I’m sorry this one took a while to publish, I was plagued with some writer’s block. But here it is, and be prepared for a few curve balls! Enjoy :)
Ariel woke up to the sound of shouting outside her door. She put on a new green dress that Marlain had set out for her. The woman insisted that she wear green. for it brought out the color in her eyes.
She stepped outside her bedroom and was nearly knocked over by a man running down the hall, carrying a large pot. “Pardon me,” he said stiffly. Ariel stepped out of the way and looked at her surroundings. It seemed that everyone was bustling and running from place to place. Ariel spotted Marlain down the hall, she walked towards her and tried to capture her attention by waving her arms. Marlain saw her and smiled broadly.
“Hi sweetheart, what are you doing? Oh can you believe it? In the middle of the night we get a message saying that the princess and her father are coming here today! They want to have dinner with the prince and his father. In the middle of the night!” She grunted and ordered someone to set the table. “So, now we are all trying to get the castle ready for this dinner. It should be fine, but who knows. Will you be joining them for the dinner?” Ariel shrugged her shoulders and Marlain gave a chuckle. “What is going on between you and the prince? I’ve been hearing rumors fly around… Are any of them true?”
Ariel was astonished to hear that there were rumors about her. She wondered what they were and if any of them were true, or made her into something that she is not. She shook her head to tell Marlain that she did not want to answer. “Oh, I’m sure it is all phish-posh. No need to worry.” She smiled and walked away with out another word.
Ariel set off to find the prince. She first went to his bedroom, but there was no one in there. Then she started to wander, walking aimlessly. She lost track of where she was, where she had been, and began to study the walls and artwork. It was all very beautiful and odd to her. She came across a painting of mermaids. It was a very accurate portrayal of their most famous celebration, “Awakening Day”. The merfolk celebrate the day that Ursula’s curse was lifted.
Ursula had cursed the merfolk because Ariel’s father, King Triton, had scolded Ursula for practicing in the dark arts. The dark arts were forbidden in their happy community, but Ursula would not listen. So Triton banished her out of the community and she did not take the news very well. She cast a spell on the entire land that made everyone turn on each other. A large war broke out that lasted many years. It wasn’t until a merman from another city came, that the fighting slowed. The merman helped them see the error of their ways and everyone loved each other after that. But the decided to celebrate it so that they don’t forget that it can happen.
Ariel was studying the picture, she let her fingers run over her father’s long white beard, and wondered how this painting came about. She also noticed that to the right of her father was a girl with red hair and a green tail. Ariel gasped then heard something behind her and turned around.
“Beautiful painting, isn’t it?” Ariel was relieved to see that it was Eric. She nodded her head and turned back to it. Eric came next to her and studied the painting. “You know, this may sound crazy but that mermaid looks just like you. Her hair, eyes, everything. I’m crazy aren’t I? There’s no way you are a mermaid.” Ariel smiled and nodded her head. Eric laughed and turned to her.
“Ariel, I’m sure you already know, but the princess is coming tonight for dinner. Would you join us please? I don’t think that I can handle this alone.” His face was sweet, and his eyes were sparkling. Ariel nodded her head and threw her arms around his neck. She started to realize that the pain in her feet was subsiding.
Perhaps, the more he loves me, the less my feet hurt? She did not know if this thought was accurate, but either way her feet weren’t hurting as much as they had been. Eric gave her a tight squeeze and said, “Tonight at six, meet me in the dining room.” Ariel nodded her head against his shoulder and she kissed his neck. She couldn’t help herself, she loved him too much.
She took a deep breath in and slowly let the air out, she was unsure of what lay behind the double doors, but knew that her prince was waiting for her. She pulled the handle down and pushed the door open. She first saw the prince’s father, sitting at the head of the table on the far side, then she saw the prince sitting to his right. She smiled and walked over to his side.
He smiled at her and got up and pulled out her chair. “Sit here,” she smiled and sat in the chair. When she sat down, the doors opened and a very elegant woman stepped in. Her dress was beautiful and sparkled in the light. Ariel was taken aback by her beauty. “That’s the princess.” Eric answered her unspoken question.
The woman walked over and sat across from her, and her escort sat next to her. Eric stuttered, not knowing why she did not wait for him to pull out her chair. “Hello Eric. Do you remember me?” Her voice was smooth and confident.
Eric seemed to not recognize the girl, but then Ariel saw realization cross his face. “Are you the girl from the beach? The one that saved me?”
The woman smiled and nodded her head. “I’m glad to see you’re still breathing. My name is Christina. Will you please have a seat, you’re making me nervous.” Eric sat down slowly, never taking his eyes off of her. Ariel started to get very scared that she was losing her prince. “Who’s your friend?”
“Oh, this is my friend, Ariel.” Eric then snapped out of his stare and smiled at Ariel, but Ariel knew that she was going to have to work extra hard to get her prince back.
The dinner seemed to drag on forever, and Ariel felt more and more like a third wheel the longer it went on. She wasn’t able to participate in the conversation, other than a few head nods or smiles. She could tell that Eric was loving the back and forth conversation.
When the dinner was over, Eric took Ariel’s hand and pulled her close to him. She thought that he was going kiss her, but he put his head next to her ear and whispered to her. “Come to my room tonight.” Ariel nodded her head and felt her head spin. Perhaps she hasn’t lost him completely.
She hugged the woman goodbye and retired to her bedroom. She waited for the sun to set completely before she left her chamber and walked down the hall to Eric’s room. She slowly knocked on the door and he immediately opened it.
She was confused for a second, for he was not wearing his shirt. He grabbed her and abruptly brought her into his room. She tried to ask him what was going on, but nothing came out. She scowled at him but his back was facing her. She grabbed his shoulder and made him face her. His face was an array of emotions, but her’s was stuck in the scowl.
“Ariel, please, not tonight. I just want to talk to you. There are so many thoughts going through my head. Just sit down.” He would not look her in the eye and it disturbed her. She slowly walked over to the bed and sat down. She studied his back. It was strong and rippled with muscles that shifted with every movement. She felt her heartbeat quicken as he turned around and she got a good look at his chest and flat stomach.
He walked over to her and handed her a glass of red liquid. It smelled bitter but sweet, and when she sipped it, it tasted the same. “It’s wine, if you don’t like it I’ll take it.” She shook her head and sipped the bitterness again. He smiled and sat down next to her. “I can’t believe that she was the girl who saved me.”
She knew that he was talking about Christina, and her name sounded like nails on chalkboard to her. She took a long swig from her cup and set it down, her head was starting to feel fuzzy. “I vowed that night that I would marry that girl when I found her.” Ariel’s head was suddenly clear and her eyes shot open. She looked at him and he was refusing to look at her.
“I’m going to marry her, Ariel.” If Ariel had had her voice, she would have screamed at him. She would have told him that it was she who swam him from the boat to the shore and sang to him. She would tell him that he was meant to be with her and not some girl he just met. But, alas, she could not scream at him. She could only sit in her own silence. And it was killing her.