After the incident in the shower, Jeff seemed to take a stand. Not only did he insist that Brit and he not do that again, but he also told her that they were not to be naked again together, especially when sleeping. At least he allowed her to sleep with him still, but he didn't respond to her flirting at all. It was quite alarming.
As the days passed and he grew more and more formal in his treatment of her, she realized she had to take drastic steps or she was in danger of losing him. The only problem was, she didn't know what to do. She decided then that she would turn to perhaps the one person who could help her: Allison.
One evening after dinner as they all were sitting in the living room, Brit decided she couldn't wait any longer.
"Allison, can I talk to you for a minute?" she asked.
"Sure, honey," Allison smiled. "What do you need?"
"Um, could you come up to my bedroom?"
"Girl talk," Greg commented. "Go ahead, Allison. This is probably something I don't want to hear anyway. Jeff, you stay here with me."
Allison let Brit lead her up the stairs to her bedroom. Once inside, they closed the door and sat down on the bed.
"What is it, dear?" asked Allison.
"Well, I know you don't want us to call you Mom, but you're the closest thing I have to a mother right now, and this is the type of thing I need motherly advice on."
"Is it about boys?"
"Well... sort of."
"Is it about Jeff?"
Brit nodded quietly.
"Is it not going so well?" asked Allison.
"No," Brit sighed. "It was for a while, and then we... we sort of crossed a line."
"Did you have sex with him?"
"No. But we took a shower together and we... well, we... sort of... played with each other."
"Did you bring each other to orgasm?"
Brit nodded again, a little embarrassed.
"Well I'd say it's going pretty well then," Allison smiled. "So what's the problem?"
"The problem is that Jeff thinks what we did is wrong, and now he's closed up. He doesn't want to risk making a mistake again, so he's just gone cold all of a sudden."
"Oh dear. I see."
"Allison, there's another thing I might as well tell you. But you have to keep it a secret."
"Kari and Crystal are sort of in on the plan too."
Allison laughed. "Good for them. It doesn't surprise me that Kari approves of your relationship. She's definitely not the jealous type. So tell me about Crystal. Why did she agree to help?"
"Um..." said Brit, blushing. "This is the part you have to really have to keep secret."
Allison put took Brit's hands in her own and gazed into her eyes. "I would never betray you like that," she said. "You can tell me."
"And you have to promise not to get mad."
"Okay, I promise."
"Well... Crystal and I... are in love with each other."
Allison's eyes suddenly lit up with delight. "Oh Brit!" she exclaimed, throwing her arms around her. "I'm so happy for you!"
"You're not mad?" asked Brit, astonished.
"Why should I be mad? I think it's absolutely wonderful that you're in love."
"But with a girl?"
"Since you told me a secret, I feel it's only fair to tell you a secret of my own."
"Rachael and I have been lovers on and off for about eight years now."
"Your sister?" Brit gasped.
"Why do you think I have no problem with you and Jeff getting together? Because I've had a similar relationship with a close family member, and I know how wonderful it can be. And I think there's a kind of love that can exist between two women that can't possibly be shared between a woman and a man. Women simply understand one another better."
"But what about you and Dad?"
"I didn't say I only like women," Allison smiled. "Brit, if you're in love with Crystal, I'm happy for you. If you're in love with Jeff, I'm happy for you. If you're in love with both at the same time, then I'm doubly happy for you, assuming it all works out for you. As long as you don't go behind anyone's back, I don't see anything wrong with a relationship with two different people."
"Three," said Brit. "Since Kari is Jeff's girlfriend, we decided that all four of us would become lovers. We just haven't convinced Jeff yet."
Allison smiled. "That's pretty impressive," she said. "Four of you? Wow. If you can make it work, then that's great!"
"But I'm not sure if we can make it work. I told Jeff that Crystal and I are lovers, and he seemed a little sad for himself, but happy for me. Maybe that's part of the reason he's been so cold toward me lately. Maybe he's trying to give me up. Allison, what do I do?"
"Have you tried getting all four of you together in some kind of sexual situation?"
"A couple of times. I'm sure Rachael told you, Jeff doesn't mind having sex in front of me. He doesn't even mind me touching him while he's having sex. It's just that last step that he's not willing to take. And now it looks like he never will."
"All right. I think I know what to do, but you have to be certain that he loves you."
