Where Evil Lurks

Welcome to Moonlight Madness - Where Evil Lurks

This is the fourth story in my Moonlight saga.

Story One - The Beginning - Beth's Diary

Story Two - With Arms Wide Open

Story Three - Barely Breathing

Cast of Characters

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Beth's Diary - Part Thirteen PLUS Bonus Story!

Happy Anniversary Moonlight Fans!  Today is the third anniversary of when the show first debuted!  I was so excited to watch after I had seen the promo's from it and I was an immediate fan.  I never quite imagined that I would one day write fan fic for it, but here I am.  I publish Beth's Diary on a couple of the fan sites and from time to time they have author challenges.  This time it was a creative challenge to celebrate the third anniversary using the word third or three in the title.  The one shot story that I wrote follows.  I hope you enjoy!

Beth's Diary -Part Thirteen

October 10, 2006

Sometimes life takes you places or on journeys you can’t imagine and the best things happen, even from something that seems like the worst possible thing. That’s the kind of week I’ve had, let me tell you!

Hm, first off I have found a new place to live, a much nicer place. No more paper-thin walls with the neighbors fighting 24-7 or the creepy guy down the hall watching everyone come and go. My new place is fantastic and I love it!

I’m on the second floor of a new building that looks old – vintage actually. It is light and airy, with glass panels in some of the walls that let all kinds of light in and a wonderful little balcony off of my bedroom. I move in two weeks and I can’t wait, it’s going to be such a pleasure living there. It’s sort of centrally located so I’m not too far from anything.

The weirdest thing about this week is meeting this new guy – Josh. Joshua Lindsay that is; he is an Assistant District Attorney and very handsome and nice. How I met him though was anything but nice and enchanting, let me tell you. But we had a great first date and another one planned for next weekend, so things look promising.

I spent last weekend down in San Diego with Robbi and Kevin and baby Brianna, who I might say is not so much a baby anymore. At a year and a half or so she is growing like a reed and a walking and talking force of destruction! Robbi and I swear that she channels Lani and if there is any truth in that at all, Robbi and Kevin are in for a rough ride. My godchild is fearless and loves to jump and bounce on whatever surface is handy. She would perform daring feats of danger constantly if not watched carefully. She is the perfect combination of Robbi and Kevin in looks though, so she is simply gorgeous; Kevin’s cornflower blue eyes and Robbi’s dimpled chin and soft brown hair. She will definitely be a heartbreaker and Kevin will have his hands full beating off the young pups who will be hanging around. He only groans when I tease him about it.

I hear from Lani frequently, by e-mail mostly although we do manage to chat by phone occasionally too. I miss her so much but she loves Tokyo. She came home briefly after Bri was born, for a week and we made the most of the time together. She has invited me to Tokyo numerous times but getting away from work is hard, when you’re a reporter always fighting the pack for the best stories that is. If I had a by-line or something it might be different! So, I often wonder, what does the future hold for me where my job is concerned? The crystal ball isn’t revealing much, that’s for sure!



Mick rode home from Josef’s right before dawn, savoring the quiet of the streets at 4 a.m. Well, as quiet as LA ever got that is. The top was down in the Benz as Mick cruised down the Mulholland and listened to Ella Fitzgerald on the CD player. Mick hummed along with Night and Day, occasionally singing along as well.

Damn that woman could sing!

It had been the consummate boy’s night at Josef’s place, poker, cigars, blood, and the boys; it didn’t get much better than that Mick thought. It took Mick back to when he and Josef first forged their friendship, after Josef had rescued him from Coraline all those years ago.

Mick admitted that he and Josef actually coming to like one another was totally unlikely and yet they managed to do so. Still it had been rocky at first and possibly only fortune itself had kept Mick’s head attached to his shoulders. Funny thing though about Josef, he wouldn’t separate the two as long as Mick asked for it; pleaded for it in fact. No, it was only after all that happened that he would have considered it. He had told Cora and Mick both that night that he would help Mick get his head screwed on straight and he did just that.

1952 –

Mick sat huddled up in the backseat corner of Josef’s Lincoln Continental, not sure what to think about this guy who had helped him escape Coraline’s house. He could still hear her piercing screams ripping through the night as they pulled away from the party house. It was only a small solace; he was still with another vampire and one not only did he not know but wasn’t sure he could trust. However, it was done…

Did he really want to die? Well, yes and no. He wasn’t ready to leave this earth, but he didn’t really want to live like this either; sucking people’s blood and killing innocent victims just to get that blood. Coraline said that it was different for him – that he was above the humans now and they were only here to amuse and feed him as he wished. He didn’t believe that –would never accept that. He was one of them only a week ago and he wouldn’t ever forget that.

Mick was oblivious to the shrouded glances cast upon him by Josef as he piloted the Lincoln through the empty streets. “What the hell have you done, Josef” he asked himself? Better to have just separated this fool from his head than to rush in all hero-like and promise to help him get his head on straight! He slapped his hand against the steering wheel, causing the car to swerve for a moment and Mick to sit up in the backseat and look around him in fear.

So, he doesn’t really want to die. But he sure is messed up that’s for sure. Coraline really did a number on him. Poor bastard…

Josef knew that that was the reason he was helping Mick; Coraline and her games. Although he admitted that he hadn’t ever seen Cora fall so hard for someone before and that made him curious. Usually Cora just kept her boy toys until they were totally infatuated with her and then she threw them out; the game being over at that point. But this guy was apparently different and why was yet to be seen.

At Josef’s secluded house in the hills he pulled the car to a stop and cut the engine. “Well boyo, we’re home sweet home. Come on in!”

Mick climbed out of the car and stood staring at the mansion, transfixed. He suddenly felt scared to death and while he tried to take a step forward, he found his legs wouldn’t move.

Josef stood impatiently watching Mick and shook his head. “Come on, Mick. The sun’s going to be up soon and you don’t want to be out here when it does. It’s time to grab something to eat and hit the freezer. Come on…” he said, starting to walk towards the steps that lead up to the imposing front door.

Mick steeled himself and took a reluctant step forward, followed by another. He knew Josef was right; he didn’t want to be out here when the sun came up. The sun used to be one of his joys, the warmth seeping into his body. Now, each time he got close to a window it only burned; his eyes, his skin, whatever it touched. He loathed this part of his existence although Cora had told him that would get better and that he would eventually be able to go outside during the day. Mick was doubtful about that.

Inside the foyer a servant was waiting for them to enter. “Good evening Mr. Kostan. Welcome home. May I take your coat and your guests as well?”

“Yes, thank you Franklin. This is Mick St. John, a recent turn that is uh, struggling a bit. We’ll need a guest chamber prepared for him and also, can you send several of the girls into the study? Mr. St. John and I will be in there.”

“Certainly, Sir. At once!”

Coraline’s house was really nice but compared to this place it wasn’t much at all Mick thought as he followed Josef into the ‘study’, a huge room lined with leather sofas and chairs. An enormous desk occupied one corner of the room and Josef sat down behind it and motioned for Mick to sit across from him.

“Okay, a few ground rules here, Mick. I’m going to do my best to help you figure out what you want to do; I meant what I said at Coraline’s, I will help you kill yourself if you ultimately decide that is what you want. In the meantime though, you need to eat and rest so that you will figure it all out. Several of my girls will be in this room soon and you WILL treat them with respect and care. I take care of my ladies so you will behave!”

“What? I can’t – I can’t kill them Josef! I’ll die first!”

“It’s not always about killing Mick. I don’t expect nor will I tolerate you killing them just to satisfy your hunger. Obviously Cora hasn’t bothered to teach you that. You don’t have to kill them to feed Mick,” he finished quietly, watching Mick as he thought over what he had just said. It seemed to surprise him.

“How many times have you fed from a human, Mick?” Josef queried.

“Just once. I – I drained her and sh…she died. I can’t do that again!” Panic rose in his voice as he remembered what had happened two nights ago.

“You won’t kill them. You will gently bite their wrists and drink a bit from each one. Then you will seal the wounds with your tongue to soothe them. They like it Mick, I promise, if you do it right and trust me on this – I will make sure you can do it right.”

“I – I won’t have to kill them?” Mick asked, feeling a bit better. Why hadn’t Coraline told him this?

“If you do, you’ll die by my hand, and that is not only a promise but a threat. The key words are gently, politely and you will follow that rule!”

Mick nodded and just then several beautiful women entered the room, looking around them at Josef and Mick. “Hi Josef! Are you hungry?” a small blonde asked, smiling seductively at Josef.

“Ladies, this is Mick and he is hungry. He is also inexperienced at this so you will have to exhibit a bit of patience with him. But he will learn fast, I promise and he won’t hurt you either.” He pointed to one of the sofas and said, “Mick, have a seat. Juliette will sit on your lap so you will have easy access to her wrist.”

Mick nodded to the one called Juliette, a tall redhead and waited as she took a seat on his lap and got comfortable. He swallowed hard and picked up her wrist and suddenly the vamp begged to be let out. He tried to keep it at bay as he studied the delicate skin, the road map of blue veins standing out brightly on the pale cream color of her skin. He felt his fangs come down and he licked his lips, terribly nervous.

“Gently Mick. See this vein here?” Josef pointed to a pulsing vein close to the skin and Mick nodded. “Now, bite softly and just let the blood flow; that’s all you have to do.”

Mick did as directed and was quickly reward with a warm mouthful of the most delicious thing he had ever tasted. He had to fight his inner vamp to keep from clamping down hard and dragging huge mouthfuls of the delicious nectar in but he managed to stay in control. After several minutes Josef told him it was enough and he did as Josef had told him, to smooth his tongue over the twin wounds in Juliette’s wrist. She pulled her arm away from him and smiled even though she looked a bit woozy and he thanked her. What was surprising was that she was totally okay and it hadn’t been so bad.

Andrea, the small blonde was next and Mick gave a repeat performance, much more sure of himself this time. Andrea was even moaning a bit at the end but it didn’t sound like pain, it sounded like, well it couldn’t have been what it sounded like he decided.

After both girls were gone Josef nodded and said, “First lesson. You did okay Mick.”

“I didn’t know that we don’t, that they don’t have to die just for us to eat Josef,” he said simply, still amazed.

“There appears to be a lot you don’t know boyo, but you will. Are you feeling any better?”

“Yeah, a little. I’m tired though.”

Josef nodded and said, “It’s time to hit the freezer. Franklin will show you to the guest room.” Josef paused for a moment and then added, “Mick, it won’t always be this bad. It’s just a whole different life than you imagined, I know, but it ain’t so bad. In fact, some of us like it a lot! Now, get some rest and we’ll continue tomorrow!”

