Lor just stared. This was his grandmother – a hitch-hiking octogenarian in a glowing catsuit. Suddenly his mama’s personality made a lot more sense.
Verixe watched him stare at her, becoming more and more confused as the seconds ticked by. Was she speaking Sixan by mistake? She decided to try a wave – surely that was universal.
He snapped out of his daze at the movement, and realised that he hadn’t said a single word to her yet. Ok Lor, he thought to himself, this is it. I have to say something really intelligent. First impressions are important.
“Where did you get your catsuit?” he blurted, and then clapped a hand over his mouth.
Verixe saw the dark blue blush spreading along his face and to the tips of his ears, and had to hold back a laugh. She didn’t want to scare the poor boy away.
“It’s actually something that everyone on Sixam wears most of the time. It helps regulate my body temperature when I’m outside.” she said. She sat down at the chess table, gesturing for him to join her.
“Maybe we can get you one to wear when you visit.”
“I thought the transport was broken.”
“It is, but that doesn’t mean we won’t make another. Maybe you’ll find a better way to travel between worlds one day.”
“I’d like that!”
“Lor, sweetheart, it’s time for bed.” Lissa said. She’d watched happily as her mother and her son had bonded, but it was midnight and he should have been in bed hours ago.
“I’ll be here when you wake up, don’t worry.”
Lor smiled and waved goodnight as he went indoors. He was so glad that tomorrow was a Saturday.
Morgan stepped forward, nervously fiddling with the hem of her top. She and Lissa had discussed where to put their unexpected guest, but she wasn’t sure how the elder Centauri woman would react to the answer.
“Verixe? We don’t really have any spare rooms at the moment, but we’ve got some furniture that we were left when my parents died and we can make a bit of a makeshift bedroom for you until we get the builders in. It’ll be open air, I’m afraid, but-”
“That sounds lovely, Morgan. It will be nice to see the stars from down here for once. I wonder how different they look from this planet to ours.”
Morgan sighed with relief, then started to set up the furniture. It wasn’t much, but it was enough for now. Thank goodness Verixe wasn’t fussy. She heard Lissa pointing out the different constellations from the front of the house. She’d never lost her fascination with the skies, and Morgan loved that about her. If her mother was half as sweet as Lissa was, this would be a good thing for them all.
Little did she know what was in store for that night.
Lissa jolted awake at the familiar sound. One didn’t grow up around pollination technicians without knowing that whirring drone currently coming from outside. She leapt out of bed and ran out the door, just in time to see the ship fly away into the night. It wouldn’t have taken Lor – they had no interest in children. Verixe was safe because she was Sixan. They had taken Morgan.
She glared up at the sky, furious. How dare they take her wife? Then she remembered. This had been the only kind of contact this planet had had with her kind. Stealing people away in the middle of the night, leaving their families scared as to whether they would come back. Wondering what had been done to them whilst they were away. No wonder they had been scared of her when she arrived.
Tears welled up in her eyes, and she stifled a sob. She was better off than most. She knew what was going on, and knew there would be no lasting effects for Morgan when she returned. It was the men who ended up pregnant, not the women. It was probably just a routine check-up with some questions at the end. She’d sat in on a few of them as a child.
She shook her head to clear it, and went inside. She would stay awake until Morgan returned, so she might as well do some work.
Finally, the sound reappeared.
She turned the corner just in time to see Morgan land awkwardly on the ground and the ship fly into the distance.
“Momo? Are you ok?” she asked. What if Morgan was afraid of her now? Would she leave?
“I’m fine, stargirl, just a little dizzy. Help me up?”
Lissa lifted her up and carried her to the sofa.
“Honestly, they were pretty nice to me. They poked me and prodded me a bit, but they gave me cake at the end. Do all Sixans love cake that much?”
Lissa giggled, but the laughter turned to tears all too soon.
“Lissi? Love, what’s wrong?”
“I was afraid you wouldn’t like me anymore. You were just abducted by my mother’s old colleagues after all” she said. Morgan looked at her for a second, then swept her into a tight hug. “I love you far too much for that. Come back to bed with me, ok?”
Verixe woke as the sun’s rays hit her face. She opened her eyes and then sat up in shock. Why was the sun yellow? She got out of bed and almost fell off the roof. Ah yes, now she remembered. She heard a faint sound coming from her daughter’s garden, and went downstairs to investigate.
