Just Like Me

The rays of the morning sun up above broke through the waters and glinted off her walls. Everyone in the kingdom was still sound asleep, though she was already up. She swam over and out her window, once again sneaking out to the surface unnoticed. She broke the waves of her home and relished in the feeling of the morning sun on her skin. She swam forward in the open space and turned so that she was now on her back as she gracefully skimmed across the water, casting her gaze to the beautiful sunrise.

After a while she did a quick dive and resurfaced with her gaze at the massive palace in the distance. Doing a quick scan of the beach she found that the young man that usually wandered around it was not there this morning. This made Ariel a little unhappy since she really wanted to see him again. The first time she saw him she was over by the rocks and close enough to make out his face and ever since she had been infatuated with his handsome features.

She let out a disappointed sigh and swam over to a grouping of rocks. She pulled herself up and laid out on the warm stone and stretched out. After a while she began to hum a light melody that she just made up on the spot.

Wouldn't you know it, at this time, Eric had just finished having a quick bite of breakfast and headed down the stairs of his palace to the beach below. Once he reached the soft sand, he pulled off his boots and set them on the steps behind and headed up to the water. He waded out until the water was starting to gently lap at his rolled up navy pants.

There was a peace that came over him whenever he was close to the sea. It calmed him and took him away from the troubles and worries of being a diplomatic leader. Being so caught up in his state of serenity he almost didn't hear the sound of a light melody floating on the gentle breeze. He looked about him in wonder of where the sound was coming from.

"It sounds close…"

He wandered about the water while he glanced all about him in search of the sound.

"It's very pretty…"

His ears then directed his glance over to the group of rocks on the left side of the beach. Slowly, he made his way over there to find the noise kept getting louder and louder as he approached. As the melody got louder, it also became more and more beautiful and entrancing to him. Once he reached the rocks, he slowly and quietly climbed up. The moment he reached the top of the rock he looked down and his breath caught in his throat.

The first thing he saw was a beautiful patch of fiery red hair. The part that really got him was when he finally spotted the shiny scales of a green tail.

'…a…a mermaid!'

He sat in admiration of her features, mostly the tail, until his eyes finally fell upon her face. He was immediately awestruck at her impeccable beauty to accompany the melodic voice.

He slowly sunk back behind the rocks as his mind swirled.

'A real mermaid! I can't believe it!'

He broke from his thoughts to a different one. He really wanted to get closer but some part of his mind new that if he revealed himself to her she would most likely swim off. His legs moved on their own and he waded into the water and started to move around the rocks to the opening from the seaside. The moment he reached the opening he began to get a little nervous in approaching the young mermaid. What would she do? He really didn't want to frighten her, but he was compelled to talk to her.

He stopped when he was close enough to touch her tail fin.

"…e-excuse me?"

He could barely hear himself talk and wondered if it was loud enough for her to hear over her singing. Her eyes flew open and she sat up to find herself staring at the young man she had been admiring from afar for a while. She gave a gasp of surprise and dove behind the rock and surfaced while she looked over at him.

"I'm sorry!" he said quickly. "I didn't mean to frighten you," he put his hands up.

She watched him closely while she was mentally beating herself for letting her guard down so much and being seen by a human! They fell into a staring contest and Eric felt bad while he saw the frightened expression fall on her beautiful features. Seeing how she was so scared by his sudden appearance he then realized that she hadn't left yet because he was blocking the only exit.

"I'm not going to hurt you," he said gently. "…I'm Eric."

He decided to introduce himself at that moment because he had no idea what to say really. He noticed her expression of fear soften slightly and she came out of hiding a little bit, but she still made sure to stay behind the rock.

"Do you understand me?" he then asked, seeing how he was having a one-sided conversation.

She slowly nodded her head after a small self debate whether she should or not. Eric was a little happy to have gotten a response from her, albeit a silent one. After hearing her soft melody, he really wanted to hear her voice.

His mind went back to the fact that he was blocking the exit and he gave a sigh seeing as how she was still afraid to approach him. He moved through the water to the side and opened up the exit to her.