After that night he and Josef forged a bond between the two of them. He had learned so much from Josef and he had gone home to Coraline two weeks later. He had loved her, as screwed up and noxious as that love was, it was real. He had tried with her, but it was just not meant to be and he believed that completely. They were toxic together and even if he hadn’t killed her he would still have never gone back to her.

No, it was never meant to be…


Beth had drawn the short straw and had to cover a concert that night. It sucked since it was a human interest kind of piece and she hated those. To make it worse it was a band that she didn’t even like but she got her interview with them after the show as they came down from the audience high; they had talked to her in the dressing room.

The LA Palladium was huge and the parking lot bigger still. Very few cars remained in it as a guard escorted her to her car parked in the press area. She told him good night and sighed as she closed her door. She was dead tired and it was 1am; she couldn’t wait to get to bed! She yawned broadly and put the car into reverse, not looking behind her.


“OMG!” she yelled, stunned for a moment from the impact. She couldn’t believe she could have been so careless; she was shaking like a leaf and she saw the guard that had escorted her to the car running towards the two cars. She unbuckled her seat belt and climbed out of the car, hoping that she hadn’t hurt anyone.

A dark-haired man was climbing out of his Lexus, or trying to anyway. Beth had managed to back into the front fender on the driver’s side and it had not only buckled the fender but the driver’s door as well.

Of course it would be a freaking Lexus. He’ll probably sue me!

He finally crawled out the passenger side door and came storming around the car yelling like a banshee, “Christ, don’t you bother to look behind you before you back up lady?”

“I was tired, I’m sor – hey wait a damn minute, did you ever hear of lights when driving at night buddy?” she demanded, noticing that his lights weren’t on.

He looked down at his car and realized she was right; he had neglected to turn his headlights on. He looked at her and saw that along with being pissed she was also really cute. Maybe this a bit of serendipity?

“Yeah, you’re right; I forgot to turn them on. I’m tired too. Sorry, Miss…?”

“Turner, Beth Turner. I’m sorry too. Are you hurt?” she asked, taking him in. Nice looking, tall, classy suit. Not bad… She tried to smile at him.

“Josh Lindsey. Yes, I’m fine. How about you?”

Beth nodded and gave a rueful laugh. “Guess we can’t say the same for the cars, huh?”

Josh looked at both of them; his with the crumpled fender and hers with the busted tail light and dent. He laughed and agreed, “Guess not. Is yours drivable do you think?”

“I don’t know. I don’t think yours is, that’s for sure.” They both looked at the way the fender was tucked into the tire and frowned. Her rear bumper was crunched but it was intact anyway.

“I think I will be calling the auto club,” he said with a grin. “Since this is a private parking lot and there apparently are no injuries we don’t need to call the police. I guess we just exchange information and be on our way,” he told her.

They spent the next ten minutes doing just that and then Josh called the auto club. They said it would be about 30 minutes before they could get there. Beth invited Josh to sit in her car with her while they waited.

“That’s crazy. You should go on home. I’ll be fine here, really.”

“So you think I should do a ‘crash and dash’ huh? No way, I know you’re a lawyer now, not a chance!” she laughed.

“Yes, a lawyer. But you haven’t said what you do!”

“I’m a reporter for the LA Free Press, which is why I was here tonight, to interview the band. All in all it hasn’t been the best of evenings!”

“I don’t know, it’s not ending too badly!” He caught her eyes and for a moment something sparked between them. Both of them were quiet, thinking about that. He continued, “So, you aren’t a fan of heavy metal I guess?”

“Nope. Too loud!”

“Yeah, they are loud, but I still love them. Rock out you know!” he told her laughing as she vehemently shook her head no.

“Well, you can have them! Give me something a bit quieter, like emo!”

“Emo? Oh man, here I was hoping I could ask you out until you said that. An emo girl? I don’t know if I can go out with an emo girl!”

“Have you ever tried?” she asked with a smile.

“Guess I’m going to find out!” he replied.

Yeah, all in all a great night Josh!

To be continued…


Thirty Three and a Third or Long Playing…

“Oh my gosh Mick! I can’t believe you still have some of those old albums! What do you do with them?”

“I play them. See, I have some old ‘78’s and these, my favorites are the LP’s.” Mick told her as he reverently held one. “Count Basie, Chairman of the Board. It came out in 1959.”

“So it’s like old,” Beth teased.

“Yeah, like ME!” He gave her with a lop-sided grin, his eyes twinkling with laughter.

“So what does LP mean?” she asked curiously.

Mick mentally rolled his eyes but answered, “Long Playing. It plays at a speed of thirty-three and a third revolutions a minute. 78’s play at 78 RPM’s and…”

“And 45’s at 45 RPM’s,” she finished for me, wearing a completely sexy grin.

“Yes.” I slipped the album out of its dust cover and held it up, ready to put in on the stereo.

“Hm.” She cocked her head to one side and she thought about it. “That’d be like on one of those old turntables, right?” she asked with an innocent bat of her crystal-blue eyes. “So how long is ‘long playing’ exactly? Does it mean it lasts a long time?”

Mick huffed an impatient breath before he caught on to her game. “Yeah, a looonng time Beth. It’s vintage you know so we weren’t into ‘instant’ gratification back then!”

“Instant gratification? Heaven forbid,” she teased with a flirtatious roll of her eyes. “I might need a demonstration though, for uh, practical purposes!”

“Really?” he asked, taking a step closer to her. He tilted his head down and lightly danced his lips across her cheeks and down her nose.

Beth shivered in anticipation. “Mm, you know, sometimes there could be something said for instant gratification!”

“Not a chance. I’m going to help you learn to appreciate long playing Beth.” Another soft kiss, this time along her collar bone added to her shivers. He scooped her up and practically leaped the stairs all at once to get her up to the bedroom.

He toed the bedroom door open and then gave it a gentle kick from behind to make it close. They both ignored the soft click it made as it shut behind them. Mick sat her down on the edge of the bed and started to unbutton her blouse, one at a time as he knelt between her legs. He took his time, kissing a bit of exposed skin with each satisfying release of a fastener. As the last one opened he slid the blouse down over her shoulders and arms, letting his fingers trail lightly over her arms. Goose bumps accompanied the gesture and Mick smiled with delight to see them.

His lips graced those sensitive bumps, playfully raising more along the way before his mouth glided upwards to her collarbone. Beth moaned softly and ran her fingers though the dark curls on his head, lightly tugging them to pull his mouth up to hers for a stirring kiss. Their tongues in a primal mating dance and the kiss went on and on until they were both breathless.

Mick reached down and unfastened the front hook of her bra, and pushed the straps down over her shoulders in a mellifluous motion and then tossed it over his shoulder. First his fingers and then his mouth caressed her blossoming nipples that were becoming taut with desire. Beth was panting by then, soft little sounds of arousal escaping her parted lips.

Mick chuckled as he tugged gently on one of the stiffened peaks. Deft fingers embraced the luxurious swell of her breasts, caressing and molding them in his cool hands. His lips playfully nuzzled the underside of one breast, his tongue licking along the soft skin before he captured the nipple between his blunt teeth. His hands paid homage to the other neglected breast, teasing it with his fingers; it brought a low moan of desire from her, a slow sound of aching need that came from deep inside her throat.

He laid Beth back on the bed and unbuttoned her jeans and then tugged the zipper down. As he worked the garment off of her body he realized his hands were shaking slightly he was so aroused. Beth let her eyes travel down his body and saw with anticipation the abundant gift that was awaiting her; the only problem was that it was still hidden in his pants!

Beth tried to reach up impatiently and unfasten his jeans, but he playfully danced away from her and said, “No, I’m teaching you about long playing, remember?” His eyes ate her up and with relish he removed the tiny bit of lace that was covering the blond curls between her legs. He could see a glistening bit of moisture peeking out of the curls and he inhaled deeply, scenting her need. He traced an eager finger tip over the exposed folds and smiled at her sharply indrawn breath. The liquid honey flowed over his fingers and he spread it around the delicate flesh before sliding a finger inside of her.

She moaned, louder this time and he joined the first finger with a second and moved them in and out of her eager body as her hips rose to meet his fingers. He couldn’t resist a taste of the nectar and before she could catch her breath he was feasting on the hardened nub of desire, tracing his tongue over it softly and then stroking downward to lap gently and the pool of juices that accumulated around his fingers.

Beth was writhing with need and then she was falling over passions edge, her screams keening wildly in the room. They were the most beautiful sounds that Mick had ever heard.

He quickly divested himself of his clothes and pulled her upwards on the bed before joining their bodies and their mouths. Lips and tongues worshiped one another in a scorching kiss that went on and on.

Beth threw her legs around his waist to allow him deeper access into her willing body. He stroked her deeply and steadily, driving her wild as another orgasm approached. His hands lifted her bottom up higher and his rhythm increased until both of them were calling the others name. On and on it went until Beth was sure that he couldn’t possibly make her come again; and yet he did.

Beth’s body was trembling so wildly that she felt out of control, as if her body no longer belonged to herself and as another orgasm washed over her, she felt Mick kissing her neck before the exquisite bite brought her over the edge one last time with Mick joining her in the moment of ecstasy.

He rolled over and carried her with him, pulling her tightly against his side. After they both caught their breaths he murmured against her hair, “So, LP or CD?”

Beth chuckled and said, “I think I’ll take the long playing Mick! Forever!”

The End

Monday, September 20, 2010

Beth's Diary - Part Twelve

Beth’s Diary – Part Twelve

January 22, 2005

Well Diary, I can’t believe I am 24 today. It seems almost unreal. Wasn’t it only last year that I learned to ride my bike or had my first kiss? Now here I am, on my own in Los Angeles, moving into a new apartment and getting on with life?

I think birthdays are bittersweet things. They remind us of the past, of the people who shared them with us and of what we have accomplished or not for that matter. Kind of like some kind of cosmic scoring system I always think; what have I done with my life this year? Somehow I don’t usually feel like I’m ahead in the point’s thing.

How are we judged in the grand scheme of things I wonder? Have I gathered good karma or bad? Do I understand love, honor, and loyalty? Have I learned difficult lessons and took some painful knocks? I think so; I guess I can only hope that whoever or whatever keeps score sees it my way.

This year the weather is fine out and so it will be a barbeque at Mom and Clark’s house. Robbi and Kevin will be there, and Julia and a few other friends too. And, of course Mom and Clark. Lani can’t get home from Tokyo, which is understandable. As much as I love seeing everyone this day is in ways a painful one; no Grams or Gramps.

