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After Forever Ends
  • Текст добавлен: 9 октября 2016, 02:08

Текст книги "After Forever Ends "


Автор книги: Melodie Ramone






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Текущая страница: 4 (всего у книги 39 страниц)

CHAPTER THREE

The final term at Bennington that year was as rough as the winter that accompanied it. A blizzard hit the day after our return, dumping so much snow on the quad that no one could pass across it without sinking to their hips. In Lance Crosby’s case, he sank to his chest and stood shouting until Alexander yanked him out and piggy backed him to class. The snow didn’t have the decency to melt, either. In fact, it began to fall again two days later and alternated with Arctic winds for the next three weeks. Headmistress Pennyweather sent word home to our parents to send good winter clothes, but they made little difference against the elements. For three months, we trudged through the frozen tundra to classes and day after day, we ended up soaked to the skin after we thawed out in our seats. A number of illnesses spread through the corridors and each one of us found the other sniffling and coughing.

“I don’t get sick!” Alexander proclaimed as Madame Pennyweather hauled him off from the breakfast table to the hospital wing. He’d been suffering for two days with a fever, sore throat and chills and now was slightly green with pinkish circles under his eyes. He hated going to see any kind of a doctor and was having a wobble about it, “Can’t you tell I’m just pretending so that I can get out of class?”

“If you are I’ll see to it you get an award,” She stood only above his elbow, but she had him by the waist and was commanding his pace, “Come now, Alexander, your mother’s not here so let me care for you in her stead. She‘d never forgive me if I let one of her sons expire in the cafeteria.”

He gave her a look that was almost tender, “I’m not dying.”

“You will if you continue to disobey me!”

Alex laughed softly, but surrendered to her authority.

It turned out the poor boy had strep throat and a touch of tonsillitis. They admitted him promptly to the infirmary. It wasn’t more than three hours later that Oliver went in, hand covering throat, and was trailed shortly after by Lance. The next afternoon Merlyn followed. With some rest and antibiotics they were all back on their feet within a few days. I managed not to get what they had by some miracle, but about a week later I got a nasty cough that wouldn’t let go and by the end of February, I was choking on harsh yellow mucus with every breath I took.

Never one to get very sick, I didn’t recognize what was happening to me or that I was rapidly becoming more and more ill until one fine Monday morning I spiked a high fever and could hardly get out of bed.

“You need to go to the nurse,” Sandra told me as she dressed, “You’re off colour, Sil. You sound like you’re dying. You were up all night again, weren’t you?”

“Yes. I know I need to go to the nurse, but I have an exam,” I choked on my own words and had to sit back on my bed. “I’ll go after that.”

“Oh, please promise me!” She picked up her book bag and stood beside the bed, hovering over me like a mother hen. She pressed the back of her hand to my forehead, “I’m so worried about you!”

“Aren’t you late for a meeting?”

“I am,” She dropped her hand, “Will you be OK if I leave you?”

“I’ll be fine,” I told her, tugging an arm into my jumper. “Go.”

I knew I was overdue for breakfast, but I didn’t seem able to pull myself together. I was hot and disoriented and couldn’t keep a pace without having to rest every few seconds and cough until I couldn’t breathe. I got dizzy when I bent over, but I finally got my shoes on and headed out the door and over to the dining hall.

I was at the top of the stairs going into the cafeteria when Headmistress Pennyweather came up with a group of first years trailing behind her. “Good morning, Miss Cotton! Running late? Mister Dickinson looks positively lost at his toast without you!”

I started to say hello, but suddenly there was three of her quivering on the stairs before me.

“Miss Cotton?” I watched the three headmistress’ faces go from smiles to frowns, “Goodness! Are you all right?”

I don’t remember fainting or falling down the steps. What I do remember is waking up in the hospital wing with Oliver and Alexander sitting by the side of my bed. My fever had left me unable to tell which one was which. I shook my head to clear it, but ended up just lying there and watching them talk.

“Hi-ya, Sil!” The one leaned forward and set his elbows on his knees and looked very excited to see me.

“Are you feeling better, Sweetie?” The other performed the exact same gesture, except he put his hand over mine.

“We’ve been worried about you!”

“I told you to see the nurse last week,” A cool hand smoothed back my hair. My vision was a bit blurred, so I wasn't sure which one had done it, “Madame Pennyweather’s been dashing in and out to check on you all day. She just left.”

