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This is a slow-build romance. If you’re looking for a quickie, I have a few others you can read. 😉
Anna was running late… again. Normally she wouldn’t care that some teacher would be ‘disappointed’ by her tardiness. Unfortunately this specific teacher was her step brother.
Jeff Shepherd had been just another teacher in just another school that Anna was being sent to because her mother had the notion to pack up their lives and move them four states over to get married. Unfortunately for Anna, her mother had married Mike Shepherd; single, late forties, with a 25 year old son. At first it wasn’t so strange, it’s not like Jeff lived with his father when Anna and her mom moved it. So Anna spent the summer unpacking her life yet again and preparing for senior year in a new high school. Then the first day of physics class, Anna walked in and saw the man she’d met over cocktails and chicken at her mother’s wedding reception. Apparently “Daddy” Mike had forgotten to mention that his son taught at Anna’s school.
Mr. Shepherd turned to look at Anna as she stumbled in the door out of breath. “Sorry” she said weekly, and ducked into her seat. It was only the middle of September and she already felt like school was crushing her. It wasn’t bad enough that she had to awkwardly dodge questions about her new step brother; she was also trying to get on top of the tremendous course load and make at least a few new friends. This was not the year she’d hoped for. Granted it wasn’t like she’d left anyone to important behind. She had a few friends and an ex or two but moving around so much had made it hard to connect. Now that she was turning eighteen in two weeks, this town might actually be the last one she would ever get dragged to. Anna was looking forward to not being subjected to her mother’s whims, if only she could get through high school.
Class passed quickly and Anna grabbed her bag to make a bee line to the door. Mr. Shepherd spoke up first, “One minute Anna.” He waited until the rest of class had filed out before coming to the front of his desk and sitting on the edge. Anna could see why the girls in class wanted details from Anna about her ‘hot step brother’. He looked casual and relaxed sitting like a kid with his legs swinging, but the five o’clock shadow and muscular frame gave him a wicked sex appeal. Definitely drool worthy for high school girls. Anna of course just felt an urgency to escape whatever uncomfortable discipline talk they were about to have.
“How has school been so far?” He asked. “I know this situation is a little strange, but you can feel free to talk to me. I guess I’m your step-brother now so that should count for something.” He smiled a little and Anna relaxed somewhat. “Wow. Step-brother. That sounds weird. I haven’t really said it out loud. I always wanted a sibling you know.” He laughed to himself.
“I used to want a brother when I was little, especially when somebody picked on me or something.” Anna offered quietly. She was still waiting for the punishment part to kick in.
“Well, let me know if you have any trouble with bullies. Granted, I can’t exactly beat anyone up, but I can definitely give them detention.” He laughed like they shared a private joke. “Have a seat.” He pointed to the desk in front of him.
Anna really did not want to have a seat or a conversation, but she sat down anyway letting her backpack fall to the floor. “Look, I’m really sorry about being tardy. I’ve been staying up so late to finish homework and by the time I wake up I’ve already missed the bus because it comes so freakin early. I had to run here today from the grocery store after catching a ride with my neighbor and the other day my mom offered to drive me but she was job hunting and took forever getting ready. I just need a little time to get back on track.” Anna spewed her excuses in one big breath and then felt faint when she finally stopped talking.
“Anna, calm down. I swear I didn’t ask you here to bust your balls. Er… not… I mean you’re not in trouble.” He stumbled a little. “I just wanted to check in. I know going to a new school and living in a new place are really big changes. I didn’t realize the schedules were so busy at home.” Mr. Shepherd paused and looked out the window for a moment before turning back to Anna. “You know I drive right by my dad’s place on my way here. You would get to school about half an hour early but I could still pick you up later then the bus. Maybe around 7? Don’t worry, there aren’t any kids at school that early so they wouldn’t have to see you getting a ride from the teacher.” That roguish smile stretched his lips again.
“You’re offering to drive me to school every day?” Anna questioned. She was completely blown away by the gesture. Other than the wedding in the beginning of the summer, Anna hadn’t spoken two words to her step-brother.
