Drew and Michelle were just about to climax when the knock threw an unwelcomed splash of cold water on their passion. They looked each other in the eyes, frowned, and Michelle sighed: “This better be good.”
“I guess with two young tykes running around, this won’t be the last time we get interrupted,” Drew quipped. Michelle’s ultrasound had come back that week, revealing twins.
“Just a minute!” Michelle called out as the two of them clothed themselves in pajamas passionately discarded on the floor the previous evening.
Michelle finished buttoning her top and the two of them got back in bed and covered up.
“Come in,” Drew ordered.
As the door opened slowly, two teenagers with the look of death on their faces walked in, still hand in hand. It didn’t fit the paradigm. Alex would never express openly any love for Joey, not even enough to hold his hand.
Joey was already shaking.
“Okay, what’s going on?” Drew asked. “Come on, fess up!”
“We’re in big trouble, Dad,” Alex said.
No, this didn’t fit the model, Drew thought. A restrained, penitent Alex had never been seen in these parts, or anywhere on the planet. The guiltier she was, the more combative she became, but not this time.
Joey let out a breath and summoned all of his courage: “We had sex this morning and the condom broke. We think Alex might be pregnant.”
Drew and Michelle looked at each other, expressionless, and said nothing.
“We know what this does to the adoption,” Alex continued, a hint of a sob in her voice. Joey is afraid he’ll get kicked out of the family. But it’s my fault. I went into his room. I initiated the sex. I just wanted to make love to him one more time before he became my brother.”
"Then we were going to stop and never do it again.
“Do what you want to me,” she pleaded. But don’t kick Joey out.”
They waited for an explosion of Italian temper from Drew. Their eyes welled with tears that began to run down their cheeks. Joey shook like a leaf in the autumn wind.
But Mount Vesuvius did not erupt.
Drew and Michelle’s eyes met, and then something very strange happened. They broke out giggling. In deference to Alex and Joey’s misery, they had to stifle their laughter.
“Come here, both of you,” Michelle admonished with tenderness. “Come lie down here, between us.”
Michelle reached out and embraced Joey, and took the quivering teenage boy, all five-foot-nine, 145 pounds of him, into bed between them. Drew did the same to his daughter. Joey and Alex lay between their parents on the oversized king bed, Michelle’s arms wrapped around Joey and Drew’s around Alex.
Alex and Joey both felt like they were four years old, being comforted after waking up from a nightmare. Yes, this bad dream was indeed real, but this was the first hint that it wouldn’t end so badly.
“I wouldn’t want to be in your skin when your Dad gets around to punishing both of you,” Michelle said. But you’re both our children and, no, Joey isn’t getting kicked out of the family. Understand that?”
“Yes, ma’am,” Joey signed in relief.
“Hey, geek boy, you don’t have to suck up to her,” Alex responded.
Drew almost breathed a sigh of relief. He had his old daughter back. For a minute he thought he’d have Alex examined by a shrink, in addition to the gynecologist. He wasn’t used to the penitent, deferential Alex who had walked through his door just a few minutes ago.
“Whack!” reverberated the sound as Drew planted an open-handed slap on the seat of his daughter’s pajamas.
“Ouch, that fucking hurt!” Alex exclaimed.
“Aren’t you in enough trouble already?” Drew admonished.
“Sorry, dad,” Alex said as she returned to a realization of the difficulty that would follow.
“Okay, first off,” Drew explained, “Michelle is right. The two of you are in more trouble than you’ve ever been in before. I don’t know exactly how this is going to work out, but before this incident comes to a conclusion, I think you know what’s going to happen to those bottoms of yours.”
Alex and Joey gave each other a glance that reflected both their relief at their parents’ supportive reaction and the dreaded confirmation of their impending punishment.
“I don’t know what this means for the legal issues, but we’ve been through a lot as a family before. This isn’t going to break us apart, any of us! Understand that, Joey?”
“Yes, sir,” Joey smiled. “I thought you’d either kill me or kick me out for having sex with your daughter.”
“I knew that you and Alex were attracted to each other before I invited you into our family, Joey,” Drew responded. “In fact, I kind of guessed what was happening. You guys did have sex before today, didn’t you?”
Alex and Joey each reluctantly nodded. They knew that Drew knew, and it didn’t even occur to them to lie.
“And you love each other?” Michelle questioned.
This time it was Alex’s turn to respond: “I always knew Joey was stuck on me, and I had the hots for him for a while. But I was moving away from him. I was getting interested in other boys at school. I thought our romance was over. But last night, well, I thought we’d have one more adventure, our last fling—so to speak. It was just going to be ordinary, recreational sex, one final time—just for fun.
“But when we were together, I realized how much I still loved him.”
“Yes, I do love her,” Joey said as his eyes welled with tears again.
“So, what are we going to do about this?” Michelle quizzed. “You can’t go around having sex as brother and sister.”
Alex signed and then turned to Joey. She reached out to take his hands:
“I know I’ll never find anybody so loyal as you. I’ll never meet somebody who makes me laugh so much. I love the way you laugh at yourself, and put yourself down, and allow me to give you so much grief. You take so much shit from me, and you always come back for more. You still love me despite it all.
“You love me unconditionally, Joey,” she declared, “and I’m afraid I’ll never find anyone else who would put up with me like you do.
“The problem is,” Alex concluded, “that you deserve better. I’m not that good of a girl. My morality leaves something to be desired. I’m afraid I’d cheat on you, especially when we go off to college.”
“I’d stay loyal to you!” Joey protested.
“That’s the problem,” Alex responded, “you would, but I’d screw around on you.
“We’re only 16,” she said. “We both need to see other people and to do some growing up. I do love you, Joey, so very, very, very much. But you need a chance to meet somebody better than me.
“There’s nobody better than you,” Joey sobbed.
“I would break your heart,” Alex cried. “I guess I’d rather do that now than later.
“Joey,” Alex continued they hugged each other, “I’ll always be your sister, so much better a sibling than I’d ever be a wife, or even a girlfriend. I will always love you, but as a sister! If we got married, we might fight, get divorced, and wind up hating each other. But brothers and sisters are forever, Joey. I promise I will love you forever.”
Joey and Alex, snuggling arm-in-arm on their parents’ bed, held each other and cried.
It hurt. Both of them hurt deeply. They cried hard.
Drew and Michelle let them alone as they went downstairs to make breakfast and to talk. This was going to be a challenging weekend. There were so many unanswered questions, and they feared the ones they hadn’t thought of yet.
Family life was never easy in the Jackson household, but one fact remained indisputable. They were, indeed, a family.
To be continued . . .