“Oh, Christ that hurts!” Neil bit down on the towel as his sister pushed the safety pin deeper into his earlobe until he heard it pop out the other side. Julie stifled her laughter.
A small trickle of blood ran down his neck. “Thank God that’s over,” he finally exhaled.
“We’ve still got to put the stud in.”
Neil’s stomach sank. He knew he couldn’t go through with it but didn’t want to seem like a wimp. Julie had blossomed sooner and quicker than him. Seventeen and looking like a Playboy model. There’s nothing so bad about wanting your sister, right? Wrong. There is everything bad about it.
These weeknights, when Dad was out of town, were the best. Just the two of them. Not like the weekends when he showed up. Carter Gould would be the one to take Julie’s virginity unless Neil did something to stop it. And he had plans.
Carter was no prize. He was destined to be the guy that she looked back on with regret. His hair was too frizzy, his neck too skinny -- Neil always felt a little nervous around him like his head would topple over on that thin pole that attached to his body -- and his eyes too eager to undress Julie and use her for target practice with his dick.
Not on my watch, thought Neil.
Two years behind her in age and many more in maturity Neil had been cared for by Julie in the years since the divorce. Doctor’s called it different things. Asperger’s was the main diagnosis. ADD, ADHD, autism. They’d all been thrown at the wall to see what stuck. “The boy’s off,” their neighbor Mrs. Locke said from day one and she wasn’t changing her diagnosis.
The stud went in, a single diamond (fake) from Mom’s leftover jewelry box. All she left was the shitty stuff. Even Julie never raided it. Neil was proud of himself for not screaming but fat tears escaped his eyes and ran down his cheeks faster than he could wipe them away. Julie put a reassuring hand on his face.
“You look awesome.”
He almost leaned over and kissed her. It would have to wait. Carter still loomed out in the world somewhere.
Friday night came and both Dad and daughter had dates. Dad had been seeing a woman from the office and he seemed happy the next day after their get-togethers so the kids were fine with it. He left early, frozen dinners on the counter for later.
“You can have them both. Carter’s taking me out for pizza.”
“But, I don’t want them both,” whined Neil.
“Then just eat the brownie out of mine and toss it. I don’t care.”
That was the whole damn problem. She didn’t care.
Dad would be out late. He kept adult hours and he showed enough respect, or was it fear, not to bring Deborah back to the house for a tryst. Julie had a midnight curfew and she stuck to it even though her Dad wasn’t there to clock her in. Neil was. She knew he would tell if she was late.
She got in just under the wire: 11:57. Neil watched as Carter stayed clung to her, sucking on her face and twisting her left breast in his hand over her sweater. She broke free.
“See you tomorrow.”
“Aw come on, just five more minutes.” What he meant was much more. Neil figured it wouldn’t take any more than the five for him to finish up though.
She kissed him one more polite smooch and went inside. Neil caught up to Carter just before he got back to his car.
“Are you trying to fuck my sister?” he asked.
Carter jumped but he recognized the voice. Julie’s little shit brother. He turned with contempt but balked at the sight of the kitchen knife in Neil’s hand.
“Are you trying to fuck my sister? And don’t lie. I know you are.”
“That’s kind of none of your business, Neil. And what’s with the knife?”
He found out quickly. Neil buried it to the drop-forged German steel hilt into Carter’s stomach. He twisted as he pulled it back. A thick slop of blood and entrails leaked out over the top Carter’s low-slung jeans. Neil left him there to bleed.
Inside he caught Julie just as she took off her bra. That had been happening more and more lately and she didn’t care for it. She quickly covered up her milky-fleshed C cups.
“Neil!” she said in classic big sister tones. She saw the knife. She saw the blood.
Neil was calm the whole time he told her his feelings. He was calm as he told her to take off the rest of her clothes. He was calm when he made her put on the nightly dose of hydrogen peroxide to his still red and swollen ear lobe and he was calm when he made her lie down and climbed on top of her.
Julie sobbed. She prayed. She tried to think of other things so the act would not imprint itself on her memory.
When he was finished he rolled off her, content in the feeling that it had been everything he hoped it would be. He sank into her bed and shut his eyes already replaying the event.
She picked up the knife from his relaxed open palm and drove it down into his chest. She told herself that she would just wound him and then call for help but the knife seemed to want to aim for his heart.
“Oh, Christ that hurts,” he said.
Eric Beetner is a writer and film maker living in Los Angeles. His novel One Too Many Blows To The Head (co-written with JB Kohl) is out this October from Second Wind Publishing. More info and links to all his shorts can be found at ericbeetner.blogspot.com