The Tale of the Tail (AU, M/L, Teen) AN 9/3[WIP]

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sprayadhesive
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The Tale of the Tail (AU, M/L, Teen) AN 9/3[WIP]

Post by sprayadhesive » Sun Jul 30, 2006 1:12 am

The Tale of the Tail
Rating: Teen
Category: M/L
Summary: Maxwell Evans is the son of Poseidon. Betrothed to another mercreature at birth, he desperately holds onto the belief that true love exists, despite his father's attempts to tell him that true love is a human's myth. So, a week before his wedding, he flees and finds himself on Roswell Beach, Florida. What will ensue when he meets Liz Parker and her friends? Will he ever find true love?
Author's Note: Okay, so this is my third story posted. I've barely been getting out the parts of my other two stories, so why post a third? Because I'm insane. It's the only explanation. My little sister was telling me about some movie she'd seen about mermaids where the main character had to try to prove that true love existed, and I thought it was interesting. This fic's also going to be much, much more light than my other two. But still, there will be a small amount of angst later on. AND a BIG thanks to my beta, LairaBehr4 and to mrsjbehr for the AMAZING banner.
Disclaimer: I don’t own anything. The characters, the music, the movies referenced, none of it is mine. I drew general inspiration for Max's arrival in Roswell Beach, FL from the movie Aquamarine.

Image



<center>Prologue
Ut Wuzters “The Tellers”</center>

Three old white haired women gathered around a circle of rocks. A thick liquid illuminated their faces as they gazed into its silvery depths. Upon the fluid, an older male could be seen holding his twin newborn children, a moving picture playing before their eyes.

When he spoke, the regal quality of his voice demanded attention from everyone, “My son,” He spoke to the child in his right hand, “My first born child, you shall one day become King.”

The man shifted his gaze to the child in his left hand, “And my daughter, may you live peacefully as the princess of this land.”

The man turned around to face a woman lying on the bottom half of a giant cream colored bivalve shell. She had apparently just given birth to the children and wore a tired expression. Around her, white sheets made out of pearl dust lay gently. She smiled at her husband and her children.

He moved and sat gingerly on their bed, handing each child to her. She took them in her arms gingerly, “Do not fret, he will rule well.”

The man smiled gently at her, “And even better under Avana’s daughter’s watchful eye.”

The woman frowned at him, “Not even an hour old and already he is betrothed?”

“That is the way my parents had it done, and I am glad they did. I’ve only found happiness with you, Amphitrite.” The man leaned forward and placed a kiss on his wife’s cheek.

The woman smiled back at him, but her face fell a little, “Yet neither has found love on their own.”

“Love is but a Human’s myth, you know that. It is not real.” He gazed down at his young daughter, “But, under your wish, I haven’t betrothed our daughter. She shall be free to marry whomever she wishes.”

He rose from the bed with a swift flick of his strong silvery black tail and went to the door made out of fish bones. The water around him swished silently. He turned back to his wife, “I have another meeting to attend to, I shall return soon. I’ll send for the nanny.”

The picture dissolved from the liquid and the three women turned to one another. Their rough, grey tails flickered below them as they rose above the rock formation and joined hands. Their hauntingly green hair swam among them and six white eyes stared blankly ahead. The three were identical in every way.

Adrianna, the first and eldest, spoke first, “Poseidon’s first child will find no happiness in the betrothal…”

As if reading the other’s mind, Mariana spoke next, “…In time there shall be a parting of the ways…”

“…And the delicate wall between the merfolk and the humans will be breached by Poseidon’s own.” Sariana, the third, spoke next.

As soon as their words had started, they stopped. The once white eyes turned back to their natural green state and The Tellers sunk back down, sitting on the rocks around the pool of mysterious silvery liquid, waiting… and they’d wait like that for seventeen years.

TBC...?

I'd like to add that until I call it wraps on At All Costs, this story may be a once every two week update after I get out the parts that I've already written. Expect those every week until I say I've run out of parts. :wink:
Last edited by sprayadhesive on Mon Sep 03, 2007 12:58 am, edited 31 times in total.

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Post by sprayadhesive » Sun Aug 06, 2006 12:58 pm

I can't really believe that I stuck to the schedule. You have no idea how much willpower it took me to not post this ahead of time... I told you, I'm not very good at sitting on parts. :P

This is a shorter part, I think, because it had a natural stopping point (in my head).

Update to come next Sunday. :wink:

I wanted to give a big thanks to everyone who gave me feedback! It's really appreciated:

Morning Dreamgirl: Yes, I do suppose it takes an insane person to hold a conversation with all of you, doesn't it? :wink: And as for it being wrong... absolutely not. However, I may find some difficulty complying. :P
Emz80m
mrsjbehr: Thanks! I'm still in awe over the banner. Thank you sooo much!!
LovinGuerin2Much: Thanks! It's not going to be very like the movie, but I guess in some ways it's similar. You'll see.
LairaBehr4: Three's impressive? What's your count now? 14? Hahahahaa
dreamerfrvrp3
candycane14
BelevnDreamsToo
83 AlienAngel
Smac
alizaleven



<center>Part 1
Seventeen Years Later…
Day One
</center>

Alex Whitman hurried into The Tail carrying a few umbrellas that were remaining on the outside deck. He was wearing a black rain jacket with its collar popped to block the elements and a pair of drenched khaki pants. The weather was absolutely horrific.

The storm had picked up rather suddenly. Up until ten minutes ago, the sky had been perfectly clear. And then the clouds came. Angry, harsh, grey clouds. The rain fell at almost the same moment that the clouds came. The weather was everything short of a hurricane.

Alex had been helping his two best friends Liz Parker and Maria Deluca close up the restaurant, Liz’s parent’s owned it, to get ready for a party that The Tail was hosting tonight when the storm hit. Mr. Parker had run down the stairs not seconds after to help them take down umbrellas from the tables outside and bring them in. Alex’s two were the final ones.

As soon as he crossed the threshold, Mr. Parker fought against the wind and closed the door behind him. Jeff analyzed the storm outside before ushering everyone towards the back, “Into the backroom everyone, we’re bunkering down until this passes. It’s pretty bad as it is.”

Alex took both Maria and Liz by the hand and led them into the back. He knew that storms like these could shake Maria, but they terrified Liz. And for a good reason. He sat between them on the couch and gazed at Liz with concern, “You okay?”

She nodded meekly, her eyes staring ahead. As soon as Jeff walked into the back and Nancy had descended the stairs from their upstairs apartment, she visibly relaxed. This room was the safest room to be in when a storm hit, so knowing that everyone was here comforted her.

Nancy and Jeff were seated on the opposite side of the room, so the three could have a quiet conversation without being overheard. Maria turned to Liz with a devious grin on her face, “How’s Kyle?”

Liz blushed, “He’s fine.”

“Anything new lately?” Maria snickered to herself.

Alex could tell that Maria was trying to get Liz to tell him something, so he joined in too, “C’mon… tell me!” He wasn’t good with secrets being kept from him.

Liz blushed even more, “Mariiiiiaaa…”

Maria laughed out loud, “Liz’s got a date for the Splash Festival!!”

Alex laughed, “Aw, c’mon Lizzie, that’s nothing to be embarrassed about.” The Splash Festival was the annual beginning of summer party that The Tail hosted. Being located directly behind the beach, with its deck on the sand, The Tail was the prime location for a beach party. It brought in a lot of business for the Parkers and it served as a great place for the local teens to hangout.

Liz smiled, “I know! It’s just… We’ve been dating casually for a while now, but I didn’t think he was that interested and now he asked me to go with him to The Splash in six days. It’s kind of exciting, isn’t it?”

Maria smiled; it wasn’t often that Liz got this excited over a date. She thought that Liz had finally found someone to have a summer love with, “We’re seventeen Liz! It’s about time you got some action!”

Maria was choosing to leave out the fact that her love life had so far been dull.

Alex looked around the room with a quizzical expression. They’d only been back there for ten minutes, and the storm’s roar had already stopped. His eyes found Mr. Parker’s and saw that Jeff was just as perplexed as himself. They both rose from their spots and went to the door joining the backroom to The Tail.

“What’re you doing, Jeff? Get back here!” Nancy spoke certainly, not wanting her husband to go out there.

Alex looked at her, “Listen Mrs. Parker. What do you hear?”

She strained her hearing and opened her eyes in surprise, “Nothing.”

Alex nodded in response. The two entered The Tail hesitantly and looked out the front side of the restaurant that was covered in windows. The storm clouds were gone and the only evidence of it was the drenched sidewalk and some blown over chairs. Alex turned to Jeff, “Well… that was weird.”

Jeff nodded in response. He called into the backroom, “Coast is clear, everything’s gone.”

The sun was now setting. The Tail was faced towards the East and the Atlantic Ocean, so the place was already dark.

Jeff turned on a few lights as the girls made their way into the building. Liz turned to her father, “What was that?”

Jeff merely shrugged. Nancy joked, “Ohhh… Poseidon’s wrath came upon us. Someone’s angered the Sea God!”

“Mom!” Liz scolded, “You know that Mermaids and Sea Gods don’t exist!”

Nancy smirked at her daughter, “They may not exist, but they certainly keep us in business.” She gestured around the restaurant.

It was true. The Tail was decorated completely in mermaid and merman memorabilia. There was a large mural on one of the walls depicting an underwater scene of some merpeople floating around.

Jeff laughed, “Roswell Beach, Florida. Mercapitol of the world.” Roswell Beach was the location of the most mermaid sightings in history. Flocks of tourists came every summer to try and find their own merpeople.

Alex smiled broadly, “Hate to say it, but I’ve got to get home before it gets too dark. See you later Liz… Maria… Mr. and Mrs. Parker.”

The all said goodbye to Alex before he left the building and took off down the street. His house was only a few lots down from The Tail, so he never bothered to really use his car. He rarely took it out during the summer.

As he unlocked his front door and went into the house he called out, “Mom! Dad! I’m home!”

The house was completely dark and silent. He smiled meekly and shook his head, closing the door behind him. His parents took off for months at a time to locations unknown to him for some scientific research unknown to him and they left him here. They’d been gone for two months so far and hadn’t really given Alex a clue as to when they’d be home.

He clapped his hands once and the TV as well as the lights in the front room came on. He walked down the hallway to the kitchen and clapped his hand once more, turning on the lights there. He went into the fridge and brought out a few cans of cold Cherry Coke before returning to the living room where he sat down on the couch and grabbed the phone.

He ordered a pepperoni pizza and sat down to watch TV. The moment he turned it on, he realized that Batman and Robin, the movie, was just starting so he watched that. In thirty minutes, the pizza came. He paid the man and turned around. He was going to resume his position on the couch, but something caught his eye outside.

His house and swimming pool were located exactly on the edge of the beach, just like The Tail. He hadn’t realized earlier how much the storm had affected the pool.

His once pride and joy, crystal clear watered pool had been turned into a green slimy, fish-infested hazard. He took out and piece of pizza and his Cherry Coke and head out onto the back patio, movie forgotten.

Some of the lawn chairs were upturned, but he wasn’t concerned with them. He went to the pool’s side, setting down his plate and Cherry Coke on the water's edge. He went into the cabinet containing the pool supplies and heard a splash come from behind him.

He turned just in time to see a large tail disappear into the water. With a closer look, he realized that his piece of pizza had disappeared, “What the hell?!”

TBC...
Last edited by sprayadhesive on Tue Aug 08, 2006 8:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by sprayadhesive » Sun Aug 13, 2006 3:12 pm

Thanks everyone for all of the feedback!!

LairaBehr4: Nope, I'm pretty positive you're at 14 by now. :wink:

maya: Aw, thanks so much! Your question will most definately be answered. Aaand, the banner was done by mrsjbehr. I couldn't be happier with it.

dreamerfrvrp3: Thanks! Now go write.... :wink:

candycane14: ...Maybe... Thanks!!!

Alex Balex: Aw, thank you so much! It means a lot to me!

Emz80m: Thanks!

83 AlienAngel: Hahaha, that emoticon is very cool. It's definately very fitting, too. :wink:

roswell3053: Thanks!!

LovinGuerin2Much: Hahaha, thanks! I'm glad that you liked Alex finding the merperson, whoever it is.

And, this is the 2nd to last part of parts that I have written... LB4 didn't even want me to post it until I'd written more parts. But I talked her into it. :P

Hope you enjoy!

<center>Part 2
Day 1 Cont’d</center>

“MAXWELL ZAN’ETH POSEIDON! GET DOWN HERE NOW!” Poseidon roared for his son from the shade of their coral garden in the palace walls.

A muscular seventeen- year-old swam with a powerful honey-colored tail and matching eyes swam into the garden, looking livid. He stopped before the man, but somehow managed to control his temper, “Yes, Father?”

“Zan’eth, someone tells me that you’ve taken it upon yourself to tell the caterers that their services will no longer be needed.” Poseidon gritted his teeth, trying desperately to control his anger. “Is this correct?”

Max nodded in response, “Yes, that’s correct. And I respectfully request that you call me Max.”

Poseidon’s veins were bulging from his head, “And why did you do that, Zan’eth?” He ignored his son’s request.

“Because, Father, there will be no wedding next week.” He replied shortly, growing even angrier with his father.

Poseidon spoke forcefully, rattling the coral, “You are marrying Tess, no matter how many caterers you fire!”

Max raised his voice to match his father’s, “I will not marry her! I do not love her!”

“You have been betrothed to her since birth! There is nowhere in this ocean that you can hide to escape your fate!” He remembered his son’s last sentence, “And there is no such thing as love! It is a Human’s tale!!”

Max shook his head angrily, “I’ve seen it, Father! It exists!”

Poseidon looked incredulously at him, “When will you get your head out of the clouds, Zan’eth?! You are marrying Tess and there’s nothing you can do about it!”

“I’ll do everything I can not to, Father. I don’t care if I have to run for the rest of my life, I will not marry Tess!” He was shaking now, barely able to keep his voice level.

“The fate of this entire civilization rests upon this marriage! If the people don’t see you as a steady, reliable, level-headed king, there will certainly be an uprising! Antar cannot afford a civil war right now! It’s taking so much of our resources as it is to remain hidden from the humans! Their technologies have been advancing quickly lately and it’s getting more and more difficult to conceal ourselves!” Poseidon roared back, “So you will marry Tess. For the sake of Antar.”

“I will not marry her!” Max roared back, his voice loosing its cool tone.

Poseidon swam over to him and stared him dead in the eye, “To your room, Zan’eth. Don’t you dare leave for the rest of the week.”

Max shook his head, “My name is Max! Mother named me Maxwell! Why is it impossible for you to call me by my real name?!”

“Because, Maxwell is a weak name. Zan’eth shows fiber.” He replied simply. He’d allowed Amphitrite to name Max, but he had always thought it was a feeble name. He’d picked Max’s middle name himself, and therefore, called him by that.

Amphitrite, who’d so far remained silent, swam swiftly to her husband’s side. Her pearly white tail shone brightly, “Watch it, Poseidon. Or you’ll be sleeping on the kelp tonight.”

Poseidon held her hand lightly and turned back to Max, “You heard me. To your room. Don’t leave it for the rest of the week.”

Max turned swiftly and swam angrily back into the palace. He was not going to marry Tess.


Max shook his head to get the memory to go away. It was hard to believe that the argument had occurred just that morning.

He’d never expected to find himself in his current situation, but right now… he was glad. He was out of his father’s reach completely. Out of the ocean. And this… this… thing he was now eating. It was delicious.

His thoughts were interrupted by a man’s voice coming from above the surface, “What the hell?!”

He froze in mid-stroke. The person he’d taken this… thing… from had seen him. He was caught.

In mere seconds, the pool was lit up. Max watched as some of the fish that had also landed in the pool swam into the darkness. He was in plain sight and there was no dark spot big enough to conceal him. He was trapped.

Alex froze in his tracks. There was a mermaid, a merman, in his pool. A merman. This had to be some kind of a joke, right?

Max found that he was getting thirsty. He’d noticed a can next to the… thing… he was now eating and figured that it had to have something good in it. If he was going to die, he may as well do it and be happy.

He swam to the side of the pool and wrapped his hand around the can and attempted to pull it into the water, but it wasn’t moving. He poked his torso above the water to find what the problem was. The human was holding onto the can.

Alex’s eyes were bulging. This thing was really a merman. And he was trying to take his Cherry Coke. He chuckled nervously, unsure of what to do.

Max frowned, speaking in his native tongue, “Tambol dylol!”

Alex froze. What language was that? He’d never even heard it before, “I… uh… I have no idea what you’re saying.”

Max realized his mistake. Humans didn’t speak Mermish. And this human was speaking English, “Let go!”

“Y-you speak English?!” Alex exclaimed, disbelievingly.

“I speak every language in existence on land, as well as all of the ones used underwater. Now let go!” Max replied a little testily.

Alex let the can go, “Oh… sorry.” This was too much, “Wh-what are you doing in my pool? Who are you? Mermaids are real?!”

Max sunk back into the water. Being outgoing was never his thing. He drank the liquid carefully. It was delicious! Was everything on land this good? He wanted to know, to experience it all. But he couldn’t be here. Humans were dangerous. Would this one sell him to those… what do you call them? Scientists?

