Stories 18+ Off with Her Pants wet pussy C1

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Stories 18+ Off with Her Pants wet pussy C1
I was right in the middle of brushing my teeth when the bathroom door burst open. Denver, my demonstrably inconsiderate older brother, stared at me for a second as though confused by my presence, then kept coming.

"Hwaa uh faah?" I demanded around a mouthful of toothbrush.

I tried to body block Denver and force him back out. He just grinned that annoyingly charming smile of his and pushed me gently but firmly back to the sink.

"Sorry, Relly, I gotta piss."

I spit into the sink, clearing my mouth. "You couldn't wait two seconds? You couldn't even knock?"

"Nope. Gonna burst."

"I coulda been naked, you know."

My brother examined my typical nightshirt and panties combo. "You're not though, are you."

"I coulda been. That's the point. You have to knock, at least."

Denver flipped the seat up on the toilet and unzipped himself. His back was to me so I couldn't see anything, but I whirled my head and resolutely faced forward anyway. Just because he had no sense of decorum didn't mean I couldn't comport myself.

"Maybe you shouldn't be getting naked to brush your teeth."

The liquid splash of urine hitting toilet water interrupted any retort I might have made. I finished up brushing and rinsed my mouth out. Denver was still pissing. Fucker.

"I could have been getting ready for a shower," I said a little louder than necessary.

"Shower wasn't running."

My eyes narrowed and I glared a hole through the back of Denver's stupid head. He knew logic infuriated me when I was trying to make a point. I took half a step closer to my brother, then lashed out with a carefully weighted kick. It caught him right in the butt and made him stumble.

"Aw, fuck," he said. "You made me get it everywhere."

"Oops," I said sweetly. "Guess you'll have to clean it up. If only you'd waited until I was done."

"I sense there's a moral here somewhere."

"You sense correctly. Ponder it while you scrub."

I flounced triumphantly out of the bathroom. Justice had been served.

It was getting pretty late, and I was all prepped for bed and everything, but I wasn't quite ready to go to sleep yet. It was time for a little Netflix. The parents were in bed already, and Denver... well, he might still make a nuisance of himself, but in theory I had the living room all to myself.

Our family had acquired a new couch recently. It was fancy as shit and fit for a queen. It was soft and comfy as one could ask for, and the ends each reclined with pop-up footstools, kind of like a lazyboy. Personally, I enjoyed stretching out across its entire length. It was unnecessary and arguably a worse position than sitting in one of the chair ends like it was designed for, but it felt selfish and luxurious to claim the whole sofa for myself, and there was a simple joy in such an act.

I got my show going and settled in with a throw pillow under my head. The room was dark except for the tv. When the rest of the house was quiet, I was alone in my own void of decadent solitude.

"What'cha watching?"

The light flipped on as my brother walked in the room. I rolled my eyes and repressed a sigh. Fucking Denver, always ruining metaphorical royal prisons and shit.

"Shh," I said. "I'm busy."

Denver came closer, then unceremoniously picked up my legs and sat under them. I let my legs fall right back onto his lap where they'd been.

"Gilmore Girls, right?" he said. "Haven't you seen it all yet? I remember you talking about this show, like... five years ago? Six?"

"Something like that. And yes, I have seen it before. And no, that doesn't mean you can interrupt whenever you want."

Denver shut up for a few minutes. I ignored his presence and let my mind get back into the flow of the show. That worked for a while.

"Why do they talk so fast?"

"'Cause they do."

"Fair enough."

Denver scratched an itch, then rested his hand on my calf when it came back down. Technically, according to my Arbitrary Rules of Nighttime Couch Sitting, my brother had already committed two or three violations of personal space. Unlike when everyone was up and doing awake-type things, I felt entitled to taking as much space as I could physically claim. Usually it worked because no one else was around to contest it, which makes for the best kind of rule in many ways.

So far Denver was behaving himself sufficiently for me not to have to decree him banned from sitting next to me and/or summarily executed. It was a closer thing than he realized, though, as proven by his next statement moments later.

"I can see your panties, you know."

"Fuck's sake, Den. I said shut up."

"Actually, you didn't specifically--"

"Fine, I'm saying it now. Shut up."

"Sure."

Denver wiggled down a little further in his seat. My legs wiggled with him. I resisted the urge to check on or adjust my sleep shirt. What was he doing looking at my panties anyway?

I glanced at my brother. By all appearances he was focused entirely on the show. He smiled frequently, and was even starting to chuckle at parts. At least he was enjoying the show. He wasn't a total philistine.

"Den?"

"Yeah?"

"Why were you looking at my butt?"

Denver gave me a lopsided smile. "I wasn't. But your shirt isn't covering it." He reached over and tugged my hemline back into place. "And your panties were kinda... y'know, like, a little wedged in there."

"You wouldn't know that if you weren't looking. A good brother wouldn't have stared long enough to see that much detail."

"True. But a good sister wouldn't have given me the chance."

I pulled one of my feet back and jabbed it into Denver's side just hard enough to hurt. He flinched back and moved his arm to block any potential second strike.

"I was in here minding my own business. It's not my fault you had to show up and start perving on me."

"Wasn't even. If I ever perv on you, you'll know it."

"That's not nearly as reassuring as you seem to think it is."

Denver nodded easily. "Maybe not." He reached over and tugged at my shirt again. My kick must have disturbed it. "Maybe it'll teach you some modesty though."

"Ha. This from the boy who barges in on me while I'm in the bathroom."

"Ok, that's... possibly a fair point."

"Damn right it is."

I went back to watching my show. Or at least I mostly did. Every now and then I checked on my brother to make sure he was watching the tv and not me. Usually he was. Once or twice I caught his eye and he lifted an eyebrow, but I declined to engage him.

The episode ended shortly after. This time I looked at Denver in search of a reaction to the show. He'd sat through the rest of it once he sat down, so I was cautiously optimistic.

"That was pretty ok," he said.

"Just ok?"

"Well... I dunno. I didn't understand some of it, and... are the two main girls always so whimsical?"

"Lorelai and Rory? Basically, yeah. That's their thing."

"And the older one's the mom?"

I snorted. "Maybe we should start you at the beginning next time you watch."

"Sure."

"Really?"

"Yeah. Why not? It's, like, kinda funny and quirky and stuff. I wouldn't mind checking out some more."

I felt a warm glow inside. Denver was actually into something I enjoyed, at least tentatively. That didn't happen often. My shows were too girly for him, his games were too shoot-people-in-the-face for me. Happy mediums were sneaky unicorns in our lives.

"I will be happy to indoctrinate you," I assured him.

"Cool. You up for another episode?"

"Now?"

"Yeah."

"It's pretty late."

"Very astute."

I bit my lip and thought it over. I had school tomorrow, and Denver probably had some college classes too. He wasn't worried, but then he almost certainly started later in the day than me. Still, one more episode wouldn't spell disaster, and my brother's eagerness might fade if I didn't get him hooked while I had the chance.

"Ok," I said. "You find episode one, I'm gonna go get a drink since we're already staying up late and being bad little chilluns."

"Sounds good. Get me one too?"

I hopped off the couch, but stopped and raised my eyebrow. I waited expectantly.

"Please?" Denver added.

"Sure. Rum?"

"Yes, thanks."

I lightly raided our parents' liquor cabinet and poured a couple fingers of rum for Denver, then scotch for myself. I'd never technically asked if it was ok, but I didn't do it frequently, and neither Mom or Dad ever said anything about their bottles being slightly emptier than they should be. They poured me a little on special occasions, and that was kind of like permission. In a way. Maybe.

"Your drink, sir," I said as I passed Denver his glass.

"Why thank you, sister dearest."

I set my glass on the end table by the side of the couch Denver wasn't occupying. This time I opted for actually sitting up properly, more or less. Denver had reclined on his end, and I pulled up my footstool as well. I tucked my feet up under my butt reflexively, which kind of defeated the purpose.

"Ready?" Denver asked.

"Yep."

He started the first episode playing. I took a sip of scotch and followed the warmth as it trickled down to my tummy. Dad had such excellent taste in booze.

I'd seen the first episode several times by now, and the last time hadn't really been that long ago. I was happy enough to see it again, but my familiarity with it meant that my attention could wander without me really missing anything. Part of my time was spent checking on Denver and making sure he was enjoying himself, which he seemed to be. Another part was spent analyzing myself.

I was propped up somewhat on my hip with my legs curled up on the opposite side. It was hard to say if my brother had any kind of sight line under my shirt like he'd had before. Probably he wouldn't even look anyway. It had to have just been an accidental glance before, and a lack of vocal filter that made him say anything about it.

