He ran at her, engulfing her in a hug and nearly knocking her over in the process. If it hadn't been for Michael, she probably would have hit the ground. He placed a single hand on her lower back until he was sure she regained her balance before continuing to gather her things from the car.
She knew it bugged him when she called him little. He was only a couple years younger and an inch or two shorter; but it was fun to give him a hard time. She ruffled his hair until he let her go.
"Miss me already?"
Age-wise, she fell right in the middle of the two brothers.
Blood-wise, they didn't have anything in common.
Heart-wise, they were family.
They had lived next to each other for longer than she could remember. They grew up together. They didn't need blood to tell them that they were family. And when Kaiya's mother died a few years back, Lucy practically became her mother too. So when the Emerson's had to move away, they were all heart broken. But it was the only option and Arizona and California weren't too far away from each other, right? It could've been worse. They could have moved to the east coast instead. It had only been two days since they moved away, but it was a torturous two days. Kaiya convinced her father to let her spend what was left of the summer in Santa Carla with them. Michael picked her up at the bus station a half hour ago and she was there for the next month. She couldn't be more excited. She glanced up at the sky and took off her sunglasses. The sun was just beginning to hide behind the horizon.
"Come on," Michael urged. "Lets get you settled in and we'll take you to the boardwalk."
"That girl again, Michael?" Sam half-wined, half mocked. It got him smacked upside the head.
"Ohh, there's a girl already, Mikey?"
But he ignored Kaiya and took her bags into the house, letting the door slam behind him and leaving the other two outside.
"So what's this boardwalk like?" She asked as Sam, being a gentleman, stepped in front and opened the door for her.
She didn't know what to wear, so she just threw on a knee length, black wool skirt and a white halter top. She left her hair messy, just fluffed it out with her hands a bit. It lay just above her shoulders, dark and straight. All the other girls had big hair, but her's refused to go big. Not that she wanted it to. She hated poofers. There were some trends she liked, but most she hated. She loved big earrings and bracelets and lots of necklaces and wore them all the time. Usually they were all the same color and tonight they were all black. She slid her bare feet into her high top converses and ran downstairs to meet Sam and Michael. She skipped the last three or four steps and landed with a thud in front of the door.
"Where are my boys?" She yelled with a smile as she brushed the hair from her face. They came rumbling down the stairs soon after. "Why was the girl ready before the two boys? You primp too much."
"You know Kai, some of us actually want to look good before we leave the house."
"I oughtta deck you, Sammy." She grabbed him and put him in a headlock before ruffling his hair some more. He pulled free while grumbling about her messing up his hairdo. "Don't even think about it, Sam. We're leaving."
"Mike is the one who should care the most. Can't let her slip through your fingers this time, huh?"
Michael responded by pushing his little brother out of the way and heading out the door, this time holding it open for Kaiya first.
"So how are we getting there? We can't all fit on your bike..."
"I'm taking the bike. Mom has to work so she's driving Sam down. You can ride either way."
"I miss the speed; can I ride with you?"
"Well, at least until you finally hook this girl Sam keeps bringing up." She hinted playfully. She never expected him to say anything, but she knew she had a better chance of finding anything out from him without Sam around. He just smiled mischievously and climbed onto the bike. She sat behind him and wondered to herself if she should have grabbed a jacket, too. Oh well. "So Lucy has a job already?"
"Yeah, some video shop on the boardwalk." And he revved up his bike and was off before anything else could be said. She leaned back away from Michael, but still held on, and felt the wind whip around her body. It was a bit on the cold side, but that didn't deter her from enjoying it. The speed was incredible. She would miss her rides with Michael; that's when they seemed to enjoy each other the most. Not talking, but relishing in the feeling of being absolutely free.
It wasn't that long before they arrived. And as soon as she saw it, she knew. She loved it. To her, it was the perfect summer night. She never wanted to leave. She hopped off the bike a little less than gracefully, but kept her balance. The sun had fully set by now and it wasn't as warm as before. She still had goosebumps from the ride. As soon as Michael walked away from the bike he removed his jacket and handed it to her.
"Oh, don't worry about me."
"Just take it in case. I'm going to get a new one anyway."
"Thanks, Mikey." She took it and slid it on. The collar stuck up on the sides of her neck but she didn't bother fixing it. The warmth of the jacket made her realize just how cold she really was. As soon as she was running around in the crowd of people, she was sure she'd have to take it off again. They met Sam by the video store first and soon after, Michael wandered off on his own.
"So where to, Sam?" She looped her arm through his and cued him to lead the way.
"I want to go to the comic book store again."
Kaiya was never into comics, really, but she always went with Sam to the stores. The second they walked in she noticed the junked out hippies leaning against the wall. Sam went on ahead to where he needed to go and she just lingered, walking slowly around the racks of comics. She saw two serious-looking boys talking to Sam, but he just chuckled at them as they walked away. She walked back towards him, seeing the vampire comic in his hand.
"Thought you didn't like horror comics?"
"That's what I tried to tell them, Kai. But they told me to think of it as more of a survival manual."
"To avoid all the dreaded Santa Carla vampires?" She laughed it off and they continued on their way.