You are currently browsing the archives for 12 August 2016.

Redesign for Living, Part One

  • Posted on August 12, 2016 at 2:56 pm

By Sammy 

.

Here we are again.

I go to my bookmarks, click on the dumb gossip site, and then immediately on her name, right near the top of the most popular tags. There was a premiere I couldn’t make last week, and I’ve been too busy to get a good look at the photos. But now I’m alone, and horny. I can take my time, do it right.

Getting out of the limo, alone, shielding her eyes. The view not-quite-all-the-way up her dress, her puffy little pussy a few inches further. Signing autographs for a pair of excited young fans, twin girls, then strolling confidently past the reporters, cameras, gawkers into the theater.

I sigh, and smile. Endearing, and she’s divine as ever, but it’s not one of her most… exciting sets. I have my contingencies, though — in folders within folders, her whole career and beyond, from that first Gilmore Girls guest spot to the film just-premiered, her first with a co-writing credit. At thirteen years old.

My own little girl. What the hell is wrong with me?

She’s been a professional actress since the age of five, against all my instincts as a mother and most as a film critic, two roles I’ve always found I just can’t separate when I’m watching her. She’s just too damn good. And too fucking sexy.

In other words, it’s understating the case to say she’s just my little girl, as much as it would be to say the gold statuette she keeps stuffed in a gym bag in the crawlspace is just an award. Of course, Robin thinks it is, a none-too-distinguished one at that, and when she walked onstage to collect that then-so-shiny Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role, as the youngest winner ever at nine, she walked off immediately after chirping “Thank you” to the audience and a whispered “You’re my hero,” with a parting peck on the cheek, to a very charmed Julianne Moore.

Any parents-slash-movie-lovers might be wondering how a nine-year-old could be allowed to have seen enough performances by the provocative Ms. Moore to qualify her for hero status, and my only defense is “there’s no way I could have stopped her.”

A pathetic excuse, but genuine. From the time she walked in on my then-husband and I watching The Gang’s All Here, during the dancing human kaleidoscope at the finale, Robin’s been obsessed by “the pictures”, as she first adorably dubbed them at two. My work as a film journalist left me with lots of time at home with her, which she demanded we fill with movies, and then more movies, and then maybe an episode of Homicide: Life on the Street or one of the Bob Newhart records my husband, a professional comedian himself, had in his den. (Most of the jokes went over her head, but she loved his voice enough to consistently entertain us with her impression — after her big break, Robin’s jerk of a manager posted a video of her doing it at a family barbecue, three years old and topless, without our consent. We fired him as soon as we found out, and he was blackballed in the industry). It was apparent early to us and her teachers that she had a genius-level IQ (at least), and she quickly tired of the formulaic kids’ movies we put in front of her. At four, she was watching full-length foreign films with subtitles, and while there were obviously selections that were forbidden — I told her she could only watch Salò once she was old enough to re-enact the crusty Italian fascist roles, and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in about 30 years — she was voracious, from the French New Wave to Italian crime comedies to Soviet propaganda reels. And she’s never outgrown the kids’ classics we both treasured — I can’t count the number of times we’ve cried through The Land Before Time; then into orange juice, now into Chablis.

Robin also took naturally to performing scenes herself, first copying the classic Hollywood stars with the “biggest” mannerisms — her first favorite movie at three was What Ever Happened to Baby Jane for this reason (she remains a Joan girl through and through) — and then getting the brilliant idea to demand I transfer my writing skills for bedtime storytelling to play-scene scriptwriting. Our little displays, thankfully, seemed to satisfy her, and she didn’t yet recognize “the pictures” as the work of actual people, let alone something a little girl like her could start a lifelong career in. And I was glad for this. What the general public knows about the history of and potential for abuse of child performers is peanuts to what I’ve learned both first- and second-hand throughout my career. There was no way I was going to subject my daughter to that without the kind of ironclad protections impossible in the classic era and still difficult to enforce today, so we got along fine with our intimate little troupe, often including Danny and some trusted neighborhood friends.

I have to admit that it felt a bit awkward at first, crafting monologues and two-handers for my barely-verbal daughter to act out, but I was soon having even more fun than she was. Robin had no inhibitions and was no less than a savant in her mimicking skills. Danny and I were worried that this, combined with her high intelligence and tendency to overanalyze, might make her a target for other kids, but she seemed to have a good sense of social limits and little trouble making friends. She simply just never had an interest in making a whole lot of them, and preferred to spend time at home with her father or, much more often, me.

