Josie: An Father/Daughter Story
Josie had returned home for Christmas after spending most of the year away at college. An undergraduate at a prestigious west coast university (where she had a basketball scholarship that in turn enabled her to study vet science) Josie was a vivacious if socially awkward 19 year old. Unwilling to go through all the silliness of fraternity life she had lived off campus by herself in a modest apartment and whilst it was comfortable and clean her first home-away-from-home wasn't where she wanted to be this festive season. She needed to be back home with her family, more specifically her dad Robert and her cat Felix. It was the time of the year when she could relieve some of her homesickness.
Since her mother died when she was only 2 Josie only had her father to bring her up, guide her through school, feed, clothe, protect and most importantly love her. They formed an incredibly tight bond and in many ways were more like friends than father and daughter. There was her Aunt Kathy who sometimes came to stay during school vacations, and when Josie got older helped the young girl learn a few essential facts of life that her father would've felt uncomfortable talking about. Robert (a self-employed builder) was a burly man's man, the kind that usually didn't go into anything that was 'girly'. Yet when it came to his sweet daughter Josie he gave to her lots of pretty things plus most importantly made sure she understood that he would always love her. Secure in this strong paternal bond Josie grew up always at her happiest when she was with her dad.
Being a strong believer in self-improvement and bettering oneself Robert had made damn sure that when Josie's sporting prowess and interest in animals opened a door for a veterinarian's course at a good university on the other side of the country he was under no illusions that he should help his daughter make the leap away from home. Even though it was going to be hard not to have her around the house, brightening his days with her smile, her hugs goodnight and the little girlish hints round the house she gave, Robert accepted that Josie was a growing young woman and needed to find herself. So when Josie finally walked through the front door of their family home on the morning of Christmas Eve he was filled with a great feeling of love for her. Okay, so Felix was wrapping himself around the girl's legs as she struggled with her bags through the door way, the cat obviously pleased to see Josie back, but it was Robert who took the most joy from her return.
Dusting the snow off her heavy jacket the young brunette finally released her luggage and let her father grab her in the big warm embrace she'd not felt for over 8 months. "How's my beautiful girl?" he asked her, drawing back a little so he could see how much Josie had grown. Or perhaps to reassure himself this wasn't a dream, one that he'd been having every day since she told him on the phone she was coming home for Christmas. "You're quite the grown up honey!" Robert enthused, for even though the shapeless pink jacket hide most of her torso Josie's dad could still see that the last few months away had added some feminine curves to his daughter.
"Awww daddy!" Josie sighed as she returned to her father's hugging arms. "I've missed you so much." Then looking down at the purring cat at her feet "Oh yes...I missed you too Felix." The cat meowed a greeting back then slunk off giving his owners some more space. "Daddy...I'm like so happy to be home. Missed the snow, the house, Felix...but most of all...you." Pecking her dad's blushing cheek with a big kiss Josie shuffled reluctantly out of her dad's arms and stripped off her heavy winter jacket. As her father stood somewhat gobsmacked Josie revealed under the coat lay an incredibly tight turtle neck which molded around her sizable bust closer than skin itself could.
"Ummmm...Josie....." Robert stuttered, reaching to pick up his daughter's baggage whilst at the same time letting his eyes stare almost unnaturally at the girl who he had once nursed on his knee, told fairy tales to, tucked into bed each night "I hope you don't mind but I thought you might like your old room. Is that okay honey?" He watched for any opposition from her, either to his ravenous gaze or his proposition and as Josie exclaimed how great it was that "daddy's made my room up...cool!" he smiled whilst breathing a sigh of relief. He wanted this visit from his sweet 19 year old daughter to go perfectly, and even though he was aware of he had stared at his daughter like he shouldn't do he let any guilt wash away under the happiness of his reunion with Josie.
"You go and get freshened up my dear. I got some egg nog on the stove and also some cake if you're hungry. Okay?" Robert trudged through the hallway down to Josie's bedroom whilst she took his advice and visited the bathroom. It had been a long flight and then taxi ride so Josie needed to use the facilities plus she wanted to wash her face and hands before sitting down for some treats. Staring into the bathroom mirror after completing her ablutions Josie considered that she was now far more grown up than when she left her home earlier in the year, and this made her smile with adult pride.
