Sophie stood at the edge of the beach, watching her brother as he sat with his girlfriend, Bella. She didn't know what it was about that girl, but Sophie didn't like her.
Sophie had worked most of her life to turn her brother, Will, into the best free diver in the world. He met Bella, and less than three months later he'd quit competing completely. Everything Sophie had worked for had been gone in a blink.
Sophie narrowed her eyes as Zane Bennett and his girlfriend, Rikki, joined the other couple. They spoke with each other quietly and then the four of them rose and started off down the beach and out of sight.
They were always going off on their own, usually to Mako island. It was like their private place. Sophie had been out there more than once and she was dying to take an even closer look at the cave, but she had promised her brother that she would leave that place alone.
Sophie crossed her arms over her chest and moodily turned to walk back towards her home. She had tried her hardest to get Zane to see that they were perfect for each other. They were both business minded, and they were both extremely money-minded. Zane just hadn't seen it. Despite Sophie's best efforts, he and Rikki were practically inseparable.
Sophie glumly walked in her front door. She quickly changed into a wetsuit and pulled her hair back tightly. She had been making cash locating pieces of brightly colored coral and ocean stones for a local fish shop. The job paid well, but she would really prefer a job behind a desk instead of having to be in the water 5 hours a day.
She reluctantly strapped on her shallow water breathing tank and headed on her way down to her boat, which was tied to the dock.
Will, Bella, Rikki, and Zane were headed out to Mako island. The two couples walked down the beach towards Will's boat house. Will and Zane were going to boat out to the island, the girls were going to swim. The couples chatted happily with each other as they walked. Things were wonderful between them. Zane and Will had formed a fragile friendship with one another. They had never gotten along and had fought bitterly with each other after Will had learned the secret. But, with Cleo and Lewis in America, they were forced to spend time with each other and found that they had a bit in common. It also helped that Will was head over heels in love with Bella. Zane no longer felt threatened when Will spent time alone with Rikki.
Rikki and Bella kissed each of their boyfriends before diving into the water. The boys took a quick look around them, just in case anyone had seen the girls jump into the water. After making sure it was all clear, Will untied his boat from the dock and the boys climbed in. Will steered the boat, pointing it towards Mako.
It was an absolutely beautiful day. The sun sparkled on the waves, making the water seem to glitter.
Bella and Rikki happily swam into the moon pool. For the first time in a long time everything felt great. They were both completely in love with boys who were nuts for them, it was the middle of summer on the most beautiful coast, and they'd just graduated high school. They spent a lot of time happily chatting about their plans for the next year. They were planning on going to college together. They excitedly planned for their future together.
Will and Zane got to the pool about twenty five minutes later. They knew the path into the cave by heart. They joined the girls in the pool, hugging them closely.
"It's about time." Rikki, said, giving Zane a tight squeeze in the water.
"Sorry, we can't all swim in." Zane smiled down at her. "Some of us need to take boats sometimes."
"Yeah, yeah..." Bella gave Will a peck on the cheek.
The four spent most of the afternoon in the pool, laughing and talking about unimportant things.
Zane checked his waterproof watch. "Hey, Rikki, we need to get going."
"Is it that late already?" Rikki whined. "Come on, We can be a little late."
"Where do you guys need to be?" Will asked
"Rikki's is hiring a new manager today." Zane explained, referring to the cafe that he and Rikki owned. "We have to be there to hold the interviews."
Rikki screwed up her face. "Right." She said unexcitedly.
The boys climbed out of the pool and stood, dripping water.
"Rikki? You mind?" Zane squeezed water out of his clothes.
"No problem." Rikki help up her hands, drying both Zane and Will in just a couple minutes.
Zane and Will headed back out of the cave, back through the jungle, and out into the boat. They headed back to shore. The girls did the same, swimming quickly. Rikki swam to a secluded piece of beach to dry off, close to the cafe. Bella swam over to Will's boathouse. She pulled herself out of the water, dried off, and waited for Will to return.
Rikki and Zane reached the entrance to the cafe at the exact came time.
