Aquata Cove Chapter 24: So Sudden
*BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP*
Adam groaned as he rolled in bed, waking up to the sound of the alarm in his iPhone. He fumbled to turn it off, before the sound was switched off. He stretched under the covers, and realized that he's alone in the bed.
"... Merrick?" He sat up and peered around, "Merrick..." He got out of bed, and pulled on some boxers, and stepped out of his room, "Merrick? Merrick, where are you?" He walked into the living room, "Merrick?"
"He's not here," Said Yuri, sitting at the kitchen table, enjoying a bowl of fruit as she looked over the pages of one of her medical books.
"What do you mean, he's gone?" Adam asked.
"Yeah. Roxas got me up around 5am as usual to give him his breakfast, and Merrick was there petting him," Yuri ate a cube of cantaloupe, before continuing, "He told me it was time to go back to his pod, and he'll be back in a little less than 6 moons - I guess that means 6 months - and I had to slide the door for him; he had no idea how to work the sliding door."
"Oh..." Adam said as he stood there. He crossed his arms and leaned on the frame of the hallway, "Would've been nice if he at least woke me up to say goodbye." He pouted.
"I guess he just really had to go. I know I have a very tight schedule sometimes, maybe he just didn't have time," Yuri stabbed a strawberry with her fork, and picked it up, "Which sucks, because I had a whole list of mythical water creatures I wanted to ask him about, whether or not they're real."
"Yeah..." Adam sighed as he turned around, "I gotta get ready for work. Thanks for telling me, Yuri..."
"No problem," Yuri said as she went back to eating and studying.
Adam sighed as he entered his room to get dressed, "Dang it Merrick, I wouldn't have mind if you woke me up..." He muttered, "... Alright..." He went to his calendar, and marked in advance - 6 months, "Miss you already, babe..."
"Hhnngghh! C'mon..." Adam growled as he pulled at the rod, "Come on..." He looked over the railing, and smiled as he saw something break the surface, "YES!!" He smiled widely as he cranked the reel firmly, pulling up his catch. "Damn, this is a heavy one!!" He gasped as he realized what he had at the end of his line, "OH SHIT! An octopus!" He said with a triumphant grin.
Suddenly, his rod bounced up, and his line got lighter, "AH NOOOO!" He yelled as he saw the large mollusk fall into the water again, "DAMMIT!" He scowled as he drew his line in, reeling in the semi mangled line, and looked at the warped hook, with a piece of it broken off, "Fuuuuck, are you kidding me???" He groaned as he snipped the line. It's his fishing break - instead of regular 15 minute breaks, like other jobs, the Fish House allows its employees to take 30 minute breaks, as long as they're using it to go fishing.
"Fuuuuck..." Adam said as he picked up a new hook. He then heard three metallic knocks on the railing, and looked. It's Herald, slouching and looking at Adam with a pitiful look on his face.
"Adaaaaaammm." He groaned.
"Well well well. I thought you weren't speaking to me." Adam said with a smile.
"Me and Belinda are fighting again," He said, "I need a mulligan again," Adam sighed as he scooted to the side, and pat his hand onto the bench.
"Alright, Herald. The Doctor is in. What's the problem?" He said. Herald dragged his feet over to him, and plopped down.
"Well, first I got her these really neat earrings, but she rose this stake about her taste in jewelry. So I said, 'Well, it's gotta be better than wearing hooks and lures all the time'. And then she's like, 'You no like my style?? Adam gave me these!'. And then I tried to change the subject by offering to take a walk with her by the beach, but then she downright refused. And then I brought up that she never trusts me, and I don't even know where she lives, and yaddah yaddah yaddah," He turned and whimpered, "Help me?"
Adam chuckled, and cast his line again, "Not much for me to say this time, Herald. Everyone knows you don't question a woman's style."
Herald sighed, and leaned forward, "If it was just the earrings, I think I could handle this, but..." He groaned as he looked at the wood planks of the dock, "I don't know. We've been dating for about 4 years now, and it seems like half the time, we're fighting. I feel like I can't understand her. I try to be romantic and shit, but every time I do, she shuts me out. Honestly, I feel like she's hiding something from me. I tried say that to her, but every time I do, she gets nuts and denies it, and storms off..." He groaned as he took of his Fish House cap, and dug his fingers into his hair, "I think about breaking up with her, but I hate that thought... It drives me crazy... But... I don't want a relationship where we're always fighting..."
