The doorbell rang loudly, followed by a knock at the door a second later. “He’s here! I’m not ready,” yelled Madison as her bedroom door slammed shut. The squeak of the dining room chair being pushed back answered the doorbell’s chime as Sean stood up and headed towards the front door.
Sean had picked out his favorite “Semper Fi” shirt so he could make his presence that much more impactful when he met this boyfriend his daughter was having over. He casually strolled up towards the front door, but as he was within arms reach of the deadbolt, Stephanie’s voice rang out from upstairs. “Sean, can you get the door?”
“Yes dear.” Sean unlocked the door and pulled it open wide to find a young man with curly brown hair that lay just over the tops of his ears. His mother’s car was still running as she waved at him from inside the car. Sean gave her a polite wave and stepped to the side. “Greg? Please, come in.”
“Thank you sir,” Greg’s voice cracking slightly. He stepped into the house quickly and stopped in the middle of the foyer, awaiting the next set of instructions.
Sean closed the door and walked past Greg without a glance until a few feet had gapped between them. He looked over his shoulder, noticing Greg was not following, and turned his head forward again as he headed toward the table in the kitchen. He spoke loud enough for the words to echo back to Greg. “So Greg, take a seat.”
Greg quickly fell into step and hurried to catch up to Sean before finding a chair across from him at the table. Sean waited until the boy was sitting before he pulled back the chair and sat down himself. The stairs up to the second floor announced a new entrant into the conversation as Stephanie walked into the kitchen.
“Hi Greg, nice to meet you,” extending her hand out towards him. Greg stood quickly, the back of the chair almost hitting the sliding glass door as he rose to shake her hand. “Hello Mrs. Osmond, so nice to meet you.” “Sean, have you offered him a drink?”
Sean had specifically skipped that formality, but Steph was ruining everything. “I was just about to do so.” Stephanie sighed and continued in perfect hostess mode, grabbing a paper cup from the water cooler and pouring it full of water before handing it to Greg, who looked parched and terrified. “Here you are.”
Stephanie gave a disapproving look towards Sean before she sat down at the table herself. They alternated questions back and forth for 15 minutes, with Sean dropping subtle hints about weapons, human psychology, and emphasizing that Madison was his first daughter. Stephanie was much more cordial in her questions, but it was clear that she wasn’t thrilled with the idea of Madison having a boyfriend. Greg was sweating in the air conditioned room, his nerves getting the better of him. He was finally relieved from his anxiety as Madison came downstairs and walked into the room.
“Hi Greg!” Madison walked over towards Greg to give him a hug, but when Greg glanced across the table at Sean’s stoic face he dared not get up. Madison caught on and stopped near her mother, reconsidering the maneuver. “So Dad, we’ll be upstairs watching a movie.” It was Stephanie who responded for them both, “Okay, let us know if you need anything.”
The young couple quickly disappeared upstairs as Sean and Stephanie shared a quiet conversation. “You left my laptop up there, right,” said Sean. Stephanie replied quickly, “Give them a few minutes before you retrieve it.”
“I’ll drop your craft box off next to the couch when I go.”
This is part of a 30 day series of 2-3 minute short stories written for the 30 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, 2011. You can view all the stories in the Short Story A Day category.