The thing I have to remember with dealing with my daughter is that I don’t much have to now. It can be a mite difficult to override that knee jerk reaction to sit my baby girl down and give her a talking to when she’s crossed the line, but most days I’m the one saving her from a talking sterner than she deserves from her uncles. And when I say uncles, I’m using that term a bit lose there.
Used to be that Jessie had her four uncles wrapped around her cute, chubby little finger, and she still does. To some extent. It just backfires on the poor girl more often than not now. Now being that she’s old enough to start figuring out that not all boys are as downright disgusting as her little brother. Well, my girl’s newfound interest has her uncles ready to do violence with a speed unknown ’till now. Well, excepting Jayne, of course. I gotta admit, though, sure is damn funny to watch.
Not to mention everything gets sorted out and neither Wash or I come out looking like the bad guy. They do all the parenting and my husband and I get all the benefits. It’s a good deal and we both know how lucky we are. Seems parenting a budding teenager is pretty tiring if the look on the Captain’s face is anything to go by at times.
Best example I can think of happened just a couple of weeks ago. We were staying on Zephyr a bit longer than normal. Inara had a client, one of those newly rich people, profiting off the backs of their workers, workers who had nowhere else to go for work after the war was over. And Kaylee, well Captain never could say no to letting the girl have a bit more time with her family. Specially now that Simon and River had a safe planet side to stay and run around in the fresh air.
What really started all this though was that there was a Frye family gathering going on, and we were all invited. Well, that suited all of us right down to the ground so we put on some half way nice clothes and set out for a party. And if Kaylee’s engine fermented brew was any indication, it wouldn’t be a quiet party.
It didn’t take long to get everybody ready to go, and we were off quick enough. I do have to say Jessie looked downright adorable in the dress we managed to find for her, an old one of River’s. Before we knew it we were in the middle of the biggest party I’d seen in a long time. The music was loud, everyone was dancing and there was enough food to feed an army. Wash and I were having ourselves a good time, and there was no real need to look too close after Jessie and Aaron, them having a whole family around them to make sure that they didn’t get in too much trouble.
I should’ve remembered that this was Kaylee’s family we were talking about.
The Captain and Jayne had gotten themselves so drunk on the Frye home brew, a bit smoother than what we had on the ship, that they were making inappropriate suggestions to a fair number of Kaylee’s cousins. Wish I had a few pictures of that for when I’d need them, but I think I saw the Shepherd following my line of thinking. That man’s more devious than any of us will ever know, I’m sure.
Kaylee was showing Simon off to her family again. Girl never passed up a chance to show the boy off when she could. For his part Simon was smart enough now to secret her away early and have themselves a good time of their own.
And River, well, River danced.
So with all of us distracted, and River most likely just ignoring the goings on, Jessie managed to sneak away with a distant cousin of Kaylee’s. They didn’t get beyond kissing, from what River told me later, but the good part of this whole story doesn’t start until the next day.
I gotta say we were lucky our schedules working out well enough to give us a bit of time to recover from the party. Believe me, a party like that needs a couple of days of resting time afterwards.
Jessie was hanging around the bay doors, not doing much of anything while we waited for our cargo to be delivered and Inara to come back. It was my girl’s bad luck that Jayne and Book were well enough to work out that afternoon when the boy from the party came up to the ship to talk to her.
Book noticed right away, and he’s old enough to know that they weren’t gonna get up to too much trouble just sitting in the cargo bay, but Jayne, well Jayne is rough enough to know that boys only want one thing and figures that a teenage boy ain’t too different from him in most ways. Kinda pains me to know that he’s right.
Jayne got right up to scare the boy straight off, yelling and going on about how he weren’t good enough for his niece and if the boy knew what was good for him, he’d leave well enough alone. Now I can’t figure out of the boy was brave or just plain stupid to not run away there and then. Probably wanted to impress my girl by standing up to Jayne, but Jessie knows Jayne far too well to be impressed by anything like that.
