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“I appreciate this, sis.”
Cole set down his two duffels and pulled his sister in for a tight hug. They separated and his sister Summer looked up at him concerned. She had a right to be.
Cole was coming to stay with her for the foreseeable future thanks to a freak flood that happened within his own condominium building. Cole owned a mediocre one-bedroom condo in a five story building in the outskirts of San Francisco. Two days earlier, a unit on the third floor started a catastrophic flood when a pipe burst within while no one was home. An investigation was ongoing into the circumstances surrounding the reason behind the bursting of the pipe, yet suffice to say it was a disaster and every owner/tenant within the five story building — even the top floor units that weren’t directly effected by the flood — were displaced due to the complete reconstruction the building faced. It was likely to be a three to six month ordeal, that’s if the insurance company complied in a timely manner.
So, with nowhere else to turn, Cole ventured downtown to his sister’s apartment hoping to find a warm bed and some peace.
Summer was his only family in the Bay Area making her not only the preferred choice, but the only choice. They both opted to attend Cal, making the move north from their family home in Anaheim to San Fran. That was five years ago for Summer and seven for Cole. Both had found good jobs since graduating and were now carving out lives for themselves at 23 and 25 respectively.
Cole gathered up his bags and strode past the threshold into his sister’s one-bedroom sixth-floor apartment near Fisherman’s Wharf. During the day, it had a view of the bay. It was night now.
He gazed around his sister’s apartment. It was pretty spacious for an older one bedroom in this part of the city. It probably sat just shy of 700 square feet. The kitchen consisted of the essentials — range, oven, fridge, sink, dishwasher and microwave — with minimal counter space. It was all laid out in one line along the near wall, stopping abruptly before the living space where Summer had a chaise style sofa, leather chair and coffee table all facing a television that had been mounted on the wall. The flooring was some sort of antique hardwood that looked to have been refurbished less than five years ago. Aside from an area rug in the living room and onyx tile in the bathroom, the hardwood covered the entire 660 square feet. Summer was in her second year of leasing the unit.
As Cole set his two duffels down next to the edge of the sofa, Summer got a good look at her brother’s face. She saw melancholy in his eyes and stress all through his 5-foot-10 frame.
It killed Summer to see her older brother like this. Cole was the rock that she could always depend on. He was a quiet leader for her and their younger brother, Cade. Always setting the good example for them to follow. He blazed the trail for success as a young adult and through it all was always there when Summer called. Hell, he was the main reason why she decided to attend Cal rather than Stanford or UCLA.
“Cole, can you pick me up from the party?” (She and her friends were drunk with no desire for their parents to find out).
“Cole, can you drive me back to my sorority? (Home for the weekend, she needed a ride back to school where she couldn’t keep a car.)
“Cole, can I borrow $500 for spring break?” (Her and her friends planned a week long trip to Florida, but she was short thanks to her tuition — and to be perfectly honest — her shopping addiction.)
Time and again he stepped up when her parents wouldn’t or couldn’t. He stepped up when her sorry boyfriends didn’t care. Now it was her time to step up.
“Cole,” Summer stated firmly, “All you ever have to do is ask. Lord knows I owe you.”
Cole nodded and then found a seat at the small two-person dinner table against the far wall opposite the kitchen.
“Do you want something to drink?” offered Summer. “I’ve got water, a few IPAs and some orange juice I think.”
Summer walked over to the fridge as Cole tried to empty his mind of all the tasks he knew he had to do the following morning. He closed his eyes and pressed his thumb and forefinger to his temple and rubbed.
“Sure. Water would be fine,” Cole answered softly, still massaging his temple.
Despite his circumstance, he felt a little ashamed to be here. He knew he was putting his sister out for the foreseeable future and that wasn’t something that sat well with him. Part of him felt that he should be at one of his friends’ places, that that was more natural. But frankly, he wasn’t comfortable living with anyone else for the amount of time he expected to be away. That could be nigh a year for all he knew. His sister knew his circumstance, she was one of the first people he called to inform when it happened. She knew he needed a place to stay indefinitely and didn’t hesitate for a second to offer her place up to him.
“I brought only a few things, Sum. I don’t güvenilir canlı bahis siteleri want you to feel like I’m moving in and I know there isn’t much room anyway,” stated Cole.
