“Clang! Clang!” A middle-aged woman banged a wooden spoon against a pot. Instantly, the kids fell silent. “Welcome Cadence! Sorry about that. We just get so excited meeting new people, don’t we children?” They nodded as one. “I’m Diane, and that’s my husband Garth. Why don’t you all introduce yourselves?”
“I’m Elliot.” one boy piped up. “I’m Kelly.” A babble of names followed.
“Whoah! How many kids do you have?” I blurted.
It was the wrong thing to say. As one, the kids drew back and crossed their arms. Diane frowned. “We believe that children are a blessing. As it is, we’re richly blessed.” The man nodded firmly.
“I uh, I didn’t mean to offend you guys. I just . . .” I glanced towards the door. Garth was leaning against it and had his shotgun pointed at me again. Yikes. “Umm . . . maybe I should get going . . . “
“No! You didn’t even have supper with us yet!” one kid protested.
“Or see Elaine!” another added.
At that moment, Elaine herself appeared with a lovely grin. “Hey, Cade. Glad you came. My family isn’t terrorizing you too much, are they?”
I smiled weakly. “Actually, it’s all good, considering that I haven’t been shot yet.”
Elaine burst into laughter. “We’re Christians. We don’t shoot people. That’d break the 8th commandment.”
“Right-ight. Then what’s he doing with that?” I hooked a thumb towards her dad.
“Daaad!” She groaned.
“Don’t worry, dear. It’s loaded with blanks only.” Her dad smirked.
“Okayy. I think we’ll head out now. We were planning to go to Questo.”
“Not so fast, young man.” Garth grasped my shoulder. “We’ve gotta ask you a couple of questions first.”
He steered me towards a bare room, with only a table and three chairs. A fluorescent floodlight glared down from the ceiling. “Please, have a seat.”
Diane joined him, sitting across from me. Garth slammed a massive binder down on the table. “Cadence Stewart, right?” I nodded. He pulled out a notebook and scratched some things down. I started to sweat.
“Where do you live, Cadence?” Diane asked.
“21 Kerman Street, ma’am.”
Garth wrote in the book.
“Are you currently employed?”
“I’m an apprentice at Three Guys and a Hammer.”
He scribbled something down.
“How many relationships have you been in?”
I wiped my palms on my jeans. “Two. Nothing serious.”
More silence. More scribbling. It was starting to weird me out. “How do you even know if I’m telling the truth? Are you gonna make me do a lie detector test or something?”
Garth chuckled. “We already did a background check on you, so we’ll know if you’re telling the truth or not.”
If that wasn’t creepy, I don’t know what is.
“Now, on to more important questions. Do you believe in God?”
“Yeah. My parents are Baptist. I’m non-denominational.”
Diane frowned. Garth grunted. “Do you have a relationship with God?”
“Sir, with all due respect, I’m looking to date your daughter, not God.”
He chuckled. “What I mean is, do you know God? Is He just an afterthought, or a big part of your life?”
“I’m working on that.” How many more questions were they gonna ask? My stomach was starting to protest, and the whole interrogation room thing was really weird.
A lot of fidgeting, sweating, and scribbling later, they asked their final questions.
“How much do you know about Elaine?”
“Uhh . . . not much. That’s why I was gonna take her out.”
Diane closed the binder. “Alright. That’s it. I’ll need you to forward your driving history, report cards from grade six and up, and credit card number.”
“I’m outta here.” I shoved back my chair and stood up.
“Hey! Don’t go yet. That was a joke!” Diane chortled.
“Whew. You really had me there.” I cracked a small smile.
“You passed. Barely, but still a pass.” Garth grunted.
“Wait . . . does that mean that I get to take Elaine out?”
“Yep. Provided that you guys are always chaperoned, go to a respectable establishment, and don’t stay out late.”
“Chill.” I grinned.
“Welcome to the family, son!” Garth clasped my hand and then turned the handshake into a man-hug.
“Hey, it’s not like we’re getting married or anything. We’re just going on a couple of dates.” I mumbled.
Diane and Garth shared a knowing glance. “Would you like to stay for supper?”
As much as supper sounded good, I wasn’t sure if I could manage another hour with them. “Thanks, but I think I’ll head home. Maybe another day.”
The End . . . . or is it?
What do you guys think? Should I continue, or just leave it here?