Author’s note: Sorry it’s taken a little while to get this chapter out. I’ve got huge amounts written but it takes some work to get it in the right shape. I’m publishing two new chapters now to say sorry 🙂 x

Any character featuring in a sexual situation in this story is over the age of 18.


The next morning, I’m trying to get ready for a run before anybody else gets up. Ted got an emergency callout at the crack of dawn, and needing the money, he’d had to say yes. With way too many apologies – really, I would manage – he’d crept out of my room just after 6am. I had rolled over for another hour of very much needed sleep, planning to set off at 7.30 or so to run into town for when the shops open.

After creeping downstairs in my shorts and training top, and eating three pieces of toast and peanut butter, I have my bag packed, keys in hand, and muddy trainers dangling by the laces from the other. I’m *this* close to getting out the door when Mum appears, already dressed and with her hair wrapped up in a lurid scarf.

“Claire, I need you today, had you forgotten?”

Shit, yes I had. “Oh yes, the garage.” I’d promised to help clear it so Dad had space to work from home while the house was so full. “I was just going to run into town, I need to pick up some things.”

“Well surely it can wait honey? We really need to get this underway.”

“Uhh, not really Mum. I need to go.”

“What’s so important? Can’t you go tomorrow? Your father has a big presentation this afternoon and we need to clear the space for him before then.”

“I know but, I need-” shit. I can’t say what I really need. There’s no legitimate reason for needing the morning after pill when you’ve only seen your family for the last five weeks. “Well, I need period stuff. I’m almost out.”

“Oh that’s it? Silly girl, you just have to ask. I bought absolutely loads when we had to lockdown. Come on, I’ll get you some.”

*Fuck*. *Fuuuuuuuuck*. This is not good. I’m really trapped now by my own lie, and precious minutes are ticking away. Perhaps I shouldn’t, after all, have given Ted the all clear to creampie me as much as he wanted last night.

Nothing I can do without exposing the secret. Maybe I can blitz the garage now and head out when it’s finished…

But when I see the state of it, I fear that’s hopeless. Piles and piles of stuff that needs shelving, sorting, chucking away. Still, my only option is to try. Already dressed for physical activity, I take the dust mask Mum’s offering and get stuck in.

As I work, my mind has plenty of room to wander and worry. Calculating hours since insemination, half-remembered guidelines for use of emergency contraception, days since last period – over and over and over and *over*! It’s more exhausting than the clearing. A couple of hours in and the progress is good but it still doesn’t look hopeful for finishing early enough. Spalding’s an eight mile run from the house, could be a bit less on the roads but I don’t have a deathwish, no matter how dire the circumstances. I haven’t broken a ten minute mile since starting the running again this Spring, and even if I manage it today I won’t be able to keep it up for long. So I’m looking at nearly two hours to get there at a comfortable pace. Need to be away before 3.00pm otherwise it will be a very hard run to get there before the shops close. At the rate we’re going, it might just about be doable. At least we just dug out granny’s old radio and are now vibing to Magic FM. Singing and dancing helps to calm my anxious brain…

I heave the last box of crap into Dad’s trailer for tomorrow’s dump run, and look at the time. 3.26pm. Wash hands, bag and trainers on, and off without a word to Mum. Need to maintain sub-11 minute miles the whole way which I know I used to be capable of but haven’t tried this year for a distance like this. But avoiding pregnancy is a powerful motivator.

It’s a good run. I make it in 91 minutes, which knackers me, but gets me to town a few minutes before 5pm and *just* ahead of the independent pharmacist’s closing time… But when I get there the door’s shut, locked, and the shutters are down. I’m panting as I pound the door, almost bent double trying to catch my breath.

A passerby just says, “it’s closed love. Mr Sheen tested positive last week and is in hospital. All his staff are isolating. Boots is only a few minutes away though.”

Every British teenager’s first supplier of embarrassment-laden condoms, the palace of misery that is a provincial branch of Boots really fails me this time.

“I need some emergency contraception please.” Thank fuck for that, the pharmacist is a woman. I do *not* want to have this conversation with a man.

“Oh dear. Sorry sweetie we are out.”

“You’re kidding. Nothing at all?”

“We don’t usually stock many and there wasn’t any in our delivery last week. Supply chain for almost everything is really difficult right now.”

