Man of the House Ch. 07byclearwinston©
Erin returned from her run just as the garage door was opening. As she walked up the driveway, her mom was backing out. Erin pulled the ear buds out when her mother stopped and rolled down the window.
"Listen, would you start on dinner tonight so that we can eat pretty quickly after I get home? Cory's still trying to get caught up on his rest and if the three of us are going to have some time together, we don't need a late dinner." She smiled as she asked, a twinkle in her eye.
"Sure," Erin agreed. "I have to go to the school this afternoon for final registration, but I should be back by around 4. I can start then."
"Sounds good. God, I'm like a schoolgirl," her mother giggled, covering her face with her hands. "I'm so nervous and excited at the same time."
"I know," Erin laughed. "I am, too! OH! I also want you to try out my new toy, so can I bring it?"
"Of course! Okay, so I have to get to work, but I'll see you tonight. I love you."
"Love you, too." Erin squeezed her mom's hand, resting on the door frame before backing up and making her way in through the garage as her mother backed out of the driveway.
She took a shower, got dressed and was in the middle of eating breakfast when the front door opened and Cory walked in, his t-shirt and jeans streaked with warehouse dust. His work boots were worn down enough that the steel toe was exposed in a little patch on each boot. He plopped down in a chair at the table, untying his boots as he talked to his sister.
"I'm exhausted. I'm so glad school is starting next week and the strike is over. I'm ready for a routine again," he said, shaking his head. Once he dropped the second boot onto the tile floor, he plopped back in the wood chair with a sigh.
"Yeah, I have to go sign my final registration today."
"Really? Mind if I tag along? I need to pay up and sign mine, too."
"Sure. Megan was supposed to go, but she had to bail because she discovered an error and has an appointment tomorrow. My appointment isn't until 2:30."
"Good. I can take a shower and get some sleep. This strike kicked my ass. I didn't realize it until it was over."
"Let me get you some breakfast before you go upstairs," she offered as she stood up.
"Thanks." He swatted at her ass as she walked past, getting a good shot on her running shorts and causing her to squeal, whipping her head around in mock anger before rubbing her ass, her face fading into a smile.
While she warmed him some microwave waffles and some bacon he thought he should get her opinion.
"Erin," he asked nervously, "Can I ask you a question."
"Okay, I guess a couple of questions."
"Go ahead," she said, not even turning around, focusing on the task of getting a glass and pouring his juice.
"First, I know I've spent more time with mom than I have with you. I'm sorry about that. I don't want to neglect you or make you resent what's going on here."
"Don't worry about it," she said, turning around to rest on the counter. "It's cool. First, I know this is new to all of us, but I also know I can go to Megan any time I want. You're all mom has. I'm cool sitting back a little so she can get what she needs. Besides, while the strike was on, mom and I spent a lot of nights together without you. And you and I have had some time without her. I don't think any of us can really expect this to be something where we spend the exact same amount of time together." She turned back around when the microwave beeped and pulled his plate out, replacing the bacon plate with the waffle plate. "Relationships don't work that way anyway, right? All three of us will have to give and sacrifice for the others. If we all try to meet each other's needs, we can all be happy. So, no, I'm not upset about it. I'm glad to see mom so happy. She needs a good man in her life and at least right now, that's you."
When the microwave beeped again she placed the waffles and bacon on a different plate together while her brother spoke.
"I guess you're right. I love you both so much that I don't want to hurt either one of you." Cory spoke as his sister walked toward him with the plate before sitting on his lap, his hand resting on her thigh. "This whole thing started with you and me and then we brought mom in together. I don't want you to think I want her more than you. It's just different with her, you know?" His sister fed him a piece of bacon.
"I know, Cor. It is different. She wants and needs different things than I do and right now she needs you much more than I do. I've had a few good boyfriends, so I know what it's like to be treated well. Mom has spent more than half her life being treated like trash by a man who promised to love and take of her. I think she's relearning what it means to be cared for. You're doing that for her. I can be her girlfriend, her shopping buddy, her confidant. I can even be her lover. But I can't be her man. I can't provide her with a loving man's touch and help her regain that confidence that only a man can help her recover. You can do that for her. And I've never seen her so happy as I have in the last few weeks that she's been with you, Cory. You're good for her. For both of us."
