Chapter 1I never knew you could fall in love with somebody so fast. That it could take just one month. I never expected that special someone to be the total opposite of me. But that’s just it. You don’t know or expect you just think. I would never have imagined my dream guy to be, well, Alex. I dreamed of my dream guy as this sweet, down to earth, friendly guy. Alex can be sweet and down to earth when he wants to be, but other than that, he’s mean, evil, and cruel to other creatures. But that’s kind of what you would expect with a dark mermaid, right? My parents always told me to stay away from them. Okay, don’t judge me. Alex didn’t look like one when I first saw him. I only realized it when we had to work together on a project sophomore year.
I arrive at Mermadia High School early that day. The water is warm like a hot spring. There are no fish in sight. The school is in a large, underwater castle made entirely out of coral. It is said that mer-people built it back in the early 1900’s by hand. It took two years to build. It’s very beautiful. This is one of my favorite places to look at. I don’t necessarily like the people in it, but I do like its looks.
I’m not your typical sixteen year old. Boys aren’t really on my mind. Okay, fine. I’m not on their minds. To tell you the truth, I never really had a boyfriend. You can cross off my first kiss, too. Boys just don’t look my way in the hall. I’m just not that pretty. My hair is long, curly, and dark brown. I have big and dark brown eyes like my hair and long, dark eyelashes. My face is in an oval shape. My lips are big and my cheeks are chubby. I have an hourglass body with curves in all the right places, so my mom tells me. I’m mixed and I have a bright, purple tail. I can understand why boys don’t like me. I’m not their ideal skinny looking girl.
Anyways, I am headed to my locker when my friend Marissa shows up. Marissa is my best friend. She’s my only friend. I love her as if she was my own sister. Marissa’s pretty cute considering all the boys love her. Her hair is a reddish brown that goes to maybe three inches past her shoulders. My hair is almost to my tail. She has caramel-colored eyes which I guess you could say are averaged sized. She’s skinny like a stick figure and has a little bit of a tan. You can see her cheekbones and her tiny pink lips. I think she’s gorgeous.
As soon as Marissa swims up to me, several boys zoom in on us. I’m used to it. They always do. The only time they looked my way was when she was next to me. I wish it wasn’t true, but it is.
“Give us some space! I’m trying to talk to my best friend! So Stacie, what are we doing this weekend? You want to go shopping?” They seem pissed when she says that. Poor boys, they can’t worship their goddess. I laugh as I think that. “What are you laughing at?” she asks curious.
“It’s nothing. I don’t know. You want to go check out the sunken ship instead? There might be gold?” I really don’t like going to the mall. All we ever do there is shop for Marissa and help her get a new boyfriend. We never do anything for me. I would rather go exploring than shopping.
“You see that’s your problem. You would rather go to a sunken ship than the mall. You’re never going to get a boyfriend with that wardrobe of yours.” I have to admit, Marissa can be a bit mean sometimes, and this is definitely one of those times. “Come on, Stacie. You look hideous and your make-up’s not helping at all. No wonder boys don’t take a second look at you.”
“Now, that’s where I draw the line. Marissa, you’re starting to act like a bully. I can’t believe you just said that to me. You know my mom and I don’t have a lot of money right now, so why do you do that? You know my dad walked out on me and all the others. If you’re really trying to hurt me than maybe we shouldn’t be friends. Do you really want to throw twelve years away like that?”
“Now Stacie, you know it’s not like that. I can’t help it sometimes when things come out of my mouth. I’ve just been having the worst day. My step mom took my brush and my make-up. She couldn’t find either of them when I needed them. She found them right before I had to swim to school. I had to do my make-up and my hair in the bathroom.” I feel bad for Marissa. Her step mom is twenty-five and is always stealing Marissa’s stuff. Her dad won’t say anything because he’s always out of town. Even when he is here, he’s up her step mom’s tail. She has him wrapped around her finger.
“Okay, just don’t let it happen again. Let’s hurry up and get to class before Mr. Johnson gives us a detention for being late again.”
“So class, can anybody tell me what we learned yesterday? Stacie?” I knew he would call on me, he always does. Every teacher does. I think it’s because I don’t talk much in class.
“Um, we learned about the many wars in the Pacific?”
“Correct. Now can somebody refresh my mind? What wars were we talking about? Yes, Krista?” Marissa rolls her eyes. I laugh at that. Krista gives me a dirty look.
Krista is this girl who I absolutely hate. We got in a fight when we were about twelve and I’ve never liked her since. She was making fun of Marissa, and I protected her. I said some mean things, and so did she. Marissa wasn’t the prettiest girl back then. She had braces and acne. It was a rough patch. Krista, on the other hand, blossomed early. She was the goddess back then. Boys loved her red hair and her green eyes. Her tail was a fire red. She still looks like that, but the boys love Marissa now. I think she envies Marissa. She’s jealous that Marissa is the goddess instead of her. Marissa doesn’t care though. The boys didn’t like her back then and just because she blossomed doesn’t mean they should like her now.
