Siblings

Amateur

1. The Funeral

The sky was grey, dull, depressing. It always was on these occasions. Harry Price stood tall and stiff in the miserable, damp, cold of the November day. His mood was as bleak as the weather. They were burying his father. A miserable old man who’d only had eyes for his elder daughter, Margaret Lever, nee Price. Stood beside their brother, Simon, swathed in an all enveloping overcoat, she cut a commanding figure. The priest donned on, reading from the old prayer book with as much feeling as if he was reciting a railway timetable. Harry looked at his younger sister, Carol, but her features were indistinguishable behind the heavy black veil. She ought to be crying for joy thought Harry. Apart from the grave digger and the two employees of the funeral parlour some distance away, they were the only figures around the box. None of the grand children, nor any of the cousins had bothered to turn up. It was a forlorn, desolate, pathetic affair. Harry had had to ask the grave digger to act as pall bearer.

The priest finished and both Carol and Harry breathed a sigh of relief. It was over, they could leave this depressing scene. They parted from Simon and Margaret after a desultory sprinkling of insincere platitudes. Neither pair wanted the company of the other, but neither wanted to be seen to be anything other than a loving family. They made their excuses and parted. They would see each other again soon enough. The will was being read that afternoon. Simon had seen no point in messing about. If there was any money coming his way, he wanted it as soon as possible. His lecturer’s pay never stretched far enough. After passing a pub lunch in total silence, Carol and Harry made their way to the solicitor’s office. It was like the funeral itself, instead of a priest droning out the service for the dead, this time there was a solicitor droning out the platitudes of father’s will. Both Harry and Carol sat lost in their memories, wishing that the old legal eagle would get on with it. Harry was bored, he knew he wasn’t going to get anything. Carol had had an attack of conscience all morning and Simon and Margaret couldn’t wait to get their hands on the loot.

Carol had been divorced some time ago and had spent the last three years living with father. The old man had become demanding and tyrannical. Before she realised it, he’d turned her into a skivvy and a drudge. The old man’s unpleasantness had served to bring Harry and his sister together in adversity, even closer than when they were children. After his divorce, Harry had gone to live in digs with a one-bar electric fire and a grasping old land lady. He’d helped Carol out with the old man over the last couple of years, and as the demands made by the old man escalated so he increased his contribution. Father had been so obnoxious that even the land lady had been preferable to living with the old man. But in the end he’d moved in. He had to. It had just got too much for Carol, she’d been close to a nervous breakdown. He knew it was down to him. There wouldn’t be any help from Margaret and Simon. They had families and couldn’t spare the time. In fact they had so little time that they never showed their faces from one month to the next. They never tired of pointing out that Harry and Carol were single and could be responsible for the old despot.

Harry had been able to take over the more onerous duties like carrying the old man back and forth to the loo. Carol had finally been able to get some time on her own. They took turns to see to the old man at night so that each could get some rest. The old man’s tyranny brought brother and sister closer together than they’d been since childhood. Not that they’d ever been estranged. Marriage had pulled them apart, but only temporarily. Now that they were both divorced and once more subject to the old man’s oppression, they rediscovered in each other what it was they had liked and loved as childhood siblings. Carol had been able to indulge her love of ballroom dancing as the load was lightened and her brother stood up to the old man and curbed his demands.

“You won’t be going anywhere, Carol my girl!” said the old man one night not long after Harry had moved in. “Dancing at your age! Sheer vanity! Bodily pride and lust! That’s all it is! Look at you. Mutton dressed up as lamb! Act your age woman. You’re a fat middle aged . . .” The old man didn’t finish his diatribe.

Harry looked up from his newspaper. He looked at his father and quietly said, “Shut up dad. If Carol wants to go dancing then she will go dancing.”

“Who do you think you are to tell ME to shut up?!” retorted the old man, meeting this flank attack with his usual vigour and aggression.

“Your son.” replied Harry without raising his voice. “You will keep your absurd and insulting thoughts to yourself. In case you’d forgotten, Carol is your daughter.”

“Aye, and she’ll no mind some plain speaking from her father!”

“’Not plain speaking, dad. Just insufferable rudeness.”

“How dare you speak to me like that! Show some respect!”

“Respect has to be earned, and you’ve not earned any in a long, long time dad. Your account’s in the red.”

“Well ankara escort if you’ve no respect, laddie, why do ye hang around? Just waiting for the share out after I pass on!”

