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The Apple of Discord

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The flight back to South Carolina was long and silent. There wasn't even a bit of turbulence.

Strangely, I would have welcomed turbulence.

In the old days, oh, how Carrie would have howled! She had always been petrified of heights, and when upset, she would open her mouth and let you know it with the loudest scream you've ever heard. We couldn't have taken her anywhere on an airplane. But now she was silent, listless. She stared out the rounded window at the sky beyond, but her large blue eyes weren't really seeing the clouds or the sky. She had not looked directly at me once for days.

Beside her, I sat every bit as stoic as she, guarding her – even if she didn't know it – from anyone who would harm us. I would always be guarding my sisters.

God, I wished Cathy would have come along home with us. Then it would be the three of us on this flight, leaving behind anguish and abuse with our hands joined, just as we'd fled Foxworth Hall on the train those many years ago. That was the way it was supposed to be. Us against the world, the Dresden dolls.

Now it felt more like it was me against both Cathy and Carrie, for I was so against Julian. He was in his grave now, but it hardly mattered. I was still against him, and I was the only one. I wished that bastard had died well before he could sully either of my sisters.

Carrie had uttered not one word to me since the night of the ballet... the night of the accident. We were both in shock, I suppose. Cathy and I had spoken more, for funeral arrangements had to be made. Medical bills had to be discussed. Our travels had to be orchestrated and her injuries considered. And of course, I had to comfort my Lady Catherine in her time of need, regardless of how it tormented my soul to know she was pregnant with another man's child. And it did torment me to know how fully Julian had claimed her and how utterly she had given himself to him. My Cathy! Pregnant!

Better his child than mine, I tried to tell myself. Better a child who would not suffer our fate, who would break the fateful chain passed on to us by our parents – who would never be looked at by anyone with hard, cold eyes and called the Devil's issue! Better a child for Cathy to remember her danseur by...

But my reasonings, no matter how logical and concrete, could only carry me so far. My jealousy was deep and aching, a poison in my belly and spreading through my body, every bit as real and painful as arsenic. Sometimes I wondered if my need for Cathy was slowly killing me.

As much as Cathy troubled me – and she always troubled me – next to me was my fragile child-sister, still as pale, small, and sickly as the day we had escaped from our attic prison.

To my eyes she was forever damaged. I was always careful to try and monitor her growth, her health. But I had failed to note that Carrie was no longer an eight-year-old who looked like a five-year-old. She was no longer even twelve. She was a very tiny teenager.

I could all too easily remember being sixteen. At that age, I had been plagued for what seemed a lifetime with longings which I told myself, having consulted medical texts and declared myself an expert on puberty, were natural... but which I'd let become unnatural. Why, Carrie was older now than Cathy had been when I had forced myself on her that day in the attic, so jealous that it had seemed like the end of my small world that any part of her body had touched any part of another man's body.

Blinded always by my unhealthy obsession with Cathy, I viewed Carrie as a damaged flower who would never grow... especially because I so wanted her to remain innocent, and not bloom so full anyone would want to pluck her.

We arrived home late at night. Though Dr. Paul Sheffield's sprawling house could not have been more different than the Foxworth estate, the crickets singing and the lack of neighborly porch lights to help us find our way and feel like we weren't alone reminded me inevitably of the night we had arrived at what was to be our own private hell for the next several years. But Cathy and Cory were missing. It was only Carrie and me quietly entering the house.

A note informed me that Henny had left us dinner in the refrigerator and gone to bed.

"There's gumbo in the fridge," I told Carrie.

She turned without a word, went straight upstairs, and shut her door.

After a moment's hesitation, I took off after her. I wouldn't be falling asleep anytime soon now that we were away from the hustle and bustle of grief and my attentions were no longer glued entirely to Cathy.

Upon my knock, I heard her say in a small voice, "I'm not hungry."

"Me neither," I told her through the door. "But I thought we should talk."

A pause. Then, firmly, "No. I don't want to talk. I want to sleep."

"Well, we need to talk about what happened sooner or later," I replied just as firmly. It had been a long time since I'd used a voice quite that stern! It was my fatherly voice, an echo of my father I still had left inside my brain. The twins used to know I meant business when I used it.

"There's nothing to talk about," said Carrie from within, distant. "Nothing happened."

I tried to keep that steady, authoritative manner. "Don't lie to me! I know what I saw. He had his hand up your skirt. That's not ballet. What else has he done to you? What else, Carrie!"

After a petrified moment, I heard the distinctive click of her doorknob locking. Insult to injury! We all hated locked doors.