But that Human had actual feet! Feet!! Max had always wondered what it was like to walk on two feet.

He swam to the farthest corner of the pool. He had to get out of here somehow. He knew that the pool was close to the beach… maybe he could make it.

But then his father would find him. As long as he stayed out of the ocean, his father wouldn’t be able to get to him.

He surfaced once more, slowly, “Are… are you going to… sell me to the scientists?”

“What?” Alex asked disbelievingly.

“What are you going to do with me? Please don’t tell anyone about me.” Despite all of his efforts, there was still fear in Max’s voice.

Alex shook his head, “I have absolutely no idea. I promise I won’t tell, though. I guess I’ll have to get you back into the ocean and uh…”

“NO!” Max shouted, “You can’t put me back in there!”

Alex frowned, “Why not?”

“My father’s looking for me. I ran away from home and if I go back into the ocean, he’ll find me.” Max replied stealthily. For some reason, he didn’t want to tell this person about his betrothal. Maybe he could actually be a normal kid for once. Not a prince betrothed to another, just a kid.

“Your father?” Alex asked. It was hard to believe that these creatures had families.

Max nodded, “Yeah. He was pretty pissed I was gone… that storm that caused those waves that pushed me into this pool… he’s the one that made that.”

Alex’s eyes opened even farther, “Your dad caused that storm?!”

Max nodded again, “Yes.”

“Why?” Alex questioned.

Max shrugged, “Because I believe in love. I do not wish to talk about this anymore.”

Alex shrugged, understanding the creature’s desire for privacy, “So, what’m I supposed to do with you if you can’t go back into the ocean? You can’t stay in my pool forever… I mean, my parents are gone a lot, but they’ll come home eventually. And I’m sure they’ll notice a mermaid,” He noticed the creature’s scowl, “Merman in my pool. What is your name, anyway?”

“Max.” He replied simply. He wasn’t going to disclose who his father was or his prince-status if he didn’t have to, “And I will think of something.” He yawned. It had been a long day.

“Oh… okay.” He was puzzled by many of Max’s cryptic answers. He shrugged, “Well, I guess I’ll leave you here to sleep tonight. We’ll figure out where you can swim… stay in the morning.”

Max nodded and sunk back beneath the water, swimming around. He realized he hadn’t figured out the human’s name. He surfaced when Alex was about to go into the house, “What’s your name?”

Alex turned around and smiled, “Alex… Alex Whitman.”

“Well, Alex Alex Whitman, thank you.” Max sunk beneath the water again.

Alex shook his head in disbelief before closing the door behind him. There was a merman swimming in his swimming pool.

He ate some pizza and got another Cherry Coke from the fridge, but eventually got very tired. With another look at the pool and another disbelieving shake of the head, he went to bed.

<center>* * *</center>

Alex woke up the next morning to his phone ringing. He answered it groggily, “Yeah?”

“Alex, your pool is an absolute wreck! Have you seen it?!” Maria’s skeptical voice came.

Alex shot up in bed, barely stopping to pull some clothes on. Maria was out by the pool. He checked his cell phone. She’d called from Liz’s phone and that meant that Liz was with her.

The merman. The merman was somewhere in the pool and he’d promised that he wouldn’t let anyone find out about him.

It was broad daylight. They were bound to see him eventually. He hoped that Max had enough sense to stay out of sight. He knew that he could handle it, but he wasn’t quite sure that Liz and Maria would be so calm.

He dashed through the house and out onto the deck, sliding to a halt. Liz and Maria looked at him with wide eyes, “Are you okay?”

Alex laughed nervously, “Yeah… Yeah… I uh…” He scanned the pool. The merman was gone. Maybe he’d dreamed the whole entire thing.

Yeah, that was it. He dreamed it all. How else would he have been able to explain a mythological creature coming to visit him? The whole thing was ridiculous, really, “What’re you guys doing here?”

“We just wanted to ask you if you wanted to come to the pier with us today. Liz and I want to do some shopping for her date,” Maria said the word teasingly, “And we figured we’d make it an outing. Are you in?”

Alex nodded his head, “Yeah… yeah, that sounds good. Meet you at The Tail later.” He had to get his head checked. That was one vibrant dream.

Maria and Liz bade him farewell and left through the gate and onto the beach. When they had finally disappeared from sight, Alex sat down heavily onto a chair. He was going insane.

A clanging noise came from the supply closet. Alex walked over to it shakily and pulled open the door, squeezing his eyes shut like someone was about to hit him.
Last edited by sprayadhesive on Fri Jun 22, 2007 12:45 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by sprayadhesive » Sun Aug 20, 2006 10:38 pm

I forgot today was Sunday. I have like 1/2 an hour left where I am, so I guess I didn't miss my deadline. I'm so humbled by the reaction to this story.

I must admit, it's a nice change to hear that people are giggling rather than hearing that they're ready to pull their hair out. But, then again, I bring that upon myself.

maya: Aw, thanks!

LovinGuerin2Much: Heh, thanks.

LB4: When I get around to it. :wink: Aaaand, Alex just seemed to fit. Hahaha

Queen Fee: Heh, thanks. I was hoping that people would like that. :P

roswell3053: You don't think that I'm that evil, do you?

clueless: Thanks!

83 AlienAngel
: And yet another cute little emoticon picture. Thanks!!

Lorastar: Hahaha, you crack me up. Dark haired humans named Liz, eh? I have no idea what you could be implying. :P

tinie38: Thanks!

Alex Balex: Aw, thanks!!

RosyLady: Haha, if you think you feel stupid admitting it, think about how I felt when I pitched the idea to my beta and then sent in a request for a banner. :P

marteloise: Thanks!!

candycane14: Hahha, weeee'll see.

Enjoy!

<center>Part 3
Day 2</center>

“I HAVE FEET!” The joyous exclamation sounded in Alex’s ears and echoed around the patio.

Alex opened his eyes hesitantly. There, standing in the not-so-large pool supply cabinet, thankfully covered up by a large raft, stood a rather naked Max.

Alex’s hand shot over his eyes, “Max?!” He hadn’t dreamed of the merman after all, but now the creature was standing in his supply cabinet with feet? How was this even possible?

“Alex Alex Whitman! I have feet! Look!!” Max was ecstatic.

Alex peeked his eyes out from behind the shelter of his hand and found that Max was still properly covered, “Let’s uh… Let’s get you inside and clothed and we’ll talk about this, okay?”

Max nodded his head and made to move out from the shelter of the raft, but Alex’s hand stopped him, “Whoa there, buddy. Keep a hold on that raft and make sure it uh… make sure it covers you up.”

Max did as he was told and shakily followed Alex. He was still new to this whole leg thing, and it was hard for him to stay upright. Alex, noticing his instability, placed a bracing hand on Max’s arm before leading him into the house and into his bedroom.

Alex laid out an olive t-shirt that looked to be around Max’s size, a pair of khaki pants, and a pair of new boxers that he had yet to use. He turned back to Max, “You uh… put these on…” He pointed to the shirt, “This goes on your upper body,” He pointed to the boxers, “These go on your legs. After they’re on,” He pointed to the pants, “Put these on. Okay?”

Max nodded feverishly as Alex left the room and closed the door. He heard Alex speaking from the other side as he got dressed, “So, how did you… What happened to your… tail?”

Pulling the shirt over his head Max called back, “Well… merpeople can uh… get legs during the day. As long as the sun is up and no amount of water is touching them, they can keep their legs. I’ve never even tried it before but I heard the females coming so I knew that I had to get out of there and it WORKED!!” He was now pulling on the boxers. He lost his balance and fell over heavily.

Alex shook his head in disbelief. After he heard the thud he straightened up, “You okay?”

Max called back, “Yeah, I’m fine.” He got to his feet and began to pull on the pants.

Alex was leaning against the door and almost fell over when Max opened it enthusiastically. Max stood there, beaming, “And now I have my own pair of legs! And feet! Can you believe it?!”

Alex shook his head and walked into the bedroom, sitting in a chair. Max sat opposite him on the bed. He thought long and hard to find his words, “Honestly?” He gave a weak chuckle, “No, I can’t. So merpeople can become… humans?”

“In a sense. I’ve always heard stories about merpeople going up to the surface, but I never actually met anyone who did it! It’s really rare for one of us to want to come to land!” His eager face was making Alex laugh.

At the same time, Alex couldn’t help but notice how much of a wall Max had put up. Alex could tell by his actions that he was hiding a few things. He was going to be a little hard to open up to the social circuit, “So what happens after the sun sets?”

“My tail comes back. Or if I get touched by any amount of water. It’s important that I stay completely dry.” He spoke softly as if mulling this over.

“So… we need to get you in water by the time the sun goes down. What kind of water? I mean… yeah, my parents are gone a lot, but they could come home at any day. And it would kind of be hard to explain a merman in the pool…” Alex was wracking his brain for the perfect place to put Max.

Max frowned, but the frown was quickly replaced by a smile, “We’ll think of something. Don’t worry!” He looked awestruck around the room, “What is it like living on land? I want to see it all!”

Alex laughed, “Slow down there, Max. We’ve got to think of a cover story for you if you’re going to go out into the world. You’ll need a last name…”

“Max Evans.” Max said almost immediately. He shrugged at Alex’s impressed expression, “I was thinking about it in the cabinet. I had a pet dolphin named Evans once.”

Alex nodded like having a pet dolphin was no big deal. He opened his mouth again, “Okay, Max Evans. So you’re uh… you’re my parent’s friend’s kid who came to visit me because we were childhood friends and you’re staying here for… Wait a minute, how long are you staying?”

Max shrugged, speaking quietly once more, “I don’t know yet.”

Alex sighed, “Okay… so….” A sudden realization occurred to him, “Oh man, I’ve gotta meet the girls on the pier in less than an hour. I can’t leave you here… Are you up for a trip?”

Max nodded, smiling shyly, “The females that were here earlier? They’re your friends? Do you date them? Are you in love with one of them?”

Alex ran his fingers through his hair, “Well… they’re just my friends. I’ve never dated them. And I’m not in love with them. And you can call them ‘girls’ or ‘ladies’ instead of females. ‘Female’ just isn’t really... used anymore. Does that make sense?”

Max nodded, “Yes. Why haven’t you asked one of them out, Alex Alex Whitman?”

“They’re more like sister to me.” Alex shrugged, “And you can just call me Alex.”

“Alright, Alex.” Max replied simply. He was looking around the room with interest.

Alex got to his feet, “I’ve got to shower and stuff. I’ll set you up in the living room with some TV, okay?”

“TV?” Max quirked his head, “What is that?”

Alex shook his head, “Oh man, you’re in for a treat.”

He lead a quizzical Max through the halls and back into his living room. He pointed to the couch where Max sat down promptly and then reached for the remote where he turned the channel to MTV, “Just uh… sit back, relax, and watch a healthy episode of Cribs.”

Max nodded, his eyes glued to the screen. He’d never seen anything like this. This was close to The Teller’s magic, but he’d never actually seen their viewing pool himself. This was, most definitely, their kind of magic.

Alex looked back over his shoulder on his way down the hall, “Don’t move or anything, okay? Don’t answer the door or go outside.”

Max nodded, but kept his eyes glued to the screen. This was unbelievable.

Fifteen minutes later, Alex walked down the hall to see that Max literally hadn’t moved from his position. The program was ending so he sat beside Max, “You hungry?”

“Terribly.” Max hadn’t really had anything to eat since the seaweed salad he had been served yesterday afternoon, well, except for the pizza he’d stolen last night.

Alex led him into the kitchen and sat him down at the table, “Alright… umm… To tell you the truth, we don’t have that much in the house right now. What do you say we go to Liz’s parent’s café and get something to eat there?”

Max shrugged, “Okay. Who’s Liz?”

“You know her… the brunette that came to my house earlier.” Alex looked intently at Max.

“I didn’t get a good look at either of the girls,” Max shook his head.

Alex laughed, “That’s okay. I’m sure she’ll be working when we get there. By the way, where are you from? Do merpeople have cities?”

Max shrugged, “Only one. It’s called Antar. But on land, I think it’s called…” He bit his lip in thought, “Atlantis.”

Alex’s mouth gaped, “Atlantis? The lost city of Atlantis? You’re from Atlantis?!”

Max nodded, “Yes…”

“That’s… that’s amazing.” Alex concluded, rather lamely. Hoping to get more details but, too hungry to continue, he dropped the conversation.

The two left down the beach and walked the few lots to The Tail. When they entered, Max stopped short. He gazed around at the merpeople decorations in awe.

Alex noticed Max’s face and laughed, “It’s just a touristy thing. The entire restaurant is mermaid themed. You know, Roswell Beach is known as the mercapitol of the world. This is where the most sightings of merpeople are.”

Max shook his head in disbelief, but followed Alex to a booth set against a large mural depicting a few merpeople and what looked like a very large, very angry merman.

Alex pointed to that one, “That’s Poseidon. Ever heard of him?”

“Yeah… um… no… well… kind of.” Max’s cryptic answers were showing again.

Alex shrugged, “Mm, okay?” He broke into a smile and looked over Max’s shoulder. Maria and Liz were standing but a few feet away, dressed in their light green uniforms with shell aprons. Maria was pointing impressed at Max’s back and Liz was staring at the back of his head with a weird expression on her face.

Maria mouthed to Alex, ‘Who is that?’

Alex shook his head and gestured them over.

When they loomed over the table’s edge, Max finally looked up. His honey eyes scanned Maria’s face and finally fell on Liz’s. He couldn’t take his eyes off of her. She was beautiful.

“Max?” Alex asked impatiently, “Max?”

“W-what?” Max blushed. He hadn’t even heard Alex speaking to him earlier.

“I was saying that this is Liz,” He pointed to the brunette, “And this is Maria” He pointed to the blonde.

Max said a shy hello and Alex continued talking, “Maria, Liz, this is Max Evans. He’s my parent’s friend’s son. He’s visiting for a little while.”

“Hey, Max!” Maria said brightly. She had noticed the way that he had looked at Liz, “Where’re you from?”

“Atlant-” Max started.

Alex cut him off, “Atlanta. Capitol of the Peach State.”

Max looked at him questioningly, but Alex shook his head in warning. Telling people that Max was from the Lost City of Atlantis was not high on his priority list.

Maria frowned at the exchange between the two, “So, why haven’t you ever told us about Max, Alex?”

“He totally slipped my mind, I guess.” He replied lamely, “Do you guys mind if he tags along for the shopping trip today? He doesn’t really know anyone in town and I don’t want him sitting in my house all alone.

Maria smiled broadly, “Yeah, we don’t mind at all. It’ll be fun, won’t it, Liz?” She nudged Liz playfully in the side. Up until now, it had seemed like Liz was in a stupor. She’d barely pried her eyes off of him.

“What? Oh… yeah” She replied, semi-aware of the way that Max was watching her, “We got off in a few minutes, okay?”

Alex nodded, “Yeah, but in the meantime, Max and I were wondering if we could get something to eat.”

Maria laughed, “Sure. Do you mind if we join you? I haven’t eaten anything all day.”

“Maria… it’s nine in the morning. You act like that’s a lifetime.” Alex scoffed.

Maria shrugged, “When a girl’s gotta eat, a girl’s gotta eat.”

Liz called over to her dad, “Dad, Maria and I are going off now, okay?”

With a casual nod from him, they sat down. Maria slid smoothly into the booth next to Alex and Liz was left with no other place to sit other than the seat next to Max. The four looked at the menus silently.

Max looked up hopelessly at Alex. He pointed to the menu fearfully. He had no idea what anything was. Alex nodded in understanding.

Courtney, a blonde about their age, came over to take their order. “What can I get you to drink?” She sounded rather bored.

“A water for me, please.” Liz and Maria sounded off simultaneously. Alex nodded, “I’ll have to same.”

They all stared at Max. He stared at Alex, who turned to Courtney, “He’ll have the same.”

In seconds, Courtney returned with four glasses of water. Max took a sip of it and nearly choked. Unaware of the four pairs of eyes watching him, he reached for the salt and dumped a heaping amount into his water. He drank it gratefully.

Courtney’s voice filled the booth, “Um… gross.”

Max looked up at her questioningly. Maria laughed to herself, “Courtney, get out of here!”

Courtney humphed and walked away. Max took another sip of his salt water and noticed that he was still getting weird stares from them, “What’s wrong?”

“It’s just uh… a little weird that you put salt in your water.” Maria stated, bluntly truthful with him.

Max shrugged, “I like it.”

Alex laughed, covering it up, “Yeah, he’s been weird ever since he was little.”

Liz shrugged, “It’s not that weird…”

“Yeah, it is.” Maria laughed. Could Liz be any more obvious about her feelings towards Max?

Max laughed and shrugged. He couldn’t help his little dietary quirks. Growing up in salt water tended to get you a little addicted to salt.

TBC...

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Post by sprayadhesive » Fri Sep 15, 2006 3:39 pm

I slacked. I'll admit it. Good news, though, is that some certain person on the board (I'm sure you guys will get sick of me mentioning her in my FB and note, so I'll refrain at this spot) came up with a writing schedule for me. I'll hopefully be updating more frequently.

