A special thank goes to Moonlightlover60 for her talented visual contributions. Lynn, your wonderful pictures help bring the story to life! Thank you so much.
Chapter 52 Evil Afoot
August 7, 2008
It’s been a while since I wrote but life has been moving along like crazy. We get to go to the doctor today so I can be inseminated and we are so excited. Both Mick and I can’t wipe the silly grins off of our faces. Whenever our eyes meet we both burst out laughing with joy. Today, Mick St. John and yours truly may make a baby.
Okay, so it’s not quite the ordinary way, but we took care of that last night and again this morning so maybe we can just imagine that’s what did it. In our hearts it will always be the way it happened. In a few days, we might actually find out if we’re pregnant.
Work has been going okay although Ben seems a bit hesitant about something with me. Maybe I was just gone for too long and we have to rebuild the rapport that we had, I’m not sure. I really enjoy my job and hope that it all works out okay. More and more of my job involves profiling and that is so fascinating for me. I’m even considering going back to school to study some related fields.
Mick is busy playing farmer John; his greenhouse is thriving but he is constantly reading books like The Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening and trying new things to keep away aphids and other garden pests. I bought a bottle of some kind of pesticide and I thought my big, strong vampire was going to faint dead away. He put gloves on and took it straight downstairs to put into the ‘chemical’ bin for disposal. He is taking this all very seriously.
The plus side of it is that we’re getting fabulous vegetables from his effort. Mick can’t taste them on his own but he loves to kiss me when I’m eating a fresh, warm salted tomato straight from the garden. He swears he can taste it that way so I don’t mind obliging him. Okay, we know the truth don’t we diary – that I’d do anything at all for a kiss from him. And I’m a really lucky girl because he loves kissing me too.
We can’t keep our hands, lips or any other body part off of one another. Let me just say that vampires have no problem rising repeatedly to the occasion. What most women wouldn’t give for that let me tell you. He’s so creative, inventive and totally absorbed in what we do, focusing on each touch, each stroke, each taste that I just melt in his arms sometimes until I am just a quivering puddle of satiation. He tells me that someday after I’ve been turned I’ll understand; my only hope is that I can hang on until then because that man can really wear me out!
8 days prior…
Mick opened the car door for Beth at her parents’ house and watched as she slid out of the seat, smoothing her slacks down and grabbing her purse. He shut the door and wrapped his arm around her shoulders as they made their way to the front door.
If Mick was correct, Dorothy and Clark were going to tell Beth that they were expecting a baby tonight. He knew that Beth would be happy for them and he believed that they would be happy to hear that he and Beth were trying as well.
The weather in LA had cooled a bit; down into the 90’s anyway which was better than the 100 plus temps earlier in the summer. He lifted his nose and scented the air, catching a whiff of something cooking in the house but also scents carried by the wind; some honeysuckle somewhere and maybe some jasmine too he thought. They were the smells of summer to him, from when he was a kid and he and Ray and Lila used to play in Miller’s Grove. Wildflowers grew riotously in the fields, each color vying for attention in the warm summer sun. Lila liked the purple larkspur flowers and would stop and pick them, tucking them behind her ear. They looked beautiful against her red hair that shone like the very sun itself. Happy memories but he realized they couldn’t touch the memories that he and Beth were making each day.
Clark heard the Mercedes pull up in the drive and called out to Dorothy to let her know that they were here. She walked to the front of the house after wiping her hands on a towel that she hurriedly dropped on the counter as she left the kitchen. She felt really nervous, though whether it was because they were telling Beth the news or the fact that this was the first time that they had invited them over as a ‘couple’ she wasn’t sure. Dorothy wanted everything to go well, especially where Mick was concerned. Logan had procured Mick’s dinner for them and it was in a bottle chilling in the fridge.
She had stared at it earlier, expecting to feel nauseated by it but she wasn’t. It was just food for him she realized. There wasn’t much she could do with it so she hoped it would be okay for him.