Likewise, I’d be lying if I said my attraction to her didn’t start very early. How could I help it? In my own home I had the most beautiful little girl I’d ever seen, dark coppery hair framing a cherubic face seeming somehow less chubby than it should have been, consistently performing better than any child actress I’d ever seen. Even at that point I had been paid to write about thousands of films, in addition to my home viewing, so I’d seen a few!

Danny agreed with me that she was fantastic, and also that we needed a second opinion. Around the time Robin was five, I had reconnected with a director named Frank Petrie, whose early films I had championed when virtually no one else had, particularly against charges of misogyny. I shot him an e-mail with some footage Danny and I had picked out, and told him it was on behalf of another director friend who was deliberating about casting the girl, and that I was unsure as well. He said that he was swamped with preparation for his new project, but that he’d try and give what I sent him a look over the weekend.

Fifteen minutes later my phone rang.

“Hello?”

“Ha-ha, very funny.”

“What?”

“Cut the coy shit, Rose. You’ve been the only decent critic at just about every rag you’ve ever written for, but if you’re telling me you honestly don’t know this kid is dynamite, you’ve finally gone the way of Pauline at the very end.”

I chuckled nervously, only half in jest. “You got me, Frank. I was just trying to get an honest opinion out of you for once.”

“Here’s another: I need her in my next movie. The kid I got isn’t working. Who is she?”

I realized I hadn’t really thought this through and felt like I had to keep lying through the absurdity. “Uh, the daughter of a City Hall reporter at the paper. She’s never done anything professionally before.”

“Well, get me her parents’ contact info if her schedule’s free after your friend’s picture.”

“I will, Frank.” Yep, in too deep. “Thanks for the advice.”

“No problem.” He paused. “Hey, I just had a thought. What are you doing Sunday?”

“Not much. Brunch with the family, then Daniel’s taping a special segment for a talk show next week. I was planning on going with him.”

“Tell you what. Take the kid to the new production of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie at the Pink Lady. I can’t make it, but I’ll leave a couple of tickets at will-call.”

“Wow, thank you, Frank. She was just asking about it.”

“Wait, your daughter was asking about that play? How old is she again?”

Damn! I stammered for a second, which I knew he noticed. “Five.”

Another pause. “Oh, yeah. That’s right. Well, listen, thanks for the discovery! Make sure you keep me in the loop.”

“Will do, Frank.”

I walked out of my study and into the living room, where Robin greeted me in a tank top and panties. She had been finger-painting to the radio, and I smelled girl sweat and hot cocoa. I walked over to her easel, where she spent most of her non-movie time.

“What do you have there, sweetie?”

“You, me, and Daddy.”

“And where are we?”

“At the cottage. Daddy’s barbecuing Portuguese sausage and you and I are reading in the deckchair we painted last summer.”

“Mmm, that was a fun day.” I played with the auburn hair at the nape of her neck. “And it looks like we’re enjoying our book. But why is Daddy so far away from us? The deck chairs are right next to the barbecue, aren’t they?”

“Yeah, but you know.”

I felt myself tighten up, though I wasn’t sure why. “I — I know?”

“How it’s always just kinda been us.”

“Just… us?”

Yes.” She was getting impatient. “We both love Daddy, obviously, but we’re different from him. He’s on the outside. Like with the chair. He spent a few hours building it, and it was okay, but it was just a dumb chair. You and I went to Murray’s at the shore to get the supplies, set everything up in the craft room, then spent five times as long painting it while Daddy was writing. Now it’s not like any other chair in the world. Or anything at all, I bet.”

And she just kept right on with her masterpiece while I stared at the back of her head, choking back tears. I’d never wanted so badly to stop time to analyze a moment. I was no great shakes in child development, but at five years old not only recognizing, without assistance, the symbolic significance of a drawing, but actually having intended it the whole time and then being able to explain the intention coherently, with additional symbolic examples… my head was spinning.

When I came back to reality, I realized I had ambled forward a bit and my palm was flat against Robin’s back, her tank top having ridden up, the length of all four of my fingers pressed into her flesh, punctuated with a perfect dimple. Bits of blue and yellow paint spotted her skin, one strip moving from the edge of her hip onto her once-pure white panties. There was a thin gap between them and the dimple in her lower back, her ass crack deeper still in wet shadows. I had a sudden image of her hole, crinkled and dry, that is until my tongue was probing and soaking to her shocked moans of pleasure and “Mommy!

