Chapter 1: Meet Roxy
I crawled into my room and wrapped an arm around my ribs. Tonight had been the worse beating of them all. My lip was split, I had a cut on my face, and I was definitely sure that I would have black eyes tomorrow.
I kicked the door shut and struggled with the multiple locks on the door, making sure that my father could not come and finish the job of killing me (which he attempted to do every time he was drunk). After closing the fourth lock, I fell to the floor in pain. Tears of pain and frustration fell from my eyes.
I slammed 'Depeche Mode' into the cassette player and turned the volume up all the way. I laughed at the lyrics, especially these:
"I don't want to start any blasphemous rumors,
but I think that God's got a sick sense of humor,
and when I die, I expect to find him laughing"
Too right, he has a sick sense of humor! I thought to myself. I am beaten to the brink of death all the time and I haven't died. I don't know why. Maybe I have something in me - something special that keeps me going. I don't know.
I crawled to my bathroom and lifted myself up so that I sat on the edge of the bathtub. I picked up the antiseptic cream and rubbed it onto my split knuckles. I winced in pain as I applied the cream.
I then opened the medicine cabinet and took out one Tylenol pill, which I then swallowed with a sip of water. I stared at my cut in the bathroom mirror as I applied the butterfly stitches.
I slid down to the floor with my back leaned against the bathtub.
I closed my eyes and fell into an uncomfortable slumber.
I shuffled down the stairs in the morning. All I could think of was 'I have to get out of here'. In my backpack was a change of clothes and the 'runaway' money that I had been saving. I was going to wait until I turned 18 to run away. But now, I thought, I should leave as soon as I can.
I sat down at the breakfast table, my black eye hidden behind dark shades. I sat there drawing in my sketchbook. That's all I really did-draw. It's the one thing that I was good at that didn't need me to answer questions. I could just be myself, with no problems and no secrets. I was safe.
I was finishing my drawing of a hand holding a rose. The rose was covered in thorns, and the hand was bleeding from the thorns piercing skin. Petals fell from the rose and settled at the bottom of the page in an uneven pile. In my view, it looked pretty neat.
"What are you drawing, honey?" came my mother's soft voice.
I looked up from my page and said "just stuff that comes to my mind", and got back to work.
"Roxy... Roxy, honey, look at me." She sat down opposite me, and she seemed to just notice my face with the split lip and cut on the cheek. "Roxy, what happened?"
I looked away from her and went back to my drawing.
"I fell," I grunted.
"Roxy, don't lie to me. Please, tell me what happened!" she cried.
"I'm fine," I grunted again.
"Honey, take off your glasses," she said. When I didn't, she reached over and ripped them off herself. She then stared in shock at my battered face, now complete with a black eye!
"Oh! Honey, who did this?"
"Who did wha…oh my god!" Sam had just come in the room with Mike.
"Roxy, who did this?" Mike asked. I could tell he also wanted to know. I hoped that he would believe me.
So I told them. I didn't break it gently while crying or telling them, 'I can't say!'
I just came right out and said, "Dad did it."
Mike blinked, puzzled for a bit, and then scoffed. "As if dad would ever do something like that. Seriously, who actually did it, Roxy?"
Sam hit him on the arm. "Shut up, Mike!"
He walked over to me and pulled me into a hug. "You said he'd stopped it, Roxy!" he scolded. "Why didn't you say something sooner?"
I hugged him back. "I didn't want you in danger, Sammy."
Mom hugged me and started to cry. "Oh, honey, I had no idea! I'm so sorry!" she sobbed.
I replied, doing my best to keep calm,
"It's okay, mom; I've had worse. Believe me."
However, she cried even harder. "No, it's not that, Roxy," she replied. "He promised this wouldn't happen. He said that he would never do anything bad again!"
I pulled away. "What do you mean?" I was puzzled.
"Three weeks ago, I caught him cheating on me with a young girl called Daisy. He said that he would never do anything to hurt me again!" she sobbed.
My mom is far too trusting. I pulled her into a tight embrace, comforting her, even though I too needed comfort.
Mike then did something that, a few days earlier, he had told me he was glad he never did when we were younger. (He had also told me he liked my artwork, and suggested that maybe I could become a famous artist and sell some of it to make some money of my own someday, which I had smiled at and said was a great idea, too.)
He grabbed my sketchbook and threw it across the kitchen.
"Roxy! Look what your stupid ideas are doing! You don't know when to keep your mouth shut, do you?"
He then pulled me out of mom's arms and shook me, making the skin on my wrists go white under his grip. I gasped in pain as he squeezed one of my many bruises.
"Mike, let go!" I hissed, trying to get out of his grip. He clamped his hands down harder.
"Let her go!" Sam roared and tackled Mike to the ground. "Dad's been beating Roxy, and all you can think of is how it's her fault!" he screamed.
"What the hell is going on down here?"
I froze at the sound of dad's voice.
"Samuel, get off of your brother."
Sam glared at dad, clenched his teeth together and didn't move.
"Sam! You will do as you are told!" dad snapped.
"Or what?" I yelled at him. "You gonna beat him too?"
"Roxanne Louise! Hold your tongue!" he hissed. He knew I hated my full name.
"I will not!" I yelled. "I'm sick of you trying to control me, Bernard!" I sneered at his name.
"Shut up, you insolent little vixen!" he snapped.
He then went to hit me, but I was faster. I caught his fist in my hand, twisted his arm sharply and pulled it behind his back. At the same time, I kicked his legs out from under him so I could pin him to the ground. Finally, to top it all off, I knelt on the small of his back and pulled out my switchblade, fully intent on killing the man who ruined my childhood.
But then Mom cried, "No, no, honey! Don't!"
I glared at her, but did as she said, letting the freak go. I grabbed my bag, sketch book, and keys to my motorbike before storming out of the door and riding off to school.
Chapter 2: SATs: Self-Absorbed Tarts
Roxy runs away after a fight with a popular girl.
Well, I hope you're liking this story so far. :)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
I was sitting at my usual bench outside the school cafeteria. My eyes glanced at the passing crowds of students, all busying themselves with the trivial problems in their self-absorbed lives. I just sat there for what felt like hours, slowly drinking the beer in my right hand and smoking the cigarette in my left.
I hated the idiocy of some students. All they cared about was how their hair looked, or who's dating who. No one gave a damn about real life and real problems.
I looked at the bottle in my hand with disgust. Empty.
I threw the glass bottle at the wall of the school; it smashed violently, showering one of the students in glass, and dregs of Budweiser.
"You freak!" shrieked one of the 'popular' girls, or as I liked to call them, SAT's. That's short for Self-Absorbed Tarts (as well as Scholastic Aptitude Test).
"Do you know how much this outfit cost me?" she yelled at me, flicking her blonde hair over her shoulder.
"Actually, I thought that charity hand outs were free," I replied, coolly rising from my seat and, flinging my backpack over my shoulders, walking away from the blonde bimbo. I never was a loud and outspoken person; I kept to myself and rarely talked to anyone else.
"Hey! Get back here now!"
I stopped in mid-step and hissed over my shoulder, "Don't you dare tell me what to do!"
I had had enough of people trying to control me. I remembered what happened this morning; the truth finally came out when mom saw my face, and Michael had just laughed it off. Of course he would do something like that; he was 'daddy's special son' after all. Damn him, damn them both!
I spun around and threw my bag to the floor. My eyes were wide and ferocious with anger; they were burning a dark green as they always did when I was angry. They darkened and looked very fierce. Hell, I even scared my mom once!
I ran at her and pulled my arm back. My fist collided with her nose. Upon hearing a sickening crunch, I realized that I had broken it. She instantly fell to the floor, whimpering.
I bent over her pathetic form and pulled her close to my face by her bleach blonde hair.
"Now you listen to me closely, girly. You ever mention that again, and I swear to your god that I will end you!"
With that, I then dropped her hair, flicked the cigarette butt in her face, and calmly turned and strode towards my black and red motorcycle, scooping up my bag which contained most of my possessions -- well, only the important ones that I couldn't bare to part with: my sketch book and pencils, my paints with a few paintbrushes, a wad of cash saved from my jobs, and a change of clothes.
Yes. You guessed right. I am running away. Not the most noble of things to do, but hey, I don't give a damn.
Feedback is appreciated, please. :)
Chapter 3: How I Came to Santa Carla
Roxy tells of one day while in Santa Carla.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Three months had passed and I was on the road, passing random towns to sell sketches or paintings. I did not make that much money, but I was happy people liked my art and bought it.
