Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Liberty #53: The Ballad of Daphne and Jacob

The red and black boxelders were back-to-back and motionless on the sidewalk. They were peculiarly large boxelders with a bright red outline, not the pale red Daphne usually saw. An eight-year-old Daphne Clare laid on the sidewalk, arms crossed under her chin and legs kicking in the air. She watched, motionless, as the bugs mated. A sneakered shoe came crashing down on the bugs right in front of Daphne’s face.

“Jacob!” Daphne shrieked as she jumped to her feet. “They were making babies!”

“Glad I stopped them then. Like we really need more bugs anyway,” Jacob laughed and looked at his friend, Nick.

“Bugs are important, Jacob. We need bugs,” Daphne informed.

“You are such a dork,” Jacob said to her. He turned back toward Nick. “We aren’t allowed to kill bugs in our house because Spider-Girl here wants to see them and ‘catalog’ them. Basically she has a notebook of spiders, moths, and ants.”

“I like bugs. Stop teasing me about it,” Daphne screamed. Emotions overcoming her, Daphne ran away. That evening, before dinner, Jacob went into Daphne’s room. “What?” she asked angrily.

“I’m sorry about earlier. I shouldn’t have stepped on those bugs. I also shouldn’t make fun of you for being passionate about something,” Jacob said as he sat next to Daphne on her bed, his hands clasped between his legs. “Even though I wish you were passionate about something less dorky but you are a pretty cool sister.”

Daphne hid her smile but then turned to Jacob. “You’re a pretty cool brother,” Daphne stood up and kissed Jacob on the cheek. “But don’t tease me again.”

“Promise,” Jacob raised his hand and smiled at his sister.

Six years had passed and much had changed. Jacob and Daphne got closer after their father died. Daphne continued her fondness of bugs and during the summer before her freshman year she attended a science camp where she got to learn with real entomologists and create her own catalog of insects.

Jacob’s summer was not as enjoyable as he seemed to spend most of his free time fighting with his girlfriend, Lisa. They finally broke up the first week of August and two before Daphne got home. Jacob made the drive to pick up Daphne and was anxious to see his sister again.

They hugged for a while, Daphne seemed to have grown taller, became tanner and filled out more. They got in the car and began the two hour drive back home. “How was your summer?” Jacob asked.

“It was amazing. A couple of the entomologists really thought I had a knack for bugs,” Daphne said. “They brought all these specimens so I got to see hundreds of bug from around the world. One of the entomologists even offers a summer class at the university for kids 14 and up.”

“That’s cool. Dorky, but it’s cool for you,” Jacob said. “Did you make friends with anyone?”

“Not really. I hung out with this girl, Lacey, for most of the camp. We were into the same things. I mostly hung out with Brent.”


“Yeah, we were kind of a couple at the camp. We were each other’s first relationship. We’re not seeing each other anymore. We promised that when camp was over, that we’d break up. It’s more romantic if it’s just a summer fling anyway,” Daphne explained.


“How was your summer?” Daphne asked Jacob.

“I worked most of the time. The rest of the time, Lisa and I broke up.”

Daphne made a noise of acknowledgement. “I didn’t like her anyway. She made weird noises when you two would do it.”

Jacob chuckled, imagining him and Lisa together and the odd gasping noise she made. “She was a nice girl,” Jacob defended. “And you shouldn’t eavesdrop on people having sex.”

“I’m just glad that I don’t make noises like that,” Daphne said.

“What? How do you know?”

“I told you that I spent a lot of time with Brent.”

Jacob pictured a pimply-faced boy with thick glasses and a bad haircut pawing at his sister. For some reason, in this image, Brent was in a white button-down shirt with a pocket protector. “Mm. Hope you used protection and that it was your decision.”

“Of course. Actually, Brent wasn’t really on board but I was able to change his mind,” Daphne smiled.

“Okay, I don’t need to hear this. What else did you do at camp?” Jacob asked, then added, “That was bug-related.”

“Jeez, Jacob, it was just one guy, I’m not the whore of science camp,” Daphne chuckled. “When we got there, we talked about what entomologists do and how they got into it and then they started telling stories of where they’ve been,” Daphne began and continued talking about her summer.

On the day that school started, Jacob woke up with a pressure on his chest. When his eyes opened, he saw Daphne laying on him like she used to do when they were kids. She was, of course, heavier now, her breasts pressed into his ribcage.

