Fifteen-year-old Jennifer couldn’t sleep. She had woken up in a cold sweat as though something was terribly wrong. Throwing the covers off of her bed, the young girl swung her legs over the side and hopped out. She felt not ill, but also not right. She needed water. Standing up, Jennifer made her way out of the bedroom and down the stairs. The only light in the house was the faint moon glow, which seemed to push its way through the windows from between the curtains. That was okay as she didn’t need much light. Jennifer had the layout of her home memorized and could make her way around with her eyes closed. And that she did.

She pulled the bathroom door closed behind her and turned the faucet on. She didn’t bother turning the light on; the sudden light would be too much for her eyes, and besides, she already knew she didn’t look great. Forming a cup with her hands, she collected the cold running water and splashed it over her face. It felt good and refreshing. She was no longer sweating. After wiping her face off on a towel, she left the bathroom to head back up to bed. Not looking up, she bumped into a fleshy creature. She screamed and stumbled backward as a penis grazed the back of her hand.

The tall mass of flesh also screamed and fell on its ass, dropping a lemon wedge and plate of crackers, which shattered on the floor. In a panic, the fleshy mass pulled a damp towel off its head and covered its genitals. It gasped and shouted, “Who’s there?”

Suddenly, the hall light snapped on, creating an explosion of illumination in the darkness, which blinded everyone.

“Oh, for Pete’s sake,” declared an unenthusiastic voice.

When her eyes were again able to focus in the light, Jennifer looked up to see her mother, Jamie, in a bathrobe standing behind her, looking quite disappointed. She then looked in front of her to see a naked man with a mess of wet hair. Between them were pieces of broken ceramic, crackers, and a lemon wedge. The head of hair lifted up to reveal her father, Jim. Their eyes locked for a second and then turned away, his with shame and hers with repulsion. Jamie just looked on with disbelief.

“What on earth happened here?” she asked.

“Uh,” Jim began. “I came out and took a shower after… you know, and then when I was done, I decided to make a snack.”  He started to stand, making sure to keep his lower area covered with his towel. “I guess I didn’t hear her come down the stairs to use the bathroom. We, uh…..bumped into each other apparently.”

Jamie rolled her eyes.

“Well, at least you were wearing a towel,” she said. “Now clean up this mess before somebody gets hurt.”

Jennifer hurried back up to her room without looking at anyone. She didn’t sleep much that night.

The next morning, Jennifer came downstairs to see Jim drinking his morning cup of black coffee and reading a newspaper. Her mother was just pulling out of the driveway on her way to work. She sat down at the table opposite her father. She didn’t look up, and neither did he. Instead, they allowed an uncomfortable silence to hang in the air for a few moments, and then, Jim spoke.

“Hey.”

“Hey,” Jennifer replied.

“Uh,” Jim stumbled for words. “About last night. It won’t happen again.”

“Okay.”

“Your mother and I had just… well, I took a shower afterward and then went to get a snack. I honestly didn’t think you would be up. I’ll make sure I’m covered before ever stepping out again. I’m… I’m really sorry.”

Jennifer did not look up from the table. How could she? Even though it was an accident, she had touched her father’s penis. She was mortified. And so was Jim. Inside, he was struggling with how to deal with what happened.

Jim never once looked up from his coffee, afraid that he would completely break down in tears if he saw his daughter. He couldn’t deal with that. As horrible as he felt, Jim needed to be resilient and not fall apart. After some more silence, Jennifer spoke.

“Okay.”

There was more silence before Jim replied. As before, he spoke without looking up.

“Okay,” he said. Jim took one last swig from his cup as he stood up and headed out the door. “I’m off to work. Have a good day at school.”

Jennifer just sat at the table without making a noise as her father shut the door behind him. She waited until she heard his car pull out of the driveway and disappear into the distance.

That night, Jennifer couldn’t sleep. She had tried to take her mind of the previous night’s events by staying up and reading, but it didn’t help. Too rattled by the last night’s encounter, her throat would go dry just thinking about it. Jennifer needed water.

Making her way down to the bathroom, Jennifer made sure to turn on every single light as she went. She made it to the bathroom sink without incident. Filling a tall glass kept by the sink with water, Jennifer swallowed all of it in one long gulp. Her thirst now satisfied, the girl returned to her bedroom, making sure to turn each light off one by one until she was in bed.

The water helped; however, it still took quite some time before she was finally able to get to sleep. It was the early hours of the morning before Jennifer fell asleep, and she was quite groggy when her alarm for school went off not long after. The day of classes dragged, and when she went to bed after returning home, she fell asleep almost instantly. It wasn’t long before she had forgotten all about the incident and things returned to normal in the house.

A few months had passed since the incident, and Jennifer woke up one night shivering. It was late January, and the heavy comforter had fallen off the bed onto the floor. She reached down and pulled the blanket back over her and attempted to go back to sleep, but she needed to pee and wasn’t going to be able to hold it. The cold floor sent chills through her body as her feet touched. With an intense shiver, she made her way quickly down the stairs and to the bathroom. Like everything else, the toilet seat was cold. Jennifer did her business, washed her hands, and stepped out. That’s when she noticed the light above the oven was on.

