Crying. It was the only noise they heard everyday and night for the past two weeks. It was a constant reminder of the huge responsibility they now had to face. No matter what they did, Lily would never stop the constant crying. Rikki tried feeding her, changing her diaper, playing with her, and even tried to get her to sleep in her crib, but nope, she just continued on.
Rikki's eyes were red from waking up 5 times a night to keep Lily from crying. Even Zane was a mess with the lack of experience he had on raising kids. Rikki could barley walk the first week since she was still in a lot of pain after giving birth, causing Zane to do a lot of the work. Unfortunaitly for him, Zane had not a single clue on how to take care of a baby. It became so bad that Cleo ended up having to stay at Zane's house with Rikki.
Rikki and Cleo both switched back and fourth whenever Lily would wake up in the middle of the night. It was very exhausting and overwhelming. Rikki and Zane didn't realize how much work it would be to take care of a baby til now. Even Cleo felt sleepy all the time from trying to help Rikki and Zane with their daughter.
"Come on Lily. Mommy is right here." Rikki held the baby her arms, trying to get her back to sleep. It was six in the morning and probably an hour was the most sleep Rikki and Cleo had that night. Even Zane had to come into the room to asset Cleo and Rikki with the baby.
"What is it that you want? I feed you, changed your diaper, handed you a stuffed animal..." Crying... Thats all she got from Lily and Rikki bounced the little baby back and fourth so that she would calm down.
"You know, asking her what's wrong isn't going to do anything." Cleo mumbled in her pillow, still half asleep from staying up all night.
"I know but she's been crying for 15 minutes straight and she won't go back to sleep." Rikki mentioned in frustration, wanting to cry from how tired she was. She never felt this exhausted in her life.
Cleo immediately removed the sheets from her body and stood up to help Rikki. Cleo grabbed Lily from Rikki's arms and placed her fragile head on her shoulder.
"Good girl Lily. Just go back to sleep." Cleo rubbed her back, hearing Lily cry softly into her arms. After 3 minutes of Cleo holding Lily on her shoulders, Lily's eyes closed shut and she started falling back to sleep.
"I think she's sleeping again." Rikki whispered, looking down at her daughters. She could see wet tears rolling down Lily's small face.
"Here we go." Cleo set the girl down into the crib, placing a small blue blanket ontop of her. In no time at all, she was laying on her back, sucking on her thumb in peace. Rikki sighed in relief to hear silence again in her room.
Cleo's eyes were sagged down and with out saying a word, she immediately climbed back into bed and covered herself in a blanket. Rikki did the same thing after making sure Lily was 100% asleep. The sun was barley coming up and they knew that in a few hours, they would have to wake up and start another day of trying to keep Lily happy.
Rikki wanted Lily to stay at her place, but she was pretty much disabled from walking for the first week. Rikki was also no expert at raising a baby. At this point, it felt like she's been doing this for months. She already felt like she was failing as a mother.
If it was Rikki's guess on how long she had been asleep, it would of been a few minutes but again, she woke up from Lily's cries. This time instead of it being 6 in the morning, it was already 8:30. Still unalert and exuasted from last night, she sat up to see that the sun was already up and it was morning. She could have sworn she was asleep for only five minutes.
Cleo immediately grabbed the pillow next to hers and wrapped it around her head. Cleo didn't want to hear it any more. She just wanted one peaceful night of sleep. Rikki immediatly walked over to Lily's crib, and gently picked her up. Since Lily was born early, she was still very small and Rikki was scared of hurting her. She let Lily cry on her shoulder and walked out of the room, doing her best to not disturb Cleo's sleep.
Rikki placed Lily into her baby carrier in the kitchen and started taking out the bottle and milk so that she could feed Lily. Placing it into the microwave, Zane immediately came downstairs from hearing her cries. His hair was a mess and even though he had more sleep then Rikki and Cleo, he still looked like a walking zombie. He had ended up waking up twice durning the night to make sure everything was going okay.