You won't believe how many emails I've gotten from LB4 bothering me with an update. And she, like a doll, beta'd this extremely fast for me.

This part, Laira, is for you.

LairaBehr4: Oh Laira... :P Just kidding. You're the best!

Morning Dreamgirl: Hahaha, you're crazy. Just a little, though. ;) You want some M/L? No. Hahahahhaha just kidding.

Lorastar: Aw, thanks! Haha, well, Kyle will be handled. Not telling you when. :P

roswell3053: Thanks!

candycane14: You bet she is!

nirvana: Hahahahaha. The credit for that line goes to my lovely beta LairaBehr4.

Queen Fee: Alright, I suppose you should resist nabbing him for now. I mean... I think LB4 might get pissed at you if you did it. ;)

83 AlienAngel: Sorry! I totally skipped over the meal!

RosyLady: Awww, thanks! Yeah, I was told I needed to unleash some Bunnies.

clueless: Thanks!

Kitten: Aw, thank you! I really wanted to emphasize the Max/Alex friendship.

LovinGuerin2Much: Sorry! I admit that I slacked!

cornflakegirl: Thanks! And I totally agree with you on the banner. That was ALL mrsjbehr!

maya: Thank you! (And thanks for updating BB, too!)




<center>Part 4
Day 2 cont'd</center>

After a few minute's walk, the foursome was reaching the beginning of the pier. Its edges were lined with a variety of stands and booths, selling things from necklaces to dresses. In all practicality, it was an outdoor shopping mall.

Max followed Alex obediently, stopping at all of the booths Liz and Maria did. It'd been about an hour and Max still hadn't found out what all of this shopping was for. Sure, his sister Isabel did it, but usually there was an occasion, "What's going on? With Liz?"

"She's got a date with Kyle Valenti in six days." Alex replied casually.

"Oh." Max replied darkly. He had felt an immediate connection with Liz, and he didn't like the idea of her going out with anyone other than him. It was selfish, really, since he was betrothed to another, but he couldn't help it.

Liz, however, was thinking along the same lines as Max. The more time she had spent in his presence, the more she found herself growing attracted to him. She was actually dreading her date with Kyle. The power Max seemed to hold over her was amazing.

Hours later, the sun soon shone brightly overhead and a rather flushed looking Maria, extra bubbly due to today's successful shopping trip, spoke chipperly, "Who's up for an ice cream?"

"Sounds good." Alex shrugged. He fell into step beside Maria. Max and Liz were left behind to walk side by side.

Liz clicked her tongue, "So, how do you like Atlanta? Is it nice?"

Max nodded, "God, I love it. The water's crystal clear and I…"

Liz cut him off, "Isn't Atlanta landlocked?"

"Oh yeah." Max was doing an incredible job of exposing himself, "I live a little outside of Atlanta, you see, and there's a lake that I like to go to. What about you? Do you like swimming?"

Liz shook her head sheepishly, "I kind of like it, but I'm terrified of the ocean."

"What? Why?" Max's interest peaked, "Sorry. I mean, if you don't mind me asking. It's just that living right on the beach and all, I had you pegged as an ocean girl."

"It's alright." She shook her head, "I mean, I used to like the water. My parents said that when I was little they practically had to drag me out of the ocean to go eat meals and stuff. My grandmother Claudia used to live on Ros Beach with us, but on the other side of town. I was really close to her."

"What happened to her?" Max asked softly.

"She had a deep sea boat that she liked to go out on sometimes. No one knows what happened, but somehow the boat capsized during a storm and she drowned. I was only eight. Since then, I've been absolutely terrified of the ocean."

Max touched her arm affectionately for a brief moment before removing his hand, "I'm really sorry, Liz. She sounds like she was a great person."

She laughed slightly, wiping at her eyes, "Geez, I'm a mess. I've known you for like half a day and I'm telling you really depressing stories. Great first impression."

Max shook his head, "I don't know anyone who's ever left a better first impression."

Liz blushed, running her fingers through her hair. She played off her embarrassment by laughing at his statement, 'You must not have met too many people, then."

"Yeah, you're right. I think you're pretty weird, actually." Max teased, nudging her in the side with his elbow.

"Coming from Mr. Salt Boy, I'll take that as a compliment." Liz snickered.

Max blushed, "Hey, c'mon. I can't help it."

"You'll have no one to blame but yourself when you die of high blood pressure." Liz scolded in a sing-song tone.

Max rolled his eyes, "Somehow, I highly doubt that happening." He noted her skeptical looks, "Let's just say it's an Atlanta thing."

Liz nodded with disbelief etched all over her face, "And I highly doubt high blood pressure immunity comes from certain geographical locations."

"You'd be surprised." Max answered cryptically. "But for argument's sake, let's say it has to do with my family's genetics."

Liz looked impressed, "I don't know very many seventeen year old boys who are interested in genetics."

"It's more of a must than a liking, although I will admit to enjoying the subject. My dad wants me to be well-rounded for… the family business." He pondered her words for a second, "And I could say the same thing to you. Don't normal human seventeen year old girls go," He gestured around to the many booths, "shopping in their free time as opposed to studying Biology?" He laughed at her.

Liz smiled and shook her head, "Not this seventeen year old girl. I've got some big aspirations. I want to be a biologist and make a difference in the world."

"Wow." Max was amazed. This girl knew what she wanted. It was very admirable, "I only know what I don't want to do."

"And what's that?" Liz mused.

Max decided to tell her a bit of the truth, but make it very sarcastic, "Be forced into a marriage with someone who only wants to marry me for my title of Crown Prince, of course."

Liz rolled her eyes, "I should've guessed that. Don't know what came over me."

"Yeah, but really you're torn up inside because you now know that I'm betrothed. It's a good thing you've got that date with Kyle to keep your mind off of your heartache." Max nodded knowingly.

Liz scoffed, "Yeah, gee, thanks."

Max's eyebrows raised, "What? You're not looking forward to that? You seemed really excited about it earlier…"

"I just… I don't…. things change." Liz blushed. She didn't want to go out with Kyle anymore. She'd originally accepted his invitation because they had agreed that trying it out wouldn't hurt. She had no attraction to him whatsoever. Max was another story altogether.

But Liz had heard that Kyle had wanted to ask her out for some time now. Would it be fickle of her to go back on her promise to go out with him? She cleared her head of thoughts of Kyle. None of that mattered in the immediate future. She would handle that issue when it became more pressing.

Liz shuffled her feet as she walked. She smiled up at Max, a sudden thought striking her, "Do you want to hang out at the beach later today? We can go and have dinner and then maybe watch the sunset or something?"

Max smiled back to her, "Sounds great."

Max's "tail issue" hadn't occurred to him just yet. He was too lost in those hopeful, brown eyes staring up at him.

He was shaken out of his stupor by a loud cough coming from the direction they were supposed to be heading. He blinked once, his surroundings coming back to him. It was in this moment that he realized he was only centimeters from his lips touching Liz's.

They had been about to kiss. She hardly even knew him and he hardly knew her, but they were about to kiss. He'd never kissed a girl before. Not if you unless you counted his sister Isabel, but that was only kisses on the cheeks.

If he had kissed a girl and someone found out, he would have been grounded for months. His father wanted his eyes to strictly see Tess, and no other female.

Max blushed profusely, taking a step back from Liz and running his fingers through his hair.

Alex nodded with his eyes wide. He was the one who had coughed to get their attention, and now he was motioning Max to his side.

Max gave Liz a half-wave before walking over to Alex.

Alex spoke feverishly in a whispered tone, "Oh my god! You're seducing my best friend! You're going to seduce her and then take her back to your people under the ocean! Oh my God! She'll drown if you do that! You're like some sort of Siren, aren't you?! You enjoy the chase and then once they're under your spell, you lure them into the murky depths and murder them!!"

Max couldn't help it. He laughed in Alex's face. "A-Alex." He took a deep breath and held it, waiting for the laughter to die down, "Alex… I'm not a Siren. Those don't even exist. Geez, you actually believe in that stuff?"

"I can't believe you just asked me that question." Alex replied, dumbfounded. "You're a freaking merman and you just asked me that question?!" he hissed at Max.

"What possible reason would a merman have for wanting to kill a human girl?" Max countered.

Alex, despite his recent hysteria, cracked a smile, "I'm absolutely insane, you know that? You've made me insane."

Max rolled his eyes, "You're not insane. You just need to calm down a little." He placed his hands on Alex's shoulders to be sure that he was paying perfect attention to him, "I am not trying to seduce or kill Liz in any of the aforementioned combinations. We were talking and then she asked me if I could go to dinner with her tonight, and I said yes. And then… I just… got lost… in her eyes." A dreamy look crossed Max's face.

Alex's eyes widened, "You're falling for Liz!" He mocked horror, "You like her!"

"I…" The realization hit Max like a dolphin's retaliation hit a shark, but he played it off, "She's a nice girl and we're getting to be friends." His arms fell limply to his sides.

Alex snickered, "Merboy wants to make friends with the humans."

Max laughed back, "I've got to get a better feel for the species. I mean… you're not much of a specimen."

"Ouch." Alex replied, placing his hand over his heart. "You remember that little comment when you turn into a fish tonight and need somewhere to float."

Max stopped mid-chuckle, "Oh crap! Liz! I have dinner with Liz tonight, how could I forget about me springing a tail?!"

Alex ran his fingers through his hair, deep in though, "We'll just tell her that you need to have an early dinner. I'll get you out of there before the sunsets. Somehow. But in order for me to do that, I need to know that you're not going to hurt her. You aren't going to get her to fall head-over-heels in love with you and then just dive back into the ocean, are you? Because if you are, I'm going to videotape your transformation or something and broadcast it over CNN."

"And after that," Alex continued, thinking quickly, "You, my friend, are going to tell me everything. Because I know that you're not telling me the real reasons why you left the Big Blue. Something just doesn't fit."

Max nodded. He trusted Alex, he always would. He glanced over his shoulder at Liz and Maria. They were preoccupied by a booth selling hats, picking up various ones and trying them on in front of a mirror. He couldn't help but smile at Liz's giggle when she tried on an overlarge sunhat. He turned back to Alex, "I'm not going to abandon her, Alex. I'll allow her to be the one to back away from me. I…" He paused, "I think that I could really like her, and it's scaring the crap out of me. I've only had one mini-conversation with her.

"But I want to give this a try, Alex. I really do. And if… if things are really going good by the end of the week, I'll tell her what I am. I'll tell her the truth about me, everything. The good and the bad.

"And as for you, you're right. I haven't been telling you the truth, but I haven't been lying to you. I'll tell you everything tonight."

Alex nodded. Max had been very heartfelt during his confessions. He motioned over to Liz and Maria, "Shall we?"

Max nodded, his smile returning. He loved spending time with these three.

Liz looked up at Max from under the brim of another sunhat when he walked up to her. She smiled broadly, putting on a regal voice, "How do you like?"

"It's adorable on you." Max replied without missing a beat. It was true. Liz had tried on multiple hats, as far as Max had seen, and all of them were endearing on her.

Liz took the hat off of her head and wrinkled her nose at it, "You know, I do actually kind of like it. If I had a reason to wear it anywhere, I'd actually buy it."

Just after, Maria walked up to them with a sour expression on her face, "Let's get out of here. I was trying on some hats and the booth's owner came up to me and accused me of shoplifting! Can you believe it?! He searched my purse and everything!"

"Were you doing anything suspicious, Maria?" Alex frowned.

Maria shook her head, "No! I had some hats shoved under my arm, and I was looking around for a mirror. I couldn't find one at the booth, so I was walking to the one adjacent to this when the guy cornered me! I can't believe he would think that I'd be dumb enough to stick hats in my purse after so blatantly having them out in the open. It's ridiculous!"

Liz rolled her eyes. Typical Maria. She took one last look at the hat before nodding, "Let's go. I was finished, anyway."

They had reached the very end of the pier when Max suddenly turned around. Alex frowned, "Max?"

"Wait a minute, guys, I think I forgot my wallet." Max sprinted back through the crowd.

Alex's frown deepened, "His wallet? Doesn't he mean his bi-valve shell or something?"

Maria cackled, "Alex, are you alright? Did you just say that Max forgot a bi-valve shell instead of a wallet?" Her expression grew serious, "Oh man, you haven't been drinking the saltwater again, have you?

Liz broke out into a fit of giggles. Alex laughed very humorlessly, "Yeah, yeah. Laugh it up. I was like… six, okay?!"

Max returned five minutes later with a bag in hand. Liz pointed to it in confusion, "What is that? I thought you said that you lost your wallet?"

"I uh… I did. But… I found that. And then I found… some good… underwear. It was on sale." His ears turned bright red and he glanced at the ground before looking back at Liz's face.

Maria interjected, "Boxers or briefs?"

Max replied, trying his best to sound sincere, "Whatever my mommy lays out for me in the morning." After spending the last few hours listening to the group's interactions, Max had picked up on quite a lot of the slang used.

Maria slapped him on the back good-naturedly, laughing the whole time, "I think that this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship, Max Evans."

Alex gave Max a questioningly look, but Max just shook his head in response. It was a surprise, and he didn't want to risk spoiling it. He made a mental note to thanks Alex for the money that he had given him earlier.

TBC...

P.S. Thanks to everyone who attended my chat on Tuesday!
Last edited by sprayadhesive on Fri Sep 15, 2006 4:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by sprayadhesive » Mon Oct 02, 2006 5:05 pm

This took FOREVER! I'm a failure at updating. This has no excuse. It just fell into the back of my mind and I kept thinking, "I've got time." Time flew.

Oh, and this is kind of on the short side. Future parts will be longer, I promise. I was trying to get this one out to you guys sooner. (I wrote it last night).

LairaBehr4: I requested, you found me. And the rest is history... :P

maya: Aw, thanks! This entire story's a stuggle for me. I'm too much into the angst. LOL

Queen Fee: Hat? What hat? :D

RosyLady: I don't think this is exactly what you expected, but it's something, at least.

candycane14: Liz a mermaid? Max a human? Weeeee'll see. And as for Kyle... good theory.

clueless: Aw, thanks!

83 AlienAngel: Heh, thanks!

roswell3053: I can't wait, either. Trust me on that one.

Emz80m: Thanks!

Ariel70: Aw, thanks! Happy to hear from a new reader!




<center>Part 5
Day 2 cont'd</center>

"Alex, I need you to do me a favor," Max called from the bedroom where he was getting ready for his late afternoon picnic with Liz.

Alex hadn't quite figured out a way to get Max out of watching the sunset with Liz, so he was just going to barge into the dinner at some point and tear Max away from her. It seemed like a good plan to him.

Alex's ears perked up, "Would you like me to fetch your pet dolphin and have him strike up a pot of coral coffee?"

"Ew. You can't drink coral, moron," Max replied in a rather disgusted voice. He maintained the subject at hand, "I need you to get two things wrapped for me. They're for Liz."

"What are they?" Alex questioned, looking around the room for the boxes that Max had brought home with him. He found them in the familiar bag on the couch.

He opened them up and whistled at the contents. At least the money he'd given to Max wasn't being wasted. It was going towards one of his best friends. He closed up the boxes and called back to Max, "I'll be back with them in ten."

<center>* * *</center>

Liz led Max into a small alcove towards the end of the commercialized section of Ros Beach. She giggled as he slightly slid down the sand.

As much as she tried to get him to tell her what was in the box, he wouldn't. He said that she would find out later.

Liz had kept the secrecy game going. She refused to tell Max what she had brought for dinner.

They climbed a sand dune partially hidden by an assortment of palm trees and stopped once they reached the top. Max turned around, taking in the sight. It was gorgeous. He let out an audible 'wow'.

Liz nodded, smiling, "I know. It's breathtaking."

"Do you come here a lot?" Max knew that if there was something like this under the water, he'd be here every day.

Liz shrugged, "As often as I can. I come here to think."

"Think?" Max smiled at her. "About what?"

"I don't know… life… whatever." Liz waved it off.

Max, however, would have none of that, "Oh, is that all? Just life?"

"Shush." She smiled. She reached into her bag and removed a blanket, lying on top of the dune.

They both sat down and Max stared dazedly out into the ocean. They were getting close to the end of the second day that he'd been here. That meant that there was only five days left. Whatever the day count, he knew that his mother wouldn't be able to keep Poseidon at bay for too long. And by day seven, at the latest, there would be people out searching for him. His father would want him back by his wedding day.

He shook the thoughts from his mind. He was going to enjoy the land while he could.

Liz, in his mental absence, had started setting out the food.

Max pointed to the unfamiliar things, "Looks delicious, Liz." Acknowledging her smile with his own, he furrowed his brow, "What is it?"

Her smile dropped from her face, "I-I'm sorry, I thought it would be cool if I made it a-and I guess that I should have had my dad make it for us…"

Max silenced her, placing his finger over her lips, "Liz, it's not that I can't tell what it is. I just want to know the technical names for everything." He figured that a little more lying couldn't hurt. As good as the cuisine was up here, it was completely different than in the ocean. They only had ocean creatures to eat.

