TELL ME: Day 4—Fatherhood

Tonight! Tonight! Tonight!

Before then… one final taste:

mjc-legs in fishnets Vertical -9469

Day 4—Fatherhood
Thursday, December 6

 

This is how I start my mornings now. Waiting for you.

—I’m here. I guess playing coy and hard to get when you come won’t really cut it.

Not anymore. Not would I want that.

—What do you want?

You. Angry and wet. Dressed to please. A half-willing slave.

—oh my lover

—there is a special place in all hells for people like you

I know it.

What do you want?

—you

—on no terms

—so entwined with me we don’t end

—for a few hours

Then I send you home. Bruised and happy.

—not too bruised, not in any too obvious places

Of course.

Perhaps hating me just a little more.

—Of course. Inevitable.

Swear at me. Curse me when I’m fucking you.

Walk in my door. Say “fuck you.” Then—submit.

—I want to meet you in a public place first.

—Will you let me?

If you demonstrate your submission in public. By how you dress

How you speak.

How you admit you’re my whore.

—I want your hands under my clothes, on my skin, in a place with eyes

My shameless exhibitionist whore.

— (suddenly all of our… previous… encounters seem so fucking tame)

(Practice.)

Will you do all that I ask?

—yes

Good answer.

—I’ve forgotten…

—I’ve forgotten how you fit into the crevices, indentations of my mind

I very much like reminding you of yourself

—Tell me, what do I do to you?

You feel like a counterpart. A woman me. You spark a deep-rooted fire. And you bring to mind how I was shaped, erotically. You affected me so. Of course we fit. You impressed me.

—impressed

—imprinted

I still have the bruises

—inside

Deep.

— [deleted]

— [and again—I can’t form the words]

Say it

—you’re like a disease

—I knew it then

—wanted you so badly, I needed to run away from you

—too much

—it’s a hard thing when you understand what someone is, perfectly.

 

Footsteps down the stairs and I slam the laptop lid down. I should really just do this on my phone. Less conspicuous. As the thought enters my head, I push it away. I don’t like it. I do not like to be… deceitful. I lift the laptop lid up.

 

—Reality calls. xx

xx

 

Alex piggy-backs Annie down the stairs and into my lap. I enfold her, kiss her, smell her hair. He brushes his lips against my forehead, then hers. “Running late,” he calls over his shoulder as he runs into the kitchen, grabs coffee, runs back upstairs. “Want me to get the boys out of bed before I shower?”

“No, there’s lots of time for them,” I say to his disappearing back. Stretch on the couch. Don’t look at the laptop. Pull my thoughts away from where they inevitably wend and think about what a fantastic, fantastic father Alex is. And how precious what I have here, in my arms at this moment, all around me in this house, in this family, in this life, is to me. And try to wrap myself in that thought. Protect myself with it.

I fail.

 

What do you want?

—You

—on no terms

—so entwined with me we don’t end

—for a few hours

Then I send you home. Bruised and happy.

Perhaps hating me just a little more

 

Breakfast. Shower. Clothes. Everyone has socks and pants; minor miracle. Into the minivan. I’m so rattled, I almost ram into Clint as he pulls into the driveway to pick up Clayton.

“Jeezus, I’m so sorry,” I say through the rolled down window.

“You okay, Jane?” he asks, peering at me through his. One of the longest sentences he’s ever said to me. Of course, I did just almost kill him.

“Fine,” I lie. “Just late. Be safe.”

“You be safe,” he says, and I can see he’s pondering the logistics of driving all my four kids as well as Clayton wherever it is they have to go, because clearly I can’t be trusted behind the wheel of a car right now… and I smile. My head clears, briefly, and I have one of those brief insights into why Lacey has loved him for the past nine, ten, eleven years—as he’s fucked other women and fathered at least one other child—and why women keep on falling into bed with him even though he makes no pretence of what he is and what he is not.

Cause he’s a really, really rockin’ Dad. His always-pointing-to-the-hottest-target cock notwithstanding.

