Chapter 5 : The Mermaid and Her Prince
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The next morning Draco woke to Carina still asleep in his arms. He could feel her heart beating upon his chest and her soft, steady breathing warming his own heart. Sunlight streamed through the opening in the doorway. Draco did not want to move because he was enjoying watching Carina sleep and feeling her warmth transferring on to him.
There was a sudden pounding on the door that startled Draco and woke up Carina.
Oh, bloody hell! It better not be that Blaine guy.
Carina hurriedly got up, brushed her hair, slipped on a robe, and rushed to answer the door as Draco took his time getting up off the bed and trudging into the kitchen. Draco made himself some Ovaltine, which he had gotten used to by now.
Draco couldn't see or hear the person at the door with Carina, but thought it probably was not Blaine. A sigh of relief escaped his lips.
There was a pause.
“Oh, thank you so much, Mrs. G.!”
“Okay. See you later and thank you again!” Carina shut the door.
“So what was that about, and who's Mrs. G.?” Draco asked while sipping on his Ovaltine.
Carina turned around with a white envelope in her hand and a grin on her face.
“Mrs. G. is the landlady here. 'G' for Gaskill. And she's definitely got skill 'cause she won tickets through a radio station she listens to nonstop. The tickets are for some fantasy romance movie that's coming out in a couple of weeks. I heard it's gonna be really good. It was based on a best-selling book about witches and wizards,” Carina answered excitedly, while practically jumping up and down.
“Oh, okay,” Draco said uninterested. Being a wizard himself made watching muggle movies on magic seem pretty boring.
“You don't wanna watch it?” Carina asked with a worried expression.
Draco ruffled his uncombed blonde hair seriously thinking about if he should go. He sighed.
“Aww, c'mon. You can't let me go by myself...unless you want me to ask Blaine...,” Carina pouted with her bottom lip protruding like a child.
Draco stopped ruffling his hair at the mention of Blaine's name. He looked at Carina pouting with puppy eyes at him.
She's so cute. There's no way I'm letting her go with that jerk too.
He sighed again with a half smile.
“Fine. I'll go with you,” he said with a slight chuckle.
Sucks for you, Blaine-ikins.
Carina yelled, “Yay!” and hugged Draco before humming as she twirled around in circles to the kitchen to make her own mug of Ovaltine.
Draco smiled as he sipped more of his own and watched Carina happily twirl about in the kitchen.
It can't be that bad, can it?
“Mm, yeah?” Draco asked snapping out of his thought bubble.
Carina held her mug of Ovaltine close to her lips. She seemed to be contemplating something on a deeper level. Draco smiled as he waited patiently. She glanced up and their eyes met. A slight blush graced her cheeks.
“Well, it's summer and all, so I wanted to know if you would like to, um...” Carina was fidgeting where she stood with her eyes looking at the ground.
“Go on,” Draco encouraged her.
Carina stopped fidgeting and looked Draco in the eye and smiled her bright smile.
“Do you want to go swimming?”
“I can't believe you expect me to wear this! I mean c'mon, Carina! This is so embarrassing!” Draco complained from behind the bathroom door.
“Aw, it can't be that bad. Come out for just a sec and let me see, Draco,” Carina urged from the couch on the living room. She sat with her legs upon the coffee table and a digital camera in her hands.
“Fine,” Draco sighed with surrender.
The bathroom door creaked. Shifting to get a better angle to take the shot, Carina lifted her legs onto the couch and readied herself. The camera was held too low for Draco to see when he came out. Draco's embarrassed and unhappy pink face appeared first from behind the slightly ajar door.
“C'mon, Draco. We don't have all day!” Carina giggled.
Draco's face only grew more embarrassed and unhappy. He sighed once more. The door swung wide open. Draco stood there barechested and barefooted with only a black speedo on.
“What is that?” Draco asked as Carina looked down at the display screen of her digital camera.
She looked up at Draco with a surprised expression.
“What is that thing and what did you do?” Draco asked rather afraid.
An amused smiled spread across Carina's face as fast as it takes to snap open a fan. Immediately she hopped off the couch and snapped shots nonstop as she twirled Draco about.
