Kiss & Tell Tail (A Little Mermaid Retelling, Part 3)
Someone please stop the noise. And get rid of the light. And the hammering in my skull. I reach up, rubbing my forehead, but the pain intensifies. What’s with me and the dreams? Don’t even want to think about the headaches.
‘You okay, love?’
A shiver runs through me, and I think I’m still dreaming. I try to sit up, but the now familiar pain shoots all the way down to my bum, then, resting there for a while, decides to travel all the way to my toes.
‘You scared us, you know. Are you sure you don’t want me to call a doctor?’
No, he isn’t Sebastian, and yet, I know him somehow. But how? As my eyes begin to demist, my mind clears along with my vision. Oh, Eric. The guy I’m supposed to kiss for some stupid reason. Right.
‘Um, I’m ok-kay.’
I slur a bit, but it doesn’t matter. I’m getting up. I’m horizontal when I’m with this guy way more often than I would like to be. It might be the dreams, I’m not sure, but for some reason, I have a really bad feeling about him. I just don’t trust him.
Call me crazy, but he seems even less real than the dreams. He might be handsome and caring and rich and whatever girls normally go for, but I guess I’m not your typical swoony woman who can be swept off her feet too easily. Well, by a guy I mean.
And those dreams… Is the reason for my mistrust a previous lover I’m unable to let go of? Is that why I chose to forget everything else along with him instead? Tough luck, it didn’t really take, as all I remember is him, in a weird fantasy.
‘Here, at least let me check your temperature.’
Eric’s deep voice brings me back to reality (scrap that, his reality), and the cool touch of his hand on my forehead forces a tiny moan from my already parted lips. I open my eyes at the notion and for a second his crystal blue pair takes on an emerald hue, just like Sebastian’s. No, this can’t be.
But, as soon as the colour appears it vanishes just as quickly. It could have been the light, or my mind playing tricks with me yet again. Yep, I will blame the latter. I pat away Eric’s hand, although I must admit, doing so isn’t as easy as it ought to be. I’m in love with Sebastian after all, isn’t it?
Yep, right. A fictional merman with fiery hair, one I used to roam the ocean with and have passionate sex on the seabed. Quite poetic and even more idiotic, especially considering that mermaids simply don’t exist. But somehow I created this weird and absurd fantasy to cope with the memory loss. That must be it. Did I colour my hair this shade to match the fantasy, too? Can a girl be any more pathetic?
Eric lets out a groan, which in turn shakes me out of my stupor. I look up at him, but instead of the kind man who rescued me, a furious beast is staring back at me. I clear my throat, because I need some noise to put much needed distance between us. Right now I can’t tell whether he is going to slap or kiss me, or probably both. What do I know about men anyway? My imaginary boyfriend is a freaking merman.
‘Look, Eve. Whoever has done this to you, they will regret it, I swear.’
His voice is calm, but the anger and hurt in his eyes is killing me. He doesn’t even know me, and yet he is willing to avenge the bad guys, because he thinks my honour has been compromised. Then he reaches out and tucks a crimson lock behind my ear, lowering his tone to a whisper:
‘Just say the words and consider it done. So, who is the guy I have to kill?’
I can’t help but shiver, chuckle and moan, all at the same time. The first being a genuine and very much hormonal reaction to his touch, the second to his slightly mocking tone, and the last to the implications behind his words.
‘Honestly Eric, I…’
His intense eyes search my face, and his hand rests at the crook of my neck. Shiver, chuckle, moan. Repeat.
‘You what, Eve?’
He says my name in such a sensual way that my breath hitches and I close my eyes in anticipation. I guess this was easier than I thought.
No, Ariel, you can’t let him do it like this. It has to be true love’s first kiss for this to work, remember?
I wish I did remember, but the voice snaps me out of it nonetheless. I place a hand on Eric’s broad chest, and this time its his turn to repeat my three reactions. In the same order, too.
‘Look, I would tell you what happened to me, I really would. The only problem with that is that I don’t remember a thing.’
He stays motionless for a moment, but then his eyes grow wide with understanding. Sort of.
‘That might be the trauma you went through. Tell me the last thing you recall about what happened and we can figure it out from there.’
I roll my eyes, more at myself than at him.
‘That’s just it, I can’t. Purely because I don’t remember anything. As in nada. Not even my name or where I come from or…’
I trail off, feeling embarrassed all of a sudden. Do I tell him about the dreams?
Don’t you dare.
Okay, so that settles that. Eric gets up from his spot by my side on the sofa and starts pacing the room. I get a whiff of his scent, and the room begins to spin once again. Although for a different reason this time (thank the Gods). Of course, being a good girl, I give him time to process. And that’s when I notice the elderly man who’s sitting at a dining table at the far end, sipping what looks like tea. Not creepy at all.
