tagIncest/TabooMy Sister, Fiona

My Sister, Fiona


My little sister Fiona, Fiona Alberta Hamilton, is quite the sweetheart. She is always cheerful and loving, with a devilish sense of humour. Fi is decent looking, very well-proportioned even though she's a small girl, with a cute face. She's pretty, not beautiful, but the kind of pretty that will stay with her. She'll be an awfully pretty ninety-year-old, I'd say, a face covered with laugh lines, livened up by those bright, mischievous eyes of hers, sometimes blue, sometimes hazel, sometimes grey, sometimes green, but mostly a mix of them all.

The point of my story is how, when things went really bad for Fi for a while, really pretty awful when you come to think of it, people gathered around to make it right for her, or as right as it could be, enough so she could laugh again. I'll have to tell you about the bad, some, though I won't dwell on it, so you'll understand how much good there is in people. There's evil, too, of course, but that's not what my story is about.

There are three kids in our family: me, Ron, twenty-two at the time; Fi, almost twenty, and Bree (Brianna), who was eighteen. Bree's a sweet kid, not as outgoing as Fiona, but a little taller and even better looking.

At the start of the bad times, Fi was twenty - no, it was a couple of weeks before her twentieth birthday, the birthday that never was. She's had others, since; I don't want you to think she died. She may have wanted to, about that time, but she didn't, and now she's looking forward to being that pretty ninety-year-old I mentioned in seventy years or so. That's part of what the good people helped her with. A lot of good people, really.

Fi was a sophomore at the local university. That's what mostly kept the town going. Like a lot of smaller places, manufacturing or processing jobs had gone away. We were lucky to have the university as an economic base. Of course, it made it easier for the three of us to plan on university educations. It was a lot cheaper to live at home. Mom and Dad weren't badly off, but three kids in college at the same time still cost a bundle. We all had jobs to help out, but serving coffee at the drive-through, or whatever, didn't produce a lot of money.

My job at the hardware paid for my car. Fi's job slinging coffee bought her clothes. Bree's job in the alumni office kept her in whatever she spent it on. Bree was in first year, and I was going to graduate. Bree had been accelerated once, even though they weren't supposed to do that anymore. She was smart enough, and a pretty good soul to go with it. Fi and Bree were able to share a car of their own, better than mine, actually.

It was in March. I got a call from the administration. I wasn't in class at the time, so I accepted it.

"Yes, Ron Hamilton."

"Mr. Hamilton," a voice spoke in my ear, "please come to the office of the dean of student affairs immediately."

"I'm sorry, but I have a class in five minutes."

"We'll make your excuses. Please come immediately. It's very important. There's a problem, a big problem."

"Okay, I'll be there."

Bree was there when I got there. She'd been called, too. In her case, they'd called her professor and hauled her right out of class. I suppose it helped that they'd had our schedules.

I wondered if it was Mom. She was out on some sort of field work, scheduled to come back the end of the week. If that was so, then where was Fi?

"Do either of you know where your parents are right now?" the administrative assistant asked. "It's extremely important."

"No, Dad is at the capital for something to do with the government, and Mom is up in the mountains on a biology project, and there's no cell reception."

Okay, so it wasn't Mom.

"All right. Please go in to see Mr. Wales. He's expecting you."

Bree made no sign she had any more idea than I did of what was going on. We exchanged glances, talking the way some siblings can without words, but neither of us had a clue what was going on.

"Mr. Hamilton, Ms. Hamilton, I have very bad news, I'm afraid," the dean started out. "Your sister Fiona has been attacked on campus, in the gym, actually, by one of our staff. She was raped. She's in hospital, now. We have the man we believe responsible, and we've turned him over to the police. My assistant will take you to see her, now."

"I can take Bree," I started, but he cut me off.

"As upsetting as this has to be for you, as it is for me, you shouldn't drive. I'd take you, but I don't think I should drive, either. It's important for you to see her, though. She's gone through a terrible time, and needs all the support, the love and friendship, that she can get. Please help her."

"Of course."

Bree and I started to hug each other. We had to support each other. This looked to be a really terrible time in front of us, for us, and especially for Fi. Nobody. least of all Fi, deserved that kind of problem. We had to support each other or we could never support Fi.

"Does she have a special friend, or a boyfriend, or both?"

