Stepbrother Dearest

By: Penelope Ward

“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.

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.”


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.

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