My Sister's Husband
Who knew attending the funeral of my estranged sister would result in me meeting the man of my dreams? Does it matter that he’s her widowed husband?
I didn’t meet him until my sister’s funeral, tears sliding down his face as he contemplated the coffin.
It wasn’t my fault she’d completely removed herself from the family, or that she and I shared so many physical characteristics.
His froze when he saw me, his mouth wide open.
“Sandra.” His voice cracked and he shook his head. “Of course you can’t be Sandra.”
“Sorry.” I offered my hand. “I’m Yolanda, Sandra’s sister.”
“She didn’t tell you?”
He shook his head.
“And who are you?”
Now it’s my turn to gape. Sandra always kept to herself, never wanted to mingle, never ever showed the slightest interest in boys. Or girls for that matter.
“Sorry. I never knew.”
He shrugged. “She was a very private person.”
That’s an understatement if ever I’ve heard one.
We’re urged to sit, and as the funeral continues I find myself watching him. He seems to genuinely grieve, and I’m glad she has someone to do that for her. We never got on as children, and I never knew her as an adult. She always felt I was the favourite, that she was somehow missing out. She never saw our parent’ anguish when she disappeared, when she stopped returning calls, when a visit to her apartment found it empty, with no forwarding address.
She didn’t nurse my mother through a broken heart when the police announced she’d been found, but didn’t want contact.
The husband is cute, in a grown-up kind of way. His light brown hair is just long enough to cover his eyes, and no matter how many times he brushes it away it falls back into the place the moment he lowers his face, which he does multiple times during the service.
There are very few other people present. My mother sobs in the corner, my father with an arm wrapped around her, a stern look on his face. A couple of women huddle together several pews back, and there are a handful of stragglers several pews behind them.
No one stays for the morning tea. My mother cannot take the strain, my father supports her, those few stragglers are gone.
It’s just me, and her husband. Her widower, I guess. Alastair.
We make small talk. He says the women were her work colleagues, the people further back their neighbours. He asks if we can keep in touch. He says Sandra never liked to go out, and he worked from home, so he’d never met people after they moved here.
I’m surprised she ever came back in the first place.
We meet for coffee. Our conversations are quiet, marvelling at the two very different people we knew as my sister. No wonder she fled our home, she was so very different than the person my parents wanted her to be, while that role suited me just fine. But I never saw that side of her, I can’t believe my parents would have rejected her if they’d known. Why didn’t she share it?
“Fear.” Alastair tells me. “She was terrified of rejection.”
“Aren’t we all?”
“Not like Sandra was.”
He tells me he’s moving, he can’t live with her memories anymore. He offers some of my sister’s things to my mother, and she wraps her arms around him, invites him back for a family dinner.
We love the same books, the same movies. Our dreams for the future are so similar; family, a nice house, with a big backyard, shared care of the children, balanced around part time work so both parents can follow their interests and not miss out on time with their growing family.
“Sounds like you married the wrong sister.” My father’s tone is gruff, my mother looks horrified.
“Alastair’s a brother now.” She looks at me as though trying to convince me of the fact. She glances at my father. “They’re like siblings.”
I meet Alastair’s gaze, but I can’t read it.
He takes me on a picnic, declares his attraction, asks if I want to take it further.
“We can’t tell my parents.”
He doesn’t care.
We go back to his apartment.
He kisses me. It’s been months since my sister died, and I can tell he’s been with no one since. He’s so desperate for touch, for skin-on-skin contact, that he tears my dress in his haste to remove it, buries his tongue down my throat, and then, kneeling, deep into my cleft.
I grip his hair so I don’t fall over, and he scoops me up to press me against a wall, his face buried between my legs, his fingers pounding my insides.
It’s too much, and yet someone I still come, and he lifts me again and carries me to bed, and I grip him as he thrusts into me like his life depends on it.
When it’s over he sinks on top of me, his weight delicious. He buries his face in my neck and cries, and it takes time to coax from him that he felt like he was cheating on my sister.
“Would she want you to stay single for the rest of your life?”
He doesn’t know, thinks probably yes.
“She didn’t like others intruding on our space.”
“But this was never her space.”
“This was her bed.”
We buy a new bed.
We remove our clothes, and snuggle under the covers. He strokes my face. Tells me how beautiful I am.
“As beautiful as her?” I want to ask, but don’t.
He kisses my lips, and this time, he’s gentle. He kisses my cheek, and my forehead, and my throat. He kisses my collarbone, and my shoulder.
His trails kisses down my arm, and across my stomach, his hair tickling my breasts.
This time, he makes love to me, slow and tender and soft, his tongue lapping at my folds, and circling my clit. His fingers grazing my nipples before cupping my breasts.
He eases into my, his thrusts slow and sensuous, bring me to orgasm but the deliberate movements he makes.
I hold his face between my hands and kiss him, meeting his thrusts with my own, until he comes, too, spurting thick globs of creamy come over my stomach and breasts.
“I love you, Yolanda.”
“I love you, too, Alastair.”
“Is twelve months too soon to tell your parents?”
I can’t answer, I don’t know.
Because the truth is Sandra was the favourite, the one who could never do any wrong, the one who was most loved. I was the nuisance blamed for pushing her away.
What will my mother say if she learns Sandra’s husband now wants to marry me?
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