Robert returned from placing Josie's luggage on the bed and floor of her room and walked into the kitchen just as his daughter came back from the bathroom. Aside from the incredibly tight turtleneck she was wearing Levi jeans, sheepskin lined boots and a barrette (which had been hidden under her woollen cap when she first arrived home). Her long black hair fell down to her shoulders and Josie's brown eyes twinkled as she saw her father pouring out two steaming cups of egg nog. The scent of nutmeg, cream, eggnog and something else she couldn't quite identify curled around her like an aromatic cloud, and her happiness transmuted into something almost blissful.
"Now this is your first Christmas as an adult honey," Robert said as he carried the two full cups over to the kitchen table "so I added a little something to the eggnog. If you don't like it I'll understand by I hope you do. Your mother used to love this recipe." At the mention of his long dead wife Robert's voice dropped in volume and he momentarily felt lonely without her. Then just with a reassuring glance from his daughter he felt whole again, full of bonhomie and love. "Here...take a sip."
Josie stood beside her seat and took a tentative sip at the hot thick liquid. Then another. Then another. She faced her now seated father and purred "Ooooohhhh...that's so yummy daddy. I can feel it seeping into me all over as it goes down...making me feel all gooey and warm inside. That's the best eggnog I've ever had!" She beamed at her father, draining the cup and then placed it on the table with a satisfied flourish. Sitting herself down Josie felt like she was positively glowing inside and out, and she wondered of her dad could see that.
"So you liked that honey?" Robert asked rising to grab the saucepan of eggnog, having barely dented the surface of his own mug. "It's all in the special ingredient baby girl...Daddy's own secret recipe."
"What is it dad? Is it something like cinnamon or maybe something to make the eggnog creamier? 'Cause it tasted much richer than what I remember getting at past Christmases."
"I'll tell you later...in the meantime, want some more?" Josie nodded eagerly for a second serve of the delicious drink and her father obliged. Cutting her a slice of thick fruit cake he had on a plate on the table that quickly fell to eating, drinking and chatting. As Christmas Eve morning turned into early afternoon they were still engaged in conversation, having so much to catch up on and so much to share. Felix the cat sometimes mewled for attention from first Josie then Robert and he got what he wanted whether it was a stroke of his ginger fur or a snack, but eventually he wandered back to his favourite sleeping spot.
By early evening Robert and Josie had long moved from the kitchen into the lounge room where Robert had the fireplace stoked for a warming fire, and there in that same room was a simple yet very comfortable three seat fabric-covered sofa near enough to feel the radiant heat. Josie sat on it with the last of her remaining eggnog in the cup on the nearby coffee table, her boots off and her pink-socked feet curled up under her legs. Robert wandered over to his beautiful daughter and then positioned himself on the sofa close enough to smell her skin, her hair, her clothes. Though not touching they were near enough for Robert to put his free arm around his daughter's shoulders as she drained her eggnog. Josie snuggled into her father and sighed a contented yet wordless "mmmmm."
"So. You want to tell me what was in that yummy eggnog daddy?" Josie's turned her face up to her father's gaze, noticing how his beard which in the past was a sheen of black hair was now peppered with a few gray strands. If anything it made him look more dignified than old and reminded her of some of the teacher's she studied under back at school.
"That's a patented secret honey," he laughed "but I'll exchange that with one of your secrets. Okay?" Robert grinned and stroked his daughter's head.
"Okay daddy...what do you want to know?"
"Have you been seeing boys at university Josie?" Robert's face was a strange mixture of happiness and earnestness, and his daughter was just a little confused why he wanted to know this.
"Um...what do you want to know that for dad?" Josie squirm a little as this wasn't quite the kind of conversation she expected. Boys and other stuff associated with that was usually the province of her chats with her father's sister, not with him.
"Well, I'm curious sweetie. And I don't want to think you're either lonely or being bad...if you catch my drift Josie." Robert's attitude seemed a little sterner at the last part of his statement, but he was still smiling and stroking his daughter's head. "Just think of me as a worried old man okay honey."
