The Gender Divide
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by David Boultbee
Category: Science Fiction/Romance
Description: Ryan Peters is an anomaly. In a world where women live four times as long as men do, Ryan is one of a few men with a similar lifespan. This difference in lifespan has had profound consequences on the world balance of political, economic, and military power and has created a social Gender Divide that threatens to tear the world apart. Determined to close this Gender Divide, Ryan will sacrifice anything to succeed. The Gender Divide has already cost him the one true love of his life and even though he has a second chance, he won't let that stand in his way. He is even willing to give up his own life? and in a sense he already has.
eBook Publisher: Champagne Books, 2009
eBookwise Release Date: June 2009
2 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [454 KB]
Reading time: 290-407 min.
"You do realize this all sounds like a paranoid fantasy, don't you?" She didn't wait for him to answer as she continued. "Just how much of what we had is real and how much is because of this?"
He sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "Sometimes I don't know. My whole life changed forty years ago. I basically threw away the life I had back then and began a new one, all of it focused on this day. There were only two things I took from my old life. One was my relationship with my sister. She supported me and provided a cover story for me by agreeing to raise 'my' baby. The other thing was my feelings for you. I was still in love with you and thought perhaps this was what we needed to be together. I carried those thoughts with me for forty years, and when I first started here it tore me apart. I wanted to tell you the truth, but I also needed to access the data and I didn't know if you would believe me. I finally decided I couldn't be selfish enough to risk losing access to the data and so I didn't tell you the truth. I even hesitated about starting up a relationship with you again, afraid it would compromise my objectivity."
"But you did," Olivia said softly.
Ryan nodded. "Yes I did. I really wanted to and while I could list dozens of reasons why I shouldn't, I was able to rationalize every single one of them away." He paused and laughed. "I still remember that comment you made years ago, that the ability to rationalize terrible decisions was what really separated humans from animals."
"Does that mean you think it was a terrible decision?"
He shook his head. "No, not at all. For a few weeks I thought I was in heaven. I had the perfect job, excellent staff and was with the woman I loved. But then all that changed."
"After we made love."
It wasn't exactly a question but he answered it anyway. "Yes, after we made love. Something happened then that made me realize I wasn't in love with you anymore. I didn't realize it at the time, but that's what happened. I realized I was in love with the you from forty years ago, and that too much had changed since then. You had changed, my entire life had changed, the world had changed. That's part of the reason I played all those games tonight. I knew you were ready for us to be intimate again, and I couldn't do that now knowing I wasn't in love with you anymore. It wouldn't have been fair to you or to me, and there are some lines I am just not willing to cross."
"So the ends don't justify the means after all," Olivia said quietly.
Ryan nodded sadly. "I'm sorry. I wanted to tell you, but I decided that I couldn't risk it."
"So what happened? You just woke up one day and realized that you didn't love me anymore, is that it?"
"No, nothing like that." He hesitated, not wanting to hurt her, especially in front of everyone else, but he had to be completely honest. "I had fallen in love with someone else without realizing it."
"Who is it? Do I know her?" Before Ryan could respond Olivia shook her head angrily. "God, listen to me. Repeating the same pathetic lines that dumped women always say. None of that matters. This all sounds like some insane story you invented. I still don't have any proof you are telling the truth."
"Ah, but he is."
Everyone jerked as the voice rang out from behind Olivia. A moment later the owner of the voice appeared.
"You!" exclaimed Olivia and Ryan simultaneously.