Title: Flowers, Petals, and Thorns

Author: Babychan

Disclaimer: Petals on the Wind is the sole property of V.C. Andrews and Pocket Books. I make no profit from writing this piece of fiction. Unfortunately.

Rathing: R

Warning: Though there isn't really a sex scene in this fic, there are references to memory's of past encounters, and references to past desires.

Also,

There are spoilers for "Petals on the Wind" and some teasers for "If There Be Thorns" So if you haven't read it and you read this first, you will know... pretty much the whole book, but in limited detail. Also, this fic is written in Paul's POV

Flowers, Petals, and Thorns.

I have always known there was something between my Catherine and Chris. From the moment they arrived on my porch that Sunday morning. Hand in hand and completely terrified as their youngest sister lay unconscious in her brother's arms and fought for her life. I knew...

But...

I didn't care.

There was something captivating in Catherine's eyes as she stared at me, and I at her. For that one moment, after I woke up I found myself lost and found at the same time. Those crystal blue eyes were my damnation and salvation. I was entranced to the point where nothing else existed.

Those eyes....

They were so full of life, yet they were old beyond her years. They were haunting, and angry and longing.

I was stupid.

I thought they were longing for love.

And I fell in love with her that very day.

I fell in love with a child.

Who would never truly love me back.

Who could never truly love me back.

No matter what she proclaimed.

I should have known

No... eventually, I did know.

I just thought I could change her.

Make her love me.

I should have known by the way she and Chris held silent conversations, in my office that morning, nothing would come between them.

Nothing could come between them.

They wouldn't let it.

But I was a fool...

In love.

As I sit here now, on my porch, in my elderly and sickly state, I remember those past years. As clearly as if it were yesterday.

I remember when they first came to live with me.

I remember the shock on their faces and hurt in their eyes when they realized that they were not to be sharing rooms any longer.

Mistakenly, I thought that they would have been relieved to finally have some privacy.

But I was wrong.

I had faded into the background as they said their goodnights, but I wasn't so far away that I couldn't hear their conversation. And I was shocked to hear Chris warn his sister about discretion, so I would not discover their relationship.

I was shocked that there was even a relationship to discover.

I was comforted to hear Cathy respond and declare that whatever they had, it was over. That their love was sinful and for him to forget about it. Yes, her words gave me great comfort and hope.

But that hope was to be shattered, a few hours later, when I heard her, my Catherine, sneak into her brother's room and resume that tawdry love affair.

At the time they didn't know that the walls, in this old home, are very thin. They didn't know how loud their moans of passion were. They didn't know that I could hear every declaration of their incestuous love.

I almost felt sorry for Chris that night. They way my Catherine blamed the whole incident on him and left him crying in his bedroom. It didn't matter that it was she who snuck into his room, and got into his bed.

It was all his fault.

I should have taken her actions that night as an omen for the future.

But I didn't because I was already stupidly in love with her.

She never took blame for her own actions. No matter how many times she enticed him. Snuck into his room. Took off her clothes for him. Touched him. Kissed him. Sucked him. Allowed him to penetrate, and fuck, her with his tongue and fingers.

She never took blame... after the guilt surfaced.

Sure, she would cry after the act. Yell at him for his actions. Proclaim that what they were doing was wrong and that he should get over her and forget their love. Repeatedly, she told him to move on and find someone else to love, and claim that she didn't want his love in that way. That she never wanted it

But...

She never truly meant her words.

And that was why she would sneak into his room almost every night, once she thought everyone else was asleep, and allow him to love her in almost every way that should and is forbidden between a brother and sister.

But still, she never accepted any blame for her actions. End the end, it was always his fault. His sin.

I know this because I used to lie on my bed at night and listen to their love making from my side of that very thin wall. It made me wonder how many times she had done this to him when they were still trapped in that attic. Just by tallying up the times she played this game under my roof, I bet it was too many to count.

I am brought out of my memory, as I watch a now grown up Chris and Cathy walk up the steps of the porch, with Cathy's two children. The sight sears my already battered heart.

They're holding hands and, absently, and almost childishly, swinging them back and forth....

They look so much in love.

It hurts to watch them together. It always has, and it probably always will. It also makes me wonder why I ever thought I could wedge myself between them.

Before taking the boy's into the house, Chris gives me a respectful nod and the two little boys mimic the action, before going into the house as well. Jory and Bart utterly adore Chris. I can tell, by the way they shower him with kisses when he comes home from work and how they follow him around the house, and garden, like little ducklings.

It's sweet, but it's irritating, also.

He's the father to them that I wanted to be but never could.

Sometimes... I hate him for that.

But as I listen to the hustle, bustle and giggles, in the house, I smile gently to myself and reluctantly accept the truth that Chris is a good father to the boys. He loves them as if they were his own, and born of his own seed. He never looks at them with a resentful eye, even though he hated both of their real fathers. He never has a harsh word, even when he disciplines them, and he doesn't play favorites. He just loves them. Fully and completely. Because they are Catherine's. And in the end... that's all that really matters to Chris.

She's the only thing that has ever really mattered to Chris.

Well, her and becoming a doctor.

I look up and smile at my wife, who had stayed behind, on the porch with me. She's taking about something, but I'm not really listening. Thinking about Chris triggered another memory, and I start to lose myself to the memory of our first Christmas, as a family.

I had just adopted them. Chris, Cathy and Carrie and they were now not only my wards but my children. And by law, I was now their FATHER, though they never called me dad, or anything of the sort. I don't think anyone could replace their father. He was a saint in his children's eyes. But...

Of that I was glad

Because...

