It feels strange to give up control, to let feelings drive actions in a direct and unconstrained way. I'd been following the rules my entire life. As I reflected on this, I slowly came to understand that I'd been doing it by default. I hadn't weighed the pros and cons of conformity and adopted it by choice. It had always been assumed, the alternatives never recognized. Order and structure came to me naturally. The legal profession was an inevitable career choice.
I suppose it's a bit like religion. If you're raised in a faith, it may never occur to you to question it. People go through their entire lives without ever asking themselves why they believe what they've been taught about the eternal. It takes a forcing function - a life crises or our own impending mortality - to make us step back and reconsider our truths.
My boundaries were being challenged in ways I'd never imagined. I was behaving in ways that I wouldn't have thought possible. Still, something inside me said that this was the nature of family. Being part of a whole reshapes you in every sense. My intense need to be close to my daughters and my husband, to have no boundaries and no secrets with them, seemed to overwhelm my dearly-held grasp of normalcy.
"I saw you doing sex with your mouth," said my nine-year-old daughter. We were driving home from soccer. I was chiding her about her homework. She was trying to change the subject. It worked.
"Oh?" I needed a moment to process. There was a vague recollection... me on my knees between Rick's legs, the sound of small bare feet slapping down the hall. Penance.
"Ya. With Daddy. In your room."
Crap. "I'm sorry, Stephanie. You shouldn't have seen that."
"It's not something you're supposed to see."
"No, I mean... why do you do that? It's weird."
In my desperate search for an appropriate response, it didn't occur to me to be concerned that Stephanie wasn't in any way upset about this experience. Just another step on our strange and wandering path of discovery.
"I'm not sure we should talk about this, Stephanie."
She frowned. "You said I could ask about sex."
She had me there. I was losing any sense of where and how to draw lines.
"That's true." I swallowed. "I guess there wasn't anything about that in the book."
"The baby book."
"I'm doing my best, Stephanie. I want you to ask, and to understand. But I don't want you to grow up too fast. Don't rush, little one. Please."
She shrugged. "Daddy looked really happy."
I couldn't stop myself from laughing. "Well. Yes. I suppose he would have."
"But... it... was in your mouth..."
"Ewwwwww?" The wordless question was posed in the sarcastic tone that only a young girl can fully articulate, the lift at the end implying that the answer was completely obvious and didn't need to be stated.
"Not ewww. Just... intimate. It's hard to explain. You saw his face. Making him happy that way makes it not gross, I guess. It's just... part of him."
"But at the end..."
Given the topic, I suppose this question was bound to come. Still I hesitated to say to my preteen that I swallow her Daddy's cum. I do though. No boundaries. "Yes. Even at the end. It suppose it is weird, sweet pea. And you don't have to think about it for a long time, I hope." Her persistence tingled my Spidey-sense. "Did some boy..." I gave her a concerned-parent look.
She cut me off instantly. "Mom. No. Not even. I just... cuz I saw..." She hugged her knees to her chest.
I nodded silently, hoping that we'd leave this topic behind. But after a moment, she asked the next inevitable question.
"What does it taste like?"
I'd had a little time to think and prepare an answer. "It tastes like your father," I offered, my eyes fixed on the road.
Stephanie smiled. I touched her knee. I took her blush as a sign that her curiosity was satisfied, for the moment at least.
It seemed sudden. When you see your children every day, sometimes it's hard to see them grow. Then they surprise you.
At seven, Caroline had become a person with whom one could have conversations. For me, this was a delight. I had a tendency to speak to the girls like adults, even when it should have been clear that this wasn't an effective way to communicate with their developing minds.
It was my turn to take my youngest to her soccer game. On the way she was unusually chatty.
"You know lots of big words, Daddy."
"I suppose so. It's part of your job as a teacher. You should try to know more than your students so they can't easily bamboozle you."
"Bamboozle. That's a good one. Imma remember that. It means... like... make you look dumb?"
"Very good, sweetpea. It means to fool or trick or deceive. You figured that out from the context."
"From the other words you said. Ya."
Forgive me my moment of parental pride. It was short-lived.
