Sudie kept rowing in her small boat, looking for the man or whatever he had been that saved her. Once she had had a second to calm down guilt replaced her fear but he was already long gone. Days passed and she couldn’t forgive herself for reacting to him the way she did when all he had done was save her life then leave her safely on shore so she had bought a small boat since that was all she could afford then went back out to sea. She needed to find him, to tell him how sorry she was and most importantly actually thank him. She didn’t know if he could hear her cries for him from the boat but she wouldn’t stop trying to look for him. “Please! I’m so sorry! I just want to tell you that to your face! You were so kind to me” she was starting to tear up again “I would have died if you hadn’t helped me. There’s no way I could have swam all the way back to land. I’m so sorry…I just…I hate myself for being so scared of you..I was an idiot…please” She wished she had a name to call but her panic had sent him away so quickly.
Otho swam beneath the boat, his heart wrenching in his chest at her sadness. He moved slowly to the surface, his hand grabbing the side of the small boat and causing it to rock a little. Her eyes looked surprised to see him and he waited for her to scream. “It’s you.” She said, her hands coming up to wipe at her tears.
“Hello, little human.” He said nervously. “So, you’re doing well, that’s good.”
“I didn’t think you would come.”
“I almost didn’t, but you were crying.”
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to guilt you. I just…I just really wanted to see you.” She moved over so she was facing him. “I wanted to apologize for what I did, for reacting the way I did. You were so kind.”
“You didn’t have to come all the way out here to apologize, especially alone. One rogue wave or a storm could drown you. What if I wasn’t around?”
“But I needed to, so, sorry.”
“It’s alright, really.”
She gave him a small smile. “I’m Sudie.”
“You can call me Otho. Let’s get you back to shore.”
“You’d help me again…really?”
“Hey, I carry some of the fault for not shifting before helping you. I was worried when I saw you. I didn’t know how long you had been under so I didn’t want to waste time shifting. It isn’t quick, as you saw, since I’m such a massive sea monster. Any little human would have been scared”
“You’re not a monster, a monster wouldn’t have taken the time out of their day to save me. A monster would have probably eaten me” He sighed, she had thought he would eat her so of course he was a monster. Even his fellow sea creatures feared him if they didn’t know him. “well Sudie, lets get you off the sea before anything happens.” She helped him up on the boat, blushing when she saw he wasn’t wearing anything at all. “I’m sorry, I don’t wear clothes”
“ii..its okay…I just…I” He smiled, finding her adorable in that moment. He looked around her boat but saw nothing to cover himself with. He noted she was wearing a jacket so he suggested “I could cover myself with that jacket you’re wearing if you hand it to me” She took it off “I’m sorry” she said again and he chuckled “it’s okay, I know humans normally wear clothes Sudie” He rowed her to shore much faster than she had been able to row herself out there. “where should we take this boat?”
“I didn’t think of that. I just sort of gathered all my money and bought the first boat I could afford so I could come apologize”
“You didn’t spend all your money on this did you?”
“well…um…yeah but you saved my life and I don’t think I could have lived with myself if I couldn’t have properly apologized. Maybe I can sell it back or maybe I could keep it to come see you sometime if you’d be interested in that…I can get more money so don’t worry Otho”
“Don’t come back out here on your own and please don’t spend money needlessly.”
“It wasn’t needless, I really wanted to see you.”
“You’re too kind.” He smiled. “If you truly wish to see me, then I will come here, there’s no reason for you to put yourself in danger over one such as me.”
“If you must go out then at least allow me to accompany you in case something happens.” When he was at the shore he told her to close her eyes and she covered her face so he could jump out and pull her boat up onto the beach and away from the waves. “Let me help you out.” She looked up at him and he offered his hand, happy when she actually took it and allowed him to pulled her up.
“Thank you again.”
“Meet me here tomorrow and I will bring you something more valuable than the boat. I don’t want you to do without because of me.”
“You don’t have to do that.”
“I want to, so come here tomorrow, I’ll wait for you.”
“Okay, can we spend some time together tomorrow aswell?” He smiled “You’re an interesting woman Sudie. Sure, if you really want me to I’ll make sure I come with something to cover myself with so I can walk on land with you” blushing she asked “are you completely fine on land for any sort of long period?”
“Okay, what time tomorrow?”
“Would morning work for you?”
“then come see me in the morning. Don’t rush yourself, I wont mind waiting” She soon walked off, turning to wave once which had him once again thinking about how adorable the little human was. He could barely believe she came back but what was more baffling was that she wanted to spend time with him. Few humans would have done what she did today but even less would befriend a monster like him. He went back into the water, shifting the second he was deep enough so he could swim faster. He had multiple things he could give her so he wanted to hurry home and decide which thing that would be.
