Katelina finally gets her beach vacation, but it’s not everything she dreamed. How could it be with the companions she’s got? Strap in for a collection of six short stories about surf, sun, and… um… I mean surf, moonlight and vampires.
Loren scaled the beach, a giant shell in his hand. It was one of a dozen treasures he’d dredged up from the bottom of the cove in the last hour. Like a hopeful puppy, he slid to a stop at the foot of Micah’s beach chair and thrust the shell in the bald vampire’s face. “Look at this.”
Micah flinched back and wiped droplets of sea water off his nose. “Yeah, I see it.” Loren waited a second and he added, “Nice one.”
Loren deposited it in the chair next to him, with his other treasures. “Are you sure you don’t want to try it? I can show you how to swim, but even if you don’t catch on it’s okay. We can’t drown.”
“Yeah, sure we can’t,” Micah grumbled.
The conversation felt like something from a sitcom. The vampire looked like a thug. Muscles bulged from his white tank top and ink decorated his arms and his face. At a glance Loren would have guessed he was the kind of guy who’d done time. Heck, for all Loren knew he had. And yet the guy was scared of the water.
Loren mopped his dark curly bangs out of his face. Turned when he was sixteen, he was stuck behind the mask of a cheerful kid for eternity. He had no choice but to take it in stride, just like he took his missing arm.
At the thought his brown eyes slid sideways to the stump. Thanks to his vampire blood there were no scars, no horrible deformities, just a perfect arm, wrapped in smooth porcelain skin, that ended at the elbow. No matter how neat it looked, it still sent a shiver up his spine. But, at least he could look at it now.
“Come on,” he tried again. “You don’t have to go all the way in.”
“I said no.” Micah tugged out a cigarette and lit it, as if that ended their conversation. His next words came in a cloud of smoke. “Go hassle someone else, huh?”
Loren rolled his eyes and headed back down the beach. Of his companions he seemed to be the only one who really understood what the words “beach vacation” meant. Maybe that was because he’d grown up on the beach. Maine was cold for half of the year, but the other half he’d lived barefoot and crusted with sand.
He splashed into the water and waded until it was deep enough to swim. Long, one armed strokes took him out into the cove, and he dropped down beneath the dark waves. He spun on his back and looked up to see the night sky through the water; the stars rippled and smeared with the waves and the crescent moon bobbed.
He turned and dived deeper. The watery world got darker, but his vampire eyes picked through the gloom to the rocks and plants below. He scanned for something worth hauling up. Something that would interest his bald, crabby friend.
He sensed her presence before he saw her. Torina swam next to him, wearing her scanty emerald green bikini. His eyes were drawn to her breasts, which threatened to spill out, and his mind went straight to the gutter.
She gave him an appreciative smile and a wink, as if she’d seen his thoughts. Then she swam towards the surface. Loren hesitated for a moment before he followed her.
He broke out through the top and wiped water from his eyes. She bobbed next to him, her long red hair wet against her head and her usual makeup missing. Without it, she looked a little less glamorous, and that much more approachable.
“Nice to see someone else swimming.” His eyes moved against his will to her heavy cleavage.
She cocked her head to one side and studied him. “I’m surprised to see you out here since you lost your…” she trailed off, and her green eyes touched on what was left of his arm. “I didn’t think anyone could swim with only one.”
Though he cringed inside, he forced a smile. “It took some getting used to, but it’s really not that different.”
“If you say so.” She moved closer and dropped her voice, as if sharing a secret. “If that had happened to me…I don’t know what I’d do.”
He shrugged. “You’d figure it out pretty quick.”
She looked thoughtful and then shook her head. “I don’t know if I would. We’re not all as resilient.”
“Ah, it’s not being resilient. There’s just no other choice except to curl up and die, and who wants to do that?”
“I guess it would depend on how bad living with it was.” She turned back for the beach. “Are you coming?”
A crude reply popped in his head, but e settled for shaking his head no.
“Suit yourself.” She swam off, and he watched her go with a silent sigh. She might seem more approachable, but he knew she was way out of his league. Of all the vampires on the island the only one who might have a chance with her was Jorick, and he was too busy with his human girlfriend to consider it.
Jorick was the vampires’ vampire. The kind that all the chicks wanted and the men respected. Tall with broad shoulders and long dark hair, he had a commanding presence and enough dark, emo brooding to make women want to save him. And even the men who hated him had to grudgingly admit that he was kick ass. Hell, even Micah had had to admit it.
Loren sighed. It was enough to make anyone feel inadequate.
He dove again and came back up with another, larger shell. He tucked it under the stump of his left arm and swam back to land. Micah was still in the chair, smoking, and he showed him his newest find. It garnered less enthusiasm than the last one had, and Loren deposited it with the others.