She passed by a mirror in the foyer and smoothed her hair into place. It needed a trim she decided as she turned her head this way and that and frowned. If she remembered correctly her hair grew like crazy when she was pregnant with Beth so in that respect nothing had changed. This had been a wonderful pregnancy so far; no morning sickness, no swelling (but she still had those later months to go) and she hoped no wild hormonal swings. She felt wonderful and she couldn’t help but think it was because she was in such a happy place in her life right now.
Clark wrapped his arms about her waist and kissed her on the cheek and then nuzzled her neck which brought a huge smile to her face. “Beautiful,” he murmured into her ear. The soft words sent a shiver up her spine and she reached up and caressed the side of his face with her hand, her eyes meeting his in the mirror.
They broke apart when the doorbell rang and he held her hand as they went to answer it together. Clark opened the door wide and stepped aside so Mick and Beth could enter the foyer. Mick pulled off his sunglasses and Beth slipped them into her purse before she set it down on the credenza under the mirror. She hugged her mom and dad and sighed as she took in the cool and comfort of the house.
It was a beautiful house that Clark had built for them, contemporary in style with warm, natural colors abounding. The terra cotta tile in the foyer absorbed the sound of their footsteps as they headed into the living room to sit for a few minutes before dinner.
“Mom, it smells wonderful, what is it?”
“Its Panang, shrimp in a coconut curry sauce, Thai actually. And very spicy, so I hope you’ll like it!”
Beth laughed and told them the story about Mick and his week as a human and his dismay over spicy food. She had them all laughing uproariously, even Mick. “No kidding,” she laughed when she finally caught her breath. “He told Josef that food nowadays was dangerous!”
“Well, compared to 1952 it is! We never ate stuff like that!”
“I’m with you Mick, when I was a kid I hardly knew what a burrito was; now I could live on them. That said, how about we head in to dinner?” Dorothy stood and smiled at everyone; the fragrance coming from the kitchen working on all of their senses.
Everyone nodded and followed Dorothy into the dining room. “Mick, Beth, have a seat. Clark and I will bring the dishes out.”
Mick’s nose was crinkling a bit at the spicy smell to the air; it smelled good, but then so had the Kung Pao chicken. He wasn’t particularly sorry to be missing this dinner. Clark carried in a tray that had rice, the panang and a carafe of blood on it with Dorothy following with a pitcher of ice tea and tumblers to hold it.
Beth’s eyes widened and her mouth formed an ‘O’ as she watched Clark set the carafe of blood down in front of Mick. Dorothy poured the tea into the tumblers and passed them around and then stopped at Mick and filled his glass with the blood.
“It’s A+, Logan got it for you; he says this is your choice.” Mick hung his head, overwhelmed by what they had done and more than a little embarrassed as well.
“I – uh, it wasn’t necessary, really. I don’t know what to say actually.” He almost stumbled over the words in his discomfort; he didn’t know if he could drink it in front of them.
Dorothy reached across the table and squeezed his hand, a gesture that further surprised him. “Mick, you’re family and we’ve asked you to dinner. It’s okay, we’ve been around Logan when he ate before and it really doesn’t bother us.” She gave his hand a small pat when she released it.
“Thank you, I just…thank you,” he finished.
Beth watched her husband struggle with his emotions; he had felt like an outcast for so long that simple human acts of kindness often overwhelmed him and this was such an occasion. To change the focus she said, “Um, smells terrific. Can I have some please?”
“That’s ‘may’ I young lady, as you well know!” her mother the teacher said. She began dishing up the food and Beth accepted her plate with a crooked grin. Her mother returned it, knowing full well what Beth had done.
“Holy meatballs!” Clark exclaimed as he took his first bite. It was quickly followed by a large drink of iced tea. “Wow honey, that’s some spicy stuff! Is it okay for you…” he trailed off, taking another drink of the tea.
