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, June 27, 2011

Chapter 38 The Still of the Night

Chapter 38 The Still of the Night

June 12, 2008

Mick and I have so much to learn about one another and it is sometimes so hard to keep my mind open so that we can do that. We come from different eras – I get that. He wants to take care of me, something any man who truly loves you wants to do but his idea of caring and mine are so different.

I grew up in a house where my mom was independent and strong and I learned from her. There wasn’t really a man around who made decisions about what was going to happen in our lives. Yes, Grandpa was around until I was 7 and Clark was also there, but both of them let her be strong; they valued her opinions and I think they were both very proud of her. She fought for everything we had and sometimes the battles were hard, but it made it that much sweeter for her. She made it easier for me too; I didn’t have to fight as hard for things because of her and sometimes I forget that. I’m so ready to fight that I forget that a battle might not be necessary, just a little negotiation.

I keep thinking about the look Mick gave me when I said I was leaving. He was so hurt and scared and I knew it. I still left even though I made it clear that I wasn’t leaving him, just the loft. What made it so impossible for me to just stay and work it out instead of running from him? Everyone needs some cooling off time occasionally but I could have handled it differently. I wasn’t trying to purposely hurt him, I was just trying to – well maybe keep from hurting him worse if I didn’t get out. I’m not sure what I would have said in my angry state of mind.

He is too conscious of his past; we all are and we’re both aware of the mistakes we made in our past relationships. I seldom fought with Josh; we both usually just walked away to cool off. It worked for us but it was also a sign that we were both detached from the relationship. I don’t know how it worked for Mick and Coraline but I suspect it was something much darker. Maybe he is afraid of falling into that again, of letting the anger run away with him? I don’t know, but I do know that I’m afraid of just walking away and not talking about it. I have to learn and talk it through and deal with the anger; if I need space I can go out on the balcony or something but I have to stop running away from my emotions. I love Mick with all my heart and I do not want to lose him.

We are going to talk about this, we have to. I hope that he can be honest with me because I’m going to be as honest with him as I possibly can be. I want to spend forever with him, eventually anyway.



Ben Talbot drove Mick home from the lineup. The air in the car felt heavy and oppressive as both men mulled over what had just happened.

“Maybe you can’t say Ben but can you give me an indication of what happened there?” Mick asked.

Ben had to fight to keep a smirk off of him mouth and answered, “Off the record?”


“Luca made an ass out of himself. She didn’t recognize any of you.” He looked at Mick and added, “However, she thought you looked like an angel!” He finally let his laughter out and didn’t stop until they hit the next stop light.

Mick was trying to sort through what Talbot had just said; did it mean he was clear? He asked as much.

“Oh yeah, you’re clear Mick. She’s nuts.” While they waited for the light to change Talbot added, “Have you done something to piss Luca off? He seems pretty set on pinning this on you.”

“I’ve never met him until recently. What do you think will happen now?”

“I think he’ll try another angle, but his chances of getting the chief to listen to any more of it are pretty slim, and I’m positive the DA is done with it. Any chance that there is anything out there that could cause further trouble?”

Mick felt as if he’d been sucker-punched. That question seemed to imply that it was a given he’d done it and that Talbot wanted verification that nothing else would turn up. The cleaners had ensured that that wouldn’t happen but what in the hell was going on? First Carl and now Talbot. Were they privy to some information that he wasn’t aware of? Were they somehow in Josef’s pocket? What was the deal? They pulled up at his building and Ben stopped the car.

He decided to play dumb. “I would have to have been there in order for that to happen.”

“That’s exactly what I wanted to hear you say Mick!”


Carl walked in the door of his condo and let out a huge sigh. It had been a tense day, what with Luca first gloating about how the lineup would go and then pouting when it didn’t pan out. Now he was thinking some type of witness tampering but Carl was pretty sure that wasn’t the case; it wasn’t Mick’s style to intimidate women. Bad guys maybe – make that definitely.

Luca on the other hand had crossed the line with his question to Angel Navarro. He wondered what Ben planned to do about it.

He yanked off his tie and kicked off his shoes before grabbing an icy beer out of the fridge and sinking back into his favorite chair. His condo had a great view of the city and he watched as the lights came on below, the mellow golden bursts of light outlining the city.

Carl’s mind flipped back a few months to when they had Bustos in custody; Mick had asked to speak with him alone and on a whim Carl had agreed. He really didn’t think it would do any good but at that point he was watching Mick with new eyes. Partially because of what Josh had told him, however improbable that seemed and also because of the way Mick fought to save Josh’s life. He gave it everything he had and more, telling Beth you learn a lot in war.

Except that Carl couldn’t find any information on Mick being in a war; unless you count WWII that is. Mick St. John, a family name? Could be. He might have lived with that until he heard Beth say, ‘turn him, he’ll live’.

Turn him? Turn him into what?

Carl watched them closely then; he saw Mick jump back and blanch at her words and heard him say, ‘I can’t do that. That’s not living Beth’. Carl also noticed a bullet hole in the front of Mick’s shirt, ringed with blood and yet it obviously hadn’t stopped him.

Bustos called him El Diablo; Mick had got information out of him without laying a hand on him. It wasn’t until later when Carl listened to the audio that he heard the damnedest sounds he’d ever ran across. Sounded like growls and hisses, except that there was no one in the room beside Bustos and Mick and he knew from observation that it wasn’t Bustos making them. Carl ‘accidently’ lost the audio from that session and no one had realized it was gone. He wanted it to stay that way.

Angel Navarro said it was a devil man that killed Tejada. Coincidence? Carl doubted it, even though she thought Mick looked like an angel he thought with a wry grin. He took a long drink of his beer and closed his eyes, trying to dispel the disturbing thought he had about St. John.

What if he really was a vampire? What did that mean?


Lani and Eric strolled along the pier in Santa Monica sharing some cotton candy as they enjoyed the sounds of the crowd and the lights on the rides. They could hear the surf pounding the shore below them and catch the salty tang in the air. Eric licked his lips and actually tasted it, reveling in it and this perfect night with Lani. He loved her; he knew he shouldn’t but he did.

“Hey, let’s go ride the Ferris wheel. We can admire the view and I can steal a kiss or two!” he told her with a laugh.

“Okay,” she said. They practically ran down the pier and handed over their tickets to get on the ride.

Lani loved the Ferris wheel; she loved the view of the dark water beyond and the lights of the pier below. The light and bubbly feeling in her stomach as the wheel plunged downward made her laugh like she had as a child.

The wheel stopped occasionally to let other people on and they both laughed when they were at the top, remembering when they were in college and Eric had paid the attendant to get them ‘stuck’ at the top for awhile. For 15 minutes they sat at the top, gently rocking the car and kissing passionately until the wheel started moving again.

“Do you remember?” she asked, her eyes sparkling in the moonlight.

“Best 20 bucks I ever spent,” he laughed. He pulled the last bit of cotton candy off the paper holder and held it out to her. She bit into it, pulling it into her mouth and sighed with pleasure.

“They make the best cotton candy here,” she declared.

“Oh yeah? Are you an expert on cotton candy?”

“No, but I know what I like!” she teased.

“Like anything else?”

She knew that question was really asking if she liked anyone else. She did like him, a lot, but that wasn’t love. She tried to be glib and answered, “Yeah, you know all the clichĂ© things, long walks on the beach, romantic poems, etc.”

He chuckled, well aware that she avoided his question. “Look, a shooting star Lani.” He watched as it streaked across the sky and closed his eyes for a moment. “Did you make a wish?”

“No,” she said and he sensed a note of sadness in her voice.

“Why not?”

She shrugged and licked a bit of sticky candy from her fingers; somehow the sweet treat now tasted bitter and acidic she cringed at the thought that it was her own feelings that were bitter. Beth had told her that Mick said that relationships between humans and vampires were difficult, dangerous and complicated. She got that, it made perfect sense to her but relationships between two humans could certainly echo that. She wanted a relationship that was easy, safe and simple. Was there no such thing?

“Know what I wished for?” he asked softly.

Again she shook her head, afraid to hear. “No, you can’t tell or it won’t come true,” she reminded him.

“Not true. Actually, I already got it,” he said looking at her sad face. “I wished for you and me to be here together.”

“Don’t waste a wish on me Eric, please,” she said and had to hold back a small sob that tried to escape. “You know that I’m not worth it. I hurt you once, remember?”

“Is that what you want, to hurt me?”

“No, never, but it seems to happen.” And it did she knew. He wanted something that she wasn’t sure she could give, even if she did want it and right now she didn’t know what she wanted.

“Hey, I trust you,” he told her solemnly.

She pulled in a long breath and let it out slowly. “I know. It’s me that I don’t think I can trust.”


Up in the loft Mick took a shower and then called Josef to let him know what had gone down at the police department. Josef seemed as surprised by it all as Mick was himself.

“So Carl gave you ‘private’ time before you left? Is that normal?” Josef asked.

“I don’t think so. Josef, I think he knows, about me, about us.”

“Do I need to take care of this Mick?”

“No, not yet. You’re not involved in it – at all.”

“Nope. Mick, are you sure that Beth hasn’t let something slip?”

Mick thought about the diary and about what happened with Audrey. Neither thing was really her fault; she had a right to believe that what she wrote in her personal journal should be private and with Audrey, that was more his fault.

Still, he wasn’t going to tell Josef about it.

“I’m positive Josef. You should be too; you know how far she has gone protect us.”

Josef did indeed, thinking about Dean Foster; he wondered if she had ever told Mick about it. Somehow he doubted it. “Yeah, well she is working for the DA’s office now. She has to be especially vigilant.”

“She knows Josef. Look, I’ll talk to you later.” He heard Josef’s grunt on the other end of the line that masqueraded as a goodbye and pressed the end key. The loft was silent, a roaring silence actually and it wasn’t good.

No Travis curling up on his lap, no sweet scent of Beth wafting through the air, the sound of her heartbeat making him feel as if all was right with the world. He wondered what she was doing right now. He hoped she had remembered to feed Travis his dinner and herself too.

He fought the urge to just drive by to see if her lights were on. It was 10:40; she might be in bed because she had to go to work tomorrow. She should be in bed because she had to go to work tomorrow.

The urge, it was tangible, painful even. He fought it until he couldn’t. He dressed in a hurry and was out the door before he had time to stop himself.

