Ila writes indulgent romance novels as an alternative income stream from her freelance editorial work, and as a way to express herself authentically. Well - almost.
Idris discovers her impressive catalog of longer romantic tales and shorter erotic stories. She's been holding back writing what she really wants to write for a long time for fear of backlash; will Idris be able to encourage her to follow her heart as a stranger in the crowd, or will his impromptu plan at being an anonymous, fatherly figure to "Penny Naim" backfire?
The characters Dannisha and her father/lover Darnell featured in this work of fiction belong to my partner, Shadderstag. Thank you for letting me borrow them, Dunkle. ♥
This is a work of fiction intended for adult audiences only.
Idris was upstairs in the master bedroom, looking for something - not that he could remember what, now. After a frustrated, fruitless half an hour, he decided to take a break from his search, pick up his phone, and read a bit of where he left off in a book. He'd read some of it earlier that day and that hadn't been a mistake in itself, exactly.
But, when he ended up sitting on the edge of his bed, fly undone with his hard shaft in his hand, maybe it had not exactly been a wise decision. Everything - his hand, his cock, most of his pubic hair - was wet with a few squeezes of lube from bottle on the nightstand, mingling with the near constant stream of pre that flowed from him.
He choked back a loud moan when his thumb pad swept over his head and pushed against the thick gauge captive bead ring jutting from his slit. His shaft strained against his fingers as he eased up and brushed his hand over sensitive, smooth muscle. There was a towel set beneath his feet, catching the errant drips of lube and pre that gathered enough to fall. His eyes flicked to the time and he let go of himself fully, breathing deep through flared nostrils. It hadn't been very long - he could take a little more time to himself before rousing suspicion.
Idris leaned back, long fingers cupping his heavy balls through the thin material of his boxers and stroked, rolling his thumb over the topside. Another sigh, and he was reading the words on his phone screen again, lips parted and eyes glazed. The fabric acted as a pleasant buffer for what might have otherwise been too much sensation - and when he touched his twitching prick again after reading a few more paragraphs, the jolt of tacky, rougher skin on its sensitized counterpart had him fighting to stop tipping over the edge.
He allowed himself a quiet, throaty moan when he resumed stroking his throbbing cock in earnest, rereading the last few paragraphs, paying more and more attention to rolling his foreskin over where head met shaft. A single line in particular had him setting his phone aside on the bed, tilting his head and leaning his body back with a ragged sigh that made his chest heave. Idris's now free hand palmed at his balls, squeezing and petting, his other pumping his aching cock in a faster rhythm, merciless and desperate. His lean body jolted and his thighs flexed, hips rocking up and forward.
He let go with a low groan then, his cock twitching, and kept up the gentle massage of his sac through the dark material of his boxers. He let his neglected cock bob with every heartbeat, dripping onto the towel below for a short - though agonizing - length of time. Has hand held flat against his groin, tugging the skin at the base of his prick, his thumb intermittently swiping at an angry-looking, thick vein that snaked over the topside of the length of him.
When Idris began to stroke again, his breath came out in stuttering, held gasps. He watched his hand work over his cock, slicking viscous pre from base to tip as heat unfurled low in his belly. He was so close it hurt -
He only just caught the shout that threatened to echo in the bedroom and catch unwanted attention. His hands didn't slow, his hips rocking forward as thick ropes of pearly cum shot from him, stringing and beading off the Prince Albert piercing. It flowed over his hand, slicked over his prick with every proceeding stroke; spattered the towel on the floor and back onto his gray tank top.
A reedy series of gasps escaped him as his pace faltered, and he pumped his softening cock twice more before he stopped, wiping up the thick fluid in his hand with another ragged groan. That was the fifth time he found himself in seclusion over the course of two days, beyond desperate for release. What he had read to start all this was nothing he ever expected would have him jerking off at every available opportunity like a horny young man again, but then again - it had been written for just that purpose, hadn't it? To titillate, to arouse its audience?
He took a shuddering breath and picked up the towel to wipe off his hand and his soft cock, rearranging himself with a note to shower after dinner. He got up and washed his hands thoroughly in the bathroom, phone locked and pocketed. He caught sight of a large, dark stain on his tank top in the mirror. With a scowl, he pulled it off and dropped it into the hamper in the corner of the bedroom by the door, and fished out an identical black tank top from a drawer in the dark oak dresser set against the wall in front of the bed.
After he pulled it on, he made his way back downstairs, Ila none-the-wiser on her laptop in the living room. She glanced up and gave a little wave, pointing at her pink and black headset. Can't hear, sorry.
Idris smiled and waved his hand, walking over to ruffle her hair - pointedly looking anywhere but at her screen for her sake - before making a beeline for the kitchen, the sounds of furious keyboard clacking following him.
A few weeks before, Idris had been looking for a gift for Ila. Not for any special occasion, really - he decided that he wanted to surprise her with a romance novel that she hadn't read before. A vague knowing of her preferences got him somewhere, but having access to the shared folder of ebooks and audiobooks between them made his heart sink. Rummaging through what few physical books she had tucked away in the attic made it sink further.
It wasn't that she owned every good romance book in the world - of course not, that would be silly - but her collection was vast, and he wasn't very sure about the quality outside of what she selected. She was the editor, after all; he just liked listening to the books with her. After spending a few hours digging through his options online and reading excerpts that seemed too silly to even attempt any semblance of seriousness, he gave up.
Three days after his misadventure, he sat on the living room couch on his laptop clicking through news headlines, rain drumming onto the roof. Another cold, dreary day bleeding into a colder, drearier night.
Idris yawned and closed the tab he'd been reading, then paused. He was confronted with his fruitless search from before; a page full of shirtless, same-y men and barely clothed, same-y women manifested in front of his eyes. He rubbed at his haggard face with a sigh and started clicking through the results again. He wondered if he was looking in the wrong places - Ila was the one who went looking.
At first, it was all the stuff he'd seen before. Idris recognized a few that they'd enjoyed, and one or two that they'd enjoyed a great deal as a joke. He clicked through the next page, eyes glazed over, until he spotted something different at the bottom. Crossing his long, lean legs beneath himself, he peered a little closer at what caught his eye and clicked it. The cover didn't look like a photograph like so many others did; it looked like a painting. Rare, but not unheard of.
On closer inspection, and after adjusting his glasses, he realized that, yes, the cover for a book titled Desert In Bloom was painted. This cover featured a dark, visibly older man in a solid white keffiyeh, pulled aside to expose long, curly, silver-streaked black hair. His cloak was open, pulled off sinewy shoulders, and his large hands gripped at a much lighter, smaller woman with almost white hair. She had a decent amount of skin showing despite ample clothing - in typical dime-store romance fashion - and looked like she was about to kiss him...
Idris blinked and furrowed his brow. Something about the cover felt familiar, but he pushed it aside to peruse the rest of the page. The author was someone named Penny Naim; definitely not one he'd found before when he'd gone searching. He scrolled and clicked open the blurb for the book.
"When Rahim Atwi was a younger man in 2246, he believed he'd forever lost his young mentee - Akilah Al-Hawwash - in a raging, freak inferno that destroyed her rural village and killed two thirds of the population. No one ever found her body, though no one but him was so dead set on trying to find her. She had been swallowed into the flames, and with her, so had his heart.
Twenty years later, Rahim - an old, jaded man - is surrounded by the glittering spires of an ever-advancing Kuwait, cradled in the throes of a changed, dying world. Living in exactly the same half-rural place, doing exactly the same carpentry he'd done for decades with deft, skilled hands - a craft that, like so many others before it, had transferred ownership when the machines learned how to emulate the imperfection of human touch.
Day in and day out, he competes with the efficiency of machines. Day in and day out, he remembers Akilah. Until one day, when that monotony is disrupted by a woman in an unassuming shroud at his doorstep claiming to be Akilah - and claiming to need safe harbor from a tech organization that was thought of, generally, as a benevolent and charitable one in a sea of corruption. Distrustful, he asks her to prove who she really is. She removes her niqab to reveal mottled scars over part of her pretty, pale face - a face that was older now, but a face he could never forget.
The rot of the shadow-organization beneath the glimmering facade is unraveled, and with it, a much larger technological coup is uncovered. Akilah's disappearance hints at a bigger role in all this than she's willing to admit to, and Rahim's suspicions about her war with his paternal desire to protect her. In the midst of a brewing revolution that could end in mass bloodshed and authoritarian rule, will love bloom from the scattered ashes of Rahim's incinerated heart - or will Akilah reject the man she'd only ever seen as a father figure?"
Idris re-read the summary a handful of times. Before he could really think about what he'd done, he had the book in his cart and was hunting through the rest of the authors works, scanning every blurb who's cover caught his eye. Whoever this author was, she seemed to have a type, and that type was dark, older Arab men - whether the setting was stereotypical or not - with lighter skinned, younger women. In fact...
