Kiss & Tell Tail (A Little Mermaid Retelling, Part 1)
“What’s your name, beautiful?”
His question makes me want to retch. Why? Well, firstly, because I have no idea who he is. And secondly, because I have no idea who I am. Therefore, I can’t answer his question. Oh, and thirdly, I have no idea whether I’m beautiful or not. Just for the record.
Bile rises up in my throat, and I’m faced with the simple question: do I give in and ruin my chances of knowing more about this handsome stranger, or do I swallow? His dark eyebrow raises, increasing my pulse. Why am I so attracted to him? Is he even my type? And why the hell can’t I remember anything except…
Swallow it is.
I clear my throat then try again.
Simple, elegant, easy to remember. I flinch at the irony, but he simply looks up at the powder-blue sky, chewing on the name. I’m not sure I want to deceive him like this, but the other alternative is far less tempting. Whoever he is, I don’t think he would appreciate a crazy girl, stranded on the beach wrapped in nothing but a bedsheet, who can’t even remember her name.
“Eve. Just as gorgeous as you are.”
I’m tempted to roll my eyes at him, and it takes all I have not to do just that. Well, I guess it’s a good sign. Even though I don’t remember a thing, I still recall this being the cheesiest pick-up line ever. Okay, there is something nagging at my subconscious, so I’m not entirely clueless. I might even be crazy after all. What other explanation could there be?
I woke up on this beach a few hours ago, mind completely blank. Yep, like a white sheet of paper when a writer sits down to create a story. I don’t even know how I came up with that comparison. It seems like I still have my sense of humour – or I might have developed it after whatever happened that took my memories away. Well, I find myself funny anyway.
It was still dawn when I was finally able to look at my surroundings. The agonising pain in my head and my lower torso was almost unbearable, so I took a while sitting up. And when I did, I screamed. Partly because of the jolt of pain shooting down to my bum, and partly because I was stark naked.
“Earth calling Eve. Anyone home?”
Okay, he is beginning to annoy me now. A girl can’t even have a moment to themselves, trying to figure it all out? Apparently not. Oh well, not that I made much progress anyway. With a sigh I roll my eyes. God, that felt good.
“I’m sorry, it’s just… So many things happened to me lately, I’m still trying to wrap my head around it all.”
I hope it’s not a lie. It’s generic enough, right? Lots of things happen to people all the time, I guess. But what do I know? He seems to be convinced though as he nods. I notice how he is trying to keep his eyes away from my half-exposed curves. My eyes aren’t even half as co-operative. I gulp.
“I understand. Trust me, I do.”
His crystal eyes take on a dreamy hue, and I want to know his story so badly right now, it hurts. God, I want to know it even more than I want to know mine. And trust me, that was all I could think about since I woke up. He clears his throat and the vibration sends shivers down my spine. I supress a groan when the pain shoots down to my bum once more. This isn’t good. I’m no expert, but looking at the facts, something must be wrong with me.
“Please don’t take this the wrong way, but do you have somewhere to stay?”
I don’t know, do I? I close my eyes, forcing the memories to surface. I wait a few moments, but nothing. Well, except for the now constant voice telling me I have to kiss this guy before it’s too late. I shake my head in an attempt to get rid of the voice, but he must take it as a negative answer, because he clears his throat again. Déjà vu. Electric shock down my spine, pain in my butt. Literally.
“Again, I hope you don’t mind me saying this, but I do happen to have an empty room at my place. Just till you can get back on your feet.”
A laugh escapes me. Yeah, right, he didn’t mean that literally. How could he know that right now I have difficulty standing? Not to mention the voice in my head, or the memory loss. Staying at his place? Bad idea. No, scrap that. Worst idea ever. But then again, who knows what was my worst idea ever? Exactly.
“If I say yes, do you promise not to kill me?”
I bite my lip, afraid to ask him the other version. You know, when the innocent girl would ask the handsome stranger to be a gentleman. There are only two problems with that one. I am scared of his answer, and I don’t think I want him to be a gentleman, which scares me even more. Bad idea number two. But what option do I have, really? His warm laughter brings me back to reality. My new reality, I guess. A rush of adrenaline, followed by excruciating pain.
“I don’t make promises I can’t keep.”
He winks at me, and if it wasn’t for the pain, I would laugh again. I force a faint smile though, and concern clouds his features for a moment.
“Are you hurt?”