“Quite annoying, really. You know she kept you from going all the way down the stairs? Bad fall you had. Fever caused you to faint. Rumour has it your legs went up over your head. Bunches of first years were chattering about your yellow knickers. Sorry I missed that. Not the fall, but seeing your knickers. Your legs up over your head especially, though.”

“Shut up, you foul git!”

“Sorry,” He shrugged, “But we’re right glad you weren’t hurt, Sil.”

My bout with bronchial pneumonia landed me two weeks in the hospital wing where my greatest joy was Oliver. When the nurse, Madame Dupree, realised I was his girlfriend she started having trays delivered to him so we could share our meals together. We’d sit and do our coursework and we’d chat and laugh until Madame Witherspoon, the night nurse, chased him out for curfew.

“I’ll see you in the morning,” He’d promise, “Get some sleep, Sil. Get better so I can have you back. I’m really lonely without you.”

Of course, Sandra would pop in with armloads of coursework and an earful of the latest gossip for me. Or Lance would stop by with Merlyn to say hello and sit a bit. It was at all times nice to have them come. Lance was always bringing me magazines he’d nicked from the common room and Merlyn would smuggle me apples and caramel dip from the kitchen.

Alexander came and went as his muse led him. He walked in one day and dropped his book bag on the floor, “Oliver is beginning his detention for mouthing off at Professor Wilkins this morning. The lard arse gave him three hours over three days because Oliver called him a pompous, pretentious, self-satisfied fascist arsehole. A bit severe a punishment if you ask me being as it’s the truth. Although Ollie did say it to his face, which was not the cleverest thing he’s done lately.” He tossed his coat over a chair, “He sends his best to you though. He’s mad about you. It’s Silvia this and Silvia that. Best I can do to compete with him is coming to see you when he’s not around.” He reached into his bag, “I brought you crisps and a Coke,” He set them on the table beside the bed, “And a cherry tart. I picked one up from the lunch queue for you. I know how you like them. And I brought that book you wanted,” He handed me a hardbound novel, “Sandy rented it. She can’t come by today as she has a meeting with the Community Buttlicker's Association of Bennington or one of her other high society non pol female social groups anyway.”

I laughed and began to choke immediately, “Thanks, you’re very thoughtful,” I said as sincerely as I could while coughing, “Seems your brother and you have been on a roll with trouble.”

“Ollie’s been on a roll. He’s been in a right creative spurt, he has. It’s difficult to resist him when he offers such great solutions to boredom, so that’s why I’ve been on the spot a time or two lately. Blame him, he’s the bad egg,” Alexander was in one of his serious moods. His handsome face was almost devoid of expression, which was an indication that he was on edge, “Would you mind if I sat here and read for a while? The common room is crowded and our dormitory smells like a chip shop thanks to some stupid first year misusing the poppity-ping in the room below us. Stinks like hell.”

“Not at all. I’d love to have you. Are you all right? You seem tense.”

He pulled up a chair and took out a paperback novel. Alexander and I shared a love of fiction. “No,” He slouched deep in the chair and tossed one leg over the other, “I’m fine. Just looking for some quiet. These people annoy me.”

“It’s definitely quiet here.”

He opened the book and pulled out his page marker, leaning back in the chair. He didn't look at me when he spoke, “When I’m through with this, you have to read it, Sil. I think you’d like it very much.”

“Who is it?”

“Vonnegut.”

“Oh, I love him,” I picked up the book he had gotten for me and opened it to the first page, settling in to read. I noticed the cover of his book, “I think I’ve read it. Is it the one about the Armenian?”

“Yes.” He mumbled. “You have good taste in books.”

Within seconds, both of us were lost in our stories.

I enjoyed spending time with Alexander. He had a reputation for being nasty and licentious, but when you got him by himself and really took the time to get to know him, Alex was actually introspective and bright. I wouldn’t call him sensitive. If he liked you he was less likely to be beastly, but he was quiet by nature and easily flustered by having too many people around him so the environment at Bennington often set him on edge. For some reason my presence seemed to soothe him.

Oliver had even noticed and commented about it. “My brother listens to you,” He said once in amazement after I had talked Alex down from a near violent episode with another student, “It’s incredible. Alex never listens to anybody.”

Even as much as I enjoyed having Alex around, the happiest nights were when it was just Ollie who came by. Oliver and I had a way of making each other laugh over silly things. In fact, I think that summed us up right there. Silly. Oliver and I were silly together. We laughed so hard and had so much fun people thought we were mental, but neither of us cared. We thoroughly enjoyed each other’s company. I really had no idea why somebody as wonderful and as popular as Oliver Dickinson would come by every chance he got to see me and show such devotion to a complete nobody, but I wasn’t going to argue. By that time I was totally lost to him. I was in love.

