Bethany: Charlene, come in. We we’re just setting dinner on the table. Linda made potato salad and put extra olives in it for you.
Charlene: Mm. Sounds good.
Elaina: Hi, Charlene. I made fresh rolls. Um, did you want me to them topped with extra butter?
Charlene: I’ll take some butter. But all that extra cream stuff is Cole’s thing. *pulls out a chair and wrinkles her nose* There’s a spoon of peanut butter in my chair.
Bethany: Oh, for heaven’s sake. Linda, Mechenzie got into the peanut butter again!
Linda: *enters the kitchen with, arms filled with stuffed toys* Good grief. The girls are so wound up. They’re tearing up the place.
Charlene: *chooses another seat* Ah, motherhood.
Linda: Did you have twins? It’s more common on Earth, isn’t it?
Charlene: Nope, no twins. I wanted to experience that through you.
Linda: *looks at the lot in her arms* Thanks. *drops the toys in a corner* I’ll get that peanut butter.
Ben: *enters and plops into a chair* Here when food’s on the table again, eh?
Bethany: Oh, Ben. Charlene’s welcome here any time. *sets a plate in front of Charlene* I hope you like steak.
Charlene: *looks at the large portion* I don’t eat much meat, but this looks great.
Elaina: Mother, you knew Charlene eats meat sparingly.
Bethany: Oh, I’m so used to dishing out Ben’s I guess I got carried away. *hands Ben his portion*
Ben: Charlene, I’ll take it if you don’t want it. *stuffs a chunk of meat into his mouth*
Charlene: Ben, I knew I could count on you.
Ben: *points his fork at Charlene* And don’t you forget it. I’m happy to oblige.
Charlene: I hope you feel that way about a few other things too, Ben.
Ben: Anything. You needing some help with something?
Charlene: Actually, I was thinking about the Shilos.
Ben: *huffs* Shilos. An odd lot. What have they gotten themselves into?
Elaina: Daddy, they’re not…odd.
Ben: Three men living alone at that shrouded mansion on the south side? Nobody really knows anything about them. They can’t be up to any good.
Linda: Really, Dad. They’re founder’s sons. They don’t have to explain themselves to anyone.
Elaina: I’ve met one, and he seems very nice.
Ben: *eyes his daughter* And how nice would that be?
Elaina: *blushes* Um, well, he’s very nice, actually.
Linda: Do I catch a hint of infatuation in your voice, Little Sister?
Elaina: Vincent is a very sweet man.
Bethany: Oh, Elaina. Is that the young man you’ve been seeing?
Ben: What? *stabs at another chunk of meat* You’ve been seeing one of them and this is the first I’ve heard of it?
Elaina: *sets the rolls on the table with a shaky hand* Uh, you have been busy, Daddy. I didn’t really want to bother you.
Ben: *scoffs a snort* More like you were skirting the inevitable. How long has this been going on?
Elaina: Oh, only a few months.
Ben: *chokes on his food* What?
Bethany: Now, Ben. *pats his shoulder* Elaina is twenty-one. She can see whomever she likes.
Ben: She’s still my little girl! I’m not having some stranger cart my daughter around.
Linda: *laughs* Everyone’s a stranger until you get to know them, Dad.
Elaina: Well, Charlene introduced us.
Charlene: Don’t worry, Ben. Vincent is very caring and loyal. And so are his brothers…James for instance.
Ben: *glares at Charlene* What have you got up your sleeve?
Charlene: *forks at her potato salad and looks at Linda* He wanted me to come and speak with you about courting Linda.
Linda: *turns red and dabs at the peanutbutter* He’s not…I mean, he doesn’t…
Charlene: *smiles big*
Linda: Oh, my god. That big hunk of a man wants to get to know me?
Charlene: *pats Ben’s pudgy hand* Oh, it’ll be fine, Ben.
Bethany: *sighs* Just imagine. Both our daughters with founder’s sons.
Ben: *growls and leans toward Charlene* I’ll get him for this. He sent you because he knew I couldn’t argue with our author.
Charlene: *smiles and fills her fork* I do love wielding my power.