I didn't have to go to school and face any hassle, for one thing. Plus, for once, my life was simple, and on the up side, I wasn't getting beaten anymore. I laughed darkly at the thought. (Yes, many people have told me I have a sick sense of humor, but hey, I don't care.)
I would stop at motels and rent a room so I could shower and rest for the night, but I always made sure I was gone by morning.
Mom had filed me under "missing" two days into my trip. Everywhere I looked, there were missing posters of some kid or another, but this was different. Those kids didn't have the annoyingly persistent mother that I had. Mom even went on TV and made a plea for me to come home.
But I didn't; I hated life at home. I never had any confidence when I was at home, probably because dad was always bringing me down instead of helping to encourage me to follow my dreams, like I've seen most fathers do with their daughters. But now I was free from him, and completely happy and confident. He was yet another reason for me not to go home. Mom would probably forgive dad and "work things out", according to her. I loved my mom, but she is far too trusting, and I was in no way wanting to go back to a life of restrictions and rules.
Now I was carefree and wild. I couldn't care less about stability; I just wanted to draw, and paint. I wanted to be on my own; I wanted to see what being independent felt like, and for the first time, it felt good. No more rules for me; I wanted freedom.
I went to the reception desk of the latest motel I was staying at. Sitting behind the desk was a woman around 40; she looked up and smiled kindly. I smiled back and paid the woman the money.
"You know, luv, if you wanted a place where you could stay permanent-like, then you should head to Santa Carla. There are plenty of runaways who go there. The police don't check because of the missing people."
"Ho...How did..?" I was confused.
She chuckled. "Honey, you arrived with only a rucksack and two changes of clothes, and pay with cash riding a motorcycle, in the middle of nowhere. My woman's intuition tells me you've got to be running from something."
She smiled kindly at me.
I returned the smile. "Thanks."
So that's how I ended up in Santa Carla; I've been living here for a two and a half months now, and it's pretty awesome, to be honest.
I found a job at the boardwalk where I have a little market stall and I sell my paintings and artwork. So far, I only work days because the families come during days and ask for drawings of them all together. This wasn't really my favourite way of drawing, but it makes money, and money was what I need to pay for my hotel room. Sometimes I do get to sell my own creations, but there's not that much time because of the deadline I have for the portraits.
Tonight, like most nights, I was drawing. But tonight I was drawing the boardwalk and beach; I was halfway through my drawing when I felt like someone was staring at me. I looked around, and sure enough, on the railings of the boardwalk four guys were staring at me. I shook my head and went back to my drawing shading and smudging then sketching another part of the view. I was so engrossed in my work I didn't notice the same guys walk over to me.
"Wow, she's good!" I heard someone say.
Without looking up from my work, I saw the four guys out the corner of my eye, standing around me In a circle around me. Now, that would probably have intimidated a different person, but I knew that I could handle myself. I didn't spend half of my time fighting at school and not learn how to defend myself for nothing. It had come in handy sometime after all.
I ignored them, hoping they would go away. When they didn't, I looked up from my drawing.
"Got a problem?" I asked coolly.
"No, we're just checking out your work."
It was the same one as before. He had wild blonde hair and wore a tuxedo jacket.
"Yeah, you're really good," said the smallest of the four. He caught my eye, mainly because of his amazing jacket. It was covered in bright coloured patches and badges, as well as trinkets and tassels on the shoulders. But his eyes were also bright... so bright, I felt like I could get lost in them. I shook the thought from my head. For all I knew, these guys could be psychopaths.
I tried not to smile, but I couldn't help it. Something about this boy just made me want to smile.
"Thanks," I said turning back to my work.
"How come we haven't seen you around here? Are you new to Santa Carla?" This was the one with the colourful jacket.
"No. I've been here for about two and a half months, of course. You probably won't have seen me unless you pass by my market stall every time. Plus, I doubt that you spend your time looking for an artist to draw portraits of your family. I haven't had much else to draw, but day-trippers, that is since I got here."
"How about you do a portrait of all of us? I bet it would give you something else to draw apart from little kids and their moms -- namely, something different, of course," suggested the one with wild hair, grinning maniacally. I smiled; it would give me something to do that was different for a change. I had basically finished the picture of the boardwalk anyway.
"Sure, sit down then." I motioned to the space in front of me, they sat down and I began to study them. Each line I could draw, the shape of their faces, the way that their clothes creased...
Then I started drawing. I drew the one with the mullet first; he seemed like the leader. Maybe he was.
For what seemed like forever, I just looked at the group, drawing each boy, shading the shadows on their faces. It was extremely easy to draw the first three I had them draw relatively quickly. Then I started on the boy with the curly hair and colourful jacket, shading every patch on his jacket with care; he had his mouth turned up in a sort of half-smile.
When I was finally finished, I ripped the drawing from my sketch book and handed it to the platinum blonde guy with the mullet.
They all looked shocked that I had drawn this.
"You can keep that," I said.
"Awesome! Thanks, by the way," said the one with the wild hair. "How did you learn to draw so good?"
"I just can, that's all. I suppose it was just a way of helping me deal with… now, how should I put this... stuff, to be exact."
I stood up and brushed the sand off of my ripped- jeans, I looked down at my watch. It was 11:47 pm. I had to go.
"Guess I'll see you later. I really gotta go," I said to the now standing boys.
"Yeah, see ya," they muttered. I barely heard them as I ran as fast as I could toward the steps.
I walked up the stairs of the boardwalk weaving in between people; I hadn't made nearly enough money from my paintings this week, and I felt I needed a bonus of some kind. I looked for dollars on the sidewalks and streets (finding a few fives and three tens in the process, which was good luck to me since nobody was looking for them), and picked several people's pockets without them noticing, sliding the wallets into the rucksack that was hanging on my arm by my elbow.
I reached my bike and jumped on, not noticing the same boys watching me again as I sped down the boardwalk stairs.
I raced toward my hotel. If I wasn't back by midnight, the owner would lock up, and I would be stuck without a place to sleep.
I forced my bike to go faster still, ignoring the bumps I hit, causing my bike to fly through the air. At some points, I kept my balance easily. The lights from the hotel sign came into view. I relaxed upon noticing I was on time, or early, to be exact. I skidded to a halt outside the front office and ran inside.
"You're cutting it a little close, aren't you, Roxy?" Sally asked, pointing to the clock; it read 11:55.
I grinned at the receptionist. "Where would be the fun in being on time?"
She rolled her eyes. "You know, one of these days you are probably going to fall off that awful contraption of yours, and I will just sit and watch."
I laughed and walked away to my room.
'Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!'
I rolled over and punched the alarm clock; groaning, I crawled out of bed.
I glanced at the time. It was 12:00 pm already. Man, I really ought to change the alarm setting.
I shrugged out of my too-large t-shirt that served as my pyjamas, and changed into a pair of acid-washed tight jeans with rips in the knees and thighs, a overly big Depeche Mode t-shirt and a black military jacket that was a lot like the one the guy with wild hair was wearing last night. I pulled on my black motorcycle boots that reached about an inch and a half below my knee. This was practically the same outfit I wore every day; I just changed my tops and jeans around. I now had three changes of clothes and only one pair of shoes - namely, the ones that were on my feet. I had to make sure that I didn't keep too many clothes, so that if I needed to leave in a hurry (for instance, if my mom or the fuzz found me), then I could just up and go.
I grabbed the paintings that I had finished and needed to take to the stall for the families to pick up, pushed them into a big backpack and slung that on my back before heading.
"Hey, Roxy. You heading to work, Hun?" Sally called as I walked out of the door.
I turned around to look at her. "Yeah, I gotta get these paintings to the boardwalk. I got three families waiting for them. Also, I got a couple asking about my independent work, so I got my paintings with me. Selling my paintings should earn some cash for me."
She smiled. "That's good. It sounds like you have a passion for art."
After thinking for a moment, Sally then suggested,
"Say, do you think you could pick up some comics for me?"
I had to laugh; Sally was 27 and still into reading comic books. However, hearing this did bring up a twinge of pain. It made me think of my brother Sam; he was really into comics himself. Even though he was sixteen, he couldn't stop reading comic books. They were his passion, like art was mine. Michael's passion was his exercise equipment.
"Sure," I replied. "What would you like?"
"Oh, just get me some Superman comics, Hun," she replied, smiling at me. She handed me the money for the comics. "And here, take this too, for your trouble." She handed me another note with a smile; I tried to hand the note back, saying that she should keep her money.
"No, honey, you should have that. A little extra money does come in handy sometime; I should know. Plus, I'm sure that I'll save someone their wallet getting pinched - am I right?" she said with mirth glittering in her eyes. I smiled sheepishly and took the note.
