"Trey is such a BASTARD!" my daughter Amanda cried through cascading tears. Her slender shoulders were heaving, her breath catching pitifully between sobs. I did my best to comfort her with an empathetic hug. She buried her face against my shoulder, wiping tears on my cotton shirt.
"Dammit, Barb!" I thought silently to myself, "I need you NOW more than EVER!"
My wife, Barb, passed away last April. I've been trying for ten months to handle the role of mother and father, all rolled into one. And frankly, I've been failing miserably.
Amanda and I have each been through months of intensive therapy, trying to learn to cope with our loss. Amanda's even been on anti-depressants. She feels responsible for her mother's death. Barb died while texting and driving. Amanda was the recipient of Barb's last few texts before the fatal accident.
"You're right, Amanda – Trey's a prick," I agreed. I had never liked her boyfriend of the past two years, but try telling that to a starry-eyed teenager. Now Trey had finally done me the favor of being the one to end their relationship.
"It's like – it's like he NEVER loved me!" Amanda sobbed, her shoulders heaving once again.
"Sweetheart, you're a WONDERFUL young woman. You're smart, you're funny, and you're beautiful. He doesn't deserve you."
Amanda looked up into my eyes, tears still streaming down her face. "You – you really think so?" she asked. I could tell that she genuinely had doubts.
"Sweetie, it's not just my fatherly duty to tell you that. I've never lied to you, and I never will. I truly believe every word."
"Oh, DAD," she said, her voice cracking. She began crying even harder, and hugged me even closer. "But – but – there's something I haven't told you. I haven't said WHY Trey broke up with me."
"Whatever it is, he's a jerk. But – and here I'll again be truthful – I'm GLAD he broke up with you. I know it hurts you, and I'm sorry for your pain, but you're better off without him."
"But Trey's been such a good friend – especially since Mom died. I don't know how I would have made it this far without him."
She had a good point there, one I wasn't about to try to rebut. "Sweetie, I'm glad he's helped you. I just think you're ready to move on. He was there for a season, but a new season is about to begin."
Her eyes held mine, her expression veiled. Her sobs had diminished to sniffles.
"But, Dad, there's more that I haven't told you. Trey wasn't just my friend – he was my lover."
"Shit!" I thought to myself, "I NEED you, Barb!" Talking about losing her virginity was something any 18-year-old girl should be able to discuss with her mother. As a man – and more specifically as a dad – my job was to protect her, and I'd obviously failed.
"Well, honey," I asked, "how long ago did this happen?"
"Last Saturday night..."
"Oh, my god!" I gasped, unable to stifle my reaction.
Amanda burst into tears again. I hugged her closer and let her cry.
When she had settled down somewhat, I asked, "So you and Trey had never had sex in your first two years – and then, three days after you gave into him, he dumped you? On Valentine's Day, no less?"
Amanda tried to respond, but couldn't get any words to come out of her mouth. She simply nodded silently, tears flowing freely.
I was ready to go find Trey and punch his lights out. He truly was a bastard.
Her sniffles began to subside again. "Daddy, I thought he loved me. That's the only reason I gave in. We've been together so long, since the beginning of tenth grade. I never dreamed he was only after one thing. I thought he would have given up a long time ago if he only wanted to get into my panties."
I was somewhat taken aback, both by Amanda's wisdom and her bluntness. Her rationale was flawless – it showed the maturity of a thoughtful young woman, no longer a child, and that realization stunned me. Her use of somewhat crass imagery was likewise a shock to my system – visualizing a man "getting into her panties" was at odds with my long-held sense of her being my little girl.
"He's a total imbecile!" I declared truthfully. I hugged her tighter and kissed her head. "Look, sweetheart, let me fix us something quick to eat, and we can sit on the couch and talk, if that's what you want. Or we can watch a video, or play a game, or whatever you want."
"Thanks, Daddy," she replied, "that sounds great. But you should be going out. After all, it's Valentine's Day. You should be out with somebody special."
"You know better than that," I responded. I fell silent, thinking of Barb.
"Do you wanna talk about it?" Amanda inquired.
"Maybe. But let's talk about you and Trey first. That's more immediate. My recovery from losing your Mom is more long-term."
"Okay, I understand, Dad," she answered. "Let me go get a shower and get ready for bed while you're fixing dinner. If we watch a show, I might fall asleep."
"You're too big for me to carry you up to your bed, young lady," I teased.
