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



Monday, January 31, 2011

Chapter 25 Lani Comes Home

*This chapter is not from an episode.  It takes place between Sleeping Beauty and Love Lasts Forever.  It is meant to start bringing the story in line for the future when we are done with the episodes.  Only 6 more to go and then the story will be back in my hands everyone!  This chapter is very long, sorry about that but there was a lot of ground to cover!*


December 23, 2007


I can’t believe the year is almost ready to surrender itself to the past. It has been an eventful year and while much of what has happened is good, much of it is not. As I take a mental inventory it’s hard to tell which list wins. One thing’s for sure, I have a lot to resolve before the ball drops.


Tomorrow evening I will go to my mom’s house; we always spend Christmas Eve together and while a part of me is more than excited, another part is dreading it because I know that it is going to bring a confrontation between us. Granted, we need it and I welcome it too because I love my mom so much and I absolutely hate this wall that is currently between us. I sincerely hope that we can find middle ground; I know that there has to be reasons for what she did. My mom is not the type of person who would arbitrarily hide something; no, there is a reason and I’m sure it’s a big one. I guess my concern is how much this reason will shake up my world. When the truth comes out will I be happy knowing it?


Josh is still in Sacramento but will go home to see his family tomorrow for a few days. If I’m telling the complete truth here (and otherwise, what’s the purpose of writing this) I’m relieved about that. I can only imagine how strained it would be to see him because I could not hurt him over the holidays, I just couldn’t. His family is huge and I’m sure he’ll enjoy his Christmas with them.


Lani will be home December 26th and this will seem like the three longest days imaginable to me. I need so badly to open myself up to someone who will not judge me; I’m already doing enough of that myself. I know that I have a right to be happy and I know that Josh isn’t the one to make me happy. I can’t be expected to live an unfulfilled life because it is safe or it makes others happy can I? I have no idea where Mick stands for sure but they way he looked at me as I was leaving New York made me realize that he does have some feelings for me. I may not understand exactly what feelings but there definitely are feelings. I will not explore those feelings until I have ended it with Josh (I know, I should have thought of that before I kissed him or tried to seduce him when I took the BC) because I want to be able to do it with a clear conscience, or reasonably clear anyway.


When Lani gets here she will stay with me for a couple of days, although Sesumi Corp will provide her with an apartment; a penthouse no less and a Maserati to drive. It seems Heroku Sesumi believes in taking care of his employees in style. He will be accompanying her to the states to see that all is in place for her new job. He seems more like a mentor rather than a boss, but maybe a good boss should be both. She’ll also spend a bit of time with her family but I know that she is looking forward to our time together more. Lani comes from money and honestly, she spent more time with maids and aunts and uncles than she did with her parents. She loves them and they love her, but she’s not terribly close to them. My mom always wondered what would become of Lani, but I think she has done extremely well.


Later…



OOOOOOOOOOOO



Dorothy fussed with the tree as she did each year. Everything had to be just so but Clark knew that there was more to it this year; she was scared to see her daughter again because they had only spoken a few times since Beth had last been there, confronting them about the past. She bent down to arrange the presents again, for the fourth time and Clark walked to her and pulled her up into his arms and held her close. “It’s alright darling; it looks beautiful, as usual.”

Dorothy nodded and finally looked up into the warm eyes of her husband. She laid her cheek against his strong shoulder breathed in deeply, trying to pull some of the strength into herself. She felt his hands rubbing up and down her back and she wanted to melt into his arms but there was too much going on in her head. “Clark, I don’t know what is going to happen tonight.”

“I know Dorothy, I know.” He stepped back a half step and lifted her small face up to his and placed a kiss on her lips. Her hazel eyes stared into his and he could see how brightly they were shining. She swallowed convulsively and he smiled at her, trying to reassure her.

“She’ll hate me, I know she will.”

“No she won’t. She may have a hard time accepting it all at first, but she will come around. Dorothy, you have to tell her because if you don’t your relationship with your daughter may never heal. It’s just that simple. I’m here with you Dorothy, right here.”

“Yes, you are. Thank God…”



OOOOOOOOOOOO



Lani finished packing up her Tokyo office and looked around it with a bit of sadness; she knew that she would miss it and would cherish this time here very much. Most of it that was. A shudder passed quickly over her at memories she tried so hard to forget or suppress, either one would work and yet she never managed either one. She sat the last crate on the floor and called her secretary and told her that the boxes were ready to be shipped.

Lani sat down in her chair and swiveled it around to stare out at the city of Tokyo. Even from the 60th floor it was alive and bustling with activity. In Japan there were people everywhere; free space was at a premium and they made the most of what they did have. In decades past many were farmers but as technology boomed so did the rush to the city, but the city had nowhere to grow, so it grew up and spaces became smaller, tighter. She thought about her friend Yoshi’s apartment and smiled; it wasn’t any larger than a large bedroom would be in the states, but included a living room, bedroom, bathroom and kitchen; all very high-tech with everything built in. Lani would never be able to handle it but Yoshi loved her home.

There was a knock on her door ending her silent reverie and she called out “Come in,” thinking it was someone to pick up her boxes. Instead she turned to find Heroku standing by the door, watching her with a smile on his face.

“Lani, you have finished I see. Are you ready to go to dinner; your last night in Tokyo?” he asked. They were having dinner with their colleagues to say goodbye before she left.

“I certainly hope it will not be my last night ever in Tokyo Heroku, but yes, I’m ready to leave.” She smiled wistfully at him and grabbed her purse in preparation to leave.

Heroku bowed slightly and clarified, “Simply a statement my dear, not to be meant literally. Come, they are all waiting for us at Sakura.” Heroku couldn’t help but notice her eyes that were shining brightly with unshed tears. He knew that she was happy to go home but also felt sad to leave here. Nonetheless he watched as she gave him a brilliant smile and headed out the door, determined to not look back.

At the restaurant they posed a merry group; at least on the surface. They had a private room for their boisterous celebration and considering how much noise they made Lani decided that was a very good thing. Not that any restaurant in Tokyo would dare to throw Heroku Sesumi out for being too loud but still Lani was thankful for the privacy. Her co-workers and friends bestowed small memento’s on her, remembrances of her time here in this amazing city. They gave her an excuse to shed occasional tears and that helped to relieve the lump that rose alarmingly in her throat from time to time. When it was time to go she hugged them all tightly, truly sad to leave. Heroku accompanied her back to her hotel since she had already moved out of her apartment so that her things could be shipped to the states.

She and Heroku decided to have a final drink in the hotel bar; they didn’t leave for LA until 2 o’clock tomorrow and Lani didn’t care if she slept late. They were flying on Heroku’s private jet which would be a pleasant luxury.

“You are sad to leave Tokyo,” he stated simply.

Lani took a drink of her Moet and felt the bubbles tickle her nose. She decided her last drink here would be something special and she savored the taste of the fine champagne. “Yes, I am.”

Heroku thought about her answer before addressing her again. He knew that she loved the city and her job; however some things about her time here were not so good. “Lani, I am sorry for what happened to you here.”

Lani caught her breath and a hot tear crept down her cheek. She hastily swiped it away and looked him directly in the eye. “Heroku, it wasn’t your fault; on the contrary, if you hadn’t have come along, I might have died.”

He nodded, knowing that was true but he did feel responsible for all of it. If he hadn’t have heard her cry out, if it had been only a moment later he indeed might have been too late. Instead, he had torn apart her two assailants and Lani’s world had changed forever. She was so brave, so extraordinary and he felt responsible for her. He wanted her to have a normal life, get married, have kids and never have to deal with vampires again. Sadly, that wouldn’t be the course her life would take now.

“But you didn’t Lani; you shall be my shining star at Sesumi in North America, I have complete confidence in you. Oh, I forgot to tell you, we have been invited to a New Year’s Eve celebration at Josef Kostan’s house. Each year he throws a very lavish party to welcome in the New Year.” He watched a she shivered and a flash of something undetectable flashed in her eyes. He immediately became concerned. “Lani, why do you dislike Josef? Has he made advances to you?” He didn’t mean the human kind and he knew that she understood that.

“No, no, not like that, you know. He’s just, um, he’s a player and makes me uncomfortable Heroku. He hasn’t tried to hurt me or anything,” she hurriedly finished as she saw his dark brown eyes suddenly start to silver.

“If he makes the slightest attempt towards you like that Lani please let me know immediately; it will not be tolerated. Josef is very civilized but he can be a bit impetuous. He will not risk the wrath of me or the Brotherhood of the Moon though; I can assure you of that.”

Lani bit her lower lip as she listened to his words; he obviously didn’t complete understand where her fears lie and that was okay. She wasn’t in any hurry to clarify that misconception at all.



OOOOOOOOOOO



Beth pulled into the drive way at her mom’s and shut the Prius off and sat there for a moment breathing deeply. Get out of the car Beth, just do it.

She loved her mom so much and she wanted things to go well; she missed her so badly and this was their chance. She knew that she had to just listen and control her tendency to let anger take over. It was a fault, a huge fault but tonight she was going to do her best to control it.

Maybe this year that will be a resolution, find a way to control her quick temper. Each year when they were younger she, Lani and Robbie used to make their New Year’s resolutions together; maybe this year they could start again.

She pulled the key out of the ignition and popped the hatch open so she could get the presents out of the back. As she stepped out into the night there was a bit of a chill in the air; not a really cold one since it was LA but enough to remind her that it was Christmas. She inhaled deeply, almost expecting to smell the clean smell of snow or pines or something. She laughed at herself and again remembered that it was LA. No snow, few pines; just the palms that swept the night sky and occasionally obstructed the view of the few stars that you could see.

She gathered up the bags out of the back of the car and shut the hatch with a firm click. As she walked to the steps she pressed the lock remote and saw the lights flash telling her that the car locked behind her. No sooner had she knocked on the door then her mother answered it, welcoming her and for a moment Beth forgot all the issues between them and only felt welcome, as she had in years past.

