(unedited and copyright Brenda Pandos)
I watched Julia walk from her car, shoulders slouched, face pensive. Twice she doubled back, but then turned around, still headed towards the beach.
If she really didn’t want to go, why is she here?More than anything I wanted to come beside her, take her hand and be her date for this silly bonfire. This was a step in the right direction though. It often puzzled me why she shied away from people, tending to stick with her regular group of friends or be alone.
I scanned the crowd, picking out Katie and Samantha, willing them to spot her. Julia somewhat scanned the crowd as well but quickly looked down.
Is she here to meet someone else? Another guy perhaps?
The thought made my blood boil. Even though this part of my guardianship seemed the hardest, knowing some day she’d meet the man of her dreams made me fraught with jealousy. My chest ached, watching her flounder when she finally took a seat by the fire. The flames reflected in her eyes, bringing out the hints of green and brown. She flipped her blonde hair off her shoulders to cascade down her back, exposing the nape of her slender neck. It took all my strength to keep me rooted in my hideout, only wanting to touch her again, to wrap my arms over her shoulders, to nuzzle my nose into her neck and smell her skin.
I shook the vision out of my head. Our relationship, or lack there of was purely business. I had to keep my distance so she didn’t get drug into my messy life.
Sam spotted Julia and ran up to see her. They started talking, but she’s not here to be with Julia. Sam’s got a guy with her, her date.
They whisper but I hear what they say clearly.
“Please don’t leave,” Sam says in her ear.
Again, Julia flounders and takes her beach towel, moving further down the beach. I’m tempted to go sit by her but I take out her note to reread instead. The pain is clear. I can’t risk hurting her again. I’ll bear the burden alone and let her move on. I have to.
“Pretty cool, huh?”“Phil?”Her voice cuts through the night like a sweet sonnet of a bird. I cringe, putting the note back in my pocket, looking for the source of this guy – Phil.
He sits by Julia to watch the waves with her, making her fidget. I don’t like the way he flirts with her. I want to leave, but I can’t help but listen.
“You have a girlfriend?”Julia sounds disappointed, but I’m a little relieved.
“...Where’s your boyfriend?” I hear him ask innocently.
Then it all makes sense. By already having a girlfriend, he could get to know her on the guise of friendship, and then once he knows Julia could be his, he dumps the girl back home.
She’s buying it. She’s confiding in him, telling him more. Telling him the whole story about us.My heart rips to shreds hearing the details from her point of view, this time with the mountain lion included. Instead of the hero, I’m now the villain.
“This guy sounds bipolar.”“He does, doesn’t he?”At their laughter, my blood starts to boil. All I want to do was to kick the crap out of Phil. I had to figure out a way to release my aggression before I did.
I pull a stake from within the folds of my jacket and flip it in my hand. In an hour, I could run the parameter of the city and be back to see her safely home.
And maybe get a few vamps. I don’t even give it a second thought. I was out of there.
I hope you enjoyed the excerpt. Thanks Alyssa for suggesting it!