tagIncest/TabooPlaying the Part

Playing the Part

bythroughthetrees©

Thanks for the comments on my previous stories!

Trying something a little different with this one. This is a father/daughter story told first from the father's perspective and then the daughter's. It's got a build-up rather than jumping to the naughty.


*****

Will's Story

I loved being a single dad.

Sure, there were tough times. Scheduling babysitters, taking pay cuts just so you can stay home more.

It's worth it. It's all worth it. I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Alex was a joy. Even when she wasn't, she was. A sensitive kid. She didn't excel at anything academic in school. She wasn't going to be a concert violinist like her grandfather. But that was okay with me. I didn't want to pressure her. She'd blossom to be whatever she was meant to be.

When she was younger, she and I would watch her mother on TV. Anne Foxhill was an actor. But don't feel bad if you never heard of her. She would do bit parts. Goth girl at dance party. Victim in horror movie.

What she was known for, if you could call it that, was playing dead bodies. When they want someone who looks realistically dead, they pay the bit part actor to lie there, not breathing. Perhaps not the most glamorous role, but it helped pay the bills. Anne had naturally pale skin and pale lips, with a girl-next-door body, so she tended to get the roles on a regular basis.

Alex would always ask when Mommy's next role would be on TV. I'd make sure it was recorded as since these programs ran after Alex's bedtime. We'd curl up and watch her mother. There would be Anne, pale and covered in a sheet, lying motionless. Sometimes I had to cover Alex's eyes if there was any nudity involved. She's say "oh Mommy is playing *that* kind of body today," and she'd let me cover her eyes.

We loved watching her on TV. It was one of the things that made the strain on our marriage worth it. Anne and I worked hard as she put in the long hours to keep things going.

Little did we know at the time that my wife's naturally pale skin was especially susceptible to the sunlight. They always tell people with pale skin to cover up and put on sunscreen. Even that, sadly, wasn't enough.

I tried to distract Alex as best I could, but by her 9th birthday, I found myself a widower with a child to care for. We relocated from the outskirts of Hollywood to a small town in Colorado. I changed to a job that let me work from home half the week. For the two days a week I was in the office, I found a reliable babysitter to watch Alex for the few hours before I got home. Truth be told, I could have gotten paid more and used a babysitter more often, but I wanted to spend as much time with Alex as I could. She'd be a teenager soon enough.

For the first year after her mother died, Alex didn't want to watch any of Anne's scenes. I, myself, tried to once, and I just broke down. She was too young. It wasn't fair. It used to be so fun, but now it just brought sadness. Hell, she and I even used it as an edgy roleplay on rare occasion. She'd play dead, and I'd be the medical examiner. She never did break character, no matter what part of her I examined. Now the thought of seeing a dead body hit too close to home.

I swallowed the ocean of pain as best I could with the help of Glenlivet almost every night after Alex went to bed. It helped get me over the hump until I was ready to face the world again. Thankfully, over time I needed less, and after a year my life was showing signs of normalcy.

Sometime after her 10th birthday, Alex asked me if we could watch one of her mother's scenes again. She insisted. She called it "a time to remember Mommy". It was a strange way to remember her. A wake with a play/pause button.

The first time we did it, both of us were a mess. We just watched the scene in silence, the second rate actors fumbling over their lines above her, her face a picture of the placid calm of death. I just held Alex as she cried, and I couldn't hold back my own tears.

We cried and held each other as the episode played on, her tears soaking my shirt. It was something both of us needed, and something we would end up doing a few more times before I packed up the recordings into a box and put them away.

As a kid, Alex used to play dead like her mother, to see if she could do it. She'd lay there nice and still and then my wife or I would see if we could get her to break character. Normally that meant tickling her in a particularly ticklish spot. At first it was impossible for her not to explode into giggles, but after a while she got better at it.

The game seemed less fun when her mother died. Alex didn't play it again until she was 12. Her babysitter told me Alex had played dead for the last half hour as I walked in from work. Thankfully, Alex had warned her in advance what she was going to do. Even still, it apparently gave the poor babysitter quite the shock.

