Friday, September 2, 2011

In-laws


It didn’t take Carbon long to arrive after Alex had called her. There had been hugging and crying and it hadn’t taken Peter or Alex’s father very long to abandon ship. Alex stayed around until the discussion turned to what kind of rings they should be getting and while they were on the subject of wedding related things, where would they be going for the honeymoon.

His mother had plenty of opinions on both of those subjects and Carbon was very interested in hearing what Audry had to say. Alex excused himself to go catch up with Peter.

“So, how’ve things been going with you?” He slid the door to the patio closed and leaned on the railing, looking out over the bay with his brother. “I feel like I’ve been monopolizing the conversation since I got here.”

“You have, but at least you have a good reason for it.” He smirked and laughed. “I can’t complain, still have a loving wife and kid, still doing what I like at work.”

“Yeah? How is the architecture business these days?”

“Remember when you asked me that before you left?”

“I do.”

“It’s the same as it was then. Well, the boss has been talking about trying to break into space stations lately. There are a lot of similarities between a station and an arcology, don’t get me wrong.”

Peter loved to talk about his work when the opportunity arose and Alex was inclined to indulge him. Alex didn’t usually understand what he was talking about when he dove into the finer points, but still found it interesting. “I think I hear a ‘but’ in there.”

“Oh yes, you do. Gaspari wants us to go in for a big contract - Vegas sized. If they wanted an arc on the ground, we’d be a top contender. We’ve never done a zero-g structure before, we have no personnel who are familiar with the building requirements.” He was starting to gesture out to the deep blue water, getting more emphatic as he spoke, his face flushed against the cool breeze. “He wants us to burn up thousands of man hours to get a prelim ready for first round of bidding in three months. I know we can do it, I just don’t think we should.”

“Damn. I’m guessing you tried to talk some sense into him?” Alex tilted his head to watch his brother, eyebrow raised.

“Tried. He wasn’t having any of it, though. Dead set on getting into stations. Thinks we can ‘bring an innovative look to stale affair of space living’ or some garbage.” Peter had never been fond of sentences that sounded like marketing.

“I bet you could. Can the company deal with that falling through?”

“Yeah, I checked with the CFO. We could not make a cent for a year before we’d have to start laying people off. He said Gaspari has actually been wanting to do space stations for years, built up a nice buffer of money before he tried.”

Alex shrugged. “That’s actually pretty responsible. Why so mad, then?”

“I’ve been working there for eight years and I had never heard a word about this until a month ago. Lots of talk about how we’re like a family, but big plans like this are kept secret. It just feels duplicitous.”

“Maybe he just didn’t want to get his own hopes up ahead of time.”

“Knowing him, probably.” Peter sighed and laced his fingers together. “Saying this out loud makes it seem less consequential.”

“I always was good at putting your life into perspective.” Alex smiled and patted his shoulder.

The smirk returned with a sharp laugh. “You were always good at being a pain in the ass, you mean.”

“Same thing, really.”

“Keep telling yourself that.” Peter shifted and jerked his head towards the living room. “I don’t want you to take this the wrong way, but... You really are good with her? There’s not some ulterior motive going on here?”

Alex gave him a dark look. “Yes, I really love her.”

He held up his hands with a grin. “Hey, look, it just seems strange that a princess would marry some slob from another race is all.”

“Hah. Nice.” Alex unclenched his jaw and smiled. “There are ulterior motives, though. Shit, with Eleya the ulterior motives probably have ulterior motives.”

“Who?”

“The Empress.”

“Ah. So she stands to benefit?”

“Yes. I think her primary concern really is Carbon... But she gets a symbol and a shield as well, at the very least.”

“Cryptic.”

“Yeah.” Alex looked over his shoulder at the sound of the doorbell going off. “Looks like everybody is here. I’ll explain more later.”

Peter nodded, sliding the door open again. “Sounds good.”

They stepped back inside and he exchanged a quick wave with Carbon. The front door closed and Jason started loudly announcing everything that came to mind. “We saw sharks today! They were cool!”

“Energetic as ever, huh?”

Pete laughed. “Yeah, it’s been crazy since he turned three.”

Audry came around the corner into the living room with Milly and Jason in tow and had just opened her mouth to introduce them when Jason noticed Carbon. His eyes grew wide and he bolted towards her, arms flung over his head in delight. “IT’S A PUPPY!”

Milly grabbed for his shirt and missed, the young boy launching himself onto the couch a moment later. He tossed his arms around Carbon’s neck and hugged her tight. “Mom, dad! It’s a puppy!”

Carbon hugged him back with a laugh. “He is quite energetic.”

Milly was extricating him from Carbon a moment later, apologizing about his behavior profusely. Peter gave Alex a sidelong glance and a nervous laugh as he went to help. “Let’s go tell grandpa about your day...”

Everyone disappeared from the living room seconds later, Jason’s protests quickly derailed by the prospect of talking about sharks some more.

“I am curious.” Carbon smoothed her fur out with a wry smile on her face. “What is a puppy and how offended should I be?”

2 comments:

  1. So being a furry runs in that family, then, huh? ;o)

    Also, I super really want you to draw a picture of Carbon. I think that would be really awesome!

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  2. The scene on the patio transported me away from the fact that I was reading on my phone. You have found your stride in the family dialog. Excellent as always and I didn't see any errors. Cheers :D

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