"She's pretty hot," Denver said.

I looked back at the screen, slightly startled as my thoughts were interrupted. "What?"

"The mom."

"Lorelai?"

"Yeah. She's pretty hot, don't you think?"

"Oh don't even."

"I'm just--"

"I don't care what you're 'just,' don't do it. Don't bring the show down with your stupid boy-ness."

Denver chuckled. "Sorry to disappoint, sis. I'm a boy, and I'll basically always be one."

"You don't have to be so obvious about it."

Denver cleared his throat. "I'll try not to," he declared in a horrible falsetto. "I will do my very best to--"

I yanked my throw pillow out from between me and my arm rest. I swung it with all my might in a perfect arc, catching Denver square in the face. It made a satisfying 'wumph' as it hit him. He just laughed, but at least he stopped talking. The rest of the episode passed in relative silence, with only the occasional chuckle from my brother.

"So what'd you think?" I asked. "Other than wanting to bang every female who came on screen."

"Not every female. Just the hot mom. Total milf, dude. Seriously."

"You're gross as fuck sometimes."

"Only sometimes? That's practically a compliment." Denver stood up and stretched. "For real though, I think I like it."

"Yeah?"

"Yeah."

"So you wanna watch more some time?"

"Uh huh. Maybe not tonight though."

"No shit. I'm gonna be hurting for sleep as it is."

I turned everything off, then padded toward the hallway. Denver followed along behind, and I had to resist the urge to see if he was checking out my butt. One little comment had me way too paranoid. He'd be quite amused if he knew.

Denver's room was in the basement. It was bigger than mine, and apparently stayed a heavenly temperature when it got super hot out in the summer, but given the amount of junk and half-finished walls he shared his floor with, I'd never begrudged him those minor luxuries.

"Night, Den," I said before we parted.

"See ya in the morning, Relly."

"If you're up in time."

"See ya tomorrow evening, then."

"Figured."

On impulse, I leaned in and gave my brother a quick hug. He hugged me back, but the whole thing lasted only a second or two. Just enough to display the requisite familial affection for a pair of siblings. I wasn't sure why I craved that brief contact, but it felt nice.

Denver didn't move at first when I turned away. I was only a few steps beyond him when he spoke up again.

"I like that colour on you," he said.

I jolted to a stop and whirled toward him. He was already disappearing downstairs. He meant my shirt, right? Or my earrings maybe, but that was a stretch.

I craned my neck around, desperately trying to get a look at my own butt. My shirt seemed to ride up in the back more than I'd realized. If I moved just right, I decided Denver probably could have seen just a flash of my panties while I was walking. Fuck. Time to retire a nightshirt.

****

My parents were already at the breakfast table when I got there the next morning. There was no sign of Denver, which was only to be expected.

"Morning, sweetie," Mom said. "Tea or coffee?'

"I'll have coffee if there's some made," I said. "I could use some caffeine."

"That's my girl," Dad said with a wry smile. His ritualistic morning coffee was practically a law of nature.

I popped two slices of bread into the toaster, then stood next to it waiting for it to pop. Mom handed me a steaming mug, which I accepted gratefully.

"Do you suppose your brother will be joining us?" Mom asked.

I shrugged. "Your guess is as good as mine. Depends on when his classes start, probably."

"He shouldn't sleep through breakfast. It's not healthy."

"The great thing about breakfast is you can eat it whenever you wake up."

"That's disruptive for your digestion. You really should be eating regular meals."

"Very sensible," I agreed, perhaps a little too glibly.

Dad cleared his throat. "Don't be sarcastic with your mother. Not this early in the day."

"Wasn't sarcasm. It was just...." I trailed off. Dad was giving me a Look. "No sarcasm. Got it."

My toast popped. I slapped the two slices on a plate in the traditional burning-my-fingers-on-hot-toast manner, then applied the correct amount of butter in an even spread. The first bite was crunchy, greasy perfection. Whatever my skills may have lacked in other areas, boy could I make toast.

"Maybe I need to start waking Denver up in the morning," Mom said. She sat at the table opposite from Dad, cup of tea cradled in her hands, and a very healthful half-eaten bowl of 30-billion grain porridge in front of her. I'd never figured out how she stomached it, especially with the abysmally small amount of sugar she cut it with. "Being a college boy is no excuse for sleeping in every day."

"I believe it's the main appeal, actually," I said.

Both of my parents turned toward me. Mom was unamused. Dad seemed haplessly resigned to my unintentional antagonism of her current vendetta against sloth.

"Esmeralda Adams!"

I winced at the sound of my full name.

"That is exactly the kind of off-hand remark that leads to poor social and academic performance," Mom continued. "You and your brother are so--"

"I should go wake him up," I interrupted. "You've convinced me, I am converted. Allow me to repent my sinful ways."

I took another quick gulp of coffee, enough to singe my tongue, and grabbed my half-finished slice of toast. I abandoned the other to inevitable cooling and inedibleness. Alas poor breakfast, ye died too young.

Mom was thrown sufficiently off-balance that she didn't challenge my obvious ploy to get away from her lecturing. Dad hid a grin behind his coffee mug. I kissed Mom's cheek on the way by, mostly because it tended to mollify her even at the worst of times. Then I was heading downstairs and away from the danger of learning what was good for me.

The area at the immediate bottom of the stairs was in tidy order. The floor was clean and clear between there and Denver's room, with even a small bathroom along the way.

There was the hum of the family's big chest freezer in the other direction, and beyond that was an absolute disaster of half-finished flooring, walls, and insulation. An awful lot of items had been put in storage wherever there was space, as well. Every box of junk, old piece of sports equipment, or bag of clothes was another nail in the coffin of the dream of a fully livable basement.

I ignored the debris and beelined for Denver's room. His door was closed, and I gave it a courtesy knock before entering, just as a formality. I didn't expect my brother to be awake yet, and indeed he wasn't. I finished the last bite of my toast and wiped my hands off on my pants. It was time for a bit of mischief.

Slowly, delicately, I crawled onto Denver's bed. I managed to straddle him with my hands on either side of his head without disturbing him. He was blissfully unaware of my face positioned just above his.

"Deeenveeerrr," I called at the softest of volumes. "Deeeeeeennnveeerrrrr."

After a few repetitions, his brow crinkled slightly. His eyes cracked open, then he jerked awake in a sudden fit of panic that dissolved a few seconds later.

"Goddammit, Relly." Denver pushed me off him, and I fell to my side giggling happily. "What the hell time is it?"

"Time to get up," I informed him. "It's very unhealthy to lie around in bed all day. You need your breakfast. You're a growing boy with--"

"Oh fuck, Mom read an article again, didn't she?"

"Seems that way." I frowned. "And she used my full name, even. Skipping breakfast must cause cancer or something, 'cause she's super serious about it."

"Aw, I'm sorry."

I shook it off. "That's ok. At least I get to come bug you first thing in the morning, and you can't even get pissy about it."

"Try me."

I adopted a deliberately annoying whine. "Mooommm, Denver's being meeeaaannn. I just did what you saaaiiiddd."

"Alright, alright. There's no need for tattling."

"That's what I thought."

I sat on the edge of Denver's bed with one of my legs tucked up under me. He sat up, but made no further move to get out of bed.

"Come on, man," I said. "I can't go back without you in tow."

"You can too. Tell Mom I'll be right there."

"S'ok. I got time. I can wait for you."

"Coward."

"Not cowardice. I'm just being tactical. I believe it was Sun Tzu who said, 'Bitch, get yourself dressed and be my human shield.'"

Denver snorted in amusement. "Truly a wise man in the ways of war."

"Yeah he was. Now come on."

"No."

"Why not?"

"Just... give me some privacy, would you?"

"Why? Are you naked under your blanket or something?"

"No. I got boxers on."

I rolled my eyes. "So what, then? Embarrassed about me seeing you in your underwear? That's kinda weak after you were perving on mine last night."

Denver stabbed a finger at me. "First off, you were the one showing off your underwear. It's not like I went looking for it."

I was torn between amusement at Denver's defensiveness, and chagrin at being reminded that it was kind of my own fault if he'd been able to see under my nightshirt. He hadn't actually denied the accusation of perving either, which was a whole other set of complications.

"That's irrelevant right now," I said with a casual flip of my hair.

"Maybe. Secondly... it's got nothing to do with how I'm dressed. Not directly, anyway."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

Denver sighed heavily and rubbed his forehead. "Relly, you know boys, right?"

"I've heard of them, yes."

