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It was promising to be a warm summer day, if a bit windy. Nora was in the back yard clearing some weeds as her mom had asked her to do, occasionally chatting with Danny through the fence, when her phone went off. Not a text, either; the phone buzzed insistently, and she glanced at the screen and quickly answered, brushing dirt off her hands.

“Good, you are awake,” came the voice, a little odd through the phone speaker but still very clearly Marc. “I trust you are not too busy today.” It came out more of a statement than a question.

Nora rolled her eyes slightly, grinning when she heard Danny’s smothered laugh. “Just doing some gardening for Mom, but nothing after that. Why?”

“How long do you believe that will take?”

She frowned, looking around at what she’d managed to take care of, surprised at the progress. “Not too much longer. Maybe another half hour or so. Again… why?”

“Be presentable in 45 minutes. Wear something appropriate for wind and water.” The phone went silent after that, and she stared at it for a long moment before heaving a sigh.

“You don’t have to pretend you didn’t hear any of that,” she muttered, smirking when Danny sheepishly popped his head over the fence.

“I can’t exactly help it,” he remarked, though his grin let her know he wasn’t that bothered by being caught out. “He really isn’t a morning person, is he?”

She laughed at that, shaking her head. “Which begs the question why he’s up this early on a Saturday.”

Danny looked up the sky, as if contemplating the weather, and then glanced back down at her. “Wear boots with a good grip on them. Want a hand finishing up back there so you’re ready in time?”

Nora wasn’t about to say no to that, but she was glad it was just Danny; Elliot and Marc didn’t get along on the best of days, though Marc had largely accepted that it was ridiculous for her not to interact with her neighbors. Still, he was testy enough as a norm that she didn’t want to push it when it was early and he seemed to have plans.

Well… whatever they were. Aside from Danny’s cryptic comment about what shoes she ought to wear, he gave no hints as to what Marc’s plans could be, though she suspected he knew. But he was helping, so allowing him to keep it a mystery was the least she could do.

The two of them finished up in record time, with Nora giving her profuse thanks as she went in to report to Courtney. Clearly Marc had phoned her mother to ask permission - possibly even before calling her - because Nora was given a knowing smirk and sent off upstairs to clean up and get ready.

She took the clothing suggestions to heart, and was just finishing up with her boots when the doorbell rang. By the time she was down the stairs, the door was already open and he was chatting politely with her mother, waiting for her to join them. He gave her a critical once-over, evaluating her clothing selections, before nodding acceptance. Whatever he was planning, he clearly thought she was dressed appropriately enough for it.

Courtney had vanished almost as soon as Nora appeared, with her usual admonition to be careful and inform her if they would be late returning. The long pause in the foyer allowed Nora to look Marc over, herself, noting with some surprise that he actually seemed to be a bit dressed down from what he usually wore.

Marc in casual clothes only seemed to emphasize the lean muscle that was typically hidden beneath his typical attire. Not that he didn't look good - he always looked good, annoyingly - but something about this was just really doing it for her.

He cleared his throat, regaining her attention, and merely raised an eyebrow at her. "Are you ready to go?" he asked, opening the door and waiting expectantly.

"Yes, but… where are we even going?"

She was met with a smirk at that. "You'll see."

Ugh. Annoying. Nora had half a mind to dig her phone out and text Ally, but he'd either heard the thought or guessed anyway, because her reached out and took her hand, twining their fingers together for the brief walk out to his car.

… okay, maybe she could let it slide. For now.

As they settled into his car, she noted with some surprise that he had the sunroof open. It was a nice day, of course, but she couldn't recall the last time she'd seen it like this. It made her quite glad she thought to put her hair into a braid. Windy conditions indeed… she'd have been windblown before their destination if she'd left it down, and trying to comb tangles out of her hair was more of a nightmare than braiding could ever be.

