It is three years after the events in Disney’s The Little Mermaid.
ARIEL and ERIC are getting the last few moments of sleep before waking up to perform their royal duties. Eric is the first to open his eyes and grin lasciviously as he focuses on Ariel, his mind on royal duties of a private sort, and to that end, he rolls over and cuddles her aggressively.
Ariel wakes up.
ARIEL (dazedly): What are you doing?
ERIC: What I’ve been hoping to do for three years now…make an heir.
Ariel pushes him away and bolts out of bed, striding toward the window.
ERIC: C’mon, baby. You’re a king’s daughter. You know how the succession game works.
He leans over on her pillow, pulling the covers down to his waistline suggestively.
ERIC: And you know how eager I am to play it.
ARIEL: Yeah, well, the way it’s played on land is – is –
ARIEL: Different than in the sea!
ERIC: Oh? How so?
ARIEL: Well, when you have fins instead of feet, it’s a completely different process.
He raises an eyebrow.
ARIEL: After they are wedded, the merwife finds a concealed spot, usually a cave, and lays her eggs, and then the merhusband comes along and…fertilizes them.
ERIC: That’s not how we do it.
ARIEL: I know. You showed me, remember?
She turns back to the window with a shudder.
ERIC: I remember. Apparently I remember it differently than you.
He throws the covers off entirely, reflexively prompting her to squeeze her eyes shut even though she’s not facing him.
He reaches for a pair of pants on the floor, glaring at her back the whole time he puts them on.
ERIC: And here I thought you loved me. I thought that’s why you sacrificed your life underwater to be with me.
ARIEL: I do love you!
She turns to him.
ARIEL: I thought you loved me for me, not my ability to produce another spoiled little princeling who will pout and throw a fit when he doesn’t get his way the second he demands it.
Eric pauses before grabbing a shirt to accompany the pants, slowly straightening up and coming forward to face her head-on.
ERIC: I wish you’d never gotten your voice back from that sea witch.
He remains staring at her for a second before turning on his heel and marching to the bedroom door, slamming it behind him.
Ariel blinks back tears in his wake, slowly working her way over to the shirt he abandoned and putting it on over her nightgown.
As she buttons it up, she opens up the door to their balcony and leans on the railing, staring out at the sea as music starts playing around her, softly at first, then growing in intensity.
ARIEL (singing): Look at this place
Isn’t it neat?
Wouldn’t you think my whole life’s complete?
Wouldn’t you think I’m the girl –
No, the woman who has everything?
She walks along the edge of the balcony until she reaches the wall, then stretches out an arm to grab a handful of ivy.
Look at these grounds
How many delights can one garden hold?
Looking around, you’d say, “Sure,”
“She’s got everything.”
She grabs the ivy with both hands, using it as leverage to swing over the balcony and start scrambling down the wall.
Of clothing and jewels, I’ve got quite a haul
I’ve got stockings and shoes galore
All the comforts of above,
I’ve got them all!
She reaches the ground and starts walking toward the sea.
But I don’t care.
I can’t deal.
I’m done with “more.”
The landscaping starts to dry up as she reaches the edge of the sand.
Now that I’ve been where the people are.
Now that I’ve twisted, twisted an ankle dancing
Now that I’ve gotten blisters on my – oh, I hate the word –
The ground beneath her is all beach now, and she stumbles with a snarl as one of those feet finds a sharp-edged rock.
Flipping your fins might not get you far
But there’s an elegance to their jumping, dancing
Not the half-dazed shuffle you see on that absurd
She minces her way to the edge of the sea, where the waves are gently lapping the shore.
Down where they splash, down where they swim
Oh, how I long to be down there with them again
To be young and carefree! Wish I could be
Part of that world.
As Ariel moves forward into the surf, now up to her ankles, there’s a commotion from the balcony she left behind as Eric burst out onto it, fully dressed, only to sigh and shake his head.
ERIC: Oh, goddammit. Not again, and not in my favorite shirt!
He starts tearing his clothes off as Ariel continues into the water up to her knees.
ARIEL (singing): Look what I gave to live out of the waters,
Look what I paid to be stuck on the sand.
Now I know they don’t understand
They reprimand their wives and their daughters
Who are bright, have opinions,
And wish they could stand
Stripped down to his briefs, Eric hits the ground and runs toward the beach.
ERIC: Ariel! Get back here!
ARIEL (singing): Hoping to share with the world what they know,
Hoping to question and to get real answers
But ask wrong, or ask too many, and you’ll get
She is up to her waist in water as Eric reaches the shoreline.
I’ve had my turn!
I thought I’d love
Love to explore the shore up above
But I know the sea
Is where I should be…
Back in my world.
Ariel is now in up to her chin as Eric dives into the water, slicing expertly through it in hot pursuit.
Deep in the sea
Is where I should be…
Back to my world.
She is resolute as the water swallows her whole.
Eric beelines for the spot where she disappeared, takes a breath, and dives under. He comes up a few seconds later and splashes frantically as he looks in every possible direction, scanning for any sign of her.
ERIC: Ariel? ARIEL!
He takes a deep breath and goes in for another dive, returning to the surface just as empty-handed as the last time. He treads water helplessly, staring out into the horizon, where a seagull flies low, cawing ominously.