Arantxa Preview Chapter One
Arantxa put down the glass she had been sipping from and stared at her friend as if she had grown a second head. “Have you lost your mind? A Mail Order Bride Agency?” she asked, astonished.
Samantha took a long sip from her drink before she answered. “Just think about it. You said it yourself. It seems all the good men on this planet are either married, engaged, or not interested in women,” she pointed out. “I’m convinced it is only logical we try to find a decent husband on another planet.”
“By a Mail Order Bride? You would have to be quite desperate to go for that,” Arantxa scoffed. “How can you even think about marrying a guy you’ve never seen?”
“You wouldn’t be marrying the guy without getting to know him,” Samantha protested, pulling up her cell phone and looking up something on the screen. “Take a look at this agency. They ensure two months for the couple to get to know each other,” she informed her, handing her the cell phone.
Arantxa grabbed the phone, still unable to close her mouth, out of sheer amazement. “You’re really considering this.”
Samantha sighed. “I am. I’m not getting any younger, Arantxa. Even men are resorting to these agencies to find a more alluring partner for life, so why shouldn’t I?” she sighed again. “I want a family of my own. I’m tired of the senseless life we’ve been leading for the past two years.”
Arantxa took another sip to her drink as she looked around at the people dancing and drinking all over the dimly lit nightclub. It was Friday night, and like all Friday nights, they were clubbing, trying to make their lives a bit more interesting than they were.
Life had become a sad routine for them, and deep down, she knew Samantha was right. Their lives had become empty and senseless.
“Look at the males’ pictures. Most of them are humanoids, and some are quite attractive. Even if you decide whoever you choose is not the right guy for you, you would still have an incredible adventure,” Samantha pleaded for her cause. “Imagine what it must be like flying out to another planet, meeting new people, new cultures… that alone should make it worth doing.”
Arantxa flipped the pictures on Samantha’s cell phone, and she had to admit her friend had a point there. Some of the aliens were incredibly attractive. She had always wondered what going away to another planet would be like, but using one of these agencies seemed a bit farfetched.
She handed Samantha her phone back. “How do we know they would let us come back?” she asked, with a hint of skepticism in her tone.
Samantha gave her a wide smile. “These agencies have a reputation to keep. They wouldn’t risk it, lightly.”
“Even so, it’s risky…” she insisted.
Samantha held her hands on the table, knowing she had her friend right where she wanted – interested and curious. “Don’t you miss taking risks? Life has become so damn predictable… endless days of the same routine… We would be living the greatest adventure of our lives,” she assured her, squeezing her hands tight before she released her.
Arantxa finished her drink and set the glass on the table. “Anyway, those agencies are too expensive for me. I could never afford their fee,” she said shrugging.
Samantha waved her hands, dismissing her concerns. “Don’t worry about that. I have them covered. I’ll use the credits I inherited from my late uncle.”
Arantxa looked at her friend with a slight frown. “I thought you were saving that for a special event,” she protested.
“I was, and I’ve decided this is the event I want to spend it on,” she replied, in a firm, confident tone. “This will be great, Arantxa, I can feel it in my bones,” she assured her.
“I wish I were so sure about that,” Arantxa admitted, running her fingers through her long, reddish curls.
“Trust me on this one. You won’t regret it,” Samantha said in her best persuasive tone.
“I’ll think about it…” she started saying, but Samantha cut her off.
“No thinking. If you think this through, you’ll find a million reasons not to do it,” Samantha said in a harsh tone. “I’ve known you since we were kids and I know this is what you need, what we need and we’re doing it,” she added firmly.
“It’s not something you can decide lightly, Samantha,” she protested.
“No, it isn’t, and believe me, I’ve given it a lot of thought. That’s why I believe we should do it. It’s not like we’ll miss our lives here. We don’t even have relatives, for God’s sake,” she pointed out. “That’s why I’ve already paid the fees.”
Arantxa was so startled she almost fell off her chair. “You have to be kidding me,” she said, staring at her friend.
Samantha laughed and tucked away one of her golden locks behind her ear. “No, sweetheart, I’m dead serious,” she assured her. “We’re scheduled to go to the agency tomorrow at ten in the morning to fill out the forms and have our pictures taken.”
“Samantha…” Arantxa started, but she didn’t let her finish.
“You’ll thank me later.”
Arantxa shook her head, smiling. That was so typical of Samantha; she couldn’t be mad at her. “I should make you lose that money. That would teach you not to make rash decisions for me,” she said, scolding her best friend.
“But you won’t, because, deep down, you know I’m right.”
“We would have to quit our jobs,” she murmured, staring at her empty glass.
Losing her job certainly wouldn’t break her heart. She and Samantha worked as legal assistants in a law firm, and they felt more like slaves than employees. They worked their asses off for a wage that barely covered their expenses.
If Samantha’s little adventure failed, they would easily find another shitty job like that one.
Samantha snorted, echoing her thoughts about their job. “It will break my heart,” she said, oozing sarcasm.
Arantxa laughed. “I still think you’re crazy, but you’re right. We have nothing to lose.”
