Chapter 11: First Encounters
Adam smiled with glee as he walked into the empty room, his fat, balding grandfather coming in with him. "Is this one good, boy?"
"Yeah it is!" The teen said as he put the box of items down onto the floor, "So, you and gramma are REALLY going to Germany??"
"Not yet, son, you're still a minor. When ya turn 18 though, that's when we'll start makin' plans."
"So, just out of curiosity why Germany, grampa?"
"Well, ya know yer grandma, she loves chuggin the sweets-"
"I HEARD that, ya bastard!" Came the raspy call of grandma. Grandpa scowled as he turned around, and attempted to kick the door shut, yet only halfway closed.
"If she ain't got her aids turned up to feckin sonic." Adam chuckled as his grandfather turned back around, "Anyway, ya know chocolate came from Germany, and that's HER reason."
"Well, I figure I git in touch with our roots, ya know?" Adam grinned and chuckled.
"I always that I was a mutt, grampa."
"Well, ya are," The old man stated, "But my family on my mother's side is from Germany. I and I have a niece in Hamburg - you don't know her - and I hear she's struggling with a meat shop, so when ya turn 18 in a few months, me and your grandma are goin to live with her for a while to git her on her feet."
"If she's struggling now, then..."
"We ain't leavin ya until you're 18, son," He said sternly, "Your not gittin the house THAT easily," Grandpa then walked to the air-mattress, "We're sending her a check a month to help her out. And when we get there, I can show her how to run that shop of hers."
"Oh, ok." Adam said.
The old man then patted the inflatable bed next to him, "Sit down, son, we need to talk."
"Again?" Adam said, his smile fading, "A-Am I in trouble? What did I do?
"Nuthin, but... We need to discuss something."
"Um... Ok...." Adam then sat next to his grandpa, rather nervously.
"Now... We need to talk about... This disease of yours-"
"It's not a disease, Granddad!" Grandma called out.
"Well, it ain't feckin normal!!"
"EHhhhhh! Irish blood, just like her father..." He said as he swat the air with his hand, "Look, son," Grandpa then turned back round to Adam, "Look, son..." He then shifted where he sat, taking a deep breath, "Have you ever considered that you may be... Homosexual?" He said awkwardly.
Adam blinked, and nodded, "Yeeeaaahh... I thought you knew, I came out last year."
"Is THAT why your parents kicked ya out?"
"No! No, that's not it." Adam said, "They're fine with it, I just wanted to move to Hawaii, and they needed to move into a cheaper place, so it was just convenient... You don't... Hate gay people, do you?"
Before the old man could talk, grandma yelled out again, "Heh heh, just about the same way he hates everyone else!"
"Would ya SHUT it?!" Grandpa shouted back.
"Ummm, look, grampa, I'm sorry, but I can't-"
"No, nononono!" The old man hurridly said, "I'm not prejudice or nuthin. I just," He hesitated, and scratched his head, "I uh... I don't really get it... Are ya... Are ya REALLY following guys around?"
"I'm 17, grampa," Adam said, with a slight smile, "It's not like I'm a sex addict or something. I've only been on a few dates with 2 other guys before."
"And?" He said, his eyes squinting.
"And... It just... Felt normal to me... But I DID feel a little... Nervous about it..." Adam said with a sigh, "It felt like I shouldn't have been there, like I was breaking some kind of rule."
"Well, look, son..." Grandpa said, "If ya ever, ya know... Bring a guy over... Have ya had THE TALK yet, son?"
"... Again, I'm 17 years old," Adam replied, "If I don't know by now, then I'd be a lot more awkward than this."
"Well, can't see how it can GET anymore awkward-"
"WHAAAAAAAAAT???" Grandpa yelled out. Adam laughed as his grandfather sighed, "Look son, I'm tryin to wrap my head around it, cause I don't know how it supposed to work with the gays."
"Just... Pretty much the way it works for other couples I guess..."
"Well, whatEVER you gay guys do, at least wear one of them rubber things, would ya??" Adam blushed and laughed.
"Yes, grampa, I'll be careful."
