My Mom and Clark are getting married on Saturday! I’m so excited for them and I’m going to be the maid of honor, which seems weird in a wonderful kind of way. It won’t be a huge blow-out wedding but it will still be nice. She won’t be wearing white, which I think is ridiculous but she says she’s too old for that! Hasn’t she seen any of the tabloids for heaven’s sake? Wearing white is no big deal any more, but she is adamant about it. Her dress is simply beautiful though, ivory lace over ivory satin, floor length with a slim design that hugs her body all the way to the floor. I teased her that if she had to run in that sucker she’d be in trouble!
My dress is royal blue satin, off the shoulder and an A line as well, so that counts me out for the running thing too. Still, it looks very sophisticated and I feel quite adult in it because I’ve never owned a dress like this before. I am an adult of course, but we just generally don’t have dresses like this hanging around in our closets, or at least I don’t. Lani came with Mom and I to help pick out the dresses and she has surprisingly good taste, which actually shocked Mom a bit I think. Robbi met us at the dress shop and agreed, they were the perfect dresses for us.
Afterwards we all had lunch at Langdon’s, an uber-pricey bistro in downtown LA. None of us had ever been there before but it was really good. We all laughed when the check arrived and saw that it was $300 dollars, just for lunch but mom only shrugged and slid her gold card onto the tray.
She told us you only live once and sometimes you just gotta splurge! We all had felt a bit guilty at the cost but it was fun. We continued out our shopping by hitting shoe stores next and after a couple more hours we were done. I love my shoes, but it isn’t going to be pleasant having to stand in them for hours. The things we must do to look good!
A year from now we’ll all be doing this again for Robbi’s wedding. It seems like a long time from now but I know that the time will fly by. It will be our last year of college and senior year can sometimes be a killer they tell us.
I will be working at the LA Free Press again this summer and Robbi will again take to the high seas. Even Lani isn’t spared this year; she will work at a major banking firm in the HR department as an intern in the training division. She says she is looking forward to it with no regrets about not being able to travel this summer. In fact, she seems really excited about it; mom says that she is finally growing up. Now diary, isn’t that a scary thought?
My shadow man is on my mind a lot lately - well, always. Sometimes I look into the distant sunset or out at the shadows of the night and I yearn for him; for the knowledge of him, the sanctity and safety of knowing he is around. Yes, I said knowing. He was there, for years he was there I know and I have to believe he still is. I still imagine meeting him someday; I'll just look at him and know. I will...
Mick waited at the airport to pick up Elka; he was excited to see her again. She was an interesting woman and he always enjoyed himself with her. This was the first time she had come to Seattle though and he was a bit nervous about it.
Mick had stayed in LA over the holidays for a week and they had spent a good deal of time together, getting to know one another. They talked often on the phone and once they had met in San Francisco, her home.
He watched as the jet taxied up to the jet way and waited for the passengers as they exited the plane. When he finally saw her he felt himself grinning like an idiot because he was so happy to see her. She ran lightly into his arms and he held her close for a moment, breathing in her spicy scent that was some kind of mixture of cinnamon, vanilla with some kind of musk to it. It was delicious and woodsy and perfect for her.
“Hi,” he said, kissing her lightly and holding her tightly against him. “Good flight?”
“Meh…the only good thing was the thought of you waiting on this end. At least it’s not a long flight.” She looked around and said, “So, this is Seattle?”
“No, this is Sea-Tac airport! The city of Seattle awaits you, outside the door madam!” he teased, waving his arm wide for her to see.
She laughed and said, “Well, I’ve got everything I need is in my carryon bags so let’s go see this city!”
“All you need? Doesn’t look like much to me!”
“Well, I’m hoping we’ll stay in a lot and that I won’t need that many clothes!” She winked at him and grabbed his hand, pulling him towards the doors.
“Whatever you want!”
At Mick’s house she wasted very little time looking around and even less time removing her clothes. Mick scrambled to follow suit and his quickly hit the floor before he swept her up in his arms and carried her to the bedroom.
“So, you have a bed huh? I thought you said you didn’t?” she said as he pulled the covers back with one hand and then laid her down amongst the pillows.
“Didn’t, until yesterday,” he grinned. She could see his face in the pale moonlight that seeped in through the window blinds and she reached up to caress it lightly, tracing along his nose and down over his lips. Her lips followed her fingers, pressing against him urgently.
He could smell her arousal and his body responded readily to it; his lips left hers and trailed downward to lick teasingly along her collar bone. He heard a soft moan escape her parted lips and he smiled as he continued his journey, finally settling on her beautiful breasts. His tongue played eagerly over her nipples which responded by hardening into tight rosettes.
She shivered with pleasure as she felt his mouth pull a nipple into it and suck, using his teeth to gently tug until her stomach quivered with need. She squirmed as his long fingers found their way to the sweet juncture between her legs and spread them further apart so that he could probe her depths.