"You're not old dad," Josie responded "and no need to worry either. No boys in my life." She said the last bit a little less loudly than when she began to speak, and blushed as she gave her father reassurance. "And no...no girls either," at which she laughed "just friends, teachers, the animals in the vet lab and my books daddy. I swear."
"That's my girl....always daddy's huh?" Robert's eyes glistened and he drew his beautiful 19 year old against his side, cuddling her like he did when she was a lot smaller and younger. "And as you've been up front about the boy thing, let me tell you my big secret. Okay?" Taking a sober tone Josie's dad looked intently into her angelic face.
Josie returned his look and nodded. "Go on...spill the beans dad." She wondered if he had some dark side that he needed to confide in her about. Probably about sex considering where their conversation was headed.
"Daddy's special eggnog recipe ingredient is" he paused for mock dramatic effect, "brandy". Oh, and a dash of Irish whiskey cream too." After exposing his secret Robert chortled as Josie's mouth turned into a silly grin. Her father laughed a little, pleased with taking her in with his faux solemnity.
"But dad...I don't drink...not allowed to drink cause I'm too young...that's what you always said." She playfully smacked her father's free hand as if to reprove him, and Robert laughed back at her mock anger. "You're a very bad man daddy," she exclaimed "giving me alcohol. Bad daddy!!"
"But you liked it didn't you?"
"Uh huh...lots!" Josie again smacked her dad on his nearest hand and then broke into a giggling fit. This made Robert break up too and they spent the next few moments laughing over how Josie's 'bad daddy' had slipped her some booze. Finally, after a few diminishing chuckles the father and daughter quietened down and stared into the flames of the guttering fire.
"Honey," Robert spoke again but this time with a far more restrained tone "you know you're the only girl for me right. No one can replace you?" Josie looked back and without speaking gave her assurance that she understood with a firm nod. "And you know since your mother died I've never ever had another woman in my life." Again Josie nodded. "Well, now you've grown up into a fine, beautiful, intelligent and loving woman I want you to understand how much I love you. Okay Josie?" Robert's eyes glistened as he murmured these sentences.
"I understand daddy...I do." Josie gave Robert a kiss on his right cheek then rested her head on his shoulder. "Mmmm...that brandy and whiskey eggnog made me feel so good. A little sleepy but really really good." She sighed contentedly as her father looked down on her raven black locks. It was a beautiful moment and he never wanted it to end.
"Do you want to date women again?"
Robert looked at his daughter, trying to fathom where this line of enquiry came from. "Why do you ask sweetie?"
"Well I know how important it is to have someone around when you're alone at home. Found that out myself when I was away at college," at which point Josie looked a little downcast "and I was just thinking that you and I can't stay like this forever. You know...together at home. And seems only fair considering you grilled me about my dating habits. I don't want you to be lonely." Josie's smile dissipated with her concern etched in her face.
Robert was not sure what to think of this almost maudlin change in the conversation. Maybe the booze in the eggnog was triggering some sort of sadness in his daughter; something rooted more in having no mother these last 17 years. He smiled indulgently as he turned his gaze straight into his daughter's big brown eyes.
"Josie, I'm not that worried about dating. Maybe now you're an adult and striking out on your own I might get back into the habit but to be frank as long as I have the memory of your mom and the occasional visit from you I won't be alone. Honest." Robert found himself a little choked up. Whether it was the brandy in the eggnog or the thought of his 19 year old daughter worried about him that caused the feeling he didn't know. "Now what's this about you not dating at college?" Josie's dad tried to shift the conversation to focus on his daughter. He needed to know if she was okay.
"Well dad I don't find many of the boys at college that interesting. And study and my scholarship take up heaps of time. Maybe if I was prettier..."
"Now stop right there Josie," Robert's tone subtly changed into a reproving fatherly concern. "What's this about you being prettier? You're a very attractive young woman and if the guys at your school can't see that they must be blind."
"Really dad?" Josie looked back at her father blushing with embarrassment at his flattery. "I wouldn't mind dating this one guy..."
"Oh ho," chuckled Robert "now the truth comes out. Go on..."
"It's not like that daddy," Josie giggled. "he's the coach's assistant and he always compliments me on how well I do on court and he sometimes looks at me like he's staring. Plus he's not that bad looking. Only thing he's about 8 years older than me."
