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I wasn’t planning on doing much of anything that evening. It was raining pretty hard out and I didn’t have anything I really needed to get done anyway. Then the phone rang.
“Michael, have you seen your sister?” It was my mother’s voice on the other end, she sounded worried.
“It’s just, she ran off and we don’t know where. We called some of her friends’ houses but nobody’s seen her. I hoped maybe… maybe you would know where she was.” She was close to panic.
“What do you mean ran off? Night like this where would she go? Actually never mind, I’m going to go look for her.”
I hung up the phone ignoring whatever mom tried to tell me after that. If my eighteen year old little sister really was wandering around out there on a night like this I needed to go find her. I couldn’t imagine what would have caused her to take off though, unlike me she always seemed to get along fine with our parents. Not that we had a terrible relationship or anything but there had been arguments that got pretty heated.
It was even worse out than I expected, I could barely see where I was going half the time the rain was hitting the windshield so hard. I really hoped mom was just misinformed, that Katie had just gone over to a neighbour’s house or something. Surely she wouldn’t have tried to walk all the way to my house, not in this weather.
Then I saw her, just a tiny figure hunched over miserably in the rain. It might not be her I told myself even as I executed an extremely dangerous turn in the middle of the road. It was though, I could tell as soon as I stepped out of the car.
“Come on Katie get in the car,” I almost had to yell to be heard as I tugged on her arm.
She looked startled for a moment, like she hadn’t even noticed me approaching, then let me drag her to the passenger seat. I wished I had thought to bring a blanket or something but I had to settle for turning the heat all the way up. I was uncomfortably warm by the time we got back to my house but she had only just stopped shivering.
“M’sorry I got your car wet,” she said as we walked through the door, the first thing she had said since I found her.
I shrugged. “Doesn’t matter Katie, it’s just a car. You’re still cold aren’t you?” She had her arms wrapped around her and she nodded at me emphatically. “Okay, you go take a shower and I’ll see if I can find some dry clothes for you.”
I left her at the bathroom and went to see what I could find that might fit her. Luckily I had a handful of clothes left behind by an ex-girlfriend who was much closer to Katie’s size than I was. I grabbed a pair of her pants and a shirt as well as one of my sweaters. The sweater would be too big but at least it would be warm. If she didn’t want to wear it that was okay too.
“Katie, I’m just going to open the door far enough to throw some clothes in okay?” I called through the bathroom door.
“‘Kay,” she called back.
Facing away from the door I awkwardly opened it and tossed in the bundle I had been carrying. I had to call mom, let her know Katie was with me. That was going to be a difficult conversation to keep short.
In fact it took almost fifteen minutes to get her off the phone. She kept wanting to talk to Katie even thought I told her she was taking a shower several times. Eventually I reassured her enough that Katie was fine that she let me go without me having to hang up on her again.
I had been sitting on the couch staring into space and didn’t hear Katie approaching. She looked even smaller than she was wearing my oversized sweater. She hadn’t even bothered to roll up the sleeves and they were hanging down over her hands.
“Hey,” I replied. “Feeling better?”
“Yeah, thanks for coming to get me.” She sat down beside me and pulled her knees up to her chest. “How’d you know where I was?”
“I didn’t really. Mom said you ran off and I thought there was a chance you were coming here so I just drove toward where you would be coming from. That’s all.” She didn’t say anything else for a while and I would have left it at that except I was still curious what she had been doing out there. “So, what happened?” I almost thought she didn’t hear me and was about to repeat myself when she finally spoke.
“I just… I had to go to the store,” she started. “I took dad’s car, I wasn’t going to be long. Just went to the store, that’s all. And then it was raining so hard, I didn’t think it was that bad.” I nodded at that, I knew how bad it was driving out there. “I didn’t mean to Mike, I really didn’t, but I went in the ditch.”
She was getting upset and I didn’t blame her; crashing a car, dad’s car no less, would be pretty upsetting even if it wasn’t that bad. I checked her out quickly for bruises or cuts but of course I couldn’t see much of her under that shirt. I had to assume any injuries she had sustained weren’t serious or she would have said something by now. I slid closer to her and put my arm around her shoulder as I waited for her to continue.