The scenery flashed past as he drove, taking them on a route out of town and piquing her interest. Where were they going that wasn’t in town? She glanced over at him, studying his profile as he drove, his attention largely focused on the road… though his gaze did shift to her a few times, brief but noticeable.

Marc very clearly was not going to tell her where they were going. She could see the slightest curve of his lips – amusement at her expense, no doubt. She huffed and turned her gaze back to the window, enjoying the sun and the wind and the scenery as it blurred past.

She lost track of how long they’d been on the road, but eventually he turned and she could see the sparkling of water. A lake? He’d brought them to the lake? But why? Marc was certainly not the sort to be willing to share a beach with people – especially a bunch of humans.

It wasn’t until she saw the marina that it clicked. She remembered, vaguely, someone asking him about sailing. He’d been more animated than normal, talking about it; clearly it was something he did often, and enjoyed.

“Have you figured it out yet?” he asked with a smirk, pulling into a space and parking the car.

“No, I’m just gaping at the water, completely clueless.” Nora rolled her eyes slightly. “I don’t even want to try and guess which one is yours.”

Marc huffed out a soft laugh at that before leaning over, pointing so that she could follow the gesture. “That one is the one we’ll be on today.”

It was surprisingly small, in comparison to some of the other sailboats in the marina. Small, but very sleek and clearly well cared for. Suitable for one person to handle by himself on the lake, but big enough for a few passengers.

He opened his door and went around to the trunk to retrieve a bag before coming to Nora’s side just as she was getting out. His eyes were nearly invisible behind his sunglasses, but she could tell he was studying her. The scrutiny was making her somewhat uncomfortable, but he finally nodded to himself and reached into the bag, pulling out a case and handing it to her. “You should wear these. Glare from the water can be quite damaging.”

Nora opened the case to find a pair of no doubt ridiculously expensive sunglasses, though their lenses weren’t quite as dark as his own, meant for her more human eyes rather than Vampiric ones, which definitely meant he’d had to pick them out specifically for her. She flushed slightly and slipped them on, startled at how well they fit.

She was moving to investigate her reflection when he caught her chin with his hand, turning her head back to face him. “They’re perfect,” he said, voice a little stern, as if she were questioning the quality of the sunglasses.

It was pointless to argue with him over this. Of course they were perfect; he’d probably spent a ridiculous amount of time figuring out what brand and style and shade to get for her. She just wanted to see what they looked like on , that was all. To that end, she swatted his hand away, making a face at him before turning around to investigate.

They were nice; of course they were. The frames accentuated her face rather than overwhelming it, as many sunglasses tended to do to her. He’d done a good job, which was unsurprising if a little obnoxious. Satisfied at what she saw, she turned back around and reached up, tugging gently on his collar while standing on tip-toe so she could give him a soft, gentle kiss. “Thank you,” she murmured against his lips. “I really like them.”

He seemed momentarily stunned, his cheeks turning a little pink, but his composure remained overall intact. “You needed them, and I knew it was unlikely you had anything suitable, if at all,” he remarked.

She very, very carefully bit back an annoyed sigh. “Am I just a passenger for this, or are you going to make an attempt to instruct me on how to sail?” she asked instead.

Marc had begun leading her away from the car and paused briefly before moving once again. “Do you want to learn?” He sounded almost surprised by that. Cute.

“I’m not opposed to it.” And she really wasn’t. She didn’t know much about sailing, honestly, aside from what she’d read in books or been told, and she knew it wasn’t easy work, but… it might be nice to learn.

“You will just be a passenger today,” he finally said, though it was a long enough pause she was sure he had actually considered it. “If you seem to enjoy it, and still want to learn how after…”

“Then we’ll see,” she supplied for him, grabbing his free hand and giving it a squeeze.

The sailboat was bigger in person, though still small compared to the ones around it. As they approached, she spotted the boat’s name, painstakingly painted onto the stern: Homer . Nora stifled a giggle, imagining the Odyssey taking place on such a small thing.

