It had been a week since he had pulled Equus to a stop at the clearing where his small house sat. Tall pines circled the area, blueberry bushes bore heavy crops of still-green fruits, and the house itself, while tiny, was well-kept.
In the days since their journey here, she’d tried to get her point across. She needed something that he hadn’t given her. He totally misunderstood. The stupid man! Instead of taking her to the ground after she had bitten him, and instead of touching her, he’d gotten gruff, and sent her off to piss. When they’d remounted the horse, he held himself stiff, trying to not touch her.
Eventually they had arrived here.
Time had continue to flow onward, as the moon moved from darkness, to a thin sliver, and even now was rising, more than half-rounded, in the evening sky. It sailed above the trees as a ship sailed across the seas, making her feel frenzied with fear. She had no idea what would happen to her if she didn’t find a way to make him love her, kiss her, claim her before the moon was full and round. Would she just…evaporate into thin air? And if he didn’t love her, would it even matter?
She had fallen into a routine with him, making his dinner, not often all that well, but she tried hard. He ate, nearly silent ,rarely commenting unless he wanted to tell her that he’d be away for longer than normal. He’d done that twice now. She was lonely. She was scared. She found herself smoothing the sheets on his bed, smelling the scent of him as her hands moved across the coarse woolen blanket.
Now, with the quarter moon hanging large in the sky above, and him not home yet, she paced nervously around his house. Unused to forest noises, she jumped at the crash of brush nearby, the grunting of a wild pig perhaps? She trembled when the wind rattled the door, and the trees sighed and groaned as they twisted in the breeze.
At long last, the door opened and he appeared. He was caked in mud, carrying a basket in one hand, and he smelled…foul. Still, she ran to him and hugged him, hard.
He was not used to that. He’d been trying to avoid touching her. The need and yearning grew daily, and he found himself moving further afield to avoid her. Yet, he needed to be working towards unity with her. Needed to be working on teaching her the skills she would need to help them survive the winter. Drying meats, stacking wood, gathering and preserving nuts and berries. . . all a necessity of the late summer months, as they prepared for the winter, which always seemed to be approaching faster than one could get all the necessities accomplished.
Mostly, he wanted to fuck her, pour his seed into her belly, and grind deep into her. Her scent made him long for her, reminded him of the sea smells near Trey and Mudge’s place. Which reminded him. He pushed her away, ignoring the hurt look on her face as he dug in his tunic.
“I got a note today from your ‘uncles’. They say the Prince has left on a sea voyage, off to find a bride from another land. It should be safe for us to pay them a visit in the spring.”
She took the paper, but never having learned to read, merely traced the letters with a finger.
“Ye can’t read?” He wasn’t totally surprised. It wasn’t common for wenches, anyway. “I’ll teach you this winter. We’ll be stuck in here together and it will help pass the time for us.”
He knew how he’d rather spend the time, but he had promised Trey to not fall upon the poor mute thing. Inwardly, he sighed. It was getting harder and harder to ignore her, and that was the full truth.
Her heart sank at his words “we’ll be stuck here together.” It didn’t sound like he liked her much at all, let alone “love”.
She watched. She learned. She watched his body move as he took care of chores around their home; the play of his muscles as he chopped wood, the sheen of sweat gleaming on his tough, tanned torso. She learned how to make bread, how to not be afraid when the wind tossed the trees, and where the native fruits were to be gathered. She helped to stack the wood he cut each evening when he returned from his daily sojourns through the woods. She grew stronger, more confident, and more deeply in love with him every day.
But time was passing far too quickly!
The moon was moving ever closer to fullness. She knew he desired her, she could certainly read his body language. She saw, often, the sharp outline of his shaft in his pants when he didn’t know she was looking at him, looking at her. He spent a long time staring at her breasts. And that was when the plan began to form in her mind.
She kept the fire low, nearly out. She was naked, as she had been the day she’d been found at the seaside. She sat, her hair loose and flowing around her shoulders, and cascading over her breasts. The fire flickered, the late evening sun slanted through the one window, casting the inside of the cabin in a warm, ruby glow. She knew he was caring for Equus and would be in soon. She held a mug of the brew he liked in one hand, and waited.
He came in, closing the door, then turned.
She looked like a statue carved from alabaster. Her skin glowed, white as chalk, soft as pearl. Her hair fell in turbulent curls like sea-foam on the edge of a wave, catching the light of the fire and sunset, and painting her in a rosy glow that only highlighted her paleness.
Her breasts were stunning. Large, perfectly formed, they hung, pink-tipped and waiting for …
He shook his head. No. He couldn’t…
She smiled, crooked her finger at him. She was done with waiting. The moon would be full tonight. It was show him, tonight, or be gone, tomorrow.
He took a step forward, another. He didn’t remember moving all the way across the room, but suddenly, she was in his arms, his mouth moving over her cheeks, her nose, her chin, her throat, until his mouth closed on one fiery nipple. Her head fell back as she bowed under the onslaught of pleasure. Lips pursed, sucked, suckled. Teeth nipped, tongue lapped. Switching to her other breast, his finger twisted and squeezed the hard orb of the first nipple.
She felt the deep throb of need between her thighs. At long last he raised his head, and his lips danced across hers. A brush, like a feather over her parted mouth, a second touch, just a bare whisper, and then his head moved and his lips merged with hers. The press of flesh on flesh was aided by a spark of need so intense it lit the room. Their bodies fused, sizzling, the buzz in the air vibrating against her bare skin. She was suffused with love, with joy.