“Daphne, what are you doing?” Jacob groaned.

“Remember when I would do this every Saturday morning?” she asked.

“How could I forget?” he groaned again and shifted in bed. “Why are you doing it now?”

“Seemed like a good way to wake you up for your first day as a senior,” Daphne said. “Though when I was four and five, I didn’t have your morning wood poking me in the stomach.”

“Okay. Now it’s weird,” Jacob tried to get up but Daphne became dead weight on top of him.

“Did you know that I get to be in AP Biology my freshman year?” Daphne asked.

“No, I didn’t know that. I knew that you and Mom were fighting for it though. Congrats. Since I’m a senior I don’t have any science classes.”

“That sounds terrible,” Daphne sneered. She sat up a little, her shirt fell open and Jacob could see most of her breasts. He had not noticed how much Daphne had developed in the last year but saw now that she was growing into a beautiful young woman. “Whatcha thinking about?” Daphne asked as she fully sat up, still on top of him.

“Nothing. I need to start getting ready for school.” Again, Jacob tried to get up but Daphne put all her weight on him.

“Hold on a sec. One last thing,” Daphne leaned down and kissed Jacob on the mouth, her eyes closed and breasts fully pressed against him. She tried to force his mouth open with her tongue but he kept it shut. She pulled away and rolled off of him.

Jacob bolted from the bed and ran into the bathroom, locking the door. He turned on the sink faucet and waited for warm water that he splashed on his face and rubbed his eyes. He took off his clothes and turned on the shower.

As he washed himself, he could still feel Daphne’s lips on his. He ashamedly admitted to himself that he had wanted to kiss her back. He felt terrible about it. Daphne was his sister but she started it and refused to let him finish it.

He imagined the kiss and the weight of Daphne on top of him, her breasts hanging loose in her shirt. Jacob found himself fondling his genitals under the shower water. He took his imagination one step further and pictured himself pushing himself inside Daphne, causing him to finish, dripping onto the shower floor.

Angry and upset with himself, Jacob quickly finished his shower, dried off, wrapping the towel around him, grabbed his clothes and went back into his bedroom, locking the door.

Every Labor Day, the Clare family held a get-together at the home of one of the uncles. He and his wife owned a decent sized ranch house on a large piece of property surrounded by a wooded park. Neither Jacob nor Daphne liked going because they barely knew any of the relatives who came. They never remembered any names and the relatives never seemed to remember their ages. Jacob had to work at four so he drove himself while Daphne rode with their Mom.

“A senior?” asked one of the distant cousins in surprise. “Getting so big. You look so much like your father.”

Jacob shrugged. “Well, I try,” he smiled.

“Are you seeing anyone?”

“No, Connie. I’m preferring my senior year not be stressed out by being in a relationship. Besides, I’ve been working too much to have any free time anyway,” Jacob explained.

“Where do you work?” Connie asked.

“At a hardware store,” Jacob said. Jacob looked behind Connie and saw Connie’s daughter, Cindy. Cindy was three years older than Jacob and Jacob suddenly remembered the crush he had on Cindy when he was younger. When Jacob was 14, Cindy was a long-haired, tight pants wearing, big breasted taboo.

“Jacob? Are you okay?” Connie asked, getting his attention again. “Did you hear me?”

“Yeah, I’m fine. What’d you ask?”

“I asked how your sister is doing.”

“Daphne’s great but why don’t you ask her yourself? She’s right over there,” Jacob pointed over to Daphne with four other kids about her age. “I have to go. Excuse me.”

Jacob went to the garage to go in the house. Coming out was one of Jacob’s favorite relatives, Myron, a large man with a full, thick beard that was salt and peppered with gray. “Jacob, how you doing?”

“I’m doing good, Myron. It’s great to see you.”

“I know. How’s school?”

“It’s my senior year so it’s pretty laid back.”

“How’s work?”

“Can’t complain.”

“Are you seeing anybody?”

Jacob sighed. “No, Myron. I’m taking this year off from girls.”

“I don’t blame you. Women are wonderful but sometimes we men need a break,” Myron slapped Jacob’s shoulder. “Nice to see you, Jacob.”

“You, too,” Jacob said and he went inside the house.