After a short pause, Adam let out a long sight before reeling in an empty line, "Ok, Herald, I think it's time I told you about Belinda."
"Huh?" Herald turned his head, "What do you mean?" Adam turned around to face away from the railing, and leaned forward.
"Ok, what I'm about to tell you MIGHT be hard for you to accept. Just take it easy, and maybe it'll make sense once I explain it to you. And whatever you do, do NOT - repeat, do NOT tell her I told you. She'll kill me if she ever finds out I said this - and with her, that's a distinct possibility."
"... Ok... What is it, Adam?" He asked, leaning closer to Adam. Adam turned his head either side, and made sure no one is near by, before continuing.
"Belinda... Is a mermaid." He said. His stomach feels as heavy and uncomfortable as the day he came out.
"..." Herald blinked, and frowned as he shook his head, "I'm not playing Adam, she and I have problems."
"I'm serious, Herald. She is a mermaid."
"You know what, Adam? Forget it," Herald got up from the bench, "You know, I tell you my problems, and then you have to be an ass about it! Just, fuck you-"
"NO! I mean it!" Adam said as he yanked Herald back onto the bench, "She's a mermaid!"
"Adam, stop fucking with me!" Herald said.
"I'm not! L-Look, think about it, you don't know where she lives, right? Doesn't have a cellphone, email, and she's always at the dock. When I first got hired to the Fish House, you said you two broke up because she didn't want to go to your parents' pool party, right?"
"And you just said you two had a fight because she didn't want to walk on the beach with you, right?"
"And you two fought when she didn't want to cuddle in the Jacuzzi, or when she refused to have a romantic bath or shower with you, she won't go ANYWHERE with you of it involves water, why??"
"... Because..." Herald hesitated, "She's hydrophobic?
"No! She's a mermaid! See, when merpeople go on land, and dry up, they LOOK like humans. They literally transform from sea-creatures into human-shape when they dry up. BUT," He held out his hands, "The moment any drop of water touches them, their flesh transforms again to their real bodies - not their WHOLE bodies, mind you, just the part of them that gets wet. Remember all those times someone broke into the Fish Hut? And the only clue we ever found were falsies?"
"Wait, that was her??"
"Yes, she was the one who was stealing cans from the Hut..." Adam turned to face him, Belinda left her pod - that's her family, other merpeople - because she found humans too fascinating to leave behind. That's why she wears hooks and tackle like jewelry; you know how you two always meet below the docks, in front of the rocks? THAT'S where she lives, that's where she keeps things she takes from around the pier." After a pause, Adam tried a different approach, "Look, if you still don't believe me, lemme guess how you guys met.
"It was a night, correct? And there was a Lunar Eclipse. You were out here at the pier, doing whatever, and then you just saw her. Out of anyone else that happened to be there, you saw HER face, and you felt an instant connection," Adam said, while Herald looked at him with bewilderment, "And all the while, she was glowing, wasn't she? She was glowing pink and purple, right?" Herald slowly nodded, "And you didn't know it, but you were glowing too. Since then, you can't stand the thought of dating anyone else, or being with some other girl besides her.
"That, Herald, is how merfolk meet their mates. During the night of a Lunar Eclipse, they gather around, and swim around with each other, trying to find love at first site - and it works too, just like that. And every once in a while, a mermaid or a merman see a human, and fall in love with them."
"... How do you know all of this, Adam??" Herald said, looking intimidated and dumbfounded at the same time.
"Well... Because my boyfriend is a merman," Adam said, "We met about 5 years ago, and I never knew I was bonded to him until he told me a few days ago." He said solemnly.
"..." Herald sighed, and shook his head, "Why wouldn't she tell me? Why would she tell you and not me? If we're bonded, shouldn't she trust me with this information?"
"Actually, she didn't. When I first started working for Captain, I found her out on my own, and she almost killed me because... Well... Merfolk believe all kinds of crazy, horrible stuff about humans. We became friends, and I helped protect her and keep her secret; if anyone else found out merpeople actually exist, there'd be a huge uproar. I wouldn't want ANY merperson to experience that.