I was, now, not only a man who lusted after a 15 year old child, I was a man who was now in love with his daughter.

What manner of beast was I? For I was never disgusted with myself for continuing to indulge in my love for her. However, what was worse than the fact that I was in love with my child, was the fact that she was in love with her brother and I, now, saw my son as my rival.

What a screwed up family we had.

Still... that Christmas...

After we had come home from the ballet...

That was the first time I had actually seen what they usually did, on the other side of that very thin wall, which separated Chris's room from mine.

It was so wrong.

Yet...

So beautiful.

I watched them underneath the Christmas tree. I watched them kiss, so passionately. I watched Catherine allow her brother to open up her gown, expose her breast and suckle them. And I listened, as he reminded her on how he had watched them grow and develop while they were locked away in that damned attic.

I then listened to her try to convince her brother to give up his desire to become a doctor and stay with her, as she unbuttoned his shirt, maneuvered him in between her legs, and pulled him to lie on top of her. Flesh against flesh as they kissed, so desperately, and grinded their groins against one another.

I remember this... as if it were yesterday.

The scene was so erotic.

So disturbingly erotic.

Two abnormally beautiful siblings in the midst of a torrid love affair.

I was jealous.

As well as intrigued.

And aroused.

I watched Chris kiss and suck on her neck, as he caressed her thighs and pulled, and gathered, her gown around her waist. I watched his hand slip in between them, then in between her legs. I watched my Catherine's back arch, like a bow, as her hips bucked into his hand. Again and again. I watched him swallow her moans with a desperate kiss, while simultaneously hooking his fingers onto the hem of her panties in an attempt to pull them down.

I remember not being able to breathe as I wondered –half in fear and half in hope– if they were going to make love, right there, in my living room.

It was only after his hand touched that forbidden place did she cry out, "No—It would be sinful!"

It was also then, when I was able to finally breathe.

He looked shocked that she stopped him. He always did, though. Then his expression would, usually, turn to hurt, then guilt. But this time, however, Chris stopped, not only fearing the sin. He stopped caring about it. Our Catherine had played this card too many times for him to care any more. Moreover, he knew she didn't mean it.

Just as I did.

In spite of this, I was surprised that she would use his lust for her to make him promise to stay, and forget his dream at ever becoming a doctor.

It was very manipulative.

And so very like the mother she hated so dearly.

When Chris had begged her to join him in his bed, then promised her that "this time there wouldn't be any pain" I was shocked.

I knew they were intimate, but I had no idea that they had already given their virginity to each other. I was so dumfounded by that knowledge I almost missed when she proclaimed that she couldn't make love in his room because:

She was his sister and;

It was too close to my room and that I might hear them.

Her logic astounded me!

It's not like the proximity to my room ever really mattered to her before!. With all of their loud sneaking into each others rooms. Moans of pleasure. Long winded speeches of everlasting love. Denials, and condemnations. Running down the halls. Slamming of doors and crying way into the wee hours of the morning.

I mean, after months of this drama, NOW, they worry if I hear them?

If I wasn't so jealous, I would have laughed.

I remember watching them noisily race upstairs, and it disturbed me that they felt it okay to make love, in the same bed, as their youngest sister. It made my mind go in all directions of perversity. I mean if two siblings were comfortable enough with their incestuous sex, what was to stop them from including a third.

What's to say they hadn't already?

But yet, even with my reservations, I couldn't bring myself to interrupt them.

Instead, I silently made my way into my bedroom and listened.

And jacked off.

I am happy to recall that they didn't end up making love that Christmas. I am also happy to remember that my Catherine denied her brother's advances once again.

However, I am unhappy to report that her refusal wasn't because of their close relation. No, she denied him in a spoiled rage because he wouldn't give up his dream for her. She told him that if he left her to become a doctor, then her answer would always be no.

After a declaration like that, I honestly didn't think he would leave.

I hoped and prayed...

But I honestly didn't think he would leave.

Those next few weeks, Chris looked so torn.

And Catherine didn't come to him at night, nor did she allow him to share her bed.

I was relieved.

And surprised.

And even more relieved every time I would hear them, both, crying at night.

Crying for each other.

And for their love.

But still, they were crying in SEPARATE rooms.

And for that I was happy.

However, I knew it was only going to be a matter of time before Catherine's resolve broke, and they would start their same ole tortured love routine again.

I wasn't sure if my nerves could take it.

And that was why I was so happy when I drove Chris to that college.

And that was why I was ecstatic when I drove back home without him.

I couldn't believe he kept his resolve.

I couldn't believe that he was able to leave her.

I don't think Catherine could believe it either.

The only thing that kept me from shouting with joy and dancing the jig was that Catherine was bawling beside me. Sobbing without shame for her brother, her lover.

But even that sight couldn't dampen my joy.

I was happy!

My rival was gone!

However, I was surprised how quickly Catherine turned her affections to me. It was so unexpected, and I knew I was just a substitute for her brother. I also knew that her affections stemmed from a desire to have a relationship which did not bring her so much guilt and self loathing. Nonetheless, I knew that even though she professed to love me, I knew her love would always, first, be true to her brother.

No matter how hard she denied it.

But I didn't care.

I did, however, summon the courage to ask her what her relationship with her brother was.

She looked frightened that I even suspected. But really, how could I not

Her answer was coy. Telling me that when, in the attic, she and her brother sometimes pretended that they weren't siblings. She said nothing about what they did, or still did. She volunteered nothing about their love, or how they still felt about each other. But she didn't have to. That truth was written all over their faces every time they looked at one another.

What I didn't expect was another rival to arrive so soon after Chris's departure. A dancer too, by the name of Julian Marquet.

