October 11, 2007
I am on an emotional roller coaster, one giant thrill ride, as Mick would say. I feel things I cannot possibly be feeling, and yet I do.
Josh has been so wonderful since the day in the desert with Mick and Leni. He doesn’t really understand everything (and I certainly can’t tell him) but just being around him puts me on edge right now. The night we got back from the desert he kissed my wrist, where the two bite marks were and I literally felt sick over it. I felt as if I couldn’t stand his touch and I feel guilty about that, among other things.
He told me we make a good team and I can’t help but remember that those were the very words I used with Mick earlier that day. A good team; so whose team am I on? Whose team do I want to be on?
I’m feeling things with Mick that I don’t understand at all. I see him in my dreams, rescuing me when I was 4 and from Daniel, Professor Ellis’ crazy grad student. I see the blood that covered him when I found out that he was a vampire I know that he doesn’t have a regular heart beat, but I swear I can feel it when his heart does occasionally beat. I can – and I know this sounds crazy- I can smell him in me. Like, did you ever have drugs administered intravenously and when they hit your vein you can feel them and sometimes smell them too? It’s an internal thing, and I swear I am feeling that with Mick.
I went to his house the other night, to talk to him and he was there, I know. I could feel him, on the other side of the door. I know he was there and yet he didn’t answer; I need questions answered about all this and yet he won’t answer my calls either. Is this normal after what happened in the desert? The mild connection I felt with him before is now off the charts and I’m ready to shatter with what I am feeling and I need Mick – I need to see him, touch him to make sure I am not going crazy.
Where does Josh fit in to this picture? I wish I knew. I feel unfaithful to Josh, like I have betrayed him in some ways and yet all I did was to save Mick. I couldn’t let him die out there in the desert and from the looks of him when I got to him I’d say he was close to it. He swore that he would die before he fed on Leni and I’m sure he meant it. He didn’t want to feed on me either but honestly, if he hadn’t I would have found some way to cut myself and get that blood into him; he had no choice in it. Still, his words cut me deeply, “Not you, not like this!” I can’t forget them; they surge through my brain and wound my heart because I realize that he didn’t want me, not my help or my blood. And apparently, he doesn’t want me in his life now.
And yet now I can’t let him go.
What if the one thing you need to survive is the one thing that would make your life unbearable?
“Mick!” Beth’s heart nearly stopped when she saw him lying in that filthy tub; he was slumped down in the water and his skin was very pale and pasty looking. She thought he was dead.
He slid up a bit in the tub and when he opened his eyes she saw that his eyes were yellow and her breath caught in her throat at that sight. He was bad off, she knew.
“You have to take Leni and get her out of here,” he told her. For a couple of minutes they debated the issue; he determined that she would go and she determined that she would not.
Finally, she had enough and pulled aside her blouse, exposing her neck. “I don’t know how to do this but I know you won’t kill me and I know you won’t try to turn me either. I have this vampire friend who’s been explaining this stuff to me.”
He looked shocked, appalled at that suggestion. He shook his head and said, “No. Not your blood, not like this!”
All Beth could think of was that there was something wrong with her blood, that he was disgusted by the thought of drinking her blood. It broke her heart just a little bit to see him react like that.
Soon though he realized he had no choice and he reached for her arm, scenting her wrist. “At some point, you’re going to have to stop me,” he told her before sinking his fangs into her wrist. Her blood was like nectar, partly due to the fact that he needed it so badly, but mostly because it was her blood – his Beth’s blood. The last thing he wanted was for to be food for him and yet, there wasn’t another choice right now. He couldn’t protect them if he didn’t.
The bite was a bit different than she expected; the shock of his fangs piercing her skin stung at first, but the rhythmic pull of his mouth was almost soothing and she relaxed against him. Still, she could hear his words repeating in her head, “not your blood, not like this” and they hurt each time she remembered them. She wondered how long before she ‘had to stop him’; how much was enough?