"Hey, what are you doing?" Zane asked, not really thinking about what he was saying. He felt like he was dream walking.
"I'm going feeding her. She keeps crying every so hour." Rikki replied back dully, punching in 15 seconds into the microwave. All Rikki and Zane heard were the cries of Lily in the background. It was surprising how long a baby could cry for with out stopping.
"Hey! You can't put the bottle into the microwave. You have to place the bottle in a bowl of hot water so that the milk dosen't become too warm for Lily." Zane explained, taking the small bottle of milk from the microwave. Rikki frowned, not understanding half of what Zane was saying.
"What? How do you even know this?" Rikki scratched her head, blinking constantly to keep herself awake.
"Cleo told me. Apparently she babysits or something. I don't know. Thats just what I learned from her." Zane mumbled, taking the bowl and filling it up with hot water so Rikki wouldn't risk the chance of turning into a mermaid. He grabbed the bottle that was placed onto the counter and then dipped it into the bowl.
Whille Zane was getting it ready, Rikki picked up her crying Lily and tried to do what Cleo did this morning. Obviously it didn't work. She rubbed her back and placed Lily's head on her shoulder but it never did settle her down. Rikki just soon started giving up, ignoring Lily's screams of cries through out the house. Rikki was now getting used of Lily crying all the time.
"Here, lets see if this works." Zane slowly walked up to Rikki, grabbing Lily and placing the bottle into her mouth. In just a few short seconds, Lily was able to recoginzed the bottle placed her mouth and she started drinking the milk from it. Her crying stopped.
Zane trying to be extra-careful with Lily, he sat down on the coach so that she would relax in his arms. Lily didn't mind and continued drinking from the bottle. Rikki used her hand to brush back her hair and sat down next to Zane to make sure she was doing okay.
"Man, I tried doing that all night but she never drank from the bottle." Rikki complained in a whisper, her eyes closing every so often. Zane didn't reply, holding the bottle so that Lily could drink from it. The lack of sleep from the both of them, caused them not to talk. This little girl drained every once of energy they had left, including Cleo.
"Why don't you go back to sleep? I can handle her for the rest of the morning." Zane suggested, Rikki too tired to decline Zane's offer.
Rikki slowly standing up from the coach, she saw sleepy Cleo walking into the room. She looked just as tired as Zane and Rikki, maybe even worse since she had been doing most of the work for the past week in a half. Rikki to this day was surprised Cleo was still here with them.
"Hey. How is Little Lil doing? I thought you may need some help?" Cleo wondered, crossing her arms from entering the chilly room. Even though Cleo didn't look her best right now, she still put on a strong face and was eager to help in any way possible.
"Thanks Cleo but I think we got it from here." Rikki softly replied, standing up from the coach and walking back to her guest bedroom. Before entering her room, she stopped and placed her hand on Cleo's shoulders.
"You are such an amazing friend and I don't think I could be doing this with out you." Rikki whispered, enjoying the peace in Zane's house. Cleo gave a small shrug and smile, happy to hear Rikki's appreciation towards her. This was stressful on everybody.
"Yeah! No problem. I'm glad to help." Cleo smiled, turning around to face her. She really was doing her best to be there for Rikki and Lily.
"But don't you think you should be going back to the university? I don't want you getting behind in school because of me and Zane." Rikki pointed out to Cleo. Its not that she wanted her to leave, its just she would feel guilty if Cleo ended up failing one of her classes because of her.
"Oh don't worry about that." Cleo answered. "Emma is sending me all of my homework plus every weekend, I revise what we did in class, so I shouldn't get too behind." Cleo reassured Rikki. Adding more stress on Cleo was never Rikki's intention.
"I know but, I shouldn't be placing all of my problems onto you. I think me and Zane can take it from now. Atleast go back this Monday. If we need any help at all, I'll call." Rikki encouraged her, making Cleo sigh in exhaustion.
