The Daughter

by Doreen F.

Melissa had always loved playing tennis. It was a great sport and kept you in good shape. Even now in her mid-thirties she tried to play tennis at least twice a week. Usually she played with a friend of her, Lucy. But when Lucy got pregnant she asked Melissa to play with her cousinís daughter, Emma, who was fifteen and quite good at tennis. Melissa and Emma took an immediate liking at each other and enjoyed playing together. At the beginning Lucy would come and watch, but soon Melissa offered to pick Emma up and bring her home.

They usually had a lot of fun during their drive to and from the tennis centre as well as during their matches. Emma told Melissa about her mother who she could hardly remember since she had died, when Emma was only 5 years old and her father who had looked after her throughout her entire childhood making great sacrifices to ensure his daughterís safe upbringing. One day Emma surprised Melissa by saying, "I wish my dad had a girlfriend, he seems so lonely sometimes." On that day Emma talked Melissa into taking a look at their flat. Emma had gotten a new bed and she really wanted to show it to Melissa. Having no children on her own Melissa had grown very fond of Emma over the past few months. So she went inside and found herself in a very stylish flat, which looked extremely comfortable. Emmaís room was very nice and not too girlish apart from a few posters of famous actors. Emma was just about to show Melissa her brand new clothes, when they heard the front door open.

"Emma, Iím home, honey."

"Thatís my dad", Emma whispered and they went to greet him.

Emma and her father embraced in a tight hug. He planted a kiss on her cheek and only then he seemed to notice Melissa.

"Dad, thatís Melissa, Lucyís friend who plays tennis with me."

"Iím Josh. Nice to finally meet you, Iíve heard so much about you. Emma tells me youíre a great tennis player."

"Nice to meet you too, Josh."

"Do you want to join us for dinner", Emma asked, looking at her dad pleadingly.

"Iíd love to, but Iíve got to dash. Some other time maybe, I mean, only if thatís not a problem for you, Josh."

"Thatís fine with me. Friday maybe?"

"Yeah, Friday sounds great to me."

"See you."

"Bye."

Melissa left with a big smile on her face. Josh was really cute and handsome. She was really looking forward to Friday. But it was only Monday.

On Wednesday Melissa and Emma had their next tennis session. Emma was already waiting in front of the door, wearing glasses. She had told Melissa that she only wore contact lenses for sports, but they were not quite comfortable, so Melissa was not surprised, but complimented her on the glasses.

"You look amazing in glasses."

"Thanks. I couldnít stand my contacts today."

"I wonít hit your eyes, so that should not be a problem."

"Great, letís go then."

"Thank you for the invitation for Friday. Your dad seems nice."

"He is, but heís a coward when it comes to women."

"How come?"

"Well, apart from the fact that he hardly ever dates the same woman twice, he never shows himself to any of them in glasses. I mean he wears his contacts all the time except when heís at home with me."

"I didnít realise he wore contact lenses."

"You wouldnít; most of the time. His eyes arenít as dry as mine, but his glasses are much stronger than mine. And he looks great wearing them, but he doesnít believe me."

They arrived at the tennis centre and played their normal 2-hour session. It was great fun. On their way home Emma reminded Melissa of their dinner on Friday. Melissa was supposed to arrive at 7.00 pm. On her way home Melissa kept thinking about Emma and her dad and somehow the fact that Josh wore glasses thrilled her.

On Friday Melissa styled herself a little more than she usually did. If Josh was interested, she really did not want to put him off by not looking her best.

Emma and Josh welcomed her at the door and Emma disappeared into the kitchen while Josh took her coat and led her into the dining room. "I assume you already had a tour of our flat", he said with a smile.

"Yes, I really like it; itís very beautiful."

"Iím glad you like it. I think Iíve got to help Emma in the kitchen. Dinner will be served in a minute."

"Iím looking forward to it."

The food was delicious and they were having a great time. As Josh was about to open a bottle of wine, Melissa said, "Iím afraid I canít drink too much since Iím driving."

