Ever wish life was a tape recorder? You, know, so you could press pause at awkward moments, rewind and play again. So you could fast forward through the bad times but slo- mo every moment actually worth living. It's times like these that make me envy the big guy upstairs. I mean, how great would it be to actually be in control of your own life? I could only imagine…


"Hey…I've been meaning to call you for a while now." Silence. God, he was such a drag on the phone. "It's just, Jo's been…well…difficult." He coughed loudly. "She doesn't want me seeing too much of you."

"Why?" He asked quietly. I loved his voice. It was so low, musical even.

"I'm not sure. She says it's not healthy…to be so close." He laughed. I smiled. Something about his laugh just forced a sort of radiant happiness through my body. It was…confusing. Our entire relationship was confusing. We were strictly platonic, I think. Then why did I get butterflies every time I even thought about him?

"Tell her to mind her own damned business." He sounded angry. I couldn't blame him. He and Jo had not had the best relationship in the past.

"Travi," I cooed, "Calm down, it's not like that's gonna stop me." He sighed.

"But she irks the hell outta me."

'It's okay. I don't think God Almighty himself could keep you away from me anyway." Whoa. Did I just say that out loud? Shit!

"I'm flattered you would even say that." My face grew warm in the darkness of my room. For some reason I began to wish that I wasn't going to be sleeping alone that night.

"I'm glad…"

2. .

"Shh," he hummed as he stroked my back, "its okay." I tried to breathe. My chest rattled as I stifled a sob. I was so upset. With good reason. How could she say those things. "Jo didn't mean it." I sniffed.

"She did," He shook his head but his eyes said it all, "I just don't know why." I felt his fist clench. His entire body seemed to tense. My stomach churned. PAUSE. This was wrong. So wrong on so many levels. Then why did it feel so right? Like the most natural thing I'd ever felt in my life? PLAY.

"You're breaking my heart, Jules." I froze.

"What do you mean?" I looked up and saw his face flush.

"I shouldn't have said that…I mean, it's true…but still…" He trailed off.

"How do you mean it? When you said 'breaking your heart'?" He didn't answer for a long time. Even when he finally did, it was barely a whisper.

"A way that's definitely wrong for me to feel." In that sentence all my wildest dreams had come true and all my deepest fears were confirmed.


His lips softly traced my collarbone. Kissed the base of my neck, the hollow of my throat. I couldn't breathe. My mind was numb. The only thing I was aware of was his lips. And his hands. Yes, definitely his hands. I felt them hotly tracing my bare inner thigh. (He'd caught me off guard, sneaking in, in the middle of the night so I was in my PJs.) My body seemed to be set ablaze anywhere his skin met mine. It was mesmerizing. That is, until his conscience kicked it. He sat up. I did the same.

"This is wrong on so many levels." My body was on fire.

"But it feels so right. So good." I whispered seductively in his ear, my fingers tracing the back of his neck softly.

"Jules, we can't." He pulled my hand back down to my side.

"Why?" I groaned. His face fell.

"Well, besides the obvious? How about your innocence?"

"This is about my virginity?"

"Not to mention your age."

"I'm seventeen!"

"And I'm nineteen!" He growled. I cringed. He was yelling. He must have noticed because he instantly softened his tone. "I don't want to hurt you."

"You won't." He smiled.

"Just not tonight, okay?" I exhaled loudly.



"Pack your stuff!" Her voice harsh, uncaring. Why was she doing this? Why the hell did she hate me so much?

"Why?" Her face made my stomach clench.

"You disgust me." Her tone was flat. How could a mother hate her own daughter so much?


"Don't you dare call me that you sick little whore!"

"Jo…" It was barely audible. But it was loud enough to get me smacked loudly across the face. I tasted blood. I felt tears.


"What the hell happened to your face, Jules?" I jumped as he stroked the purple mark along my cheek.

"I fell." He wasn't buying it.

"You don't fall, Jules, you're the most careful person I know." He leaned in closely. I shivered.

"I got hit by a door." My face must have been very unconvincing.

"Was this door named Joanne by any chance?" I didn't answer.

"I guess you could say that." He rested his face against mine and I took a shallow breath. His smell was intoxicating. It was a mixture of sweat and axe deodorant. Who would have thought?

"Trav," he looked up, "Kiss me." He did. He really did. That and much more…


"I'm calling the cops!" she screamed loudly towards him.

