"No problem, honey," Kelly assured her. "Here's the salad, the lobster's in the oven, and the cake batter is in the fridge--just pour it into cake pans and put them in the oven at 350 degrees right before you sit down to dinner."
Kelly left to go back to the swim club and pick up Declan (whom she'd left in the care of Bill and Peter), and Dude came home with Daedelus. (He had showered and changed at Bill's house, since he hadn't wanted to compete with Alice for their one bathroom.)
"Okay, how're things going?" he asked nervously, placing his son in the bassinet.
"We're in good shape, food-wise; don't worry," she told him.
The doorbell rang.
"This is a HOUSE???" Andromeda asked her husband, scowling.
"Mama! Papa!" Dude greeted them (sweating profusely).
The three went inside. "Mama, Papa--this is my wife, Alice," he said proudly.
"Hello, Mrs. Musico," Alice said respectfully. "I'm very pleased to meet you at last."
(Alice didn't try to hug her new mother-in-law, since Dude had already warned her that his mother wasn't particularly, umm, "welcoming"....)
Mr. Musico, however, felt differently, and embraced Alice enthusiastically, to Alice's great relief.
"Enough of this," Andromeda grumbled, spying the bassinet and stomping over to it. "I want to see my grandson!
"Oh, how handsome you are!" she murmured to the baby. "What a shame you have to live in such a cold, sterile, and horrible-looking house."
"And how was your plane trip, Papa?" Dude inquired.
"Acceptable enough," his father responded, though he still hadn't taken his eyes off Alice.
"Dude, why don't you play piano while I make some cocktails for your parents?" Alice suggested, trying to give her nervous husband something to do.
"So, you play piano now, son?" Dude's father asked. "I thought you were a guitarist."
"I AM a guitarist, Papa," Dude told him, "and I make a pretty good living from it. But I need piano to advance in my career."
Alice thought the evening was going as well as could reasonably be expected--her mother-in-law was entranced by baby Daedelus,
and her father-in-law was enjoying both a cocktail she had made for him and Dude's piano playing,
"This vinaigrette is wonderful!" Dude's father enthused, as the family sat down to the salad course.
"So YOU made all the cocktails?" Andromeda challenged Alice. "And you are a nursing mother???"
"I don't drink," Alice responded (which was a truthful answer, at least for the time being).
The family finished their salads, and Alice brought out the lobster.
"Alice is a chef in a local restaurant, Mama," Dude explained (neglecting to mention that she was actually a bartender).
"Well this is very good," Andromeda declared.
Dude and his parents moved to the sofas with their drinks,
while Alice worked on dessert.
"You have a beautiful wife, son," Dude's father told him, "who can cook, and who has given you a handsome little boy."
"So WHY there no ring on you young wife's finger???" Andromeda demanded.
Dude panicked momentarily, till he remembered that Alice WAS wearing a wedding band they had just bought, and he realized his mother was just pointing out that Alice had no engagement ring.
"But Mama," he protested, "we have been saving our pennies to buy this house--Alice said she could wait for a nice ring."
"That NOT respectable behavior to you wife," Andromeda declared. "I raise you BETTER than that!"