I tried not to show my jealousy, but I hated him. He had the edge of youth on his side and the confidence of ten men. He was beautiful, physically, and he knew it. But by golly, what a horrible little bastard he was!

I was grateful that he was such an arrogant ass and that the only real quality Catherine was attracted to, was his dancing. And only his dancing. But, unfortunately, she was still attracted.

So when she offered herself to me....

I took.

I didn't care that she was a child.

I didn't care that I was a substitute for the man she truly wanted but couldn't allow herself to have.

I took her body

I didn't care.

I wanted her.

And I wanted her to love me like I loved her.

I wanted to own her heart as she owned mine

But...

That possession belonged to her brother.

I knew this...

I just didn't care.

Chris came back home that summer and got a job at a café, working 7am to 7pm. Catherine slaved away at her goal in becoming a prima ballerina, then spent the rest of her free time nursing her obsession with her mother. But the nights...

They were the same as when they first moved in with me.

It wasn't until Chris went back to school that fall, and after my birthday, did her affections for me return.

It was almost like I didn't exist, while her brother was around.

That was why when she offered herself to me again, I took her body. But completely this time.

I used my experience to make what she did with her brother seem like fumbling experiments. And I found out that Chris never got to satisfy her. He brought her close to an orgasm, but was never able to give her one. She would stop him before he finished her off. Guilt and the reality of what she was doing and who she was doing it with, always got in the way of her climax.

Because of that I felt like I won.

I loved being inside her. So much in fact that I would ignore that while we made love, she would stare past me, and at the ceiling, and silently sob for her brother.

Later, after she truly came to enjoy it, she came to me like a woman addicted.

And in a way, I think she was.

Catherine was a woman who loved to be loved. She wanted, and needed, to be worshipped and adored. She was a seductress and an enchantress. She was a tease who knew how to play the innocent victim, because she honestly believed herself to be so. She didn't like to share, and she kept me on a leash and her brother on an even shorter one. She was spiteful, and selfish. Her needs always came first. She hurt everyone, all the time, but she never felt it was her fault. She honestly believed that all of her vices and all of the bad things which happened, in all of their lives were the direct result of her mother's betrayal. Never her's

But no one ever called her on it.

We all loved her too much.

Even after she broke our hearts a thousand times over.

We still loved her and forgave her.

That was why I wasn't so surprised when she decided to leave for New York with Julian. I mean, it was her dream to dance professionally. But what's more, she did have him flying down at least once every month, trying to woo her. However, what surprised me most of all was that while in NY Catherine had a rival of her own. And this rival, this Yolanda Lange, not only wanted the same coveted dancing positions. No, this woman also wanted Catherine's beloved brother's affections, as well.

Catherine always claimed that she wanted Chris to move on. To find someone else he could love. To find a love that would not be sinful. She had said it so many times, even I almost believed her. I think Chris did too.

So I was very surprised to see the hate in my Catherine's eyes as she watched Yolanda and Chris disappear together, after her performance.

Chris didn't even try to hide this affair. I think that he was finally taking her advice and getting over her. Or at least...trying to.

I think Cathy feared that too.

So I asked her to marry me as soon as I had her attention again.

Half of me knows that the shock and betrayal, of what Chris did, was why she accepted.

The other half doesn't give a damn.

All that mattered was that she said yes.

I found out later that she had a fight with Yolanda because of that tryst. My sweet Catherine bloodied the other girl's nose and called Yolanda all kinds of hateful names, then went to the dance instructor and told her that she refused to be the girl's roommate because Yolanda was trying to sabotage her career.

Her CAREER!

Catherine wrote me and confessed this but kept insisting her reasons for fighting was because Yolanda had provoked her. And that the "tramp" was not good enough for her brother. That Chris was lowering himself to sleep with someone like her. And the very thought of Chris sharing a bed with the, and I quote "whore" soiled her image of her brother.

Honestly, I was glad that Catherine's image of her brother was finally soiled. It was hard trying to compete against her "perfect" Christopher Doll. And now that she realized that he was not celibate and jacking off to her mental image, while waiting longingly for her reclusive touch, she latched herself even more to me.

I was glad.

Even as I read that tear stained letter.

I was glad.

That Christmas was a good one; even though, my gifts of a fur coat and a two carat diamond engagement ring were outdone by a locket, and a love letter that should have never been written.

The locket was gold and had a minuscule chip of a cloudy diamond in the center. To this day I'm not sure what picture lay inside, but I think it was a pitcher of the "four Dresden dolls" It would be like him to remind her of who and what they were and how they survived everything together.

But at the time, I didn't think of it like that. All I could see was that he gave her gold and diamonds, just like the ring I gave her. But so fucking cheap!

Well, maybe it wasn't so cheap. He did work all summer to afford it. But its price was nothing compared to what I spent on Catherine's ring that holiday.

Nonetheless, cheap or not, its meaning was the same.

It was an engagement promise.

He knew it.

I knew it.

And Catherine knew it.

And ...

She accepted it.

And I knew then that she would never let him go.

No matter what she professed, she wouldn't let him find someone else.

It hurt to know this.

But...

Still I didn't care, because I loved her

But, oh how I hated Chris as he put that necklace on my soon to be wife

I had one victory though, because even though I knew I was outdone by Chris, and his gifts, he didn't. Chris was jealous of me because I was able to afford to give Catherine the things he couldn't. It didn't matter how many hours he waitered on tables or flirted with the customers to get a bigger tip. I made more money than him and was therefore able to buy his sister more beautiful gifts.

I think part of him hated me for that.

I also think he finally realized that I had a relationship with his sister that went beyond a paternal one.

