“Are you talking about me?” Said Sarita quietly.
“As I’ve lived down here I’ve grown to like the Poseidon Resort. I’ve also liked dealing with all the different people that came through here, showing them around and helping them with there strange activities. It was something I hadn’t really done before. However more than all that I have been entranced by the beauty that lives down here.”
Sarita swallowed, “You mean the beauty of the ocean right?”
“No, I am talking about you.” Clemens had decided to be as straightforward as possible. Hiding what he felt behind clever words would just confused the matter.
“But I’m…. I’m just…. A monster.” She said looking down at her hands. While they were almost normal except of the silver scales covering them they held horrific power. She had fought fish many times her size with those hand and won.
“I’ve never thought that. From the very first time I saw you I always thought you looked stunning and the more I grew to know you I realized what is behind those looks. I kind woman who cares about other people.”
“I’m not… not the kind of person you think I am. You call me beautiful but I am nothing but a shark disguised as a human. You call me kind but I am nothing of the sort, just terrified that other people might discover what kind of monster I really am.”
“And what kind of monster do you think you are? What kind of horrible deeds would you commit if you weren’t held back?” Asked Clemens.
“I can tell that you avoid other people, hide yourself away to prevent contact but that isn’t really because you are a monster is it? It is because you don’t want to be thought of as a monster.”
She turned away trying to avoid eye contact with Clemens.
However Clemens wouldn’t let her get away that easily. “Sarita, I love you and I want to live down here with you.”
“You are really forward you know.”
“You kept avoiding me, not responding to me hints. At this point I think this was my only option.”
“I still don’t think I am as good a person as you say I am.”
“You are good enough for me.”
“Even if…” She mumbled, “I would still be away for long stretches of time. I still have the task for researching the species in the ocean.”
“I don’t mind.”
“I eat weird stuff and like raw fish.”
“Now you are just saying whatever. I already knew that.”
Sarita fidgeted trying to find something to say, eventually she said, “I’m still uncertain. Can you give me some time to think.”
“Take as long as you want. I’ll wait as long as you need.”
“And if I refuse?”
Clemens smiled trying to make it look as easy as he could make it, “Then I guess I will eventually leave the resort.”
Sarita bit her lip, “Yeah, give me some time to think about it.”
Clemens nodded and said, “Alright, I’ll be around when you make up your mind. You know the good places to find me.”
Then Sarita turned around and basically ran off. She went directly to the airlock in deep sea diving and left the resort and when into the deep water. Even then the water felt too warm for her and she just started swimming, not stopping until the water finally began to cool.
She had swum a long ways away from the resort. Out in the deep waters. Most of the fish out here were very large, growing bigger in the empty expanses.
The towers out here generated less light and heat however the pressure was still normal. Sarita almost considered seeing how far she could swim out into the darkness before she was crushed by the pressure but that didn’t seem to be an adequate solution to her problem.
She wasn’t really certain if she had a problem to begin with. Clemens had confessed to her and she wasn’t exactly sure that she wanted to refuse. She hadn’t really thought about Clemens in that way, she had never really thought about anybody in that way. How could you when the only response you could imagine them giving you was rejection.
To Sarita, Clemens was complicated. Maybe they were friends, she wasn’t sure. She had spent more time with him than anybody else in the many years it had been since she arrived at the resort, yet still she had kept him at arms length. Most of the times they had interacted it was when another guest had shown up.
He had talked with all the different people who came through, becoming friends with all of them. He had much more of a knack for talking with people than Sarita did. Thinking back it was even because of his meddling that Sarita had made friends with Esme.
That had let her get enough courage to interact with Demetra by herself. She certainly owed something to Clemens but did that mean that she loved him, or even liked him. She was uncertain.
She just lay in the currents letting it take her wherever it went. Anywhere different… Did she really want something different? Did she want Clemens to leave or did she want him to stay. If given a choice between those two she would say that she preferred the latter, he was entertaining to be around and her nervousness had decreased the longer she had been around him.
But was that enough…. Sarita couldn’t just expect Clemens to stay around forever. If she rejected him then he would eventually move on, go somewhere else, probably never to return. She knew that in her heart, if she wanted him to stay she needed to stay with him. Was is greedy to want him to stay without returning his desire?
She turned over and over in the water trying to decide what she wanted. The fight between wanting Clemens to stay but not to have to commit to something. That later feeling she knew was her own fear. Clemens said that he loved her but hold long would that last… was it enough for whatever time it existed? She didn’t know.
