A/N: To those that are gracious enough to return to this story and those who read it for the first time, thank you so much. To my gracious returners however, I'm an asshole for waiting so long to write another chapter. But alas it is my brain chemistry, as I am easily distracted by shiny obj--OOH! Look a penny! *picks up*
P.S. I own nothing! No suing!
Michael sat anxiously with the phone in hand. His mind bounced recklessly between reason and panic. He'd resolve to call the cops only to realize he had nothing to report, at least nothing they could enforce. Staring out the window, at the tracks left in the dirt by the bastard's car, Michael sat uneasy and unsure of what to do. He had to do something, but what?
Go to Seth's house? It was out of the question. Even if they were there, Sam wouldn't come home willingly. Gather info? But who the hell would know anything. Samantha would, but she wouldn't…wait Sam! His brother would at least be able to answer a burning question. Michael punched in Sam's cell number. It was 11:26pm, he'd still be awake.
It rang… and rang… and rang… and rang.
Michael's jaw clenched, "C'mon, Sammy. Pick up the damn phone."
Click, "Hello?" answered a familiar voice, surrounded by the din of club noise.
"Sammy? It's me."
"Who?" Sam responded, yelling
"It's your brother! I have to ask you something!" Michael exclaimed, angry his brother had chosen tonight to go out.
"Hey, Mike! What's going on?" Sam responded, obviously jovial, which pissed Michael off all the more.
"You've done a lot of research on vampires, right? For your comics?"
"What? Listen, bro, I can't hear you. Let me call you back!"
"GODDAMNIT, SAMMY! I NEED YOUR HELP!" Even in the midst of the cacophony, Michael could feel his brother's silence. His livid tone had been an accident, but he needed Sam now.
"Hold on." Sam replied rather meekly
Several moments passed, pushing Michael's patience to the brink. The noise on the other end suddenly quieted, then all but disappeared, "What's going on? Is everyone okay?" Sam's voice rushed through the receiver with urgency.
"You've done a lot of research right? On vampires, for your books?" Michael asked calmly.
"Uh…yeah. Mike, what the hell is goin' on?" Sam's confusion was apparent.
"Could a vamp survive being impaled?"
Sam paused then a sharp breath cut across the connection, "What the hell is this about? Is everything okay? Is everyone all right?"
"Everyone's fine, just answering the question!" Michael answered impatiently.
"Jesus, Mike, you scared the---," Sam started, but Michael cut him off.
"Answer the question, Sam."
"Uh…yeah, I guess. If…if the implement missed the heart or didn't do enough damage. Why?"
"Sam's off with some kid. He looks like David."
"Mike, David's dead."
"Possibly not, you just said so."
"Whoa, wait. It's not an exact science, bud. There are LOTS of legends and most of them conflict with each other."
"So what are saying?"
"I'm saying…don't freak out. We don't know what's going on. Listen, I'm coming back tomorrow. I'll talk to her; see what's up, okay?" Sam offered whole-heartedly.
"If she's here…" Michael retorted, unknowingly.
"Wait, what do you mean?" Sam's concerned flooded back.
"We fought, she took off. Now, she's God knows where doing--," he couldn't bring himself to finish the thought.
"Mike, I thought you guys were doing better."
"We were…until I fucked it up." Michael's pride screamed, but he couldn't deny he was largely at fault.
Sam fell silent, only his low breath sounding within the phone, then, "Listen, bro. It's gonna be fine. She's not gonna do anything stupid. She's just pissed and needs to cool off. I mean, she is her father's daughter, after all. I'll be there tomorrow and we'll figure it out."
"All right," was all Michael could say, he didn't even say good-bye to his brother. He clicked the receiver off and let it fall to the couch. The one sliver of hope he'd had left him more worried than before, not because of some possible danger that most thought resided in horror stories, but simply because Michael was sure that he'd obliterated any viable chance at resurrecting the once closely-knitted bond with his one and only daughter.