It’s funny; I still miss them both so much it hurts. A real, honest and tangible pain that somehow I would have thought would be gone by now. Maybe it never goes away, I don’t know. No tiara for this birthday girl, it’s at my apartment safely tucked away. I still put it on sometimes and stare at myself overly aware that I am no longer Gramps’ little princess who stares at the world in wide-eyed wonder and awe, innocence worn like a cloak. Instead I am a woman who has loved and lost people in my life that helped me to become the person I am today. I am strong, determined and eager to for my life open up for me. Dare I say that I hope I am lovable; that there is a man out there who will accept me for who I am, flaws, warts and all? A man who will be able to look directly into my soul and recognize the beauty, pain, fear and love that is all me? Well diary, I certainly hope so.

I used to always feel my shadow man really strongly on my birthday; I don’t know why. Nowadays, I still feel him in an esoteric sort of way but instead of being shadow man I think he must just be more of a guardian angel; keeping me safe from a distance, perhaps guarding me with love from another place.

God, how did I get so maudlin? It’s my birthday for heaven’s sake! I need to go and have some fun!



Beth pulled up in front of her Mom and Clark’s house totally unsurprised to find ribbons and balloons decorating the front yard. She laughed, hoping at least that there was not going to be any clowns. Robbi came running out of the front door, well, waddling was more like it since she was 8 months pregnant. This was a great year for her; she had graduated last December with her doctorate and was due in mid February. She and Kevin had decided to not find out the sex of the baby; they wanted to be surprised. It drove Beth nuts to not know, but she couldn’t be happier for them. If ever two people were meant for one another it was Robbi and Kevin.

“Oh my God, look at you Robbi! You’re big as a house! And you look stunning…” she told her friend as she hugged her and kissed her cheek. They held one another close for a moment and Beth heard a slight sniff come from her friend. “Come on now, no waterworks or we’ll both be crying!”

“I know Beth, but I just don’t get to see you often enough; it’s only San Diego and yet it’s been six months!”

Beth felt a guilty pang stab at her because she had intended to go to Robbi’s graduation but the paper had sent her to Sacramento to cover a trial.

Robbi saw guilt and regret wash over Beth’s face and she said, “Don’t blame yourself Beth; we both sometimes miss those important things in each other’s life.” Robbi was remembering the birthdays she missed and how guilty she felt when she did. She took a deep breath and forced a smile onto her face and added, “We’re here together now, so let’s go have some fun! I’m starving and Clark has the hamburgers cooking!”

Beth grinned in return and grabbed Robbi’s hand as they went to the back yard. She could smell the grill and the burgers cooking and her stomach growled in response. Everyone else was waiting for her and by the time she had been thoroughly hugged and kissed it was time to eat!

As she piled her burger high with jalapeno’s, hot sauce and pepper jack cheese she looked around her at the people she loved the most in this world and she suddenly knew that, at this moment at least, she was content.


Mick sat staring at the fire place in the loft, trying really hard to not focus on what day this was. Clark had called him and invited him to the party they were having for Beth and he had almost considered going. How could they explain him? Would she recognize him? That thought totally scared him. What if she did and it brought back all the memories? How would he/they explain why he didn’t look any older?

No, it was too risky, even though Clark had assured him that they could make it work. So he sat here, feeling alone and miserable and fighting the urge to just go and observe, stand in the shadows as he had for so many years. He thought the best thing to do would be to go and see Josef or Logan or even Guillermo down at the morgue but he didn’t trust himself to get behind the wheel of the Benz because he knew exactly where he would go.

What would be so bad about it? He could just go for a few minutes, just a friend stopping by to say hello. Whose friend? An acquaintance from work? Damn, he just couldn’t do it, risk it.

The phone rang just then and whether providence or divine intervention he didn’t know but he grabbed it like it was a lifeline. “Hello?”

“Hey there stranger! How about offering an old friend a drink?”

“Elka? Are you in town?” The possibility immediately brightened his mood. “Sure, come on over. It’ll be great to see you!”

“Okay, I’ll be there in oh, 30 minutes or so. Is that okay?”

“Yeah, I’ll be waiting!”

They hung up the phone and Mick rushed around, making sure the place was tidy and getting the drinks ready. He wished he had some fresh blood, but the bagged blood would have to do. Since he had come back to LA he had fallen in to his old habits, much to Josef’s despair.

As he got everything ready he thought about Elka; he hadn’t seen her in a year or so as she had moved to Detroit. She said it was time to move on, new city, new name, the usual vamp outlook. He had missed her friendship and no-nonsense attitude; she never walked on eggshells around him and was always ready with a solid kick in the ass when he needed it.

Boy, did he need one now…

He heard the elevator bell ding and he rushed to the door, opening it and waiting impatiently for Elka to get to his door. He grabbed her and hugged her tight, feeling so much happier than he had in ages.

“Come on in!” he bade her, standing aside so she could enter the apartment.

“Wow, same old Mick, not a thing out of place!”

He just grinned and shrugged. “Well, old dogs and all!” he laughed.

He took her coat and they made their way to the couch and sat down. “So, tell me all about Detroit?”

“Oh, I love Detroit. It’s a highly underrated city, for vamps at least. I’m really enjoying the cold winter,” she told him with a sparkle in her eye. “Sometimes I just sit out on the deck with the snow falling around me and think how much I miss North Dakota winters!”

“I’ll bet not too many people would say that, human’s anyway.”

“Yes, I’m sure you are right!” She took a drink of the blood and realized it was bagged blood. She was almost surprised but then again maybe not. He had been on her mind a lot lately; it was the reason she was here. She knew he wasn’t happy. “So what is going on in your life, Mick?” She watched him over the rim of her glass to see his response. His face immediately became cloaked as he tried to hide whatever was going on.

“Not much; working, you know how it goes.” He looked around the room, anywhere but at her because he knew she could tell he was lying and he didn’t want to face it.

She reached for his hand; he tried to pull it away and she held on tighter. “No bullshit Mick, what’s going on?

His shoulders slumped and when he finally met her gaze the look in his eyes broke her heart. “Ah Mick… You haven’t seen her have you?”

“I can’t Elka, I just can’t. Today is a really hard day, I’m glad you’re here. It’s her birthday; her stepdad invited me, but I can’t go, I can’t…”

“Why?” One word, just one quietly spoken word. The answer though, well, it was complicated.

He explained it all to her, his justifications for not going, for staying out of her life. He could see she didn’t buy any of it.

“Mick, unless you try and see her how are you going to know how she will react? So what if she does remember your face? She was a child, her memories are bound to be skewed, distorted. But you’ll never know if you don’t seek her out.”

“I – I don’t want to risk hurting her Elka. Bringing back memories she doesn’t need to remember.”

“I don’t think that is the problem at all, Mick. And if she does finally remember, maybe that’s the best thing for her, did you ever think of that? Can you imagine what it would be like to live with that shadow hanging over you? Maybe it would be a blessing for her, a chance to open herself up and move on with life. “

“I can’t imagine that it could help her at all Elka, I just can’t.”

“Mick, how long do you think I would have survived if I hadn’t been able to work through those horrible things that happened in my life? If I ran from them or blocked them out? I would never be happy, have found any level of happiness Mick.”

“Maybe if you had blocked them out Elka you would be able to find love again?” he said and he saw a shadow settle down on her face at those words.

“No Mick, you’re wrong about that. It isn’t the memories that keep me from falling in love again; it’s knowing that that kind of love only happens once to some people. The kind that is perfectly right, where your two souls unite and nothing can keep you apart, save death’s clutches. There will never be another for me like Lone Eagle, Mick. ; He was my mate, my life, my love. I hear his voice in the four winds and see his face in the clouds. I will be with him again I know, just not in this lifetime Mick. I accept that and while I am here on the earth I do my best to help other people find their destiny. I think yours lies with a young woman that you happened to save 20 years ago. You have only to find the courage to see if I’m right Mick.”

Mick sat next to her on the couch, his head bowed as her words washed over him. Tears ran unchecked down his face and he nodded, looking at her. He recognized the truth of her words, but did he have the courage? Only time would tell.


Dorothy and Clark cleaned up after the party guests had left. Everyone had enjoyed themselves but Dorothy was glad it was done. She pushed paper plates down in the trash sack and closed it with the twist tie and carried it to the trash bin.

Clark met her there and lifted the lid and then took the bag from her and stuffed it down in the receptacle. “There, all done!” he declared.

They walked slowly to the house enjoying the quiet of the evening. “I invited Mick today, but he didn’t come. Couldn’t get away I guess.”

“You – you did what?” she asked, alarmed at what she heard.

“I said I invited Mick. He didn’t come.” He shrugged as he opened the back door of the house for her. She stepped in and he followed her, closing and locking the door behind them.

“I can’t believe you did that Clark! How could you, without asking me?” Her head was reeling with the panic of what might have happened if he had come.

“Dorothy, they can’t run from each other forever. Sooner or later they will be drawn together.”

“No, I don’t believe that. I don’t…”

“All those years I watched her and so did he. And you know what? She knew that he was out there too, Dorothy, she knew. It made her feel safe; the girls used to talk about Beth’s ‘shadow man’ all the time. Who did you think they were talking about for heaven’s sake?”

It all came rushing at her like a freight train. She didn’t want to believe it, but part of her did. No, she knew that he was right. Still, something in her fought it. “He’s a vampire, Clark. His life is so different, how would she fit in to that life?”

“I don’t know that she will, but they need to meet to find out. Logan said that Mick has been miserable, Dorothy; he misses her, he needs her.”

“Vampires Clark, I just don’t know. His ex, the woman who took Beth was a vampire. I never knew until afterward that she was. It scared me so bad and I at least knew about vampires because of Logan.”

“What happened when Beth was taken Dorothy? How did it happen?”

Dorothy started crying, remembering the events that led up to Beth being taken. “It was my fault Clark; I invited that woman here to our house. Beth and I had been to the park and she was there too, watching the children I realized later. Beth had fallen and scraped her leg, pretty badly and she was crying. Cora and I were chatting and when Beth came over something odd came over her, Cora I mean. I know now that it was the smell of Beth’s blood. Anyway, we were chatting and I asked her to come back to the house with us for coffee while I got Beth cleaned up. Cora even offered to carry Beth back to the house for me, and Beth rode on her shoulders, piggy back style to the house where we got her cleaned up.”

Dorothy was lost in her memories, oblivious to Clark or anything else right then, locked in the horror and guilt of what she believed was her fault. “We chatted and drank our coffee while Beth played. She took Cora into her bedroom and showed her all of her toys and things and Cora took it all in. I remember standing there watching it all thinking how sweet Cora was to pay so much attention to Beth and all her dolls and stuff. When she left she hugged Beth and said she’d see her soon. I had no idea just how soon that would be.”

“Dorothy, darling, it wasn’t your fault. You and Beth were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. It didn’t happen because you were not a diligent parent or anything. It just happened. Beth has grown up remarkably well, due to you and your parents. She is a survivor and she is building a strong and happy life for herself. She is okay.”

