Neighborhood Dad Ch. 25
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“That’s that,” I said to myself on the drive home. Randi wanted me to sleep with two people to make us even and to see if my feelings still held true.
I did the deeds. Killed two birds with one stone – or one ejaculation, to be more precise.
So, did it change anything?
I thought about spending the evening with Gina and how it was pleasant, but didn’t do much for me. Then the sex was okay, but it wasn’t earth-shattering even before she fell asleep.
Then there was Autumn. She looked amazing and was sexy as hell. Then the sex itself felt great. She drained me so well I might not have another erection for two days.
But it wasn’t love.
Don’t get me wrong. Most of the men on this planet would be completely satisfied with an intense, passionate night like that.
But I had experienced love, and that made a difference.
So what’s a guy to do? Drive over to her house, pull out a boombox and blast Peter Gabriel like I’m John Cusack? Somewhat tempting, but not very smart or respectful to her desire to keep this from her parents.
Besides, Paige was probably right. There were only four weeks left to graduation. High school would be behind her, and Randi could decide if I would be part of what lies before her.
In the meantime, I had other fish to fry. How did I let two women down without things getting messy with either one?
Gina was the adult and supposedly more mature, but she had shown herself to be a bit pushy in going after what she wants. Getting her to back off would be difficult even before having sex.
And, if she ever found out I slept with her daughter, she might turn into one vicious momma bear.
Autumn already knew about her mom, so that was one hurdle out of the way. And she couldn’t be eager for her mom to know that she’d lost her virginity.
On the other hand, she was an 18-year-old high school senior. Who knows what she’s thinking?
I decided to think on the matter another day or two before making any decision. No sense being in a hurry and making a colossal mistake.
Two days later, I was still unsure what I would do next. I found myself sitting on the love seat absently shifting between chords on my guitar when Paige came in that evening.
She practically skipped into the room and warned, “Incoming!”
I grabbed the neck of the guitar with my left hand and swung it out to the side as Paige dropped into my lap.
I felt a tug on the guitar and tilting my head around the long hair in my face, I saw Lori taking the ax and moving it to the stand.
“I guess I better stock up on hugs for when you go off to college, leaving me here all alone.”
“Oh, I dunno if you’ll be all alone. I was just telling Lori about your hot date.”
“I don’t know if I’d call it – oof.”
Lori flopped down on the love seat, her right shoulder slamming into my left side.
“Tell us all about it, you big stud,” Lori said with a laugh, leaning her head over on my left shoulder.
“Yeah, let me get right on that,” I replied.
“I know we’ve picked on you about Gina having the hots for you, but I still can’t believe you actually went out with her,” said Lori.
“There’s nothing wrong with Gina. She’s a perfectly fine choice – just … maybe not for me.”
“So,” Paige said, rising up, then dropping her rear onto my right thigh.
“Big baby. So, what happened? Did she scare you away? Was there bad touching? If I brought in a doll, could you point to the places on the doll where she –”
“I think that’s quite enough, Elizabeth Paige Donaldson.”
“Ooh, he used your full name. You’re in trouble now,” laughed Lori.
“He just doesn’t want to answer the questions,” Paige said.
“And as the parent, that would be my right.” Turning my head to the left, “And speaking of dating, why didn’t this one take one of her many suitors to the prom. And don’t try to tell me you weren’t asked.”
“Many suitors,” Lori huffed with a fake guffaw, lifting her head from my shoulder and leaning back on the love seat. “There were three offers. One guy from the football team whose ego would’ve needed his own limo to get to prom. And some dork that’s never spoken to me in four years of school suddenly goes all YOLO and asks me out.”
“You only live once,” answered Paige. “It’s become some kind of rallying cry for idiots to do stupid things like trying some dangerous trick on their skateboards or trying to shoplift and getting themselves arrested.”
“Ah, gotcha. Like the Romans used to say, ‘Carpe diem.’ Seize the fish. No, wait, that’s not it. It had something to do with carp.”
“Now who’s the dork?” Paige asked, looking at Lori.
“So if I’d said yes to Mr. Quiz Bowl, this is what I could’ve wound up with 20 years down the road?”
“Are we just going to sit around talking about how big Grandma’s getting?”
“Hoodwinked!” exclaimed Lori. “I love that movie. We haven’t watched that in ages. We should dig that out when Tessa gets here.”
