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~Lauren~
Did I ever think I’d live to see the day where my great-granddaughter turned into one of the very creatures I hated? No. But it doesn’t change anything. Over the years, my family has endured so much. For every bad thing that happened, there was also a good thing. We fought for everything we have today and not once did we ever give up. Not on each other…and not on love. The mermaids…they are part of our family now. And we’ll learn to love and accept them as our own. All in good time. Seems to me that life is a lot like the ocean. It can be calm or still. Rough or rigid. But in the end…it’s always beautiful. This is our happily ever after.

The End.

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~Odessa~
We used our savings to buy a piece of beach property and turned it into a private lot. It was worth every penny. And every Saturday, whether it rained or the sun shined, we went to the shoreline…and waited. Sometimes Eli’s extended family would come with us but most of the time it was just the three of us. Eli taught Seamus how to swim while I’d take the boat out and carefully scan the waves…until I saw her. Our daughter, the mermaid, with her tail glittering in the water that surrounded her. She swam up and I hugged her tightly. She smiled radiantly at me and told me that she had good news. Seela was working on a potion that would give Chelsea legs whenever she stepped out of the ocean. I squealed in delight. “That’s the best news I’ve ever heard!” She nodded and grinned. “I thought you’d say that.” I leaned back comfortably in the boat and listened to her happily chatter away. I felt as if a burden had been lifted from my shoulders. I would no longer have to worry about my family’s future…Chelsea would be able to live in the best of both worlds.

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~Odessa~
As they swam off into the sunset, it felt like my heart was breaking into a million pieces. Was it the right thing to do? Was it truly the best thing for Chelsea? I don’t know. Only time will tell…
~Chelsea~
Loch and Seela welcomed me into their family with open arms. I felt completely at home in their cavern under the sea. Did I miss my parents and my life as a human? I did. But there was nothing I could do to change it. Except move forward…

 

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~Chelsea~
By the time I made it to shore, Mom was seething. I already knew what troubled her…Seela had filled me in. But a deal was a deal. “An arranged marriage? You can’t be serious!” Mom protested while clenching her fists. “It’s not like that, Mom. I actually like him.” I admitted shyly. “And I promise to take care of her…for as long as I may live. Speaking of which…Finneas will never bother your family again.” Loch assured my parents. Mom put her fingers to her temples. “I always knew he’d meet a bad end one day.” She muttered. “Are you sure that you have to do this? You could come home…we could dig a pond…or something.” I giggled and shook my head. “What would the neighbors think?” She sighed and gave a little shrug but I could tell she was starting to relax a little. Dad put his arm around her shoulders and tried to soothe her. “O, I’m going to tell you the same thing you told me when Chelsea moved into the dorms…I know you’ll miss her, but it’s not the end of the world. She’ll be fine.” I nodded my head encouragingly. “Better than fine.” I added while smiling warmly at Loch. “And I’ll come to the beach to see you guys every weekend. I’ll never be too far away.” I promised them. “We’ll ensure she keeps those promises.” Seela offered. Mom glared at her in response. “The sun will be coming up soon, we need to go before anyone sees us. I love you both, and I’ll see you next weekend.” Dad gave me a tight hug and a kiss on the cheek. Then mom held me for so long I didn’t think she’d ever let go. But finally she did…

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~Chelsea~
“Hello, mother.” Loch greeted the mysterious woman warmly. Startled, I introduced myself. “Hi. It’s nice to meet you. I’m Chelsea.” I said nervously. She nodded in my direction. “Chelsea’s parents have been contacted. They are waiting on the shore to speak with her.” My parents! I gasped. “Did you talk to them? What did they say?” I asked. “Quite a bit.” Seela muttered.
 
~Odessa~
The strange phone call we received gave us the best news we could’ve hoped for. Chelsea was waiting for us at the beach! Imagine my surprise when we found the sea witch waiting for us instead. “It’s been a long time, Odessa. I hope you have been well.” Seela rasped. I threw my hands up and turned away. “Do not speak to me! All of this is your fault! You turned me into a human, yet my daughter has a tail? I cannot help but think you had something to do with that!” I pointed my finger at her angrily. “Now where is Chelsea?” I snapped. “I never intervened. I believe it was fate.” Seela said calmly. “Now, about our bargain…” I interrupted her and turned to Eli. “I made a deal to be human without knowing the price! I just wanted to be with you. Please forgive me.” I put my hands on his face and gazed into his eyes. “I don’t blame you, O. Nothing would make me feel differently about you.” He reassured me. Seela cleared her throat “No need for all the dramatics. No one is going to die. And to clarify, I never wanted to tear your family apart…I only wanted to…extend it…”

