Aaalrighty, here it is. Thank you all for bearing with me while I fixed things up a bit. I hope that you all find the revised Chapter 5 to be an improvement over the old one. Note that I also made a few edits to chapter 4; namely I removed some lines implying Lori was pregnant, as this plot point has been dropped. Also, in case there are any new readers that get confused by some of the older reviews... this is the reason. Stuff's been revised!
I'm also going to answer some questions and comments at the end, so here we go! (These are some of the same questions I'd answered before, but I've gone into a bit more detail)
Lincoln sighed as he put his phone in his pocket. Still no answer… it had been more than four hours since he'd first texted Leni, and she still hadn't responded. She hadn't answered his calls, either. It wasn't too unusual for his sister to be busy with something or other, but for this long…? He considered texting her again, but he didn't want to be that guy. He continued his walk home in silence, wishing that he had remembered to bring his earbuds.
Clyde had handled the news of his relationship with Leni about as well as expected. True to his word, he was supportive of his friend even though he was clearly unsettled by the situation… although he did ask far too many times whether Leni had made him feel uncomfortable at all. Lincoln supposed he couldn't blame the boy too much… were he on the other end of something like this, he may have been skeptical himself.
Lincoln checked his phone again. Nothing. He grumbled under his breath; he could have sworn he'd felt it vibrate, but it he must have imagined it. He shoved it back in his pocket, forcing himself not to check until he got home.
…Alright, maybe one more time.
"Hey, mom… you seen Leni today?" Lincoln asked as he stepped into the kitchen. Rita was washing dishes in the sink, apparently struggling to rub off a particularly persistent stain.
"Hmm? Oh, Leni…" Rita sighed, giving up on the plate for the time being. "She won't be back for a week or so, at least."
"Oh... okay…" Lincoln sighed. He turned and skulked his way out of the room, only to freeze in his tracks and come running back. "Wait, what?!"
"Lori took her back to the city with her," Rita explained with a smile. "She wants to give her a taste of the city life… hopefully give her something to aspire to, you know?" Lincoln's brow scrunched up in confusion. Why hadn't Leni mentioned this? Had she just forgotten? Knowing Leni, it was certainly possible. She was with Lori, after all… it made sense she would be a bit distracted.
Still, at least this gave him a starting point.
"Alright… thanks, mom."
"Did you need her for something?" Rita asked.
"Oh… no." Lincoln muttered. "Y'know… just wondering."
"Aw, you miss her, don't you?" Rita cooed, chuckling softly. "You two have certainly been close lately."
"Ah, well, y'know… Lincoln let out a nervous laugh, his cheeks reddening slightly. "A-anyway, talk to you later!" Before his mother could question him any further Lincoln hurried out of the kitchen, through the dining room, and up the stairs. His mother was far from the only one who had noticed that he and Leni had been spending more time together… it was readily apparent, after all. It had gotten to the point where they had vowed to give each other space when others were around.
That vow didn't last long.
Lincoln made his way to his room, shutting and locking his door. If Leni wouldn't answer, he'd just have to try calling Lori.
Lori sat before her television, staring at it with an unfocused gaze… not that she was really watching it. Leni's desperate cries had petered out long ago, giving way to anguished sobbing, then nothing. Somehow, the silence hurt worse than the screaming.
Lori sighed, resting her forehead in her palm. She felt awful, taking advantage of her sister's naiveté the way she had… and even worse about treating her so harshly. But what else could she do? The girl wouldn't listen to reason. What she was doing was immoral, unnatural, and above all else illegal. The mere thought of Leni ending up in prison terrified Lori beyond all measure.
That said, Lori had not the slightest idea what the hell she was supposed to do now. She couldn't keep Leni in the closet forever… heck, she couldn't even keep her here forever. And what was she going to tell Bobby?
Before she could pursue that line of thought, her phone began to vibrate in her pocket. Lori sighed and fished it out. She didn't even bother to check the caller ID… she rarely did. "Yeah?"
Lori's blood ran cold. It was Lincoln. Why, why did it have to be Lincoln? "H-hey," She stammered, getting to her feet. "Um… hang on a second." Lori stepped out of her apartment and into the hallway. She couldn't risk Leni making a commotion, after all. "Alright… what's up, Lincoln?" She asked as she leaned against the wall.
'Not much. Hey, Leni's with you, right?'
Lori swallowed. She had forgotten to take into account that even if she'd kept her true motives a secret, their parents knew that Leni was with her and would surely divulge that information to anyone that asked. "Er… y-yeah. Yeah, she's here."
'Can you put her on? I've been trying to reach her.'
Lori groaned, softly knocking her head against the wall. Of course he'd ask to speak with her. "Y-yeah, hold on…" She said without thinking. For a moment, Lori considered trying to fake her voice, but she'd never been good with impressions… and Lincoln was far too smart for that. And she couldn't very well put Leni herself on the phone.
…But maybe she didn't have to.
"She, uh… she said she doesn't want to talk to you right now."
For a few seconds, Lincoln didn't respond. '…Why not…?'
"One second…" Lori placed her hand over the receiver. She couldn't help but hesitate; she didn't want to do this. She knew it was a terrible, cruel thing to do… but what else could she do? The young woman took a deep breath before speaking again. "Um… s-she says that… she says it's over." Lori began. "She said to tell you that… things can't keep going the way they have been. She said you'd know what she meant."
