And then there were five. Cleo, Rikki, Emma, Bella, and Clara. They all walked into Rikki's together, sat down and ordered some food. Then, Cleo had to head home because her father called her on her cell phone. Cleo walked into the house as Don was standing outside the kitchen.
"Hey, Dad." She looked at his face and saw his unhappy expression. "Is... something wrong?"
"Cleo, the kitchen is a mess," he said. "I want you to do your chores right now."
Cleo looked at her dad. She couldn't touch water without growing a tail, that's why she always paid Kim to do the dishes. Now, that KIm is gone, Cleo has a problem. "Can't Samantha wash the dishes?" Cleo didn't mean to sound rude, but that's how it came off to her dad.
"Cleo, Sam is not our maid. She's your stepmother. We all have our fair shares of work around here. And you need to start doing your part."
"But, Dad!" Cleo complained.
"Dishes, Cleo. Right now!"
"But, I can't!"
Cleo sighed. "I just can't!" Cleo ran up to her room and shut the door. She looked at Hector's fish tank and suddenly had an idea. She would use the gloves she uses to clean Hector's fish tank to wash the dishes. There was a knock at the door and Cleo let Sam in.
"Hi, Cleo. Is everything okay with your dad. I heard some yelling."
"No. Everything's fine."
"Anything I can help with?"
Cleo thought for a moment. She wanted to ask Samantha to do the dishes for her, but then she thought about what her dad said.
"No. It's okay now." Cleo grabbed the gloves and headed for the door. Samantha blocked her.
"Cleo,there is something I want your opinion on, girl to girl."
"What is it?" Cleo asked, curiously.
"I was thinking about having a baby with Don and how that would effect you and Kim."
"You want to have a baby?"
"Yes. I want children of my own with Don, not that I don't care about you and Kim."
"No. I understand but Kim might not. You know how she can be. Did you talk to Dad about this?"
"I'm going to."
"A new baby, that would complicate things. Babies are messy," Cleo said, as she realized a new baby would add more stress to her life and make her secret even harder to keep. "I don't care. It's your choice." Cleo passed her and went down stairs to do the dishes. Sam followed her.
"I want you to care, Cleo. You might be a big sister... again."
"Yay for me," she cheered, in a dull voice.
"It's a serious thing."
"- What's a serious thing?" Don asked, walking into the room. He saw that Cleo was attempting to do the dishes. "Thank you, Cleo. That's all I asked."
"Don, we need to talk, in private," said Sam.
Clara walked down to the beach. She stared out at the ocean and thought about home, then a guy walking with a surf board caught her eye. He had curly sandyblonde hair. He smiled when he saw Clara as she walked right up to him.
"Hi, I'm Byron. You're new around here?"
"Yes. I'm Clara."
"Where are you from?"
Clara paused. She wasn't prepared for any questions normal people might ask, and she didn't care.
"Never heard of there before."
"It's very cold... and wet."
Clara looked into his hazel almond shaped eyes and thought that he was quite attractive.
"Well, I've got surfing to do," he said, showing his board.
They passed each other and Clara went to the diner. She asked Zane where Rikki was and he told her probably Mako Island. Clara ran out into the ocean. Her long legs fused together as water surrounded her. Shimmery, gold scales ran down her legs and a fin formed at the base of her feet. Clara swam under neath the waves that Byron was riding on his surf board. She wanted to flip him over but she resisted and swam to Mako Island. She swam into the sea cave, she had never been there before. She heard the girls talking and followed their voices.
"Hi, Clara," Emma said. "You come here too?"
Rikki, Bella, and Cleo were also there.
"I just saw the cutest boy," Clara chattered. "I think he's into me."
"You seem confident," said Rikki.
"Who is he? Who have you met so soon?" Cleo asked.
"His name is Byron," she said.
"B Byron?" Emma stuttered. "No, you can't date him."
"Why not. He's cute."
"At this rate, the whole town is going to know our secret," Emma said.
"I never said I would tell him that I'm a mermaid," said Clara.
"You just got here, you should shop around first," Emma first. "Don't jump on the first boy that gives you a smile."
Rikki's jaw dropped.
"I don't know what your problem is," said Clara. "But no one orders me around." Clara ducked under the water and swam out to sea.
"Emma, that was rude," said Cleo.
"Byron is off limits," Emma said.
"Off limits? You still have a thing for pretty Byron, don't you," Rikki said.
"Byron and I never had our chance to be together."
"Because you wouldn't put the moves on him fast enough."
"I'll be damned if I let her have something that should have been mine," Emma said.
"Emma, you freeze up around him."
"Guys, tonight's the full moon. Should we warn Clara?" Bella asked.
"No. She'll figure it out. She probably already knows," Emma said. Rikki shook her head and laughed. "Anyone up for a race?"
"I'll race you," Cleo said.
"Me," said Bella. They left Mako and playfully swam circles around each other.
That night, Clara and Will were at his boat house, when the moon set. Clara stared at it at the window. Will crept behind her with his soda.
"Is everything cool?" he asked. "The girls like to stick together during full moon time."
"I've never seen the moon before. It's so beautiful," Clara said, in a trance- like voice.
"Are you sure you're alright?"
Clara winced and turned to face him. "Never been better."
"I feel like a swim. Come with me, Will. It will be fun," Clara said, enthusiastically. He stared at her, deadpanned.
"I think I better call the girls."
"No!" She grabbed his arm when he was reaching for his cell phone. "Just come with me." He wanted to do it, but he knew this wasn't really her. It was the full moon. "Come with me."