That got the Shepard involved right quick, defending the boy and trying to avoid any thing stupid. Problem with that is things had already gotten stupid. Captain coming down to find out what the shouting was about wasn’t gonna help matters any either. Simon stumbled in a bit late on the whole thing, but the others were yelling at each other something fierce and he was the only one who noticed that Jessie was getting ready to flee with the boy. My girl knows the meaning of strategic retreat.
God bless Simon, mainly because no one else will. He sounded the alarm and the two kids froze as they were stared at by four tough men. Well, three tough men and one man very skilled with drugs and scalpels.
The boy drew himself up and asked as best he could if he could date my daughter. As a man, they answered “No.” Confused, the boy left then, I figure not wanting to deal with my girl’s crazy uncles any longer than he had to. Jessie, on the other hand, lit into them like only a teenage girl can. Upset she came to me and Wash and we had to calm her down, telling her that this wasn’t the end of the world and next time we’d do our best to keep her uncles from messing up her love life.
I think Wash cringed when his baby girl said “love life.” So did I, but on the inside. She hid out in her bunk after that, refusing to come to dinner ’cause she’d have to see her uncles.
It would have ended there, Jessie hiding in her room or in some other part of the ship until she forgave them, but Inara came back a couple of days early and she could never have resisted getting in on something like this.
Inara got instant support from Kaylee in her plan, the girl was always a sucker for a good romance. They spent a good bit of time in Inara’s shuttle plotting and scheming, or so River tells me. Looking back, I think River was on mine and Wash’s side for this whole thing, letting us know what was going on in case we really needed to step in. That girl’s a good one to have on your side, and I’m glad she’s on mine.
Anyway, like I was saying, there was a whole lot of plotting going on, and they were fixin’ to get Jessie and her young man a bit of alone time at the local market. Nothing Wash or I had a problem with. Hell, if he did try anything I’d almost feel sorry for him. My kids have been learning how to fight since they were yea high, and from some of the best in the whole damn verse.
What Inara and Kaylee need though, for their plan to work was a turncoat. And who better than Simon? Try as he might, it was always a sure bet when the other women had some plan, Simon would be roped into it faster than anything.
Night came, tomorrow was delivery day and everybody was taking it easy and resting up, and I knew something was up when Jessie came down for dinner. Wash knew when he saw her smiling. He knows it’s never good when the women in his life smile after being upset for a day. Kept his mouth shut though, my man knows what’s good for him. And he wanted to watch this.
The Captain, Jayne and Book were as pleased as punch that she was back and all smiles and making dinner brighter. She played her part well, and I’m betting she had the best acting coach there is. After dinner she scampered away, three of her uncles none the wiser and the fourth looking a bit nervous. When it was late, she wished everybody a good night and went off to bed.
My husband and I went to bed early, not wanting to get in the way of the little drama that was going to play out. What happened while we were asleep was this. River wandered up to the crew area, making sure everybody was asleep, and Simon followed, not much unusual about that. What was unusual was River trading places with my daughter in her room. Anyone listening would have thought that River was just getting somewhere she wasn’t supposed to be and Simon was fishing her out.
From there they went to Inara’s shuttle, to hide her for the rest of the night and get ready the next morning. Morning came and Inara told us her and Kaylee would be taking off for the market, just looking for some shinies. They took the shuttle and my daughter with them. From all reports she had a good time at the market with the boy, which is nice to hear.
Back at the ship, the delivery went off without a hitch and River left Jessie’s room when everybody was occupied with that. It’s not a big ship, but big enough to believe that Jessie wouldn’t be seen till dinner. Good thing that Inara and Kaylee managed to pry her away from the boy in time to set down to eat.
So there was my little girl, looking like the cat that ate the canary, and her very protective uncles none the wiser. Later, Wash and I had a bit of a talk with her, about boys and what we expect of her. It went over pretty well. We dropped a few hints that we knew about the plan and could’ve stopped it any time but chose not to. That kind of thing’ll get a girl to pay attention real fast to the rules that are being set down.
Yup, parenting is pretty easy when you’ve got a ship full of people willing to do it for you.