Liz pointed to each thing in turn, "That's bread, of course, and this is Hawaiian style chicken, and this is some mixed greens. It's not much, but I figured that we had lunch not too long ago…"

"It looks delicious." Max quieted her ramblings once more. "Perfect."

They picked at the food while they talked.

"My mother's always had a real… soft spot in her heart, I guess." Liz had asked Max to tell her a little bit about his family, "My dad's really high up in his… business. He takes his job very seriously and he's always been tough on me. He never tolerated me goofing off or acting out, but that didn't stop me. And I have a twin sister named Isabel, but I was born a few minutes earlier than her, so I'm the oldest and I'll inherit the… business."

Liz smiled, "I didn't know you were a twin. Why didn't Isabel come down with you?"

Max thought for a moment, giving Liz the partial truth, "My dad… he's really relaxed with her lifestyle. She's given more freedom than I am because she's not next in line for the family empire. But, she didn't approve of me going away in the first place. She thinks that my wanting to leave was very irresponsible."

"Have you talked to any of them since you came down?" Liz asked softly.

Max shook his head, "I didn't exactly… tell them where I was going. I just woke up and left one day."

"You ran away?" Liz asked in shock.

Max looked at her hesitantly, "P-pretty much."

"Max, you've got to tell them where you are. They've probably already alerted the authorities and if they have and they find out that you just ran away, you could go to court."

"I think you're right about the authorities, but I'm positive my dad wouldn't allow them to take me to court." Max responded.

Liz frowned, "Your dad doesn't have that kind of power. He's just a business owner."

Max laughed slightly, "A very, very powerful business owner. But, we'll see. I'll take my chances. I'm sure that my friend Michael's running damage control, anyway."

"Michael?" Liz hadn't heard Max speak of him before.

"He's my best friend." Max smiled, "We always got into trouble together. He'll be the one who'll be the… vice-president of my company when it's my turn to take control of it."

Liz smiled, "Sounds like your version of my Maria and Alex."

"Yeah, definitely," he agreed with her. He took another bite out of the chicken, "How have I been missing this my entire life? It's so good…"

"You're never had chicken before?" Liz asked disbelievingly, "What? Do you live in a hole?"

Max shrugged, "My mom always made fish."

"Fish? Every day of the year, you had fish?" Liz shook her head and laughed.

"Hey! It's good! And there're so many different ways to make it and different kinds and…" Max defended.

Liz held up her hands, "I'll take your word for it."

The sun was sinking lower in the sky and Max knew he only had about twenty minutes until it had disappeared completely.

He grabbed the boxes from behind him and passed them to Liz.

She gasped at the beauty of the wrapping. She, however, didn't waste any time getting through it and to the first box. She pulled out a light pink sundress, slanting slightly diagonally at the hem. It was a halter with simple spaghetti straps forming a V-shape at the center of the collar that would tie around her neck.

She looked at Max with wide eyes, "W-what?"

"I thought of you when I saw it at the pier today. But I can't finish this story until you've opened up the next one."

Liz opened up the second box with trembling hands. Lying delicately in the box was the sunhat that she had been so attached to earlier today. Max had gone back and bought it. The ribbon around it matched the dress perfectly and the soft tan color of the hat itself accented the color nicely.

Her mouth was still wide open and Max had to laugh, "I thought of you when we passed that dress on the way out of the pier, and I knew how much you liked that hat, so I went back and bought them both. I couldn't see them on anyone but you."

"B-but Max… I can't take these. They're too much and I…"

"Please, Liz." His eyes pleaded, "Please. They're a gift. You can't give them back."

She paused and stared intently back at her. When she saw his sincerity, she nodded and bit her lip, "But where will I wear them to?"

Max had been thinking about that, and he had come to a decision. He couldn't lead Liz on. His future had already been decided for him. He probably wasn't going to get out of it. "I-I thought that they would go nicely a-at the Splash Festival. Kyle will love you in it."

He stood on his feet. Alex was no where in sight. He probably couldn't find them. He had to go on his own, without an excuse for his behavior.

Liz stood up with him, entirely numb, "Max…"

He had just enough time to get back to Alex's house before sundown if he sprinted. "Liz, I'm so sorry. I've got to go. I really enjoyed tonight and I'll see you tomorrow, but I've got to go. I'm sorry."

But he was gone. She whispered, "Wait." But he didn't come back. Liz, completely defeated, sunk back onto the blanket. She hugged her knees to her chest and stared blankly into the ocean before coming to her senses, cleaning up the space, and walking back to her house.

<center>* * *</center>

Alex had Max set up in his parent's Jacuzzi tub for the night. They had phoned him today and told him that they weren't coming back for another two weeks, so it was safe for Alex to keep Max at home for a while.

He sat back in awe as Max climbed into the tub and watched as his feet instantaneously fused together and sprouted scales. The brilliant golden color matched Max's eyes perfectly.

"I don't think I'm going to get used to that." Alex shook his head. He bit his lip, "Alright, so, explain to me what you're doing here. Why don't you want to go back?"

Max took a deep breath and told Alex the entire story. When he was done, Alex's face was completely pale. He looked at Max angrily, "You're betrothed?!"

Max hadn't expected that. He had expected Alex's first comment to be about him being a prince – that was everyone else's reaction. "Yeah."

"You're betrothed and you've been wooing Liz?!" Alex responded, angrier this time.

Max's insides froze, "I guess…"

"You're… you… that is messed up." Alex finished lamely.

Max put his head in his hands, "I… when I gave Liz the hat and the dress today, I told her that Kyle would think she would look amazing in them. I practically told her that Kyle was the one who was worth it."

Alex wasn't expecting Max to look so defeated after this confession, "You really like her, don't you? You're not pretending?"

Max nodded sadly, "But there's nothing I can do about it."

"Fight back." Alex urged him.

Max laughed bitterly, "Did you miss the part about my father being Poseidon? Easily the most powerful sea creature to ever have swam in the ocean?"

"No, but… you… could take him. Maybe." Alex's lame finishes were continuing.

Max rolled his eyes, "Yeah right." He slammed his fist angrily down on the side of the tub, "My entire life, I've had to do what someone else wanted me to do. I've never done anything of my own accord. And I finally have, but now I realize that doing so has just tempted me. I know that I can't have Liz, I know that I have to marry Tess, and I know that I need to take the throne, but I can't help be resenting all of it."

"That's only human, Max." Alex responded.

Max laughed again, "Only human. Too bad I'm not human. I'm a mercreature. My dad… he thinks that humans are primitive compared to us. He thinks that they aren't as smart or whatever."

Max looked to Alex earnestly, "But spending one day up here with you guys… I realize that we're primitive compared to humans. Humans show their emotions. They allow love to show in everyday life. Do you know that my dad doesn't even believe that love exists?"

"What?" Alex asked, shocked, "That's like… the most talked-about emotion we have."

"He thinks it's just a myth. Anyone down there who is in love is afraid to admit it, because they know of my dad's disbelief. He had to work at gaining the trust and affection he has with my mom. They had an arranged marriage, too." Max shook his head.

"But they're still together?" Alex pondered.

"Of course they are. Without a stable monarchy, the civilization would start to crumble." Max regurgitated the words to Alex. "And they've achieved their own form of love. My dad just ignores that fact."

"You, my friend, have got some major problems." Alex responded, knowingly understating that immensely.

Max nodded, "I know." He ran his fingers through his hair, "God, Alex, what'm I going to do?"

Alex thought for a few moments, "I'll sleep on it." He honestly had no idea what Max should do. The situation, the civilization, and the information were all new to him.

Max nodded, "Sounds good."

They sat in silence for a moment. Alex turned to Max with a large smile on his face, "So, other than all of that drama, what's it like to be a prince?"

Max rolled his eyes. He knew that one was coming.

TBC...
Last edited by sprayadhesive on Fri Jun 22, 2007 12:46 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by sprayadhesive » Mon Nov 06, 2006 7:11 pm

I've got a terrible track record for updating, don't I? You can't blame me, though. No, blame my muse. Writing fluff is definitely a challenge for me...

LairaBehr4: I'm so glad that you're finally back to entertain me!!

candycane14: All definitely possibilities... but mum's the word for now. ;)

maya: Aw, thanks! (behindbarsbehindbarsbehindbars)

katydid: Thanks for reading! Hahaha, she does have that Isabel-flare, doesn't she? I never noticed...

roswell3053: Oh, boys. They're so conflicted.... ;)

clueless: Clue, my dear! I feel like I haven't heard from you in a while (not here, just throughout the board). How are you?

Queen Fee: Hahha, I'm a tad bit too teasing sometimes. Thanks a bunch!

Ariel70: Aw, thanks! Sorry this didn't come sooner. I'm REALLY going to try to get the next part out more quickly.

83 AlienAngel: Aren't we all getting antsy for Michael? ;) He'll come... eventually. I promise!

punkrock_dreamer: Aw, thanks you so much! Oh boy, I hope I don't screw up the mythology too badly. I've been researching a bit, but other than that...

RosyLady: Heh, thanks.

alizaleven: Thank you! Math test? Ew. Hope you did well on it, even if I am around half a month late with the well-wishing.

dreamsatnight: Aww, thank you!

Lorastar: Hehehe, thanks!!!

Thanks to everyone for all of the bumps and friendly reminders to get my butt in gear and write for this. They really did get me working... even if it did take forever.

I think Max may sound a little.... shall we say "on the fence" in this part with the whole "To be with Liz or not to be with Liz" issue. But, sometimes his destiny rules his judgement and sometimes his heart does. It's all a matter of what will win...


<center>Part 6
Day 3</center>

"Wake up, Fishboy!" Alex's singsong voice called into the bathroom.

Max groaned. The water was too comfortable for him to get up right now. It was just the right temperature and the ripples were soothing and…

Alex banged on the door again, "Wake up! It's like eight in the morning! We've got stuff to do!"

Max grumbled, turning over on his other side. His tail hit the water angrily, dousing the bathroom in water. He did NOT want to get up this early today. He'd had a virtually sleepless night, thinking only of Liz, and now he had to get up at eight in the morning?!

"I swear to… Poseidon, if I keep hearing your tail swishing in that tub, I'll come in there and drain the water." Alex threatened, still yelling from some part of the house.

Max groaned. Alex could drain the water for all he cared. He could still sleep in the bathtub.

Suddenly, though, Alex's voice changed in tone. The singsong manner was gone. Alex called, "Get out, Max!"

"Mrrmmhpp." Max replied, turning over once more. He wished he had some coral he could stick right up Alex's…

"Can I use the bathroom?" A female voice interrupted Max's thought. Not just any female's voice. Liz's voice. Liz was down the hallway, wanting to use the bathroom. This bathroom. The bathroom that Max was currently playing tired sea creature in.

He rolled out of the tub, hitting the floor with a 'thud'. He looked down on the tail, waiting for the transformation, but it never came.

Liz's footsteps sounded from the beginning of the hallway.

She was getting closer.

He grabbed two towels from off of the towel's edge and hastily began wiping at his legs. The excess moisture was gone and the tail began to shift. Once he had his feet, however, the doorknob began to turn.

And he was stark naked.

He looked around the bathroom for clothes, but he couldn't find any. His eyes bugged as the door cracked. Without thinking, he threw one of the wet towels around his waist and turned to face Liz, embarrassed beyond all reason.

Liz blushed profusely, diverting her eyes, "Sorry, Alex didn't… he didn't tell me you were in here."

"I-it's okay. I'm done. I was just…" He looked behind him. The tub was still filled to the brim with water.

Liz looked at it, "Yeah, taking a bath." She couldn't help but note the wet towel, "Did you fall in after you got out?"

She couldn't suppress a grin as she gestured to the puddles of water all over the floor.

Max's expression rivaled a guppy's, "I uh… I uh…. I was surprised to hear your voice and then I…"

She laughed at him, "I see."

His cheeks burned. He couldn't believe that he told Liz that. She probably thought he was a total klutz now.

"I didn't expect to see you today." The words escaped his mouth before he realized what can of worms they could potentially open. He regretted them as soon as he saw her face fall.

She shrugged, "Alex, Maria, and I had plans. Didn't Alex tell you about them?"

"Must've slipped his mind." He replied.

"Oh. Or maybe he didn't get a chance to tell you. Especially with you disappearing every five minutes." She added, slightly bitter.

Max's heart sunk. The first time he'd gone, he did it to buy her that sunhat. The second time… he had done that for her benefit, too. Plus, he had to go the second time. If he hadn't gone, he would've sprouted a tail and been left stranded, flubbing on the beach while Liz screamed her head off at his blunt transformation.

That's what he kept telling himself, at least.

He spoke slowly, "Liz, I'm really, really sorry about last night. I had a reason for running out on you like that."

"Oh, yeah?" Liz questioned with an air of forced patience about her.

He nodded, "Yeah, but I… I can't tell you why. Not yet."

"Not yet?" She repeated disbelievingly.

"I'll tell you soon. I promise. Very, very soon. But it's not the right time. Not yet."

She nodded, not saying a word. She stared past Max, "Would you mind putting some clothes on?" Her voice was still cold.

His cheeks burned again and he the grip on his towel tightened. He hurried from the room, "Sure… I… sorry. Sorry."

When the door closed behind him, Liz shook her head, fighting back the laughter. While she was upset with Max's lack of an excuse, she couldn't be mad about him for long. There was something in his eyes that was telling her that he was genuine about everything he said. His eyes truly were the portal to his emotions.

Liz exited the bathroom a few seconds later. She had come to Alex's alone, because they were going to go pick up Maria later. Liz walked slowly to the kitchen, feeling Max's presence there. She didn't know if she would be able to control her emotions with him in the room right now.

She stopped and leaned her head against the doorframe, listening only because it was refreshing to hear both Max and Alex in a setting with a guy friend, completely unaware that anyone was paying attention.

"No. Get that thing out of my face before I throw your ass into the ocean." Alex swatted the anchovy that was dangling in front of his face.

Max groaned and sat down in the seat across from Alex, still holding it out in front of him, "I tried your 'fries', you can try this."

Alex raised his eyebrows, "French fries in NO WAY compare to putting anchovies all over my waffle, thank you very much."

"You haven't even tried an anchovy before."

"Have you seen those things? They're basically covered in bones."

"But they're good."

"You only like them because you're Fishboy."

"You won't try them because you're scared you might like them."

"Doubt that."

"Just TRY them!"

"You. Jump back into the ocean."

"You'd better watch yourself; I just might have half a mind to throw YOU into the ocean. Now try the anchovy."

"N-O. Do you not understand the English language anymore?!"

Liz smiled to herself and stepped further into the kitchen, making her presence known. Some of the exchange between the two had given her questions, but she dismissed them merely as expressions the guys were using. They couldn't possibly be speaking literally.

Max dropped the anchovy on a plate and threw up his hands, exasperated, "Tell Alex to take a BITE out of that thing!"

"You're fighting a losing battle. Alex didn't try steak until he was ten." Liz replied simply, taking a seat next to the anchovies. She wrinkled her nose, "And it doesn't help that you picked the smelliest fish known to man."

"Don't tell me you don't like them, either." Max sighed. He just may never understand the Human mindset.

Liz wrinkled her nose once more, "Not particularly.”

"You people are amazing. You won't eat fish, things of nature, but you'll throw your food into a pan with oil and fry it until it's dripping with the stuff. THAT is disgusting."

Alex gawked, "Don't tell me that you're an organic eater."

Max scowled at him, "What kind of a choice did I have, really, Alex?"

Alex nodded, "You win that one, Evans. I'll give you that."

Liz rolled her eyes and took a piece of Alex's waffle.

"So, what're you two up to today?" Max asked casually. He didn't want to intrude on any further upon Alex, Liz, and Maria's plans.

"Maria, Alex, and I go out every month for an entire day and camp out on the beach. We bring a tent and camping gear so that we don't have to be restricted by daylight." Liz responded, taking another bite of the waffle bit.

Alex jumped in, "You can come if you want."

Max eyed them. He really didn't want to intrude. "I don't know if I'm up for the ocean today." Max hoped Alex would get his hint. He was sure that the trip would entail them taking a dip or two in the water, and he couldn't do that, "Would you mind if I just hung out here?"

Liz faltered, "Are you sure? You're welcome to come…"

"I'm sure." Max nodded. If someone continually crashed his leisure time, he'd be pissed.

Alex bit his lip, "Okay. If you get hungry… well… go to the Splash. Just tell Mr. Parker to put it on my tab."

Max nodded and he rose to his feet. He smiled at them, "Have fun, guys."

<center>* * *</center>

An hour later, Max couldn't help but wonder why the television was playing the same clips that he'd seen over and over again during the middle of the show he was watching. The entire concept was ridiculous. The Tellers didn't have to sit around and wait through people screaming at other people to buy products. They got their information and were done with it.

Not that he knew from firsthand experience. The Tellers hadn't been heard from since around his birth. Normally they had people they watched, things they foresaw. The last seventeen years, though… nothing. Not a single word or movement from The Tellers' cave.

Someone called to him from Alex's door. A Liz kind of someone. "Max?! You here?"

"Yeah!" He called back. Wasn't Liz supposed to have left an hour ago?

