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My Niece Janelle, Chapter 5

  • Posted on December 26, 2016 at 4:44 pm

By Muffi

The following morning was complete bedlam. Dragging the two girls out of bed, gathering up the various items scattered around my bedroom, sorting out who belonged with what item and which bag it should go into, then herding them downstairs for breakfast, getting them dressed, getting myself dressed… Yeah, bedlam is an understatement. I honestly don’t know how a full-time parent can deal with it.

I’d brought my laptop into the bedroom before I woke the girls, setting it up on my dresser. On the pretense that I didn’t think her top really matched her jeans (yeah, right — what doesn’t go with jeans?), I’d maneuvered her into position in front of it. I’d check later to see if I’d gotten a good image.

We did manage to get out the door on time. Before we left, though, I asked Sara if she’d like to come and spend the afternoon with Janelle after school. I could take her home at some point, or Kate could run her home when she picked up Janelle. I’d work that out with Kate later on. Sara said she wasn’t sure if her mother would let her do that, so we called her before we left for school.

After a little hesitation, Colleen Davidson agreed that Sara could visit with Janelle after school, but only if she could be home in time for dinner. I assured her that that would not be a problem, and hung up the phone. I’d already given the two girls the thumbs up signal while I was talking to Colleen, and they were dancing around the kitchen excitedly.

“Okay, you two,” I said. “We don’t need to pack your things in the car, because you’ll be coming here after school. I’ll pick you up in front of school at three o’clock. Now, let’s get going.”

I followed the two girls to the garage, where they piled into the back seat of the Chevy. I made sure they were buckled in, and we headed off. Minutes later, I dropped them in front of school, where they sang out their goodbyes to me as they dashed onto the school grounds. Me, I set off for home, thinking about how I’d kill to have that much energy.

I returned home, and got the day’s work done before lunch. Very good, Meagan, I thought. At least you can focus on something besides that pretty little ass of Janelle’s.

I leaned back in the office chair, mulling over this whole crazy situation. How had it come to this — lusting after a nine-year-old girl, my own niece to boot?

Deep down inside, I knew that I’d never do anything that might hurt Janelle. She was the closest thing I’d ever have to a daughter of my own. Nevertheless, I was beginning to really hate myself for harboring these desires for her, despite knowing I’d never act on them.

I didn’t bother to call Michelle and check on any progress she might have made in finding out about Sara’s father. For one thing, I knew she’d call me when she had something to tell me; for another, I didn’t want to make a habit of calling her. Wrong impressions, and all that. The last thing I needed right then was an old lover thinking that maybe I was trying to re-ignite a fire that had guttered long ago.

I brewed a fresh pot of coffee and made a sandwich, which I ate in the office. Brushing the crumbs aside, I pulled up the webcam capture of Sara’s back that I’d caught with the laptop in the bedroom that morning. Freezing the video, I took a couple of screenshots of the angry bruise over her kidney. As I stared at the ugly purple mark, I felt my anger rise again.

I’m going to stop this son of a bitch, I thought. I am. Even if I have to kill him to do it.

Yeah, I know. Pretty self-righteous for a woman who was entertaining fantasies of molesting a nine-year-old. Somehow, though, my illicit cravings didn’t seem to compare with the abuse Sara had to endure.

The phone rang, startling me. It was Kate.

“Hey, Little Sis,” I said by way of greeting.

“Hi, Meagan,” she said. “How was your sleepover?”

“Actually, it was fun,” I replied. “We just did girly stuff, ate pizza, and watched movies. Did you and the hubby enjoy some quality alone time?”

“That’s none of your business,” she said primly.

“Since when?”

She snickered. “Okay, okay,” she laughed. “I’m walking like Annie Oakley today. Happy?”

“Bow-legged, huh? Do tell!”

“Nope. Use your imagination. You’re good at that.”

Oh, if you only knew, Kate, I thought.

“Listen,” I said, “Sara is going to come over here with Janelle after school. She has to be home in time for dinner. Do you want me to bring her home, and then drop Janelle off at your place, or do you want to pick them both up here, and bring Sara home?”

“That’s up to you,” she said. “I don’t mind taking her home.”

I thought about it for a minute. “Nah,” I said. “No worries. I’ll run her home, then drop Janelle off. You can take a break from being the taxi driver today.” I wanted to try for a little assessment of things at Sara’s home.

“Okay,” said Kate. “Talk to Michelle yet?”

“Yeah,” I said. “For now, she’s checking the records on Sara’s father. Maybe there’ll be something there we can use. I also got a good picture of her back. Used the laptop webcam this morning while she was getting dressed. That is one ugly bruise. If you want, I’ll email it to you so you can take a look.”