The steep slope ended at a cliff-side, a rickety wooden stairway crept across the cliff-face like ivy. Looking down, it seemed to descend further than the ocean floor. I could hardly see the bottom; what I did see was simply too dark to be described. Stairway to Hell popped into mind, and the boys raucously bounded toward it like jovial children at an amusement park, swinging from busted rails and shaking the ruined platforms. Many boards gave way beneath the force of their antics, punching holes into already decrepit stair-landings. How none of them plummeted the 100 or so feet to the crashing waves below, I couldn't tell you.
Then entire structure cried beneath their feet, while the girls screamed. Bunny piggy-backed upon Landon, while he leapt and rattled down the stairs; her shrieks quickly turned to giggles with his jostling movements, only to fade back into girlish squeals. Rob simply heaved a pleading & screeching Donna over a shoulder as he raced Landon down the weakening construction. Both Jace and Gage offered no mercy; they continually swung from the wrecked posts, leapt over missing stairs, landed thunderously on the rotting wood as it shook the whole assembly. They'd obviously scaled this thing before.
Seth never left my side. He'd take a few graceful steps, then turn back to present his hand to help me through the maze of decaying lumber and riotous companions. The entire ordeal took, what seemed to be, forever; mainly, because I stopped dead with every vibration the shimmied through the decrepit stairs. Seth only smiled, gently helping me with every worrisome step until we reached the bottom where a dark and yawning cave entrance resided.
"What the hell is this?" I asked automatically at the rather ominous sight.
"You'll see," was all he said leading me inside.
The others shouted victoriously from within the gaping maw of the cave. Seth continued to escort me through the sudden dips and inclines before the cavern opened up into a great room with what, I assumed, used to be fountain erected in the middle. Several sticky webs hung from precarious stalactites that looked like they could fall at any moment. Mysteriously, large band posters, both new and classic, clung to the uneven and moistened walls. Plush bedding and cushions were strewn about for what I suspected to be the comfort of numerous girls who'd graced the grotto.
"What is this place?" I asked, gazing dumbfounded at the rather elaborate refuge.
"This used to be the largest resort in Santa Clara, until the big earthquake swallowed at the beginning of the century," Seth explained with a wry smile, "Now, it's ours."
"Wow," a soft voice passed my lips.
I was shocked from my stupor by the exponentially loud giggle of bunny as Landon dug into her neck, forcing her back into unnaturally lavish cushions. Seth gently tugged my hand to gain my attention. I smiled, slightly embarrassed at the distraction. Gentle cool blues eyes met mine with an equally tender grin. He led me to silk chaise lounge dyed in deep red. Oddly, it fit within the rough surroundings almost completing the 'decrepit sumptuous' motif the permeated the cave.
"Hungry?" Seth's voice broke the relative silence
"Uh…kind of," I answered, suddenly aware of the low rumbles in my abdomen. It'd been several hours now since dinner and Seth and I had definitely exerted enough energy to gobble up the calories we'd consumed earlier this evening.
Within moments Jace reappeared, though I hadn't really noticed he'd gone, brandishing large brown paper bags of take-out. He passed each box out, not bothering to reveal what he'd ordered for the group. Thankfully, mine was a simple chicken Alfredo. Seth popped the lid of his container to divulge lasagna that smelled as appetizing as mine.
"Want a bite?" he asked when he caught me staring.
Red flushed my cheeks, and all I could do was chuckle while gently nodding my head. He heaped a forkful upward; I had to nearly unhinge my jaw to receive it. I suspected Seth had purposefully done this as an excuse to lick and kiss the red sauce he'd 'mistakenly' smeared across my lips.
"Hey, can get some of that action?" Jace questioned eagerly, gesturing toward Seth's fork. Seth offered up the Styrofoam container to which his raucous friend scoffed, "Not that dumbass." More quickly than I thought possible, Jace closed the small distance between us placing yet another impressively graceful kiss on my lips, only to be swiftly displaced by a rigid shove executed by an annoyed Seth.
