Another Chance At Life

When Bill’s wife, Corrine, passed away, he was twenty-two and their daughter, Michelle, was still in diapers.  The doctor said Corrine had suffered a massive brain aneurysm and that it was probably caused by a blood vessel that had been weak since birth.  He assured Bill it had been fast and Corrine hadn’t suffered any pain.  Bill hadn’t been so fortunate.  Corrine was his life, his reason for going on.  The pain was deep and seemed as if it would go on forever.

Michelle helped ease the pain some, if only because at two, she required a lot of Bill’s time, time he’d probably have spent missing Corrine.  As a result, over the next nine years, Bill lavished all his attention on Michelle and brought her up to be as much like her mother as he could.

The one thing Bill didn’t know how to do was explain to Michelle about becoming a woman and all that meant, so he enlisted his own mother to take care of that.  On Michelle’s tenth birthday, Bill’s mother asked Michelle if she’d like to stay a week with her and Grandpa, and during that week, she told Michelle about what would happen to her, what that all meant, and how she should act once she began making the change.  

Bill noticed the change in Michelle after that week.  It wasn’t immediate, but gradually, she became even more like Corrine.  Corrine had always been a little shy about her body, and her clothes were conservative.  After Grandma’s talk, Michelle stopped wearing anything that didn’t cover her almost completely, and while before, she’d not thought much about being naked, now, Bill never saw her without clothes.

That wasn’t the last time his mother talked to Michelle about becoming a woman.  About twice a month, Bill’s mother would drop by on a Saturday and take Michelle shopping.  After that first shopping trip, Michelle began doing her own laundry every Saturday.  When Bill asked her why she’d suddenly taken on that chore, Michelle told him there were things in her laundry a man wasn’t supposed to see unless he was her husband.  

Bill congratulated himself for asking his mother to talk to Michelle.  He could never have explained everything that was happening to Michelle, much less explained how those changes would change how boys looked at her and what they’d want to do.

By the time Michelle graduated from high school, she’d changed from a gangling little girl into a beautiful woman.  Bill was always amazed at how much Michelle resembled Corrine.  Michelle had the same cute little nose, the deep blue beautiful eyes, and the same rounded face with a beautiful smile framed by long, blonde hair.  Michelle was a little taller than Corrine had been, but her figure was about the same – full and lush without being overtly sexual.

Once Michelle graduated, Bill was forced to think about letting Michelle leave the nest.  Michelle had loved animals since he’d bought her a kitten when she was five.  Over the years, their house became sort of a menagerie with two cats, a mongrel dog named “Skippy”, three parakeets, and an aquarium.  After taking biology her junior year, Michelle had decided she wanted to become a veterinarian, and had applied and been accepted at the state university in Wimbley in pre-vet when she was a senior.

Bill knew he couldn’t hold Michelle back.  She was like her mother in that once she set her mind on something, there was no way to change it.  It was with a lot of fear he drove her to the campus that fall.  The fear was for her, but also fear for himself.  He knew Michelle was mature beyond her years and would probably be fine.  He just wasn’t sure how he’d survive being alone for the first time in sixteen years.

Though Michelle chattered on to her father about what she thought college would be like, that talk was the result of being nervous and a little fearful.  She’d done well in high school, but would she be able to do as well in college?  She knew she was intelligent, but also knew there were more intelligent people in the world.  She knew she’d have to work hard to make the grades that would get her into the school of veterinary medicine.

That wasn’t the worst of her fears though.  She’d watched her father give up everything in his life for her, and now that she’d be gone most of the time, what would he do?  Once her grandmother had explained about the relationship between men and women, Michelle had often wondered why her father didn’t look for another wife.  

In some ways, that would have been good, she thought.  Michelle didn’t really remember her mother, so she would have no reason to be jealous, and having another woman to talk to besides her grandmother would have been comforting.  She thought her father would have been happier too if he had an adult partner to help with life’s trials.

She’d never seen her father even look at another woman, at least not that way, and she felt like she was the reason.  Maybe once she was gone, he would look for a new wife, a woman he could love and be with for the rest of his life.  Michelle was worried that if he didn’t, he’d just stay by himself and grow older and unhappy.

Because all college freshmen were required to live in university approved housing, Michelle was going to live in Bronson Residence Hall.  It wasn’t an apartment like she would have liked, but Bronson was on campus so she could walk to all her classes, and meals in the cafeteria were included in the housing fee as were weekly linen changes.  She’d still have to do her own laundry, but there was a laundromat in the basement of the building.

Her roommate was already there when Michelle and Bill carried all her stuff up to the third floor room.  The girl introduced herself as Tammy Reynolds, and then said she’d leave them alone while Michelle got settled in.  After half an hour, Michelle was standing beside Bill’s car and Bill was trying to prolong saying goodbye.

“Michelle, if you need anything, use your debit card.  I’ll check on the balance about once a week and you don’t need to worry about money.  Just try to save your money for school supplies and what ever you need like soap, shampoo, and things like that.  I don’t mind if you go out once in a while, but try not to do that a lot.”

“Dad, I don’t think I’ll be doing much partying.  I know I’m going to have to spend most of my time studying, so don’t worry.”

“Well, I should probably be going so you can get acquainted with Tammy.  Oh, by the way, if you want to come home some weekend, all you have to do is call my cell phone and I’ll come pick you up.”

Michelle smiled.

“Dad, the point of me being here is to learn, and I’ll probably need the weekends to do homework so I won’t be able to come home.”

“Well, I know, but if you get lonely or something, just call.  At least we can talk on the phone.  You keep your cell phone charged up so I can call you if I need to, OK?  Don’t use up the battery on one of those social websites.”

Michelle smiled.

“Dad, you know I don’t spend any time on those websites except with a couple of girls I know from high school.  I don’t need four thousand friends I’ve never seen and probably will never see.  Besides, I’ll be too busy.  Now, go home and call me when you get there so I’ll know you got there safe.”

Bill hugged Michelle, and then got into his car.  Michelle smiled and waved when he drove away, but shook her head when she walked back into the building.  If he was this bad just dropping her off, what would he be like after a week or a month without seeing her?”

Michelle found out how her father would be when he called her an hour and a half later.  Michelle knew the university was a little over an hour from home, so he’d apparently walked into the house and immediately called her.  She didn’t expect more than, “I got home OK” and a short conversation.  Instead, half an hour later she was still talking to her father and the conversation was just aimless rambling about what they used to do and him asking her over and over if she was OK.

Michelle finally said she had to go down to eat so he’d stop talking.  While that was true, the dining hall didn’t open for another fifteen minutes, so she had plenty of time.  She wouldn’t have minded talking with her father if he hadn’t kept asking how she was and if she needed anything.  She kept saying, “Dad, I just got here.  How could I need anything”.  He’d tell her he was just asking and change the subject, but a few minutes later he’d ask the same question.  Michelle could sympathize with how he must feel being alone, but she was a grown woman now and didn’t need for him to be constantly checking on her like she was still in grade school.

Tammy had gone somewhere as soon as she understood Michelle was talking to her father.  About five minutes before the dining hall opened, she came back and asked if Michelle was ready to go eat.  Over dinner, they started to get acquainted and Michelle began to like Tammy.  Tammy seemed to be a pretty down to earth person with strong opinions about things, just like Michelle, and they agreed on most of the things they talked about.

It was after dinner and back in their room, Tammy asked Michelle why her mother hadn’t come along with her father to drop her off.  Michelle explained.

“I don’t have a mother.  Well, I do, but she died when I was two.”

“Your father raised you all by himself?  That must have been hard for both of you.”

Michelle smiled.

“Well, my grandma took care of the girl things, but yes, Dad did most of it by himself.”

“He never re-married?”

Michelle shook her head.

“No.  I wish he had.  It was fine while I was at home.  We did everything together and I liked that, but now that I’m not there, I don’t know what he’s going to do.  Call me every night, I’d suppose, just like he did as soon as he got home.  Did your mom and dad do that?”

Tammy frowned and shook her head.

“Mom’s too busy with Jeff, and I’ve never had a dad that I knew.  Mom got pregnant with me when she was eighteen.  The guy was twenty, and when he found out, he left town and she never heard from him again.  When I was five, she married again, but I wasn’t Jeff’s so he didn’t treat me like his daughter.  Most of the time, I was just in the way.  I spent a lot of time with my grandparents as a result.  I guess my grandfather is sort of like the dad I never had, but he passed away this summer so I don’t have him anymore.”

Michelle said she was sorry, but Tammy waved her hand.

“Don’t be sorry for me, because it worked out pretty well.  Mom needed a husband because she’s about as ditzy as they come.  That’s how she got pregnant in the first place, or at least, that’s what my grandmother told me.  