I’ve told this to Lacey before, not that she really needs to hear it, for she knows—that he’s a great Dad. Because it’s not something hidden. This is not a new revelation for me either; Clint’s commitment to fatherhood has always been there. Not in being Clayton’s weekend dad—although he’s never, as far as I know, missed a weekend. Not in showering either Clayton or even Lacey with gifts, because he’s no Disney dad. In fact, he’s kind of… cheap, really. Lacey orders herself gifts from Clint and tells him what he got her. Sometimes he reimburses her. Sometimes, he conveniently forgets. His presents to his son, birthday and Christmas alike, consist of on-sale clothes, the price tag of which is further driven down by Clint’s employee discount. I know this, because Lacey has no secrets, important or otherwise. She shows me Clayton’s clothes, tags still on—and she shows me the earrings “I bought myself from Clint.”

This is how, why Clint is a great father: most days, he stops at Lacey’s on the way to his home from work to say hi and bye to Clayton. He does this when he’s fucking Lacey, and he does this when she doesn’t want to look at him. He does this when they’re fighting (and thanks to Facebook, I know when they’re fighting even before Lacey tells me) and he does this when they’re reconciled, as Lacey puts it, “again madly in love.” When he can’t come—he calls. And he calls to say goodnight to his boy every single night.

Alex, who is also a great father, does not call to say good night when he’s not going to be home for bedtime.

Of course, he sleeps in the same house as his children every night. I don’t expect it.

I try to recall if I call to say good night on those nights when I’m out late? I used to, all the time. These days, now that they’re older? Maybe not.

I resolve to start doing so again.

Back to Clint. This must be part of his attraction, to Lacey and others. Can they tell, do they pick up this thread, this power—can they tell this man will make a great father? Not as a beautiful physical specimen only, but in those post-conception essentials? That he will rock your baby to sleep, and teach your toddler to throw a ball, and take your six-year-old to cheesy Disney movies he himself hates?

I think they can. I could—I knew Alex would be a fabulous Dad, that was part of what I loved about him, always, love about him the most, still. I could see him holding my babies, not just making them.

Never part of the dynamic for Matt and me, never. Yet he, I have no doubt, would make a wonderful father to someone else’s child. His wife’s, perhaps. This I also know, even though the part of him that belongs to me, fits into me is not the man who will be a father.

But it does not surprise me that they are still childless.

 

—it’s a hard thing when you understand what someone is, perfectly.

 

I deliver the kids to school safely, drop Annie at my mom’s for the morning, run back home and pretend to be a housewife for two hours—laundry, fucking laundry, who finds joy and fulfilment in pairing socks?—then meet my dad for our sacrosanct father-daughter lunch. First Thursday of every month when we’re in the same city, third Thursday of the month too, when we can fit it in—our ritual since I was… 12? 13? It was at one of these lunches that I officially lost what little religion I had been brought up in. Confessed to my first kiss (but not my first fuck, although I did think of telling him… But that would have been too much, even for my dad). Told Dad I had to leave John, but couldn’t figure out how to do it. Laughed to him about—well, all of them. Scott. Raj. Pretentious Jason and overly ambitious Aldrin. That weird guy from Ghana who really wanted me to pierce my tongue and clit. Tried to explain to him why I was going to marry Alex.

Never told him a word about Matt.

We face each other across a wobbling round table in the basement of The Unicorn. Dad’s staring at a steak sandwich. I’m poking at an awful Caesar salad.

“What the fuck was I thinking?” I say. “Fish and chips. Fish and chips. The only thing we ever order here.”

“Sometimes change is good,” my father says. I give him a suspicious look.

“But not when it comes to pub food,” I retort. “You know what? I’m not eating this. I’m going to order fish and chips. You?”

He cuts into the steak.

“Not so bad,” he says.

My dad. Stellar dad, incredible—and incredibly patient—husband. But will never, ever admit he made any sort of mistake. As he masticates the sandwich, I fill with gratitude for his place in my life—for his awesomeness as father. As grandfather. And I wonder if this will be one of our very rare really honest conversations—or one of our companionable silent lunches when we just chew and enjoy each other’s company without talking—or one of the painful, shallow ones, in which one or the other of us has something profound to share but can’t figure out how to breach it, and so we talk at length about nothing.

I wish to share… nothing. I feel my angst and turmoil and mindfucked state retreating inward where I can wall them off. And I tell him—that Lacey thinks she and Clint are ring shopping, but I think they’re just ring photographing. That I can now do four unassisted pull-ups (“But then I want to die.”). That Henry’s got a loose tooth. That Alex is in a mad pre-Christmas rush—”Everyone wants to try to close before Christmas. But it means all these late nights.” And how much I’m dreading the annual law firm Christmas party. “I swear, they get worse every year.”

