Brett and Elizabeth Ch. 01
My thanks to Mused, for all his help on this.
The rain drove hard into the windshield, so hard the wipers could barely keep up. Swish-swish, swish-swish, a mind numbing noise. Brett cranked up the Goo Goo Dolls’ “Name” in an attempt to drown out the sound. A miserable mid-November evening, it was only seven, yet as black out as midnight. The street lights cast eerie shadows down around everything and in the distance, off to the West, lightning flashed; the first sign of an impending storm.
Brett turned on to his street where he’d lived for the last six months after moving out of his parents’ place. His Mother had been sad to see her only son leave the nest. His Father, on the other hand, well, maybe less so. From sports, friends, schools, and jobs, they’d never been able to see eye to eye. No, his Father hadn’t minded at all.
Then, there was Elizabeth. Four years his junior and his only sister, she’d turned 18 last July. In the back of his mind he could still see her sitting in the grass on the front lawn of their parents’ house as he packed up the last of his things. He’d been so relieved at the prospect of moving out on his own, he’d almost missed the sad look she cast in his direction as he bade his farewell.
“Hey, Sprite, come say goodbye.”
“Do I have to?” Elizabeth protested, secretly hoping that maybe if she refused to say goodbye, that somehow it would keep him there. She hated that he was leaving, though he was only moving three miles away. Just knowing he wouldn’t be down the hall from her made her feel so empty inside.
She stood slowly and meandered over to him. Brett called her Sprite for a reason. At barely five feet, she stood a full foot plus three inches below him. While he had kept growing and growing through high school, Elizabeth had come to a screeching halt as soon as she’d hit puberty at the age of 13.
“Buck up, little camper.” Brett chucked her under the chin. “I’ll not be far away. C’mon Sprite, let me see you smile.”
So Elizabeth smiled for him, though it didn’t reach her eyes.
“If you need me, just call and I’ll be here. I can’t stay any longer, Elizabeth. Dad and I, you know we don’t mix; we’re like oil and water.”
That was an understatement if there ever was one, Elizabeth thought, though she didn’t say it. She didn’t mix with either parent; she’d made it through the years by laying low and not drawing attention to herself. She hated to be noticed.
Lightning flashed again, and this time Brett heard the low rumble of thunder in the distance.
He pulled up the steep drive approach, taking care to not bottom out his 1970 Dodge Charger. Fire engine red with a black roof and a 440 Six Pack, he had rebuilt himself, lovingly restoring it in his parents’ garage during the first two years of college. He disliked driving it in bad weather, but had yet to pull out his winter beater. He made a mental note to call Dave that weekend.
The headlights flashed across the the front of the house, lighting it up for the briefest moment. Brett thought he saw something on the porch; he wasn’t sure what, then it was plunged back into darkness. Maybe his mind was playing tricks on him, but it looked like something huddled there on the steps. He got out of his car and ran through the cold November rain to investigate. Maybe a dog had sought refuge from the weather.
It wasn’t a dog. It was his sister.
“Jesus Christ! Elizabeth!”
She turned her face up to his as the lightning flashed again. He sucked in his breath when he saw the light blue bruise on the left side of her face. Rivulets of rain mixed with tears, coursing a path down her cheeks.
“What’re you doing here?” His words were drowned out by the approaching storm, though from the look in her eyes Brett doubted she would have heard him. She looked frozen from cold and fear. He didn’t repeat himself, said instead, “Come on, let’s get out of this mess.” He fully expected her to follow him, yet when he unlocked the front door and stepped aside to let her enter, he found her still sitting on the steps.
Brett went over and hauled Elizabeth up into his arms. Through the door they went, brother and sister, dripping water everywhere. He took her straight down the hall to the bathroom.
The bright fluorescent light hurt their eyes. They blinked in unison a moment, then Brett gently set her down on the counter.
Her hands felt like ice. He figured she’d been out there a while, and her normally beautiful auburn hair hung around her in clumps. He pushed one clump away from the left side of her face and examined the bruise. Elizabeth shied away.
“I know you didn’t get this by falling down, Sprite. What happened?”
Elizabeth only shook her head.
Brett noticed then her lips were blue. He needed to warm her up, fast.
“OK,” he sighed. “Tell me later, then. Right now you need to get out of those clothes. Have at it,” he instructed. “I’ll be right back.”
He went down the hall to his room and found a sweatshirt, sweatpants with a drawstring and a pair of socks, then returned to the bathroom to find his sister still sitting on the counter, still in casino oyna her soaking wet clothes.
