Shades loss, p.19
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       Shade's Loss, p.19

           Christina Worrell
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  “Shade, I need to go up top and check where we are and how long we have got. I know you do not want to go. Would you like to stay here or get back in the car?”

  She did not want to be alone.

  “I’ll go with you. I don’t want to be alone down here. I’d rather see the ocean than stay here all by myself and listen to it.”

  Damon nodded then turned and helped her down. He took her hand and brought it to his lips. He kissed her gently on her open palm and then held her hand to his chest, over his heart.

  Shade smiled. No person had tried harder to impress her. Her brother had done his best by her but he was her brother.

  Damon pulled her over to the wall and then back through to the ramp.

  She was unsteady at first even with his help. She felt like she was going to be sick but then she realized it was in her head.

  It was getting lighter and she remembered all of sudden it was still daylight, late afternoon sometime.

  Judging by the dimness either it was cloudy or nearly dusk. Time was so confusing for her because of the traveling and her odd sleeping patterns.

  When they emerged from the ramp she saw no other people like themselves only the crew in matching uniforms. One had a patch that read coast guard. Damon went straight to him.

  The guard nodded as Damon reached him.

  “I was wondering where we were or how much longer.”

  “We are currently in Columbian waters sir, near Temuco and the Andes Mountains. We’ve got maybe an hour.”

  Damon thanked him and walked back the way they came. He saw the rail and how beautiful the setting sun was against the water. A sight no person should miss.

  Shade was hiding her face in his side, completely oblivious to the colors. The wind ruffled her hair blowing it all around her. She looked like an elfin goddess. He could barely tear his eyes from her.

  “Do you trust me Shade?”

  “Er… in theory?” she replied, the answer muffled in his arm.

  “Babe, do you trust me?”

  She nodded.

  “Keep your eyes closed then and just let me lead.”

  Shade pushed herself into his side more.

  Damon smiled at her. She tried to dig her feet in but he just swept her up again. She nearly screamed but what little escaped was stifled. She buried her face in his neck again.

  Damon carefully made his way to the rail and looked out awed by what he saw.

  “Babe, look at me please.”

  Shade shook her head no.

  “I will never let anything hurt you again, nothing at all even the ocean.”

  Shade peeked a little out at him, only straight into his eyes. The ocean was bigger and deeper than anything she had ever known except for how much she cared for him.

  “There is something so beautiful there are no words for it in front of me. I can’t show you that but I can share something that comes close if you will listen to me. Straight ahead the sun is setting and the colors are indescribable. So I want you to turn and look straight out, not down okay. Hold me as tight as you want but you have to look. There is only a moment or two left.”

  Shade stared into his eyes and saw the colors reflected back off the water. What she saw there convinced her to trust him. Violet, pink, sea green, and powder blue reflected in his icy blue eyes.

  At first glance all she saw was billions of gallons of water and she nearly dove back into the security of his neck. She caught sight of the sun and gasped. He was right. How could she be frightened of something so amazing?

  They watched until the sun completely dipped below the horizon. Damon turned away when the last of the colors faded.

  He took her back to the ramp and then sat her down on and let her walk. Shade kissed him fully on the mouth before she let him go. Damon was speechless. So far he had gone to her. Kissing must be acceptable now, he thought. Even after not explaining about shape shifting.

  They walked hand in hand back to the Maserati and got in. Damon started the car and inched towards the ramp. He was not supposed to move until the boat was docked but he had seen it on the way down and knew they were minutes away.

  Once docked, they were one of the first off the boat and back on mainland.

  Damon was not sure where to meet Mikhail so he pulled into the parking area and called him back.

  “I’m on dock seven near the end where you first come into the bay area.”

  Damon told him okay and hung up. He drove back up to the delivery area and found bay seven easily. Shade was hiding again since they were right on the edge of the docks. He followed the loading ramp up to the ship with Moons Glow on the side. He saw Mikhail wave from the deck and drove the car up onto the ship. It was almost as big as the one they had just gotten off of.

  He parked and told Shade they could get out. She peeked around and found they were in another parking area. She waited until he came around the car and grabbed her hand again. Mikhail was coming towards them. He was nearly twenty or thirty feet away when Shade saw him. She squealed and ran to him jumping up and hugging her brother. Tears poured from her eyes down her cheeks.

  He had not missed their linked hands or the way she was huddled up to him.

  “Finally I get to reunite you two,” Damon said as he joined them. Mikhail shook his hand. Shade was grinning widely with tears glowing in the light of the moon.

  Shade could not believe she was finally holding her brother once again in her arms. She had missed him dearly.

