Kari and Crystal grow closer. Jeff gives a birthday present to Brit.
Chapter 25 A Special Gift
That night, as Kari was getting ready for bed, she heard a knock on the door. As she was already stripped down to her underwear, she hurriedly threw on her bathrobe, then opened the door. It was Crystal, wearing a large nightshirt like she usually wore to bed.
"Hi," Kari smiled. "Come on in."
Crystal entered the room and sat down on Kari's bed. Kari closed the door and took a seat beside her.
"Kari," said Crystal, "I want to talk to you about what happened today."
"It's all right," Kari told her. "I'm not jealous at all. In fact, I thought it was so erotic to watch you two."
"Oh, I wasn't worried about that," Crystal replied. "It was your idea, after all."
Kari laughed. "Yes it was. So what did you want to talk about?"
"A couple of things. You know I like Jeff a lot. Ever since that day he went out with me... well, I guess you could say I'm in love with him."
"I know," Kari nodded. "And that doesn't bother me either. After all, there's not much you could do with him behind my back that you haven't done right in front of me."
"So would you mind if... I mean, he's still your boyfriend... but could I... sometimes... be alone with Jeff?"
"For sex?" Kari asked, and Crystal nodded.
Kari smiled. "I think that would be all right," she replied. "It's surprising, but I'm not jealous at all. I love Jeff, but I love you too. You're my little sister."
"Thanks," said Crystal, hugging her. Kari wrapped her arms around Crystal's back. She remembered how much her sister had been hurt by her ex-boyfriend Chad, and how Jeff had come to her rescue. Perhaps Kari was a romantic, but it just seemed natural that that relationship should be allowed to flourish. As long as Jeff remained Kari's boyfriend, she didn't mind at all if Crystal borrowed him now and then. And in truth, she had found the threesome quite exciting. It was more than a little naughty, but that was what made it so fun.
Crystal drew her head back, but continued to hug her big sister. She gazed up into Kari's face. "There was another thing too," she said.
"What is it?"
"Well... when we were there together, you... um..."
Now Kari understood what was bothering her, and she felt a little guilty. On an impulse, she had done something that she probably shouldn't have, and now Crystal was confused.
"Are you talking about when I... licked you?" Kari asked.
"I'm sorry, Crystal. I shouldn't have done that. I don't know what came over me. If I had known how much it would bother you--"
"But it didn't bother me," Crystal interrupted. "That's just it. It felt... well, it felt good."
"Really?" asked Kari.
"Really. I just wanted to know why you did that. I've heard of girls who like other girls, but... Kari, does that mean you're that way?"
Kari found herself growing red. The question was awkward, doubly so because she didn't know the answer.
"I'm sorry," Crystal said. "I didn't mean to embarrass you."
"It's all right. After what happened today, you have a good reason to ask that question. I'm just not sure if I can answer it."
"Because I don't know. If I said yes, would it bother you?"
"Not really," Crystal shrugged. "It's not like it's something completely new to me. I've suspected there are a couple of girls at my school like that."
"Well, I've experimented a little," Kari told her. "No more than what I did to you."
"And you didn't think it was gross?"
"Not at all," smiled Kari. "I was surprised that it didn't creep me out at all. Did you know that a lot of boys like it when girls do that kind of thing together?"
Crystal giggled, but she nodded. "I heard that. I wasn't sure if it was true or not."
"It is. And Jeff's one of the boys who like it. That's why I did it, to please Jeff."
"Oh," Crystal said. "So you don't... I mean, you don't feel... a certain way toward me."
Kari blushed again as she realized that Crystal might have been thinking that all day.
"I love you, but only as a sister," she answered.
"I love you too, Kari. I just didn't know if maybe you... Never mind."
"Look, maybe we shouldn't talk any more about it. I just made a stupid mistake."
"It wasn't a mistake," Crystal insisted.
"What do you mean?" asked Kari, shocked.
"You did it for Jeff, right?"
"So it's all right. I like to make Jeff happy too. If you want to keep doing that to me when he's around, it's okay."
"What?" Kari asked, shocked.
"Really. I told you it felt good. I've never done anything like that with another girl before, but now that it's happened, I... I really don't mind."
"Um... Crystal..." Kari stammered. "I don't... Well..."
