Beyond the Ocean's Depths (Not an Average Shifter Romance)

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Chapter 45: Oyster Shells and Pearls

GINA and ONYX

Gina nuzzled her nose against her love as she and Onyx floated effortlessly in the darkened waters of the Gulf. Onyx was beyond satisfied. Not only had he just enjoyed the pleasures that only Gina could provide, body, heart, mind, and soul, but his human was really starting to come around. Things were really looking up for a change.

Torin had been working hard ever since Sunday to bond with Onyx while in his own human form, and the dolphin was beginning to see more of Torin’s world through his mind and eyes than he had in a long, long time. He’d almost forgotten what it was like to be so connected to his human. The fact that his human wasn’t nearly as dark and depressed as usual, made Onyx feel renewed and refreshed - something everyone involved in Torin’s life felt as well. Onyx smiled to himself, thinking of how the girls at home and even Torin’s co-workers and secretary noticed the slight difference. Just wait until they felt the new energy that exuded from him after tonight, he laughed inside.

Onyx reflected on how busy Torin had been, preparing his mind for this dinner-date with Tobie. He had been heavily involved, giving his human pep talks and advice from within. At least Torin was listening to his dolphin for a change! Onyx hadn’t been so sure his human would listen to him after Torin had given him an earful about being so forward with Tobie after Rainie ratted him out the other night. He huffed, remembering how Torin tried to tell him that it was none of his business. The man was crazy, of course it was his business!

Well, after this evening at the Coral Reef Burgers & Shakes, he was pretty sure Torin felt differently about the role he and Gina played in getting him to finally connect with the lovely Tobie Davis. Oh, that’s right, Onyx reminded himself, “Torin likes to call her October!”

He chuckled as only a dolphin can do, nudging Gina back tenderly, telling her about how Anne had ended up sharing the pictures she’d taken of them with Rainie, who had managed to connect the dots and told her dad that she knew he and Tobie were soul mates. Gina smiled back, reminding him that she was the one who’d encouraged him to talk to Tobie that night. He had to admit, she was right. His beautiful mate was absolutely right!

They decided to take off towards Tobie and Anne’s and see if they could spot any fish to satisfy the hunger that was starting to grow in their stomach after all the love making they’d done earlier. They swam slowly, taking their time so they could continue their conversation, and Gina grew serious. She wanted to know if her mate was still prompting Torin with sexually charged dreams at night.

Onyx laughed, he’d enjoyed “torturing” Torin with frequent hard-one’s almost every morning over the woman who was destined to be part of their family. But, he admitted that once Torin started coming around, he’d tapered down on the X-rated content. The photo Rhonda had taken of Rainie, Anne, and Tobie at the rehab was deeply embedded in Torin’s subconscious and had given Onyx a lot of new ideas. No, now the dreams were more family focused, as he knew Torin needed to be pulled back into his family and to connect his soul mate with his family.

Gina thought this to be smart, wanting to remind Onyx that humans weren’t quite as sexual as dolphins and that they needed more quality family connections than regular dolphins. But he’d apparently already thought of that. It was a lovely concept to have such connections with your offspring and parents, she thought as she was learning to enjoy such connectivity as the wife of a shifter.

Then a new idea came to her as Onyx shot off to nab one of those delightful silver fish that she liked a lot. When he returned momentarily, he presented his gift to her, and she gratefully partook of his easy prey. Swallowing the snack, Gina in turn presented her thoughts on the matter. What if Onyx completely stopped giving Torin subliminal dreams altogether?

“Why?” Onyx asked, confused since Gina was the one that often helped him come up with ideas for his subconscious input into Torin’s night visions - whether it was direct advice or just the heated thoughts being with her put into his own mind.

She nudged him playfully. “Now, we leave him wanting for more, silly! You said he kissed her and they held hands briefly. Well, now that he knows what it’s like to really be around her, let him come to terms with his own desires for her. He already knows you’re putting dreams and thoughts in his mind. So, if you pull back completely, he’ll know with certainty that any new desires and imaginings are coming from himself and not you!”

“Oh, you beautiful creature, you! That’s a brilliant plan!” Onyx clicked with excitement and realization as his mate simply smiled, her intelligent eyes sparkling in the moonlight. His excitement over her ideas and the way he loved her even if she didn’t always understand his humanistic thought processes made her feel loved deeper than she ever thought possible. And now, more than anything, she wanted her new friend, Tobie, and Onyx’s other half - his human, Torin - to feel the way they both feel now. Content, and as if nothing else in the world mattered but love.

With her heart she silently reached out to Tobie. For as much help as Torin needed, Gina knew that Tobie wore her own internal battle scars and as they neared the dock belonging to her human friend, Gina felt a pang of something deep and emotional. It seemed the more they visited the woman and her daughter, the more Gina could sense about the woman. She’d never become so close to a human before, and she wasn’t sure if this was normal.