Mommy!!

Robin was staring at me and jabbing my belly. I smiled playfully to cover myself.

“Yes, baby?”

“Who were you on the phone with?”

“Frank Petrie.”

“Why? His last movie sucked.”

“Robin! What did I tell you?”

“I know, I know… don’t use an adjective to describe a component larger than a scene or performance. You gotta have a good reason.”

“And being mean to Mommy’s friends isn’t a good reason. And it means you don’t get to find out why Mommy has so many friends.”

Her eyes shot open. “Nooo!! Tell me tell me!” She had long ago learned the benefits of having a film critic for a mother.

“Oh, just a little play you probably wouldn’t be interested in…”

I didn’t need any more than that for a happy squeal and a big wet kiss from my baby girl. Robin had been asking about The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie for weeks. She hadn’t read the book — it was one of my favorites, but as advanced as she was, she still didn’t have the attention span for a real novel — but we’d seen many shows at the Pink Lady, a heavily gay-friendly theater with a tendency towards radicalizing their texts, and the ads papered throughout the neighborhood certainly caught our attention: inventive variations on a bright rainbow of girls, one for each nubile member of the old spinster’s clique, the pubescent actresses displayed in outfits that pushed the boundaries of tasteful advertising, even for radical gay NYC theater. I knew from experience, though, that the theater banked on such tactics to get lookie-loos into the invariably professional and well-performed shows for which the season packages commanded the prices they did.

As Robin and I snuggled on the couch, sipping the cocoa she had made, her bottom pressed into my pussy, my right hand on the small swell of her belly, her soft thankful mews encouraging my dancing fingers, I had some time to consider my increasingly confusing feelings for my daughter, and more pressingly, the understanding and implications of her earlier words for not only our relationship, but for her parents’.

I had met Danny in freshman English, though we didn’t actually speak until a few months into class. We were studying Tropic of Cancer, and the class discussions had been pretty tame up to that point, the usual masking of learned opinions as our own, but one Friday afternoon, things got heated. A girl I recognized from some campus feminist meetings started in on the book’s treatment of its female characters, which led to the freshman class’s leading Young Republican calling her a “harpy” and insisting Miller’s real crime was his lack of structure and prurient interest in the underclass. Danny had been silent all day — I had been watching him from afar for a while, and he rarely spoke in class as it was — but from a row behind I could see him hunch his shoulders when Buckley Jr. Jr. said something about “degenerate art” and gave him about three more words before interrupting with an “aw, can it” and launching into a defense of the book that acknowledged its ugly attitudes and organization as part of a complex whole, expressed vividly in beautiful, unique language. Implicit in everything he said were ideas about art and writing that I had had in my head for a while, and had come to college and taken the courses I did in part to understand. Danny also managed to slip in a few jokes that had even the professor laughing, and a few days later, I found out why.

Some girlfriends and I had ended up at the campus bar on what turned out to be open mic comedy night. I wasn’t in the mood for white dudes and ethnic slurs, but I was handily outvoted and we settled into a booth. I was relieved to find most of the comics at least tolerable, and was in (and on) good spirits when I suddenly heard Danny’s name called. I whipped my head stage left to see him walking into the spotlight, blinking nervously for a moment before getting into a terrific ten-minute set, most of which, to my delight, was about the argument in class that week. There was the same confidence I had seen then and would never have expected from the kid I had been watching anonymously. Or, as Danny’s routine let on, maybe not so anonymously — he had a line, about how he just knew that the cute girl who always sat behind him could see his dignity cramping his neck that had my cheeks burning.

I had already told one of the girls there how charmed I was by what Danny had said, so I was toast as soon as he got offstage. They didn’t know why I hadn’t had any boyfriends or even one-night stands since the semester started, and I didn’t really understand it myself yet, so booze and a bruised ego were more than enough to shave me cornering Danny and more or less dragging him to an intimate wine bar around the corner. We had sex that night, probably still the most enjoyable time I’ve had with a man, and as we continued to see each other, I learned his consideration in bed was, like the book he had defended so vigorously, merely one part of a varied whole, his eventual love for me intense and unconditional enough to keep us together far longer than we should have been.

