Sister In The Afternoon

“I think I see what your problem is,” I said, popping
up over the bathroom counter with my adjustable wrench
in one hand and a wet wad in the other. “You can’t
flush a paper towel, Angela, it’s too heavy. These
modern low-flow toilets can’t handle anything that
doesn’t dissolve in water.”

My sister nodded her head and shuffled her feet. “I
guess I knew that,” she admitted, smiling, “if I’d been
thinking. You might want to get rid of that thing,
though, Neil.”

I looked at the mushy wad of paper I’d just pulled out
of the gooseneck trap of her john. “Why? What is it?”

“A wrapped-up cat turd.”

“Yah!” I tossed the wad across the bathroom and it went
into the trash can without touching the sides, like a
Michael Jordan classic. “You have to warn a guy about
things like that!”

Angela giggled and blushed bright red. She ducked her
head to keep me from seeing she was blushing, like she
always does. I think she believes it makes her look too
childish and girly, but I have to admit, I like it when
my sister blushes. The luminous crimson on her fair
skin made her look like a modern-day Caravaggio
painting standing right in front of me. “Listen, thanks
for coming over,” she said. “Plumbers will rob you
blind if they can, and Shawn doesn’t usually get home
on Thursdays until nearly eight.”

“Yeah, Shawn,” I agreed. “Right.” I didn’t want to
admit what I was thinking, which was that my brother-
in-law is pretty much useless around the house. This
blockage was too thick to dislodge with a plunger, and
when that failed he would have just called in a plumber
anyway. Or me. “Listen, Angela, I need to get home and
get back to work, but I’d like to get together for
coffee some time this week. How about that new place on
Thirty-Third?”

The blush faded from Angela’s cheeks and she looked up
into my eyes. “It’s not another goddamn Starbuck’s, is
it?”

“Nope. One hundred percent locally owned. Good lattes,
too,” I assured her.

“Actually, what time is it,” Angela asked, checking her
watch. “One o’clock? Are you sure you can’t stay for
just a little bit?”

“No, I have work to get done.”

“Oh, are you sure, Neil?” My sister flashed me her best
pouty little-girl face and batted her eyelashes at me.
“Please, please, please? I get so lonely in this big
house by myself.”

“I’m on a deadline…” I admit it, my protests sounded
weak even in my own ears. I’m a full-time writer, and I
work from a converted spare bedroom in my own house. I
make my own schedule, which is how Angela reached me in
the middle of a weekday, and that’s why I was able to
spend time playing Roto-Rooter Man in the middle of the
day. “Yeah, what the hell,” I finally concede. “I guess
work can wait.”

Angela smiled again. “I’ll put some coffee on. I think
I’d like a shot of brandy in mine, how about you?”

“Sounds great.”

“Why don’t you pick some music out while I’m doing
that?” She strode out of the master bathroom, bouncing
a little with each stride, her swirly blonde ponytail
springing up and down with each step she took. I admit
to thinking my sister has the best hair in America, and
I’d like to grab a fistful and breathe it in like a
drug. But she’s three years older than me, and married,
and I let her get a few steps ahead of me, just to keep
a safe distance.

When I moved back to my hometown after college, Angela
lined me up a nice duplex three blocks from her and her
husband, and I’ve been living there for two years now.
I’m twenty-four and she’s twenty-seven. We were good
friends growing up, since both of us had social
difficulties. I was a book nerd whose idea of a
Saturday well spent was a patch of grass at the park,
two cold sandwiches, and a paperback Shakespeare.

Angela wasn’t a geeky type like me, but she was kind of
an outcast too. She was unusually good-looking, and
girls will do whatever it takes to humiliate any other
girl they know is prettier than them, so she never got
along with the girls in her class. And the guys would
act friendly and civil, but it didn’t take long with
each one before she found out they were only trying to
get into her pants. So every day at school she just
drifted through the crowd of kids like some aloof
goddess, and when we got home at the end of the day
each of us was the best friend the other had.

One of my earliest sexual memories was when I was
twelve. Angela gave me a three-by-five of her high
school portrait. She was fifteen, tall and green-eyed,
with creamy skin and cherry lips. The picture had her
body turned at a slight angle to the camera, her hair
billowing down around her shoulders like the surf at
Waimea, a wide genuine smile on her face, and just a
hint of cleavage at the bottom of the photo.

