"Alexi, what is all the commotion?
"It's Father! He said, he said I'm getting married!"
June paled and closed her eyes for a moment. "Sit down, daughter."
"Sit down! How can I sit down when father is destroying my life!
June sat down and waited for the dramatics to stop.
Finally Alexi crumbled onto the bed in a mix of fury and what seemed to be fear. "How could he Mother? I know you won't let him marry me off to a strange man."
June was silent as she collected her thoughts. This caused Alexi to stifle her sobs and prop herself up. "You, Alexi Mae, are the child we prayed and prayed for, our one and only."
"Oh Mother. I've heard this story my whole life."
"The problem is because you are our one and only we didn't tighten the reigns as we should have. You've always been a spit fire, a quality your father admires."
This brought a smile to Alexi's face. She had always been the apple of her fathers eye; and she knew it.
"You see, your father and I haven't been pleased with your actions of late. We have spoken to you until there is nothing left to say."
June had her daughters attention. Alexi moved to the settee along side her mother.
June took her hand and continued, "We've been praying and waiting for you to mature."
Alexi groaned, "Oh Mother, please tell me you are not on board with this nonsense."
"Your father spoke to me about this matter Monday evening. I've been praying and gave him my blessing this morning. Alexi, it's because we love and care about your well being."
"So, who is the lucky man?" said with as much sarcasm she could muster.
"You will meet your suitor at supper Thursday evening. Please, please be on your best behavior." pleaded June.
Alexi didn't go down for dinner. She spent the afternoon in her room alternating between tears and anger. The problem was she wasn't sure if she was angry at her father or herself.
After a quick bath she dressed for supper. She made sure to leave her hair down as she knew how much her father loves her curls. She'd need to pull out all of the tricks to get out of this one.
The air was so thick at dinner that it could have been cut with a knife. June did her best to make polite conversation. Alexi tried to join in, but no matter how hard she tried it ended up in silence.
Finally Richard broke his silence. "Alexi, I hear your mother told you there will be a guest for supper tomorrow. I want to reiterate that we expect your best behavior."
"Why Father, are you afraid I might scare him off? Alexi said with a smirk.
"Tom is a decent man, I refuse to allow you to disrespect him or me."
"Tom?" Alexi repeated as she thought. "NO! You don't mean Carl Jenkins nephew?"
"I certainly do."
"Tommy Jenkins is old! He lives at his uncles farm. Please tell me you don't expect me to move to a farm and take care of his uncle too!" Alexi said with more force then she intended. One look at her father and she saw storm clouds.
"Tom is only 28. Five years older than you. He only seems old because he is a mature man. More then I can say for you and the people you run around with. Sunday was the last straw. I will no longer be embarrassed by you!" Richard raged.
"You think it's okay to stay out doing God know what with God knows who until late into the night on Saturday. You are barely presentable at church. Last Sunday you didn't even try. Telling your mother you had a headache and then joining my dinner table smelling like stale cigarettes and beer." Richard banged his fist on the table.
"I will not tolerate you to embarrass this family and certainly won't have our guest leaving here speaking about you like you're a Trollip!" Richard pushed his chair away and stood.
"Another thing, you will be married in 30 days. Tom will be your husband unless you bring home a suitor suitable according to my standards. Alexi, I love you. I really do, but daughter, it's time."
June quickly excused herself to see to her husband. Her father had never spoken to her that way. Alexi sat stunned.