In short, it was both a wonderful and terrible marriage, to a man I would have been happy to live out my days with if I wasn’t constantly blaming him for suffocating my true self. It wasn’t his fault, of course, he didn’t know, which sometimes made me hate him more — how could he not? — and then immediately hate myself for doing so. But there’s a certain therapist’s sofa on Carter Street this all belongs on. You want to hear about something else.

We saw Danny off the next morning, when I gave him a heartbroken goodbye. The intrusive image I had of Robin’s asshole, begging for Mommy’s lips, had haunted my dreams, spurring at least two self-induced orgasms between midnight and 6 A.M., when my husband nudged my plunging fingers and asked if there was room for one more. It was the last time we would ever have sex, which I knew as I came underneath him, as I cried quietly while he was in the shower, and as I watched him walk away from the front door, winking at me and playfully licking my lipstick from his teeth.

I also knew one more thing for certain: I was going to fuck my daughter.

I had no plan, no timeline, no thought of grooming or hurting or forcing her. I just knew it was going to happen, sometime, and was very excited to find out when. And how. And how fucking hard.

I know it must seem like I’m underplaying the guilt I was still feeling, but it’s hard to describe the offsetting sense of calm that went along with it. Like everything was fated to happen. And with both the good and the bad that did, I couldn’t deny to myself it was.

. . . . .

It was towards the end of the first act of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, trying to catch a glimpse of a young actress’s exiting ass, when I saw Frank seated in the third row. I felt a jolt of anxiety and instinctively shielded my eyes, but his attention was onstage and I was able to pull myself together enough to try and come up with a plan for intermission. I was debating about whether it was safer to remain in our seats or to find a secluded spot elsewhere when the lights suddenly came up and Robin asked me where the restrooms were.

In the lobby we stepped gingerly around an excited circle of tourists, and Robin nearly chopped off Frank at the knees with her swinging umbrella as he descended a railing-less staircase. He pinched the end between his thumb and forefinger and wiggled it back at her from above.

“Easy there, Tiger!” He smiled and laughed, knowingly, as he met my eyes. “How are you, beautiful?”

“Hello, Frank.”

He gestured to the gorgeous woman beside him. “You remember my better three-quarters?”

“I certainly do. Hello, Raquel.” She nodded politely at me. Frank smiled down at Robin, but she played shy and looked up at me with pleading eyes.

“Excuse me, everyone. I have to run to the ladies’ room.”

“Raquel, would you mind taking Robin with you? She has to go.”

“I wouldn’t mind at all. I’d love to get a chance to get to know this pretty little lady more.” She winked at me and walked away with my daughter, dragging my dirty thoughts with them. I turned to Frank.

“Glad you could make it after all.”

He grinned. “Yeah. Something told me it’d be worth the effort.”

. . . . .

From then, things just kind of blew up. As you could guess, she got the part in Frank’s movie, but as you probably couldn’t, she also got a part in the play thanks to the little cutie I had been checking out, who slipped during the final scene and broke her leg. Well, more thanks to Frank’s lady Raquel, a powerful actress-producer who had started her career as a secretary and, thanks to her valuable input into picking small but profitable projects, was soon heading her own unit at the same time she was freelancing for fledgling directors and helping to kick-start the indie film boom. Between her tireless work finding him funding, and my barely-contained raves, syndicated across the country and often reworked into longer pieces for magazines and journals, the two of us more or less kept Frank working through a very rough period. She had banked on a resurgence of his work when the VHS market caught up with film culture and was right; he was in demand again and getting excellent projects.

She had turned to theater for the last few years, and this was going to be her last play before flying to England for Frank’s new movie. In the film, Robin ended up giving a harrowing performance as a victim of sexual abuse, but due to the usual practice of creative filming, the most difficult part of the performance was nailing the accent. Or it would have been for any ordinary young actress, but Robin simply did a flawless impression of Deborah Kerr in Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (well, as a five-year-old) and everyone fell over themselves praising her.

After that, as young as she was, she was essentially able to pick her projects freely. She did talk shows at first, but quickly grew bored of performing, in her words, like a “diaper monkey.” During this period Danny and I separated, about as amicably as could be expected. He was incredibly supportive when I told him I was a lesbian, and reluctantly — he really did love me — accepting of the split once I assured him that he could see Robin whenever he wanted. He was still touring about 150 days a year and I agreed that Robin would spend however much of his home time with him as he was able to accommodate.