“Uhm, yeah, okay,” she said. “I really don’t want to see it, but if it’s got you this mad, then yeah. I need to take a look.”

“Okay,” I said. “I’ll send it as soon as we’re off the phone. Just make sure no one else sees it, okay?”

“Noted,” she replied.

“Okay, then,” I said. “I’ll see you around five-thirty with Janelle.”

“Okay. Thanks.”

“No problem, you know that,” I replied. “See you tonight.”

“‘Bye, Meagan.”

“‘Bye.”

I logged into my email and sent Kate the picture of little Sara’s back. Five minutes later I had a reply from her.

Email deleted. That fucker!

Fucker, indeed, I thought. The fucker is about to be fucked with, too.

A little after two o’clock, the phone rang again. Kate.

“What’s up, Sis?”

“Meagan, listen,” I could hear the tears in her voice, “I need a huge favor.”

“Kate, what’s wrong?” I asked.

“It’s Michael’s father,” she said. “He had a massive stroke. We have to go see him, Meagan. Can you take Janelle for a few days?”

“Oh, God,” I said. “Of course I can. I’m so sorry, Sweetie. Is he going to be okay?”

“They don’t think so,” she replied. “That’s why we have to go right now. In case he doesn’t make it.”

“I’ll take Janelle, Kate,” I said. “Don’t worry about that. What do you want me to tell her?”

Kate hesitated. “Tell her the truth,” she said. “Don’t say right out that he probably won’t make it, but if she pushes, don’t lie.”

“Got it. You just go. I’ve got you covered with Janelle. We’ll come by after school and get her some clothes and things.”

“Thanks, Meagan,” Kate said. “I owe you one.”

“No, you don’t,” I said firmly. “We’re all family. That’s what we do.”

“Okay, I have to go, Meagan. Michael’s meeting me at home.”

“Go,” I said. “Let me know what’s going on, okay?”

“I will. ‘Bye.”

“‘Bye, Kate.”

I went into the kitchen, checking to make sure I had plenty of everything I’d need in the food department to take care of a nine-year-old for however long this might take. I’d need to get more milk, orange juice, and cereal, but otherwise, I was pretty well covered. I went into the living room and sat on the couch.

Sadness welled up in me. I truly liked Michael’s father. He was a sweet, funny guy, and he didn’t seem to have a lot of the hang-ups that some people of his generation do.

When he was informed that I’m a lesbian, he had looked at me and grinned. “Aw, now, that’s just a damn shame,” he’d said, grinning at me.

“Why’s that?” I asked, puzzled.

“Well, I was telling Michael that I was thinking of divorcing his mother and asking you to marry me,” he cackled delightedly, while his wife just rolled her eyes.

“Pay no attention to him, Meagan,” she’d said. “He’s a dirty old fart.”

Kate has never been one to overreact to things. She’d been crying, and she’d said that they didn’t think her father-in-law was going to be okay. I mentally began to prepare myself for a funeral.

And in the meantime, my dirty little mind whispered, you’ll have Janelle here with you, all to yourself…

Telling my mind to shut the hell up, I got my purse and keys and hustled to my car in the garage, then headed to the school to pick up the two girls.

I pulled up just as the bell was ringing, and a screaming mob of children came pouring out the doors of the school, headed to cars and school buses. I saw Sara and Janelle walking together, heads close; as I watched, Sara went off towards one of the school buses. Janelle saw me and waved, then ran to the car and climbed into the front seat, buckling her seat belt.

“Hi, Sweetie,” I said. “Where’s Sara going?”

“Her Mom called the school and said she had to go home right after school,” said Janelle. “Her Mom has to work, and she has to be home to heat up her Dad’s dinner.”

Doesn’t he know how to use a microwave? I thought, seething inside. “Oh, that’s too bad,” I said.

“Yeah,” said Janelle. “But she said her Mom doesn’t work day after tomorrow, so if it’s okay, maybe we can do it then?”

“Of course,” I said. “We’ll take her things back to her in a little while, too. I’m sure she’s going to need the clothes she left at my house.”

As we pulled away from the curb, I turned in the direction of Kate and Michael’s. I tried to keep things as light as I could. “Sweetie, you’re going to be staying with me for a few days,” I said. “Your Mom and Dad had to go out of town suddenly. They’ll be back soon, and I know your Mom will call you tonight.”

“How come they had to leave?” Janelle asked.

“Well,” I said slowly, “you’re Grandpa McCarthy is sick, Honey. He’s in the hospital, and your Mom and Dad have to go see him.”

“What’s wrong with him?” she asked.

“He had a stroke, Sweetie,” I said.

“What’s that?”