"Yeah, you're right," I replied.
I hopped on my bike and sped away to the boardwalk.
Nice feedback is very much appreciated, of course. :)
Chapter 4: Meeting Marko Again
Roxy meets Marko again, and goes to the cave where the boys are...
"Thank you." The mother of two beamed at me. "It's such a lovely portrait!"
I smiled back. "No problem; to be honest, it's just good to have a customer!" I laughed; she joined in, and left with her two boys.
I had earned big money today, selling four of my own paintings as well as the three portraits I had painted. I closed the stall and went in search of the comic shop.
I flicked through the comic books, selecting a few Superman comics. I had no idea what numbers to get Sally, so I just got the most interesting-looking ones. Once again I felt someone staring at me. I looked up and saw two guys, who were about Sam's age. They were staring at me with wary glances. One had a bright red bandanna on and dark blonde hair. The other had black hair and was wearing dog tags.
"Shake your head. Your eyes are stuck!" I hissed angrily. "What is your problem?"
"Just scoping your civilian wardrobe," the one with the bandanna replied.
I snorted. Was he serious? Who talks like that?
"Pretty cool, huh?" I replied.
"For a delinquent," Black-hair said.
I glared at him.
"How about you just ring up this purchase so I can leave, huh?" I said stonily.
The black haired boy complied angrily, and I handed over the money.
I reached out for the bag and bandanna-boy grabbed my arm.
"Take this as well," he said as he handed me a comic that said "Vampires Everywhere".
I laughed and shook my head. "No thanks, bandanna-boy. I'm just here for the Superman comic. Nothing else."
He glared at me, but did not push me to take it.
I laughed uncontrollably to myself as I left the store. "What a couple of weirdos," I thought out loud, making my way down the steps to where I was last night. It was then that I noticed just how much time had passed. It was night already. I hurriedly checked my watch. It was 6:30, so I still had hours yet.
I pulled out my sketchbook and pencils from my rucksack and sat down in the sand, trying to think of something to draw. It was then that I heard footsteps behind me.
Without making any noise, I smoothly pulled out my switchblade from my boot. I stood up suddenly and grabbed whoever was behind me, holding the blade in front of me.
"Whoa! Calm down. It's just me!"
It was the guy from last night - the one with the amazing jacket. I smiled, suddenly feeling embarrassed.
"Sorry about that. I just don't like people sneaking up on me," I explained.
He grinned back. "Yeah. that was kind of my fault there."
"So, do you have a name, or am I going to have to call you 'dude-with-the-cool-jacket'?" I asked.
He laughed. "I'm Marko."
I smiled. "I'm Roxy."
"I wanted to talk to you last night, but you sort of ran off."
I laughed again. I was amazed at how this boy effected me usually I was weary of people I did not know but with him it was different, I felt totally at ease around him like I was supposed to be with him, like I'm in love with him... WHOA! Did I actually just say that? I must be nuts or something; I can't fall in love with someone after meeting them twice!
"Oh, yeah, sorry about that. But if I'm not back by midnight, then Sally, the owner of the hotel, locks up, and then I don't have a place to sleep for the night." I shrugged. "That's one of the downsides of living without parents. You get locked out, and no amount of crocodile tears and puppy dog faces can let you back in."
He nodded in agreement. "So why did you come to Santa Carla?"
"To make a long story short – I ran away."
He nodded, but didn't say anything; I decided to change the subject before he started asking 'why?'
"So, did you make your jacket yourself?" I asked.
He grinned. "Yeah, it took a while, but I did it all myself. I also did some stuff on Dwayne's jacket; I stitched the design on the arm of his jacket."
"Dwayne?" I asked.
"Yeah, you know, the one with the black hair."
"Yeah, who were the other two?"
He grinned. "Well, Paul's the one with wild hair and the jacket like yours, and David is the one with the black trenchcoat and the mullet."
"How long have you lived in Santa Carla?"
"A while now. The guys and me, we're all runaways of some kind, each trying to get away from something."
I nodded. "I know the feeling."
Marko gestured to my sketchbook.
"Do you mind if I have a look?" he asked with a smile on his face.
"Not at all, help yourself," I replied and smiled. I then handed him the sketch book and watched his reactions as he flicked through my many drawings. He stopped on one that I had drawn of Sam, Mike and Nanook.
"Those are my brothers, Mike and Sam, and Sam's dog Nanook. I drew this one before I ran away," I said after he asked me who they were.
"Do you miss them?" he asked.
I replied, "Sometimes, but other than those rare times, I don't really think about them. Even if someone paid me, I wouldn't go back home. For one thing, Mom would probably try to stop me from doing anything fun, and I don't really like Mike. He's sort of the reason I left. I mean, after five and a half months of doing what I want, whenever I want, I sure as hell can't go back home. To me, it means going back to having rules and regulations shoved down my throat."
He laughed. "I know what you mean. It sucks when people try to control you, doesn't it?"
I nodded. "Sure does." I could tell he knew exactly what I meant.
"What about your dad? You said that you miss your brothers and mom, but what about your dad?"
My face darkened and I clenched my hands in anger; I knew that the look on my face was what Sam liked to call my 'death face'. (Personally, I would take that as a compliment of sorts.)
"Well, let me put it this way - if I saw that man again, I would probably be likely to rip his throat out. After everything he put me through, that man deserves death!"
I felt tears of anger run down my face and my body start to shake. Marko looked at me with sympathy and pulled me into a tight hug which I gladly returned.
"Hey, shhhh, it's okay. I'm sorry for bringing it up." He rubbed my back soothingly until I pulled away to wipe my eyes.
"It's okay. I really shouldn't get so wound up about something I can't change, but sometimes I do. But that man seriously makes me mad. Before I took off, I found out from my mom that he was cheating on her with some SAT."
Seeing the confused look on his face, I then explained, "SAT stands for Self Absorbed Tart. It also stands for Scholastic Aptitude Test; I think Self Absorbed Tart has a nice ring to it, too."
He then nodded in understanding and gestured for me to continue, so I told him my story, right up to the moment that I met him on the beach last night - including everything about how my dad would beat me all the time.
"So, your brother knew what was going on the whole time?" Marko asked with an angry look in his eye. "Why didn't he help you?"
I took his hand in mine, calming him down. "He couldn't. I told him that dad had stopped; I didn't want Sam to get hurt so I lied." I stated this all calmly and in a matter-of-fact tone.
He nodded sagely. "No wonder you left."
I nodded as well. "You know, you're the first one I ever told about this, and at least you believe me. That's the important thing."
He smiled at me and nodded. "I'm glad you trust me. Come on, you need some cheering up. How about we go do something that'll help take your mind off of what you told me?"
"Sounds good to me. What do you suggest?" I asked.
"Hmm. Do you fancy going for a ride? I saw how you handled your bike yesterday. I got to tell you, you got skills!"
We both laughed.
"Sure, why not?" I grinned.
"Come on, let's go meet up with the others."
We walked over to David, Dwayne and Paul, hand in hand, our fingers laced together.
"Hey, guys. Roxy's going to come for a ride with us!" he said happily.
"Hey, girl. I got to tell you, that was seriously cool last night with your bike. I don't know about any other girl that can ride like you!" Paul grinned at me.
I smiled back. "That's 'cause other girls are all wusses and have no sense of humour, especially when you throw an almost-empty bottle of Budweiser and it happens to accidentally-on-purpose smash above their head."
He cracked up laughing. "Oh, no, you didn't!"
I grinned "I did; she got all worked up about it, too, and got angrier when I broke her nose."
They all roared with laughter.
"You're not quite right, you know that?" laughed Marko.
"So I've been told by many professionals. The term is clinically insane," I grinned.
"Come on, let's go," said David when he finally stopped laughing, he jumped on his bike and we all followed suit. 'Strange,' I thought. 'I don't remember their bikes being there when I parked this afternoon. Oh, well, they probably came in later.'
David sped down the wooden stairs first, followed by Dwayne and Paul. Marko grinned at me.
"Come on, Roxy!" he yelled excitedly before following his friends.
So they wanted me to follow? I thought. Well, I'll show them how I do that.
I revved the engine while holding the brake down, causing the wheel to spin. I released the brake and sped warp-speed towards the stairs. I pulled the handlebars up so that instead of riding down the stairs, I flew through the air and landed past the stairs on the beach. I heard whoops of amazement from the boys and I continued speeding after them.
