I grab a handful of her ass and pull her even further onto me, when suddenly, I hear the door slam open.
“Dad?!?!?!?! Ewwwww, what the actual FUCK are you two doing?!”
No no no, this can’t be happening!
I look at Tilly in disbelief, my back still turned to the door. I see by the horror-struck look on her face that my worst nightmare has finally become fully realized. Samantha is at the door.
I stand up awkwardly, slapping on some clothes. I have to explain my way out of this. I look at Samantha and then back at my girlfriend, looking for any clue that may lead to a believable story. Tilly is hurriedly trying to get her dress back on, bumping into the desks around her as she does. I look down at myself and remember my pants are undone. I quickly zip them up and refasten my belt.
There is no believable story here.
“Samantha, darling, what are you doing here?” I ask in an unsteady voice. That’s the best my jumbled brain can produce right now.
“What am I doing here? Really, Dad?”
I look down and let out a sigh of defeat. Poor Tilly. Shit. If word gets out, she’s probably going to be humiliated. Her parents will scrutinize her, and her peers will never understand. She may even be labeled as a whore.
And what will people think of me? They’ll say that I am taking advantage of this young girl, using her insecurities as way to get laid. They’ll say I’m a predator, lying in wait for vulnerable teen girls.
That is certainly not what is happening here. As unpredictable, even as irrational, as it may be… I’ve fallen for Tilly. No one has ever understood me the way she has. It isn’t even about the sex for me. I just feel good being around her. I don’t know how this happened.
I realize I’ve been standing here, immobile, for a few seconds now. Maybe I’m in shock?
“Samantha, we can explain,” Tilly starts.
“Don’t,” Sam bites back.
This is going to be bad. I start to walk towards my daughter, mentally preparing to shut down the temper tantrum I know Sam is about to unload on us. And honestly, she has every right to. But I can’t let Tilly take the fall for us. I have to be a man and handle this the right way. I want to protect Til. I put her in this situation after all.
“You don’t need to explain. You’re both adults, and if you want to be together, then that’s fine,” Samantha says in a tight voice.
I freeze in place because I’m taken aback. I replay the words in my head again to double check that I’ve heard her right. It seems so, but surely it can’t be. I look back at Tilly, and see a look of equal disbelief spreading across her face, the gears turning in her mind trying to decipher the hidden message in my daughter’s words.
“Um, Sam, are you okay?” I begin. “I know this is a shock for you—”
But my daughter shakes her head and crosses her arms over her chest.
“Look, I’ve been secretly seeing a therapist for the last few weeks, and she helped me see that I’ve been acting in unforgivable ways. My doctor helped me to see that my anger was actually rooted in sadness. I felt rejected when Mom left, and feeling sad was so hard that I began to feel angry instead. But even that was too much to live with. As you know, I began to take it out on other people.”
Both Tilly and I stare at my daughter in shock. Taking a deep breath, Samantha turns to my girlfriend.
“Tilly, you were one of the people I hurt in that way, and you did nothing to deserve it. I truly am sorry. If my Dad cares about you, then you must be a pretty great person. I hope you can forgive me for all my past transgressions.”
Tilly’s mouth literally opens and shuts a few times without any words coming out. Then, Samantha turns towards me.
“Dad, I’ve been a lot to handle, so thank you for being patient with me. But divorce sucks. No one told me how I’m supposed to handle this! And it was even harder with you being so busy with work. Principal Hartman suggested I find someone to talk to so that I could work through some of my pent-up emotions. I was against it at first, but he really pushed me to at least give it a try. My therapist ultimately suggested that I start exercising and that I create a meditation practice. I’ve been releasing my anxiety by going for runs after school, and then finding some peace and calm in meditation before bed. It’s helped a lot, and I’m actually really enjoying it too.”