"I can sleep on the couch, just not in my street clothes," came her retort.
While she went upstairs, I got busy cooking in the kitchen. I'm no chef, and my repertoire is limited. That's another area where Barb was pulling more than her fair share of the weight before the accident.
I settled on a pre-packaged combo for taco salad, where all I had to do was brown some hamburger meat, stir in a few ingredients, and open a separate container of already-sliced greens and tomatoes.
After the food was ready, I flipped through our DVD collection as I waited for Amanda to return downstairs. I started to look for a "chick flick." Both Amanda and I enjoy a good romantic comedy. That's one way that Amanda takes after her dad rather than her mom. Barb always called such movies "predictable mindless drivel."
I decided that a romantic comedy would be too light-hearted, given the situation. Trey's breakup with Amanda was not a laughing matter. She was hurting from a lack of love. I wanted her to be comforted by a more serious depiction of lifetime love.
I nearly went for "The Notebook" – one of my all-time favorites – but decided that it would be too heavy for ME on this first Valentine's Day after losing Barb. Spouses are supposed to grow old together, as in that movie, and we hadn't been given that opportunity.
That thought caused me to choose "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." There, the characters played by Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett didn't grow old together. He started out old and grew younger, while she started out young and grew older. Despite their difference in ages all except the middle years of their lives, they maintained a lifetime love.
"Hey, Dad, what'd you pick?" Amanda asked, breaking into my silent musings.
I turned and saw her approaching. Her hair was still wet from her shower. I was struck by the fact that she looked like she might get cold. Rather than her winter flannel pajamas, she wore a light cotton oversized T-shirt. It went halfway down her thigh. Her legs below that point were bare. Across the front, the T-shirt was inscribed with "I [HEART] INTERCOURSE PA" – the [HEART] being a red heart shape, common to various and sundry T-shirt emblems.
Despite its provocative logo, the T-shirt had been acquired in one of the most conservative and old-fashioned locations in North America: Pennsylvania Dutch country in Lancaster County – home of one of the largest Amish farming communities in the United States.
The Amish are by and large very upright, very religious, very family-oriented people who try to maintain the traditions of the late 1800's. They avoid motorized vehicles and electricity, opting for horses and buggies and manual labor. They will not allow themselves to be photographed, as that breaks one of the Ten Commandments ("thou shalt have no graven images"). They come together as a community to help one another for activities like home-building and barn-raising.
The shop where Amanda acquired her T-shirt was in Kitchen Kettle Village, in the small village of Intercourse, Pennsylvania, right in the heart of Amish country. The town was named by some naïve settlers a couple of hundred years ago, when "intercourse" referred simply to conversation.
The shop owners in Kitchen Kettle Village were neither naïve nor Amish. They recognized a way to leverage the town name and make a quick buck.
Amanda had first seen such a shirt when she was sixteen, during one of our annual October visits to the region. Barb had quickly squelched Amanda's enthusiasm. "I don't want everyone thinking you're a slut, Amanda," she had chided.
After losing Barb this past April, I had decided to keep the Pennsylvania Dutch trip tradition in October. Amanda and I drove to the area, taking a ride on the Strasburg Railroad and eating at the Plain & Fancy Farm family style restaurant. We then walked around the shops and galleries of Kitchen Kettle Village.
When Amanda saw a rack of the "I [HEART] INTERCOURSE PA" T-shirts again, she looked up at me. "PLEASE, Dad, can I get one? I promise, my friends all know I'm not a slut. They'll just get a good laugh out of it."
"I'm not sure, sweetheart," I said. "It also kinda reflects on me. I mean, if they don't know that the 'PA' stands for 'Pennsylvania' rather than 'Dad, ' they might think it's an endorsement of incest with your father."
Amanda had blushed and grinned at the same time. "Come on, Dad, they know I've been dating Trey for a couple of years. I don't think they'll think the shirt really means I'm a glutton for having sex. And if they did, they'd think it was with Trey, not with you."
As with nearly everything, I caved in when it came to this request from my little girl. It had always been somewhat that way, but it had gotten worse since we lost Barb.
That was in October. Now, here on Valentine's Day, Amanda saw me staring at her T-shirt. Interrupting my thoughts, she said, "You still don't like it, do you?"
I walked to the gas fireplace and turned on the gas switch, lighting the fire. "It's not that," I answered, "I'm just worried you might get cold. Actually, I think the [HEART] is a nice touch on Valentine's Day."