"I don't know what to say. You're serious about this, aren't you?"
"I told you I liked it. It was fun."
"Are you saying you want to do it again?"
Crystal nodded, a little shyly. Kari stared down at her little sister, her cute little sister with those big brown eyes and adorable smile. She saw her for the first time as something different, something more than just her sister, but a potential love interest. She shuddered at the thought, but couldn't tell whether it was out of disgust or arousal.
"What?" asked Crystal.
"I..." Kari breathed, but was unable to say anything else. What was coming over her? Was she actually considering having sex with her own sister? The thought of doing it with another woman, instead of disturbing her, actually sent thrills through her. The fact that it was her sister made it all the more arousing.
She made up her mind. She would give it a try, just to see if she liked it. With Crystal so willing, Kari might never get another chance like this again.
"Do you want to do it right now?" Kari asked, astonished at her own boldness.
"Okay," Crystal smiled.
After a momentary hesitation, Kari unfastened her robe and let it fall to the floor, exposing her body to her little sister. Crystal stared at her, and Kari found she enjoyed being gazed at like that.
"Now your turn," Kari said. Crystal nodded, then slipped the nightshirt over her head. She wore no bra underneath, which left her bare except for a pair of cotton panties.
Kari realized in that moment just how beautiful her sister was. For a thirteen-year-old girl, she had an amazing body.
"Crystal," she said.
"You're very pretty."
Crystal blushed. "You're just saying that because I look like you," she giggled.
Kari laughed. "Do you think I'm pretty?" she asked.
"Do you think I have a nice body?"
Crystal glanced down at her. "I suppose... I suppose so. I've never really been interested in girls' bodies before."
"Me neither. But I like yours."
"Really?" asked Crystal.
"Look, we're about to do something sexual together, so let's not be shy about it. I really think you're a sexy girl."
Crystal smiled. "Thanks," she said, a little bashfully.
Kari put a hand to her little sister's cheek. The two girls gazed into each other's eyes for a second, then Kari leaned in. Crystal closed her eyes, realizing what was coming. Kari pressed her lips against Crystal's, and the two girls wrapped their arms around each other.
All of Kari's inhibitions melted away. It felt so wonderful to touch her sister's body like this. Crystal was such a sweet, gorgeous girl that she loved very much. She was still just learning about sex, and Kari wanted to help her explore her passions and feelings.
When their lips parted, Crystal lay back in Kari's arms, her eyes still closed and a smile on her face. "Oh my god!" she breathed.
"What?" asked Kari, gazing down tenderly at her cute little sister's beautiful face.
"I can't believe how good that felt," Crystal replied.
"It felt good to me too," Kari said. "I guess we're a couple of lesbians after all."
"What?" asked Kari.
"That word," Crystal replied. "I used to think it was so dirty. But now it gets me excited."
"Say it," Kari grinned.
"Lesbian," said Crystal.
"Say... 'I'm a lesbian.'"
"I'm a lesbian," her sister repeated with a smile.
"That's right," Kari told her. "You're my little lesbian."
"I'm your little lesbian," Crystal agreed. "Come kiss me again, you big lesbian you."
Kari lifted her head and brought their lips together again. The two sisters kissed deeply and passionately. This time Crystal opened her mouth, to Kari's surprise. But Kari wasn't about to waste that opportunity. She slipped her tongue into her little sister's mouth, and Crystal responded by teasing it with her own.
Kari couldn't believe how good it felt to be doing this with another girl, especially her sister. The excitement was building inside of her, the thrill of doing something so completely wrong. It didn't hurt, of course, that Crystal was absolutely gorgeous.
She withdrew her lips just long enough to move down to Crystal's chin, and kissed her there. Crystal sighed as Kari moved on to her neck. Ever since she had tasted Crystal earlier that day, she wanted more. There was something so erotic about putting her mouth on her sister's body.
She kissed her all over the neck, then lowered her head further. Crystal leaned back in Kari's arms, giving her big sister access to her chest. Kari took full advantage of it, holding her with one arm while fondling her tits with the other as she suckled on them. She ran her tongue all around the girl's nipples, listening with delight to Crystal's breathing growing heavier and feeling the nipples harden from the stimulation.