There were other times Oliver was unable to come and see me during the two weeks I spent in the sanatorium. Miserable, they were. I hated being apart from him for more than a night. It was like an aching empty spot in my gut, like I was hungry, but a deeper pain. I thought at times the way I felt when he was not there was unhealthy, a sort of obsession, and that I needed to get myself in balance. No boy could be the centre of the universe, I swore, not even him. Funny, sweet, easy-going, good looking and wonderful as he was, we weren't exactly the same person. There was him and there was me. I could exist without him. I knew that. I had to be able to. But I just wasn't so sure that I could exist without us.

"Us" was becoming a very important thing to him and me both. It was getting to a point where one of us was never mentioned without the other and neither of us made any plans that didn't include the other. Not because we weren't able and not because we didn't have the freedom to do it. I'd have let him go off with his mates as quickly as he'd have let me go off with mine. It was that neither of us wanted to. No matter what we did, we wanted to do it together.

Unfortunately, that didn't always happen. Oliver had a keen mind and a restlessness that drove him to take chances. He was always up to something or other. Usually it was harmless pranks or general nonsense that he and Alexander and their mates did for entertainment and thrills, but sometimes he'd take it a little too far and pay the price for it.

Alexander popped in another afternoon with a different explanation as to why Oliver couldn’t come. This time Alex was quite animated and not at all interested in reading books or being quiet. He strode into the infirmary and past the rows of beds, taking just a second to acknowledge one girl and wish her a speedy recovery. He then hurried to the side of my bed and yanked out the chair with a scratch against the tile.

“Silvia!” He leaned forward and kissed my cheek, "Josh McGuigan got him!”

“What do you mean? Where’s Oliver?”

Alex laughed. He had the nicest laugh, something of a chuckle from inside his throat, but when something struck him as particularly funny it was a broken cackle. Not wanting to set his full blown cackle free, he sort of squeaked and covered his mouth with his fist. He dropped it as he spoke, “In Madame Pennyweather’s office and I imagine he’ll be there for quite a while! It was bloody brilliant, Sil, what Josh did! You should have seen it!”

“What happened? No one got hurt, did they?”

“Oh, no! Not at all! We were in literature, mind, with Professor Lucas, and she told Oliver it was his turn to read. So Ollie stands up in front of the entire class and opens his book and his mouth kind of falls open and just stands there staring at the page. It was odd. Then he’s flipping through the pages like mad, right? Front to back, back to front and suddenly he starts laughing. Well, Lucas is like, ‘What are you laughing about?’ and Ollie tries to stop. He says real seriously, ‘Nothing, Ma’am, but I can’t read this’ and she says, ‘You can’, and he’s like, ‘No, Ma’am, I really cannot read this’. By now he’s being ultra-serious, mind. And he sounded all stern-like, just like our Dad. His face was blood red, though. I mean, even his neck was red like a blooming cherry. He looked very strange. I was sitting there wondering what was wrong with my brother, knowing he was very uncomfortable-like, and Lucas says, ‘I said read it, Oliver, or it’s detention!’ and Ollie says, ‘Really, Ma’am, it’s detention if I do read it!’ And she got angry and she yelled, “READ IT!” Alexander was speaking rapidly, tapping his fingers together in delight as he told the story. I’d rarely seen such entertainment on his face, “So Oliver takes a deep breath and he says, ‘All right, Ma’am, but I want you to know that I’m not responsible for the content of these pages. I wish you’d have a look…’ Now she’s ticked off, so she shouts again, ‘I SAID READ IT!’ Ollie took a breath and he says…” Alexander at this point could hardly speak he was laughing so hard. I could see tears filling up in his eyes. He squeaked again as he pinched out the words, “He says…he reads…out loud, mind you, ‘The police officer plopped me down on the bonnet of my car and shoved my skirt up past my waist. He tore my knickers away like they were made of cellophane and began licking me as if he were starving’!”

