Crius stretched his arms above his head and let out a yawn. He closed his eyes and inhaled the salty ocean breeze, smiling happily. He opened his eyes and looked up at the night sky, at the moon that illuminated the world around him. He had missed this place, his home. He was glad to get back to a sense of normalcy. The war between the Scylla Army and the Thoosa rebels had finally come to a stop after the signing of a treaty. He himself had been part of the army, working as a medic to treat both sides. There were some of his fellow soldiers that had seen his aiding the rebels as an act of betrayal, but his superiors had told them to leave him alone, that healing was his job. He had not enjoyed seeing so many wounded and bleeding, especially those that had been brought to him too late. He was more than happy to be back in Ladon and the first person he wanted to see was his sister. He had been worried about her while he was away, especially when he had received a letter telling him that another stranger was staying at her house, a woman named Nesoi. He told her on many occasions she was far too trusting and often feared she would come to harm.
He hopped over a tide pool and walked up an incline of slick rocks, knowing just where to step to keep from falling. As he crested the small hill and came back down onto the sand he froze at the sight of a woman standing on the beach. The moon seemed to spotlight her as she stared out over the ocean and he could hear her voice over the sound of the waves. It was hauntingly beautiful and full of sorrow. He was drawn in by her song and took a step closer. He had never seen such sadness, even after all his time in the military. “Excuse me, are you okay?” He asked and she jumped in surprise and spun to face him. Her beautiful blue eyes were full of fear as she took a step back then turned and raced away. He stood there dumbfounded, his hand reaching out for her as if to stop her. He sighed and continued walking. He would ask his sister about her and hope he could find her to apologize for frightening her away.
Nesoi practically fell through Theia’s door and slammed it behind her, her heart beating fearfully in her chest. She caught her breath and Theia came out of the living room. “Whoa, you okay?” She asked, concerned.
“Yeah, I just ran into a man on the beach and he scared me.”
“I’m sure he didn’t mean you any harm.”
Nesoi looked at her feet. “I’m sorry I’m still so skittish.”
“It’s okay Nesoi, it’s understandable. Why don’t you head on up and get some rest.”
“Okay, good night then.”
“Night.” Nesoi hurried upstairs, her heart still beating fast. If she had looked at the pictures hanging on the wall she would have recognized Crius right away. She hadn’t given them much thought after being separated from her own family, so she only looked straight ahead as she made her way to her room.
Her heartbeat hadn’t slowed in the slightest as she changed into pajamas. She knew she must have hurt the mans feelings. As she remembered his voice all she heard was concern for her. Nesoi sighed, she was always sad when she went to the beach. It hurt that she could never swim with her family again but it was well worth it. There hadn’t been one second she regretted giving up her tail to save her mom.
Crius smiled once he entered the city and stopped for a moment to savor being home. The city had changed little since his absence. He walked down the main road, heading for the north side of the city where Theia lived. He had missed his little sister and he needed to check up on her anyway. When her house came into view, he picked up the pace a little. The living room light was on and he wondered if maybe she was waiting up for him. He had sent her a letter, but had made sure to tell her he didn’t know the exact day he would be home. It was just like her to spend days waiting for him to come home. He stepped onto the porch and tapped lightly on the front door then leaned against the porch railing ans waited. He heard the door unlock and when it swung open he gave Theia a smile.
“Any room for a weary traveler?” He asked and she teared up.
“Depends, are you going to try anything funny?”
He let out a laugh and she jumped into him, her arms going around his waist and squeezing him tightly. “Hey little sis, how have you been?”
“I’m so glad you weren’t killed out there you big idiot. I worried every day that I’d get a letter saying you had died.”
“I’m sorry I worried you.” He tussled her hair and pushed her back a little to wipe at her tears. “It takes a lot to kill me, you know that.”
“It didn’t stop me from worrying though. Come inside.” He followed her into her home and she shut and locked the door. “Are you hungry or thirsty?”
“I’m exhausted actually, I’ll eat something in the morning.” He gave her another hug. “Mind if I stay here tonight.”
“You never have to ask silly, my home is your home. I’ll find your house key tomorrow.”
“The second room on the right is taken, but the one next to it is empty.”
“That girl Nesoi is in there right? I’ll try to be as quiet as possible going up then.”
“Thanks for not interrogating her right away” She said almost teasingly. “I’ve already upset one woman tonight, don’t want to make it two”
“There was this really sad looking woman on the beach. I tried to see if she was alright and I scared her” Theia smiled “I think you’ve already met Nesoi then. She gets scared easy since she’s not used to land and everybody here. She ran all the way here and went straight to her room. I’m surprised she didn’t recognize you since I have pictures of you on the walls”
“Pink hair? Blue eyes?”
“Yeah” He sighed “at least I know where to find her to apologize”
“See, she isn’t so scary right?”
“People can lie to you you know.”
“I can tell”
“well, at least she seems nice. I’m glad I don’t have to worry about you alone with her”
“Why because she’s a girl?”
“Because she seems far to nervous and skittish to harm anyone.”
She punched his shoulder. “She’ll get better, she just needs to gain some confidence. It probably doesn’t help that this is a fishing town.”
