Never a Ever After

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Mama knows best

The distinctive click of Louboutin heels against marble flooring prompted Jose to lift his head from the stack of papers that he’d been poring over for the past hour. Glancing down at his watch, the surgeon sleepily rubbed his eyes as he called out, “Shanna? Is that you?”

“Of course, it’s me. Who else would it be,” Shanna snapped.

Jose took a deep breath and let it out slowly. Well, someone’s in a mood, he thought to himself sourly. Disregarding the faint voice in the back of his mind that insisted that he bunker down in his study and wait for the proverbial storm to pass, Jose rose from his chair and bravely ventured out of his office.

Finding his wife in the kitchen standing in front of the cappuccino machine, Jose crept up behind her and gingerly slipped his arms about her waist. To his relief, Shanna’s slender frame softened beneath his loving embrace. Shaking her head in dismay, she said softly, “It’s like I don’t even know who she is anymore.”

Or maybe you never knew who she was, to begin with, Jose mused as he continued resting his head on her shoulder. He had noticed the shift in their daughter’s disposition but had dismissed it as a teenager being rebellious and testing her boundaries as they often did. It seemed that his lack of response had merely emboldened the teen as her behavior had worsened as of late.

Jose was suddenly wrenched from his reverie as Shanna asked, “Do you know where our daughter is right now,” Caught slightly off guard by the question, Jose nodded replying, “Yes, she is spending the night at...”

Scowling, Shanna intercepted, “Yeah, that’s what I thought too.” Lifting his head from Shanna’s shoulder, Jose arched a brow in confusion.

Pulling free from his grasp, Shanna spun to face Jose holding her phone up so that he could see it.“This picture was posted by one of her friends on her timeline an hour ago,” Shanna explained. Jose studied the image before him. A teenage girl of about fourteen years of age with a sun-kissed complexion beamed out at the camera.

Her honey-dipped tresses were parted at the crown and gathered on each side of her head into two neat buns with the remaining locks falling straight down her shoulders. Donning an open quarter length plaid shirt over a black crop top and black leggings, the girl was flanked by two other teenagers that Jose didn’t recognize. “Does this look like studying at Danielle’s to you”, she inquired.

Stunned, Jose stared at the photo in disbelief. He parted his lips to speak, but no words came out.

“She never went to Danielle’s at all. I spoke to her mother,” Shanna added. Shaking his head, Jose replied, “I don’t know what’s gotten into her. She’s never done anything like this before.”

Shanna’s scowl deepened as she growled, “It’s more of a who than a what dear. This is that Walker boy’s doing.” Here we go with this again, Jose thought to himself as he groaned inwardly.

Jose sighed as he lifted a hand to his temple, which he began to massage intensely. “Shan, I don’t understand where all of this anger towards Kenneth is coming from. You’ve always said that Reverend Walker has such a lovely family,” Jose responded.

Glaring at nothing, in particular, Shanna retorted, “That was before his oldest son turned his eyes towards our little girl. He’s a musician, Jose. A musician! It’s almost like she’s doing this to spite me.”

Jose squeezed his eyes shut, bringing his index finger and thumb together to pinch the bridge of his nose as he replied, “Don’t you think you’re overreacting just a little bit? It’s a crush, Shanna. A harmless crush. I’m sure that you probably had a crush on an older boy when you were her age too. Cut her some slack. She snuck out and lied to us. We can’t let that slide, but forbidding her from being with him will make her more determined to do so.”

Shrugging her shoulders casually, Shanna responded, “I know. There’s absolutely no point in trying to dissuade her. She’s stubborn. Admittedly, like her mother.” Pleased that he seemed to be getting through to her, Jose breathed a sigh of relief.

However, his ease was short-lived as he noticed a ghost of a smile flickering across Shanna’s face. He had seen that expression before, and nothing good had ever come of it.

“That’s why I spoke to Kenneth directly,” Shanna stated proudly.

Burying his hands in his face, Jose spoke through his clenched fingers, “Shan...you didn’t.”

Smiling smugly, Shanna replied, “I most certainly did. I made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.”

As he took in the satisfied look on his wife’s face, a feeling of dread welled up in the pit of Jose’s stomach. Frowning, Jose pressed, “You see this...this is what I mean when I say that you’re overreacting. You’ve got to stop being so damn impulsive. Did you ever stop to consider how Maia will respond when she finds out what you’ve done?”

Smirking, Shanna continued, “I wouldn’t worry about that. Kenneth will be leaving for college in a couple of weeks and will be far too busy with collegiate life to continue placating her. He will find someone closer to his age, and she will become a distant memory. He’s probably already cut off all communication with her.”

For a moment, Jose stared blankly at his wife. He was at a total loss for words. As much as he adored the beautiful woman standing in front of him, there were times in which she displayed a shocking level of callousness that made her barely recognizable to him.

“So, you’re willing to break her heart just to keep her from dating someone that you don’t think is good enough for her,” Jose questioned.

A neutral expression settled on Shanna’s lovely visage as she responded, offhandedly, “Better for her heart to be broken now rather than later when she’s in it way too deep with him. She probably won’t understand it now, but trust me, she’ll thank me later.”

Knowing her quite well, Jose knew better than to press the issue further as it was becoming clear to him that there was no reasoning with Shanna. Whatever damage she had done, Jose had no idea how to undo it. Sighing with exasperation, Jose replied sadly, “I wouldn’t be so sure about that Shan.”

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