Calista was exhausted. Not so much from the work she just completed for the UK Royal Navy about three hundred kilometers east of Diego Garcia—the Navy had issues with a “package” that required retrieval—but more from the fifteen hour flight from their to Johnson Atoll, which pretty much tested the range of AFI’s specially outfitted 777-300ER.
Though she’d slept through most of the flight, remaining in a half-tank for the entirety of the flight wore her out through sheer boredom. She knew if she were still human she could have gotten up and walked about the cabin—but there wasn’t any need to think that, for she hadn’t been human for a little more than nine months.
But a few good thing came out of the trip. One, this was Calista’s first dive with her in charge of a team of four other mermaids and they managed to recover the Senior Service’s package in half the time they estimated it would take. Two, because they left Diego Garcia at 18:30 Local Time, they not only got back a day crossing the International Date Line, but still landed at Johnson Atoll at 17:50, an hour before they left the Indian Ocean on the same day.
Most importantly, Calista was home. After being taken off the plane she was place in a speed boat and taken to the drop off point about a hundred meters from Down Below Town. She gave the pilot a good natured wave and dived right in, heading quickly towards the mermaid enclave with a few flicks of her powerful tail.
She expected Harmony to spot her right away and she wasn’t disappointed. Her former mentor, now close friend, swam towards her, stopped when she was but a few meters away. “How was Diego?”
“Pain in the butt.” Calista slowed her pace as Harmony moved along side. “You could tell they didn’t want us there, but they knew they had no choice. And it made them pissy because they couldn’t micromanage us by being directly on site while we worked.”
“Screw ‘em.” Harmony chuckled. “You get their toy for them?”
Calista nodded. “Oh, yeah.”
“Was it important?”
“Important enough that we had to sign NDAs before leaving the airport.”
“Point taken.” Harmony’s tone softened. “A few of us are heading over to Hikina Island after dinner. Just gonna hang out and relax and chat.” She turned towards her friend. “I know you must be beat, but I thought you guys might want to join us.”
Though she was tired, Calista also thought spending some time with friends was a good way to start out a week of down-time so she could adjust to local time and rest. “I’ll see how Princess is doing, but I’m guessing she wants to get out for a little as well.”
“Watch out.” Harmony’s voice took on a warning tone. “She nearly snapped my head off the day before when I checked up on her.”
“Thanks for the heads-up. What time is everyone meeting?”
Calista gave Harmony a quick wave. “See you then.” A quick flip of her tail and she was off toward her bungalow.
She swam in and slid the door closed behind her. “And how’s my two baby?”
Izzy looked up from the bed upon which she lay and gave Calista a kiss before answering her question. “I’m fine, but this little shit—” She pointed to her swollen belly. “She won’t settle down. Swish, swish, swish with the tail all day and night. I’m ready for this pregnancy to be over.”
Calista folded her tail under her and settled next to Izzy’s bed. “I’m sorry The Newt is being a pest.” She slowly ran her hand over Izzy’s belly, feeling the movement of the baby inside. “She’s a swimmer, that’s for sure.”
“Well, I wish she’d swim the hell out of my belly ‘cause I’m tried of her crap.” She sighed as she looked at her best friend and lover. “If I’d know the gestation period of a mermaid was ten and a half months, I’d have never had sex with you.”
“Liar.” Calista touched Izzy’s lips. “You never seemed to complain once we were able to have sex again after that first time.” She moved her hand down past Izzy’s belly and felt the smooth muscles of her tail beneath her almost lime green scales. And now that you’re one of us, that sex was so much better.
Though she’d never admitted any wrongdoing, Harmony was correct in her assumption that day so many months ago: Calista knew Izzy’s cycle down to the day. And she’d read many of the Internet tales that spoke of what happened when mermaids and human women not only had intercourse, but of the consequences of getting pregnant…
Within a week of arriving at Johnson Island Calista was certain that not only would Aquatic Future Inc. have refused her request to transfer Isabelle to the Special Assets, but she was just as certain Izzy would have said no to the idea, even if it had meant the two of them being together. Back then Calista still thought of herself as straight—but then, she didn’t know everything there was to know about mermaid reproductive, despite all the lurid tales she’d read online. And once she knew—
It was as she’d told Harmony that day: as a human woman she could never become intimate with Izzy no matter how much she cared for and, yes, loved her, but once she wasn’t human it didn’t matter. And she also suspected that once Izzy was confirmed pregnant, AFI wouldn’t want to terminate the existence of another mermaid, this one created the old fashion way—
So since it was impossible for a human to bring a mermaid baby to term, the only solution that remained was to made sure a mermaid could.
Calista was also correct in her summation that once Izzy knew what was going to happen to her, she’d accepted it, if for no other reason than they’d still remain together. While the transition didn’t go as smoothly as hoped for, once Izzy reached the point where she found it necessary to sleep underwater—with Calista beside her—the process went, well, swimmingly.
It was a devious and somewhat underhanded way to keep them together, but Calista knew from watching Izzy’s body language these last nine months that she held no ill will towards her. If anything, Calista felt her friend’s growing love and suspected that once their daughter was old enough to have others watch her, Izzy was going to enjoy being mentored by her friend—with Harmony supervising, of course.
Calista planted a light kiss on Izzy’s lips and watched her eyes light up. She lay her head upon Izzy’s shoulder and felt her companion run her fingers through her floating ginger hair. In that moment she understood what this moment really meant. Because for anyone in love, it wasn’t just enough to come home to one’s lover and companion—
They wanted to come home to their best friend.
And for the first time in her life, Calista was home.