"There's my Graduate!" Charles gushed as he hugged his little girl. "All grown up now!"
"Daaaaaad," Heather complained. "You're embarrassing me!"
"Where's all your bags, dear?"
Heather cleared her throat. "I've been wanting to talk to you about that," she said nervously. "You know I've been seeing Caleb... and well... I'm going to move in with him..." Heather watched her Dad nervously, waiting to see his reaction. The silence was killing her. She rushed on, "If that's okay with you!"
Charles shook his head and tried to smile, "Of course! Caleb is a fine young man. But, I hope there's an engagement and wedding on the way. I don't need to speak to him, do I?"
"Oh God no!" Heather gasped.
"Okay. Well, go find your sisters and tell them to get ready for dinner. I'll go find your Mother." Heather watched her Dad walk off and knew that was code for 'I'm going to go discuss you with your Mother.' Sighing, she went off to find Cora and Nicole.
Charles cleared his throat. "Michael, would you go see if your sisters are ready?"
Cheryl smiled. "It's so good to have the family back together!"
"About that, dear. I just wanted you to know that Heather has decided to move in with Caleb."
"Oh dear," Cheryl worried. "Our little girl is growing up!"
Michael looked across the table at his sister Nicole. "You haven't touched your chili!"
Nicole sneered down at the chili. "Are you kidding? I'm not eating this! It'll kill my figure!"
Michael rolled his eyes. "Riiiiiight."
"Sooo... umm.... what are you reading?"
Cora glanced over. "Oh this really good book about aliens and death rays."
"Oh cool! I like sci-fi, too!"
Cora looked confused. "No, it's non-fiction. It's about their studies to see if life exists on Mars."
"Oh." Martin sighed.
Nicole wouldn't be caught dead actually picked up a book. There were too many other... more interesting... past-times!
"Is she always this late?" he asked.
Cora glanced up from her book. "Yeah. She thinks it adds to her mystique."
Ryan laughed. "Good to know!"
Cora smiled and Ryan was struck by how pretty she was when she didn't look so serious.
Just then, Nicole flounced out. "Alright, I'm ready!" she announced. "Let's go!"
Seeing her, he popped up and smiled. "Hey. Just who I was waiting to see," he said.
Cora felt her heart flutter. "Oh?" she asked nervously.
"Yeah. I need to talk to you!"