Serendipity - Version Bravo
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sorry," I said, as an opening.
"Oh, can it,"
she said. "You're a man.
All three of them are babes. You
don't have a sorry bone in your
true," I said. "If this causes
pain between us for the rest of our lives, I'll be sorry for the rest
life too. I love you."
She stared at me for a
seconds, and then looked around.
"Not here," she
said. I didn't know what she meant.
She looked toward the kitchen.
"There," she said, but I didn't think
she was actually talking to me.
She went to the kitchen,
where she picked up the cup she'd apparently used before, and poured
another cup of coffee. She sat down at
the table and looked at me.
Coffee was the last thing on my mind.
"Do you remember
Danny Trimble?" she asked.
I was completely confused.
I had no idea what she was talking about.
"No," I said,
she said, and then took a sip. "He
cornered me under the stairs and felt my boobs.
I thought back.
I did remember now. I
got expelled because of Danny Trimble.
"Yes," I said.
"When you found out
what he'd done, you were so mad. We were
supposed to get on the bus, but you went and found him and beat the
shit out of
He shouldn't have touched you."
"Why shouldn't he
have touched me?"
"You were my
sister!" I said.
And why did you warn every boy I ever dated
not to lay a hand on me?"
"Um ... you were my
sister?" I thought this should all
be obvious, but was getting a feeling that there was an undercurrent
couldn't put my finger on.
No boys were allowed to touch me, because you
were my big brother."
"Okay," I said,
"So what was I
supposed to think?"
I was really confused
"I don't know ...
that I loved you?"
I sat there and looked at
"You are so stupid!"
I didn't understand anything.
"I was twelve,"
said Hannah. "I didn't understand anything
She took a sip of coffee
and put the cup down so hard that it slopped over.
She ignored that and leaned towards me.
"Except that my big
brother loved me and didn't want any other
boys to touch me."
Her emphasis on the word
"other" gripped my mind like a rat terrier and shook it.
"Could you maybe talk
about that a little more?" I asked.
She looked at the
asks," she sighed.
moaned. "I'm trying here.
I really am, but I'm very confused right
now. What you're saying almost sounds
like ... except I don't want to jump to any wrong conclusions."
"I loved you,"
said Hannah, softly. "You were my
knight in shining armor. I was your
princess. You were supposed to carry me
away and we were supposed to live happily ever after."
"But you were twelve,"
I reminded her.
"Yes, and then I was
fourteen, and fifteen, and so on, and you still
tried to keep other boys away from me."
"But not so I could
do things to you myself," I said.
"I know that
now. I figured that out in college.
But back then I kept waiting for you to come
to me and demand my favors, to claim what you had been defending all
years. I dreamed of how it would be when
I gave you my virginity. And, at the
same time, I knew it could never happen.
You were my brother, after
all, and brothers and sisters aren't allowed to love each other that
way. So I knew it was all just a fantasy."
"Okay," I said,
feeling better. "Good.
You went on to fall in love and get
married. I'm so sorry we lost him, but
at least you had that for a little while."
said, sadly. "And I tried to find
another man, but I compared them all to Chad ... and you ... and I
up. I decided that particular dream just
wasn't for me any more."
"That's sad," I
She stared at me.
"And then I find out
that my daughter got to live out my fantasy."
That cattle prod nudged me again.
"It wasn't like
that," I said.
"It was exactly
like that," she
replied. "While she sat there,
trying to convince me that all this was okay, I heard my dream playing
"She gave you
intimate detail?" I asked, breathlessly.
"Of course not,"
snorted Hannah. "She didn't have
to. I'd dreamed about it enough times
that it all came flooding back."
She stared at me. "And three
Her eyes went to the
coffee cup as she lifted, and took a sip. When she put it down, she
"You're quite the
I leaned back in my
chair. The world wasn't topsy turvy any
more. It was like one of those paint
shakers they have at the hardware store.
"I'm sorry," I
"It wasn't your
fault," she sighed. "You were
oblivious. I knew that back then on some
level. And it was just a
She leaned back in her
"I think that's what
makes this so difficult. I didn't have
the courage to tell you how I felt when I was having all those
Suddenly she stood, and
I didn't know what to
so I stayed mute. Apparently that was
the right thing to do, because she went on.
"I understand how
Caitlin could be attracted to you ... could have the same kinds of
fantasies. But she did
something about it. She had
the courage to make that dream
She stopped and looked at
"I'm sorry," I
said again. It seemed to be the only
thing I could come up with.
"Are you sorry you
made her dream come true, or that you got caught?"
That got me.
How do you respond to something like that?
"I'm sorry that you
got hurt in the process," I finally said.
She paced again.