“I need you.” He whispered the words, moving from mouth to ear, his tongue darting along those whorls. “You are so beautiful. So special. I don’t want to hurt you. I don’t want to let you go. They asked me to hide you, but I’m never going to give you back. I don’t know your name, but I know your breath, your smell, your eyes. I know when you’re happy, and sad and pissed.”
The sun fell, casting the room in darkness. The sky glowed pink. Her heart raced. She loved him. Had loved him from that first moment on the beach. For him, though he had yet to know it, she had given up all. Her family, her friends, her life in the sea, and if he didn’t love her in return, her sacrifice would be for naught.
She could see the moon on the edge of the horizon. Her blood sizzled, and she felt like she might boil away.
His mouth moved over her face, kissing her. Tears leaked from her eyes as she prepared to die in her beloved’s arms. He wouldn’t understand, he wouldn’t ever know…
“I love you.” The words were whispered against her lips.
A sound like a thunder-clap filled the room, and they clung together in shock.
“It is done. You have succeeded, little one, and I had not thought it possible. Your gift is yours to keep, and your forfeit is returned to you. I bid you a happy life.”
From within the depths of the fire, Ari could make out the form of the Sea Witch.
“Who the fuck are you?” Growled Lucas, pushing Ari behind him.
“Ask her, gorgeous. And congratulation on the twins…! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have another thing to attend to!” With a soft whoosh, and a dramatic flare of the fire, the witch was gone.
“Are you okay?” The woodsman gathered Ari close.
“I am. Thank you.” Ari grabbed her throat in shock…her voice was returned!
“You can TALK!”
“I can talk!” She spun around in a fast twirl, making certain she still had two legs. Yes! She was whole, and fine and madly in love!
She grabbed Lucas by the hand and pulled him out the door to watch the rising of the full moon. “Come, Lucas, and I’ll tell you a story in the moonlight, about a mermaid and a man….”
The ship rolled on each swell, dipping low enough that it felt like riding a slide down into the depths, then climbed back up the next wave. Over and over, as rain lashed the deck.
Seasoned sailors were hurling over the side rails as the tossing ship upset stomachs. Soon they were joined by their Prince. Many were secretly gleeful to see him laid low, as he bent, and emptied the contents of his stomach into the waves. He’d been a bastard to travel with, full of demands. He’d even tried to fuck his cabin boy, but the mates had put and end to that nasty little plot. Those that saw what happened next agreed to never, ever, share the story, no matter how many buckets of ale they consumed.
As he leaned over the railing, vomiting, a large, dark and inky tentacle slipped out of the water and wrapped around the ill Prince. In seconds, he’d been pulled off the ship. He’d screamed and fought, calling out over the sounds of the now-calming seas for help. Sailors stood, frozen in shock at the railings. His screams were quickly silenced, however, as his open mouth was filled with a thick, black tentacle. Judging by the sounds coming from around that effective gag, it wasn’t the only hole being violated. Many were secretly glad to see the wicked Prince receive his comeuppance. Soft prayers were quickly chanted to the Sea Witch who resided in the dark depths of the ocean, even as the captain ordered sails raised with a terse, shocked, “quick-like, mates.” Snapped out of their fear-driven immobility, the crew scrambled to obey, praying that they wouldn’t be taken off the ship to join the Prince. As the ship sailed away, many dropped to their knees and offered prayers to the Merfolk to guide them safely back home.
They returned to port days later, battered and weary. Of the lost Prince, there was no trace. But rumor has it, from old sea-dogs hanging in the bars at ports, that sometimes, when the wind is running high and the waves are hissing, that you can hear the Prince’s screams still.
She stood at the edge of the sea, knee-deep in the surf, a baby in each arm. Standing beside her was her husband of many months, and her uncles, Mudge and Trey. It was spring, the season of renewal and birth. In the water with them was a heavily bearded man, who wasn’t a man at all. Carefully, he took each child, looked at them solemnly, and kissing each soft cheek. His grandson squirmed and whimpered, but his granddaughter, ah! She looked up at him with solemn eyes, meeting his look with a steady one of her own. Green eyes met green eyes, weighing one another. “This one will be a fiesty lass,” he spoke to Lucas. “Much like her mother,” and he smiled at his daughter, fondly. He offered a blessing to each babe, and a kiss to his daughter and son-in-law, then passed the children back to their parents.
To Mudge and Trey, he passed a heavy bag of gold each, in thanks for their care of his ‘baby’ girl. With an admonishment to take care of one another, the King of the Sea turned, and dove beneath the waves.
She knew, as they made their way back up the path to the cliffs, that her life had been irrevocably changed. Turning one last time, she wondered if she’d ever see her family again. For a moment she was sad for all she had left behind, but her son whimpered again, hungry, and her attention was returned to her “land” family.
“Still think he looked like a fish.”
“He’s a King, for goodness sake, Mudge.”
“Smelt like a fish.”
“You smell like dung. That doesn’t make you a cow.”
She laughed as she caught up with the two men. Of course she’d come back. She wouldn’t miss coming back to visit these two Uncles of hers for all the gold in the sea!
And that, my good friends, is the end of this tail.