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“I can’t possibly feel this way about her, she’s my little sister!”
These words had been said so many times in Shane Danson’s head, that they’d seemingly often replace every other thought in his mind.
Yet it seemed like no matter how often he said them, no matter how much he tried to bury his feelings, it never worked. Whether in his dreams or his thoughts, he’d done enough dirty and taboo things to his little sister that something as simple and innocent as looking her in the eyes had become almost unbearable. At this point, he wasn’t sure what to do. His feelings were becoming harder to suppress by the day and even harder to hide from her. The fact that they were identical twins only complicated things even further for the both of them.
From the day they were born, their souls were practically intertwined. The two were born mere minutes apart, as Shane was only older than her by about 11 minutes of intense labor. The two were inseparable as children and even into their early teens, they spent all their time together. Typically even the closest of siblings grew out of wanting to be tied to each other at some point, but Shane and Ashleigh simply never grew out of wanting to be together. It was always enough to weather any storm that came their way. They were only truly safe with each other, especially given the circumstances.
The two had seen their share of misfortune, from losing their parents at just ten in a car accident, to spending the following four years bouncing around family members who took turns exploiting them. Their parents had been prominent in the Ohio real estate business but had broken off contact with both their families for failing to support their relationship. So when they both died, the families spent the next several years arguing for both custody of the twins and for access to the kids’ inheritance.
The two were constantly questioned for what little knowledge they had regarding the inherited money their mother and father left for them once they became of age, with their father’s sister even trying to argue with them over their relationship as being too dependent on one another. Things became easier once they were taken in by a close friend of the family in Gloria Ramirez, a former Cleveland police officer who had been a good friend to not only their parents but also had a soft spot for their kids and offered to take them in almost as soon as she heard their parents died. With their vote of approval, the courts named her their legal guardian until they became legal adults.
But things between the twins were tense and had been so for several months. Over that time, Ashleigh began to notice their relationship was shifting, and not in a good way. She could sense anguish and longing in her other half, but he wouldn’t talk to her about it no matter how many times she asked. She felt like she was losing him, and didn’t even know where to start. Deep down she only prayed she could find a way to fix it before she lost the most important person in the world to her.
This particular Friday morning started like any other. Shane awoke at around 6 a.m., as years of caring for his sister had him trained to be up early. His little sister had never been a morning person, so he followed his mastered routine. By the time she got up every day, he was showered, dressed, and breakfast was either done or just about done. They’d become known for either being late to or missing homeroom, so they had a habit of taking their time in the mornings. Besides, Shane wasn’t exactly in a rush to get to school anyway, especially after one of his sister’s so-called friends let it slip that she was still a virgin a few months ago.
After that, guys were never too far from her if he wasn’t right next to her with it seemingly being an unwritten contest among the guys of the school to deflower her. Neither of them was a fan of the attention, but Shane was both relieved and confused about how it never phased his sister.
As it stood, the twins rather large bank and tendency to stay together made them among the school’s more popular people, though each of them could only count two real friends they had, Deuce Camden and Samantha Robertson. They were the only people who knew Shane and Ashleigh’s dynamic as two halves of the same person. The twins had just two classes out of seven apart during the third period, but had a friend in each one, as Kyle sat with Ashleigh during her fourth-period Biology class and Sam stayed with Shane during his third-period Calculus class.
At around 6:40 that morning, Ashleigh’s phone began ringing. She loved the song, so she waited a few extra seconds before getting up and answering.
“Hello?” she answered groggily.
“Hey, it’s me. Little early, huh?” Sam responded.
“No, it’s fine. I just wasn’t up yet.”
“Cool. Have you talked to him yet?” Sam said a bit eagerly.
She sighed. “Sorry Sam, I chickened out. ” Sam had spent the last two weeks trying to coax her best friend into hammering out her problems with her brother, but her rather timid nature kept getting the kaçak iddaa better of her. This was uncharted territory for Ashleigh because up until now they were always honest with each other. Maybe she had taken their bond for granted.