Sudie ran to one of her friends at a proper dock “Hey Sudie, what’s up?”
“long story but I have a boat. Is there anyway I can get a good price to keep it here?”
“I can’t promise just yet but I’ll talk to my boss. I’ll see if he’ll let you dock it for free”
“he owes me a favor and I owe you one” she looked confused so he chuckled and answered “Um, who took me in for months when I burned down my house? You never asked for anything in return and you wouldn’t let me pay you for letting me stay. I’ll try to get your boat docked here for free”
“How did you come up with the money for one? Not to be insulting but you don’t really have much”
“it took all the money I had but like I said, it’s along story and I want to go home and rest, my arms are killing me”
“alright, I guess a woman should be able to have her mysteries if she wants them, especially one as sweet as you”
“Bye Sudie, take care of yourself.”
Sudie made herself a sandwich when she got home, eating it quickly then bathing. It felt amazing to finally lay down, her arms practically noodles. She never thought rowing could be so hard and she now had a better appreciation for all those fishermen. She smiled as she let herself relax, sleeping washing over. She dreamed of the sea that night and woke the next morning sore, but excited. It hurt to lift her arms to get dressed, but she pushed through it and was out her door and running down the street toward the beach. Otho was waiting for her, turning and smiling before she could even call out to him. He was dressed today and she finally found herself able to take him in without blushing.
“Good morning.” He said.
“Good morning.” She let her eyes move over him. He was actually really beautiful.
“Do I look alright?”
She blushed, realizing she was staring. “Yes, sorry, you look great.”
“Good, I brought you something.” He held out his hand and opened it. There was a little gold disc with a stone set in the middle. It looked like it had been part of a necklace. She took, turning it over as she looked it over. “If you take that and sell it, you should get a good amount of money.”
“I couldn’t, it’s yours.”
“The sea has brought me plenty of treasures, this is the smallest one I could find, I didn’t think you would take something bigger.”
She held the item tight in her hand, she really didn’t have the money for that boat and he did seem like he truly wanted to make up for her buying it so she decided to just say thank you and not argue about it with him. “Thank you…I still feel terrible for being so afraid when you were saving me but..it’s nice to know we’re okay”
“I don’t want you to feel bad. It was a completely normal reaction Sudie”
“um, I need to check on something at one of the docks here. Want to come with me for that? Then we can go do something fun”
“You should sell that right after. I want to make sure you get a fair price for it and don’t lose it anywhere” He was honestly worried about her. If she went without something she needed because of him he’d be the one feeling guilty. “alright, I guess you’re right. It’s just you agreed to spend some time with me so I didn’t want you bored.”
“Is anybody capable of being bored around you Sudie?” she blushed at his question.
They went to talk to Kyong, who stared wide eyed at Otho for a moment until Sudie waved her hand in front of his face and introduced them. “Did you hear me?” She asked.
“Are you sure it’s okay not to pay you?”
“Of course, I’d just end up taking it back to your house and leaving it for you anyway.”
“Well if that changes, please tell me.”
“It won’t, it was nice meeting you Otho.”
“You as well.” Otho replied then followed Sudie off the dock and back into town. Heads turned wherever they went and even the man she went to sell the piece of jewelry to was amazed.
Her mouth hung open when she was told how much the piece of jewelry was worth “Otho, you really don’t need to give me all of this. Do you want some of the cut? Did you realize it was worth that much”
“Please, I want you to have all of it. You’re an amazing person and I don’t want for anything” She hugged him, hoping it was okay “thank you so much” He was frozen as she hugged him and to his disappointment by the time his mind started functioning enough to hug back she was already letting go. That had felt amazing. He couldn’t remember the last time anybody had given him a hug. He hoped she did it again, next time it wouldn’t throw him like just now and he could truly enjoy it. She collected her money “I should take this home. Would you like to see where I live?”
“I want to go Sudie but be careful letting strangers know where you live” she blushed “I…well…they say people you know hurt you more often than strangers do” worry stirred in him again and he wondered why. It wasn;t that he didn’t care what happened to people but he seemed to worry about her more than most others he met. From the very start seeing her in trouble had stirred panic in him that day he saved her.
“So, this is my place.” She said when they made it to the small house. “It’s not much, but it’s home.”
“It’s perfect.” He replied and she felt her heart skip, a blush tinting her cheeks as she lead him in.
“But you live in the sea, that’s so much bigger. You must have all the space in the world. Compared to that, this is…”
He gently grabbed her wrist and pulled her around. “I like it, it’s warm and inviting, it smells of happiness.”