“Mom was pretty good looking and never had to worry about dates, but she wasn’t very good at choosing men.  The guy who got her pregnant wasn’t local.  He just showed up one day where Mom worked and she didn’t know where he came from.  All she knew is he was a good looking guy and he seemed to like her.

“She’d dated this guy for a month when he talked her into going to his apartment after they’d gone to a movie, and once they were there…

“She thought she was in love with him, so she let him.  That’s what she told my grandmother after she’d missed her next period.  She was sure the guy would marry her, and when she told him, he said he would.  The next day though, he quit his job and left town.  Since nobody knew where he came from, there was no way to find him.  Like I said, Mom wasn’t very good at choosing men or she’d have found out more about him first.

“Anyway, Mom lived with my grandparents until I was five.  Then she met Jeff.  She knew him from high school, so I guess she thought he’d be better.  He was, for her.  Jeff’s a good man, and he takes care of Mom and keeps her from doing dumb things so I like him, but he’s more like an uncle than a dad.  He didn’t hate me.  He just couldn’t bring himself to like me like I was his, and he wanted them to be able to do things together.  That meant they’d take me to my grandparents house while they went off to do whatever it was they wanted to do.  

“By the time I was eleven, I was spending more time with my grandparents than with Jeff and Mom, but it worked out OK.  My grandmother taught me about the birds and the bees and she made sure I wouldn’t make the same mistake Mom did.  I haven’t, and I don’t intend to.  When I find a man I like, I’m going to know as much about him as he does before I hop in bed with him.”

Michelle grinned.

“Sounds like our grandmas are a lot alike.  Mine told me when I did, it should be after I’m married.  She said I’d be being a whore if I did it before that.”

Michelle chuckled.

“I couldn’t believe Grandma would say that word – whore – but she said it.”

Tammy smiled.

“I don’t know that I’ll wait until I’m married or not.  I spent a year trying to find that guy but I didn’t.  I thought my chances might be better in college and I always wanted to be a writer anyway, so here I am.  I won’t know until I meet that one guy and know who he is.  Once I do…well, it can’t hurt anything to know if we like each other that way before we make things permanent.”

After Bill tapped the “end call” icon on his phone, he sighed.  Michelle was gone.  It was obvious from the way she’d ended the call she was busy and didn’t really want to talk to him right then.  In a way, he understood.  She wanted to be out on her own and she deserved that chance.  Still, he knew he was going to miss her.

He did miss her, every hour of every day that he wasn’t sleeping, and by Sunday morning, Bill decided he had to see her again.  He waited until he was sure she was probably eating lunch before he called her so she couldn’t use lunch as an excuse to end the call.  When she answered, he heard the clatter of silverware so he knew he’d made the right decision.

He was lying, but he told Michelle he had to come to Wimbley to buy a new software program he’d read about but none of the stores in town had.  He asked if since he was going to be there anyway, would she like to have dinner with him.

As soon as he called, Michelle knew what was going on, but had made other plans.  The residence hall didn’t serve dinner on Sunday night, so she and Tammy had planned to get a pizza to celebrate making it through the first week of classes.  It had been a whirlwind of finding where they were supposed to be, then going to the bookstores to buy books and supplies, and then starting to study.  

“I’d like that Dad, but Tammy and I were going to get a pizza tonight.”

“Well, ask Tammy to come along too.  I promise it’ll be better than a pizza.  You pick the place and I’ll pick you both up about six.”

Michelle couldn’t say no because he sounded like he was almost begging her.  She covered her phone and asked Tammy if she’d like to go.  When Tammy said she guessed so, Michelle told Bill they’d be ready at six.

Bill had met them in the lobby and grinned when they walked in.

“Wow…I’m going to be escorting two really gorgeous women to dinner tonight.”

Michelle rolled her eyes.

“Dad, I’m no different than I was a week ago.  You never called me gorgeous before.”

“Well, you look different to me now.  So do you Tammy.  I didn’t see you for very long the last time, so I didn’t really notice, but I do now.  So, where are we going to eat?”

Dinner had been great for Michelle, as much as for the great Italian food as for getting to see her dad again.  As much as she hated to admit it to herself, she missed him too.  It wasn’t as bad, she thought, because she had Tammy to talk to every night, but she still missed having her dad sit on the couch with her while they watched television.

Michelle was surprised that Tammy seemed to have a good time too.  She’d thought Tammy might be a little shy around her dad because she’d never known a real father, but she wasn’t.  She joked with him like she’d known him all her life.  That made Michelle happy for them both, happy for her dad because he was meeting another woman even though Tammy was twenty years younger, and happy for Tammy because she’d relaxed so much.

Bill enjoyed himself as well.  Seeing Michelle being like she’d always been was comforting.  He knew it had only been a week, but Michelle seemed to have adjusted to her freedom.  She talked about studying hard but understanding the material and said she loved college.

Bill had only invited Tammy out of courtesy, but he liked her after the first five minutes.  She was intelligent and had a great sense of humor.  When he asked what Tammy was studying and she said she journalism because she wanted to write novels, he was impressed.  According to what he’d been reading, most young girls wanted to be teachers or sociologists.  A degree in either would probably result in a relatively good job, but it took a lot of confidence to commit to writing novels for a living.  A lot of writers had to hold down another job to make ends meet.

The longer they talked, the more Bill liked Tammy.  She could never be the same to him as Michelle, but he was starting to think of her almost like another daughter, so much so that just before he left, he said to them both, “This has been a lot of fun.  What would you say if we did this every Sunday night?”

Michelle frowned.

“Dad, you don’t have to do that.  Tammy and I can take care of ourselves.”

“I know and I’m not trying to do that.  I just had fun with you two and I’d like to do it again.”

He’d finally agreed to every other week, and he felt a lot better when he drove back home.  He hadn’t really lost Michelle.  It would be more like when she spent time with her grandparents.

Michelle and Tammy were getting ready for bed that night when Tammy chuckled.

“Your dad is a great guy.  I could get to like him a lot.”

Tammy grinned.

“Yeah, he’s pretty good at schmoozing you alright.  You didn’t stop smiling through the whole meal.”

“Well, he seems like he’d be fun.  Is he?”

“Yeah, I suppose so.  I never wanted to not be with him, but then, he was always there for me.  He taught me how to ride a bike and how to drive.”

Tammy sighed.

“Wish I’d had a dad to do that.  Grandpa was too old to ride a bike.  He did teach me to drive though.  I thought he was gonna have a heart attack the first time, but he stayed with me.  I can’t believe your dad doesn’t have all kinds of women trying to be with him.”

“Well, I know a couple tried, but he wasn’t interested.  I think I’m the cause.  Dad didn’t think he could be with a woman and still do what he should with me, so he didn’t try.  I’m hoping he will now.”

Tammy was hoping he would too, but she couldn’t tell that to Michelle.  The reason was that after that dinner, Tammy wasn’t thinking of Bill as being Michelle’s father.  She was drawn to him for some reason, and it wasn’t because he’d said she was pretty.  It was something she’d never felt before about a man, a feeling that he was more than any man she’d ever met.  She knew it was crazy and nothing would ever come of it, but she couldn’t stop wondering what he’d be like if they were alone.

“Well, maybe he will.  If not, I could get used to him taking us to dinner every other weekend for the next four years.”

Bill made the trip to Wimbley every other week, and with each dinner, he saw the changes in Michelle.  He knew she’d been a little fearful about college, but after a month, she was calm when she told him about this class or that class and if she liked the professor or not.  He had to smile to himself about that.  He’d never treated Michelle like a child, so she’d grown up more mature mentally than many of her friends.  He’d seen that when he let her have slumber parties or took her and her friends to the beach.  

Now, she was more woman than girl, and it showed in how she spoke and how she thought.  She reminded him more and more of Corrine.  That pleased him because it told him he’d done a good job with her.

Bill also saw some changes in Tammy.  She was a year older than Michelle, but at first had seemed about the same.  After the first couple dinners, she’d started dressing a little differently.  Before, she’d worn about the same type of clothing as Michelle – T-shirt or some other sort of comfortable top and jeans.  The last dinner, she’d worn a top that was cut rather low in front and hugged her breasts like a second skin.  Her jeans were still jeans, but they looked a lot tighter than usual.

The other thing that had changed was how they said goodbye.  Michelle always hugged him and kissed him on the cheek, and after the first two dinners, Tammy just smiled and thanked him for dinner.  The last two though, she’d hugged him after Michelle did.

The hug was the same hug Michelle always gave him, a tight hug that pressed her breasts into his chest, but Tammy’s felt different.  Her breasts weren’t quite as big as Michelle’s but he never noticed Michelle’s when she hugged him.

