After parting ways with the sea and running into the captain’s arms, Fuchsia regained her human legs, but her mermaid magic was still shining. Her new glow was all because of him.
The captain and the mermaid headed aboard on the great ship. He took her hand and guided her upstairs to the tippy top. The view was spectacular — it really took their breath away. The sun was shining down on them.
The captain wrapped his arm around Fuchsia. They gazed into each other’s eyes until they could not hold back, and went in for a passionate kiss.
Fuchsia watched with admiration as the captain set sail and they took off. She was so excited to see where the waters would take them. This was where she was meant to be, not a life as a lonely mermaid queen… she would be his queen.
Fuchsia felt herself become slightly nervous as there was a sudden shift in the weather. Dark clouds began rolling in. It looked like a storm was headed their way.
Turning away from the sky to look back at the captain, she also noticed a slight shift in his expression. He did not look as warm as he did just a moment ago, now he was much more tense.
She pushed the nervousness aside, determined that everything was fine. She didn’t want any negativity. But the sky was getting even darker.
Suddenly, the ship came to a halt.
“What’s going on?” Fuchsia asked. “Why’d you stop? Where are we?” There was no land in sight, they were dead in the middle of the ocean.
“You can leave now,” he told her.
“Huh?” Fuchsia was shocked, “You want me to leave?”
“You’re not ready to come away with me.”
“Yes, I am!” Fuchsia cried out, “Look, here I am, right now! I’m starting to think it’s YOU who’s not ready!”
“Go on,” he said, motioning her away.
“I’m staying here!” she refused.
The captain raised his hands, creating waves so large that the ship was shaking around. “LEAVE!” he shouted as the ship nearly tipped over.
“UGH!” Fuchsia screamed with fear before diving into the water and disappearing into the deep blue.
By the time she came up for air, the captain and his ship had completely disappeared — at the speed of light. There was not even a clue as to which direction he went.
And just like that, she was all alone again.
Fuchsia had to swim for hours before finding land. Thank goodness her swimming abilities were still there — although it was much more of a struggle without her mermaid tail.
Once back to shore, she somehow found herself in that same little beach town as before: Oceana Paradise.
Flooded with relief, Fuchsia never felt so glad to find familiarity. Immediately, she located the psychic. She knew exactly what she had to do.
“Hello,” Fuchsia greeted the elder woman, the PSYCHIC whom she had previously met after being casted away from the ocean by Mother Mermaid.
“Hello, young mermaid,” the psychic greeted back, remembering their prior encounter, “back for more fortune?”
“Well, sorta…” Fuchsia explained, “I would like to work here. I don’t have a resume, but I can prove to you that I would make an amazing psychic. I have a lot to learn, but my intuition is incredibly powerful.”
“Hmm…” the psychic pondered, “this is really only a one-woman business… however, it makes me very happy to teach others… and you do have a lot of potential, I can feel it…”
“I also noticed you have an attached bedroom for rent,” Fuchsia added.
The psychic consulted her crystal ball, like a child seeking permission from its parent.
“All signs point to yes,” she nodded.
“AHH!” Fuchsia cheered with absolute glee.
The two sat down and discussed the details. Fuchsia would make less than minimum wage — it would be under-the-table and therefore tax-free — merely enough to keep her fed. Along with that, her paycheck would also include a place to stay upstairs. Fuchsia would start out strictly as a janitor, shadowing the psychic’s work and eventually receive enough lessons to give fortunes. It was a very sweet deal, indeed.
Fuchsia was ecstatic to tuck herself into bed that night in her very own room. The little bed was so warm and cozy under the covers. Her legs were so achey from that long swim today, so she gave herself a nice massage. With the window cracked, the soothing sound of crashing waves put her right to sleep.
At 12:00 AM sharp, her eyes burst wide open. Suddenly, Fuchsia was overcome with an intense urge to run outside. Following her instincts, she tiptoed downstairs and out onto the boardwalk. She lifted her head to look at the sky.
The stars seem to be spelling out a distinct message. She squinted a little harder until she made out the words, “NOT READY!”
Both baffled and amazed, Fuchsia’s sleepy head had no idea what to make of it. And so, she swiftly returned back to bed.
The following morning, remembering what the stars had told her, she could not fully decipher whether it had been a dream or real life.
For the next few weeks, Fuchsia worked as hard as she could, going above and beyond to prove to Madame Psychic that she was worth it. She cleaned as hard as she could, then cleaned some more, and then cleaned even more.
“Madame,” Fuchsia pleaded after a long, hot, sweaty day of work, “may I please… please… PLEASE…“
“Not yet,” she immediately answered.
