Stepbrother Dearest

By: Penelope Ward


“I don’t believe you.”

I continued searching around until I stumbled upon something that caught my eye. It was a binder with a large stack of papers inside. Printed on the front were the words Lucky and the Lad by Elec O’Rourke.

“What’s this?”

For the first time, Elec stopped his video game and practically flew off the bed. “Don’t touch that.”

I flipped through it as fast as possible before he ripped it out of my hands. There was dialog and some lines were crossed out and corrected in red pen. My eyes widened. “You wrote a book?”

He swallowed and for the first time since I’d met him, Elec looked truly uncomfortable. “That’s none of your business.”

“Maybe you do have more going for you than your looks,” I joked.

My eyes wandered to the tattoo of the word “Lucky” on his right bicep, and the wheels began turning in my head. The tattoo was connected to the story he apparently wrote.

Elec gave me one last death stare before walking over to his closet and placing the binder on the top shelf. He sat back down on the bed and resumed his videogame.

Desperate to connect with him in some way, I sat next to him and watched as he destroyed his virtual enemy in combat.

“Can two people play?”

He stopped for a moment and froze, then sighed in exasperation, before handing me a controller. He changed the setting to two players, and we began battling it out.

It took me a while to figure out how to play the game. After multiple wins on his part, my character finally killed his off, and he turned to me with a look of amusement and dare I say…admiration. He cracked a reluctant but genuine smile, and I felt like my heart was going to disintegrate. That one little gesture, and I was a lost cause. What would I have done if he were actually really nice to me: lose my mind altogether and start humping his leg? Upon that thought, I decided it was time for me to go back to my room.

I spent the rest of the night trying to figure him out and concluded there was definitely more to stepbrother dearest than met the eye.



***



Several weeks passed before I’d accepted Bentley’s offer to take me out on a date. I’d finally conceded that a.) there were no better alternatives at the moment and b.) a distraction from my unhealthy obsession with my stepbrother would be most helpful.

My attraction to Elec was at an all-time high. Almost every night after dinner, I’d go to his room and play that videogame with him. It was a harmless way for us to take out our frustration toward each other without anyone actually getting hurt. The surprising thing was, he seemed to be the one initiating it now. The one night I decided to stay in my room and read, he’d sent me a text.



Are you coming to play or what?



Greta: I wasn’t going to.



Elec: Bring some ass cream too and put extra Snickers in it.



That message would have seemed really odd to someone on the outside looking in. The text had made me giddy, though.

That night, we shared another bowl of ice cream and played the game until I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I even managed to kill Elec off two out of the 17 times we played. Even though he didn’t really open up to me, the gaming sessions seemed to be his own special way of saying he didn’t find my company deplorable anymore and that maybe, he even enjoyed it

But in typical Elec fashion, just when it felt like we were finally connecting, he had to go and ruin it.



***



It was a couple of days before my Friday night date with Bentley. Victoria and I were hanging out in the kitchen when Elec walked in and did his usual drinking out of the milk carton routine.

Victoria’s eyes fixated on Elec’s shirt riding up as he lifted the milk. The two shamrock tattoos on either side of his rock-hard abs were exposed.

She was practically drooling. “Hey, Elec.”

Elec grunted in response through the carton before putting it back into the fridge. He then began rummaging through the snack cupboard.

Victoria dipped a pretzel in some nutella and spoke with her mouth full. “So, have you decided which movie you’re going to see with Bentley Friday night?”

“No, we haven’t discussed it.”

From across the kitchen, I couldn’t help but notice that Elec stopped sifting through the cabinet for a moment and froze. It seemed like he was trying to listen to what we were saying. He glanced over at me for a fleeting moment with a troublesome expression.

“Well, I think you should see that new Drew Barrymore romantic comedy. Make him suffer through a chick flick. What do you think, Elec?”

“What do I think about what?”

“What movie should Greta see on her date with Bentley?”

He ignored her question and looked at me. “That dude’s a fucknut.”

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