Marcelina swam at speeds incomprehensible to human eyes. The only proof of her passing was the quickly-dissipating trail of bubbles. The occasional fish was quickly snatched and killed, then stashed in a side pouch she'd grabbed before exiting the cave. Her speed and monotonous actions reflected her mental state, which was full of considerations and hesitations. Why did she say those extra things? Not that they weren't true, but Marcelina didn't intend to go that far into her thoughts about him. She had trouble staying objective around him, which was mildly unsettling. Their impromptu converging jump-start had more of an effect on her than she cared to admit.
Still, talking with Emilio cracked her internal wall of denial about her apparent match. Oh, there went a fish, in a quick swipe of her hands, it was snatched, killed, and tucked in a bag. That was the eight fish caught. Marcelina was marginally aware that she was leaving a blood trail, and that it may or may not entice larger predators, but Marcelina wasn't concerned. She'd killed sharks with ease. In the water, she was the top predator. But that was all filler thought. What were her true feelings towards Emilio? She found him amiable, flattering in both looks and character. He was romantic and endearing, strong in his emotions and his physique. Emilio cared about his appearance but didn't let it stray into vanity. He was gentle, precise, good with his hands, good at fighting and healing. Graceful, masculine, leaning towards perfect.
Suddenly Marcelina had 11 fish caught. Stopping herself with a jerky, almost unnatural cease-movement, she ran a hand through her hair. It didn't behave, of course, weightlessly floating around her face. Marcelina stared upwards, catching brief glimpses of sun sparkle through the waves. Her inner being was more attached to Emilio than even Marcelina assumed. Marcelina had never been so confused about herself. She knew this feeling of displacement was natural. If she were to converge with one of her own, she'd still be thrown off center. All of her life, up to this point, was without romanticism. She had platonic affections, but to feel so deeply about someone was new. For any and all female nereids, this was commonplace. The only thing that would be harder to adjust to would be motherhood.
Marcelina shuddered and looked down into the darkness, scrunching her face. She could barely handle having a future mate, much less being a mother! Another fish swam by, and Marcelina mechanically collected it. That made 12. Alone, that'd last her a week, but with Emilio, it might last enough for this brief vacation. Satisfied, she turned back and started for the cave. A glance around revealed Marcelina had been following the edge of a familiar land mass. She was in the Atlantic, but barely. It was tolerable for her. Marcelina smiled to herself. Finally home, in need of advice, it would be stupid of her not to seek out that dear friend just a little ways north along this path.
So, Marcelina swam north, towards one of her very few living friends.