“Aren’t you lovely?”
Lissa really had done a wonderful job with her plants. They were nearly perfect as far as she could tell which, she decided, should probably be taken with a grain of salt seeing as she had never come across these specimens before. She’d seen them in the pictures she’d been sent, though.
Moo nudged her and opened its mouth. If this woman was not going to give food, she would become food. Luckily, ever since the ‘Sergio Incident’, Lissa had taken to leaving packages of food near the cowplant to reduce the chances of her neighbours being eaten.
Verixe picked up one of the meals, waving it in front of the hungry face. Moo might not have eyes, but it had enough of a nose to make up for it.
Phew, she thought as the plant swallowed and started bobbing about happily again. That was close.
“Grandma? It’s breakfast time.”
Lor had been ready to intervene had the meeting gone badly, but he had to admit he was relieved that it hadn’t. That plant was twice the size of him! He handed her the plate he had prepared, and sat down.
Verixe looked down suspiciously. What was this food?
“It’s an omelette, grandma. Mama’s a good cook, so hopefully you’ll like it.”
“It’s not bad at all. Maybe with a glass of quill fruit juice it would be even better.”
“What’s quill fruit?”
“It was your mama’s favourite food growing up. It’s pink and spiky, but very sweet. Just like she was.”
“Mama was spiky?”
“Her hair was.”
Lor soaked up this information. Spiky pink hair sounded really cool, and cool wasn’t really a word he thought of when it came to his mama. He was learning so much, and it was still the first day.
“Grandma? Can you stay with us?” he asked.
Verixe looked up from her food, surprised.
She smiled. This little boy with his strange fiery hair had grown on her surprisingly quickly. She was going soft in her old age. In more ways than one, she thought ruefully as her tummy grumbled.
“I’m not going anywhere. Unless your parents decide they’ve had enough of me, in which case I can’t do anything about that.”
“Good Morning~” Morgan said as she walked past. She grabbed a plate of food, then made her way back around to the front of the house. “Did you sleep well, Verixe?”
“Very well, thank you. Did you?”
Awkward… don’t mention the abduction, don’t mention the abduction, don’t men-
“I was abducted.”
Verixe looked at the strange smile on the woman’s face, and gave a small one back.
“That’s nice, dear.”
“They gave me cake.”
“Must have been Sita’s team. She loves chocolate.”
“Purple skin, white hair? Swirly grey eyes?”
Morgan sighed with relief. How had that not been a complete disaster? Still, she had the intense urge to crawl under her bed covers and cringe for the next few hours.
They were saved from the growing mutual embarrassment by Lissa, who had been upgrading the television. They were now able to pick up Sixan channels. Hopefully that would help her mother feel more at home.
Verixe had other ideas, though.
“I never knew cooking could be so dangerous” she called back to Lissa, who was tending her fruit trees.
“It can be, but not throwing knives around makes it a bit safer.”
“Do you throw knives?”
“Not on purpose…” she said sheepishly, and grinned at the laughter her answer brought.
Lor was trying very hard to ignore the activity that was going on behind him. It wasn’t that his homework was difficult – he just wanted company. Normally Morgan would stay with him, but she had been on the phone to her boss and was now browsing through some serious looking websites. He’d tried to peek but apparently it was ‘confidential’.
Spy stuff was way more fun in the movies.
Lor looked up from his work. He’d almost finished for the weekend, surely there wouldn’t be any harm in taking a small break – after all, it seemed like the rest of his family were doing so. He picked up his book and walked over, sitting on the empty beanbag.
“Right!” Morgan said, getting to her feet. “Who wants some chilli? It’s lunch time and we can’t live off cake for the rest of our lives”
“I could definitely go for some chilli” Lissa said, smiling at her son’s enthusiasm.
“What is ‘chilli’?”
As Lissa and Lor clamoured to explain the deliciousness that was chilli, Morgan looked around. This was her family. It was… unconventional, but it was hers. What did I get myself into? she thought, and smiled. At least she’d never be bored.
A/N – I got fanart! My lovely friend wolfi-sama drew it, and I love it so much that I wanted to share it with you.
“If moo had eyes, they would be shifty”