“Ashleigh, you’re never gonna get any answers if you don’t man up and talk to him. “
“Man up? Sam, I’m a girl. “
“You know what I mean. ” Sam replied sternly. She knew her friend was right, though. Ashleigh didn’t know exactly when it started but her brother has without a doubt changed. In a matter of months, he went from the fun-loving socialite she grew up with to the bland, cold and unbothered shell she’s grown concerned for. It was clear that he was trying to push her away. She just couldn’t figure out from what or why. Still, her friend shared in her concern, which meant things couldn’t possibly get any worse because as great a friend as she was, in reality, Sam was very self-absorbed.
“I know. You’re right, I’ve got to get to the bottom of this. ” Ashleigh said before accidentally hanging up the phone. Panicked, she immediately called back but got no answer. Before she could try again, she got a text from Sam. “Talk to him!” followed by two thumbs up emojis, meaning good luck. With that, she got out of bed and ran her hand through her hair in an attempt to make it look somewhat straight before looking at herself in the mirror.
She wore a tank top she’d borrowed from her brother and a pair of low-cut basketball shorts that barely covered her ass, unaware of how much harder she made life for her brother by wearing them. Stretching her arms, she walked into the kitchen to see Shane finishing up making his plate, hers already in its usual spot.
“Good morning Shane!” Ashleigh said with her signature enthusiasm, despite how increasingly difficult it felt to maintain. Shane turned to look at her but ended up unintentionally staring. He couldn’t help but be transfixed by how good his sister looked, even in something as plain as a tank top and shorts.
His sister was a true beauty, that was undeniable. She stood at about five and a half feet, had dirty blonde hair that ran to the middle of her back, and filled out in all the right places for the 18-year-old she had become just a few months ago. She also loved food in general but worked out often to keep up with her love of eating. Her figure was about 80% Barbie doll with just enough curve in her hips and ass to give her that killer edge most girls couldn’t pull off.
Pair that with her infectious smile and genuinely kind personality and there was only one conclusion Shane could reach: she was as close to perfect as a girl could get. But his little sister’s blushing snapped him out of his temporary trans and he returned to his more stoic demeanor.
“Morning.” He said dryly. Being somewhat used to this by now, she quietly sat down and began eating without another word. She knew she needed to work up the courage to address this with him, but she figured that would be much harder on an empty stomach so there was no harm in eating first. Shane followed suit, but pretty quickly noticed how slowly she was eating. Usually, she’d never hesitated to blow through her brother’s cooking. That was another thing he loved about his sister.
As beautiful as she was, she was far from a typical girl. She ate and joked like a guy, yet never lost her infectious charm. So between her lack of inhaling her breakfast, coupled with the look of longing she gave him every time she briefly looked in his direction, he could see something was wrong with her. Even though he was at least a hundred percent sure his demeanor towards her was the problem, his elder sibling instincts acted on their own, and he couldn’t stop himself from opening Pandora’s box.
“Ash? ” Shane asked. Nothing.
“Ash!” Shane said a little louder.
“Huh?” Ashleigh said, shaking her head. Assuming she’d just zoned out, Shane rolled his eyes and went back to his plate.
“He’s right in front of you. Do it now or we never will!” she repeated several times in her head. Shane may have caused her to lose focus, but she knew it was time to end this.
“Shane, I’m sorry. Please forgive me,” she said, averting her gaze to the table. She raised an eyebrow at this. What was she talking about?
“What? What did you do?”
“I’m not entirely sure. But I’m sorry, Shane.” He was really confused now.
“Ash, what are you talking about? “
“I must have done something to make you upset with me all this time.”
Her statement hit him like a brick wall. The only thing worse than her words was the look she was giving him while she said it. The only comparison was a wounded animal in the rain begging for shelter. It nearly broke his heart.
In his mind, his secret had to remain just that no matter the price, and knowing his sister he knew the day would come that she’d start asking questions or commit to trying to figure this situation out for herself. He was prepared, or so he thought.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about. ” He replied kaçak bahis as emotionless as possible. But Ashleigh knew him too well. He couldn’t look at her and say that, as his eyes retreated to the table midway through his statement. It showed her that this was something he forced himself to say. But why? Why would he intentionally push her away?
She wasn’t prepared to leave it alone. Not this time.