“Uhm, well… It means that something happened, like a blood clot, in an artery in his head. His brain wasn’t getting enough blood, and it did some damage. Sort of like a heart attack, only it’s in your brain and not in your heart.”

“Is he gonna be okay?”

“We don’t know, Sweetie,” I said softly. “I hope so, but we just don’t know yet. I’m sure your Mom will know more later on.”

“‘Kay,” she quietly.

We pulled into the driveway at Janelle’s house. “Come on, ” I said, “we need to get you some clothes for a few days.”

Janelle looked at me like I’d lost my mind. “Uhm, Aunt Meagan? I already have tons of stuff at your house, remember?”

“Oh, for God’s sake,” I said. “Yeah, I did forget. You’re right. Okay then, scratch the clothes idea.”

I backed out of the driveway. Janelle was smirking at me. “You’re gettin’ old, Aunt Meagan,” she said. “You forget stuff all the time!”

I reached over and dug my fingers into her ribs, bringing a shriek and making her squirm madly in her seat. “Old? OLD?? Old, am I?” I dug my fingers in more. “What are you saying, little girl?”

“Okay, okay, okay!!” she gasped, her face flushed. “You’re not old! You’re not, honest!”

I love hearing her laugh. Even more so when I cause the laughter.

Janelle was panting, still giggling from the tickling. Then she gave me a stern look. “Brat,” she said.

“That’s me,” I said, grinning at her. “By the way, have you fed Meagan yet?”

“Not yet,” Janelle said. “I hafta get some mice for her.”

“Okay,” I said. “We’ll go get a couple after school tomorrow, and stop by your house to feed her. She hasn’t eaten since I got her, so she’s probably hungry.”

“‘Kay,” she replied. “Can she eat regular mice yet?”

“Not yet,” I said. “We’ll have to get her a couple of pinkies.” Pinkies are baby mice. I looked over at her for a moment. “You know that once she’s big enough to eat regular mice, you’ll have to feed her dead ones, right?”

“Yup, I know,” said Janelle. “I don’t want her to get hurt.”

“Okay, good. Some people don’t think it’s good to feed your snake dead mice or rats, but I’ve never had any problem, and Ellie and Nellie have never had a scratch. Usually a snake is fine with live mice, but rats can cause some damage. As long as Meagan will eat dead ones, you’re safer that way. You have the humidifier and the heating pad all set up, too, right?”

“Yup. And she has a warm side and a cool side.”

“Awesome!” I said.

We pulled into my driveway, but I left the Chevy out of the garage. “Tell you what,” I said. “Let’s get Sara’s things, and take them over to her house, and then on the way home we can stop and get a snack. Sound good to you?”

“Ice cream?” she asked, giving me a puppy-dog look.

“Anything you want, Sweetie,” I said.

She smiled sweetly. I melted. When Janelle smiles, I feel like an ice cream cone. One that’s been in the sun too long, and it’s gone all gooey and dripping.

Take that any way you want to. You’ll probably be right.

We went inside and upstairs to my room. Janelle looked around to make sure that there was nothing of Sara’s that had been missed, then I picked up the duffel bag, and we went back out to the Chevy.

Fifteen minutes later, we were in front of the Davidson house. We both got out, I went around to the back to unload the duffel bag, and we walked up on the porch. As I was about to knock on the door, I heard Sara’s father bellowing from inside.

“Goddammit! I told you to do yer fuckin’ homework after dinner. Just get your fuckin’ ass out there an’ clean up the kitchen. Jesus Christ, yer as fuckin’ useless as yer goddamn mother!”

I looked down at Janelle, who was staring up at me, eyes wide.

“Go back and wait in the car, Sweetie,” I said softly.

She nodded, and went back to the Chevy.

I took a deep breath. Careful, Meagan, I thought. She’s alone here with him. Don’t piss the asshole off. I knocked on the door. Loudly.

“Oh, fer Crissake,” I heard. “Now what the fuck? Sara, get in here an’ answer the goddamn door!”

Ten seconds later, I heard the doorknob rattle. The door swung open, and little Sara stood there on the other side of the screen, looking up at me. She was pale and wan. She also looked scared.

“Hi, Sara,” I said softly. “Janelle and I just came by to bring you your duffel bag. We thought you’d probably need your clothes and things.”

I looked beyond her. Lardass was sitting in the recliner, the seemingly ever-present bottle of vodka on the table next to him. He looked to be wearing the same clothes he’d had on the first time I saw him. He was greasy looking, unkempt and unshaven. I wondered vaguely if he ever worked.

Sara pushed the screen door open. I decided to take that as an invitation, and stepped through the door, duffel bag in hand. Once inside, I set it on the floor. I looked over at Lardass.

