Title:She and I
Summary: A young girl aquires a new step-sister that she, unfortunatly, can’t stand. But there may be more to her agrivation with this girl then she will admit to herself.
Warning(s): Lesbian Relationships
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Not intended to represent any real persons, places, events, or things. This story is copyright Dawn Kelley and all rights to these characters belong to me.
Ethnic Barbie, that’s what I call her because that’s what she is. She was captain of cheerleading, student body president, and girlfriend of the Basketball star of the graduating class of our Jr. High School. She’s also (like her mother) a pageant girl whose got about a thousand trophies to show for it. Her mom was entering her into the things before she could talk. Of course being so bloody beautiful led to her being the most popular girl in school. She was a sickenly perfect blend of her Pilipino/African-American father and Hispanic mother. This is the only thing that kept her from being ‘generic’ Barbie, even though all her friends fell into that category. And this annoying popular and perfect girl is my new step-sister.
Yes, oddly enough her strikingly beautiful mom saw something in my boring math teacher of a dad. It came as quite a shock to both of us, as they had been secretly dating ever since they’d met at a parent/teacher conference. To avoid trouble, they’d said nothing of their relationship until my new step-sister and I had graduated from the school. By the time we found out, the wedding was already being planned so there was no time to prepare for being thrust into each others lives. It was there before we blinked.
What I hated most about my new sickenly beautiful and popular step-sister was the fact she wasn’t stupid. She was no Einstein, but she honestly got better grades than me. That wasn’t suppose to be. I was at least suppose to have the advantage of being the smart, geeky one. Instead, I was the ugly step-sister – less beautiful, awkward, odd, and on top of it all a Dyke.
I wasn’t sure if she knew, even though her mom did (as she assured me the night before the wedding my homosexuality wouldn’t stop her motherly love, whatever). I resented that my dad had shared this with her so easily. It was an accident he found out. He accidentally discovered a letter I wrote to a girl. I had no intention of giving it to her, it was only to get the thoughts off my mind. But when dad found it, it lead to ‘the talk’. It was a good talk and in the end my dad accepted the fact his daughter was queer. I also thought he respected my decision to open up to whom I felt like it when I felt like it. The fact that he didn’t, really pissed me off.
When the wedding day came though, my opinion changed. My dad (I must grudgingly admit) looked happier than he’d been in a long time in the arms of his new bride. They were really a sweet couple and suited to each other. And they were beautiful together in the way normal people are. You know, those average/every day couples that just radiate with love and respect for each other. And I realized I would have been okay with the marriage if not for the step-sister.
It was painful to stand beside her at the wedding. Her perfectly sculpted curves filled out her bridesmaids dress so well. She was breathtaking and well trained for ‘display’ (thanks to the pageants). And I really wish they would have left me out of the wedding party and the stupid photos, as I looked like a pile of rubbish next to her. At first I was at least consoled by her boyfriend’s absence, but he showed up late to the reception with some stupid excuse for missing the ceremony. For some insane reason, she accepted his excuse and much to the awe of the crowd the couple danced the evening away. As the two happy couples danced I stood alone on the sidelines picking apart a flower arrangement.
Her friends who had attended (I had none) were happy to ignore me and I was happy to ignore them. But my new ‘step-sister’ insisted on doing things properly. She had barely acknowledged my existence before our parents marriage, but when she noticed me standing alone at the ceremony she tried to make me a part of her little crowd. That pissed me off. I hated that lot. I didn’t want to be around them. My dad marrying her mum wasn’t going to change that.
I would spend the next three weeks (my dad’s honeymoon) ‘getting to know’ my new sister while our parents were away. They trusted us and therefore left us home alone. Her friends were quite shocked to discover this. They were, of course, keen on a party. Amazingly, my new step-sister had no interest in one. It was bad enough she was annoyingly beautiful — being perfectly trustworthy on top of it was too much.
My new step-sister and I, unfortunately, shared a room. I was use to having my own space and now I had two new women moving in on it. My new sister’s pop music collection overran my collection of rock. Her make-up cluttered my dresser. Her hair products and toiletries and all that (along with her mum’s) overran the shared bathroom.
It wasn’t just the stuff that unnerved me the most though, it was just HER. Everything in my room seemed to smell like her a week after she moved it. And the bathroom always carried the distinct sent of that strawberry shampoo she use. It wasn’t a horribly unpleasant smell, it was just so distinctly her there was no forgetting her presence. Even when she wasn’t around, she was around. The infringement on my space was hard to adjust too, but I didn’t complain. Like I said, my dad was happy. I wasn’t going to destroy it with complaints about CDs and hair products.
