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The Oceans Under Your Stars

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I noticed him first at a party, the space between us like an ocean. I daren’t cross it. He was over by the bar, slipping sneaky scoops of the alcoholic punch into his glass, even though I was sure he wasn’t old enough. His quick eyes would glance warily around the room. He would shuffle down to the soft drinks and seemingly put some of that into his glass. I chuckled to myself. Knowing he had got away with that minor forgery, he would then lean against the table with a somewhat smug expression, eyes wandering aimlessly around the room. He was by himself, although whenever the caterer lady appeared to top up drinks and food, she would go and talk to him. I presumed that the caterer must be his sister or aunt as she looked too young to be his mother.
I noticed he kept looking at a group of girls who were standing a little way down from me, but he made no attempt to move. I didn’t blame him, from where I was standing, or, sitting (sipping a lonely glass of non alcoholic drink) they weren’t talking about anything vaguely interesting at all.

I had to admit he was very, very attractive. Perhaps, if I were so bold as to say, the most attractive guy I had ever seen. True, his shirt and loose fitting trousers weren’t really doing much for him, nor his hair being slicked back (probably by his mother to try and make him look smart). But this didn’t matter, as a few strands of stubborn hair fell lose and hung down on his cheekbones anyway, in a silent rebellion.
He had a beautifully pouty face which was somewhat squished; his little nose and mouth were pushed down to his firm jaw line by his eyes which dominated his face.
I couldn’t see what colour they were, but from my lonely seat across the room, I was sure they were gorgeous.
He had an unimpressed, moody expression most of the time,
but on a very rare occasion,
if someone did something amusing,
he might glance up through his stray hair and
flash this
smile
which made me
cry internally.

As time ticked on and the adults got drunk and my glass emptied boredom really began to kick in. I was please that the girls began to move (as how many boyfriends and kisses they’d had wasn’t entertaining at all) and giggle their way across the room. I wasn’t pleased though that they were going over to him. I watched his face as they approached, and it was safe to say that he looked terrified. He tried to cover that of course with a smile but it was not a real one. They stood around him, four girls backing up the poor lad against the table. I obviously couldn’t hear what they said, but after half an hour or so one girl had taken his hand and was walking him towards the glass doors which lead into the Palace Gardens.
I stood at this point, standing on my tiptoes to try and see past everybody. They had gone.
Upset but immensely curious, I decided I must find out what was going on.
I nipped up the stairs (careful that mum and dad didn’t notice), went through my bedroom window and accessed the garden that way.

I crept behind the bushes, listening out for voices. I couldn’t hear anything. Disappointed, I kept low, jogging across any open spaces so not to be noticed. A little further down I saw them.
He was slowly stepping backwards, glancing around anxiously as she walked further towards him. I realised that soon he would be backed up against the wall and trapped there. What was it with girls and backing the poor guy up? I could just about make out what they were saying.
She was trying to get him to kiss her!
I looked on in shock, as I could see that he wanted no part in this. When he was backed fully against the wall he made a quick dart away from her, but instead of running back to the hall (which I was rooting for him to do) he turned back to her, yet still slowly moved away. I sighed, he was being a gent I guessed.
She was getting angry and embarrassed that he didn’t fancy her and was asking him why over and over and over and over again. He was being really friendly, saying that she was very pretty but he just didn’t like her.
Eventually, she snapped.
She burst into tears and ran back to the hall, shoving him over as she went. He fell back onto the grass, but didn’t move until she had gone. I could not see his face, as his back was to me, but his shoulders were rising and falling quickly. After a time he slowly got up, brushed himself off and started to go back to the hall.
As he passed me it was as if he could feel eyes on him as he abruptly looked over to where I was hidden. He frowned slightly and started to move towards my hiding place. I, wide eyed at being found, shuffled back until I was leaning against the wall. I squeezed my eyes shut (as if that would help me) and waited to be screamed at.
It didn’t happen though.
Instead I heard his footsteps disappear up the path into the hall.
I let out my breath that I had been holding. I then rubbed my eyes. What a scene!
Gathering my nerve again I went back to my window, climbed up my roses and snuck back into the hall.

On entering I straight away noticed the girls all huddled together, the one from outside still crying. I nonchalantly wandered near enough to be able to hear what they were saying… as the looks they were shooting towards the boy, who was back by the bar, would’ve killed him if he had turned around.
I was stunned when I heard the crying girl sob: ‘Jim’ (so that’s his name. Jim. Jimmy, Jimbo) ‘*sob* made me *sob* kiss him *sob*. He made me *double sob* … do things !’ Then she burst into an uncontrollable flood of tears.
I was pretty blatantly staring at them by this point, completely and utterly taken aback by the girls shocking accusation. One of them noticed me and shrieked a harsh what are you looking at? I shook my head in defence, quickly turning my attention elsewhere.
He had noticed their huddle by this point and looked uncomfortably around the room before speed walking, head lowered, into the kitchen area where the woman was.

“Melody.” I glanced up. It was mother. Red hair flowing in fire waves down her shoulders. It was a mystery to everyone how her hair was always so pristine. It was a mystery to me too! She smiled at me, resting a hand on my shoulder. “You should get an early night.” My jaw dropped.
“Seriously?” I asked, disbelieving. I was almost 12 and was still being ferreted off to bed!
“You have a big day next week.” Mum smiled. I gave her my best unimpressed look before wandering to the stairs. I glanced back, to see if Jim had come back in the room.

Just as I looked at the kitchen door, he came back inside, arms crossed and eyes alert. No pout. No smile. He glanced once at the girls, but they shot him cruel looks so he looked feebly away, going to the buffet. I, two steps up the flight of stairs- walked down one step, looking (rather unsubtly) at him. Mum caught my eye though, as she was staring at me, gesturing for me to continue up the stairs. How long had she been staring for? I pulled a face, but obediently turned away, hoisting my dress up and waddling up the stairs. Just before I went out of the view though, I glanced back at him one last time. At that moment he turned away from the food and glanced up the stairs.

For a couple of seconds Melody experienced what it felt like for your heart to stop. For the world to stop. She felt completely absorbed in this moment, in his face, in his eyes that held her own. . But then Jim looked away, a shadow of sadness on him. Melody looked on at him sadly but then gathered herself up, shaking her head. She continued up the stairs and went out of sight.

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That night, she went out to her rock on the ocean, above the corals where she collects her shells. She thought about Jim. When eventually she went to bed, she thought about him some more. The next day, as she bathed, had breakfast, went to town with her mother- she thought about him some more. Whilst they were walking around the town, her mother stopping to talk to basically everyone, Melody tried to figure out the best way to bring him up. She really wanted to tell Ariel about what the girl had said versus what she saw. At the same time though she wanted to be subtle, to be casual, to be smooth . Naturally, she wasn’t very smooth. But she could try. Just as she had finally figured out a way to bring him up they rounded a corner and

Shitting shells on the shore he was there!

With the lady from the party, they were gathering food from the market. Mum called.
“Sarah!”. My eyes went even wider (if that was possible) at the realisation that Sarah was friends with mum and… yes… they were going to stop. And ah there he is there he is there he is there he is there he is there he is there he is there he is… Sarah looked over and smiled at mum who was now arms wide approaching her. They hugged.
“How are you?”
“Yes fine!”
“All ready for Saturday?”
“Oh for sure.” Sarah beamed. I looked decisively not at Jim, instead the cobbled ground was exceptionally fascinating today. Oh would you look at that speck how fun… “This must be the lovely Melody!” My cobbled floor dreams were cut short. I looked up, bewildered. I quickly pasted a smile on my face. Sarah extended a hand. I shook it. “Are you excited for your party on Saturday? It’s an honour for me to be able to cater for it.” I forced my eyes to stay on Sarah, so much so that my eyes began to water at the lack of blinking…
“Yes…” I hesitated. “Very much.” From my peripheral vision I could see that Jim was leaning against a stall, arms crossed, eyes cast downward with his now un-slicked hair hanging loosely over his face. I showed my teeth again. I would need to work on my fake smile…
“Oh, this is my James.”

