"What are you looking for?"
"Mermaids," the young woman replied without hesitation, without even lowering her binoculars. Her Irish accent matched the fiery mane of curly red hair that had first caught my eye. She was currently leaning against the railing at the bow of the ferry, scanning the horizon, her plump bottom pushed out behind her, an attractive target for the flat of my hand, but I resisted the temptation.
"Do you believe in mermaids?"
"No? Why bother looking, then?"
She lowered the binoculars and let them dangle from her neck, framed on either side by a cascade of vermilion. She looked at me with eyes of tanzanite, large and clear and began to count off on long, elegant fingers. "Well first off, other people think they see them. I'm hoping I can make the same mistake and analyze it better. Secondly, this trip is always dull, and even if I don't see a mermaid, I sometimes catch seals or the rare lost dolphin. And lastly," she shrugged, "maybe I'm wrong and there are mermaids. I might be disappointed in the end, but until then, I've had a good time and made a good story, and that's worth it to me." She looked me up and down briefly with narrowed eyes. "And what are you looking for?"
"Angels. But I think I just found one."
She giggled, hiding her face behind both hands. Peeking out from over then, she replied, "Oh, that was awful! Please tell me that was a joke, please."
I smiled. "It was. I promise I'm not that corny usually. But you started it with your mermaid talk." I held out a hand. "My friends call me Fritz," I said, giving my nickname. "And what's the name of The World's Foremost Mermaid Hunter?"
"Sisi," she said, shaking my hand firmly, her grip lingering a moment longer than necessary. "Nice to meet someone else my own age on this ferry. Doesn't anybody under fifty live out here?"
"I doubt isolated New English islands really appeal to many young adults as a summer destination. Where are you headed?"
"Woonasquatucket. My family has a summer home there, and I just wrapped up my thesis, so I'm heading there for the rest of the summer to be with them."
"Really? I'm going there, too. Just a quick vacation with my parents. What's it like?"
"Small," she said. "Too cold in the winter for anyone to bother with, but it's nice in the summer if you don't mind being in the middle of nowhere. There's only about a dozen families there in the summer, so you've got to make your own entertainment. Beautiful beaches, though. Do you like to swim?"
"I love it. There aren't like, sharks or anything, are there? I've never swum in the ocean before."
She laughed before catching my expression. "Oh my goodness, you're serious, aren't you? No, the beaches are too shallow, and without any seals around, the sharks have no reason to visit. You'd have to get out pretty far to find anything that might want to take a bite out of you. It's all perfectly safe, unless you're afraid of seaweed. Do you think you can handle that?"
"I might need some moral support."
"You're hopeless." She sighed, but I noticed her hand move an inch closer to mine on the railing. "So ... have any plans for tonight? We should have some time to swim right after the ferry drops us off."
I knew my parents would want me to meet my aunt, uncle, and cousin as soon as we arrived, but that couldn't take too long, could it? Just a quick hello, and then I could be cavorting in the waves with this gorgeous siren ... I glanced down at her comfortably full chest and imagined how she would look in a skimpy bikini. Her skin was a light pink, with freckles populating either side of her nose. Her persimmon hair reached down to her breasts, hidden behind a sky-blue blouse. She was zaftig, with a touch of plumpness in all the right areas, giving an irresistible softness to her features. And that round ass of hers ... when I had seen it wiggling in the air as she scanned the sea, I knew I wanted to get to know her better.
"I'm free tonight. I'll just need some time to drop my things off, and then I can meet you anywhere."
"Perfect. Here, give me your phone; I'll put in my number. Hm, hm, hm ... and ... there! There's a beach on the western side that's absolutely perfect. Meet me there as soon as you can. If I'm not there, call me, okay?"
"Sounds good, Okay. Is it ... is it safe to swim at night in the ocean?"
"Hopeless!" she laughed with a dimpled smile. "I'm going to tell the mermaids to kidnap you as soon as you're ankle deep. Maybe they can put up with you better than I."
"I'm not that bad, am I, Sisi?"
"You are, but you're cute, so I can tolerate it," she grinned.