Am I? I nod weakly, rubbing my arms. I feel cold, hungry and lost. How do I even begin explaining this? He holds out a hand, and I take it after a moment’s hesitation. Gently, but surely, he hauls me to my feet, but as I stumble and another jolt of pain rushes through my entire body when my feet hit the ground, he furrows his brows.
“Maybe I should take you to a doctor first…”
I don’t know why, but alarm bells ring loud and clear in my head at the mention of a doctor. Not sure why I’m scared so much, but right now my gut feeling is all I have, so I will roll with it.
I grab his arm, partly for support, and partly because it feels good. It feels safe. He feels safe.
“I mean, I’m okay, really. All I need is some food, clothes and rest. Lots of the latter.”
I manage a smile again, and this time his searching eyes land on my lips. They tremble in response, and I feel a strange tingling sensation between my thighs. It takes me by surprise, because I don’t recall ever feeling anything like this. Okay, that might not mean much, considering, but still, it’s weird. I decide to brush it off for now.
“Well, if you are sure?”
I nod again, feeling a bit more certain myself.
“Lead the way.”
He looks at me for a second, then says in his deep, oceanic voice:
“I have a better idea.”
And with that, he picks me up in his arms, carrying me away from the beach. I want to protest, but this feels really good. I think I let out a satisfied moan, because he chuckles, his chest rumbling against my cheek. I put my arms around his neck tightly, afraid to let go.
You must make him kiss you before it’s too late.
The voice inside my head is the last thing I notice before my eyes stoop and a blissful darkness envelopes me…
I have the weirdest dream ever. I’m swimming in the deepest parts of the ocean, watching as delicate rays of the afternoon sun caress the waves. The water in return embraces the light, making it its own, millions of tiny fractures floating around me. I’m part of the water, I’m one with the ocean and its creatures. I can hear the whales sing, and I sing with them, heart content and full of joy. The sound reverberates through the waves, making me tingle all over.
And then I notice him swimming towards me. He is the most gorgeous creature I’ve ever seen. Eyes green and fluorescent, reflecting the light the same way the waves do. Hair as red as the flames of fire, with a hint of ginger and blond here and there. The contrast mesmerises me, and I know I’m staring, but I can’t help it. The rest of his body doesn’t even register at first, but when it does, I let out a small whimper.
Where his legs should be, he is sporting a tail as fluorescent and green as his eyes. It’s covered by scales, just like a fish’s, although they are much bigger and more beautiful. I find myself reaching out and caressing one after another. They feel silky under my touch, and the tingling sensation returns between my thighs.
I glance down, only to realise that I have a tail to match his, in a gorgeous array of silver and myriads of shades of green. Moss, emerald, baby green. His deep voice makes me lose count of all the hues.
“I’m Sebastian. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Ariel.”
I blink up at him, and he bows down, slowly disappearing from view. And so does the ocean, now covered by a shadow. I hear an evil laughter, then the voice from my nightmares sends shivers down my spine, and not the good kind:
“You should have stayed with him, little mermaid. But because you didn’t, you will soon be mine.”
A sudden pain forces me to look down again, and murky water swirls around my bottom half. The pain grows unbearable, forcing me to close my eyes. When I open them again, I’m no longer in the ocean’s warm embrace. I’m lying on a crisp white sheet, covered by thick blankets. I examine the pink blossoms that are printed on them for a few moments, before kicking them off with way too much force.
My tail is gone, and in its place are two human legs. Was I dreaming a moment ago, or is this a dream? Going back under sounds rather tempting, but the faint sounds of laughter reach my subconscious. I listen for a while, and although the sound is unfamiliar, a pang of longing settles in my heart.
The questions I had before have only multiplied, and I’m not sure where all this is going to take me. I’m only certain of two things: I won’t rest until I find out what’s going on. And the second, well. My stomach churns, and that settles that. I’m hungry. Placing one foot onto the floor, followed by the other, I try to get up.
I only wobble a little, and the pain shooting down to my butt is quite bearable, so I decide it will have to do for now. I straighten my spine, preparing myself for an encounter I’m not ready for. Of course, the voice inside my head takes me completely off guard.
Hurry, you only have three days to kiss him with true love’s first kiss.
I stumble to the floor, panting heavily, tears streaming down my face. Yeah, right, this is so wrong on so many levels. I don’t think I believe in true love, for one. And besides, how on Earth do I achieve that in such a short period of time, when I don’t even remember why I have to do it in the first place? Although, judging by the circumstances, I’m quite confident that I had a very good reason. I just have to find a way to remember it before it’s too late.
To be continued…
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