Lord take me now.

Wait. Her James. Her son! I HAD JUST MET THE MOTHER-IN-LAW. Oh… I thought it was Jim?

The boy moved now, eyes quickly looking up and he coolly moved forward, that smile resting on his lips. He stood briefly next to his mother, who was opposite mum. I noticed this made him opposite me.
“It’s Jim, mum.” He rolled his eyes, offering his hand across the space to my mum. She took it and he charmingly lent forward and kissed it. Mum chuckled. I died a little bit inside.
“Pleasure to meet you James… oh, sorry, Jim. ” He flashed his smile a second time as he stepped back in line with his mother again. I was innocently doe-eyed watching him, but was soon betrayed by my face which flushed crimson. I could feel the heat in my face so much that I was sure I saw him sweating from the heat. I could even feel it all the way down to my slight formed… um… chest . Of course, I blushed because he was now looking at me, a slight-grin enchanting his features. He reached his hand out to me. For an uncomfortable split second I just looked at it, wondering what it was there for. I then engaged my melting brain and put my hand in it. I gulped as he grinned again. Instead of bowing and kissing my hand like he had with mum, he lifted my hand up more and kissed it like that, not once removing his eyes from me (or his smile…) I swear, my heart had moved into my ear canal and was deafening me. I didn’t even care to think how sweaty my hands must’ve been…
“I’m Jim.” He said, releasing my hand. I realised that this was my moment to say I’m Melody. But instead all I could manage was:
“I’m Mel- Mel-” Ridiculous Melody, you stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid  girl. Mel Mel, who do I think I am? A teenage wannabe band? My eyes yo-yoed from his steady eyes (oh, they are blue… *swoon*) to the cobbles.
“Short for Melody right?” His hand rubbed at the collar of his open necked khaki shirt, revealing his collar bone. I tried to rip my eyes away from them, but the force was strong. (Star Wars pun intended.) I did manage to nod though, my face still in a state of tomato shock.

Despite how this felt to Melody, this little ordeal was over within seconds and soon enough Sarah and Ariel were chatting gossip and food. Melody stood there, hands crossed protectively across her chest. She tried to keep her eyes on her mother and Sarah, attempting to join the conversation but her voice was still failing her. Melody’s eyes though were just as mischievous as their owner and they couldn’t help but glance up at Jim. He was a bit taller than her, hands in the pockets of his loose fitting trousers. Her eyes climbed to his face but were appalled to see him still looking at her, head tilted forward slightly, eyebrows raised, mouth smiling. As she looked away hastily he relaxed his eyebrows and tilted his back slightly, revealing his teeth in a smile.
“I remember you from the party.” He said, quietly enough not to distract the mothers. Her eyes snapped back to him again. She gave a pathetic smile and nodded her head slightly.
“Yeah-” She managed. Good! She cooed to herself. Conversation has been engaged!
“You um, don’t talk much do you?”

Unfortunately for Melody, Ariel zoned in at this sentence. She leaned to the side slightly, interjecting a:
“We can’t get her to shut up at home. She’s not used to handsome young men.” Ariel winked at Jim then casually went back to Sarah, resuming effortlessly their conversation. Melody, utterly mortified was calmed by the fact he was reddening. Jim looked embarrassedly from Ariel to Melody to the floor. He then glanced at Melody (who was still blushing) and back to the floor. Melody gave a nervous smile. But it was genuine this time.
“Did you…” She stammered. “Um, enjoy it?” She ignored the fact her voice sounded croaky because of how dry her mouth had become. She couldn’t keep eyes on him, but her flicking light eyes landed on his numerous times. He had such… kind eyes. They became steady again, seemingly feeding of Melody’s instability. He nodded, but for a moment a shadow seemed to pass across his eyes. It didn’t linger, but it was enough to remind Melody of what happened. Shoot . He shrugged.
“Yeah, it was good. I hope Saturdays better. It’s your birthday right?” Melody nodded, letting a smile touch her lips again. “How old you gonna be?”
“Oh, um… twelve.”
“Ah sweet.” He glanced at his mum. Melody panicked slightly internally. He was bored of the conversation! He was trying to leave the conversation! Without thinking she said
“So you’ll be there?” As soon as she said it she scolded herself. Silly. Sounding desperate. He just said he was going and here you go blabbering about if he’s going to be-
“Definitely…” Ariel and Sarah were saying goodbye. Melody couldn’t hide the disappointment and… fear(?) that they would now part. Sarah said goodbye to Melody. She turned to walk away and Ariel did the same. Melody looked back at Jim, he was smiling at her. He looked like there was something else he wanted to say. Just before he was out of ear shot Melody heard a quiet “There’s a princess I want to dance with.” He winked and then walked away with his mother.

Melody, naturally in shock, gawped after him. Ariel went to speak to her daughter, only to realise that she was still standing where they were before.
“Melody?” Nothing. She went to her, took a moment to follow Melody’s gaze before tapping her on the shoulder. Melody came back to earth and blinked at her mother, then snapped back to normal. Ariel chuckled to herself. They went around the stalls for a little while; Melody got a drink, a new ribbon for the party while Ariel looked at Melody. Really looked at her. She realised that they were so incredibly similar. She was like herself in that Ariel new she would fall just as hard as she had for Eric. If not harder. And this scared her. A lot.

“So.” Ariel broke Melody’s silent search for another ribbon. “Did he propose?”
Melody choked on her drink. Ariel laughed, patting her back. The blush returned.
“Mum!”
“I’m sorry hun.” Ariel said, still laughing. “He’s a good looking lad. And you do need to dance with someone how you’ve rehearsed with your father. Remember?” Melody looked to be at a loss for words. “We’ll see ey?”

Saturday couldn’t come any quicker.

Monday went well.
Tuesday, brilliant.
Wednesday superb.
But Thursday.

Thursday did not go well.

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It began unlike any morning in the Palace, in complete silence. This alarmed me more than a gunshot would’ve. Well, that might be a bit excessive, but you know what I mean. I went to my door and slowly, slowly pushed it open. I listened intently. Nothing. I tiptoed onto the landing, eyes darting like vipers all around.
There was not one person anywhere. Where was everyone?

Then.

Something.

Muffled voices. Downstairs. Where?
In the study.
I went to the top of the stairs, leaning on the banister that overlooks the lobby. The study was in the room opposite to the staircase but on the ground floor, so I could see the door clearly but the blinds were pulled.
The muffled voices were ranging in pitches and volumes. There was a constant calm voice… dad? A shrieking ladies voice that was accusing in tone and someone… crying? Yes, a girl crying.
Okay, so, a lady accusing someone of something that happened to a girl?
I thought for a moment. Where’s the defendant? Another ladies voice. Apologetic. Then quiet. But not a quiet I noticed that was empty. Instead someone with a soft voice must be talking.
Moments after the lull the shrieking lady rampaged again, the sobbing intensified and then mums’ voice chimed in, quieting down everyone.
The apologetic voice.
Then. The soft voice. I could hear it this time, because they were clearly getting angry and then suddenly the door opened and the sound of running echoed off the marble floor.
Simultaneously a chorus of voices sounded:
“Get back here!” In an angry tone.
“Stop!” In a sobbing gone screaming tone.
“We’ll listen to you!” Dad.
“Come back.” Mum.

