A Summer Solstice
Author's Note: That's right. I'm back and this one's already finished up for you. Notice the rating is bumped up to 'M.' You've been warned.
"If a June night could talk, it would probably boast it invented romance."
The summer wind blew lazily into my bedroom late one July night. It was the same wind that had arrived daily since I'd returned home from college for break. My days were spent outdoors in the hot sun working with kids. At night, I retired to my bedroom where I would stay up late watching British television shows and listen to the wind.
As one in the morning rolled around, I looked at the open window briefly, anxiety filling my stomach. Swallowing heavily, I turned away from it and turned off my television and DVD player. I'd just finished watching the third season of 'Coupling' for what felt like the thousandth time that summer. Glancing at my curtains blowing swiftly in the breeze, I finally stretched out on my mattress.
It seemed that tonight I was off the hook. I could get up and close the window and lock it in place, but without the breeze, I knew my room would get hot and stuffy. For the past month, my dad had practically begged me to install my air conditioner so that I could sleep comfortably in the cold.
But I knew that come winter I'd be kicking myself for not enjoying the summer air, so I kept refusing.
Turning away from the window, I shut my eyes and fell swiftly into slumber.
Have you ever had one of those dreams where you know you're asleep, but are fully aware of the living world around you? For instance, you could be dreaming of dancing ice cream cones riding Ferris wheels and shopping for skateboards, but on the edge of consciousness you can hear a thunderstorm outside or a phone ring and be fully aware of what's going on?
I'd been asleep for what felt like minutes and had begun dreaming about Hugh Laurie coming over for dinner when I heard a scraping outside of my window. Moaning, I tried to fall further into the slumber, but the noise only grew louder. Hugh had just finished a Broadway size song and dance about Columbus and begun to eat the tablecloth, when I felt a warm presence settle in behind me and a pair of warm lips land on my neck.
And just like that, I was snapped out of dreamland and back into the real world.
Tonight was supposed to be simple. This wasn't supposed to happen again.
But as I glanced briefly at the clock – three thirty seven in the morning – and turned fully to greet my bedmate, I couldn't fight back the excitement that coursed through my veins.
"Lexi," he whispered, before his lips landed against mine roughly.
Almost as anxiously, I kissed him back as my fingers sank into his soft hair. I felt his hands land on my back, one tracing shapes on my bare skin where my shirt had ridden up.
I had no idea how far this was going to go before the summer was over, but I'd be lying if I said that the summer air was the only reason that I didn't let my dad put my air conditioner in that window.
No. This wasn't supposed to happen. And no, this wasn't supposed to be this easy, but I couldn't help it. As I snaked one hand up beneath his shirt and traced his chest, he pulled away from me. Even in the dark, I could see deep into the murky depths of his green eyes and I smiled at him. Glancing behind me to see that my bedroom door was firmly shut, he finally looked at me and returned my smile.
My heart sank to my toes and back up as if it were on some twisted carnival ride. I knew that the feeling wasn't natural, but dammit if I didn't get on it for one more ride. Figuratively speaking, mind you. Not the literal, very dirty sense.
Pulling me closer to him, he fused our lips together once more and I sighed deeply.
Last summer, I never would have done this. I was the good girl, the child that never gave my parents any problems. The one who got good grades and made the Dean's List. The daughter who volunteered and worked with children.
But good girls weren't supposed to sleep with their windows wide open so that anyone could climb inside and take advantage of them.
We won't even get into the fact that good girls weren't supposed to enjoy such seductions from visitors that come in the middle of the night.
Or that they shouldn't do them, period, with their older brother's best friend.
A horribly obnoxious pounding coming from right outside my window woke me up. Groaning, I looked at said window, which I'd opened the night before in hopes of airing out my room. Unfortunately, said plan had backfired as I'd been awoken at what felt like the crack of dawn by unknown forces outdoors. The sun's rays poked through the crack in the curtains and I glanced at the clock on the table next to my bed. Ten in the morning. Sighing, I flopped back down and covered my eyes with my arm. Great.
Following the end of my junior year of college, I'd stayed behind for a few extra weeks to tie up some loose ends and make some extra cash helping my advisor with some filing in her office. After catching a red eye the night before, I hadn't made it home from the airport until close to six that morning. And now this. The loud voices. The scraping. The laughter. When all I wanted to do was shut my eyes and get a few more hours of rest before I had to get up and go meet my boss for a few preliminary meetings for my summer job.
After my best friend Sarah had dropped me off so early in the morning, I only had the strength to make it to my room, open my window and strip down to just a skimpy tank top and my underwear, before passing out entirely.
Another bang sounded, this one even closer to my window. Moving my arm and looking at where the noise began, I heard bouncy footsteps. A minute later, my curtains separated letting the sun fully into my room. Groaning at the change in brightness, I barely had enough time to register that the noise I'd heard was a ladder connecting to the house and that there was obviously some type of home repair going on, before my brother Rich tumbled over my window ledge and into my room, followed only seconds later by his best friend, Seth.
