Warning: Adoptive Incest, Angst
Summary: Noah gets an unexpected visitor late at night
His brow furrowed as her looked through old photos. They were photos of Sandra, Lyle, and Claire. Old photos from an old life. A picture of Claire and him caught his eye. It was a few years old, taken after a football game in Odessa. Claire stood with her arms wrapped around his waist, looking up at him smiling; he was looking down at her wearing the same expression. She was in her cheerleader uniform and he remembered the day the photo was taken. He remembered the way the damp field smelled and how she felt when he wrapped his arms around her.
The photo was before a lot of things changed, before his job began to cross over into his personal life, and when Claire was a ‘normal’ teen. He sighed and sipped his drink some more, feeling the whiskey burn the back of his throat as it went down. He got nostalgic when he drank, pulling out old photos and reminiscing, cursing himself because everything went so wrong.
He poured another drink and gulped half of it down before hearing a knock at the door. It was well past 1 am, who could be knocking at this hour? He looked through the peephole and was surprised to find Claire standing there. He opened the door to let her in and pulled her into a hug.
“What are you doing here so late?’
“I don’t know. I couldn’t sleep and was feeling lonely. Can I come in?” Even through the haze of alcohol he could tell that something wasn't quite right with her. She might be able to hide it from someone she didn't know as well, but he knew better.
“Of course you can, you don’t have to ask that.”
“What are you doing?” She eyed the drink on the counter with the whiskey bottle next to it and the box of photos on the coffee table.
“I couldn’t sleep. So I decided to unpack some and came across these photos.” He gestured to the box on the sofa.
“And you’ve been drinking?”
He tilted his head down sheepishly. “Yeah, I was feeling kind of…” He trailed off; he didn’t want to tell her he drank because he felt alone.
She shook her head. “I wasn’t judging.” She chuckled to herself. “I wish I could use alcohol like normal people.”
He laughed. “I’ll make us some coffee then”
She followed him into the kitchen and watched as he made the coffee.
“Dad, can I ask you something?”
He looked at her to gauge what kind of “something” it was. Was it a Can I go to Cancun type of something, or more serious?
“Sure, what is it Claire?”
“Are you ok?”
He was taken aback by the question, ok how?
“How do you mean Claire?”
“After everything we’ve been through, are you ok? Are you alright?”
“I don’t know Claire.” He paused, choosing his words carefully. “Some days yes, others no…we’ve been through a lot. I try not to think about it too much” He resumed making the coffee, hoping his answer was enough for her.
She reached out for his hand and squeezed it with hers. He looked down at their hands and entwined his fingers with hers.
She burst into tears. “I’m not ok dad.”
He pulled her into his arms and held her against him, kissing the top of her head.
“Shhh. I know you’re not.” He held her tightly. He knew neither one of them were.
She looked up at him, her arms wrapped around his waist, just like in the picture. He traced the side of her face with his finger, running his thumb over the curve of her lips.
She laid her head against his chest, closing her eyes as she felt the tears run down her cheeks.
“I don’t know how to fix it Claire. I don’t know what to do.”
“I don’t need you to have a fix for it. I just need to know you feel the same way.”
“I do Claire, I do.”
She ran her hands down his back, her nails lightly grazing him through his thin t-shirt. She laughed.
“I have no idea why I’m here. I’m sorry for interrupting you.”
“You didn’t. I’m glad you came.”
“I don’t want to be alone anymore dad.”
“You don’t have to be. Stay with me tonight.”
She cocked her head and looked at him. She could still smell a hint of whiskey on his breath. She stood on her tiptoes and leaned into him, impulsively planting a kiss on his lips.
The kiss was light and over before Noah could register it happened.
He looked at her quizzically. She stood before him, her eyes wide and her hand covering her mouth and wearing an expression of disbelief.
“What was that for?”
“I don’t know, I just did it...” she shook her head, why did she kiss him on the lips? The bigger question was why did she want to kiss him again?
She pushed past him and walked out of the kitchen and into the living room. He followed her, perplexed by her actions.
“Are you leaving?”
“Do you want me to leave?”
“Claire, no. I want you to stay.”
“You aren’t mad at me for kissing you?” She looked down at the floor. “I’m such a freak.”
He stepped closer to her. “No. you’re not. We’ve been through a lot.” He wasn’t mad; he was relieved that she did it first.
“I know, and that means I’m just going crazy.”
She continued to stare at the floor, hoping she could melt into the floorboards and disappear. She mentally kicked herself ‘I have such a useless power’.
“No Claire, it means we’ve changed. And that’s ok.”
He pulled her into his arms and cradled her against his chest.
She tilted her head up to look him in the eyes, trying to read them. She nervously licked her lips and ran her hand over the stubble on his cheek. He desperately wanted to kiss her back but was unsure of himself. He leaned down to kiss her on the forehead, but instead of pulling back after the kiss, he lingered for a moment with his mouth hovering over hers. She caught his eye and he stared at her intensely, following her movements before finally capturing her mouth with his own.
