1. Not much has changed.

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I watched the waves roll back and forth, calling me to the waters. The movement was calming every part of me, soothing any stress I once felt before.

How could I possibly be upset with this life? I never asked for it but it was the hand I got dealt. It had never been easy since the day mom informed me that I was going to the Academy of Naiad.

I had somewhat of a fascination with the sea before the event but it was more than that now. I was from the sea. I curled my toes in the sand, feeling the fresh breeze blow through my hair. The scent of the ocean was fresh and filled my nose with a wonderful memory of the beach.

I had asked mom why she wanted to send me to a school named after special sea creatures, and that was the moment she told me the truth about myself. The academy was a seven-year program and I had to be ready to embrace my true identity when I turned eighteen. In a week, I would finally get to see what it looked like in the water.

We only ever got to know what it would look like once it happened. There was no other real way of knowing what tails looked like without seeing them physically. I was finally ready and I felt prepared to become one with the sea. I was going to officially see the true colors of my tail.

I stood up and headed back home, looking around the place. Everything was all too familiar. Mom didn't seem to change a single thing.

"Hey, kiddo," dad said as he walked into the living room.

I smiled a bit and looked at him. "Hi, dad. Did you guys miss me?"

"Absolutely not. It was heaven without you here," my brother joked as he came in.

I teased him, "Aw, glad to hear you cried every night without my lovely presence around."

Even after seven years and a huge change in our lives, we could still joke around as siblings did.

I had to wonder if Dylan remembered me. He was my best friend when I grew up here. Of course, he was probably gone by now. Not much had changed but it was common for people to move away from their childhood homes.

Mom came out of the kitchen and hugged me. "Oh, I'm so glad to see my baby girl. You're here for good. How was it?"

"It was good. I've learned a lot and I made some friends."

"That's great! I'm so glad it worked out for you. I know it was hard and you resisted but it was a good thing." My mom smiled.

"I know. It's just something our family has to know."

"Yes. I'm from the sea, your grandmother was from the sea... It's a family gene that gets passed down and your daughter will get the same gene. This just helps you embrace who you really are."

I laughed nervously. "I guess that's true." I could embrace that I was from the sea but I couldn't accept the entire truth about what we were.

My brother, Christian, patted my back. "Don't worry. Dad and I understand enough."

Dad nodded his head and kissed mom. "It makes your mother very interesting."

"Gross!" Christian and I looked away from our parents as they tried to smooch and burn our retinas.

Dad chuckled and followed her into the kitchen. I looked at Christian. "How have your seven years been treating you? I want to know who you are now."

"Well, I'm still not into sports like everyone wants me to be. I'm probably more into art than anything. We had a project where we had to recreate a picture on a larger scale and paint it and I basically painted half of it and turned it in because I couldn't finish it in time. Half credit it better than no credit." He shrugged.

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