Into Her Life: (The Complete Taboo Story of Forbidden Love)

BOOK: Into Her Life: (The Complete Taboo Story of Forbidden Love)
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Into Her Life

(
The Complete Taboo Story of Forbidden Love)

Jill Soffalot

Copyright 2014 Jill Soffalot

Wild Charm Publishing Amazon Edition

Cover Design Sam Butters

Chapter One:
The Reunion

Keryn was a bundle of nerves. That was nothing out of the ordinary for a high-strung, caffeine-addicted professional young woman in New York City, but this morning was anything but ordinary. She wiped off her kitchen counter and looked at the clock on the stove. It was eight o'clock. She should already be at work, but she'd arranged to have the morning off. Company was coming.

The kitchen was perfect. The whole place looked great. Actually, the whole apartment was the cleanest it had been in a long time. Maybe that was an unexpected benefit to having her brother come and stay with her. No, she scratched that thought immediately. She could have cleaned her apartment anytime, and she didn't need that little weasel coming to make her vacuum.

But now that the apartment was clean, what should she do? She'd already checked her email and all relevant social media three times since getting up. Why was she so nervous? Just because of the interruption to her schedule, she thought. And okay, seeing her brother for the first time in twelve years had something to do with it too.

Keryn grabbed her purse and took the elevator downstairs. On the corner was a little shop, and she popped in and bought a pack of cigarettes, then went back upstairs to her place. She didn't usually smoke. She usually only smoked at parties when she'd been drinking, although sometimes she would bum one from a co-worker when she was particularly stressed out at work. He was supposed to be at her place around nine. He'd taken an overnight bus, and he was supposed to get a cab from Penn Station to her Chelsea apartment. It was eight fifteen. She didn't like waiting. That's why she was stressed out, she told herself.

C.J. was coming. What a stupid name. Christopher Johnathon, C.J. for short. They usually shortened it to Ceej, and her dad once told her that his high school rock band had been called "Siege." How clever.

Keryn and C.J. did not get along as kids. Not at all. When their parents separated and she and her dad had moved away, that effectively ended her relationship with her little brother. She'd kept in touch with her mom, exchanging letters and phone calls, but she and her brother had exchanged nothing. The most she saw from him was a signature on a birthday card that her mom had written a message on. That was about the most that she gave him as well.

She stepped out onto her tiny balcony and lit a cigarette, took a drag and waited for the wash of chemicals to run through her. She felt it in her lungs on the second drag. You can't be a regular smoker in New York City. The car exhaust is too heavy. Even if you're not a smoker, you're already a smoker. If you smoke cigarettes, you're a double smoker. She got the buzz that she was looking for and crushed out the smoke. She wasn't going to start smoking on account of that little jerk C.J.

C.J. the rat. C.J. the momma's boy. And what was she? Keryn the bitch. Keryn the snotty brat. They never got along, like there was some chemical problem between them. But he was coming, and she was letting him stay at her apartment as a favor to her parents.

Nine o'clock passed and he didn't show up. She smoked the first half of another cigarette and checked herself in the mirror for the hundredth time. She looked perfect. Maybe the best she ever had, despite the nerves. Her dark brunette hair was swept flawlessly back and tied neatly behind her head. Her makeup was perfect. Dark, smoky eye shadow, dark lipstick, her cheekbones perfectly accentuated. Since she would go to work after he arrived, she was dressed smartly in a black skirt and navy blouse. She would put the jacket on when it was time to go.

Why did she want to look so good for him? She wanted to show him that she had it all together, that she was professional. Based on the situation, she knew he had turned out to be a fuck-up, and she wanted to show him that she was on top.

The buzzer sounded, announcing his arrival. She hit the intercom button. "It's C.J.," he said, and she buzzed him up. Two minutes later he arrived at her fourth floor apartment door. And like she expected, he looked like a rumpled bag of shit.

C.J. was tall and slender, but he had a good frame and broad shoulders. His tousled brown hair hung in his blue eyes, and he looked exhausted but happy. He was dressed in faded black jeans and running shoes with a black t-shirt and a faded denim jacket. On his back hung a green canvas backpack, and he had two hard-bodied guitar cases with him: a long flat one holding a electric guitar, and a thicker one for his acoustic.