But ringing across all of them was a mother’s cry for her son.
Sarah.
“Jim!!” In a terrified tone.

I looked down and it was Jim running out of the study towards the door. As he came out something made him glance up and for a second he looked at me. It seemed to last forever- his red eyes from crying caught on mine, hair dishevelled from angered movements and sweating. I stared on in shock. But then he was gone, out the door of the palace.

Sarah ran out afterwards and disappeared from view.
The mother and daughter eventually appeared.
That bitch.
I instantly knew what had happened, and in my anger and sorrow for Jim I shouted down from the stairs.
“He didn’t do it!” They, the two nasty humans and mum and dad looked up in shock. I jogged downstairs fiery eyes locked on the girl. “You said he did things didn’t you?”
There was a flash of acknowledged hatred in her eyes before she had another breakdown .
“You’re lying aren’t you… aren’t you?!” (I was impressed with my sass to be honest)
“Melody stop!” Mum hissed.
“Outrage!” Shrieked the mother of the girl.
“No.” I said. “I went outside when they did, at the party, and she tried to kiss him! He refused.”
The girls’ breakdown paused. Oh the look she gave me. If only there were words to describe it. Putrid venom almost covers it. The breakdown didn’t pause for long of course.
“I will not stand by this outrageous accusation. You obviously just fancy the lad and want to” she made over the top quotation marks with her fingers “’ save him’” .
“No way!” I exclaimed (but my blush didn’t help my cause.) “He’s innocent, fair and square!”
“I think,” Dad. Voice of reason. “We should leave this here for now. We can resume this if necessary another day.”
I made to protest but dad gave me a look. And if dad gives you a look, you shut your mouth and count your stars. The lady snarled and the girl nodded solemnly. Glaring at me, they then walked off.

 

I never saw them again.

 

“Melody?” Mum. “What was that?” She looked very anxious.
“He didn’t do it mum. We need to go and find them!” I turned swiftly and made for the door. A firm arm stopped me.
“No Melody. Even if what you’re saying is true they’d be better of leaving, as an accusation like that, in a little town like this, won’t be lived down.”
I stared in disbelief.
“What do you mean… leaving?” I could feel my eyes brimming with tears. The overwhelming situation was taking its toll.
Mum looked at me sadly.
“We suggested that they leave, all involved will be safer that way. As there wasn’t evidence and Sarah agreed to leave which is why Jim ran-”
“What do you mean ‘ all involved’. He didn’t do anything! He refused even to ki-” I cut myself off at this point with my bursting into tears. Distraught I ran back up the stairs, hearing mum and dad calling me back. I slammed the door.
I laid face first on my bed, screaming and crying into my pillow.
It wasn’t fair.
He was innocent.
And I did nothing to save him.

In the days after, things became very confusing for Melody. The party was a disaster. Melody was even happy Jim had gone back to whatever planet he came from, as the humiliation would’ve literally made her die. Then the locket, the mermaid heritage; her whole life being suspended by a fisherman’s hook.
Despite all the happenings in-between though,
she never did forget the boy.
She reunited ocean and land.
And yet, as the years flickered by, she wished to see him again.
To tell him she was sorry for letting him down.

In the days after going home from Earth, Jim was arrested for various crimes. He felt so alone. So disorientated. His own mother had agreed to leave, but, he knew deep down why. It was all so conflicting .
Very soon though he found the golden sphere, and suddenly everything seemed to fall into place.
Despite all the happenings in-between though, he never did forget what had happened. What he was accused of. It made him feel sick. He swore not to go back there again. Ever. It brewed and brewed inside him, this darkness scaring his otherwise golden self.

Time passed as time always does. Fast.

Melody dated Alex the merboy.
Jim joined the Interstellar Academy.
Melody learned with her Grandfather how to rule the ocean. (She preferred to be a mermaid.)
Jim became a military cadet, touring planets.

Melody’s 18 th birthday came and went.
Jim’s 21 st birthday came and went.

But then, three years later, a day happened. A day of great unlikely happenings.
A day of great unlikely happenings which happened .

I was playing ice checkers with Tip and Dash on drifting ice way out in the ocean. We preferred to play way out, it was quieter. Then, a bizarre star began to glint in the sky. I stared at it quizzically; it was daytime. It didn’t stop, if anything, it began getting brighter, brighter. Bigger, bigger. Closer, closer.
It wasn’t a star, I realised. Moments later my instincts kicked in. I cried out and began to swim away. Tip and Dash dived into the water too, all of us swimming with as much haste as we could fathom.

I grasped onto the sail. Mayday! Mayday! The crew were mad. I hadn’t known what was happening. It all happened so quickly . Some of the crew had mutinied and now the ship was going down. We were falling. We were crashing .
I grasped at the central pole, for once completely at a loss of what to do. Morph looked at me worriedly. Usually I was so savvy (if I may say so myself) but the sight of the rapidly approaching blue threw me mentally into a pit of panic. I knew our ship wouldn’t make it.

In my speed to swim away, I realised I had dropped my gold locket. Ever the sentimental and with the stubborn nature of my mother I shrieked in remembrance and turned, flapping frantically back to the ice. Tip and Dash noticed, yelling after me to stop. But it was too late.

The ship was already there. I dive bombed down into the water, my screams becoming muffled into the waves and the ear piercing sounds.

The ship hit.

Everything went black

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Tip and Dash had tried to search for Melody, but piercing shrapnel was a foe to the blubbering wrecks. Their eyes smothered in tears didn’t help either.
They went back to Atlantica and Tridents finest troops were called forwards to search the wreckage.

Ariel and Eric undertook a land search too. Everything was like déjà vu.
They searched for her. For her or her body. Neither was found.

What they didn’t realise though was that, amidst the bodies of the dead, James Pleiades Hawkins’ body was not there either.

Back on her planet, Sarah heard nothing about the crash. Nothing about how her young Jim was doing. She sat in simultaneous anxious joy. Anxiety of course that her son, now 24, still had his impulsiveness from when he was 15; but joy that he was living the life he was destined for. A life on the open breeze of space.

Eventually though, she did find out that they had crashed. She kept all hope that he was not killed. As time passed though, the hope dwindled. Eventually of course, it ran out.

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I don’t know how I did it.

I don’t know how I had the strength.

But I guess, when you’re in life threatening situations your instincts kick in and save lives.

My only regret is that I couldn’t save everyone.

It gives me nightmares.

 

I was sinking, but conscious. There was light above and I knew I had to get to it. I began to swim up, around the wreckage. I caught my leg on something. I looked down, eyes wide in fear. Blood was seeping out. I managed to unhook my leg, briefly realising that that would probably scar. I guess it’s a good thing though, as if I hadn’t caught my leg I wouldn’t have seen her. I couldn’t think at the time who she was but I could see she was unconscious and sinking into the darkness below. There was also blood drifting from her head. I dived deeper, clasped my arms around her and forced my body to the surface. When I gasped in the air, I can tell you, there is no better feeling. I made sure she was hoisted above water level too, although I presumed from her tail she’d probably be alright either way. I then looked around, legs kicking frantically beneath to keep me afloat. I dipped under a few times, but seeing my mother's face behind my eyes gave me an unknown energy to keep going. I half bobbed, half swam until I got to a large enough piece of ice to hoist her and myself on to. The ice had broken off from the collision, so I just let us float. Float away and away and away.

I didn’t look back at the wreckage.