“Is she? You seem to think she needs Mick in her life.”

“I think they need each other Dorothy, I do. He’s a good man, the best, vampire or not. And whether or not he recognizes it, he needs her. I’ve always thought so.”

Dorothy wiped the tears from her eyes and gave Clark as small, albeit watery smile. “You may be right Clark. Only time will tell…”

To be continued…

Monday, September 13, 2010

Beth's Diary - Part Eleven NC17

Beth’s Diary – Part Eleven

July 12, 2003

I’m getting really bad about writing in this, which is a shame because I enjoy it, but life is so busy sometimes it just seems to take a back seat. I’ll do my best to catch up though, I promise!

Let’s see, what to talk about first? I’m still working at the LA Free Press, which is cool. I met a new friend there, Julia Stephens, another writer. We tend to both angle for the crime stuff, although she really likes the human interest too. That’s okay, she can have them! I do like her though; we have a lot in common and have a blast whenever we hang out.

I miss Lani and Robbi so much! Since Robbi and Kevin got married I seem to see her less and less, which is to be expected, but still… Robbi was always the calm one, the logical one of the three of us. She usually pulled Lani and me back from doing something stupid that we would regret later. Now we’re kind of on our own and that’s okay, but I still miss her. She is still pursuing her doctorate in Marine Biology and she’ll accomplish it too, I know she will. In the meantime she is still working for the Graehm Institute and learning so much.

Lani has blossomed into her job as a training coordinator in San Francisco. She’s always been charismatic and engaging, which is perfect for her job. She has been promoted twice in her first year and I think she is really happy. We try to get together for the weekend once a month or so and it’s amazing to watch as she grows into this job and responsibility. My mom laughs and shakes her head when I tell her all that Lani has accomplished; it’s as if she can’t believe this is the same Lani I grew up with. The most extraordinary thing about Lani right now is that she actually has a boyfriend – someone steady I mean. It’s the first time I ever remember her going out with someone more than a couple of times. His name is Ryan and he seems really nice and is crazy about her. Truthfully though, I’m pretty sure he is more invested in the relationship than she is, but I could definitely be wrong.

Me? Well, there is no one special in my life. I guess I should be sad about that, but I’m not really. I’m busy, with my job and I never know when I’ll be called out on a story. As I learned with Carl, that can really cause problems with a relationship. I do go out sometimes, I mean I have dated but no one has really caught my eye. I’m waiting for the ONE. I know, that sounds silly and stupid. Clark reminds me not to wait forever, that there are lots of good guys out there and I know he’s right, but there’s just something inside me holding me back. Is it so crazy to think that there is a guy out there that will see me and love me for whom I truly am? That he will ‘get’ me as I’ll ‘get’ him? I yearn for that, I need it. I won’t accept anything less.

Oh, and I know that this sounds totally stupid, but I feel my shadow man sometimes. Maybe not quite like before, I mean, I haven’t caught a glimpse of him or anything but he’s definitely back, if he was ever gone in the first place. I don’t know, just a feeling I have. Could be wrong, huh?



“Hey Beth!”

Beth grinned as she heard Lani’s voice on the phone. It was Wednesday night, laundry night but she sat the full basket down and plopped into a comfy chair to chat with her friend. “Hey yourself! What’s up?”

“I have some news for you! Are you sitting down?” Lani told her. She was almost giddy with excitement over her news. She waited impatiently for Beth to respond.

OMG! She is going to get married! Play it cool Beth, play it cool!

“Well, what’s the news?”

Beth could hear Lani take a deep breath and let it out slowly over the phone line. Beth smiled, waiting to hear the news.

“I have accepted a position in Japan, Tokyo to be exact!” The words practically bubbled out of her throat.

“Congratu – huh? A job? I – I thought, well never mind. In JAPAN???”

“Yes, with Sesumi International! I’ll be the Assistant Director of Training Operations. Beth, this is huge, I still can’t believe it!”

“Sesumi? The big, multi-national, global electronics and communications company? That Sesumi?” Beth was still reeling over the fact that Lani wasn’t getting married; why she even thought that she couldn’t believe, but still. Instead this was all about a job? In a foreign country?

“Yes, that Sesumi! Beth, this is such an incredible opportunity for me, I can hardly believe it. I’m hyperventilating, let me tell you. They just called and I had to call and tell you right away!”

“Wow Lani, I’m so happy for you!” Beth meant those words but she still felt a bit sad. No more long weekends with her friend; Tokyo was a long, long way from Los Angeles. “So, when do you have to be there?”

“In three weeks actually. It still feels like a dream. I am typing out my letter of resignation for Morgan and Grant right now. I’m going to live in Tokyo Beth! I can’t wait.”

It was hard not to be excited for Lani; she was so wound up at this chance. “So tell me all about it!”

“Well, my salary will be roughly double what I make here Beth! They will have an apartment for me as well as a car. It’s going to be hard work, there’s no denying that and it’s also going to be culture shock. Tokyo is a very cosmopolitan city, but it is still a completely different society. I will be working mostly with Japanese employees so I’ll be taking lessons in the language as soon as I get there. Oh Beth, I’m so excited, but I’m also so scared I could pee my pants!”

Beth started laughing and Lani joined her. They each laughed until the tears were rolling down their cheeks. Another thought occurred to Beth. “Lani, have you told Ryan yet?”

“No-o-o, you were the first person I called. I guess I gotta, don’t I?” She sighed; it wasn’t something she was looking forward to.

“Don’t you think you had better do it soon Lani? I think he is really crazy about you.”

“Yeah, I know. See though, I never actually told him about the interview. I didn’t tell anyone; I didn’t want to jinx it, you know?”

“Well, it will probably be a shock then. What about your parents? Are you going to come down here before you go?”

“Mom and Dad will be thrilled to see me climb the corporate ladder, even if it is 13,000 miles away. And yes, I’ll be down there in hm, 13 days? So we can spend some time together before I go, okay?”

“Sounds good.” They chatted for a few minutes more and finally said their goodbyes. As Beth pushed the ‘end’ key on her phone she was thoughtful about her friend. Lani seemed to think that Ryan would take it all easily. Beth wasn’t so sure, but time would tell.


Mick could hear loud music coming from behind the door at Logan’s house. He banged a bit harder on the door and yelled, “Logan, open the damn door!”

Logan finally answered the door wearing a Yoda t-shirt that said ‘Tried the dark side I did and liked it I did!’ Mick winced at the music volume and said, “Logan, can you turn that noise down?”

Logan looked at him blankly, clearly not getting it.

“LOGAN! Turn it DOWN!”

Logan went to the stereo and turned the volume down. “Gee Mick, you didn’t have to yell!” He kicked a few pieces of clothing under the couch and scooped up another armful before tossing them down on the floor and motioned to Mick to sit down.

“For Christ’s sake Logan, could this place be any messier?” Mick scanned the room and grimaced, seeing the laundry and general clutter on every available surface. Parts of computers and other unidentifiable items littered the desk and a work table off to one side of the room.

“What’s wrong with it? You don’t have to live here dude!” Logan clearly didn’t get it.

Mick pinched his nose for a moment and closed his eyes. Mentally he was mortified to see the place like this. It wasn’t exactly dirty, but it looked like a tornado had hit it. He opened his eyes and took a long, hard look at Logan and spied his hair that was sticking up at all angles; it looked like it hadn’t been combed in days.


“Okay Alexander, I have to get Logan out of here, NOW. Before the police come. Do you understand?” Mick watched the judge’s reaction to his words; time was critical.

Alexander Griffin was no stranger to trouble, or fast thinking. He looked at his son, lying motionless on the ground and nodded. “Can I see him later?” he asked.

“Not right away. He’ll need, um, training before it will be safe Alexander. I’m sorry.”

“He’ll be okay?” he asked. Mick could see hope as well as tears wearing on the pale face of the judge.

“I think so; I think so. I’ve never done this before. You can handle all this?” He asked, looking around at the bodies that were tossed around on the pavement.

Alexander nodded solemnly and leaned back against the van. He swiped a hand down his face and said softly, “Yes, I can handle it Mick. It will be fine. Just take care of my son.” His voice broke on the last word.

Mick nodded and felt something close to panic rise in his throat and he swallowed it down quickly, refusing to let Alexander see how scared he really was. “I have to get him home, to the uh, freezer and he’ll need to fee – eat soon. I’ll call you soon, I promise!” He could hear sirens in the distance, his cue. He scooped Logan’s limp body up in his arms and with one last look at the judge he headed off at a run for his car, parked a block away.

Mick laid Logan’s still lifeless form into the back seat of the Benz and tucked his legs in before pushing the seat back and climbing in. He glanced over his shoulder, wondering if it was going to be okay. Shouldn’t Logan be awake by now? He didn’t know. How long had it taken him to wake up? Did he do something wrong? Logan had drunk from him, on his own but since then there was nothing, no movement, no sounds.

He headed for his apartment, trying to make a game plan. He’d need blood, fresh blood and lots of it and the freezer. Would Logan, should he feed before he went into the freezer? What if he didn’t wake up again? Mick needed Josef; he’d call as soon as he got Logan inside.

Mick thanked God that it was so late; there was no one around to see him pull Logan out of the car and carry him inside. As soon as they were in the apartment he carried him up to the freezer, pulling his clothes off first. His body was a mess and Mick decided that he needed a shower before he put him in the freezer so he carried him into the bathroom and washed his body off as best as he could. Trying to manipulate a totally limp body wasn’t easy, even with vampire strength and dexterity. Trying to dry Logan off was even more awkward and he cursed himself and Logan too, wishing he would just wake up.

He got Logan settled into the freezer and hurriedly changed into clean, dry clothes and then went to call Josef. He stopped and grabbed a glass of blood to drink while he waited for Josef to come to the phone.

“Hey boyo, the party’s going full blast here; come on over!”

Mick could hear music and lots of voices in background. He took a deep breath and said, “Josef, I need help; blood fresh blood and some advice.” He explained the situation to Josef quickly, waiting for a response.

“You turned someone? YOU?” Josef asked, stunned by Mick’s words. He wouldn’t have believed it was possible.

“Yes, now get your ass over here; I’m in over my head Josef and I need help now!”

“Hang on Mick, the cavalry is coming!”

Twenty minutes later Josef arrived, along with Melinda Bishop, one of his freshies who was in med school. Mick had been pacing furiously, waiting for help. He had run upstairs every couple of minutes to check on Logan, who still hadn’t stirred. He opened the door silently when he heard the elevator bell and stood by the door, waiting for them to hurry in.

“Has he woken up yet?” Josef asked.

