The Heat

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A ceiling fan spun quick and creaking in a shabby living room, struggling to stir the stubborn air below into the semblance of a breeze. Wood paneling upon the walls held up a couple dusty photographs, far outnumbered by the manufactured paintings and the trite religious messages that dotted the remainder of the space. In one corner, a solitary bookshelf offered up a scant selection – it was the 36″ television on the other wall that plainly held the favored space, enjoying the attention of every other piece of furniture as it loudly served a sports engagement to an unenthusiastic audience of one.

“Shit.” Barely muttered by the burly figure slouched down on the couch, as the little brown ball on the screen spun and fumbled from a player’s hands. His fingers tightened for a moment on the bottle in his own, as though he were about to toss it in frustration – instead he only shrugged, and took another healthy swig. It was too hot for such decisive action, too hot to do much of anything but sit there shirtless in his boxer shorts, perspiration beaded on his brow and shining from his hairy chest. His shirt hung on the sofa’s arm, a simple nametag stitched into its breast – ‘Dan.’

He had the kind of body that made it difficult to separate the muscle from the fat. Thick from neck on down, but solid, stout, a barrel of a man; he looked as though he might have carried tires for a living, and eaten steak and eggs for every meal. The scowl in his worn and sun-baked features seemed to be at least a frequent guest, sitting comfortably beneath a nose that bent a bit where it had once been broken – but it did twitch a little, faded as he heard the click of doors unlatching in the hall, of footsteps struggling to stomp. He was halfway expecting the plaintive whine when it arrived.

“Daddddiiieeeeee.” The girl tromped into the living room with temples clutched between her palms, a sleeveless pastel sundress draping light across her small and slender frame. Bare of foot, she hung her body forward in exaggerated misery, her shoulder-length blonde hair askew and tangled from her recent waking. “Why does it have to be so hot?

“Just the way it is, kitten.” He drawled the answer distantly as she sulked her way across the room, collapsed onto the other corner of the couch. “Maybe if you got up earlier than noon, it wouldn’t seem so bad.”

“Yeah, right.” Sky-blue eyes rolled up with undisguised disdain for the suggestion. “It’s like a million degrees even in the middle of the night. Can’t we please get an air conditioner or something already?”

“We been through this before.” His gaze was back on the TV, watching with disinterest as he spoke. “Weather like this only lasts a couple weeks, a month at most. You can stand it. Otherwise, you got a couple thousand bucks, you can buy one yourself.”

“Ughh.” A little growl with the sound, vibrating softly from her throat – then, just in case she hadn’t signalled her displeasure quite enough, her plump and rosy lips pushed down into a pleasant-looking little pout, pointed at him like a weapon. It was another couple seconds of this failing to impress him before she gave it up and flopped her head back listlessly against the cushions, rubbing slowly with two narrow fingers through the subtle sheen of sweat upon the corner of her forehead. “It just sucks, is all.”

He answered this with no more than a non-committal grunt, shifting his position slightly as he took another swig of beer. But this was enough to stir her nimble tongue again, this time far more charmingly. “You know, I bet it would really help if could just have something cold to drink.”

He hardly had to glance in her direction to see the way her gaze fixed on the bottle. “Need some hair of the dog, is that the deal now?” Scoffing, with a twitch of disapproval barely tolerant upon his lips.

“I don’t know what you mean, daddy.” The words were spoken just as sweet and white as sugar, blank of all defensiveness or hesitation that might give away their falsehood. He didn’t trust the non-denial, not for an instant – but god, he almost couldn’t help admiring the ease with which she gave it, the tiny touch of injured feeling that she even slipped into the sound. As though he were the one who ought to feel guilty, for making such an accusation. “I just need something to cool me down.”

“Well.” He took another sip, contemplative, to needle her a bit. “This is the last beer, but we got a pitcher of ice water there in the fridge. Pretty sure there’s still about a half a dozen cans of Dr Pepper, too. Either one of them should work pretty good to cool you down.”

“Come on, daddy. Please?” She pleaded in a sing-song tone, her voice pushed high and pure and innocent. A little girl’s voice. A puppy’s eyes, a kitten’s, wide and baby blue. Oh, but she was good at this. Curled in the corner of the couch, pulling up her legs almost beneath her, she looked considerably smaller even than her five foot frame, painting him ataşehir escort bayan again an image of the child that he’d spoiled far too often. “Pretty please?” A winsome smile alternated with another pitiable pout. “Pretty please with cream and sugar?”