The first thing I did was turn my attention to her head. Where do I know you from? She had a gash at the back of her head, but on further analysis I realised it wasn’t large or deep. I tore off a piece from the hem of my shirt and wrapped it around to quell the bleeding. I then checked her for other injuries. She seemed fine. I then turned my attention to my leg. I tore off more of my shirt to tie the wound, it was hurting, but I knew only time could help my leg now. Once I had done that I stopped to look at her.
She was quite something.
Onyx hair short and silken, despite dripping with water, reached her collarbone. She was slender in frame, but not skinny with a nipped in waist like some women. Instead she looked healthy, like there were actually organs within her. Her stomach wasn’t toned and I reckoned she enjoyed a slice of cake as much as the next person… or … mermaid, however this only made me smile. She wore a cream clam bra which had a small green gem in the middle. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t stare at the gem for a while, nor wish I could be it for a moment. Removing my eyes from her, um, lady-ness I moved my eyes down to her tail. It was salmon colour, the scales gleaming under the amber sun. I bit on my lip in curiosity. Glancing around (as if someone might jump accusingly from the ocean) I ran my fingers over the scales at the bottom of her tail, by the fin (like a true gentleman, not up by her fish ass… if that’s what they call it). I had never felt a mermaid’s tail before. Nor seen one before come to think of it, but living in a world full of bizarre things, you don’t let it affect you.
True to say, she was quite something; a beauty which doesn’t make a racket about itself, nor make an entrance like a pompous royal. However, something in me told me she was a royal. But why I thought that I didn’t know.

After admiring her for some time, I bought my eyes to look around me. The sun was setting and there wasn’t any land on the horizon. Thankfully though, the sky looked calm so I figured (hoped) there was little chance of a storm. It was then that I remembered Morph. I sat up like a meerkat, now acutely aware of my dear friends’ potential fate. I looked back towards where the crash had happened, but in the darkening sea little could be seen. I ran my hands through my hair, overgrown from my usual neat cut. It was flopping forward like it used to when I was a teen. It frustrated me greatly. But none of that mattered, as I drifted along, now feeling like I was freezing into the iceberg… I realised he didn’t make it.

I cried, hiding my tears in a soaking wet arm.

I must have fallen asleep after that as I woke up coughing on sand. I rolled onto my back and rubbed my hands on my trousers, then lifted them to rub my face. Slowly I sat up, hesitantly opening my eyes. I blinked in the sight of idyllic blue. I stared jaw dropped at the sight. It was gorgeous. The blue of the sea was just stretched out until it kissed the sky far away, in a place that I knew I could never reach. I mean, I could reach it in the sense I could fly in the sky where the blue ends, but the meeting one sees of the sky and the sea is unfathomable. There was a shimmer on the gentle waving aqua which looked like tiny tiny stars had fallen on the ocean over night. They sparkled and danced in the gentle breeze that swirled around me. It wasn’t greatly different from space, still an expanse of some thing that we humans could never understand. Both had us completely captivated. But you could touch the ocean in a way you could never touch space. Space was just, space , full of life but not a living breathing thing itself. But the ocean , oh the ocean… she was breathing. She was very much alive. Alive in a way that I had rarely experienced; alive in a way that didn’t forget how it felt to be alive when the moment had passed. You ever get that? Pockets of life every now and again where you feel the blood in your veins and the rhythm of your heart… infinity moments. But what I found is, once those moments end, I can’t remember what it was like; how my skin could fit me so perfectly and everything be aligned. I go back to normal and everything loses its brightness a little bit.

But the ocean, as she was breathing and dancing, never lost her sparkle.

I don’t know how long I stayed there, but eventually I came out of my trance like state and stood up. I grimaced at the pain of my leg, but I  knew I’d have to get up sooner or later. I turned around looking to see where I was. It was a little island with some rocks and greenery. I reckoned I could walk to the other side within 10 minutes or so. I then frowned, where was the mermaid? I cursed myself for being so scatty. I wasn’t a naturally scatty person, but recently after long drawn out voyages I was really struggling. I couldn’t see her anywhere. I started to walk (well limp) further in land, but groaned when I remembered that she would be in water, unless she had crawled in land. I turned back to the sea, but I knew if I were to see her, I would’ve already. I just had to hope that she was alright.

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Melody was alright. She had woken up while they were still on the ice. It took her awhile to process what had happened, why her head was bandaged and to guess why she, well, they were floating aimlessly. Melody could tell dawn wasn’t far off, but while the stars still tracked the sky she could use them to find her haven. She slipped off into the water, and pushed the ice in the direction she wanted. Thankfully it wasn’t against the current so manoeuvring wasn’t difficult. As dawn lit the inky sky they reached the island. Melody pushed the ice as far onto the island as possible then let the tide take the ice and Jim onto the shore.

Jim.

Jim.

When she had first awoken and rolled to the side, subconsciously stretching her arm out, it had landed on a body. She had sat up (going temporarily blind from head rush and the soreness of her head from her injury) and looked confusedly at the man asleep next to her. She had stared at him for a good 5 minutes before agreeing with her instinct that yes, this was Jim. She then put the pieces together that the ship from the sky must have been his and he must have put her here, bandaged her head and fallen asleep.

He had saved her. She smiled. She always adored the story growing up how her mother had saved her father from drowning. This was the same except backwards and without the fear of her drowning (if he had even realised that). The wreckage could have killed her though, so she worked extra hard to make sure he arrived safely at her haven before the sun rose and the ice melted.

When he was safely on shore, and Melody had swam around the island to gather some supplies from the ever providing sea, she went back to take a good look at him.
He was awake.
She stayed hidden, eyes peeking up from the sea. He was staring, entranced by the view. That’s what had taken her by this place when she had discovered it years ago on one of her long adventures on her own. The view was exquisite. Eventually he became animated, as if the ocean had released him from her hypnosis. He turned as if to go somewhere, decided against, then looked back at the sea with a disappointed expression. Sighing and head lowered, he then turned back to the island and walked inland.

Melody followed him, keeping as close to land as possible. She lost sight of him a few times as he weaved within the trees but she soon had him in her sights again. Eventually he got to the other side, with an identical view to the side he had just been on. The only difference of course was the position of the sun. Melody stayed out of sight but then, out of nowhere his eyes darted suddenly in her direction. She dropped herself under water and stayed there for a moment, tail swaying like seaweed underneath. She glanced up a few times, the sun beaming into the water, but daren’t go up to see where he was.

Abruptly though the water in front of her was moving and splashing towards her. She was propelled back slightly by the force of something new in the water, but soon recovered herself and looked ahead of her.

Jim had jumped in.

They were about 3 meters apart. She blinked nervously at him, mouth agape. His hair was gently flowing around his head, and his shirt had billowed out rising slightly to reveal a glimpse of his stomach. She saw his eyes run along her body, which made her blush. But then he smiled at her, teeth unbelievably white for a space sailor. Melody’s face couldn’t help but beam back at him. He then gestured up with his eyes and swam to the surface. Melody didn’t follow him straight away. How did he know I was here? She sighed, but chuckled anyway. She followed him up.

I realised she was following me when I decided to explore the island. It was something like déjà vu, the heavy weight on me of eyes watching. I couldn’t explain it; I just knew I felt it. I had looked out the corner of my eyes at the water, and sure enough there was a different kind of ripple following me along the island. I wandered around the trees to try and lose it but still in the opening it was there. I smiled to myself. I guessed she had woken, got frightened and was now watching me to see what I was like.

