New Mermaid Story from Mermaiden Brynn
“Now darling, please don’t be nervous about this meeting at all, it is nothing to get worried over. Just think of it as a get together between old friends, yes? No urgency, just relaxed discussion. Are you comfortable, lass?”
“Yes,” I snapped. Does he EVER stop talking? This was the fourth day that Damon had been here and I had had just about enough of his flirtatious comments and too-silky voice. He had hounded me for every detail of my dealings with humans, but he especially had shown a great deal of interest in my power and how it worked.
I turned to say something to Finn and then remembered for the third time that he wasn’t there. My father had kept him busy from sunup to sundown this past week, making me irritable and a wee bit murderous. I groaned out loud.
Damon was “escorting” me outside in the stone courtyard behind the palace, which meant I had to put my hand inside the crook of his elbow and he held it tightly to his body to prevent me from escaping. I heaved another sigh as we started our fifth lap around the courtyard, and glared up at the windows of the palace where I knew my little brother was lingering to smirk at me.
Damon pulled me to a stop and swung to face me. He actually looked a little exasperated. At least that gave me some satisfaction. “My dear, are you listening? Again, I need to know what contact you have had so far with the human world. Tell me more about what you’ve done to help, other than the letters you write.”
I sighed. We’d gone over this so many times! “As you know, I guide lost ships safely through storms to the harbor, and—“
“Tell me more about these valiant rescues. How exactly do you manage it?”
“How indeed?” A voice that sounded like the owner was speaking through a mouthful of pearls came from behind Damon’s cloak. Startled, I quickly stepped away from him and stared, my mouth moving but nothing coming out. A look of annoyance passed over his face just for a second before it slipped away to reveal his comfortable half smile. “I apologize, Princess. Let me introduce to you my very old friend and the only cuttlefish you are likely to ever meet, Noodles.”
Damon swept aside his black cloak to reveal the strangest fish I had ever seen. I’m sure my eyes bulged out as I watched what I thought was an octopus being devoured by a very small puffer fish. Then I realized that the short, stubby tentacles were actually connected to the fish’s face, which didn’t add to my comfort.
The strange fish smiled (at least I think that’s what it did) and bowed. “My pleasure, Your Highness.”
Damon impatiently cleared his throat. “Now that we’re all properly introduced, can we continue our discussion?”
I tore my eyes away from watching one of Noodle’s tentacles slap at a tiny minnow that floated by and focused back on Damon. “Uh, yes. Well, in the evenings we usually have a guard that watches the sky to warn me when there’s a storm. If there is, I go out to watch for ships. When I find a ship that’s in need of a wee bit of help, I send my light into the sky and make sure the thick-headed sailors follow me. I guide them around rocks and other hazards, leading them safely into the harbor.”
Neither of them seemed satisfied. “Yes love, but how is your light produced?” Damon leaned forward slightly and I reached two fingers forward to push him back.
“I don’t know,” I told him, annoyed. “It’s my gift. It’s what I do.”
“But how? Is there a trick? Maybe a secret?”
I immediately thought of the green pearls, tucked away in my room. I had coiled one of them in a silver fish hook I’d found on the beach one day and made it into a ring. Anxiously, I slid my hands behind my back and twisted the pearl around my finger. I didn’t like the way this conversation was going.
“No. No secrets, no tricks.” I stared back into Damon’s penetrating black gaze, praying nothing in my eyes gave me away. Behind him, Noodles shook his tentacles in disagreement. I didn’t know why, but that cuttlefish set me on edge and I wanted to be far away from him. “If you’ll excuse me, I think I need to get back inside.”
To my surprise, Damon and his creepy cuttlefish didn’t follow me. I breathed out in relief and raced to find Finn.
I found him later, working outside of the palace on one of the towers. He was elbow deep in a stone wall. I watched him for a moment, studying the familiar lines of his face and arms and hands. He spotted me as I drew closer and I saw the concentration and exhaustion written in his blue eyes dissipate. His arms were shaking a little as he lowered his chisel, concerned at what I’m sure was a panicked look on my face. The little furrow of his eyebrows was too much for me to handle. I threw myself into his arms, not caring that he was dirty and that it wasn’t completely proper. Instantly, I felt calm. Thank the Seven Seas that I have Finn. His arms were strong and sturdy, no longer shaking. I didn’t need to admit to him that I was scared, he knows me too well to need words. I just clung to him like he was my lifeline and he held me close to reassure me I was safe.
“Don’t think that this means I’ve forgotten about that starfish,” he mumbled against my hair, his voice husky from emotion.