More from my Confluence 2003 Short Story Entry!
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INTERSPECIES RELATIONS part 2
Hannah blew out a sigh and sank to the floor even as Nix stretched to its full height and washed its faceted eyes. Hannah leaned back on her hands to see past the preening Tharku and scrutinized the heap of boxes and furnishings thoughtfully provided through various sponsorships. The Ikea people had been very generous; it was amazing how well their furniture accommodated alien anatomy.
“I should begin to arrange the settlements? Yes?” Nix took a tentative step towards the ungainly heap of their shared belongings and wrung its feeler-hands.
Hannah sighed again. “Don’t worry about it tonight, Nix. All we need is something to eat and someplace to sleep. We’ve got the whole rest of our lives to figure out where to put the sofa.”
“Ah. Good. Yes? Good.” Nix bounded off through the house in that curiously graceful leaping stride of the Tharku, presumably to find the bedroom.
Hannah peered through the curtains flanking the front door, where the Tharku ambassador and one of the presidential aides were addressing the press. She was half-tempted to open the door a crack and try to make out what they were saying. She doubted it was the truth: My fellow Americans, today the citizens of two worlds witness the union of a mail delivery girl and an alien emissary because they had the extreme misfortune to get stuck in a broken elevator for six hours, unchaperoned in an enclosed space, past the hour of midnight, so that they were already married according to the customs of the Tharku and it would be diplomatically disastrous to begin the first contact with an alien race with a messy divorce.
Hannah pushed herself off the floor and began to paw desolately through the few cardboard boxes that came from her old apartment until her hip started ringing. She spilled her entire box of socks before she remembered the little cell phone she’d been given, just until the heat from the press died down and she could get her old one back. Funny, she didn’t think anyone had this number yet. Not without some trepidation, she answered it.
“My daughter gets married to a giant Martian cockroach and I learn about it for the first time by watching it on the news?!”
Hannah sank back to the floor, wishing she had great big faceted eyes she could wash with wearied resignation. “Hi, Mom.”