Derek and Danielle

Chapter Seven

Disclaimer: This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

As well, this work of fiction depicts sexual activities between teenagers, siblings and otherwise. As such it may be illegal to view this story where you live, and you should cease reading at this point if that is the case.

Derek's parents came home, and his mother announced to the house at large that supper would be ready. He flipped his phone open to check the time, then checked to see how many more questions he had to answer about analyzing the short story they'd covered in class the other day. Luckily, he just needed to wrap up the last one.

Downstairs in the kitchen, he saw his mother just beginning to prepare the food. "Hi, Mom."

She looked up from the green peppers and smiled. "Hi! Everything going okay?"

"Yeah. I finished my homework already." Derek smiled in respose.

Her eyebrows raised, his mother said, "Well, that was quick. What's the occasion?"

Suddenly a bit bashful, Derek quietly said, "Um, I've kinda got a … date. With this girl."

"Well, congratulations, honey!" she said. "Do you need money? And where are you going with her? Do I know her, by the way?"

Flustered, Derek ran his hand through his hair. "It's Sara, Danielle's friend. We're just gonna go to this restaurant I found out she likes, the Olive Garden. We'll be going out tomorrow, around lunch time."

Satisfied, Rachel nodded. "Okay. That sounds sensible. I know the place. Your father and I have gone a couple of times – not too expensive. Here." She washed her hands, then wiped them with a towel. She pointed. "Can you just grab my purse, there?"

Derek obliged. Rachel gave him some money and said, "You asked her to this, right?"

"Yeah, I did."

"Then you should probably pay for the whole thing, so that should cover the meal and tip." Her expression softened. "My boy. You're growing up so fast."

Uncomfortably, Derek shuffled back to the kitchen table to deposit his mother's purse on it. Out the corner of his eye, he could see his mother shaking her head slightly and smiling. At his look, she said, "It's just that you remind me a bit of when your Uncle was getting ready to ask out his first girl on a date."

Derek joked, "Is that good or bad?"

His mother couldn't restrain her laugh, and said, "It's okay, sweetie. I won't make a big deal out of it. I promise. Just run on upstairs and put that money away, okay? I'd like you to come back down and help with a bit of this, okay? I'm making a stir-fry. Oh, and tell your sister to come down and help set the table."

Derek nodded and ran upstairs. He put the cash in his wallet, then went to knock quietly on Danielle's door. After a moment, he knocked a little louder. After getting no response, he exasperatedly opened the door.

He saw Danielle in her bed. She blurted "Shit!" as she slammed her laptop shut in shock and yanked her earbuds out of her ears.

When she saw who it was, she gasped in relief and leaned her head back against the headboard. "Oh, Jesus, Derek! I thought it was Mom or Dad!"

A bit mystified, Derek said, "Okay. Whatever, but Mom wants us downstairs to help while she starts the cooking." He suddenly had an idea of what might have prompted Danielle's reaction and said, "Hmmm… looking at something naughty, huh?"

Danielle blushed. "Actually, only sort of. Look, you're gonna think it's stupid, but… c'mere, okay?" She shifted and patted the bed. Derek came over and sat down, facing her. He looked around the room, noticing the unfamiliar feminine knickknacks he'd sometimes briefly spotted the other times he'd had to enter her inner sanctum.

Derek said, "So what is it, like… not porn, is it?"

"No." Danielle shook her head. "Look, after you and I started this thing between us, I finally got brave enough to do some research." She sighed. "The problem is, a lot of these websites basically just beat you over the head with what we're already supposed to know about…"

When she didn't finish the sentence, Derek frowned and prompted, "What?"

Danielle thumped the bed with her fist and shifted so she was sitting up straighter. "This is so stupid. Look at me, for fuck's sake."

Confused, Derek peered at her.

"I can't even say the goddamned word, Derek. I've lived with thinking about you the way I'm not supposed to for like six months now, and I still can't say it without stuttering and just stopping in my tracks. I couldn't even bring myself to type it into the computer until just today."

