Romance Above the Surface: Sara and Tarou's Date Night

A Mermaid Melody fanfiction short story

by Amanda Kai

Author’s Note: This story is set seven years before the start of Mermaid Melody, during the time when Tarou Mitsuki and Sara were first getting to know each other.

It was a perfect Saturday afternoon. The sun was shining, but the weather was not too hot, and there was a gentle breeze blowing off the ocean. An excellent day for a nap on the beach. Tarou Mitsuki thought. Walking down to the sand near his house, he spread out a beach towel and flopped onto it. Within minutes his soft breathing mingled with the sound of the waves. An hour later, he was so sound asleep he didn't even notice a figure that splashed out of the ocean and onto the beach. She crept over to the towel on her belly and gently brushed his molasses locks away from his face. Then, she leaned over and planted a kiss on his lips. He opened his eyes, then smiled as he recognized the beautiful mermaid hovering over him.

"Sara!" He exclaimed.

She giggled. "You looked so sweet lying there on the sand, I just couldn't resist!" She swished her long, reddish-orange hair over her shoulder and sat up, curling her tail around her. "What are you doing all alone on a nice day like this?" Sara asked.

"Oh, just catching up on a little sleep. I've been up late studying for college finals almost every night this week."

"Once the summer holidays start, will you have more free time?"

"I hope so." Tarou replied, rolling onto his side and propping up on his elbow.

"Good! I hate it when you're so busy you don’t come down to the beach. I want us to spend lots of time together while the weather is nice."

"Y'know," Tarou said, changing the subject, "I was in the middle of a really nice dream just now, but the one I woke up to was even better!" Sara blushed as he continued, "You look so beautiful, I just want to take you in my arms and hold you all day long."

"You won't if you can't catch me!" Sara said impishly. She jumped and dove into the water, laughing. Tarou leapt after her. They swam about near the shore playfully. Sara was a much faster swimmer, and she had fun teasing Tarou by staying just out of his reach and splashing him when he got too close. Eventually she got tired and decided to let him win.

"Gottcha!" He cried, pulling her into his arms. She responded by wrapping her tangerine tail around his legs and returning his embrace. After a minute or two, they came back to the shore.

"I should change." Tarou said, gesturing to his soggy jeans and t-shirt.

"Well, I agree you need to get out of those wet clothes, but I'm not so sure you need to change," Sara grinned. Tarou turned beet red and quickly changed the subject. "It's getting late, and I promised my friend I'd go over to his place tonight and help him with his music composition project."

"Then, I won't keep you, but can I see you again tomorrow?"

"I'll have to study for my Monday morning psychology final."

"All day?" Sara sounded disappointed.

"In the evening I'm going to a concert. I already have the tickets to the symphony's performance of works by Chopin. It should be really good, and it counts for my music appreciation credits."

"Are you going alone?"

"My buddy Kenji was going to go with me, but he bailed last week, saying he'd gotten an invite to a party instead. I wish I could take you, but…"

"Who says you can't?"

Tarou looked astonished. "But how? I don't understand-"

"Just wait and see," Sara cut him off. "I'll come over tomorrow night. The performance starts at eight?" Tarou nodded. "Then, I'll be ready by six, and we can get some dinner before the show."

Tarou was still confused. "Dinner?"

"Yes. Isn't that what you humans usually do on a date? I've seen plenty of couples having a candlelight dinner at some nice restaurant along the water, talking about the cultural events or shows they're going to afterwards. That's what I want."

"O-kay… Dinner at six it is!" How in the world is she planning to go on a date with me? Doesn't she know people will freak out if they see me carrying a mermaid into a restaurant or a theater? He thought. I better plan on fixing dinner here, just in case.

They kissed goodnight on the beach, then Sara swam off beneath the waves.

All the next day Tarou found it hard to concentrate. He knew he should be studying for his finals, but he kept thinking about his date that evening. What should he cook for dinner? Should they go out to eat? If they did go out, how on earth was Sara going to hide her mermaid fins? And what about the concert tickets? Slamming his textbook shut, he decided to get out for a breath of fresh air.

As he strolled down the sidewalk downtown, a disturbance across the street caught his eye. Some poor old lady had gotten knocked down by a beautiful young woman, and the latter was helping to pick up the dropped parcels.

"I'm so sorry," He heard her say. "I'm not used to walking - I mean, I'm not used to the streets in this neighborhood and I wasn't watching where I was going." She adjusted her sunglasses and hat as she stood up. She was about the same size and build as Sara, and he wondered if it could be her. Then he noticed that her hair was too dark a shade of orange, and it was much shorter. The elderly lady assured the other that she was fine before continuing on. The young woman entered one of the shops along that street. Tarou considered following her, then decided against it. Instead, he turned to go to the grocery store and see if he could figure out something to do for dinner.

Tarou was just putting the finishing touches on the swordfish steaks and was lighting some candles when the doorbell rang. He opened the door to see a lovely picture: Sara, in a beautiful black silk dress, standing on human legs! She quickly covered his surprised lips with a kiss. As she pulled away, he noticed that her hair was darker and shorter than it usually was. The same color as that girl I saw earlier. He thought.

