“I Shouldn’t Love This Way” is the sequel to my first volume in this series; “I Shouldn’t Feel This Way” If you are a new reader and are unfamiliar with what I’m talking about, then please read the chapters in book 1: “I Shouldn’t Feel This Way” first before reading this, otherwise the characters and story won’t make sense.NOAH
I am living in hell at the moment. Yup, I’m convinced I’m stuck in some sort of purgatory. I have to be. So much has happened. When did my life get so fucked up and complicated? Where do I even begin? Well, let’s rewind three weeks to Monday evening when Aria and I got into an argument. She pretty much ran away and didn’t return until I brought her home myself. I called her friend Jessica, and she said she didn’t know where my daughter was, (which was a big fat lie
). Because when I eventually did
find her, Aria accidentally revealed that Jessica did
in fact know of her whereabouts all along; girl code, figures.
I had to call her other gal-pal
Stephanie, and thankfully she told me where my daughter was…at Ryan’s house
. I didn’t even want to imagine what they were up to when I pounded on his front door. I was ready to kill him, because his parents were out of town and my daughter was incredibly vulnerable. He could’ve easily taken advantage of her. Unfortunately, I knew she was doing all of this to get back at me, but still…it stung a little knowing that she was at his
place. Luckily she wasn’t high or drunk when I picked her up. I was so fucking mad and afraid that I was going to beat up the boy. He quickly apologized though and informed me that Aria hadn’t mentioned any sort of curfew. Got to love a rebelling daughter!
And I say this with sincere sarcasm.
So anyway, we argued all the way home yelling at each other. My jealousy was obvious as I kept interrogating her, asking if she fooled around with Ryan. And of course Aria just kept torturing me saying; ‘I don’t know, maybe I did, maybe I didn’t.’
Well, that just made me more psychotic. It was a little past nine when I finally hauled her ass in and she was still giving me major attitude. My wife overheard us arguing and eventually got involved. She went ballistic on Aria. Fuck…it was like two lionesses going head to head with each other. Vanessa called her a spoiled little brat, and then Aria called her a materialistic, fake bitch. My wife lost it even more and insulted her by accusing her of being an attention whore, which then led to me stepping in to prevent my daughter from scratching Vanessa’s eyes out. Nessa was just trying to support me and help me discipline Aria, but everything just ended up in a much worsened state. Aria lost her temper and totally disrespected her, forcing me to side with Vanessa and ground her.
Consequently, she felt betrayed by me, which is why she’s not talking to me now. My wife had really asserted herself and came up with a punishment on the spot without even discussing it with me. I guess it helps when two partners believe in the same sort of parenting method. Anyway, she confiscated Aria’s laptop, iPod and cellphone. I think taking her iPod was a little extreme, but I said nothing and tried to be a father to her in that moment. I knew I’d give her gadgets back eventually, but right there and then, she had disobeyed the rules and had to be rightfully punished.
Of course Aria expected me to jump to her defence, but I was already so pissed off at her for ignoring my calls and staying at Ryan’s house. My fatherly instincts were more dominant than anything in the heat of the moment. I tried to explain that to her the next day when I drove her to school, but she just gave me the silent treatment throughout the entire car ride. It was extremely unpleasant and I hated having to go to work feeling disappointed in myself, and hurt that she wouldn’t understand or talk to me. I hate silent treatments. They trigger me because they remind me of my mother. She always gave me the silent treatment as a child. It made me feel unloved. Who the fuck ignores their eight year old kid for days, just because they were acting naughty or misbehaving? My mother did, and all my emotional issues started from there. I remember apologizing and begging her to forgive me for days, but she wouldn’t. She only approached me when she
felt I learned my lesson. I think my mother’s emotionally sadistic. She takes pleasure in other people’s pain. If I ever have another child, I would never treat my son or daughter the way she treated me. If they misbehave, then they’ll only get five to fifteen minute time outs, and I’ll always make sure to hug them and tell them that I love them. Most importantly, I’d get down on their level and explain why I made them take a time out in the first place. I would never scream profanities at them or spank them. I would never become like my mother.
Anyway, I don’t want to think about her. I have to figure out a way to get through to Aria. I really did fuck myself over the second I let my guard down and abandoned my self-control. I’m referring to all the inappropriately intimate moments shared between my daughter and me. I never should’ve crossed any lines with her. I never should’ve kissed her on that Ferris Wheel. But, I couldn’t stop myself. I really couldn’t. How can I possibly balance being a father and a lover to her at the same time?