Suddenly she felt him pulled his fangs out and he licked at the puncture marks. It was a tender act and it made her feel strangely peaceful – almost cared for. When he was finished he leaned back in the tub for a moment and opened his eyes finally, checking her out.
“Are you okay Beth?”
She nodded and tried to smile, to reassure him but it didn’t quite come off. Despite the heat she felt a bit chilled and tried to get up off the floor, but she stumbled a bit, feeling a little woozy.
“Hey,” Mick said, immediately reaching to steady her. “You’re probably going to be a bit dizzy, so take it easy. Wrap one of those towels around your arm and press lightly, okay?”
She nodded and stood up carefully, holding onto the wall for support and grabbed a hand towel. Almost as soon as she wrapped it around her arm she could see blood soaking through.
“I’m going to go and check on Leni,” she told him.
He nodded and said, “Okay, I’ll be right out. Uh, Beth?”
She turned to look at him and he smiled and said, “Thank you.”
She nodded and gave him as much of a smile as she could.
Beth headed for the bathtub when she got home. She still felt a bit weak and puny, even though Mick had insisted that they stop so she could eat on the way home. Yes, she wanted a long, hot bubble bath and as she filled the tub with a light vanilla scent she anticipated sinking down into it and just relaxing.
Josh was in the living room, going over case details on his phone. He had been very solicitous of her since they got back, trying to make sure she was okay. Now he was making arrangements for Leni, who was scared to death. Mick was going to stay at the safe house with her too after a trip home to change and eat Josh told Beth.
Beth shrugged out of her clothes and sank down into the heated water and sighed. Amazingly, her arm didn’t hurt, in fact it didn’t look bad at all, just two little puncture marks were all that you could see. She had told Josh and Carl that she had caught her arm on a chain link fence at the motel.
“Hey Beth? Would you like me to pour you a glass of wine while you’re in there?” Josh asked.
She wasn’t sure that was the best idea, but on the other hand she could certainly use a little escape from the scrutinizing looks that Josh kept giving her. It would maybe provide a little buffer and so she told him yes, she would like some.
After he took her a glass of wine he headed back out into the bedroom and looked around and saw Beth’s discarded clothes lying around and decided to pick them up. After he tossed them into the hamper he noticed the earrings she had been wearing lying on the dresser and decided to put them away as well. He looked around for the box they belonged in but didn’t see it so he opened the top drawer to see if it was in there. What he saw instead was her diary.
He looked at it for a moment; he didn’t even know she kept a diary. He wondered if it was an old one, from like she was a teenager and she kept it as a memento or if she still wrote in it. He stared again at it and finally shut the drawer and headed out to the kitchen to finish dinner.
As he tossed vegetables for salad his mind kept drifting back to the diary lying in the drawer. He wasn’t one of those kind of guys who pried into personal stuff, but it was driving him crazy. Did she write about him? About Mick St. John?
That was the rub – Mick St. John. Josh thought about the preliminary background check he had run on the guy and he basically didn’t exist, not that Josh could find anyway. The only Mick St. John he found tracked back to 1950 and it sure wasn’t Mick. He had told Beth that the picture in Julia’s book was his father, so okay, Josh could buy that, but where are the records of Mick’s birth? Where did he go to school? There was no record of this guy, only his dad, through the ‘80’s anyway. He seemed to have disappeared sometime in the ‘90’s; it was unclear what had happened.
Did Beth know something about him? She was certainly secretive about their friendship, almost like she was protecting him, but why? Why would she feel like she had to? Did he have some kind of dirt on her and so she had no choice? He stepped towards the bedroom, determined to look for himself.
Halfway there he turned around and headed back to the kitchen; whatever was in there was none of his business. But what if that bastard was holding something over her head and she couldn’t talk about it? Josh decided it could affect her safety, or that’s how he justified it anyway. He went back to the bedroom and quietly opened the drawer and pulled the diary out.
He held it for a moment, telling himself to just put it away but he had to know. She might need his help. He took a deep breath and opened it; the page fell open to October 7, 2007.
So, it is a current diary. Put it back, Josh...