“Oh atakent escort goody, more girls to make fun of me,” I said. Then remembering, I added, “That’s two. Who was the third one?”
“Ah, a guy from sophomore year.”
“Who happened to be pretty handsome and adorably nervous about asking her out,” offered Paige.
“Yeah, but he’s in the 10th grade.” Turning to me, she said, “Can you explain this to her?”
“Lori is absolutely right. No can do,” I said, not really sure I believed this since I’d never met the kid, but okay, I’d defend her anyway.
“Why not? Plenty of senior boys were asking out sophomore girls. Why can’t a senior girl go with a 10th-grader? What about women’s rights?”
“Oh this has nothing to do with rights. Lori has every right in the world to go out with him, but she shouldn’t because he is younger than she is.”
Paige just threw out her hands in exasperation.
“Guys are usually pretty slow to mature mentally and emotionally. Even if they are the same age as you, they probably are behind emotionally. And in high school, the difference is especially pronounced. It’s like dog years. It’s not that this boy is two years younger than Lori, he’s really more like 14 less in dog years.”
Lori laughed. “I like that – dog years.”
“But that’s just silly,” said Paige. “He’s 16, so that would be like comparing him to a 2-year-old.”
Lori nodded her head, “And like any 2-year-old he probably has accidents in his sleep.”
“Eww, gross. Did you just make a wet dream reference in front of my father?”
Lori and I couldn’t stop laughing, even though I knew that wasn’t appropriate language for a young lady. Paige started to chuckle herself and put her head in her hands.
“I’m sorry, Coach. I didn’t mean to offend your delicate ears.”
I started to reply when Lori added, “And I’m sure you know nothing abou that sort of thing now that you’ve got Gina to look after you.”
“Okay, that’s enough of that,” I said, giving her a playful shove to the other side of the love seat. “I don’t know how many more are showing up, but can someone bring food when they do? I’m hungry, and the kitchen is pretty bare.”
“Okay, I’ll call Ricky at the diner and have him prepare some to-go orders,” said Paige.
“Yeah, then I will go pick the food up,” Lori said, emphasizing the I part.
“Don’t be silly,” Paige started, but Lori cut in.
“Me and Coach ain’t sitting here starving all night while you lose track of time smooching your boyfriend.”
“I like the way you think,” I said to Lori, who leaned back over to my shoulder.
“See? Now I’m the good daughter,” Lori remarked before sticking her tongue out at Paige.
“Of course, it should have been ‘coach and I aren’t sitting here,'” I teased Lori. “And while she’s at the diner, Lori can give Ricky his obligatory smooch.”
“What?” Paige’s eyes bugged out.
“I don’t think so,” Lori responded.
“She better keep her fat lips to herself.”
“My lips are not fat! Yours are just skinny.”
And suddenly all the picking on Dad has stopped, I thought to myself.
The whirlwind soon breezed out of the room and up the stairs while I chuckled.
It was great having the girls around. And I really was going to miss Paige and her friends come the fall.
It also was nice to see Lori back to her old self. She seemed to have moved past all that awkwardness from the bathing suit fiasco.
With my spirits lifted, I thought I might as well bite the bullet and speak to Gina. So once the girls had placed the food order, I took the house phone into my bedroom and made the call.
“Hi, Gina. It’s Henry.”
“Hmm, waiting two days to call. Playing it cool, are you?”
“I don’t even know what that means,” I said honestly. “I just wanted to mull things over a bit before reaching out.”
“Is this one of those ‘we need to talk’ moments? ‘Cause I think things went pretty well between us.”
“I had a good time – great dinner, too. Thanks for having me,” I said, trying to soften what was coming next. “I just have a lot of complicated feelings going on in the background, and it turns out I’m not as emotionally available as I thought I was.”
“I didn’t expect you to swear your undying love after one night, silly boy. I know these things take time.”
“I do need time. But not time dating. I’m just not in a place where I can date anyone right now.”
Except the one I really care about, I thought, but Gina doesn’t need to know all that.
“We never really think we’re ready until we jump in. I wasn’t entirely sure about inviting you over, but it worked out fine in the end. We had a good time; there was a connection, and you felt it. I know you did.”
No, I thought, we did share a pleasant evening, but there was no connection. How could there be when my heart was elsewhere?
“Listen, I’m trying to do the right thing and not lead you on. I am not able to have a relationship with you, and ataköy escort I just want to be straight forward about that.”
