Well folks, this is the end. But hasn't the ride been beautiful?
Sometimes it's funny the way things work out. There's an ironic situation, or just a downright humorous one. Sometimes things don't work out the way you plan them to. You plan for a happy ending, and for some reason it just doesn't happen.
And then sometimes fate surprises you and gives you a happy ending even after you didn't expect one.
I spent two weeks doing nothing but watching the news and praying Josie would be okay. I wanted her to be right. No matter how selfish it was, I wanted her to turn into a human. I wanted to be able to hold her while she fell asleep. I wanted to be able to go on walks with her and take her to the movies and dinner. I wanted us to have all of that, but I knew how slim the possibilities of that happening were.
I slept alright, but I always woke up tired. My parents tried to get me to go outside, but I couldn't find the ability to. They told me I was wasting my vacation, but that just depressed me even more. I only had a little over a week left before I had to go to college. I was already packed before we left for the summer. We were going to drive up home and then up to Boston.
But I didn't want to go to college anymore. Not after what had happened. It all just seemed so pointless to me. Not only that, but I told Josie I would wait for her. I promised her. I told her I would wait for her no matter what happened. I would never break that promise.
"Son, you have to go to college. I know that you're going through a tough time right now, but your mother and I are going to stay here in case something happens. Alex and Billy are also going to be here."
"Dad, just leave me alone."
I felt as if that conversation happened over a dozen times in the past week. Sometimes they didn't say it, but I could tell from the look in their eyes that they thought I was throwing my life away. I was doing no such thing. Everything just seemed so pointless. College wouldn't solve any of my problems.
I was about to fall asleep one night when I heard a knock on the door. At first I thought it was just me making noises up, but the knocks came again and again until the doorbell rang.
I figured it wasn't too late in the evening, or so I thought, so it was probably one of my parents' friends. I didn't want to pretend to be their nice and caring son, so I just stayed in bed and waited for them to go away. It must have worked because the knocking stopped and they didn't ring the doorbell again.
"Jesse!" I heard my mom call from downstairs.
If I just kept quiet she would think that I had fallen asleep and would leave me alone.
She called out again. "Jesse!"
I heard her stomping up the stairs and quickly turned away from the door and shut my eyes. She opened the door and I started making noises that hopefully sounded somewhat like snores.
"Jesse," she said once again, "I know you're awake, so get up."
I didn't move, I just kept making the "snoring" sounds in hopes that she would leave me alone.
"Jesse!" She walked over to the bed and started shaking my shoulder. "Jesse!"
I groaned and rolled around. "Just let me sleep, mom."
"Jesse you get up right this instant. I have something very important to tell you. It has to do with Josie."
This caused me to sit up in bed and throw my blanket off of me. "Who was at the door?"
"Get up and I'll explain everything to you."
I did what she said and ran a hand through my hair. "What's going on."
"Josie's here," she whispered.
My eyebrows immediately raised. "She's here? They brought her here?"
I didn't think about why they brought her here or how, or what might have happened. I just brushed past my mother and ran down the stairs.
"Josie!" I called out, hoping for an answer. I looked around the living room and kitchen, but she was nowhere to be found.
"Where is she?" I asked when my mom put a hand on my shoulder.
"She's not…..they didn't….she's not in the best condition right now, Jesse."
I shook my head, not understanding what she was trying to say. "Mom, where is she?"
She walked to the door and motioned for me to follow her. She opened the front door and pointed toward the pool. "Just don't say anything to further upset her, Jesse."
I walked up to the pool, not wanting to make any sudden movements, but also trying to prepare myself for what I might see.
"Josie?" I whispered this time. I walked to the edge of the pool. It was dark, but I could still see Josie swimming around under the water. I rolled the bottoms of my pajamas up and sat down on the edge of the water. I kicked my legs around, hoping that it would catch her attention.
Josie's head poked out of the water. She looked miserable, but I couldn't help the smile that took over my face. She was alive. She was okay. She was still a mermaid, but she was alive.