Bill did notice Tammy’s breasts pressed against his chest, and between that and the way she kissed him on the cheek, he was feeling things he hadn’t felt since his wife died.

Bill wasn’t sure how he felt about that.  He knew that wasn’t a good thing.  You read all the time, it seemed, about some older man touching a young girl in a way she hadn’t asked for and didn’t approve of and the result was either the man got arrested or got sued.  

His company had training once a year to prevent that from happening where he worked.  As Liz, the HR person who did the training always said, “If there’s any question in your mind about whether this is right or wrong, assume it’ll be wrong and don’t do it.  Even if you think it’s what the other person wants, it’s best to not do anything like that, because the other person might not understand what he or she is doing the same way you do.”

That’s what Bill finally decided.  Tammy was just a young woman who liked to dress a little sexy when she went out and didn’t realize what she was doing to him.  If he just hugged her a little and then patted her on the back, she wouldn’t think he was trying to do anything.

The Sunday before Thanksgiving, Bill asked Michelle if she wanted to come home since she’d not have classes on Thursday and Friday.  Michelle said she would, but since Tammy didn’t have anywhere to go and she’d be by herself from Thanksgiving until the next Monday, they’d planned to go somewhere that served Thanksgiving dinner.

Bill had looked forward to those four days with Michelle back home like it had always been, and wasn’t ready to give up on that thought.

“You could invite Tammy to join us if you want.  It’ll just be us.  Grandma and Grandpa are going to your Aunt Sue’s house for dinner.  I thought I’d just buy everything and we’d eat here at home by ourselves.  There’ll be more than enough for Tammy too.”

Michelle put down her phone and asked Tammy.  Tammy grinned and said she’d be glad to join them, so Michelle told Bill  to pick them up about six on Wednesday night.  She said they’d have eaten dinner by then and would be packed and ready.

On the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving, Bill put their suitcases in his trunk along with their backpacks while Michelle got in the front passenger seat and Tammy got in the back.  An hour and a half later, he’d carried their suitcases into Michelle’s bedroom and left them to do whatever they needed to do.  He got a soda from the fridge and sat down on the couch to watch a movie on TV.

Bill had trouble concentrating on the movie because of what Tammy did when she got into his back seat.  It was getting dark, but not so dark he didn’t see her bend at the waist to put her purse in first.  Her tight jeans formed around her rounded hips and pulled up between her thighs.  That would have been enough to catch his attention, but Tammy was wearing a loose sweatshirt.  When she bent over, the sweatshirt fell away from her body, and before he knew it, Bill was looking at her bra-clad breasts in the fading light.  

He’d turned away then, but couldn’t get the image out of his mind.  There it was again, that feeling of need he been successfully keeping away all these years, and it had only taken that to bring it back.

At eleven, Bill was still thinking about that and started another movie because he knew he couldn’t sleep until he worked out those feelings.  It was difficult to do that because he kept hearing Michelle and Tammy laughing, and he heard them when they went down the hall to the bathroom.  As soon as he heard Tammy’s voice, that image of her breasts would fill his mind and he’d have those feelings again.  He was happy when Michelle showed Tammy the spare bedroom and told her she’d make sure she woke up in time for breakfast.

It was midnight when he decided to go to bed because he’d rationalized what Tammy did.  She probably didn’t realize what her sweatshirt had done or how tight her jeans were.  Michelle liked tight jeans too, so the jeans weren’t unusual.  Michelle never tucked her shirts into her jeans either.  No, Tammy was just being a young woman and hadn’t known he was watching her.

Bill was starting to get up off the couch when the door to the spare bedroom opened, Tammy crept out and walked into the living room.  She looked at Bill and smiled.

“I couldn’t fall asleep.  My first class isn’t until ten so I usually study until one or two in the morning.  It’s become something I can’t seem to forget when I don’t have to do it.  Mind if I watch TV with you for a while?”

Bill didn’t answer at first because he couldn’t stop staring at Tammy.  She was wearing a robe that covered her, but it was short enough a lot of her slender thighs were showing, and the neck was open low enough he was sure he saw the inner curve of her bare breasts.

When he realized he was staring, he said, “I don’t know if you’ll like what I’m watching or not, but have a seat.”

He was hoping Tammy wouldn’t sit on the couch with him because she’d be too close to ignore.  He was thanking the stars that she sat down in the chair at right angles to the couch until she pulled her legs up into the chair and then crossed them.  When she did that, the bottom of the robe rode up her thighs and Bill was looking at a small strip of red lace that had to be Tammy’s panties.

Tammy seemed to be enjoying the movie, or at least every time he glanced over at her, she was watching the television screen.  She also seemed to be very comfortable dressed in as little as she was.  Once when he glanced at her, she’d reached inside the top and scratched something, and when she pulled her hand back out, she didn’t bother to close the top back up.  Bill could plainly see the rounded curve of Tammy’s right breast.

Bill stayed on the couch and tried to watch the movie, but when it ended, he was glad.  He stood up, smiled at Tammy and said, “Tammy, you can stay up as long as you want, but I have to hit the sack or I’ll be dead tired tomorrow.  I’ll see you then.”

When Tammy heard Bill’s bedroom door close, she smiled.  She knew Bill had been looking at her.  She’d packed that robe for just that purpose, and she’d crossed her legs in the chair for the same reason – to try to tell him she was interested in being more than Michelle’s roommate and friend.

That thought had slipped up on her after the fourth time Bill had taken them both to dinner.  Tammy had found herself forgetting to listen to Michelle and instead concentrated on watching and listening to Bill.  When she hugged him the first time, the feeling was different from when any other man had touched her.  She wanted to just stay there in his arms for a while because it felt right.

She’d laughed at herself one he drove away.  Girl, you’re just thinking of Bill like the dad you never had.  He’s old enough to be that, and you’re way too young for him to ever think of you as anything else.  It’s not like in the romance novels where the guy and the girl fall in love no matter what their ages.  Real people don’t work that way.  Those novels are just fantasies for women who aren’t satisfied with their current husband or boyfriend or don’t have either.

Those feelings came back during the fifth time Bill took them to dinner, and this time they were stronger.  By the time they left the restaurant, Tammy was wishing Michelle wasn’t there so when she hugged him she wouldn’t have to stop and she could tell Bill how she felt.  He might not like it and he might tell her he didn’t want to see her again, but she was aching to tell him.

Michelle was there, though, so she couldn’t, and when she got back to their room and in bed, she again thought through the whole argument about being too young for him and being crazy for thinking he’d ever want her.

By the time she went home with Michelle for Thanksgiving, she could think of little else other than trying to explain to Bill how she felt and hoping he wouldn’t tell her to leave and never come back.  She’d started writing how she felt in the form of a short story, and intended to give it to him hoping he’d read between the lines.  She’d erased it from her laptop six times because each try read like some teenager talking to her boyfriend.

When Michelle asked her if she’d like to come home with her for Thanksgiving, Tammy decided she probably shouldn’t tell Bill there, but she could give him a not so subtle hint.  That’s why she’d packed the robe and why she’d told Bill she couldn’t sleep.

Tammy knew after the first look that Bill was interested, because he kept glancing at her when he thought she was watching the television screen.  She knew he liked what he saw too, because she’d seen the way the front of his jeans seemed to be pushed out a little.  

Tammy didn’t know if her need to feel Bill’s hands on her body and his cock stroking in and out of her would lead to anything more, but the more she thought about it, she hoped it would.  The way she’d dressed and acted was only to get Bill’s attention.  She’d keep getting his attention and hoping he’d realize she was doing it intentionally.  Maybe then, he’d say something that would give her the opportunity to tell him how she felt.

Though she tried the same thing every night that weekend, it didn’t work, and Tammy didn’t find any other way to tell him because Michelle was always there.  Tammy couldn’t blame Michelle.  It was obvious Michelle and Bill had developed a very close relationship, a relationship she herself had never experienced, but could understand because she'd dreamed about it a lot.  

She couldn’t very well have the talk with Bill she wanted to have if Michelle was there because she was sure Michelle wouldn’t approve.  Tammy didn’t know how she’d ever make Michelle understand that what she felt for Bill wasn’t like some schoolgirl’s crush on her math teacher.  If Bill had the same feelings about her, could Michelle ever accept that, that her father loved a woman half his age?  Tammy decided that was a step she’d have to make once she knew if Bill felt anything for her.

Tammy did try to feel out how Michelle might react by telling her about a story she was writing for her Lit 101 class.