"Carrie," I pleaded, my fist uselessly landing on the jamb, "if he hurt you –"

"Go away!"

"I need to know. I'm a doctor now, a real one. I can help."

"You were seeing things! You're so jealous of him and Cathy, you're making terrible things up! You're just like the grandmother, waiting and watching from the shadows to try and catch us being sinful, accusing us of things we didn't do! Go away, Chris! I don't want to talk to you!"

As much as it pained me, the words gave me pause. I had to stop and think objectively, standing right there outside Carrie's bedroom door. Had what I'd seen been innocent in any way? Could I have possibly have walked in on something that looked worse than it really was? I was strongly objective. I was logical, willing to observe and consider a situation before making a diagnosis.

But I was also forever crippled, forever twisted.

"All right," I finally said. "I'm going to bed. Good night."

No such pleasantries were returned. I could hear only a sob.

To my dismay, Carrie spent the next two days locked in her room. If she left at any point to use the toilet or take a bath, I didn't see her.

I spent the days helping Henny in any way I could, reading my medical journals and faithful old copy of Gray's Anatomy to prep for my upcoming internship, and calling Cathy long-distance to ask about her ever-changing travel plans. In a very doctorly fashion, I asked whether she was experiencing morning sickness, if she had noticed any spotting or cramping pains.

"No!" she cried, and hung up on me.

Well, I deserved to be hung up on. What a detestable mixed fear and hope to have, that she would miscarry her child after so much incredible emotional trauma. I hated myself for even privately wishing further pain upon her. If such a thing happened, she might never recover from the devastation. I didn't believe a fire-and-brimstone Hell as portrayed on the walls of our old room really existed, but on the microscopically small chance it did, I would certainly roast on a spit for having the slightest glimmer of hope in my heart for the death of an innocent child.

Monday heralded the beginning of my internship at Clairmont, but by Sunday evening, I still had not seen even a shadow of Carrie. Henny told me that she left meals by Carrie's door, but that they were often either untouched or only picked at by the time she limped her way upstairs to leave the next.

That just about did me in with worry.

I marched up those stairs and pounded on her door.

"Carrie," I barked, "if you want to be angry at me, then go ahead. Hate me for seeing what I did. Yell at me! Give me a good kick in the shins! But please, eat something. Don't put Henny out of her way! Don't waste this precious food. Remember how we once would have given anything for feasts such as this? Hot soup? Iced tea? Roast and sweet potatoes? How can you resist? ... Are you feeling ill? Can you not keep anything down?"

My fears were quickly getting the best of me.

Carrie answered weakly, "I'm just sad."

"Then I wish you would let me comfort you."

"You won't. You'll lecture me. You'll tell me how evil I am for what I did."

Her wail was muffled into one of her many fancy pillows.

"I would never call you such a thing," I said.

"Then you'll tell me how evil Julian is. ... Was," she whimpered.

I had to hand it to Carrie! She was right about that. Damn it, did I still have to swallow my feelings and my pride as a man and let Julian rule both my sisters' lives, even dead? I knew down to my very marrow that I would always hate this man, with passion that could have fueled me through any number of ballets... if only I could dance. At that moment, I hated him more than the grandmother. Cathy had given up so much of herself to him; he would always be with her through their child. But Carrie's feelings... her body... were they to belong to him, too?

"Think me heartless if you want, and be shocked and horrified at me, but the truth is, I don't care about Julian," I told her bitterly. "I only care about you. I have to make sure you're all right. Don't you understand that? How can I go on in my life and be a great doctor if I can't take care of you? How can I leave in the morning without a hug from my Carrie?"

She let me stand in silence for a minute, but I could hear her shifting in her room.

Finally, she opened the door a crack and peeked out at me with round, troubled eyes.

I smiled, relieved and truly happy to see her face even though it was so shadowed. I could see her examining my smile for any faults or lies.

"Are you still angry at me?"

"It's not you I'm angry at."

Carrie's eyelids dropped, her long lashes visible. The effect was exactly like one of those dolls whose weighted eyes shut if you lay them horizontally.

After a moment, she stepped back, opening her door to me. I stepped into her plush abode – Paul had spoiled us so! All of us, but particularly Carrie, and I could not blame him at all – and took in her pale, thin form in a ghostly white nightie. Its bodice was trimmed in red ribbon. She had also tied a red ribbon in her long, wavy blonde hair. None of her lamps were lit, the Sunday evening sunset alone giving her red-violet room its warm glow. Despite this, there were gray shadows under her eyes that I did not like to see.