“Open your eyes Noah.”
I listen to that familiar voice and do as I’m told. I’m not at home or at the firm. I’m lying down on a comfortable teal colored lounger inside Dr. Grey’s spacious office.
“Do you feel more relaxed now?” he’s sitting right across from me wearing a navy blue suit, with a note pad in his lap.
“Yeah,” I pause and sit up. “I think so.”
“You look a little confused, are you sure you’re alright?”
“Yeah, I’m fine doc. My mind just sort of wandered while we were doing that exercise.”
“Well, it’s good that we got the wheels turning in your head. All you have to do now is share,” his smile is subtle as he crosses his right leg over his knee.
“Right, share,” I reply and rub my forehead. “Well, a lot has happened. I might as well be straight up and honest with you. You’re not going to like it, and you’ll probably be really disappointed in me. I think that’s why I’ve been delaying our visits and rescheduling.”
“Once again, I am not here to judge you Noah. Please keep that in mind. I cannot stress that enough. I did get the feeling that something happened these past few weeks, but I wanted you to feel comfortable with me and talk when you were ready.”
“I failed,” I sit up and reach over to the small round table next to me to drink my glass of water.
“Failed at what?”
“I failed at taking your advice, failed at staying away from Aria.”
“Explain,” Dr. Grey responds.
I quickly summarize and take him through the past timeline starting from my last visit with him, describing all the major events that led to the rising action and inevitable climax of our first kiss. He’s unresponsive every time I pause and allow him to give me some sort of input. So, I keep talking. I tell him about how Aria and I almost had sex when we returned home from the fair. Then I mention Ryan and how I got all territorial and jealous when he came over the following night. I stop talking again and look at him, but Dr. Grey still
says nothing and hand gestures to me to continue.
“By Sunday night, I was making out with her in my car for hours. She wanted more, but I held off. As difficult as it was to reject her, I was able to control myself.”
“Hmm, go on.”
I really wish he would say something at this point besides ‘hmm’ and ‘go on’.
“We fell asleep and I ended up getting in the door around 5am. My wife and sister in law were up. They thought something happened to us and had called the cops. Of course I lied my way around it, using a lame excuse.”
He scribbles some things down in his notepad and then readjusts his black framed glasses. “Have you been intimate with your wife since that night you kissed Aria?”
Just hearing him say those words provokes a deep sense of shame inside of me. I’m never prepared for his random questions.
“I stopped sleeping with Vanessa after Aria and I kissed at the festival, and we haven’t had sex until a few days ago. As you know, my wife and I have already been having some marriage problems, but I completely screwed us up more,” I lean forward and hang my head down, resting my elbows over my knees.
“Your dishonestly does complicate things, yes.”
“Believe me, I hate myself much more than you hate me right now.”
“I do not hate you Noah,” he looks at me very seriously. “I truly empathize with what you are going through. You’re in a very complicated situation. I was worried that certain boundaries would be crossed when you told me that Aria has been attempting to seduce you. So, I’m not surprised.”
“Yeah, but what do I do now? She refuses to get counselling with me and now she won’t even talk to me.”
“You are not on speaking terms with each other?”
I shake my head.
I tell him about my adoptive brother Evan, and how he randomly showed up at my doorstep. Then I tell him about the events that took place on that fateful
Monday between Vanessa, Aria and I.
“You never mentioned this brother to me. Not even once during any of our therapy sessions,” he furrows his brows at me.
“It was irrelevant.”
…” Dr. Grey ponders a response in silence and I’m suddenly irritated because I know what he’s thinking. “We shall return to this subject of your estranged brother
at a later time.”
See, I knew it. “Well, he was the least of my problems until he magically appeared out of nowhere.”
“Evidently there is bad blood between the two of you.”
“Yeah, literally,” I scoff and stare at one of the paintings hanging on the red wall.
“I’m wondering why that is. Would you like to discuss it? You don’t have to go into detail if you don’t want to.”
I briefly discuss my childhood with Evan, and the aftermath of that hunting accident when dad was shot and killed. Then I open up about Evan’s fucked up personality.
“I don’t trust him. He’s a sociopath and I don’t want my daughter spending time with him. My parents put him in therapy as early as nine. Evan always had,” I pause and reword what I was about to say. “Behavioural problems.”
“Could it be because of his adoption?”
“He was practically a baby when he joined the family. He was almost two.”
“You hold such strong and hostile convictions towards him Noah. Do you even truly know the reasons why?”
“What do you mean doc?”
