The gymnasium was heaving - I clung to Dalton's hand like a baby clinging to its father's thumb. His parents would be arriving later, apparently. Mine, however, were already here somewhere, and the thought was driving me crazy. I loved them to bits and all, but I was the first in my family for generations to go out and mix with other species.
We passed by an elderly-looking witch who had been turned to stone. A younger witch who I recognized from my Art Appreciation class stood by her, looking awkward and impatient. I felt suddenly violently sick, and my knees pretty much buckled.
"Vic? You okay?" asked Dalton, putting an arm around my waist.
"Yeah, yeah, fine," I replied, aware that my voice was a lot shriller than usual. "Actually, no, I think I'm gonna throw up. Do you think that lady has a, uh... natural stony appearance?" I asked, glancing back towards the frozen witch.
Dalton laughed. "She looks like you got at her!"
I smacked him in the chest, although I felt better now he'd cracked a joke. Maybe my parents would like him after all? Maybe the fact that he wasn't in any way reptile-related...
"Vicky!" came a loud, familiar voice over the general hum of the crowd.
I turned to see the lilac head-snakes of my mother, and the glistening black ones of my father come through the crowd. They were both wearing small Ozzy Osbourne style sunglasses and matching orange tie-dye t-shirts.
I let go of Dalton's hand and ran forward to hug them both.
"Oh, Vicky! We've missed you so much back home! Are you taking care of your head-snakes properly? Feeding them right? You haven't been hiding them under that hood the entire time, have you?"
"Stop fussing, Florence!" my dad cut in, smiling at me.
I smiled back. "Mum, Dad, I... I want you to meet a friend of mine."
My heart was coming up my throat as I turned towards Dalton and beckoned him forward. He looked as nervous as I felt, as well he should have.
"This is Dalton," I said. "Dalton and I are..."
Even through her sunglasses, I saw my mother's eyes narrow. My dad folded his arms. This so wasn't a good idea. Maybe we should just -
"I'm Victoria's boyfriend," Dalton said with a smile. "Nice to meet you, Mr. and Mrs. Meduse."
My dad put a hand under his chin and squinted at Dalton through his sunglasses. "Tell me, Dalton, have you got any reptile in your bloodline at all?"