"I'm sorry for scaring you…"

She watched him intently and then looked to see that he moved to let her go. At this point she was torn between two decisions. Part of her wanted knew that she needed to get out of there, but the other part of her longed to stay with this human a little longer; she had never been so close to a human in her entire life. She slowly went under the water and swam around the rock until she could see all of Eric before resurfacing, about 10 or so feet away from him with no rock in between them.

A medium sized wave suddenly rolled up over the rocks and crashed down upon Eric. After the water settled, Ariel looked over at him to see him sputtering and coughing while he rubbed at his eyes.

"…that stings so bad," he said with irritation.

The sound of giggles broke through the silence and Eric focused on the mermaid to see that she was covering her mouth with her hand while she shook with laughter. Eric had to admit that the sound of her laughter was music to his ears and he let himself laugh a little as well.

"Glad you find that funny," he smiled and scratched his head, actually somewhat embarrassed.

Her wave of giggles seemingly passed and she watched him with curiosity as to why he was still rubbing his eyes. With a different atmosphere now about them, Ariel found herself with a slight bit of courage.

"Why do you keep rubbing your eyes?" she asked curiously.

The moment she chose to spoke, it surprised Eric quiet a bit and for a while he just stared.

"…Uh…d-did you just say something?" he blanched.

She blinked at him in confusion.

"What?" she asked.

"Oh…I'm sorry," he quickly replied. "Well my eyes hurt because of the salt in the water…"

"They do?" she tilted her head.

He scratched his head again in nervousness.

"I guess yours have never done that huh?" he laughed slightly.

She shook her head slowly. He then hesitated when she actually started to swim over to him. She stopped right in front of him and looked him over. Being so close to each other they both studied each other and found the other to be beautiful up close.

"I'm Ariel," she said to break the silence.

"Ariel," he repeated, as if testing the name out. "That's very pretty."

He noticed that she then blushed and he did a little as well. She then brought her hand up slowly and hovered it in between them.

"…can I?" she said softly.

He blinked at her.

"What?"

"…can I…touch you?"

The question itself was odd but he understood where she was coming from and decided to go along with it to avoid embarrassing the girl. He was probably the first human she had ever gotten this close to. She slowly put her hand to his face and shivered a little at the touch of his warm skin. Unbeknownst to her, he also felt a shiver run through him at her gentle touch. She touched his cheek and then slowly traced the line of his strong jaw and then brought her hand up and touched his forehead. He watched her intently as she caressed his forehead with her thumb before she went and then touched his eyebrow and traced down to the tip of his nose where she let out a small giggle.

"What?" he questioned with a smile.

"I like your nose," she blushed a little, but smiled nonetheless.

"What's wrong with it?"

She shook her head.

"Nothing," she giggled again. "I said I liked it."

He merely smiled and she went back to examining his features. She reached up and started to mess with his thick black hair. She took a piece and twirled it around her finger before releasing it and messing with another. She left his hair and traced the side of his face and found his ears. She let out another giggle as she flicked his ear lobe.

"You're ears are so cute," she laughed.

He laughed too.

"Nobody's ever told me that," he smiled, showing his dimples.

She smiled back and lowered her hand, finally done with her expedition. He then saw that her face clouded over in thought.

"What is it?" he asked cautiously, thinking he had said or done something wrong.

She flashed him a smile to show that everything was fine.

"Can I see those things you have humans have that you walk on?"

"Oh…you mean feet?"

"Feet?" she repeated the word.

He swam over to the rock and hoisted himself up, dangling his legs over the side where the water gently lapped at his heels. She swam over and he could see the curiosity completely taking over her. He bent over and brought one leg up to him where he pointed at his foot.

"We call these feet," he said before putting it back down.

When she got to the rock she reached up and touched the foot gently as if it was breakable. She touched the heel and then played with the little toes.

"You have fingers down here..."

He gave a soft laugh that caused her to look up at him.

"Well yes…but we call those toes."

"Toes," she once again tried out the word.

She then rose up her hands and touched his leg in awe, her mouth forming a little "o" as she did. Eric really wanted to see her full form again and to touch her tail but he was a little nervous about asking.