“Oh Bethy, I’m so happy to see you sweetheart. You look well,” Dorothy told her, lightly brushing a stray strand of Beth’s hair off of her face. Memories flooded Beth; her mother had repeated that gesture countless times when she was growing up. Beth sat the bags down and embraced her mother and for a now it was enough; she felt the love that encompassed both of them.

Clark had picked up the bags and set them by the tree before he pulled her into his welcoming arms for his own hug. Beth caught a whiff of Old Spice and felt like she was five years old again, safe in his arms. It may be an old, outdated fragrance but to her it was perfect for this man.

Beth smiled into his eyes and he winked at her and hugged her once more; he whispered into her ear and suddenly she felt better. “It’s going to be okay.”

“Oh Mom, it smells great in here; it smells like Christmas!” And it did she thought as she smelled cinnamon and spice, totally unnecessary pine logs burning in the fireplace and her mom’s Christmas stew cooking in the kitchen. For as long as she could remember that stew had simmered on Christmas Eve and it reminded Beth that this was home and whatever happened would be okay because they were family.

Beth went to the tree and looked at the ornaments that hung on it; there, the very top ornament, under the angel was the Rudolf ornament she had made in Brownies in the 1st grade. It was made out of a clothes pin and decorated with a fluffy red ball for the nose and glued on rolly eyes. It always held a place of honor on the tree, the top-most ornament. Beth stared for a moment and suddenly she couldn’t hold the tears back a moment longer; great heaving sobs tore at her and her mom was there in an instant, holding her close and trying desperately to whisk away the tears with trembling fingers until she could no longer see Beth for her own tears. They made their way to the couch and sat down together and Clark grabbed a box of tissue and sat it between them. Both of them reached for one at the same time and they each laughed a bit.

“Mom, I…”

“Beth, honey…”

They both stopped at the others words and then started again at the same time. Finally Beth said, “Mom, please talk to me.”

Dorothy nodded and tried to swallow down the tennis ball that was bobbing up and down in her throat. “It scares me so much for you to know about vampires Beth, about that world. And I – I am the one that caused you to be taken in the first place.” The last words were barely a whisper and Beth sat for a moment, trying to understand what her mother had just said to her.

“How can that be? Did you know about vampires before?”

Dorothy looked at Clark and he nodded his head towards her. “Yes, we did, but I didn’t know that Coraline was a vampire. I – I’m the one that asked her here, to the house.”

“Mom, that’s only an old myth, they don’t have to wait for an invitation to enter your house!” she said, her mind racing.

“Nooo…but I specifically invited Coraline here, for coffee. We met her at the park Beth; you remember the small park we used to go to on Burch? You had fallen down and scraped your knee, pretty badly and she picked you up and one thing led to another and I asked her home to have coffee. She knew where we lived; you had even shown her your room so she knew exactly where to go to when she came to take you.”

“And when she smelled my blood she, well, who knows but it wasn’t your fault Mom. Have you felt guilty about this all these years?”

“Yes, it was my fault you went through that Beth, my fault. I couldn’t face it for so many years, but Clark helped me to realize that I had to tell you.”

Beth worried her bottom lip with her teeth while she thought about it all; the pain and anguish her mother had felt because of the guilt all these years. This was why she couldn’t tell me; she was afraid I would blame her and hate her for it all. “Mom, please don’t feel this way; it wasn’t your fault. If it hadn’t been me it would have been someone else and they might not have known the right person to call to help. But Mom, Clark? How did you know to call Mick and how did you already know about vampires?”

Clark was sitting in a chair across from them and he leaned forward and rested his elbows on his knees as he prepared to tell his part of the story. “Beth, you have to understand that we didn’t know that Coraline was a vampire, but we wanted someone with special skills to track her. For four days the police did almost nothing, came up with no clues. Oh, they tried, but Coraline hadn’t left a single clue; you had just simply vanished. I called Mick,” he said, watching her face.

“But how did you know him?”

“He helped my family once, a few years before that. My father was a judge and knew Josef Kostan; my mother had been kidnapped and Josef recommended Mick’s ‘special skills’. He tracked her down but unfortunately she was killed in the end anyway. “

Both Dorothy and Clark were aware that there was so much more to the story than he had relayed, but they both felt that she had enough for now; the rest would come later as she adjusted to it all. Maybe it wasn’t the smartest thing to withhold more information from her but for now she had the basic facts and it would have to be enough.

“I hear that Coraline disappeared from the hospital a little while ago,” Dorothy said. “I know it could have been disastrous for you if she had died, but I’m so sorry she didn’t!”

“Disastrous why Mom?”

“Wouldn’t the police have looked into the ‘accident’? “

“She told them it was an accident so I don’t know what they would have done.”

“How is Mick taking it all? He’s sure had a rough ride with that woman,” Clark said, remembering the past.

“He – he still has some feelings for her I know, but exactly what those feelings are, well, I don’t know because he hasn’t talked about it. I do know that you are right Clark, his past with her was less than happy.” Beth’s eyes darkened briefly as she thought about Mick and suddenly Dorothy knew the truth, that her daughter loved him.

“Beth, you can’t!”

“I can’t what Mom?”

“Don’t imagine a future with him; it will never happen honey. You deserve a happy life, a normal life, with marriage and kids and all of that. A life with Josh.”

“Mom, I don’t love Josh – not in that way. He’s a great guy, but I’m just not in love with him. I was planning on ending it with him a couple of weeks ago but he’s in Sacramento and I won’t do it over the phone.”

Her words broke Dorothy’s heart, but in one way she understood. It did no good to marry someone if you didn’t love them. “Beth, this isn’t about Mick is it?” she asked, needing to be reassured.

“No, it isn’t. I do love Mick, but what was going on with Josh was failing even before Mick came into my life. I know that Mick and I probably don’t have a single chance in the world; he has told me that relationships between vampires and humans are difficult, dangerous and complicated. I understand that, but I also can’t help what my heart wants.”

All three of them digested those words slowly; Dorothy and Clark with sadness because they feared for the pain that Beth would surely encounter in the future. All three kept silent and spent the rest of their time together enjoying the holiday because they didn’t know what the future would hold.



OOOOOOOOOOO



Beth wanted to meet Lani and LAX but Lani insisted that she just wait at the apartment. Beth all but paced the apartment as she waited for Lani to arrive; the huge pitcher in the fridge was full to the brim with margarita’s, and some take out enchiladas from Los Chicas waited to be popped into the oven and reheated. They had everything they needed for an uninterrupted reunion.

Finally Beth heard a knock on the door and rushed to it and threw it open. The girl on the other side of the door fell into her best friends arms and they hugged tightly. Both cried a little and then laughed as they each wiped away their tears.

“Look at YOU!” Beth exclaimed as she took in the high fashioned clothes that Lani was wearing. “Holey Moley, I didn’t know that Valentino made jeans!”

“They aren’t Valentino goof ball! They are by a little Japanese designer who is fabulous and I brought you some pairs as well!” She laughed as she heard Beth squeal with delight and added, “I think you’re more excited about the clothes than me!”

“Not a chance. Come on, we have so much to catch up on. God Lani, you look so good, all grown up!” She looked at Lani’s makeup that was done to perfection and her well-manicured nails.

“Well, working in Tokyo will do that. They are very formal in their business practices so I just got in the habit of making sure I always looked the part. It will be nice to be back here to standards that are a bit less ridged. At least away from work anyway.”

“Tell me all about Tokyo! I want to hear everything Lani. I’ve missed you so much!”

Lani talked for an hour, all about her life there but she omitted one thing, one glaringly important thing but she knew she would never be able to talk about it; she owed that to Heroku.

As Beth watched Lani’s animated face she knew her friend wasn’t telling her everything but Beth figured it had to do with some type of man trouble and she was content to let her keep her secrets, for now. After all, she had a number of them herself and while she talked to Lani about her life she skipped the part about Mick being a vampire.

“So, you’re going to break up with Josh? Are you sure Bethy?”

“Yes. I’ve known for awhile, but the time hasn’t been right. I don’t want to do it over the phone; he deserves better than that, you know?”

“Yeah, I do. But what about Mick? You love him don’t you?”

“Yes – I think I do.” She sighed and for a moment she looked very far away.

Lani watched this and knew there was a lot more to the story. “But…?”

Beth shook her head as if to clear it. “But nothing. There will probably not ever be anything between us. I’d like to think that maybe someday but I really don’t know. He says that things between us would be, um, well difficult and uh, complicated.” She skipped the part about dangerous because she knew that Lani would immediately want to know what the hell was going on.

“Is he involved with someone?”

“I don’t know. I met a woman at his flat that, well I know that at some point they have been lovers but he never talks about her, even casually and other than that once I’ve never seen her.” She shrugged, not knowing what else to say.

Lani decided to change the subject to something lighter, in a way that is. “Hey, I need you on New Year’s Eve! I have to go to a party at some asshole client’s house; Heroku is going and tells me that I have to as well. This guy really gets under my skin, let me tell you and NOT in a good way before you start imagining things.”

“Okay, I’m not doing anything else so it could be fun. We’ll just ignore the asshole, okay? Where is it at?”

“Some mansion out in Beverly Hills,” Lani said with a sour look on her face. Just the thought of having to tolerate Josef Kostan for a whole evening irritated the hell out of her.

“Oh, Beverly Hills huh? That will be a painful evening,” Beth said with a laugh. She immediately started wondering what on earth she could have in her closet that was fit for a party in Beverly Hills.

“Well, it will be for me. When I met this guy in Tokyo he just instantly rubbed me the wrong way. He’s a player and thinks he’s just so cool. The worst part is that Kostan Industries is one of our biggest clients and I’ll have to deal with him regularly as we implement the new training platforms.”

