Cassidy Phillips entered the kitchen to find her daughter, Clementine, helping herself to the warmed over dinner that was in the oven.

“Seems you’re still pretty hungry for someone who just stopped at a McDonald’s on their way home from a field trip!” Cassidy noted.

Uh, yeah,” Clementine replied, “I just had a Coke there!”

“I thought Bambert said you both were hungry?” Cassidy asked.

“We were,” Clementine replied, “uh, that is… he was! I figured I’d wait to see what you had fixed for dinner! You know I always look forward to your cooking!”

“Hmmm,” Cassidy replied, “who is this Bambert boy? I’ve never heard you mention him before?”

“Oh, uh…he just recently transferred to the school,” Clementine answered, “he’s one of my new friends!”

“Oh, I see,” Cassidy said, “seemed like a nice guy.”

“He is!” Clementine replied.

“Well, maybe you could invite him over for dinner one weekend evening,” Cassidy suggested, “so I could get to know him a little better!”

Clementine subtly rolled her eyes, “Yeah, sure Mom. I’ll ask him!”

Cassidy nodded.

“Clem,” she began, “it’s a Mother’s duty to be protective of her children. I know most kids feel like their parents delve too much into their private affairs! I know, I felt that way with mine! But what you may not realize now, but maybe you will when you get older, is that I do it, not out of spite or to just bug you, but because I do care and love you!”

Clementine smiled, “I know you do, Mom! I love you too!”

Cassidy returned her smile, “Its just that I want you to always be careful in everything you do! And to remind you, I’m here for you! You can always trust me and tell me anything. And I promise you, I’ll never betray that trust!”

“Thanks, Mom,” Clementine softly said.

She walked over and kissed Clementine on the top of her head.

“Okay,” Cassidy said, “when you finish your dinner, would you wash the dishes and put them away? I have to finish up the laundry. I’ve got to be at work real early in the morning!”

“Okay!” Clementine answered.

As her Mom left the kitchen, Clementine’s eyes began to tear up, as she thought over what her Mom had said about love and trust, but her tears were not of sadness but of joy!

Early the next morning, James Ford picked up Clementine, once again, down on the corner.

“So,” Ford inquired, “how’d it go last night?”

“What did Bam tell you?” Clementine nervously asked.

“Nothing!” Ford replied confusingly, “he just came back and said he had dropped you off okay!”

Clementine sighed, “it went well!”

“What did your Mother have to say?” Ford wondered, “was she suspicious?”

“She was already in bed asleep when I came in,” Clementine answered, “so I just grabbed something to eat, left her a note, and went to bed myself!”

“Hmmm!” Ford replied, “what did you tell her this morning?”

“Well, she apparently had to go into work real early,” Clementine explained, “by the time I got up, she had already left. She also had left me a note!”

‘That part of the story was true,’ Clementine thought. So she figured she was only telling her Dad half a lie! She knew that if she told him the whole truth about her Mom confronting her and Bam, when they arrived home last night, and her Mom later questioning her about Bam, her Dad would believe that her Mom had become suspicious and he wouldn’t let her continue with her training. So her budding career as a ‘wire mobsterette’ would be over before it even got started!

“What’d her note say?” Ford asked.

“Oh,” Clementine replied, “she just said don’t be so late coming home tonight!”

“What does she think you’re gonna do after school today?” Ford wondered.

“Oh, in my note,” Clementine explained, “I just told her that after a pep rally this afternoon, I was going to the cheerleader tryouts!”

“Cheerleader tryouts!!” Ford exclaimed, “you interested in cheerleading?”

“Course not,” Clementine answered, “they’re all just a bunch of phony snobs! Its just that the tryouts usually run real late, so that should buy me some more time this evening!”

Ford nodded.

‘This girl really makes sure she has all her bases covered!’ he thought, which gave him a subtle sense of satisfaction and a cause for concern, all at the same time!

Next: Chap. 18 “Fantastic Four”

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