"And you know what sometimes happens to them?"

"You'll have to be more specific."

"In the morning...."

"They get hungry? They need to piss? They... oh. Ooohhh." My eyes widened and my eyebrows shot straight up. "You mean...."

"Yes. Privacy, please."

I burst out laughing. "Oh shit. Big bro's got a boner."

"Relly, come on."

I couldn't stop giggling. I knew it wasn't really that funny, but somehow, in the moment, it was to me. My older, more mature brother was stuck hiding a hard-on under the covers. It was such a ludicrous departure from the way my morning had been going. Maybe that was all it took.

"Shall I avert my eyes?" I asked between fits of laughter. "Leave the room? Vacate the house entirely, perhaps?"

Denver shook his head in exasperation. "Fine, do whatever you want."

He threw back the covers and swung his legs off his bed. My laughter caught in my throat. His boxers were tented prominently, and I was faced with a sudden reality; that was actually my brother's erection. It had been so abstract and comical a moment ago. Now it practically stared me in the face.

"Well, then," I said.

"Told ya."

"You're right. You did."

When Denver stood up, it only made his boxer-tent all the more obvious and focal. I half expected his cock to burst out the front like a hatching alien.

"It doesn't do tricks. Doesn't matter how long you stare at it."

Denver began fetching clothes. I flushed and looked away from him until he was pulling some pants on.

"Wasn't staring," I said.

"Were."

"Wasn't."

Denver turned to me as he buckled his belt. He grinned at me, all shirtless and slightly bulging in the crotch area. At least his jeans held his erection down way better than his underwear.

"Were," he said definitively.

"Fine, so I was. It was just so... big. Bigger than I expected."

Denver laughed. "Now that's how to give a boy confidence."

I felt my face heat up even further. "No no no, not like that."

"Not like what?"

"I just meant it was sticking... out... a lot." I paused. "Fuck. I'm not making this any better."

"You're really not."

Denver selected a t-shirt and pulled it on over his head. The muscles in his arms stood out more clearly than I was used to for a moment, then the shirt came down and covered him up.

"You said something about playing some basketball recently, or something," I said in an attempt to change the subject. "You still doing that?"

"Yeah, actually. There's some, like, casually organized games happening a few times a week at college. And some pick-up games whenever."

"Is it fun?"

"Kinda. Enough that I keep going back. Gotta get some exercise, you know."

"Mom bugging ya about it?"

Denver nodded. "Indeed."

"Well it's working for you."

The smile Denver gave me made me feel funny. I was still off balance from my unfortunate choices of staring and word selection, so maybe that was part of it. There was something else, though. Something I couldn't quite figure out.

"Thanks, Relly. I actually really appreciate you saying that."

My face was never going to stop being red at this rate. At least this was a more positive cause than before.

"Yeah, well... yeah. You're welcome."

I stood up and left the room. Denver padded behind me on bare feet. He stopped at the bathroom, and I turned just before he closed the door.

"Hey, Den?" I said.

"Yeah?"

"Could we, like, never mention any of this to anyone ever?"

He snorted. "In what universe am I telling anyone about how my little sister was perving on me?"

It was a sign of my sheer level of emotional turmoil that I didn't even consider arguing the point. "Ok. Cool. I'll, uh, see you upstairs, then."

"Sure thing."

Denver closed the door, and I trudged back up the stairs. I was not mentally prepared for the day, that much was clear. Maybe I needed more coffee.

****

I spent much of my school day thinking and worrying about that morning. I didn't remember anything about my classes except that I'd been to them. My mind was occupied with other concerns.

It bothered me way too much the way I'd reacted. I knew about boys, to some extent. I knew about erections, anyway, and that they sometimes just happened. And, in theory, since my brother was a boy I should have been able to put things together in my head. Clearly that hadn't worked out.

It frustrated me to think that I was still so juvenile, so inexperienced, that Denver's tented boxers confused the shit out of me. He had a penis, alright? It wasn't anything new or strange. That was just how boys were built.

Except... Denver wasn't a boy. Or rather, he was a very special subset of boys; one who carried very different rules of engagement. It wasn't the usual case where an erection would produce either arousal or disgust in me, depending on my feelings about the boy in question. Denver was outside of that game. He was my brother, and that was it. When I'd been confronted with evidence to the contrary, it had damaged my base world view.

I felt a little better when I figured out the explanation for my reaction. At least, it was a possible explanation, and it seemed to fit nicely enough. Denver had existed asexually in my life for quite a long time, and he could continue to do so. I'd just have to be more careful in the future.

By the time I visited my locker for the final time that day, I was feeling much more like myself. I was still pretty spaced out, though, and didn't notice my friend sneaking up on me. Which is to say, she probably walked normally, and only my lack of situational awareness allowed her to startle me the way she did.

"Hey, Relly."

I jumped at the sudden voice. My feet actually left the ground, albeit only just barely enough to count.

"Oh shit, Fay. You scared me."

Fay laughed and leaned up against the locker next to mine. "Well I didn't mean to, if it's any consolation."

"No no, I know. I'm just...."

"Spaced the fuck out?"

"Yeah. Basically."

"I could tell. You've been out of it all day. I was getting kinda worried about you."

I busied myself rearranging my text books as an excuse not to meet Fay's gaze. "I've had some things on my mind."

"No kidding. Anything I can help with?"

"I don't know. It's complicated."

"Ah. Boy trouble?"

I ran out of things to tidy and shut my locker. Fay was peering at me a little too intently for comfort. I crossed my arms and shrugged.

"Kinda."

"Kinda?"

"I mean, yeah, it's about a boy. But it's not what you're thinking."

Fay smirked. "Like you know what I'm thinking."

"I can guess." I frowned in concentration for a few seconds. "Either... you're hoping I have a new crush, or... or something significantly dirtier than that."

"Ha. Alright, you got me." Fay's smile faded to disappointment. "Guess that means it's not one of those then, huh?"

"Nope."

"That's too bad. You need a boy in your life."

"Do not. I'm doing fine."

"Relly--"

"No. Don't give me this lecture again."

I turned away, arms still folded protectively in front of me. Fay's hand landed on my shoulder and squeezed gently.

"No lecture," she said. "Promise. I just worry about your lack of socializing sometimes. You know that."

I sighed. "I do. But you know that you make me feel like a total loser when you fuss over me too much."

"Also true." Fay threw her arm around my shoulders and started walking. I had little choice but to follow. "Alright, so in deference to your poor, sensitive little feelings--"

"Bitch."

"--we'll leave this mystery boy alone for now. C'mon, let's go have some fun. Get your mind off it." Fay wagged a finger in my face. "And don't be calling me names just for being a good friend. It's rude."

A smile crept over my lips. "Then don't say things specifically to provoke name-calling."

"Who, me?"

****

Fay dropped me off at home that evening. We'd spent a few hours hanging out, which had been pretty fun. She'd tried getting me to spill my secret a few more times, but as yet it remained known only to me.

I knew I was in trouble when I walked in and found the rest of my family at the supper table already. They were clearly well in the middle of their meal. Denver had already cleared most of his plate, being a boy and all. Dad was about halfway through, and Mom was picking tactically at her food. All three of them looked up at me as I entered.

"Hello, Relly," Mom said in an entirely civil tone. "Nice of you to join us."

"You're in trouuubllleee," Denver called in a sing-songy voice.

"Shut the hell up, Den," I said.

Mom set her fork down hard. "Esmeralda! Language!"

"Jesus, Mom. Don't call me that. You know I don't like it."

"It's your name. I don't know why--"

"No, I know. It doesn't matter how many times I explain it." I adopted a higher pitched, blatantly sarcastic tone. "It's such a beautiful name, especially for pretty, pretty princesses." I rolled my eyes with all the teenage angst I could muster.

Mom took a few deep breaths. I waited in full rebel-mode for her inevitable response.

"You know," she began icily, "for someone who waltzes in so late, with not so much as a phone call to let us know where you were--"

"Here we go."

"We worry about you, Relly. Anything could happen."

"I was just out with Fay. My phone was on. You could have gotten hold of me if you wanted."

"That's not the point."

"No, I know. The point is I did the wrong thing again, and you have to point it out in front of everyone."

I glared at Mom, daring her to keep arguing. She was ready to do just that, but Dad interrupted first.

"Why don't I handle this," he said, wiping his mouth and standing up.

Mom muttered something too low for me to catch. I let Dad lead me away from the table. We got far enough to be out of earshot before he stopped us.

"I didn't mean to miss supper," I said quietly. "We got here a little late is all."