"Yes, Susan Martin has been her friend since grade school, and Fi's been going out with Josh Talbot." That sounds better than it actually came out, as I sort of gasped it. Bree couldn't speak, just nodded to confirm what I'd said. We were still hugging. No tears, not yet, anyway.

"We'll see that they're advised. Poor Fiona. You know, I'm a gentle man, but I felt so much like I wanted to kill that son of a bitch, I really did.

"Look, you've got to go see her. Help her. Show her how much she's loved. I know that much. I'll want to see her, and you again. We are arranging counselling for everyone involved, and anyone else who feels they might need it. Poor girl. Go. Help her."

We went. I was impressed. He hadn't once said how awful for the university, though it was, and would be.

The dean's assistant took us straight into emergency. The hospital wasn't far. It was part of the university complex, in fact.

"Fiona Hamilton?" she asked at the desk.

"Room 42, but you can't go there."


"I'm not paying attention to any bureaucratic rules around here," she confided to me. "I make too many of them up myself. We've got to get in to your poor sister, and we're going to."

At the door to Room 42 we found a cop.

"I'm her brother, this is her sister, this is the university rep," I explained when he tried to block us. I'm not sure how cogently that came out, but I guess I made myself clear.

"All right, go in. Somebody from the media tried to get in a few minutes ago, and she's not up for that, not nearly. The doctor is there, now, and she'll boot you out if she doesn't want you."

Fiona was crying quietly. She looked like hell. I took one hand, and Bree took the other. Bree started to cry, too, quietly, tears pouring down her face. I suppose I was crying as well. Hamilton Family Waterworks, but it was no joke.

"Ronnie? Bree?"

"Yeah, it's us, cupcake." I was the only person in the world who called her cupcake. I don't know why I called her cupcake. I just always did. Except maybe when we were mad at each other. It didn't happen often, but sometimes. We were siblings, not lovers, though I suppose even lovers fight occasionally.

"Bree's here, too, cupcake. We love you."

The doctor just stayed back out of the way. No "I'm the doctor and I know best" shit. I don't know that she didn't know best. Fi needed support just then more than anything else, and that's what we were there for. That's what family's for, to be there when you need someone.

A few minutes later, Susan Martin and Josh Talbot came in. They both looked liked death warmed over, and not warmed up too much, at that. Susan took one look, touched Fi's hand in greeting, and hugged Bree. Josh took the hand Bree had been holding, ever so gently.

"It's Josh and Susan," I told Fi.

Fi seemed to be unhappy Josh was there. Was it something stupid, that maybe she'd been spoiled for him? I had no idea, but I was putting a stop to it.

"Fi, Josh is here because he loves you."

I didn't know what the state of things between Fi and Josh really was. They were kind of joined at the hip. I had no idea whether they'd ever told each other "I love you." People don't say that enough, anyway. Regardless, he was in love with her. I don't think he'd have come if he hadn't been, but maybe. It was the look on his face when he saw her, worship and pity and love. He was in love. He'd gone right over the edge.

"Yes, Fi, I love you," Josh added, in a tone that suggested he hadn't even known it himself until just then. It's hard to know your own heart. It happens sometimes when a person who has always been there for you is somehow threatened, and you realize in your heart the loss you face, the love you stand to lose. When it does, it lasts. It happened to me, so I know what I'm talking about.

Susan took Bree home a little later. You couldn't have budged Josh with a hammer. I wasn't going anywhere, if it came to that. Susan promised to stay with Bree, and Bree promised to be back first thing in the morning. Bree wasn't in the best of shape, but at least Susan could look out for her. I couldn't leave Fi. I guess I was like Josh, simply not able to leave the one who needed me most.

The doctor came back about an hour after Bree left. She'd hung around for about ten minutes after we got there, then took off on her rounds.

"I have other responsibilities, so I've got to go," she said. "Make sure your sister knows I'm here for her, even if I have to come back. Call me anytime she needs me." She gave me her cell number.

Fi hadn't actually said anything all the time we were there, but when the doctor came back in to check before she went off duty, Fi whispered "Thank you."

The doctor was impressed.

"You need me, you got me, sweetheart. Remember."

Then she told me to get something to eat and to bring something back for Josh.

