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Christmas with the In-Laws
By Ann


A car pulled next to the curb and idled for a few seconds before the driver switched the ignition to the off position. The two occupants sat in silence, staring at the house they'd parked in front of, and neither seemed eager to step foot from the car. Clearing her throat, the dark headed investigator spoke first.

"Are you sure about this, Emma? You could go alone, and I'd pick you up at some predetermined time. Just tell me what time you'd like for me to return, and I'll be here."

Turning toward her partner, Scribbs replied, "We've already agreed to do this, so you can't back out now, Kate. My family knows I'm bringing my intended; I can't very well show up alone."

"Yes, you can. Make up some story about how there was an emergency of some kind. You can be very believable when you put your mind to it," Ash explained, hoping that her lover would see reason and not spring this monumental surprise on her unsuspecting parents.

"Kate, my parents are going to be chuffed that I've finally decided to settle down. Besides, it's time they found out that I was gay. Everything will be just fine; you'll see," Scribbs rationalized as she reached for the door handle.

Grabbing her lover's hand, Ash exclaimed, "Wait, Emma! You mean to tell me that your parents don't know you're bringing home a woman?"

"Weren't you listening, Kate? I just told you they don't know I'm gay."

Closing her eyes, Ash slumped against the seat and muttered, "They're going to kick me out on my arse; that is, if your Mum doesn't decide to poison me instead."

"You've evidently never heard me talk about my Mum's cooking. I can promise you that you won't ingest enough poison to kill you. If you did, the taste would probably kill you first," Scribbs replied with a grin. Ash kept her eyes closed and groaned at her partner's attempt at humor.

"C'mon, Kate, let's at least go wish them a 'Merry Christmas,' and if things get nasty, then we'll just leave," Scribbs suggested, taking Ash's hand in hers and squeezing lightly before adding, "We'll use my family as practice for when we have dinner with your parents this weekend. Now, let's get this over with."

Releasing her lover's hand, Scribbs opened her door and stepped outside, closing the door behind her. Ash looked out at the tiny home with the gaudy decorations and whispered, "There's nothing about this situation that will measure up to visiting my parents."

Ash released a cleansing breath and finally stepped from the car. Walking around to meet her partner, she smiled and offered her hand, pleased when her lover took it; however, the moment of bliss passed quickly as Scribbs started down the walkway, pulling Ash behind her.

Before the pair could reach the front door, it flung open, and Ash immediately let go of her lover's hand when a very large man lifted Scribbs off the ground and pulled her into a bear hug while turning round and round in circles.

"Dad! Put me down," Scribbs demanded, but the grinning man refused to let her go, continuing to whirl around.

Finally, he placed the blonde back on her own two feet, and she swayed back and forth, still dizzy from the twirling. A quick thinking Ash stepped next to her partner and put her arm around the blonde's shoulder to keep her from falling to the floor.

"Hey, where's this bloke you told us about?" Mr. Scribbins asked, looking down the sidewalk for his daughter's fiancé.

"There's no bloke, Dad. Kate's my intended," Scribbs answered as her dizziness started to subside, just as Ash's suddenly began.

"Emma, quit joshing about your mate and tell me why she's here instead of your fiancé?"

"Dad, I'm not joshing. Kate's my girlfriend, not my mate!" Scribbs exclaimed just as the front door opened, revealing her mother who promptly fainted across the threshold.

"Bloody hell, look what you've done, Emma. Here, help me carry her inside," Mr. Scribbins directed as Ash stood on the porch stunned by the turn of events and wondering if the woman was indeed going to poison her when she finally came to.

Following behind her lover and Mr. Scribbins, Ash first watched the two gently lay the unconscious woman on the sofa and then her lover dart into a side room, leaving her all alone with her future in-laws and finding herself wishing that they were both unconscious.

"Um, Mr. Scribbins? Is there anything I can do to help?" Ash asked in a nervous tone.

"You can tell me what a posh one like you wants with my Emma?"

"Dad!" Scribbs interrupted, "Here's the smelling salts, now leave Kate alone."

Moving next to Ash, Scribbs made a point to put her arm around her lover's waist and snuggle into her side. A stiff Ash responded by slowly wrapping an arm around her partner's shoulder as Mr. Scribbins glared at the two women.

"Dad, don't you think you should revive Mum?" Scribbs asked sweetly.

Turning, the big man knelt next to his wife and muttered, "That time I caught you kissing your school mate; you said it was just an experiment. Looks to me like you've done quite a bit of researching since then."

"But ...," Ash began to protest, only to be interrupted by her lover.

"He said kissed Kate, not shagged. You are the first woman I've ever slept with," Scribbs assured her partner as the waking woman looked up at her daughter with wide eyes, right before they rolled up into her head and she slumped back onto the couch.

"Emma!" Mr. Scribbins chastised, "Let your Mum wake up properly before you say another word."

Shrugging, Scribbs leaned further into her partner as the pair watched as the woman began to come around once again; however, this time, Scribbs managed to hold onto her tongue until her mum was sitting up on the couch.

"Sorry, Mum. I didn't mean to spring the news on you like that," Scribbs offered in apology, moving to sit next to her mother. Taking the older woman's hand, Scribbs asked, "How're you feeling now?"

Reaching over to the nearby table, the woman picked up a magazine and swatted her daughter over the head. "Emma Scribbins, don't you ever keep your father and me in the dark about your love life!"

Rubbing her head, Scribbs muttered, "How could you be in the dark? I was the one in the closet." Mrs. Scribbins quickly answered with another swat to the blonde's head.

