“So, when am I going to meet your parents?” Marie’d asked.
“I’m sure it’ll be fine!” she’d said.
“They’re in Nevada and I’ve never met them!” she’d complained.
Well, there they were. And Stein was regretting everything. Everything was going to hell.
After seeing Stein at the door, and squealing out “Franky!” loud enough for every creature in the German-Jewish neighborhood to hear, chattering momentarily in German, his mother had finally noted Marie next to him. And, upon noting Marie next to him, she squealed out “FRANKY!” even louder, and jumped around all too energetically for a woman of her age when she saw both of Marie’s hands on her belly, a sure indication that, yes, she was pregnant. And, yes, Stein was going to be a father.
Honestly, everything was a whirlwind from there. She’d introduced herself as Jennifer, in English, this time, and herded them into the living room, jabbering about how how her husband was going to be home any second and for them to make themselves at home while she went and got tea.
Stein was busy staring at the three copies of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein piled on the coffee table, in English, German, and Yiddish, respectively, and contemplated picking one up to murder himself with when Marie spoke up for the first time since stepping into the house.
“…your mother is blonde,” Marie commented, eye trained on the doorway the older woman went through. Stein, unknowing of the potential danger he could be in with any further remarks, simply nodded. She must have changed her hair, since it wasn’t that color the last time he’d seen her.
“…Medusa was blonde.”
At this, he winces. When he looks over at her, he notes the distinctly blank face she is sporting.
“What other women have you been romantically-“
“I wasn’t romantically-“
“- interested in that were blonde, hm?”
Of course, Marie couldn’t have known that the last time Stein saw his mother, she had the same brunette hair she’d sported through his entire childhood. “…Are you implying I have an oedipal complex?”
“If the shoe fits.”
“Shoes have no place in this conversation.”
At her glare, one that, were it directed at anyone else, and, actually, despite the fact that it were directed at him, he found rather attractive, he cleared his throat. The atmosphere was suddenly uncomfortable.
“…Your mother looks like me,” Marie said, taking in a deep breath.
“In all actuality, if she did, which she does not, you would be the one bearing resemblance to her due to the fact that I knew her prior-“
“Shut up, Stein!” she yelled, balling her fist and clearly looking like she wanted to wallop him on the shoulder. He didn’t yelp, or make any other sort of ridiculous, unseemly noise, but the hands raised to placate her, in the general gesture of “I come in peace”, were absolutely deliberate.
“Is that why you have a thing for blondes?” she asked.
“I don’t have-“
“Who wants challah bread?” the mother in question called out, walking in just in time to see Marie’s furious face and her son inching over to the edge of the couch, both palms raised as though he were Chris Pratt calming a pack of velociraptors. (Boy, did she love that movie. Arnold wasn’t such a big fan, but eh, he had terrible taste anyhow.) The scene was uncanny, really. Except for the fact that her soon-to-be daughter in law was in the place of the dinosaurs, but she had never truly been one for technicalities.
In actuality, it looked very much so like her and Arnold before they got married. Marie, raising her fist in pure fury, her darling Franky, attempting to soothe her wrath unsuccessfully. Why: it was like looking into a mirror that reflected the past. Picturesque, really.
Jennifer found herself sniffling, to which both guests replied by merely staring in, on Marie’s part, horror, and on Stein’s, confusion.
“My baby boy’s finally found the woman for him,” she said, setting the tray down and reaching for one of the knitted coasters to dab at her face. Stein made a face at how unsanitary it all was, especially when she simply set it back down, in front of him, may he add, and placed a tea-cup atop. He blinked.
Marie, on the other hand, blushed at the woman’s graces and dropped her fist. It was certainly better than disapproval, that was for sure, but she wasn’t expecting such an overwhelming experience when she’d asked to visit. She was about to open her mouth when the door clicked open, and she twisted around to peer at who stepped in. Her jaw almost dropped when she spotted an, almost ridiculously so, exact, older version of Stein.
