A Father’s Love

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As a prelude, this is, to my best knowledge, the events that occurred four years ago. Since I don’t have an eidetic memory most of the conversations are close approximations.

My wife and I had a very loving marriage in the beginning, and through that we have two wonderful kids. Samantha and Daniel. We had the typical suburban lifestyle; decent house in the suburbs, 2 cars, dogs, etc. Basically, idyllic for all intents and purposes. I was 31 when our daughter was born, making me 49 when all this happened. Looking back, I’m still not sure how exactly this came about.

When we were new parents we weren’t sure about when to put Sam into school. She was in a pre-school program, but there was a little confusion about when to put her into regular public school. She entered into Kindergarten a year after most of the other kids, which meant she was a year older than most of her friends. To compound matters, she inherited my size. I’m 6’5, 260lbs. I’m not a small guy by any stretch of the imagination, towering over most other people. Sam was always in the top 99 percentile for both height and weight. She was never a chubby kid, but she was solid. I frequently joked that I had the linebacker and the quarterback, as my son was always in the middle of size and weight.

The kids went through school as most kids do. Sam received good grades, frequently making the AB Honor Roll. Dan was a little more gifted in that regard and anything less than straight A’s made him nearly depressed. We never really had to discipline them, and for the most part we had a very normal, happy family.

The winter of my daughter’s Junior year in High School, my mom passed away. My mom and daughter were very close, and her passing devastated Sam. As a result, her grades suffered, primarily in history. So much so that she was required to attend the dreaded Summer School.

My wife, God love her, did not take this news well. She never had to go to summer school so the fact that one of her kids had to was inconceivable. I admit there was a summer where I had to endure it, so I just accepted it and moved on.

Part of what infuriated my wife so much was that it put a crimp in her summer vacation plans. Every summer she likes to drive 16 hours and visit her brother and his family for a couple of weeks. The thought of long car trips makes me want to gouge my eyes out, and I usually have to work some (if not all) of that time, giving me a decent excuse to stay home. It didn’t always work. Samantha having to go to school meant that the vacation was in jeopardy. However, I assured her that I would be willing to sacrifice my “enjoyment” of the trip to stay at home with Samantha and make sure she went to school, studied, etc. Oh poor, pitiful me!

Samantha argued that she was now 18 (June birthday), and could stay by herself. While that held some merit, it was one less excuse I had to stay behind so I staunchly refused. So in the middle of July, my wife and son packed up the minivan and headed out for their long vacation.

It was Thursday night, and work and school were tomorrow. We had a quick dinner of fast food then home for bed.

I never sleep well the first night I’m by myself, so I just tossed and turned. My wife called around midnight to let me know they had stopped for the night at a hotel we had arranged, which put my mind at ease but it was still weird being alone. So when the alarm went off at 6am, I was already up for the most part. I got ready and went into the kitchen for some breakfast. Sam was already downstairs, eating some cereal and watching some inane program on the TV. I sat down with my bagel and coffee and we chatted briefly about what we were doing that day and that evening.

Sam had several friends, but she was always a little bit of an outsider. Because of her size and age, she never really fit in with most of her other classmates. When she was younger she had some friends in the next grade, but that changed in middle school when it was uncool to have friends who were underclassmen. She’d occasionally go out on Friday nights to the mall or to a movie, but it was more often than not she’d be at home with us. Tonight wasn’t looking to be any different.

Work was work. That’s about all I can say about it. I came home that evening and Sam was already at home, playing a video game on the computer in the living room. We had a rule that the kids weren’t going to have personal computers in their room; a byproduct of watching Law and Order SVU too many times.

“Hi honey! I’m home!” I called out in my best Ward Cleaver impersonation

“Hi dad.” She called out, engrossed in her game

“How was school?”

“Boring.” Her eyes never left the screen

“Uh huh. Whatcha want for dinner?”

“I dunno.” The usual answer

“Pizza?”

“Sure!” That got her attention. Her mom doesn’t like delivery pizza. I thrive on it.

“Cool. I’ll order it.”

I went into the bedroom, changed into my after-work attire (jeans and tshirt), and called the pizza delivery place. 30 minutes as usual. Heading back into the living room, güvenilir bahis I flopped down onto the sofa and turned on the TV. Sam got bored with her game and sat down on the other end of the sofa.

“Mom called.” She said, “Made it Uncle Jay’s house. Said she tried to call your office but you didn’t answer.”

“Probably in a meeting or three.” I said, nodding. I reached for the phone and gave my wife a quick call.