Dad laughs and nods and sighs in all the right places. If he can tell that I’m withdrawn and not talking about anything real, he doesn’t betray it. And that’s why I can always be with him. My mother will also sense it, discern that I am in angst and turmoil. But she will poke, and poke, and poke until I run away screaming. Dad never will. I can stay with him even when I retreat.

Today, I realize I’m not the only one who retreated. He’s sitting across from me also full of something he can’t share.

I take one of his big, callused hands in mind. Kiss his knuckle.

“What was that for?” he says.

“I love you,” I say. “Always.”

And I see a glistening in the corner of his left eye. No. No fucking way is my dad about to cry. No.

It’s gone.

“I’m going to have to retire next year,” he says instead of crying. I let go of his hands, fold both of mine under my chin.

“No, really? When did you get so old?” I tease.

“Sometime between my third and fourth grandchild,” he teases me back. “You know how proud I am of you? How much I love you, all of you?”

This, again. So out of character.

“I know,” I say. “You don’t have to tell me.” I close my eyes. Fuck. Fine. I’ll do it.

“Everything okay?” I ask. “At home? With you and mom?”

I have had the nerve to ask this question… oh, three times in my life. Once when I was 16, and realized, after coming home from summer camp, that my parents hadn’t spoken to each other at all in the four days I had been back. Once when I was nine months pregnant with Cassandra and hyper-sensitive, and suddenly noticed, acutely, painfully, with a tinge of horror, that even when they were allegedly joyously anticipating the arrival of their first grandchild, my parents weren’t so much speaking to each other as shouting at each other. Or rather—my mother shouting. My father… hiding. And once, five years ago, when my dad started smoking again and my mother put herself on a ridiculously restrictive diet…

The answer, always: “Well, you know how it is, Jane. She’s not the easiest woman in the world to live with. She goes through her episodes. But I love her. And always will.”

No answer at all. And yet answer enough that I am always afraid to ask.

Dad is looking at his hands, his terrible steak sandwich. I wait for “You know how it is.” Instead:

“I’m sorry.”

“What?”

“I’m sorry,” he repeats quietly. “I know… I saw you. Noticing. Reacting. On Monday.”

I nod. My belly clenches.

“It won’t happen again,” he says. “If I can help it.”

And again. No answer at all. And yet answer enough that I wish I hadn’t asked.

We finish lunch in silence. He holds me a little longer and tighter than usual when I kiss him goodbye.

My phone buzzes as I get in the car. Text from Mom. “How was your lunch with Dad?” “Great,” I lie and type. And lean against the driver’s seat headrest, my eyes closed. I need to go pick up my kids. Make supper. No text from Alex alerting me to clients sabotaging the evening tonight. No emails from my clients upsetting my schedule. No message from Matt.

And that’s good.

I need… equilibrium. I need… I need to spend a night enveloped in the cocoon of my family, my husband, my children, my real life. I need to anchor. I need…

… I need to not wish that there was a message. I need to get a fucking brain.

I’ve been here before. And I’ve stopped it. And I will stop it again. I have so much to lose. Everything. A family with four children. What does he have? Joy. I pause. I have always been unfair to Joy. Superior, mildly contemptuous—either for her blindness and oblivion or her willingness to endure a series of betrayals so she could wear the crown of Matt’s girlfriend—then Matt’s wife. Jesus. Is that what he thinks about Alex? Superior, mildly contemptuous? Dismissive?

I don’t want to think about any of this. Any of it. Ever.

I push the thoughts away. Hard.

Alex and I are fucking awesome parents. I chant this to myself silently as I make dinner. As we don’t yell at the children, much, while they show off for Daddy at the dinner table. As he cajoles the boys into clearing the table and loading the dishwasher. As he reads Captain Underpants to the boys—as he says “I’ve missed too many bedtimes in the last little while” to me while I mop up the flood that is our bathroom after four children bathe in. I read Winnie The Pooh to Annie. Cassandra, too grown up at this moment for my comfort, is curled up in her bed reading Anne of Green Gables to herself.

We are fucking awesome parents. No longer chanting. Knowing. Believing. I slip into bed, not tranquil, no, definitely not tranquil, but… certain of this, at least. We are really great parents, Alex and I. And the children are all asleep, and he is going to come into the bedroom, and I will…

“Jane?” he pokes his head into the bedroom. “Boys are asleep. I’m going to pop down into the office for a bit before bed. Review the latest drafts of the documents so I’ve got a head start for tomorrow.”

