August 2, 2012

Carters 8 - Round 24

Emily had run into a fun bunch of kids at a premier she'd attended.  She'd had so much fun goofing around with them, she'd invited them all back to her house for another get-together.  She was having a blast!

Uh oh, the kids are home, she thought absently.  That meant that...

"Archie!" Emily said, startled to see him beside her.  "I didn't know you where home yet!"

Archie leaned close and tried to speak over the blaring music.  "Can I see you in the other room, please?"

Emily flashed a smile at the group and then followed her obviously irate husband to their bedroom.

"God, Emily! Who are those kids? They look like college students!" Archie exclaimed in disgust.

Emily rolled her eyes.  "Hardly! They've all recently graduated!"

Archie shook his head.  "When are you going to act your age, Emily?"

"Act my age?!" she huffed.  "I don't have to act my age! All I'm doing is having fun and talking to people.  I don't know why you have such a problem with that!  I'm still the same person I was when we met all those years ago!" Stabbing her finger at her chest, she accused, "You're the one who's changed, Mr. Fuddy Duddy!"

Archie was taken aback when Emily yelled back and then insulted him.  "Fuddy duddy?" he asked, hurt.  "I'm a fuddy duddy because I've gone to work every day in my life and strived to provide for my family?"  Shaking his head, he headed out to his office to read. 

Emily was furious.  Constantly through the years, Archie had always tried to change her! It was a source of constant friction & she was tired of worrying whether or not Archie would approve.

Throwing open her closet, she searched for something that would really get his blood pounding.

Smiling, she chose the most outrageous  top she had.  There.  That would teach him, she thought smugly.

"Mom! Wow! You look amazing!" Neil said when he saw her. 

"Aw, thank you dear!" she said, touched.  "Why not go play with your brother.  Have some fun!" 

(What you don't see is that Emily takes every chance to encourage her kids to be playful, whereas Archie takes every opportunity to encourage his kids to be serious.   Kind of entertaining!)

Emily wasn't surprised the next day when Archie had a group of their college friends over.  Perhaps he was trying to remind her to act her age.  She scowled.

Just because they were in their 50's didn't mean they had to sit around and be boring!  Emily had great pleasure breaking out the bubble blower hookah.

Amelia watched her Mom flit around the party, playing around with everyone and having fun. 

When she grew up, she wanted to be just like her!

And if there wasn't technically a rule in place about sneaking out in the middle of the night, was it really breaking one?  Her folks had never actually told her not to leave after bed-time...

"Grant! What's wrong with you," Gayle fumed.  "I told you, I don't want to work on that stupid project."

Grant hung his head.  "But, Gayle. It's supposed to be both of us!  And I don't want to make a bad grade."

"Then do it yourself!" Gayle nodded towards Ronan, the college student behind her.  "I have better things to do with my time!"

Grant tried one more time to make Gayle see reason, but she'd angrily jumped his case and told him to do it himself.

Fine, Grant fumed, I'll do it myself. But, she's going to do the stupid poster for it!  Stupid science fair.

Amelia had a much better time at the party!  She flitted around the room, playing with everyone like she had seen her Mom do.  And it was working!  Everyone loved her!

Especially the boys! 

Grant's bad luck seemed on the verge of changing when Makayla Reed seemed to flirt with him when he'd been walking to the bathroom.

"Me?" he asked, looking around.  "You're talking to me?"

Makayla had smiled shyly.  "Who else silly?" she said.  "We're the only ones here!"

Grant closed his eyes and leaned in for a kiss, horrified when Makayla had leaned back.  

"What? I thought that you liked me," he said, confused.

Makayla bit her lip.  "I do, but I thought we'd get to know each other first.  I don't want to rush things," she'd said before turning around and running back to the safety of her friends.

"Damn," Grant muttered under his breath.  Looks like his bad luck was here to stay!

Amelia, of course, seemed to be having much better luck!

Hearing the car pull up in front of her house, she grinned at Cash McMillan.  "Let's get together later. Gotta run!"

The party was long over, with Neil & Grant in bed.  But, Archie was concerned because Amelia had gone missing.

"I told you, she's probably just out with some friends," Emily said.

Archie was furious. "You're not worried in the least? That she just up and took off without permission?  Irresponsible! That's what it is!" Archie's voice got progressively louder. Oh, he was on a roll.  Hearing a door slam in the front, he jumped up and looked out the window.