He drove through streets that were still busy with vehicles, occasionally catching snippets of conversation in passing cars but his focus was just to get to Beth’s. When he got there, he was relieved to see her lights were out. The balcony door was open, as it often was, the curtain blowing in the gentle breeze.

Good. She’s resting.

He wanted to drive away; he told himself to do it and yet somehow he couldn’t. Before he knew it he was standing under her balcony, listening to the silence coming from her apartment. No TV, just quiet. Her heartbeat and Travis’ much quicker one. He turned around and actually got two steps away before he leapt up onto the balcony, landing with an almost silent thud. He caught her scent, clean, sensual; totally Beth and he drew a deep breath in, trying to envelop himself in it.

Travis had been sleeping next to Beth and heard Mick on the balcony; he jumped off the bed and walked through the doors to greet him, rubbing himself along Mick’s leg. Beth felt him jump down and watched what he did, not surprised to see the shadow that occupied her balcony. She lay quietly for a moment, silently watching Travis as he greeted Mick.

“Travis, go back inside buddy,” Mick whispered to the cat. “Go on now.” He tried to push Travis away and was surprised when Beth appeared in front of him. He hadn’t heard her get up and now he was caught.

“He’s stubborn,” she said. “He has to check things out so that he knows everything is okay.”

Mick swallowed hard. “Are you talking about Travis or me?” he finally asked.

“Both of you.” Silence.

He looked around, watching the breeze stir the leaves in the trees. In the moonlight they almost looked as if they were shimmering as they moved. “I – I just wanted to be sure you were alright.”

“I am. I’m going back to bed. Will you come with me?”

He caught his breath; he hadn’t expected this. He took a step towards her and she moved a step into the room and held her hand out to him. He took it and followed.

Inside he undressed quickly. She was wearing one of his Henley’s – one he hadn’t seen for awhile. “Nice shirt,” he said.

She gave him a small, sheepish smile. “When Audrey and I were at your apartment that night it was in your office I hid it in my purse and took it home with me. It smelled like you and made me feel better.” The confession surprised him. After what she had discovered that night he would never have suspected she would do something like that.

“You can have any of my shirts that you want Beth.”

“Can I have you instead?”

Her words were seriously spoken; she was half afraid of his answer. She didn’t know if she had blown everything walking out and she held her breath as she waited for him to reply.

“Just try and get rid of me,” he murmured.

“Really? I haven’t ruined everything?”

“No Beth. I can’t let you go. I’m so sorry.”

“Me too.” Her tears started to trickle down her face, salty little trails that he kissed away. He pulled her close to him and held her while she cried; her fear and pain rushing out of her as the sobs wracked her small body. He stroked his fingers through the silky curls of her hair and rubbed her back, all the while crooning to her that it would be okay, that he loved her forever.

When her tears finally ended she just clung to him, holding him close. There was comfort in the coolness of his body that was pressed against her own. The moonlight beamed through the open door and lit the contours of their bodies as they blended together in a mellifluous tangle. Desire swirled around them, entwining them in its loving arms and they both breathed it in deeply.

Mick reached down and pulled the shirt off of her in one smooth movement and tossed it carelessly to the floor. Beth straddled him, leaning down to kiss his waiting mouth, hungrily searching it with her tongue. She felt his hands glide down her body and capture her breasts, tweaking her nipples with his finger tips until they puckered with need.

Beth raised herself up and grasped his hardened length in her warm fingers and guided him into her. She was wet and aching for him and all she knew was that need. As she sank down her body squeezed him tightly and she heard him groan with the pleasure of their connection.

Mick sat up in bed so they were eye to eye and claimed her mouth, exploring the sweetness within. His tongue thrust into her mouth, tasting and savoring the heated honey warmth of it. He couldn’t ever get enough of her, would never get enough of her…

Beth felt the same thing, she wanted this to go on forever and she wanted them to go on forever. She pulled back from his mouth looked him in the eye and said, “I love you Mick, I love you.”

“I love you too Beth.”

She moved faster on him and threw back her head as the pleasure of their joining cascaded through her body. She trembled as her orgasm washed over her much like a wave, flowing and crashing against the shore, retreating and riding in again until she couldn’t move any longer. Mick held onto her and he felt the sensations take over him, plunging him over the abyss with her, complete and satisfied.

He pulled her back into his arms and laid them both down in the bed and then he curled around her and they slept.


Too few hours later the alarm went off, waking both of them. Beth was tangled in the sheets and she kicked free of them so she could roll over to reach the alarm. After she shut it off she laid back down for a moment, snuggling against Mick’s body and tilting her head up for a kiss.

“Good morning,” she said against his lips and she felt him smile.

“Um, I believe it is. Much better than I expected.”

“I thought you needed to sleep in your freezer?”

“I’ll catch a few hours later. I’ll be fine. There’s something you should know Beth.”

The words sent a brief minute of panic through her but his gaze told her everything was okay. “What?”

“Yesterday, after you left Luca and Carl came by. I went in for the lineup.” He felt her stiffen at the words and knew she was getting angry.

“No, it’s okay. Angel Navarro did not pick me out of the lineup. She didn’t pick anyone actually. She did say I looked like an angel though,” he teased her, the corners of his mouth tipping up in a sexy smile.

The words sank in and she felt relief, a huge amount of relief. Maybe things would be okay after all.

“Don’t be so smug St. John!” she said rolling out of the bed with a laugh.


Lani and Beth waited at the pier for Robbi, Kevin and Brianna to come down the gang plank. They stared in awe at the brilliant white cutter with the blue sky hanging behind it and blinked in the bright sunshine.

“I can’t imagine living on a ship like that,” Lani said. “Not to mention having a child on it.”

“It’s a cutter, not a ship I think and I can’t either. She says they have a lot of room though.” Just then they saw Robbi, Kevin and Brianna heading their way and both of them stared in surprise at Robbi.

“Wow,” Beth said. “Looks like baby is going to make 4!” Both women squealed and ran towards them, hugging Robbi tight. “You two are at it again!”

“Yep,” Robbi and Kevin answered at the same time. Both of them were beaming.

Beth picked up Brianna and held her close. “Bri, what a big girl you are! This is your Auntie Lani!” She set Brianna back down on the dock and watched her smile shyly at Lani.

“Hi there munchkin. You are beautiful,” Lani said and knew it was true. She knelt down so that they were eye to eye. “I’ve wanted to meet you for a long time!”

Brianna hid her face behind her daddy’s leg, only peeking out a bit to keep her eye on Lani while the adults chatted. They made their way to the parking area where the Prius was parked so the girls could head out to the beach house. Robbi kissed Kevin and Brianna goodbye and the girl’s weekend adventure began.

They didn’t realize that someone was watching them closely.

To be continued…

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Freshie Friday!! Bonus Chapter Beth's Diary

Chapter 37 Perspective

June 10, 2008

What was I saying about secrets? Just when you think you’re safe, that it’s all okay something comes back to bite you. This time the something was Audrey Pell. She’s a smart young woman and pretty resourceful; now let’s hope that she’s as loyal as she is intelligent.

I have to admit that I totally panicked when she first told me about what she figured out. As stated before, I don’t think I’m a particularly good liar; kind of like vampires. Of course, that’s not true at all because they lie pretty much every day, to keep their existence a secret. Most of them are pretty good at it I think because, well, if they weren’t the whole world would know. I’ve discovered that Mick isn’t so good at it though, which I told him a long time ago. He hasn’t gotten any better at it, let me tell you. He tried to convince me that he wasn’t worried about the line up and then I find out that our very future together had been in jeopardy. I knew how worried he was but he wouldn’t even show me, trust me enough to let me in.

He’s a worrier; I get that. I can handle that but if he wants this relationship to work he has to open up more to me. I will not sit on the sidelines of our lives and be a passive participant. Does this sound like we had the mother of all fights? If it does, you would be right. It’s okay now but for awhile I wasn’t sure.

On a lighter note Robbi will be here in 3 days; Lani and I both are really excited. We are going out to the beach house tonight to clean it and get it stocked with supplies in anticipation for the girl’s weekend. I cannot wait and I know that Lani feels the same way. It’s been too many years since we have been together. As young girls if someone would have told us that we would go nearly 5 years in between visits for all three of us we wouldn’t have believed them; it would have seemed totally impossible and yet here we are. Lani was in Tokyo last time Robbi was home and so here it is, 5 years since the Three Musketeers have been together. The world had better watch out because the girls are going to have a blast. Good thing that beach house is sort of secluded.

I’m really enjoying my job at the DA’s office. Ben is a great boss I must admit. Mick is still suspicious of him but he’s never shown the slightest interest in me. Actually, when he does venture into the personal area it’s always Mick he mentions; if I didn’t know better I might actually think he’s gay, but I know he goes out with women. One of them sent him this huge cookie bouquet the other day and the whole office teased him about it, as we munched on the cookies that is!



Mick stood his ground, staring at Beth and Audrey as he listened to what she told him, pretty much a repeat performance of her conversation with Beth. He gave nothing away; not the slightest bit of emotion flickered across his face. Beth really needed a moment with him alone; he was blindsided by it all and had no idea that she hadn’t confirmed what Audrey believed to be true. He was going to have to discover that on his own and it didn’t take him long.

“Audrey, I know you are really confused about what happened that night, but don’t you think the vampire story is pretty far-fetched?” he asked, watching her closely.

“That’s exactly what Beth said, well, almost anyway, but Mick, there is no other way to explain it all. Beth and I watched him executed and yet amazingly, he walked away from it. He jumped up on your roof and then dropped through the skylight like it was nothing. He had – he had fangs! And so did you Mick, I saw it all very clearly. When Beth and I were running down the stairs to get out of the apartment he said, ‘two vampires, two lovely ladies, in my day we’d call that a party’. Look, I get the idea that this must all be secret, I do, but I needed you to know that I appreciate what you did for me and that I’ll never, ever tell anyone that you and Beth are vampires!”

“Audrey, I am not a vampire!” Beth exclaimed and then realized she had left that thought open, like she had the ‘stakes don’t kill vampires’ line earlier. She turned away, wanting to be anywhere else but here. Audrey was in dangerous territory, people had been killed for discovering the secret. Not by Mick, or at least she didn’t think so, but Beth knew that Josef would have no problems with it. That thought almost made Beth laugh when she considered his association with freshies.

