"Her what?" Beth stuttered the moment she found her voice.
"Fiancee, meaning we'll be getting married next month," The man just wouldn't wipe that smile off his face, not even when she didn't respond to his smart-mouth reply, "Getting married is when you-"
"That?" Beth interrupted his second clever joke to question her daughter, "You're with this?"
"I-I'm s-still getting used to the fact that you're still here," Mimi stuttered.
"Alright then, you take your time to process this," Beth said before shooting up to face the man, "You! Name,"
"Stanley Richmond," he smirked.
"That doesn't really exist right now,"
"Okay…" Beth turned back to her daughter, "So you're throwing away a nice, semi-normal life in New York for an incomeless corn husker who I've only known for a few minutes and already I want to rip that smirk off his face?"
"Oh, actually he's a jay-hawk," Mimi corrected her mother.
"Don't tell me you're getting his smart-mouth," Beth warned.
Before Mimi could answer, more footsteps were heard coming down the stairs. And a young teenage girl walked into the kitchen, followed by a dark haired boy. They were kissing and smiling, until they saw the group of people. The girl's held the look of a deer in headlights while the boy looked almost as stubborn as the man who was apparently Mimi's fiancé. Looking back to her daughter for another explanation, she saw that she had buried her face in her hands before muttering, "Not now" under her breath. Looking back at 'Stanley' Beth saw that his grin had finally been wiped off and replaced by a deathly glare at the teenage couple. He opened his mouth to speak before the heard the unmistakable screech of a kitchen chair, both Beth and Stanley's eyes turned towards Mimi, who had jumped up from her chair and was storming towards the two teens, "Do you two plan the least appropriate time to storm in?!" She exclaimed as she grabbed the back the boy's shirt and tug him towards the door, "I am not dealing with this right now. Go home and relish the time you have before Stanley drags your butt back here and then we'll let chaos ensue." She shoved him out the door, he looked at her, confused and terrified at the same time. "Go!" she commanded and slammed the door in his face. She then turned to face the girl. "Could you please lose the attitude for a minute so I can calmly explain to my mother what's going on?" Throughout her entire speech to the girl, Mimi made quick hand gestures, which greatly confused Beth until the girl spoke.
"You're mother?" The girl asked in a thick and unclear voice while making hand gestures herself.
Beth jumped back and turned to Stanley, "She's deaf?"
"Hey!" The man shot a warning glance clearly meant for Beth. But Mimi heard it and quickly assumed it was pointed at her.
"Don't start!" she warned, "We'll deal with Sean later! Right now, we are going to focus on my mother! Who has gone through hell to get here! So we are going to explain to her what's going on in a manner that doesn't give her a heart attack!" There was a brief moment of silence before Mimi ordered, "Now everyone to the dining table!"
The two strangers briskly retreated to the wooden chairs, followed closely by Mimi, who made herself comfortable and smiled at her mother before breaking the shuffling silence with a deep breath. "Alright!" she announced, turning towards the young girl she began talking, adding hand gestures to her words, "Bonnie, this is my mother," She pointed at Beth before continuing, "She was in New York when the bombs went off and has spent the past months trying to get here to see if I'm okay. Alright?" She asked. The girl nodded, but her face held an obvious look of confusion, Mimi didn't seem to notice, because she exclaimed, "great!" and turned back to Beth.
"So!" Mimi started, "as you can see, this is Stanley, we'll be getting married in a few weeks. And this," she pointed back to the younger girl, "is his little sister, Bonnie. That boy was Sean, her boyfriend, who Stanley doesn't approve of. Got that?" Mimi asked in the cold tone she always used when she was in a short mood, but something in her voice seemed lighter when she spoke of the two strangers in the room, "Any questions? Anyone?" she asked, and the room erupted into noise. Questions flew in every direction. "One at a time!" Mimi yelled and the room found itself in silence again.
"How did you meet these people?" Beth asked.
Mimi took in a deep breath, "I know it sounds bad, but we've figured out how to fix it when law and order return," Mimi began, "Stanley is the reason I came here."
Beth looked at Mimi blankly.
"He owns the farm I came to audit," Mimi explained quickly.
Beth sat back, "You're marrying someone two hundred thousand dollars in debt?"
