A special thank you to Moonlightlover 60 for the hard work she does on the pictures that add so much to the story. Lynn, you are the best!!
July 26, 2008
We are in the ‘counting’ period now, tracking the information on the ovulation chart like it is somehow going to change from when we looked at it 30 minutes earlier. We stare at it, our hearts hopeful and waiting for the day we can begin the testing. It rules us for the most part and that isn’t really a good thing. We need a diversion, a distraction to take our mind off of all of this.
A distraction was the list but it wasn’t a good one. I tried to memorize as many of those names that I could; the ones that I didn’t recognize immediately because who knows how they all fit together? Mick and Josef listened as I went over all I had seen of it and I could see Josef grow angrier with each name I revealed. How many of them did he really know? I’m not sure but one I mentioned brought him to his feet and I could almost see a shimmer of anger surround him like a mirage in a desert.
The name was Miguel Estrella. I don’t know who that is or if he’s a vampire or not, but Josef definitely knows him, that much was clear. He left right after that with barely a word to Mick or me. Mick said he had heard the name before, but didn’t know much more about it; he thinks it must be a friend of Josef’s but then most of the vamps on that list are so what made that name special?
Mom and Clark have invited Mick and me to dinner on Friday. It makes me so happy to see her building a relationship with Mick. I know that she has always trusted him but that didn’t mean it made her happy to know that we were now involved in a romantic relationship. She seemed at ease with it at the wedding, something I am very happy about. Dinner will be interesting; not sure what she’ll have there for Mick, but I guess we’ll see. We are going to tell them that we are trying to get pregnant; I hope that will go over well.
I have to say just how very happy I am; I knew I would be happy but I am really beyond that. Yes, life is still so mundane in many ways; I get up and go to work, do my job and mingle with co-workers, just like before. But I come home to Mick; his strong arms wrapping around me and making me feel as if I am the most precious thing in the world to him. I go to sleep wrapped in those same arms and if occasionally I wake and he’s in his freezer I can handle that; he needs that chill time and I’m perfectly happy with that.
He has been spending a lot of time on his rooftop greenhouse. It was quite interesting to see how it all set up actually. They had to put in water lines and electrical outlets to power the exhaust fans that will help with air flow that keeps the temperatures within the correct ranges. Drainage had to be considered as well and somehow, they got it all worked out. Yesterday they delivered all the plants, some quite developed because it is so late in the season. Soon we’ll have tomatoes and peppers, cucumbers and radishes and green onions, and well, you get the point diary. I’ve taken to calling him ‘Farmer Mick’ and he just grins; if I were a vamp I know I would be able to smell the happiness rolling off of him.
Mick was tossing a salad for her dinner when she got home. She smelled grilled shrimp as well and her mouth watered and her stomach growled. Mick heard it and laughed, walking up to her and pulling her close in a hug before he kissed her plump, pink lips. They tasted sweet, sugary and he licked at them and felt her shiver in response. She wrapped her arms around his waist and forgot about her rumbling stomach; she had other hungers that needed feeding first.
Mick chuckled, recognizing her intent and backed away. “Nope, dinner first, then how about a bubble bath for my hard working wife and then dessert?”
Beth stuck her lower lip out in a little pout and then remembered she needed to tell him about the list. She sighed and nodded and Mick immediately realized something was wrong.
“Hey, why don’t you get changed and I’ll dish up dinner and we can chat while we eat?”
She nodded and headed up the stairs, dreading the task ahead. A few minutes later she came downstairs to see the table set including candles and a large glass of sparkling water for her. She grinned and sat down and laughed as Mick carefully laid a napkin across her lap before taking his own seat.
She speared a plump and succulent grilled shrimp and popped it into her mouth. It was spicy and tangy, just the way she enjoyed them. She took a few more bites and then sat her fork down on the table and cleared her throat. Mick looked at her and she met his eyes for a moment, licking her lips as she tried to figure out how to tell him.
“Mick,” she began, lightly chewing her lip as she drew little circles on the table top with a pink tipped finger. “Today Ben showed me a file he has; it was a list of names, lots of them. Some of them were historical figures, some of them were dead and on the last page was your name, Josef’s, Logan’s and other vamps too. Someone gave it to him anonymously and he doesn’t know what it means. Neither do I; do you?”
