It is one of those golden days when all seems to move in slow motion. Sunlight takes on an unnatural glow. Passing traffic noises outside seem deadened, more distant than they really are. Words bounce off walls and then hang in the air like ancient insects trapped in amber.
Is this the most logical place to begin this confession?
I have moved all the furniture and rugs out while I redecorate. We sit opposite each other, the girl and I, cross-legged on the bare-boarded floor munching the sandwiches her mother has sent her over to me with. In spite of the wide-open windows, the room reeks of fresh paint and mineral turpentine. Today I am putting the first coat on the architrave, baseboards, windows and doorframes in my parents' old bedroom, on the way to banishing nearly fifty years of their existence in this house.
The girl is called Dolly. She is six years younger than I am. When she was still a toddler, she and her parents moved into the house next door to my parents and me. She is called Dolly because her father, Derek, is an avid country music follower with a fixation on Dolly Parton. The Dolly sat in front of me must be a terrible disappointment to him. Not only is she medium-tall, dark-haired and small-breasted, although her mother once told me that Dolly was born a blonde, the girl also favours pop music by manufactured groups like Boyz II Men and Presidents of the USA.
Why do I want to paint away the memories of my parents from this place? I am an only child. I loved them, but they are gone. I cannot live in the past. I want to erase the long slow agony of my father's emphysema induced death. Dad was never a cigarette smoker, but he worked as an engineer in an aluminium plant in his younger days when the unventilated, volatile fumes from the process came with the job. I need to erase the memory of my mother's desperate nursing my father through his decline and her quick, heartbroken following him when his lungs finally collapsed. This house and their genes are my heritage, but I must exorcise their ghosts.
The girl rummages in the canvas bag she has brought with her. "Don't tell," she grins conspiratorially, "I pinched some of Mum's chocolate for our afters." She breaks off a piece and holds it out in my direction.
"Wow! You'll be deep in the poo when she finds out!" I laugh, reaching out to take the dark, bittersweet morsel from her.
Dolly leans further forward, holding the chocolate up. "No! Open your mouth!"
I bend forward with my mouth open to receive her gift. Her soft, pink lips are slightly parted also and the tip of her tongue licks the lower one in concentration. She closes her mouth in concert with mine when I take the hard little bar from her fingertips.
"Thank you." I tell her.
When she resumes her former position, Dolly's short skirt, which was tucked modestly between her spread legs while she ate, has ridden up her thighs. I can see her panties; pale yellow cotton with white lace trim around the leg holes.
Dolly breaks a piece of chocolate off the slab for herself. She seems not to notice how much she is revealing or its effect on me. She has an irregular shaped birthmark high up on her right thigh, about an inch from the lacy rim, a tiny light-brown imperfection on her otherwise flawless skin. I feel the familiar tingle in my loins and the heat rising in my cheeks. I want to kiss it.
I clear my throat, "Errrrrrahem!" I have no wish to embarrass her but…"Dolly, would you mind doing something with your skirt…"
Her face flushes also, "Oh…sorry Uncle Clive…I didn't realise…" She hurriedly hides her secrets from me again.
We munch our chocolate in silence, lost in our own thoughts. A dark smear has appeared at the corner of her mouth. What would she do if I tried to lick it off? My mind is racing, pleading that she has not noticed the sudden erection that has sprung up from my groin.
Dolly's voice breaks the stillness, "Uncle Clive…oh, this is silly…can I just call you Clive? You aren't that much older than me, and you're not my proper uncle are you?"
She has always called me 'Uncle Clive', but we are not related in any way. I suppose Dolly's parents started it off.
"Of course you can. I've always thought it a bit daft myself."
"Ok…Clive…can I ask you something?"
Dolly sucks in a deep breath; she always does when she sets out to ask me a deeply personal question. Anticipation hangs pregnant in the air like an invisible balloon between us. She comes to a decision and lets the air out in a rush.
"How long have you known you're gay?"
I reel backwards with shock. I don't know whether to laugh uproariously or respond with anger.
"Dolly! What on earth makes you think I'm gay?"
"Well, you've never had a girlfriend, not to my knowledge and I know all there is to know about you. And you blushed like anything when you saw my knickers just now."
She thinks she knows 'all there is to know' about me? Wrong! But, Dolly is right about me never having had a girlfriend; well, almost right. I tell her, "Girls never liked me very much when I was at school, so I guess I never had much opportunity to take any of them out. And then other things got in the way."
"Your Dad's illness?"
"No, other, bigger things."