“Shit I really need this.” I’m feeling a bit panicky.

“You taksim üniversiteli escort could try Sheens?”

“Closed, they got a positive virus test.”

“Oh… I can call through to Boots in Boston or Peterborough to ask if they have stock? Bigger stores close at 8 so you should have time…”

On the verge of wailing. “I don’t have a car. I had to run here!”

“Can a family member drive you?”

“I uh, can’t let them know I need this.”

“Oh. I’m sorry. Well I can put a specific order in for this week’s delivery but even if they can supply it, that will arrive on Thursday… you could still take it then but I have to warn you that it’s pushing it for the effective window.”

Two more days… “Well I don’t have a choice. Ok I’ll try that.”

“Ok. If you leave your phone number I’ll let you know tomorrow if we can order any from the distribution centre.”

“That’s so great. Thank you! I’ll also need some condoms please.”

The pharmacist looks visibly uncomfortable. “I’m really sorry, we sold our last box this afternoon. It’s another thing we can’t keep in stock at the moment, everyone’s buying them. You should be able to get those somewhere else though…”

“Yeah I guess I’ll try. Thank you. Sorry to turn up and be all desperate.”

“It’s really fine. I understand. I hope things turn out ok.”

After leaving the shop, I walk to the churchyard and manage to get to a large shady tree before bursting into tears. Slumping down against it with my head in my hands, I look miserably out at the evening sunshine over the town. So much emotion! And it’s all because of the outburst of pent up lust from last night. Such a vicious counterbalance to the joy we felt in each others’ arms, after so long and so much increasing attraction.

The plan’s all gone to shit. Two days to wait for a pill, if it will even be available then. But also maybe it’s irrelevant because my cycle’s still fucked up from the hormones of the previous contraception. It could of course also be irrelevant because I ovulated this morning and my reproductive organs are merrily getting on with their day. Not for the first time, and joining in with millions of women, I curse the vagaries of our reproduction. A time like this, a month or so off birth control, is exactly when you *need* the data to estimate what’s going on inside you!

Prior to this moment I haven’t even considered the incest baby angle as there was no question in my mind of a pregnancy even being allowed to happen. Suddenly I’m beset by anxieties over bringing an unhealthy, unfortunate creature into the world and in addition to making myself a pariah, having all the challenges of taking care of a disabled child for the rest of my life.

A wave of defeatism prevails. There’s really nothing more I can do. I’ll come back if the pharmacist calls me, I’ll take whatever she can give. Hopefully it’s all unnecessary anyway because the unknowable timings of my dangerous days and the unexpected presence of my brother’s sperm in my uterus are not aligned. It feels pretty shockingly irresponsible to essentially conclude that my only option is to cross my fingers and hope for the best, but thanks to the near collapse of our healthcare system any of the next line of emergency options are simply out of reach to me right now. I don’t yet allow myself to countenance the A-word, knowing that ghastly final option is there, but feeling an instinctive protectiveness even over a theoretical, unwanted, complicated child.

My tears are slowing, breathing gradually returning to normal. Hands that clutched at my sweaty hair begin to relax, and can brush away the remaining salty water on my cheeks. A sniffle, and wipe with the back of my hand. Almost in control again.

I reach for my small backpack, tossed to the ground by my feet, and retrieve some hand sanitiser. I chastise myself: should have done this as soon as I left Boots. The chill of the alcohol evaporating is a strange contrast to the warm evening.

I realise that I’m really hungry. Through the morning and afternoon clearing the garage I barely stopped to eat, only paused long enough to wolf down some biscuits and a cup of tea that mum brought out around 1, and my intended pre-run breakfast was by now almost 12 hours ago. I’d packed a couple of apples and a fruit bar before getting collared by mum, so I dig them out and start to chomp on them, doing my best to ignore the chemical taste left by the residue on my fingers.

Now that my blood sugar’s normalising a bit, and after some large sips from my Camelbak, I’m feeling a bit more prepared to make a plan for how to proceed.