"Oh, I know he loves me."
"No, I mean, you have to be certain that he would be willing to make love to you if we could get past all of the obstacles."
"I think so."
"But are you sure?"
Brit shook her head.
Allison sighed. "If you're not sure he loves you like that, then there's a risk. It could end up humiliating both of you. The question is, are you willing to take that risk?"
"For Jeff? Yes."
"All right. My plan is very simple. I want you to confess your love for him."
"What? But I couldn't--"
"I know it's drastic, but that's what we need right now. If you confess your love to him, then if he loves you in the same way, he won't be able to do anything but confess his love to you. And I'll be there for moral support, and to help tear down all of the obstacles."
"Really?" Brit asked, relieved. "You'll be there with me?"
"Absolutely. But you're the one that has to do it."
Brit sat there for a minute, considering. Then, slowly, she nodded.
The timing, of course, was important. It had to be when they had plenty of time to deal with the consequences, good or bad. Fortunately, they had an excellent opportunity, with Greg's business trip coming up in a couple of weeks. Allison encouraged Brit to hold out until then, at which point hopefully everything would be set right. It wasn't the easiest thing to do, but Brit tried to be patient.
Jeff, for his part, began to avoid her. When she went to visit Crystal, he stayed home. When she stayed home, he visited Kari. It wasn't that he didn't enjoy her company; just the opposite, in fact. He just didn't know how to talk to her about what had happened. He should probably apologize, he knew, because what he had done was inexcusable. But how does one apologize when the person they supposedly offended was happy about the incident? Brit didn't understand just how wrong it was, and he didn't know how he could convince her of that. That was partly because in his heart he wasn't convinced. He wanted to love her, to hold her in his arms and kiss her, to take her to bed and give himself completely to her. That was what bothered him most of all.
He wondered why he felt so strongly about this. After all, he had done the same thing with Lissa, and that hadn't bothered him at all. But Lissa was had been old enough to make her own decision, whereas Brit was still partly a little girl, still innocent and even a little na?. She looked up to Jeff and trusted him, and he didn't want to do anything to betray that trust. Furthermore, the time with Lissa had been with the understanding that they were just experimenting, and that it would not continue beyond that one time. But with Brit, he wanted it to continue. And apparently, so did she. Perhaps that was what really disturbed him.
Greg wanted to take the family on another outing the weekend before he had to leave. That suited Jeff just fine; while it meant spending time with Brit, it also meant that there would be no opportunity for them to be alone together. A public place was just fine.
This time they went downtown to the art museum. Brit, being an artist herself, naturally enjoyed herself immensely. Jeff was happy for her. He still liked to see her smiling. While he wasn't quite as interested in it as she was, he still found a lot of the paintings and sculptures fascinating.
Allison and Brit spent most of the time gabbing away about the works of art, talking more from an artist's point of view than a viewer's. They discussed shape and form, composition and balance, and a dozen other words that had to do with art but meant absolutely nothing to Jeff.
Afterward, they ate at a classy Italian restaurant that Greg and Allison liked. This was the first time they had taken the kids with them, because they had previously been afraid of Jeff and Brit fighting and making a scene. Now that they were getting along better, they decided to take a chance.
Even though Jeff didn't speak much with her throughout the meal, they didn't break down into arguing like they usually did. The closest thing they came to a fight was when Brit slipped her hand into his under the table. Jeff pulled back like he was stung. Despite what had gone on between them before, holding hands was what two people who were in love did, and he couldn't afford to love Brit in that way.
She glanced at him with a shocked and disappointed look for a second, then turned away and concentrated once again on eating her food.
They returned home without any more incidents, and neither Jeff nor Brit brought it up again. Things resumed pretty much the same way they had for the past week.
That left only one more week before Greg left for his conference. Although Jeff had been looking forward to it before, now he dreaded it. Although Allison would still be there, it was too much like being alone with Brit. He knew if he ever did find himself alone with her, he wouldn't be able to restrain himself, and that scared him.
Brit, on the other hand, seemed to be looking forward to it, probably for the same reason he wasn't. He figured she wanted a chance to be alone with him again.
That night, Jeff made a decision that emphasized his commitment to cooling off his relationship with Brit. She came into his room after Greg and Allison went to bed like she usually did, but this time when she climbed into bed with him, she leaned in and kissed him on the lips. She drew it out for a long time, and he felt his resolve weakening. That was one of the many things that he loved about her. She was so fun to kiss.
