“Your dad is so hot,” my friend Jess gushes. “Oh my god, do you ever see him when he comes out of the shower?”
We’re sitting on her bed in her room, and I grimace.
“Jess, that’s disgusting. This is my dad that you’re talking about. Can you please stop?”
But my friend gets a dreamy look to her expression.
“Oh my god, Brent has these huge muscles, and he always has a gleam in his eye. He’s graying, but you know how some guys look even better when they’re salt and pepper? That’s your dad.”
I stare at her, trying not to shriek.
“Um, Jess? This is my dad we’re talking about and no, I don’t see Brent when he comes out of the shower because he has his own en suite bathroom that connects to his room. And no, I don’t want to hear any more of these descriptions! Eeew! It’s so gross!”
Bile is rising in my throat, but Jess sways back and forth gently, still daydreaming. Of course, she continues to ignore me.
“Your dad is so buff too, Gabby. I wonder why your mom divorced him. Why? Is having a six three, Greek god of a man too much to handle? Seriously, Gabby, you have to tell me. Did your dad want it all the time, and your mom couldn’t accommodate him? You can be honest,” she says, fixing me with a serious look as her voice goes low.
I snort again.
“Jess, this is disgusting. I can’t believe we’re talking about this. And no, my mom didn’t divorce Brent because she couldn’t keep up with his raunchy needs. She divorced him because she wanted to run off with the circus. Literally, the Zambizi Circus came into town, she hit it off with one of the clowns, and next we knew, she was gone. You know this already. I told you when it happened ages ago, remember?”
Jess nods, but she’s still serious.
“Yeah, but was the circus just a symptom of the problem? Did she really leave because your dad wanted it so often? It happens, you know. Sometimes women hit middle age, and they just don’t feel the need anymore. They get all dry inside, and maybe your dad was too demanding. But I know I could handle it,” she says with a sly look. “I’m young and juicy. I’d give your dad my cherry any day he wants.”
I don’t even bother to reply this time. All this gushing is grossing me out, and I swallow heavily again as the bile comes up in the back of my throat. I literally feel nauseated and grab my water bottle to take a swig. After all, this is my dad we’re talking about. The man who raised me and put my hair in pigtails when I was young.
Okay, I can admit that Brent is good looking. Like Jess mentioned, he’s aged well. He’s in his forties now, but the salt and pepper hair gives him a distinguished air while making his skin look even more tan. The wrinkles around his eyes are mature, and my dad definitely works out a lot. He has to because he’s a long-haul trucker, and he has to stay limber in order to handle twelve hours straight in front of the wheel. It’s the only way, even if all he’s doing is putting pedal to the metal.
As a result, my dad is pretty good looking, if I say so myself. Lots of women have come onto him ever since he and my mom got divorced, but I've never known Brent to take up seriously with anyone. Sure, he's dated a couple floozies here and there, but they never stuck around for more than a month. Still, the women he dated were women, and not teen girls like Jess.
But reading my mind, my friend winks.
“You know, I turned eighteen last month,” she sings coyly. “I’m legal now.”
I stare at her.
“For what?” I ask.
She smiles again.
“Well, just in case your dad wants to get some action,” she says. “I’m ready and available. Can you let him know?”
“Jess!” I scream. “Please stop! Oh my god, that’s so gross!”
She sniffs, not at all offended.
“I’m just saying,” she begins. “You’re eighteen too, so you’re legal too, Gabby. You can have my dad, if you want.”
I scream again with outrage, but inside, something tingles because if my dad is hot, then Jess’s dad is steamier than a house on fire. Jack Major is built powerfully with a broad shoulders, a wide chest, and strong hands. More than once, I’ve seen him lift Jess in the air like she weighs nothing and swing her around as she squeals. This is no small feat because Jess and I are big girls now.
But Jack Major makes me feel small by comparison. He must be at least six four, with powerful arms, and thick tree trunk thighs. But it’s strange to think of him like this because I’ve known Jess since we were kids, and Jack has always been a part of my life. He was there at my fifth birthday party, when my parents rented a pony for the kids to ride. He was there when my parents threw me a lavish sweet sixteen to celebrate my entry into womanhood. And he was there when my parents got divorced last year. I cried on his shoulder once, and he was so considerate and kind as he patted my hair.
Jack has always been friendly, as long as I can remember. It’s kind of impressive that he’s been a big part of Jess’s life all these years because he and Jess’s mom got divorced when she was practically a baby. As a result, my friend has had to shuttle between her mom’s house and her dad’s house constantly, which she loves whining about.
But now, Jess is fixated on my dad, and it’s pretty gross.
“Please stop talking about Brent,” I warn her again. “Otherwise I’m going to go home, and you’re going to have to study for our American History test yourself.”
Jess rolls her eyes.
“Oh please, Gabby. You always have a stick up your butt. Seriously, pull it out. I promise, it’ll feel good.”
I roll my eyes.