“But you are, aren’t you Mick?” Audrey asked and the innocence of her question hit the bottom of his stomach with a thud causing an uncustomary ache. Her eyes never wavered from his face and he saw the truth in them; that she wasn’t afraid, and that she would keep the secret. He rubbed the bridge of his nose for a moment as he gathered his thoughts.

“Audrey, saying things like that could put your life in danger,” he told her and sat down on the couch where Beth had retreated to. Travis poked his head out from under the couch and gracefully landed in his lap and rubbed his cheek against Mick’s chest.

“I understand that Mick. I’m not, um, trying to make a big thing out of this. I just wanted you to know that I appreciate all you did for me. Your special abilities, they saved my life that night and I am so very grateful. I swear to you, I will never betray you.”

Mick cast a sideways glance at Beth who was staring at him, waiting for a reaction. Audrey reminded him a little bit of Beth; she wasn’t as inquisitive, but she was just as determined and he realized that whether he admitted it or not she knew what she knew. Was it more dangerous to ignore it or to tell her and make it 100% clear that she could never, ever tell anyone? He decided on the later.

After he was done she sat there smiling at him and finally said, “Beth, for the first time in years I feel safe and ready for life.”

“Audrey, do you really get how all this can affect your life now that you know? You can’t breathe a word of this.”

“I know, and it’s okay.” Her clear eyes said she meant it.


Mick asked Beth to drop some paperwork off at Logan’s when she went to take Audrey back to her car. It was on the way so she decided to stop on the way instead of on the way back. Audrey wanted to go in with her, even though Beth warned her about the hazardous basement and Audrey just laughed it off. Beth didn’t see any harm in it so Audrey followed her as she headed down the stairs and pushed the bell, waiting for Logan to buzz them in.

As usual he was engaged in something on the computer and at first paid little attention to them, until he got a look at Audrey that is.

“Uh, Beth, who’s your friend?” he inquired, sitting a little straighter in the chair.

Beth rolled her eyes and thought the least he could have done was stand up to greet them. She glanced around the room and saw there was nowhere for them to sit as usual but Audrey didn’t seem to notice; her eyes were on what he was doing on the computer.

“Logan, this is Audrey Pell, we met a few months ago, the Donovan Sheppard case,” she said but apparently all he heard was ‘Audrey’. He finally stood up and reached for her hand and if vampires could blush he was certainly doing it.

“Hi Audrey,” he said, smiling broadly.

“Hi Logan! You play WOW?” she asked, staring at the computer again.

“Yeah, on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s. Do you play?”

“Yes I do. What guild do you belong to?”

Oh God, they are a pair, Beth thought. They were comparing notes about their game characters and guilds and Beth only wanted to get out of there. She cleared her throat and said, “Logan, Mick gave me these papers to give to you. He said you were expecting them?”

Nothing. There were talking about warriors or something else equally unrecognizable and she started tapping her foot impatiently. What the hell did she have to do to get their attention anyway? She peeked into the envelope out of curiosity and saw information about Mick and her, and when she pulled it out of the envelope she realized it had birthdates and other personal info in it.

What the hell?

“Logan…LOGAN,” she finally all but yelled. “Here take this – Audrey, we have to leave, NOW.”

They both looked up at her, realizing something was wrong, very wrong. Beth was already heading up the stairs, lost in her own world as Audrey said a hurried goodbye and sprinted to catch up with her. Beth didn’t say another word in the car until they reached the lot where Audrey’s car was parked.

“I’m sorry if I made you angry at Logan’s Beth – we were just engrossed in WOW.”

“I’m not mad at you Audrey, really. Call me soon and we’ll get together again, okay?”

“Sure Beth,” Audrey said, sliding out of the car. She watched as Beth pulled away and wondered what in the world was wrong.


Luca and Carl sat in Ben’s office, going over some paperwork on the Tejada case. “We’re ready to pick St. John up,” Luca said, looking at the case file. “Do we have other people available for the lineup ready?”

Ben nodded curtly, still pissed it was going this far. Carl’s foot was tapping on the floor impatiently as he waited to get this over with. It was a farce he thought, going to this trouble and for what? Angel Navarro is crazy; she’d never be able to pick anyone out of that lineup with any certainty. She really believed it was some devil; he just hoped that she stuck with that story.

“Okay then, let’s go pick St. John up,” Luca said, getting to his feet.

“I’ll meet you at the station with Ms. Navarro,” Ben said, straightening his tie and buttoning his jacket as he stood up. He was glad Beth was out of the office this afternoon because there would have been no holding her back if she knew what was going down. Ben knew that there wasn’t enough to go on with Angel Navarro as the witness but he also knew that Luca wasn’t going to let it go until he saw it for himself.

He watched as Luca and Carl stepped into the elevator while he closed his office door. He didn’t know or even care what Mick St. John’s involvement with the Tejada case was; if he had taken Tejada out so much the better because the criminal case would have drug on for years. Why Josh hadn’t realized that he never understood. But there were other reasons he needed St. John around for and answers to be had. He was going to see that he got them, one way or the other.


Mick heard the elevator ding and scented Beth as she walked to the door. She was pissed; the scent preceded her into the loft and before he could get to the door she had it open, yelling his name.

“Mick!” she said, stopping short as she saw him walking towards her.

“Hey baby, what’s wrong?” He took in her face that was a mask of anger, her eyes so dark they were almost indigo and her mouth a mere slash of its usual lush beauty.

“Just what was all that stuff that I took to Logan anyway Mick?”

Mick looked down, trying to gather his thoughts. “Come and sit down Beth; I’ll explain, okay?”

“I don’t want to sit down Mick. I want answer’s – now,” she told him point blank, staring him down. “What are you planning Mick?”

“It’s just a precaution Beth. A – just in case scenario. Josef…” he started when she cut him off.

“Oh, Josef, I should have guessed. Did you ever think I might not want Logan to have all that personal information about me?” she said irrationally.

“Beth, he already knew most of it anyway, he is family you know.”

Wrong thing to say he realized, as soon as the words came out of his mouth.

“Why Mick? Tell me what’s going on?”

“Beth, if for some reason things go wrong with this line up, well, we might have to get out of here quickly. Logan is going to create new identification for us.”

Her eyes narrowed even more as she listened. He just took it for granted that she would go with him? She knew that she would but he didn’t even bother to talk to her about it first or ask what she would want. He just took the typical male approach which was just tell the little woman what she’s going to do; she’ll be happy to do it.

Mick sank down on the couch as he watched the emotions play across her face. He had fucked up badly, he realized. He had thought he was doing a helpful thing, getting things ready, just in case but he now saw that it had caused an even bigger problem. Beth was capable of making her own decisions and he had taken her choice away from her by not talking with her about it first. Part of the problem was that they were short on time, or they could be anyway. If he was identified they’d take him to jail immediately and plans would have to be ready for when he made bail, if he was given that possibility. He remembered what had happened with Emma and knew that a similar scenario would have to take place again if that was the case. There wouldn’t be any time to waste. Everything that could be done before hand would make things simpler. With Audrey here earlier he hadn’t had a chance to talk to her. He should have waited, he saw that now.

The silence was uncomfortable, to say the least and Mick was smart enough to know that just because she wasn’t saying anything it didn’t mean that she was okay with it all. She still stood in the room, her hands clenched at her sides as she thought about what he had said.

“How could you? How could you do that without one word to me about it Mick? We, you and I, we are an ‘us’ now. You can’t just make decisions for both of us without talking to me first.” Her words were sharply spoken, each one a dagger ripping into his heart.

Mick knew that he was a product of his generation; that’s what men did, they made decisions and carried them out, for the good of the family. Had he been right all along, that the 60 years age difference was too much for them to overcome? How did they bridge that gap; if there was a way he didn’t see it. He didn’t know how to do things any differently; you take care of your family – period.

“I was wrong Beth. I’m sorry. There just wasn’t anytime though. Audrey was here and then you left and I was worried that we could be running out of time so I gave you the information to drop at Logan’s. I was going to tell you tonight what it was all about.”

“Tell me what it was all about? As opposed to asking me what I thought?”

“Yes,” he admitted, his words barely audible.

Beth turned around and headed for the storage area and grabbed Travis’ carrier. He had been lying on a chair, watching the discussion and she scooped him up and placed him in the carrier, fastening it securely.

“What are you doing?” Mick asked coming to his feet in a panic.

“I’m leaving, that’s what the hell I’m doing. And I’m not asking your opinion Mick, I’m going.”

“You’re leaving me?” He almost couldn’t get the words out.

She realized what he thought and for a moment she almost weakened. “No, I’m not leaving you; I’m leaving here, going to my place. I need some time,” she told him as she gathered her purse and picked up the carrier, heading for the door.

He made it to the door before she did, opening it for her. “Will you call me later?” he asked, his undead heart hopeful.

“I’ll call you later,” she conceded.

She headed for the elevator. No kiss or backwards glance. She was gone.


Ten minutes later there was a knock on his door. He knew who it was before he answered. When he opened it he saw Carl and Luca standing there patiently.

“We’re doing this?” he asked, resignation wearing on him.

“Yes. You ready?” Carl asked. “Need anything before we go Mick? A few minutes of privacy or something? We can wait outside.”

Mick thought it was a curious thing to ask and he started to refuse, but then thought better of it. “That would be good. I just need to, uh…” he nodded in the direction of the stairs, hoping they would read that as ‘bathroom’.

“Sure, take your time,” Carl said.

Mick closed the door and ran to the kitchen and pulled out a bottle of O+ and gulped it straight from the bottle, before hiding it away. He rinsed his mouth quickly and made it back to the door. He opened it to find Carl and Luca waiting in the hallway for him. He checked his pocket to make sure he had his keys and closed the door firmly behind him. The resounding ‘click’ had never sounded louder.

Mick sat in the backseat of the car and the short ride to the station was a silent one. At this point he was still thinking about Beth and how he had screwed things up for them. He hoped that they wouldn’t need a quick getaway, but you just never knew. He felt almost naked, going into this without her there beside him but he also acknowledged that it was for the best. Her temper might get them both in trouble.

Inside the station he was taken into a waiting room where several other men waited, evidently there for the same reason. A couple of them looked nervous and Mick wondered why. He hoped he didn’t look nervous; he tried to focus on just talking to Beth later, hearing her voice. It would all be better then.