Beth immediately burst out laughing, almost spitting a drink of margarita all over Lani. “Josef Kostan is the one throwing the party?” It was too funny, in so many ways. Beth could well understand why Lani wouldn’t like Josef, they were so much alike.

“Yes! He is a total jerk. Hopefully it should be a large party so I won’t have to see him too much. So you know the name huh?”

“I know more than the name, I know Josef himself. He’s a friend of Mick’s.”

“I’m so sorry Beth. I hope you don’t have to see him very often.”

“I don’t mind Josef at all actually. He was sort of intimidating at first, but he’s okay. He’s like Mick’s best friend; he’s the reason Mick and I were in New York a few weeks ago.”

If Lani was shocked at Beth’s information she hid it well. “Hm, well whatever. At least I won’t have to hang out with him outside of work.”

Beth wondered about that but wisely didn’t say anything. It was all pretty funny actually and Beth was suddenly looking forward to New Year’s Eve.



OOOOOOOOOOOO



New Years Eve dawned bright and clear, a beautiful day. There wasn’t as much smog and haze hanging over the city as usual Beth decided as she looked out her balcony. She hummed to herself a bit as she made her game plan for the rest of the day and decided to spend it in girly pursuits. Lani had moved into her penthouse two days ago and she and Beth had spent a lot of time getting her settled. That penthouse was so large that the whole second floor of Beth’s apartment building could fit in it.

Glad I don’t have to clean it Beth decided with a laugh, but then, Lani wouldn’t either because there was a maid service in the building.

Yesterday she had gone shopping and found a great dress for tonight; it wasn’t a big designer, but it was beautiful and fit like it had been made for her. The clingy soft material was a deep dusky rose color with crystal beading around the neck. It was off the shoulder and exposed her neck to its best advantage. Not that she was trying to entice a certain vampire but still she decided that she did have a nice neck.

God Beth, knock it off. What? You want him to bite you?

She shook her head and decided to go out for a mani-pedi for the occasion. She had bought a perfect little pair of strappy sandals and she wanted to show off her freshly done toes to their best advantage. She grabbed her keys and headed out the door. As she got downstairs she saw Mick walking up the sidewalk.

“Hey,” she called out, happy to see him.

“Hey yourself. Going out?”

“Yeah, girl stuff,” she told him with a laugh.

Mick wasn’t sure quite what to make of that so he just smiled and tried not to let his confusion show. “I just wanted to stop and say hi. We haven’t had much time to talk since we got back from New York.” He watched her face as he said the words, trying to gauge her thoughts.

“I know. My friend Lani is back here from Tokyo and I’ve spent a lot of time with her.”

“Lani, she was the dark-haired one?” he asked. In his mind he was thinking that she was the boy crazy one. He was right on both accounts.

“Yes, she was transferred in her job; actually promoted so she’ll be working here now. I’m really excited to have her home. And guess what?” she asked and watched his face relax into a smile as she teased him.

“I don’t know! What?”

“She has to attend Josef’s party this evening and I’m going with her. So, I guess I’ll be seeing you there?” she asked, her voice hopeful.

“Uh, yeah, I’ll be there. She knows Josef?”

“Only through her job. She actually doesn’t like him at all; called him an asshole and a jerk,” Beth laughed.

Mick chuckled and added, “She certainly isn’t the first to say that. Uh, well I guess I’ll see you there then? At the party?”

“Yep. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.” Mick had walked her to her car and opened the door for her when he heard the lock click open. After she sat down he closed the door for her and they both looked at one another, with their parting in New York fresh in their minds. Somehow this was different and they both knew it.

Mick watched as she drove off and for once he was excited to be going to Josef’s New Year’s Eve bash. Might not be so bad this year at all.



OOOOOOOOOOOO



Lani arrived at 9 o’clock prompt, in a limo. When the chauffer opened the door Beth crawled in, shocked to see that it was only Lani inside. “Where is your boss?”

“Heroku will meet us there. He and Josef had some business to discuss.” She didn’t mention of course that the ‘business’ probably involved drinking blood, but that was okay.

That answer got Beth to wondering about the elusive Heroku. “How good of friends are Josef and Heroku?” she asked.

“Um, I don’t know for sure; pretty good I think.”

Beth let that pass and the girls talked excitedly about each other’s dresses. Lani looked incredible in a Vera Wang dress. The dress was perfect for her, a deep turquoise blue that fastened on one shoulder and swept down her lithe body in a misty cloud. They didn’t realize what a perfect pair they made together, but every man at the party would.

At Josef’s they entered along with other guests who were just arriving and made their way into the ballroom. It was cleverly lit by mellow lighting, the better to not show the unnatural pallor of some of the guests Beth noticed. It was also very cool and Beth was glad she had a wrap with her because she was sure she would need it later if she didn’t dance much.

Mick had been watching the door, waiting breathlessly for Beth to arrive and as soon as he saw her he headed her way, wearing a huge smile. He met her and Lani as they made their way to get a drink and he stooped to kiss Beth on the cheek.

“You look lovely tonight Beth. Your dress is beautiful. And you must be Lani,” he said, throwing her a dazzling smile.

My God, he is stunning Lani thought. Guardian angel indeed. She remembered all their girlish talk about who he might be but never in their wildest dreams had she ever imagined this. She sincerely hoped that he would make Beth a happy woman; he seemed to be crazy about her.

“Yes, I’m Lani and you’re Mick St. John, otherwise known as the guardian angel.”

For a moment Mick looked embarrassed that she had mentioned the past and Beth stifled a laugh. Mick reached out to shake Lani’s hand and as soon as he did he caught her heartbeat pick up frantically and the smell of fear washed over him. He quickly let go of her hand and watched as she stared at her hand and then at him, her eyes open wide.

“I, uh, excuse me. I need to find the ladies room.” She stared to walk away and when Beth asked if she wanted company she silently shook her head no.

He’s a vampire, he’s a vampire, he’s a freaking vampire! The words shot through her head over and over as her heart continued to beat wildly.

But does she know? Does Beth know? It was a question she didn’t want to contemplate.



OOOOOOOOOOOO



Mick and Beth both watched Lani walk away from them and they both felt confused by her behavior.

“Geez, what’s up with her?” Beth asked

“I don’t know. She seemed panicked about something.”

Beth looked over Mick’s shoulder and saw Josef approaching with a Japanese gentleman. He looked around 45 and quite handsome. Beth briefly wondered if Lani had seen Josef approaching and that is what caused her panic. She mentally shook her head and then focused on Josef and the other man.

“Ah, Beth, my favorite Buzzwire reporter! Where did your companion go? I saw her with you a moment ago.”

“She had to make a trip to the ladies room. Josef, this looks like a very large gathering tonight. I am looking forward to a bit of fun. How are you?” Beth watched something sad briefly flare across his sherry brown eyes but it was quickly pushed aside.

“I’m just fine blondie. May I introduce Heroku Sesumi, a very old friend of mine.”

Beth could only imagine how old of a friend he might be but as she shook his hand she knew it was probably pretty old. So he was a vampire. Did Lani know? Could she possibly know about vampires?

This evening could prove to be interesting, in many ways Beth thought as she excused herself a few minutes later to go and find Lani.



OOOOOOOOOOOO



Beth found Lani in the ladies lounge, sitting on a sofa looking very pale. “Lani, what’s wrong?”

“I think I just, um, I haven’t really eaten much today Beth. I just felt a bit light-headed for a moment. I’ll be fine; you don’t need to wait for me.”

“It’s okay. Come on, let’s go hit the food table and get some food into you.” Lani nodded and they left the lounge.

As they made their way across the room Beth heard someone call her name and turned to see Elka walking towards them. Beth smiled in spite of her fears about her because something about Elka made her feel relaxed.

“Elka, hello. Happy New Year!” Beth said. “I would like to introduce you to my friend Lani, she’s just moved back to the states from Tokyo.”

“Lani, it is a pleasure,” she reached out to shake Lani’s hand and looked puzzled when Lani let it go almost as quickly as she had taken it.

“Um yes,” Lani uttered to Elka. Was everyone in Beth’s life a vampire. Dear God, what was going on?

Elka could sense Lani’s discomfort with her and quickly excused herself; she didn’t want to cause the young woman any distress but she was certainly curious about it all.

Lani still seemed somewhat dazed as she and Beth got plates of food and found a table to sit at. Beth saw Elka talking to Mick across the room but they only seemed to talk as friends. They both glanced at she and Lani several times and Mick looked concerned as he listened to Elka.

“Mick, it was a very strange reaction. Does she know that we’re vampires?” Elka asked him.

“I don’t know – that’s a very good question and I know just the man to ask.”

A short conversation with Heroku and Josef confirmed what Mick and Elka suspected; Lani did indeed know of vampires and her initial experience with them was a horrible experience. Mick listened as Heroku described saving her from two vamps determined to make her dinner and he understood so much. Josef listened and her reaction to him became much clearer as well. He knew that he frightened her, that all vamps frightened her and that he would have to tread carefully in their business dealings.

“So Lani knows about vampires and Beth does too. But I don’t think that either one knows that the other does. How do we handle this?” Mick asked Elka a bit later.

“Just see what happens; most likely the girls will discover it themselves and it is better that way.”

Mick nodded and looked up to see Kelly approaching him and he wondered if he had time to disappear. Even at vamp speed she would see him though so he stayed with Elka and hoped for the best.

“Mick! How wonderful to see you here! How are you?” Kelly asked, going in for a kiss. Mick turned his head away just in time for her to land it on his cheek, which irritated Kelly a great deal.

“I’m fine Kelly. You?” he asked. He listened to her go on about things for 5 minutes before he could manage to get away, summoned by Josef.

“Thanks,” he told his friend.

“Yes, you looked as if you needed rescuing.”

“No kidding. There’s something kind of creepy about that girl.” He looked around the room; it was ten minutes until midnight and he wondered if Beth would like to dance as a slow song came on. “I’m ditching you now though; I hope that Beth might actually grant me a dance!”