“He wouldn’t stop yelling. I know bursa escort I shouldn’t have taken his car without asking but I didn’t mean to crash it. I tried to tell him. He wouldn’t stop yelling.” She was curling up against me as much as she could, almost burrowing into my side.
“He never yells at you,” I said quietly. I don’t think I had ever once heard him so much as raise his voice to her. She was his perfect little girl, she couldn’t do anything wrong as far as he was concerned. “He was probably just scared.”
“Yeah, I mean if I heard you were in an accident I’d be scared too. That doesn’t mean he should have yelled at you but I don’t think he was angry, not really.” She seemed somewhat reassured by my words even though I had no idea if what I was saying was true or not. For all I knew dad really was just pissed about his car getting damaged. “Anyway I told mom I’d drive you home tomorrow if you’re okay with spending the night here.”
Katie seemed a little hesitant about accepting but I think that was just because she was worried about returning home. We sat together on the couch for a while until I noticed she had fallen asleep on me. I rolled my eyes but I didn’t really mind, it might help her to get some sleep. Maybe she would feel better in the morning.
I picked her up as gently as I could and carried her to the guest bedroom. She was a little heavier than I remember but still light enough that I didn’t have much trouble lifting her. She woke up as I tried to get her under the covers and looked over at me sleepily.
“Sorry,” I whispered, “I tried not to wake you.”
“S’okay,” she said. I finished tucking her in and turned to leave when she called to me softly. “Mike, can you stay? Just for a little bit?”
I lay down on the bed leaving some space between us and stared up at the dark ceiling. If my presence helped her sleep I was fine with staying a while. I listened to the sound of her breathing intending to head to my own room when she drifted off.
I woke up confused not to be in my room before remembering I had stayed with Katie last night and must have fallen asleep there. She wasn’t in the room anymore and somehow the blanket was pulled up over me. Whether I had done that or if Katie had I didn’t know.
After stumbling downstairs I found Katie in the kitchen by the stove. She was still wearing the clothes I found for her except she had removed my sweater. She turned around as she heard me enter the room.
“Morning,” she greeted me. “I’m just making some breakfast. It’s only eggs and toast, that’s all I could find.”
“That’s fine,” I assured her as I sat down at the table.
Soon she set a plate of scrambled eggs and toast down in front of me. She sat across from me with a plate of her own. She seemed happier to me, almost cheerful.
“These are good,” I said after a few mouthfuls.
“That’s probably just ’cause you only eat junk all the time. Not used to real food. I’ve never seen a fridge that empty I swear.”
I smiled as she chastised me, she was definitely feeling better. “I eat healthy sometimes.”
“Whatever, you need to get a girlfriend to take care of you. Otherwise you’re going to die of malnutrition before you’re thirty.”
I dropped her off at our parents’ house after we finished eating. I wanted to stay and make sure everything was okay but I was already running late for work and had to just hope things worked out.
A few days later Katie was back. She was sitting on the front step of my house, evidently waiting for me to return from work. She didn’t seem upset as far as I could tell which left me curious what she was up to.
“Hey Mike,” she called as I stepped out of my car.
“Hey, what’s up?”
She shrugged. “Not much. I was over at a friend’s house and it’s only like a ten minute walk from here so I thought I’d come hang out for a bit. If that’s okay.”
“Of course it’s okay. You can come over any time you want Katie. Actually why don’t I give you a spare key so you don’t get stuck waiting for me to get home.”
My kitchen is the first room after the entryway to my house and Katie was immediately drawn to it as I let her in.
“Don’t you ever do dishes?” she called to me as I was still untying my shoes.
There was getting to be a decent pile on the counter I will admit, but living by myself I didn’t really have to do them that often. Especially since I rarely cooked anything that required more than one dish. I heard water running in the sink and guessed Katie was planning to wash them.
“You don’t have to do that you know,” I said, finally making my way into the kitchen.
“Someone has to take care of you, you obviously aren’t,” she countered.
“I appreciate it Katie, I just don’t want you to feel like have to do that stuff when you’re over here. You cooked breakfast last time you were over too. Seems like taking advantage or something.”