“Hell, Katie.” He groaned and looked away from her, struggling to break the spell. “You ain’t even supposed to be drinkin’ this stuff yet.”

“Yeah,” she graciously agreed, crawling forward for the kill. “But you ain’t supposed to drink any either, this early, and you already had two.” Gesturing minutely to the pair of bottles sitting on the floor beside the coffee table. “Anyway, it’s so, so hot, and that one looks so nice and cold, and I don’t want to have to go all the way over to the kitchen, and it would make me really happy, honestly, I promise.” She barely touched his elbow, bit her lower lip. “Please?”

Not really any question who had won this round. He grunted his concession as he handed off the beer to her, still mostly full. For her own part, she was magnanimous enough in victory at least to give him back a “Thank you, daddy” that sounded only slightly preening. The bottle held up cooling to her forehead as she slouched back on the couch beside him, breathing little sighs of evident relief.

That part wasn’t quite so bad. He didn’t have to turn his focus back to the TV until she actually began to drink – the girl had a way of sticking out that tongue of hers to curl against the bottle’s lip that could drive a man into distraction. And afterward was hardly better, as she chilled herself again by pressing it this time against her chest, nestled gently in between a pair of breasts that he could swear were growing still a little bigger every day. Amidst the drowsiness and hazy thinking of the boiling summer heat, it was a struggle just to keep from outright staring; he hadn’t effort left to stop himself from watching from the corner of his eye. Another round of perspiration prickling upon his brow, seeing her chest rise and fall with an extended sigh of breathy satisfaction, her candy-painted fingernails trailing absently along the bottle’s neck…christ. He ground his teeth and fixed his focus on the screen as best he could, paying close attention to the talking donkey telling him about great deals on used cars. Wondering again if she did these things on purpose. Hard enough to keep his gaze from straying into places that it shouldn’t, even when she wasn’t giving him a show.

At least it didn’t last too long, her little spectacle. Soon enough she had the bottle planted far more plainly at her side, sipping from it now and then as she watched the game beside him. Half-watched, at least, through eyes a quarter closed, asking him a question here and there about the rules to which he was fairly certain she already knew the answer. Not that he minded. It was a familiar thing, an kind of ritual they sometimes shared, reenactment of the age when little Katherine would wander in to ask what he was yelling at the TV for, and he would plop her down beside him to explain assists and field goals, fouls and hail marys, most of which flew straight over her head. Even if it had a bit of artifice in it these days, there was still a simple pleasure in the back and forth, the game; his frustrated mood had melted somewhat softer by the time she posed an unrelated question.

“Momma ain’t around, is she?” Languid curiosity, glancing backward through the open doorway to the kitchen.

“Nope.” His head shook ponderously though a couple inches, back and forth. “Headed out with Tyler bit ago to pick him out a couple pairs of pants.”

“Good.” Mumbled vague around another swig of beer, the bottle now no more than quarter-full. “I swear to god, last couple weeks she’s really tryin’a win bitch of the year.”

He didn’t have the energy to be particularly stern, not with the air as thick as soup. But he made at least a token effort, frowning. “Shouldn’t talk about your momma like that, Katie.”

“Well, then you should get her to quit yellin’ at me all the time,” she groused. “Awful things, too. You think you heard her yellin’ before, you should listen what she says when you ain’t here.”

“Mmm.” Faint sarcasm in his voice. “And you don’t speak a single word against her, that right?”

“Well, of course I do,” she retorted wearily. “But she’s the one that starts it. I’m just fightin’ back.” Another sip; she let the liquid linger on her tongue a bit, grimacing before she swallowed and continued. “She hates me, daddy. I know she does. She’s hated me for years and years.”

Trace frustration tightened his expression, and he barely shook his head. Dismissive. Mostly. “And how come you figure she hates you, Katie? Your own momma?”

“Cause I’m prettier than her.” Solemnly enough – she turned her head, the cushion’s edge against her cheek, to look him in the eye. A tiny spark in hers, of humor, self-awareness, serious and playful all at once. “That’s why. She started gettin’ really escort kadıköy mad at me same time as guys we walked by started lookin’ at me instead’a her. I’m skinnier than her, and my skin ain’t saggin’ everywhere, and my boobs are bigger, too.” A beat. “Don’t you think?”