“Having an entire ocean can be daunting to some. There are many creatures who never leave the safety of their homes. They would love this place so please don’t say such negative things.”
“Thank you. Please go ahead and make yourself at home while I put this away.”
He sat down on her couch as she walked away, still looking around, admiring her home. She came back and said “I can give you a proper tour if you want, of my place and then everything around here” He stood, that debonair smile still etched on his face “sure” she gave him the short tour of her home then they left together “Do you come to land often?”
“No, I normally don’t have a reason to”
“I’m sorry that everyone stares…even myself at first” He chuckled “This is the most human I can look. I look different, I get that. I don’t mind it at all, especially when you stare. You have pretty eyes Sudie” she was blushing from head to toe “th..thank you”
“May I ask how you ended up in the ocean?”
“I broke up with my boyfriend because he was a bully and I didn’t want to be with him if he couldn’t start treating people better…..he shoved me off the ship and..well…he yelled at me as he did it”
“what did he yell?”
“It was horrible, it’s not worth repeating”
“Sudie, what did he say to you?”
“He said he hoped I drowned”
“Where is this boy?”
She gave him a questioning look at first then grabbed him and shook her head. “Please don’t, I don’t want you getting in trouble and…and it’s over, you saved me.” She looked at her feet. “Please, just let it go.”
“Sudie.” He stopped, one hand grasping hers while the other came up and gently tipped her head back. “What if I had not been? What if you had died? It’s unforgivable, he could have killed you. He needs to be punished.” His tone was gentle, but she could sense he was angry at her ex. “What if hurts someone else? Tell me where he is and I will scare him so bad he won’t dare do such a thing again.”
“He goes out on boats often, sometimes alone, sometimes with friends.”
“What does he look like?”
“Promise me you aren’t going to kill him.”
“I swear on my life. I simply want to show him why the sea is not to be trifled with. I’ll find him later when you and I are not spending time together. He’ll never touch you or the water again.”
She still paused for a few moments but decided to tell him. Otho was right, he could do that to someone else and she didn’t want anybody to experience the same terror she did. She truly thought she was going to die out there and never see anybody she loved or cared for again. “He is about average height and he has short red hair and green eyes. He wears a lot of red too”
“Thank you for telling me.” Otho wanted to find him right now and teach him a lesson but he had promised Sudie and he was a man of his word. He was glad she had left him and even more glad he had been there to save her. He hadn’t known her very long but she deserved a much better man than that and he already felt the world would have lost someone truly wonderful if she had died.
Sudie showed him her favorite places, going over where they were as they went. Once the tour was over they were both starving so Sudie asked “what should we eat”
“I’ll eat whatever you like. Maybe you could take me back to your home and we can have something there”
“Okay, I have some stuff. Could we stop at the store and get a few things?”
“You don’t have to ask, please do as you wish.”
He took her hand as they walked, keeping her close to him in case anyone tried anything. Knowing what had happened to her made him even more protective. If any other man even thought of laying a hand on her then he would make them wish they had never been born. She blushed the whole way to the store and he only let her go so she could pick up what she needed. Once they had paid, he took the bag from her and retained possession of her hand.
“I hope you like pasta and salad, I’m guessing you’re probably used to fish.”
“Food is food and if it’s made by you, I’ll eat it no matter what it is.”
“You’re really sweet, you know that”
“I guess I enjoy having a friend” They returned to her home where she began cooking. He asked to help but she wouldn’t let him “Just talk to me, I really want to cook for you”
“If you insist”
“so, your family?”
“My kind tend to lay their eggs and move on. We are born by ourselves and tend to live by ourselves”
“My mom walked out on my dad and I when I was four and my dad lives not far from here if you feel like meeting him”
“where’d she go?”
“I don’t know, she just left and nobody saw her again. it was okay though, my dad is really incredible and he did the best he could raising me on his own. It was for the best, he says they fought a lot. He told me that a lot so I’d never feel like it was me she was abandoning but she did…I mean, I doubt he would have stopped her from coming to see me but she never has”
“I had a good life anyway so it’s okay”
“Good, I’m glad.”
“If I ever have children, there’s no way I’m leaving them. Even if they moved out, I think I would visit often to make sure they’re eating properly.” She laughed. “I’d be such a nag.”
“I don’t see it that way, I bet you would be a wonderful mother.”
She smiled. “You’re way too sweet, thank you.” She wanted to know as much about him as possible and asked him about what it was like living under water. He explained things in as much detail as possible, wanting to paint a better picture of his home than what her first impression had given her. It was dangerous beneath the surface, but it was also beautiful. When dinner was ready, she made both of their plates then sat down and waited expectantly for him to take a bite.
