"Gina!" Chris Coulter exclaimed into the phone. "How's my favorite California Girl?" He began to sing, "We wish they all could be Califor—"
Chris let the Beach Boys song die on his lips, but didn't stop smiling. Instead, he leaned against the kitchen counter next to the phone and quietly hummed the tune to himself.
"That's better. I just called to let you know I'm back from Tahoe, safe and sound."
"Good to hear, Princess. Did you have fun?"
"Yeah. The skiing was great and the town is totally cool."
"I'm sure you had fun staying in, too, if you know what I mean."
"What? You think I don't know what you and Brock are up to?"
"Well, yeah ... but ... it's private!"
"I know, I know," Chris said, though he didn't stop grinning. "It's none of my business. But I like teasing you anyway."
"Well, if you're going to be like that, let me talk to Mom."
"She's not here," Chris said. "She's over at David and Beth's."
"The Hugheses'? It's like, what, eleven o'clock there?"
Chris grinned. He was sure that Elizabeth and Beth had simply gotten engrossed in their plans for the new hot tub, but he felt like teasing his daughter a bit more.
"Well," he said, "I've been pretty busy this week, so your mom asked if she could 'borrow' David for a while. She likes his oral skills. Not to mention his d—."
"That's too much information. Um, okay? I mean, it's cool that you don't have a problem with it, but I totally don't need to hear the details."
Chris grinned. It wasn't like Gina didn't know about her parents' sex life in intimate detail. She'd been present at some of their orgies, after all. He was sure that her feigned squeamishness was just to get him to stop teasing her.
"Whatever you say, sweetheart. You know I can't resist my favorite middle daughter."
Gina snorted. "I'll remember that the next time I need money."
"Ha! Go ahead. I'll make sure your mom says no."
While he couldn't see her roll her eyes, Chris was sure he'd accomplished just that. Which meant the teasing had probably gone on long enough.
"I'm glad you're okay and had fun," he said, more serious. "We missed you in Utah, but we had a good time anyway."
"Well ... I'm ... I mean ... it wouldn't've worked. You know, not with Paul there."
Chris sighed. The first couple of days had been rough with Paul and Leah sniping at each other, creating collateral damage for everyone around them. Thankfully they'd worked things out before Elizabeth had to make good on her threat to send Leah home.
"I understand," Chris said, "but he and Leah made up ... eventually."
"They did? Really?"
"Yeah, they did."
"That's cool. Then I definitely need to talk to Leah. Is she there?"
"Yeah, hold on a second, I'll get her."
Chris called out for his youngest daughter. When she didn't answer, he told Gina to hold on a minute and then set the phone down on the counter. He found Leah in the den, watching the eleven o'clock news. Her chemistry book lay on the floor and, given that she was already wearing the long t-shirt she called pajamas, he suspected she wasn't going to pick it up again before going to bed.
"Gina's on the phone."
"She is? Cool!" Leah immediately picked up the den extension. "Hey, how's it going!" She smiled. "Awesome! Um ... hold on a sec." She covered the mouthpiece and stared expectantly at Chris. Her eyes darted toward the door. The one he wasn't moving toward.
He grinned and rolled his eyes. "Right, nobody wants dear old Dad. I get it. I'll just see if there's any pie left."
Leah stuck her tongue out at him, but then smiled and turned back to the phone. He could hear her excited voice as he left.
They've got their own world, he mused. It's hard to believe I'm barely a part of it anymore. He sighed. At least he had pie to look forward to.
Back in the kitchen, Chris cut himself a small slice of pie and then got out the milk. After pouring himself a glass, he settled back against the counter and lifted his fork.
Then noticed the phone.
He'd forgotten to hang up the extension.
Maybe I can't be part of their world, but I could be an observer... He frowned and shook his head. They deserve their privacy. It's not like I'd learn anything I can't already guess.
More out of habit than anything else, he put the phone's receiver to his ear before he returned it to its cradle.
" ... was freezing! I mean, the sex was totally hot, but I wish I'd thought of that before I let him screw me in the snow."
Chris froze. Snow?
Gina laughed. "Yeah, the hot tub is much nicer."