I guess this speed would be odd to someone who is used to riding at 'sensible' speeds, but I loved riding fast. Mike would always get angry that his little sister was better then him at riding, and would always make sure that no one knew about it. That's just one of the reasons that I hate Michael, the other being that he was always Dad's favorite child. And whenever Dad and I argued, he would always take Dad's side, just like he did that day.
I kept pace with the boys easily, landing perfectly when riding over bumps in the road; we cut through some woodland area and came out near a cliff.
I could no longer hear the boys but I could see a light ahead of me; it was too big to be the boys' taillights and the sound of the ocean rang in my ears. I figured that I must be near the cliff edge, so I stopped the bike and hopped off, and just in time too. I had my bike parked perfectly, almost exactly on the edge!
The boys appeared near me, all laughing and saying how good I was. Marko ran forward and pulled me into a bear hug, swinging me around and laughing. Luckily he stopped before I got dizzy.
"Girl, you are wild," Paul said and slapped my hand in a high-five.
"Not bad, Roxy," David commented.
"Thanks!" I laughed. "Uh, guys? Is there any particular reason we are standing on a cliff?"
They roared with laughter. "Well, since you asked, I'll tell. You see, we live in a cave around here," Paul explained.
"You live in a cave? That's so cool!" I said and followed them down a wooden staircase, ignoring all the "danger" and "keep out" signs scattered across the ground, and ran down the slope leading into the cave.
The cave's interior looked really neat; I felt the artist inside me wanting to draw a picture of it. There was an old reception desk that was still intact, a fallen chandelier with starfish, a queen-size-looking bed and an old sofa, as well as several things that the boys seemed to have added, like the (as Paul calls it) rock-box, countless cassettes, scattered books, empty take-out boxes and the oil barrels that served as fire pits, one of which Dwayne lit so we could see.
"Not bad, huh?" asked David. "This was the hottest resort in Santa Carla, about eighty four years ago. Too bad they built it on a fault. In 1906, when the big one hit San Francisco, the ground opened up, and this place took a header right into the crack. So now, it's ours."
The speech sounded like David had rehearsed it, as if he was repeating himself over again. But that didn't make me any less in awe of this cave.
Marko, who was sat on the sofa, pulled me down so that I was sat in his lap; I turned my head towards him.
"What was that for?" I asked, trying to do my best at frowning at him, but it was so hard. He is one of those people that you just can't stay mad at; I should know. Eventually, I ended up hugging him.
He laughed. "See? You can't resist me!" He grinned and winked at me.
I slapped his arm and laughed with him. "Oh, really?"
He nodded proudly.
"Yep, you are one hundred percent ga-ga about me!"
I poked him in the ribs and wriggled out of his arms so I sat next to him. He raised his eyebrows at me as I then shrugged as though to say, "Well, what do you think?"
"How mature of you," he teased.
I laughed. "Why should I act older then I am? You only live once, right? So, I'm making the most of it before..." I then stopped and clamped my hand over my mouth. I was about to let slip what I had told Marko; I didn't really know how the others would react if I told them, so I kept my mouth shut.
"Before what, Roxy?" David asked calmly.
I chewed my lip and looked at Marko, silently asking him if I should tell them. He smiled at me reassuring me that it would be fine. Finally, I turned back to the boys and said,
"Before Mike or Dad find me."
The boys' faces grew dark. "Why? What would they do?" David asked.
"You can tell us. We promise not to laugh. Honest," said Paul, and I could tell he was serious about that.
So I explained,
"Mike would probably attempt to kill me for 'ruining' his perfect little life, and Dad would probably actually manage to kill me for telling Mom the truth. I mean, I can beat them in a one-on-one fight, but if they're both together, then I won't stand a chance."
Paul looked fierce; I mean, he didn't look angry at me (as he knew it wasn't my fault), but more like he was angry at Mike and Dad.
"They won't get anywhere near you, Roxy. We'll make sure of that. We'll do our best to protect you," Dwayne said.
"But you don't even know me," I said, confused.
"Are you telling us that you don't feel like you belong here, that as soon as you saw Marko, you didn't feel instantly at ease around him?" David asked, smirking; I blushed and looked at the floor.
"If you don't believe me, look at the picture that you drew of us."
He handed me the picture and I gasped; I had drawn all the boys perfectly, but when I drew Marko, I had put the most effort into it. I had captured every lock of hair and every crease in his jacket. This was clearly done with love and appreciation…
Wait... love? I was in shock.
I'm in love with a boy I have only just met, I thought.
"See?" David said, and this time, I nodded, too shocked to speak. Marko pulled me into his lap again and hugged me into his chest, and this time I didn't mind a bit. Instead, I wrapped my arms around his waist, needing to hold him close.
It was that moment when I realized that, even if I had to, I could never leave Marko; I needed him. He was a part of me now. Back before I came to Santa Carla, I always used to scoff at people when they talked about love, and finding the one person that you would spend the rest of your life with, the one person that you needed to have more then anything on Earth. Yet, here I am - a seventeen-year-old girl, absolutely head over heels for a guy I met yesterday. Now my life was decided. I would stay with my Marko…my Marko….
I liked the sound of that.
"Roxy…" David said.
I lifted myself from Marko's chest so that I could see David. "Drink some of this, Roxy. Be one of us."
His eyes were piercing, but this time kind of encouraging me. Almost subconsciously, I took hold of the glass bottle that he held out for me, and I liked how the bottle was all decorated with what looked like ornate jewels that seemed to catch the light. Also I could see the red liquid inside. 'Probably red wine,' I thought to myself, and I took a long drink from the bottle, and then handed it back to David.
Marko cupped my cheek in his hand and stroked down my back with the other hand. He held me close and whispered, "You're one of us now, Roxy."
He lifted my chin with his hand and kissed my lips softly. I kissed him back; in my mind, it was a soft, sweet kiss.
It was then that I began to feel really sleepy. I lay against him and closed my eyes, breathing in his comforting scent, finally falling asleep.
After Roxy fell asleep, Marko carried her over to the old bed and wrapped her up in the covers. He stroked her hair once before sitting back with the boys.
"Tell us about her father, Marko. And, why is she so scared of him and this... Mike person?" David said calmly.
Marko's face grew angry. "Her dad used to beat her all the time. He's a drunk who cheats on her mom. He beats her just because she's a girl, and also because she fights back. One day, after he beat her, she had a black eye and split lip. Her mom asked her how it happened, and she told them - meaning her mom and two brothers, Michael and Sam - the truth. Sam stopped Roxy from killing her dad, and Michael tried to hit Roxy because he said that she was lying and making the story up. That's why she ran away."
All of the boys became angry almost simultaneously. "I'm going to get them!" snapped Paul. "How could they do that to Roxy?" he hissed, furious that members of her family would try to do that to his new sister. "Besides," he said, calming a little, "she's family to us now, and I for one wouldn't have it any other way there."
"I cannot agree more there," nodded Dwayne.
"Maybe we should leave him to Roxy," Marko suggested. "The second time we met, I asked her about her dad, and she said, and I quote, 'Well, let me put it this way - if I saw that man again, I would probably be likely to rip his throat out'. Now, put that kind of hatred along with an empty stomach, and voila. You've got yourself her first kill."
David nodded. "You're right, Marko."
He turned to Paul and Dwayne. "We should leave it up to Roxy to make the decision about what to do with her father. After all, that's exactly what a gentleman would do; he would sometimes leave a decision up to a lady."
They nodded, glad that the man would be getting his comeuppance.
"What about her brother?" Dwayne asked.
"I suggest that we leave him alone for now, and let Roxy decide what to do with him."
They all nodded in agreement, before heading to the back of the cave to sleep.
Chapter 5: Roxy's Got Some Fangs
Roxy realizes that something has happened to her - something different...
Well, here's the next chapter of To Forgive is Divine, But I'm Not That Type. Hope you like it! :)
I had woken up an hour ago to find that I had slept all day (again), and it was now late at night. I instantly walked over to Marko and took my place by his side. I had never felt this way about another person before. Sure, when I went to school, I had had boyfriends. But they never worked out, and I never loved any of them; even after dating one boy for almost two years, I felt nothing except affection.
Yet with Marko, it was so different. My heart would beat faster at the sound of his voice, I had to remind myself to breathe when he smiled, and when he held me I was at peace. For the first time in my 17 years, I was in love.
But I knew there was something different about Marko and the rest of the boys, they seemed almost to perfect and they always had a twinkle in their eye as if to say something like 'I know something that you don't and you're not going to find out', and they all seemed to look alike despite not being actually related. They all had the same pale skin, even Dwayne who was half-Cherokee Indian and half Hispanic. And then there was the scent; they all had a similar scent - one that, no matter how hard I tried, I could not place it.
