Previously with the Less family, siblings Worth and Hope grew to Elder and happily continued to live as husband and wife. Hope’s teenage daughter Heart was aware of their incestuous relationship, but vowed to keep that skeleton in the closet to preserve the family’s happiness. However, once Hope’s youngest daughter Dream became a teenager, she began to capitalize on the family’s secrets as a way to intimidate her sister Heart.
Warnings: language, partial nudity, implied sex, incest
Heart approached adulthood with a feeling of relief.
She had been looking forward to it, even though she deeply regretted not going to college. Simply being grown and working full time meant more time out of the house and away from her sister, at least. Also, once Heart passed her birthday, she would be older than her sister then. Not just older but older.
Adult. Legal. Able to do things Dream could not.
But again, there was that pang of regret. Why must it be that way? Why must Dream revel in being such a thorn in her older sister’s side?
Heart had no answer, but she knew simply growing older wouldn’t prevent Dream from finding ways to get under her skin. Dream always found a way.
As time passed, Heart realized becoming an adult didn’t magically change the world. Aside from no longer having to be in school, Heart’s life really wasn’t much different.
Her job continued to be the same... just more tiring with longer hours.
And the entire family still tried to sit down to dinner together. That is, when Dream wasn’t out on a date with her boyfriend, Eric.
Worth: “Is Dream out with that paperboy again?”
Hope: “Yes, she is. That’s the fourth time this week.”
Worth: “She must be getting really serious about him. What do you think, Heart?”
Heart: “I have no idea, Daddy. Excuse me.” She rose from the table, leaving her dinner unfinished.
Hope shared a look with Worth, and Heart knew what they were thinking. Why wasn’t Heart going out with anyone? Where was the special person in Heart’s life?
Heart shut the door to her room and sat down miserably on her bed. She was an adult now, true... but she’d never been able to get past losing her teenage love to her sister. She wondered if she ever would.
On a Saturday night several months later, Heart was quietly reading in the living room, and was surprised to see her sister walk in, wearing pajamas and obviously not going anywhere that night.
Heart: “Aren’t you feeling okay, Dream?”
Dream: “Yes, I’m fine. Why do you care?"
Heart: “It’s just weird that you’re home on a Saturday night, that’s all. Don’t you have a date with Eric?”
Dream: “Oh, didn’t you hear? He fucking went away to college. Some people are so goddamned lucky.”
“Not me, though! I’ll be stuck in this fucking hellhole of a town, doing the same shitty job, for the same crap wages until the day I fucking die.” *flails dramatically*
Heart: *tries to sound innocent* “Uh-huh. So, you say Eric’s in college now? Um... what school did he go to?”
Dream: *glares* “Why the hell does that matter?”
“I’m just making conversation, Dream.”
Dream: *still glaring* “Right. Well, you’re out of luck. I have no fucking idea what school he went to. He didn’t fucking tell me.”
Heart was incredulous. “He didn’t tell you? He just... left?”
“Yes, Genius. He just left. I don’t blame him. He had a chance to get out of this shithole and he took it and he didn’t fucking look back. I’d do the same goddamn thing, Heart.”
Heart: “That didn’t upset you?”
Dream: “No it didn’t fucking upset me, Heart! I told you! He was nothing anyway. Just a goddamn paperboy. Fuck! Now that he’s gone I can finally start to date some other guys. Better ones.”
Dream: *shrugs* “It’s not like I fucking loved him or anything, Heart. I never did.”
Heart: “What? Never? But you... you knew I wanted to date him, Dream! You knew, and you still...”
Dream: “Yeah? So what? It’s not my fucking fault you didn’t ever go find anybody else. You could have, you know. I wasn’t stopping you.”
“Hey, where the fuck are you going, Heart?”
Heart: “I’m going to bed.”
Dream: "Fine. Fuck you, too."
Heart didn’t know why she should be so surprised to learn her sister hadn’t really cared about Eric. It hadn’t been Eric that Dream had wanted at all.
All she had wanted was to keep Heart from being happy.
Also, Heart didn’t believe for one minute that Dream would have let her find another boyfriend, even if she’d wanted to. No matter who Heart had wanted to date, Dream would have ruined it, somehow.
How could anyone be so cruel?
Heart couldn’t even begin to understand it, but in that moment she realized she and Dream could never have the sister relationship Heart had always imagined. They would never be confidants, or even friends.
As long as Dream had the ability to destroy the happiness of the entire family in one fell swoop, Heart was at her sister’s mercy. She felt so trapped.
And she realized that was exactly how Dream wanted her to feel.
Hope and Worth were closer than they had ever been. The passing years only served to strengthen their unique bond, and they couldn’t imagine life being any different for them.