"But you could stay the night, canít you?" Emma asked. "Canít she, Daddy? My bed is big enough."

"Itís up to you", Josh said, "but I wouldnít mind."

"I donít have much of a choice then, do I?"

"So I can pour you some more of this delicious wine, can I?"

"Of course, go head."

They were having a great time and it was getting late far too soon. It was close after midnight and Emmaís yawning was getting more and more frequent. Melissa was getting tired too. It had been an exhausting week for her at work. She was glad that she could stay for the night since she did not like driving when she was tired. Besides, she had had far too many glasses of wine for that anyway.

"Iím really tired. Iíll go to bed now", Emma said and went to the bathroom.

When she had left, Melissa said, "I think Iím getting tired as well. I hope you donít mind, if I wonít be up for much longer."

"No, Iím kind of tired myself. It has been a busy week at work."

"And I hope you donít mind me staying. But, I guess, Emma has a way of getting what she wants."

"Yeah, usually she has a way to twist me around her finger, well, most of the time. She can be pretty convincing, in case you had not noticed."

"Sheís very determined. Where am I supposed to sleep anyway?"

"I have a king-size bed, but if you prefer the couch thatís fine with me. Emmaís bed is a bit small and, donít tell her that, but she moves around a lot during the night. At least she used to during our holiday last summer."

"Iíll sleep in your bed, unless you snore."

"Nobody has complained about that so far."

"Great."

Emma had reappeared in order to say good night. Melissa was sure she had been eaves-dropping since she did not ask if Melissa wanted to sleep in her bed.

Once Emma had gone to bed, Melissa and Josh got up and went to the bathroom.

"Hereís a towel for you."

"Thank you. I wonít be long since I donít even have a tooth brush with me."

"Iíll prepare an extra blanket and pillow in the meantime."

"Thanks, Josh."

Five minutes later Melissa was in the huge bedroom and Josh went to the bathroom. Melissa took off her jeans and blouse and put on the huge t-shirt, which Josh had given her as a pyjama. The bed was really big and through the bedroom window you had a great view of the city. Wondering where Josh was, she remembered that Emma had said he wore contact lenses. It would probably take him a bit longer, she assumed. Emma had mentioned his vanity about glasses. Would he show himself in glasses?

Melissa switched on the huge flat screen TV and was zapping through the programmes, when Josh came back. She half turned and thought sheíd seen him sneak off his glasses the moment he came in. But maybe it was just imagination.

"Iím sorry, you had to wait."

"Donít worry. I really love the view from that window. And Iíve never come that close to a flat screen TV before. Itís awesome."

Was it her imagination or did she see Josh blush?

"Thatís exactly why I chose this room Ė to impress my female visitors", he joked, but Melissa could see that his eyes looked right through her.

"Youíve definitely managed to impress me."

"Iím glad to hear that", he smiled and sat down on the bed.

There was an awkward silence. Melissa knew that she had to say something, but the only thing that came to her mind was Ďput on your glassesí, which sounded a bit too straight forward. She did not want to embarrass him, at least not by showing him something he obviously could not see.

"You know, youíre the first female visitor who Emma fully accepts. The others did not stay the night because Emma scared most of them away."

"She probably thinks you deserve only the best."

"Maybe sheís right."

"Look, uh, Emma told me about that you wear contact lenses, so you can put on your glasses, if thatís easier for you because I already know you have them."

"Cheeky little bastard. I told her not to tell anyone. Definitely not you."

"Why me?"

"Because you made quite an impression on me when we first met."

"So?"

"I hate wearing glasses and being seen wearing them. Emma doesnít understand it."

"Try me. I want to see them."

"Okay, but theyíre quite thick." Josh put them on and it Melissaís breathe away. To her he looked absolutely amazing. They really suited him, but she could understand that he was self-conscious about their thickness. His eyes seemed quite small behind them. But what should she say?

"So? Ugly, huh?"

"No, actually, they really suit you."

"You think so? Thatís a first. Not even my wife liked me in them and they werenít that strong then."

"Believe me, you look great wearing them."

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