Our second day at Mom & Dad’s: Part 3
I throw Valley's hand out of mine; growling in anguish I take a kick at a trash bin, attracting the attention of some pedestrians on the boardwalk. I step forward and lean against log railing, staring down into the dark Pacific below. Valley tentatively reaches up to take my hand, but I slap it away.
"Don't touch me right now, I want to be angry." I bark. She looks down at her feet and dutifully stands behind me as I fume. After a few moments I hear sound of a golf cart drive up behind us. Two security guards step out, one walks inside and the other approaches me. He calls to me; I let out a deep sigh, and force my composure back.
"Yes sir, how can I help you? . . . Yes we were involved with the incident inside . . . The elderly woman inside approached me, and started up some small talk that gradually escalated to an offensive line of inquiry. I attempted to verbally deter her, but she continued her probing questions. My fiance and I then tried to leave, but the elderly woman touched my fiance's bare skin, and experienced S.O.E.S. . . . That's sudden overwhelming extrasensory stimulation; it is catch-all diagnosis for when non-extrasensory capable species, like humans, come in contact with an extrasensory capable species like my fiance without building up a resistance . . . She is a Zweil . . . Yes we will wait right here." The man saunters back to the golf cart and pulls out what looks like a xenospecies codex. The other guard exists the aquarium, acting as a crutch for the old lady. She stares daggers at me, and calls me a pedophile. The guard politely shushes her, and helps her take a seat in the gold cart. The two guards exchanges some words, the younger took the cart and drives the old lady down the pier. The first guard saunters back over to us.
"Yes sir? Yes it was an accident. Neither my fiance nor I had any malicious intent . . . Yes sir here is my I.D., Valley, show the man your passport." She digs through her pocket and produces the documentation. He glances through the passport, and then at my card.
"Yes sir . . . It's my privilege to serve you as well . . . Zweil are homeothermic, they're only a little colder than us, she's wearing a sundress because we're having a holiday at the beach . . . I understand sir, I'll keep her close by . . . you too . . . you too, have a good day." The guard nods at me, and give his regards to Valley and saunters off. I sigh droping my facade, and turn back to look into the water.
"Valley, you tried to help but I am still angry. Human emotions are important, even the difficult ones like anger and embarrassment and I want to stew in them a bit longer." I breath deep, and listen to the sound of the waves, the people, and the seagulls.
"I know you didn't mean to, but you helped the other team win. This time it was just an old woman, but if this happens back home, with a shrewd delegate, it could harm my office, and endanger our livelihood." I confide to the sea.
"Come on, let's go to the shop before lunch." I push away from the railing and start walking to the souvenir shop I pointed out earlier. Valley follows, staying a meter behind me. We reach the store at the junction of the two boardwalks, and step into the bight yellow interior.
"Find a souvenir you like." I urge the Zweil, placing my hand on her shoulder. Her touch makes me feel a bit better, I knew it would, I wanted it to. Valley nodded and started walking through the tiny shop looking at trinkets. I pick up a plastic, glitter filled snow globe of a the beach. I also find a calendar filled with photos of the last volleyball tournament. Valley tugs the hem of my shirt and presents me a novelty wind up crab. I cup my hand against the back of hers, she withdraws it quickly, but cautiously puts her hand back into mine. I grab the toy, taking a little extra time to hold her hand. I pay for our curios and thank the cashier when she hands me our bag. I walk through the hall at the back of the store. It opens up to a small clothes shop.
"Valley, would you like to find another night shirt?" She nods and starts browsing up and down the wall of novelty shirts. I step up to the counter to wait for her, and see a display of mood rings. I small talk with the college age man at the register, weather, goings-on. Valley approaches and presents a periwinkle shirt with a seagull sitting on a buoy pictured. I put the shirt on the counter and pull a simple looking mood ring from the display. The man rings us up, I pull out my wallet and find I'm short on U.S. dollars.
"Do you accept universal credits? . . . Is there an A.T.M. anywhere? . . . Four Blocks? . . . Just this then." I slide the ring forward, as I pull out my phone. I take a picture of the shirt and hand it back to Valley.
"Sorry, not today." She takes the shirt with a defeated look and turns to put it back. I thank the man and mention that they need a closer A.T.M. I don't notice Valley approach, and as I turn from the counter my hand knocks off her sun hat. We both reach down to pick it up and she headbutts my arm. She opens her mouth, but quickly shuts it and stands. I pat her head, running my hand along her strips of hair, then replace her hat.
"C'mon, let's go eat." I smile down at her, and she shyly smiles back up at me. We hold hands as we cross the cross walk, past the valley and into the restaurant. I direct us left to the tile decorated stairs to the restaurant upstairs. We're greeted by a bored college aged girl.
"No, just one menu, I'll order for her." I respond when she offers Valley a menu.
"Outside please, and we'll need a booster seat." The hostess brings up to a table for two with a large orange parasol above. Valley demurely takes her seat. I crack open the menu as the apathetic girl walks off. After a few minutes a bubbly young woman bounds up, she introduces herself and takes our drinks.
"Water for me, mineral water for her . . . No a normal glass and straw are fine. Actually we're ready to order, I'll have the fish tacos, and she'll have the king crab legs, absolutely no butter, but could we get a dipping cup of balsamic vinegar, and one of dijon?" When she heard crab legs, Valleys pointed ears twitched and she happily glanced to me, before remembering her composure and looking back down to the table. The waitress took our order and bounded away, deftly dodging tables. I put my hand supine on the table. Valley looks at up, up at me, and then puts her hand in mine.
