argyle_princess: (wry amusement)
[personal profile] argyle_princess

Hannah's curfew was thirty-two minutes ago. Her parents don't make a big deal about five minutes, or even ten, and her mother might have let fifteen go.

But thirty-two? Not so much.

Hannah is sneaking in, but it's mostly for form's sake. There's no way her mother hasn't waited up -- her mother always waits up.

And the moment the front door locks behind her, Hannah hears the TV go silent and a voice calls from the living room, "Hannah? You're late."

"Yeah," says Hannah, coming into the room but staying near the doorway for the moment. "We, um . . . we lost track of time."

"Doing what?" her mother asks.

"Talking?" Hannah offers.

Her mother gives her a look that makes it clear she has translated this into a far more accurate description of what Hannah and Sam lost track of time doing, which certianly involved mouths but was not exactly conversation.

"You're grounded, sweetie."

"Yeah, I kinda figured," Hannah says, dropping into the arm chair. "How long?"

"Let's say a week."

"Kinda harsh for half an hour." The objection, like the sneaking in, is half-hearted and for effect. Then she sighs. "Can I go to practice?"

"Yes, you can go to practice," says Steph. Track is a commitment and Steph considers Hannah's practices to be part of her school day.

"Can I run in the morning?"

Steph looks at her daughter. Telling Hannah she can't run for a week is likely to be insanely unpleasant for everyone, as Hannah gets seriously cranky when she can't run. And it's not like Hannah runs to socialize, anyway. "All right, you can run. Regular route, no company."

"Okay. Thanks."

"You're welcome." Steph looks at the muted TV and then turns it off. "How serious are things with Sam, Hannah? On a scale of, say, zero to sex?"

"Mom!" says Hannah, slightly horrified, though this is not exactly shockingly blunt for Steph Denenberg. And then Hannah continues, more calmly, "I can't answer that question."

"Yes, you can."

"No, I can't. There's no way to tell what the scale is."

"Assume sex equals ten."

Hannah considers for a moment, then decides, "Seven. Pushing eight."

"And is it going to be pushing ten?"

"Maybe," says Hannah. "I don't know yet."

"But it might?"

"Eventually, yeah. It might."

Steph sighs. "Hannah, just be--"

"--careful," Hannah finishes. "Yeah, I know. And I promise -- no rushing, no getting talked into things, no rash decisions. Lesson learned, there, Mom."

"No grandkids any time soon."

"After Stepford? You'll be lucky if you get grandkids ever. Next four years are totally out."

"All right," says her mother. "And I know you're . . . I just . . ."

"Yeah, Mom, I know," says Hannah. "And I know I've given you pretty good reason to worry in the past. But Sam really is one of the good guys. And these days? I'm have pretty high standards for that category."

Henry Wellard has set one hell of a bar for anyone else who will ever even try to date Hannah.

"All right," says her mother, again. "And I trust you. But you are still grounded."

"Never figured I wasn't."


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Hannah Griffith

June 2009

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