“It’s about a woman who thinks she in love with this guy.  I’m not sure how it ends up yet, but so far, I have the woman going crazy because the guy doesn’t seem to notice her.  I’ve used up all my ideas about how to get him to do that.  You know how men think where I don’t because I never had a dad.  You have any suggestions about how my heroine could get him to notice her?”

Michelle thought for a minute before she spoke.

“What has she done so far?”

“Well, not much really.  She’s talked to him a lot and she’d laughed at all his jokes, and a couple times she tried to dress in sexy clothes.”

“So they know each other pretty well?”

Tammy nodded.

“Yeah, they work together.”

“Well, maybe the guy is like my dad then.  He knows a lot of women, but he considers them co-workers.  I know he thinks some of them are friends, but I don’t think he’s looking any further than that.  Maybe she just needs to tell him how she feels.”

“You mean she should just walk up to him and say she loves him?  That seems a little abrupt.  I mean, I don’t know if I could do that. Could you?”

Michelle nodded.

“If I really loved him, I think I could.  What would I have to lose?  If I didn’t, I’d never have him anyway.”

Tammy said she’d think about how to write that, but she didn’t know where would be a good place for her heroine to tell the guy.

“I couldn’t just have her meet him at the mall and tell him.”

“No, but if they were alone and the setting was quiet and maybe a little romantic, she could.”

“Like I said, I don’t have an ending yet.  What if he doesn’t like her that way?  Would he be mad at her?”

Michelle smiled.

“No.  He’d just be happy the woman thought he was the one she wanted.  I think all men want to have a woman like them.  Dad’s like that.  He told me he was happy you seem to like him.  He was a little worried about that since he didn’t know you.  He likes you too.”

“Really…he likes me?”

“Yeah.  He thinks you’re pretty smart and he liked how confident you are to be studying writing.  He told me that while we were home for Thanksgiving.”

Tammy was smiling inside then.  At least Bill liked her.  Maybe if she could find the right time and place…

Bill went back to work the Monday after Thanksgiving, but it was hard to concentrate.  He kept thinking about Tammy sitting on the chair with her legs crossed and then the way she’d left her robe open after scratching an itch.  He was beginning to believe she’d done that on purpose.  

If Tammy had been ten, he might have thought otherwise.  Michelle hadn’t been modest at all until she stayed over one weekend with her grandparents.  After that, she always wore pajamas if she wasn’t fully dressed.  Bill found it hard to believe that Tammy’s mother hadn’t had the same talk with her.

If it was intentional, why?  Was she trying to tell him something?  That couldn’t be, could it?  Why would any woman twenty years old want a man twice her age?  What could she want from him that a younger man couldn’t give her?  Was it just sex?  That’s how it looked, but if it was sex she wanted, why didn’t she sit on the couch with him?  It would have been easy to move closer and encourage him to touch her.  At least then he’d have known and could have told her he couldn’t.

Would he really have said no?  That was the question that bothered Bill the most.  Everything else was just “what if” or “why”, but the question of could he or would he was one only he could answer and he didn’t really know.  Intentionally or not, Tammy had awakened the urges Bill had been able to keep at bay for so long, and he wasn’t sure.

Dinner with Michelle and Tammy during the weekend between Thanksgiving and Christmas was both fun for Bill as well as a strain.  It was great being with them both, but he kept looking at Tammy to see if she was going to hint at anything and hoping she would and hoping she wouldn’t at the same time.

Over the two weeks since Thanksgiving, Bill had thought a lot, and what he’d thought about was disturbing.  He’d allowed his mind to wander into the dark side of imagining how it would be with Tammy, and once he’d had those thoughts, he couldn’t get them out of his head.

Before, she’d been just a young girl who Michelle roomed with.  She was fun to be with because she was confident and intelligent.  Now, Bill saw a young woman with long, dark brown hair, a sensuous mouth and sparkling eyes, and a body ripe for loving.  Those thoughts went against everything he believed to be normal, and yet, when he closed his eyes at night, he imagined Tammy naked and under him, her hands clawing at his back or gripping the sheets while they both experienced the blinding abyss of release.

It was more than sex, though.  Bill was old enough to know sex couldn’t sustain a relationship, but when he tried to talk himself out of those dreams, Tammy’s willingness to argue with him about some things and make sense while doing it made him think of her as a woman he could live with instead of just a sex partner.

It was crazy, of course, to think she might feel the same way about him.  Bill wished the whole thing would come to a conclusion, whatever that conclusion might be.  

Michelle noticed a change in both her father and Tammy after Thanksgiving, though she noticed a difference in Tammy first because they were together every day.  Sometimes, instead of studying, she see Tammy close her eyes and smile for a while.  When she asked Tammy what she was thinking about that was so great, Tammy just smiled.

“Nothing important.  I was just thinking about a guy I met.”

“So, going to college did what you wanted and let you find the guy you want?”

Tammy grinned.

“Maybe.  I don’t know yet.”

Tammy didn’t say anything else, but Michelle had a feeling there was more and Tammy was afraid to tell her.

Michelle noticed a change in her father as well.  He called her at least every other night, and up until Thanksgiving, they’d always talked about what he’d done during the week and what she’d done.  After Thanksgiving, he started asking her how Tammy was doing at least once and sometimes two or three times.  That had seemed odd until they’d finished dinner that Sunday and her father was getting ready to leave.  

When Tammy gave Bill a goodbye hug, there was something different.  Before she’d done about the same thing Michelle always did, just put her arms around Bill’s neck and then hugged him and kissed him on the cheek.  That night, Tammy did the same thing, except she looked at Bill and smiled before kissing him on the cheek, and the kiss took longer.  To Michelle, that didn’t look like a friendly hug.  It looked more like the hugs she’d seen some girls giving their boyfriends.

When they were lying in bed that night, Michelle decided she had to know.

“Tammy, do you like my dad?”

“Sure.  He’s a great guy.  You’re lucky to have him.”

“How much do you like him?”

Tammy raised up and turned on the light beside her bed.

“I like him a lot.  Why?”

Michelle turned on her light too and sat up on her bed.

“Because it looks to me like he likes you a lot too and I don’t know how I feel about that.”

“What do you mean, he likes me a lot?”

“Well, every time he’s called me since Thanksgiving, he asks how you are, sometimes more than once, and tonight, he kept staring at you even though he was talking to me.”

Tammy shrugged.

“I guess I didn’t notice.”

“Yes, you did.  I saw you fluffing your hair a lot and you smiled all the time.  It took you a long time to say goodbye tonight too.  When we went home for Thanksgiving, you two didn’t do anything, did you?”

Tammy thought about how to answer that question and decided it was time to find out what Michelle would think if she knew the truth.  She knew she was risking a friendship she’d grown to cherish, but it would probably be worse if Michelle found out how she felt on her own.  

Tammy flipped back the blanket and walked over and sat down beside Michelle.

“Michelle, this isn’t a conversation we should be having across the room.  It’s too personal for that.  No, we didn’t do anything, but…but it wasn’t because I didn’t want to.”

Michelle’s mouth fell open.

“You wanted to have sex with my dad?”

Tammy nodded her head.

“Yes.  I still do.”

It was then Michelle understood the looks and the hug.

“My God, Tammy.  You’re only a year older than I am.  Dad’s old enough to be your father.”

Tammy hung her head.

“I know that and I’ve tried and tried to tell my self I’m crazy for feeling like I do about him, but it hasn’t worked.  I think about him all the time and wonder how it would be.  I think he’s wondering the same thing.”

“Did he try to do something with you at Thanksgiving?  If he did, I’m going to call him right now and tell him he should be ashamed of himself and to leave you alone.”

Tammy put her hand on Michelle’s arm.

“No, Michelle, I’m the one who tried.  I got up after you went to sleep and went into the living room where he was watching a movie.  I said I couldn’t sleep and asked if I could watch the movie with him.  He let me, but as soon as it was over, he said he had to go to bed, and he left me sitting there by myself.

“I think he probably thinks it would be crazy too, but Michelle, it isn’t on my part.  I don’t know how to make you understand, but I do love him, or at least, I think I do.”

“That sounds like you said your mother thought about your father.  How can you say that?  You don’t know Dad at all, really.”

Michelle saw a tear stream down Tammy’s cheek when she shrugged.

“I don’t know, Michelle.  All I know is I can’t think about anything except that now, and I probably won’t be able to until I know.  There’s another problem too.  I think if he does feel the same way and we do something about it, I’ll lose you as a friend and he’ll lose you as a daughter.  I don’t want to be the cause of that, but I don’t know how to stop thinking like I am.”

Michelle frowned.

“By ‘doing something’ do you mean sleeping with him?”

Tammy sniffed.

“No, more than that.  I think he might be the guy I’ve been looking for.”

