Zach sipped on his scotch and sighed. He had been dreading his daughter Danielle’s 14th birthday for months. Not for the reasons most fathers did; he wasn’t worried about the music she was starting to listen to, or the fact that she was getting older and more independent. Even her ‘hanging out with friends’ slowly starting to look a lot more like double dates didn’t bother him.
“Honey,” his wife Olivia’s voice called softly from the kitchen. “You’ve been hiding in there all day. Go mingle with the guests.” The tone of her voice was understanding but he knew she was right. The guests had no idea what was on his mind. Most of them anyway.
He made small talk with a few of Dani’s friend’s dads and his own parents and hoped that nobody noticed him avoiding his in-laws. Even chatting with his daughter made him a little uncomfortable though he knew he couldn’t avoid her.
She was wearing a tight white spaghetti strap tank top with a black shear vest over top. He had tried not to notice but especially now was very aware of how her short, thin, athletic figure was starting to get some serious curves. She had tan skin and long light brown hair just like her mother.
Finally it was time to open presents and Zach melted into the back of the room with another glass of scotch. He hoped no one was counting. Dani opened and promptly freaked out over a pair of concert tickets, more coolly received some clothes, and finally got the phone she’d been yammering about for months. Overall it seemed a very successful birthday. He noticed his wife having a long conversation with her father, Gerald, downed the rest of his drink and retired upstairs for the evening. His daughter was too busy putting new apps on her phone to notice him missing.
A couple hours later after all the guests except for Dani’s closest friends had left Olivia came up to the bedroom. She had a sympathetic look on her face as she sat behind her husband and started rubbing his shoulders.
“I know today is rough for you,” she said, resting her head against his. “But there’s something we really need to talk about.”
‘There’s something we really need to talk about.’ ‘There’s something we really need to talk about.’ The word echoed in Zach’s head. They were the words that Olivia had used many years ago, just before the thing they talked about had set Zach’s life on its current course.
“There’s something we really need to talk about” a much younger Oliva told a much younger Zach. They were only twenty years old and their relationship was just starting to get serious. He had asked her if they were exclusive. It wasn’t the answer he had hoped for, but he continued listening. “I really like you. Like, really, really like you. I could see us having a future together; it’s the only reason I’m willing to tell you about this part of my life.”
Zach’s mind raced. There couldn’t be another guy she was dating. They spent so much time together he would know about it. Did she have a child from when she was a teenager? Did she have some medical condition? Whatever it was Zach couldn’t think of anything that would make him stop being in to Olivia. He hadn’t told her yet but he had already decided he was in love.
“I probably should wait to tell you, because it’s ... risky for me. But I care about you, and I respect and trust you enough that even if you can’t handle it you’ll be willing to let me go about my life without causing me any problems.”
“Of course,” Zach said. “Whatever it is, I’m sure we can work through it.” Olivia forced a smile; she was starting to get nervous.
“The short version is, in my family, the women are submissive to the men. Sexually I mean.”
“I’ve, uh, noticed,” Zach stammered, trying to figure out what the big deal was, “you know, you wanting me to take the lead and everything.” Olivia shook her head.
“No, in my family, all the women are sexually submissive. To all of the men. In my family.”
In his head Zach went through every potential way to parse those thoughts until he hit on the correct interpretation. He nearly fainted.
“So you’re telling me you fucked your dad?” he asked, his voice half confused and half angry. Olivia took a deep breath.
“My dad and I make love, yes. My brother, uncles, cousins and I do as well, but not as often, and when my grandfather was alive we did too.”
Zach’s jaw dropped. He waited to see if she was kidding, if this was some sort of perverted test. Olivia just searched his face for a reaction. She decided to put the last bit of information out in the open.
“If we dated, this would continue. If we started a family and had children, I would want our daughter to continue the lifestyle.”
“You WANT this?” Zach asked incredulously. “I thought this was like a cry for help or something!”
“My family, and I, feel that it’s a healthy, loving aspect of family life. If you can’t accept it then I’m disappointed but understand.” Olivia suddenly looked upset. She had no clue how Zach would react. She didn’t want to lose him, but it was too late to change anything now.
Zach asked for some time to think things through, which Olivia granted him. A few days passed, then a week, then a month. Zach had met her parents, and the mental image of her under her father revolted him. Her uncles, her grandfather, everything just disgusted him. He felt a profound emptiness in his life without her though. Being 20 he didn’t give too much thought to his hypothetical children in their hypothetical future, and once he decided he could get over knowing that she was intimate with her family he gave her a call.
They hadn’t spoken at all during the month he had been contemplating their relationship but as soon as he called it went right back to normal. They hung out just like the old times, making jokes and laughing when only each other knew the reasons. After reassuring himself that this was still the woman he loved he decided there was only one way for him to begin to make peace with her reality. He had to know about it.
“Are you sure you want to hear about it?” Olivia asked a very drunk Zach after he’d requested more information one night. “Things are really great between us and I don’t want to freak you out.”
“If we’re going to have a future together I want to know how your situation works.” Olivia couldn’t help but agree. “How often are you ... with your family.”
“Well, dad and I get together pretty much every time I go home. If I go home for a week we probably sleep together two or three times.”
“Do you like it?”
“With dad I do. With my uncles I don’t dislike it, but I don’t have the same intimacy I have with him. Or with you.” Zach’s stomach churned at the idea of being in a sexual category with her father.
“What would happen if you didn’t want to do it? Or if you had decided when it first started that you didn’t want to?”
“If I decided to stop now then there’s nothing they could do. I’m an adult. I’m never going to decide that though. If I’d not wanted to do it when I was younger it wouldn’t have been an option though.”
“What would they have done?” Olivia was quiet for a few moments. “Olivia, I’m trying to wrap my head around how all this works. I need you to be open with me.”
“That’s fair,” she said after a little more silence. “My sister...”
“Wait, Becca is involved in this too?” Zach asked. He hadn’t even considered that Olivia’s sister, older by two years, was part of situation.
“Of course she is. Anyway, when dad first approached her she was ... reluctant. She hadn’t had any exposure to the lifestyle until she was 14 and ready to, well, join the family. I didn’t really know what was going on at the time but I knew she was more or less locked in her room and my brother dad and grandpa would go in there for a few hours at a time. I’d hear her screaming and crying at first, then mostly just crying.”
“They were raping her,” Zach said to no one in particular.
“Literally, yes. Afterward they would hold her and tell her how much they loved her though. Be extremely kind and nice toward her. After a few weeks she just sort of ... clicked. She understood that they were doing it because they loved her.”
Weeks. Zach shook his head but didn’t say anything. That was enough information for one night.
As the months went on Zach started to normalize her situation. The rational part of his brain knew it was horrible, but he loved Olivia and was willing to overlook whatever he had to to keep her. That Christmas when he watched her go off to a back bedroom at her parent’s house with an uncle she hadn’t seen for a while it hardly phased him. When all the men in the room smiled at him knowingly he just nodded. Olivia didn’t have the sultry good looks and curves that her sister Becca had but she did have an air of innocence about her to go along with a pretty face and fit body. She was very popular at these parties.
By the time they were engaged even the act of walking in on her giving her father head didn’t phase him. He even paused for a moment to watch, not just from shock, as his wife continued to bob her head up and down on her father all the while knowing her husband had just walked in. He passed up on an offer of Olivia’s mother or sister to ‘make up for how weird it was, ‘ which pleased Olivia but worried her a bit as well. She expected him to buy in to the family’s customs once they were married.
.... There is more of this story ...