"Duh," Leah said. "We did it there too. And in the shower. The hall. The bedroom. The deck. Pretty much everywhere. Oh, and I shaved for him."
"For real? Like, totally?"
Chris's breath caught. The logical part of him—the mature part—said he should quietly put the phone down and not eavesdrop on his daughters. But the primal part of him wasn't so mature. And what man hadn't wanted to be a fly on the wall when women talked about sex?
"Totally," Leah said. "I knew he'd dig it. And he was so excited when he went down on me. He's pretty good, but not like you or Erin."
"Well," Gina said, "we do have certain advantages."
"Yeah, but we don't have other things. You know? I mean, Paul's dick is totally awesome. I like it so much better than his dad's."
"I know exactly what you're talking about," Gina said. "I mean, David's dick is actually a little too big. Well, too long, I mean. Paul's dick is thicker. But they're both good. And I think it's mostly 'cause of the guys using 'em."
"Exactly! That's why it was so great. I mean, the guys at school are such dorks! You were so lucky, sis. You got laid anytime you wanted."
"Well, yeah," Gina said, "once we moved to Atlanta."
"Like it mattered before then."
"What? Are you jealous? Get your own boyfriend."
"The guys in high school are such ... dweebs!"
"So go visit Paul. It's only a couple of hours from Atlanta to Knoxville."
"I might do that..."
Silence settled into the conversation. Chris checked his breathing and covered the mouthpiece. If the primal part of him was going to win and he was going to keep listening, it wouldn't do to get caught.
"Yeah," Leah continued with a sigh. "I should definitely go see him. I mean, the only other decent guy around is Dad, and you know how he reacts when any of us try anything."
"Well, they let us join the parties," Gina said.
"Not since last year," Leah said, "when Dad almost screwed me during that party game. I practically came on the spot when I felt him sliding into me. But then he stopped when he realized he'd made a mistake."
Chris winced. He'd hoped that Leah hadn't noticed, but clearly she had. And wasn't upset by it, which almost made it worse...
"You could've partied with Erin and Sean... ," Gina said.
"Sean bugs the crap outta me," Leah said. "But he got drunk and passed out one night, so Erin fooled around with Paul and me. That was fun. But Paul wouldn't screw her, even though she wanted him to. He gave some lame excuse, but wouldn't do it."
"He's so straitlaced sometimes." Gina chuckled. "But he's still my goof."
"Your goof?" Leah protested. "Whaddya mean 'your goof'? You dumped him. Besides, what about Brock?"
Gina sighed. "I don't know. I like Brock, a lot, but I'm not sure I'm in love with him, you know?"
"But you went to Tahoe with him!"
"Well, that was mostly 'cause Regan wanted to. She had this big idea about a trip with a bunch of girls from our sorority, but in the end it was just me and Brock and her and her boyfriend."
"Well ... that could still be fun."
"Oh, it was," Gina said. "The skiing was good and we had fun partying."
"Did you ... um... party?" Leah asked. "Together?"
Gina laughed. "Living vicariously, are we?"
"Hey, any way I can! I mean, who knows when Paul's gonna be in Atlanta again?"
"Probably spring break."
"But that's... forever! I need some fantasy material now. So spill!"
Chris rolled his eyes at his youngest daughter's insistence. Leah's pushiness had triggered many a fight with her mom, but her sisters didn't seem to mind as much. Unlike Elizabeth, he tended to indulge his girls, perhaps more than he should have.
"Well," Gina said, "mostly Brock and I played by ourselves. We got naked in the hot tub with Regan and Gary, but then we usually went back to our own rooms."
"Did Gary stare at you? I mean, guys are such goofs about boobs. Even the ones with girlfriends. It's like they've never seen a pair before."
Gina laughed. "Yeah, Gary got a good eyeful. But Brock did too. He kept staring at Regan when he thought I wasn't looking." She chuckled, low in her throat. "Then again, I was playing with him under the water, so sex was kinda on his mind."
"God, I love doing that," Leah said. "I wanted to do that one night when Paul and I were in the hot tub with Mom and Dad, but he didn't seem to be in the mood."
"Really? Paul's usually in the mood."
.... There is more of this story ...