“Well, I just mean that this grudge you hold against him,” he pauses. “I get the feeling that deep down inside you know that your father’s death was indeed an accident, and that Evan did not mean
to kill him. It’s quite possible that you are feeling over protective of Aria and perhaps a little jealous.”
“I’m not jealous of Evan,” I shake my head. “I’ve always felt this way about him, even before Aria entered my life. I’ve made a career for myself, despite the millions I was given in my trust fund when dad died. I have a wife, a daughter, a family. There’s nothing to be jealous of.” You really should tell him about the conversations you have with me Noah…
I try and tune out that voice and take another sip of my glass of water.
“What does Evan do for work?”
“He told me he’s in contracting and apparently building and renovating houses for the underprivileged in third world countries
,” my smile is sardonic.
“So he’s making a living for himself regardless of the financial wealth he has already procured.”
“Apparently so,” I sound irritated.
“Does that seem to bother you?” Of course Dr. Grey picks up on it.
“I just don’t buy it doc. My sister told me that he got into photography back when he was in college. And when I last visited, she showed me an extensive amount of his work. He’s good, I’ll give him that much. Although I’m positive he only chose this line of work so he could sleep with models. But that’s beside the point. Aria told me about all the humanitarian work he’s done after he abandoned his dream career as a high fashion photographer
. I just find it odd because, that’s not the brother I know and have grown up with. I don’t know why she praises him so much. He’s a compulsive liar.”
“People always change. Maybe you feel threatened that he could jeopardize your relationship with Aria. He’s not your biological brother, and the fact that he started flirting with your daughter right away may have caused you to—”
“He thought she was my wife at first,” I interrupt.
“Ah, well, I don’t think you find it very comforting to know that you brother would hit on you wife behind your back.”
“I just don’t trust him.”
“That’s understandable. It seems you have quite a pattern going on in your life right now.”
“How do you mean?”
“Yeah, I want to repair my relationship with Aria, not that bastard.”
“Let’s focus on one person at a time. If she’s going to rebel against you and see him regardless, then I would suggest that you try to meet him halfway and bridge some sort of gap between you two. Know your enemy and know yourself, and you will always be victorious.
I think on his words for a moment.
“It’s one of my favorite quotes from Sun Tzu.
He was a Chinese general and an extremely influential author back in sixth century BCE,” Dr. Grey clears his throat and smiles at me. “Not that you need the history lesson.”
“So you mean, keep your friends close and your enemies closer?”
“Yes exactly. Essentially, if you establish a closer relationship with Evan, then you can keep a better eye on him as well as Aria.”
“Thanks for sharing the wisdom,” I have a nagging craving to smoke.
“It’s what you pay me for,” he replies with a grin. “Tell me about your relationship with your wife. You mentioned that she has been trying to repair the damage in your marriage.”
“Well, she’s been getting counselling for herself, just as she promised.”
“And how do you feel about that? Is it helping?”
I shrug at first. “I guess so. I mean, she still gets insecure every now and then. But I can tell she’s really making an effort to change her old habits.”
“That’s good news then,” Dr. Grey takes a sip from his cup of tea. “Tell me about your sex life.”
“It’s a very dishonest one.”
“Because I think about Aria every time I’m having sex with my wife.”
“How does that make you feel afterwards?”
“Shitty. I feel guilty and emotionally detached. But I still give Vanessa the affection she needs. She doesn’t know what’s going on with me. I just mask it all.”
“Does Aria know you’re intimate with your wife again?”
“I’m not sure. I’m sure she suspects we are,” I try and explain the whole arrangement
I had made with her, how I promised I wouldn’t sleep with Vanessa if she stopped seeing Ryan. All that changed though when Evan showed up and Aria’s hate for Vanessa intensified after that fight three weeks ago. It caused a rift between her and I. We stopped communicating, and she still continued to see Evan behind my back.
“So, I eventually considered our agreement null and void and started sleeping with my wife again. I know it’s probably really messed up that I feel like I’m betraying my daughter, but I’m married and I know
it’s wrong to feel this way. Believe me doc, I know I screwed up. I never should’ve crossed any sort of boundary with Aria, but I did. And now that I’m trying to undo that damage, I just keep making it worse. The closer I get with my wife, the more my daughter withdraws from me. She’s meeting up with Evan in secret. I know she’s lying to me and she feels justified because she believes that I’ve betrayed her—”
“Betrayed her as a father or a lover?” he interjects.
“A lover,” I admit with shame and guilt.
