The next morning, Christmas morning, started early in my house, like it always had since Evelyn and I were small children. Not as early as it did back then, when we'd be dragging our parents out of bed by 6 to see what Santa brought us, but 7:30 was still plenty early. Even with my father now gone, it was still Christmas and we knew he would have wanted us to make the best of the day that we could. So the three of us, mom, Evelyn and myself, went downstairs in our robes and slippers and we exchanged gifts like we always had, though our hearts weren't into it.

We agreed not to make a big deal this year, circumstances as they were, so we all exchanged a bunch of small gifts, nothing special or ostentatious like in years past. None of us had been in much of a shopping mood. It was sweet and sad, we sat together watching some corny movie and after, mom made us a big breakfast. She actually could cook a bit when Edina wasn't there, and she always made breakfast on holidays. While we ate, we talked about the following day, when we were going down to dad's old firm for the last time to take the payout on his partnership share. The lawyer we consulted agreed it was our best option, a total payout of just under 1.8 million dollars, split into three equal checks. It was all going into the bank in any case. It was the final disposition of dad's business, his insurance, his investments. It was going to be a bitch of a day.

At 2, we went over to Edina's home and we shared a very nice Christmas dinner with her and Grace and Gus, Alton and Therese. A few friends of theirs stopped by during the afternoon and we met them, everyone treating us as nice as could be. It really was a pleasant day, and it helped lighten our moods considerably.

Grace and I were back as a completely loving couple. Our first Christmas together was completely warm and loving. She had forgiven me in full, for which I was beyond grateful. We cuddled a little or held hands, shared a few small kisses in front of our families like it was no big thing. When it was time to go home, we spent a few minutes in private in her room (door ajar) and we were able to share the kind of kisses we had wanted to share all day.

"I love those kisses, baby" Grace whispered in my ear, rubbing her cheek on mine. "We had better find a few nights to spend alone. Days will do. I want you very much."

"I know what you mean. We might have to check into the motel a few times. I don't know how else we'll get much privacy."

"It's fine with me. Just as long as we have some time together. I still have lingerie I bought in Paris you haven't seen yet" she said with an impish grin.

"What are you doing to me" I moaned. "I wish we could be together tonight."

"Me too, baby. Me too. I love you Henry. So much."

"You know I love you too, honey. More than I can tell you." We kissed a few more times before my mom was calling for me to tie it up. "Before I go, I need to ask you something, honey. This will be our first New Years Eve together, and I'd love to bring you to a party with some friends, or go to one of your friends. But I would rather not leave my mom alone that night. I know Evelyn has a party from her sorority to go to, and she'll be spending the night there. Would you mind if we took mom out to dinner? We can invite your mom too. Just a small, quiet New Years Eve together."

"Henry, I think that would be lovely. You have such a good heart and I just adore you for it."

"Thanks, honey. My sexy, Dirty Girl" I teased. "I love you. And I'll definitely see you tomorrow, in the afternoon. I'll call you when we get home from taking care of my dad's settlement."

She touched my cheek briefly, knowing how sad I still felt at times. "You be strong, baby. Call me tomorrow." One last kiss and I had to go. "I love you, Tiger."

"I love you too, Hot Stuff." It felt good to tease each other like that again. Then I went to thank Edina and join my impatiently waiting mother and sister.

On the way home I told mom Grace and I were going to take her and Edina out for dinner New Years Eve and spend the night with her. Her response was not what I expected.

"Out of the question. You're going to go with your friends. I can manage on my own. I'm not taking away a very special night in your lives, Henry. Evelyn has her party, and you should go to yours, wherever it may be."

"Mom, this time you listen to me" I said forcefully. "You convinced me I need to go away to school. But you can't make me go out if I don't want to. I already talked to Grace about it and we're staying with you. You'll be rid of me in three weeks as it is. I'm not leaving you alone that night."

I was driving, but I could feel her staring at me from the passengers seat. Ev was quiet in the back, watching our battle of wills. I could see her smiling at me from the rear view mirror. I had earned back her respect. "I guess I can't fight with you about this? You're determined to spend the night with your mother instead of your friends?"

"I am. This time I'm putting my foot down."

"You sound like your father. He'd be so proud of you. OK, but I'm taking you to dinner."

