“Dad, I’m going out!”, Alissa cried as she rushed past me.
“Hold it right there young lady!”, I called. “You know the rules. Where are you going, and who are you going with?”
Alissa rolled her eyes. “I’m just going out! I’m sixteen Dad. I’m not a baby, and you can’t control my every move!”, she told me, beginning yet another argument with me.
I counted to ten trying to muster patience. We seemed to constantly be at each others throats now. I wondered once again what had happened to my sweet little girl. Alana, home for once, heard the raised voices and came up to us.
“What is it now?”, she asked.
“Dad won’t let me go out!”, Alissa told her.
“Go ahead, Alissa, but make sure you are home before your curfew.”, Alana said.
“Alana, why did you do that?”, I asked her angrily after Alissa left. “We gave her rules for a reason and she needs to follow them for her own safety. You know she is going off to meet Sly.” Just saying that boy’s name made me angry. He was seventeen and totally unsuitable for Alissa. He hung with a rough crowd; and ever since Alissa had started dating him, she had become increasingly rebellious.
“I know that David. We taught Alissa to have high moral principles and values, and we have to trust her to follow them in her own way. Besides, the more we try to keep her from seeing Sly, the harder she will try to see him.”, Alana answered.
“You’re right. but the next time, please try not to countermand what I tell her. I still expect her to follow the rules. We have no idea where she is, and I won’t permit that again.”, I told her firmly.
“I’m sorry, David.”, she apologized.
“Are you going to be home this evening?”, I asked her. She had been spending a lot of time at the restaurant lately. They were trying out new recipes to add to the menu.
“I wish that I could, but Lincoln is waiting for me. It won’t be for much longer. I promise. We’ve almost got the new menu just right.”, she told me.
The following Monday, while I was at work, I overheard a conversation between two of my coworkers about Alana.
“Alana was seen leaving the hotel just before Lincoln. They thought they were being so discreet. Everyone knows what is going on. I can’t believe she is doing this to David!”, Brandi said.
I knew that Alana wasn’t cheating on me with Lincoln. She had told me about their meeting at the hotel. They were meeting a new supplier who was only in town for one day. It was more convenient for the supplier that they meet at the hotel. I just hated that the gossips were trying to ruin Alana’s reputation. I decided to confront them.
“Excuse me, Brandi, but who told you that story?”, I asked. She looked embarrassed. “Before you pass on any more information about my wife, please make sure that you get your facts straight. Don’t just blindly pass on what you have heard as the truth!”, I told her. Then I returned to my office.
Alissa looked at herself in the bathroom mirror at the club, feeling uneasy. She knew her parents would not approve of what she was wearing. For the first time, she had ditched school early. She was waiting for Sly.
Sly walked into the club. His eyes immediately sought out Alissa. Alissa hadn’t been his usual type of girl; but from the first time that he saw her, he knew she was right for him. She was trying so hard to fit in with his friends. He told her that she didn’t need to change herself for him, but she wouldn’t listen. She had overheard Lena saying that the gang was meeting here and insisted on going. He went over to her.
“Alissa, your parents are going to kill you if they find out you ditched school and came here! What were you thinking, and what are you wearing or rather not wearing?”, he asked her.
“I get enough of that from my Dad, Sly. Besides, why is it okay for you and not for me?”, she asked him. He couldn’t answer that. “Don’t you like how I look?”, she asked him, hurt by his reaction to seeing her.
“Alissa, you know I always think that you’re beautiful no matter what you’re wearing, but this style isn’t you.”, he told her.
Tears started sliding down her cheeks. She wiped them away angrily. She was tired of being a goody two shoes. “I’m going to dance!”, she told him defiantly and went out onto the dance floor.
Just like her mother as a teenager, Alissa looked older than she really was and was quickly asked to dance by young men in the club. Sly looked on helplessly.