Summer handed her brother a tall, cold glass of water without answering. Cole took it and drank half, then set it down. They were facing each other with his sister’s Ikea kitchen island between them. Cole looked into his sister’s beautiful blue eyes and saw the concern there. He tried to ignore it as he finished the remainder of the water.
“How’s this going to work?” Cole asked after a quiet moment. “You don’t even have a pullout couch. Just your queen bed and the sofa. I can’t very well sleep on the sofa for six months. It will ruin it.”
“You think you’re going to be here for six months?” Her tone was light but Cole easily picked up on the surprise in her voice.
“Well, I think that’s a reasonable estimate given the need to completely gut the building and rebuild it. The contractors also have to deal with the insurance company and you know how insurance companies can be with answering claims.”
Cole tried to look his sister in her eyes but he was too dejected to keep a fixed gaze on them. He was mostly looking at the floor. Not only was he putting her out for six months, he was either going to likely ruin her sofa or force her to move furniture around to fit, what, a blow-up mattress? Perhaps a new futon?
“Cole, look at me,” Summer said confidently as she put her hand on his shoulder. “This isn’t anything you should be ashamed about. This is bad luck, misfortune. It happens to the best of us.”
She smiled a brilliant, warm smile showing her perfect teeth. They were a perfect shade of white, no yellow to be found and all of similar shape and size. It was one of the genetic traits they Avery’s were blessed with. She paused for a short moment, thinking.
“Don’t worry. You can sleep in my bed with me. I agree about the couch. I just got it and I don’t want it to lose it’s shape or get worn out.”
Summer noticed Cole’s startled look and stopped him before he could answer.
“It’s alright. There’s room enough for us to sleep comfortably together until we find a better solution.”
To say Cole was startled would have been a vast understatement. Though he and his sister were close, Cole would venture to guess they hadn’t shared a bed since they were in elementary school goofing around at their uncle’s house. He couldn’t remember ever actually sleeping for an entire night beside his sister.
And that was then. Back when both hadn’t hit puberty. Nearly 20 years later, both were fully grown and attractive, Summer foremost among the two. She stood 5-foot-7, strong, fit and athletic. Her figure was hewn from years of soccer, volleyball and gymnastics. Recently, Summer was spending plenty of time in the gym and in yoga classes, as devoted to her health and fitness as ever. It certainly showed.
Her legs and ass were toned and perfectly shaped. She was wearing a pair of loose-fitting booty shorts at the moment (probably what she wore to bed thought Cole) so Cole was able to notice the shape of her legs. Meanwhile, up top she was perhaps more exquisite. Her face was perfect. His sister reminded Cole of the actress Minka Kelly but with a more fit physique. She had big blue eyes, a cute nose, full cheeks and lips and beautiful, long brown hair. Her abdomen was slim above a narrow waist. Cole could see a hint of a six pack showing from under the bottom of his sister’s shirt. And above that, Summer had a set of pert D-cup breasts that Cole had wanted to feel since she was in high school. They looked that perfect.
“Alright,” Cole replied sitting up straight and looking at his sister in the eyes. “I guess if you’re comfortable with that, I am, too.”
“Great!” she said happily. She stood up and clapped her hands together lightly, almost like a cheerleader would, before grabbing the glasses and taking them back to the sink where she washed them out and placed them in the dishwasher.
“Sum?” Cole waited until his sister turned off the water.
“What about your boyfriend, Kyle? I mean…”
Summer got her brother’s meaning without him having to finish the sentence.
“Don’t worry about him. I guess he and I will just spend more time at his place from now on,” Summer said as she dried her hands with one of her towels near the sink. “He doesn’t need to know that we’re sleeping together.”
She flashed a smile at Cole while he sat back a little embarrassed.
“You should put your things away in my closet,” Summer said, changing the subject with ease. “I’ve got some work to do and then I’m going to bed. I’ve got to be at work early.”
“Okay.” Cole had no issue with that. It was Sunday night and both had work in the morning. Cole’s job allowed him to be flexible with when he worked, so long as he put in his eight hours, though he usually got in before 9 a.m. He grabbed his things and found some space güvenilir illegal bahis siteleri in his sister’s closet to sort out his garments. He also brought his gym bag and set that aside. He pulled out his laptop bag and strode back into the living room just as Summer entered the bedroom to head to sleep.