She loved the way Crystal's chest rose and fell with each breath, pressing against Kari's lips. When Kari flicked her tongue against her little sister's nipples, Crystal trembled, causing the slightest jiggle in her breasts. They weren't big enough to do more than that, but Kari found it exciting all the same.
"If I had known it was so fun to do this with you, I would have kept you away from Jeff and helped you get over Chad myself," Kari grinned.
"Well, I'm completely over him now," replied Crystal. "But don't stop trying."
Kari slid her free hand down Crystal's body. Sensing where it was headed, she opened her legs, exposing her sweet little down-covered pussy. It was already wet to the touch. Kari ran her fingers over it, rubbing it gently and slowly pushing the lips apart, a little further with each stroke. Crystal's body responded automatically, her thighs tightening up and pushing forward in rhythm to Kari's hand.
The hard little nub was beginning to peek out from the top of the slit, and Kari focused her attention on it. She knew how sensitive she was there, and she had learned yesterday that Crystal was just as sensitive, if not more so.
Crystal's breathing became gasps and then moans as Kari teased her clit. She loved to hear those sounds and know that she was the cause of them.
Then Crystal reached out one of her hands and fondled one of Kari's breasts, and because she was lying in her arms, all she had to do was turn her head to the side and take the other nipple into her mouth.
Kari gasped at the contact, made especially pleasurable because it took her by surprise; she hadn't been expecting it. Crystal giggled at the noise Kari had made, but her lips remained firmly latched onto Kari's breast. She began to suck, sending tingles through her big sister's body.
"Crystal," said Kari. "Do you want to try something?"
Kari laid her gently down on the bed, then lay down next to her the opposite direction. "Are you up for a little oral sex?" she asked.
Crystal grinned. "At the same time?" she asked.
"Exactly," Kari replied. "Get on top of me and stick your pussy in my face."
Crystal rolled over, pressing her body against Kari's. Crystal's beautiful thirteen-year-old thighs ended up in just the perfect position, and Kari took advantage of it. She opened her mouth and pressed her tongue against the girl's slit.
She was rewarded by a similar gesture from Crystal between her own legs. Kari gasped again at the sensation. It was absolutely heavenly! She spread her legs to give Crystal plenty of room to work.
Kari brought her hands up and placed them on her little sister's pussy lips, which by now were so wet that they almost dripped in her face. She spread them apart and drove her tongue inside. Crystal gave a startled squeak and her whole body convulsed, then both girls laughed. Kari began to lick her all over, inside and out.
Crystal copied her big sister's motions, and Kari felt the pleasure spike from the invasion of her tongue inside her sex. She couldn't believe how good it felt!
Both girls began to moan as they tongue-fucked each other. At first they worked slowly and even a bit hesitantly, but as one, they increased their tempo and attacked each other's bodies with more and more energy. The pleasure built gradually but powerfully inside of Kari until she thought she couldn't stand it any more. Every nerve ending in her body was working to drive her into a frenzy.
She speared Crystal's pussy again and again with her tongue, working with ferocity now. It was almost like a contest, a race to see who would drive the other one over the edge first. Kari both loved to pleasure her little sister like this and to be pleasured by her. The love she felt for her, the excitement of the mutual stimulation and the thought of just how naughty this was worked inside of her, building up to what she knew would be a powerful orgasm. She almost couldn't wait to reach that point, but at the same time, she wanted so much to make her little sister feel that same pleasure.
In the end, Crystal cheated, if one could call it that. Of course, she did nothing but what she had learned from her big sister. Just as it seemed that Crystal was about to explode into orgasm, the younger sister took her older sister's clit between her teeth and nibbled gently on it.
"Oh god!" Kari actually screamed as the sudden stimulation compounded her already heightened arousal. Her body began to tremble, especially her legs which took all of her willpower to keep from closing on Crystal's head. The obscene pleasure raced through her, overwhelming her completely.
Somehow she managed to continue licking her little sister, and Crystal reached her peak even before Kari's had subsided. Kari felt her little sister's juices dripping into her mouth, and she eagerly lapped them up. Both girls continued to stimulate each other until their orgasms ended.
Crystal rolled off of her big sister, and the two of them lay there panting from the exertion. Kari's head was spinning from the most powerful orgasm she had felt since her first time with Jeff. Right now she was about to pass out.