He chuckled. “What do you mean?”
“Nothing, she’ll tell you if she wants you to know, it’s personal.”
“Alright then, see you in the morning or afternoon, depending on when I make myself get up.”
“Goodnight.” He headed upstairs to the empty room and dropped his bag on the floor. He tugged his shoes off then his clothes and slid under the covers. It felt so good to be back in a familiar place and he quickly slipped into a restful sleep.
Nesoi jerked awake the next morning and looked around her room. It was still strange waking up inside this house, in this bed. It was incredibly comfortable, but not something she was used to. She sat up and tucked her hair behind her ears before swinging her legs over the edge of the bed and standing up. She remembered when she had first come onto land and could barely walk at all. She had had to learn like a baby taking its first steps and it had been the hardest thing she had ever done. She left the room and headed downstairs where Theia was making breakfast.
“Good morning Theia.” She said with a smile.
“Good morning, guess what?”
“My brother’s home, he upstairs right now.”
“Really?” Nesoi looked shyly at her feet.
Theia grinned. “Why don’t you go up and wake him for me. He needs to eat.”
“O…okay.” She went back upstairs to the other guest room and tapped on the door. When no one answered she turned the knob and slowly pushed the door open. “Um Crius?” She peeked inside and could see someone sleeping in the bed. She crossed the room and grabbed his shoulder. “Crius?” He snapped awake at the touch of her hand and grabbed her wrist. She froze in shock when she saw it was the man from the beach. “Uh…uh…I’m sorry, Theia asked me to wake you.”
His eyes showed how sleepy he was but his voice came out as if he had been awake for hours “No, it’s fine. I’m just not used to sleeping in a friendly place any longer. I’m sorry for scaring you on the beach and grabbing you just now” he said as he let go. “It’s alright, you were just concerned. I hate how easily scared I am. Now that I know you are Theis brother I especially know how foolish it was. She’s said really nice things about you”
“I need to change. I’ll meet you downstairs. I look forward to getting to know you” Nesoi just nodded and hurriedly left the room. Crius swung his legs over the bed and onto the floor then pulled some clean clothes out. He dressed in a loose fitting tshirt and his most comfortable jeans. He was home now so clothing could be simply about comfort and what he liked.
He decided for courtesy sake to brush his teeth before breakfast. He wasn’t always good at remembering whlie he traveled so he knew he had horrible breath. With that taken care of he hurried down for breakfast, finally he would get a nice meal prepared in a kitchen.
“It’s about time.” Theia said as he plopped down in a chair at the kitchen table.
“Hey, I had a long walk.”
“Wuss.” She turned to Nesoi whose cheeks had turned red as she buttered toast. “When you’re done with that could you pour some orange juice in some glasses?”
“Let me, she’s busy.” Crius said as he got to his feet. He reached around Nesoi and pulled the cabinet next to her open. He face went a deeper shade of red and she did her best not to look at him. He sat the glasses on the table then grabbed the juice out of the fridge and filled them. “Do you need anything else?”
“Nope that’s it.” Theia answered as she finished the eggs and bacon. She put the eggs in a bowl and the bacon on a plate then sat them in the middle of the table. Nesoi put the toast next to them and they all sat down and put food on their plates.
“Oh man did I miss your cooking.” Crius said after taking a bite. “I can die happy now.”
“Don’t you dare.”
Nesoi just stared at her plate as she ate, unsure of what to do or say. “So Nesoi, where’d you live before moving in with my sister?”
She glanced at him and felt her heart wrench in sadness. “I lived in the sea, I was a mermaid.”
He studied her for a moment then said, “What do you mean was?”
She raised her eyes to look at him. “I gave up my tail to save my mother and I can never go back.” She stood. “Sorry, but would you please excuse me?” She left the table and Crius rubbed the back of his neck.
“Shit, I shouldn’t have opened my stupid mouth.”
“You didn’t know.” Theia said.
“Yeah, but I asked so nonchalantly, I didn’t even think she could have been hurt or something in the past. I should go and apologize.”
“She’ll be at the beach, that’s her favorite place.”
“Ok, thanks for breakfast”
“Neither of you ate anything really. Such a waste”
“I’m really sorry”
“I know, I guess I should have said somthing. I can’t even imagine what its like to go through what shes going through.” Crius stood and quickly left. Theia finished her plate and even ate a little off theirs before starting to clean up the kitchen. She truly hated there was no way to get another tail for Nesoi. She didn’t spend all her time moping but Theia could always see the pain buried in her eyes. She hated that demon for asking so much. He could have just been kind enough to save Nesois mother but he had to be heartless and steal the poor womans tail. If she had power like that she would give it as freely as she did her home.
“Nesoi” Crius called when he caught up with her on the beach. He could see she was crying and felt even worse “I’m sorry, I should have thought before asking”
“It’s all right”
“No it’s not. I feel like an asshole” Nesoi gently shook her head “No, I know you’re nice. Your sister has told me about you. It’s just hard knowing I can never swim with my family. I miss the ocean and being around them all the time. We were so close”
He rubbed the back of his neck then a thought occurred to him. He pulled off his shoes and grabbed her hand. “Come on, tail or no tail, you’re going in the water.”
