We are flying so fast, everything's a blur. It's like turboswim, but instead of water, air rushies along my skin. It's amazing because the air feels as substantial as water when you're going this fast. Pierce dives toward the bay, and right before we're going to crash through the surface, he levels off, and we're blasting over the water so low, the spray from the whitecaps hits my face. The silvery dark head of a harbor seal pops out of the water. He seems a little startled, but before I can telepathically explain the situation, he is far behind us.

Pierce increases our altitude so we're almost flying vertically. We're shooting up along the face of a cliff toward the sky-perfectly blue except for a few smudges of gray clouds. Pierce's arms are still around my waist, and it takes a moment for me to realize we're no longer flying. We have landed in the high grass of a meadow atop a bluff overlooking both the bay and the ocean. The meadow is dotted with wildflowers in vibrant shades of orange, yellow, red and purple.

"That was amazing," I say, breathing hard even though Pierce did all the work. Pierce is still holding me as tightly as he had when we were flying. I'm totally in bliss until I realize he's sniffing the back of my neck. Apparently he's hungry. I mean I am too; we've missed lunch.

"Don't get any ideas, vampire. No mermaids on the menu today. I don't care if you're attractive and charming and poetic."

"But I took you flying," Pierce says nuzzling my neck. I break away from his hold and turn toward him. I give him my hardest glare, no easy feat for someone with rainbow eyes. "I'm only kidding, Waverly. I promise never to sample your blood without permission."


"No matter how hungry I am."

He's giving me sad eyes, fluttering those thick dark lashes and using his dimples to bend my will. "Not going to work, vampire."

"Can't blame a vampire for trying," he says, grinning.

A gust of wind whips past us, and the ocean is rumbling and churning and reminding me of home. Some day I'm going to swim with Pierce to Pacifica and introduce him to Carla and my mom and my brothers and sisters. I want him to see our cave. In some ways, a vampire is the perfect boyfriend for a mermaid (if you ignore the whole problem of mermaid blood being like a vampire drug) because they don't need to breathe and can share the experience of being underwater. "This place is amazing," I say, because it is. "What's it called?"

"Pierce's Point."

I laugh. "Very funny. Come on, for real."

"It is called Pierce's Point, and it's a very special place to me. I've never brought anyone here before.

He looks kind of solemn about this, so I decide to go along with it. I mean since he's not snacking on me. "Why is it special?" I say.

"This is where I became a vampire, Waverly. Where Crumpet found me and turned me. That's why I took the name Pierce. Vampires choose a new name when they are turned, because they must disappear from their human lives. I am named for this spot, not the reverse. I brought you here because you are special to me."

And then he leans in and kisses me, softly at first, then a bit more hungrily. And somehow, I don't care any more about missing lunch.

Suddenly he breaks off the kiss. Wait, no! Come back!

"Waverly, you must tell me what is wrong. I'm sure I can help. Come here. Sit down, and we can talk."

We both sit cross-legged in the meadow, our knees touching. He plucks a blade of grass and twirls it around his finger not making eye contact. He's probably giving me time to think.

Mermaids and the Vampires Who Love Them (Winner Watty Award 2014)Read this story for FREE!