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James and Emily live in a big, bright, newly-built house on an estate on the edge of London. As a couple they are happy, attractive, hard-working and sociable. When I first met them, it was obvious that James was somewhat older than Emily but the age gap didn’t seem large and they were clearly very much in love.
Indeed, Emily was seven months pregnant, expecting their first child; a girl. The swelling in her belly was very noticeable and she was making no attempt to hide it. Although the child will be their first as a couple, it will not be the first time James has held a new-born daughter.
For James is Emily’s genetic father.
It was Emily who first contacted me. Throughout our correspondence she has taken the lead in telling their story and as you will read, has been the driving force in their relationship. James her father and the father of her unborn child, is far more reticent and less forthcoming than his daughter but there is no mistaking the strength of feeling he has for the girl who shares his house, his bed and his life.
According to their passports when I saw them, James was forty-seven, Emily twenty-five. They had been romantically involved as a couple for seven years and hoped to spend the rest of their lives together.
Despite initially having a few misgivings, I hope they succeed.
I pulled up outside the house, checking the address once again. It was right. The house was rather larger and more impressive than I had expected a girl in her mid-twenties to be able to afford, but then I remembered who else lived in that house with her and it all fell into place.
James, my interviewee’s father and partner, was a successful architect in a regionally dominant firm and could afford to live somewhere nice – very nice as it turned out. I retrieved my briefcase from the back seat, checked its contents – paper, pens, voice recorder, camera – then opened the car door, walked up to the house and rang the bell.
A short time later the door was opened by a rather shy-looking girl who appeared to be in her mid-teens. Dressed in shapeless faded grey leggings, an even more shapeless off-white T shirt with a rock band logo and with her hair pulled back severely into a pony tail, she did not look at all prepossessing.
For a moment I wondered whether I had arrived at the wrong house but the girl’s swollen belly told me otherwise; the chances of there being two highly pregnant girls in the same short street on the same day were minimal.
“Emily?” I asked with a raised eyebrow.
The girl nodded. I introduced myself and handed over a business card with my researcher’s credentials. The girl studied it for a moment then her surly expression cracked into a broad smile, she stepped back from the threshold and held the door open for me to enter.
I crossed the threshold into the house. Though pleasantly large it was, like most newly-built houses, instantly familiar. Too new for the couple to have imposed their own tastes, the walls were still magnolia in colour, the floors a pale wooden laminate or, as I entered the lounge, a plain beige carpet.
There was a strong smell of paint which Emily saw me sniff as we reached the foot of the stairs.
“I’m painting the nursery,” she smiled, indicating both the smell and the scruffy clothes she was wearing.
“You’ve only got a few weeks to go haven’t you?” I asked.
“Six weeks,” she replied. “I can’t wait to get it all over with.”
As a mother myself, I knew only too well that birth marked the beginning rather than the end of her exhaustion but I wasn’t going to upset her.
“Everything’s going well?” I asked instead.
“Very well,” she replied. “Oh, you mean is anything wrong with the baby? No. She’s perfect now and she’s going to be perfect once she’s born.”
“That must have been a relief,” I suggested.
“I suppose so,” Emily conceded. “I suppose all mothers-to-be worry.” She paused. “But of course you meant because James and I are related.”
In nodded, a little embarrassed.
“Well, yes of course I was worried to begin with. You read so much scary stuff about incest babies on the internet but most of it’s overblown. Okay, the risks of birth defects are higher but for first timers like us they’re still pretty low. It’s only if you get into second and third generations that things get worrying.”
We had reached the large, farmhouse-style kitchen. It was impressive, built around a central island with state-of-the-art worktops and gleaming chrome equipment. This was definitely not what a builder would use as standard.
“Lovely kitchen,” said with some feeling as Emily began to make wonderful-smelling coffee on a highly polished, expensive looking machine.
“Dad… um… James is an architect,” Emily explained. “There wasn’t time to make the whole house special before the baby’s born, so we worked on the room that would be most difficult for us to do afterwards.
It made sense, but her words had made me think of something important.
“You called him Dad. bursa escort Is that usual?” I asked.