He pulled her and she went with him, feeling how strong he was as he pulled her into the water. It touched her ankles and she felt excitement wash over her. He kept pulling her and the water was suddenly up to her knees and soaking into her dress. When the water got to her waist she stop and pulled back. “Come on.” Crius said as he turned to look at her.
“No, I can’t, I’ll drown.” She frowned. Even though it felt good to have the water enveloping her, she was too scared to go further.
“Then we’ll just stay right here.” He said and she looked up into his eyes and he smiled warmly at her. “It’s just like me to want to fix a problem, I guess that happens when you heal people all day.” He pulled her to stand next to him and laced his fingers through hers as they looked out over the ocean. “It really is pretty.”
“It’s the most beautiful thing in the world.” She agreed. “Thank you for trying, even though you didn’t have to.”
“I owed you for scaring you.” She felt herself choking up and closed her eyes to hide the tears forming there. The waves pushing against her made her heart beat with happiness. “Hey are you okay?” Crius asked and she opened her eyes as he reached over and wiped at the tears on her face.
“Yeah, thanks, really.”
“I know this is bad to say, but your eyes look really pretty after you’ve cried. They’re just really bright is all.” He ran his fingers through his hair and blinked as he accidentally splashed water in his face. Nesoi covered her mouth, but it barely muffled her laughter. “Hey it’s not nice to laugh.” He flicked some water in her face and she continued to laugh.
“You’ve made me feel so much better.”
“That’s what medics are supposed to do. Come on, lets go to the bakery and get something to eat. If Derrick is still running the place I can probably get us free muffins.”
“Sorry I ruined breakfast.”
“It was my fault and Theia won’t care, she’s very understanding.”
“she is, she’s been so kind to me”
“I like to fix problems and she likes to save people and offer help when she can”
“Your parents did well with you two” Crius smiled “they are amazing people themselves” They walked out of the water and on into town. Since it was early Crius wasn’t stopped by all the people he knew would stop him to catch up later in the day. That and the fact Derrick was still working there put Crius in a happy mood. Hopefully by getting Nesoi somthing delicious he could fully forgive himself for upsetting her so much.
“Crius!” Derrick exclaimed then came from behind the counter. They gave a short, man hug then Derrick shook Nesois hand “How’re you?” He asked Crius “great, i was hoping for some free muffins”
“Of course, what kind?”
“what kind do you want Nesoi?”
“Apple or blueberry”
“Both it is then” Derrick answered.
“Can you cut them in half for us?” Crius asked.
“Of course, of course, anything you want. Would you two like some coffee as well, I can tell your soaked. You know it’s never a good idea to swim in the clothes you plan on wearing.”
“Stop fussing so much old man, you know if either of us gets sick I’ll just cure us.”
“Just because you’re a healer doesn’t mean you should take unnecessary risks.”
“Don’t worry tomorrow I plan on diving off of Hinkman’s Cliff and into the ocean.”
Derrick looked up at him. “You better be joking boy.”
“Of course I am, I’m not that stupid.”
“That remains to be seen.” Nesoi smiled, enjoying their banter. Derrick handed them half of each muffin and then grabbed them some coffee. Crius thanked him and they sat down at the table by the window.
“These are really good.” Nesoi said and Crius smiled.
“I figured you’d like them. Derrick makes the best muffins in the whole city. When I was younger I would come here and help out and he’d let me have as many as I could eat.”
She smiled at the thought of him stuffing muffin after muffin into his mouth. “You’re really good at making people forget how sad they were.”
“I’m glad, I’d hate to see you crying again.”
They continued to chat quietly as they finished their muffins and coffee. Crius told Derrick bye as they headed out onto the street and he grabbed Nesoi’s hand. The vendors had set their stands up in the city center which meant soon there would be a lot of people walking the streets. Nesoi blushed, finding herself enjoying the warmth of his skin against hers.
“Where are we going now?”
“To my sister’s to change and then I have to go to my house and clean it. I’m sure it’s covered in dust and cobwebs and I don’t want to stay with my sister for too long, it would feel like I was using her.”
“I’m sure she wouldn’t see it that way.”
“Still, it would make me feel better being in my house. Besides, I live like two houses down from her so it won’t be too much trouble to go there and clean up.”
“Can I help? I really want to”
“That would be nice, thank you” She gave a shy smile and he returned it with a charming one. When they came back Theia was reading. She closed her book and smiled “you two look happy, I’m glad” Nesoi blushed and Crius smiled again “I need to change. Then the two of us are going to clean my house”
“already, you just got back?’
“I know but you know me”
“yeah, alright” Nesoi decided to change out of her now salty dress aswell. She pulled on some shorts and a tank top since they would be cleaning. Crius was already waiting when she came back out. She noticed his eyes get wide for a few moments but dind’t understand why. She wondered if this was a bad choice in clothing. “You ready?’ he asked and she nodded. They told Theia bye then headed over to Crius’s.
