I was hungover again, wearing another thick flannel and a pair of Dakota’s sweatpants, a Powerade in one hand and a ragged stuffed cat in the other, my noise-cancelling headphones on. The waiting room was empty, brightly lit, and warm.
Meg came out and smiled, in that gentle way she had. I forced a slight grin and pulled off my headphones. “Good morning.”
“Good morning,” She said. “Hungover again?”
“Yeah,” I said. “Different reasons this time, I guess.”
Her face didn’t change as I followed her to her office and curled up in my usual spot, setting my Powerade on the floor. She opened her notebook to refresh from the previous week, then gestured to my cat. “Who’s this?”
“Robert,” I said. “He’s named after my grandfather. It was his cat, before…” I shrugged.
“It’s sweet that you have him,” she said.
“It was important,” I told her. “I wanted to have him with me forever, and this was a way I could do that.”
She nodded, understanding. “So last week, we agreed to talk about your relationship with Dakota.”
I almost snorted. “Yeah. It’s… interesting.”
“I imagine so.” She set her notebook aside. “Can you explain the dynamic to me?”
I felt my face tighten, not sure if it was anger or confusion or sadness, or some sort of awful combination of the three. “I don’t know.” When Meg opened her mouth to prompt me further, I continued, “I have theories.” She nodded for me to continue. “Dakota… he told me, once, that he loved me. That he’d have chosen me over Alexa if he could. He told me right before I moved in that he hoped I could stay. He told me after we decided to have a sibling relationship that he still felt jealousy thinking of me with another person.” I bit my lip, struggling to keep the confusion and the hurt at bay. “I don’t know why he said those things. Did he say them to manipulate me? I want to think he didn’t. I want to believe he loves me, because with Jackson– the one time I brought him over, which was awful and I don’t want to get into it– Dakota straight up ignored him, and me. He was jealous and he wouldn’t admit it. He had to be, because nothing else makes sense.”
“It’s strange when people aren’t clear about their intentions,” Meg said.
“It’s awful.” I squeezed Robert in my arms and stared into his unseeing blue eyes. “We keep having the same conversation– how do you feel about me, are you sure,– and he constantly insists he’s pushed his feelings more toward familial, before turning all that on its head and confusing me all over.” I took a steadying breath. “It was always a sexual encounter that made me question whether his feelings were platonic or romantic. The things he did when I was upset or overwhelmed– I’ll get there, actually, but even when Alexis still lived with us, when my grandfather and step grandmother died, and the one time I had a meltdown over my grandmother being so sick and my mother being such a bitch– all those times, he took care of me, in a way that could have been a sibling sort of love. Making sure I ate and drank, making sure I was okay, bringing me something to cuddle and whatever. Ernie used to do those things, too, though the something to cuddle was usually just him.”
“So why did you keep having sex with Dakota?”
“Isn’t that just the question of the year?” I snorted. “I want him, in a romantic way, in a sexual way, like I’ve never wanted anyone. Not Jeffrey obviously. Not the boy I dated in high school, or the girls I’ve dated, not Trisha or Jay or Jackson, not even that girl I had a crush on for like ten seconds before my CP that Dakota likes to tease me about.” I sighed. “He makes me feel… I don’t know. I don’t have a clue how to explain it, it doesn’t make sense. I was excited to try sleeping with Jackson, maybe try a relationship, but it turned out halfway through all I could think of was I want Dakota. With Trisha, I had the romantic inclination, my obnoxious desire to be physically affectionate and to feed the people I love, to mother hen them. With Dakota I have that, and this perpetual fear that he hates me for it. I enjoy sex with him because he reads my body language, he knows when to adjust or to stop, he understands. He’s never shamed me for my scars and the pain they cause, or for when I suddenly have an emotional meltdown– which thankfully hasn’t happened for awhile.”
“Did something happen to reinforce those feelings?” Meg said.
I nodded. “It started on Easter Sunday. He came upstairs for something while I was watching Jesus Christ Superstar, which is my tradition– and now I watch the original seventies version on Good Friday and the phenomenal Live one with Sara Bareilles and John Legend on Easter. Anyway Dakota came upstairs and I had joked that he’d promised a kiss to anyone who came to see him in the opening of Mermaid that day at Chance, and he did kiss me, and then– well, things got more heated. I didn’t last long because it hurt, but leading up to the actual sex was… intense. For me. Then we had a couple escapades on the stairs, because his parents weren’t home and he wanted to keep an eye on Myshka and Duchess, and the first time Myshka went ballistic so we didn’t get too far, but he made it astoundingly clear that he was very much still sexually interested in me. He remembered my kinks, even though we hadn’t done much since earlier in the year.”
“And the second time?”
I sighed. “That was one of the two times that I felt like…” I swallowed, my throat closing up. “I felt like we were making love, rather than just having sex.”
He had me by the hair, and by god was I enjoying it. He bit down on my neck, and I raked my nails down his back. My breasts were already swollen and sore from his attention, and I was dangerously close to begging.
Dakota pulled my hand to the front of his basketball shorts, pressing it to the hot, hard length there. I damn near purred. Stepping back, I sat on the stairs and dragged him forward by his waistband, before pulling his shorts down.
His hand fisted harder in my hair, guiding me. He muttered words of encouragement, his voice deep and husky. I took him into my mouth, as deep as I could go,
It went on for a few minutes before he yanked me off of him. I grinned up at him, aroused beyond measure, my vision a little cloudy from lust. His eyes were dark and sharply focused when he suddenly said, “Turn around. On your knees.”