“Good afternoon, Mr. Davidson,” I said.

He peered at me through bleary eyes. Then he grunted.

“I just came by to drop off Sara’s things,” I said. “Since there was a change of plans, and they were still at my house.”

He grunted again. It might have been, “Thanks,” but somehow, I doubted that.

I turned to Sara, smiling. “Sara, Janelle said that maybe you could come over and hang out on Wednesday,” I said. “Would you like to do that?”

“Yeah, that’d be cool,” Sara said. She nodded briefly and gave me a momentary smile.

“Okay then, I’ll call your Mom tomorrow, and see if we can make plans for Wednesday,” I said.

“‘Kay. Thank you.”

“No problem, Sweetie,” I said. “Janelle’s disappointed that you couldn’t come over today.”

“Me, too,” she said simply.

“You want to come talk to Janelle for a minute?”

She looked over at Lardass. He looked like we didn’t even exist. Sara nodded. As we went out the door, Lardass spoke.

“Don’t you be runnin’ off anywhere, Sara!”

“She’s just going to say hello to my niece, Mr. Davidson,” I said.

Again, the grunt. The guy was a brilliant conversationalist. People wonder why I prefer women.

We went to the Chevy. Janelle and Sara talked for a minute, making tentative plans to get together after school on Wednesday. I decided to walk her back to the door. On the way, I draped one arm over her thin shoulders.

“Hey,” I said. “It’s going to be okay, Sweetie.”

“No, it’s not,” she replied quietly.

I stopped, and squatted down in front of her, both of her upper arms gripped lightly in my hands.

“Sara, you listen to me, okay? I promise you, everything is going to be okay. I promise.” I wrapped her up in a hug.

She clung to me for a moment, then pulled away. “I better go in,” she said. She looked so damned sad.

I stood up and took her hand, and we walked back up on the porch. At the door she stopped, and turned to look up at me.

“Thanks for bringing my stuff over, Meagan,” she said.

“You’re welcome, Sara,” I replied. “I’ll call your Mom tomorrow, okay?”

“‘Kay,” she said.

I watched her as she went inside and closed the door. I stood there for a minute, listening, but apparently she hadn’t pissed off Lardass by going outside for a few minutes.

Regretfully, I turned and went back to the Chevy. I hated leaving her there. I hated myself for not being able to do something right then.

When I got in the Chevy and we pulled away, Janelle was silent for a few minutes. Finally, she turned and looked at me with stricken eyes. “Why’s her Dad so mean to her, Aunt Meagan?”

“I don’t know, Sweetie,” I sighed. “I wish I did.”

More silence. Then, “He hits her, doesn’t he?”

I looked at Janelle. Her beautiful eyes were full of sadness. “Yes, he does,” I said.

“Why would he do that?” she asked.

“Because it’s the only way he thinks he can control her,” I said. “Some people are mean because it helps them feel like they’re in control of everything. He’s just like a bully at school, only he never grew out of behaving that way.”

“I hate him,” she said, her voice tense with anger. “I hate him for hurtin’ Sara.”

“So do I, Sweetie,” I said.

“Can’t somebody make him stop?”

I looked over at her again. What I heard was not what she’d said. What I heard was, “Can’t you make him stop?”

“Can you keep a secret?” I asked. She nodded. “I’m already working on it, Sweetie. I’m going to do everything I can.”

“You are? Really?”

I nodded. “Remember Michelle?” I asked.

“Yeah. She’s kinda cool.”

“Well,” I said, “she’s going to help me. She’s a police officer, so she can do things that I can’t.” Not legally, anyway, I thought.

“Cool!” Janelle said. “What’re you guys gonna do?”

“I don’t know yet,” I replied. “But Michelle is looking into it right now.”

She smiled, seemingly satisfied.

I pulled into the local Dairy Queen. When we got out, Janelle came around and hugged me, her arms locked around my waist. She looked up at me.

“I love you, Aunt Meagan,” she said.

“I love you, too,” I smiled. “What brought that on?”

“You’re gonna try to help Sara,” she said. “Lotsa people wouldn’t bother, cause they’d say it’s none of their business.”

“Janelle, I want you to always remember something,” I said. “When someone is in trouble like that, and they don’t have any way to help themselves, it’s always your business. Especially when it’s a kid. You have a responsibility to try and help.”

“See?” she said. “That’s why I love you!”

We had our ice cream, then headed back to my house. Janelle got right into doing her homework, while I started getting things ready for dinner. Just as I was about to open my mouth and call her in to supper, she came skipping into the kitchen. “Homework’s all done!” she said.