After a minute or so, Crystal scooted around on the bed and climbed back on top of Kari, this time their faces together. She lowered her head and took Kari's lips in her own.
If there was any lingering taste from her own pussy, it was so similar to Crystal's that she couldn't tell the difference. She just relaxed and enjoyed the kiss, feeling the warmth and love from her little sister and returning that love with all her heart.
"I love you, Kari," said Crystal.
"I love you too," Kari replied.
"So does that mean we can do this again some time?"
"That means I want to do this every time we get the chance," Kari grinned. Crystal lay her head on her shoulder, and the two sisters fell asleep in each other's arms.
Kari visited Jeff the next day. She took him aside and confessed to him what Crystal and she had done. Jeff could sense the worry in her voice; perhaps she was concerned that he would be angry at her for going behind his back, or perhaps she thought he might think her disgusting and immoral.
The truth was that he was a little uneasy about the fact that they were sisters, but the thought of the two gorgeous girls in steamy lesbian action was more than enough to make up for any concerns he had for the incestuous aspect of it.
"God, that makes me horny!" he told her, and Kari burst out laughing.
"So you don't mind?" she asked.
"As long as you let me watch some time."
"You know, my dad's coaching basketball almost every night. Crystal and I are alone in the house most of the time after school, when I don't have volleyball of course. Why don't you come over on Tuesday?"
"Tuesday it is," he grinned.
The three of them rode home on the bus together to the Williams' house. They had barely closed the front door behind them when they started stripping off their clothes. Naked, they headed up to Kari's bedroom for the fun.
Kari and Crystal began to kiss each other passionately as they climbed onto the bed. Jeff watched in fascination and arousal as the two girls lay down, pressing their naked bodies up against each other. Crystal lay on top this time, and after a couple of minutes she began to move down Kari's body.
Jeff couldn't believe how erotic the sight was. He had seen plenty of pictures and videos of lesbians; Allison still liked to browse porn with him, though not with the same frequency as before now that Jeff spent most of his free time with Kari. Images and movies, however, were nothing compared to the real thing. It was especially exciting because both girls were ones he had sexual feelings toward, and on top of that, they were sisters!
He gasped almost as loud as Kari did when Crystal took one of her nipples in her mouth.
Kari groaned as Crystal worked over her body with her mouth. She gasped and shuddered each time Crystal touched one of her sensitive spots, which was quite frequent considering she was kissing all over her chest while rubbing between her legs.
Jeff lay down next to Kari as Crystal continued to pleasure her big sister. Kari turned her head and smiled at him, then reached out and grasped his hardened manhood in her hands. She slowly stroked it up and down, heightening Jeff's pleasure.
Crystal lay down in the opposite direction of Kari, then slipped over on top of her. Jeff watched in growing excitement and arousal as the two girls began to pleasure each other with their tongues. He had a great view of Crystal spreading Kari's outer lips and thrusting her tongue inside.
Both girls rocked their hips forward reflexively as the waves of pleasure filled them. Jeff's body was similarly responding to Kari's touch, and he knew he wouldn't last long like this. She certainly knew how to use her hand!
The girls moaned into each other's pussies, a chorus of lust and sexuality that served to drive him wilder with arousal. The sight of the girls in such forbidden passion, the sounds of their lovemaking, and the touch of Kari's hand on him all joined together to push him closer and closer to the edge.
Kari was the first to lose it. She cried out in ecstasy, her body shuddering from the overwhelming pleasure. Crystal wasn't far behind, with a similarly powerful climax. Both girls' entire bodies tensed up as they lost themselves in the pleasure, then they let go and collapsed as their strength gave out.
Seeing the girls pleasure each other to orgasm nearly put Jeff over the edge too.
"Oh my god!" he gasped as Kari's hand continued to pump him.
Crystal glanced over at him and grinned. "Let's not waste that," she said, then rolled over off of Kari and lay on her back with her legs spread.
Jeff knew an invitation when he saw one, and he wasn't about to pass up this opportunity. He maneuvered himself on top of her and positioned his aching cock at the entrance to her pussy, then pushed it inside.
It took only a few thrusts before he climaxed. His cock twitched almost violently as he shot his load deep inside her. Then he collapsed on top of Crystal, kissing her tenderly on the lips as he let the exhaustion overtake him.