"It's a hundred and eighty thousand dollars in debt, and like I've said, we figured out how to fix it, well I did, no one else spoke legal when I explained it to them." Mimi smiled as she finished, "Bonnie and Stanley didn't even know how to sign the words I used."
The two strangers laughed in remembrance.
Beth slowly turned to the man, "How did you come to be engaged to her?" she asked.
'Stanley' smiled and looked at Mimi, who smiled back, "Well," he began, "I was at the bar…"
"Are you an alcoholic?" Beth cut in.
"No!" 'Bonnie' and Mimi said loudly and definitely.
'Stanley' chuckled it off, "Anyway," he continued, "And just to avoid anymore interferences, I'm not and never have been an addict," he joked, "So, I was at the bar, because I had a bet with the owner, who isn't an addict either, by the way, and I've got my eyes glued to the screen, see, when I watch the game I can't really notice anything else, so I knew it was a big deal…"
"A huge deal!" 'Bonnie' cut in.
"A huge deal," 'Stanley' corrected himself and continued, "I knew it was a huge deal when I saw Mimi out of the corner of my eye," the smile on his face grew as he said, "And it was hard to look at anything else."
And with that Beth realized that maybe her daughter had actually found the one, of course, then she saw Mimi's response.
"I know that's a line, mister," Mimi said in a cold tease.
"It's not a line!" Stanley refuted.
"Right, because you didn't look back at the TV just in time to see you win the bet and cry victory in my face," Mimi answered.
"I was trying to impress you with my physic abilities," 'Stanley' teased back in a mock James Bond voice.
"So, you're a gifted physic but can't tell when a girl doesn't want you to talk to her," Mimi teased back.
'Stanley' smiled and walked over to Beth's daughter, "At least my lines have gotten better," he whispered to her.
"That they have," Mimi smiled back and kissed him, smack on the lips.
"S-So what happened after that?" Both Beth and 'Bonnie' asked at the same time.
Mimi and her lip-buddy pulled away and Mimi smiled and finished, "Well, he tried a very corny pick up line…"
Mimi stopped talking to laugh at what she had just said, as did 'Stanley'.
"I'm sorry, guys. You had to be there to get it," Mimi said through shaky breaths.
"Well, we know that two people got particularly lucky last night," 'Bonnie' said in an annoyed tone.
The two to which 'Bonnie' replied, gathered themselves shortly after 'Bonnie's' comment and Mimi resumed talking, "Anyway, I found out who he was, he found out who I was, and his teasing got worse, as did my loathing of him. And then the bombs happened, stranding me here, my hotel closed down, so I had to stay with him, and then, after a few months," Mimi rested her hand on 'Stanley's', which sat atop the table, and they looked into eachother's eyes and she smiled as she spoke, "I finally realized that I wasn't loathing, I was just head over heels. And I told him about those mango margaritas in Puerto Rito, he improvised and invented the Tango Margarita, and with that, we just…" and Mimi sighed and rested her head on the man's shoulder. He rested his head on hers and they smiled and closed their eyes and held hands for a few silent moments.
"Tango Margaritas?" Beth asked, "What the hell are those?"
The two lifted their heads and opened their eyes.
"Instant Tang and tequila," 'Stanley answered with a goofy grin, "They're awesome," he emphasized the word 'awesome'.
"You fell in love with him because he made a cheap alcoholic drink that rhymed with mango?" Beth asked.
Mimi didn't respond though, instead she jumped up in her chair, "Oh! We should serve it at the wedding! That way we're not not serving fancy punch because it's unavailable!"
"Yes!" Stanley replied, just as enthusiastic, "We can have cornflakes in warm milk for appetizers and a chicken, murdered by the bride herself!"
"The chicken's not a bad idea, but I don't care what happens, you never serve cornflakes at a wedding, and you know why I can't kill a…" Mimi trailed off, "You were in New Bern when I had to kill the chicken."
'Bonnie' was laughing hysterically, Mimi looked enraged, "Were you and Sean watching me?!" she asked.
'Bonnie' immediately stopped laughing. 'Stanley' wrapped his arms around Mimi's shoulders and assured her, "Don't worry, only, Jake, the neighbors, Emily, Mary, Eric, Heather, and the student body of Jericho High know."
"Know what?" Beth asked Mimi, who had gone white in the face.
"Nothing," she answered, "Anything else you want to know?"