Jorick and Katelina suddenly stepped out from the palm trees. The human woman squinted and then let go of Jorick’s arm to draw closer. She pointed to the pile in the chair. “What’s all that?”
“Stuff I found,” Loren answered proudly. “There’s some cool stuff.”
“No gold,” Micah huffed.
She rolled her eyes. “Are you expecting pirate treasure?”
“Yeah why not?” Micah tugged out his cigarettes and Katelina snatched one from his fingers before he could light it. “What the fuck, Lunch? Tell your boyfriend to support your habit.”
“It’s not a habit. I just like one now and then. And quit calling me that.” She took a long puff and perched on the edge of the chair. “So what are you doing?”
“You’re lookin’ at it, Princess,” Micah answered and held his arms out.
“Looks boring.” She took another puff. “Torina’s up on the hill.”
“What’s she doing there?” Loren asked.
“Probably looking for someone to sleep with.” Katelina scowled and took another angry drag. “If she latches onto Jorick one more time…”
Micah chortled. “Worried your man has a wondering eye? You could keep him looking at you if you wore something better.” He nodded towards the one piece swimsuit and the floppy shirt she’d pulled over it.
“You mean run around naked like she does?”
“Whoa! Who’s naked?’ Loren asked and then laughed. “Ah, she and Jorick are old news.”
“So they say.” Katelina took another puff. “But she’s always hanging off of him.”
“She hangs off of everyone,” Loren said. He glanced down the beach to where Jorick had taken a seat. The vampire didn’t look directly at them, but Loren had a sense that he was still watching.
“She can come hang off of parts of me, anytime.” Micah gave a crude, throaty laugh and Katelina rolled her eyes.
“You’re all disgusting.”
Loren held up his hand. “Hey, I didn’t say anything.”
“But you were thinking it.” She inhaled and sighed. “I don’t think we’re ever going to get rid of her.”
“Torina?” Micah asked. “Probably not. But what’s the rush. We need some fucking eye candy around here.”
Katelina made a disgusted noise and stomped out the cigarette butt. “As if she’d give either of you two the time of day.” Before they could reply she flounced off towards her boyfriend.
“Someone’s touchy.” Micah snickered. “So is Jorick ever gonna turn her or what?”
“I dunno, I guess so.” Loren took the seat she’d abandoned. “Though it’s kind of handy having her as a human.”
“Sometimes. Maybe.” Micah watched the couple for a moment then turned back to the teen. “I heard him and Oren talking last night. Apparently he’s worried about something.”
“What?” Loren asked with interest.
“How the fuck should I know? It has something to do with Lunch and that vampire in the temple.”
“Yeah, whatever the fuck his name is.”
When no more came Loren pressed, “And?”
“And I don’t know! Fuck, they quit talking as soon as they realized I was there. Not like the executioner ass hole is gonna tell me anything. But, ask me, he should worry more about that red haired freak than some mysterious guy.”
Loren groaned. “You’re not back on Verchiel again? I told you, I think Jorick’s over reacting. Verchiel ‘s just aggravating them.”
“Sure he is. I tell you, if that was my girlfriend he was hitting on I’d punch his face in.”
“He’s not hitting on her. He’s just teasing her.”
“Whatever you say, pipsqueak. Just keep in mind I have a few years’ experience on you, huh?”
Loren snickered. “You have a lot of years’ experience, grandpa.”
Micah raised a fist. “You better watch that grandpa crap, kid.”
Loren jumped up and grinned. “You’d have to catch me first.” Then he took off, running through the palm trees and up the hill. He heard Micah swear and then the sound of his pursuit. At least the lug was out of his beach chair for five seconds.
He dashed out of the trees and into the bald crown of the hill. Torina sat on a bench, her legs crossed and a book in her lap. “Oh, it’s you.”
“Who did you expect?” he asked. Before she could answer, Micah popped out of the jungle growth and tackled him to the ground.
“Grandpa, am I?” he ground his knuckles into the teen’s head.
“Hey! No noogies!” Loren shrieked, laughing.
Torina stood and surveyed them. “What are you doing?”
“I’m teaching this kid a lesson. Say Uncle!”
“Why uncle? Why not Grandpa?” He broke into laughing shrieks again as Micah ground harder. “All right! All right! Uncle!”
Micah stood and dusted his clothes off. “Damn kids these days have no respect.”
“Can you really expect them to when you behave like that?” Torina asked.
“What the fuck’s wrong with how I behave?”
“Oh, nothing, for a five year old.” Torina resumed her seat and flipped her book open.
Micah leaned on the back of the bench, no doubt leaning over just enough to see straight down her top. “So who you waiting for sugar cakes?”
“Not more of those horrible attempts at a pet name.”
“Nothing wrong with that one, was there?” Micah looked to Loren for support, but the teen just shrugged. He couldn’t really imagine calling a girl that, or any of the other names Micah came up with.
