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Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? (Twenty-second century style), by Linda

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? (Twenty-second century style)

by Linda

Disclaimer: Too bad Paramount owns these characters. Guess that means I can’t take Soval home with me.

Date: 03/09/05

Rating: G

Summary: Amanda Cole brings Soval home to meet her parents. She runs into an old boyfriend, Mike, who dislikes Vulcans: the old story of blaming them for the attack on Florida. Amanda and Mike both lost their childhood homes in that attack, but Amanda tells Mike about some other tragic losses.


Her mind had difficulty comprehending this vast trench she and Soval were standing close to the edge of. How deep and blackened this gouged out scar, stretching both north and south beyond the eye’s reach. All the landscape of her childhood completely obliterated. The landscape was still so sharp and real in her memory that she could walk through it step by step: the oil spots on the road, the flat rock at the road’s turning, the trim hedge in front of her house, the missing slat from the fence that her brother had kicked away. Now, it was all dust…vapor…nothing.

What an awful power, that weapon. The flat rock at the bend in the road had been an anchor of age and permanence in her young life. It was way tougher than she was that day she raced her bicycle around the corner ahead of her brothers and took the turn too sharply. She had struck the rock with her front tire, gone over the handlebars and broke her right arm that she had risen to protect her face. Her arm was broken in two places but it prevented her nose from breaking, although her face was bruised and bleeding and two baby teeth were chipped. She had lain in sharp pain on its hot flat surface in the harsh Florida midday sun while one brother went to get their mother and the other stayed to comfort her.

Since that day when she was six years old, the rock had been a symbol of what was immovable in the universe. It demanded her respect and she never quite took the bend in the road so close again. Nothing in her life had ever been tougher than that rock. Until now. Something had finally been stronger than that rock, tougher than her four billion year old home world. It sent a chill through her.

Soval knows what I am feeling, if not thinking, through our bond. He is so still; just scanning the destruction. “Soval,” my voice cracks as if from long disuse. I have no words, though I want to say something.

Soval turned to face Amanda, an arm outstretched toward the trench. “This is what comes of acting out of fear without studying the situation, without weighing the options. THIS is why my people turned to logic. Millennia ago we were capable of this, and your people are not far above it even now. THIS should be required viewing for all ambassadors from all known worlds. I will bring Ambassador Motan’s party here when they are finished enjoying the charms of the Alps and Antarctica, exploring what is similar in climate between Andoria and Earth. Let them come here and see how this world was almost lost to our alliance. When the Xindi communicate with us again, and they will, they must be made to view this desolation also.

Amanda found her voice. “Yes, like those who lived near the concentration camps of World War II were made to view the horror they said they did not know was happening right under their noses. I remember that from history classes.”

Soval griped her hand tighter, as if the vast and silent menace of the blackened trench could still reach out and claim her. “I am glad you were not here when this happened.”


Taking a break with some of the Vulcan embassy staff in San Francisco, Amanda was finally able to discuss her reaction. “It is so fresh, though it happened almost two years ago. But it has started to heal; there are tufts of grass breaking through on the sides of the trench. Water is seeping up in spots in the bottom. When I spoke to Trip Tucker last, he suggested letting the sea in. It would take some removing of rubble at the southern end, as it has stacked up like a glacial moraine, but it can be done. He thinks his sister would like that. He talks about her in the present tense now that the hurting has receded some. I think this is because T’Pol has been convincing him about katras. ‘Talk to her,’ I heard T’Pol tell him. ‘I tell my mother something everyday. It helps.’ Trip, ever the skeptical engineer, said, ‘She is gone. Katras are not logical.’ And T’Pol answered ‘and who was telling ME to go beyond logic? As long as you care about her, her spirit lives on.’ But that was months ago and now Trip has become calmer, happier, and talks to his sister. To me, if even a tiny spark of life goes on, everything goes on, if that makes any sense.”

