Aaah, teens. I've never been on a date yet, so I fell on the usual cliches of angry fathers and embarrassing mothers. Aaah. Youth.
He had been to this house many times over the years, but this was the first time he actually had to force himself to step in. It just seemed…so…threatening. He never noticed before.
His dad's car was carefully parked three inches from the curb. Exactly. Those months of drivers lessons paid off immensely. He told his dad they were just going to the movies and his dad tossed him the keys and gruffly told him that if there was a scratch on the car, he'd personally punch his face in. And ground him for life. And possibly disown him.
He may have been joking about punching his face in, but he wasn't sure about the other stuff.
And that's not even getting into Ellie's dad.
Was his hair still combed? His vest straight? Tie on right? Bouquet all nice-looking? Did he look respectable? Oh god, maybe he couldn't do this. Maybe he should just turn back before he was run off by a gun-totting Mr. Docter and go home in a scratched car and get disowned.
But Carl sucked it in, sneezed out pollen, and strode timidly towards Ellie's house.
Mr. Docter answered, glaring at him as if finally noticing Carl as he truly was: a daughter-stealer. The grizzled man appraised the bespectacled kid for the first time, wondering to himself if this was the man to whom he wanted to entrust his sweet little blossom, his darling little angel, his sweetie-pumpkin.
Carl wasn't used to having his very soul searched and coughed nervously before offering his hand. "H-hello, sir," the young man managed to stutter out. This did not seem to impress him. When Mr. Docter went to shake his hand, he stayed limp while the man shook strongly. Another dark looked crossed his face and Carl winced. That was a few more points off the test.
"Well, uh, sir." Man, over the past few years, he had never called Mr. Docter 'sir.' This was so…strange. "I'm, uh, I planned a date with your daughter, sir, and…um…it's only a movie. There's, um, absolutely no funny business involved. Besides," Carl said, a chuckle in his voice. "I'm sure Ellie would beat me up…"
That dark look again. Talking lightly about his sweetie-pie. Ten-point penalty.
"Um." And the nervousness was back, the dry mouth, the closed throat god if this is what dating's like, he's gonna have to pass on marriage. "The movie, um, just a little, uh, Disney. Snow White. I'll, uh, when the movie's done, I'll drive Ellie home straightaway and make sure she comes back, uh, before nine."
A nice, safe, family movie. Five points.
And now comes the loving, fatherly threats. "I know where you live, boy, and I swear, if this ain't my darlin' angel's bestday ever, I will personally march over t' yer house with my gun and shoot you square between the eyes. We clear?"
Carl gulped. "Crystal." It was at that moment the ever-radiant Ellie decided to descend the steps.
Her dress was as pure as dove feathers. Carl would have looked at it more, but Mr. Docter was watching him and he had to avert his stare lest the man take his gun out right that instant.
Carl tried to approach her without looking at her in the wrong way, and ended up sidling up, almost crashing into a corner. "Hey, Ell—Miss, uh, Doc—Ell--…Ellie," the teen mumbled a little miserably, feeling his score drop into the negatives. Ellie giggled, apparently not aware of anything happening between her father and her boyfriend.
"Flowers? Aw, you shouldn't have! Here, daddy, can ya put these in a vase?" The bouquet was whisked out of Carl's hands and shoved into Mr. Docter's. His face had melted into a kind and warm expression at the sight of his daughter, and he found himself unable to pull her aside, tell her that her boyfriend was, frankly, a spineless weenie, and then lock her in a safe tower away from all these boys. Instead, he mumbled an affirmative, glared at Carl one last time, and went to go look for a vase.
Then Mrs. Docter descended like a hawk, camera in hand, and blinded the two lovebirds with a surprise picture.
"Mooooom," Ellie whined, though she was still grinning wildly. "You're embarrassing me!"
"Oh, don't mind me, sweetie, I'm just recording this for my grandchildren," Mrs. Docter chuckled behind red-polished nails.
Carl felt himself turn red and Ellie let out another exasperated "Mooooooom!" before turning back to Carl with a 'Parents. What're ya gonna do?' look. Carl responded by tapping his watch gently.
"Oh my gosh! We're gonna be late!" Ellie hopped around in her little white dress, looking around for a purse, a brush, all those strange things girls thought they needed to bring everywhere. "Bye mom, bye dad! See ya later!" Carl waved a polite good-bye as well before being dragged out the door.
"Bye sweetie!" Mrs. Docter called from the door, her husband standing right beside her, still glaring at Carl. "Tell us about the movie later!" The two teens jumped into the car and drove off, carefully obeying the speed limit, of course.
The further he drove from his girlfriend's house, the less anxious Carl became until he found he was no longer clutching the wheel like it was attached to him. With a small, nervous grin, he said, "For my sake, Ellie, please let this be your best day ever."