"How about Fern?" I looked up at the girl with the coral red hair, Cindy her name was, I think. "Why have you got braids and she doesn't? Are you cheating on someone?"
I swear, I almost choked at that question, taking in much more water than I actually needed.
Whipping my head towards Aya, who had taken a spot on a lone rock by my side, I was able to catch her equally shocked expression, embarrassment coming off of her in waves. Of course, she didn't turn to look at me, instead fixing her stare on the cove's floor so the long locks of hair would hide her face.
In my mind, I cursed heavily.
Why would she ask that? I mean, I knew it would come, sooner or later, but not this soon! It must be because she also lives on land, I thought to myself. Real merfolk would never ask such a thing, no matter how naturally curious they were.
But it was that same curiosity which filled everyone's minds, as they all stared at me, waiting for an answer.
"Well..." I stuttered. Taking a deep breath of water, I continued in a much firmer voice. "First of all, we are not together," as I spoke, I made a motion towards Aya, whose thoughts confirmed she was listening intently. "I have just met her."
"And, about the braids..." I faltered, vision blurring for a second.
My hand shot up to grasp the sun medallion that hung from the necklace around my neck. It had taken weeks for me to make them, that one and its twin.
"I hope you don't mind, but I would prefer not to talk about it. It's too personal."
Disappointment, doubled curiosity and irritation were the feelings that followed my answer.
"But I can tell you one thing," I turned to look directly into the red head's bright green eyes, my stare hardening. "I am not cheating on anyone. I am always true to my promises..."
Even if they cause me the greatest pain, I added in my mind.