If I said everything was good in my life, I’d be lying. Twenty-four years old, I spent Saturday morning studying philosophy for a test on my mother’s couch. I had been living with her and my sister for a month now, trying to rebuild my life, enjoying not having to pay rent at least for a while. So much for the guy who went to university abroad, I thought. The one who accepted a job offer to move back to the US just to see the company go bankrupt in a month; in one more, I had lost my recently purchased apartment.
When back, I thought about getting a second major, my sights on a master’s degree, just to find out not all of my credits were transferable. I chose some classes that would make my life easier, and I thought philosophy would be one of those. I had the class in high school and thought it would be a breeze. Aristotle, Descartes, and Hegel proved me wrong.
I felt imaginary smoke coming out of my ears while my brain fried into overdrive as I tried to come up with 1500 words for an assignment. I heard steps coming from the kitchen, and Mom was out at a Yoga class. It was Nina.
Unceremoniously bumping onto the back of the sofa I sat at, Katerina, my half-sister, seemed to be looking for something. Knowing her, banging on the couch was intentional. She’d never let pass a chance on being noticed by everyone; it didn’t matter the consequences. Once someone looked at her, it was hard to look away, and she had been trying very hard, every day, to catch my attention.
My mother, so intelligent she was, somehow got knocked up by a fucking Russian truck driver right after she divorced my father, the guy who got her pregnant while she was still in high school and then bailed on us. There was never an attempt to build a relationship since the new guy disappeared, hopping on the next plane back to his country – or at least that’s what she was told – as soon as he realized my mother wouldn’t give him the easy life he thought he’d get. Mom was very high up in the chain of corporate insurance, was making a lot of money, and although she seemingly couldn’t help herself spreading her legs for a motherfucker like that, she was still savvy enough not to let him into our lives. However, she had to raise my beautiful yet insufferable little sister by herself.
I never saw her complain, though. Apart from how she raised Katerina, I idolized my mother. The most cunning person I ever knew, who raised two kids by herself – with some help from my grandparents, but still – and managed to have a successful carrier. Also, at 39 years old and after having two kids, she was still gorgeous. Always very active, her thing now was practicing yoga. In my ignorance, I never gave much credit to that, considering it nothing but a handicapped version of any martial art – something I loved – but after noticing how tight her body was… I changed my mind. Not that she needed much help in that department. I had seen her in a bikini a week before, and I was stunned by how everything I guessed made all those men go crazy about her was still there: she had a perfect, petite frame, a round and tight butt, and smaller breasts that seemed immune to gravity. Once, I heard my grandma censuring her for not breastfeeding Nina, just as she probably didn’t with me, but seeing the end result, I didn’t judge her a bit. Our relationship was so cool and open that I told her that, and she chuckled.
The thing I missed the most while abroad was how she sometimes tended to lean her head on my shoulder when we were talking after I got taller – way taller – than her. I’d smell her shoulder-length brunette hair, and all would be well in the world. After I became a teenager, she became my best friend.
The thing I missed the least now that I was back was dealing with Nina.
“What the actual fuck!” I roared.
“What!?” She showed up from behind the couch, and I was struck by the sight of her pert young breasts barely covered by a white tank top. They were round, full, tempting, and in my case, forbidden to look at – it didn’t matter how much she didn’t care parading them around. I only imagined how the women would look like in her dad’s family, since she had manage to inherit all of the most beautiful traces from my mom, an already gorgeous woman, and then some, her breasts bigger than Mom’s. Genetics was a fascinating thing.
“I’m trying to study here!” I spat and looked elsewhere, wishing personality was also inheritable.
“And I’m trying to find my fucking socks! Don’t be such a baby!” She replied in the most annoying tone, a mix of high-pitch and bitchyness.
Even though she was nine years younger, I tried to build a good relationship with her. Nina was adorable from a young age, with long auburn hair that swirled into waves and curled down the way, skin so white and perfect, high cheeks with tiny freckles only speckled over them, a button for a nose, and big and bright green eyes. Her voice used to be smooth and melodious, and how she was tiny and delicate just roused every single overprotective cell I had in my body. I had a doll for a sister, I thought. Since they were my only family, I greatly valued my bond with them. For a good while, I treated her like a princess.
However, the truth about her showed up pretty soon. The more she grew, the more annoying she became, whether it be for my mom pampering her, the way she was understanding, or Nina’s acknowledgment of how gorgeous she was. Luckily, I didn’t have to stay around to see what sort of devilish teen she’d become, as I was already moving out of the country.
Well, I was correct in assuming that; every holiday I’d spend with them was the same uncomfortable situation. I’d have to watch my mother try to at least impose some limits on the girl, to no avail. Mom didn’t have the patience for it, giving up on arguments even before they began, and things escalated from there. Moreover, I noticed that chaos seemed to occur more often when I was around.
Nine months before, I visited them on Christmas. I was in a really good mood. I had graduated, was about to get that new job, was moving back to the US in five months, and was already looking for an apartment – which I discovered later as a terrible decision to have financed it right away without a reasonable down payment since I would only be able to keep it if I held that job… Stupid things you do when you’re twenty-four and excited about the future. Anyway. When I got home, the first thing that struck me was how Nina had developed in the one and a half years since I last visited.
Her first couple of years as a teen had done the trick, and although not much taller, her body had transformed completely. She was all curves in the right places; her hips had widened just right and connected with her slender and toned legs in a way she had a marvelous thigh gap. Full and firm C-cup breasts now inhabited the once mostly flat space on her chest, and they were only more noticeable by the way she didn’t seem to have gained any weight; her waist was thin, and her belly was flat. She let her hair grow, now falling wavy all the way down her back and almost touching her perfect butt… When she received me at the door wearing pink sweater pants that clung tightly to her every curve and a little shirt, I caught myself breathless for a second before my brain went back to work, and I remembered that she was my little sister. It wasn’t needed, though. Even if she wasn’t, I’d loathe her anyway. She stepped out the door wearing only that in the cold of December and stopped in front of me as I walked up the pathway, carrying my suitcase.
“Hi, Nina!” I tried sounding excited about seeing her again, maybe hoping for that sweetness she had when she was a kid – and I altogether avoided ogling her. It took her a second to answer as if she had waited for something that didn’t happen.
“Can you just get in? It’s freezing out here,” she whined at the door, sounding annoyed and nothing else, after seeing me for the first time in almost two years.
I never spoke to her on the phone while away, as I knew she wouldn’t pick it up, but I still made a point of sending her birthday presents for her thirteenth and fourteenth and not receiving a single thank you message. In person, it wasn’t much better.