Double Dating With The Parents - Version Alpha
Chapters : 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | Epilogue
"Dad? You promised that when I was sixteen I could start dating. I've been sixteen two whole weeks and it's time we discussed this again."
Bob Thurlow looked over his shoulder at his daughter, Amanda, who was supposed to be doing homework at the kitchen table while he prepared their supper.
"Which class, exactly, requires you to contemplate your dating future?" he asked, dryly.
"None of them," she said. Mandy was a very practical girl, and didn't go in much for sarcasm. Actually, she had a hard
time detecting sarcasm. She took everything literally.
"Do your homework now. We'll talk about modifications to our earlier contract while we eat," said Bob.
"Modifications? What kind of modifications? You said I could start dating when I was sixteen."
"I said that because I thought you'd be mature enough to handle dates when you were sixteen. I'm not so sure that's the case. It
may be better to wait for the next decade to get here."
"Next decade?! You can't be serious, Daddy. The next decade doesn't start for five more years!"
"Precisely," said Bob, smugly.
"You want me to wait to date until I'm twenty?!" The outrage in her voice was genuine.
"Finish your homework and we'll negotiate during supper. I might let you out of the house with a boy when you're
She finally got it. He didn't tease her all that much, like Jennifer's father did. Jennifer was her best friend, and her father teased her all the time. Most of what Amanda had learned about teasing in her relatively short life had come from Jennifer's dad. But her own daddy didn't act like that very often. In fact, in Amanda's opinion, her father wasn't like "most men", at least not like the fathers her friends all described. Nor did he match the description of men she kept hearing about from other sources. She had heard the phrase, "men all just want one thing," many times, and she'd seen evidence of that in most of the boys she knew. There were also several men she was acquainted with who displayed those qualities that most girls get warned about in one way or another. Those were the men who looked at her in ways that made her get shivers down her spine, now and then.
But not her dad. He didn't date. He didn't go out to bars and pick up women. As far as she could tell, he had no sex drive at all. Other
than being a teacher, all he ever did was go out to that dirty, nasty Boggy Creek place, where he worked with other volunteers to "reclaim" it. He
always came back filthy and stinky, which was why she always said, "No thanks!" when he invited her to come along and become a volunteer too.
She still had questions, but she knew he wouldn't answer them until he was ready. So she got back to her algebra and finished the
problems Miss Thompson had assigned. She found those problems ridiculously easy, which was probably why her mind had wandered off to think about
Jack Ross. Jack was in her social studies class, which Mister Hardy taught. Mister Hardy, in fact, was one of those men she knew who did
display all the traits of the "horny male" she'd heard so much about. He was forever checking out the girls in his class. He
also flirted with them, though that was as far as he took it. At least as far as she knew. He also loved to talk about how different cultures looked
at sex, and went on and on about that in class.
found boys interesting for years. But not like
Jack Ross. Jack made her stomach feel funny, when he smiled at her or
"Hi" in the halls, or in class. Just today she had found herself
wishing he was in her physical science class, so they could be lab
that was what had made her think about dating. And
with so little of the school year left, if she was going to be able to
boy out in person, it needed to be soon.
about ready?" asked Bob.
she said, slamming the book closed. She
gathered up all her books and stuffed them back into her back pack. She
it by the door, where she would pick it up on her way out the next
being told to, she slipped easily into her
role in the two person family that she belonged to. She quickly set the
as her father scooped the hamburger helper from the skillet into a
microwave beeped, and she went to it to remove the green beans she
her father put in there. Next she snagged the bread from the counter,
it in the bag so it wouldn't dry out, and dropped that in its
on the table. Last, she got the butter from the fridge and set it by the
sat down at the same time, automatically reaching
to hold hands as they bowed their heads and Bob said grace.
ate a few forkfuls of each thing on her plate, and
buttered a piece of bread, before she judged it was safe to probe again.
... when can I go on my first date?"
brings this on?" he asked.
said I could. Now I want to."
be straight with you, Sweetheart. When boys
and girls get together in private, Mother Nature has plans for them,"
talking about procreation," said
Amanda. While sarcasm might fly right past her, she wasn't stupid by
any stretch of the imagination.