As soon as he rolled over off her body, Kari leaned over and began to lick her between the legs again, hungrily slurping up the cum that dripped from her pussy. Jeff watched in fascination at the sight. He should have found it disgusting, but instead it was very erotic.
After she finished with Crystal, she cleaned Jeff with her mouth too. That was almost enough to get him hard again, but unfortunately he was completely spent.
He had only a couple more opportunities to be with Kari and Crystal before Christmas vacation started. For Jeff, Christmas was just another day that year. It wasn't that he didn't like the presents, or being with his family. It was just that he enjoyed himself with Kari and Crystal so much more. Greg had insisted that they keep Christmas a family day, so they weren't allowed to go over to the Williams house or invite the girls over.
It was also unfortunate that vacation for the students also meant vacation for Allen, because there was no chance for wild sex with Kari and Crystal the whole two weeks.
Kari, however, gave him a late Christmas present at the end of the vacation, telling him that he had to open it in secret. It turned out to be a disc that he loaded onto his computer, which contained dozens of pictures of Kari and Crystal making love together. He decided it was the second best Christmas present ever, next to the one the girls had given him a couple of weeks before Christmas, of course.
Once school started again, there were more opportunities for Jeff to get together with the girls. Sometimes when Kari had volleyball practice or matches, he would spend time alone with Crystal. She was always eager to have fun. Crystal had a lot of energy, and Jeff was glad he had been working out and building up his stamina, or he wouldn't have been able to keep up with her.
It was pretty much that way all through January. Sometimes he had sex with Kari alone, sometimes with Crystal alone, sometimes with both of them, and sometimes he would simply watch while the two girls had sex.
It was during these times that he got comfortable having multiple orgasms. Of course each of the girls expected him to cum inside of them, so he had to do it at least twice. Sometimes Kari brought him to orgasm with her mouth beforehand, so that after a short rest he would last longer once he got inside of her. She also taught Crystal how to perform oral sex on him. Crystal was just as good as her big sister at it. Jeff especially loved it when one of the girls lay in his arms and kissed him while the other sucked his dick.
Of course, Jeff wasn't the only one to be the center of attention. Now that Kari and Crystal were exploring their lesbian tendencies, it was just as common for Jeff to fondle and kiss Kari while Crystal licked her pussy, or for Jeff to fondle and kiss Crystal while Kari licked her pussy.
Jeff began to experiment with giving the girls oral sex as well; after all, they had been nice enough to do it for him, so he figured it was only fair to reciprocate. From the very first moment that he tasted Kari's pussy, he found that he enjoyed it. It was especially exciting to see Kari's body react to the stimulation, watching her squirm as he teased her to orgasm.
Crystal was even more fun, because she tended to move around a lot more than Kari, plus she was louder. He could really tell how much she was enjoying it by the volume of the sounds she was making.
One position that they tried exactly once was with Kari licking Crystal while Crystal sucked Jeff. The problem with that was that Crystal had a tendency to clench her teeth when she got excited, which didn't work out so well for him. He ended up writhing in pain and clutching his groin for several minutes while Crystal apologized profusely and Kari held him in her arms. He was sore for a few days, but afterward he was able to look back on it and laugh with the girls. Of course, they never tried it again.
Brit sometimes came over to visit Crystal when Jeff visited Kari, but because her presence limited what Jeff and the girls could do, more often he came alone. If it bothered her, she didn't show it. In fact, it was not Brit who brought it up, but Crystal, one evening in February after Jeff and she had made love. They were lying in each other's arms when she mentioned it.
"Jeff," she said.
"I'm feeling a little guilty."
"Guilty? What for? Kari says it's okay, and even if you enjoy sex it doesn't mean you're a bad person."
"Oh, I'm not worried about that. It's just that, well, Brit's my best friend, and it seems like I'm spending all my time with you instead."
"You have a point, although I can't really complain."
"Why don't you like her?"
"What are you talking about? She's my sister. I love her."
"How come you fight all the time, then?"
Jeff sighed. "Everyone asks me that. Even me. The truth is, I don't know. Maybe we've been doing it for so long that it's just become a habit."
"Have you tried being nice to her?"
