Chapter 1: Great News?
1 Great News?
PEARL SWAMP COULDN’T believe her luck. Out of all the third graders at Trident Academy, her name had been drawn to be the princess at this year’s Winter Festival! If it had been a merboy, they would have had a winter prince. Every year Trident City celebrated the end of the coldest waters with a huge party at the People Museum. All the money raised went to help families in need.
Pearl had dreamed all her life of being the winter princess! It was the most exciting thing to ever happen to her. She would wear a fancy dress, give the welcome speech, and be the official ambassador for her school. She couldn’t wait to share the news with her parents.
Pearl zipped through MerPark, around a glass squid, and dashed inside the large pink shell she shared with her parents. “Mom!”
Her mother popped out of her home office and smiled. “Pearl! I’ve been waiting for you.”
“I have great news,” they both said at the same time.
Pearl was surprised. Did her mother already know?
“What’s your news?” her mother asked.
“You can go first,” Pearl said.
Her mother clapped her hands. “You are not going to believe it! You’re getting a baby brother!”
Pearl hadn’t expected that at all. She opened her mouth. She closed her mouth. Finally, she squeaked, “A baby?”
“Yes,” squealed her mother. “Isn’t it exciting? We’re adopting a little merboy.”
“A merboy?” Pearl muttered. “Why a merboy?”
Mrs. Swamp giggled like a young child. “Well, we already have a lovely daughter. Don’t you think a merboy will be nice?”
Pearl frowned. A baby mergirl might have been fun. She could have dressed it in frilly dresses and had tea parties. But she wasn’t so sure about a merboy.
“Does Daddy know about this?”
Her mother smiled. “Well, of course. This is something we’ve planned for a long time.”
Her parents had talked to her about adopting a baby, but that had been a while ago. Pearl thought they had forgotten about the whole thing. Why in the ocean did they want a baby? Wasn’t she enough for them?
Pearl wanted to stomp her gold fins and tell her parents to forget about a baby. But her mother looked so hopeful and happy, Pearl just couldn’t. Instead she fibbed, “I can’t wait.”
Her mother gave her a hug. “I’ve dreamed of giving our new baby a good home. Our family will be complete.”
Pearl thought it had been pretty perfect with just the three of them, but she didn’t say so.
“Oh, that reminds me,” her mother said. “I’m going to clean out the craft room for the baby’s bedroom.”
“What?” Pearl couldn’t believe her ears. Pearl and her mother loved their hobby room. It was filled with colorful shells, beads, and ribbons. They’d had many fin-tastic times making all sorts of fun creations. And now her mom was going to get rid of it all? “But where will we do our projects?”
“Don’t worry,” Mrs. Swamp said. “Most merpeople don’t have a craft room and they do just fine. It’s too bad that Anna is visiting her daughter this month. I could use her help.”
Pearl frowned. Losing her craft room did not sound fine at all. She wished Anna, their maid, wasn’t out of town too. Anna was more like a second mother to Pearl. And right now, Pearl really needed to talk to her.
Mrs. Swamp floated up their curving marble staircase. She disappeared around the corner before Pearl realized her mother had forgotten to ask about Pearl’s good news!