“We were talking about the Revolution and the…” I start to not listen. Something about outside distracted me. It always does for some reason. I guess it’s because I would rather be outside than in. Marissa nudges me right then.
“Yeah?” I whisper.
“Pay attention. Mr. Johnson’s reading off our partners. I hope I’m not stuck with Nick again.” Nick is this boy who is lazy and is absolutely in love with his self. He checks out his reflection every chance he gets. His hair is a milk chocolate brown, and so are his eyes. His tail is dark green. Almost every girl likes Nick. In fact, Nick changes girlfriends every week. He’s a gigolo. I don’t like gigolos. Neither does Marissa.
“For our project. We have to do a project on one of the wars we‘ve been learning about. Luckily, we get to pick which war. I wish we could pick our partners, too. I would pick you definitely.”
“Definitely.” Mr. Johnson is almost done reading off our partners. I’m always at the bottom of the list. Marissa is right before me.
“Marissa, you’ll be paired with… Nick.”
“Damn! Nick never does any of the work! I’ll be stuck doing all the work, and I hate work! I’m better off working with a rock!” I have to admit, Marissa does hate doing work, especially homework.
“Now, calm down. Nobody is allowed to change partners. You’ll just have to take it up with Nick.”
“Hey! I’m not that bad. I do some of the work,” Nick screams.
“Oh be quiet, Nick! You’re not fooling anybody! I always do the work, and you just sit there admiring your reflection!”
“Well if you looked this good, you would to,” Nick replies back.
“I look better than you!”
“Now calm down! Marissa? Nick? Can I see you both outside?” Mr. Johnson says.
“Ugh, wish me luck Stace.”
“Good luck, Marissa.”
“Stacie, you’ll be paired with… Alex. Now everybody gather with your partners, and get to work!” I never really noticed Alex before. He stays to himself, and so do I. I guess you could say we’re both shy, but I like to look at it as “more mature” than other people. The only thing I do know is that his best friend is Nick.
“Good luck, Stace.”
We go our separate ways to our partners. When I get to Alex, he is hunched over his desk looking down. His jet black hair is covering his face, but I can just make out two bright, blue eyes staring up at me. I love his eyes as soon as I see them. His hair looks sort of like a skater boy’s, my favorite type of boys’ hair. It looks as if he has no pimples or impurities. His face is flawless. I wish my face was like that. I hate the way I look and when I finally like it, some skinny, beautiful mer-girl swims by making me insecure again. Alex looks skinny, but I can’t really tell since he is hunched over. The only thing I can see is his hair and his bright, green tail. I have to admit, he does look pretty cute.
Stacie looks so beautiful today. I can’t believe I’m paired up with her. Thank you, Mr. Johnson. Is she talking to me? I can’t believe she’s actually talking to me! I’m speechless!
“So, um, hi I’m Stacie.”
“Um, what war do you want to do? I really don’t care. Any of them are fine with me.”
“…” Now I am starting to get annoyed. I’m shy, too, but I still talk when I’m talked to. The least he could do is say hi. I mean how hard is it to do that?
There’s silence the rest of the class. Not once did he talk. I’m stuck looking at the list of wars we were given to choose from over and over again. When the bell rings, I practically race out the door. I realize I am still racing when Marissa yells my name.
“Stace! Stacie! Wait up!” She is panting when she finally reaches me. I feel kind of bad.
“I’m sorry, I forgot that we usually meet up after class. It’s just that Alex ignored me every time I tried talking to him. I was left to look through the papers we got over and over again.”
“Man, I’m sorry to hear that, but at least you didn’t get stuck with Nick. I was right. I knew he would leave me to do the work by myself. Hopefully, tomorrow will be better though. If it isn’t, I’m going to have to straighten that boy out.” As soon as she says tomorrow, I freeze. I don’t want tomorrow to come. I have like three tests, and I really don’t want to work with Alex.
“Stace? You okay? You haven’t talked for like five minutes.”
“Oh. I’m sorry, Marissa. I was busy worrying about my tests tomorrow.”
“No, you weren’t. You were thinking about what’s going to happen tomorrow in history with Alex.” Marissa always does know what I am thinking, but this time I wish she didn’t.
“Um, so what war did you pick?”
“I was correct. You were thinking about Alex. I chose the Revolution. What war did you pick?”
“I didn’t choose anything, yet. I’ll probably just choose something tomorrow.”
“Well, you certainly have a lot of time.”
“What do you mean?”
“The project is due in a month. You really weren’t paying attention, were you? What’s so important outside? I see you looking out there everyday in class.”
“I don’t really know. I figure it’s just because I would rather be outside than in. But you already know that. Wait, its due in a month?! I don’t think I can work with Alex and his silence for a month!”
“Well, you’re going to have to. I have to work with Nick, so you have to work with Alex. Mr. Johnson said we can’t change our partners, remember?”
“Fine,” I sigh. “How did it go with him? Mr. Johnson?”
“Ugh. He yelled at me for yelling at Nick and disrupting class. He said I’ll have to deal with working with Nick. I have no other choice unless I want a ‘F’ for a grade. Oh, and he gave me a detention. I hate him.”