"My boyfriend said he didn't tell me about the Lunar Eclipse thing because he didn't think I would understand, or I would try to break up with him if I find out. You see, love is a very precious and permanent thing for merpeople than it is for humans. Once we're bonded, it's for life. We can't fall in love with anyone else, and vice versa, no one can get a crush on us. So even if you and Belinda do break up, even if you were to break her heart, of if she crushed your soul, you two will never stop loving each other. You can't ever find love with any other woman, and she can't find any other man to love."
Herald starred at Adam, "Wh-What're you saying, Adam? Are you telling me she's part fish?"
"No, she's part sea snake," He said, "When she's soaked, she's a large, white and peach colored snake mermaid, kinda like a Naga."
"I... I like snakes..." Herald said. Adam chuckled, "After my boa died, I wondered by it was easier to deal with after I met her." Herald stood up, "I-I gotta find her, this changes everything! I need to find her and tell her I know!"
"Great, go after her. WAIT!" Adam called out, just as Herald turned to leave, "Remember! you didn't hear this from me!"
Adam set the hook onto one of the rings of the rod, and started making his way towards the Fish House.
"Hm?" He felt a small tap on his cap, and looked up. Clouds had formed up above in the sky. It was sunny a little while ago, but now some grey clouds are rolling into the sky. He blinked as he felt a cold dab land right on his cheek.
"... Rain?" He said, feeling a few more cool dots tap on his face and hands, "That's... Weird. The news said it's supposed to be sunny all week..." He then jogged over to the Fish House as the rain gradually intensified.
"Belinda?!" Herald called out, coming to the area Adam specified, "Belinda, where are you?!"
"Herald?" Came the familiar, thick voice. She looked at him with disdain, "I tol you, I no wan to-"
"Oh shut up," Herald said as he walked up to her, grabbed her head, and kissed her passionately. Belinda blinked as he Frenched her on the spot, rolling his jaw as he meshed his mouth with hers. He broke the kiss, and looked into her purple eyes.
"I know, Belinda. I know all about you. I know you're a mermaid, and what happens when you get wet. I know you're really a sea snake, and I love you, ok?? I'm sorry for everything I said, because now I know!" Herald kissed her again. She broke it, and glared up at him.
"Adahm tol you, dinnit he?! He promise me he nevrr tell, and he-"
"No, honey, don't you see? I get it now!" Herald said, holding her cheeks, "I'm glad he told me, alright? Now we don't have to fight anymore, get it? You don't have to be a secret to me anymore. I was having doubts about us, and he finally told me just now. I understand, and I'll always love you," With that he embraced her. At this, Belinda couldn't help but start to sob. She put her arms tightly around her human and held him close.
As it began to rain, Herald took a step back, and looked as spots of Belinda's shoulders had turned white. He smiled and laughed in amazement as the rain intensified, and soon, her pink hair had flattened and stretched into three long fins on her head to her back. Her face dissolved into a scaly face. Her tongue flicked, and tasted the fresh scent of rain, and tickled Herald's chin.
"Now," Herald placed his hand onto her cold, wet cheek, "Can we FINALLY have a romantic evening in the Jacuzzi together? You and me, in the hot water? I know what you are now." Belinda nodded and sniffled as shimmering tears dripped from her eyes.
"Yeess! Yeess, me Herald, yess!"
"Where the FUCKIN hell IS everybody?!" Came a below from Captain, up on the docks.
"... Just as SOON as we get home!" Herald said. Belinda laughed in bliss as he kissed her, "I love you, I'll see you after work!"
"I loves you too, Herald!" She called out as he turned around, and dashed up onto the rocks.
"Hey, Adam..." Nick said as Adam drove up in one of the delivery carts from the Fish House. The rain is pouring down, cascading almost endlessly in the sky
"Hey Nick!" Adam said as he pulled up at the Pelican Basket, and parked it, with the tank full of icy Red Snapper, "Crazy weather, huh???" he looked at his friend, who seemed kind of sad, "What's wrong, Nick? You look depressed."
"Been evicted." Nick said as he took up one of the wrapped packages of fish.
"What? Why?" Adam said as he helped out.
