The Family Room Ch. 02byMused©
"Oh God Rick," Julie sat up, tears slid down her pretty face. "What just happened?"
I had made love to my little sister, right on the floor of the family room. A moment ago it had seemed so right and so natural, but now with my sister crying naked beside me, it felt anything but. A light sheen of sweat moistened her body, plastering strands of long, brown hair to her cheeks and back. Her large boobs swayed with each panicked breath.
Her tears flowed faster. "How could we? How could I, with my own brother?" She rose from the floor, leaving her discarded clothes behind.
"Julie." I followed her naked body up the stairs but she wouldn't stop. She slammed her bedroom door in my face. What had I done? I went back downstairs, the smell of sex was everywhere. The family room was disheveled, I imagined my parents walking in with the evidence of our sin all around. I scrubbed the floor where our naked bodies had laid, scouring the spot of pink moisture that proved my sister was no longer a virgin. I sprayed air freshener, enveloping the room in a mist of cinnamon sticks so thick that I almost choked on it.
I could scrub and wash and spray all night but I was convinced my parents would still know what we had done. Somehow, I thought, they'll know.
Deep down I knew better. My parents would have no clue, as long as I remained calm. Our incestuous mistake would remain a dark secret forever, never to be repeated.
What if Julie tells? My life would be over. I had to go to pack up my things, then go to the bank and withdraw all of my money, then gas up my car and get the hell away from Saratoga Spring. No, I had to calm down. She would never do that to our parents.
That night as I sat on my bed I listened to isolated sobs in the next room. For the first time in my life I couldn't go in and comfort my little sister or promise her that everything would be alright.
My little sister had gotten hurt and it was because of me. I couldn't control myself. I was no better than Erin or Sam. As if stealing my sister's virginity wasn't enough, I still wanted her, I ached for Julie. What kind of pervert was I?
Despite my fears the sun came up the next morning. As it did every day for the rest of the week. The summer sun was still shining as I headed out the following Saturday night. I found my parents in the family room watching an old western. They were on the couch, my mother's head reclined on my father's shoulder. His arm was wrapped securely around her waist.
Julie was with them. She sat alone, curled up in the loveseat. She wore the same nightshirt as last Saturday, I had peeled it from her body right before we... I didn't want to think about it anymore. I was through feeling guilty, it was a mistake, everybody makes them.
I could forgive myself easy enough, but Julie's forgiveness would be a different matter. She hadn't talked to me all week. She wouldn't look at me or acknowledge my existence in any way. What if she hated me forever?
I fastened the last button on one of my Dad's old dress shirt. The sleeves rested a good two inches above my wrists, but it was the only thing I could find, since Mom had donated my old clothes to Goodwill. I cleared my throat, announcing my presence. My parents looked up, Julie stared straight ahead at the television. "Where are you off to, a big date?" My father asked. At least his question elicited a reaction from Julie, she tentatively looked me over.
"Sure Dad, I always wear a smock on a first date, you know how messy things can get." My parents giggled.
"I'm giving art lessons at the Community Center tonight." I had volunteered as part of a program at school, for students who are considering teaching careers. "Can you believe they're giving me extra credit to watch little kids make messes?"
"College sure has changed since my days. When your mom and I were still in school the Saturday night activities weren't nearly as wholesome." Mom slapped his shoulder. He grinned, the skin around his eyes and mouth creased. At fifty-five years old Dad was finally beginning to show his age.
I checked my watch and saw that I was already running late. "Got to go," I said.
My parents wished me luck, Julie remained silent.
A lovely amalgamation of sawdust and paint fumes assaulted my nostrils. The community center had opened a month ago, so it still had that distinct new building smell. Mr. DeBerg, my art instructor, had told me about the school's teaching program at the center and I was among the first to volunteer. Six weeks of babysitting and I would have a course credit to show for my efforts. The art room's walls were fresh and white, the linoleum floors sparkled from a fresh waxing. Not for long, I thought. I suspected the place would look like an exploded rainbow by the end of the night.
A trickle of toe-headed suburbanites had made their way to the little easels set up in the center of the classroom. I glanced at the lesson plan to see that my college had assigned finger painting as tonight's activity. Someone must have hated the janitorial staff around here.
