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Tuesday, May 25


     Reese was working on homework on Tuesday afternoon when Olivia knocked on his door, asking to come in. Unlike his parents’ frustrating habit of knocking a couple times, then immediately entering, Olivia actually showed some respect for her brother’s room. It wasn’t a big deal, but it was something he noticed and was appreciative of. “Come in,” he said. 

     Olivia slowly creeped the door open, entering cautiously. She was baring her teeth, but not in a smile. Either she broke something of mine, or she wants something. Again. A grimace like that is just the adult version of using puppy dog eyes to get what you want. “I… need you to rub my back,” she said. He chuckled to himself, his head falling into his hands. I knew it. She always ‘needs’ something. “I know I know I know I know,” she immediately spurted out, “I feel like I keep asking things of you.” That’s because you are… “Although in my defense, you never seem bothered by it, I feel like I haven’t even heard you say the word ‘no’ in days, for any reason.” Reese blushed a bit at this. She was probably right. “But I was helping Jordan move out of her dorm earlier today—“

     “I thought you said everyone had to clear out last week?” Reese interrupted. “Sorry,” he added, realizing his mistake, “you can finish.”

     “That’s OK,” she replied. “Yeah, we had to clear out, but Jordan went to the University of Portland, so…” Reese nodded in understanding. He had always had a bit of a thing for Olivia’s friend. I guess it doesn’t make a difference knowing she was only a few miles away. It’s not like I would’ve hung out with her or anything if I had known she was here. “Anyways, I did something to my shoulder when I was grabbing a heavy-ish box off a shelf.” She rotated her right arm several times, feeling out where it had hurt. “It’s mostly fine now, but I’d really appreciate it if you could rub my shoulders for a bit. It’s not serious enough that I need to go to a chiropractor or a spa or something, but it’d still make me feel a lot better,” she said, walking over to Reese as she stretched her arm out a few more times.

     “Don’t you, like, know how to lift and carry things? Like don’t they teach that kinda stuff in class?” 

     Olivia sighed, “No, EP majors don’t take a class on ‘how to lift things,’” she answered, rolling her eyes. “But yes, obviously I know how to complete strenuous activities correctly. Sometimes stuff just happens though.” She breathed in deeply, taking one last step towards her brother, who was now staring up at her. He hesitated, but he had to admit, she seemed to have actually had a good reason this time. “I’ll make it worth your while,” she cooed, smirking at her brother as an idea formed in her head.

     Reese’s head turned to the side. He was almost ready to agree anyways. “What do you mean?”

     “I’ll bring Jordan over on Friday. We might even go swimming or something.”

     Reese’s heart started racing, but he did his best to keep his cool. “Why… would I…” he slowly started to respond, not being very good at faking disinterest in her offer.

     “I know you like her. Whenever she’d come over to hang out when I was in high school, you’d always act, like, giddy, or nervous, and you’d suddenly be interested in hanging out around us.”

     “I was in middle school, I was probably just acting weird because I was weird.”

     “Fine,” she sighed. “Maybe you really don’t care, you look like you’re lying so I’ll invite her over anyways. But either way, my back could honestly use some massaging, it actually hurts.”

     Reese was secretly glad that she was still gonna invite Jordan over, despite his embarrassment and unwillingness to admit that he thought she was hot. So the least he could do was at least agree to help her out. He looked at her for a few more seconds, before a smile crept onto his face. He had to admit, there was a part of him that felt good about helping his sister out this much. And even if it felt like there was a bit too much give and not enough take, their relationship was definitely more amicable than it was when they were younger. “OK,” he relented. “Sure. I’ll help.” He scooted his chair back and stood up, hands on his hips as he looked up to his big sister. “Where do you wanna do it?”

     “We can do it in your room if you’re fine with that,” she replied, heading over to his bed before waiting for his response. She climbed onto it, sitting criss cross at the head of his bed, facing his window.

