Slow No Wake
Author:Dakota Madison

SEVEN

Spin Out

When I got home, I was still reeling from the events of the day. My no wake zone had practically become a tsunami in a matter of hours.

The minute I sat to try and force down some food, there was a knock at the door. Definitely too early for Eddie.

When I opened the door, I was surprised to see my landlord, Hans, standing there.

“Is there a problem?” I asked, hoping he had gotten my rent check and it cleared my bank account.

Hans shook his head. “No, you’re already a much better tenant than those surfer boys.”

I was starting to think that Hans just didn’t like the guys and didn’t have any verifiable issues with them. Except for the kitten.

“Those surfer boys are trouble,” Hans said. “They have a cat. I know they do.”

I smiled politely. “Is there something I can help you with?”

“Oh, yes,” Hans said. “I almost forgot.” He pulled a letter from his vest pocket. “This was in my mailbox, but it’s addressed to you.

He handed me the letter.

“Thanks,” I said, hoping he would leave. He made me a little uncomfortable, especially after Eddie’s assertion that he was a pervert, which probably wasn’t true. But the seed was still planted in my mind.

“Okay,” he said. “Have a good evening.”

I closed the door as he hobbled away.

The return address on the letter was from Hannah Wilkens, my sister. My only sibling. The person who I trusted more than anyone in the world, and who had betrayed me. The person I found in bed with my former fiancé.

I hadn’t spoken to her in months. I hadn’t spoken to her or Jeff, since the day I found them together and broke off my engagement. She had tried many times to explain, to apologize, to mend our relationship, but I never let her. I never gave her a chance. I told her she was no longer my sister and I meant it when I said it.

Although a postal letter seemed an archaic form of communication in the 21st century world of instant messages and texts, I knew exactly why she sent it. She knew if she phoned, I would hang up on her, and if she emailed me, I would just delete it. But a letter is a thing of substance not as easily ignored. To rid oneself of a letter requires a more visceral act, such as ripping it up or burning it.

I set the letter on my coffee table and considered the pros and cons of opening it and reading it rather than simply destroying it. I wondered if I would ever be able to forgive my sister for her betrayal. I wasn’t sure if I missed Hannah, but there were many times when I missed our relationship. I missed having a sister.

Hannah and I couldn’t have been more different. She was two years younger than me, but in a lot of ways, she was much less mature. She was irresponsible and lazy. Too often, she relied on being attractive and charismatic to get what she wanted. I was the ‘smart’ one and she was the ‘cute’ one.

While I was a straight A student, who worked hard and earned scholarships to college, she barely made it through high school, mainly because she enjoyed boys and parties too much. She never even considered college as an option. After she finished high school, she hopped between low wage jobs and rarely kept a job more than a few months. Now at 23 years old, Hannah’s resume included working at various retail outlets, fast food restaurants and large call centers. By the time I was 23, I had already earned a Master’s degree in counseling and was working as a mental health therapist.

I looked over at the letter. I was mildly curious about its contents, but my curiosity was not quite piqued enough to open it yet.

After I finally finished eating, I lay down on my couch and shut my eyes for a few minutes in hopes of temporarily blocking out the reality of my mixed up life. As if the drama with Daniel and Eddie wasn’t enough, now I had to deal with my slutty sister.

All I wanted to do was sleep. I had almost cleared my mind enough to fall into a somewhat peaceful slumber when I heard a knock on the door.

Shit.

I thought for sure this time it would be Eddie even though he was the last person, possibly on the entire planet, who I wanted to see.

When I opened the door, I was surprised to see Daniel standing there.

“What are you doing here?” popped out of my mouth before I realized that it probably sounded rude.

“I’m sorry to bother you,” he said, now looking uncomfortable. “Did I wake you up?”

“I just closed my eyes for a few minutes. Would you like to come in?”

I opened the door a bit wider so he could enter. As he stood at threshold, he glanced around. “Looks just like our place only a mirror image.”

“Please, have a seat,” I said as I walked over to the couch and sat down. He followed and sat next to me. “Can I get you something to drink?”

“What do you have?” he asked.

“Water, juice, beer, wine…”

“Want to have some wine with me?” he asked, as he gave me a half smile.

“That actually sounds good,” I replied.

I went into the kitchen and grabbed a bottle of white wine I had chilling in the refrigerator. I liked to keep a bottle of wine ready just in case a man ever stopped by and I’d be able to pull it out like they do in the movies. Of course, this is the first time it ever happened, but at least I was prepared.

I popped the cork then poured two glasses.

“I hope you like white,” I said as walked over to him and handed him a glass.

“I like anything with alcohol,” he admitted.

When I sat back down next to him, he lifted his glass as if to toast. “To the many fun times I hope to have with my beautiful neighbor.”

I clinked my glass to his. “Cheers,” I said, and we both took a sip. “It’s Moscato. Do you like it?” I asked.

“It’s sweeter than I’m used to. I go more for the dry white. But I’m sure it will grow on me.” He took another sip as if to prove his point.