The Vulcans were introspective when she finished speaking. Because she had said all this in Vulcan, even if haltingly, perhaps they valued it more than if she had said it in her native language? Amanda was not sure, she only knew by their body language and facial expressions that they considered her words had merit. How far she had come in her relations with them! Before her relationship with Soval, she would never have considered she would learn to understand them this well. But this was only a toehold into their culture. It would be a lifelong learning process.

And how would it go with Soval and her parents the next evening? She was glad that her brothers would not be there too. They rarely visited their parents’ retirement home in Maryland any more than she did. It was not the home they grew up in, so they had little attachment to it. The phrase ‘you can never go home again’ was so apropos, especially when your home no longer existed.

The chaos of our home during my teen years would have put Soval off, I am sure: the loud voices all talking at once, people moving in different directions at different speeds, someone tripping over the dog who yelped, while someone else dropped some pots in the kitchen, the clatter echoing through the house. “Hey where is my school bag?” and “what did you do with my shoes, kick them under the couch again?” and “I’m off to soccer practice,” followed by the back screen door slamming, just as the front door was opening to “Mom, I need you to wash this jersey right away while I do my homework before the game.” A Vulcan home is serene by comparison.

Vinik, Soval’s driver, broke into Amanda’s silent reflection. “Seven million katras. The echo of their loss must be pervasive in that area. I have only seen the photos and cannot fortify my resolve to visit the site. I have enough trouble visiting the repository of the katras of my family on Vulcan. You do know that Ambassador Soval has asked all of us to go there sometime during our assignment to Earth? He is so insistent about it, I think he may not let us go home if it is not in our travel record that we paid a visit to Florida.”

“Well Vinik,” said Amanda, “although it was not a pleasant experience for me, I am glad that I went. Hopefully you will be too. It may help us, eventually, to understand it.


Both Tom and Martha, Amanda’s parents, behaved in a subdued and formal manner for the first hour after Soval and Amanda arrived. They were nervous, and Amanda could not guess what they really were thinking. Martha had to keep jumping up to check on the dinner. Though she had made vegetarian meals now and then, she relaxed only after they all had eaten and Soval had made a positive comment on the squash soup. Tom wanted to show Soval his stamp and coin collection after dinner, so Amanda helped her mother with the dishes. This, as she knew, would be when she would get the true reaction to her marriage.

Martha handed Amanda a rinsed dish for her to place in the dishwasher. “We were quite upset you know. More so than when you chose to enter a military career. At least we could imagine what a military career was. We cannot begin to understand what he is. He is twice your father’s age but still looks younger than him. We never met any Vulcans before. They were just a few strange people off in the larger cities. They seemed so intimidating on the news, so serious. You know, like a Harvard professor or something, who was smart and powerful, helping to shape our future but who would never touch our lives personally. How do you behave when a daughter of yours takes up with one of the leaders of the world, I mean, from another world.”

Amanda poured some coffee and sat with her mother at the familiar scuffed up old kitchen table. Her mother took a sip, then set the cup down. “We were worried about you. How could you be happy in that kind of life after growing up here with us? We feel kind of inadequate and helpless should you be in trouble so far from home. But even far away on the Enterprise, you were mostly with Humans. Now you spend months on Vulcan, weeks on Andoria, and you will continue to be off our world half of your life. We are afraid you will become as strange to us as he is. But he behaves himself. I thought he would, being a diplomat and all. Still, he is a person, I mean, has his own personality like a real person. But I don’t know if I will ever be comfortable around him. I try not to stare, he looks so, well, not human. That probably sounds real lame to you. I don’t know what you see in him or he in you. I don’t want to lose you.”

Amanda took her mother’s hand. “Give it time Mom. Just be yourself and don’t try to force yourself to like him. You are enough like me so that I know eventually you will feel comfortable with him. We will just make short visits for now, ok? It might be easier for you not to have to be hostess and try to entertain us. Visit us instead and let me show you San Francisco. Let’s decide on some dates for that before we go back the day after tomorrow.”