"Mom, stop!" I grabbed her wrist and the cell phone dropped with a loud thud. I saw the screen crack under the gravel of the driveway, even in the darkness.

"Don't touch me you slut!" She tried to pull away but my grip was firm. Her eyes grew wide in anger, but I didn't care. There was no way I was letting the police get involved. I couldn't have Travi going to jail. He was all I had left. "Get off me!" She pushed me away and I fell, hard.

"You bitch!" Travi walked over to her and raised his hand. I was afraid he was going to hit her. But he just stood there, towering over her. "How dare you— " She didn't give him a chance to finish.

"How dare you touch my daughter?" He froze. "How dare you touch my little girl?" His hand dropped limply to his side. I wasn't going to have this. She wasn't going to guilt him.

"He didn't hurt me!" I screamed towards her. She just looked down and glared. "Jo, he never hurt me!" She just turned and walked towards the house. I didn't move. I couldn't move. I just wanted to die. Maybe then everything would be okay. Maybe then Jo would be able to once again be a mom. Maybe then Travi could be happy…

2. .

"Do you feel somewhat responsible Julia?" I didn't look up.

"About what?" She looked at me from over her glasses. I hated when people did that. It made me feel like they were judging me. But she was judging me. That was her job. To judge. That's what shrinks do, right?

"Travis." She'd hit the nail on the head.

"And if I do?" She smiled. But I didn't like it, it wasn't friendly. It was condescending like she thought she was so smart for figuring it out.

"It's not your fault Julia. This happens very often believe it or not. And Travis won't go to jail. He'll just be in therapy for a while." I sat up straight in my seat.

"You call a mental institution therapy?" I shouted.

"Travis is a very disturbed individual, Julia." I was outraged.

"Then so am I! I feel the same way!" I was standing now.

"You are a minor so it's not the same." I slumped back down, defeated.

"It's not fair." I whispered. I didn't wait for the average cliché response I knew she was going to shoot back at me. PAUSE. It wasn't fair. Life wasn't fair. Why couldn't we be together? Why was it so wrong? Why did anyone care? Why couldn't I stop him from trying to end it all? Why didn't he hate me for being the tempting apple that ruined Eden? STOP.


"How the hell could you!" I turned to leave but he shut the door in my face, trapping me in.

"It's none of your business, Travis." He frowned.

"Why him, Julia?" I sighed.

"Because he was there and I felt like it." He furrowed his brow and frowned.

"That pisses me off."

"What? The fact that I kissed someone or that I kissed him?"

"It's the fact that you're settling." He growled.

"Well who would you rather my first kiss have been?" He smiled a wicked smile.

"Close your eyes, Jules." I was taken aback.


"Just do it." I did. And after a while I felt the warmth of his face moving towards me. Then I felt his lips press against mine. His tongue softly parted my closed lips. We stayed like that for a long while. Then he broke the kiss. "Now I'm contented." He smiled.


"Stop doing that, it tickles." He chuckled.

"You know you like it." He sat behind me with my hair bunched up in one hand. He was kissing my neck. I squirmed.

"Travi, cut it out." He didn't.

"Turn around so I can kiss you."

"You're already kissing me." I replied smartly.

"Jules, you know what I mean." I did. So I turned. He put his hand around the back of my neck and pressed himself against me.

"I thought you were supposed to be kissing me." I teased. He didn't say anything. He just leaned over me, lying me completely flat on the bed. He lay overtop of me but I felt none of his weight. Only then did he kiss me. At first it was soft. That's how it always started. But after a while it became rough, hard. We were both panting for breath but neither one of us were willing to stop. But then we heard the door open.

"What the hell?" We both scrambled into a reasonable position. It was Jo. "What's going on here?" Travis opened his mouth to explain, but found no words. I didn't even dare to speak. There was no excuse I could give. But her eyes were on Travis. "Your little sister? How could you? You're sick!" She picked up the CD player on the desk next to her hand and flung it. He didn't move. "Pack all your stuff and get out! If you ever come back here or you ever touch her again, I will put your ass in jail!"

I grabbed his arm to keep him from moving. He couldn't go! Not Travi! It was bad enough dad was gone, but not Travi. I couldn't lose him. So what if he was my brother? I didn't care. I didn't think it was bad. STOP.

But in the end, it wasn't enough. It didn't matter what I thought or what Travis thought. It didn't matter what made us happy. All that matter was right and wrong. And in the end, I couldn't control it. I couldn't control a thing.