I wasn't sure whether that was an invitation, but it was close enough for me. I slid my hand across the cold, metal railing to her warm, soft hand wordlessly. She looked up at me in surprise, just before I leaned in quickly and kissed her full, rosey lips deeply. After a second of passivity, she kissed back, wrapping her arms around my neck and pulling my lips to hers. When we finally pulled apart, her cheeks were a deep red, and her indigo eyes tried to avoid my own. "W-well," she stammered, "I guess I can keep you around for a while longer before giving you to the mermaids..." She sidled up against me, and we continued our conversation until the sun set and Woonasquatucket came into view.
I checked my watch. "Damn, I think I need to find my family..." I lamented.
Sisi pouted. "I'll see you soon, though. Remember, the west side of the island. It's easy to find, just look for the long beach with the beached Beluga whale flopping about."
"Oh stop it," I said, pulling her against me, wondering whether she could feel my hardness pressing against her thigh, and hoping she could. Her firm, pert breasts pressed eagerly against my chest. I kept my hands just inches above her ass, holding the small of her back, pulling her towards me. "You're not that big or that pale," I reassured her.
"Oh, but I am. That's why I'm swimming at night. If I went during the day I'd blind pilots flying overhead. Planes would crash. Farmers would report UFOs. If I'd been in Syracuse, Archimedes would have used me to reflect the sun at Roman triremes and the city would have been saved. It's really quite tragic I was born twenty-two hundred years too late."
"Okay, okay, I get it." I kissed her forehead tenderly. "I'll see you tonight, Sisi."
"See ya, Fritz."
I found my parents milling about the ferry's cafeteria, watching our suitcases. "William Frederick! Where have you been?" asked my mother. "It's nearly time to dock."
"I'm sorry. I was ... looking for mermaids."
"Did you find any?" asked my father.
"Don't encourage his sarcasm," my mother rejoined. "Come on, grab a suitcase."
I sighed. "Yes, mom." She kept talking, but all I could think about was Sisi: her beaming smile, her long, wild hair, her deep eyes ... I just hoped I could avoid my cousin as much as possible this vacation. The last thing I needed was relatives around while I was enjoying my time with Sisi.
My mother was still talking by the time we docked. Through the window, I saw Sisi get off first and hop on her bicycle with a full backpack, peddling off to her destination. By the time we reached the docks, she was long gone. We had to wait while my mother called her sister, Aunt Morgan, for a ride. About ten minutes later, a large golf cart pulled up, driven by a tall, blonde man I didn't recognize, but whom my parents did immediately, as Uncle Stephen.
Actually, I had never met these relatives. Not since I was five or so, anyway, and I certainly didn't remember them. My father had a large family who all lived near us, while my mother's only sibling had until recently lived in Ireland, where my mom had grown up before coming to America for college, meeting my dad, and settling down here. The last time they visited, I was too young to remember. Heck, I had had to ask my mom for their names before we left: Aunt Morgan, Uncle Stephen and Elizabeth.
"No car?!" I asked incredulously.
"Ah, and this must be Will," Stephen said. He gave me a hug that lifted me off the ground and set me back down. He had to have been at least 6'5", and with his thick blonde beard and shoulder length hair, he looked like a Viking warrior.
"It's very nice to meet you, Uncle Stephen."
"Ach, so formal! What kind of son are you raising, Ada?"
I cringed and gave Stephen a hearty embrace. "Good to see you, uncle!"
"Much better," he said, punctuating his sentence with a slap on the back that knocked the wind out of me. He picked up both our suitcases and placed them in the back. "Let's go, Morgan's waiting anxiously for you. Elizabeth should be home by now, too." We climbed in, the engine whirred to life, and we took off down the road at the blazing speed of about fifteen miles per hour.
It was too dark to make out much of the island. The streets weren't even lit, except at the one intersection we passed, and without the cart's headlights, we'd have been plunged into total darkness. But off the road, it was lightly wooded, dotted with trees, but mostly covered with tall, thick grass. The shoreline was dark and rocky near us, and I hoped Sisi's beach would be sandier. The waves softly crashed as my parents and uncle caught up on things without me.
Eventually, we arrived at a two-story, white, Victorian home. Stephen parked the car on the lawn and carried in our bags for us. As soon as the door opened, a broguish squeal and a rapid-fire staccato of heels-on-hardwood pierced my eyes. "Ada!"
.... There is more of this story ...