Soval was confused when he learned that he and Amanda did not have to make breakfast, as was expected of guests on Vulcan. However, they were allowed to do the dishes, which made him feel that he was making his guest contribution. Then Martha invited Soval to sit on the front porch and look through family photo albums. Soval was interested, but this was a bit of a bore for Amanda. So after she refilled their coffee cups and took the creamer back to the kitchen, she escaped out the back door to the garden. As she was kneeling, enjoying the feel of the soil, a shadow falling across the pile of pulled weeds startled her. She squinted at the male form outlined with the sun behind it. “Mike?”

“Who else, Tomboy?”

Rocking back off her knees and shading her eyes, she took a better look at him. “Well you look great! You look taller than I remember. How are you doing? How is your family?”

“I look great? Too bad you didn’t think so back when you ran off and enlisted in the MACOS just to escape me. I was a late bloomer. Grew three more inches in my early twenties.”

Amanda put down her weeding tool and wiped her hands on her pants. “Yes, I know a couple of guys that happened to. Hey Shorty, I didn’t run off and enlist to escape you. I ran off to enlist because I wanted to see the universe.”

Mike glanced back at the house. “I guess you did that and brought a piece of it back with you. Is that him sitting with your mother?”

“Yes,” said Amanda.

Mike frowned at Amanda. “Can you get out of it, I mean if you want to?”

“If I get your meaning, I don’t want to. It’s a bit different from a human marriage, actually closer. I can’t describe it.”

“I think you should get out of it before it’s too late. Maybe being back home will knock some sense into you. Can’t you see how alien he looks next to your mother? Too bad none of your brothers are here.”

“And what are they supposed to do? Intimidate him? Come on Mike, he is three times as strong as a human.”

“Is that the attraction? Or is he three times better in other ways?”

Amanda stood up. “I see no point in continuing this conversation. I don’t think you can understand, so just please leave. It is too bad you have to spoil things between us when I was hoping to make peace with you. I thought you might like Soval.”

Mike took a step toward Amanda and struck the wooden garden fence with his fist. “Like that alien bastard?” he shouted. “I’ve heard he is a real thorn in the side of Starfleet, set our space program back so we couldn’t defend ourselves from that attack on Florida. And you go off and marry him! Don’t you know how much that hurt your parents? You are a traitor to your world! “

Amanda knew some people held this view of Soval, but she had never been called a traitor before. She had fought so hard for her world as a MACO. She was no traitor! And in the past few months she had worked hard to communicate good will, to promote understanding and cooperation. She was now used to diplomats, people who were mostly polite and reasonable, who saw the larger view, the negotiations toward alliance. To have an old friend verbally attack this way, was a fight she could not handle at the moment. “Go home Mike!” All Amanda could do right now was escape back into the kitchen.

Amanda closed the blinds in the kitchen after locking the door. Mike had probably left, but she did not look. She made herself busy with lunch preparations, trying not to think about what Mike had said. No use. Now that alliance talks had begun, she thought the Xindi thing was behind them. But she had been living away from Earth while people here had that horrible scar as a constant reminder. She was just now learning its power to overwhelm Humans with intimidation. Amanda stilled her body, grounded herself as Soval taught her for starting a meditation session.

Then with her mind stilled, the fear lurking deep within her surfaced and became words: “the current anger displaced from the Xindi to the Vulcan ambassador makes him a prominent assassination target.” There, it was out, and the thought of loosing Soval so soon after finding him, terrified her. It was so unfair. Admittedly he had participated in holding Human space exploration back. Ok, but that was based on his belief that Humans were so like the earlier Vulcans, they would make the same mistakes. He would have held his own people back under the circumstances, hadn’t he just proven that with his actions against the High Command? She truly believed that. And what the Xindi did they would have been able to do if the space program had not been held back. The attack had nothing to do with the Vulcans. It was based on a projection of what Humans would do centuries in the future. The general anti-alien feeling had even made the completely benign Phlox a target. Malcolm Reed had told her all about THAT incident.

