Part One: What Keeps Us Apart
"Melody? Melody, where are you? Why must she always disappear on her birthdays..." Ariel's heels clicked against the marble floors as she searched the entire castle looking for her daughter, searching every spot Melody usually frequented to no avail.
Finally, Ariel turned and hurried to the shore, her last hope before she went mad.
"Did you bring them?" Castan's eyes were wide with excitement as he eagerly awaited Mel's response. The fifteen year old girl giggled and nodded, revealing a small sack from behind her. The young merman laughed with glee, pulling himself higher onto the rock to get a better view.
Melody ignored her skirts and waded up to the rock jutting above the water, and emptied her bag onto it. An assortment of shoes, socks and pants tumbled out into a messy pile, much to Castan's delight.
"You...wear these?" He asked, lifting a wet sock up with a confused expression. Mel giggled again.
"Sure do, on my feet! See?" She took the sock and pulled it over her wet toes, then wiggled them.
Castan looked unimpressed. "That's ridiculous. Why would you cover your feet? I don't cover my fin for ANYTHING." He flipped the sea-green appendage out of the water, splashing Melody.
"Hey, cut that out! I have to protect my feet and legs from stuff that hurts! Like little rocks and plants and that."
"You wouldn't have to if you had a fin like me..."
"I did once..." She said, sighing. It had been only one day, three years ago, but it had been the best day of her life. Castan was quiet, noticing her thoughts as they displayed on her face.
His wet hand touched her dry one, and the boy looked up at the girl sorrowfully. "I didn't mean to bring that up."
"It's alright, I know. I just wish sometimes I still had it, you know? I could swim with you so much more and all the others...but even they don't come around here much anymore. I guess it's pretty boring since I can't swim very far."
"Who cares about them, they don't know what they're missing! It's plenty fun hanging out here, whether you can swim far or not!" The boy's green eyes simply dared anyone to contradict his defense of his best friend.
Melody smiled widely, and threw her arms around his bare torso. "Thanks Cas, I know you still like me." Unknown to her, Castan's tan face flushed red, his hands holding tightly to the folds of Melody's dress.
"Melody? There you are!" Ariel spotted her daughter finally, but did not expect what she found. "Why, hello Castan. I didn't know you two were spending time together today..." She said warily, eyeing the two as they broke a rather interesting embrace.
The boy looked sheepish. "I just came to wish Melody a happy birthday."
Ariel raised a brow. "And to view some land artifacts I see...Melody are those your good shoes?"
"Ah, no, these are just some regular shoes. I'll come now, to the party. You know it's on the beach and bridge Cas, you could come and bring Coral and Lor!"
But Castan looked disenchanted. "That's ok, it's not much fun trying to split a party between two groups of people. You always try but, you can't dance and all when you're busy trying to be in the water half the time. I'll see you soon, Melody. Happy birthday." He reached over and squeezed her hand, then slid under water and away into the deep.
Melody sighed, leaning against her mother.
"Come on Mel, let's get you ready." They hurried up to the castle to prepare, Melody feeling all the while as though she'd rather be under water.
Castan floated along, waiting for Melody to appear. His blond hair, unruly even in the water, swished as he pulled one tan arm through the wet, then the other, pacing from one rock to the other and back.
Suddenly, fingers touched his back under water, and he yelled, floundering before he finally dipped under to catch the culprit.
Melody trod the water, hands cupped over her mouth to hold her laughter in and the water out. Her bright eyes were full of it though. A second later she darted upward, breaking the surface just in time to gasp a gulp of oxygen.
Castan appeared an instant later, only his nose and up coming above the surface.
"You should have heard you scream." She laughed, combing wet, raven hair over her shoulder.
"You should hear you scream." He replied, mouth appearing and wearing a sinister smirk.
"Well that's ridiculous, why would I-ahhhh!" Mel's sentence cut off as she was dragged under, leaving only bubbles in her wake as the boy's strong fin pulled them deeper. Castan's laugh rang out audibly in the water as they dove down and down, until Melody clawed at his arm, eyes wide with fright as she lost air quickly. Shocked, Castan swam them back to the surface as fast as his seventeen year old body would let him.
Finally they reached free air, and Melody gasped in huge breaths. The young man held her shoulders tightly, keeping her above the water's surface.
"Sorry, sorry, I got carried away." He apologized again and again.
She laughed, still breathing hard. "You got carried away? I believe I was the one who was dragged under."
He smiled, finding a tiny bit of humor in her words, but not quite enough to quell the fear he'd just felt.
"Cas, it's ok, really. I'm fine." Melody noticed his concern, and wanted those unhappy crinkles in his strong brow to disappear. As if her touch could push them away, she reached up and brushed her hand across his forehead, pushing strands of soaked hair out of his eyes. His heart quickened, a strange feeling that had only recently been coming around rising now more familiarly in his chest.
"I know, I was worried though. I forget, and then you can get hurt. I need to be more careful." Castan moved back, holding her up at arm's length. He suddenly felt as though just being near her was putting her in danger. Another feeling was rising as well, a kind of anger against those human incapacities, ones that kept her from sharing his world. She'd explained before, things like lungs and breathing air, like legs and feet. He hated them. "I wish you were like me. Sometimes I hate those legs of yours."
