"Dad, I need to speak to you"
Cory was sitting in the living room, grading the homework from his history class' students. He looked up at her and patted on the chair next to him.
"Sure, Riley. What's on your mind, kiddo?"
"Well, dad, I wanted to talk to you about Lucas" She explained, sitting down and giving her father a worried look. She knew how much this subject worried him and how he got about it.
She was feeling awfully nervous herself!
"Oh, ah, I---" Her father stumbled with this words and shook his head, trying to pretend he got back to grading the homework "I'm busy now, maybe next year!"
Riley bit her lower lip and gave her father a pleading look.
"Dad, please... It's important"
With a sigh, Cory nodded, placing the pages on the table.
"Alright, Riley. What's up?"
Riley breathed in sharply and exhaled, before daring utter:
"Dad, Lucas asked me out"
"Again?!" He asked, in a high pitched voice.
He had already had to deal with this on Riley's 8th grade, but since then the two kids had decided to be just friends! Why couldn't they just stay this way.
"Yeah, dad, but this time it's different. He's my boyfriend"
"Riley, you're too young to be dating so seriously!"
"Dad, I'm 16!" She protested and gave her father yet another pleading look.
"I will always be your little girl, but didn't you tell me I needed to go out and meet the world?"
"Well, that also means I will begin dating eventually, and then get married, just like you and mom did... don't you want me to grow up?"
Cory remained silent for a moment, before sighing heavily. He took his daughter's hands in his own and nodded, not without certain reluctance.
"Seeing a daughter grow up is never easy for a father, Riley" He explained, offering his daughter a soft smile. "But I suppose you are right. There will be rules and curfews but...I understand you are a young woman now."
"Oh, daddy, thank you!" She squealed and hugged her father tightly.
It was never easy accepting your little girl was growing up, but Cory didn't want to cut her wings either. He hugged her back and patted her back tenderly.
"I'll always be there for you kiddo"
"I know, dad"