“Hey honey! Heard you made it there okay?”

“Yeah, it was a good trip. Dan was helpful.”

“Oh? Let him drive some?”

“A little. Interstates are still a little intimidating.”

“Mmhmm. Doing anything tonight?”

“Just chatting and maybe some cards. What about you guys?”

“Ordered pizza. Maybe watch a movie?” Said, looking at Sam and shrugging. Sam shrugged back.

“I figured you two would order pizza.”

“Yep! Well, y’all have a good time up there. Tell everyone I said hi and sorry we couldn’t make it this time.”

“Uh huh. I’m sure you’re devastated.” She teased

“I am! You know I don’t sleep well when you’re not here.”

“We’ll be home before you know it.”

“Okay. Have fun. Talk to you soon. Love you.

“Love you. Tell Sam I said be good! Bye.”

I hung up and turned to Sam “Mom says she loves you.”

“Uh huh.” She grumbled. “I heard what she said.”

“Well… She said it in her own way.” I said chuckling

“Whatever.”

“Hey. What’s wrong?”

“Nothing…”

“Uh huh. Talk to me.”

“Just… mom. Being, ya know, mom.” I’ve heard this before.

Sam and her mom didn’t always get along. We had the type of family where it was daddy’s girl and mommy’s boy. Dan and I got along okay, but nothing like how he and my wife got along. Sam and I got along great, but she and my wife would often clash. It’s been that way since she was 6 really.

“Yeah. I know. But she does love you, you know that.”

“Wouldn’t hurt to hear it once and a while.” She mumbled.

“Yeah. But you know I love you.” I said, grabbing her knee and squeezing. One thing about Samantha: she is VERY ticklish. My squeeze elicited a squeal and quick curing of her knees underneath her. Before I could press the tickling assault, the doorbell rang. Pizza was here.

“Saved by bell, literally.” I laughed as I got up to answer the door. Sam just pretend glared at me.

I took the box to the kitchen and opened it up and called Sam to dinner.

“Yo! Get your butt in here! Dinner’s ready!”

“Just my butt?” the standard response

“Sure. Unless the rest of you wants to eat too.”

I got out the plates, pulled a couple of slices for each of us, and grabbed beer for myself. I headed towards the living room to enjoy dinner while watching TV

“Mom doesn’t like us eating in the living room.” She reminded me

“Yeah. Mom ain’t here.” I grinned and headed into the living room.

I sat down and began eating. Sam followed suit shortly after.

“Can I ask you a question?” she asked

“Aside from the one you just asked?”

“Ha ha. Anyway, why do you like beer?”

“I dunno.” I thought about it. “I just do. Why?”

“Some of the other guys at school were talking about it. Getting a case and going to the lake.”

“That happens. We’ve talked about alcohol before. Beer is alcoholic, but not incredibly so. Not like whiskey or scotch. Never liked those. Some people say they can taste fruity undertones or some other crap. To me, they always taste like pain.” She chuckled at that

“What does beer taste like?”

“You’ve never tried it? Seriously? I thought you’d’ve at least had a sip at a friend’s house or behind my back or something.”

“Nope.” She shrugged

“Well hell. It’s Friday night. Go get one.”

“Really!?” she was both shocked and surprised I had suggested it

“Why not. Just don’t tell your mother.”

She nodded and went into the kitchen to get a bottle. She came back a few minutes later with the bottle and the opener and handed both to me.

“Don’t want to break it.” I popped the lid off and handed the bottle back to her

“To first times.” I said, holding my bottle up and clinked it against hers. We both took a swig.

“GAH! Tastes like shit!” She exclaimed, then covered her mouth when she realized she had cussed in front of me. “sorry” she said meekly. I just chuckled.

“It’s an acquired taste.” I said, taking another drink. “You don’t have to drink any more if you don’t want to.”

“We’ll see.” She said, putting the beer down and taking a swig of her soda.

“How was school?” I asked, changing the subject

“Didn’t you already ask me that?”

“Yeah, but you really didn’t answer.”

“We’ve been talking about the 18th century. Like I said: boring.”

“I can’t really argue with that.” I nodded in agreement

“Plus it gets annoying when the boys giggle talking about the sex back then.”

“Lots of it I take it?” I said, trying not to choke on my beer

“Some, yeah. They were pretty inbred back then.”

“Still are türkçe bahis if you ask me. Look at ears on the prince!” that made her laugh

“So why did they do it?”

“What? Incest?”

“Yeah.”