He sighed but said nothing as he put the bag on the deck first before stepping off the pier himself, offering her a hand to steady herself with as she boarded, mentally cursing her small stature as she did so.

The entire thing felt expensive. He led her into a small cabin with a bed and a tiny washroom – head , she corrected herself. On a ship it was called a head. She remembered that from a book. The toilet was the head, and a kitchen was a galley, though she wasn’t sure why .

“If you want to help, rather than tending sail today, I do have something you could do for me.”

Marc’s voice startled her out of her contemplations, and she glanced over at him, eyes widening slightly when she saw he’d removed his shirt while she was investigating. He held a tube of something – sunblock, on closer look – out to her. “I guess it’d be easier for someone else to get your back, hm?” She took the tube, skimming over the words. Not a brand she was familiar with, but then again, it was probably produced by a Vampire-owned company specifically for their use.

He turned, cheeks a little flushed, and waited as she squeezed a little bit onto her palm, rubbing to warm the lotion up. It had a pleasant scent, not too overwhelming, and felt much nicer than the sunblock she was used to.

Thinking about that was only a distraction for so long. She hesitated, palms hovering over his skin, before finally pressing her hands down, smoothing the lotion over his shoulders. He was remarkably well-toned. She’d known that, of course, but knowing was vastly different from seeing and feeling. Muscles likely gained from sailing gave him definition she hadn’t actually realized he had, and it was… all a bit much.

Nora bit her lip as her fingers explored his back, pausing only to get more lotion when she ran out. She liked touching him, the feeling of his skin. It was an incredibly pleasant sensation, and she was more than a little sad when his back was fully protected.

Marc wordlessly turned around, grasping her wrists and placing her hands on his chest.

She needed no further invitation, and did just as thorough a job applying the sunscreen to his chest, though she could feel her heart pounding more heavily than ever. They were very, very close. A part of her – not at all small – wanted to explore with more than just her hands, but the likely taste of the sunscreen was a pretty good deterrent to that.

He let her apply the lotion to his arms, neck, and face; every move she made was deliberate, though she could feel her cheeks flaming. It was torture, honestly, touching him like this, but worth it when she reached his ears, hearing the hitch in his breath as she very carefully ran her fingers along their edges. He made a sound in his throat rather like a moan, which only encouraged her to pay special attention to the area, making completely sure he wouldn’t get burned.

When she was finally done, she took a step back. “I, ah…” her voice cracked a little; she cleared her throat and tried again. “I think you’re all good to go.”

He stood a moment, silently regaining his composure, before scrutinizing her. “I may be, but you certainly aren’t.” He raised an eyebrow at her, carefully picking up the tube of sunscreen. “Even you could burn quite easily on the water.”

“I’m not a Vampire, though. A little bit on my face and I’ll be fine.”

“Nora.” He leveled a glare at her. “You will need sunscreen on more than your face, and this is all that is available.”

The sternness in his voice gave her pause, and she sighed. “Okay, fine. We’ll do it your way.”

He was already preparing a dollop of the sunblock, gesturing for her to turn. Fair enough; the back of her neck was rather exposed even with the braid, and a weird tan line from her hair would just be a nuisance.

She was startled, then, when his hands did not go to her exposed neck and shoulder. Instead, he slipped them under her shirt, fingers brushing against her skin. “M-Marc! I don’t need sunscreen there!” she protested, trying to squirm away.

His fingers tightened, pulling her against him. “You do. It’s very windy, after all.”

Every argument she had, he countered, and his fingers explored her as thoroughly as hers had him, until she was breathless and more aroused than she’d ever thought possible. When he was finally done applying the lotion to every inch of her he could, she turned and pulled him down to her for a fervent, desperate kiss.

He responded readily, abandoning all pretense of anything else, trading kisses and heated caresses, giving in to mutual desire.

It was quite some time before they actually set sail.