The island itself was sweet, I noted there were fruits in the trees and on the barely trodden paths. When I got to the other side I realised there was a little supply of clams and weird looking rock things. I figured she must have collected these as supplies. When finally I looked around I caught a glimpse of black hair dipping into the water. I slowly approached the ripple, secretly knowing she wouldn’t swim away. She was too curious. I picked my moment and jumped forward off the rock and into the water.

When my eyes adjusted and looked forward she was there; wide eyes staring at me, not from fear though. It was then that I recognised her.

Melody.

The girl from the town where… Yeah. That town. But Melody had been smitten with me, as inexperienced as I was, I couldn’t not notice the blush that crept inside her top. Her eyes which I always found on me; even at the party I felt the weight of being watched and quickly realised it was her. Now, as she wavered as gently in front of me as seaweed on the ocean floor I felt the same feeling, but more. As I looked down her body (noting the same blush as years ago) a desire began scrambling within me to reach out and touch her. The light from the sun was cradling her features and I concluded that I wanted to do the same. Obviously I didn’t, and before my body got too carried away I was grinning and heading to the surface. I breathed in the air and brightness of the island as I swam around to walk up on the beach.

I walked to the rock that I had jumped off of and sat down, legs hanging just above the water. I subconsciously swung my legs, eyes watching the wavering dark shadow of her body beneath the calm waves. Not long after she emerged, blinking in the brightness. She looked up at me, smiling quizzically. Her arms were slowly swishing at her side. I leant forward onto my knees and tilted my head to the side, watching how she responded. She was doing very well, managing to stay calm. After the comfortable silence had almost run out I spoke.
“You’re looking good Melody.” Her eyes went wide at the acknowledgment of who she was. “Although I could’ve sworn you didn’t have a tail.” She chuckled; glancing at me then away, then back to me. Damn she was beautiful.
“Yeah, land wasn’t really doing it for me.” Her voice was similar except more regal. She sounded self assured, like she knew things you could only ever hope to. However there was also a glimmer of something else that I can only describe as this: she would never start a riot but if the opportunity to join in appeared she’d be the first one there. I grinned. I liked that.
“I know how that feels. You can’t move on land can you, not like you can up there” I gestured to the sky “or down there.” I gestured to where she was bobbing on the surface. She smiled knowingly in response and nodded her head. Water droplets were dripping down her face, her eyelashes were darkened by the moisture and her hair was stuck down her neck and along her collarbone. “So um.” I continued, realising she wasn’t going to say anything. “Where did you get it?” She arched an eyebrow. “The tail I mean.” She smiled, her teeth all in their set places.
“My grandfather.” She said. I lifted my eyebrows in surprise, jaw dropping. “Yeaaah. A lot happened after you-” for a tiny moment a shadow seemed to block the light in her eyes “-left.” She shifted in the water. I opened my mouth to speak but the reminder of the past caught me off guard and I faltered. A slight paused ensued.
“So you are half mermaid then?” She thought for a moment, then let out a gentle, thoughtful huff.
“If my top half wasn’t human I’d be a fish.” She said, a smile perking on her lips and eyes suddenly mischievous. I laughed and rolled my eyes, realising how my phrase could be misinterpreted.
“I didn’t mean it like that.”
“I know.” She smiled. “Yeah, my mum was a mermaid but became a human for my dad.”
“Wow, commitment.”
“Yeah.” She scoffed, drifting into a thought, eyes on the rock I was sitting on.
“What? You don’t approve?” I frowned. She seemed to come out of the thought, shrugged and then propelled herself backwards in the water, floating on her back in another thought. Her tail flicked every now and again out of the water. I watched her, mesmerized by the ease of her floating and movements.
“No, well, yeah… no.” She unsuccessfully followed her train of thought and exhaled an exasperated breath. “No.” She decided, smiling that she finally decided on a word. “I give her credit for becoming a human. She wanted that before she met dad. It’s just what she went through afterwards for dad. What both of them went through.” She sighed. “I never understood it.” She then came off her back, eyes looking towards me again. She gave a little smile. “So um. You need a ship I guess. To go home?” I thought for a moment then nodded slowly.
“Yeah, I guess so.”
“Goodness, don’t be too enthusiastic!”
“No I.” I shook my head at her, grinning. “I would love a ship.”
“Ah there we go.” She smirked. “We have plenty back home. I’m sure you could-”
“No!” I blurted, quickly gathering myself at her look at shock and adding “They’re um, not the right type anyway.” She didn’t look convinced. “I mean, they sail but I fly .” She nodded her head, her facial expression saying ‘oh that’s not the real reason but never mind’.
“Well. What are you going to do then?” She asked, looking genuinely concerned.
“Stay here until someone gets me I guess. Or until I can make a solar surfer and fly away.” She frowned, head tilting sideways slightly.
“Solar surfer?” I had forgotten not everyone had the fun of childhood I had getting arrested and the like.
“It’s a fast board that flies. Great fun.” She nodded, impressed.
“How um, are you going to do that? There’s nothing here.” Her eyes darted up to the island then slowly gazed across the colours.
“You’re right. But there’s bound to be stuff I can use under the sea.”
“Oh like wreckage?” She looked back at me. I had clocked that she seemed a lot calmer. Perhaps me on land and her in water comforted her.
“Yeah.”
“You a good swimmer then?”
“Not the best to be honest.” I admitted.
“So how are you planning on bringing up wreckage?” She was confused. Here goes nothing I thought to myself. I did love entering dangerous territory.
“I’m not going to. You are.” She quirked her eyebrows up in shock, mouth an O.
“What?”
“You will find me wreckage to use.”
“Why would I do that?” She smiled confusedly. “I’m going home.”
“No you’ll stay.”
“Why would I stay?”
I paused. Do I do this? Is it too soon? If this backfired then I knew I could be stuck here forever. Die alone on a little island without anybody. I knew though that I had to bring this up with her, so it may as well be now.
“For one thing, you want to.”
“How’d you figure that?” She interjected.
“Because you would have gone already. But!” I said quickly, making sure she didn’t interrupt. Her mouth was still open, words ready to be fired. “You owe me.”
“Oh, for ‘saving my life’.” She said with mock quotation marks and a sarcastic tone. I was taken back, having forgotten about that.
“Oh. Well, yes but that wasn’t my original thing.” She looked very confusedly at me now, but still the nervous smile remained.
“What then?”
“Because you knew I was innocent.” I said. There. I had said it. Her eyes instantly went wide and she moved backwards slightly, the shock and understanding in her face blatantly obvious. I could see her trying to figure it out in her head though, how I knew. Her brows were pulling together. Then they relaxed and she looked at me sadly.
“You knew I was watching.”
I nodded at her, my lips scrunching together and going to one side.
“I was angry for ages.” I said, eyes lingering on the water instead of her. “But as I got older I realised you were so young, as was I, so um… it. No, you couldn’t be blamed. You probably didn’t even know what was going on.” I laughed nervously. Blimey, why was I getting so nervous? I looked at Melody then and she was smiling sadly at me.
“I did know.” She admitted, eyes glancing away from mine. She paused, I could tell there was more she wanted to say, but she decided against. She then glanced back at me, rolling her eyes to lighten the mood which had darkened. “Alright ‘Mr Guilt-trip’, you win. I’ll get you supplies so you stop holding an age old grudge.” I raised my hands defensively, glad she had changed the mood of the situation.
“Hey that’s not fair!”
“It sure is!” She said, but her eyes held no menace.

The sun was at its peak, painting ribbons of gold across the sapphire sky.