He scanned over the - to his delight, all painted - covers and paused again, clicking back to Desert In Bloom. He zoomed in on the cover at full size and stared at it for a long time. It was unmistakably a painting, yes, but the subtle brushstrokes lent a familiarity he couldn't quite shake, no matter how hard he tried.
All at once, it hit him when he clicked over to another cover at random, this one for a jaguar shapeshifter book titled Emerald of the Jungle. He flipped his glasses up and squinted at the characters faces - then let them fall back down with a bewildered, startled sound.
That was his face staring back at him.
There were some differences; the set of his jaw wasn't quite right, the character - Faheem - looked younger, though not by much, and he didn't shave his facial hair. Despite those differences, if Idris shed fifteen years and let his mustache and sideburns grow out, it would be like looking into a mirror. He returned for a third time to Desert In Bloom, and realized with another startled sound that the girl on the cover looked exactly like Ila. She had made that very same expression countless times when she leaned in to kiss him. Granted, the angle was different when she kissed him, but...
Something else kept puzzling Idris, as he poked through the catalog of books and took in all of the characters who were, by all accounts, the same pair with different names and backstories. The men all had his names. Which, sure - a lot of men had his names. But all of them? In a single place? And a male hero in a historical romance who looked, still, startlingly like him and was named Idris, with an assumed-albino heroine?
Idris was about to click through to another book when the lock on the door not ten feet away clicked. He jumped and clicked to a different news article, willed his heart to slow, then checked his phone and found a text from Ila, from 20 minutes before:
Headed home early, love you. Bringing food.
"Hey, papa, sorry, I dunno if you got my text..."
Ila shuffled inside just as thunder rolled overhead, holding two plastic bags bulging with white takeout boxes. Her shoes squeaked on the hardwood as she maneuvered her way out of them, balancing the bags on one arm.
"Habibti, wait, let me -"
Idris got up and took the bags from her, hiding the leftover shaking of his adrenaline spike with the weight. He carried them into the kitchen while she hung up her sopping wet coat on the hook.
He pulled the boxes out of the bags as she came up behind him, wrapping her arms around his lean waist. He breathed deep, looked over his shoulder to catch her eye, and kissed his fingers - then he reached down, touched her forehead with those same fingers, and made an exaggerated smooching noise. She snorted against his shirt. Had to get creative, when any gesture of affection was influenced by a two foot height difference.
"I'm going to go take a hot shower real quick. It's cold out there and I feel like a drowned rat."
"You are the prettiest drowned rat I have ever seen." He turned to wipe at her damp hair. "I will put everything in the oven to stay warm; do not rush please."
"I won't," she said, then wandered off without another word. Idris blew out a slow, measured breath.
Over the next few days, Idris puzzled over the webpage for the mysterious author, Penny Naim. He had tried to find the artist for the covers without success, though in his hunting he'd found another author named Naomi Lovelace who also used that cover artist; unmistakably a pen name for Penny's erotic work. The characters for the much shorter erotic tales were the same characters from her more mainstream romance works with the serial numbers filed off.
Multiple times, he'd put a few books in his checkout cart and give them a few glances before pulling them back out again. The similarities between himself and the heroes - never mind Ila and the heroines - left him feeling more than a little baffled. If Ila wasn't the author, these were a hell of a coincidence. He found himself covertly watching Ila while she was on her laptop at home. She did her work and he couldn't make heads or tails of it anyway - he knew she did book editing, but not what exactly it entailed. He gave up trying to decipher it after an afternoon of peeking over her shoulder.
Finally, after a week of hesitating, he made a new email account and bought the pdf for Desert In Bloom. He read the book cover to cover in under two days, whenever he had a spare minute, and even chanced reading it when Ila was around. It caught him off guard - he was a slow reader. English was not his first language, and though he'd been speaking it, reading it, and writing it since he was in his late 20s, it never came quite as naturally as Arabic.
A week later he sat on the couch again. His hands were folded in front of his face, his mouth resting on them as he looked down his hooked nose at the laptop screen. Penny's contact email was in front of him, sitting in an empty window on his alternate account.
With a quick look at his phone to make sure Ila hadn't told him of coming home early again, he cracked his knuckles and started to write.
I loved Desert In Bloom, it was an amazing read. Thank you for writing it Penny. Rahim as a character is definitely a man I can relate to on many levels, and Akilah is a lot like my wife. A cute spitfire. Will there be sequels or offshoots with them? I would love to read more.
I saw that you have a lot of other titles. I think this is your erotic pen name? www.NLovelaceerotica.com if not, my apologies. The characters look similar and the cover artist is the same. If that is you, do you recommend any specific title I should read?
Thank you for your time,
Aww, thank you Khalid! I appreciate that. I'm glad you liked Bloom so much - and, I can't say for certain, but there are some fun ideas I have for Akilah and Rahim in follow-up books. Been busy with my boring day job so the longer romances are taking a bit of a back seat to the shorter stories...
Which, well, I hope you enjoy those. ;) You caught me red-handed. Guess I'm not very subtle with using the same characters and the same cover artist, am I? If you liked Desert In Bloom, then I can definitely recommend its erotic offshoot with the very not-so-subtle name: Blooming Desire. There's a free sample story on my website from that anthology, if you're interested!
Ila triple-checked the email address she was sending from before she hit send - then she compulsively checked within the window of time she had to undo it if she needed. Just like every time she'd ever sent an email, it went out from the proper account, and she breathed a sigh of relief.
She lounged in the couch during a lazy afternoon while the TV droned on in the background; Idris was out shopping this time. Her phone pinged just as she lost another round of some silly puzzle game that kept begging for her money. She swiped to the chat window and willed her tired eyes to focus, yawning.
someone else who cannot keep his eyes to himself
hmmm, should I scare him you think?
I think if I turn around he will piss himself though...
ah dammit, I missed a lot of hairs this morning
Ila snort-laughed, tapping out a reply.
you're over seven feet tall, of course people are going to stare
also probably wondering where the hell you got that jacket. I'm still wondering where the hell you got it
but, it's undoubtedly your rugged good looks. and it's really cute. you should miss hair more often :3c
She watched him type with a second, louder yawn.
yes, please continue stroking my ego... and my prick. but maybe not in public
got the jacket specialty made. I am over seven feet tall, remember? ;)
heh. you just want me to grow out all the hair
I saw you like that once and it was nice, okay? you're handsome no matter what and you deserve a good stroking~
though, hmh. why did you say prick twice...? ♥
cute girl. he finally left, I am at the deli counter now
what kind of cheese do you want? cheddar or do you want munster again?
uhhhh get the cheddar...?
munster was good but I'm sick of it now
they have jalapeno aged cheddar...
?! Never mind, it is twelve dollars a pound
get it anyway. I'll pay for it ♥
Just as Ila was about to tap a reply, a push notification for an email receipt popped up - she'd just made $20.00 off of what she assumed was Khalid. She grinned and swiped back to the chat window.
yep, just got paid for a side job. Gimme the cheese!!
okay habibti ♥
He went silent after that for a while, and in that time she'd set her phone down to stare at the TV.
The heat in the house must've lulled her to sleep, because the next thing she knew when she blinked again was that the front door was clicking open. She stretched and cracked open an eye just as Idris ducked into the house, carrying a half dozen bags on one jacket-clad arm.
"Sorry, I fell asleep -" she began, but he cut her off with a wave of his free hand, keys jingling.
"Do not apologize."
He made his way to the kitchen before she could respond or move, then called over his shoulder. "Figure you are tired from last night - I was not very gentle."
Ila made an indignant noise and stretched her arms above her head, her vertebrae popping. "Do you want my help baba? I'm not that tired."
He leaned over into her line of sight in the kitchen entryway while shrugging out of his leather coat, a gray eyebrow raised at her. She waved her hand with a bleary-eyed smile.
"You are that tired. Stay there."
He went about putting groceries away, and in a thankful huff - though, still a huff - Ila picked up her phone and checked the email notification for the receipt. It took a moment for her to realize what she was looking at, and when it hit her, her eyes widened.
She misread the number from before. It wasn't $20.00 that she received - it was $200.00.
She scanned the receipt, a hand over her mouth - yes, a lot of her catalog of erotic shorts had been bought by the same address, but that couldn't add up to two hundred dollars. She tapped on a second email she'd failed to notice, and realized that the rest of the money had been a massive tip, one that outweighed the total for the books.
A third email notification popped up - delayed, as it had been sent an hour ago - and she shakily tapped on it, heart in her throat. She could kiss Khalid if she ever met him in person.
I hope you do not mind the tip. I read the first few paragraphs of the sample story from Blooming Desire, and I knew I had to buy a few of your works. Your prices feel criminal so I sent the tip, I hope that is not rude. I want to show my thankfulness of your skill.
I hope it is not too forward, but your prose had me blushing like a school boy again. I am 74! Not a lot does that to me these days! Thank you so much.