An electric jolt went through me, pulsing between my legs. I obeyed him, my heartbeat racing as he yanked down the shorts I’d been wearing. His hand went to my hair again and pulled as he used his hands to warm me up.
“You’re soaking,” he nearly groaned. It sounded like a compliment. I barely registered what he said, too focused on what his fingers were doing.
When he moved to enter me, it didn’t hurt. I nearly wept with relief, shamelessly moaning.
He started fast, and I flinched. “Wait,” I said, trying to orient myself, not wanting him to stop. “Go slowly.”
Dakota complied, a hand on my waist. I gasped, the pain melting away, pleasure mounting in its place.
He leaned down, his lips on my shoulder, our bodies pressed close together. “Someone likes it slow,” he purred. I nodded, and he kept the same slow, sweet pace.
“Dakota.” His name escaped me before I could stop it.
“Hmm?” He ran his lips across my neck, and I felt like bursting.
I hadn’t meant for him to hear me. “Don’t stop.”
He nearly growled, going just slightly faster, harder. I moaned before I could stop myself, then shoved my nails into my mouth to quiet myself. Dakota pulled my hand away, intertwining it with his own, his lips on my neck as he moved.
God, any more and I would melt into the stairs and never come back up.
“We had to stop because he was shaking too hard,” I said, a smug grin on my face. “I think it freaked him out. I’ve never felt closer to him, emotionally or sexually.”
“It sounds like you had a moment of very clear, healthy communication,” Meg said.
“And that’s so important to me,” I said. “I’ve had it so rarely that I think I put him on a pedestal because of it.”
“Tell me about the second time this connection happened.”
“It was only a few days later.”
We’d been packing Dakota’s office. I wasn’t sure how I ended up against the wall, but there I was, my shirt bunched over my breasts, my shorts and panties on the ground somewhere. Dakota was already warming me up with his hands, and I was all sorts of into it.
He went slowly when he entered me. I braced against the wall to keep myself standing, though my legs were shaking.
“Just relax,” he whispered, reading the tension in my spine, the tightness of my shoulders. I dropped my arms down the wall, giving him a better angle, and breathed deeply, forcing my muscles to relax around him.
Dakota moved slowly, holding my hips. I felt myself tighten around him again, biting my fist to keep from moaning. His parents were just downstairs.
“It’s like you’re milking me,” he all but groaned, and I felt another rush of desire flood through me.
He sped up, and I felt my body tense, the pressure in my shoulders from holding myself up turning rapidly to pain. “Wait–” I breathed, trying to shift, to ease the tightness of my shoulders.
Dakota shifted, wrapping an arm around my chest and pulling me against him. The angle was different, not as painful. Dakota kissed my shoulder and slipped out of me, moving against me instead.
I struggled to speak. “You’re not– you’re not inside me anymore,” I panted.
He laughed, the sound low and strangely erotic. “That desperate to have me inside you?”
“I was enjoying it,” I admitted.
He kissed my neck. “I just want to do this for a minute,” he purred. I nodded, relaxing against him.
“That was the last time it was that… intense,” I said. “There’ve been a couple of other times– I got him off again, he startled me so badly I thought his parents were coming upstairs and literally ran to the other side of the room. Then I was so confused I didn’t know how to respond at all. Not my most romantic moment.”
Meg outright laughed at that. “You didn’t realize what was happening?”
“He’s so damn quiet,” I said. “He has no tells. All I noticed was he was breathing a little harder than usual, then–” I made a hand gesture that explained the rest of that statement. Meg chuckled again.
“Though that time, and the time after that, he tore my scar tissue,” I admitted. “I started spotting and thought it was my period, but then I remembered my birth control is supposed to stop that, and I hadn’t been spotting otherwise– only immediately after having sex.”
“Oh, that’s scary,” Meg said. “Did you tell him?”
“Hell no.” I put a hand to my chest. “If I tell him stuff like that, he’d probably stop sleeping with me.”
“Wouldn’t that… fix the problem?” Meg prompted.
“I don’t want to stop sleeping with him,” I insisted. “I want him to pursue me the way he did before his breakup with Alexis. I want him to love me.” The root of the fucking problem, I realized, suddenly. “He takes advantage of my feelings for him– and I don’t know if he even realizes he’s doing it. I’m always his fallback, or at least he’s treating me that way–”
“Stop trying to give him the benefit of the doubt and let yourself be angry with him,” Meg ordered.
I swallowed my guilt– and my tears– took a deep breath, and continued. “I’m not his sister anymore. I’m his weird roommate who he fucks when he doesn’t have any other options, which is often right now. He knows that I won’t say no, because he knows I still have a romantic attachment to him. I hate that, and I hate myself for letting him do that, and for believing that maybe he’ll change his mind. He said he didn’t want another long term relationship until we’re in the new house, and that he wanted to be siblings with me because his parents wanted to adopt me. He said he was scared to live with his romantic partner after Alexis. Well, new house, check. Adoption, not a problem anymore. He doesn’t want kids and that’s the only thing stopping me from writing him a damn thesis on why we should be together. I get that my feelings are my responsibility, he shouldn’t have to take responsibility for them, but honestly, fuck that. My feelings would have faded for him if he’d stopped dragging me in sexually, and that’s something I literally can’t seem to help myself from wanting. And he wouldn’t do it if he wasn’t still interested on some level beyond familial affection.”
“So what are you going to do about it?”
I looked Meg in the eye, heat and anger making my face red, making my chest tight. “I’m gonna tell him what I think, that’s what. I’m going to demand answers for why he said what he said, why he does what he does. I’m going to lay it out and demand more than the usual shrug and placating bullshit. I want fucking answers.”