicting some bit of autographed paraphernalia on me. The top of my closet at home was packed with deflated footballs and jerseys and just about anything that would hold ink signed by people I had only the dimmest idea who they were and couldn't have cared less.

"I know, I know," Uncle Billy said as he shook me in his one-armed bear hug. "But, I like doing it. And I think you'll really like this one. It's pretty special."

He'd been herding me towards the front door and I would have frozen in place at my first glimpse of Kelly if he hadn't been guiding me. I couldn't see her face at first, as she was turned greeting Mom and Pris and her long black hair curtained her profile. The first thing that struck me was her size.

Uncle Billy was a big bear of a man and had married a statuesque beauty to father children with. Mom had gone to college on a basketball scholarship and married a man even bigger than she was.

With the exception of me, everyone in our little family hovered right at a couple of inches over or under six feet. Thanks to some medical issues, I was a hair over five feet if I forgot to comb it.

Kelly towered over our family valkyries. Judging by the height of the others involved, I gauged her to be over six and a half feet.

If my cousin Olivia was built like a professional linebacker with thick heavy muscle and bone, and she was, Kelly was built like a defensive lineman, and not one of the fat, sloppy ones either. Kelly was wearing baggy black pants and an oversized black sweater that covered her from the neck down to her mid thighs, even most of her hands. But, it would have taken Fashions by Omar the Tent Maker to disguise just how muscular she was.

Oddly, Kelly seemed to have won some sort of genetic lottery. Where the only proof up top that Olivia was, in fact, female was when she chose to wear a, largely unnecessary, top with her bikini at the lake, Kelly was almost too well endowed in the chest to be believed. Particularly considering how thickly muscled she was.

Then, Kelly turned her head and my breath caught. Her facial features were, perhaps, just a little too squared to be conventionally pretty. Only beautiful. However, what really caught my eye was the liberal spangling of black dots, something like moles or perhaps birthmarks, forming a constellation of stars in photo negative on her pale skin.

The siren song of the patterns almost ensnared my mind with their beauty as they caught me unaware. Most likely would have if not for Uncle Billy shaking me hard enough my teeth rattled just then.

"I see you've met Beka and Pris," Uncle Billy boomed. "This strapping young hoss is my favorite nephew, Nick. Nick, this is a very dear friend of ours that we've been fighting with her parents to let us adopt, Kelly."

"I'm his only nephew," I managed without biting my tongue as my joints creaked beneath the onslaught of Uncle Billy being his ebullient self. "Hi, Kelly."

"Hello, Nick."

"Nick here skipped high school completely, graduated from college the first time in two years, and now he's working on his doctorate on some hush-hush project he can't talk about or win an all expenses paid one way trip to Leavenworth, Kansas."

I felt my face flush and sweat begin to bead on my forehead. I really wasn't supposed to talk about what I was doing. While it probably wasn't as dire as Uncle Billy said, despite the forms I'd had to sign, I probably would be removed from the team.

"Nick, Kelly here took fifth in her weight class down at Daytona Beach a couple of weeks ago," Uncle Billy went on. "We're all just about proud enough of her to burst."

It was Kelly's turn to blush and she ducked her head shyly to let the dark curtain of hair obscure her face.

"Well, I don't know about the rest of you, but my belly button is scraping my backbone," Uncle Billy wrapped up, letting me go. "I vote we put the saddlebags down and tie the feedbag on."

I watched as Uncle Billy hustled the women, including Kelly, back around to the hallway where the bedrooms were. I had been permanently banned from that hallway since I was six when I'd had more than a puppy dog crush on each of my elder beautiful cousins, long since outgrown.

My estimation of their beauty wasn't biased, apparently. Each, when they had turned eighteen, had won the dubious honor of wearing the iconic white shorts, blue top tied beneath their breasts, and knee-high white "fuck me" boots on the sidelines for a whopping fifty dollars a game.

So, either they were every bit as beautiful as I'd always thought, or Uncle Billy or Aunt Regina had pulled some strings. Uncle Billy might not have had many strings to pull as a barber, but I wouldn't have been surprised considering how many people he seemed to know. Aunt Regina, however, worked right upstairs from him in the Dallas Cowboys legal offices and the mind boggled at how many strings she might be able to pull if she wished.

Despite her profession, and the fact she'd decided to inflict Olivia on the world when she already had two beautiful, vivacious daughters, I'd adored Aunt Regina even before she'd taken on my parents, the local school district and the state to help me bypass the hell I knew was waiting for me in high school.