Silence. Lori could hear him breathing, but he wasn't saying anything. 'U-um…' He said at last. 'Can you please… put her on the phone?'
"She… doesn't want to talk, Lincoln. I can't force her." Again, there was a period of silence before he spoke again.
'…A-alright… thanks, Lori.' His breathing was becoming noticeably strained… he sounded heartbroken. 'Um… see you.'
"Lincoln, wait!" But it was too late… he'd already ended the call. Lori hung her head in shame; it was tempting to call him back and confess, but she couldn't. Not when her sister's wellbeing was at stake.
Lincoln sat motionless on the edge of his bed, his phone still clutched tightly in his hand. He couldn't believe it… Leni had left him. Why? Just last night things had been completely normal. Had he done something wrong?
Lincoln's hand fell to his lap, his phone slipping free from his grasp and dropping to the floor. He didn't care. To say Lincoln was upset would be an understatement. He felt empty… so empty he couldn't even cry. It felt like there was a vice gradually tightening on his heart with each passing second. All he could do was lie on his side and wallow in his own despair.
Lincoln wouldn't come down for dinner that night. He gave the same excuse he always did when something was bothering him… that he wasn't feeling well. It wasn't really a lie… he didn't feel well. He felt sick to his stomach, even worse than when Ronnie had left him. He'd felt something with his sister that he'd never felt towards anyone before… love. Not infatuation, but love. Even at thirteen years old, the difference was readily apparent to him. He thought she'd felt the same.
So what happened?
Shortly after dinner, he heard a knock on his door. "…Go away." He said quietly.
"It's me, Lincoln." Came the unmistakable voice of Lisa from the other side. "I understand you're feeling ill. May I come in?" Lincoln's eyes narrowed. Lisa was the last person he wanted to deal with right now… well, except for Luan, perhaps. Or Lola.
"Not now, Lisa." Lincoln grumbled. "Just… go away."
"Brother, if you're sick, it's best I diagnose the issue now before it-"
"I said fuck off, Lisa!" Lincoln snapped. "For once in your life, just leave me alone and stop forcing yourself into my business!"
There was a long, awkward pause. Lincoln knew he'd gone too far, but he didn't care. He just wanted the girl to go away. After some time, Lisa finally cleared her throat. "R-right, then… very well. I'll be in my room should you change your mind," She said, "Or… if you just need to talk." Lincoln winced; now he felt slightly bad.
"Well, that was harsh," Luan muttered from behind Lisa. "Should I-"
"It's fine," Lisa assured her older sister. "I… think it's best we leave him be for now." Luan simply sighed, giving a small shrug. As the two returned to their rooms, neither noticed Lucy standing nearby… few ever did.
Lucy frowned as she looked towards her brother's door. Even if nobody noticed Lucy, she noticed them. She noticed a lot of things, and she was pretty sure she knew what was going on with Lincoln… but for now at least, she figured she should give him his space.
"Sigh… I suppose love can be a cruel mistress."
"Leni, I brought you something to eat…" Lori spoke through the door. She held a glass of water and a plate with a peanut butter sandwich… nothing special, but the best she was capable of. "I'm gonna open up, so don't try anything, okay?" No response. Lori sighed and pulled the chair out from under the doorknob before opening the door. Leni was still seated against the far wall; she glared at Lori as she entered, but made no effort to escape. She knew fully well she wouldn't be able to overpower her sister. "Don't look at me like that. Here… it's not much, but it's something." Lori said as she set down the plate and glass.
"I'm not hungry."
"Whether you want to eat or not, it's there." Lori replied. Leni averted her eyes from her sister. Admittedly, she was hungry… she'd barely eaten at all today.
But she wasn't about to give Lori the satisfaction.
"Leni…" Lori began. "You know I love you, right?" Leni remained silent, drawing her knees closer to her chest. "Please… just try to look at this from my side."
"I have." Leni mumbled. "And it's, like, still wrong."
"You would do the same-"
"No, I wouldn't!" Leni snapped. "I would never do something so… so mean! Not to you, not to anyone!"
"I'm not being mean!" Lori countered. "I'm doing this because I care about you! Because I care about Lincoln!"
"No," Her sister hissed. "You're doing this because you want to be the boss. That's all you ever want." Lori scowled; that had struck a nerve.
"Y'know, it's funny…" Lori scoffed, crossing her arms. "Not too long ago you were literally begging me not to leave. You said you needed me, remember…?" Leni's brow furrowed slightly. "That's right… you needed me, because you didn't know how to do anything for yourself."
"Do you have any idea just how much I've done for your sake?!" Lori shouted. "Do you have any idea how much of a pain it was to drive three hours just to see you, and three hours back?! Do you have any idea how much I had to spend on gas money alone?!"
"And now, what, that just changes in a few weeks?! You expect me to believe that you've got everything figured out now?! The fact that you're dating your brother proves that you have no idea what you're doing!"
Leni shrunk back against the wall. Her resolute expression had faded, and she looked as though she were about to cry. "Lincoln… Lincoln's helping me…"
"He's a kid. You really think he can help you?" Lori crouched down to eye level, poking her sister's head. "Get it through that thick skull of yours, Leni. He is a child. You can't be with him. He can't help you. Literally all that can happen here is one or both of you getting hurt… and I'm not going to allow that."
Leni hung her head. "Please… just let me go home."
"You can go home whenever you want…" Lori sighed, getting to her feet. "But you know what you need to do." Leni did know what she needed to do, of course…
…But she wouldn't.