“Oh man, it’s really messy in here.” Crius said as they both stood in the living room of his home. He sighed, “Well we better get to work then.”
He went into the utility closet and grabbed the broom then handed her the feather duster. “What would you like me to do?”
“You start dusting and I’ll knock down cobwebs then sweep.”
They got to work, sometimes coughing as dust filled the air. Once he had all the cobwebs down he started sweeping and glancing at Nesoi every once in awhile. She really was incredibly beautiful. She worked on his book shelf, having put the books on the floor so she could dust behind them. When she bent down to pick up the books he froze, wondering if she knew he could see down the front of her shirt.
He dragged his attention away and cleared his throat. “Um Nesoi?”
“Yeah?” He looked back at her and she stared at him with innocent eyes.
“You do know I can see everything when you bend over right?”
“Yeah, you’re uh not wearing a bra under your shirt.”
She looked down at her shirt and then back at him. “I don’t like them, they’re very uncomfortable. I’ve never worn one before.”
“So merpeople just swim around shirtless?”
She nodded. “Theia had a hard time getting me to remember to wear clothes. I almost left the house naked a few times.”
A blush creeped up Crius’s neck at the thought. “alright, I was just making sure”
“I dont make you uncomfortable do I?”
“No, you’re fine” She smiled ‘ok” she went right back to dusting, obviously oblivious to how attractive she was. It concerned him when it came to other men. A lesser man might take advantage of her. Just the thought pissed him off. If someone did that they would quickly regret it.
Crius tried his hardest not to stare everytime she bent over. She had him deeply blushing but she didn’t seem to notice atall. It would help if she wasn’t so ridiculously gorgeous. From her beautiful pink hair, those sparkling blue eyes and that perfect figure it was a challenge not to just stop and take her in. That wouldn’t be fair and definitely not polite so he forced himself to concentrate on the tasks that needed to be done.
They stopped around lunch time and headed next door where Theia was just finishing making sandwiches. She smiled at them when they sat down at the kitchen table and let out a small laugh at how dust covered they were. Crius felt something pushing against his leg and reached down to pick up the black cat who had been trying to get his attention. “Well hello kitty cat, long time no see.” He scratched her under her chin and smiled when she started purring. “Look at how fat my sister let you get.”
“Hey don’t pick on the cat and it’s not my fault she’s getting fat, every time she goes out someone feeds her.”
“Oh you poor kitty, are people feeding you delicious scraps, how utterly cruel.” He put Bastet down and winked at Nesoi who smiled at him in return.
“Flirting already? I know you had to spend time with mostly men for a long time, but geez.” Theia teased, making Crius blush.
“Shut up, I am not.”
“Sure, you sound so convincing.”
Nesoi started laughing, the sound making his heart flutter and bringing back his smile. “I’ve been nothing but polite right Nesoi?”
“Of course, he even told me that he could see down my shirt when I bend over.”
Theia started laughing as she brought the food to the table. She sat down across from her brother and continued the laughter, especially at how red Crius’ face was. “Don’t make me beat you up Theia.”
“I guess I should have warned you big brother, sorry. Nesoi here doesn’t really understand modesty. Those of her kind that actually come onto land tend to walk around naked. Nudity just isn’t something they worry about.”
“I see.” He replied and took another bite of his sandwich. “I guess I’ll just have to get used to it then.”
They finished eating and then went back to Crius’ house where Crius washed the windows while Nesoi changed the bed sheets. After he was done with the windows he went inside to find Nesoi cleaning the bathroom. “I’m almost done here.” She said with a big smile.
“You don’t have to clean the bathroom, I can do it.”
“It’s fine, there isn’t much to clean.” He hopped up on the counter while he waited for her. This was all that was left. She rinsed out the bathtub, making sure she got all of the soap out. “There, all finished. So what now?”
He hopped down and pulled her into a hug. “Thank you for your help.” She felt her heart stutter and wrapped her arms around his waist.
“You’re welcome.” She said softly with a blush. He was so warm and she pressed her face into his shirt, inhaling his scent. She had not felt this at peace in a long time.
“You okay?” He asked as he stroked her hair.
“Yeah, can we go back to the beach before it gets dark?”
“Of course, just let me change real quick.” He let her go and she felt a little disappointed to no longer be in his arms. She waited for him in the living room and when he came out of his room, he was wearing only a pair of shorts. “Come on.” They stepped out of his house and he grabbed her hand. They went down to the beach and she sighed happily at the feel of the sand beneath her toes. “Lets get in the water.” He said as he pulled her further down the beach.
“Okay.” He tugged her into the water, but this time when she tried to stop at waist deep water he lifted her in his arms and kept walking. “Hey, what are you doing? I can’t swim.”
“Just trust me, I wouldn’t let anything happen to you and I’m an incredibly good swimmer.”
“Ok” Nesoi knew she could trust him so wouldn’t fight about it. He took her deep into the water so it covered her to her neck as he cradled Nesoi. “don’t you like being further in?”
“do you want me to teach you how to swim with human legs?”