Melody pulled him back near to her, looking a bit affronted. "I happen to like my legs. They're thin and strong, and I'm actually rather tall for my age. Why do you have to have that stupid fin? I can't teach you to dance if you can't walk!"
He scoffed. "I'd never want to walk, much less dance! Spinning in circles like an idiot has absolutely no appeal for me!"
"Well who cares what appeals to you, fish boy! Dancing happens to be elegant and graceful, not that you would know!"
"I said I didn't want to!"
"Well you won't ever, so good for you!"
Castan was about to reply, but her words sunk in quickly, feeling like pebbles in his stomach. Why hadn't he ever considered becoming like her before?
Melody bit her lip. She'd gone too far again, and she knew they would both feel badly about this for a while.
Castan gazed as the water, dropping his arms and letting her hold onto the nearby rock. "You're right, I won't ever. And you'll never see my home in Atlantica, and I won't see the inside of that castle, or the woods past it, or feel dirt. I guess I needed the reminder." He turned, swimming slowly out to sea to leave behind the hole in his heart; one he knew even going to the opposite ocean wouldn't lose.
Mel, I wanted to say happy birthday, turning eighteen doesn't mean too much in Atlantica, but I'm sure you're excited in that castle. I got Kipp to write this for me, since I'd get the paper wet, but I wanted you to know that I'll be at the beach this evening if you want to stop by. I hope I'm not disturbing you, see you later, maybe.
Melody memorized the untidy words, exploding with joy. After months of unpleasant, awkward and painful silence, Castan was speaking to her again! As soon as the sun began to sink into the sea, she slipped into her prettiest shorter dress and ran as fast as she could to the shore. Servants laughed as she darted past, the eighteen year old princess excited about going to the beach.
The last few steps to the sand were lost to her feet as Melody simply jumped over them, landing with an extra burst of speed. Her bright brown eyes searched the water for that familiar mop of messy blond hair, and she squealed as she spotted Castan draped half over their favorite sticking-out stone near the water's edge. She hurried over, splashing noisily in the water.
Castan lifted himself up, swimming toward Melody as she approached. She was smiling, that was a good sign, and he returned the wordless language. At waist deep she reached him, tackling him into her embrace and tucking her head against his neck perfectly, just like always. Castan sighed, finally satisfied that the two worlds were reconciled to normal once again.
"I missed you, it was unbearable." She whispered.
"Same here Mel, I'm really sorry."
Her warm breath tickled his neck as she giggled, and said, "Please, don't' say that. It was all my fault, bringing up such a sore topic. We both know full well what lies between us." A thought struck her, and she lifted her head to look at him.
For a second the two just stared at each other, suddenly realizing that they did not, in fact, fully comprehend what lay between them.
"Do we, Mel?"
"I don't know. What does lie there?"
"The shore, a fin, two legs, some lungs? What of it?" He asked, a rather angry feeling coming again. Castan didn't want to talk about this, not when he finally, just got her back.
Melody sighed in annoyance, feeling aggravated that these complications always had to be there. She just wanted to be around him, was that so much to ask?
"So they keep us separate."
"As opposed to-" Her brow raised, and Castan realized he'd said that aloud.
"No, our heads separate us in that respect. What did you really mean Castan Mare? Tell me." She tilted her dark head to the side just a bit; her shape becoming almost a silhouette as the light slowly vanished.
He almost stammered, finally saying quietly, "Emotionally..."
Her eyes widened, even in the fading light. "Oh."
At just about that moment the two became very aware that her arms still draped over his wide shoulders, his circling her waist. The tip of his fin lightly swished against the skin of her legs, sending shivers over them and up her back.
Castan searched her face for some sort of answer as to what was going on. None of the mermaids in Atlantica made him feel like this land-walking, air-breathing girl did. Her thick, dark hair felt perfect between his fingers, and he preferred her olive skin to any of the tan girls swimming below. Melody felt alike to this, unimpressed by young men with legs and fancy clothes, and more attracted to boys whose hair never complied and whose skin grew tan from sea and sun.
In that next second, Castan realized that nothing kept his lips separate from hers, and made use of that knowledge. His swooping, unannounced kiss made her heart soar, or rather swim, with joy.
When he pulled back, she gasped, an uncontrollable smile left as his mark.
"You're always gasping when I'm around," He said, grinning.
She sighed. "I can't help it, you take my breath away."
For anyone that read, thank you. This is the first real, finished, albeit short, story I've been able to publish in one form or another. I know it's a silly thing to write about, but the blond boy from the movie was so cute, I just had to.
Anway, I hope you enjoyed it! Please review so I know what you think, otherwise I'll be heartbroken forever and never publish anything ever again. Believe me, this would really pull a number on my future as an author. . Also, let me know if the format is bad, I'm just a fan of the center alignment style.
Thank you! XOXO
10/29/12 EDIT:: I re-uploaded this along with the new chapter for easier reading, since I realized I actually despise the center-aligned format. You're all very welcome. Also, me from three years ago is a ridiculous person, and so now I am much more interesting and cool. Hurray! Please read on, my little ones! Haha.