At eleven-thirty that evening I took her picture into
the bathroom and beat off for the first time in my
life. I still have that picture in a drawer in my desk,
and although the corners are getting dog-eared, I still
sometimes stroke myself while studying my sister’s
butter-colored face.

What’s more, she knows I find her attractive. Not long
after she gave me that picture she caught me studying
her body, and it wasn’t the first time or the last
time. We’ve never discussed it out loud, but it’s an
open secret between us.

That pouty face she used to make me stay is the same
one that she uses to do whatever she wants, from minor
household repairs to accompanying her to the doctor the
last time she needed a physical. I’ve never touched her
body more than to give her a friendly pat on the
shoulder, but she knows I’d like to, and she uses that
fact.

She’s even learned what clothes to wear to make me do
certain tasks. A dress with a narrow waist that
highlights her hips and a skirt that stops mid-thigh,
and I’ll mow the lawn. A muslin peasant blouse with a
cinch tie under her breasts will make me help her cook
dinner for her useless husband. And a white cotton
scoop-neck t-shirt will inspire me to run down to the
drug store to buy her tampons and Midol. All this just
for a chance to look at my beautiful sister’s body.

I selected a Robert Johnson CD from her collection and
plopped on the couch. The Terraplane Blues was on the
sound system and I was bopping along in my seat when
Angela came in with two steaming mugs. She handed me
one that read “World’s Best Husband,” and in her own
hand she cradled a mug emblazoned “Kiss Me I’m Irish.”
She settled onto the couch next to me, wiggled a little
to make a soft nest for her butt, and leaned back
against the overstuffed cushions.

“So what are you working on?” she asked me.

“Come on, you know I don’t like to talk about my work
until I have a complete draft done.”

“Oh, you won’t even tell me one little plot point? Just
for me?”

“Sorry,” I said. “If the Virgin Mary Herself came down
and asked me about my writing I’d stay mum until I had
something to show her.”

Angela sighed, long, slow, and pretty. She lay her head
on my shoulder and whispered in my ear: “I’ve been
learning to knit.”

“Knit?” I repeated. “Not many people do that these
days.”

“I have a big house, no kids, and no job,” she said. “I
just wanted something to do with my hands, and I wanted
it to be something useful.” She poked me lightly on the
arm. “I bet I’d be hot in an Irish fisherman sweater.”

“I bet you would,” I agreed, and turned my head to
smile into her hair.

Angela set her coffee on a TV tray, and then she
surprised me by turning her body a little and nestling
into my side. Her breast was pressed into my ribs, and
she put the palm of her hand on my chest, right over my
nipple. This was a lover’s position, and I was a little
uncomfortable, especially when I started to get hard.
It was no secret I lusted after my sister, but I was a
good guy, and I wanted to do the right thing. Cuddling
my older, married sister on her couch struck me as the
opposite of the right thing.

She rubbed her cheek against my shoulder, with her eyes
closed like a kitten getting its ears scratched. I
started to feel awkward with my arms hanging at my
sides like a paralytic, so I set my coffee aside and
draped one arm around Angela’s shoulder. “I get so
lonely,” she whispered into my shirt. “Talk to me.”

“Talk to you about what?”

“Anything.”

I fished through my brain, suddenly muddled by lust and
moral objection, for any subject I could come up with.
“So,” I muttered lamely, “have you spoken to Mom
lately?” It’s always kind of pathetic when a writer
can’t come up words.

“Not as much as I should,” she whispered. “Don’t talk
about family.”

“Why not?”

She took a deep breath, and I felt her breast move
against my body. “I don’t want you to be my brother
right now. I want you to be my friend.”

“Can’t I be both?”

“No. Not today. Drink your coffee.”

I scooped up my mug with my free hand and put it to my
lips. The coffee had gone cool, and I drank it down in
two swallows. It was black, but I noticed it tasted a
little sweet. “Drink mine too,” Angela urged me.

“You sure?”

“Absolutely, go on. I’d like you to.”

Hers was a little warmer, but cool enough to drink. My
neuromuscular system was more interested in my sudden
lust than in swallowing a beverage, and it took a
little effort to get the coffee to go down. Only after
I’d finished it off and set the mug aside that I
realized I knew exactly why the coffee tasted sweet:
she’d put more than just a shot of brandy into each
mug.