"I see. So my sweet innocent daughter goes to university and develops a crush on older men huh." Josie's dad tickled her and laughed, trying to make her giggle too. "You just want your dad married off so you can start getting other older men to look after you huh." Teasing Josie was something he usually didn't do but the eggnog was obviously tweaking his sense of humour today.
Josie blushed then prodded her old man, asking another left of centre question. "What kind of girls did you like dating when you were at college Dad? Before Mom?"
"Well, I wasn't that much of a lothario, unlike your coach assistant Josie." He knew she was trying to change the subject but decided he could follow along for now. "I only dated three girls before your mother."
"Really? Want to tell me about them dad?" She shifted on the sofa, turning to face her Robert on a slight angle, her left foot now curled up underneath herself and her right leg stretched out in front of her father. "Were they pretty? Like did they look as good as mom did?"
"No one could ever match your mother darling," Robert sighed contentedly as he reminisced about his late wife's looks "although I'd say you're a dead set stunner too pumpkin." Josie's dad patted her closest knee and before she could voice some kind of modest protest Robert continued with "and that's not just your father speaking Josie."
"Oh dad! You know just what to say." Josie blushed and giggled at her dad's comment.
"Hell yeah!" Robert snorted with a laugh. "But let's not get wrapped up in flattering my daughter quite yet, you asked about my old girlfriends didn't you?"
"Yeah. Go on dad...tell me."
"Well my first serious girlfriend was a neighbour of mine who was a little older. Her name was Daphne and she sometimes came over and sorta babysat me when your Grandparents went out of an evening. She was 17, I was 15 and well...she was the first girl who ever kissed me and went out on a date with me."
"That all you did?" Josie raised an eyebrow with a quizzical smile underlining her teasing question.
"Of course sweetie. I was a good boy. Daphne called me her little gentleman."
"Awww Dad, that's so 70s," Josie threw back her head and snorted a girlish chuckle, "Did you stay boyfriend/girlfriend long dad?"
"Nah, as soon as this senior kid in her class at school, I think his name was Kevin Peterson got the latest model Ford Escort all souped up with mag wheels, 8 track, fuel injection and sun roof, well she chased after him like a hound on the trail of a fox. Got him at the senior prom too if I recall rightly."
"Was she hot?"
"Well she was stacked as we used to say back last century honey," Robert laughed "but as I said it was all innocent between her and me."
"So did you lose it to your next girlfriend dad?"
"Lose what? You trying to get more secrets from your old man you naughty girl?"
Josie winked and ruffled her father's hair "Come on dad, I'm all grown up and you never told me this kind of stuff before. It's interesting."
Robert pondered the situation and reasoned that whatever the ramifications he was going to explore this new adult relationship with his daughter as far as he could. "Well Josie, my next girlfriend was a red head named Melinda. And yes...as you so eloquently put it I 'lost it' with her."
Josie murmured a low "ohh" and interrogated her father for more details. "Okay, the truth comes out now. What was Melinda like aside from a redhead?"
"Um, from what I remember she was short, had freckles, often wore glasses when she was in class at university but never ever on a date, always wore something black and..." Robert hesitated, pausing for dramatic effect.
"And what dad?"
"Oh nothing." He smiled a wry grin and then made to grab the remote control for the television as if he was ending the conversation. "you don't want to hear anything boring or ick about your dad losing his virginity right?"
Josie playfully punched Robert in the shoulder. "Hell dad! I want to know it all. Every gory detail." Josie knew she was pushing Dad's buttons in a way she would never have contemplated normally. yet the warm feeling she had from being close to him, being back at home and even the effects of the eggnog seemed to encourage her to ask and say stuff she wouldn't normally want to discuss.
"Okay. If you must know," at which point nodded her head emphatically "Melinda and I were at a friend's place. It was a party and we'd been hanging out together for about a month. We were doing some fairly innocent kissing and groping stuff when she said she needed to go to the bathroom." Josie stared at her dad, hanging on his every word, her eyes shining. "and then she grabbed my by shirt collar and dragged me in there with her. next thing I know I'm sitting on the toilet with my pants down and Melinda straddling me with her black panties on the floor. It came as quite a shock let me tell you."