Ila hadn't realized tears streaked down her face until she looked up to find Idris standing in the kitchen entryway, his brows knit and forehead wrinkled.
"Habibti? What is wrong?"
He crossed the distance to the couch in a few steps while she tapped on the home button and switched her phone off to set it aside, wiping at her face with a loud sniff. He sat next to her and she leaned into his side, wrapping her arms around what she could of his torso.
"S-sorry, sorry. It was a good thing. I just - I wasn't expecting it," she mumbled against his t-shirt, and he smoothed a hand through her colorless hair.
"What was it?" He tilted her chin up, dark eyes boring into her lilac ones.
Another sniff, smaller this time. "The um, the job I got - t-the client was so sweet that he left a really big tip. I... I don't get tipped often."
Relief flooded her father and he relaxed next to her, a grin lighting up his face, crinkling the already innumerable crows feet at the corners of his eyes. "Good! That is very good. What is the job, hmh?"
Ila drew a blank on what exactly to say. Her fingers fidgeted in her lap, and her eyes flicked away from his. Oh shit.
A moment passed, then he must have picked up on her discomfort, because his grin faded to a small smile and he waved his hand. "Never mind, that is your business. I do not need to know - I am proud of you, no matter what."
Idris took Ila into a bear hug, and she sighed against his shirt, squeezing him back while a few more tears fell down her cheeks.
it was bittersweet, you know?
Ila sat in her old room; a room that had been converted into one of the guest bedrooms since she'd moved into the master bedroom with Idris. It had been converted again into her office space shortly thereafter. And, by converted, that meant there was a single desk and chair across from the bed, where she could write on her laptop without killing her neck or her back. It also afforded her privacy - not that she needed it very often.
She tapped on one of the metal kinetic toys next to her on the desk and watched it move on its own, while she waited for a reply. Mostly, she was happy the space meant that she could have a few silly knick-knacks that wouldn't fit anywhere else.
I mean, yeah, it fuckin blows that you can't tell your old man all about what your other job is
I'd be so sad if Darnell couldn't know about my painting
I mean, I COULD tell him. I'd just be kind of, a tiny bit mortified if he found them...
yeah you are nooot subtle at all lol
you give me photos of you and your old man to paint over and use as references for your covers, Ila
at this point I'm surprised you haven't sent me a pic of his prick and your pussy and asked me to paint you guys fucking down to the last sloppy detail
... though like, I prolly would if you asked nice?
ffs Danni -__-
I'm just surprised you haven't yet, lol
what? I've seen your puss before. The white hair is cute :3
ugh you're ridiculous. no, I'm not gonna ask you to paint us fucking
I take photos for that, cough. goin back to work, you fucking goblin ♥
looovee yoouuu~ ♥
I'll have something for you to look over for this cover soon, btw. It's been fighting me more than usual
np, take your time. I still owe you like $300.00 out of the total for it and it might take me a while to drum that up anyhow
Ila turned her attention back to the text on her screen and groaned, rubbing her face. All of her normal editorial work had been finished for the week, and she was left with a few days to focus on her next book. She wanted to be grateful for it - but something was stopping her from taking advantage of the lull. Staring down the barrel of a near-complete manuscript always did this to her, though this one was proving to be especially challenging.
She absently clicked to her alternate email inbox and huffed. The email from Khalid was still there, just where she'd left it yesterday afternoon. After rereading it a few times, she hit the reply button and poised her hands over the keys on her laptop.
It really touched me that you sent such a generous tip, thank you so much - not rude at all. Writing what I do is only a small part of my income, but every bit helps. <3
Well, goodness! I'm glad to have done that for you, haha. My husband is around that age and I know how hard that can be to do, he's been alive for so damn long - that I did that for you has my heart all aflutter; thank you for telling me. Did your wife recommend me? I don't have many male readers, especially not ones who contact me, so forgive my curiosity.
She triple-checked her email address again and hit send, and successfully resisted the urge to check after the fact.
In the middle of re-reading her manuscript and plucking over her word choice, a chime sounded in her headset below the melodious hum of a violin and piano duo. Perplexed, Ila glanced at the clock on the taskbar and blinked. A few hours had passed her by without her noticing, which, all things considered, was a good sign.
She clicked over to her email and felt her heart give a little jolt. Khalid had responded to her.
Then I am glad that I did that. :) You deserve the compensation for your hard work.
My wife does not know. I want to share it with her, but I am very shy. I do not know how she would react, but that is okay - I am happy that I found your wonderful writing. I found you while trying to find a gift for my wife. She loves to read, and I wanted to find something she had not read.
I am curious, ah. Forgive me if I am too forward - Akilah and Rahim have a very paternal relationship? I do not know if that is intentional, or if there is something more to that, but it was something I noticed and enjoyed very much. Is it in more of your books? Have you ever written father/daughter romance before?
I ask because I have a kind of relationship sort of like that with my wife, she is much younger than me. It makes me happy to see so explicit like that.
Ila felt panic as a clawing thing beneath her ribs, coiling about her lungs, squeezing her suddenly stuttering heart. She re-read the email a half dozen times before opening the chat with Dannisha.
do we know who this guy is...?
She sent a screenshot of the emails to Dannisha, a hand over her heart to attempt to stop the erratic beat of it.
huh, nope. that's weird... I mean, hon, you could just be a little bit paranoid? It's been a few years since all that happened you know?
I know, but what if... I still get weird emails sometimes on my normie account and I've had to lock my profile half a dozen times
it hasn't happened in a few months but I don't want to go through all that again
Ila took a deep breath to try and calm herself, her hands starting to shake in earnest now. Fuck.
have you maybe considered that this is just a nice older man who figured out the not-so-subtle subtext in your writing?
like, I think anyone with eyeballs can see that you're writing father/daughter romance lite
except it's not literally lite because you don't do like. Step stuff. Idk you get me
yeah, I know. You're probably right, I just spook easy these days.. I think I'm gonna go take a break
go hug your old man and tell him me and Darnell say hi and we wanna fly out to see you guys again soon for another double-date :3
also he says hi to you too and he's doing the dad-point at the screen
! that would be awesome ♥
tell him I say hi back and I'm still sorry baba took a picture of him when you guys visited last LOL
Ila sat back with a shaky sigh, rereading the email another two times. It didn't seem malicious - no malicious person had ever sent her $200.00 and glowing praise before acting in malice. Still... Weirder things had happened.
She got up on wobbly legs, stretched out the cramp in her back and calves, and opened the door into the hallway. She expected silence, but the sounds of a violin muffled by walls and a closed-shut door greeted her instead. She made her way to the master bedroom and rapped her knuckles on the door, waiting. The violin kept playing, and she tried again with more force. The note faded with a startling abruptness, and in the silence that followed she could hear Idris shuffling behind the door.
When he opened it and looked down at her, about to speak, Ila wasted no time. She threw her arms around his ribs and buried her face against the pinstriped vest he wore over his crisp, white patterned dress shirt.
Idris blinked down at her, then smoothed his rough hands through her white hair. "Habibti...?"
"I just need a hug," she said, trying and failing to hide the tightness in her throat.
Idris silently obliged her, his palm rubbing firm circles in her tight shoulders. After a few minutes, she pulled away and peered up at him.
"I love you, baba."
In wordless reply, he stepped to the side and offered for her to come into the bedroom with a gesture of his hand. She crossed the room and shuffled onto the bed, watching him pick up his violin and bow again. He stood in the center of the floor, facing her, and tucked his chin against the rest, long, nimble fingers poised on the strings and the bow.
Idris hadn't said he loved her back - but he didn't need to, when his dark eyes caught hers; when the gentle notes of a violin solo he'd written just for her vibrated the air around them.
Sorry it's taken me a few days to respond, I've been pretty busy with editing this novel. I'm sorry you're too shy to share with your wife - but that's really sweet. I hope you'll be able to work up the courage to share it with her soon, I'm sure she'd love to read it with you! <3
To answer your question: yeah, that's very intentional. Honestly, I think I can trust you, so... all of my writing starts out as father/daughter romance in the initial draft. I just edit it out; change up some stuff. Change it to a family friend, or a mentor, or a boss of some kind. I'm worried about what will happen if I try to publish my work the way it's supposed to be read.
People can be very cruel about stuff they don't understand - and even crueler when you put a "bad name" to something they've been enjoying the entire time. It's okay if I write a dynamic like it, but if I call it incestuous, explicitly, then somehow it changes. I dunno; it still doesn't make sense to me. It's all silly play pretend for adults anyhow, y'know?
Ila's phone vibrated on the counter next to her. She leaned over to peek at it but refrained from picking it up, her hands full of a sponge, a plate, and a lot of foamy dish soap.
Idris moved around behind her, and she glanced back at him over her shoulder after putting the rinsed plate in the drying rack. His hair was up in the loosest definition possible of a bun, a bag of something between his teeth while he pawed through the refrigerator. She stifled a laugh when what was held in his mouth plopped to the floor, followed by a loud, dejected sigh.
