The next day in Mr. Kingston's class, Anixa still wasn't there. The class was about to go back outside when the door opened and Anixa walked in.
"Miss Maelstrom, I see you have decided to grace us with your presence again. To what do we owe the pleasure?"
Anixa pulled a paper out of her bag. "Sorry Mr. Kingston, I had a family emergency."
Mr. Kingston grunted and waited for Anixa to take her seat. "Now as I was saying before Miss Maelstrom walked in, we will be cleaning the beach again today. And yes, we will be in the same groups."
The door opened again and a tall girl with long straight black hair and snow white skin walked in. "Hi Mr. Kingston, I'm a new student here. My name's Rayona Carcharias-Taurus."
Adam looked at Anixa and saw she was gripping the edges of her desk so tight, her knuckles where turning white. Her whole body was tense.
"Anixa? You okay?" Adam whispered.
"Sharktamer," Anixa hissed between clenched teeth.
Anixa shook her head. Rayona walked to the back of the class to the only empty desk, the one right behind Anixa.
Out on the beach, storm clouds were gathering. The air crackled with unseen energy. Adam and Anixa walked back to the small gathering of palm trees. She leaned against the rough bark and looked out at the grey ocean.
Adam came up and put one hand on her shoulder. "Anixa, what's going on? What is Rayona?"
Anixa growled and tensed at the mention of Rayona. "She's the reason I had to leave my home and the reason I wasn't here for a few days."
The sky grew darker and thunder rumbled.
"Anixa, you need to tell me everything that's going on."
Anixa looked into Adam's chocolate brown eyes, warm with concern and affection.
She sighed. "You're right. If I pulled you into this, you deserve to know everything." Anixa looked out at the grey ocean again."There's a thing called the council, and at least three representatives from every species of mythical creature make up the council. The council basically rules over all mythicals. People like me are rare, and we have our own branch. People like me, half human and half mythical creature, when our blood is mixed with human blood, it's a powerful mix. Usually half-bloods are some of the most powerful in the council. In the council, there are different leaders called guardians. I'm the guardian of the storms. I can control the weather."
Adam looked up at the sky. Was she doing this?
“Rayona isn’t a guardian. She’s part Sharktamer and part human. Rayona is a Sharktamer assassin, whose mission is to kill me. I’m the most powerful half-blood since 1881. I refused to join the cult that Rayona’s in. Now, they’re spreading lies about me in the council and thirsting for my blood. I left home until this died down. I didn’t expect Rayona to follow me here.”
Adam took a step closer and Anixa fell into his arms. Her body was still rigid with fear, but she was slowly starting to loosen up.
Adam brushed his lips across her hair. “Anixa, I’m here with you. You’re going to be okay, I promise.”
Anixa looked up at him with tears in her eyes. “Adam, you can’t protect me from her. People like me are stronger than humans. I have to control my strength around you, or you’d be in a body cast by now.”
“Anixa, I’ll find some way to keep you safe.” He leaned down and kissed her on the cheek when a voice disrupted everything.
Adam turned to see Rayona standing there with a cocky grin on her face. Anixa went rigid as stone and clenched her jaw.
“Hey, Rayona, right?”
She nodded excitedly and walked closer. Rayona stopped in front of Anixa.
“Why Anixa, I didn’t expect to see you here too! My, what a surprise.”
Anixa clenched her fists. “You knew perfectly well I was here, Sharktamer. What do you want?”
Rayona smiled, revealing serrated teeth. “Oh, you know, a bit of this, a bit of that. But what I really want is you to come back home with me. You shouldn’t have run away like that. You know that only proves your guilt.”
Anixa lashed out and hit Rayona. Rayona fell to her knees with a split lip. Her eyes turned like those of a tiger shark as she tasted blood.
Rayona slowly got to her feet as the wind picked up. “You will regret that, Lorelei. Have fun in the last few days of your life.”
Adam pulled Anixa back as Rayona lunged forwards. Anixa grabbed Adam’s arm as they ran back towards the main part of the beach.
Anixa and Adam made it to Adam’s car just as huge, fat raindrops began to fall. Anixa was shaking with fear as Adam revved the engine and pulled out of the school parking lot. Adam started driving, automatically heading towards the aquarium. When they reached the familiar neon lights, the rain had started falling harder.
"Anixa, is there anything else I should know?" Adam turned towards Anixa and watched her ocean eyes turn grey and troubled.
"Rayona's here to kill me and she won't leave until she does or I go with her to be executed back home." Anixa leaned her head against Adam's shoulder.
Adam wrapped his arms around her, pulling her closer.
"It's going to be okay, Anixa. I promise."
Anixa laughed dryly. "Adam, thanks, but get out while you still can. Just forget about all of this, and I promise the mythical world will leave you alone."
Adam kissed Anixa's forehead. "Now why would I want to forget about my mermaid?"
Anixa smiled and looked up."So does the mean you're not going anywhere?"
Adam leaned down. "It means I'm staying right by your side." Adam kissed Anixa, trying to convey his care and affection for her. Adam pulled back and Anixa twisted around so she was facing him. She put her right hand on the side of his neck and pulled him back for another kiss. Adam pulled her up over the stick shift and into his lap. He tilted her chin, deepening the kiss. Anixa put her left hand on his shoulder, rubbing circles with her fingertips. Adam put one hand pressed tightly against the back of Anixa's head, trying to bring her even closer. Adam's free hand rested on her hip, gently massuaging it in a way that sent chills running through Anixa's body. There was a sharp rap at the door that made them jerk apart. Adam rolled down the window and saw the aquarium manager.
