You never really know how strongly you feel about a girl until you’re watching a zombie get ready to rip out her throat. It’s like time stands still and everything becomes perfectly clear. Suddenly you know what needs to be done, even if it seems rash. Your first instinct might be to think it through, but if you hesitate for even a moment, you risk losing her forever.
That’s how I feel after chasing Chelsea into the master bedroom in Mr. Cumming’s mansion. At first glimpse I think he’s whispering something fatherly in her ear as they sit atop the canopy bed, but it doesn’t take me long to see that his teeth are bared and on the brink of taking a big chunk out of her neck.
Trapped in his embrace, Chelsea cries out, snapping me out of shock not a second too soon. Before Mr. Cumming’s teeth can make contact, a round blasts out of my barrel and through his skull. He slams straight back, and blood goes everywhere. The pillows drink it in like sponges, turning the white bedding crimson all around. Petrified as a statue, Chelsea stares at what was once her father, her eyes full of tears. By the time she begins to scream I’m already lifting her off the bed to avert her eyes.
“He . . . he . . . he tried to eat me!” she stammers. “I’m so stupid, Ky! I should have seen it. The whole world is dead! We’re all that’s left!”
“You don’t know that,” I tell her soothingly. “It was an honest mistake to think he wasn’t sick. Anybody would have been fooled, including myself.”
“Is he . . . dead?” she asks me abruptly.
Devin chuckles unsympathetically from over by the door. “Kyler just put a bullet through his frontal lobe. Of course he’s dead.”
I mouth for him to cut her some slack, but he just rolls his eyes. “Let’s not think about that right now,” I tell her. “First things first. Devin’s going to go sweep the upstairs to make sure there are no other zombies lurking about while I take you to your room to get washed up. Right Devin?”
“I guess,” he replies. “Maybe then we can finally get some rest and scrounge up something to eat.”
I nod. “We’ll sleep in shifts if we have to, but come morning we need to think of a plan.”
Chelsea looks over at her father’s corpse again and frowns. “Do you think Ami and her mom are okay?”
Devin, now searching the suite’s closet and bathroom, says, “Chances are they’re sick too.”
Chelsea lets out a long sigh. “We’re all going to die, aren’t we?”
“Not if we can find other survivors and get to safety,” I explain. “There’s got to be more people out there like us. We just need to keep our cool until we find them. Who knows, the Feds could be arriving any minute.”
“The Feds?” Devin laughs. “Like that will happen. What we really need to do is turn on a TV and start looks for broadcasts. Maybe then we can figure out what the hell is going on.”
“What if we’re infected too?” Chelsea asks. “What if it’s just taking longer to change us? What if we’re only hours away from turning into that?” She points at her dad with a shutter.
Devin shrugs. “Could be. For all we know, one of us might wake up a zombie in the morning. All we can do right now is try to figure it out and hope we don’t. For all we know, this is happening because everybody partook of some gnarly peanuts at Texas Roadhouse Grill or something.”
That doesn’t seem to make her feel any better. “If we’re going to make sure this place is zombie-free, we should go to the panic room,” she says after a minute of contemplation. “There are monitors there for all of the cameras around the property, water bottles, food, and even a TV.”
“You just made me the happiest man alive,” Devin says. “Just point me in the right direction and I’ll get started tinkering with everything.”
“Take a left out the door,” she explains, “turn right when it forks at the end of the hallway, and then all the way down to the end.”
“We’ll come find you when we’re through,” I call after him.
Once he’s gone, Chelsea says, “You can put me down now, Ky. I promise I won’t do anything stupid.”
“Oh. Ah, yeah,” I stammer as I put her on her feet.
“I can’t believe he’s dead,” she says, idly walking to his side. “My own dad . . . and he tried to eat me.”
“It wasn’t him,” I assure her.
She gives me a funny look.
“I mean, it was him, but not after the sickness took him. I’m sure he loved you very much.”
Chelsea starts fidgeting with her eye like she’s got something in it, and I realize that she’s crying again.
“Yeah, I just need to get out of here,” she says hurriedly. “C’mon, my room’s not far.”
“I’m guessing yours is the one we passed with the dartboard.”
“Yeah, that’s right. How did you know that?” Chelsea asks, now drying her tears.
“Because it’s got a picture of you with about five darts stabbed through your face.”
“Ami,” she grumbles. “Dad must have made her stay in that same room even after I moved out.
“She hates you that bad, huh?”
“You have no idea,” she replies, casting one last lingering stare at her dad. “C’mon, let’s go see what she’s done with the place.”
Trees scratch their branches across the night sky as we walk the hallway, their shadows spilling in through windows for a dance. Chelsea grabs my hand and holds it tight when we go around a corner, nearly jumping out of her boots when the wind begins to howl. At first I begin to think she’s going to bolt and do something stupid again, but fortunately we reach her room before she has a chance. She won’t go inside, however. Not until she’s peeked in from every possible angle to make sure nothing is waiting for us in the shadows.
