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

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Chapter 8: Gina

TORIN

Mom didn’t say much the rest of the way home yesterday, but I got it between the eyes when she received an email from the trainer (okay, veterinarian) later in the evening.

Apparently, the good doctor’s kid was sick, and she’d be taking the rest of the week off. Mom took it to mean that the woman had been so thoroughly offended by my rant that she didn’t want to come in to work.

“Well, that just shows you how she feels about what I said then, huh? Sounds like a guilt complex to me!” I shouted back.

“Torin, you’re taking this way too far. Enough!”

Mom was beyond worried or upset now. She was angry! The native Floridian Oka Indian woman was a force to be reckoned with when she became angry, and I froze.

“Sandy would be ashamed of you, going around making a fool of yourself like that! And even if you were right, which I don’t think you are, going and threatening people is NOT the way to do it!”

I knew she was right on both counts and I softened my expression.

“Alright, alright. I get it. I’m sorry I barged in like that. But I still feel the way I feel - I’m sorry. I just don’t have the faith in these new people like you.”

I walked out of the room, not allowing her to say anything further. Rainie had just walked in the house anyways, and I didn’t want her involved in this argument. Before I walked out the back door, I hollered towards the kitchen where Mom and Rainie had went, “Don’t make any supper for me, I’m not hungry.”

I was done! I was wore out!

So, I went down to our secluded private beach, winding my way down to the dunes. I’d bought this land for the privacy, knowing how problematic shifting to and from your inner dolphin could be in a public place. Clothes had to be shed before shifting, and of course you were naked again after returning to human form, so privacy was important. And we didn’t necessarily live in an area where there were many dolphin-shifters either.

In fact, we were kind of a dying species. Unlike wolf-shifters who lived virtually worldwide, dolphin-shifters had to live near the water, limiting our scope anyways. Back in the 1800s when the US government forced the southern Native American tribes to Oklahoma on the Trail of Tears, the shifters who went west lost their ability to shift, not having the ocean to allow their inner dolphin to cohabitate with them. While they turned all-human, many of the others who stayed behind traded in feet for permanent fins in order to keep their homeland (home-water).

My ancestors managed to hide out in the Everglades and maintained their shifting abilities, passing their magic onto their children and children’s children. There were only a few dozen dolphin-shifting families left in Florida, though tribes on the west coast and Hawaii were known to still be plentiful.

This evening I was going to let Onyx have full reign. I needed a break, and he needed an outlet. I hadn’t let him commune with me properly in a while, but I knew he had a lot on his mind as well. Really, deep down I knew that he agreed with Mom about my actions this afternoon, and I didn’t want to hear it from him, too.

Striping down to nothing, I folded my clothes so that they were tucked away from the wind and waves, for I wasn’t sure how long Onyx would be out. The sun would be setting soon, and he liked fishing, so it was time to go. Walking down to the water, I could see the tide was steadily coming in and I plowed into the water without a care.

Once waist deep, I leapt forward, diving under and out to sea. Within a heartbeat, my feet merged becoming Onyx’s tail, my arms transitioned to fins, and my entire body transformed into the sleek and aerodynamic form of my dolphin spirit.

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

ONYX

The Tursiops truncatus (or bottlenose) dolphin named Onyx was extremely frustrated with his human.

Why was he suffering about the past, now that such wonderful things were about to happen? People always thought they were so intelligent, but sometimes they were the dumbest of mammals, he thought to himself.

And Torin... Well, since both of their mates had tragically died, he hadn’t been the same. He hardly connected with Onyx anymore.

Sure, he would shift and let the dolphin out frequent enough, but they used to ‘talk’ to one another. It wasn’t exactly talking like two dolphins or two humans would, but an internal ‘knowing.’

Ever since Onyx came to be when Torin was thirteen, they’d been best friends. They shared the good and bad times. The pair had gotten into trouble together as boys, worked their real and proverbial tails off in college and then the Academy so they could be on the maritime police force, then fell head over tail in love with their soul mates, Jayde and Sandy. They experienced the joy of Sandy’s pregnancy with little Rainie and talked of the day when she would find her inner dolphin, giving Onyx a daughter of his own.

Torin needed to come out here with Rainie more often again, allowing her to interact with Onyx like she used to all the time. The closer she came to her First Shift, the more important her relationship with him would be, for he would be able to help her learn the ways of the dolphin.