And for that I KNOW he hated me, and he made those feelings known as he stormed away in a jealous rage.

For most of Christmas day he hid himself away, and I watched my Catherine stare longingly at the ceiling, and in the direction of her brother's room. As I observed her melancholy expression, I wondered what type of letters she wrote him after she found out about his affair with Yolanda.

I wondered what she said... to keep him.

Chris tried to avoid her, on the day after, but like always Catherine wouldn't let him be and tracked him down.

I remember watching silently from the window, where she approached him in the garden. Chris was butchering my prized roses. I didn't care. I honestly felt that it was better my roses than me. Still, I watched her gently take the clippers from him. I then watched her embrace him. Press her body, flush, against his and lift her face as if to kiss him when she confessed our engagement that broke his heart into a thousand pieces.

As I stood there, watching this scene unfold, I silently wondered how someone so beautiful could act so ugly and be so cruel.

I wondered how I could love such a person so completely.

I wondered why I didn't fear for my own heart.

My victory over Chris was short lived. Later, I realized that she was just as hurt as he was. Later, I heard them fighting. I also heard my Catherine throw the Yolanda incident in Chris' face, then accuse him of having other love affairs.

I wanted to go in there and tell her that as my fiancée, her brother's sex life shouldn't concern her. It shouldn't hurt her. That he was only doing what she told him to do. What he should do! Nonetheless, she made it seem like he was cheating on her. It was absurd because they shouldn't have even been having this argument, in the first place. Moreover, it wasn't like she was abstinent herself

But by the way they were going at it, you couldn't tell who was the jealous lover. Or who was the betrayed. They both acted like the victim.

If I asked her...Catherine would probably say that she was the victim and Chris had betrayed her, but she had never been good at seeing herself.

And she was never one for taking blame.

So I didn't interrupt them. Nor did I confront her about her lover's spat with her brother. No, instead I pretended that I was happy as we celebrated our engagement, and I pretended that every thing was fine. And I pretended that she wasn't clutching that gold locket all night, and as if her life depended on it.

I also pretended I didn't notice that from the moment she had agreed to marry me, there had been doubt in her eyes.

That was why I shouldn't have been surprised when she married someone else.

That bastard Julian Marquet.

I would love to blame my sister for chasing my Catherine away. Amanda had told Catherine a bunch of lies and half truths about my wife, my child, and... Catherine's and Chris's child.

That was one secret I never wanted them to know. Especially Catherine.

I never told them that the D&C Cathy had to have, so many years ago, revealed more than just a thick uterine lining. I never told them that there was a child in there which should have never been conceived. A little boy... who had slowly died from malnutrition and arsenic poisoning.

Though neither sibling truly knew Catherine miscarried, I think Chris suspected. He was never a stupid man, and he knew enough about the medical field to make an educated guess. But I knew he wouldn't dare ask for conformation. Of that I was sure.

But my sister thought the child was mine. She thought I forced Cathy to have an abortion. I wonder how many people she told this tale too. I wonder what she would have done if she had known the truth.

A few years later, Cathy actually told Chris about the incident. She tried to assure me that it wasn't because she didn't believe me, it was just that she had to be sure that the abnormal fetus I had on my desk was not her child. I was hurt that she believed him when he told her that he had seen it before the D&C. And it hurt me to see how quickly she let her convictions go after that.

However, her new found ease didn't stop Chris from secretly searching through her medical records and finding out the truth.

That they did have a child.

The night he discovered the truth, he not only cried, he wailed and screamed his torment. He cursed the years he lived in the attic, cursed the love he had for his sister, for it damned their child, cursed his abusive grandparents and cursed his beloved mother.

Why?

Because his child was dead.

HIS!

And not time, love or anything else would bring him back to him.

It was during those years of Catherine's marriage, to Julian, did Chris and I come to a truce.

Why?

We understood each other better.

And we were no longer rivals.

Because we both lost.

Though, unlike me, Chris never gave up on his love.

But then again, Cathy never let him.

So I shouldn't have been surprised that when she finally left Julian, it was for Chris.

It was always for Chris.

I knew after she had given him that microscope, a present for achieving his MD that it wouldn't be long before they resumed their tormented love affair.

Secretly, I watched them on the balcony that evening. Chris had put his arm around her shoulders. It was an innocent gesture. Probably one of the only few he had ever done, but Catherine wouldn't leave it at that. She shifted, pressed and molded herself against him.

All I could do was silently shake my head at the obvious, unspoken invitation for more.

So I wasn't surprised when, not even a second later, he kissed her. Nor was I surprised when that kiss turned into something so passionate and desperate it made my eyes ache to watch.

Until that night, never had I seen two people hold onto each other as if they would drown, if they let go. It didn't matter that they were siblings, and it didn't matter if Catherine was married to someone else. Nothing except their forbidden love mattered as they caressed, groped and grinded against one another.

That is...until he tried to coax her into his room.

THEN she remembered.

I turned away before I had to listen to her blame him.

I can't say I was sad when her husband, Juilan died. He was a bastard. An abusive bastard who in my opinion deserved to die.

I was surprised that Carrie was so sad though. I didn't know she was so fond of him. I knew she had visited them a couple of times, in NY, but I didn't know she and Julian were so close.

When Catherine and Chris came back from NY, I knew something in their relationship had changed and, instantly, I knew what it was.

They had sex.

They didn't have to admit it out loud because whatever vestige of a "sibling" relationship they once had was now gone. The way they looked at each other, the way she would go to him and allow him to comfort her, the way she found comfort in him, and they way they touched when they thought no one was looking...

They didn't know that I was always looking.