Josef laughed as Mick left; his friend had it bad for that girl. The question was, did Mick know it?

Beth saw Mick making his way towards her through the crowd. As she watched him he smiled at her and suddenly they were the only ones in the whole room. He stopped in front of her and said, “Beth, would you care to dance?”

“I would love to. I thought you would never ask!” she teased. She had danced a few dances during the evening, even one with Josef but these were the only arms she wanted to be in.

As they danced Mick softly hummed along to the music. His head was lying against hers, what they used to call dancing cheek-to-cheek.

Beth didn’t recognize the song, or at least the name of it. It was old she knew but that was about all she knew about it. “What is the name of this song?” she asked as they danced slowly to it, swaying slightly to the music.

“It’s called Sentimental Journey,” he told her. “It’s one of my favorites; you know, old music for an old guy,” he laughed.

“It’s nice,” she murmured against his cheek. Suddenly they heard a buzz around them and realized it was almost midnight. Mick slowly danced her out onto the terrace and they listened to the revelers counting down to midnight.

“10, 9, 8…”

Mick stopped dancing and looked into her eyes. She met the look easily, relaxed.

“7, 6, 5, 4,…”

Beth licked her lips and stared at his. She wanted this kiss; the kiss that she knew was going to happen. She held her breath, waiting for the countdown to finish.

“3, 2, 1. Happy New Year,” the cry rang out loud and clear from the party.

Mick didn’t hesitate; he captured her lips with his own, savoring the sweetness of her lips, the warmth that made him melt into her. Her supple body pressed against him, molding into all the right places. He never wanted this kiss to end.

Beth wrapped her arms around his neck as if to hold him tightly to her, afraid the kiss would end. Beth opened her mouth to his probing tongue as she opened her heart to him as well. She was lost in the kiss, lost in his arms and there was nowhere else she wanted to be.

“MICK!”

They both heard the shrill tone of someone calling his name and pulled apart hastily. They looked towards the open terrace doors and Mick groaned as he saw Kelly, watching them with hate in her silvered eyes. She turned away and left them alone on the terrace.

The spell was broken and they both realized it; Mick cupped her face for a moment, holding it between his hands, his thumbs tracing the lines of her lips that he had been kissing so passionately a minute before. Neither said a word but they both new that things were different now.



To be continued…

Monday, January 24, 2011

Chapter 24 Sleeping Beauty

In this episode – Sleeping Beauty


This chapter describes a lot of what happens in the episode but here is a basic synopsis. There was a lot of information that was left hanging in this episode which is why I have detailed it so much.

There is an attack on Josef’s office while he and a couple of buddies are playing poker; Mick was supposed to be there too but he was working a case. A hired mercenary comes in shooting and then tosses in a couple of military grade incendiary bombs which blows the office up. Josef manages to escape but his two friends don’t. Mick goes to the office building to investigate and see’s Beth there. She had been sent by Mo (although she had protested and tried to get out of it) to cover the story. Mick is angered by her camera and leaves. He goes to the hospital after hearing that Morgan is awake and talks to her briefly, but she will not tell him how she is now human. When she falls asleep Mick takes a vial of her blood for analysis. Back at his place he finds Beth waiting for him and they both are sorry for being so upset. Mick asks her in for a drink where they find Josef, alive and safe.

Josef is determined to go to his office to get in a fire-proof safe he has. He needs fresh blood and Mick will not let him have freshies at the loft for fear of a further attack. Mick goes to his freezer but wakes up soon only to realize that Josef has gone so Mick heads to Kostan Industries where he finds Josef. That’s where the killer finds them both. After a vicious fight Mick gets the name of the person who hired him, John Whitley in New York. As Mick deals with Martan Josef disappears and Mick knows he is heading to New York. Mick and Beth decide to follow to try to find him. In New York they find John Whitley, a 93 year old Real Estate developer and the person that hired Martan, the killer. John Whitley had lost his 21 year old daughter in 1955 to Charles Fitzgerald (aka Josef) and he was determined that Fitzgerald die before he could rest.

Next Mick and Beth track Josef down, at a town house on Waverly Place. There he introduces them to Sarah Whitley who is in a coma and has been since 1955, when he attempted to turn her. She never came out of it and Josef had taken care of her ever since. Martan find them there in another attempt to kill Josef manages to stake him and shoot him but Mick again fights him and finally breaks his neck, thus ending Martan. After removing the stake and bullets (Josef is a huge baby about it) Mick and Beth leave to head back to LA. As they walk outside Mick asks Beth to stay in New York a bit longer and go out on the town with him but Beth feels guilty and opts to head home.

Back in LA Morgan suddenly vanishes from the hospital, leaving the staff stunned.

*Special Note*


Next's weeks Beth's Diary will not be an episode. It will be an extra chapter to help celebrate the holidays, which the show never did and to welcome Lani home. She's going to face her first big challenge, so I hope you'll enjoy that chapter!





Chapter 24



December 16, 2007


I can’t believe that we are so close to the holidays; normally it is a happy time for me, but this year things are really out of balance and I’d just like to find a deep hole and jump in, pulling it in after me like that cartoon character I saw when I was a kid. Things are still strained with my mom and that hurts a lot. I want to bridge that gap and I know she does too but so far neither of us is saying anything at all. How do we even go about it I wonder, scaling this wall between us that is growing higher each and every day? I’m not really mad so much anymore but what I’m left with is the aching block of hurt that has settled around my heart. It scares me; I don’t want to hold myself back from her or anyone else for that matter. I’ve picked up the phone a dozen times to call her but then I think about what I want to say and everything becomes blurred and confusing. I wish Lani or Robbie were here; they are sort of the mirrors into my soul and heart and perhaps they would have something useful to say. Robbie is in Hawaii, in preparation for whale season that will begin in a couple of months. They are really busy and when we do have a few minutes to talk, well, there really isn’t enough time to go into all of it. I had hoped she would be home for Christmas this year but that is now impossible. Lani is getting ready to come home though; she’ll be here in a week and I will talk to her then, providing things haven’t improved by then.


Josh and I still together, technically that is. He seems distant and watchful, although of what I’m not sure. We’re trying to keep things normal between us, both of us but sometimes the tension is so thick you can cut it with a knife. I feel guilty every time I look at him and I hate that feeling. I haven’t made my mind up about what to do, about him and Mick I mean. I care for them both but what is right for me?


Josh is steady and so loving and caring; things I always wanted in a relationship. The problem is, it is just not enough for me. I don’t want to think that I am one of those women who craves a bad boy or the constant adrenaline rush of excitement but I’m beginning to wonder about myself. How can I pass up the lovely life that I would have with Josh? Will I pass it up?


Certainly with Mick there are no guarantees at all. I still believe that he only sees me as the child he watched over; absolutely nothing that has happened between us leads me to believe anything different. Yes, he seemed to like it when I kissed him but he didn’t grab me and kiss me back and then he told me it was all an accident. Yes, he has saved me several times but he kinda had to, you know? Has he ever given me any indication that he loves me? Nope, not a single thing.


So if I break away from Josh it has to be for me; because it is the right thing for both of us. If I don’t love him in the right way, it only hurts us both in the long run because Josh deserves somebody who will adore him and appreciate all he has to offer. I’m beginning to accept that person probably isn’t me.


Right now I just want to get through the holidays and hopefully some clarity will come to me.


I’m still amazed that Coraline didn’t tell the police that I stabbed her; Mick says that she wouldn’t want them involved but I would think that if she wanted to get rid of me that would be her ticket to do so. Mick still has feelings for her; it was very apparent in the hospital room and that felt like a stake being shoved through my heart. I see her as evil; a wicked person who nearly took my life. Mick sees that too I think (otherwise he wouldn’t have tried to kill her when he rescued me) but he also sees someone that he was married to for 33 years – off and on. I’m sure (although I’m loath to admit it) that they had good times too, as well as the bad. Josef says that Mick is drawn to her in a sexual way that doesn’t see reason. That may well be; even though Mick denied it I’m sure that if I hadn’t almost broke his door down with the news about Morgan being Coraline they might have ventured down that path again. The look on both of their faces told me that. I want to ask him about it, but somehow the words won’t form.


Later…



OOOOOOOOOOOO



The man sat at the table looking at the pictures that were spread out over the marred, wooden surface. He picked up one and stared at it for a moment and took in the smiling face of the man as he looked at something just out of camera view.

He was a handsome man; no denying that. Even in the old black and white picture you could see the charm that oozed from him. He wore a crooked grin as he stared at someone or something. “So when was this one taken?” he asked as he handed the picture to the woman.

“Hm, lemme see.” She stared at it and a quick smile came to her face as the memories came back to her. The man knew she was seeing a different place, a different time. “That was at a lawn party, in the fall of 1951. It was at my friend’s house in Pasadena; Kitty and Burke Weldon. Burke was a lawyer and their house was quite grand,” she said, staring off into space again.

The man nodded and stood up in preparation to leave. The woman stared up at him as she realized that he was about to go and her faded green eyes started to tear up at the thought. He leaned down and kissed her softly wrinkled cheek. He inhaled and caught a whiff of lavender and talcum powder; two scents he always associated with her.

“I’ll see you soon, okay?” he told her and watched her nod her head.

“Yes, see you,” she murmured as she watched the tall, dark haired man leave. He was a fine figure of a man and quite striking in that fancy suit of his. She felt sad that he was gone but knew he would be back; he always had more questions and she was the one with the answers.



OOOOOOOOOOOO



The news was splattered across every media outlet on the west coast; Josef Kostan was dead, the victim of an attack at his offices in downtown Los Angeles. Except that he wasn’t dead and explaining why wasn’t going to be easy.

