He loves me! ME! Being with me will not be easy, and there’s so much to overcome but he wants and loves me! I leaned in to kiss him when someone cleared their throat reminding me we weren’t alone. I straighten pulling myself away from Troy, who quickly pulled me back in.
I looked over at his parents on the other side of the desk, his mom looked like she was fighting happy tears but his dad looked annoyed. I’m guessing he was the throat clearer that ruined the moment.
“Why that’s all and good, what do you expect us to do? You have responsibilities to this family also.” His father said. Yep, he was definitely the mood killer.
“That’s what we are here to find out. Annie didn’t even know others existed until yesterday, so we can’t exactly ask her family for answers. That’s why we came here, you’ve known about her kind for centuries. What are our options? What do we need to do to be together?” Troy laced our fingers together and gave them a squeeze.
His father sighed and looked at his wife, “Son, I’m not sure what can be done. Something like this has never happened before.”
“But there has to be something! There’s got to be! Isn’t there anyone we can ask? What about the other Kings? Maybe they’ve seen something like this.” Troy pleaded with his parents.
His father hung his head and didn’t respond. I looked to his mother, I hope she could see how much her son meant to me and how much we needed this to work.
“We shall ask them.” His mother said, “But we can’t make you two any promises that we will find answers or solutions.”
“Thank you.” I said. It was the first time I had spoken since we had stepped into the office.
“I would like to speak to Annie alone if you don’t mind.” King Alexander said. My eyes widened, me?! He wants to be alone with me?
“Absolutely not. You haven’t been nice to her once since we got here, there is no way I’m leaving you alone with her.” I wanted to kiss Troy right there in front of his parents but I refrained.
“I promise to be on my best behavior, if you insist on making this work then I need to get to know Annie.” His father argued.
Troy was about to argue back but Sandra came around the desk and put her hand on Troy’s shoulder, “Let him speak with her.” She said.
Troy hesitated and was about to argue again but she put a hand up to stop him, “If he harms her or insults her I give you my word that I will help torture him.” She winked at her husband playfully.
Troy nodded and stood, placing me on my feet. He kissed my temple and then followed his mom out of the office. I watched them close the door and then turned to face the King.
“Please, sit.” He gestured to the chair I just came out of. “Would you like anything to eat or drink?”
I shook my head no, then face palmed myself again mentally. Speak up Annie! “No sir, thank you.”
King Alexander stood from his desk and walked to the wall of windows. “Did you know Troy had a brother?” he asked me.
I did not know this, but I also haven’t had a long conversation with Troy before yesterday. I noticed that his father had also used the past tense, as in he no longer had a brother. “No sir I did not.” I answered.
His father sighed and hung his head, “It’s been almost a year and a half ago now that we lost him.” He paused and I wondered if he was going to continue, I could see that the loss of his son was still very much had an effect on him.
“We were spending time in Southern America, right near the cape. King Samuels, he’s King of the Atlantic, oldest daughter was having her bonding ceremony. It becomes a huge celebration when one of the royals becomes bonded, like the equivalent of the royal humans in England getting married. Mer’s from across the world come to celebrate.” He paused again. “After the ceremony everyone was so busy socializing and celebrating no one really paid attention to some of the children that wandered to the surface. Until we hear their screams.” I could feel myself tearing up, his father took a deep breath to collect himself and continued.
“One of the children got caught in a fishing boats net, we still don’t know how or why there was a fishing boat out that far but that’s irrelevant. Once the fishermen realized what they had caught in their nets they immediately let out more nets to catch the other children. Young mer are slow and haven’t been able to fully develop their skills yet, making them easy targets. It’s another reason we choose to live on land among the humans to raise our families, there isn’t a danger to us in leg form.” He looked over at me. “We aren’t hunted like your kind.”
“Andrew was the first to make it to the children, he was so unbelievably fast and strong. He started fighting with the nets, trying to free the children. A group of us made it to the nets and started helping free the children also. We thought we had them all, had saved them all, but then Andrew saw the little mer boy stuck in the net closest to the boat.”
I could feel the tears falling as he paused.
“He saved the little boy, but it made the fishermen angry that they had lost their prize.” He said the word with disgust. “They shot at Andrew with harpoons, all missed him. Except one. A shot directly in the heart, he died before I could get to him.”
I could see the tears falling from his father’s eyes, and my heart broke.