My big sister Claire burst into the living room and said, “Get dressed! We’re going out!” I was on the couch in my sweatpants with my legs curled beneath me. In my hands I held a fruit cup and a spoon. For tonight my plans were simple: some nibbling, a trashy romance, and stroking our cat. I had no intention of going anywhere. “Come on. Hurry. Wear that new skirt set I got you.” She strutted to the center of the room and swirled about. “How do you like my dress?”
It was a lovely dress. Fiery red. Low cut. It hung to just above her knees. When she spun, its hem flared out and revealed her shapely thighs.
That got our dad’s attention. He raised his head and looked at her through foggy eyes. Then he leaned forward and set his empty beer can on the coffee table next to a half dozen other empty beer cans — and next to several old paperbacks, crumpled candy wrappers, a stack of faded magazines, five television remotes (three of which didn’t work), and a pile of girl’s underthings in an array of lovely colors. Next he popped open a new beer and mumbled something unintelligible to Claire.
She ignored him. She put her hands on her hips and faced me. “So? Do you like it?” She swirled again.
“It’s a very nice dress.”
“I know, right? So, come on! I got something really special for you.” She stepped forward and reached out. “Gimme those.” I let her take the fruit cup and the spoon. Then, after she put them on the table, she turned back, grasped both my waiting hands, and pulled me to my feet.
We stood chest to chest, very close. Our dad groaned and took a long swig of beer. On the television, some sports team scored a point (or something). The crowd roared and the speakers crackled.
Our fingers touched, just the very tips. She smiled. An open smile on a beautiful face. I dropped my shy gaze.
“I’ll get ready,” I said.
I rode along next to Claire in her beat-up little Toyota as we drove west on old route 9. Ahead, like a dome of light in the cool desert air, sat the Winchester Movie Megaplex/Bowling Alley/Putting Green.
“Who will be there tonight?” I asked.
She shrugged. “Dunno. Everyone, I guess.”
“I mean, who are we hoping to see?”
The entrance drew close and she slowed the car. Then, as we turned into the place, she said, “Well, actually, Lily Donaldson.”
She stopped the car as a guy in a stupid red jacket ran over with a flashlight. “No parking in front tonight,” he shouted, which was pretty obvious from the packed lot and cars milling about. Then he stood stiff and waved us toward the back lot with his flashlight.
We were heading to the side parking lot anyway, so Claire ignored him and drove onward.
“When did you start liking Lily?” I asked.
I guess my voice sounded a bit glum. She turned to me, only briefly, and said, “What? You don’t?” Then she looked back where she was driving.
I shrugged. “She’s kinda dykey.”
“Yeah. I know. But she moves so well. And, well, let’s say she’s got a reputation for certain appetites.”
I knew about that. All the girls would swap stories of the things Lily Donaldson liked to do.
I looked out the window. Claire rested her hand on my thigh. “Don’t worry,” she said, “I’m sure she’ll go easy on you.”
We waited for a giant SUV to work its way into a spot far too small. Then we proceeded on, took a couple turns, and then drove down the little access road that snaked behind the putting green to the side lot.
It was dark, the side lot. Far across its sprawling pavement, sitting on the edge of the open desert, I could see the shadowy outlines of several cars.
Claire stopped our car. “You know — ” she said. Then she looked out across the way to the cars. Among them, in the dim glow of our headlights, I could see the vague figures of girls looking our way.
“You know what it is about Lily, she wants me so much, and she makes it so clear.” We both sat quietly for a bit. “That’s really cool. I like being wanted.” She released the brake and the car began to roll forward. “Anyhow, she knows what she has to do to get me.” She ran her fingers gently down my arm.
We arrived by the others, parked beside a little Chevy, and then got out and joined the group. They were a dozen or so girls, some smoking cigarettes, some drinking wine coolers, all laughing and chatting and milling about.
“Hey Claire. Hey Veronica,” the girls said.
“Hey,” we said back.
We milled about with them for a bit, told jokes, gossiped, drank wine. Then we went and leaned against this one car and looked out into the desert. The air was cool and my outfit, a way-too-short skirt and lacy cami, did little to keep me warm. I slid near to Claire.
“She’s not here,” I said.
“Did she say she’d be here?”
“I thought she would.” Claire popped herself up and sat on the trunk of the car. “I mean, yeah. It was understood.”
I turned and stood in front of her. “Did she know I’d be here?”
“That was the plan.”
She took my hand and raised it in front of her chest. She wrapped my fingers in her fingers and held tight.
From across the parking lot, I saw headlights approach.
“Someone’s coming,” I said.
The car came slowly. When it reached halfway, we heard the low, loping rumble of its engine.
Claire slid off from the trunk and turned to face the approaching car. She took a few steps. “That’s her.”
I didn’t say anything. I waited and felt cold.
I knew Lily well enough, at least to say “hi” to. She was pretty, if you liked the look. She usually wore tee shirts and beat-up, loose-fitting jeans. Her hair she kept cropped and messy. Her eyes, though, were striking: wide and blue. Also, as Claire had said, she could move.
When she got out of her car, after parking and letting the engine purr, then stutter, then cough, and when she approached us — for indeed she came directly over when she saw Claire — she seemed to move catlike, slowly, deliberately, stalking.
They came face to face and kissed.
“Nice to see you,” Lily said.
“Yeah. Nice to be seen.” Claire stepped back and posed. Then she swirled and let her dress move around. “Like my dress?”
Lily paced around her and looked.
“Yeah, well, it’s too dark to say for sure. But yeah, I like your shape.”
Claire stopped posing and put her arms around Lily. Lily looked over at me.
“Is that Veronica?”
“Yeah,” Claire said.
Lily broke from Claire’s embrace and came over to me. Then she turned back and said, “I guess I should talk to her first, for a bit. That cool?”
“Yeah,” Claire said.
Lily turned back to me. “Hi Veronica.”