But he couldn't afford to give in like that. If she wanted to get affectionate, he had to be the strong one.
"Brit," he told her, pushing her away. "I'm sorry, but we just can't do that any more."
"Why not?" she asked, disappointed.
"We just can't. Now I think it's better if you didn't sleep in my bed any more either. My headaches are over, so there's really no need."
"I don't care about your headaches!" she insisted. "I just want to sleep with my big brother."
"I know you do, and I can't say I don't like it. But we've already done things we shouldn't, and the more affectionate we are with each other, the more likely it is we'll make that mistake again. Now be a good girl and go back to your room."
She looked on the verge of tears, and Jeff felt guilty for hurting her like that. But better this than a more permanent harm in the future if he didn't take a stand.
"Don't you love me anymore?" she asked.
"Of course I love you," he replied. "I'll always love you. This has nothing to do with that. I just think it's time I started doing the right thing. Maybe you don't understand it right now, but this is what's best for you. You have to trust me on that."
She nodded, still disappointed, but returned to her room. Jeff felt his heart breaking as he thought of how sad he had made her. For all he knew, she might be crying into her pillow all night. It was hard to tell through the sounds of his own sobs.
The week passed too quickly for him. Part of that was because, in order to avoid spending time with Brit, he went over to Kari's house almost every day, and she was always fun to be with. In return, Crystal spent most of her free time at the Primdales' house. Jeff figured that was all for the best; if Brit and he could enjoy themselves separately, it made it that much easier not to think about her.
On Friday, Jeff and Brit arrived home from school to see their father off. He had his bags all packed and ready to leave; he had just been waiting for the kids to get home.
That was something he had been doing as long as they could remember. Any time he had to go away, if at all possible he would make sure the kids got home safely and give them all hugs before he left.
After the aforementioned hugs, Jeff helped him carry his bags out to the car, then Greg drove away, leaving the three of them alone.
For some reason, Brit had a nervous look on her face as she glanced at Jeff. He couldn't imagine what that meant, but decided not to bother her about it. He didn't want her to feel any more uncomfortable than she already did.
They ate dinner mostly in silence. Jeff didn't feel like talking; these past couple of weeks he had tried to avoid Brit as much as possible, partly because he was ashamed about what he had done to her and didn't know how to apologize, and partly because he knew if he lowered his guard again, he wouldn't be able to stop himself. He loved her so much and would do anything to protect her, but right now, the person he needed to protect her from was himself.
Brit apparently didn't want to talk either, which was unlike her. She looked like she was thinking about something, some event either in the past or future that bothered her. Maybe she was feeling the same thing as he was. Maybe she felt guilty about how far they had taken their relationship.
Jeff decided that he would just come right out and apologize to her, the first chance he got. It had to be in private, because he didn't want Allison to suspect anything. After dinner, he would take Brit up to his room alone and he would try his hardest to make up with her. All he wanted was to see her smiling again.
Unfortunately, as soon as they finished their supper, Brit asked Allison to go with her up to her room. Jeff didn't want to intrude on their girl-talk, so he sat down on the couch and turned on the TV to try to take his mind off of his worries.
There was nothing good on, and he couldn't concentrate anyway, so he finally just turned it off and stared at the floor, wondering what he could do to make Brit happy again.
"Jeff, would you come up here please?" he heard Allison call from upstairs. He stood up and made his way upstairs, wondering why she had called him. Maybe Brit had expressed some of those same worries to Allison, and their stepmother wanted to set things straight.
Jeff was actually glad; Allison's presence tended to defuse awkward situations. With her there, maybe Jeff could finally get his feelings out in the open. It would mean admitting to their stepmother what they had done, but he knew Allison wouldn't be the type to judge them too harshly for it.
When he entered the room, he saw Brit and Allison sitting there. Brit looked a little nervous, but Allison seemed perfectly happy. The combination put his guard up. Something was going on.
"Come sit down, Jeff," said Allison, and he sat in one of the chairs facing the bed.
"Not there," Allison told him. "Go sit by your sister. She's going to need to feel your arm around her when I tell you this."
"This doesn't sound good."
"That depends on you. This might be the best thing that ever happened to you."
