Font size: - +
“I can’t believe I let you talk me into this,” Eric commented as he and Adam walked down the beach, that night.
“Oh, please, I’ve talked people into crazier things than this,” Adam replied, unfazed, “Besides, I want to meet this girl and, if you find her on the beach at night, that’s when we need to search.”
“I just don’t feel like this is going to work. When I’ve met her, it was by accident. It seems like searching won’t work.”
“You never had me to help you before,” Adam pointed out, “I am the master finder of women.”
“Are you just hoping to seduce her, yourself?” Eric wondered.
“I can’t believe you would think me so low,” Adam’s tone wasn’t as hurt as his words let on.
“You’re not denying it.”
The older boy laughed. “I’m just curious about the kind of girl that could turn your head away from your mermaid. She must be something spectacular.”
Eric couldn’t argue with that. “But I haven’t given up on Aria.”
“I never said you did,” Adam pointed out, “I just said your head’s been turned and it has. That isn’t a bad thing. Let’s face it: you and Aria aren’t likely to work out. It’s been weeks since she said she wanted a break and what’s happened in that time? Do you feel like you are close to getting back together?”
“Hard to say.”
“Yet, she is growing closer to another boy, in the meantime,” Adam continued, “Is it such a bad thing if you consider another girl?”
Eric sighed at that. “I’m just not ready to throw in the towel with Aria.”
“So don’t,” Adam suggested, reasonably, “Pursue both girls until you know which is right.”
“And if that leads to one of them deciding I’m not right for her?”
“Then you have one less girl to worry about.”
“That’s way too simplistic.”
Adam shrugged. “Whatever. I’m tired of searching. Let’s head home and we’ll try again another time.” He walked off and Eric was forced to follow, shaking his head, silently.
Aria showed up at the beach an hour early, just to make sure there were no traps. That meant she had an hour to contemplate all the different things Sapphira might be planning. She reminded herself that Freya was nearby, though. She had kept her distance, but stayed close enough to intervene if something went wrong.
Finally, Sapphira emerged from the water, her golden hair shimmering in the sunlight. Aria was forced to remember just how beautiful the mermaid was. She remembered that the princess was considered to be a perfect specimen and did her best not to add that to the list of reasons she disliked the girl. It was long enough, already, after all.
“You came.” Sapphira’s voice held just the slightest hint of surprise as she pulled herself onto the beach.
“I figured it had to be important for you to ask me here,” Aria replied, “Also, Freya is nearby, so don’t try anything.”
“I have no intention of harming you,” the princess assured her, “I just want to talk.”
“Did you steal the necklace?”
Aria just stared at her for a few seconds before replying, “Of course not. What would I want with a necklace like that?”
“There are several possibilities,” Sapphira said, “You like mermaids, so you, may want the necklace of one. Also, you seem to dislike Alexander, so you may have simply wished to hurt him, somehow.”
“Those ideas are both ridiculous,” Aria retorted, “How do people think I even got ahold of this thing? I couldn’t have simply slipped it off his neck.”
“He says he put it in his pocket and you grabbed him, then it was gone,” Sapphira explained, “Admittedly, that sounds a little strange, but he is part of a well-regarded family, so no one doubts his honesty.”
“Well, they should.”
Sapphira watched her for a moment, clearly, searching for any sign of dishonesty. “So you didn’t take the necklace?”
“No,” Aria said, firmly.
“Do you know where it is?”
“Not a clue.”