Supermarkets stay open late, and would usually be fine for buying condoms. No idea if they’ll be subject to the same panic buying shortages though. And there’s always a huge queue to get in at the moment. Any corner shop will have them, but probably will be charging five times the price to take advantage of the tophane escort disrupted spot market. My economist brain has to concede that it’s an entirely rational thing for them to do in the circumstances, even if my broke student brain can’t accept paying fifteen quid for three shitty random brand condoms.

Where else? Pub toilets? I wrinkle my nose at the thought and remember that the pubs are all shut anyway. Petrol station… that’s probably viable. If I head to one of the big name ones they won’t be gouging on the price (much) and are likely to be less of an obvious place to go for the condom-hungry masses of the East Midlands. I know there’s an Esso station a short way off my route home, so that’s an option. There’s also a BP to the east of town that isn’t far, so I’ll try there first.

Before I go, I think about what to say to Teddy. Given how little control we have over the situation, I ponder whether it’s useful to tell him about the delay in getting the pill I need. I don’t want him to worry about having taken the job this morning, to feel that it’s his fault I got here late and possibly missed out on getting one of the last in stock. At the same time though we’re in this together now, and were he a normal boyfriend I know I’d be leaning on him hard. Is it fair to *me* to be dealing with this alone?

Hang on, did I just think of Teddy as a *boyfriend*…?



Spun out by the mental leap I made earlier, I am walking back through town, deep in thought.

I’d hit paydirt at the first petrol station and was able to buy a decent supply of reputable and reasonably intimate-feel condoms for an only slightly inflated price. That should set us up for a while. However, my brain has been tumbling the whole time over my feelings about the situation. That careless slip of the internal monologue has me worried that I’m not compartmentalising this as well as I thought I could. And even if *I’m* doing that ok, what about him? Is this highly irregular lockdown arrangement going to lead to some ugly strings developing? Has it already? *I thought I was a pro at this.*

Casting my thoughts back to last night, I’d one hundred percent say that we eclipsed any emotional intimacy that I’ve ever had with Charlie in our very successfully FWB-only relationship. Hell, we shot straight past the high points of my last serious relationship. Other than the obvious fact that *I shouldn’t have been fucking my brother*, I feel like I let myself get carried away in all sorts of other ways, that further belie my efforts to convince myself that we’re doing this for the short term and only out of necessity.

Teddy’s always been my little brother. Not far off in age, but enough for it to be me who should know better. Am I just ruining his life by leading him down this path? A month ago he was just a heartbroken lad who would probably move on before long and have a lovely time with the bevy of Lincolnshire lasses who’d inevitably throw themselves at him. Instead in that time I’ve turned him into a sister-fucker and possibly made him a father as well. By any reasonable standard I think I’d be judged as a bad influence.

And yet…

We both clearly wanted it. We are both adults. Teddy’s more worldly and in so many ways wiser than I am these days, having until very recently been financially self-sufficient and having ever had a relationship last more than a half year. I’m sure I’ve had more sex with strangers and weirdos than he has, but that just makes me a slapper, not an oracle of good relationship knowledge…

Thoughts like this are plaguing me for the whole walk across town. I’m so distracted that it takes the orange-clad person in front of me to literally wave her hand in my face before I realise someone is trying to get my attention.

I look up, and it’s Jessie Phipps, a girl from the year below who I used to be on the hockey team with. We were pretty good mates, once upon a time, before I finished my A levels and went off to Manchester. I know from Facebook that she’s spent most of the two years since finishing school abroad, working at dive centres in Jordan and the Caribbean. I had no idea she was home, and obviously recently so, as she’s tanned a shade of almond brown that’s quite impossible to achieve in Britain. She’s grown her hair long again, and I can see a couple of new tattoos peeking out from under her crop top, but otherwise it’s the same old Jessie: a little shorter than me with an enviable shape and outrageous boobs. The two years of swimming and diving every day have only improved on her hockey player’s athletic physique.

“Holy shit Claire it’s you! Took you long enough to notice me,” a throaty chuckle cracks her rich alto voice. “It’s so good to see you! How are you keeping?”

I manage a smile, shelving the turmoil in my brain. “Hey Jess, I’m ok. Lockdown with the family’s been pretty rubbish. Have been missing the freedom of being away from home.”

“Tell me about it. I’ve topkapı escort only been back a week and it’s awful. Been living on the beach so long anything will seem like a cage though probably.”