“Shane, I know you just lied to me because you couldn’t look me in the eyes. We’re all we have, so we’re supposed to be honest with each other, remember?” Ashleigh said with an obvious strain in her voice as her eyes started to tear up.
“I’m holding up my end of the bargain,” Shane replied dryly. Ashleigh could feel herself slipping emotionally. This wasn’t fair! What was he going through? What was going on in his head that forced him to act like this with her? Why won’t he talk to her? Does he not trust her? Her of all people?
“What is wrong with you! Why won’t you just talk to me? What did I do?”
“Nothing,” Shane said, looking down. Him taking his gaze off her again must have been the last straw.
“Shane!” Ashleigh shouted as she stood up and slammed her hands on the table, causing him to nearly jump out of his seat. This wasn’t like her. But he nearly lost all composure when he saw the tears really begin to fall. He could feel the anguish she felt at that moment. It was overwhelming. This was bad. Definitely bad. Then her next set of words hit him like a barrage of gunshots directly to the heart.
“Shane, I can’t take this anymore. I can’t take feeling like I made you like this. I can’t take you ignoring me. The silence, the dead stares, the lack of interest… none of it is like you! You used to laugh. We used to have fun, be close and tell each other everything no matter how bad it was! You are all I have, I can’t take losing anyone else. Not you too. Not after Mom and Dad…not again…I just… I just… ” She stopped. She was crying profusely now and was out of breath in between simple words. He had never seen his sister this upset in his life, not since they found out their parents were gone did she cry like this.
“Ash? ” Shane was scared now. Again, his instincts acted for him as he stood and began to move closer to her.
“I just want to feel like you love me again! ” Ashleigh cried out.
Turns out he wasn’t ready for this.
To prepare yourself for something is one thing, but it’s never as easy as it is in your head. After spending almost a decade trying to keep her from ever having to hurt, it dawned on him just how much he’d been hurting her all this time. Again charged by instinct, he grabbed her for a hug. They remained this way for several seconds before he felt her pushing him away. “Ash?” Shane said, equal parts confused and afraid. Any other time, a hug from him would have stopped time and completely rejuvenated her. But this was not one of those times. She needed answers, not affection.
At that point, nothing mattered to her other than finally getting the truth from him.
“We need to talk,” she said as she took his hand and led him to her room. This would be resolved, one way or another.
“I don’t care that you’re my brother, you belong with me and I won’t lose you to anyone else… “
Ashleigh led the way as she escorted Shane into her room. They entered in silence. She gestured for him to sit and he took a spot on the corner of her bed. It had been a while since he’d been in her room longer than maybe twenty seconds to drop off laundry or check on her if he thought he heard something. He’d almost forgotten how nice her room looked. All her walls had been decorated with borders representing the stars, and surrounding her mirror laid at least 100 photos taken over the past couple of years. Mainly photos of the two of them, as the two, hugged each other in a variety of different places.
There were photos of the twins in Chicago, Vancouver, Disney World in Orlando, and even simpler photos of the two in front of their building and their parent’s alma mater in Masteller High. You couldn’t look at those photos and not feel the happiness in them. Those good times seemed so long ago to him. Ashleigh was right, this had gone too far.
But was he ready to end it?
He didn’t have much time to think as before long he realized she was sitting right next to him as if she were waiting. He shook his head, realizing he’d just gotten lost in his thoughts.
“You back? All good now?” she asked plainly. Weird for her, and not the best sign given the circumstances.
“Uh yeah, sorry. ” He said, slightly embarrassed.
“It’s okay, I’m just…really glad we’re finally talking again.” She replied. There was a pain in her voice as she spoke, meaning she was still upset. Shane knew he had to choose his next words carefully. “Ash, I’m sorry,” he said. She met his gaze, her puffy red eyes serving as an unfortunate reminder of just how bad things have gotten between the two of them. “Sorry for what? ” She said, her voice somewhat leveling off.
“Everything, illegal bahis okay? ” He said, trying to keep his eyes in her direction. But for obvious reasons, he was so disgusted with himself that was nearly impossible. Ashleigh looked down and folded her hands.
“Are you mad at me, Shane?”
“Did I do something wrong? ” She asked, her tone reminded him of a sad child.