"Okay, okay. But if you need anything... like anything at all, just call me and ill be here in a heartbeat." Cleo gave a small weak smile, also placing her hand on Rikki's shoulders.
"Thank you." Rikki whispered in relief. She saw Cleo walking back into her room slowly, the sun too bright to look at. She almost forgot it was almost 9 o clock in the morning.
Rikki took a quick glance back at Zane and Lily to see that Zane had fallen asleep quicker than his own daughter. The sight of it was funny, but Rikki was too tired to laugh or even smile.
Walking over to Zane to nudge his shoulder, Zane immedialty jumped up and almost forgot what he had been doing. Lily was disturbed by Zane's quick movement, but didn't take her long to close her blue eyes and fall back asleep.
As the weeks went by, they releazed that Lily would only fall asleep for long periods of time when Zane or Rikki held her. It was said that new borns like to sleep on their parents chest since they are so used of hearing their mothers heartbeat during the pregnancy. Unfortunately for the both of them, Zane and Rikki didn't have the energy to hold her all night. They just wanted her to sleep peacefully in her crib.
They've tried playing music or baby songs, but nothing officially made her go to asleep unless she was cradled in Rikki or Zane's arms. They could already see the stubborn side of Lily and she was only 2 weeks old.
"Well there goes my morning nap." Zane scratched his head, using the other hand to still support Lily's head and body. She was as light as a feather.
"Oh don't complain. Me and Cleo were basically up all night trying to get her to fall asleep. You only woke up twice the whole entire night." Rikki rolled her eyes, not in the mood to hear Zane yapping about his lack of sleep. Already thinking about it made her tired.
"Thanks for your consideration." Zane mumbled in sarcasm, letting his head lay against the coach. Lily was still sucking on the bottle even though it didn't contain any milk.
"Let me get her pacifier." Rikki moaned in exhaustion, walking over to her baby carrier and grabbing the pacifier that was underneath her white and pink poke-dotted blanket. When Rikki started to take the bottle out of Lily mouth, she started giving out small gasps of cries but she soon settled back down once the pacifier was in Lily's mouth.
"Feel like giving up yet?" Zane tried to joke around, but his voice was dull and not very enthusiastic.
"Trust me, if I don't get more than a few hours of sleep, I might collapses on the floor." Rikki crossed her arms, looking back down at her daughter. Everything about Lily resembled Rikki and Zane.
Her eyes were bright blue like Rikki's, but even as a small baby you could see her small curls developing on her fragile head. Lily's hair was a soft brown like Zane's and her skin tone was very close to his. But most of all, the features on her face was both similar to Zane and Rikki. They couldn't tell who she looked like most.
"Well, I'm going to put this little one back in her crib. Maybe now she will sleep." Zane gently stood up, using both of his arms to cradle Lily. He slowly started walking into Rikki's guest room where her crib was. The pacifier that Lily was sucking on really helped her sleep. She would barley ever cry and it made for some silence around the house.
They were now responsible of a innocent life which made it more difficult since Lily was a mermaid just like Rikki. How were they going to protect her? Would she be able to live a normal life like every other child? What would happen if anyone found out about Lily?
These were all questions Rikki and Zane asked themselves and it did scare them if anything bad like this were to occur on Lily. It wasn't her fault that this happened to her, and they didn't want Lily to live a life of hiding. It was already hard enough for Rikki to keep her secret for 3 years, so for Lily it would be even harder.
Who knew what the future would hold for Lily but whatever it was, everyone knew it wasn't going to be easy.
It was almost four weeks since Denman had seen that photo of the mermaid and the longer she waited, the more frustrated she became. She had done everything to find out who this girl was and had found out absolutely nothing about her.
Where did this girl come from and how come she was only seen at Mako once out of a 4 month period? Was she not from around this area? Did they miss their chance of discovering mermaids again? Denman didn't want to give up but she had no resources of where she could find this person. It became more useless as time went by.
