I do not own Mako Mermaids or any of its characters, only my OC. The title of this story comes from the song "Mermaid" by the singer Skott, her work is amazing and a huge inspiration for this story. This is a story that I've been working on for over a year and I hope you enjoy. Review and let me know what you think. You, the readers, really make all the work we do worth it. Bye lovelies.

Chapter One

Uncle Blakely held a sign high and waved his hands enthusiastically as we exited the airport arrival lobby.

My little sister stood close to me clutching a stuffed dolphin to her chest and backpack on her back that was nearly the same size as she was.

"Uncle Blakely!" I yelled, dropping the four bags I was carrying and ran over.

"Amber!" Uncle Blakely smiled and embraced me. "I'm glad you're here." He stepped back and held me at arm's length drinking in the sight of me, "You've changed your hair," and he gave my pixie length brown hair a playfull flip.

"Yeah I've been keeping it short since the start of junior year."

"I like it." His mouth opened wide in an exaggerated, "wow". He let go of me and knelt down to Lily's three and a half feet height, "My, my, Lily. You must have grown four inches since last I saw you."

Lily's face reddened as she reached up to put her hands around his neck.

Uncle Blakely grinned and picked her up, backpack and all. "Urg," He groaned, "you getting almost too big to do this."

"Where's Aunt Lauren?" I looked around but didn't see her.

Uncle Blakely sat Lily on her little feet again, gently ruffling her hair. "Oh, I'm sorry." he shrugged, "She had to finish her shift at florist, but she promised to be back at the house when we got there."

There was one more person I who I wished was there but I was almost afraid to ask, "And Zac?" For the last year he'd been pulling away, not sending texts or emails like he used to everyday.

"Oh, yes," Uncle Blakeley's smile fell, "I'm afraid he couldn't make it either." It seemed he wanted to say more but shook himself and his typical smile was back in place. "Well, how about we get going."

He picked up two of our bags led us outside to his car. He piled the luggage into the trunk, while I climbed into the backseat with Lily. She leaned into my side and sighed tiredly. By the time Uncle Blakely started the car and began to drive away from the airport she was already asleep.

Glancing in the rearview mirror to check that his youngest niece was well and truly asleep he gripped the steering wheel a little tighter, "She still not talking?"

I glanced up from Lily's sleeping face, "No, nothing yet."

"And… how are you?" He asked.

"I'm fine." I answered, maybe a little too quickly. The message was pretty clear though, I didn't want to talk about it. Uncle Blakely nodded in understanding and turned on some soft classical music. As the car pulled onto the highway I let myself fall into daydreams.

By the time Uncle Blakely's car pulled into the driveway the sun had gone down.

"We're here." He announced and shut the car off.

His voice brought me back to reality and I gently shook Lily awake. "Lily baby, time to wake up." The time zone change had really wreaked havoc on her sleep schedule.

Uncle Blakely pulled out a couple of the bags from the trunk while I got the rest.

"We're home!" Mr. Blakely announced pushing open the door.

"Lily, Amber dear." Mrs. Blakey grabbed us girls in a crushing hug.

"Hi Aunt Lauren." I smiled, pressing my face into her neck and squeezing the older woman back. She looked so much like mom, she almost even smelled like her.

Lily said nothing, only just barely hugged back.

"Aww honey." Aunt Lauren pulled back and placed her palm on my cheek, using her thumb to brush away a stray tear. "I miss her to."

Then I saw Zac. His hands were in the pockets of his shorts and he shifted uncomfortably. I squinted my eyes at him, he was off, something was different about him.

"Hi… Zac." I spoke hesitantly, unsure if we were still on speaking terms. Since he stopped talking to me over emails I didn't know if he even wanted to be around me.

He wavered on his feet, "Amber." Then he stepped towards me, wrapping his arms around me, just as comforting as when we were children. "I'm so sorry."

It was like the past year of silence hadn't happened. We were just family both grieving the same loss.

"I missed you." I whispered.

"I missed you to." Zac tightening his arms around me before pulling away and turned his attention to Lily. "Lily, it's good to see you." He gently pecked her cheek like he used to do when she was little and it actually managed to get a small smile out of the girl, her lips parting to reveal her two missing front teeth that had yet to grow in.

"Well, you two must be tired," Mrs. Blakely said. "Your rooms are ready upstairs.

"Thank you." I hefted my smaller bag over my shoulder, letting Lily climb up the steps ahead of me.

Uncle Blakely waited "Before you go up I just wanted to let you know that our lawyers have put through the adoption papers and they should be official by the end of the week."

Here came the tears again, I blinked rapidly to keep them from spilling over. "Thank you for everything."