I could also see signs of things I had, for so many reasons, ignored up until now. She was not the child who had arrived here vomiting and fading, near death. She was only about two inches taller than she had been then, and she would never be tall or have the dancer's body my other sister had. Her head still looked large for her body, proportions tragically abnormal. But in other ways, she had grown nevertheless, for even the littlest flower budded and blossomed if it found a bit of nourishment. There were breasts, modest but still obvious under her nightie, that no doubt Julian had laid his foul hands on.

Clearly, she did not know what my eyes were seeing anew, for she didn't cover up with a robe or cross her arms over her chest defensively. She closed the door with a soft click to let us speak in private.

"Till now, your supposedly brilliant brother didn't realize how much you've grown up, Carrie," I said softly, looking at her slippered feet on the plush carpet. I was determined not to let my gaze roam over any shy curves again – it was all right, once, in the name of medical interest... in the name of opening my eyes to see all the facts. "Regardless of who, of how... socially permissible or how morally wrong it may be, and no matter how grown up you are now, a brother never likes to see a man show interest in his little sister."

"I know it was morally wrong," said Carrie in a monotone whisper. She drifted toward her bed, where there was a dent on the coverlet I suspected she'd been burrowed in all day.

"It was! He had no right to think of you in that way, let alone look at you, touch you – and I will not apologize for being angry with him about that!" I was trying my damnedest not to yell. "But I'm not a saint, myself! Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."

"I don't like it when people quote the Bible," snipped Carrie, sounding much more like her old self. If only she'd yelled it! And if only she was speaking for Cory, too! Wee-e-e don't like no Bible! Wee-e-e like Donna Reed! She sat gingerly on the bed and curled up in the very spot I'd suspected she would, fanning her hair over the pillow exactly as Cathy used to do before the grandmother had tarred it all. When she blinked, twin tears fell down her cheeks.

"Now, Carrie," I said, finding my voice husky. I knelt beside her bed as if to pray, taking her white little hand in mine. Somehow, though her eyes were looking at my face, she was still not really seeing me. "All I meant is that we've all done things... unwise things, or downright bad things. Or had bad things done to us. Sometimes we don't want those things to happen. Sometimes we do it on purpose. Sometimes our curiosity, it just gets the better of us. Sometimes we just want things we shouldn't want. It's morally wrong, yes, but we're not..."

"Evil?" Carrie asked, crying and hiccoughing.

"No. Of course not. We're only human, not Satan incarnate."

"You don't ever think you're wicked, Chris?"

"Truthfully, sometimes I have the wickedest thoughts," I told her, and like magic, her shaking shoulders softened and her eyes focused on my face. "Especially when I think back on that old attic. Sometimes I think if we hadn't been able to escape, I would have killed the grandmother to get us out of there. Now, do you think having the occasional bad thought makes me a real bad apple, rotten to the core?"

"Don't know," she said.

"We're good people, Carrie," I said, very firmly. If I'd had a clipboard I would have written my professional medical opinion down on our casefile, even. Christopher Dollanganger Sheffield: never meant to hurt anyone. Carrie Dollanganger Sheffield: absolute angel!

"But I did something bad," Carrie whispered to me, as if she could see my mental notes.

"What did you do?"

"I – I don't want to tell you. I don't want you hate me. You already look at me so funny. You and Cathy – you look at me and you look scared, or sad."

"Cath and I just remember how close we came to losing you. When we were in the attic, you buttercup twins were like our very own children. You were our whole lives. We loved you so much! And still do. That's another reason I became a wild man when I saw Julian put his hands on you! Because I remember how it was to watch you chatter to your toys when you were four, and I never want any harm to befall you."

"But when Julian looked at me, he didn't see a little girl who talks to her dolls! He thought I was mature, even though I'm so small. A girl who could keep house, cook, make someone a wife one day. He even said he loved me. Even though he had Cathy and loved her best. I'll never be loved like Cathy is. I'll never be a glamorous ballerina! I'll never have womanly charms or men fawning over me everywhere I go. But Julian... he still liked me... he still wanted me around..."

"Were you in love with Julian?" I asked, with a voice weak and hollow. My heavy head collapsed onto Carrie's bed. Angry tears stung like some concoction from my old chemistry set had leapt into my eyes.

"No!" protested Carrie, whisper threadbare. "I mean, yes... but not for real. It was like a game of pretend. I just hoped... I wanted him to love me... You don't know what it's like to be me, to be alone and lonely. You have Cathy and Cathy has you – you love Cathy the most, I know it, no matter what you say. You two love each other like Momma and Daddy did. Nobody loves me!"