Instead, he started to scan the page and the words jumped out at him like they were on fire.
Mick St, John is a vampire.
There, I said it. There’s no such thing as vampires he told me only a week ago. He lied. There are vampires among us, living all around us and probably always have been. Have I known other’s I wonder? I’m too afraid to ask because I might not want to know. No more secrets, no more. Yet I will have to live this secret with him; no telling Josh or my parents or other friends. This secret Mick and I share and I do want to protect him. He isn’t evil or horrible; he is the antithesis of what you might imagine a vampire to be even. He saved me; fought to protect me and I understand now even more so; he had been stabbed and he still fought for me, cared for me. That makes him a hero in my book but I’m wise enough to know that the world would disagree.
So this secret I will keep; for both of our sakes. He fought for me and I will fight for him, for his right to live and be a part of this world. I can do no less.
He suddenly heard Beth getting out of the bath tub and the water draining out of it. He slammed the diary shut and put it back in the drawer and quickly headed into the kitchen to finish dinner.
Josh was reeling from those words. How could there be such a thing as vampires? It was ridiculous. Of all the things he thought he might read, that was definitely NOT one of them. She will keep his secret she said. Why? Why would she protect him like that?
The more he thought about it the more he realized it could be true, if such a thing were possible anyway.
“No, there’s no estrogen in it.”
“She cut her hand on the latch.”
How did St. John know those things unless he could smell the blood? It gave him something to think about. He remembered finding Beth late that night at Buzzwire, doing research on vampires. It was all sort of clicking into place.
After dinner (Beth never noticed how preoccupied Josh was) she sat on the bed and thought about the events of the day. She wanted to see Mick, she needed to see him and she decided that she would go and see him first thing in the morning. There had to be some explanation for what she was feeling.
Josh came out of the bathroom and watched her closely for a moment. She was lost in thought and it made him even more curious about how much else she knew about St. John. He hadn’t been able to put it aside, all through dinner he saw the words over and over, Mick St. John is a vampire. They pushed every other thought right out of his head. Could that be true? Were there such creatures as vampires? And if so, how was Beth involved with them?
A sobering thought, that she might be involved with them.
He stood in the doorway for a minute and watched her for another minute. She gave no sign that she knew he was there until he called her name.
“How’s the arm?”
“I’m such a klutz,” she told him, not quite meeting his eyes.
“Good thing you’re so good looking then,” he teased. She is too uncomfortable about it all. Did she actually let St. John bite her? Or did the bastard force her?
Josh sat down on the bed and held her arm and looked again at the marks; two small puncture wounds that were already healing. He lifted her arm up and gently kissed it. He immediately felt her stiffen and try to pull away. Yeah, they could have been done by a chain link fence he decided. But suddenly he knew that they weren’t.
“We make a pretty good team,” he said and he watched her face pale for a half second before she tried to smile. She half-heartedly smiled at him and suddenly he knew.
Mick St. John had bit her.
“Heroku, you have been a gracious host, as always,” Josef said as he sat in his host’s office, high above the city of Tokyo. The view was spectacular Josef decided and for a moment he wished his office had a better view.
“Ahh Josef, you are an admirable guest; you do not stay too long and over-extend my generosity,” he answered with a smile. He raised his mug of fresh O positive as did Josef and they drank to the toast.
Just then there was a knock on the door and Heroku called, “Come in”. The door opened and Lani walked in carrying some files for Heroku.
Josef immediately rose to his feet to greet her. She was wearing a jade colored suit with black edging the lapels. The skirt was short enough to show a bit of her legs, but not provocative at all. Josef recognized Chanel when he saw it and silently applauded her taste.
“Ms. Parker, how are you this afternoon?” he asked, smiling at her across the room.
Too late Lani realized that it was Josef in the office with Heroku. She glared at him for a moment and then said to Heroku, “I’m sorry. I had no idea that you were with someone. I’ll just stop by later Heroku.”
“Nonsense Lani! Are those the files on the training projections for next year? I’m anxious to see them. Just set them down and let me pour you a drink. A bit of Glenfiddich for you?” he asked, holding up a bottle of 21 year old Scotch.