"Wake up!" Rich exclaimed, standing up and brushing dirt off his pants onto my very immaculately clean carpet. Seth seemed content to just sit on my floor and stare at me, a huge grin on his face (probably formed from knowing he'd disrupted my slumber).
Unamused by their antics, I simply ignored the pair and snuggled further into my blankets, planning on going back to bed, but knew deep down that they wouldn't make it so easy. "Go away," I mumbled, "Some of us had three flights yesterday and had to go through three states before they could come home for summer vacation," I said so softly, I doubted they'd heard me…and if they did, I doubted they really cared.
When it came to Rich and Seth, it just didn't matter if others had only had minutes or seconds of sleep. The two of them were like small children. If they were awake, then the rest of the world needed to be too.
It was still in my room and for a minute, I hoped that they would finally take pity on me and just leave me alone, but no. Surprise rushed through me as my wonderfully cozy blankets were yanked off my body and onto the floor by my supremely loyal and oh-so-loving older brother. I tried to scream, but was so surprised, that I could only sit up quickly and gape at the two of them. Annoyed that they were taking away my precious sleep time, I finally registered that my brother looked absolutely horrified. I couldn't even bring myself to look at Seth as a cool summer breeze came in through my window…
And reminded me of what I'd decided to wear to bed when I'd arrived home only hours before.
"RICH!" I screamed, trying to yank my top down over my red boy shorts to no avail. If anything, that only made matters worse as it pulled my tank top dangerously low on my chest. Looking from one boy to the next, the surprise clearly stunted them. "RICH!" I yelled again, putting out one hand, hoping he'd get the hint and hand me a blanket, while trying to cover up my body with the other rather terribly.
After covering his eyes in horror, my brother bent over and felt around until he came up with a sheet and tossed it in my direction. Grabbing at it, I covered myself up, still feeling Seth's eyes hovering on my body. Once the sheet was securely fastened around me, I pointed swiftly at my bedroom door.
"Out!" I yelled, no longer tired, as both embarrassment and shame flowed through my veins. The two of them just stood there and I pointed at the door even sharper than I had before and screamed, "OUT!" as loud as was possible.
Rich apparently didn't need to be told a third time as he flew out of my room. Seth, who hadn't looked away from me once during my debacle, took his sweet time. My face was on fire as he walked slowly across my carpet. His eyes started at what felt like my toes and made their way north, where they stopped and met my own eyes directly. Just as he got ready to leave, his lips lifted into a smirk as he winked at me. "Welcome home, Lexi."
Welcome home, indeed.
Three years separate my brother and me in age. When we were in high school, this gap was too far and we fought constantly over the stupidest things. At school, we would ignore one another. As we both grew up, however, and went away to college, this age gap began to close our differences and our bond strengthened immensely. Whenever I was home, I'd hang out at his apartment and this meant that I saw massive amounts of both him and his best friend.
Seth had been Rich's best friend since the two had met in middle school. Seth's parents and mine had always been friends, but not the kind that forced their kids to do things together. So when the two of them formed a bond at school, our parents were thrilled by the friendship that they hadn't pushed upon Rich and Seth.
All this time, I'd been the perfect tagalong little sister. The two of them constantly picked on me and made fun of me. Rich acted almost indifferently towards me, but Seth treated me like the little sister he'd never had. On the surface, I loathed the attention, but deep down knew that I craved it.
So it was really no surprise when I entered high school and began to look at Seth as a boy and not Rich's best friend. Not that I'd ever act on it. I chalked it up to hormones on my end and good genes on his and did my best to ignore it.
Seth's mom and mine, however, did nothing to help me forget, as they constantly made references to how holidays would be arranged after the two of us got married, thus making me look at Seth in an even more non-platonic way.
Not that it mattered, Seth only saw me as Rich's sister…his sister in a non-adoptive sort of way.
Or so I thought. Apparently when Rich and Seth had gone off to college, Seth had supposedly made some obscene comment to our mothers that only added fuel to the wedding fire…but my mother refused to repeat what had been said. In fact, every time I questioned her, she would turn a little red and tell me that I could find out when I was older.
But as I got older, that day never came…and instead of paying attention to the lustful feelings I seemed to always feel whenever Seth was around, I too grew up and went off to college where I got over Seth.
Or so I always told myself.
After a three hour meeting with my boss which consisted mostly of paperwork, I returned home, exhausted and in need of a long nap. The sweltering summer heat didn't help matters as I felt my shirt begin to stick to my back and only made me feel even more weighted down. I noticed that my mom's car was missing from the driveway and my dad was at work.