It wasn't until she was about 6 months pregnant did I muster up the courage to confront Chris about it. He had already known that I knew of their past relationship and their present love. He knew that I didn't condone it, even though I never verbally condemned it either. Nonetheless, I was still shocked when he admitted to it. To holding his sister all night while making love to her, in that rented room in the hospital the night before Julian killed himself. He explained how he had comforted his sister, telling her to forget what her idiot husband had said, and he promised her that if Julian didn't want the baby then he would be the father to her child. That they would be mama and papa again, just like when they lived in the attic and when both the twins were alive. He promised her that he would take care of her, and the baby, and be the father he always wanted to be. The father he would have been...

If their child had not died.

He also told me that Catherine accepted him and his words that night, as she allowed his seed to fill her as some sort of belated pregnancy.

He told me that this baby was theirs.

His and his sister's.

I was crushed.

And afraid.

Because now I knew that...

Catherine knew.

She knew about her baby.

Chris had told her.

And now they were trying to replace it.

It sounded so absurd.

I didn't want to believe it.

So I didn't

I refused to.

A few weeks later, Catherine spoke of that night too. I didn't bring it up with her, though. After Chris's confession, I had wished I hadn't brought it up with him either.

I shouldn't have feared her confession though. Catherine lives her life thinking that nothing is her fault and that she is a victim. The ultimate victim of circumstance. And avictim does not have adulterous comfort-sex with her brother, on the same night her husband kills himself.

So I listened to her tale, it was the same yet different from Chris's. It was an emotional story of how Julian refused her love that day. She explained that instead of being grateful that she could finally love him, Julian flat out rejected her. He told her that he didn't want to be a father, and to get an abortion and forget about him, because he no longer loved her or wanted her. Cathy hated that Julian died not loving her. And somehow, my Catherine felt that was her mother's fault too.

I was surprised; however that she admitted to Chris "holding her" the night Julian killed himself.

Though she did fail to mention the sex.

But of course, I knew she would.

I tried to wedge myself between them after her confession. I tried to force Cathy into letting Chris go. To make her tell him that a sexual relationship could never be. To force him to find someone else. I tried to be as logical, patient, and as pragmatic about it as possible, and even as she agreed with me, I could tell that she was just telling me what I wanted to hear. Because her eyes told me that she would never let her brother go.

Not for my sake.

Not for Chris's

Not for her own.

Not even for the God she so desperately feared.

On the day Jory was born, I watched Chris hold the baby like the proud father he was. I watched Catherine smile at her brother so tenderly, and with so much love. And I watched him return the gaze with an equal amount of devotion.

It was at that moment when I truly believed Chris's confession about Catherine agreeing to let him be the father of that child.

My jealously almost made me pass out, and absently I watched the doctor who delivered little Jory, and the nurses become nervous at the silent, incestuous exchange, then look at me as if I was supposed to do something about it. What could I do? Nothing. So we were all alone in our discomfort because neither sibling could see past each other's faces to notice the stressed atmosphere.

When Catherine named the child, as well as his nick-name, I think I became even more jealous of Chris.

I think... I actually hated him that day.

My only consolation was that the baby didn't look like them. I don't think I would have been able to take it, if the child was fair haired and skinned. I was actually glad that the child's coloring took after his bastard father. Nevertheless, the rivalry between Chris and I became even more intense after Jory came home.

I can't even count how many times I heard Chris suggest that they leave and buy a place of their own. Sure, it was easier for them to live in my home. No rent, plenty of food, No bills, they could save money, but I knew why he wanted to leave so desperately. He couldn't be the "father" with me around.

No, because I wouldn't let him.

Catherine was really no help to him either, as she tried to play both sides of the fence. Trying to appease me, love me, and keep me in love with her, all the while doing the same thing with her bother.

She thought us both the fool.

But she was the only one who didn't know how thin the walls were.

I sigh at that memory, as I shift in my seat. I look around the porch and find myself alone. I am almost shocked because wasn't Catherine just there. Was I out so long? I wonder when my Catherine left and how long ago it was. I feel a bit guilty for ignoring her and I attempt to get up and make it right. But...

I am stopped by a seductively playful laugh, followed by a low and libidinous moan and a breathless "Darling, Not while the kids up. They might see us.."

I relax myself in the seat and realize that no, Catherine is not offended by my lack of attention. She was probably glad I fell asleep on her, so she could rush into Chris's arms.

I sigh again, but disgusted this time because she is still playing both sides of the fence.

Realizing this makes me accept that Chris and I were fools, back then, for we both played along.

Took what we could.

Accepted what we were given.

Unintentionally, I slip back into my memories of the first two years after Jory's birth

I knew that she used the time I went on rounds to make love to her brother. Because that was what she did when Chris went on his.

Sometimes I would leave work early, just to see if I could catch them in the act, like the time under the Christmas tree.

I guess I had a perverse masochist tendency.

Sometimes I would catch them, sometimes I arrived only to see them flushed faced and rearranging their clothes. Sometime I only caught a glimpse of them pulling out of each others arms with a guilty sort of quickness.

It was almost a game.

A sick game that was tearing me up inside.

But still, I couldn't stop myself.

I had to see.

I had to know if I really had a chance with her.

The day Chris confessed that he was accepting the Mayo Clinic position.... Well, I should have stayed in the house and minded my own damn business.

Carrie tried to warn me. With silent, sad eyes which looked much too old for her child like body. But I didn't listen.

I arrived just in time to hear Catherine tell him that if she had the money, she would have left along time ago. I heard her promise, out of her own free will, not to marry anyone without his permission. Knowing good and well that she would NEVER get his permission to do such a thing.