“I thought you were…never mind.” He went to her and saw she was trembling, almost violently. Brett reached over, cranked on the faucets of the tub and began to draw her a warm bath. “Help me get you out of these.” He pulled off her thin jacket she’d put on over her sweater, which was also sopping. He threw it all into a soggy heap on the floor. It landed with a wet squish.
He carefully lowered Elizabeth down, not letting go until he was certain she could stand and not crumple to the floor in a heap next to her clothes.
“Can you undo your jeans?” Brett asked her quietly.
Elizabeth nodded, still trembling. She tried to unfasten them, but her hands were too shaky, too cold, and she couldn’t make them do what she wanted.
“I can’t.” Her voice was weak, her words mere squeaks.
“It’s OK, Sprite. I’ll do it.”
The wet denim clung to her body and Brett had to forcibly yank them down. He lifted one foot, then the other, and tossed them in the awaiting wet heap.
Elizabeth was standing before him now nearly naked, yet Brett saw none of it. Her lovely breasts inside her bra were invisible to him, as was her pussy, clearly outlined, tucked away inside pretty pink cotton panties.
“Can you manage the rest of the way?” Brett asked her.
“Get in the tub, then. I’ll be back in a bit.”
Elizabeth did as she was told. She couldn’t undo the hooks on her bra, so slowly she pulled it up over her head and threw it in the pile, along with her panties.
Her muscles and bones ached with cold. There was a dull throbbing in her head and on the left side of her face where the back of his hand had connected with her cheek.
Elizabeth lowered herself into the warm water. She laid down and it rose up as high as her neck. She noticed she could stretch almost all the way out. Though she’d stayed here with Brett several times in the last six months, she’d never taken a bath, only showers. Such a nice, deep tub…she shut her eyes, feeling some warmth return to her body.
“You OK, Sprite?” Brett called through the door ten minutes later.
Elizabeth found her voice. “Yeah Brett, I’m fine.”
“No, thanks. I’m about done.”
“Just be careful getting out,” he cautioned. He’d kept waiting for the crash, but it hadn’t come. His little sister tended to be a bit clumsy at times. “Put on the clothes I brought in for you.”
Elizabeth dreaded getting out, knowing she’d have to face her brother. Yet, he was the only one she could turn to now. He’d help her, she knew. He always did.
She dunked her head and quickly lathered it with some kind of Man Shampoo. It smelled-not great, yet not unpleasant, either.
Elizabeth dried and dressed, then attempted to hang her wet clothes over the shower curtain rod. They were heavy and she couldn’t quite reach it so she just sort of tossed them up and over. Her panties and bra she hung over the towel rack.
The sweatshirt and sweatpants were almost comical. She looked like a little orphaned waif. But it was a far cry from the drowned rat look she’d been sporting earlier. Anyway, she didn’t care; they were so incredibly soft and warm. She padded down the hall to the kitchen where she found her brother stirring some soup on the stove.
Brett looked up at her and laughed in spite of himself. She definitely looked better than she had when he found her on his front porch. Her hair was combed out and her cheeks were flushed with warmth. He poured the soup into two bowls and brought them to the table.
“Here ya go, eat up.” He pulled out a chair and sat down next to her.
“Thanks.” Elizabeth smiled at him.
They ate in silence for a few minutes before Elizabeth spoke up. “I suppose you’re wondering why I was sitting on your porch in the middle of a thunderstorm.”
As if on cue, lightning flashed and thunder rolled. The storm was directly overhead.
“Well, Elizabeth, the thought had crossed my mind.” Brett sat back in his chair and looked at her. “I’m especially interested in hearing how that bruise came to be on your cheek. But first things first. You need to eat, then we can talk. OK?”
Brett’s gentle voice and caring words caused tears to well in Elizabeth’s eyes. She tried to blink them away before he saw, yet saw them he did. He reached for her hand.
“It’s OK, sweetheart. You can cry here, it’s allowed.”
Nevertheless, she brushed them away and rose from the table. She took her bowl to the sink and ran water in it and the pot it had been heated in. Brett came over and placed his in the sink alongside Elizabeth’s. He put an arm around her slim shoulders.
“Let’s go watch TV for a while. You want anything to drink?” Brett opened the refrigerator and offered her a beer, but she declined. He grabbed a bottle and popped it open. He figured their Dad would kill him if he knew he let Elizabeth drink when she was over. He thought it odd she didn’t accept the beer, usually she did. But he shrugged it off.
They went into the living canlı casino room and sat down on the couch. Brett tipped the bottle to his lips and saw Elizabeth trying to scoot closer to him. He smiled to himself.