“WHAT?” My chin almost hit the mattress. “He did not! Wait! Who put that–”

“Josh!” Alex was struggling to speak through his laughter, or at least to keep his voice down. He wrapped his arms around his middle and shook. He wiped the tears out of his eyes, “Josh stole Ollie’s textbook out of his bag during lab this morning and he glued all kinds of nasty bits inside. I went up to the desk when Professor Lucas was chasing Ollie down the hall and I had a look at the thing. Filth’s on every page, you can’t even see the original text! I mean, it’s really disgusting stuff, Silvia! Pornographic pictures, dirty literature, ads for sex toys, male prostitutes, old ladies, he-she’s, sheep…you name it. Josh had to be collecting these bits for weeks! He gave the book back to Ollie just before class. He says, ‘Here, Mate, you left this in Chemistry’ and Ollie just took it and said thanks. He didn’t even think about it! Never saw it coming! Clever bastard that Josh! I didn’t know he had it in him! That’s the best one he’s done yet! I‘m so proud of him! He‘s like a son to me now!”

I couldn’t stop laughing. I thought back on all the pranks Oliver had pulled on Josh just in the time I’d known him, everything from the exploding Eppenndorf vials to super gluing the poor boy’s daps to the floor of his gym locker. Josh had fired back with putting Vaseline in Oliver‘s shorts and cutting the toes out of his socks, but nothing like he‘d just done. “Oh, he got him good! Good for Joshua!”

“Lucas freaked out, of course. She went white then pink and started screaming. Couldn’t understand a word she was saying, mind. She was just squawking like a chicken, then she hit Oliver like ten times with her lesson planner and chased him out of the room, beating him with it the whole way down the hall. He was like…fending her off,” Alexander imitated his brother by bending his arms and holding them as if to block blows, “We were all watching by the doorway. It was brilliant! By the time she got back we were passing the book around and the whole room was rolling,” He leaned back in his chair, satisfied that he’d gotten the story out, “Joshua looked so smug, the little bugger. Anyway, Ollie knows the drill. He went straight to see Pennyweather. He’s been there for over an hour. I don’t know if he’ll be coming to see you tonight or not. He might really be in trouble.”

“Oh, they have to know he didn’t do this himself!”

“Ollie won’t rat Josh out and he won’t pin it on anybody else, either. He might have to take the knock for it himself if Professor Lucas wants blood.”

“True. Poor Oliver. But it is hysterical.”

“Aye,” Alex nodded, “It is that. I just hope they don’t tell our parents. Dad will have a stroke!”

Oliver ended up going without being punished as Professor Lucas and Madame Pennyweather both agreed they believed he had been the victim of a distasteful prank. Oliver never did turn Josh in for his crime, either. He simply said that there was a lot of teasing going on amongst the boys on that floor and it really could have been anybody. However, I noticed shortly after that he, Alex, Lance and Merlyn were suddenly collecting newspapers of all sorts and that when they’d get passes to go into town they’d each come back with rolls of duct tape. I knew that they’d been having some of the girls in our form nick bags of flour from the kitchen during cooking classes. They went about this for about two months and never told me what they were up to, but in the end I heard that somebody had made a paper mache wall so thick it took an electric saw and a sledge hammer to break through it.

The story that was whispered throughout the halls was that in the middle of a dark Friday night, this person, or persons, as it may have been, sneaked out of quarters and placed this object, which was just slightly larger than the door frame, over the entrance to Josh McGuigan’s room. They then used some sort of sealant to cement it into place against the wall. This left Josh and his unfortunate dorm mate unable to open their door the next morning no matter how hard they pushed and slammed themselves against it. Nobody bothered to notify staff right away, as I suppose it was more entertaining to watch them struggle to escape their paper mache prison. When a prefect finally happened by and saw the monstrosity over the door and heard the boys pounding against it from the other side, help was finally hailed. It took another hour to get one of the groundskeepers, as it was then Saturday, to come to finally free the boys. It was said, too, that later, after swearing to Madame Pennyweather he had no idea who’d sealed him in, Josh McGuigan walked over to Oliver Dickinson’s room, knocked on the door, and shook his hand.

But long before that happened, I got over my ailment and was returned to the student population. It became appallingly obvious that I had fallen behind in my studies. I couldn’t deal with that. I was used to being the know-it-all at the head of almost every subject and the idea that I didn’t know every detail of every topic that had been covered made me wonky. Oliver and I only shared one class together, which was Physics. It was quite ironic because I needed to study up on what I had missed and poor Oliver was not getting the class through his head in the slightest. We had special permission from the professor one Thursday night to stay in the common room after curfew to work together on an essay. “Help each other out,” She had said. So there we were sitting in the common room alone on a couch in front of the fireplace with our books and papers laid out on a table before us and if you think we were actually working on that essay you are out of you bloody mind.

