Episode Six: Finding Your Fins (1.6)

Welcome back to Mermaid Bachelorette! Last episode, the contestants and Amira held a party at the mansion – and this time, it’s back to the speed dating! But who will make the biggest impression? Stay tuned to find out!

As the sun shone above onto the canopy, Arhun stayed in the shade, scrolling through reviews on his tablet. He’d come prepared this time, and wanted to show Amira a good time on their two-hour date today.

He felt as though he’d managed to impress her the last time, and didn’t want to fall short, or fall behind the other contestants. Like with everything, proper planning was the key – even if he had a major disadvantage facing him.

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Inside, Scorpius and Shiro sat together. They’d been told that they wouldn’t be seeing Amira until they reached their chosen destination, and Shiro had felt comfortable enough to talk to Scorpius.

“I’ve got something planned for today,” he said, quietly. “But I’m pretty nervous about it.”

“Well, I wish you the best,” Scorpius said, smiling. “Zissy and I talked, and she said Amira really liked the ruins, so I thought I’d take her to the old castle in Windenburg.”

“How is Zissy?”

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“Well, she’s doing alright.” Scorpius sighed. “I think she knows she pushed Skye too far, so she’s a little wary of doing it again.”

Shiro gave him a nervous smile. “Well, I don’t think any of us want her to do it again.”

“Agreed.”

 

Amira and Arhun arrived together at a place that she’d never before seen, and she was almost puzzled, until he turned around and smiled widely at her.

“Welcome to the Balance Spa!”

“Oh my goodness!” she squeaked, looking at him. “A spa? You booked us a spa?”

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“Yep! We’ve got a short stay, but I managed to book some things for us. I hope they’ll be enjoyable to you.” He tried not to sound too formal, but Amira’s delight was clear as she looked around. The sound of water was everywhere – he’d read a review saying that this spa had the most relaxing fountains out of all of the nearest ones, and so his research had paid off. This morning had mostly been spent idly checking feedback on this spa.

And they were right about the fountains.

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They spent an hour meditating together, in a candlelit room that seemed to have the perfect ambience. Amira found herself soothed and relaxed, and the water feature that trickled just behind them helped immensely.

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Once their hour was up, Arhun led her upstairs, where they’d been booked into separate massages. She found that she appreciated that he’d made such a gesture, as she’d have felt a little uncomfortable if he’d assumed they’d get a couple’s massage on a second date.

The masseuse smiled as she rubbed her shoulders. “Just relax…”

And Amira did.

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Next door, Arhun was chatting away to the man who was rubbing his feet.

“I’m in a…new environment, and it’s rather difficult,” he admitted. “Some of my housemates don’t get along.”

“Oh, I hear that. It also explains some of this tension.” The man pressed hard. “But that’s a good reason to treat yourself, right?”

“Definitely.” Arhun sighed as he relaxed back into the chair.

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The next date location might not have been a spa, but Amira found herself loving it just as much.

“Shiro, this place…it’s beautiful!” She looked around the secluded beach, while Shiro found himself a little captivated by Amira. He loved how she reacted to new places, new things, with such vibrancy.

“Well, it seemed like your kind of place,” he said, quietly. “I thought that we could go swimming.”

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Amira turned around, surprised. She’d not seen Shiro’s mermaid form, although he’d come in dripping water occasionally, and so she followed him down to the beach, waiting patiently.

“My family…we’re very distinctive,” he said, trying not to think exactly how distinctive. “I wanted to show you, but…” He stepped into the water. “I think I was afraid, before.”

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A dark fin flicked as he dived past a shoal of colourful fish, the mermaid shape shifting into focus under the beautiful water. Amira stepped in, watching with wide eyes before following suit.

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“So…this is me,” he said, as he surfaced. “Do you….”

“Shiro, you…” Amira’s eyes were as fixated on him as they had been on the beach. “You really did this for me?”

“Yeah, I, uh, I guess I did.” He looked embarrassed. “I wanted you to see this. I mean, not a lot of other people have seen this, and…I know that things between us –” He took a deep breath. “You’re the first person to see this side of me in a long while, but I wanted you to.”

“I’m glad I did,” Amira said, softly. More and more, Shiro kept surprising her.

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After that revealing date, Amira ended up at GeekCon, ordering veggie burgers for herself and Zissy.

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Zissy, on the other hand, was having a whale of a time behind her, playing a competitive game. All around, people were having fun, wearing costumes, and playing video games. Personally, Amira thought that Arhun would have very much liked it here…had it been inside rather than in a square. She’d started to notice he preferred not to go outside.

But Zissy seemed to be having a good time.

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When the match ended, Zissy came over to Amira with shining eyes.

“It’s so good that they’ve made their options more vegetarian!” She smiled down at the food. “Seriously, I love when events are inclusive like this.”

“It’s…a lot to take in,” Amira said, looking around her. “It’s very popular, huh?”

“Well, I guess! But a lot of these popular events seem to find it pretty hard to be inclusive, and not everywhere sources responsibly. Even GeekCon – their shirts are…” Zissy hesitated. “Fast fashion, to be honest.”

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“Fast fashion?”

“Not made to last and mass produced. It’s too common and it’s so bad for the environment and the planet. I mean, people think it won’t hurt, but it always does.” She eyed the distant merch stall apprehensively. “But everyone does it. Everyone keeps buying the latest fashions, even if the clothes they have are perfectly good. It’s so wasteful.”