“Come here, Elizabeth. You know I don’t bite.” He reached over and pulled her up close to him. With a sigh, she settled into his side.
Safe, was Elizabeth’s only thought at the moment. She reveled in the feeling, knowing and fearing it wouldn’t last. Safe was where Brett was, and right then that’s all she wanted.
Brett propped his feet up on the old brass bound steamer trunk he used as a coffee table. His long legs stretched out before them. It wasn’t long before Elizabeth’s were propped up next to his, though they didn’t extend out nearly as far as her brother’s.
They watched the storm out the front window instead of the TV. It didn’t matter anyway, as five minutes later the storm knocked out the power. The living room plunged into darkness. Brett stood and went to the kitchen.
He returned a few minutes later with a flashlight and two lit candles. After placing them on the steamer trunk beside the flashlight, he returned to the couch and settled Elizabeth back into the crook of his arm.
“Want to talk about it yet?” he offered.
Elizabeth hedged. “Yes and no.” She leaned forward with a groan and put her face in her hands. Brett reached out and rubbed her back.
“When you’re ready, Elizabeth. Do Mom and Dad know you’re here?”
“I don’t know. I didn’t tell them where I was going.” And they certainly hadn’t asked.
“Maybe we should call them,” he suggested.
“I-I’m not sure that’s such a good idea, Brett.”
“They might worry.” What the hell, he’d try it.
Elizabeth just looked back at him and rolled her eyes. Brett tried a different tactic. He was a master at drawing Elizabeth out. Usually.
“Did you walk all the way here?”
“Yeah.” She rubbed a small hand across her brow.
“Long walk, even when it’s nice out. Why didn’t you wait? I would have picked you up on the way home.” He did that ocassionaly, if he wasn’t going out with friends, or had a date. At the moment, he was girlfriendless, and had no plans with his friends for the evening. He likely would have cancelled any he had anyway, considering the state Elizabeth was in. He hadn’t seen his sister quite like this before.
Though there was no electricity, the phone rang. Brett had a hard line he plugged in whenever the power went out. He got up to answer it, but Elizabeth grabbed his hand.
“Don’t tell them I’m here, Brett! Please,” she begged.
“Easy, Sprite. It may not even be them.” He tried to be reassuring, but failed in his attempt.
“I’ll handle it, Elizabeth.” He pulled away from her.
Oh God, they were going to tell him, and then he’d hate her, too! Elizabeth thought wildly. No, no, not Brett, never Brett. He wouldn’t turn her away. She tried to calm down, but could no longer hold in the tears.
“Was it them?” she asked when he returned.
Brett sat back down. “Yeah. It was Mom. She says you have something to tell me. I already figured that. What the hell’s going on, Elizabeth? She said Dad told you not to come back.”
“She didn’t tell you?” Elizabeth looked at him through bloodshot eyes. She was a wreck, but was beautiful to him nonetheless.
“No. She said it was up to you.”
Elizabeth moved back into the crook of him arm and laid her head on his chest. “You know Jim, right?”
“Yeah.” Of course he did, she’d been dating him for several months.
“We um…did it,” she murmured, then added, “I was a virgin.”
“Oh. Well, OK.” Brett was perplexed. He wasn’t thrilled with the knowledge that Jim had taken his sisters’ cherry, but still, that couldn’t be it. Unless their Dad caught them. Holy Christ, if that was it they’d be attending Jim’s funeral in the next day or two.
“He said he knew when to pull out. He said we didn’t need to use anything, and I believed him.” Elizabeth turned and pushed her face into Brett’s chest, ashamed now at what she’d done.
“You didn’t use any protection at all?” Brett asked carefully.
Elizabeth shook her head.
Brett wanted to ask her what the hell was wrong with the brain God gave her, but he held back, sensing there was more she had to say. He didn’t like where this was headed.
“I’m pregnant, Brett,” she whispered, confirming his fears.
Elizabeth felt his arms tighten around her. He didn’t say anything for several moments, just let what she said to him sink in.
“Oh, baby,” he sighed. “When did you find out?”
“How far along are you? Do you know?”
She shook her head. She wasn’t sure; her mind was a jumble of confusion and she hadn’t even attempted to figure it out.
Brett asked her a few more question, ones about her cycle, and as best as he could figure, she was about eight weeks. He was no expert on female reproduction, though.
“I’m assuming Mom and Dad found out, or did you tell them?” He suspected the former, seriously doubted the latter. He thought she would have come to kaçak casino him first, and he was right. She would have, had she had the chance.