He smiled. "Hey, Keryn," he said. "Good to see you." He stepped forward and offered to hug her. She leaned back slightly, but allowed him a half-hug, patting him on the shoulder. She could smell stale beer on his morning breath.

"Hi, C.J. How was the ride?" She disengaged from the hug and backed up, giving him room to enter her apartment.

He grabbed his guitar cases and brought them inside, then closed the door behind him. "Rough," he said. "I don't usually sleep very well on buses. My buddies gave me a bit of a going away party last night, and I figured some beers would help me sleep, but I think I only slept two or three hours on the whole trip."

"Oh yeah, I remember," she said. "You used to throw up on the city bus."

He paused and looked at her. "I don't throw up anymore," he said. "I just said I don't sleep very well."

She smiled. "Right. Okay, well, I've got to go to work this morning, so I'll just let you know." They were standing in the living room. It was a nice apartment, but it wasn't huge. "Living room, kitchen," she pointed. "That door is my bedroom. I think you can respect my privacy in there. And bathroom." Without moving a step she'd given him a complete tour. "Any questions?"

He looked around. "The couch is mine?"

She nodded. "You can sleep on the couch while you're here. You're doing some kind of music thing, right?"

He nodded. "Song writing for some cable shows. One of my old band buddies has been year for a year and he got hooked up doing this stuff. He wanted me to come and help out too. He said it can be pretty good money."

"Cool," she said. "Do you know how long it's going to go? I mean, how long you'll be doing it?"

"I'm not sure," he said, taking off his shoes and crossing the room to sit down on the couch. "Maybe a few weeks. If it looks like it'll be permanent then I'll get him to help me sort out another place to live. Um, I don't know if Mom or Dad explained, but there's no up-front cash for this, but I'll be able to give you some money before I leave."

"Okay," she said. "We can worry about that later. Do you have money for food and stuff?"

He nodded. "Some. I should be fine. My buddy should be able to hook me up with whatever I need. You don't need to worry about anything like that. You're doing me a huge favor just letting me sleep here."

"No problem." She relaxed a little a gave him a half-way genuine smile. "But for now there's food in the kitchen if you need to eat."

"That's fine," he said. He yawned. "If it's okay with you I'm just going to grab a shower and have a nap. I really didn't sleep much on the bus."

"Sure. I'll get going to work then. Um, make yourself at home. I'm not sure what time I'll be back. Around seven I expect. There's an extra set of keys on the kitchen counter. Have you got my cell number?"

"It's in my phone. Mom gave it to me."

"Great." She picked up her jacket and slipped it on, and picked up her work bag. "Okay, I guess I'll see you tonight."

"Okay. Hey, Keryn?" She paused and he smiled at her. "It's really good to see you. You look really great."

"Thanks." She gave him a smile and slipped out the door, closing and locking it behind her.

 

It was a tough day at work. Even though she'd been given permission to miss the morning, she caught hell as soon as she arrived and had to scramble to catch up. She worked in the main office of a clothing label, and although it wasn't the insanely pressure-packed world of high fashion, it was an upper-tier label, and she was constantly in motion. It was a stressful job, but it was what she thrived on. She loved the pressure, and she loved being a central component of a large, fast-spinning machine. At twenty-five she was on her way up. She knew everyone. She was trusted. She was needed. The only difficulty was that it's hard to miss a morning when everyone needs you.

She stayed until she was almost caught up, then decided she would bring home supper for C.J. She didn't want to end up feeding and totally supporting him, but she didn't want to be rough on him either. After all, he'd just arrived in New York and didn't know where anything was. She could bring him take out for his first night.

There was a Thai place on her way home, and she picked up chicken pad Thai and green curry with rice, but when she got back to the apartment she found it dark and empty. There was no note, but C.J.'s guitar's were gone. His canvas bag was neatly tucked next to the couch. Except for that bag there was barely any evidence that anyone had been there.

Keryn ate the curry and put the pad Thai in the fridge. She called her dad and said that C.J. had arrived safe and sound.

"Are you guys... getting along so far?" he asked.

"Sure," she said. "Come on, we're both adults."

She poured herself a glass of pinot noir and put in a DVD, but couldn't concentrate on the movie. C.J. had been ten when she and her dad had left, and she'd been thirteen. Now he was twenty-two and she was twenty-five. Of course, they were adults now, but they were still the same people. Would they be able to get along?