"I love you!" I said angrily. "I love you a hundred thousand times more than your sister's husband loved anything in his wretched life!"

"But still not as much as you love Cathy," she said, again crying. She ripped her hand from mine and pushed herself up on thin arms. "You even love Momma more than you do me. No wonder Cathy hates Momma so much!"

She threw herself down again with her back to me, her long hair slipping across the blanket.

"Cathy hates Momma for locking us up. And I don't love her more than I love you and Cathy. I love her because she's our mother and I'm duty-bound, but I don't trust her, and you can't really feel real love for someone you don't trust. My sisters will always be the only girls I trust with my whole heart."

"What about Sarah? She wants to marry you!"

I only said, "She's a very nice girl."

"Well, Cathy doesn't want to marry you. She'll never want to marry you!"

"How can you talk like that?" I really couldn't stand playing dumb, but I was rather aghast, so I bet I pulled it off extraordinarily well. "I don't want to marry Cathy!"

"She's going to have Julian's baby," continued Carrie, somehow aware of her cutting words and just how to wield them. "She'll never have a baby with you! Never!"

"Carrie!" I shouted, dismayed.

"I know you wish you could have her all to yourself! If you knocked her up, then she would have to be with you forever. You would get to marry her. You wouldn't have to be so jealous of all the other men who want her. You could have Cathy, and everyone else would just disappear."

Was it pointless to protest and deny, to lie about it when Carrie obviously knew better than anybody how her brother and sister acted around each other and was clearly not a child any longer?

"You don't know what you're talking about," I muttered. It was ineffectual. "You've really got the wrong idea in your head about me and Cathy, Carrie Doll. I know I'm overprotective..."

The nickname, long ago tossed between Cathy and me, seemed to melt her anger a little.

"Cathy lost her husband and I lost the one man who ever looked at me like I was pretty. You came in here saying you wanted to comfort me, but you're being mean and lecturing," Carrie cried, wiping tears on her bell sleeve.

Well, Carrie had done the majority of both, in my opinion. But I wanted peace between us, especially since it was impossible to hope I'd ever have real and happy peace with my other sister. So I said, "You're right. What can I do to comfort you?"

"Just lie with me and hold me for a little while," said Carrie, "like you would Cathy."

"All right," I agreed.

Like my father, I was tall, and Carrie's tiny bed was perfectly sized for her, so I barely fit on it, having to curl up. But with Carrie's back turned to me, my knees curled into the backs of hers, and we fit all right, cuddled up like that.

I put a gentle arm around her waist, almost feeling I'd crush her if I wasn't careful. As I settled down, my nose nestled in her flaxen hair, which smelled like rose water and the sweet lavender Henny scented our linens with. I could almost lose myself in scents like those; even years later, my nose seemed attuned to the smell of moth balls, dust, sour milk, and grease from years of daily fried chicken. I inhaled slowly and steadily, each breath as sweet as the last.

Carrie's small voice finally said, "I'm sorry for letting Julian touch me."

Pushing back my anger, I responded to her with words I knew she needed to hear.

"You were intrigued by him, and he was charming enough to get whatever he wanted, and he wanted you. Even if you didn't like him at all, he still would have tried to touch you. Cathy could tell you that. She knows he was repeatedly unfaithful to her. But it's all over now, so we can put it behind us. Just please tell me the truth. Did he ever hurt you? Even once? Don't lie if he did, the way Cathy lies. Tell me this one truth. After all, he's gone, so you don't need to protect him."

"It wasn't like that," Carrie answered. "He never hurt me. It... was exciting. It only happened a few times, but I... wanted it to. I liked it when he would pay attention to me. I know it was wrong for us to do. But it felt so good. He let me..."

She trailed off, apprehension taking over.

"What?" I asked.

"See him, too. You know. See his body. Touch it."

I tried to swallow a lead cannonball that had lodged itself tight in my throat. Despite the comforting hug I held my sister in, I was enraged! I was murderous! My imagination was so cruel that I could picture the dark predator's hands on Carrie's small breasts. If Julian hadn't had the decency to off himself, I would have done the job for him with zero hesitations!

Though my arm was coiled protectively around Carrie, my face burned hot not only with rage, but with an all too familiar shame. Years of desiring my own sister's body when we were confined, with no one to look at or talk to or depend on besides each other, was understandable to me, pardonable... but my imaginings and my erection right then... I had no excuse! None!