"I know you're both going to be here all night, and no matter how much against regulations that is, I know it will be good for Fiona, and I'll make it all right. You eat and make Josh eat. I know you're not going to get him to leave, even for a minute. I'm going home. You've got my cell; use it if you have to. Keep her loved, guys, keep her loved."

After she'd gone I told Josh I was getting something to eat.

"What do you want, Josh. I'll bring something back."

"Whatever. Ron, I didn't know I loved her, not like that. We were good together, you know? We were friends, maybe a little more than friends. I didn't know I loved her. She's going to be all right, isn't she?"

"I don't know, Josh. I don't know. She's going to live, and she's not going to suffer any lasting physical injury. The doctor told me that much. What matters is inside, in her mind, she told me. She feels dirty. What she needs is the assurance that people still love her, that she hasn't been devalued by that creep, that she's still a good person people want to be with."

"Tell me, Ron, what did you think when you heard?"

"I wanted to kill the son of a bitch who made her hurt. I still do, but I'm not going to. That would hurt Fiona even more, and I wouldn't be here to help her."

"Me, too. Is that when I discovered I loved her, really loved her, more than liked? When I wanted to take someone who'd hurt her badly and watch him die?"

"Maybe, but maybe you just felt that the world would be better off without someone in it who could do that to anyone. I think, myself, that you didn't realize it fully until I told Fiona that you were here because you loved her. We all came because we loved her."

"We all love Fi, Ron."

This strange mushiness between a couple of guys about the woman one loved and the sister the other one loved was probably doing some good. We'd been talking where Fi could hear us, on purpose for my part though I don't think Josh noticed. I knew she wasn't going to hear anything but what she should hear, that Josh loved her, and the rest of us did, too. Nothing had been changed for her that way.

Now I didn't know whether Fi and Josh had been sexually intimate. It didn't matter and I didn't care. It was their business if they had, and their business if they hadn't. What mattered, and what Fi needed to know in the most positive way I could establish, was that Josh loved her, now, after what had happened. Loved her more than he ever had, I thought. Of course, I loved her, too.

Later that night, Dad finally made it back and came to the hospital right away. The dean had managed to get him on his cell. Dad had planned to stay over rather than drive back at night, but that plan went out the window. Dad had fire in his eyes. He wanted to kill someone, too. If the cops or the court system let that guy go, he was dead three times, and maybe more. Fi had a lot of friends.

"How's Fi?" he whispered to me.

"Not too bad, Dad, considering." Well, considering that she could easily have been dead. I thought I'd get Fi to notice Dad before I went too far down that track.

"You asleep, Fi?"

A little shake of her head on the pillow.

"Didn't think so, cupcake. Feels too good with Josh holding one hand and big brother holding the other, doesn't it. I wouldn't be sleeping either if it was you and Bree."

That got me a tiny smile, which was big payback, just then. Josh noticed and smiled his thanks to me.

I took Dad out into the hall to update him on what was going on. Dad knew that Josh and Fi had been an item for a while.

"Dad, cut Josh some slack, here. He's in love with Fi, more than he ever knew, and it's love that's going to bring her around, if we can."

"You're right, Ron. I'm bloody glad you could be here for her. It's no surprise you're trying your best for her. Doesn't change that I'm damned proud of you. Let me spell you for a bit.

"How's Brianna? It must have been hard on her, too. I don't think your mother will be back until the end of the week."

"Bree's home. She's pretty shaken. Fi's buddy Susan Martin is staying with her. They plan to be in first thing in the morning. Josh and I will be here tonight. I don't think you can get Josh away from her until he collapses, so we're keeping a weather eye on him, too. The university sent somebody up in the hills to get Mom, so she should be back sooner than she'd planned.

"Did you have anything to eat, Dad?"

"No, I was leaving for the hotel when I got the call from Dean Wales, and I just started driving."

"I'll get you something. You go keep Fi company."

I told Fi Dad was back, and pried "my" hand out of Josh's so Dad could hold one of Fi's hands. Josh was a little embarrassed that he'd sort of automatically taken hold of both of Fi's hands when they came free, more because maybe it was a breach of etiquette than that he gave a damn that someone might see he was in love. He was a long way past that point, now. I knew Fi liked him, from things she'd said, but I didn't know about love. I kind of hoped so, since Josh was a pretty good guy, and he was smitten like I'd never seen before.

