“Miriam, please take these clothes to the Prince’s room,” Chioma said, advancing to Miriam with some laundered clothes.
“What?” Miriam shrieked, hoping she’d heard wrong. But who was she kidding?
“Is something wrong?” Chioma asked, taken aback by Miriam’s reaction.
Miriam stood up from the bed on which she’d been sitting. She’d rounded up her chores barely a moment ago and had come to rest for a while. “Nothing. I will go.” Plucking the clothes from Chioma’s hands, Miriam clutched them like she would a child. The scent of detergent and Michael’s perfume wafted to her nostrils, teasing her.
“Of cause you will go,” Chioma said. “Did I say you will not go? I was only asking why your face is looking like someone that just resurfaced from his third grave. Please leave already. I want these clothes in his closet before he returns.”
“You mean he is not in his room?” Miriam asked, relief flooding her features.
“Yes, he is not,” Chioma said. “So please hurry up.”
“Okay.” Miriam strolled out of the room and mounted the stairs. In seconds, she stood in front of Michael’s room. Her stomach clenched into a fist, and she wished she didn’t have to do this. But she had to, lest Chioma’s wrath fall upon her. Besides, how possible was it to avoid someone in his own house?
She breathed tensely, bracing herself for the next few moments of her life. Although Chioma had said he wasn’t around, Miriam couldn’t take any chances. She wrapped her knuckles on the door. After a few taps and no response, a smile snuck to her face. The coast was clear.
She let herself into the room and headed for his closet, but the beauty of the room stole the air from her lungs, making her stop midway and stare in awe. A framed picture behind his bed caught her eye, and she lost herself to the enchanting drawing of Michael the picture presented.
Memories stole her over. She could still remember the day she had drawn the portrait of him. It was her first attempt at art, and she’d given it to him as his birthday gift. She reminisced over that day, one of the most beautiful days she’d ever had. Michael had asked her to spend the night with him, and she had.
They’d woken up the next day, in each other’s arms. Tears pooled around Miriam’s eyes as she advanced to the portrait. She placed Michael’s clothes on the bed and crouched in front of the portrait. Her fingers glided across it, feeling it’s texture. It still felt like yesterday.
But why did he still have it? Wasn’t he supposed to forget everything?
“It was your first gift to me and it’s still beautiful,” said a voice behind her.
Gasping, she sprang to her feet and turned to face the Prince who had come in unnoticed. Although fear was written all over her face, she stared endlessly at him. She could never have enough of the handsome man before her. Her gaze fell on his red lips and the spray of stubbles surrounding them.
“Are you done staring?” he teased.
“I…I am sorry,” Miriam said, looking away from him. She gestured to the clothes she’d placed on the bed. “I just came to drop these.”
Picking up the clothes, she hurried to his closet and dropped them in their place. She could feel Michael’s gaze piercing through her from behind.
She couldn’t help how nervous he made her feel. She turned around and found him staring, with a tiny smile on his lips. Once again, she averted her eyes.
“I should be on my way now,” she said, breaking the unbearable tension and silence that had started to build up between them.
Michael watched her advance toward the door. But he wasn’t ready to let her leave just yet. Grabbing her arm, he pulled her close. An electrifying feeling ran through him, and he knew she’d felt it too. That explained why she’d snatched back her hand as though she’d been stung by a vicious viper.
Michael cleared his throat. “How have you been?”
“I’m fine, as you can see,” Miriam said, feigning nonchalance. “And obviously, you’re doing fine yourself.”
Michael smiled. “Now that I have seen you, I guess I will be fine.”
Miriam gaped at him as memories of her dream overcame her. Michael had been stabbed to death, just to save her. She’d been as powerless as a worm, and had done nothing to save his life. Although this was only a dream, she couldn’t get past the fact that she’d watched her best friend die. What good was her supernatural power if she couldn’t use it to save the one who mattered to her?
“Miriam,” Michael called, pulling her back to reality.
“Hmm?” Miriam asked absent mindedly. “What?”
Michael touched her arm, sending a chill down her spine. His palm felt like it’d been refrigerated. Miriam gaped at him, wondering why his palm was cold. Was he okay? Although she yearned to ask, the words shied away from being spoken.
“What’s wrong Mimi?” he asked tensely.
“Nothing, your highness,” Miriam said.
“Are you sure you are fine?” Michael pressed on.
“Yes your highness, and I will be leaving now.” She had hoped he would let go of her, but his hold on her tightened.
“Are you avoiding me?” he asked.
“Why would I do that, your highness?” she asked nervously. “I am at your service.”
He grimaced at her formality. “Mimi, why are you addressing me with that?”
“How am I suppose to address you, your highness?” Although she knew just what Michael meant, she believed feigning ignorance was for the best.
Michael bit his lower lip and pulled her closer to himself. “Call me that again and I swear I will kiss you.”
His hold sent an electrifying touch to her skin, overturning how stomach with colorful emotions.
Miriam pressed her palm to his chest. She fought to break free, but Michael’s arms around her was an iron grip. “Mikey, stop. What if somebody comes in here right now and sees us like this?”
“This is my room,” Michael said, pulling her even closer. “No one, not even the Queen, comes in without knocking at the door. And I love that name you just called me now.”
He winked at her. Too embarrassed to hold his gaze, she lowered her eyes to his chest. “Please, your highness, let me go. The Queen will kill me if she finds out what we are doing.”
“And what are we doing?” Michael asked innocently.
“This!” Miriam said.
Michael grinned. “What is this?”