Alex was laid out on the kitchen table with a sheet over her, motionless. I was immediately struck with mixed emotions. A part of me still hurt thinking of my wife. That part of me would always hurt. I just got better at living with it. I almost turned around, not wanting to see my daughter play out the scene.

"Oh, that's a good job, sweetie," I said. "Very convincing."

She didn't move.

"She's been doing this to me all afternoon," the babysitter said. I paid her a little extra, thanked her for her patience, and sent her on her way. As I came back in, I pulled off my tie. Alex was still lying motionless under the sheet.

I thought about tickling her to see if she would break character, but at 12 she was already starting to bud into a young woman. It didn't feel quite right.

Instead, I tried to see if I could get her to break character by staging an elaborate farce of a medical examination.

"Dr. Johnson and Dr. Longbottom, what we have here is a case of Asteroidea Osculum. That's right, she had been kissed. To death." I paused, and then added with a bit of extra zeal, "by STARFISH."

I saw Alex's lip twitch, but she held steady. I remembered Alex's awe at the Aquarium at how a starfish would latch onto things and move their mouths. Sure, they might seem cute at first, but they were actually a little gruesome.

I pulled the sheet up over her feet. Her fluffy socked toes sat motionless.

"It all started innocently enough. She must have been walking near them in the water." I sucked in air. "AND THEN."

I waited a dramatic beat.

"First one starfish, and then another suctioned themselves on her ankles. Soon, it became like great weights. She wouldn't have been able to move.

Once the high tide came in, well, she starred in her own demise."

Alex managed to - mostly - keep a straight face.

"Starkissed to death? Swam with the starfishes?"

I chuckled to myself and patted her leg. "Come on, champ, let's see what's for dinner."

She just laid there still, without moving. Most times I would insist on her helping me in the kitchen. Tonight, I wanted a peaceful house. No fighting or cajoling.

I started warming the soup and decided to go the extra mile and put on cornbread. Alex loved cornbread. The smell would call her down from her room on cold days.

If she wanted to play dead, let's see how far she wanted to go. I turned the soup down to warm and waited the last few minutes for the cornbread to finish. You could already smell it filling the kitchen. With a wicked grin, I walked back over to where Alex was lying on the table.

As I walked in, I heard her stomach growl.

"Dr. Johnson, what is this?" I put my ear up to her stomach and listened. "It seems her stomach is already decomposing at a rapid pace! You can just hear the gases do their work!"

She still managed to hold it together.

Just then, I heard the oven timer beep. I pulled out the cast iron skillet and dropped the cornbread onto a plate. The smell was extra strong now.

I walked back over to her and gave her a quick peck on the side of her lips.

"Come on, sleeping beauty, it's time to eat."

She gave me a big smile and hopped off the table. "I'm buttering the cornbread!" and off she went.

-=-=-

Alex would play dead on a fairly regular basis, and I had fun playing along. Sometimes it was silly. Sometimes I would try to act out a very serious medical drama, but I'd inevitably end up describing the murder in such gruesome detail that the whole scene would be more laughable than serious.

She'd always maintain character until I gave her the peck on the cheek and called her sleeping beauty.

It was fun, just a silly little game.

As she got a little older, she mentioned trying out for the school play. I thought this was exciting, but I didn't want to push her. Sure enough, she got the part. After a few months I was helping her shop for outfits. Next thing I knew, we were looking into acting classes.

It was clear that acting had become a passion for her. By sixteen, she'd already starred not only in school plays, but also even some of the grown-up productions at our local theater. She even managed to get a part in a local commercial.

I was proud of her, to say the least. I could tell she wanted to follow in her mother's footsteps.

I shouldn't have been surprised when she told me soon after her 18th birthday that she was moving to Hollywood. It broke my heart. I can still remember the conversation, like it was burned into my memory.

"Daddy, I want this. More than anything." She was stubborn, just like her mother and myself. She didn't budge.

"But what about school? Don't you know how Hollywood chews up and spits out people?"

"It won't chew me up, Dad. It won't." She wasn't even crying. She just looked squarely at me, ready to defend her decision.

I don't need to recount the whole discussion, but in the end I couldn't make her stay. She was an adult. She didn't cry until her friend picked her up from the house.