The anger boiling in me was as overwhelming as it had been when I had overheard that Cathy had so foolishly kissed our mother's husband – but this time, to sate my needs I could have my pick of nurses, co-eds, widowed neighbors, or even prostitutes if I so dared, and Carrie was not practically shackled to me. This time, there was no reason for my thoughts to take this kind of path and for my body to prepare itself to claim what was mine by swelling into jealous arousal. It arose in me all the more because Carrie was so tiny, felt so defenseless and precious in my arms, that the idea of her being defiled by a man was more than I could stand. Yet I could not keep from imagining it.


"It's all right," I repeated flatly, realizing I had fallen into a strangled silence. "Sexual curiosity is natural. Especially at your age."

"Is it? It's just... your cock is so hard," Carrie whispered in return.

I picked my head up with a start. Imagine those words coming out of your cherubic little sister's mouth! And imagine they were totally true!

Stunned, I finally managed, "Sorry – it's not supposed to be – but we're talking about delicate, adult subjects, and – men's bodies can have a mind of their own."

I declined to mention how snug my erection was to her derrière! And she was only in a nightie, for Pete's sake.

"It liked hearing about me touching Julian's body, didn't it?" suggested Carrie.

"Oh, Carrie, don't make this harder for me," I began, then groaned in embarrassment. What a thing to say right then!

Carrie slowly leaned against my chest, her red satin hair ribbon shining as she turned her head towards me. Thankfully, she didn't look right at me with her big eyes; I felt so wired, like electricity was running through my veins, that if she'd opened her eyes, a crackling bolt of lightning would have passed between our gazes, and she could never forget seeing such a look in her big brother's eyes. Her eyelids were still shut, baby-doll style.

"Don't you want me to, though?" she asked. "I could tell it bedtime stories I know it would like."

"Carrie," I repeated under my breath. I was staggered. I could have begged, but at that point, I wasn't sure whether I was more likely to beg her to stop and go back to being the child Carrie I had always known, or to keep talking, to tell me the promised bedtime stories and fall from grace all the more. To catch up with me and Cathy, she'd have to fall and fall... and fall some more.

"You told me to tell you the truth," she said with a pout. "And the truth is, I did things to Julian's cock that made him feel so good, he'd spray his seed on my nice skirts and dresses. It would drip down my leg and soil my stockings, so I'd have to quickly wash them and hang them up to dry next to Cathy's dance clothes."

Her small white hand then reached back for my hip, for I was trying to draw away, cursing myself and damned Julian Marquet and whoever had let Carrie go to New York on her own! And as always, my own cock was betraying me, aching, the very hardest and most eager for what it could not have and should not want.

"No, please," Carrie was begging. "Don't go... you can rub against me if you want. I don't mind. You can soil my nightie."

"It – Carrie – it's not right –"

"Is it wicked? We're not naked... it's not real sex..."

"It's..." I couldn't bring myself to say it was still certainly a sin, and a doozy of a sin, at that. But I didn't want Carrie to hear words like that. She'd already compared me to the grandmother once.

Carrie didn't give me a chance to think of better phrasing.

"Chris... you can come to me like you used to go to Cathy... if you love me, please don't leave. My body likes touching just as much as yours does. I promise. I can make you happy and take care of your cock when it's hard."

And my sister's voice sounded so hopeful, so sincere, that I believed her. I was blindly struggling with my belt before any second thought could knock, unwelcome, at my mental door. If the passion Cathy and I shared had spread to Carrie like the unhealable, festering infection it was, no force was going to be involved! Especially not with my bedraggled, trampled, hopeful little Carrie-blossom, who craved love and attention just as I pined to give it. I would not just take from her! I would give, now that I knew how.

"Tell me where he touched you," I demanded, but softly, hotly in her ear.

"My bottom, first," she whispered. "Then my tits. My pussy. My lips. All over!"

How had she ever picked up such crude, adult terminology for what she and Cory had such baby-ish names for? Of course, the answer was obvious...

"Your legs?" I asked, lowering my hand to her knee. It was already far too wrong, only to be touching her knee with the intent to caress it sexually. I remembered her skinny broken leg sheathed in a cast.

"A little, if he put his hand up my skirt. But I don't think he liked them. They're scrawny. Cathy's are nicer. Sexier."

"Not so. I want to touch your legs," I told her. Even with my fly undone and my cock straining and Carrie using words direct from the pages of Penthouse, I somehow wanted to play the gentleman and start slow. "If that's all right."

"Oh, yes, if you want," she said, and sighed as my hand roamed, pushing the cotton of her nightgown up.