"Josie," I whispered, leaning forward. I was about to jump in the water, even with my pajamas on, but she quickly swam toward me and put her hands on the side of the pool to stop me from jumping in.
I put one of my hands on the side of her head and rubbed her cheek with my thumb. "You're okay."
Her head hung as she shook her head. "I'm so sorry, Jesse. I'm so sorry."
"Sh, don't apologize. Everything is okay now. You're with me. Everything is going to be okay. There's no need to apologize. I'm not upset. I'm happy. You're here, and you're okay."
I pulled her forward so her head was resting on my chest and so my arms wrapped around her shoulders and waist.
"They couldn't do it."
I planted a kiss on the top of her head. "Couldn't do what?"
"The surgery. They couldn't do the surgery. They did tests and research, but they still couldn't do it."
"It's okay, Josie. That doesn't matter anymore. The surgery doesn't matter anymore. It didn't happen, and that's fine. It's perfect."
She was still frowning and refused to meet my eyes. I tilted her head up and kissed her lips. "It doesn't matter."
"But they had the technology, Jesse! They had the money, they had the scientists. They could have done it. They had the materials! Everything was there. They could have done it, but they didn't!"
"They probably didn't want to take the risk."
"But they could have done it! They just didn't."
I stroked her hair and tried to get her to calm down. She moved her arms so they were wrapped around my torso. My pants and shirt had become wet, but I didn't care. I just held her closer to me.
"It's better that they didn't take the risk, Josie. Would you have rather have them had taken that risk?"
"It would have been a risk, but there was a chance of it working!"
"And there was a higher chance of it not working."
She didn't say anything to my statement and instead held me closer. "I wanted it to work, Jesse. I wanted it to work so badly."
"Sh, I know, Josie. I know."
"What's going to happen to us now? What's going to happen? We can't just go on like this. It's impossible. You can't live in the ocean and I can't live out of water. What are we going to do?"
"We're going to be just fine. I'll buy a boat and we'll travel, just like I said. We'll explore the world and visit our families every so often, and then we'll travel some more. We don't need any money or anyone else, we'll just travel."
Josie lifted her head and rolled her eyes. "That sounds ridiculous."
I shook my head. "People do it all the time. They just travel. They sell everything the own and just buy a boat. And they go everywhere they want to go and just live their lives!"
"I'm not letting you give up college to travel around the world."
I scoffed. "Who needs college? Why do people go to college? So that they can get a steady job. Why do I need a steady job? Why do I need money? If we travel, we don't need money. I mean, we need a little for food and everything, but I can find jobs here and there. You've lived your entire life where money doesn't exist. Why should it have to exist for us?"
"You're not giving up college for me, Jesse."
"You were about to give up your entire life for me. I think giving up college is the smallest thing I can do for you."
She sniffed and wiped away a few more tears. She wasn't directly thinking about the surgery anymore, but I could tell it was still in the back of her head. It would probably always be.
"Why don't you go to college, and I follow you? I'll find a nice community to live with, and you can visit me. And then after college you get a job, and we'll figure it out around that. And after you get a job and make the money you need to make, we'll figure it out. We can travel if you still want to travel. We can move to a desert island if that's what you want to do, but I'm not going to watch you give everything up. I want to be a part of your life, Jesse. I don't want to become your life. And I can't be a part of your life if you give it up."
"But I don't want it to just be my life. I want it to be our life."
"It can be our life, Jesse. It will be our life even if you go to college. I'm not letting you isolate yourself from society."
"It won't be isolating myself from society if you're there with me."
She rolled her eyes. "Let's not talk about this anymore. It's only upsetting us both. Let's just sit here and wait for the sun to rise."
I couldn't help but chuckle. "Wait for the sun to rise?"
She nodded. "Mhm."
I shook my head and kissed her one more time. "Alrighty then, we'll wait for the sun to rise."