“You wanna walk and talk?”
She took me by the hand and led me away from the others, out into the desert under a gibbous moon. When we got far enough that nobody could hear us, she stopped and said, “So, Veronica, uh — ”
We faced each other.
“Yeah?” I said.
“Well, hmm, this is a little weird, right?” She waited, but I didn’t say anything. “I mean, it’s not that you’re not pretty, you’re pretty enough.” She paused. “I mean, you’re more than pretty, right?”
I shrugged. She reached and touched one of the flimsy straps of my cami. “That’s a cute outfit.”
“So, look, I don’t wanna bullshit you. I hate bullshit. I mean, I won’t bullshit a girl. Cool?”
Her posture was kind of slumped. She didn’t seem catlike anymore.
“Yeah, of course,” I said.
“So, y’know, it’s just, if I didn’t wanna get with your sister, I wouldn’t be doing this. I don’t think. I mean — ”
She held her hands palm upward by her face.
“Do you fuck all your sister’s girlfriends?”
I didn’t answer that right away. No, that question deserved a nice long pause. Finally, I said, “Yeah. We’re kind of a package deal.” I stepped forward, close to her.
“If she wasn’t so fucking hot — ”
But she was. Claire was indeed so fucking hot.
“Do you like me?” she asked.
“I like your eyes.” In the moonlight, they seemed a pale gray.
I touched her on the shoulder. Then I brought my mouth close to her mouth, closed my eyes, and waited for her to kiss me.
Moments passed. The kiss didn’t come. When I reopened my eyes, I saw that she had stepped back.
“I’m sorry,” she said. “No. Wait. I’ll kiss you. Of course I will.” She stepped forward again. “This is just so weird, I mean, there’s nothing wrong with you. You’re beautiful.” She touched my face. Lightly, she brushed my chin. Then she gripped it and brought her mouth to my mouth.
It wasn’t a passionate kiss. No, they never were, not the first ones. We tried. We didn’t just peck. It was a proper kiss, open mouth with tongue. But it was too much, too soon, without sensuality. But that was okay. I had long since grown used to the awkward first kiss. Once things heated up, I knew, it always got better. We released that first kiss.
“I feel cold,” I said.
She put her arms around me.
I ran my fingers up her hips, along her sides, around the narrow part of her waist — and how firm her body was — and then to her lower back and down. When I reached her bottom, her posture became stiff.
During this, she rested her hands on my back.
“Veronica — ”
I nuzzled my face into her chest, just above her breasts. They were small, but I decided that I liked them.
“V — ” she said.
Then I felt her hands drift down to my bottom and to my barely-even-there skirt. She squeezed.
“Nothing,” she said. “Never mind. Let’s kiss more.”
Above us, the stars shimmered in the cold air, seeming fixed in their places, not so far away. Beneath us, the desert floor was hard and dry. Soon, after we broke away from a particularly wet and pleasant kiss, Lily pulled down the top of my cami and revealed my left breast. In the moonlight my skin seemed almost luminous.
“Nice,” she said.
She brought her mouth to my nipple and kissed. I stroked her hair. Then, when she moved to my other breast, I plucked the straps of my cami from my shoulders and let the thing drop. It stopped at my waist and hung loose just above my skirt.
“Let me see yours,” I said. She pulled off her tee and threw it aside. “Sexy.” They were indeed sexy: small, but firm, with dark nipples. I kissed one and then the other.
“Mmm,” she said.
Then, more sweet kisses. Our naked breasts touched. Her hands caressed my bottom.
“This is nice,” I said.
“Yeah. It really is.”
Another long kiss, eyes closed, bodies pressed together.
After that she said, “So, should we go someplace, like, inside?”
“It’s very beautiful out here. I love your skin in the moonlight.”
“Aren’t you cold?”
She shrugged. Then she smiled and began to remove my skirt.
I so love to come by starlight, to cry out to the open sky. Sure, the ground is hard and not so comfortable, but such things don’t matter.
When she set me down on the ground to do it, she put her discarded tee shirt beneath my butt.
Things like that. Those matter.
She began with my ass. She pushed my legs back and put her mouth on me, along the edge of my panties on the upper part of my thighs. Her tongue was so soft. Then my panties came off, and I squirmed and shimmied to make that happen faster. Back to my ass. She put her mouth there, she licked me there. No one had done that to me before. I gasped.
“Oh, Lily. That tickles.” I began to giggle.
She kept at it, until it was so much that nothing else could be more.
But then she moved to my other place, my special place, my favorite. And again, I learned how much too much was. She went to work on my clit, slowly, very slowly. Such a soft tongue. Darting and probing.
Everything I’d ever heard of Lily Donaldson turned out to be deliciously true.
I came — oh yes! — how I came. Squealing, gasping, moaning. Crying out. Soon I lay motionless under the endless sky while she held me in her arms.
Next I did her. I did all those things to her, those things that I’d never done before, my mouth on, my tongue in, those places they’d never been before. Then to her pussy. My eyes clamped shut and I ate. How I ate.
When she arrived, she groaned, shuddered, and cried out. Then she collapsed, panting.
But I didn’t stop. I’m no quitter. I kept eating her. I kept sucking on those warm, wet places.
“Veronica!” she said. “Oh! Oh! Veronica, please. Ah!”
I said, “Mmm.”
“Oh fuck. Oh yes. That feels so good. Oh baby, you gotta stop though.”
I didn’t stop.
“Please. I don’t wanna come again. Mmm. Oh!” She sat forward and pushed my head away from her place.
“Oh baby,” she said. “Kiss me. Please kiss me.”
I slid up her body, slowly, making sure we touched as much as possible. Our mouths met. We kissed deeply.
Between kisses, she said, “Sweetie, I have to save something for your sister.”
I kept kissing her.
“Can we get up and get dressed?”
But I didn’t stop. I wrapped my thighs around her thigh and rubbed my pussy against her skin, and hers against mine.
