Her new son-in-law stared at her, slack jawed, and breathing shallowly. She reached over and gave him a comforting pat on the cheek. He collapsed back into the chair.
“Now, I need to call Cam back. As her father, he has similar duties to perform. The rest of the family can wait.”
John nodded, not really hearing her as he struggled to process the news.
Her new relative was a pitiful sight, flopped over in his chair, with his eyes rolling around aimlessly in their sockets. The poor boy, she thought to herself. Minding his own business, defending his territory, only to discover he got married when he wasn’t paying attention.
Light flashed in the living room, accompanied by a lame twanging noise. Cam Pendy appeared, hands in the pockets of his trousers, with a stunned expression on his face.
“That was fast, Cam.” Ginga wiped her eyes to clear the bright spots. “What’s with the grand entrance?”
“Well, he said that we’re supposed to make noise and whatnot when we appear.” Cam pointed at the furiously blinking man in the chair across the floor.
“Wait. You were listening?”
“Yes. I only went outside. He has nice taste in lawn furniture.” Cam admitted, in hopes he wouldn’t get in trouble for erring on the side of caution.
“Fine. Then you know we have a son-in-law now.”
“Yes, it looks that way.”
“Fine. Then you know what you have to do. Be polite.” Ginga pushed him towards John’s chair.
“Ah! Don’t rush me, woman!”
“Faugh!” Ginga exclaimed, and stood back, looking offended.
Cam looked down at the fellow who’d been blindsided by fate, his daughter, and more strangeness than one person should be required to deal with. He sighed to himself, thinking Etty could have chosen worse men, but outdid herself in terms of complications.
“Can you stand, John?”
“I’m not sure, Mr. Pendy.”
“Fair enough.” Cam said, and crouched down before his new son. “Let’s clasp forearms. You know that ‘manly’ gesture, right?”
John rolled his eyes, and clasped the older man’s arm.
“Good grip, lad. Here we go.” Cam took a deep breath to prepare for saying words he hadn’t expected to use for years to come, exhaled, and jumped into it. “I, Cam Pendy, entrust my beloved daughter to you, John Frost. I bid you make a safe place for Etty, a worthy home for the children to come, and defend it against all who mean you harm.”
John’s eyes tried to jump out of their sockets. Cam noticed, and continued.
“I welcome you into my family with joy. By the earth, sky, and the craft of my hands, I accept you as my son, as Etty is my daughter.”
John whispered something.
“What did he say, Cam?”
“I’m not sure. It sounded like ‘derp.’”
“I have no idea what that means.” Ginga scratched her scalp.
“Hm.” Cam stood up and turned to his spouse. “Do you know what the protocols are for human families when one of their children suddenly marries without their notice?”
“Not in the least.”
Cam turned back to his dazed son-in-law, and gave him a gentle slap on each cheek.
“Son! Come on now, I need you to focus for a few more minutes.”