Mild fluff warning. Annie and Hal take Eve and Tom on their first trip to the beach.
Annie dropped a bowl of cereal in front of Tom and he picked up his spoon feverishly, ready to devour. The ghost adjusted her cardigan and sat down opposite Hal who was buried in his newspaper, completely silent.
"I've been thinking," Annie said.
"Mm?" Tom looked up, his mouth full of cheerio's.
"I was thinking that we should take a day out of the house." Annie said. "I mean… Out, somewhere nice. Like the park or the beach."
"Why?" Tom asked.
"Well," Annie cleared her throat. "It's what families do, isn't it? Go out, have ice cream and just generally be a family."
"But we goes out to the shops anyways," Tom said. "We could get ice cream there."
"Did McNair never take you out, you know, just on a trip, not killing vampires or something,"
"He took me paint-balling one day," Tom shrugged. "But it was more a tactical practice. Use the paint-ball gun to impair the vampires vision then stake him."
Annie cleared her throat. "Really? Never went to the beach, or had a picnic?"
Tom shook his head and the ghost slapped her hands on the table, making Hal jump.
"That's it," She said. "This Sunday we're taking a trip to the beach."
"What?" Hal folded his newspaper. "Why?"
"Haven't you been listening at all? Tom and Eve have never been to the beach, or had a day out. I don't think it's healthy to be cooked up here and not experience the world. I mean, we may be… Different, but that doesn't mean we can't appreciate just spending time together." Annie said.
"I think you're forgetting," Hal said, lightly, pulling the napkin off his shoulder and folding it carefully. "About the threats that are facing us. The old ones? And the nemesis?"
"Well, they're not exactly going to attack us in public," Annie said.
"Oh, you'd be surprised as how public the old ones can get," Hal replied.
"Even so," Annie said. "I have my boys. I just think it's unfair, that if…" She cleared her throat and looked down at her boots. "I just think that if we are so intent on staying alive-ish then we should make the best of it. Cause if we are going to die… I don't want Eve to have only known this house and the supermarket and park."
Hal looked over at Tom who was thinking intently. The vampire sighed. "So picnic, this Sunday?" He asked.
Tom looked around, his face glowing. "What, really?"
"Like you said Annie," Hal said. "If we are so focused on being human, then we should act as humans do. And not be afraid of death and threats every waking moment."
Annie grinned. "Thank you Hal."
"Imma gonna have to get swimming trunks," Tom muttered.
"Tom," Annie said. "It's south Wales, not Spain."
"Still," Tom finished the last of his cheerios and grabbed his jacket. "I'm gonna go and get them."
Hal smiled and retreated into his newspaper as Tom left in such a hurry. Annie stood up and moved around the table. "Thank you, Hal," She said again.
Hal nodded silently as Annie gently touched his shoulder in an affectionate way before heading off to get Eve.
On Sunday morning Hal was awoken by an excited Tom and a happy Annie. They gathered in the kitchen, making sandwiches and preparing the picnic.
"I don't think we'll need that much," Hal said as Tom buttered the last of the bread. "It will only be the three of us, Eve is not yet on solids and I don't eat as much as I really should." Tom pouted and Hal sighed. "Fair enough, if you want that many, go ahead."
Tom grinned before reaching into the cupboard beneath the sink and grabbing crisp packets and shoving them in. Annie filled two flasks, one with baby formula and the other with tea, and putting them into the basket.
"Ya wanna see my swim trunks?" Tom asked. "They're dead classy."
"I'm sure they are, Tom," Annie said, double checking the baby bag. "But just wait and show them off at the beach, okay?"
Tom looked downhearted before he went over to Eve who was gurgling away in her travel seat. Annie finished the last of the packing and grinned up at the vampire and werewolf.
Hal grabbed the picnic basket and the baby bag and Tom picked up Eve in her seat. Annie made one last check of the kitchen.
"Tom, wait," She said.
Tom stopped and looked over.
"Here," Annie tucked his stake into his back trouser pocket. "Just in case,"
"There's nowt to be worried about," Tom said.
"My patience is growing weary!" Hal called from outside. Tom and Annie grinned before leaving the house. After everything was piled into Hal's car, Tom put Eve in the front, strapping the seat in. Annie double checked even though there really was no need before climbing into the back with Tom, sitting behind the infant.
"Drive slowly around corners," Annie ordered. "And don't stop suddenly. You might hurt her head. Oh and make sure that-"
"Annie," Hal turned to look at her, his hands firmly on the 10 and 2 o'clock positions on the wheel. "Please, don't."
"Sorry," Annie said. "I just get nervous in cars. My uncle got hit by a car and was in a coma for 5 weeks, so…"
"I assure you," Hal said. "I'm a careful driver."
Annie sat back in her seat, not bothering to put her seat belt on. Tom sat fidgeting as Hal put the car into gear and pulled out from the B&B.
"Have any music?" Tom asked.
Hal looked into the rear-view mirror, seeing only Tom's reflection and not his own. "I have a selection."
"I don't want to listen to your music though," Tom complained. "It's crap."