"Do you have any
idea how often I thought about you
after Chad died? Do you understand how
many times I wanted to come to you for comfort ... to feel your arms
... to ... to feel that kind of love again?"
"I don't know what to
say," I sighed. "I'm beginning
to get some idea."
"What makes me so mad
... so frustrated ... is that while you obviously didn't feel that way
... you decided it was okay to do this with Caitlin.
Why didn't you think about doing it with me?"
"That's easy," I
said. "I did think about
it back then.
I tried dozens of times to figure out a way to see you naked.
But I felt guilty about it.
I knew it was wrong for me to feel that way
about you. And the thought of those guys
pawing you made me furious. If I
couldn't have you, I didn't want anybody else to have you either.
But I couldn't do anything about it.
I was your brother."
Caitlin? That was an accident.
I didn't plan that. And
even though I thought about her just like
I'd thought about you, I didn't do anything about it."
"You most certainly
did," she countered.
"What I mean is that I don't know how this all
them," she suggested.
"I didn't intend to
seduce them," I said.
"I don't think that
was what they planned either. Not
really. They just wanted to see what some things were like."
"And things got out
of hand," she said.
"Because you're a
man," she offered.
I looked at her.
Things were better than they had been.
They were better than I could have dreamed
they'd be, under the circumstances. I felt
like I should take all the blame ... but each of the girls had chosen
something ... taken some action without my urging them to.
it all my fault?
If I'd turned down their
very first request, when they so innocently asked if they could skinny
my pool, none of this would have happened.
Well ... not with
They still would have
all the things they'd done. Just not as
soon, and not all with one guy.
Who was to blame?
said. "I'm not trying to make
excuses, but this didn't all happen just because I'm a man.
Some of it happened because they are
women." That sounded pretty vague
after I said it. "Do you
She stared back at me.
She got up and got a
towel. She used it to wipe up the
spilled coffee under her cup. Things had
moved forward in a way that, to me, was quite positive.
No call to 911 had been involved, for
instance. And we had talked.
I wanted to keep things moving forward, and I
thought that the best way to do that was to give Hannah all the options.
She hadn't had a choice in any of this,
including the way she found out about it.
So I thought letting her decide what to do might make her feel
better. More in control, sort of.
"So what do you want
to do now?" I asked.
That turned out to be too
vague an option.
"I don't know,"
she said. "My mind is
whirling. I haven't had time to process
"I can take you both
to the airport," I suggested.
"Of course I'll pay for your tickets."
Her eyes seemed to be
looking at something far, far away as she responded.
"I don't have to be
back to work for a week. I planned on
begging to go with the two of you on one of your famous adventures."
She blinked, and her eyes
came back to the here and now.
"Looks like I got my
She didn't crack a smile,
but her lips didn't register sarcasm or anger either.
"I'm really sorry,
Hannah," I sighed. "This was
just supposed to be so they could experiment with a guy who wouldn't
it to all his buddies in school the next day.
It wasn't supposed to go anywhere near
as far as it did."
She took another sip of
coffee and wiped the table again before putting the cup down.
"Caitlin told me it
all started when you caved and let them go skinny dipping."
I felt something like
vu whirl around me as she mentioned the exact same thing I'd been
about less than a minute before.
"I was stupid,"
I said. "I tried to teach them a
"I thought that if I
demanded to be naked with them, they'd chicken out and give up."
She blinked twice, and
"You can't be that
I winced, but it was only
a mental wince.
"Did you know they'd
been planning on asking to do that for two years before they actually
I felt like I should have
been able to figure that out, and felt stupid because I hadn't.
I shook my head.
After other things happened, Kat told me some
things about them that I should have known.
I mean I should have seen it.
Figured it out."
"If you had been
trying to seduce them, you
would have figured it out," said Hannah.
"That's what makes me so conflicted about all this.
I know you're
a good man, a decent man. I can't
believe you got involved in all
this. When I walked in and saw you in
bed, naked, with three girls ... three girls,
Bob ... I thought aliens had replaced you with one of them."
"I mean I didn't
actually think you were an alien ... but
I couldn't understand how it could be you.
And the way Caitlin ..." She
blinked again. "I can't get used to
you people calling her Kat. Anyway, when
Caitlin wasn't ashamed, and didn't back
down, and act like a little
girl with her hand in the cookie jar, and pled her case ... your case
ardently ..." Her shoulders
slumped. "I don't know.
I know how I felt about you, so I guess I
understand how she can feel about you."
I didn't respond.
I wanted to let her get on with the
processing she'd mentioned. She looked
up at me.
"It just seems so
unfair!" she said, stridently.