But Soval had not endeared himself to the general public on Earth over the past thirty years. He had made himself a high profile pain in the butt. Amanda wanted to run out to the front porch and ask him if they could live on Vulcan for the next few years. She could use the ploy of the child. Their child that would be born in eight months would better develop bone structure and lungs in Vulcan’s gravity and atmosphere. That was true, but not the whole truth. She would have to share her fear because he would sense it anyway as soon as he touched her. Even so, she knew what his answer would be. His work was here. If he felt any heightened danger, it would be her and the child that would be on a transport vessel headed for Vulcan. She had to fight a growing feeling of dislike of her own people. Did pregnancy bring on these feelings or just make them worse?

This child of mixed parentage, where would he fit in? In over a hundred years of contact, why weren’t there any others like him? Surely other Humans and Vulcans had been attracted to each other? There were rumors, or was that just T’Pol and Trip whispering about some species mixing connected to a two hundred year old crash site. They had stopped talking about it when she had approached, but she was sure it had been on Earth.

Just then, Amanda’s mother entered the kitchen with coffee cups and started washing them in the sink. Martha was humming one of her old songs that Amanda remembered from childhood. Well at least one Human was beginning to relax around Soval. One person at a time, that was how to win people over. Amanda started planning another meeting with Mike. She would invite him over for a talk this afternoon.


Soval stepped aside to let a woman pushing a stroller with a sleeping child pass by. He had been exploring Amanda’s parents’ neighborhood alone, getting a feel for ‘suburban life’ as Amanda put it. The community was a peaceful mix of young families and retirees. The families with older children whose parents had achieved mid level incomes, had moved on to better neighborhoods. But here, there were plenty of grandparent types with time on their hands to baby-sit when the young families had emergencies or needed a break.

The Andersons fit in well here, with their two children plus the Vulcan child. He had been watching closely. Other then mild curiosity on the part of those who had not seen her before, there were no problems. What was it about the ears? Everyone wanted to touch her ears at first. The child had adopted Human expressions. Of course she would, she saw few Vulcans since her parents died when she was two. They would have given her to a Vulcan family except that Mrs. Anderson had known her since she was a couple of months old. The child clung to her screaming whenever they tried to take her away. She must have telepathically sensed that she would not be seeing Mrs. Anderson again, like she would not be seeing her parents again.

Soval had made the decision to not traumatize the child. He let the Anderson’s keep their friends’ toddler. The Andersons were vegetarians and had gotten to know the Vulcan couple and their baby who had moved in down the street. They traded recipes. Then they made meals together and the Vulcans were interested in learning to speak English better because of their work at the hospital. They started babysitting for each other, and their children began to feel like cousins. Two years after they met they were close friends. Then tragedy struck. So Nel was now part of the Anderson family.

Just recently, Soval heard that Mr. Anderson had been laid off his job. Soval found him a job in the town Amanda’s parents had moved to. That way he had an excuse to keep an eye on the family when visiting in-laws, and the in-laws could report on the family between his visits. Some said at age seven Nel should be bonded, but her family was one of the few who did not keep that practice. They had been very liberal. They would have had to be, seeing how they had gotten along so well with Humans. But at some point the child would have to return to Vulcan society. In a few years, Soval thought he could find Mr. Anderson a better paying job in San Francisco so Nel could attend the Vulcan school for the diplomats’ children.

Soval considered the Anderson’s situation. It was not just Mr. Anderson’s company that was dying. Many Florida businesses were cutting production or moving away. What was now known as the ‘Xindi Ditch’ was causing surface transportation problems. The engineers had not yet decided on the design of bridges. One bridging attempt had already failed when the top of the trench on one side collapsed under the support column. Several construction workers had fallen to their deaths.

