For what seemed like forever, Anna waited inside Oileus for Kelly to finish her shift. And as the last few inebriated customers left, she wondered if she had enough energy remaining to keep up with the ever-bubbly Kelly that night.
Standing outside the front of the bar, Anna waited while Kelly disappeared around the side. Soon the familiar pop-pop of the viper starting up resonated around the buildings, and sent a shiver down Anna’s spine. The noise, however, was soon drowned out by the thunderous throbbing sound of a much, much larger machine.
As Joel pulled up in front of her, Anna grinned. “You again,” she whispered.
He wore faded jeans, heavy biker boots and a white T-shirt, and his loose blond hair fell lazily about his shoulders. Without getting off the bike, he simply smiled. This time, Anna needed no further persuasion. Her whole being felt drawn to him, and she had no intention of fighting it.
Clasping her arm around his, she hauled herself up and straddled the bike behind him, pressing her body firmly against his. The bike was quick to take off, and all Anna heard, when she looked back, was a distant and somewhat annoyed, “Hey!” coming from Kelly.
As the bike drove on into the darkness, Anna asked, “Where are we going?” But just as expected, got no reply. With her arms wrapped tightly around him, she wanted to absorb his warmth, and let it seep into her body, but he felt cool—surprisingly so. It didn’t stop her though. She pulled herself in close and rested her head on his upper back, feeling his strength as his muscles rippled beneath his clothing. The ride took them along the main road, beneath towering rock-faces, and adjacent to luscious olive groves. But in the darkness, all colour was gone, and the whole world took on a monotone hue. The flimsy chiffon fabric on Anna’s top billowed with the breeze and her shorts left her legs exposed. Joel dwarfed her petite frame and she felt small. But it was a feeling she was growing to love.
The ride was long, but not long enough for Anna’s liking. Soon they were, once again slowing down and Anna realised they were back at the same beach they visited the previous evening. It seemed that they had gone full circle, and Joel had taken her on nothing more than a heavenly joyride. He pulled up on the sand, and shut off the engine. But it was clear that he had no intention of letting Anna off just yet. He turned to her, and with his back to the handlebars, pulled Anna into him. With cool hands, he brushed over her arms and clasped her hands, guiding them back around his body. He then cupped her face and homed in on her mouth with his.
Joel’s kisses were like nothing Anna had ever experienced before, or believed she would again. The strength—the passion and the intensity stole her consciousness and her whole body craved so much more. There was a wildness about him, an untamed wanting that he didn’t seem to be in full control of. For a moment she wondered if she could be the one to tame him. But in all honesty, she liked him just the way he was.
The sound of people, not too far away, was a distraction she was trying to avoid. But it was Kelly’s contagious laughter that wouldn’t be ignored.
As she broke Joel’s embrace, the taste of blood lingered on her lips. She eased herself off the bike and reached for his hand. “Come on,” she beckoned, and led him across the sand.
Once again, Kelly was in the company of Bonita and several others Anna didn’t recognise.
Kelly called out, “Hey, what happened to you?” The sly grin on her face told Anna that she knew very well what’d happened, and Anna didn’t feel the need to respond. Letting her bashful expression do the talking, she kept on walking towards her new friend.
“I love it when we all come here.” Kelly announced.
“Oh, yeah. You’ve gotta meet my friends. This is Jon, Andy, Fenny and Chris. Oh…and this is Joshua. At the mention of his name, Joshua turned to face them and Anna froze. He was the absolute spitting image of Joel. She swallowed hard, it felt like all of her Christmas’s had come at once. Kelly laughed hard and her eyebrow shifted upwards, “I didn’t tell you. Joel is one of a pair. That’s right, Joshua is his twin.”
Identical twins? Anna’s dream flashed into her mind as her eyes flitted between Joel and Joshua. Wow. There really are two of you. “So you all hang out together all the time?” Her question was directed at Kelly.
“You really are so lucky. You have to go a very long way these days to get a group of friends like this. My friends abandoned me yesterday, to go clubbing in Hersonnisos. They just left me at the side of the road. I’d never do that to anyone.”
“Ahem?” Kelly teased.
“Hmm, well, okay, but that was different. Anyway, I can’t believe I’ve got to get on a plane with them tomorrow.”
“You don’t have to go, you know. There are other ways.” Kelly whispered before bouncing to her feet and taking off across the sand.
With thick fingers, Joel traced up and down Anna’s arm—his touch sending shockwaves through her system. As his arm crept around her shoulder, he leaned in and met her lips with his. Oh my God. With each kiss, his need seemed to intensify. Unable to break from his embrace, she sank into him, absorbing everything about him. As his mouth moved along the line of her jaw, she whispered, “Tell me more about these ‘other ways’.”