"…I guess I'm staying here forever, then."
Lori's face scrunched up in anger. She was about to yell at her sister again, but she forced herself not to; she knew it would do no good. "…Fine." Lori grumbled before leaving the closet. "If that's what you want, then fine. Stay there." Lori shut the door behind her, wedging the chair beneath the doorknob; she knew fully well this was an empty threat. There was no way she could actually keep Leni here for more than a week or so… but this was Leni. Surely she'd crack before then.
Just as she returned to the living room, she heard a sound that made her heart plummet into her stomach: someone unlocking the front door. Bobby was home… and Lori hadn't even begun to consider what she'd tell him
"Hey, babe! I'm home!" Bobby called out as he stepped through the door, only to see his girlfriend already standing before him. "Oh, hey." He said with a grin. "Miss me?"
"Y-yeah…" Lori stammered as her boyfriend pulled her in for a kiss. "How was work…?"
"Ah, y'know…" Bobby shrugged. "The usu-"
"Bobby! Bobby, is that you?!"
"Wha… is that Leni?!" Bobby asked, glancing past Lori and down the hallway.
"Yes! It's me! Lori, like, locked me in the closet!" Leni cried. Bobby looked at his girlfriend with a raised eyebrow.
"Babe… why is Leni locked in the closet?"
"W-well, about that…" Lori laughed nervously. "We, uh, we need to-"
"Let me OUT!" Leni began banging on the door loudly.
"H-hang on, Leni!" Bobby stepped around Lori and headed for the closet, but Lori grabbed the back of his shirt.
"Wait!" Lori hissed. "You can't!" She dragged her boyfriend into the bedroom, shutting the door behind them… not that it did much to muffle the banging. "Listen… we can't let her out yet."
"W-why not?!" Bobby snapped. "Babe, just what the heck is going on here?!"
"Look, it's…" Lori began, but hesitated. "…There's been some… stuff going on, and we need to keep Leni in the closet for a few days."
Bobby stared at his girlfriend in silence. "…Um."
"Look, I know this sounds crazy-"
"Yeah, you're damn right it sounds crazy!" Bobby cut in. "Lori, what kind of 'stuff' could possibly make you lock your sister in the closet?!" Lori sighed, sitting on the edge of the bed; she should have known this wouldn't be so easy.
"Alright, listen…" Lori said quietly. "Leni's… been dating Lincoln." Bobby's brow furrowed in confusion. For a few moments, he had no response.
"Lincoln Loud!" Lori cried. "Our brother! I caught them… sucking face in his bedroom! They've literally been at it for weeks!" Bobby seemed somewhat stunned by the revelation, as though he wasn't quite processing it.
"O-oh." He muttered. "Bro… bro's got a girlfriend, huh…"
"He's got a… Bobby!" Lori snapped, springing to her feet. "Leni is dating her brother! Her thirteen-year-old brother! Do you understand, Bobby?!"
"Y-yeah…" Bobby stammered, scratching the back of his head. "That… is pretty weird, isn't it?" Lori groaned, burying her face in her hand. She loved her boyfriend, but at times he could be nearly as dense as Leni. "B-but… why in she in the closet?!"
"Because she wouldn't listen, Bobby." Lori explained. "I told her why it was wrong, why it was sick, what the consequences could be… but she wouldn't listen. So I'm keeping her in the closet until she agrees to put an end to it."
"Right…" Bobby crossed his arms, averting his eyes from his girlfriend. This was certainly not how he expected his day to go. "Babe… you've gotta let her out."
"I'm not letting her out, Bobby." Lori sighed. "Not until she stops this… this nonsense and comes to her senses!"
"Babe, please," Her boyfriend pleaded. "I get why you're upset, but you can't just… kidnap your sister!"
"I didn't kidnap my…" Lori trailed off, her brow furrowing in thought. "…Oh my God." Lori gasped, bringing her hand to her mouth. "I kidnapped my sister."
"Yeah, you did! And you've gotta let her-"
"W-w-well what else was I supposed to do?! I panicked!" Lori sputtered. "She wouldn't listen, Bobby! She acts like this is normal, just because she thinks she loves him!"
"Well… maybe she does love him?"
Lori's eyes narrowed. "Don't tell me you think this is okay…"
"N-no, of course not! But that doesn't mean you should force yourself into their business!" Bobby said sternly. "She's an adult, Lori! She can make her own choices!"
"No she can't." Lori hissed, pointing towards the wall. "That girl literally can not make her own choices. That girl is the reason I've had to go home nearly every weekend! She's irresponsible, she's immature, and she's too naïve to realize just how fucked this whole situation is!"
"More fucked than locking your own sister in the closet?!"
"YES!" Lori roared, making her boyfriend flinch slightly. "Do you not understand what's going to happen if I don't stop this?! She could literally end up in jail, Bobby! Do you want that?!"
"No!" Bobby shot back. "B-but that doesn't mean this is okay! For God's sake, this is Leni! Just think about what you're doing here!" Lori's expression seemed to falter slightly. "I know that this is messed up, but what you're doing isn't going to help! If you really want to help her, you'll let your parents-"
"I can't tell them, Bobby!" His girlfriend cried. "I can't let anyone find out about this! I-I don't… I don't want Leni to be sent away!"