Daphne was still with the four other kids. Malachi and Austin were fighting with sticks, Molly was typing on her phone, her face never leaving the screen, and Alex was coloring on the sidewalk with chalk which was what Daphne opted to do.

The boys were now whacking themselves with their sticks each saying “Ow” with each hit. “Boys, stop it,” Daphne said.

The boys kept hitting each other and giggling. Austin hit Malachi’s stick out of his hand and it broke in half. “Hey,” Malachi exclaimed. “Stop. I need to get a new stick,” Malachi ran off to find another stick.

“Why don’t you color with Alex and me,” Daphne offered. “You can join us, too, Molly.”

“Ugh,” Molly sneered. “Coloring is kids’ stuff.”

“Yeah, and you’re twelve—still a kid.”

“I am a young adult,” Molly said snobbily.

“Found a new stick,” Malachi approached the four of them, swinging a large branch that had broken off a tree over his head.

“Malachi, put that down. You boys need to find something else to do,” Daphne said.

“You can’t tell us what to do,” Austin said.

“Yeah,” Malachi said and he swung the branch toward Austin. He nearly hit Molly and Daphne as well.

“You’re going to hit somebody with that,” Daphne warned.

“That’s the point,” Malachi said.

Daphne groaned loudly. “I’m going in,” Daphne stood up and went into the house. As she rounded the corner of the hallway, she ran into Jacob. “Oh, hey. Am I really related to these people?”

“I’m afraid you are.”

“Why do I have nothing in common with Austin, Malachi or Molly? They are all terrible, terrible children.”

Jacob laughed. “I don’t know. I want to know why everyone here seems so concerned with my romantic life. Everyone has asked me if I’m seeing anyone.”

“And what’d you say?”

“I told them that I’m dating my sister,” Jacob said. “I said that I’m taking a break from relationships for my senior year.”

“Nice. No getting run out of the family with torches and pitchforks today,” Daphne leaned up and kissed Jacob on the mouth. He kissed back but quickly pulled away.

“Careful,” Jacob rubbed her cheek with a finger. “There are eyes everywhere. Are you coming home with me? I’m thinking of leaving.”

“Yes, please,” Daphne said. “I’m gonna go to the bathroom. I’ll meet you outside.”

“Okay, I’m going to tell Mom we’re leaving and say good-bye to everyone,” Jacob said.

The drive from the get-together took about an hour. Daphne was upset that no one asked her about school. Jacob decided that he would stop going every year and go every other or every third year. Daphne also complained more about Malachi and Austin but soon started talking about school assignments that needed to get done.

When they got home, Daphne immediately took off her pants and bra. “I need to finish the questions for chapters five through eight,” she sighed.

“You have Mr. Rappaport so you are reading To Kill a Mockingbird?” Jacob asked.

“Yep, which I read two years ago. I’m excited to read Romeo and Juliet and Grapes of Wrath later this year.”

“I own both of those books if you want to read them.”

“I may do that. At least with Grapes of Wrath,” she sighed again and walked over to Jacob. She pressed herself against him and hugged. “What time do you have to be at work?”


“We got time. Come into my bedroom…” Daphne said sweetly, slightly pulling Jacob with her.

Like every morning, Jacob’s alarm clock went off at 6:45. He rolled over to shut it off then rolled back over to Daphne. “Morning,” he said, like he said every morning and kissed Daphne on the forehead.

“Morning, bro,” she kissed him on the mouth. She snuggled next to him and lined herself up with him. “Can we have a quickie this morning?”

Jacob and Daphne had been together for a little over five months and since Thanksgiving, they’d become lackadaisical in keeping their relationship secret. Trysts at home that were originally saved for when their Mom was out and they were alone were now done almost every night after Daphne went from her bedroom to Jacob’s. They had also started to do some of their lovemaking outside either in Jacob’s car at Spring Lake Park or the wooded area on the backside of the levee.

“We can’t. Mom’s going to be up soon if she isn’t already,” Jacob threw off the blanket and got out of bed. Daphne got out of bed and grabbed her underwear and a shirt that used to belong to their Dad off the floor. Jacob glanced at Daphne’s naked body before she started covering herself.

From a glance, Daphne looked like an adult. Sturdy legs, a flat stomach, big breasts, confident shoulders and knowledgeable eyes. But in more ways, she was just a child. Self-applied chipped nail polish, bruises on her legs from gym and being outside, unkempt pubic hair, baby fat prominent around her hips and armpits, braces and self-applied hair dye that wasn’t evenly distributed in her hair.

