My name is John, I am forty-four, and a widow of seven years, and a father to my daughter, Emily, who is twenty-two. My wife, Helen, died from a brain haemorrhage, and it left us both devastated, and I am sure, were it not for my daughter, and having to stay strong, and be there for her, I might not be here today. She became my reason to live.
My daughter had always wanted to go away to university but after her mother’s death she changed, and despite my best efforts, she was determined to stay at home, and stay close to me. When it came time to decide which university she would attend, she chose her home-town university, where she studied Bio-Chemistry and achieved a first-class degree.
She met her fiancée at university. Mike was training to be a Doctor, and they were the perfect couple, almost from the off. She still maintained close contact with her best friends from school. There were three who were closest to her, and when she surprised everyone, including me, that she was getting married, there was never any doubt who would be her bridesmaids.
The four of them were virtually inseparable and had been almost from the moment that they met at school, and they have been a part of our family for over ten years, and I had grown accustomed to having them around in her life. There were times that I thought that I had four daughters!
When her mother died, I was so grateful to them all. They suck with Emily, and she was never left alone, there was always at least one of them here at the house, and they got her through the difficult period following her mother’s death. I had witnessed just how strong their bond was, and it was a beautiful thing to see.
Of course, sleepovers were not an unusual event in our household, there had been many. My wife used to love having them over, and she’d make a huge fuss of them, and she’d give them far more leeway than I thought they should have, but they never pushed it, they were always polite, and well behaved, if a little noisy and excitable, as young teenagers.
It was during their teenage years that their personalities developed as did their bond, which we would both rely on when she was fifteen, and she had to deal with the loss of her mother.
They were great girls, and I had worried about how I was going to handle them after Helen died, but they were just nice girls. They never tried to sneak alcohol into their rooms or cause me any concern, the four of them seemed happy to talk, sing, listen to music, watch teen movies and try out make-up on each other.
As long as they were kept supplied with pizzas or fried chicken, they were happy. And her bedroom was far enough from mine, that they didn’t disturb me too much.
As they got older, and all four of them turned eighteen, they started to go clubbing, and their routine always started atmyhouse. They’d gather from around six o’clock, and the evening would begin. Once all four girls were here, the music would get louder, the laughter and the chat would get louder, and I’d be called upon to provide them with cocktails.
They would drink at home so that they didn’t have to buy too many expensive drinks in the clubs, although I had the impression that they would have no problems having drinks bought for them. And, once the cocktails flowed, so the teasing would begin. They would wind me up, by asking for specific cocktails, with names such as, ‘Sex on the beach’, and ‘Screaming orgasm.’ I knew that they were doing it to try to embarrass me, and, I didn’t mind it at all.
I tended to stay clear of the upper floor of the house once they were here, because all of them, including Emily, would flit from bedroom to bedroom as they got ready. They’d use my en-suite to shower and wander around the upper floor of the house in various stages of undress, leaving a trail of discarded towels, and clothes as they went.
I’d have to go up, to give them their drinks, and pizza when it arrived, and I couldn’t believe how confident all of them were, including my daughter. They never flinched whenever I’d see them in their bra and panties or with just a towel wrapped around them.
I had once mentioned it to Emily, but she pointed out, that I had seen them all, hundreds of times in their bikinis when they sunbathed out in our garden.
“Some of our bikinis are tinier than our underwear, Dad.” She’d said, and she was right.
I loved how close the four of them were, and although I worried about her when she was out, I was less worried when I knew that she was with her three friends. And, once they left for their night out, I knew that more likely than not, I’d be woken in the early hours of the morning by a phone call from Emily, and it usually started with the words. “Dad? Can you pick us up? The taxi queues are huge.”
I’d moan, and remind her of the time, but always, always, I’d get up and drive to pick them up. Then I’d drive around town and drop her friends off at their homes. I’d moan to her about it, but secretly I felt comfortable, knowing that they were all home safely.
Another thing that I had noticed as they all turned eighteen, was that they had started to tease me, and even flirt with me more obviously. At first, I thought that it was my imagination, or even, wishful thinking.
But once I began to pay more attention to the incidents. I realised that every touch, hug, and ‘accidental’ brush against a part of their body was not accidental at all. And, as long as it was harmless, and playful, who was I to complain? Emily knew what they were doing, and I’d even see her roll her eyes at them, and shake her head, shed’ even tell them not to tease me. But they’d all end up giggling and laughing, and, if I was honest, I loved it.
I could forgive these three girls anything. They had helped my daughter cope with her loss, and in the process, provided me with a little light relief, at a time when I needed it most. And for that, I was forever in their debt.