"Mom..."

"Quiet. My children do not treat me. And of course, Edina is welcome to join us. She's become my best friend. I barely hear from my other friends. I think I know why, and if that's how they feel, to hell with them." My mom had changed a lot. She was a very different person than she had been not so long ago, and Ev and I were both proud of her.

When we got home, after we all said goodnight, there was a soft knock on my door and Evelyn came into my room in her long pajamas. "Hey sis. Very sexy lingerie you have on" I teased.

"Shut up, jackass." She smiled at me. "Mind if I sit down? I need to talk to you about something."

"Sure, Ev. What's up?"

"I have to ask your advice. I don't know if I can ask mom how she feels about this."

"OK. I'll help if I can, you know that. Anything for you."

"Henry, you know I haven't dated anyone for a few months now. Which is a very strange situation for me. Since a couple of months before dad...." She sniffled a few tears away.

I held her hand and said "Yeah, I guess I kind of noticed, in a distant kind of way. You not dating or having a boyfriend for more than a few weeks is pretty atypical, except for the times you broke up with someone special. No one asked you out in a while?"

"No, I've had offers. I always have offers." I believed that; Evelyn was stunningly beautiful and classy and smart. And now she was personally rich, which made me feel protective of her. "The thing is... I'm scared to say this, Henry. But I think I'm a lesbian."

That floored me. It must have been all over my face. "Close your mouth, brother. Your tonsils are showing." She had tears tracing down her cheeks and her blue eyes were shining. "Well, don't just sit there. Say something."

"Ev.... wow. I wouldn't have suspected it at all. You've always been boy crazy. I mean, I guess I know you're not a virgin, any more than I am."

"Of course not. No details, but I've been sexually active for a few years. But I don't enjoy it. It's a ruse. I have sex with the men I date because it's kind of expected. Word would get around, you know? But I've always been much more attracted to girls, but I couldn't tell anyone. Not mom and dad, not my friends, and definitely not my sisters. I think they would kick me out if I let anyone know. That's just not something they accept."

"Ev....are you certain? Have you really been keeping this to yourself all these years?"

"Yes, Henry. I think I've always felt this way. You asked me a few weeks ago, when you strayed on Grace, if I still loved you. Do you still love me?" I could see she was scared of my possible answer.

"Ev, I adore you. I always will. You're the best sister any guy or girl could want. I'm really lucky. I have four amazing women in my life. My sister, my mother, my second mother, and Grace. I'll always love you, sis." I took her into my arms and she cried tears of relief. After she settled down a little I asked her "Why did you tell me tonight? What brought it out?"

"The way you talked to mom in the car. You're really a man, a good man, and the man of our house. Mom's still the boss, but you're so mature. I heard you talk to her, telling her she couldn't make you go out if you didn't want to, and I knew...well, I hoped...I could come to you with my deepest secret. And I need to ask you one more thing, a favor. Will you help me when I tell mom? I thought I would tell her tomorrow, after we go to dad's firm. I don't want to hold this in any more. Not from her."

"No problem. And I don't think she'll react as bad as you think. Look how she's changed this last year. She accepted Grace and me without any question. She's getting rid of those old crones and their racial crap. I think she'll be shocked, but you're still her daughter and she loves you so much. But I'll be glad to help."

"I told you when you were in the hospital how my friends often complain about their siblings but I never complain about you. I meant it then, and I mean it even more now. You're the best." She kissed my cheek and held me tight.

"Right back at you, Ev. You never bullied me or tried to embarrass me in front of your friends. You always looked out for me when we were kids. I'm very blessed." We sat on my bed, hugging each other, for a long time. We were both blessed. And 40 years later, we're still like best friends. It's always been that way.

The next morning, the day after Christmas , we got dressed in business attire for the meeting. It didn't take long; we had to sign a bunch of papers, waiving our claims on future earnings. We got our checks, almost 600 grand each, and that was that. His name would be off the masthead within days, like he never existed, like he never helped build the firm into one of the biggest and most influential in the state. It was another knife in our hearts.

After lunch, before I called Grace, I took Ev aside and I told her "Let's wait until tomorrow to tell mom, ok? I think we've all had a very tough day today and she needs some peace and quiet. Tomorrow, ok?" I kissed her cheek.