“what if I cant”
“Of course you can”
“I might frustrate you”
“You could never do that. Come on”
“Ok, can we stop if I need to stop”
“the second you ask I’ll cradle you again”
“Ok, I’m ready then” He had barely let her go when she latched onto him again out of fear. She blushed and he hugged her to him “It’s ok”
“I grew up in the ocean but its scary without my tail”
“I understand” They just stood there in the embrace, both loving the feeling of eachother. “Crius!” the mans voice pulled them back to reality. One of Crius’s friends was standing on land. Crius took Nesoi in a cradling position again then began to walk back.
Once they were on the beach he lowered Nesoi to her feet. “Derrick told me you were back, I can’t believe…” Alkis trailed off as his gaze jumped to Nesoi. Crius looked over at her, his heart slamming against his chest when he saw that her shirt was see through. He pulled her into his arms, her back facing Alkis.
“You were saying.”
Alkis snapped his gaze back to Crius. “Oh sorry, I was saying I can’t believe you didn’t come see me.”
“Well one, I did just get back so the first person I wanted to see was Theia and two I had to clean my house and three I was getting to know Nesoi since she’s been staying with my sister.”
“Well still, it’s been forever.”
“Three years isn’t forever and I highly doubt you were thinking about me that whole time.”
Alkis chuckled. “Well you got me there, I do have a very short attention span. Maybe every couple of months I was like I wonder how my old friend Crius is doing, hopefully he hasn’t been shot, not that it would matter with that nifty little gift of yours.”
He frowned. “Depends on how fast I could stop the bleeding.”
Nesoi didn’t like the look on his face and reached up to cup his cheek. “You shouldn’t be thinking about such horrible things.” She said softly and he smiled warmly down at her.
“It’s okay Nesoi, war is always bloody, it’s just something you get used to.”
Alkis rubbed the back of his neck. “Anyway, I was wondering if maybe you’d like to go out for a drink or two. I could get some of the guys together and we could all go out tonight.”
“Sure, I’ll take Nesoi home while you go get the guys.”
“Can’t I come?” Nesoi asked.
“You wouldn’t want to be around a bunch of rowdy, drunk guys, trust me.”
“Um, but what if you need someone to walk you home?”
“Oh just let her come, it’ll be a lot of fun.”
Crius sighed. “Alright, but you have to promise to stick to me like glue or better yet tree sap.”
“Great, see you two later. Nice to meet you Nesoi”
“Nice to meet you” She turned her head to say. It didn’t seem like Crius was willing to let her go so she could turn and face Alkis. Crius lifted Nesoi, making sure she was titled so her breasts weren’t on display for everyone “whats wrong?” she asked “Your tank top is see through”
“Oh, I’ll change then before we go”
“You sure you want to go?’
“You don’t want me?” She asked a little sadly and he sighed again “it’s not that. Just worrying too much I guess”
“Theia did tell me you worry a lot. Can we go to the beach again tomorrow? I was having fun with you”
“Of course, maybe I can get you to swim next time”
“I’ll work with you as long as it takes. We should get you in a swimsuit next time though”
“ok” They went to Theias home first “I’ll come back when I’m ready ok. Take your time” Crius said and Nesoi nodded. “where are you two going now?” Theia asked when her brother left “out with his friends” Theia noticed she could see through Nesois shirt and giggled “girl, go get up there and change.”
“Yeah, sorry” Nesoia ran to her room, picking out somthing to wear then going into the bathroom for a shower. She was careful to get all the dirt from the ocean water out of her hair, finding herself with that want to look pretty for Crius. When she came out she pulled on the clothes she had selected then brushed out her long pink hair. When that was done she applied light pink lipstick then the faintest amount of eye shadow like Theia had taught her.
When she came downstairs Crius was wait for her and his eyes widened once again at how beautiful she was. “Do I look okay?” She asked shyly.
“You look amazing, too amazing, maybe you should stay home.”
Theia laughed at his words. “He’s only teasing Nesoi.”
“Oh.” She said with relief.
“You two have fun, Nesoi do you have your key?”
“Good, now get.”
They left Theia’s house. Crius grabbed her hand the minute they were on the street. “There are no crowds anymore, you don’t have to hold my hand.”
“Anything could happen so just let me.”
She blushed. “Okay.”
He really just wanted to remain in contact with her, loving the warmth of her fingers against his. He kept her as close as he could as he headed for his favorite pub. As he suspected, his friends were waiting for him outside and greeted him with hugs and handshakes. “Wow, who is this?” Hewie asked.
“This is Nesoi, she’s been living with my sister, I’m surprised you didn’t know.”
“It’s not like we visited her on a daily basis or anything.” Hewie held out his hand. “Nice to meet you Nesoi.”
She took his hand. “Um, nice to meet you too.” He smiled and she pulled her hand away and grabbed onto Crius’ arm.
“She’s pretty cute and it seems she’s taken a liking to you.” Latis said with a grin so Nesoi blushed.
Crius pulled away from her and put Latis in a headlock. “Stop embarrassing her or I’ll throw you off the docks.”
“Hey let go, I’m sorry.” Everyone else laughed except for Nesoi who just looked at her shoes. Crius let him go and took her hand again.