"But, why didn't they like you? You're good-looking, and a really nice guy…"
"Perhaps my being a 'nice guy' wasn't enough for them. Girls always seem to go for a hint of danger…violence, maybe. They found me very dull and uninteresting."
"I find that hard to believe…"
I close my eyes. Oh God! Do I tell her the truth? Do I destroy the safe, comfortable world of this lovely young person, who I have wanted to distraction from the moment I first realised she was changing into a woman?
Do I tell Dolly that eight years before, her husband's continual country music driven absences from home made her mother Maureen desperately lonely? Do I say that Maureen's distress reached such a fever pitch that one day she took the hand of the tall, skinny, introverted fifteen-year-old who was mowing their grass for pocket money, and led him to her marital bed?
Do I reveal to this princess of all my desires that her mother clasped my young bony frame between her firm, generous thighs? That I rode her mother's naked, big-breasted body until, after I had spurted four times in quick succession into her hot, liquid-satin depths, I lasted long enough to give Maureen the tensely shuddering release she had ached for, for so long.
Do I tell Dolly that over the next six months, Maureen, with infinite patience, taught me to become a caring, skilful lover? That we have been lovers off and on ever since, whenever she feels the need? And do I admit to her that, in return, whether by accident or Maureen's design, I planted the seed for Dolly's younger sister Kylie in her mother's womb?
Yes, little Kylie! Derek's unsuspectingly adored 'Gift of God'. The long and unsuccessfully striven for second child that he and Maureen had been unable to achieve between them!
And do I tell Dolly that this is the reason her mother stubbornly resists her father's frequent attempts to move his family way from this town? That Maureen is determined to stay here so that I too can watch our love child grow?
While my mind whirls chaotically with all these thoughts, Dolly touches me lightly on the knee. An electric shock shoots directly into my groin.
"I am so sorry I upset you, Clive. I'd better go…"
Dolly believes I am irritated with her because she thought I am gay!
"No! Please stay…it's ok!"
I open my eyes, but she is already gone.
I continue with the painting, but I am distracted and make many simple mistakes. Late in the afternoon, I sense a presence behind me. It is Dolly, biting her lower lip uncertainly and poised to flee if I react badly to her return. She is carrying a Thermos flask and a pair of plastic mugs.
Slowly, so as not to spook her, I put my brush in a jar of turpentine to soak.
"Thank goodness you've come to rescue me," I tell her quietly. "I was making a real hash of this lot!"
"I brought some tea…a peace offering…"
"No need for 'a peace offering' as you put it." I smile at her. "Honestly, Dolly, I wasn't upset. You gave me one hell of a surprise, that's all."
"I liberated some gingernuts as well. Can we go in another room? It stinks to high heaven in here."
I lead her into the spare room next door, where I shifted all the furniture I wanted to keep from my parents' room while I redecorated. We sit in the only free space, on a pile of rugs in the middle of the floor and she pours the tea for us. We dunk the hard cookies in the tea to soften them. Dolly giggles when a wedge of biscuit breaks off and sinks to the bottom of her mug.
"I didn't mind you looking up my skirt," she murmurs quietly, staring at the milky brown surface.
"I was afraid that you'd catch me staring and think I was some kind of pervert."
"Looking at a girl's knickers isn't perverted."
"Well, we've known each other for so long. And you've always called me your 'Uncle'."
"I suppose so…if you put it that way. Is that why you blushed?"
"I didn't know I was blushing. It felt like I was overheating!"
"At looking at my pants!"
"There was a lot more to it than that…your legs are lovely."
"I didn't know you had that birthmark…"
"Sorry! Now I am embarrassing you."
"Not at all…Clive…don't think me too forward…but if you want to look again…"
"Do you really mean that?"
Dolly says it so faintly I hardly hear her, "Yes…"
We sit in silence for a few moments while my mind digests this wonderfully intriguing bit of news.
"Well?" she asks impatiently.
"I am not going to show you, Clive, you are going to have to look!"
I could simply lift her skirt and 'look' as she suggests, but I sense that Dolly wants more than just that from me. I take her half-finished tea from her and put both our mugs to one side. I place my fingertips on the inside of her knee. I gaze at my hand resting on her leg in total disbelief that I am actually touching her. Her skin is enchantingly, incredibly warm and soft and smooth!
I look into Dolly's eyes, asking her the unspoken question. She has points of high colour on her cheeks. Her irises are deep dark pools. She nods her assent.
My fingers slide slowly up the inside of Dolly's thigh, swirling, caressing, and stroking her perfect flesh. They reach the hem of her skirt and push it up her leg slightly. Her hands swim into my field of view. Taking hold of the cotton material, they pull the edge up a little higher.