Luckily, the garage was still my domain. My dad had let me set up my instruments in there. It was my private place to practice my music and he wouldn’t take it away from me. On my second day home alone with my new sibling, I escaped to this domain as soon as possible. I figured she wouldn’t bother me there. She’d call a friend or go out with the boyfriend and I would be left to my own devices.
WRONG! After a few hours she stumbled out into the garage. I was jotting down some lyrics for a song, but that strawberry scent of hers reached me and I looked up. I noticed she was carrying my scrapbook. It was a memento from my real home in England. My friends had put together and given to me before I moved over here to the states. I almost yelled at her for having it, but she spoke before I got anything out…
“Hope you don’t mind I have this. I was curious about you.”
“Why would you be curious about me?” I asked.
“You’re my sister now, aren’t you?” she stated.
“These your friends,” she asked displaying a picture of me with my first band.
“Yeah, that’s me band from home,” I replied sadly. My fingers touched the picture, remembering simpler days. We never went a day without seeing each other back then. And it wasn’t just the music, we were the 3 musketeers. We did everything together.
“You miss having a band?” She sat beside me as she said this and her shoulder gently brushed mine. The scent of her got more intense and she seemed to be radiating some weird heat that was creeping into my belly and making me almost happy she was out here. That really pissed me off
“All the time,” I finally said in response. The truth was it was the friends I missed more so than the band.
“Why haven’t you started a band here?” she asked.
“With who? You and that pop music loving lot of yours? Sorry, it’s not my thing.”
I quickly moved away from her and sat down in front of the keyboard in the corner. I played the first song in my head as loudly as I could, hoping she would leave. I wouldn’t let her invade my final solace from the world. And more importantly, my only escape from her. But instead of leaving she found a seat a few feet away from me and just watched me play. She was staring at me and smiling as if I were actually impressing her with this rubbish song I had written. I kept playing until I reached the end. With each note I hoped she would get up and leave, but she did nothing of the sort.
The song had to end, all songs do. She chose this moment to speak again.
“What’s it like living in London?” she asked.
“Wouldn’t know, seeing as I didn’t live there,” I snapped back.
“Sorry,” she said. She obviously thought the question had irritated me. But it was her presence that was irritating me, not her stupid question.
“It’s alright, I just don’t get why you Americans think London is all of England. That’s as nuts as me thinking New York is all of America,” I paused for a moment then finished with “which I did.”
She grinned and her face lit up with it. My stomach did this weird little lurch that I struggled to ignore.
“So where are you from?” she asked. “In England I mean.”
“A little village you’ve never heard of.”
“Is it fun there?”
“No, it’s actually rather boring. That’s actually why me and me mates started a band.”
“Yeah, we just started fooling around with it and kind of fell in love with the idea of being this important band one day. It was a way to pass the time.”
“So you’re self taught on all those instruments you play?”
“Pretty much, yeah,” I said without thinking.
“That’s really cool,” she said admiringly.
“Well, I’ve had training since I started fooling around with my first guitar,” I said quickly. “I mean to learn to properly read music and stuff. I’m not a prodigy or anything. I was rubbish when I first started.”
It pissed me off that she still looked quite impressed. I could tolerate her presence much easier if she didn’t look at me like that.
Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be the last time she disturbed me in that space. It was hard to be angry at her when she was doing everything in her power to be unobtrusive. I guess it’s because she’s was serious about this ‘getting to know each other as sisters’ thing. At quiet moments she’d pipe in with random questions about me. I was expected to return the favour and ask her questions, but I never did hoping she’d buy a clue and leave me alone. She never did. In fact, she began to offer up information about herself without being asked. Then she did something that really pissed me off, she made me dinner.
It was our last day together. Surprisingly, I’d spent the whole evening in my studio without seeing her. Just as I was thanking my good luck, I walked in on a set table. When it came to meals, we’d done a fine job of fending for ourselves in the absence of parents. But for some insane reason, my new “sister” had decided this night was special. It wasn’t really fancy, but it was a meal very out of her element. I was a vegetarian and she wasn’t and the meal she prepared for us to share came from my shelf. She’d also lit candles and put grape juice in wine glasses. If I didn’t know better than to think such things, I would have thought she was romancing me.
As I took it all in, I looked at her and asked “Why?”
She looked at me with that enchanting smile of hers and said “I just wanted to.”
I wanted to hate her kindness at that moment and couldn’t manage it. And my inability to be mad at her really pissed me off.