“Just touch one of the tarot cards?”
“Just take a quick peak into the crystal ball?”
“GAHHH!” exasperated, Fuchsia threw her hands in the air.
“If you were as psychic as you believe,” Madame softly said, “you would not continue asking me. You will KNOW when you’re ready.”
Suddenly, just as Fuchsia was about to storm out the door in total frustration, her eyes lit up as she watched a new costumer walk through the door — it was Zale!
“Zale!!!” Fuchsia gasped.
“Uh-huh, I thought I saw obnoxious, bright, pink hair through the window,” Zale nodded, “I’m just here to get my $100 back.”
“Aha,” Fuchsia laughed weakly, “yeah so, it turns out $100 is a little more than I’d thought. Funny, the things you learn when you start working paycheck-to-paycheck,” she forced more laughter, “can I offer you a free reading?”
“No,” Madame cut in, “you’re not authorized to do that. Besides, we’re closed now. I’m sorry, please come back tomorrow.”
“So you’re free?” Zale looked at Fuchsia.
“I gotta get out of here,” Fuchsia bursted out the door as Zale followed, “All I’ve been doing, the past few weeks, or maybe even longer, I don’t know, I’ve lost track of time, is work, work, work, sleep, work, sleep, work, work, work, sleep, work, sleep, work, work…”
“Please, slow down,” he urged.
“This is not what mermaids do, I mean, we just laugh and play all day and occasionally go spearfishing for food, but this is just madness,” speaking so fast almost tripping over her words, “I can’t do it. I can’t handle it. I gotta get out of here. But the captain, he’s supposed to come back. I think. I don’t know. I can’t go back to mermaid life, I can’t. But maybe I’m supposed to. I don’t know. Oh my God–“
“Take a breath.”
Fuchsia paused for a moment to breathe.
“Let’s go get a snack or something, have some fun,” he suggested.
“Sure,” she agreed.
The two of them got drinks and boardwalk fries, and then sat down to eat them on a bench table in the sand.
“You know we are just friends,” Fuchsia stated, “my heart belongs to the captain.”
“Where is he?” Zale asked.
“I… I don’t know,” she hesitated.
“Then forget about him. I told you, he’s a jerk. He’s gone, I’m right here… what’s the issue?”
“I dunno,” she shyly shrugged.
“Just admit it. He doesn’t want you. But I do. So be with me.”
“Because!” Fuchsia furrowed her eyebrows in irritation.
“Why not? You know that there’s something between us.”
“No, there’s absolutely nothing.”
“Don’t you think I’m cute?”
“No, definitely not.”
“Well, I think you’re cute.”
“I never asked.”
“If there’s nothing going on, why are we on a date together?”
“This is not a date. I just needed a distraction and you caught me at a time when I was feeling vulnerable.” And then it hit her, “But now that I’ve come to my senses, I’m extremely regretful. I’m going home now. I’ll pay you back this Friday, once it’s pay day. Otherwise, forget about me.”
“If you go home now, you’ll be SO lonely. And then tomorrow morning it’s back to work. And then more loneliness.”
“Can you stop already!?” Fuchsia jumped up out of her seat and screamed.
“How dare you twist my mind! How dare you tell me the Captain doesn’t want me! How dare you get in the way! How dare you! Back off!”
“You’re hurting my feelings,” he moped.
“I couldn’t care less about your feelings! I care about the captain’s feelings and that’s literally it! There’s only one man in my heart!”
Fuchsia couldn’t believe herself. She felt like she was being so rude… and yet… she felt like she was being so strong.
“You ever see someone shapeshift?” Zale asked.
Before Fuchsia could even respond, her eyes widened as she watched Zale’s body glitch and morph into another person, like she was inside of a video game.
“It’s me,” said the captain, “it’s been me, the whole time. There is no Zale. He’s fictitious. It’s me.”
“It’s you!” Fuchsia cheered with absolute relief.
“Are you mad?” He asked.
“I’m so happy!” She exclaimed.
“There will be times when I’m not always here… and I can’t be worrying you’ll run off to someone else every time you get lonely.”
“I understand,” tears streamed down her face.
“It hurts to know that you would even entertain someone like Zale, or any other guy — or girl!”
“I only want you.” Fuchsia stressed. “You have other girlfriends, I just know it,” she cried.
And then the captain vanished into thin air.
“No, no, wait!” Fuchsia called out, but it was too late. “You don’t believe in me!” Then she let out a heavy sigh.
Finally, Fuchsia whispered to the ocean, “I believe in myself, and that’s enough…”