“Well, yeah, if that’s okay with you. You could still take the bus home if you wanted since I have taksim üniversiteli escort to stay late most days. But I don’t want you to be late to class and your house is on my way, so this is an easy fix. Besides I should get to know my kid sister.” He joked. “Good that’s settled then. I’ll pick you up tomorrow at 7. You should go ahead to your next class, don’t want to be late.” Mr. Shepherd hopped off his desk and winked at Anna as she stood up and walked out of the room.
Anna wasn’t really sure what had just happened. She hadn’t actually agreed to the plan, but that didn’t seem to matter. She would now be spending twenty minutes every morning in Mr. Shepherd’s car. ‘Well, this wouldn’t be awkward at all’ she thought on the way to her next class.
The alarm clock on Anna’s table did its best to wake the entire neighborhood the next morning. Unfortunately it didn’t wake Anna. She’d been up ’til almost 3 am working on a history paper. So 6 o’clock rolled by, then 6:15 and eventually the alarm clock shut off. It’s a shame they don’t make them like they used to. Maybe if they did, Anna wouldn’t have still been sleeping at 7:02 when her ride pulled up out front.
Anna barely stirred when there was a knock on the front door, she didn’t open her eyes when the door opened and her teacher walked in. She did however sit up wide awake when she heard her step-brother’s voice from next to her bed.
“Anna?” He said awkwardly. “You overslept again. Do you think you can get ready in a few minutes or do you want to see if your mom can drive you? I have a meeting in half an hour so we would have to leave in ten minutes if you want to ride with me.”
“Oh crap.” Anna said eloquently. She clutched the sheet to her chest since she couldn’t remember how revealing these pajamas were. “Um. My mom got a job; she was supposed to be there this morning. I can get ready quick. I promise. Just give me a couple minutes.” She said, mentally planning out what she needed to do in less than ten minutes. A shower was out; hell at this point brushing her hair was out. Clothes, shoes, go. That’s what she had time for.
“Ok. I’ll be in the car. No worries.” And with that he thankfully turned and left. Anna jumped out of bed and raced around her room looking for clean clothes. A banana and breath mint on her way out the door and she was in his car in under eight minutes. Even Anna was impressed by her speed, admittedly her shoes were in her hand and not on her feet and she hadn’t actually checked a mirror to see what she looked like, but still impressive. “Wow. That was fast.” Mr. Shepherd said when she climbed in. He started the car and off they went.
“Sorry. I was up late again. I’ll get a better alarm clock. Promise.” She said self-consciously. This was not how her first morning with her brother was supposed to go. Anna slipped on her shoes and peeled the banana. Three bites in she realized she’d forgotten a drink. When Mr. Shepherd saw her hunting around her bag he quietly picked up his water bottle and offered it to her. “Oh. Um, thanks.” She said and took a drink trying not to touch it to her lips. She handed it back and watched him take a swig before setting it back in the cup holder. Something oddly intimate about sharing a drink with someone you barely knew. Anna shook her head and went back to eating.
The rest of the trip was uneventful. Anna thanked him for the ride and spent the extra time doing homework in the library. It went like this most mornings; Anna did get a better alarm clock and usually woke up on time or at least before her ride got there. They sometimes shared a coffee or poptart and then went their separate ways when they got to school. It was nice not having to worry about the bus in the morning and even though they didn’t talk much she liked learning little things about her brother. She knew the kind of music he liked, knew that he over sugared his coffee, knew that he wore combat boots to drive to school in and changed into loafers when they got to the building. So maybe she didn’t know anything earth-shattering, but he was starting to feel like a friend, if not quite like a brother.
The first Saturday in October was a warm one according to the weather man. But Anna had moved several states north and it was starting to feel like it.
“Rise and Shine Birthday Girl!” her mother’s voice was muffled through the door. “I made breakfast. Your favorite.” She said enticingly and popped her head into the room. “I have to work today, but I didn’t want you to be alone on your birthday so I asked Mike to take you with him to that barbeque down at the lake.” She smiled and shut the door again before Anna could protest.
“What?” Anna yelled as she sat up in bed. “Mom? It’s 60 degrees and you want me to go to a lake?” Anna yelled indignantly. “Mom?” Apparently she was already gone. And even more apparent, Anna tophane escort was spending the day at the beach, probably wearing a parka.
Anna got dressed and ventured into the living room. “Um, good morning.” She said to her step-dad when she saw him at the kitchen table. “Listen I don’t mind hanging out here today so you can go to the lake and do whatever it is you were planning to do.” She offered hopefully.