  Damon smiled at her feeling happy for once. Shade was ecstatic and it showed.

  “Where is Shayla?” she asked curiously. She wanted to meet the woman who had ripped her brother’s mortality from him in such an atrocious way.

  “She is back at the island waiting for us.”

  Damon was not sure if she would come back to him now that she had her brother again and he missed her by his side.

  They headed slowly back up to the deck together.

  Damon explained what all had happened and why he had blue short hair.

  Mikhail laughed. He realized from the beginning that he could not fault the vampire for anything. He had done nothing but help. If blame was to be dealt it would be to Shayla. She did not do things the way he would have. Now that he had gotten to know her and had seen her exotic side he found he might be happier than when he was human, aside from the furriness of it all. That and the fact his sister had died because he had been an animal at the time.

  Damon followed him up to the rail. Shade was holding back and closing her eyes again. Her brother was talking and did not see her lock her legs and refuse to move closer. He was explaining how the island was and what Shayla did for the people there.

  Damon went to her and pulled her into his arms again. She gratefully buried her face into his chest. Mikhail turned as he finally realized Shade was no longer with him and saw the two together. Damon had his hand on her head and was holding her to him as much as Shade was gripping herself to him. He was whispering to her something about his promise.

  Mikhail could not believe how much his sister had changed in just days. She was like a cat claws out and hissing when it came to water like this. When guys were around she clammed up and avoided them. Sometimes she was so tuned out she would not respond to them. His guy friends would try and joke with her but she simply went to her room and shut the door. He would punch one or throw them out when they teased her.

  Damon had not only got through to her but gained her trust. Something that only Mikhail had ever had since their parent’s death, mainly because they had grown up together. He wanted to know what had happened to the two of them to make her cling to him. He feared what she would do when Damon went back to the States for his money.

  Damon looked up and shrugged. He would not explain this. It was Shade’s place if she chose.

  Mikhail told them how far they had to go to get back to the island. He asked if they needed blood yet.

  “No Shade has a few more bags to go. She should
not be around humans for a little longer though. She does not have the strength to fight the urges yet. I bring her everything or walk with her in case it is too much for her. She did well in the gas station. The food smells covered the humans scent. If one had been bleeding she would have been like a wild cat I am sure.”

  Shade ignored the fact they were talking about her. She had her brother back and Damon was with her.

  They talked about things more as they got closer to the island. Mikhail said they had their own rooms and as they were both adults they could do as they pleased though. Shade turned red and punched her brother who jerked and growled, startling her.

  Damon pulled her behind him instantly ready to protect her should her brother attack. He knew both could be unstable at any moment because they were both not even two weeks old.

  Damon gave Mikhail a deadly look and snarled. His hands clenched into fists as he stared at her brother in a cold and direct challenge.

  Shade was shocked at how her brother had gone from loving and protective to angry and menacing. She loved her brother more than anything and cared a lot about the man who looked ready to tear into Mikhail.

  Panic filled her as she realized that they may actually fight each other and Damon was a trained assassin. Damon knew nothing else but how to take another creature down in as little time as possible and she knew her brother was stubborn. One of them would die…


  “I will not hurt her. It was only that she took me by surprise. I still have trouble with my temper.”

  Damon held Shade back anyways, even though she tried to peek around him horrified that her brother had growled at her.

  “I’m sorry. I’m learning to not let my animal instincts out. I wouldn’t have hurt you Shade. Don’t hide from me.” Mikhail looked torn that she was scared of him. He gave Damon a look that said move aside.

  “Shade knows you best and if she wants to come to you she will. I will not hold her as long as you control yourself pup.”

  Mikhail nearly growled at Damon but caught himself. Letting his anger have control of him was only scaring his baby sister.

  “Let me get something to drink. I’ll return in a minute.”

  Mikhail went back to the cabin and left them alone.

  Shade was at a loss at why her brother reacted that way. She had not hit him hard.

  “It is not your fault Shade. His animal side detected your change in mood and it flipped a switch. Your brother is not the same person anymore. He is in there still but a wild animal has joined him and is as much a part of him as his own heart is,” he told her turning around to face her. He leaned against the rail and pulled her to him. She shivered in the breeze and from the fact her brother now frightened her. He felt her misperception and wanted to reassure her that it was not her fault in the least.

  When Mikhail had growled, his eyes had flashed a golden red color. His lips had pulled back to show his teeth, the much larger canines a little impressive. He was another person altogether when he looked at her and growled.

  Damon told her it would be okay. He was worried now at leaving her behind when he went to get his money. They stood in silence for a moment and enjoyed the breeze, the night, and the feeling of just relaxing.

