He could not sit still, afraid even to clear his throat for fear the old male beside him might take offense, sending him out of the house in a jiffy.

His main reason to be there smiled at him, an arms length away but seemed so far with the human wall between them. Perhaps, she enjoyed the moment while he squirmed quietly on his seat.

“This is taking too long,” Alfred announced, yawning, stretching both arms like a spread eagle. “I want to sleep now.”

“Go on, sir!” Larry was overjoyed with the news. “I want to talk to your daughter in private.”

Alfred looked aggrieved that he was indirectly portrayed as a nuisance. In his house, everyone else not a blood member was a pest.

“I thought you are already leaving.”

“Sir, I just arrived ten minutes ago,” Larry protested. “I have not said a word to her.”

“So, speak up!” Melanie’s father growled. “Pretend I am not here!”

“Dad, you’re scaring him,” she said, still smiling. “Give him a chance.”

“You’re fifteen!” her father reiterated. “He’s lucky I even let him inside.”

How could I get over this guy? That was the foremost question in Larry’s mind. He was shooed away like a stray animal, unfit to be showed care and attention.

“What do you want me to do so I can talk to your daughter alone, sir?”

“For starters, go home. Wait till you’re twenty five. Then, come back if you are still interested.”

“You’re being unreasonable, Dad!”

From the kitchen, Libby, still wearing her apron, rushed out. Her daughter’s loud voice interrupted her chores.

“What are you doing, Alfred? I told you earlier not to disturb those two.”

“Why?” he asked, asserting authority as head of the family. “I don’t want anything happening to my daughter. Is that too difficult to understand?”

“You know Larry since he was a kid. He’s trustworthy.”

“He’s a boy who will soon be a man,” he replied without explaining his opposition.

“You’re a man, too, sir.” Larry drove the point politely.

“You are, Dad,” Melanie added. “Is that a crime now?”

Alfred motioned to his wife to come close, whispered to her ears, something the two could not overhear.

“So, that’s what you’re afraid of,” she sighed, as if her husband revealed a disconcerting information. “I think you’re reaching, dear.”

“Am I?” he asked, still a large barrier between Larry and Melanie on the couch. “We are in modern times. I do not have to remind you how it was during our time.”

“Mom, what is Dad talking about?” Melanie asked.

“The birds and bees,” he replied, frowning to look more authoritative.

Both teens laughed, unable to restrain their relief that the issue was too far from the truth.

“Sir, I did not come here to court your daughter. I want her to be my bridge to her friend, Holly.”

“Dad, I am too young to have a boyfriend.”

Alfred did not want to believe the ruse. They could be saying so just to calm him down.

Suddenly, his daughter’s cellular phone rang. It was Holly on the line.

“Hello?” Melanie replied. But instead of listening to her friend’s barrage of questions, she handed the phone to her father who looked confused.

In a few minutes, he was grinning contentedly.

“Tell your friend to continue tomorrow,” he told Melanie. “As for you, Larry, I know Holly’s father, I am a better bridge than my daughter.”



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