"Grace, where have you been? It's
late." Douglas called out as she walked in the door and slumped down
in a chair.
"I went to The
Well." She thought
again about Dane and the horrible embarrassment she'd felt after meeting his
girlfriend Sara. "I really don't want to talk about it."
"Honey, are you upset about
something?" He put his newspaper down and sat down beside her on the
arm rest. "You know you can talk to me about anything. I'm here
for you, kid."
"Why does everyone have to treat me like I'm
twelve?" she snapped as she bolted from the chair and rushed to the other
side of the living room. "I'm almost 18 and I'm going to college in
the fall. I am not a child! I am a grown woman and I am more
than capable of taking care of myself!"
"Whoa, there, calm down. I wasn't
trying to imply that you couldn't. Look, I don't care if you're fifty,
you'll always be my little sister and I'm always gonna worry about you.
Anybody in this world gives you trouble, you let me handle 'em. That's
what big brothers are for!"
"I know." She relaxed and slowly
allowed the stress of the evening to drain from her body. "It's just
that I've had to depend on you to take care of me for so long. Mom and Dad
sure didn't do a very good job of it. I guess I'm just tired of being the
kid sister and the one that everyone needs to take care of. Douglas, you
need to find someone else to love and focus your attentions on. You've
been so concerned about me and my well being for so long that you've neglected
to take care of what you need."
"And what do I need?" He leaned
forward in the chair to listen to what she had to say. She always had such
keen observations. If only she could apply those observations to her own
personal choices, maybe he wouldn't have to worry about her so much. True,
she was practically an adult, but she was still so naive about lots of things.
"You need a woman. You need a
girlfriend or a wife. You need someone who can love you with all their
heart. You need to have your own life separate from mine."
Douglas couldn't help but laugh.
"Actually, honey, I've been thinking about
that very subject." He sat back in the chair and lost himself in
thought for a moment. "I'm working on taking care of that. In
fact, I think I've found the perfect woman."