“It’s okay if you don’t like it,” I said.

The hint of a smile crossed his face. “There’s something I like even better and it’s just as sweet.”

He took the wine glass from my hand and placed both of them on the coffee table. Then he leaned close to me and placed a soft kiss on my lips. “Yes, just as sweet as I remember.”

When he leaned in for another kiss, he parted my lips and dipped his tongue into my mouth. Currents of electricity flowed through my body as he caressed my tongue with his. Then he playfully nipped my bottom lip before our mouths parted.

“I don’t want you to get the idea that I came over here just to make out,” he said.

“I don’t mind.” I was still in a slight haze of arousal.

He sat up straight and grabbed both of my hands in his. “I wanted to let you know that you don’t have to go up North with us if you really don’t want to. I didn’t want you to feel pressured into going.”

“I want to go,” I said.

He lifted my right hand to his mouth and kissed my knuckles. “You may change your mind when I fill you in on some of the details.”

I raised an eyebrow. “Why is that?”

“Well, we’ll be staying overnight in a campground on the beach. We’ll be sleeping in tents. Have you ever slept on the beach in a tent before?”

I shook my head. I wasn’t sure I wanted to admit that I had never actually been inside of a tent. The closest I had ever gotten to camping was staying at a Motel 6 outside of Chicago.

“The guys can get a little crazy. They like to drink. A lot. And have casual hook-ups.”

Of course, my first thought was whether Daniel also liked to engage in casual hook-ups. As if reading my mind, he said quickly, “I don’t do casual hook-ups. Just so you know. It’s not my thing.”

“I still want to go,” I affirmed, although I felt my voice lacked some conviction. I was torn. I really wanted to spend the weekend with Daniel. I just wasn’t too sure about the rest of it. I didn’t know what frightened me more, though—camping or spending time with his wild friends.

A smile crossed his face. “I was hoping you’d say that.” Then he leaned over and kissed my cheek. “If the guys say or do anything that makes you uncomfortable, just let me know.”

“Okay,” I said.

“Be sure to bring a bathing suit and a change of clothes. We leave early Saturday morning and come back late Sunday afternoon.”

I nodded.

“And don’t forget sunscreen. I don’t want you to get burnt.”

“Yes, sir,” I said and we both smiled.

Daniel stared at me for a moment. I wondered if he wanted to stay. He didn’t make an effort to leave.

“There’s more wine,” I offered. “Would you like to watch a movie?”

Daniel smiled. “I’d love to. But I have one request.”

“Okay, what’s that?” I asked.

“Do you mind if we cuddle on the coach?”

I grinned. “Sounds good to me. What would you like to watch?”

“I heard you have a thing about action movies.”

I raised an eyebrow. “Eddie talked about me? He told you about my movie collection?” That made me nervous. I wondered what else Eddie and Daniel had said to each other about me.

Daniel scrunched up his nose a bit. “I didn’t know he was talking about you exactly. He mostly referred to you as that hot chick next door or that chick next door I want to bang.”

I cringed. “Your roommate has so much class.”

“That’s Eddie.”

I grabbed Daniel’s hand and pulled him up from the couch. “Let’s forget about him and pick out a movie.”

***

It took me two days before I finally decided to open the letter from my sister. I grabbed a glass of wine, just in case, and took a big sip before I read its contents.

Dear Lexie -

I know you probably hate me and I don’t blame you. What I did was wrong and there’s no excuse for my behavior, but I am sorry. I miss having a big sister. I miss having you to talk with about everything and anything. I miss our adventures in shopping. I miss your encouragement and your kicks in the butt.

I know you’re probably wondering why I did it. I’ve been wondering that myself. To say that it ‘just happened’ isn’t exactly true, but I can certainly understand why people say that. It happened before my brain could really process it, and way before I thought about the consequences. I’ve had a lot of time to think about why it happened. Obviously, Jeff is hot, and he came on to me, but I should have said no and I didn’t. At the time, I thought it was flattering. It was the one time I could actually be as good as you.

I made a mistake, probably the biggest mistake of my life, and I will always regret it. Jeff isn’t worth the time of day and he definitely wasn’t worth losing you for. I hope one day you’ll be able to forgive me. I really want my sister back.

Love - Hannah

I read the letter a few times and the line that kept drawing my attention was: It was the one time I could actually be as good as you. Did Hannah really feel that badly about herself? My heart ached thinking about my sister and the choices she’d made. I never realized how my ambition would make her feel. How badly would someone have to feel about herself to believe that sleeping with her sister’s fiancé would somehow help to build her self-esteem?

I felt like a fraud. How could a mental health counselor be so blind to her own sister’s issues? How could I not see the issues between us? How could I have considered her my best friend and not truly known how she felt? As hurt and betrayed I felt by her actions, I also considered the possibility that I had also let her down. For the first time, I considered her feelings and that fact that she was in pain, too.

I missed my sister terribly, but was I ready to forgive her?





previous 1.. 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 ..14 next