And there was his baby girl being lead to the door by a police officer!  He couldn't believe it!

"Of all the irresponsible, selfish, inconsiderate things you have ever done, this one takes the cake! Do you know how worried I was?! I thought someone might've kidnapped you and taken you away! What would you have done then?!"

"But, Daddy..." Amelia tried to interrupt. 

"You're grounded! For a year! No, until you graduate!"

"But, Daddy..." she tried again.

Archie paused, then shut his eyes tight.  "I am so disappointed in you, Amelia."

Amelia hated to see her Dad like that.  "I'm sorry," she said as she hung her head.  She trudged in behind him and collapsed on the couch next to her Mom, watching her Dad walk to his room.

"Boy, I sure messed up this time," she said weakly.

Emily made a face.  "He came down hard?"

"Yeah, he said he was disappointed. And that I'm grounded."

Emily sighed.  "I'll go talk to him.  He shouldn't have been so hard."

"Really?! Thanks Mom!" Amelia said as she bounced up and hugged her Mom.  "You're the best!"

But, it wasn't going well for Emily.

"So you think that I should just let her off the hook so that she doesn't ever learn to accept responsibility?" he accused.

Emily shrugged. "Well I wouldn't say that.  But, it was her first time. She made a mistake.  We have to give her room to grow or she'll be stifled!"

"Like you're stifled?!" Archie yelled.

Emily bristled.  "I didn't say that either!  And while we're at it, why don't you just admit who you're really angry with right now!  And it's not Amelia!"

Archie sighed and said quietly,  "I saw her tonight turning out to be like you.  Never thinking about their actions or how it affects people, always dreaming of her next adventure.  And it scared me."

Emily was speechless.  Was that how Archie saw her?  Where had they gotten so off-track? Slowly, she searched for the right words.  "Well, if that's how you feel, then maybe we need to think about what we're doing here."

Archie hung his head and quietly replied, "Maybe we do..."

Emily couldn't hear anything else Archie said over a loud ringing in her ears.  Turning on her heel, she went to lay down.

The kids didn't even suspect a thing, Emily thought.  It was just business as usual.  They had friends over & enjoyed their youth.

Good, she thought.  That's what they're supposed to be doing!

Archie watched his daughter flit around the room, talking and flirting with her friends.  He saw the smiles on peoples faces as she worked her magic.  Perhaps he'd been too harsh on her... and Emily...

Could it be inconsiderate & selfish if you were spreading happiness & cheer?

Putting the dishes down in the sink, he went to find Emily to talk.

"I don't know how many times you're going to be right, Emily.  Probably a million more times, since I'm such a doddering old fool," Archie said, drawing her close to him.  "Will you forgive me a million more times?"

Emily smiled.  "Well, since you're my doddering old fool, I suppose I'll have to forgive you. But, seriously Archie, are you happy with me?  You made it sound like you couldn't stand me!"

Archie gathered his wife to him.  "I love you! You make me a better man! If it weren't for you, I'd live in a cave with only books."

Emily kissed his lips.  "Well, for what it's worth, you make me a better woman.  If it weren't for you, I'd probably run around without any clothes on yelling 'woohoo!'"

Archie's eyebrows shot up.  "Well, now.  I say that's a fine idea!  Let's talk about that some more!"

"What'd you think?" Amelia asked Shawn.

Shawn leaned in real close and whispered in her ear, "I think I'd love to make out with you."

Wow, she thought.  Boys her age didn't usually skip straight to offers to fool around.  Normally they were in awe of her, so they tiptoed towards the goal line. 

"I'll think about it," she said coyly.

Shawn shrugged, as if it didn't matter to him in the least, and walked away.  "You know my number if you change your mind."

Grant was sure his luck was going to change this time!  Makayla actually agreed to come over! She'd been alittle cool towards him since his fumbling attempt at a kiss.

This time he was going to impress her!  His brother Neil said that girls liked to be wooed.

So, here goes wooing, Grant winced as he dropped to one knee and serenaded Makyala.

Then, standing up, he'd given her a sweet, chaste kiss on her lips.

He was in love!

Amelia couldn't stand the temptation that Shawn had dangled in front of her.  She'd anxiously waited for him to show up outside her house & then nervously leaned in for her first kiss.

It didn't take her very long to get the hang of it...

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