Neighborhood Dad Ch. 14
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People said my chapters were too short, so I waited until I had a couple of chapters ready and I put them both together. I hope 5,000 words are long enough to make folks happy.
And thanks a bunch to all the people who have stuck with my story. I have had 85,000 people view my first chapter, but some chapters have had only 11,000 reads, so I know my storytelling hasn’t held some people’s attention throughout the run. For those who have stayed with me, I hope the story continues to entertain you, dear Constant Readers.
Oh, and HUGE thanks for voting Chap. 12 as the highest rated Mature story for the month of June. Wow, that was humbling to see my name atop the list. Keep those votes coming!
I hoped that sex would become a regular part of my week after that evening in the hot tub, but Life had other plans.
Between basketball season heating up, Randi’s job at the library and the frequent visitors at the house, there just wasn’t a chance to be alone.
Still, I couldn’t complain. I was busy much of the time, but it was a good kind of tired when my head finally hit the pillow each night. I had lost touch with much of primetime television. I made time for some college hoops, often with Paige and a teammate or two, and that was good enough for me.
Ever fill out one of those Nielsen ratings books? I did that before, writing down what I watched for a week. If I were chosen for a week during that time, most of the spaces would have been blank. And I didn’t care.
The regular season ended, and the basketball team was tied for first place in the league. Then we won our conference tournament and advanced to the state playoffs.
Some of the girls had really improved over the past few months. I could see some of them getting Division II or III offers to go to college. Forgive me for bragging, but Paige had blossomed the most. She was our do-everything player. She had spent so much time banging with Carrie in the post that she’d developed into a decent inside player, but she was better off the dribble. And thanks to my assistant coach, Paige’s free throw shooting was stellar.
While at the conference tournament, the other coaches and I got together for a meeting. We voted for the all-conference team and player of the year. The private school coach talked up his best player, but to my pleasant surprise the rest of the men and women in the room mentioned my team.
What a nice run East was on, they said. What a big jump Paige had made since last season. How one of the games we lost was because Paige fouled out and wasn’t there at the end of the fourth quarter.
By rule, a coach isn’t allowed to vote for his own player, so I voted for the private school’s girl, but the rest of the votes came my way. Paige was named player of the year.
Lori and Tessa also made first team all-conference, while Carrie and Autumn made second team.
I even finished second for coach of the year, something I wasn’t expecting at all.
That was one of the happiest days of my life.
Valentine’s Day was probably the lowest point during this time.
I was working on a furniture story on the computer when Paige and Ricky came in together.
“I’m in here.”
“Look what Ricky got me,” she said, holding a rose and a teddy bear with a heart-covered T-shirt. “Isn’t he the sweetest?”
Ricky looked very embarrassed at the compliment – another reason why I liked the boy, he was humble.
“Your birthday was, like, three months ago,” I said, unsure why she had gifts.
“Three months tomorrow, to be exact,” she noted. “That’s how long we’ve been dating. But this is for Valentine’s Day. Don’t tell me you don’t know what day it is.”
“When you’re 38, you don’t take much notice of such a pseudo-holiday.”
“It has nothing to do with how old you are. If you had a girlfriend, I bet there’d be a dozen roses on the kitchen bar.”
That thought stumped me. Was she right? If I were a man in a normal relationship, would I be carrying flowers and chocolates?
“I’m gonna get my stuff together for practice,” Paige said.
“Mr. D, is it okay if I grab a drink out of the fridge?”
“Sure, Ricky,” I said automatically.
What I was really focused on were the gifts in my daughter’s hands. How many other girls at school had flowers or bears or chocolates or any number of presents to show how appreciated they were?
For weeks now, Randi and I had been in our unconventional relationship. We didn’t go out to eat in fancy restaurants – heck, we didn’t even eat alone together at the Sizzler. We didn’t go to the movies unless it was in a group, and when we did go in mass Randi and I didn’t sit side by side for fear of getting caught holding hands or whispering in the other’s ear.
Randi didn’t have any roses or stuffed animal. If she had received a gift – even through a third party – people would want to know why. Maybe her mother would ask questions, but certainly Paige and her friends would.