I was pulled from my thoughts by Marko placing a kiss on my forehead. I looked up into his eyes (as he was at least four inches taller than me).
"How long have I been here for?" I asked him, not being able to take my eyes away from his.
"About 24 hours," he replied. "The sun has only just gone down."
I started to panic. "Oh no! Why did I stay here last night? Goshdarnit! Sally's probably called the cops by now! And then Mom's gonna find me, I'll have to go home and then Dad'll beat me again. And Sam will probably get it for sticking up for me, and Mike'll kill me!" I said, barely stopping for breath.
Marko held me tight soothing me. "Shh. Nothing's going to happen to you, Roxy. I would never let it happen to you, and don't worry about your dad. He can never hurt you again, not now that….. "
"Now that what?" I asked. I really wanted to know. After all, I was that curious.
"Now that you are one of us," came David's voice from behind us.
I looked at him, puzzled. I had to admit, the way that he was acting was seriously starting to creep me out.
"Which is what, exactly?"
David just smirked. "Oh, you'll see. You'll see very soon."
Almost as if on cue, my entire body was attacked by an endless hunger shooting pain through my body; my thoughts traveled to the bag of crisps and chocolate bar that I had in my jacket pocket, but somehow I knew that it would not be enough to sustain me. No, I craved something very different, and I did not know what it was.
As if reading my thoughts, David said, "Close your eyes, Roxy. We'll take you to get what you need."
I shut my eyelids and hugged myself tighter in Marko's chest. I felt the wind whip around us and heard the roar of the ocean crashing on the rocks fade as we passed over the cliff. I did not question what was happening as the pain was too great. I just trusted Marko with my life, and did not ask how we were moving so fast without traveling on our bikes.
Then as suddenly as the sound had started, it stopped and we became still.
"Open your eyes, Roxy."
I did as David commanded, and saw that we were outside my old house, the very house that I had tried so hard to get away from. I pushed Marko away from me with a force I didn't even know that I had. My temper flared and I shouted at them.
"AFTER EVERYTHING THAT I TOLD YOU ABOUT ME, YOU BRING ME BACK TO THE ONE PLACE I TOLD YOU I HATED? YOU'RE TWISTED, MARKO! AND TO THINK I TRUSTED YOU BOTH!"
Marko tried to talk but I brushed past him and ran into the house. Hell, if I was already here, I might as well pick up some of my stuff, and if Marko and David were still there then I would find a knife in the kitchen and attack them. However, when that thought came to me, I winced. I knew that I couldn't hurt Marko; no matter what I still loved him.
I began to shove some of my clothes into a rucksack. I also found some of my old sketch books which I added to the bag as well. Then I slung the bag on my back and started to walk down the stairs. When I reached the second stair down I heard the voice that I hated, or rather, disliked a whole lot. Daddy dearest.
"So you finally came back, did you? You little brat. No wonder your mother left. I bet she couldn't stand the thought of you finding her again. Not that I mind about her leaving. After all, Daisy is much prettier."
I turned around to see my father standing there, bold as brass, sneering at me. After all he put me through, he had the courage to stand there and taunt me! Wait, hold on a tick…did he say that Mom left? And who is 'Daisy'? His new girlfriend, maybe? Or maybe she was the SAT dad had cheated on Mom with. I wasn't sure (so I made a mental note to find out later).
"Well, at least with your mother gone, there's no one to stop me from getting rid of you once and for all, is there?"
He laughed darkly and then pulled out a switchblade. "Hey, remember when you tried to slit my throat? Well, now I'm going to slit yours!"
He lunged at me with the knife, but I was faster. I punched him on the nose causing blood to spurt from the now-broken nose and onto my face. Then, I licked the blood off of my face without thinking about it, and instantly grew thirsty. Now I was not just thirsty, I was also angry. I pounced on him and snuck my teeth into his neck. Warm blood ran past my teeth and down my throat. I gnawed at his neck, and then decided that the blood was not coming to me fast enough. I ripped part of the flesh from his neck and spat it out only to sink my teeth in his neck again. Finally, after sucking away the last of his blood, I broke away from him and stared in sick fascination of what I had just done. I expected to feel remorse for what I did, but I felt nothing. After all, he had deserved to die anyway. And I was given my chance to kill him by four boys with the names of Marko, David, Dwayne and Paul.
"Now do you see why we brought you here? We weren't being cruel, Roxy. We were trying to help you, and by the looks of it, we succeeded," David said
"What am I?" I asked. I was so shocked at what I had done. I could not tear my gaze away from my father's body.
"You're one of us, Roxy. You'll never grow old and you'll never die, but you must feed. In other words, you're a vampire Roxy, one of the pack, and we will fight to protect you," David said.
"Yeah, Roxy. I would never hurt you, I told you I wouldn't, Roxy. I love you."
I was, for lack of a better word, completely and utterly gob-smacked.
"I ...I love you too, but how? I've only just met you," I stuttered, still unable to tear my eyes from the body.
David explained, "In the vampire world, Roxy, there are certain special humans who, from birth, are destined to be part of a vampire pack to love a vampire, this kind of love more powerful than any love that exists. And you, Roxy, were destined to be with Marko. Not only that, but when we first saw you on the beach, we knew that we needed you in the pack the same way I knew that I needed Dwayne Paul and Marko in the pack. It was just how it was supposed to be. I don't know how I knew. I just knew."
I drew my eyes away from the body and stared at David and Marko, before flinging myself at Marko, wrapping him in a tight hug. He wrapped his arms around my waist and held me just as tightly.
"We should head back now," David told us. "But first, we need to get rid of this body." Marko nodded and slung me on his back; I hooked my arms around his neck and my legs around his waist. David picked up the body, and Marko and he took flight. I tightened my grip, afraid that I was going to fall. I felt Marko laughing at my reaction, and I couldn't help but laugh as well.
We were flying over the sea now. David took the opportunity and dropped the body, and flew faster without the extra weight. Marko flew a bit faster as well, and before I knew it we were back at the cave, Marko set me down on the sofa and he sat next to me, playing with a piece of my hair. I linked my hand in his, and we just sat there like that, waiting for Paul and Dwayne to arrive from the place where they slept. Apparently they always slept the longest.
"Oh, there you guys are," I called when they finally made their appearance, rubbing the sleepy dust from their eyes.
"Oh, you’re one to talk, Roxy. I need my beauty sleep," said Paul, yawning.
"You'd better go back to sleep then, Paul, because I don't think you got enough," Dwayne said, laughing.
Paul slapped Dwayne around the head and glared at him, but then grinned, showing he was just being playful. Dwayne just laughed harder.
"Marko, does she know? Did she…?" Paul asked Marko. I noticed he looked serious for once.
"Yeah. Yeah, I know, Paul. And yes, Daddy Dearest won't be bothering me anymore," I said with a smile on my face, Paul roared with laughter and ran and pulled me into a hug, swinging me around. He went as if to throw me, but pulled me back at the last minute.
"Don't you dare!" I shrieked.
Paul smirked and threw me in the air. Dwayne then caught me and set me on my feet. I smiled at him and then at Paul while shrugging my shoulders as though to say, 'Well, what'd you think?'. Of course, he got the idea. It was while I was thinking a bit that the corners of my mouth turned up in a smirk as I then looked back at him.
"What are you smirking at?" Paul asked.
I laughed and held up his wallet. Then I flicked it open and read, "Paul Edmund Thompson. May I call you Edmund?" Paul glared at me, a slight blush on his cheeks. Then he giggled.
"Only if I can call you Louise." He held up my wallet.
I blushed at my middle name; I'd always hated it because it was the name of my grandmother on my mom's side. "I won't call you by your middle name if you don't," I said.
Paul grinned and then nodded sagely. He then turned to Marko and Dwayne. "What about you guys? Do you have embarrassing middle names?"
"Massimo," Marko grunted. Paul roared with laughter.
"Your parents named you 'Marko Massimo'? Dude, I bet you paid for that when you went to school!"
Marko punched Paul on the arm violently. "Shut up, Eddie."
"So, Dwayne, what's your middle name?" I asked, trying to take Paul and Marko's attention away from hitting each other.
"Jason," he said.
"That's so unfair. You have a normal middle name, and we have to have lame middle names that are our grandparents names!" Paul groaned.
Dwayne grinned at him and shook his head.
"If you guys think your names are bad, you wouldn't believe my brother's," I said giggling.
"Why? What is his middle name, then?"
"Bernard-Jackson," I giggled.
They all laughed as well. "Did your mom choose the stupidest middle names she could or what?" Paul asked.
