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While Ariel kept sleeping till late in the afternoon, Joe prepared his day with Kris. His mother was supposed to drop her off at his apartment so they could spend the day with her when their mother went to work. Just as the door rang, Ariel woke up.
“Joe!!!!” yelled an enthusiastic Kris.
“Hey!” he yelled back carrying the little girl in his arms. “I haven’t seen you in what a couple days? Can you say deprivation?”
“Dep..depri..descritation?” Kris said pronouncing it wrong.
“mmm, haha,” Joe laughed.
“And no hug for the mother???” his mom asked him.
“Oh of course, never forget the one who bore me.”
“mm…wait did you just wake up?” she asked
“a just a couple hours ago,” he tried to explain.
“uh-huh, what time did you sleep?” she continued to probe.
“…uh, pppppffftttt, don’t worry about that,” he nervously said.
“mm-hmm, what have I told you about sleeping right?” she scolded
Suddenly a sleepy Ariel emerges from the bedroom.
“ARIEL!!!” Kris screamed while jumping off of Joe and running towards her with open arms.
“Ooof,” Ariel gasped as Kris grabbed a hold of her waist.
Joe slowly turned to his mother with an anxious expression
“You have a girl in your bedroom?” she asked.
“Y-you see, mom, uh..w-w-what had happened was…” he stuttered trying to think of a perfectly logical explanation.
“Oh, my GOD!!! Joe!!” she screamed
“Mom, calm down it isn’t what you’re thinking,” he explained.
“She’s a girl…coming out of your bedroom. WHAT AM I SUPPOSE TO THINK!?!?!” she screamed.
“Well…” he tried to say as he scratched his head
This was bad.
“Ariel! Are you going to play with Joe and me today?” Kris asked her, with her arms still around her waist.
“…huh?” Ariel said still sleepy.
“Joe’s taking me to auntie Rainie’s house. You’re coming right?”
That’s right, Ariel thought. She was supposed to meet with Rainie again today so they can get better acquainted.
“Mom, she’s just a client. She didn’t have anywhere else to go. What was I suppose to do, send her to a shelter?” Joe explained
“Oh my God is she a crack whore?” his mom said frightened.
“NO, she’s not a crack whore MOM!! What have I told you about watching CSI???? She’s just been through some things OK!”
“Enough, let me handle this,” she said ending their argument and heading towards Ariel, with Kris still stuck to her body.
She looked at Ariel from top to bottom and then circled around her.
“OK, she’s clean,” his mother concluded. Slowly she took Ariel by the hand and sat her down on the couch.
“Joe take Kris outside and play with her for a while, I have to talk with this girl for a second” she told him.
“Mom, what are you planning…” he asked her as he took Kris’ hand.
“Just go!” she demanded as she pushed them out the door. Sitting back on the couch she probes Ariel.
“Um…who are you?” Ariel asked.
“I’m his mother, but enough about me,” she quickly said brushing it off. “Now, what is your relationship with my son?” she bluntly asked.
“We’re friends?” Ariel nervously said.
“Just…friends?” she asked. “You guys haven’t been…intimate?”
“Of course NOT!” said a stunned Ariel.
“How did you guys first meet?”
“He was trying to arrest me,” Ariel naively answered.
“Excuse me?” his mom said stunned.
“I was trying to help this one girl from being dragged into an alley by some guy, and then Joe showed up. The girl ran away but then a gang of guys came from behind Joe and tried to attack him so I took my swords…” she explained by taking out her twin swords. “…and they stopped hurting him. Next thing I knew they were being arrested and I ran.”
His mother couldn’t comprehend the situation. Either this girl in front of her was lying or was out of her mind.
“So, you saved Joe?” she asked
“I guess you can say that.”
“Ah…with those?” she pointed at the swords.
“JOE!!!!!!” she screamed.
Immediately Joe and Kris came rushing into the room. They had barely left the building.
“Tell me something,” his mother asked him frankly. “Did the Twin Sword Warrior, a notorious criminal, save your life from a gang of men?”
“I guess you can say that,” he nodded.
Stunned, she dropped to the floor with her mouth wide open!
“Mommy!” yelled Kris. “Mommy, get up!”
“I can’t baby…I think mommy is having a heart-attack!” she exaggerated.
“You’re not having a heart-attack!” Joe said.
“How can I not?” she said grabbing a hold onto him. “You have finally found a wife!” she happily screamed.
“WIFE?!?!?!” both Ariel and Joe screamed
“Yes, of course. I mean I knew you were ready, but you have found the best girl to suit you. I couldn’t have found a better girl for you and trust me! I HAVE LOOKED!” she said exasperated.
“Mom, we’re just friends,” he tried to reason.
“Yeah, Mrs. Cheng. I don’t think we’ll go any further than that,” Ariel said agreeing with Joe.
“That’s how it all starts. Friends become lovers, lovers become spouses. Please, I went through the same phases. Besides, um…uh…what’s your name?” she asked Ariel.
“Lovely name. Ariel here is perfect for you,” she added.
“Stop saying that,” Joe said annoyed.
“It’s true. You’ve always been the type to choose adventure over peace, so there you go. Heaven decided to give you a beautiful, nice girl who isn’t afraid of a couple armed guys who’s ready to attack her at any moment. Perfect! Besides it’s the TWIN SWORD WARRIOR!!! What’s not to love?”
“You don’t even know her,” Joe said even more annoyed.
“I know her perfectly well,” she said putting an arm around Ariel’s shoulder. “She spoke to me with elegance and maturity without being too formal. I can tell she has traditional values because you guys aren’t intimate yet and she is not shy to go kick some butt when she has to!”
“You spoke to her for five minutes, how can you know all that!?”
“It’s a mom thing,” she said smiling at Ariel
Ariel was a little shocked at his mother’s behavior. She reminded Ariel of Rainie; she was confident, had no realization for personal space and was overly loving towards her.
“Oh Ariel I should show you some of the baby pictures I have of Joe back home,”
“Dear…GOD,” he winced
“And the medals he received in the debate team in high school,” she went on.
“Mom…” he tried to interrupt.
“And the crib that he used to be in…”
“Oh and the pictures of him in the pool,” she laughed
“Have I told you he’s a good kisser?”
“He’s just a little shy about that.”
“Ok, mom? Have you scarred my life enough today or are you going to go another round? He said sarcastically.
“Ok, mister kill-joy. I’ll be leaving soon just as Kris comes to give me one good hug.
Joe lifted Kris up from the ground and his mother hugged her tightly.
“Oh now be a good girl. Don’t get Joe angry OK, he’s not that nice anyways so don’t get him angrier,” she joked.
“I will mommy,” she laughed.
Putting Kris down, his mother went towards Ariel and gave her a tight hug as well.
“And here’s a hug for my future daughter in law” she whispered to Ariel with a smile.
“Mother!” he said annoyed.
“Alright! One more for my baby boy!” she ended with a hug for him.
Ariel didn’t know it then, but the more she thought about it, the more she realized how this family worked. Joe’s family was a lot different from her own family. In her family, it was her mother and her trying to survive so they rarely had time to argue. But Joe’s family liked to argue and pick on each other for fun. She was beginning to find happiness when she saw their interaction. Even though they would most likely never get married, Ariel thought it would be nice if she were a part of his family someday.
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