One morning when she was eleven, after Danny had dropped her off on his way to the airport, she asked me if we could sit down and talk about a project. I sensed immediately something was up, because she left all the project proposals to Karen, her agent, who would pitch them to her, or vice-versa. Robin still wanted to keep as much of a division as she could between her life in the movies and her life with me. I was honored by the practice, as much as I was disturbed by her abandoning it now, as I knew it could mean only one thing.

“So, what’s up? Why isn’t Karen doing this?”

“She thought it would be best for us to talk about this one alone.”

“Oh, no.”

“Mom, I know you said never ever, but…”

“No, Robin!”

“Puh-leeeeze!

Robin! It was never ever for a reason! He’s crazy!

“But he’s brilliant!

The project in question was to be the first English-language movie by a revered Austrian filmmaker named Erik Eder, a fantastic opportunity with a hangar’s worth of baggage. He was indeed a brilliant director, but had a deserved reputation for emotionally brutalizing his lead actresses into their just-as brilliant performances, occasionally through marathon sessions of hundreds of takes of a single scene. I had interviewed him for The Village Voice when his last film debuted in New York and he had made the front pages by proclaiming, at a press conference some two miles from Ground Zero, that the movie was “more incendiary than the fuel of a Boeing 767.”

In our interview, I found him very charming, and, not unsurprisingly, an uncompromising artist who had simply realized the best way to get a foreign film seen in America is to say something disgusting about it, in front of as many cameras as possible. But that didn’t mean I had to condone his methods, duty-bound as I was to report my positive opinions of their output, nor find them suitable for my daughter.

“Dad wants to meet him.”

“You talked to Dad before me?!”

“I had to! Karen only got the casting notices on Tuesday!”

“Ughhh. I am going to kill her for letting you know!”

“No you won’t! I would have fired her if she didn’t!”

“You are incorrigible.” Shit. We both knew I had screwed up, and she was beaming.

“Jar, old lady.”

I grimaced and slipped a $1 bill into the jar on the coffee table marked “asshole words”. When Robin was nine, we realized our family’s lingual irritants were less gutter- than thesaurus-derived.

“Okay. What did your father say, exactly?”

“He said he could think no prouder thought than that his daughter was starring in a film by the man who directed Kessler’s Tunnel, and that he thought you might feel the same.”

“Son of a bitch.” Like I said, we had no swear jar.

Kessler’s Tunnel was the movie that had started the hardest conversation Danny and I had ever had as parents. We had gone to see it when Robin was 4, before she started the play but well into her amateur career. It had floored both of us, and on the conversation home we couldn’t stop raving about the performance of one of the leads, who couldn’t have been more than five, and how any director could have gotten it out of her.

“I couldn’t imaging Robin actually doing a scene like that,” I told him, referring to the moment when the young character confronted her alcoholic mother about her drinking.

“How would you feel if… she ever wanted to?”

“What do you mean?”

“You know I’ve always read your columns religiously.” He winked, both of us recalling the way he wooed me in our early days with references to my reviews in the college paper. “And I know you’ve been lamenting the lack of young acting talent recently. You actually wrote ‘Give me another Ana Torrent to tear me apart.’ I could hardly believe it! Remove that second ‘me…’” (Can a whole sentence be a Freudian slip?)

“I know, I know. So you’re saying I should want my daughter to become a child actress just so I can watch better movies? That’s worse that the shitty stage moms who do it for the money!”

“No, it’s better! How many times have you written about the power of art, healing, affirming, and spent hours in front of a kinescope looking up studies to try vainly to prove it in print to doubting idiots? You’re telling me that if Robin ever had a chance to do something like that, or something even better than that, because I think we both know she’s capable of it, you would deny her?”

He had me, and we knew it.

“Let’s just agree to wait until she figures out that actors are real people like you and me, okay?”

“Well, me, okay. But there’s no way I’ll ever be able to convince her anyone’s realer than you.” He kissed me softly on the lips. I’ll always love the dummy.