"It's nothing." He kissed my forehead, "We'll be up for a while longer if you need anything." Then he followed Aunt Lauren into their kitchen.

Zac stayed behind a moment longer, "I… um… I'm staying outside in the bungalow now, but if you need anything…"

"Thanks Zac," I said catching his hand.

"Come here." Zac pulled me into another hug. It felt amazing to have someone who knew something of what I was feeling. "Goodnight."

"Goodnight" I answered as he headed out the door.

Our rooms were side by side, the Blakely's knowing that we'd want to stay close together.

Lily needed some help to get ready for bed. I brushed her hair and tucked her in. Her red curls fell across her eyes and I brushed them away from her face. Lily's brown doe eyes stared up at me, sad. Again I felt a wave of worry spill me. I set a quick kiss to her cheek.

All that was left for me was to go into the room that was set aside for me, I couldn't quite bring myself to call it my room yet. The walls were painfully blank. Everything about the room from the desk to the comforter on the bed was generic, nothing of my personality was there. Without bothering to put on PJ's I sat down on top of the comforter and reached into my bag. I pulled out a small picture frame. It was a simple silver frame that held a picture of me and Lily with an older woman, our mom. The sun shone brightly in the background and we were all laughing. For the life of I couldn't remember the joke our mom had told.

I eventually drifted off only to be awoke sometime in the night when Lily climbed into the bed next to me and curled into a ball.

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

It was over breakfast a few mornings later when Zac leaned over the counter and pulled down the college pamphlet I'd been looking though.

"Do you want to come spend the day out?" He asked.

"Where would we be going?" Furrowing my brows at his inquiry. I took a sip of my orange juice and set it down.

"I know for a fact that Cam and Evie want to see you." He was hopeful.

"Um I don't know. What about Lily?" My eyes flicked over to where my sister was leaning against Aunt Lauren on the couch.

"She'll be okay with me." Aunt Lauren called over the news they were watching, "You should go out. It'll be good for you. You've spent too many days cooped up in here with us old people." She laughed at her joke.

"But college…" I began.

Zac interrupted by tossing my pamphlet aside, "You have a year before college. Come on."

His pouting wore away my resolve. "Ok." I smiled, "Lead the way" I relented giving Lily kiss on the cheek as I followed Zac out.

By the time we made it to the juice bar I was panting and feeing quite dehydrated. When Zac opened the door cool air blasted me in the face in an icy relief.

"Are you okay Amber?" Zac glanced at my clammy skin as he led me over to a table.

I nodded. "Yeah, I'm okay. I just forgot how hot it is here. It never gets this hot back home." I eyed all the teens in shorts, tanks and flip-flops. Perhaps skinny jeans, a black ACDC shirt, and combat boots weren't the best idea.

Zac had to bite his lip to keep from laughing out loud. He looked around the room until he saw the table where everybody was already sipping their drinks. Evie had been kind enough to order something for both of us.

Cam was there as well and three other beautiful girls. I saw Zac gulp nervously and he put a hand on my arm leading me over.

"Amber!" Evie squealed and grabbed me in a hug.

"I am getting a lot of hugs lately." I joked halfheartedly. "It's really nice to see you again."

"Hey Rocky." Cam used the old childhood nickname he'd made up for me. He held his arms open awkwardly, then settled for a playful punch on the shoulder.

"Heya Camster." I smiled reciprocating the punch. "Still getting causing trouble?"

Cam blushed, "It wouldn't be me if I didn't stir up a little controversy."

"Rocky?" One of the other girls at the table. She was bright blue eyes and long dark brown hair almost as dark as Zac's.

"It a pet name," Cam explained, "You know, since she's named after a type of gem."

"It seemed much more clever when we were twelve." I admitted as I took my seat down next to Evie.

"Amber this is Sirena," Zac pointed at the blonde with bangs, "Ondina," the other blonde, "And Mimmi." He finished by pointing at the brunette. "Everyone this is my cousin Amber, she and her sister just moved here." Zac finished introductions.

"Hi everyone." I gave a little wave.

An awkward silence fell over the group and I shifted in my seat uncomfortably. While Sirena and Mimmi seemed welcoming, Ondina glared at me from across the table.

I swallowed the lump in my throat, "So do you want to order something to drink or…"

"Your accent is weird." Ondina stated bluntly.

"Ondina!" Sirena hissed, embarrassed while Mimmi stared at her wide eyed.

"What?! I'm curious." Ondina shrugged flippantly.

"I guess it kinda is." I ran a hand through my hair, "I'm from Ohio."

"Where's that?" Ondina plowed right ahead with another question.

