Disclaimers: Scarecrow and Mrs. King belongs to Warner Brothers and Shoot The Moon productions, and not to me
Saturday, June 22, 2002
"Are you sure you have to go?" Lee said.
Amanda grabbed her purse and picked up her keys. "Lee, Mother's really looking forward to this estate sale and we'll only be gone for the day. Manassas really isn't all that far- I'm sure you can survive one day without me."
Lee wrapped his arms around his wife, pulling her slender frame close. "Probably," he said, "but it's definitely more fun to spend a day with you." He leaned down, his lips meeting her own in a brief but passionate kiss.
"I can't argue with you there," Amanda said, slightly breathless now. She ran one hand down Lee's arm. "But there's plenty of time for that this evening, you know."
"There'd better be," Lee said. Amanda smiled and Lee bent down to kiss her again.
The sound came from upstairs-to Lee it felt as though the very walls were shaking. The first thud was followed by several others in quick succession-reminding Lee of a scene from the Jurassic Park movie he'd watched with Amanda the night before. His hand reached up to massage his temple-already he could feel a headache beginning to blossom.
"You're really going to leave me alone for the whole day with Miss Moody?" Lee said.
"I think you might be exaggerating," Amanda said. As if on cue, they both heard the sound of a door slamming.
"Does that sound like an exaggeration to you?" Lee said.
Amanda raised her voice. "Jenna Leigh Stetson, what have I told you about slamming doors?"
There was a pause. "Sorry, Mom," came the faint reply.
"What exactly did you say to her, anyway?" Amanda said. "I heard you two having a discussion earlier."
"Does it matter?" Lee said. "Everything I've said to her these past few days has been the wrong thing. I've never seen Jenna act this way before."
"Lee-" Amanda said. "Just tell me what you said."
Lee sighed. "Well you know she wants to go to the Overlee Community Pool with her friends today," he said. Amanda nodded. "This morning she told me that the swimsuit that we'd bought her last year is too small."
"I see-and then what did you say?" Amanda said.
"All I said was that people's bodies change when they get older and now she thinks I'm saying that she's fat," Lee said.
"We can always buy Jenna a new swimsuit," Amanda reminded him. "She gets a new one around this time every year."
"I was going to tell her that," Lee said. "But she got so upset that I didn't really get the chance."
"Well girls are very sensitive about their bodies, especially at Jenna's age," Amanda reminded him. "I know I was."
"Amanda, these days she's very sensitive about everything," Lee said.
"Well that's typical too," Amanda said. Just then the doorbell rang. "That's probably mother," she said. "Should I take the umbrella? They said this morning that there was a 40 chance of rain."
"Really? I didn't know we were still listening to Dan's weather forecasts," Lee said with a teasing smile. "But yeah, I guess you should take it just in case."
"Have a great day, Mr. Stetson," Amanda said, as yet another thud came from upstairs.
"Very funny, Mrs. Stetson," Lee said, giving his wife a hug followed by a slightly longer kiss. "I have a feeling you'll have a better time than I will." The doorbell rang again.
"Coming, Mother!" Amanda called, grabbing the umbrella and opening the door. "Lee I have my cell phone- if there's any kind of emergency you can reach me. See you tonight?"
"Count on it," Lee said.
SMK SMK SMK SMK
Time to declare a truce, Lee decided, walking up the stairs. Besides, Jenna had been up here for so long that he was really beginning to worry about her. The door to her room was closed. Lee knocked on her door.
"Go away," came the muffled-sounding response.
"Jenna, look-I'm sorry about what I said," Lee said. "I didn't mean it the way it sounded, munchkin-and there's definitely nothing wrong with the way you look. Can I please come in?"
There was a long silence. "Okay," Jenna said finally. Lee pushed open the door.
The first thing he noticed was Jenna's bedclothes-she'd taken them off the bed and put them into her hamper-sheets, bedspread-even her mattress pad was in the hamper. Jenna was wearing a pair of sweatpants and a baggy sweatshirt and lying on her stomach with her face in her pillow.
"What do you want?" She said.
Lee sat down on the bed beside his daughter. "I just wanted to say that I could take you shopping for a new swimsuit before you go to the pool today," he said.
"I'm not going to the pool today." Jenna said.
"Why not?" Lee asked.
"I don't want to talk about it," Jenna said. "Can you please go now, dad? I just want to be by myself."
"Jenna, don't be this way," Lee said, reaching out his hand to smooth her hair. "Just tell me why you won't go-and please just look at me?"
Jenna lifted her head, revealing a tearstained face. "I can't go to the pool," she said in a choked-up voice. "It's not possible because I-"
It broke Lee's heart to see his daughter like this. "Because you what?" he said gently, preparing himself to hear whatever Jenna had to say. "Just tell me-whatever it is, it'll be okay, I promise."
Jenna took one deep breath and then another. "Okay," she said. "I can't because-because I just started my period. I was sitting on the bed when it-you know..."
"Oh," Lee said, his heart suddenly racing. Now he knew why she'd been so moody lately, and why the bedclothes were in the hamper. Lee wished Amanda were here right now-she'd know all the right things to say. "Oh," he managed again.
Jenna wiped her face with her hand. "Is that all you can say?"
"Pretty much, yeah." Lee said. He ran one hand threw his hair and took in a deep breath before letting it out in a whoosh. "Do you need me to get you-you know-any things? Or something for pain?"
"No, mom bought me some pads and Midol about a month ago," Jenna said. "She said it was just in case. I just didn't expect it to happen so soon, I guess. It's already happened to my friends-Christy started hers when she was eleven and Lisa started when she was twelve and I was hoping it would happen to me-only now I'm not so sure why I wanted it." She looked at Dad. "Do you know what I mean?"
God, he was seriously out of his depth here, Lee thought, trying to take in his daughter's ramble. "I know," he said finally, giving Jenna's hand an awkward pat. "But it's something that eventually happens to every girl- every woman, I mean-and it's a confusing time. But I promise it really will be okay."
For a moment Jenna just stared at him. Then to Lee's complete surprise she suddenly wrapped her arms around him and gave him a tight hug. "Thanks Dad," she said.