“Talk to me some more,” she whispered into my shirt. “I
need a trusty human voice.”

Again I struggled for something to say. I thought maybe
I ought to ask why she was getting so physical with her
brother, but when I opened my mouth I was suddenly
tongue-tied. My heartbeat sounded like jungle drums in
my ears. My sister’s body was soft and warm with my arm
wrapped around her, with her body pressed lightly into
mine. I settled on a simple, neutral topic. “What kind
of knitting are you learning to do?”

“Basic stuff. Sweaters and scarves. Afghans. I found a
book on how to knit soft cotton underwear.”

“That sounds useful,” I said.

“It is. The book has a pattern for a bra, so I knitted
myself one. Would you like to see?”

I was speechless. I opened my mouth, then closed it,
then opened it again. “Do you have it upstairs in your
dresser?”

“No, I have it right here.” Angela shrugged my arm off
her shoulder and stood up in front of me. She crossed
her arms in front of herself, grabbed the hem of her
blouse, and peeled it up off herself. Her spine arched
and twisted sinuously as she slowly, luxuriously
stripped her blouse off herself, revealing a thin white
hand-knit bra. She held her blouse up over her head in
both hands, let it drop to the tip of one thumb and
dangle for several seconds, then dropped it in my lap.
“So what do you think?”

“Very… very nice.”

She cupped her hands around her breasts and pressed
them into her body. “It’s so soft and tender,” she
said, and ran the tip of her strawberry-red tongue over
her lips. “Go on, feel and tell me if I’m lying.”

“No, that’s okay,” I assured her. I’ve had erections
before, but this one was warping my jeans like never
before, and I wasn’t sure there was any blood reaching
my legs. “I believe you.”

Angela planted one knee on each side of my legs on the
couch and dropped into me, straddling my lap, her
breasts just inches from my chin. “Please,” she
whispered. “Take a feel. Tell me they’re not the
warmest, silkiest thing you’ve ever touched.”

I stared at her breasts for what seemed like days, but
was maybe ten seconds. I’d been longing half my life
for the chance to bury myself in her cleavage and here
it was, staring me quite literally right in the face. I
think I forgot how to breathe for several seconds. But
then I found my courage and shook my head vigorously to
clear my thoughts. “I can’t do this,” I whispered.
“You’re my sister, and if that weren’t bad enough
you’re married.”

“Oh, don’t turn coy all of a sudden,” Angela purred
through a man-eating smile. She reached down, grabbed
both my wrists, and planted my hands right on the white
cotton cups of her bra. “You’ve been waiting for this
moment for over ten years.”

I wish I could say I shoved her off me and gave her a
stern rebuke, but I have to admit I didn’t take my
hands off her breasts, not even when she let go of my
wrist and began kneading my shoulders. “Why are you
doing this,” I asked, hoping I sounded wounded and
moral. “What do you hope to–”

Angela leaned in then and kissed me full on the mouth.
Her tongue lanced out and pushed my lips open and I
tasted my sister’s sweet warm mouth for the first time.
My courage shattered like a china plate. I slipped my
hands off her breasts and wrapped them around her
waist, pulling her even closer if that were possible,
mashing her breasts into my chest, rubbing my belly
into her belly, grinding the crotch of my jeans up
against her crotch.

Our faces moved together like a well-oiled machine, our
mouths mingling, our tongues tangling yieldingly, like
notes of song. I breathed in her scent, filling up my
soul with my beautiful, smart, sexy, willing sister
until there was nothing else left, no resistance, no
well-memorized objections, no pious churchy thou-shalt-
not, only this woman, exquisite, sensual, inviting,
sinuous, desirable, who knew me better than I knew
myself and moved her body over mine better than any
fantasy or dream I’d ever had over the last twelve
years, who I wanted more than I wanted life itself and
who wanted me in return.

After a million years of rapturous ecstasy Angela broke
the kiss and lifted her face off mine. I continued to
hold her body up against mine, tracing each bone of her
spine one by one with my fingertips, while she looked
me in the eye. “Don’t ask me that question, Neil,” she
murmured, in a tone that combined sexuality with
threat. “If I’m ever ready for you to know I’ll tell
you.”