"Yeah, but with Sammie's, I insisted that she use a normal name. In the end, she let me choose it, so I just said 'Matt', but she insisted that he be called Matthew. Speaking of which, what about you guys? Do you have any brothers or sisters?"
"I'm an only child," Marko said.
"I had an older sister, but she died when I was 10; she got run over by a truck, and I had a half-sister who lives with my mom. My mom and dad broke up after Cindy died. I stayed with dad, but mom left us. She wrote to me once and told me she had another daughter called Jessica; I never knew her," Dwayne said.
I gasped. "I'm so sorry, Dwayne. I didn't mean to bring that up."
He smiled at me. "It's fine. After all, it was a long time ago."
"I had a younger brother. I ran away from home when I was 16; he was only seven at the time," Paul said. "His name was Laddie. I don't know what happened to him. I just hope that child services caught up with my mom; she was always drunk or high, and never looked after us. But I couldn't take Laddie with me; there wasn't enough time for me to do so."
Tears fell down Paul's face. All his joking aside now, he was hurting. I felt bad for him. I wrapped my arms around him and held him, just like I used to hold Sam when he got scared at night by Dad when he was drunk (despite the fact that that he was much bigger then Sam was, not to mention four years older then him).
"It's not your fault, Paul. I'm sure Laddie got away, and if not, then we'll just have to go and look for him, won't we?"
Paul smiled at me. It was a weak smile, but it was a smile nonetheless. "I'd like that. To find my brother, I mean."
I felt a twinge of pain at the mention of this. I knew that I would love to find my little brother as well. But I knew that I couldn't, because that would mean going near my older brother and my mother, and I was nowhere near ready to do that.
"I know how you feel. I miss Sam all the time. He was the best little brother I could wish for, or rather any big sister could wish for, especially if they were in my shoes. Plus, he was the only one out of my family who I trusted. I mean, sure, I loved my mom, but she was too soft to be there when I needed her. Hell, she only divorced my dad after I left."
Marko walked up behind me and wrapped his arms around my waist, resting his chin on my head.
"Don't be sad, Roxy. After all, you still have us. We'll always be here for you."
I turned my face and kissed his lips gently. "Thank you."
"Paul, if you want to find your house, then we will," David said.
Paul beamed. "Awesome! Can we go now?"
David laughed at Paul's enthusiasm.
"Sure, Paul. We can go now," he replied. "Whereabouts did you live, anyway?"
"Just outside of Los Gatos. You know, where Max is supposed to have that big store he runs."
We hopped on our bikes and sped away.
Chapter 6: Laddie's Escape
Roxy helps Paul rescue his little brother Laddie....
In this chapter, Paul, with a little help from Roxy, saves his brother Laddie from a bad home life...
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
We stopped outside a small, dingy white house that Paul identified as our destination.
“He’s a bum, Mom! Why do you bother? He just uses you for the drugs you have in the house!”
Paul tensed while perking up his ears (like a bloodhound Dwayne had told me was in his dreams once) when he heard his brother’s voice.
“How dare you! He looks after you!”
Laddie snorted. “Yeah, sure, he looks after me. He steals the money that you get as child support but use for drugs, and then goes out to get drunk! That’s really looking after me!”
“If you so much as utter another word, I swear I will..”
“You will what? Hit me? Leave me on my own for hours at a time while you go out to get drunk or high? News break, woman – you already do!”
“I am your mother! You will listen to me!”
“You lost your right to call myself your mother when you made Paul leave!”
A slap rang in our ears; the bitch had just slapped her 11-year- old son!
Laddie laughed darkly. “That all you got, bitch? All that heroin has made you weak.”
The boy really was Paul’s brother.
Another slap sounded, as well as another fit of laughter. “I was right. That is all you got!” he screamed.
We found a window outside the kitchen so we could see what was going on. A young boy with blond hair that was a shade darker then Paul’s was standing with his fists clenched and a defiant look on his face. He had the same blue eyes Paul had, and they were glaring at the shabbily dressed woman.
“I am a good mother! I have two boys!”
“Just because you’re a whore doesn’t make you a good mother!” he screamed.
David laughed at how alike Paul and Laddie were; it was obvious that Paul must have raised the boy for him to have such… well, colorful language. Paul and the rest of us laughed as well.
Laddie’s mom then slapped him so hard that he fell to the floor. He pushed himself up on his elbows, and then into a sitting position. Then, he gradually managed to stand up.
“Apologize!” she growled.
“Bite me,” he sneered. She went to slap him again, but Paul jumped through the open window.
“Leave him alone, Tracy.” He made sure to use her name and not ‛mom’.
“Paul!” Laddie cried, delighted. He ran into his brother’s arms and hugged him tightly. Paul released him and made Laddie stand behind him so that Tracy couldn’t hit him.
“I’m taking Laddie away from here; he’s safer with me,” Paul said to her. “At least this way, he won’t have his drugged-up bitch of a mother stealing money that is meant to support him. Plus, if he lives with me, he will have enough to eat, as well as new clothes when he needs them.”
“He’s my son! He belongs with me!” she whined. She sounded like a five-year-old who’d just been given a ‛time out’ as punishment.
“No. No way am I leaving my little brother in the care of some heroin addict who can’t even keep track of herself, let alone an eleven-year-old kid. He’s leaving.”
Paul nodded for us to come in. We used the door rather then the window.
Roxy, will you help my brother pack his things, please? Paul’s voice sounded in my head. I was a little shocked, but nodded anyway. I gave Paul a smile, which he returned, and then walked over to Laddie and held out my hand.
“Laddie, go with Roxy and get your stuff packed, okay?” said Paul. Laddie nodded and eagerly took my offered hand. He led me upstairs to his room.
Laddie then asked casually, “So, how do you know my brother? Are you his girlfriend?”
I laughed. “No, I’m not going out with your brother. We’re just friends. I’m with Marko. He’s the blond boy you saw downstairs, the one with the colorful jacket.”
Laddie nodded in understanding, and then began to shove clothes randomly into his bag. I rolled my eyes and gestured for him to move out of the way, which he did.
I searched through his wardrobe and picked out the clothes that he would need the most, disregarding the clothes that were too small for him. I folded them neatly so they would fit in his bag.
“That’s your clothes packed. Is there anything else you want to take?”
He shook his head, and then smiled. “No, that’s pretty much it. Thanks anyway.”
I offered my hand again, which he took in his. We went and joined the boys in the kitchen. I slung Laddie’s bag on my back and smiled at Paul. He grinned back at me.
Laddie glared at his mother, and then turned to me and smiled. Then we all walked out of the door.
“Laddie, you ride with me,” Paul said, and helped Laddie onto his bike behind him.
David took off first. Then Dwayne followed, and then Paul and Laddie. Then Marko and I took off at the same time.
We reached the cave in, it seemed to me, no time at all; Paul took Laddie’s hand and helped him down the steep slope. I yawned and walked over to the bed I slept in last night, lay down and slid under the covers. Paul asked me if I minded sharing with Laddie until we could sort out another bed. I smiled and said “Oh, no, Paul. I don’t mind one bit.”
Laddie gave me a smile that was half-sheepish and half-encouraging. “I promise not to kick, bite or scratch,” he told me.
“Thanks, Laddie,” I replied, smiling also.
It was then that I remembered the sunlight thing and pulled the curtains that were above the bed, across the side that was facing the cave entrance, just in case any sunlight crept in. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry, and I’m sure that applies to vampires as well. Maybe; I’m still thinking that one over.
Somehow, my eyes drooped and I fell asleep.
Well, what do you think? :)
Chapter 7: Boardwalk Blubber and a New Pack Brother
Laddie discovers that Roxy, Marko, Paul, Dwayne and David are vampires, and is sired by Paul as a half-vampire.
Here's the next chapter of To Forgive is Divine, But I'm Not that Type. Hope you like it! :)
One week later
David, Dwayne and Paul had gone off to hunt, and Marko and I were looking after Laddie. We sat on the railings of the boardwalk, talking about nothing of importance. But then, out of nowhere, a security guard, or “boardwalk blubber” as I like to refer to them, grabbed Marko by the jacket and pulled him off of the railings. Unfortunately since we were holding each other around the waist, I was also pulled off, and ended up flat on my face, lying on the floor. (Luckily, Laddie was too short to reach the railing and was not pulled off, because thankfully he wasn’t sitting there.)
“Hey, watch it, dude! You just shoved my girl onto the floor there!” Marko growled and reached a hand down to help me up. I knew that me falling hurt him as well. A neat thing about the bond between us was that we could feel each other’s emotions and pain. Personally, I find it to be pretty cool.
