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

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Chapter 57: Ruby

ANNE

“What’s happening to her, Kyle?!” I screamed, momentarily forgetting everything else that was happening bad to us today, to include my mother being held hostage by the Pirate because of me and my stupidity.

Kyle just looked on in half horror and half awe as my best friend, my soul sister, Rainie Waters, literally transformed into a dolphin before our very eyes. The only one who didn’t seem surprised by the whole thing was Delilah, who clicked and squeaked happily as Rainie, now in complete dolphin form, easily slid off the shallow wading platform and into the pool.

Having been raised at aquariums, I knew very well how mother dolphins helped their babies swim and get air for the first time after they were born, and after Rainie plopped into the deeper water, Delilah took over. She nudged and swam with Rainie just like I’d seen when the baby dolphin was born three years ago at Mom’s old job.

“She was telling the truth,” Kyle finally stuttered after a moment, breaking my shock. His fear had disappeared and when I turned to look at him, he not only had a grin on his face, but that excited look in his eyes. The same one I remembered from when we were pretending to be pirates and divvying up our treasure in the shed.

He could tell I wasn’t sharing his sentiments and blinked back at me. “Anne!” He exclaimed with disbelief. “Rainie’s a were-dolphin!”

“But… that’s not supposed to be real!” I tried to reason, then glanced over to the pool. “And it looked so… so painful!”

“Well, it is real and it’s totally cool! I mean look at her!” He motions towards our friend surfacing with Delilah. “She’s got like super powers or something. Maybe she’s a mutant like the X-men! Whatever, this is awesome!”

He had a point, I thought as he pulled me closer to the pool’s edge to watch. Painful or not, Rainie did say she was a shifter. She knew this was going to happen. She just didn’t seem to appreciate the timing. Maybe this was kinda cool. Considering the situation further, I recalled that Mom had let me watch the first Twilight movie earlier this year and I had definitely been Team Jacob! Werewolves over vampires any day! If she was anything like that, well then...

My fearful scowl was soon replaced by a smile as it hit me. She said her family were all shifters! My mouth dropped open, and I grabbed Kyle by the sleeve. “That means Rhonda is a… a were-dolphin, too?! And so is Torin!”

As I knelt down next to the edge of the pool my mind raced at the implications. My mom was dating a dolphin shifter and probably didn’t even know it!

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


RUBY

The young dolphin had been itching to make her appearance all week, communing heavily with her equally young human with more efficiency than ever before.

Ruby had always been there, hidden within her human form named Rainie. But as the human girl entered her pubescent year, the dolphin had also felt the change. She didn’t think they would go through their actual first transition until maybe next month, but Ruby could feel that Rainie’s body and mind were beyond stressed out. Now, here she was in the flesh, bobbing in the pool with another dolphin. Yet, it wasn’t Penny, Rainie’s grandma’s dolphin who she had heard about through Rainie and felt through Rainie’s meditations with her grandmother dolphin. No, this dolphin wasn’t a shifter at all. If only she had more control, she would be able to communicate with the human inside of her and figure out what was going on. Whatever it was, something wasn’t right.

As she more steadily surfaced again, with the assistance of the matronly dolphin nudging her to air, Ruby’s eyes landed on a pair of humans kneeling next to the pool and she instantly knew them. They were important people in Rainie’s life and the young dolphin clicked happily in an attempt to converse with her human’s two friends. As she bobbed to the side of the pool, Ruby concentrated on moving her fins as her instinct to swim took over and she managed to steady herself enough to maintain her position next to the kids.

The boy tentatively reached a hand out, and Ruby instantly gravitated to his presence.

“Kyle.”

How she knew who he was so assuredly, she wasn’t sure, but his aura emanated with exuberant fun and a dose of humane warmth that made her feel secure in this new world. As his finger touched the tip of her nose, Ruby was overcome with elation at her first physical interaction with a human and she suddenly lost control of her balance. Tilting slightly to the side, she accidentally smacked the surface of the water with her fin, sending a near wave of water towards the unsuspecting boy.

“Whoa!” Kyle gasped as the cool water woke him from the mystified stupor he had found himself in, while Ruby chattered her apologies in dolphin-speak.

This was apparently funny to the girl who giggled next to Kyle, now more ready to reach out to the now steady dolphin. “Rainie! I can’t believe you’re a dolphin!” Anne cooed.

Ruby brushed her nose against the girl’s outstretched hand and she felt another sudden connection to this other human. This girl was family, not by blood, Ruby knew, but family nonetheless. “Soul sister,” the young dolphin repeated the phrase she’d heard Rainie use when referencing her best friend, Anne.

Just when Ruby felt like she might be getting the hang of this new body and that she could spend all of time with these two pure humans, she felt the familiar presence of Rainie within her mind. Was this how Rainie felt with her inside of her all these years?