His heart melted as she talked about what Cory gave to them both, but especially to their mother. He had never thought of his role that way. Because he's not a woman, he couldn't understand, so he was glad that his sister was willing to explain that to him. And he was especially glad that she was so open and understanding.
"Is that all?" she asked, stealing a bite of his bacon.
"Well, I had to ask about that before I got your opinion on this next question." He took a deep breath, still nervous about asking his sister her opinion. She didn't say anything, but raised her eyebrows as if waiting for him to finish the story. "Vanessa wants another date." Erin smiled and nodded. "But I don't know what to do. I can't afford to go bigger than I did last time, but I also don't want to downgrade, know what I mean?"
"Oh, yeah, I know what you mean. But let me let you in on a little secret. Vanessa's not going out with your wallet. She's going out with your heart. What you need to do is take what you know about her, and plan something you can afford. She knows what you make and knows she can't depend on you to provide for her. She just wants to spend time with you. Do something where the two of you can just relax."
"So it's not going to be bad if I can't do something nice for her every time?"
"What did your other girlfriends think?"
Cory laughed at that. "Yeah, well, going out with a high school girl is different from going on a date with an older, sophisticated woman like Vanessa."
"A woman who knows more about you than anyone you've ever been with. Your first impression was made a long time ago. Remember, she's seen you poop in your pants. That was your first impression. Anything that doesn't involve you doing that is an upgrade," she laughed.
Cory laughed and shook his head. "I guess you're right. I have to remember that even though Vanessa is a stage name, all I'm really doing is going out to spend time with mom."
"There you go," she said as she stood up and took the seat next to him. "The lines are blurry, of course, but you don't have to impress Vanessa. She just wants to know you want to be with her. After that, believe me, she'll enjoy whatever you do. Just remember what you know about her and go from there. It'll be fine."
She smiled at her brother as he thought about what she had said. After a few seconds, he nodded with a smile. "That makes sense. It gives me some things to think about. Thanks, Erin."
"No problem, stinky." She took a bite of her own breakfast, which had been interrupted by her brother's questions. She winked at him and he smiled back, shaking his head at being called "stinky."
After a shower, Cory fell into bed, confident that his sister would wake him up in time to leave for the school. His mind reeled with thoughts of how to spend next weekend with Vanessa and so far he was coming up short. "Remember what you know about her," his sister's voice echoed in his head.
Cory lulled as his bed shifted, jarring him slightly. As he lay on his side he felt a hand on his naked back, then wrap around his ribs, tickling him enough to cause him to shift.
"There it is," he heard a mumble, still too asleep to really comprehend it. He felt the gentle touch caress his dick and the hand start to glide lightly up and down his shaft. "Cory," he heard a quiet voice. "I'm going to blow you now, okay?" The voice didn't wait for a response, but instead the hand adjusted his now full erection before he felt the moist warmth enveloping his head and part of his shaft.
"Mmm," he moaned, stirring awake and rolling onto his back a little more.
"That's better," the voice said, still quietly. Cory felt the mouth and hand working in tandem, becoming more assertive in bringing him pleasure.
Cory's eyes shot open. OH, SHIT!
"Megan! What the fuck?!" Cory screamed, scrambling back away from his sister's best friend.
"Me, what the fuck? Why are you calling your sister's name when I sucked your dick?" she asked, her face in shock.
Erin practically slammed into the door frame from her run down the hall. "Megan! What the hell are you doing in Cory's room?!" she asked.
"Oh, I can explain my side. That's easy. Your explanation is going to be much harder. Why is your brother calling your name with his dick in my mouth?"
"Erin, why is Megan in my room when I'm sleeping?" Cory was still pissed, but more than that, he was scared.
"She just showed up a little while ago for a swim and when I went to the bathroom," she turned to look Megan in the eye, her anger obvious, "I guess she thought she should just come in here and suck you off."
Megan just shrugged with a crooked smile. "Something like that. Come on, we all know he likes me. But apparently not as much as he likes his sister. Not that I can blame him."
Erin started, "Megan, I can explain..." before Cory cut her off.