“I’m not a history scholar, but I think it was to keep power in the family.”

“I guess. Is that why it’s against the law nowadays?”

“Well, it’s always been a little against the law, depending on where you go. Some places more than others.”

“Why does anyone care anyway?”

I thought about it for moment. “I’d say to keep children safe mainly, and to keep genetic problems from spreading down the line.”

“I guess.”

That was pretty much the end of the conversation. We watched TV, mostly in silence, occasionally commenting on something we saw. From the corner of my eye, I noticed that she would occasionally reach down and try the beer again, make a face and put it back. I took note that the faces were less extreme and the beer wouldn’t stay on the table for as long. Eventually, she upended the bottle and drained the last of it.

“Finished!” she exclaimed triumphantly

“Bravo! No more though.”

“Yeah.” She shook her head. “I’m gonna get changed for bed.”

She got up slowly and steadied herself holding onto the back of the sofa. She took a deep breath which seemed to clear her head and headed up the stairs to her room. A few minutes later she came down, wearing an old tshirt of mine and flannel shorts. I had taken the plates back to the kitchen and cleaned up while she was changing. She sat on the sofa beside me, leaning against me.

“Are you drunk?” I asked teasingly

“No! I think they call it buzzed.”

“Well, you’re not slurring or anything. Don’t need to throw up?”

“Dad! No!”

“Just making sure. Here, I got you some water. Drink.”

“You didn’t spike it, did you?”

“Oh ha ha. It’s just water.”

Laying against me, I could see the outline of her breasts pushing against the shirt. She didn’t have giant breasts, but they were a health B-cup. I had to remind myself not to stare too long so I tried to focus on the TV. The evening news came on, and the top story was about some Republican fighting an abortion law. While I may be against abortion itself, I believe that’s up for a woman to decide. Some disagree, and the usual exceptions came up: Rape and Incest.

“What bullshit.” I muttered

“What is?” my daughter asked through a yawn

“Just what they’re saying. As if the two can’t be exclusive.”

“Whatdaya mean?”

“Kinda goes back to what we were talking about earlier. Rape is rape. Incest is incest. The two aren’t always the same thing. They’re forgetting that lots of incest occurs that’s consensual. Though I think it would be funny to see a couple go up hand-in-hand and say ‘HI, we’re brother and sister. The condom broke, whoops! Can we get an abortion?’ If it’s between two, consenting adults, who cares?”

“Huh. Never thought of it like that before. I doesn’t gross you out?”

“Love is hard to define, ya know? It’s really only society that says what’s gross and what’s not.”

We watched a little more TV, until Sam jerked beside me as she almost fell asleep.

“Okay. That’s bed time for me. ‘Night dad.”

“‘Night.” I said, still watching the TV.

What I didn’t see was she leaned in to kiss me on the cheek. I turned my head, and her lips and mine halfway met. Kind of like a kiss that was half-cheek, half-lip. Her eyes flew open wide and for a second we were frozen there. She pulled back, turning beet red.

“OhmyGodI’msosorry.” She sputtered

“It’s okay baby. Accidents happen.” I explained. “Now get to bed.”

She scurried up the stairs and into her room. I tried to watch TV, but damn she had soft lips! Briefly, my mind drifted to the fantasy world, images of her kissing me flashing through my head. I licked my lips where hers had been. I could detect a faint sweetness there, probably from a lip balm or something. I put the thoughts out of my mind and turned off the TV. I looked at the clock, but it was way too early for bed. I was bored with the TV and didn’t feel like getting on the computer. I decided to get a shower and get in bed.

As the hot water drenched me, I kept thinking about the almost kiss. A few seconds either way and it would have been an innocent peck on the cheek or nothing at all. It was timed almost perfectly. I finished my shower, threw my tshirt and some clean boxers on, and got into bed. Not really sleepy, I opened a book and started reading.

I woke up with a start, realizing I had dozed off after a few pages. I had been out a couple of hours. I got up and went into the living room to shut the house down. The lights were off, but a glow was coming from the computer. Samantha was on, typing away with hard keystrokes.

“Bitch.” I heard her whisper. “God damn bitch.”

“Harsh.” I said, scaring her half to death

“GAH! Jeez dad!” she spun around in the chair, her hand clutching her chest over her heart

“Sorry. What’s going on?”

“Nothing…”

“You güvenilir bahis siteleri sure?”

“Just… stupid people at school.”

“Oh?”

“Yeah. Saying I’m dumb for being in summer school.” Her voice quivered slightly

“Ah. Assholes.”

