I. Young Love
Diveria is a large world with many places to call home; however, one region in particular is special, unique. Deeply surrounded by cavernous walls lies the city of The Quo, home of the Quorians. With 30 habitable levels, the city is as wide as it is high. On the outer limits of the eighth floor live the Jruks, a small family of three – Draka, the eighty-seven years old father, Birvena, the seventy-five year old mother and Jarvie, the thirty-three year old son. To those outside of the Quorian race, the ages may be surprising. Their race ages at an increased rate compared to others in Diveria. One year to a Quorian is the equivalent of six months to the other races.
“Heading off to school Mom. See you after,” Jarvie shouted, walking out of the house.
“Meet us at the restaurant right after school. We have a busy night,” Birvena replied. Jarvie agreed and walked to school. The parents owned a successful restaurant on the fifth floor in Restaurant Alley called Draka’s Diner. It was a humble eatery, but reliable and well-known in the city. The family had run the restaurant for over twenty years. It was a dream for Draka – so much so that he named it after himself.
On his way to school, Jarvie noticed Saune walking alone. He quietly crept up behind her and yelled.
“Jarvie! You know better than to scare me like that.” The couple laughed. Quorians have a unique blue skin pigmentation. Their skin color can vary from one Quorian to another, some being extremely light while others are a rich, royal blue, appearing almost purple. Any given variation isn’t indicative of anything in particular; the pigment one is born with is random.
“I just couldn’t resist. You look too sweet when you’re scared.”
“That line doesn’t work on me anymore,” she laughed.
“It’s beautiful to watch you look at me and be at peace knowing I’m here to save you, protect you.”
“You know you would see the same face if you just didn’t scare me! I’m usually happy to see you.” She paused. “Also, I can protect myself, but you know that.”
“It isn’t the same.” Jarvie laughed as they shared a kiss and walked together to school. Jarvie and Saune were the “it” couple at their school. They were both well-liked, had a good group of friends and were genuine, good Quorians. Jarvie stood slightly taller than Saune at 3’5″ while she was 3’0″. Jarvie was considered tall for a Quorian as the average height was three-feet. When they arrived at school, Jarvie and Saune attended their mandatory classes and maintained good grades. Jarvie never cared much for academics, but he put the effort in, knowing the information was necessary. Saune was a devout student, ensuring all her grades were the highest in their class. It came easy to her, so it didn’t put much strain on her personal life.
After the school-day ended, Saune and Jarvie said goodbye to their friends and walked home together. Saune did not have a job, since her parents didn’t require her to work but Jarvie did. The couple would routinely visit Draka’s Diner after school to help out. Out of respect for Draka and Birvena, Saune would assist Jarvie, as long as she didn’t have any pending schoolwork. Her main reason for going to the diner was to spend more time with Jarvie, and if she had to work a little, she didn’t mind. Her love for him was real and she felt the same in return. Draka and Birvena questioned Saune frequently attending the diner, but after talking to her parents, they didn’t mind. She was maintaining her grades in school and completing all her work. For the remainder of the school year, Saune went to Draka’s Diner with Jarvie. With every passing day, Saune’s loyalty to the business grew and grew. It was a well-respected restaurant in the Alley, and she started to fall in love with it.
Eventually, the school year came to an end and both students successfully graduated, – Saune at the top of their class. Jarvie did well but still never fully applied himself because he knew the end result. His parents always expected him to take over the restaurant and Jarvie was very interested in doing so. As long as he graduated from school, they promised to teach him everything he needed to know to run their successful business. Saune’s parents had a different idea for her, with plans to possibly become a medical Quorian, but her desires shifted. Jarvie truly loved Saune and she could feel his passion, his admiration.
Their shared love caused Saune to make a couple decisions that truly upset her family. First, she abandoned her parents’ dream of going into medicine and joined Jarvie at Draka’s Diner. This was an epic failure from her parents’ perspective. They wanted the biggest and best for their young daughter. They couldn’t accept Saune’s veering from her bright future. Further disappointment came when Jarvie and Saune announced they were moving in together, and proclaiming love for one another over The Enchanted Reservoir. Draka and Birvena couldn’t be more excited for the kids, offering their services to cater the event and help with planning. Unfortunately for Saune, her parents did not accept the news in the same light. They actually didn’t accept it at all. Once she told them about their Proclamation plans, her parents refused to attend the service. They couldn’t support or understand the choices the young couple were making. Saune was heartbroken and although she felt alone, Jarvie and his family were there to welcome her into their lives.
II. Commitment of Love
A few months passed and the road to resuming a normal life was imminent. Jarvie and Saune worked full-time in Draka’s Diner while Draka and Birvena stepped back to allow the lovebirds to grow and learn. Birvena spent time with Saune planning their Proclamation and the catering menu. Jarvie split his time between helping his wife-to-be with the event and learning the business side of the diner from his father, Draka. Saune made it very clear that after the Proclamation, she would spend time with Draka to catch up on her business knowledge. They knew she was an intelligent Quorian, so no one questioned her ability.
