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Author’s Note: Wow. I received a lot of feedback on chapter 17, all of it good, and that’s not a generalisation. I have to say I’m slightly (read: massively) overwhelmed by the reaction to these stories; I never in my wildest dreams thought people would like them this much. It’s also very bizarre when people start asking me what other Literotica stories I read and what my inspirations are. So, uh, before I start gushing, I’ll just say a quick thank you, to everyone that has left a comment, sent an e-mail, voted or just read the stories. You’re my inspirations. And how tacky does that sound? Oh, well.
Thanks again to MaginMan for the editing. Enjoy.
Josh felt as though he was swimming up through murky water when he woke the next morning. It took him a while to regain conciousness, but the second he did, the memory of the previous night lanced through him like a burning spear. He screwed his eyes shut and willed it not to be real, not to be in Alice’s bed when he opened them. But it was real, and he was in her bed, and the pain was worse than ever.
It was barely daylight, and the room was still hazy with darkness. Josh was lying with his head on Alice’s chest, his mouth leaking saliva onto her breast. He lifted his head and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, then looked down at his sister. She looked agitated, even in her sleep. Josh had spent enough time over the last few days watching her sleeping face, and he knew now that it wasn’t as peaceful as it could have been. She was lying still nevertheless – on her back, with an arm around Josh’s shoulders. She looked thin and fragile, he thought, like a house of cards that he was threatening to destroy. But at the same time her cheeks were red and her heart was beating methodically – so full of life.
Josh felt dead though. Life was a bitter memory in the back of his mind that no longer welcomed him. His stomach was tied impossibly tight, stiff and heavy and hollow with the weight of his guilt. It threatened to overwhelm him, and he let it, and drowned in its misery.
Alice began to stir; her eyes fluttered open as if in a dream. “Josh?” she whispered.
Josh found that he couldn’t look at her. He lifted his head away from her body and untangled his legs from hers. “I should go.”
“No,” said Alice, holding his wrist. “Josh, please don’t.”
Josh shook his head and tried to move. “Al, I have to,” he said. “I can’t—“
“Neither can I,” said Alice. “I’m scared too, Josh, but I can’t do this alone. I don’t want you to go.”
Josh lifted his eyes to hers and realised that he couldn’t leave, not after what he’d done. He felt terrible and racked with guilt, but how much worse must Alice feel? He couldn’t just abandon her because of his own selfish feelings. So he lay back down and let her put her arms around him, and when she had, he wondered how he had ever hoped to leave. She cuddled him tight and he felt lost in her, falling almost. The only thing that had any clarity in his mind was Alice, her naked body pressed against him, one leg between his legs and both arms wrapped around him. He clung to her desperately, afraid and ashamed, but not alone.
Minutes passed. Josh felt soothed by Alice’s soft caress as her fingertips brushed his cheek. His eyes closed for a long time, before he opened them to look up at her. “I’m sorry, Al,” he whispered.
“Shh,” Alice said softly. “We’ll work it out.”
“Well,” said Alice, thoughtfully, “we’ll wait and we’ll see if I get my period.”
Josh lowered his head again and choked back tears. “I’m sorry,” he said.
“Josh, don’t,” said Alice. “Don’t apologise. It’s not your fault.”
“It is,” Josh croaked. “I couldn’t stop. I should have, but…I couldn’t.”
“Neither could I,” said Alice. “And I’m not sorry that I didn’t.”
Josh looked up again. “You’re not?”
Alice shook her head and smiled softly. “I love you, Josh,” she said. “It was going to happen sooner or later.”
Josh looked away again, his ear resting on her chest as she stroked his hair. He was torn between his emotions: fear and overpowering guilt on the one hand, a calm serenity on the other. He knew that if Alice weren’t here to soothe his pain with her kind words and soft touch, the fear and guilt would win and he would drown in them, just as he was drowning in her arms.
The next few days were some of the most terrible of Josh’s life. He had found it far harder than he thought to leave Alice’s bed that morning and stalk miserably back to his room. He registered very little of what he did during the day. He may have showered or he may not have, he may have walked to school or been driven by Jacquie, and he had no idea how many hours he slept at night, because it made little difference in the morning.