"What's the big word for doing sex with yourself?"
I stalled. "What brought that to mind, Caroline?"
"Mommy wouldn't tell me. She calls it bliss."
"I think that's a very nice word for it."
Her lower lip extended. "I'm not a baby, Daddy."
"No. You're not."
I has to remind myself how I'd worked so hard to teach our girls the value of persistence, as it would benefit them in all of their live's endeavors. Deep breath. "The word you're looking for is masturbation, love bug."
Her look conveyed complete certainty that I just made that word up to bamboozle her.
"That can't be it. It sounds like something from Doctor Seuss."
"I suppose it does. But that really is the word."
She giggled, her grin all impish bandersnatch. "I would do it in a box."
Honestly, how could I resist? "Would you do it with a fox?"
"Ahuh. And on a boat."
"And with a goat?"
"Ya. I would do it here or there."
Now I paused. "Well. Caroline. You know... you really can't just do it anywhere. You know that, right?"
"Daddy. It's just for family. I know. And helping, that too. You and Mommy understand about helping, but other people maybe don't understand, so we don't talk about helping. Except with us."
I rested my hand on her head, serious now. "It's important, Caroline. Especially about the helping."
"It's not hurting anybody so it's not bad. It shouldn't have to be a secret."
"We know that's true. We share everything. Other people might want to take that away from us, or even take us away from each other. Let's never, ever give them the chance to take away our family."
Caroline nodded slowly, hugging her knees to her chest. "I won't let them, Daddy. Not never ever."
When we got home, Stephanie took my hand on the way from the car. A welcome surprise. Warming. Maybe I wasn't losing her. We toed off our shoes on the porch, fall leaves swirling and crackling around us. Her hand still in mine as we walked down the hall to the master bedroom.
Once there, she released my hand and peeled off her shirt, tossed it on the bed. Neither of us felt the need to talk. She waited as I took off my top and sports bra.
"When will Daddy be home?" she asked. An innocent question on the surface, but the full implications were clear.
I looked at the clock. "Caroline's game is just starting."
Stephanie chewed her lip as she pushed her shorts and underpants down together. I followed suit. She sat on the bed and tugged off her tall white socks. I watched her, taking in the perfect form of her body, the nascent muscles, the dark and light boundaries along her fading tan lines, the fall season allowing less time in the sun. I allowed my eyes rest on her mons and felt my face warm. It should have been a shameless thing between mother and daughter. My body told me that it wasn't.
I turned on the shower. Tested the water, not-too-hot, Stephanie beside me. We stepped in. The warmth infused an immediate sense of comfort. I soaped her back and she soaped mine, slick slippery fingers. I let mine wander to the swell of her bottom.
"You're so pretty, Mommy." Her small hands on my hips, that permission granted by my intimate touch.
I blushed like a schoolgirl. Washed her hair slowly. It was down to her shoulders now. We'd decide if it was too hard to take care of and maybe should be shorter. But not today. Today it was perfect.
I took down the shower head. The long flexible hose let me bring it close to her for a thorough rinse. I held her from behind, my hand on her chest. Kissed the top of her head. Palpable expectation. Rick's voice from the bedroom would not intervene this time. He was far away. He would not save me.
Stephanie leaned back, her head just below my breasts. I closed my eyes and remembered something. My voice was quiet, close to her ear to rise above the hiss of the water.
"I figured something out when I was a little older than you. Would you like to know what it was, love bug?"
She nodded, her eyes looking curiously to mine. I took the shower head and brought it around to her front. Lowered the spray to her tummy. Then lower. The fine streams made tiny dimples in her soft flesh.
I felt her shiver. Her mouth parted, allowing the escape of a tiny gasp. I slid my hand between her legs and spread her cleft with my fingers. Nothing can be that soft. Moved the flow slowly, playing over the revealed inner petals, so modest in their diminutive profile.
Her eyes shut tight. The softest whimpers. I adjusted the spray to a smaller, more focused stream with gentle pulses. Aimed relentlessly at her most sensitive place. Her bottom pushed back against me, a compelling squirm... a deep shudder... a squeak, and another. I held her up as her knees weakened, her face a mask of bliss. The sight filled me like nothing but Rick's cock ever had.