However, this time Seth didn't remain in stoic silence, "Dude, I swear to God I will take your left nut and feed it to stray dogs."
Jace only laughed, reclaiming his seat a few feet away, well out of Seth's reach. "Here," the jock spoke again, tossing an unusual bottle toward me, "Have some wine." I barely caught it only centimeters from the dusty floor.
As the words settled in my ear panic struck. The bottle sat coolly in hand, light bouncing off of hammered gold and red jewels, only heightening the temptation of the truly unusual bottle. Everything slowed, including all brain function, as I struggled to find the excuse to relieve myself of the bejeweled escape within grasp.
Seth sensed my terror, of course, pulling the bottle away and tossing it back to his eager friend, "She doesn't drink."
An unexplainable confusion colored Jace's face, but quickly melted into his now signature jovial grin, "That's cool. Whatever."
Seth shifted next to me causing the cushioning to bounce slightly as he produced a silver flask from his back pocket, "Here," he offered, "Cherry Kool-aid."
I couldn't help the giggle that escaped my throat, "Cherry Kool-aid? In a flask?"
The corners on his mouth simply turned up into the adorable grin he wore so often. "Why am I having a Jonestown moment?" I asked accepting the silver carafe.
"Maybe because I'm trying to poison you," he offered, brilliant white teeth appearing behind the soft pink lips I desperately wished to kiss again.
I scoffed at his juvenile teasing, unscrewing the cap and bringing the rim to my lips. The cool cherry liquid danced across my tongue, adding more than quenching the thirst it was meant to sate. I swallowed hard as metallic aftertaste filled my mouth, "Ugh…metal flask and Kool-aid…probably not the best combination."
"Oh," he uttered, mouth turning down regretfully for a second before smirking once more, "Sorry." Then fulfilling my earlier wish, his lip crashed down up mine, dominating them in a lustful dance. I forgot about our numerous companions as the world faded away behind his sweet mouth, head swimming with the desire his kiss sent through me. I whimpered lightly when he broke away but my head continued to spin.
"Want to get out of here?" he whispered gently in my ear. I could only nod in response as he took the food from my lap and began to lead me, not toward the entrance but, toward the back of the cavernous refuge.
Within moments we were carefully climbing through a narrow fissure, steadily rising higher and higher. The uphill trudge caused my calf muscles to burn, only exaggerating the lack of balance that currently affected my body. Seth's fingers never left mine, even after several slips on the slick rocks beneath our feet. For some reason, I couldn't find any steadiness. Some sort of fever seemed to have overtaken, leaving a heady sensation in its wake.
Soon after, we reached the top, surrounded by a darkness enhanced by the rock solid roof above our heads. I opened my mouth to ask where we were, but Seth promptly cut off the words by unlatching a hidden door. Bright light flooded into our hiding space and he shifted to the side bringing me level with his chest. Easily, Seth's hands found my waist and unexpectedly I lifted through the new opening before being lightly set down again upon the floor of what looked like a garage.
I managed to swing my legs fully into the cool dank room and stand up, without too much difficulty, as Seth gracefully raised himself through the secreted door. He closed it gingerly and it lay flush with the floor, utterly unnoticeable once covered with a rubber work mat. Before I could ask, he spoke, "My dad and his friends used to hang out in the cavern below. A few years ago, Dad found out the property was for sale and decided to buy it, hired contractor to build the house and later installed the door. He loves that place, but doesn't want to tread down the old staircase on the cliff-face."
I nodded in understanding which was a terrible mistake. The steel silver tools, neatly arranged on the far wall, quivered before shifting sharply within sight. Breathing deeply, I felt my knees buckle beneath me as I headed for the floor, face first. I waited for the pain to come but instead felt the warmth of Seth's arms around my waist. He chuckled again, "If I didn't know any better, I'd think you were drunk."