He didn’t answer that. Didn’t even try, just blinked a while, unable to effectively refute a single one of her comparisons – instead, eventually, he just evaded them. “I think she’s got some reasons she could yell at you that don’t have anything to do with that.” Gamely muttering the notion. “Like how about the way you headed out last night after she told you that you couldn’t?”

“But I asked you, and you said that I could,” she pointed out.

“But you didn’t tell me that you had already asked her,” he frowned back. “Caught some fire from her for that myself.”

“I didn’t ask her.” Katie’s little smile edged in the direction of a smirk. “I just told her I was going out, and then she said like hell I was, that I was staying here. Then I went and asked you a little later, and you said that I could, so I did.”

In cooler weather, without the weary haze of sweat and booze that squatted on his consciousness, he might have had a suitable response to that. Might have had the energy to tan her britches, anyway. As it was, he only looked a couple seconds at the mischief in her features, searching for a word to start with, before he bit his tongue and gave the matter up. Moving on. “I even want to know what you actually got up to last night?”

“God.” Her turn to groan, lolling back her head against the cushion. Another clumsy swig almost finished off the bottle. “Nothin’.”

“Nothin’,” he repeated, quietly sardonic. “Boy howdy, when a girl’s out late doin’ nothin’, that’s when I get to be concerned.” He nudged her with his forearm, there upon the couch’s back. “Who’d you do this nothin’ with, pray tell?”

“Nobody,” she predictably responded – then grudgingly revealed a bit more of an answer. “Jeremy, and some friends of his.”

“Jeremy.” Dan shook his head a little, darkly, snorted disapproval. “That boy’s bad news.”

“Daddy, you say every guy I hang out with is bad news,” she lazily protested, scooching slightly over on the couch to rest her head upon his chest. Warm, her messy, silken hair caressing on his skin, faintly dampened with his perspiration. He could just barely feel her cheek pressed soft upon his side, feel the edges of her elfin ear in slight, electric contact.

“‘ts because they always are.” The retort came out a bit distracted, halfway muttered as his willful gaze began to wander once again. Descending downward to the neckline of her dress, and to the newly-opened avenue it found in her new pose. Staring at the beads of sweat that shone like little diamonds on her skin, that trickled slowly down into that warm and tempting valley…”Got you drunk, didn’t he?”

“We all had a little,” she admittedly sleepily. “But seriously, like nothing happened. We just drove around a while. The only entertaining part was when both of his friends started hitting on me, and I told them I might take my top off if they could stand up in the truck bed all the way back into town.” A moment passed of smirking satisfaction – then she seemed to realize a bit belatedly what she was saying, forcing him to tear his stubborn eyes away from her distinctive charms as she tilted back her head to look at him directly. Lilting innocent again, sweet and reassuring. “Don’t worry, though, daddy. I wouldn’t really have done it. I was just kinda having fun with them.”

“Lord Almighty.” His tongue was dry, distracted – still, he managed to get in a bit of indignation. “You know what, never mind the boys. You’re the one who’s trouble.”

She laughed at that. Giggled, anyway, a momentary tinkling of melody. Pleased, and pleasing. “But you still love me anyway, right?” Expectant mischief in her slightly glazed expression.

“Yeah.” His right hand drifted downward to her shoulder, clasping on the smooth, bare curve of young and healthy skin. Stroking with his thumb where it rose gently upward to her swanlike neck. “Yeah, I still love you, kitten.”

“Mhmmm.” A crooked grin accompanied the gleeful little hum, a tiny wiggle of delight beside him. She shifted then, twisted from his grasp, and a quiet disappointment briefly touched upon his heart, that he should lose the nest they had together here – instead, she swiftly slid up to her knees to plant a sudden peck upon his stubbled cheek, her satin lips alighting barely long enough to truly feel before they flew away again. “And I love you, too, daddy.” Brightly spoken, musical. Playful, as though the declaration were some private joke they shared. He turned to look at her to give some smirking answer of his own…but another kiss came down to silence him before he had the chance. This time pressed against his mouth, just barely opened.