"Good..." Grandpa sighed as he shook his head, "I don't know WHAT you're supposed to do with each other, but-"
"Oh, for GOD'S SAKE, Herbert!" Grandma exclaimed as she soon came into the room, yanking grandpa off the air mattress, "Leave the boy alone, will you???"
"OW! Easy there, easy!!" Adam chuckled as the two elderly adults stumbled out of his room.
He smiled as he opened up one of the many boxes of his room, putting up a few of his knickknacks on the wooden shelf. He was born in California, and raised there until he was 7 years old, and then he lived in Washington for 10 more years until he decided he wanted to live on the sand and surf.
"Heh, I can't wait until I start collecting shells. I REALLY hope I can get a job at the pier..."
"Adaaaaam!" Grandpa called out, "There's someone I want ya to meet!"
"Hm?" Adam set down his box, and then went out of his room. He walked into the living room to see his grandfather, with an Asian girl, standing there with both of her hands holding a rather large duffle with a koi painted on it, "Who's this?"
"This is your new roommate!" He then looked to the girl, "This here is my grandson, Adam! And this is uh... Yuro... Yura... I'm sorry, Miss, but how do you say your name again?"
"Hehe, it's ok, Mr Dietrich. My name is Umiyama Yuri. I am very pleased to meet you," She then bent forward in a formal bow.
"Yes, her FIRST name is Yuri, but see Adam, she's from all the way in Japan!" He said in a hushed, fascinated tone, as if he was a safari ranger showing a group of tourists a group of exotic animals.
"Um, it's nice to meet you too, but... Please don't get the wrong idea, but isn't it a bit soon for a roommate?" Adam asked, looking up at his grandfather.
"Ah don't be so selfish, son!" Grandpa said, "You can share a room with a nice, pretty young lady, eh?" He said with his eyebrows waggling. Adam blinked awkwardly.
"Oh, um..." Yuri said, "I'm sorry, but I don't think that's very appropriate."
"Ah! Nonono, see, it's different, here in a America-"
"Oh my God, Grampa..." Adam said, putting his hands on his head.
"C'mon, son, don't ya think she's pretty, eh?"
"Oh God, I thought we went over this."
"Oh come on, don't knock it till ya try it~!" He said with a smile.
"Oh God, GRANDMAAA!!!" Adam called out. The elderly woman then came in, half her grey hair in curlers.
"What's the matter, Adam?" She then saw Yuri standing there, looking rather awkward and embarrassed, "Oh she's the new girl? I thought she was coming next week, we haven't even finished carpeting the new room yet."
"Grampa's trying to make her my girlfriend." Adam said without conviction. Grandma's eyes widened at that statement.
"He's tryin ta WHAT??"
"WHA, I never!" Grandpa stammered.
"Ohhhohohoh not MUCH ya never, ya perverted bastard! C'mere!" She then came after the old man, "I thought I told ya not to impose girls on him!"
"He also suggested that she and I share the room too," Adam said. Grandma's eyes and mouth opened wide in shock.
"Ohhhh ya improper feckin bastard!" She then ran after grandpa, chasing him out of the old house.
"I just thought he should try a girl at least ONCE!" The old couple ran out, with grandma slamming the door behind her. Adam groaned as he held the back of his head as he huffed.
"Ok, look, I'm really, REALLY sorry about that."
"It's ok... And... Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't MIND going out with you," Yuri said, "But I just got here, and-"
"Oh no, no problem at all!" Adam said, "Actually, I'm gay so..."
"Oh! Oh, um then, why was he..."
"He just found out, I guess. I don't know when he was told, I didn't tell him. I don't think he's homophobic, just doesn't really get it, you know?" Adam said, "So what's YOUR story?" He asked.
"I was born in Kyoto, raised in northern Colorado, I was always around a lot of snow, but me and my parents moved here in Hawaii because my dad is a marine biologist, and he's going to be studying the local tropical sea life."
"... How does a marine biologist manage in a mid-land area like Colorado?" Yuri laughed and shook her head.