Zac placed his face in his hands and shook his head in denial. I guess this was a common occurrence in this friend group.

"In the US." I crossed my arms and folded my legs underneath me. An unusual question but then it wasn't uncommon for non-Americans to be unfamiliar with all the states.

"And where's…" Ondina began but Mimmi cut her off.

"I'm sorry," Mimmi said, "she can be a little weird."

"I am not…!" The blonde protested, but Mimmi ignored her.

"I used to live north of your country and I hear it's really nice there." Mimmi smiled brightly. Her accent sounded vaguely Canadian. Her comment was a little off, but at least she was making an effort to be welcoming.

"Yes it is, I've never really lived anywhere else so I don't have much to compare it to…" I trailed off noticing Ondina staring at me, or more specifically my head, in intense focus. It was she was trying to read words across my forehead. "Um, hi.."

Ondina blinked. "What's wrong with your head?"

There was a chorus of shocked gasps, "Ondina!"

"I cut my hair." I answered the question I think she was asking.

She gasped clutching her own locks, "Why would you do that?"

Leaning across the table I fixed her with a smirk, "Because it was annoying me." And my hair wasn't the only thing annoying me right now.

"Oh look, our waiter's here." Mimmi nearly yelled.

That was weird. I gave Zac a sideways glance, he just held his hands up in a "what can you do" gesture. Definitely going to ask Zac about his new friends later.

Mimmi was exceptionally cheery, until she saw who the waiter was.

"Erik. What are you doing here?" Ondina practically growled at the guy holding the order list.

The waiter, a tall blonde clenched the menu tightly. "Um, trying to make a living, listen I know what I did was…" he held a hand out to Ondina but she jerked away.

Ondina looked away, the floor, Evie's shop, anywhere but this guy standing in front of their table, "I see you got your job back." She muttered.

"Yes." He dropped his hand to his side.

"So go do it somewhere else." Ondina snapped.

He paused, looking like he wanted to say more. But Ondina refused to even look at him. Accepting defeat his expression darkened and he stalked away.

I sat there stunned, not wanting to speak lest I piss of the already very pissed off girl.

Carly ended up taking our orders and brought all juices to the table. The three girls stared at me strangely when I just ordered a simple coke.

I sipped my drink and sat up straighter in the chair and looked around for something to do than meet the girl's strange gazes, especially Ondina's. "So where's David?"

'Ah, he's out with his brother fishing." Cam putout down his mango smoothie.

"How's he been?" I asked.

"Pretty good, he's actually started dating Sirena." Cam answered.

Sirena blushed and grinned, "He's really sweet." She sounded a little love dazed.

I smiled into my drink, "That's good, he deserves a great girl."

Sirena blushed even harder. She seemed nice like Mimmi, though more innocent and childlike. She reminded me a bit of Lily. Yep, I was going to like this girl.

"So…" Cam began, "What have you been up to Amber?"

"I've been looking into colleges, I'm taking a year off before I go back to school to be with Lily."

Evie, genuinely interested, joined the conversation, "What are you thinking about studying?"

I shrugged, "Maybe biology, definitely something in the sciences. Although, recently I've been looking into careers in first responder positions."

"That's fantastic Amber." Evie exclaimed

"And…" Cam hesitated.

I looked over her cup at him, expectantly.

"So… how have you been? Since the accident?" Cam asked.

Zac shot a glare his way.

Suddenly I was no longer thirsty and shoved my cup away. The three girls flinched away from the moving glass but I barely paid any attention.

"What accident?" Mimmi glanced between Zac and Cam.

"I'm sorry I have to go." I suddenly shot up.

"Wait…" Zac reached for my arm as I passed by.

"I'll see you back at the house." I shouted over my head lowered in an attempt to hide the tears that were starting to fall. I should be able to talk about it, Cam was one of my closest friends. Just not right now. Not this early.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Zac watched his cousin flee, and then turned his anger to the reason why, "Man, really."

Cam, as usual was oblivious to how his words affected others. "What? I was worried about her."

Zac stood and towered over him, "When she's ready to talk she'll talk. For now just let her be."

Evie placed her arm on Zac's shoulder, "Come on, let's go for a swim."

Zac grimaced, "Good idea."

The girls and Zac left, leaving Cam wishing he had the ability to zipper his mouth shut.

Back behind the bar Erik watched the group leave, he thought about following behind. Maybe try again to explain his actions.

Carly placed a tray down in front of him. "So, you gonna take your break or what?"

"I'll be back in twenty." Erik took off his waiter's apron and headed towards the beach where he knew his former friends wouldn't be. Maybe he'd have time to clear his head before he had to return to his shift.