June 14, 2008
Your whole world can change in the blink of an eye; we all know that and I’ve had it demonstrated for me several times already. Like when I was taken, when I found out that Mick was a vampire, or when Josh died. Still, you go on and try to deal with the situation as the best you can, or most of us do anyway.
This has been one of those weeks; what seemed impossible, or at least highly unlikely has now come true and dealing with it is, well, a whole different kettle of fish, which trust me, doesn’t apply at all but I can’t think of any other analogy right now.
SomethingA has challenged my perceptions this week; things that should have been ordinary no longer are. I’d cry, but I’m too damn mad; mad at the world really because I’ve have my fair share of shit. Pick on someone else for a change, will you universe?
That’s not fair, not to the universe or anyone else. Mick and I are both on edge now, Vigilance is now ingrained into every single thing we do. Mick is nervous every time either one of us has to go out and he doesn’t want to leave me alone. He has to go to Reno next week for a few days and he’s really worrying about leaving me here alone. I have to admit that I’m a bit worried about it myself; suddenly being alone is not something I want to do.
On a happier note, the cook out at Mom and Clarks will be tomorrow and I’m excited about it. It is so good having Robbi home and the cook out will be the perfect way to celebrate. Lani has invited Eric and Robbi is excited about that. In college, she thought Lani and Eric were the perfect couple. She was the only one mind you but Robbi looks at the world through rose-colored glasses. Eric is a good guy, but I can’t see Lani settling down with him. But you never know – I mean after all, I never thought I would find my shadow man and yet, I’m sharing my life with him aren’t I?
“Katrina, its Colleen.” Katrina shifted the phone to her other hand and sat back in her chair and growled; this wasn’t going to be good, she could tell by the tone in Colleen’s voice. “What is it?” she asked impatiently. She pushed her long red hair back off of her face, wishing that she had pulled it back today.
“Kelly followed the Turner girl and two other’s out to a beach house, up north of Malibu. It’s very secluded along that stretch of beach.” Kelly heard some static on the line and hoped she didn’t lose her signal.
“What’s she doing now?”
“Just watching, from a hill back behind the house. I’m parked about a ½ mile away and hiked in so that I could see her.”
“You okay? The sun is pretty bad right now and it’s almost 100 degrees out.”
“Yeah, I’m in some shade, sort of and I have some blood with me. She’s pretty exposed up there though, no shade at all. I think the girls are planning on staying a couple of days because they brought in overnight bags and what looked like groceries.”
“Okay, just stay put; if she makes a move let me know. I’ll have some back up there for you in an hour or so. Somehow I can’t see her making a move in the middle of the day.”
“I hope you’re right. I’ll call – hey wait, she’s apparently leaving. If she isn’t headed back into town I’ll let you know but I’ve got to move fast now.”
Katrina heard the echo of silence on the other end of the phone and put the receiver back into the cradle. She rubbed her temples; even vampires could get stress headaches and she had a mother of one right now.
She knew what she had to do though and started making calls.
Josef clicked the lock and strolled into the FOS like he owned it; it used to piss Mick off but as time went by he got over it. Now that Beth was there a lot of the time it presented a whole new set of possible complications. Vivid pictures of the two of them in various poses flashed through Mick’s mind. They brought a wicked smile to his face until her remembered that Josef might see a whole lot more than Mick would tolerate. If he didn’t want to have to kill his best friend he was going to have to have a talk with him about walking in unannounced.
“Hey, boys night? I brought some fresh A+,” he said, holding up a flask to tempt Mick. “So, the girls are out at the beach? While the cat’s away, the mouse will play!” Just then Travis strolled into the room heading straight for Josef. “Hm, maybe not,” he said, scratching Travis behind the ears. Travis responded by rubbing his body along Josef’s slacks, making him scowl. “Travis, we gotta talk buddy. These are Armani. Name mean anything to you?”
Travis responded with a purr. “Guess not,” Josef said with a laugh. “Look Travis, I brought you a new toy!” He reached into his pocket and brought out a batty ball, a plastic mesh ball with a jingle bell inside of it and dropped it on the floor. Travis pounced on it and started batting it around, loving it.
