“Yeah, I don’t think it’s letting up any time soon. At least that’s what this weather report says,” she relayed, scrolling through her phone again. “Apparently the plows are out, but this highway isn’t the highest on their list. But they say it’ll probably be done by morning.”
I nodded. The thought of stopping for the night when we could conceivably make it wasn’t appealing, but whenever I’d let my pride rule my life before, it didn’t always turn out well. “Yeah, we should stop,” I surrendered. I looked over. My daughter’s face seemed to relax a little and an appreciative smile spread across her lips. I could tell she was just as uncomfortable being a passenger on these roads as I was being a driver. “We’ll see what’s in the next town, ok?”
“Ok,” she agreed.
Another few miles and a small farming town came into view. It was a place I usually just zoomed past without a second thought. I knew there was a small roadside cafe, but that was it. The place didn’t even have a gas station that I knew of. I was about to drive on to the next town when Sophie noticed a motel just up one of the roads. I thought it was a relatively inconvenient spot, or at least not particularly ideal for getting business, but I was just glad she’d seen it.
We pulled up to the office. I got out and faced the weather. It was getting noticeably worse. There was more snow, more wind, and the temperature was dropping. I ran inside, the bells on the door chiming my arrival. The office was at least well-kept, so that was encouraging.
A slender, middle-aged man soon walked up from the living quarters behind. “Good evening, sir!” he greeted me. “Ducking out of the storm, too, are you?”
I laughed. “Yeah, what was your first clue?”
He smirked in reply and started getting out the necessary items for “It’s pretty bad out there,” he chuckled. I was just reading the weather report and it doesn’t surprise me that we’ve pretty much got a full house tonight.”
“Yeah,” I chuckled. “I was going to try and make it, but it’s just not letting up. Guess I’m not the only one with the same idea.”
“Mm-hm… In fact…with you, it is a full house,” he frowned, looking over his system. “Looks like I’ve only got one more room available.”
“Well, as long as it’s warm, I’ll take it,” I chuckled again.
“Sounds good,” he laughed lightly. “Can I get your name?”
“Mitchell,” I told him.
“Alright,” he said, recording the information on the computer. “It’s got one queen bed, and as for being warm, it’s adequate, but the thermostat doesn’t work well in that room. The part came in the other day, but I haven’t had a chance to replace it yet. You can crank it as high as you want, but it only keeps the room about 60 or 65, 70 if it’s having a good day. That’s why it’s our room of last resort.”
I considered it for a moment, but realized I didn’t have much of a choice. My hesitation must have been plainly visible. The owner lowered his face a bit.
“Will that be ok? I’ve discounted the room because of it.”
One other detail suddenly struck me. “Only one queen, you said?”
“Yes, that’s right,” he nodded.
I scowled a bit. “No other place in town, huh?”
He shook his head. “No. Sorry, sir. The closest places are thirty-five miles east, or twenty-five if you’re going west.”
“Yeah, we just came from the west,” I grumbled. Options were severely limited, and I knew that Sophie wouldn’t want to travel any more tonight if we could help it. In the end, I relented. “Alright, one queen it is.”
“I take it there are two of you?”
He nodded thoughtfully. “Alright, well for the inconvenience of both the heater and the bed, I’ll take it down a bit more. How’s that?”
I agreed. We struck a very reasonable price, and I paid and received the key before returning to the car. My daughter was playing and tapping away on her phone when I opened the door and sat down. “Well…we’ve got a room.” She looked at me skeptically, noting the unsteadiness of my voice. “Couple things, though. First, there’s only one bed. Second, the heater works, but not well.”
“Well, it’s going to be better than sleeping out there,” she insisted, pointing out the window. I chuckled an agreement and pulled up in front of our room. Carrying Sophie’s luggage inside, my daughter followed me into our small abode for the night just as the ‘no’ light up on the motel sign to indicate all the rooms were booked.
Inside, it was clean and comfortable. It wasn’t a five-star hotel, to be sure, but the room was certainly far from dingy or run-down. It had the amenities that were necessary: a TV, the broken heater, a small kitchenette in the back corner beside the bathroom, and there, in the centre of the room, was the queen bed.
I put the suitcase down on the floor beside it. “Well, let’s make ourselves at home, I guess,” I said, closing the door and taking off my shoes, then turning on the heater for all it was worth.