“I thought I’d do some work before I went to sleep. I’m not quite tired yet,” Cole said.
“That’s fine, just keep the volume low if you put the TV on.”
Cole could hear Summer brushing her teeth in the adjoining bathroom as he surfed the internet and checked his email. He had so many different people and companies to follow up with in the morning. From his home insurance agent to his HOA president, he had a contact list about 20 deep lined up for the a.m.
After about 90 minutes, Cole felt his eyes getting heavy and he shut off Sportscenter. He had seen the same Warriors highlights from tonight’s game now three times.
He entered his sister’s bedroom and found her fast asleep curled up on the right side of the bed. Cole brushed his teeth then stripped down to his boxers and slipped into his sister’s bed. He made sure not to disturb her and she made no sign of feeling his presence. Cole turned to his left and kissed the back of his sister’s head before turning back to the right and curling up the opposite way to fall asleep.
Cole awoke to the sound of the blender churning at high speed Monday morning. His eyelids rolled back and he saw his sister holding the machine closed dressed in a skirt and blouse perfectly suited for the office, her long brown hair cascaded down her back with slight curls. The blender stopped and she filled her drink bottle.
Summer must have realized Cole was up, because she turned quickly and spoke to him.
“Sorry for waking you, bro,” she said in a rush. “I’m running a tad late. Do you mind cleaning the blender for me?” She grabbed her purse (a big, black one which carried her lap top, notes and lunch) and then strode out to the front door and out of the apartment.
Cole looked at his phone for the time. It was 6:54 a.m. If he got going now he could probably catch the 7:21 bus. As he cleaned himself up in the bathroom he thought it oddly strange that the night passed without incident. Maybe this won’t be an issue?
He was wrong.
Cole felt his phone vibrate in his pocket and looked at the message.
“What time will you be home?”
His sister. “Probably 9” he thought and texted back.
“OK, perfect. Will you want dinner?”
“No. Just going to have a protein shake after gym.”
“Sounds good. See you later.”
“It looks like you want to tell me something, Cole.” The two of them were eating a a plate of grilled salmon and steamed broccoli with olive oil that Summer had prepared for them (no carbs to be found, obviously) across from each other in her apartment. It was Wednesday night, the two siblings had been sitting in silence for a good five minutes before Summer mentioned Cole’s face. He was in deep thought, chewing on some sort of question as well as his food.
“Oh, I was just thinking about the bathroom situation, Sum,” Cole returned hesitantly. He wasn’t sure if he should bring it up this early in their arrangement, if it was really his place to be suggesting changes in the parameters around the apartment. But, it was their first night eating together as both had been working late and putting in time at the gym, not eating much at home other than a few light snacks. So he felt now was as good a time as any.
As mentioned, Summer’s place was a one bedroom, one bath. Already in just three days, Cole was noticing how much time Summer spent in the mornings using the bathroom, keeping the door locked. It wasn’t exactly ideal as Cole usually found himself needing to use the toilet while she was in there taking her sweet time.
Summer was caught off guard, reacting startled by Cole’s statement.
“Oh,” Summer said. “What about it?”
Cole decided to just come out with it. Dancing around the topic wasn’t going to solve anything and if they were going to make this arrangement work, the bathroom had to be open in his opinion. No sugar coating this one.
“I think if we are going to make this arrangement work, me living here, the bathroom needs to be free,” Cole shared, and noticing his sister’s slightly bewildered expression, he decided to clarify. “Free meaning the door never locked.”
“Wait,” Summer responded after a moment of thought. “Why?”
“Well, it’s just you aren’t exactly the fastest in the bathroom and there are times when I really need to use the toilet while you’re in there,” Cole continued. “I mean this morning I had a hard time holding it. You took a half hour and I needed to go the whole time.”
“So you want an open bathroom policy,” Summer said, stating the obvious. “What am I supposed to do if you come in there needing to,” and here she hesitated, “take güvenilir bahis şirketleri a shit and I’m showering? Or I’m applying my makeup?”
“Well, on those occasions I will let you know and I guess it would be more comfortable for the two of us if you left the room for as long as it took.”