Lori sat back down, hanging her head. "I… I don't know what to do, Bobby. I can't get anyone else involved. I don't want her or Lincoln to get hurt. And if I don't do anything… they will. I know they will." She sniffed, giving a small shake of her head. "Just… give me a week. I know I can convince her by then. If not… I promise I'll take her home."
Bobby sighed, running his hand through his hair. He could understand where Lori was coming from… he couldn't even begin to imagine what he'd do in her position. But locking Leni of all people in a closet was going quite a few steps too far.
Bobby chewed his lip in thought. Lincoln was only thirteen years old… a kid, still. Leni was an adult, but she was, well… Leni. Not to mention that they were brother and knew fully well that was wrong, but quite frankly, so was this.
"You can't keep her in the closet." Bobby muttered. "You… you can't just leave Leni locked up in there. It's not right."
"I… won't. At least not during the day. I'll stay here with her," Lori promised. "I'll make sure she's… comfortable, at least. I just… I have to do something, Bobby. I have to. For her sake." She looked at her boyfriend with sad, pleading eyes… something he'd never been able to resist. Bobby groaned, slumping back against the wall. This was absolutely insane. He wanted to help Leni just as much as Lori did, but to go this far?
Then again… this was an intervention of sorts, right?
"…Alright. But only for now," Bobby said. "If I change my mind, that's it. I'm… not gonna let you torture Leni."
"H-how can you think-"
"Babe, you know you can get a bit… extreme at times." Bobby said. Lori looked as though she were about to protest, but quite frankly, she knew he was right.
"Alright… alright. I promise, I'll take good care of her. I just… need to help her, Bobby."
"Yeah…" Bobby grunted. "I know, babe." If he were to be completely honest, he didn't like any of this… if anything, he felt that Lori should leave well enough alone. But he knew he wouldn't be able to dissuade her. Besides… he didn't want to see anything happen to Leni or Lincoln.
The next three days were nearly as much of a nightmare for the couple as they were for Leni herself. The girl had been as uncooperative as possible. She refused to eat, she refused to sleep, and she refused to let them sleep; every night she would kick the wall until she ran out of steam. Lori couldn't believe just how much stamina her sister had, given the situation at hand… the banging would persist for hours before she wore herself out.
As promised, Lori left the closet open during the day, while she could keep watch over her sister… at night, she'd barricade the closet once more. But Leni wouldn't leave. She only left the closet to use the bathroom, after which she would go right back to her sulking. She wouldn't speak to Lori at all beyond one or two-word sentences. For her part, Lori tried everything she could think of to reason with her sister… but Leni wouldn't listen, and all Lori could do was watch her sister waste away. If anything, it felt like she was the one being worn down.
Now, Lori sat on the couch, idly watching a recent episode of The Dream Boat. The new season was terrible, but it wasn't like she had anything better to do. She was tired, to say the least… even without Leni kicking the wall, the situation had her so stressed out that she could barely sleep no matter how hard she tried.
Then, she saw movement out of the corner of her eye. To her shock, it was Leni. She silently walked past her sister and sat down next to her. For some time, neither said anything; neither was sure what to say, quite frankly. Finally, Lori took a deep breath. "…You came out." She said quietly.
"The floor was totes starting to hurt." Leni replied. Lori glanced over at her sister. She looked awful, with unkempt hair and sunken cheeks, her eyes lined with dark circles from lack of sleep. Lori had given her bedding, but as far as she could tell she hadn't been using it. She'd lost weight too, her dress visibly looser around her frame than it had been. Lori let out a soft sigh and turned looked back towards the television.
"Are you ready to listen, now?"
Lori buried her face in her hand, pinching the bridge of her nose. No, of course she wouldn't be, she told herself. Still, at least for now she had the girl's attention. Lori pulled her phone from her pocket and launched the browser.
"…In Michigan, what you and Lincoln have been doing is considered criminal sexual conduct in the second degree." She said quietly. "Did you know that?" Leni frowned.
"I told you… we haven't been having sex." Leni muttered.
"It doesn't matter, Leni." Lori responded. "Second degree means 'sexual touching other than penetration, even over clothing, that is meant to arouse or gratify sexual desire'. Sound familiar?"
"First of all, I, like, don't know what most of those words mean. Second-"
"That means touching," Lori cut in. "Making out, rubbing all over each other the way you were." Leni opened her mouth to speak, but Lori continued. "I literally saw you, Leni. I know what you were doing."
"Well, so what?" Leni huffed, crossing her arms. "It's none of anyone's business."
"Yeah, well, some may disagree." Lori turned towards her sister with a serious look in her eyes. "That alone could get you put away for fifteen years. Let's say you decided to take it further, and that's only assuming you haven't already. If you so much as suck him off-"
"L-Lori!" Leni stammered, covering her reddening cheeks with her hands. "W-we haven't-"
Lori rolled her eyes. "If you did, that bumps it up to first degree. You think fifteen years is bad? Try life." Leni's brow furrowed slightly and she drew her arms closer around her chest, but her sister pressed on. "The law doesn't care what you want. The law doesn't care if you're in love. If anyone found out about this, that would literally be it for you… do you understand?"
"Leni, I'm not your enemy here… I'm trying to help you. I don't want you to be separated. I don't want you to be sent away. But if you keep doing this, you're going to get hurt. Both of you will." Lori sighed and lowered her phone. "If you really love him… you'll end things."
Leni hung her head and chewed her lip in silence. It wasn't like she didn't understand… she did, and far better than Lori thought she did.