"Can't afford to live there anymore." Nick said, walking with Adam to take in the fish stuff,
"Dude, you work two part-time jobs, how can you not afford to live at your apartment?"
"Well, case you haven't noticed, I'm kind of a slut," He said with a weak grin. Adam chuckled as they went back to get the next couple of bags of preserved fish, "Naw, that's only part of it. The main part of it was on the notice: Notice of Eviction, for multiple offenses of sound ordinance, reports of audible sexual promiscuities." Adam scoffed as he and Nick as they unloaded the cart.
"So they're kicking you out for being a loud whore?" Adam asked.
"Chtk... Pretty much." Nick replied, "Don't know where to go now, even wit two jobs, I don't know where to start looking."
"Well, till then," Adam shrugged, "Wanna stay over at our place?" Nick snickered at that.
"That's nice, but I don't wanna be a problem."
"What problem? Technically, I own the place. I'm paying it off from my grandparents. All I have to do is check with Yuri and Jamal, and you can keep your stuff at a storage unit, and you can sleep on the couch."
"..." Nick smiled at him as he hesitated, "You serious? Remember, I sleep nude." Adam shrugged.
"Then sleep in Jamal's room. Bet he'll let you sleep in there as long as he gets to fuck you for rent." Nick laughed at that, "Though, you MIGHT have to sleep on the couch every other night; he likes to bring 'dates' home for the night." Nick shrugged and shook his head.
"I can deal with that. And if he brings home a guy, I could join in," He said with a grin, "Sure they'd be ok with me staying over?"
"Yuri's an intern at the hospital now, so half the time, she bunks over there. And you know Jamal likes you a lot. Just try to keep decent with Yuri around, and I'm sure they'll be ok with it. Just to be safe though, I should ask them about it to make sure they're cool with it."
"Aight man," He said as he knocked his fist with the other, and hugged him, "'Preciate this. Lemme know what they say, aight?"
"Alright. Gotta clock out now, so I'll ask them when I get home." With that, Adam drove the cart out of behind the café, "Take care now!" Adam said before he drove back to the Fish House.
Adam's motorcycle crunched onto the gravelly driveway. Luckily, it stopped raining just as he was about to ride away from the Fish House, so he wasn't completely soaked.
It eventually rumbled to a stop into the driveway, and he dismounted his motorbike. Both Jamal's and Yuri's cars are gone. They must be at work.
Adam took off his helmet, and tucked it away into the back pouch of the motorcycle, and went to enter the house. He entered, and hung his keys on the post-hooks next to the doorframe. "I'm hooome!" He announced to no one in particular - just force of habit.
"Raaaeeerrr!" Mewed Roxas as he trotted up to Adam, his tail raised up in the air while coming up to him.
"Hey there, Roxy~!" He said with a smile as he crouched down, and ran his hands into Roxas's fur, "How's ya doin, kitty boy?" The cat purred as Adam scratched his back, gently petting the feline, "Awww, who's a good boy~?" He cooed as played with the animal for a while longer.
"Arrrrraarrrr," Roxas mewled as he the trotted away from Adam, and perched himself at the glass sliding door. Adam chuckled as he walked over through the house.
"We have a FRONT door, you know." Adam said as he clicked the lock on the glass door, and slid it, "... Huh?" He looked down, and gasped before forcing the door open, "Oh my God!" Adam stepped out and knelt down, "Merrick?! What're you doing here?!"
There, on the porch, curled up against the glass door, there is the blonde male, looking up with glistening eyes, whimpering as he looked up at Adam, "Sweetie, what's wrong? Aren't you supposed to be gone by now? What happened, and where's your shells? What happened to your shark teeth?" The merman whined and sobbed as he moved up, and threw his arms around Adam. Merrick cried out, sobbing uncontrollably as he buried his face into Adam's shirt.
"Babe, what's the matter?!"
"M-My pod! ... Th-They..." Merrick tried to speak, but he couldn't get in a straight sentence without the hysterical weeping.
"A-Alright, it's ok, sweetheart, it's alright," Adam said calmly, holding the back of Merrick's blonde hair, and rubbing his back up and down as the merman wept continuously, "Here, lets come inside, alright?" Adam gently tucked his arm under Merrick's knees and picked him up, turning and carrying him into the house. Roxas meowed as he followed in, before Adam closed the door.
