Jodi had never had much luck with boyfriends. She had lovely grey-brown eyes and a slim, lithe figure that would fit perfectly into the arms of any man. She was bubbly and sweet and everyone loved her, but she could never seem to find a man whom she loved who admired her enough.
If Bret knew one thing it was that no one could admire her the way he did.
From the day their parents got married, Bret was convinced that Jodi was a princess. In fact, he asked his mother if she was. “Is my new sister a princess?” six-yea-old Bret had asked.
“No, sweetheart, but she is a very nice girl,” his mother had said indulgently.
She was the loveliest thing Bret knew. When she was little, Jodi liked lilac frilly dresses and sparkly glitter which she smeared over everything, including her own face and sometimes Bret’s too for good measure. As a young teenager she clung to the art scene and always donned the most outrageous, bright colors, boldly mixing pink with yellow and lilac with beige. She would paint pictures and scatter them across the floor of her room. They were always bold, with bright colors and wide, freefall strokes. She almost never wore make up beyond a very basic mascara and lip gloss but she would put purple and green feathers in her hair to, as she said, cover up its plain brown. Even in her high school years, as the tumultuous wave of puberty seemed to shallow, Jodi never failed to surprise Bret with a bouquet of field flowers or an outrageous pair of shades shaped like bananas. But as far as he was concerned, his sister could never do anything wrong.
Their parents were glad that the two got along as well as they did. Sometimes Bret would sit at the top of the stairs and listen to his mother and Jodi’s father talk about how easy he and Jodi made it for them to start their new life. He liked hearing Jodi’s father talk about how much she adored him and how happy he made her. It made something big and warm swell up inside Bret and expand until his fingertips and toes tingled with it. Then, he would walk into Jodi’s room where she was fast asleep and watch her. He would think that she was the most ridiculously wonderful and pure thing in his life.
The first time that Bret thought there may be something unhealthy in their relationship was when he began to jerk off to fantasies of Jodi. It wasn’t on purpose. It was the summer before he was to go to college and Jodi had just completed her first year of high school. They spent their days at the park, lying under the warm summer sun and eating chocolate covered strawberries and juicy apples. Then, Bret would wake up in the middle of the night, feeling like his entire body would explode as it burned with the lingering memories of his dream. In it, Jodi was naked, her hands fondling her full, naked breasts. She teased her nipples and smiled at him like a little minx. He then wrapped his arms around her waist and slowly slid down to his knees. He trailed kisses down her belly until he reached the top of her jeans. Then he always woke up and jerked off, moaning out her name with his face buried in the pillow for fear of someone hearing.
When he left for college she kissed him, shoving him against the wall of the hall. Sunlight spilled through the window and the open door of the room at the end of the hall to cast a thin yellow light on their faces and bodies. Jodi fell flat against him, pinning him. She kissed him hard, possessively, her fingers twisting in his shirt. Bret gulped and kissed her back, the hair on the back of his neck standing up as he did. She ran from him then, and when he drove off and looked back at her, she stood beside their parents in the driveway with her long hair hanging down and hiding her face. They never spoke of that day for fear of what it would mean for both of them. But Bret still dreamed about that moment in the sunlit hall and every time, the more he thought about it, the more he thought he could remember Jodi glowing with that light. Like an angel; like an angel princess.
Bret studied abroad during the summer and fall of his junior year in college. Africa was a fascinating place to him and he traveled as much as he could while he was there, taking pictures he could then show Jodi. The only downside was that every rolling hill of golden sand, every glorious, burning sunset made him think of Jodi and the way her hair had glowed that day in the hall when she’d kissed him.
He came home for Christmas and even as he got out of the taxi, he could already feel the tension building up. When she opened the door, the cold of the winter morning faded away and melted into oblivion. “I waited all night for you,” she said and he followed her numbly into the house, muttering some silliness about it being a long way from Africa.
Bret gave her the Christmas present he’d bought her and waited for her to unwrap it, fighting the smile that ket gloating out onto the surface. “You’re my present this year,” she said and smiled that minx smile she always wore in his dreams. He would have kissed her there and then if their parents hadn’t walked into the kitchen at that very moment, interrupting his train of thought and feeling with their cooing.
That night, Bret sat under the Christmas tree on the carpeted floor, playing around with a scrap of wrapping paper, lost in his own thoughts, when Jodi came into the empty, dim – only the lights on the tree were lit – family room. She wore a lacy, white dress and a silver tiara left over from her childhood. “Whatcha doing?” she asked, skipping slightly as she approached him.
“Nothing,” Bret said distractedly, looking up at her and smirking just slightly. “What are you supposed to be dressed like that?” Aside from his wildest fantasy, of coarse.
“An angel,” Jodi said with a slight giggle.
“Angels have wings and halos,” he pointed out.
She shrugged and settled down onto his lap. “So? Well, fine, what would you have me be?”
He reached out and stroked a strand of hair from her face. “A princess.”
She smiled and leaned her forehead against his. “Your princess?”
His hands found her waist and his mouth – her lips. He kissed her hard and pressed her to him so that they were flush against each other like that time in the hall. She moaned into his mouth but didn’t push him away. Her lips were like soft butter under his and her entire body seemed to mold itself to better fit his. “I’ve been dreaming about this since our parents got marred,” he murmured against her lips when they pulled back for air.
“We were just children,” she whispered back a little hoarsely.
“Yes, but I already knew you were my princess.”
She looked into his eyes and they were so close that Bret thought he may be swallowed up by her dilated pupils. “We can’t. Our parents will kill us. You’re my brother.”
“Your step brother.”
He kissed her again and she melted into him. “If I am your princess then who are you? My prince?” she whispered against his ear.
She giggled and pushed him back, lying on top of him. “Then you should pleasure me.”
He let out a growl of desire and pushed up her dress. “Gladly, my princess.” She gulped for air and held onto him, moaning his name into his shoulder as they made love. Angels, stars and various other ornaments looked down upon them from the tree as its fairy lights twinkled happily in, what Bret assumed must be, approval.
When they were spent, Jodi lay beside him with her head on his chest and stared up into the face of a toy angel. “I always wanted to lose my virginity to someone I trusted. I always trusted my brother so I thought, why not,” she said finally in a quiet monotone. “Maybe the angels will forgive me my transgression.”
Bret held his princess closer and tried to feel at least a little guilty. But couldn’t.