Unfortunately, only a few people onboard knew about the mermaid photo, so the crew members were now starting to become a little more suspicious of why they were staying at the Gold Coast for so long. Denman would distract them with tasks and jobs that were rather pointless just to keep them occupied, but it wouldn't take much longer for them to realize what was going on. She only had so much time left before she had to confront everyone with the photo.
Even if she knew this girl, how would she be able to approach her? Would they talk to her, black mail her or even do what they did last time with Cleo, Rikki and Emma? Capture her? Just thinking about it made the situation more difficult and all of those options seemed rather unrealistic. Denman didn't want to scare off the only mermaid she knew about. She already learned once from her mistakes.
She had been writing in her journal of all the ideas she could use to attract this girl back to them, but it didn't play well in her mind. For God's sake, they don't even know who she was, let alone create a plan to find out more about her. If Denman were to ask anyone else about this, they would say she was wasting her time. Unless there was another photo of this girl, maybe they would be able to track her down, but there wasn't and she didn't know how much longer she could wait.
Grabbing a stack of paper from her file cabent, Denman saw one of her crew members Gregg approaching her on the boat. He looked occupied with a task that she assigned him this morning. He had been driving back and fourth to the marine park, grabbing information and research for Denman herself.
To be honest, she really had no interest for most of the tasks she assigned the crew members. She didn't even care what Vincent had been doing for the past few weeks and he was one of the best workers here. He actually did find some interesting plants around Mako island that attracted a very rare species of fish, and even then it didn't catch Denman's attention. Everyone could sense her weird behavior but everyone continued on like normal.
Gregg slowly walked onto the boat, going to the giant table in the center to grab some paperwork he needed for the marine park. He had been obediently following Denman's orders ever since they discovered that picture of the mermaid. No matter what he did, it never was good enough for her.
They have been stuck at square one for the past month and there was not much they could really do. The least thing they wanted to do was to show this picture to the media. That was the last resort Denman had in mind for discovering this girl. All the fame, wealth and research would disappear in a day if she anonced it to the public.
"Any luck." Gregg interrupted Denman thoughts, causing her to jerk her head in surprise. She almost forget he was standing right in front of her.
"Actually no, to be honest." Denman looked down at her research, not glancing up at Gregg. You could hear the disappointment and frustration in Denman's voice as she replied back.
"Well is there anything else you would like me to do? I'm returning those media files..." Gregg started saying but he was interrupted by Denman's comeback.
"No!" She snapped back, slamming the files on the table. She finally took a deep breathe after relizing how loud she was talking. This was stressing her out to the point that she had no idea what to do. Never had she felt this disappointed with herself in her life.
"I mean no." She calmly replied back, lowering the tone in her voice. "I think we might of tried everything at this point. The only thing we can really do is wait for something else to come up again." She mentioned in frustration, opening her laptop to place Gregg's information into a word document.
She kept pinching in the keys, not observing everything that was going. She kept getting a message on her laptop of an important data link, but she didn't see it as anything important. She was too distracted with all of her thoughts and ideas. She hadn't been like this ever since Cleo, Rikki and Emma had escaped and given up their powers at Mako.
"Beep, Beep." Her laptop went off again with an important data link. It had been going off all morning.
"Whats that?" Gregg asked, looking over Denman's shoulder to see the small red pop up bubble on her laptop. It kept saying Urgent Data Link on it.
"I don't know. Nothing important for all I care." Denman mumbled, continuing to type the information on the word document. Her lack of curiosity pushed away anything that she was working with. It simply didn't matter to her.
"Well it seems important from what I see." Gregg faught back, immediately regretting the words that came out of his mouth. This was no time to get on Denman's bad side. She was defiantly not in the mood for anything else, even though she usually never behaved like this.
Denman stopped her work to glance back at Gregg. "Don't you have some media files you need to return?" Deman asked with annoyance, placing one of her hands on her hip.
