It was going to be the weekend from hell. I knew it the moment my mother called me to give me the news.
"Stephanie is engaged! We're having an engagement party for her this weekend. So you HAVE to come. I know you hate family functions, but you must be here!"
My mother's tone was stern. She was usually a sweet and lively woman, but when she demanded we do something, we better damn well do it!
I yawned. She'd woke me up at six that morning. I hated when people called me so early. I always forgot to turn off my phone. On a morning like this I wish I could have remembered.
"I guess I can make it," I said as I raised my body up slowly. My bones were aching from having played basketball last night with the guys.
"You GUESS? No sir, you'll be here. It's your sister's engagement party! She'd want you to be there."
I flopped back down on the bed. Didn't my mother know how heartbreaking this news was?
"Ok mom, I'll be there. Mom, can you not call me so early?"
"It's six, you should be awake and getting ready to go to class!"
I groaned. "I don't' have class until nine mom."
"Well then, get up to study. When I was going to college..."
I shouldn't have said anything about waking me up early. Now she was going to go on about when she was in college how she'd get up at five every morning to go exercise, study and have a good and healthy breakfast. I'd heard those stories over and over again.
"Ok mom. Uh huh. Yes mom," I simply replied to her.
"So remember, be here at least by Thursday night because I know you don't have class on Fridays. Stephanie will be here Friday."
"So why do I have to show up Thursday?"
"Landon! Just show up!"
I held the phone away from my ear. My mom could really get loud when she wanted to. "Ok, ok. I'll be there."
"Ok honey. See you then!" She sent me a kiss over the phone and hung up. It was strange how quickly she could change her tone.
I lay in bed for a moment. I knew I couldn't go back to sleep now. The news about Stephanie's engagement had really gotten to me. She'd been dating Caleb, who in my opinion was a really good guy. They met over two years ago when Stephanie and her long time friend Jamie opened up their own clothing boutique. Caleb walked in looking to buy something for his sister Lana. He says when he saw Stephanie; it was love at first sight. He asked Stephanie for her opinion on several dresses for Lana and soon they began talking. He asked her out and since then, they've been together. Caleb is a car mechanic who also runs his own business. He's hardworking, kind and very caring. He loves my older sister, but I can bet he could never love her as much as I do.
I close my eyes for a moment and try to recall when this infatuation with Stephanie began. Stephanie is five years older than me. She and I were close as we grew up. Sure, we'd fight like every bother and sister does. We'd get on each other's nerves, but deep down we loved each other.
I can't pin point when it was that I began developing this huge crush on my sister. Maybe it was the fact that my friends always harped on how hot she was. Maybe it was the way she hugged me on special occasions like holidays or my birthday. Maybe it was how she always watched out for me. She'd give me advice on school, girls, and life in general. Maybe it was the way she made my heart race when she wore certain clothing. Or maybe it was just all of her. Her smile, her laugh, her charming personality. Stephanie was everything I'd want in a female. She was smart, caring, fun and beautiful.
Her hair, which had never been dyed, was long, straight, sleek and chocolate brown color. Her eyes, hazel just like mine. Her lips pouty usually coated in lip gloss. Her eyelashes, miles long and her light olive complexion completed her total beauty.
The years went by and I fell more in love with my sister. Now here I was at 22 years old, finishing up my last year in college and still crushing on my sister. I rarely dated, and not because I couldn't get a date, it's just that none of the girls compared to my big sis.
I couldn't believe she was getting married. I don't know, call me strange, but it almost felt as if she was cheating on me. I knew I shouldn't have felt that way. I mean it's not like Stephanie ever led me on or teased me sexually. My sister was just my sister. Nothing incestuous going on between us. Nothing at all. And that pissed me off even more.
I arrived Thursday night just like my mom had ordered me to. I lived only an hour away from home on campus so it hadn't been a long drive or anything. I walked in quietly and my parents sat on the couch watching Nick at Nite. Mr. Ed was on I think. Or maybe it was I love Lucy. Who cares!
"Landon! Glad you got to make it!" My mom stood up and hugged me. She kissed my cheek leaving a trail of saliva. I wiped it off politely and hugged my dad who stood behind my mom.