Soval spoke silently to himself. Maybe the sea should be allowed to fill it as Amanda reported was Commander Tucker’s suggestion. They could install a ferryboat service if the banks won’t hold bridge supports. But that suggestion should not come from me, it would have to come from a Human to be accepted, much as that irritates me. As a Vulcan, my suggestions in such a sensitive area would not be tolerated. That is fine with me as long as the problem gets solved. My best tactic with the Humans is to play the nasty old Vulcan and say with condescension and pompousness that what they are proposing can’t be done. That is a sure way to make them accomplish it. I am surprised they have not seen through me yet like Admiral Forrest did near the end. It is too bad our friendship did not have the time to develop past that revelation. Amanda understands. Our bond helps with that. I don’t want anything to happen to her and I do think she has matured beyond the MACO career stage as I did from security operative to the diplomatic service.

Soval had Human friends, and a Human wife. He wondered how far he had strayed from Vulcan culture in picking up some Human mannerisms and thought patterns. Certainly he could return to his home world and live out his life in venerated retirement if he wanted. He knew that Amanda would be capable of adapting to that, with occasional visits to her home world. Adaptation was one of the Human strengths. But he would not be able to obtain employment of the same visibility and trust on Vulcan that he once had. His actions in bringing down the High Command, although seemingly valued by the current government, were not entirely trusted. Perhaps they thought he would do the same to them if he did not like the direction they were taking? He had been shut out of the decisions at the higher levels. They seemed to want him away from home. On Earth he was useful to them, and even on Andoria he could be effective in preliminary treaty negotiations. It was only at V’Lar’s insistence that he had any sort of important post at all. Fine, he could live with that. There was time to build his career back up, if that was what he wanted. But at the back of his mind was the nagging thought that if some xenophobic Human managed to assassinate him, there would be relief among some of the
powers that be on Vulcan.

With these heavy thoughts, Soval turned down the next street and started walking back toward Amanda’s parents’ house. He wanted to spend some more time with Nel, just to reassure himself she was growing up happy with her Human family. After all, she would someday be an example for his and Amanda’s child.


In the late afternoon, Martha, stopped short behind the house. Someone was in her favorite corner of the garden, sitting very still in a rose-beige colored robe. She would not have noticed except the robe rippled slightly in the late afternoon breeze. It was Soval meditating. Deciding to water her flowers later so she would not disturb him, she silently slipped around the corner of the house and placed her watering can back in the garden shed. She smiled. It was almost as if the garden was absorbing peaceful vibrations from his meditation. She was pleased that he had picked her favorite spot where she would often sit musing on the beauty of her flowers. Was that meditation? She would ask Soval about that later, and perhaps, ask him to teach her some Vulcan meditation techniques. She also bypassed the kitchen where two people were having a serious discussion. She sighed. Perhaps it was a good time to take a walk around the block with her husband.


Mike knew from the look on Amanda’s face that she had not called him over to say she was leaving Soval. She had a serene, yet determined look. He felt like turning around and leaving, but she had always made the best lemonade and there was a pitcher of it on the kitchen table. He sat down in the chair furthest from her and crossed his arms in a defiant gesture. “What do you want?”

Amanda placed her hands together on the table. “I wanted to explain a few things to you. And to make peace between us, if that is possible.”

“Some of the diplomatic arrogance of him rubbing off on you?” Mike intended to keep his belligerent stance.

“Something of the yearning for peace and cooperation I have seen in diplomats from several worlds, perhaps,” said Amanda, trying to keep her manner unruffled.

Just then, Soval still in his meditation robe, entered the kitchen. “Oh I see this is a private conversation. Excuse me, I will come back later.”

Amanda smiled “Soval this is Mike, an old school friend. Mike, my husband, Soval.”

Soval’s robe moved slightly, though he was standing perfectly still. Soval glanced down and took a small hand in his, gently pulling on it so a small figure stepped forward, but stayed outlined behind the robe’s fold. “Nel, say hello to Mike. It is impolite to hide from guests.”

A Vulcan child of about four years peeked out from behind a fold in Soval’s robe. “Hello,” she said in perfect English, then disappeared back behind the fold.

