“Our little secret?” he whispers.

My chest aches. “Of course,” I reply. But the truth, the terrifying truth, which I’m just starting to realize, is that I want more than that.

I don’t want to be his secret. I want to be with him for real.

6


Clearly there’s going to be no fighting what we feel for one another. And frankly, I don’t want to fight it. I want to give in, jump off the bridge with him, lose myself in the way it feels when we’re together. When the rest of the world fades away, and it’s just me and Josh alone in our private bubble. When we can pretend that there’s nothing standing between us, no obstacles to keep us from where we belong—together.

We start sleeping in the same bed every night. We stay up late, wait until the lights go out in the big cabin, and then I sneak into Josh’s room, which has a slightly wider bed than mine, though still not really wide enough for two people. We make it work—usually we’re too exhausted from fucking in every position we can imagine by the time we actually fall asleep anyway. I wake up every morning with his arms wrapped around me, his warm body cradling mine. And usually with his morning wood poking my ass. Even on the rare days when he’s not already hard by the time I wake up, all it takes is a few strategically placed butt-wriggles from me to get him there, and then we’re right back where we left off the night before, with him sliding into me from behind, and me bent half-double across the bed, my hips angled so he can fuck me at just the right angle to hit my G-spot, make me come with a gasp.

We can’t be loud. We can’t scream each other’s names the way we want to, not with our parents sleeping less than 50 feet away, with only a few thin wooden walls between us.

One morning, we almost get caught. I wake up earlier than usual, thank god, and I’m rolling over in our tight quarters, about to slide under the covers to kiss Josh awake—probably by licking my way along his abs, trailing down that V-cut of his muscles to his groin, where I can lick and suck his cock until he rolls over and grabs my head and wakes up fully.

But I’m only halfway down his chest when I hear footsteps outside, a loud voice, far too close by.

“Hey Josh?”

It’s Susan.

I freeze in place, and Josh blinks down at me sleepily, only half-awake, still orienting himself. I put my finger to my lips, frozen solid.

“Yeah?” he asks tentatively, after a long moment.

“I need some help out here.” The footsteps come closer. Stop right outside the door.

I duck under the covers. As if that’s going to help. If she walks in here right now, it will be pretty obvious that there’s more than one person in this tiny, cramped cabin.

“Sure, Mom,” he calls back.

She taps her foot on the floor, clearly waiting for him to spring up right away.

“Um. Can I have a minute though?” he asks, after an awkward pause. “I need to… Use the bathroom. Pretty urgently.”

“Oh. Of course, honey.” The footsteps pad away, and I spring out of the bed almost the moment they cross the floor of our little cabin. We both stare at one another, hearts pounding.

That was close.

Too close.

For a of couple nights, it slows us down. We take to hiking out to the far side of the lake late in the evenings. There’s some old abandoned canoes there, left by someone who summered here last year from the looks of it. We cleaned one out, laid down blankets, and for those few nights, we have sex there instead. We still have to be careful, because voices carry far across the wide-open lake. But we can relax a little, let our guard down slightly. I lay across the bench of the canoe while Josh spreads my legs from behind and fucks me doggie-style across it. We still don’t fully let go, but I let myself cry out when I come, and he groans my name with every thrust, and when he finishes, I spin around to kiss him in full view of the whole lake because there’s nobody out here at this hour but us.

Afterwards, we walk back to our cabin hand-in-hand. We only let go when we absolutely have to, when we reach the porch. And for those few nights, we retreat to our separate beds, sleep alone. I curl around my pillow and ache, because even though I have more space in this bed, I can move my legs and roll over and everything, I don’t want that space. I want him here. I want his arms around me, and a place to call ours where we don’t need to hide.

I want him to be mine. I want to be his.

That’s impossible now. It always will be. Even once we leave this lake, this cabin, this nice little time portal we’ve hidden ourselves in, where we can pretend that only this summer exists and nothing outside of it, we’ll still be an impossibility. You can’t date your step-brother. You can’t love your step-brother.

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