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~Chelsea~
Finneas was furious that his plans had been foiled. The veins in his neck looked ready to pop. He reached towards me once more but stopped suddenly when Loch muttered an incantation of sorts. A magic spell? Finneas’ eyes grew wide and he began clawing at his throat…almost as if he couldn’t breathe. He fell to the ground and twitched for a few moments before he finally became still. “You have no idea how glad I am to see you, Loch. But you have a lot of explaining to do.” I said, eyeing first his hands then his tail. He nodded. “Soon.” I glared at Finneas’ unmoving body. “Is he dead?” Loch moved closer to me. “Yes. He’ll never be able hurt you again.” He assured me. “Good. So what now? I obviously can’t go home. And I can’t stay here.” Loch pulled me close and kissed me. “You’ll come with me, Chelsea. You’ll never be alone. We’ll have each other.” He promised. “I’d like that.” I murmured as he kissed me again. “When do we leave?” He took my hand and kissed it. “Soon. First…you need to tell your family goodbye.” He said sorrowfully. “Follow me.” As we swam towards the shoreline he told me that my parents had already been contacted and would meet me at the beach. I stopped swimming. “Contacted by who?” I asked warily. When he didn’t answer, I followed his gaze to a figure in the water ahead of us…

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~Chelsea~
“I want to go home. Please.” I pleaded with Finneas. “You can’t ever go home again. You are no longer a human, you won’t survive on land. Unless you want to live in a tank for the rest of your days.” He said in a matter of fact tone. “But I can make you very happy here…if you’ll let me.” He put his hand over mine. “You’re disgusting!” I shouted, pulling my hand out of his. He laughed and shook his head. “Strong willed, like your mother. You don’t understand…just like she never did. There aren’t many of us left. And we have to do anything possible to make sure our species thrives!” He walked over to where I was standing and put his hand on my cheek. “You’ll grow to love me. In time.” He promised. I slapped him hard across his face. “Never.” I sneered. He lunged at me and his hand closed over my throat. “You will.” He growled as I gasped for breath. Just when I thought I might black out, I saw blue pulses of light fill the cave…then I heard a deep voice. “Let her go!” Instantly Finneas released me from his grasp. “What are YOU doing here? And how did you find us?” Finneas asked, fuming. I looked over in the direction the voice came from and was shocked at what I saw. It was Loch…

 

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~Chelsea~
It was dark in the lab…the scientists had gone home for the night leaving me alone with my thoughts. I kept picturing my mom’s face from the day before…did she really think that I was lost to her just because I embraced being a mermaid? It was my birthright. I had begun to doze off when I heard a loud splash in the tank…then someone or something grabbed me by the waist and covered my mouth so I couldn’t scream. “Shhh. It’s only me.” Came the sinister voice of my uncle…Finneas. “I’m taking you back where you belong. Do not fight me or you will die.” Once he had me out of the tank, he forced me to drink a potion…promising that it would be better if I slept during our journey. With shaking hands, I gulped it down. I didn’t become aware of my surroundings until much later…after we’d already reached our destination. I could feel the sea all around me…but my eyelids still felt too heavy to open. I was laying on something soft..and I could tell that he was nearby. Then he spoke. “You look just like her.” I felt his hand run down my tail. Then he was gone. My eyes shot open and I jerked upright…now was the time to flee! Or not. “It’s no use, Chelsea.” He said from behind me. “There’s nowhere you can go.”

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~Chelsea~
A week later and I was still confined to the tank. But all hope wasn’t lost, I knew that when I heard my mother’s voice coming from the reception area.”I don’t care if the government IS aware of what’s going on here! I want to see her! NOW!” I could hear Mom bellowing. The doors to the lab flew open and both of my parents started going off on the scientists. Finally Mom looked up at me with her mouth hanging open. “What did you do to her?” She cried. “Look at my tail! Isn’t it wonderful?” I beamed at her. Mom looked at me like I’d kicked her dog or something. “Don’t be sad, Mom. I’m fine. Really! I’m so glad you came to see me. And I can’t wait to get out of here!” I paused and smiled. “The sea is calling to me…did you feel like that too?” Apparently I’d asked the wrong question though…she collapsed to the floor in front of me. Dad bent down to comfort her. “Have we lost her?” I heard her wail. I tried my best to sound positive. “Mom…Dad…don’t be upset. I’m not lost…I’m right here.” But my voice was drowned out by my mother’s sobs…

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