Janelle had changed her clothes, and was now wearing just a tee-shirt and panties. My breath caught in my throat at the sight of her slender legs, at the flash of panties that I got nearly every time she moved.

“What’re we havin’ for supper?” Janelle asked.

“Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and corn,” I replied. “And don’t worry, I didn’t use any onions in the meatloaf.”

Janelle giggled. “Your meatloaf is awesome, ‘cept when you put onions in it.”

We ate quietly, keeping the conversation light. I don’t think the situation with her grandfather had really set in for her. She’s only nine, after all. She knew what death meant, but mostly when it came to animals. With people, especially those close to her, the idea of their mortality had yet to make itself known. He was still alive, just sick, so as far as she was concerned, there was nothing to get upset about yet.

As we were cleaning up the kitchen, the phone rang. I answered — it was Kate.

“Hi, Kate,” I said. “How’s Michael’s Dad?”

“He’s not good, Meagan,” she replied. “He’s holding on, but they don’t think he’s going to last much longer.”

“Oh, Kate… I’m so sorry. Do you want to talk to Janelle?”

“Yeah, please,” she replied.

I headed back to the kitchen and handed the phone to Janelle. “It’s your Mom,” I said.

“Hi, Mom,” said Janelle. “How’s Grampa?” There was silence for a few moments. “Do you think I’ll be able to see him before… well, you know…” That didn’t sound good. “Please, Mom?… Yes, I can… I’m sure, yeah… okay, hang on.”

She handed the phone back to me, deep concern in her eyes. “Mom wants to talk to you.”

“What’s up, Kate?”

“Listen, I hate to ask you this,” she said, “I really do. But Janelle really wants to see her grandfather before it’s too late. Can you…”

“You don’t even have to ask, Kate, you know that,” I said. “When do you want her there?”

“The doctors say it’s going to be slow,” Kate said. “Why don’t we plan on Friday? That way she doesn’t have to try to entertain herself too much.”

“Before or after school?” I asked.

“Uhm… I don’t want you to have drive at night after you’ve been up all day. You can keep her out of school Friday, and just head up here whenever you’re ready to leave.”

“Fine,” I said, “we’ll plan to leave early Friday morning then. If you need us there sooner, just call me, and we’ll head right out.”

“Thanks, Meagan,” Kate said. “I don’t know what I’d do without you.”

“Pine away, living a life full of loneliness?”

“Yeah, right,” she said. I heard the smile in her voice. That was good.

“Then we’ll see you Friday, Kate. You want to talk to Janelle again?”

“Yeah, please. thanks, Meagan. ‘Bye.”

“‘Bye, Kate.”

I handed the phone back to Janelle. “Hi, Mom,” she said quietly. “Okay. I’ll see you Friday. And Mom? Would you give Grampa a kiss from me?… ‘Kay. Talk to you later. ‘Bye, Mom.”

Janelle turned off the phone and set it on the table, continuing to help me clean up the kitchen.

“You okay, Sweetie?” I asked.

She nodded. “Yeah,” she said. “Just kinda sad. It sucks that people hafta die.”

“It does, Sweetie. Just remember, it’s a part of life. We all die someday.”

“I know,” she said. “But it still sucks.”

I looked at Janelle for a moment. I knew that Kate trusts my judgment with things like this, so I felt okay with what I was about to ask.

“Janelle, do you want to just skip school tomorrow, and hang out here with me instead?”

She thought about it for a minute, then nodded. “You think it’s okay to do that, Aunt Meagan?”

“Yeah, Sweetie, I do,” I said. “I’ll call the school first thing in the morning and tell them you won’t be there.”

“‘Kay. Thanks, Aunt Meagan.”

We finished cleaning up the kitchen, and then went to the living room to watch television. Janelle didn’t really want to do anything, so I turned the idiot box to something mindless but entertaining. I sat on one end of the couch. Janelle scooted over and sat close to me, drawng my arm around her shoulders. I’m ashamed to admit that even then, under the circumstances, I was deeply aware of her warm, soft little body pressed close to mine. She snuggled up close, and we just sat quietly, watching television.

When one sitcom was over, I maneuvered myself so that I could stand up. “I’m going to go get changed, Sweetie,” I said. “I’ll be right back, okay?”

“‘Kay,” she said, and nodded.

As I came back down the stairs in my tee-shirt and panties, the phone rang again. It was Michelle.

“Hi, Michelle,” I said.

“Hi, Meagan,” she answered. “How are you?”

“Well, pretty good, I guess. I’ve been better.” I explained what was going on.

“Aw, man, that really sucks. I’m sorry, Meagan.”

“Thanks,” I said. “What’s going on?”