It wasn’t like she didn’t have any dolphin interaction though, as she came out with Rhonda’s dolphin, Penny, about once a week. But both Rhonda and Penny were older now, and not in the best of shape, and Rainie needed her father just as much as he really needed her and his own mother’s love.

But Torin pushed all of them away, sucked down into the dark waters of anger and sadness.

Enough about him, Onyx thought, for he wanted to make the most of his time. First things first, food! So, Onyx swam out to where the regular dolphins hunted, searching for a particular pod. There was a lady-dolphin in this pod who’d caught his eye last month (okay, captured his soul), and he wanted to see if she was still as pretty as he remembered - and available.

In comparison to other shifter species, dolphins were unique. Unlike regular dolphins who do not mate for life, shifters did have a soul mate whom they would mate for life. But unlike wolves, the soul mate connection wasn’t completely hinged on one other soul.

So, the mated dolphin-shifter is an anomaly, and if his or her mate dies, there is an opportunity to find another soul mate.

Not to lessen the importance of soul mates, for they were still very special and rare, it just wasn’t as cut and dry as other shifters. Onyx knew this, and though he still mourned Jayde, he knew a change had come to Navarro Beach this year. He felt it in his soul. And if Torin would quit being so angry, he would feel it, too.

Finally, he found the pod, joining them in grazing on fish as they leapt and dove into the waters colored orange by the sunset. And there she was, he didn’t even know her name, but he knew she was the one.

She had lighter colored fins then the others, and Onyx thought them to be the most beautiful fins he’d ever laid eyes on. She noticed him looking after her and slowed her pace so he could catch up.

Chirping and squeaking, Onyx introduced himself, and soon discovered that the beauty was named Gina, and that she had also felt the strong connection between them last month, and again now.

Normally, shifters attract only to other shifters, and even though there weren’t many shifters in these waters (especially after the aquarium’s reputation got out decades ago), he was still surprised to learn that Gina wasn’t a shifter at all.

“What did this mean?” He wondered. Was Torin so far gone that he’d lost the ability to gain another soul mate and this was fate’s way of allowing him to have one, even if Torin didn’t?

No, he knew that wasn’t right, for he’d felt something in the air earlier when Torin had went to pick Rhonda up from the aquarium.

Being the young, frisky creature that she was, Gina’s call snapped him back to the present. She wanted to get to know more about this unusual male who claimed to be her soul mate, while having some fun at the same time. Onyx was ready to lay claim to her now, as dolphins in general were very sexual creatures, being one of the few mammals, like humans, to couple with each other for pleasure.

Considered very promiscuous by nature, dolphins had no problem getting down to business soon after meeting. And males were always ready, having an erection 24/7. But Gina would need to understand that, unlike the rest of her pod, if she accepted his proposal, she would mate with him exclusively until one of them died. After they mated for the first time, she would understand and feel the desire for him as her soul mate as strongly as he already did. But he had to be sure she was okay with that.

An hour later, Onyx had sufficiently explained the situation without giving in to her temptations to make love before she had time to decide if she wanted him for life. She seriously contemplated the situation and finally expressed how she had never wanted to be with any other male the way she’d already felt for him. As it is with soul mates of any species, the feeling is indescribable, and she told him that she would be his as much as he was already hers.

They danced through the water, twisting and sliding around, over, and under one another through the current. Then finally they joined in union as he penetrated her slit, the pleasurable sensations running from both of their organs throughout their entire bodies.

Surfacing at last, the couple float for a moment relishing the moment together. Onyx felt more complete than he had in a long time. And while Gina would never be Jayde, he knew he didn’t want her to be. Gina was special and beautiful to him in her own way, and that’s what he loved about her. He did love her!

As the pair rested, he told Gina more about his human and their now-dead soul mates, and she listened carefully, understanding that Onyx wouldn’t be able to be with her all of the time, as Torin had a family and responsibilities. Suddenly, he had a thought, telling Gina about the feeling he had at the aquarium earlier today.

Gina, being very astute herself, determined that perhaps the woman Torin was so mad at was his soul mate, and that his anger was misplaced feelings because he felt like he would be replacing his wife.

Onyx considered this carefully, unsure, but not dismissing the thought. Finally, he told Gina that he must go, for he wanted to see about something before he had to give himself back over to Torin.

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