SUNSET ROOM - MAIN BALLROOM
"Randy, are you and Maggie
enjoying yourselves?" Corinne Campbell casually asked her
daughter's date. "You two have been awfully quiet."
"Yes, ma'am," Randy
Lamont replied, slightly uncomfortable with making small talk with
Eliza's mother. He reached up and tugged at his collar.
"This penguin suit is a little tight, but other than
"I see." She nodded
silently as she continued to watch him and then turned to her
daughter. "Eliza, would you please go and get me another
glass of wine?"
Campbell muttered, less than thrilled about the prospect of leaving
her boyfriend alone under her mother's overly watchful eye.
Corinne and Randy stood in silence
as Eliza trudged away, leaving them alone to chat. Once Eliza
was a safe distance away, her mother took a deep breath before
"You and my daughter have been
dating for several months now, I believe?"
"Yes, ma'am," Randy
muttered, not quite able to bring himself to look up at her.
"I take it that you two have
Randy shuffled his feet on the floor. He'd never really talked
to Eliza's mother before outside of a few passing "hellos."
He was quickly beginning to understand why.
"Well, from what my daughter
says, it's serious." Corinne lifted her head slightly and
looked at him directly. "You haven't been leading her on,
Corinne paused for a moment,
evaluating his response and reaction. "You're a couple of
years older than Eliza. You just graduated high school, didn't
"Um...yes, ma'am," he
nodded and then looked away, silently praying for Eliza to hurry back
and pull him away from the interrogation.
"You must be looking forward
to college in the fall."
swallowed hard. "I'm not going to college."
"I...um...really can't afford
it." He looked down at his feet. "I mean, my
brother offered to pay for it, but I...um...don't want him to use the
money Mr. Callison gave him from my brother's real father."
"I see." Corinne's
eyes narrowed and she tapped her chin with her index finger.
"Then I assume that you've been working? What kind of work
do you do?"
why did Eliza have to run off and leave him alone with her?
"I've been...um...helping my brother Burt around the stables and
"So you don't actually have a real
looked down at his watch. It'd only been a few minutes, but his
time with Mrs. Campbell had seemed like an eternity. "Jobs
aren't exactly easy to come by. I mean...I mean I've looked
around a bit, but I...um...haven't really found anything."
"So what you're saying is that
you've just graduated from high school, you're not going to college,
you don't have a job, and you honestly don't have any job prospects on
your horizon?" Corinne nodded with each statement as if she
were punctuating a point. "And you're dating my
"I see." She
inhaled deeply as she evaluated the information. Then she shook
her head. No, this would most definitely not do.
"Now, look, Randy, I'm sure you're a very nice young man, but I
honestly don't think that you're the type of boy my daughter should be
getting serious about."
"Excuse me?" Randy
felt his face flush. Was she telling him that he wasn't good
enough for Eliza?
"Let me explain myself
better." She folded her arms across her chest and all but
glared at him. "I don't think a directionless young man
with absolutely no goals in life has any business being involved with
my daughter. And, whether you realize it or not, it's obvious
that Eliza is very serious about you. I don't think those kind
of feelings are appropriate given the circumstances. She's
barely sixteen and you're, what, eighteen?"
"Yes, ma'am, but..."
"I'm sorry, Randy, but I don't
think I can permit my daughter to continue seeing you. I don't
think it's in her best interests."
"Mother!" Eliza shouted
in anger, having walked up on them in mid-conversation, hearing
practically every word Corinne had said. "How dare you say
things like that to Randy!"
"Eliza, dear, I'm only looking
out for you," Corinne casually commented. "You're too
young to be serious about anyone, let alone some poor farm boy with no
prospects in life. I can't in good conscience permit this
relationship to continue."
Eliza stood with her mouth hanging
open in disbelief. She was mortified. How could her mother
say such things? How could she treat Randy like that? To
say that Eliza was furious beyond all belief would have been an