When you pull up to the house, the party is still in full swing, music blaring out the open front door and clusters of high school kids littering the front lawn and being too loud. You figure they have another half an hour before the neighbors in this uptown neighborhood grow tired of their shit and call the cops for underage drinking. Maybe Dave had been right to call you to pick him up now.
Actually, you were pretty glad Dave had come to this house party in the first place. He needed some time with people his own age, his friends and classmates; you fear he’d grown far too close to you the past few weeks. Far closer than any 17 year old should be to his older brother, to the point of being clingy, craving your attention, finding reasons not to go out but to stay in the apartment with you instead.
There was something not right about it, leaving you feeling uneasy in your stomach, confused when normally it would have been clear.
The clock on your dashboard hits 2:30 AM, and in a fit of impatience, you bring one gloved hand slamming down on the car horn. The loud noise has a group of teenage girls shrieking in surprise, jumping back away from your car and you fight back a smirk, eyes focusing in on a figure breaking free from the others, staggering your way.
When he climbs into the car, it doesn’t take a Sherlock Holmes to realise he was wasted, mumbling a slurred greeting in your direction as his fingers fumble and make failed attempts at grabbing for his seatbelt.
“Holy fuck, you’re sloshed.”
“What? No ‘m not…”
“You puke in my car and I swear I’ll make you clean it with a toothbrush.”
He sends you a half assed frown and you try to stop the amused laughter shaking you in your seat, fingers moving to roar the engine into life. He was seventeen and had just spent his night at some shitty high school house party; you had no problem with him being drunk. In fact, you’re pretty glad that you’d have some more mocking material to use at a later date.
Pulling away quickly, you side-eye him out the corner of your shades, watch him sway uneasily at every tiny turn you make, hand moving to push his shades up his nose. It takes him three attempts, fingers prodding at his forehead, nose and cheek before finally locating the troublesome shades. Fucking hilarious.
“You have a good time then? Are high school house parties still as unbelievably shitty as I remember them being or have they evolved into something minorly cool?”
“Nah they’re still preshy titty,” he slurs, brows pulling down in confusion over the syllables he’d mixed up before he disregards the mistake completely, causing you to bite back another snicker, “They made us play seven minutes in heaven like we were back in middle school. It w’s pathetic.”
“Whoa, dude, seven minutes in heaven is the best party game. Getting your mack on with someone in a closet? Hot. You manage to grab a cutie?”
You tip your cap back slightly with one finger, eyes alternating between looking at the road and looking across to your brother, making sure he wasn’t gonna start puking or something else equally as stupid. You catch the way his expression twists at your question, and when he opens his mouth to speak, the most adorable little hiccup escapes before the words.
“I didn’t wanna play, I don’t wanna be kissing any of those losers.”
“Dude you missed out, how are you supposed to get yourself in there if you turn down golden opportunities like that?”
“I don’t wanna be ‘in there’… I wanna be, uh, out h-here. If I wanted to be with any of those nerds then I already would be.”
He sounds foolishly confident, and when he shifts in his seat, you realise he hadn’t actually succeeded in putting on his seatbelt, causing the faintest of frowns to grace your lips. When your gaze jumps across again, you catch him looking at you with an almost scary level of concentration. It causes something tight to twist in your chest and you swallow before continuing. Eyes back on the road, Bro.
“That’s awfully modest of you,” you tease, desperately clinging for any kind of light hearted tone that would ease the tightness, ignoring the way leather gloves curled tighter around the steering wheel, “Who d’you think you are? A fucking stud muffin? Got a way with the ladies that’ll have them falling at your feet?”
“See? This… this is where you’re wrong, Bro,” his words are still a little slurred, but something tells you that this wasn’t just drunken rambling, “You don’t think I’m capable of making someone…” His hands fly up, and you can see his brain scramble for the right words, “Want me. I do have ways.”
You don’t dare look across to him anymore, blank expression directed carefully out the front windscreen. Making someone want him? Of course he had ways of doing that, but they weren’t the things he was aware of, and they weren’t the things you would ever admit to having noticed.
Your lack of response only seems to encourage him on, because the next thing you know, he was moving out the corner of your eye, twisting to face you more fully, leaning closer. His hand finds your thigh, slender fingers snaking their way upwards and causing your breathing to hesitate, your stomach to drop. His other hand had located the bottom of your shirt, pushing it upwards as he maps out your stomach and chest with his fingertips.
This was suddenly way more serious than you’d anticipated, your expression set in tense, hard lines with a clenched jaw and furrowed brow. And he was right by your ear, alcohol still on his breath as he breathes against your skin.
“I have ways of making even you want me. Pull over.”