“Gotta go!” Rainie’s thoughts came through loud and clear. That’s right, something dramatic had transpired just before their transition and they were in danger! Ruby wasn’t sure how to go about allowing Rainie to take the reins over their physicality, though she instinctively knew that a mental desire to transition had to be there. So, with reluctance Ruby pulled away from Anne’s touch and backed up into the elderly dolphin who had been waiting patiently behind her.

“It was good meeting you!” Ruby clicked to all three of her new friends, hoping that she would have a chance to transition into dolphin form again in the near future.

Then, putting all her concentration into her physical form, Ruby focused on Rainie’s thoughts within her, willing her human form forward. Within seconds a sharp pain had manifested inside her stomach, radiating out to her fins and head. Equally torturous as the initial transition had been, Ruby feels her appendages morphing and her presence relinquishing itself to the comfortable space inside of Rainie’s mind.

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


RAINIE

The haze that had covered my senses while my dolphin had been out slowly evaporated and the first thing I saw was my own human hand trying to grasp onto anything solid, only to find water all around me. I was an expert swimmer, so once I realized that I was in the deep water, I quickly found my bearings and began kicking my legs to keep my head above water. Behind me, Delilah swam back and forth, the second transition causing quite a stir from the usually calm dolphin.

“Rainie!” I heard both Anne and Kyle calling to me from the side of the pool as I quickly grasped the cement of the pool edge.

Wiping my face to get the water out of my eyes, I peered up at the two. I hadn’t meant to let them see my transition. What would they think of me now?! How was I going to explain this to them?! Would Dad and Grandma be upset with me? I couldn’t help it, but transitioning in front of pure humans was like the number one crime a shifter could commit!

“You’re human again!” Anne exclaimed as she reached down to grab my hand, while I tried to gauge her emotions.

Sure, I was afraid of how my family would react to my predicament, but I also worried that Anne and Kyle would be afraid of me or possibly hate me for what I was. There was a reason shifters kept their identity a secret, and I had just committed a major crime within our community!

“Are you okay?” Kyle asked worriedly, offering his hand out to me as well.

Neither seemed upset and both had worried looks on their faces, while also offering assistance. I relaxed a bit. Maybe I could avoid being in trouble if I could get them to swear this event to secrecy. Delilah was the only other one to witness my transition, and she wouldn’t tell anyone, I hoped. I needed to get out of the pool and have a chat with these two.

Just before I took both their hands so they could pull me out of the pool, I remembered that I had shed my clothes just prior to my transition. “My clothes!” I panicked, suddenly feeling embarrassed in a whole other way with Kyle here as I suddenly huddled close to the cement wall.

“I’ve got them over here!” Anne yelped, clamoring up from her knees and rushing over to the bench near the wading area. “Kyle, go over there and wait,” she instructed as I tentatively swam over to the shallow platform with Delilah following close behind me, unsure if I was going to transition again or something.

I shakily climbed out of the pool, shivering slightly at the dramatic experience my body had just undertaken and allowed Anne to help me dress as quickly as possible. We didn’t have a towel, so my clothes got slightly damp, but I didn’t care. I wanted to be held right now. I wanted Grandma and Dad; someone who knew what my body had just gone through and could tell me that everything was going to be okay.

As soon as I was dressed, Kyle approached, a smile happily spread across his face. “Why didn’t you tell us you were a were-dolphin? That’s so cool!”

Anne chimed in, “It is kinda neat! Did it hurt?”

What a relief. They were excited and happy! But how would they take my request? I let out a breath, exhaustion quickly coming over me. “You guys! You can’t tell anyone! Please, swear that you won’t even tell your parents!”

“But, why? This makes you officially the coolest kid ever!” Kyle protested, while attempting to give me a compliment, which wasn’t lost on my tired self, and I smiled painfully at him as Anne helped me sit on the bench.

“No! You don’t understand. People won’t understand.”

“She’s right,” Anne furrowed her brows as she nodded towards Kyle. “The government would take her and her family away! And it would scare some people. Don’t you remember what happened on The X-men to all the mutant kids?! That’s why Professor X had to start his school.”

“Oh,” Kyle’s enthusiasm deflated faster than a clam digging into the sand. “Man, people are stupid!”

The three of us were silent for a moment, unsure of what to say or do. Finally, I reached out to both of my friends, holding onto their hands with as tight a grip as I could manage in my weakened state. “I think it’ll be okay to tell Grandma. She’ll know what to do. But, please promise me that this goes no further than the three of us.”

While Anne maintained her usual, caring self, and crossed her heart with the hand I wasn’t holding, Kyle’s demeanor changed and I saw a seriousness come over him that I had never seen before.

“Rainie, you have my word. You and your family’s secret is safe with me. I won’t let anyone hurt you, I promise.”

For the first time in my nearly thirteen years I felt my heart flutter, really flutter. I was in love.

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