Welcome to Friday Fiction, which I get to host this week! Be sure to add your link to the list immediately following this header.
Things have been busy the past couple of weeks, and I haven’t had much time to write anything (and hence, my absence the last two Friday Fictions), but I really wanted to have something new and special for this week.
As I ready to post this, Nancy and I are celebrating our 32nd Wedding Anniversary. I’ve always enjoyed a good love story, and I have been blessed to be able to live one with a wonderful woman for over three decades. Therefore, I decided I wanted a love story for this week, and so I written a continuation to a story posted two years ago on this blog, Reef, Her Madness. Happy Anniversary to my wonderful Nancy, and I hope you enjoy this ongoing tale.
“I’m confused, Teresa,” her father said, taking in the garish opulence of the resort. “Why would you want to come here for your birthday, and how on Earth did you manage to afford to pay our way as well?”
“You’ll see soon enough, Daddy,” she replied. She accepted their room keys from the desk clerk, and then followed the bellhop to the elevator.
Her mother and fifteen year-old brother looked over a brochure on the entertainment at the resort. As the elevator indicated passing the fourth floor, her brother pointed at one page excitedly. “Hey! They’ve got a mermaid show, with the real mermaids!”
“Forget it, Trevor,” their mother said. “I’m not letting you go see topless mermaids.”
“They aren’t topless,” Teresa said. “They wear bathing suit tops for the shows.”
“Huh. When did you get to be an expert on mermaid shows?” Daddy asked, his tone bordering between sarcastic and disinterested.
“Since I spent time researching this resort and booking the trip,” she said.
The elevator stopped on the seventh floor, and the bellhop rolled the cart with their luggage into the hallway. He led them to adjoining rooms – a single for her, and a two-room suite for her parents and Trevor, and used the keys to open the door for them. The luggage was placed neatly in a closet, and he took a moment to point out a few of the amenities of the room before turning to leave. When her father tried to hand him a folded bill, the bellhop politely waved it away. “Already taken care of, sir.”
“That’s weird,” Daddy said. “I’ve never known a bellhop to turn down a tip, even if they’ve already received one.”
“Don’t worry about it, Daddy. I told you – this weekend is all covered. All you need to worry about is enjoying yourself. It’s a gift.”
“Huh. It’s your birthday. The gift is supposed to be for you.”
She smiled at him. “Who says it’s not?”
The lights over the audience dimmed, and spotlights played over the surface of a large pool. Despite her mother’s objections, the four of them waited at one of the best tables for the mermaid show to begin. The look she kept shooting Teresa conveyed quite clearly that, if there were any topless mermaids in this show, someone was going to be in deep trouble.
A lively nautical tune played over the sound system, as three dark shapes converged on the center of the pool from three different entrances. Just before meeting, they turned sharply upwards, and broke the surface in a precisely choreographed leap. Their arcs criss-crossed in mid-air, and then they slid smoothly back into the water.
Trevor let out a loud, appreciative whistle, earning him a scowl from Mom. When the three performers rose from the water to tail-stand for the audience, Trevor’s enthusiasm diminished a bit. “Wait – one of those three is a dude!”
Teresa laughed. “One-third of the Pod is male,” she said. “Or did you conveniently forget that?”
“But it’s supposed to be a mer-MAID show,” he objected. “Who wants to look at a dude with a dolphin tale?”
“Maybe I do,” she said.
“Shh,” Daddy hissed at them.
An unseen announcer officially opened the show by introducing the three Pod members present, and offered narration at appropriate times during the first half of the show. After a short intermission, during which a round of beverages was obtained for the family, the lights lowered again and a single spotlight shone on a platform at the back of the pool. One of the mermaids rested on an inclined pad, which raised her head comfortably above the platform and freed her arms to hold a microphone.
“Good evening,” she said. “As you might remember, my name is Marianne, and I’m joined on this performance trip by my sister Gretchen, and our brother Timothy. This will be our final weekend of this trip, and starting next week, three other members of the Pod will be here to entertain you. At this time in the show, we usually take questions and requests from the audience, but tonight, we’re going to do something a little different. Tonight, we’re going to involve a member of the audience in the show.”
Trevor got an excited look on his face, which elicited an eye-roll from their mother. His arm was shaking with the anticipation that the mermaid was going to ask for a volunteer.
Marianne continued. “It’s very rare that any of us travels alone, but last year, Timothy decided to take a solitary vacation for his birthday. When he returned, he told us this amusing story about meeting someone he called, ‘Crazy Reef Girl.’ Ladies and gentlemen, Crazy Reef Girl is here in the audience tonight, and we would like to invite her to join us in the pool.”
Trevor’s expression dropped, and people started looking all around the theater for the mystery woman.
Marianne waited a minute, and then added, “Come on, Teresa. You knew we were going to do this to you, so you’d better have come prepared.”
Teresa stood up, and the spotlight caught her just as she slipped the loose dress over head to reveal the swimsuit beneath. She kicked her shoes off beneath the table, and took a step towards the pool.
Her parents looked confused, and Trevor had that, ‘I-can’t-believe-it’s-my-sister’ expression on his face.
Timothy swam to the near edge of the pool, and waited for her to climb in. She accepted a pair of goggles from him, and covered her eyes before allowing him to tow her into the deepest part. He locked his arms behind her back, and she wrapped hers around his neck.
Flipping backwards, he made an easy kick towards the bottom, and then powered back to and through the surface in a steep-arced leap. Teresa caught bits and pieces of Marianne’s commentary during their segment of the performance, but most of the time, all she heard was the rushing of water and splashes. He finished the routine by towing her around the entire perimeter of the pool, making only one quick bob to the surface for air, before finally floating together facing each other, just in front of the platform.
“I’ve missed our swims together,” he said.
“Me, too, but there’s something I’ve missed more,” she said.
“Oh? What’s that?”
In response, she pulled him close and kissed him, earning them loud applause and whistles from the audience.
To be continued…