Seeing Rose with him made her feel like she had been crushed to pieces.
They were inseparable. If she wasn't out on a mission and he working at the carwash or trying to get gigs. they were together. They blended in perfectly with the other young couples in the town: walking around hand in hand or with arms around each other, giggling at inside jokes only they understood, and sneaking in kisses at any chance.
Aren't those lovebirds adorable? The others oohed and aahed. They're perfect for each other
It broke Pearl down to the core. She thought that this relationship would be a passing thing, but Greg managed to stay with Rose for about a year now.
It wasn't fair. She was the one who was supposed to be with Rose. She, who had been by her side all these years. Who cherished her more than anyone else could. The one who was the closest to Rose and yearned to be even closer.
But from the moment Greg entered Rose's life, it was like Pearl didn't matter. If Rose harbored any affection towards her, it was long gone by now.
Day in and day out, Pearl kept on hearing the same updates on the relationship from Rose:
He wrote a song for me!
He got me a bouquet of roses!
He's so sweet!
You won't believe where we're going tomorrow!
She pretended that she didn't care. Trying to keep a blank face as she listened, her tone flat, curling her lips up into a fake smile if it was called for. But once she was alone, she let her feelings pour out. Huddled up in the darkness, shaking, sobbing as she screamed again and again:
What's so special about him?
Why would she fall for a human
Why can't I be like that?
Why can't she just love me back
Why does it have to be him
Once she was done, she'd wipe off the last of her tears and return to the Gems. They didn't know. They would never know about her feelings for Rose.
Greg had everything Pearl wanted, but she knew there was one thing he didn't have. The ability to fuse. Oh how she lived to fuse with Rose. She jumped at any opportunity she got. On the battlefield, out of boredom, or to spite Greg. Flaunting Rainbow Quartz in front of him gave her a sick thrill, particularly knowing that he hadn't figured out yet that some Gems chose to fuse out of affection for each other.
Look at me Universe She'd think. Look what I can do with your lover
And with Rose as Rainbow Quartz, Pearl felt safe. It was as if she and Rose were stuck together in a permanent embrace. She could feel the warmth of Rose's body, how soft her thick, curly hair felt against her cheeks, the sensation of a kiss if she felt air brush against her lips or face. They were together and they were perfect. The queen and her knight, riding off into the sunset after defeating a vile enemy.
When they unfused, Pearl still remained in that state of bliss. At least until Rose was once again with Greg. Then, it would start all over again.
Rose lately had been refusing Pearl's suggestions to fuse. It worried Pearl a bit, but she assured herself that Rose would go back to fusing with her one day. It didn't matter that Rose didn't want to fuse. It was they could connect in that way that mattered.
It was late in human terms, probably about two or three in the morning, but Pearl was waiting by the temple when Rose returned from her night out with Greg. She seemed awfully giddy; with a huge grin, flushed cheeks, and a giggle here and there. Pearl wondered what had happened this time. Probably something insignificant. Another present, an extravagant gesture. Rose always had been fascinated by such things.
Rose was lovely when she was that happy. Pearl tried to focus on that.
"You won't believe what happened tonight!" Rose said breathlessly.
"What?" Pearl asked.
Rose began to giggle again. She blushed harder than ever, her face nearly turning beet red.
"What happened?" Pearl was anxious. Nothing Greg had done before had made Rose act like this.
Rose took Pearl's hand and took a steadying breath.
"We fused," she excitedly squealed.
Pearl glanced at her, confused.
"Don't be silly, humans and gems can't fuse ," she said.
Rose beamed even more.
"I didn't say it was our fusion Pearl."
Pearl's jaw dropped. A shattering, sinking feeling overcame her as the sadness remerged as she realized exactly how Rose and Greg had fused.
She didn't say a word and could only listen as Rose in her excitement, began to tell her tale.
"So we went to a hotel on the outskirts of town since he hasn't gotten the apartment yet. We were nervous, I could tell he was, but it didn't take long for us to get settled in--"
For Pearl it was as if Rose's words were drilling into her head while her mind screamed:
Why did it have to be with him
Pearl felt herself loose her composure. What once was a blank stare turned into a heartbroken expression.
Rose did not notice. She was too caught up in her excitement about the events that had transpired earlier and her eagerness to tell them to someone.
"It was so exhilarating," she sighed. "I've heard so many stories of what happens when you make love, but I never thought it would be so much more. Just us, together like that--"
Pearl cringed as the images of Greg and Rose in that disgusting and primal form of intimacy flashed before her. Of bodies intertwined together and connected in ways foreign to gems. Of a heat exerted that rivaled that of the hottest jungles and deserts. And their bliss as their bond deepened until it burst into an ecstasy.
Pearl's fists clenched as Rose kept on talking. Her whole body tensed up and the tears were welling in her eyes.
Suddenly fusion no longer seemed so special. How could she compete with that? Despite the disgust that she felt, Pearl wished she could experience the human fusion with Rose. She wanted to cling to Rose and feel her essence all around her. To love Rose and be loved by her. And with their union complete, no one could come between them.
But Pearl knew it would never be true. Rose loved Greg. All she cared about was Greg She didn't love Pearl. Maybe she never loved her at all…
"And it got so quiet that the only thing I could hear was his heartbeat. So I placed my head on his chest and listened--Pearl?"
She was trying so hard not to cry. She didn't want Rose to see her like this. She couldn't be so weak, not after all they had been through.
The agony she kept locked up for centuries shook inside her. But Pearl could muster only one phrase: