Justus and Carol finished their conversation, and Justus came in and motioned to Zeta, “Can I talk to you before we go?” Zeta led him to the bedroom thinking, “This must be the day for bedroom conference meetings.”
“What’s up?” she asked closing the door.
“When you went for groceries I had that peculiar feeling in my chest and was missing you even though I knew you’d be right back. It’s a strange sensation Zeta.”
“Oh that’s sweet Justus,” and she gave him a hug and tender kiss on the lips.
“And when I was talking to Carol I was thinking about you.”
“What were you thinking about me?”
“That I feel so drawn to you, want to be close to you.”
“Does it bother you?”
“No. It’s just that I have peculiar nervous feeling I’ve never experienced before.”
Zeta put her arms around Justus and kissed him. “It will be good to talk about this more at the beach tonight,” and she took his hand leading from the bedroom. “That’s enough bedroom conference for one day,” she said to herself.
The time to head out to the beach arrived, and Zeta called out, “Let’s load up that small beach grill in the garage, beach chairs, and blankets, the cooler, food, drinks, some charcoal and we’re ready to roll.” Mark answered with “Finally, at last, I get my Bratwurst! Tonight, my craving gets satisfied.”
The foursome found a spot just south of the pier before sunset by a concrete fire ring where they could build a fire and set up their grill and chairs. Carol and Zeta set out all the condiments and everything Mark requested for his Bratwurst feast. As soon as the beach crowd cheered the Sun’s Pacific sinking, he started the grilling. “Drinks are in the cooler, grab whatever’s your pleasure,” Carol told everyone.
Most of the beach crowd departed when the sun did. The monster swell was over, and the surf was almost back to normal size. The temperature at the beach would typically drop ten to 15 degrees when the sun went down, but the Santa Ana winds kept the beach air warm and balmy.
“What a perfect evening, I love it, and I’ll toast to home sweet home,” Mark said. Everyone added, “Cheers!” and joined in the toast. Carol announced the Brats were ready, and everyone put one in a bun and loaded it up with their favorite toppings. Mark’s had everything on it and was also piled high with sauerkraut. “Here goes, I’ve waited for this juicy, tasty moment for too long!” and he opened his mouth wide and bit into the juicy Brat as the other three and a nearby couple sitting on their towels cheered. Mark devoured the first bite, then took another one savoring all the flavors. “Oh, oh my god, that is fantastic!” he declared like a kid eating his first cotton candy.
Everyone munched away enjoying the Bratwurst orgy with the wine, beer, or soda. “Hey, we’ve got plenty of these Brats,” he told a nearby couple, “You’re welcome to join in,” Mark offered in his exuberance. They were getting hungry just watching the quartet eat and happily accepted Mark’s offer.
After everyone finished eating and were sitting around the fire, Zeta said, “I’ll bet it’s nice out on the end of the pier.” Mark turned to the couple, “Hey, could you watch our stuff while we go out on the pier? We won’t be long.” “Sure, we’re too full of the Brats to be going anywhere right now.”
Walking the short distance across the sand to the pier Zeta reminisced, “Our family spent so many good times here fishing and enjoying the ocean view.” They walked past the twenty-five different size Cape Cod style cottages on the first section of the pier, each with its sundeck, and continued out to the end. There were no lights past the cottages.
“Don’t your parents honeymoon here every year Mark?” Carol asked. “I think that’s so romantic.”
“Yes they do,” Mark confirmed.
“How long has this wooden pier been here?” Justus asked.
“Since 1930. It even had a large dance ballroom for a few years and carnival attractions, but the real attraction is sleeping over the ocean in the cottages. It has survived huge surf, and that’s saying something,” Mark praised the wooden structure.
“Standing on the end of the pier I feel like Kate Winslet in Titanic,” Carol gushed with the wind blowing her hair. “I feel so far and away from the world back there on land.”
“That’s probably why summer reservations must be booked a year in advance. My parents say it’s magical sleeping over the ocean, and I’d like to do it someday,” Mark commented.
Walking back on the pier after some magical time over the ocean and under the stars, Justus whispered in Zeta’s ear, “There’s one that’s walking towards us, just past the cottages heading this way. Relax.”
As they continued walking, the Vee closed the distance between the foursome in the darkness. Zeta noticed Carol and Mark were holding hands, while she also kept her eyes glued to the figure. Coming to within a few yards, it threw up its arms, stopped dead in its tracks, let loose a shrieking growl, hissed bearing its teeth, then turned and ran off of the pier, bumping into and knocking down several people as it ran south down the boardwalk. Carol screamed and grabbed onto Mark. Zeta looked at Justus who seemed not in the least disturbed.
“What in Sam hell was that all about?” Carol asked.
“Probably some strung out druggie freaking out about something. I’ve definitely smelled pot out here tonight. “Maybe that guy smoked crack or some weed laced with PCP or meth,” Mark speculated.
“He sure has good teeth if he’s a crystal meth head. Maybe he’s on his way to a costume party,” Carol answered, recovering from the scare.
“Yeah, that would be pretty crazy. A crystal mether on Crystal Pier,” Mark joked.
“That’s not funny Mark,” Carol grimaced.
Back on the beach, Zeta thanked the couple for watching their stuff. She told Carol and Mark she’d like to take a hike down the beach towards Tourmaline Surf Park if that was ok with them. Mark said he was stuffed with Brats, and he wasn’t quite up to hiking in the sand yet so he’d rather sit around the bonfire for a while. “But don’t stay forever, I know how one of your little hikes can be,” Carol kidded. “We aren’t going all the way, just a short stroll along the shore,” she assured Carol picking up a blanket.
As soon as they were a short distance away from Mark and Carol, Zeta asked, “And so was that another one, like the Vee in the subway entrance?”
“Yes, not an Alpha, though. And like I said I have enough to keep me busy with just the Alphas. A typical Vee doesn’t do much more than extract some human blood, make the victim anemic and possibly emotionally disturbed. They don’t even mess with livestock. Humans can do more damage to each other in a divorce battle than Vees usually do. Some atypical Vees do have a cruel streak though.”
“I guess I’ll just have to get used to seeing them freak out, when one encounters you Justus.”
“In time, it won’t even be amusing. It’s also ironic that the Alpha Vees don’t rape and murder like a human male will.””