"So, how are things with you and Doug?" Abby asked.
"Ohhh, don't ask." Jennifer groaned, the sound turning to creaky laughter at the end.
"Baxter got the updates for the Mission's web site finished last week."
"What does that have to do with you and Doug? The last time I looked, the two of you seemed like you were getting past the truce stage into good friends."
"We were. We are." Jennifer sighed again. "But Doug's mother checked out the site … and she saw my picture. She recognized me, even though I've lost about thirty pounds since my Dad's last command and I'm still wearing scarves in all those pictures."
"Uh oh." Abby cringed. All she really knew was that Jennifer and Doug were Air Force brats, and years ago her mother had an affair with his father, which had destroyed both their families and contributed to the end of both their fathers' careers. It had been awkward for Jennifer and Doug at first when they both arrived to work at the Mission almost at the same time.
"Yeah. She seems to think I'm the Whore of Babylon like my mother. Well, she didn't exactly use those words, but... she wants me to stay away from her son."
"Kind of hard when you work at the same place. I can't believe Doug would tell you what his mother said."
"He didn't. She contacted me through the children's ministry email."
"We've both been dancing around each other for the last few days, afraid to warn the other that his mother was on the rampage. I think the lecture she gave him was worse than the short, cold, demanding email I got."
"Double ouch." Abby sighed and scooted down a little in the chaise, drawing her knees up slightly. She flinched at the unthinking movement, then realized it hadn't drawn a single throb in her knee at all. "Now's the time to consider whether the guy is worth the hassle."
"And wonder if he's thinking the same thing about me?"
"Jen... You really need to get up in the clouds tomorrow."
"Yeah. I think I do." A sighing laugh escaped her. "How come I call to find out how you're doing, and you help me instead?"
"That's what friends are for."