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Copyright © by blackmatter.
All rights reserved. This story or any portion thereof
may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever
without the express written permission of the author
except for the use of brief quotations in a review.
If you’re familiar with my work, then you know what to expect. If not, then:
– Brother/Sister love story
– Slow build up
PS: I haven’t given up on Off Limits.
“On me, on me!” Skylar exclaimed, her fingers frantic on the PlayStation controller. “Damn! He’s literally one shot.”
Her teammates rushed in, one resuscitating her legend while another offered suppressive fire. Once she healed and recharged her shield, she jumped back into the hectic gunfire. She was on point today and absolutely the best player in the lobby, and seconds later, she carried her squad to an emphatic victory.
“Good shit,” one teammate said gleefully.
“Dang, SkyFi, you really popped off,” the other added.
She finished the match with eighteen kills and more than three-thousand in damage.
“Gg,” Skylar replied, smiling contently at the glowing stats.
Her phone rang just then; it was her mother.
She picked up, almost trembling with anticipation.
“Hey, we’re here. Can you please come down and lend us a hand?”
Skylar bid her teammates goodbye and took off her headset. She bounded down the stairs, opening the front door just as her mother’s Mercedes pulled over. She opened the passenger door for the young man.
Lucas held his right leg and helped it out of the car. He then maneuvered the rest of himself out with the help of his cane.
Skylar grinned, her big brown eyes glinting with mischief. “Bro.”
“Brat,” Lucas replied, smiling lovingly at his eighteen-year-old sister.
They laughed in harmony before Skyler pushed herself to her tiptoes and snaked her arms around his neck.
“God, you look so different,” she murmured, holding him closely.
Supporting himself with his cane, Lucas simply smiled as he held her no less tightly.
Lucas’ disability was nothing to fret about. He’d crashed his motorcycle a week ago and banged his knee pretty hard. He was told he should expect to be making full use of his right leg again in the ensuing months.
“I was so worried about you,” his sister whispered as they embraced for a lengthy moment.
“You go inside; I’ll get your things.”
Skylar pulled the suitcase from the trunk and followed her mother and brother into the house.
Lucas hobbled in, his eyes sweeping over the lavish décor as if it were his first time there. “Home sweet home.”
Skyler snorted inwardly, knowing the words were devoid of all meaning.
Suzan followed her son nervously as he examined the house. She ran her fingers in her shoulder-length hair, not quite sure what to do with her hands. “Sweetheart, are you hungry? Can I get you anything?”
“I’m good, Mom,” Lucas responded, trying to reassure her with his smile however insincere.
“Are you sure? Because I can call that little Thai place you used to—”
“Mom, don’t worry about it.”
A defeated smile rose on her face. “Okay.”
Lucas walked slowly around the house, lingering here and there as though he’d come to appraise the property. Suzan and Skylar watched tensely as he did.
After a minute or so, he gave a deep sigh. “Well, I think I’ll go upstairs and take a nap.”
“Sounds good, honey,” Suzan blurted.
“Yeah, you go rest,” Skyler chimed in, no less eagerly.
He bobbed his head, again, smiling that false smile of his, before he ascended the stairs.
Suzan breathed a sigh of relief when she heard the door close, and her daughter made a similarly relieved gesture with her eyes.
Lucas lay in his old bed, looking his old room over: the bookcase, the desk, and the bare walls painted white. He’d had no TV before he left, and there was no TV there now. He walked up to the large window. The backyard looked the same, and so did the deck. He returned to bed, battling the urge to escape the house. Before he knew it, his eyelids grew heavy, and he drifted into a fox’s sleep.
It was two hours later when his sleep came to an abrupt end. He had a feeling that he was being watched.
“Hey,” his sister greeted him with a crooked smile.
He gave a sigh, and his head plunged onto the pillow. “Hey.”
“Sorry if I woke you.”
He petted her arm, smiling. “Don’t worry about it.” He folded his pillow over and propped himself up against it. “How long have you been watching me?”
“Not long. Maybe five minutes.”
“You must be bored out of your mind,” he quipped.
“What can I say? I’ve missed you.”
A gentle smile tugged at the corner of his lip. “I’ve missed you, too.”