“This is really good, Sudie, I don’t know why you were so worried.”
She blushed. “Well, it’s just I’ve never cooked for anyone not human.”
“well I think it’s amazing, maybe we could eat together once a week” he suggested, hoping she’d agree “yeah, I’d really like that” she felt incredibly happy to not only have made up with her savior but befriended him. She was beaming all through lunch and even after when they began walking to her fathers house. He answered the door quickly “my baby” he seemed to have known it was her before he even opened the door so Otho assumed she was probably the only person who just dropped by for visits with him. “who is this?” he asked almost straight away “the man who saved me from drowning” Her father shook his hand “thank you so much, I owe you, I really do. Life just wouldn’t be the same without my daughter, she’s all I have”
“I’m glad I was there” Unlike the other people in the city he didn’t seem curious at all about him even though he obviously wasn’t human. “sir, if you don’t mind me asking, have you met a lot of beings that weren’t human?”
“Oh yes, I was adventurous when I was young”
“ah, I was wondering why you didn’t stare” her father chuckled “yeah, you couldn’t keep me still until I found out I was going to be a father.” he patted Sudies head as he continued to talk “being a father has been the best part of my life though, nothing else compares which is why I owe you so much. You must let me do something in return”
“it was nothing and I’ve gained her as a friend through it so I’ve already gotten something amazing in return”
“At least allow me to offer my friendship as well then.”
“Of course, thank you.
“Are you two in any kind of hurry? I was just about to bake some of Sudie’s favorite cookies.”
“If she wishes to stay then I will as well. I have to see her home anyway before I head back to the sea, I have some business to take care of.”
“It’s about you know who.” Sudie said.
“I see. She wouldn’t let me go after him.”
“Daddy, I didn’t want you getting into trouble.” She sighed. “Otho is going to take care of it no matter what I do.”
“Human laws mean nothing to me, especially out on the water. That is my domain and he will have to play by my rules.”
Her father chuckled. “I like this one, I hope he sticks around.”
“Hes going to start coming to eat with me”
“Is he now?” her father said giving him a look. Otho impressed her father when he kept his gaze instead of fidgeting. They continued getting to know eachother until the cookies were ready, Otho finding he loved the same cookies Sudie did. When the cookies were gone he didn’t want to part with her but he was anxious to teach that asshole ex of hers a lesson so he asked if she was ready to be walked home “yeah, I’ve really enjoyed this day with you”
“me too Sudie”
“you’re welcome any time” Her father added as they left. Otho took her hand again as they walked, making Sudie smile all the way home. She felt a little bad for gaining feelings for someone else so soon after a breakup but she was starting to find herself desiring more with Otho than friendship.Her heart was beating a little fast when they arrived at her home, especially when he brought her knuckles to his lips, planting a gentle kiss “take care of yourself alright.”
“are you coming back soon?”
“tomorrow if that’s okay, I dont know when but I’ll find you tomorrow”
“Okay, please be safe.”
He smiled. “You need not worry about me, predators tend to avoid me.”
She watched from the front porch as he left, going inside and getting ready for bed once he was completely out of sight. Otho went quickly to the beach and stripped his clothes off then stepped into the cool water. As soon as he was far enough from shore, he shifted his shape, keeping just his eyes above the water as he moved. He inwardly chuckled when he spotted the young man who had dared try to kill his sweet Sudie. His heart skipped a beat at how possessive his thoughts sounded. They had barely become friends. He slipped beneath the surface, speeding up as he neared the boat he shared with three others. They were drunk and laughing, him acting as if he had not tried to snuff out the most beautiful woman in the world. They screamed when he capsized the boat and their eyes widened in shock, their minds instantly sobering up when they saw how large the beast before them was. They started swimming away, screaming and begging for their lives and he quickly snatched up his prey, holding him in the air by his shirt then tossing him so he landed a few feet away.
Otho roared at him so loud and deep in his throat the water around Albert, causing him to actually whine with fear. Otho swam over to him, tugging him under the water, watching him panic as he couldn’t swim his way back to the top. Otho didn’t let him go until he had to, he couldn’t kill Albert, Sudie would know and it would cost him his friendship with her and his life wasn’t worth that. When Otho stuck his head out of the water again he could hear Albert desperately gasping in fear as he tried to swim away again. The adrenaline probably the only thing keeping him going after the struggle he had put up under the water. It had been nothing for Otho but he knew the human had been fighting with all his might to get to the surface.
