River had settled into the role of husband and head of household quite nicely. He absolutely loved taking care of Melody and the girls. He was always the first one to wake up because he wanted to make breakfast for Melody and now Mia since she started her career in the entertainment business. She wanted to be a successful comedian just like Lance. Marli wanted to be a musical genius specializing in songwriting, but she didn’t want to get a job just yet. She wanted to take some time and enjoy life before she got married to a career. Besides, she could be a songwriter without a traditional job, so she kept working on her guitar skills and was already very talented.
One morning, after Melody and Mia left for work, Marli came downstairs and found River relaxing in front of the TV. It was a bit odd to find him there seeing as how he was usually working out or fishing at that hour. She decided to take advantage of this rare moment and pick his brain.
“Hey, Marli,” he chuckled. “Sorry…I’m still not used to that. What’s on your mind?”
“How do I know if a guy likes me?”
The meter on his tank of emotions was sitting somewhere between “deer in headlights” and “awwww.” Although he recognized that he was the closest thing she ever had to a father, he was still honored that she would trust him enough to ask him for that kind of advice. This fatherhood thing was still very new to him, but he was enjoying it. Even though his chance to have his own children had passed, and he missed out on the twins’ childhood and early teen years, he was glad to still have this small opportunity to have an impact in a young Sim’s life.
“Well…there are a number of ways you can tell. Are you interested in someone?”
“No. Maybe. I don’t know. I was out the other night, and I met a bunch of guys. They invited me to their house party, so I went. They seemed pretty cool, and they all gave me their numbers, but…I just don’t know.”
River went into full on protective dad mode: something he thought he’d never experience.
“Whoa, whoa, whooooa! You met some strange guys and you went to their house? At night…alone? Were there any other girls there? Does your mother know about this?”
“I’m 24 years old, River. Chill out. Mommy doesn’t need to know everything. I thought we understood that.”
“Predators don’t care how old you are, Marli. All they want is a pretty young thing like you. You should be more careful. At least tell me where you’re going in case something happens.”
“Ok, ok. I understand. I’ll let you know where I am. So…back to my question….”
“All right…a guy who likes you will show you he’s interested. He won’t look at other girls when he talks to you, he’ll call you, and if he flirts, then it’s very obvious. Guys aren’t as mysterious as you girls are. It’s not that hard to tell.”
She thought about what he said for a few minutes, and he went back to his show. Or, at least he tried to.
“Soooo…should we expect some visitors soon,” he asked carefully.
“I don’t know. Maybe.”
She looked at him, and he had an endearing and concerned face which made her feel so warm and cared for. Is this what it’s like to have a dad, she asked herself.
“Ok,” she said as she attempted to put him out of his misery. “There may be some visitors, but I really don’t know what to expect beyond that.”
“All right. Just be careful, ok? There are a lot of knuckleheads out there just looking for a good time.”
“I know. But…is there really anything wrong with that…just a good time?”
“Wow. I thought I would never have this conversation. Marli, the world is not fair. If you were a guy, I would be giving you different advice. But you’re a young lady, and things are…complicated. Do you see where I’m going with this?”
“Yeah, I think so.”
“I’m not gonna sit here and tell you that ‘just a good time’ is wrong. If that’s what you want to do, then fine. Just be careful. A guy can have a good time and walk away. But, you ladies could have some lifetime repercussions. Maybe you should talk to your mother about this. She’ll definitely have an opinion on the matter. I’ll just say this: it’s your life, so you do what you want. But, if you want my advice, I would say save your good times for someone you love. If you go around having good times with everyone, then it loses its significance and it’s not as special. Good times are quite special, and I want for you to have special good times. Ok?”
“Thanks, pops. I appreciate you saying that. I wish you could have been my real dad.”