“Yeah. Assholes.” She almost whispered

“Turn it off. Don’t feed the trolls, as they say. Nothing you say or type will help the situation. People like that feed on reaction. The more you react, the happier they are. It’s better than sex for them.”

“I guess.”

“Shut it down and come talk to me.”

“I just wanna lay down.”

“Then come lay down and talk to me.”

I went back into the bedroom and lay down. She came in a second later. I couldn’t help but notice that she had obviously been in bed before, as she had removed her shorts. I could see her pale yellow panties poking out under her shirt. She shuffled beside the bed and climbed in under the covers beside me. I laid back and she curled up beside me.

“So what brought it on?”

“Jessica. She’s turned into a complete bitch!”

“I gather.”

“I’m getting ready for bed when I get a text saying I need to check the net. I get on and see her saying…things.”

“What things?”

“-“

“You can tell me anything baby. You know that.”

“That I’m stupid. That I sleep around. I don’t dad, I swear!”

“I know baby, I know. Why would she say that?”

“She broke up with her boyfriend, and he and I were talking the other day. She says I made him break up with her so I could fu- uh, sleep with him.”

I kissed her on the head, “We’re adults here. You can say what you feel baby.”

“Thanks. I’m just so… I dunno.. Hurt? Angry?”

“All of the above?”

“Yeah. And.. I dunno.. Alone.”

“Alone?”

“Dad, I’m not stupid. I haven’t had a real boyfriend..ever. The only guys I’ve talked with are more interested in these –” she pointed to her chest ” — and getting off than anything else. And the ones who aren’t would rather play video games. And if a girl dares to play video games she gets shunned and ridiculed for not being able to play! I mean.. GAH! What the fuck?!” she finished her tirade. I just held her close, not able to do anything else. I could feel her chest pressing against my side, my mind more aware of them since she pointed them out. They were soft and firm at the same time.

“What’s wrong with me dad?”

If that’s not one of the worst things a father can hear, I’m not sure is. That one line is burned into my brain and will be until the day I die. The hopelessness in her voice. The despair.

“Not a damn thing baby girl. Fuck anyone who says otherwise.”

She let out a little chuckle “Then I really will be labeled a slut.”

“Let me tell you something. You’re a smart, beautiful young lady. You’ve got a good head on your shoulders. You’ve got more future ahead of you than any ten of them, so don’t you worry about a thing they say. And one day, in the future, when they’re cleaning your house and changing your oil, you’ll briefly remember all this, and then forget about them completely.”

“I’m not beautiful, dad. I’m fat.”

“Oh bullshit. You are not fat.” In truth she wasn’t. She wasn’t toothpick skinny, but I’ve seen the plus-sized girls at her school and she wasn’t among them at all.

“There are girls skinnier than me.”

“Maybe, but so what? Any one of them looks like they could stab someone with their hip bones. Break at the slightest wind.” She chuckled. “Hell, if one of ’em farts she flies twenty feet in the air!”

“Dad!” she laughed, poking me.

“What? It’s true. I bet they call Mexican restaurants ‘flight school’!” She started laughing harder

“Yeah, maybe. Then how come they all have boyfriends?”

“They’re easy and they put out on the first date?”

“Heh. Yeah. Still.”

I rolled onto my side, facing her. I put my arm around her and pulled her close.

“I love you. Never forget that. And if they can’t see the wonderful person you are, then they aren’t worth your time.”

“I love you too dad. Thanks.”

She leaned in and gave me a kiss on the cheek. I leaned in and kissed her cheek back. She smiled a little then kissed my nose. I kissed her nose back. Sam looked at me, her eyes going up and down my face. She hesitated for a moment, then leaned in and kissed my lips. She leaned back, looking down as if she realized she had crossed a line. I could feel her trembling in my arms, scared of what I might do. I’m not sure if she was scared I would be angry or scared if I wouldn’t be. Maybe both.

I leaned in and kissed her lips. I smiled at her as I reached over her and turned off the light.

“Do you want me to go back to my room?” she asked quietly when the room was dark

“What do you want?”

“Can I stay?”

I put my arm back around her as an answer and pulled her close to me. My heart was pounding in my chest as my eyes slowly adjusted to the low light. I felt her hand brush my cheek, then her lips were on mine again. This time it wasn’t a quick peck, but a full sensual kiss. I returned it, my hand caressing her back as I pulled her against me. Her breasts pressed against my chest, and I could barely feel her nipples poking at me through the clothes we were both wearing.

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