Now, I am fully aware
was at that time as well) that laughter was not the appropriate
response to her
comment. Maybe the tension in me had to
find an outlet, but the fact is that when she said those words, in the
tone and inflection that all the musketeers had said it at one time or
it was just funny. It was like some
hilarious universal truth had been unveiled before me.
And I laughed.
laughed so hard I had to grip the table to
keep from falling off my chair.
Hannah, of course, did
share my amusement.
"What's so fucking
funny?" she growled.
She had to ask that at
least five more times, and the problem was that instead of halting my
it fed it, because she started out angry, demanding an answer, and by
I simply couldn't laugh any longer without passing out, her voice had
to that of a woman begging, wheedling for something to help her
I reached to grasp both
her hands in mine. She didn't pull away,
which I interpreted as a good sign.
"Give me a minute,"
"You're acting very
strangely," she said.
"I thought you
noticed that already," I panted.
Her fingers gently
returned my grasp. It was very slight,
but it was the opposite of rejection, and I welcomed it.
Finally I was able to explain.
"I think of them as
The Three Musketeers. I've even
mentioned it to them. Their whole
attitude is one for all and all for one, and if one of them tried
then the other two had to try it too, even if they wouldn't have chosen
it prior to that. I can't tell you how
many times I said no, and got, 'But it's not fair,' in return."
I mimicked what I thought sounded like a high
pitched female voice as I said the phrase.
I squeezed her fingers
"Now I find out
there's a fourth musketeer."
I thought I was making a
joke. And it was a joke specifically
about that phrase. It was all about
"It's not fair!" in my mind.
But to Hannah, the
interpretation of my comments took on a different aspect.
To her it wasn't a joke.
To her ... it really
That turned out to be
something pivotal in our relationship
We were still sitting
there when the girls got back. I don't
mean to jump all over the place, but there were several things going on
moment which affected the future.
We weren't talking at
moment. I know that doesn't sound like
something important, but it fits into the mix.
That was important
Hannah was just thinking about things.
The adrenaline, and emotion of the situation had finally waned,
these few moments of silence gave her time to just think.
I was also sitting there
thinking, but it was about the fact that Hannah hadn't reacted to my
explanation of why I'd laughed, or my joke about the four musketeers.
Another thing that was
important was that Emma and Ashley were still with Kat.
They could easily have gone home, and escaped
the tenseness that had filled my house.
But they hadn't. I noticed that,
and it took my mind off of Hannah's non-reaction. I
wondered if they were still afraid their
parents were going to become involved, and had come back to try again
I think another thing
was crucial at the time was that the attitude of all three girls was
submissive, rather than argumentative or rebelling.
"Can we come
in?" asked Caitlin, through the five inch crack in the door she had
I looked at Hannah.
It wasn't to give her the option, as I
mentioned a moment ago. I think I just
felt like she was in charge at the moment.
Hannah looked at the door.
"I suppose so,"
Like ducks in a row, the
three girls entered the room. They
looked scared, or worried, or unhappy.
Maybe it was a mix of all three emotions.
"We don't know what
to do," said Caitlin.
Hannah barked a laugh
had no humor in it at all.
first," she said.
Caitlin. "We really don't know what
to do. We didn't mean to get Uncle Bob
in trouble. It was supposed to be just
"Was it?" asked
Hannah. "Fun?" she added.
Caitlin blushed so
furiously that it would have been funny under other circumstances.
She actually bit her tongue.
said Hannah. "I know it was.
Don't mind me. I'm still a little
I grabbed onto the
adjective she'd used. Being a little
peeved was a tremendous
improvement over the way things had been a couple of hours ago.
"Emma and Ashley can
go home if they want to," said Hannah.
"Or stay. I don't care.
I'm not going to call anybody's parents."
The relief that emanated
from all three girls was palpable.
Still, though, they stood in a tight little group.
"So you're the Three
Musketeers," she said, her eyes ranging over the girls.
Ashley looked at Emma,
returned it. Caitlin was in front of
them, and didn't have anybody to exchange a look with.
"Don't just stand
there!" said Hannah, irritably.
"Come in and sit down."
Caitlin. "With you?"
"We have things to
talk about," said Hannah.
Kat. The sense of relief fled the room.
There were only four
chairs, and two of them were already filled.
The musketeers divvied up the other two by the simple expedient
Ashley sitting on one, Emma sitting on her lap, sideways, and giving
"It pains me to have
to ask this question," said Hannah, as the girls finally got settled.
"But I'm a mother, and mothers think
about these things. Did you use
protection when Bob ... uh ... when things happened with Bob?"
Caitlin. I was positive, in that moment,
that she would answer all future questions with what she thought her
"wanted" to hear, whether it was true or not.