She made a dismissive sound and submerged a stack of plates bursa escort bayan in the water. “It’s not really taking advantage if I want to do it for you is it? Anyway, speaking of cooking would you mind running out for a few things if I make you a list? I’m thinking of just making spaghetti, something simple.”
I rolled my eyes but couldn’t say I really minded if she wanted to cook for me. She always made better food than what I was used to.
Katie started coming over fairly often, usually without warning but that wasn’t an issue for me. Sometimes, mostly on weekends, she would sleep at my house but more commonly I would drive her home or someone would pick her up. She even started leaving a few sets of clothes at my house.
She always cooked for me and I had to get used to keeping more ingredients in stock for her. I also wound up doing dishes more frequently so she wouldn’t feel like she had to do them for me.
It got so that I was looking forward to getting home every night to see if she was there waiting for me. It led to a lot of disappointments but I reminded myself that she had better things to do than spend all her time ‘looking after her brother’ as she put it.
“Don’t you ever get tired of that?” I asked Katie one day as I sat in the kitchen watching her work.
“No, it’s kind of fun actually. I like cooking but I don’t get to do much at home, mom usually takes care of it. Plus I can experiment as much as I want ’cause you’ll eat anything,” she teased.
“What about that time you forgot the baking powder in the pancakes?”
“Okay, almost anything,” she conceded.
“To be fair though your food is usually amazing. You’re going to have a very lucky boyfriend some day.”
“Sometimes I wish you weren’t my brother so you could be my boyfriend,” she said in almost a whisper.
“I’m sorry, that was a stupid thing to say.” She had stiffened noticeably even with her back toward me.
“It’s okay, I know what you mean,” I said reassuringly.
She half turned toward me and our eyes met. For the first time I realized that my feelings for her were not entirely brotherly. She was still my sister and I was happy with that, I wouldn’t trade it away for anything. If she wasn’t my sister though….
“I have to go,” she mumbled suddenly and bolted from the room.
“Katie!” I called, but she was already gone.
I heard the front door slam shut and sighed as I made my way out to the driveway. I could see her several houses away still running. She had been a faster runner than me ever since my age had stopped being an overwhelming advantage, I would never catch her. All I could do was follow and hope she stopped before I lost her.
Luckily I saw Katie head into the local park which limited the area she had to run somewhat. On the other hand I had no idea where she might have gone once she was inside. I shrugged and started down the main path, she might be upset enough to have just taken the most obvious route. Could be I was wasting my time, if she really wanted to elude me she would have no difficulty doing so.
I almost missed her as I walked by the bench she was sitting on but I caught a glimpse out of the corner of my eye of the same colour of blue as the shirt she had been wearing. The bench was actually facing away from the path so she didn’t see me coming until I sat down next to her. She had her knees pulled up against her chest with her arms wrapped around them.
“Hey,” I said.
“I always ruin things lately,” she said without looking at me. “I wrecked dad’s car and Rachel’s mad at me and now you’re going to-“
“Katie,” I interrupted firmly, “you didn’t ruin anything. The car wasn’t hurt that bad and I don’t know about Rachel but I’m sure things aren’t that bad.” Rachel had been one of Katie’s best friends for as long as I could remember and even though I didn’t actually know what had happened between them I was pretty sure it couldn’t be all that serious. “And as for me I’m your brother and I love you. Nothing you can do is ever going to change that.”
“Maybe, but I can still make things weird.” She didn’t sound cheered up all that much and she still refused to look at me.
“C’mon,” I said and grabbed her hand. She resisted for a moment but even if I couldn’t run as fast as her I could still drag her around by her arm if I wanted to.
“Where are we going?” she demanded.
“Just for a walk. Maybe I can’t be your boyfriend Katie, but we can pretend for a little while.”
“Mike we can’t,” she protested.
“It’s only walking, it’s harmless. Nobody around we know anyway, not that I’ve seen yet.”
We walked for a while and the space between us gradually closed as Katie calmed down. Soon we were almost shoulder to shoulder and I’m sure we looked like a real couple to anyone passing us.
“Mike?” she asked eventually.
“I know it’s stupid but I just want to know. If I wasn’t your sister would you… do you think we could be together?”