“That’s because you’re here and you know the truth,” she smiled again.
“So what do you call each other normally?” I asked. “It must get a bit tricky.”
Emily paused in her brewing.
“You’re right, it was very tricky at first. We had to be on our guard all the time but we’ve got used to it now. Basically I call him James all the time unless we’re at home and the doors are closed. Then he’s Dad again. He calls me Emily or more often just Em in public. It’s only when we’re alone that… that the private name gets used.”
“Would you tell me what it is?” I asked, sensing her hesitation.
“It’s a bit embarrassing. He calls me his Princess.”
I smiled. I had been my Daddy’s Princess too, but that had ended when I reached my teens. If I was honest, I hadn’t wanted it to end but I couldn’t take the risk that any of my cool friends might hear my Dad calling me by a baby name.
“And you like it?” I asked.
“It’s the best name in the world.”
Emily crossed to the central island carrying two steaming mugs of wonderfully aromatic liquid then took a jug of milk from the large, American-style fridge and placed it alongside.
“Sugar?” she asked. I shook my head.
“Can’t risk the calories,” I grinned.
She placed her hands on her large baby bump.
“I’ll have to watch that afterwards but now…” she grinned, spooning two sugars into her mug.
“Don’t worry,” I assured her. “You’ll be burning a lot of those calories just looking after the baby.”
Emily indicated a high kitchen stool. I perched on it and sipped my coffee while she disappeared for a minute. I looked around the room; her father must have done very well in his career to be able to afford equipment like this. The house itself must have cost a fortune for a start, even this far from London.
When Emily returned, she was carrying two passports and an envelope.
“Better get the formalities over,” said with a raised eyebrow.
I took a document from my handbag and passed it to her. She read it carefully while I studied the two she had passed to me. The first passport was clearly hers; the picture surprisingly lifelike and the name inside was the one I knew her by. I looked at the second passport. The picture was that of a man older than Emily but with strikingly similar features. He was good-looking as far as I could tell from such a photograph and the surname was the same as that in Emily’s. Finally I opened the envelope and pulled out its contents. It was a birth certificate. The child’s name on the certificate matched the name in Emily’s passport and the father’s name matched that in James’.
Unless James in real life did not match his passport, they were genuinely father and daughter.
“So this contract means you can’t publish anything without our agreement?” Emily asked a little anxiously.
“That’s right,” I confirmed. “And it commits all three of us to tell only the truth. It’s exactly as I emailed to you. Are you still okay with the idea?”
There was the briefest of hesitations before she picked up the pen I had placed alongside her and, with a flourish, signed.
I turned it round and signed it too.
“We do need your father’s signature to make it complete,” I frowned.
“He’ll be home in an hour or so. He’s okay with it so we can make a start.”
This wasn’t my usual belt-and-braces way of beginning a confidential interview but it seemed I had no choice. I took my voice recorder out of my handbag, started it and placed it on the table between us.
“For the sake of the tape, this is an interview with Emily,” I gave the date and time. “Emily, let’s start at the beginning; why did you get in touch with me?”
To my delight, Emily was a natural interviewee. Given the chance to perform, the words flowed freely and constantly from her with little sign of self-consciousness.
She explained how she was in a loving, sexual relationship with her father and had been for many years. Now she was having his child. She explained how lonely and isolating it could be in an incestuous relationship, having to keep secrets all the time and be constantly on the alert for anyone who might recognise the true nature of their love.
She explained about the online websites they visited; sites designed by and for couples like them who were, to use her words, in Double-Love. Though I knew the phrase well, I asked her to explain what it meant to her.
“I suppose it means that we have two kinds of love to unite us; the love that being part of the same family involves as well as the physical love that a sexual relationship brings.”
She went on to say that she had read one or two of my contributions to those websites and thought I would be a sympathetic ear. She also explained that she and her father enjoyed erotica as part of their exciting, imaginative sex life. They had discovered my stories by accident and had enjoyed them.
“You seem to understand bursa escort bayan the love behind our kind of relationship,” Emily told me. “Most stories are just about sex and are impossible to believe. Yours have a ring of truth about them, as if you know yourself how it feels.”