"Ready to find a new manager?" Rikki asked, putting an arm around Zane's waist.
"You bet." Zane said confidently as they walked inside.
Bella sat at the dock in front of Will's boathouse for about thirty minutes before she heard the purr of the boat on the water.
Will had dropped Zane off and headed straight back home. He carefully tied off the boat and joined Bella on the dock.
"Hey you," He said as he smiled at his beautiful girlfriend.
Bella returned his smile. "Hey back."
"Want to go in?" Zane gestured to the front door.
Bella nodded. The pair walked into the boathouse. They sat and shot the breeze, throwing in a kiss here and there.
Sophie was exhausted. She'd been swimming all afternoon and hadn't come up with much coral. She wanted to be done for the day, but she knew she hadn't collected enough to sell back to the fish store. Sophie decided to travel further down the shore. She would end up near where Will lived, and if he was home he could just boat her back to the shop when she was finished.
Sophie climbed out of the water and headed down the beach towards Will's. She was exhausted and she was ill. She couldn't stop thinking about Will, and how he'd let her down. He had quit competing, and he had stopped her from collecting the rare stones she had found in the moon pool. It was his fault she was so hard up. She reached Will's place. Reluctantly, she pulled back on her oxygen mask and dove into the water. No one else ever dove here since it was so far out of the way. She found a substantial amount of coral to look through, and soon she was preoccupied with it.
Will and Bella had been cuddling on the couch for a bit. They mostly talked about their plans for the rest of summer. Soon their conversation turned to swimming. Will was a talented swimmer and could hold his breath forever. They loved to tease each other.
"All I'm saying, is that I could swim deeper than you." Will laughed as he pinched Bella's side."
"Yeah, ha ha, right." Bella laughed.
"No, I could! And then I could probably swim further than you too." Will defended himself. "I'm an excellent swimmer."
"I know you are, sweetie." Bella pulled Will's face close to hers. "But you aren't as good as me."
"Care to test it?" Will said, smiling.
Will picked Bella up, carrying her like a child to the front door.
Bella playfully kicked her legs, pretending to protest. She loved when Will played tough. Will carried her thought the door and out onto the dock.
"Last chance to admit that I'm the better swimmer." He said playfully, threatening to throw her into the water.
"Never." Bella said defiantly.
"Alright then, you must accept the consequences!" Will drew back, then threw Bella out into the water.
Sophie had been behind a particular large arrangement of coral when Bella hit the water, no less than fifteen feet away. It shocked her, she hadn't been ready for the surprise. Sophie quickly hid herself behind the coral. She recognized that the person in the water was Bella, and, irritated, she started to move out from behind her hiding place.
Just then, Sophie watched as something weird happened to Bella. Under the water, her legs extended and connected to form... Sophie squinted... a fin? Sophie looked closer. A fin! She had seen her change from a normal girl into a freak! A... mermaid?
Sophie had to keep herself from shouting out underwater and wasting her oxygen. She couldn't believe what she was seeing. She quickly positioned herself behind the coral and seaweed she'd been looking at. She knew that Bella couldn't see her in her hiding place.
Sophie watched Bella swimming. Sophie had dollar signs in her eyes. Bella was a mermaid. Imagine the scientific experiments that could be performed on her... Imagine what people would pay to see her... Sophie stopped. Poor Will, what would he say when he found out? He would be crushed. For just a second Sophie felt bad. She didn't want to hurt her brother.
At that moment, a second person dove into the water. Sophie watched as Will swam to Bella. He pulled her close to him and kissed her underwater.
Sophie was stunned. Will knew? He knew that Bella was some kind of abnormal fish?
Sophie hid as Will and Bella broke the kiss and swam away from the dock hand in hand.
Sophie couldn't make her brain form coherent thoughts. If she hadn't seen it with her own eyes she never would have believed it.
Sophie quickly climbed out of the water, dropping her coral. She knew where she was headed. She took off towards Rikki's Cafe. She needed to talk to the only other person she knew who would understand the possibilities of what she'd just seen. Someone who would be all to eager to discuss what plan of action would make the most money.