Gasping for breath after a kiss unmatched in all my
life, all I could do was nod.

Angela put her hands on my shoulders and pushed
slightly, lifting herself a few inches off my body.
“Now you’re not being fair,” she insisted. “You’ve
already seen a sample of what you have to look forward
to this afternoon, and I don’t get to see what you have
to offer me.” She paused with her palms on my chest,
her thumbs drawing gentle circles around my nipples,
before she began unbuttoning my shirt.

“Now it’s my turn to tell you not to be coy,” I said. I
slipped my arms off her back, grasped my shirt with
both hands, and pulled. Buttons went flying, and one
wedged itself in Angela’s cleavage. We both stared at
the button, balanced precariously in the gentle auburn
shadow between her breasts. All of a sudden I felt
unaccountably embarrassed. But then Angela giggled, and
that flawless, adorable, cherry-colored blush returned
to her velvety cheeks, and I chuckled, and then we were
laughing madly, hugging and kissing and shaking with
hysterical glee like children playing in the sun.

I tossed my shirt aside, still laughing. “I’ll get
that.” I pulled her into me, hands roughly clutching
her body, and lived out the long-deferred fantasy of a
twelve-year-old baby brother, burying my face in her
breasts, rubbing the skin against my cheeks, kissing
and licking, groaning hungrily. A bead of sweat
trickled between her breasts and I caught it on my
tongue.

I felt blindly against her back until I felt the clasp
of her bra, and undid the hooks. She shrugged out of
the straps, and I tossed her bra in the same general
direction as my shirt. Her nipples stared up at me, a
dark russet color, large as silver dollars and hard as
carbon steel. When I finally pulled my face back I had
the button between my teeth. I waggled my eyebrows at
her and spat the button off to one side, and we laughed
some more.

We were still sitting upright, and Angela grabbed my
shoulders and threw herself backward onto the carpet,
pulling me after her. “Come on, be a man,” she said.
“Get on top.”

“Aye-aye, Cap’n,” I answered, climbing into the best
possible position.

She reached down and grasped the fly of my jeans.
“You’ve been waiting for this since you were a little
boy, haven’t you?”

“Do you even have to ask?”

“And now you’re ready to receive your reward for being
so patient.”

Something in the tone of her voice made me pause. “It’s
not like I’m a virgin.”

“Of course not. You’ve probably been with, what, three,
four women?”

“Six,” I clarified.

“How many since college?”

“One. It’s been over a year.”

“And with every one of them, in the half a second
before you came, you closed your eyes and saw my face,
didn’t you?”

“I even called your name once.” I grinned, embarrassed,
and I felt like I needed to explain. “I had to claim I
had an old girlfriend named Angela, and she still
walked out on me.”

“So you were trying to forget me, weren’t you? But you
never could, could you?”

“That’s about the size of it.”

Angela unbuttoned my waistband and unzipped my fly.
“That sounds like true love to me.”

I kicked my jeans off behind me, then sat up just long
enough to shirk my boxer shorts. I was now fully naked
in front of my sister, erect, flush with lust and
laughter. We paused a moment so she could study me,
then I grasped her own jeans. She lifted her butt so I
could slide them off her hips, and I tossed them behind
me. I pulled her panties off, and this time I turned to
look where I was throwing.

Our clothing was in a heap, mingled and twisting around
each other with the same indiscriminate sweat-soaked
passion that was gripping our bodies. Early afternoon
sunlight slanted white and yellow through the Venetian
blinds, painting stripes across our young naked bodies.
Robert Johnson sang about meeting the Devil at the
crossroads. We kissed and stroked each other’s faces,
gnawed on each other’s ears. We rubbed our bellies
together, slick with sweat, warm with the rush of
blood.

I put my mouth over hers and kissed hard. She closed
her eyes and I closed mine, and our tongues moved over
each other. I explored her mouth with the eagerness and
curiosity of a starved cave diver. Her hands on my back
traced figure eights. My right hand stroked her
shoulder while my left hand cupped her breast. I
shifted my pelvis until the head of my penis found the
lips of her warm, wet hole.

It took all the effort I had, but I broke the kiss and
lifted my face off hers. “Now be reasonable, Angela.”