But she didn't care.
"…Lori…" Leni began quietly. "If someone told you that you and Bobby-"
"Leni, we are not having this-"
"Like, I listened to you! Now you listen to me!" Leni shot back. Lori scowled slightly but nonetheless let her sister continue. "Imagine if one day people said you couldn't be with Bobby anymore. Like, nothing else changed… he was totes the same Bobby he is now, and you still loved him just as much, but you couldn't be with him just because other people said so… how would you feel? What would you do?"
Lori frowned. "But that's not-"
"It doesn't matter, Lori!" Leni snapped. "It doesn't matter if it is or isn't! Just, like, give me an answer! Just try to look at things from my side for once!" She glared at her older sister, waiting for an answer. Lori clicked her tongue in irritation. Once again, it was a pointless question. Bobby wasn't her brother, and nobody was telling them they couldn't be together. There was no merit in thinking about a nonsensical hypothetical situation like that.
Though, if she were to be completely honest… she really had no answer for the girl.
Even Leni could see the uncertainty in her sister's eyes; figuring she wasn't going to get a straight answer, she pushed on. "I love him, Lori. I love Lincoln. Like, I know I'm not 'supposed' to. I know it's 'wrong'. I-I know I could… I know I could get in a lot of trouble…" Leni took a deep breath to steady herself. "I told you… I'm not stupid. I… know this is risky. But I love him, and he loves me, and… and I need him."
"Leni, please…" Lori pleaded with her sister. "I'm not saying you can't have him. Just… not in the way you want. If you keep this up, you're going to get caught… and if that happens, you won't have him at all."
"Don't you get it, Lori…?" Leni said sadly. "Even if I leave him, it wouldn't change how I feel. I'd still… love him, and every day would just hurt… like when you're on a diet and you see someone eating an ice cream sundae, you know?" She sniffled and bit her lip, doing her best to fight back tears. "S-so… if you're asking me to choose between that or maybe going to jail… I really don't see much of a difference..."
Lori opened her mouth to speak, but the words died on her lips. She knew Leni better than anyone, and quite frankly… she'd never heard the girl sound so certain of anything before. She couldn't really understand it… Lincoln was a great kid to be sure, but the way Leni talked about him you'd think he was the perfect man. Then again… she supposed someone didn't have to be perfect to be perfect for you, as Bobby would attest to.
Still, she did understand one thing: Leni was in love with her brother. There was no questioning that. There was no telling if Lincoln's feelings matched hers, but he was still just a kid… a mature kid perhaps, but a kid nonetheless. He couldn't make that kind of commitment.
Lori sighed as she slumped back against the sofa. She brought a hand to her head and massaged her temples. Why was she even questioning this? It was wrong. It was illegal. As their older sister, it was her job to put a stop to things now.
…So why did she feel even more uncertain than before?
Things had barely been going any better for Lincoln. Ever since the call, he had mostly remained cooped up in his room, just… sleeping. Or trying to, at least… he only came down to eat, but even that was rare. It had become abundantly clear that whatever was going on was more than mere illness, but he refused to talk about it with anyone; he wouldn't even answer his phone when Clyde called. It felt like a piece of him was missing, like he was… incomplete, somehow.
Lincoln frowned as he stared aimlessly at the wall. It was hard to believe that all of this had occurred in barely over a month… before the prom, the idea of dating his own sister would have been a ridiculous notion. But now? Now, it felt natural… any apprehension he may have had over the arrangement had all but faded away. He loved her, simple as that. Regardless of age, regardless of relation, he loved his sister. He knew fully well there could be consequences… he'd taken lots of time to consider the risks even after they were already together. He knew fully well that ignoring these risks was a reckless and potentially dangerous thing to do. But it changed nothing… he loved her, simple as that. Regardless of age, regardless of relation, he loved his sister.
Lincoln heard a knock at his door. He sighed, drawing his blanket further around himself. "…Not now."
"Dude… it's me," Spoke the familiar raspy voice of Luna. "Can you let me in? I just want to talk."
"…No." Lincoln grumbled. "Go away, Luna. Please."
"Lincoln… we're worried about you." The rocker pressed on. "All of us. And… I want to help you. You know… the way you helped me." Lincoln's brow scrunched up slightly. Part of him wanted to let her in… out of all his sisters, he felt she was the one he could trust the most about something like this. But he just wanted to be alone.
"Luna… no." He muttered. "I don't want to talk. Just… leave me alone, okay?" There were a few moments of silence before Luna spoke again.
"…Alright. But I'll be back."
"…Yeah. I know." Said Lincoln. He heard her gentle footsteps heading down the hall, and with a small sigh he turned over to his other side.
Lincoln yelped, jumping back and wincing in pain as his back struck the wall. Lucy was standing beside his bed, looking straight at him… probably. It was always hard to tell with her. "L-Lucy?! What the heck are you doing in here? How did you get in here?!"
"Vents," The ten-year-old goth said plainly. "Lincoln, why are you doing this to yourself?"
Lincoln huffed and laid back down, turning to face the wall again. "…Go away, Lucy. It's nothing you need to worry about."
"I think it is," Lucy said. "You don't look good, Lincoln. You look sick."
"I am sick, Lucy." Lincoln mumbled.
"Sigh… no, you're not. I know better than that." Lucy sat down on the side of his bed with her legs hanging off the side. Lincoln simply scooted away from his sister, doing his best to ignore her. "Mind if I take a guess?"