Hal's knuckles whitened, but he said nothing. "Would you like me to put the radio on?" He asked, stiffly.
"Tough," Hal replied. "I do not move my hands from the wheel when I am driving. Only to change gear."
"You suck," Tom said. "I'll do it," He unbuckled his seatbelt and leaned forward.
"Tom, sit back," Hal hissed.
"Do as he says." Annie warned. "I'm not having a domestic situation in this car."
Tom sat back and pulled the seatbelt over himself. Annie moved forward and clicked on the radio.
"How comes you don't give her into trouble?" Tom moaned.
"Because I'm already dead," Annie replied. "I'm hardly going to go flying out of the window, am I?"
She turned the radio, trying to find a channel that they would all agree on before giving up and switching it off, getting annoyed every time Hal or Tom disagreed with the channel.
"I give up. We'll just sit in silence then." She said, sitting back, as Hal pulled to a junction.
"Mate, you could have turned, that car were too far to hit us." Tom said.
"Not until the road is absolutely clear." Hal replied.
"You drive like my dad," Annie said. "I hate people like that."
"I shall drive the way I want to," Hal replied. "You don't tell John Major how to run a nation, now do you?"
"I'm sorry, I'm a little behind, who is Prime Minister now?" Hal asked.
"David Cameron!" Tom said. "I even know that and I'm thick!"
"Oh, Hal! You missed the turning!" Annie said.
"No I didn't." Hal replied, not looking around.
"I think you did mate," Tom said.
"I did not miss the turning. This is the way to get to the beach."
"No… We're driving away from it," Annie said.
Hal did not answer. After a few minutes he stopped the car and reversed.
"What are you doing?" Tom asked.
"We didn't take the proper turn," Hal muttered.
Annie sniggered. "Told you!"
Hal rolled his eyes and drove back up the street to find the exit.
Tom tapped his knees. "I'm bored." He said.
"Well, find a way to entertain yourself." Annie said.
"McNair and I always used to sing whilst we were driving," Tom said.
"I'm not singing." Hal replied.
"There were ten green bottles, ten green bottles hanging on a wall, and if one green bottle-" Tom started.
"Should accidently fall, there'd be nine green bottles hanging on the wall!" Tom cried out.
Annie was grinning madly and she began to sing along. "Nine green bottles, hanging on a wall, there were nine green bottles, and if one green bottle should accidently fall, there'd be eight green bottles hanging on the wall!"
"I don't sing!" Hal replied, taking a left, slowing down at some traffic lights.
"Eight green bottles hanging on the wall, eight green bottles hanging on the wall, and if one green bottle should accidently fall, there'd be seven green bottles hanging on the wall!" Annie was laughing hysterically and Tom was grinning.
"Come on Hal, it's nowt fun wi'out you!" Tom said starting up again. "Seven green bottles hanging on a wall, there were seven green bottles hanging on the wall and if one green bottle should accidently fall, there'd be 6 green bottles left hanging on the wall."
"Hal, any old nursery rhymes you can teach us?" Annie leaned forward.
Hal smiled. "A few." He changed gear as the lights turned green.
"Teach us one,"
Hal sighed. "Ever heard of Bonny George Campbell?"
"Saddled and bridled so gallant rode he!" Annie sang.
"Hame came his good horse," Hal sang.
"But never came he!" Tom finished as they pulled up into the beach car park.
"That was fun," Annie grinned. "Where's it from Hal?"
"It's an old Scottish Rhyme I learned when I travelled," Hal replied, unbuckling his seat belt and getting out of the car.
"Well I like it," Annie said, moving around and opening the passenger door. "Come on Eve!" She pulled the baby out from the seat and passed her over to Tom who had pulled on papoose. "Before walking down the beach, should we go to the shops first?"
Hal closed the trunk of the car after rearranging the bags. He nodded stiffly, folding his hands behind his back. They stepped out onto the promenade and were greeted by the smell of salty sea water and sand.
"Tom?" Annie turned and saw Tom stretching, letting the sun hit his skin. Hal looked up at the glow, squinting slightly.
"Perhaps some sunglasses," He suggested, feeling his eyes getting irritated.
"You know I never got that," Annie said as the three of them took to the stalls. "Why do vampires hate sunlight?"
"You perceive that I know every vampire lore and mythology out there," Hal said, amused. "Truth is, I am just as clueless."
"Tom?" Annie called as the werewolf jogged to join them.
"I'm here," Tom said.
"Careful," Annie said, taking a gentle hold of Eve's fingers.
"Sorry," Tom said, looking down at the infant strapped to his chest. Hal smiled slightly moving amongst the street sellers.
"The seaside resorts are never as good as they used to be," He said sadly, looking at overpriced beaded jewellery.
"Maybe it's not the time to compare your past to the now, eh, Hal?" Annie said, looking at a selection of soft toys. The woman at the stall, who was knitting a woollen hat looked up and smiled at Tom and Hal.
"Hello," She said. "What a beautiful little child! What's its name?"
"Eve," Tom said proudly, looking down at the child.
"She's very pretty." The woman said as Annie moved around to look at the stuffed dog that sat high from her reach. "Is the mother around?"