A chopping sound could be heard but not quite seen. The chops stopped momentarily before being followed by a quick scrape, pushing something from one tray onto another. After another moment of silence, a plate could be heard being picked up, and then right after, a man stepped out of the darkness.

He was naked and carrying a plate of cheese and lemon wedge. A towel lay over his head, and though the face was obscured, he seemed to make eye contact with Jennifer.

She was repulsed. Her father had told her that this would never happen again, that he would cover himself up. And yet here he was, naked with nothing on but a towel and… wait a moment. He lowered his head as if to look down at something and then back up to Jennifer. Then he nodded slightly. With hesitation and a gulp, she looked down to see what he had looked at, and there she saw it.

There, resting on his penis, was a long strip of lemon peel, just barely obscuring the whole thing.

“Oh my God,” she whispered as her eyes widened with disgust. She ran upstairs to her bedroom and locked the door shut behind her. Jennifer climbed into bed and wrapped the covers around her tightly, shaking with horrifying anxiety. Is this what he meant by it would never happen again? By covering up?

Jennifer didn’t know when she fell asleep, only that it was almost noon when she awoke. It was Saturday, which meant that her parents wouldn’t be going to work. That suggested she was likely going to be home with them all day. She already began feeling uncomfortable.

Downstairs, Jamie was making sandwiches, and Jim was sitting at the kitchen table reading yesterday’s newspaper. Jamie looked up to see Jennifer standing groggy in the archway.

“Why hello there, sleepyhead,” Jamie exclaimed. “You’re just in time for lunch. Would you like me to make you a sandwich?”

Jim lowered his newspaper to say good morning but quickly changed his response when he saw his daughter’s face.

“Woah,” he began. “Looks like you had a rough night last night. Didn’t sleep well?”

For the next few weeks, Jennifer became reclusive, avoiding her parents as much as possible during the day. At night, she didn’t dare leave her bed. She was petrified, keeping her bedroom door locked whenever possible. It appeared, at least for the time being, that there was nothing to worry about. Not once did the stairs creek, nor was there ever a knock at the door. After a time, Jennifer became more relaxed as this became her standard routine. She grew to ignore and brush her parents aside.

Jim was growing frustrated. Whenever he tried to talk to his daughter, she just rolled her eyes and walked off without saying a word. Jamie strove to reassure him that it was all a teenage phase and that she’d grow out of it. He just needed to give it time and let her work things out on her own.

It was now late July and in the middle of a heatwave. Jennifer lay in bed with only a sheet as she perspired in the night heat. The fan was broken, and there was no breeze, so the open window did little to keep things cool. The sheets were damp with sweat, and so was the pillow. The pillow could be flipped over, but the top sheet had to go. After kicking it off the bed, Jennifer reached for the glass of water on her nightstand.

Empty.

With great reluctance, she made her way down the stairs and through the living room, stopping only at the kitchen entrance. Carefully reaching around the corner, her fingers found the switch on the wall and flicked it up. At an instant, the kitchen was bright as the lights came on. No one was there.

Jennifer breathed a sigh of relief and opened the freezer. She grabbed six ice cubes and placed them in her glass. The cubes made loud cracks as water from the faucet rushed over them and filled the glass. Making her way back, she was about to turn off the kitchen light when she froze at the sight of something in the living room.

Sitting in the chair in the corner of the room was a naked man with a towel resting on his head. His legs were spread open, and his genitalia was obscured by a single large lemon peel. Reaching over to the TV table beside the chair, the man plucked a cracker from a plate and brought it to the dark space where his face would be if not for the towel. The cracker crunched, and he lowered his hand.

Jennifer stood in stunned silence but quickly regained her composure.

“Jesus Christ,” she muttered furiously. “What the fuck is wrong with you!?”

Jennifer had had enough. Her father was sick, a pervert. That was the only answer, and her mother needed to know. In a fury, Jennifer stormed down the hall and flung open her parents’ bedroom door. She opened her mouth to speak, but before a sound was able to escape from her lips, her eyes widened in fear. Lying in her parents’ bed was her mother, fast asleep and peaceful. Wrapped around her mother were her father’s arms as he lay in a deep sleep.

Jennifer’s lower lip began to quiver as the realization set in. Her body began to follow suit. Fast, shallow breaths shook without control.

As a phallus pressed into the small of her back, Jennifer squeezed her eyes shut and bit down on her lower lip. Tears broke free from the tight crawlspaces between her eyelids and ran down her cheeks. Her throat flexed as she attempted to swallow her fear, but it was dry and would not go down. In a vomiting motion, she lurched her head forward and opened her mouth to scream, but before a single sound could escape, a firm hand clamped firmly over it and pulled her into the darkness.

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