"I know, sweetie. It's ok."

"Well Mom doesn't seem to think so."

"Relly... you did start swearing at the dinner table."

I bit my lip and thought back. "I guess I did, huh."

"I think, and don't take this the wrong way, that you might have been expecting a fight...."

"And I got one," I finished for him.

Dad nodded. "Basically."

I sighed. "Ok. Maybe... maybe I've been a little too tense today."

"Would it help if I sent you to your room?"

I gave my father a quick hug. "Thanks, Dad."

"You're welcome." He stepped back and gave me a stern look. "Now you better go and... learn a lesson. Or something."

"Yes, Daddy."

For a moment I batted my eyes and swung my hands behind my back, acting the stereotypical daddy's little girl. Dad chuckled and gave me a gentle push in the direction of my room. I flounced away as he returned to the dining table.

****

It was only much later that I risked leaving my room. Whatever Dad had told Mom, she hadn't come looking for me before heading to bed. He'd done well running interference for me.

There was a plate of food waiting for me in the fridge. It was unclear who had made it up for me. Probably Mom. Even at her most annoyed she wouldn't want me to starve. And tonight hadn't been anywhere near that bad, really. I felt kind of bad about getting so pissy earlier.

The plan was to take my scavenged feast back to my room, but I was drawn to sounds coming from the living room. Denver was still up, and he was watching Gilmore Girls without me.

"You fucker," I said without preamble.

Denver paused the show. "What, 'cause I taunted you earlier?"

"Actually, I'd forgotten about that. You got me in trouble, you little shit."

"No, you got you in trouble. I merely aided and abetted." He hesitated. "Assuming that means what I think it means."

I sat down carefully on the couch. The last thing I wanted to do was spill any of my reheated dinner on it. It was too new a piece of furniture for food to be allowed on it yet, and there'd be hell to pay if I stained it somehow.

"I actually meant watching without me. That's breaking the social contract of watching a show together."

Denver looked from me to the screen, then back again. "But you've seen it already."

"So what?"

"I... don't know. Sorry? I guess?"

"You better be."

I started eating. Denver still didn't start the show up again. I raised my eyebrow at him and waited to see if there was more.

"Are you ok?" he asked after a moment of struggling with whether or not to say anything.

"Sure. I'm fine."

"Really?"

"You don't believe me?"

Denver shrugged. "Ok. Whatever. Sorry for caring."

He started the show going again, cutting off any retort I might have made. That was fine. It was probably better not to turn it into an argument. Besides, I was starving and I wanted to focus on eating.

For a while, that's all I did was eat. I followed along with the show somewhat, and I knew the episode well enough that nothing I missed really mattered. It was only once my ravenous hunger was sated that I started drifting into other areas of thought. While I toyed with the last of my late supper, I also started sneaking peeks at my brother.

Denver was wholly engrossed in the show, which was good. There was no need for him to be perving on me again like last night. But then, was that even what he'd been doing? Seeing him in his underwear had done weird things to me, and maybe that's all it was for him too. The circumstances were very different, though. I didn't have a penis to stick out and be all gross and distracting and shit.

I took my dishes to the kitchen once the episodes was over. I felt much better with a full tummy than when I'd been empty-stomached and anxious in my room earlier. Somewhat surprisingly, Denver followed me to the kitchen shortly after. He wasn't chasing me as I first suspected, but rather headed directly to the fridge and pulled a tub of ice cream out of the small freezer area.

"Want some?" Denver asked as he got a bowl out of the cupboard.

"Um... maybe just a little," I said after some thought.

"How much is that?"

"Like, probably half... no, a third of whatever you're gonna have."

"You act like you know me or something."

Denver scooped himself a larger portion than I would have taken even if I hadn't just finished a meal. The bowl he scooped for me was much more reasonable, though was probably closer to half his than the third I'd revised down to.

"Thanks," I said.

"You're welcome." Denver put the ice cream container back in the freezer. "More Gilmore Girls?"

"Sounds good."

Denver and I sat on our separate ends of the couch, ice cream in our laps, and watched some more whimsical shenanigans. I took small spoonfuls and savoured every bite of my dessert. More than that, I enjoyed just hanging out with my brother. It was a totally normal sibling thing to do, albeit somewhat on the idealized end of the scale. It was the sort of thing I needed after a stressful day.

"Are you still eating that?"

I looked over at Denver. I was confused until I saw that he was done his ice cream already. My bowl was still half full.

"How are you done already?" I demanded.

"You eat super slow."

"No. You eat super fast."

"The rest of your ice cream's half-melted already. You're slow. Case closed."

I scooped up some melty ice cream and licked it off my spoon. "Mmm. Still delicious."

"Yeah, whatever."

I kept licking and making noises of appreciation while Denver tried to keep up with the action on screen. His gaze flicked over to me frequently, so I knew he wasn't succeeding at ignoring me.

"You know," he said after a moment, "what you're doing is starting to seem like something different from what you're going for."

"What?" I set my spoon back in my bowl and frowned. "What does that mean?"

"It means... shit, I don't want to have to explain this."

"Explain what, dammit?"

"You're licking and moaning, Relly. Figure it out."

"Oh, ew! Ew ew ew." I set my bowl on the table beside me and scooted to the middle of the couch to get even further from it. I pulled my feet up and wrapped my arms around my legs in a protective ball. "Why'd you have to say that? That's gross."

"You were the one doing it. I can't help it."

"Yeah, but... I didn't mean that. God, ew. You know I didn't mean that."

"I know."

Denver put his arm around me and pulled me to his shoulder. I gladly accepted the gesture of comfort. I needed it now that I'd made myself feel so dirty. Licking and moaning? Goddamn, what was I thinking? Maybe Fay was onto something with all her worrying that I was too sheltered. She wouldn't have done something so suggestive unless she specifically meant to.

For a while Denver held me in a sort of half-hug. I relaxed more and more against him until I was fully snuggled up with my big brother. It was a secure, comforting position for me. It got even better when Denver started running his fingers through my hair.

It seemed like Denver didn't realize what he was doing at first. He started out just moving his hand from my shoulder to my neck and toying with the ends of my hair. He gradually got bolder until his fingers were gliding over my scalp and entwining with my hair. It felt amazing. Unfortunately, once he became fully aware of just how intimate it was getting, he stopped. His hand dropped back to a more respectable position on my shoulder.

"Don't stop," I said quietly.

"I don't know, Relly. I kinda, like... I didn't mean--"

"Don't care. Keep going."

Nothing happened, and I thought my brother had been scared off. It was, perhaps, a little too intimate a gesture for our relationship. We didn't really get too close most of the time, and now more then ever I felt the ache of opportunities missed. I craved his caring, protective touch, and I regretted not seeking it out more.

Then, after I'd given up hope, Denver went back to my hair and his fingers ran through it once more. I sighed happily and nestled into his embrace. We spent the rest of the episode cuddled together. I greedily sapped my brother's love and body heat, using them to restore my emotional deficiencies.

I was nearly asleep by the end of the episode. I was listening to Denver's heartbeat more than I was paying attention to dialogue. Its rhythmic pulse against my cheek lulled me into a sleepy and vulnerable state.

"You still awake?" Denver whispered.

"Barely."

Denver's volume rose back to normal. "Good enough. You done for the night?"

"Probably I should be, I guess. I'm very comfy here, though."

"You're saying I'm a good pillow?"

"The very finest. I'll be sure to leave a glowing review online. Five stars."

Denver chuckled, and the movement was jarring after him being still for so long. I reluctantly sat up and leaned against the back of the couch instead of my brother. His face still held an amused expression, and his eyes shone far brighter than I felt they should have given the lighting. I could have lost myself in those eyes.

"Relly? Why are you looking at me like that?"

I turned away quickly. "Nothing. No reason."

"No, come on. If there's--"

"I have to pee."

Denver's forehead crinkled, and he tilted his head. "Ok, sure. But... nevermind."

I was already off the couch and walking swiftly out of the room. This day just kept getting weirder. Every time I felt I was in control, something happened to make me realize I wasn't.

Denver was still in the living room when I got back from the bathroom. He had reclined his end of the couch and had stretched out his full length from headrest to footstool.

"I didn't know if you were coming back," he said.

"Maybe I shouldn't have. I'm... not really sure."

"Something's going on with you. I don't know what it is, and you don't seem to want to talk about it, but there's something."

I brushed some hair back behind my ear. "You're not wrong."

"But you're not going to tell me what it is."

I squirmed under my brother's intense stare. "It's embarrassing."

"I won't laugh. Promise."