"Long story, don't ask," She replied, "Anyway, I'm planning on going to school here to study on the medical field."
"Oh ok. And, again, I'm very sorry about my grampa being creepy like that, I'll get gramma to shorten his leash."
"Yeah, that may be for the best," Yuri said, "I'm not gonna lie, he REALLY makes me uncomfortable."
"Yeah, I'm sorry, he can be really inappropriate from time to time. Gramma takes a lot shots at him and does her best to keep him in line though. If he ever gets on your nerves, just let her know, and she'll straighten him out, and THEN some."
"Got it." She said with a curt smile.
"If it makes you feel any better, they're only going to be here for about 4 more months. When I turn 18, they'll be moving to Germany, and selling me this place." Yuri smiled and raised her eyebrows.
"Oohh, I didn't realize I was speaking with my future landlord." Adam chuckled at that.
"Heh, as if," Adam said. An energetic, jumping ringtone started to ring out.
"Oh, that's me..." Yuri said as she reached into her pocket, and drew out her cellphone, flipping it open and bringing it up to ear, "Moshi moshi, papa... Hai, sou dess... Hai, mateh," She put a hand over the speaker, and looked at Adam, "It's my dad, he's coming to pick me up. He and mom wants to discuss about my living here."
"Ok, see you around."
"See you later. I'll keep you guys posted." She put the phone back to her ear, and walked out with her white duffle while speaking in Japanese.
After she left, Grandma came back in, "That durty bastard." She growled, "I outta knock his feckin head off," She then huffed as she sat on her chair, waving her fan on her face, "What about that Asian girl? She run off?"
"She was a LITTLE creeped out, but... Gramma, isn't it a bit soon for a roommate? We only talked about me living here last night."
"We posted an ad a week ago, and I tought she was due next week. We love ya, lad, but we don't want to leave a riley teenager on his own in our own home," Adam chuckled as he leaned onto the ridge of the old couch, "And good lord, then your Granddad had to try and hook you uup togeter, as if comin out of the feckin closet wasn't hard enough on ya."
"Yeah... So, where's he now?"
"I sent him out to get the carpeting for the spare room."
"Oh ok, need me to help?"
"No, he doesn't" She said, "That'd be his penance for scarin away that poor Asian girl. Why don't cha go down to the beach and look for dat fish you mentioned last night?"
"Ok, call me if you need me, gramma." Adam said as he then turned to go into his room to change.
"Yes, dear." She said.
Adam stepped into the beach water, carrying a large fishnet, wearing only his swimming trunks, "Ok... Wonder if that fish is still around..." He waded into the water, pulling out his goggles, and strapping them around his head, before dipping into the cold water.
Adam swam around, and came to the rocks and reefs. He looked around, smiling as he saw a handful of colorful fish dart around.
Armed with the large fishnet, Adam turned his head left, and then right, before spotting a wavering white fin. His heart jumped as he turned around swam over to the spot. After reaching the spot, just barely INCHES away from grabbing the tailfin, it slipped from his fingers! He clenched his fist and softly hit the sand before kicking off from the bottom, and up to the surface, where he gasped as he opened his mouth for air. He panted a few times before huffing, and diving back in.
Merrick loomed around the rocky pillar, and moved down to another section of the reef. He observed the human he found, looking at his strange weapon - it doesn't look sharp, or anything, what's it even for? If not a weapon, what kind of tool is it? It's just a rod with a circle on top with a row of lines criss-crossing over them.
And what's with the human's eyes? What are those... Things? They look like solid bubbles on his face. That sail on his lower body, it's different from the one yesterday. At the very least, Merrick can see what his body looks like at a better view.
The young merman can feel a strange tingle on his face as he looked at the human's body. His form is so... Appealing. He can feel urges in himself. He wants to touch this human, but he might get hurt; a human's skin, as they say, is as rough as a shark's hide.