Harry sighed, “No dad, I hang around to protect Carol from you. I don’t need or want your money. As far as I’m concerned you can take it with you!” The old curmudgeon was getting to him – as usual his patience wore thin very quickly when tested by his father’s malice.

“Aye, well ye can pack your bags and go if that’s all there is to it.” said the old man airily.

“If I go, Carol goes.” said Harry through clenched teeth. “In fact we’ll both be going out tonight, so you can chew it over. Make your decision father. Make and effort to be pleasant and we’ll both stay, or we’re both off.”

“How could you both go!” shouted the old man, suddenly afraid, “You’ve nae money.”

“Enough, father, more than enough!” smiled Harry with a malicious smile of his own.

“Then I’ll charge ye rent!” countered the old man in desperation.

“Then we’re certain to go. And if we both go, you’ll have to hire a nurse! That’ll make a pretty dent in that fortune you’re always bragging about.” With that parting shot, Harry left the old man in an apoplectic rage to join Carol in the hall. “Can I tag along Sis? I don’t think I can stand the old bugger tonight.”

“Course you can, Harry, don’t be silly. It’ll be wonderful to go dancing together. You were always my favourite partner.” she said excitedly, and skipped just like a school girl. “Will he be alright?” she added anxiously, not really wanting to hear anything untoward.

“Oh yes, the old man is as strong as a horse.” She smiled, relieved.

Harry’s Diary.

Big bust up with the old man tonight. Told him where he can get off. Threatened to take Carol away. Left him spitting teeth! Ha! About bloody time too! Went dancing with Sis. Bit rusty, but it soon came back to me with a bit of help from Carol. I have to record it here, I can’t say it anywhere else, but Sis is a very attractive woman. Five foot six, an hour glass figure, and very shapely pins. Dancer’s legs! Strong, well muscled! God, but I enjoyed writing that. Gave me an opportunity to savour the picture of her in my mind. Naughty! I mean, Carol was always Sis. I mean you’re just not supposed to think like that about sisters! But then I always did think about her like that! Tonight on the dance floor with the lights down low, I remembered how it used to be when we were teenagers and I have to admit I was turned on. The brush of her breasts (and what a pair! To coin a phrase, Fucking A!) against my chest, the press of her arm on mine, her scent, her own smell, my God, but it was heady stuff! The brush of her thighs against mine! Old Percy hasn’t been so aroused for years. Maybe its just the abstinence since Pam and I split up. No, it certainly isn’t that. I had lots of abstinence before Pam and I split up!. Most disturbing. I must stop thinking about her. But as an afterthought, I have to record that it will be difficult if not impossible.

But Harry couldn’t stop thinking about Sis. That night, for the first time in a long time, he masturbated. And the first time since he’d been a callow teenager, he masturbated with the image of his sister in his mind. No matter how hard he tried to change it, the image of Carol stayed firmed fixed in his mind’s eye. He tried to replace her image with his ideal woman. A composite made up of the best bits of all the women he’d known and all those he would have liked to have known. He’d tried to substitute Mrs Chaudri, a voluptuous Indian lady whose accounts were proving so profitable. Then he tried Midge Watson, Deirdre Porter and Cathy Bates. But it was no good, Carol kept her place in his imagination, her sweet oval face framed by the luxuriant wavy brown hair, her full breasts, those round thighs and those wide ample hips and loins. In the end, Harry gave in and luxuriated in his imagination. The climax was shattering, he’d experienced nothing like for years. Later, unable to sleep, Harry padded off to the kitchen and made himself a cup of tea that he spiked with a generous tot of whisky to calm down.

“Couldn’t you sleep Harry.” said Carol quietly as she came into the kitchen. She looked at her brother affectionately. Since he’d moved in, he’d made life bearable. Now she could and did go out. Now she had somebody to speak up for her. She didn’t have to take the old man’s crap any more.

“No, kept tossing and turning. Couldn’t settle at all. What about cup of tea?”

“Yes please.” said Carol and sat down while Harry got up and made another cup of Earl Grey tea. “I heard you get up, so I thought I’d join you.”

Harry placed the mug of hot steaming tea in front of his sister. “Ciggie?” asked Harry shaking out a couple of Marlboroughs.

“Cheers.” She put her hand on his as he applied the flame to the end of the cigarette. It was supposed to steady the flame, but all it did was to send such a frisson of excitement through them both.