Ten Years Later
"I don't like him."
Katie frowned and told me to be quiet. "He's just in the other room. He can hear you!"
I shrugged. "I don't care, I don't like him."
Our mom sat down next to Katie on the couch with a drink in her hand. She set the drink on the table and put her arm around Katie. "He's just being an overprotective older brother."
"Even if I wasn't her brother I wouldn't like him."
Katie huffed as our mom rolled her eyes. "I for one think he's very cute."
I couldn't help but cringe upon hearing my mother calling someone thirty years younger than her "cute."
Katie, on the other hand, must have found this hilarious because she started giggling. "Isn't he though?"
Our dad was sitting on the opposite couch. I turned to him, hoping he would side with me.
"Come on, dad. Don't you agree with me? He's not good for Katie."
He just shrugged. "I don't see anything wrong with him. He's a little taller than I expected, but he seems to care for you, sweetie."
"Dad, that's no–"
"Sh!" Katie yelled, "he's coming back."
I continued standing while Katie started fidgeting with her skirt. This guy was probably driving her nuts, which wasn't healthy.
Katie shifted over on the couch again so he could sit back next to her. She immediately placed her hand on his knee, and he grabbed it so they were holding hands. A small blush covered her cheeks, which caused me to roll my eyes. They thought they were in love, but I knew better. Guys like him only wanted one thing from girls like Katie, and it wasn't love.
"You've got a really nice place here," Neil said. What kind of name was Neil anyway?
"Thanks," I said smugly. He would have to try harder than just complimenting me to get my blessings.
"He designed it all by himself, you know," my mom said.
This causes Neil to raise his eyebrows. "You did? Wow, Katie told me you went to school for architecture, but she never said that you designed this place. It's outstanding."
"Thanks," I mumbled.
"How long did it take to build?"
I shrugged. "About two years."
"That's not bad. This place is huge. I would think that it took longer."
"Well, it didn't, it only took two years."
My dad stood up to fix himself another drink. I offered to get him something myself, but he declined. "It's a little isolated, but he likes it that way. Isn't that right, Jesse?" my dad said, winking at me.
"It's getting late," I pointed out.
Katie frowned. "It's only ten o'clock."
"I had a long day. I had to pick all of you up from the airport."
Katie rolled her eyes. "As if that took so much effort on your part."
"He just wants to get back to Josie," my mom said. My eyes shot to Neil who was looking at Katie as if he was asking her a question. I hated that they already had their own little eye contact language.
"Josie's here? She's here now? Can we see her?"
"I don't know if she's wants to meet new people tonight," I said, choosing my words carefully.
"It's just us."
"And Neil," I muttered, even though he probably couldn't hear me.
"One of Neil's best friends is a mermaid. He won't mind."
I gave Katie a warning glare. I wasn't comfortable with just anyone knowing about Josie and me. While people had grown accustomed to having mermaids living in the world, they still weren't exactly open to humans and mermaids having a relationship with one another.
"Who's Josie?" Neil asked. Great, he was a nosey guy.
"Josie is Jesse's fiance," my dad answered.
"Your fiance is a mermaid? Wow, I've never met anyone who's in a relationship with a mermaid."
"It's not very common."
He shook his head. "Nah, but props to you!" Props? Who the hell did he think he was?
"Is she downstairs?"
"She said she was spending the day with her family, but she should be back by now."
Katie stood up and started heading for my bedroom. "I have so much to tell her. I haven't seen her in months."
"Maybe we should wait until tomorrow. Jesse looks like he wants to head to bed," Neil suggested. I was surprised that he would say something that was at least leaning toward what I wanted.
"She's really looking forward to see you, but maybe it would be better in the morning. I wasn't lying about being pretty exhausted."
My mom stood up and walked over to Katie. "Jesse's right. We don't want to have our reunion when we're all falling asleep. Tomorrow I'll make us a nice breakfast and we can chat then."