She came into the living room and gave him a sheepish smile, "Hey."

"Hey." He smiled back. He looked at her funnily, "Why are you back so soon?"

"I… wasn't feeling well." Liz lied. She honestly didn't want Max to sit alone all day by himself.

"Then shouldn't you be at home?" Max raised an eyebrow at her.

Liz thought for a moment, sitting on the couch next to Max, "All that chaos at the restaurant? I'd much rather be here." She batted her eyelashes playfully at him, "Alex makes me chicken soup when I don't feel good."

Max smiled slightly, trying to play off the fact that he didn't even know what chicken soup tasted like, "You're not even sick."

Liz fake coughed, "Am too."

Max thought for a moment, "My mom always gave me anchovies when I was sick. Why don't I just go and get some for you…?" He rose to his feet.

"Ew!" Liz shrieked. She pulled Max back down onto the couch, "Don't you dare."

Max stared into her eyes. She was so close to him. He inhaled her strawberry sweetness and sighed in pleasure.

Without thinking twice about it, Max leaned forward and brushed his lips against Liz's. He withdrew sharply, realizing what he had done. He'd kissed her. He'd never kissed a girl before. He hadn't been allowed to.

Liz, however, put a hand behind his head and drew him back to her. She brushed her lips against his, nibbling playfully at his lower lip. She wanted this. It was almost like she needed it.

Max returned her nibbles by running his tongue along her lower lip.

As she parted her lips, allowing Max's to enter, electricity coursed between the two. Neither had ever felt like this before. The attraction between them sparked with energy.

And, at last, they had to part ways. Max leaned his head against Liz's, panting slightly. Never, in his entire life, had he thought his first kiss would be something like that.

Liz smiled lightly. She whispered in a soft, sultry voice, "Wow."

Max's breath caught in his throat as Liz looked up at him through her lashes. Just when he thought she couldn't get any more beautiful, she proved him wrong by doing something like that.

He leaned forward once more, giving her a soft kiss. When he pulled back, he gave her a smile, speaking in a hushed tone, "Alright, chicken soup it is."

He didn't give a damn that he didn't know what it was or if she was sick or not; the girl was going to get some chicken soup!

Liz laughed lightly and nodded her head, biting her lower lip, "I uh… I'll meet you in the kitchen. I have to go use the restroom."

Max nodded, watching her as she walked away. He was still slightly in a stupor.

He shook his head in an attempt to clear it of the fog.

He walked shakily to the kitchen, looking around for any signs that would direct him to the chicken soup. When there were none, he started rummaging through the cabinets.

Liz snuck up behind him, until she was a mere foot away, "Having trouble?"

"I can't find… the chicken soup." He concluded lamely, turning around to face her. He was pretty sure that he was still flushed; even her cheeks were a tad pink.

He turned back to the cabinet quickly. He wouldn't be able to focus on finding it if she was there, serving as a distraction.

Liz crossed behind him and opened up another cabinet. Max turned and found metal, circular objects filling the entire thing. He raised an eyebrow, "Chicken soup?"

He didn't see what could be so appealing about that.

"Chicken soup." Liz concluded. She reached into a cabinet below and grabbed a pot, readying the stove and placing the pot on top. With her other hand, she grabbed the can opener.

As Max watched in awe, she opened the can. She turned and laughed at her expression, "You act like you've never seen this before…"

"I haven't." Max blurted out before he thought about it. He covered his mouth with his hand and blushed. "I mean…"

Liz laughed again, "I think I know what you meant."

She poured the liquid contents into the pot and turned on the heat. Max was finally beginning to understand what the appeal of the metal objects was.

Max looked at it skeptically, "So we just wait?"

"We wait." Liz nodded.

Max frowned, "That wasn't very hard."

Liz shook her head, smiling, "Not really."

Max leaned on the counter, placing his elbows on the counter and his head in his hands. He looked sideways at Liz, "You're officially crazy."

"Am I?" Liz's eyes glinted.

Max nodded, "Definitely."

"Why?"

"You're missing out on the beach to watch some soup heat up on the stove." Max replied.

Liz smiled, "I get to hang out with you, too." She blushed profusely. She hadn't meant to actually say that!

Max's cheeks became rosy. He cleared his throat, becoming sheepish, "H-have you ever done that before?"

"Done what?" Liz cocked her head.

"You know… what we did." Max tried to get his point across.

Liz looked at the stove, "Made chicken soup?"

"No, before that…" Max looked towards the living room.

Liz's eyes widened in comprehension, "Oh! Um… have you?"

Max bowed his hair, embarrassed, "No."

"Really?" Liz asked quickly. She recovered slowly, "I mean… I just… I thought you'd done it before."

"Why?" Max queried, honestly interested in her answer.

"Well.. I just… I've never had anyone kiss me like that before." Liz responded.

Max nodded slowly, "So, you have kissed someone before."

Liz nodded, but she looked a little uncomfortable.

"The soup's bubbling!" Max pointed at it suddenly.

Liz rushed to turn it off, "Shoot!"

Max looked at it oddly, "Is it not supposed to bubble?"

"No, it's not supposed to boil. It's just supposed to heat up. We let it sit for too long, hopefully it'll still taste okay." Liz blew hurriedly on the soup.

She pointed to another cabinet, "Can you get out two bowls?"

Max nodded and complied. He placed the two bowls down on the counter, close to Liz. She poured the steaming liquid into them before placing the pot back down on an unused burner.

Armed with spoons and napkins, the two sat down at the kitchen table. Max watched Liz carefully, trying to judge how she would go about eating this. He thought it was more suited to be drunk from a cup, but there was a lot he didn't know about the Humans.

He mimicked the way she took the soup into her spoon and blew on it. When she put it to her lips, so did he. When she did a taste test, so did he.

Liz looked up at him funnily, "What're you doing?"

"Eating soup." He responded, smiling (and obviously very pleased with himself).

Liz rolled her eyes. The two sat in silence as they ate. Both stealing occasional glances at the other, they thought mostly about the kiss that they had shared.

Max finished, stretching out his arms. He yawned slightly. He'd completely forgotten about the little amount of sleep last night.

Liz's spoon clanged lightly into her bowl, "Aw, is someone tired?"

"I was up all night." Max shrugged.

Liz's face lit up, "We can watch a movie!"

"A movie? Like on the T.V.?" Max's eyes twinkled.

Liz laughed and nodded. Not even thinking twice, she grabbed Max's hand and pulled him into the living room. She sat him down on the couch and then ran to the windows, pulling down all of the blinds. She proceeded to go to the shelving unit next to the television, pulling out a bunch of DVDs.

Max looked at them curiously. Liz started asking him questions, "Live action or, my personal favorites, Disney?"

"Uh… I don't care." Max responded.

Liz nodded, "Disney it is. Any preference?"

Max shrugged again. Liz looked through the set, "Finding Nemo or Mulan?"

"I don't care." Max shrugged again.

Liz looked up at him, exasperated, "You HAVE to have an opinion. Shall we "be men" or get down with the fishes?"

"Get down with the fishes." Max responded. As much as he hated to admit to it, he missed the ocean.

"Let's go find Nemo, then." Liz popped the DVD into the player and waited for the movie to start. Not thinking, she sat next to Max on the couch.

TBC...
Last edited by sprayadhesive on Fri Jun 22, 2007 12:48 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Post by sprayadhesive » Wed Jan 03, 2007 4:16 pm

This part sat in my inbox for two days. Because apparently... I'm blind to the obvious.

So, anyway, here it is. Finally.

Thanks to everyone for the feedback! It really means a lot. Unfortunately, I'm about to run out, so I can't respond, but I promise that I'll make it up with the next chapter.

candycane14
katydid
clueless
LairaBehr4
Lorastar
punkrock_dreamer
roswell3053
hazz
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Kitten
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kitten



<center>Part 7
Day 3, cont’d</center>

Max watched as the movie came to an end, almost in awe. He looked at Liz’s curled up form on the couch next to him and then back to the screen, “I miss it so much.”

“Miss what?” Liz asked, slightly sleepy.

“The ocean.” Max replied, not really thinking of whom he was talking to.

Liz looked at him from her side of the couch, puzzled, “It’s right outside. How can you miss it?”

Max’s mouth opened and closed, trying to find an excuse, “I meant that I… when I’m not home… in Atlantis… I miss it.”

“Atlanta.” Liz corrected him. “And it doesn’t have any oceans.”

“What?” Max frowned.

Liz gave a soft chuckle, “You said Atlantis, but you meant Atlanta.”

Max ran his fingers through his hair nervously, “Oh. Right.”

She waved off the idea of having oceans by Atlanta. Boys were so easily distracted; Max probably hadn’t meant anything by the slip up. Liz sighed, watching the credits roll down, “What now?”

“I don’t know.” Max shrugged back. He looked around, “What do you normally do for fun?”

“Go to the beach or something.” Liz replied.

Max gave her a side glance, “Do you think that you’ll ever get over your fear of the ocean?”

Liz nodded, “It’s not that I am really afraid of it that much anymore I’m just… used to it being something that’s off-limits, you know?”

Max smiled at her. He’d felt the exact same way about the land. And now that he had taken the plunge… he couldn’t be happier that he had, “More than you can imagine.”

“Max…”

A knock at the door interrupted Liz’s speech. She frowned, “I don’t know who it could be.”

Max stood up awkwardly, “Do you think I should get it?”

She shrugged, “I guess.” She looked at him hungrily. His hair was ruffled and at first glance, it seemed like he had just woken up from a long nap.

He crossed to the door and opened it, taking a step back, “Can I help you?”

“Is Liz here?”

Max nodded, but his eyes narrowed, “Who’re you?”

The boy with brown hair and brown eyes looked back at Max, almost as if he were sizing him up. He replied with a sneer, “Kyle. Kyle Valenti. Who’re you?”

Max outstretched his hand, despite his overwhelming negative feelings towards the man standing in front of him, “Max Evans.”

Kyle looked at Max’s hand for a few seconds before taking it and shaking it. He tried to look around Max, “Can I talk to Liz?”

“I guess.” Max walked back to the sofa and sat down. Liz had heard the entire conversation, so she was already heading towards the door. She gave Max an apologetic look as she passed him, but she didn’t know if he had noticed it. He seemed too absorbed in his own thoughts.

Liz looked up at Kyle questioningly when she reached him, “What’s up?”

“I wanted to see if you, Alex and Maria had left to go camping yet. Your dad told me that that was where you were going today and I figured I’d try to head you off.” He looked at her, trying to judge why she looked so annoyed, “I was just… I was thinking about going to the Splash Festival on Saturday and I was wondering if we were going to go to like in a group with Alex and Maria and their dates or alone?”

Liz eyed him, “You came all the way over here to ask me that?”

Kyle shrugged, putting his hands in his pockets, “Well, I just… I saw all of you guys drive off in the car to go camping today, but then when I was coming home from breakfast, I saw you driving back to Alex’s.”

Liz’s mouth opened slightly, “So… you wanted to know why I came back?”

Kyle nodded sheepishly. He gave her a small smile, “God, now I sound like a stalker. I just wanted to know if everything was alright…”

“I’m fine, Kyle.” Liz replied, not unkindly, but not friendly, either.

Kyle looked past her, eyeing Max, and then looked back at Liz, “Can I talk to you for a minute? Alone?”

Liz nodded, stepping outside and closing the door behind her. She walked forward, taking a seat on the bench that the Whitmans had on their stoop.

Kyle stood for a moment before awkwardly taking a seat next to Liz. He hesitated for a moment, “Who is that guy?”

“Alex’s cousin.” Liz replied shortly. “Why?”

“I just…” He exhaled deeply, “You don’t understand why I would want to know? We’re dating, Liz… and then you’re hanging out with this guy in an empty house for an entire day? You don’t find anything wrong with that?”

“One date hardly constitutes dating, Kyle. And his name is Max.” Liz replied, more softly this time.

Kyle shrugged, “Well, yeah, but I mean… unofficially we’ve been dating for a while. We hang out a lot… we’ve shared more than a couple of kisses…”

Liz blushed, “I know. But you’ve been taking your sweet time with things. And now, well, I guess I’m not so sure what I want.”

“You can’t be serious!” Kyle exclaimed, taking Liz’s hand in his, “Liz… I took things slow because that’s what I thought you wanted.” He paused for a moment, “How long have you known this guy, anyway? Like… a day? You’re going to throw this relationship away because of a guy that you just met?”

“Kyle… I don’t want to throw the relationship away, at least, I don’t think I do. I just… I don’t know what I want. And I need you to let me have a few days to figure it out.” Liz replied. It was a boldfaced lie. She knew what she wanted. She wanted Max. He outdid Kyle in every aspect of her standards. She had fallen for him… hard.

Kyle got to his feet, “That’s just great. I’ll wait around while you choose between me and another guy.” He rubbed the bridge of his nose, “I’ll tell you something… I’m not going to let you go without a fight. I’ve worked too hard on building the trust between us.”

Liz was fighting herself. She wanted to tell Kyle to leave, that they were done, but at the same time, she had never been so careless. She always mapped out her life. Nothing had been done spontaneously. She nodded, speaking softly, “Okay.”

“Okay?” Kyle laughed, releasing some of his anxiety, “Well, then, will you go out to dinner with me tonight?”

Liz looked taken aback. Maria and Alex would be back later tonight, probably. Maria wouldn’t want to spend the night with Alex all alone. But, one dinner with Kyle couldn’t hurt, could it? She could go out with him and break up with him over dinner. For good. She nodded, “Sure.”

“Great.” Kyle smiled broadly. Score one for Kyle, score zero for that other kid. “I’ll pick you up at eight from your parent’s restaurant?”

“Alright.” Liz replied, even more softly than before. She felt terrible. The more time that went by, even mere seconds, the more she regretted her answer to Kyle. She had just kissed Max. His first kiss.

And then she had proceeded to go and agree to go out with another guy that very same night. It wasn’t fair to Max.

Kyle turned to leave, and Liz called out to him, “Kyle…”

He could tell that she was going to call off the date. He walked up to her, taking her into his arms, and kissed her with all that he had. He had a sneaking suspicion that the only reason he had been able to get his tongue into her mouth initially was because she had been caught by surprise. Her reaction after she registered what was going on, though, was to close her mouth firmly and push Kyle away.

Liz shook her head slowly, her voice timid, “I don’t think that we should go out tonight, Kyle. And we probably shouldn’t go to The Splash Festival together, either.”

Kyle felt like she had taken his heart out and stomped on it, “Liz… I’m sorry… I just didn’t want to lose you to some guy that you just met.”

“He’s not some guy, Kyle. His name is Max.” Liz replied, with more firmness this time. She wasn’t a girl that a guy could walk all over. Quite frankly, this attitude change in Kyle was frightening her.

Kyle raised his voice, “So it is because of him!”

“No, Kyle, it’s not because of him!” Liz protested, wanting to protect Max. The only friends he had in this town were her, Maria and Alex. Kyle had an entire wrestling team at his back. The last thing she wanted was for Max to get jumped.

“You’re lying, Liz! Everything was going fine until he showed up!” Kyle pointed out.

The front door opened and a rather concerned Max stepping out. He shot daggers at Kyle with his eyes before stepping to Liz’s side, “Are you okay, Liz?”

Liz nodded, standing up and walking to Max’s side. Max shifted his position so that he was slightly in front of Liz. He looked back to Kyle, “I think you should go.”

“And I think it’s in your best interest to not get in the middle of this right now.” Kyle responded.

“Kyle, you need to leave.” Liz stated, her eyes turning cold. She had never seen Kyle like this. Her grandmother always said that jealousy brought out the worst in people.

“No, Liz. I’m not going to leave you in a house alone with some guy that you barely know.” Kyle replied, “You’re coming with me. Let’s go.” He moved forward, taking Liz by the arm and attempting to walk away.

He only got a few feet before Max had grabbed his free arm and swung him around. “She can make her own decisions.”

Kyle let go of Liz and shoved Max backwards, “I don’t think this is your place. Why don’t you go back home, wherever that is, and leave us alone?”

Liz saw Max making a forward movement, but she stopped it, putting her hand in his and then pulling him back towards the open door. She begged with him with her eyes to come back into the house and leave Kyle alone. Kyle was upset, that was all. He really wasn’t a bad person.

Max nodded and he turned with Liz, going back into the house.

Kyle stepped forward angrily, the fact that Max and Liz were holding hands not doing anything to calm him, “Liz! I said that I’m not leaving without you!”

Liz kept Max walking, going until the door closed behind them. She locked it swiftly and heard the handle jiggling, pounding on the door. She looked up to Max, her eyes watering, “I’m so sorry. He’s just mad… he’s really not this big of a jerk.”

“Is this the guy that you’re going to that party with?” Max asked a little testily, pointing over his shoulder.

“Well, I was… but, I told him that I didn’t want to go with him anymore.” Liz replied.

The pounding stopped and they heard tires peeling out of the driveway. Liz cleared her throat, “I’d better call my dad before Kyle gets to him. Tell him what happened, who you are. Kyle’s bound to try and turn him against you.”