“Well, I did some digging into your little friend’s Daddy,” she said. “He’s got a record. Just minor stuff, though; some alcohol related fights, drunk and disorderly, a couple of DUIs, that kind of thing.”

“No history of abuse?” I asked.

“Not on record. But that doesn’t mean anything.”

“No, it doesn’t.” I told her what I’d seen and heard earlier that day.

“Jesus Christ,” she grated. It sounded like her teeth were clenched.

“Yeah,” I said. “It killed me having to drive away and leave her there.”

“Okay, well,” she said, “at this point, there’s not a lot we can do, unless you want to file a formal report about the bruise. Honestly, I don’t see that having much effect in the long run.”

“So what do you want to do?” I asked.

“I want you and I to go pay him a visit,” she said. “We need to have a little talk with him. Alone, if we can swing it.”

I thought for a minute. “I know his wife is working tomorrow,” I said. “But Sara will be there, and I’ve got Janelle right now, too.”

“She works afternoons?”

“Yeah,” I said.

“Okay, how about this,” she said. “You and I and Janelle will go over there after school tomorrow. We can get Sara out of the house, and to the car to talk to Janelle. Then you and I can have a quiet little chat with this bastard.”

“Are you coming in uniform?”

“No,” she said. “I want to keep it completely unofficial right now. I’ve always got my badge, and if he needs to be reminded that the law can be brought into it, I can shove that in his face.”

Somehow, I could actually see her doing just that. And then grinding it in until his face was shredded.

“Okay, that works for me,” I said. “Why don’t you come here at about three-thirty or so?”

“I’ll be there,” she said.

“Okay, I’ll you see then,” I said. “And Michelle? Thanks for everything.”

“No problem,” she replied. “Even though it’s unofficial, it’s still my job.”

Yeah, she’s one of those twenty-four-seven kind of cops.

“Talk to tomorrow, then.” I said. ” ‘Bye.”

“Bye.” She hung up the phone.

I was going to have to talk to Janelle about what was happening. She’d know something was up as soon as the three of us went to Sara’s house the next day, especially since Michelle would be with us.

The more I thought about it, the more I didn’t like it. I didn’t think the girls should be there while we talked to Sara’s father. If the guy was drunk, who knows how he’d react? I didn’t like the idea of Sara seeing it if something got out of hand. Michelle could handle Lardass, I was certain of that. But asshole or not, the guy was still her father. I called Michelle back.

“Listen,” I said, when she answered her phone. “I’m not sure about this.”

“What do you mean?”

I explained what I’d been thinking. She took a deep breath when I finished.

“You’re right,” she said. “Bad idea. So now what?”

“Let’s try for Wednesday,” I said. “Hopefully, Sara will be here for a few hours in the afternoon. I trust the two of them alone for a little while here, as long as they keep the doors locked and stay inside. We can run out, have our little chat, and they won’t be anywhere around.”

“I can do that,” said Michelle. “I’ll swap shifts with someone, get Wednesday off.”

“Good,” I said. “Plan to meet me here at about the same time? Three-thirty or so?”

“I’ll be there.”

I hung up the phone, and went back into the living room. Janelle was still on the couch, watching another sitcom. I sat down next to her, and we settled back into position with her snuggled up against my side.

It wasn’t too long before I felt her breathing deepen and even out. She’d fallen asleep next to me. Rather than wake her up, I carefully stood, laying her down on the couch. I went and got a quilt and a pillow, and settled her to sleep. She’d be fine on the couch for the night.

Not to mention that I wouldn’t have to try coping with her being in my bed. A one night reprieve.

As I turned off the television, I noticed that Ellie and Nellie seemed to be looking at me with approval in their eyes.

See? I’m a good girl, I said to them silently.

No response. Just a steady look.

I turned off the television, then turned and went upstairs to my room. I swung the door almost shut, leaving it just a little ajar. Turning on the bedside lamp, I flipped off the bright overhead, stripped my tee-shirt and panties off, and then slid gratefully into bed. And of course, if it’s at all possible, and it usually is, I always masturbate before I go to sleep. Since Janelle was on the couch, I was safe.

This time, I didn’t even try to be good. Images came flooding into my mind, and I reveled in them. As my hands and fingers roamed my body, I closed my eyes, reliving scenes from the past few days.

Standing in the shower, Janelle’s naked body shining and wet as my hands gently scrubbed her back. Janelle in my bedroom, wearing just a pair of panties, smiling at me. Janelle skipping into the kitchen earlier that evening, the cleft of her sex clearly outlined through her panties each time she moved.

I was breathing hard, my body humming like I had a finger plugged into an electrical outlet. I moaned, once, as the first wave rolled over me, my fingers moving wetly through the warm folds and crevices of my pussy.