“Who is kartal sarışın escort he? What does he look like? Why haven’t we met him?” I couldn’t put her through that scrutiny.
And yet, look at what she was missing out on. I saw the smile on Paige’s face, but there would be no smile like that for Randi, and it was because of me.
She was young, beautiful, smart, funny and considerate. There had to be any number of guys in her school and the surrounding schools that would love to date her. Those guys could take her to dinner and a movie. They could buy her some cheesy necklace with a heart pendant. They could take her home to meet the family. What could I offer? I was just some pathetic middle-aged man trying to recapture long-lost feelings at the expense of her youth. She deserved first dates and homecoming dance and going off to college to meet cute hunks.
Since Paige had been dating Ricky, I could see how much my daughter had missed out on her first three years of high school. That was my fault. I was against her dating, and then she also felt obligated to spend time with me. I didn’t want to hold another young woman back.
As much as I cared about Randi – and it was surprising to me just how much that was – maybe it wasn’t in her best interest to be with me. Maybe as the adult in the situation, I needed to be the mature one and walk away. But could I? She had gotten so deep into my heart, could I let go? I had never used the L word with her, but if I were being honest with myself I had already fallen.
Practice that night was terrible. The girls were too busy gossiping about their day, and I was too distracted to keep them in line.
Later, I retired to my bedroom, saying I wanted to read, but I never made it more than halfway down the first page. I had too much on my mind.
I didn’t have a chance for any heart-to-heart talk with Randi as Valentine’s Day came near the end of the regular season. Then came the three-day conference tournament we won. Then after the coaches’ meeting and the awards, I was flying too high to think about anything as depressing as walking away from Randi.
One night upon returning home with some snacks, I met Paige near the front door.
She had one towel wrapped around her head and another around her torso.
“Hey, Dad. It was so freezing cold running out to hot tub, but the water felt great.” Then she spied the bags I was carrying.
“Are there any chips in those bags?” she asked with a widening smile. Where she was standing on the bottom step, she leaned over to try to see what I held.
“Nope, nothing in here but vegetables and carrots.”
“Carrots ARE vegetables,” she said.
“Oh, then there’s nothing at all here for you.”
“And I know that look, you’re trying to hog all the chips. We’re gonna get changed, and then you are gonna share, mister.”
She turned and went up the stairs just as the patter of bare feet coming from the kitchen turned my head that way.
Tessa quickly strode down the hall and followed Paige up the stairs.
“Hey, Coach,” she called out as she passed.
I couldn’t help but watch her calves ripple with muscles as she pushed up the stairs.
It had been too long since Randi and I had been in the hot tub together, and I was feeling the effects of going without.
I started toward the kitchen and heard the sound of the back door opening. Looked like one more person was coming in from the hot tub.
As I entered the kitchen, I could see Randi with her back to me near the door. She had a towel on her head and was using the other one to dry her arms.
I recognized the red and black bikini she had worn with me. Maybe it was because I was so horny, but her ass looked even finer than usual with the bottom pulled over her tight buns.
With Paige and Tessa upstairs, I couldn’t resist a little flirting.
When she leaned over to dry her thighs, I said in a soft voice, “Damn, you look sexy. I could just eat you up.”
Randi froze for a second, then stood up straight and turned around as I was setting one handful of plastic bags on the counter.
Only when she was fully turned did I realize it wasn’t Randi.
I pulled open the refrigerator door just as I locked eyes with Lori.
She looked mortified, and I had turned to stone.
Her eyes darted left and right as if looking for someone else, hoping for someone else, that I might have been talking to.
Lori pulled the towel up against her body, struggling to hold it in place while simultaneously trying to pull an end around behind her and also slipping toward the hallway.
I felt the urge to say, “I’m so sorry. I wasn’t talking to you.”
But how could I do that? She’d want to know who I DID mean to say that to. At that same instant I suddenly recalled Randi saying that it wasn’t her bikini – she had borrowed one and thought it might be Lori’s.
I remained like a statue as Lori mumbled something about needing to get dressed. Then she fled down kartal sınırsız escort the hall and up the stairs.
The thud of the bedroom door closing allowed me to move again.