I don't want to procreate," said
Amanda. "I just want to go on a date."
do you mean? Why does anybody want to go on
a date? To have fun with a boy I like. Duh, Dad."
boy?" asked Bob. "I haven't heard
you talk about any boys before this."
has to be a first time for everything,
Daddy," she said.
the first time she felt nervous. She'd imagined
going somewhere with Jack ... being alone with him. The problem was
she'd heard all sorts of things about what boys and girls did while
out on dates, she had absolutely no experience with that herself. She
dive into the dating pool. But she had no idea whether she and Jack
"click" or not. Her dad mentioned this boy or that, every so often,
usually speaking of him in a disparaging way. Some were lazy. Some were
troublemakers. Some were rude, or disrespectful to teachers. There were
reasons why her dad was unimpressed with some of the boys in school.
What if he
didn't like Jack? Was Jack in any of the English classes he taught at
High School? What if he said no, because of some personality trait he
in the boy that he didn't like? Suddenly, she was nervous. She felt the
pressure of making a decision that could have consequences she wouldn't
does it matter?" she asked, evasively.
had always tried to shoot straight with his
daughter. She had only been a month old when her mother, Trudy,
because of post-partum depression, had taken half a dozen too many
pills. The death certificate said "accidental" on it, but she had
been much too intelligent to overdose that way by accident and then
on top of it.
any case, he had been left to raise his daughter
and, without a mother to help, he'd had to fill both roles in the
life. Because of that, he'd been very open and frank with her. He
anything from her about her mother, or life in general. It was his
a child forewarned was a child more likely to succeed.
was one exception to this rule. He had never had
"the talk" with her. When she'd started having periods, he had told
her what that meant, and what to do about it, but it had all been very
scientific, going so far as to look everything up on the internet so
see what ovaries and a womb and everything associated looked like, and
they were, and how they fit into her life as a female.
he'd never talked to her about erotic intimacy. It
was the one area of life that was "too hard" for him to take on.
didn't mean he wasn't aware that, sooner or later,
he'd have to discuss such things with
her. He just kept making that later. Even now, he tried to push that
further down the road.
matters because if you like this boy, and
he's the wrong kind of boy, that can
turn out badly."
stomach clenched. What she was afraid he'd do
seemed to be happening.
does that mean?" she asked, trying to
get enough information to say Jack wasn't that kind of boy.
means that kids your age, when given time
alone, are tempted to explore things they aren't emotionally ready
you mean, like, I should group date?"
blinked. This was a term that was new to him. He
hated to show his ignorance, but glossing
over things might turn out badly in the future.
is group dating?" he asked.
duh. It's when a bunch of kids all go out
pairs," said Bob.
... yeah. I guess so," said Amanda.
instead of two kids being tempted to explore
things, there are five pairs of them all setting a bad example for each
other," said Bob.
none of them are alone," her literal
side pointed out.
you ever heard the word orgy?" asked
Bob, being sarcastic. It had been an impulse, and he immediately wished
hadn't given in to it.
"Daddy! Ewwww!" she squealed.
dating is not what I meant," said
Bob, secretly elated at her response. "My point is that when young
are paired up, and there is no adult supervision to guide them, they
find it tempting to explore things that even a lot of adults control poorly. You've heard of the underage drinking parties
that go on in town, right?"
course," she said.
have you ever been invited to one?"
course," she said again.
took him by surprise. He'd been on a roll, but it
was one of those rolls where a pebble starts downhill and then gets out
Daddy. They usually have one somewhere
every Friday night."
curse, Father," said Amanda, soberly.
were going through his mind. Amanda hadn't been
allowed to date yet, but that didn't mean she was kept a prisoner in
castle. She went on sleepovers at various friends' houses frequently.
meant she was out of his sight, and he wouldn't know if the group of
was with attended such parties. With a sinking feeling in his stomach,
the inevitable question that, as a parent, he was required to ask.
you ever gone to one of these
course not," she said immediately. "You'd
have killed me if I did."
goodness," he sighed.
you think I'd do something like that without
telling you?" She sounded upset. "Don't you trust me?"
it was ... the question that, sooner or later,
every teen asks of every parent. Don't you trust me?
gave the same answer that most parents give.
"I trust you just fine," he said. "But
sometimes peer pressure and other circumstances can cause things to
nobody intended to happen."
we still talking about dating?" she
don't know," he sighed. "Look,
here's the deal. If you like the boy and he likes you, it's just
the two of you to push the envelope and explore ... um ... things."
mean sex," said Amanda.
swallowed. "Uh ... yeah," he admitted.
already told you. I don't want to have sex
with Jack. I just want to go on a date and have fun with him."