"…Do what you want." Lincoln grunted.
"Leni broke up with you, didn't she?"
Lincoln's eyes shot wide open. He turned, staring at his younger sister in shock. "W-what…?"
"I've seen you, you know." Lucy explained. "From the vents. I… see lots of things." Lucy turned her head slightly to look at him. "I know you two are in a relationship. Or… that you were, at least." Lincoln groaned, burying his face in his hands; he should have known that Lucy would have caught them… she was always creeping around unseen. "You don't need to worry," She assured him. "I… find it quite beautiful, actually."
Lincoln raised an eyebrow. "Beautiful…?" Lucy gave a small nod, folding her hands in her lap.
"Your love is forbidden, but you choose to pursue it. Others would say your relationship is wrong, but to you it feels right, doesn't it?" Lincoln could only nod in response. How did his sister know all this? "Like I said… I've been watching," She said, as though reading his mind. "And I can tell that the love you share is real. So what happened?"
Lincoln took a deep breath, pulling himself upright. He knew Lucy wouldn't give this up, and quite frankly he couldn't bring himself to yell at the girl. "…I don't know," He said quietly. "Things were going fine, or at least I thought they were… but a few days ago she just… ended it."
"Ended it how?" Lucy asked. Lincoln wasn't sure why that mattered, but he figured he might as well explain.
"…Over the phone." Lincoln sighed. "I tried calling her but she wouldn't answer, so I called Lori. And… she broke up with me… she wouldn't even talk to me. She just… went through Lori." Lucy could hear the heartbreak in his voice, and he looked as though he were about to cry. "I just… I don't know why. All she said was that it was over." Lucy frowned, mulling this over for a bit.
"That… seems a bit odd, doesn't it?" She said softly.
"Well, yeah, of course it's-"
"No, I mean… odd for Leni." Said Lucy. She looked towards her brother again, and for a moment he could have sworn he saw just a hint of a pale blue eye between her bangs. "She doesn't seem like the type to do something like that. Not without reason."
"Well, I dunno…" Lincoln grumbled. "She's so sweet that she probably couldn't bring herself to do it."
"I don't know about that," His little sister shifted slightly. "I'd say this hurts more, doesn't it?"
"Yeah, I guess… but it is what it is, right? There's nothing I can do about it."
Lucy drummed her fingers against her knee in thought. "…You never spoke to Leni, though."
"Because she didn't want to talk to me," Lincoln explained. "She-"
"Did she say that, or did Lori?"
Lincoln's words died on his lips. He rubbed his chin, thinking back to the call; he hadn't spoken to Leni at all. He hadn't even heard Leni in the background… why? "I, uh… well, it was Lori…"
"…Hm." Lucy simply grunted in acknowledgement, staring straight forward once more. "Then it's not over yet."
"Are you really going to give up so easily?" Lucy cut him off. "Lincoln, call it a hunch, but none of this sits right with me."
"But what can I do?" Lincoln asked. "Leni won't answer, and Lori-"
"Don't call Lori, then." Lucy said. "Find another way. You're smart… you can figure this out."
Lincoln thought about it for a moment. Lucy was right… this whole thing was unusual. First she left without warning, then she wouldn't answer his calls, and then breaking up from him through Lori? No part of this made sense. "Y-you're right… this whole thing feels wrong." Lucy nodded, hopping down from his bed.
"Deal with it, then. When you really love someone, you don't let go until you know you have to. That, or you can just keep dwelling in the darkness like you have been." She said before adding, "…That's more my thing. It doesn't suit you well, Lincoln."
"Yeah… I guess it doesn't." Lincoln said with chuckle. Lucy gave a small smirk before heading for the door. "Lucy, wait…" He began, getting out of bed himself.
"Yes…?" She asked, turning back to face her brother. She froze up as he pulled her into a tight embrace; she'd never been much of a hugger.
"Thank you, Luce. You've… been a big help." Lincoln said quietly. "I love you." Lucy's cheeks heated up slightly.
"U-um… yes…" Lucy stammered, returning the hug half-heartedly. "I… love you too, Lincoln." As they broke away, Lucy coughed into her hand nervously. "R-right… well, I'll leave you to it. Good luck." Before Lincoln could say anything further, his sister rushed out the door.
The flustered girl took a few deep breaths to settle her nerves. Sigh… it's a shame Leni got to him first. That's what I get for hesitating, I suppose… She thought before giving a small shrug. Ah well. C'est la vie. Perhaps this will make for some good poetry, at least.
The young girl returned to her bedroom, sitting down at her desk and opening her notebook. She took out her pen and began writing:
O, my love, my muse
You are my angel, my curse
You are my demon, my verse
My pain, each bruise
You haunt me
You taunt me
Your presence inspir
Lucy paused, reading over what she had written. With a frustrated click of her tongue, she tore out the page and crumpled it up. Nah, she thought as she chucked it into the wastebin. Too… emotional.
"Hey, CJ, you mind checking the rattraps in the basement?"
"Sure thing, captain!" The young man said cheerfully, giving his cousin a salute before heading off. Bobby chuckled softly; despite his disability, CJ was a surprisingly good worker. He was friendly, followed orders well, and even if he was back in his pirate phase at the moment, customers seemed to get a kick out of it.