Finally they were lead out of that room into another room; it looked like something right out of a movie with lines on the wall marking height. Mick was number 7; he wasn’t necessarily a superstitious kind of guy but they did say 7 was lucky. They were instructed to look straight ahead and they did. Each one in turn was asked to step forward and turn to the side. Mick followed the instructions when it was his turn. Finally they were taken back to the room to wait.

In the small viewing room Angel Navarro carefully looked over every suspect, rejecting one after the other. The smug look on Luca’s face fell when she passed Mick by without any recognition at all. They watched as the men were lead away and Luca questioned, “So you didn’t see him in that group?”

“No, none of them were the man. He had the big teeth, like a dog. And his eyes, they were scary!” she declared with a shiver. “He was a devil man!”

“Number 7 didn’t look familiar?”

Ben’s head snapped up at that question. It was big-time against the rules for them to prod a witness towards a suspect. He started to speak up with she answered.

“No. That man, he is an angel. Muy guapo!” she said with a sigh.

Carl had to fight himself to keep from laughing at the look on Luca’s face.

To be continued…

Monday, June 20, 2011

Chapter 36 Cat Got Your Tongue?

Chapter 36 Cat Got Your Tongue?

June 6, 2008

This has been a tense week and yet in some ways things are better now. Confusing, huh? To me too!

Mick has mostly adapted to Travis and his trail of fur. He has got lint brushes tucked away all over the loft and I have to try hard not to laugh as I see him running it over the various surfaces that Travis has visited. Travis and I aren’t permanent residents of the loft, but I think we both enjoy it there a lot. Josef of all people brought a cat nip stuffed mouse for Travis and he now follows Josef like the pied piper. I’m still amazed over that one. You haven’t lived until you’ve heard Josef croon, “Who’s my puddy cat?” to Travis when he thinks no one is paying attention. Of course, the fact that Travis and I are at Mick’s so much hasn’t gone unnoticed, either by Josef or Lani. Both are adapting…

Mom and Clark are planning a barbeque the week that Robbi will be here, one week from now actually. It should be fun but I’m not sure how to explain the fact that Mick won’t be eating. Food allergy maybe? Blood work coming up? I guess we’ll figure that out when the time comes. I am happy that Mom has accepted that Mick and I are together; I know it’s hard for her and I understand why, but it’s a fact she is going to have to be okay with. I love them both but Mick is my future; I want her and Clark to welcome him into our family and I hope they can do that. I asked Mom to include Logan at the cook out and I hope he’ll come.

I still haven’t asked Mick about Logan; in my heart I know that I am right about it all, but I don’t know for sure what happened when he was turned. I know that it had to be something traumatic and that Logan had to have chosen it because Mick would never have done it otherwise. I have watched the two of them together a couple of times now and every instinct I have tells me I’m right.

Lani and I had our first fencing lesson and it was actually fun. The first lesson dealt with the history of the sport and we learned a few basic maneuvers and positions. I think I’ll like it a lot. Mick actually laughed when I told him about what we were going to do; not a making fun of us kind of laugh, but just because he is so intrigued by Lani’s pro-active approach to vampire vigilance. He also thinks that if it makes her more confident than we should go for it. I think she is beginning to warm up to him; she even had dinner with us (me, actually) last night after class and didn’t seem nervous at all, until Josef arrived that is.

What is it with those two? They seem to have developed this elaborate dance between them; first she is uncomfortable and then he is. Simone was with him and she was watching the two of them, a look of disbelief on her face as their banter seemed to be particularly sharp. He was impressed with the fencing lessons though and commented that it could be a helpful skill, which of course only caused her to stare at him with a look of contempt on her face. He laughed of course, enjoying the game.

Oh, and I had lunch with Audrey, now that was quite a meeting!



Beth sat at Mick’s table picking at some roasted chicken he had bought from the deli on his shopping trip. He now had enough food here to feed the entire USC football team she noticed as she checked out the fridge and the cabinets. Just how much food did he think she would eat anyway she wondered with a mental shake of her head. She popped a cherry tomato in her mouth from the salad she was eating with the chicken and grinned at him, watching as he sipped his glass of blood.

He seemed embarrassed by the fact that he was drinking it in front of her she realized when he wouldn’t quite meet her gaze. It didn’t gross her out or anything, it was just part of who he was. If he could accept the fact that occasionally she was going to eat Ben and Jerry’s for dinner she could accept the fact that he drank blood.

She heard a slight tinkle and looked down to find Travis sitting by her feet, one paw raised as if to say ‘feed me some of that chicken please’. She laughed and gave him a small bite and said, “That’s it. Go on now Travis!” He tilted his head to the side as if saying, ‘more please’ but she wasn’t buying it and ignored him.

“Audrey Pell called me the other day; she wants to have lunch tomorrow,” she told him and watched his face as he digested the news. One eyebrow quirked up in surprise and then a slight frown creased his forehead and turned the corners of his mouth down.

“So you’re meeting her then?” he inquired, taking another sip of blood and then wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, a gesture that was oddly endearing to her.

“Yes. She didn’t say what she wanted, only that she has moved to the city and has started a new job and wanted to catch up.”

“I didn’t realize that she didn’t already live here,” he said, trying to remember what he did know about her.

“She lived with her grandparents up in a small town called Delhi, a farming community apparently. That was after her parents were killed of course.”

Mick nodded and asked, “What does she do? I mean her job that is.”

It was Beth’s turn to frown and she said, “You know, I’m not sure actually. It was something to do with web development I think.”

“So what if she has questions Beth?”

“About that night?” At his nod she shrugged her shoulders and added, “I guess I’ll have to play it by ear.”


The next morning Beth woke up to the smell of coffee and Travis’ warm body pressed up against hers in the bed. The coffee explained were Mick was and she tugged one of his Henley’s over her head and padded down the stairs with Travis following close behind.

Mick grinned when he saw her and let out a long, slow whistle. “Wow, you look good in that shirt Beth; a lot better than I do!”

“If you really believe that you would be wrong,” she teased, stopping to kiss him softly on her way to grab a coffee cup only to find that he had one waiting for her already.

Travis meowed softly, a reminder that he wanted breakfast. Mick chuckled as he filled the cat’s dish and watched him attack it with gusto. “You know, I think he’s gained weight since he came to live with you. Just how much junk food were you feeding him?”

“None really. Well, a little ice cream occasionally,” she answered unwilling to let him know just how often that might have been.

“You know, it’s not good for cats, all that sugar.” He bent down and stroked Travis’ back and said, “No more ice cream for you my friend.”

Travis let out a mournful sound as if he understood Mick’s words then went back to his kitty chow. It was all good as far as he was concerned.


As soon as Beth left for work Mick called Josef. He thought the phone was going to voice mail when Josef picked up.

“This had better be good. I don’t crawl out of sub-zero oblivion for just anyone you know,” he said impatiently.

“Good morning Josef!” Mick laughed, tickled that he had caught Josef at an inconvenient time but he quickly sobered when he remembered the reason why. “Look, I think I may have a problem.”

“Does that mean that ‘we’ may have a problem?”

Mick hesitated for moment and then confirmed Josef’s fear. “Could be. Not sure yet.”

“I’ll be over in a few,” Josef said as he snapped the phone closed and headed to his closet. Rest would have to wait until he figured out what the latest crisis was but he’d bet the farm that it involved a certain blond reporter.

He made it to Mick’s in record time, squinting against the harsh sunlight through his Ray Ban’s. They might not be the most expensive sunglasses out there but they sure looked good he thought as he tilted his head this way and that in the rear view mirror.

He let the Ferrari loose on the freeway for the short trip and wished that it was night time or at least cloudy so he could have had the top down.

A few minutes later he pulled into the garage at Mick’s and was soon gliding past the floors as the elevator made the trip to the loft. As soon as he stepped out of it he caught the scent of blondie, but something else as well. He popped the door lock and looked around the room; somewhere in here was a wild animal. Did Mick need help with that?

Then he caught the other scent, its pervasive fragrance floating through the loft like the smell of cotton candy at the fair; not that he had ever been to one. It smelled sweet and musky, sexual and heady.

So they finally sealed the deal!

He couldn’t help the grin that tugged the corners of his mouth upwards. “Hey Mick! Where are you Romeo?”

Mick came downstairs quickly; he had been making the bed up and picking up their discarded clothes from last night. On his heels followed Travis, who stopped dead in his tracks at the sight and smell of Josef.

“Knew I smelled a wild animal. So, who’s this?” he asked, looking at Travis. “Handsome cat; isn’t he one of those fancy Bengal cats? They have spots, not stripes.”

Mick was surprised at Josef’s knowledge about cats; he never would have guessed that one. “I don’t know. This is Travis, Beth’s cat.” He looked at Travis who was still standing on the stairs and said, “Its okay Travis, he won’t eat you.”

Travis mewed inquisitively and then came down the stairs and right up to Josef, sniffing at his pants leg. Josef bent over and lightly scratched the top of his head and was amazed that Travis didn’t run. “How’d you accomplish this?” he asked Mick.

“It’s amazing what a little allure will do.” He moved into the kitchen to pour two glasses of liquid refreshment for them, knowing that Josef would grimace at the bagged blood, but it was all he had.

“So you charmed the pussy cat huh? And its owner I notice,” he smirked, raising his head as if to sniff the air.

“Not a word about that Josef. We’ve got other things to concern us.”

“Hey, I’m just glad you and blondie did the deed; maybe now you’ll stop being all mopey all the time. You are NO fun like that boyo.”

Mick sat down and noticed that Travis was perched next to Josef who was stroking his head. Mick shook his head in disbelief and told Josef about Luca and Carl and the lineup.

“So she got a look at the vamp; take her out now Mick.”

“It’s not that simple Josef; you can bet the police are watching her like a hawk because she’s a witness in a possible murder investigation.”

“Why didn’t you take her out that night Mick? You always leave these loose ends lying around and then we have to scramble to clean them up!” At his sharp tone of voice Travis jumped down and ran to Mick, landing in his lap and hiding his head. It seemed to be something he did a lot and Mick couldn’t help but wonder why.

“I wasn’t paying attention to her that night; I admit, I screwed up but I wouldn’t have killed her anyway. A little allure maybe, but all I was thinking about was that bastard Tejada.”

“Well, you’re going to have to think of her now, that’s for sure. Do you think she’ll pick you out of the line up?”

“Carl seemed to think not, that she was looking for a devil; someone with jet black eyes, a snout like a dog and huge teeth.”

