Chapter One

Aria watched the waves roll onto the sand, licking her feet. Sea spray dampened her face and hair. She closed her eyes and listened to the gulls cry out merrily. She sat on the beach alone. She wasn't very popular with people, keeping to herself most of the time. She looked a little different than the other kids at her school. Her eyes reflected the sea. If the sea was gray and blue, her eyes would copy it. Her eyes were very beautiful when the sea was calm in a sunny day. Hues of green, black, blue, and gray often showed up in her eyes, along with some other colors as well. She had tan skin that always carried a salt smell. People often asked her if her family owned a lobster restaurant. She was short and slender. Many guys had taken accustom to look at her down the hallways and whistle. She had long, bouncy brown hair that tumbled down her face. She would have been the perfect human being if she didn't have one more thing. The mark of the sea.

On her stomach was a tattoo of an ancient language. The tattoo on her meant Princess of the Sea. Every merman and mermaid had a tattoo put on them when they are born. It defines who they are and what they are going to do. The old dolphin of the sea comes to visit them, licking the skin where the tattoo will be. The next day, a tattoo is there.

Aria's ears perked up. She could hear the gulls cry out that there was someone coming. In a few seconds, a tall boy was there, carrying a surfboard. Behind him, more were coming. Joel Fletcher was in the front of the group, looking out at the sea. Aria stared at him.

Since she was in the sixth grade, Aria started having feelings for Joel. Every year they were stronger. But, Aria knew he would never go out with her. He was the most popular boy in school. He was a football player, basketball player, and a surfer. He had long black hair and bright green eyes. He had tan skin and was built. Aria often had caught herself staring at him in class. He was about six foot three inches and easily towered over her five feet and two inches. He was always crowded by a bunch of popular girls, giggling and asking him stupid questions. She had never even asked about going out with him. Since when did the most popular boy in school go out with a quiet mysterious girl. Plus he probably wouldn't like to date a half human and half fish anyway. He sat not too far from her. The other boys and girls sat down next to him. Aria turned back to the sea. Now she couldn't enjoy it anymore. Aria glanced at her watch. It was 4:45. She still had fifteen minutes to enjoy the sea. But if she stayed here, she would have a headache from the music and the giggling.

Aria got up and walked down the beach, to a secluded area. She moved to the cliffs and began to balance her way across the rocks. She jumped to the beginning of a cliff and pushed aside a rock. A cave appeared and Aria went in it, pulling the rock into place. In the cave was a desk and dressers, where her human clothes stayed. She slipped out of her clothes, put her finished homework on the desk, and waded into the cave's pool. Far down was an underwater entrance. As her tattoo touched the salty water, her body began to tingle. She waded farther in and the change began.

Her legs grew together and scales began to form. Fins appeared at the end of her feet and along her arms. She put on her seashell bra (A/N: If she didn't, well, you know!) on. Her scales were a purple blue color that shined when the rays of the sun hit them. She swam through the exit/entrance and began her way to the bottom of the sea.

Soon, the city of Atlantis appeared as she went down. No body could survive going down this far. Unless they were grabbed by a whale and dragged down but people weren't suppose to open thier eyes underwater. The merpeople waved or bowed respectfully at her when she swam past them. Finally she reached the castle.

"Father? I'm home." Aria called out, her voice echoing off the walls. Pearls lined the doors and many other things. Painting of different kings and queens were on the wall. A large burly merman came up to her and kissed her on the forehead. His scales were a blue green. Depending how the sea acted there would be more green or more blue.

"Aria. I'm so glad you came early. There are some handsome young mermen waiting to meet you." Aria's father, King Whirlpool, said.

Ever since she reached the age of seventeen, Aria had been meeting wonderful mermen around the sea. When a mermaid reaches the age of eighteen, she is to marry. But unlike any other mermaid, Aria had a choice. Merman or human. By the exact second of the exact hour of the exact day of the exact month, Aria had to be in merform and is suppose to kiss the human. At that moment, if the person (boy in Aria's case) does not know the secret of Aria, or/and just loves the human Aria, he will be turned into a fish for all eternity. But, if the boy did know the secret and loved her for her merform and her human, he would be able to transform into a merman whenever he wanted. If she fell in love with a merman, they would just have a wedding and stay underwater depending if he had royal blood or not. Any merperson who had royal blood could turn into a human. Aria could kiss any human she wanted before her eighteenth birthday without turning them into a fish/merman.

"Father, it is only two months away from my birthday. Why don't you wait till a month till my birthday?" Aria asked him. King Whirlpool snorted and dragged Aria into the parlor, where fifteen mermen waited.

Five minutes before Aria left the beach...

Joel had talked to his friends and they decided to go surfing. Joel had grabbed his surfboard right away and waited for the bunch near the ocean. When they were in sight, Joel walked ahead of them. There on the beach, was Aria Summers. No body knew much about her. Where she lived or who her parents were. Her parents were always away during parent career day or parent volunteer day. She was beautiful and quiet. Ever since high school, Joel been having urges to be near her. But she stayed as far as she could from him. It was like she didn't like him. The cheerleaders didn't like her. But the only reason was that because of she could fit into this one pair of jeans that all the other girls couldn't. Joel guessed that because she swam so much, that she lost a lot of weight. How he knew that she swims a lot. He lived not too far from the beach and could see everyone that swam here. Joel sat down not too far from her. His heart was fluttering madly. Soon, his friends sat around him, turning on music and the cheerleaders giggled. Joel and his friend, Blake, were watching Aria. Actually, every boy probably fancied to be with her. She was wearing a pink bikini that was showing her figure very nicely. Joel could hear the cheerleaders say rude things about her. Joel had just summoned the courage to go over to Aria and sit down with her when she got up and left. Joel sighed. He was always too late. Blake turned to Joel. "Man, why did she have to move? I was enjoying the view." Blake told him, smirking a bit. Joel had never told his friends of what he thought of Aria. He just couldn't. Joel got up and grabbed his surfboard. The boys followed suit.

Back at Aria's Castle

Aria sighed. The mermen were nice, charming, and handsome but something wasn't right. She couldn't put her finger on it. She ate dinner with the mermen and her father, before going to her bedroom. Trinkets of human things that could stay underwater littered her room. She sat on the bed and opened one of her lockets. In it was a special picture of Joel. It was made underwater and couldn't get ruined. She stroked her picture. "Good night, Joel." She whispered. She closed her locket and put it in her dresser drawer. She laid on her bed, grabbing the nearest pillow. She snuggled against it and soon was fast asleep.