"I told you I had a plan for how I could come to the concert!" Sara smiled. "Something smells good! I thought we were going out to eat, though." She remarked. He gestured to the waiting table next to the window. "I believe you requested one candlelight dinner with an ocean view, Mademoiselle." He led her to one of the seats. "I know you said you wanted to go out, but I thought this would be nicer."

"Yes, it is, actually. Thank you for thinking of this."

"My pleasure." Tarou opened the bottle of white zinfandel he had been chilling. As he poured their glasses he asked, "By the way, I was wondering where you got that dress. It looks absolutely gorgeous on you!"

Sara blushed. "Well, I actually bought it today. I went out shopping this afternoon in town."

"So it was you I saw earlier!" Tarou exclaimed. "When I was out today I saw someone who looked like you, but of course, I had no idea you would be walking around as a human!"

"All mermaids have the ability to transform into humans when they are on land, but very few of our kind choose to do so. Most merpeople do not favor human society. But, there are a few who do come to the surface world for various reasons. Such as spending time with handsome men!" Sara winked.

“Your hair is different too,” Tarou remarked.

“Part of our disguise,” Sara explained. “Some mermaids change so much in appearance, they are unrecognizable in human form. In my case, only my hair has been altered.”

“And your fins are now legs,” Tarou added.

“Yes,” Sara giggled. “That too! Aren’t they delightful?” She held one of them up for him to see.

“They certainly are,” Tarou said appreciatively. He loved her in mermaid form, but he could get used to seeing her as a human, he thought.

Dinner was very enjoyable. Sara declared she had never tasted such excellent swordfish, and she also commented on her host's good taste in wine.

"That's not all," Tarou said, getting up and going to the kitchen. He returned with two desert plates. On each one was a delicate chocolate éclair.

"Ooh, what are these?" Sara's eyes widened.

"Have you never tried éclair's before?" Tarou asked.

"No, we don't have anything like that where I come from."

"Then you must try some." Tarou pulled off a bite-sized piece. Bending over, he gently placed it in Sara's open mouth.

"Mmm, delicious!" she declared.

Before they left for the concert, Tarou had one more surprise for his sweetheart. He made her sit on the couch with her eyes closed. Then he put a small box in her lap.

"Open it." He instructed.

Sara gasped as she lifted the lid. "Oh Tarou, they're beautiful!" Inside the case was a pair of exquisite topaz earrings.

"For my Orange Princess." Tarou said. "They match your sparkling amber eyes."

Sara put the earrings on and they departed for the theater.

The lobby was crowded when the couple arrived at the theater. Everywhere they looked, elegantly dressed people milled about, chatting and enjoying refreshments from the concession bar. Sara wasn't sure she had ever seen so many humans in one place before, but of course, she hadn't been to the surface world very many times. As Tarou guided her through the maze of bodies, many heads turned to admire her, and they wondered who this stunning beauty was.

"Would you like something to drink before we find our seats?" Tarou asked.

"Yes," Sara replied. "I'm feeling a bit flushed from the heat in this room."

As they approached the concession area, a gentleman leaving the counter recognized Tarou and waved.

"Hey, Mitsuki! How's it going?"

"Suzuki! I'm doing well!" Tarou replied.

"I'll say!" the other exclaimed. "Who's your lovely date?"

"This is Sara." He put a possessive hand in the small of her back. "Sara, meet Fujita Suzuki, one of my friends from school.

"It's a pleasure to meet you, Miss." Mr. Suzuki took Sara's hand and began kissing it, but she pulled it away and grasped Tarou’s arm. Trying to wash away the discomfort, she diplomatically changed the subject. “Tarou is always talking about how much he enjoys his friends and classes at college! What classes are you two together in.”

“Last semester we were together for three classes, but this semester we only share a music theory teacher. I’m not taking as many classes, now that it’s surfing season. Do you like the ocean?” Suzuki asked.

“Oh yes, I live in the ocean! Swimming is my favorite thing!” Hearing her remark, Tarou started to panic, but before he could stop her she continued. “Everyday when I wake up the first thing I want to do is kick around my fins a bit!”

“Fins?” Suzuki laughed. Tarou interrupted.

“What she means is, she likes to go scuba diving at the crack of dawn!”

“Oh, I get it!” His friend chuckled again. Sara realized her mistake and blushed.

“Yeah,” She followed along. “I get dressed up like a seal and go watch all the fishies!” Turning to Tarou, she said, “We should get our refreshments and find our seats. The show will be starting soon.” Suzuki waved and headed for his own seat.

“And what would you like to drink my dear?” The elderly bartender asked.

“Salt water please.” The titian beauty replied. The man’s face shriveled in confusion. “I’m sorry miss, we only have bottled water or tap water.”

“Hmm. How about a ‘barracuda beer’ then.” She tried. The other adjusted his hearing aid. “What’s that? Ah, must be one o’ them newfangled mixed drinks they come up with these days… How ‘bout I whip up a ‘sex on the beach’ for you two to split?” He winked at them, and Tarou flushed madly again.

“We’ll just take two sparkling grape juices” The poor brunette saved.