Max gave her a small smile, sensing that she was still highly upset, “Don’t let him get to you. I probably would have reacted the same with if such an amazing girl had broken up with me.”

Liz rolled her eyes, “I’m sure.”

When Liz walked into the other room, Max couldn’t help but smile. Liz had told Kyle that they weren’t going to be seeing each other anymore, in a romantic sense. The girl who had stolen his heart was now officially available.

<center>* * *</center>

Liz wasn’t surprised when Alex and Maria came into the house two hours later.

It had started raining about an hour ago, and Maria had a low tolerance for being wet. As a matter of fact, she hated it. No camping trip had every withstood the rain.

Maria smiled when she saw Max and Liz sitting close together on the couch. Liz had called her immediately after the kiss from her hideout in the bathroom and had told Maria what had happened. “Honey…s, we’re hoooome!”

Alex rolled his eyes and came in after Maria. He was oblivious to anything going on between Max and Liz and sat in between them. He exhaled loudly, “Man, I’m hungry.”

“Tactless.” Maria muttered. She inhaled deeply, “Mm, someone smells some chicken noodle soup.”

“How do you do that?” Alex asked, disbelievingly, “You’ve honestly got the best nose of anyone I know. And quite frankly, it freaks me out.”

“Actually, I didn’t smell anything. More like wishful thinking.” Maria shrugged. The two stopped and stared at each other for a moment before Maria shouted, “Race you!”

Alex was already taking off towards the kitchen. Maria took off after him.

Liz and Max stared at each other before bursting into laughter. Liz called over her shoulder, “Nice to see you guys, too!”

“You know we meant it!” Alex called back. He kept talking, “Wish I could tell you that our trip was hunky dory. Too bad Maria was busy complaining about the storm clouds and how boring everything is when you’re not there.”

Maria groaned, “You’re not going to drop that, are you?”

Liz was used to having conversations taking place with people in different parts of the house. She and her friends lived like this, always talking, not caring if the other people were in their presence.

Max, however, had grown up under strict rules. Don’t speak until spoken to. Don’t speak unless you have something to say. Don’t speak unless in the presence of someone. If they outrank you, hold your tongue until directly asked your opinion. If you outrank them, listen to what they have to say before you pass any judgment. It was enough to make any sixteen-year-old’s head spin.

But, Max figured, this was a vacation. He was here to relax… prove his father wrong… figure out his feelings for the girl sitting next to him. He had pretty much thrown the rule book out of the window, why not the book on Merman etiquette?

He smiled to himself. Alex shouted from the kitchen, “What’d you guys do while we were gone?”

He sounded innocent enough, but apparently Maria didn’t like the question, because Max and Liz heard Alex ‘oof’ seconds later and exclaim loudly, “What?!”

Max blushed and looked at Liz. She made a face and whispered, “I’m sorry! I just told Maria…”

“Oh no, I understand.” Max grinned broadly, “It was just so good that you had to tell someone before you exploded.”

Liz laughed out loud, slapping him playfully on the chest, “You, Max Evans, are one cocky fellow.”

Max’s gave her a playful wink, “Maybe a little.”

“What… else… do you guys want to do today?’ Alex called, laughing a little. Maria and Alex were walking back to the living room, their quest for food turning up nothing.

Max shrugged, looking to Liz. Liz looked at Maria, newly perched in an armchair next to the entertainment center. Maria looked at Alex, who had shoved Liz towards the center of the couch and was now seated where she had been a few seconds previously. He nodded, “Glad we’re all so indecisive.”

Maria’s stomach growled, “I’m starving.”

“Me too.”

“Me three.”

All eyes turned to Max. He shrugged, speaking slowly, “Me… four?”

Alex nodded his approval, faking wiping a tear away from his eye, “Such a quick learner. I’m so proud.”

Max threw a spare pillow at him. Alex sighed and then looked outside, “It stopped raining. That was fast.”

Maria shot Alex a look, “Race you to the Tail.”

They were out of the front door before Max could process what was happening. Max looked at Liz, “Are they always so competitive?”

Liz laughed, “No. They just both really like to sprint, for some reason. I never could figure it out.”

They walked out of the house together, Liz closing the door behind them. They chose to walk along the beach. Much to their amusement, Alex and Maria had taken this path as well.

Alex was currently carrying Maria towards the water. Maria yelled, “Alexander Charles Whitman, you put me down right now!”

Alex laughed, “You shouldn’t have tripped me, Deluca.”

Alex went into the water until it was up to the middle of his calves. He held Maria out, above the water and smirked, “Give me one good reason not to.”

“Because I’m just so darn funny?” Maria asked innocently, batting her eyelids.

Alex shrugged, “Nah, not good enough for me.” And, without a second warning, he dropped Maria in the surf and promptly turned around, sprinting back towards Max and Liz.

Much to Max’s surprise, Maria recovered quickly and was hot on Alex’s heels. Alex saw this and decided to switch directions, moving as fast as he could towards the Tail. He reached the safety of the doors and turned back to a haughty Maria, sticking his tongue out, “Too bad Mrs. Parker doesn’t like it when you get her floor wet, huh?”

Max and Liz were still at least a hundred yards from the restaurant, watching the taunting with very amused expressions. Liz rolled her eyes, “They’re like a set of two-year-old twins. It’s pathetic, really.”

Max shrugged and slowly moved his hand so that it was holding Liz’s. They walked the rest of the distance in a comfortable silence.

Liz reached for Maria’s forearm immediately after getting into close enough proximity to her, breaking the hand holding that had been going on. She whispered hurriedly, “You guys are scaring the customers.” She looked at Max and Alex and then pointed to a booth, “You two, go sit.”

Alex saluted her, “Aye aye, captain.” He flicked his head in the direction of the booth and Max obediently followed him, with one last look at Liz.

Liz turned to Maria, rolling her eyes again, “Come on, we’ll go around the side and up my balcony. You can take a shower and borrow some of my clothes.”

Maria laughed, “Okay, mom.” They walked around the side of the building, “In the meantime, you can tell me all about your morning. What happened after the kiss?”

<center>*</center>

“You kissed her?” Alex’s eyes bugged. They were seated in the booth below, and Alex had finally gotten a chance to ask Max one of many burning questions, “Are you crazy? I thought that you were engaged to be married or whatever? What happened to not making her fall in love with you? Don’t you think she’s going to notice when you go diving back into the ocean and disappear forever? It’s going to break her heart! She’ll be like one of those ladies with all of those cats when she grows up! She’ll die alone!!”

Max frowned at him, “Alex. Calm down. It was just a kiss. I’m sure that Liz isn’t planning a future together. We just met.”

“Yeah,” Alex muttered, “But that hasn’t stopped you from falling in love with her. What’s stopping her from falling in love with you?”

<center>*</center>

“I can’t believe him! What an asshole!” Maria ranted.

The two were currently shouting room to room. Maria was in the shower in the bathroom and Liz was lying on her bed in her room. Liz sighed, “I just can’t believe that he would think that kissing me would help anything!”

“Babe, just forget about him. He’s in the past now. What REALLY matters is that hunk that’s sitting down next to Alex right now, probably discussing something really stupid… like cars.”

<center>*</center>

“Whoa, who said that I was in love with her?” Max asked defensively. He knew that he cared for Liz, cared for her a lot, but they had only talked for a little bit. They had learned about each other in one night, was that even enough to base a sentiment of love on?

Besides, Max didn’t even know what love was. He had grown up in an environment that constantly told him that it didn’t exist. How was he supposed to recognize it?

“Whatever.” Alex replied, clearly not believing Max. The kid was head over heels for his best friend. “Anything else exciting happen?”

<center>*</center>

“So, you’re really over Kyle?” Maria called, now getting out of the shower and getting dressed in the clothes that Liz had provided for her.

<center>*</center>

“So, Kyle’s out of the picture?” Alex asked, completely bewildered. Max had just filled him in on the events of the morning.

<center>*</center>

“Yeah.” Liz shrugged.

<center>*</center>

“Yeah.” Max shrugged.

<center>*</center>

Maria exited the bathroom, hooking her arm through Liz’s and guiding her through Liz’s apartment. She flounced down the stairs gracefully. When they reached the bottom, she turned to Liz, “But, are you happy? And, if it so happens, will you be happy with Max? I mean… he lives in Atlanta.”

Liz nodded, a small smile playing, “I think so.”

<center>*</center>

“And you’re okay with this? You’re okay that her only chance at a normal, mermaid-free life could have just been ruined?” Alex asked in a heated whisper.

Max gave him a grim smile, “My heart’s not giving me any other choice.”

The two looked up as Maria and Liz approached the table, Max breaking out into a grin. It didn’t go unnoticed by Alex or Maria.

Liz smiled, “Miss us?”

“Terribly,” Alex replied without missing a beat, his eyes scanning the menu in front of him.

Liz slid into the booth next to Max and she leaned closer to him, whispering into his ear, “I hope Alex isn’t giving you a hard time.”

He looked over to her, smiling, “No. Not at all.”

She laughed, “Good.”

Maria whistled loudly, getting their attention, “Secrets are no fun unless you tell Maria.”

Liz rolled her eyes, “I don’t think that’s how the saying goes.”

“I don’t care. What were you two just talking about?” Maria asked as her eyebrows rose condescendingly.

“How much money we would have paid to have a video of you being dumped into the water.” Max replied coolly, still looking down at his menu.

Maria looked shocked, “Touché, Mr. Evans, touché.”

<center>* * *</center>

The group passed the time by fairly easily, lounging in the Tail and on the beach. In the end, Max had pulled Liz aside and asked her to accompany him to an early dinner the next evening and she had agreed.

Max was in the bathtub, reflecting on the day’s events when Alex came in.

Alex sat down on his now familiar stool and ran his fingers through his hair, “We’ve got a problem.”

“What is it?!” Max asked, looking around the room. It was after dark, which meant no other merpeople could be coming after him. How did the human world pose a threat? “Did someone find out what I was?”

“No, not that kind of a problem.” Alex stood up, pacing the bathroom, “A Kyle kind of a problem.”

Max straightened up, a frown marring his features, “Did he hurt Liz?! What happened?!”

“He’s mad.” Alex stopped, staring directly at Max. “He’s blaming the break up on you entirely. And he’s made it no secret, either. He basically told the entire wrestling team.”

Max sunk back in the tub, closing his eyes, “So what?”

“So Kyle’s going to have half of the school looking for you. He wants revenge for you supposedly breaking him and Liz up. You’re going to have to try your hardest to stay incognito tomorrow, or else you’re going to wind up as minced tuna.”

“It’ll be fine.” Max thought out loud, “Everything will just blow over. I’m sure Kyle won’t be mad for long.” He opened his eyes, speaking in an accusatory tone, “And I am not a descendent of a tuna!”

TBC...
Last edited by sprayadhesive on Wed Jan 03, 2007 6:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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sprayadhesive
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Post by sprayadhesive » Wed Mar 07, 2007 5:39 pm

Sorry this took so long. Life's been crazy lately... :| Thanks for all of the feedback, bumps and encouragement. They haven't been ignored!!

Lairabehr4
roswell3053
Queen Fee
vampyrax
clueless.
Shadowlynxbehr

maya - oh, just you read this part. ;)
83 AlienAngel - Michael's coming... you'll see how I set him up.
ladylou
Evelynn - It was loosely based off Aquamarine, what with the renegade mermaid and the whole 'love' thing, but that's about it. Thanks!
Flamehair
aussietrueblue




<center>Part 8
Day 4</center>

Max had assured Alex many times that he could take care of himself, so he couldn’t understand how Alex had talked him into wearing a pair of sunglasses and a baseball cap when he walked out of the house today.

Max glanced up at the hat, remembering the symbol, “What’s the ‘NY’ logo mean?”

“The Yankees. Only the greatest baseball team ever.” Alex rolled his eyes, “Sometimes I wonder what you merfolk do with your time. It’s obviously nothing productive.”

“A sport?” Max raised his eyebrows. He would have to check this out sometime. He loved sports.

Alex laughed a little, “Yeah.”

Suddenly, Max frowned, “We waste our time because we’re not watching sports? Are you aware of the technological advancements we’ve made in the past twenty years alone?”

“No, not really.” Alex pointed out, “As a matter of fact, none of the world is. You guys are kind of living in hiding, remember? The entire population on land thinks you’re mythical.”

Max pondered this for a minute. It was true. Antar was making advancements, but none of the rest of the world got to share them. It didn’t seem right. He would have to save that for something that could be improved on during his reign.

If, that was, he ever became king.

He had trained for it his entire life, but if he was going to be forced into a marriage, he didn’t think that he could accept the position. It would be hard to walk away from, but he couldn’t deny his own heart.

They found Liz and Maria among the many beachgoers. Max loved the beach… the dry sand was definitely much better than the wet stuff.

Alex laid two towels out, one next to Maria and one next to Liz.

Max pulled off of his shirt, completely oblivious to the stares that Liz, Maria and nearly all of the other women on their portion of the beach were sending in his direction.

Maria whistled, “Work out much?”

Max frowned and then blushed, finally noticing the stares. He sat down on the towel, desperate to get out of the limelight, “I’m a swimmer.”

“Oh, in that case,” Maria laughed, “You keep that up. It’s working out for you.”

Liz threw Maria a death glare. She didn’t like the looks Max was getting. If those girls thought that they were going to get her man… She smiled to herself as Max lay back with his eyes closed. In the next instant, she was on all fours, lowering her mouth onto his.

Max opened his eyes in pleasant shock. He faltered for a second before cupping the back of her head with one hand and returning the kiss. They parted a few seconds later, and Liz noticed with a hint of satisfaction that many of the girls now had frowns on their faces. She smiled at Max, “Hey, you.”

“Hey.” He whispered breathlessly.

Maria rolled her eyes, “You guys disgust me. Alex, time to go in the ocean and avoid the Feel Good at all costs.”

Alex didn’t protest. He winked at Max and followed Maria to the edge of the water.

Max nodded after them, “Don’t you want to go swim?”

“I was about to ask you the same question.”

“I… can’t. Uh… I mean… I don’t want to.” He blushed at his lame answer.

Liz laughed, “That’s okay, now you can keep me company.”

“You won’t even try to go in the shallow water?” Max frowned, his voice soft. He was falling for a girl who was afraid of his home. No, scratch that. He had already fallen for her.

“Not today.” She scrunched up her nose, “Maybe tomorrow.”

“Mhm, sure.” He nodded knowingly, rolling his eyes.

Liz laughed, pushing him playfully. She lay back down on her towel.

Max had to admit that he was rather enjoying Liz’s bikini. It was simple and plain black, but she looked amazing in it.

“So, I hear Kyle’s got people out looking for me.” Max smirked.

Liz’s eyes widened, “Seriously? Oh God, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean for you to get dragged into all of this.”

Max laughed, “I think I was the reason for everything, anyways.”

“Yeah, true.” Liz smiled. She rolled over onto her stomach and faced Max.

Max removed his hat and sunglasses and placed them on the towel next to him. He turned his head toward Liz. They lay in silence for minutes, simply content watching each other.

<center>* * *</center>

Maria floated on her raft, a good distance into the ocean, with Alex holding on to the raft’s side. She looked on the beach and observed Max and Liz for a few moments. She frowned, “There’s something not right about him.”

“W-what?” Alex did a double take. He knew that Maria was naturally over-suspicious, but this was the first that he had heard of her suspicions towards Max.

“You know something, don’t you?” Maria narrowed her eyes.

Alex shook his head immediately. Maria had the biggest mouth of all of Roswell Beach. For all he knew, she would go running out of the water and tell Liz as soon as he told her Max’s secret.

Maria sighed, “All I know is that Liz is getting really attached to him.”

“He’s getting really attached to her.”

“When’s he going back to Atlanta?”

Alex shrugged, “I have no idea.”

“This whole thing with Max gets me nervous, Al. Like, I love Max and all, but everything’s really fishy.”

Alex rolled his eyes and muttered under his breath, “More so than you know.”

“What was that?” Maria narrowed her eyes.

“Nothing.”

Alex looked up towards the beach. He could see Max and Liz walking away from the beach, Liz with a cover up on her suit and Max pulling his t-shirt over his head. He pointed them out to Maria, “Guess they’re not missing us too much?”

“What? Uh-uh. She’s so totally not ditching us!” Maria screeched and then began paddling back towards the shore.

Alex swam to block her path, “Maria, listen to me. As ‘fishy’ as it might seem, we’ve got to trust Liz. She’s a big girl.”

“What’re you trying to say?”

“Leave them be.”

Maria placed her hand over her heart, “Ouch. I think that dagger you just stabbed into my back sunk a little further down than you anticipated.”

“Drama queen.” Alex coughed.

“Excuse me?”

Alex replied by tipping the raft over.

Maria shot him a death glare before grabbing hold of the raft. They floated for a few seconds, until Maria shrieked and scampered on top of the raft, faster than Alex thought possible, “Alex! ALEX!! Get up here! Something huge just brushed against my leg!!!”

Alex climbed on the raft, more to satisfy Maria’s fear. She tended to be a little paranoid.

Maria bit a trembling lip, “It was big, Al. Shark big.”