Bobby felt his phone vibrate in his pocket. He knew he shouldn't take calls while working, but business was always slow this time of day… besides, he was the boss now. He set down one last can of tuna on the shelf before fishing his phone out of his pocket. "Y'ello? Bobby here."
'Hey, Bobby. It's Lincoln.'
"H-hey bro!" Bobby greeted the boy nervously. "It's been a while… what, uh, what's up?"
'Not much. Hey, Leni's been staying with you guys, right?' Bobby swallowed the lump in his throat before responding.
"Eer… yeeeeaaahhhh… why…?" Bobby knew why, of course… he should have figured that Lincoln would call him at some point. He mentally cursed himself for not checking the caller ID first.
'Well, I haven't heard from her in a while… is something going on over there…?'
"N-no, everything's great! Everything's A-ok! She's probably just been too busy with Lori… y'know how close they are." He said with a nervous laugh.
'…Huh…' Lincoln muttered. He could hear the uncertainty in Bobby's voice, and based on his reply, it seemed like he didn't know about his call with Lori.
…Maybe a different approach would work.
'Well, that's weird…' Lincoln began.
"W-what's weird, bro?" Bobby stammered.
'Well, when Leni called me the other day, she sounded upset about something.'
Bobby's heart plummeted into his stomach. "…What…?"
'Yeah,' Lincoln continued. 'It sounded like she was REALLY upset, but she said she couldn't tell me what it was.'
"Th-that's impossible…" Bobby said quietly. "Lori took her-" Bobby gasped, clamping a hand over his mouth. He'd nearly said too much. He had said too much. On his end, Lincoln smirked; he finally had something.
'Bobby, what's going on?'
"I… I… uh…" Bobby sputtered. "Igottagohavelotsofcustomersbye!" Bobby hung up and buried his face in his palm. He'd fucked that one up big time. He was tempted to call Lori and tell her what happened, but something stopped him from doing so… as though part of him wanted to let this play out.
Lincoln sighed as Bobby ended the call. He hadn't gotten much out of the man, but he'd gotten something at least. Not enough, but something.
Lincoln rubbed his chin, mulling over his options. He thought back to Ace Savvy and how he would tackle something like this. He could call Lori and grill her with the new piece of information, or he could try to find out more first. The question was how exactly he would go about it; he doubted Bobby would pick up were he to call back. Come to think of it, Lori might not either.
Lincoln groaned, knocking his fist against his forehead a few times. Think, Lincoln. Think. There has to be SOMETHING. Then, it came to him. Lincoln quickly typed in the number and pressed the call number, then put the phone to his ear and waited. Before long, there was an answer.
Lincoln smirked. It'd been a while since he'd heard that name. "Hey, Ronnie. How's it going?"
'Can't complain. Just hangin' with the gang.' Lincoln could hear her friends give a faint greeting in the background. 'Anyway, how about you? Gotta admit, I was startin' to think I wouldn't hear from you again.'
"Y-yeah… sorry about that." Lincoln said sheepishly. "It… took me a bit to get over things, y'know…?"
'Don't worry about it, Lincoln. But, um…' Ronnie Anne muttered, her tone softening a bit. 'We're… cool, right?'
"Yeah. We're cool." Lincoln assured her. "Anyway, I needed to ask you something. Um… away from the others, I mean."
'Oh… uh, okay. Hey, guys, be right back!' Ronnie called to her friends. Lincoln could hear Nikki saying something in response, but it was unclear. 'What's up?'
"Well… have you seen Leni recently?"
'…Leni…?' Ronnie sounded confused. 'Why would I have seen Leni…?'
Lincoln frowned. Had Bobby not told her? "She's been staying with Lori and Bobby. You didn't know?"
'N-no, I didn't… I see Bobby every day, and he never said anything about that.'
"Oh…" Lincoln grumbled. "Damn…"
'Why? Is something going on?'
"Well, I'm not really sure…" Lincoln said, scratching his cheek. "I haven't been able to get through to Leni, and the others haven't been much help either. I think they might be… I dunno. Keeping her away from me."
'Why would they be doing that…?' Ronnie asked. Lincoln groaned; that was the exact question he'd hoped she wouldn't ask.
"I, uh…" Lincoln began. "I can't tell you." For a few moments, Ronnie said nothing.
"Because… it's kinda, you know…" Lincoln mumbled. "It's big."
'Linc… you can tell me anything.' Ronnie said. 'I won't make fun of you for it, I promise.'
"It's… kind of a big deal, Ronnie." Lincoln said with a depreciating laugh. "Just… please drop it?" For a few moments, he didn't get a response. Finally, he heard a small sigh.
'…Alright, fine. I'm not gonna pry.'
"Thank you…" Lincoln breathed a sigh of relief. "Sorry. I promise I'll tell you someday. Just…"
'Not now, got it. It's cool.' Ronnie said, brushing aside the topic. 'Anyway, I guess you want me to look into it, right?'
"Huh? Oh…" Lincoln gave a small shake of his head to push the matter aside. "Y-yeah, if you don't mind…"
'Sure, no prob'. Figure I… owe ya that much at least, y'know?' Ronnie said softly. 'Anyway, hang on a sec… hey, guys! I gotta bounce!'
Ronnie stepped off the bus about two blocks away from the bodega. She would have walked, but she felt that she shouldn't delay things too much… besides, it was a hot day, and even without her sweater she was feeling a bit too toasty for her liking.