I took his hand gratefully and he pulled me up.
However, it was then that the guard grabbed my arm and started to drag me away. Luckily, as I was stronger, I effortlessly pulled my arm out of his grip and glared at him.
“What the hell?” I yelled. “What, may I ask, is up with you tonight?”
He smirked and held up the ‛missing’ poster of me. “Well, since you asked, I’ll tell. This is what’s up with me tonight. I have already informed the police and your mother. You will be taken home when the police department receives your plane ticket to Arizona.”
I shoved him in the chest and spat, “I already have a home here, and I’m not going anywhere, either!”
“Well, we’ll have to see about that, won’t we, Miss Emerson?” said a police officer from behind the ‛boardwalk blubber’.
“Shut up, you moron! Go eat a donut, or go fly a kite! I ain’t leaving,” I yelled, my anger taking control. If Marko hadn’t wrapped an arm around my waist just then, I knew I probably would have vamped out.
“Calm down, chica, or you’ll do something you regret,” he said.
I calmed instantly at his touch, and my fangs stopped begging to rip open the man’s throat.
Then I turned back to the guard. “I’m not leaving. As a matter of fact, I happen to have turned 18 already, and that means I’m legally an adult. Therefore, you have no right and no authority to take me to my mother. In fact, why don’t you ask her why I ran away? I’m sure she’ll be more than able to tell you.”
The guard left grudgingly and muttered, “The woman never told us her daughter was so headstrong.”
Thanks to my now sharp hearing I picked up every word he said.
Laddie started laughing. After letting all the laughter out of his system, he then gave me two thumbs up while grinning simultaneously. “Good going, Roxy. I got to tell you, you sure told him. That was quite the speech you made, too; you must’ve improvised it. Gee, I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone so scared.”
Marko and I grinned at each other. No, but we have, Marko thought to me, and I burst out laughing at his comment.
Laddie looked at me strangely, wondering what it was that I found to be so funny. I wiped the grin off of my face and thought to Marko, Paul needs to tell him soon, Laddie’s starting to get suspicious.
He’ll tell him soon Roxy, maybe even tonight.
Still, it worries me sometimes. What if he finds one of us after we’ve just fed or something? He’ll be scared witless.
I know, Roxy, I know. It worries me as well. What if we loose control? Or if he hugs one of us when we’re hungry, especially. What if, you know, he hugs you when you haven’t fed? You’re still new, Roxy; you can’t control yourself as well as the rest of us. I can sense that you might slip up.
I know that, Marko. It scares me what I might do to him too. But, he’s family. Yet, I have to hold my breath around him, as I’m scared of hurting him.
“Hello? Earth to Marko and Roxy!” Laddie said, waving a hand in front of our faces.
“I’m sorry. What were you saying, Laddie?” I asked with a laugh.
Laddie rolled his eyes. Then he shook his head, smiled and said, “I said, when are Paul and the others getting back?”
“Soon, kiddo. Just be patient,” I replied.
“It makes me wonder... where do they go anyway? Every night, we come to the boardwalk, and then two stay with me and the rest go somewhere. Where do they go? And why do we only come at night? We sleep all day and go out all night. It’s not normal, and I know what normal is, of course. What’s going on guys?”
“Uh, well...” I opened my mouth to try to say something, but quickly closed it, knowing that Laddie would not believe any more of my lies.
“Marko?” Laddie asked as he turned to my boyfriend, “will you tell me what’s going on?”
“I can’t, little dude. I think that’s for your brother to say.”
Laddie scowled. “No one ever tells me anything! I think it’s just because I’m a little kid, of course. You two are just as bad!”
“Laddie, calm down, man!” Marko said.
Laddie then turned and punched the railing angrily, but he yelped when a splinter cut his hand.
“Oh no,” Marko said breathlessly.
“Oh, that’s not good,” I said. “As a matter of fact, that’s probably going to leave a mark.”
“You said it, Roxy,” said both Marko and Laddie as they looked at the cut.
My eyes widened with shock, and my mind became clouded with the scent of fresh blood. My breathing went ragged and fast. My teeth were aching, and I could imagine the sensation of his blood running down my throat...
Roxy, try to concentrate on my voice instead! Just ignore it! Do your best to ignore the blood!
I’m doing my best, but I can’t, I thought, the hunger taking over the rational side of my brain. I’m hungry and need to feed!
Roxy, think of it like this. How much blood are you going to get from Laddie? Wouldn’t it satisfy you more if you wait until after the boys return and then we go get someone to eat who has more blood in their veins?
The hunger subsided and I fell to my knees sobbing. How could I let that happen? How could I be so selfish? I almost killed Laddie!
Marko wrapped his arms around me and buried his face in my hair.
“Shh. It’s fine. You’re still new to this; you can’t always be in control.”
“Thanks, Marko. I love you.”
“You’re welcome, and I love you, too.”
Laddie sighed angrily. “What, may I ask, just happened? Roxy just went all spaced out with a ‛grrrrr, I’m going to eat you’ look on her face when I cut my hand, and what exactly is she new at?”
However, it was then that Laddie’s mind put all of the evidence together: only coming out at night, sleeping during the day, the cryptic comments and inside jokes about hunger and ‛wine’, and the last piece – Roxy looking almost predatory when he cut himself.
“Uh…uh...vampire!” Laddie gasped and started to run.
Paul! Marko called in our link with our pack, Bud, Laddie just figured it out!
What happened? You were supposed to watch him!
Paul, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to. He got angry when we wouldn’t tell him anything, and he punched the rail. Only he cut himself…
growl WHAT! You bit my brother!
No, not that! Roxy never bit Laddie! I stopped her before she even vamped-out. But it’s hardly her fault, is it? She’s still new to this, for goodness sake.
Oh, you’re right, Marko. And I’m sorry, Roxy.
It’s fine, I replied.
We still gotta find the little dude, Paul. I think he sort of ran off in the direction of the comic store. Plus, you know those guys in there think that they’re vampire hunters. Roxy’s had a run-in with them before – namely, before she became one of us, to be precise.
I’m heading there now. You and Roxy should head there too.
Marko and I ran as fast as we could towards the comic shop, hoping that the Frogs would not do anything to harm Laddie.
I pushed open the door and ran in, but then stopped and blinked at what I saw. The older brother was gripping Laddie’s arms tightly, causing Laddie to whimper in pain.
“Get the hell off of him!” I snarled.
The boy with black hair glared at me. “Why is that? We can take you down easy!”
I almost pounced on them there in the middle of the store, but Marko held me back. “Not now,” he whispered.
Paul and the others ran into the shop as well.
“Please, let my brother go!” Paul growled.
Another customer noticed what was going on and said,
“Dude you’re hurting a little kid? What’s wrong with you? Leave his brother alone!”
The older boy released Laddie, who pushed him and ran behind Paul, holding on to his coat tails.
“If you guys come near my brother again, I’ll kill you. You got that?”
The Frogs just glared at us as we left the store.
As soon as we were a safe distance from the store, Laddie ran away again.
Paul sighed. “I’ll go after him. He trusts me more.”
With that, he left us and chased after his brother.
Paul approached Laddie cautiously. “You alright, bro?”
Laddie sniffed and wiped a tear from his face. “What do you think, Paul? I just found out that my brother and his friends are evil bloodsucking murderers who probably plan to kill me.”
Paul was horrified, and not in a fake way this time. “You really think that I would do that to you, bud? You really think that I would kill you? My own brother? That’s sick, man. Really sick.”
Laddie shrugged. “Well, what else am I supposed to think, huh?”
“Laddie, I may be a vampire. but I’m still your brother and nothing is going to change that. And I would never let anyone else hurt you for that matter, either.”
“But earlier, Roxy looked like she was going to kill me.”
Paul winced. “It’s not her fault she’s still a new vampire, Laddie. She can’t control the bloodlust as well as the rest of us can. You know she was trying not to cry earlier. She acted like it didn’t hurt her. But it did. I felt how she was feeling, bud. Let me tell you, she was darn near suicidal, because, well, she was so angry and depressed.”
“So she didn’t mean to try and kill me?”
“No, bud. Absolutely not. If I know Roxy as well as I think I do, and I know her well, she’d never intentionally hurt a kid. Especially a kid that is my brother.”
“How long have you been like this, Paul? How long have you not been my brother?”
Paul winced again in pain. Laddie’s words cut deep, like a knife. ‛not my brother’.
How could he not be his brother? They still shared the same blood, granted Paul’s was changed. But still the sentiment was the same.
“A year, if I’m not mistaken – and in this case, I know I’m not.”