“Even if I’m in the shower?” Summer asked incredulously.
“No,” Cole answered quickly. Obviously he couldn’t very well expect her to jump out of the shower mid rinse just to let him take a shit in peace and quiet. Nor could he shit while his sister was shower. That seemed uncouth and a little disgusting quite frankly.
“I wouldn’t expect you to just hop out whenever I needed to go. In those instances, I think we should make it a rule that the other knocks on the door as a signal. The person in the shower then responds with ‘Okay’ to acknowledge the need for the bathroom and tries to finish as timely as possible before we trade places in the bathroom.”
Summer thought about her brother’s suggestion then nodded in agreement. “Yeah, that is a good idea.”
“Okay, and what about just general circumstances if I’m in the shower and you want to come in and brush your teeth or I don’t know, wash your face?” Summer asked.
“Yeah…?” Cole was confused at her point.
“Well, that’s not going to be awkward for you?” Summer asked with frustration. Even though she was asking him about the awkwardness, her question was more designed to address the awkwardness she felt at having an open bathroom.
Cole realized this. He spun the question back on her.
“You mean isn’t it going to be awkward for you.”
Summer just sat there with a shy smile on her face. Cole gave her a couple seconds and still she didn’t say anything. She looked sheepish. He took up the baton.
“Sum, we’re sleeping together. I think we can handle an open bathroom policy,” he said laughing.
Summer rolled her eyes before smiling reluctantly. Of course that was true and she was the one that initiated that set up. So far nothing unbecoming had happened in bed between them and she didn’t think anything would. She was being naive of course, but she liked keeping things simple that way. Summer often overlooked the problems that were likely to arise in a complicated situation.
Nearly half a minute passed and Summer was still quiet, just pushing salmon around her plate quietly with her fork. Cole thought he knew what she was concerned about.
“I’m not going to ogle you in the shower,” he said flatly.
“I know that, I just –,” Summer replied.
“You’re just insecure with your body,” Cole stated matter-of-factly.
Summer was aghast. She couldn’t believe her brother just said that and yet he was right. He was 100 percent on the money. How could he know that?! And why was it true? Why couldn’t Summer feel pride over how she looked? She looked away from her brother and nearly started to cry.
“Sum, you shouldn’t be uncomfortable with how you look,” Cole started.
“I’m not uncomfortable,” Summer answered quickly.
“Because frankly you’re gorgeous,” Cole finished without missing a beat.
Stunned, Summer suddenly looked right into her brother’s eyes searching for the truth of his belief. She saw nothing but honesty there.
“You really think so?”
“What?” Cole asked now equally stunned. “Summer, there’s not an ounce of fat on you that doesn’t actually help you look good. And your muscles…” Cole now realized this was her insecurity, “… make you look amazing.”
“Really?” Summer asked. There was genuine unknowing in her tone.
“Yes, Sum. Really.”
Summer set her fork down. She looked uncomfortable and uncertain.
“It’s just I don’t get hit on that much and I think guys are intimidated by me. I see it on their faces when I’m in the gym.”
“I think you’re probably not reading them correctly,” Cole replied. In his experience, most guys that spent regular time in the gym thought the opposite. Most were fully turned on by girls who had chiseled physiques. Certainly there was a tilting point, a line where a girl’s muscle got to be too much and made her look like a man rather than a woman. That was not hot. But Summer was nowhere near that point. She had a great body. In addition to her perfectly toned legs and fat ass (the only area where she still carried some fat) her arms and shoulders were chiseled, while her back was a work of art. Having shared a home with her for four days now, Cole had seen enough to know.
“Really?” Again Summer sounded uncertain.
“Summer, most guys that are regulars in the gym like girls who are toned the way you are,” he answered truthfully. Cole continued, “You’re built in all the right places and yet still you maintain your best feminine traits.
“Trust me. The guys you see looking at you, those guys are turned on, not intimidated.”
“I know,” he said, thinking internally because I am one.
“Thanks, Cole,” Summer responded lightly. She was struck by his kind words. She looked her brother in his eyes. There was only love and honesty there. She blinked a few times and then rose, taking their empty plates to the sink.
“Thanks for dinner, sis. It was good.” Cole joined her at the sink, putting away the oil and napkins while Summer rinsed off the plates.
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