As if sensing being the centre of my attention (yep, totally normal), he glances towards me, and his frown slowly turns into a broad smile as he raises his cup at me. I nod absent-mindedly. Where have I seen him before? He is unusual in a way, and yet so familiar, just like everything else about this whole thing. He is wearing a navy jacket, paired with black pants and what I would describe as mannequin shoes. They are pointy, shiny and by the looks of them, very expensive. The kind movie stars would wear, you know. Yeah, I guess you know better than I do anyway.
‘Eve, is it?’
The strange man asks before taking a sip from his tea. The room is so quiet that you could hear a pin drop. It’s almost eerie, really. Not to mention that the question now hangs between us. Is it Eve? Or Ariel? And just how much can I trust these men to reveal what I now believe to be the truth? No, I might have lost my memories, but something about this just doesn’t feel right. It just doesn’t…
Eric’s voice forces its way into my subconscious, way before the meaning of his words reach my brain.
‘Dad, would you excuse us for a minute, please?’
Dad… Okay, kind of makes sense and reduces the weirdness of this situation. Shame washes over me as I realize that my unwelcome interlude must have interrupted the family breakfast. Eric Senior nods, then leaves without a word. I glance at Eric, who is standing by the bay window. I can faintly hear the sound of seagulls, crying out in the increasing wind. Interesting enough, I think I can hear my own ragged breathing, too. Not to mention the loud thumping of my heart. Mentioned organ threatens to jump through my throat and out of my body at the deafening sound of the key turning in the lock. Okay, part of me is finding this sexy and arousing, but I’m not naïve. At least I don’t think I am.
‘Are you sure you don’t remember? You don’t remember how…’
His voice is husky; painful even. For a brief moment Sebastian’s image pops to mind, and as Eric’s voice trails off, I sort of have a vision. His hair miraculously changes colour, and instead of the (very) tight dress pants he is wearing now, all there is is a fluorescent emerald tail…
I blink, only to realize that Eric is towering over me now. There is no trace of the transformation he went through a moment ago, but there is way more evidence of his sudden arousal, which takes me by surprise. His hooded blue gaze travels down the length of my body and I feel naked yet again. Except, I don’t mind this time.
What the hell do you think you are doing?
I push the voice away, completely lost in the azure pair of eyes staring at me. Then, as I look deeper, they turn to green. Nope. Na-ah. I snap out of my stupor, placing both hands onto Eric’s chest, trying to push him off me. He doesn’t budge, and panic takes over my body. I freeze as he sweeps a stray strand of hair off my shoulder. His eyes seem distant, as if he was lost in a memory.
‘Do you know how long I have been waiting for you?’
I blink at his admission, baffled by its meaning. I raise an eyebrow at him, prompting him to continue. The alarm bells are loud and clear, but I silence them for now. He nods, absent-mindedly caressing my hair.
‘I knew you would come eventually. I just had to wait for the right time. And, here you are. Too bad you don’t remember anything.’
Oh my god. Does he have something to do with my memory loss? I clear my throat, my eyes searching for an escape route. Just in case he is a serial killer, you know.
‘Wh-what do you mean you knew I would come? Do we know each other?’
He lets out a frustrated sigh, then leans in, placing a kiss onto my forehead.
‘Not as much as I would like.’
He moves down lower, placing another lingering kiss behind my ear, and an involuntary moan escapes me. No, I can’t let him do this. Not like this. He isn’t in love with me. He can’t be. And I’m not in love with him, either. I decide to push my luck.
‘How do we know each other then?’
He rests his forehead against mine for a second, closing his eyes.
‘You honestly don’t remember?’
I shake my head. Well, as much as I can with his weight on top of me.
‘Fine. I will tell you how we met for the first time then.’
I furrow my brows, but probably sensing my confusion, he adds, getting up and slowly walking back towards the window.
‘No, not after whatever accident happened to you. We met long before that.’
He pauses, looking out at the sea. A seagull screams in the background. Another one answers. Why does it sound like a warning? Eric clears his throat, then turns towards me. My eyes go wide when I notice the tears that started streaming down his face.
‘You saved my life, and I’ve been trying to find you ever since.’
He turns back to the window, but before I could process what he just said, he adds:
‘And now that I have, I don’t intend to let you slip away again.’
I want to ask him if that’s a threat, but I don’t get the chance. The headache starts at the back of my skull, then in the matter of seconds I black out. The last thing that plays on my mind is what I thought I heard the seagull scream:
To be continued…
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