A/N: Season Four. I have never done a Mary Ellen story, so I thought this would be exciting. In the episode The Quilting she wasn't sure how she felt about a quilting because that meant the only thing a girl was good for anymore was just to marry off and have a family but Mary Ellen wanted more than that. Enjoy.
"Mary Ellen! What are you doing?" Grandma hollered from the back door. I loved over at her.
"I'm playing catch with G.W!" I yelled back.
"I can see that. Get in here. Your Mama needs your help with supper."
"Now Mary Ellen!" Grandma walked back into the house.
"It's okay. Go." G.W. said as he started to walk away.
"Stay for supper?" I asked.
"Sure!" G.W. and I walked towards the house. We walked in the front door. Jason was playing the piano, but he stopped when we walked in.
"Mary Ellen's got a boyfriend!" Elizabeth exclaimed.
"Be quiet Elizabeth!" I snapped back at her.
"Girls!" Mama exclaimed. I walked into the kitchen. "Hello G.W."
"Hi Mrs. Walton." Daddy and Grandpa walked in from outside.
"What smells so good Livie?" grandpa asked.
"Stew." Mama replied. "With cornbread."
"I'm starving Liv. How much longer until it's done?" Daddy asked.
"Soon." Mama laughed as Daddy sat down. "Coffee John?"
"Sure." Daddy handed Mama his cup and she filled it with coffee.
"Where's Grandma?" I asked. Mama looked at me.
"She's in her room."
"Well she told me I had to help you." Mama looked at me very confused.
"No, I'm almost done."
"So, I can go back outside with-" I started to say.
"No, stay here. I don't want to have to go find you." Mama looked at Erin. "Set the table Erin, it's almost time for supper."
"But Mama, it's Mary Ellen's turn."
"Now, no arguing."
"It's because Mary Ellen has a boy over."
"He's a friend Erin."
"That's not what Grandma says." Erin stated in an annoying singsong voice.
"Erin, you stop that." Mama defended me. Grandpa laughed.
"I do believe our little Mary Ellen is growing up." Grandpa said. "She has a gentleman fellow following her like a little lost puppy."
"He's not following me Grandpa! I asked him to come have supper with us."
"Excuse me." Erin walked in front of me setting the table. I wanted to push her and the plates she was carrying into the table. It was Erin who started all of this anyway. Then, Jason started playing "Here Comes the Bride" on the piano.
"Stop it! Knock it off! All of you!" I hollered before running up the stairs.
"Mary Ellen." I heard Mama say, but I ignored her as I ran into my bedroom and slammed the door closed. I lay on the bed and tried not to cry. I didn't want to cry. I was angry. Why did they have to do that? G.W. has been my best friend for a long time. Why is it different now? There was a knock on the door. I laid there and didn't say anything. The door opened a crack.
"Mary Ellen?" Through the tiny space in the door Mama's soft voice came through. I sat up and she walked in with Daddy.
"Mary Ellen, what's wrong honey?" Daddy asked. I sighed.
"Jason, Erin, Elizabeth and Grandpa wouldn't leave me alone."
"They're just teasing Mary Ellen." John Boy said leaning against the door frame eating an apple. Mama looked over her shoulder at him.
"Go downstairs John Boy." John Boy walked away from the door frame.
"I just don't know Mama. I was a kid before, but now it seems like I'm trying to be forced into adulthood, but I'm not ready Mama. I'm not ready to be an adult." Mama hugged me. "It's all because of that dumb quilting. Now I'm supposed to act like a proper lady and I'm not even sure what that is."
"Mary Ellen, growing up is a wonderful thing. But you're right. You can't be a child and an adult at the same time. It should be a process; maybe some people are forcing you to be grown up when you may not be ready. You're on a bridge Mary Ellen. You can stay on the bridge and be a child, or you can cross that bridge and learn how to be an adult; nobody can force you. It's all up to you."
"That's part of the problem. I'm not sure what to do." I confessed.
"Growing up certainly isn't easy Mary Ellen and it's not going to happen all in one day. But one step towards adulthood would be coming down and having dinner with all of us, and your guest. I'm sure he would hate to have dinner without you since you're the one who invited him." Mama smiled. Then she and daddy stood up. "You come down when you feel ready. Okay Mary Ellen?" I stood up and wiped tears out of my eyes.
"Okay Mama." I replied. I hate crying in front of Mama. That shows a sign of weakness. Mama and Daddy looked at me one last time before opening the door and walking out of the bedroom. I sat back on the bed. This was going to be one difficult and long road. I wish Grandma never would have started all of this. Now everybody thinks that Mary Ellen Walton is "available" and "ready for marriage" just because I had my quilting; well I think it's a dumb tradition and I hate it! I wish I never would have had to go through that. I want to be a nurse; I'm going to nursing school. I don't want anybody to think I'm their property. Well, I guess there isn't anything I can do about it right now. Mama's right. It's best just to live one day at a time.