“Do you want me to have a look now?” She was looking at me, her face verging on serious again. I shrugged.
“Nah it’s alright. Your work can begin tomorrow.” I said. I winked as I stood up, stretched (inwardly glad my clothes were drying) and walked away from the water. I started to investigate the pile of things she had presumably gathered. I couldn’t hear her swimming around to the beach, but when I heard an “oh” I looked over to the sound and was startled to see here lying calmly on the beach on her side, elbow on the sand and head in hand. Mermaids do move fast! Her tail swished in the shallow water. I paused, once again having to gather myself while looking at her. I realised then that I was smiling stupidly. Within that moment she had grown embarrassed and had sat up, curling her tail into herself. She glanced away from me to the pile of things.
“They’re edible. We don’t really like eating fish…” Her voice trailed off. I nodded, trying to keep my eyes off her for longer than three seconds, but nope, my excitable self wouldn’t let me.
“How do you um. Do you like cook it?” She lifted an eyebrow and giggled. “What?!” I asked, genuinely confused.
“Think about what you said.” She grinned, eyes bright with amusement. I thought for a moment. She sighed, shook her head and said “we eat them under water .”
Goodness gracious I need to think before I speak. I groaned in dramatic exasperation and covered my face with my hands. I could hear her giggling again. I then peeked through my fingers like a scared child watching a horror film.
“I’m not stupid I swear.” I said as I dragged my hands down and off my face.
“That has yet to be proven.” I gave a short laugh at her response, eyes glancing up at the sky. I then dropped my eyes to the floor, head tilting downwards. I then lifted my eyes and eyebrows, wrinkling my forehead and gazed at her. The remnants of laughing still on her face she looked back at me. She then gave a little laugh and looked away, bit her lips in, released them and briefly looked back at me. I ran my hands through my hair, It was still light so I decided to explore the island further. She nodded in response and went into the water. I watched it ripple before the water was calm.

I once again thought about my current reliance on her.

Something told me she wouldn’t swim away. She wouldn’t leave me.

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Chapter Text

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That evening when Melody went back up to the island and pulled herself onto the rock Jim had sat on earlier, she was surprised to see him lying on the beach not under the cover of trees. She held herself on the rock with her arms crossed over each other- her tail hanging down into the water; as if she had just climbed a mountain and this was the last ledge she needed to hoist herself up on. He had made a small campfire and was pointing at the sky with his right hand, tracing patterns in the air. Bemused she glanced up and was instantly taken aback by the beauty of the stars. Although she had been on this island many times and spent many restless nights watching the stars, she was always dazzled by their beauty. In her awe of the sight she hadn’t realised she had released an audible gasp which could be heard over the lull of the night waves. Jim sat up and looked round at the sound, unable to contain his bright eyed smile at her presence. He watched her watching the stars and laughed with her when she looked back at him and giggled at how dumbfounded she must have looked.
“They never cease to amaze me.” She admitted eyes returning to the golden specks above.
“Me neither.” She smiled in response.

They sat like this for a time, before Jim stood and walked to the rock where she was hanging.
“Lie down here or you’ll cramp your neck.” He said, crouching in front of her. She gave a small smile and nodded in response. She pushed up (not dissimilar to her mother's iconic rock pose) and tried to swing her bottom half up onto the rock. I don’t know if you’ve ever attempted to clamber out of a swimming pool like that. If you have you’ll realise it is a lot harder than it looks. Jim chuckled and said she could just swim round to the beach instead. But Melody’s stubbornness persisted and she was ever more determined to make it up. You see, it’s easier when you have two legs, one of which can bend up and assist the other. Tails are less forgiving. Eventually she made it (not before Jim was almost in tears for laughing) and laid herself down, breathing heavier than she would care to admit. Jim finished laughing and lay down next to her, conscious not to be too close. They were silent for a long while, until Melody asked about his life in the stars. Jim happily responded and told her about his life up there, about all the planets and names of the stars. While he was talking, so tired was she from the night prior and comforted by his voice, Melody fell asleep. Jim only noticed when she made odd muffled sounds. He looked next to him and smiled endearingly at her. He took off his jacket and laid it over her, gently so not to disturb. He then went back to the fire which had almost extinguished, poked it with a stick for a while and then went to gather some leaves. He found some dry ones and put them on the fire, poked it some more then curled up by it. Despite the night chill he managed to sleep, contented by the proceedings of the day.

Jim was abruptly woken the following morning by a short but loud ‘AH!’ followed immediately by a splash. He got up quickly and went to the rock, peering down into the water below. His jacket was just about to sink under the surface when Melody reappeared, looking bewilderedly around her then up at him. They simultaneously clocked what must have happened and burst out laughing. Melody then threw Jim’s jacket to him which sprayed water trickles on her and around. She scrunched her nose and grimaced at being splashed, despite already being wet. The jacket didn’t make it to him and only ended up splashing once again on the water in front of her. She groaned and took hold of the jacket then signalled with her eyes to where she was going. Jim walked off the rock and around to where the sand joins the ocean and watched Melody amusedly as she shuffled up the beach and handed him his jacket.
“I am not attempting to climb that rock again, at least not with this!” She ran a hand down the side of her salmon tail and shook her head mock angrily at her nemesis; the rock. He smiled at her, shaking his head.
“Don’t blame you, although the way your morning’s going it wouldn’t make much of a difference.” Melody chuckled, running a hand through her dripping hair.
“Could be worse I guess.” A slight pause hung between them for a moment, eyes unsure where to look in the lush morning of the island. Melody continued. “I should um, look for your things shouldn’t I?” Jim nodded, a little too quickly. Melody shuffled the short way back to where the sand disappears into corals and didn’t re-emerge from the ocean until about midday. Jim looked idly at the water, wandered around the island for a time before sitting on the rock where they had chatted and waited. He wasn’t sure what he was waiting for.

He wanted Melody to find something, of course he did. But he also didn’t want her to find something. Even if she did, it would still take time for him to make it, especially as he was lacking considerable supplies. It wasn’t impossible however, so he wouldn’t give up. But there’s no harm in taking one's time though, is there? Hunger soon got the better though, so he examined the things Melody had found. He had a little nibble of one thing, then his eyes grew wide and a smile spread across his face. He then finished that piece before going to eat another. He sat down on the sand and looked across the water, munching away. The water was still until he watched in awe as Melody appeared at the surface. She flicked her head out of the water and her hair swooshed backwards in one clean sweep while her face was lifted upwards to the overarching blue. Her upper body rose fractionally from the water before relaxing and swimming easily above water to the beach. He had to shake himself and clear his throat, hand rubbing across his neck. He stopped himself from standing up and going over to the water, instead he carried on munching and glanced across to her as she came up the beach.
“Enjoying the food then?” She smiled. He pulled a face.
“It’s um, alright I guess. Not the high end stuff I’m used to though.” He winked. She shook her head, pulling a ‘challenge accepted’ face.
“And I guess all ships have gourmet food even though they travel for ages without stopping and good food is perishable.” He tilted his head to the side and bit on his lower lip.
“And how would you know about that?”
“After I joined the land and the sea” Melody leaned forward and picked at a few food bits. She nibbled casually while she spoke. “I lived on my father's’ ship for a while. I played captain many a time.” She grinned widely.
“Yeah I can imagine you as a captain.” He lay backwards on the sand, hands cupped behind his head.
“Oh yeah, how so?”
“I bet you just love being in charge. Being really bossy!”
“Oi!” Melody exclaimed, leaning backwards so she could flicker her tail to whack him. He let out a loud ‘ow!’ to which she just laughed. When she had recovered she ate some more before telling him she couldn’t find anything, but would go back out later.
“Oh it’s fine.” He said. “It’s beautiful here, I’m not in a rush.” She smiled in response, but soon went back into the corals and out to sea anyway.