Of course, I knew that I wouldn't be so lucky as to have the house to myself so that I could catch up on my sleep. Apparently my parents had decided that the house needed painted and Seth and Rich had been elected to do the honors. Rich worked the night shift as a guard at the local prison and Seth was a seventh grade teacher on summer vacation, so the two had their weekdays wide open.
Swinging my purse, I walked down the driveway to where the two boys seemed so intently focused on the paint job at hand…which allowed me to focus on the scene unfolding in front of me.
Painting my house without his shirt on was Seth…and after not seeing him for months, the picture was a sight for very sore eyes. His brown hair was messy and his skin was coated with a fine layer of sweat. A huge black Celtic knot tattoo spread down his back from his neck to the base of his spine. Green eyes focused on perfecting the painting job, his strong arm moved the brush in slow, even strokes.
Seventh grade teachers should look nothing like him.
Suddenly I was remembering how he'd looked at me that morning…it was so unlike him. Before he'd been so teasing and friendly and all of a sudden there was fire in his eyes. Something was seriously up with Seth…
Focusing on his chest, I forgot for a minute how my feet worked and tripped down the driveway, causing both of them to look at me in surprise.
Rich nodded in my direction and Seth gave me the same smirk that he'd given me that morning. I felt my face redden again, but knew that Rich was just as embarrassed as I had been. So I didn't have to worry about him bringing it up.
Seth on the other hand…
"How was your meeting?" Rich asked me, pulling me out of my thoughts and back into the reality of the hot summer day at hand.
I shrugged. "Boring. Same stuff as last summer," I said, stepping forward to inspect their paint job. "I'm impressed," I said after a few moments. "I figured you two would figure out a way to fuck this up too."
"Please," Seth scoffed. "Give us more credit than that. We have college degrees."
"Doesn't mean you can color inside the lines," I teased. Rich shook his head and wiped his forehead.
"Want a water?" he asked Seth who nodded.
And then I was alone with the smirking devil himself.
"I hardly recognize you," Seth said, yet again looking at me from head to toe. Confused, I looked down at myself. I hadn't cut my hair or drastically changed my appearance, so how I could look that different, I had no idea. But, of course, Seth had to quickly clarify what he meant. "I mean, you have clothes on."
Shaking my head, I turned around to walk away, not wanting him to catch on to how affected I was by his strange looks and comments. I'd gone away to school and done so well at forgetting about him…for the most part. But shit. I could catch a single, fleeting glimpse of him and all that progress flew right out the window. And now that he seemed to be sending me some serious signals?
I'd taken about two steps when Seth's fingers encircled my wrist and pulled me back towards him. "Let me go," I said simply, closing my eyes and breathing deeply. "I don't want to keep repeating the most embarrassing moment of my life."
"Lexi," Seth whispered, taking hold of my shoulders. I looked up into those green eyes and wished immediately that I hadn't. For years I'd been fighting off this attraction and here he was, acting like an entirely different person.
Seth was acting…well he was acting as if he wanted me.
I couldn't even begin to wrap my head around the thought. For years I'd had this childhood girlish crush and all of a sudden he seems to reciprocate my feelings?
Too lost in my thinking, I didn't even realize that he'd pushed me up against the house. I should have been trying to get away. I should have been praying this hadn't been some ploy to push me into wet paint. But I could tell by the smell that this area wasn't wet. It hadn't even been painted.
Sighing deeply, I shut my eyes and tried to focus on breathing and not his presence surrounding me. I'm not short by any means. I stand a good few inches above five feet, but he towered over me by at least a foot. Seth's hands moved from my shoulders to the house behind me, successfully blocking me with his body. The house against my back, his body surrounding me. Yeah. I was trapped.
"Lexi," he whispered. Breathe, I told myself. Breathe. "Lexi, look at me."
I tried to disobey, but my eyes didn't listen. Slowly, I met his green gaze and felt my knees literally give out. Seth quickly reached for me, grabbing my sides and holding me up.
Not letting go, slowly, his fingers began to trace patterns there as his gaze held mine.
Seth. This was Seth. My brother's best friend. The boy who put frogs down my shirt and spiders in my bed.
His face moved towards mine and before I could comprehend what was happening, I felt his lips touch just below my ear. "Lexi," he whispered and I felt my breathing quicken and my eyes shut again.
This was the Seth who had always seemed so indifferent towards me in a romantic way. What the hell was going on? And why the hell could I not do or say a single thing?
The back door of the house slammed shut and just like that it was over. Seth jumped away from me and returned to his painting as if nothing had just happened. Rich appeared moments later, two waters in his hands. Tossing one to Seth, he looked at me strangely.
"You alright, Lex?" he asked, taking a sip of his water. "You're looking a little pale."
I nodded stupidly, looking from Rich to Seth and back to Rich again. "Yeah," I said finally. "I think I'll go take a nap." Rich simply nodded and as I willed my feet to move, my head was swimming.
Sure, I was tired, but with these strange new developments, I knew that sleep wouldn't be coming anytime soon.