Mick shook his head; he was all but wringing his hands with anxiety. “No. He did drink on his own when I fed him my blood but since then he hasn’t moved. I don’t know man, maybe I didn’t do it right!”

“Mick, sometimes it can take a day or two even for them to come out of it. Not usually, but it can.” Josef headed straight for the freezer room and lifted the lid, looking down on Logan’s body. “Kids young. What is he, like twenty?”

“Yeah, something like that. What do you think?”

“You know, I actually saw him once; he was just a kid. Hell, he’s still just a kid. How did this happen again?”

Mick explained again, adding, “He asked me to – he, he knew what the choice was and he asked me. So did the judge. I didn’t want to do it, but I couldn’t just let him die. I mean, the judge just lost his wife, I couldn’t let him loose his son too.” He voice caught in his throat as he said those last words.

Josef reached out and squeezed Mick’s shoulder in an effort to ease Mick’s pain a bit. “You did the right thing Mick. Come on now, he’s going to be okay. Just gotta give it time.”

Belinda was examining his body and looked up at the two vamps who were watching over her shoulder. “He seems okay to me – I mean for being undead and all. I don’t know what else to say.” She shrugged and started to move away from the freezer.

Logan sat up in the freezer in the blink of an eye, with all the speed of a fledgling and grabbed at Belinda, smelling the fresh blood. His fangs were glistening in his open mouth, his eyes silvered over.

Mick and Josef reacted immediately, wresting Belinda safely away from Logan’s grasp. Mick yelled, “Get her outta here, I got it now!” Mick held on tightly to Logan who was howling with displeasure as he watched his meal being taken away. Low growls were emanating from his throat as Mick held him close and talked to him. His hands were gripping Mick tightly; his claws digging in to Mick’s shoulders through the cloth of his shirt.

“It’s okay Logan, we’re going to get you fed, I promise. Just calm down a bit, okay? That’s it, just calm down, I’ve got you.” Eventually Mick felt Logan go limp and the growls became more like soft mewls. Mick had to remind himself that Logan was for all intents right now an infant, lost in a world he didn’t know how to deal with. He patted Logan on the back and said, “That’s good. Now, let’s go and get you something to eat, okay? You can do it.”

Logan nodded as Mick’s words slowly sunk into his brain. He was starting to remember what had happened; he was a vampire now. He really was – he was going to drink blood. For a moment he wondered if he could really do it; he felt almost nauseous at the prospect. Until he smelled the blood that Mick poured into a glass for him that is. It smelled better than anything ever had before, not really like blood at all.

He reached out an unsteady hand to grab the glass and his eyes silvered over again. He felt his fangs too and he reached up and stroked them in wonder with a hesitant finger tip. He nicked it and stared at the bead of blood that gathered on it for a moment then the smell of the blood pulled him in and he remembered the glass that was being held out to him.

“Uh Mick, do I drink with my fangs? I – I don’t know how to do this.”

Mick smiled faintly and shook his head. “No, just drink. But be careful, the fangs may get in the way. Your fangs are used to uh, puncture skin Logan, they aren’t like, straws you know.”

Logan nodded quickly and then grabbed the glass, downing the blood in just a few gulps. Mick took the glass and refilled it and Logan did the same with the second glass. He sat it down and then burped, long and loud, an amazed look on his face.

“I can still burp?”

Mick laughed and said, “Yeah, you can. Apparently…”

“What else will I do now, I mean, like before?”

“Like…?” Mick asked, wondering specifically what Logan was asking.

“Like will I still use the bathroom? Sleep? Snore?” Mick could see the curiosity in Logan’s eyes and he smiled in response.

“You’ll still pee occasionally, if you drink many liquids. Your body will absorb them, but you’ll pee them out. You won’t want to eat solid foods because you can’t digest them and you’ll just get sick. Yes, you’ll sleep and I don’t know, did you snore before?”

“So no more cheeseburgers huh? Wow, I didn’t expect that.”

“Well, you can’t taste them anymore. Really the only thing you’ll be able to taste will be blood Logan.”

“Mick – am I dead?”

“Well, I guess you are more technically ‘undead’ Logan. You can still breathe, although you’ll find you don’t really have to; your heart will still beat a few beats a minute, only a few. I guess it circulates the blood we do have, I’m not really sure. You won’t get sick, unless you eat something solid and if you get hurt you’ll heal almost immediately. Come on now, we need to get you back up to the freezer to rest. The next week or so you are going to be mostly feeding and sleeping.” He started for the stairs, Logan following behind.

“We sleep in freezers? Really? I thought we slept in coffins!”

“Yeah, well only in the movies Logan. We sleep in freezers to slow down the decay of our bodies.”

“Won’t I like, freeze solid in there?”

“No, you won’t. Just don’t wear clothes in there because they will freeze. Now climb in!” Mick watched as he settled in and closed the lid. Logan’s eyes were already closed, a slight snore coming from him.

Wow Mick, he thought. I certainly hope you are up for this!

He was pulled back to the present by a buzzer ringing at Logan’s door. Logan scanned the camera and smiled, pushing the button to let his visitor’s in. Mick looked up to see Clark and Dorothy come into the room.

Mick caught his breath; he hadn’t actually seen Dorothy up close and talked to her since he had put Beth into her arms all those years ago. She was still a beautiful woman and she looked really happy. Clark was good for her and he was pleased for them both.

Clark was delighted to see Mick here; he hadn’t seen him since before he had left for Seattle. Dorothy on the other hand couldn’t believe her eyes; he didn’t look any different, he hadn’t aged at all it seemed. His hair was different, shorter and curlier, but he was still the Mick St. John she had gone to all those years ago. Before she even thought about it she went to him and hugged him.

It shocked him, but he hugged her back. After she stepped away Clark reached out his hand to shake Mick’s, expressing how happy he was to see him.

“Mick, you look just great! How are things? Logan mentioned you were back in town and I’ve meant to call, but I worried that you might need some space. And I was worried that you might be trying to put the past behind you.

“I’m good, glad to be back. How’s uh, everyone?” He couldn’t say her name; he wanted to, he ached to, but it wouldn’t come.

Clark looked into Mick’s hazel eyes and saw the moment of pain that flashed in them. So, he still cares for her?

Both Dorothy and Clark knew exactly who Mick meant and Dorothy had no problem addressing the question. “She is wonderful Mick. She is working at the LA Free Press and doing well. We’re so proud of her. Would you like to see a picture of her?” Before Mick had a chance to say no Dorothy had pulled her wallet out and grabbed a picture of Beth, taken with her two friends at some resort. Her hair was short, a bob they used to call it and she looked tanned and beautiful, her happy smile and blue eyes showing clearly in the photo. “That was taken a couple of years ago when the girls went to Acapulco for spring break, their last year of college.”

He stared at the photo, trying to memorize every single detail of it. He would eat it if he could. Who was he kidding? He still loved her, still cared for her, still needed to see her. He once again felt lost.

He said hasty goodbyes and left Logan’s as quickly as he could. He sat in the Benz and leaned his head back, eyes closed so he could still see the picture of Beth. There, he said it, her name. Beth, his Beth.

Only she wasn’t his and never would be. He started the car and headed for the PCH, hoping to blow the memories out of his head. It was the only way he would survive this constant ache to see her and that was the one thing he couldn’t allow himself to do.

The top was down and he hit the gas pedal and rode the night. Alone, always alone.

To be continued…

Friday, September 10, 2010

Beth's Diary - Part Ten


In order to catch Beth's Diary up I have posted parts 7, 8, 9 AND 10 all at once! 

Beth’s Diary – Part Ten

March 14, 2001

I can’t believe what I’m going to do – correction what we are going to do! Lani has talked Robbi and me into going to Acapulco for spring break. I must be an idiot, but it’s done.

I can’t deny that I could use a little stress relief; this last year of school is a killer. Really what I would like to do is just sleep for the week of spring break but I would imagine that sleep is probably the last thing I’ll be doing.

Mom and Clark are working on a room addition for their house. It is amazing to see how happy my mother is with him. Her eyes sparkle now and she is smiling practically all the time. It makes me so happy to see the joy she is experiencing; it also gives me hope that I’ll find that someday myself, with or without a man. Right now though I couldn’t fit a boyfriend in if I tried, which I haven’t.

No, I’m not still pining away for Carl. I do miss him, the friendship we shared the most. But in the long run we made the right choice; we weren’t the ‘one’ for each other. I’ll bet he is a fabulous cop and I really hope he is happy.

I still think often of my shadow man and lately more than I had in a long while. I wish I knew what had happened to him. Maybe he died or something? It was weird, I always felt him and then it was just gone; overnight that feeling was gone. How does that happen? I still feel safe, it’s not that I don’t, but it just doesn’t feel the same as it did when I was younger.

Where are you shadow man? Are you still out there somewhere? Maybe you are guarding some other little girl now, keeping her safe from something terrible. I can only hope that you yourself are safe and happy.

After graduation I have been offered a full –time position with the Free Press. I wish I could be more excited about it, but at least it’s a job. Have to try to look at the upside of it. It’s not the Times, but hopefully someday it will be. In the meantime it will be a paycheck and will keep me writing and gaining more experience and that is what really matters. I’ve also started looking for apartments for when I graduate. Mom and Clark keep telling me to come and stay with them for awhile, but I want to be on my own, you know? If I want to get up at 3 am and walk around naked eating a PB&J I can! Rent is high though and it will definitely be tight, but with close money management I can do it. Lani and I talked about sharing a place, but yesterday she got a job offer from a firm in San Francisco. She’s going to take it and I don’t blame her, the money is incredible. Still, she’ll be there and Robbi will be in San Diego when she isn’t off sailing somewhere and that sort of makes me sad.

It’s always been the three of us; the three musketeers. There wasn’t a single year of school that we didn’t share. We always had each other’s back, no matter what. We learned about life together, talked about boys and sex and how afraid we were of failing, at everything. For the first time in my life I will feel alone.

Okay sad sack, enough!



Mick punched a number into his phone and waited for an answer. It didn’t take long for Josef to pick up, delighted to see Mick’s number on the ID. His face was wearing a huge smile as he greeted his best friend. Mick had been calling more frequently and there had been a change in his attitude; not that he was a poster boy now for Vamps United or anything, but he did seem happier.

“Hey boyo, good to hear your voice! What’s up?”

Mick hesitated on the other end of the line, steeling himself for his next words; they were harder to say than he imagined. Instead he finally said, “Hey, what’s going on there?”

Josef recognized a decoy when he heard one – Mick never calls to just shoot the breeze. “I just lost $300,000 in the market. It makes me grumpy, so don’t waste my time. So I repeat, what’s up?”

Mick smiled and said, “I’m going to move back to LA. Can you get someone to get the loft ready?”