They sat in silence, sipping their tea and taking the occasional drag from their cigarettes. “Did you really mean what you said this escort ankara evening?” asked Carol suddenly, breaking into Harry’s thoughts. They weren’t very profound, Harry would be the first to admit, but he had been enjoying them immensely. Carol’s salmon pink dressing gown wasn’t the most alluring garment in the world and she looked for the world like a sack of potatoes tied up with string, yet for Harry, she was the quintessence of earthy sensuality. He felt a stirring in his loins and couldn’t help himself from returning to his earlier thoughts.

“Oh, um, what do you mean?” he said, confused.

“About us leaving and living together.” said Carol who had found the idea appealing and yet disturbing at the same time. It had been on her mind all evening. It made her nervous and she hadn’t been able to sleep properly. And as if that wasn’t enough, dancing with her brother had been such an unexpected pleasure.

“Of course, sister dear, I wouldn’t have said it if I hadn’t meant it.” Harry said firmly. “We’ll do it properly, if you’re willing, joint ownership and two mortgages.”

“But I couldn’t afford a mortgage.” Carol said sadly.

“No, I’d pay the mortgage, but if its split between us we could get double tax relief!” Harry explained. “No point in paying more than we have to!” he chuckled. “Anyway, it’d serve the old curmudgeon if we did up sticks and set up on our own. He’s led you a dog’s life. The minute you say the word we’ll be off. We don’t need his money, I’ve got more than enough for the both of us.”

“What about dad?”

“What about dad?”

“Who’d look after him?”

“Maybe Margaret and Simon should take a turn!”

“I’d like to, I really would, but no matter how horrible he is, we can’t leave him just like that.” Carol sighed wistfully.

“I know.” said Harry, taking her hand in his. How small and delicate it was he thought and for the first time that evening, his guilty feelings were subsumed in a tide of pity and fraternal affection. “But, it wouldn’t do to let him know that. He was unsure enough to be angry and frightened tonight.”

They held hands across the table, quiet as they considered the implications of their bargain. “Whatever happens Harry, I shall always be grateful for what you’ve done since you moved in.”

“Oh, it was nothing.” Harry said depreciatingly, blushing. “Its been a pleasure to look after you.”

“No, Harry, you’ve transformed my life.” she sniffed, the tears rolling down her cheeks.

“Hear, hear. What’s this. Don’t cry princess.” Harry shifted round the table to sit beside his sister and took her in his arms.

“You haven’t called me princess since we were teenagers.” she sniffed. “I don’t know what I would have done without you.” Carol snuggled up to her brother, reassured by his warmth and solidity.

That evening marked a watershed for all concerned. The old man changed his tactics completely, becoming a pathetic figure forever soliciting sympathy. He’d been frightened by the all-too-real threat of Harry and Carol packing their bags. His younger son had found and exploited his Achilles Heel with a ruthlessness which he would have admired if he’d not been the target. Moreover, the old man found that Carol was no longer susceptible to his tactics. Harry insulated her and she’d been more than content to let her brother rule the roost. Harry had taken command of the household in a way which was difficult for the old man to fully understand. He never seemed to exercise power and control, yet his word was law. For the first time since he was a boy, the old man found his life controlled and circumscribed and there seemed nothing he could do about it. Even the savoury thought of cutting Harry out of the will had turned to ashes when it dawned on him that his son really didn’t care about his money.

Once they’d started dancing, Harry and Carol made a regular thing of it. He never let his work get in the way of the Friday night dancing date with his sister. The Tango became a firm favourite with the both of them. They were happy and contented to play the game, enjoying the mutual sexual stimulation without having to say or do anything about it. They took a simple pleasure in each other’s company, rediscovering the things that had made them close as children. For both of them there was the privately acknowledged but unspoken undercurrent of sexual allure. At times they both felt like teenagers once more. There were the snatched glimpses of each other in the bathroom, the double entendres and most of all the laughs. They found that they preferred each other’s company and gradually, they did most things together, not only the dancing, but shopping, housework, gardening, and in the summer, swimming. On the face of it, it was a return to a time of innocence. These were the simple pleasures of two good friends, but beneath the surface there ran the undercurrent of forbidden sexuality which they both recognised and controlled by nightly masturbation. They were both skating on thin ice and they knew it. Yet it was fun spiced with a touch of danger, and they didn’t care.

The solicitor finished. Margaret and Simon had got the lot. The ankara escort bayan old man had had the last word. The money went to Margaret and the house to Simon. “When are you two moving out?” Simon said as soon as he heard the bequest.