Earlier at Kostan Industries…

Beth and Mick had a few very intense moments – the first at the Kostan Industries building when Mo sent her to cover the story. Beth didn’t want to but she also knew that Mo was going to send someone and she figured better her than someone who might ask really hard to answer questions. Mick was already at the office and when he realized she had a camera guy with her he grew very angry and left; hurt that she would do such a thing. It was a catch 22; she was damned if she did and damned if she didn’t.

After she finished the wrap up on the attack she drove around for a bit and thought about it all. Whoever had killed him must have known he was a vamp because they used incendiary bombs, in other words, fire. It was all such a mess.

She regretted hurting and angering Mick, with all her heart. She decided that by doing her job it was the less of two evils, but would he actually see it that way? She wished she knew. She decided to turn the Prius around and head back downtown, to Mick’s loft and try to talk to him.

When she got there she didn’t see the Benz and figured he was still out investigating so she decided to wait for him. She took a seat near the office door and leaned her head back against the wall. The scene at Josef’s office kept creeping back into her head each time it replayed she saw herself as more of a villain. She wondered if this would be the end with Mick? Would he be able to forgive her? She didn’t know but she was going to try to explain anyway.

After talking to Tom, Josef’s head of security and getting a disk with information about the intruder Mick decided to head home. Not much more he could do tonight; he needed a little down time. Tomorrow he would see if Ryder England, Josef’s computer guru could shed some light on this guy, hack the military. He considered going to Logan but he didn’t want to drag him into this because the attacker obviously had military connections. Mick still felt a little protective about Logan; he’d been a vampire for well over twenty years but in some ways he was still really na├»ve about life.

When he was just about to head home he received a call from the hospital; Coraline had regained consciousness and he could see her if he liked. He sighed wearily; so much was happening and he hadn’t had much time to process any of it. Finding out that Morgan was Coraline has completely shocked him and so had his reaction to her. On a gut-wrenching level in fact, but he didn’t want to acknowledge that right now.

No matter how much time had elapsed the tug of the sire/fledgling bond roared its preternatural and depraved head with them. His body responded to her even when his mind screamed ‘NO’. He had thought that 23 years would have shaken that feeling; pushed it out of his head but it wasn’t so.

In the old days it had been love and chemistry, that’s what he wanted to believe. He also suspected that Coraline had used a good dose of allure on him, in the beginning anyway. He forgot all about Margie, he walked away from his life, his family for her. And that was before she had turned him. After that, it was all about the blood and sex; he was a junkie for it. The feelings were insidious and crept into every waking moment. If he wasn’t feeding he wanted to be fucking. Even after he got back from Josef’s it felt like that; like some kind of all out frenzy, an itch he couldn’t scratch. It left him raw and aching; always aching and Coraline was the only thing that could scratch that itch and make it go away for a little bit.

At the hospital Mick actually talked to Coraline for a couple of minutes before she fell back asleep. He wanted to know how she did it and all she wanted was him. Standoff. Still, he drew a sample of her blood to have analyzed; maybe a lab could tell him what was in her blood that had changed her.

When Mick pulled into the parking lot at home he saw Beth’s Prius sitting there. He felt relieved and annoyed at the same time. As the elevator carried him up to the top floor he realized the relief part was greater and when he stepped off the elevator and saw her sitting there waiting for him he felt elated.

Two people, both trying to hide their feelings stood together and sought to comfort the other, a difficult task. When Mick suggested a drink Beth immediately accepted and they headed inside; the shock was they weren’t alone. Josef was sitting at Mick’s desk, very much alive and very pissed that someone had tried to kill him.

Sam, a computer person at Buzzwire was very helpful and after a search found out who they were looking for; Ralph Martan, a Darkwatch mercenary. So they knew who, what they didn’t know was why someone was trying to kill Josef.

Josef needed to get to his office to get money from the fireproof safe in his office; as soon as he got it he headed to New York; he had business to take care of there. After a brutal struggle with Martan at Josef’s office Mick had a name and Beth and Mick planned on following Josef to New York before he did something stupid. Armed with the name of Whitley, they had a starting place at least.

As soon as Beth finished packing her bag there was a knock on her door and she answered it expecting to find Mick; instead she saw Josh standing there, looking grim. It was movie night and she had totally forgotten. He forestalled her apology with “We need to talk.”

Beth was stunned; in one way that was almost amusing. It was so often a woman’s line in a relationship and yet here Josh was, saying it to her. It was the moment of truth, except that there wasn’t time for this moment. He had looked her directly in the eye and asked her to tell him that she didn’t have feelings for Mick.

Panic surged in her heart; she didn’t want to do it like this. They needed time; time to sit down and talk about things. She opened her mouth to speak and was interrupted by Mick’s knock on her door. She felt rotten; this was definitely not a case of being saved by the bell. Josh left them, one last look over his shoulder at the woman he loved who was going to New York with another man; his heart was breaking and he couldn’t do anything except let them go.



OOOOOOOOOOOO



As Mick and Beth settled into their seats on the plane Josh was still very much on her mind. She didn’t know if she should actually be going with Mick but she couldn’t make herself leave him either. A heavy sigh escaped her lips as she closed her eyes, trying to push all the Josh problems out of the picture for now.

Mick observed her surreptitiously out of the corner of his eye. He knew that he had interrupted something at her apartment but he didn’t know what. Josh had been upset and angry when he left. The scents were rolling off of him in waves that threatened to level Mick in fact. Beth’s scent was of pain and something that might have been regret, but he wasn’t sure. She didn’t want to talk about it; she had even changed the subject when he asked. Other than that she hadn’t said a word that wasn’t necessary.

As the flight got under way and the flight attendants came around with beverages Mick got them both a drink; scotch for him and red wine for Beth. She accepted it gratefully and drank the whole glass down immediately. It seemed to help her relax a bit and she leaned back her seat and let out a long sigh between pursed lips. Mick viewed that as a good sign.

“Another?” he asked.

She opened her eyes and smiled at him; a sad smile but a smile nonetheless. “No, thanks.” She reached for his hand that was resting on the arm rest between them. They were in first class, thanks to Mick and it was so comfortable that Beth was starting to relax.

At the touch of her warm fingers closing around his cool ones Mick’s heart leapt a little bit. She squeezed his hand briefly and felt a tingle trail up her arm at the contact. It hit her smack in the gut and traveled downward and she shifted a bit in her seat, suddenly aware of his presence in a way that was uncomfortable. She let his hand go immediately and reached for her now empty glass; she sat it back down as soon as she realized there was nothing in it.

Mick looked at her hand on his and felt the rush of warmth her fingers caused. He could only stare in wonder at the seemingly meaningless touch that meant so much. He sucked in an unnecessary breath and then caught the subtle scent of Beth’s arousal. His groin immediately tightened with desire as he stared before she pulled her hand away as if shocked by electricity. He looked away and ran his hand though his hair which was only a guise so that he could bring his hand close enough for him to smell the sweet smell of Beth.

Panicked by her reaction to Mick Beth laid her seat back and said, “I’m going to try and sleep for awhile. Do you mind?”

Mick shook his head and then realized she wasn’t looking at him; she was looking at her hand so he answered, “Not at all Beth, rest well.”

She didn’t wake up until their approach to New York and by then they both put it behind them; they had to because there was already too much unfinished business in their lives.



OOOOOOOOOOOO



In New York they discovered that Josef was at a town house on Waverly Place after they paid a visit to John Whitley. John was very old and very sick, not long for this earth but he was living for one thing only now, the death of Charles Fitzgerald, aka Josef Kostan.

John told a tale of his innocent 21 year old daughter who had been killed by Fitzgerald in 1955. He provided a diary that detailed his daughter Sarah’s romance with Charles. She knew what he was and didn’t care; she wanted to be turned so she could be with him forever. Beth and Mick stared at one another as Beth read that out loud and both realized they had to find Josef before Whitley did because they knew that the grizzled old man wouldn’t rest until Josef was dead.

At Waverly Place they encountered a servant of Josef’s who told them there was no one there by that name or Charles Fitzgerald either. Eventually Josef came to the door and let them in and led them to a bedroom that had a huge bed in it as well as numerous types of medical equipment. On the bed lay a woman with red hair and a beautiful face. She seemed to be sleeping.

“Mick, Beth, this is Sarah – Sarah Whitley.” Josef’s eyes softened with sadness as he said her name and touched her hand.

Josef had tried to turn her and she hadn’t ever come all the way through it; Sarah lived somewhere in between and Josef couldn’t let her go. It broke Beth’s heart to see the love he had for her as he clung to the possibility of her coming out of the coma she was in.

When Ralph Martan broke through the bedroom window it didn’t really surprise any of them but he still got a jump on Josef and staked him. Mick had pushed Beth down and told her to stay there and she fully intended to while Mick took care of Martan. She watched with wide eyes as Mick snapped his neck and realized with surprise that she was glad he did it.

After Mick had gotten the stake out of Josef and removed the bullets Mick and Beth decided to leave but Josef told them he was staying a bit longer. Beth gave Josef the diary and he took it with hands that trembled only slightly, grateful for the gift.

As Mick and Beth walked down the steps of the town house they chatted about Coraline and the cure.

“Do you really think it’s a cure?” she asked Mick. What would this mean if it was? Would it change things for them? But did she mean for her and Mick or Mick and Coraline? She wanted to ask him those questions but somehow couldn’t.

“I don’t know. Coraline was a vamp for years and now she is as human as you. Is that a cure? I don’t know.” Suddenly a thought occurred to him and he said to her, “Hey, let’s go do something fun, something quintessentially New York.”

Beth listened to his plans and she wanted nothing more that to do just that, to stay in New York with Mick but her conscience poked her and she told him she needed to go home to LA because she hadn’t left things well with Josh.

That had to be the understatement of the year.

He nodded his understanding but she could see the disappointment written starkly on his face. He helped her into a cab and shut the door and then impulsively laid his hand against the glass. Beth stared up at him and looked at the hand that was pressed against the cold glass window. She raised her hand to his and again she had to fight herself to go back to LA. She realized she was leaving her heart here in New York with a vampire who might not even want it.