They weren't blind to the ongoing conflict between their two girls, but they were growing old and tired, and were beginning to seek quiet enjoyment of what life they had left. To that end, they mostly kept to each other’s company, and were usually found during the day relaxing and talking together.
That was just the way Heart wanted it for them. She didn’t have anything but good memories of the parenting she’d received at their hands, and now Heart felt it was her turn to give something back and make them more comfortable in their old age.
Heart: “No, I’ll get it, Mom. You sit back down.”
Eric: “Hi... Heart? Is that you?”
Heart: “Eric? Wow, hi! How are you?”
Eric: “I’m fantastic. Hey, is Dream there? I felt like shit not telling her I was leaving, but everything happened so fast. You know that scholarship I thought I didn’t win? Well, it was just delayed for some reason, and as soon as I found out I got it, I had to go enroll before the deadline or lose it. So I had to pack up and leave that night.”
Eric: “Anyway, I sort of left Dream hanging, and I wanted to tell her I was sorry and let her know I made it to Sim State okay.”
Heart: “Oh. Well, she’s... um... she’s..."
Heart lowered her voice. “She’s not here.”
Eric: “What? She’s not working today is she?"
Heart: “No. She, um... she had a date.”
“A date? Like a... a real date?”
Heart: “Yes. She said... um... well, she said that it was okay you left, because then she’d get to start dating other guys, and I guess she...”
Eric: “She said that?”
Heart: “Yes. I’m sorry, Eric.”
“No, it’s my fault.” *sighs* “But you know what, Heart? It’s okay. Like she said... maybe we saw too much of each other in high school. Maybe it’s good we’re apart now, so we can both start dating other people.”
Eric: “In fact, what are you doing Saturday night, Heart? We never did get to go out on that date we planned back in high school.”
Heart: “Oh! Saturday? Well, I’m not doing anything, Eric.”
Eric: “You are now. I’ll see you at five o’clock, okay?”
Heart: *thinking* Oh my God how am I going to hide this from Dream?
“Um... sure. Sure, that sounds great.”
Dream: “Who was that?”
Heart: “Um... telemarketer.”
Dream: “Well, what did you buy?”
Dream: “You said “That sounds great,” so what the hell did you buy?”
Heart: “Oh. Um... a subscription to a magazine.”
Dream: “Another one? Goddamn! We’ve got about six of them lying around here already that nobody ever reads! Just more shit to clutter up the place..." *walks away grumbling.*
As it turned out, it wasn’t difficult for Heart to hide her date with Eric from her sister. Dream was still at work when he arrived, and Heart scuttled out to his car before her mother or Worth could ask any questions.
Although there weren’t many places to visit in town, Heart discovered being with Eric could make even Ed’s Barbeque Shack seem like the best place in the world.
They soon rediscovered their old spark, and Eric found himself wondering how he had ever let Dream entice him away from Heart. He didn’t occur to him that since Heart had completely backed off once Dream showed an interest, she had simply fallen off his radar.
Heart had never forgotten how she’d felt about Eric. She’d been so thrilled when he’d asked her out that time back in high school, and had been devastated when Dream had interfered.
Yet now... now he was here. He was with her.
Eric: “You know, it’s too bad we didn’t ever go out in high school, Heart. I've had a really fun time tonight.”
Heart: “Thank you, Eric. I’ve had a great time, too.”
Eric: “Gods, you’re beautiful, Heart. Your hair is so pretty.”
Heart: “Really? You think so? Dream told me you like black hair better than brown... um...” She looked away, embarrassed. “Well, she said that you told her... um...”
Eric: “She's wrong. I actually like black and brown hair exactly the same... but I will tell you one thing that always turned me off about your sister. She’s too damn bony. I like women to have something to hold onto, you know? Well, not that I’ve had that many opportunities, but...”
Heart: “Hmm. I’m not sure I should take that as a compliment.”
Eric: “Oh, it is... trust me on that...”
Heart and Eric began to see each other regularly, although since Heart still didn't trust Dream at all, she kept it very secret. Usually Eric came over on Heart’s days off while Dream was working or at school, and the two of them spent many lazy summer days together on the beach,
...followed, in due time, by cozy autumn days in bed.
Heart hadn’t hesitated... much... the first time Eric suggested they take their romance to the next level. She had always thought she would be married before she had sex, but sometimes life didn’t always work out as planned.
She wasn’t sure when Eric would begin to think about marriage. He still had three years of college left, and was considering graduate school after that. Marriage was probably the last thing on his mind.
But Heart could be with him now, and be close to him now... and for now she would make that enough.
Continued in Part II