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Chapter 1: July 1998 – A Shoulder to Cry On.
The Tangled Web is a story spanning several years and is based on the complicated lives of a brother and sister and those they live with. Set in the English Midlands, the tale is told through a series of interlocking short stories. Although designed to be read in sequence, I have tried to make each chapter stand as a complete and satisfying story in itself. (The story told in Chapter 1 has already been published in a different form under another of my pseudonyms. Apologies if you’ve read it before – I assure you all the other chapters are new.)
“Midge! What’s wrong?” A soft, familiar voice from behind her asked gently. A familiar hand fell lightly on her shoulder. Sam eased back the chair next to her and slid alongside. “Are you crying? Come on! Tell me what’s happened.”
Sara hardly responded. Her elbows on the table cloth, her hands over her face, her shoulders continued to shake. “I’m OK Sam.” She eventually mumbled.
“I can clearly see you aren’t OK.” Replied Sam quietly, and placing his right hand lightly on Sara’s forearm, he lowered it to the table revealing her pale, mascara-streaked cheek. He turned his chair to look her straight in the eyes, and held both her hands in his. His voice was soft and reassuring. “Come on Midge, talk to big brother.”
The room around them was full of noise as the band played the usual holiday tunes. The dance floor was full and the jasmine-scented Spanish night was warm. A light breeze drifted in from the sea, across the beach and the woodland that surrounded the villa. It was a perfect romantic night.
The holiday had been their parents’ idea, and until that day had been a reasonable one, if you ignored David – and she wanted to ignore David. Sara’s Mum and Dad had been staying in their Spanish house over the summer months, and had invited Sara and her boyfriend David and her brother Sam and his wife Lynn to stay with them for a couple of weeks. The weather had been perfect, the sea warm, and both couples had been able to spend as much time alone as they wanted. Sara and Sam had always been close. The age difference between them was just over one year and, although Sam had made great capital out of this when they were young, it had become less relevant as they became teenagers and at their current ‘advanced’ ages of 21 and 23, had been completely forgotten.
They lived in a city in the English Midlands. Sara was a student at the local university. Just about to enter her final year, she lived with their parents in an attempt to save money. She had many friends; in particular David, her boyfriend of just over 18 months, and spent as much time as lectures and tutorials allowed at the nearby sports club, membership of which was a perennial gift from their parents.
Sam had always been the film star of the family. He was tall and dark and athletically built. Now with a two week Mediterranean tan he looked like an arrival from Hollywood and Sara had noticed with amusement how he always attracted attention in public. He attracted the admiring attentions of woman. He evoked feelings of envy and sometimes hostility in men. Sara wasn’t sure it was a nice position to be in. Sam had graduated a year ago, and had been accepted on the Management Training Scheme for the large multi-national company that dominated their city. He lived in a newly-built flat with Lynn, his wife of over a year.
Sara, on the other hand, had a certain ‘girl next door’ quality which no amount of gym sessions, hairdresser visits, clothes or make up could completely eliminate. Always in the top 3 at school, she too was quite tall, and knew her slim, toned body to be attractive. Her shoulder length brown hair was soft and glossy, but she had realized years ago that she wasn’t going to be one of those girls who everybody stared after in the street. Her small breasts didn’t help there, even now not requiring a bra. But she didn’t give up. She trained regularly, swam regularly, read practically every women’s magazine in existence and took care to try and make the most of her pleasant features.
Sam’s wife Lynn, however, was one of those women that other women hate. He had met her at the sports club to which they all belonged. At that time she was working in the beauty salon attached to the club and had caught the eye of every man who entered. Even the gay ones admired her waist length blonde hair. Naturally blessed with breasts that would cost many women thousands of pounds, she was tall and very slim and knew exactly how to dress to make the most of her figure. Sara had once thought ruefully that it didn’t seem to matter that she had difficulty giving the right change sometimes and could barely identify Africa on a world map. Never mind, Sam could always show her. But then, Sam might have a bit of difficulty with that himself. Lynn and Sam were a ‘golden couple’, apparently made for each other, but Sara had begun to suspect that all was not quite as it should be.