"Glad you like it," she smiled. She seemed to blush and grin just as she had on the day of its purchase.
I turned and put the DVD into the DVD player on the oversized mantel above the fireplace. "Um, I was thinking about 'Benjamin Button' – what do you think, Amanda?"
"Sounds great, Dad – can we eat while we watch?"
"Sure, sweetie. And we can talk some more after the movie's done."
We both filled plates with taco salad and brought them to the family room, placing them on the coffee table. I went back to the kitchen to get our drinks. "Is Dr. Pepper okay?"
"Um, Dad, I was wondering – could we have some wine?"
I was momentarily surprised. I rarely drink, and I had never shared alcoholic beverages with my daughter.
"Why do you ask, sweetheart?" I queried.
"Dad, I think I need something to calm my nerves. It's been a very hard day, with the breakup and all – maybe the hardest since the day Mom died."
"I understand, baby. I'm sorry it's been so hard. I'll pour us some wine," I conceded, once again caving in to my little girl, "but just one glass. I don't want you getting tipsy."
"Thanks, Dad. It means a lot to me that you're starting to treat me like a grown-up."
Those words warmed my heart. I had felt like such a miserable failure in dealing with Barb's death, in being both father and mother, in protecting my little girl from a prick like Trey. "One of the hardest parts of parenting is letting go," I answered, "and allowing you to make your own mistakes, rather than living with mine."
Amanda virtually ran from her place on the couch to the kitchen. She hugged me, tears in her eyes, and said, "Thanks, Dad. I really do love you."
My eyes misted a little. "I love you, too, my precious sweetheart." After a brief embrace, I broke the tension. "Help me carry these wine glasses to the coffee table, sweetie," I requested.
We sat and ate and drank our wine and watched the movie. Amanda sat on the far end of the sofa from me. She curled up her legs on the couch, pointing them in my direction. I expected her to place an afghan over her legs and torso, but they remained uncovered.
"Warm enough?" I asked.
"Yeah, Dad – the fireplace is making it cozy in here. And the wine's warming me up, too."
She returned to watching the movie. I continued watching her for a moment. It was good to see a smile on her face. The movie was just to the part where Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett were of a similar age and able to publicly share their affection.
Amanda's hair was beginning to dry, returning to its natural dishwater blonde color from the darkness of being wet. Her T-shirt was beginning to pull further up her thighs from stretching her legs. The angle of her legs gave me a clear view of the crotch of her white cotton panties beneath the T-shirt. I felt a stirring in my groin. "Oh, my god," I thought, turning back to the TV in embarrassment.
We watched the remainder of the movie without further adieu. When it was over, I popped the DVD out and placed it back in its case.
"Let's talk," Amanda said, patting the cushion beside her as an instruction to sit beside her. She had put her feet back on the floor.
"Sure, sweetie," I replied.
When I sat in the indicated spot, Amanda leaned her head against her shoulder. "I do love you, Daddy," she said.
"You're my precious, precious girl," I told her truthfully, "I've always loved you and always will."
"I know, Daddy. I can see how you love me by the way you always put me first. That's how I know Trey didn't really love me."
"How so?" I asked, "I mean besides the obvious fact that he broke up with you on Valentine's Day?"
"He never put me first, Dad. He always wanted for things to be HIS way. When we went to movies, it was the ones HE wanted. When we went out to eat, it was at the restaurant HE chose. Lots of things. Even when we had sex..."
"I'm not sure I'm ready to hear this, sweetheart," I replied.
"But it's TRUE, Daddy! He hurt me when he broke my hymen, and he didn't care. He kept on thrusting and grunting and didn't pay attention when I asked him to stop..."
"Shit! I DON'T want to HEAR this!" I thought. Outwardly, though, I simply nodded in concern.
"And when he had his orgasm inside me, he just rolled off me and got dressed. He didn't even snuggle or kiss me. He certainly didn't help ME to have an orgasm. He barely SAID anything – he just LEFT!" She burst into tears.
"Oh, baby, I'm SO sorry!" I said, truly hurting for her. I wrapped my arm around her tighter.
When she had finished crying, she looked up at me. "And how about YOU, Daddy? What's YOU'RE sad love story? I mean, since after Mom died."
"That's just IT, baby. There's been nobody since Mom died. It hurt too bad for a long while. I just wasn't interested. Now, I just want to focus on getting you through your last year of high school, on to your next phase of life."
