One Saturday afternoon Dana was helping Evelyn bake cookies while Shon was outside with the boys playing football. “Are you sure you don’t mind helping me?” Evelyn asked the young girl.
Shaking her head Dana looked at Evelyn “I’d rather be in here with you. Someday I’ll need to know how to cook and keep house.”
Smiling a little Evelyn found it difficult picturing Dana as the dutiful housewife. Since Dana broached the subject Evelyn decided to dig a little “Dana honey what do you think of Heath?”
A brilliant smile spread across her face “I’m going to marry him someday.”
“What makes you so sure?” Evelyn asked curious.
A frown creased her forehead then disappeared “where there’s a will there’s a way.”
“Generally that’s true but dealing with people is a little different,” Evelyn began noting that Dana was becoming agitated. Tossing cookie dough haphazardly on the cookie sheet.
“You don’t believe me,” she pouted crossing her arms. Staring coldly at Evelyn she said “I can be quite persuasive when I want to be.”
“I’m sure you can,” Evelyn murmured in agreement. “What makes you think Heath feels the same way about you?”
“I can tell,” Dana smiled “he’s just pretending because that’s what boys are supposed to do.”
Choosing her words carefully Evelyn said “Heath is just a little boy and he may not like girls yet. He is after all only 10 …”
“Age doesn’t matter when you’re in love,” Dana said “besides he needs a wiser more mature woman looking after him.”
Turning to put the cookies in the oven Evelyn hid her concerned look from Dana’s view. “That might be true but Heath’s at the age where girls are yucky and might be there for a while. You’re older and will want to date pretty soon ….”
Shaking her head vehemently Dana insisted “there will never be anyone for me but Heath.” Stomping her foot she put her dough covered hands on her hips “I will make sure there are no other girls for Heath too. He’s mine and the person who stands in my way better be careful.”
“Honey you can’t force someone to like you,” Evelyn reasoned.
Eyes narrowing Dana announced “anyone crossing me will live to regret it.”
The look in her eyes and the absolute certainty in her voice sent chills through Evelyn. She had no doubt that she was deadly serious. In many ways it was devastating to realize that this beautiful child held such deep-seated obsessions that could prove deadly to everyone around her. Evelyn had hoped that Shon was wrong in his assumptions but this only confirmed his opinion. Evelyn had no choice but to agree. Burying her misgivings Evelyn smiled at the girl “well I hope no one is silly enough to get in your way.”
Relaxing Dana took on the persona of the sweet little girl she had become since the night she saved her family. She enjoyed being part of the family not always causing trouble. Even her counselor had commented on how much improved she was in her attitude towards her family and twin brother. She no longer had the desire to hurt him like she did in the past. Actually the only person she wanted to hurt was Adam, Heath’s dad. She would too if he continued to stand in her way. Heath was hers and she wasn’t going to share him with anyone.
Laying in bed cuddling with her husband Evelyn told him about her conversation with Dana. “I was hoping I’d be able to prove to you that she was just a normal preteen girl with a crush. But I was wrong. The way she spoke about anyone standing in her way was chilling.”
Squeezing her tight “honey I wish you hadn’t spoken to her. It’s bad enough she feels I don’t trust her. What will she do if she feels both of us are a threat to her goal?”
“I don’t get that vibe from her,” Evelyn said looking up at him. “She might feel freer to talk to me about her feelings for Heath. I was very careful not to disagree with her. It might prove helpful to know what she’s thinking.” Noting how sad and quiet Shon had become Evelyn moved closer and kissed him. “I know this is difficult for you. It’s not your fault your daughter has problems. She can be helped. It’s not hopeless.”
Holding her tight Shon murmured “I hope you’re right. I keep thinking that if I had known about the babies all those years ago I might have been more of an influence in their lives. Maybe she wouldn’t be so messed up now.”
