“You had a mission for when you would come to the beach? What? Were you going to burrow a tunnel to China? Swim to the other side of the world?”
“I sure was going to try. My goal was to disappear and go back to where I belonged.”
Malachi laughed. The seriousness in her face in total contrast of how she’d looked just a moment before. “Where did you think you belonged?”
“Now, you have to promise not to laugh.”
“I would never laugh at you.”
“Yeah, you would.” She tossed a shovel of sand in his direction.
“Yeah, you’re probably right.” Holding the food in his hands above his head and out of reach of the sand he sat next to her on the towels. “Now if you want to eat literal sandwiches, just let me know which plate you want.”
“Okay,” He handed her a plate. “Now, regal me with your plans and maybe on our next trip, we will try it out.”
“So, when I was a little girl, about six or seven, I saw this movie about a mermaid. An old movie where this lady and a mermaid who looked exactly alike, traded places so they could see how the other lived. I became convinced that is what happened to me, except I was sure my parents had stolen me and if they would just return me to the waters, I would be healthy and free. When I confronted them, they laughed. I hate being laughed at. So, I fixed them and stopped walking. I lay on the floor and the furniture. Grabbing and dragging myself around, refusing to use my legs for weeks. They brought me to doctors, but I wouldn’t walk. I told them I needed my sea legs and they should bring me to the beach or a pool. Of course they fear public pools and so Oto-san had a huge pool dug into the backyard and paid for the best instructors to teach me to swim. I just knew if they ever brought me to the ocean, I would jump into the water and wave goodbye as soon as I were out of their reach and never return. Which is probably why they never brought me to the beach.”
“You’d better be glad you never told me that story before or I would have never brought you here.”
“You forgot to look here, Malachi.” Paisley lifted the end of the tied bow at her breast.
“Oh no, I didn’t forget there,” he fingered the material. “I thought I would give it a few minutes, takes a while for scales to cover breasts, so when I look I want to do a thorough nonstop exam.” He kissed her lips and sat up.
“You thought of everything didn’t you, Malachi.”
“I tried. Sorry there are no kids around here for you to hear squeal or no trash in the sand, but I promise, after lunch I can make you squeal and we can do dirty things in the sand.”
“Wha...” Malachi laughed at her expression, tickled at the bright blush on her skin. “Not until after I eat though and put on some more sun block. You’ve sudden gone all pink on me.”
“The idea, on the beach...I’m not even hungry anymore. I think I’m too excited.”
“Hmmm, I think I’m hungry. Besides, the anticipation will make the memory that much sweeter.” He tossed a banana in her direction. “Sustenance will make it last longer.”
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