Meet the Parents
This was not how you expected your evening to go. You had expected a rather quiet, albeit a bit awkward dinner at your boyfriend (of four months, two weeks, and five days)'s house with his single working mother. What you got was a hysterical sobbing mess and your boyfriend currently trying to off himself with a napkin.
"I-I-I'm so sorry!" Metis' mother wailed into the tablecloth she was currently using to wipe her face after both her napkin and yours were quickly rendered insufficient. "I-I don't know what's wrong with me!"
You don't know what triggered this sudden crying fit, but when you had unconsciously complimented Metis about his grade on the last biology test, his mother had burst into tears, utterly mortifying her son.
"Mom!" he growled under his breath, "You're embarrassing me!" Despite his hopes of that making his mother regain her composure, it had the opposite effect. The dark haired woman simply began weeping harder, her gasps for air resulting in wet hiccups.
"E-Excuse me!" she sobbed as she jumped from her chair and dashed from the room, the bathroom door down the hall slamming and muffled cries still echoing in the dining room.
"Sorry about that." Metis mumbled, removing the handkerchief from his face where he was trying to use it to suffocate himself, rubbing at the back of his head awkwardly. "She's just…really emotional about stuff like this."
"Did you tell her about…?" you ask, gesturing between the two of you.
"N-No!" he denied, shaking his head viciously. "But I think she guessed it. She's just a big sap for stuff like that," he explained, resting his chin in his hand.
"Oh," you reply. It's a bit weird that his mom guessed about your relationship so easily. You didn't know wither to be happy about that or not, honestly.
Finally, a few minutes later, the sound of running water was heard and the bathroom door creaked open, his mother returning to the table.
"I'm awful sorry about that," she attempted a polite smile, dabbing a bit at the corner of her eyes with her napkin. "You must think I'm a total nutcase."
"N-No, not exactly," you reply, trying not to let it show on your face that, yes, that's exactly what you think. "Is everything alright ma'am?"
"You're so sweet," she said as her lips began to quiver again, "I'm sure you'll…you'll make a very good friend for Metis!" she wailed, bursting into fresh tears, bowing her head over the table and covering her face in her hands. "I-I-I'm very happy!" she nearly screamed, voice pitching painfully as she blew her nose in her apron.
"Uh," you say, because really, your head's a huge roaring blank. You couldn't deal with your girlfriends crying, or even your sister's fits, and the fact that it's your boyfriend's mom and you're at her dinner table and you're now pretty sure you're the cause of this whole mess you really wish your brain would come up with something to do other than watch in a mix of fascination and horror as a thirty-something year old woman wept into her green beans and meatloaf.
"You're not exactly looking 'happy'," Metis snorts, almost to himself and you're a little glad he broke the weird silence, but mortified at what the response will be. You both look at his mother, hoping to God that someone can't dehydrate from crying because otherwise she's doomed, and kinda wish you both weren't here.
"I am, I am!" she tried to reassure you, but it really wasn't working with snot running down her face and her eyes red and puffy, "I'm so…I'm so happy!"
You flinch a little as she goes into hysterics trying to convince you two that really, she's okay, and look around for a lack of anything better to do. You spot a roll of paper towels on the kitchen counter in the next room and you make a dive for it so fast your coach would be proud. "Here," you say, offering the whole thing to her because you know one or two just won't cut it, "You, uh, got something on your face."
She just looks at you like she's trying to see into your head, which really creeps you out because she really doesn't want to see what's in there that involves the son she's sobbing over, but then she looks away and takes the roll and you sit down, feeling a little relieved.
"Well," she says, mopping at her face and you're pleasantly surprised to see her voice has lost most of it's shakiness, "I hope you guys saved room, because I have something special for dessert."
"Uh, okay," Metis replies, looking more than a little weirded out, which downright scares the shit out of you, because if he's freaked out, then you know you're screwed.