But Tobie wasn’t here tonight, probably already inside for the night. Onyx ushered her to head back towards home, but Gina stopped him. “Wait. I need a moment. Just give me a minute here, I need to do something.”

Onyx left her, waiting close by, wondering what it was that she needed to do at Tobie’s dock. Meanwhile, Gina bobbed in the water, her large lobed head and black eyes trained on the little bit of light she could see from Tobie’s back porch shining through the trees. Onyx had told her about communicating with Torin from within his mind, and though she was sure it logically made sense that they should be able to communicate with each other easily, being within the other, she wanted to conduct a scientific experiment of her own. If Onyx and Torin were like two sides of the same coin, then she and Tobie should be similar she reasoned.

Similar, but not the same. Coins were the same object with two different faces - she’d seen enough of them at the bottom of the sea where ships from centuries ago had sunk. That may be what Onyx and Torin were, but she and Tobie were something else. Twin souls connected to one another through their soul mates.

Shells! Like oyster shells! She had to laugh; never had she thought she’d be comparing herself to a bivalve crustacean! But the analogy worked. Oysters created two distinct shells that ultimately were connected at one end and fit together to encompass the creature and treasure inside. While the two shells were similar, they weren’t identical and could easily be separated. Whereas the two sides of a coin could not be separated from the other.

While Onyx hadn’t thought that Gina and Tobie would be connected, being pure dolphin and human, she surmised otherwise. After all, both she and Tobie showed up in Navarro Beach around the same time. Her pod typically hung out further west each year, but this year was different and they’d opted for the fish here instead. She knew that fate, not just fish, had really been the draw. So, what were the chances that Torin’s fated mate would show up at the same time?

No, she didn’t believe in coincidences when it came to this soul mate thing. Now that she had an idea of the kind of bond that she and Tobie most likely shared, she knew she needed to connect to Tobie like Onyx connected to Torin. Tobie was hurting inside from an old wound, even if she hid it well from almost everyone. Even if Torin opened up enough to accept her as his soul mate, she wouldn’t recognize him as her soul mate if she didn’t also heal.

Expelling a large breath through the hole in the top of her head, she began. Because she didn’t know how else to go about it, Gina focused her echolocation abilities towards Tobie’s house, attempting to sense the woman inside. Then, with all the love in her heart and wisdom of her dolphin years, she tried to tell Tobie about their special relationship as twin souls. Two shells that encompassed the two males that they lay claim to as soul mates. Urging her friend, Gina tried to tell her to let the pain of the past go and to open her heart to new love. For only then could the four of them complete the puzzle that constituted a whole oyster, pearl and all.

When she felt in her heart that Tobie had been reached, Gina quit and swam back to her handsome mate. “Come, love - it’s time to go home.”

}<<(((}> * <{)))>>{

TOBIE

It was late, but as tired as I was, I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t get comfortable and my stomach was in knots.

It should have been filled with butterflies and tingles. After all, I’d just spent a wonderful evening with an ultra handsome man who I thought, or hoped, was a lot of fun and seemed to enjoy my company as much as I enjoyed his. He poured his heart out to me and more than apologized for everything he’d done wrong up to now. Then he topped it all off by asking me to go on a date with him and by kissing me!

Oh that kiss! It was short and sweet, but just right for the moment. And it definitely left me wanting more! Yes, every bit of woman in me definitely wanted more - was ready for more! But could I afford more of Torin Waters? Could my heart afford more of him?

I’d tried hard to bury all my heartbreak from my marriage to Rich over the past eight years, but having to actually think about putting myself out there again dredged it back to the surface. I just thought I’d severed all ties to the man who’d I loved and created life with. The man who couldn’t love me or our daughter in the end.

While I’d spent the last few years trying to affirm within myself that I was whole and no longer broken, building myself up for the possibility of finding love again someday, now that the possibility was actually coming closer to reality, I realized just how much I didn’t want to go through that kind of pain and suffering ever again! If I opened myself up to dating again, I was opening up to the possibility of heartache, for not only myself this time around, but for Anne, too. My biggest fear was looming in the untold future. Would I be proven to be unlovable yet again?

Finally, I managed to find a comfortable spot, shifting one leg on top of the covers so that I was only partially covered, and the heaviness of sleep began to pull me under. Eventually, dreams overtook the worried thoughts weighing my mind down. Drifting into REM sleep, it was as though my body were adrift in the open ocean, the gentle undulation of the waves rocking me deeper. Now my dreams took control, and I found solace and comfort as I swam with a dolphin in search of oysters...

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