She ran her fingers in his light brown hair. He used to keep it short and neat, but now he’d allowed it to grow some. Skylar had never realized how beautifully wavy ankara escort his hair was. Along with the blond highlights, it made his appearance vastly different. His left brow was pierced with a silver barbell; again, giving him a very different look. A bad-boy look. A rebellious look. No doubt, intentionally, she thought.
“So, how’s everything?” Lucas asked while his sister absentmindedly curled his hair in her fingers.
Skylar took a few minutes to fill in her brother about everything she’d been up to, such as working part-time as a hostess at a fine-dine restaurant.
“What about college?”
“Not for another year.”
“I bet he took it well,” Lucas said sardonically.
“Well, he definitely wasn’t loving the idea, but… I mean…” Her face grew hot with discomfort. “…. you know, after what happened with you…”
She needed not go on. They both knew perfectly well what had happened.
Then again, what had really happened?
Lucas and Skylar’s father was a top litigator, one of the best in the state. It wasn’t uncommon to catch him on the news as he defended some hot-shot criminal in a publicized case. He was a difficult parent, more so in their youth. Firm, watchful, slightly intimidating at times even. He demanded academic excellence and was as strict as they get when it came to discipline.
Lucas had had it hard, Skylar knew, much harder than she ever did. Their father had been essentially grooming Lucas from the day he was born to take over the firm he had started well before he was even married. As a result, her brother hadn’t had a particularly normal childhood, or a happy one for that matter.
His life had revolved around books and studying. If he didn’t bring home straight A’s, he’d be punished severely. He would lose his television rights or be grounded. The record was eight months. For eight months, he was not allowed to socialize, could not watch TV, could not interact with a computer, and his phone had been confiscated. The only company he was allowed to have was Skylar.
Lucas had played his part, too, Skylar knew. Even when he was given a relatively-mild punishment, he would just taunt their father until he was given a-far-worse one. Sometimes, he would punish himself on their father’s behalf just to get a rise out of him.
It was horrible, their relationship, Skylar recalled. It all came down to a head when Lucas was in his senior year. That night, they’d had a massive fight over anything and everything. There was a lot of yelling and threatening, and something had snapped within her brother. He went up to his room, packed a bag, and stormed out of the house to never be seen again.
Oddly enough, Skylar had never been held to the same standards her brother was. She’d needed to get good grades, but even if she got the occasional B, or God forbid, a C, her father would look the other way. Same thing with discipline. She was rarely punished, no matter what she’d done, and she was given liberties Lucas had never gotten. She didn’t want to admit it, but deep down she knew that their father loved her more than he did Lucas.
Over those two years, their mother had been helping Lucas keep his head afloat while he was living in God-knows-where a couple of states away. Skylar knew he’d been working for a moving company and sharing a rundown flat with a couple of roommates, but other than that, she realized she knew almost close to nothing about his life since he’d been gone.
She wasn’t even aware he had obtained a motorcycle license or that he had one to his name, until the accident. That was when their mother had put her foot down. She’d talked their father into allowing Lucas to return home—no small feat considering their father declared Lucas dead the night he had left.
And that was the easy part. Skylar still had no idea how their mother coaxed her brother into coming back, though knowing her mother, there must have been a great deal of emotional blackmailing involved.
“Yeah, Mom,” Lucas answered to the knock on the door.
His mother opened the door. “I ordered in. Feel like coming down to eat?”
That was the last thing Lucas felt like doing, but he couldn’t take the pleading look on his mother’s face. “Yeah, I’ll come down.”
“Great,” his mother said, awash in relief. She then looked about his room. “By the way, if you’re up for it, I thought maybe we could go out tomorrow and buy you a TV, like a really big one. And maybe a new compu—”
“No need; I’m good.”
“No, you’re not good! We’re getting you a TV and a computer tomorrow.”
Again, the look on his mother’s face was hard to bear. He knew the guilt had been eating her up.
He nodded meekly. “Okay, Mom.”
“Good,” she sighed, appeased.
After a moment of hesitation, she walked in and kissed him, her eyes glistening with unshed tears.
Skylar smiled tearfully as the two embraced. It felt so good to get her brother back.
“Okay,” Suzan mumbled, softly sniffling. “Let’s go eat.”
The three escort ankara sat at the dining table and enjoyed their meal. Both Suzan and Skylar made a point to keep the conversation as light as possible. They knew these were delicate days, and it would take some time until Lucas felt at home again, if ever.
