The blue figures on the clock on my bedside table read
2:12 a.m. when I jerked out of a sound sleep by a
frantic pounding on the front door.
When that happens at that time of night, you
automatically think something terrible has happened.
The house is on fire, there’s been a big car accident
right out in front, someone else’s house is on fire.
I rolled out of bed and fumbled around for my
bathrobe, then raced down stairs. I flipped on the
porch light and peered through the peephole.
“Who’s there?” I shouted. All I could see was the back
of someone’s head.
She turned around. “It’s me! Chel! Let me in, please,
oh god, let me in. Hurry!”
Chel is my cousin. She lived around the corner with
her partner, Damian (known to the family as Demion).
I popped the chain off and swung the door open. She
stumbled inside and hugged me.
“Whoa,” I gasped. “What’s wrong? What’s going on?” I
shoved the door shut and guided her into the living
room. I eased her down on the couch and turned on the
lights. She was a mess.
Blood trickled from her nose, a huge bruise was
forming on her cheek, and both eyes were turning
black. Her T-shirt was streaked with blood; one of the
sleeves half torn off and the neck gaped open,
revealing the tops of her breasts.
“My god,” I said. “What happened to you?”
“It’s Damion,” she sobbed. “He’s gone crazy. He
attacked me as soon as he came home. I don’t know what
he thinks I’ve done. He was raving about me seeing
someone else. You know I wouldn’t do that, don’t you?
I finally managed to shove him off and get away. I’m
sorry. I’m sorry. I didn’t know where else to go at
this time of night. And…”
“Whoa. Slow down. Damion beat you up. That’s the long
and the short of it. That’s all I need to know. You
got to call the cops, have him arrested for assault.
Maybe a few days in a cell will calm him down.”
“Oh, no. I couldn’t do that to him.”
She stared up at me through tear-filled eyes,
squinting against the swelling. “I… well… okay.”
I handed her the phone.
Two hours later, we watched Damion get dragged,
kicking and screaming curses at the cops, into a squad
car and disappear into what remained of the night. I
led Chel back to my place.
The paramedics who’d arrived with the cops had treated
her bruises and abrasions and given her some kind of
painkiller and suggested she go to bed. But she didn’t
want to spend the night alone in the house she’d been
sharing with Damion.
I made up a bed for her in the spare room. “Sorry I
don’t have any pajamas for you to wear,” I told her.
“I don’t wear anything in bed.”
She gave me wan smile. “Neither do I. Damion likes me
“Then I’ll leave you to it. We can go back to your
place in the morning and get you some other clothes.
That is, if you want to stay here.”
She nodded. “Yes. I think I do. For now, anyway. I
guess I have some things to sort out, and not being
there will probably help.” She hugged me. “Thanks,
Vince. You’re a peach.”
I woke up to the smell of coffee drifting upstairs
into my bedroom. After a hasty shower I headed
downstairs to see what Chel was up to.
She was standing at the stove, wearing a large red
bath towel and nothing else as far as I could see. I
never realized what nice legs she had.
She turned around. “Good morning. I couldn’t sleep
anymore, so I decided to make you some breakfast.”
“Well, that’s great. Thanks. You didn’t have to,
though. I don’t eat much at breakfast time.”
“Oh. I hope this isn’t too much, then.” She gestured
at the stove, where a frying pan emitted the smell of
cooking eggs and bacon. “I put coffee on, too.”
“Yeah,” I said, grinning. “That’s what woke me up.”
“I guess it was kind of a short night.”
“Yes. But that’s okay. Sometimes when I’m working on
one of my projects, I stay up all night. Just catching
cat naps.” I poured coffee into a mug and sat down at
Chel dished up the food and brought it over to me,
then sat down opposite me with her own plate.
“I hope you don’t mind. I put my clothes in the
“Of course not. Why would I? This is good. I may get
you to stay here full time,” I said, smiling at her.
“Well, Damion doesn’t like it if I do a washing too
often. It costs money, he says. So I thought you might
not like it. You really mean I can stay here?”
“Well… only if you want to, of course. And that’s
crazy. I wash when there’s a need, not on any stupid
“Yes. Well… that’s one of the things I need to think
about, staying here. I didn’t sleep well, trying to
decide what to do. One thing’s for sure: I’m not going
to go back to Damion. I realized he’s been treating me
like shit for the last year. I don’t know why. I’ve
never done anything to hurt him. But last night was
the last straw.”
