Cindy and Cragg
Dating a Saturnite was hard on Cindy’s furniture. He’d already crushed two sofas, knocked over several lamps, and busted her favorite end table. It wasn’t his fault. Cragg was always aware of the delicate Terrans around him, but the Terrans didn’t always return the favor. He was a mountain on legs, and Terrans, by default, assumed mountains weren’t going anywhere. So Cragg was constantly having to shift position to avoid them. Cathy and Laura had gotten better at it. But by then, the damage had been done. Cindy wasn’t buying another couch to sacrifice to her dating life.
Now she was here at Saturnite City Emporium, for all your Saturnite needs (or so they claimed), and shopping for reinforced furniture. The salesman, a sharp-dressed Terran, showed her a polka-dotted monstrosity.
“It’s on clearance,” he said. “Can’t go wrong with this model. Guaranteed uncrushable.”
Laura said, “God, no, Mom. You cannot buy that horror. I don’t care how on sale it is.”
Furniture capable of withstanding Saturnite bulk had a hefty price tag, but Cindy had to agree. The price was right, but the polka-dots weren’t a cost she was willing to pay.
“Tell her I’m right, Cragg,” said Laura.
Cragg, his face inscrutable as it usually was, grunted.
“See? He completely agrees with me?”
“We’re on a budget,” reminded Cindy.
“Whatever. Why’d you bring me if you didn’t want my opinion? I’m the one who is going to spend most my time looking at it. You’ll be at work. Cragg doesn’t even come over that often.”
Cindy loved her daughter, but there were times Laura made things more difficult.
“Is there anything you like, Cragg?” asked Cindy.
His slab of a face made no expression. His emerald eyes blinked. He paused as if preparing a great statement and everyone, Cindy, Laura, and the salesman, leaned forward in anticipation.
“They are all acceptable.”
Cindy, Laura, and the salesman all sighed.
“We’re buying this so you can spend more time at my place,” said Cindy. “You could at least act like you care.”
Cragg frowned. It was hard to tell because his face was something of a permanent frown. “I don’t understand nor care for Terran aesthetics. These are all functional.”
“Functional, he says,” grumbled Laura.
“I got news for you, Cragg,” said Cindy, an edge in her voice that surprised her as much as anyone else. “You’re dating a Terran. It’s time to care a little bit.”
“Fine.” Cragg pointed to a zebra-striped design. “That one.”
“Ick,” said Laura, and Cindy agreed.
“Do you even want to be here?” asked Cindy of Cragg.
He paused again. Though this turned out to not be a pause, but just a very long silent reply.
“I like you, Cragg,” she said. “But you could at least pretend to give a shit.”
The Saturnite grumbled, lumbering away. The salesman excused himself to help a more productive customer.
“Little hard on the guy, weren’t you, Mom?” asked Laura.
“Don’t you start.”
“Are you really mad at him? Or are you just worried because things are getting serious?”
Cindy laughed. “I’m not a teenager, Laura. I’ve been in plenty of relationships.”
“Yeah, but buying furniture together, that’s pretty serious.”
“It is not.”
“Mom, you’re about to drop too much money on a couch just so you can snuggle up to your boyfriend and watch movies together. That’s serious. It’s been a while since you’ve liked a guy this much. I can tell. Maybe the last time was dad. We both know how that worked out. Nobody can blame you for being a little gunshy.”
Cindy didn’t bother denying it. “You’re a pretty smart kid, sometimes.”
Laura smiled. “I’m told I take after my father.”
Cragg lumbered back over. He carried a sofa over his shoulder. It was the same gray shade as his own granite complexion. “I find this one acceptable.” He paused. “That is, if you do as well.”
“It’s okay with me,” said Laura.
The salesman was beside them again, eager to snag a customer. “That’s terrific. Anything else I can do for you fine folks?”
“Yes, we’d like to take a look at your beds,” said Cindy.
Laura gagged. “Oh, ick. Ick, ick, ick. Why the hell did you bring me?”
Cindy winked at Cragg, who cracked a smile.