Stephanie turned in my grasp, slippery from the water... lifted her arms and hugged my neck.
"You helped me, Mommy. It was... like... the best. Ever."
I kissed her forehead. "You're so beautiful, Stephanie. I love you more than I can say."
Her face at my bosom, now in the after a shameless thing. "Me too, Mommy."
I dried her with the biggest fluffiest towel. Brushed out her hair. We lay naked on the bed and talked girl talk until we heard the crunch of tires in the driveway. Stephanie gave me a knowing look. I know what's going to happen next, it said. How much did she know, I wondered. My cheeks bloomed. I watched Stephanie's bottom as she scampered.
Rick found me a few minutes later, my fingers buried deep inside myself. I didn't pause as he closed the bedroom door and sat beside me, his weight an undeniable presence, his aura of lingering outside air crisp and fresh as I gasped it in.
He combed my hair back with his fingers and pressed his lips to my forehead. Somehow he knew to say nothing.
"She's... just so beautiful. Rick... I can't..."
"She's beautiful like her mother. I know, Carol. You don't have to explain." He laid his hand on mine, listened with his fingers to my spasmodic lust. His eyes held me, made me know that I was the only thing he saw.
"Cum for me," he said. As if I had a choice.
In the after, he held me and I told him and he held me and we talked until we heard what sounded like a full-on grade school pool party from the girls' bathroom.
Caroline was in my room again. I didn't close the door so I didn't kick her out.
"How come you're naked?"
"I took a shower with Mommy. And she helped me." I guess I was bragging. I didn't mean to. Daddy said sometimes words want to be free. Those ones did and they got away.
"Oh." Then, "She helped me first." She sounded kinda mad.
"Ya but she helped me with the shower thing. It was so amazing. I almost fell over."
She looked back out of the room to where Mommy's bedroom is. I said, "Don't go there now. They're doing sex."
"They are?" Her eyes were big.
"Ya. They do that after soccer now, I guess."
"How do you know?"
"I just do. So don't."
She was staring at her feet. "We lost our game and I got stepped on a billion times and it hurt and I wanted to talk to Mommy..."
She started crying. I felt bad for bragging. Maybe she wanted Mommy to herself and that wasn't fair but I knew how I felt when I thought Daddy didn't want to do things with me so I tried to be nice.
"Sorry. Did you get cuts?"
She sniffed and nodded.
"Let me see."
She pointed to her knee and it was all scraped up under the dirt. "You should take a bath. You'll feel better and then we can put a bandaid on it."
She looked at the hallway again, then back at me.
Sigh. Mommy says if I want to be the big sister I should act like it. "Okkaayyyyyyy I'll go with you."
"Ya. I know you want Mommy but at least you won't be alone."
She almost smiled. "Okay."
I held her hand and we went to our bathroom. I got the water ready and she took off her clothes. She doesn't look so much like a baby now. I guess even babies grow up.
She got in and I washed her knee and she squeaked but it wasn't really cut that bad. I think she just wanted attention but I do too sometimes. I washed her back and her hair and by the end she wasn't so mad anymore.
She said, "Daddy told me a sex word. The big word for doing sex with yourself."
"Oh?" How come Daddy was talking to her about sex?
"Ya, I asked him and he told me."
"Oh." That was okay, I guess.
She frowned. "But I don't 'member it now."
"Masturbation?" Saying it felt funny on my tongue.
"Oh. Ya. So weird." We both giggled. She got out and I was drying her and she was sitting on the edge of the tub.
I guess we can't really stop trying to be better than each other. Daddy says it's something called sibling rivalry. Whatever.
"I know something even more weird."
"People do sex with their mouth."
She blinked at me like I had three heads.
"That's stupid. You made it up. It isn't in the book and you can't make a baby that way."
"Sex isn't just to make babies. There's lots of sex stuff that's not in the book."
"Is so. It's like... what you do with your fingers... the other person does with their mouth."
"But... that's where..."
"Ya. 'zactly. It's the weirdest."
"I don't believe you."