I smiled lazily, eyes heavy-lidded and lustful. I pulled his mouth to mine again, kissing him deeper than I thought possible, considering the 'drunken' state I was in. He picked me up then, hands unabashedly supporting my ass, easily walking even beneath the added weight. I assumed we'd make our way to the bedroom, but once again felt surprised when cool leather met jean-clad thighs.
His bike felt cold and hard as he wrapped a red leather jacket, his red leather jacket, around my shoulders. I couldn't help but feel slightly disappointed. I had hoped he'd warm me in entirely different way, but still excitement filled my veins at the thought of a midnight ride.
Seth knew the most beautiful and breath-taking places to drive. He'd been pleased to show off is local knowledge of gorgeous vistas. Tree-lined twists up the various mountains had been a personal favorite, that is, until Seth had placed a blindfold over my eyes and driven for an eternity to the most magnificent cliff overlooking the ocean. Even in the darkness, the white foam accompanying the crashing waves had sprayed up in the most stunning way. A fine mist repeatedly kicked into the air, eventually soaking me through as I refused to move from the most amazing view.
Seth quickly enwrapped my arms in his when I began to shiver, warming me with the embrace and a heated breath across the nape of my neck.
Now, I couldn't help but wonder how far we would drive this time. We had all night. I wasn't going home anytime soon, not if I could help it. I thought about asking, but decided I wanted the surprise more. Seth kick started the bike and the vibrations between my thighs sent exhilarating tremors up fibrous tissue.
He sped out from the garage, squealing the tires against the poured concrete of the garage floor. Show-off, I thought with a smile, but still loved that he did it. Cold wind whipped through my hair and in my ears, making all conversation impossible. I didn't care and simply pressed into his back, arms wrapped tightly around his waist, melding our bodies together. Seth's unnaturally warm hand gently caressed my forearm; it was a wonder he stayed so balmy without a jacket and the frigid ocean air spilling across his bare skin.
Gently leaning into curves, the road bent and wound numerous times creating a lulling rhythm echoed by the waves crashing against the coast. I closed my eyes, head supported by the broad shoulders in front of me as Seth kept the bike at a maddening pace. Just as I was sure I'd fall asleep to the hypnotic pulse of the road, the waves, and the motor, we slowed to a gentle stop.
I sat up taking a frightening and thrilling sight. Outstretched in front of us Suicide Summit slid menacingly out to the horizon. Not really a summit but actually the longest, sharpest and most narrow drop-off in the local area had not acquired its name by accident. It had claimed more than one hopeless soul that dared to venture onto it for a smattering of reasons known only to them individually. Seth revved the engine, drawing me closer to him. Then he kicked the bike into gear, charging the deathly strip at neck-breaking speed.
Even through the wind I heard him yell triumphantly as he pushed the bike closer to the edge. I clung desperately, suddenly unsure of his maneuvering ability. Still, Seth pressed the bike on, increasing the speed and closing in on the edge as images of wreckage and broken bodies filled my mind. He remained unfazed and unaware to the worried girl at his back. The cold air lashed and bounced off the cliff face, pushing harshly against the two-wheeled death trap, but Seth kept deft control.
His victorious shouts filled the air and reverberated within my ears. Somehow, I began to relax. The cold wind belted as the waves crashed below. The vibrating bike steadfastly clung to the drop-off by way of Seth's able and skilled hands. And between his intoxicating voice and the lightheadedness I felt, I let go of my usher's waist and yelled triumphantly into the night with hands high. I melted into the freedom I felt, letting everything that weighed heavy upon these shoulders go. All the mistakes that plagued me, the worries that followed, the guilt, and the vile words that had spilled past my father's lips; no of it mattered now, it was only Seth, I, and the exhilarating freedom we were experiencing that mattered.
Lost in the strange liberty this dangerous activity afforded, I began to laugh joyfully. Seth's deep throat echoed mine as I relaxed back, nearly lying down on the speeding motorcycle. Everything fell away but us and all I could hear was Seth's gentle unintelligible whispers in the dark.