“Karen,” Caileigh pleaded, as she brushed her brunette hair from her face. “You can make whatever decision you want…after you listen to me.”
Karen continued primping in front of the mirror and focused on the fit of her new stylish dress.
“Please don’t be blind,” Caileigh whispered in exhaustion.
“I’ve listened.” Karen turned to face her roommate. “Your point’s not valid.”
“But, he’s twice your age.”
Karen chuckled out of exasperation, then fluffed her red hair. “Would you prefer me being a cougar and going after a two year old?”
Caileigh shot Karen a laser-piercing look that could kill. “I’m serious.”
“Caileigh,” Karen said in a consoling voice. “Trust me when I say that you don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m fine. Really.”
Caileigh leaned against the bathroom sink and watched Karen calmly apply her mascara. The situation was frustrating, but Caileigh wasn’t about to walk away from her best friend. She was determined to save Karen at any cost.
“Okay, you’re fine, but what about him?” Caileigh stood tall. “Did you consider he might want to take advantage of you?”
Karen laughed. She couldn’t help it. The entire conversation was one sided and absurd.
“I appreciate you’re well-meaning,” Karen shared humbly. “But you’ll laugh once I tell you…”
“You don’t get it!” raged Caileigh. “Tell me that you’re not this ignorant.”
Shocked by the escalation of Caileigh’s intrusive passion, Karen bolted into the bedroom. She wasn’t going to let Caileigh off the hook for her stupidity. Karen’s eyes enflamed with the desire to watch Caileigh crash and burn in total humiliation. She was no longer going to spare her friend the heartache of her own foolishness.
A firm grip pinched Karen’s arm. Caileigh dragged her from the dresser, where she attempted to balance as she put on high heels, straight to the bed. Pushing her down onto the mattress, Caileigh glared into Karen’s eyes.
“There is something very wrong about you going on this date,” Caileigh insisted.
“Wrong?” questioned an outraged Karen. “It’s about love. It’s the one thing I trust in life.”
“A distorted love, maybe. Does your mother know about this man? What would she say about you dating him?”
“She’d probably give me some good tips. She used to date him.”
Caileigh threw up her arms and encircled the place in the carpet where she had taken her forceful stand. “What!? Are you hearing yourself? Dating a man that was rejected by your mother is crazy.”
Karen’s eyes welled up. She was scared to see this side of Caileigh. She needed something…someone to hold her steady.
The doorbell rang and jolted Karen to her feet.
She wiped her eyes before tears flowed and leaned into a quick step toward the door. The closer she got to the door, the bigger the smile grew on her face. She knew it was her knight in shining armor, as her strength to handle Caileigh grew back to its normal level of gentleness – power under control.
Caileigh’s eyes flushed with fear once she realized he was at the door. She bounded to the door, making her presence known.
Karen didn’t acknowledge Caileigh’s intrusion and opened the door with a big smile.
Her well-built date had a smile broader than Karen’s, which lightened his demeanor to that of a classy man. He some how looked younger and more powerful than most graying men in their fifties, but Karen thought some of that was due to his timing and her need for a chivalrous man.
After gently brushing his handsome suit with her gentle hands, Karen gave him a big hug and welcomed him inside.
“Hey Princess,” he softly greeted her.
“I’ve been looking forward to our date tonight,” smiled Karen.
“I hope so,” beamed her date. “First the chocolate buffet at the Peninsula Hotel followed by two tickets to see Pomplamoose.”
“Hotel!” Caileigh chimed in. “You’re not taking my roommate to a hotel.”
“So, this is Caileigh,” the gentleman chuckled as he extended his hand. “It’s a pleasure meeting you. I’m…”
“… A shark!” the roommate barked.
Caileigh grabbed Karen’s already bruised arm and pulled her behind her back for protection. She puffed up her chest and leaned toward the middle-aged date.
“If she can’t protect herself, I will.”
Shifting to a calming voice, the gentleman asked, “Have I offended you in some way?”
“Karen is half your age. Why don’t you date someone closer in age?”
Karen’s face showed contempt and she grabbed her sweater from the rocking chair and placed it over her shoulders.
“You should be careful with what conclusions you jump to,” the man stated plainly.
“I’m just stating the obvious,” Caileigh rebutted.
“No. You’re casting judgment with little information.”
“You’re twice her age.”
“Well, 30 years.”
“Her mother rejected you.”
The man glanced at Karen with pain in his eyes. Karen reached out and placed her hand on his shoulder.
“I’m sorry,” Karen quietly empathized.
“It’s okay honey, “ whispered the man as he wrapped his arms around Karen and gently kissed her forehead. “Let’s go.”
“Not with her, you’re not,” Caileigh announced.
Karen turned swiftly from her date and glared into Caileigh’s eyes. Holding back deep-seated anger she spoke her words carefully, firmly and in love. “Caileigh, I appreciate your desire to look after me, but you might want to consider listening carefully before making judgment calls.”
A smile came to Karen’s face and she turned back to her date.
“Tonight is special for me. We’ve been going on daddy-daughter date nights since I was in grade school.”
Karen’s dad’s eyes welled up. The love of his life was confessing her love to him. Oh, to be a father of a brilliant, young woman who appreciated her father in spite of the harsh divorce he had endured.
Caileigh stood silent in shock.
“Good night Caileigh,” Karen gently grinned, as she headed out the door.
Karen’s father carefully reached his hand out toward Caileigh. She sheepishly shook hands.
“It’s always a pleasure to meet passionate people,” he said.
Karen took her father’s arm as he pulled the door closed behind them.
Caileigh’s eyes bulged as she plopped down on the couch. She grabbed a throw pillow, covered her big mouth and screamed.