"'When you come of age, in harmony you will be united with your one true partner'. All young adults, ages eighteen through twenty-one, who have not taken part in the Harmony Tests, will do so this Saturday at the Central Plaza Library at 8:00 AM. Do not be late."
The announcement rang through the town
and I swear I just died a little.
Oh crap. Oh crap oh crap oh crap. I knew I would have to do this eventually
My eighteenth birthday just had to be today, huh? If it was tomorrow, I'm sure I would have been able to get out of it this year. I mean come, on! The Council usually let's us skip a few years if we want, but this time they are dang adamant about getting us to find our true match. I can't do it. I will inevitably disappoint whomever I end up with. I look horrible. My personality is horrible. The last test I would ever pass is the one for Miss Congeniality. I am freaking out here!!! Can't take it. Can't take it. Can't take
"JOSIE! Quit drumming that damn pencil and come back to Earth!" shouted ever-so-effervescent Elena, a close friend of mine. "You've been sweating up a storm and all but hyperventilating for the last three minutes. What's messed you up?" Her genuine concern for my well-being is one of my favorite of her qualities.
We were chilling at a table outside of Confectionate Café, a sweets galore café at the center of town right around the plaza, by the library. Studying
that's what we were really supposed to be doing. Our final exams are this Friday. After that, we're free. Until college a few months later. Something absolutely invigorating to look forward to.
I pushed a strand of curly brown and blonde hair behind my ear, "I'm sorry, Elena. But I seriously can't pull off that stupid Harmony Test. Nope. Uh-uhh. I would be a pretty piece of torture for whatever poor soul I was paired with." This is true, as I have mulled over a thousand times prior.
I'm whining, aren't I? Yeah, I suppose. I am no dream girl to anyone. I'm ugly. Horribly ugly.
"Dangit, Jo. Get out of that mindset." Whoa, is she reading my mind? "And there is no passing or failing. You end up with your perfect man according to the way you answer, no duh. So of course, you'll 'pull it off'. The right guy for you is going to love you for the beautiful girl you are! He'll think you're wonderful just the way you are now. After all, it's already a given that no guy could ever resist your big blue eyes." She touched my shoulder caringly and grinned.
"Aww, thank you. I
" I looked down, "I guess you're right." She has a point. I can't deny that.
As the Harmony Test announcement echoed through the building of the Confectionate Café, I turned to my brother Shane at the exact moment he began speaking, well, mumbling, through a mouth full of chocolate cake, "So, I managed to at least wait until I've turned twenty-one to take that stupid test. But I seriously will not agree with the outcome unless my match girl is hot as hell. Haa, Jude. You gotta take it now being eighteen." He laughed, "Watch your lady end up older than you." He really needs to shut his trap.
He's right, though. Most dudes wait at least two years to take this test for a greater chance of being matched to girl a year or two younger than himself for obvious reasons. There has never been an incentive for a guy to take the Harmony Test the year he turns eighteen. But well, I'm flat outta luck.
As I was about to respond to my dear brother, about five or so fan girls ran up to our table, "PRINCE JUDE AND PRINCE SHANE," intro-squealed the one with the bright red hair and the too-small Pepto-Bismol pink tank top garnished with iron-on pictures of our faces, "PLEEEEAAASE PLEASE GIVE US YOUR AUTOGRAPHS!" She was jumping up and down like a hundred times in a row. Jeeze! Can the chick notgee, I dunnouse her inside voice? She was just about shrieking.
Okay, so yeah, my brother and I are part of the royal McKormick family that rules this small country, Avalon. We're like celebrities. Well, not like celebrities; we are celebrities. And contrary to popular belief, we can generally go out on the streets without being mauled by teenybopper fan girls. But every once in a while though, we are practically ambushed by AT LEAST five of these girls. They know not to touch or come too close to us; so, concerning being trampled to death, it is thankfully not a fear we will ever have to cherish as our own.
I handled it this time, "Sure, why not?" I took the marker and notebook she was ferociously waving around and opened it up to an empty page, "What're y'all's names?"
