Episode Four: Cat Among the Pigeons (1.4)

Last time on Mermaid Bachelorette, Callum was sent home after failing to click with Amira. Now that only six contestants are left, things are starting to get heated…

After the elimination, it was a ‘free day’, according to the tinny voice in the speakers that had woken them up that morning. The contestants and Amira could do as they wanted for the day, which Amira supposed was a good thing. Giving them time to think and recover after an elimination was, on paper, a good idea.

However, Amira woke up early, and wandered out onto the deck of the house. She felt bad for how things had turned out, and she really did wish Callum the best. She just hadn’t been able to feel a connection with him.

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She also knew the eliminations would only get harder from here on out as she got closer and closer to each contestant. It wasn’t going to be easy.

“Well, these are…”

“Delicious!” Zissy chimed in, before Ursula could finish her sentence. “Tofu dogs for breakfast! I must be in heaven.”

“What were you doing up early enough to make breakfast for all of us?” Ursula asked, quietly, while Zissy tucked in. Skye approached the table at that moment, and Amira just looked away, an expression of guilt on her face.

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Skye took a bite, not expecting much from the veggie food, but pleasantly surprised.

“These are…actually pretty good.” Skye smiled at Amira. “I guess we can add ‘good cook’ to your list of attractive qualities.”

“Oh, thank you!” Amira blushed slightly. “My mother taught me a few tricks in the kitchen, although a lot of it has to do with condiments.”

Zissy smiled down the table as well. “I think it’s wonderful you can cook such beautiful vegetarian meals. We’ll have to get together and cook one sometime?”

Behind them, Scorpius hesitated. He’d wanted to join Amira, but Skye and Zissy had been circling each other like cats last night and it looked like it was still going on.

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“So, Amira…mind telling me where you got that amazing dress?” Ursula asked, changing the subject smoothly.

“Oh, I actually brought it with me. My mother likes traditional dress, so it was a present a couple of years ago. She’s got a good eye, don’t you think?”

“Uh, yeah. You looked like a million dollars!” Ursula seemed impressed. “I mean, I thought we pulled out all the stops, but your wardrobe’s seriously impressive.”

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“Some of it is down to the show,” Amira said, shyly. “They told me to bring a few nice outfits, and I…well, I did.”

“I’m with Ursula on the dress. I can’t wait to see what you pull out of the hat for the next ceremony.” Skye winked.

Shiro came into the kitchen followed by Scorpius, and unseen by the girls, Shiro gave Scorpius a silent thumbs up before sitting down at the end of the table with a book.

“Well, I’d better go get started on my Sunday yoga,” Zissy said, breezily. “I need to centre my energy a little.”

“Cool beans!” Scorpius said, happily. “See you later, Zee.”

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And so, the various contestants started their day, busying themselves with various hobbies.

Zissy practiced her yoga, trying to keep her inner peace and focus on herself. It helped that the mansion came with a spacious gym that looked out over a natural view of Sulani.

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Ursula, on the other hand, was working hard on her chess moves. She wondered if Arhun would be up for a game, but then he seemed to be a little shy. She was sad, if she was truthful, that Callum was gone, as they’d gotten along quite well due to his easy-going nature, but she had simply hugged him and given him her number to keep in contact. She wasn’t really the sort of person to cry over spilled milk.

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Shiro, having helped Scorpius navigate breakfast, was relaxing out in the water on one of the floats. The sound of the waves gently pushing against it soothed him, as did the warmth of the Sulani sunshine. It really was beginning to feel more and more like home here.

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All in all, things were going pretty well up until Skye and Zissy were in the living room together and Zissy decided to try and talk to Skye about how everything was going.

“Skye, I thought we should have an honest chat about our feelings, seeing as how we’re the top two contestants at the minute.” She gave Skye a raised eyebrow. “It’d be silly to have unspoken bad blood between us.”

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Oh, hell no.

“Zissy, I know you think this is a good thing to do, but I am not going to have a talk about our feelings with you.” She couldn’t stop a little disdain from entering her voice.

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“I think it would be a good idea, Skye! I mean, otherwise we’ll get competitive, and it could get pretty ugly. I won the first challenge, and you received the first rose, so it’s natural to feel some resentment. As long as we talk it out, we should be alright.” Zissy smiled innocently. “Don’t you think?”

