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“I envy you,” Yanus muttered as he stirred on Jeffery and Aquas’ new nest.

Jeffery chuckled, swimming over to sit at the edge of the nest. He, Aquas and Encaca had returned back to the cove a few days ago. Aquas and Jeffery had made vocal their wish to be together and it didn’t take too long for the council to move them in together into a larger dwelling space. The dwelling was sited not too far from the area where the dwellings of single gathers lived. That meant Yanus was close by, and he did take the opportunity to visit his brother and his partner.

“Where’s Aquas?” Yanus asked as Jeffery looked out into the room. The surface of the walls of the dwelling where sharp and they shined brightly. The dwelling plus the whole area was fairly new. The dwelling Jeffery and Aquas lived in now was only carved out a few months before it was given to them. The whole area was more or less under construction, and not many merpeople lived in the area yet.

“He headed out. He’s meeting the head healer for his training session,” Jeffery answered, bushing the tip of his fin against the stone floor.

Yanus smiled looking up at the ceiling that was glowing with brightly self-luminous creatures.

“I’ve wanted to ask you something for a while,” Yanus said as Jeffery moved to settle in next to him on the nest. Jeffery raised a brow at him, before cradling his head in the palm of his upright arm.

“Go ahead,” Jeffery said as he watched his friend smile slightly before turning to his side so they were completely face to face.

“Why did you choose to stay? Weren’t you trying to get back to the surface in the first place?” Yanus asked.

Jeffery looked on at his friend. There were so many things he could say. He could say he stayed back because he couldn’t heal on time in order to join his friends but that would be completely contrary to why he was making permanent plans to stay in Afibia with Aquas and his people.

If it was simply because he couldn’t heal on time, he would have waited for when the cargo ship would come back next year like it always did due to its constant voyages.

Jeffery had tried to convince himself that he stayed back because he couldn’t heal on time, but that was because he didn’t want to feel guilty about thinking with his heart overthinking with his brain. The reason he stayed was that he just wanted to be with Aquas in Afibia. He’d completely fallen in love with the merman and his people. He felt like he’d found somewhere that he truly belonged. As a human, he had traveled from port to port living in the moment and merely existing without any sort of passion driving his life.

He’d asked Ethan and John to search his cabin for the letters he wrote to family members and never got to send and help him deliver them. He wasn’t sure why he asked them to do that, but it was probably to ease the guilt of him choosing one existence over another.

“Well, what’s taking you so long?” Yanus asked, pulling Jeffery out of his thoughts.

“Nothing, I just got lost in my own thoughts...” Jeffery trailed, running a hand through his blond locks as he whipped his blue tail lazily from side to side.

“Typical of you,” Yanus chuckled, earning an eye roll from Jeffery.

When Yanus’ laughter died down he looked over at Jeffery with a more serious look. “Well? Why did you stay?”

Jeffery looked at his friend, deciding it was better to answer his question honestly. “I love this place,” he started, looking into Yanus’ eyes.

“It’s the first time I’ve felt like I belonged somewhere. It’s the first time I’ve felt anything remotely close to what I feel for Aquas.”

Yanus gave Jeffery’s side a slap with his fin. “Don’t break down emotionally in front of me. That’s enough. I understand,” Yanus said in a jeering tone as Jeffery laughed, shifting away to avoid his friend’s fin slaps.

“What do you see in my brother anyway? I’ve been wondering about that too,” Yanus said when both their laughter died down.

“I’m not sure I want to answer that...” Jeffery trailed, feeling the rare nervousness he felt when confronted with his feelings regarding Aquas.

“Come on now. Like, what do you find attractive about him? It’s not a hard question,” Yanus said, pressuring Jeffery who had gone pale in the face. Jeffery looked away from his friend, earning an amused chuckle from him.

“Oh keep shut! You’re just the same about that merlady you’ve been after,” Jeffery said, making Yanus move from chuckling to keeping silent.

Yanus paled too, proving Jeffery’s statement. The merlady had said yes to him recently and Yanus couldn’t still believe he was going to start a family of his own soon.

“Stop trying to change the topic. I asked you a question, it’s only fair that you should answer,” Yanus muttered, trying to keep his paling under control.

“Fine,” Jeffery sighed before looking straight at Yanus.

“Your brother is really sweet and handsome...” Jeffery trailed, not really sure where he was going with what he was saying. He couldn’t quite put his feelings into words. He loved everything about Aquas, he couldn’t just list them out.

“Oh, and his eyes!” Jeffery suddenly added as a big smile made its way on his lips. “His eyes are exceptionally beautiful. They shine with so much beauty and innocence that it’s heart wrecking,” Jeffery finished, earning a raised brow from Yanus.

“His eyes?” Yanus asked with a slight disbelieve. “The last time I checked Marsha and I have identical pairs to his.”

“Yours are plainer,” Jeffery said.

“No, the feelings you have for my brother just makes everything about him attractive to you,” Yanus teased, making Jeffery go even paler.

“I suppose that’s true,” Jeffery muttered as his heart warmed up at the thought of the smaller merman.

“The fact that someone can make you feel that way is bedazzling isn’t it?” Yanus said, earning a smile from Jeffery.

“Yes,” he answered plainly as his mind wondered about Aquas. He loved him so much. He loved him, his personality and the people he could now call his own. He’d truly been and un-regrettably been bedazzled by everything about him and his world.

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