Eventually it all boiled down to the question of whether she loved Clemens back… a question she didn’t have an answer to. Her own insecurity, and isolation had built up a wall in her heart that she didn’t know if she would ever break. Still, there might be cracks in it but what was on the other side terrified her more than anything else.
Eventually she found herself staring out in the dark void of the deep sea, beyond which the crushing pressure was so high that she would quickly die. To her it felt like she was looking into her own heart.
The marine biologist in her know that there was creatures that dwelled beyond the darkness. Creatures that lived in a completely different world then the one she currently inhabited. In her metaphor she believed she would never herself be able to go and visit them.
Maybe that would make Clemens a Great Gloomer come to prey on the weak Sarita that lived in the waters. The sheer absurdity of the metaphor caused Sarita to burst into laughter under the water.
“What am I doing out here?” She turned over once more and then began to swim back toward the resort. She still hadn’t completely made up her mind but her thoughts were beginning to be put into order.
Mainly she had decided to avoid just endlessly mulling it over alone. That would not let her made any progress. As she got closer to the resort the light began to get stronger.
Once back inside the resort she returned to her own room. She then shuffled around looking for the small computer that she had put somewhere. Mostly it was only used to record her notes about all the different creatures underwater but this time she had another purpose for it.
It didn’t take too long to find and once it had been found she placed in on the desk and began to type into it. After away she stopped. It would probably take a little bit of time for her message to be noticed. Long distance communication was slow.
With that down she lay down on the bad. She tried to sleep while waiting for a response but instead she just tossed on turned not able to get to sleep. Eventually there was a bip from her computer and she quickly got up to check it.
She frowned, the time wasn’t as soon as she wanted but that was just her being impatient. It was quite soon, just not immediately.
Time seemed to pass painfully slow for Sarita as she waited and waited until finally there was a second bip from the computer. Sarita ran over to it and quickly opened the appropriate application.
There was a long delay before finally a picture of Esmeralda appeared on the screen.
“Hello? Is this working? What kind of delay are we getting?”
“Yes, I’m here.” Said Sarita as she looked at the number in the corner, “It looks like we have about a forty-five section delay.”
There was a forty-five section delay before finally Esmeralda responded, “Quite a long time. It just goes to show how far apart we are. It is good to see you again. It has been a while since your last message.”
“Sorry about that. There were some new guests that showed up at the resort. A fishing acquaintance that demanded a rematch with me. They only just recently left.”
“That can’t be everything however. Sure we have been sending each other messages but this is the first time you have actually tried to call me. What happened?”
“Hmmm…. Clemens told me that he loves me.” Said Sarita hesitating almost as much as the delay.
“Oh did he now? And here I pegged him as too much of a coward. Well I guess that when compare to you it would have had to be him that made the first move.”
“Then you knew?”
“I’m more surprised that you didn’t everything seemed pretty obvious to me. Although I guess he did take a while for him to finally say anything. So, how did you respond?”
“I’m still deciding.”
“Harsh. Is that why you are calling me? To ask my advice? Although I’ll tell you I’m not really the best person on love advice. After all I am perpetually stuck in the body of a kid.”
“I know, I just needed to talk to somebody about it and you are basically my only choice.”
“Alright then, talk. I’ll listen.”
“Clemens is a nice guy and I like him but I don’t know if I love him… or will love him. I just… don’t know if I’m capable of loving somebody.”
“Didn’t your mother and father love each other?”
“Yes… they did… too much so I think. Maybe I’m just afraid of becoming like my mother, or forcing the same thing to happen to Clemens.”
“Are you afraid of loving somebody because you might get hurt when something happens to them?”
“…. No, I’m afraid of myself… Not exactly, but if me and Clemens had a child, what is to stop the same think happening to our child as what happened to me. That… that is what I am afraid of I think.”
“That doesn’t seem to be a very rational fear to me. After all what happened to your father is an anomaly. Most children don’t have that same kind of trauma.”
“I know… just… that thought doesn’t leave my mind.”
“Dealing with oneself is always the most difficult thing. The only real advice I can think of is to not worry about what other people might think about you. You need to make your own place in the world, the place that you want to be.”
“This coming from the adult who still continues to call their adopted father ‘Daddy’?”
“Yes, precisely. There are always going to be people who think your way of life is wrong but I think it is better for each person to go their own way.”