Josef noticed the ‘caught in the headlights’ look that Lani cast around the room but to her credit she masked it quickly and nodded to Heroku. “That would be lovely, thanks.”
Her mind was racing furiously, contemplating just how fast she could drink that down and get out of here. She had no desire to make nice with the vampire playboy. And yes, she knew he was a playboy, it oozed out of his pores. Definitely a player, albeit a very attractive one. And a vampire, don’t forget that Lani!
A shiver crept up her spine at that last thought and for a moment, she almost let herself remember…
The knock on the door startled Mick out of his funk as he stared at Beth on Buzzwire. He was watching the archives, her report on a hit and run accident she had covered. Really, it was only mind-candy for him because all he was doing was watching her face, not really listening. As soon as he heard the knock he looked up in panic and then after he scented the air he relaxed; it wasn’t Beth.
Yes, he had been avoiding her but he couldn’t face her just yet. He was miserable, knowing that he drank her blood – like that!
How could he do it? He didn’t want to, and yet, he did. He had ached to taste her blood; he just didn’t want to do it like that. She wasn’t food – she would never be food for him and he didn’t want her to think she was.
He smelled vamp outside his door and grinned as he opened it stared into the face of Elka. He hugged her for a moment and laughed, happy to see her.
“Hey, what are you doing in LA?”
“Believe it or not I’m house hunting. I’m moving down here soon,” she told him, sitting down on the couch.
“You haven’t been in Detroit for that long. What brings you back here?”
“Emerson’s is transferring me actually. And it seemed like a good idea. I have friends here and believe it or not I’ve never actually lived here!”
Mick’s eyebrow lifted in surprise; he had just assumed that she had at some point. “So, are you really looking for a house, or just a place to live?”
“A house, I like the space and the privacy. I’m looking a little farther up the coast, maybe something in the hills. That would work for me; I won’t mind the commute into work.”
“Would you like something to drink?” he asked, suddenly remembering his host duties.
“Sure, whatever you got handy will be fine.” She followed him into the kitchen and watched as he poured some AB negative into two frosted glasses. “So, what is going on around here? I tried to call Josef but it seems he is out of town.”
“Yeah, he’s in Tokyo, but he will be home tomorrow I think.” Mick took a sip of the blood and watched over the rim of the glass as she did the same.
“So his assistant said. But back to you, what is going on in your life?” She suddenly knew that he was avoiding answering him when he started fidgeting with his glass and wouldn’t meet her look.
“I uh, nothing much, not really.”
“What does ‘not really’ mean Mick?” She sighed to herself. What would it take to get this guy happy? “What’s going on with the girl? Beth, isn’t that her name?”
“Yes, that’s her name. It’s complicated Elka,” he finished lamely.
“Mick, for heaven’s sake it’s ALWAYS complicated to you and you know what? It doesn’t have to be! YOU! You make it complicated.” She was irritated now; her foot was tapping rapidly on the floor.
“I fucked up Elka! I did! I drank her blood, out in the desert!”
Those were not words she ever expected to hear. She pursed her lips and then frowned, thinking about what he said. “How did that happen, Mick?”
He explained the situation to her and she listened, occasionally taking a sip of her drink. “Look, these were extenuating circumstances Mick. Not an ideal situation, but you didn’t really have a solution other than that.”
“I could have just sent her away Elka, I should have.” He lowered his head and Elka saw the shame and misery rolling off of him.
“Yeah, and then what? You go crazy out there and kill some old man sitting at the front desk of the motel? You’d feel guilty about that too, Mick. This was the better solution. But you can’t hide away from her; she’s going to need answers. Things change sometimes, when emotions are involved, you know that.”
Mick raised his head and gave her a guilty look. “She doesn’t care about me like that! She has a boyfriend, Elka.”
“She practically had to make you drink her blood Mick; she cares about you.”
The words gave him pause for thought. If they were true, where did that leave them?
To be continued…