“Shit!” I hissed, finally closing the fridge door. “Shit, shit, shit.”
Lori was Paige’s best friend. They told each other everything. How much crap would there be and how big a fan would that crap hit when Paige found out about this?
Either the two of them will think I’m a sick pervert who was hitting on an 18-year-old surrogate daughter – thereby ruining all trust between us – or I come clean about Randi, and they become completely certain that I’m a sick pervert who is having sex with an 18-year-old.
Talk about a rock and a hard place. I couldn’t see any way out of this.
A little while later, I heard footsteps descending as I sat in my recliner. Turning my head slightly to see the doorway of my den, I watched Paige and Tessa cross by without stopping. Then with those two in the kitchen, I heard the front door open and close.
Paige and Tessa stopped in to chat for a moment as if nothing was wrong, and I knew that Lori hadn’t revealed anything upstairs. Maybe Lori would never say anything. Maybe she would just forget this, and we could move on.
At practice the next day, Lori and I did a fine job of not making eye contact.
But I can’t say that things went smoothly.
She spent a lot of time looking at the floor with her shoulders slumped. She let a pass and a couple of rebounds slip through her hands. She didn’t find the right teammate during passing drills.
She struggled mightily, which was a bad sign with the state playoffs about to start.
For the first round of the playoffs, we had a home game at East. With the crowd behind us, we won by 22 points. Lori had as many turnovers as points (three).
I knew she needed someone to talk to her, but I couldn’t be that person, and I surely didn’t want her confiding in my assistant coach, either, so I just left things alone.
Then we went on the road for the next three games. I felt good about our chances in the first couple of games, but the third road trip was against a team with a 25-6 record. We beat that team by two points, which was a huge rush for the girls, coaches and fans alike.
Lori’s joy seemed subdued, and she hadn’t been back to the house since the incident.
During one of the games, she was resting on the bench, and I called her name.
She stood up and started toward the scorer’s table, but I had noticed something in her opponent. Like poker player with a tell, she was signaling when she was going to shoot by this little slide step with her left foot.
As Lori was walking past, I reached out and put a hand on her shoulder to get her attention. She flinched, glanced at me and then looked at the floor.
“W-watch 13’s left foot,” I stammered. “She’s got a hitch.”
I don’t know if she had any idea what I meant by that, but it felt really awkward talking to her after the way she had reacted to my touch.
The win put us in the regional semifinals – similar to the elite eight in the NCAA Tournament.
Rather than play on either team’s home court, the top four schools from the western half of the state were all traveling to Hickory for a couple of Friday evening games. If we won, then we would either drive the 90 miles back home or just stay overnight in Hickory because we would have to be back there on Saturday to play for a chance at the state title.
One night after practice, I polled the parents to ask their opinion.
“It’s almost March, but Hickory is over in the mountains where they still get snow this time of year. If we decide to drive back Friday night, we might be in slick conditions. And if it snows bad enough, we could have problems getting back up there on Saturday.”
“If the team stays up there overnight, what does that mean for the girls? How will all that be arranged?” asked Lori’s dad, Charles.
Charles and I had become pretty good friends over the years that our kids were playing together. That friendship brought me a wave of guilt over what had happened with his daughter and the awkwardness that was still there. But for the sake of the team, I pushed on.
“I called a couple of hotels in the area. There are some rooms that have two full-sized beds. The girls have never minded sleeping two in a bed on sleepovers, so we could theoretically put four girls in a single room. The whole team would only need three rooms. Each player could put in $15 or $20, and that would cover the cost.”
“What about keeping an eye on them,” asked Autumn’s mom, Gina. “Are you and Heather going to be able to keep up with them all?”
“If there are only three rooms to watch, it wouldn’t be too hard to keep track of them,” I said. “But I expect there will be a handful of parents who want to stay, too.”
Charles looked at me and said, “Maybe I could split a room with you and be a chaperone. Somebody else might wanna kartal ucuz escort bunk with Heather.”
“Sure,” I said automatically. “Why not?”
As my eyes cast back across the parents, I could easily read the expression on Gina’s face. It said that she would be perfectly willing to share a bed with me for a night. She and a few others volunteered for the trip.