“No, I don’t think!”

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The vehemence in Skye’s voice seemed to shock Zissy, who leaned back from the now fuming Skye.

“I told you I didn’t want to talk! Some resentment? The only resentment I have is with how you seem to think it’s okay to badger me like this, or the fact that you thought it would be okay to ask me to even do something like that, or maybe even the way you think it’s alright to interrupt people when they’re talking with Amira! But you’re so focused on what you think should happen that you’re not thinking about…” Skye trailed off. “You know what, I’m not even going to apologise for that, because you wanted to know my feelings, and my feelings are that you’re a pretty selfish person, Zissy.”

Me?!”

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Arhun had wanted to come in to watch some TV, but the sound of raised voices had him hurrying in trying not to catch the girls’ eyes.

“Me, selfish? Do you know how much I do for the planet, for the environment?”

“Oh, how could I not? It’s all you talk about!” Skye rolled her eyes. “Like it’ll make any of us step back and humbly let you win!”

“Like you could ever be humble!” Zissy was really riled up. “I really have been trying to like you, Skye, but you make it super hard!”

You were the one that started it!” Skye was painfully aware of how childish it sounded to say that.

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For a moment, Zissy seemed cowed, but she soon recovered.

“I started trying to clear the air, and I won’t have my actions taken out of context. You’ve been hostile to me since Day One, and I think my positive energy threatens you, because you know that your negative energy isn’t something people like!”

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Yikes. That cut hard. Skye tried very hard not to let the hurt show on her face, but luckily for her, Zissy decided to try to appeal to Arhun.

“Arhun, tell her! Tell her that she’s being hostile!”

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Arhun sighed. He really had not wanted to get involved – he’d seen enough of this sort of catfighting behaviour before, and he’d not been wanting to see it again, but he stepped between the two girls.

“Tell her she can shove her energy right up her ass!” Skye interjected, before he could speak. Zissy shrieked angrily.

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Arhun smiled awkwardly. “Ladies, please don’t–”

Zissy cut him off. “You’re the worst! I’m done trying to get through your negative energy. You’re all negative!”

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With that, she swept out of the room, as much as one can sweep in a bikini. Skye blinked a tear back, and turned to Arhun.

“Thanks for having my back, Arhun.”

“No problem. You had mine on Day One, remember?”

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While Skye recovered, Arhun sighed. “Besides, I don’t think she was in the right to push you like that. It just sounded to me like she was angry at you.”

“She said she wanted us to talk about our feelings because we were the top two contestants. Apparently her going on the date and my getting the rose mean we’re the top, but…Honestly.”

“Huh. Maybe she was angry you got the rose first, then.” Arhun sighed. “I think she needs to figure things out for herself. Maybe she’s not used to being angry on her own behalf.”

“Whatever it is, I don’t want her talking to me like that again. Ugh, and we share a room. She shivered. “Tonight’s going to be awful.”

“Maybe she’ll calm down?” Arhun suggested, weakly. “Or I could room with Scorpius for the night, and you could stay in my bed.”

“That’s….really sweet.” She smiled at him. “Thanks, Arhun.”

 

Zissy’s mood didn’t improve, unfortunately, and some of that anger seemed to have settled on Arhun. When he walked into the living room, she stopped what she was doing to glare at him before sweeping out.

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“Oof. How’d you upset the princess?” Ursula asked, looking amused.

“Well, uh, she and Skye were having a fight, and she asked me to tell Skye that she was wrong, and I stepped between them. I believe most conflicts have…logical resolutions.” He looked between Shiro and Ursula, both of whom gave him slightly pitying looks.

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“Zissy…I haven’t seen this side of her before.” Shiro shook his head. “I think she and Skye make each other pretty volatile.”

“They’re oil and water, of course they do.” Ursula waved a hand. “Honestly, Arhun, why not let them fight it out?”

“Because Zissy was getting pretty nasty, and Skye isn’t a bad person.” Arhun sighed. “I think Zissy thought she’d get the first rose.”

“Let’s be honest though, we all thought that. She just shouldn’t have banked on it.” Ursula seemed very relaxed, and it somehow made Arhun less nervous. “They were clashing since Day One, and this won’t be the last time they argue unless one of them goes in the next round. We just have to be more prepared next time.”