"Lots of times. It usually works, for a while. Then she'll tease me to the point that I become mad, and I'll say something I regret, and she'll run to her room crying."
"Maybe you need to do something really special for her."
"I don't know. Her birthday's coming up next month. Think of a great gift to give her."
"I don't have any money for that kind of thing."
"Your dad's rich. Ask him if he'll help."
"But if I did that, the gift would be from Dad, not me."
"Then give her something that takes a lot of effort. Make something."
"Yeah. Something she'll really enjoy."
"Hmm... I'll have to think about that. Thanks, Crystal. It really touches me that you're looking out for my little sister like that."
"What was that?" she asked with a grin. "I got to the 'touch you' part and started fantasizing there for a second." She slid her hand down to his crotch and grabbed his cock. Jeff laughed, then rolled over on top of her and began to kiss her.
He got the idea later that week when he went to Brit's room to talk to her to see if he could somehow find a clue as to what she would really appreciate. He found her sitting on her bed sketching in her sketchbook. As soon as he entered, she closed it and glared at him. Ever since he had insulted her drawing skills a couple of years ago, she hadn't let him see her sketches. It was a long time to carry a grudge, but he admitted that he deserved it. He had hurt her deeply by mocking the thing she was most proud of.
"What do you want?" she said.
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to interrupt you while you were drawing."
"You don't care about my drawings."
"Yes I do, Brit. How can I make you see that? I'm sure you're a wonderful artist."
"Yeah, you say that now when you can't see my drawings. But the last time you did see them, you said I couldn't draw."
"That was over two years ago!" he complained. "Why won't you forgive me for that stupid comment I made? I wasn't even serious."
"I don't care. You shouldn't have said it."
"You're absolutely right. I shouldn't have said it. It bothers me that you won't share with me something you enjoy doing so much."
"Okay, fine. I've apologized, so I don't have to feel guilty any more. I just wish I could do something to show you that I'm interested in your art."
"Go away," she snapped.
"Fine." He stormed out of the room and closed the door behind him. That hadn't gone so well. But at least now he had a direction to go on his special birthday gift for her. It needed to be something art-related. But what?
He headed downstairs to grab a snack, and found his father in the kitchen. Greg was sitting at the table reading a newspaper.
"Oh, Jeff," he said. "You're just the person I wanted to see. I've got a project for us to work on this summer."
"What kind of project?"
"I want to tear down that guest house out back."
"Tear it down?"
"Yes. We haven't had a guest there since your stepmother and I got married. It's just taking up space. It would open up a lot of room in the back yard that we could use for something else."
"Oh, I don't know. Maybe a small pond or a garden or something."
Jeff shrugged. "Fine," he said. "I think if we--" Suddenly he froze as an idea came into his head.
"Hey Dad," he said. "I was wondering..."
"Instead of tearing down the guest house, can I have it for a project?"
"What kind of project?"
"Well, I want to do something special for Brit's birthday, and I just thought of a great idea. Can I turn the guest house into an art studio for her?"
"What?" asked Jeff.
"It's just that... this is the first time you've actually gone out of your way to do something nice for your sister."
"So can I do it?"
"Well, I think your heart's in the right place, but this will take a lot of effort. And money."
"I'm not worried about the effort. That's the whole point, really."
"Well in that case, you don't have to worry about the money either. If you're willing to devote yourself to this task, I'm willing to fund it."
"Absolutely. I'm proud of you. Just the thought of her face when she sees what you've done is worth the cost. I'll even help with the work."
"Thanks, Dad," he smiled.
The guest house was one room, but quite large. It had two beds, a couch, an old television set that no longer worked, a small kitchen, and an unusually large bathroom for a guest house. Greg had turned off the water to it years ago, but after restoring the water and running some tests, it seemed to be in surprisingly good condition.
The first thing they did was move all of the furniture out, because they needed to paint the walls. With their current color, they tended to give the light a yellowish tinge, something to be avoided in an art studio. Jeff spent the next couple of evenings painting them stark white, then let them dry and air out for a few days.
The carpet was all right; it was a neutral gray, so they left it as it was. However, they brought in a stack of sheets that they could lay down on the floor to protect the carpet from any spills, especially if Brit decided to graduate from drawing to painting.
