“Hello, Naiad,” he chuckled. “How’s the water?”
It was the same greeting he offered every morning, as soon as her head broke the surface of the water.
And every morning, she gave the same response, “Jump in. See for yourself.” It might have seemed like a brush-off, save for the warmth in her voice and the flirtatious wink with which she punctuated her reply.
But all he ever did was flash his insouciant smile and turn away from her, walking into the forest until the sound of his hoofbeats was completely overwhelmed by the rushing of the falls.
She, of course, watched him go until the mist and spray coming off the tumbling river obscured his form. And it was a beautiful form. His top half featured a broad chest and muscular arms while the lower part of him sported chestnut hair, firm, strong hindquarters, and fetlocks that were positively swoon-worthy.
Their little ritual was repeated every morning, and the looks that passed between them grew longer, the tones of their voices more intense. Still, they never deviated from their script.
The day his lips found hers almost at the very second she surfaced – before he had straightened his neck and spine from bending to sip from her spring – was the day she knew she had to send him away forever.
“I don’t get it,” her sister shared. “He’s single; you’re single. What’s stopping you from just going for it?”
“You know that saying about if a bird and fish fall in love, where do they live?”
“How much more difficult must it be for a siren and a centaur?”
Her sister had stared at her for a full minute before throwing a rock past her head. The younger woman’s laughter rippled forth like the concentric rings on the surface of the water.
“You are. I mean, I thought you were supposed to be the smart one.” When she didn’t reply, her sister asked scornfully. “Honestly, where do you think seahorses come from?”