“Two days until Spring break,” Oliver grinned at me. The firelight caught in his eyes. He really did have beautiful eyes, so dark they were nearly black in that light, but still bright at the same time, as if they were able to absorb every bit of light around him and send it back.

“I know! I’m so excited! But what if your parents hate me?”

“Oh, they won’t hate you, take my word. My dad’s a bit of a nag. He’ll ask you a ton of questions and make you feel like you’re on trial, but he’s more or less harmless. He just thinks he has to know everything. Oh, and he’ll yell at Alexander and me as soon as he gets through the door. ‘Get down here and put away your daps!’ He’ll shout, but it’s OK. It makes him feel like he’s done something important for Mum.” He paused, as if considering this, “Plus, he likes yelling at us, so sometimes we do things to give him a reason. You can just ignore him. And as far as Mum, she’s got a sense of humour. You can get her going with a good joke, but she’s a high strung sort, so don’t mention any catastrophic bits of news, do not discuss politics and leave religion as far from the conversation as possible. She loves to serve tea, so have tea with her and make sure you eat whatever she puts on your plate. Keep telling her everything she cooks is wonderful, which it generally is, and you’ll be fine. Alexander and I have talked about you. I know she’ll love you to bits.”

I leaned forward and kissed him quickly, “Thank you for putting in the kind word. You know I’m scared to death, don’t you?”

Oliver looked at me thoughtfully and took my hand into his own. “Don’t be scared, Sil. Not of my parents. They're all right. There’s not a thing about you that they wouldn’t like and even if they did find something, I wouldn’t care. I would never change my mind about you.”

He kissed me again. We sat for a long moment with our foreheads together and our fingers intertwined. “We should probably work on the essay,” I finally said. “What will we tell the professor if we come in tomorrow and have nothing done?”

He sighed, “Aye, we maybe should.”

But of course we didn’t. We were too distracted by each other to even turn a page and by the time we got serious enough to try our time was up and Professor Wilson swept us out of the common room and in opposite directions to our dormitories.

I spent the first week of break at my house, teetering between melancholies and ringing Oliver. My father had to work the day I was supposed to arrive at the Dickinson’s, so I took the train by myself. It was a long, boring ride. I had a book, but I couldn't concentrate on reading it. I was too excited about seeing him and too nervous about meeting his parents. What would they look like? What would they think of me? What if they absolutely hated me? I wasn't rich like the girls Alexander dated. I wasn't the prettiest girl at school. I checked my reflection in the window and tried to smooth down my curly hair, wishing I'd put my comb into my purse where I could get to it easily and not packed it into my bag. The train rocked and rumbled and I stared out the window at the passing fields and hills, marvelling at how true it was that Wales was overwhelmed with sheep.

When the train stopped at Welshpool Station, I was shaking. It was my need to be close to Oliver that kept me from feeling sick to my stomach and my legs sturdy under me. As I stepped off, I saw Oliver and his family waiting for me down the platform.

“There she is!” Oliver exclaimed, holding out his arms, “There's my Sil!”

We rushed to each other, but stopped just in time before we did something inappropriate like press together and exchange tongues right in front of his parents. Instead, we gave each other a respectable hug and kiss on the cheek.

“Hello, Sil!” He gave me a look that said he would not disappoint me later. That right eyebrow shot straight up, the grin went sideways and the dimple in his cheek appeared. I immediately began to giggle like a fool.

Alexander rolled his eyes, “Hello, Silvia,” He said idly. He leaned down and pecked me square on the lips. Keeping his face still close to mine, he looked deep into my eyes and said, “Good to see you.”

God, he was a serious player. Even though I knew he was toying with the situation, it was not difficult to recognize the power he held over just about any heterosexual woman alive.

“It’s OK if you do it!” Oliver mumbled, referring to the peck, “If I kissed her on the mouth they’d put her straight back on the train, wouldn’t they?”

“Works in my favour for once, doesn’t it?” He looked at his brother from the corner of his eye, “Ha-ha, Oliver! I get to kiss Silvia! I get to snog your girlfriend! Ha-ha!”

“Shut up.”