As hard as she’d worked on the perfect presentation, it certainly wasn’t a perfect meal for her. She discovered quite quickly that she hated the taste of tofu. She gagged on it, but tried to pretend she enjoyed it anyway. I laughed at her attempt and hated myself for the indulgence of amusement at her plight. Then she figured out that I knew she was faking her enjoyment of the meal, apologized for preferring a good hamburger, and then smiled at me. God it was a fantastic smile. It honestly lit up the whole room and had my insides twisting about themselves. I hated the feeling. There was no room for it in this house.
“I’m thinking of breaking up with my boyfriend,” she said suddenly.
“Why?” I asked, not really caring but hoping I was making a good show of it.
She was no longer pretending to eat the meal, which turned out very well for my pallet if not hers.
“I think we’re together just to be together,” she replied.
Unfortunately, as delicious as the meal was the conversation had gone a place I wasn’t interested in. Didn’t she have a load of giggly girlfriends to talk to about this boy crap?
“And there will be more poplar male prospects at out high school campus, right?” I questioned of her.
She sighed and looked away. I didn’t know if I had offended her with my assumption or not. And for some reason I was worried I had. Then she looked at me again.
“Did you have any boyfriends in England?”
“No, I was only 12 when I came here. Didn’t have much interest in boys then,” I said. After a moment I added. “Or now.”
“Huh?” she questioned.
“You mum didn’t tell you?” I asked cherishing the chance to freak her out with the next bit of information. Once she knew she was sure to leave me alone. “I’m gay mate,” I told her straightforwardly.
“Oh,” she replied, not shaken at all. “How do you know?”
“Same way you know you like boys I suppose. It’s just a feeling’, innit?” I asked of her. “I mean fact is sweaty, muscled guys aren’t what get me hot.”
“You think it’s that clear for everyone?”
“Wouldn’t know. I don’t know anyone else who’s gay.”
“No,” I said. “Complete accident my dad found out.”
So I sat there and for some insane reason told her my “coming out” story with my dad. She leaned forward with her head in her hands and listened attentively. I avoided looking in her eyes as I told the tale. They were to distracting. I think I only kept talking to give myself something else to do.
“You have a lovely accent, you know,” she said when I was done. I couldn’t believe she was complimenting me.
“I’m surprised you think I have one at all,” I replied. I was feeling quite hot under her gaze and prayed that I wasn’t blushing. “Me mates at home,” I continued. “Tell me I’m losing it. They tell me I sound like an American faking it now.”
“That’s funny,” she said with a grin. Sod it all, that grin was enchanting. Suddenly I wanted things that I shouldn’t want, so I got up with some dumb excuse for doing so and fled the room.
Our parents were pretty happy to see we’d gotten along fine in there absence and “bonded” as sisters. What a load of bullocks!! I knew quite well what I was doing, tolerating her until she got sucked up into her social circle at school. And soon enough, the first day of high school arrived.
The new group entering High School, our ninth grade class managed to form a cast system the first week. As expected, my new “sister” and her friends took there proper place as the ‘it group’ of grade 9. They blended well with another group of “popular” students from another middle school. Me, I was on the bottom somewhere with the outcast and the freaks. But this time, there was someone there with me.
Yes, in the blending of former middle schoolers that converged on the high school that year there was one who made a perfectly suitable friend for me. She was a musician like me. Her style was a bit more soft punk than rock, but we got on alright. She was the first person I’d been comfortable with since I left home and I cherished her friendship.
My step-sister hated her on site and that pissed me off. I knew what was going on. She preferred when I was a charity case at her disposal. Some poor loner waiting for her attention. That’s obviously what that time during our parent’s honeymoon had been all about. But I didn’t need her approval to keep the first decent friend I’d found since I moved to the states. No, she had her friends and I was going to enjoy mine. Her sweet disposition could turn as sour as it wanted. Hell, if it got her to stop pretending perfection, I welcomed the change.
Then one day she did something odd. It was a Saturday and I was bidding good-bye to my friend after an evening of moving watching. When I came back in the house my step-sister was just staring at me.
“What?” I asked.
“Is she you girlfriend?” she ask. She seemed to struggle with the words.
Obviously knowing I was gay and seeing me with a girlfriend were two very different things. Typical, the reality of the possibility was bothering her – perhaps disgusting her.
“What do you care?” I asked.
“I don’t, I’m just… curious.”
“It’s none of you business,” I said storming out the room.
Truth is, it would have been quite easy to tell her the truth. My new friend was very much into boys, but for some reason I liked the idea of her thinking otherwise. I didn’t want to give her the satisfaction of knowing I was still quite loveless.