Saune was appreciative of Draka and Birvena for welcoming her into their family as if she were their daughter. The strain she felt from her parents bore a hole in her soul that she wasn’t sure would ever heal. Maybe one day the pain would subside, but for now, she needed to focus on their Proclamation and future. Her love for Jarvie was stronger than ever and she knew he felt the same. Although they found themselves busy, they made sure to spend time with one another, further intertwining their lives. Their new home was another project they kept them occupied. Although there were stressful times, it only brought them closer together. Both felt lucky to marry their best friend.
When the day of the Proclamation arrived, everything was ready to go. Birvena and Saune frivolously worked to ensure everything was executed perfectly. Fortunately, Saune was not a Quorian who overanalyzed every piece of their ceremony. Her main focus was her everlasting love for and life with her future husband. Jarvie made sure to allow her creative freedom with the ceremony as he was not concerned with the details. As long as it was Saune beside The Enchanted Reservoir, he was happy.
Most of the attendees at their Proclamation of Love were friends, with few family members. Saune’s parents stayed true to their word and did not attend. She secretly hoped they would show, but when they didn’t, she wasn’t surprised. They hadn’t spoken since the announcement. Saune knew they wouldn’t show up unless she apologized, however, she never intended to do so. Once the ceremony began, Jarvie and Saune met next to The Enchanted Reservoir to hear their Leader, Lady Vixa, give her blessing.
III. The Proclamation
Lady Vixa has been the Leader of The Quo for many years. Although she does not speak much, she decided to oversee every Proclamation Ceremony. A Leader was not required to attend the ceremony, let alone oversee it. However it was generally understood that Lady Vixa enjoyed the happiness from each ceremony and wanted to vicariously live through the participants. Regardless of the reasoning, she announced her personalized blessing next to The Enchanted Reservoir, the Quorians most sacred area of the city. When she finished, Jarvie took the opportunity to profess his love to Saune, before she returned the same sentiment. To everyone’s surprise, Jarvie spent an exorbitant amount of time swooning Saune. A few Quorians laughed, confirming he no longer needed to win her over – they had both won.
After the ceremony, everyone traveled to Draka’s Diner in Restaurant Alley to celebrate. Lady Vixa did not attend so everyone could freely celebrate. She returned home to the highest level of the city, the 30th floor. Jarvia, Saune and their entire support team ate too much food and enjoyed the common drink of most Quorians, Qubble! It was the traditional alcoholic drink of the city, – tart with a sweet, zesty aftertaste. Hours went by and eventually the diner began to empty out until it was just Jarvie, Saune, Draka and Birvena.
“It’s getting late. Your father and I are going to head home.”
“Are you sure Mom?” Jarvie looked at his father. “One more bite, Dad?” Both his parents politely declined and walked towards the door to leave.
“We almost forgot this.” Draka tossed a key to Jarvie and Saune.
“I’ll lock up, don’t worry,” Jarvie chuckled.
“You better, because if you don’t, it is your responsibility.” Jarvie had a puzzled look and felt Saune grip his arm tightly. Saune and Jarvie made eye contact, sharing the same understanding.
“Are you telling me…”
“Yes…” Draka looked at Saune. “The restaurant belongs to you both. Your mother and I know you are ready to take control and turn this diner into the best restaurant it can be.” Saune yelled with excitement and ran over to hug her in-laws. Jarvie stood there, unable to move, deeply touched by their gift. Birvena walked over to her son and embraced him.
“I know you will take great care of this place. You both will.”
“Thank you, Mom. You won’t regret this.”
“I know. You found a beautiful Quorian. Make sure to hold onto her. She’s special.” Jarvie and his mother both looked over at Saune. He was amazed by her beauty.
“I couldn’t be happier,” Jarvie said, now looking at his mom. Birvena got close to Jarvie and whispered in his ear.
“So when can we expect grandchildren?” Jarvie didn’t know how to respond, but fortunately the love of his life came over and hugged his mother in excitement. Jarvie felt a sense of relief and gave his father a tight hug to say thank you. The four of them walked out of Draka’s Diner together. Draka and Birvena were excited to see what the kids planned to do with it. Jarvie handed Saune the key and she locked up for the night, for the first time. It felt natural to her, comforting.
Draka and Birvena walked home, wishing the kids a good night and to get home safe. Jarvie and Saune wished them well, thanked them again and made their own way home, holding hands along the way.
“All in all a great day,” Saune said.
“Yes.” There was slight hesitation in Jarvie’s voice. He tried to hide it but it was too late. Saune noticed.
“What’s wrong?” she asked.
“Nothing. It isn’t important.” Saune stopped, wanting to make sure her husband was happy. It was, after all, supposed to be the happiest day of their lives.
“Tell me. I won’t leave until you do.” She looked at him with determination. Jarvie knew she meant it, too. Saune was a stubborn Quorian. After a slight pause, he blurted it out.
“My mother asked me when can she expect grandchildren.” Saune instantly felt a jolt in her body that caused her to twitch but Jarvie didn’t notice it.
“What did you tell her?”
“I never had a chance to answer. You came over and the conversation ended.”
“Okay. Well it’s been a long day. Let’s head home. We can discuss it tomorrow,” Saune said. Jarvie agreed that was the best idea. He was curious how this conversation would go but felt too exhausted to have it now. There was little conversation when they returned home. Once inside, they fell asleep within minutes. It was the most relaxed either one of them had felt in a long time.