"Ok, but... I still don't think I can say."

"Alright. I tried. Are you staying up for a while still, or are you off to bed?"

I bit my lip. It was definitely getting late, and missing sleep the night before hadn't done me any favours. I didn't want to leave while Denver was still up; that was the problem.

"Maybe one more episode?" I said.

"Sure. I'm game. You gonna get changed first or anything?"

I looked down at myself. "Why?"

"So you're ready for bed after? Because it's comfortable? I dunno. Was just asking."

"You just wanna see my panties again, don't you?"

Denver laughed. "Ha, yeah. You got me. This has all been an elaborate ruse."

"Well you never know. You are a boy, after all."

Denver nodded seriously. "And as we all know, boys are only interested in getting girls to take their clothes off. Even if the girl is their little sister. We're total pervs, the lot of us."

"I'm glad you understand."

Denver snorted and queued up the next episode on the tv. I stepped closer to my seat, but wasn't quite ready to sit down yet. There was an idea bouncing around in my head, and I couldn't seem to get rid of it. It was probably stupid, had the potential to get terribly embarrassing, and yet I couldn't help myself. My fingers trembled slightly as I started undoing my pants.

"What the hell are you doing, Relly?"

"What's it look like?"

"It looks like you're taking your pants off."

"Got it in one. Well done you."

I kicked my jeans off a little less smoothly than I would have liked, but it wasn't a bad performance over all. Once they were off, I felt even more like I might be making a mistake. But it wasn't a big deal; it was basically the same as what I wore to bed every night, and Denver had seen me in that kind of outfit many, many times.

There was a difference, though, and I couldn't pretend it didn't exist no matter how much I wanted to. Taking one's pants off for a boy meant something more than wandering around in a bedtime outfit did. There were implications. What was worse, and what I hadn't considered beforehand, was that my shirt was a normal-sized one rather than a longer nightshirt. Instead of giving my brother a flash of panties, he was seeing everything.

"Well that's... something," Denver said.

He stared at me intently, almost unblinking. I flushed and played with my hair in an attempt to hide my face. He wasn't supposed to be quite that interested.

"You don't have to look at me that way," I said.

"You took your pants off."

"So? You've seen me without pants lots of times. Last night, even."

I picked up my jeans and folded them, willing my hands not to shake at the mild exercise in dexterity. My nerves were going haywire. It was hard to blame Denver for being too interested in my state of dress when I was reacting the way I was. It was just underwear for fuck's sake. What the hell was wrong with us?

"It's different than usual," Denver said. "Usually your shirt's covering more of you when you're in your sleepwear."

"That's true." I fidgeted with my pants. My voice dropped to a quiet, uncertain tone. "Is this, like, not ok?"

"Oh, hey, no. It's fine, Relly." Denver flipped his seat back fully upright. He leaned forward earnestly. "I'm sorry for staring all weirdly. I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable. You should wear whatever you want to."

"But it's weird, isn't it? I just thought 'cause we were joking and stuff...." I looked down at the floor. "I should go to bed, maybe. It's too late for this. I'm not thinking clearly."

Denver grabbed my wrist before I could go anywhere. I looked at him curiously.

"You look good," he said. "That's why I was staring. Your nightshirts are so baggy that I never really saw... you know, what you actually look like underneath."

I felt the beginnings of a smile. "Really?"

"Yeah. You were just standing there, pants on the floor, and I couldn't help thinking that you're a girl."

"I... what?"

Denver sat back and sighed. "I mean, obviously you are. You just don't look like one to me most of the time. You're a sister, you know? It's... different." He shook his head ruefully. "That doesn't make any sense, does it?"

"Actually, it makes total sense."

"It does?"

I nodded. My confidence was slowly coming back to me. I draped my pants over the back of the couch, then sat down next to my brother. I pulled my legs up and swiveled to face him directly.

"That's kinda, like, the sort of thing I felt this morning," I said. "When I saw you and... and...."

"When I just woke up?" Denver asked softly.

"Yeah. You were very much a boy," I said with a nervous giggle. "And I'm not used to seeing you that way. It confused me. Still does. But it helps knowing that I'm not alone."

"And here I thought you were trying to get a peek at me this morning."

"Oh my god! Shut uuuppp."

I shoved Denver. He just started laughing. I couldn't help smiling, and even managed a few chuckles. He was just trying to break the tension, and I appreciated it even if his timing could have been better.

"Jesus, we're quite a pair, huh?" Denver said.

"I s'pose we are."

Denver's face graduated back to a more serious expression. His eyes scanned me up and down a couple times. "You really do look good," he said softly.

I wriggled, and squirmed, and blushed furiously. It was such a genuine compliment, and it felt so good coming from my brother. I couldn't meet his gaze without feeling my face heat up even more, but it thrilled me that he was still looking. It meant so much more from him than it would have from anyone else.

"Thanks," I mumbled.

"Probably I'm being a little too pervy now, huh?"

"No," I said quickly. "I mean, you can look. If you want. It's not pervy."

"Yes it is." Denver reached out and brushed my cheek with his fingers. I looked at him and felt the intensity of his brilliant eyes. "But maybe it's ok to be pervy sometimes. Just a little."

I nodded without thinking about it. "Just a little," I repeated in a whisper.

The moment lasted for a small eternity. Our faces were so close together, my very soul bared through the windows of my eyes. Nothing happened, but the possibility of something was so tangible it hurt.

"One more episode?" Denver asked.

"Yeah, sure. One more."

Denver settled in his seat and started the show up. I remained where I was for several seconds, unsure what to do. Finally I lay back and stretched myself out across the couch. My legs ended up in my brother's lap, and one of my arms curled up under my head.

I stared resolutely at the tv screen at first. I refused to check on my brother constantly to see where he was looking. Probably he was watching the show. But what if he was staring at my butt instead? It could happen. He could have been examining any part of my body he chose, and I'd be oblivious to it. The thought was a distracting one, and more than a little confusing. I told myself I didn't care one way or the other, but that was a massive lie.

Something tugged on my sock. I looked down at my feet just as Denver pulled the sock all the way off. He grabbed the other one, and I kicked just hard enough to dislodge his fingers.

"Hey!" I protested. "Leave my socks alone."

"Why?"

"Because... because...." I struggled to think of a good reason. "You shouldn't be taking my clothes off without asking."

Denver's eyebrows arched dangerously high. "You mean it's ok to take your clothes off if I ask?"

"That's not what I meant."

"All I'd have to do is ask 'Relly, can I unwrap you like a Christmas present?' and you'd let me?"

"Gross, Den. I'm your sister."

"Well it was your suggestion. Don't blame me."

"Wasn't even."

Denver tugged at my remaining sock again, and this time I let him. I waited to see what else he'd do, but there was nothing else. He just set his hands on my leg and left them there.

It was frustrating not to know what my brother was thinking. There was something going on in his head, something about me. I just didn't know what it was. He had reabsorbed himself in the show we were meant to be watching, so I tried to do the same. It didn't work particularly well.

Every now and then, Denver would move one of his hands. He'd rub up and down my thigh or calf, then go still again. It was an idle, barely noteworthy gesture in some ways. Again, though, it was obtusely irritating because I didn't know what he was up to.

I sat up when the episode ended. It was definitely past my bed time by then. I was going to be cranky again in the morning.

"Den?"

"Yeah?"

"Why'd you take my socks off?"

Denver shrugged. "Seemed like the thing to do."

"What the hell kind of answer is that?"

"Well, you know, you look better with fewer clothes on."

"Oh my god!" I punched Denver's shoulder. "That's a little too pervy."

"I don't mean you need to be naked or anything--"

"Well thank god for that."

"--but I mean, look at you."

Denver held his hand out as though displaying me to an audience. I flushed as his gaze roamed my body, but I held still and let him look.

"You really like panties, huh?" I said.

"Kinda, I guess. But it's not really the panties that do anything for me. They're just material. When they're being worn, however...."

Denver's hand went to my hip. He slipped his fingers under my shirt and pushed them upward. The hem of my shirt lifted along with his hand. My breath caught and my heart pounded. I was both terrified and excited at the thought that he might just keep going.

"Your skin's very soft," Denver whispered.

I swallowed to moisten my mouth. "Thanks."

He smiled for a moment, then it faded away again. "Well, we should probably go to bed."

"Yeah, probably."

I didn't move. Neither did Denver. His warm hand remained on my tummy, just above my hip. It was an exquisitely confusing sensation.

"Good night," I said.

Denver's hand fell away. "Yeah, good night."