It certainly was something to think about for Amira, who had been given new clothes just for the show. As much as she loved the environment, it seemed more and more like Zissy knew more than she did about it.

 

 

Next up was her date with Scorpius, at an abandoned castle just outside Windenburg.

“Amira!” He took a look at her, and gave her a warm smile. “How are you holding up?”

“Well…” She hesitated.

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Scorpius was one of those people who was easy to talk to, she knew that much. He’d been getting along well with everyone. She found herself drawn into opening up a little.

“It’s a lot of responsibility at the moment. Sending someone home – I just wasn’t ready for how I’d feel, especially when everyone has their own good qualities.”

“It’s the nature of the show, not something that you’re to blame for. Everyone signed up for this, and you were enough to make them sign up in the first place.” He gave her a warm smile. “You can relax a little on that front. We all know that there’s the possibility that we’ll lose.”

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“That…actually does make me feel better,” Amira admitted. “Especially with the next elimination coming up so soon.”

They wandered the grounds, until Amira found a campfire and decided to show Scorpius what she and her siblings used to do in the summer at the beach with two batons that were free for public use.

She spun around, extending her arms so as not to catch her hair in the flames.

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“My mother taught us all how to fire dance,” she said, as she came to a stop, spinning the sticks.

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“Well, I think teachers are only as good as their students,” Scorpius said, impressed. “You’ll have to give me a lesson sometime!”

 

Amira’s next date was at a swimming pool, something she’d never experienced before. She nervously looked around as she climbed up the diving board.

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“I figured you wouldn’t have been somewhere like this before,” Ursula called, her voice echoing in the large hall. “It’s pretty neat, and in this sort of place they don’t get many mermaids. Not like your beaches.”

Amira didn’t quite know how to respond.

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Once in the water, she looked around for Ursula. She wasn’t sure about the smell of the swimming pool, but felt relieved to see the other mermaid.

“There, see? Not so bad.” From the other girl’s smirk, she could tell her discomfort had been easy to read.

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“I…I’ve never been to somewhere like this,” Amira admitted, looking around. “This is all new to me.”

“Well, I come here all the time. It’s a neat place to come if you don’t wanna trek to the beach and need to hydrate.” Ursula smiled. “I mean, it can be crowded, sure, but Windenburg is pretty cool, if you give it a chance.”

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Amira was struck suddenly by the thought that perhaps Sulani, much as she loved it, might not be so loved by every mermaid. Shiro clearly loved San Myshuno deeply, and Ursula had, both times, taken her to Windenberg. That she’d ever leave her beloved island had never crossed her mind before, but could she really expect someone else to leave their home for her? She looked around her, and decided to think on it more later.

“I don’t need to be in the sea to have a good time swimming with you,” she said, honestly, and Ursula gave her one of her small, happy smiles.

 

 

That evening, however, her date was with Skye, and at a bar in Sulani. Even though it wasn’t in the water, and even though it was at night, rather than in the sunshine, she found herself much more relaxed and opening up to Skye a little more.

“Sulani is just so idyllic, you know?” She gave her a nervous smile. “And I know what people say about mermaids and the islands and how we never leave, and that just isn’t true, but it’s where I grew up. It’s what I know.”

“Well, I guess that you took a big leap of faith with this show.” Skye’s hand reached for hers. “And I’m glad you did. Meeting you…it’s really been an experience.”

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She wanted to say more, confide in Amira about how Zissy and she had fallen out, but she and Arhun had talked and he’d warned her that it probably was best to leave it for now. If Amira felt too conflicted, Skye would definitely regret it. Still, it felt like lying not to tell her.

“Actually, Amira?” Skye looked around. “I know a place not far from here. Do you want to come with me?”

“Sure!”

The ‘place’ was a bench over a little bridge near the bar, surrounded by thick, lush leaves that were better than any giant umbrella you could find.  Amira smiled as Skye sat down next to her.

“Amira, I wanted…to say that no matter what happens, I’m happy that we got to know each other.” Skye took a deep breath. “Because, I really like you.”

“I…like you too.” Amira blushed. “I don’t know how this is supposed to balance, but I feel like I can relax around you.”

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That settled it, for Skye. If she told Amira about the screaming match she’d had with Zissy, Amira’s relaxation might be done for.

“Hey, what else are potential datemates for?” she teased.

 

Amira thought things over when everyone was back at the house. Sure, things might not be perfect, and certainly it wasn’t conventional, but this was enjoyable. She didn’t know who she would or wouldn’t get along with, and tomorrow would be a hard decision. But after talking about it with Scorpius, thinking about things, and finally getting to know everyone that little bit better, she felt as though she’d found her rhythm again.

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She’d just have to wait and see what tomorrow would bring.

(Side note – I’m unsure if Amira and Zissy’s Hot Weather outfits were their original outfits, as I think I have some lingering issues from the patch. Please let me know if this is so!)

(Shiro belongs to 15aewar, Ursula belongs to VanPelt81, Skye belongs to Irishsong, Zissy belongs to marryacheesecake, Arhun belongs to Butterfreeguy, and Scorpius belongs to INFINILoki! And as always, Amira belongs to me!)