  Twenty minutes later Mikhail joined them and told them they were nearly there. He said the island was huge and she owned it in its entirety. She gave many of the local’s jobs doing various things including guard work. She owned and maintained two fishing boats that brought in quite a bit of money. She also had acres of crops that she shipped back to the states weekly during the right seasons. Right now pecans were in, he told them.

  Shade found she was interested in the different work on the island.

  “She also has a charter service on the mainland in Peru that takes people scuba diving and back and forth to the island. There are a few huts that she rents out to vacationers occasionally who want to have the whole local experience. Jobs are hard to come by in this area.”

  Shade understood that. An hour later she went with Damon back to the car to drive it onto the island.

  It was one of the largest islands in the area. It had a grocer, salon, hotel, school, and many smaller trade shops. The town reminded her of something straight out of the eighty’s. It had the feel of one of those places you go and find animal heads hanging and fields everywhere. A windmill rotated with a chilling screech above them. Wild scavenging birds flew overhead making her wonder what prey they were stalking.

  Shade tried not to hide her face this time but she gripped Damon’s arm tightly and jumped when the car bounced on the plank.

  On land they waited for her brother who rode with them to show them where they would stay.

  It was a bit of a drive back into the jungle down roads not much more than dirt paths. In Damon’s car they felt every bump.

  Shayla had a very tropical open home. It looked a lot like a castle with open windows and doorways, at least four stories tall. It was built into the side of a cliff with a smaller guest home of sorts to the side. The cold grey walls and the crashing of nearby waves chilled Shade inside. Everything was washed out except around back where wild flowers stood tall in the warm breeze. She could smell the salt and fish from the window of the car.

  Shayla came out to greet them. Shade had not seen her and was surprised at how beautiful she was. She was Indian of some ethnicity and had dark eyes. Her long brownish black hair hung past her hips in slight waves. She had a strong ferocious stance even though she was not much bigger than herself.

  Shayla came straight to her and wrapped her in a ferocious hug causing Damon to snarl and pull Shade behind him. Shayla backed away quickly.

  “I feel like I already know you from how much your brother talks of you!”

  Shade was not sure how she felt about the woman who more or less took her brother’s life by force.

  Damon hovered protectively near Shade.

  “Still vampire, I mean your mate no harm. She is family and I protect mine. Come in and join me by the fire.”

  Shade wondered curiously why the woman would have a fire while it was so muggy outside. Damon took their larger bags in, letting Shade carry her own backpack. She always carried it herself. Mikhail offered to help him but Damon declined. He was still heated by the pup’s temper earlier with his mate.

  Inside the temperature dropped nearly twenty degrees. Mosquitoes buzzed by and surprised Shade. It was humid and warm outside even with a breeze blowing, inside was another matter. It was like living outdoors but in.

  She quickly understood the reason for the fire. The farther into the cliff side they went the cooler it was. The fire was burning something and the sweet smelling smoke kept the bugs at bay.

  “We are technically inside a cave that was cut to look like a castle. It is one whole piece that was chiseled over the years. Each room took years to finish. The bathrooms have been added in the last few years. We are a simple people and live off the land,” Shayla shared as they proceeded along.

  The house was decorated much like any other only with lots of candles and woven tapestries. Shade began to see a balanced rhythm with it all, a homey but cultural design.

  One wall held fans made from colored reeds and bird feathers of every color.

  A slight woman, shorter than Shade, came to take her bag for her but quickly moved back when Damon snarled. He stepped right up to Shade’s back towering over her in a protective stance despite the two large bags in either hand.

  These people were strangers to them and he was on edge being around so many werewolves. His instincts screamed to grasp Shade and head back to the car.

  Shade was tense and immediately held her breath. The woman’s scent was two-fold, cooked spices and sweat. It was not appealing but there was another smell deeper. It was mouthwatering.

  “Snarling at my staff is not a good idea Damon. They mean you or your mate no harm. You are both safe here as long as you mind your manners and do not harm them. Mikhail
is on edge enough as it is and he needs everyone to stay calm,” Shayla warned.

  “Shade is a newborn and cannot control her thirst. No human should get within ten feet or so of her at any time.”

  Mikhail looked away as if embarrassed by Damon’s correct but overtly disparaging answer.

  “Chelle, take them to the guest quarters and show them where everything is please. Please stay as far from the girl as possible.”

  The older woman complied with a smile on her face, avoiding the two vampires.

  Damon started to follow her and Shade through the house but paused when Shayla spoke again.

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