Even for a woman of her size, her grin was unusually wide this morning.
Salena said not a word as her relatively small lover parked the Land Rover in the usual spot by the sea cliffs, hopped down the rocky slope out of the smudgy beige glow of early morning, and strolled into the entrance of her grotto with a wave of his hand. Her eyes—the same shimmering aquamarine as the strange bright water of her cliffside caverns, a lovely complement to her cerulean skin—twinkled as she made unwavering eye contact with the smaller man and wiggled the fingers of her right hand by way of greeting. Leaning out of her water, just from the torso up, elbows cupped in her hands, she loomed over him like the missing trunk of Ozymandias.
“Uh, honey,” said Andrew, her lover, “you’re looming.”
“Oh?” Salena nearly bit her own tongue trying to stifle laughter. “I didn’t notice, Andy, sorry.” She dipped lower into the water, resting her chin on the rocky floor of the grotto. “There, maybe now we can see… eye-to-eye.”
“Um. Yeah.” Andrew scanned the expanse of the grotto and the deeper cavern entrance behind her for any “surprises” that might be waiting. “Are you OK? You’re acting kinda funny.”
“Funny?” The word practically wheezed out of Salena, she was having such difficulty keeping the giggles locked in her belly. “Me? Never. Just delighted at the thought of another carefree day by the shore with my handsome little terrestrial boyfriend. My big, strong hunk of a boyfriend.”
“Already I’m getting teased, before I’ve even had time to put my swim trunks on? Hmmph, guess someone doesn’t want any pizza today.”
Salena pouted and flopped halfway onto land with a wet boom. She batted her eyelashes and regarded her little friend, who seemed to be oriented sideways from her perspective.
“Awww, I’m sorry, Andy,” she simpered, “I know I can be a big pain. A real handful”—here she cupped one voluminous breast for emphasis—“for my little landlubber.” She rolled onto her stomach and rested her chin in her hands, gazing dreamily at the cavern ceiling like a teenager scanning the posters over her bed. “Y’know, I’m sure you must wonder what it would be like, sometimes, having a more manageable woman in your life. Someone more compact for you to put your arms around, or slide your—”
“You saw my porn folder, didn’t you?”
Salena met Andrew’s gaze, gills flaring with surprise, and looked away quickly. Her cheeks might have looked a bit red, were they not so naturally blue.
Andrew’s arms were folded, but he was smiling, more in bemusement than anything. “First,” he said, “how? And second, what was the punchline going to be?”
“Well, when you stayed at your buddy’s house up on the beach last weekend, you left your computer open on the balcony, and I know because I crawled up the beach after everyone left so I could watch you sleep through the window, and on the computer there was people having sex, and when I tapped the screen super carefully with my little finger which was dry because I blew on it first OK don’t get mad at me, there was more sex.”
Salena finally took a breath. “So. Yeah. Porn of normal-sized girls on your computer.”
Andrew sat down on her left hand, which had come to rest palm-up in the midst of her explanation, and traced the webbing between her digits. Now he was the one trying not to laugh. His eyebrows could go no higher. “Aaaaaand the punchline?”
“The part that makes it funny that I look at porn of people my size? Regular size?”
Salena’s eyes narrowed, as if she could see the humor of it right there, but it swam out of her sight before she could explain it.
“Well, obviously, because you like big girls, like me. I mean… you’re with me, like…”
“Yes! Dating.” She slid her hand to her face, and her bass whalesong of a voice whispered like a sea breeze. “And I bet if you were dating a regular girl, she’d tease you if she saw the porn of giant girls on your computer. Which you definitely have.”
“I definitely do,” Andrew laughed. “And that definitely has happened. More than once, actually. If it was an open secret before, it’s one of the first things people figure out about me now that I’m dating Saltwater Sal of Sunshine Shores.”
Salena beamed and hummed happily at the sound of the name the Beachhead Sentinel had given her six summers ago when she made her grand reappearance before the citizenry of Sunshine Shores, some two years after she had gone missing at sea as 5’7 Sally Nakamura on the night of a sudden and startlingly bright meteor shower.
“But looking at people my size is what you would expect, Sal,” Andrew said, “so I’m not sure it works as a joke.”
His leviathan lover shrugged and curled her fingers around him. Her salty lips pressed against him, and Andrew pushed back with all his might as he returned the kiss, so Salena could feel it.
“You’re weird,” he said. “But a good weird.”
“I’m weird? I’m not the one dating a kaiju, Andy,” Salena said, retuning him to the ground. She bared her teeth and growled playfully at him (which, though she could have no way of knowing, was one of the most terrifying sounds he had ever heard, the kind of noise a kraken would have nightmares about). Andrew’s knees shook with the force of both his girlfriend’s hands landing on the ground as she hauled herself all the way out of the water. She couldn’t stand upright in her own grotto—the missing stalactites in several places showed where she had learned that the hard way—and so crouched over her boyfriend, her ridged back almost brushing the lowest of the hanging rocks.
“I could pretend, if you want,” Salena suggested. “Next time we do it. Next time I put you in your special cave, hehe. I could pretend I’m your size again, like I used to be before we dated.” She closed her eyes and screwed her pretty heart-shaped face into mock ecstasy. “Oh, Andyyy,” she moaned, her voice booming out to sea, up to the beach, down into her caverns, “I love your big, muscular dick!”
Andrew laughed so hard he felt like she’d given him the bends again.
“Shut up, sand flea! I haven’t done much human-scale dirty talk in a while.”
He tried to stop, but his amphibious girlfriend’s face, when pouting, made her look so much like a fish that stopping was impossible.
“Glub glub,” he gasped.
“What? What did you just say?”
Andrew cleared the side entrance to the grotto before Salena’s hand swiped through empty air. He scaled up the slope to the main beach just as her head came into the open, shaking her massy hair from her face, still scowling at him.
“Race you to the boardwalk!” Andrew shouted from the window of the Land Rover. He saw her face in the rearview, rearing over the slope, wincing at the reflection of the rising sun off his car.
Salena rose to her feet and charged, over 100 feet of aquatic woman thundering through clouds of sand, mighty hips swaying, arms and legs that could outcrush a giant squid pumping through the salty air, until her right foot found a sand dune just a little higher than anticipated and she ate shit.
Andrew slowly reversed the Land Rover until he was alongside his love’s head, half-sunken in the famously white and pleasant sand of Sunshine Shores. She looked like an annoyed archaeological dig.
“I’ll get us something from the boardwalk while you wait for a high tide,” he said, and drove off.
The colossal woman snorted sand from her nostrils and rubbed it out of her epicanthic folds. She bellowed over the dunes to the speedily departing car, “Bring back pizza! Lots of pizza!”
Salena lumbered back to the beach and its welcoming waters on all fours, grumbling about that little smartass barnacle of a boyfriend, knowing she would have to pretend she was still annoyed once he came back with her treats and all the beachgoers started arriving to have their summer fun and take pictures of her, which she could never even pretend to dislike.
Salena illustration by Archie Williams