When Melody returned as the sun was shining its last goodnight she came dragging something out of the water. Jim sat up from his cloud watching and quickly splashed down the beach to grab it and pull it up to the dry sand.
“Careful it’s heavy.” Melody said, but Jim just flicked his hair and made sure to keep his face away from Melody so she didn’t see him struggle. Melody then pulled herself up the beach too. “Can you use it?” Jim nodded, brushing sand off the chunk of metal and examining it.
“Yeah yeah I don’t see why not. It’s a good shape, and sturdy.” Melody smiled, clearly impressed with herself.
“Good.” She said. “I did find more but wasn’t able to bring it, so I um, will go back out at first light.” Jim glanced up from the metal and smiled at her.
“That’s, um. Really cool.” Melody frowned at Jim. Although he was smiling there was something else.
“You alright?” Jim was looking at the metal now, hands tracing over some of the markings on the top. He didn’t seem to hear her. Melody reached over and tapped his arm. He looked up, eyes beginning to well. Melody gave a concerned look.
“It’s um. Nothing. Nothing at all. Goodnight.” Jim then stood, leaving the metal on the sand with Melody who looked on at him confusedly. Melody looked over and examined the metal. She ran her hands over the face of it, it and along the edges. She chewed the inside of her lip in thought, then looked across to the trees. She couldn’t see Jim anywhere. Sighing Melody went down to the water. She swam amongst the corals for a while, collecting what shells she could make out in the last of the light. When the sun had gone completely she laid down in the waves and slept.

Melody didn’t see Jim the next morning, nor the next. She collected more metal like she had promised, but hourly came to the surface to see if she could see him. By the third day a mid sized room area of the beach was covered in rusted grey and chrome. Melody sat for about half an hour staring up the beach. She couldn’t crawl up to see if Jim was in the trees. She didn’t even know if he was even on the island anymore. She had thought long and hard about the metal, as that had triggered something within him. She figured it must have been the metal from his wrecked ship.

She had searched for other wreckages, but they were all rotten wood and jagged edges, nothing she thought suitable for his solar surfer or whatever it was. So if he wanted to survive he would have to… deal with it. Easier said than done she knew. Every night before she went to bed she called out across the island. Nothing.

That evening she slept on the beach, under those stars which they had looked at together. It seemed such a long time ago now.

I woke up to something soft but with a slight dampness rubbing my cheek. I giggled, the supposed hand ticking my neck. I opened my eyes and expected to see Jim in the beginnings of dawn. But it wasn’t Jim.

It was a

pink

blob

grinning at me.

I screamed, and it floated on thin air away from me. It then, right before my eyes shape shifting into me mirroring my face and horror at this thing . I screamed again, rolling and scrambling away from it into the water.

It was just before I immersed myself into the waves when the trees rustled violently and Jim ran onto the beach. I yelled Jim but he ignored me, instead calling “Morph” and hugging the little pink blob into his neck. I sat, dumbfounded at the sight of this. Jim was exclaiming his love and adoration to this creature, but an anger was beginning to twine and twist in my stomach, moving up into my chest and into my mouth.
“Where the hell have you been?!” I yelled again, this time getting his full attention. He looked at me, his face dropping and his eyes avoiding mine. “You don’t get to swan off into the island and leave me doing your job. Then say hello to this gross little thing as it terrifies me in the night! It touched me! No one has the right to lay a finger on a Princess-”
“I’m sorry!” He interrupted “I just. I didn’t know what to do okay? That metal I… and in my head there's…” He sighed. “This is Morph. He’s an old friend, he was on our ship with me when…”
I paused, looking at Jim. He looked awful, all unkempt beard and bewildered hair. The little thing smiled at me, but I didn’t give it the pleasure of my affection.
“If you don’t want the metal then don’t use it. But make up your bloody mind so I can go home.” And with that I sunk into the water and didn’t reammerge until midday.

When I did reammerge Jim was standing right at the water's edge looking across the sea. When he saw me he sat down, cross legged and hand in lap. He looked like a school boy in detention.
“I’m sorry.” He said, those ridiculously gorgeous eyes holding mine. His pink thing was floating around his head like a thought bubble.
“It’s okay.” I shuffled up the beach so I was sitting next to him. “Look, I know the metal is from your ship. But there’s nothing else that I can find. It’s all rotten wood.”
“I understand, I will use it. I appreciate the work you’ve put in.” I gave a smile.
“Do you wanna talk about it?” I a sked, putting a hand on his leg. He flinched. “What?” I asked, my eyebrows stitched up. He continued his grimace and pulled the leg of his trousers up. There was a piece of old shirt with blood dried and seeped through. “Jim!” I exclaimed, taken aback by the sight. “Are you not washing?” He shrugged, poking at the wound. I slapped his hand away. “Don’t do that you donkey!” The little pink thing turned into a mini me and made sassy gestures with its hands. I couldn’t help but giggle.
“Donkey?”
I stopped, eyes looking at Jim in disbelief.
“You don’t know what a donkey is? Did you not live on Earth?” Jim just looked at me blankly. I turned to Morph. “A donkey?” Nothing. “Ugh you’re all beneath me. Anyway. You donkey why is this looking like this?” He shrugged again and went to say something but I couldn’t except this. “No wait you don’t know who Eeyore is?! He’s bae and a donkey!”
“Let it go Mel Mel okay! I don’t know what a donkey is! I’m sorry I failed you.” The Morph thing released excessive tears from it’s little eyes while Jim fake cried but I was frozen.

Mel Mel. “You remember.” I said, looking at him through calm, hypnotized eyes.
He smiled.
“Yeah. I remember everything. I wanted to dance with a princess.” I grinned, remembering how I felt in that moment all those years ago. I looked at into those eyes for as long as I could stand before blinking back to look at his legs.
“Let’s sort you out ey?” I then shuffled down into the water and pulled some things from the corals. I then hoisted myself partly onto the beach. “Come here.” I beckoned. He waddled down to the water's edge. I pulled his leg down so it was immersed in water. I took off the fabric, ignoring his groans. Morph turned into a red spodge and drooled down into the water. I scoffed, ignoring it’s weird little habits. Maybe it wasn’t quite as bad as I had first thought. I then used the coral substance to rub over the wound and told him to stay there for a while.
“Yes sir.” He chuckled. I have him a look. Oh we are very close .
He glanced down then back at me, smiling softly.
“No thanks, to answer your question.” I looked at him confusedly. “You asked if I wanted to talk about it.”
“Oh, okay.” I smiled. “I guess I’ll look for more metal then?”
“No.”
“No?”
“There’s enough there. But I need tools that were on my ship, do you think Morph and you could find them?”
I sighed, but I didn’t argue.
“Yeah let’s do it.”

Morph and I found all the things that Jim wanted within a couple of hours. With the luck that only comes in Hollywood films and Fanfiction, all the tools were in tact and could be dried, cleaned and used.

Over the course of the next day I watched with awe and increasing disappointment while Jim built his solar surfer . He explained excitedly how each piece fitted together and what they could do. I listened intently, grinning at his jokes and watched the way the light outlined his body. I still couldn’t place what it was. What the one thing was that made me so mesmerised by this boy… well… man. But I was, I was completely hooked, and I knew that our time was running short. It had only been 6 days since being here, yet it felt like a month. I wanted it to be years, but I had life to get back to worried friends no doubt, worried lover, family.
“Done.” Jim sat back, slapping a hand on the metal, startling me out of my daydream.
“Oh.” I said, unable to hide my disappointment. Jim didn’t notice, pulling a cord on the mechanism and causing a fire to spurt out the metal tube at the other end. He jumped on and whoosh! Just like that he surfed into the air! My arms gave way beneath me and my head landed abruptly on the sand behind my head. He was flying . He looked like a gliding dolphin through a current, confident and poised, a grin pasted on his face like super glue. I could tell that he was home in the air, somewhere I knew I could never go. I looked across at Morph who was grinning madly up at him. Lucky sod. I thought, he spends every waking day with Jim, and I’m going to have to let him go.

