“You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me,” Genesis said.
“And you’re definitely in my top ten,” Angela said.
“Oh yeah?” she asked.
“Maybe even top five,” Angela replied, “if you keep behaving yourself.”
“I’ll show you behaving!” Genesis said.
She dug her fingers into Angela’s ribs. Angela yelped and doubled over laughing. She tried to wriggle free but Genesis had her pinned. The image of a mall security guard popped into Angela’s head, and her skin erupted into thick grey scales. The tickling sensation faded to a distant echo.
“No fair!” Genesis said.
“Just be glad I didn’t set myself on fire this time,” Angela replied.
“That was actually pretty hot,” Genesis said.
Angela rolled her eyes. Genesis laughed and leaned back against the opposite end of the couch, her feet propped up on Angela’s lap. Angela yawned as the scales faded from her skin.
Dominick and Marta stepped out of the kitchen and returned to their seats. Dominick passed two glasses to Angela and Genesis. He raised his own glass for a toast.
“To love,” he said.
“Dad,” Genesis groaned.
“I’ll drink to that,” Angela said.
She clinked her glass to Dominick’s, followed by Marta and finally Genesis. They all drank; Angela was starting to feel a little lightheaded by this point. She flipped through the book Marta gave her while the Jacobses continued opening gifts from friends and extended family members.
Shortly after noon, some of those family members started arriving for lunch. Marta’s parents. Dominick’s sister and mother. A gaggle of cousins. Angela had met several of them at the funeral of Genesis’s grandfather, but she still found herself a bit overwhelmed. She clung tightly to Genesis’s side all through the meal.