The two looked around in the water some more. Alex looked down, through the raft, and saw a shimmering tail glint beneath them. He thought the tail looked familiar to something he’d seen before – on one creature in particular.

A few feet away from them, the navy blue tail surfaced, splashing them with water. Maria and Alex stared at it, their eyes bulging. Maria spoke hauntedly, “What the hell was that?”

“I don’t know. Mutant fish?” Alex shook his head, trying to joke about it. But he knew what it was. It was a mercreature. Someone had come very close to Max’s location.

“Sci-fi joke so not appreciated.” Maria narrowed her eyes. She started paddling back to the shore with her hands, “I’m a little too freaked out to stay here.”

Alex nodded and helped paddle back with her.

<center>* * *</center>

“Liz!” Maria burst into Alex’s backyard, only to find Max and Liz dueling with their tongues. Maria rolled her eyes, “Would you two PLEASE take a break from nauseating the world and listen to me?!”

Alex trailed in after her.

Liz unwillingly stopped kissing Max and looked at Maria, “What is it?”

“Alex and I were in the ocean, kinda far out, like we like to do, ya know?”

Liz nodded.

“So I’m floating on the raft and Alex tips me off of it and we’re both holding onto the raft, doing our thing when…” Maria paused for dramatic effect. “A freaking monster tail fishy thing brushed up against my leg. And then the damned tail splashed us!!”

“A what?!” Liz sat up straighter. Maria wasn’t one to make up stories that crazy.

“What’d the tail look like?” Max asked, his voice shaking only a little.

“Navy blue-ish. I’ve never seen anything like it, though. I thought it was a shark, but sharks don’t look like that.”

Alex stared directly at Max, “It looked a lot like the fish I pulled out of my pool after that big storm.”

“You took a fish out of your pool?” Liz asked him.

Max’s blood nearly froze in his veins. He stood up and spoke over Alex’s response to Liz, pacing back and forth. “What color was it?”

“For the fifth time, navy blue!” Maria shouted, “Why are you getting so worked up about this, anyways?! I had the near death experience, not you!!”

Max’s head snapped to look at her. He seemed to calm down considerably. “The end of the tail… it forked into two sections?”

Maria nodded, frowning.

“And did one of the sections have a small bite in it? Like a baby shark bit it?”

“I don’t know, I didn’t get a good look at it. It’s a possibility.” Maria did a double take, “Wait, a baby shark? Are you absolutely insane?!?! What the HELL are you talking about?!”

“I was just…”

Alex cut him off, “We were watching a mermaid movie last night. His imagination’s getting carried away. Don’t even pay him any attention.”

Maria scoffed, rolling her eyes, “Whatever.” She paused, “You know, it did kind of look like a mermaid’s tail looks in those Hollywood movies…”

Max looked to Alex, “Can I talk to you? In the kitchen?”

The girls eyed them suspiciously. Max led Alex to the center of the kitchen and then paced back and forth, “Mercreature?”

“Definitely.” Alex nodded.

“I think it was Michael… my best friend. His tail’s navy blue. But you can never be too sure, because there’re always a handful of merpeople with a tail that’s a shade close to yours. I’m hoping to Poseidon that it was him. Did you see if there was the bite mark in his tail?”

“Well, I mean, one of them looked like there wasn’t as much of it as there was the other one. It’s like a seventy five percent chance that there was the mark.”

“Either way, they’re closing in. I won’t be able to stay much longer.” Max glanced at the clock in the kitchen, “Liz and I have dinner plans, though.”

“You’re hanging out with Liz again?!”

“What do you mean, ‘again’?” Max frowned.

Alex shook his head, doing his best impression of Maria. “Don’t go there girlfriend.” He allowed Max time to cackle insanely, “You two’ve been making out all morning.”

Max blushed.

“You and she were inseparable from the time we got to the beach until just now. It was actually kind of sickening.”

“I like her.”

“I know you do.” Alex said seriously, sitting down on a kitchen chair. He looked somberly up at Max, “Maria’s worried about Liz. Quite frankly, I am, too. What’s going to happen to her when you have to go 2000 leagues under the sea? She’s going to be heartbroken. It’ll destroy her.”

“I can’t help that I might have to leave…”

“Yeah, but she’s going to think that you left because you didn’t care about her. She thinks that your home is Atlanta. She doesn’t know the circumstances.” Alex stared at Max, making sure that he was getting the point across, “You need to tell Liz the truth. She deserves it.

“If you don’t tell her, I will. You’re hurting everyone by putting it off and you’re seemingly running out of time.”

Max nodded, “Okay.” He took a deep breath. Alex was right. “I’ll tell her tonight.”

“Swear?”

“I swear.” Max zoned out for a few seconds. He was going to tell Liz tonight: human and nonhuman influences were going to make sure of it.

She would know that he wasn’t human. He silently sent up a prayer to his ancestors. He didn’t know what he would do if Liz thought he was a monster.

<center>* * *</center>

They could hear the front door burst open. Liz walked into the kitchen, smiling broadly. She said her greetings to Alex before turning to Max, “You ready to head out?”

“Yeah, let me grab my shoes.” Max walked past her and into the living room.

Alex looked to Liz, his eyes showing his warning, “How far gone are you?”

“I don’t know.” She shrugged, smiling shyly, “Pretty far.”

Alex shook his head, “I hope you know what you’re doing.”

“‘Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all’, right?” Liz smiled.

“I sure as hell hope so.” Alex rubbed the back of his neck, watching as Max returned. He cleared his throat, “Have fun, guys.”

“Oh, we will.” Liz laughed.

Max winked at Alex and then took Liz’s hand, following her out of the door. He was trying to fight the butterflies in his stomach.

Thirty minutes later, they were rollerblading through a park. Liz let go of Max’s hand, allowing him to try and skate down the path on his own. He slowly made his way down the cement. He turned his head to face Liz, “I’m doing it!”

Liz laughed, “Good job!”

As soon as she said the words, the wheels slipped out from under Max’s feet and he fell on his ass. Max rolled onto his back, shaking with laughter. Liz skated over to him and held out her hand, “You’re so graceful.”

“Sarcasm noted.” Max responded, taking her hand and pulling himself up. He brushed a strand of hair from out of Liz’s face, “Does the teacher ever reward the student with a kiss?”

“This teacher does.”

Liz pecked Max on the lips and withdrew quickly. Max frowned, “You tease! You’re the one who got me addicted in the first place!”

Liz just laughed and turned her back on him, skating further down on the path. Max shakily made his was after her, slowly getting used to the feeling of rolling.

To say that Liz was shocked when Max sped past her and came to a stop yards in front of her would be an understatement. She caught up to him and raised an eyebrow, “Who knew you were such a quick study?”

“I pretty much learned American slang in a day.” Max quipped, smirking at Liz.

Liz rolled her eyes, her sarcastic tone returning, “Cool, Max.”

“I’m serious!” He winked at her.

Liz looked around and then gasped. She put a hand to her forehead, “I completely forgot! Walter’s Hotdog stand is right over here!” She looked at Max, lowing her hand and grabbing his wrist, “You’ve gotta try these hotdogs. And the fries. It’ll change your view on hotdogs for the rest of your life. I go here for lunch every single birthday, that’s just how good they are.”

Max laughed, “Okay, okay. Let’s go.”

Max talked Liz into changing out of their rollerblades and into their regular shoes. They bought two hotdogs and an order of fries each and headed down a long pier. Liz had insisted on getting two bottles of water, instead of cokes, because she insisted that Max was getting dependent on the stuff.

“I really like being with you, Liz.” Max stated earnestly.

“I like hanging out with you, too.” Liz’s shy side was showing its colors again.

Max couldn’t help but break out into a grin. While still walking forward, he kissed her on the cheek.

“I’ve only known you for a few days, but I feel like… gosh, I don’t know… like I was meant to know you, you know? When you tell me things about yourself, I want to know more. Everything just seems to… fit. And it’s kind of scary.” Max wasn’t getting the words out right.

“I think I know what you’re talking about.” Liz nodded, “It’s kind of indescribable, isn’t it?”

Max nodded, “I don’t want to go home. We haven’t hung out that much, but I know that what we have is special. I can’t just give that up.”

“You’ve got to, Max.” Liz pressed, “Your parents miss you, I know they do. And your sister misses you and your friend Michael does, too.”

Max sat down on the edge of the pier with Liz, gazing out over the ocean. He took a deep breath. This was it, “Liz… I’ve got to confess something.”

“What is it, Max?” She spoke, her voice cooler than normal. She moved her head from off of his shoulder to look him in the eyes.

“I’m uh… I’m not who you think I am.” He spat out, “I mean, like, I’m not from Atlanta.”

“Well, where are you from?” She was growing wary of him already. If he was lying about where he was from, a simple city, who knew what else he was lying about?

“Uh… Atlantis.” He said, “I’m a merman.”

“Are you kidding me?” Liz looked at him in disbelief, her tone angry.

“No, I uh… Alex knows. He’s been keeping me in the bath tub every night. That’s why the water was so full when you came into the bathroom when Alex said I was taking a bath. I got washed up into Alex’s swimming pool during that storm a few nights ago…”

Liz withdrew from him further.

Max shook his head, “No, Liz, please… you’ve got to believe me. I don’t have much time…”

“How am I supposed to believe any of this?!” Her voice grew harder. “You’re a merman?! You’ve lived in the ocean your whole life?! Merpeople just walk among us?! Was all of this just one huge joke to you?!”

He grabbed her water bottle and allowed a drop of it to touch his knee. A spot of scales appeared instantly.

Liz’s eyes bugged. She stood up, backing even further away. “Y-you weren’t lying.”

Max stood, too, but he didn’t go towards her. He stood there with hurt in his eyes, “Liz, please… Don’t do this… I’m still me…”

“Are you?” She ran her hands through her hair, “I mean… God, you just keep this huge secret from me. Who… what… you are. Is your name even really Max Evans?!”

“Maxwell Zan’eth Poseidon.” Max replied meekly, “That’s my full name. Evan was the name of a pet dolphin.”

“A pet dolphin.” Liz laughed disdainfully.

“Liz… listen to me… I’m sorry that I lied, but I… I have one more thing to tell you. But I need you to know that I really, really care about you. I… I think I just might love you.”

She didn’t return the words; she just nodded numbly, allowing him to proceed.

“I… I’ve been betrothed since birth. To someone named Tess.” Liz looked like she was ready to run, “But I ran away. I didn’t want to marry her. I knew that there was someone out there. Someone that I belonged with. And I knew it wasn’t her. It’s you, Liz. It was always you, and it will always be you.”

Liz was speechless. He was betrothed? Was he just making the entire story up?

“I tried to tell my father that I didn’t want to marry Tess, but he didn’t want to hear it. He doesn’t believe in love or soul mates… I ran away. That’s why…”

“Been hiding from me, have you?!” A new voice joined their conversation. Kyle was walking towards them, looking livid. Another boy that Max didn’t know was with him.

Max stood his ground, “Kyle, I really need to talk to Liz right now… can we do this later?”

“No. There is no later. You and me, right here, right now. No one insults me and gets away with it.” Kyle growled, walking closer to Max.

Only a few yards separated them.

Liz shook her head, “Kyle, stop!”

“Liz, you’re not in my life anymore. You don’t have any influence over me.”

And Kyle lunged. His first punch missed, giving Max the opportunity to retaliate. He got a fist in Kyle’s gut before Kyle punched him, directly on his left eye.

Max stepped backwards, losing his footing. He fell backwards, over the pier.

Kyle looked stunned. His friend, however, yelled, “Kyle, c’mon! Let’s get out of here!!”

The pair ran down the pier. Kyle looked back only once.

Liz sprinted to the edge of the pier, looking anxiously into the water. She screamed for him repeatedly, “Max! MAX!”

He surfaced yards away from the pier, looking completely calm about the ominous clouds that were suddenly forming in the sky, “Liz! Listen to me! I can’t come back! My dad… he’s sensing me… the water… I don’t have time to explain it…”

“What’re you talking about? Max, please…”

“There’s no way! It’ll put you in danger. Just…”

The waves were getting larger, and Max was getting sucked further out, “Alex knows everything, Liz… go to him…” Liz could see a large, amber end of a tale poking out from the water for a second or two.

Liz gasped, but she knew that it didn’t matter. What mattered was telling Max what was in her heart. “Max, I…!”

A wave swallowed him.

“Max!” He had gone under and hadn’t come up. She wasn’t ready to let him go. Not yet, not with so many questions unanswered and so many things left unsaid.

And as the rain poured from the sky, another wave swept over where Max had disappeared.

He didn’t resurface. She never got to reveal her growing feelings.

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sprayadhesive
Addicted Roswellian
Posts: 186
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Location: Georgia

Post by sprayadhesive » Mon Apr 02, 2007 11:28 am

Thank you all for bearing with me and my irregular posts.

This is the moment that a lot of you have been waiting for... on more than one account. :D

Thanks for the feedback, bumps and patience!

Lairabehr4
dreamerfrvrp3
clueless
Augustus Snodgrass
behrluv32
- Hahaha, I loved the pictures. Too cute!
roswell3053
Flamehair
83 AlienAngel
- Michael? ;)
Dreamerlaure
maya
dreamsatnight
Dreamer<3
Max/Jason Luver




<center>Part 9
One month later</center>

Liz hung her feet off of the pier, looking out into the ocean. Her eyes instinctively scanned the turf, looking for something out of place. It had become such a habit that she hardly realized that she was doing it anymore.

For the last month, whenever she had no plans, she would go and sit on the pier, just watching and waiting. She usually brought a book to read, some story about mermaids and the ocean. Alex had even caught her watching ‘The Little Mermaid’ in his living room one morning.

She had been emotionally distraught when Max had revealed his secret and then disappeared into the ocean’s depths. Alex had been very good about everything, answering as many questions as he could and explaining the situation, but there was only so much that he knew. He had listened patiently to her ranting about Max’s father and had been there for her during the times when she felt like, if she ever saw Max again, she would hit him over the head with a shovel for taking so long to get back to her.

She didn’t even know if he would be married when he came back or not, but she trusted her heart, and her heart was telling her that Max could never do that to her.

Maria had been extremely freaked when Liz and Alex sat her down the day after Max’s disappearance and told her the story, but after Alex’s explanations of Max’s weird dietary habits, his social awkwardness and his other personality quirks, Maria found the situation a little more believable. She was just as supportive of Liz’s heartbreak as Alex was. She bought them Phish Food ice cream from Ben and Jerry’s whenever Liz seemed more depressed than normal and they would have sleepovers at least once a week.

But Liz still couldn’t help but returning to the last spot she’d seen Max. She only knew him for a few days, but she knew enough to know that being with him was the most correct thing she’d done so far in her life. It just fit.

She broke herself out of her reminiscent thoughts when a splash of water was sent her way, splattering her clothes with salt water.

She gasped in shock and then looked around. No one was around her – no human, at least. She then switched her gaze back to the water, searching for the source.

She saw it. It was only a second’s flash in the water, a streaking, glinting tail, but she saw it.

There was someone there.

She called out, “Who are you?”

There was a few second’s pause and then a reply, even though she couldn’t see the speaker. She knew that he was below the pier. “Are you Liz Parker?”

“Yes.” She replied uncertainly.

“If what I’ve heard is true, I’m going to need some clothes when I come out of the water. Any way you can work that out?” The disembodied voice asked again.

Liz nodded, “I’ll have to go to Alex’s. Can I bring him when I come, too? And my friend Maria?”

“You told Maria about us?”

“She’s my best friend.”

“Fine.” He replied, groaning slightly, “Try to hurry, though. I don’t know how long I can stay without being noticed.

Liz was on her way out when another voice, female this time, called out to her, “Wait!”

She heard the male groan again, “I can’t believe you followed me!”

“He’s been talking about them for a month now, nonstop. How could I not follow you? I want to meet them!” The female replied impatiently.

“Uh…” Liz started, uncertain of what to do.

The male conceded to defeat, “And some clothes for her, too, if you don’t mind.”

Liz decided to tease them for a second, “Are you sure that your covert operation wasn’t exposed and all of Antar’s not coming up in a second? Because I don’t have that many clothes at home. Maria might, but I don’t.”

“Just get the clothes already!” He snapped.

Liz rolled her eyes and walked down the pier.

The female called brightly after Liz’s retreating form, “Please and thank you!”

Liz shook her head in a numb disbelief. There were two merpeople underneath her dock. This couldn’t be happening. Actually, it could. She was glad it was, too. Because now it was happening, she could find out about what had been happening to Max.

She was practically skipping with glee when she went into the front doors of The Tail and she collided directly into a flabbergasted Maria and Alex.

Alex shook his head, “What’s gotten into you?”

“Did he come back?!” Maria knew her friend too well. She hadn’t been this happy since Max was here, so she was simply doing the math.

Liz shook her head, “No, but I guess it’s the next best thing! Alex, can you get a pair of clothes? I have to go run upstairs and get some, too, so I’ll meet you back down here, okay?”

Alex scratched his head, “Two pairs? There’s two of them?”

“A girl and a boy.” Liz nodded.

Maria’s eyes widened, “What?! Where?!”

