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Chapter Seven: A Family Secret
Four days passed before the funeral for our parents. Aunt Jenny flew out from California with her two kids and stayed with us. We left them to the house while we kept Kaitlyn in the barn with us. The shock on both Rene and me of losing our parents didn’t keep us apart, but in grieving, we just tried to comfort each other. It didn’t look strange to our aunt and cousins how we hugged. It didn’t feel weird, not anymore.
Everyone tried to help us through it as best they could. Friends of our parents came by and offered their condolences. Dad’s brother Ken and his wife Melissa came and stayed with us the night before the funeral. While Rene and I took to being the parents of our sister, the strain of so many eyes watching us, especially trying to open us up to them, did cause us both to stick to the barn mostly, hiding together from everyone. In the weeks following mom and dad’s deaths, we talked to each other, just as we did as kids, just as we’d done a thousand times as young adults.
The funeral took only an hour, but Rene and I stood resilient by then, drawing strength from only each other. At the wake, our parent’s lawyer took us to the study to talk privately about the will. While we’d taken care of our sister, it never dawned on either of us our parents would have given custody of her to someone else. The will left if very clear that custody would pass to our father’s brother and his wife, but somehow, hearing it didn’t help. He did also read out the contents of the will for us, along with other details. Our parents might not have been wealthy, but they left us enough to live a good life while we were in school, even beyond. The house and money they’d saved would go to us, to be split however the two of us decided, though a third of the million dollar life insurance policy would go into a trust fund for Kaitlyn.
As he got up to leave, he set down an envelope with a slight bulge in one part, then went on his way. I picked up the envelope as Rene just took in the information without saying anything. She didn’t have to, I knew she wanted to be a mother by now, and Kaitlyn certainly needed one now. Why she didn’t feel like the baby in her was enough, nothing could answer that question.
Upon opening a envelope, I found simply a note with a bank name and a number of a safety deposit box. It didn’t occur to me it might be weird, as dad always prepared for the worst. While I helped her accept the news, I resolved to take care of the bank matter the day after.
The wake, thankfully, my aunts and uncle handled. Most of the people we knew, with some of our friends hanging out with us. It felt better with them around, it certainly helped Rene with her feelings. After awhile, she felt good enough, with constant encouragement from Ally and Elisa, though I helped as much as they’d let me.
The wake broke up a little before sunset that day, as everyone went home to get away from the mournful house. As night fell, the three older adults, Jenny, Ken, and Melissa, gathered in the living room to talk, Jenny’s kids in the barn watching TV. While Rene went to her room to get Kaitlyn ready for bed, I grabbed up some of the left over food on a tray with some Cokes, heading out to the barn. I passed through the rec room upstairs, noticing Zack, my 15 year old cousin, watching me intently from a chair. Deciding to unsettle him, I shot him a dirty look, then made my way upstairs to the bedrooms.
After depositing the tray in my room, I made my way to her room, hit with the smell of a dirty diaper before even entering. She looked at me with a sickened look, but smiled anyway as I came up behind Rene, my arms wrapping around her while she worked.
Something told me I should’ve known it was coming now that we were alone. “Why’d mom and dad have to give her to Ken?” she asked in barely a whisper. The question didn’t take me by surprise, though, because she wanted to be a mother badly, I knew, even helping mom out from the day Kaitlyn came into the household. “Why couldn’t they have left her with us?”
As much as the truth hurt, it did need saying. “Because they didn’t know about us. Because we’re going off to school in a few months. Because they didn’t think we were ready to be parents. All of the above.” It did hurt to say, but again, it needed saying.
She sighed softly while dressing our sister again. “Still, they could’ve talked to us about it.”
“But they didn’t and there’s not much we can do about it now.” Rene slipped from my embrace. I watched as she moved to the crib we’d brought in for Kaitlyn, setting her down gently on the mattress. “Besides, there’s other things to think about.”
She didn’t turn to look at me, but softly said, “Like what?”
Feeling the need to comfort her did overwhelm me, as I stepped behind her, again encircling her waist. My hands worked up under her shirt, sliding to the taut tummy. “Like us and our baby. If you were taking care of Kaitlyn, you’d never have enough time to anadolu yakası escort just enjoy the pregnancy. You’ll be in school like me, and then we’ll have the baby, that’s gonna take up time, too. We still have things to do for our future. Taking care of Kaitlyn, along with everything, you’ll wear out and I’m not going to let you do that to yourself.”
