Interlude. Brothers discuss the fantasy state.

"You've obviously noticed something strange going on today," I said.

He hesitated before nodding. "Yeah."

"Enjoying it? And feeling pretty disgusted with yourself for enjoying it?"

He nodded. "Yeah. Although I don't know how bad I should feel about it anyway. Is any of this real?"

"I don't know. That's exactly what I've been wondering." It didn't surprise me that Ted wasn't feeling very guilty. I was clearly coping with my guilt, and I'd also been the most introspective and most conscientious brother. Not that Ted was half as self-absorbed as Anthony. Where I was always questioning my moral compass, Ted was completely confident in his, and no one was sure how much of one Anthony really had. That was why I was on my way to becoming a university professor while Ted was a proud lieutenant in the army.

"The fuck could have caused it?" Ted asked.

Perhaps I should have been surprised that he'd stopped to think that much about it instead of devoting all his energy to figuring out how he was going to add the rest of the women in the family to his list. But for all that Ted wasn't given to questioning whether what he was doing was right, he was more predisposed to thinking about solving problems than a lot of people gave him credit for. "Hell if I know."

"That's your answer? Come on, professor. Haven't you got any tentative hypotheses or whatever?"

I shook my head. Truth was, I hadn't thought much about it. I guess because I had a scientific mind, and it told me the explanation for this wasn't likely to be natural.

"Okay. Me either. But one thing I feel pretty sure of. It's got to do with the wedding, and that's when it'll end," Ted said.

"How do you know that?"

He shrugged. "It just makes sense. What could have created a charged atmosphere of palpable sexual tension besides the first wedding in the family?"

On a symbolic level, yes, it did make sense. That wasn't exactly what passed for causality where I came from, but it was better than anything I had so far. "I suppose I can buy that. Should we be worried? Should we do something about it?"

Ted looked at me like I had just told him I'd recently become a Red Sox fan. "What should we do about it? I don't know about you, but what I plan to do is enjoy the fucking hell out of it. I feel like I'm in a living wet dream."

I chuckled and clinked my beer against his. "Fair point. It just seems weird, like some kind of bad movie that would be on Sci Fi late at night. It seems like there should be some discredited academic or perhaps shunned wise woman we should be consulting, you know?"

Ted put a hand on my shoulder. "Dude, you're over-thinking things, as usual. This is more like a movie that would be on skin-emax late at night where no one ever questions the ridiculous plots; they just fuck. Frankly, I don't want to know how to fix it. If I bump into an old crazy lady who no one listens to but who's obviously the only one who knows what's going on, I'll ask her how to make it last."

This wasn't going anywhere. I could obviously see where he was coming from, and I fully intended to continue taking advantage of the situation no matter how it might make me feel later, but I couldn't silence the rationalist voice in my head that kept saying "this ain't right". But clearly that was something I'd have to tackle on my own. "Hey, it's not like I'm hating it. Don't worry too much about that."

"Aaall-right," he said, clinking his bottle against mine again. "So what happened to you? You were home alone with mom, weren't you, you fuck?" He shook his head in the sort of disapproval that really implied he thought it was too good to be true. "I can't believe the fucking body on her today. Where do you find tits and ass that juicy on a woman with that size waist?"

I laughed. "Couldn't agree more. Yeah, I was home alone with mom. We decorated for the wed-"

"Bull-fucking-shit. Don't lie to me, man," Ted said. "What do you think, I'm an idiot? Or were you just feeling too guilty to do anything?"

I held out

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