Then they began to bring in the supplies, filling the kitchen drawers with pencils, pens, charcoals, chalk, water colors, paint brushes, and of course, stacks upon stacks of paper of all sizes and shapes. They placed jars for water to rinse paint brushes into the cupboards, as well as cleaning supplies and various other equipment.
The next part of the project was to create a small office in the back of the room for her to work in. They invested in three desks: a large one with plenty of room for working on her drawings, one with a tilted surface in times when she preferred not to have to hunch over the table, and a smaller office desk with room for a computer with a combination printer/scanner/copier. Greg had the new computer delivered to his office downtown so that he could bring it home when Brit wasn't around.
That left only the studio itself to finish. They brought in a large vertical frame that they could throw sheets or other coverings over to create various backdrops. They rolled this up against one of the walls. Then they brought in the couch that had been in there previously. It was still stylish, and had wheels so it could be rolled into place for someone to sit in to have their portrait done. They also included a couple of chairs and small tables for portraits or still-life, all of which could be rolled into position. For lighting, Greg purchased three lamps on adjustable poles that Brit could position however she wanted. They stored these out of the way in the corner.
Finally, they acquired an adjustable easel for her to work on to complete the studio.
All this was done while Brit was out of the house. They closed and locked the guest house whenever they finished work for the day so as not to leave any sign of what was going on inside.
During the month that they worked on it, Jeff hardly spent any time at Kari's and Crystal's house. He explained it to Kari at school one day, and she seemed enthusiastic about the project. Then she leaned in and whispered that she would just have to get Crystal to satisfy her needs in the mean time.
Of course, there wasn't much time for that because as Kari passed the word on to her sister, Crystal immediately schemed to get Brit out of the house as much as possible in order to give Jeff and Greg plenty of time to work on the project. During that time, Brit spent far more time over at the Williams house than Jeff did.
Jeff didn't mind, especially since Kari told him they would make up for lost time after it was over.
Allison and Lissa helped out some, although Lissa rarely had time, with her after school job keeping her away from the house until the evenings. Because it was Jeff's project, the whole family deferred to him, even Greg. It was a thrilling experience for Jeff, the first time he had had any kind of authority. He did surprisingly well.
Because they could only work on it while Brit was out of the house, it took them right up until the day before her birthday to complete. When it was finished, though, it looked even better than he had originally imagined it would.
Jeff couldn't wait to see her face when he presented his gift to her, but in the mean time, something else important came up. That afternoon, Greg sat the family down in the living room. "Allison and I have been talking," he said, "and we've come up with some plans for this summer. Of course they're just tentative for now until we get your input, but I think you'll all like them."
All of the children grinned in anticipation.
"With Allison's time taken up tutoring Kari all last summer, we had no time to go camping," Greg continued. "Since I wanted to make it an annual event, we're going to make up for it this year by going twice. Once in June, and once in September."
"Just before school starts?" asked Brit.
"Actually, just after school starts," Allison replied. "The weekend after we drive Lissa to school."
"I take it we're not doing it to celebrate getting rid of her," Jeff commented with a grin, and Lissa childishly stuck her tongue out at him.
"No," replied Allison. "Just the opposite. I don't think I'm wrong when I say that we're all going to be sad to see her go. So I suggested to Greg that we do something fun to take our mind off of it. This will help to give us something to look forward to."
"Do I have to share a tent with Jeff?" asked Brit.
"What, you don't want me to protect you from all the scary noises?" he asked her.
"I'm too old to be scared by noises any more," she told him. "In case you hadn't noticed, I'm going to be thirteen tomorrow."
"Really?" he joked. "I'd forgotten all about it. I wonder if there's still time for me to get you a present."
"Don't bother," she said. "I wouldn't like it anyway."
"Don't start fighting, you two," Allison told them.
"Now as for the camping trip in June," Greg said, "Jeff and Brit will especially like this one. You see, we've invited Allen Williams and his girls to go with us."
"Now I'm really getting excited," Jeff said.
"Calm your hormones," Allison told him. "One thing you're not going to do is sleep in the same tent as Kari."
Brit and Lissa giggled at that. Jeff just smiled and shrugged.
"Can I sleep with Crystal?" asked Brit.