It was flattering to hear but I wasn’t going to explain where my understanding of incest originated. Fortunately Emily was too involved in her own tale to ask.
“I guess at some stage, most consanguineous couples feel like they’re in prison and need to break out. I love my Dad just as much as any wife loves her husband; probably more. I hate having to keep the truth secret. I hate having to lie and hide. Sometimes I want to stand at the bedroom window, open it wide and scream into the street ‘I love my Daddy and I’m having his baby!’ But then the Police would come and our relationship would be over.”
There were small tears of frustration in her eyes.
“So talking to me is a kind of therapy?”
“I hope so,” Emily replied. “I thought if they could see our story in print, other related couples might feel less alone too.”
“I hope it works,” I told her truthfully.
There was a long pause while we sipped our drinks.
“Most people can’t begin to understand,” she eventually carried on. “They see it as a perversion, or abuse, or even a mental illness. I’m not ill, I’m not perverted and I wasn’t abused. I was an adult when it all started. I wasn’t coerced in any way and could have left any time. I stay with James because I love him and want to spend the rest of my life with him.”
She sounded very convincing.
“Some people call it suffering from Genetic Sexual Attraction – GSA – as if it’s an illness too. We call it love.”
I had heard of this condition many times too.
“Do you consider yourselves married?” I asked.
She looked down at her left hand, on the third finger of which lay a diamond engagement ring.
“That’s a sore point,” she replied firmly. “We can’t be married – but we’re definitely engaged. Nothing can stop us making that commitment to each other. It’s just going to be a very long engagement, that’s all.”
“Would you want to get married if you could?” I asked.
“More than anything else in the world,” she replied seriously. “We’re trying to find a kind of ceremony that would be close enough to feel married but wouldn’t mean we had to provide too much information about ourselves.”
I wished them luck. Their journey would certainly end up overseas if my previous interviewees were anything to go by. I made a couple of notes then moved the interview on.
“What do you say to those who believe there’s no such thing as consensual incest?” I asked. “That there’s always a power imbalance so one partner is always taking advantage of the other?”
Emily thought for a moment.
“I see what they mean,” she began hesitantly. “But isn’t there the risk of that in every relationship? I mean, doesn’t one partner always have to take control; lead the way sort of thing?”
She thought for a moment longer.
“In our case, that person was me. Dad didn’t seduce me. If anything, I seduced him. If anyone took advantage of anyone else, it must have been me. I set out to get him and I got him.”
There was a brief silence.
“Would it help if I described how our relationship started?” she asked a little hesitantly. “And how we live together now? It might help you with an erotic story as well as the article.”
I smiled inwardly. In all my researches, it has been astonishing how many apparently reserved, private people not only were prepared to disclose the physically intimate aspects of their lives, but were actually keen to.
Perhaps even needed to. Whatever the motivation, Emily was to be no exception.
“Please do,” I encouraged her. “Perhaps a refill would help too? It’s excellent coffee.”
Emily laughed then refilled our coffee cups and settled on the stool opposite me. She took a long sip.
“Beginning at the very beginning?” her intonation made it a question.
I nodded. She settled onto her seat, took a long sip, a deep breath then began.
“Okay; here we go! Mum and Dad got together way too early. They were still teenagers when they started sleeping together and to be honest, were incompatible from the start. Dad wanted to go to college, Mum was training to be a hairdresser. They were both very good looking – Dad still is – and fancied each other like mad but it was largely a physical relationship.
“On the surface they looked as if they were made for each other, a sort of golden couple but there were problems behind the façade right from the off. When Mum got pregnant with me – by mistake – they moved in together, had me and tried to make it work but they soon began to grow apart.
“To be an architect, Dad needed to study for five years. Mum was a party girl. She got fed up with him working all the time, studying most evenings and weekends, having so little money to spend and always needing to look after me. After a couple escort bursa of years she started seeing other boys for fun, then older men who had the money to treat her the way she thought she deserved.”