"Ariel?"

She paused, it was the first time he used her name.

"Yeah?" she looked up at him.

"Can I see you fully?"

She hesitated at the sudden question and then studied him for a moment before giving a nod. He smiled and was glad he didn't offend her, and offered her his hand. She stared at it and then looked up at him in confusion.

"Can I help you up?"

"Oh…oh!" she exclaimed and blushed at her cluelessness. "I'm sorry," she gave him her hand.

"No problem," he pulled her up.

The moment she sat next to him in full view, he gasped at her radiance.

"Y-your beautiful," he said as he looked her over.

Her blush got even bigger and she turned away so he wouldn't see.

"Thank you, Eric."

He got a smile from her using his name; also he saw her blush.

"Ariel, can I touch?"

He then mused how he had earlier found that same question rather odd, and now it was coming from him. She turned back and gave a nod. He slowly touched her scales and was pleasantly surprised to find they were as smooth as silk.

"…so soft," he thought out loud.

She giggled and after a while she noticed his mind was wandering so she flipped up her tail and gave him a playful smack to the face with her fin.

"What?" he said suddenly and turned to her to find her giggling once again.

"Sorry…you were spacing. I had to bring you back."

He gave a quick laugh to cover up his embarrassment. She then noticed how much darker his skin was than hers and she poked his shoulder.

"Your skin is so dark…"

Her comment made him notice then the difference in tones.

"It's because of the sun," he explained. "Constant exposure to the sun makes your skin darker. That's why yours is so pale since you're under the water most of the time."

She raised her arm up and put it side by side with his to see the difference and gave a laugh.

"You must be in the sun a lot?"

He gave a nod.

"I try to be. I really love the sea so I come down here a lot."

A veil of silence fell over them and Eric turned to her and got a thought.

"You better get back in the water," he said suddenly.

She turned to him in question.

"Since your skin isn't used to the sun you could burn easily."

"Burn?"

"It's when your skin turns red and it gets sore. It can really hurt and it gets really irritating."

She nodded, still not really understanding. With one graceful movement, she dove off the rock back into the water. The simple movement was very beautiful to Eric. She broke the surface and beckoned him down. He got up and jumped in, splashing the girl. He broke the surface and gave her an apologetic look.

"Sorry," he put his hand to his head. "I'm not as graceful as you."

She giggled. She cast her gaze up at the sun to see that it had moved a considerable distance since this morning.

"I should go," she said and turned back to him.

The moment she faced him she found him very close to hers.

"Oh," she let out a small breath of surprise.

Even though they were both very close to each other, none of them backed away. In fact, they seemed to be getting closer. Ariel reached up and slowly put her finger on his bottom lip and traced it with curiosity. Both of their heartbeats were getting faster.

The moment Ariel removed her finger from his lips he closed the distance between them with a kiss. Even though they were both from different worlds, the kiss felt so right and normal. It started out gentle at first but then Eric deepened it and Ariel wrapped her arms around his neck; both wanting to explore this feeling further. She then ran her hands through his thick waves and when they broke the kiss, her hands were cupping his face.

"…Eric."

He brought his hand up and wiped a few strands away from her face before pressing his lips to hers again in another deep kiss. He put his hands on her waist and brought her closer to him in a tight embrace.

They broke apart and Ariel put a hand to his cheek and caressed it gently.

"…I…I better get going," she said softly.

Eric looked past her to the sun and realized that he had to go as well. He slowly released her and gave a nod.

"Will I see you again?" he asked hopefully.

She gave out a bright smile.

"Yes."

He smiled back. She swam up to him and gave him one last quick peck before turning and diving below the waves. He waded out of the water, still enthralled that he actually met a real mermaid. He reached his steps and put his shoes back on and gave a laugh.

"There's nothing different at all…she's just like me."

Later that night, both were getting ready for bed. They got under their covers and gave a smile to the days events; and both were thinking of the same thing.

"My first kiss was with a human."

"My first kiss was with a mermaid."

They both laughed and rolled over in their beds.

"Nobody would believe that one."