Broken-record time: Almost all of my writing is based, to some degree, on real people and / or events in my life. This one is no exception, but it's about 99% fiction.
There's a lot (I think) of character development, and some explicit sex; but this is not designed to be a stroke story. It's intended to be about loving relationships, both sexual and nonsexual, within and between generations, and healthy, renewable family bonds.
Also: after looking at the finished product, I must say I had not planned for the story to be as long as it turned out. It took on a life of its own, and I refused to shortchange it. It may be too long for some readers; the ending leaves a lot for the reader to infer, and I have faith my readers will fill in the gaps correctly.
Sex and love are serendipitous — the really good stuff happens when we aren't looking.
So it was with Rebecca and me.
I was married, twenty years ago, to a woman named Rachel. She presented her virginity to me on our wedding night. She was demure and proper before we wed; afterward, she was uninhibited. We made love at the drop of a panty, any time and almost anywhere. Our love produced a daughter three years into our marriage, a golden-haired little stunner we named Bonnie.
Bonnie doesn't really remember her mother. Rachel awoke in the middle of the night, some eight years ago. She sat up, said, "I feel really funny..." and sank back into her pillow as if she were asleep. I was about half out of it, but I knew something wasn't right when I tried to rouse her to tell me what was wrong (or if I had been dreaming). She was unreachable. I turned on the light, and saw she was turning bluish. I call 911, but it was already way too late. She had suffered an aneurysm, and was probably dead before she finished speaking.
I soldiered on, a single dad with a little daughter to rear. I did the best I could on my own, but we lived in the burbs and I worked downtown. I couldn't fulfill my obligations to work and Bonnie, and live where we did, so we moved into a nice apartment downtown. That allowed me to carry on.
All went well for a few years. Bonnie became a second edition of her mother, a model-quality little girl.
One evening about five years ago, right after dinner, I heard some noise outside our apartment door. I opened the door and noticed some boxes in the doorway across the hall. I took them for moving boxes, based on what was printed on them. As I was examining them, the door opened and a young woman grabbed a box. She seemed a little startled to see me.
"I'm sorry," I said, " I was just about to conclude someone was moving in."
"That's me," she said.
"I live over here," I said, pointing to my door. "My manners are gone," I stammered. "My name is Jeff. May I give you a hand?"
She hesitated, and then, "Okay, sure. This one's going to be a beast," she said, pointing to the largest of them.
At that moment, my door opened behind us. Bonnie came out with her book-bag in hand. "Hey, Daddo, you mind if I..." Her voice trailed off as she saw us standing in the neighbor's doorway, grunting over what was in fact a very heavy box.
"Here, I'll hold the door," Bonnie announced, jumping over the box, into the apartment, and pulling the door open as wide as it would go. We were able to get the box in easily enough.
The neighbor stood up and wiped her hands on her pants, offering it to me, then to Bonnie. "I'm Rebecca Benton."
"Hi, Rebecca," I said.
"Nice to meet you, Ms Benton. I'm Bonnie," Bonnie replied.
"Hello, Bonnie. Please call me Rebecca," said Rebecca.
"Well, I dunno ... Daddo sort of has a thing about me calling adults by their first names," Bonnie answered, shooting me a sly glance.
"If she wishes to be known as Rebecca, then Rebecca it is," I said, and both smiled. "So what was it you wanted to know if I minded?"
Bonnie did a double take, and said, "Oh, yeah, Mindy wants to know if I can come up and work on our HE project. I'll finish up the dishes when I get home..."
"7-8-9," I replied. "And don't sweat the dishes. I can get those."
"Thanks, Daddo," she said, her face breaking into a huge grin. "Very nice to meet you, Ms ... I mean, Rebecca," she said; and with that she grabbed her book-bag and headed down the hall to the elevators.
"Such energy!" Rebecca said, laughing a little. "Nice manners, too. What's 7-8-9? Or do you mind my asking?"
I chuckled. "It means, 'I want you home by seven, so be home by eight, and nine at the latest.'" Rebecca looked puzzled. "It just means don't be out too late. It's a private thing between us."
Rebecca said, "I'm sorry, I'm being rude. Please sit."