“I’m sick to here of being reasonable,” she said.

“I just want you to be sure. Once this happens we can’t
take it back. We can never be just brother and sister
again.”

“I want one thing from you, Neil, and I want it now.”

I wanted to say something wise just at the cusp of the
moment, but the English language failed me. I nodded,
then resumed the heated fervent kiss we’d just broken
off. While my tongue penetrated my sister’s mouth, my
body penetrated hers. She was warm and soft and wet and
everything such a beautiful woman ought to be. She
wrapped her arms around my body and pulled me close.

Our tongues tangled and knotted and became one and we
rolled with the grace of the tide, slow and gentle,
with building intensity, I couldn’t tell where her body
began and mine left off, her hair and mine rolled
together, her breath, her memory, she enfolded me and I
enveloped her, she was everything I ever wanted and so
much more, so warm, so strong, so willing, so perfect,
I saw her with my fingers, I smelled her with my hair,
I tasted her with my body and then a bolt of lightning
struck and we screamed and called each other’s names
and it was absolute and this, this, this was the only
woman I ever wanted to see when I woke up in the
morning, I would turn the world away from my door for
her lips and her body and her soft gentle touch.

Then it was over. We lay on the carpet with our arms
under each other’s heads, staring at the ceiling,
struggling to catch our breath. We were both slick with
sweat, and with other liquids. Never before in my life
had I come like that. A dam had burst, a flood tide had
smashed the shore. My whole body still shook with the
force of my orgasm. And while I couldn’t see my own
face, I turned to look at Angela, and she smiled back
at me, bright as the sun. She blushed again, and she
did not hide her face from me.

Suddenly a warm hairy weight dropped on my belly. I
looked, and Angela’s cat walked across me and made a
nest in the canyon Angela and I formed where our bodies
were still pressed together. The cat licked his nose
and purred at the two of us. I scratched him between
the ears while Angela ran soft, gentle fingers down his
spine.

“See,” Angela said to me, “this one knows a loving home
when he sees it.”

We lay there in silence, basking in our shared light,
petting the cat. I loved Angela. If anyone found out,
they would say we were immoral. They would call us
sinners. They would say I was her brother, and she was
married, and possibly even worse things than that, but
as I lay there with the only woman who had ever treated
me like an equal, the only woman who had ever reacted
to me like a human being, I knew everything anybody
could say was wrong.

But there was one thing I still needed to know.

I turned my head and whispered in her ear: “Why?”

She returned my gaze. Her eyes looked into mine, and
her breath was hot on my lips, and her hair rubbed up
against my cheek, and I felt myself beginning to become
aroused again.

“I told you not to ask me that,” she said, but not
coldly.

“Sorry.”

She paused, then looked back up at the ceiling. “I went
to the prom with a football player because I was
supposed to. I went off to college when I was eighteen
because I was supposed to. I married a guy in one of my
classes because I was supposed to. And now I’m twenty-
eight years old and wondering why.

“Shawn is out late most evenings,” Angela continued,
“drinking beer and eating pizza. He’s gotten fat and
his skin is greasy and I told him eight months ago that
until he lost weight he wouldn’t be touching me. I
guess he’d rather eat and get drunk with the guys than
sleep with his own wife. All of my neighbors are two-
income families, so I’m the only one at home for
several streets around during the day. And Shawn and I
tried to have a baby early on, but nothing ever came of
that, so I’m just damned lonely.”

She turned to look back at me. “But you,” she said, and
paused. “You’re useful. You’re loyal to me. You pamper
me like a husband ought to. I, um…” She blushed
again, and touched her forehead to mine. “I
deliberately clogged the toilet this morning so I could
call you over. I just wanted to talk to somebody who
would actually have a conversation.”

“So you planned this! The couch and the coffee and you
and me and, and everything!”

“No,” she exclaimed. “I just wanted to talk to an
adult. But when you were here, and the coffee, and the
music, it all just felt right. It’s been months since
I’ve been with a man in that way. Shawn hasn’t been a
real husband to me for over a year. But you’ve been
like a husband to me for my whole adult life. I saw you
there on the couch, and I just, I fell in love with you
right there. I thought it was maybe time to make you my
husband for real.”