I heard wailing just outside the door. There was a small red-headed boy crying in the hallway. A young woman in a green summer dress attempted to soothe the child. She was petite with a very nice body and long, crimson hair that flowed down her back in loose coils. I didn't need to see her face, I guessed she would be gorgeous.
She spoke to the boy, her voice was like an angel's harp, delicate and graceful. She promised him a milkshake on the ride home if he behaved in class. I recognized that melodious voice.
"Renee?" I stammered. My old girlfriend had picked this moment to reenter my life.
The wispy green dress fluttered as she turned. Same dimples, same freckles, it was indeed my Renee.
"Rick." She seemed pleased to see me. "What are you doing here?"
"Teaching a class," I said. "Or at least trying to teach." I looked directly at the boy. "I seem to have misplaced one of my students."
She turned back to the boy. "Tyler, I need to talk with your teacher a moment." She placed a slender hand on his head, tousling red hair. I noticed her fingers were ring-less, that was a welcomed bit of news. "Will you be a good boy and go inside the classroom for me?" The boy nodded.
I patted his red head as he walked past. "Cute kid," I said as soon as we were alone. "He looks just like you."
"Tyler's my nephew," she said. More good news. "You look good," she said. She looked better. "Still dreaming of being an artist?"
"No, I've set my goals a little lower. From starving artist, to starving art teacher. I guess either way I'm destined to straddle the poverty line."
"Money isn't the most important thing in the world, Rick. My ex-fiancée was an English teacher. He always told me that his greatest rewards came from teaching." I nodded, I would find out soon enough. "Then he found something that had even greater rewards. Banging the Spanish teacher under his desk."
"Ouch." I grimaced.
"That's what she said after I caught the two of them."
My wristwatch beeped, it was seven. "I guess I should get class started." Renee nodded and turned to leave. "You could sit in if you want, at least until your nephew feels more comfortable." She hesitated. "Come on, I could use another adult's opinion on my teaching skills, or lack thereof."
I felt like doing cartwheels when she agreed. For the next hour I stood back and watched in horror as students slopped finger paints on their easels. I went from child to child and examined warped renditions of household pets, family members, and cartoon characters that wouldn't have looked out of place on a Rorschach test. At eight, class was dismissed, but I had to wait behind until all of the children were picked up.
Renee bowed to look at her nephew's smeared masterpiece. The poor kid couldn't even pronounce perspective. Nevertheless, she patted his red head and proclaimed him the Andy Warhol of finger painting.
"So, how was I?" I tried to approach her but stumbled on a carpet. Little Tyler laughed.
"Clumsy, but cute," she said.
"Thanks. Maybe you could tell me how much I improve after next week's class."
Renee frowned. "Sorry Rick, but I'm only filling in for my brother. He'll be back in town by next weekend." She must have seen the disappointment in my eyes. "Maybe you and I could get together and catch up one night. Like Friday?"
I felt something in the pit of my stomach. It was a pain, like a pinprick. I knew it was guilt, but I had no idea what I had to feel guilty about. I agreed to the date.
A million questions clattered around in my skull as I said goodnight. Was I still in love with Renee? Had I ever been? And why, in the very deepest darkest portions of my soul, was Julie's name whispered.
Friday morning came quicker than I would have liked. My family was eating breakfast in the kitchen. Bread was burning in the toaster and oatmeal bubbled on the range. My eyes stung, they were bloodshot and sore from two weeks of restless sleep. I rummaged through the pantry. I searched for a box with enough cereal to halfway fill a bowl, finding none, I made due with a concoction made from Captain Crunch and the settled contents of what had once been Cocoa Pebbles.
I stumbled to the table and plopped down on a hardwood chair. I buried my spoon in the bowl. I wished I could have managed a few more hours of sleep, but I had promised Lance a full day.
Julie was at the sink drinking a tall glass of orange juice. Her pink nightgown rested halfway to her knees, affording me a decent view of her shapely, young thighs. Thighs I had been between. I ripped my eyes from her body and returned to my meager breakfast. Was I some kind of freak?
My appetite abandoned me as I stirred the milky, powdery mixture. "Mom, can't you buy some new cereal at the grocery store?"
"Not until someone eats what's in the pantry." Moms just don't get it. "Besides you need a healthy breakfast if you want to keep up with your date tonight."