He gave her a small, sad smile and stepped away from the cab and walked away, not looking back. She was taking his heart with her and she didn’t even know it. He didn’t know what would happen with Josh but it didn’t matter all that much as long as she was happy.



OOOOOOOOOOOO



Josef sat in the dim light of the bedroom alongside Sarah and read the diary. As he finished the last page he looked at the woman who had loved him enough to give up her family, her very life for him. Memories flooded back to him and he closed his eyes as the pain came back as well.

1955


“Sarah, are you sure this is what you want? You know there is no going back sweetheart. We can’t undo it after it’s done.” He traced a gentle finger down her pert little nose and brushed it softly over her ruby colored lips; lips that begged to be kissed and Josef was happy to oblige.


For a few moments they were both caught up in the breathlessness of the moment. Sarah sighed against his lips and said, “Charles, I love you – totally, completely. I don’t want to go on without you!”


“Sarah, you have me, I’m not going anywhere I promise.” He touched her under the chin and lifted her small face up so he could look into her eyes. “I will always love you.”


“Really Charles? When I’m 80 years old and look like some old prune? How about that eternal love then?” she demanded, suddenly angry.


“I’ll always see you for what you are right now sweetheart. My Sarah, my lovely…” he placed a kiss on the tip of her nose, “beautiful Sarah.” Another kiss along her jaw and then finally back to her luscious lips.


Lips that pulled away, still angry with him. She thought that he was only saying all this, that he really didn’t love her and this was just a way to placate her. She stood up and said, “Well, if you won’t do it then I don’t want you in my life. I won’t watch myself grow old with you never aging. I won’t do it Charles.” She stamped her small foot to emphasize her point.


He knew he would lose her if he didn’t turn her. The centuries rolled past him; a panorama of colors and people sweeping past in his brain and the common denominator in all of it was his loneliness. He had waited 350 years to find her; was he really willing to let her go like this? Warm tears sprang from his eyes and trickled down cool cheeks. Sarah knew she had won. She sat down on his lap and kissed his tears away; it was a hard-fought victory, but it was a bittersweet one as well, for both of them.


They planned for the event as best they could. Sarah couldn’t tell her parents of course, although she longed to tell her mother. He father detested Charles, but then he hadn’t liked any man that Sarah had dated. The day she said good bye to her mother her father was at his office; she decided it was better this way. She walked out of the apartment on Fifth Avenue with nothing but her purse so that it wouldn’t look suspicious to anyone. Her mother thought she had an appointment at Elizabeth Arden and didn’t question her as she left the flat.


She met Josef around the corner, his limo waiting to take her to his town house. He had made every preparation possible, which almost amused him because in every other instance where he had turned someone there had never been any preparations. Still, he wanted everything perfect for his darling Sarah and so the stage had been set, so to speak. Fresh blood was waiting for her and ample privacy as well as a specially constructed freezer for the two of them. As he held her gently in his arms he sank his fangs into her slender neck and drank her blood, listening carefully for her heart to slow.


Her blood warmed him and brought him closer to her; he could taste he love for him, her desire to join him and when finally the time was right, he fed her his own blood and she drank; her small red tongue creeping out at first to lick tentatively along his arm and then her mouth latched on and drank until he gently pulled his arm away from her. Now all he had to do was wait for her to open her eyes and come back to him.


Except she hadn’t.

What had he done wrong? He had asked himself that question a million times over the years. Everything he did he had done before and it always worked. Year after year he took care of her, hoping that someday science or medicine would find a way to bring her back. He had hired two of the world’s premier doctors to oversee her case but neither one could offer any suggestions. Both were dead now and he hadn’t found any others; perhaps he should have, but he wondered if there was even a point to it.

Suddenly he was on his feet, calling for Paula. He had a plan.



OOOOOOOOOOOO



Beth sat on the plane, waiting for it to take off from JFK. Twice she unbuckled her seat belt and twice she refastened it.

What am I doing? Why aren’t I there with Mick?

She knew why and she also knew that she had to go and face Josh. It was done, she was completely sure of that now. Her heart was with Mick; the need to be there bodily told the story but she also knew what would happen if she had stayed. She would not go down that path with Mick before ending it with Josh.

Did Mick want her like that? She was now sure that he did. The way he looked at her while she was in the cab had said it all; they were two people who wanted one another, needed one another and yet what she did was the best thing.

She thought about what to say to Josh for the entire flight home. She didn’t want to hurt him any more than was necessary and yet she knew that she would. This had to be about her feelings for him, not about Mick. In her mind she knew that it was; that she had stopped being in love with him a while ago but she knew he would think it was about Mick. She couldn’t deny her feelings for him, but she had to keep Josh focused on what was wrong with their relationship. It wouldn’t be easy she knew.

When she got back to LA she caught a cab home. It was 3 am and she was dead tired. She left her bag in the living room and stumbled towards the bathroom, dropping pieces of clothing as she went. Five minutes in the warm shower and then she poured herself into bed, sleeping for 6 hours straight.

She woke up when the phone started ringing. She groaned, thinking it was probably Mo wanting to know if she was back yet. She glanced at the number display and realized it was Josh.

“Hey,” she mumbled sleepily.

“Hi. So you are back,” Josh said, as if he had believed she would be.

“Yeah, I got in around 3 am.”

“Mick too?” he inquired.

“No, he stayed in New York. We uh, found Josef Kostan. He had been in New York the whole time,” she said, knowing it was a lie but it was the story they were going to tell the world.

“Um, okay. Well listen, I wanted to tell you that I have to go back to Sacramento today. I’ll probably be gone for a couple more weeks actually.” He listened to the silence on the other end of the phone. “We’re really close to having all the evidence gathered Beth; we’ll arrest Tejada in January.”

NO, her mind screamed. She couldn’t tell him while he was out of town and there wasn’t time now. She sighed in sheer frustration and finally said, “Okay. Well, then I guess I’ll talk to you later.”

“Um hm. I’ll call you, okay?”

“Sure.” She knew that he would and that made it all worse.

“Well, bye Beth,” he said and hung up. He didn’t even wait for her to answer him.

Beth heard the click on the other end of the phone and knew that he was gone. She lay back down in the bed and felt the tears start to flow. She only wanted to do the right thing and now it was going to have to wait.

Finally she sat up in bed; she had things to do like work on the Josef Kostan story. Hopefully work would keep her busy the next few weeks. And in only a few days Lani would be here and that thought perked her up considerably.

It might all be okay she decided.



To be continued…

Friday, January 21, 2011

Chapter Twenty Three Fleur-di-lis

In this episode:


This is the only Moonlight episode that was told from Beth’s POV. Beth has come to believe that Morgan is actually Coraline and decides that she needs to find the information to prove it. She enlists Mick’s help, even though he is clearly reluctant to help because the last time he saw Morgan he ripped her blouse to see if she had a tattoo. Also, he is afraid that if Morgan is Coraline that she will hurt Beth, or worse. However, he approaches Morgan who surprisingly (not) agrees to work with him on a photo surveillance case which gives Beth the time she needs to get into Morgan’s apartment and check things out. There, she finds a picture of Mick from 1952 when he was playing a gig at Coraline’s party house. Beth goes to Josef for confirmation of the picture and to find out if it’s possible that Coraline has come back from the undead and is now human. Josef tells her that it is not possible, that once you are a vampire you are always a vampire and that Coraline burned to death so she was dead anyway.

Beth goes to the party house and explores and find the room in the basement where Coraline kept her while they waited for Mick to find them. Coraline’s motives about 4 year old Beth are still pretty vague – does she want to turn her so that she and Mick have a vampire child, or let her grow up normally? Beth breaks apart a small white rocking chair and decides to use one of the spindles for a stake. She goes to Micks apartment to tell him what she knows and finds not only Mick there, but Coraline. The rest of the story follows.



Chapter 23



November 30, 2007


Growing up is a hard thing to do, especially when you are already an adult but I’ve grown up a lot lately and while I can say that it needed to happen it is none the less painful.


Realizing that Mick was the one who saved me opened many other memories; some I had hidden away so deeply that it was unlikely they would ever surface. Except they did and now some relationships in my life are severely disrupted; like the one with my Mom and Clark. They kept so much from me, all these years and all I ever wanted was to just know the truth. Was that so bad, so hard to just tell me what really happened to me? You would think it is by their reactions. Still, there is more to it all than has been admitted to me; I’m willing to bank on that.


My Mom still wants to just shove it all away and forget about it; I can’t do that! Mick saved me; he saved me and watched over me and kept me safe. And Mom knew about it, she even sent him pictures from time to time – she KNEW and didn’t tell me when I first met him at the fountain and told her about him. Neither she nor Clark ever said, ‘by the way, Mick is the one that saved you all those years ago.’ Which brings us to the other secret – they know about vampires! How? How do they know and how did they choose Mick to find me? Did they know Coraline or was it all pure luck? What is the connection between them all?


I’m hurt by Mick as well, but there is more to it than that. I have feelings for him; unresolved feelings and now I understand them even less than before. Are they some kind of hero worship feelings because I unconsciously knew all along that he was the one that saved me? I’ve felt myself drawing closer and closer to him and while dealing with that I am also trying to figure out what that means for Josh and me. It has everything and nothing to do with it actually.


I do love Josh but I think those feelings are now less of a lover and partner than they are as a friend. Is it terrible of me to say that sometimes when we make love its Mick’s arms that I imagine are around me, his lips and hands caressing me? That sounds gross, especially in light of the current situation. But the truth is, the cold hard truth is that my feelings for Josh started waning before my feelings for Mick started developing. Or is that not true because part of me recognized him from my childhood and was instinctively drawn to him? Oh diary, I am so confused.


