It was the couple's first trip out of town together. Maggie was extremely nervous about meeting his family and wanted to make a great impression. Elliot didn't really like his family, but his sister and brother in-law were new parents and this would be his first time seeing his niece. Maggie knew that at least she could always be polite and offer to help with various chores. When they arrived in Eastern Washington, Elliot's mother had set up a huge tent for them in the back near the river with a big air mattress, pillows, and even a removable top flap to look at the stars.
There isn't much to do in the country except talk,play boardgames and eat. Maggie brought her laptop along to finish some research for class, but she didn't get much done. The new baby was adorable if a bit fussy. The new parents had no experience with infants and when Maggie offered to put the baby in a sling and walk around, they were amazed at the result. As she brushed her teeth before bed, Maggie heard the whole family telling Elliot what a great woman she was. She let out a relieved sigh; at least that bit was fine.
The only slightly negative thing to be said about Elliot's mother was the small portions of food she offered. Elliot's sister was a vegetarian and Maggie couldn't eat pork, so the evening meal of hot dogs and fruit salad didn't prove to be very filling. About midnight, Elliot and Maggie went to the tent to sleep. They joked and listened to the raccoons across the river fighting.
He leaned over to kiss her and suddenly, they both heard a loud dangerous low pitched growl that sounded very close. Though raccoons look fairly harmless, they can inflict real damage with their claws and teeth even slicing through a tent.
He grabbed the flashlight, turned rapidly to her and said, "Stay here, I'll check it out!"
She started laughing uncontrolably.
"don't panic, I'll figure this out," he said gllantly.
"No, no, it was my stomach."