For a moment Josef wasn’t sure he had heard Mick properly. “Excuse me? Who is this?” he joked. “Certainly can’t be the Mick St. John I know.”

“Go ahead and snark Josef. You heard me, I’m coming home.”

“Well, well…this is a surprise! So when are you coming?”

“How soon can you have someone get things ready?”

“I can have it done in an hour if you want but somehow I don’t think that is your plan. So, you tell me when you want it done and it will be ready.”

Mick chuckled because he knew that Josef could do just that. A lot of money spread around can make anything happen. “Okay, let’s say in a week. I have some things to take care of here first.”

“Are you going to sell the house there?”

“No, I’m going to keep it. I really like this house.”

“Um hm. Why don’t I doubt that – all isolated and in the middle of nowhere? So, are you driving down or shall I send the jet?”

“I’m selling the car; after all, I have the Benz in storage in LA. So yeah, send the jet, I might as well come home in style!”

Josef rolled his eyes at Mick’s penchant for that old Benz and realized he better have it taken out of storage and checked over. “Okay, all will be ready. I’ll call you later with the flight times. And – I’ll have the loft ready because I assume you will be shipping some things?”

“Not much actually, I’ll probably just bring it on the jet.”

“It’s not a cargo plane you know! Don’t go scuffing up the leather Mick!”

Mick laughed out loud and pictured Josef frowning on the other end of the phone which is exactly what was happening. “Okay, no scuffing! I’ll see you soon buddy!” He heard Josef mutter something that might have been ‘fuck you’ and then the line went dead.

Mick continued to laugh, knowing that it was going to be good to go home.


“Okay guys, I like, have an idea!” Lani said, looking a bit unsure of herself.

Robbi’s eyebrows raised, two perfect arcs above round deep blue eyes. Robbi had the most gorgeous eyes that Beth had ever seen and for years she had been so envious of them. Her lashes were a mile long and so naturally thick she never had to wear mascara. They were also very expressive eyes and could never hide what she was feeling. It made her seem so vulnerable and naive, but if nothing hanging around with Lani for 16 years had gotten rid of the naiveté. She mentally rolled her eyes and then looked at Beth before saying, “Okay, what?”

Lani cleared her throat, a sure sign she was nervous and that made Beth and Robbi both even more curious. “Well, I was thinking about something. It’s our last year of school, you know? And – and we’ve, well, it’s all went by so fast and I was uh, thinking that we needed something to mark the passage or to celebrate I guess.” She looked at both of her friends as she tried to gauge what they were thinking.

“So, WHAT?” Beth said, waiting to see what was coming next and knowing Lani it could be anything.

“I – I was thinking that we could go away for spring break, you know?” she said the words in a rush and then squirmed in her seat as she waited for their responses.

“You have to be kidding me! I’m not going to Ft. Lauderdale with all the other idiots!” Robbi said, looking disgusted.

“No, no I wasn’t thinking about Florida. I actually was wanting to go to Mexico!”

“MEXICO,” Beth and Robbi said together.

Lani looked at them and knew she had a hard sell job ahead of her. “Okay, look, I know it’s kind of a wild idea, but I don’t mean we should like camp out on some crowded beach or anything. I booked us a suite in Acapulco!”

“Acapulco? A suite?” Beth shook her head and said, “NO. No way.”

“I’m with her – no way am I going.” Robbi said, clearly closed to the idea.

“Look, it’s a really nice hotel, the Hilton for God’s sake, not some sleazy motel okay? It’s a suite, a – a grown up place. In a really nice four star hotel by the way.”

Beth thought about it for a moment and was so tempted. Lounging around a pool didn’t sound too bad. As far as the suite went, it would be expensive, but she could contribute some money to the whole thing. Not a lot, but some. At any rate, she knew it wasn’t about the money anyway. Lani’s parents had money and so did Lani. They weren’t filthy rich or anything but they were the only family she knew that had a maid and a gardener. The idea began to appeal more and more…

Robbi saw the Beth was starting to weaken. “What, am I the only voice of sanity here? I’m NOT going down there to dance naked on the beach and get my picture on Girls Gone Wild! It’s a crazy idea!”

“Robbi, it’s the Hilton! Do you really think that’s where they film Girls Gone Wild at? No, we’re talking room service and spas, some pampering, margaritas by the pool and maybe a little dancing in the disco there. No Girls Gone Wild, I promise!”

Beth was won over by the time Lani had said ‘spa’ and nodded saying, “Okay, count me in!”

“Oh God, now I’m forced to go! If I don’t, 50 years from now I’ll still be hearing about whatever you did on this trip! This is like, like blackmail. But I’m telling you right now Lanelle and Elisabeth, I am NOT doing anything that involves wet tee shirts, do you hear me?”

Beth and Lani jumped up and pulled Robbi up as well for a hug. Soon all three were jumping up and down in their excitement. Suddenly, none of them could wait for the trip.


This time as Mick flew south he was much more relaxed, anxious even to get home. He had done a lot of soul-searching the past few months about everything and decided that Elka was right – he had to go home and rebuild his life. He knew it wouldn’t be easy, but he was willing to try.

His friendship with Elka this past year had been good for him in so many ways. Yeah, there was a little romance here and there and he genuinely cared about her, just not in an ‘in love’ kind of way. She had helped him make sense of his life and his past and had finally convinced him that unless he went home and faced his demons that he would never be really happy in this life, so he might as well check out now. That was a sobering thought to him.

What had all these years meant anyway? Was there a reason that he had met Coraline in the first place? Was it meant to be that she turn him? Is whatever is out there for him waiting, just like him? Whoever was waiting? He knew what he wanted to be the answer to that question, but the question was, did he have any right to it, to happiness? He sighed and leaned back in the seat of the jet, trying to still his tumultuous emotions.

The dozen or so boxes he had with him had been stowed away properly (no scuffing!) and he sat and sipped a glass of blood, lulled by the sound of the engines as they streaked over the Pacific coast. He closed his eyes and remembered the first time he had met Josef and realized how far they had come in their friendship.


Coraline, dressed to the nines in another beautiful and clingy red dress was introducing Mick to some of her friends, most of whom Mick didn’t like. They were a square, up-tight group and he couldn’t imagine them really cutting loose. The one called Cynthia seemed to have a giant poker up her ass she stood so straight. The worst one though was Josef, someone whom Cora seemed to be really trying to impress.

They stood looking at one another, each taking the other’s measure and Mick knew that he didn’t measure up at all. Kostan wore a really pricey suit, Mick could tell and a silk shirt as well with real gold cuff links. Like he had just stepped out of the pages of some high priced magazine. Who really dresses like that anyway, Mick wondered.

Josef nodded to a passing waiter who immediately stopped and inquired what he might need. “I’ll take a Bloody Mary, hold the Mary,” he told him.

“Of course Mr. Kostan, right away.” The waiter hurried off and Mick watched him with a raised eyebrow.

Within a minute the waiter returned with Josef’s drink and Mick stared at it in fascination. It was the strangest looking Bloody Mary he had ever seen; it almost did look bloody.

Cora saw him staring and laughed nervously. “It’s his own special mixture. Looks real, doesn’t it?”

“I have to admit it does,” Mick said, slightly disgusted. It looked thick and so very red…

“He’s been drinking them for years!” Cora said, giving Josef an inscrutable look. He stared at her as she spoke and Mick couldn’t determine if it was a look of amusement or scorn.

“I think I’ll go and get some air, if you don’t mind. Excuse me, please,” Mick said and made a hasty retreat to the terrace to escape the claustrophobic atmosphere of the house.

Josef and Coraline watched as Mick disappeared through the glass doors leading to the terrace. “You have got to be kidding me Coraline! You think you’re going to turn that one? He’ll never make it. Look, I get it, he’s pretty so just play with him for awhile, like you always do and then show him the door!”

“Josef, this is different. I love him, I’m crazy about him. He’ll do fine, I’ll teach him.”

Josef shook his head and said, “You are totally out of your mind, you know that? He may be some musician who thinks he walks on the wild side but he’s a babe in the woods. He’ll be a liability to the tribe. I’m telling you not to turn him.”

“Is that an official ruling Josef?” Coraline’s eye’s narrowed and Josef could see that he had really pissed her off.

“No, just some friendly advice Coraline – advice you would be wise to take.” He walked off then, done with the whole subject.

Cora stood watching him walk away and took a deep breath to try to calm herself. She was trembling with rage; she wanted to strike out at him. Instead, she went outside to find Mick, who was sitting by the pool in a deck chair, nursing a scotch.

“Hi,” she said, standing next to the lounge.

“Hi yourself.”

“May I?” she said, indicating his lap.

“Sure, climb on little girl,” he teased.

Coraline settled onto his lap and reached for the glass of scotch and took a drink. She laid her head against his and listened to his heartbeat that hummed strong and reassuring as it beat in his chest. She loved listening to it; it comforted her when she was upset, like now.

“You’re cold,” he said as he pulled her closer to him. “Want my jacket?”

“No, I’m fine really. I like the chill, it feels good.”

Mick was always amazed when she said that. To him she felt perpetually chilled but it didn’t seem to bother her so he just shrugged it off. “You know honey, I think that Kostan guy is a real piece of work! What’s with him anyway? What man dresses like that?”

“Josef isn’t so bad. I’ve known him a long time you know. He just likes to dress nice.”

“Seems kind of like a sissy boy to me, but if he makes you happy I guess its okay. At least I don’t have to worry about that kind of man hitting on you. But just for the record may I say that I think he is a pompous jerk?” He shook his head and laughed adding, “I know he’s got money, but he could really stand a little humility!”

“Yeah, sometimes I agree with you.”

15 days later…

“Josef, he won’t eat! I mean, I got him to feed once, but now he won’t do it again. Not fresh or from a glass either. I don’t know what to do! He says he wants to die. Help me, please?” Cora was frantic as she spoke to Josef on the phone.

“Gee Coraline, why don’t you just help him die then? You know, you got some kind of nerve calling me when I told you not to do this. Now you want me to clean up your mess!” Josef let out an exasperated sigh; same old Coraline, she never thinks about anything but what she wants and damn the consequences. “Okay fine, I’ll come and talk to him but I’m not promising anything okay?”

An hour later Josef walked into Coraline’s house and stood in the living room scowling at her. “Well, where is he?”

“He’s downstairs, come on,” she said, leading the way.

“I’m telling you right now Cora that if he really wants to die I’m going to help him! So you better be prepared.”

He heard her sharp intake of breath behind him and felt her grab his arm and then blinked in irritation as she threw him against the wall. “Don’t you dare, you bastard. I love him, he’ll be fine, he just needs some help! I mean it Josef, I love him!”