Derek reached out for her hand and locked fingers with her. "Hey. Deep breaths, okay? Just say it." He thought he had an idea, but even he couldn't quite bring himself to supply the word out loud.

Danielle breathed deliberately. Inhale. Exhale. Calmly gazing at Derek, she said, "I was researching … incest."

Derek swallowed and looked away. Incest. Just hearing the word made him feel like a freak all over again. He knew all the jokes about inbred children, and the way people who did things like that with their siblings normally got treated. He didn't want to think about the dirty looks he'd get from Mom and Dad if they ever found out.

Upon noticing his reaction, Danielle released his hand and gestured between them. "You see what I mean, you and me. We can't even say the word to each other without all the baggage that comes with it. Because unless I miss my guess, you feel about as good about yourself as I do right now." Danielle ran her hands through her hair, then let her hair and arms sag down. "God. I feel like I'm some kind of creep."

Dejected, Derek said, "Maybe we should just… stop."

Danielle pushed her laptop off to the side and angrily hissed, "And then what? Be stuck in this limbo until we graduate high school and go our separate ways?"

At a loss for an answer, Derek tried to think of something to say, only to jump up in shock as he heard his mother yell, "Kids! You're supposed to be down here!"

"Oh, crap!" whispered Derek. Pleadingly, he looked at Danielle. "Can we talk? Later?"

She got out of her bed and stood, her face bearing a somber expression. "Yeah. We will." She gently squeezed his shoulder.

Derek shook his head in frustration. "It's not gonna be easy, is it?" He reached for Danielle, who briefly clasped his hand.

She shook her head somberly as they exited her room. She pushed Derek slightly. She mouthed, "Go first." She pointed at herself and the bathroom down the hall, and mouthed, "Tell Mom."

He nodded, and descended the stairs, saying, "Sorry Mom, I went looking for Danielle upstairs and she only just came out of the bathroom."

Briskly, Rachel said, "Fine. Get over to that counter and start chopping the peppers and mushrooms. And as for you, young lady, get the table set, all right?"

Danielle began grabbing the utensils and plates to set table places. Derek studiously avoided looking at his sister as he began focusing on his task, as sharp knives and distraction did not go well together.

At dinner, neither parent seemed to notice the damped moods of their children. Derek, even though he was both dreading and anticipating the conversation he would have with Danielle, managed to find that the chicken stir-fry was delicious enough to occupy his mind for a bit, letting his emotions recede into the distance for a bit.

His mother said, "Oh, Sam, Derek's going to be meeting a girl tomorrow," she announced proudly.

Face flushed, Derek whined, "Come on, Mom. It's just a lunch."

Samuel said, "Well, you have to admit, son, it's a pretty important milestone in your life. Your first girl, your first prom, that kind of thing. Let your parents be proud of you, all right? So who's the lucky lady?"

"Just Danielle's friend," Derek said as he wished the ground would open up. Danielle seemed to be just the tiniest bit miffed. Her expression cleared when she saw her parents looking at her and she smiled. "Yeah. Sara's pretty happy about it. She talked my ear off about it the other day."

"How about you, by the way? Any gentlemen I need to warn to treat my daughter right?" bantered the siblings' father.

As innocent and as unintentional that question was, Derek's gut twisted as he realized that question applied directly to him, given that Danielle hadn't seemed to agree to put any kind of relationship in cold storage.

Danielle chuckled. "No, Dad. You've probably already pre-emptively scared them off with your mental powers of protection, anyway."

Danielle should be more relaxed, thought Derek rebelliously. She wasn't the one being put on the spot for just going out. He fervently hoped the next time he went out with a girl (or, he fleetingly wondered, maybe Rick?) the outing wouldn't be treated with such fanfare.

As it happened, a welcome distraction came when the phone rang. Rachel got up to answer it, leaving Derek to finish his dinner in peace while his mom got rid of a persistent telemarketer.

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