The performance was absolutely gorgeous. As the symphony played Chopin’s Nocturne in E minor, Sara’s eyes welled with tears. When the piece finished, she wrapped her arms around Tarou’s neck and leaned her head against his cheek. Tarou decided that despite the little slip-ups, this was definitely an unforgettable date. After the Nocturne suite, they played selections from the ballet Les Sylphides. Several dancers from the local ballet school had been invited to perform, and they came out onto one half of the stage and danced in flowing white tutus. Sara, having never seen a ballet before, was spellbound. She gave their performance a standing ovation.

As they were exiting the performance, there was one last unexpected mishap. The theater was not even empty when suddenly the fire alarms went off and the sprinklers came on! People began to panic, and trample each other to get out of the crowded building. But that wasn’t what Tarou and Sara were worried about. As soon as the water began to fall upon her bare skin, Sara felt her legs give out.

“Uh oh.” She whispered.

“Sara, get up, we have to get out of here!” Tarou urged.

“I can’t. I didn’t get a chance to tell you this, but whenever a mermaid’s legs get wet, she turns back into her mermaid form.” Tarou quickly looked down. Peeping from under her black evening gown was a gleaming orange fin! He ripped his jacket off and covered her appendage. Scooping her up, he tried to keep her bottom half out of sight while he searched for a quick escape.

“Where are we going?” Sara asked.

“I honestly don’t know.” He replied. It didn’t look like they’d be getting out the main exits anytime soon, so he looked for an alternative plan. Heading for the front of the auditorium and away from the crowds, he burst through the door leading to backstage. As he pushed past the fleeing stage crew, he saw a back exit leading away from the theater. The pair managed to reach it and broke free into the open air. Tarou didn’t stop running until they were a few blocks away from the theater.

“You can put me down now, we’re safe.” Sara said. Tarou looked around. They had reached the wharf, which at this time of night was completely empty. Not a soul was to be seen except the two of them. Tarou set his date down on a bench overlooking the pier, then seated himself beside her. They gazed out over the ocean. The moon was rising in the starry sky, casting its luminous reflection upon the waves. Somewhere in the distance, a dolphin leapt out of the water, catching the moonbeams with a silver flash before it disappeared again.

“Sure is beautiful” Sara smiled with adoration.

“Yes, you are,” Tarou turned her comment into praise as he looked lovingly upon the mermaid. Sara shifted her gaze towards him. She wanted to speak, but was mesmerized by the magic spell they were both under. As if following nature’s instinct, Tarou leaned forward slowly, pulling Sara into his embrace until their lips met in a tender kiss. A small sigh escaped Sara’s mouth as she allowed her lips to caress his like silken rose petals. As they pulled away, Sara reached down to scratch an itch on her foot, then realized what she was doing.

“Oh!” She exclaimed.

“What is it?”

“I just noticed; my fins have dried and turned back into legs!”

“You must have been too distracted to notice before.”

Sara blushed a little. “Yes, you do have a way of doing that to me.”

“I suppose we ought to return to the theater.” Sara said.

Tarou scratched his head for a minute. “What for? The concert’s already over.”

“Well, I kind of left my purse and my shawl there. We were in such a hurry to get out, I didn’t think to grab them. They’re probably still sitting on our seats.”

Tarou sighed. “Ok. We’ll go back and look.” He didn’t want their little moment to end, but he also wanted to please his girlfriend.

As they headed towards the theater, they passed Tarou’s friend Suzuki.

“Hey, there you guys are!” He called to them as he ran up.

“That was crazy, wasn’t it? Some kids were pulling a mean prank and tripped the fire alarms. The whole theater is soaked.”

“I hope my stuff is alright!” Sara worried. “I left my purse and shawl there.”

Suzuki shook his head. “You won’t be able to find out tonight. They’ve already closed the theatre to all guests while they try to clean up. You’ll have to go back tomorrow. So… where’d you guys sneak off to when everybody ran?” He gave a sly grin to Tarou.

“Uh,” Tarou mumbled. “Nowhere really, just down to the wharf. It was very peaceful there. We saw a dolphin leaping out in the bay.”

“Mm, cool. Well, I’ll catch you guys later!” Suzuki waved, and left the couple to enjoy the rest of their evening.

Tarou walked with Sara back to his house. “So, do you need to like, change or anything before you go back to the ocean?” He asked.

“No, my outfit I’m wearing will disappear when I’m fully in the ocean, and I can change into something else the next time I return to the surface. I have a secret little cave that I’ve been using to store my human clothes.” Sara confessed.

“Oh, so that’s how you’ve been doing it!” Tarou laughed.

Sara joined him. “I had a really good time this evening.”

“So did I.” Tarou replied.

“I hope we can do something like this again soon.”

“I’ll just have to make sure I keep you away from water when we’re around other humans!” Both of them chuckled.

“Have a good night.” Sara wished, then pulled Tarou in for one last kiss. Then, she dashed off across the beach and leapt into the water. Seconds later, Tarou saw her head reappear, followed by the flash of her brilliant tail, and then she was gone.

“Good night to you too, my beautiful mermaid.”

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