No one ever called on that line except her mother. Well, and work, but she had learned her lessons from McKay well; after ten months of concerted effort, she was reasonably certain she had her minions properly terrified.
She barely registered Jim's "I'm going to take a shower," nodding in acknowledgment without turning around. The sense of dread was ridiculous; she'd faced down McKay in full rant, she'd lived through three - three major bombardments while in Atlantis. Her mother shouldn't be this terrifying. Theoretically.
Gritting her teeth, Miko pressed the 'play' button. "You have six new messages." She blinked, because they'd only been gone six hours. If it had been about her father, the hospital would have called her cell phone; if it had been work, it would have been closer to twenty messages. That left her mother. Damn.
"First Message: This message is for Kusanagi Miko. We are calling in regards to your current television subscription package, and the recent modifications to your account. Please contact our customer service representatives at (0467)99-1234." Reassured by the normality of the message, Miko moved away to put on the kettle as she listened to the rest of the messages.
"Second Message: Miko-chan, this is your mother. I just had lunch with Mizukami-san, and you'll never believe what she had to say. Call me." Miko nodded to herself, adjusting the controls on the stove; gossip was something she could deal with.
"Third Message: Miko-chan, this is your mother again. I know you're not at work, so where are you? I have some questions for you. I'll be waiting." Miko rolled her eyes, allowing herself to be the bad daughter out of sight of her mother; honestly, you'd think gossip could wait a few hours.
"Fourth Message: Miko-chan, this is your mother again. Buying groceries doesn't take this long, especially not the way you shop." Miko groaned, shifting the kettle and waiting for the water to boil. Her shopping habits, or lack thereof, were a sore point between her and her mother. Apparently instant ramen was not a food group; who knew? "I'll try again in a little while."
"Fifth Message: Miko-chan, I am not amused. Mizukami-san said that her son saw you with a gaijin yesterday in Asakusa." Miko dropped the kettle, cursing as she splashed hot water on her hand in the process. No, not good. It had been a joke. A way of making her feel better in the face of Mizukami Tatsuyoshi's marriage. No one was supposed to know. "Don't make me bring your father into this. Call me."
Miko reached for a towel automatically to clean up the spilled water, dreading the final message. She knew where this was going, and it was nowhere good. She couldn't believe that Yosh had said anything, but then why wouldn't he? As far as he knew, her mother was well aware that she was married to an American serviceman.
"Sixth Message: Kusanagi Miko! I cannot believe that you would get married without informing your poor old Kaachan. After all the things I have done to see you succeed in this world, this is how you repay me? You run off and marry a gaijin and don't even tell me? What am I supposed to tell my friends? Where are the grandchildren? I am not young, Miko, my heart cannot take this kind of strain."
Miko closed her eyes, gripping the handle of the stove as the machine informed her that it was the last message. This was so far beyond not good it wasn't even funny. She heard a door open, followed by footsteps in the hallway. "Miko?" She looked up, and found Jim standing on the other side of the breakfast bar. "Is everything all right?"
She forced a smile, something she had grown good at in the last few years. "Everything is fine, Jim."
"Why don't I believe you?"
She frowned, crossing her arms. "I don't know, a naturally pessimistic nature?"
He chuckled, entering the kitchen and leaning against the counter next to her. "Nice try, but no. Who left the messages?"
"My, um, my mother."
"She had lunch with Mizukami-san today; apparently Yosh shared the good news with his mother." She looked up, and found his eyes wide in surprise.
"So, uh, she thinks we're, you know...?"
"Oh." He swallowed hard. "Does. Does this mean we're having that dinner with your parents?"
"So it would appear."
He smiled weakly. "She can't be worse than the Wraith, right?"
She didn't answer, attempting an honest mental evaluation, and he paled further.