Around 9, the front door opened, and the head of the family came in clad in a luxurious Italian suit. His steps faltered when he registered his son, the son he hadn’t seen or talked to since that night some two years ago.
He came by the table, kissed his wife and daughter, and notified them he’d be in his den. Both women glanced at Lucas, gaging his reaction, as though he was a ticking time bomb, due to go off any second now.
But he didn’t. He pulled his chair back, clasped his cane, and excused himself to his room, politely, and with no drama whatsoever.
Lucas had mostly kept to himself over the next several days. He rarely left his room, and in the few times his mother or sister stopped by, he’d be lying in bed reading a book he had probably read half a dozen times at one point or another in his life.
He’d go for a stroll every day as advised by his doctor. There was a nature trail leading from the back of the house to the nearby woods. He’d walk for ten minutes or so before he’d pivot back on account of his aching knee. He felt smothered being cooped up indoors all day, but his mobility was severely lacking.
Occasionally, Skylar would catch her brother working out. They’d had a pull-up bar installed in the backyard some years back, and she would sit by her window and watch him doing pull-ups and dips, always careful to land on his healthy leg.
Lucas had been working out sporadically in high school, but now he was out every day, putting to good use the equipment his mother had gotten him: resistance bands, a weight vest, and Olympic rings.
Lucas appreciated how thoughtful his mother was. She was putting a lot of effort into making him feel at home again. He had resented her for much of his adolescence since she’d never stood up to his father as the latter was bullying him, but she was trying to make amends, and that’s all that mattered.
Skylar came back home from work and entered her room. She changed into her PJ’s and turned on her PlayStation. She was looking forward to her gaming session. Just then, there was a knock on her door.
Lucas opened the door and peeped in. “Hey, you busy?”
Her eyes lit up. “No, no, come in! I was hoping you’d one day want to interact with a fellow human being again.”
He gave a chuckle and closed the door behind him.
“So, what’s up?” she asked as she logged in under her alias, SkyFi.
She gave him a sidelong look. “Okay.”
She could tell the only reason he came by was because he was bored.
“What you’re playing?”
“Apex Legends. It’s a battle royal; everyone’s playing it.”
She put on her headset and joined a lobby. “Sure you don’t wanna talk?”
“Not really. Do you mind if I just hang out here for a bit and watch you play?”
“Not at all.”
Lucas sat on the orange bean bag chair, and for the next hour watched his sister deleting squad after squad while having utter noobs for teammates.
“Wow, you’re pretty amazing at this. You’ve got one crazy aim.”
“Thanks.” She got up and arched her back as she stretched. “Bathroom break.”
“Oh, okay. I’ll get out of your hair.”
She spun around. “No, don’t go. Maybe you can play too when I get back? If you feel like it.”
He shrugged his shoulders. “I have no idea how to play this game.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll teach you.”
He took a moment to consider it. “Okay.”
She smiled. “Cool.”
Skylar left to the bathroom and brought a couple of sodas upon her return. “You take the PlayStation; I’ll play on my laptop.”
She took a few minutes to create an account for her brother and set up her high-end gaming laptop. Over the next couple of hours, Skylar went over every aspect of the game, from the unique abilities of the legends he could choose from down to the actual gameplay, like how to loot, how to shoot, how to heal, etc. It was loads of fun. Lucas wasn’t much of a gamer, but he was enjoying himself, and that was the most important thing for his sister.
It was just after 3 in the morning when Lucas let go of the controller; he was beat. Skylar would often stay up for half the night either playing or hanging out with friends, so she wasn’t as tired. Be that as it may, it was probably wise to call it a night.
“It was fun,” Lucas concluded. “I dig this game.”
“Well, my door is always open, even if you chose to pretend it isn’t.”
Lucas smiled apologetically. “I guess I have been a little distant, haven’t I?”
“To say the least.”
He nodded. “Sorry. It’s just moving back in, having to live under his roof again… it’s a bitter pill to swallow.”
“You know, one of you is going to have to take the ankara escort bayan first step eventually.”
“Well, it won’t be me, and it won’t be anytime soon.”
Skylar shook her head. Stubborn as a mule, she thought. “Well, I hope at least that this isn’t going to be a one-off, you and I hanging out. I really missed my big brother.”
“And I missed you, sis.”