“I see. And how long have the others been like it?”
“Marko’s only been a vampire for 6 months , David’s been a vampire for 3 years and Dwayne for 1 and a 1/2. Roxy was turned the night before we came to get you.”
“I don’t know if I can still accept you like this, Paul. I don’t know if I can still call you my brother.”
“Bud, no matter what happens and no matter what I am, we’re still brothers.”
“I know. I’m sorry about this, Paul,” Laddie muttered before running off again.
Unfortunately he ran across a road, and what was even more unfortunate was that he did not look where he was going.
Everything seemed to move slower for Paul as he watched the car hit his little brother, the screech of brakes that were activated too late, and heard the crunch of a bone breaking.
“Laddie!” Paul screamed. He ran towards his fallen brother and fell to his knees. The sight of his brother, unmoving, made him cry. Paul clutched at his mane of wild hair as he sobbed.
Guys! Get over here! Laddie’s been run over!
We will, came four unanimous replies.
The driver got out of the car and was shocked at what he saw; he had just run over a little kid!
“Jeez! My goodness! What have I done?”
He saw Paul crying over his brother’s body and started apologizing. “Sir, I’m so sorry! Honest, I really am. He came outta nowhere!”
However, instead of accepting his apology and telling him that it was OK and that it wasn’t his fault, Paul decked him and hissed,
“My brother could die. And it’s all because of you!”
Paul bent down and checked Laddie’s pulse. It was slow and Laddie was too cold. He knew that Laddie would surely die unless he gave him vampire blood, but could he do it? Could he turn his brother?
Yes, if it means that he lives, Paul heard the thought from David.
David, man, he’s not going to make it. I’m going to give him my blood.
Paul, do it now. Laddie was already pack because he was your brother. We would all feel it if he died. Plus, you would be grieving forever. Turn him. Turn him now!
Paul didn’t need to be told twice. “Well, I got nothing to lose. Here goes something, or nothing, or whatever that means. I’ll figure that out later when I get the chance.”
He then cut his wrist with a piece of glass on the floor. Wincing as he always did at the sight of his own blood, he raised his wrist to Laddie’s open mouth, letting the crimson life force trickle in. Paul made sure that no one could see what he was doing; he lifted Laddie up into his lap so that it looked like he was just hugging his seemingly dead brother.
Laddie’s eyes sprung open and his mouth latched onto Paul’s wrist, gnawing at the flesh to try and make the enticing blood run faster.
Paul pulled his wrist away and stroked his brother’s hair while tears of relief fell down his face.
“You alright now, bud?” he whispered to Laddie.
“Yeah. P...Paul, what did…?” asked Laddie.
“I had to, bud. You were dying on me.”
Laddie sighed. “I guess I’m not ever going to be normal again, huh?”
Paul looked away from his brother. His tears of relief now turned into tears of guilt. “No. I’m sorry, bud.”
“I don’t want to always be twelve.”
“If you stay as half for another four years or so, then you won’t. You still age at half, bud. Don’t worry about that.”
“Oh. Well, that’s good news. So I guess it’s not all bad, then.”
Paul laughed at his brother’s attempt at optimism. “Come on, bud. People are going to think that you are dead.”
Laddie grinned, showing his teeth (bloodstained), and Paul tapped him gently.
“You might not want to do that, though. Just think – us being in the Murder Capital of the World, and you have bloody teeth. People will get suspicious, kiddo.”
Laddie nodded, reached into his pocket and pulled out a handkerchief, which he used to wipe his teeth clean. Then he tried smiling again. This time his teeth were now all white, with not a drop of blood left on them. “How’s that?” he asked.
“Perfect. You did an awesome job there,” Paul grinned.
Laddie, still smiling, replied, “Thanks. I guess I did.”
Then Paul lifted him up off of the floor, and helped him to stand.
The sound of motorcycle engines filled the air and the rest of the Lost Boys (and Girl) appeared near the brothers. Roxy (who had rode with Marko down to the boardwalk) was riding Paul’s bike. She stopped it near him and hopped off to sit behind Marko.
Paul could feel the guilt cascading off of her in waves. It was clear that she blamed herself for what happened. If she had better control, then maybe Laddie would never have gotten hurt in the first place, and he would still be OK. He knew that look very well, having seen it quite often in others, too. Plus, if his and Roxy’s roles were reversed and it was him in her shoes, he would feel the exact same way.
As she hopped off of his bike, Paul caught her wrist and was shocked to see tears in her eyes.
“Paul, I’m so sor...”
Paul cut her off. “No, it’s fine, Roxy. I know it wasn’t your fault.”
“Some part of me still feels like it is.”
He hugged her to show he wasn’t angry, and she sobbed harder. Paul released her and Marko clutched her tightly and stroked her hair soothingly as she cried. She calmed under his touch, and eventually was composed enough to wipe away her tears and sit on the back of Marko’s bike.
Paul mounted his bike and helped Laddie get on behind him.
The Lost Boys and their new brother then made their way back to the cave.
Chapter 8: Super Marko Al Rescate
Marko saves Roxy from being burned to death by the sunlight...
Here's the next chapter of the story To Forgive is Divine, But I’m Not That Type. Hope you like it! :)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
I carried Laddie down the slope leading into the cave and lay him down on his bed, tucking him under the covers and I kissed his forehead gently so I didn’t wake him up.
Paul ruffled his brother’s hair gently and said softly, “Night, little bro” before heading back into the place where the boys slept.
Marko kissed me goodnight (or maybe good morning, as I supposed there isn’t really a saying for vampires) and whispered “I love you”.
I smiled against his lips and whispered back, “I love you too.”
I lay down in my bed and pulled the covers over my shoulders. As soon as I closed my eyes, I fell asleep, succumbing to the pull of drowsiness that the sun put in me.
But all too soon, I sensed something – something bad. At first, I couldn’t figure out what it was. But then it began to make sense a little at a time. And then it finally hit me. My flesh was on fire! I could not see anything because I was in so much pain. I was writhing wildly, kicking my arms and legs randomly, I shrieked loudly, screaming and hissing all at once.
“Ahhhh! Help! It burns! What’s happening to me?” I screamed.
I could hear Marko shrieking as well; he could feel my pain as if he were experiencing it himself.
“Roxy! It’s the sun! Get out of the sun!” David called.
“”I can’t see!” I whimpered “I can’t do anything!”
“Marko, no!” David suddenly yelled.
“I have to help her!” Marko called back. I could hear the sadness and pain in his voice. Then…I blacked out. The pain was too much. It was worse than getting beaten every night – much, much worse.
Marko flew out of the hole leading into the sleeping cavern, shrieking when the sun burned into his flesh, but he persevered, his love for Roxy overshadowing the pain. He raced to her side and snatched her from her bed, not worrying about his safety, only hers. He couldn’t lose her – not after he had only just found her.
He dived down the hole leading to the sleeping cavern, and started to pant when they were in the dark.
He winced when he saw the amount of burns on Roxy. Her face looked as if you had just threw a boiling kettle of hot water over her and on her arms, where there was bare skin, were angry red skin.
He could feel her burns – literally – as he and Roxy shared a connection unlike the rest of the pack, because they were in vampire terms, mates. To be precise, they were meant to be together.
It was like destiny, so they shared a connection deeper than just love or affection. With Roxy it was like their souls were connected and being vampires only heightened the strength of their connection, letting them sense each other’s emotions, thoughts (although everyone in the pack could do that) and even pain.
“You alright, man?” Dwayne asked Marko.
Marko laughed darkly. “Do I look okay? My girl just nearly died, and you are asking me if I’m okay?”
He glared at Dwayne (which was somewhat less impressive since he was about 3 or 4 inches shorter then him).
Dwayne raised his eyebrows and held his hands in front of his chest. “Sorry, bud.”
“Me too. Sorry for snapping at you. And my answer is yes. I’m OK – mostly because of the fact that my burns are less severe than Roxy’s,” Marko replied.
Roxy groaned. “What...what happened?”
She tried to sit up, but then hissed in pain and lay down again. Marko immediately rushed to her side, both his and Roxy’s burns were already healing but Roxy’s – being more severe then his – were still red.
“The curtains that kept the sun out fell down while you were sleeping and you got burned. Marko managed to save you, but he got burned himself,” Paul said.
“Thank you,” she whispered lovingly to him.
“You’re welcome,” he replied.
He kissed her lightly and then lay down next to her, while they slept their wounds would heal and by night they would be right as rain.
“Let’s get some sleep,” David said.
No one had to be told twice, and three vampires flew upside down to sleep, while the other two remained in each other’s embrace.
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