Then if that wasn't enough, I heard her demean his love for her, then spitefully lash out at him about finding someone else while he was gone.

Oh how my heart broke.

I knew why she was doing this. Catherine could never bare the fact that Chris was able to leave her and peruse his own goals. The other men in her life either forced her to stay with him, at all times, or allowed her to come and go as she pleased as he waited for her to come back. But Chris, he was different. He'd wait forever for her to love him, but as he waited, he was going to accomplish his dreams. And if that led him away from her, then so be it. He loved her, but he loved being a doctor just as much.

Catherine hated that

So she verbally lashed out and hurt him.

Unlike Chris, I knew why she was doing this. She wanted reassurance that he wouldn't find someone else. That there wouldn't be another Yolanda Lange. That he loved HER. Not her face, and not someone else who just looked like her.

I also knew that her insecurities were somewhat... my fault.

Days earlier I had commented to her about a nurse who was similar in looks, and how she was interested in her brother. I then mentioned that the two had lunch in the hospital cafeteria and how everyone thought they looked very good together.

At the time Cathy looked...well, I wouldn't say pleased, nor would I say relieved that Chris was taking "our" advice. But she didn't look adverse to the idea of her brother moving on.

I should have known better.

From the back porch, I stood silently and listened to her cry about all the things she "wanted" in a lover. I watched her sob her desire for a man who didn't make her feel evil after the sexual high was gone, and I watched her wail at the fact that she never became a prima ballerina, and the fact that her husband hated her when he died. I listened and watched her hug him, cry onto his chest, and beg her brother to let her go, while she still clung to him.

Emotionally, Mentally, and Physically

She was not letting him go.

And I watched Chris call her on it. Rage to her that even if he wanted to leave, she would never let him go. How she made him love her. Need her. Want her.

She weakly denied it, for she knew it was true.

We all knew it was true.

It was only after he released her, did she see me.

She looked scared. Scared that I knew...everything.

And I did.

From their own mouths, I, now, knew that she was never going to let him go.

That he had tried to leave...

But she made him come back to her.

I could tell that Catherine was afraid that I knew that despite her "promises" of getting her brother to "let go," she would make Chris feel guilty for even trying to find someone else to love. Even if he wasn't looking at all.

So I did the only thing I could do.

I ran.

I didn't want to hear her excuses.

I didn't want to hear how it wasn't her fault.

Because it was NEVER her fault.

And I didn't want to hear her yell at Chris, blaming him, for me finding out her treachery.

So I ran.

Chris left that October. I had never known him to have such a calm departing, nor had I ever seen Cathy act so indifferently. Usually, they sobbed and acted as if they were separating forever. Instead, it was so formal that it confused Carrie and made me suspicious.

That is.... until he left, and Catherine cried herself sick in the rose arbor.

And that was when I knew...

Something changed again, in their relationship after that fight.

But still...

I hoped that I was wrong.

I also hoped that since Chris was gone, she would come to me without hesitation. We had been so distant these last few years, after Julian's death. She claimed that she didn't want to hurt her brother's feelings. She told me to be patient because she didn't want to throw their relationship in his face. So I assumed, and hoped, that we'd resume our love affair with the same passion we always had after he left.

I thought that once Chris was gone, Catherine would come to me like a moth to a flame.

But that was not the case this time.

I smile bitterly at this memory.

What a fool I was.

It turned out that the love she had for me, when she was just a child, and not even of legal age for the things we had done, was gone.

The season of her love for me had passed.

Just as the season of her love for Julian had passed.

But I didn't accept that truth. I couldn't. The thought of her not loving me anymore hurt me so much, I wanted to die. But what hurt me even more was when I realized that only her love for Chris knew no season.

But ...I think that is because when they look into each other's eyes, time stands still.

Catherine left me a few months later. I was surprised and disappointed. She gave me a lame-ass excuse about Chris not feeling comfortable with her living with me, when he wasn't around.

It took everything in me not to scream, "What the fuck!!"

Was I not still her legal guardian?

Yes! I think I was.

Sure, she was over the age of maturity, but I was still legally her parent!

More than that, Was she not engaged to be my wife at one time?

Yes! She was!

And was she not making love to me behind her brother's back?

Yes! She was!

So what the fuck kind of excuse was that?!

It wasn't like I was going to rape her.

I stopped doing that with my first wife.

Nevertheless, I didn't beg her to stay, cry or give her a melodramatic and long winded speech about undying love and how we were meant to be together. No, I didn't do any of that. That was Chris's style, not mine.

Instead, I let her go, but not before I let her know that I knew why she felt she couldn't stay. And that reason was because she was in a secret relationship with her brother. I knew my words hurt her, even though they were delicately placed. But I didn't care.

Because whatever she was feeling, I was feeling a 100x worse.

I later became angry with her decision to leave because I found out that she was not only taking with her Jory, she intended to take Carrie, who I did love as my daughter.

Carrie didn't want to go, but eventually she relented. Just as everyone relented to Catherine's demands. However, it wasn't until she told me that she was moving to Virginia did I understand why she wanted to be on her own. I asked her to take me with her, but she denied my request.

I didn't press the issue because foolishly I only thought she wanted to confront her mother. I thought Catherine was going to make her existence known so her mother would loose the inheritance she imprisoned her children for.

I never thought that her true intentions were to go after her mother's husband.

I was so stupid.

So blindly in love.

I only visited her once while she lived in Virginia. It was the only time I was invited. Catherine asked me to come and meet Carrie's boyfriend.

I was so honored!

I felt like I was really part of their family.

