He met her down by the old, abandoned wharf; the same place her crystal blue eyes first captured his wandering form. It was the unlikeliest of meetings, but proved more than special enough to continue from that day on.

“I hope I didn’t keep you waiting too long,” he said, glancing around to make sure they were alone before sitting down beside her. “My friend invited me to lunch and I — well, it’d be bad to tell him about us just yet and I couldn’t come up with any excuses.”

She just laughed and passed a hand through her long, flaxen hair. “Don’t worry. I just watched the gulls for a while. The important part is you’re here now.”

The warm, content look that followed her speech sent a tingling pulse radiating outward from his core, momentarily scrambling his larynx.

“I-I.” He cleared his throat as she looked on, head tilting lightly to one side. “What’s so interesting about me? I mean, you — I have to say it; you’re beautiful. Legendarily so. You can’t tell me I’m worth coming back to so many times. There has to be—”

“Hush,” she said, a slender finger touching his chin. “They say there are plenty of fish in the sea, right? They’re wrong. There aren’t as many as you think; especially not good ones. They’re always trying to show off their superiority like I’m some sort of prize to take home. You… have been different. You’re the first I’ve met to actually be fascinated by who I am. And you’ve never once tried to drag me away.” She smirked.

He smiled sheepishly. “Well, I’d be lying if I said I haven’t been thinking of a way to do that — only if you ever wanted to, I mean. I know the risks.”

Those lock-on eyes brightened even further as it was her turn to choke up. “Yes… Neither of our loved ones may react that well, but… but I would enjoy it. I’d be willing to, if you can. But… let me give you something you could take home now?”

He forgot how to move as he watched her wan lips close in on his, and he would’ve realized it had he not also forgotten what moving even was. The undulations of the water around them seemed to freeze as they kissed, the amount of time passing locked in their bond counted only by the heavens until they at last parted.

He slowly opened his eyes… to find a peculiar look on her face as she ran her tongue along the roof of her mouth.

“Some sort of taste… What is that?” she mumbled to herself.

“Taste?” he echoed. The blood suddenly drained from his face. “Oh no.”

She stared at his reaction in disbelief. “Oh my — it’s tartar sauce, isn’t it!” She gagged in horror, turning to spit at the ground.

“Wait — no, I can explain! I didn’t think—”

“You monster!” Her crystal eyes rippled with welled-up tears. “I can’t believe I was trusting you with—” A sob overtook her and she dove into the water, her tailfin lashing up to give him a broad slap across the face.

When he turned back, she was gone; only the waves remained.

He rubbed the welts on the side of his face, his other hand balled into a fist as he looked up into the sky.

“Curse you, 2-for-1 Filet-O-Fish deal!”