Her hands slid under the shirt, covering mine, as she melted back against me, purring. “Mmm, how do you always know just what to say to make me feel better?” she asked, tilting her head to mine, granting me a soft touch of her lips.
“Because I love you,” I stated simply enough once my lips were free enough. It only earned me another, yet decidedly longer and more enjoyable, kiss.
The knock at the door sent me across the room in a heartbeat while Rene tucked our sister in. Ken opened the door, smiling slightly as he saw us both. Something in that smile suggested he had something on his mind. He looked a lot like dad, and to that degree me, I guess, with a tall, lightly muscled frame, strong facial features with a square jaw, and a shock of dark brown hair cut short but styled. After checking on his niece, he ushered the two of us into my bedroom. Though we both knew something was up and concern echoed in that bond between us, we remained apart, taking places on opposites sides of the room.
“I just wanted to talk to you two about some things before tomorrow.” He closed the door slowly, ensuring it made little sound. “The attorney already told me about Kaitlyn, and frankly, I already knew from your dad. Melissa and I just want to make sure you understand it all, and thank you for taking care of her the past few days. Jenny’s said you took really good care of her.”
“Will we be able to visit her, at least?” Rene asked. I could tell she was taking it better than before our little talk in the other room.
“Oh, of course. In fact, your dad made me sign a contract of sorts, seeing how close you both got to her. There’s visitation rights, and during certain times of the year, you’ll be able to take her for a few days or something. I’ll get a copy of it for you both, if you want.” I swore Ken looked like he’d expected the question.
Looking at my sister, she nodded and then I nodded. “Ok, is that all?” I asked, sensing something else.
But he didn’t say anything for a moment, measuring his words carefully. “Well, there’s been some discussion between us, stuff you’re parents have told us over the years. It’d be good to touch bases on it, now, seeing things here.” A sick feeling started rising from the pit of my stomach, and it looked as if Rene felt it, too, holding her stomach the way she did. “You two were both extremely close once, closer than any brother or sister I’ve ever seen or heard of. And you’re parents always, well, kinda feared it might lead to things, if you catch the drift.”
We couldn’t respond at first, a little worried maybe our secret wasn’t exactly so secret now. Finally, Rene answered, “You mean incest. They told us all about it, everything.”
There was a long glance at us both from our uncle, standing there now with his arms crossed. Despite the expectation of stern seriousness, he actually looked amused. “Uh huh. Well, both of your parents weren’t the most understanding of folks, and maybe they had some reason not to, though what it could’ve been, I’ll never know. Anyway, it’s like this. You two are adults now, more than old enough to make those kinds of decisions for yourselves. If, if you have, or want to, pursue that kind of thing, you can tell us and the three of us will, one, keep the secret, and two, will support it. None of us agreed with what they did to you two as kids, trying to keep you two apart, but I can see you’ve not given into your parents.”
Stunned silence filled the room, while Ken got ready to leave. Before he left, he turned back to us. “Just so you know, Melissa thinks you’ve gone that far at least and thinks its much further along than just that, too. Why she thinks that, you’d have to ask her. Not my place to say.” With his parting words, only stunning us more, he took his leave.
Once I closed the door, Rene instantly embraced me. The reflex to hold her definitely took hold, but I never would pass up an opportunity. The conversation did have us reeling, leaving us just standing there for awhile. When she spoke, I looked down into her face. “Do you think they’d really understand?”
I shrugged, unsure what to answer, unsure more about what had happened. “Not sure. It could be a trick, but then, its been a strange journey from where we started. This only adds to it.” She let out a giggle as she gave me a peck on the lips. “But, we could talk to them some more, probe them more.”
“Maybe. It’s all too sudden, and we’ve kept this secret from our family for so long.” She looked at the door a mere moment. “But it’d go a long way to helping us, I just know it.”
“Then we’ll probe ataşehir escort them, see if it’s just a trick. And then maybe we’ll be able to actually tell them about the baby and our plans. They’d understand that, I hope.”