One thing is clear though – he doesn’t share my feelings. After we talked on the roof about it all he said to me, “Now you know why it can never work between us.” He still sees me as that child he rescued; that much is clear. He doesn’t see the woman I want him to see but rather the 4 year old who clung to him in fear, grasping at his strength in the horror of the terrible things that were happening. He had to kill his wife for me? How can he ever forget or forgive that?


Which brings me to Coraline – could it be possible that she is Morgan, come back as a human? Is that possible? Mick says that fire kills vampires so is it possible that she survived it all? I remember looking at her, the orange flames licking at her as Mick carried me away; how would it be possible? Mick was certain that Morgan was Coraline, until he found out that she didn’t have a fleur-di-lis on her shoulder. I’m a bit more skeptical about it though, has he never heard of makeup? Apparently not but I’m not that naive and I’m going to find out the truth!


Later…



OOOOOOOOOOOO



It had been a really long and rough night and day for Mick. Donovan Sheppard was finally dead, for sure this time; dead and disposed of. Beth and Audrey were back at Beth’s apartment and Audrey seemed to be taking it all pretty well. There would be questions though; Mick had no doubts about that regardless of what Beth thought. Audrey is a smart girl and someone is going to have some explaining to do.

Mick drank a glass of A positive as he mulled all of this over. Audrey had seen Sheppard die in the prison, then seen him come after her, only to die again by Mick slicing his head off. Yep, he knew there would be questions.

Mick set the glass down in the sink and ran water in it to rinse it out and then stretched. He was beat and ready for some freezer time. He looked out the blinds at the LA haze and squinted against the glare before heading up the stairs to crawl into the freezer. He debated briefly about a shower and decided it could wait until after he slept.

When he opened the door to his freezer room he immediately knew that Beth had been in here; her scent, her essence was everywhere. He looked around the room and scented the air, which drew him immediately to the freezer.

She had stood here and opened it, looking inside. God, what must she think about him now; that he really was some sort of freak or monster? Did she believe it now he wondered? He leaned over and rested his forehead against the lid and caught another scent; the scent of tears.

He softly ran his hands over spots where her warm tears had fallen, his fingers trying to pick them up as he lifted his fingers to his nose to inhale deeply. Why had she cried in this room? Were they angry tears? Angry at his deceit and the myriad of lies that he had told in order to protect her from the past or worse yet, to protect himself? Were they sad tears and if so, why was she sad?

He had no answers as he crawled into the freezer and closed the lid. This was one of times he was glad that vampires don’t dream.



OOOOOOOOOOOO



At Beth’s apartment Audrey decided to go and stay with her grandmother for a couple of days. She was in a bit of shock Beth could tell but she wasn’t ready to talk about it all. She knew positively that Sheppard was dead and she told Beth that was good enough for now.

Beth watched her as she spoke those words and realized that Mick was right; Audrey would have questions, but she was glad that they weren’t coming right now. “So, you’re okay to drive to your grandmother’s Audrey? Really?”

Audrey smiled sadly and said, “Yes, I’ll be okay Beth. He’s gone now; I feel like I can actually breathe for the first time in 10 years. I really will be okay.”

Beth nodded and impulsively pulled her into a hug. “Hey, how about dinner this weekend?”

“Yes, I would love that. And will Mick be there too?”

“Um, well I’ll ask him; you can never tell if he’s working on a case or something.” She watched Audrey’s face wash over with disappointment and added, “But I’ll ask, I promise.”

She walked Audrey out to her car and waved as it pulled away. She was bone-tired but she also felt enervated. And pissed. She knew before she slept that she had something to do and she ran back upstairs and grabbed her purse and headed off to confront the dragon.

Beth stopped and bought a large cup of coffee and indulged in a Krispy Kreme donut, just to give herself some time as she thought over what she wanted to say. How could her mother have kept all this from her? That and the answers to other questions were foremost in her mind and she meant to get those answers now.

She pulled into the driveway at her mom’s house and was surprised to see Clark’s truck there. Normally on a Thursday morning he would be at the office but this might be even better; she could confront both of them because she had no doubt that Clark knew as much as her mother did. Beth took a deep, steadying breath and got out of the car, grabbing her half finished cup of coffee to take with her.

She knocked on the door and waited until her mom answered it; not like the old days when she would have just used the key and came on in. This house was her mom and Clarks and it just didn’t feel comfortable doing that.

Dorothy answered the door and smiled at Beth in surprise before pulling her towards her in a warm hug. Beth didn’t respond and Dorothy felt the stiffness in her daughter’s body and stepped back, looking at her with a frown creasing her forehead. “Beth, what’s wrong honey? And why aren’t you at work? Are you on your lunch break?”

Beth glanced at the clock on the mantle and saw that it was almost noon; she had totally lost track of time. It was a miracle that Mo hadn’t been burning up her phone and then Beth realized that she must have left it at Mick’s.

Great, I’ll have to stop there later too.

Clark called out from the kitchen and said, “Hey Beth, come on in – your mom made BLT’s for lunch!”

She followed his voice with Dorothy trailing along behind her; Clark could see how puzzled she looked. Beth mechanically pulled a chair out and sat down at the table and took another sip of her coffee. She sat the cup down and twisted it around on the table, searching for the right words.

“Mom, I – I know about Mick. That he was the one that saved me. How could you not tell me? All these years, I have begged you to tell me about what happened and you wouldn’t.”

The words were quietly spoken but they still made Dorothy’s heart pound and her knees grow weak. She slid into a chair and stared at her daughter with dread; she somehow always knew this day would come and yet she didn’t know what to say, how to justify her decision not to tell her.

Clark closed his eyes for a moment and said a silent prayer that they would all get through this okay; Beth was horribly angry and Dorothy was scared, so scared of losing her daughter. He watched as Dorothy fought back tears, swallowing down the fear and the pain and the memories – and the guilt.

“How was I supposed to tell you Beth? Especially after you met him? Because, now – now you know how it is possible for him to have been the one don’t you? How could we tell you?”

“Yes, I know. I’ve known for several months that Mick is a vampire! There, I’ve said it – Mick St. John is a vampire. It’s a secret, I know and one I’ll never betray but I deserve to know what happened back then. It was his crazy ex wife that took me wasn’t it?”

Dorothy and Clark were both blown away by Beth’s words. She had known for months? This was what they both feared the most; that she would discover the existence of vampires. Once you knew, there was no going back and they both had wanted to save her from that terrifying knowledge. Clark looked at Dorothy’s face as it blanched white as the words sunk in.

At her mother’s silence Beth continued to speak, “All these years you avoided and obstructed the truth; and yet, you sent him pictures of me at times because I saw them – I SAW THEM! How could you?”

“Beth, I…” Dorothy was at a loss for words. Clark reached over and grasped her hand and gently stroked it with his thumb, trying to give her strength. The answers had to come from her – should come from her he thought but he would provide them if necessary.

“As soon as I met him I felt safe, do you know that? All those years of me thinking about, talking about my shadow man, my guardian angel and you said nothing.” Beth started to cry and swiped the angry tears away from her eyes, much like a small child would. “I thought I was falling in love with him until I found out the truth and I now know that he thinks of me as this child! That’s how he sees me, as this 4 year old child!”

Clark realized immediately where Beth’s anger and pain were coming from; she didn’t ‘think’ she was in love with him; she was in love with him. Evidently Mick shut her down but Clark didn’t know whether or not that was good. All these years he had thought that those two would somehow find their way towards one another. Both of them had had tragic things happen to them; a bond that secured their lives together. He always thought they would be stronger because of one another, the same way he always admired Mick for watching out for her. When Mick left LA for Seattle Clark had felt that it was the first necessary step for him to realize how important Beth was to him.

Beth sat waiting for her mother to speak. Tears streamed down both of their faces; tears of shame and regret, of pain and fear.

I am losing my daughter and I don’t know how to stop it. I can’t tell her the real truth, that is was all because of me that Coraline came into our lives.

“I – Beth, I love you. Please honey, I only did what I thought was best for you. What good would it have done for you to know all of this?”

“What good? Mom, do you realize that it has driven me crazy all these years? That one of the reasons I am an investigative reporter is because I need to know the answers to things? I feel driven about things and never understood why. A few simple answers were all it would have taken!” Beth suddenly stood up; she knew she had to get out of there because nothing good was going to come of this; not right now. Possibly after they both had time to clear their heads, she didn’t know. “I have to leave now; I can’t deal with any more right now.”

Clark immediately stood up to walk her to the door. “Beth, take some time, you both need it. But give her a chance to provide you with some answers. Don’t walk away from her Beth; she needs you.”

Beth only nodded and left, heading home to sleep for awhile.



OOOOOOOOOOOO



As she drove home a plan began to form in her mind; a plan about Morgan. Suppose she really was Coraline, come back from the dead. Yes, she acknowledged how crazy that sounded but then most people would think that about the existence of vampires. Anything was possible Beth acknowledged.

Beth tried hard to remember what the woman in the white dress had looked like but all she could remember were fleeting images and none of them gave her any answers. She had to dig deeper, a whole lot deeper into Morgan Vincent’s life in an attempt to get at the truth. And she wouldn’t stop until she did just that.

When she got home she took a shower and crawled into bed to sleep. She saw she had messages on her home phone from Mo, but she ignored them until she had a few hours of sleep. Mo could wait; not happily maybe, but she could wait



OOOOOOOOOOOO



Mick woke up that evening hearing an unfamiliar ringing sound. He pulled on his robe and headed downstairs to find the source and spied Beth’s cell phone on the coffee table, vibrating and ringing. The screen said ‘Josh’ on it and as he stared at it a brief moment of pain fluttered through his heart.

As he grabbed his breakfast he called Beth to tell her about the phone, amazed that she hadn’t come looking for it by now. When he heard her voice he couldn’t help but smile.

“Hey, I uh, found your phone. Would you like me to bring it by?”