"We talked about it," he jumped in, "just like we told you. What we didn't tell you was that the desire is mutual. But we still agreed not to act on it." He sighed and hung his head. "Erin doesn't know I still fantasize about her."
Erin stood there in disbelief at what her brother was doing. The look on her face was obvious.
"I'm sorry, Erin. I know we said we can't do anything and we need to try to move on, but it's so hard. You're so beautiful," he said, looking at her. "I shouldn't be using you to fuel my fantasies. I'm sorry."
Megan appeared to be having a hard time believing the story. Her eyes were squinted and she looked at Cory sideways.
Erin figured she'd better act fast. "Fuck you, Cory! Fuck you! You promised! We had a deal! That day with Megan was a mistake. God," she said, her eyes welling with tears as she looked to the ceiling, "I should have left when you walked out there, Cory. You never should have been out there in the first place! I can't fucking believe this!" With that, she stormed out and Cory and Megan sat in silence listening to the door slam and as they heard her Forerunner start up and fade into the distance.
Megan looked uncharacteristically sheepish. She was obviously stunned into silence. Cory plopped over to his side and covered his head with his pillow. His stomach was in knots. God, he thought, I hope I played that right.
"Is that true, Cory?" she asked quietly.
"Is what true?" he was obviously irritated.
"That Erin didn't know and that you only thought about her in your fantasies?"
"Yeah, Megan. That's how it was... Shit! I fucked up big time!" He rammed his fist into the mattress.
"No, I fucked up," she corrected. She took a deep breath. "I'm really sorry, Cory. I just saw you lying here naked and wanted to wake you up for a little fun. I thought you would like it. I didn't know...that..."
"Yeah, well I didn't know you would come into my room and try to suck my dick while I slept!" He sat up abruptly. The fire in his eyes burned through her conscience.
Megan didn't have any answers or any defense. She backed away unconsciously, afraid of the verbal beat down she was about to receive, but bracing herself for it.
Instead, Cory sighed again and looked past her at the wall. "How the hell am I going to clean this up?"
"Let me talk to her," Megan offered. She started digging her phone out of her pocket. "I can try to explain that..."
"I think you need to leave."
"Cory," she begged, her eyes turning red.
"Good bye, Megan."
Cory watched in silence as his sister's friend stood up off his bed and walked out his bedroom door. A moment later the front door closed and he listened to her car rumble to life before fading into the distance.
He reached for his phone, hoping he had played this right.
The picture on Erin's phone told her to answer. She was both nervous and relieved. She had hoped he would call before Megan did or else she wouldn't know what to say.
"Hey, gorgeous." He sounded apprehensive.
"Thank you, Cory."
"Whew," he laughed. "I was hoping you were playing along. I got scared for a minute there. You deserve an Oscar."
She laughed. "Best Actor in an Overly Dramatic Scene."
"I honestly thought you were sucking me off, so I didn't even open my eyes. It just kind of slipped out."
"Well, how could you know that she was going to sneak into your room? I didn't know it, and I was awake when she came over!" Erin was incredulous. "It's fine, Cory, really. I think you were convincing enough that she won't dig too deep, at least for a while."
"I debated on letting her in on it, but you and I hadn't talked about it. And then I didn't know what it would mean for mom. I figured if I took the blame for it as fantasy then it would kind of kill it. I hope it worked."
"I think it did."
"So now we have to make up with Megan."
"Let me take care of that. I'll call her tomorrow and work things out. She needs to simmer through it in order to make it believable. I can't make up with her too soon or it won't seem real. She'll live, though."
"Okay. So where are you now?"
"At the park waiting for your call. I'll be home in a few minutes. It's almost time to leave."
"I'll be ready in a few minutes."
Cory rode shotgun as Erin took the winding back roads to the college, stopping for lunch at a hole-in-the-wall steak sandwich place on the way. One of her ex-boyfriends had introduced her to it and she sometimes likes to stop on the way to or from school.
As she took a bite of her ribeye sandwich, Cory said, "How come I've never heard of this place before? I've never had a steak sandwich like this."
"I don't know," she shrugged, her cheek full of steak and bread. "If it weren't for Marty, I wouldn't know about it either."