Before I got a chance to answer, she threw her lips at me, locking quickly and holding them to mine. Not that I’d pass up the chance, especially so inviting an opportunity. We’d been very careful all week to keep our affections out of sight of the family, but since they were always trying to talk to us, it’d been almost impossible until after everyone else had gone to bed.
Even as we both fell further into that kiss, the door opened suddenly, Zack standing there with a malicious grin on his face. It never even occurred to either of us to let go immediately. Actually, a protective instinct made my grip tighten, as hers did the same. This blond-haired kid with the beach boy looks just stood there for a moment. It didn’t go unnoticed that this horny boy looked at my sister a little too much, and not only a few times I caught him looking at various parts of her with lewd looks. Now, I held her close to me, giving him a very stern look. A minute passed before he actually did anything, a very tense minute.
Without any indication, he took off running down the short hall and to the stairs leading to the rec room. The entire barn reverberated with, “Mom!” as he ran. I gave chase, knowing full well I was faster than him. He made it to the door leading to the house when I grabbed him. His sister, Teresa, a honey-blonde 13 year old almost as beautiful as Rene had been at that age, watched, concerned about me wrestling her brother down to the ground. He tried, unsuccessfully, to get in a few good hits, only to find himself pinned on his stomach, his wrists held by one hand behind his back. Though I have to give him an A+ for effort, ultimately his struggling proved useless.
It didn’t stop his sister, though, from charging out the door calling for her mother, screaming about her brother and I fighting. In no time, while I held him there with Rene only then coming downstairs, did the older adults come into the room. Instantly, I was up on my feet, letting him up as he huffed angrily at me.
“What’s going on?” Aunt Jenny asked after witnessing her nephew holding down her son. “And be quick about it, both of you!”
Before I could get a chance to stop him, he blurted out, “They were kissing!” pointing a finger at first me then Rene. “I saw it! I saw it all!”
Perhaps given a little more information on what Ken had earlier told us, he’d never have done anything. It’s funny now, but an eternity passed then for Rene and me, as the adults considered an appropriate response. Jenny just answered, “It’s perfectly okay for a brother and sister to kiss each other on the cheek sometimes.”
“But mom, it wasn’t that kind of kiss. It was a full mouth, French kiss, tongues and everything. They were even holding each other like they were gonna to do it!” The red-faced Zack tried to get his mother to understand his words.
Time seems to freeze at moments like that, back then, passing so slow. As I waited for the actual reaction, no longer able to find out what they thought in secret, Rene made her way up behind me, taking my hand. The adults certainly noticed the gesture. But Jenny just shrugged. “I’m not seeing a problem here, Zack, except you obviously intruded upon them. Now, go to your room and I’ll be up to give you a good, long lecture on privacy…again.”
The look on his face was so priceless, I wished I had a camera to capture it, as realization struck him that his plan had somehow gone horribly awry. I couldn’t help notice his sister’s reaction during this, not looking disgusted really, just more curious than anything, looking at Rene then me. While Zack stomped off, I caught the grin on her face while she watched him, obviously pleased with her mother’s handling of the situation. She’d mentioned once when I talked to her he often went through her things, so the smug grin didn’t surprise me much.
Once Jenny sent her daughter out of the room, the sudden thought of a confrontation entered my mind. Three adults on one side, Rene and me on the other. The air seemed to tense, but Melissa just pushed us both to the couch, not even attempting to pull us apart from each other. While my aunts and uncle took seats in the only chairs, we both waited, squeezing each other’s hands tightly while looking mutually apprehensive.
“So, that was rather quick,” Melissa began. “Tell me, how long have you two been doing this?”
No words came out, as afraid as both of us felt. The secret finally had come out, though thankfully our parents weren’t the ones hearing it. The silence didn’t abate, giving the three before us cause for concern as they exchanged looks.
“You’re not in trouble, either of you, but it needs to come out,” Melissa said in a softer, more comforting tone. “It’s gotta be hard on both ümraniye escort of you.”
My head nodded with a start, with every muscle locked up right at that moment. Even if I wanted to get up, I’d never have made it off the couch.
