A Welcome Distraction
Şub 13, 2021 // By:analsex // No Comment
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Fair warning – this is a long-haul, and it starts as a bit of a downer. This is a departure from the usual stuff I write, and is much more contemporary and real-life based, with some ~themes~ and shit. I know, I’m very excited too.
Please engage with comments, letting me know what you thought and if you’d like me to spend more time on projects like this (it’s been a while in the making), or if you would prefer more serialised stories like Lira’s Accounts, or just more of my usual stuff (closer to the ten thousand word mark). Every comment is read, and they mean a lot to me!
TW: death; injury; medical references; references to suicide; references to alcoholism
CW: mature; toys; anal; first time; oral; taboo; daddy-kink
It’s kind of a long, depressing story, to be honest, but it starts the same way it continues – with stupid, impulsive decisions.
The first impulsive decision – ground zero, if you will – was when I asked out my secondary-school crush, Phillis. She was gawky, and her name made her the butt of a lot of jokes where she was called ‘Phil’ a lot, but I thought she was perfect. Smart, a sharper wit than most, and by the time we were getting ready to leave school and head out into the world she had grown a thick skin, and was able to bounce most shitty comments harder than they were thrown.
Even now, I think she took a bit of pity on me, as a bit of a no-one whose only skills were music which, when you’re surrounded by farmers and country bumpkins, doesn’t make you much more than a laughing stock.
I took her to the ‘prom’ we had, though, us growing up in rural north England it wasn’t much of a prom, and I lost my virginity to her. Well, we lost ours to each other.
Her bedroom, painted pre-teen pink even though we were both knocking eighteen, was moonlit and romantic, and her bed creaked more than we would have liked. Her parents must have known what was going on, but they left us to it. Another bad decision for the pot, perhaps. It depends on how you look at it.
We didn’t even really know what sex was. It was the early noughties, no seventeen year old would dare buy condoms from the local Tesco because the cashiers all knew everybody’s parents, and so we were just blind to it.
Even so, it was one of the most magical nights of my life. Her jet black hair, soft lips and softer thighs…
A year later, we discovered the meaning of the word contraceptive’ a little late, when Phillis started to swell up. She was kicked out, and we went to live with my parents while I started working for my dad, who ran the local garage, paying my way. We bought a test, and got the proof. She was pregnant.
Phillis picked the name before we knew the sex – Charlie. Charlotte, if a girl, or Charles if a boy. She just liked how it sounded.
There were… complications. Some kind of infection that led to us having to get a cesarean, meaning Charlotte was born a couple of weeks early, in mid-October. Phillis developed sepsis from the delivery, which is basically blood poisoning, or something like that, and…
She didn’t make it.
So, there I was, a single dad at eighteen, living with my parents and trying to learn enough on the job to help my dad with his business, even though I hated it. I hated cars, I hated the kind of people who loved cars; but I loved Charlotte, and I would have done anything for her.
Which is why I made it work.
I balanced the whole lot. Did my duty as a father, and was determined to give Charlotte the best start in life, even without a mother.
When I was able, I moved out and got myself a flat in the city near where my parents were, closer to the garage so I could pick up better hours around Charlotte’s needs – especially when she started school. And my parents were fantastic, always babysitting when I needed it, helping walk me through the little things. My dad taught me to be a provider, and my mum taught me to be a parent.
For a long time, I was learning how to see Charlotte without thinking of Phillis; how my life could include a child, without her. Becoming a parent in my own right, becoming a man. And having Charlotte as the reason for it all.
When she was fifteen, my mum got sick, and passed away. She was in her mid-fifties, but cancer is like that. My dad was having a hard time of it, so I took up more hours at the garage, especially now that Charlotte was at the sort of age when she was starting to pull away.
She’d made friends who ranged from simply delightful to honestly scary, but I tried not to interfere too much. I wanted to trust her, and I wanted her to know she could trust me.
One weekend, when she was getting ready to finish her A-levels and go travelling for the summer before Uni – she wanted to be a mechanic, bless – with some of her friends, her and her friend Alex – Alexandra – announced they were going camping. Nothing big – Alex’s family were going to drive them up to a site they casino şirketleri knew in the Lake District, and would pick them up on Monday. Once I did a quick check to make sure neither of them had school on the following Monday – their weird A-level schedule meant that they didn’t – I gave them the go-ahead.
