The Wrong Sister

By: Kris Pearson

If it gets worse than this I’ll have to leave. I’ll have to run. I’ll never be able to keep my hands off him.

She sat and picked up one half of his sandwich. “I’ll eat this one if you like.”

“Go you halves.” He took the other portion.

“At least there’s no blood on it,” she said, desperate for anything to fill the dangerous space between them.

“You didn’t start bleeding until you were well out of the way. It was only on the table-cloth.”

And on your tongue, she thought, recalling again the hot slide of his mouth and the hard exciting masculine stubble her hand had caressed.

“I’ll put it to soak after lunch,” she said, pushing a white plate onto the stain to hide it.

If only my feelings could be so easily covered up

Christian watched her hands as she moved the plate over the spots of blood. Long slim fingers, nicely kept. Nails smooth and pretty with glossy pale polish. He supposed she had to be well groomed for her job on the cruise liner.

Jan had always looked the part too, with one exception. She was a keen gardener, an ardent potter, and her hands had always been a little rough, with nails cut sensibly short and often unvarnished.

What would Fiona’s soft smooth hands feel like sliding over his back? How pleasurably would those nails hurt, digging into his shoulders as she writhed under him?

The picture was far too vivid. He could see her, and feel her and smell her trapped beneath his body.

Could imagine, all too easily, her soft lips parted, naked of lipstick from his kisses.

Could hear her panting and moaning as she stared up at him until her gorgeous green eyes glazed over and her body started to clench around him. God—it was altogether too real!

He bit savagely into his half of the sandwich and chewed with deliberation. Fiona sat across the table from him, nibbling at hers and hardly looking ravenous. They stayed unspeaking as they ate.

Christian needed every sip of his wine to wash down his lunch. The fresh bread seemed dry as sawdust... the ham resilient as rubber.

What the hell am I going to do?

“I miss her more than you can imagine,” he finally rasped, trying to build the barrier back between them again.

“I know you do. You must. She was so lovely, and you were exactly right together.”

He bowed his head at that. “She fought it. God how she fought. I thought she’d win.”

Fiona shook her head sadly. “It’s a disgusting disease.”

“Some people escape. Why not her?” He glared across the table at the woman who looked so like the one he’d just lost.

Maybe if he pretended she was ‘Jan returned’ he wouldn’t see her as the tempting other sister sitting there?

But Jan, in her illness, hadn’t looked this good in a long time. Not as smooth-faced and soft-skinned and touchable.

And Jan had never sparkled like Fiona did. Christian had castigated himself for years for thinking that. For allowing this other woman to steal even a fraction of his attention from the affectionate wife he’d loved so dearly.

“She lives on in Nicky,” Fiona murmured.

She lives on in you. But I can’t have you just to reclaim some of her—and that’s not why I want you anyway. I want you for you, not her.

As soon as they’d finished, Fiona loaded the dishwasher—rather too fast in her unease—clashing the plates together, stowing the cutlery into its basket with no care.

“Leave it for the housekeeper,” Christian said.

“It’s only dishes. I’ll certainly do this much.” She secured the door and selected the wash-cycle. The sooner she was out of the house and out of his sight, the better. The strange atmosphere between them felt too disturbing. “I’ll be gone quite a lot of the afternoon.”

“Stay out as long as you want. We’ve been invited to a barbecue down the road this evening. Want to go? It’s not until much later.”

She nodded and turned away, grateful they wouldn’t be alone in the big house. Having other people present should be a wonderful buffer.

It might get us through one more day without me grabbing for you again.

She drove with caution down the steep and winding hill roads until she felt more confident in the car. Once she was on the flat surface at Oriental Bay, she sighed with relief.

Tall Norfolk Pines lined the broad harbor promenade. Blocks of exclusive apartments now rose where grand old timber mansions had formerly stood. The well-heeled and much-moneyed lived here, within walking distance of Wellington’s business district if they felt like leaving their expensive cars garaged.

On the crescents of golden beach, the young and beautiful displayed themselves to each other. You didn’t need money to share the sand, Fiona thought with amusement—a brief swimsuit and a one-section bus-fare was all it took.

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