"Please, boy-o. Tell me you're coming to me with some good news," Mrs. Fischer said as her son sat down beside her on the sofa.
"I have great news, Mom."
Yael could tell. Gideon's face was flushed and he seemed really happy. He was tired, but happy. A part of his mother was glad to see her son so chipper, but another part of her was dreading finding out why.
"Out with it, then, out with it!"
"Well, Mom, I've been seeing someone."
"Is she Jewish?"
Gideon had been expecting this reaction from her. He braced himself and said, "Well,"
"Oh, oh OH! Why do you do this to your poor mother? My heart can't take this strain, you know. Who knows how much longer I'll even be around, oh with all this stress. You and your sister will be poor, poor orphans."
"Mother, you're healthy as an ox and you know it. You'll probably outlive both Judith and me!"
"I was healthy before all this!"
It took a considerable amount of convincing before she agreed to meet the young woman who had so delighted her son. The traditional way would have involved bringing Avery to the house for dinner, but Mrs. Fischer had other plans.
"Are you ready for tonight?"
"I don't know. I'm really nervous."
"Why so nervous?"
"I feel like she wants it to be at my house to throw me off my game. What if she hates the food? Or my house?"
"It's going to be fine. Just breathe, okay?"
"They're going to love you!"
"They'd better," Avery said. She leaned her head against him. "I'm making whitefish."
Judith was coming, too, so Avery made food enough to feed more than four. When they all arrived, Avery and Gideon greeted them at the front door. Introductions were made and then the tour began.
Avery felt like she was trying to get into private school all over again, letting each room in her home be judged.
"I bet it's terribly expensive to live on the beach. I'm sure you must be very stressed about it," began Mrs. Fischer.
"Actually, I got a really good deal because I was on the cleanup committee that fixed all the beaches."
Mrs. Fischer genuinely smiled, then. "Oh, well that's lovely!"
They went upstairs.
"Here's the bedroom," Avery said.
"Oh, there's no room for a nursery?"
"Mother!" Gideon said, incredulous.
"She's just asking, Gideon," Judith interrupted.
"Actually," Avery said, cutting down the hall, "there's a second bedroom here. I just have nothing to really put here, so it's kind of full of junk."
After the tour they went downstairs for dinner. While the guests all sat down at the table, Avery served them.
"Well," sighed Mrs. Fischer, "what are we going to be eating?"
Avery sat a plate down in front of her. "Whitefish."
"What, you think that's the only thing Jews eat?" Yael said, narrowing her eyes.
Avery was fed up. She was tired of being nice and polite and just taking digs and insults left and right, in her own home no less. She barely realized what was coming out of her mouth. "Well, I was hoping that at least you wouldn't be able to whine about my food not being kosher." Her tone was angry.
The room was silent and awkward for a full minute.
Mrs. Fischer laughed, loudly, the smile melting her cold expression. "Oh, Gideon, I like her!"
Gideon beamed over at his relieved girlfriend. "Me, too, Mom."