The bedroom is a contrast of light and dark, where two completely different styles of décor are at war with one another. One side is adorned with pictures of friends, unicorn figurines, a music box, bright pink bedding, and a plethora of creepy little dolls. The other is decked out in black sheets, crimson pillows, a mess of expensive clothes and lingerie, and one well-used skateboard. There’s also what looks like a shrine of indie band merchandise and a MacBook Pro carelessly placed on a beanbag. A screensaver flashes through a file of limitless selfies, all of some mega hot chick. Her hair and ensemble seem to change from picture to picture, almost like she’s an entirely different person. In some it’s bleached blonde, in others it’s red or brown. Sometimes she’s wearing punk clothes, and sometimes she’s in prep, but my personal favorites are the ones where she’s barely wearing any at all. The only constant about her seems to be her dark eyes, and one freaking hot bombshell of a body.
“This used to be my room,” Chelsea tells me in disgust, still acting a bit dazed from the incident with her father. “Kind of a mess, I know, but it’s not exactly my fault.”
I stroll in and take a seat on the pink bed, trying not to let the staring dolls disturb me. “Is this one yours?”
Chelsea blushes. “I was a little girl when I picked it out, okay?”
I chuckle. “And the dolls? How old did you say you were when you moved out?”
“Don’t worry about it,” she tells me, her face red as a tomato. “I’m totally not into stuff like that anymore. Except for maybe that doll with the lilac dress. It’s collectable.”
I lean back on the bed and laugh, idly tossing around one of her pillows when she goes into the bathroom. “I should go help Devin make sure the house is clear,” I say after a minute.
“Don’t go!” she says hurriedly, popping her head around the corner. “I need you . . . in case another one of those things comes along.”
“Do you want me to wait outside?” I ask when I notice a mirror with a perfect view of the bathroom; a minor detail she seems to have overlooked.
“No, I’ll just be a sec,” she tells me, ducking back inside to strip down. “I’m going to rinse off really fast and then I’ll be right out. I just feel so disgusting after all that we’ve been through.”
For a split second I contemplate whether or not I should tell her about the mirror, but that idea vanishes out the window when I see her start to remove her shredded blouse. Slender shoulders and a waist so thin I could probably wrap my hands around it are revealed beneath, glowing bronze in the dim bathroom light. I can feel my heartbeat quickening when she bends over in those tiny shorts to unlace her designer boots.
“This all happened so fast,” she says as her fingers work the laces. “One minute I was studying a cadaver and laughing with my friends, and the next I’m running for the roof with you. If you hadn’t been there, I don’t know where I’d be right now.”
“Um, yeah,” I say stupidly, swallowing a lump in my throat when she removes both boots.
Her black bra is next to go, revealing red nipples the size of silver dollars, tipping breasts so firm they barely even bounce when she goes to wiggle out of her shorts. I take a deep breath when her tiny black thong becomes visible. Watching her twist and bend to remove her shorts is probably one of the sexiest things I’ve ever seen. Beneath is a rock-hard ass and thighs that could give a man the time of his life.
“They would be eating me right now if not for you,” she continues. “I guess I kind of owe you. Maybe when this is all over I’ll let you take me on a date.”
The most I manage is a grunt of agreement at this point, my mind occupied with the fantasy of plucking off that last tiny strand of fabric so I can plunge myself deep inside her again and again. The way she would breathe, the way her slender hips would move, the way she would call out my name when I—
Suddenly she peeks her head of chestnut hair outside the doorway, startling me half to death. “Keep a lookout for me?” she asks.
I grab the first doll I see and use it to cover the enormous bulge in my pants. “Of course,” I choke, hoping she doesn’t notice.
She smiles innocently and goes back inside to turn on the shower, her red-tipped breasts leading the way. My last glimpse of that gorgeous ass is when she removes her little black thong, hangs it on the doorknob as if to tease me, and disappears into a cloud of steam.
I let out a long sigh when she’s gone and try not to feel guilty for being so aroused. If Rachelle knew what was going on in my head, she would slap me so hard it would make my head spin. Then again, who’s to say she is even still alive? Without really knowing, would having sex with Chelsea until I know for sure even technically be considered cheating? I don’t think so, do you?
With the memory of Chelsea’s stark naked body so fresh on my mind, I find it hard to sit still. A noise like a twig breaking comes from outside the window, but I’m so mesmerized I completely miss it. I’m in the middle of unbuttoning my pants to go in and do something very bold when the window abruptly opens and something that smells as sweet as peaches falls right on top of me.
Thinking of zombies, I reach for my gun down on the floor, but suddenly hear the squeal of a very confused girl. My face goes bright red when I realize that my pants are off and my dick is sticking straight up. In that instant I see Bombshell herself straddling me, and I’m so embarrassed I begin to wish I had died back in the gym instead of Connor. Her cheeks are rosy from the climb up to the window, and her violet lips full of color. When I go to swallow, I notice that she’s got a switchblade pressed to my throat, and suddenly I become very frightened.
