I rattle my brain trying to figure out these feelings. I am so confused and there is nobody I can talk to about it. The last thing I need is Cleo and Emma to tease me about these feelings. I mean how could I like Zane. He has always been such a jerk, yet there is something about him that I like.
I walk down the dry beach keeping a good distance from the water. Everything around me seems like such a blur. Anytime Zane pops into my mind I get butterflies. I have always been a loner and I don't need to fall for anybody, especially not at this point in my life. With his mermaid obsession, it would be even more dangerous to get close to him. After all he was hunting Emma and I would just lead him to her.
Something about being a mermaid excited me at first; The fact that we could hold our breath for over fifteen minutes, we could swim miles without getting tired, and the beautiful undersea life that nobody else could see. Now things seemed different. People were beginning to find out about us and it was just making life more difficult. I was so deep in thought that I didn't even noticed that someone was following me.
"Rikki?" came a voice. I jumped and settled down when I saw that it was Zane. "Sorry, I didn't mean to sneak up on you."
"That's okay," I said, looking away. I could feel a fluttering feeling in my stomach and knew that until he left it wouldn't go away.
"Are you okay, Rikki? You seem distant."
"Just thinking," I refused to look at him. Instead I stared out across the ocean. I desperately wanted to tell him what I was. Maybe if he cared enough then he would except it, but I didn't want to think about what would happen if he didn't.
"Rikki, I can tell there is something wrong. Why don't you tell me what it is?"
"I don't think you would understand, Zane."
"You are one of the few people I can understand and who understands me." He moved closer to me and I had to look up at him. His smile was reassuring, but I knew that I couldn't just tell him. If I did, Cleo and Emma were sure to kill me.
"We all have secrets, Zane."
"I know, but it doesn't mean you can't share them sometimes." I stayed silent. As much as I wanted to share this secret, I still felt like I couldn't. I sat in the sand, making sure to stay away from the rising water. Zane sat next to me and put his hand on mine. I smiled. The feel of his warm hand on mine gave me goosebumps.
"Why don't I share a secret first and then you can share one of yours?"
"What makes you think that your secret is worth sharing?" I asked, grinning.
"You know that group of condo's he was supposed to be building across the beach?"
"Yeah," I replied. I didn't really know where this was going, but I kept my mouth shut.
"And you know that if he built them then it would deplete the turtle population because that is the beach that the turtles have been laying their eggs every year?" I nodded. "Well, I told him the other day that I didn't think it was a good idea and he could build his condo's somewhere else."
"What did he say to that?"
"He said that it would not be the first time he stomped out a group of nesting turtles, that he didn't care about the turtle population, and that all of them could die out for all he cared."
"How horrible," I said. Zane's father never cared about the wildlife. All he cares about is big business and making money.
"Yeah, that's what the environmentalist group said when I sent them a recording of our conversation."
"Yep. Let's just say that my dear father won't be building his condo's for a while and he has to go to the next environmentalist meeting to apologize for his remarks. Not to mention that he is paying a large fine for the turtle nests that he already destroyed."
I couldn't help but grin. Zane had almost never stood up to his father. The only time he did was when his father said I wasn't the kind of girl his son should be dating. I was beginning to realize that the jerk mask he put on was only a facade for everyone around him to believe. I could see that deep down inside he was truly caring.
"Zane, if you find the mermaid you saw near Mako, what do you intend to do?" I asked, suddenly. He seemed surprised by the question, but answered anyway.
"I'd thank her. She saved my life when I was trapped in that sinking boat."
"Then there is something I need to tell you." I stood up looking around the area. There were only a few people around, but I needed a safer place. "We have to go to a more private area. Follow me."
I didn't even wait for Zane to get up. I decided to head to the secret fishing spot that we had been using to test out our powers. The only ones who knew about it were Me, Cleo, Emma, and Lewis. So it was sure to be a safe place.
Zane kept asking where we were going, but I refused to answer. I didn't want to give me any reason to change my mind about telling him. I had just hoped that he would accept it. He wasn't the big jerk that everybody seemed to think he was and I wanted to prove that to them. I stopped at the edge of the water and looked back to Zane who was clearly confused.
"Zane before I show you this, I need to know that you are not going to tell anybody."
"What are you talking about Rikki?"
"Promise me." I said strictly. I knew that just because he promised didn't mean he would keep it, but it was more reassuring to hear it from him.
"Your not crazy. The mermaid you saw does exist." I said. I could tell he was surprised to hear me say that, but I wouldn't let him speak. "The thing is, I'm a mermaid."
I walked out to the water and looked back to Zane one more time before diving in. I knew there was no going back now. He would find out what I am and I would have to explain that Cleo and Emma were also mermaids. In ten seconds I looked back to see the usual tail behind me. I emerged from the water and swam to the beach to where Zane could see me.
He backed away when he saw my tail and fell into the sand. I was beginning to think it was a mistake when he looked at me terrified. I felt as if I should swim away when I noticed his eyes soften. He got up and walked over to where I was laying in the water.
"Your the mermaid?"
"Actually, Emma was the mermaid," I said. "I just happen to be one too."
"Really? There is more than one mermaid?"
"Yeah. Me, Emma, and Cleo."
"Mako island and a full moon. You can't tell anybody about us. If people find out they would try to study us or lock us up or something."
"Who else knows?"
"Just Lewis. He figured it out on accident. This doesn't freak you out does it?"
Zane didn't answer. I wished I could read his mind. He just sat there staring at me as if he was trying to figure something else out. After a few minutes he bent down to the water and kissed me gently on the lips. I smiled as he pulled away.
"It doesn't change who you are. I still like you. Tail or no tail."