"OK, thanks Henry. I think it's a good idea. I'm pretty raw myself. And I decided I'm not going to that party on New Years Eve. I want to be here with you and mom. And Grace. She's like a sister to me. I know you're kind of young yet, but if some day you ask her to marry you, I'll be almost as happy as you will be." She went to her room to change and I stared after her with love and admiration. I adored her so much.

I called Grace after I changed and after making sure I was doing ok, she told me to come pick her up whenever I was ready. "And plan to keep me out all night. I have a small overnight bag with me. I want to spend the night with you, preferably alone." She had a sexy sound that got my juices flowing.

I picked her up a half hour later, and Grace and I spent the evening with mom and Evelyn and Edina. We all went out to dinner at a small, local bar-b-que joint, real Southern food, comfort food. When we left Grace spoke to her mom privately, telling her she was spending the night with me. Edina was used to that by now, though she still didn't love the idea. It just rubbed her the wrong way, being a church going woman. I also told mom the same. She said "You can spend the night in your room. I'm past objecting to that, Henry. I know you two love each other very much."

"I appreciate it, mom, but we really need to be alone, you know? We're finally back to where we were and we need some time."

"Well, if you're man enough to stand up to me, you're man enough to spend the night with someone you love. Just take us home and go and love each other. Time is precious. I really know that now" she said with a sad smile.

"'Love each other'?" I said with a skeptical smile.

"You know what I mean, Henry. Don't be gross." But she was smiling too.

I dropped Edina off, and then we went to my home to drop off mom and Evelyn, and to get my own overnight bag. I kissed them both goodnight, and Grace and I headed off to be alone for the night. But not in the direction of the cheap motel.

"Henry, you're going the wrong way. Or are you?" Grace asked with a big smile.

"I know where I'm going." We were heading towards the Ashley River. Grace knew where we were going. Back to the Bed and Breakfast we stayed at the night of her birthday.

"Baby, you're too good to me. You spend too much money on me."

"If not with you, where should I spend it? I have money, and I love you and want to share with you. We're going to be in cramped dorm rooms soon enough, maybe we won't have a lot of time to spend together or privacy. Let's enjoy while we can."

We were back at the B&B and I even got us the same room as the last time. We went inside, everything familiar to us. I took Grace in my arms and I said "Think of this as our room, honey. Whenever we come back here, I'll try to get this room for us." She kissed me, a soft and seductive kiss. It made me tingle all over.

"You really make me happy, baby. I never thought I'd meet a man who could do that for me like you do. We're 18 and 19, but I feel like we're in our late 20s, so much more along in our lives, yet still so young. I love being a part of your life, Henry, and I love that you're a part of mine."

We stood there kissing and nibbling playfully. Then Grace asked me "Would you like to see what else I bought in Paris? I think it should be a lot of fun." She giggled in a nervous, girlish way. We were both beyond excited.

"Only if you want to, honey. We have a lot of fun no matter what."

"Yes, but I want to drive you a little crazy. Go get comfy. Pour us a couple of glasses of wine. This won't take long." She kissed me briefly and disappeared behind the bathroom door.

I got busy opening a bottle of white wine I ordered and poured the glasses, then I undressed down to my checked boxers and lit the fire. It created a nice glow of warmth in the room. When I turned around Grace was already on the bed, stretched out in a see through pink baby doll top and matching panties.

"It's about time you turned around, baby. I was beginning to think you forgot I was here." Another giggle, teasing me. I wanted her. I always wanted her.

"You're the little seductress, aren't you. And a very sexy one. You really knew what to buy to get to me."

"That's because I know you so well." She got up onto her knees on the bed, facing me, her legs apart, and she was holding her breasts in her hands, like she was weighing them. "Just like you know me so well. We're perfect for each other."

I climbed onto the bed, on my knees, a few inches away. "I haven't told you how much I love you, honey. Not in the last hour or so."

"You can make it up to me. You know how. But first, hand me my wine please."