My hand follows. More caresses, more stroking, higher and higher. The only sound to break the silence is that of our shaky breathing.
I circle the tiny birthmark with the tip of my index finger. Dolly has pulled her skirt high enough for me to see the very start of her panties.
I can hardly trust myself to speak, nevertheless, I force the words out. "You know, earlier on when I saw this little mark, I was filled with such a deep longing to kiss it…you simply wouldn't believe!"
Dolly's voice trembles with emotion. "I…I am so, so glad you are not gay!" she breathes. And with that, she lies back on the rug pile, pulling her skirt up to her waist and spreading her legs wide apart in invitation.
I lower my face into the enchanting gap and ran the tip of my tongue around the area of her birthmark. But my attention is soon diverted to the swathe of yellow close by my cheek. Dolly tenses and gasps loudly when she first feels my tongue exploring her sexual folds through the material, but then she relaxes.
After a few more minutes of insistent oral caresses, Dolly moans, "Clive! Please stop! And close your eyes for a minute!"
She pushes me to one side. I feel wriggling movements on the rugs. Then Dolly takes hold of my head and leads me back between her legs, only now to taste and smell the full nakedness of her vagina.
The springy hairs on her mound rasp on the tip of my nose. I tongue Dolly's delicious flavours and inhale deeply on her spicy scents. I explore her secret folds and the subtly different texture and flavour at the slippery entrance to her body. She pulls back her hood and my tongue and lips take possession of her clit, driving her to ever-higher planes of pleasure. I slide a finger into her clinging sheath and she explodes in orgasm with a shrill cry of ecstasy.
I hold her and stroke Dolly's trembling flanks while the lightning bolts finish crashing through her body and the warm, spreading afterglow takes over. When she is complete, I ask her, "Why did you tell me to close my eyes just now?"
"I am so ugly down there," she replies. "I didn't want to put you off."
I kiss the tip of her nose tenderly. "Nonsense!" I murmur. "I am one hundred percent sure that you are wonderfully, perfectly beautiful!"
"Are you really sure?"
"Absolutely! In fact, can I look at you properly…now?"
Dolly frowns uncertainly, but then agrees.
I part her thighs and kneel between them. Then I shift her legs fully apart so that she is completely exposed to my gaze. Dolly studies my face to gauge my reactions and sees by my expression of awe and wonder that I truly do find her sex exceedingly beautiful.
Reassured, she murmurs, "You are one up on me…let me see you."
I bend quickly and kiss her between the legs. Dolly jumps and exclaims, "Wow! It feels like bells are still clanging in there!"
I smile. "Now we will see something really ugly!" But I hastily undo and remove my shorts and underpants in one go before she can change her mind.
Dolly sighs, rapt at the sight of my stiffly erect phallus and my dangling, hairy balls below. "Oh, Clive! Why is it that we each think that our sexual bits are ugly? You too are beautiful…so powerful…so magnificent! Come closer and let me touch…"
I move closer to her, on my knees, between her thighs. Dolly reaches out tentatively and grasps hold of my hot shaft. "Oooooh!" she breathes tremulously and runs her fingers up towards my crown. Experimentally, she pulls back the foreskin, fully exposing the glistening, mushroom-shaped, bulging head. A clear bead of pre-cum emerges from the urethra and slides down my flesh and onto her fingers. "Oooooh!" she breathes again and with the index finger of her other hands collects the slightly sticky liquid and carries it to her mouth.
Dolly's eyes lock on mine, staring into my brain, trying to read my thoughts. I feel her push my stiff shaft down until the sensitive head encounters the slick folds of her open-stretched sex. She slides my crown up and down in her moisture and then positions me at her warm, slippery entrance.
"I am sure," she breathes. "I could have before now, many times, but I saved myself for today…for you."
As I lower my pelvis to meet hers, my member slides easily into Dolly's wet, willing warmth. There is a sharp gasp of pain, but very little resistance. And then she locks her legs around my back and welcomes me into paradise.
"So you see Father, I have sinned greatly. First the mother and now the daughter. Dolly could be bearing my child even now. We didn't take precautions."
The dark, obscure shape on the other side of the grill shifts uneasily. "Indeed you have, My Son, indeed you have. Tell me, do you feel deeply for the girl, Dolly?"
"I truly love her, Father. I would to ask her to be my wife, but I am fearful that the secret of my relationship with her mother could eventually destroy us."
"It will take much prayer, My Son, but first, here is your penance…"