     “Yeah, that’s fine.” He went over and joined her, taking his spot behind her. First he sat on his knees, but after quickly realizing that wouldn’t be comfortable in the long-term, he switched to trying to sit criss cross like her. This felt better, but his legs weren’t super flexible and his sitting felt awkward, so he tried uncrossing his legs and just sitting with his legs spread out on either side of his sister.

     “Whatcha doin’ back there?” she mused, hearing him rustling about but unable to see why. She saw him lay out his skinny (compared to hers) little legs on either side of him, and assumed he was trying to get comfortable. She tried scooting back a few inches, and accidentally went too far, bumping into him and nearly sitting on his lap. “Shit, sorry,” she said, quickly rustling back forward. Reese took a deep breath, startled by his sister’s back bumping against his face before almost sitting on him. Even sitting down, he felt slightly unnerved by her superior size.

     “It’s OK, I was just figuring out the best way to sit.” He brought his legs back in, deciding he’d just stick it out with sitting criss cross. He reached out, slightly above his head, and grabbed ahold of Olivia’s shoulders, proceeding to do his best job of what he imagined a good massage would feel like. She started to breathe slower, enjoying the rub as he worked his way lower, down, across her back. Even if he didn’t know what he was doing, he still felt better than nothing. As the time passed, she helped him along, guiding him on how best to massage her while she gazed at the warm, orange sunset out the window.

     After a pleasant 10 minutes, Olivia’s back was feeling better, and she thanked her brother for helping her out. “Ugh, now I just need these muscles to soak,” she murmured, getting up as she stretched her arms and arched her back. She got on the ground and took on what Reese assumed was some kind of yoga position, testing out her arms (and legs) after the massage. “Hey,” she groaned, curving her back again so that she could look up at Reese, “can you turn the bath on for me? Just until it’s on hot.” 

     I thought you felt bad about making me do all this stuff, and now you can’t even walk to the other room for a few seconds? But he nodded, his body reacting kindly despite his grumbling head, “Sure.”

     “And plug the drain when the water’s ready,” she added just after he left to head to the bathroom. Their tub was big compared to most, but still normal enough that he wondered how she was able to comfortably fit in it. He mentally shrugged as the he felt the water arrive at a warm, but not scalding temperature under his fingers, then plugged the drain and left to head downstairs while Olivia finished up her stretches on his bedroom floor.

*    *    *    *    *    *

     Just like the past few nights, Reese was downstairs later that night, watching the season finale to one of his favorite shows, when Olivia came down after her bath. Wrapped in a light pink robe, she trotted up next to him, taking a seat right beside him on the couch. She leaned into him, playfully resting her head on top of his. “Thank you for the massage today,” she said. “And for the bath,” she quickly added, her thankfulness causing a smile to rise out of him.

     “No problem.” She gave him one more thankful nudge, then scooched over to the other end of the couch, promptly pulling her pinkish bare feet up onto his lap, as was becoming tradition. They were still slightly warm, and obviously clean.

     “Can you rub my feet again like yesterday? It’d be the cherry on top of your massage from earlier, and obviously they’re nice and clean for you.” The way she added those last two words made it sound like she had cleaned them specifically with Reese in mind, with the expectation that he’d give her a foot rub if they were fresh and presentable. “You can smell them if you don’t believe me,” she giggled, and he rolled his eyes.

     “No, I saw you take the bath, I believe you,” he replied sarcastically. 

     “You saw me bathing?!” She feigned mock surprise and disgust, a smile on the edge of her lips.

     “Whatever,” he chuckled. “Sure.” He took ahold of her feet once more, and began to knead his thumbs into her big, soft soles. He could faintly smell an air of peaches and cream, but he wasn’t sure if that was her feet specifically or just the rest of her body in general. Either way, he was grateful that if he was gonna rub his sister’s feet, they were at least clean for him, and he spent the last few minutes of the episode with Olivia as they ended their day together.


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