The way she escort bursa asked the question I knew what answer she was looking for. She wanted me to say yes and if I did it would probably make things a lot easier.
“I don’t know Katie, I really don’t.” I sighed and stared at the ground moving under my feet. “I never thought about it before today, it’s just not something I wanted to think about you know? But now… now I can’t stop thinking about it.”
“It probably doesn’t matter anyway. Can’t change what things are.”
“You can change some things,” I said.
She looked at me confused, hell I didn’t even know what I meant by that. As she stared at me I saw not only my little sister but also a girl I cared about more than maybe anyone else on the planet. There were things we weren’t supposed to do, I had been taught that by my parents and by society for a long time. What did they know though? They couldn’t understand what I was feeling. What we were feeling.
“What-” Katie started to ask as I jerked to stop.
She had such a cute face when she was confused, I wonder if anybody had ever told her that. I interrupted her question by pulling her to me and kissing her lightly on her lips. She froze for a second then melted into me. I held it only briefly but it seemed so much longer. She was fighting a smile as I broke away, trying to look serious.
“That was a really dumb thing to do,” she said quietly.
She looked around us quickly but nobody was paying any undue attention to us. “It was nice though,” she continued in the same hushed tone.
“Katie, I’m still not sure exactly….”
She stopped me with a finger on my lips. It was probably for the best, I didn’t really know how to explain what I felt anyway.
“Let’s just keep walking okay?”
I smiled against her finger. “Okay,” I agreed.
We eventually stopped by a pond a sat down on the grass beside it. Thankfully things didn’t seem to have gotten awkward between us as they could have done very easily.
“Are things okay at home?” I asked. “You brought up the car again earlier, dad’s not still on about that is he?”
“Things are… not bad I guess. Dad hasn’t said anything about the car since that evening. I’m just, I dunno, tired of living there.”
“I know what you mean,” I agreed.
She threw a rock into the water and watched the ripples fade away before continuing. “Sometimes it feels like they’re just watching me, waiting for me to something wrong. Like when I crashed the car. I want to get out but I’m… scared I suppose.”
“You could come live with me,” I offered.
She looked at me with a half-smile on her face. “I’d like to Mike, I really would, but how long would it be before we do something we’d both regret?”
I didn’t know how to answer that and she knew it.
Katie came to my room that night; I don’t know when exactly. I woke up while the sky was just starting to lighten outside and found her beside me. She was on her side facing toward me and breathing softly, still asleep. She had carefully stayed just far enough away from me not to make contact except where her fingers brushed against my arm.
I watched her sleep for a while, fascinated for some reason even though she hardly moved. A few strands of hair had fallen across her face and I resisted the urge to brush them back. Finally she shifted slightly and I snapped my eyes shut as she began to wake up.
“Mike?” she whispered.
She repeated my name once more a little louder but I continued feigning slumber. I don’t know why exactly, she was the one who had come to me; I shouldn’t have had to pretend. At the time it seemed the safer course of action.
Satisfied that I remained oblivious to her presence, Katie slipped out of the bed and padded across the floor. I had my eyes opened to slits and saw her pause briefly in the doorway to gaze back at me before stepping into the hallway.
Things went on for a few weeks without any change. Neither of us brought up the subject of our relationship although Katie continued to sneak into my bed when she stayed over. I pretended not to know and I figured as long as she didn’t say anything I wouldn’t either. Then she said something that threw me off completely.
“So a guy asked me out yesterday,” she said, avoiding eye contact.
We were sitting at the table eating and I paused with my fork halfway to my mouth. She stared fixedly at her plate as I tried to figure out how to respond to her.
“Are you going to go?” I asked.
“I don’t know.”
She was waiting for me to tell her what I thought, I just didn’t know what that was supposed to be. I didn’t want her to go out with whoever this guy was and maybe that was what she wanted to hear. On the other hand maybe she did want to go and she wanted to know that it was okay, that I wouldn’t mind. I almost wished we had taken the time to figure out exactly what was going on between us and whether or not seeing other people was okay.
Oh what the hell was I thinking? She was my sister, of course she should be dating someone else. It would be better for her and maybe it would help relieve some of the tension between us. I just really, really, didn’t like the thought of her with some other guy.
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