My brother Zan always got what he wanted in life. Most outgoing people do. He’s the lead singer in our successful university band, cracks funny jokes, has a positive outlook on everything. Not to mention his style; vintage shirts, multiple wrist bands on each wrist (gifts from adoring fans), tattered jeans. I’m not particularly jealous of him, because where he lacks, I definitely pick up the slack. I easily manage a ‘Grade A’ average, a steady job at the local library, and smoke about three times a day.
Zan and I are close, possibly because of the fact that we’re ‘identical’ twins and probably have that bond that scientists rave about. We hang out together, I go to his shows, and he speaks up for me when he knows I can’t. We grew up that way, and never changed.
Except when it came to me telling him about this girl in particular that I was in love with. Miranda is literally the girl next door, and the three of us grew up together. She goes to a different university, but it still doesn’t stop the three of us from just chilling out at home most nights.
She’s the most perfect being that I ever laid eyes on, and over the years I grew to love her with a passion that I always feared would make itself known, and ridiculed, by both her and my brother. The intense heat that floods my body whenever I see her, the automatic way I hang on to her every word, forgetting to reply most times because I was too busy just listening to the sound of her soothing voice. My heart constantly ached with the desire to caress her lower lip with my tongue before I kissed her deeply, aching to hear her moans reverberate deep within her as she moved against me…
I had endured years of this torture, feeling the deep need for this goddess grow into the monster I thought it to be now. The feeling was now overwhelming, my breath is taken away every time she entered the room, and I have to control myself from lightly caressing her neck while her back is turned to me. Her perfume always lingers in our house considering that she was always there, and even the slightest whiff of it made my pants grow painfully tight. I couldn’t take this feeling anymore.
“…Hear me Dan?… are you OK?... for me either…unfair…” I had thought to myself, that today…today, I’d let her know how I felt for all these years. I couldn’t take it anymore. I had wrestled with the traditional image of myself bringing her a present of some sort… chocolate in a heart shaped box with a huge bouquet of roses perhaps? But I know Miranda well, and know she hates ‘mushy’ acts like that, which was fine for me because I’m too self conscious to do something like that in the first place. The day itself didn’t seem to want me to come outside, which I should have taken as a goddamn sign.
High breezes used javelin rain drops to sting and soak me while I stood in front her door. It didn’t help that I couldn’t bring myself to knock until an hour later, so I was thoroughly soaked when she had opened the door, dressed in a white vest and black jeans. My glasses had started to fog up during my wait, so I had taken them off and was fidgeting with them, cleaning the water from them periodically with the hem of my shirt. When Miranda opened the door, I crammed them hastily onto my face.
I didn’t understand her facial reaction. Her face was flushed, and her hands were trembling.
“What are you doing here?”
Something was wrong. Something screamed at me to just say what I needed to say on that doorstep and leave, to not even bother waiting around for an answer, to just get my feelings off my chest. I opened my mouth at least, but nothing came out. I tried to force ANY words out, and all I could manage was the tiniest of grunts.
Miranda shook herself, and grabbed me by the shirt collar, dragging me inside. I formed a small pool of water in her hallway, and taking my glasses off again in another futile attempt at wiping it clean of water, I felt her move away from me. She returned a few minutes later, thrusting a towel into my hands. I used it to dry myself as best as I could, drying my hair roughly, leaving it to stand on end.
I heard movement from the living room, and the last voice on earth that I had wanted to hear floated through the doorway.
“You OK, Miranda?”
Zan was standing in the doorway now. Hair just as disheveled as my own, copper highlights standing out in his blond hair. His jaw was dropped, and in the back of my mind I laughed at the sight of us, as if one person was completely shocked by the image of himself in a mirror. Zan recovered first though, and smiled his easy smile.
“Ey, Dandyman. I thought you would be in work today.”
I wasn’t sure if his statement required an answer, so I made no move to provide one. He walked over to me and stopped behind Miranda, closer than I would have liked.
“You’re in time though, Danster,” he winked. I had felt like punching him, anger was flooding through me. It was such an important day for me, and here was this asshole making light of it all. I was jealous both of the way he could stand so closely to her, and also of his complete ability to not stress out and over-think things the way I constantly seemed to do. He continued as I balled my hands into fists, gritting my teeth to prevent myself from showering him with a flurry of curses in front of Miranda, “I just let Miranda know how I’ve been feeling about her ever since I was a kid.”
The best way I could possibly describe the sensation to anyone, would be to liken it with how a balloon must feel after it’s been popped. My anger had disappeared, and there was a dull ache in my stomach. All tension had left my body. I flipped an internal switch in my mind and put my body on autopilot, retreating into the dark recesses of myself to scream and pummel invisible walls.
“Wow that’s so great! That musta been a shock for you, Miranda, coming from a manwhore like him.” My voice was coming out a little faster than usual, and the words jumbled together slightly, but I still managed to act casually, jerking my thumb in Zan’s direction. “So how did …”
Zan moves infinitely faster than me. He had gently pushed past Miranda to grab me by the collar, shocking me to no end, and jam me violently against the door.
“Fake,” he hissed at me. “You’re being fake. What happened to you…?”
My brother knows me better than anyone. It honestly had never occurred to me that he would figure it out so quickly, or figure it out at all. And realization lit up his blue-grey eyes as he released me. My body felt weak, and it took all I had to keep myself pinned in place on that door before I fell over. Half my mind willed him not to speak, and the other half begged him to let this painful secret out.
My twin brother Zan had become my voice box once more.
“Miranda…Dan loves you too.”
Her eyes were already wide from Zan’s sudden attack, and now her mouth formed into a perfect ‘o’. She smiled suddenly, but her eyes were black pools of mystery. I can never tell what she’s thinking sometimes.
“Love? Love like… ‘sister’ love or ‘friend’ love or…”
Her smile died. Tears had started to roll down my eyes, and I was attempting to do some heavy breathing to calm myself.
“…making me worried…”
My head was filled with thoughts of automatic submission of Miranda to Zan, wondering how the hell I was going to get over her, how would I continue living knowing that my brother would be the one to do the things I had only ever dreamed of to her, if he would treat her better or worse than my own imagined care. But then I looked at him, the man whose face I shared. Why was life so unfair? Miranda was the only girl I ever truly felt like I needed, and yet again Zan swoops in takes her in, easily, jokingly. Zan always gets what he wants in life…
I’m holding onto Zan’s shirt collar, and he’s now the one pushed against a wall. He doesn’t fight back, only looks into my eyes, waiting. Miranda is trying to push herself between us, and she’s crying. I totter back, weakness taking me again. I wipe my face with the wet towel and take a deep breath. While I feel like pounding Zan’s face into a pulp, I never want to hurt Miranda.
“Sorry,” I manage to murmur.
Miranda now stands between Zan and I, chest heaving. She takes a couple seconds to compose herself, and starts:
“I don’t think you were listening to me, Dan. I said that this is very hard for me too, because I don’t know how I’m going to let you both down.”
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<a href="https://www.lushstories.com/stories/love-stories/choices-part-1.aspx">Choices: Part 1</a>