She turned her attention back to the cup in her hand, just as her phone vibrated three more times in rapid succession.
"Whoever that is," Idris grunted and finally snatched up what he'd been looking for from the fridge and the bag that fell to the floor, standing tall again to stretch his back, "they want your attention, dear."
Ila huffed a sigh of her own and put the cup down, shut off the tap, and wiped her hands on her jeans. She picked up her phone - which buzzed again just as she did so - and gasped out loud, irritation forgotten.
psst. hey. you.
bitch answer me
you're prolly suckin your daddy's dick rn, smdh, I do all this work for you, and this is how I am repaid. deafening silence
because you are a fucking cocksucker
ILA IDRIS ABDUR-RAHIM FAHEEM AL-FASIH, COME GET UR MAN!!
It was a thumbnail for her latest novel's cover, and Ila's eyes went wide as she took in the composition so far. The blocked in shapes of color revealed the hero brandishing a short sword to a crowd of off-screen men, swords swarming into frame at the bottom of the image where her name would be. Cuts littered his body, his shirt slashed open. She liked some cheese sometimes.
Behind and beneath him were the blocky shapes of color that would make up the heroine later in the painting process. Her hands gripped at the dark hero's shred clothing, looking as though she meant to pull him away from the fray.
Ila made a few mental notes even as she swiped back to the text field to mash her thumbs on the keypad, sheer joy thrumming through her heated blood.
WTF THATS PERFECT, FUCK, THANK YOU?
HELP I'M WAY TOO FUCKING EXCITED
>:3c to think, it's not even done yet~
WTF WTF WTF YOU'VE GOT LIKE, A FRAZETTA THING GOING WITH THIS ONE??!! I LOVE IT
fuck okay, calming down, turning off capslock. I gotta go make dinner, fuuuuuck
lemme know changes and stuff when you've got a minute boss :3c
Ila bit her knuckle to keep from screaming out loud, her heart thudding against her sternum in excitement. The rapid beat of it sang a different tune, though, when Idris's hand found her shoulder and squeezed.
"Is everything okay?"
She jumped, whirling and nearly dropping her phone in her haste to shut off the screen. Idris's head tilted to one side as he looked down at her, dark eyes full of unstated concern.
Ila cleared her throat, and felt her face heat up. "Yeah, sorry, just got some exciting news for something I've been working on for a while, so..."
Lilac darted nervously into black, and then away, and she relaxed when Idris started to move again. He ruffled at her hair and turned back to his task. Ila felt a little sorry for the perplexed expression that crossed her father's face, before she turned her own back to resume washing the dishes in the sink.
It is okay. I think I will tell her soon - working up the bravery to say something. Thank you for being so kind about an old man's worry.
Ah, I am glad I did not misinterpret! I really love how it reads, and I am sad that you feel you cannot write what you truly want to. It sounds like you have had a taste of that cruelty and my heart aches for you. Know that if there was ever a chance for you to publish your stories as they are meant to be enjoyed, I will be first to buy them. I hope that is not too forward again, heh. <3
Ila reread the email Khalid had sent her the night before, chewing on her lip. Her eyes felt like they were going to cross from all of the copy editing she'd been doing for a client, and she'd thought maybe responding to an email would be a better use of her time. No such luck - all words fuzzed together.
Her eyes flicked to her phone, and a thought crossed her frazzled mind. She picked it up, found her chat with Idris, and started typing.
She looked up when a ping sounded in her headset - then she wrinkled her nose in distaste at another spam email that had slipped through the filter. It wasn't like she was waiting for anything important, though, so she pulled her headset off and shook out her hair, combing her fingers through.
The phone vibrated in her hand, and she peered down at the truncated notifications on her lock screen and felt her face go beet red. On swiping to see the whole message, she huffed a quiet, husky laugh.
I was cleaning, but ah, took a break. thought of you
how good you look with my cock in you
miss you so much, cute girl...
are you working, or do you have the time to play with your baba?
Ila bit her lip. She had only meant to set work aside for a few minutes to give her eyes and mind a rest, but... fuck it.
well, I was working
but now I'm not... you're distracting me :(
She yanked her shirt up off her head and shimmied out of her sweatpants, kneeling down by an unassuming box sitting at the foot of the bed across the room from her desk. She grabbed for a toy, hidden in the loosest sense possible beneath some fabric; a heavy, human-shaped cock that was similar to Idris in size.
The toy was tossed onto the bed. Then, she swan dove after it - though it was more like a graceless belly flop. After wriggling her way into a sitting position, she held up the phone and took a couple quick selfies, mind racing with potential possibilities for what Idris had in store.
As usual, the first few were a mess before she landed on one she thought was pretty cute in the late afternoon light.
want me to come in and help you out? ♥
your prick is so hot like that, baba
hmm not yet, want to tease you... make you wet for me
I got all pretty in the guest bedroom for you~
you make me so fucking hard it hurts
Idris rarely swore out loud, or in text, and that caught Ila off guard enough to make her shoulders shake with quiet, wheezing laughter. It took her a full minute to contain the giggling that followed and type a reply.
I love making you hard for me, old man ♥
do you see something you like...?
yes, seeing something I like very much...
what are you doing with that toy?
Ila looked down at the dark silicone cock and tapped her lower lip. She raised it to her lips, pressed her tongue to it, and drooled. She gave it a nice coat of spit shine before snapping a photo with her tongue just touching the broad head of it, saliva dripping off of her lower lip and down the toy.
what do you want me to do with it...?
could suck and tease it like it's your cock, take a video for you to watch...
Ila sent the photo and got up to grab the small bottle of lube out of the box where she'd gotten the toy. Her phone vibrated once, and then two more times as she resumed her place on the soft dark sheets. It vibrated again just as she picked it up, and she exhaled from between her teeth.
your mouth is better for my prick, not the toy. fuck yourself with it instead...
show me how much you want me
I am so close already, I want to edge while I watch you fuck yourself
should I use this while you do?
Ila felt her skin heat up at the photo Idris sent - he was holding a pastel pink silicone stroker next to his cock, still laying in the same spot, with a difference in angle.
Then, as she was about to to reply, he sent another photo - this time of his cock buried to the hilt in the toy. No, not a photo - a short video.
Ila's hand trailed down between her legs and she gasped at the slickness she found there through her black and white striped underwear. She clicked play on the video, her fingers brushing over her clit in the same instant.
Idris took a few deep breaths in the background, then moaned when his cock twitched and strained in his loosely held fist. He let go, leaving it to twitch in the still air, and reached for the pink stroker just barely visible by his hip.
She felt a gasp catch in her throat when one caught in his as he nudged his broad cockhead against - then into - the toy's opening. He stroked over where head met shaft, legs twitching and thigh tensing, his breath reedy; a sharp contrast to the rumble of his voice.
"T-took too long to respond, could not wait anymore."
He groaned, loud, as the toy slid all the way to the base of his prick. He pumped it over his length, and each downstroke was accompanied by yet another pained groan and a roll of his hips before he stopped and tensed. His breath crested into a throaty growl when he spoke again.
"Fuck yourself good enough and maybe I will fuck you after, mmh...?"
He stroked his cock a few more times with a stuttering sigh, his long knobby fingers gripping the silicone hard enough to deform it. The video shut off after that, and it was only then that Ila realized she was panting and rhythmically rubbing her clit, far wetter than when she started.
god that's not fair, I was getting lube
... don't think I'll need it now, though
how good is good enough?
that is the fun part. I get to say. Still stroking my prick... so close
you would not want me to cum without you, I do not think?
send me a photo of that fake prick in your pretty little cunt, cute girl
Ila pulled her panties down her legs and off, flung them across the room, and pressed the silicone toy to her slick labia without hesitation. She did him one better, and hit record. Two could play at this game.
"Hi baba," she whispered up at the phone, lip between her teeth.
Breathless, eager, she used the front facing camera to watch the dark silicone slowly sink into her. She gasped when the thick head popped inside, a tiny groan accompanying each successive pop of it nudging in and out of her.
"F-fuck that feels good, hah -"
She squirmed and spread her legs farther, using a bit of force behind her hand to press in more of the toy. A whimper escaped her, and she shuddered as it was pushed halfway inside of her in one stroke, stretching her open around the thickest swell in the shaft.
Ila stopped the recording and hit send. Then, she replayed the video clip he'd just sent her, sighing and flexing her thighs with every stroke of the toy inside of her aching cunt, matching Idris motion for motion until she felt it sink inside to the very hilt. As she was about to watch a third time, lost in a haze of overload and waiting for him to send another video, her phone vibrated. It wasn't a message, though, and she realized with a soft oh that Idris was video-calling her.
She sat up a little higher on the mound of pillows behind her and settled, accepting the call. She was sure she looked like a flushed mess, but that didn't matter when his grinning face was on her phone screen. His hair was still tied up, and he was still wearing his glasses - or, more likely, he'd just put them back on to see.
