A year after the death of her husband, Fern is having work done on her home. As the days pass, she takes notice of how attractive one of the men is. His name is Pero and he has the most intensely green ringed eyes that she has ever seen.
When he makes a pass at her, she politely refuses, even though the man really intrigues her. That night he comes to her in a dream, taking her into the clouds to make love. When she finally forces herself out of bed, Fern finds a small stone on the table with clouds floating within it. She is completely befuddled.
She soon learns that Pero is from another race on a different planet. The men from his planet are collecting women to bring home with them when their ship returns for them.
Pero gives her a vision into her future which will be short lived if she remains on Earth. He offers her a place as his first ‘berdine,’ his eternal mate, but Fern is plagued by the guilt of leaving her two daughters who are in college. Will she make the final commitment to Pero, or stay on Earth for whatever time she had left to live?
Fern stood at the stove finding a somewhat perverse interest as she broke up the tomatoes with her hand. The sauce was getting warmer, but she continued to fish out the red chunks, squeezing them as she watched the juice spit in a stream from her curled palm. Jerry had always preferred sauce made from whole tomatoes rather than crushed. He had said it was juicier, and more flavorful.
Jerry, however, had died unexpectedly one year before, on Thanksgiving Day. He had been taking a nap before their guests arrived, and Fern had found him dead on the floor.
This Thanksgiving, her mind was on Pero.
She hadn’t even really taken notice of Pero at first. Her only real interest was in getting the basement finished before the holidays rolled around.
Interest had formed slowly in her mind as he arrived day after day to work on her home. The first thing she had noticed was Pero’s striking shoulder-length, dark brown hair filled with glimmers of lighter colors. His hair was always clean and on rare occasions, he would pull it back into a ponytail. The man also had distinctly stunning eyes. They had originally appeared hazel, but during a conversation about what paneling she wanted installed, the light had captured the color more accurately. Pero’s eyes were actually multi-toned layers of light brown and green. They were truly dazzling and she had found herself having a hard time not staring into them.
Then had come the day when she’d gone down to find him working shirtless. That was an eye opening experience. Under his neat, button-down work shirt, Pero had a magnificent body with well define muscles.
With a slight sigh of loneliness, Fern returned to her sauce. She was finding herself ever more lost in her own thoughts. Now as she looked at the spoon in her hand, she realized it had happened again. She was stirring the sauce without even realizing she was doing it, the spoon drifting in slow, aimless circles.
Pero appeared at the top of the stairs. “Mrs. Glass, do you know if there are extra fuses in the house? I’m splitting the circuits, and my father has the fuses in the truck.”
“Yes, they are in the black box on the wall. Please call me Fern. Would you like a cup of coffee? I just made a pot.”
“I would love one, thank you.”
She poured him a cup, again noting his oddly kept nails, as he accepted it from her. She had dealt with many carpenters over the years, and she couldn’t remember a single one having such well cared for hands. His fingers weren’t calloused or cut, his palms unblemished. There was no dirt beneath his nails. They were cut short and perfectly curved as if he had just had a manicure.
Pero tasted the cup skeptically and then smiled. “This is good. Cinnamon. My mother used to make coffee this way. I miss her,” he said wistfully, the smile fading.
It was an extremely sentimental comment. “I’m sorry, when did she pass away?”
“She’s still alive. She lives with my three sisters in California. When my father left, she ordered him to take me with him. I was not the best of teenagers.”
“Oh. I’m sorry.” It seemed like a rather strange thing for him to disclose.
Pero shrugged. “I have no idea why I told you that. Let me get back to work.”
She watched him disappear down the stairs. That tidbit of information made him all the more intriguing. She had always had a thing for bad boys, and Fern suddenly wanted to know more about him. She finished up the dishes in the sink, and wandered downstairs under the ruse of seeing how the construction was going. “When is your father coming back?”
“I don’t think that he is. A good friend of his is really ill and he went to the hospital.”
He held his hand out to the newly paneled wall which hid the gray cement of the basement. It was going to be a beautiful room once it was finished, and would serve her well as an area for her holiday guests.
“So what do you think?”
Fern sat down on the stair. “It’s coming along nicely. Please tell me it will be done by Thanksgiving. We are having seventeen people for dinner and I want to contain the mess down here.” It really wasn’t we anymore.
“That’s a month away, we should be done in two weeks.”
“Good to hear.” Fern needed an excuse to stay and pick his brain. She was bored, and to chat with Pero was better than to remain upstairs alone. “Would it bother you if I sat and watched? I have some small woodworking ideas for Christmas, but I only have a laywoman’s idea of how to use the power tools.”
He smiled, his eyes seeming to cloak some hidden amusement. “No problem. Come down and I’ll show you.”