“Hey, I need you to do something for me.” Adam looked up once to make sure no one was around.
Nick looked warily at Adam. Nick wasn’t the type of person Adam usually hung out with, and as a rule, was never approached unless he could do something for Adam or one of his friends.
Nick slowly answered. “What do you need?”
“I need you to get Anixa Maelstrom’s address for me.”
Nick frowned. In the few days she had been here, Anixa was one of the few girls who actually spoke to him kindly and didn’t treat him like he was invisible.
“Why do you need it?”
Voices drifted down the long hallway, along with the click of stilettos on the tile flooring. Nick turned and pretended to rearrange the cables in the AV room as Adam casually leaned against a locker. Two girls, a slim blonde and athletic brunette walked past, giving Adam a shy smile before disappearing down the hall.
After they were gone and shoes couldn’t be heard clicking against the floor anymore, Nick repeated his question. “Why do you need her address?”
Nick had known Adam long enough to know that anytime there was a new girl in the school, Adam always got to her first. Nick didn’t want that to happen to Anixa.
Adam looked down the direction the two girls had gone. “Because she hasn’t been here for a couple days and I wanted to make sure she didn’t get behind.”
Nick laughed. Adam never did anything for anybody unless he got something out of it.
Adam looked around again. “Look, I’ll pay you for it.”
He reached into his pocket and pulled out two hundred dollar bills. Nick’s eyes flitted from the money to Adam’s face.
Nick knew Adam was working from an angle here, but he wasn’t in the mood to figure it out. “Fine. I’ll get it to you after class.” Nick grabbed the money and walked off.
Adam looked at the paper Nick had given him. “Nick, this isn’t her address. This is the address for the aquarium.”
Nick sighed and pushed his glasses further up his nose. “I know that. But this is the only address listed for her. They only showed her work, not her home, which is really unusual. I’m still not sure how she got away with that.”
Adam nodded. “So do you know when she’s working?”
“She should be there right now.”
Adam jumped up and ran out to his car.
Adam pulled into the aquarium parking lot and looked around. He knew Anixa didn’t drive, so he couldn’t tell if she was here or not. Adam figured there was only one way to find out. With a sigh, he got out of his car and walked towards the giant shark-shaped building.
Adam slowly walked to the front desk. “Excuse me; I was wondering if you could tell me if someone was working today.”
The receptionist looked up. “Only if you tell me who you are and why you need this person.”
“My name’s Adam Holmes and Anixa Maelstrom and I are in school together and she hasn’t been there for a couple days. I wanted to make sure she was okay.”
The woman nodded. “Anixa’s here. She’s out in the dolphin exhibit.”
Adam nodded and quickly walked out.
When he got to the exhibit, the tall redhead was nowhere to be seen. Only the Pacific dolphins were there, swimming around their pool. Adam heard Anixa’s laughter and turned to face the direction it was coming from.
Another musical laugh answered. Adam looked around. He was the only one here, surrounded by water and dolphins. Adam saw something dark purple-blue shoot across the bottom of the pool. He took a step forwards and then fell into the warm salt water. He felt dolphins brush against him and gently start pushing him towards the surface. Adam’s head hit the surface and he gulped in air. He pulled himself back up on the rough wooden dock and sat there, wondering what he saw.
“Adam, are you okay?”
He looked down at the water and saw Anixa. “I thought no one was supposed to be swimming with the dolphins.”
Anixa paused for a second. “I dropped my necklace and dove in to get it. And then you came along and fell in.” Anixa looked at him with blazing ocean eyes. “Adam, before you fell in, what exactly did you see?”
Adam paused.“I’m not really sure. I saw a something that looked like it was either purple or blue.”
Anixa swam closer to the dock. “Try and describe it. What did it look like?” Her voice was fast and low, an almost anxious whisper.
“Well, it looked something like a…a mermaid tail.”
Before Anixa could say anything, a loud voice rang out against the stones of the pool. Anixa vanished under the water and Adam saw another flash of the purple-blue fin.
“What are you doing out here? No one’s allowed back here unless they work here.”
Adam looked up at the tall imposing man, the director of the aquarium.
“I was looking for Anixa Maelstrom, and I was told she would be out here.”
“Why are you all wet?”
“I fell in.”
The director looked hard at Adam. “You have five more minutes to wait on Miss Maelstrom before you have to leave. And don’t fall in the pool again.”
With those final words, the man walked away. Adam waited a minute before calling Anixa’s name again.
He spun around and saw Anixa sitting on one of the rocks. Her hair seemed wavier and had long blue, silver, and purple streaks running through it. She was completely dry, even though she had just gotten out of the water. Instead of wearing the aquarium shirt, she was wearing a one-shoulder top that seemed to be made of seaweed woven tightly together. Long strands of seaweed hung down and stopped just above her stomach. From the waist down, she seemed to be covered in purple-blue scales. Adam’s eyes followed the purple-blue line until it reached where her feet should have been. But instead of feet, there was a large almost transparent purple-blue fin. Anixa had been that thing in the water!