Ross. He's in my social studies
Ross," mused Bob. "I think I know
him. He's not in any of my classes. I know his mother. She's a member
Boggy Creek Restoration Project."
don't know about all that," said Amanda. "We're
just in social studies together and I like it when he says 'Hi' to me.
think it would be fun to get to know him better."
he ask you out on a date?"
He's never actually talked to me."
he have a girlfriend?"
don't know. Why would you ask me that?"
I don't want you to get the reputation
as a home wrecker," said Bob.
what?" Amanda sounded confused.
mind. It's not cool to ask a guy on a date
when he already has a girlfriend, okay?"
mean I can ask him?" Amanda looked
on there, Pumpkin," said Bob, holding
his hand up. "I don't want to rush into this."
call me Pumpkin!" she said, clearly
unhappy. "That's a little girl nickname, and I'm not a little girl
he said. "But that illustrates
my point. You're not a little girl
any more. You're a young woman, and the kind of urges that young women
young men have are difficult to control even when those kids are
going to make me wait until I'm seventeen to go
on dates?" she fairly whimpered.
didn't say that either," said Bob. "I
just think the first few times you go out, there should be some adult
around, somewhere, that's all."
sat there, mute, but gears turned in her head.
she said, finally. "So what you
mean is that you want to be there to chaperone."
blinked. He'd been thinking more along the lines
of a school dance, where teachers and volunteer parents wandered about,
sure nobody was making babies in dark corners. His next reaction was
in his head in a short fantasy. He saw himself standing in his kitchen,
saying "Shit! Shit! Shit!" because she'd worked him into a corner he
couldn't get out of without looking hypocritical. He looked at his
sitting calmly across the table from him. He had been
backed into a corner.
he did not want his daughter to see him as a
would feel much better if that's how we
handled things for a few dates," he hedged, carefully.
you were there, I wouldn't be alone with
him," Amanda reminded him.
know, I know." He had always been
truthful with her. Something told him not to change things now. "I'm
trying to think of some reason I can still say no. You're still my
and I don't want you to grow up."
didn't get angry. Instead she got up and came
around the table to him. She made him scoot back and plopped down on
her arms around his neck.
always be your little girl," she said,
softly. "But I have to grow up. This
isn't Never-never Land, Daddy."
know," he sighed. "I just don't know
what I'll do when you meet some boy and fall in love and leave me to
not get ahead of the game, here,
Dad," she said. "All I want to do is go out with Jack Ross and see
what that's like. I'm not planning on falling in love, or any of that
stuff." She kissed her father on his forehead.
ever does," he sighed.
still not happy, though," she said. "The
only times I ever heard of somebody's parents going with them on a date
dances in junior high school. What if he thinks that means I'm a little
might laugh at me."
tell him you don't take Driver's Ed until
next summer and that I have to chauffer you around."
if he has his license?" she asked.
don't know. Like I said, I've never even
talked to him."
he has his license, then tell him I have a
policy of not allowing my daughter to ride in a car with a teenage boy
I've gone along a few times to see how he drives. He can take that or
as far as I'm concerned. Just because I allow you to start dating
there won't be oversight."
said Jack, as he dropped his book bag
on the floor by the hallway that led to the bedrooms, his included.
up?" asked his mother, looking up
from the painting she was working on. It was a water color of what she
Boggy Creek would someday look like, once the pollution and years of
dumping was cleaned up. Katrina Anderson had suggested she do this
which would be displayed at the tiny meeting room of the building the
volunteers used as a headquarters.
never believe what happened to me
today," said Jack.
me," she said, turning back to the
girl asked me on a date!"
put the brush down. She'd been dreading this day,
and now it was here. She'd told Jack he could date when he turned
far, he hadn't shown any interest in doing so, even though he'd been
for four months. She'd assumed that was because he didn't have his
and was unwilling to pick up a girl for a date riding bikes.
he said. "Her name is Amanda. We're
in social studies together."
she asked you out? Does she have her
She said her dad will drive us around. She
said he wants to check me out, but I'm not supposed to tell him she
felt something relax inside her. A chaperoned
date was something she could contemplate without upset.
kind of date would this be?" she
said we could go bowling."
you want to go?"
She's cute. I've noticed her for a long
time, but was always too chicken to talk to her."
don't know," said Karen, softly. "We've
never discussed how a boy should treat a girl, and you need to know
that kind of
thing before you actually go on dates."
on, Mom. I'm not going to be like Dad. I
know he was a jerk, and I don't want to be like that."