Merrick gripped his trident as the human ascended up to the surface. Merrick moved himself up to a higher, closer rock, looking at the human more closely as he moved about. Upon observation, he can see a light layer of dark baleen on the human's legs. He swam to the side, and looked at the human's front side, seeing the baleen play on his stomach and his chest, along with two pink spots on either side of his chest. The merman felt a warm, spiky tingling in his cheeks as he looked at the human's form, with his heart urging him to rub his hand along the human's stomach, with his mind highly advising him to swim away as fast as he can!
The teen sighed as he felt himself float along the water. "Ahhhh... This is nice, at least..." He muttered. His mouth then broke into a smile before he broke into a fit of harsh giggles. Adam held at his side with his free arm as something is tickling his stomach. He gasped as he looked to see the gleam of white and blue show in the water. He took a deep breath, and went into the water.
Adam swam quickly over to another area, having seen it again! From the looks of it, it has a long, thick blue body with large, wide white fins, with a line of ruffle, thin membranes hanging from its sides. Maybe it's some kind of oarfish?
He grabbed onto the reef, and looked through the gap of the area, and then behind himself.
He's beginning to think this fish is playing Cat & Mouse with him. That's new for a fish, isn't it? It's like it's toying with him, swimming away when he gets close, and picking a new hiding spot. Maybe it's a new kind of dolphin? But what kind of dolphin has scales and fins like that?
He needs to go up for air again.
'Why am I still here??' Merrick thought as he watched the human look around his previous spot, 'This isn't good at all, but...' He then saw the human swim up to the surface again.
'Why does he keep doing that? Is he trying to find me or not? Why am I even wondering??' Merrick thought, 'Human's are dangerous! But... This human... Why... Why do I feel so fixated on him? How is this even possible??'
Adam panted as he rested himself on the rocks. He hefted himself out of the water and sat down onto the rocks. He put the fishnet aside, deciding that it's only going to slow him down at this point. "Ah dang it, this thing is really getting to me..." He looked on to the wavering surface, "But dammit, I'm SO close, I'm not quitting now," He said to himself. Adam took a few huffs of air, and then dropped himself back into the water.
He's coming back! When his body left the water, Merrick thought the human would be leaving!
... Hang on, that weapon he brought is gone. He left it behind? Why would ANYONE purposely leave their weapon behind?
'... Maybe human's aren't as dangerous...' Merrick thought, his heart racing as the human descended in the water, 'Maybe he can... Oh no!
Adam swam down, lower and lower towards the bottom. He's more determined than ever to find this fish! He just HAS to find it! It's gotta be a new species of fish, he's never seen anything like-
Suddenly, an eel lurched at him out of nowhere! A cloud of bubbles flew out of Adam's mouth as he screamed under the water. The elongated animal opened its big, wide mouth, and bit down on his arm!
"AHHH!!!" Adam shouted as blood wisped from the eel's fangs. He grabbed frantically at the slippery eel, trying to yank it off, but his hand only slid on the eel's body. He clenched his eyes shut as he gripped the eel tightly, desperate to get it off his arm!
Just as suddenly, the eel let go of Adam's arm as something stabbed into its body! The next thing Adam knew, a blue/white creature is pushing a harpoon into the eel, growling in an eerie snarl as it cranked the shaft into it.
Adam kicked off from the floor, and shot up to the surface. He gasped loudly as he clutched onto the rock. He coughed violently, squeezing his fingers against the stone as his lungs and throat ached horribly, hacking up a splash of salty seawater out.
"Oh God... Hoh my God..." He coughed again as his heart raged in his chest, "That... That was it..." He said with a raspy voice, the shock almost numbing the stinging pain of his arm wound.
Adam groaned as he took a few moments to collect himself. He then let go of the reef, and sank himself into the water. He swam down into the water, rather hesitantly, biting his lip as the puncture wounds stung in the seawater. He came THIS close on that... Creature? He's not even sure it's a fish now.
He then spotted it. The fish he's been looking for. It's starring right at him, its long, fish-like tail waving up and down slowly. Around its head and shoulders are scallop shells, tied around its body with kelp. Its upper body is humanoid, with one webbed hand on the sand, and the other holding the weird harpoon. On top of its head is a field of sharp fins, along with a fin on each arm. Adam looked directly into its dark and blue eyes.
