My name is Ian. I've been having an affair with my birth mother Helen for about five years now. That story is told elsewhere. My real Mum and Dad, the wonderful people who adopted me and raised me also adopted another child, a baby girl, two years after they adopted me. Her name is Carly, she's short, about 5' 2" very dark curly hair, nice figure and of a Middle Eastern complexion, olive skinned, hook nosed, light green eyes, very long eye lashes and, for some reason, ever since she hit puberty or thereabouts, has hated my guts. Actually no, that's not quite true, we do get on quite well occasionally, but she seems to be of the opinion that I'm the favoured one of the family because Mum and Dad have always had to be there to help me out at times when my life has threatened to go off the rails. What she doesn't see is that Mum and Dad have never ever had to worry about her.
Where I struggled academically, Carly breezed through school and university picking up the highest grades and honours before landing a career doing some sort of analysis work for MI6. Yes, she's a spy, the female equivalent to James Bond (not)
Actually I don't know what she is, she's not allowed to talk about it, certainly not to the likes of me, which leaves our occasional conversations a bit stilted as she's not married, has a very low opinion of my ex-wife, though dotes on her nephew. She will start an argument with me at the drop of a hat. I've never found out why, and the few attempts to find out have simply caused more arguments, often necessitating Mum and Dad to step in to separate us.
Ex wife? Ah...
About a year after my affair with Helen began I found myself in love with a lovely woman called Alice who quite captured my heart. We married and within a year Kaelan was born and the future looked rosy. However I didn't know Alice quite as well as I thought and one day coming home early I found her in our bed with another man who proceeded to beat the crap out of me and kicked me out of my own flat. I left to the taunts of Alice telling me that the flat would be hers, I'd never see Kaelan again and that she and her new man would live off my earnings for the next eighteen or so years. The police did nothing, Alice claimed I'd attacked her and her new man had stepped in to defend her, she showed quite a set of new bruises and I ended up being arrested, only for the charges to be dropped through lack of cooperation from Alice and the testimony such as it was from a good neighbour who heard none of the abuse or violence I was supposed to have committed.
What Alice didn't know though was my secret weapon, Helen.
Helen took over as my legal counsel and did some digging, hiring a private detective and getting some background on Alice and the new man in her life.
When the divorce proceedings began Alice's solicitor suddenly found himself with the fight of his life (legally speaking) on his hands as Helen demolished his clients stories, producing the police records of Alice's partner, showing him to be a violent criminal with drug connections. She produced Alice's history as a junkie and prostitute and essentially convinced the judge that she and her partner were not suitable parents for Kaelan and that they should be evicted from the flat I was paying for.
The following day the pair were arrested after being caught attempting to torch the flat and Kaelan was taken into custody to be handed over to me.
This is why I was now alone with a two year old son who fortunately had a lovely set of grandparents who looked after him whilst I worked. Nevertheless my trust of women who weren't family had hit rock bottom, fortunately Helen kept me sane and quite sexually relieved during her frequent visits to London and we drew ever closer.
It was Mum's fiftieth birthday party and it was a huge family bash, friends and relatives had agreed to turn up from all over the world and Dad had booked a hotel so we could all turn up and party the night away, he'd even booked a crèche for the young ones to be looked after as the days fun ended and the evenings serious adult fun began. There was an incredible spread, champagne for toasts and the obligatory disco playing a selection of tunes from the sixties to the noughties.
I'd turned up with Kaelan and handed over what I hoped would be a good gift for Mum, a set of picture frames with pictures of Kaelan being Kaelan along with a bottle of her favourite scent, the same one I'd 'accidentally' poured down the bathroom sink ten years ago during a dare from Carly that went horribly wrong. Mum loved it especially the note which finally confessed that I was the original culprit, though I suspect she already knew. She isn't stupid and if Carly ever did do anything stupid, she did it in ways that we never knew about.
The day activities which mostly were about the kids wound down and they were taken up to the crèche the older ones allowed to remain until they flaked and could be taken up too.
I mostly wandered around chatting to friends and family that I knew well until finally, feeling a bit weary, I grabbed a drink and sat down to my favourite activity of people watching.
I was soon joined by Carly who, unusually for her, appeared to have been drinking far more than normal. She did however look very lovely in a cream silk dress that clung provocatively to her classic hourglass figure.
"Hello Ian, how's the favourite son?" she asked aggressively.
"About as well as the favourite daughter, if slightly more sober," I retorted.
"Easy get out with the present, just give Mum a picture of Kaelan," she said.
"I thought so myself," I replied with a grin that I knew would wind her up.
"Christ I've never known a man who can fall on his feet due to other people's work better than you, Ian," she hit back angrily.
"You think finding I'd married a prostitute who was still fucking her pimp and getting beaten up in the process was easy?" I asked.
Carly said nothing, though an embarrassed blush slowly formed on her face.
"Who is Helen?" she finally asked.
"My legal counsel," I replied. "Why?"
"Is that all she is?" Carly asked dangerously.
I gave her a long hard look.
"Whoever or whatever Helen is to me comes under none of your business, Carly," I finally replied.
"Mum and Dad might not have noticed, but I've been trained to notice some things," Carly said. "One of them is that there's some sort of relationship ongoing between the two of you and the other is that there's a distinct family resemblance, well distinct to the trained eye that is."
"Helen is my birth mother," I said.
"No fucking way!" exclaimed Carly.
"Way," I replied. "She contacted me five years ago, we got chatting and found we liked each other enough to keep in contact. I just haven't brought it up with anyone as I'm not sure how they'd react."