"Landon! How's school going?" My dad asked in his usual boisterous voice.
"It's going good. I got one semester to go and I'll be a professional slacker."
My dad frowned. "That's not funny. My hard earned money is going towards your education."
My dad could never take a joke. I guess he figured my degree in Art could take me so many places.
"I have your bed ready for you upstairs. Go on up and unpack. We've already had dinner so you can just heat it up if you're hungry," my mom said to me.
I nodded. "Good deal." I went upstairs to my old bedroom. It was always the same. My mom never threw anything out. I still had MAD magazines on my bookshelf along with several comic books and Stephen King, Dean Koontz and Jack Ketchum books. My old drawings were still hanging on my wall. Even my horror DVD movies were neatly stacked next to my old DVD player. I threw my overnight back on the floor and threw myself on the bed. I could smell the cleanliness of Gain on my sheets. I stared up at the ceiling and for a moment I was taken back in time...
I was sixteen and Stephanie was moving out. She was going to grad school. She'd stayed living at home until age 21 simply because she refused to let our father pay for her school. At the time our father had lost his job and we were barely making ends meet. Our parents had a savings for her but she wanted them to use it for the family instead. She worked part time and went to school full time her first four years of college. Now she'd had some money saved up and finally decided to get a little help from our parents.
She had packed her bags that day and came into my room to say goodbye. I cried. I knew I'd miss her like crazy but at the time I didn't understand why I was crying so damn much. She hugged me tightly and kissed my cheek. She said she'd only be an hour away. She said I could go visit. She said she'd always be there for me.
I understood she had to leave. I just didn't want her to go. Once she was gone, it was as if a part of me was missing. The house was quiet. I no longer woke up to her singing along with No Doubt. I no longer smelled her perfume in the hallway. I got depressed that year. I think I've been miserable ever since.
The next morning what woke me up was all the commotion downstairs. My father's loud voice, my mother's squealing and ... Stephanie's sweet laugh.
I quickly raised my body out of bed and went to the bathroom. I did my morning routine and then took a quick shower. I wanted to get ready as fast as I could so I could go see my beautiful big sis. Too late. As I rushed out the bathroom, Stephanie stood there in the hallway smiling at me. It would have been ok, except Caleb with right behind her.
"Well! I see my brother's here," She laughed. Such a sexy, sweet laugh.
I felt myself turning red. I only had a towel wrapped around me. "Hey sis," I said. My voice sounded as if someone was choking me.
She leaned over and gave me a hug. I took in her feminine scent. I held her, wanting to kiss her. "How are you?" she asked fixing her eyes on mine.
I shrugged. "I'm doing ok. So you guys getting married huh?"
Caleb nodded happily. He would. That asshole. "We sure are. Nice to see you buddy." He extended his hand out to me. I wanted to hate Caleb. I really did. I just couldn't. He treated my big sis with the utmost respect and the way he looked at her, I could tell he loved her. It was sort of the way I think I looked at her. Just hope HE didn't notice!
"Well congrats to you both. When's the wedding?"
In another lifetime, I was hoping to hear Stephanie say.
"Two months," she blurted out cheerfully.
My heart sank. Caleb looked content. Stephanie was in love. I was just her little brother. Nothing else.
"That's kind of quick don't you think? I mean I heard you two just got engaged."
Stephanie gave Caleb a blissful smile. "I know but Caleb and I have been together for a while now and we think it's time. We already live together so why wait anymore right? Besides, it's going to be a small ceremony. I don't want a huge wedding. Mom and dad said I could have it here at the house."
"I'd make you my best man buddy but my best friend Chris from San Diego is going to be able to make it," Caleb said. As if I really cared to be the best man. I'd rather be the groom.
"Hey no problem. I hate being in weddings anyway," I said.
Stephanie looked hurt. "Even mine?"
I paused. "Well ... I thought you said no big wedding. I thought that meant no bridesmaids or ushers."
She giggled. "True but it's still a WEDDING. You can't expect me not to have at least one bridesmaid and one usher."
I narrowed my eyes at her. "Who are the bridesmaids?" I asked.
.... There is more of this story ...