“Your choice of words is just so delicate, Jess. I swear, you’re going to win a Pulitzer for your sweeping prose.”
She merely sticks her tongue out at me before turning back to her book. But then I get curious.
“How’s your mom’s divorce going?” I ask. “Is that moving along?”
“It’s finally done, thank god. It feels like it’s been dragging on for two years, and the truth is that it has. But I think my mom finally got a settlement from Luke, and they’ve signed the papers and all. God knows, I haven’t seen Luke in ages. He moved out when this process started, not that I blame him. Regina is a fücking tyrant, and she always bossed him around like he was a little kid.”
It’s hard to believe that Regina’s gotten divorced a second time because Luke, like Jack, is insanely handsome. Jess’s stepdad is also powerfully built with a thick head of dark hair, bright blue eyes, and wide shoulders that look like they could lift an ox. And coincidentally, both Jack and Luke are long-haul truckers as well. It’s a common occupation in our small town. We live in the middle of the United States, so a lot of shipping companies base their head of operations here. There are a lot of jobs for long-haul truckers, and our men make good money doing honest work.
But long-haul trucking isn’t easy on a man’s family. Our dads are often on the road for weeks at a time, if not months. They sit in small cabs up to sixteen hours a day, and then park at truck stops to grab dinner and a shower. Then it’s a night’s sleep in a pull-out in the back of the cab, before the whole thing starts again the next day.
As a result, it’s pretty amazing that we even know our dads. They’re on the road a lot, but I have to say that Brent and Jack made a lot of effort to keep in touch with me and Jess. Even Luke made an effort, although Jess is only his stepdaughter. They’re good men, all three of them.
“Okay, what should we tackle next?” I ask, pointing at the study guide. “Should we ask each other hypothetical test questions, or should we try to recite facts in chronological order?”
Jess purses her lips like she’s just tasted a lemon.
“There are so many wars,” she complains. “Not just one big war called the Civil War. It feels like there are hundreds of battles that made up the Civil War.”
“That’s right, Jess. The Civil War was fought between 1861 and 1865 and lasted four years. There were many battles, big and small, along the way.”
Jess gets a disgusted look on her face, and throws down her book.
“I don’t want to do this anymore,” she says flatly. “If I get an F, then so be it. I’m already headed to Emerald City College after graduation anyways. I did the math, and even if I get an F in this class, my GPA will still be high enough for Emerald to accept me.”
I stare at her.
“Just like that? You’re giving up?”
She nods and grins again before taking out her phone. Her fingers scroll through her Facebook feed, but then suddenly, she lets out a huge gasp as her eyes go wide.
“Oh my god,” she squeals. “Your dad is SO HOT. Check this out, Gabby.”
She thrusts her cell at me, and I look down at the photo involuntarily. What? What the hell? That’s my dad taking a selfie of himself! What on Earth is he doing?
Not only that, but Brent’s taken a shower selfie wearing nothing but a towel in front of the mirror. His six pack abs are on display, and his hair’s wet, but literally, there’s nothing between the viewer and his bulge except a small piece of cotton that looks like it’s about to fall off his hips.
“Oh my god!” I scream. “What the fück is my dad doing?”
“Relax, relax,” Jessica chortles. “Seriously, Gabby. That stick up your butt must be really big if it hurts so much.”
“NO!” I scream again, practically frothing at the mouth. “Why is Brent posting pictures like this? Where did he even get this pic? What is he thinking?”
Jess merely continues staring at her phone, licking her lips hungrily.
“Well, it’s obvious that he just got out of the shower and is taking a selfie to show off his physique. He’s got a great physique, like I mentioned, Gab. His bod is HOT.”
“Yeah, but why is he posting it on Facebook!” I scream. “What is he thinking? Our neighbors like that little old lady down the block, what’s her name, can see this!”
Jess merely shakes her head, her eyes still glued admiringly to the screen.
“Did you know your dad has a trail of hair leading from his navel downwards? I wonder where it goes?” she muses in a dreamy voice.
“Jess! Please snap out of it! What is going on?”
Finally, she looks up and rolls her eyes.
“Seriously, get a grip Gabby. It’s not that bad. Me and your dad are friends on Facebook, and we joined a group called Fathers and Daughters. It’s a private Facebook group so only the members can see photos that are shared. Don’t worry, your elderly neighbors aren’t getting a peek of this hunk of manly goodness.”
But I’m already a whirlwind of action. I can’t believe this is happening. Quickly, I stuff things into my backpack haphazardly and grab my green water bottle, the liquid inside sloshing.
“I have to go,” I say shortly before running out of my friend’s room. “This is a crisis!”
“Okay bye!” Jess sings. “Try not to freak out! It’s no big deal. I know you’ll get an A on that test tomorrow!”
But I’m not listening. Instead, I’m racing home to confront my dad about his shower selfie. What was Brent thinking? My head whirls. Seriously, the world must be going insane if even my dad’s posting risqué photos of himself on line. What possible justification could he have? I’m about to find out