“Of course,” I say.

And he’s barely gone when I pull out the laptop. And check Facebook.

 

Busy day?

—No.

—I’ve been… avoiding being available.

Ah. And why?

—Because. I am struggling, finally, suddenly, with reconciling this, what you do to me, with my real life. And my real obligations. Which I want and need to preserve. Do you understand? A husband. Four children. A really fucking great life.

Yes. I understand.

Jane.

Do you remember—the last time we saw each other. It was the only time you were ever in my condo in Montreal. On the balcony. Everyone else was in the kitchen.

—I remember. The last time.

I had you alone for only a few moments. I looked at your legs and asked if you were wearing stockings.

—You put your hands under my skirt.

You gave me the most withering, pitying look. Pulled away. Do you remember what you said?

— “Get your fucking hands off me.”

Yes.

—I was pregnant with Cassandra.

I figured it out—a few months later. At the time, it was such a slap—your first real rejection of me. You would not look at me the rest of the night. And I never wanted you more. Of course. Perversely. I wanted you then. I wanted you always. I want you always. But I always want you… tied to someone else.

—Ah.

I believe this is what you want as well. It used to be. Is it still?

—I am struggling. See, I remember that moment, so very well. I remember how you looked at me. I remember how I felt with your hands on me. And I remember… I remember realizing that if I was going to do this properly—if I was going to be Alex’s wife, and the mother of his children—I had to stay the fuck away from you.

—And this bothers me, this: you and Joy, you still have no children?

No. We’ve been trying to conceive, half-heartedly, the last year or so.

—Half-heartedly?

Utilitarian, reproductive sex is boring. You know I’d think that. But, Jane, and this is what you are asking: I am not looking for an out of my marriage. I am not looking to destroy yours. I am looking to fuck you senseless when I come. Use you. And leave.

Is that blunt and honest enough for you, my forever lover?

—Tell me you’re not having a mid-life crisis, are not frustrated with your marriage, aren’t … oh, fuck, I don’t even know what. What do I want you to tell me?

This: this is about us. Always. An opportunity. A gift. A chance to come together again.

And you want it as much as I do.

—You are always corrupting me.

We were always corrupting each other. I think, deep down, you’re more a harlot than even I.

—Bastard.

At least, that’s my fantasy.

—I want to run. That’s what I do with you, what I’ve always done with you. Enjoy a little, suffer a little, then leave. That’s my MO.

Yes. The running. Your MO, as you put it. Well. Have you enjoyed enough? Tell me to fuck off and go away. Maybe I will.

—Maybe?

No. Probably not. You’ve admitted already it’s too late for you to start playing coy.

—I am promised to you.

I don’t chase. It’s undignified. You are promised to me.

—And if it’s everything we’ve been imagining, we will repeat it in another 10 years.

With great pleasure.

Now quickly.

Tell me what you’ll be doing in eight days, my lover.

—I will be your fuckslave.

Again.

—I will be your fuckslave…

—my lover

Your master

—Presumptuous.

You will be on your fucking knees before me, my whore. Say it.

—Yes.

Good.

  1. xo

—8. xx

 

I’m so fucked.

*

tell me… where do I buy the damn book?

A note on royalties and how you feed an author: I get about a $1CND when you buy the $3.99 e-book. You don’t want to know how little I get from the sale of each hard copy. So you should buy both. ;P

And… if you’re in yyc, consider yourself invited:

tell-me-printable-invitation-with-review-medley

…it is going to be an INCREDIBLE party.

mjc

About mjanecolette

Writer. Reader. Angster. Reformed Bohemian (not). Author of the erotic romance Tell Me, the erotic tragedy (with a happy ending) Consequences (of defensive adultery), and the rom-com (she's versatile) Cherry Pie Cure, as well as the non-fiction collection of essays Rough Draft Confessions: not a guide to writing and selling erotica and romance but full of inside inside anyway. Coming in 2018: Text Me, Cupid, a steamy romance in four episodes. Current WiPs: Queer Christmas in Cowtown, Jewel of the Not-So-Spectacular Boobs, All In the Cards, and Un-Valentine. Yes, working on four projects simultaneously is a spectacularly bad idea.

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