“Did you really? Or are you just saying that ’cause you feel obligated?”
“I would never. I really did miss you. It’s a shame we couldn’t get together all this time.”
“Yeah, that’s not ’cause of lack of trying on my part.”
“I know, I know… I take full blame for that.”
“Mom said you had a girlfriend for a while?”
“Yeah, for like four months. But I was working long hours, and moving is really tough on the body. Mom was helping out, but… money was still rather tight.”
“I can only imagine. Though I have to say, I admire you for doing what you did. I’m not saying I was happy about it, but I definitely respect it. It took a lot of guts.”
“It was either that, or I was going to kill myself. God, how I hated here.”
“But it’s over now. You’re not a teenager anymore, and he can’t treat you like one. “
“I don’t give a damn anymore, Sky. I’m here because Mom asked me to be here while I nurse my knee back to health. Once it’s even slightly operational, I’m out.”
“Out to where? Back working at moving again?”
“Nah, we talked about that. I’ll probably go to college, find a decent-paying job. Get married, start a family, pay my mortgage, die…”
Skylar laughed at his sense of melodrama. “Well, seems like you have everything mapped out.”
“Yeah,” he laughed, too. He patted on her leg and rose to his feet. “Well, I’m off to bed.”
“Okay, good night.”
He turned around. “Yeah?”
“Don’t be a stranger.”
He gave a soft smile and closed the door on his way out.
Lucas woke up the next day in the late hours of the morning and came down the stairs to make a cup of coffee. His parents were in the kitchen in the midst of a heated debate about something, probably him, because their talk died down the second they noted him. He wasn’t expecting his father to be home, though it wasn’t uncommon for him to work from home.
“Good morning,” he announced grimly as he fetched a mug from the cabinet, “Mom.”
He couldn’t wait to start a fight with his father just so he could have an excuse to leave again.
His father chose not to entertain him. Instead, he shot a displeased look at his wife and made toward the den.
Suzan shook her head in exasperation. “Was it really necessary?”
“What was?” Lucas asked, feigning naiveté.
“You know perfectly well. You could’ve just said ‘good morning’ and leave it at that.”
“Yeah, but then he wouldn’t have gotten pissed.”
“Mom, I’m not going to pretend that I don’t hate him. And you knew how much I hated him, and you still pressured me into coming back, so don’t start with me.”
Suzan’s frown softened. She couldn’t run the risk of her twenty-year-old son disappearing again. “You’re right, I’m sorry. I’m just frustrated by this whole thing between you two. I wish you could work it out somehow.”
He grabbed his coffee and limped away. “That ship has long sailed I’m afraid.”
Lucas sat out on the deck, brooding as he sipped his coffee. He knew he shouldn’t have lashed out like that, but his emotions had gotten the better of him. He just couldn’t see how he and his father could ever reconcile considering that they couldn’t even stand to breathe the same air as the other. Lost in thoughts, he heard the nearing sounds of heels knocking on timber. He screwed his head to his left and saw Skylar.
His eyes grew wide, and he felt compelled to give her an appreciative whistle. “Hot damn!”
Skylar giggled coyly in response.
It was well deserved, Lucas thought. She was all that and more, rocking a gray dress that draped well past her knees to her calves. The garment had no sleeves and was quite clingy. She stood tall in black heeled sandals, her long, silky hair swept up and to the side elegantly. Several bracelets adorned her wrists, and her sliver Y necklace dove into a modest cleavage.
His sister had really matured, Lucas realized, having seen her last when she was 16. She’d always been svelte, but she’d filled out up top considerably; there was some serious heft now. Her bottom had puffed up, as well, now that he thought about it. Her face, however, hadn’t changed much. Still angelic, slightly more refined perhaps, even under this thick coat of makeup. She was quite the babe, Lucas had to admit, oozing femininity from head to toe.
“Who’s the lucky guy?”
She laughed, coyly again. “Work.”
He only now recalled that she worked as a hostess at a pretentious restaurant. It made sense that she needed to dress up.
“Well, that’s a shame. I was almost excited for you.”
“Yeah, I could tell,” she giggled. “Although…”
He sipped his coffee, his brow slanted with intrigue. “Go on.”
“Well, there’s this guy that comes every Tuesday, and…” she faltered.
A sly grin curved his lips upward. “Ooo, pray tell.”
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