It was too close to call whether she might have outranked Mom in my affections for second place behind Priscilla. But, Priscilla had a clear advantage as she'd been keeping bullies, other than Olivia, from beating me from kindergarten on up until what would have been our freshman year in high school. Including the rather memorable time when I'd been foolish enough to get separated from her, or any adult, and been waterboarded and she'd ridden to the rescue in full battle mode, stomping on three guys bigger than her.

I half tossed, half kicked my bag under the long table behind the queen sized fold out couch that would be my bed during the nights and my habitual perch during the days.

I couldn't speak for the side of the house where the bedrooms were, not having seen it in thirteen years, but the front half was built for Entertaining with a capital E. With the fold out in its couch configuration, there was enough floor space to hold a small dance party. Our whole living room and dining room back home could have fit in this one room.

Up the short hallway, across from the bathroom I was allowed to use during our visits, there was a game room as big as my parent's bedroom back home holding a competition-sized pool table, a foosball table, a card table, and two dartboards. I'd learned early not to go in there unless one of the adults did as it would give Olivia a chance to get me alone. With a whole lot of hard and pointy things to choose from to torture me with.

No, mostly I held to the front room and sat on my fold out.

Two full sized couches ran down the walls on either side with end tables on either end and a recliner on each side next to the far wall holding a much too large television and a much too small fireplace.

The recliner on my left was Uncle Billy's throne and command center, complete with two phones on the end table, a remote on the arm of the chair, and a stack of newspapers and magazines on the floor that would have been the envy of many a small library.

The recliner to my right had been my father's chosen perch during our previous eighteen visits. The better to keep one disapproving eye on me as he and Uncle Billy discussed whatever sport or news program was on the television, I'm sure.

Perhaps it doesn't say anything good about me as a person, but the only thing I felt seeing that empty chair and knowing for the first visit in my life he wouldn't be in it was relief.

There had been some developmental problems in the womb, from what I understand, and the white-coated menaces had encouraged Mom to terminate the pregnancy and try again. Mom, being who she was, took on everyone and anyone who even mentioned ending my existence before it began. And the list, I understand, included dear old Dad.

Several times after I was born, and the issues proved to be every bit as arduous as they'd predicted, I firmly believe my father considered a retroactive abortion if he could just have figured out how to get away with it without getting caught.

Instead, he fell back on the perpetual games of "toughening me up." Usually involving throwing balls of various sizes and shapes at me and giving me a bloody nose with them when I failed to catch them. I'm mortally certain his biggest disappointment was that I would never be big enough to even survive, much less thrive, on the football field. When he finally gave up on throwing objects at me, he made me sit with him and watch, and discuss, sporting events of all types, but his particular fetish was always football.

Which may be why I held a deep abiding loathing for the sport.

Or perhaps it was because the bullies who picked on me as a small child fell in love with the game when they got older and discovered it. The apex of their ambition seemed to be to play football professionally. To me, it seemed that only the biggest bullies could get out on the gridiron and shove around the other bullies successfully. And only the biggest and bulliest of them could make a professional team.

For two years, I'd been careful to be much too busy to have time to sit and watch the stupid game with my father. However, there would be no dodging it in this house. Not with the team Uncle Billy cut their hair, Aunt Regina was a lawyer for, and Laurell and Michelle cheered on the sidelines for playing every Thanksgiving as the second of three loathsome traditions.

"You all right there, Hoss?"

I glanced up to see Uncle Billy back from his supervisory duties.

"Sure," I said. "I was just waiting."

Uncle Billy claimed his throne and glanced at the unoccupied recliner across the way.

"I gotta tell you, Nick. I sure was surprised to hear what your pop did. I never would have thought it of him he would do a thing like that?"

"Like what, Uncle Billy? Leave Mom to run off with another man? Or steal over a million dollars when he did it?"

It wasn't fair of me. But, it seemed that people were almost more worked up that Dad had come out as gay than that he'd left Mom and stolen a bunch of money when he did it.

I didn't really care if he'd run off with a man or a pink and purple dotted unicorn. It didn't matter if he'd run off with someone or alone, or with a million dollars in his pockets or nothing but pocket lint, he was gone. For my part, I was pretty much glad he wouldn't be tormenting me anymore. For Mom and Priscilla, I was determined they would be much better off without him than he ever would be without them.

Uncle Billy squirmed in his chair as if he couldn't get comfortable and opened his mouth twice to say something but closed it again before turning his attention to the news on the television.

As if on cue, the talking head yammering on about the Iran Contra hearings, long over, switched to the Strategic Defense Initiative. Or, as they liked to call it, "the Star Wars Plan."

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