"Josh, will you come help me with it?" his mother asks sweetly, looking at you with a look you've seen too many times on her son. It's not a 'I'm going to use my charms to get what I want' look, it's a 'Do or die' look, hidden under the illusion of a sweet face. You don't even bother voicing your consent, for fear of having your voice crack like a little girl with spiders down her dress.
"Wait, Mom, what are you—"
"Don't worry hon," she waved Metis off, getting up from the table and grabbing your wrist to make you follow. Wow, the woman went to your chest, but damn if she didn't have a grip on her. "We'll be back in a sec."
She dragged you into the next room, sitting you beside the sink as she went over to the fridge, pulling out a carton of ice cream from the freezer. "Josh, be a dear and get me the Oreo's from the cabinet next to your head."
You retrieve the cookies without hesitation, waiting for her next instruction as you watch her get three bowls from the cupboard and spoons from the drawer. "Hand them here," she ordered, holding her hand out. You pass them to her, watching nervously as she takes a few out, putting them on the bottom of each bowl before viciously crunching them with a spoon. "In the bag on the counter are some gummy worms. Can you get them for me?"
"S-Sure," you nod, rummaging around in the plastic bags she indicated, only flinching a little at the echoing sounds of cookies being pulverized against glass.
"This used to be Metis' favorite thing to eat on Friday nights when we'd have family night. He loved to eat the worms first, then the ice cream, because he said he didn't like them frozen since they were too hard. Isn't that precious?" she commented, pausing to reach into the bag to grab more cookies.
"Yeah, that sounds like him," you agree, not quite sure what she's getting at.
"Josh," she says, suddenly right behind you, and you jump, whirling to look her in the face. She's looking up at you, holding out her hands again and you hand her the candy, waiting with withheld breath as she just looks at you. She doesn't move away, just scrunches her nose and you suddenly see the family resemblance, because Metis does the same thing when he…Oh shit you better not think of that when she seems to be reading your mind because otherwise you're afraid this five foot something woman will strangle you with gummy candy before crunching you up for an ice cream treat.
"Um, is there something wro—"
She grabs you by the front of your shirt and holds fast with a white-knuckled grip as she stands on her tiptoes to squash her nose against yours and give you a look that literally scares the shit out of you. "You…You'd better not hurt him," she orders, eyes narrowed and boring into your own. "Or else I'll have to come and…I'll have to…" Her grip on your shirt slackened a bit, and she began to wail noisily again, burying her face in your chest, hiccuping painfully as she continued to threaten you. "I'll kick your little blond ass, you hear me?!" she sobbed, wiping her nose on your shirt. You don't have the guts to be grossed out at this point. "Don't hurt my baby!" she howled, throwing her arms around you and weeping wetly against your collarbone.
"Uh, I promise?" you say, because you don't know what to say to that as you gently pat her back and try to figure out a polite way of escaping without being maimed in the process. "You don't have to worry about that. Metis is a really good…friend."
"Uh, what're you guys doing exactly?"
You both look to the doorframe where Metis is looking at the pair of you like you guys belong in a traveling circus, and you're thinking a padded room might be more appropriate, after the night you've had.
"Just getting some things settled," his mother answers coolly, detaching herself from you and brushing herself off, as if nothing was out of the ordinary. She scrubbed a bit at her face with a hand towel before tearing open the package of gummy worms, dropping them into the bowls of crunched Oreo and Neapolitan ice cream. "Here," she said, holding out bowl out to her son, "Why don't you and Josh take these upstairs? I'll get started on dishes."
"Ma'am, I don't mind helping you with the dishes," you offer, but she just shoves a bowl into your hands and points in the direction of the stairs.
"It's fine, I'll clean up," she waves you off, and you look at Metis who just shrugs, motioning for you to follow him to his room. You're barely up the first step before you hear his mother start to wail once more, trying to quickly muffle it with the sound of running water and dishes clinking in the sink.
"And just think," Metis says over his shoulder and you two continue your way upstairs, "I still haven't had dinner with your family."