"Phases of life..." Amanda mused. "Seeing that movie really got me to thinking..."
"About what?" I asked.
"Well, you know how at the beginning of the movie, Benjamin Button was an old man and aged backward over time? And the Cate Blanchett character started off as a little girl and aged forward over time?"
"Well, the whole point of the movie was that you could love somebody who was the wrong age for you, but you love them nonetheless."
"And when he was an old man and she was a little girl – well, in today's world, he would be considered a pedophile if he acted like that..."
"So you think the movie was endorsing pedophilia?" I asked dubiously.
"Not exactly. Just that he was like a grandfather to her, but he was in love with her. He had to wait until she was old enough and he was young enough to make it okay for them to get together."
"And your point is?"
She reached out and put her hand in mine. "Just that two people of vastly different ages can love each other deeply, have a platonic relationship for years, and then when the time is right, they can – get together."
I wasn't quite sure where this was going. I leaned over, still a bit confused, and kissed her on the head. She turned her face up toward mine and kissed me – on the lips. It was a tender, feathery kiss, but on the lips.
Unlike some families, mine was one where parent and child never gave kisses on the lips. We showed lots of affection with tender pats, with emotional hugs, with kisses on the cheeks – but never with a kiss on the lips.
I was momentarily dazed. Her lips were warm, her hair smelled fresh as flowers from her shower and shampoo. My nostrils were filled with the scent of her freshly washed hair and freshly scrubbed skin.
"My god!" I thought, "What am I DOING?" I quickly broke the kiss.
But I wanted more. She looked searchingly into my eyes, gauging my reaction. Had she intended it as anything more than a chaste kiss of affection? Had she wanted something more? Was she fearful of rejection?
I think she could see the confusion on my face. "Daddy, let me be clearer with you. You are the one person on the face of the earth that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt loves me. I just had sex for the first time – with someone who DOESN'T love me – and it was the worst experience of my life, next to losing my mother. I've just been dumped – on VALENTINE'S DAY!"
"Uh-huh," I replied dazedly, the light beginning to dawn.
"And you – you haven't been with a woman for ten months," she stated in matter-of-fact fashion. "You have to be all bottled up inside, so to speak."
"I wouldn't use MY needs to take advantage of you at a vulnerable time, if that's what you're suggesting," I said honestly.
"I know, Daddy – I absolutely KNOW! You'd never use me like Trey did. I know you really, REALLY love me. So as I was watching the movie, I realized that – that you're my Brad Pitt and I'm your Cate Blanchett. And that the time is right for us to – get together."
"I don't know, sweetie," I said, being intentionally equivocal rather than bluntly refusing, so as not to damage her already fragile self-esteem. "If we were to 'get together, ' as you say, most people would think I'm a total pervert. They might even try to throw me in jail."
"I'm not 'most people' – I know you're no pervert. You're the most loving, caring person I know. And they couldn't throw you in jail – I'm not underage."
She was serious. I could read it in her big, beautiful blue eyes. I'd always thought those eyes were her best feature. Now, I could see a sense of fierce determination in them.
She leaned in for another kiss. Her lips were SO inviting – so soft, gently pressing against mine, then nibbling my lower lip.
In retrospect, I don't know what I was thinking. I opened my mouth and pressed my tongue against her lips. Immediately, she opened her mouth in response. Her tongue flicked against mine, dancing a primal love dance. Her hand moved up from mine to caress my face.
In a few moments, she broke the kiss and leaned back to smile at me. "Daddy, I love you," she said, "and I want to make love with you."
To my surprise, I sprung a massive boner on the spot. She saw me flinch and looked down at my crotch.
She smiled more broadly and said, "And I can see that the idea doesn't totally disgust you." She reached down and grasped my cock through my trousers.
After ten months without lovemaking, her touch nearly made me cum right then and there. I had to force myself to concentrate, to think things through, to not let things spin out of control.
"Amanda," I said, "I love you dearly. You know that. I'd give my life for you. But I don't know that I can live with myself if I have sex with you."
"It won't be 'having sex, ' Daddy – that's the mistake I made with Trey. It will be 'making love.' And I'm looking forward to your unselfishness with me in every OTHER way getting translated into the BEDROOM."
"Oh, brother!" I thought, "what kind of mess have I gotten myself into?" My resistance was weakening. I truly did love her. And, when I thought about it honestly, I truly did want to make love to her.