“You mean you want to marry my dad?”

“Yes, but only if he really wants that and if…I couldn’t marry him if you don’t agree.  That would just come between us.  He’d start to hate me for splitting you two up and so would you.  I couldn’t live with myself knowing I’d done that.”

“So you want me to choose between him and you?  I can’t do that, Tammy.”

Tammy shook her head.

“No, I just want you to try to understand and keep being my friend no matter what happens.”

Michelle didn’t say anything for a while because she couldn’t get her mind around everything she just heard.  It was too much, too fast, and as soon as she thought about one aspect, another would intrude on her thoughts.

“How would she feel if she knew Tammy and her dad had had sex?  Could she ever think of Tammy in the same way again?”

What if her dad did feel that way about Tammy?  What if they did get married?  Where would that leave her?  Would she be the third foot in the relationship and second to Tammy when she’d always been first.  As soon as she had those thoughts, Michelle realized she was being selfish.   Her dad had given most of his life to her, and he deserved to have the rest of his life for himself.

What if they had children?  If they did, Michelle would seem more like an aunt to them than a step-sister.  Could she even bring herself to even like them, much less feel about them like she knew she should?

Tammy had become a close friend, but if she married Michelle’s dad, could they still be friends?  It would be hard, she thought, but then realized she still talked to friends from high school who’d gotten married.  They talked about different things now, but they were still friends.

She was shaken from those thoughts when Tammy put her arm around her shoulder and hugged her gently.

“Michelle, please don’t think I’m a horrible person for feeling like I do.  I couldn’t bear that either.”

Michelle looked at Tammy then.

“I don’t know how I feel yet.  I have to think about it for a while.”

Michelle and Tammy didn’t talk much at all over the next week.  That was because neither wanted to say what they were thinking and upset the other.  Though she really wanted Michelle to say she thought Tammy was doing the right thing, Tammy didn’t want to push Michelle into making a decision.  Michelle was torn between what she thought would be protecting her father and losing a friend if she did.

It wasn’t until the week before Christmas Break Michelle finally made a decision, but the decision wasn’t to agree to what Tammy wanted to do.  It was a decision to help Tammy find out what she wanted to know, and in doing so, to find out how her dad felt.  That was why she asked Tammy what she was doing over Christmas Break.

Tammy was thrilled that Michelle was finally talking to her again, but she tried not to sound excited about that.

“I was going to go home to see my mother, but she told me the other night she and Jeff are going to Florida so she won’t be home.  I guess I’ll stay here by myself.”

Michelle shook her head.

“No you won’t.  I want you to come home with me for Christmas, and before you say anything, I know what might happen.”

“You don’t care?”

“Yes, I do care, but I’ve thought about it a lot and I think this is something I need to stay out of until you talk it over with Dad.  If Dad feels like you do and I get involved, all it’ll do is make Dad decide he should do what I want him to do instead of what he wants.”

When Bill picked them up at noon on Christmas Eve day, he thought something had changed between them because they didn’t really talk to each other on the way home.  It didn’t seem as if they were mad at each other, but then, Michelle wouldn’t have invited Tammy for Christmas if they were.  

No, it was more like they were thinking about something.  They’d answer him if he said something to one of them, but there wasn’t the lively conversation he’d seen at Thanksgiving.

Bill hadn’t yet put up the artificial Christmas tree he and Michelle had used for years.  He wanted to give her the pleasure of doing it because she’d always enjoyed it before.  Michelle seemed to be happy hanging the lights and ornaments after they ate, and Tammy seemed to be happy helping her, but there was still that distance between them, and when he thought about it, there was some distance between him and both of them.  Unless that changed, it wasn’t going to be a very merry Christmas.

Once the tree was up and lit, Michelle went back to her bedroom and then brought out two small packages wrapped in Christmas paper.  After she put them under the tree, she smiled.

“Dad, one of these is for you.  Tammy, the other one is for you.  They’re not much, but it wouldn’t be Christmas unless we exchanged gifts.”

Tammy got up from the chair then.

“I’ll go get mine then.”

When Tammy came back, she had two small packages also wrapped in Christmas paper.

“These aren’t much either, but I wanted to give you both something.  I didn’t buy any tags, but the big one’s for Bill and the other one is for you, Michelle.  You’re the best friend I’ve ever had, and I hope nothing ever changes that.”

Bill thought Tammy’s last statement was a bit odd, but decided it was just Tammy being Tammy.  He went to the closet and brought out two gift bags and took them to the tree.

“I’d don’t wrap packages very well, so I got these gift bags instead.  There’s one for each of you.  Now, how about a Christmas toast or two before we go to bed?”

When Bill gave Michelle and Tammy a glass of the eggnog he’d bought, he lifted his and made the toast he’d been practicing since he learned that Tammy would be there on Christmas Eve.

“Christmas Eve has always been special to me because Christmas Eve is when I asked Michelle’s mother to marry me.  I don’t have her now, but I have her beautiful daughter and her daughter’s beautiful friend with me this year.  I drink to you both and wish you a very merry Christmas.”

They clicked their glasses together and took a sip.  Bill grinned and said, “Michelle, it’s your turn”.

Michelle smiled because this was something they’d done every year and she was ready.

“To Dad, who made every Christmas one I’ll always remember, and to Tammy, the woman who became a friend I don’t want to lose.  I hope this Christmas turns out like we all want it to.”

Bill thought that was an unusual toast from Michelle.  Always before she’d said something about how much she loved Christmas and being with him.  He couldn’t understand how this Christmas was any different, but then Michelle had changed a lot over the months, so maybe that was it.  

After they clicked glasses and took another sip, he looked at Tammy.

“Your turn now, Tammy.”

Tammy blushed.

“I don’t know any toasts.  We never did this at home.”

Bill grinned.

“Just say what you’re feeling.  That’s all we do.”

Tammy thought for a moment, and then smiled and raised her glass.

“To Michelle, a woman I’ve grown to think of as a sister, and to Bill, the man who made me feel welcome even though he didn’t know me.  I can’t think of any other  two people I’d rather spend this Christmas with…and…and…and I hope this isn’t the last one we spend together.”

When Bill looked at Tammy when they clicked their glasses, he thought her eyes looked like she was almost in tears.  He supposed she was just feeling like she belonged and that was the reason.  That made sense to him because he was feeling like Tammy belonged there too.

After they finished their eggnog, Bill refilled their glasses and then asked Michelle and Tammy if they’d like to watch a movie.

“Michelle, remember how we always used to watch a Christmas movie every Christmas Eve?  Wanna watch “Rudolph, The Red Nosed Reindeer” again?

Michelle laughed.

“Dad, I’m a little old for Rudolph, don’t you think?”

“Well, how about “Holiday Inn” then.  You always liked that one.  How about you, Tammy?”

Tammy grinned.

“I always liked that movie too, but I haven’t seen it in years.”

Bill put the DVD into the player and then sat down on the couch with Michelle as the movie started.

When the movie ended, Bill got up and was going to ask if they wanted to watch “Holiday Inn” when he saw Tammy wiping her eyes.

“Tammy, you’re crying.  Is something wrong?”

Tammy sniffed and shook her head.

“Nothing’s wrong.  It was just the movie.  It’s stupid, I know, but I always cry at movies where the guy and the girl finally figure out they’re in love and tell each other.”

Bill smiled.  

“Tammy, that’s not stupid.  It just shows that you can get emotional about things and that’ll probably help you become a writer.  Michelle, we always used to watch “A Christmas Carol” on Christmas Eve.  Want to watch that one next?”

Michelle got up from the couch.

“No.  I’m pretty tired so I’m going to bed.  You two can do whatever you want.”

The look on Michelle’s face told Tammy she was giving her the chance to talk to Bill alone, but Tammy knew Bill probably wouldn’t do anything with Michelle just a few feet away.

“I’m kind of tired too.  I think I’ll go to bed so I can wake up early tomorrow morning.”

After they left him in the living room, Bill wondered if Tammy might come back like she had at Thanksgiving, so he put “Holiday Inn” in the DVD player and started watching the movie.  Half an hour later, Tammy hadn’t, so Bill shut off the DVD player and the TV and went to bed.

For days, he’d been thinking about a scenario similar to Thanksgiving.  Tammy would come out of the spare bedroom in her light robe again and this time, she wouldn’t just try to hint.  This time, she’d sit down beside him on the couch, pull the robe open, and say something like “Make love to me, Bill”.  

In his fantasies, Bill couldn’t bring himself to think of just taking her there on the couch.  Instead, he’d ask her if that’s what she really wanted.  Tammy would smile then and pull his hands to her bare breasts and tell him, “Yes.  I really want this”.  Those fantasies always ended with them in his bed together, and because Tammy had said she really wanted him, Bill was able to put aside their age difference.  