He got up and left the room. I stayed behind for a moment, then collected my clothes and headed to bed.

****

"You seem happier," said Fay.

She'd snuck up on me at my locker again. I was a little disconcerted at how intently she studied my face, but she was right; I did feel better than yesterday.

"I guess hanging out with you works wonders," I said. "I knew we were friends for a reason."

"Nooo," Fay said slowly, completely failing to react to my sarcasm. "There's something else."

"Like what? After you dropped me off last night I got in shit and spent most of the evening in my room. What possible detective work are you trying to accomplish?"

Fay cupped her chin like a television character looking thoughtful. "You're awfully quick with that alibi. I can only deduce that you're the murderer!"

I rolled my eyes. "Oh for fuck's sake." I slammed my locker closed and started walking to class.

It took Fay a few steps to catch up. She was still giggling to herself. "Relax, Relly. I'm not gonna grill you about it." She leaned closer. "But I know you were talking to your boy."

"What boy?"

"The one you were having trouble with. The one who's totally not your secret new boyfriend."

"Oh. Him."

I slowed my pace. Fay caught my arm and dragged me along with her.

"I'm going to find out one of these days. You know that."

I sighed heavily. "I'm afraid you just might."

****

I went straight home after school. Partly I didn't want a repeat of the night before, but mostly I truly had nothing better to do. Obedience and reality; together at last.

No one else was around when I got home. At first, I enjoyed the freedom my solitude afforded me. I put on some music in the living room and cranked it up so I could hear it from nearby rooms as well. I danced my way to the kitchen in search of a snack, then ransacked the fridge and cupboards to see what was available. There was a package of oreos on the back of a shelf. God only knew where they'd come from. I promptly absconded with the whole thing, rescuing the deliciously unhealthy cookies from a fate of being forgotten by the world.

Snack in tow, I made a concession to responsibility and brought my school bag to the living room. I had some homework to do, and it was a good time to do it. It felt like an absurdly poor use of my alone time, but I liked having more space to spread out than my room allowed. I also worked better, or at least less reluctantly, with a level of musical omnipresence that wouldn't be tolerated by other family members.

My books and papers were scattered across the floor in short order. I started with the easiest stuff first, on the basis that it meant I was more likely to at least get something done, and once it was finished there would be fewer things hanging over my head. It was a strategy that had served me adequately over the years.

I wasn't sure how long I worked for. It wasn't steady work time, for one thing. I got distracted by songs I really liked, or someone texting me, and sometimes I just got bored and zoned out for a while. All I knew was one minute I was alone, and the next time I looked up, Denver was standing in the doorway. I'd been singing along to the song that was playing, and the lyrics died on my tongue.

"Where'd you come from?" I asked.

Denver tilted his head. "What?"

I rolled my eyes and stood up. I hit the power button on the stereo, and the music died instantly.

"When did you get home?"

"I've been in my room the whole time. Heard your music from down there."

"Oh. Well... sorry. I thought I was alone."

Denver shrugged. "It's fine. I could only just hear it. Wasn't bothering me or anything. I only really came upstairs for a snack."

"And instead you seized the opportunity to perv on me some more."

"If that's what you want to think, go ahead. Personally, I wouldn't call it perving if you've got all your clothes on."

I folded my arms and stuck my hip out slightly. "Now you're trying to get my clothes off, huh? You just never quit."

Denver laughed and shook his head. "I hope you realize that your mind is going to these places all on its own. If I were you, I might take some time to examine what's going on up there."

He turned and went back to the kitchen. I grabbed the bag of oreos that I'd only barely touched, then jogged after him.

"Want some cookies?" I asked.

"Nice. Where'd you find those?"

"In the cupboard. They're probably, like, kinda old. But they were sealed, and they're still fine."

"I believe it. Mom hasn't bought any of this stuff in forever."

"More like a couple weeks," I corrected. "Ever since that one article she found in her stupid magazine."

"Fair enough."

Denver reached for the oreo package in my hands. I pulled it away, then swung it behind my back.

"Uh uh. What are you gonna trade me for them?"

Denver gave me a disbelieving look. "You're gonna demand compensation now?"

"At least a finder's fee."

It wasn't clear whether my brother was going to get annoyed, start negotiating, or possibly just tackle me and steal my prize. After an uncertain moment, his lips quirked into a sly smile.

"I got something," he said. "But it's something I already did."

I frowned. "What does that mean? And if you already did it, how does that make for a fair trade?"

"Well... let's just say that the latest issue of Mom's health magazine might have... failed to reach her."

My eyes slowly widened as I parsed Denver's implication. "You mean you swiped it before she saw it?"

"I can neither confirm nor deny such an accusation."

He stepped toward me, got very close to the point we were almost touching. His arm snaked around my body and grabbed the bag of cookies. For a second or two his face was as near to mine as it had probably ever been. His eyes were impossibly devious and bright, and his breath was hot on my cheek. Then he stepped back again, nutritionally deficient snack within his grasp.

"Thanks," he said. "I'll get out of your hair now."

Denver retreated back downstairs. I watched after him until his footsteps had receded from hearing distance, then reluctantly went back to the living room. He'd actually taken the whole package of cookies, the fucker. I still wanted more of them.

Now that I knew my brother was home, I was much less interested in my work. Losing my snack and music didn't help. Both could be retrieved with minor effort, but my heart wasn't in it. Besides, I'd done pretty good already. Most of my homework was finished.

I didn't even sit down before I was back out of the living room again. That wasn't where I wanted to be right now. I opened the door to the basement and belatedly followed Denver down to his room.

Denver's door was closed. There was no sound from inside. I hesitated, then knocked softly. When there was no immediate response, I knocked louder.

"Yeah? What?"

"It's me. Can I come in?"

"Sure."

My brother was at his computer. He had a big pair of headphones on, and was focused fairly intently on his screen. He glanced at me as I came in.

"You need something?" he asked.

"No. Not really."

After a moment, the view on Denver's monitor shifted from a gun to a corpse. He'd been shot, I assumed. I didn't do so well at following his games. He pulled his headphones off and set them on his desk.

"Sorry, what?" he said.

"Nothin'."

"Nothin'?"

"Well... I dunno. You wanna hang out?"

Denver snorted. "I'm in the middle of a match here, Relly."

His disembodied gun started floating around again. The change in his attention was obvious. At least he could hear me now.

"How long you gonna be?"

"I dunno. Five minutes? Ten maybe?"

"'K."

I wandered around the room while I waited. Denver looked over his shoulder at me from time to time when he got the chance. He shook his head once, but didn't say anything about it.

"How come you wear those headphones while you're playing?" I asked out of idle curiosity. "You're not bothering anyone down here. You could just use your speakers."

"I could. But the thing is, you see, with headphones I can hear directionality better."

"What?"

Denver sighed. "I can hear which direction shots and footsteps and things are coming from. It's better."

"Oh. I guess that makes sense. But doesn't that mean you're at a disadvantage now?"

"Yep."

I smirked. "What, don't trust me in your room?"

"More like if I put them back on, you're still gonna try talking to me. It's not worth it."

I stuck my tongue out at the back of my brother's head. It was a wasted gesture, unfortunately.

I browsed through Denver's stuff rather more overtly than I usually would have. Partly I was just trying to get his attention, and not succeeding very well. Partly, too, a lot of it was interesting, in its own boring way. Like a whole series of fantasy novels that were each long enough to put me in a coma by themselves, let alone the entire collection. Or the small stash of chocolate bars he had hidden behind some old textbooks on a low shelf.

"Please stop poking around everywhere," Denver finally said. "I'm almost done. I swear."

"Why? Afraid I'll find your porn?"

"What year are you living in? You think I have... what, magazines or something?"

"I dunno. Maybe?" I sighed dramatically. "What's the world coming to when boys don't even keep embarrassing literature for family members to awkwardly stumble upon."

"Yeah. That's a real shame."

I'd never actually suspected that there would be physical magazines lying around. Somehow, though, now that I'd put the idea in my own head, I was disappointed that there was no chance of finding anything of the sort. Probably that was a weird thing to feel. I just wanted something to tease my brother about was all.

I flopped back onto Denver's bed. The mattress bounced nicely beneath me. There wasn't much chance of me finding anything to bug him about, not really. If he had anything worth hiding, a casual inspection wasn't likely to uncover it.

One of the ceiling tiles above me was slightly out of place. There was the slightest of gaps where it should have fit snugly into place. At first I just wondered if the disturbance in an otherwise perfect pattern bothered Denver when he was lying in bed. Then, after a moment of reflection, I realized that he might have actually been the one responsible.