She sensed my hesitation. Her grip tightened around my cock, and she began gently stroking me through the fabric. "Careful, sweetie," I said, "you don't want to make me spurt in my pants."
She smiled. "No, I'd rather have you spurt inside ME, Daddy," she purred.
She was quickly pushing my doubts into the far recesses of my mind. I couldn't take much more. Maybe I should just leave – but what would THAT do to her self-esteem?
"Um, Amanda," I tried to reason, grasping for straws, "We CAN'T do this. Mom and I never used condoms, and I simply don't HAVE any."
"Not a problem," she countered, "we don't need any. I'm on the pill."
"But HOW? Don't you need a prescription? I don't remember consenting to that..."
"Daddy, you didn't HAVE to. I can make arrangements on my own. I'm eighteen – no parental consent needed. I got on the pill when I made up my mind that Trey was trustworthy. I was wrong about HIM, but I'm glad I'm on the pill for YOU."
I was at the breaking point. She needed me. I needed her. To hell with tomorrow.
I leaned forward and kissed Amanda fully on the lips. "I love you SO much, Amanda," I said, "and I want to make you feel better. I just don't want you to hate me later."
"I could NEVER hate you, Dad," she assured me, kissing me again and then slipping her hand inside my trousers.
The feel of her hand on my bare cock was pure heaven. It had been SO long since I'd been sensually touched. I had begun to doubt that it would ever again happen with someone I truly loved, and who truly loved me.
I wrapped my arms gently around Amanda as she stroked my raging hard-on. I once again kissed her on the crown of her head. She kissed my chest through my shirt, then began trailing kisses down my abdomen.
Realizing where she was going, I had a momentary thought to stop her before things got completely out of control. As I was thinking, she pulled my trousers to the floor.
She was now gripping the waistband of my underwear. With one swift movement, she pulled them to my ankles. I stepped out sheepishly, now naked from the waist down. She re-grasped my prick and resumed her trail of kisses below my navel.
I felt obliged to make one last attempt to slow her down. "Did you do that to Trey?" I asked.
"What you're doing to me."
"What am I doing to you, Daddy?"
"You know, Amanda..."
"I want to hear you say it. What am I doing to you?"
"Okay, Mr. Technicality – what is it I'm ABOUT to do to you?"
"I'm not sure..."
"Okay, Mr. Avoidance, so what do you WANT me to do to you? Say it..."
"Um ... suck my dick. You're about to suck my dick. I WANT you to suck my dick."
"And I WANT to suck your dick. And, if you MUST know, yes, I did it to Trey. He INSISTED on it."
"Um ... and did he – return the favor for you?"
"You mean ... let me hear you say it..." Her voice became raspy, hoarse, somewhat jagged. "Tell me..."
"Okay, Amanda – did he eat you out?"
"Pretend I don't know what you're talking about, Daddy. I want to hear you ask me."
"Okay, honey – did he lick your pussy?"
"Ooh, Daddy. I like hearing you say that. But no, he didn't lick my pussy. Like I told you, he's a selfish bastard. But I can tell YOU'RE thinking about licking my pussy..."
I shrugged as she looked up at me from her perch in front of my cock. "Busted," I replied, "and I agree – Trey's a selfish bastard. Any man who truly loves his woman will gladly go down on her."
"And – Daddy – you truly love me, don't you?" Amanda asked hopefully.
"Yes, baby, you know I do. I'll gladly bring you oral pleasure. If you're at all able to have an orgasm, I'll make you cum that way."
Amanda grinned. "Trey never made me cum. But I know that I can. I've had a vibrator for a few years, and I know how to use it."
I was learning all sorts of things about my daughter this evening. As I mused, I suddenly felt the warm, moist thrill of her mouth around the head of my cock.
"Oh, Amanda – that feels SO good, sweetheart," I said.
She ran her tongue around the rim of my prick, then squeezed my rod with her cheeks and tongue. She started to bob her head to an unheard rhythm, taking my penis deeper into her mouth each time.
I didn't want to cum before she did. She had only been with a selfish bastard. I wanted her to experience the more selfless side of lovemaking.
"Amanda, baby," I said, interrupting her rhythm, "that feels REALLY good, but I'd like to get more comfortable – for BOTH of us to get more comfortable."
She let my cock drop out of her mouth, then looked up at me with a grin.
"Are you saying that you want to see me NAKED, Daddy?" she asked.
"Come on, Daddy – I want to hear you say it."