Moaning Shon said “I know the scholarships Don and Robbie both received for Prep school. We can’t send them without causing Dana to become jealous. It’s such a great opportunity for the boys too. The prep school is right here in the city and they could both stay home and attend. I don’t want Dana to feel left out either or that we favor them over her.”
Holding Shon tight Evelyn considered what he said “What if we sent Dana away to her own prep school?”
“That’s an idea and something her counselor had recently suggested. She gave me brochures to one she thought would be a good fit for Dana’s personality and talents,” Shon sighed hesitating.
“But …” Evelyn prompted.
“It’s a military school about fifty miles away. She wouldn’t be able to come home except for the weekends and holidays.” Shon sat up swinging his legs over the side of the bed. “How can I send her away? She’s been bounced around enough already. She’s my daughter. I should be able to help her.”
Putting her arms around him “you’re expecting too much of yourself. You’ve tried your best but sometimes you need a little extra help. Maybe this is the help she needs. Focus her energies on something worthwhile. Hopefully being around other kids will help her overcome her obsession with Heath.”
“What if it doesn’t?” Shon asked “what do we do then?” He hung his head in his hands.
Massaging his tight shoulders Evelyn sighed “I don’t know. We’ll think of something. We will handle it the best we can. Right now we can only handle what we can, let’s not borrow trouble ok?”
Raising his head he smiled at her “you’re right as usual. To bad with your alien ability to fix things around the house you can’t fix broken people just as easily.”
“What’s broken to me may be perfectly normal to someone else. I’m glad I don’t have that ability.” Evelyn leaned in and kissed him “I think we need a change of topic.”
“I like this topic,” Shon said with a smile rolling her over on the bed to deepen the kiss.
In the morning at breakfast Shon looked at Don and Robbie. His heart swelling with pride over their accomplishment. “I have an announcement to make. Last week your mom and I met with your teachers and we were informed that due to Don and Robbie’s scholastic excellence you both qualify for scholarships to attend Prep school.” Rob and Don turned to each other in surprise. Shon was smiling at the two boys. “I’m very proud of both of you.”
Robbie hesitantly said looking from Shon then at Don “I don’t want to go away. I like it here with you.”
Smiling at his young son Shon continued “that’s the best part Robbie you can go to Prep school and still live at home with us. The school is in the city. It’ll be more work for both of you but it’ll be so much more rewarding in the long run.” Shon looked at the stunned boys, smiling encouragingly he said “why don’t you take some time and think about it. Let us know what you’d like to do later ok?” The boys nodded and walked off whispering together.
Dana was silent, watching the pride that Shon was unable to disguise. Scowling she pushed her breakfast plate aside. “If the boys get to go to Prep school then I should go to.”
Shon looked up at Evelyn as she approached the girl “your dad and I thought the same thing. So we decided if you wanted to you could go away to school. It’s a school your counselor suggested. She thought it would be the best fit for your unique skills and abilities.” Evelyn handed her the brochure “look at this and let us know what you think.”
Looking at the colorful pictures Dana frowned as she read “it’s a military school. Why can’t I go with the boys?”
“This school will develop your natural leadership skills,” Evelyn told her appealing to her vanity.
“But I can’t wear pretty clothes. The uniforms are so drab,” Dana complained “I don’t want to be a soldier.”
“You don’t have to be a soldier,” Evelyn appeased her “this school will give you a chance to be independent and to try new things. Don’t you want an adventure? One all your own.”
Nodding Dana liked that idea. Looking at the brochure again “I’ll think about it.” Evelyn shared a smile with Shon over Dana’s head. “When can I go?” Dana asked interrupting their thoughts.
“Whenever you’ve made up your mind,” Evelyn told her.
“What if I don’t like it? Will I be able to come home?” Dana asked looking up at her.
“Of course,” Evelyn told her “I wouldn’t want you to stay any place you didn’t like.”
“Ok I’ll go,” Dana nodded “It could prove useful in the future.”