“So, when you and Aria confessed your feelings to one another, you stopped having sex with you wife. Correct?”
“Yes,” I watch him scribble something down and it’s making me nervous for some reason.
“And you’ve only just started to be intimate again?”
“How did you avoid sex without making her feel rejected or suspicious?”
“I buried myself in my work, falling asleep in my study most nights. Vanessa would complain, but I told her I had a big case I was working on and that it would all be over soon.”
“So these past three weeks have been very mentally and emotionally taxing on you.”
I nod in response.
“Aria has been giving you the silent treatment, and you realized that what you two were doing was wrong, yet you still avoided intimacy with your wife. Why? ”
“Because,” I exhale deeply and lie down on my back again. “I think a part of me was hoping to patch things up with Aria—”
“When you say patch things up,
what do you mean exactly? Explain.”
“Well,” I hesitate at first. “I guess that fragmented, shadow part of me was hoping to win her affections again. I’m still constantly battling with myself. I feel so split in half.”
“Continue,” Dr. Grey replies.
“I knew right away that she was still spending time with Evan and ignoring my warnings. I don’t know why, but it hurt. It hurt me. The silence treatments were really starting to get to me and I got drunk one night while Aria was out…and Vanessa was home… so we—” I pause and shut my eyes for a second. “Ended up having sex. Since then, the sex has been regular.”
“How do you feel about that Noah?”
My brain wants to respond with; ‘good, everything is as it should be’,
but my heart feels the exact opposite. “I feel empty.”
“Do you love your wife?”
“Are you still in
love with your wife?”
I can hear his words, but they don’t quite seem to register because I’m filtering them out for some reason. “If I wasn’t in love with her, I wouldn’t have married her.”
“That doesn’t answer my question Noah. Are you still in love
“Yes!” I exclaim in frustration.
“That sounds more forced than honest.”
“Are you trying to tell me you know
how I feel about my wife?”
“No, I’m simply trying to help you be honest with yourself.”
I groan in frustration and rub the side of my temples. “I have feelings for Aria okay? I know I shouldn’t and I know I can’t just turn them off, but they’re very real, and very strong. And I know I probably broke a number of laws these past three weeks but…”
“I don’t know doc,” I turn my face and look at him gravely.
“Do you regret going that far with your daughter?”
“I really wish you’d stop saying that.”
“The part where you refer to her as my daughter,” there’s a razor sharp edge in my voice and I’m fully aware of the sudden change in my disposition as I stand up and pace around.
“But that’s who Aria is, your daughter.”
“She doesn’t feel
like my daughter!” I huff in frustration.
“Of course she doesn’t.”
“Are you going to have me arrested now? Because at this point, I don’t really care anymore, and I won’t put up a fight.”
“Noah, It’s pretty evident that you love her very much and your situation is very convoluted. I really do understand you better than you think. Putting you behind bars is not only a waste of tax payers’ dollars, but it’s not the right thing to do in this sort of situation. Yes, technically you did break the law, but your relationship with Aria needs rehabilitating. Unfortunately we live in a very judgmental society. Everyone is trapped inside a matrix,
and the majority of the population follows the rules. That is not the case inside these walls of my practice”
I shove my hands in my pockets and lean against the wall beside the window.
“What are you most afraid of?” Dr. Grey looks at me.
“I’m scared she’ll leave me if I don’t give her what she wants.”
“She wants me to sleep with her.”
“Is that what you want?”
I take a moment to think. “I find her sexually attractive, so yes. I think about having sex with her a lot. But I wouldn’t ever go that far. She’s tested me quite a number of times, but I’ve shown restraint. Besides, she’s only sixteen. Well, almost seventeen soon. I’m just scared she’ll hate me and resent me later on if we do it. I should be stronger and fight the attraction instead of surrendering to her. She’s young and I’m the adult. I should know better. It’s just so damn hard to think rationally around her. Aria controls my every emotion, my every thought and action.” I admit with a heavy sigh.
“You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.”
“That sounds about right.”
“If Aria were older, would you be more inclined to sleep with her?”
“No, I don’t know. Maybe…I mean no!”
I loosen my tie from around my collar and take a deep breath.
“Let’s try and imagine a little hypothetical scenario for a moment. Suppose you were a single guy, and you were to engage in a sexual relationship with Aria. Where do you see that taking you down the road?” I would never leave her side. I would never hurt her. I would love her and be devoted to her till the day I die.
