Beth and Mick both struggle with the knowledge that Beth now knows Mick’s secret. Beth comes to Mick to ask questions about his being a vampire; one of the first questions is whether or not he bites people’s necks to get the blood out. Mick tells her that he gets most of his blood from the blood bank and Beth comments that the Red Cross doesn’t mention that in their literature. She also wants to know how Mick became a vampire, but he refuses to tell her and says only ‘Another time’. Beth is called in to work a case of someone who was attacked by something at a convenience store and runs into Mick as he is tracking a rogue vampire. Both cases turn out to be the same case. Guillermo had sent Mick a message to come see a body he had in the morgue that had been attacked by a vampire and literally ripped to shreds. They decide that it is a fresh turn that has gone rogue because its sire has abandoned it. Beth and Mick run into each other at the morgue and decide (reluctantly on Mick’s part) to work the case together. They end up following the leads to a doctor who turns out to be the freshly turned vampire who is on a killing spree. Josh brings Beth some dinner late one night at work and sees that she is doing research on vampires and wonders why. As Mick searches for the new vamp Josef sends Mick to the cleaner to see if she has any idea who might have turned him. The cleaner is an organization that poses as real cleaners but their real purpose is to clean up after vampire ‘accidents’ so that humans don’t find any traces. They are extremely good at their jobs and usually have the scoop of what is going on in the vamp world. They send Mick on the right trail to hunt down the sire and to ultimately find the newly turned vamp. Beth learns some very important things about vampires, including that a stake in the heart doesn’t kill them; it only paralyzes them and that vampires must police themselves because human justice systems don’t know how to handle them. And she also discovered how Mick became a vampire.
October 9, 2007
I re-read what I wrote a few days ago and I’m still reeling from it all. I mean, Mick really is a vampire and that knowledge should scare me but for some reason it doesn’t. He tells me that he gets his blood from the blood bank – most of it. So where does the rest come from? How does all this work? He refuses to tell me anything much about it all even. He said that someone becomes a vampire by a vampire biting them and then when they are near death they are fed some of the vampire’s blood.
Does it always work I wonder? He also said they don’t age, which doesn’t sound bad to me. He looks about thirty, but finally admitted, (after I pushed) that he was going to be 85 in November. Incredible, really. How have vampires managed to stay hidden for all these centuries I wonder? I mean, there are vampire stories out there, but the reality of knowing an actual vampire makes some of those stories and legends look pretty silly. He doesn’t sleep in a coffin; he sleeps in a freezer, which in some ways seems even weirder to me. He has a sadness about him though, almost as if he doesn’t find much happiness in life and I have to wonder why?
I love my job at Buzzwire, it is so great. I never imagined that I would do internet journalism; I somehow thought it wasn’t ‘real’ or something, but really, the news is the news. Mo lets me pursue the kinds of stories I like, the gritty crime stuff for the most part and that makes me happy. I’ve got a great story that I’m just beginning to work on and it actually involves a vampire according to Mick. He didn’t want me to work on it, but there’s no way I’m backing off of it. Good thing I’ve got Mick around to protect me! Of course, he wasn’t the only one who wanted me to back off; Carl did too. What is it with guys; they seem to think a poor little woman can’t take care of herself or something. They make me want to scream!
Mom and Clark just got back from vacation in Mexico and I’m got to run because I’m going to dinner with them to hear all about their trip. They seem anxious to see me; if I didn’t know better I’d think they are worried about me or something. If they only knew what I did they might really be worried.
Suddenly she was aware of someone standing over her bed, touching her shoulder and she couldn’t stop the small scream from escaping and then felt foolish when she realized it was Josh. She sucked in a deep breath and tried to will her frantically beating heart to slow down.
“Hey, um Josh. I’m awake. What time is it?”
“It’s five o’clock Beth,” Josh said, watching her as she sat up slowly. She was still in the clothes she had on yesterday he noticed, something that was not like her to do.
“Five? In the morning?” she asked, completely confused.
“No sweetheart, the afternoon. Five in the afternoon,” he repeated as her eyes opened wide in shock.
Beth leaned back against the pillows and closed her eyes for a moment, a sickening feeling coming over her as the events of the past 24 hours flooded though her head.
Mick is a vampire!
