Dedication: To Sarah, who really wanted more of the story.
Author's Note: The sequel to "Bite to Break Skin (The Girl is a Vampire)"
Maria tastes like the ocean, still, salty and ever so slightly bitter. She fists her hands in Star’s hair, stretches the curls into frizz, tangles the mess of it, and presses their mouths together.
Her tongue thrusts inside Star, dominates her, and Star twists against her, rubs their bodies together. They both move at the same time, in the same direction, and their noses bang together. It isn’t right, their rhythm is gone, the easy give and take between them.
This isn’t how she left her, and Star thinks she should mourn the loss.
Maria tastes like the ocean, salty and tangy and bitter, like the memory of blood.
Maria’s hands are at her throat, and Star can feel her own heartbeat bounce off her fingers. She’s drowning in their kisses, she can’t breathe, but she doesn’t care; she falls into Maria, into her humanity. Her fingers are deep inside Maria’s body, slick and hot with her, and Maria moans and whimpers and squeezes hard, digs her nails into Star’s flesh.
There will be marks, Star knows, but she’s okay with the idea. Part of her wants them, to be honest, because it’s just one more way to show she’s human.
When Maria comes, she grunts, and tosses back her head, and Star can look at her throat without being tempted, without watching her pulse leap and the heart pump the blood through her veins.
Star’s said no so often she has forgotten how to say yes.
No to blood, no to killing, no to David again and again, every night, every hour, every second it seeped from her pours. Then, after the vampires, no to Lucy’s frequent questions: Is she okay? Does she need something more to eat? Is she having trouble sleeping?
She tells herself no more than she does anyone else. It’s getting harder, though. At first she said no, she wouldn’t go to the Boardwalk now that David didn’t require her presence. Then she said no, she would stay away from the video store, now that Max was dead and she was a human, Then she said no, she wouldn’t talk, but she could look.
Star stands in the doorway of the video store and twists her hands in her skirt, her fingers tangled in the dangling charms. She still likes shiny things, that wasn’t the vampire in her. She loves it when the lights bounce off her clothes, and she glows with the reflected shine, like a star.
Maria tilts her head, turns her face towards her, basks in her. Star wants to reach out, put her fingers in Maria’s hair, pull her close, but she can’t. She owes too much to Michael to tell him the truth.
Some days, she believes she really does love him.
Lucy thinks it’s nice, the way Star comes to visit her at work. Somehow she winds up owning the video store, and she promotes Maria to assistant manager. Lucy works the night shift; she doesn’t like to be home at night.
No place is safe, Star knows. Lucy does, too. Maybe being in public is safer.
Maria smiles at Star every time she sees her, and says hello, but there’s no sign they were together once, no sign that there was ever anything except a passing friendship between them.
Lucy hires a part time clerk, a nice girl about Star’s age. She’s newly arrived in Santa Carla, and has this sort of wide-eyed look to her, this way of glancing around like she can’t believe she’s there. She’s probably from some landlocked state. Star remembers that look, the awe the ocean inspired, and all the different people.
She remembers, too, how David took one look at her and drew her into his world.
She’s glad all over again that he’s gone, but that doesn’t mean she likes it when the new girl flirts with Maria. It makes her take a step forward even though she doesn’t mean to get too close.
Maria tells the girl good-night, pushes back her hair (it always takes two hands for her to even begin to tame those curls), and smiles at Star.
“You hungry?” she asks as she puts on her jacket, and her words are so gentle, so easy Star doesn’t remember in time that she’s supposed to say no.
Maria invites Star back to her place, no pretense about it at all, just I’d really like to kiss you and Please come home with me. Star goes, no hesitation, and she wonders what Maria thinks about taking home the boss’s son’s girlfriend.
When Maria kisses her, she stops wondering about it, she stops thinking at all.
Maria tastes like the ocean, like the beach, like there’s sugar on her lips and suntan oil on her cheeks and salt on her tongue. Star leans into her, drawn by her warmth, and the way their heartbeats match, and the way it’s the same thing she used to do and yet completely different.
Star kisses her and wishes she still craved blood.