Mick was sitting on the couch, watching a baseball game. His feet were propped up on the coffee table and he had an empty glass of scotch in his hand. He finally noticed the sound of the bell as Travis batted the ball around and grimaced. “Josef, we’re vampires! That thing is loud.”
“Yes, but I don’t live here so it’s no skin off my teeth,” he responded, laughing as Travis batted the ball against the leg of the table. It made a loud ‘whack’ sound and careened off in another direction, Travis in hot pursuit.
Josef held up the flask of blood and Mick nodded, coming to his feet and heading into the kitchen for glasses. Josef poured while Mick stared in rapt attention at the TV as Lomley of the LA Dodger’s hit a home run, bringing in two other runners. Mick let out a whoop of excitement, and drank his glass of blood straight down, his attention never wavering from the tube.
“I didn’t know they still played this game. Kind of old fashioned isn’t it?” Josef said, sitting down on the couch.
“Yep, my era; man, I loved baseball Josef. I played in high school but wasn’t ever good enough for the big leagues.”
“Um,” Josef answered, bored already as he rocked back on his heels. “We gonna play some cards? Or we could go out, a little jazz, you know, a boys night out of the town?” he added hopefully.
“No can do. Logan is coming over with some paperwork for me. Don’t know when he’ll be here. He might want to play cards though, if he knows how that is. I’m not sure he knows how to play something that’s not on the computer,” he laughed.
“Okay, we could call Guillermo and a few others.”
“Sure, that sounds like a plan. After the game is over though.”
“Is it about over?” Josef asked hopefully.
Mick pretended not to notice the pout in Josef’s words. “It’s the bottom of the eighth,” Mick said, groaning when the Astros scored a run bringing the score to 7-6, the Dodgers. “C’mon guys, get them out. That was sloppy!”
Just then they heard the ding of the elevator and both of them caught the scent of Logan. After a brief knock on the door Mick opened it and Logan walked in, dressed in a nice blue sweater and slacks.
“Whoa, what the hell happened Logan?” Mick asked, amazed to see Logan in anything other than a tee shirt and jeans.
“I have a date,” he said, an embarrassed grin on his face.
That was when all hell broke loose. Travis, who had been sitting on the couch, realized that they had company; specifically he remembered that Logan was the person who thought he was lunch. Travis laid his ears back and let out a growl that turned into a howl as he leapt from the couch and landed at Logan’s feet, clawing his way up Logan’s body.
“Travis!” Mick yelled. It didn’t stop him. He dug his claws into Logan’s leg and started upwards.
Josef was falling off the couch laughing. “I don’t think he likes you Logan,” he offered.
“Mick, get him off of me!” Logan screamed.
Mick tried to pry him loose but Travis continued the journey up Logan’s body, his claws making a tattered mess of the sweater Logan was wearing. When Travis reached skin he became more determined and sunk his sharp teeth into Logan’s neck, shaking his head back and forth, ripping the skin. Blood was now flowing freely down Logan’s neck, running in scarlet rivulets down the blue sweater.
“Shit!” Mick exclaimed, trying to force Travis’s mouth to let go but his teeth and claws were sunk in deeply. Logan howled, Travis growled and Mick tried to pull as hard as he could to no avail.
Logan got a hold of Travis’ shoulders and yanked hard. All three of them heard a sickening snap and Travis’ body went limp.
Logan, Mick and Josef stared at the blood stained face of Beth’s cat. Mick tenderly picked him up and stroked him, talking softly to him. Josef stared in disbelief at the limp form lying in Mick’s arms.
“I wouldn’t want to be you when Beth finds out,” was all he could say.
The afternoon at the beach had been amazing. The girls had lain in the sun for a bit with Robbi making sure they reapplied their sunscreen frequently and Lani grumbling about not getting any tan at all. Robbi only laughed and mentioned that she might not get skin cancer either. Lani had no reply.
“So how long until you pop this one out?” Lani asked, taking a sip of the lemonade that Robbi had made. She thought it needed some bourbon but she kept her mouth shut.