As she made her way home, she thought about the situation at hand. Looking back, Bobby had been acting a bit weird the past few days, as though he were distracted by something. She hadn't thought much of it at the time… she figured he had just been arguing with Lori.
Ronnie arrived at the bodega just as a customer stepped out, bag in hand. Good, she thought. Nobody here.
"Welco- oh, hey Nini!" Bobby greeted her from behind the counter as she walked in. "I thought you were with your friends?"
"Yeah, I was." Ronnie said. "I needed to ask you something, though." Bobby raised an eyebrow.
"Why didn't you just call…?"
"Eh, y'know." She shrugged. "Figured it's best I ask you face to face."
"Um… o-ok…" Bobby muttered, drumming his fingers against the countertop. Somehow, he already didn't like where this was going. "Soooo… what's up?"
"Why didn't you tell me Leni was staying with you?"
"U-um… I didn't?" Her brother said, laughing nervously. "Must have slipped my mind…"
"Slipped your mind, huh?" Ronnie's eyes narrowed. "Y'know, Lincoln's been trying to reach her, but apparently he hasn't been able to get through to her at all."
"Wait, what…? But Lincoln said-" Bobby caught himself again, letting out a low groan. Dammit, Bobby, why are you like this?
"Oh, you talked to him? Interesting." Ronnie Anne grinned smugly. She knew she had him now. "Let me ask you something, Bobby… is it that Leni won't answer the phone, or that she can't?"
Bobby swallowed. "N-Nini, c'mon… she's just been busy with her sister, y'know? They don't get to see each other too often anymore…"
"…Uh-huh." Ronnie sighed. "Bobby, why do you have to make things so difficult?"
"I… I don't know what you're talking about…" Bobby lied. Ronnie turned and locked the door, then flipped the sign to 'Closed'. "Um… Nini, we're still open…"
"No, we're not." Ronnie said as she approached the checkout counter. "Not till I get some answers." Before Bobby could protest, Ronnie vaulted over the counter.
"R-Ronnie! You can't come back here, this is employees only!" Bobby complained, but she wasn't about to listen. She'd promised Lincoln she would look into things, and she was never one to break her promises.
Even if she had to go back to her old ways to do it.
"I can go anywhere I want, Roberto. I'm the boss now." Ronnie said in a cold tone. She advanced on her older brother, backing him into the corner. "Now, I'm not gonna ask again. What is going on?"
"Nini, please…" Bobby whined, cowering in fear as his little sister cracked her knuckles. He'd forgotten just how scary the girl could be when she was angry. "I told you, there's noth- OW!" Bobby cried out in pain as Ronnie reached out and pinched him on the arm.
"What's going on, Bobby?!"
"I-I can't… I can't say, it's- OW!" He cried as Ronnie pinched him again, this time adding a little twist. "C'mon, Ronnie, that really hurts! I'm a very sensitive boy!"
"Oh, you will be when I'm done with you…" Ronnie hissed. Her brother's eyes went wide with horror as she curled her fingers, making a pinching motion with her thumb and index finger. "Remember Mrs. Nurple?"
"Y-you wouldn't…" Bobby whimpered, doing his best to cover his chest with his hands. Ronnie smirked wickedly.
"Oh, yes I would."
With the sort of precision that could only come from years of bullying, Ronnie spotted an opening and hooked her hand beneath his arm. She clamped down on his nipple hard, twisting it without mercy; Bobby screamed in pain, tears beginning to form in his eyes. "O-okay! Uncle! I'll talk!" Ronnie let go, letting her brother catch his breath before explaining.
"Talk, then." Ronnie demanded. Bobby swallowed the lump in his throat.
"L-Lori caught her making out with Lincoln, and s-s-she wouldn't break up with him, so Lori brought her home and she's keeping her there until she can talk some sense into her and I-I don't know what to do about it, okay?!" Bobby blurted out in one breath.
Silence. Ronnie studied her brother with narrowed eyes, as though she were trying to deduce whether or not he was making this up; for his part, Bobby couldn't force himself to meet her gaze. He simply rubbed his sore chest in silence as his little sister took in what he just told her.
Q - oh boy here we go, I ve been checking for an update. I can only hope that something special involves who I think it does. Theres even fanart of that little scene at the prom. Ronnie is pretty cool about all this too, and I see you made the lenicoln/lucycoln thing as alternate outcomes in a sense which is pretty neat. I ll be waiting on that nice lori fic too.
Assuming you're talking about Rochelle, that is not the case. Sorry! I may do a little one-shot at some point though, possibly in an anthology, so... y'know. I guess we'll see.
Also, though nobody's ever asked about it, I'd like to address something regarding Rochelle. At the time I chose that name I was still new to the fandom and didn't realize that was also the name of Lincoln and Ronnie's egg in the episode "Shell Shock", as well as one of the fan-made Ronniecoln kids. So... whoops. In any case, unless Leni's friends are ever given official names I don't intend on changing it.
Q - (various comments about My Angel, My Demon and how it connects to this story)
Really, all my fics (barring sequels) are by default set within their own separate continuity; that said, don't think too much into it. That was intended more as a reference/inside joke for fans than anything else.
Q - (various comments about incest, the morality of it, its legal status, etc.)
Incest is a very complex topic with a lot of ethical and biological issues to take into consideration. This is a fanfic based on a Nicktoon. Chill. All I'll say is that as long as you're both consenting adults, love is love. Just, y'know. Maybe don't have kids.