His voice, though tinnier through the phone speaker, sent a shiver through her body. She gave a tiny smile and a wave, ducking her head. Even after all this time, he could still make her shy.
"My turn, hm?"
The phone shuffled in his hand, and he tensed, gasping low in his throat. Her heart sped up as she watched him, absently stroking her clit and drinking in every minute change in his weathered face. When he settled after sitting up, the phone was farther away, revealing more of his nude, sinewy body. His boxers had come off at some point, and...
"Do you want to watch your old man stroke his prick?" He asked with a growl. As he did so, he tilted the phone down so she could see his other hand on the pink silicone enveloping his cock.
Ila's eyes went wide, and she nodded when she caught his eye on the screen. Her breath caught at how the grin faded from his face, teeth bared in almost a sneer, his eyes half-lidded and so dark it made her shiver and fight to not hide her face.
When she found her voice again, it almost shook. "Yes, please, I -"
"Fuck yourself while I do. Pretend I am fucking you."
There was nothing funny about him swearing this time, and she blew out a slow breath, skin tingling. She darted her tongue out to wet her lower lip and caught his eye from beneath long, white lashes.
She shifted the camera to get a good view of her body while she could still see the screen, thankful that the angle made it harder to see her face. Idris watched her with a predatory gleam in his eye, and she heard his breath speed up. His hand moved just as hers did.
"You are so cute like that," he panted, swapped back to thickly accented English.
She gave a louder moan than she meant when the toy sank to the hilt inside of her again, making her face flush bright red. She heard his laugh, then his gasp, and watched through hazy eyes as his hand sped up, his cock almost-but-not-quite exposed before it was sheathed in squishy silicone again. He growled, and Ila remembered that there was a cock - what was supposed to be his cock - between her legs, and she suddenly, desperately needed to feel more of it.
On the heels of that thought, she dragged it out and pressed it back in with a loud, tremulous whine, arching her hips and pressing warm silicone flush to warm skin, her hand rocking the toy in a rapid, stuttering pace.
"Yes habibti, yes... just like that, fuck yourself like that on my prick."
He moaned and leaned back against the pillows and the headboard. Ila got a good look at his face twisted in pleasure and whimpered again, thrusting the cock in her hand. There was a pleasure building up from low in her belly, spreading everywhere - and despite it feeling good, leaving her gasping and trembling, toes curling enough to catch the sheets, there just wasn't quite enough to tip her over the edge...
"F-fuck wait... I," Ila panted, keeping up the pace even as her legs locked and her hips bucked up, "I c-can't come without rubbing my clit."
Idris didn't pause in his stroking, though he did slow down as a wicked grin crossed features again, throwing his face into a stark, eerie relief.
"You heard me," he rasped, then sped up, a wet squelch with every downstroke of the silicone, "beg for me, Ila."
In her haze, Ila didn't really comprehend what that was going to do, but her eyes were glued to the motion of his hand as she sought to keep up, breath uneven.
"P-please, baba. Please, I - I want to come. I want to come on your cock, please, please I have to touch myself, p-please let me....!"
The call hung up, and Ila blinked at it, bewildered, a plea dying on her tongue. Well... Were they going back to texting? Did the call hang up on accident? The hand between her legs slowed, then she pulled it up from the toy trapped between her thighs, stretching stiff fingers. She waited to see if he'd start typing for close to a full minute, staring at her phone in a daze of confusion.
Just as she was about to hit the call button, the door clicked open and Idris ducked into the room, that same wicked grin on his face. Ila squeaked and barely had the time to appreciate the smooth motion of his lithe body crossing the few feet to the bed before he was on top of her, her wrists in one of his huge hands, phone lost somewhere in the sheets. She was so zonked out that she'd completely forgotten this was even an option. Whoops.
He laughed above her, his free hand smoothing down between her thighs, and Ila parted them without any coaxing, a breathy laugh of her own filling the space between them. He'd undone his hair, and it tumbled all around both of them, a curtain of soft, wavy black and gray.
"Do I keep begging, old man?" She asked after catching her breath, rolling her hips forward.
Idris bent low, his breath puffing over her cheek in the same instant that he grabbed the base of the heavy toy still pressed firmly inside of her. He kissed her - and began to stroke the silicone cock into her in a sudden, rapid, tooth-rattling pace.
Ila near shrieked, her legs attempting to close - but Idris's bigger body blocked her. His lips muffled her cries, cries that tapered to stuttering whimpers as he slowed his hand as quick as he'd started, then pulled the toy out of her in its entirety.
"D-dammit Idris -"
He captured her lips again, his spine a convex arch as he settled between her legs. She felt the heavy, throbbing heat of his prick on her vulva instead of the fast-fading warmth of the toy. His hand left her wrists, supporting himself while he lined up against her wet entrance without preamble.
Once freed, Ila's hands immediately snared in his hair, curling against the nape of his neck, pulling him down for a third kiss just as the pierced head of his cock popped inside of her.
"F-fuck," he rasped against her mouth.
Ila shuddered under him, legs winding around his hips and ankles locking against the small of his back. Her heels tapped at tensing muscle, urging him without words, and she gave a little sob when he hilted in her, the captive bead piercing above his balls pressed against her fourchette.
"Please, I -"
"No more begging."
He ground his hips against her before pulling back out and gliding in again, pulling another sob from her throat. He rocked into her with ragged, gasping moans, long knobby fingers grasping at the sheets and the side of her ribcage.
She bit her lip, ring clicking on her teeth, and wiggled enough to get her hand between their joined bodies, whimpering at the contact of her fingers on her aching clit. She shut her eyes, but Idris's palm firmly cradled her jaw. Her mouth went slack with a sigh from parted lips, and his thumb swiped and pressed against the labret ring.
He whispered, English forgotten, "Look at me," and her eyes opened, her vision immediately filled with his face. His lips and teeth parted, black eyes half-lidded. A slow smile lit up his weathered, lined features when her lashes fluttered and her body shuddered beneath his gaze, a soft moan accompanying every heavy thrust of his cock.
Ila's legs tensed and she fought to keep her eyes open, staring with an intensity that could finally - if only in that moment - match her father's. A slow, deep laugh rolled from his throat, and he tipped her chin up, still firmly held in his palm.
"Are you going to come, beautiful fawn?"
He leaned down closer, his hand trailing to wrap around her throat just as the pace of her hand stroking her clit sped up, just as he raised his hips and pulled her up with him, bottoming out in a steady rhythm that made his heavy balls plap against her ass. Long fingers squeezed the delicate column of her pale throat, and she gasped with near pained wheezes, her hand stopping between them and her thighs clenching tight against his hips. His fingers eased up.
"Fffuck, I want to, I want to -"
A laugh huffed from Idris cut her off, and his hand tightened around her throat again, choking her. A wicked grin glinted in the fading evening light. "Ooohh... You are edging on my cock... I can feel it."
His pace stuttered, then slowed, drawing out every drag of his hard shaft against wet, sensitive muscle. Idris tilted his head down to watch Ila's fingertips flutter over her slick clit, sighing at the sight. She felt his cock pulse inside of her, and he stopped with a shiver over his dark skin; clear black catching hazy lilac.
She whimpered with a little, abrupt nod of her head. Idris gnawed at his lower lip and he pressed himself down until their foreheads were touching, letting go of her neck to encircle her shoulders in his arms, one of his palms cradling the back of her head, fingers threaded through ivory white hair. He bottomed out again just as she gasped in a lungful of air.
His breath hitched, and his hips rolled in a sudden, steady pace that made Ila feel every vein, every groove along his twitching cock. Her fingers sped up, her cunt spasming around him just as he gasped, again.
"Yallah habibti, yallah, yallah -"
Ila's free hand gripped his hair so hard she was positive she'd pulled some of it out, but that didn't matter as his lean body tensed, pubic bone grinding against her. Her shout rent the air, then was muffled by the hand Idris untangled from her hair, pressed firm against her muzzle. He muffled his deeper roar against the sweat-slicked skin of her shoulder, crushing her to him in every which way he could. Heat flooded inside of her and radiated from where their bodies joined, her clit throbbing with her heartbeat beneath her fingertips, trapped between them.
She relaxed her hands and smoothed them down his nape and up from his groin as she panted, twitching and whimpering at every touch following her orgasm. He moaned with each short roll of his hips before he stilled, breath wheezed.
Ila melted beneath him as he pressed against her; his beard scratched her face; his lined mouth leaving lazy caresses on her flesh, tongue flicking out to taste salt. Both of them drew in deep lungfuls of air for several long, silent moments - a hand touched here, lips pressed there, skin and muscle alike shivering as the sheen of sweat on their bodies cooled in the fast fading light of dusk.
"G-god..." Ila opened bleary eyes and lolled her head to the side. Idris cracked open an eye and looked at her, a dazed smile on his face, half mashed against the striped pillow.