She looked at Adam and then pushed herself up on the dock. There was a small flash of purple light and a smell of salt water at midnight and fresh rain. When Adam looked back in the water, nothing sat on the rocks.
A cool hand gently grabbed his chin and turned his face away from the water. “Adam, you didn’t see anything different here. You thought you saw something and then you fell in. The dolphins helped you back up and then you hit your head on the dock. You’re fine now, and you’re going to go home and get some rest.”
Adam shook his head. “Anixa, I’m not going anywhere until you tell me everything that’s going on.”
Anixa sighed and looked away.
“It’s that bad?”
“I just thought I wouldn’t have to tell anyone anything.”
Adam waited for a minute. “Is there anywhere private we can talk?”
After the last aquarium worker had left, Anixa and Adam were sitting outside by an empty pool. As the large billboard beside it loudly proclaimed, it was the future home of three leatherback sea turtles. Right now, it was filled with warm salt water that covered plants and patterns of rock formations to make the habitat seem legit to the animals.
“Anixa, start with telling me who you really are.”
Anixa laughed. “That’s easy. I’m Anixa Maelstrom. And that’s who I really am.”
Adam smiled. “That’s not what I meant.”
It was Anixa’s turn to smile. “Then the correct question is to ask what I am. And to answer that, you know it, you just won’t say it.”
“So then you really are a…”
Anixa nodded. “Yes, I am a mermaid.”
“But then why don’t you always have fins?”
Anixa laughed. “Because I’m not completely mermaid. My father was a merman and my mother was human, and my grandparents on both sides are one human and one merman. And I inherited the genes for fins, but unlike the full bloods, I can switch between forms at will, whereas the full bloods can only grow legs if they’re Landwalkers or Selkies.” Anixa tossed a lock of copper hair behind her shoulder. Her hair almost seemed to glow in the light of the lamps that stood between every pool.
“So if they’re not half human and half mermaid, then they can be human if they’re what?”
Anixa smiled again. “If they’re a Landwalker, which means they can change into human form at certain times, or if they’re a Selkie, meaning they’re human until they hit water, when they turn into a seal.” Anixa looked at Adam in surprise.
“You’re perfectly fine with this? You’re not freaking out, thinking I’m crazy, anything like that?”
Adam shook his head. “Well, I’m trying to completely understand this, and if you’re not crazy, then maybe I am.”
They both laughed.
Then Anixa quickly looked around. “Get in the water!”
She pushed him in and then dove in after him. Adam looked up and saw two shadowy figures where he and Anixa had just been sitting. His lungs began to burn as he hadn’t taken a very large breath when she pushed him. Just when he thought he couldn’t hold it anymore, Anixa was in front of him, in full mermaid regalia. She gently pulled him towards her and kissed him, breathing for both of them. After a couple minutes, the shadowy figures were gone and Anixa lifted Adam to the surface. When his head broke the surface, he found that he didn’t need to gasp for breath, he could breath just fine. Anixa pushed him onto one of the rocks jutting from the side.
“So do you usually do this? Push someone in a pool and kiss them, I mean.”
Anixa lightly cuffed his arm. “I pushed you in so we wouldn’t get in trouble for being here. And I didn’t kiss you, I was breathing for you. If I hadn’t, you would’ve drowned.”
Adam smiled and pushed his wet hair back. “Whatever you want to call it, you kissed me. And you liked it and you know it.”
Anixa pushed a wall of water at him. Sputtering, he wiped water out of his eyes and slung water back at her.
“Adam, just how smart do you think it is to get in a water fight with a mermaid?”
He grinned. “Probably not very smart at all, but I’ve never been one to do the smartest thing.”
Adam dove back into the water and tried to dunk Anixa. Laughing, she grabbed his wrists and pulled him down into the water. Adam pushed up off the rocky bottom and treaded water on the surface. He looked around, but didn't see Anixa anywhere. Adam swam a few feet farther out. He was about to call her name when something grabbed his ankle and jerked him underwater. Adam opened his eyes and saw Anixa in front of him, smiling. She pushed him back towards the surface. As soon as both their heads hit the surface, Adam wrapped on arm around Anixa's waist and pulled her closer. He leaned forwards and put his forehead against hers. Anixa's ocean eyes watched Adam.
"I can't believe this is happening."
Anixa smiled. "Cant believe what's happening?"
Adam leaned closer and his breath tickled Anixa's face. "I can't believe I'm falling for a mythical creature," he whispered as he closed the last centimeter between them and kissed her. Anixa's tail wrapped around him, pulling him closer. He deepened the kiss and slid his free hand underneath her thick hair and against her cool skin. Slowly, he pulled back and looked at Anixa. She slowly opened her eyes looked at Adam. Anixa blushed and looked down. She silently dove underwater, only a few ripples showing where she had been. Adam smiled and swam back to the dock. He climbed out and looked back at the water. With a huge smile on his face, he turned and almost ran to his car. Unlike with most girls, he really liked Anixa, and not just because of how she looked. Adam got into his car and thought about Anixa again. He pulled his convertible top down, stood up and yelled triumphantly to the sky.