The kiss was deep and he felt her tongue begin to duel with his. He relished the feeling of her fingers squeezing the muscles on his back and the smell of her hair. He heard his conscience calling out for him to stop, but he ignored it. He would stop if she showed any signs of wanting to, but she hadn’t made any attempt to so far.
His hands traveled down her back and lightly squeezed her backside. The kiss intensified and he accidentally bit her lip, drawing some blood. He lapped up the blood and felt her heal under his tongue. She moaned and they began to drift towards the couch where they could lay down. Her moans encouraged him to go further, but he knew he should slow down. They were not in the right mindset, she was still upset and he wasn’t exactly sober.
He regretfully pulled away from the kiss.
“Claire…I think we should stop for now…wait until we’re ready.”
“Is that your conscience speaking? Do you think we’ll ever be ready to do this?”
“I just don’t want to rush into something you might regret. I don’t want to hurt you.”
“You can’t hurt me dad. Not like this.” She ran her hand over his cheek. “I need you”
He leaned down and whispered into her ear as he held her. “I need you too, but it doesn’t make it right.”
“I don’t care about right and wrong anymore. It’s all a grey area anyway.”
“Claire, it’s not that easy...”
“I know you want to…that you’ve been wanting to. I know your secret and its ok!” She shouted trying to drive her point across.
He broke away from the embrace and walked across the room, his head hung low in defeat.
“I just wanted to be a good father…and I’m a failure. My son hates me, my wife left me…and I’m in love with my daughter…what am I doing?”
He hesitantly looked up to meet her eyes, afraid of what he might find. After years of denial he finally admitted it. He was in love with Claire.
“After everything we’ve been through...you never told me? Even when we were trapped?” How long had he felt this way?
She tried to comfort him by hugging him from behind, her head resting against his back. It was her way of telling him she understood, and that it didn’t matter. He was just as messed up as her, if not more so.
“I never wanted you to know…I never thought we’d be here like this.”
“What happened to us, dad?”
“It’s what didn’t happen. The world didn’t end but our lives are still in ruins. What did we save it for?”
“I know that’s not you talking. Come to bed with me” She tugged on his arm to get him to come to bed with her. They had been doing this a lot lately, switching roles.
“I don’t think that’s a good idea. We need more time to process this…damn me for being so selfish.”
“Noah…Come to bed with me.” She tested his name on her tongue, it didn’t feel right.
He looked at her funny after hearing his name come from her lips. He guessed “daddy” wasn’t appropriate for the conversation they were having.
“I can’t promise that I’ll behave Claire.” He warned her of the very dangerous, very wrong territory they were treading.
“I don’t want you to. I’m a big girl, I can take it.” She knew she was being coy, but what did she really expect to happen? She knew where they we headed.
“Claire this is like playing with fire. I don’t know how far you expect it to go. I may be your father but I’m still a man...and I can’t let myself do that to you.”
“You keep talking about you, how you’re the father…how it’s all your fault. I’m standing here too! Why are you putting this all on yourself?”
He didn’t have an answer for that. She did kiss him first; she was the one to trigger the whole conversation. Why did he feel more culpable? Because you’re her father…his conscience reminded him.
She stormed out of the room, pushing past him. “I’m going home. Forget it.” She could feel tears pricking at her eyes.
He couldn’t let her leave, he knew if she left they would never speak about this again. Maybe not speak at all. “Claire wait, let’s talk about this.” He said as he rushed after her into the hallway.
“You just don’t get it. You’re not the only one with feelings.”
He stepped in front of her to block his front door. “I’m sorry Claire, stay and let’s talk”
“No. You had your chance. Get out of my way.” She tried to push past him but failed. He was so much bigger than her.
“Please dad, just move.” She pushed again.
“Can’t we just talk?” He was growing frustrated with her; she was stubborn, just like him.
“Dad, you wouldn’t get it anyway.”
His patience was gone; he was tired of the mental game they were playing all night.
He grabbed her arms and pushed her against the wall and pinned her there with his body.
“Is this what you want?” He asked before hungrily kissing her on the lips. She whimpered and returned the kiss. He roughly picked her up and she wrapped her legs around his waist. He pressed her tightly against the wall and she could feel his erection throbbing through his thin pajama pants.
He rubbed against her to make sure she felt it. He felt his heart speed up, his breathing become shallower.
“You see what you do to me Claire?”
She nodded her head. She understood. This was the fire he warned her about.
She bucked her hips against him and he ran his hand over her body, touching, squeezing and exploring her. He grabbed a handful of her hair, pulling her head back to expose her neck and nipped at the bundle of nerves below her ear. He felt her shudder and knew there was no way either one of them was backing out now.
“Oh dad” She moaned as he rocked against her, rubbing the straining bulge in his pants. It occurred to him that they were practically dry humping against the wall, but he didn’t care. It felt good.
He found her lips again and kissed her slowly, relishing the feel of her lips and the way she tasted. She returned his kiss with equal passion and ran her fingers through his hair.
“You were wrong dad, this is right.”