It was like having a total stranger in the house. She knew their dad was worried about it. C.J. was still his baby boy. Even though she never made the trips, he'd often visited him, even driving long nights just to see his awful high school band play. That type of thing was important to him. She could never find it in herself to care.

But she would make sure she was bigger than that this time. She would show herself, and C.J. and her parents that she wasn't the stuck-up, self-centered little monster anymore. She felt bad sometimes about how she'd treated people in the past, but things hadn't been easy for her. Her childhood seemed like it was on a constant spin cycle. She could never feel settled, no matter how stable things seemed. She'd been an anxious child, and she took everything out on those around her. But she was different now. She was centered.

At eleven o'clock he still hadn't come back to the apartment. She texted him to make sure he was okay, and ten minutes later got a reply: "with greg working. will b late." She left a note on the counter saying there was food in the fridge and went to bed.

Chapter Two: Morning Yoga

Keryn was an early riser. She was up at a quarter to six, and quietly emerged from her bedroom to find C.J. asleep on the living room couch. He was snuggled deeply into the pillows, with his back to the room. Perfect, she thought. She was already used to the idea of having him here, and after the first day he certainly hadn't interfered with her routine. And her morning routine was very important to her.

She made her green tea, padding quietly around the kitchen to avoid waking him. The green tea was her first caffeine hit of the day, and she sipped it while slipping into her tight little yoga shorts and sports bra and selecting that day's yoga DVD.

The morning yoga routine was crucial to her. Although most of her waking hours were spent in a go-go-go frame of mind, the forty minutes that she spent with yoga every morning allowed her to start each day with a fresh, clear mind. It prevented her from approaching the day with any bottled up stress. It got her body moving and blood pumping. Without a morning yoga session she felt sluggish and dead, like a river choked with mud.

She'd wondered how it would go with C.J. sleeping in the living room. That's where she had her flat screen TV set up, along with the DVD player. The living room also had the biggest area of open floor space. Although she could have followed along with a disc in her bedroom using her laptop, there just wasn't that much room in there to assume the different positions. But if he'd had a late night and was sound asleep, it wouldn't make any difference. He wouldn't even know she was there.

Keryn chose a disc she'd used many times before. She was very familiar with the routine, so she could easily follow along with the volume turned all the way down. She spread out the mat, hit the start button, and began following along with the instructor's movements on the silent screen, gradually working through simple warm-ups and progressing to movements and poses designed to loosen joints and muscles and open up the body.

As she moved into downward facing dog, Keryn turned and looked over her shoulder. C.J. hadn't moved. He was still asleep with his back to the room. She grinned and felt glad he wasn't facing the other way. It would have been beyond awkward for him to wake up, and the first thing he would see would be her ass in tight tiny shorts pushing straight toward him.

But it wouldn't matter if he did see her anyway, right? He was her brother. Probably seeing her ass pointed at him would just gross him out. God knows seeing his ass would gross her out. When they were kids that sort of thing would have set them both off screaming at each other all day. But she was sure they wouldn't fall into those old habits. All the same, it was best that he sleep facing the wall.

After she finished the routine, she rolled up the mat and headed into the bathroom for a quick shower. She dried off and slipped on her robe and stepped out of the bathroom to find C.J. up and seated at the breakfast bar, munching on a bowl of cereal.

"Morning," he said.

"Oh," she said. "Hi. Good morning. I didn't think you'd wake up so early. You got in pretty late last night, huh?"

"Yeah," he said cheerily. "My buddy Greg picked me up yesterday. He showed me the studio and practice facility where he works. We jammed for a while, and later on he took me out to see some bands play. It was awesome. New York is amazing."

"Yeah, it's got everything," she said with a smile. "Okay, well, I'm just going to get dressed. I leave pretty early for work."

"Sure. Cool."

Keryn dressed, ate some yogurt and granola, and then did her hair and makeup. C.J. finished his cereal, washed his bowl, and settled on the couch to watch a morning news program.

"Do you have plans for the day?" Keryn asked as she got ready to leave.

"I'm meeting up with Greg in the afternoon. I don't know. I'll probably go for a walk this morning. Check out the neighborhood. Pick up some food so I don't have to keep scrounging yours."