"Okay," he said, finally. After he took off his shirt, they went and jumped in the lake outside the boat house. He swam after her, following her mermaid tail. Clara looked back at him and smiled. He wasn't wearing any scuba diving gear. When he needed to breathe, she wouldn't let him back up to the surface. She held him in place by his shoulders and kissed him as he struggled against her. He kicked his legs, but he was powerless. The kiss was so strong, only she could break it. Finally, Will stopped moving. Clara let go and he started sinking. She swam up to the surface and did a back flip into the water, dolphin style.
Rikki and Cleo were at Emma’s house when there was a knock at the door. Emma’s little brother, Elliot answered it.
“Who are you?” he asked.
“Clara. I’m one of Emma’s friends.”
Elliot shrugged and let her in. He took her upstairs to Emma’s room where all the girls were. Emma was sitting in her chair, reading a magazine. When she saw Clara, she jumped up. The others did, too.
“Clara, what are you doing here?” Emma asked.
“I wonder why I wasn’t invited?” she asked, looking around at the other girls.
“I don’t exactly know you,” Emma said.
“That doesn’t mean we can’t be friends.”
Rikki looked at Clara’s arms and saw that they were wet. She clung to Emma, bringing it to her attention. “Look. She’s wet, but no tail.”
“It’s the full moon,” Emma said. Emma didn’t know if they could trust Clara to not be a pain during the full moon. Rikki edged closer to Clara, trying to get her to sit down. Bella and Cleo closed the door.
“Um, Clara, how was the water?” Rikki asked, gently.
“It was wonderful. You all should really come for a swim with me. It would be fun with us all together,” Clara beamed.
“We don’t think so.” Emma said sternly, and crossed her arms.
“I don’t mind swimming alone. I do it all the time.” Clara turned to the door, but Cleo and Bella were blocking it.
“We can’t let you leave,” said Rikki.
“It’s a full moon out there. And we can’t have any of us getting moonstruck. It’s dangerous,” said Emma.
“What did I say about giving me orders, Emma? I don’t like it,” Clara said.
“I’m not… I’m just trying to keep you safe.”
“I can protect myself. Watch,” said Clara. She raised her hand to the glass of water on Emma’s desk, flattened her palm and caused the water to rise until it touched the ceiling of the room. Afraid, the other girls ran towards the door as the water spread all over the ceiling, but it wasn’t coming down. “Let me out of here, or there will be a downpour and all of us will pop tails.”
“Open the door, somebody!” Emma said as they fumbled with the doorknob. Clara made the water start to fall like rain. Cleo got the door open and they all bust out of the room and hit the floor. They got up and scattered down the hall to the edge of the stairs.
“I thought you said you didn’t have a power,” Cleo said.
“I lied. I’m sorry. I was just protecting myself,” Clara said. Emma put Elliot in his room. Clara ran out of the house.
“We’ll handle her, you stay here and watch him,” Rikki said. Emma nodded. Then, the girls went chasing after Clara. “Don’t look up,” Rikki warned them. They saw Clara jump into the bay and do a tail slap.
“She’s moonstruck. She’s totally crazy,” Cleo said.
“We need to keep an eye on her,” Rikki said.
“I’ll go after her,” said Bella. “And make sure she stays out of trouble.”
They went together and jumped into the bay, interrupting schools of bright yellow fish. Cleo stretched out her arm and turned her wrist, making water and sea animals get out of her way. She could see Bella and she started to chase after her. Rikki and Bella followed.
They followed her straight to the moonpool at Mako Island. The girls thought it was weird that Clara would come here. They all came to the surface of the water.
Cleo gasped! It made the other girls look and see Will lying on the ground, knocked out.
“What have you done to Will?” Rikki demanded.
“I like him,” said Clara. “I want him to be a merman, so that he can swim with me, properly.”
The moon was just over the sea cave, visible from the inside. Clara looked up and smiled at the moon. “He will love it!”
“No, Clara. Will can’t become a merman,” Cleo said.
“Says who? I say he can,” she said.
“Why isn’t he moving?” Rikki asked. “If you hurt him-“
“He’s fine… he’s just resting,” she said. “I’ll call him for you.” Clara opened her mouth and started to sing. Her voice was soothing, whimsical, and raspy. Will’s eyes opened and he was disoriented.
“Will!” Bella shouted. “Don’t listen to her!”
Clara continued to sing, drawing Will closer to the edge of the moonpool. He got on his knees and reached out to touch the water, while staring into Clara’s ice blue eyes.
“Will, don’t!” Rikki shouted. Cleo made water rise from the pool and blast Will in the chest, sending him flying into the wall of the cave. Then, she directed her hand at Clara.
Rikki and Bella did the same. They had Clara cornered, and they blocked her from swimming away until day broke. By morning, the girls were laying on the floor of the cave, sleeping. One by one, they woke up.
Cleo wiped her eyes and Rikki stretched. Bella looked at her surroundings.
“Why are we here?” Bella asked. She heard mumbling- “What’s that noise?”- And realized she was lying on top of Clara.
“I said get off of me,” Clara said.
“Oh!” Bella jumped. “Sorry.”
“What happened last night?” Rikki asked.
“I don’t remember,” said Cleo.
“Neither do I.”
Then, they all saw Will on the ground with an injury to his head.
“Oh my god. Will!” Bella ran to him.
“What is he doing here?” Rikki asked.
They woke him up and he told them what happened. By noon, the girls were at the diner with Will.
“I’m sorry, Will. That’s never happened to me before,” said Clara. “I guess being a mermaid above the surface is a little different than living under it all the time.”
“We forgive you,” Rikki said.
Clara laughed. “Thanks. Where’s Emma?”
“At home,” said Cleo.
“I don’t think she likes me very much,” Clara said.
“Don’t worry. Emma’s very forgivable. She’ll come around,” Cleo said.
“I hope you’re right.”
“I can’t believe I was so close to becoming a mermaid,” Will said.
“Merman,” Rikki corrected, making everyone giggle.