“Come on children, lets head inside.” Hewie said.
This was Nesois first time inside the bar so she immediately began looking around. A small group of scantily dressed women caught her attention and confused her. All the women she saw normally dressed in much more than that. If it was fine for them she wondered why it concerned Theia and Crius how much her body was showing. She knew they were looking out for her though so she just began scanning the bar again.
She was surprised how full this place was. It wasn’t packed but if many more people came it would be. She tightened her hold on Crius, making him smile as he continued to talk to his friends. “what do you drink?” Hewie asked Nesoi. She was still taking in teh bar so didn’t hear him. Crius stroked her cheek, finally catching her attention. “do you want anything to drink?” he asked and she nodded “water”
“water?” Latis ask.
“He means alcohol.” Alkis said.
“Oh, I’ve never had any before, so just water please.”
Everyone paused and looked at her in surprise except for Crius. “You’ve never even had a sip?” Latis asked.
“Well you have to at least try it.”
“Hey, if she says she only wants water then she only wants water.” Crius interjected.
“Well, maybe I’ll try a sip of yours.” Nesoi said nervously.
“You don’t have to if you don’t want to.” She loved the way his voice softened when he spoke to her, it made face turn red and her heart race in excitement.
“We’ll get her some water.” Hewie finally said. “Don’t be so pushy Latis, it’s not very gentlemanly.” He grabbed Latis’ ear and dragged and they continued over to one of the empty tables.
“Hey let me go you ass, I’m not a child.”
“Then stop acting like one.”
Nesoi sat down at the table with Alkis while Crius, Latis and Hewie went to get drinks. “So, are you and Crius going out or something?” Alkis asked and her heart skipped a beat.
“No, not really. I mean we only just met so no. He just spends time with me.” He reached across the table and took her hand.
“You know you’re really pretty.”
“Hey, hands off.” Crius’ voice made them both jump and Alkis pull away.
“It’s not like she’s your girlfriend or anything.”
Crius sat down and handed Nesoi her water. “Thank you, what about your drink?”
“Hewie said he’d bring it over for me.” He turned his gaze back to Alkis. “You shouldn’t go around touching people who don’t asked to be touched, especially someone as shy as Nesoi. Besides, she’s in mine and my sister’s care so that makes me her protector so don’t touch.”
“Fine, calm down man, I won’t touch her again unless she says it’s okay.”
Nesoi blushed profusely at Crius’s protectiveness. She knew he said that he was so protective because she was in his sisters care but she could tell it was more than that. It was in the way he talked to her and looked at her that made Nesoi wonder if maybe he was as attracted to her as she was to him. When the drinks came Crius set his in front of Nesoi “you still want to try?” he asked in that same sweet way. She picked it up and took a small sip.
“I do like it” she said as she handed the drink back to Crius. “do you want one then?”
“Maybe later, I want my water for now”
“ok, just let me know”
“I bet she’d be adorable drunk” Alkis threw in, testing Crius’s patience. “drunk?” she asked. “So you’ve never drank and have never even seen someone get drunk. Where are you from? Were you raised by nuns or priests or somthing?” Nesoi really didn’t want to explain again that she was a mermaid, it hurt too much to think about “Leave her alone guys” Crius answered for her. Alkis was getting annoyed by Crius’s guard dog behavior since they weren’t dating but he was aware he couldn’t take Crius in a fight so just stopped.
After awhile Nesoi began to relax, feeling safe with Crius there. She talked with his friends, wanting to get to know them since they were close with him. She found that she liked Hewie the most and that he and Crius were the more mature out of the group. Latis had a very young and overexcited personality that seemed to get him in trouble often with Crius and Hewie who were always reprimanding him. Then there was Alkis. Even though she knew he wasn’t a bad person, he was far too flirtatious and easily irritated. She was sure in time she would like him more, but right now he made her nervous. After the third round of drinks she finally asked to have some of what Crius was drinking and he went up to the bar and got her one.
“Now, booze can make you feel kind of weird, but I promise I won’t let anything happen to you.” Crius said as he sat her drink in front of her.
“But you don’t seem to be acting weird.”
“That’s because my tolerance is higher than you, I can stomach more.”
“Oh, okay.” She drank hers slowly, but it wasn’t long before she started to feel different. It was an odd sensation, but not an unpleasant one. She found herself becoming even more relaxed than before and soon the guys had her giggling at every little thing they said.
“Alkis was right, she’s totally cute.” Latis said with a big grin. “Get her another one.”
“Do you want another one?” Crius asked softly.
“Yes, they’re delicious.”
Crius kept a close eye on her while she drank, deciding he didn’t need anymore since he was probably going to have to carry her home. After her second drink was gone she just sat there with her chin resting on her arms, looking like she was about ready to pass out. “Hey guys, I think I’m going to take her home.”
“Oh really, I see.” Latis said and winked. Hewie slapped him in the back of his head. “Ouch, what the hell?”
“Stop being such a weirdo, Crius isn’t that type of guy, you know that.” He looked at Crius. “Be careful going home.”
