“Hey handsome,” Madison walked into the kitchen to her husband sitting quietly at the table. “There’s something I want to talk to you about,” she said as she kissed his tan, furrowed brow. “You okay? It looks like you’ve got something on your mind too,” she sat down next to him.
“Yeah, I do,” he said. David kept his gaze locked on his hands resting on the table; he didn’t look up to meet her eyes.
“What is it, honey?” Madison reached across the table to take his hand. He didn’t move his away, but he didn’t make an effort to entangle his hand in hers. He remained still and limp; when he spoke his voice was monotone and difficult to gauge.
“We tell each other everything, right?” David asked; still refusing to look up. “You wouldn’t lie to me about anything?”
“Of course I wouldn’t!” Madison nodded eagerly as an uncomfortable knot formed in her belly. She didn’t know what was on his mind, but at that moment he felt more distant than ever in their short, passionate relationship. They hadn’t even been married for two years yet, but every moment had been perfect for her. If he was about to tell her he was leaving, she wasn’t sure she could handle that. Right now of all times.
“I found something… strange in the laundry today,” David replied with a steady voice. For the first time since their meeting, Madison couldn’t read him. That worried her.
“In the laundry?” Madison asked; she tilted her head quizzically. “What is it?’ she asked. She briefly wondered if she’d lost track of a scale, but dismissed the thought. She didn’t think that would warrant the coldness he was giving off.
“Before I show you, you have to promise to tell me the truth,” he said. For the first time since she walked in he looked up and stared straight into her eyes. “No matter how much you think it might hurt right now; trying to lie or cover anything up will make it worse. Do you promise?” he asked with a stern glare.
“Of course!” Madison nearly rolled her eyes, but it seemed important to him that she give her word. She squeezed his hand. “I promise, love. No matter what, I’m always honest with you.” David nodded to himself.
“Okay. So, tell me…,” David moved his hands from the table and revealed a large, palm-sized iridescent fish scale. “Who does this belong to?” he asked. “I know it belongs to a male, your scales are smaller.”
Madison was confused when she first saw the scale. Her life was threatening to fall apart, and her stressed, blanked out mind struggled to explain the mystery scale. Luckily, when David pointed out it belonged to male she suddenly had her answer. That answer consisted of a heavy, obnoxious, belly laugh. She guffawed for a moment, before she managed to calm down.
“It’s my dad’s!” she answered, still giggling. “My parents came around for brunch today, and my dad wanted to try out the pond; he didn’t bother to take his clothes off until after he was in the water.
“Your parents came by?” David asked. He vaguely remembered seeing her dad’s scales at their ocean-side wedding. His faded memory matched the colorful scale in his hand. As much as he believed her, he thought he got along well with his in-laws. It stung a bit to know they visited while he was at work. “Why not when I was home?” he asked. Madison squeezed David’s hand again. This time, he squeezed back.
“I needed some advice; and that’s what I wanted to talk to you about,” she said. Madison looked him in the eyes and smiled.
“I’m pregnant!” she said.
“No way…,” David immediately jumped up and pulled Madison to her feet to wrap his arms around her. “THAT’S GREAT!!”
“It is..,” Madison sighed on his shoulder. “I wanted to ask my parents if they knew any human/mermaid couples that had children. They said not to worry about a thing, it happens all the time.” She squeezed David, and he squeezed her back.