Hesitantly, he swam down lower and lower, towards the...
'... Oh my gosh...' Adam thought.
Adam swam closer and closer, down until he was at the bottom, right in front of it. Judging from the flat chest, it's probably a merman. He still can't even believe what he's seeing!
The merman purred a strange, echoing murr as Adam drew nearer. He felt a slight urge to back off, to move away upon hearing the noise, like it's a gentle warning sign, but... He can only stop approaching it.
Adam carefully held his hand out. The merman blinked and starred at the hand. He is a little surprised... There are no claws on the human's hand at all. The merman looked at his own hand, and then back at Adam's. Their hands... They're actually very similar. Aside from the wide webbing of his own hand, they're the same.
The merman slowly reached his own hand out.
Adam's heart pounded as his hand drew closer and closer to the other, palms facing each other, and just inches away from each other.
Just before their fingertips can touch, the merman pulled his hand back. He uttered a panicked groan as he backed away, his tail flailing and kicking away, clouding up the small vicinity with sand, swimming as fast as he can away from Adam.
"Wwwaait!" Adam called out, then chocked as he realized how long he's just been underwater. He rushed off the bottom, and shot, once again, to the surface, gasping for air, and hissing as the bite on his arm stung terribly.
--- The Next Day ---
Adam walked along the beach. His left forearm is wrapped up in a bandage, and sealed in a waterproof sleeve. He's carrying a wrapped package he got from the pier, and wearing a pull-on jacket, along with his swimming trunks and a new pair of sandals. He walked to the rocky area he was at again, and sat down to unwrap the package.
A tuna, two crabs, a herring, and five small feed squid.
Adam can still barely believe that he came face-to-face with a merman. He felt so... Confused and excited about it, but he can't tell anyone about it, because heck, who would believe him?
Adam picked up the tuna, which is the biggest one out of the box, and then drew a knife across it.
Merrick sat in the sand bank, at the very same spot where he was swimming around the human.
"Why am I doing this... ?" He asked himself, 'Humans are dangerous, and here I am practically playing with it.'
Every ounce of reason in his head is urging him to just return to his pod, but here he is, loitering in the tides for the sole possibility that the human just MIGHT come here again.
"Huh?" The merman sniffed the water, sensing a strangely appealing taste. He looked up to see a half-gutted tuna. His tail unfurled before swimming up to see what's it doing here.
Adam sat and waited, starring at the filleted tuna, bobbing left and right on the wavering of the water.
His heart skipped a beat when he saw the tail fin of the tuna drag it under!
"O-Oh my God! It's here!" He said, "Haha!" He chuckled in utter excitement. Hastily, he picked up his fish knife, and carved into the herring.
Merrick just finished peeling the meat of the tuna off of its bone. He hasn't to eaten earlier, as recent events have caused him to forget to hunt for himself, and that tuna was tasty.
The merman picked up another scent, and looked up to see a smaller fish float on surface.
... Well, he is still hungry...
His heart pounded as he saw the herring suddenly sank down, just like the tuna. "Okokokok..." He muttered. He then took the small tray of the squid from the box, and strategically tossed them into the water, one by one, each squid leading to the reef.
Merrick tiled his head to the side as he watched the small, white, dead squids plop into the water.
Blech, he doesn't like squids. But what's interesting is that they seem to be falling from the sky.
Curious, Merrick swam up, and moved his head out of the water. His gills closed once again as he inched to the reef, where he spotted a crap. He gasped as a three-pronged sharp edge launched out of the water, and caught the crab between the upper gap. The crustacean simply got caught, motionless as the trident pinned it down.
"Hoh!" Adam gasped as the merman's spear shot at his crab like a blink of lightning!
He starred, mouth gapped as the half-man half-fish picked up his weapon, and bringing in the crab to him. The creature turned it around on his webbed hand, tilting his head curiously as they spiky legs tilted limply. He then opened his mouth and bit into the crab.
Adam, holding the other crab in his hand, set the empty, fishy box aside. He gulped as he watched the merman eat ravenously into the orange-shelled crab. He waited for the merman to finish devouring the crab before making his next move.
