'She was drinking, Gibbs! Katie! Leigh, I would expect this from. But, Katie?'
Gibbs sighed and put down his sandpaper.
'Tim, do you want my advice on how to deal with this?'
'Get over it.'
Tim looked at him in astonishment.
'If anything, you should be proud of her for drinking responsibly. Half the college kids in this country have fake IDs and are playing beer pong and doing jello shooters. She had half a beer, and didn't even break any laws doing it. Six months from now she can drink anywhere she likes; isn't this exactly the way you want her to treat alcohol?'
'But she's underage...'
'Not in Montreal, she isn't. You think there's some magic switch that gets flipped when a kid turns 21? I'd say she did a pretty good job of proving she's mature enough to have a beer with her friends. So... get over it. She's a good kid, doing exactly what you raised her to do.'
'But, nothing, Tim. Get. Over. It. You make a big deal about this, and she's not going to come to you with the important stuff.'
Tim finally stopped pacing around the basement and turned towards his former boss, a stunned look on his face.
'Katie was always the quiet, obedient one, Gibbs. What happened to my sweet little girl?'
'She grew up, Tim. She'll always be your little girl, but she's not a child anymore. In a year and a half, she'll be in grad school, on her way to a Ph.D., and Leigh will be an officer in the United States Navy. Hell, Kate just spent a weekend in a whole other country by herself. And you're upset because she had a drink?!'
Gibbs handed him some sandpaper and pointed him towards the hand-carved cedar chest he was working on. It was the first of a pair that Gibbs planned to make for the twins' twenty-first birthday, having decided on something that would be practical even for Leigh, whose chosen career would mean small quarters and frequent moves.
'Get over it. And get to work.'
For the first time, Tim returned his smile.
X X X
Kate sighed, flipping open her phone.
'Hi, Uncle Gibbs. Are you calling to yell at me, too? Because if you are...'
'Yes, really. I just want you to promise me one thing.'
'What's that?' she asked warily.
'That you'll let me buy you your first bourbon.'