“I will, thanks for bringing us out tonight.” He got up and lifted Nesoi into his arms. She lay in his arms, her head resting against his chest and her eyes just staring off into space. He took her out of the bar, the cool ocean breeze making goosebumps rise on both of their skin.
“You’re really the best.”
He chuckled. “Am I?”
“Yeah, so don’t leave me okay.”
“I wouldn’t dream of it.”
“Good.” She didn’t say anything else as he walked. Instead of taking her to Theia’s house, he took her to his. He carried her upstairs and laid her down in the guest room. He smiled down at her sleeping face and pulled her shoes off then covered her.
“Good night Nesoi.” He kissed her forehead then exited the room, leaving the door open in case she needed him.
Crius went to his own bedroom, stripped, pulled on sleep shorts then settled into bed for the night. When he woke in the morning he went to check on Nesoi. She still looked just as peaceful as when he left her in there last night. Her hair was adorable messy and she had a small amount of drool on the side of her mouth. He smiled and carefully used a bit of her blanket to wipe it away.
With that he walked back out of the room to shower. He took his time, slowly moving his body wash over his toned body then allowing the warm spray of water to rinse it from his skin. He cleaned his hair aswell then shut of the water. Crius roughly dried his hair and body then tugged on his clothes. He was going to floss his teeth before brushing them but it appeared he had run out. He sighed, just brushing would be fine. It wasn’t like Nesoi was going to be examining his teeth or making out with him. He blushed at the last thought as he squeezed toothpaste onto his brush.
Nesoi woke about this time. She was surprised to find herself in a strange room at first but noticed where she was by the time she was on her feet. Nesoi walked out the room and called “Crius?” he spit “I’m brushing my teeth” he answered “Oh, Um, I guess I should go back to Theias”
“How do you feel?” He asked as he stepped out of the bathroom.
“Alright I guess, I’m really thirsty and my head hurts a little.”
He chuckled. “I don’t think you should drink that much anymore.”
“Why don’t you get in the shower and I’ll go get you some clothes.”
“Are you sure?”
“Of course, it’s not a problem.”
She smiled. “Okay, thank you.”
She went into the bathroom and he headed over to his sister’s house. He knocked on the door and she pulled it open. “Good morning, did you guys have fun last night?”
“Yeah, poor Nesoi got drunk, I’m here to get her some clothes.”
“Did you guys, you know?” She teased and winked at him.
He shoved her. “No, I’m not the type to take advantage of a drunk woman and besides she so innocent. If she wants to do any of that, it’ll be her choice and besides it’s not like we’re dating or anything.”
Theia just smiled as she went upstairs and retrieved some clothes for Nesoi. She came back down and handed them to Crius. “You do seem incredibly fond of her though.”
“What’s not to be fond of? She’s beautiful, she’s sweet, she’s smart and she needs someone to watch out for her. She doesn’t know much about being on land so I need to protect her. What if someone manipulated her into doing something bad?”
“Sounds like someone’s in love.”
“Maybe I am, is that so bad? I actually enjoy spending time with her.”
“Well if it’s her then it’s okay, it’s not like she’s another Jessica.”
“Oh god, don’t ever mention her around Nesoi, the last thing I need is for her to be worried about something like an ex girlfriend.”
“My lips are sealed, but you know she’s going to get wind of your return sooner or later.”
He sighed “I know, I just want to put it off as long as possible. If I could make that woman disappear from the face of the earth without killing her I’d do it” Theia giggled as her brother walked back out of her house to take the clothes to Nesoi. Since it hadn’t taken long Nesoi was still in the shower. He set the clothes on the guest bed then went down to his living room to wait. Jessica hadn’t even crossed his mind until his sister mentioned her. That woman had been so crazy. One of his biggest mistakes was dating her.
It was nice to have a woman around like Nesoi. So calm and sweet. Crius smiled, his mind now consumed with her. Nesoi finished up then came out, scanning the room for clothes. She saw he had left them on the bed so she dried off then slipped them on. She sighed, realizing she didn’t have a hairbrush to fix her hair with. It would be alright though, she didn’t think she looked that bad with messy hair.
Crius smiled adoringly at her when she walked into the living room and sat down next to him on the couch. “Does your head still hurt?” He asked.
“Yeah, just a little.”
“Let me help you.” He scooted closer and put his hands on either side of his head, his fingers sliding into her damp hair. He pressed his forehead against hers and closed his eyes, making her blush. She felt his palms warm and the pain eased then disappeared. “How does your stomach feel?” He asked as he opened his eyes.
“It’s okay, I’m sure it’ll be better once I eat something.” He smiled and pulled away from her.
“Are you still thirsty?”
He got up and filled a glass with water then brought it back to her. “Just relax here and I’ll make breakfast.”
“Okay, thank you.” Her heart was still thundering from him being so close and she wondered if that was how he healed everyone. She liked to think she was special and that everything he did was because he really liked her. He quickly cooked up some french toast, glad that his sister had stocked the house before his return. He called her to the kitchen table and she sat down next to him. She took a bite a gave a little moan of delight. “This is so good.”
“I’m glad you think so.” He watched her eating and smiled at how adorable she looked. “Can I ask you something?”