Beth rolled her eyes and laughed when Robbi did the same. “I can always depend on you to get right to it Lani! Two more months, but I’m carrying this one so low I wish it were sooner!” At that point she got up again and headed into the house to go to the bathroom.
Lani watched her, a smile on her face. “I have missed her so much, you know? She manages to make me feel 16 again. Of course, I’m glad I’m not! She looks so happy doesn’t she Beth?”
“Yeah, she does. She and Kevin are really good together.”
“And you and Mick?” Lani ventured.
“Yep! I hate to disappoint you Lani, but we are.”
Lani nodded, a smile on her face. “He is a good guy; I know that, it’s just hard for me after everything, ya know? But it’s so clear, how much he loves you Beth.”
“I understand. They’re not all bad Lani. Most of them that I’ve met just want to live their lives. There is good and bad to both humans and vampires. Here comes Robbi,” she said as she saw her walking back down to the beach.
“So is it a boy or girl this time? Or do you know?” Beth asked.
“A boy this time; we’re both happy about it. We weren’t sure we were going to be able to have another; I had two miscarriages last year,” she said, a small sob escaping her as she spoke the words.
Both Beth and Lani reached for her and the three of them wrapped their arms around one another tightly. “I’m so sorry Robbi,” Beth said, wiping away her own tears. She noticed Lani doing the same thing.
“Part of it I think is just that our lives were so unsettled, you know? We’re buying a house in Long Beach now. Kevin is going to continue to work in the lab at the institute and I will do some research and consulting for them as well but our days as vagabond explorers are over. We’re going to be landlubbers now.”
Beth and Lani both squealed with excitement. Lani said, “I’m sorry Robbi, I know how you loved what you did but I’m so happy you’ll be around now. I’ve missed you so much.” Tears streaked down her face and she hugged Robbi again.
“Hey, it’s okay. Now here, wipe away the tears and put on some more sunscreen. You’ve cried it all off!”
As the afternoon sun got stronger all three girls migrated into the air conditioned comfort of the house. Robbi laid down for a nap and Beth and Lani added some bourbon to their lemonade and chatted. Around six they started preparing some salads to go with the hamburgers and hot dogs they were going to cook out on the beach for dinner.
Lani made the strawberry pretzel salad that had been her favorite as a child at Beth’s house. Beth made a garden salad with a fresh vinaigrette to top it. When Robbi got up a while later the hamburger patties were ready as was everything else. They decided to wait until around 7 to start the fire going. Lani went to the shed and dug out the grating that they would lay over rocks so they could grill. It was covered with cobwebs so she brought it into the house so they could wash it.
As she scrubbed Lani fielded questions about Eric, trying to be tolerant of Robbi’s too optimistic assessment of their relationship.
“He’s so perfect for you Lani,” Robbi gushed. “Tall, dark and handsome, with a bit of mystery about him. Smart too! What’s the hold up?”
“I don’t know really. I like him; he’s fun but Robbi, whatever it is that makes you know that you want to be with someone forever,” she cast a quick look at Beth then, “well, I just don’t have it.”
“Well, give it time. IT may happen yet,” Robbi said, unwilling to concede just yet. “And you, finally with Mick! I can’t wait to meet him. I already feel as if I know him you’ve told me so much!”
Lani took a sip of her drink and choked on it when she heard Robbi’s words. She sat the glass down and coughed, trying to catch her breath. Robbi might have heard a lot about Mick but she had no idea about who he really was. And she wondered just how Beth was going to handle all that anyway.
They ended up waiting until around 7:30 to go out, until it was a bit cooler. There was a slight breeze blowing in from the Pacific, but not too much; they’d still be able to grill their burgers and hot dogs. Lani got the fire going in the pit and sat the grating on top of it while they waited for the fire to heat up and even out a bit.
Before long the smell of grilling meat filled the air and Beth brought out the accompaniments to go with it. Robbi carried out the plates and utensils and another pitcher of lemonade, unspiked.
They weren’t as good as Clark’s burgers but none of the girls noticed. As the sun sank into the Pacific in a golden haze all three of them laid back on the blankets and watched as the stars came out. They were far enough away from the city that they could see quite a few of the stars and they pointed out different things to one another and started making up their own constellations.