For a long time, I considered that another impulsive decision, but really it wasn’t. Alex was a good kid, a proper little athlete who was on the scout’s radar for long-distance running, always wearing sports gear that, quite frankly, was a little inappropriate, and kept her strawberry-blonde hair up in a tight bun at all times. She was smart, reliable, and I liked her. I barely thought twice about it, and let my dad know I was going to spend the weekend with him.
When you’re woken up at two in the morning by flashing lights and harsh knocks at the door, it’s never a good sign.
I barely remember what I was told. The sergeant I welcomed into my dad’s house let me know they’d tried my own house first, and that I should sit down. And then they told me there’d been an accident.
There was a lot of rain, and it had caused a small landslide on the roads around the base of Ullswater, and a car had been crushed. Three dead. One survivor. It wasn’t Charlotte.
The next few hours… blur. I remember the police station, and the hospital, and seeing her on a slab. I remember signing things, and being told they would be in touch once I’d had a good rest. There was no evidence of foul play, of course, but they knew my history. One of the people who worked in the station was a parent of one of Charlotte’s friends, and knew that I’d lost my wife and mother. And now my daughter. Probably had me on a suicide watch or something.
I don’t remember planning the funeral, but I remember being the day. Truly abysmal Cumbrian weather, the shitty local churchyard, and a wake in the pub me and my dad frequented – The Bastion, known to the locals as The Bastard.
That’s when I saw her. I assumed she must have been at the service, too, but I hadn’t done much but cry and be apologised to, so aside from the image of Charlotte and Phillis’ graves being side-by-side, the morning had been a blank. Repressive memory, I think they call it. Sounds about right.
‘Alex,’ I muttered, seeing her by the bar, dressed in the same black everyone else was, but set deep into the wheelchair that was, as far as I knew, a necessity – at least for now. Three rolls in a fatal crash that managed to spare you would do that.
I settled on the closest chair, trying not to draw attention to the fact that it would have made more sense for me to sit on a barstool.
She looked at me like I was going to shoot her or something. Wide eyes, total panic.
‘Thank you for coming,’ I said, and ordered my dad something brown and awful. He’d appreciate it, and if his efforts to stay sober had an exception, it was today. ‘Charlotte would have-‘
I stopped as Alex pulled me in for a hug that pushed a wheeze from my lungs. Her arms wrapped around me, and for a while she just held me. I was awkward, and kind of lurched over her casted legs in a way that couldn’t have been comfortable for her, but I did pull away. It was maybe awful to say, but I couldn’t help it. She was the same age, same height – for a moment, as she hugged me, it was like it was Charlotte.
And I started to cry too.
‘I’m so sorry,’ she whispered into my shoulder, and I pulled away. This girl had lost her parents, and she’d taken time out of her mourning to sit in my misery, too.
‘None of that,’ I said, wiping my eyes a little as she did the same. ‘Join us?’
She nodded, and I grabbed my dad’s drink, and we made our way over.
For an hour or so, we just kind of… sat together. I would have thought she would be off with Charlotte’s other friends – who all showed and paid their respects, of course – or even been at the hospital for her physical therapy or something; but instead she was happy to sit with us old farts. I even had quick conversations with a few of the family members from Phillis’ side of the family – not that we were close – who came over. Alex just sat there. Quiet, eyes glittering, not looking for any engagement.
It was my dad, who had finished two more of those scotches by now, who broke the tender quiet.
‘Not right, is it.’
Me and Alex looked to him, surprised by the sudden comment. ‘Dad?’
‘I’ve buried a few friends,’ he said, and I sucked in a breath, preparing myself. ‘But those were joyful affairs. Celebrating a life well-lived. Your mum was gone too soon, and she broke fifty. What did Charlie get, eh?’
I mouth I’m sorry to Alex, but she took no notice, seemingly happy to listen to my dad sputter away.
‘This is misery,’ he said.
‘My parents were buried yesterday,’ Alex said quietly, her voice light. Like she’d forgotten how to talk. Not like the youthful ball of energy I remembered. casino firmaları Between that and her words, my stomach sank for her. I realised I hadn’t bothered to go to her parent’s funeral, but she’d joined us for Charlie’s.
Still, having no idea what to say, I simply took her hand across the table, giving it a squeeze. She gave me a light smile, hopefully understanding that it wasn’t a sign of sympathy, or pity. Just sharing.
‘You’re too young,’ my dad grumbled. ‘Too young not to have a ma’ and pa’ – it’s not right at all.’