David, Sara now believed, had been a mistake. They had been together pendik escort for well over a year and things had not been going well recently. David was tall and dark like Sam. In moments of self-doubt Sara wondered if she had started ‘going out’ with him because of that resemblance. Intellectually much brighter than Sam, he lacked Sam’s confidence and felt the need to prove himself on an almost daily basis. Unusually well endowed, his lovemaking had initially terrified Sara who was less sexually-oriented than he would have preferred. Sara often thought he confused size with sensitivity and although his extraordinary erection could often certainly bring her to orgasm, it was often accompanied by pain and consequently she could not bring herself to make love as frequently as David demanded. As a result, there was often tension in their relationship.
He also had a wandering eye. It had not taken long for Sara to see this and she did not like it. She was almost sure that David had had ‘a fling’ with at least one of her girl friends over the last year, and he certainly could not keep his eyes off Lynn.
She had faced him with it tonight. The row had been brewing all day. When she had woken up that morning, there had been the sound of splashing from the pool outside. David routinely woke before her, but during this holiday he had always been missing for up to an hour before breakfast. She had descended the stairs and to her surprise had seen David on the covered patio, partly concealed behind a pillar, looking intently towards the pool. She had approached him silently and quickly realized that the object of all his intention was Lynn in her slender one-piece costume doing her daily pre-breakfast 100 lengths of the pool. He was gazing across – staring in fact – and was keeping to the edge of the patio, apparently to avoid being seen. As he stared, he was doing something with his right arm, in front of his body. Sara, puzzled, moved forwards to get a better view. As she drew closer, her bare foot had made a sound on the tiled floor and David had spun round to reveal to her horror his hand down the front of his boxer shorts holding a massive erection. She had said nothing, turning away back into the bedroom, but it was going to be impossible for her to pretend nothing had happened.
Unsurprisingly, there had been an awkward atmosphere during the day. David had been distant, Sara had been cold and aloof with him, and she could not avoid feeling it was somehow partly Lynn’s fault. It had been a relief therefore, when Sam had suggested going to the party at the beach bar that night. They had all eagerly agreed.
At first things were going quite well. Pent up tension led to them all drinking perhaps a little too much too quickly and Sara could feel herself feeling distinctly tipsy. She also felt bolder and more confident – Dutch courage, she thought. She had danced with Sam and with David. They had danced as a group to the silly holiday dance routines, laughing at themselves despite the tension. Sam and Lynn had danced and Sara and Sam had danced – quite a lot because she was still angry with David.
As midnight approached, Sara and David had been sitting alone at their table, drinking water to cool themselves down. Sara noticed David’s eyes fixed on the dance floor and looked across to see what was drawing him. She saw, as expected, Lynn in her tight, short silver dress gyrating to a powerful rhythm alongside Sam in his tight T shirt and trousers. David’s eyes were fixed on Lynn’s smoothly covered behind. Sara could contain herself no longer.
Taking the jug of Sangria in her hand, she threw it in David’s face. He leapt backwards, knocking over his chair, and stood up, purple droplets falling from his hair, face and shirt.
“What was that for?”
“You know, you bastard”
“No I don’t! Tell me! Have you lost your mind?”
And it had gone on from there. Sara had accused him of being unfaithful with her friends – which, she thought later, he had not actually denied – and had told him exactly what she thought of his Peeping Tom activities and of his jerking off looking at Lynn. David, unable to deny the accusations, had chosen to try and blame her, her body and her ability in bed. Their raised voices brought silence to the tables near them, but the loud music ensured they made little impact on the dancing crowd.
“I hate you!” Sara finally breathed at David. She meant it too. “Just go away. I never want to see you again. Ever”. David had silently stood up, turned, and had left the party. Sara had turned, placed her head in her hands, and tried nobly not to cry. Nobly but unsuccessfully. And that is how Sam had found her.
Holding her hands in his, Sam had gradually coaxed some of the story out of Sara. Her distress was painful for Sam, and she frequently dissolved in renewed tears, but eventually she told him all she felt able to. Sara kept back the identity of the object of David’s fantasies, and the nastier things her had said about her sexual performance, but in the end maltepe escort she was surprised just how much better it felt to have unburdened herself so fully to someone so close, someone who would never hurt her.