“Stop!” She retortedy
He asked, still looking at her
Miriam glared at Michael, but he found it amusing. Giggling, he said, “Okay, I’m sorry. I just missed you so much, that’s why I had to come back, even though it was risky and they asked me not to.”
“Why?” Miriam asked, fear welling up in her stomach. “How is it risky? Is anything wrong?”
Michael smiled at the lady staring at him. This was his Miriam, the girl who would always worry about him. “Nothing. I’m fine. They were all worried about the flight. You know how much I hate aeroplanes and long journeys”
“Okay,” Miriam said. “But you’re fine now, right?”
“Yes, princess.” His hands glided to her waist and he locked her in his embrace. Miriam blushed and hid her face, avoiding his captivating brown eyes.
“Stop, please,” she said, struggling to free herself. Giving in to her feelings was the last thing she wanted right now. “I have to go now.”
“I won’t let you go until you hug me,” Michael said.
“Your highness, please stop,” she pleaded.
“I told you before, if you call me that again I am going to kiss you,” Michael teased. “So, if you want to taste these delicious lips, try me.”
Miriam sighed. “Okay Mikey, please let me go.”
“Not without a hug,” Michael insisted.
“Michael!” Miriam yelled. The sad look creeping to Michael’s face made her regret raising her voice at him.
Michael pouted, his eyes drooping. He released her from his hold. “I’m sorry for being so demanding. I just miss you so much. I’m sorry. You can go now.”
“I am sorry for yelling at you.” Miriam moved closer to him and kissed his dimpled cheek.
Michael froze. He hadn’t expected her to kiss him, but when he saw how nervous she was, he smiled.
Michael’s smile sent an electrifying surge shooting through Miriam. Her nerviness intensified. Michael was still the same guy he was years ago. Miriam had expected him to act like an adult, but childishness clung to him like a shadow. Her mind strayed to her nightmare and the impending doom. She prayed nothing happened to him.
‘Heavens, please give me the grace to fight this to the end,’ she prayed silently. To Michael, she said, “I’m leaving now.”
She walked away, leaving him smiling. He burst into laughter and crashed onto his bed. “I’m am so happy she hasn’t changed yet. God, I love this girl so much. But wait, since when did I start loving her?”
All he wanted was to live for her. She was the sole reason he had returned home. Although death stood around the corner, threatening harm, he just couldn’t give in, not now when he was close to getting her back. He’d left her before, but he was not about to do that again.
His thoughts rested on how she’d reacted to his closeness. Nervous was the word to describe the look on her face. But why?
She’d had that same look on her face the day he’d told her she was a mermaid. He’d said that because of her extraordinary beauty, but she hadn’t taken it well. She had freaked out. For years, Michael had been trying to figure out why, but there was no such luck. Miriam was a mystery, and he loved her regardless.
Memories stole him over.
‘Miriam do you know that you look like a half cast?’ Michael asked.
‘I am not white blood,’ she replied.
‘You are. Do you even look at yourself in a mirror? You look too beautiful to be a Nigerian, and look at your nose.’ He touched her nose.
‘Mikey, stop,’ she protested.
‘Okay, kiss me if you want me to stop,’ he teased.
She gasped. ‘Mikey!’ She yelled
‘I was just joking,’ he said. ‘And besides, there is nothing wrong with best friends kissing. Okay, fine if you said you’re not white in any way, then are you a mermaid? ‘cause seriously this your beauty is not ordinary.’
Miriam stiffened. She blinked rapidly, her gorgeous eyes transfixed on him. Had he said something wrong?
Waving off her reaction with a chuckle, he said, ‘I was just joking. Come, let’s sleep.’ He dragged her with him to his bed.
Michael sailed back to the present. Thoughts of Miriam plastered a smile on his face. She was beautiful, well endowed. She was in fact, a figure eight. How heavenly it always felt to rake his fingers through the silky long, glossy-black hair she always packed in a pony.
“I have to get her back and spend the little time I have left on this earth with her before it is too late.”
He was the only one who had called her a mermaid, even though he’d joked about it. His instincts was a mystery she could not unravel.
Miriam was a mermaid. Nobody knew this but she, and she was determined to keep it that way till she completed her mission in the palace. Then she would return to the sea, where she belonged.
“Miriam, who are you talking to?” Ella asked, joining her in the kitchen.
“The Prince asked me to get him something,” Miriam lied. “So I’m just reciting it so I won’t forget.”
“Oh my God,” Ella said excitedly. “You have seen the Prince. He’s good looking, right?”
“Ella!” Miriam shouted. “Stop. If you like the Prince that much, please you know the way to his room. I’m very sure he wouldn’t mind adding you to his list of his women.”
Miriam was not the hot-tempered type. She always smiled as everyone and everything. But today was different. Ella hoped there was no problem, because she had grown fond of Miriam.
She stormed out of the room, leaving Ella stunned. “What is wrong with me today? First I was feeling strange when the Prince touched me and now I am angry with Ella because she was admiring the Prince.
” Am I jealous? No I can’t be. But could he really have many women in his life? No, I don’t think so because the Prince is a good person who has respect for himself and others. What if he has a woman, then what will I do?”
She gave herself a mental kick. She had to concentrate on her mission so she could leave, or else she’d be hurting both herself and Michael.
A strong wind slammed into her from all angles, knocking her into a wall.
“The fulfilment is here,” a voice said. It was the same voice that had said the same words to her days ago.
Screaming, Miriam sprinted into her room and shut the door.
Scared of the only thing that tend to hunt her for the rest of her life.
“oh heavens, is getting closer day by day and I don’t know what to do ” she said, clutching her chest with her hands to calm herself down from the fright she feels.