‘Charlotte didn’t have a mum,’ I said.
‘Aye, but she had you,’ dad snapped, apparently offended. ‘And she had us – your mum and me. We took care of each other. Family. Who’ve you got, now?’
His eyes, glassy and unwavering, landed on Alex, but she didn’t answer. All she gave was the quietest ‘sorry’, before turning away on her chair. As she did, something got caught, and her chair stopped dead between the table and the corner of the partition next to us. I stood, moving to try and help, but she managed to pull herself free and mumbled another ‘sorry’ as she took herself away.
The pub had cleared a little by then – maybe people agreed, that it was too sad. Too miserable. Not like a proper funeral, when you can at least swap stories about the good times. Charlie didn’t get good times, not really. No driver’s license, no college mishaps, no terrible job interviews. No family of her own. None of it.
And now, Alex was going to have the opposite. A whole life in front of her, plagued by this one event that stole her family, and her best friend, and her legs. As an athlete, that alone would be heartbreaking. Alongside the rest, it must have been hell.
That night, I decided to stay with my dad in his house. We both felt like avoiding seeing Charlie’s empty bedroom in the flat would be the best thing, for now, at least. I would have to face it eventually, but not until I was ready. For almost a week, that was the plan.
Well, that had been the plan, anyway.
Dad was down by half ten, the drink and the stress knocking him straight out. Once he was down, I found myself in the spare room, lying on top of a perfectly-made bed, wearing an unwashed t-shirt and grey jogging bottoms, staring at the ceiling that, once upon a time and two paint-jobs previously, had been above my childhood bed. It stirred a lot of the kind of memories that tended to haunt you at night, and it was honestly kind of irritating.
With a huff, and the resolve that it was going to have to happen at some point anyway, I grabbed the jacket with my keys in, slipped on some of dad’s loafers to complete an awful but practical ensemble, and made sure to lock up the front door behind me – leaving a note for dad on the mini fridge, just in case he was wondering where I went. Not that he would.
The drive home was automatic. Traffic was sparse, and the weather was clear but for a spattering of rain that, by the time I was further into the city, had turned into a heavy sort of rain. As I turned onto our road, then, I was surprised to see an Uber pass me, all shiny corporate-clean amongst the grey and brown. Then, I saw the house. Well, it was a house split into two flats – me and Charlie were on the top floor, and a lovely old couple lived beneath us, too deaf to care about Charlie’s music, and they kept the front garden in a lovely state.
And outside their front window there was what looked like torchlight.
I frowned, and checked the time – past midnight. No way it was a visitor or something, and they’d never be able to fight off a break-in. I was about to pull up and call the police, when I hesitated. Something felt off.
So, instead, I parked a little way up the road, and got out, rain quickly chilling me to the bone as the loafers struggled against the wet concrete pavement.
I approached, trying to see the source of the light that was glinting against their window, when the person knocked on the door, which us and the Wilson’s shared.
‘Hello?’ a voice called out, familiar and small. In fact, they were very small – well shorter than the usual person.
So, I caught up, coming up the pathway with my phone set to call the police if needed, and saw a woman in a wheelchair at our front door, sodden and tired.
‘Alex?’ I asked, incredulous.
She turned, greeting me with that deer-in-headlights look again. ‘Hi,’ she said, lamely.
I shrugged my jacket off, putting it over her shoulders. ‘You shouldn’t be out here – it’s pissing it down.’
‘I…’ she trailed off, and I pulled my keys from the pocket.
‘Let’s get you inside,’ I said, opening the front quickly. I ushered her in, but we were quickly met with the next problem – the staircase up to our flat. ‘How do you want to get up?’
She looked at me, and then to her legs. One of them was looking pretty normal, though it was in one of those compression socks. Her left leg, though, was in a güvenilir casino huge cast which I knew wasn’t designed to take weight – hence the chair.
‘You can just call me an Uber,’ she said. ‘This is… I’m sorry. I don’t know what I was thinking.’
‘Alex,’ I said, stopping her. ‘You need to try off and warm up. Can I lift you?’
She nodded, and lifted her arms like a child. I looped her arm around my neck and pulled her up under her knees, being as careful of the cast as I could be. ‘You okay?’
She nodded, her cheeks bright red. ‘Sorry,’ she said again.