Katie let out a sigh. "I guess you're right. Josie and I wouldn't be able to talk much because I would fall asleep anyway."
Katie walked over to me and gave me a hug. "Goodnight, Jesse."
I hugged her back and kissed the top of her head. She had grown taller, but she still wasn't as tall as me. "Goodnight sis, love you."
I started tickling her sides, which caused her to giggle. I stopped my tickling, but she was still smile. "Love you to, bro."
I ruffled her hair as she motioned for Neil to follow her to their separate guest bedrooms. I was about to remind them about this very fact when my mom stopped me.
"Leave them alone, Jesse."
"I still don't like him."
"I know," she sighed, "But you'll get used to him."
She pulled me into a tight hug. "We'll see you in the morning."
My dad got up from the couch and gave be a tight, but brief hug. "Night son, tell Josie we said hello and we'll see you both tomorrow morning."
"Will do dad. Sleep well!"
They both headed up the stairs to the bedrooms I showed them earlier on in the evening. I put all of the plates and glasses in the sink and shut off the lights before heading downstairs.
I pulled off my clothing and changed into my pajamas. I then rolled up the bottoms and sat down on the edge of the body of water that came into my bedroom. When I designed the house, I designed the main bedroom (mine) with a large pool-type area coming into it. The water was connected underground to the waterfall. It was a little far away from town, but we didn't mind, and Josie was able to travel freely from our house to her family and friends underwater.
Josie popped up from underwater and gave me a chaste kiss on the lips. "Are they coming down? How was their flight? How's Katie's new boyfriend? Is he cute?"
"Oh," I said like a bumbling idiot. "I thought we were all too tired and that we could all see each other tomorrow. I thought that you would have had a long day with your family. I told them to go to bed. I'm sorry."
That stupid Neil put me in a bad mood. I hated him.
"Oh, it's fine, Jesse. I am pretty tired. But what about Katie's boyfriend? She told me on the phone about how sweet he was and how you would absolutely love him!"
I scoffed. "I hate him."
"You're just saying that because he's dating your sister."
I shook my head. "That's what my mom said, but it's not true. He's not a good guy. I can sense it. He's just using her. They won't last this vacation if it's up to me."
"Jesse, leave them alone. They're only here for a few weeks. Don't try to sabotage your sister's first serious relationship."
"I have him a separate bedroom on a different floor. Do you think he'll try to sneak into Katie's room? Maybe I should lock her door. I should wait a few more minutes though, right? He'll probably wait a little while. I mean, he's an idiot but they did meet in college, so he has some common sense."
"Jesse, let it go. You'll like him eventually."
I shook my head. "I think I should check up on her."
She wrapped her fingers around my arm and pulled me back to her. "Leave them alone, Jesse. You look exhausted."
"Just give me a minute. I'll be right back."
I tried to stand up, but she pulled me back down, this time with a little more force. I ended up losing my balance and fell into the water next to Josie. I heard the giant splash as my body hit the water.
When I swam up for air, I heard Josie laughing at me. I splashed her.
"I should just sleep in a bathing suit from now on."
Josie swam over to me and wrapped her arms around me. "Or you can stop being so clumsy."
I wiggled my eyebrows in a suggestive fashion. "You know you like it."
I wrapped my arms around her waste and brought her lips to my own once again. For just a few moments all thoughts of Neil and Katie flew out of my head and I only thought of the beautiful mermaid in my arms.
Thank you to anyone who has ever reviewed this story. You really have no idea how much it means to me. I never thought this story would make it over the 100 reviews mark, but it did. Thank you so much! And thank you to all my readers, it's nice to know that so many people followed this story until the end.
One day I might edit this story and add some scenes, but for now I think this story deserves some rest. Jesse and Josie have gone through enough as is. Maybe I might write a chapter in Josie's point of view (any suggestions?)
As for new stories, I have a few one-shots in mind and I might be posting my NaNoWriMo soon.
Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you for reading.