“Well, she got the teeth right anyway. Never trust a human to get the details right. So what are you going to do and why was the good lieutenant telling you all this?”

“Wait and see I guess. And Carl, I don’t know Josef, but he told us that Josh had told him that he read Beth’s diary. I can only guess what he might have read in it.” He didn’t mention that he suspected that Carl believed what Josh had probably told him.

Josef’s body stiffened at the news. “What the hell was she writing in it anyway and why didn’t you ask her right away?”

“I don’t know and we sort of got busy with other things.” His look said, don’t ask what. Josef knew though and Mick could only imagine what he was thinking.

“You’d better notify Logan; you may have to make a quick exit Mick. You know that, right? Will blondie be going with you?”

“Stop calling her that, she hates it. And I don’t know; I hope so, but she might not want to.”

“Just kidnap her cat; she’ll follow,” Josef said, standing up and frowning at the traces of cat hair that clung to his Armani slacks. He stopped at the door and turned around, giving Mick a piercing look. “Call Logan – today!” and then he was gone. Mick knew he was right.


Audrey met Beth in front of the courthouse and they walked around the corner to a small bistro for lunch. Beth had ate here a time or two and thought it would be an ideal place to chat. Soft background music played and the back of the booths were high above their heads, assuring them of some small amount of privacy.

“It’s so good to see you Beth!” Audrey exclaimed, taking a sip of her raspberry iced tea. She smiled and said, “That’s good!”

“I know! I love it. I’m ordering the chicken salad, it’s delicious,” she answered.

When the server came back they both ordered the same thing and finally Beth said, “So, how come you moved down here?”

“My company transferred me actually. Well, they gave me the opportunity and I took it.”

“What exactly do you do? I remember something about web development.”

“It’s web design actually. We create websites for high profile companies. There is a fair amount of engineering and design in it in order to create a maintainable platform. I really love it; it’s challenging and creative and fun.”

Beth nodded and filled her in on the changes in her own life. Audrey laughed with delight when she heard that Beth and Mick were now together. “I knew it, I did. You are so perfect for one another,” she exclaimed.

Beth nodded and a small flush brightened her face showing how pleased she was. “We are. It was hard when Josh died, don’t get me wrong, but I already knew that I loved Mick. I loved Josh Audrey, but I just wasn’t in love with him any longer.”

Audrey nodded and started to say something when the server arrived with their meals. They both waited patiently until the server asked if they needed anything else.

“No,” they answered in unison and both of them laughed. Audrey took a bite of the chicken salad that had grapes and walnuts in it and smiled in appreciation. “This IS good!”

Beth nodded, taking a bite of her own salad and waited. Audrey had something on her mind and Beth had a good idea what it was. Finally, halfway through her salad she spoke up. “Beth, a – about that night. What I saw confused me. At first anyway. Mick and Sheppard, they’re different, aren’t they? I mean Mick is different since Sheppard is dead now. He IS dead now, isn’t he?”

Beth put her fork down and reached for Audrey’s hand across the table and gave it a gentle squeeze. “Yes Audrey, he is absolutely dead this time, I promise. Mick made sure of it.” She waited several heartbeats for Audrey to speak again.

“At first, I wasn’t really sure what I saw. And what I did know that I saw confused me even more. The way they fought, it – it wasn’t human was it Beth?”

“What do you think it was Audrey?” Beth’s heart was sinking; Audrey was a nice girl but no way would she let her put Mick in danger. Keeping the secret was the number one priority. Always…

“I didn’t know at first. I mean, what I thought I saw couldn’t be right, it just couldn’t possibly be right. But I think it is.” Audrey was quiet and looked around her, trying to see if anyone was paying attention to them. “I think Mick is a vampire and so was Sheppard. That’s why he didn’t die at first isn’t it?”

She spoke in a very quiet voice but Beth heard every word as if she had shouted it out loud. Beth blinked several times, glancing around the room herself but no one was paying any attention to them. She took out her wallet and dropped a $20 on the table and said, “Come on Audrey, let’s get out of here.”

Audrey grabbed her purse and hurried to catch up with Beth who was striding out of the restaurant at a near run. She headed across the street to the plaza across from the courthouse, making her way to a bench that was under a tree in the shade. No one was anywhere near it and she sank down gratefully onto it and waited for Audrey to catch up and take the seat beside her.

“Beth, I’m sorry I made you mad. I didn’t mean to, but I know I’m right. I’ve been doing a lot of reading Beth and after what I saw, it couldn’t be anything else.”

Beth took a deep breath and let it out slowly and then licked her lips. “Audrey, you had a really rough night; I know it can be easy to think you saw something like that, but there’s no such thing as vampires.”

“Are you one too Beth? Is that why you can’t tell me?”

“NO! What on earth gave you that idea? Audrey, you’re going in a totally wrong direction here.”

“No Beth, I’m not. It explains everything; how Sheppard didn’t die when he was executed, how he got into Mick’s apartment, why Mick had to cut his head off to kill him. He could have staked him I guess, but cutting his head off worked.”

“Staking vampires doesn’t kill them, it only paralyzes them!” Beth exclaimed before she realized what she had said.

“Wow, the books sure got that one wrong,” Audrey answered, a serious look on her face. “I wonder what else they got wrong. Is silver poison to them?”

“Audrey, you’re wrong about all this, okay? Just forget it all.” Beth tried frantically to think of something else to talk about but her mind was blank.

“No Beth, I’m not. I’m right, whether or not you admit it to me. And I understand if you don’t. I swear to you, I’ll never say anything to anyone about it – ever. I’m so grateful to Mick and you for keeping me safe, for saving me that night. I owe you both my life.” As she looked at Beth her eyes blinked back huge tears and Beth saw the truth in them – that she meant every word she had said.

Beth took out her phone and called Ben. “Hey Ben, I’m going to go and check out a lead on the Myerson case. It might take me all afternoon though so I’ll see you in the morning.” She ended the call, only feeling slightly guilty for lying to her boss. “C’mon Audrey, we have to go and see Mick.”

Audrey followed her silently; across the street to the parking garage and waited while Beth unlocked the Prius. As she slipped in and fastened her seat belt she had a fleeting thought that maybe she should be afraid but shrugged it off.

Oddly enough, she had never felt safer.

To be continued…

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Road Trip Part 5 On the Road Again

This is the last part of the road trip story, however in a few weeks we will have a 6th chapter in Beth's Diary, so stay tuned.


The Road Trip

Part Five - On the Road Again

Josef, Simone and Beth sat quietly at the table and thought about the scene that had just played out. Josef was drinking another glass of blood and the girls continued to sip their glasses of wine. Beth was twirling hers around, smearing the wet spot from the condensation that rolled off the glass.

“Well,” Josef said, finally standing up and heading back to the driver’s seat, “maybe it’s time to get on the road to the park and find our reserved spot. We can hook up to the electrical there and all chill out for a while.”

“Oh, okay,” Beth said, glad that they were going to take some kind of action. She was worried about Mick; it was really hard to keep from going to him. For some reason she could feel his tumultuous feelings. She knew that he was in the freezer, trying to sleep and that he wasn’t managing that very well. It was almost as if she were there with him, tossing and turning. She didn’t understand how she could know this, but she did.

All day long she had felt this connection with him; when he had been happy so was she, when he was angry and frustrated, well she could feel that too. Was this from the little bit of his blood she had drank last night she wondered? Is that part of the implications he had mentioned? His blood didn’t taste like she thought it would, like her own, which had a metallic taste to it. No, his was sort of salty and yet kind of sweet with other flavors in it she couldn’t describe, wouldn’t even know where to begin in fact. It was soothing to her, almost familiar and given the chance, she knew she would do it again.

As the bus started to move again she stared out the window pensively, her thoughts racing wildly through her head. She remembered their conversation last night:

“Are you mad at me, Mick?”

“No baby, no. You did what I didn’t have the courage to do. But Beth, there are implications to this, things we are going to have to talk about, okay?”

She nodded solemnly, but said, “Not tonight though?”

“No, not tonight.

He had almost seemed sad when he said those words to her and while at the time she didn’t think too much about it right now it seemed really important. She also remembered Josef’s strange appraisal of her this morning when they had got on the bus and Mick telling him ‘Not now’. What was all that about?

Did she dare ask Josef to explain? How mad would that make Mick if she did? She frowned and finished the last bit of wine in the glass and got up to rinse it out in the sink, contemplating her next move.

She needed answers, she would have answers. Somehow though she knew she needed to get them from Mick even though she felt that Josef might actually provide them for her if she asked. Well, that could be her backup plan then she decided.

This all seemed to be some big vampire secret, whatever had happened last night. But what did happen actually? Nothing really big she thought. She knew that she wasn’t in any danger of being turned just because she tasted his blood; he had explained the process to her before and she knew that mouthful wasn’t going to do it.

What if it had turned her though? How would she feel about that? Could she see herself as a vampire?

Had Mick ever turned anyone? She had asked him that question one night, but the answer was interrupted. She had always believed, due to his own aversion to being a vampire that he hadn’t ever turned anyone, but now she remembered that conversation and suddenly she wasn’t so sure. What if he had turned someone and it had gone badly, like Sarah? Maybe turnings weren’t quite as easy as they seemed to be.

Would that, could that account for his reticence? She had never actually asked him to turn her, what would he say if she did? And did she want that? Would she ever? She loved him, she wanted to be with him; that much she knew for sure. The question was though, how would she feel in a few years?

The bus slowed down again and she looked ahead to see that they were at the gates of the park. She also realized that she was gripping the edge of the sink so hard that her fingers had turned white. She forced them to relax and felt the warm rush of blood as it flowed back into them and felt the accompanying tingle the sensation brought. If she were a vamp, she would never have that feeling again; but then again, she wouldn’t have to worry about getting sick or dying either. It was a trade off she knew.

Josef paid their fees and got a map that directed them to their reserved space. He guided the bus down the road while Beth and Simone watched the beauty of the park unfold before their eyes. It was magnificent and suddenly all Beth could think about was how happy she was to be here; she hoped that Mick would come around too.


Mick settled into the chill of the freezer and reveled in it. He tried to sleep but it was elusive; he had acted like an ass and he knew it and he owed them all an apology. Josef was just doing what he did best, getting swept away with the new experience and fun of the trip. He was right, normally road trips and vamps didn’t go hand in hand, but this one definitely had possibilities.