But Joel said nothing. Instead, he stood and pulled Anna up beside him. His eyes glistened, reflecting the night sky and all its embellishments.
Towering over her, with the ocean breeze playing his hair, Joel laced his fingers with hers and escorted Anna away from the fire. In the distance, where the sea caressed the shoreline, Kelly was dancing with her friends in the shallow surf.
Joel placed one hand on each of Anna’s shoulders. This time, his mouth didn’t seek hers. This time, he homed in on the side of her neck, and his teeth nipped and teased her warm skin.
“Mmm, so you wanna play?” Anna teased.
Joel’s affections became insatiable. Low growling noises emanated from deep within him, and Anna’s heart pounded with wanting. The sultry sounds of the night were muffled by the noise of her pulse racing in her ears. A slight stinging sensation caused her to flinch, but not enough to want to stop him. Letting out a long sigh, she said, “This is crazy. Or is it me who’s crazy. Look at you…I should be scared of you…but for some reason, I’m not.”
Joel simply laughed.
Curious about Kelly’s words she asked, “Is there another way? I mean—Kelly—what did she mean by that?”
With a nod, Joel grinned and looked at Marshall. For a moment, he just stared at him, and then, Marshall approached. “Anna?” he asked. His voice was deep and his accent soothing.
“Hello, Anna, my name is Marshall.”
“Yes…I know.” Marshall…the name suited him. Although polite, this man seemed dominant and far more serious than his friend. Dressed in bike leathers and a crisp white shirt, his black hair fell across his face, partially concealing his features. He, too, was tall and far bigger built than any other man she knew.
“It seems my brother is quite taken with you.”
Brother? She found it a little hard to believe that these two were related, with their distinctly different colouring. “Taken with me?” she replied, fighting the burning sensation in her cheeks.
“Yes, and apparently Kelly has suggested you could stay out here in Crete?”
“Is that something you would consider?” His inquisitive tone was soft and gracious. Hardly fitting to the man conveying it.
“I guess…maybe…I mean…I don’t know. I’ve only just met you. How do I know I can…trust you?”
“You can trust us. We are peaceful and ask no more than loyalty and respect. In return, we can give you family and a sense of belonging.”
“Family? Are you in some kind of a gang?” she blurted.
Marshall laughed. “No…I don’t think we’ve ever referred to ourselves as that before.”
“Then what are you?” She wanted to understand.
Through the fire she caught Bonita staring back at her. Thankfully she no longer appeared to be threatened by Anna—well, why would she be? It was fairly clear Anna’s intentions were towards Joel. Beaming from ear to ear, Kelly came bounding over. “Well… are you going to stay with us, Anna?”
Ignoring the interruption Marshall continued, “We are simply a family, not one born of flesh…but of blood.”
“I don’t…” Anna shook her head in confusion.
“Don’t you get it?” Kelly interjected, seemingly unable to contain her excitement. “Marshall, Joel and Joshua—they are immortals—they are vampires!”
“Yeah—how cool is that?”
“Ha! You are kidding me…tell me this is a joke?”
Kelly’s expression didn’t change. “No, it’s not a joke. Don’t worry though. They won’t hurt you. This isn’t the dark ages you know, vampires can control themselves—if they want to.” Like a child her grin was enduring and her eyes sparkled with excitement.
Anna couldn’t quite grasp her ability to accept the situation. “This is crazy.” Although she was thinking allowed, Marshall responded.
“Crazy—perhaps, but like I said Joel is very taken with you. He wants to know if you would like to stay here—on this island, and spend more time with us—with him.”
Vampires? “I—I would but…it’s not that simple. I’d need to find work—and a place to stay.” Vampires…
Snaking both arms around her waist, Joel pulled her into him. His hold was firm but gentle and once again, Anna melted.
“Don’t worry—we can organise those things for you. But please, Joel would like an answer. He is young and can be very impatient sometimes.”
Joel lifted Anna’s hand and brought it to his lips—the chivalrous gesture conflicting with his rugged appearance. Oh my God—oh my God—oh my God…
Directing her conversation to Joel, Anna said, “But I only met you yesterday. How can you know you want this so soon?”
Silence was Joel’s only response.
Anna pushed, “Please, will you say something…I’m really struggling here?”
“It’s no good,” Kelly interjected. He doesn’t speak. Neither of the twins do.
“Then how do you know this is what he wants?”
“Oh believe me—he’s let it be known,” she replied.