Still wary, Jeff sat down on the bed next to Brit, offering to put his arm around her. Instead, she climbed up onto his lap and leaned back against his chest, as she had done so many times before. He hugged her gently; if what Allison was about to say was as bad as she made it out to be, he wanted Brit to feel his love for her.
"Now before I begin," said Allison, "I want you to promise something, Jeff. I want you to promise you won't be mad at Brit."
"Mad at Brit? For what?"
"All right. I promise."
"Good. Now, then, here's the situation. I want to know, when are you two going to stop fooling around?"
"What?" he asked. Did she suspect?
"There's no need to try to hide anything from me," she continued. "Brit told me everything."
"I'm sorry, Jeff," Brit mumbled, looking up at him with fear in her eyes. "I know it was a secret, and I let you down."
Jeff's first reaction was anger, but even if he hadn't given his word, just seeing her there staring up at him meekly with those big, beautiful eyes turned his anger to pity.
Jeff kissed her on the forehead. "Yes you did, but I promised not to be mad, didn't I?" he told her softly.
He took a minute to gather his thoughts. So Allison knew. So far she was displaying a surprising amount of self-control. There was no point denying anything if she already knew about it. But he wanted to hear it for himself.
"What did she tell you?" he asked.
"She told me about you and her and Crystal. She told me about you and her and Rachael. Oh, and my personal favorite, she told me about you and her and the entire volleyball team."
"She says she's taken showers with you, and that she sleeps naked with you every night. You two have done a little fondling and groping, and she's even tried to seduce you a couple of times, but you weren't willing. So that's why I want to know, when are you two going to stop fooling around?"
Jeff looked Allison in the eyes for a minute. So it came to this. Allison was being very reasonable about the whole situation, he decided. Surely their father wouldn't be so understanding. It sounded like she was giving him an ultimatum, and a way out. All he had to do was stop the nonsense with Brit, and she probably wouldn't even tell Greg.
"So that's it then," he said calmly. This was exactly what he had been trying to tell Brit all along, that this kind of behaviour between brother and sister was wrong. It was only because he was weak that it had gone this far in the first place. But the thought of no longer having her sleep with him, or sit on his lap, or snuggle with him, filled him with a kind of melancholy.
"All right," he said reluctantly. "I'll stop, but I don't have to like it. You might as well know that I'm in love with Brit. Yes, I'm in love with my sister. I know we've taken things further than we should, and I've wanted to take them further than that even, but I understand that it's something that can never be."
"Did you say that you're in love with Brit?" Allison asked.
"Yes. But I know that's a line that we shouldn't cross."
"Who says?" asked Allison.
He blinked, dumbfounded. That question caught him completely off his guard.
"What do you mean?"
"Who told you that you shouldn't cross that line?"
"What? Well, Dad, for one thing. And all of society for another."
"Jeff, you know I don't care one bit for what society says about things. And as for your father, I think you should start thinking for yourself instead of taking what he says for granted."
"What are you saying, Allison? I thought you told us to stop fooling around."
"I did. I want you to stop fooling around, and get down to business."
"Brit, do you think maybe you can get through that thick skull of his?" Allison asked.
Brit turned to him and gazed into his eyes with that look of adoration that he loved so much about her. "Jeff," she said, a little nervously. "I'm in love with you. I want you to take my virginity. I don't think I could ever give it to anyone else."
"But... we can't. I mean... I couldn't do that to Kari. And what about Crystal? And Dad would--"
"Stop thinking like your father!" Allison told him. "Forget what he wants. And as for Kari and Crystal, we've already cleared this with them."
"You what?" he demanded.
"Kari loves you and wants you to be happy. And Crystal loves Brit and wants her to be happy. They've both been in on the plan to get you two together ever since Brit and Crystal fell in love with each other. Haven't you been paying attention? Haven't you figured out yet that Kari and Crystal have been trying to get Brit and you together?"
"So there's only one question left unanswered. What do you want?"
"I don't know."
"Yes you do, you're just not willing to admit it. Look Britney in the eyes, and tell her exactly what you want."
He gazed down into her loving eyes, and at that moment it all became clear. "Brit," he said, "I'm in love with you too, and I want to make love to you. I've wanted it for months now. I was just too afraid of the consequences. I still am, in fact."