By Monday there was no reason for her to be concerned about me as she’d acquired a new uperclassman to get off with. He was a jock of course and an older guy. Unfortunately, that didn’t stop her from being rude to my friend. In fact, she seemed to grow more openly rude. She didn’t outright call her names or anything, but she made it clear that the other girl was unwelcome when she visited me. She also somehow managed to bump against her rudely every time we passed each other in the hall. She kept up appearances with some false apology when the “bumps” happend, but both my friend and I knew she didn’t mean
One day she walked in on my friend going over some music. Our heads were bent together working on the chorus when she came in. We wouldn’t have known she’d come in if she hadn’t said a very haughty,”Sorry to disturb you.”Then she slammed the door as she made her exit.
“Like I can’t have friends!” I yelled at her back as she disappeared. “I don’t what her problem with you is. I’m sorry.”
“I know what’s up with her,” my friend said.
“What?” I questioned.
“She’s into you.”
“Are you mad!? She’s been quite busy getting off with that basketball player.”
“You know, they’re hooked up and snogging all the time. I consider that a pretty good indicator she’s not interested in girls.”
“Well, if I may borrow some of your terminology, it’s you she wants to be ‘getting off’ with.”
I laughed, it couldn’t be true. “She’s my sister!” I exclaimed.
“No, she’s not. Her mom is just married to your dad. You didn’t even know each other until you were 12.”
“But we live together as sisters. She insist on doing things properly. She’d never cross the line. She’s just feeling threatened because she wants this whole sister bond between us and I dared to get close to someone else.”
“You’re wrong. She’s good at hiding it, but she can barely keep her eyes off you. She stares at you when her circle of popular friends is too caught up in their own bullshit to pay attention. When I stand too close to you, she looks like she wants to rip my head off. She’s into you.”
“There’s no way,” I protested. “You have to wrong.”
My friend looked at me curiously and studied me closely. She had read in my eyes some secret I wouldn’t speak on.
“You want her too, don’t you?” my friend asked.
“No, it’s just… how could someone not be flattered and all that? She’s bloody gorgeous and on a normal day, pretty sweet. It’s hard to imagine a girl like that having any interest in… well…”
“Well, yeah!” I exclaimed. “But it’s more than that. She’s the straightest straight girl I know.”
“You ever think with her circle of friends she has more of a reason to play her cards as straight as she can?”
I hadn’t thought of that, but I wouldn’t say so.
“Listen,” my friend said putting an arm around me. “It is an awkward situation so tread carefully. And stop believing you’re so unlikeable in that way. I’ve seen the way she looks at you and I’ve seen the way she looks at the alleged boyfriend. I’ve only seen desire in her eyes for one of the two and it wasn’t the boyfriend.”
Then she said “Back to work” as casual as you please. But it was hard to concentrate on the stupid song when my mind was dancing with the idea that sickenly perfect Ethnic Barbie could want me.
The Winter Holiday
I hated the bloke that was her new boyfriend far more than her old one. He was, honestly, the most arrogant bastard I had met in my life. Even before my friend shed light on the situation between me and my step-sister, I thought about how much I preferred the old bloke to this one. So that’s why I didn’t trust my reading of the relationship at first. It was already tainted by my general dislike of the guy. But now I had reason to pay close attention with an open mind.
Now that I was paying attention, my step-sister didn’t seem to fancy his attention to much. I mean she made a good show of it and it was enough for her friends. She found creative ways too duck him out when she got bored of his coddling. She exited his company at every open opportunity to do so. She gave him quick kisses, almost as if she didn’t want to linger to long. And it was a true revelation to see this take shape. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t noticed before.
That weekend I thought about saying something, but couldn’t work up the nerve. The next week ran into Christmas so we were home for the winter break. Dad and new Mum were keen on all these family activities, which included among them a new family photo. Little did they know, even though we got on alright, our thoughts of each other went to a place beyond sisterhood.
We managed to go through the motions quite well and it was a cheery enough holiday. Both my friend and the wally she’d been getting off with were out of town for it so there was very little reason to entertain company. She had a day of gift exchanged with her friends, but it was my gift from my friend that had her the most interested. It was a sexy lacy bra, which I knew she’d brought to bother Ethnic Barbie and that gave me a laugh. I didn’t really care what boyfriend gave her as I knew very well she barely cared. I thanked my friend inwardly for this knowledge.
New Mum and Dad went to New York for New Years Eve. They knew they could trust us alone and once again left us home. Actually they offered to take us, but we both declined saying they’d have more fun without us. So we spent New Years Eve on the couch watching a program on TV. As we sat quietly together I told myself to speak up, but I still couldn’t manage it.
“Do you miss your girlfriend?” she finally asked.