“Mum hung around with a lot of older, wealthier men throughout her life. I don’t think she was a prostitute, but I can’t be completely sure. It is possible, and her boyfriends did give her money as well as presents. Even if she wasn’t actually a prostitute, she certainly wasn’t very difficult to get into bed. I saw an awful lot of that when I was growing up. Anyway, Mum eventually found someone who wanted her for more than one night, had an affair with him and walked out on Dad and little me.
“How did that affect you?” I asked.
“I was still very young. Dad and I were together for over six months before Mum came back on the scene and used her lawyers to get custody of me. After all, Dad was still studying, still had little income and they weren’t actually married.
“I moved in with her and her new man but that relationship didn’t last. When Mum moved on to her next great love she moved to Spain with him and took me with her. This made it almost impossible for Dad and me to keep in touch.
“I didn’t know this of course; I was still too young and gullible. Whenever I asked about him, Mum told me that Dad had abandoned us and didn’t want to see me. I grew up believing this and didn’t bother trying to find out any more about him. I’d seen the odd photo of course but there weren’t many and Mum kept them hidden anyway.”
“What was it like growing up overseas?”
“Well, my Spanish is first class,” Emily grinned. “But it’s not a great way to grow up.”
Emily took a deep breath.
“As I said, Mum was very much a party girl. She loved the lifestyle; the sunshine, the glamour, the swimming pools, the yachts, the slightly dodgy money and the even more dodgy characters around it. She was still stunningly attractive so there was no shortage of potential sugar daddies even with a child in tow. There were parties every week and lots of drugs and alcohol.”
“That must have been difficult for you.”
“It was what I was used to. I was also used to seeing my Mum and other women – her age and older – drunk, stoned and behaving in very sexual ways. I grew up to see men and women of her age not just as the parents of my school friends but as highly sexual people too. I guess that’s where my preference for older men came from.”
“You’ve always preferred older men?”
“It turned out that way. Okay, I had a good few boyfriends of my own age on the way but they all just seemed childish compared with the older, richer, more sophisticated men my Mum hung around.”
“Tell me about your boyfriends,” I encouraged her.
“There’s not much to tell,” she frowned. “I had the usually schoolgirl romances, plenty of kissing and groping after parties. It’s just that in Spain things go on much later into the night than they do here – and you start off wearing fewer clothes,” she laughed.
“Were you very sexually aware when you met your Dad?”
“Not very. I wasn’t a virgin but was still very inexperienced.”
I could see there was more to tell so I remained silent and let her continue.
“I lost my virginity to one of Mum’s boyfriends,” she eventually said. “He was an older man; forty-something I suppose. He had been living with Mum in our villa for three months but they were having a rocky time. One night after they had had a row he came into my room and…”
She pulled a face which I misinterpreted.
“He forced himself on you?” I asked.
“God no!” Emily exclaimed. “Far from it. I fancied him like mad and had been teasing him for weeks.”
“You know, wearing see-through clothes, leaving the bathroom or bedroom door open; wearing really short skirts and shorts. I had done it before; all my friends at school did too. It was all part of the fun. I’d never imagined anything really happening.”
“But it did?”
“Yes. He was a little drunk; I was quite tipsy too. He came into my room and we started to talk. He was really good looking and very easy to talk to. Before long he was stroking my arm then fondling my boobs. From there it was a pretty short journey into my knickers.”
“He took your virginity?”
“Yes,” she told me without any hint of embarrassment. “I was nervous but after leading him on it felt like I had to go through with it. It was probably time I lost my cherry anyway.”
“How was it?” I asked, remembering my own defloration only too vividly.
“It hurt like hell to start with but it wasn’t long before I started to enjoy it – at least a little bit. I’m sure it would have been a lot less pleasant with a clumsy boy my own age. At least he knew what he was doing!”
“Did it happen again,” I asked.
“Only once. Then Mum caught him squeezing my bottom on the patio and he was out on his ear! I never saw him again.”
“Did she ever find out he’d slept with you?”
Emily shook her head.
“I wasn’t sure how Mum would react. She could easily have blamed me for breaking the two of them up. You had to be very careful with Mum; you had to choose your moment when she wasn’t either angry, drunk or high.”
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