“Oh no. Oh baby. Oh god. Ah! Fuck! Yes!”
She began to move her hips also.
And then, together, we moved like that, slowly, grinding and sliding, our pussies pressed to soft skin, our mouths locked in a long kiss, until we both came.
I closed my eyes for a very long time and felt her warmth. She breathed and gently traced delightful patterns onto my back with her fingertips.
“Veronica, darling — ”
After another long, tender while, we got up and got dressed. I brushed the sand and dirt from her tee, she straightened my skirt and snapped it at my waist. Then, after another long kiss, we headed back to the others.
When we arrived, about half the cars and girls were gone. Claire we found leaning against her car chatting with a small group. Standing in front of her, back against her, enclosed in her arms, was some girl we didn’t know.
The girl had wavy black hair, pale skin, and big dark eyes. Her body was small but curvy. She was biting her bottom lip. As we approached, she got all snugly against Claire.
“Who’s that?” Lily asked.
We got closer. Claire saw us and said, “So, did you girls have fun?”
“Uh, we did,” Lily said. “Who’s your friend?”
“Oh, her — ” Claire ran her hands down from the girl’s shoulders along her arms. “This is Madeline. Madeline is new around here. She’s from — where you from again, dear?”
“Tennessee,” Madeline said. “Knoxville. Well, actually a place called Seymour, but call it Knoxville.”
“Hi Madeline,” I said.
Lily said, “Yeah, hi.” Her voice wasn’t so pleasant.
“Anyhow,” Claire said to Madeline, “this is my friend, Lily, and my sister, Veronica.”
“Hi Lily and Veronica,” Madeline said.
Then Claire stood forward and gently pushed Madeline out from in front of her. “Anyhow, Lily has just finished playing with my lovely sister and now it’s my turn.”
“Oh?” Madeline said. She stepped away from Claire and turned about, looking at all of us.
“Yeah,” Claire said.
I was holding Lily’s hand.
“Look,” Lily said, “actually, I’m pretty worn out.” She squeezed my fingers. “And so, well, I wanna do this, definitely, but can I get a rain check? Like, do it another night?”
“Uh — sure,” Claire said.
“Do what?” Madeline asked.
“Fuck,” I said.
Madeline kind of snorted. Lily and Claire both grinned.
Then Madeline took a long look at all of us. “Wait!” she said. “You two are sisters?” She pointed at me and Claire.
“Yup,” I said.
“And you just — ” She pointed at me and Lily. “And you — ” She pointed at Claire.
“Yeah. Just what you think,” I said.
“Wow. That’s kinda fucked up.”
“Well,” Claire said, “I was gonna tell you. But these two came back before I could. But yeah, you wanna get with me, you gotta get with my sister first.”
“Hmm.” Madeline took a long look at Claire. Next she looked over at me. She seemed to think a bit.
“Come over here into the light.” She pointed to a place clear from the shadows of the cars. “Let me get a look at you.”
I released Lily’s hand and stepped away so that Madeline could see me in the moonlight.
She looked at me again. Then she looked at Claire and smiled.
“Well, two is better than one. And if your friend here is gonna take a rain check, maybe I can get started with this sweet thing now.” She reached and took my hand. “I won’t get worn out in one go.”
“That’s cool,” Claire said.
During all of this, Lily just stood and watched.
“Come along,” Madeline said. She led me toward the desert.
As I drew away, I heard Claire say, “Hey Lily, you wanna make out or something while they play?”
Lily didn’t answer. Soon, I heard footsteps behind us. When I turned, it was Lily jogging up.
Madeline and I stopped.
“Yeah?” I asked.
“Look, can I talk to you for a bit?”
I let go of Madeline’s hand.
“Yeah. Of course.”
We walked away while Madeline waited.
“Look,” Lily said, “So, uh, don’t do this.”
“Just — ”
“Lily, you wanna get with Claire, right? You know Claire fucks around. We both do.”
“Yeah, I know.” She touched my arm. “But, I mean — ” She paused for a bit. Then she looked away from me, out into the empty desert. She rubbed her eyes, took a deep breath, and then looked back. “Yeah. Sorry. You’re right, go ahead.”
“Lily — ”
“No, go! I was thinking crazy shit. Don’t worry about it.”
“Lily — ”
She took several steps away from me. “Really, forget about it. It’s cool.” She turned to leave, but then she turned back. “It was fun. We should do this again.”
She turned and ran away.
I watched her go, until she disappeared in the darkness. Then I watched more, just the empty night and the stars. The moon had crept near to the edge of the sky. Soon I heard her car start, its rumble and cough. I watched its lights turn on and then draw away into the distance.
Soon after that, Madeline found me and fucked me.
Three nights later found me lying on the couch wearing my sweats, with my feet propped up on a pillow, my toes separated by cotton, and my toenails drying. I was reading a very shallow novel about a beautiful, impoverished redhead of secret noble birth; this was unknown until revealed to her by a dashing prince from a distant land.
I couldn’t devour it quickly enough.
Claire burst into the room in a beautiful dress. She came over to me, carefully navigating past the coffee table and Dad’s pile of empties — we could hear him snoring from the other room. She plopped down by my feet.
“What an amazing night,” she said.
“Where did you go?”
She smiled and squirmed. “I was with Madeline.”
“Hmm.” I set down my book. “That’s two nights in a row. You must like her.”
“Heh. Hey, lift your feet.”
I lifted my feet. She pushed the pillow onto the floor, slid over, and then rested them in her lap.
“Well,” she said, “She’s just so — devious.”
“Tell me about it.” I touched one of my breasts. The bite marks were finally beginning to heal.
Claire slumped back and stretched. “Mmm,” she said, “Madeline.”
She stroked my feet and stared into space with a wistful look.
“Have you heard anything from Lily?” I asked.
