Filling in the Blanks

Chapter Three

Emma's eyes just about popped out of their sockets. She'd held her breath since that first gasp, and somehow forgot the need to intake oxygen. She was immeasurably relieved when Zane seemed to pass out just as soon as he'd kissed her (kissed her! What was he thinking?! Idiot.). It wasn't very considerate of her, but she was relieved nonetheless.

She suspected he wouldn't be half so groggy the next time he woke up. She had to act fast.

Her options were limited. A) She could wait until she was dry, and try and carry him to the beach on foot. B) Take him into the water, and swim him to a secluded part of the shore where hopefully no one else would be. Or C) Leave him where he was.

There was something very tempting about that last option. After all, he could probably find a way out himself once he came to. But she dismissed it. If one thing is true about Emma, it's that she's dependable. If she was going to save someone's life (even someone like Zane) she'd do it well. 100 percent. Plus, he was acting very strange. He might have a concussion or something and it would be irresponsible not to make sure he was okay.

Option A was out of the question as well. There was no way she could carry him by herself. At least not very far.

Plan B it is.

She leaned over him for a moment, droplets of water falling on his skin from her hair. He looked quite helpless, laying there with his eyes closed. She ran her fingers along his forehead, brushing away stray locks of hair. And then pulled back, not sure why she'd done it.

She touched her finger to her lips, feeling the spot where their lips had met. It was her first real kiss. If you could call it that. Not quite the circumstances she'd envisioned, or the person for that matter. But it was nice nonetheless. Sweet even.

She shook her head. There was no time for this!

Back to business. It had been easy carrying him out of the water. Adrenaline had been pumping through her like mad. Taking him back into the water was a bit more difficult. She finally resorted to dragging him by the foot.

Once he was in the pool, things were golden. She had her strength back and swam him to shore in no time. She checked his vitals to make sure he was okay; he was fine. Her only worry was that he'd wake up before she had a chance to cover her tracks.

She swam out to where his jet ski had floated away, and brought it up onto the beach to make it look it drifted to shore along with him.

And then she concentrated on getting dry. She lay out in the direct sun, tapping her tail nervously. She glanced over at Zane every once in a while. He was still out like a rock.

She relaxed a little once her fin disappeared. Technically, he'd seen her in all her mermaid glory, but she hoped that could be explained away as some kind of near-death nightmare.

She looked over at where he lay. It was getting late. The sky was that gray-blue shade it turns just before evening. Finally, he stirred a little.

She watched him open his eyes and look around. He pushed himself up from the ground with his hands, crumbing the moist sand with his grip. He looked disoriented and upset, shaking the sand's pebbles from his hair.

"It's all right. I dragged you to shore." Her arms were crossed. She felt suddenly cold, pulling her cardigan closer around her.

He seemed to barely process her presence. He took in the sand, the grooves in it from where she'd dragged him in. His boat in the distance.

"But I – I went down. I couldn't get out," panic and fear at the memory making him choke on the words.

She looked away, towards the tree line. "Somehow you did. You're lucky."

"There was something down there," he said, standing up completely now. He towered over her, though she kept at a distance. "Something – I don't know…"

He narrowed his eyes, his face contorting uncomfortably. He looked like he'd found something, something he needed, only to lose it again. "Did you see anything?"

She couldn't meet his gaze, looking down instead. "No."

She was a horrible liar.

"Well, I saw something. And I'm going to find out exactly what it was." He said the words with simple conviction, staring at the ocean with blatant intensity. The sun was starting to set and it cast strange shadows on his face.

Emma looked at the water, and then at him, not sure what to say.

(I'm tempted to end here, on a somewhat melancholy note.
But I may continue. We'll see.
As always, your reviews are treasure)