“I am teaching her to meditate since the Human family which is caring for her, does not know how. They have expressed an interest in learning, as have some others in this neighborhood. I plan to do a workshop at the senior center next time we visit.”

Amanda poured Soval two glasses of lemonade and said, “Nel has a story book in Vulcan that that I am trying to read to her in the living room. Could you read to her for a few minutes Soval? My accent is not good yet, so my reading to her has not been very helpful to her.”

“Of course,” Soval responded, taking the glasses of lemonade and retreating to the living room. The child was so adept at hiding in the folds of his robe that she was not visible at all when Soval walked away.

“They are cute when they are small. And shy.” Mike was trying to get another glance at the child.

Amanda smiled across the table at him. “Why not talk with her later? She has been living with a Human family the past two years and speaks English very well.”

Mike was incredulous. “She does not live with her parents?”

“I will tell you about that. It is part of a larger issue I wanted you to talk to you about. You are very upset about the Xindi attack, as you have a right to be. Did you lose any family in that attack? ” Amanda leaned toward Mile across the table with a look of concern.

Mike met her eyes. “Actually, no. My family moved up here with yours after I finished high school. But many of our friends… You remember the Stantons? Ken and Terry were part of the group both you and I hung out with. I often look at our old high school yearbooks. Every time I think of them, I get this empty feeling, knowing I will never see them again.”

Amanda looked down at her glass of lemonade, putting both hands around it before she spoke again. “I grieve with thee. Terry and I made lemonade together and baked cookies after school. In fact, this is her lemonade recipe.”

“What kind of phrase is ‘I grieve with thee? Don’t tell me it’s a Vulcan translation!” challenged Mike.

“It is.” Amanda looked up at him. “It expresses great sympathy. It fits the gravity of the situation.”

Mike straightened his back and his eyes flashed. “And what do they care, what do they know, they don’t have feelings like Humans do! They cannot understand the loss, its not seven million of them who were killed.”

Ananda did not return his anger. Her voice actually got quieter. “Not seven million Mike, two hundred and thirty seven Vulcans died in the Xindi attack. They were scientists, engineers, teachers, and technicians. They included Nel’s parents who were doctors working on a project with some Human colleagues in a Florida hospital.”

Shock replaced Mike’s anger as he tried to defend his position. “The Vulcans never said any of them were killed!”

Amanda sighed and wiped some frost off her lemonade glass. “No, they are private people. They did not cry out loudly about their own losses, they just expressed empathy for ours. And we respond with Xenophobia. It was not just Vulcans. Eleven Denobulan engineers, five Andorians whose ship limped into our space docks requesting repairs, and, we suspect, a Klingon spy who was disguised and living in Key West, all were killed. You see, it is too late for isolation. From now on there will be aliens among us. Maybe not in huge numbers, but enough so in a major disaster, some of them will be sharing our fate. We cannot go back. Isolation is not an option.”

“But the Save Earth Movement, they say isolation is our only hope until we develop the technology to deal with these aliens.” Mike was really fishing now to preserve his anti-Vulcan viewpoint.

Amanda attacked his position with more facts. “Mike, we would still be recovering from World War III if it was not for the Vulcans and the Denobulans. And our small colonies on other worlds would not be so safe if it was not for Vulcan security patrols. Even though the colonists don’t interact with the Vulcans, just their presence in that sector of space keeps the Klingons, and others from raiding.”

Mike’s last argument hit the personal heart of the matter. “Ok, ok. But you didn’t have to marry one of them!”

“No, I didn’t have to,” said Amanda. “But I cannot imagine life without him now. And it’s organizations like this one you belong to that stirs up hatred that just might incite someone to take a successful shot at my husband. Then the child I am carrying would have to grow up without a loving father, like Nel has too.”

“Child? You can’t be serious that it is his,” Mike gaffed.

“It is his. We needed help to make my pregnancy viable, but the medical skill exists. And I want a tolerant universe for my child to grow up in. I don’t want my child to be sitting with my mother on the porch and you to be asking me ‘is that him?’ It is annoying when you say that about my husband but it would be heart breaking if you said that about my child.” Amanda touched her abdomen as if to reassure her child.