Brit smiled and leaned in to kiss him on the lips. It was that same pure, sweet, beautiful kiss as when they had first started practicing, but it was even deeper and fuller than before. Maybe it was because his love for her had matured since then. Maybe it was because there was no longer any hesitation. For whatever reason, he knew then that he could no longer deny her.
They held that kiss for what seemed like forever, an eternity of nothing but love. Even when they drew apart, that love remained.
"Finally I can be happy for you," said Allison. Jeff glanced over at her and noticed tears in her eyes, but she was smiling. "I've been waiting a long time for you two to finally admit your feelings for each other."
"You mean you knew all this time?" asked Jeff.
"I knew right from the beginning that Brit had a major crush on you. If you haven't noticed, she's got a thing or two to learn about hiding her emotions."
"Hey!" Brit exclaimed.
"That's one of the things I love so much about you, Brit," Jeff told her, and her scowl became a smile. "It's because you don't hide your emotions that you're so affectionate, and it's because you've been so affectionate toward me lately that I began to think of you in more than just a brotherly way."
"So that just left you, Jeff," Allison continued. "I wasn't sure of your feelings toward your sister, but after the way she described how you've treated her while you were alone together, I came to the conclusion that you loved her just as much. The only reason you two haven't gotten together yet is because you were afraid of hurting her."
"I suppose you're right," said Jeff. "Why am I always the last one to figure this out?"
"Because you're a man. Men are pretty slow when it comes to this sort of thing."
Jeff laughed. "I guess you're right. So you think I should just take Brit to my room right now and make love to her?"
"I like that idea," said Brit.
Allison shrugged. "You could do it that way," she said, "but I think it might be better to wait."
"Wait?" Brit exclaimed. "You're the one who's been pushing us to do this."
"I meant just for a day or so. If you really want to make your first time special, I would suggest you spend a day together just doing a bunch of little things to get each other in the mood. A little flirting, a little teasing, maybe a candlelight dinner, that sort of thing. The longer you anticipate it, the better it will be when it finally happens. I guarantee you it will be worth the wait."
Brit looked up at Jeff. "What do you think?" she asked.
"It's up to you. I want to make it perfect for you. Whatever I can do to make it better, I will."
"Think you can control your dick for that long?" she giggled.
"With something like this to motivate me, I can do just about anything."
"Okay. Let's wait. Allison's never let us down yet, so I'm going to trust her on this. Tomorrow night then."
"Perfect!" Allison grinned. "I think I'm going to prepare a candlelight dinner for you two tomorrow night. Brit, why don't you wear that dress I bought you?"
"The red one?"
"Right. And Jeff, No tee-shirt and jeans. I know you've got some slacks and a few button-down shirts. I'll help you pick out an outfit if you want."
"Why the formality?"
"A girl likes to get dressed up. She likes to look beautiful for her man, and she likes her man to look handsome for her. It helps to add to the romance, and I think you'll find you'll enjoy it too."
"How come you didn't put this much effort into planning my first time?" he joked.
"Because to men, sex is mostly a physical act. To women, it's mostly emotional. All you need to make it special for a man is a gorgeous girl like my sister Rachael."
He laughed. "Okay, good point."
"Well, now that we have a plan, I have a request. Since this is supposed to be an intimate time for you two, I'll understand if you say no."
"What's your request?" asked Brit.
Allison looked, surprisingly, a little embarrassed. "Well... I was wondering... and again, feel free to say no... I was wondering if I could watch?"
"Watch?" asked Jeff, stunned.
"Yes. Brit, I told you I thought this love between Jeff and you is a beautiful thing, and that's true. I also told you I'm jealous because it's something I'll never get to experience, and that's also true. But I think if you were to include me in this moment, even just as a spectator, I think that would be enough. But I don't want to put any pressure on you. If you think it would detract from the experience, even just a little, go ahead and say no."
"Yes," said Brit with a smile.
Jeff stared at her for a second, and she glanced at him again, reading the question in his eyes.
"If it were anyone else, such as Rachael or Kari, or even Crystal, I would say no. But if not for Allison, I would have never had the courage to admit my love for you. Because of how supportive she's been, I think having her there my first time would actually enhance it. What do you think?"
Jeff had no objections, and he said so. Allison had been present with him several times when he made love to Kari, so he knew it wouldn't bother him to have her watch. In fact, it was encouraging to know that she wanted to spend this special moment with them.