She looked at him. “Yeah.”
“Would it be okay if I kissed you?”
She felt a blush creeping up her neck and jerked her eyes away. “Um, well I don’t know, I guess.”
“You don’t have to.”
“I want to, I really do, I’m just not so sure I’d be any good at it.”
“Won’t you let me be the judge of that?”
Her whole face heated as she answered “alright” He smiled, getting up from his chair and walking over to her. His hands slid onto her cheeks as he brought her in slowly. She could feel his warm breath on her hot face when he asked again “you sure beautiful?”
“mhm” it came out in a mouse like sound. He pulled her just a little more, meeting their lips. It was a sweet, innocent kiss. Not even an attempt at tongue though he wanted it. When he pulled back both their hearts were going wild. Even without his tongue mingling with hers that was the best kiss he had ever experienced. He was at a loss for words it had felt so good.
“I think my sister may be right.”
“About what?” She asked in a whisper.
“About me loving you.”
Her heart hammered even harder in her chest. “You love me?”
“There’s no way a kiss would feel that good with just anyone.” He brushed his thumb over her cheek. “From the very first moment I saw you, I was absolutely captivated. You were so beautiful standing on the beach and I was so drawn to you.”
“Even though I ran away?”
“I was willing to search the whole city just to apologize, I’m so happy you were staying with my sister.” He pulled her into a hug and she rested her head against his chest. She was surprised at how fast his heart was beating.
“Extremely so, you make my heart beat so fast it might explode, you make my head swim with all kinds of emotions.”
“Love, adoration, lust, jealousy. I wanted to break Alkis’ arm last night when I saw him touch you.”
“You’re not supposed to hurt your friends.”
“I know and I wouldn’t, but in that moment I felt so angry. Listen, don’t ever let anyone try to manipulate you into anything and tell you it’s normal and what humans do. If anyone tries anything that makes you feel uncomfortable you tell me and I’ll set them straight. I love you too much to let anyone hurt you.”
She buried her face in his shirt. “I…I love you too and I’ll never hide anything from you I promise.”
He smiled, his heart fluttering again as he held her. “you going to stay here with me then instead of my sister?”
“I’d like that but um…” She paused, too embarrassed to continue “but what?”
“I dont know if I’m ready to share a bed with a man…cna i keep your guest room?”
“Of course, hey” he lifted her chin so she was looking at him. “we’re going at your pace alright. When you’re ready to share a bed let me know. I’ll just enjoy the honor of us cuddling at night. Every move we make in this relationship will be when you say so. I don’t want to rush you” she smiled “thank you”
“Lets get your things after breakfast” he said sweetly. Crius kissed her again then returned to his meal.
They ate in happy silence and quickly cleaned up afterwards. Nesoi was nervous as they went down the street to Theia’s house. Crius knocked on his sister’s door then pushed it open and announced their presence. She came down from upstairs where she had been cleaning. “Well good morning Nesoi.”
“Good morning.” She was blushing a deep shade of red.
“Did something happen between you two, you know did you guys do it?”
“Do it?” Nesoi asked.
“She means did we have sex and no we didn’t, but she has decided to be my girlfriend and wants to move in with me.” He was blushing too, just not as much. “She’s also going to be using the guest room until she’s ready to sleep with me.”
“Don’t I have the best big brother?”
“Yes you do.” Nesoi agreed.
“Well go on up and pack your stuff then. I’m so happy for both of you.”
Crius sat down on the couch while Nesoi packed and Theia sat down next to him just grinning. “What?” He asked.
“You know you’re the only other person she got attached to. She’s been so shy, it’s great to see her so happy. I’m glad you’re letting her take the lead.”
“She’s just so innocent and shy, I don’t want to scare her away though I would like to cuddle with her.”
“You’ve always been the sweetest, just remember to use protection.”
“You know I’m only teasing, I’m not even worried.” Nesoi came back down, blushing after hearing part of their conversation.
“You ready?” Crius asked as he and Theia came to their feet. She nodded and he gently to her bag.
She turned to Theia. “Thank you so much for everything.”
Theia hugged her. “I would be sad if you didn’t live so close, if my brother ever gives you any trouble or you need to talk just come over.”
“I will I promise.”
“Its been amazing getting to know you” Theia added and Nesoi answered “I’m not going far away”
“I don’t trust my brother not to hog you” both Nesoi and Crius were blushing again as they left. Crius set her things in the guest room “can I help?’
“Just sit on the bed and talk to me. Wont take me long since I don’t have a lot”
“I could fix that” Crius said softly. Nesoi smiled “I don’t need anything.” Crius’s eyes followed Nesoi as she set her things where she wanted them. When she was done he got up and pulled her into a tight embrace “I love you” he said and she answered shyly “Love you too.”
“what can I do to make you happy?”
“I want to go back to the ocean today”
“then we’ll go. Change into a swimsuit” He squeezed then let her go. All those times he had fussed at his sister for taking in strangers and now she had found him such a wonderful woman to love. Crius was overwhelmed with happiness about what his future held with Nesoi and hoped she was just as excited about her future with him.
~ The End ~