"We'll see," Greg told her. "But there's a third event that we need to talk about. Lissa will be graduating this June, and we'd like to do something fun for her, especially since she won't be here when we go camping this September. Lissa, how would you like Allison and me to take you on a trip to Hawaii?"
"Really?" she asked, her face lighting up with glee.
"We can do it for your birthday in August," he replied.
"Oh thank you!" she exclaimed, dashing over and throwing her arms around him.
"Hey, it was my idea," Allison grinned. Lissa released her father and hugged her just as tightly.
"How come everyone gets to do fun things on their birthday but me?" asked Brit.
"Would you settle for a very special birthday present this year?" Jeff asked her.
"Not from you I hope," she teased.
"Don't be mean," Allison told her.
"It's all right," Jeff smiled. "Hey Brit, ten bucks says you'll love your new present even though it's from me."
"No deal. You would probably give me a great present out of spite, just to win the bet."
"Of course, I could always take it back," he shrugged
"No!" she hurriedly exclaimed. "I was just joking. I'm sure I'll like it."
"We'll find out tomorrow," he replied.
Brit was restless that night, obviously excited about her birthday the next day. She spent the rest of the evening trying to trick Jeff into revealing his present to her. It didn't work, and she had to go to bed without knowing.
The next day was Saturday, so they had the whole day for activities. She invited several of her friends over, including Nat Ross, the Dover twins, Rick's little sister Amy, and Crystal and Kari. While he didn't mind any of the girls, he was especially happy to see Crystal and Kari there.
They played several games, some perhaps a little childish for girls that age, but as soon as Allison took the first turn on the ones they were hesitant to play, suddenly everyone wanted a turn. Allison just had that way with people. Nat, being the most energetic and dextrous of the group, won most of the games, but since the point was to have fun, no one seemed to mind.
It was too bad it was still a little too cold to uncover the pool, because some of Brit's friends were very cute, and he wouldn't mind seeing them in swimsuits. They were mostly the same girls she had invited over for her last birthday, but ever since that date with Crystal, he had begun to look at girls that age differently.
Kari caught him staring occasionally, but rather than being upset, she was merely amused. Most of the times she interrupted him by kissing him.
They tended to flirt with him as well, which Kari also thought amusing. The Dover twins weren't particularly obvious about it; their flirting was limited to flashing him their cute smiles and the occasional joke. Natalie, of course, climbed all over him, but since she was always so vivacious and energetic all the time, he figured it had less to do with flirting and more to do with getting rid of excess energy. Amy was the least flirtatious; for as long as Jeff could remember, she had had a sort of childlike adoration for her brother Rick. Jeff thought it was cute and even funny because Rick used to be embarrassed by his little sister who was always hanging around with him. That had changed in the past couple of years though; Rick had apparently given up on trying to be mad at her and didn't let it bother him anymore. Jeff sometimes wished he could get over his differences with his own little sister that easily.
In the afternoon, they brought out the presents for Brit to open. Jeff didn't pay much attention to the gifts she received from the others; he was thinking too much of his own gift for her. He just watched her, seeing the delight on her face with each gift and wondering what her reaction would be when she saw her new art studio.
He got more and more restless as she opened the last few of her presents, until finally she reached the end, and he could stand it no more.
"And now for my present to you," said Jeff. He held out his hand.
"What?" she asked.
She took his hand (something he usually avoided whenever possible) and asked, "Where are we going?"
"You'll see," he smiled, leading her down the hall to the back door. The others followed.
Once outside, they descended the stairs to the pool deck and then crossed the lawn toward the guest house. Nat, of course, climbed down the railing instead of using the stairs.
Jeff stopped in front of the door to the guest house, and glanced down at his sister.
"In there?" she asked. "Why is my present in there?"
"Open the door and you'll find out," he replied.
A little confused, she turned the knob and pushed the door open. She stared around for a second as if trying to look for her present, then suddenly her eyes lit up with realization and delight.
"Welcome to your new art studio," he grinned.
She squealed with excitement and literally jumped on him, wrapping her arms and legs around him. "Oh, Jeff!" she exclaimed. "It's absolutely perfect! Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you!"
As she hugged him, she happened to brush her cheek against his, and he felt moisture there. She was actually crying.
"Now do you believe me when I say I care about your art?" he asked her.
"I believe you, Jeff!" she replied. "I love you so much."