Her skin was still as pale as it had been in the attic, and white-blonde hairs were silken on her thigh, making me realize she shaved her legs. Somehow, it shocked me. Carrie really was grown up! Grown up enough to want to be rid of body hair and make herself appealing to the opposite sex. As the only fascination I'd had with Carrie's body had been its lack of growth, my concern and eye for her stick-like legs purely scientific, I had never wondered before what her newly-developed womanly body might be like. I had been privy to every change in Cathy's, and wanting to touch it had been a burning desire of mine for months, if not years. She had been the focus of my fantasies, my dreams. My curiosity about Carrie was so new, I could hardly believe how different and tentative it felt.

She quivered as my hand reached the elastic trim of her panties.

"Do you still exclusively wear the kind with ruffles?" I teased her, remembering the days where she would pry compliment after compliment out of all of us about her fancy underpants.

"Just with bows," she panted. Oh my, but she was breathing hard – and so was I. My hand felt broad enough to cover her entire torso as I slowly dragged my touch up, only ghosting over the little mound I knew to be sensitive and yearning. She gasped. Then my fingers trailed over the bow she had mentioned; it was tiny, just below her painfully soft, peach-fuzzed navel.

"Ah, yes. I have found your bow."

"Your hand is so warm," she uttered, squirming. "Touch my titties! Please."

"What coarse language," I remarked lowly, but in truth, the part of me that had carefully sneaked a skin mag into my suitcase when I was twelve and looked at it whenever I needed relief from the plague of nocturnal emissions for years was excited.

"I said 'please,'" whined my petulant sister.

Under the bodice of her gown I reached; to me, somehow, it was officially stepping off the precipice, and we were falling, falling. We could never go back. This could no longer be called simple curiosity on either of our parts. It was purely sexual. I was shaking with adrenaline and a need that I almost feared, it was so great in me, and so unsatisfied, because only Cathy could truly satisfy that want in me, and more often than not she flitted away and left me alone with my wanting.

Ignoring my determinedly rational conscience, I covered her breast with my hand and caressed it, listening to her high-pitched sigh and my own low groan. So soft! I examined patients day in and day out and had never felt skin this soft! It was a baby's skin. I had memorized Cathy's body long ago and could tell that, tiny though she was, Carrie had more flesh here. Cathy's chest reflected her well-trained dancer's body. Carrie was supple. I'd had no idea!

I groped both of her breasts like an eager schoolboy, thrilling with this discovery, as if it was all somehow new to me.

"Oh, oh. You're squeezing them. Do you like them?" she asked in a whisper.

"Yes," I groaned. "I didn't realize you had filled out this much."

"I have? Are they all right? I mean... sexy?"

To say the least! "Incredibly sexy," I assured her, barely holding back the noises of pleasure building in my chest.

I caught the firm bud of one and gave it a gentle pinch, listening to her cry out. Henny was downstairs, probably knitting in the rocker, so I knew we had to be quiet, but I had already survived a lifetime of trying to hush Carrie, and I wanted to hear her delicious moans. I wanted to pleasure her. My shame at not even giving my sister an ounce of pleasure her first time lingered in me, still, and would forever – I wanted to make Carrie feel good. I wanted to make her forget Julian's touches and give her whatever it was she wanted to have done such things with her own sister's husband.

"Carrie, do you like this? Your brother toying with your nipples?" I moaned just under her ear, guilt and lust pooling up from the same deep well within me.

She arched, squeaking, "Uh-huuuh..."

I must have touched her breasts under her nightgown and played with her nipples for hours, teasing them stiff. It probably wasn't that long at all, but it seemed like an eternal twilight, and her hips writhed against mine, torturing me with pleasure that was simultaneously muffled through our clothes and more thrilling than anything I could have done with any other girl. And, those hips! They, too, had changed, widened a little as a hint to men of her body's capabilities. My little sister was a slender, tiny version of an hourglass.

Finally, with the both of us sweating in the moonlight, for not a single lamp was lit, I couldn't wait any longer and slid my hand right down her downy belly into her panties, finding hair softer than my own coarse curls. Carrie was more than ready for my hand to be there. She was soaking wet. I swirled my fingertips against her hot, delicate folds, wondering if I dared plunge one into her – wondering if Julian had dared to violate her in that fashion – and Carrie cried, thrashing, "Chris! Chris. Oh! Something's happening. Something – oh!"

"Are you coming?"

"I'm scared!"

I stopped immediately. "Carrie! Oh, God! Am I hurting you?"

"N... no," she moaned. "Oh, please. The feeling's going away..."

"Did Julian ever make you feel like that?" I asked.

"No, not... like that."

Oh, I was smirking. You better believe it.