That comment didn’t seem to go over well as she sounded like she was getting angry. “You can’t know after one date if you’re going to grow to love someone. It takes time for all that. You shouldn’t be so quick to throw it all away.”
“Hey, it wasn’t a quick decision. I’ve been thinking about this for two days.”
“You’ve been thinking about dumping me for two days, and you didn’t bother to talk to me about this? Don’t I get a chance to defend myself?”
“You don’t have to defend yourself, Gina. There’s nothing to defend. This is about me and not being ready for dating.”
“Oh, but you were sure ready for sex. Ya didn’t turn THAT down, did ya?”
I started to say something else. What that would be, I don’t know. Just anything to try to calm her down. But she didn’t give me a chance.
“Fine, you don’t know what you want? You want to take a little time to ‘find yourself’ or some crap? Then you shouldn’t have called me in the first place!”
Then the phone call ended. At least people didn’t still have the kind that had to be hung to to end – she would have slammed that phone down hard.
God, that was painful. Why the hell did I listen to my daughter and Randi about seeing someone else? This whole Gina thing was never going to end well. What the hell was I thinking?
I also needed to have a conversation with the other one in that household, but I just couldn’t handle two breakups in one night. And it might not have been a good idea anyway. What if mother and daughter were both upset and decided to cry on each other’s shoulders? My name might come up, and then the real shit would hit the fan.
Better to wait a day or two until Gina and I both had a chance to recover.
Two days later was a Saturday, so I thought I’d take care of a few chores around the house.
There really wasn’t that much to do, though. Paige had been a dear, keeping the house clean since she didn’t have basketball games to take up time. She’d even offered to get a part-time job at the diner, but I politely said no. We were in decent shape financially, and she needed to enjoy her free time with her friends before heading off to college.
And I didn’t want her to have to work with her boyfriend. It wasn’t that I didn’t like Ricky, but quite the opposite. Working together in a stressful restaurant environment could put undue strain on their young relationship, and I just wanted to see her happy.
I awoke that morning and went outside to check the yard. I wanted to mow, but an overnight shower had wet the grass. I’d have to let it dry for a little while.
Instead I started with the trimmer. The job took a while as I had to stop repeatedly to dig the caked-on grass from the underside of the weed eater. I also took a couple of breaks to give my back, arms and hands a break.
By the time I was finished, the heat of the day was upon me, and I was sweating profusely.
I opened the back door and reached in to get the broom hanging on the wall. The damp grass had stuck to me as easily as the trimmer, so I took my time to knock off the debris before I went inside.
The air conditioning felt divine. The cold water going down my throat was pure bliss.
I stood with my head tilted back, savoring the moment, when a voice called out.
“You okay there, Coach?” asked Lori. “You having a heat stroke? Do I need to call 9-1-1?”
The tease was there in her voice, but her eyes showed some concern.
“I’m fine, just cooling down before the next bit.”
“Alright,” she said, turning away and heading for the stairs.
I took my time sipping on the water. Before long, the front door reverberated with a knock and swung inward at the same time.
Autumn and Tessa came through together. “Hey, Coach,” said Tessa.
Ah shit, I haven’t had a private talk with Autumn yet. And now is not the time for it.
“The other two are upstairs already,” I said before turning to put my cup next to the sink.
I headed back outside before Autumn could try to corner me. Walking into the sun was like a slap in the face. Sheesh, did it get hotter while I was inside?
I was fueling up the mower when Paige turned up.
“Lori was right, you don’t look so good.”
“I’m fine, just a little flushed with the heat. Happens to everybody.”
“Well, it’s the midday sun, so why don’t you take a break and mow this evening?”
“Weather lady says there’s a 60% chance of afternoon thunderstorms. Grass would get all wet again. Better to take care of it now.”
“Sure, it’s way better to have a stroke on Saturday than wait until another day to mow.”
“It’s a riding mower, I don’t have to push. I’ll just ride fast and enjoy the breeze.”
Her brow pulled down in concentration, surely thinking up an argument I couldn’t deny.
“You can’t mow the backyard anyway. The girls and I are gonna lie atalar escort out in the sun, and we’re not gonna be jumping all around just so you can mow. So wait until later, or another day altogether.”
“Hmm, I’ll compromise. You girls go get changed while I run over the front yard, then I’ll wait to do the backside.”
She paused before agreeing.