Bob had been with Amanda about her mother, Karen
had held nothing back from her son about his father. Dave had, when
two, decided that the twos really were terrible, and that he wanted
do with his son. Or his wife, as it turned out, when he met another
the bar he frequented to escape being around "the brat."
had been devastated at her abandonment. The fact
that he cleaned out the bank account when he walked out only added
injury. It was fortunate that her mother didn't abandon her too. Her
warned her that Dave was a bad choice, but she didn't say, "I told you
so," when he took off. Not in so many words. Rather, she took her
and grandson in and helped Karen get back on her feet. In the process,
that Karen was better off without Dave
sank in, and she accepted the pain.
they were on their own again. They lived in a
modest two bedroom cottage. She supported them by working as a clerk at
auto parts store in town. She had, over the years, learned a good bit
auto mechanics and the parts business. People were glad when she was
that helped them with whatever problem they were having.
had navigated the morass that was divorce without
both parties being present. In the end, the judge decided it was
and granted her escape from the worst mistake she'd ever made. Except
had come from that mistake, and he was the best
thing that had ever happened to her.
she was faced with a problem of a different
nature. For several years, she had seen the storm clouds building, off
distance. She had seen the issue coming, marching toward her
little boy was growing up.
was torn, because he had so much potential, and
she couldn't wait to see what he did with it. For that reason she was
that he was maturing, and turning into a man. But
soon she wouldn't be the only woman in his
life. Soon he would leave her for another woman, and she'd be all alone
the condition that had caused her to accept Dave as a mate in the first
many girls, Karen had simply been unable to
believe that she would find true love ... that a man would want her.
grabbed desperately for what she thought was the gold ring, but which
turned out to be a fistful of thorns.
was older and wiser now. And she'd known this day
would come, sooner or later.
Amanda have a last name?" she asked.
but I don't know it." He shrugged. "She
said her dad is in that Boggy Creek thing with you. He's an English
school, but he'd not mine."
said Karen. "Bob Thurlow
teaches English at the high school."
That's his name," said Jack. "Mister
his daughter asked you on a date," said
Karen. "What has the world come to?"
do you mean?"
boy is supposed to ask the girl on a
date," she said.
don't care," he moaned. "Come on,
Mom. She's really cute!"
that's the problem," said Karen. "Your
father was really cute, and I ended up making some mistakes because of
stopped arguing. She hoped maybe he'd given up.
you think I'll be like that?" he asked,
suddenly. "Like my father, I mean? An asshole?"
he was," said Jack, suddenly sounding
much older than sixteen. "And I don't want to be that way. But what if
am? What if it's genetic or something?"
put her paintbrush in the cup of water and stood,
going to him and taking him into her arms. A lot of sixteen-year-old
resist being hugged by their mother, but he didn't.
father's problems had nothing to do with genetics,"
she said into his hair. "They had to do with the way he was raised, and
the values his parents instilled in him. You haven't been raised the
and you're nothing like him. You never will be. And if I see you
way, believe me, I'll let you know."
leaned against her. She was surprised at the force
his body was able to generate. He really was
is this date supposed to be?"
don't know. We didn't talk about that,"
you what," she said, rubbing his back.
"I'll talk to Mr. Thurlow. I have concerns that I want to feel sure
be taken into account if you go on a date, or dates with his daughter.
feel good about it after that ... then okay."
sadness vanished and he jumped in the air, taking
his mother's startled body with him. When they came back down he leaned
and she felt her feet leave the floor. He whirled her around.
Mom! I'll be good. I promise. I'll open
all the doors for her and everything. Thanks so much!"
get your hopes up too much," she
said, as he let her go. "Remember, Mr. Thurlow and I have to agree on
everything before this will become a reality."
problem," said the excited boy. "I
know you'll agree. I mean he's going to be there, right? Everything
fine. You'll see. Thanks, Mom. Can I call her and tell her?"
your homework first," said Karen, her
heart fluttering. She hated the feeling that things were already
getting out of
control, and that she needed to slam on the brakes somehow. But he was so elated, so happy, that it made her
heart thump in her chest. She remembered being that avid about going on
And she knew how devastated he'd be if she changed her mind.