He had never been to either park they were going to visit. Vacations when he was a kid tended to be to Sacramento to visit family or day trips to San Diego, to the ocean. During the depression people just didn’t have money to spend on a vacation, you went where you had family and a place to stay.

As a vamp, well, it was the whole road trip thing. He didn’t know for sure, but he’d bet there were no hotels or motels around here with vampire accommodations. Before they left Reno they had gotten a large supply of blood and they had another contact in Vegas where they would stop on the way to the Grand Canyon. Guillermo had contacts in most of the morgues in the western United States so they were covered pretty well.

The other thing on his mind was Beth and their lovemaking last night. She had bit him, drawn blood and drank it. And she hadn’t shied away from the taste of his blood either he realized. Most humans hated the taste of blood, were repulsed by it in fact whether it was vamp blood or human blood. Vamp blood did taste remarkably different than human blood though, so maybe that was part of it.

Josef had known right off this morning, known what had happened. Maybe not the specifics, but he knew that she had drunk his blood and that they were now on a whole different level in their relationship. He had to talk to her about it, explain it because she didn’t understand what this all meant, for him and for her and he dreaded the conversation, would give anything if they didn’t have to have it. But would he change what had happened? No, he didn’t think so. It all scared him, because he loved her so much. He didn’t want to draw her into this monster world that was a part of his life, but now he didn’t really have any choice but to do just that.

He reflected on the whole ‘monster’ thing. He had spent decades feeling like a monster and hiding away from life as was appropriate for a monster. But the thing was, he didn’t feel like a monster, not any longer. He was starting to view himself through Beth’s eyes he realized and she didn’t see him as a monster at all. If she were turned, would he consider her a monster?

He shook his head at that thought – she could never be a monster and she loved him. Did that change everything? Did it change anything?


Mick finally realized that they were parked; they must be at Yosemite now. He was never going to get to sleep, not with the guilt of his childish outburst weighing so heavily on his mind so he climbed out of the freezer and got dressed so he could join them in the galley.

He smelled something cooking, the girls were preparing something for dinner, but he couldn’t quite place the smell. He opened the door and headed out to find all three of them sitting at the table playing cards. Three pairs of eyes looked at him as he joined them and three pairs of lips smiled as well.

“Oh good, you’re up! Deal him in Beth, we’re playing five card stud strip poker!” Josef said, looking at his hand and frowning.

“WHAT? Beth, you’re not getting naked in fr…oh, you were joking weren’t you?” he asked sheepishly. He leaned down and kissed Beth and then pointed to her cards and said, “Keep them!”

She touched his cheek and then ran careless fingers through his curls and said, “If we were playing strip poker I wouldn’t be the one in danger of losing my clothes, Mick!”

“You ever played with her Mick? She’s a card shark, let me tell you!” Josef laughed and said, “Hey, you better go and check your chicken, I think it’s starting to burn!”

“You’re only trying to distract me, but that’s okay, I’m starving!” she told him and got up from the table to check out the chicken that was broiling in the oven. She pulled the pan out and poked at the chicken for a minute then said, “Si, is the salad ready? I think the chicken is.”

“It’s ready anytime. Shall I dish it up?”

“Yes, I’ll get the chicken on the plates.”

“I can’t place the smell of the spices on the chicken. What is it?” Mick asked as he watched Beth lay the chicken on a plate and carry it to the table. Josef had put the cards away so the girls could eat their dinner.

“It’s Jamaican Jerk Chicken, kinda spicy,” Beth told him.

Mick reached for the thermos of blood in the fridge and went to pour himself a glass. He held it up to Josef and pointed at him, wordlessly asking if he wanted some too.

Josef nodded and Mick filled a second glass and carried them both to the table. Beth set the chicken down and then joined them. Before they started eating Mick cleared his throat and said, “I uh, have something I’d like to say to you all”.

Simone raised questioning eyes towards him but Beth and Josef sat there, knowing what was coming. Best to just let him get it out they knew.

“I want to apologize for my outburst earlier. I’m sorry, I was really a jerk. No insult to the chicken,” he said, trying to make a joke out of it.

“Oh, that was lame man,” Josef teased, his eyes sparkling brightly. “But it’s okay; we all have our moments Mick. And we all talked about it, you had some valid points and we need to be more careful.”

Beth took his hand and squeezed it tightly for a moment and added, “It really is okay Mick, we’re not mad, not any of us. Now go ahead and drink your dinner because I intend to eat, I’m starving!”

“You said that once already,” Mick teased, feeling a bit better.

“I know, because it’s true! Now let me eat!”


Later that night both couples were tucked into their respective beds. It was quiet, really quiet Beth realized. When you lived in LA there was always the constant background hum of life surrounding you; you actually tune it out most of the time so much that you forget it’s even there. She couldn’t imagine what it must be like for a vampire with extra sensitive hearing.

Here in the park all the human’s could hear was the soft sounds of the night around them; cicada’s buzzing occasionally, an owl hooting every once in a while and once or twice a dog barking from somewhere among the campers. There was also the slight electrical hum of the bus, but it was amazingly quiet.

Mick was curled up with Beth in the single bed in their room. Later he would move to the freezer but right now he was exactly where he wanted to be; holding Beth close to him. He listened to her gentle breathing and the comforting patter of her heart and sighed with pleasure. What would it be like when he didn’t hear that anymore?

“Mick,” Beth started, “Last night you said there were implications to…”

Mick leaned down and kissed her, silencing her words. “Beth, baby we need to talk about this, we really do but it’s not anything that can’t wait until we are back in LA, okay? Here, well, Josef can hear us and this is a private conversation. Do you understand?”

She nodded silently and then kissed him, her mouth opening under his, inviting him to delve into her waiting mouth. The kiss went on and on and finally Beth broke away, panting slightly. “So, I guess he can hear this too, huh?” she said as she snuck her hand down and stroked his hardened length.

“He’s uh, a little occupied right now, probably won’t pay much attention to us, if we’re really quiet!”

“Well, it’ll be tough but let’s see how quiet we can do it!”


The next morning Beth rolled over in the bed and realized that Mick had moved to the freezer at some point during the night. She stretched, a smile curling up the corners of her mouth as she remembered their lovemaking the night before. It was kind of like being really young and not wanting anyone to catch you she thought with a laugh.

She stood up and looked down at Mick for a moment, still sleeping peacefully. She kissed two fingers and laid them on the glass above his face, feeling an overwhelming love for him. She couldn’t imagine her life without him; she hoped that she would never have to.

After sliding on her robe she quietly opened the door and slipped out into the hallway. It was still quiet in the bus so she used that opportunity to get into the bathroom and take a quick shower. Four adults and one bathroom proved to be a bit challenging; you bathed in shifts she thought with a grin as she turned the water on and stepped into the lukewarm stream of water.

Her morning ablutions were necessarily short but it still felt great to be squeaky clean. She wrapped herself in a towel and used another to wipe the steam off the mirror. She looked at herself carefully, trying to be objective about her appearance. At 27 she thought she looked pretty good; if she were turned soon she would always look like this. She’d hopefully look okay in a few years too but she didn’t kid herself, she wouldn’t look this way forever and sooner or later they were going to have to talk about all this.

If it were only that easy though…


A little later Beth was dressed and already drinking her first cup of coffee when Simone emerged from the bedroom. She grinned sleepily and headed straight for the coffee pot. Beth had set an extra cup on the counter for Simone and she watched as Simone filled it and then made her way to the table to sit down.

Simone yawned sleepily and gently blew on the cup she held between both her hands. The steam curled upwards off of it and dissipated as Simone blew on it. She yawned again and laughed.

“I really did sleep last night. I think it’s just that we’re out here and it’s so quiet, plus, I have nothing to get me moving here, I mean no job to rush off too. I sort of feel displaced, you know? Isn’t it driving you crazy?"

“Nope! I’m enjoying every single moment actually. It’s so beautiful here and I can’t wait to explore it all. When is the rental car being delivered, do you know?”

‘Um, I’m not sure. Sometime this morning though.” Simone stared out the window for a moment and asked, “Is that El Capitan out there?”

Beth smiled and said “No, that’s Half Dome. See how part of the mountain just seems to be missing?”

“Yes, I see. Well, I know there are lots of things to see and I know that Josef is excited to do it all.”

“So is Mick. He’s never been here before which I find amazing, since he is a native California boy.”

Simone nodded and then finished the last drink of coffee, tipping the cup up to get it all. “Well, I think I’ll go and hit the shower before the guys get up. See you in a few!”

Beth booted the computer up to read the morning news and was engrossed in a story about a family that was missing in San Bernardino when Mick came into the room, stopping to kiss her on the top of her head before he got a glass of blood. He sat down next to Beth, reading over her shoulder and she glanced at him and grinned.

“What?” Mick asked, seeing the sparkle in her eye.

“I had fun last night! It was almost like we were teenagers trying to sneak around so our parents wouldn’t catch us!”

“Baby, if that is all I have to do to put that smile on your face I’ll gladly do it again…and again, and again!”

She laughed, that funny little laugh she had where she bites her lip and scrunches up her nose. He loved that smile; it was reserved for only the happiest of moments, like now. He wished he could see her smile like that all the time.

Josef came down the hallway and sat down at the table, blinking at the bright light that streamed in through the windows. He grimaced and said, “You know, I’d like morning a whole lot better if they weren’t so damn bright!”

“That’s the whole point of morning, Josef,” Beth teased. “You know, the sunshine chases the dark away. Happens pretty regularly, you just don’t ever see it!”

“Hmm, yeah well if you say so. Mick, we need to empty the uh, waste tanks today I think. They said it wasn’t hard.”

“They?” Mick inquired.

“Yeah, the people I bought the bus from. You just hook the hose thing to the collar thingy on the storage tank and turn the valve. Has to be done every few days, especially with all four of us showering and stuff.”

“Well, let’s get it done early so we can explore the rest of the day, okay?”

“Okay, as soon as I’m showered. There’s a book thing with instructions in the storage compartment in the driver’s console. We’ll read it for specific instructions.”

Mick nodded and went to get it while Josef was in the bedroom getting ready for his shower. Mick read it and agreed that it didn’t look too difficult and spent some time looking at the other information in the book. This was really a complicated machine he decided a bit later, shaking his head. Glad he didn’t have to take care of it!