Shane sighed. “No Ash, this is my fault,” he said. She began again,
“What’s the matter, Shane? Be honest with me, please.” Ashleigh asked, her prior pitiful demeanor almost completely replaced by a more concerned one. Shane hesitated. He could feel himself losing control of the situation. She was breaking him without even trying. The guilt was weighing on him heavier now than ever before. He closed his eyes, his will to lie almost gone.
“Shane? ” Ashleigh said, now even more concerned. Getting the sense that he was deep in thought, she slid over a bit to give him some space as she now sat around the center of the bed.
On one hand, she was genuinely happy that they were finally talking about their issues, as this was the closest to a real conversation she and Shane had in weeks, but the conversation carried a thick and heavy feel that she knew they both felt. For so long, she’d wanted nothing more than to look inside either his mind or his heart and see what was hurting him so she could wish it away.
But with this new feeling, she also thought, “What if Shane still can’t be honest with me? Whatever this is, it has to be important to him. He’s been phasing me out for months. Treating me like a ghost. He’s been taking care of me, sure, but it hasn’t been the same. Not even close. There’s no affection anymore. He doesn’t even look me in the eyes now. It’s like somebody flipped a switch and turned off all the things that made me fall in love with him in the first place. But I feel like I’m close. Like, right now. He can’t handle me going on the offensive. When I shouted in the kitchen, he came to me and hugged me. He let his guard down. Maybe I can try something like that one more time. Ok, I’m going for it. I just hope this works.”
Realizing she’d given him a bit of space and unaware of her plans to emotionally overwhelm him, he tried to relax, before she sent him into overdrive.
“Shane, I think I know what this is about. ” Ashleigh said with a certain level of confidence and clarity in her statement that instantly put him on edge.
“There’s no way she knows.” Shane thought to himself. “I haven’t said a word that would give it away. Could she be playing me? No, she’s not like that. But if she’s not bluffing, then how could she know about my feelings? I need to play this right. See where this is going. Maybe I can save myself.”
“What? ” He said, now looking right at her.
“I know, Shane. I need you to say it.”
“Please…please let this work…” Ashleigh silently prayed to herself.
“I have no idea what you’re… ” Shane started, before truly taking a look into her eyes. He couldn’t make heads or tails of what he saw in her light brown orbs. He couldn’t get a read on her. This scared him. He’s sure he’s never seen this look on her face before. “Where is your mind, Ashleigh?”
“You’re in love with me, aren’t you? ” She said, her words sending him into a mental scramble.
“Wait, what? Ash, I… ” He tried to get out, clearly shaken. His heart was racing at Daytona 500-level speeds. He felt faint. Was he about to pass out? A million thoughts raced through his mind at that moment. None of this made sense.
Ashleigh watched his mind scramble before her very eyes. There was no clear answer given. She needed him to say what was on his mind.
“Say it. “
“I can’t, Ashleigh. I can’t. “
“Because it’s wrong! ” He shouted as he suddenly stood up as if his spot on the bed were suddenly on fire. His sister stood and looked him in the eyes, but he turned his back to her.
Shane is in love…with me?
“It’s wrong, Ashleigh. It’s always been wrong. ” He started. Shane was officially unhinged. It was all over now. “Ash, this… how I feel about you… it’s wrong. I’ve been trying to fight these feelings for so long. I really have. But it’s killing me. It’s why I’ve been pushing you away. To keep you from finding out how messed up in the head I am. ” he said as he allowed the tears to slowly flow from his eyes while he stood faced opposite her, certain his life was over.
She could easily tell he was crying even without seeing his face. Her heart hurt for him. But behind that, her stomach was in knots. It felt like butterflies were dancing in her gut.
“Shane, please turn around… ” she said almost in a whisper. He complied, slowly, albeit with his head sunken, and continued,
“Ashleigh, I’m in love with you, all right? As more than your brother. I can’t stop thinking about it. I love everything about you. Your laugh, your smile, your body, your spirit. Hell, even thinking about you makes me crazy. But I’ve crossed the line. I know that. None of those wonderful, amazing things that make you who you are were meant for me, I know that too. I’ve done terrible, unforgivable things to you in my mind… In my dreams… It’s immoral. I can’t bury it, no matter how hard I’ve tried. “
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