"Kate, wake up. Wake up, Kate."
The fluttering of her eyelashes betrays her. The lovely irises are visible in flashes, like snapshots. It's late at night, and tomorrow is the Christmas party. If Kate knows what I'm thinking...
But she does. It was her idea, in the beginning. Her idea to take that final step towards me. I never would've taken that step back towards her if she hadn't.
She rolls onto her back, sinuous grace like a dancer. Her beauty, as always, catches in my throat, claws it up. I can see her in the dress she's going to wear tomorrow night. I can picture her eyes, glimmering under the low lights; the deep darkness in the valley of her chest, hiding secrets.
Secrets like the ones I am hiding. "Kate," I whisper again. She is wearing nothing, and her breasts flatten out towards her armpits, her nipples rosy even in the gloom of night-time.
"Ned," she whispers back, raising one arm towards me. She clasps behind my neck and pulls herself up, so close I can smell her sweat, her sex. She kisses me all at once, and it's like the heavens open up and fall on me.
There is something so beautiful in her kiss, even as I know what it means. I cannot escape this. It cannot be undone.
I kiss her, and kiss her. She kisses me back. If anyone knew about this, they would kill me for it. For tainting my beautiful sister. Beautiful Kate.
But how could they know, about that night, in the water? When her wet, cool hands pressed mine to her chest, when her soft words gave voice to my sinuous desire, when she said, "it's all right"?
Touches like now, they mean so much. Inside an ache in my chest her self has crept. My twin sister. I shouldn't be touching her like this.
"Beautiful Kate," I murmur, against her hair, spreading kisses like disease along her temple, down her cheek, the cut of her jaw. I suck at a spot on her neck, and she tilts her head, the moon immediately swathing her with white light along the length of her neck.
There's a dark splotch on her pale skin now. Another mark to explain away, not that anyone would notice.
I know this sickness is in me. My beautiful sister, full of light and joy, could never contain a darkness like this. So as I kiss her, I close my eyes and I remember. I force myself to swallow down every last sigh of pleasure, every last iota of feeling. I swallow down the illicitness of it, I swallow down the guilt, I take it all into myself.
I don't know yet that tomorrow night will be the last time I see her alive. I don't know yet that saying, 'no', to her, will steal her life away from me. I don't know. And so when we fall asleep, naked in each other's arms--fitted together like pieces of an unfinished quilt--I dream of saying 'I love you' and meaning something else by it.
I don't know I'll never get the chance.