"Ah... H-Hi..." The merman's head then turned to him, startled, "H-Hi... I uh... I have another crab for you..." Adam took one step, and the fish creature grabbed its trident, "Nono, please, it's ok!" He said cautiously, "It's ok, I'm not gonna hurt you!" He held his open hand with the other crab in the other. The merman starred right at him. He opened his mouth and let out a creaking noise, "I-It's ok... You're just..." He huffed as he chuckled excitedly, "You just... Wow, you're beautiful..." The merman tilted his head, his face contorting with confusion.
Adam set the crab down, and took a moment to take off his jacket, wearing no shirt underneath - he doesn't want to soak his coat again. He picked the crab back up, rose his foot again, slower this time, and gradually moved towards the aquatic humanoid.
"Thaaaat's it... Stay right there..." He said softly, "I just wanna look at you..." Adam came closer and closer, the merman faltering just a little, but didn't move away. The teen approached closer and closer,
To be safe, Adam placed the crab onto the rock, and pushed it a few feet away from him, and backed away. The merman looked at him, then at the crab, and then back at Adam, its face looking a little more confused.
"Um..." Sat down onto the rock, "So uh... My name's Adam..." He said, "Do you... Do you have a name?" Adam asked. He huffed and ran his fingers into his hair as he ducked his head down between his knees, "Oh my God, I'm TALKING to a merman!" He moaned as suppressed a rush of excitement. He scratched at his scalp with both hands, and looked back up again, having received no answer. He noticed that the merman seemed to have moved closer.
Adam gasped lightly at that. He gulped as he moved forward, very slowly, and crawled on his hands and knees.
Both of them moved until they were a foot away from each other. Adam reached his open hand out, slowly. The merman hesitated before he moved his own hand up from the water, and reached up as well.
Adam is on pins and needles as he slowly moved his hand to meet the other. The blue/white webbed hand flinched a little, before finally, their hands touched. Both of them felt a chill run up their spines as they touched each other.
Their fingers pressed against each other, and then the palms. Adam shook as he pressed his thumb along the web, and onto the slimy, slick palm. The merman's hand curled his fingers in as Adam's fingers slipped over the merman's hand. He felt the back of the merman's hand, and then onto his wrist. The merman let a scared noise, "No no, it's ok, you're ok..." He said as he moved his hand along the side of his hand.
In turn, the merman held at the teen's fingers, feeling along the smooth skin along. His fingers moved along, and interlaced with Adam's fingers.
"Wow..." Adam panted.
Just as suddenly, the merman pulled his hand away, and flipped into the water!
"NO!" Adam called as he reached out, "Nononono, don't go! Please!" Adam groaned as he moved back, and sat back on his rump, "Oh my God, what just happened??!" He said, his heart still going nuts inside him, "Oh my gosh oh my gosh oh my gosh!"
Merrick swam rapidly away, panting and moaning in fear as he moved. 'That... That was FAR too close! By the depths, what just happened?!' He thought. That human could've yanked him out of the water and hang him up to the sky!
The merman stopped, and paced around, resting back onto a nearby sand bank, and took a minute to think.
"... That... That human..." He remembers how the human moved. They way he came to him... Holding that crab... And he didn't even personally give him the crab, he just put it down, pushed it forward, and backed away.
"Was... Was that human... Scared of me?" He wondered... 'Humans... When they see an animal, they just kill them, right? But... That human didn't try anything at all... He... wanted to touch me...' Merrick thought as he looked at his own hand, 'He DID touch me...' He thought, 'And I touched him... His hand... His skin... It wasn't at all like a shark...' Merrick thought.
'This... This has to stop...' He concluded, 'He's a human, and humans are dangerous... But I need to touch him again, I need to FEEL him!' Merrick held his hand with the other, and held it to his chest.
'I shouldn't be doing this! I can't come here again! I can't tell ANYONE about this!' Merrick thought before he swims forth, picking his trident back up, and loomed away, pledging to never return to that reef ever again.
TO BE CONTINUED...