Trrmo77: Sorry about the delay, but the final chapter always gives me duck fits! I hope this chapter pleases everyone!


Chapter thirty-one

"Nachelle?" she blinked and found Nemo staring down at her. "Come on."

"What?" she yawned as he helped her up?

"Dana has the crew and it's ready to go!" he said wrapping and arm around her waist. "We've got ten minutes to get down to the docks. Conseil is waiting for us to get out of here before letting you uncle free."

"Wait!" she said. "Do I have time to say goodbye to him?"

Nemo sighed. "Why?"

"He brought me up. I can't just leave him."

Nemo exhaled, "All right."

Nachelle followed Nemo to her room. They pushed the door open to see her uncle strapped in a chair.

"A minute." Nemo said. "We can't wait long."

She nodded and walked up to her uncle. "So that's how it's going to be?" he asked. "You're leaving with him?"

She nodded, "yes uncle."

"I don't understand you Nachelle!"

"I don't understand you either." She said. "That day we were released you yourself said he was a changed man."

"I'm only thinking of your happiness Nachelle!" her uncle said.

"Are you?" she said. "Or is it for science? I love Nemo, but never once have you said you're happy that I found someone to love! Even when I was married to Dana you remained silent! Can't you at least say you're happy I found love, even if you don't approve." Her uncle shook his head. She sighed. "I'm sorry." She kissed her uncle gently on the cheek. "Goodbye."


Five years later


Nachelle held Cary as she watched Ariel held her father's hand as they walked along the shoreline together. She chuckled as Ariel slipped on a shell and landed on her rear end. Nemo held back a laugh and pulled her up. Cary let out an 'I'm tired' cry and Nemo picked up Ariel.

"Bed time my little mermaid." He said.

Ariel sulked. "I want to swim!"

"You did my dear, but most people prefer to dive head first, not rear first."

Nachelle chuckled and stepped closer to wrap an arm around her husband's waist. He smiled, "I'm having a word with you later."

Nachelle blushed, her husband may be fifty-one, but he still all the passion of a man thirty years younger. But the last few weeks he'd seemed tired and thoughtful. As if there were something unpleasant and heavy on his mind.

"What word daddy?" Ariel asked innocently.

Nachelle blushed redder.

"A private one." Nemo said.

"What's private mean?"

"It means you're asking to many questions!" he said tickling her.

Nachelle stepped inside the front door shaking her head as she walked up the stairs. The island was civilized to a degree. Nemo had a few neighbors; most of them men who had escaped with him on the submarine but hadn't wanted to return to land. Several brought their wives and sweethearts to this strange paradise and life had moved on.

Nemo took her hand after closing the door to the nursery. She followed as he led her to their room. Nemo closed the door and lit a lamp.

His expression was serious. "Nachelle, we need to discuss what's going to become of you when I die."

She frowned. "That's not happening for a long time. Why now?"

"Because Nachelle, I am growing old and you are still young."

She wrapped her arms around his waist; "I am not young!"

"You're twenty-something years younger than me. Are you never going to tell me how old you really are?"

"Never."

"Anyway Nachelle," he sighed. "I've sent for Mr. carver."

"Who?"

"Your second husband." She looked up hesitantly at Nemo. He was dead serious. "Nachelle, I am dying. The doctor gives me a few more months to live."

"What?" she gasped. "He's wrong!"

He shook his head. "It's my heart. All those years underwater didn't help it any."

"But,"

"Shh, now, now." He covered her mouth with a finger. "We got a big taste of paradise together." He wiped away her tears. "Five years. Two children. You've made me so happy."

"Nemo, I-I can't accept this."

"You will." He said. "All my estate is in order. But I don't want my children fatherless. So, if you're able, will you marry Mr. carver?"

"Don't ask me that now."

"Nachelle, promise me."


Twenty years later


"And you actually promised mother!"

Nachelle nodded as she smoothed Ariel's hair away from her eyes and readjusted the wedding veil.

Well, I promised I'd try to love him. But I did fall in love with Dana and we were very happy." She smiled. "That's when we had Laura."

On cue Laura stuck her head in. "the groom is getting anxious! Can you put him out of his misery?"

"I will." Ariel said. "Coming!"

Nachelle groaned and walked ahead of her. "Oh, you're so like your father!"

Nachelle dabbed at her eyes and walked back out to find her seat. Vincent was a fine man and he adored Ariel. He had a sharp tongue that matched her violate temper. The first time they argued, she could have sworn she saw sparks fly.

The wedding march began to play and she turned to see Dana, looking very distinguished in his uniform; very much like he had when they'd uncle had come and everything was well between them now. Conseil and her uncle had written about their experience's and now travelled the world giving speaches. Ned had married, to everyone's shock, Melanine. She was very happy though, Ned was crazy about her.

Ariel was fidgeting like a filly about to break loose at a race and she did. She broke free from Dana's grip and charged up the aisle up to Vincent. Everyone gasped, except for the immediately family and they started laughing.

Dana sat next to her and wiped an eye, "oh she takes after you!"

"I was thinking how she takes after her birth father. Always did what he wanted."

"Hey," Dana said. "Don't I get any credit? I had to wrestle that filly for a while too!"

She nodded and kissed his cheek, "I know."

"Do you still miss him?"

"A little Dana. The heart is slow to learn about such things."

Dana nodded and squeezed her hand. "I know, he was your first and third. I was your second and fourth husband."

She chuckled. "Don't worry. You're not going anywhere for a long time. So no looking for husband number five!"

Dana wrapped his arm around her and they focused on their daughter's wedding. She was sure Nemo was here, she could almost feel his spirit in the room.

She could just picture him shaking his head. My dear, your mother brought you up to be a young lady. Not a wild horse! She smiled and wiped a tear from her eye as she focused on her smiling daughter.

The heart is a wild and wondrous thing. Strong enough to survive death, yet fragile enough to break over an unkind word. But always full of enough love to fill the universe.


The End.

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