Tammy hadn’t come back though.  Was Thanksgiving just a young girl who didn’t understand what she did to him, like he’d first thought, or had Thanksgiving really been intentional but Tammy had changed her mind?  He remembered Corrine being like that sometimes – making him think she wanted one thing but when he tried to give it to her, telling him she’d changed her mind.  Why did women have to be so complicated and confusing?

Bill woke up the next morning and smelled coffee.  He hadn’t set up the coffee maker, so that meant Michelle or Tammy had to be up.

When he walked into the kitchen, he saw they both were.  Michelle was standing at the stove turning strips of bacon in a frying pan, and Tammy was dipping slices of bread into a bowl.  On the counter beside Tammy was a plate stacked with french toast.

“Michelle looked up from her bacon and grinned.

“You always made french toast for breakfast on Christmas morning, so Tammy and I thought we’d do it this time.  We’re almost done, so come get a cup of coffee.  After we eat, we’ll go open our gifts.”

Once they finished eating, Michelle and Tammy cleaned up a little and then they all went into the living room.  Michelle turned on the lights on the Christmas tree and then picked up a package and handed it to Bill.

“This is from me, Dad.  I hope you like it.”

Bill smiled when he tore open the wrapping paper and saw the picture on the box inside.

“You remembered, didn’t you?”

Michelle grinned.

“At Thanksgiving, you said you’d have to buy a new wallet one of these days.  I saw this one and thought you might like it.”

Bill opened the box, took out the wallet, and then looked at Michelle.  

“I love it Honey.  It’s exactly what I’d have picked out. You open the one I got you next.”

Michelle liked the sweater he’d gotten her.  

“I’ll have to wear this sometime this week.  Tammy, open this one.  It’s from me.  It’s not much, but maybe you’ll like it.”

Tammy opened the package and then the box inside, but didn’t take anything out.  Michelle giggled.

“Come on, Tammy, you have to show everybody what you got.”

Tammy was blushing when she lifted the panties from the box.

“This is embarrassing.”

Bill had to grin.  The panties were black lace and they were tiny.  He was imagining how they’d look on Tammy when Michelle laughed.

“You said you liked sexy underwear.  Well, these were about as sexy as I could find.  I hope I got the right size.”

Tammy stuffed them back into the box and chuckled.

“There’s not enough of them to even have a size, but I love them.  Thank you.”

When Bill opened Tammy’s gift, he looked at her and smiled.

“How did you know?”

Tammy shrugged.

“Michelle said you always wanted a nice pen and I thought this one was nice.  A guy I know made it for me.  It’s supposed to be rosewood.  I don’t know if it is or not, but I thought it was pretty.”

“It’s more than pretty, Tammy.  Thank you so much.  Open mine to you.”

Tammy caught her breath when she opened the package.  Inside was a zippered, leather notebook with her initials in gold on the front.  Inside the notebook was a pen and pencil set that looked as expensive as the notebook.  She looked up at Bill.

“This is beautiful, Bill.”

Bill smiled.

“I read once that writers like to write down things they think about so they don’t forget them.  I just thought since you’re going to be a writer, you needed something to write on and with.  I saw this one day and thought you might like it.”

When Michelle opened Tammy’s gift to her she had to wipe away the tear that trickled down her cheek.

“Tammy, I don’t know what to say.”

Tammy grinned.

“Just say you’ll remember what it says because that’s how I really feel.”

Michelle held up the small charm and necklace so Bill could see it.  He could see the silver heart, but not the tiny words engraved on it.

“What does it say.”

Michelle wiped her eyes again.

“It says, ‘You’re the sister I always wanted’.  Tammy, I don’t know how to thank you for this.”

Tammy grinned.

“Just keep being like you are.  That’s all I want you to ever be.”

Christmas dinner was a ham with some other dishes Bill had bought and only needed to warm up.  After they finished eating, Michelle said she thought she’d drive over to visit her grandparents.

“I bought a little something for them, and they should get it on Christmas.  I’ll probably be gone until about seven, so you two will have to amuse yourselves somehow.”

Bill stood at the window until Michelle backed out of the drive and then drove off.  He turned to Tammy and smiled.

“Well, how about another movie?  You’ll probably like ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’.”

Tammy smiled.

“I’ve seen it and I do like it, but could we just talk for a while?”

Bill shrugged.

“Sure.  What do you want to talk about?”

Tammy sat down on the couch and patted the cushion beside her.

“I need to talk about us before I lose my mind.”

Bill sat down beside Tammy, but he sat at the other end of the couch.

“What’s to talk about, about us, I mean?”

Bill knew Tammy was trying to smile, but her face was more begging than smiling.  Her voice was the same way.

“Bill, for a long time now, I’ve thought about you as more than Michelle’s dad.  You don’t seem to notice that and I have to know if you think I’m just a young kid or if you think of me differently too.”

Bill was both wary and eager to hear what that meant, so he didn’t answer her.

“Uh…what do you mean that you think of me as more?”

Tammy sighed.

“It means I want to be with you…in bed.  I want to make love with you.  I want you to want that too.”

“You want to have sex with me?  Tammy, I’m not a one-night stand, not for any woman.”

Bill saw Tammy’s eyes fill with tears.

“Bill, I don’t mean just sex, and I don’t mean just today.  I want to be with you all the time.  I think I love you.”

Bill got up and moved to sit beside Tammy, then took her hand in his.

“Tammy, I’m so much older than you.  Doesn’t that make a difference?”

Tammy looked at her lap.

“Yes, but not like you think.  I’ve been out with guys my age and they’re all so childish I can’t stand them.  You’re not that way but that’s not the only thing that  makes the difference.  The only crazy thing is I don’t know what it is.  I only know it’s there.”

Bill lifted Tammy’s chin so he could see her face.

“You’ve thought about this long enough you’re sure?”

Tammy wiped her eyes with the back of her free hand and then nodded.

“I haven’t been able to think of much of anything else.”

Bill took a deep breath.  Tammy had asked the question he’d asked himself so many times, and now he had to answer, both for Tammy and for himself.

“Tammy, what if I said I’d had the same thoughts?”

Tammy’s face brightened, not into a smile, but more of a hopeful look.

“You have?”

Bill nodded.

“Since you put on that show for me at Thanksgiving…well, that started me thinking about the sex part.  You being you made me start thinking about everything else the third time I took you and Michelle to dinner.  I thought it was crazy, so I didn’t say anything for fear of driving you away.”

Tammy put her free hand on Bill’s cheek.

“You just told me and I’m not going anywhere unless you tell me you don’t want me.”

Bill didn’t say anything.  He just leaned over and kissed Tammy.  

He was surprised that she didn’t kiss like Corrine had the first time he’d kissed her.  He didn’t remember much about that night except that Corrine had kept her lips closed.  He’d thought it was great then, but Tammy seemed to be making love to his mouth with hers.  When she worked her little tongue into his mouth, he felt the same burst of sensation he felt with Corrine when they made love.

Bill pulled gently away, looked at Tammy, and whispered, “Wow.”

Tammy smiled.

“I felt it everywhere too.  I’ll bet everything else will feel better…that is, if you want to.”

Bill smiled.

“What if Michelle comes back early?”

Tammy grinned.

“She won’t.  Under the panties in the box was a little note that said I should call her when we get done.  She won’t come back before that.”

“Tammy knows?”

“Yes.  I had to tell somebody how I felt about you, and I didn’t want her to hear it from anybody else because I needed to know how she’d feel.  I don’t want to lose her as a friend.”

“She approves?”

Tammy shook her head.

“I think she thinks I’m crazy, but when I told her, she said she thought it was something she should stay out of until we decide.  Are we going to decide?”

“Tammy, are you really sure about this?”

Tammy pulled Bill’s hand to her breast.

“I’m as sure as I’ve ever been about anything.”

Bill’s knees were shaking when he walked Tammy back to his bedroom.  His fantasy was going to come true and he wasn’t sure he was ready for that.  It had been a lot of years since he’d made love to a woman and he wasn’t sure if he’d remember how.

It’s like riding a bicycle, he told himself.  You never forget.

He was expecting Tammy to be a little shy and nervous, but once he closed the bedroom door, she smiled and then pulled the sweater over her head.  After she tossed it on the blanket chest at the foot of the bed, she unzipped her jeans and rocked her hips to get them down, then kicked off her shoes and stepped out of them.

Tammy looked Bill then.

“I’ve dreamed about this for a long time.  I hope I don’t disappoint you.”

Bill smiled as he unbuttoned his shirt.

