Thursday, August 17, 2006

School of Love: Part I, chapter 3 from The Edge of the World (a novel in progress)

Lily and Leonard lived with their parents, and their brother Lemuel, in Athens, Georgia. Their house, the house I had lived in from the age of nine until I left for New York with Marly, was on the southern side of a street called Horseshoe Lane which, appropriately, was shaped like a horseshoe, the ends of which led into the woods. Even though Horseshoe Lane was only a five minute walk from the University of Georgia—the center of activity in town—the neighborhood had an almost rural atmosphere to it. Having lived there since they were small, right on the edge of the woods in a house with an enormous backyard, Lily and Leonard always felt as if they had grown up on a farm.

Their parents were both professors at the university. Louis Bay, my Grandfather, taught physics, while Ellen, my Grandmother, was in the English department. Being academics, they had always stressed to Lily and Leonard the importance of education.

“Never let a day go by when you haven’t learned something,” Louis used to say to his children. And, “You’ll never be too old to learn something new.”

Even then Grandpa was already talking like an old man. And despite his status in the community as an intellectual, every moment for him was a time to express either sentiment or an almost antiquated sense of optimism, the basis of which was his faith in learning. To him, knowledge was power. And to him, knowledge was a force which could overcome any disadvantages one was born with.

Although Lily and Leonard were expected to spend a good amount of time on school work, they were also allowed to lead normal lives. As long as they did their school work—and did it well—neither Louis nor Ellen had any objection to their watching television, listening to rock and roll music on the radio, or taking part in after school activities like other children. All in all, it was a typical household, and their childhood a normal one.

When Lily and Leonard started fucking it was the fall of 1971. Leonard was in his first year of high school and on the junior varsity football team, while Lily was a senior and a cheerleader. But with Lily and Leonard fucking, and she giving Jimmy the occasional blow job, there wasn’t much time for football or cheerleading.

They promptly quit these activities which, for them, had become boring and unnecessary. Leonard would ride home right after school with Lily. And every day they’d make a stop along the way for a quick fuck in her car.

When they got home they’d watch television for an hour or so—reruns of The Beverly Hillbillies had become their favorite. They’d fantasize about Jethro and Ellie Mae, making believe they were brother and sister like them and not just cousins. They’d imagine Jethro and Ellie Mae fucking in the cement pond, on the fancy eating table, or even in Granny’s bedroom when she was out back making lye soap. They could almost see Ellie Mae, her big breasts hanging down firm and heavy, as she sucked on Jethro’s huge dick; then hear Jethro, the sweat pouring down his brow, screaming, “Oh Ellie Mae, you hot fucking slut,” as he came all over her sweet sexy face.

Since she couldn’t go out on school nights, Lily went on dates with Jimmy on the weekend. While Leonard wasn’t pleased that she was still seeing Jimmy, he was able to live with the situation because Lily, having taken to heart his advice on this matter, still adamantly refused to let Jimmy fuck her. That she saved this act for himself seemed only proper to Leonard. After all, he was her brother and such intimacies, he felt, should be kept in the family.

With Lily and he fucking all during the week, Leonard’s first year of high school went quickly. He ended up getting A’s in all his courses. His teachers—who considered him the brightest student in his class—began referring to him half seriously as “Young Einstein.” By the way they spoke it was clear they expected great things from him. Winning their praises, however, was of no importance to Leonard, as he had never really worked at nor had the slightest interest in his studies. Because for Leonard school work was just something that had to be done well so that it was completely out of the way: the only thing that mattered to him was Lily.

Before long it was June and time for Lily’s senior prom and high school graduation. She had decided, after having been accepted at several schools around the country, to attend college in town at the University of Georgia. That she was staying home for college was, Leonard thought, because of him and not because Jimmy, having received a football scholarship, was also staying home. But on the day of the prom Leonard noticed Lily was acting strangely towards him.

When she went into the bathroom to take a shower, he followed her. Again, he was joking with her, trying to hold her up so she’d be late. But this time, as he began to kiss her breasts, she got angry.

“This is a special day,” she said, “and I don’t have time to fool around.”

Her reaction surprised him. Usually when she was in a bad mood all she needed was a quick fuck to lift her spirits. But what concerned him more was to hear Lily, after they had dropped all their other school activities, refer to the prom, of all things, as a special event. It seemed that something strange was going on in her mind, something which wasn’t the result of her period—she’d had that the previous week, and when it was over he fucked her and she felt fine. No, it was something else, and when he began to think what it might be he grew worried.

That night he stayed awake, waiting for her to come home. When she walked in the door, at five in the morning after what had been the longest night of his young life, he looked up at her. And he knew, without her having to say anything, what had happened.

“You fucked Jimmy,” he said.

Lily turned away.

“You fucked Jimmy!” Leonard repeated loudly.

“Well he’s my boyfriend,” Lily yelled, turning back to him. “How can I expect to keep him if I don’t fuck him?”

Leonard calmly took Lily by the arm and led her out the door. They walked in silence until they reached the edge of the woods.

“You don’t need a boyfriend,” Leonard said bluntly. “You have me.”

“But I can’t go out on dates with you,” Lily answered. “You’re my brother. We can’t let anyone know about us, and I’m tired of that.”

“That’s only here,” Leonard said after a moment’s thought. “Anywhere else who would know?”

Lily blinked. She didn’t quite understand. Because what Leonard was encouraging her to do was something that was beyond her imagination.

“Run away with me, Lily,” he said more as a command than as a plea.

But before she could say anything he put his hand on her cheek and kissed her hard on the mouth.

“It’s the only thing we can do,” he said as he unzipped her dress and pulled it down from her. When he removed her bra she remained silent. He kissed her breasts and reached below, pulling her panties to her knees.

“Marry me,” he breathed, then pulled her to the ground. She tried to stand but he held on tightly to her hips. She tried to struggle free but he pulled her closer. She kept trying until finally all resistance left her. Until finally she understood.

And now, ripping his shirt open, she kissed him on the chest, pulled down his trousers, his underpants. Now rolling around naked on the patchy grass, sweating and moaning in the moonlight, they could see the dirt smeared on their hands and bodies.

“I want you,” she declared as he pushed his middle finger in her ass. “I love you,” as he slid his thumb inside her pussy. Then gasping for air she sat up, as if from a nightmare, bringing her mouth between his legs and sucking as if her breath depended on it, as if she were the Ellie Mae Clampitt of his dreams. Then bringing her face to his she said, “Yes”—as his sperm dripped from her mouth onto his cheek. “Yes,” as she kissed him with her syrupy tongue. “Yes, I’ll marry you.”

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