“Oh come on kiddo. It’ll be fun. We aren’t gonna go swimming or nothin. Just cook some food, play some ball, have a bonfire. Besides, your brother’ll be there. It’ll be good.” Mike Shepherd said around a mouthful of food. “It’s probably not how you wanted to spend your eighteenth birthday but its better then bummin around here, right.” He looked happy so Anna didn’t want to tell him that ‘No, that did not sound better then bummin around’. She bit her tongue and nodded before filling a plate and resigning herself to her fate.
The beach was pretty. Windy, but pretty. The sun came out just after noon and it was actually warm enough for Anna to take off the thick hoodie she’d pulled on this morning. She still had a long-sleeved Henley underneath, but it was a small sort of victory. Her step-dad had been trying to introduce her to people all morning. It seemed like half the town was here. Mostly Anna just wanted to sit somewhere quiet. She’d found this little sanctuary behind a small dune about an hour ago and she was relishing the solitude. That is until a tall shape blocked her sun. She squinted up from her reclined state to see her step-brother smiling down at her.
“Hey.” He said and took a seat next to her. He was so close she could feel his body heat and it was delicious. Anna hadn’t realized how chilly it actually was until she had his warmth pressing against her from ribs to thigh. “Dad wondered where you’d gone. I’m here on a mission. We are putting together a little touch football team and we need more girls. What do you say? Up for some family football?” He asked nudging her slightly with his arm. Unfortunately, what was supposed to be a brotherly nudge held a different reaction due to placement. Instead of bumping her arm or even a leg, he’d brushed her breast. Jeff didn’t seem aware of it and Anna wasn’t about to tell him so she just sat up and nodded her head. No, Anna did not want to play football. And no, Anna was not looking forward to ‘family’ time. But she’d already said yes and it would get the blood flowing, so what was the harm.
The game started and for the first few minutes Anna mostly just followed the team around trying to stay out of people’s way. She and Mike were on the same side but Jeff had been put on the opposing team. She was just starting to enjoy the sun and running around on the beach when suddenly Mike passed her the ball. She caught it out of pure surprise and looked up at him questioningly. “Run!” He yelled and laughed. “That way!” He pointed towards the makeshift goal line. Anna turned and ran; she might have made it, except Jeff came out of nowhere and wrapped his arms around her waist.
“Gotcha!” He said in her ear. He picked her up and spun her around before tripping in the sand and pulling her down on top of him. The ball rolled from her arms and they both landed with a grunt. “Ugh, sorry.” He laughed and released her waist loosely. One of his hands fell to the sand next to him, but the other slid down her body to her thigh and rested there until Anna shifted her body. “You okay?” He asked when Anna tried unsuccessfully to get up with some grace.
“Oh, yeah. No big deal.” She said nervously. “Thought this was touch-football?” She joked.
“Ha, yeah. I get carried away during competition.” He smiled and finally sat up in the sand. He reached a hand towards her indicating that he would like some help. Anna grabbed his hand more out of common curtesy than anything else. When she pulled him to his feet he kept her hand tight in his. “You sure you’re good? I didn’t land on you or anything right?” He asked again watching her eyes carefully.
“I’m fine. Really. No bumps, no bruises.” Anna answered gesturing to herself with her one free hand.
“Good. I’d hate to markup that skin.” Jeff raised his hand to her cheek and slid it down her neck where it bumped into the top of her shirt. Then as suddenly as he’d done it he released her and turned away.
Anna’s skin felt hot and tingly. ‘What the hell was that’ she thought to herself as she watched her step-brother go back to the game. She’d been feeling little twinges of emotion towards him ever since that first ride to school but she’d never perceived anything from him. Other than the occasional graze of hands in the car or a brush of bodies passing in the hallway she’d never even touched Jeff. Now she’d been in his arms, on top of him, and he’d practically caressed her. Sensory overload had Anna’s head reeling. She wobbled to the sidelines and sat with topkapı escort the rest of the spectators. Besides that one disconcerting play, she hadn’t been doing anything for the game anyway, so they wouldn’t miss her.