I mulled that over. Chel had left Damion a couple of
times in the past, but always gone back to him in the
end. His powers of persuasion seemed pretty strong,
and his promises to behave himself worked for a while,
too. Then the descent into violence would start again.
Maybe this time Chel would make the break permanent.
“Listen,” I said. “If you really mean that, you’re
more than welcome to stay here. I have a feeling
Damion will be out of circulation for a while anyway.”
“I’d like that. Maybe… as soon as my clothes are
dry, we can go over there and get my stuff and make
sure the house is okay. OH,” her hand flew up to her
mouth. “Do you have room for all my stuff?”
“Well, how much is there?”
“All my clothes and books, my sewing stuff and fabric
and wool and…”
I waved her down. “Don’t worry. This is a big place.
You can bring it all. We’ll find room for it.”
The phone rang at that point. When I answered, it was
one of the cops who’d been there, wanting to talk to
When she hung up, she looked sad. “He’s really done it
this time,” she said. “In addition to the assault
charge by me, he’s also up for assaulting a police
officer, resisting arrest, vandalizing a police car,
and, believe or not, being in possession of a
controlled substance for the purposes of trafficking.”
She stared at me. “I didn’t know he was dealing drugs.
What an idiot.”
Well, that sure sounded like Damion would be out of
our hair for quite a while.
Tears started trickling down Chel’s cheeks. “You never
know. You just never know, do you? I mean… I lived
with him for years and didn’t know.” She wiped her
cheeks with a corner of the towel, which came loose
and revealed quite a bit of her upper body. I don’t
think I’d ever seen so much bruising.
She got up. “I’m going to see if my clothes are done.”
She dashed away, still crying.
The house around the corner where Chel and Demion
lived was a run-down rancher. I don’t think Demion
ever mowed the lawn. I’m not even sure he owned a
mower. His big investment was a two-year old black
Ford Mustang, currently parked at an odd angle in the
street. The keys were still in it. Since it was
blocking the driveway, I started it up and parked it
properly. Then we went inside.
We began methodically packing up Chel’s possessions,
and were almost done when someone rang the doorbell.
It was Mrs. Abercrombie, who lived across the street.
She’d been out when we arrived.
“I was wondering if everything is all right,” she
said, when I answered. “I saw and heard all the noise
last night. Is Chel okay?”
“She’s pretty banged up,” I said. “But she’ll be okay,
Chel came to the door then. “It was Damion, Mrs.
Abercrombie. He… well… he beat me up. He’s been
arrested, and I’m leaving. I’m going to stay with
Vince for a while, until I decide what to do next.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. And what about Damion? Where’s he?”
“In jail,” I said.
“Where he belongs,” she said. “I hope they keep him
for a good long while. If there’s anything I can do to
help, just say the word.”
“Maybe… you could sort of keep an eye on the place?”
Chel said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen with
it, but I don’t want it wrecked.”
“Of course. I know where you live, and if anything
happens, I’ll let you know.”
With that handled, we finished the packing up, locked
up car and house, and carted Chel’s stuff back to my
Despite her worries, it didn’t make much of a dent in
the space. We packed most of it into the third
bedroom, and put her clothes and other personal stuff
in her closet.
Things then settled down. Damion received a two-year
sentence. His lawyer took over the care and upkeep of
the house, and we tried to forget about him. Chel’s
bruises and lacerations faded, and she became the
pretty, vivacious woman I’d known most of my life. She
stopped worrying about not doing things that might
displease me, things that she should never have had to
worry about in the first place. Our home settled into
a quiet domestic scene. She started helping out on
some of my projects and proved adept at bookkeeping,
amongst other things. I began to wonder how I’d gotten
along without her.
About three months after she moved in, I was getting
ready to turn out the bedside light and go to sleep
when she knocked on the door.
“Come in… what’s up?”
She was wearing a sort of negligee thing that left
little to the imagination. Not something she normally
appeared in, though she had never been overly modest.
She sat down on the foot of the bed.
“This is stupid,” she said, “but…”
She clasped her hands in her lap. “It’s just… I’m
finding it hard, being here with you all the time, and
“Not what? What is hard for you?”
“What… do you think of me? I mean, really. Do you at
least like me? A little?”
“Of course I do. You don’t have to worry about that.”
“That’s good… but how much do you like me?”
“Well…” I was getting more confused the longer this
conversation went on. “A lot, I guess. I mean, I like
having you around. I’d be disappointed if you left.”