After Josef and Mick had both showered they went out to tackle the storage tank situation. Beth watched them from outside and they struggled to get the outside storage door open. Simone was still inside, putting makeup on but she was really missing a show, Beth thought.

“C’mon, how the hell hard can it be to get the damn door open?” Mick said, holding the book and trying to follow the instructions. Josef stood by watching with curiosity.

“Do you suppose it’s stuck?” he offered. He watched Mick jiggle the handle, the handle that refused to turn.

“Okay, the book says to turn the key and then push the lever in before turning! I did that!” Mick said, smacking the door in frustration. It popped open, almost as if it was mocking him and he ran his fingers through his hair, ready to scream.

Josef peered into the compartment where the hose was stored away and suddenly backed off. “Whoa, what is that smell?” he asked.

Mick wrinkled his nose, catching a whiff of the odor that came from the outflow hose. “Holy sh…” he started to say before Josef said, “Yes, that’s the word!”

“My God, Josef can’t you pay somebody to do this?” Mick was turning green and they hadn’t even turned the valve to start the flow yet.

Josef had backed away, shaking his head as if trying to clear it. “I don’t know, man, they didn’t say it would smell this bad…”

”Josef, get your ass over here and help me. Let’s just get this done!”

Josef approached again, his pale face growing even paler as he got closer to the storage tank. “Oh Mick, man, I don’t know!”

“JOSEF!” Mick yelled. He turned his head away and Beth saw his shoulders scrunch up as he gagged.

Beth couldn’t really smell anything but supposed that super vampire noses were getting the full noxious odor effects. She tried to hide her smile as she watched the two men wrangling with the hose and then trying to get it attached to septic system. Both of them were gagging and retching, trying to hold their breath as they worked.
They finally got the hose attached to the tank and went to turn on the valve so the tank could drain.

Mick turned the valve on slowly, watching to make sure that it didn’t leak. When it looked good he opened it up all the way and retreated over to the table where Beth was sitting.

He drew in a couple of deep breaths as if trying to clear his head of the noxious smell. “How can you sit here and smell this and not get sick?” he asked.

Beth touched her nose with a finger and said, “No vampire nose here, can’t really smell much!”

Mick just shook his head and muttered something under his breath. Beth asked him what he had said and he turned to look at her and repeated, “I said I’m going to kill Josef for this, wait and see!”

Finally the tank was empty, the hose was back in the storage compartment and the door closed and locked. Both men still looked a bit green as they went inside to wash. Mick commented that there wasn’t enough soap in the world to get rid of the smell and Josef agreed.

Simone came out of the bedroom, flawlessly made up and smiled at the group sitting in the lounge. “Hey Josef, I have a new perfume! Come and smell it!”

Josef rolled his eyes and groaned. The day could only get better – at least he prayed that it would.


The rental car arrived an hour later and they group happily hopped in with their maps of the park in hand, eager to start exploring. They saw all the sights in the next 5 days and it was with a bit of sadness that they got ready to leave for the Grand Canyon the next morning.

As they got everything stored away and Josef signed the papers to return the rental car he remarked, “We had better empty the storage tank again before we leave in the morning!”

Mick groaned, Beth laughed and Simone couldn’t figure out what was going on. But it was okay, the next stop was the Grand Canyon and it was going to be beautiful!

The End

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Chapter 35 Secrets

This is the 3rd chapter this week.  If you haven't read the first two, be sure and catch them first.  Also, don't forget to check out the updated cast list I posted on Monday.  Happy  Reading!!!

Chapter 35 Secrets

June 1, 2008

The problem with living a secret is that most of the people around you aren’t living it with you and so you find yourself straddling it like some kind of high wire that teeters in the wind. You take your breath and hold it all the while trying to balance what you know, what they don’t know and what you can’t say. It’s a betrayal of sorts and yet as necessary as breathing. Is it worth it? For me it is – doesn’t make it any easier though. So, I just take one step at a time; left foot, right foot and repeat.

Still, I’m very conscious of the fact that I have to choose my words and actions carefully because even what I don’t say could spell disaster. Disaster for Mick would definitely mean disaster for me as well. I never thought of myself as a good liar really; mom could always look at me and I’d crumble and out would come the truth, blah, blah, blah. Even now, she can tell and maybe that’s how it should be. There should be someone in your life that knows just what’s in your heart and loves you anyway.

Josh and I never shared that; I wonder if Mick and I will. I already feel he can see me, the real me and I’m comfortable with that but I can’t read him well at all, or at least it feels as if I can’t. He tries to open up to me and he has some, but there are so many layers to him that if feels as if I’m only peeling a tiny little bit at a time. Some people say that everyone needs to have something inside them that only belongs to them and maybe that’s true but I feel as if Mick can see the real me; the naked true me that tries to hide in the secret recesses of my mind and he still seems to love me anyway. He told me once that we all have secrets and maybe so but if I have any left I don’t quite know what they would be.

Lani and Robbi and I always thought that we shared everything, that there were no secrets between us but the older I get the more that I know that isn’t quite true. When Robbi gets here I know that there will be a lot that I’ll have to hide and frankly, that bothers me a lot. I’m afraid she’ll take one look at me and know it all and Mick’s secret will be exposed. What would Robbi do with that kind of information I wonder?

Lani is more at ease but I still see her struggle. I’ve agreed to take fencing lessons with her; if for no other reason that it will be good exercise for me because I don’t do nearly enough of that and Mick has decided it’s his sacred mission to make sure I eat regularly.

Lani hates feeling vulnerable and I understand a lot of the reasons why. When she was a kid her life at home was less than ideal. Her parents were more concerned with their status in the community than they were with Lani. She was brought out when they needed to impress their friends with how beautiful and well-behaved their daughter was, how accomplished and intelligent. Naturally, as she got older she understood the game and played the role quite the opposite of what they wanted until eventually they stopped including her at all. Add to that her creepy uncle Martin who landed on their doorstep occasionally, needing a place to hide out and Lani’s life was less than desirable. My mom always got exasperated with Lani but I also know that she loves her dearly, even today.



Beth stood in her doorway looking at Carl and Luca and let out an exasperated breath. Carl stood slightly behind Luca, looking intently at her, his eyes holding a hint of apology and she knew this wasn’t going to be a friendly visit. She wordlessly stepped aside and waited until they entered and closed the door behind them. Both of them stood in the living room, waiting for her.

“Well gentlemen, what’s up?” she asked without preamble.

“Ms. Turner, we needed to ask you a few questions if you don’t mind?” Luca said, using ‘Ms. Turner’ instead of ‘Beth’ so she knew that this was official.

She shrugged and said, “Sure. Have I done something?” she asked with a small smile tipping the corners of her mouth up in an attempt to disarm them, or Luca at least. “Can I get you some coffee?”

A whisper of a smile streaked across Carl’s mouth and she thought she saw him wink at her, an acknowledgement of her tactics which he knew well. Luca only cleared his throat and said, “No thank you Ms. Turner. And no, you aren’t in any trouble. This concerns Mick St. John.”

Beth turned to sit down in the chair, more of an attempt to hide her face for a moment. She sat down and crossed her legs and then spotted Travis staring up at her. She leaned over and picked him up and he settled in onto her lap. She scratched him behind his ears and his loud purr could be heard throughout the room. “What do you want to ask?” Her tone was casual but she knew that if Mick were here he would have heard her heart beating frantically. She tried to focus on Travis and staying calm.

“We are trying to ascertain his whereabouts the night of January 8, 2008. Did you see or talk to him?”

The date came rushing back to her; the date that Josh was killed by Tejada’s men. Mick, in her bedroom, his eyes pleading with her. She didn’t know what he had done then, but it didn’t take long for her to figure it out. By the time of Josh’s funeral the word was that either Tejada was dead or had fled the country. Beth figured the later was true. Either way he was gone but she hoped that she didn’t ever have to worry about him again. As her thoughts swept through her mind her head was tilted down, still scratching Travis but she forced her head up to look at Luca, staring into his eyes. “He was here,” she said simply.

“Here? With you?”

“Yes. That was the night that Josh Lindsay was killed. Mick was here to check on me.” So far she was telling the truth and she hoped they could see it in her face. Carl was watching her closely and did she imagine a slight nod of his head?

“The whole night?” Luca probed.

“Hm, well no, not the whole night. He didn’t sleep here, but until at least until around 2 am when I went to bed.”


Beth fingers stopped stoking Travis for a moment when she heard the question. Travis looked up at her and her fingers went back to work, stroking his back. “Of course I was alone! I had just lost my fiancĂ© Detective Fiorentino,” she said softly.

“Yes Ms. Turner, I’m aware of that.”

“Don’t you think that was a rather tacky question then?”

“I’m sorry, but it was a necessary one. What time did Mr. St. John arrive here?”

Beth closed her eyes for a moment, as if contemplating the question. In truth, she didn’t know what time he got there. She was in the clear with this answer as well. “I honestly don’t know. I wasn’t exactly watching the clock that evening.”

When Mick had left Lani had come back in her room, followed shortly by her Mom and Clark and they had gotten her to go to bed. She didn’t want to have to mention anyone else being her if she didn’t have to because none of them saw Mick. Beth watched Luca writing in a notepad, his pen flying over the pages. Carl sat back on the couch, his arms folded across his chest, a good sign that he was unhappy. Their eyes met and he stared at her and it wasn’t a look of question but one of sympathy. He stood up and said, “C’mon Luca. We’ve got enough here.”

Luca stopped writing and put the notebook and pen in his pocket and stood as well. He wasn’t convinced she didn’t have more to say, but he saw that Carl had had enough. “Okay. Well, Ms. Turner if you remember anything else will you give us a call?”

Beth set Travis down on the floor and stood up, her blue eyes hard and as cold as clear blue crystal. “Certainly,” she said, opening the door pointedly.

Carl walked out, followed by Luca and she watched them for a moment before closing the door, fighting the inclination to slam it. She went back to the chair and sat down and let her tears flow. Travis jumped up into her lap and laid against her chest, as if trying to comfort her. That was the picture that Mick saw when he walked in the door a little while later.


“Beth, baby what’s wrong?” he asked, kneeling on the floor in front of her. Travis meowed softly and nuzzled Mick’s hand as her stroked her cheek, wiping the tears away.

