The Preacher’s Wife, Chapter Nine, “Brotherly Love.”The Preacher’s Wife, Chapter Nine, “Brotherly Love.”

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Maggie’s brother, Bob, learned he had cancer during his physical examination while retiring from the Army. He was forty-seven years old, a big, muscular, macho guy with a bluff manner and a confident air. Maggie was forty-two. Both had married young. Both were divorced, Maggie only recently from her preacher husband. She was working in a refugee camp in Thailand.As adults, their paths had rarely crossed and Maggie didn’t see Bob for several months into his treatment and recovery. Their mother was staying with him in Los Angeles and asked if Maggie could visit for a week to give her a break. Maggie thought it was the least she could do.Bob looked better than she had expected. He was bald from the chemotherapy, but he had always had his head shaved so that was not a shock. He had lost about twenty pounds and looked gaunt, but was in good spirits. “Chemo over,” he said with a show of heartiness, “I’m on the road to recovery.” She was less confident.The first day they were together they talked as they never had as adults and walked in the park and went to a movie and she cooked a decent meal for him — their mother being a terrible cook. He tired easily but otherwise seemed to feel good.Bob lived in a small one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment. Their first night together, she took a shower. As she got out, she wondered what she should wear. She mused to herself. Why did she feel inhibited facing her brother while less than fully clothed?”No reason to be overly modest,” she said to herself. She stepped out of the bathroom with head held high wearing a nightshirt made out of t-shirt material, mid-thigh in length, and with a scooped neck and narrow straps over her shoulders. Bob was sitting on the sofa. He had already showered and was in his boxer shorts.”You look good, Sis,” he said. “I’ll sleep on the sofa bed. You can have the bedroom.””No,” she answered with a smile. “You’re the invalid. You sleep in the bed.””As you wish, nurse Maggie. Let me help you.” Bob stood up and unfolded the sofa bed. “Sheets are in the closet.”She took two sheets off the shelf in the closet and they leaned over the mattress and spread and tucked the sheets. She was aware that the neckline of the nightshirt gapped open and exposed her breasts as she leaned over the mattress. When he raised his head to look at her she put her hand to her chest, holding the cloth over her breasts.”Oops,” she said.He shrugged and laughed. “You’re my sister.” He closed the door to the bedroom and she laid down on the sofa bed. It was not very comfortable, but she had slept on worse beds in refugee camps.She woke to the sound of her brother sobbing and talking casino siteleri in his sleep. She looked at her watch. It was 2:00 a.m. She rushed to the door of the bedroom. “Do you need help?” she asked. A night light in the bedroom illuminated him. He was turning and twisting in bed and even from the door, she could see the sweat running down his face.”It’s the pain killers. And the chemo,” Bob said. “I have terrible dreams. I’m afraid of the dark.” He was still trying to catch his breath between sobs and his cheeks were streaked with tears. “I’m glad you’re here.”She wet a towel in the bathroom, sat down on the bed beside him, and wiped away the sweat on his face and shoulders. He slowly relaxed.Bob put his head on her lap and she was aware that her nightshirt was pulled up around her thighs. When she leaned over and kissed him on the forehead, one of her breasts rubbed against his chin. “I should have brought something a little more modest to wear to bed,” she thought.“This reminds me of when we were kids,” he said. “Do you remember when I went away to the Army after I graduated from college? You were sixteen or seventeen? You laid your head on my lap and cried. I cried a little also. I tried to hide that from you.”“I remember. You were my big brother and I felt so strong and secure when you were around and so alone when you were going away. I was so shy and spineless. And a terrible prude.”“You were a really nice girl and I felt protective. We were close in those days. I’m sorry that we haven’t been close as adults, but, Sis, age and experience have been kind to you.” His head was resting on her lap and he looked up at her face. “I’m impressed. You’re not a prude anymore.”She laughed. “No, I’ve been – how can I say it? — around the block a few times. But I didn’t have my first boyfriend until my senior year in high school. You had left for the army.”“Who was the boyfriend? Did I know him?”“Probably not. His name was Don — and he was just as pathetic and needy as I was.”“Was he your first lover?”“Sort of.” She laughed. “We got pretty hot and heavy. I once worried that some of his sperm might have ended up by accident in me. Does that count?”“I don’t know. I guess it doesn’t count if you don’t think it did. Speaking of prudes, did you tell your husband you were a virgin?””Not exactly. I didn’t want to lie. But I gave him no cause to doubt that I was as pure as the driven snow.””This is fun, talking to you. We’ve never talked like this before.”“No, we haven’t. My turn to ask a question. Did you have sex with Dottie?“Everybody fucked Dottie,” he laughed. “I’m sorry. Does that güvenilir casino word offend you?”