“She’s not my girlfriend,” I finally admitted. It was time to let her suspicions die. “She likes boys,” I added just to round it all out.
“Really?” she replied, surprised. “She seemed so…”
“What? Like some vision of Dykes you have in your fucking head?”
“Sorry,” she replied, eyes downcast.
Damn. A bit of me wanted her to get mad, not be sorry.
“I don’t want to fight,” she said in seeming response to my thoughts. “I’m thinking of breaking up with my boyfriend.”
“Again?” I questioned.
“I really want to be with someone else.”
“Who?” I questioned.
“The last person you’d expect,” she told me. There was a long silence before she spoke again. “You know I’m not the only who puts people in categories. You do it all the time.”
“I do not.”
“You do. I know you don’t really like me. You get along to keep the peace, but you see me as some prissy by-the-book cheerleader and pageant girl.”
“Isn’t that what you are?” I asked. I didn’t really want to offend her or to say she was as paper thin as those descriptions implied. But she was both a cheerleader and a pageant girl.
“They’re just ways to pass the time,” she told me. “I’m not passionate about it. After my dad died, my life stop being mine. I wanted be the perfect daughter for my mom, you know? Never give her a reason to be disappointed I was all she had left.”
I didn’t know. My mum had walked out on my dad. She preferred his friend with the fancy car and I was glad to be rid of her if that’s how she felt about things. But in a way I understood, because I shut down when she left. I shut myself off in a world of my own making. I didn’t care if anyone was pleased about it or not. Different, but the same.
“But it stopped being about her after awhile,” she continued. “Especially now that she’s got your dad. Unfortunately, along the way I gathered these friends who expected certain things from me. I don’t know how not to live up to their expectations. And it’s hard breaking from them considering I’m already weird enough.”
“Weird?” I questioned in shock. “What’s weird about you?”
“I’m weird by birth. I don’t… look like most of my friends, if you haven’t noticed. I’m not white, I’m not really one of the black kids, and I’m not really one of the Hispanic kids. And there isn’t one Pilipino person in the entire school. So I’m just this weird melting pot of things that don’t fit anywhere.”
“Are you insane?” I asked of her, truly thinking she must be if she believed there was anything close to weird about her. “You’re the most annoyingly perfect girl I’ve ever met. Fuck, I’d give my right arm to be as ‘weird’ as you.”
“You think I’m perfect?” she questioned wide eyed.
I wanted to yell ‘yes’ right away, but somewhere between my head and my mouth the words were lost and my throat went dry. She looked so fucking vulnerable when she asked the question and it was so damn sexy. I wanted to strangle her and kiss her at the same time, but I didn’t have the nerve for either. After what seemed like an eternity, but was probably only five minutes, I found the words to answer her.
“Course you are. I don’t know how you can think otherwise when you wake up in a room with me everyday. I mean I’m the sodding poster girl for plain Jane. No, I’m less attractive than their poster girl. Weird? If you’re weird, I’ll take your gorgeous weird over normal everyday.”
“And you’re not the poster girl for plain Jane,” she said sliding closer to me. She touched my cheek and I looked at her. I felt her shaking a bit (nervous I suppose) and still felt she was far braver than me for making this move. Still I didn’t trust it.
“Are you taking a piss?”
“What?!” she said puzzled.
“Sorry, what I mean is are you… playing with me? Are you joking?”
“No, I’m very serious,” she told me as she looked into my eyes. “And I can’t believe you think you’re anything but beautiful. I’ve thought so for a long time now.”
“Yeah, I didn’t really get it at first. it happened so gradually after you showed up in my eight grade class.”
“When were partners for that assignment.”
“Yeah, very briefly. You wore this apple scent that I loved. And after our project was over, I missed having it next to me. I’d look for you to come to school in the morning, lost in some tune in you headset. I’d sit behind you in class and become lost in daydreams about you. It was insane because I didn’t fully grasp it, but I knew I wasn’t ready for anyone to know. So, I made it my mission to control it. Then our crazy parents sprung this marriage on us and put me right in the middle of the difficult situation of living with you. But perhaps it was good for me. When you came out to me, it sort of made me okay with me. I just didn’t know how to tell you what I was feeling.”
“I can’t believe you fancy me,” I said more to myself than her.
“Well, I do,” she said. “And can I take from all this, the feeling’s mutual?”
I cursed myself for this reaction even as it happened, but it happened. My face cracked into a smile. I pulled her close and met her lips with my own. I love it and I loved her and all of this was just a bit insane considering our situation. But all this mattered not. She wanted me and I wanted her. And the fact that I had waited so long to kiss her, to accept it, to just love her, really pissed me off.