Chapter 3

Carol wandered back home, kicking at the loose rocks on the walkway, muttering incoherently about stupid boys and cheap girls. She slipped into the house through the kitchen door and was surprised to see her mother standing at the stove.

“Mom?”

Linda Freeman glanced over her shoulder. “I thought you went over to see Billy.”

Carol shrugged without answering. “What are you making?” she asked, nodding towards the stove.

Linda sighed, turning back to the stove. “Oh, I couldn’t sleep. Thought some warm milk might help. Would you like some?”

Thinking it could only help, Carol accepted the offer and pulled two mugs from the cupboard, setting them near her mother on the counter. Making herself comfortable at the kitchen table, she idly watched her mother stir the milk.

What did Billy see in that horrid Susan Andrews anyway? She was nothing but a floozy!

“What, dear?” Her mother’s question drew her back. Oh my! Did she say that out loud? Gnawing on her lip, Carol contemplated confiding in her mother. She might be able to shed some light on the mystery of boys. God only knew she couldn’t figure it out on her own.

“Mom…” she began haltingly. When the obligatory ‘Hmmm?’ was returned, Carol willed herself to speak, wondering what her mother would think, or if she’d even give a suitable answer.

“How do you get a guy to notice you?” The question was barely a whisper.

Linda was grateful her back was turned so her daughter didn’t see her knowing smile. Gathering her thoughts, Linda busied herself pouring the warmed milk into mugs. Setting one in front of her daughter, and pulling the other closer to herself, she sat across from Carol.

“Are we talking about a friend, or someone sitting in this very kitchen?”

Carol rolled her eyes, unable to suppress the grin or the blush.

“Someone in this kitchen,” she muttered into her mug.

Linda took a sip of milk, gazing at her daughter over the rim. The pained expression on Carol’s face nearly broke her heart; Linda remembered all too well what the first spasms of love felt like at that tender age.

“There’s this girl at school—Susan Andrews,” explained Carol, “And all the boys are just falling all over themselves when she walks by. She wears these big flouncy skirts and cheap perfume and far too much makeup!” Carol flicked a hand in the air. “And she has enormous…”

Holding her hands in front of her for emphasis, Carol looked down at her own meagre chest and sighed, dropping her hands limply onto the table.

Linda gave a small cough to cover up the laughter that bubbled out. “Well,” she cleared her throat, “it has been my experience that girls like that seldom get their man.” When Carol raised her eyebrows in a disbelieving expression, Linda waved her hand. “No, no. I’m speaking from experience, young lady. His eye may wander, but it will finally come to rest on you. Just be yourself. If he’s worth it, he’ll come around.”

Getting up from the table, Linda walked around and kissed the top of her daughter’s head, giving her shoulders a firm squeeze.

“And it’ll be worth the wait,” she whispered. “I promise.”

The End

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