Her wistful look went away, replaced by a frown. “I called her and left a message. She didn’t call back.”
“I don’t get it actually. I mean, she obviously wanted me. Then, nothing.” She shrugged.
“Yeah,” I said a few moments later. “There’s no explaining it.”
She frowned for a bit longer. Then she looked at me and smiled. “Well, no matter. Her loss.” She picked up one of my feet. “So, how is my dearest sister?” She blew gently on my nails. “Did you enjoy your evening?”
“Fine.” I motioned to my book. “Corrine has just discovered that she’s really the long lost daughter of The Lady Wimberly of Eastdales.”
“Mmm. Lucky Corrine.”
She leaned forward. “Anyhow — ” I moved my feet aside. She popped up. “Gonna take a shower.” She blew me a kiss as she swept from the room.
I had no phone of my own; Dad couldn’t afford two phones for two girls. So while Claire took her shower, I crept into her room and found hers. I scrolled through her contact list and found Lily’s name. I pressed Call.
It rang and rang. Then it went to voicemail. “Lily, this is Veronica. I wanna talk to you.”
Seconds later, the phone rang back. I answered. “Hi Lily.”
“Veronica, it’s good to hear from you. I mean, great to hear from you. Look, do you have a phone, your own phone?”
“No, I just use Claire’s when I need to.”
“Oh, okay, well, that explains why nobody knew your number.”
“Yeah, so, about that, why haven’t you called Claire? She’s been trying to get you.”
“Yeah. That.” She paused. “Well, I dunno. I guess I don’t feel that way now.”
“Why? What changed? You were totally hot for her.”
“Veronica, do you really, I mean, don’t you get it?”
I didn’t answer right away. I sat cross-legged on Claire’s bed and looked down. From the other end of the line, I heard her shallow breaths, slow and soft. I pictured her there, on the other end, holding the phone, pacing, waiting. I set the phone down on the bed before me and just looked at it.
Yeah. I got it. I’m not stupid.
I picked the phone back up.
“Lily — ” I said.
“You wanna do something, like together?”
The pause was very brief.
“Yes. Yes, very much. Whaddaya wanna do?”
“I dunno. Anything. It doesn’t matter.”
“I’m taking my sister to the zoo tomorrow,” she said. “You should come.”
“Yeah. I’d love to. I love the zoo.”
“Good. Great. I’ll pick you up ‘round noon?”
We said our byes. Then I clicked End Call and set down the phone. A grin came over me. I couldn’t help it. I scrunched my arms to my chest and felt warm.
When I looked back up, Claire was standing by the door watching me.
“So,” she said, “my sweet sister has a date?” She strutted into the room. “And with my thing, my girl, huh?” She climbed onto the bed.
“Yeah. Uh — ” I slid away from her.
She slid forward and put her hand on my knee. “You have a crush, don’t you?”
“I guess. I like her. I think she likes me.”
“Aw, sweetie, come here.”
She stretched out her arms. I came forward into them, into her hug. She held me tight and kissed my cheek.
“That’s cool. Go. Have fun. She’s a cool, sexy girl.”
“Yeah, she is.”
“But one thing, dear. One thing.”
She ran her hands down my back. She gently kissed my ear.
“Don’t fuck her. No. You mustn’t, not until she fucks me.”
I looked into her eyes, her beautiful, deep eyes.
“We’re a package deal, Veronica. Don’t ever forget that.”
She held me close, stroked my bottom, nuzzled into my neck. I let her.
Lily picked me up the next day a bit before noon. When she arrived, she got out of the car and met me at the door. Claire wasn’t home.
“Hey,” I said.
“Hey.” She touched my wrist and stepped close to me.
“I’m ready,” I said in a flat voice.
“Oh. Okay. Come on.”
She stepped back and turned. I followed her to the car.
“Where’s your sister?” I asked as I hopped in.
“Oh. Yeah. We have to pick her up at my Mom’s.”
Moments later we were driving down Monroe Street toward old Eddison Square. Lily turned up the music. “Do you like this?” It was some girl playing guitar who sounded very bitter about something.
I shrugged. She turned it back down.
“You okay?” she asked.
“Yeah. I am. Sorry, I’m just feeling quiet.”
“That’s cool.” She drove on. Then she turned left onto Pinkerton Street. We arrived at a stop sign. “I’m glad you came today” — she touched my shoulder — “even if you’re feeling quiet.” She drove on.
I looked over at her. Today she was wearing newish jeans and a three-quarter blouse that fit nicely. On her face I noticed a bit of color, the barest pink on her lips and blush on her cheeks. But still…
“Are you wearing makeup?” I asked.
“You noticed. Yeah, a little. Do you like it?” She faced me briefly.
“Yeah. It’s pretty.”
“I mean, I’m not gonna go all Cover Girl or anything. But I thought I’d try a little.”
She looked at herself in the mirror. Then she glanced at me again and smiled. I couldn’t help it, I smiled also, a great big smile. She grasped my hand.
“You can turn the music up if you want,” I said.
“Oh? Do you like it.”
We turned onto another street. “My mom’s house is just down the way,” she said. “You can come in if you want, but you don’t have to. Like, maybe you won’t want to.”
“Yeah. My mom’s boyfriend is an asshole. He’ll say shit to you. I mean, just bullshit about being a dyke and stuff. It’s nothing, but maybe you don’t wanna hear that stuff.”
“Yeah. I really don’t.”
We drove on.
“I don’t live with them anymore. My sister does, but I got the hell out.”
In front of a little blue townhouse down the road, I saw a woman usher a small girl, maybe nine or ten years old, out to the edge of the street.
“Anyhow,” she said, “now I stay with my dad.”
“Yeah? Is he cool?”
“Fuck yeah he’s cool. He totally gets me.”
Soon we arrived by the woman and the girl. Lily lowered her window. “Hey Mom.”
“Don’t come in,” the woman said. “He’s on a tear.”