"No worries," she said. "Help yourself. Do you expect to be home this evening?"

"Not sure," he said. "That kind of depends on Greg. Oh, that reminds me, thanks for the noodles last night. They were awesome. I'll have to get you back soon."

"Sure," she said. "Okay, well, maybe I'll see you tonight."

She went to work, and although she was busy, she found it a surprisingly easy day to deal with. There was something pleasant about knowing C.J. was around, even though their interactions so far had been limited. Just the simple fact that they weren't being hostile was a huge weight off her shoulders. She'd carried so much bad energy about their relationship for so long that having the first moments go smoothly made a big difference to her.

The idea crossed her mind that they may at some point have some weird heart to heart talk and discuss how rough their relationship had been when they were young. Maybe a discussion like that would be cathartic for them both. Maybe it would untie knots inside them, release them from lingering bad memories. But it would be weird. Something like that would probably come up if they had a few too many drinks.

Maybe it would be good, but maybe, if they kept getting along so well, they could skip it. She hoped that would be the case. Maybe just a simple acknowledgement would be enough, so they weren't trying to just ignore the obvious. She would wait and see. Maybe it would be best to just leave well enough alone.

In the afternoon Keryn got a call from her friend Stacey, who was a junior designer at another company. "Up for drinks?"

"I'm not sure," Keryn said. "My brother is staying with me. He just got in yesterday. I should probably see what he's up to tonight."

"Mmm, your brother," Stacey said. "Is he cute? I mean, is he cool? Just kidding."

"He seems cool so far," Keryn said. "I haven't really seen him since he was ten, and he's like, twenty-two or something now, so I don't really know him that much. Cute? Um, yeah, I guess he's cute. A little rough around the edges, but I guess he's okay."

"Good genes, right?" Stacey said. "Does he look like a boy version of you?"

"No, we don't look much alike. I guess we take after different sides. Anyway, did you want to meet him or something? He's basically an unemployed musician. You like broke, jobless guys, right?"

"Bitch," Stacey giggled. "Okay, I'll tell you what. We'll pick up wine and swing by your place. If your brother passes the cute test, he can come out with us."

"All right," Keryn said. "Just promise me that if you decide you want to go to bed with him you won't give him any weird diseases."

"Bitch!" Stacey laughed again. "I'll come get you at your office at... six-thirty."

A few hours later the two young women arrived at Keryn's apartment with two bottles of Italian Merlot. They entered to find C.J. at work in the kitchen with a variety of pots going on the stove.

"Holy shit," Stacey said, when she walked in. "He's your new cook."

"Oh!" C.J. said with a smile. His usually tousled hair was washed and neat, and he was wearing Keryn's kitchen apron over his black t-shirt and jeans. "Hi! I'm making spaghetti."

Keryn came in behind Stacey. "We wanted to see if you wanted to join us out somewhere for a drink. But you're cooking."

"Yeah. Nothing fancy. But if you guys want to eat first, that would be perfect because I made too much for two people." He extended his hand toward Stacey. "I'm C.J."

"I'm impressed," she replied. "Stacey." She smiled at Keryn. "We'd love to stay for some spaghetti. I'll find a corkscrew." C.J. turned his attention back to the stove. "He's hot," Stacey silently mouthed to Keryn, who shrugged.

C.J. had vegetables going in one pan and he added them to the sauce, mixed everything up, and had dinner served ten minutes later. They sat down at Keryn's dining table and started eating.

"This is really good," Keryn said.

"Thanks."

"Are you a big time cook?" Stacey asked. "Like, your own recipes and stuff?"

C.J. shook his head. "The sauce is out of a jar. This is a four dollar meal. The trick is to put zucchini in it. It makes it look fancy."

Keryn speared a piece of zucchini on her fork. "Clever."

The three of them finished the meal and quickly cleaned up, and then Stacey and Keryn took C.J. out to a local brew pub. It was a nice place, full of rich, highly polished wood and brass. He ordered a pint of local draught, and the girls got gin martinis.

There was still a level of awkwardness between Keryn and her brother, which Stacey thankfully broke by asking a never ending stream of questions which propelled the conversation along. Any girlfriends? A few, nothing lasting longer than a year or two. Any plans to stay in New York? Maybe, if he starts making money. Any plans to find a girlfriend here? Maybe, but that's hardly the priority.