WHAT IN MERLIN'S NAME IS SHE DOING?! DARK ARTS?!
“Carina!” Draco exclaimed his face beat red.
Carina froze and looked up at him guiltily.
“I'm sorry. I'll delete all the pictures then,” she mumbled as she let her right hand fall to her side with the camera in its possession. “I was only fooling around just for fun and possibly blackmail. It's a wonder how you've survived without knowing about technology that's been out for a good amount of years and all...”
Draco smiled uneasily as Carina stared at him with a worried and somewhat doubtful expression.
“Eh, my grandfather hated all the modern stuff like that. He was the head of the house, so there was no going against him,” Draco made up on the spot.
“Are you related to people who are Quakers or something?” Carina asked.
“Y'know. Those nice people who don't use technology and such.”
Draco stared at Carina dumbfounded. She laughed and shrugged it off.
“Can I get out of this thing now?” Draco asked noticing how cool it was now that he was no longer blushing.
“Ah, sure. I'll go get the swimming trunks for you try on then.”
“They won't have anything humiliating on them, do they?” Draco asked afraid of what might come next.
Carina laughed and smirked as she strode into her bedroom.
Merlin, save me.
The swimming trunks were safe and manly enough for Draco – an emerald green with two white stripes running down the sides of the pass-the-knee trunks. It reminded him of his Slytherin uniform. Ah, the good ol' days at Hogwarts. He and Carina drove off to the beach in her tiny car that they stuffed with a beach umbrella, beach chairs, towels, a cooler, a boombox, a picnic basket, and a beach bag with other little necessities. It was still a miracle to Draco how all that could fit in the puny thing of a car without it exploding – it was about the same size as that one car those Asians drove in that commercial promoting some thing called a “Wii”.
The sun shone with a blinding brilliance when the couple reached the beach. There were a lot of people, but it was not overly crowded. Carina and Draco set up their little area along the sand only several feet away from the water's edge. Carina had worn an oversized white T-shit and denim shorts over her bathing suit. Draco did not have the pleasure of seeing Carina in her bathing suit back at her apartment, which he felt was a bit unfair since she made him try his on for her. The pictures she showed him of him in the speedo were rather embarrassing too. Without saying it out loud, he admitted he did kind of look good in the speedo.
“Can you help me put sunblock on my back, Draco?” Carina asked as she looked at him over her shoulder.
“Sure,” Draco happily complied.
Carina pulled off her shirt and kicked off her shorts.
Draco felt his jaw drop.
The red bikini top only had one string tied around her back and one string tied around her neck. The red bikini bottom was tied on both sides of her hips. Bottom. Merlin. She had a nice one. The way her bikini bottom did not quite cover all of it was so –
I'm a pervert!
Draco shut his eyes and slapped himself for thinking such dirty things of Carina.
I don't feel deserving of her feeling safe around me...
“Draco?” Carina called as she sat down near him and passed him the sunblock. “Everything okay?”
“Yeah. Turn around and I'll do your back.”
Carina smiled and turned as she was told. She moved her hair over her right shoulder. She started on rubbing the sunblock on other areas of skin where she was capable of reaching. A whiff of her flowery shampoo was caught by Draco and he calmed down a bit. The sense of calm was immediately cut short. He had to touch Carina's skin. Her almost-bare back. A few deep breaths and a gulp of nervousness was what he took before he laid a sunblock covered hand on her. He rubbed slowly and carefully afraid something – anything – could go wrong at any moment. A dilemma came upon him – the string tied about Carina's back. Draco paused in his slathering on of sunblock.
“What's wrong? You haven't done my lower back yet,” Carina asked without turning her head.
“Ah, um,” Draco sputtered. He had no clue how to go about the situation.
Carina seemed to chuckle for a moment. Her right hand reached up her back to where Draco's hand was still making contact with her skin. That hand of hers took Draco's and slid it under the string. Draco's face burned red no longer from potential sunburn.
“You didn't get that part yet right?” Carina asked. A smile was on her face when she glanced at Draco over her shoulder.
