A Nudge in the Right Direction

A story by Lost Down Under


Penelope Daniels stared at her youngest daughter from across the room. At twenty-five years of age, November Daniels was the spitting image of Penelope in both looks and personality. Unlike her sisters who took after their father, November had Penelope's wavy, jet black, glossy hair – though Penelope's was greying at the temples – and cloudy, grey eyes. Even November's slightly pigeon-toed feet were the same as Penelope's. She had the same laid-back, but fun and fiery spirit, and the same capacity to always be there for her family. All in all, she was almost an exact replica of her mother; something friends and family always took the time to point out whenever they saw November. There was only one thing, however, that November did not share with her mother: her luck with men.

While Penelope had found and fallen in love with her husband, Henry, at the tender age of eighteen, November had yet to have a relationship that lasted more than a few months. Last year alone, November had brought home four different men to meet her parents. While her father was determined to stay out of November's personal life, Penelope was determined to see her youngest daughter happy, no matter what.

"I know that look." A soft, deep voice spoke into Penelope's ear, drawing her attention away from November. A warm hand slid into hers, its long, slim fingers curling around and squeezing hers gently.

Penelope smiled as she looked down at her husband's hand. "What look?" she asked, lifting her head to look into her husband's eyes. "I was just enjoying the view." She motioned to their family crowded into their living room – four daughters, three sons-in-law, and six grandchildren.

"Hmm," Henry Daniels mused, his eyes sparkling. "More like plotting something in that busy head of yours."

Penelope couldn't stop the smile that lifted the corners of her mouth. Her husband knew her too well.

"I was just thinking about November."

Henry groaned, fearing yet knowing what was coming. "Penny, dear, leave her be."

"I want her to be happy."

"What makes you think she isn't?"

Penelope sighed. "It's this look she gets in her eyes, when she thinks no one is looking. She gets a little bit sad. Like she wishes she had what her sisters have."

"She will, one day. You have to give her time. Not everyone finds their true love at eighteen." Henry lifted Penelope's hand and kissed the back of it.

"She's twenty-five, Henry."

Henry scoffed. "She's still a baby."

"She's had bad luck with men."

"She's an adult, Penny," Henry reminded his wife firmly, "and it is her life."

"I just want to give her a little nudge in the right direction."

Henry raised an eyebrow. "Like the 'little nudges' you gave India, Juliet, and Sierra?" he asked, referring to their three oldest daughters.

"Exactly," Penelope beamed.

Henry chuckled and shook his head. No matter how hard he tried, once Penelope got an idea in her head, there was no stopping her. Even at eighteen when she had demanded they elope. He had tried to persuade her to wait and have a proper wedding, but she told him that any wedding of theirs in which they committed themselves to one another was proper in her eyes.

Turning his head, he looked at his youngest daughter; his baby. She was sitting in the corner of the couch, and curled up in her arms was the youngest grandchild; a four-month old girl named Lily. Henry could see the love in November's eyes as she gazed down at her niece, but he could also see some of the sadness that his wife had mentioned. Still, he thought that sadness was natural. When you are single and you see the rest of your family - especially your siblings - happy and with their own family, it was only natural that you feel a little sad, and even a little bit jealous.

The sound of the telephone ringing distracted him. Looking up, he watched his eldest, India, answer the call.

"Mum, phone," she said, handing the telephone over to Penelope.

Penelope put the telephone up to her ear. "Hello?" Henry watched as Penelope smiled, frowned and then smiled again.

"Of course it's no trouble, Travis," she said. "We'd be happy to have her over."

When Penelope ended the call, she turned to Henry and explained that they would be looking after Travis Jordan's little girl tomorrow. "He has an important meeting, and he couldn't find anyone else available to baby-sit. I hope you don't mind."

"Of course I don't mind. You know I love having little Savannah over."

"She's a darling isn't she?" Penelope commented. "She's just as cheeky and mischievous as her father."

"And the spitting image of her mother," Henry added absentmindedly.

Penelope's mouth hardened. "Yes, it must be hard for Travis to look at Savannah and not see the wretched woman that broke his heart."

Henry nodded sadly, and wrapped an arm around Penelope's shoulders. Travis Jordan's parents had been good friends of Henry's and Penelope's, and when his fiancé left shortly after giving birth to Savannah, Henry and Penelope had been there to help him. He had become almost like a son to them, and Savannah like a granddaughter.

"I'm going to check on the roast," Henry said, making a move to stand up. Before he could, however, Penelope's hand shot out to stop him. "What is it? What's wrong?"

"Henry, I've got an idea!" Henry groaned, not liking the twinkle in his wife's eyes, but listened closely as she explained what she had in mind.