I stood up on the bed. As much as I stretched, I could only just brush the tile with my finger tips. Possibly I could scoot the tile back with enough effort, but I was certain that Denver could reach just enough farther that he could get whatever he'd hidden up there.

"Hey! Get down from there!"

Denver's shout startled me, and I almost lost my balance.

"What's in the ceiling, Den?"

"Nothing. Don't stand on my bed."

Denver got up and came over to me. He grabbed my waist and wrestled me down onto my butt.

"You've got something up there. I wanna know what it is."

"No I don't. And even if I did, hiding it up there would mean that I didn't want you finding it. Honestly, what's gotten into today that you'd snoop through my stuff like this?"

I shrugged. "M'just bored."

"Really? Because it seems like you didn't get 'bored' until you realized I was home."

I squirmed awkwardly. "So what? Maybe I was bored and just didn't have anyone to hang with?"

"Yeah. Maybe. But I think I can count the number of times you've invaded my space like this in the past year on one hand. You've been acting different lately."

"We both have," I mumbled. "S'not just me."

"Oh." Denver sat down next to me. "It's about 'that', is it?"

"I dunno. Maybe?"

"If it's bothering you, we can stop... you know, whatever it is we're doing."

"Which is what, exactly?"

Denver threw his hands up. "Fuck if I know."

"Yeah. Basically yeah."

"But we can stop. We totally can."

"And go back to not doing much of anything together?"

I pulled my knees up to my chest. I huddled in the comfort of my own body. It wasn't like I'd meant to get all deep and sorrowful, it had just happened. Now I didn't know what to do with it.

"You don't have to take your pants off to get me to hang out with you," Denver said softly.

"But it helps," I said in an equally quiet voice.

Denver half-smiled. "It does help," he agreed.

He trailed his fingertips lightly along the side of my calf. I could barely even feel his touch through my jeans. I relaxed my legs and let them fall flat on the bed. Denver's finger moved to my inner thigh, though still I couldn't really feel them very well.

"Alright," I said. "I can take a hint." I stood up and undid the front of my jeans.

"I swear I wasn't pushing for anything. You don't have to."

I stopped with the waist of my pants only just started to be pushed down. "So now you don't wanna see?"

"I didn't say that."

"Well you're sending mixed signals. That's not the way to make a girl feel special, you know."

Denver gave me a lopsided look. "Relly," he said. "Take your pants off for me."

A little thrill went through me. It wasn't anywhere near a domineering tone, but it was more of a command than I was used to from my brother.

"Or what?" I asked.

Denver arched an eyebrow. "Or I'll take them off for you."

My breath caught for a second and a shiver ran up my spine. I believed that he would forcibly de-pants me if I forced the issue. I was practically daring him to.

Ever-so-slowly, I pushed my jeans down my legs. I bent over and partly covered myself with my upper body as I got farther down toward my ankles. Finally I straightened up and kicked my feet free. I felt extra self-conscious because there was absolutely nothing else going on to attract Denver's attention. It was just me, my bare legs, and my little panties.

"You know something? You're hands down the hottest sister I have," Denver said.

I brushed my hair back to cover a smile. "You doof. I'm the only sister you have."

"Doesn't make me wrong."

"No, but... it doesn't technically mean anything."

"Maybe not technically. How 'bout you take it however you want, then."

I nodded seriously. "Good. I'm going to assume you're totally smitten with me."

I retook my seat on the bed next to my brother. I leaned back and propped myself up with my arms. My smooth, bare legs stuck straight out in front of me. The one closest to Denver was deliberately almost, but not quite, touching his knee.

"Right," he said. "Smitten."

"It's the only reasonable assumption."

"I bet."

Denver's fingers returned to my leg. They started at my knee and did slow, parabolic loops from my upper calf to lower thigh. I could feel everything now, every whisper of his skin on mine. His touch was, if anything, even lighter then before. The uncommon delicacy he used made it feel like even more of an intimate gesture than if he'd just put his hand full on me. It was an acknowledgement of sorts that we shouldn't really be doing what we were doing.

"Now what are you going to do with me?" I asked.

"What makes you think I'm going to do anything? We're just hanging out, aren't we?"

"Do you 'just hang out' with a lot of pantsless girls?"

"Not so much, no."

"Well what would you do with one of them, then?"

Denver raised an eyebrow. "Is that a serious question?"

"I guess not. That's kind of an obvious one, huh."

"Kinda, yeah."

Denver trailed his fingertips higher up my leg. I tried to stay relaxed and perfectly still at the same time.

"Would you play this fingertip game with them?"

"The hypothetical 'them,' you mean? Maybe I would. If they were being coy."

His fingers brushed the edge of my panties, just for an instant. Then they retreated further down my leg again.

"You think I'm being coy?"

"No. I think you're my sister."

"I could be both."

"You could."

I watched Denver's face as we spoke. He looked back at mine at times, at others he examined my near-bottomless lower half. I had his full attention, anyway.

"How long before you'd try to get in their panties?"

"These imaginary other girls' panties?"

"Still them."

"It would depend on how they reacted."

Again Denver touched my panties, and he stayed on them this time. First just at the edges, teasing the threat of venturing out more boldly. Slowly, so painfully slowly, he crept nearer to the forbidden zone.

"And what if they didn't react?"

I met Denver's eyes. We stared straight at each other even while his hand slid to a place it was never meant to be. I bit my lip and held my breath as I felt the exquisite pressure of his touch on my pussy. A thin strip of material kept us technically separated, but it was a very small technicality.

"I might take that as a sign to keep going," Denver whispered. "If a girl wanted me to stop at this point, she should probably say something to that effect."

I had to start breathing again, but my lips remained resolutely sealed. It was true I wasn't saying anything to stop him. That wasn't quite the same as giving him permission, or asking him to do anything, but I was hardly an innocent. I was more than playing along; in many ways it was my game. I just wasn't quite sure what game it was, or what the rules were.

Regardless of my internal confusion or my external air of indifference, Denver's fingers never stopped. His little circles had become far more interesting now that he'd reached such a sensitive area. The pressure of his touch had increased as well. It felt... nice. Not amazing or life-changing, nor indeed dirty or shameful. It was simply a pleasant sensation, and I was happy to let my brother keep doing it.

"You're getting hard," I said. "I can see it."

Denver's fingers hesitated just for a split-second. "Should I take my pants off too?"

I thought about it, then shook my head. "No. I don't think so. I'm not ready for that."

Denver gave me a curious look. "Why? It wouldn't have to mean anything. Nothing more than your pants being off." He paused. "Or is it because I'd be hard, and it'd be... quite visible."

"Partly, I guess. Mostly it's just different. I'm used to being looked at and it not meaning anything to me. It just happens. But when I look... it means something. You know?"

"Not really."

I looked away. "Maybe that's silly. I mean we're... we're doing kinda bad things already, aren't we?"

Denver shook his head firmly. "Doesn't have to be bad. Doesn't have to be anything. We're just, like, hanging out."

That was totally false. We weren't just hanging out. But... it was a convenient story to tell ourselves. That was not without value.

"Alright." I nodded. "Hanging out."

"One of us more than the other," Denver said under his breath.

My brother's touch became surer and firmer as the minutes passed. Partly I had the sense that he was waiting for me to decide it was too much, or that it needed to stop. Another, smaller part of me felt like I was being seduced. If Denver rubbed me only a tiny little bit harder at a time, then I could hardly find any reason to protest. If that was, in fact, his plan, then it was working. He was practically masturbating me through my panties, and I was reclining casually like nothing was happening.

The feigned nonchalance got harder and harder to maintain. Denver was doing things to me that made me want to react. I wanted to move my hips, maybe press more firmly against his hand. I wanted more, essentially. There was no way I could say so without letting him know how much he was getting to me. It would have meant dropping the pretense, and I wasn't ready for that.

It took an awful lot of effort to remain still and outwardly unaffected. My panties were damp; I could feel it without looking. Denver knew it too, or I assumed he did because all he was doing was staring at and touching my pussy by that point. Other than that, I gave him no sign that I was enjoying his touch. It was important to me for some reason; like somehow it made everything else ok.

Denver pulled the top of my panties down just far enough for the top of my slit to peek out. He did it so smoothly that I didn't even realize it until a few seconds later. I bit my lip hard enough to actually hurt to stop from gasping at the audacity of it.

"No hair, huh?" he said.

"Fucking perv."

"That's where the perv line is at now, is it?"

I turned my head away. "Whatever." Then, because I felt compelled to explain myself. "I just like the way it looks better."