Draco finished up rubbing sunblock on Carina silently with a blush permanently on his face during the whole period of time. Spared from doing the lower back in proximity of of Carina's bottom, Draco was relieved of going through some mental and physical torture. It was Carina's turn to rub his back though.
Her small hands rubbed in circles to a calm rhythm. She hummed a in pitch with the song playing on the boombox they had brought along. The feeling of the soft warm pressures of her palms gliding along Draco's back was so relaxing that he was struggling not to doze off from it and the warmth of the sun above him after he had finished rubbing sunblock on everywhere else.
The trance was disrupted when Carina squeaked and her hand suddenly slipped passed Draco ribs. Her hand crashed upon Draco's thigh, while her body had crashed upon his back. Draco's face was bright red once more.
On my back...
The hand on his thigh was quickly withdrawn and the pressure on his back was relieved.
...two soft bumps...
“I'm so sorry, Draco!” Carina apologized, though it went in one ear and out the other for Draco.
Keep it together!
And arms were wrapped around his chest. The pressure was back. Draco's whole face was red as a tomato.
KEEP IT TOGETHER!!!
The hug became tighter.
“Augh!” Draco yelled suddenly.
He grabbed Carina's thighs and hurriedly carried her on his back to the water. A scream of surprise had come out of his passenger's mouth, but he did not stop wading farther into the cool until it was above his waist. He relaxed in relief that Carina would not be able to clearly see his swimming trunks.
“What was that for?” Carina laughed as she leaned onto Draco with her cheek against his.
“Uh, I figured you were done. We have to get into the water some time today,” Draco answered.
They spent the rest of the day splashing and playing in the water, building a sand castle, and relaxing on the sand under the beach umbrella's shade, and eating and drinking what they had brought with them. The sun was setting into the sea by the time Draco and Carina had decided to pack their things and say farewell to the beach.
“It's pretty isn't it?” Carina asked as she straightened up after she and Draco tidied up and were about to pick up their things and head to the car.
“Yeah,” Draco agreed as he did not stare at the sunset, but at Carina. Her hair flew in wisps about her face as if they were lightly kissing her cheeks and nose and eyelashes and forehead and ... lips.
With a smile, Carina faced Draco as she tucked her hair behind her ears.
“I've always liked the way it looks like a stretched out rainbow that's also reflected upon the water's surface. Something about it makes me warm and happy inside,” Carina said. Stretching her arms to the sky, she twirled about in circles. Her black hair flowed like waves about her head with each slight movement she made. “It kinda reminds me of the mermaid in the lullaby – always seeing this same sunset as she waited for - “
Carina gasped in surprise as one of her feet collided with something on the sand, which caused her to lose her balance and fall face-forward onto Draco. He wrapped his arms around Carina the moment she made contact with his chest. For a moment, Carina's heartbeat could be felt by Draco. She steadied herself as she used Draco for support. Her fingers gently pressed upon his bare skin and her hair tickled his lips. Still wrapped in Draco's arms, Carina stared up into his eyes with some emotion he had not see before and was not quite sure what it was either. Resting on his chest – on his heart – were Carina's hands. They stared into each other's eyes with nothing but the melody of the waves and the rhythm of their two hearts making a strange song for their ears.
Slowly moving forward to each other and closing their eyes to everything else in the world, it seemed an eternity before they could reach each other. A warm breeze gently wrapped the couple in summer's heat as their lips finally met.
It was soft and light, but Draco could feel an electric current surging through his body – starting from his lips. And it ended too soon.
Carina had pulled back slowly with her eyes still closed.
Draco let his arms sluggishly fall to his sides.
Once more the waves and their beating hearts made the same strange song as Draco and Carina stood there blushing at each other. The sun was just about gone and the round tarnished white moon observed the couple with all the stars glittering in the dark sky.
“I-I-I really really like you, Draco. I'm sorry about just now. Just forge- “
Draco cut Carina off by pressing his index finger to her lips.
“I really really like you too, Carina.”
And lips met again and again with the song of the mermaid filling the warm starry night.
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