Until

Carrie later, and innocently, informed me that I was there to make sure Alex knew that Catherine was into "older" guys.

So.... It turned out that I was only invited to be a decoy, a distraction.

An escort.

Because it would have done no good if Chris was there. Catherine's true lover. No, because Chris was her brother and in most families, brothers were not rivals in the relationship department.

I tried not to show my anger and enjoy Carrie's happiness. God knew that beautiful petite child deserved some.

It turned out that I really didn't need to be there. Alex looked at Carrie like Chris and Cathy looked at each other.

As if no one else in the world mattered but them.

Nevertheless, I was there and I wasn't going to waste this opportunity.

When we were alone, I asked my Catherine to come back to me, or at least allow me back into her life.

She gave me no answer.

No verbal answer that is...

But she did allow me to make love to her.

And for the first time, in a long time I thought things would work out between us. Our love making was as passionate as it had been when she was a child. It was so passionate in fact that I found myself professing my love for her as dramatically as Chris usually did. Unashamedly, I was telling her that I wanted to die in her arms and life was meaningless without her.

She responded with "How beautifully poetic" Then teased me about my age.

I could have hated her then, if it wasn't for the fact that I was obsessively in love with her.

However, she did try to soften her humor by promising to love me until I was in my eighties and nineties, though I knew she was just telling me the words I wanted to hear.

But I didn't care.

Because I WANTED to hear them!

And all would have been perfect except for that call.

I don't know how Chris does it, but he always ruins the moment for me.

By the way she pulled away from me and sat straight up on the bed, he might as well walked through her bedroom door. I tried to pretend I didn't care, and wasn't hurt but I know I failed miserably.

In my silence, I could faintly hear his side of the conversation, and I was surprised to hear that he was yelling at HER. Asking her what the Hell she was doing in Virginia. I think I even heard my name, but...he didn't sound worried that his relationship was in jeopardy. Though he was angry, but it wasn't because I was there. It had to do with something about their mother and Catherine getting hurt... I couldn't really hear. And I couldn't ask.

But oh how I wanted too!

When Catherine hung up the phone, she looked so terrified and guilt stricken. I knew she wanted to say more to her brother. I also knew she wanted to make amends in some way, but couldn't because I was there. So instead, she slipped back into bed and wrapped her arms around my neck.

I just held her and pretended that I didn't feel her trembling. I also pretended that she didn't sob out her brother's name and her apologies as she slept restlessly in my arms.

I left that next morning. Cathy bid me farewell, with promises of love and a happy future together. But her eyes...

Her eyes were apologetic and said that "I love you.. I do... but I love my brother more."

The next time I saw her was at Carrie's death bed. For almost a week we watched our baby doll wither away. Never had I thought I would live long enough to see another of my children die. I felt so hopeless and so sorry for Cathy, Chris and Alex, who was too innocent for his own good. The brown haired man put Carrie on a pedestal which was too high. To high and too unreachable when he knew nothing of the incestuous Foxworth clan.

I felt sorry for him because by the time he learned of Carrie's past and proved that he loved her enough not to care. And loved her enough so that the pedestal was still there, and she was still on it in his eyes...

It was too late.

Carrie died, in Cathy's arms.

Never in my entire life, in my entire medical career, had I seen someone so overcome by rage and sorrow. I could only stand by the edge of Carrie's death bed and watch, in fear, as Chris held Cathy in a tight embrace, to keep her from scratching her own face and keep her from tearing her own hair out. He held her as she fought against him and screamed that another one of their babies were dead. And she screamed curses at their mama and proclamations that she would not let this death go unpunished.

No, not this time.

Soon after Carrie's funeral Chris left the Mayo Clinic and moved his residency to the University of Virginia but their relationship was not to last. Our Catherine was too consumed with hate and revenge. The only thing that mattered now, was getting back at their mama.

And it angered, no infuriated, her that Chris had already forgiven the woman and moved on.

I didn't find out what Catherine had planned, or done, until after they came back to home.

And after my massive heart attack.

I was shocked to learn she was pregnant again.

When my eyes fell to her brother, in a silent question, he scowled and answered. "No, it's our mama's husband's!"

Oh what a family we have!

For almost a month, Catherine hid from the both of us. So it was through Chris did I find out what happened. How Catherine tried to first blackmail their mother for money, and after that didn't work, she set out to steal her husband.

I found out that even before Catherine's obsession to take her mother's husband, Chris had hated this man for many years. This Bart Winslow. He didn't tell me why he hated this particular person, just that he was glad he was dead.

I'm not going to lie. So am I. Because I think that our Catherine truly fell in love with this man. And I think that if time would have allowed, this Bart fellow could have even cured her of her love for her brother.

A feat that seemed impossible.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, fate was not for those two star crossed lovers and for whatever reason, my Catherine decided to finally marry me.

Me, a frail old man, who could no longer please her as a man, nor could I move freely, or talk casually.

I was practically an invalid!

Perhaps that was why Chris gave us his blessing.

Even if it was reluctant.

On our wedding night, all I could do was hold her. Three years later...that is still all I can do. As a man, it makes me ashamed.

Her pregnancy with Bart was an arduous one. The labor was extremely difficult and she and the baby almost died. She was left unable to have anymore children.

I remember watching her and Chris crying into each other's arms after they found out. It made me wonder if they wanted to try again. Despite the dangers.

I never asked though.

I don't want to know.

Now...Catherine's second child, young Bart

I can't help but sigh and shake my head when I think about that boy.

Don't get me wrong, I love that child as if he were my own, it's just... He's just...

Well...