I couldn't believe it when I saw them drive away. I was heartbroken. Sure, she want to be a real actor. But I figured she would at least go to school first. Get a backup plan. She was impulsive, just like her mother was at her age.

I drowned myself in work. I was back to working at the office full-time. It paid better, thankfully.

Alex and I kept in touch, mostly. She sent me copies of her first headshot, and I posted them at work. I looked forward to hearing about her first parts.

She excitedly sent me letters about all the roles she was trying out for, talking at length about how difficult some of the parts were but how much fun she was having. She was hopefully to land something soon.

Over time, her letters came less often. I could tell she was trying to keep a light tone, but I could read the stress between the lines. The reality of trying to make it had sunk in. I recognized it immediately. It was something my wife struggled with her whole career.

I would reply telling her she should come home and apply for college.

She'd never respond to my attempts to get her to return to Colorado. Instead, she'd just wait a little longer to send the next letter.

She never asked for money. I even mailed her checks, but she never cashed them. I couldn't believe it. Surely, she'd need money if she was going to last out there. Maybe she would find a waitress gig or two to help pay the bills. I prayed she didn't get pulled into the seedier parts of the city. She would always promise me everything was okay, but after a while, it became harder to believe it.

My little girl had to learn, and I watched and waited helplessly from afar.

After leaving, she never visited. I was heartbroken the first Christmas, but a year later I was happy to just get a letter from her. I tried to end my letters with little phrases like "don't get sucked into Scientology!" with the hope that it would make her smile.

At work, I'd been promoted to manager. It was more stressful, but I chalked it up to the cost of doing business. It came with a nice bump in salary. I thought it might help me retire a little faster, though it also felt like I would need to retire faster as a result.

One day, one of the employees under me came into my office. Steven was a smart chap, always working long hours. Young, ambitious.

He had a particularly twisted look on his face as he closed the door. Immediately, I knew I didn't want to know where this conversation is going.

"How's Alex doing?" he began, looking over at one of my pictures of her.

I looked at him quizzically. Why did he care? "She's fine." At least I *hoped* she was. I hadn't heard from her in two months.

"Oh good."

I sat and watched him as he made himself comfortable. He continued with an easy timbre, "Reviews are coming up soon. We haven't had a chance to talk about them, yet. I think I have a lot to offer this company."

He waited, but I didn't respond.

"I hope that the work I've done to date will be ample fodder for a good review." Then, he looked at his watch. "Oh sorry, I hadn't realized the time when I popped in. I'm late for my next meeting."

He got up and fished something out of his laptop bag, dropping it on my desk.

"I put together a few things to help come review time. Cheers, and sorry again for popping in so quickly."

With that he was out the door.

A few weeks later, it was review time. It was hard enough to write the reviews, and as I wrote Steve's review, I was struggling to put in enough details. Well, he had put some of his projects on a disk for me to look at. Seemed odd at the time, but actually might turn out to be quite useful.

I put in his disk, after recovering it from a pile of paperwork, and opened up the folder. Rather than drawings and project files, there were three files all with *.wmv extensions. Movie files.

What the hell?

I opened the first one, and could hear the sound coming out of my headphones, so I put them on. Immediately, my ears were accosted by a menagerie of sex sounds as the tell-tale warning before a porn started to play. I immediately pulled the disk out of my computer, and walked over to Steve's desk.

"My office." I said, once he looked up at me.

He calmly sat down as I closed my office door.

"I hope you know I'm going to be reporting you to HR for this. We have a zero tolerance policy for stunts like this at this company."

"Did you look at them?"

"I don't need to watch them to know what they are," I said, losing my patience. "I'm going to go through the HR processing, but if I were you, I would start packing my desk."

Steven got up calmly and looked at me. "Before you talk to HR, you should at least watch one. They'll remind you of home."

With that, Steven excused himself from my office.

Dumbfounded I watched him go, then the blood drained out of my face. It couldn't be. Please god. Please god, no.

-=-=-

I didn't dare watch any of them until I got home, twenty minutes later. I excused myself, took half a sick day, knowing that it would be impossible to concentrate until I knew.

Sadly, my worst fears were confirmed.

