Thicker Than Water
Chapter Sixteen
Flashback: First Kiss

Sylvina pushed open the big french doors, excitement in her blue eyes as she hunted for her sister. "Annie, where are you! I have the biggest deal to tell you, I swear. Oh, where are you! I need to talk to you!"
"Annie's gone over to Layna's house to study for the history test." Disturbed by the noise, Mary emerged from the sitting room, casting her eldest daughter a grin. "Since you were out on your very special date, I didn't think you'd be in a hurry to join them."
Her eyes twinkled as she took in her companion's expression.
"Well? Is he still as cute as he was when you asked him out yesterday?"
"Of course he is." Sylvina said, casting her mother a disapproving look. "He's an eighth grader, and he's on the soccer team. Of course he's cute."
"Ah...thank you for clearing that up for me." Mary looked amused, and Sylvina punched her mother playfully.
"Mom! Don't be silly." She said.
She sighed.
"I hoped Annie would be home." She added. "Studying is boring and I wanted to tell her everything that happened. Everyone at school is gonna be so jealous, you know. Andie Cochran and Poppy Marsh were at the ice cream parlour and I swear they got so jealous when..."
She trailed off, eying her mother uncomfortably.
"When they saw we were on a date together." She amended.
"Mmmhm." Stormer linked her arm in her daughter's, leading her into the sitting room and indicating for her to take a seat. "So what was so exciting then, that you have to tell Annie about it right away?"

"No. Nothing."
Sylvina folded her hands in her lap, then, "Is Dad home?"
"No, he's working late at the office." Mary shook her head. "Why?"
"Good." Sylvina looked relieved. "Did you tell him that I was going to meet with a guy after school today? He doesn't think I'm old enough to have a boyfriend yet."
"Yes, I did. We talked about it and I told him that it wouldn't hurt to go to the ice cream parlour and ten pin bowling." Mary sat down beside her eldest child, putting a gentle arm around her shoulders. "You go there with your friends all the time and it'd be just like that. Besides, you've done nothing but talk about this boy all weekend. He must be special."
"I told you. He's on the soccer team and he's in the eighth grade."
"Yes, I know you did."
Mary hesitated for a moment, then,
"Sylvie, I've spoken to both you and Annie about, well, boys and things, haven't I?"
"Mom!" Sylvina's eyes widened in alarm. "You're not gonna give me the whole facts of life thing again, are you? That's totally not cool and besides, I'm thirteen! I only kissed him, I didn't..."
She flushed red as she realised what she'd given away, and Mary laughed.
"Oh, first kisses are special." She said gently.
"Are you mad?"
"No." Mary shook her head. "In truth, I like to see you so happy and with so many friends. When I was your age, I didn't know how to talk to boys and none ever asked me out. The last thing I'd think of doing would be to ask one out myself. Besides, I trust you to be sensible."
"Dad doesn't." Sylvina rolled her eyes. "He thinks I'm a flake and that I don't study hard enough."
"Well, he might have a point on the second one."
"Maybe. But it's so boring." Sylvina sighed, flopping back against the cushions. "Will you tell him that I kissed Lee?"
"No, I think it might be better if we didn't tell him that particular secret." Mary decided. "I don't know if he'd understand."
"I think that way too." Sylvina smiled. "I'm glad you do. But seriously, Mom, you don't have to give me the boy lecture again. Just because I'm dating Lee - I'm seriously not gonna do anything stupid with him. And well, he's cute and all, but you know, he isn't the only cute guy. Rachel Mathers in my homeroom's brother just went to High School this fall and he's really cute too."
"Maybe I do need to give you the talk then." Mary said lightly. Sylvina rolled her eyes expressively.
"Mom! I know where babies come from!"
"I know you do." Mary nodded, gently brushing loose wisps of curly hair out of her daughter's face. "But listen to me anyway, okay? You're getting older and the older you get, the less you'll want to listen to your Mom when it comes to matters of the heart. I'm gonna get my oar in now, while I've got you here and we're all alone."
"Fine." Sylvina grimaced. "What, then?"
"I know you don't think about....well, about that thing just at the moment." Mary said gently. "And that's fine by me. But it will come up as you get older, Sylvie, and I want you to be aware and be prepared for it when it does."
"I know what it is, Mom. I don't need you to tell me this again."
"I'm not going to." Mary shook her head. "But, the older you get, the more people around you might try and press you into doing things that you're not necessarily ready for. Things you might regret later. So I want to tell you what my mother told me."
"Which was...?"
"That it's something very special and a woman should only give it to someone she loves very much." Mary murmured, eying her daughter's discomfort with tender amusement. "So keep that in mind while you're off chasing all your cute guys, okay? It mightn't be an issue right at the moment, but one day it will be. Will you promise me to remember that?"
"I promise." Sylvina nodded slowly. "But it's cool, Mom. I'm not gonna end up as some cheap little tramp. That's so totally not my thing."
"Well, mind you keep it that way." Mary told her. "And that was the door, so I think your sister is home. Hadn't you better go tell her all the exciting details before your Dad comes in and wants to know why you're not studying for your history test this Friday?"
"Definitely!" With some relief, Sylvina got to her feet, disappearing out into the hallway, and Mary let out a sigh.
"They grow so fast." She mused. "And Sylvie's so reckless sometimes. I hope she absorbed that. The older she gets, and the more interested in boys and in dating...well, I just hope she listened. Telling her not to do something usually results in her doing it in one roundabout way or another...and if I hadn't let her go out with this Lee boy, it'd have been twice as bad in the long run. But I hope I called it right, and I haven't given in to her too soon."
She shrugged, getting to her feet.
"Oh well. I've done as much as a mother can." She decided. "I guess now we'll just have to wait and see if Sylvie took what I said to heart."


Prologue: April 1st, 1997
Chapter One: Sylva's Request
Chapter Two: Samantha...and Jesta
Chapter Three: Flashback - Junior High
Chapter Four: In The Big Apple
Chapter Five: Flashback - Sammi's Eighth Birthday
Chapter Six: Flight
Chapter Seven: Anna
Chapter Eight: Flashback - The Martescu Home
Chapter Nine: Old Wounds
Chapter Ten: Jesta's Clue
Chapter Eleven: In Translation
Chapter Twelve: Flashback - Thick As Blood
Chapter Thirteen: A Friend In Need
Chapter Fourteen: Anna's Secret
Chapter Fifteen: Wedding Day
Chapter Sixteen: Flashback - First Kiss
Chapter Seventeen: Crossing The Line
Chapter Eighteen: Colin
Chapter Nineteen: Settling Up