"Then I am going to make you have an orgasm, buttercup," I informed her. "It might scare you at first. But it's the body's natural response to stimulation."

"You sound like a doctor," Carrie said, her voice tinged with uncertainty. "Are you doing doctor stuff?"

"Let me rephrase with words your refined ears are more accustomed to," I teased. "I'm going to touch your pussy, stroke it, till you feel so good your body feels like it's about to explode. Nothing feels as good as an orgasm. If you were a boy, you'd ejaculate – shoot your seed. That sticky white stuff Julian would leave on you. But you're a girl, so your pussy will get even wetter. Some people call it 'coming,' feeling that good. Will you let me make you come?"

"... Okay," Carrie breathed, docile now.

Fingers moving easily against slippery skin, I began to pet and massage her swollen clit, bringing her back up into the burning, frenzied state near orgasm. I couldn't believe how good it felt to have her writhing like that against me. Her bottom wiggled and quivered against my hard-on, and oh, how I was longing to roll on top of her and thrust myself into the wet little snatch I was so delicately touching! I would never again be so brutal, but my male genes were all crying out for it. Especially when Carrie jerked in my arms, hitting the peak I'd been pushing her towards, my guts clenched in sympathy and desire, making my pelvis buck. Yes, I wanted to slide in and feel her inner velvet all over my cock, still fluttering and clutching with orgasm and slick-wet with her excitement. I wanted to make love to her for as long as I could withstand the pleasures and feel her come on my cock again and again.

Soon she became sensitive and let out a noise of protest, so I slid my fingers from her panties, leaving them to soak in her juices.

For a minute, she shook, and as I detected a sniffle in the darkness, I knew she was crying.

"Oh, now, Carrie. Please don't cry!"

"I can't help it..."

"Was that too much?" I asked carefully. "Do you want me to leave you alone?"

"No," she wept. "I never knew I could feel like that. Don't lee-e-eave..."

"I won't. I'll stay right here, holding you."

This soothed my Carrie-blossom, who needed to cry a little more.

I should have been put off by it. However, I was sweating in my clothes, my heart pounding, my desire thundering through my entire body. Briefly, I raised my fingers and slid them into my mouth, wanting to know how she tasted (I was shamefully curious if she tasted anything like Cathy). As with other girls I'd been with, she had her own special taste, but something about it seemed fresh and virginal. I was still tasting the gentle tang like a sweet wine on my tongue after I tucked my arm around her again.

My comparatively pure thoughts about Carrie's innocence evaporated as she turned in my embrace, little hands clutching the collar of my shirt.

"Do you want to have sex? Real sex?" she ventured to say. "You can."

I sputtered. "Did Julian – did he – !"

"No. No. I'm a virgin." Carrie buried her face in my chest. "I was sad that I didn't get to do it with him before he died. I didn't know anyone else would ever think I was sexy. But now I'm happy I didn't do that with him. Now it can be you."

I was beginning to have trouble thinking clearly, keeping my darker desires captive.

"Don't you want to wait for your husband?"

"Might never get married."

"Of course you will..."

"Nobody's ever gonna want to marry me. I'm too small. Chris... please? Don't you want to put your cock inside me?"

"I – I – do, but –"

You really are too small! I'll break you in two! I cried in my mind, but I didn't want to say such a thing to her when she was so self-conscious about her size already. I knew it was not really possible, and that she would stretch to fit me because that was what women's bodies were made to do, and her widened hips were further evidence of it. But logic was quickly fleeing, leaving me totally marooned.

"It hurts girls a little the first time, Carrie. I don't want to hurt you."

"I'd rather you hurt me a little, making love to me," said Carrie, "instead of never feeling anything at all."

"Listen, I want to," I choked, "but it's not a good idea. You're old enough to... you could get pregnant by me."

"I could?"

"Of course. You know how babies are made."

"Yes, I know. Cathy and Dr. Paul explained it to me. But I thought... I heard you couldn't get pregnant the first time."

"That's wishful thinking at best, false information at worst. It happens frequently. And if a man tells you any different, he's lying in the hopes you'll have sex with him."

"Oh. Well... I don't mind if you get me pregnant," said Carrie.

God! More shocking, infuriating, arousing words, I'd never heard!

I wanted to shout, After all the grandmother ranted about how we were the Devil's issue? Did you forget for one second that I am your brother? It's bad enough that I'm touching you, and I'm so damned hard because of you, and you have me so close to taking your virginity. We could never let a baby be conceived between us. Think of the risks!