"No, she don't have a mum," Tom said.
"Oh!" The woman looked at them both. "Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't realise. You can never tell nowadays."
Tom looked confused as Hal stepped in to diffuse the situation.
"I believe you're mistaken again," He said. "We're not gay."
"Oh thank goodness," The woman said. "Not that I was being prejudice, but they really should have labels."
"I'm going to pretend that I didn't hear that," Hal said.
"So what are you, friends? Brothers?" The woman asked.
Tom looked over at Hal who had pulled out his domino and was flicking it between his fingers. "I suppose in a very odd way, yes, we are brothers."
"Really?" Tom asked.
Hal looked over and nodded.
"I never had an older brother," Tom said. He grabbed Hal and hugged him tightly, Hal uncomfortable at the display of affection.
"Okay, are you guys done being gay for each other?" Annie said. "I want to get Eve that husky dog."
"How much for the dog?" Hal asked as Tom let go.
"£4 love," The woman said. Hal sighed and dug out his wallet, pulling out a crisp folded five pound note.
"Oh my god," Annie said as the woman took the note. "Hal, don't tell me you neatly fold your bank notes."
"It keeps them in order," Hal replied taking the dog and giving it to Tom who gave it a look of affection before smiling and nudging Eve with it.
"Hal, sunglasses over there," Annie said pointing over to one of the stalls.
"How'd you know which pair to get?" Tom asked. "Ya can't see yaself in the mirror."
"We'll tell him what looks good," Annie said simply. "Just don't go for the aviator ones, otherwise I might have to take Dona- Dunc… Deu-"
"Duncan?" Tom asked.
"Yes, Duncan the stake and nail it where you don't want it," Annie said.
"Duly noted," Hal replied. He picked up a square pair and pulled them on. "What about these?"
"No," Tom said, shaking his head.
Hal pulled them off and smiled.
Tom spread out the picnic blanket as Hal laid out two plates and the food in alphabetical order. They were sitting sheltered in a small alcove, where they could see the beach and people
"This is lovely," Annie said, looking out. Hal squinted through his sunglasses and smiled.
"It is," He agreed, trying not to think about ripping the nearest family's throats out as the hunger once again stirred in the back of his throat. He looked down at the food that had been spread out before them as Annie crossed her legs and pulled Eve towards her.
"Which flask is the tea?" Tom asked.
"The red one," Annie said confidently. Tom took a large swig of it and spat it out. "Or maybe the green one," She laughed as Tom spluttered. She took the flask off of him and poured some into a bottle.
"I wish Mitchell, George and Nina did more things like this with me," Annie sighed. "I haven't felt human in a long time and this," She took a deep breath. "This is what it is to be human."
"Did they never take you out of the house?" Hal asked, plucking a grape from the stem.
"They did," Annie replied, picking up the stuffed dog and playing with it sadly. "They just…" She looked away. "Never mind."
"Well alls I can say is it's been a cool day," Tom said.
"Despite you dropping your ice cream?" Hal asked.
"That bird had a vendetta against me." Tom grunted.
"I'm surprised you know what that word means." Hal said.
"But it did!" Tom said. "Can I run into the sea?"
"Not until you finish your food," Annie said. "You have to wait one hour before swimming."
"But I always eat before I have a bath, less than half an hour before I do… Nowt bad happens…" Tom said.
Annie was dumbstruck. "Weren't you told this when you were younger?"
Tom kicked his feet. "Didn't do a lot of things when I was younger," He said.
"Well," Annie said. "That's all going to change now," She patted his knee.
"If I go swimming now and eat later," Tom started.
"Yes, alright," Annie sighed. "Go on."
Tom got up and was suddenly out of his hoodie and trousers, running towards the seat, his bright multi-coloured swimming shorts giving Hal another reason to keep his sunglasses on.
Annie smiled. "Hal?"
He looked around. "Yes?"
"Thanks for agreeing to take us out," Annie said.
Hal nodded. "I can't deny, it has been fun."
"I just think… We needed to connect, like a proper family does," Annie looked down at Eve. "A messed up family, I'll give you that."
"Did… You ever want children?" Hal asked.
Annie sighed. "Always did. A house full of them. I wanted one boy and two little girls. And a dog, and a loving husband who would come home and kiss me love me. But it was ripped away before I got the chance." She sighed. "What about you?"
"I died too young to even think about that," Hal replied. "I never thought about families until I turned about 200 years old."
"Then what?" Annie asked. "Did you go out and find a bride or something?"
Hal shook his head. "I went on a killing spree and destroyed hundreds of families to wreak revenge."
"Oh," Annie said. "And what about now, do you consider this a family?"
"Yes," Hal replied. "Of course I do."
Annie smiled. "Should we get Tom out of the water, before he catches a cold?"
Hal looked over at the happy Tom splashing about marvelling at the youth and naivety that the werewolf displayed.
"Leave him," Hal said. "He'll be fine."
Hal looked back at the ghost.
"We'll all be fine," He said calmly smiling slightly.
Didn't exactly know how to end it… Yeesh. Hope you liked, please review :D