The first video showed the bare backside of a pale-skinned girl with light brown hair tied up in a bun. I recognized the hair and her shape immediately. She was orally pleasuring the male in front of her. As the camera changed scenes, I saw her face. But I hadn't need to see it to know who it was. My dear Alex was wrapping her mouth around her co-star's member.

I stopped the video and sat there. I put my head into my hands and cried.

Surely, we'd taught her better than that.

I tried to call her, but the last number I had for her was no longer an active number. I started to type out a letter, but each time I did it, I couldn't bring myself to send it.

How could she?

All she had to do was ask for money.

Why was she so stubborn?

Surely she could have found something else to pay the bills. ANYTHING else.

I tried to put myself in her shoes, but I just felt sick. Sick. Sad. Disappointed.

For the first time in over a year, I poured myself a glass of Glenlivet and took a sip. I was through my second glass and was onto my third before the pain in my stomach started to let up.

My own daughter.

The porn star.

How could she do this to me? To our family? To herself?

I'd chatted with Anne about the worst parts of the industry. She'd had friends who got their start in adult entertainment, but it far more often chewed people up. It was like a microcosm for what I thought of Hollywood. She told me what it does to people. Drugs, burnout, STDs, and, of course, there's the stigma. If you're one of the lucky ones.

I finished my third glass and started pouring my fourth.

My dark, morbid side was normally hidden, but good only Glen was good at pulling it out of me.

I stumbled to the garage and pulled out the dusty taped box of Anne's scenes. It was lighter than I remembered it, but when I looked there were still plenty of tapes in there. I blew the dust off the player, crossing my fingers it still worked.

It did.

Anne. Dead Anne. Dead wife. Lying there.

"You should see your daughter now, dear."

The medical examiners were walking around her. One had a scalpel. They cut to a special effects dummy for the close up and back to her for the full shot.

"She's... a star," I said with an acidic hiss. "In a dead end role."

After a while, it was like the banter with my wife was real. I told her about my day, about Steven threatening me. When my thoughts turned back to my daughter, I said to the wife on the TV screen, "here, let me show you."

I opened my DVD player and popped in the disk. My player could play almost anything. It immediately picked the first video and it started playing.

I sunk into the sofa and watched my daughter. Here she was, doing the worst job for an actor. She could have been so much more.

The first video started and I saw the same blow job scene. After a few seconds, the camera had a wider shot and I saw her coworker. He was older with olive skin. Though, as I looked, he could have been my brother. Some of his features were strikingly similar.

The second was similar, her partner the same, though this she played the daughter i an incestuous relationship with her father.

I was uncomfortable with the first one, but this one made me squirm. The thought that my daughter liked older men started to wiggle its way into my mind.

Sure, I'll admit it. I was one of those dads who sometimes had an inappropriate reaction to when we would rough house or make believe. It always made me feel ashamed, but I tried to never let that affect my ability to be a good dad. I certainly never acted on it.

But here, with no one watching me, I felt something stir in me. The Alex on the video couldn't have been much older than when she'd left the house and moved to Hollywood. Same long wind-swept braids she'd had since she was 15.

I couldn't keep watching. Sure I was pretty drunk, but starting to get hard watching my daughter and a guy that kinda looks like me? That was fucked up.

I hit 'next'.

The last one started with a scene with Alex under a sheet, lying on an examiner's table. The setting was sterile, medical. Random tools were laid on a side table.

Alex had her eyes closed, and her lips were colored to be as pale as her skin, all setting up a morbid scene.

The video was shot from above, with no cuts. It made it feel like a security camera.

The doctor came in with a notepad, and made a few notes. Then, he folded the cloth down from her neck, exposing her pale breasts.

I should have looked away. Surely Alex wouldn't want me to see her like this. But, I felt morose. I forced myself to keep watching.

The examination seemed more clinical than pornographic. He took various samples and looked under the microscope. In what seemed like the payoff scene, he lifted the sheet up and spread her legs. Taking a swab from her vagina, he went back to the microscope. When he walked over, he pushed his gloved hand into her vagina. He didn't seem like it was trying to fuck her with it, but he was thorough.

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