In case my last post was too long, let me summarize it: "Tl;dr - Hal cries after we do it and it bums me out."
I have a tendency to ramble here. I mean, I feel like I owe it to you guys to present as much of the story as I can manage, not to mention for my own benefit for when I walk away from this whole thing. So in that respect I feel like I've done a disservice to Connor and Hayley.
I'll be the first to admit that over the past nine months as Anne-Marie I've sort of... failed as a mother. I don't think you can really blame me, but I carry a lot of guilt because of it. As Todd, I really wasn't the kind of guy you would want to have around your 12-year-old daughter. I had my vice. Shit man, I was a vice, and between me and Bryan, we were about as bad an influence as you could hope for without getting arrested.
So for a long time I kept distant from the two of them, and then the birthday things started to happen and I had to revise my decision, because these are vulnerable young kids who need a strong sense of parental guidance, or something. And I realize this, because after looking at the way I was living Anne-Marie's life, and looking back at my life as Todd... it wasn't something I had growing up. And I didn't want Hayley and Connor having that, not when I was in a position to help it.
So that was the first step, realizing there was a problem. The next step was in deciding what to do about it. Kids are pretty sharp, and they realize something's off if you jsut start being all buddy-buddy with them. The New York trip was a part of that, although I had my ulterior motive wanting to meet other Inn people, as well as getting a chance to see a city for once. In the end, it was a short-term solution. I still don't have a long-term one - but I've at least broken the ice.
Tuesday night, around 1 AM I came downstairs after yet another bedroom session with Hal. I was still puzzling about what I could do for him other than sex, because I could tell he's hurting. So I go into the kitchen for a glass of milk, turn on the light, and who should I see but little miss Hayley.
"Isn't it a school night?" I ask.
"I couldn't sleep. I think I'm sick."
I felt an oddly motherly sense of dread, just for a moment. With all this pandemic talk I've suddenly gotten very paranoid, maybe because I'm supposed to be "guardian of the family" and I don't do a particularly good job. But then that panic subsides and realism sets in and I start to joke. I have her open her mouth so I can look at her swollen throat. "Hm," I says, "This doesn't look good at all. Have you been licking any strange pigs lately? Mexican pigs?"
"Mom," she giggles, then coughs, "Don't be so gross. Or racist."
I turn and look at her. A smirk crossed my face. What a clever remark from a little girl like her. "Here sweetie, I'll fix you some herbal tea." I make sure it's non-caffeinated before I set the kettle on.
"So sick you can't sleep, eh?" I ask, sitting across the table from her, "I know that feeling."
"It's not really 'cause I'm sick," she tells me. "It's 'cause you and dad were being so loud."
I was caught somewhat off guard, so I tried to play it cool. "Oh, were we being loud? I'm sorry about that."
She asks, "Are you guys fighting? You can tell me."
Now I cough with laughter. "No, we're not fighting."
"Oh," she says, "That's too bad. I didn't think you were, but I thought it was either that or the other thing."
"The other thing?" She just glares at me. Awkward. I start to get hot with embarrassment. "Depends what you mean by that." I know exactly what she means, and she knows I know.
She doesn't even wait for confirmation when she asks, "Is it fun?" Pause. "Does it feel good?"
This, I had not been counting on. All I wanted was a glass of milk and suddenly I've been blindsided into a "talk." I never even had a "talk" with my own mother. All she ever did was tell me to be safe after she found out I was already doing it. Well mom, look at me now. On second thought, don't.
Back to Hayley. I start to stammer what I think a little girl should hear. Sex is bad, don't do it, boys only want one thing. I get halfway through my opening statement "No, it doesn't feel good--" when I stop myself. I lie about enough things every single day. This girl is sharp, she has an excellent bullshit detector. If anyone's ever going to be straight with her, it's going to be me, right now.
"I'm not gonna lie to you," I tell her, "People wouldn't think about it so much if it weren't fun. Boys like it because it's easy for them. Girls like it because it makes boys like them." I'm broaching some extremely dangerous territory. "But it's worth waiting for. And it's very important that you care about the person you're doing it with." I was trying my best not to sound like a hypocrite. So I did the soft sell for abstinence. Frankly, I think I did all right, and I could tell she appreciated me being forthright with her.
If there's one thing I know, it's that telling her sex is bad, or wrong, is only going to make her want to try it for herself, at her earliest opportunity (and if what those alarmist tabloid shows say is true, it could be soon.) I think she's a smart enough girl that she went into the discussion with certain ideas, and my words reassured her.
It was tough, but I think even actual parents have a hard time with this stuff, so I went back to bed proud of myself. I've also made a point to try to be more discrete. Hayley's room is a ways down the hall from the master. Yowza.