He missed Alice with an aching throb inside his chest, so much so that on occasion he would be forced to lock his door, curl up on his bed and cry…if he could. He wanted to hold her and stroke her again, but more than kartal escort that he wanted her to hold and stroke him, to tell him everything would be okay and that he didn’t have to worry. It was such an intense physical pain that his muscles cramped up and his appetite vanished and he felt all the time as though he was going to be sick.
He wanted Jacquie as well, to smile at him and rub his back and hug him tightly; but he couldn’t go to her because she would ask for an explanation. Dawn was the biggest problem; Josh was so tired and miserable that he couldn’t even summon the energy to reproach her when she threw herself at him. She attempted to cheer him up, but Josh had no delusions about why she was doing it.
“What’s wrong?” she asked him in the study one afternoon, not for the first time. Josh had been sitting in the high-backed leather chair, doing homework, when she skipped in and straddled his lap so that she was facing him.
“Nothing,” Josh replied, brushing aside her concern.
Dawn rolled her eyes. “Come on, Josh – something’s wrong. What is it?”
“It’s nothing,” Josh said again.
“I will listen, you know,” said Dawn. “We may be bitter enemies and fuck-buddies but I’m still your sister. Come on – what is it?”
Josh sighed. “It’s nothing, Dawn, okay? Just forget about it.”
Dawn pressed her nose up against his and smiled mischievously. “I can make it better,” she said in a singsong voice, her hand sliding down his body to his crotch and gripping it firmly.
Josh jumped and gasped. It felt nice, and he wanted it – was burning for it – but he couldn’t. Not with Dawn. “Don’t,” he said, and lifted her hand away.
Dawn moaned in disappointment and looked sulky. “Jooooosh,” she crooned, “what is it? Come on, tell me.” She paused and waited for him to say something, then continued when he didn’t. “Do you want me to blow you?” she said. “Or we can take a shower. Or make out? Anything, Josh – I’ll let you do anything you want. Do you want me to invite Lara over?” Josh shook his head. “Wanna watch me finger myself, if you’re too tired?” He shook his head again. Dawn groaned and put her hands on his shoulders. “Josh, come on, snap out of it. I don’t like seeing you like this – it makes me feel bad and I don’t like it.”
Josh smiled vaguely, unable to appreciate the landmark event that was Dawn discovering empathy. It took her a while – all day actually – to give up, but she did eventually, and left Josh to his tortured thoughts.
Alice had told Josh that it would be around two weeks before she got her next period, and they passed by more slowly than any other weeks in Josh’s life. The days trickled by like grains of burnt sand through a miserable wreck of an hourglass. Time was Josh’s enemy now, but he wished it would go faster, so that he would know.
He’d dreamt of Dawn becoming pregnant before, but the horror he’d felt then had faded the moment he woke up. Now it clung to him wherever he went and stayed with him at all hours of the day. In the end he had to make up a story about a fight he and Valerie were having, to deter the constant questions he received from Jacquie, Dawn and his mother. He sent out a silent apology to Valerie, and felt awful for using her like this, but it couldn’t be helped.
The only time he felt any peace, and the only time he felt completely miserable, was when he was with Alice. She had come to his room the night after they had slept together. Josh had enough strength only to move aside and then roll back into her arms once she was in the bed with him. She held him like a child to her breast and caressed him until he stopped shaking and fell asleep. In the morning she was gone, and Josh started to shake again.
The days were particularly hard, sitting in class at school and pretending to be so engrossed in the work that he couldn’t hold a conversation. It worked, for the most part, except with Valerie. He had no classes with her but he saw her often in the yard now, and she had picked up on his melancholy right away.
“Are you okay, Josh?” she’d asked him.
“I’m fine,” he replied, putting on a brave face.
She’d smiled so warmly at him that for a second all his fears and concerns had vanished and he’d felt nothing but a blissful happiness. It was only for a second, though, and then they returned, as painful as ever.
Spending time with Valerie, however, was too painful, as she reminded Josh so much of Alice. She had the same brilliant smile, the same simple hairstyle and that amazing ivory skin. So he found ways of avoiding her, just as he found ways of avoiding Dawn and Jacquie.
During the nights he would wait for Alice to come to his room and then he would cling to her until he fell asleep. She hugged him and rubbed his back and comforted him as best she could, but still he was restless.
After two weeks had finally passed – the longest period of time Josh had lived through, since he was twelve, without cumming – he woke early one morning, when it was maltepe escort bayan still dark, and found Alice awake beside him.