"I'm feeling better now, thanks to you. Are you alright?"
"Yes I am."
"Did I hurt you earlier, in the aquarium?"
"No, it did not hurt me."
"I'm glad, I didn't mean to hurt you, I was just angry."
"A little bit, but mostly at that old lady."
"I am sorry I spoke when you forbade me."
"It's alright. I love you Valley."
"I love you s- Love." I stroke the back of her hand with my thumb. The leathery old man at the table next to us cracks a 'lover's quarrel' joke. The leathery old woman across from him shushes him and apologizes. The old man offers to buy us desert, but before I could politely decline, Valley smiles her too big smile at me, and I reluctantly accept. Valley joyously bounces in her booster seat. The old man strikes up some friendly dialogue.
"Her name is Valley, say hello Valley." She gives him a practiced wave.
"She's a Zweil. They're an all female partnership xenospecies." The old man, jokes that that sounds too good to be true. The old woman, shushes him again.
"Yeah, I'm pretty happy to be with her . . . I'm sorry? . . . Oh, we're the same relative age, Zweill are just a small xenospeices . . . That's her universal translator, if you see around her neck as well, it's a three piece system, an ear piece, a necklace, and a pair of glasses, but her glasses are too small so she doesn't wear them. Valley may I? Tell them about the giraffes we saw at the zoo the other day."
"Okay. Two days ago Love took me to the zoo. The giraffes we in a -" I unhook Valley's U.T.
"Vay-leh-wa'ylas-va-zwehy-zla – how far their young fall when they are birthed." The elderly couple applaud the marvelous technology.
"In U.S. dollars a set of U.T of this quality would run about twelve thousand." I respond to the old man's question of price, he whistles.
"I'm saving up for a better set for her, with some better fitting glasses. The good thing about U.T is they don't depreciate much in value. Through proper channels we can sell this set for about nine, but they have to be unregistered from her biometrics, which costs around three thousand . . . Yeah, that is where they get ya, but Valley is worth it, I want to share my favorite books with her. She has a tutor teaching her to read English without a U.T., but Zweil aren't strong studiers . . . Hmm? . . . The gem in her forehead is actually an extrasensory organ. Many species of lizards and amphibians have a parietal eye that senses heat, Zweil have a Zayl'els's organ that senses emotional markers. They can see, feel, and manipulate emotions to a degree . . . yes, every Zweil has one . . . I agree, it's a very striking feature. It's very settling to have her around, she's my emotional rock." Our waitress comes bustling out with our meals and drinks, and after she's convinced there's nothing else we need she zips back into the restaurant. Valley happily digs the meat out the crab leg using her nailed middle finger, dunking the meat in the sauces. I quietly enjoy my tacos. After a few minute the bubbly waitress dances around to our table and asks us about desert, the old man calls her attention and offers to buy it for us.
"Actually you don't need to do that, there doesn't look like there's anything that Valley can eat." I say, scanning the desert menu. I give Valley an apologetic look and put my hand on her knee.
"Yes I'm sure, we have to decline. By the way, can I pay in universal credits? . . . Alright I'll talk to the manager." Our waitress excuses herself, and darts back into the restaurant. Shortly, a large, red-bearded man walks out to our table.
"Yes the meal was great." I respond to his worry.
"The crab was very delicious!" Valley happily exclaims.
"You do? . . . I'm glad for have the opportunity to serve you . . . Thank you very much. I was wondering if I could pay in universal credits. Really? If you insist, I won't turn down your generosity." I reply, becoming a bit embarrassed from the managers praise.
"I'm sorry no, I could give you a business card, but no photos . . . Alright, and thank you for the excellent service"
"Not famous enough if you don't know me." I reply to the old man's joke.
"You have a good rest of your day too, goodbye."
"Goodbye." Valley waves after the elderly couple, as they stand to leave.
"Valley, I have one more treat for you. I looked it up last night, and I think you'll enjoy it." The 'grey' feeling bubbles up, filling the personal space around us. I reach out for both her hands and help her hop out of her seat. We take the spiral stairs out the back of the outside seating and we walk hand in hand up the boardwalk. We stroll along in silence, listening to the sound of the waves, the people, the seagulls. We round the end of the boardwalk, turn to the left. I stop on the sidewalk just before the sand, Valley patiently stopping beside me, I crouch down to take off my sandals. I could feel the 'grey' waves rolling in time with the ocean. I pull Valley's sun hat off and lean forward to kiss her, and she returns the kiss.
"C'mon, you'll like this." I take her hand and walk her onto the beach. The moment her feet touch the sand Valley gasps and starts giggling in delight. She drops my hand and falls to her hands and knees, digging them into the sand. She stand with big, Zweil sized handfuls of sand and looks up to me with her big star-filled eyes.
"Love what is this?! It feels like my monthly bio-paste bath, but it is the dry!" She shouts in excitement.
"After you told me you were silicone based last night, I looked up some information on Zweil I didn't know. Your bio-paste baths replenish the silcone you lose through regular actives, that's why you're so plush and smooth after your baths. Well the beach is covered in sand, and sand is made of out of microsized particles of various minerals, especially quartz, a silicone based mineral."
"It is amazing! You are amazing! I am happy you have brought me to the beach. I love you Love." Valley purrs. I lean down and scoop up two handfuls of sand and pour it over her head, she laughs and spins gleefully in place.
"I love you Valley." I reply, brushing the loose sand from her crest. I reach out my hand, she takes it. We walk along the beach together, taking turns kicking up sand.