"Marty brought you here?" he laughed.
"Shut up," she said, throwing a fry at him.
"Arty Marty? 'I'm Marty and I like to pretend I'm a painter so I can see girls nekkid,'" mocked Cory with a stupid look on his face before they both cracked up laughing.
"Hey," Erin said through her laughter, "It worked, didn't it? He got me to pose naked for him."
"Yeah, but you're a slut," he retorted in a matter-of-fact tone. Her jaw dropped in shock, her eyes wide before she threw another fry at him. He picked it up off the table and ate it. "Mmm. More fries."
Erin asked him about his thoughts for his date with Vanessa and they discussed that for a while as they finished their lunch. He mentioned some ideas and she would give him some things to think about. They asked each other questions and pretty soon it seemed that he had a basic idea for their date. He only hoped she would go along with it.
The ride to the school was pretty lighthearted and they spent the rest of the drive making jokes and telling stories. It had been a while since they had spent any brother-sister time together and Cory had missed it. Once on campus they made their way to the registrar's office and finished their business there before writing checks at the business office. As Erin had predicted, they were done by about 3:15, giving them enough time to be home at a little after 4.
"So," Cory said as they drove out the main gate of the campus. "Megan."
"Yeah," she sighed. "Megan." She shook her head.
"How do you think you're going to handle that?"
"I have to find a way to make it less awkward. I don't want her to be nervous around me after this, so I have to make it go away. I've been thinking about it and I should probably send her a text tonight and see if we can talk tomorrow. On the one hand, it has to be believable, but she knows I don't hold grudges, so I need to make up with her pretty quickly or it could do some serious damage to our relationship."
"Did I mess you guys up, Erin?" he asked, concerned.
"No, nothing like that," she blurted, shaking her head.
"Okay. Good. I didn't want that. I was just trying to protect our family."
"I know, Cor," she smiled. She put her hand on his knee and squeezed it for just a second before returning her hand to the steering wheel. "I think I need to approach it from the standpoint that our initial reaction was simply from shock, you know. We overreacted, got upset, but had time to think about it and talk about it, we made up, came to an understanding, and wanted things to be cool with her, too. I think that would explain the reaction, the accusations, and the quick make-up with her. That should settle it pretty well, I think."
Cory could see that working, so he slowly nodded as he ran it through in his mind. "Yeah. I could see that. Do I have a part in this?"
"Nah. Just be awkward the first time you see her. In other words, act natural." She winked at him and he just smiled and shook his head.
The garage door buzzed to life at 5:20 and Erin took that as her cue to get up off the couch and pull the salad out of the fridge and pour the tea. Cory came downstairs at the sound of the garage door and rounded the corner just as his mother walked in from the garage.
"Hey, guys," she said happily.
"Hey, mom," replied Cory at the same time his sister blurted out, "Hey." He met her in the middle of the living room, giving her a quick kiss on the lips and taking her brief case and jacket while she made her way to Erin, who also received a kiss on the lips.
"Oh, wow, guys! This looks great. Thank you so much." She eyed the table, which hosted honey-roasted pork chops, mashed potatoes, yeast rolls, and red beans.
"Glad you think so. The only thing left is for Cory to toss your salad."
Cory whipped his head around at his sister, his eyes wide. She burst into a fit of laughter. She handed him the large salad bowl with the wooden salad servers.
"Let me go change and I'll be ready to eat," their mother said, apparently missing the reference. As soon as she walked up the stairs, Erin started laughing again.
"Oh, relax, Cory," she laughed. "When you passed out last night, mom and I stayed up and had some girl talk."
"What did you talk about?" he asked, trying to be nonchalant while he mixed the salad in the bowl.
"Now, if I told you that, it wouldn't be girl talk, would it?" She winked at him before taking the bowl and carrying it to the table.
They finished getting the tea poured and made sure all the condiments were on the table as their mother finished getting changed.
"Whew, that's better," they heard her say as she turned the corner from the stairs. Their eyes both bugged out as they saw their mother.
"Is there a problem?" she asked, one hand on her hip.
"No, mom. Just..."Erin stuttered.
"Wow," said Cory.
Erin nodded. "Exactly."