“I should get my period today,” she told him, and squeezed his hands tight. “It’ll be okay, Josh. Don’t worry.”
By now, though, he could sense the same tone of fear in her voice as he could in his, though Alice hid it well, for his sake. They clutched each other desperately and calmed themselves with soft kisses on the lips, but once the morning began Josh was as frightened as he’d ever been.
He saw Alice one more time in his room before he left for school, and almost collapsed against her. She rubbed his shoulders and smiled at him. “It’ll be fine, Josh,” she said. “Just go to school and have fun and don’t worry about it.”
“I want to stay,” said Josh. “I want to stay home with you.”
Alice shook her head. “You have to go to school. The others are already suspicious. And it won’t be long. I’ll see you this afternoon, okay?”
Josh looked miserably at the floor and nodded. “Okay.”
It was the longest day of Josh’s life. He watched every clock in every classroom as the minutes ticked by slower than falling feathers. Every movement of the hands matched the ominous beating of his own heart, counting down the time until he would know, for certain, whether he had ruined Alice’s life.
The second the final bell rang, he rushed out of the classroom, grabbed his bag from his locker – without packing any books – and ran home. Every step made his heart beat faster, his head throb harder and his stomach twist tighter. He wanted to get to Alice as quickly as possible but he also wanted to turn around and run as fast as he could in the other direction. She would be home alone, luckily, so he wouldn’t have to wait for the answer.
She wasn’t in the living room when Josh walked in, nor in the kitchen or the study. His heart beat faster and faster as he climbed the stairs and checked her room. She wasn’t there either, and now he was beginning to panic.
He hadn’t really expected to find her in his room, but that was where she was, sitting neatly on the edge of the bed, hands folded in her lap. She looked up when Josh came in, and he could see right away that she’d been crying. No, he thought, please, no.
He crossed over to the bed and sat down beside her, putting an arm around her shoulders. Alice looked and him for a moment and tried to smile, then leaned into him and let him put both arms around her. Josh could tell that she was holding back the majority of her tears, and he hated that she was, because she was doing it for him. And she shouldn’t be; she shouldn’t have to be strong for his sake. So he would be strong for her.
“Al,” he whispered, inclining his head.
She turned her tear-stained face up to his and opened her mouth. “I’m late,” she said. “It hasn’t come.”
Suddenly the ground had vanished, along with the walls and the bed and everything else inside Josh’s room. He couldn’t see anything except Alice’s teary eyes; couldn’t hear anything except her muffled sobs; and couldn’t feel anything except her shaking body in his arms. His throat was constricted so tightly that he couldn’t speak for a long time.
“What…” he said at length, “what does that mean?”
Alice sniffed and brushed the back of her hand across her eyes. “It might not mean I’m pregnant,” she said. “It might come tonight, or maybe tomorrow.”
“And if it comes after that?” Josh asked, already dreading the answer.
Alice didn’t bother to reply; she just lowered her head to Josh’s chest again and held him fiercely. It was his turn to swallow his grief and slowly caress her and whisper to her until she stopped crying. She never did though.
Josh felt a great deal of anger, which he knew was irrational, towards Jacquie, Dawn and his mother, who had come home and forced Alice into her room. It was the worst feeling yet, to know that she was lying in her bed, alone and crying, and he couldn’t even go to her. They should have been together for this.
He waited barely five minutes after everyone had retired to their rooms before sneaking out of his and going to Alice’s. He kept quiet, in case anyone was still awake, but he couldn’t wait any longer.
Alice’s door was unlocked, as he somehow knew it would be. He eased it gently open and closed it behind him. The room was as dark as it had been on that night two weeks ago. In the bed he could make out the shape of Alice’s body: a huddled lump of darkness, the rise and fall of her chest the only thing that differentiated her from the inanimate objects around her. Josh walked forward and knelt down on the floor. Alice rolled over and sat up, then leaned into Josh as his arms went around her. “Josh,” she said, her voice muffled by his shoulder and her tears.
“I’m here,” he said, squeezing her in his arms. “Did you…”
“No,” she whispered. A shuddering breath escaped Josh’s lips, but he bit others back so that he wouldn’t alarm escort pendik her.
“It’s okay,” he said, cupping the back of her head in his palm. “We’ll wait.”