He squeezes against your thigh and you tense up even further, everything in you trying your hardest not to crash the car, or, worryingly, do what he asked you. But, no, no, this was wrong.
“This isn’t funny, Dave.”
It’s warning, voice sharp and low as you tilt your head to finally look at him. He’s really close, cheeks slightly flushed from alcohol, not a hint of joke in his expression or the way he drags his teeth across his lower lip. It makes your breath catch again and it takes everything in you to tear your attention back to the road again.
“Bro… pull over. Come on, don’t… don’t act like ya don’t wan’ it too, come on… I see the way you look at me sometimes.”
You turn a corner, the action causing Dave to drunkenly lose his balance so that his forehead bumps against the side of your head painfully, his hand slipping slightly on your thigh. He’s surprisingly quick to regain himself again, the hand under your shirt sweeping up to find your collarbones.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. Sit back, now.”
The order doesn’t hold much authority though, words mumbled in embarrassment and panic as you realise that he must know. He’d caught you looking, he knew what you’d been thinking, he knew how fucking sick you really were, and yet here he was… encouraging it?
You swallow hard, hit the accelerator harder to move the two of you faster towards home.
“Don’t you wan’ it too? Bro… please, I want you.”
His hand moves one last time, and this time it comes to rest right over your crotch, his palm applying pressure which shoots sparks through your very veins in response. You finally reach down with one hand to grip hard at his wrist, pushing him roughly away and not missing the sharp exhale of rejection he lets slip against your ear.
You’ve managed to make it back to your apartment, parking messily in order to get out the car fast. As you tug his other hand free from under your shirt, you don’t dare look at his face before climbing out the car.
“Get the fuck out.”
If he looked hurt or upset, you didn’t want to see it. You didn’t want to think that it would be the right thing to do to accept his advances like this. Not after so long of holding back your own, keeping what you really felt to yourself so that he wouldn’t have to know.
You wanted him kissing high school teenagers at house parties, you wanted him going out with his friends every weekend, you wanted so much more for him than… well, you.
Locking up the car after you hear the opposite car door slam shut, you head quickly into the apartment block, calling for the elevator. He shuffles in after you, face fire engine red and his fingers curling and uncurling by his sides. As you wait for the elevator together, not a single word is spoken but you can both hear each other’s heavy breathing, the occasional hiccup on Dave’s behalf.
He’s still swaying, and as a ding rings out to signal the arrival of the elevator, you grab tight at his arm to pull him in after you, keeping him steady. He lets you pull him, limp like a rag doll and embarrassed frown directed towards his shoes. You can only imagine what might be going through his drink hazed mind right now.
“Hey. How are you feeling?”
His head darts up at the sound of your voice, nose scrunching up before he lolls back down to face the ground again.
“Pretty sick, Bro.”
The elevator jolts as it reaches your floor and he loses his balance, hand hitting the metal wall to steady himself as he frowns. You give a heavy sigh, feeling the embarrassed panic you’d been experiencing drain from you as you step forward, hook his legs over your arms to lift him up.
When you carry him to your apartment, he clings tight to your shirt, pressing his face into your shoulder, and you’re not sure if it was from embarrassment over what he had done or because he was feeling ill. Regardless, you felt you had to move fast, holding the warm, heavy body close as you unlocked the door. He wasn’t the kid he used to be, and this was getting difficult, but you still refuse to put him down until he was in the bathroom.
He stumbles instantly to the toilet, throwing up the seat to retch into the bowl with shaking knees that bring him sitting on the floor with a groan. You watch him for a few seconds, curled over the toilet in his ridiculously tight skinny jeans, blonde hair sticking out at wild angles from where he’d pushed his shades up into them, bloodshot eyes exposed.
You can’t bring yourself to stay with him, so after delivering him a glass of water and a set of painkillers, you leave him alone to move to your own room.
The quiet of the dark had thoughts crashing in around you with an unpleasant ferocity, leaving you restless as you start to undress down to your boxers, slip between the cool bed sheets to stare at the ceiling.
He was seventeen, he was full of hormones going crazy and he wasn’t old enough to be able to fully understand himself. He was confused, and horny and that was all there had been to it, you tell yourself. And there was the fact that he was drunk. Drunk, horny and teenager was the most powerful combination for overcoming logic. By morning, he will have forgotten about it, you’re sure.
Burying your face in your hands, you hear the toilet flush, the quiet clicks of doors opening and closing for Dave’s room. You resist the urge to flip over and scream into your pillow, because with closed eyes come images of flushed cheeks from alcohol, the memory of fingertips fuelled with liquid confidence, on your skin, slipping up your thigh. A breathy voice by your ear.
When you finally fall asleep, it’s on the thought that you’ve never hated anyone more than you hate yourself for loving your little brother far too much.