Mike looked a bit abashed. “I don’t act hostile to children.”

“But if you are hostile to their parents, they will pick that up and extend it to themselves,” Amanda countered. Then she softened. “Will you at least stay for dinner Mike? Nel’s parents are bringing the desert, key lime pie, a Florida treat that I know you crave. Soval and I have made our favorite Vulcan main dish. It has the protein combination that is good for both our species and tastes, well, out of this world, to use a hackneyed phrase. And my Mom has made that killer fruit salad you used to take three helpings of.” Amanda added an extra enticement almost as an afterthought: “You could sit next to Nel and get to know her.”

Mike looked like he was going to pass on the invitation. But then that old mischievous grin of his appeared. “Your husband doesn’t drink, does he? I thought I heard him say that once in a televised news conference. So how come there are several varieties of Vulcan wine at the liquor store just off the main street in this town? I think I will drop in there before they close and pick up a bottle of Vulcan wine and a bottle of a great new Australian wine I discovered. Oh, and just for contrast, how about a bottle of that rot gut blend from who knows what grapes, that we used to sneak off to the parking lot and drink during half time at a high school football game when we were in the process of losing to the school your pal Trip Tucker was from? Let’s see if your husband has a discerning palate. He won’t refuse a sip of each if he is the polite diplomat you say he is.”

Amanda smiled at Mike. “He may surprise you.”

“And I have some pointed questions about domestic consumption on Vulcan, seeing they have a thriving wine industry.” Mike was still talking as he checked his wallet while heading for the kitchen door. “Ok it’s a dinner date. See ya again in less than an hour.”

Amanda got up, took the lemonade pitcher into her parents’ living room and refilled everyone’s glass. Nel was holding a skein of yarn that Martha was winding into a ball, while Soval read a story in Vulcan, stopping after each sentence to translate it into English. An album lay across Amanda’s father’s lap as he sorted through little panes of vintage stamps. Amanda sat down next to Soval who put an arm around her shoulder. With only one hand for the book, she had to turn the pages for him. How boringly ordinary her family seemed at this moment. But sometimes boring was good.

The End

Seven people have made comments

Excellent! Very poignant. And, yes, sometimes boring is good!

Oh, that was excellent! Really well written and observed. But what do you mean "The End"? I want to know what Amanda meant by "He may surprise you". Is Soval a secret wine drinker? And you can't have Amanda pregnant and then not tell us more about the baby. That would be cruel. Please?

No, not a secret drinker! Amanda meant Mike would NOT be able to fool Soval that the rot gut wine was any good. (And he might be amused about that high school parking lot gang as he loves to hear more about Amanda's life - he might just pick Mike's brain to get a few more details while Amanda is trying to kick Mike under the table to shut up). Soval is adventurous enough to try new things at least enough to face this tasting challenge but he would not break his word that he is not a drinker. And I think he would know all about that wine industry, you know, how it began, what kind of wines, as he is knowledgeable about most things Vulcan. At least that is how I read him. The guy has integrity, brains, courage, and a sense of humor. But we all know that or we wouldn't be here, right?

Ok, I owe you a back story on the baby! And SKB, it was you who inspired me to write this one when you said Amanda should take Soval home to her parents.

There hads gotta be a sequel, very wel written, i luv the story line, v. poignant is v tru

I like the premise of the story, but there were times reading it that some of the dialogue sounded odd and I have to say I never got a good sense of the characters. Just mho.

Well, STC, could you give some specifics about the odd spots in the dialogue? It would help me improve my writing. You could send it in a private message on the Annex bulletin board if you don't want to put it here. I am puzzled that you don't have a good sense of the characters. Were they too flat? Every reader's opinon matters! And I think we learn best from those who are willing to speak up about what they don't like. I hope you will read some of my other stories and let me know if the characters seem any better.

Very Nice I agree we need a sequal.