“Allie? Can I come in for a second?”
My answer was no more than a grunt, muffled by the blankets that were covering my head. Dad softly opened the door and came inside. I could hear how he barely suppressed a giggle at seeing the lump of daughter under the covers. “You’re such a teenager,” he said lovingly.
“Can you come out from under there so we can talk?”
I sighed. “Fine.” I threw back the covers and sat up on the edge of the bed. Dad sat down next to me.
“So I bumped into Phil’s mom in the grocery store today.” I could tell Dad was trying to sound casual. “She told me Phil has a girlfriend.”
“Is that what you’re upset about?”
I looked over at him, somewhat surprised. “How did you know that?” Dad shrugged. “Wild guess. I figured a seventeen year old girl would more likely be upset over a boy than over the economy or home prices.”
I let out a cheerless snort. “I guess.”
“So… Do you want to talk about it?”
I told him about the horribly awkward third-wheel-date, and the argument between me and Angela. It had ended with Phil walking her home, but he’d sent me a text apologizing for her behavior. He seemed pretty upset that it had went so badly.
“And…” I concluded my story, “I think I might be in love with Phil.”
Dad nodded slowly. “Well, I honestly can’t say I’m very surprised. Your mom and I were kind of expecting this since you guys were ten.”
“But that’s the thing!” I cried out, frustrated. “Everybody thought we were secretly dating. And I honestly never even thought about it. Phil was my best friend, and that was that. But seeing him with that other girl… I can’t explain it. It was like seeing you with somebody other than mom. It just felt wrong. But that can’t be right, can it? How can I only realize that I’m in love with him when he’s already taken by someone else? Shouldn’t I have been feeling butterflies and sparks all these years?”
Dad adjusted himself on the bed, to be a bit more comfortable. I could tell a big speech was coming.
“Allie, honey, there is no ‘should’ in being in love. It just happens as it happens.”
“But mom told me that I would know if somebody was the right one for me. And I don’t feel like I know anything! What if Phil and I do end up dating, and then it doesn’t work out, and I lose him as a friend…”
“Sweetheart, when I met your mother, all I knew was that I was attracted to her. Which, if you’ve seen her, is not exactly a surprise. But it took a lot for me to realize that she was the woman I wanted to have a serious relationship with, and eventually spend the rest of my life with. You’re both still so young… Stop putting so much pressure on yourself. If you date and break up, at least you’ll have wonderful memories with someone who was right for you at the time.”
He smiled. “But honestly, I feel like you and Phil could make it work.”
“But… He has a girlfriend now.”
I felt my lip trembling like a little girl who was about to cry – which is how I felt.
“Yes, he does. But it’s his first girlfriend ever and from what you’ve told me about her, she’s not exactly his soulmate.” Dad put an arm around my shoulder and squeezed softly. “Don’t worry about it, Allie. This infatuation of his will pass, and if you still feel the same way then, maybe you two can give dating a shot then.”
I sighed. “I guess so. Thanks for the advice, dad.”
He smiled and planted a kiss on the top of my head. “Anytime.”