“Oh. Okay.” Lily turned to the girl. “Hey Daisy. You ready for the zoo?”
The girl nodded. Then she wrestled open the back door and climbed in.
While she did that, Lily’s mother ducked down and peered into the car. “Well, she’s a new one. Hi dear, I’m Lily’s mother.”
“Hi,” I said.
“New girlfriend?” she asked Lily.
The girl leaned over the seat to look at me.
I said, “Hi Mrs. Donald — er — I mean, Lily’s mom.”
Her mother smiled. “Ms. Anders now, but that’s fine.”
“Okay. I’m Veronica. And I’m not sure if I’m a new girlfriend yet. We’re figuring that out.”
“Oh. Okay. That’s nice.” She stepped back.
“We gotta go,” Lily said. “Later mom.” She shifted the car into gear.
“Okay. Have fun. Oh! And Lily!” We began to pull away. “You look very nice today!”
Lily fixed her stare forward. Her mother receded behind us.
When we turned onto the next street, I spun around and looked at the sister.
“Hi. You’re Daisy? I’m Veronica.”
“Hey Veronica. You a lezzie too?”
“Daisy!” Lily said. “That’s not polite. And don’t listen to anything Jack tells you. Okay?”
“Sure,” the girl said. She slumped back into her seat.
I was still facing her. I said, “Daisy, yeah, I like girls. What do you think of that?”
“Jack says lezzies are gross.”
“Don’t use that word!” Lily said.
Daisy’s face stiffened.
I said, “But I asked what you think, not what Jack thinks. Do you think your sister and me are gross?”
Lily touched my side. “Let it go,” she said. “I’ve tried to fight this fight before. Let’s just have fun at the zoo.”
I watched Daisy for a bit. Her face didn’t change. I turned back forward.
“Daisy,” Lily said, “can we forget about all that stuff today and have fun?”
It took Daisy a few seconds to answer. When she did, she said, “Yeah.”
Grier Park Zoo wasn’t large. It didn’t have elephants or giraffes or anything big, just things like monkeys, anteaters, and mountain lions. But still, they had trees that hung over the path and a small, misty fake-jungle with lots of birds that was very pleasant compared with the hot desert day. And they had otters. Daisy evidently loved otters. At last, she smiled.
She dashed to the enclosure and pressed her face against the thick glass and watched the little fellows play.
“It’s the one thing she seems to like,” Lily said.
We stood back from the enclosure and leaned against a chain-link fence with a row of palms set in the rocky ground beyond.
“Anyhow, she’ll be a while. So — ” She took my hand. “Wanna talk?”
I didn’t want to talk exactly.
“I mean, obviously I like you, right?” she said.
“Yeah, I picked up on that.”
“So — ?”
“I like you too.”
She smiled, a giant smile, bigger than her sister’s smile. She squeezed my hand and dropped her gaze. Then she looked back up at me.
She bit her lip and stepped forward, kind of swaying and rocking her shoulders in a very sweet way.
“So — ” She put her hand on my shoulder. She put her face close to my face.
“So,” I said, “I like you. We can hang out and stuff, do stuff. You know — ”
I stepped back from her, only a bit. Her hand was still on me. My gaze drifted away, to the otters, to the trees, to some fat family in shorts who were wandering by and griping to their kids. Daisy glanced at them briefly. Then she looked back to the water.
Lily’s smile seemed to fade away. Her hand on my shoulder wandered down my arm in a long, slow caress. “Yeah. Do stuff. What’s wrong? Look at me.”
I looked at her, at her pleading eyes. “Nothing, just — ”
“I can’t, y’know, be with you, until you get with Claire.”
Her posture straightened up.
“What the fuck? You’re serious?”
“Yeah. Package deal, all of that.” I shrugged. Her eyes narrowed into a frown. “I like you a lot though.” She stepped back. “I hope you do it. You like her, don’t you? She’s hot.”
“Veronica! You can’t possibly think, I mean, that I’d do that now.”
“Sure. Why not?”
“‘Cause, well — ”
“It’s not like it’d be unpleasant.”
Then I reached for her hand. First she drew it away. Then she looked at me, seemed to think about it. She put her hand out again. I took it.
We stood face to face and held hands. Above us the sun shone down from a hot, hazy sky. Daisy, with her gaze fixed on the otters, held her hands flat against the glass.
“Look V., it was one thing when, y’know, it was just fucking. That was then. But now, I want you to be my girlfriend. That’s different.”
“Yeah. Okay. I get that.”
“So, there’s no way I’m fucking your sister.”
I stood still.
“So, okay? Cool?”
I let go of her hands.
I kind of shrugged and stepped away.
“Jesus!” she said. “No fucking way! You’re not gonna — you can’t be — ”
“She’s my sister.”
She looked stunned.
“She’s always been there for me. Always.”
Always. Since Mom died. Since Dad got bad.
“Veronica — ” she said.
I looked over at stupid Daisy. Her eyes remained fixed on the otters, all of her attention for them, all of her smiles for them, not her cool, amazing sister. Then I thought of her hateful words before.
Maybe Lily couldn’t understand a real sister. Maybe she had nothing like that ever.
“Come on Lily,” I said. “Let’s have a fun day. We’ll figure stuff out. I mean, why don’t we get together with Claire and talk about it.”
Face to face with Claire, this all might work out fine. After all, Lily was flesh and blood. And Claire was Claire.
“Fine,” she said. “Okay, we can do that.” She turned to her sister. “Come on Daisy! Enough otters.”
The rest of the day was slow and hot. Daisy frowned and complained. Lily snapped at her a lot.
That evening Claire found me on the couch reading my book. “How’s the story going?” she asked.
“Oh, fine. Corrine is now the Lady Eastdales. Her dream, y’know, the mansion, the servants, all of that. But her prince has gone off to fight a war on the Rhine, and the wicked Countess of Hartfield is trying to undermine her position at court.”