I automatically answer his question in my head. “We would constantly have to keep our relationship low profile. No one could ever know about us. She won’t ever be able to introduce me to her friends as her boyfriend. We won’t be able to hold hands, or kiss in public. An engagement proposal would be pointless because there’s no way we could even get a marriage license.”
“You’ve entertained the prospects of marriage with your daughter? How interesting…”
? No, I just,” I scramble to find the right words. “I was just considering all hypothetical situations.”
“Go on,” he encourages.
“We could never have a child together. I mean, I’m sure I could impregnate her, but I don’t want to, because the idea of bringing a genetically deformed child into this world really scares the fuck out of me. Excuse my language doc.”
“Speak freely Noah.”
“So, with that being said, I could never give her a child. I’m sixteen years older than her and the more she grows up to be a beautiful young lady, the more I age into an old man. It’s bad enough that I have Dorian Gray Syndrome,”
I poke fun at myself. “Aria deserves to be with someone who is age appropriate for her, will treat her right, provide for her and make her happy.”
There’s a long silence between us as Dr. Grey writes some things down in his note pad again. “I can see that you truly want the best for her.”
“I really do.”
“Would you mind if I emailed her? I’d like to reach out and encourage her to see me if she ever needed. It could
be that she feels intimidated and nervous, which is why she’s refusing therapy with you.”
“I don’t mind at all, go right ahead.”
He grabs a note from his desk and hands it to me along with a pen. I write Aria’s email address down on the paper before handing it back to him.
“What are you going to say to her?”
“I’m just going to let her know that if she’s ever in trouble, or needs to talk, my door is always open. If I can create an opportunity to gain her trust through one on one sessions, then I’m pretty positive that she will be more inclined to receive counselling with you as well. Together
,” he says with a smile.
“I hope you can convince her. At this point she’s pretty adamant on giving me the silent treatment forever. What do you suggest I do?”
“Try and talk to her. Tell her that silent treatments do not fix anything and that you want her to communicate with you. She’s just expressing passive aggressive behaviour. Have you thought about telling your wife about all this?”
“And completely destroy my marriage? No way! I know I fucked up. I admit it was wrong, which is why I put a stop to it as quickly as it started. These past three weeks…there’s been no contact between Aria and I. I haven’t even hugged her and she hasn’t even shown me an ounce of affection.”
“Has Vanessa picked up on this?”
“Yeah, but she assumes it’s because of her constant rebelling and the Evan
part of the reason, am I right?”
It takes me a while to give an honest answer. “Yes.”
“You feel angry and betrayed by her, yet at the same time you feel you have no right.”
,” I sigh.
“Well, I do not want to force you to do anything that you are not ready for. I can only offer you my professional opinion. I think it’s good that you’ve controlled your desires and have been taking preventative measures to abstain from sexual relations with Aria. Do not beat yourself up or punish yourself for feeling this attraction. Yes, you acted on it to an extent, but I believe there is still hope to heal. Genetic sexual attraction has detrimental side effects on the family unit. And you are quite right when you expressed that there would be a very limited future if you were to ever assume the role of her lover. Time and patience will mend your relationship with your daughter. I guarantee the moment she falls in love with another man, she will no longer desire you and will cease her attempts to seduce you.” Is that what you really want Noah? Do you truly want her to stop feeling this way about you?
That taunting voice echoes in my head once more as I try and absorb Dr. Grey’s advice.
“I recommend increasing our visits to three times a week. I know this is going to be a struggle for you, which is why I feel it’s best to discuss this more frequently to make sure you keep a clear head and make rational decisions instead of impulsive ones.”
“Sure, whatever you say doc.”
“I’d also like to delve into the topic of your brother next session. It would be most helpful if you were to open up very candidly.”
“I’ll try my best.”
“That’s all I can hope for,” he replies with a smile and then removes his glasses before standing up. “It appears our time is done for the evening.”
“Thank you for seeing me on such short notice. I’m sorry I had to cancel yesterday.”
“It’s quite alright,” he glances at his wrist watch. “It’s a little after six and it’s a Friday. You should take your wife out for the evening.”
“Yeah, that sounds like a good idea,”
“I’ve scheduled you for Monday at 2pm. Is that alright?”
“That’s fine. Thanks doc.”
“You take care Noah.”
“I will. Have a nice weekend,” I grab my suit jacket and walk out the door, headed straight to the closest gas station to buy a pack of smokes.
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with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.
<a href="http://www.lushstories.com/stories/incest/i-shouldnt-love-this-way-chapter-1.aspx">I Shouldn't Love This Way- Chapter 1</a>