But the words would not leave my mouth. I was losing my mind. I was so close to giving in! Knowing Cathy was soon to swell with a child who wasn't mine was driving me crazy! So crazy I was actually tempted, close to erupting at the mere idea of planting my seed in the tenderest of soils. In my mind's eye, I saw myself surrounded by little blonde heads... a perfect family of dolls...

"Or you can shoot your stuff on me if you want," she offered, as if there was no major difference to her between that and having me inside her, taking her innocence away totally and impregnating her in the process. "On my nightgown. I'll wash it in the bathtub so Henny won't see it. No one will never know."

And with that, she slipped her hand awkwardly into my fly, sending me through the stratosphere. I fought to keep from instantly shooting my "stuff" as she pawed around, grappled my overly-stiff, pulsing cock, and drew it out between us. It hurt my heart that she seemed to be familiar with the pumping motions that pleasured a man so, but she curled up against me, offering up a thigh that was mostly bare since her nightgown was tugged up around her waist. I felt a ruffle of delicate lace stroke my shaft and my mind betrayed me instantly to picture the bow on her panties, the red ribbon in her hair, and her big, needy eyes with their baby doll lashes.

I was coming in her hand, upon her thigh, and on her night gown as forcefully as if I had been buried inside her, grunting, seeing the kind of stars I'd only ever seen with Cathy.

A pendulum within me swung hard between relief (of release, of the joy of not having given into my baser desires and releasing inside her) and guilt (for my twisted yearning for Cathy, and how I had let it transfer to Carrie, and how it felt I was betraying everyone I'd ever loved, and who had ever loved me).

Carrie, however, purred. "Oh! It's so hot. Oh, your cock wants to shoot out so much on me."

Yes! Oh, God! I saw a whole universe of stars.

With a heavy dose of satiated hormones flooding my body, it took me a minute to scrape myself together.

"Gracious, I ought to wash your mouth out with soap," I finally wheezed, taking my cock from her fingers to tuck it away again, lest I become too tempted by her enraptured touches. "What a way for a young lady to talk to her elders."

"Did I say the wrong words?" she asked awkwardly.

"Oh, they were... right, all right. Gosh. Not exactly clinical, though."

"I don't like doctor words," she said, her cheek touching my chest.

I weakly lifted a hand to touch her silky hair. "Well, forget clinical terminology! I've heard more genteel stuff in a locker room full of twelve-year-old boys! But it's all right if you say such crude words, as long as you only say them to me. I understand how you came by them. Other boys might get the wrong idea about your virtues and morals, Lady Carrie."

"Don't got no virtues or morals."


"What about right now? I'm all sticky with your seed."

"Well, mm – that is really a reflection of my lack of virtues and morals..."

"Did you like it? Shooting your stuff on me?"

I groaned. "Yes! God, you're relentless, Carrie. Of course I liked it. I'm a man, for goodness' sake. Nature programmed me to like it. But I shouldn't have liked it, regardless... and I shouldn't have done it at all. I shouldn't have touched you. It was wrong of me."

Now that the hammer of desire had slammed down on me and left my head ringing, I was starting to grow disgusted with myself. I was no better than Julian. In some ways, worse!

"But you love me, don't you?"

"Of course I do! You know I do. But a brother shouldn't express love to his sister like this. A brother shouldn't think of his sister the way I'm thinking of you! I should only protect you from evil. Instead, I'm the worst of apples. Golden on the outside and blackened within. Worse than the kind Snow White bit into."

This only made Carrie giggle. She slid a slender arm up around my neck. It flattened her breasts to my chest.

"Don't be sad. What can I do to comfort you?" she asked. She was teasing, coy, and tender all at once, juicy with the womanly charms she claimed not to have.

I took a deep breath. Should I plead with her to forget this flaring of our sick needs ever happened, in our damaged and shocked states of grief? Should I ask her to go back to being a sickly, tormented child, lonesome for her dead other half and uninterested in most of the things going on around her? Could I ask her to forever be only my little doll of a sister and stay locked in a glass case, never to be touched or played with by anyone?

Of course not.

There was no going back for either of us.

Finally, I said, "I've got a long day at the hospital tomorrow. Could you hold me, just for a little while? Like Cathy would."

"Come here, Christopher Doll," said my willing Carrie, and drew my head to pillow it on her breasts, just as she'd seen Momma and Cathy do. I allowed it. No – I was, if anything, a devoted slave to it, and all too grateful to be held so unnaturally close.

Ever the attentive medical student, I picked up and listened to her heart beat. Her pulse, while quickened, did comfort me, for it was strong, regular, and perfectly healthy.