The pink-shirted fan girl smiled, "I'm Tiffany." She gestured to her four other friends who all pretty much look alike, "This is Clara, Annie, Chantel, and Melissa." I will never remember that.
I began to write my signature and add a cutesy little message I would once again never remember. After which, I handed it to Shane to do the same.
He snatched it with a smirk, signed it, and handed the stuff back to Tiffany, "Here you go! Nice meeting you girls!" he waved them off and they pranced away screaming and giggling simultaneously.
I stretched my arms and yawned, "This gets annoying real fast. Plus, concerning that dumb test, what if we end up with bubbly hyperventilating fan girls like that?"
He sighed, "Jude. Do not remind me." He shoveled another huge piece of cake into his face and began mumbling through that mouthful again, "If you do end up with a crazy ass fan girl, she'll be forever devoted to you! We can rig the test that way too! Make it happen, man. It would be frickin' hilario- I mean awesome. It would be awesome." That supposedly reassuring nod irked me dearly.
I took a sip of my mint chocolate chip milkshake, then wadded up my straw paper and flicked it at Shane, "Chew with your mouth shut. No, second that, try talking with your mouth shut."
He laughed, "It's just food for thought." Oh how punny.
"But no, seriously." He began after a swallow, "There's like three months between the test and the announcements, you know for accurate pairing off of the appropriately aged youth of the country. And since we're royalty, we are paired off first. I can manage to hack the Council's database and pull up our results immediately. We'll know our dream girls right off the bat." He snarled, "My girl just better be sexy."
I raised an eyebrow, "Oh, because her appearance is what truly matters most." The facetious tone drowned my words.
He pointed at me with his fork, "Hell yeah it does." He finished off with a huge smirk.
I don't want to know who my girl is so early on. What if I know her? Well, that's probably not going to happen. There's like a million girls out there. Still, why would he want to know who his girl is that early? Takes the fun out of anticipation and suspense, doesn't it?
I looked to my left at the wall made of mirrors, the light from the diamond chandelier cascading down upon myself and the others around me. The light hit the stained glass windows, sending rays of color down onto the white tablecloths and beige tiled floor.
My teal eyes have never looked brighter. My cream skin has never looked paler. My wispy dark chocolate brown hair even seems just a little bit lighter. I feel like a pansy looking so prim and preppy in this monkey suit. We're at the stupid Harmony Ball, the Friday night before that huge test Saturday. It's supposed to double as a "finished with exams" celebration ball for the Avalon Academy's high schoolers as well.
All these people dancing around me and I'm ironically alone. Wow. Just
Wow. No girl in particular sticks out to me, I mean, they all appear to already have a dancing partner. You know what? I'll just stay out of this altogether. I went and sat at an empty table and pulled out a chair and turned it against the wall so I could view the crowd as some kind of entertainment. After boredom engulfed my soul, I decided to take advantage of the free plate of spinach and artichoke dip on the table. I love that stuff.
I was about to consume a rather large bite when a slightly less than graceful girl in a dark blue strapless dress tripped on some invisible force and fell over my lap, temporarily freaking me out, causing me to accidentally throw my chip. Damn
That was going to be a really nice bite. But yeah, no clue in hell how this managed to happen.
She quickly got up and drowned me in apologies. I didn't really hear much of what she was saying because I was getting lost in her beautiful blue eyes. Her curly brown and blonde hair was in serious need of a brush, though. And the braces kind of caught me off guard. And the dress
Not quite the best one she could have chosen to wear. I'm sorry, I'm not usually the kind of guy to give two shits about fashion, but she is a serious mess.
I shook my head, "Nah. It's completely okay!"
She looked so nervous and panicked and frankly, out of breath big time, "I'm sorry, I tend to trip over my own feet like that all the time and when I'm really nervous I start to ramble and lose my breath and I start sweating and freaking out and this is just too much for me holy crap I can't take it this is justOh dear God, you're one of the princes!"
Oh goody, another fan-
She waved her hands, halting my thoughts, "No, no, I see that look on your face; I'm not one of those crazy fan girls. I'm just," she sighed, "no one. I'm just no one."