Mandy burst through the front door and threw her sports bag on the floor with extra force.
“Hey, Manny, do you…”
“Don’t call me Manny. Grr.” She kicked her shoes across the entrance with a bit of disrespectful sass. “I’m taking a long shower.”
Poor Ted stood in her wake with the most pathetic dense father look. “Don’t ask. I haven’t got a clue. Miss Lemon-Lips didn’t say a word when I picked her up from soccer practice, and I’m a wise man, I kept my mouth shut.”
“I think I know what it is,” Kathryn sighed. She glanced down the hall before she pulled a crumpled piece of notebook paper out of her pocket. “I found this in the garbage.”
“Mrs. Amanda Lane?” Ted smirked. “Mitch Lane heart Mandy Bright? I can’t believe our tomboy Manny is enamored by a boy.”
“Mandy,” Kathryn reminded.
“Do you know what this means?” Ted gleefully clapped his hands.
Kathryn’s arms crossed over her chest. “What?”
“It’s time for you to have a certain conversation with our little girl.”
Kathryn threw her hands in the air. “Aaahhgh. Please say it isn’t so?”
Ted reached for an apple and took a crunchy bite. “I’ve already done my duty with Ben and Daniel,” he slurped around the combination of juice and saliva.
Kathryn groaned and grabbed a bag of potatoes. She let them thud on the counter much like Mandy’s earlier sports bag routine.
“When’re you gonna do it?”
“What’re you gonna say?”
“You know what I’ve noticed?”
Kathryn slammed the potato peeler on the counter. “I’m not sure I want to know.”
Ted held his hands over his muscular pecs. “She’s got bumps,” he whispered and giggled like a little girl.
Kathryn chucked a potato at him. He caught it one-handed.
They listened to Mandy pad down the hall to her room. “What do I say, Ted? How much information do I give her?”
Crunch. Slurp. “Why don’t you practice on me?”
“Here, I’ll be her.” Ted grabbed two apples, shoved them up his shirt, and man-handled them into position.
“That’s normal. So are you.”
Kathryn glanced down.
“Made you look.”
A second potato sailed through the air and caught the apple-clutcher off guard.
“Seriously, Ted. Shouldn’t it be on a need-to-know basis?”
“Kat, be open and honest with her. Tell her what you wish your mother had the guts to tell you.”
Kathryn giggled. “It’s really hard to look you in the eyes when your apples are distracting me.”
“Now you know how us guys feel.” He fished out the source of distraction and placed them in the fruit bowl.
“How much information did the boys need to know at this age?”
“Different ballgame. Men are from Mars, women from Venus. Remember?”
“I’ll surf the net and find a nice book that covers everything…not too much information with a nice Godly touch on purity without being prudity.”
Ted turned Kathryn to face him and wrapped his arms around her waist. Her head instantly rested on his chest. “All teasing aside, Baby, relax. Try to remember the things your body and mind went through at Mandy’s age and share from empathy.”
“I hear your heart beating,” Kathryn nuzzled her head into his chest.
“It beats for you. Ted Bright heart Kathryn Watson. Who became Mrs. Kathryn Bright, and despite the fact that our parents were of the generation that never conversed with their children about birds, bees, and babies…somehow we managed to figure things out.”
“I hated the age Mandy’s at.”
“So talk to her about that, how you struggled, and what you wish you knew then.”
Kathryn smiled at the Hello Kitty stickers plastered on her little girl’s bedroom door. Tap-tap. “Can I come in?”
Mandy sat on the bed, her homework spread out in front of her and wet hair dripping on her t-shirt. Kathryn’s heart lurched at the sight of her little girl’s red, puffy eyes. “We need to have a talk.”
Mandy wiped her nose on her shirt sleeve. “I’m sorry for being such a brat after school, Mom. I’m just so mad. I still can’t believe I got bumped to B squad. I’m the best goalie so that earns me a demotion? It ticks me off.”
“That happened last week. Is that what’s bothering you?”
“Well, yeah. What did you think it was?”
“Some new boy that thinks he loves me. Boys are dumb. Why?”
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