Ashley apparently thought
some additional evidence was needed.
"I cleaned up a whole
bag of them this morning," she said, proudly.
Hannah put her elbow on
table, and rested her forehead in her hand.
"Did you always use protection?" she asked,
proving that she was aware that canned answers might be produced, in
Caitlin opened her mouth,
and then closed it. I got the impression
she was deciding which way to go. It
made me proud when she told the truth, but I winced at the same time.
"Most of the
time," she said. "Almost all
the time," she edited.
Hannah left her head in
"So which of you
might be pregnant?"
That one was met with
complete silence. She raised her head
and her eyes shot daggers at them.
question," she demanded.
Three hands went up, very
"Why me?" she
sighed, as her head went back down.
Nobody answered that
one. Everybody was pretty sure it was
"That only happened
once, for each of us," said Caitlin, trying to ameliorate the
situation. Apparently it was back to
fudging the facts.
"Once is all it
takes," said Hannah, lifting her head again. "Obviously,
we'll have to keep an eye on
this issue. I'd like to be kept in the
loop when the answer arrives."
"Yes!" said all
three girls at once, trying to garner favor, no doubt.
Hannah leaned back.
"May I assume that
this ... um ... relationship will continue when I take Caitlin back
It was obvious she was
talking to Ashley and Emma, but I was astounded that she'd ask that
"Um ... no," said
Ashley, with that voice that kids use when they say "Well,
Hannah sat up
straight. The interest she had in that
answer was obvious.
"Why not?" she asked.
Ashley looked at Emma,
they both looked at Hannah.
"Caitlin won't be
here," said Ashley.
"We don't come over here when she's not
"So you don't want
to have an extended relationship with Bob?"
She pointed to Emma. "You.
Emma. Why don't you want to
doing this with him?"
Emma looked everywhere in
the room except at Hannah. Thankfully
Hannah gave her time to overcome her shyness and speak.
"I like him.
A lot. I kind of love him.
But he's old.
I mean I love what he taught me.
But I can't go on dates with
him, or anything like that. And if
Ashley and Caitlin aren't there ... I don't know ... it
would seem like
Hannah looked at
Ashley. "Is that along the lines of
you feel too?"
"If he invited the two of
you to come over to ... um ... play ... would
you do it?"
Emma looked at Ashley,
it was Ashley who spoke.
"Only if Caitlin said it
Hannah looked at me.
"I do not believe
"Oh, I believe
that's how you feel now, but I've been in
You're going to have needs."
"Oh, we have a
dildo," said Emma, helpfully.
"Just one?" asked
"We share it," said
was trying hard to be helpful. "We
"So I understand,"
said Hannah, looking a little pale.
She was apparently
finished with those two, and looked at her daughter.
"You and I will discuss this later."
Now Hannah looked at
Ashley and Emma again.
"I assume the three of you
are in frequent contact?"
"We're on Facebook" said Ashley.
"All right, then,"
said Hannah, as if that settled something. "I'd
like some privacy to talk to my brother
and daughter now. Can you two go
Emma stood up
instantly. I think she was in a hurry to
get out, now that she knew nobody was going to rat her out to her
Ashley stood too, once
lap was free. They had happened to be
sitting next to me, and what she did next was, I think, purely from
She leaned down and
Or tried to.
I didn't exactly kiss her back. She
stood up, looking uncertain.
Thanks," she said. I think
she was very unsettled.
Emma looked at Caitlin,
then Hannah and then at me. I knew what
was running through her mind. She felt
like this leave taking might be the last for us. And
she wanted a goodbye kiss. I knew that to
do this in front of Hannah
would be hurtful, so I stood.
"I'll see you
out," I said.
I took them to the back
door and stepped outside with them.
"What's going to
happen?" asked Emma, immediately coming to me for a
know," I said.
"Am I never going to see
"You live next door to me,
You almost have to see me every once in a while."
That seemed to placate
"This is all fucked
up," said Ashley, coming to squeeze into the hug.
"We all made decisions,
and now we have to live with the consequences,"
pedistic again," groused Ashley.
"Hannah's not the
only one who'd like to be kept in the loop," I
said. "I'm not going to back
out on my
"Like what?" asked
"I'd like to know
the next time you have a period," I said.
"If either of you is
pregnant, I'm not going to run away," I said.
"Okay, but I'm
not," said Emma.
I started to ask her how
she knew that, but knew I'd get some off the wall answer, so I
"Go on home now.
I'll see you
Maybe they thought that
Hannah knowing about things meant that "things" were over.
For whatever reason they insisted on getting
their goodbye kiss, and this time I kissed them back.
What I didn't know
that Hannah had been watching the whole thing out the kitchen window.
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