“If you say so.” Torina all but stifled a yawn. “Why don’t you run along now?”
“Why? You in a hurry to get rid of us?” Micah made a show of taking a seat next to her. “Me and pipsqueak got as much right to be up here as you do.”
Torina didn’t bother to answer, but Loren could see her annoyance on her face. They were never going to find out what was going on by hanging around. “Hey, Micah, this is boring. Let’s go.”
“What?” Loren gave him a just-shut-up look, and he grumbled. “Yeah, yeah, fine. Guess we’ll see you later.”
“Better later than sooner,” Torina called as they disappeared into the trees again.
When they were out of ear shot Micah demanded, “What the hell was that?”
The teen shushed him. “She’s not gonna tell us, and whoever she’s meeting won’t show up while we’re there.”
“So?” Micah seemed to suddenly catch on. “You mean we wait here and then follow whoever up?”
“Something like that.” It was doubtful her secret rendezvous would walk right under their noses, but stranger things had happened. “Who do you think it is?”
“Well it ain’t her brother, that’s for sure, and it ain’t us. That leaves Jorick, that ass hole Wolfe, or that red headed Executioner. If I had to bet, I’d go for him.”
“Verchiel? I thought you said he was after Katelina.”
Micah rolled his eyes. “He ain’t after Lunch like that. He just wants a piece coz he ain’t supposed to have it. You know, sticking your finger in someone else’s pie kind of thing. I bet he’d do Torina, too.”
“Who wouldn’t?” Loren asked and then snickered.
They fell silent, and the minutes dragged past. Loren didn’t have a watch, but if he did he’d have checked it obsessively. He had just decided that they should sneak up the hill and see if Verchiel had sneaked up the other side, when he heard someone crashing noisily though the foliage.
He opened his mouth, but Micah motioned him to silence. They both squinted through the dark, and sniffed. As the perpetrator drew closer, his scent met them and Loren’s eyes went wide.
“It’s a human,” he whispered. He sniffed again and thought he recognized him as one of the island staff.
Micah shushed him and they stood motionless and tense as the man hurried past them, almost close enough to touch had they wanted to. They waited until the sounds died down before Micah motioned Loren to follow and started up after him.
They crept silently up the hillside and crouched at the edge of the vegetation. Loren peered between the giant leaves of some tropical plant. The man stood in front of Torina, eyes locked with hers and his expression one of helpless devotion.
The redhead cocked a hip and then motioned him closer. He walked without looking at his feet, and only stopped when she touched him. She traced her finger from his shoulder, up his neck and to his chin. She smiled, slow and seductive, and then drew him towards the bench.
How much of this should we watch?
Loren shifted uncomfortably and glanced at Micah, but the bald vampire seemed oblivious. Loren looked back to the hilltop and his eyes went wide as Torina straddled the man and with a final whisper in his ear, bit into his neck.
Half sex, half feeding, the scene was out of some bizarre porno, and though Loren knew they shouldn’t watch, he couldn’t stop. It was only when the vampiress made a high, moaning sound of climax that he managed to tear his eyes away and slink back into the plants.
Micah met him a moment later and wordlessly they hurried down the slope. When they reached the clearing around the houses Loren broke the silence. “Holy shit!”
Micah laughed and slapped him on the back. “Ah kid, I’ve seen better.” He sobered. “Though what the fuck is with that guy? She could have her choice and she picks him?”
“Maybe she likes humans?” Loren suggested. The images were still bright and clear in his mind and left his face red.
“You mean like Jorick seems to?” Micah snickered.
“Jorick seems to what?”
They looked up guiltily to see Katelina and Jorick. “Oh, uh, hi.” The teen’s face turned redder as the participants in his mental scene suddenly changed to the newcomers.
Katelina gave him an odd look. “Are you all right?”
Jorick narrowed his eyes and Loren knew he’d seen it, but there was nothing he could do. “Yeah, um. Fine. Just gonna go swimming.”
“Then maybe you should go?” Jorick suggested.
“Right, Good idea.” He grabbed Micah’s arm and dragged him away.
“What the fuck, pipsqueak? I didn’t have time to irritate Lunch yet.”
“What do you want to do that for?”
“Because it’s fun to watch her get all worked up. And Jorick gets all pissed and starts threatening shit that you know he ain’t gonna do.” He pulled loose, and grinned. “You gotta love that.”
“I dunno. I always worry he’ll make good on his threats.”
“Nah. And even if he tries, I say let him. I’ll show him a thing or two, huh?” They stopped next to the beach chairs and Micah dropped into the one he’d abandoned. “You know what we need, kid? Some chicks in bikinis.”
Loren managed to nod, but after the scene with Torina he wasn’t so sure. One was bad enough. What would he do if they had an island full of that?
The idea was enough to keep his imagination busy the rest of the night.