Angela lifted her face to look right at me, and I could
see that her face was streaked with tears. “I used you
for my own satisfaction, and I’m so sorry. Please don’t
hate me.”

I took my hand off the cat and stroked her cheek,
mopping up the tears. “I don’t hate you,” I assured
her. “I don’t think you could do anything bad enough to
make me hate you. I’ve been in love with you since I
was twelve, and you know it.”

She smiled at me, and then she sobbed, and the tears
rolled out of her like a river.

“What?” I asked, suddenly panicked. “What’s the
matter?”

“You’re just so perfect,” she said. “You’re everything
a man should be. You’re loyal and loving and handsome
and completely devoted and, well, you’re an excellent
lover.”

I leaned in and started kissing tears off her face.
“And you’re everything a woman should be.”

Angela rolled into me, making the cat jump up and hide
behind the couch. “What cruel prank was God playing,”
she asked, as she lay on top of me and I continued to
kiss tears off her face, “to make you my brother and
not a man I’m free to love?”

“Think about it,” I said. “If I weren’t your brother I
would have been scared to ever talk to you, and if I
ever did you would have thought I was a terrible nerd,
and even if you didn’t think that you would have known
how badly I wanted to sleep with you and you would have
told me to get lost. Being brother and sister gave us a
bond that would keep us together in spite of my fear
and lust and your pride.”

“I’ve wanted you so badly for so long,” she whispered
into my ear.

“And I’ve wanted you just as badly for just as long. I
wish I’d been brave enough to say something to you
before you went to college and met Shawn.”

She nodded, and I nodded, and she cried, and I felt
myself start to cry, and she laughed, and I laughed,
and we held each other and laughed and cried and nodded
and felt such love as neither of us had ever felt
before.

When the laughing and crying stopped, we lay side by
side again, and Angela looked at me, big-eyed as if
she’d just had an excellent idea. “I could leave Shawn.
Once and for all. And when a woman leaves a husband
who’s the sole breadwinner, I bet nobody would think
anything of it if she moved in with her brother.”

“I bet you’re right,” I agreed.

“You’d work at home like you do,” she said, “and I’d
keep house, and we could make love whenever we wanted.
As long and as hard as we feel like it. And I could
wear that dress you love so much, Neil, and I’d never
wear anything but a hand-knit cotton bra, and we’d be
there for each other, ’til death do we part, just like
it ought to be. And we could start a family, and I
could raise–”

“Whoa!” I broke in. “Did you say family?”

Angela nodded. “I’ve wanted a family more than
anything, and Shawn hasn’t given me one. I suspect he
can’t give me a family, not with his lousy diet and his
lackluster performance in bed. But I can think of no
one I’d rather start a family with than this man right
in front of me, who I love so much.”

“And I can think of no one I’d rather start a family
with than this woman in front of me, who I love so
much.” I ran the tips of my fingers down her cheek,
along her neck, over her shoulder, around her breast,
and back up to her chin. “So why don’t we get started
right away?”

“What? So soon after the last one?”

I looked down, and she followed my gaze to my penis,
already nearly as hard as it had been the first time we
made love. “I’m ready if you are,” I said.

She reached down and wrapped a tender hand around the
shaft of my cock. She traced my veins with the tip of
her finger, then lifted her gaze to look back at me.
“Wow, Neil. All this and you can repair the plumbing
too.”

“For you and nobody else.”

Angela and I smiled at each other, then she leaned in
and kissed me. I ran my hands up and down her spine,
and our bodies wrapped together, and the sweat started
to flow, and we made love again. And again before I had
to leave that evening. And again in the morning.

And the next day when she showed up on my doorstep with
her suitcase, wearing a white cotton scoop-neck t-shirt
and a hand-knit bra, we made love on the linoleum of my
entrance hallway. And in my bed. And in the hammock
hanging from the tree in my back yard. And leaning
against the kitchen counter while we worked together to
make dinner. And in every room of the house, slowly and
passionately, one after another.

Seven years and two lovely children later, we’ve
scarcely spent a night apart, waking up in each other’s
arms and making love to the morning cry of the house
sparrow. Now it’s true we’ve had to keep our secrets,
but I love my sister, and she loves me. What more can a
man ask for in this life than the true love of a
beautiful, smart, willing woman?