Mick slowly swallowed the sip of blood he had just taken, letting it trickle down his throat gradually as he listened to what she had to say. “Who were the other names, the historical figures and dead people?”
She tried to remember as many as she could and she started recounting them to him. “Mick, there were so many, hundreds probably. Ben doesn’t seem terribly concerned, more like it is a hoax or something, but it’s out there. I told him it didn’t make any sense to me, that of course some of them were friends, but the others I didn’t know.”
Mick ran his hand down his face, thinking about the possibilities of that list. “Do you know where he keeps it? Could you get a copy?”
“I’ve never seen it before Mick and I wouldn’t really know where to look.”
“We need to go and see Josef; he needs to be told.”
She nodded and finished her dinner. That wasn’t going to be a fun task.
She had left LA in a rush, as if the very devil himself were after her; that might not have been too much of a stretch, considering Kostan’s reputation. LA to Flagstaff, then on to Las Cruces and finally settling in Dallas. Four places in as many weeks, each one a stopping off place to make sure she hadn’t been tracked or traced. No time for amenities and all she really longed for was the cold of a freezer and 8-9 hours of undisturbed rest which was next on the list.
Fate saw her settled into a vamp-friendly ‘no tell motel’ on the outskirts of Dallas. When you had been a vamp as long as she had been you learn about these places, ‘safe’ houses basically. After a long rest she had other things to take care of but first she ordered some room service, O+ and lots of it. A quick shower after her meal and then into the cold oblivion for rest, but it wasn’t easy coming.
5 Weeks Earlier
“Kostan has commanded your death, as is his right as senior vampire in LA. His directions are clear; you shall be burned to death, reduced to ashes and scattered. Do you understand that?”
Kelly nodded numbly and swallowed hard but her eyes never left Katrina’s.
“Do you also understand that this was unnecessary? You have thrown your life away on a vampire who has never, NEVER been interested in you? You have taken every opportunity to throw yourself at him but he wasn’t buying! Still, you pursued him with alacrity, without out any thought of the consequences of such actions. You were warned; more times than I care to admit to leave them both alone and you flagrantly disregarded first a request and then a direct order. You have endangered all of us with exposure by that stunt at the beach as there were other humans there. Do you have anything else to say?”
“She is human,” were the only words that she could choke out.
Katrina nodded and Billie raised the flamethrower. Kelly closed her eyes and waited. She opened them a moment later and saw the indecision in Katrina’s. Billie was looking from woman to woman, as she saw Katrina hesitate. She shifted the flame thrower and said, “Ready?”
Katrina’s head snapped around to look at her and for a moment her eyes blazed silver. Her left eyebrow raised a fraction of an inch as she considered that word. Billie blinked under the ferocity of that glare and realized that Katrina was wavering. Billie didn’t want any part of this to begin with; having to take out a fellow cleaner would only cause ill relations with the rest of them, but disobeying Kostan would be the kiss of death.
Indecision stung at Katrina’s nerves; she shifted back and forth on her feet, in an effort to find a comfortable pose but none was to be found. This wasn’t right – Kelly is correct, the girl is human. If Mick wanted to play with his food fine but he needed to remember that they were first and foremost food.
Katrina walked forward and released the chains that held Kelly to the chair. “Get the hell out of here; if I ever hear of you in this area again or see you I will personally kill you. Do you understand?”
Kelly rubbed her wrists where the silver had burned into them and nodded. Before either Katrina or Billie could blink she was gone. Katrina felt a vibration at her hip and slid her phone out, grimacing as she saw Kostan’s number pop up.
“I want to see the ashes,” he said. “I’m on my way.”
Katrina wordlessly hung up the phone and walked back over the Billie, who had watched the whole thing with shocked and fearful eyes. Kostan would never stand for this. She started to open her mouth to speak and Katrina raised her hand in an ‘I don’t want to hear it’ motion. She stopped in front of Billie and eyed her speculatively, trying to think.
Billie ignored the warning and said, “I don’t want a part of this Katrina – Kostan will have your head and mine if I don’t report it.”