“There’s no time. Al, please, do it for me.” Liz pleaded.

Maria whined, “There is too time, Liz!”

“I’ll tell you on the way up to my room.” She called over her shoulder, dancing with joy on the way through the restaurant.

Maria followed behind her and demanded to be informed on everything that was going on, and, most importantly, whether or not she’d seen the merman, and if he was naked and/or attractive.

Liz blushed at the question and then rolled her eyes at it, “I haven’t even seen them yet, they’re in the water under the pier.”

She grabbed two towels, a shirt, some underwear, a skirt and a bra and a pair of flip flops before throwing them into a book bag and flying back down the stairs. Maria did her best to keep up with her.

Alex wasn’t there yet, so Maria whined again, “Can we please just meet him there? I want to see one of them! I haven’t ever seen one and it’s not fair that you and Alex have!”

“Are you kidding me?” Liz laughed, “You hung out with Max almost as much as me and Alex did.”

“Yeah, but I didn’t get to see his… you know.” Maria raised her eyebrows and swished her butt back and forth.

Liz snickered at the unintentional double meaning, but she responded with the noun that she knew Maria was referring to, “I barely got to see it. I was too busy with worrying about the boy I loved being swept out to sea.”

“Okay, you’ve got a point, but… c’mon! Let’s go!”

“You’re worse than a child on Christmas morning. We can’t go yet. I didn’t tell Alex where to go to.”

Maria scoffed, “Pathetic excuse. You’ve been at the pier for the past hundred million years, he’s going to know where we are.”

“It’s been a month, Queen of Exaggeration.” She pointed over her shoulder, “Look, here he comes.”

They walked out of the building and met Alex on the beach. Liz led them towards the pier. The beaches were fairly empty, as it had been storming all afternoon. Now, though, after the rain, families and beachgoers were all still occupied with their rainy day activities to drop everything and run to the beach.

Liz didn’t walk towards the beginning of the pier, instead she went down underneath it. She called out to the waves, “Hello?”

A blonde girl poked her head out from the furthest piling, “Hi!” She waved a hand enthusiastically.

Liz held up her bag, “I’ve got the clothes.”

A male head popped up, “It’s about time.”

The blonde rolled her eyes, “Don’t mind him, he’s just a little grumpy sometimes.”

“Uh… maybe… Alex, why don’t you go wait out of sight while we get her dressed?” Maria suggested rationally. She called out into the water, “And I’d better not catch you trying to get a peep show, either!”

Liz called out to the girl when Alex was out of sight, “Okay, come on out.”

The girl swam closer to them, and Liz made a point to check out her tail. It was a bright scarlet red, from what Liz could see. When the girl started to surface, Liz and Maria politely turned their heads and Liz held out a towel for her.

The girl took it and began drying her body and her tail, fully understanding the finer details of the transformation.

When she was dried, she wrapped the towel around her body and looked expectantly at the two remaining teens, “Okay. Done.”

Liz turned back and got her first good look at her. She was gorgeous. Her blonde hair went down to her mid-back and she had dazzling green eyes. Her skin was tanned golden and she had a few freckles from the sun on her nose, but it softened her drop dead gorgeous look and made her seem more approachable. She was also tall and very leggy, something that Liz was slightly jealous of. It seemed like a waste of leg for a creature with a tail to transform into such an amazing bodied human.

Liz hoped to hell that her small top would fit the girl’s chest, too.

As Liz handed her the bra and underwear, she bit her lower lip.

Tall, Leggy Blonde smiled, “I’m Isabel, by the way.” She smiles at us, “And I know exactly who you are. You must be Liz.” She looks my way. “And you’re Maria. It’s so cool to finally meet you guys.”

They didn’t know whether or not to find her knowledge of them alarming, so they offered meek greetings. Liz handed her the skirt and shirt next.

When she was fully clothed, the shirt barely fitting, but still passable until they could get to The Tail, Liz slipped the flip flops on Isabel’s feet for her.

Isabel wiggled her toes, laughing, “I love feet. They’re so funny looking.”

The boy called out from the water, “My turn.”

“He’s right.” Maria called for Alex and then the three girls shuffled out of the way while Alex handled getting the merman clothed.

Liz shuffled her feet in the sand. She wanted to ask them questions, but it wouldn’t be fair to bombard them immediately.

So, they stood on the pier in silence while they waited for Alex and the merman to join them.

When they did, the girl piped up again, “I’m starved. Let’s get some of that cherry coke stuff.”

Liz nodded, but she wasn’t to be deterred, “We can get some food and then talk about… everything.”

Isabel smiled broadly again.

“Move out, troops.” Maria turned away from the group and started walking.

Liz laughed when Alex stood, staring open-mouthed at Isabel as Isabel walked after Maria and the merman. She crossed over to him and shut his mouth with her hand.

Alex looked at Liz, “I uh…”

“I get it. You’re a teenage boy. She’s smokin’ hot. No need to explain.”

“Smokin’ hot and completely out of my league.” Alex muttered.

Liz rolled her eyes, “Don’t write it off before you try it. Now, c’mon, I’ve gotta get some information on the boy of my dreams.”

Alex and Liz hooked arms and they followed the line to The Tail.

They entered and Isabel was standing just inside the door, highly impressed by the décor. She saw the painting of Poseidon and laughed, “I guess it kind of looks like him if you squint.”

The boy grunted.

Maria frowned at him, “You know, I don’t think I caught your name.”

“Michael.” He replied coolly, leaning against the counter.

Liz ordered them some burgers and cokes to go and they waited in an awkward silence until the food was ready. Alex took the bags and then they set off for his house. His parents had come home for a week, but they were gone again, to somewhere in Australia to observe a new species that had been found in a mining cave recently.

Once they were all settled around the kitchen table, eating, Michael cleared his throat, “You must be wondering why we’re here.”

“That and about a million other things.” Maria replied shortly. She was giving Michael a look that clearly said he was annoying her.

Michael continued, like he hadn’t even heard her. “I came to ask you guys to come to Antar. Max wants to see you but there’s no way he’s going to be able to slip away again.”

“Max?” Liz’s head perked up. She looked hopeful, “Is he okay? Why can’t he get away?”

“Well,” Isabel spoke up, “When he fell into the water, my dad sensed him immediately. He already knew what general direction Max was in, so he changed the tides to make it so that Max was swept a little further away from the shore, and then the guards got hold of him. My dad was furious with him.”

“Wait a second.” Alex shook his head, managing to find some courage to speak to her, “Your dad? Are you Max’s sister?”

“Yeah, sorry.” She smiled, “Twins.”

They all nodded in understanding. Isabel continued, “My dad wanted him married immediately, but somehow Max protested. I think he managed to persuade mom to talk dad into pushing back the wedding. So, basically, they pushed back the wedding indefinitely. Max is being kept under constant surveillance, and he is going through all of these lifestyle changes to get accustomed to being king. Max is getting the throne as soon as my dad approves it, but my dad won’t approve it because Max refuses to marry Tess.

“He hasn’t stopped talking about you, but never to dad. Mom knows all about you and she wants to meet you, though.” She addressed Liz directly.

Michael interrupted her ramblings, “But, basically, Max is like a prisoner in the castle. He hasn’t been able to go anywhere or do anything on his own. He’s turning into this shell of himself. So I snuck out, because Isabel and I haven’t been able to do anything to snap him out of it. I think he needs you to get him out of the funk.”

“Max doesn’t know you guys are here?” Liz was confused. Why couldn’t they just tell him?

“Well, no, but only because I can’t ever talk to him anymore without being afraid of being overheard. He’s wanted me to come and get you for ages. I think that he’ll know where I am once everyone finds out that I’m missing.” Michael rolled her eyes, “It’s getting to be ridiculous.”

“I’ll go.” Liz replied, with a certainty that no one could ignore.

Alex waved his hand in the air, “What about us?”

“I only have one pendant right now.” Michael frowned, “But I could maybe get some more out of the Royal Treasury in a few days.”

Michael reached into his pocket and withdrew a parcel wrapped in seaweed. He handed it to Liz, “It was Max’s grandmothers. It goes to the first male in the family, and he gives it to his significant other. I know that it’s premature, but Max wants you to have it, at least for as long as you want it, so that you can come into our world.

“If you put it on, while you wear it, your body will follow the same rules that our bodies follow.”

“What?” Maria frowned, “She’ll turn into a mermaid?”

“Only if water touches her.” Isabel commented softly, “It’s not like she can breathe underwater when she’s a human.”

Liz was silent for a moment. She gazed down at the necklace, turning it over in her hands, inspecting every aspect of it. It was old and silver, although not rusted by the waves that it had made its home. The size was equivalent to how big the space was if Liz joined the tip of her pointer finger to the tip of her thumb. There was an ornate mermaid, its body curved around a peal circle, located directly at the middle of the pendant. The pendant hung from a round, silver chain. It was beautiful.

She looked up at everyone, and they were looking back at her, their faces expectant. She looked between Michael and Isabel, “I can come back whenever, right?”

“Of course.” Isabel nodded her head, smiling, “Max knows how important your family and friends are to you. He wouldn’t take them from you.”

“Let’s go.” Liz had made up her mind. She wanted to be with Max. She slipped the pendant over her neck, and it rested just below her collarbone. She immediately felt closer to Max.

Isabel pouted slightly, “I wanted to stay for a while. I’ve never been on land before.”

Michael shook his head adamantly, “No way. Your father is going to be furious as it is, if I come back without you, he’s definitely going to murder me.”

“Come back when Liz comes back.” Alex suggested, his expression hopeful. “I can show you around for a little.”

Isabel smiled, “Promise?”

“Yeah, definitely.” Alex nodded.

Maria made a gagging sound and rolled her eyes. She turned to Michael, “If anything happens to her down there, I swear, no amount of distance will help you. I will find you.”

“Nothing’s going to happen.” Michael frowned. He stood up, brushing off his hands, “But we should be going. I’ve got to get Isabel back before Poseidon calls out the Guard.”

Everyone else rose. They followed Alex from the kitchen, out the living room and onto the deck around the beach. Michael pointed towards the beach and then walked towards the shore. The sun was setting now, and he was hoping to get set and go before Isabel sprouted fins in the middle of the beach.

They traveled down the sand, to the spot next to the pier. The underneath of the pier wasn’t visible from here.

Isabel gave Maria and Alex a hug, much to Alex’s extreme delight. She smiled genuinely, “It was nice meeting you. I can’t wait to see you again.”

“Yeah, same here.” Alex nodded, looking slightly bewildered.

Liz looked to Maria and Alex, “Can you guys tell my parents something for me? I wish I could say goodbye, but I just… I have to do this. Everything in my heart is screaming to go and go now. I can’t ignore that.”

“Okay, I’ll try to think of something, but I have no idea what it’s going to be right now.” Maria shrugged. She suddenly looked more serious, “You be careful, okay? And don’t stay away for too long. I’m going to be worried sick the entire time you’re gone.”

Liz nodded, smiling lightly. She gave Maria a hug and then turned to Alex.

Alex laughed, “Gosh, talk about a lot to take in all at once.”

Liz laughed, “Totally.”

She turned back to a waiting Michael and Isabel, “Okay, I’m ready. Anything I should know before I go diving in?”

Her fears of the water were completely pushed to the back of her mind. The necklace was giving her a soft reassurance.

Michael shook his head, “There’s the obvious thing that your feet are going to morph into a tail, but other than that… I think everything will just come to you. That’s how it was when I got the feet, at least.”

Liz nodded.

Isabel flounced ahead of them and underneath the pier. There was a second pause where they knew she was undressing and they heard her splash into the water. Michael followed her actions. Liz could see them waiting twenty feet off the shore line.

Liz smiled nervously over her shoulder to Maria and Alex, and then she walked under the pier. Michael and Isabel’s clothes were lying in a pool. Liz slowly removed her shirt and skirt, kicking them to the side. She hesitantly removed her bra, blushing only slightly, but then she realized that she was alone and no one could see her. She stepped out of her underwear and then dove into the waves.

The water flowed around her, pushing her hair back. There was a tingling in her legs, but she hardly registered it. She opened her eyes to the water and found that the salt wasn’t stinging them.

But she was still holding her breath. She hesitantly opened her mouth and took a small sip of water. It was delicious, like taking the first breath of fresh air after being locked in a room filled with smokers.

She took a larger gulp. It was just like breathing. She moved her hands to her neck and felt around for gills. She found some just behind and slightly below her ear, no more than three slits, and a few centimeters long each.

It was then that she realized what the tingling in her legs had been. The sensation stopped, so she looked down. She had a tail. A very pretty tail, at that. It was a mixture of aquamarine and turquoise, almost matching the color of the brightest Caribbean oceans.

Liz swam around, trying to get used to her tail. The more she did, the more she enjoyed the sensation of flicking around in the water.

She looked down at her chest and covered them with her arms. They were completely exposed!

Suddenly, there was a hand on her shoulder. She spun around and smiled. Isabel and Michael were next to her, each sporting their own tails. Michael’s was navy blue and Isabel’s was the dazzling red that Liz had seen earlier.

Isabel smiled, “That tail is gorgeous! You’re going to be the envy of all of the girls in Atlantis.”

Liz blushed, “That’s what I thought about your legs. They were to die for.”

Isabel handed her a garment. It consisted of two pearly sea shells, about the size of Liz’s breasts, strung together with a stringy material that Liz didn’t recognize. It resembled a bikini top, but there were no straps. It simply tied neatly in the back. She put it on immediately, “Thanks.”

Liz realized that they weren’t speaking English. She was speaking a language that she had never heard before in her life, something resembling a mixture of French, Mandarin and Greek. Liz furrowed her brow, “How am I speaking this language?”

“It’s all in the powers of the necklace.” Michael waved it off. He looked around, “We’ve got to get going.”

Liz nodded and swam after them. They swam for what seemed like an hour. Nothing passed in their paths as they swam over miles of open water. Liz didn’t want to think about what was swimming in the shadowy depths below them.

Suddenly, there was a wall of rock in front of them. Isabel swam to a fissure in the rock and slowly slid her body through it. Michael nodded to Liz and Liz repeated Isabel’s actions.

She came out on the other side and found them in a whole other world. They were about a mile under water, and it was night time, but the place was lit with some unknown source. The floor of the area was covered in coral, structures that looked like buildings, and two miles directly ahead of them, surrounded by the dwellings in all directions, was an ornate palace made from a variety of shells, fish bones and other ocean rarities. Liz’s eyes widened in amazement. The area was gorgeous.

She had too many questions to verbalize right now.

They swam downwards, the floor of the city being twenty feet below them, and they passed through the streets swiftly, taking only back roads. They avoided any contact with personnel and, after ten minutes, made it to the gates of the palace.

Isabel cleared Liz’s entrance with a guard and they were admitted.

“Isabel Vilondra and Michael Orpheus, where have you been? You’ve had us all worried!” A woman’s voice called out to them.

A mermaid in her forties came over to them, her blonde hair drawn up into a French twist. Her tail was a pearl shade. Liz thought she was absolutely gorgeous.

She came to a stop in front of them, “Oh my, are you? Could you be? You aren’t?”

“I’m Liz. Liz Parker.” Liz held out her hand.

The woman smiled broadly, “Amphitrite. It’s so nice to meet you. My goodness, how you’ve changed my son. You’re absolutely stunning. It’s no wonder he’s so infatuated with you.” Her smile faltered slightly, and she turned to Michael and Isabel, “Is this where you’ve been? Getting Liz? You two went on shore?”

Isabel and Michael nodded sheepishly.

Amphitrite swore, but her smile only grew, “I’m so glad you’re here. Maybe you can get through to that boy, I swear. He hasn’t stopped moping for a month. I was getting rather sick of it.” She called a guard over, “Take her up to Maxwell’s room. Be sure that they’re given privacy, I don’t care what Poseidon told you. That’s a direct order.”

Isabel and Michael went to follow her, but Amphitrite held out her hand, “Oh no, Poseidon wants to know where you two have been. You’re coming with me. And you’d better get a good story, because I want that girl to have some time with Maxwell before all hell starts breaking lose.”

Liz heard the conversation fade and she followed the guard through the palace. She wove through corridor after corridor, through door after door and it was virtually impossible for her to keep track of the direction they were headed in.

By the time they reached their final destination, Liz was so disoriented that she couldn’t even begin to think about getting to the same place again without any help.

The guards around the door scattered at the guard’s instruction and Liz slowly pushed the door open.

Her heart was racing. Max was in this room.

She swam down a short hallway and then turned the corner. Her breath (was it called breathing underwater?) caught in her throat.

He was staring out of the window on the opposite side of the room, with his back to her. His gorgeous amber tail, the exact shade that she remembered his eyes being, floated beneath him, flicking occasionally. His hair was longer, making him look older. On his shoulder blade, there were unfamiliar markings forming a tattoo, something that hadn’t been there when he was on the land. Liz realized that they must have been a new addition.

The door snapped shut behind her, causing Liz to jump. Max turned warily from his position at the window, “You can tell my father that if he wants to talk to me…”

And then there was silence. The room froze, and they looked into each other’s eyes for the first time in a month.

Locked