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“Shiro?” Arhun looked to the other man. “What do you think?”

Shiro sighed. “I’ve seen enough of this sort of thing to know that this isn’t going to be the last of it. Ursula’s right. We can step in if it gets too bad, but this was brewing from the start. Either they’ll get over it or they won’t. And besides, Zissy being upset with you will fade. It’s Skye she’s got a bone to pick with.”

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“I…offered up my room to Skye for tonight,” Arhun admitted. “I thought that if they were in a room together, I could sleep on one of the sofas and give them each some more space.” Not that he was really, well, a sleeper, but no need to go into that.

“Well, that at least is a pretty good idea.” Ursula sighed. “Wasn’t looking forward to sharing a room with that hot mess of a situation.”

 

“So…” Scorpius sat down with his sandwich next to Shiro. “I never got to hear about how your date went!”

“Oh, man, it was amazing.” Shiro smiled widely at him. “Don’t think I could have done it without you cheering me on, but I took her to the art gallery in San Myshuno, and we just had the best time. She’s got this real love of colours, so I got to show her all my favourite paintings.”

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“That sounds like a classy date.” Scorpius was impressed. Shiro had seemed so closed off and shy at the beginning, but he really seemed to be blossoming now.

“Yeah! Although I heard you guys went swimming, so I’m guessing she loved that.”

“It was amazing, dude.” Scorpius smiled at his fellow contestant. “She’s a fast swimmer, and it was nice to see her in the water. She’s really something.”

“Talking of really something, Zissy and Skye had it out,” Shiro said, quietly. “Arhun ended up breaking it up, but they’re both pretty…mad right now.”

“Oh…” Scorpius shook his head. “I would have thought talking things out would help matters?”

“More shouting than talking, I think. Arhun said they were fighting.”

Scorpius looked down at his plate. He really didn’t like conflict. Perhaps he could go have a talk with Zissy.

 

“She is so… so….Ugh!” Skye raised a fist to hit the punchbag, while Arhun sat behind her on the meditation stool. He had suggested she work off some of her remaining anger, and to her surprise, yelling while punching the bag seemed to actually help.

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“I agree that she may have overstepped some boundaries.” Arhun sighed. “Zissy is still a fellow contestant though, and you’ll be living in the same house.”

“I know.” Skye aimed another punch at the bag. “I just have to try and not let her get to me. But I know she thinks I’m beneath her!”

“To be fair, you don’t know exactly what anyone’s thinking.” Arhun sighed. “Focus on your punches. Make them as good as you can. Controlling your anger is the first step to letting it go.”

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Skye sighed. “Alright. One more round.”

 

Scorpius found Zissy out on the deck, sitting at the chess table and looking quite sorry for herself.

“Zissy…” He sat down with her. “I know I’m the last person who should butt in, but I heard about what happened.”

“She’s so negative.” Zissy turned her head away. “I can’t deal with someone that negative.”

“No one is entirely negative. Besides, I know who you are. You’ve dealt with a lot of people and fought past a lot of things for the sake of the environment. But this environment is important too.”

“Which one?”

“The house. It has its own energy, and right now it’s not great. Sometimes, you have to learn to get along with people rather than trying to…” He trailed off. “Well, did you want to talk about it?”

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“I wanted…to clear any resentment between us.” Zissy looked down. “And she acted like I’d done something wrong!”

“Well…” Scorpius sighed. “I’m sure going over the fight too much won’t help, but if you try to get along with her, I’m sure that she’ll appreciate it in the end. Putting in the effort makes a lot of difference, and understanding others goes a long way.”

“Is that why you came to talk to me?” Zissy asked. “To understand?”

“Part that, and part wanting to help you understand. Skye has her boundaries, and you’re a very open person. You need to understand her. Understanding others is just as important as your connection to the earth.” He shook his head. “It’s probably silly, but we’re all on this planet together.”

“No, I get that! It’s…It’s just hard when you come up against someone who doesn’t get you.” Zissy smiled at him. “But thanks, Scorpius. I mean it.” She squeezed his hand across the table, and then stood up, heading inside.

(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!)