“Ah. Sounds exciting. Sit up.”
I sat up. She plopped down where my head had been and pulled me into her lap.
“Mmm,” I said. She stroked my face.
I held the book open and measured the remaining pages. “Anyhow,” I said, “only seventy pages left.”
She was quiet for a few seconds. Then she said, “So, how did it go today?”
I set down my book.
“Well, not so good, I guess.”
I glanced up at her face, lovely, open, calm.
“I’m sorry,” she said.
“Yeah, things got really weird. Like, by the time we were ready to go home, we weren’t really talking at all. Anyhow, she did say she’d get together with you and me and talk about it.” I shrugged. “Maybe.”
“Heh. Think I can seduce her?” She bit her lip in a really phony-seductive way. She thrust out her chest.
I sat up halfway and winked. “It’s working on me.”
“Aw.” She gave me a long, sweet look. She caressed my face and stroked my hair. I lay back in her lap, stretched, and closed my eyes.
“Claire,” I said.
“You gonna see Madeline tonight?” I opened my eyes and looked up at her.
“Yeah — ” She paused. “Why?”
“Well, I’d kinda love to get fucked.”
About forty minutes later, I was lying on the edge of Madeline’s bed with my panties cast aside. Next to me, also with her panties off, and with her breasts free, Claire lay with her arm around me. On the floor before me, on her knees, Madeline knelt and ate my pussy.
“Damn this is a pretty pussy,” she said.
From the other side of her house, I heard a television blare and her parents shout. Evidently they didn’t care what happened on this side of the house.
I moaned loudly. Claire kissed my cheek. “You’re so beautiful,” she said.
I felt beautiful. I felt loved. Between licks, kisses, and sucks, Madeline said, “Your little pussy hairs are so soft.”
I didn’t say anything. My toes curled and my tummy muscles kept getting tight, then loose, and then tight again. My breath came out in huffs.
Claire put her tongue in my ear. Madeline put her tongue in my hole.
Yes! But not quite.
I sat forward and touched Madeline’s face. Then I lay back and kissed Claire’s mouth, just a little kiss, not much more than a peck, mouths half open. We kissed more, tiny, sweet kisses.
Madeline gave my clit a long wet suck. Then she began to move her tongue over it in a wonderfully rhythmic, circular motion.
A few moments of that! — and I could do nothing but lay, squeal, and moan. Yes! a few moments of that was all it took. I shuddered, groaned, and came.
“Oh, Sweetie,” Claire said.
I smiled and twitched.
Madeline rose grinning. She slid up my body, kissed all the way up, all my sweet places. When she reached my face, we made out for a while.
After a bit of that, Claire shoved us and said, “My turn!”
Madeline lay on me, face to face. She grinned even more than she had grinned before. “Yummy,” she said. “More pussy.”
She rolled off me and onto Claire.
The next evening I finished my book. In the final chapters, Corrine lost everything: her estate, her fortune, her position at court. But she gained something more: her foreign prince, anathema to the prudish lords and ladies of the Commonwealth, but a man of passion. She followed him to his estate in the Carpathian Mountains, where the servants were respectful and kind, and where the chambers were sprawling and ornate. In her room the windows and doors opened onto a spacious balcony, which looked out over a wide, slow river. Beyond the river, dark woods stretched to a line of rocky gray hills. Beyond the hills, the misty sky.
The final page: she stood on her balcony and looked out. From within the house, her prince came. He stood behind her and put his arms around her. He pulled her tight and they looked. They watched the mists creep down from the hills through the woods and curl over the dark water.
I closed the book and tossed it onto a pile of other finished books. Then I got up from the couch, walked to the shelf, and took down another book.
I read a few pages. In this one, a young and lovely girl, Ginny, worked as a scullery maid for the cruel Mistress M — . Ginny was kind. She worked hard. One day she helped this other servant avoid being punished. But that servant betrayed Ginny, and the mistress cast out our heroine onto a cold London street.
I set the book down on the table. I got up and went to my room.
There were no phones in the house. Claire was out. Dad hadn’t come home after work. There was no car, nothing. Most of my clothes were dirty, except a few pairs of cotton panties, my jeans, and a threadbare tee. I got dressed.
I knew that one final bus, the 9:30 departure, ran from the center of town to the Winchester Megaplex. She might be there. If she wasn’t, someone else there would have a phone.
It took two transfers, and it was close. I had to run at the depot to make it. But I did.
Forty minutes later, I stood before the theater. From there it was a long walk to the girls, across the front lot, around and behind the putting green, and then the long plod over the dark side lot.
When I reached halfway, I began to see their vague outlines under the full moon. Still, I couldn’t see if she was with them.
Closer, and I thought I heard her voice. I could make out their silhouettes by now, and yes!, hers was there. She walked between two cars.
Soon I was among them.
“Hey Veronica,” this girl Amanda said. “You with Claire?”
“Nah. I took the bus.”
Then, she saw me. She stood just on the other side of a little Toyota.
“Hi Lily,” I said.
She frowned and looked at me. Then she said, “Hey V. When did you get here?”
“Just now. Took the bus.”
“Ah. No Claire?”
I began to walk around the car. As I rounded the front, this girl Beth ran up and put her arms around Lily. “Everyone’s heading up to Horseshoe Lake,” Beth said to Lily. “Wanna go?”
Lily reached up and gripped Beth’s hand. “Uh, maybe. Can I get a sec?”
I arrived before them. Beth was still holding Lily.
“Beth,” Lily said, “I need to talk to Veronica.”
“Oh, sure.” Beth released her. Then she stepped back and looked at us. She kept looking until Lily shot her a sidelong glance. Then she backed away and vanished among the other girls.
Lily crossed her arms. “So, what’s up?”
I shrugged and didn’t say anything.
She waited. Then she went on. “So V., when we left off, we were supposed to talk to Claire and, well, see how this would play out. Right? That still on?”