No problem!" He dashed off to his
room, where he had a desk he did his homework at. Karen hadn't showered
with luxuries, like his own TV, or expensive game consoles. He had a
his room, but that was it. There were no other distractions that would
the completion of his school work.
turned back to her easel. But she couldn't
she could think about were those first few heady
dates, when she was so young.
ones where she learned what it felt like to have a
boy's hands and mouth on her body.
to have something in her body.
forties, fifties, and part of the sixties, there really wasn't any such
as "littering." If you had a bag full of trash left over from your
takeout meal at one of those newfangled drive in restaurants, you
down the window and chucked it. If you owned a farm, you used the same
gully your father and his father had used, and pitched anything that
be repaired, along with all household trash, into that gully. That
cars, tires, broken chairs, anything and everything. If you lived in
had a 55 gallon drum in the back yard where you burned everything you
you went out into the country and found someplace to dump whatever
into the barrel.
were no garbage trucks. There were no landfills.
Actually, there were thousands of tiny little landfills, but they
thought of that way. The world was our landfill, back in those days,
population swelled and, suddenly, our roads and highways were clogged
trash. Barb wire fences looked practically solid because of the
trash piled up against them.
few people complained. A few entrepreneurs saw a
chance to start a whole new industry, and make a ton of money. They had
to spend some money first, to buy some
politicians, but pretty soon laws got passed and suddenly the signs
"Fine for littering" came into existence. And that didn't mean
littering was "fine" to do, though a few folks tried to argue that
way at first.
things changed, and less of man's throw aways
ended up in the countryside.
there was already a huge amount of detritus out
there, and a lot of it would eventually end up in creeks and rivers as
and floods did their work.
Creek was one such place, where the bottom and
sides were littered with old tires, refrigerators, bits of this and
to mention the broken glass that made it impossible to swim in without
shoes on your feet. That people wanted
to swim in it was because, in the old days, before a swimming pool had
built, the whole town used Boggy Creek's swimming holes for recreation.
and fathers talked fondly about the swing over Boggy Creek down by
Street, where you could jump off the bridge and fly thirty feet before
go to arc into the water fifteen feet below. Or maybe it was the mud
they'd made just outside of town, upstream where, when it rained, you
dressed in clothes nobody cared about and go slip and slide down a
trench that got a little deeper each time it rained. At the end of that
splashed into a mud flat where, when you finally stood up, you were
unrecognizable, because of the coating of mud.
then the agro plant had been built upstream. The
water began to stink. And all sorts of crap floated down into the
holes over the years, until you had to start being careful where you
the creek died, the people who had killed it turned
away, ignoring what they'd done, and built a swimming pool. Every town
took decades, but environmentalism finally arrived
in Cole Camp, and somebody finally suggested "doing something about
Boggy." It took another five years, but eventually The Boggy Creek
Restoration Project had been born. There were currently thirty-five
volunteers. They met once a month. In good weather, they met to pull
of the creek and employ various methods of stabilizing the banks, to
further erosion. When it got cold, they met in a warm room and had
they planned what they'd do next summer.
the six years the group had been in existence, they
had removed over twenty tons of crap from the creek.
also sicced the EPA on the owners of the agro
plant, which had polluted the crap out of the site they had then
after it became "economically unviable" to keep open. The plant had
closed, but it had continued to contaminate Boggy Creek. The cleanup
started the year before, but everyone could already see the difference
ecology of the creek.
was exciting. The people who are drawn to
that kind of service in the world are passionate people. It requires a deep seated passion to wade
into polluted muck and get filthy dragging old tires from that muck.
go home smelling like death, and realize the clothes you wore that day
become trash, just like what you pulled out of the creek, it takes
return to the creek and do it again next month.
Bob Thurlow and Karen Ross were passionate people. Both had lost love. Both were alone, in terms of
intimacy with another adult. For both, just about the only outlet for
passion was the restoration project. True,
each was raising a child, but raising their kids employed a passion of
did "know" each other from the project.
But the kind of things they did together didn't lend themselves to any
shared intimacy. In truth, all they knew about each other was their
that each was a committed environmentalist. At least when it came to
however, they were to come together in a
different kind of relationship. As their children explored shared
they would be forced to again, as well.
all that passion inside them would change the
world for both families.
course none of them knew that then, neither the
parents nor the children. All the kids thought about, at that point,
actually going on a date, and seeing whether that matched their
not. As for the parents, all they thought about was ensuring that the
they were trying to teach their children held fast against Mother
persistent attempts to make the human population swell.
parents didn't give any thought at all to the
possibility that Mother Nature might have plans for them too.
Next Chapter >>