“But that’s all? Just like having me around. Nothing
else? You never… Never want me to do… anything.
For you. With you.”
“You do lots. I like doing things with you.”
She sighed. “Oh, damn it, Vince,” she said it so fast
I’m not sure if she even took a breath between words:
“I want you to like me as a woman, not as your cousin.
I… I… I want to sleep with you.”
I stared at her. “Sleep with me?”
“Yes. I know it’s stupid. After what Demion did to me,
I vowed I’d never want another man. But… I feel good
with you. Safe. And… I get so damn horny sometimes.
It’s the one thing I miss from Demion. And he wasn’t
even very good in bed. But any intimacy like that is
good. Please, Vince. You don’t even have to do
anything else, just hold me in your arms.”
Well, that was an invitation that was hard to decline.
I held my arms out to her. She jumped up and pressed
against me. I heard her sob. I stroked her hair, her
back, just caressing gently. In a few moments, the
sobbing eased. She lifted her face to me. I kissed
her. Her lips opened and her tongue pressed against
mine. I touched the tip of my tongue to hers. She
“Oh, Vince. Please. Just this once. Make love to me.”
“It’ll be easier without the clothes,” I said,
laughing. She was naked and under the covers in
I started with her lips, kissing my way down her body.
Her nipples, dark red and board hard, tasted like
nothing I’d ever tasted before. I couldn’t remember
the last time I’d had a woman in bed. I don’t know how
she was enjoying this, but I was really getting into
it. My kisses moved on down to the promised land,
where my fingers were already curling through her
curly tawny pubic hair.
Her clit was fully engorged when my mouth arrived. I
pressed my tongue inside, lapping around the little
hard nubbin. Chel gasped and jerked as I worked her
vagina over with mouth, tongue, fingers. She moaned
and suddenly squeaked. Her body went rigid for a
second and then squirmed and jerked for several more
I moved back and covered her mound with my hand,
squeezing slowly, until she sighed.
“Thank you,” she murmured. “You can fuck me, too, if
Well, I had a pretty good erection going by this time.
I spread her thighs apart and nestled between them,
leaning forward to press my cock into her wet crotch.
She reached between us and guided it into her. I
thrust forward, embedding it deep inside. She groaned.
“Oh, Vince. Yes. Yes, that’s good. Soooo good…”
I started thrusting, long and slow, and soon she began
pushing back at me. Our movements drew quicker and
quicker, harder and harder.
“Gonna cum,” I gasped.
“Oh, yes! Me too. Ah! Ah! AhAhAHHHH!!”
After a while my cock slithered out of Chel’s cunt. I
rolled off to her side and put my arm over her chest.
She rolled against me, head on my shoulder.
“Vince… I think… this has been the best night I’ve
ever had.” She kissed me. “Please, can we do it
I kissed her back. “Tonight?”
“If you want to. But I’m game for any time. I want to
be with you, now, always. If you want me.”
I lay there for several seconds, thinking. Chel naked
in my arms was far different than Chel dressed and
doing her things around the house. I nodded and kissed
“You’re welcome in my bed every night from now on,” I
“Thank you. I do love you, you know. I fell in love
with you about a week after I moved in.”
“Oh, yes. I saw what a good man you are, and how sexy
you are, and… and… ” she laughed. “How good a
provider you are. I liked you before, and the like
turned to love, and I’m never going to sleep alone
She cuddled with me some more, her hand roaming over
my body, while I caressed her. Her skin was so soft
and warm and smooth…
“Vince, would you fuck me again, please. Now.”
And so that’s how I acquired a… well… I guess I
can’t call her my wife. My lover, for sure. I think
we’re too closely related to get married (my mother
and her dad were siblings). But we seem to be
satisfied with the way things are. That scene took
place five years ago. We’ve never looked back, and are
the proud parents of a three-year-old son, with
another child on the way.
Every time we take Nicky for a walk, Mrs. Abercrombie
comes bustling out to say hello.
“You did the right thing, Chel,” she said when it
became obvious Chel was pregnant. “You’ve got a good
man, and he’s given you the best gift a woman can
have. Don’t you dare leave him!”
Damion is permanently out of the picture. He picked a
fight with a tough biker in prison and it was the last
thing he ever did. After figuring out the legalities,
we decided to keep the rancher. We fixed it up, and
now rent it out to a nice family who keep it in
spotless condition. Between my projects and the rent,
we’re never going to suffer for money.