She paused, then hid her face behind her hands with sudden giggle. "F-fuck, you're still hard papa."
"Mhmmh." Was all Idris could manage in reply, his fingers smoothing over the curve of her hip. His cock twitched against her thigh and prompted a fuller, longer laugh from her.
"Round t-two, old man?"
He held up a hand and mumbled something that sounded a lot like give me a minute. She touched, held, then brought that hand to her mouth, pressing a kiss to each of his craggy knuckles.
Not too forward at all. You're very sweet - I've never talked with a reader like I've been talking with you, and the contact is... well, nice. My husband doesn't even know that I want to write what I do, and it can get very lonely.
I have been on the receiving end of that kind of cruelty. I didn't have pen names when I started writing a few years ago - and I started out by writing what I wanted. I didn't really think it would come back to bite me the way it did, heh. I did my thing and I had a small but dedicated reader base on a few fetish forums. Problems started when I published my work outside of those forums.
Some group dedicated tearing apart "bad" writing found me. I got threatening emails and people making social media posts about me - death and rape threats, naturally - and when I attempted to defend myself, it escalated. They found out where I lived and came to my campus. Didn't figure out the correct dorm, but they ended up slipping some really threatening notes underneath a friends' door that were meant for me. We both relocated off campus immediately after that. Living together was nice tho.
Everything stopped after I went private and took down all my writing. Then I scrubbed any connection to my pen names when I made them and, well, here we are. My husband is in his 70s; I wouldn't want to put my old man through that kind of stress if I decided to write what I want. I'm afraid of it happening again.
Gah, sorry. I don't get to talk about this with anyone... ever, really. The only person who knows is the friend who got caught in the crossfire with me. Thank you for caring, Khalid. <3
That night, Ila felt the prickles along her scalp that signaled she was being watched. Every time she turned her head, she was - and she'd catch Idris's dark, intense eyes. Sitting on the couch together; sitting in adjacent seats on their phone and laptop respectively; cooking and cleaning together; eating at the coffee table with some comedy show droning in the background.
Each time, she looked up when the feeling became unbearable; each time, she found his gaze. Each time, she would silently look away; this time, she held his stare for several long seconds. He didn't flinch - though, he never flinched. The surprising part was that she didn't flinch.
"What, baba?" Ila finally asked, a forkful of rice hovering in front of her mouth.
Idris didn't respond except to smooth his broad palm over her shoulders, breaking the spell when his eyes flickered away. Both of their attentions turned back to the TV, and she noted with a furrow in her brow a few minutes later that he hadn't touched his bowl.
Ila nudged him with her shoulder. "Are you hungry?"
"Mmh?" Idris blinked down at her, a frown tugging at the corners of his mouth.
She pointed at the bowl of untouched rice and roasted veggies in front of his clasped hands with her fork. "You're not eating - are you okay?"
He looked down and picked up the bowl, stabbing into it with his fork before answering. "I was lost in thought and forgot I had food, I am fine habibti."
There was an edge to his voice that made her gnaw at her lip, but she didn't say anything else. Getting distracted wasn't uncommon for him, so that was fine - but coupled with how much she caught him staring at her all evening, it didn't quite feel fine.
Later, before sleep, he gathered her against his chest. His breath puffed over her hair; his body a burning furnace at her back; his arms a steel-cable vice wound around her slight frame. Her fingertips traced one of the faded red roses tattooed on his forearm, then jumped to another, then a third, then her hand closed over the near invisible white ink rose in a cluster of dark, aggressively lined ones. Each rose felt different - a timeline-tapestry of harmonious aesthetics.
"Was your sleeve all done by the same artist?" She had never asked him about it before now; had never thought to ask. Idris had just always had the sleeve - it was as much a part of him to her as his eyes.
He moved behind her, shuffling to get comfortable - and comfortable for him meant pulling her even tighter against his broad chest, her head tucked under his chin. She didn't mind, and felt more than heard his rumbling reply.
"Yes... A young man who was recommended to me. I got the skull when I first came to the states. Each rose was after a successful Elk Garden tour. Short or long. The longer, the bigger the rose."
He tucked in his head and buried his hooked, crooked nose into her hair, breathing deep and even. "The little white rose was done after you were born... it is for you; it is you."
The corner of her lip quirked up, and she rubbed her thumb over the spot that looked bare at a glance. Unfinished - until you looked a little harder.
"Could I meet him?"
There was a heaviness that settled in the silence that followed her question. She smoothed her hand over the hair on his forearm, then tucked down her own head to plant a kiss on his knobby, veined hand.
"He died a few weeks after my last tattoo."
Ila felt her breath catch, heart stuttering in her chest. "Oh... I'm sorry, papa."
Idris nuzzled his nose and mouth against the crown of her head, his fingers clasping gently over her throat. "It is okay. We all knew it was coming... Cancer. He was not scared."
Ila didn't say anything - didn't really know what to say - and he kissed her hair and spoke again, voice a pensive roll at the back of his tongue.
"He did what he loved until the very end. He was honest."
He rubbed the column of her throat with gentle fingers and moved to lean over her, pressing a tender kiss just below her earlobe. She shivered and pressed back against him, her hands gripping at his knobby wrist.
"My heart, be honest about what you love and you will have no regret."
Ila shifted in his embrace and he let her go, watching with those same pitch, eerie eyes that had been watching her all night. She put her hand on his rough, gaunt cheek and pulled him down to kiss her, slow and quiet in the dark.
That is horrible. I wish I had better words in English to say how truly angry that makes me on your behalf. I am so sorry you went through awful treatment because of your writing. I am probably not very influential, but I do want to tell you that I think... I think that you should do what you think is right. You should do what you want to do.
I think I am at least a little proof that you would find people who would want to read your work as it is meant to exist. If I could, I would spare no expense to read what is in your heart - but still, not at the cost of your happiness. Do you think it would make you happy...?
It's okay. It's been a few years - I still look over my shoulder sometimes, but... Well, nothing has happened yet, hah. Knock on wood.
I've been stuck on a manuscript for a few weeks, to be honest. It's done - but it's the first thing I've seen through to the end as it was always meant to be. I haven't edited the characters to be anything less than what they are, and... I'm scared. I could take the easy way out and edit the work and the characters and then publish it, sure. But every time I do, I feel like a piece of me disappears. I used to write a lot more than I do now, when I was still going to school and I had a part time job on top of that.
I was writing what I wanted, though, for that small audience - the tips I got from those kind people were nice, too. Paltry compared to chasing mainstream appeal, I guess, but is it paltry if it makes me happy, and I can have security elsewhere...? Because it would make me happy. Very happy, and very scared.
I'm scared of putting my husband through hell - he already had to deal with a car accident I had a few years ago - and I don't want to stress him out with my outbursts because I'm scared and can't tell him why this time. I don't want to take the easy way out anymore though; writing this novel the way it's meant to be written has brought me more joy than words can express. Talking to you has bolstered my confidence about it, too, and I wanted to sincerely thank you for that. You've been a good friend to me, old man. ;)
There will always be negative reactions to what you want to make. Sometimes they will be very big and loud negative reactions. In spite of that, there is also a lot of positivity that can come from that too. You are not making hate speech, and you are not making threats to people. There are a lot of people who will appreciate the real, happy heart of Penny Naim. Or Naomi Lovelace. Or both! Hopefully both...? <3
I told my wife about you also. She was so ecstatic - and she was even more excited when I said you were going to publish a f/d book soon. She has been weaseling me to send you more money while she has been reading what I have already bought, heh. We are, ah, not a conventional couple in this regard. :)
You will probably get backlash, and that is okay... Or, it is not, but it is an inevitable consequence. Perhaps you should come clean to your husband and have his strength at your back. Just because he is old does not mean he is not strong. Something has been telling me that you and he are not a very conventional couple either, and people like us have to find support how ever we can.
The cursor hovered over the sleek, white publish button. Ila paced her office floor in a tight oval, teeth clicking on her piercing. She kept glancing up at her laptop monitor and holding her breath.
The cover had been finished a few days ago. The book itself had been finished for weeks, if not for her hemming and hawing. Khalid's email from the week prior had finally steeled her into publishing the book as it was meant to be published. Now, well - it was a matter of whether or not she could push the goddamned, stupid button.
Ila ran her fingers through her wavy white hair and considered not actually publishing this book, for probably the millionth time. It would be so easy - too easy - to pull the teaser material she'd been sharing. To edit the book, or to cancel it all together if she couldn't find it in herself to edit out another piece of her heart. It could be so easy, and no one would have to know -
In the end, she whirled around with an exasperated growl, wiggled the mouse to wake the computer back up, and slapped left-click on the stupid, shiny button. She stayed long enough for the page to load a confirmation window that it had been published, and then with nothing else needed on her end, slapped the laptop closed and bolted from the room to do anything and everything except find out the immediate reaction to the book.