Oh God yes, Mick St. John is a vampire! The blood and how he looked, silver eyes and his body jerking uncontrollably, it was horrible. Is he okay? Yes, two men came to help him, he’s okay. Mick has to be okay…
“Beth?” Josh asked again, concern written over his face. He frowned as he watched the far-away look in her eyes as they tried to focus. “Are you okay?”
“Yes, sorry. Just groggy I guess.” Oh God, Mick is a vampire! There is such a thing as vampires.
“Sweetheart, Carl and I both have been trying to call you all day. You didn’t answer your phone and I finally had to come and see if you were okay. Beth, Carl needs to talk to you right away. He needs a statement from you.”
“Yeah, I uh, I shot Lee Jay, didn’t I?” she questioned.
Josh watched her confusion and nodded yes. “You did. Julia told Carl what happened and he talked to Mick as well, but he needs your statement Beth. Are you up for it? He’s out in the living room.”
“WHAT? He’s here?” she asked as she jumped out of bed and got tangled up in the sheets.
Josh caught her before she could fall to the floor and said, “Take it easy, he’s just waiting for you. Go ahead and get dressed, okay?”
Beth nodded and headed into the bathroom, shedding her wrinkled clothes as she went. When Josh heard the shower come on he went back to the living room, where Carl sat waiting. Josh headed into the kitchen and started a pot of coffee, knowing that Beth would need it.
“She was sleeping, pretty soundly I might add. She should be out soon. Want some coffee?” he asked, holding up a cup.
Carl nodded and said, “Is she okay? It’s not like her to sleep all day.”
That statement made Josh frown for a moment; he had only recently found out that Beth and Carl had dated in college. The fact that it had been a serious relationship still tended to bother Josh. Occasionally he saw them share a look about something and knew that they were thinking the same thing. He liked to assure himself that it was all in the past, but it did sort of bother him, this history they shared.
As Beth showered she thought about what Josh had said, that Carl had already talked to Julia and Mick. So that meant that Mick was okay; for some reason that thought made her feel so much better. Now if she could only decide what to tell Carl. What had Mick said to him? She finally decided on just the facts of the shooting; she would leave out the part where she had gone to Mick’s afterwards. Unless Mick had told them, but somehow she was pretty sure he wouldn’t have; after all, what could he say about it?
That decided, she washed her hair and when she was done and getting dressed, she smelled the coffee in the kitchen. Thank God for Josh she decided; she could always depend on him.
The phone rang in Clark’s office and he answered it and smiled as he realized it was his little brother calling. “Hey Logan, what’s going on?”
“Clark, I need to talk to you – alone and not on the phone. Can you come by?”
Clark looked at his watch and saw that it was a few minutes after five. Dorothy was getting her hair cut tonight and then having dinner with some girlfriends, so his time was free. “Okay. I’ll be done here in about 30 minutes and then I can head your way. Dorothy is busy tonight so I’m going to stop and grab something to eat on the way. Will that work?”
“Yep, that will be fine. I’ll see you then.” With that Logan was off the phone and Clark hung his receiver up and stared at it for a moment while wondering what was up. He mentally shrugged and figured he’d find out soon enough and went back to figuring the costs on a new order. The time passed quickly and he forgot all about his curiosity until he was on his way to Logan’s.
Logan buzzed him in immediately and Clark came in, looking around the room that was much less messier than usual. His eyes swept the room in question and Logan shrugged and said, “Mick was over earlier.”
Ah hah! Whenever Logan knew Mick was coming over he tried to tidy up a bit because his sire was a total neat freak. Clark really appreciated that about Mick because frankly, Logan lived like he was still in college and paid no attention to things as the clothes piled up around him, on the floor, the couch, wherever. It’s not that he was exactly a dirty slob, but he certainly wasn’t the neatest of people, that was for sure.
Clark sat down on the couch and opened the bag that contained his dinner. He had stopped and grabbed a cheeseburger and fries. Dorothy would have his head if she saw it because she was on this health kick right now; she had him eating whole grains and ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ foods and it was okay, but every now and then a guy just had to have a burger!
“In N Out?” Logan asked, wearing a smirk on his face.
“Yes and if you tell Dorothy I’ll stake you!” Clark teased, taking his first bite and chewing slowly. It was wonderful and he hurriedly took another bite and then popped a fry in his mouth too. “What’s up?”
