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Aria, Eric and Angela flew high over the ocean. She found herself staring at the reflection of the moon on the dark water. She loved swimming more than anything, but this had a thrill all its own. She didn’t know how long they flew before they set down on a patch of land a little way out to sea. It wasn’t big and would probably be covered in water within a few hours, but it suited their needs, right then.
“I can’t believe my arms haven’t worn out, already,” Aria commented. “I didn’t think I’d make it ten minutes, let alone a few hours.”
“This doesn’t seem physically possible,” Eric agreed. “Yet, here we are.”
Angela laughed at the pair. “You talk like this is something extraordinary, but it’s mundane to me, I suppose.”
“I can’t imagine ever growing bored of this,” Eric said.
“I think I’d like to test that theory,” Angela told him with a smile. “At any rate, shall we be off again?”
Aria stretch out her wings. “Ready when you are.”
The trio flapped their wings and took off into the sky, again.
“You look distressed,” Idun remarked when she found Sapphira, wandering the beach. “Boy troubles, again?”
“More or less.”
“You never did explain what happened. I’m guessing this has to do with the boy who used to shadow you everywhere.”
Sapphira nodded. “He doesn’t do that, anymore.”
“I can see that,” Idun said. “Will you tell me about it, this month?”
“Not even for sweets?”
“Will you not give me any if I refuse?”
Idun smiled. “You know I couldn’t do something like that. You’re just too cute when you gobble down your sugary snacks.”
“I’m not sure I like the way you put that.”
“I’m not sure I care. Shall I get you some pie, again?”
If anyone else had spoken to her that way, Sapphira would have shown no mercy, but she couldn’t bring herself to be angry at the dryad. “That would be good.”
Just before sunrise, Aria grew tired of flying and the trio returned to the beach. She returned to her human form and stretched her arms out. “That feels so weird.”
“But amazing, right?” Eric asked, not bothering to change back, yet.
She smiled at him and nodded. “I’ve never felt anything like that before. I can see why you like flying so much.” She looked at the pair. “Well, do you want to turn human and walk around for a while?”
Eric shook his head. “I only get to fly once a month. I’m not wasting a second of it.” He looked at Angela. “You’re welcome to walk, though.”
“I have had enough of the land,” she decided. “I’d like to fly with you.”
Aria felt a little disappointed, but she understood. “I’ll see you two, later, then.” She watched them fly off into the night before taking a walk down the beach to where music could still be heard. She debated turning into a mermaid, but decided she’d had enough transforming for one night.
As she got closer to the party, she spotted Alizarin, sitting on the beach just far enough away from the crowds that no one would be likely to notice him. He was staring at the ocean as the sun began to rise.
Aria had nearly forgotten him kissing her the night before, but she felt her cheeks redden as the memory bubbled to the surface. It was tempting to turn and walk away before he noticed her, but she couldn’t seem to make herself do that. Against all reason, she found herself walking up to him, instead. “Mind if I join you?”
“If you like,” he replied without looking up at her.
She took a seat beside him and they fell into a long, uncomfortable silence. Her mind raced to come up with something to say. She figured they should talk about the kiss, but couldn’t form the words for that conversation. Instead, she found herself saying, “I’m a little surprised you didn’t jump up when I walked over.”
“Were you concerned because I attacked you the first time we met and you thought I might do the same thing if you surprised me?”
Aria looked down at the sand. “I didn’t mean anything like that. I don’t blame you for what happened that time. Of course, it’s good that you’re a little more relaxed than you used to be.”
He considered that for a minute. “I saw you coming, so you didn’t surprise me.”
“Are you disappointed?”
Aria shrugged. “Well, it’s good that you are not nervous around me, I guess.”
“What makes you think I’m not nervous around you?”
“You don’t look like you think I might attack you.”
“Because I know you won’t.” He continued to stare into the horizon, never even glancing at her as they spoke. “You do make me nervous, but it’s different.”
Aria frowned, resisting the urge to touch her lips. “I didn’t realize.”