Wow, that was creepy. Save for the bolt and the stitches, that was her boyfriend in a multitude of years walking in. No one could ever accuse Stein of being adopted, that was for sure.
Because Marie was, damn it all, a rather small woman, and the couch’s back was surprisingly tall, likely to accommodate the looming giants that lived there (she sees where Stein got his height, his mother was at LEAST 5 foot 11), the man paid her no attention, though it was clear he noticed his son.
“Franken!” the man proclaimed, walking forward and ruffling his hair, to which Stein simply smoothed the locks down and stared at him.
Death, they even wore the same glasses. Marie almost shivered.
Still, she was unnoticed, and the man turned to his wife, instead, his eyebrow raised quizzically.
“Did you dye your hair?”
Jennifer nodded, the blonde strands bobbing. “This morning! Do you like it?”
“It’s different,” he replied, neither yes nor no, though Jennifer looked pleased.
Marie winced. Whoops. Stein cut his stare over to her, and she tucked her face closer into her high collar. “Sorry…” she whispered, realizing how baseless her accusations previously were.
“Hm,” he replied, but he put a hand on her shoulder and shifted away from the armrest to come closer to her, and that was close enough to an “It’s okay”.
However, it seemed as though the eldest man finally took note of the petite woman in the room, and his olive eyes went wide.
Jennifer grinned from her spot across from them. “Arnold, Franky’s girlfriend is pregnant!” she proclaimed, clapping her hands twice. At this, Stein was the one to burrow his face, almost imperceptibly, into his high collar.
Huh, Marie noted. When did they start wearing similar clothes?
“Girlfriend? Pregnant?” Arnold asked, plopping down next to his wife, eyes trained on the couple. “I didn’t know he was interested in women.”
At that, Stein’s head whipped up. “What-“
“Neither did I,” Jennifer responded, “but we’re gonna have a grandbaby!”
“I could have sworn that Spirit boy-“
“I think I’m going to go empty the contents of my stomach. Right now. Immediately,” Stein said, looking green.
“Oh, honey, not on the carpet. It’s new,” Jennifer said, seemingly unperturbed.
Marie didn’t really blame her, honestly. After raising a son who had a penchant for dissection, a little vomit wouldn’t bother her. However, Marie only put her hand on Stein’s back, rubbing slightly. “I’m the one with morning sickness, remember?”
Stein only groaned.
“Did we miss the wedding?” Arnold asked, looking aghast. “Was it on a nice hill, at least?”
“Oh, Arnold, don’t be silly! I never gave him your mother’s ring.”
At that, Arnold looked over at Stein, his brows meeting close together. “You got her pregnant and you haven’t even proposed yet?”
“Arnold, leave the boy be! Just be thankful we’ll have a little baby around soon!”
“Actually-“ Stein began, intent on telling her that he didn’t have plans on leaving Ein Stein at his parents’ house anytime soon, but Jennifer was already snowballing ahead.
“We still have Franky’s old crib, don’t we? Down in the basement?”
“We should,” Arnold said, thinking. “In any case, momma’s ring is in the box, right?”
“It should be.”
“We’ll have to call her, she’ll be thrilled. She never thought she’d live to see great-grandkids.”
“Oh, and maybe she can air over the dress before the wedding?” Jennifer asked, stars already in her eyes from the idea of the wedding dress she and her husband’s mother before her wore. It was a tradition, at that point. It was a shame she had to leave it behind when they left Germany.
Arnold looked at a very bewildered Marie, taking note of just how short she was.
“The hem would have to be altered.”
“The waist could be taken in, too…the bustline, though. Ah, she’s a tad large there …we’ll find a good seamstress! Gladys’s girl, maybe?”
Stein, utilizing every ounce of intellect he had, decided not to make any comments. He felt distinctly like he’d been thrown into the middle of a tornado. And if the wide eyes of his (wife-to-be? girlfriend? fiancé? baby-momma, as Spirit was fond of saying?) partner were anything to go by, Marie probably felt the same.