I hate when she doesn't listen to me. So I just did it. I pushed her legs open and I kissed her there like the pool lady did.
She squealed really loud and shoved my head away. "That... is... soooo... grosssssss..." Then she slipped off the edge of the tub and fell back into the water and it went everyplace. I had to dry her and me all over again and we were laughing so hard. I guess we made a lot of noise cuz Daddy came to the door.
"What the devil are you guys doing?" He was trying to sound angry but I could tell he really wasn't.
We both said "Nothingggggg" at the same time. That made us laugh even more.
"Clean up the flood and get dressed, please. We're eating soon."
We were still all giggles during dinner.
Human being adapt. It's the reason we got to the top of the food chain, I suppose. Our brains got to a point where we could evolve ideas and knowledge faster than the things that were trying to eat us.
Caroline's questions. Stephanie fleeing bare to the skin from her mother's bed on my arrival. My wife's unashamed expression of her need, her inspiration implicitly understood. All part of the strange stew our family was simmering, an exotic gumbo of thoughts and sensations and fears and doubts and joy and learning and deep deep deepest devotion. I can't say that it felt totally natural, but it was beginning to seem less fundamentally unsettling.
Carol came to bed wearing nothing that night. I followed suit. Soon we were spooned in our familiar way, her back to my front. My hands were roving over her slowly, and we talked about our day. The soccer. The shopping. The girls flooding the bathroom. I was erect but not urgent. She reached back and held me, an end in itself.
We didn't move when the door opened a crack. A thin sliver of light from the hall, followed but a thin sliver of a voice.
"What is it, sweet pea? It's late."
"I just... I had a bad dream and I..."
"It's okay, love bug. Do you need a hug?"
Her silhouette nodded and rushed to the side of the bed. Carol encircled her with her arms.
"Do you want to talk about the dream, little one?"
"It was just bad and it was scary and..." Her words trailed off. "I just missed you."
"You don't need to have a bad dream to come, princess." Carol lifted the blanket. Caroline smiled, her teeth pale in the dim. She settled in beside her mother.
"You don't have clothes on, Mommy."
"That's true. I sleep this way sometimes."
"Are you doing sex with Daddy?"
"Is Daddy naked too?"
"How come you're not doing sex?"
"It's time for sleeping."
It was quiet for a bit. Then a soft sound, the softest sound.
"Caroline. Not now, sweetpea. It's time to sleep."
I raised my head and peered over Carol's shoulder. My daughter's mouth was at her mother's breast, attached.
The memory may have struck us both at the same time. A much younger Caroline then, but so familiar.
The little one pretended not to hear, her eyes closed, her mouth working in a slow suckle. Small movements under the blanket. I knew, but I drew them back anyway to see. Caroline's hand, actively deep in her underpants.
At the instant Carol's desperate gaze met mine, I entered my wife from behind in one long, insistent stroke. She was entirely ready, the heat of her quim draining wetness down her thighs. There was no resistance from her body. She shook her head. I attacked her swollen lower lips with my fingers and fucked her, withdrawing only slightly before grinding deep.
"Look at her," I whispered. She did. Her cunt spasmed around me, a profound tremor.
My mouth at her ear. "What do you want?" She grabbed my hand and squeezed. I squeezed back. "You have me. Forever. No matter what. Now... what do you want?"
Carol's breath caught. Her hand moved. It rested on our daughter's narrow hip.
Caroline was not entirely asleep. Her small hand withdrew but only to awkwardly attempt to push her underpants down.
Carol completed the task. Caroline cooperated, lifting her bottom, her lips never breaking from her mother's nipple. And I watched as my wife's lovely hand met the ivory white of her child's sex... deftly took it in knowing fingers... gave it devoted care, drawing out the elegant diminutive shiver of joy unique to that tiny angelic face.
Carol's body responded with a shudder and mine followed in cascade. We failed to stay silent. Caroline's eyes fluttered open, her mouth releasing. Carol pushed her hair back and laid their cheeks together.
"Time to sleep now, Mommy?"
"Yes, love bug. Time to sleep."
I understood now. I was a party to bliss.
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