"Ow, quit that," Scribbs said as her mum stood and walked toward a very nervous Ash.

"Hello, I'm Mary Scribbins, and who might you be?"

"Um, I'm Kate Ashurst, Mrs. Scribbins," Ash replied, extending her hand in hopes that the older woman wouldn't hit her with the magazine she still held in her hand.

Smiling, the woman took Ash's hand, pulling her forward, and offered, "Please, call me Mary. Now, why don't you help me in the kitchen, and we can get better acquainted?"

A reluctant Ash followed the older woman out of the room, glancing over her shoulder at her partner and hoping the knives in the kitchen weren't very sharp. Scribbs just grinned at her lover as her dad sat down next to her on the sofa.

Thirty minutes later, Ash had survived the million questions asked by Mrs. Scribbins and even managed to actually assist in placing most of the dishes in their respective bowl.

Now, the four of them sat at the large table ready to consume the meal.

"It's too bad you can't come this weekend when your brothers are here, Emma," Mrs. Scribbins said, passing the potatoes to her youngest.

"I told you mum; we've made plans to have dinner with Kate's parents," Scribbs explained as she piled the potatoes on her plate, and Ash wondered why her lover would load up her plate since she'd implied that her mother was a terrible cook.

Mrs. Scribbins picked up the carrots and said, "Yes, you've told me, but you knew weeks ago that we were going to have our family Christmas on the following Saturday this year."

Ash glanced over at Mr. Scribbins only to find that he wasn't the least bit interested in the conversation. It seemed the turkey, stuffing, potatoes, carrots, and peas were his main concern at the moment. Scooping a small bit of potatoes on her fork, she slowly brought it to her mouth to soon discover that her lover had lied; these potatoes were to die for.

"Mum, it couldn't be helped. Ash's parents are only here for the weekend. Besides, we're here today, Christmas Day. Isn't it nice that you and dad aren't spending it alone?" Scribbs said around a mouthful of potatoes.

The older woman scowled, and Ash quickly attempted to diffuse the possible confrontation. With no magazine around, Ash feared what the woman might grab to hit her lover with.

"How many children do you have?" Ash asked, knowing that all women loved to talk about their children and hoping Mrs. Scribbins would be distracted from her current train of thought.

Smiling, she answered, "Seven, six boys and my Emma."

Having just taken a drink of her water, Ash wasn't at all prepared for that particular answer, and she spewed her drink across the table on the unsuspecting recipient, Mr. Scribbins.

"Bloody hell! I thought you were the prim and proper one," Mr. Scribbins proclaimed, standing quickly and wiping off his shirt with a serviette.

A mortified Ash sat unmoving while Emma got up and dabbed the tablecloth where the water had almost soaked through. Finally, Ash was able to unlock her jaw and offered, "I deeply apologize for ruining your meal. Perhaps it would be best if I were to leave and come back later to pick up Emma."

Patting Ash on the hand, Mrs. Scribbins replied, "Nonsense, Kate. You've not ruined anything. Robert's meal is still intact and that's all he's really worried about. You should see what happens when the whole group is here. We've got eight grandchildren so a little water on the tablecloth is minor compared to getting potatoes off the wall."

Forcing a smile, Ash tried to visualize eight children sitting at the table and shivered at the thought. Thankful that she only had to deal with Scribbs' parents, she turned to apologize to the older man, but he was already diving back into his food. Looking across the table, Scribbs winked at her and all was right again, especially when her lover managed to shift the conversation to less controversial topics.

When the table was finally cleared off, Mrs. Scribbins brought out the Christmas pudding, and Ash was amazed that Mr. Scribbins was able to consume such a large portion after watching him eat two helpings of everything during dinner; however, with her first bite, she could understand his incentive as the pudding was the best she'd ever had.

Ash and Scribbs offered to wash up while the elder Scribbins relaxed on the sofa, and surprisingly, Mrs. Scribbins agreed as she plopped down on the sofa to read the magazine she had swatted her daughter with earlier.

In the kitchen, Scribbs turned on the tap and asked, "Everything went well, don't you think?"

"You're joking, right? Your mother fainted, twice, and I spewed water all over your father. Not to mention, you and your mother discussing the whole coming out of the closet thing," Ash protested.

Smiling, Scribbs placed a bowl in the soapy sink and said, "See that's what I said, it went well."

"How can you...," Ash began.

"Shh, Kate. Listen to me for a minute. Mum faints all the time; it's like some kind of defense mechanism so that she has time to deal with whatever it is she doesn't like, and as for dad, miraculously, none of your water landed in his food, and he could care less about his shirt. As for my discussion with my mother, did you notice she wasn't angry about me being gay? She was mad because I didn't tell her," Scribbs supplied, leaning closer to her lover.

"So, you're saying it went well," Ash replied, rinsing the last bowl and placing it on the tea towel to dry.

Nodding, Scribbs smiled and gently kissed her lover's lips. Pulling away, she whispered, "Merry Christmas, Kate."

Before Ash could return the sentiment, Mrs. Scribbins shouted from the other room. "Hurry up in there, girls. We want to talk to you about our soon to be grandchildren."

Frantic, both women turned and quickly raced to the back door, only to find the deadbolt locked with no key in sight. Searching on the nearby counter, Scribbs came up empty and was just about to look inside one of the drawers when Mrs. Scribbins' voice once again filtered into the kitchen.

"Don't bother trying to leave, Emma. Your dad has the key to the back door in his pocket."

Resigned to their fate, the two women joined hands and walked toward the sitting room, quietly discussing different strategies for getting out of this new predicament.

The End

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