The Thursday before the team trip, Paige wanted to spend some time with Ricky so they planned dinner and a movie after practice.
Not that it was really a practice. The girls didn’t even dress out. I had gotten a copy of game footage from a coach who had already played our Friday opponent, Cherokee. I had watched the DVD three times the night before so I played it for the girls and pointed out details they needed to remember.
Paige left straight from the school to Ricky’s house, and I headed home for a guitar lesson. It was the first chance in a couple of weeks to be completely alone with Randi, and I couldn’t help but feel a surge of hormones on the drive.
As soon as she walked through the door, I wanted to tear Randi’s clothes off, but I remembered what she said about putting the lessons first.
Still, I greeted her with a passionate kiss before taking her hand and leading her to the den.
“First things first,” she said, reaching into her jeans pocket. She pulled out a wad of money.
“This is the full payment for the guitar. Now I can take it home with me to practice between sessions.”
She extended an arm with the money, but I put up my hands.
“Hold on now. I don’t want you putting yourself in a tough spot financially. You take as long as you need to pay on that, or just forget it altogether and let it be my gift to you.”
“We had a deal,” she said, putting her money-filled hand on my chest. I could see the firmness of her resolution through her deep green eyes.
“Okay, if you say so.”
I accepted the money with my left hand while my right pulled her hand to my lips. I kissed the space between each knuckle, then I looked up to see the desire smoldering in her eyes.
“Since we have the house to ourselves for the next three or four hours, why don’t we have a little fun with practice?” she said.
“I like where this is going.”
“I’ll sit in the chair and you take the loveseat. You will strum the chords to a simple song, and I will attempt to play the chords back to you.”
It sounded like she’d already put some thought into this impromptu game.
“The entire song or just a couple of lines?” I asked.
“A couple of lines or one verse, something like that. And if I mess it up, I agree to take off one article of clothing. If I do it right, then you have to remove a piece.”
“Kind of like strip poker, but with instruments?”
Minutes later I was strumming the opening D chord of Tom Petty’s Free Fallin’. She played the pinkie move back perfectly, so I pulled off one sock.
“A sock? That’s all I get for my trouble?” she asked with eyebrows raised.
“That’s right, and the next sock will be the one I’m using to pad my underwear.”
“You don’t have to pad anything. You’re doing just fine in that department,” she said, licking her lips.
“If you can get the pinkie part down for that song, then maybe you can do a harder version,” I said, playing the chords for the first verse of Bon Jovi’s Wanted Dead or Alive.
“Seriously? I’m supposed to do that?”
“What? It’s just four chords,” I said all innocently.
“Fine,” she grumbled. “Show me again.”
She gave it a valiant try, but she just couldn’t get the little trilling part right.
Shooting me the evil eye, she reached behind her and unfastened her bra. She pulled the garment out through the armhole of her T-shirt and tossed it on the coffee table.
“Now THAT is how you pay off a bet, sock boy.”
She might have been acting grumpy, but the nips pushing out against the fabric of her shirt told a different story.
So it continued for close to half an hour. I would play a simple song that I felt like she could handle, but then I’d try one more difficult just to keep her clothing coming off.
I had been avoiding songs with an F chord because I knew she had trouble with that one.
But eventually it came down to me in my boxer briefs and Randi in her bikini bottoms with her bare breasts on display.
I began to strum an old Alabama ballad, then provided the vocals, too, for Lady Down On Love.
Randi pulled down her brow in concentration and flexed her hand a couple of times before starting. She got the C and G just fine. I felt a smirk coming to my lips as she reached for the F, but to my surprise she played it perfectly.
“Ha!” she cried out. “Take that. You thought you had me, but now you’ve got to hand over those panties, loser.”
I couldn’t really see a downside to being naked in front of a smoking-hot teen who wanted to have sex with me, but I pretended to be pouty since she seemed so pleased with herself.
Sitting my guitar on its stand, I reached down and carefully eased the elastic band over my growing erection before dropping the underwear to the floor. With my toes I picked the clothing up and dropped it onto the pile upon the table.
I took a step toward her, saying, “I guess that’s enough music for today.”
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