"Me too. I'm just a little surprised you'd go through the effort, unless... there was someone worth putting in the effort for."

I flushed. It really had nothing to with Denver, but now he probably thought it did. Or maybe he'd think it was about another boy. I wasn't sure which was worse.

"Not everything's about the way I look to other people, you know."

"Sure, sure. But how much time do you really spend looking at...."

"My vagina?" I looked Denver dead in the eye, using the full extent of a sudden burst of confidence. I'd detected some hesitation in his speech, and it reassured me that I wasn't any more out of my depth than he was. "Fine. You're right. I don't look at it that much."

I was gratified that my brother was the one to redden and turn away this time. It was actually kind of adorable, though I wasn't in quite the right mood to appreciate it.

"That's ok," he said. "I just--"

"I like the way it feels, ok?"

Denver was blushing furiously. I smiled in the satisfaction that was winning this round. Whatever that meant.

"I like it too," he said quietly.

His fingers slipped into my panties. I wasn't prepared for it even though I'd spent the last several minutes wondering if he'd actually go that far. Turned out he would. I couldn't stifle my gasp fast enough this time. My brother was actually touching me directly; nothing between us. I closed my eyes and leaned back a little more.

"Relly!"

My eyes flashed open. Mom's voice from upstairs? What--

"Relly! Are you downstairs?!"

"Fuck! Fuck fuck fuck." I scrambled off the bed and away from Denver's exquisitely sinful caress. "Fucking goddamn fuck."

My pants wouldn't cooperate and it took me far longer to pull them on that it should have. Denver watched impassively from his seat on the bed.

"That's some timing," he said.

"Don't start with me."

"I wasn't. I was just saying--"

"Fuckfuckfuck. Jesus fuck."

I was still swearing as I climbed the stairs. My voice grew quieter until it was less than a whisper by the time I made it back to the main floor. Of course I couldn't be allowed to just experience the moment. Of course I couldn't actually have something that felt nice. That wasn't how my life went. Maybe Fay had been right all those times she talked about me needing a boy. Obviously this wasn't quite what she meant, but still.

"What, Mom?"

I carefully modulated my tone so that it came out curious rather than irritated. I could only imagine trying to explain that she'd interrupted my very first fingering from my brother. The thought actually gave me pause. First fingering? Like there'd be a second? I had to shake the thought from my head. I couldn't handle it right now.

"Did you leave this mess all over the living room?"

Aw, shit. I'd laid the foundation for my own ruin. That seemed about right.

"Yeah, sorry. I was doing homework, and I just went to take a break...." I sighed. "Sorry. I'll clean it up."

Mom's face softened and she shook her head. "No, don't worry about it. It's ok if it's for school. I shouldn't have yelled for you. It should have been obvious that's what it was." She waved her hand at my books and papers. "I just came home and saw a disaster area, is all."

"Uh... ok then."

I rubbed my arm awkwardly. I was still on edge from Denver rubbing me, and I desperately wanted to run back downstairs and make him do it some more. For various reasons, that was out of the question. The moment had passed, and I didn't want Mom to wonder why I was so eager to hang out in my brother's room.

"I'm sorry if I've been too hard on you lately, sweetie," Mom said.

"Nah, it's fine."

"I don't think it is. But then, I find it's very hard to read you these days. It was so much easier when you were little."

I pushed my hair back and shrugged. "I mean, I guess I could use more space sometimes. And about my name...."

Mom's shoulders sagged slightly. "I know, you don't like it. I really wish you'd give it more of a chance. It's such a beautiful name."

"I've had eighteen years to 'give it a chance,' Mom. Being named after a Disney princess is never gonna be my thing."

"Oh, now...." Mom took a breath. "You know very well you're named after your great-grandmother."

"Yeah, and maybe it was fine back in her day. Not very many 'Esmeraldas' around anymore, gotta tell ya."

For lack of anything better to do, I got down on my knees and started gathering up my things. Mom knelt down next to me and helped.

"You know why we started calling you Relly, don't you?"

"'Cause of Den, right?"

"That's right. He couldn't pronounce your name at first. Called you 'Ess-muh-relly.' We had to shorten it for him, poor little guy."

I smiled at the thought of my tiny brother trying to work his way through my monstrosity of a name. "Thank goodness he wasn't a speech prodigy."

Mom looked askance at me, but she was still smiling and didn't chastise me again. "I love you, you know," she said.

"I know, Mom. Love you too."

****

Denver didn't join me for nighttime tv watching. I couldn't really blame him, but it still stung a little. It felt like a rejection of some sort, even though I was, like, ninety-five percent sure it wasn't. Maybe things were just a bit too weird for him, or maybe....

I giggled to myself at the thought that my big brother was in his room jerking off while thinking about me. It was such an absurd image in my head. He'd gotten a decent feel of my pussy, and maybe that would be enough. I wasn't really entirely certain how it worked with boys and their masturbation habits.

There was no way, though. No way Denver had locked himself in his room and stripped down, then lay back on his bed and thought about me. No way. Probably.

I drove myself kind of crazy obsessing over the possibility. And for all that, I wasn't sure how I felt about it. After the initial amusement wore off, it actually made me a little bit anxious. Like, how fucked up did it make me that I was thinking so much about it. Even worse, what kind of girl actually just sat still and let her brother finger her?

I poured myself a whole hand of scotch and sat by myself in a dark living room. I sipped my drink and browsed Netflix for something to take my attention off my actual life. A show about a mom who starts eating people saved the day. It was funnier than it had a right to be, and actually got me laughing despite my turbulent emotional state.

It just wasn't the same by myself. It was still fun, but a couple evenings with Denver had spoiled me. I liked sitting, and sometimes cuddling, with my brother. I liked sharing one of my favourite shows with him. It was going to really, really suck if it turned out that had been ruined.

****

At school the next day, I had a few problems. I'd managed to skip breakfast due to sheer lack of time, and didn't have any food with me for much the same reason. My other, somewhat related problem, was my best friend.

"There is no way I'm letting you eat cafeteria food," Fay told me.

She physically blocked my path, and I didn't feel up to forcing my way past her. My tummy was seriously complaining, and I was too cranky from low blood sugar to finesse my way through.

"I understand what you're saying," I said. "Normally I wouldn't. But I NEED to eat."

"Then we'll go somewhere. Even fast food's better than the shit they serve here. I tried the pizza once...." Fay stopped and shuddered at the memory.

"I know. I was there. It was... disturbing."

"So you see my point." Fay took my arm and pointed adventurously forward. "To the car!"

"M'not supposed to," I mumbled. "Don't have permission to leave school grounds and whatever."

"Oh, pff. No one checks. Long as you're back for next period, you're golden."

"I don't know...." My tummy grumbled audibly, rather undercutting my argument. "Alright, fine. But we're gonna be quick, right?"

"In and out. Promise."

And that was how I found myself being driven out of the school parking lot in the middle of the day. It wasn't a particularly rebellious gesture in the overall scheme of things. Next to getting seriously felt up by my brother, it shouldn't have even registered. In the moment, however, it was just one more abnormality I had to try and reconcile with my internal vision of what my life was.

My hunger ended up overwhelming my other concerns by the time we made it to the nearest fast food place. I was out of Fay's car and heading for the entrance before she'd shut off the engine. She only caught up with me because I had to wait in line behind someone before I got to the counter.

"Two burgers," I said once it was my turn.

The guy behind the counter tilted his head slightly. "Ok, what kind--"

"Two burgers. Quickly please. You have no idea how little I care what's on them."

"I don't want a burger, actually," Fay said.

"That's fine. I--"

"I'll have fries, I think. Maybe a medium order of fries."

"Ok, but--"

"Or a large? Do you want any fries, Relly? We could split them."

I turned back to the bemused cashier. "Two burgers and a large fries." I held out a twenty dollar bill. "Here is a money. Please put the damn order in. You haven't pressed any buttons yet."

"Well--" said the burger guy.

"Maybe a diet coke too," mused Fay. "I could go for--"

"Fay, I'm going to gnaw off your arm if you don't shut up and let me get my food."

"So, two plain hamburgers, a large fries, and a diet coke?" said the guy. "Is that right?"

"Yes, thanks," I said, still hopefully thrusting my money at him.

"What size drink would you like?"

I stared at him in a mixture of hatred and amazement that I couldn't get a simple order through. Fay was losing it behind me. I tried in vain to ignore her stifled giggling.

The girl at the next register had become free, so I slid over in front of her instead. (next Chap 2)
----------- Chap 1 - Chap 2 - Chap 3 -----------
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