Katrina watched her with narrowed eyes; she didn’t like Billie and never had. She was a holdover from the old guard and Katrina had never felt any loyalty from her. Before Billie knew what was happening Katrina had her pinned to the floor and had pulled a stake out of her belt and plunged it into Billie’s heart. She observed the shocked expression on Billie’s face with amusement. “I never liked you Billie; should have kept your mouth shut!” she hissed.
She carried her to the chair and fastened the chains, securing her well and went to retrieve the flame thrower. She hefted it up, admiring the sleek lines and aimed it directly at Billie. Billie’s eyes registered a brief moment of panic as the flames licked at her and then turned her to ashes. They stayed aloft briefly before settling down onto the floor in a powdery dust.
Josef walked in, surprised to see only Katrina in the room. “All alone?” he asked.
She shrugged and said, “This was a private matter; no need to get everyone upset. We are rather protective of one another and this won’t sit well with most of them.”
“Um hm,” Josef muttered, walking towards the still smoking remains. The silver lay among them, still mostly intact. He toed a piece of it and watched as dusty ashes rose and settled over the toe of his shoe.
He looked at Katrina, leaning against the wall in a relaxed stance. No denying that Kelly was torched. He left without another word. But for some reason, his gut just shouldn’t trust her, he knew.
After a solid 10 hours in the freezer Kelly rose and showered, prepared to take care of business that day. She first headed to the post office to pick up a general delivery package for herself with new ID and credit cards, bank info and cash. She needed to buy a car and a new wardrobe and thought a few other changes were necessary as well.
The first stop was a salon and before she knew it her long dark hair was gone and in its place was a short dark blonde wispy cut streaked with golden highlights. It looked good she thought as she turned her head from side to side and admired the way it fell into place. She found a tanning salon and got a light spray tan; the fake bake looked really good she thought. All traces of Kelly the vampire were obliterated. New clothes further changed her image, low-slung blue jeans and midriff tops went with her new look she thought.
At the end of the day she had a new driver’s license and was ready to go purchase a car. She had decided on a bright red VW Beetle, convertible of course. Yes, that would be perfect! It would look good cruising down the LA freeways, top down, even if it was only at night.
Lani lay wrapped up in Eric’s embrace in the bed at her apartment. His fingers played lazily in her hair, slipping through the silken strands that were still a bit damp from exertion of their lovemaking. He sighed and she knew that he would soon be asleep. She bit her lower lip for a moment, her heart breaking.
This wasn’t right; she was letting him fall more and more in love with her and it wasn’t right. She had to end it but hesitated because she had hurt him before and didn’t want to do that again. There was just no easy way to do this.
The devil on her shoulder urged her to go with the flow; he was an excellent and caring lover and he did make her laugh – a lot. But the angel poked at her conscience with a very sharp stick and reminded her that she didn’t love him and never would. She did care for him, but it wasn’t what he wanted. He wanted happily ever after and she didn’t think she was capable of giving it.
Where had it gone, the ability to give her heart to someone? In reality, the true question might be had she ever had it? Not a single man had ever really gotten to her; made her breathless and want to be with them forever. She watched Beth and Robbi hungrily, aching to find it, but it never seemed to happen for her. She knew that she kept her self behind a glass wall, able to look but not touch in a way.
You know why, her subconscious answered. Don’t think about it, don’t think…
She swallowed a small sob back, trying to take control of her errant thoughts. Eric stirred beside her, rolling over onto his back and settling against the pillow, one arm thrown above his head in a very vulnerable pose. She watched for a moment until his breathing indicated he was deep in sleep and then she slid quietly out of the bed and walked over to the floor to ceiling windows and looked out at the cityscape of Los Angeles.
Much like Tokyo, the city never slept and was never quiet – a good thing when you didn’t want to think too much or be alone in your head. You could hide in plain sight here and no one ever suspected that you hid anything…sometimes even those people you loved the most. She watched the traffic moving 40 stories below, tiny pools of light that seemed to crawl the streets; the distance tamping down the engine sounds so that it was practically non-existent. She closed her eyes for a moment and laid her forehead against the cool glass, her stomach twisting badly.