So having been guilted into it, we went to Erik’s hotel in LA so he and Robin could meet alone. Despite his reputation with actresses, my experience with Erik allowed me to trust him on this. He was a consummate professional before anything else. Despite the fact that in our interview he had hit on me with his first sentence, a vulgar German come-on that he helpfully translated in his second. I made it clear I didn’t swing that way, and he begged my forgiveness before launching into a spirited defense of his remark that included allusions to Lenny Bruce, Salman Rushdie, and various female punk singers from Germany I had never heard of. Directors hitting on female writers is widespread and expected — I think the only male director I’ve interviewed who didn’t try at least a little something — including all of the gay ones — is Todd Solondz (no comment there) — so if it’s tasteful I usually accept it with good humor. And that’s something Erik himself had quite a bit of.

After the meeting, he came out of the room, closed the door behind him and looked me once up and down. “Your daughter is the devil, Ms. Bell, and she will be in my film.”

I begged her later to tell me what had happened in that meeting, but she refused. All she would say was that she liked him a lot, and she thought they would make a good movie together. They did, and all the smoke turned out to be just that; Robin gave as good as she got, and was good enough to make Erik’s mad multi-taking mostly unnecessary. Twelve was about the most they got up to, and Erik later admitted to me she absolutely had it on the third or fourth go around, and it was only because she was so good that he wanted to see it again and again, and also to see if she could do it without variation since he knew that she also knew it was as good as it could possibly have been done. She could, and eventually got a second Oscar nomination for it, but lost. (She was happy to see it go to Rachel McAdams, though — and got her number after the show. I never did hear what happened with that…)

But Robin wasn’t satisfied with just acting. Almost as soon as she had me writing for her, she was asking me to teach her how to do it herself. My husband and I had a pretty large library, and never a week went by when Robin didn’t at least once, after her “real” homework was done, go to the shelves, wheel over the tall old-timey ladder, and pick out something from the “hot to write” row. We’d sit in Danny’s red leather armchair, her questions soon leaping ahead of my answers like quick little bunny rabbits. She often resembled one herself, tucked palm-tight into my lap and even nibbling strands of my long dark hair as I read to and stroked her. She was always very affectionate, but she and I reading, alone, seemed to bring out something different, more physical in both of us. Maybe it was the candlelight.

She was very shy about what she actually wrote, however, and I had a hard time explaining to her that, at her age, she couldn’t keep as much to herself as she wanted to, especially since Mommy was letting her experience so many grown-up things, movies, books, plays, and more, because she was such a very special girl. It was regurgitated “great power, great responsibility,” mainly ’cause the entire time my mind’s eye was on her little tush in Tinker Bell panties, pussy pouching out front, wet with maybe pee or her first fearful rubbings. Mine started at seven, and if Robin was so advanced elsewhere, well…

For her own writing, whether diaries, stories, scripts, or anything else, she had always preferred yellow legal pads. As a little girl, she swore the paper would glow from her pencil whipping across its face, and as she grew older, it seemed to glow brighter and brighter for me, too, when I was reading what she had written. I became a little obsessed with it, to be honest, discovering all my little beauty had to offer, my eyes devouring her developments, the physical to my pussy and the intellectual to my mind, and the emotional, most of all, to my heart. The empathy and sheer soul she was already showing, even in brief fictional outlines, warmed me inside and out.

One night, when Robin was ten, I was grabbing laundry from her room, having already pocketed two pairs of dirty panties for later, when I noticed something odd on her bookcase. The middle shelf was slanted to one side, and when I poked my head in behind the books, I saw a slim writing pad wedged in underneath. Pretty clumsy hiding place, I thought. She knows I borrow books from her shelf all the time. (She probably had better taste than I did.)

I was shocked at what I saw. The writing on the page was nothing less than a detailed fantasy of she and I, together, making love. I scanned slowly at first, then quickly, then voraciously. When my eyes reached “Mom reached into my panties and touched my pussy,” I snapped the notebook shut and placed it back in its hiding place. No. Not like this, I told myself. I couldn’t do this to my daughter, no matter how much I wanted her. I would be horrified if my mother had read any of my private writings any more than she had to. And besides… there’s no way Robin was ready for a sexual relationship with her mother now. The pressures on her were already enormous. Remember fate? I knew. I knew I’d know when she was ready. When we both were.

I became a critic because the itch leading me to find out why I loved what I loved was taking up so much of my time that I thought I might as well find a way to get paid for it, and now it was happening again with my daughter. Now, though… I had an entirely different method of payment in mind.

Continue on to Part Two