“Sure. Can you give me a half an hour or so? I just got up and I want to grab a shower,” she told him as she opened the fridge looking for something to eat. The coffee and donut this morning had been the only thing she had eaten in the last 24 hours or so and she was starving. That made her think about Josh and how he always made sure that she would eat. A pang of guilt washed over her and she hastily pushed it away.

“Um, make it more like an hour? I need to grab a shower myself.”

“Okay, I’ll see you then,” she said, hanging up the phone. She turned her focus back to the fridge; she really needed to do some shopping because all there was in there was a tomato and a jar of pickles.

Not exactly what I have in mind. She decided to call in an order for some Chinese after she showered and her mouth watered as she thought about some spicy Kung Pao Chicken.

Mick got there the same time as the food delivery. He stared in fascination as she opened her chop sticks and started to dig in. “Um, sorry but I’m starving!”

“No problem. What is that?” he asked, smelling the spicy aroma.

“Kung Pao Chicken. Want to try it?”

He shook his head and said, “No, it wouldn’t do any good, I couldn’t taste it.”

As Beth felt the heat race over her tongue she wondered how that could be; this was spicy enough to peel varnish, as her grandpa would have said. That made her think of her mother and she quickly shrugged the thought away; she had other things to take care of first.

Mick sat there awkwardly as he watched her eat. He wanted to ask why she had cried in his room but he couldn’t find the words to do so. He wasn’t mad that she had been in there; in some ways he had sort of expected it. But not knowing why she had been upset really bugged him and yet he didn’t know how to ask.

“Hey, I have a confession to make,” she told him. She felt like a jerk but she had to be honest with him. “I uh, I peeked in your freezer room Mick. I’m so sorry; I know it was an invasion of your privacy, but I was curious.” She watched him as she chewed a bite of her dinner and hoped he wouldn’t get mad. Strangely enough, she didn’t see any anger on his face, only something she couldn’t identify.

Mick listened to her confession and smiled inwardly; she didn’t realize that he had known immediately and that was okay. “I know Beth; I uh, could scent you in there when I went in to bed.”

Beth’s face immediately flushed a bright shade of red and she almost choked on her dinner. Mick quickly handed her a glass of water that was setting on the bar and she took it thankfully, grateful for the opportunity to have a moment to think about how to respond to that knowledge.

She cleared her throat a couple of times and coughed once as well before she tried to speak. “So you could smell me in there?” It was an appalling thought, that he could tell that she had been in there because he could smell her! She knew that he had heightened senses but just how much could he smell? It was a very uncomfortable thought.

“Well, scent you – there is a bit of a difference. I can scent the past sometimes, like see what actually happened.”

“And you saw me in there?” God, did he see her crying?

“Yes. It’s okay Beth. Really,” he told her trying to relieve some of the tension that filled the room. He reached out and laid his hand on hers and they both felt the coil of electricity that sparked from the touch. Mick quickly pulled his hand away, staring at it in amazement.

She didn’t know what to say so she said nothing. The zing of electricity left her mute and she blinked in embarrassment, hoping he didn’t notice. He left right after that and she felt a bit of relief. She thought about this new skill of his and it gave her pause for thought.

After returning all the phone calls and squaring things away with both Josh and Mo Beth decided to do a bit of spying on her own; her goal was to find out as much about Morgan as she could. She finally realized she needed Mick’s help so that she could get into Morgan’s apartment. She wanted Mick to keep her occupied while she did her investigating.

Mick only reluctantly agreed; he wasn’t even sure that Morgan would agree to see him after the situation at the cemetery but he agreed to help Beth anyway. If this was really Coraline though he told her he didn’t know what she would do. Mick knew full well what Coraline was capable of and he would have to watch things carefully.

As Mick and Morgan worked on a case that Mick had Beth wasted no time; she broke into Morgan’s apartment and ultimately found a photograph from 1952 of Mick in Hawaiian garb, playing a guitar and singing. If Morgan wasn’t Coraline, then just how did she get this picture? That picture led her to Josef’s office. She didn’t know if he would even see her, but she hoped by telling him it was about Mick that he might. She needed answers and she hoped Josef had them.

What she heard from Josef was at first denial of the possibility that Morgan could be Coraline and then a caution about how dangerous Coraline could be where Mick was concerned. He identified the picture as being taken at Coraline’s party house and even told Beth where that was. She knew that was her next stop and Josef watched her with narrowed eyes as she left because he knew that was where she was heading too.

Morgan couldn’t possibly be Coraline and yet, there were stories out there… All he knew was that if she was actually Coraline, Beth could be in danger - mortal danger. He admired Beth; she had spunk and heaven help Morgan if she was Coraline because Beth wouldn’t stop until she knew the truth. Whether that was good or bad he wasn’t sure.

At the party house Beth felt a huge sense of apprehension as she entered it. A shiver ran up and down her spine and she instinctively headed for the stairs, going down and finding an office. What she found there made her mouth go dry; surveillance that Morgan had done on her and Mick. She had been watching them for awhile now it seemed. Beth’s heart pounded furiously and her hands shook as she stared at the photographs.

Down another level and she found what she had wanted/hoped not to find. The room where Coraline had kept her as she waited to take her meet Mick. Beth looked around the room, stunned and reeling at the memories that flooded her mind. Coraline, picking her up, laying her on the bed and telling her it would be okay because she was going to meet her new daddy the next day. Beth felt a sick twist in her stomach and thought for a moment that she might throw up.

This was it; this was her answer. Morgan was Coraline and Beth only knew she wanted her dead. She broke a shaft of wood from small white rocker; it was a perfect stake and Beth knew exactly how to use it.



OOOOOOOOOOOO



Mick and Morgan had wrapped up their case and both were exhausted. Mick offered to let her take a shower at his place before he took her back to her apartment because she seemed so shaken up. She had almost been killed this evening and Mick couldn’t forget that it was because she was working the case with him.

So far it was going well Coraline decided. Mick had fallen right into line, as he always had. Sure, she had used his attraction for her to get what she wanted and she would continue to do it until he was back with her, where he belonged; where he had always belonged. They were mates, fated to be together and the bond of sire/fledging and man/woman couldn’t be denied. He thought he loved Beth but Coraline knew better; it galled her, but she knew it would pass when he was back with her.

She left the bathroom door open on purpose and she willed him to come to her; focusing hard on that. If she could just get him in here, he’d fall into her arms she knew. Just then she looked up and there he was; just as she planned.

Mick had changed clothes and was headed downstairs when he heard Morgan in the shower. Whether or not she was Coraline he couldn’t deny that he felt a certain amount of attraction to her; he didn’t want to feel it because he knew it was only because of her resemblance to Coraline. Coraline was like a bad drug habit and he silently wondered if he would ever be free of it.

He looked down the hall and saw the bathroom door open and clothes lying on the floor. He stepped into the bathroom and stared at her in the shower, the misty outline of her lithe body tantalizing from behind the shower door.

“Did you want something Mick?” she asked, staring at him.

He couldn’t help it; he yanked the door open and pulled her to him, his mouth capturing hers in a blazing kiss. He felt the fever possess him and he looked at her shoulder and there he saw what he suddenly knew would be there; the fleur-di-lis.

His heart sank and it soared. She was alive and she was human. How did that happen? That was all he wanted to know and he felt her resistance when he made it clear that was what he was interested in.

There was a pounding on his door downstairs. It was a blessing, but terrible timing. He could hear Beth yelling for him and he pulled away from Coraline, heading downstairs to open the door for Beth.

“I found the proof. Morgan IS Coraline!” she exclaimed.

“I know she is,” he told her. He saw Coraline heading downstairs wearing one of his shirts. His heart sank as he watched the fury on Beth’s face.

“Hi Beth,” Coraline said, making her way slowly down the stairs. She only had time for a brief, smug smile before she saw Beth raise the stake and bury it in her chest.

“What are you doing?” Mick screamed, rushing to Coraline in an attempt to catch her before she fell down.

“Stakes don’t kill vampires, they only paralyze them,” Beth said, her eyes blazing with anger as she saw Mick cradling Coraline in his arms.

“She’s not a vampire!”

“She’s Coraline, you just said so yourself!”

“She’s Coraline, but she’s not a vampire. She has a cure, she has a cure,” he said, gathering her into his arms.

Beth was stunned. What had she done?

My God, what have I done?



OOOOOOOOOOOO



Coraline was in the hospital and it had been a difficult night and that was putting it mildly. Beth spoke very little, afraid that Mick hated her but not really sorry for what she had done. Well, okay I the bitch died she would feel bad for Mick because if she did have some sort of cure he would have lost his chance at it. But that was the only reason Beth would feel bad. It had felt cathartic and just plain good to shove that stake into her.

Did that make her a bad person? Right now she didn’t care she realized as Mick dropped her off at her apartment the next morning. They had spoken very little in the hospital; she didn’t know if Mick was angry or worried or what, but right now she didn’t really care. She mumbled good bye as she got out of the Benz and headed up the stairs.

Mick drove home in shock; reeling from the chain of events the night before. Coraline was alive and she was NOT a vampire any longer. Beth had staked her and part of him didn’t blame her at all. Not after everything Coraline had done to her as a child. Still, right now he hoped she would pull through because he had to know how she did it.

As he got off the elevator at his apartment he could scent two humans down the hall. Curious, he approached them cautiously and was surprised to see Dorothy and Clark waiting for him.

The look on Dorothy’s face said it all; she had talked to Beth and knew that Beth know knew the truth.

“Dorothy, Clark, hello. Want to come in?” he asked wearily.

Dorothy stepped in front of him and slapped him as hard as she could. “How could you let it get this far?” She immediately spun around and marched down the hall to the elevator, Clark following behind her, speechless and astonished.

Mick silently watched them get in and the doors swoosh shut behind them. He touched the heated handprint on his cheek and wondered how the hell he did let it all get so out of control.



To be continued…