Stacey talked and talked, and as the gin got into her, she steered the conversation toward sex more and more often, to the point that Keryn and C.J. were exchanging amused glances and laughing to each other during Stacey's monologues.

Later in the evening the bar turned up the music and opened a small dance floor near the back. Stacey, who had had a lot to drink, got up and started dancing by herself. Keryn and C.J. stayed at the table and watched her.

"She's a lot of fun," C.J. said.

"Yeah, she keeps things entertaining."

"So, how about you?" C.J. asked.

Keryn looked at him. "How about me what?"

"Do you have a boyfriend?"

"Oh!" She laughed. "Um. Sort of. There's a guy I've been seeing. We've been together for a while, but it's never gotten too terribly serious."

"How come?"

Keryn smiled and rolled her eyes. "I don't know. We're both very busy people, so we don't see each other very often. I guess that keeps the relationship from getting too serious. And we're... I don't know. We get along, but I'm not sure there's a deep connection. We're casual at this point."

He nodded. "Yeah, I know how that can go. I hope things work out for you. You seem really cool. I know that might sound weird to say. I was pretty worried about coming to stay with you, you know, because of how we were sometimes as kids." He looked her in the eye. "I'm glad I came. I'm glad I'm able to meet you as an adult."

Keryn smiled. "I feel the same way. You know, I almost feel like I don't know you at all, it's like a totally fresh start."

"Yeah. You can call me your new brother."

They went home not long after. Stacey got a cab and disappeared into the night, and Keryn and C.J. found themselves alone in her darkened apartment. "What now?" he asked. "There's still wine."

"Oh, not for me," she said. "I'm back up early in the morning. "Hang out as late as you want though. I've got to go to bed."

"Okay," he said. "I guess I'll crash too. Greg is supposed to call me tomorrow morning."

They each did their evening routines, taking turns in the bathroom. Before she closed her bedroom door, Keryn gave C.J. a kiss on the cheek. "Good night, new brother," she said, and slipped into her room, closing the door behind her. She turned out the light and crawled into bed. In the darkness, she could hear him softly strumming his acoustic guitar until she fell asleep.

 

She got up early the next morning, made her green tea, and found that this time, C.J. was sleeping facing the living room. Keryn went back into her bedroom and slipped into her tiny blue yoga shorts and checked herself out in the full length mirror. She looked at herself from behind, appraising the toned legs and the sculpted behind. She bent over, trying to see what her crotch looked like when she was doing toe touches, with legs apart and together. She was trying to judge whether it would be too much, if he were to wake up while she was exercising and see her from behind in the little shorts. Eventually she decided to switch into a pair of baggier sweatpants, with a t-shirt instead of the sports bra.

C.J. was still asleep when she lay out the mat. She put in the disc and performed the routine, twisting herself back and forth, spreading out, pushing back and forth, up and down. Occasionally she would look back to check if he was still sleeping, but his eyes were always closed. Even so, it felt a little weird, like he was still somehow watching her through his eyelids.

When she finished she went into the bathroom to shower up, and before she came back out in her towel, she opened the door just a crack and peaked out. She could see him on the couch from there. His eyes were still closed, but he didn't look like he was sleeping now. His brow was furrowed and his face looked slightly red. His blanket was pulled up around his neck, and he seemed to be moving under the covers. What was he up to?

She decided on the robe instead of just a bath towel wrapped around her, and she came out, gliding directly into the bedroom without a word.

They exchanged banalities over breakfast, and nothing was said about the yoga or afterwards. She went to work, and again that night he was out when she got home. He returned around ten and they talked for a while about the music work he was doing with his friend Greg. It looked positive, and he liked the material they were coming up with. He didn't know how fast things would move, but he was sure that he would be able to build a career here.

Thursday's routine was similar. She woke early and performed a yoga routine in front of him, often looking back over her shoulder, but never catching him with an open eye. "It's in my head," she kept saying to herself. The two ate breakfast together, and didn't see each other until the late evening, when they shared some wine and had a good chat about how things were. She talked about her work, her life. He talked about his music career, and how much he was loving this opportunity. And they talked about how easy it was for them to co-exist now.

BOOK: Into Her Life: (The Complete Taboo Story of Forbidden Love)
10.23Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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