“Anyway,” my daughter said, heaving her mother’s shoulders as she sighed. “I should go let Spike know about the police.”
“What?” I said, my arm hairs standing on end. “Why?”
“I mean, I bought some pot off him, then narced. To the cops! It’s only fair that I let him know what I told them.”
My eyes narrowed. Had I been completely wrong about being completely wrong? Was this just another excuse to sneak off and have sex with a teenager again?
“How do you know where to find him?”
“He always hangs out at the 556 on a Thursday night,” Belle replied. Her eyes widened as she realized what she’d just said. “I, uh, read about it in…our daughter’s…diary.”
“Uh huh,” I said, trying to relax slightly. If the delivery of that last sentence was anything to go by, my daughter was not a natural liar.
I swear, I did try. But I still couldn’t let my suspicion die completely.
“You’re not going to…do anything else?”
“Like what?” Belle replied, sounding genuinely nonplussed.
“I’m not sure,” I said, trying to diffuse the tension with a joke. “Buy heroin?”
“Gross.” My daughter stuck Mary’s tongue out. “He doesn’t sell that kind of stuff…and even if he did, I’d never go near it.”
And honestly, I believed her. Without hesitation.
Maybe my jealousy was clouding my judgment. Belle’s story checked out, after all. Her phone had been inside the house for the rest of the night.
I hadn’t wanted to believe that my daughter would use her mother’s body for a threesome. So what was wrong with me? Now that I’d been given a perfectly reasonable alternative, I didn’t want to believe that either.
“Go,” I said, with a wave of my hand. “Tell Sprite I say hi.”
“Yeah, I’m not going to do that. I don’t think he remembers who you are.”
“Really makes me glad our daughter isn’t dating him,” I mused aloud. “Y’know. If he can’t even identify her father.”
Again, Mary’s smile gave me a small hit of nostalgia. I was missing a woman who was in the same house as me, but in pieces. Her mind was upstairs, her body was in front of me.
Belle leaned Mary’s body over and kissed me on the forehead, like I used to do to her when she was little.
“Me too,” she said, and—for the second time that night—I really believed her.
My daughter crossed the room, but right as she was about to leave, turned back to me.
“Oh, Andrew. I…”
“I…I didn’t like the way the policemen looked at our daughter tonight.”
My eyes widened. Had…had she noticed the way I was looking at her as well?
Had Belle figured out that her father was a pervert?
My mouth fell open, and I realized that she was waiting for a response.
“…me neither,” I replied softly. “It’s not appropriate.”
This had been an ongoing debate with my daughter and I since…god, ever since her boobs had come in. “That’s not appropriate” was a sentence I’d had to say so many times, and it had always resulted in a long argument—arguments that often ended with Belle in tears, screaming about how much she hated me, that I didn’t understand.
“You know what?” Belle asked slowly, as if hearing the words for the first time. “It’s really not.”
“Do you want me to have a word with her?”
“No,” my daughter said, a thoughtful look on her face. “No…I’ll do it. I think it’ll be better coming from me.”
“Good luck,” I smiled, and Belle wandered out of the room, as if lost in her own thoughts.
As soon as she was out the door, I pumped the air in triumph. It was getting increasingly hard to be mad at my wife for what she’d done—yes, she’d caused me to cross lines that I never wanted to line, and I swear: the past two days had aged me more than a decade…
But seeing it happen from the outside had finally—finally taught Belle that no, she couldn’t wear whatever she wanted whenever she wanted.
That sometimes, it wasn’t appropriate.
The sound of the ‘big car’ leaving the driveway snapped me out of my trance, and I realized that I was going to be alone in the house with my wife for…probably an hour, if not more.
Maybe I could go upstairs and thank her for helping get our daughter back. From the sounds I’d heard earlier through the door, I suspected my presence would be more than welcome.
I ascended the stairs with a spring in my step, then rapped smartly on my daughter’s bedroom door.
“Come in,” was the moaned response.
I couldn’t help but grin at what I saw when I opened the door—sure enough, Belle’s legs were spread, and her hands were clutching one of Mary’s bullet vibrators.
“Daddy’s here,” I rumbled playfully.
“Oh fuuuuck,” my daughter’s voice groaned. “Oh, Daddy, yes. Oh, did you see them?”
I paused, not sure what she was getting at.
“The police,” my wife groaned in reply. “Did you see the way they were—oh!—the way they were looking at meeee…”* * *