When I came back with something for Dad, he was just holding Fi's hand and stroking her arm a little, murmuring things to her. "I love you, baby girl," stuff like that. I thought it was the right kind of thing to say. Fi seemed to be dozing, which was what she needed. After a bit, Dad seemed ready to drop off, so I chased him home.

"Dad, I really have to stay here with Fiona. Maybe not for her, though I think it helps, but for me. Bree needs for there to be a man in the house with her tonight, and you're going to fall over if you don't get some sleep."

"I guess you're right, Ron. If you and Josh are going to be here for Fiona, I'll go home and make Bree feel better and get some sleep so I can be of some use for Fi tomorrow. Susan needs to be let off the hook, too. She probably wants to go home, and neither you nor I want Brianna to be alone. I want you to come home and get some sleep when Brianna comes in tomorrow."

"Okay, that makes sense. Take care, Dad."

"You too, son."

Bree told me that Dad almost collapsed when he got home, but she was very glad to see him. Susan was staying the night anyway. Bree found her one of her nightshirts and the two of them climbed in Bree's bed together after Dad fell asleep, maybe thirty seconds after his head hit the pillow. As our parents had bought us double beds once we reached a certain size, it wasn't too cramped. The double beds for the girls, especially Fi, weren't as necessary for size reasons - I was starting to stick out the sides and the ends of my old bed - but both of them often had friends stay the night, and the larger beds made that more comfortable. Whether either of them had friends over in the afternoons for activities that didn't involve sleep I didn't know, and didn't consider it my business to know. From something I overheard my mother say once, my parents didn't know and didn't want to know, but wanted the girls to be comfortable if something like that was actually going on.

"Doesn't do your sex life much good if you fall out of bed in the middle of it," Mom had said.

Come to think of it, Mom and Dad had a king size bed.

I don't know if Josh dozed off any that night. I know I did, though never for more than an hour at a time. The night nurse stuck her head in to check Fi's vital signs and feel her forehead every hour or so.

"Poor sweet chicken," she said once.

Later on, I had dozed off again when I was awakened by Fiona screaming. I suppose it was the first of the nightmares, nightmares that would haunt her all her days unless we could get through to her, to show her she was loved and protected, that we were there for her and always would be.

I hugged her from one side and Josh from the other.

"We're here for you, Fi, we're here. We'll always be here for you."

It helped some. At least she stopped screaming and just sobbed. We held her, not so tight that she felt constrained, just comforting. She thrashed around some in our arms, as much to be sure we were there as anything, I think. Both of us made sure she knew nothing harmful was going to get through either of us.

The night nurse came down and administered a sedative. It was a light one, she said.

"Thank heavens you boys are here for her," she told us. "There have been cases here when no one was around for the victim. That was awful."

Josh held Fi the rest of the night. I held her hand, "my" hand. I didn't doze off again. Sweet little Fiona, bright and bubbly, in the throes of a nightmare that was really godawful, reliving that attack. I would have killed that son of a bitch five times over if he'd been in front of me just then. Josh just loved her up, much better therapy.

In the morning, Susan and Brianna showed up at about eight, which was an abominably early hour for Bree.

"Ron, before he went to bed Dad said to chase you home when we came in. He's still asleep and we were careful not to wake him."

"Too bad," Susan chortled, "your dad's hot."

She had Fi in her peripheral vision, and laughed gaily when she saw a brief grimace of distaste on her face.

"Come on, Fi, you're not supposed to notice, but I do. I'd make a play for him if it weren't for your mother. I'd never want to do anything to hurt her. Besides, as long as your mother's alive, I don't think your father would ever even look at another woman."

Fi nodded slightly in confirmation.

"Goodbye, cupcake. I'm going to go get some sleep. I'll be back later."

I squeezed her hand, and Fi squeezed back, which I thought wasn't bad, and Bree took her hand, "my" hand, from me.

"You all right, Bree?"

"Yeah, Susan's been great. Go to sleep when you get home, Ron. Dad can take care of himself, and they think Mom will be home by suppertime."

"I'll do that."

I kissed Fi goodbye, and perhaps to her surprise, I kissed Bree goodbye, too. Feeling magnanimous, or maybe just dead on my feet, I kissed Susan, too. Fi smiled at that. I drew the line at kissing Josh, which relieved him from the difficult choice: could he let Fi's hand go for long enough to clout me, or would he have to try to stop me with an elbow?

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