“Aunt Meagan?”

Oh, fuck…

There was no hiding what I’d been doing. I was on my back, legs splayed open, one hand tugging at my nipples while the other was busily plunging three fingers in and out of my pussy. I grabbed for the sheet, and with as much dignity as possible under the circumstances, covered myself up. Janelle was standing in the doorway, staring at me with wide eyes. I cleared my throat.

“Uhm…” I faltered for a moment. “Hi, Sweetie. Couldn’t sleep?” She shook her head, but stayed rooted to the spot. ”You want to get in with me?”

As though she’d been waiting for permission, she flashed me a pretty smile, nodded, and came quickly to my bed, crawling in next to me. She pulled the covers up over herself and settled herself onto the pillow.

Neither of us said anything for a few moments. I was too embarrassed. I didn’t know what to say.

“You do it, too, Aunt Meagan?” Janelle finally said. Her voice was quiet, but full of curiosity.

Too? I thought.

“Do what, Sweetie?” I replied. Trying to play stupid. Yeah, right. That would work.

“You know… Touch yourself. Down there…”

“Uhm… Well, yeah, I do. I’m sorry you walked in on me, Sweetie. I should have kept in mind that you’re here with me right now.”

“It’s okay,” Janelle said shyly. “I don’t mind.”

She was silent for a few moments. I thought that she was probably drifting back to sleep.

“I do it, too,” she whispered shyly.

I felt a warmth spread through my groin at these words, and I had a sudden mental image of Janelle on my bed, naked, playing with herself.

“Well,” I said, trying to keep my voice calm, “that’s not unusual. Most everybody does it.”

I saw her nod in the low light from the bedside lamp. “That’s what Mom told me,” she said.

Ah, I thought. Kate caught her masturbating.”Well, she was right,” I replied.

“She said as long as I try to be careful an’ keep it private, there’s nothin’ wrong with touching myself there.”

“Well,” I said, “there isn’t. It’s just embarrassing when you get caught doing it.”

Janelle nodded and grinned. “I know,” she said. “I thought I was gonna die when Mom caught me. She was really cool, though. She said it’s something I can do whenever I want to, long as I keep it private. She even said she does it sometimes. I’ve never seen her do it, though. I’ve never seen anybody do it till just now.”

I didn’t know what to say, so I just kept my mouth shut.

“It was kinda cool seein’ you do it,” she said quietly. When I didn’t respond, she added, “You aren’t mad at me, are you, Aunt Meagan? Cause I saw you doing it, I mean?”

“Oh, God no, Sweetie,” I said. “You just caught me by surprise, and I was embarrassed.”

She sighed, apparently satisfied. As for me, my mind was in a whirl. I was lying here, in my bed, Janelle next to me, and we were discussing masturbation. I was confused, scared, and hornier than I could ever remember being in my life.

“Aunt Meagan?”

“Hmmm?”

“Is it weird that… well… am I weird, cause I liked watching you do it?”

Jesus, I thought. How the hell do I answer this one?

“No, Sweetie, you’re not weird,” I said. “You saw me doing something that you like to do to yourself. Why shouldn’t you enjoy seeing someone else do it?”

“Do you like to watch people touch themselves?”

“Uhmm… Well, yeah, I guess I do,” I said softly.

We were both silent for a few minutes, then I heard Janelle sigh again. “Aunt Meagan?”

“Yes, Sweetie?”

“Do you wanna watch me do it?” It came out in an almost inaudible whisper.

Oh, dear God, I thought. My mind was screaming, No! No, please, for fuck’s sake, I can’t! I can’t!

My mouth betrayed me, though. “If you’d like me to, yes,” I murmured. “I think I’d like that very much.”

I turned onto my side and looked at Janelle. She was gazing at me, a strange look in her eyes. It took me a moment to recognize it. Lust. Janelle was turned on by the thought of masturbating for me.

I’m lost, I thought.

Janelle sat up and quickly removed her tee-shirt. Lying back down, she lifted her hips, pushing her panties down her thighs, then taking them off completely. My breath caught as she lay back down, completely naked, staring at me for a moment. Then she smiled. “It feels nice down there already,” she whispered.

I’m just going to watch, I told myself. I’m not going to touch her, not going to do anything to her. I’m just watching. Where’s the harm in that?

I raised my upper body from the bed, supporting myself with one hand against the side of my neck, weight on my elbow. I let my other hand rest on my hip.

God, she was beautiful! So slender, her skin pale in the dim light, with her small, flat nipples visible, the palest pink I’ve ever seen, like the inside of a seashell. My eyes traveled over her body, down across her flat little belly, down the length of her slim legs, now parted slightly. Back up, to her center, her sex. Her mons was prominent, a defined rise jutting up from the juncture of her thighs, her labia puffy with baby fat.