Oliver’s mother appeared beside them. She hugged me as if I was the child of an old friend she hadn't seen since birth. She didn't look like I'd imagined her. She was smaller and plumper than I expected her to be, standing only about to my nose with middle almost as big around as her chest. She had cute, round face, though, gorgeous skin, and big hazel-blue eyes which she fixed on me interestedly. “It’s so nice to finally put a face to the voice on the telephone!” She held me at arm’s length, looking me up and down. Her short blonde hair shimmered silver in the sun, “My goodness, the boys were right about you being pretty! Beautiful eyes, lovely smile…and where did you get that gorgeous red hair? Is that colour real?” I nodded. She gave me another quick squeeze. “Welcome, Silvia! We’re so glad to have you!”

Oliver’s father smiled pleasantly and took my hand. He was heavier than I expected him to be as well, but tall and broad shouldered like his sons. There was no doubt who the twins took after in looks; dark hair, dark eyes, but a much larger nose and more Middle Eastern appearance than Alex or Ollie. Still the same charming smile. I bet when he was a young man he was quite smart, “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Silvia. May I help you with your bag?”

“If you’d like, Sir.”

“I’ve got it,” Oliver hoisted the bag on to his shoulder.

“Come on! Come on!” Missus Dickinson began to usher us along the platform with a smile, “Let’s go home!”

I sat in the back seat of the car between Oliver and Alexander. Each of them took one of my hands and held it. Alexander laid his head on my shoulder. Missus Dickinson chatted about how excited she was that Oliver, who was always shy with women, finally had a steady girl.

“Xander’s had plenty of girlfriends,” She carried on, “He’s quite popular with the girls, but Oliver’s so fussy we didn’t think he’d ever find anybody good enough for him, did we, Edmond?” Their father grunted. She continued, I think, without hearing him, “So when Xan said Ollie had a girlfriend at Bennington we were right curious. Usually when we mention dating to Oliver he shrugs at us, so when he kept on about you, we knew you must be someone special.”

“Oh, yeah, Mum,” Alexander told her, “’Cause all my girlfriends have been slovenly trollops not worthy of any notice at all!”

“That’s not what I meant, Xan.”

“Oh, aye! Yes, you did! I’ll date anything! Won’t I, Mum?”

“Alexander, you know that’s not what I meant!”

“Well, it’s not all wrong,” Oliver noted, grinning widely, “You did date Vivian.”

Alexander laughed. “Oh, aye! Vivian! She was a right slut!”

“ALEXANDER!” Both of his parents shouted at the same time.

Alex’s face turned bright red, “Well, she was! And it doesn’t matter now anyway because I’m in love with Silvia!”

Oliver was sniggering. “She was a right slut, Vivian was!”

“OLIVER!” Both the parents shouted again.

The boys seemed to think this was very funny.

“It’s all right, Mum,” Oliver assured her as he squeezed my hand, “Alex is in love with my Sil now anyway.”

“Yeah and Sil’s definitely not a slut,” Alexander grinned, giving be a quick nudge.

“Yeah!” Oliver agreed. “Not like that filthy Vivian! I’d never bring some outrageous tramp into your home the way your Xander did! Put her right under your nose, he did!”

Alexander laughed again, but louder, “You have no idea what that girl wanted to do to your sons under your own roof, Mother!”

“To both of us at the same time, Mum!” Oliver interjected, “She was a deranged slut!”

“STOP IT!” Their mother turned and glared at her twins, “NOW!”

“THE NEXT PERSON TO USE THE WORD SLUT IS GOING TO BE PUNISHED!” Their father barked. I could see him eyeing the boys in the mirror, “AM I UNDERSTOOD?”

“Yes, Sir,” They answered in unison. Both of them quieted and slumped in their seats.

They were both silent for a moment before Alexander innocently asked, “Well, can we say she was a whore then?”

“ALEXANDER!”

“Just checking! Settle down!”

I caught on quickly to the fact that the boys took great pleasure in bringing their parents to the brink of insanity.

Everything was quiet again for a few moments.

“So if Oliver were to agree to share Silvia with me,” Alexander began casually as he snuggled against me and caressed my hand. Although it seemed innocent enough, it was actually quite a sexy manoeuvre that made me involuntarily lean in his direction, “And both of us married her, let’s say, and turned mum’s house into a polygamist commune, would all of us being madly in love with each other be considered twincest?”

“No, twincest would be if I fell in love with you and you with me,” Oliver leaned forward to look at his brother. “And that’s wrong on so many levels I can’t even begin.”

“But wait! Think about it, Ol. If Sil loved us both passionately and we both loved her with equal passion, wouldn’t we all be guilty of twincest? I mean, if we were both married to her, we’d all be related. The children would be cousins and half-siblings both, plus they’d be their own step-siblings as well! We’d be twin brothers in law!”


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