I handed Grace her glass, but instead of sipping from it, she dipped her finger, long and delicate, into the amber liquid and took the clinging droplets and rubbed them around her nipple, under the nighty. "Would you like a taste, Nasty Boy? I haven't had my Nasty Boy in a long time." Her left nipple was glistening with the wetness of the wine and the glow of the fire. I couldn't speak; I just bent my head and let my lips suck on her thick, rubbery nipple. "Yes, baby, that's it. Suck on my nipple like there's milk in there." She held my head in her free hand as she sipped her wine and I sipped mine from her body. Grace was a 19 year old seductress going on 40, sexually speaking. I kept sucking greedily.

She applied a drop to the right nipple and I moved my attention there. Grace kept moaning as she kept applying drops of wine to each nipple and I kept following her, moving back and forth on her generous breasts. She gradually leaned back further and further, until her legs moved out from under her and she was on her back and I followed, kissing up to her full lips. My boxers were off as fast as possible, followed by the top of her baby doll. Her breasts were so soft on my chest and I was the one whimpering from desire. My cock was hot on her tummy, and the heat coming from her pussy was seeping through her thin panties. I could feel it on my balls.

I moved down her body like a bullet from a gun, getting between her legs where her sweet honeypot was waiting. "Yes, Nasty Boy. I want to feel that wicked tongue. Oh, yes....so wicked" Grace moaned as I attacked her pussy with my mouth through the skimpy panties. Grace was lifting her hips off the bed and pushing her pussy into my face. I was as eager to devour her as she was to be devoured. My hands went under her and I held her perfect cheeks as I licked away at her flowing juices. I was like a starving man in front of the most delicious meal. Gracie was my meal.

I sucked on her lips through her panties, still holding her to my face and she was squirming uncontrollably. "Eat me, Nasty Boy! Use that tongue. You want to tongue fuck me? Yeah, you do. Shove your hot tongue into my cunt." We were both moaning loud and I pulled her panties aside so I could do what she wanted. My tongue was rolling in and out of my mouth so I could rapidly fuck her as my nose pressed on her clit. I had her juices all over my face from the bridge of my nose down to my neck. all over my cheeks, and I wanted more. I wanted as much as Grace had to share with me I would have eaten her pussy all night if she asked..

She was pulling her nipples with her shoulders on the bed, her back curved so her tummy was arching upwards, and her hips were high in the air. I could see her fingers playing with those dark brown erasers and I could also see her face beyond. It was contorted its paroxysms of orgasmic bliss. In the flickering light of the fire, her face was animated and gorgeous in an indescribable manner. Grace was my muse and my heart. She kept bucking hard into my face, enjoying a number of orgasms big and small. I stayed on my knees licking and sucking away like I was worshiping at her alter. I was wet down to my upper chest.

"No more" she whimpered as she pushed gently away. I eased her ass down to the mattress and I moved back up to kiss her. I kissed her face and shoulder, her neck and her throat. I kissed all over from her breasts to her hairline as she settled down. I was hard as stone, but I could wait.

Grace reached out for my hand and squeezed it gently. "You're really something else, Tiger. I may never come all the way back to earth." She turned over to face me and held my face, still slick with her juices, and she kissed me lovingly. "I love you Henry. In a thousand different ways."

"I love you too, Gracie. I've said that how many thousand times, do you think?"

"Countless. That's ok. I want to hear it countless more times, as many times as you want to say it. As long as I get to say it to you in return. And speaking of 'in return'" she said as she cradled my cock in both her hands, "I owe you big time. Can you just get a towel first? I'm really wet down there; it's a little uncomfortable."

"No problem. That's how my face feels." I kissed her quick and went to the bathroom and got a small hand towel. I wiped my face quickly and brought it to Grace so she could wipe her pussy enough to be comfortable.

"Thank you, baby. Now come here. I want to take care of my sexy man." We were kissing softly, tender kisses that tingled all over. Grace's hand was in my lap and she was gripping me with her strong hand.

"Oh, you know just what I like, don't you, Dirty Girl?" Her thumb was rubbing all around the head of my cock and I was throbbing. "You keep that up I might cum now."

"So go ahead. It's not like I couldn't get you hard and ready all over again. I think I can do it as many times as you like ."

"My god, that's amazing." I was breathing hard and my hips were moving on their own. "Could I cum between your tits, honey? I would love to straddle your chest and...."

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