Mick felt a swift rush of wetness flow over his fingers and he spread it around, loving the slick feel of her, the warmth of her desire. He inserted first one and then another finger into her tight body and stroked her until she opened fully to him. He caught her eye in the moonlight and she said, “Please Mick, now…”
His lips found hers in a deep kiss that made his stomach tense with his own desire. His tongue delved deeply into her welcoming mouth, stroking the inside of it until they both couldn’t breathe anymore. The kiss went on and on, a swirling maelstrom of passion brewing between them.
She pulled his hips to her, bucking up to meet him and sighed with pleasure as he settled into her waiting body. He drew in a deep breath as he felt her griping him tightly, holding him in her for a moment but soon there was no holding back for either one of them.
They moved together, as if of one mind, one body. Relentlessly they came together and pulled apart, always coming home again in the beauty of the dance. Both were close and she offered him her neck, stretching it to the side so he could get a clean bite. She saw his fangs descend and his eyes silver and hers did the same in response.
“Now, now,” she demanded and sank her fangs into his neck. Her body immediately started its release and Mick came with her as he gently bit her neck. He thrilled to the taste of her passion, her release and swallowed first one mouthful of her blood, followed by another. When their bodies finally stopped trembling he softly licked the already healing wounds closed, enjoying the feel of her soft skin beneath his tongue. He rolled off of her and pulled her close beside him and smiled as he heard her sigh and stretch her body in a satisfied way, kind of like a cat he thought.
“Welcome to Seattle,” he said with a chuckle. He leaned over and placed a quick kiss on her forehead.
“I think I like this city,” she told him as she ran her fingers lightly over his chest. “I really like the welcoming festivities!”
“Well, we aim to be hospitable here you know. Wait until you see the rest of the city.”
“You mean I have to leave this bed?” she asked, grinning from ear to ear. She leaned up on an elbow and commented, “But tell me this mister, what does a girl have to do to get a drink around here?”
“Um, a kiss maybe?” he teased.
“You work cheap!” she laughed and bent to give him the obliging kiss. “There, you’ve had you kiss, now where is my drink?”
“Okay, okay! Boy, I think I’ve brought home a slave driver!” he said and scooted off the bed quickly to avoid the swat she aimed at his ass.
He returned a few minutes later with two glasses of blood. He held one out to her and said, “I did assume this was the drink you were interested in?”
“Um hm,” she said and she took a long drink of the O positive. “Um, fresh!”
“Yeah, Josef has me spoiled, I’ll admit. So, how are you? You look really good Elka.”
“Thanks and you too. I’m good, but I’m glad to be here for a few days – I need the break!”
“What, life in high finance isn’t all it’s cracked up to be?”
“Sometimes…” she smiled. “We’re still sort of recovering from all the Y2K panic; you know all the preparations for the end of the world stuff that never happened? It has been crazy for the last year.”
“I hear you. Logan came up from LA to make sure my computer system was ready to go into the new century. He is a veritable computer genius, he really is.”
“Who’s Logan? I don’t think I met him at the party.”
“No, he doesn’t leave his basement too often. He is uh, well I sired him twenty years ago. We’ve remained close although sometimes I think I’m only as good as how much money I can hand over for him to do jobs for me!” he laughed. “But seriously, aren’t all kids like that? Really, he’s a good kid.”
“How come you don’t live in LA? I know you did for a long time because Josef mentioned it. What happened?”
Mick swallowed convulsively and opened his mouth to speak; nothing came out. He hadn’t told anyone about why he was here and he didn’t know if he could yet or ever for that matter. Finally he said, “I guess everyone needs a change sometime and it was just my time.”
Elka saw the emotions flow across his face as he answered her. She knew there was more to the story but decided to let it go for now. He would tell her in his own time if she was meant to know. Instead she changed the subject by saying, “Have I told you why I call myself ‘Elka’?”
“No, you haven’t,” he said, relieved to talk of something else.
“Well, my Lakota name was ‘Small elk in the meadow’ so I just sort of shortened it.”
“That’s really beautiful Elka. Do you miss that life?”
“No, not much really. It was so long ago and the world is much changed. There is no place for it now. And, it was also a violent life in many ways Mick.”
He digested her words for a moment and wondered what kind of life could be more violent than the vamp world. “Do you want to tell me about it?”
“Sure, it doesn’t bother me to talk about it. I was born in about 1817 in what is now North Dakota. My parents were Sioux as was my husband. He was a warrior and we needed all the warriors we could get for the Crow were our enemies and attacked often. There were 5 branches of the Dakota Indians and we belonged to the Lakota branch.”
“I didn’t realize you had been married Elka.”