I spit a spoonful of milk. "What? How did---"
Mom winked. "Renee called the house while you were at school last night," she said.
Julie dropped her glass in the empty sink, it shattered into a hundred pieces. She didn't say anything, just reached in the galvanized basin and attempted to gather the shards.
"Julie, be careful!" Mom shouted. "Do you want to get hurt?"
Mom helped with the mess while Dad patted me on the back. "Renee? Your Renee?" he asked. I nodded. "It's not often that you get a second chance with 'the one.' Don't screw it up this time."
"It's just one date," I said. "Don't start engraving the wedding invitations just yet." I still remember how heart-broken my parents were when Renee and I called it quits. I don't think they were even concerned about the fact that she was the one who left me.
I stirred my bowl until eight o'clock, when my parents left for work. I was alone with Julie. I wanted to say something, but I might as well talk to a block of ice. She was still in front of the sink, scooping up the last bits of glass with a dustpan. Buttoning the white shirt of my store uniform was a task, my eyes constantly shifted from the buttonholes, to Julie's legs, then back to the buttonholes.
"I don't understand why you're doing it," Julie said. Those were the first words she had spoken to me in nearly two weeks. She dumped the dustpan of glass in the trash. I slipped my blue vest on and stared at her. She had turned to face me. "That witch already dumped you once and she'll do it again if you let her. She doesn't love you. She never loved you." Julie left me in the kitchen.
Two years ago Renee ripped out my heart. There was someone else, I never asked who but I presume he's the man who became her fiancée.
"So you're the expert now?" I found Julie curled up on the loveseat in the family room. "Romantic advice from a nineteen year old girl who's never had a boyfriend last more than a week." She huffed as I stood over her. "You wouldn't know love if it were right in front of you!"
She closed her eyes. I felt awful for yelling at her. I didn't want to fight with her, I wanted... I couldn't have what I really wanted, but I would have settled for having my best friend back. At the very least I didn't want my little sister to loathe me for the rest of her life.
I sat on the loveseat and tried to hug her. She was cold and stiff in my arms. "You'll be late for work." Julie pushed me away.
I didn't see my sister again that day, when I got home from the Video Hut she was walled up in her room. She wanted nothing more to do with me, I couldn't say that I blamed her.
I picked Renee up at her apartment, a modest little place downtown. She looked stunning in a little black dress and heels. I had never seen her so dressed up before, when she was into painting she always dressed like a hippy.
"That's a good look for you," I said. Her face mirrored her red hair.
She suggested we see the new sci-fi picture, I reluctantly agreed. I had planned on seeing Invasion of America with Julie, but I figured that would never happen.
After the movie we had dinner in one of the nicer restaurants downtown. The fancy Italian cuisine was a far cry from the pizza and hamburgers that Julie and I consumed after our movies. I hoped I could afford the bill when it arrived.
We caught up on the past two years. She had decided her paintings were a lost cause and took a job at the bank. She had been engaged to the aforementioned schoolteacher, but canceled the wedding soon after learning of his infidelity.
I told her about my bland life, which mainly consisted of my art, my school, and my job. I admitted to a few blind dates, but nothing that lasted.
"So there hasn't been anyone special?" she asked. I must have looked puzzled to her. "You never got serious in the last two years?"
I scratched my head, this was a delicate subject. Before two weeks ago the answer would have been a resounding no, but Julie and I had gotten serious, very serious, even if it was only that one morning. "There is this one girl..." I realized my verbal slip-up.
"Is?" Renee asked.
"Was," I amended. "There was this girl. A really special girl. We got pretty serious, but it didn't last."
"Bad for her, good for me," Renee said. "What happened?"
We were related would not have been a well received explanation, so I had to think before slowly proceeding. "My parents wouldn't have approved." That was definitely understating it.
"You broke up with the woman you loved because your parents wouldn't approve? You really are Mr. Squeaky Clean."
I forced a laugh. If only it were that simple.
The rest of dinner was pleasant enough. I had just enough in my wallet to cover the bill and Renee was gracious enough to take care of the tip.
The evening drew late, we decided to say our goodnights. We were alone beneath the hazy lights of the streetlamps. The shrill call of crickets echoed amongst the dwarf trees and shrubs that landscaped Renee's apartment complex.
