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 f**king 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.”

“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 br**sts. 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 c**k 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 c**k 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.

How could that be?

He took another spoonful then his eyes sought me out. His mouth curved into a sly smile before he took the entire cup and started drinking the soup like a beverage. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, whispered to Leila and excused himself.

Leila’s back was turned to me when Elec walked over and dragged me by the arm into the dark corridor leading to the bathrooms.

He backed me up against the wall. “You think you’re so smart?” My heart was slamming into my chest. Speechless, I shook my head as he said, “Well, the joke’s on you.”

Before I could respond, Elec grabbed my face with both hands and smashed his lips into mine. The metal from his lip ring scraped my mouth as he nudged it open with his tongue hungrily and started kissing me deep. I moaned into his mouth, both shocked and excited by the ambush of his hot tongue assaulting me. My body was shaking. He smelled amazing. I felt like I was going to collapse from the sensory overload.

Within seconds, the heat from the picante sauce on his tongue began to penetrate my own, which was now burning. Even though it felt like my tongue was about to fall off, I didn’t ever want to pull away.

I’d never been kissed like this.

Then, just like that, he ripped his mouth away from mine.

“Don’t you know by now not to f**k with me?”

He walked away, and I stayed panting in the corridor with my hand over my chest.

Holy shit.

My mouth was on fire along with every other orifice. I was throbbing between my legs. When I finally gained enough composure to walk back out, I realized they needed their check at some point.

I decided to get it over with and took the leather bill binder to their table, placing it in front of Elec without making eye contact.

I overheard him telling Leila to meet him out front and that he’d take care of everything. He reached into his pocket and slipped something in the folder and soon after, he took off.

He probably didn’t even leave me a tip. I opened it and gasped when along with a twenty-dollar bill was my favorite black lace thong and written in pen on the check:

Keep the change, or rather, change into these. I’m guessing your current ones are a little wet.

CHAPTER 4

Elec and I never spoke of the kiss even though it ran through my mind constantly. I was pretty sure it didn’t mean anything to him, that he was just trying to make a point. Still, the sensations I experienced were the same as if the kiss had been based on real passion. Knowing what his lips felt like on mine and how he’d tasted wasn’t a memory that could so easily be erased. I craved that feeling again. It made the battle between my mind and body much more difficult than before.

It was a curse having a crush on someone you had to live with, particularly when he brought girls from school back to the house.

One afternoon, while our parents weren’t home, he’d brought Leila over, and they were in his room messing around. Another afternoon, it was Amy. Then the next week, it was a different Amy.

I’d be in my room covering my ears so that I didn’t have to hear the sound of his bed squeaking or the stupid girl giggling. The particular day that Amy number two exited his room to go home, I texted him immediately after.

Really? Two Amys? Will Amy #3 be coming tomorrow? What are you thinking?!

Elec:  I’m thinking you’re wishing your name were Amy…“sister.”

Greta:  Step! Stepsister.

Elec:  Scramble the word step, you get PEST. step=pest.

Greta:  You’re a moron.

Elec:  You’re a pest.

I got up from my bed in a huff and walked right into his room without knocking. He was playing a video game and didn’t even look at me. “I really need to get a lock on that thing.”

My heart was racing. “Why are you such a f**king jerk?”

“Nice to see you, too, sis.” He patted the bed next to where he was sitting at the edge with his eyes still fixed on the game. “If you won’t leave, by all means, have a seat.”

“I have no desire to sit on your dirty bed.”

“Is that because you’d rather sit on my dirty face?”

My heart nearly stopped.

His mouth spread into a devious smile as he continued to play the game. He had rendered me speechless. In fact, I had rendered myself speechless, because as soon as the words “sit on my dirty face” came out of his mouth, I had the urge to cross my legs to curb my arousal. My vagina was a hopeless fool. The cruder he was, the stronger its attraction to him.

Instead of dignifying his question with a response, I looked around the room, headed straight for his drawers and began rummaging through his things. “Where’s my underwear?”

“I told you, they’re not in here.”

“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.

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