Castella lay on her back wrapped in the sheets Tessa and Sandra insisted she use along with a covering they called a nightdress. Through the open window, sounds of the surf reached Cateslla’s ears. So close and yet so far away her former home called to her. Would she ever be able to return?
Nitchell, the sea sprite, had been the first to pay her homage. Shivers of chagrin and apprehension had rippled through her partly settled stomach. No one could find her unless she kept on announcing her name aloud and where she came from. Still Nitchell’s simple act had the others moving at various points around the area they occupied. Sandra had spoken of urgency and protection. Tessa had added her concerns. The males stood their ground as though none wanted to admit their surprise. Castella had tried to hide her half smile as she sipped the warm water.
“Princess Castella, I am honored to meet you.” Nitchell began to rise looking around him. Shit, what a group of morons had he teamed up with? Even humans showed their royalty respect. Why weren’t they doing this with Castella?
“I know you are out of your element,” Nemos began, his head moved from side to side as though he watched the beach and those moving upon the sands further up the way. “You didn’t wash up on the beach for no reason. I suspect you need help.”
Castella snuggled deeper into the sheets pulling the light blanket up. As much as she missed the wetness of the ocean and the tang of salt-water coursing over her gills, the cooler dry air of the land sent chills racing across her damp skin. The warmth of the shower Sandra and Tessa had help her take lingered briefly as they had assisted her with toweling off.
Her legs had buckled and moved like soaked pieces of paper ready to snap with the first hard rush of current against them. The one called Cason had swept her up in his arms carrying her inside and from the bathing area to the bed. The look on his face reminded her of her husband. Desire and need reared their demands and swept on her. How could she feel things this rapidly? Her husband lay dead upon the ocean floor not more than—not more than how many hours? Days? Passages of time moved differently for humans than merfolk. Regardless to be feeling this for another so soon appalled Castella.
Tessa and Sandra’s parting words made sense as sleep began to claim Castella. “Rest, and know you are safe. You need land legs for your journey. We’re here to help you. You’re one of us now.”