Otho could speak while in this form though his voice was a booming growl “if you ever try to drown anybody in my ocean again I will pull you under and keep you there” Otho then threw Albert far enough he’d be able to get back to shore. Otho swam to where he liked to sleep, eager for tomorrow to come so he could see Sudie’s smile again. He might stay in his human like form for awhile once he went on land again because he knew now the people might come out to hunt for the sea monster that had given those men trouble.
The next day, Otho headed slowly to land, shifting long before he was close, but staying under. Once he was out of the water and dressed, he looked back out over the ocean. He could see down the beach where the docks were and there were already men getting ready to go out. He wondered what kind of tale that Albert boy and his friends had spun. “It would have been easier to eat him.” He mumbled to himself as he left the beach, taking on a leisurely pace so as not to draw too much attention. He went straight to Sudie’s home and knocked lightly on her door. She looked like she had just woken up, her hair was pulled back in a messy ponytail and she was still in what he guessed was her nightgown.
“Did I wake you?” He asked and she blushed.
“N…no, I just started breakfast and haven’t changed.” She moved to let him in. “I didn’t think I would see you this early, I must look like a mess.”
He smiled. “I think you look adorable so please don’t worry. I should have given you more time, but I wanted to see you and tell you you won’t have to worry about that boy anymore.”
“Alive and terrified, maybe a bit bruised, but nothing serious.”
“I guess if it keeps him from doing that to anybody else. Thank you for not killing him, I think he could be good, he has it in him” Otho couldn’t believe she could say that about a man who would have drowned her. If Otho hadn’t been around that day Sudie would be gone and it was all because of that selfish prick. Otho sat at the table trying to collect himself again. He couldn’t let himself be angry, not around her. Sudie hurriedly finished making breakfast then went to her room to straighten herself up. She was embarrassed Otho had seen her so messy despite the fact he said she was adorable.
She came out in jeans and a loose tshirt. Her hair was now brushed and pulled back neatly into a pony tail. All of her hair was in it so he could perfectly see her beautiful face. She sat down across from him, now partaking of the food she made before running back there “you could have eaten first” he said, needing to have conversation with her looking that gorgeous. “I know but I wanted to look nicer with company over”
“Humans can be so strange sometimes, cute, but strange.”
“I guess women of your species don’t really need to dress up or anything.”
“It’s hard to wear clothes under water and we would just end up destroying them. I’ve seen some human women wearing makeup, there’s none of that in the water either. Not that you need any, you’re already beautiful.”
He nodded. “Absolutely and if your ex never said so then he deserves to be punished again.”
“Otho, don’t you dare.” She didn’t mean to smile, but he was so sweet and honest. “Be good, okay?”
“Alright, for you then. Is there anything you would like to do today? I can’t go back out into the water for awhile, so I’ll go with you anywhere.”
“Did I cause you trouble?”
“Not really, I’m the one who decided to scare him. There will be men out there hunting me for awhile and it’s best if I stay out of the water until then. I don’t want to have to hurt them.”
“Well, umm…” she felt her heart trip over itself as she muster up the courage to offer her home, “you could stay here if you like.”
He hadn’t even thought of asking her, not so soon after meeting but it meant a lot to him she offered “Sudie…thank you. you really would feel comfortable with that?”
“Of course” If he could stay in her home he didn’t know if he was interested in living in the sea any longer but he wouldn’t impose forever, not unless something started between them which in his heart he was hoping for. He decided if they were going to be staying together he should be honest about his feelings “Sudie?”
“I find myself incredibly attracted to you” she was beet red near instantly. “but…but I um…you’re so handsome”
“and you don’t see how gorgeous you are? Inside and out?”
“are you asking me to be with you?”
“If I’m going to stay here I thought it would be better that my feelings were in the open. I don’t want to be dishonest” she could barely speak but she managed “I um…I am attracted to you too Otho..I…um…I’m really surprised you like me but I’m flattered…really”
“do you think you could fall in love with a man from the sea?” he smiled as she increasingly got more embarrassed “I’m sorry, I can stop”
“no, I’m sorry, Albert was my first boyfriend so I’m…I don’t know…and he never made me feel good about myself…I jjust…ah” He stayed silent, giving her a second to calm down. When she managed to speak again it was more clear “I like you a lot and I want you to stay. Th..thank you for telling me how you feel. In time, I do think I’d like to be with you but I want us to know eachother a bit longer if that’s okay.”
“I can accept that, thank you for opening your home and your heart to me. I’ll make you incredibly happy, even as your friend if thats all I ever am. I care about you deeply and nothing will change that Sudie. I am so glad Fate had me save you”
“Me too Otho” she said softly. Otho was happy with her response, even if it wasn’t her wanting to be his right now. There was hope and at the very least he could remain by her side and that was more happiness than he ever thought a creature like him could have.
~ The End