"Yes, I do. But I wouldn't want to miss any more opportunities of discovery. Didn't we already make that mistake?" Gregg calmly replied, hoping she would at least take interest in something other than little projects she've been keeping from the rest of the crew.
Denman sighed, clicking the link that had been annoying her all morning and all week. Well, at least for the amount of time it had been beeping for. It could of be more information about that plant vincent had dicrovered, or more of those tasks the marine park had been requesting for, or more...
Clicking the link, it popped up as a underwater photo. It threw Denman off for a few seconds before she could concentrate on what was on the photo. You could hear a small gasp from Gregg before Denman could relized what it was.
It was another photo of a mermaid, except for one mermaid, there were four. They weren't all in the same photo but you clearly see they were all different people. There was even a picture with two mermaids in it to prove there was more than one.
Denman kept scanning through the photos to see there were at least ten of them. It was unbelievable. She had been so mad and disappointed with her lack of discovery on this one mermaid, she didn't even take the time to look back through her underwater photos.
This time, she looked carefully at all the girls faces. There she was, the same girl as it was in the last photo except for this time, she was swimming with someone else. The girl next to her also had blonde hair as her except... It couldn't be. "Was that, Emma?"
Denman's eyes went wide in shock to see Emma in that photo. How was that even possible? She gave up her powers almost three years ago. It had to be impossible.
With the next photo there was another girl except with brown long hair. Wait a second...
"I know these girls." Denman whispered to see Cleo's familiar face. The only difference with the girls were that they looked older and a lot more mature. She was surprised to see how grown up they looked, it had been quite a long time.
That means if Cleo and Emma were mermaids... was Rikki one too? Looking back at all the photos again, she tried to find if Rikki was in any of them. Making sure she didn't skip any phtots, she found one that was distengly different from the rest of them.
She was certain that this was another mermaid except she looked... pregnant? She could immediately recognize her face which was Rikki but it was strange to see her like this. After observing the photo for another minute, she knew for a fact that this was Rikki, except she was thrown off by her pregnancy.
Boy, had a lot happened since she was gone. The only thing she didn't understand was why she hadn't seen these girls swim at Mako for 5 months... Lewis. It was the first name that popped up in her head when she asked herself that question.
She had talked to Lewis right when she arrived at the Gold Coast. She hadn't even placed cameras around the island when she talked to him which means he warned the girls before they went swimming again.
Even though the idea was frustrating, she was also excited for this discovery. A million thoughts had popped into her mind but none of them came out as clear result of what she was going to do. She still had that question in the back of her head asking, who the other girl was in the photo?
Etheir way, that girl was connected to Cleo, Rikki and Emma meaning it wouldn't be too hard to track her down.
"What are we going to do?" Gregg finally asked after a very long silence. Even Denman didn't know the answer to that. This was way more than she ever expected.
"I guess we wait." She replied back after thinking about his question. She was still absently glaring at the photo of mermaids on her laptop.
"What? What do you mean we wait? Isn't this what we have been waiting for this whole time?" Gregg asked in confusion, not understanding what she meant by that.
"We wait for a good time to approach the girls. Make a plan or something. We can't do what we did last time. I don't want to scare them away again." Denman thought to herself, all of the ideas building up inside her thoughts.
"What about that one girl? Umm... Rikki? Does that mean her kid would also be a mermaid?" Gregg asked, looking at the photo of Rikki again. She had to be at least 8 months pregnant in that picture.
That immediately brought up a whole new chain of questions in Deman's thoughts. It could be possible. Who knew what other abilities or talents these four girls had. With one more mermaid it meant more discoveries and research. Who knew what else they could do. It was just all in a matter of time before she could make a move. And she needed to find a plan quick... before something else got in the way.
A/N: Hehe! Another cliff hanger and for that I'm REALLY sorry. Why? Probably because I won't be able to update for a while. Im going back to school so it might be a month before I write another chap. For that, I apologize in advance. Ether way please review! It always makes my day and gives me ideas to add to my story. Thanks again :D