We both sat down, and she asked, "You trust her to go out like that? My folks would never have let me go out on a school night. No criticism intended," she added hastily.
"None inferred," I smiled. "She's just going three floors up, to work on a Home Ec project with her friend. They're great kids. She'll be home before eight, I imagine."
"You give her plenty of rope. You must trust her a lot," she observed.
"Yes," I said, and I felt the smile fading. "She's that rarest of creatures, a no-nonsense free spirit. I just don't want to crush that in her. She's so much like her mother ... Well, I don't mean to wax melancholy."
"So where's Mom? If you don't mind my asking," Rebecca asked.
"She died some years ago. I doubt Bonnie has any memories of her at all."
Rebecca murmured some words of condolence, and we lapsed into silence. "I should go," I said, after a moment. I stood and made for the door. She rose and followed me.
"Well, I appreciate the assistance. Perhaps I can return the favor sometime," she said, sounding as though she meant it. I winked and grinned, and got a grin in return.
I saw her from time to time after that, in the hallway, or at the grocery store. We exchanged pleasantries, and even had a few brief conversations.
Then the clock stepped in and set other things in motion.
I was doing the laundry one day, and noticed some dark red spots on Bonnie's underwear. Well, I thought, it's about that time. It struck me in that moment that she had been a little less outgoing for a week or so. Time to bite the bullet and prepare for "the talk."
The next morning at breakfast, I said, "So, is there anything in particular that's bothering you?"
"Not really," she grunted.
"Anything we need to talk about?"
"No!" she snapped.
I was silent for a moment. "You know, Bonnie, this is a time when changes occur. Girls' bodies..."
"I don't wanna hear about this!" she cried, and put her face in her hands. She was really distressed.
I put my hand on her elbow. She shook it violently away.
Another few moments of silence elapsed. "You know, Bonnie, we can talk about these things. I am Daddo, remember?"
She looked up, thoroughly wretched. "I'm sorry, I just can't."
"Is it because it's me, or because I'm a guy?" I asked.
"Yes," she replied.
I thought for a moment. "Okay," I said, and got up. I began to put the dishes away.
She sprang up and grabbed me in a huge hug. "I'm sorry, Daddo, I just don't know what to do."
I hugged her back and kissed the top of her head. "Well, I do. You need to get ready for school." I spun her around and swatted her bum. "Move, lady," I commanded.
She laughed as she complied, more relieved at the temporary return to normalcy than anything else, I suspect. I dropped her off at her school and went on to work. I formulated a plan I hoped would work.
That evening, she ran up to Mindy's again for some other homework deal. As soon as she was gone I walked across the hall and tapped on Rebecca's door.
She opened it, and said, "Jeff! How are you?"
"Well," I began, " I have a problem, and I kind of need your help."
"Come on in," she said. We both sat on her sofa.
"What can I do for you?" she asked earnestly.
"Well," I began, "it's about sex."
Her eyes widened, and before she could say anything else I held up my hand and said, "It's Bonnie. She's about to start her period, I think, and she needs to have ... you know ... that talk."
Rebecca regarded me for a moment. "So, why don't you just talk to her?
I shook my head. "I can't. I mean, I can, but she doesn't want to talk about it with me. I know they talk about the mechanics at school, but I want her to know the whole story. I could force her to listen, I guess; but, our relationship has always been so firmly based on trust, I don't want to ... impose my will, I guess is what I'm trying to say."
She was silent for a moment. "Look," I said, "if you don't want to, I'll find another way. It's just that she likes you, and you'd probably do a great job..."
Rebecca smiled. "Okay," she said, "I'll do it. Just fill in the parameters."
I thought for a moment. "The parameters are whatever she wants to know." I was silent for a moment. "Rebecca," I continued, "this is my baby. I don't want her to get hurt. I want her to have all the information she needs."
Rebecca pursed her lips. "How far should I go?"
I shook my head. "I don't care. Just answer whatever she wants to know, no matter how detailed or explicit the conversation gets, I just don't care. Well, okay, within reason. All I can say is, use your best judgment."
She nodded sagely. "How about tomorrow evening?"
The next day was Friday; I could always find something important to have to do. I told her so.
And so it was done.
.... There is more of this story ...