Madelene Martin

Deflowering Rose

“I can’t believe you’re really back!” I cried, flinging my arms around my brother right where he stood in the doorway. “It seems like it’s been forever!”

My step-brother Alec, momentarily stunned by the display of affection, dropped his luggage and guitar case and reluctantly returned the hug. His hand awkwardly patted me on the back.

I pulled away, and punched him on the arm. “I missed you, asshole.”

“ What the hell, Rose?” He said in disbelief. Then he looked me over, cradling his bicep. “Are you really my little sister? I barely recognize you!”

He had been away for eight months, touring with his mildly successful band. And I had turned eighteen while he was gone, and was just about to finish school.

I laughed. “I know! I got the braces off finally.” And I smiled at him, striking a pose, showing my newly straight white teeth.

But that wasn’t all. I was what you’d call a late bloomer. When he’d left, I had been a petite, skinny, slightly nerdy girl. I’d been self-conscious of my teeth and my gawky body. Now all of a sudden, I had filled out in the hips and my breasts had grown full and soft — I was curvy where there had been no curves before. It suited me, as though I had finally grown into myself, and lent me a new sense of confidence. I’d let my blonde hair grow long for the first time, and of course the braces had come off my teeth.

Alec coughed, looking away, and I suddenly realized he was embarrassed.

Even since before our parents had married, Alec and I had been close. We had known each other ever since elementary school, though we had only officially been brother and sister for a few years. I’d been upset when he’d left home, but we’d talked every few weeks on the phone.

“So, tell me all about it,” I prompted. “The gritty stuff, not the stuff you’ll tell Mom and Dad.” I smiled wickedly.

He dumped his stuff inside and flopped on the couch, and I sat next to him, leaning toward him attentively. I noticed he wasn’t exactly unchanged either. He’d put on some muscle — I guessed from carrying all his equipment around — and developed a tan.

“Uhh, what do you want to know?” He smiled, still slightly embarrassed.

I nudged him with an elbow, getting a perverse kick out of his discomfort. “Did you party?”

That made him laugh. “Of course. That was kinda the whole point.”

“I thought the point was to get famous,” I teased.

Alec shifted a little. “Well, that didn’t quite happen yet…” He admitted. “But we got some good exposure.”

I tilted my head. “And lots of girls?”

Alec looked at his lap, chuckling. He’d had a girlfriend before leaving, and she’d dumped him just before the tour. So I figured he’d have spent a lot of time drowning his sorrows, and hooking up with women. But it wasn’t the type of thing he’d discuss with his sister.

I decided to take pity on him, changing the subject. “Sooo, Mom and Dad are visiting Aunt Brenda for the next few days. They decided I could be trusted alone in the house. Finally. It’s not like I ever had any wild parties.”

That was true — I’d never been hugely popular or cared much about making a lot of friends. And if people paid more attention to me now — screw them. They hadn’t wanted to know me when I’d been a nerdy, slightly awkward chick. The only exception to the rule was Sean — the guy I had a crush on.

We ordered a pizza and talked about his trip. Alec told me about all the places the band had played and the antics of his friends.

“So, what’s been going on with you?” He asked me later, as we were half-watching some terrible TV show. “How’s school?”

I lay back on the sofa, my head resting on the arm. “Oh, it’s okay. We have prom in a couple of weeks, of course. There’s this new guy Sean — well, he’s been there all this year, but relatively new — and he asked me to go.”

“Really? That’s great!” Alec enthused, and downed most of his glass of water. He’d always nagged me to get out more, to try dating. Hell, even my parents had suggested it from time to time.

“Yeah, he’s nice…” I found myself blushing. “I think he likes me. He said we should go to a movie tomorrow, actually.”

Alec smirked. “Well, as long as you’re home by 11.” He said. I thumped him on the arm again. This time I was the embarrassed one.

“Yeah,” I continued, “I’m not sure… I like him, he’s totally hot — it’s just that…” I h esitated, searching Alec’s eyes. I’d always told my brother everything in the past. But I’d never really discussed guys with him before — I’d had no reason to. I sighed, unsure of how to explain and how much to tell him.

He raised his eyebrows, waiting.

“Well, I’ve never… been out… with a guy before.”

“So?” He asked, totally missing the point in true Alec style. “Just go to a movie or something. That way you’ll have something to talk about after.”

I rolled my eyes. “ Duh. I mean what do you do — what if he wants to kiss me? I’m eighteen and I’ve never even kissed a guy.” I cringed at my own words.

“Oh… really?” Alec cleared his throat. “Uh, well he won’t necessarily — “

“But I want to kiss him, idiot!” I interrupted, my voice rising in frequency. “I’m just completely ignorant about what I’m doing. He’s going to know straight away.” I sat up, leaning my head in my hands. “Most of my friends have been — doing it — for years, and I’ve never even been out with a guy. Fuck.” I hadn’t been able to talk to anyone about this, and it felt good to finally get it out.

“Umm, well, kissing is easy,” Alec offered, patting me awkwardly on the shoulder. “ You’ll probably instinctively know what to do.”

I had a brilliant idea. I sat up straight. “Will you show me?”

Alec let his hand drop from my shoulder, a confused and slightly horrified look on his face.

“Oh come on!” I protested, with a laugh. “It’s just kissing — it’s nothing! We used to do it as kids, for fuck’s sake.” I remembered when we would behind a tree in the park when I was ten or eleven, and “practice” kissing. We hadn’t known about the tongue part then, of course.

“Stop swearing,” he murmured automatically.

I groaned, throwing my hands up in frustration.

“Come on,” I repeated, bouncing up and down in agitation. “You have all this experience. I need your help. Pleeease!” I grabbed his arm, pulling on it and pouting.

I saw him swallow, looking into m y eyes. He had nice hazel eyes, with long lashes. I smiled slowly, somehow knowing I’d won.

“Okay, okay.” He said. “I’m going to need at least one drink before I do this, though.” He got up, and wandered into the kitchen.

“Mom left some wine in the fridge. Bring me one!” I called after him.

“Not a chance, Sis!” Came the answering yell.

I sat on the couch, fidgeting but happy, and wondered if I should brush my teeth or something. Somehow the thought of kissing my brother didn’t make me nervous at all — not like the thought of kissing Sean did. After all, he was just Alec.

I settled for pulling my strawberry lip gloss out of my pocket and spreading a thin smear over my lips. Then I straightened my long hair, brushing the blonde strands out of my eyes.

Alec walked back in with his glass of wine, and a coke for me. He stopped in the middle of the room, looked at me, and upended his glass, downing it all in one go. He sat down on the sofa next to me.

I couldn’t help giggling a little. My poor brother was blushing and didn’t know quite what to do. We sat facing

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