A racing engine announced an approaching vehicle, the crickets went silent as a sports car zoomed past in a bloody red blur. "Rick, I've missed you." She looked at me with eyes that were flawless emeralds. Her fingers reached the back of my head and curled in the short hairs. She brought me down for a kiss. Her lips were warm and aggressive, this was not the mouth of the shy little oil-painter that had caught my eye during class.
I ran my hands up her shapely body, her curves had improved in the last two years. I closed my eyes as I touched her, after a while I forgot that she wasn't a brunette. Renee moaned as I pulled my lips from her, then moaned again as I kissed the soft skin of her neck, tasting the bitterness of her perfume.
This is wrong, my conscience screamed as I touched her. The words ricocheted inside my skull. Words I needed to ignore, Renee was back in my life for a reason.
She doesn't love you, she never loved you. That was a dirty trick, speaking to me in Julie's voice. My conscience was getting desperate, all I had to do was give in to Renee and my life would be normal once again.
I looked in Renee's eyes. She wanted me. She wanted to do all the things we used to do, and the things I was always afraid to try. I followed her into the apartment building. She lived on the first floor, I don't think we would have made it to her door otherwise.
She's not the one, my conscience screamed so loud it hurt. I slapped my temples, Renee asked what was wrong. I didn't answer, this wasn't the time to tell her I was hearing voices.
She dropped to her knees and undid my fly. Her warm mouth engulfed my dick. My pesky conscience went silent, God, how I'd missed her mouth. I let her suck, my hard dick deserved to appreciate the full talents of her mouth.
I was ready to surrender, to do anything she wanted, but the voice returned. Julie, it whispered. Renee's eyes opened as I backed away. My penis pulled out of her mouth with a wet pop. "I'm sorry," I said. My trembling hands fumbled to close my zipper. "We can't do this."
"I'm sorry too." Renee straightened her dress and got back on her feet. She knew I was completely serious. "Is it because of her? Your mystery woman."
I nodded and closed the door to her apartment on my way out.
The house was dark and quiet when I arrived home. I climbed in the shower to scrub any traces of my old girlfriend from my body, then changed for bed. I was about to lie down when that pesky voice once more invaded my head.
What are you waiting for? Tell her now, it said.
Stupid conscience, it had already cost me Renee. Now it expected me to go and tell my little sister I was in love with her. Why didn't it just tell me to go jump off a bridge? Despite my better judgment I couldn't stay out of the hallway, within moments I was standing in Julie's bedroom.
The room was barely lit. A glitter lamp flitted weak silver light from the nightstand. The walls were pale pink, her bed and canopy were covered with frills and lace. Her entire bedroom seemed like a shrine to femininity.
She slept on her back. The twisted sheets and covers proved that sleep had not come easily to my little sister. Her eyes were shut tight, her mouth slacked open a tiny bit and a purring snore escaped her pink lips.
I called her name softly. I sat on her bed and placed my hand on her uncovered shoulder. She stirred then rose, squinting in the dim light to see who had disturbed her. She picked her wristwatch off the nightstand and wrinkled her nose, she was surprised it was still early.
"Rick?" She rubbed her eyes.
Her covers drifted to her waist. She wore a satiny purple camisole, I took a deep breath and tried to focus on her green eyes. "You were wrong." I tried to touch Julie's shoulder but she squirmed away. "Renee still loves me."
Julie's sweet face soured. "Then why aren't you with her?"
I was about to answer when she turned her back to me. I grabbed her shoulders and forced her to look at me. "Because I don't love her." I released her and she turned away. She slumped to the bed and buried her face in the pillows.
I felt like the biggest piece of garbage on the planet. "I'm sorry about what I did to you. I never meant it to happen, I would never hurt you, Julie." My eyes burned from tears that were imminent.
She shuddered against her pillow. I had made her cry again, I was such an asshole.
I wanted to say the things that had been on my mind for two weeks, to tell Julie that I loved her, that I always had. Instead I begged for her forgiveness. "Please don't hate me, Julie. I am so sorry for what we did. What I did. I swear I'll never touch you again, I won't even look at you if that's what you want. I'll move out, I'll live far away, just don't hate me."