It didn’t end as quickly as the other had. A little longer. A couple seconds, bostancı escort one or two or five…long enough to feel her pillowy pink lips compressed against his own, feel her hand closed on his arm, her ample bosom pressing lightly to his skin with only just that thin and flimsy dress between. Long enough for him to smell the scent of her, unwashed, the subtly enchanting odor of a woman’s body, hair and skin and sweat, commingled gently with the floral perfumes of her soap and her shampoo that still lingered from the day before. And then a moment, just a moment, as her mouth began to move, the faintest little friction of her lips caressing gossamer on his…

Then it ended, as abruptly as it had begun, the light of thought returning slowly to his mind as Katie pulled away again, dropping back down to the space beside him. Laughter on her tongue, a snort of humor that dissolved into uneven, artless giggles while he worked to find his voice again, to settle down his racing pulse. Even for her, this was a little much. “You drunk already, Kate?” Not really quite as stern, as irritated as perhaps he should have said the words; these touchy-feely moods of hers might not be terribly appropriate, but he had long since given up attempting to convince himself he didn’t like them when they came.

“Noooo.” The drawn-out, childish denial was not especially convincing. Further undermined by how she bit her lip and snickered to herself a while, after she said it. “God, um. I don’t know. No.” Somewhat more seriously now, her fit of giggles wearing off. “No, it’s just, it’s just this freaking heat. I can’t even think or anything, I swear, it’s just like…hooh, you know?”

That was certainly the truth. Normally he would have felt considerably guiltier to admire her anatomy the way he had today, would have tried at least a little harder to encourage some restraint. All of it was melted in the swampy fever of the season, the effort far too heavy for his weary mind to bear. His inner censor sleeping on the job – it would never have approved the playful answer that occurred to him, welled up ready to his tongue. A teasing tone. “Well, maybe you oughta take your top off now, then, too. Keep you cooler.”

“Daddy!” Far more amused than truly shocked – she didn’t even try to hide her smile, her gleaming, slightly crooked teeth protruding into view. “I ain’t even got a bra on under this!”

“Hell, it’s nothing I ain’t seen before.” A little grin of his own, the feeling of it tickling inside his throat. “We had a devil of a time gettin’ you to keep on any clothes at all, back when you were three.” He pinched her softly at her waist, to see her gasp and laugh and wriggle fractionally closer, her thigh touched silken-smooth to his. Dropping nearer to a whisper, conspiratorial and low. “That, and must be me’n half the neighbors seen you sunnin’ yourself in the backyard.”

“Hey!” Her offense a bit more genuine this time, at least enough for her to turn and weakly slap him on the shoulder. “You ain’t supposed to look.” Still with that mischievous expression, though, tugging at the corners of her lips, dancing softly in her eyes. Expectant.

“No, no, I don’t look,” he agreed with a faint shake of the head. Which in fact was true. Mostly, anyway. “But even if you ain’t lookin’, you still do see a bit, sometimes.”

“Mmm-hmm.” The corner of her eye remained on him a time, watching, while her enigmatic smile shifted in a few different directions. The flicker of a frown, a grin, a momentary moue – then suddenly she shrugged her shoulders, reaching upward to grab hold of the spaghetti straps that held her dress in place. “Okay.” Spoken with an easy nonchalance as she began to tug it upward, off.

“…hey, now.” He tried to laugh. It doesn’t sound quite right. “I was kidding, Katie. You shouldn’t, ah…” Protesting, as he looked away from her and back again, as the sight stole words off of his tongue. The airy fabric sliding higher on her legs to show the upper portions of her toned and slender thighs, her wider hips, the tight, delicious curve of that delightful little bottom, nicely nestled in a pair of lacy cotton panties. Her bosom lifted, squeezed together, briefly captured in the narrows of her dress. The heartbeat that he’d almost settled starting for another jog, while what before had been a tickle of untoward arousal now stirred towards fuller life.

“No, daddy, you’re right,” she pleasantly demurred, as though stripping down in front of him were nothing odd at all. The outfit pulled a little awkwardly over her head. She was still tugging at it, inch by inch, arching upward on her knees to make a clearer path; concealed this way from her eyes, he couldn’t keep himself from watching the unveiling of her midriff’s achingly exquisite inner curve, and of her winking belly button, sitting like a gemstone in her flat and even stomach. “I mean, you sure as heck don’t bother wearin’ a shirt or anything when it gets super hot like this. Ain’t no reason I should either, if it’s just the two of us.” All innocently spoken, more or less…but he could almost hear her smile as she said it, that same enticing and infuriating smile she wore when she was traipsing round the house in just enough to hide the places that she had to.

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