“I’m not disappointed so far.  I just hope I’m what you dreamed about.”

Once Bill had his clothes off, he kissed Tammy and then unhooked her bra.  She backed up and let him slip it off her shoulders but then put her arms around his neck and pressed her breasts into his bare chest.  Bill cupped Tammy’s hips and stroked them, then picked her up and placed her on the bed.  As soon as he was beside her, Tammy stroked his chest and then down his belly until she found his cock.  Bill felt her exploring his cock head and shaft with her fingertips.

Bill returned the favor by stroking Tammy’s breasts and lightly stroking her nipples.  When Tammy caught her breath, he lightly pinched her left nipple and smiled at the little moan she made.  She also stroked his shaft, and both those things drove any fears from Bill’s mind and replaced them with the need to feel Tammy gasping and clawing at his back when he took her to an orgasm.

With his fingertips and tongue on Tammy’s breasts and nipples, he took her higher and higher, and when she either caught her breath or moaned at each touch, he traced her flat tummy down until he felt hair under his fingertips.  Tammy spread her thighs apart then, and when Bill cupped her sex, Tammy caught her breath and then held it until Bill slipped a finger between her slender lips.  She moaned then and rocked her hips into his hand.

Tammy gasped when he entered her with one finger, and Bill kissed her while he worked his finger deeper.  She was tight, so he broke the kiss and whispered, “When you’re ready, I’ll go slow.”

Tammy’s voice was low and sultry.

“You don’t have to.  It won’t hurt me.”

Bill tried a second finger then, and once he was sliding them in and out, used his thumb to rub beside Tammy’s little clit.  Tammy gasped at the first touch, and then raised up off the bed a little.  Bill felt wet warmth flow around his fingers, and thought Tammy was probably ready.

Tammy raised her knees and spread her thighs wide when Bill knelt between them.  She was looking down over her breasts when he moved his cock head to her entrance and when she felt him start to enter her, she gasped and her head fell back to the pillow.  The first time had been when she was eighteen and the boy hadn’t been careful at all.  He’d just rammed his cock in and pumped away until he came.  

The second and only other time had been with a boy at work.  He’d been more careful to excite her first, and he’d entered her slowly, but he didn’t wait for her to catch up.  He’d groaned and shot his seed into her before she was even half-way there.  

She kept waiting for Bill to do the same thing, but he didn’t.  He was big enough Tammy felt him stretching her and that caused her to gasp.  After that, his strokes were long and slow, and he held his weight on his elbows and kept stroking her breasts and nipples.

That was something Tammy had never felt before and her mind was flooded with the sensations of her nipples being lightly pinched, then sucked, and the feeling of his cock sliding in and out of the tight ring just inside her entrance.  It was more than she’d dreamed about and more than she’d ever been able to do by herself.  

When the sensations got so intense Tammy had to pant, she thought he’d speed up, but he didn’t.  Instead, he slipped one hand under her hip and up to her clit and began to lightly rub the now-stiff little button.  The dual waves of sensations were now three, and they crashed into Tammy’s core and cause her hips to begin rocking into Bill’s strokes.  When Tammy realized she wasn’t controlling that, she let her mind go blank to everything except the tightening in her tummy and legs.

Bill wanted this time to be great for Tammy, so he held back the urge to just relieve his own desire.  That was difficult because of the way in which Tammy was responding.  The panting told him she was approaching the point where she’d cum and it was hard to resist not just letting go.  When he rubbed her stiff clit and Tammy started rocking her hips up into his strokes, it got a lot harder.  He was trying to ignore the contractions around his shaft and the fingernails raking his back and was barely holding on when Tammy shrieked and arched off the bed.  

Bill couldn’t hold back after that.  He started rubbing Tammy’s clit a little more firmly and sped up his strokes.  When she shrieked again, arched up off the mattress and her legs started to shake, he let himself go.  Bill rammed his cock deep inside Tammy as the first spurt raced up his length.  She was still hanging there in the air, gasping and shaking when he withdrew and then rammed his cock inside her for the second spurt.  Tammy sighed and fell back to the bed then, but when he stroked his cock in again, he felt her nails dig into his back as she cried out and arched up again.

After that third spurt, Bill kept slowly stroking his cock in and out of Tammy, and heard her little moan when her passage contracted around his cock.  After a few strokes, she slowly lowered her hips to the mattress, and Bill followed her with his stroking cock.  Tammy wrapped her arms around his back and pulled him down to mash her breasts, and she kept him there until his cock got too soft to stay inside her.

After that happened, Tammy stroked his back a few times, and then breathed, “Oh God.  I hoped it would be good, but I never thought it could be like this.”

Bill kissed her on the forehead and then whispered, “Tammy, it was great for me too…great enough I don’t think I want this to be the last time.”

Tammy hugged his tight.

“I don’t want it to be the last time either.  Do you suppose that means anything?”

Bill raised up so he could look Tammy in the face.

“I don’t know.  This is supposed to be wrong, but it doesn’t feel that way.  I think it means we need to get to know each other a lot better before we do anything else.   I’m worried about Michelle too.  It’s been just us two for so long I don’t know if she can accept me being with another woman, especially a woman so much younger than I am.  Michelle’s a smart girl, but she can let her emotions get the best of her sometimes.  Do you think she’d ever accept us being together?”

Tammy sighed.

“I don’t know.  If she doesn’t, I’ll lose a friend, because I don’t want this to stop.  I’ll just have to try to make her understand and hope she does.”

An hour later, they were dressed and sitting on the couch watching a movie together.  Tammy had called Michelle and told her she could come back.  

As Michelle drove back home, she was confused, angry, and sad all at the same time.  She was confused by why a man as old as her father would want a woman the same age as his own daughter.  She was angry because it seemed as if Tammy had used their friendship to talk him into it.  She was sad because if they really did stay together, she didn’t know if she and Tammy could be friends anymore.  That thought hurt the most because of the charm Tammy had given her.  They truly had become more sisters than just friends.

When she walked up to the door, Michelle resisted the impulse to just walk in and ask them if they’d done anything while she was gone.  She wanted to know, but she also needed to hold on to the thought that maybe they’d just talked and decided they were too far apart in age for anything to work out.  That was the safe path, the path that would let her keep both her father and Tammy in her heart.

Michelle saw them sitting together on the couch and thought maybe that’s all they’d done.  Then she saw the smile in Tammy’s face and knew it wasn’t.  Instead of stopping to say anything, Michelle went to her room and closed the door.  

Tammy looked at Bill.

“I better go talk to her.”

Tammy knocked on Michelle’s bedroom door, but didn’t wait for her to answer.  She opened the door, stepped inside, and closed it behind her.  

When she turned around, she saw Michelle laying on the bed and staring at the ceiling.

“Michelle, we need to talk.”

Michelle sat up.

“What’s there to talk about?  You slept with my dad, didn’t you?”

Tammy sat down on the bed beside Michelle and tried to put her arm around Michelle, but Michelle shrugged it off.  Tammy then tried to hold Michelle’s hand, but Michelle pulled hers away.  Tammy gave up trying to be close and started to explain.

“Michelle, I did, but you need to understand why I did.  I did because it was something I needed to do to know how I really felt about your father.”

Michelle frowned.

“So what did you find out, that you like having sex with him?”

“Yes, but it was more than that.  I know you don’t understand yet.  You won’t until you meet a guy you really like, a guy you like enough to want him to make love with you, but that’s what I thought about your father.  When we did…well, you can’t understand that either, but one day you will.”

Michelle spat out the words.

“You could have slept with a bunch of guys at school.  You told me that yourself.  Why did you have to pick my dad?”

“I don’t know, Michelle.  It just happened that way.  I’ve had sex with two other guys, but that’s all it was.  With Bill…I mean, with your father… it wasn’t just sex.  It was both of us…Oh dammit, I can’t explain it to you because you haven’t felt that way about anybody yet.  All I can tell you is that when you do, it’ll be something you’ll want so much you’d do anything for it, and after you do, you won’t have any regrets.  I don’t, well, except that I know I’ve hurt you and I didn’t want that to happen.  I meant what that necklace says.  I love you like a sister, Michelle.”

Michelle looked up at Tammy.

“How can we be like sisters if you’re going to marry my dad?  You’ll be my mother then.”

Tammy brushed Michelle's cheek with a fingertip.

“Michelle, I think I’d like that to happen, but we aren’t that far along yet, and even if we were, I know I can’t be your mother and I don’t want to be.  I want us both to love the same man, just in different ways.”

Tammy touched Michelle’s hand again, and this time Michelle didn’t pull it away.