“Yeah, sure. I dunno.”
Her posture seemed rigid. When I stepped forward, she stepped back.
“So, till we work that out, there really isn’t much to talk about.”
“Can’t we just hang out?”
I stepped forward again and reached for her. She pulled her hand back and gave me a sharp look.
“No. We can’t.”
“What? Lily, why?” I reached for her again, and again she pulled away. “I can’t even touch you? What happened? Lily. You mustn’t.”
I raised my hand to reach again, to try to touch again, but I stopped myself. My hand hung motionless in the air between us.
I thought I saw a hint of something — feeling? — in her eyes. But she quickly turned and looked out over the empty desert.
I stepped forward and touched her shoulder. “Lily, what’s wrong?”
She reached to her shoulder and touched my hand.
“Look,” I said, “I just wanna hang out. No fucking or nothing. So, cool?”
She ran her fingers along my fingers. Then she pushed my hand off. “No. Don’t you get it? That’s exactly what we can’t do.”
She took a long step away. Then she turned and faced me. “No, stay there,” she said before I could again advance. “Look, I mean — ” She tightened her hands into fists. Then she took a long deep breath. “I’m an all-or-nothing girl. Can you get that?”
She waited for me to answer. It took a while. I looked away. I stepped over to this old Buick and leaned against it. Finally, I said, “Yeah. I get it.”
“So, we can’t just hang out. Okay?” I nodded, a slight nod. “I mean, unless you wanna go fuck right now?” She pointed out to the desert.
My eyes dropped. I bit my lip. “I want to, but I can’t.”
“No, Veronica, that’s not it. All that matters is you won’t. Yes?” I didn’t say anything. “Fine, please, leave me alone.”
She turned and walked away from me. Then she hopped into her car. Beth was waiting in the passenger seat.
Soon, all around me, girls began to get into the other cars. Engines started. Amanda came up to me. “Hey, you got a ride?”
Tears were creeping into the corners of my eyes, slowly, but there was no stopping them.
“Okay. Well, come with me. I’m going up to the lake.”
“Anyone going back to town?” I asked. The tears began to come properly.
“You okay?” she asked.
“No. I wanna go home.”
“Oh, baby. Did you fight with Lily?” She came up and touched me. “Aw sweetie, don’t cry. Oh. Okay, I’ll take you home. Come on.”
By the time we got into her car, strapped in, and she got the engine running, the other cars were all in motion across the lot.
We followed. She put a hand on my knee. “Wanna talk about it?”
I didn’t answer. Instead, I put down the window and let the chill air blow across my face. Soon my eyes were dry. I looked out at the moon and stars, and the lights of the other cars drawing away.
I thought about what my life ought to be like.
When we reached the exit of the place, the other cars had all filed out, one by one, and turned right toward the hills. Amanda put on her signal to turn left.
“I changed my mind,” I said.
“I changed my mind. Take me to the lake.”
Horseshoe Lake was a fifty minute drive up a twisty mountain road, but it was high enough to be out of the worst part of the desert. On one side, the inner part, stood a tall craggy bluff, bare and ominous. The other side, the side we were on, was low and rocky, but with patches of pale grass and a few clusters of small trees and shrubs. By the time we arrived the moon had passed its highest point in the sky.
Amanda and I drove along a dirt road about thirty yards back from the water. Among the trees, shrubs, and rocks, we saw other cars parked, other groups drinking beers, sitting along the bank, touching, kissing. We didn’t see what else was being done.
But those weren’t our group. Our group had only girls.
No, ours was parked at the furthest point of the road. It wasn’t the best spot. It was rockier and more choked with weeds than the other places. But few people ever came this far, and we liked to be alone.
We parked by the other cars. The engine idled for a bit. Then Amanda turned the key and all was quiet.
“Ready?” she said.
“Yeah.” I reached to open the door.
She touched my leg. “If stuff doesn’t work out with Lily, I’d love some company.” Lightly, she ran her finger along my leg and up my side.
“Oh. Okay. Sure.”
That would be nice. Her touches felt nice. And Claire wouldn’t mind. Claire had fucked Amanda many times.
I got out and walked toward the water.
I found Lily sitting on a blanket near the lake with Beth. They weren’t naked or kissing or anything. But still, they were sitting close. And, as I drew near, Lily laughed and rested her hand on Beth’s knee.
They noticed me. “Hey V.,” Beth said.
She didn’t sound pleased. Lily didn’t say anything at all, just a blank stare.
“Hey Beth.” I started right into it. “Lily, can I talk to you one more time? Just once?” No answer. She looked away. “Then I’ll leave you alone.” Still, no answer. “Please?”
Beth said, “Come on, let us be.” She took Lily’s hand. “There are plenty of girls here who will fuck you, and your sister. You don’t need to bug us.”
I chose to ignore Beth. “Lily, you won’t even talk to me now?”
Lily looked at me and sighed. “Beth, I have to talk to her. Okay?”
Beth said, “No way! Come on!”
“Just a quick chat. I’ll be back, I promise.”
Lily stood up. Beth said, “You better.”
Lily stepped over to me. “Come along.” Together, we walked among the trees.
“So, what’s this big, final thing you hafta say to me?”
We weren’t touching. We were close, but not so close. No, I didn’t dare touch.
I tried to look at her, to catch her eyes, and her smile, but no, that didn’t work either. My eyes dropped. So instead, I turned and faced toward the water and the craggy bluff beyond.
“Well?” she said.
I took a deep breath and spoke. “I’m yours, if you still want me.”
I wasn’t looking at her just then, to see her face. I wish I had been. I felt her get close, then touch. She was so warm.
“Jesus, Veronica, make up your mind.”
“I have made up my mind.” I turned to her.
She stepped back. “Oh fuck. I was just kinda starting something with Beth. This would be really uncool.”