I carried her up the stairs, her body light as a feather, though her cast was a bit clunky. More than once she banged the bannister, and I watched her wince and cringe, even though she assured me it didn’t hurt.
Once we were upstairs, I let Alex get the lights for us and I set her down on the sofa. It was nice, actually, having someone there with me when I saw the place for the first time. It made it less… lonely. Even though I knew there was a bedroom missing a person nearby, at least for now I could be distracted by the oddness of the current situation.
I sat across from her, and she avoided my eyes. For a moment, I didn’t know where to start. Should I take her home? Offer her a blanket and call it a night? Dig for a discussion as to why she was on my doorstep at midnight after Charlie’s funeral?
‘Mr. Merrick,’ she began, deciding that the quiet was killing her as much as it was me. ‘I don’t even know if I can explain why… what I’m doing here. It was a bit of a rushed decision. It was stupid.’
‘Its okay,’ I said, hearing the worry in her voice. ‘Do you want a drink? A tea? Warm you up?’
She nodded. ‘Yeah, sure.’
So, I made us tea. All very normal. I even brought through some hobnobs and digestive biscuits, the coffee table between us facetiously ordinary-looking.
‘So,’ I said, and her eyes flicked up to mine mid-sip. ‘Care to explain the visit?’
She nodded. ‘Okay. So, after the, uh, wake, or whatever it was called, I had a session for physical therapy for this.’ She bounced her cast. ‘And then, they called a taxi to drive me home. I don’t have any family, really. My dad’s family are all estranged, living in America. Mum was an only child, grandparents long-since gone.’
I frowned. ‘So, it’s just you.’
She nodded. ‘Just me.’
‘And, I don’t know,’ she mumbled. ‘It seemed like a good idea at the time. Half an hour ago. But, Charlie’s grandad asked me who’ve I’ve got, and the answer is no one. The closest anyone else is to what happened is you, so-‘
‘So you reached out,’ I said. Alex nodded, and I sighed, leaning back, not sure what to say. Not sure what to do.
‘It was crazy, sorry-‘
‘Stop with the ‘sorry’, alright?’ I didn’t mean it to, but it came out as a bit of a snap, and Alex visibly shrank on the sofa. ‘You did nothing wrong. You reached out.’
‘Yeah, and shone a light through your windows. Can’t imagine what you thought I was doing.’
‘Well, aside from perving on the Wilsons, no, I had no idea.’
She laughed at that, which was good, but she still was clearly very tense. Alex didn’t really know me, not really. No more than any girl knew their friend’s dad. This was wrong. All wrong.
‘Look,’ I said, just as she took another sip. ‘You’re welcome to stay the night, but… if you need someone to stay with, I don’t know if this-‘
Even as I was saying it, I watched her heart sink.
This poor girl has nobody, I thought, and I’m just going to turn her away?
‘I didn’t mean to do anything…’ she trailed off, and I sighed again. We were terrible at this.
‘You finished your tea?’
‘How old are you?’ Her eyebrow twitched at this, and I realised what she might think I was asking, so I quickly clarified. ‘I’m wondering if you want something a bit stronger. It’s been… a lot. And if you want to join me at the bottom of a bottle, I won’t stop you.’
She nodded. ‘I’m eighteen, and I would fucking love to.’
So, I grabbed us a couple bottles of something cheap and cheerful, and we drank together.
By one in the morning, we were a slight more chatty.
‘Did Charlie ever tell you,’ she was saying, listing off another one of her many tails of my daughter, ‘that she had her first kiss?’
I laughed. ‘No, she did not!’
Alex’s eyes widened, in joy this time. Like dishing the dirt on someone, it was fun and cheeky. Not as morbid, I guessed. ‘Tom Galbraith, it was.’
‘I met him,’ I said, not happy. ‘Scruffy bugger. Thinks he’s a hot-shot.’
Alex laughed. ‘Sure he does. But, you know, Charlie said he was a good kisser, so.’
‘Unbelievable.’ I put my empty bottle on the table, next to the others. I gave out a sigh, and looked up to Alex, to realise we were both smiling. How unlikely that was, on a day like today. ‘Look at us,’ I said. ‘Smiling like idiots.’
She finished her drink, cringing a little. ‘Seems a bit… I don’t know. Disrespectful. Like, shouldn’t we be weeping in bed, alone, for days?’
‘I’m sure there’ll be enough of that.’
‘Mmm. I’ve been crying pretty much non-stop since… since.’
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