“So what? You love him, great, that solves everything doesn’t it Coraline? Now get the hell out of my way!” He pushed her aside and descended the stairs, looking for Mick. He found him huddled in a corner and not looking too far from death on his own.

Josef knelt down in front of him and said, “SO, you’re on a hunger strike huh? I can see that’s doing you a lot of good. Did she bother to tell you that if you want to off yourself that this ain’t going to cut it?” Josef indicated Cora who was standing over them, ready to pounce if necessary. He held his hand up to her in a ‘stop’ motion and said, “Back off Coraline!” She retreated a few steps and stood glaring at him malevolently.

“Look boyo, I know this ain’t what you signed up for; you know, the whole happily ever after thing. She should have told you, you don’t just go around making vamps like that. I mean, some people do, but you thought you were getting something else here, I know. Mick, I understand your whole world is upside down now – I’ve been there, okay?”

Mick finally looked up at Josef and actually saw concern and regret on his face. Josef looked him squarely in the face, meeting Mick’s gaze unblinkingly. Maybe Mick had underestimated this guy; for the first time he thought maybe he could trust someone since this hell had begun.

“Look, the only way you can die is to have your head cut off or to be burned to death. Starving might work eventually Mick, but you don’t want that. If you truly want to die, I’ll help you, but you need to think about it with a clear head, okay? You need to eat and evaluate the situation. In a few days we’ll talk again and if it’s what you want,” he heard Cora shriek in the background, “If it’s truly what you want then, I’ll help you, okay? In the meantime, come back to my place with me, away from her and get your head screwed on straight. He stood up and offered his hand to Mick, waiting patiently for him to make his decision.

Mick stood wordlessly and nodded to Josef. “Okay,” Josef said, “Let’s go.”

Cora was screaming and trying to block the stairs so that they couldn’t leave. “No, NO. This is not what I asked you over here to do Josef. You are NOT taking him from me, you can’t. I won’t let you take him from me!” She sank down on the stairway, tears running down her face as she begged Josef to stop.

Josef stepped over her and so did Mick, leaving her to her tears. Just then Mick felt no love for her, only betrayal. He didn’t know how he would feel in a few days, but he had to figure it all out. Josef offered him the opportunity to do just that and he was taking it.


The girls stepped out of the airport in Acapulco into bright sunshine and each one of them grinned; happy they were there. They pulled their luggage behind them waiting for the shuttle from the Hilton to pick them up to take them to the hotel.

On the ride to the hotel the girls chatted non-stop about everything they saw; all the colorful buildings and gaily dressed tourists. They caught brief glimpses of the aqua colored Pacific in the distance from time to time and oohed and aahed over it, barely able to control their excitement.

The suite at the hotel was perfect for them; huge with a living area and bedrooms, a balcony and a bathtub you could swim in. When they stood on the balcony they could see the pool down below them and they decided first thing to do was to hit the pool.

After changing into bathing suits and applying (begrudgingly) some sunscreen they made their way to the pool to check it out. As they got close Beth could smell the chlorine in the air and inhaled deeply; it was a smell that reminded her of so many summers at home with her friends at the neighborhood pool. She slid her sunglasses down over her eyes as they settled into deck chairs and looked around.

For the most part there were a lot of families at the pool with a few other single people tossed into the mix. It didn’t really resemble any kind of spring break frenzy and for that Robbi was eternally grateful.

A waiter came along to take their drink orders and they each opted for bottled water; it was hot out and they weren’t sure about drinking alcohol out in the fierce sunshine. When he brought the water back to them he leaned down and told them that the ‘action’ was going on at the beach later that evening and that he hoped he would see them there. Lani giggled at his comment, Beth smiled and Robbi rolled her eyes.

None of them made it down to the beach that night, but they still had a wonderful time. Maybe they really were getting older Beth mused, because she thought that all of them, even Lani was content to just hang out together. They went down to the disco after dinner and danced the night away, sometimes dancing with each other and sometimes whatever guy asked them. By 3 am they were all ready to hit their beds and not one of them was up before noon the next day.

That set a comfortable pattern for them; sometimes they fit in a spa treatment or massage, but otherwise it was much the same. One night they did venture down to the beach but even Lani seemed a bit nervous of everything that was going on there so they didn’t stay too long and they definitely all kept their shirts on!

They were happy to stay in the safety of the hotel; it provided lots of entertainment and none of them regretted missing the parties at the beach. All too soon their 5 days were up and it was time to go home.

As the plane lifted off Beth watched Acapulco fade into the distance below her. She felt relaxed and rested, even if she hadn’t slept spring break away. She had spent it with her two best friends and she knew she would never forget this vacation!


Mick walked into the loft, accompanied by Josef and looked around, pleased to be home. It was spotless, due to the cleaning crew the Josef had in earlier which always made Mick happy since he knew he was compulsively clean.

“Here, this is yours,” Josef said handing Mick a thick envelope.

Mick opened it and studied the contents; it appeared to be a deed – the deed to the whole building and it was in his name. “Josef, what is this?”

“Uh, let’s see,” he said, frowning a bit as he pointed to the writing on the document. “Hm, it says D-E-E-D and it has your name on it. I think it means you own the building, or that’s what my attorneys said anyway.”

“Josef, how is this possible?”

“You don’t ever read the financial statements I send you do you?” Josef asked, shaking his head.

Mick shrugged and said, “I glance at them, sometimes. Occasionally anyway.”

“Well, if you actually read them more often you would know that your portfolio was getting pretty large and I needed to diversify some of your investments. Voila! You’re now a landlord!”

“You’re joking, right? I don’t have enough money for something like this do I?”

“Not anymore. But you’ll recoup, pretty quickly I suspect.” He walked towards the door and turned around before he left and added, “Mick, it’s yours. Enjoy it! Oh, and try reading the financials from now on. A person could rob you blind and you’d never know!”

The door closed with a soft click and Mick looked around him, at ‘his’ loft and grinned.

Welcome home Mick!


Beth sat up in bed, her heart racing. She looked around the room, dimly lit by the street light outside the apartment. Everything was quiet, as quiet at LA ever got that was, but something was different.

She felt warm; not feverish, just - warm. She got up and looked out the bedroom window, gazing out at the street. Nope, all was calm out there. She didn't feel any danger; quite the opposite in fact. She felt safe, content. She stared out into the night as she hugged her shoulders and let out a deep breath. Suddenly it occurred to her.

Shadow man, is it you?

Beth's Diary - Part Nine

May 20, 2000

There has been so much going on the past couple of days with the wedding that I just wanted to add a few things. First of all, it was perfect, totally perfect!

When mom walked down that aisle Clark looked at her like she was the only woman in the world; so much love and devotion was written on his face it almost took my breath away. I know this is stupid but I almost felt like it was the three of us joining our lives. I mean, he has always been my father, if not in name then certainly action and deed. I felt like we were now a family, for real. No more daydreaming about Clark being my dad, he was now and the first thing I did after the ceremony was hug him and call him ‘Dad’. It brought tears to his eyes and he hugged me tightly and told me that I always was his daughter, but that now he was proud to be able to claim it officially.

Families are not just about blood; Clark has proved that over the years by his caring and commitment to us. Was there ever a school program that he missed or a birthday or any other event in my life? I can’t think of a single one and they are all made that much happier by having him there. Many kids don’t feel that way about a step parent; maybe it was because I never knew my bio dad that made it okay, I just don’t know. At any rate, I couldn’t be happier.

He and Mom left for their honeymoon immediately and she was so excited about it. They went to Italy; a place mom has always wanted to go. They will be gone for two weeks and then they are moving into a new house that they bought together. A new place for a new start and I think that is wonderful for them. In some ways it seems kind of strange to me; I’ve never lived anywhere but that house or the dorm. They asked me if I wanted the house but I told them no, I’ll make my own memories somewhere else someday, with someone special. So, while they are gone I will be going through 20 years of my stuff and trying to figure out what to keep and what to ditch.

Not all memories of that house are good; I still remember the night I was taken, vividly although the faces are blurred, out of focus. I woke up suddenly, my heart pounding as I felt a hand cover my mouth. I tried to scream, but the hand covered my mouth too tightly and it wouldn’t come, the sounds, they couldn’t come. I just remember her whisper, “It will be okay little girl, I’m your new mommy!” She said it over and over, trying to calm my squirming body, maybe to keep me quiet. I didn’t feel safe for several days until HE came; then I knew it was okay. Where are you shadow man? I need to feel you in my life again!

I start work next week but in the meantime Lani and I are going down to San Diego for the weekend with Robbi to check out the ship she’ll be on this summer and do a little partying on our own. I’m sure that Lani will want to rock that town, but hopefully we can keep her from doing any serious damage! It should be a lot of fun though. It’s amazing, but I’ve never been to San Diego before and there it is just right down the coast from us. Robbi tells us that it is beautiful and is excited to show it to us.



Dorothy leaned against Clark’s arm that was wrapped protectively around her as they rode a gondola in the Grand Canal of Venice. She smiled broadly; it was such a silly, touristy thing to do, but it was also so much fun.

The past 10 days had been the most wonderful of her life, even though they started off a bit shakily. Getting through that first night had proved difficult, for both of them.

Clark reached for her, she retreated, a dance that was replayed several times during the night. She was determined she could do it and yet each time they came close she panicked, reliving the night 21 years ago when she was viciously raped.

Finally Clark had said, “Dorothy, you’re not ready. Let’s just talk, okay? How can you be with me when you can’t even tell me what happened?”

She understood the logic of that but she had never told anyone the details of what had really happened. No one knew, not her parents, not the police; she just buried it deep within her and put one foot in front of the other each day until finally the days, weeks, years, and decades had rolled by and it was only a foggy memory. That is until she tried to be with Clark and then it all came back, rushing at her like a freight train, out of control and hell bent on taking her down.

How do you talk about something that was so hazy? It was pure instinct that made her pull away from Clark and yet she knew in her head, heart and soul that he would never hurt her. He had known for years that she had been brutally assaulted and raped – her parents had told him, as a warning that she would probably never let him get too close. Had she made a mistake by marrying him? Would she ever be able to get past this thing?

He had been so patient, so tender and loving as he held her and listened as she tried to describe her fear in a dream-like state. The bile rose in her throat as she choked on the memories of being held down, of her clothes being torn from her body. Each memory knocked the air out of her like the blows that he had used as he attempted to quiet her and strike fear in her heart. The pain and fear as he had ripped into her body and finally the humiliation of being tossed aside like a piece of garbage, bloodied and bruised and broken, of no importance.

Clark held her and cried with her, living the nightmare through her eyes and somewhere in the night he became her ally; sharing the story had become her revenge for the stolen years shrouded in fear and it was okay. When they came together it truly was her first time of loving and she hadn’t looked back since then.