They all laughed like crazy at Lani’s contribution, Harry the Horseman, named because she thought it looked like he had an exceptionally big ‘man tool’. Beth turned her head this way and that and realized that it did kind of look like that and it became even funnier.
“Oh God, I’m going to pee myself, I gotta go in again!” Robbi exclaimed, getting slowly to her feet and heading into the house.
“Human, leave him alone! He’s MINE.”
The words made Beth drop her glass of lemonade and jump up, looking around to see who had spoken. She bit her lip when she saw Kelly, the cleaner that interrupted their kiss on New Year’s Eve staring at her, fangs barred. “He doesn’t want you Kelly. Leave him alone!” Beth said, taking a step forward.
Lani stared at the newcomer, anger sparking in her eyes. Who the hell was this anyway?
Kelly growled and reached out, hitting Beth across the face. Beth was momentarily stunned by the blow and staggered, trying to get her balance. Lani jumped up and using a move she had learned in Karate class kicked out at Kelly’s knees and knocked her to the ground.
As she jumped to her feet Kelly’s eyes were liquid silver and focused on Lani. She took a step and then another towards her; in doing so she failed to notice that Beth had picked up a barbeque fork that they had been using to cook the hot dogs. She ran at Kelly and stabbed her in the back, hitting her high in the shoulder blade. Kelly let out a howl and turned, knocking the fork loose, her eyes deadly.
Just then another woman was there, totally vamped out. She attacked Kelly and held a silver-tipped dagger in her hands. Kelly let out a keening scream and started running, the other woman following.
Both Beth and Lani watched as they disappeared down the beach. Robbi came rushing back and asked who was screaming.
“I – I, a woman. Her name is Kelly and last New Year’s Eve she walked in on Mick and me kissing. It pissed her off because she’s been chasing after him for a long time. Then another woman came and chased her away.” Beth was glad it was dark enough that Robbi couldn’t see her face because she knew that Robbi would know she hadn’t told the complete truth. Lani was still breathing heavily; the adrenaline rush still with her. She was also really pissed.
“She’s stalking you? You need to call Mick. Now Beth,” she said and Beth nodded. She went inside and found her phone, seeing that she had a message from Mick on it. Without listening to the message she called him and waited for him to answer.
He was happy to hear from her but dreaded telling her the news. Before he had a chance she told him what happened on the beach. “Baby, I’ll be there right away. Get into the house and lock the doors and windows.”
Mick hit the end key and started reaching into his pocket to get his keys. “Kelly just showed up at the beach house; she went after Beth and then Lani when they tried to defend themselves. Then another female vamp came and attacked Kelly and they ran off down the beach. I’m leaving now!”
“I’m with you and I’m calling Katrina on the way. She’s dead, no question about it.”
“Logan, take care of Travis and clean up the mess,” were his last words as he ran out the door.
Logan looked down at Travis, the cat was lying unmoving on the floor. He wasn’t sure exactly what to do; he didn’t know if Beth would want to see him or what. He finally found Travis’ carrier and brought it out to the living room, in preparation for laying him in it. He headed into the kitchen and found some rags to try and wipe the blood off of Travis and to mop up the floor with.
Poor little guy. Why’d he had to attack me like that? I feel like shit…
Logan knew why Travis had done it, he remembered all too well the day that Mick and Beth had stopped by his house with the cat and Logan had joked about him being lunch. It’s not like he would have actually – ugh, he shuddered. Never…
He could only imagine how upset Beth would be. He knew she had a wicked temper and he also knew that he was going to have the spotlight directly on him.
Logan gently wiped as much of his blood as he could off of Travis and then carefully scooped him up to put him into the carrier. He felt a few tears dripping down off of his face, onto Travis. He wiped more away from his face with the back of his hand as he again stroked the soft fur of the gray spotted cat.
That was when Travis lifted his head and meowed softly, his eyes staring up at Logan in question.
“Travis!” Logan exclaimed. He didn’t know how it was possible, but Travis was alive.
To be continued…