Stepbrother Dearest

By: Penelope Ward


Finally, in the middle of a bite, he looked at me. “What happened to your father?”

I swallowed my ice cream and tried to fight the emotions creeping up. His question caught me totally off guard. I rested my spoon in the bowl. “He died of lung cancer at 35. He’d been smoking since he was 12.”

He closed his eyes briefly and nodded to himself in understanding. He obviously now realized why I’d hated his smoking so much.

After several seconds of silence, he was looking down at the bowl when he said, “I’m sorry.”

“Thanks.”

We continued sharing the ice cream until there was nothing left. Elec took the bowl from me, washed it in the sink, wiped it and put it away. He then left to go back upstairs without saying anything else.

I stayed downstairs in the kitchen alone for a while replaying that strange encounter. His interest in my father really surprised me. I also thought again about when he first licked my spoon and how I’d felt when I licked it after.

My phone chimed. It was a text from Elec.



Thanks for the ass cream. It was really good.



When I returned to my room that afternoon, a single pair of my underwear was neatly folded on my dresser. If this were his version of extending an olive branch, I’d take it.



***



The “sweet” Elec was short-lived. A few days after our ice cream social, he showed up at the café where I worked right in the middle of the after school rush. Kilt Café was down the street from our high school and served things like sandwiches, salads and coffee.

If Elec’s showing up wasn’t bad enough, he’d brought with him probably the most beautiful girl in our entire school. Leila was platinum blonde and tall with huge breasts. She was the total opposite of me looks-wise. I had more of a dancer or gymnast’s body. My long strawberry-blonde hair was poker straight and simple as opposed to her big, bouncy Texas-style do. You’d think she’d be a bitch because of her looks, but she was actually really nice.

Leila waved. “Hey, Greta.”

“Hey,” I said as I placed their menus down. Elec gave me fleeting eye contact but was trying not to acknowledge me. I don’t think he knew that I worked there, because I never told him.

A pang of jealousy hit me when I noticed Elec locking Leila’s legs in with his under the table.

I wasn’t sure if Leila realized he was my stepbrother. I never spoke about him to people at school and figured he never mentioned me, either.

“I’ll give you two a few minutes,” I said before walking back toward the kitchen. I watched as Leila reached across the table and planted a kiss on his lips. I felt sick. She pulled on his lip ring with her teeth. It looked like she might have purred. Ugh. I’d never wanted to disappear into thin air so badly.

I reluctantly walked back over to them. “Have you decided what you want?”

Elec glanced over to the chalkboard that listed the daily specials and smirked. “What’s your soup of the day?”

That bastard.

“Chicken.”

“That’s not correct. You’re misrepresenting it.”

“It’s the same thing.”

He repeated, “What’s…the soup…of the day?”

I stared at him long and hard then clenched my jaw. “Cock a Leekie Soup.”

The owner was from Scotland, and apparently, that was a specialty there.

He flashed a mischievous grin. “Thanks. I’ll have the cock soup. Leila?”

“I’ll have the garden salad,” she said, looking back and forth between Elec and me confused.

I took my sweet time before bringing them their food. It didn’t matter to me if the soup was cold.

After a few minutes, Elec lifted his index finger for me to come to the table.

“Yes?” I huffed.

“This cock is leaky. It’s also bland and cold. Can you please replace it and ask the cook to actually put some flavor in it?”

He looked like he was stifling a laugh. Leila was speechless.

I took the soup back to the kitchen and dumped it violently into the sink along with the ceramic cup. Instead of talking to the chef, I had a light bulb moment and decided to take this into my own hands. I grabbed the ladle and put more soup into a new cup. I opened a bottle of hot picante sauce and poured it more than generously into the soup.

It was piping hot in more ways than one now. I walked back out and placed it carefully in front of Elec.

“Anything else?”

“No.”

I walked back over toward the kitchen and waited in the corner to watch him. The anticipation was killing me. His tongue would practically fall off when he got one taste of my specialty.

Elec took the first spoonful. He had no reaction.

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