|art by Rebecca Fyfe|
A Seaside Christmas
by Rebecca Fyfe
by Rebecca Fyfe
Rose dragged her heavy suitcase from the car to the beach house. Sadness pulled at her thoughts for a moment, but she brushed it aside. This would be a wonderful Christmas. So what if she was alone this year?
She’d rented this little house that sat on a beautiful beach and she was determined to enjoy this small vacation. Jack had been all wrong for her anyway. The fact that he’d broken things off with her in a text message instead of facing her in person was proof that he wasn’t the type of man she wanted in her life anyway.
Rose left her luggage just inside the door and stepped back out onto the front porch. She took a deep breath, smelling the salty air. This was just what she needed.
Her mom and her sister had pleaded with her to spend Christmas with them, but she just couldn’t face them right now.
Jack and Rose had been together for two years. Two days after sending her that final text, Rose had run into Jack Christmas shopping at the local mall. He hadn’t been alone. Rose wondered how much the stunning blonde woman he’d had his arm around had played in their break-up.
Shaking away the unpleasant memory, Rose went back inside to unpack. She noticed right away that the landlady had put up a small Christmas tree in the living room, with tiny sparkling pastel lights and silver and blue ornaments. Now she understood why the landlady had asked her if she celebrated Christmas. Rose smiled at the kind gesture. Despite her mood this year, Christmas was still Rose’s favorite holiday.
Rose poured herself a glass of wine and went to sit on the beach to watch the waves as the sun set. She stayed there until the moon appeared over the horizon before deciding to call it a night.
The next morning was Christmas day, and, even though Rose had chosen to come here and spend Christmas alone this year, she still awakened wishing she’d gone to her mom’s for Christmas. Christmas wasn’t meant to be spent alone.
A knock on her door surprised her, but even more surprising was the ruggedly handsome man standing on the other side of her door.
“Uh, hello? May I help you?” Rose tried not to stare too hard at his bare chest. He was lean but well-muscled. His light brown hair reached just above his shoulders, a little longer than she usually liked in a man but somehow suiting this particular man. His attire consisted of nothing more than a pair of swim trunks.
“Come with me.” He held a hand out for her.
Rose knew she should take a step back but instead she found herself reaching for his outstretched hand. His voice was soothing.
He smiled. “I won’t bite.” He pulled on her hand, leading her towards the sea. His rumbly voice reminded her of the sound of the ocean. She could feel herself calming as he spoke. He gently reached for her hand, his big hand dwarfing her small one.
Rose felt herself nodding and started walking with him, her hand still in his. As they neared the water, he spoke again.
“Do you believe in magic?”
Rose shook her head.
He reached his other hand out toward the waves that were lapping at the beach. The water, right in front of her eyes, began to rise and twist and shape itself into the shape of a foamy horse galloping along the waves.
Gasping, Rose turned rounded eyes on him. “How did you do that?”
“Do you believe?” he asked her again, a smile lighting his face.
Rose nodded, unable to find any words.
He faced her again and trailed his hands up and down her arms, sending a trail of tingles up and down them. “And what about destiny?” he asked her, his face suddenly sober, his eyes serious. “What about soul mates? What about love?” And then he kissed her.
Rose’s first instinct was to pull away, because she hardly knew him and she wasn’t in the habit of kissing complete strangers. But instead, she found herself melting into his kiss. His arms encircled her, pulling her up against his body, and she felt as if her own body was igniting with a slow, pleasurable burn.
He gently pulled back from the kiss, releasing her from his arm, but he held her hand again.
“Come with me,” he repeated, gently pulling her towards the water. His voice wrapped around her like a warm cloak, and she couldn’t pull her gaze away from his. She didn’t want to look away, even if she could.
All that mattered was right now, his hand in hers and his voice calling her to him.
She didn’t really even notice that they had entered the water and were waist-deep in the ocean until he started to change. Scales formed along his legs and traveled up almost to his waist. His legs melded together and a long, shiny fin formed at the ends of his joined feet.
Right before her eyes and only taking an instant from start to finish, he had transformed into a merman. His arms encircled her again, pulling her close. He looked into her eyes.
“Tell me you choose love. Tell me you choose me.” There was an urgency to his voice.
His hypnotic pull on her faded, and yet, even without it, she felt drawn to him. Dream or not, Rose wanted to stay in his embrace. It felt as though she belonged there in his arms.
She lifted her hands and cupped his face. “I choose you.”
He leaned in to kiss her, and, as their lips touched, she felt a zap of electricity shoot through her body. When the kiss ended, she had a tail and fins too.
Instead of feeling shocked by her new mermaid tail, Rose felt a sense of rightness, as if she’d been meant for this all along. She knew exactly how to move with her new body.
“Will I ever see my mom and sister again?” she asked him.
“We’ll visit at Christmas.” He reassured her with a tender smile.
He lovingly took her hand in his once more, and, together, they swam out to sea.