Sam held her close as she talked, and when she had finished, brought her a large Spanish brandy from the bar. The thick, pungent liquid brought warmth to her insides and with it, a determination to get over this row – a determination not to be defeated.
In the candlelight, Sam saw the colour gradually return to her cheeks. He patted her knee affectionately.
“Come on Midge!” he said, using the pet name they had known as long as she could remember. “Let’s dance this off.”
Sara nodded and smiled, squeezing his hand, then said
“I’ll be right back”.
Sam waited at their table while Sara went to the ladies’ room to repair some of the damage the tears had done to her face. When she returned, Sam couldn’t help but notice the slightly puffy eyes and paleness beneath her tan, but had to admire the strength of character of his little sister. He also realized how vulnerable she really was. His chest ached when he thought of David and the pain he had inflicted on her. Sam would deal with David later, but his first duty was to make sure Sara was OK.
He watched her gracefully moving across the room towards him. She really was lovely, he thought. A ‘deep down’ loveliness that would mature, not fade. He thought of his wife, Lynn. Although stunningly pretty, Lynn was already showing signs of the deep insecurity suffered by girls who know their best asset is their looks and that these would not last forever. He wondered if marrying Lynn had been a mistake; whether he had acquired a trophy rather than a wife. Whether he should have looked for someone less obvious, more like…..he shook his head in agitation and looked towards the cloakrooms for Sara.
As she approached him, he rose to meet her and together they crossed to the packed dance floor. Wriggling their way past scores of half-drunk revelers, they at last found a small gap in the crowd and began to dance enthusiastically. Sam was pleased to see how quickly the music and motion seemed to cheer Sara up, and as they danced, he watched the tension leave her body and the frown lines leave her face.
Tacky holiday Pop music was replaced by more involving dance anthems and the few remaining children in the room drifted away to bed. The crowd thinned and with more space around them, they moved with the rhythm as the night went on. Tired, but increasingly happy together, they remained on the dance floor as the music changed to a slow, romantic set.
Sam expected Sara to want to sit this out, but to his surprise and considerable pleasure she moved towards him and placed her hands a little formally on his upper arms. His hands fell automatically to her waist and they danced closer together – close enough to talk over the music.
“She went back with Mum and Dad. She saw how upset you were and left me to look after you.”
“So we’re on our own then?”
“Yes. Do you want to go back soon?”
“No way! I don’t want to take the chance of seeing David tonight. Let’s stay here.”
“I’d love to, Midge”
And they had danced longer into the night. The dance floor thinned out as midnight passed. Only a handful of couples remained. The slow romantic dance music was replaced by Billy Joel’s ‘Just the Way You Are’ and Sara, physically and emotionally tired, moved closer, to rest her head on Sam’s chest. Sam could smell the sweet cleanness of her hair as it brushed against his cheek and ached as he thought of the pain she had suffered. Sara felt reassured by the presence of Sam’s strong body against hers. Her eyes closed and they rocked gently, closer together with the music.
Unconsciously Sara’s arms slid up around Sam’s back, and his hands moved to her shoulder blades. The music continued, their bodies swaying together to the slow beat. David could feel Sara press closer to him, and thought that there was nothing he would not do to protect his lovely, vulnerable sister. His arms held her tighter. Sara held Sam close, absorbed in the motion of their bodies. She felt part of him firming against her stomach, but thought nothing of it. He was good and loved her and such a reaction was only natural.
She slid her fingers further up his spine, and felt his hands slide down towards her buttocks, which surprised, but did not disturb her. She pressed against him, aware of his hardness more clearly now. She hated David. It felt good to be with a person she could really trust, someone who would always be there for her. She would always be devoted to Sam; she loved him and there was nothing she would not do for him. She opened her eyes and looked up at his face.
Their lips met.
It was an electric moment, unplanned by either of them. Without thinking, their mouths opened and their tongues touched. Suddenly they both realized what had happened. In shock, each kartal escort turned their face away. Both tried to believe it had been an accident. Deep down, both knew it had not been. Each thought that they had made it happen. Each was frightened about the other’s response. No words were spoken; each tried not to catch the other’s eye, but neither wanted the dancing to stop. They danced on, but their movements were stiffer, more reserved.