Samantha jumped out of her chair and threw herself into Arantxa’s arms. “I knew you would agree with me on this; I just knew it.”
“If we’re supposed to have our pictures taken tomorrow, we should go home. Either way, things are pretty boring here tonight,” Arantxa suggested.
“You’re right. We need to look fabulous for it,” Samantha agreed, picking up her small purse and dragging her friend out of her chair.
A few minutes later, they were in a cab, heading home. They shared a small apartment, just outside town. The place was very small, and the area wasn’t very safe, but they couldn’t afford to live anywhere else.
Samantha’s plan was still swirling in Arantxa’s mind while she tossed in bed, later that night, but she knew she would go to the agency in the morning.
The excitement was palpable in the small apartment, the following morning. Samantha had insisted on wearing their best outfits and getting their hair done.
“We need the best photos to make a great first impression for our best shot at finding the perfect husband,” Samantha had said, as they were finishing putting on their makeup.
“Let’s hope this works,” Arantxa had grumbled, still doubtful.
At the agency, they were received by a bored employee that barely looked at them as she filled out the forms. When the employee completed their forms, she sent Samantha and Arantxa over to the photographer where they spent a while taking a few photos.
“I will upload your photos into our system in a few minutes, and they will be available right after that,” the photographer informed them. “You should be getting proposals in your email soon after that.”
“What happens after that?” Samantha asked.
“Once you have chosen the one you would like to meet, you are to come back here and notify us. We’ll do the rest,” the man explained, in a bored tone, just like the woman that had received them. “Of course, you can also send out proposals. All you have to do is mark the males you’re interested in, and if they reciprocate your feelings, they will make contact with you.”
“Thank you for your help. Are we done here?” Arantxa asked, a bit upset with the lack of enthusiasm from the agency’s employees.
“Yes, for now,” he confirmed.
Arantxa dragged Samantha out of the agency and into the nearest coffee shop. They could use a huge cup of hot, steamy coffee.
“What’s the matter with those people?” Samantha grumbled as she took a seat behind a small table on the furthest corner of the shop after the waiter brought them their mugs with coffee and some cookies. “They acted like they don’t even care. That’s no way to treat a paying customer.”
“Perhaps, they’re just jealous because they don’t make enough money to afford the agency fees,” Arantxa suggested, trying to make her friend feel better. “What really matters is that they got the job done and we should be getting some proposals for the next few days.”
Samantha’s face lit up at the possibility. “Yes, you’re right. I can’t wait for those emails to start coming in,” she clapped her hands excitedly.
Arantxa chuckled. “You’re very sure of yourself.”
Samantha ran her fingers down her blond mane and smiled. “Why shouldn’t I? I’m a beautiful, young woman any male would want to have as his loving wife,” she said mock-gloating.
Arantxa laughed out loud, but despite the mocking, Samantha was only speaking the truth. She was beautiful, with her fair skin, her deep blue eyes, her tall, slim figure, and her cheerful personality.
She, on the other hand, wasn’t what most men would call beautiful. Her curly reddish mane was probably her best feature. There wasn’t anything special about her hazel eyes or the million tiny freckles that covered her body. Her petite, curvy figure didn’t help much, but she didn’t worry much about it. She had learned to love herself, mostly thanks to Samantha and her tireless support.
Things hadn’t been like that all the time. Her late mother had spent most of her life, making her feel worthless because Arantxa was not what she expected of a daughter. Arantxa looked like her father, and her mother used to say that was her punishment for not having an abortion.
Arantxa had never met her father, and her mother had no other relatives, so it had been only the two of them. She was not enough for her mother. Perhaps that was why her mother had liaisons with countless men that walked in and out of her life.
Arantxa counted the days until she was old enough to live on her own. Two years after she moved out, her mother died in a car accident with her latest lover. She felt sad for the loss because her mother was still a young, healthy woman, but not much more than that.
Melissa had never acted like a mother to her. She spent her life trying to find the man that could give her the happily ever after life she craved. Arantxa’s needs always took second place to her mother’s dreams. After a while, she had learned not to expect anything from her.
“Hey, where did you go?” Samantha asked, waving a hand in front of her face.
Arantxa gave her a faint smile. “Sorry… I let my mind wander off,” she apologized. “You were saying?”
“I was making plans,” her friend said, with a broad smile. “We have to make sure we choose males on the same planet.”
“Yes. I would hate not having you around,” Arantxa assured her, paying more attention to her friend’s words. “Do you think that’s possible?”
“Of course, it is. You can filter the males by their planet,” she explained, showing her the app on her cell phone.
“So, we should check out the planets first and then, look at the males. I would hate to live in a hot desert planet, no matter how sexy the males are. Wouldn’t you?” she said, looking at her friend’s cell phone.
“Uhm, you have a point there,” she moved around the app and made a small search on the planets where the agency worked until she came up with four options. “These look a lot like Earth,” she said, handing the phone to Arantxa.
“Those are great options,” she agreed.
End of Sample
Copyright © 2019 by T.J. Quinn