“Yes, and had a baby as well – a son named Walking Bird. My husband, Lone Eagle was very brave; he died trying to protect me and our son. The tribes often made war on one another and when you lost the battle most of the women and children were taken as slaves to the other tribe. It is what happened to me. I’m afraid I wasn’t very cooperative though and often tried to run away. One time the Sioux warriors were attacking the Crow and I tried to run to them, hoping they would take me back with them. The Crow saw me and shot me with many arrows. I lay there all day and part of the night when I white trapper found me and carried me back to his camp. He removed the arrows and did his best to nurse me back to life. For two days I lay there and grew worse and I knew that the Great Spirit would soon take me. When it was apparent that I was not going to make it he asked me if I wanted to live; I thought it was better than dying and I said yes, although I wasn’t sure what he meant by living. I found out pretty quickly though.”
“So, so you chose to be turned?” he asked, surprised.
“Yes. Oh, I didn’t really understand what it was going to mean, but I am glad I did it. He was good to me, he was kind and taught me the ways of the vampires. Since he was a trapper we followed the animals with the seasons; in the winter we stayed in a cave for shelter. It seemed a good life; at least there wasn’t constant war. It was over 4 years before I knew that vampires could drink human blood as well as animal blood. It seemed so wrong to me at first, you know? Kind of like cannibalism. I found out when some other vampires found us and I listened to them talk because I had learned English by then. Eventually he made his way west and we ended up in Oregon. It was about 1850 by then. I estimate I was turned in 1843 so I had been a vamp for 7 years by then.
In Oregon we heard about a gold rush in California so we headed south to see what it was all about. People usually thought I was Spanish when they saw me so I wasn’t too out of place. Cole staked a claim and we worked that for awhile. It’s actually where I met Josef!”
“Really? Josef was a gold miner?” Mick smiled at the thought; he didn’t know what he found funnier, Josef in grubby clothes or actually working the mine. Either way he knew it had to be a great story.
“Yes, he was. And a good one too. He made several million in the gold rush and was smart enough to invest in land there in San Francisco. It’s what Cole and I did too; thank goodness because I’ve never had to worry about money since then.”
“He and Josef went east when Abraham Lincoln became president; he was a great man and Josef wanted to meet him. I stayed in California and minded the store, so to speak. Josef came back in 1865, after the war. Cole stayed there and was a part of the reformation. We still talk occasionally; I am very thankful to him for all he did for me.”
“Wow, I’m amazed by all that Elka. You’ve lived quite a life. I can’t imagine having that good of a relationship with your sire.” He shuddered as he remembered the crazy with Coraline. Even if she were still alive he wouldn’t want to see her or talk to her.
“Well, he was nothing like the Duvall’s you know.” She saw him raise an eyebrow in surprise and added, “Yes, Josef told me about your sire Mick. I’m so sorry for all that you went through.”
They were both quiet for a few minutes and Mick realized that the sun was rising. “It’s getting late; are you ready for some freezer time?”
“Yes, I am. Show me the way!”
After they settled into the freezer Elka reflected on her relationship with Mick. Not a great love match, but she certainly felt that he needed her and she was more than okay with that. She had never loved anyone since Lone Eagle and knew that she never would. She knew that he walked a warrior’s path with the Great Spirit and she sincerely hoped that some day she would be allowed to walk with him.
Her Sioux blood gave her a spiritual outlook on life; Mick needed a little bit of that because if ever there was a man caught in pain and confusion it was Mick. She knew why the Great Spirit had brought her to him; she had work to do with this amazing and wounded man. She looked at him, in his repose and smiled. At least it wouldn’t be tough work!
Beth pinned a bunch of fragrant magnolia into her mom’s hair and then stood back to admire it. She was a breath-taking bride and it wasn’t just because Dorothy was her mom. It’s funny how sometimes it takes unusual circumstances to show us a different side of people and this was certainly an unusual circumstance.
Her mother was getting married! The woman who had always stalwartly stood alone was joining her life with a really wonderful man and Beth couldn’t be happier for them both. Today Dorothy didn’t look like her mother, she looked like any other happy bride, anxiously getting ready for her wedding; it made her seem so young and vulnerable, a side Beth rarely got to see.
Just then there was a soft knock on the door and Robbi poked her head in and asked if they were ready. Beth looked at her mom and smiled. Dorothy smiled in response and nodded her head and they went to the door, ready to make the walk down the aisle.
As they stood at the doorway waiting for the music Beth saw a few tears flowing down her mother’s face and dabbed them with a handkerchief. She knew perfectly well why Dorothy was crying and she reached for her and gave her a quick hug, feeling her tremble in her arms.
“I wish he were here too Mom. Grandpa would have walked you down that aisle with such joy and happiness. I’m so sorry he isn’t here, but I want to believe that he and Grams can still see it, share it with us like that.”
Dorothy nodded and smiled, dabbing at her eyes again. “I know. He loved Clark and I know this is always what he wanted. I was such a fool for so many years Beth. Don’t be like me – when you find the one, don’t be afraid honey, just be with him.”
The words stung a bit as a picture of Carl flashed through her mind. But she knew deep down that he wasn’t the one, although she had cared for him a great deal. No, the ‘one’ was still out there, waiting for her. He was her destiny and she knew that she would find him.
She knew it.