“No, of course not. Fucking is an honest word. I like the sound — and it describes what I do most of the time with men. You were quite the macho male back in high school. I’ll bet Dottie wasn’t the only one.”He laughed. “No, she wasn’t.””I’d like to hear about them. All those big girls with big tits that I looked up to who were so, so sophisticated.” She looked down at him. He had a relaxed smile on his face. She continued, “You’re yawning. Can you go back to sleep?”“I think so, but…uh…could you stay here with me? I feel so alone. Maybe I’ll sleep better.”“I’ll stay. Roll over and let me lie beside you.”As he rolled over, he said, “This is nice. I feel safe now.”They laughed together and she curled against him, pressing her chest against his back, putting one arm over his shoulder. “Go to sleep. I’m here. You have nothing to be afraid of.”                                                                           ***The next morning she was standing at the stove cooking breakfast — still wearing only her nightshirt — when he came out of the bedroom and hugged her from behind. “Thanks for last night,” he said.She turned around and kissed him on the cheek. They hugged. She couldn’t help but sense his penis pressing against her thigh. She mentally chastised herself for noticing.That night, when it was time to go to bed, she asked, “Shall I sleep with you again tonight?”He smiled. “I was afraid to ask you. But yes, please do. It’s a big help to me.”He undressed first in the bathroom and came out wearing only a pair of boxer shorts. She took a quick shower and put her nightshirt on. She looked in the mirror. In the light, she could see the outline of her nipples through the thin cloth. Instinctively, as she stepped out into the bedroom she covered her breasts with a hand, then hurriedly took it away with a smile. He was her brother. She had shared a bed with him the previous night. No need for false modesty.She turned off the bedroom light and lay down beside him. They were both uncomfortable. Sleeping together had been spontaneous the night before; this was planned. He turned over to face away from her, and she curled around him. They went to sleep without a word.At four in the morning, he woke up, thrashing about. She pulled him to her, wrapped her arms around him, and rested her cheek against his. Slowly, his shivering ceased.”Will this never end?” he cried.She clutched him tightly. He relaxed in her arms, their bodies locked in an embrace. She turned on the lamp beside the bed and turned canlı casino over on her back. He rolled over to partially cover her body, resting his cheek against hers. She pulled his head down to cradle it against her breasts.He pulled away from her, conscious of their intimacy.”It’s okay,” she assured him, kissing his bald head and pulling him to her. “I’m here to help.” “It is so good to have you here,” he said. “Mom tried to help, but I couldn’t invite her into my bed.” They both laughed.They clutched each other. She became comfortable with his head on her breast, his leg lapped over hers.”Do you have a man in your life?” he asked.”Several,” she answered with a smile. “But nobody special. I’m not a shy little girl anymore. You may have noticed that.””It’s nice to sleep with you.”She looked down. His head rested on a breast nearly poking out of her nightshirt. Her nightshirt was hiked up around her hips.He raised his head to look up at her. “I haven’t had sex for eight months,” he confessed. “I don’t know whether I’ll be able to do it again. I worry about that. “”You’ll get better. You’re getting better. Do you know any women who could help you?””No, I don’t think so. I’ve burned a lot of bridges. I’m just happy you’re here. Don’t go away,” Bob continued. “I need you. I’m sorry for all those years when we barely saw each other. You’ve turned out to be a worldly lady. Beautiful too.” He snuggled in closer to her.”You exaggerate, Brother, but thank you. I’m proud of you too.” She kissed him on the top of his bald head and pressed him to her breasts and held him tightlyBob had his arm around her, his face pressed against hers. “I’m sorry. I can’t sleep. Talk to me. What happened with your marriage?””My husband asked me for a divorce. It was my fault. I was running around the world working in refugee camps, and he found somebody else in my absence. I wasn’t unhappy about the divorce. I had long since moved on from him.””Did you have affairs?””I had been fucking around — frequently — for about nine years before the divorce. I was careful not to humiliate my husband by having an affair near home — but when I was out of town….well, I didn’t behave like a proper wife of a small-town, fundamentalist preacher. And I was traveling a lot on my jobs.””I fucked around on my wife. She finally got tired of it. Maybe the divorce was for the best. I’m a little surprised at you, however. You were — how do I say this? — not a flamboyant young lady.””I had no confidence; I thought I was ugly; I had dinky little tits; I wore glasses and I was good at math. I didn’t believe that any man could be interested in me. So, I made a virtue out of my insecurity, and became self-righteous.” She smiled and kissed him on the cheek. “I am so glad that I finally learned to enjoy sex without guilt. I didn’t fuck a man other than my husband until I was 33 years old. What a waste!” She laughed.

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