“Well — ” I took her hand. Then I sort of gulped. “If I missed my chance, just say so.”
“You shouldn’t have left me swinging like that.”
I shrugged and softly stroked her fingers. Then I looked up. “I love your eyes in the moonlight.”
She exhaled and relaxed her posture. It was time. I leaned in for the kiss.
I reached behind her neck, pulled her to me, and took the kiss. Long and deep. When I released it, she said, “Oh god!” I took another kiss.
She didn’t resist very much.
“Okay, slow down.”
I embraced her. Our bodies pressed together.
“Yes! I’ll do it, but gimme a second.”
I kissed her neck and squeezed her bottom.
“Veronica! Stop! Let me go tell Beth, okay, at least let me tell her.”
I stopped. “Okay.” I released her.
“I’ll be right back, I promise.”
“Fine.” I stood back.
She turned to leave. As she jogged back to where Beth was, I said, “Bring the blanket too.”
When she returned, she had the blanket.
The night was quiet, mostly. The waters of Horseshoe Lake were completely still. But, along with the occasional sound of some animal moving through the trees, or a car starting somewhere far along the stretch of the lake, or that one brief interruption when something plopped into the water — a thrown rock, perhaps? — we broke the silence only with our whispers, sighs, and moans.
“Let’s go really slow,” Lily said. And no, I didn’t want to go slow, but I knew she was right. I knew how incredible this would be if we let it linger and build.
So I took my time. Long, sweet kisses with our clothes still on. Kissing the other’s breasts, but through the thin fabric of our tees. Rubbing our bottoms, wrapping our thighs, but through our heavy jeans.
How it all built up. Higher and higher.
Then our shirts came off, and we repeated the process, but with bare breasts. But no hurry. Each kiss, each touch, each long, lingering feel had to be repeated for our naked breasts.
I reached for the button on her jeans.
“No,” she said. “Not yet. Let’s just lay together for a while.”
“Okay.” I smiled at her delightful wickedness. Making me wait.
We held hands.
“It really is a pretty lake,” she said.
I saw the moonlight on the water.
As if moving on its own, my fingers crept up her side, along her tummy, then to her breasts, and a soft nipple.
When she turned to me, I said, “Sorry. Couldn’t help myself.”
Then we began again. This time, she let me unbutton her jeans.
When I had them off — and how darling her lacy panties were — I asked, “Do you want me to do that thing again?”
“My ass? Yeah. It’s like my favorite.”
“Turn over onto your tummy.”
Her panties were so soft. Her ass was so firm. I squeezed. I pressed my face against it. Then I went in, kissing through the fabric. Then the panties came off, and I had at her bare flesh.
“You close?” I asked.
“Fuck me and eat me,” she said.
So I ate her, that one place, the place she liked so much, lips locked, tongue pressed deep, and I used my fingers on her other place, probing and pumping, slow and steady.
When I thought she was very close, I stopped.
“Oh God!” she said. Then she rolled over and squealed.
“My turn,” I said.
“Fuck! You’re gonna pay for that.”
She grabbed me and put me face down on the blanket. From behind, reaching around me, she fumbled with the button of my jeans. I had to help her pull them off. Then she went in.
I wanted to wait, to make it last, to build up to that one perfect thing beyond all others. But no, as I grew close, my desire to wait completely went away. I wanted everything now.
I tried to relax, to pretend not to be so close, so it would come over me, the point of no return, before she sensed it and stopped. But she did sense it — so perceptive! so skilled! — and stopped at that exact moment.
“Oh God, please keep fucking me.”
She slid up and kissed me. “We agreed,” she said, “to go slow.” Another long kiss. “Now, my turn again.”
We took two more turns each.
Before dawn, a line of dark clouds rolled in and hid the setting moon. We drove home in a misty rain.
Two nights later found Lily and me arm in arm on my couch. I was wearing my sweatpants. She wore beat-up old jeans. We were both in tee shirts and curled under a big cottony blanket.
My book sat unread on the table. I wrapped my arms around her torso and squeezed.
Claire swept into the room. As usual, she wore a stunning dress, this time deep azure.
“Hey girls,” she said. She was smiles everywhere — a fixed smile on a frozen face.
“Hey Claire,” we both said.
She strutted to the middle of the room.
“So, sweet sister, how is your little personal romance going?”
I looked at Lily’s face, and her mouth, the way she pressed her teeth to her lips, and her blue eyes, which darted between Claire and me. “It’s going perfectly.”
Lily gave me a lovely smile. We kissed.
“Well, that’s nice,” Claire said.
She stepped over, leaned in front of me, grasped my chin, and kissed me on the mouth.
“Claire, please,” Lily said.
“Ha! She’s my sister. I can kiss my sister if I want.” Then she stepped in front of Lily. “How about you? Want a nice sweet kiss?”
Lily gave Claire a hard look. “No, thanks.” Then she leaned back into my arms and pulled the blanket tight around her chest.
“Fine.” Claire stepped back and cast her eyes around the room. She motioned to Dad’s chair. “He back yet?”
“No,” I said.
He had been gone for three days now. That wasn’t unusual.
Claire went and sat in his chair. Under the blanket, I felt Lily relax.
“Y’know,” Claire said, “if you two keep this up, we’ll need to get another chair.” She paused. “Unless, of course, I can squeeze in on the couch.”
Nobody said anything for a while.
Lily looked at me. “Hey V.”
“Wanna go to my Dad’s house? We have a couch and blanket too. And he’s really cool. He’ll like you a lot.”
Claire watched us with a frown.
“Sure,” I said. “That sounds like fun.”
“Wanna go now?”
Lily cast the blanket aside and stood. Then she turned and grabbed my hands. “Come on.” I stood.
Claire’s expression turned hard and sullen. “Veronica, baby,” she said in a quiet voice.
Lily stepped backward toward the door while pulling on my hands. Claire said my name again. “Veronica — ”
I went with Lily.