“Mick, Luca Fiorentino and Carl came by; they were asking where you were the night that Josh died. Or at least Luca was; Carl didn’t say anything.” Beth looked into Mick’s hazel eyes that had darkened as he listened to her and blinked back more tears. “I only told them the truth Mick.”

He smiled at her, knowing that she would never say anything to hurt him. Of course, the truth could be interpreted in many ways. He pulled her to him with Travis between them and he kissed her tenderly. “I know Beth, I know. What did they ask?”

She filled him in on the conversation and he realized that she had told exactly the truth, and for some reason Luca hadn’t probed any further, which puzzled him. “Hey, I went shopping and bought some groceries and stuff. Why don’t you come and stay with me for a few days? Travis too,” he added.

Her face brightened as she sat up and set Travis down so she could go and pack. “You’ll have to gather his dish and food and the litter box,” she told him from the bedroom.

Mick was stroking Travis’ soft fur and said, “Nope! I bought all that at the store.” To Travis he said, “Yes I did Travis. I hope you like my place!” He scratched him under the chin and laughed like a kid as Travis purred loudly. His mind was thinking about what had happened with Carl and Luca and he knew that sooner or later they would question him.

A knock on the door shook him out of his reverie and he stood up and called out to Beth, “I’ll get it,” and answered the door to find Carl there.

I guess it’s going to be sooner…

“Carl, come in. Beth said you were here earlier.” As Carl stepped into the room Mick looked out into the hall looking for Luca.

“He’s not here; I came alone Mick,” Carl said as he took a seat on the couch.

Beth came out of the bedroom pulling her bag behind her and stopped when she saw Carl. Fear raced through her again and she dropped the handle, staring wordlessly at him.

Carl smiled at her; he wanted it to be reassuring but from the look on her face it failed miserably. She finally moved and went to Mick who wrapped his arm around her protectively. She loved him, it was plainly clear and he loved her back. Carl was caught; caught between the law and his caring for this woman. He loved her; he wasn’t in love with her anymore and he only wanted her happiness; it seemed St. John made her happy and despite everything, Carl knew that he was a good guy. If he took out a piece of trash named Tejada, so much the better. His new partner would disagree about that he knew.

“Beth, I’m sorry for upsetting you earlier,” he began and Beth interrupted him.

“You didn’t, your partner did. What the hell is this about Carl?”

Carl tried to choose his words carefully; he had a lot to say but he couldn’t say too much. “Luca believes that Mick killed Tejada that night. Ben Talbot tried to steer him away from that path because he doesn’t believe it, but Luca persisted and went above Talbot’s head to the DA, who granted Luca permission to call for a line up. Mick, I’m sorry but Luca will be bringing you in tomorrow for that. There is a witness who will see if she recognizes anyone.”

Mick’s face stayed stoic, not giving anything away but his mind was racing as he went over that night in his head. Pretty much everyone had seen him but took off at a run once he went into action. It didn’t hurt that they didn’t want to be there when the cops got there. Only one person remained as he headed into Tejada’s office, the girl that was dancing in one of the cages. Mick had sat down in a chair and Beth was perched on the arm and he felt her body stiffen at Carl’s words. He rubbed his hand up and down her back, trying to keep her calm.

He is one cool customer Carl thought and it was a good thing. Beth on the other hand was ready to let loose and that wasn’t so good. “The witness is Angel Navarro, one of the dancers from the club. She tells us that the person who came in was a devil with coal black eyes and a snout like a dog with long pointed teeth. She seems pretty sure about it. Says she can definitely identify the man, or devil as she calls him.”

Beth was unconsciously holding her breath as he spoke, but her face had gone pure white. She was petrified and that was unusual for her; she was scared for Mick. Carl leaned forward and rested his elbows on his knees and licked his lips before continuing to speak.

“I’m going to tell you something and Beth, I it will upset you, but you need to hear it. Before he died, Josh told me that he had read your diary. He had uh, suspicions about Mick and was worried about you. I think Josh was a little out of his head at that point, I really do.”

Beth’s face went from white to scarlet in a heartbeat and she stood up angrily, her eyes an intense blue fire. “How dare he? That bastard, that was private!” She started walking up and down the room, seething with anger. Travis mewed and jumped up into Mick’s lap, burying his head against Mick’s side.

Mick didn’t know what was in the diary, but whatever it was Beth was almost out of control at the thought of Josh reading it. “Beth, baby calm down, it’s in the past now; it doesn’t matter.”

Beth fixed him with her eyes and the look almost startled him it was so intense and he realized she was not only mad, she was terrified.

“Beth, Mick’s right about that. Really, it would be difficult for anyone to believe some of what Josh said he read. Seriously, I’m not paying attention to it.” He looked at Mick and spoke again, his eyes never leaving Mick’s face. “Josh was intensely jealous; that’s kind of natural since he loved Beth. He only knew what he read; he wasn’t ever observant enough to really pay attention to other factors, behaviors and such.”

“But you do, don’t you Carl?” Mick asked softly. For all intents and purposes they were alone in that room.

“Yes, I do. I’m trained to do that, as you are Mick. We know that sometimes what we see isn’t always what it seems to be. Sometimes you just have to sit back and watch a bit to get your answers. Things often happen that seem impossible; sometimes though you find you are surprised and satisfied when you get to the truth.” He nodded briefly and stood up, preparing to leave. “Beth, I have to go, but relax, okay? Angel is looking for some damn demon dog, not a guy like Mick.” Her only answer was a pained look that tore him up.

Mick walked him to the door where Carl held his hand out. Mick took it and shook it and Carl met his gaze without flinching. He nodded again to Mick and stepped out the door and headed for the stairs. The handshake had given him the final answer.


Beth drove her car to Mick’s, following the Benz through the congested streets of LA during rush hour traffic. It was Friday evening and the weekend was just ahead of the people who were making their way home from work. Travis was in his carrier in the back seat of the Prius, quiet as they made the trip. She pulled the car into a parking space near Mick’s and turned it off and was ready to hop out but Mick was already waiting to open her door for her and she smiled up at him, loving him so much. She knew she was going to have to tell him what Josh read and she was dreading it.

Mick opened the back door and pulled the carrier out and sat it on the pavement before opening the trunk and grabbing Beth’s bag. She took the handle and pulled it along behind her while Mick carried Travis who was peeking out at everything.

In the loft Mick opened the door to the carrier so Travis could come out and he stepped first one paw out and then another, looking slowly around the room. Not seeing or smelling anything to hurt him he started to walk around the room, investigating it thoroughly.

“I’m going to carry your bag upstairs. Why don’t you look in the fridge for something to eat, okay?” he told her and watched as she headed into the kitchen.

He was back almost before she had a chance to open the door and as she poked around the contents she felt Mick behind her. He wrapped his arms around her waist and she felt his body pressed tightly against hers. He nuzzled against her neck, kissing the mark he had left on her earlier that morning and she felt a sudden whoosh of heat spread down her spine and a throbbing start deep in her belly. She turned around in his arms and wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him down for a kiss.

Mick kissed her thoroughly; he drank her essence in, savoring the sweet taste of her. He had waited so long for this, this bit or normalcy, a man loving a woman, holding her close. He rested his chin on top of her head and breathed her in, the soft scent her washing over him like a cooling breeze.

Beth reveled in the moment; she felt cherished and loved as she never had before. This was her dream, what she had waited her whole life for. She tilted her head up for another kiss and moaned softly when she felt Mick’s tongue stroke her lips, bidding entrance into her waiting mouth. She felt his body harden between them and thrilled to the knowledge that she had this affect on him. Before she knew it he had scooped her up into his arms and cleared the stairs in a mere heartbeat. In their bedroom both of them struggled to shed their clothes in record time. He beat her and helped her by ripping her panties right off of her. Beth jumped onto the bed and didn’t have to wait a single moment for him to join her, his mouth playing against hers like the sweetest of instruments.

She reached down for him, taking his rigid manhood in her warm hand and stroking it lovingly. She felt the tell-tale drop of fluid on the velvety glans and spread it around with her thumb, feeling his shiver in delight. His fingers dipped eagerly into the warm valley between her legs and were quickly drenched with the juices of her desire.

“Mm Mick, now please…please,” she pleaded, her voice husky with her need.

Mick was only too happy to give her what she desired, slipping easily into her heated body and they both sighed with pleasure as he slid home. He paused for a moment, feeling her heat envelop him as her muscles clamped around his arousal tightly. A small groan escaped his lips before he found her waiting mouth and captured it trying to drink her in.

Tongues dueled as their bodies rocked to the rhythm that drove them. Beth wrapped her legs around his waist and she whimpered as she strove to meet him thrust for thrust. He felt her on the edge and slid his mouth down her neck, finding his spot and licking it lightly before letting his fangs graze over it softly.

As Beth felt the sharp points of his fangs she fell over the edge, screaming his name as he held her tightly to him. Mick bit his shoulder and joined her, his body shuddering through his own release as he rocked against her gently. The both spiraled down through their releases, the haze of passion twisting around them with eager arms.

“I love Beth, I love you,” he said against her neck, reveling in the heat of her body.

“I love you too my shadow man,” she told him, trying to catch her breath.

“Shadow man?”

“Um hm. When I was younger, I always felt you out there, always in the shadows. I called you that then.”

“I thought I was your guardian angel?” he teased as he moved to lie on his side, facing her. He raked his fingers through her damp hair and gently pushed it back from her face.

“That too Mick, that too. I always felt safe because of you shadow man.”

“I think I like that,” he whispered, stealing a small kiss.

“Why didn’t you bite me this time?”

“You haven’t eaten, remember? I won’t risk you fainting again Beth.” He tilted her face up to his and kissed her forehead. “You have to eat Beth, regularly. Even a small amount of blood loss will cause problems if you don’t eat. Speaking of that, let’s go back downstairs and see what Travis is doing.” He stood up and held a hand out to her, pulling her lightly to her feet. He stood there looking at her, a slightly crooked and ever so satisfied smile on his handsome face. He watched as she dug in her suitcase and found a robe to slip on. He pulled on a pair of pajama bottoms and they headed downstairs.

While they had been busy upstairs Travis had explored his new home, finding his food and water and the litter box. He was lying on the couch, satisfied and happy, barely bothering to raise his head as they came down the stairs, laughing and talking. Mick stopped and saw him and groaned. He’d forgotten all about cat hair.

Beth watched his eyes travel to the couch and grinned. “Love me, love my cat!”

To be continued…