Nancy had to do a double take when her phone started to ring. That ring tone was for her daughter, but Emily was supposed to be out with her friends, and when Emily was out with her friends, the last thing she usually wanted to do was talk to her mother.
She almost assumed that it was just a pocket dial, but then on a whim, she picked up anyway. “Hello?”
“Mommy?” Emily’s voice had a little crack in it, like she’d been crying. She sounded so much younger than nineteen years old.
“Emily? What’s wrong? What happened?”
“Mommy, I need you to come pick me up.” Emily was definitely crying now.
Nancy didn’t even hesitate. “Of course. Of course. Where are you?”
Emily rattled off an address and Nancy wrote it on her palm. Nancy reassured Emily that she’d be there as soon as she could, and Emily said she was hanging up the phone. Nancy plugged the address into the GPS, and found that she was driving to Hearts and Stars, a club on the edge of downtown that had a reputation for not checking IDs, and that the drive would take her fourteen minutes. Nancy got to spend those fifteen minutes trying not to come up with the worst case scenarios of why her daughter was there, and why her daughter was crying.
She saw Emily immediately, sitting on the curb outside the club, a little way away from the mass of people all waiting for a chance to get into the club. She was wearing heels and a dress that was so short, Nancy would have made her go back upstairs and change if she’d tried to wear it out of the house. But now was not the time to get on her daughter about fashion choices. Now was the time to figure out what was wrong.
Emily looked up, and made her way to the car. She had barely pulled the door shut. “Yes, I’ve been drinking. Yes, I know that you are disappointed in me. But my only other ride home was with someone who had also been drinking. So, I called you. Can the lecture wait until we get home? Please.”
Nancy reached over and gave her daughter’s knee a squeeze. “If you had ridden home with someone who was drinking, I’d be disappointed. We’ll have to have a talk, yes, but we’re good.”
Emily got misty eyed again, and sank a little further in the seat. “Thank you. You’re the best, Mommy.”
Nancy turned to the road to take them home. Somewhere, Nancy had done something right with Emily.