Let's just say he has a very strong will. And I don't want to make any assumptions, but I have a feeling that little Bartholomew might be her penance for all the wrong she has committed in her life. All the wrong which she has never accepted blame for.

But then again, I may be wrong.

Only time will tell.

Nevertheless, these three years have been as wonderful as they've been horrible.

Why?

Catherine is my wife, but her brother is her husband. Her children are his sons, and I am little more than a grandfather to all of them.

Catherine waits on me hand and foot, but it's guilt which drives her. She believes that if she would have chosen me years ago, I wouldn't have had my heart attacks.

Perhaps she's right.

Because of her, my heart had been broken so many times, and for so many years, it was a wonder it didn't give out sooner.

But I don't blame her. I love her too much still.

I don't even hate her when she slips into the bed, reeking of sex, or kisses me with the taste of her brother's seed still on her lips.

No, I love her too much.

Moreover, it's not like I hadn't given her permission to find satisfaction with him. It wasn't like I, an impotent invalid, could please her. Moreover, I knew what they felt for each other. What they've always felt for each other.

I knew that they not only loved each other, they were in love with each other.

I also knew that Catherine was too much a sexual creature to live a celibate life.

So really, I had no choice.

It was either give her permission to fuck her brother or have her cheat on me.

Either way, I knew that she and Chris were going to be having sex under my roof. Married or not. It's never stopped them before, and I knew it wasn't going to stop them now.

Sometimes... I even watch.

I remember her shocked expression when I asked for this courtesy. I mean if watching your wife fuck another man, who just so happens to be her brother, was a courtesy.

I remember how easily Chris agreed. I think he wanted to prove to me that he wasn't that fumbling teenager anymore.

He was right. He wasn't.

His skill even surpassed mine when I was at my peak.

No wonder Catherine couldn't let him go.

I'm not sure why I asked to witness this. But I think part of me hoped that by them knowing I was there, they would feel too guilt stricken to continue.

I was a fool.

And I realized too late that they liked being watched while they committed this incestuous act.

It verified their love, by not making it a secret.

It made them wilder...

Louder.

Uninhibited.

And that was why, while I watched them have sex, I would sometimes instruct.

I would tell Chris to do certain things, to touch her slowly or roughly, to insert his finger, or tongue in forbidden places, to cum on her face, on her tits, in her hair, or just rub his seed all over her body.

Sometimes, I would even tell Catherine to do the same. But my favorite was "suck your brother's cock..yeah..suck it like that...just like that." Something about reminding them that they were siblings made it so hot for me.

So...I guess...

I liked to watch them too.

I guess, I always have.

Because I've been watching them for so many years.

I think it is because I watch them that was able to have sex with my wife for the first time, last night.

It wasn't spectacular. It wasn't even good, for neither one of us got any satisfaction. We were just happy that I was able to get it up.

I know, at least, I was.

It hurt my pride not to be able to consummate my marriage.

Maybe this is my penance for what I did to Julia.

For taking my pleasure, while ignoring her pain.

I'm not sure, but if it is... I know I deserve it.

I shift in the chair again. I can't seem to get comfortable and God, I'm tired.

Not sleepy tired. But ready to pass on tired.

I think it's time.

It almost seems strange that I will die in the same chair that I was brought back to life in.

It's almost strange that it's a Sunday too.

Almost exactly like that Sunday Cathy came into my life.

That damned Sunday.

A while ago, I told my Catherine that I wanted to die in her arms when I was sure she didn't love me anymore. I did, a few days ago. Now I am just waiting for my body to realize it.

Now don't get me wrong, she didn't reject me, but...she didn't desperately hold onto me either.

You're probably wondering what she did.

Well...

I told her that if she wanted, she could let me go and live out the rest of her life as Chris's wife.

She protested, of course. But her reasons were so...weak.

It wasn't because she didn't want Chris.

Nor was it because he was her brother and because of that it was wrong.

It wasn't because she loved me too much to even consider it...

Or because she didn't want to leave me alone in my old and sickly state

And it wasn't because she had promised to love me until I was eighty and ninety.

No, it wasn't any of these things.

Her excuse was... because Chris wouldn't agree.

CHRIS wouldn't agree?!?!

I wanted to say, "Are you mad, woman?!? Your brother has been waiting his whole life for this opportunity!"

But instead, I allowed her to embrace me as I accepted her proclamations of love, wiped away her tears and I wasted my feeble energy convincing her to do something she wanted, and was, going to do anyway.

I love Catherine, and I think... in her own way... she loved me too.

But now...

I am ready to let go.

Let go of her and let go of this tortured love I have tolerated for so many years.

It feels good as I release myself from the yoke.

And now, I see the sweet smiling visions of my Julia and my son, Scotty. They are waiting for me, because they have forgiven me, and I am ready to go toward them.

As I feel my spiritual body leave my physical, I don't worry about my Catherine. I know she will be fine. She has a will like steel, a temper like fire, and a brother who would stop the moon from spinning, if it would make her happy.

I am almost happy for them.

Almost, because my jealously keeps me from being completely happy.

But I am happy that Catherine has finally looked down and saw that she had been standing on that purple grass all along.

And now...

She has her beloved brother and her children.

And if she allows herself to let go of all the hatred she has bottled up within her soul...she might even have the happiness she always felt was due to her.

But...

That's Chris's job now.

To bring happiness to a woman who accepts no fault, and is as selfish as a teenager, and spoiled as a rotten apple...

I can't help but smile

Yes, it's Chris's responsibility to make her happy.

I don't think he minds though, for he knows her better than she knows herself. And he loves her anyway.

I love you too, my sweet Catherine.

But it's time for me to go.

You're free now.

Just as I am.

The end.