He climbed into the bed beside her and she clung to him so tightly that it became painful, though he said nothing. Hours went by before she spoke. She swallowed her tears and took advantage of the small respite between them.
“Josh…if we…if I am…” She couldn’t finish. She pressed her lips tightly together as fresh tears rolled down her cheeks.
Josh held her to him and squeezed her hand. “It’s okay,” he said, though he wasn’t sure if that was true. “We can think about that later.”
Alice sobbed against his chest, Josh holding her closely in the hopes that he could bear some of her unhappiness, this misery that he’d inflicted upon her. She squeezed his hands between hers and whispered, “I love you, Josh,” more than once, before she fell asleep.
Josh woke in the morning without realising he’d fallen asleep. His head was groggy with sleep but he managed to open his eyes against the pale dawn light. He realised, instantly, and with an intense pining, that Alice wasn’t in his arms. He turned his head to the side and saw that she was sitting up, back to the headboard and knees pulled up to her chest.
“Hi,” she said when she saw him wake.
“Hi,” Josh mumbled, pushing himself up beside her. “Are you okay?”
Alice nodded, laboriously. Josh put his arm around her shoulders and she leaned against him, head nestled in the crook of his neck. He found her hand and twined his fingers together with hers, both of them looking down at the skin-coloured weave they made. Josh found the simple gesture more pleasant than any he’d experienced so far; it was so comfortable, so easy.
He bent his head towards Alice’s and with his free hand, stroked the soft skin below her ear. She was the first to speak.
“I’m going to buy a pregnancy test. I don’t want to wait any longer.”
Josh bit back the shaky breath his lungs were dying to expel and gave her hand a squeeze. “Okay.”
Alice turned her face up to his and kissed him on the jaw. “If I am,” she said, “I’m keeping it.”
Josh’s heart banged hard against his ribcage and he felt every nerve in his body turn hot. “You are?” he said, looking down at her in disbelief. Her eyelids were red and puffy, betraying the copious amounts of tears she’d shed the night before. Josh knew that if she hadn’t used up all her tears then, she’d still be crying now. But, as it was, she looked too tired to do anything, even weep.
“Yes,” she said. “I love you.”
Josh supposed that was her reason, and he felt his heart beat even faster. To do something like that, to risk everything, she must love him as much he loved her. He was taken aback by it, and could do little but hug her and kiss the top of her head repeatedly.
When it came time to leave, Josh was giving serious consideration to any excuse that would allow him to stay at home with Alice today. But she told him that it was important he didn’t, and that she would be at work anyway.
“You’re working?” Josh asked incredulously.
Alice nodded. “I have to do something or I’ll lose my mind. I’ll work until two and then I’ll stop at the pharmacy on my way home. I’ll wait for you though.”
Josh kissed her head again. “Al, no matter what happens…”
She smiled at him – a real smile. “I know.”
Josh smiled back as best he could, then disentangled himself – fingers last of all – and left her room.
The day dragged as slowly as the one before; more so even, now that he knew he’d definitely have an answer when it finished. He saw Valerie once, in the library, where she’d sat down next to him and just smiled encouragingly. Feeling he owed her an explanation, he inverted his story and told her he’d had a fight with one of his sisters.
“Is that Dawn?” she asked. She knew all about his sisters now – now that they were friends.
“Yeah,” said Josh, managing a smile.
“You guys really don’t like each other, do you?” Valerie observed.
“No, not really,” Josh replied, apologising to Dawn in his head.
Valerie hadn’t stayed long. She should have finished ten minutes earlier, and she even had her bag with her, but she’d stopped to see if Josh was okay, and he was touched more than he could tell her. She stood up at last, slung her bag over her shoulder and rubbed his arm comfortingly. “Cheer up,” she said, and gave him one of her cure-all smiles. He almost wanted her to stay, to sit with him just so that he wouldn’t feel so alone, but he watched her go, and waited for the bell.
This time he walked instead of ran home, because he was dreading it a lot more. His feet felt abnormally heavy in his shoes, hitting the pavement with damning echoes. He counted his steps, but lost track as soon as the house came into view. He was at the door in ten seconds, inside in five and up the stairs in another five. He went straight to his room and found Alice there, sitting on his bed in much the same pose as the day before, only this time she was holding a small box in her lap. When Josh entered, she looked up and smiled at him. Not a weary smile or an encouraging smile but a real, genuine Alice smile.
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