She had to do it, tell Eric. He deserved so much more than she could offer and every day she delayed only made it worse. It will hurt him, she acknowledged, but better to just rip the band aide off quickly, first thing in the morning. For now, she pulled on her robe and headed into the living room and settled down on the couch with a glass of Macallen to soothe her; and maybe with luck make her forget – for a little while anyway.
Beth’s alarm rang at 6:30 am on Friday morning and she rolled over in bed, not surprised to see that Mick’s spot was empty. He was probably ensconced in his freezer and after last night she acknowledged that he deserved it! She stretched languidly, feeling the smooth slip of satin sheets against her skin and sighed. She wished that she didn’t have to go to work today but that was life and they did have dinner with her parents to look forward to tonight.
She sat up in bed and swung her legs over the side just as Mick walked in carrying a tray with juice and a toasted whole wheat bagel on it spread with organic mascarpone and fresh strawberries.
“Get back into that bed young lady, I’m bringing you breakfast,” he said, grinning at her. She noticed that he let his eyes slide down her body and feast on her rosy nipples which were puckering delightfully at his probing gaze. He sat the tray down on the dresser and pushed the pillows against the headboard as she scooted up the bed to lean against them. He pulled the sheet up over her breasts in an effort to take his mind off of them but one glance at him and she knew exactly what he was doing. She also noticed the tell-tale bulge in his jeans. Maybe there was time for him and breakfast too!
She leaned up and grasped the front of his Henley, pulling his head down for a kiss. “Um, breakfast is nice, but this is better,” she murmured, her voice a sultry invitation.
He sat down next to her and held her for a moment, enjoying the kiss as long as he could. The taste of her drove him wild and he had no defenses where she was concerned. And also, no time this morning either.
As he pulled back from the kiss she stuck her lower lip out and tried to look sad, but her eyes belied the puppy dog look; full of smoky passion they spoke of a determined woman. “I just want to be close to you,” she whispered, lightly nipping his neck.
“Beth, um, baby you have to be at work in a little while. And didn’t you get enough ‘closeness’ last night?” he teased.
“What, are you saying you’re not ‘up’ for it this morning Mick? A mere mortal tired you out?”
That stung, and it definitely presented a challenge, one he couldn’t ignore. He had to stand up for the virile capabilities of vampires everywhere; he couldn’t have her thinking they weren’t ‘up to the task’! Before she knew what was happening the sheet had been swept away from her body and his own sculpted physique was covering hers. His mouth captured hers in a sizzling kiss, tongue plundering and stroking her lips and tongue until she was only a big gooey puddle of desire.
She lived for this; the hard planes of his body that fit so perfectly with the soft valleys of her own. She caught her breath as she felt his fingers tweak her sensitive nipples that were aching for his touch. In the blink of an eye he left her and undressed before joining her on the slippery sheets. He gently kneed her thighs apart and slipped a searching finger into her aching folds that were already dripping with desire. A second finger followed and soon she was wreathing on the bed, gulping in huge breaths as the intensity of the pleasure overcame her. There was no denying the passion as it built and her hips pushed against his hand as his fingers played her like a melody.
As the wave crashed over her she screamed his name, loving him, needing him – all of him and he gave her what she needed in a swift move that sank him deep inside her still contracting body.
It was home; it was heaven to him and no place had ever been better. The breakfast forgotten by both of them, he took them on a journey of delight until their very souls throbbed, tangled in the silken bedclothes.
She matched him stroke for stroke, her willing body rising to meet Mick’s only to pull quickly apart. It was torture, it was rapture fulfilled, a bliss so exquisite that she couldn’t tell where Mick left off and she began. Lightening thundered through her veins, carrying her away to the pinnacle of fulfillment.
She felt him against her neck and she arched it for him, making it easier to find the right place. She was so ready for the bite, she needed it and she came apart as she felt his fangs pierce that place, his place, and gave into the ecstasy as it rocked her body.
He shuddered with his release, the taste of her warm blood full of the sweetness and essence that was Beth driving him to the edge, to the finish.
She was perfection; she was his life.
To be continued…