Adam sat them down onto the couch, and let the merman lay on him, and cried his heart out into his shirt. Merrick's hand gripped onto Adam's shirt as he sobbed into him. Adam hushed and nuzzled into his lover, gently rubbing Merrick's back up and down. He kissed his forehead as he let him cry, holding him close as Merrick let it out.
After a while of weeping, Merrick had calmed down. His cheeks were warm and red, with sparkling streaks on his face. "What happened, Merrick? Do you wanna talk about it?" Merrick breathed deeply as he gently nuzzled against Adam.
"My pod... They were looking for me..." He said in a feeble tone, "And we were gathered, and ready to depart, but..." He closed his eyes and whimpered, sniffling and tightening his grip on Adam's shirt.
"And what?" Adam asked.
After a short pause, Merrick's hand softened, and he inhaled slowly, and gradually exhaled, "... Sirens..." He mumbled.
"Just before I got lost in the black blood, we were attacked by a pod of sirens. I'm told we were able to fend them off, but a small handful survived... They wanted revenge, they... Ambushed us..." Merrick sniffled as he suppressed a whimper, "They killed most of my pod... My beautiful pod..." He cringed and wept more, "There's only a few of us left..." Merrick groaned as he huffed, hardly able to control his breathing, "They took... They killed my friend...! Brishen, my best friend! They devoured him, and slain his mate, Penina!" Merrick said as he pressed his face into Adam's chest again, shaking his head and crying even more.
"Merrick... I'm so sorry..." Adam muttered, "That's terrible..."
"He... He wanted to become... The best hunter in the sea..." Merrick sobbed, "Hi-His mate... She was so caring and clever... Now they're... Now they're..." Merrick groaned as he cried more.
"Shhhh, shh shhh shh, it's gonna be ok, baby, it's alright. Let it out, honey..."
The door opened, and in came Jamal, "Oh hey, I just came to get mah-" He then saw Merrick crying hysterically on Adam, "Merrick? Ain't he supposed to be gone?" He then noticed the weeping sounds, "What's the matter, what happened?"
"His pod was attacked," Adam said sadly. He slowly shook his head, "Most of them didn't make it..."
"Awww nah..." Jamal said, "I... I just came to git mah wallet..." He said as he went to his room for a second, and pocketed his item, before coming to the weeping male, and gently stroked Merrick's very soft back, "You ok, kid?" Merrick merely moaned and shook his head, "Aight... Take yo time, is gonna be aight, ok?" He said softly, and reluctantly left.
"C'mon," Said Adam as he got up, and carried Merrick off the couch, "Lets have you rest in my bed. You've had it rough, babe..."
Adam carried his boyfriend into his room, and gently laid Merrick down. He tucked the merman into the bed, softly laying the blanket on him. He stroked along Merrick's hair, "Ok, I'm gonna go make us something to eat, ok, hun?"
"No..." Merrick said as he shook his head, "Please don't go..."
"It's ok, Merrick, I'll just be in the kitchen-"
"Please, no," The merman pleaded, his swollen eyes closed, "Please, I need you here, Adam, please stay here..." Adam sighed, and nodded.
"Alright... I guess I can order Chinese in a little while. I don't feel like cooking anyway." Adam then climbed onto the bed, and lay himself right behind Merrick, over the covers, and right next to him. The merman sniffled and wept softly as he felt his human right there. Adam looked up, hearing the pitter patter outside again. "Huh. Looks like it's raining again... That's strange..."
"..." Merrick peered outside from the pillow, and breathed deeply as more glittering tears formed in his eyes, "... Mother..." He muttered quietly. He closed his eyes, and nestled in the bed.
Adam stroked his lover, his sobs becoming quieter and quieter until Adam surmised he had fallen asleep. He sighed and gently kissed Merrick's neck, nuzzling him lovingly, and moving back.
"...?" He blinked, and narrowed his eyes. Adam carefully moved on the bed, and switched the lamp on his nightstand, and looked closely at the merman, "That's odd..."
On the back of his neck, just below his golden hair, is an ornate, elaborate, heart-shape symbol, black in color, imprinted on Merrick's flesh.
"Since when did Merrick have a tattoo?"