“Are you okay?” Daphne asked, noticing him staring off toward where she was standing. She had put on the shirt, it went down to her knees, and her underwear—a faded pink pair with flowers and bees—was bunched up in her hand. Jacob’s eyes flashed up toward hers and reached out, grabbed her arm and pulled her onto the bed. Jacob got on top of her, Daphne giggled like a girl in Kindergarten the whole time.

Their Mom had opted for a small gravestone for their father with only his name on it. Jacob had left school after fourth period to go to the cemetery. He sat on the grass in front of the stone with his legs crossed.

“You probably hate me,” Jacob began. “But it’s both of our faults. Daphne first suggested it but I guess I could’ve turned her down or not let it go as far as it has. I don’t even know why we did it but I know that it needs to stop. I wish you were here. I’m graduating in a couple of months and Daphne is becoming a fine young woman and I’d like to think that our…special relationship helped that. This would be easier if you were here. Maybe I became her lover because I wanted to be more than her brother but being her father was too stressful. I should’ve just stayed her brother and not let it bother me. I wish I could start this school year over again—at least in that area.”

During fifth period, as Jacob was at the cemetery, Daphne was usually in the library with Cameron Sinclair helping him with his math. Cameron was a sophomore and was assigned to get tutoring help from Daphne.

“This is all easy stuff, slope, x-y coordinates, graphing. All easy. You’ll pick it up quick,” Daphne said.

“That’s good. It looks easy but that’s probably because it’s mostly pictures,” Cameron said.

Daphne giggled. “That does help. Okay, for number one, you have to find the slope of this line,” she pointed to the graph with her pencil eraser.

“Before we start, I have a question.”


“You’ve been tutoring me how long?”

“Since the semester began so two, two and a half months.”

“Would you want to go out with me?”

“On a date?”

Cameron nodded nervously.

“That’d be nice,” she smiled and took Cameron’s hand.

As spring break came to a close, Daphne and Cameron made love for the first time. Jacob might not have even known Daphne had started dating Cameron if he hadn’t come home from work the Saturday before school started back up after vacation and saw Daphne and Cameron making out on the couch. Their liaisons had ended a while ago with no explanation and Jacob wasn’t going to try and pry one from her.

“I didn’t know you had company,” Jacob said as Daphne slid off of Cameron and adjusted her clothing that was askew. “Who is this?”

“This is my boyfriend, Cameron. Cameron, this is my brother Jacob. You have probably seen him around school,” Daphne introduced.

“Hi,” Cameron said. “Daphne and I have been dating for more than a month and she hasn’t introduced me to her family yet. It’s nice to finally meet one of them.”

“I didn’t know you were dating anyone, sis.”

“I didn’t know how you would take it,” Daphne said. “I know how much you liked my last boyfriend.”

“Eh, he wasn’t that great. I think he took advantage of you a few times and he definitely moved way too fast for you,” Jacob said, lowering his voice.

“I took advantage of him, too. I wanted someone I trusted and cared about to be my first. It helped show me what I wanted in a boyfriend and how to handle boys. It was a good relationship and because of it, I now have Cameron, who I am really falling for as you may have noticed,” she chuckled and took Cameron’s arm.

Jacob was silent for awhile, working his way through his sister’s explanation of their relationship. He had used Daphne to get over Lisa but not lose the physical contact while Daphne had used him to grow up and learn more about herself. He felt worse than he had during their relationship and was disappointed that he hadn’t been a good brother or boyfriend to Daphne.

“You two have fun,” he smiled at them. “You should invite Cameron to stay for dinner some night, Daphne.”

“I will,” she held Cameron tight and kissed his chin.

“I’ll see you later, Daph. Cameron, I hope to see you more.”

“I hope so, too. Good-bye, Jacob,” Cameron said and he and Daphne left the apartment.

They closed the door behind them and Jacob heard them go down the stairs. Jacob turned and went into his room. He sat on his bed and saw a pair of Daphne’s underwear tangled in his blanket. He chuckled, took them and tossed them into her bedroom. As he walked back into his, he saw a piece of paper on his desk. He went over to it and looked at it. In Daphne’s handwriting was his name at the top of the paper but the rest of it was blank.