As I watched, one of her hands slid slowly over her belly, fingertips rubbing gently against her smooth vulva, down between her the tops of her thighs. I felt a stab of pleasure as my pussy contracted. Her eyes never left my face.

“I have this one spot,” she whispered, “right here. When I touch it, it feels sooo good…”

I watched her finger slip between the outer lips of her pussy, sliding over the nub of her clit, tucked beneath its little hood. Her hips twitched slightly, and she gasped softly. “That’s the best,” she whispered.

I was in a trance. I couldn’t believe that I was lying there, naked, watching Janelle masturbate for me. It was the most beautiful sight that I had ever seen in my life. It was also the most erotic thing I’d ever experienced. I could feel wetness flowing freely from my pussy. It was torture to make myself just lie there and do nothing, only watch this beautiful little girl pleasure herself for me.

Janelle’s hand was moving rhythmically now, sliding up and down through the slippery crease of her vagina. She was clearly enjoying this; I could see her fingers glistening with moisture, and I could hear quiet little liquid sounds. Her eyes slowly drifted shut, her lips parting slightly as she began to pant a little bit.

As if it was no longer under my conscious control, my free hand slid between my own legs, unconsciously mimicking Janelle’s movements. I gasped, and Janelle’s eyes opened. She smiled dreamily when she saw what I was doing.

“That… looks so… so cool, Aunt Meagan…” she whispered the words breathlessly.

I shuddered, and went over the top. It wasn’t any kind of an earth-moving orgasm. It was just a very nice, very quick, rippling kind of climax. My thighs clamped down on my hand as I gasped and whimpered, a small gush of fluid coating my fingers.

Janelle smiled. “You did it,” she whispered. Her hand was moving faster now, the wet sounds coming from her pussy providing a counterpoint to her breathless panting.

Again of its own accord, my free hand, wet with my juices, reached over to Janelle. I began to touch her pale pink nipples — first one, then the other, with small circular motions. They glistened in the light, my wetness coating them.

Janelle’s thighs clamped together, trapping her fingers in the folds of her pussy. Her eyes scrunched shut, and she began to gasp her way through an orgasm. The child’s hips thrust upwards in sharp, quick little movements as she pressed her fingers tightly into her sex. I watched Janelle shiver and twitch, her whole body quivering with release.

When it had passed, she relaxed slowly, her hand slipping from between her legs as she took a deep, deep breath, then released it slowly.

I couldn’t help myself. I reached down and took her hand in mine. Bringing her fingers to my lips, I took them one by one into my mouth, sucking the wetness from them, savoring the clean, sweet taste of her pussy. She watched me intently, seemingly fascinated by this.

When I’d finished, she brought my hand to her mouth without a word. Tentatively, she extended her tongue to taste my index finger. Then she drew it into her mouth, giving the same attention to me that I’d bestowed on her.

God, what was she doing to me? I could feel a fresh wave of fluid oozing from my cunt, coating my inner thighs.

Finished tasting my honey, Janelle clasped my hand in both of hers, pressing it to her chest. She gazed up at me, smiling, a languid look in her eyes.

“That was nice, Aunt Meagan,” she whispered.

I leaned down and kissed her forehead lightly, my lips lingering on her soft skin.

“That was the nicest thing I can ever remember doing, Sweetie,” I said.

I drew Janelle into my arms, holding her to my breasts, drinking in the warmth and softness of her naked body. I stroked her hair, kissing the top of her head every now and then. She snuggled in close to me, her head resting on one breast.

“Aunt Meagan… does this mean I’m a lesbian now?”

I smiled, but didn’t laugh. Laughing at her was the last thing on my mind. “The only thing this means, Sweetie,” I said, “is that you and I just shared something very beautiful and very special together. It means that we love each other enough to be close like this.”

“‘Kay,” she whispered. “Cause if I am, it doesn’t matter. If bein’ a lesbian means I get to feel like that, then I don’t see how it could ever be bad.”

I hugged her tightly. “No matter what you are, Janelle, I’ll always love you, because you’ll always be you.”

I could feel her smile against my breast. Less than five minutes later, she was asleep in my arms.

Oh, I was going to hate myself for this in the morning. I knew that it should never have happened. At that moment, though, I honestly didn’t care. I didn’t regret it, not yet. I would, but I’d deal with that when the time came. For now, I just wanted to drift along forever on this amazing afterglow. I closed my eyes, and sank slowly into a quiet, peaceful slumber, holding Janelle close.

Continue on to Chapter 6