Stepbrother Dearest

By: Penelope Ward


I hated that I cared.

I lifted my backpack out of my locker. “You’re crazy. Can we please change the subject?”

“Okay. I heard Bentley wants to ask you out.”

I slammed the locker hard upon that news. “From whom?”

“He talked to my brother about it. He wants to ask you to the movies.”

Bentley was one of the popular preppie guys. I couldn’t figure out why he would be interested in me since he usually dated girls from his own crowd. I didn’t really belong to their group or any group for that matter. There were the people like Bentley from the rich side of town in one clique. Then, there were the artsy and theatrical ones. Then, you had the international exchange students. Then, there were those who were just popular because they were good-looking, intriguing or acted out (Elec). Victoria and I were sort of in a class of our own. We got along with everyone, got good grades and stayed out of trouble. Unlike my best friend, though, I was a virgin.

I’d only had one boyfriend, Gerald, who ended up breaking up with me because I wouldn’t let him get past touching my boobs. Word got out that I was a virgin and certain people around school would joke about it behind my back. While I still saw Gerald in the halls from time to time, I tried to avoid him.

Victoria snapped her gum. “So, anyway, if he asks you out, we should totally invite Elec. He could go with me, and you could go with Bentley. We could go see that new scary movie.”

“No, thanks. Living with Elec is all the scary I need.”



***



My words would come back to haunt me the next morning. I was getting dressed for school, and when I opened my underwear drawer, it was empty.

I threw on some yoga pants commando-style and marched into Elec’s room as he was putting on a shirt.

“What the hell did you do with my underwear?”

“It doesn’t feel good when someone takes your shit, does it?”

“I took one box of cigarettes for less than five minutes and gave it right back, by the way. You took every single piece of underwear I own! There’s a little bit of a difference there.”

I couldn’t believe I assumed he wasn’t going to get back at me for that one. Lately, he had been ignoring me especially well, and I just assumed all was forgotten.

I started searching his drawers. My hand quickly retracted after touching a strip of condoms.

“You can look in here all day until the sun goes down. They’re not in here. Don’t waste your time.”

“You’d better not have thrown them out!”

“Those were some hot pieces. I couldn’t do that.”

“That’s because they cost a fortune.”

Good underwear was probably the only thing I splurged on. Each and every pair came from a pricey online lingerie boutique.

As I knelt down to look under his bed, he laughed. “You have a wedgie, by the way.”

I leapt up and clenched my teeth. “That’s what happens when you don’t have any fucking underwear!”

I wanted to pick it so badly, but that would have made this worse. I stood up to face him.

Elec gave me a once-over. “You’ll get them back when I’m ready to give them to you. Now, if you’ll excuse me…” He brushed past me and ran down the stairs.

I didn’t even bother to stop him because he wasn’t going to budge. I went to Target on the way to school and bought cheapie panties until I could figure out how to get mine back.

I came home from school that day in a really anxious mood. Between the missing underwear and my actually getting asked out by Bentley, I was seriously in need of ice cream—not just any ice cream, but the homemade kind I’d make occasionally on the machine I got for Christmas last year.

I dumped every piece of leftover Halloween candy into it and ended up with a delectable Snicker, Heath bar, Almond Joy concoction with a vanilla base.

Once it was ready, I sat down at the counter with my gigantic bowl and closed my eyes, savoring each bite.

The front door slammed and shortly after, Elec strolled into the kitchen. The scent of clove cigarettes and cologne wafted in the air. I hated his smell.

I fucking loved his smell, wanted to drown in it.

As usual, he ignored me, just headed to the refrigerator, took out the milk and drank it straight from the carton. He eyed my ice cream and walked over to me, taking the spoon out of my hand. He placed it in his mouth, devouring a huge dollop. The metal from his lip ring clinked against the spoon that he licked until it was dry. My insides were quivering from just watching it. Then, he handed the spoon back to me. His tongue lightly brushed across his teeth like a snake. Even his goddamn teeth were sexy.

I opened the drawer, grabbed another spoon and gave him his own. We both started eating out of my bowl while saying nothing to each other. Such a simple thing, but my heart was beating a mile a minute. This was the longest amount of time he’d ever willingly graced me with his presence.

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