It’s either Save the Pearls or my last date

April 19, 2012 in Adventure romance tips


If only this was going to be just another date, just another guy, then I could relax. Instead, I feel as if I swallowed a hot load of lead that burns a pit in my stomach. My entire life depends on my “performance” with Jamal. I simply must win him over. It’s either that or I single-handedly save the Pearls. I wonder which is more realistic.

If only he will say the words I long to hear: “Eden, I’m going to pick up your mating option.” Then, I’d be safe. But I know that life isn’t some young adult fantasy novel. It can be harsh and difficult, especially when you’re a Pearl.

Of course, I don’t expect Jamal to ask if he can be my mate, like one of those silly sayings from the Old World written on a heart-shaped box: will you be mine? All the saints are dead now, especially Saint Valentine, because love went the way of the dolphins after the Great Meltdown. The real chance of me finding an adventure romance are slim to none.

A girl like me, blond and blue-eyed with an embarrassing low mate-rate of 15%, can only dream of getting a mate, any mate. Let’s face it: I’m a Pearl, a white, good-for-nothing, bottom of the barrel outcast. Jamal is a Coal with beautiful mahogany-colored skin, skin that’s dark enough to resist the deadly rays of the overheated sun. Why, he could have almost anyone he wanted as a mate.

So why on this Once Green Earth would he want me?

And yet, I dare to hope it’s true. From the moment we first met, Jamal seemed different from Them. He flashed that killer grin and spoke to me as if he could see past my ugly skin color, as if he could see the Real Eden. I mean, why else would he waste his time with me if he didn’t like me?

He says he likes smart females—maybe that explains the attraction. I admit I’ve tried to impress him, dangling bits of information from the research I’m doing for Father. It’s top-secret, but after all, Jamal is head of security. Besides, what do I have to offer other than my intelligence? For Earth’s sake, at least some of my genetics are worth passing on! Yes, that must be it; Jamal must like me for my mind! While he does tease me for reading all those young adult fantasy novels, he knows that’s just my way of escaping. And boy, do I need to escape.

I know it’s crazy but I suspect he might decide my fate in a few hours when we meet. He did say he had something important to tell me. I just don’t know what I’ll do if he doesn’t want me. In six months I’ll be 18. If I don’t find a mate or someone doesn’t find a way to save the Pearls by then, I’ll but cut off and left outside to die.

But I can’t think about that now.

Mother believed that some people in our world are colorblind, and I must too. I must believe that Jamal is one of those extraordinary people, if they really do exist. But then poor deluded Mother also believed in the kind of love she read about in adventure romance novels. It didn’t help her in the end, did it?

How many times did she quote one of those ridiculous poems by my adopted aunt, the Old World poetess Emily Dickinson? I can almost hear her now, whispering in my ear, remember what Aunt Em says, ‘That Love is all there is / Is all we know of love.’

Not that I ever expect love, if it exists. I just want to stay alive. In a few hours, Jamal will be here and I’ll be ready. To mate, die or find some other way to save the Pearls, those are my choices. Wish me luck.


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