The next few hours flew by, Jeff left shortly after the game saying he had papers to grade and Anna actually talked to a few people during dinner. She’d almost forgotten about the incident when suddenly Jeff was back. The bon fire had just been lit and was slowly building to a roar when Jeff approached her. “Hey. Can we talk real quick?” He whispered putting his hand on her elbow and pulling gently.
Anna had two choices, go with him or cause a scene, so she allowed him to pull her into the shadows that had fallen over the beach at dusk. “I thought you’d gone home?” She asked. “Papers to grade?”
“I did. And I do have papers to grade. But I just wanted to make sure everything was really okay. I felt like something was a bit off before.” He seemed genuinely concerned though Anna wasn’t sure what he was really asking.
“I’m fine. You didn’t have to come back. I’m okay. You didn’t even hit me that hard.” She reassured him while looking around to see if anyone could see them through the dark.
“Ok. Well I’m still glad I came back. I realized I’d forgotten to wish you a Happy Birthday.” He smiled now. “I didn’t get you a present or anything but it just seemed very un-brotherly to not even say Happy Birthday.”
“Well I think you get some slack for being a new brother.” Anna relaxed into the easy conversation.
Jeff laughed again. “Yeah I guess I’ve got a bit of a learning curve. But I really have enjoyed having a sister this last month. It’s also nice to see you outside of the classroom or car, feels like I can actually talk to you.” He said candidly.
“Yeah, it’s definitely a different atmosphere.” Anna liked talking to him like this. It was easy in the darkness with the fire and crowd in the background. “Thanks for the Birthday wishes. Are you going to stay for the bon fire? I think they’re making s’mores soon.” Anna pointed towards the group around the table.
“Well I never pass up s’mores. I guess the papers can wait ’til tomorrow.” He said and offered his arm to her with a comical flick of his imaginary hat. “Shall we?”
“Yes we shall.” She giggled and slipped her arm into his. They walked over to the group and stood arm in arm around the fire for a few minutes. He was warm and comfortable. Anna still hadn’t put on her hoodie so she sucked in his heat by turning her body towards him, hugging his arm with both of hers. He didn’t seem to mind. Just slid his hand into his pocket and held still. It seemed like a long time later that Anna realized her breasts were pushed up against his arm and to any on looker they might look more like a couple than family. She reluctantly released him and they decided to hunt down marshmallows to roast.
That night as she fell into bed she realized that this had definitely been her best birthday. Even if it had been on a cold beach in a town she barely knew.
The Sunday flew by in a haze of homework and soon enough it was Monday. Anna slapped her hand down on the alarm clock before it had gotten to the second chirp. She’d been awake for half an hour. Things were different now, weren’t they? Or was that just a one-time sibling bonding and now it was back to student and teacher? Anna had been going back and forth since opening her eyes and she was no closer to an answer. She reluctantly got up and ready for school. When Jeff pulled up in front of her house at exactly 7 Anna was out the door and halfway to the car before he’d turned off the ignition.
“Oh, hey.” Jeff sounded surprised when she opened the door. “I wasn’t sure if you’d be awake or not. Figured you’d be out celebrating your birthday last night since you didn’t get to see your friends on Saturday.” He said as he started the car again. “Here,” he handed her a small package from the bakery by his house, “Got you a belated birthday muffin.” He smiled.
She took the package and opened it. They’d shared breakfast before but he’d never actually gone out of his way to bring her something. “Wow. Thanks. Mmm, banana? Smells amazing.” She smiled as she pulled it from the package. “Wanna split it?”
“Well I wouldn’t say no to sharing.” He smiled and accepted the piece Anna offered him. “I got you your own coffee too. I know you don’t like it as sweet as I do.” He gestured to the additional cup in her cup holder.
For a moment it felt like they were a normal couple on any normal morning. They drank their coffee and shared a muffin and talked about how much fun the bon fire was. When they arrived at school it seemed like neither of them were ready for it to end.
“I know you usually work in the library in the morning but if you want, you can hang out in my classroom. I mean I usually have a meeting so it’s quiet and then you won’t have to dodge the crotchety librarian.” Jeff said when he shut off his car.
“Oh. Yeah that would be good actually. I always feel like I’m in the way when she is trying to set up for the day.” Anna tried to convince herself it was purely academic reasoning, but deep down she just wanted the extra time with her step-brother.
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