“Michelle, I can’t ask you to choose between me and your father, and that’s not what I’m asking.  All I want is for you to not make any decisions until we get this all worked out.  If you can’t do that for me, do it for your father.  He’s about as confused about this as you are.”

Michelle pulled her hand away from Tammy’s.

“Well, how am I supposed to feel?  Dad’s all I have and you’re going to take him away from me.”

Tammy picked up Michelle’s hand again.

“I’m not going to take him away from you.  That’s what Jeff did to me when he married my mother.  I know how much that hurts and I could never do that to another person.  I don’t think I could anyway.  Michelle, your father’s more concerned about what you’ll think than he is about himself.  That’s why he’s confused.  He’s afraid he’ll lose you.”

“He told you that?”

Tammy smiled and nodded.

“Yes, more than once.  Michelle, you’re all he’s had all these years too.  I don’t think he knows how he’ll manage to keep loving you if he’s loving another woman.  I’m worried about that too.  My mother told me that marrying Jeff wouldn’t change anything between us, but it did.  I don’t want that to happen with you.  If I think it’s going to work out that way, I’ll stop everything so I’m not putting you through what happened to me.  At least that way, I’ll be the only one who gets hurt.”

Michelle couldn’t see Tammy very well because of the tears in her eyes.

“You’d do that for me?”

Tammy nodded.

“Yes, I would.”

Michelle didn’t say anything else.  She just reached for Tammy, and when Tammy embraced her, she started to cry.  She didn’t know Tammy was crying too.

Bill never learned what Tammy and Michelle had talked about because they wouldn’t tell him.  He did notice a difference in both Tammy and Michelle though.  All through the holiday week, Tammy was very cautious about doing anything with him, even holding hands.  Michelle seemed to be more loving toward both he and Tammy.  It wasn’t until he took them back to the dorm on New Year’s day that he started to understand what they were doing.

He’d walked them into the dorm lobby because it was too cold to say good-bye outside.  He was trying to figure out what he was going to say when Michelle put her arms around his neck and hugged him.  She always did that when they said good-bye, but what she whispered was something he didn’t expect.

“Dad, I want you to be happy, and if that means you keep seeing Tammy, I can cope with that.  I’ll go up to my room now so you can say good-bye to her.”

She kissed Bill on he cheek and then walked off toward the elevator.  Bill just stood there with his mouth hanging open until Tammy tapped him on the shoulder.

“Are you going to tell me good-bye too?”

Bill turned.

“Yes…I was just…what she just told me…did you two come to some sort of agreement?”

Tammy smiled.

“Yes, kind of.  We agreed the three of us need to work this out, and Michelle and I agreed to accept whatever happens.  Can you agree to that too?”

Bill nodded.

“Yes, but what does working this out mean?”

Tammy put her arms around Bill’s neck.

“It means you need to keep telling Michelle you love her so she knows I’m not taking you away from her.  It also means we’ll keep seeing each other without Michelle along and figure out if there’s really something between us.  She knows what we’ll have to do to figure that out, but she doesn’t want to see us doing anything.”

Bill’s forehead wrinkled.

“How am I supposed to do that?”

Tammy stroked his cheek.

“Well, taking Michelle out to dinner on Sunday night will tell her you still love her.  Taking me out somewhere on Saturday night, without Michelle, will let us get to know each other like we need to.  It doesn’t have to be a fancy restaurant like before.  It just needs to be a place where we can talk.  Oh, and as much as I’d like it, we can’t sleep together again until we decide and let Michelle know.”

Tammy pressed her breasts into Bill’s chest and smiled.

“We can kiss all we want as long as Michelle doesn’t see us, and right now, I need a kiss.”

And so it went through the rest of that semester and the start of the spring semester.  Bill drove to Wimbley every other Saturday afternoon and rented a motel room.  He’d pick up Tammy for dinner, and though it was tempting for them both to spend the night in the motel, he took Tammy back to the dorm after they ate.  On Sunday, he’d pick up Michelle and they’d have dinner together.  In between, he called each woman several times just to talk.

That changed in March when Michelle called Bill and told him she couldn’t make dinner with him that Sunday.  When he asked why, she just said she had another commitment.  Bill then called Tammy and asked her what was going on.

Tammy looked at Michelle and mouthed, “It’s your dad”, and then spoke into her phone.

“Michelle has a boyfriend, that’s all.”

Bill sounded worried when he said he needed to meet the guy.  Tammy chuckled.

“No, you don’t.  If you do, you might not like him.”

“How do you know that?”

“Well, for one thing, he’s older than Michelle.”

Bill was worried now.

“How much older, like two or three years?”

Tammy put the phone down on her bed and grinned at Michelle.

“He wants to know how much older than you Troy is.  Should I tell him?”

When Michelle nodded, Tammy picked up her phone again.

“No, older than that.  He’s thirty-six.”

“Thirty-six?  He’s old enough to be her father.”

Tammy’s voice got a little softer then.

“Calm down, Bill. He’s a nice guy and he taught her biology class last semester.  He couldn’t ask her out while she was in his class, but they’ve been seeing each other since the spring semester started.  I think she likes him a lot, and she’s not doing anything different than we are.”

“Why didn’t she just tell me that.”

“Bill, she didn’t want to tell you because it’s more than she just likes him.  She understands about us now.”

“You mean she’s been…with him?”

“Bill, don’t be so worried.  Michelle’s not stupid.  She took care of everything first just like I did.  She’s not going to get herself into that kind of trouble.”

“Is she there?”

“Yes, she is.”

“Can I talk to her?”

Tammy put her phone down again.

“He wants to talk to you.  Do you want to talk to him?”

The summer semester at any college is usually a time for students to get a summer job to help with college expenses and/or to just kick back and relax from the stress of school.   That summer semester was different for both Michelle and Tammy.

By the time the spring semester ended, Bill had met Troy and found out he was everything Michelle and Tammy said he was.  It was obvious to Bill that Michelle loved Troy and that Troy loved her, so he wasn’t surprised when Michelle decided to take a summer class so she could stay at the university.  He was a little surprised when he took her to dinner one Sunday night and she showed him the engagement ring on her left hand.  

“Michelle, I like Troy, but are you sure about this?”

Michelle smiled.

“Dad, Tammy told me I’d know when I found the right man, and I know I’ve found him.”

“So, are you going to finish your education?”

Michelle nodded.

“Troy and I have talked about that.  I haven’t given up being a vet, and Troy thinks I should keep going to school.  We’ve decided we won’t have any children until I’ve finished.  I might teach instead of opening a practice though.  That way we won’t have to move.”

Bill smiled.

“You’re a lot different than the girl I dropped off at the dorm that first day.  You’ve grown up a lot, and you’re starting to think like your mother did.  I don’t know if I like that or not.  You’re not going to be my little girl any more.”

Michelle patted his hand.

“Dad, I’ll always be your little girl.  You’ll just have to share me with Troy…just like I think I’m going to have to share Tammy with you if you still feel the same way about her.  Do you?”

Bill nodded.

“Yes.  I know you don’t like it but I do.”

Michelle patted his hand again.

“Dad, I didn’t know why Tammy wanted you until I met Troy. It’ll seem a little odd since she’ll be my stepmother, but now that I understand how she feels, I can’t fault her or you.  You should tell her you want to marry her.”

Michelle and Troy were married in July.  Bill and Tammy were married in August.  While Michelle stayed in school, Tammy dropped out of college.  She said what she was learning was just common sense stuff about writing and she could learn that information at the library.  Six months after the wedding, she started her first novel.  It’s a story about a young girl who thinks she loves an older man but doesn’t know how to tell him.

Bill is helping Tammy understand how the older man would be thinking, and he thinks the novel is going to turn out at least as good as the paperbacks Corrine used to by at the grocery store.  He’s happy for her, but he’s happy for himself too.  

The other night while Tammy lay on his chest after riding him until she cried out and couldn’t stop shaking for a while, he stroked her back and whispered, “I have to be the luckiest man in the world”.

Tammy nuzzled his neck.

“Why is that?”

“Because I have you.”

Tammy giggled.

“You’re just saying that because you like what we just did.”

“Oh, I did, but that isn’t why I feel lucky.  Tammy, if you hadn’t come into my life, I’d have probably just gotten older by myself because I wasn’t looking for a wife.  You changed all that.  I’m still getting older, but I don’t feel like I am.  That’s why I feel lucky.  It’s like you’re giving me back all those years to live all over again.”

Tammy smiled.

“Then maybe we should live a little of those years right now, just as soon as you…”

Tammy rubbed her mound against his and grinned.

“…feel up to it.”

Bill pulled Tammy’s cheek back down against his shoulder.

“I already do, Tammy…I already do.”