Each day of their honeymoon they had a new adventure. They explored palaces and churches and the mysteries of one another’s bodies. Their souls communed in a magnificent explosion of passion and their loving deepened to unimaginable depths. She wondered if it was like this for her parents, who had been so devoted to one another, but couldn’t imagine it being so. Could anyone ever have such a wonderful relationship? It seemed so unlikely to her.

As they were packing to leave Dorothy said, “You know, I wish your brother could have been at the wedding. Couldn’t we have passed him off as a distant cousin or something Clark?”

“Logan understood honey. It’s, well it’s complicated; you know that. We can’t explain why he doesn’t age and after all this time I can’t explain how I have a brother that few have ever seen.” He saw the sorrow reflected on her face and sighed. “He chose this Dorothy and he has no regrets. Mick has been good for him and Logan learned so much from him. And at least now he’ll have my house to live in. He’s planning on turning the basement into some sort of computer eden he says!”

“I know all that. Mick certainly has been the savior of this family in many ways hasn’t he? I wish we could tell Beth about him.”

Clark nodded in understanding. He knew that would help two souls that both needed it. He saw how Beth sometimes watched the shadows in the distance; he knew who she was waiting for. The thing was though, did she?


It was moonrise and Mick and Elka ran though the trees that surrounded his property, chasing one another like kids. He felt light-hearted and happy; a rare occurrence for him.

She had disappeared, practically in front of his eyes and he closed his eyes then and scented the air, seeking her out. He smiled and looked up; she was hiding in a tree above him, a smug smile on her face.

“What’s the matter city boy? Having a hard time?” she teased.

A moment later he was beside her, wrapping his arms around her. “Yeah, I’d say I’m hard alright! Ever did it in a tree?”

She laughed and lightly jumped down, landing with a soft ‘whumph’ sound. He quickly followed and pulled her to him and captured her mouth in a searing kiss.

“Um, nice. I love it here; it reminds me of when I was a child. I love the scents of the trees and grass and the small animals that are hidden around us.”

“What about the larger animals? I’m sure they’re around too!” he said as he nibbled her neck.

“Hm, mostly they stay away, all except one I guess.” He growled and made her laugh before she kissed him again, enjoying the feel of his mouth as it devoured hers. Eventually she reached to pull his jacket off of him and lay it on the forest floor at the base of the tree. She sat down, pulling him with her, the jacket providing a barrier between them and the pine needles that littered the ground.

They both leaned back against the tree and listened to the sounds around them; the soft swish of the branches blowing in the wind, the scampering as the small animals scurried around, staying far away from the two creatures of the night that sat among them. Mick inhaled deeply and felt the clean smell of pine flow through him and sighed, perfectly content. He could almost forget all the bad when things were like this.

“Mick, why did you leave LA?” she asked, watching his face as it briefly flashed with pain that was quickly masked. Maybe it was still too soon to ask, but she knew he would not ever start to heal unless he talked about it.

He pursed his lips, lightly chewing on the lower lip as he debated what to say. Would he feel better if he told her or would she think he was a freak and run away? He didn’t think he could bear that, for her to look at him like the monster he was. He knew that they weren’t ‘in love’ and never would be, but still he felt happy and content with her, as much as he could be anyway and he was loathe to risk losing that.

“Mick, I know about Coraline. Hell, I’ve met her; I know she is a bitch. I think it would help you to talk about it.” She reached for his hand and held it lightly between her own and looked at him, waiting.

“Yeah? Did you know that I killed her?”

“I – uh, no I didn’t. When did you do that?”

“In 1985. She kidnapped a small child and planned to turn her in an effort to bring us together again. I had enough of her crazy and I staked her and burned her.” He said it quietly, and she realized that there was no regret in his voice.

She was surprised to hear him say 1985. So that wasn’t the reason he left LA 4 years ago. And it was weird; she thought she had seen Cora about 10 years or so ago in Paris. She guessed she was wrong.

“She was going to turn the child Mick; you did the right thing. Cora was certifiable, you know that. So what else?”

He told her the story of Beth; of how he had watched over her through the years as she grew up, making sure she was safe.

“Mick, that’s hardly something to punish yourself over. If you helped to keep her safe then it was a good thing.”

“When she was 16 I followed her and some friends to a 4th of July cookout at the beach. I watched as she and boy sat near the water, talking. He leaned over to kiss her and I wanted to rip his head off. I knew that I had to leave then; my feelings weren’t just protective anymore.”

“You saw her as a young woman Mick. It’s understandable that that happened. You have to let it go.”

“I – I wanted to be the one kissing her Elka, not some fresh - faced teenage boy who wanted to grope her in the night. No, I had to leave because she deserves the right to live her life without me shadowing her every move. I came here to give her that chance. It’s for the best; it’s for the best…” He shook his head, ashamed at the confession of the words he had never fully admitted before, even to himself.

Elka sighed as she felt the guilt in his words sink in. “You need to go back to LA Mick and stop running from the guilt; being here isn’t helping you. You are secluded here and too far from friends who care about you. You aren’t healing, you’re wallowing and you need to stop it!”

He stood up, blazingly angry at her, at the words that she had dared to speak. Words that were true, that he couldn’t hide from. “Just what the hell do you know Elka? What gives you the right to come here and say that?”

“I can say it because it’s true and you know it; you’ve known it all along but you just didn’t want to face it all.” She stood directly in front of him, staring into his eyes, her own sparking with anger as well. “I’m a healer Mick, a spiritual healer and the Great Spirit brought you into my life for a purpose, to help you find your path.”

“My PATH? I had no fucking choice in my path! My path was chosen for me, without my consent. My chosen path was gone, ripped from me, just like that.” He snapped his fingers for emphasis and continued, “The only path I have is the one that relegates me to monster. How’s that for a path?” He sat back down and leaned his head against the tree, tears streaking his face.

“You always have a choice Mick. Right now your choice is to stay here and feel sorry for yourself or go back home and build a life you can be proud of, with or without Beth. The path begins right here Mick, what are you going to do?”

He stared up at her; for one moment hatred burned brightly in his hazel eyes and then just as suddenly faded out. He knew her words were true, but they still hurt like hell. “There will never be any life with Beth, or anyone else. I’m a monster! I couldn’t stand to see that in someone’s eyes; them knowing who I really am.”

“Mick, a monster is someone uncaring, someone ruthless, without remorse. Adolf Hitler was a monster, Idi Amin was a monster. Are you like them? Do you feel, care, love? No, you are not a monster Mick, not by anyone’s definition.”

“You don’t understand Elka. Not really.”

“Do I not? You think I haven’t run into my own monsters? The Crow who had a special brand of horror for their captives, slaves; you think they weren’t monsters? Believe me, I’ve known monsters. You are not a monster.”

He looked at her and for the first time wondered what she suffered at their hands. He wondered how she had survived it all, the death of a husband and child, being torn from her world and thrown into a world that she didn’t understand. She survived in a world where she was an outsider and had to do unimaginable things to just exist. It suddenly occurred to him how similar they were; their lives were parallel really. She had made it and somehow even came out of it stronger and better.

Maybe he could too.


Beth and Lani cruised down PCH in Lani’s brand new red VW Bug, the top down and their hair blowing in the warm wind. Beth licked her lips and imagined that she could taste a hint of salt. The car had been a gift from her father since she was going to be a working girl this summer.

“Last weekend of freedom Beth! Major responsibilities ahead, so look out San Diego and fun, here we come!”

Beth laughed and tipped her head back to feel the sunshine on her face. The sky was an incredible shade of blue and not a cloud could be seen in it. The Pacific was a deep blue green with small white caps skimming over it like frosting. Every now and then they saw a few surfers but the waves weren’t really high enough to bring the really daring surfers out.

Lani switched on the radio and turned it up as they heard NSYNC singing It’s Gonna Be Me playing. They sang along at the top of their voices and laughed at how off-key they were. Before they knew it they were pulling into San Diego and meeting Robbi at the pier.

“Hey, you guys made good time! Welcome to my home for the next 2 months, the cutter Carlisle!” She indicated a large boat at the end of the dock. It was painted white and had a helicopter sitting on one end of it. Beth was impressed.

“It’s a lot larger ship than I thought it would be,” she said as they walked towards it.”

“Technically it is not a ship; it’s a ‘cutter’ so that makes it a boat. I know, not much of a distinction to us but to them,” she indicated some of the crew working on deck, “to them it’s a big deal.” She shrugged and led them to the gang plank.

“Um hm,” Lani said, and Beth and Robbi noticed she already had her eye on a couple of crew as they worked checking lines and such on deck. “Wow, what a great view!”

“Don’t get any ideas Lani, both of them are married!”

Lani’s face fell and then she shook it off, ready to move on. “SO, do we get a tour?”

“Of course! You didn’t think I brought you here just to stand on deck did you?”

As they toured the boat Beth and Lani were curious about everything, especially the tiny, cramped crew’s quarters.

“Everybody bunks in here?” Beth said, looking around at a room about the size of a bathroom that had 8 bunks in it. “Wow, not much privacy is there?”

“Or opportunity for romance,” Lani offered, shaking her head.

Robbi laughed and said, “Well, we’re not here to romance Lani, we’re here to work, so its okay. C’mon, let’s get you guys checked into your hotel!”

At the hotel all three girls changed into bikini’s and headed to the pool, prepared to just hang out and chat. After an hour of so a few of the crew showed up and before they knew it the party was going. Kevin got there around 6 when they were trying to decide where to go to dinner.

“Hey, how about Papa McGoo’s? Best linguine around, I promise!” Kevin offered.

“Papa McGoo’s? For Italian food? What’s wrong with that picture?” Beth laughed.

“No kidding,” Robbi said. “C’mon, you’ll love it and there’s a pretty good band there too. We’ll have a blast.”

Lani rolled her eyes and said, “Okay, but please don’t ever tell anyone at school that we went to somewhere called Papa McGoo’s, okay? I have an image to live up to!”


Kevin and Robbi were right, they had a blast. More of the crew showed up and a couple of them were single. Beth and Lani had no shortage of partners when the dancing started. It was hard for Beth in some ways, she hadn’t danced with anyone since Carl, even at the wedding, but after she got started she just pushed that out of her mind and went with the group. She didn’t regret it at all.

The next two days were full of fun; some of the time they lazed around the pool and others they did the tourist thing and saw the sights, like Sea World. When Lani and Beth left on Sunday night Beth realized she felt better than she had in months.

Sometimes you just get so caught up in the day to day and you forget that you can still be happy. The breakup with Carl wasn’t the worst thing that will ever happen to me, even if it felt that way at the time. One foot in front of the other Turner, just keep moving along…