“Well, as I said Mick came over earlier and shared something you need to know. Beth knows about Mick; uh, about his being a vampire I mean.”
“What? How in the hell did that happen?”
Clark listened while Logan told the story of Beth’s discovery of Mick’s secret. Suddenly he lost all his appetite as he thought of the repercussions to all this; namely how his wife was going to react.
“It just happened Clark and Mick is freaking out about it, let me tell you. When Beth left he was in pretty bad shape he said. Josef and Guillermo came over and took care of him but he hasn’t talked to Beth since then. Carl Davis called this morning and needed a statement about what had happened and Mick stopped here after he saw Carl. There was someone else there who saw what happened, so Beth will be in the clear, but Mick is worried sick about her.”
“Oh man, Dorothy is going to have a fit; you know that right?”
“Yes, I can imagine. I really can. She has kept Beth insulated from all - this,” he said, indicating himself and how he lived. “Clark, sooner or later she was bound to find out, we’ve always known that. And frankly, like you I think it’s better for her to know.”
Clark nodded his head and frowned. It’s true, Beth would have found out at some point yet Dorothy was determined to keep it all from her. Over the years Clark had watched Beth grow up and it was always apparent that she knew there was something missing, some part of her life that she knew she wasn’t told about. Beth was a very intelligent young woman and Clark could only believe that facing her demons would be the best thing for her. But he had always bowed to Dorothy’s wishes on it all, even to the point of keeping Beth from knowing about Logan. He understood, but it didn’t mean he liked it.
Well, part of the cat was out of the bag now. The question was, what were they going to do about it?
Beth walked up to Mick’s door, trying to get the courage up to knock on it. She hesitated and then took a step away, unaware that Mick was on the other side, watching her on the video camera. Finally she screwed up her courage and knocked, praying that he would answer.
He didn’t seem terribly surprised to see her and let her into the apartment with a quick check to make sure that she was alone. He sat patiently while she fidgeted on the couch and worked up the courage to speak.
He even answered her questions, most of them anyway. He either wouldn’t or couldn’t talk about how he became a vampire; in fact he almost totally shut down when she asked and basically showed her out the door, refusing to talk further.
She punched the down button by the elevator and waited for it to come and as she did she remembered that she hadn’t asked him how the interview with Carl had gone for him. It must have been okay because Carl only asked her for the facts and didn’t push her on it all. She wondered if in a way the cops weren’t delighted to just be done with Lee Jay Spalding; it wasn’t as if he was a sterling citizen or something. Still, she wondered what Mick had said. For a moment she turned back towards the apartment but then the elevator doors opened and she finally decided just to go.
As the elevator door closed her phone rang and she looked at it to see that it was Mo. A big story had just broke; a clerk in a convenience store was murdered and Mo needed her to get to the scene of the crime; she was sending a camera guy to meet her there.
At the scene Beth saw Carl and he acted as if all was okay and she began to relax a bit, even eavesdropping on his conversation with another cop. A clerk had been mauled, half-eaten in fact and his blood had been drained. Carl and the cop weren’t sure what had happened, maybe a wild dog or something but Beth knew. She knew it involved a vampire!
The next day another murder happened with the same M.O. and Beth and Mick were working together to try and solve the crime. Mick had admitted that it was a newly-turned vamp, one who had gone feral and he didn’t want her working on the case. He had finally given in, only because he knew that she would continue on it with or without his help.
They tracked the doctor down in the hospital where he worked and he and Mick fought until Mick got the upper hand and staked him. Beth wanted to go to the police with him and Mick realized she just didn’t get it; how could a human justice system deal with an immortal? What, put him in jail? How the hell would that work he fumed. He knew that they needed to talk but now wasn’t the right time. He put the body into the incinerator and watched it burn, trying to sort it all out in his head. When he came out of the hospital, Beth had gone and he realized it was for the best.
Back at Mick’s the door chimed and then opened and Mick watched Josef let himself in. It was okay, Mick had smelled him as soon as he had gotten off the elevator. The sensory perception of vampires was practically off the charts; they could see better, hear better, smell better than humans and all of those things combined made Mick decide to become a private investigator. Those special skills had helped him crack many a case.
Mick was disturbed about all of this and Josef picked up on it immediately. Mick recounted the case to him and for the first time in a long time, he was even a bit grateful to Coraline. She might not have been the best thing that ever happened to him, but she did teach him how to survive in the vampire world. As he and Josef chatted about that, Josef realized there was more to the story than what Mick was sharing.