That would have been what she did, if she hadn't also remembered that she had a smartphone in her hoodie pocket. She pulled it out and stared at the black screen, standing in the middle of the stairs. This was so stupid. She was a grown woman - and she couldn't even bring herself to look at what was probably, still, an empty notification dashboard.
The sounds of keyboard clacking came from the livingroom, serenading her trance of should I, or shouldn't I while she stood there in a black hoodie and no pants, her hair tired up into a sloppy bun, biting at her nail - before it stopped. The abruptness startled her, and she nearly dropped her phone. Idris leaned over to peer up at her from the couch.
"Ila, what are you doing...?"
Ila jumped again without a sound, hand over her heart, and caught Idris's owl-eyed stare with her own.
They stared at each other for several seconds, before Idris slowly spoke. "If you fall, I cannot get to you in time like I did when you were littler. Come here, habibti."
She winced and trudged down the stairs, phone still in her hand. At the bottom of the stairs, she crossed the distance to Idris while he watched her with a raised brow - then both of his gray brows lifted when she sat next to him on the green patterned cushions and all but crawled into his lap.
"Mmh. That kind of a day."
Ila nodded and felt Idris take her phone out of her hand, watching him lift his leg and use his bare foot to close his laptop. His long toes tapped it twice, and she couldn't help the giggle that erupted from otherwise mute vocal chords. He wiggled his toes at her, prompting a second, softer giggle.
Idris hummed some tune or another and settled back against the cushions, one of his arms cradling her back while the other stroked her hair. She melted against him and fell silent again, staring off at the wall in front of her adorned with photographs of the both of them.
"Think you will want to talk about whatever is...?"
She gave a halfhearted shrug, and he kissed the top of her head, without any words of his own as he reached for the remote and flicked the TV on.
For the next few days, Ila only stole glances at her email inbox for her pen name. Anything longer than a quick glance had her stomach roiling and heart racing. There were piles of receipts for the book - which shocked her - and tips left on top of that - which shocked her even more. There were, also, notifications from websites she frequented that she didn't dare click. She stayed on her normal accounts to do her normal editorial work, ignoring everything else.
It all worked out okay - until she glanced up one afternoon to a ping in her headset. Then another ping. Then another.
hey, there's uuuhhh prolly some shit you should see
figured I'd tell you before some crazy stranger got to you 3:
you holdin up okay?
Danni sent her a link, and her hands immediately started to shake, her breath caught up in her throat. She swallowed several times before averting her gaze from the link, opting to stare at her keyboard while typing instead.
tell me what's behind the link. I really, really don't want to click
am I in immediate danger or not?
I've been blacked out on social media since I published the book
define immediate danger?
Her heart leapt into her throat, a sob held at the back of her tongue. Ila loved Danni, but god dammit if she could be unhelpful sometimes.
do they know where I live or not
do they know my name or not
Several minutes passed while Dannisha's typing stopped and started. Ila attempted to distract herself by continuing her work, but after several failed attempts at reading a single sentence at all, she stopped and waited, shaking and nauseous.
huh okay it looks like they're just making fun of the work so far...
eesh, they're being real mean about it
that's not surprising and not the part I care about, tastes are subjective I guess lol
no different than when we bash bad books
okay, but we do that in private over a bottle of rum, not on a high traffic internet forum
with, y'know, intent to harass someone off the face of the internet over a book we don't like
what do you mean "oh"??
Ila ran her hands through her hair so much that, as she pulled it away, dozens of long white strands came with, pulled out in her anxious fidgeting. She made a face and tossed the hair into the wastebasket by her feet, crossing her legs up on the chair.
I'm trying to see if there's anything to worry about here or if it was another stupid false alarm
okay okay, went through the whole thread... And it was just a bunch of people whining about nothing. Really cruel, but - harmless
I thought like, maybe someone had found your rl name, but no. Someone else thought an unrelated author was you tho. Did I mention that author has been dead for over fifty years LOL
but yeah okay they're being mean and that's all. speculating about your life, blah blah blah
also ignore social media for a while. had my ear to the ground and been seeing you get dragged all across the ero writing community :(
tyvm just, please don't fucking scare me like that next time. gonna have a hell of a time putting my heart back in my chest where it fucking belongs
Ila near fell over in her relief. Mean, she could handle. People were mean all the time on the internet for stupid shit. That was fine.
She willed her palpitating heart to slow, taking several deep, even breaths through her nose, her eyes shut and forehead resting on her crossed arms in front of her laptop. She was fine, goddammit. Nothing bad was happening. No one knew where she lived. No one knew about her and Idris. It was all impotent anger over play pretend fiction that would die down soon.
She was not fine.
Idris did not comment on her reluctance to speak or to eat that night. He crooned ma'lesh at her, once, when she folded herself into his lap on the couch after dinner, watching the TV without really seeing it. An hour or two later, Idris shifted beneath her and she snapped to enough to scoot off of him. What had been hours felt like seconds - and what was only seconds felt like hours when he reappeared with a tub of ice cream and two spoons.
He held out the spoon and she gingerly took it, looking between it and his hand with a question in the knit of her brow while he settled down next to her. Her mind felt like mud, and she wasn't exactly sure what she was meant to do with the spoon until she watched Idris eat.
Ila pressed herself tight against his side, eating small spoonfuls of what was supposedly cookie dough ice cream - though she couldn't taste a damned thing - her father's long arm draped over her shoulders like a cloak. She felt like she was being pressed into the ground; like if he let go she'd float away. She could hardly remember five minutes later whether she'd actually eaten any of the ice cream at all, when Idris got up again to put it back in the freezer.
A short while later in the bedroom, Ila was playing a puzzle game on her phone while Idris rinsed off in the shower. Idris had been trying - and failing - to successfully decipher how the colorful little game worked, and her past explanations only confused him further. He liked seeing her look of concentration, regardless - especially right then, as he stepped back into the bedroom in a pair of boxers while toweling off his hair.
Ila looked up at him, humming in acknowledgment, a questionmark in her tone.
"Can you talk to me?"
The lights flicked off, and Ila hummed again, now a noncommittal noise on the back of her tongue. He slid into bed beside her, just as her phone vibrated in her hand. Confusion flashed across her face, and she tapped at the notification. Idris watched her in the stark light of her phone screen as several emotions crossed over her delicate features in the span of a minute - then gingerly reached for her phone when it fell from her shaking fingers.
At her first sob, Idris could no longer think or speak - only act. He moved with a slow kind of grace into a sitting position, then hauled her body into his lap fast as he dared, cradling her in a cocoon of his legs and arms. He wanted to chuck the phone out the window when she started sobbing against his chest in earnest, tears dripping onto his skin. He reached down on his side of the bed, grateful he'd just dropped the towel there, and set it between her face and his chest. He thought he heard her whimper out a hoarse thank you.
"Ma'lesh, ma'lesh," he whispered into the crown of her head, rocking back and forth. He held her so tight he nearly crushed her, hands rubbing firm, sweeping paths wherever he could.
She shivered in his embrace for several minutes, wiping her face and taking shallow breaths through her mouth between bouts of weeping, before she finally spoke for the first time in hours. "G-give me my phone."
"No," he growled, a dangerous edge in his voice. Ila shook her head, splaying her hand over his tattooed bicep with a shuddery, wheezing exhale.
"N-no - give it t-to me s-so I can s-show you," she rasped. Idris reluctantly held her phone in front of her, but didn't let go of it, watching her. She sniffed, unlocked it, and navigated to the screen that had caused her enough pain to reduce her to terrified hysterics. He held his breath and squinted at the text, his other arm tightening around her body.
A modest email greeted him; two lines. I know where you live, fucking incest freak, and his own home address staring back at him.
His jaw clenched several times, he swallowed, and he exhaled from between his teeth.
She started to babble, before he could string together any kind of coherent speech in English or Arabic. "I-I write books, a-and I have since I went to college - r-remember when Danni and I m-moved out of the dorms?"
Ila shook her head again, frantic. He set her phone on his nightstand, trailed his knuckles over her temple, and waited for her to find her breath again.
When she did, it was another whimper before she spoke, her voice cracking. "I write r-romance books, and -"
"N-no, no, you don't understand baba, I h-have pen names, and I've been writing books under them, a-and -"
"I know that, Ila."
She froze. Several more moments of silence passed between them, and if Idris hadn't known better, he would have thought that she'd turned to stone in his lap.
"You - you know?" Ila sat up, a slow kind of horror and relief in tandem etched in her posture in the dark, in the rough whisper of her voice.
Idris's knuckles trailed over her cheek, then his palm gripped her jaw - firm enough to hold her steady, but never more than that. He could feel her shaking under his touch, and it made his heart ache.
"I am so proud of you, my heart," he rasped in Arabic.
Ila gave a shuddering laugh then, and he felt renewed tears streak down her cheeks, flowing into his palm. He used his thumb to wipe them away, and she gripped at his wrist with trembling fingers, her nails digging into his skin.