Sophie joined me. Moments later, she took her toiletries bag and some comfier clothes into the bathroom. I sat on the bed and turned on the TV. Beside me, in my daughter’s purse, her phone chimed again. I raised an eyebrow and looked toward the bathroom door. She was in there, doing whatever, so I decided to be the nosy dad and check what was happening in the device.
I soon met with disappointment. I shouldn’t have been surprised. The phone was locked with a password, but the home screed showed that her friend, Grace, had texted. They’d been friends since childhood, and had both been devastated when Sophie went to live with her mother over a hundred miles away.
Every weekend I had my daughter, the pair usually did something together. Often, it was for almost the entire weekend as they regularly had sleepovers. Try as I might to spend time with her as her father, over the years, more and more of Sophie’s time was spent with Grace. I tried hard not to be too jealous. I realized friends were also important – though, at times, it did seem like my daughter was slipping away. It looked like another weekend where I might not see Sophie as much as I was hoping.
I slipped Sophie’s phone back into her purse and closed it. A few minutes later, Sophie walked out, ready for bed. She wore a pair of pyjama pants, complimented with a shirt she’d had for about five or six years – and looked about just as many sizes too small. A considerable ring of midriff peeked out from between my daughter’s pants and shirt, showing a few inches of her strong, tight tummy. I swear, I could have bounced a quarter off her abs if she were lying down.
It was the gripping nature of her white shirt that really got me, though. Her full, C-sized teenage breasts were as good as exposed. It was unmistakably evident that she wasn’t wearing a bra underneath. They bounced as she walked with that slight jiggle that only a youthful body can produce. Cleavage smiled above her neck line, an inviting chasm for my eyes to get lost in. Her nipples, sensitive to the cool air in the room, were poking straight through the fabric.
For whatever reason, I found myself caught up, staring at Sophie’s provocative skin and accentuated breasts. She had a delicious figure, one that every guy hopes to have as a conquest. Then, I realized what I was doing, and gave my head a shake and looked away before she noticed. Sitting up, I announced that I was going to get ready for bed myself. “Can I borrow your toothpaste, Angel?” I asked her.
She looked at me with a puzzled expression. “Do you have a toothbrush?”
“No, but I’m just going to gargle a little with water like mouthwash,” I explained, and she congenially agreed.
In the bathroom, I gave myself a long, hard look. I stared deeply into my own eyes, wondering just what the hell had possessed me to look at my daughter with lustful eyes like that exactly. She was a beautiful girl. This I knew. But, she was also my daughter. Maturing though she was, this was the most illicit thought I’d ever had about her. I certainly didn’t want any more.
I shook my head again, attributing my brief lack of self-control to not having had a woman with me for over two years now. I’d been divorced nearly eight, and I’d had a few relationships, but nothing recent. My work was my life, and often took over it. That was another reason I looked forward to these weekends: I scheduled nothing job-related on them so that I could actually relax and enjoy the time with my daughter, giving her my full attention.
I quickly got ready for bed and walked out the door. Sophie was already comfortable in the bed, slid over to one side. I smiled. “You can have the bed, Angel,” I permitted. This had actually been my plan all along. Now, with the lustful thought from seeing her midriff still burning in my head, I wanted to keep away from her. If we were in close proximity, there was no telling what other temptations might infiltrate and take root.
Sophie frowned. “Are you sure, Daddy?” she inquired directly. “There’s lots of room for both of us.”
“Yeah,” I answered quickly, walking to the closet. Fortunately, there were some extra blankets and I pulled out a couple for myself. “I’ll just sleep on the floor. I’ll be alright.”
My daughter shrugged as I set up an area to sleep on. “I tried turning up the heat all the way,” she announced, “but it’s still just blowing cold air.”
“Yeah, the guy said that’s what happens,” I confirmed while arranging the blankets to give me a little cushion on the floor. “He said he has the part to fix it, just hasn’t done it yet.”
With nothing more to really do, we decided that it was best to get some sleep so we could set out early in the morning. I shut off the TV. Sophie took care of the lights and curled up in her blankets. She was looking at me in the dark room, and I felt a little self-conscious since I needed to undress a little.
“Turn around,” I admonished her gently. “I need to get ready for bed, too, and I don’t have something to really sleep in like you do.”