“So boyo, what else is going on?” Josef asked, taking a sip of some blood laced scotch.
“Josef, I…” He abruptly shut his mouth, half afraid to tell Josef the truth about Beth. “I, you know that reporter? Beth Turner?”
“Yeah, the one that had the story about vampires?”
“Yes, that’s her. Well, she sort of knows I’m a vampire now.”
“WHAT? Just how does she ‘sort of’ know Mick?”
“Well, I mean, she does know. The uh, other night, when you and Guillermo came to rescue me, she was here, before you got her. She saw me.”
Josef digested the news quietly but Mick watched his foot tapping rapidly on the floor. He could tell Josef was plenty angry and he waited for the fallout.
“So what are you going to do about it Mick?”
“Well, I’m not going to kill her Josef! I’ve talked with her, everything is under control!”
“Under control? How do you know that?”
“I trust her Josef. Look, um, there is more to this story than you know.” Mick proceeded to tell Josef about rescuing Beth all those years ago and how he had watched over her as well, until he moved to Seattle.
“So she is the reason you ran away to Seattle, with your tail tucked between your legs?”
“I wouldn’t quite describe it that way. I just needed to let her grow up. And she has; she has her own life now.”
“Which you are apparently intimately involved in!”
“NO!” Mick said, a terrified look on his face. “She, she has a boyfriend, okay? A steady boyfriend and she’s happy. It’s not like that, okay? We’re not intimate.”
Josef heard the words but he also knew Mick; he was already in love with her, the human who happened to be a reporter. Might as well be the damn town crier. “Mick, I appreciate you wanting to protect her and all, but how do you know you can trust her? Really?”
“I just do Josef – she won’t tell.”
“Not even the boyfriend? Pillow talk?”
“No Josef, she won’t talk. I promise.”
“You better be right about that Mick, for all of our sakes.” He was headed to Tokyo for a week and all this gave him a lot to think about. Josef knew he was going to have to keep a close eye on Beth Turner and at the first sign of her telling anyone, she would no longer be a problem!
Mick thought about it all night, Beth’s desire to know how he was turned. He meant what he said to Josef, he did trust her. But could he let her in enough to know this horrible thing that had happened to him? It was pushed so far down inside him, maybe it was time to let it out. In the vamp community, many of them had been forced turnings; most of them actually. Elka was one of the few people he knew who had actually chosen to become a vampire and she had admitted that she didn’t really understand what it meant.
Being turned against your will was a lot like being raped Mick thought. And in his case, it was done by someone he knew and loved so the betrayal was double-edged. Coraline betrayed his trust as his wife as she stole his life.
Yes, the case could be made that he was alive now, in a way. But not really; when he was turned he had to give up family and friends because he became a danger to them. How do you tell them that you are no longer human? That Sunday dinners are out and that the fourth of July holidays on the beach were now out of the question?
Still, he had learned to live with it all, even if he hadn’t really accepted it. If it were possible to go back Mick would do it in an instant, but sadly, becoming a vampire was a one way street. So he lurked in the shadows of his loved ones lives, watching them die one by one until he was the last one standing. The pain of that thought shot through him like a sharp knife.
He finally came to a decision about Beth and headed to her place. She answered his knock quickly and asked him to come in but he decided to just stand there in the doorway and tell her; tell her how he became a vampire.
Her eyes were full of compassion as he told her how Coraline has turned him on their wedding night. “I went to sleep a happily married man and woke up a monster.”
“You’re not a monster Mick,” Beth said, her heart breaking for him.
“Believe me, I was.”
For a moment their eyes met and held one another’s. Beth tried to read what was hidden in his but they were unreadable.
“You asked me if I trusted you,” he said. “You are the first human I have told any of this too, so yeah, I trust you.”
He reached up and caressed her hand, which was resting on the door frame. For a half of a moment he gently squeezed it and Beth’s breath caught in her throat. She watched as he turned and walked down the hall, heading away from her. He never saw the tears that rimmed her eyes and spilled down her cheeks.
And she didn’t see his either…
Meanwhile, Josh was thinking more and more about Mick St. John. He started a case file on him and watched as a report came in about Mick’s background. Curious Josh though, very curious.
To be continued…