We walk slowly along, her turning will be coming up soon and I’m unwilling to give up this precious piece of social interaction too soon. We swap news of other school friends, who’s married, who’s expecting, who’s in prison… She even tells me about Jack Blandford who is in intensive care with the virus. Poor little Jack who was my first kiss, whose heart I broke the week after when I said I wouldn’t go to the cinema with him.

It’s sobering to hear of a close, albeit old, acquaintance being hit so bad by the virus. It’s the first person I’ve really known to come down with it in a bad way. I’ve not seen Jack for probably five years or so, having gone to different colleges, and even when still at the same school we’d not been close due to our history, but he was a sweet lad who never hurt anyone and certainly didn’t deserve this. Jess and I resolve to send his older brother a message that hopefully he’d be able to pass on when Jack wakes up.

For another ten minutes we walk very slowly through town, catching up on our own lives a bit and generally enjoying having some social contact for the first time in weeks. Before long, however, I can’t reasonably delay any more, and we have to part ways. We exchange numbers and plan to meet if and when it’s allowed again. We do the awkward elbow bump thing and she turns away towards her parents’ home on the north side of town.

It’s now past 7 so running will have me home after 9. I don’t think I can beast myself to do it as quickly as I did on the way here, so I hopefully call Ted to see if he’s finished work or if he’s at home but doesn’t mind driving out to pick me up. Fortunately he’s available, driving back from near Lincoln, and will pass town in about 20 minutes. We plan where to meet, leaving me time to buy some fruit at the greengrocer, including the first tasty strawberries I’ve seen this season. Still very hungry, I eat almost half the punnet and a banana while sitting on the verge and waiting for the sight of Teddy’s van.

By the time he arrives, I’m once again jittery with anticipation at the thought of seeing him. Memories of last night burst in my brain, making parts of me shiver and others burn up. Is it going to be weird? What should I say to him? Should I kiss him? If I do, will anyone see us? Spalding’s not large, but neither of us have lived here properly for a few years… the chance of being recognised is pretty small… Or should I *not* kiss him? Haven’t I been telling myself that I need to regain some control over myself and try to cool it with him?

Of course when the van pulls up I immediately jump to my feet, lean in through the open window and do my best to stick my tongue down his throat. For all my nervousness and anxiety when he’s not around, my brain or my body (or both) know exactly what they want to do when he *is*.

We’re bombing down the country lanes towards home and I find myself, for reasons I cannot explain, attempting to downplay the issue of failing to obtain emergency contraception. I suddenly seem to be able to assume that they *will* call me tomorrow and say that they have it on order and that Thursday will be the day I take it, instead of just *might* call me and if not, I have no alternative supply arranged. I seem also to be able to breezily declare that taking it three days after sex instead of the next day actually doesn’t make such a difference after all. Whether I’m doing this to reassure him or me is a question that doesn’t even occur to me. In fact I’m chattering away as though everything’s perfectly under control and it’s entirely normal to be discussing this with my brother.

For his part, he’s probably struggling to focus on what I’m saying as well as the road, *and* my treacherous hand keeps straying to his thigh and sneaking inwards. In fact, he slaps it away more than a couple of times, eventually quite firmly telling me to knock it off as crashing on these narrow roads would be very bad. I pout in response but obediently sit on my hands nevertheless.

Striving to find something to occupy myself that isn’t lustful thoughts, I begin to relate all the news that was discussed with Jess, as well as summarising her situation. He sort of grunts, I assume in the affirmative, when I ask if he remembers her, and seems moderately interested in her exploits as a dive instructor. Eventually I run out of steam and quite abruptly turn the tables.

“So anyway, how was your day?”

He glances at me, a little confused by my hyperactive tone, and briefly, professionally outlines the problem faced by his client and why it took until the evening to resolve. Something about rust and pressure and a cracked widget – I don’t know, it’s meaningless to me. I tell him I mainly want to know how he’s feeling, is he tired? We didn’t get much sleep and I was worried about him going to work on an empty stomach this morning. He smiles at my concern and reaches over to squeeze my thigh.

“Really, I’m ok. I was much more worried about leaving you to deal with today by yourself.” He pauses. And then that queer look of concern returns for a moment, “I’m still not sure it was the right thing to do.”



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