"Smart of you," said Carly. "Mum and Dad might be OK, but I'm not altogether sure how they might take it either."
"Well, if you don't, I certainly wouldn't. You're the smart one amongst us, miss goody two shoes," I replied, using one of our old childish insults in jest.
"Years since you called me that Ian," said Carly with a giggle.
"There's more though isn't there?" Carly asked. "Don't try to lie, you aren't good at it and I've had some training since I left home to work."
I said nothing simply looked at Carly with a raised eyebrow.
"Oh my God!" Carly finally gasped out. "You are aren't you? You're fucking your mother."
I kept my silence, though my face must have been quite a picture telling the entire story.
"How could you?" Carly finally asked with wonder.
"You expect me to open my mouth and insert my foot?" I asked.
"It's OK Ian. OK, it's a bit shocking, but I won't tell anyone," Carly said far more mildly than I expected.
"Thanks sis," I said sincerely. "Helen's lovely and it's hard to explain, but ... she meets a deep seated need in me, a tie to roots I thought were forgotten."
"You'd better not get caught," Carly said.
"I'm good at keeping secrets these days," I replied. "You only found out about that one because you were trained to look beneath the surface."
"True," said Carly. "And at least you have found happiness."
"I thought I had it with Alice too, but it can be elusive," I said. "Kaelan makes that mistake worthwhile, but at a terrible cost."
"Don't let that bitch put you off finding someone new," Carly said angrily.
"The only women I trust now are family," I replied sadly.
Carly was silent for a long while.
"Family is good," she finally said with a satisfied look.
"How's your love life?" I asked.
"What's a love life?" Carly replied with a giggle.
"Come on sis, you had loads of boyfriends when we were in our teens, and I presumed you had a few at Uni too," I said with a snort.
"Meh, none of them were good enough and most were a distraction rather than any sort of benefit," she said, tilting her head back to gaze at the ceiling.
"Well yes, I realise that," I said. "But even so there's serious and there's just fun."
"I was saving myself for someone special," Carly said. "So fun wasn't an option. Trouble was he didn't even know I was there waiting, then he got married."
"Man's a fool, but again there's none as blind as those who cannot see," I said. "Perhaps you should have asked him?"
"Knowing what I know now, yes, Ian, I should have," she sighed. "Now, come have a dance with your sister as this conversation's getting decidedly maudlin."
The disco was playing a few classics from the past and we got up and danced like there was no tomorrow, Carly having a natural sense of rhythm and I having a great deal of enthusiasm, which had us both smiling again in no time. We were soon joined by the rest of the family and the evening started to get very lively as we were swept apart by other family and friends.
Finally though, feeling the heat, I made my way back to the bar for a long cold drink, only to be joined again by Carly.
"Buy your sis a drink," she commanded with a smile.
"What would you like?" I asked.
"Same as you, a pint of lager," she said. "Bit unladylike I know, but nothing better for quenching a thirst from the dance floor. Besides I've already had a few too many voddies and need to slow down."
"You normally don't overdo it Carly," I said.
"Well, it's a special occasion and it seemed appropriate, knowing what I suspected about you and Helen," replied Carly. "Dutch courage it's called."
"Don't know why, you've always been able to ask me anything or see through my occasional lies and you've never been afraid to criticise me if you thought it necessary," I replied.
We wandered back to the table where our previous conversation had taken place.
"It wasn't about that, not really," Carly said finally.
"It wasn't?" I replied.
"I made your life hell when we were in our teens didn't I Ian?" she said at last, ignoring my question, I thought.
"I assumed it was hormones, that's what Mum said anyway," I replied.
"It was and it wasn't," Carly said. "Mostly it was frustration at not being able to have something I wanted."
"Something?" I asked puzzled.
"Christ, I swear you're a dunce at times, Ian," Carly sighed. "I wanted you. I wanted my brother and I knew, legally, I couldn't, but it didn't stop me wanting anyway. So I tried to make you angry with me, to drive you away, make you angry, to hate me and drive me away, but to no avail you're just a really nice guy."
"Ahhh," I said, a bit nonplussed. "So I was the special guy who got married?"
"Bingo, the penny drops," said Carly. "Then I discover that you have a penchant for fucking members of your family and figured I could have had you if I'd just had the courage to ask."
"No," I said.
"No?" Carly replied.
"If you'd asked then the answer would have been no. Helen changed all that, and, although I can't say I'm not tempted now, Carly, the risks are very high. If someone guesses who does not understand or sympathise... ," I finally said.
"I know the risks and I can keep a secret," Carly answered. "Please Ian, I've wanted you for such a long time, since before I even hit puberty."
I stretched out an arm and cuddled Carly in, my mind racing as I realised, yes, I wanted her too, always had, though never acted on it.
"You sure, my lovely sis?" I asked. "Wanting and having aren't necessarily the same thing."
"Only one way to find out," she replied with a demure smile.
We sat in silence for a while, watching the party, as we thought things through. It was after the toasts and a few impromptu speeches, as well as the buffet, that I finally decided.
"Room 205," I finally said to Carly as I got up, nabbed a bottle of champagne and a couple of glasses.
I told Mum and Dad that I was going for a lie down for an hour or so but would be back later. They nodded in acknowledgement knowing I'd had a long day, though Mum stared thoughtfully at the glasses but said nothing.
Five minutes later there was a knock at the door and Carly let herself in.
I handed her a flute of champagne.
"New beginnings," I toasted her.