At length, Sara plucked up the courage to look up again into Sam’s face. To her relief, she saw no horror or disgust, just the same warmth that he saw in hers.
Slightly awkward, neither wanting the evening to end in such a manner, they resumed their slightly formal stance. They continued to dance stiffly at first but, as the music played on surrounding them, they couldn’t resist moving closer together once more and as Sara’s arms once again wrapped themselves around Sam’s body, she felt his hands return to the base of her spine. As the DJ announced the last dance, they were once again relaxed in each other’s arms.
At last, the music ended for the night. Sam looked silently, even anxiously into Sara’s eyes. He saw what he hoped was a willing acceptance of what had happened. He hoped so much that there would be no recriminations. Taking her by the hand, Sam led her out of the room and into the night.
As the party lights were one by one extinguished, so the night grew darker. A bright full moon shone down, giving the world an eerie black and white appearance. The sound of the waves lapping the pebbles on the shore was a soothing contrast to the noise of the music. They walked hand in hand across the lawn and down a short path through woodland to the beach. The heady smell of pine trees filled their nostrils and Sara began to feel light headed. Just as she began to feel the silence had gone on too long, Sam turned to her, his eyes lowered to his feet and mumbled.
“Midge. I’m really sorry. I don’t know what came over me. You were upset. I’m really sorry…”
Before he could finish his sentence, Sara had raised a finger to his lips to silence him, and placed her mouth once again lightly but deliberately on his. There was no mistake this time; no suggestion of an accident. Sara had kissed him.
Hesitantly, still unsure of themselves, they began to kiss again. At first their lips barely touched, each still anxious and afraid, then as each became accustomed to the feel of a familiar mouth in a most unfamiliar way, Sara’s arms rose to wrap themselves around Sam’s shoulders. Sam’s hands pressed lightly against Sara’s bottom, the real meaning of his hardness now obvious to her. They stood motionless in the moonlight, mouths open, tongues meeting, touching, exploring the new warmth of each other’s embrace.
At long length their lips reluctantly parted. Sam held Sara’s fingers in his and squeezed them gently, not really understanding what had happened; not knowing what to do next. Sara saw the anxious look in his soft, gently eyes and reassured him.
“Come on Sam, let’s paddle!” She whispered.
She kicked off her shoes and waited while Sam did the same. Sara bent to her knees and rolled up Sam’s trouser legs, giggling as she did so. She took his hand and led him to the water’s edge. Sam felt the warm evening sand between his toes as he followed his sister to the white-edged waves lapping gently on the beach. Cool water flowed over his feet and ankles, and together they walked silently, hand in hand along the sea’s edge. A sense of unreality surrounded Sam, whose conscience and body were sending strong, diametrically opposite messages to his brain.
Reaching a small concrete jetty, they changed direction to walk away from the sea and towards a group of pine trees clustered around the edge of the nearby golf course. The warm sand under their feet was replaced by sharp pine needles which made them skip like children, then by the soft feel of close cropped grass.
At the edge of the long, smooth fairway, Sara stopped, still holding Sam’s hand. She turned to face him. Without a word, their lips met once again, this time with increasing passion. Mouths opening, tongues seeking each other’s, they melted into each other’s mouths and their bodies pressed close together, two dark shapes in the moonlight merging into one. Sam felt dizzy with unreality, still in a dream from which he was afraid to wake. Sara felt increasing passion, an increasing need to become closer to Sam in every possible way.
They paused momentarily in their embrace, gazing into each other’s eyes. Sara reached up to cup her brother’s face in her palms. His hands rose to her waist, then her sides, and then slid upwards to gently cup her small breasts. He waited, expecting a reprimand, but none came. Instead, her mouth returned to his, and his hands worked their way around her breasts to allow his thumbs to lightly rub her nipples through her dress. He felt a firming beneath his fingers, and a bulging in his pants. Breathing more heavily now, Sara pulled herself towards Sam, pressing her body against his in a now familiar manner. Her flat stomach pressed hard against his erection – she could not possibly fail to notice it and understand it – and his hands fell to her buttocks to hold her close and press her to him.
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