“When we’ve found somewhere to go.” replied Harry somewhat wearily. It had been depressingly inevitable. What he couldn’t stand were the self satisfied smug smiles that Margaret and Simon sported. Carol sat silent and white faced, not trusting herself to speak. Harry took her by the elbow, “Come on Princess, lets go.”

But Simon hadn’t finished rubbing the salt into the wounds, “When can I come round and take an inventory of the contents?”

“When it’s convenient.” was Harry’s reply as he guided Carol out of the office. Poor girl, he thought, she must have expected something.

“Have you got a spare key, then?” persisted Simon. “I’d like to get on with it as soon as possible.”

“No.”

“Well, can I come back with you now?”

“No.” said Harry through clenched teeth. He was getting severely pissed off with brother Simon.

“Its my house you know!” Simon blurted out. “I got the right to . . .”

Harry stopped, turned and confronted Simon whom he topped by a good six inches. “Look you little insensitive creep, you may come when its convenient for us. And if you don’t shut up, I shall take up squatters’ rights and you’ll have to spend a pretty penny to get me out.” he said with quiet menace. Simon opened his mouth to speak but Harry stopped him by laying a hand on his shoulder, “Just remember, brother, you don’t have any pretty pennies. So just contain your greed and impatience. I assure you, Carol and I will be gone as soon as we can. We certainly don’t want to live in the old bugger’s house any longer than we have to.” With that, he turned on his heel, took Carol by the arm and was gone. The truth was that he’d already found a bungalow and it only needed Carol’s consent and they’d be off. In truth, Carol had been shocked by the reading of the will. Not by Simon’s behaviour, that was all too in character. No she’d continued to believe that the old man would have had a word for her, a memento, nothing special, just something as a keepsake. But no, there was nothing. Not even a mention. It hurt, it hurt like hell and she had gradually become angrier and angrier. How could he treat her like that, she’d been his nursemaid for nearly four years. “When we leave, I don’t want ever to come back.” she said to Harry the night before they were due to move. “I don’t ever want to see Simon or Margaret again.” Carol had made up her mind. That was it. No more. She closed the door on that part of her life with a determination and a finality that surprised Harry.

2. The Bungalow

The new house was in a small village on the other side of town. It was an old three bedroom bungalow and lay at the bottom of an unmetalled track off the main road. With half an acre of garden and an orchard, it was private, in fact positively secluded. Harry had made sure that the break was final as could be without moving to some other part of the country. A major move was out of the question, his accountancy practice had picked up over the last couple of years and he’d been able to put down more than half of the asking price. He couldn’t face starting all over again, he’d done it too many times before. Carol was quite surprised. “I never realised.” she said surprised when she learned the financial details of the transaction. “You really meant it when you said you didn’t need dad’s money.”

“Oh ye of little faith.” Harry laughed. “As you’re going to be the lady of the house shall I carry you across the threshold?”

Carol blushed, “You daft thing, you!”

“Come on woman, don’t muck about, I want a cup of tea!”

Carol’s Diary

Well dear diary, I haven’t written much this week at all. Harry and I have been so busy moving into the new bungalow. I must tell you about this bungalow. Its big. Three bedrooms, a lounge, kitchen-diner, laundry room garage, and a lovely big secluded garden. The only point I could quibble about is the single bathroom. Harry had the kitchen and bathroom done before we moved in. The kitchen is just a delight after you know who’s. Poggenpohl units finished in limed oak and all the cupboard space I could ever want. And the finish on the units. Just superb! New tiles on the floor. A new Neff double oven and hob, automatic Bosch washing machine and a dishwasher no less! Complete sets of new Le Creusot pots and pans, Sabatier knives, and Port Merion china ware. No expense spared! Harry insisted on a big separate shower in the bathroom. I think that has to be one of the things he most misses since his divorce. Since I’ve tried it, I must agree, it is a necessity. I’ll never give up my long soaks in the tub, but for everyday hygiene, you just can’t beat a good shower. We agreed that I should have the master bedroom, while Harry has the two smaller ones. We got a double bed and a suite of fitted wardrobes put in. I’ve never had such luxury. Harry sleeps in the box room and has set up his office, or as I call it, his lair, in the second bedroom. He has let me have my way with virtually all the decor and furnishings – we borrowed a bit extra to cover the costs of a completely new Parker Knoll suite of furniture for the lounge and the dining room. George never gave me such freedom! Stingy so-and-so!

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