"Young man, this isn't a place to 'get it on' or whatever you kids call it these days. You shouldn't even be doing this! This aquarium is a public facility and we wish to keep it family friendly. So behave or leave. Now." The manager turned and walked back under the covered awning, still watching Adam's mustang. Adam rolled the window back up and helped Anixa back into her seat. Anixa blushed and smiled, not looking at Adam.
Adam smiled as he drove down the road. "So what would happen?"
Anixa looked up. "What?"
Adam glanced over at her. "If we had…if the manager hadn't shown up and things went all the way."
"Oh." Anixa's blush deepened. "Well, nothing really. Nothing that wouldn't happen if I was human."
Adam nodded. "So…"
Adam sighed. "So if we…"
"No." Anixa cut him off.
Anixa looked back out the window, watching the storm clouds.
"It's rained long enough." With a wave of her hand, the clouds started parting, revealing bright blue sky and golden sunlight. Adam looked out the window in surprise.
"So you really can control the weather?"
Anixa nodded. "Did you think I was joking?"
Adam laughed. "No. I'm just trying to figure out everything my mermaid girlfriend can do."
Anixa smiled as they continued to drive down the road.
"So do you have anywhere to stay?"
Anixa shook her head.
"I've been living at the aquarium. I didn't know how long I was going to be here and landlords don't lease apartments to seventeen year olds."
Adam stopped at a red light. "So do you want to stay with me? I've got a huge house, there's plenty of room for you there."
"What would your parents say?"
Adam smiled. "They wouldn't know, they're on a European tour and won't be back for six months."
A few minutes later, they up at Adam's house. It was a three story house with seven bedrooms, two kitchens, seven bathrooms, and balconies for almost every window. The tall house overlooked the ocean and had its own private beach. Anixa got out of Adam's mustang and slowly walked up the steps to the front deck. She was slightly in shock at sight of the huge, beautiful house. Anixa knew Adam came from money, but she hadn't known it was this much.
Adam came up behind Anixa and encircled her waist with his arms. "You like it?"
Anixa smiled. "It's beautiful."
Adam grabbed her hand and pulled her inside. Anixa walked through the giant French doors and looked up at the high vaulted ceiling and crystal chandelier that threw rainbow beams of light everywhere. Adam squeezed Anixa's hand and pulled her deeper in the house. They stopped at a large spiral staircase. Adam gently led Anixa up the stairs. They walked down the hallway quietly, almost as if they were trying not to disturb someone. Adam stopped in front of a white door with a glimmering black silver handle.
He turned it and then out his hands over Anixa's eyes."I want this room to be a surprise."
Anixa smiled and Adam pushed the door open all the way. He picked Anixa up bridal style and carried her into the room. Adam set Anixa back down on the smooth wood floor as he lifted his hands from her eyes. Anixa gasped. The room was perfect! The walls were ocean blue, and the wood floor was sandy brown, giving the appearance of a beach. Seafoam green curtains with dolphins playfully leaping across danced in a breeze from the open windows. The bed was the thing that topped the whole room off. It was a canopy bed, with deep blue silk that hung down against dark cherry wood posts. The bed itself was shaped in a circle, with a comforter that matched the silk canopy. The sheets were the same sandy color as the wood floor.
"So you like it?"
Anixa smiled and nodded. "I love it. It's perfect." She turned to face him. "Thank you."
Adam shrugged and wrapped his arms around Anixa again. "So are you going to be okay here?"
Anixa nodded. "I will until Rayona finds me again. Then I'll leave."
"Will you ever come back?"
A tear started rolling down Anixa's pale cheek. "I don't know. No one's ever lived after a Sharktamer assassin attack. And Rayona's the best at what she does."
Adam pulled Anixa closer and tucked her head under his chin, the realization finally starting to sink in that Anixa could be killed in a few days. Another tear rolled down Anixa's cheek.
"Don't cry, mermaid. We still have time together, nothing can change that."
"I don't want to lose you. You mean everything to me."
Adam lifted up a lock of Anixa's hair and locked his fingers in it. "Anixa I don't want to lose you either. I…I love you."
Anixa pulled back and looked up at Adam. "I love you, too," Anixa whispered.
Adam dipped his head and kissed Anixa slowly. She put her hand on his chest and pulled back.
Anixa looked up at Adam with tears in her eyes. "Adam, this…this won't…"
Adam hushed her. "Anixa, you said so yourself, some relationships like this do last. Look at your parents, look at other mythical-human couples. We're going to last. Nothing is going to tear us apart."
Anixa laid her head on his chest. "I hope you're right, Adam"
"Are you sure there's nothing I can do to protect you?"
Anixa shrugged. "I know of ways an assassin can't kill you without it being counted as murder."
"Well what are they?"
Anixa sighed. "If I'm a newlywed, pregnant, under ten, or part of the assassin's family."
Adam nodded thoughtfully. "Well we can cross out the last few, right?"
Anixa shifted her weight. "Rayona's my older sister."