We've been on the road together for four years, and I now realize that Ellie has come to replace my wife in my heart. Daughter. I mean daughter.
Hard to believe Ellie's eighteenth birthday is already upon us. I hope she'll like her gift. Scavenging the ruins of a Victoria's Secret the other week I found an unopened shipping container. The bras and panties were in perfect condition after all these years! I couldn't help but notice, in a very normal, paternal way, that Ellie could really use a bigger braw. (Again!)
She wasn't as happy to get her gift as I hoped she'd be. She had to go and make the whole thing feel awkward. I offered to help her try it on, but she said No in a manner that was more forceful than I felt was necessary.
"You don't have to go and get all weird about it," I said. "You should be proud. You will be able to supply a lot of milk for your offspring, which is very important in these hard times. Also, they will help you attract an athletic, high-status mate. Along with your narrow waste and child-bearing hips. Always put to use that which is useful. That's a philosophy that has served me well."
"You're starting to creep me out, all this focus on how I'm developing."
"What? What are you on about? Jesus, don't make this difficult, Ellie. They're just really starting to bounce as we run away from Clickers. And when I was pushing you around that flooded tunnel on a pallet the other day, those things strained your shirt so much it looks like the buttons were going to pop right off. I couldn't believe it. They've doubled in size in like the last six months!"
"Stop talking about this! And I want you to stop asking if you can get into my sleeping bag with me."
"That's just to keep warm, Ellie. It's Survival 101."
"Does pressing your boner against my thighs when I'm sleeping also help keep you warm?"
"Ellie, when a man is asleep he gets erections throughout the night. It can't be helped. That's just biology. You probably don't know that because you haven't gone to school like I have."
"What about the time I woke up and you had your face buried in my cleavage and were going 'nom nom nom?' "
"Uh, I was just having a dream of my infancy, before these hard times came."
"And then that time after we escaped those runners and I was showering in that waterfall. I looked over and you were hiding in the bushes, watching me."
"I told you, I was looking for signs of the Infection on you."
"I'm immune, you creepy old man. And why were the bushes shaking like that?"
"Don't call me a creepy old man! I told you... you can call me... 'Daddy'. Come on and try it. It's fun. Call me Daddy. Say it. Please say it."
"A single man wanting desperately to travel alone with a teenage girl is a little suspect."
"Ellie... this is completely not weird at all."
"Sorry, Joel. I'm going back to the cannibals."
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