After a great deal of cursing in Israeli, Bombshell mops several strands of black hair behind one of her pretty ears and looks me straight in the eyes. “What the fuck are you doing in my room?” she asks in an accent so hot I think I might lose it all over her, “and what the hell is this?”
Before I can explain, she grabs a fistful of my junk and gives it a tug.
“Zombies are crawling all over the city and you find your way into my room to fucking masturbate?” She has a look around to see if anything is out of place. “Were you touching my underwear? Shit! Please say you weren’t touching my underwear. If you ejaculated on anything, I swear I’ll cut your cock off!”
I shake my head when she tightens her Kung Fu grip and try not to whimper. Her deep black eyes are lined dark with mascara, smoky eyeshadow shading them like something you might see in a Victoria’s Secret catalog.
“Are you that creep that’s been stalking me at my photo shoots?” she asks breathlessly.
“No,” I manage with a gulp. “I’m here with—”
“Ami?” came Chelsea’s voice from the bathroom, her tone laced with ire.
I glance over to see Chelsea standing there in a tiny white towel, her jaw agape in disbelief. The sight of her sixteen-year-old sister straddling me with my pants off couldn’t have been a more confusing sight. To make matters worse, the baggy shirt Ami is wearing makes it look like she’s not wearing anything from the waist down.
“Sis,” Ami says with a surprising change in tone. “You’re home.”
“Ami, why are you on Kyler?” Chelsea demands, her jaw now clenched tight as a clam. “And Ky, why aren’t you wearing any pants?”
My face goes through about three different shades of red as I roll out from under Ami and fumble my way back into my boxer briefs. “She—I . . . I mean, we—”
Ami tucks her switchblade back into her fluffy boots and gives me a wink. “What Romeo here is trying to say is that I made him take off his pants to prove he wasn’t a zombie,” she says with a crooked grin. “I was about to fuck him to be extra sure, but you arrived just in time to spoil the fun. Thanks for that, sis.”
Chelsea crosses her arms and looks at me from across the room, her eyes narrowing as if to tell me I’m not off the hook.
I look at Ami for help, who’s now fixing her hair in the mirror, and then back at Chelsea. The two of them couldn’t have been more different, and yet still so similar.
“Don’t get your panties in a twist, Chelsea,” Ami teases, “I won’t steal your boy toy. Girl scout’s honor.”
“He’s not my boy toy,” Chelsea shoots back.
“I can’t believe you,” Chelsea huffs. “You ruin everything! Why couldn’t it be you that turned into a zombie and not dad?”
“I take it you saw him, then?” Ami asks. “I couldn’t bring myself to put him down, so I just shut him away in his room. I mean, it’s dad after all, no matter how psycho he looks.”
Chelsea opens a drawer and begins picking through clothes. “Don’t you dare pretend to care for him. You never did anything but resent him for replacing your dad.”
“Hey! What are you doing in my drawers?” Ami yells. “Those are my clothes. Get your own!”
“I would, but in case you haven’t noticed, we’re kind of in the middle of a zombie apocalypse!”
Ami approaches to slam the drawer, nearly taking off Chelsea’s fingers. “I don’t care. Find your own.”
“If you want our protection, you’re going to let me borrow something.”
“I don’t need your protection. I’m doing fine on my own.”
Chelsea pushes her aside, losing her towel temporarily. “You say that now,” she says once she gets it wrapped back around her breasts, “but what about in a week when all of your food runs out and you need to go into town?”
“I’ll figure it out,” Ami says as she throws on a set of Beats headphones and lays back on her bed, scowling.
Chelsea pretends not to let it bother her, but her face goes bright red. Wearing the mother of all glares, she goes into the bathroom to change into a pair of holey skinny jeans and a loose tee she managed to snag from the dresser.
“You seem to be taking this whole zombie thing pretty good considering your entire modeling career just went down the drain,” Chelsea says with an edge to her voice. “That’s got to suck, working your whole life for something, only for it to shatter when it finally starts to peek.”
Ami pretends not to hear, but Chelsea just keeps on talking.
“I guess that’s okay. You were far from pro anyway, right? I mean, you never really had what it takes. Look at prom for instance. You didn’t even make junior queen. You know what they say about runner up. It’s just a nice way of saying first looser.”
The air becomes still for half a heartbeat, and next thing I know Ami’s headphones are crashing against the wall as she storms into the bathroom with the switchblade in hand.
“Wow!” I exclaim, rushing to block the doorway. “Let’s all just calm this down a notch.”
Ami’s eyes feel like they’re on fire, but she puts the blade away. “Tell that to my trash-talking bitch of a stepsister.”
Chelsea giggles as if their little tiff is just a game. “Sorry, little sis. Just getting even. Thanks for the clothes.”
“Did I have a choice?”
“Not really,” Chelsea replies. “So what happened to your mom? Is she . . . you know, zombified?”
Ami reaches past me, grabs hold of the bathroom door, and slams it shut right in Chelsea’s face. “Sometimes I really hate that bitch,” she says to me. “Oh, and by the way, I like you better without pants.”