“Melody!” He called, bringing his surfer low so he skidded along the sand, stopping besides me. “You wanna go?” I sat up and couldn’t help the smile tip toeing across my face. I bit down on my lip, eyes flicking from Jim to his machine. He extended his hand and asked “do you trust me?” I burst out laughing at that. He chuckled in response, eyes dancing as he asked why I was laughing. I glanced across at Morph who turned into a massive thumbs up. I laughed again.
“Alright Aladdin give us a go then.” He stood aside as I shuffled to the surfer.
“Um.”
“Yeah?” I looked up at him, he was half smiling. “You can’t sit on it.” I pulled a face.
“Well I can’t stand up Einstein.” He gave me a look. “What?”
“You um… could hold onto me.” I gave him my best ‘haw haw very funny’ look until I realised he wasn’t joking.
“Oh, um. Okay? Yeah why not.” He beamed and I blushed. He knelt in front of me so I could wrap my hands around his shoulders. He stood and I hung from him like a backward overweight necklace. I hoisted myself up as high as I could so I my chin could lean on his shoulder. I’d done this back on land, and realised it was much easier with legs to wrap around.
“You okay?” He asked, his twisting to the side I was leaning on. His face was so close. He was so warm.
“Ye- yeah.” I stammered, taking in a sharp breath. He faced forward and stood on the surfer, but I could tell he was grinning. Did he love knowing he affected me so? Who knows. Before I had the chance to ponder on it for too long he clicked the machine without warning and whoooof .

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Chapter Text

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The sky was like an ocean larger than Melody could imagine. The feel of air through her hair and against her tail was nothing like she had experienced. She understood exactly why Jim loved it. The unhindered sense of feeling. There was a desire to go further, experience more of the clouds which wetted her when they passed, to be a real bird. To be a star.

His heart beat against her hands and they both had such joy. But pressing into the back of Jims head was the knowing that he couldn’t waste all his fuel if he were to make it home. Back to mum. He had already been gone too long. Even though his days here were short he had already prolonged his trip, so mum was expecting him home months ago. If she were now expecting him back at all.
He began lowering the surfer and landed as smoothly as he could on land. He then rested his hands on Melody’s arms over his shoulders and across his chest. He kissed one. He felt her tense and then release herself to the floor, rolling back onto the sand. She looked up at him, dishevelled hair and heavy breathing. There was a moment of quiet, neither quite knowing what to say. They hadn’t been in each others company long enough to warrant these conflicting feelings… had they? Each fought back the want to remain in each others company, both knowing that the other longed for the sea and longed for the sky. Two s’s that would be forever next to each other on that taunting horizon but never together. Melody took a shaky breath.

“I guess you’ll go now?” She asked.
“Um.” Jim sighed. “Yeah I guess.” Melody nodded in response.
“You should come and visit, bring your mum.” Melody said. Jim looked out across the sea.
“I don’t know if I’m allowed…”
“Oh um, I would think so. That was a long time ago.”
“Yeah. True.” Jim sighed again.
“You okay?” Melody tilted her head to the side, hand combing through her hair. He looked over at her and smiled.
“Yeah. All good.” There was a moment of quiet between them again. Jim then stood up and avoiding eyes with Melody went to gather his belongings. Melody stayed where she lay, thinking of home and all the explanations she’d have to give. She wondered if anyone was still looking for her. Jim returned then, having gathered his few collected things in his pockets and little bag he’d fashioned out of island supplies. He then crouched besides Melody, eyes glinting across to the ocean.
“If you wanted, you could come with me. Take you home first to human up. But. You’d be welcome.” Jim turned his face to her, eyes dancing from her eyes to her lips barely parted…
“No I.” She paused, taken off guard by his focused expression. “I better not.” The corner of his mouth lifted and he moved his face towards her an inch.
“You sure?” Jim asked. Melody gulped, eyes locked onto his features.
She leant forwards a fraction so his breath was against her lips. He edged his face closer to hers, and closer... But then she snapped her face away, eyes closing and hand coming up to rest on the arch of her nose.
“I’m sorry. I can’t.”
“No it’s. Um. Don’t worry.”
“I should've said before, I’m with someone.”
“Oh!” He shuffled away from her. “I see.” Melody glanced at him.
“Please still visit.” She said, “I’m sure mum would love to see Sarah again.” He nodded, eyes avoiding hers.
“Well then.” He said, leaning back and trying unsuccessfully to cover his disappointment. “I guess this is goodbye.” Melody glanced away, she hated goodbyes.
“Yeah I guess it is.” She mumbled, staring at the sand in her silent defiance. Jim stood up, went over to Melody looking down and kissed the top of her head. She flicked her head up, surprised by his action. But he had already turned away and was standing on his surfer. Within moments they were looking at each other one last time on the island,
then
gone.

Within weeks I had settled back into life under the sea. By settled I mean people stopped asking me what had happened. I told everyone the truth, but not many believed me. Mum did though, and gave me this look . After a few weeks Jim felt like something from a dream. A dream beyond the oceans that sit under his stars. I thought of him often, which led me to feel guilty about my dear Alex. I separated from him within the month, knowing it would never feel the same again. Not since Jim.

I decided to join mum and dad on land for a while, desperately trying to distract myself from that week that altered my life like light through a prism. I had felt a kaleidoscope of colours, yet now everything else felt dull. After two month of aimless wandering mum came and spoke to me on my balcony overlooking the bay.

“Melody?” I turned to look at her, she was smiling by it was backed with something .
“Yes mum.”
“What are you looking for?” I frowned, unsure what she meant.
“I don’t-”
“Sebastian came and spoke to me yesterday. He said something to me that he said he told my father when I was young.” Mum looked at me then, resting her hands on mine. “Children have got to be free to lead their own lives.”
“But I am free.” I said, frowning at mum.
“I don’t think you believe you are. You feel free in the ocean, freedom on land. But what about the sky?”
“I don’t understand mum.” Mum smiled at me, cupping my face.
“My darling Melody. You want to explore the sky don’t you? You want to explore other planets… And you want to explore Love.”
I gasped. I shook my head, tears threatening my eyes.
“No mum I want to stay here. With my family. Where I belong.”
“We’ll always be here.” Mum smiled, thumb wiping a stray tear. “You can travel and come back. You needn’t feel like you won’t belong. You will always belong here.”
I cried then, knowing that mum was right.
I would never be satisfied until I had gone to these new places I had learned of. Until I had explored that new world and at least tried something with Jim. I felt like an unfinished book, not to say Jim would complete me, I believe you can only complete yourself, but at least I could explore.

I don’t know how that woman did it but half way through the next week a ship was docking at our bay. But it had come from the sky. I went with the horde of people to look at it, it was incredible! Then I saw him.

Jim.

He called out across the crowd.
“Excuse me, has anyone seen a princess? I want to dance with her.”
I gasped, a grin beaming across my face. I pushed through the crowd until I was close enough. He looked down at me from his ship. He smiled. He then gestured how I could board the ship, and when I was close enough he extended his hand and helped me on. We stood there briefly, both sweating with excitement.
“You ready to go on an adventure?” He asked, grinning again.

“Yes I am.”

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