“Hey,” I said as she started to walk off. “Like you said, it’s the midday sun. Easy to get burned.”
“I know. But we’ll be smart, and then we’ll jump in the hot tub, too.”
“The hot tub in this heat?”
“We won’t turn on the heat part, just the bubbles.”
I thought for a second and added, “Fine, but make sure everybody takes a bottle of water out with them. No need to get dehydrated.”
With that, she left and I started the mower. The front yard was half the size of the back, so it didn’t take that long. Unfortunately, the moving about didn’t improve things. The heat followed me all over the yard, and stirring the air didn’t help. By the time I finished, I felt wiped out and drenched with sweat.
Yeah, maybe waiting on the rest is a good idea.
As I walked back to the house, Paige and Lori were setting up the reclining lawn chairs and a couple of small resin tables. As I got close, Lori bent over to put her water bottle and sunscreen on one of the tables. I was treated to an all-too-familiar sight of that red and black bikini stretched across her fabulous cheeks.
Shit. I averted my eyes and made a bee-line for the back door.
“You look a little wobbly, pops. Aren’t you glad you stopped.”
“Wise as always, my dear,” I said, reaching up to wipe the sweat from my brow – and also to prevent me from stealing a peek at Lori again. “You were right about the heat. Gonna take a cool shower.”
Again in the air conditioning, I stopped in the kitchen and waited to cool down. I didn’t want to let Paige know, but that heat really had done a number on me. I was too much of a desk jockey since basketball season ended, and I was dependent on a/c.
Tessa and Autumn came into the kitchen as I was sitting down at the small table. Autumn looked like she wanted to linger and talk, but Tessa struck up a conversation, so Autumn gave me a wink, then headed out the back door.
“Do you think this swimsuit is okay?” Tessa asked, drawing my attention back to her.
“Hmm?” I gave her a cursory look up and down, then she turned around so I could see the whole package.
Trying to keep things on the up and up (when so many things had gotten away from me lately) I said, “That’s a nice suit. Pretty colors.”
Tessa had such a petite frame. Short stature, slender shoulders and hips. Thankfully the one-piece suit was quite modest and didn’t show much skin.
“Respectable suit, not just some dental floss and band-aids,” I said.
“That’s kind of the problem, don’t you think? I mean we’re supposed to be working on our tans, but this is the only suit I have, and I don’t know how much of a tan I’m going to get with this on. I mean, let’s say I have on a crop top that shows my belly button, and it’s white as a ghost because of this suit.”
“Oh, hadn’t thought of that. Well, maybe Paige has something else you can try on.”
As Tessa went outside to ask Paige, I couldn’t help watching her firm butt bounce with each step. Maybe she should just bathe nude, I thought before quickly chastising myself.
Ready to take a shower, I stood up and felt the room spin a little. After a few seconds, I made my way to the bedroom and retrieved a fresh set of clothes.
I adjusted the water to a cool, but tolerable level in the shower. Still, I had to ease into the spray as the temperature change seemed a shock to my hot skin. I put my hands on the wall in front of me and leaned in so the water ran down my back.
“Need some help?”
I jolted and stood upright. Autumn had pulled back the shower curtain and was admiring the view.
“I could get those tough-to-reach spots.”
“You can’t be in here. Someone is going to find out.”
“The others just stretched out to get some sun. They aren’t going anywhere for a bit.”
“They’ll be wondering where you are.”
She shook her head. “Nope, I told them I had a stomach ache and might be a while.”
While she was speaking, I finally noticed the tiny bikini she was wearing – and how much of her was exposed. Of course, even the small areas of her breasts and crotch that were covered were still fresh in my mind. I knew what her nipples looked like, the shape and color. What her lower lips tasted like.
No, I couldn’t think like that. I need to put my foot down, I thought, but a second voice answered, “You need to put something down.”
I glanced lower and saw to my horror that I was beginning to rise.
“Yeah, put something down,” said that little voice. “Down her throat.”
“Someone is happy to see me,” she purred. “Maybe I should climb in there with you.”
“No, you can’t do that,” I said, scrambling to come up with a really good reason why not when my body was fighting against me. “Your bikini will get wet, and everyone will be asking questions.”
“Simple enough, I could just take it off,” she said, reaching for the tie in the back.
“No, no. Don’t do that,” I said, reaching out to grab her upper arms and pull them back forward.
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