Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: IN-LAWS (07/11/19)
- TITLE: Meeting the Family
By Art Westefeld
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Saffire, her real name, not the one she went by on Earth, asked in a bored tone, “Jack, you are an adult and can wed anyone you wish. So why am I here to be "introduced" to your parents?”
With forced patience he responded, “Sapphire,” (the name she used on Earth), “It’s a family tradition. The parents want to get to know the person marrying into the family.” He added silently 'and we aren’t going to mention your extraterrestrial origins.' Sapphire Royal, the name she chose after her ship crashed behind the base at which he had been stationed, appeared human until she showed her ears, or unless she took off the tinted glasses he had bought for her to hide her pupilless blue eyes.
Jack’s dad opened the door and boomed, "Come in!" He extended his hand to Saffire, engulfing hers. "Sapphire, it's so nice to meet the young lady Jack can't stop talking about. I'm Robert, and this is my wife Linda."
As Linda and Saffire exchanged greetings, Robert appraised her, and in a voice intended as a whisper, he told Jack, “‘Bout time you found yourself a great looking girl. Bet the two of you will give your mom and me some real cute grandbabies.”
Linda looked at him with a shocked expression. “Robert Chance, they haven’t even set the date. Stop being so rude and pushy!”
Ignoring his wife’s mortification, Robert rejoined, “We ain’t getting any younger, and I want to hold and spoil grandkids while we’re still young enough to do so.”
Jack looked at Saffire and mouthed "Sorry."
She had picked up enough human customs to wave it off, and spoke the first partial truth she knew she’d have to speak tonight, “I'm sorry, Robert, but that won’t be possible. I had cancer when I was young, and Jack and I can’t have any babies.” The truth was that her genetics weren’t compatible enough with humans for reproduction.
Linda broke the awkward moment by directing them to the dining room and serving the steaming chicken casserole. They drifted into small talk.
When Linda stood to clear the plates and bring out dessert, she passed Saffire and ruffled her hair. "You are so lucky that your hair grew back so beautifully after recovering from the cancer."
As Linda’s hand passed through Saffire’s long shiny black hair, she noticed that the girl’s ears came to a point.
Saffire, noticing the human woman’s awareness of her pointed ears, decided to confront the situation directly. Saying nothing to Jack, she pushed her hair behind her ears, removed the glasses, and stared at the humans, chin held high.
Robert looked to his son. “Boy, you marrying one of those Trekkies? You said she was French.”
With Saffire's secret exposed, Jack confirmed the truth. “No, Dad, Sapphire is a real alien from another planet.”
Robert’s mouth hung open, speechless for once.
Linda looked at Jack. “Why didn’t you tell us before this?”
Jack stiffened. “Where she’s from doesn’t matter. I love Sapphire and want her to be my wife. If you two can’t handle it…”
Linda reassured, “Jack, you love her and will take good care of her, like your dad has always done with me. Speaking for both of us, you have our blessing."
Robert regained his composure, chiming in, “I agree with my wife. So what if you two can’t make us grandparents. If you're happy, that’s all that counts.” Turning to Linda he continued, “Sweetheart, you going to bring out the cake?”
In the car on the way back to her apartment, Saffire remarked, “Your parents seemed very accepting of me not being human.”
Jack shook his head, “Yeah, they took it way better than I expected. Shall we get married next month, the one year anniversary of your arrival on Earth?”
Saffire smiled. “I would like that very much, Sweetheart,” deepening her voice on the final word to mimic her future father-in-law.
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