“Dad found the test in the garbage.”
“Oh Sprite,” Brett sighed. Well, that explained the bruise on her left cheek. Dad’s backhand was wicked, he knew first hand. He placed a light kiss on the top of her still-damp head. “Tell me all of it, Elizabeth. What else did he do?”
Elizabeth drew a deep, shuddering breath. “He came into my room and threw the test stick at me. He wanted to know what was going on. So what else could I do? I told him.”
“Sweetheart, you should have come to me first.” His tone, while quiet, spoke volumes.
“I was going to, tonight. I didn’t mean for him to find out first. I thought I buried it deep enough.”
“You know you can’t bury things deep enough for him, Sprite. He’d have found it buried in the Grand Canyon,” Brett muttered in disgust. “Then what?”
“Then he went off on me. He said some pretty horrible things. Called me whore and a bunch of other crap. Mom came in, but of course she said nothing.”
“Of course.” Brett agreed. He knew their Mother well.
“Then he told me to leave and never come back. He wouldn’t let me take anything. He gave me the backhand and shoved me out the front door. I fell and hit the back of my head on the railing.” She reached back and rubbed the lump hidden under her full head of auburn hair. It still hurt and had given her an awful headache. “That’s it, I guess.”
“That’s enough, I’d say. Jesus Christ.” Brett was livid, and angry at himself. He never should have left home, not while Elizabeth was still there. Dammit! He should have taken her with him the day she turned 18. In his mind he could see it clearly; their Dad raising his hand and striking out at Elizabeth. He’d seen it coming at his own face more times than he cared to recall. He felt sick to his stomach.
“I could hear Dad ranting in the background,” Brett said, more to himself than to his sister.
Brett and Elizabeth were quiet for awhile. They sat together on the couch and watched out the window as the storm gradually faded away. He’d been unconsciously rubbing his sister’s left arm and the gentle, rhythmic motion had put her on the verge of sleep.
Elizabeth relaxed into her brother, finally feeling secure enough to let her guard down. Now that he knew, she felt a little lighter; to have shared her burden with him was a great relief. Though she still had much to face, now she felt like she had an ally.
At ten-thirty Brett woke with a start as the power blinked back on. He eased out from under Elizabeth, blew out the candles and went to turn off the kitchen lights. While he was up he went to his room and turned down the bed for her. He’d take the couch.
After taking care of the bed he went to the bathroom to relieve himself of the soup and beer he’d consumed. He smiled to himself as he saw the attempt his sister had made at hanging up her clothes. He straightened them and turned to leave. Her bra and panties hanging on the towel rack caught his eye. He looked at them, then looked away, feeling guilty, especially when his penis began to get hard. Jesus, he thought, what the hell kind of pervert am I? Getting hard checking out my kid sister’s underwear. Jesus! He returned to the living room.
Elizabeth had stretched out on the couch and was still asleep. Brett sat down on the steamer trunk and gazed down at her.
She nearly swam in his clothes, so big was he, so little was she. He brushed the long auburn hair off her face and touched the bruise. It had darkened considerably, and as he looked at it, so did his mood. On impulse, he bent and placed a soft kiss on the marred skin of her cheek.
He stood, then carefully picked her up in his arms and carried her down the hall. He had no idea what she weighed, but it couldn’t have been much.
Brett placed her down gently, and drew up the covers. He kissed her forehead, then beat a hasty retreat. The bulge in his Levis was suddenly very uncomfortable.
In the living room he stripped down to his boxers and made a makeshift bed on the couch. He laid down and thought about his sister for a while, wondering what she would do about the baby growing in her. Would she keep it? Give it up? He didn’t think she’d have an abortion. That just wasn’t Elizabeth. He wondered then if Jim knew. Likely not, or she would have said something. He wondered, too, if Jim would stick around once he found out he was going to be a father. Brett had a sinking feeling about that, yet stranger things had happened. Though he couldn’t help feeling his kid sister deserved better.
Better crap than their own Father dished out, Brett thought darkly. Sprite should be home in her own bed, not here with me. He’d never, ever turn her away, though.
No, they’d been through too much together already. Their bond had been forged many, many years ago. It had always seemed to be the two of them against the world; or more correctly, the two of them against their parents. Even their Mother would bow to their Fathers’ cruel whims. Brett had never known a more unreasonable, unfeeling person in his life. And yet for all that, he thought he and his sister had turned out remarkably well, except for a few bruises here and there. OK, more than a few, he admitted to himself.