Jenny tried to smile, but her worried look at the other two did seem to echo in them. Ken looked at us both. “Look, I told you both not more than ten minutes ago you could tell us about this. Or what happened up there, was that actually the first time?”
From the corner of my eye, I caught Rene shake her head. Her voice cracked and barely came out, but she did manage to speak. “It-it’s been g-going on for awhile.”
The younger aunt nodded her head, then looked at her husband with a slight smile. “Thought so. But, then, why are you two acting so scared? Didn’t you believe your uncle?”
The instant reaction was to shake our head, and paralyzed by fear, our heads did just that. Almost in unison, the adults let out a collective sigh. “Well, you two can stop acting like kids caught stealing or something, because you’re more than old enough to make your own decisions. This, while not something you should just go out blurting to the world, is a decision. Where it goes is up to you, not us,” Jenny said in a soft voice, mirroring Melissa.
“There’s more, more than just sex,” Rene said, still shaky.
But Ken nodded in response, saying, “Go ahead, I think we can take it. This, while a big surprise, can’t be any less difficult than what you’ve just admitted to.”
It fell to me to say something finally, not wanting to let my now discovered lover take all the heat from this. “We-well, it could be…” As my voice trailed off, Rene pulled my hand to her stomach, laying it there with hers on top.
Apparently the gesture did make them understand enough. Never did I develop a like, even a tolerance, for uncomfortable silence, but this felt stifling as everyone tried to grasp the situation. No one could speak, not even if they wanted to. About five minutes passed, I noticed, before I felt something had to be said, if only to break the quiet. “We didn’t intend for this to happen…not yet.” The words hung in the air, only causing more silence.
While our family decided what to say next, Rene lifted my arm up and draped it around her shoulder, getting closer to me for comfort. My arms drew her as close as possible, holding her there as she held her stomach. The looks from Jenny didn’t exactly look good, but Melissa looked understanding, though confused, and a blank mask just appeared on Ken’s face, covering any emotions he might have had.
The uncomfortable silence didn’t last as long, and it felt better to hear Melissa’s words first, considering the look on Jenny’s face. “You two eventually wanted a baby, then. And you’re not just having sex, you’re actually planning your lives together, right?”
“Yes,” I answered, “We’ve even pledged ourselves to this, like a couple does. And I’d like to marry Rene, too. We both want to.”
Holding a hand up to silence Melissa’s forthcoming words, Jenny just looked with that stern serious look I’d been waiting for. “Do you two actually think, for one minute, you can do any of that? Because in case you haven’t heard, if anyone catches on to what you’ve done, its going to get a lot more complicated. That little baby will have to deal with the fact that its parents are-”
“Jen! That’s not helping!” Ken shouted. “Your sister would be acting like that. I thought you were more liberal than her.”
“But this is too far. Sex is one thing, but a baby? And they still have to go to school too. They can’t possibly understand-”
Standing up, Rene looked squarely at our older aunt, confident of her next words. “Both of us know, better than you do, how serious this is. We knew even when we were twelve about these things. It’s what nearly ended the special bond we shared. After years apart, yes, we did it then, but it also brought back that bond. Not you, not anyone, will keep us apart any longer. And as for school, as for what life will be like with the baby, it’ll be hard, but together we’ll manage. Together.”
The words impressed them all, and it was actually Melissa who smiled. “Well said, well said.”
“Aunt Jenny, this wasn’t taken lightly into,” I told her, looking at her to emphasis the point. “We fell in love a long time ago, maybe before we were born, and it took us a long time, a very long time, to understand and finally accept it. I love Rene and we don’t just want to live together and fuck, we want to be husband and wife, with a family and everything. Maybe the baby was unexpected now, but it’ll still be loved by two proud parents deeply in love with each other nonetheless. Our friends know and support us. Hell, they knew before we did and waited patiently until Rene and I knew.”
“The night it all happened, Rick had taken mom and dad to Bradley when you’d been in the accident, Jenny. My boyfriend tried to rape me while he was gone, but when I kicked him out, not hurt but really angry, he said something that did hurt, because it was true. It’s what made me realize I did love Rick, more than anything. When he got back home, he got me to tell him and things, well, just went from there. It was always there, but we tried for all those years to fight off those feelings.”
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