"K-Khalid. Really?" Her voice was firm and raw. When he didn't reply, she laughed and sobbed in succession.
"I am eternal though I cannot promise forever," Idris said after a sustained pause, a hint of humor in his voice. She smacked his chest with a half-sob.
He stroked her and pulled her close again after another frustrated really!? grit out from between her teeth, her face buried in the towel. She wept on and off for a long while after that, her nails purposefully digging into his skin, her breath rattling through thick congestion. She finally let emotions she'd bottled up for days, weeks - years - pour from her with every long, piercing keen; every bout of quaking that spiraled through her aching muscles.
At some point, Idris grabbed both of her wrists in one of his hands to stop her from clawing at him. And, when she settled to sniffling against his chest, limp and quiet, he dipped his head and pressed his lips to her hair.
"Do you want to get tea darling?"
She shuffled gingerly out of his lap onto wobbling legs without reply.
"I do not like my daughter keeping secrets from me."
He set her steaming mug down and took the seat opposite her, both of them seated at the dark oak table in the dining room adjacent to the living room. Ila winced even as she glared up at him, defiant despite her blotched, red face and shadow-heavy eyes. The only light on downstairs was the warming light above the stove and a dim lamp on a shelf, casting long, eerie shadows all around them.
Idris raised an eyebrow at her, and tilted his head to look over the rim of his glasses. "I do not like my wife keeping secrets from me, either."
Ila pulled the white and black checkered mug closer, twirling the spoon in the spiced chai. "It was none of your business in the first place," she hissed. He snorted and leaned back, crossing his arms over his broad, sinewy chest.
"How about: I do not like my daughter - nor my wife - keeping secrets from me that could hurt us."
Ila clicked her nails on the ceramic mug, then scrubbed at her face with the heel of a hand, deflating. She probably looked so small, swimming in that ratty t-shirt of his in her seat. She certainly felt like it, being half scolded like this and far too tired to keep up any kind of fight.
She took a deep, shuddery breath before responding. "I... I learned from the first time papa. I did."
She cleared her throat, then rattled off everything she could think of, counting on her fingers. "I got a P.O. box; I use my pen name everywhere; Penny Naim has no connection to Ila Al-Fasih; Danni isn't even public about painting at all -"
"Danni is the artist?"
Ila paused under his intense scrutiny, then nodded slowly. What she had not been expecting was for him to start grinning.
"Tell her the covers are lovely and I love how she paints my nose." He sounded genuinely enthused, and Ila stared at him for several bewildered seconds before continuing.
"... only her papa Darnell knows, and the only thing anyone even vaguely has on me is that I posted early incest writing under Ila Al-Fasih, like an idiot." She winced, and this time there was no malice when she glanced up at him.
Idris hummed and leaned forward to stir his tea. He brought the steaming mug to his lips and sipped, watching her do the same.
"How... Hmh. Accurate?"
"Yes, legitimate, is the email?"
Ila stared down at her mug for a while, worrying her lip.
"It... Could be a coincidence," she said slowly, tapping her spoon against the side of the mug as she stirred, "since I... I do still get weird - sometimes threatening - emails on my normal account. The - the one I do my editing job from. I'd thought it was a client at first..."
She thought for a few minutes more, squinting at a spot on the table before she slapped a hand on her forehead with a groan. Idris watched her over the lip of his matching mug.
"I know who it is. It's all the same fucking guy."
Idris quirked a brow, taking another sip. Ila started talking - with her voice and her hands.
"I went to school with this ratty little bastard named Michael," she wrinkled her nose in distaste, staring past Idris's head and gesturing at the wall, "and he found out about why I was getting harassed. Only me and Danni were supposed to know. He's been pulling shit like this ever since."
She barked a laugh and dropped her head into her hands, rubbing at her eyes. "So much shit happened over the last few years that I completely fucking forgot about him. I thought it was multiple people tag-teaming me every few months for no fucking reason, since I never responded."
Ila sniffed and looked up, resting her cheek on her knuckles. "He probably got our address from my public work page and wanted to scare me. All that other shit though, uh -"
She spread her hands, then slumped forward on her knuckles again. "The rest of the backlash is real, so... That sucks. Guess I'm avoiding that account for a while."
She tapped her bottom lip with the back of the spoon, then quirked her own brow, speaking more to herself than Idris. "Well. I have been getting a lot of tips and a lot of people have been buying the book. It's not all bad, I guess."
Idris finished his tea and sucked on his teeth. Ila watched the gears turn in his head as he stared over at the kettle on the stove behind her. After a minute of silence, his dark eyes turned on her and he spoke in slow, halting tones.
"Make sure that is all it is, please..."
Ila held up the hand not holding her face, shaped it like a puppet, and mimed someone speaking. "Golly gee Ila, your name sure is funny! You don't look like your dad is an Arab! I'm very smart and original."
She paused, eyes glazing over for half a second, before her lip curled in disgust and she continued. "You're, um, really pretty though! Glad your dad doesn't force you to wear a headscarf or whatever those things are. Really great that he lets you go to school, too!"
Another pause, and she dragged a hand down her face, fingers catching in her lower lip while she stared at Idris, baleful. "Hey, I got you these flowers! Wanna go get a coffee sometime? Wait, you have a date already? You've had a few since we spoke last? They were all older men!? Your dad probably picked them all because you can't make choices for yourself! I'll have you know, I am a good man -"
She dropped her hand and leaned back in her chair, holding the mug to her chest. "Somehow he figured out what I was being harassed for a few months later and the messages I had already been getting got a lot more... Personal."
Idris watched her for a minute, then his lip twitched up as he stood, walking around the table to get to the stove. "Mmh. Bet he thinks I tie you up in the basement?"
Ila sputtered on her tea just as she'd drained her cup, coughing and waving at Idris. He chewed at a cuticle as he picked up the brass kettle and her mug, taking them both to the sink. "We don't have a basement," Ila wheezed.
He looked over his shoulder at her, a grin deepening the wrinkles in his dark skin, glasses reflecting the shimmer of the lamp behind them both. "Ah, see, I have not told you about it. If I did, then you could escape before I tied you up properly."
Ila swiveled around in her chair, then held out her arms over the back of it, wrists together and hands balled into fists. Her face was completely blank besides. "Oh no. I'm so scared."
"... Wait a minute."
"Mmh?" Idris huffed against the back of Ila's neck.
They'd returned to the bedroom in an attempt to get some kind of rest, though it was already four in the morning and neither of them were certain they would find sleep any time soon. Ila turned and looked over her shoulder at him, catching the faint glow of street lamps through the window in his shadowed eyes.
"You bought my erotica, right?"
He yawned and stretched to his full length, feet dangling off the end of their California king. "Mhmm...?"
"Did you... Have you..." She bit her lip and raised one hand into his line of sight, her fingers cupping the air in a circular shape. She mimed jerking off with a tiny snort, longer than was necessary.
Idris pressed his face against her neck, a quiet laugh rumbling against bare skin. "Maybe."
"... Oh. Oh my god."
"You write very good. There was one that was very... Engaging." Idris shuffled closer to her back, pressing his hips against her thigh with a soft growl. "Something about Rahim forcing Akilah to her knees...?"
Before Ila could reply, his hand clamped over her mouth. She could feel his smile against her neck, could hear the laugh in his voice when he moved to lean over her in the dark. She made a series of muffled noises against his palm - and licked it, for good measure - and he still didn't budge.
"When he fucks her in the alley and she calls him papa for the first time..."
Ila whined and attempted to bite him - but her teeth slid harmlessly against flat skin held tight over her mouth. He kissed the shell of her ear in response.
"The collar story was cute, habibti. Very... Personal." Two long fingers snaked under the simple band of metal encircling her neck and tugged. "You are so opaque."
"Trasspareh," Ila said against his palm. He let go of her mouth after she started incessantly licking it and wiped the drool on the sheet with a soft grunt.
Idris settled into his original position at her back, one arm thrown over her petite body, the other beneath her pillow and cradling her head. Several moments passed in silence, punctuated by the sounds of cars going by on the street below.
"Thank you," Ila murmured in the dark.
Idris's crooked nose rubbed at her nape, teeth nipped at her.
"Telling the truth, I did not... Mnn - I did not know you were Penny. I had a feeling. Acting on assumption would not have been wise," his breath caressed her skin, and she felt his lips press and hold against her shoulder, "I wanted to support how ever I could."
"What will you do now?" He asked a moment later, mumbling muffled by her skin.
Ila brought his hand up to her lips, kissing each of his knuckles in turn.
"Keep writing, I guess."
"What you want to write?"
His left hand emerged from under the pillows and they both shuffled so that she could hold his left in hers, fingers interlaced, palm to palm. Silver on each of their fingers reflected what little light it could.
"Nothing less than that, Khalid."
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