Beth’s eyebrows immediately raised at Clarks words; Mick saw the question in her eyes. “Mom, why wouldn’t it be okay? What’s wrong?” she asked, putting down her fork to focus on her mother who was suddenly very flushed. Imagining the worse Beth started to panic. Mick heard her heart start beating wildly and looked at Clark and grinned.
“Mom?” Beth asked again as she tried to control the panic from taking over.
“Beth, we need to tell you something. It’s not bad news, at least we’re really happy about it but we haven’t told anyone yet because we were waiting for, well the right time.” Dorothy cleared her throat and finally said, “Beth, Clark and I are expecting.”
The words hit Beth full out and for a moment her head swam. Her mother was pregnant? Pregnant? She was overwhelmed with joy for her parents! “Oh my gosh!” She jumped up and hugged Dorothy first and then Clark. “I can’t believe this – I mean I can and it is the best news ever! I’m going to be a big sister!”
“You’re happy?” Dorothy asked, very relieved.
“I’m ecstatic Mom! This is such wonderful news for you both. I happen to personally know that you are both great parents! So when are you due? Do you know whether it is a boy or girl yet? Do you have names picked out?”
Dorothy laughed and shook her head before taking a deep breath. “I’m due January 3rd and no, we don’t know whether it is a boy or girl or have any names picked out. We’re not sure we want to know what it is either.”
“Not know?” The idea was inconceivable to Beth; how could someone NOT want to know?
“Sometimes a surprise can be a lot of fun Beth so don’t look so appalled,” Dorothy laughed.
Mick watched them talk as he sipped his A+, realizing that he was no longer self conscious about it. It just felt like dinner with the family; and for a moment he felt tears sting his eyes. It had been so long since he had felt this – this sense of belonging, of unity.
They continued to talk about the pregnancy and finally he heard Beth say “I think we might have something that will make you happy as well.” Mick looked up at her and smiled. She was beautiful, her cheeks flushed and her eyes sparkling with love and laughter; he wanted her to look that way for the rest of her life.
“Well, what is it Bethy?” Dorothy asked, curious as to what it could be.
“Mick and I might be able to have a baby as well,” she told them and watched the confusion play across their faces. She and Mick explained the situation and how they were going to try to have her inseminated. Dorothy and Clark sat in silence as they listened, both of them smiling broadly as they realized that they might be grandparents as well.
“Wouldn’t that be something?” Clark said, his eyes twinkling with joy. “Two babies in the family at once! We are blessed!”
Catherine carried a large bouquet of daisies down the hall, stopping at Margie’s door and knocking. She waited for a moment as she heard the quick footsteps within, hurrying to the door. Margie loved visitors.
“Catherine!” she exclaimed, a warm smile crinkling her lined but still beautiful face. “Are those for me perhaps?” she teased, taking the flowers and inhaling deeply. They smelled like a summer meadow, a cherished scent of her youth she remembered as she unwrapped them and put them in a vase of water. She carried it to the table in front of the sliding patio doors and said, “Would you like some tea dear?”
“Yes please, that would be lovely.” Catherine continued to gaze out the window while keeping an eye on her mother in the small kitchen. “Do you need some help Mama?”
“No, well, I have a box of those cookies that Mrs. Sherman makes on top of the fridge; would you get them down please and put some on a plate?”
They sat and ate their cookies and sipped their tea and talked of the past; they seemed to do that more and more lately. Catherine eyed her mother as covertly as she could, always concerned that she wasn’t eating properly or taking care of herself but at 85 Margie was still hale and hearty and full of life. Catherine sent up small prayers regularly for that; she had already lost one parent and that made her mother even more precious.
“You know what Thursday is don’t you Mama?” Catherine asked, watching the recognition flood her mother’s face and for just a moment her composure slipped.
“Yes, I do. Will you go with me, as usual?” she asked, already knowing the answer.
“Of course. It will be thirteen years since he died Mama. I miss him every single day.” She felt her eyes sting sharply with unshed tears. Her father had been the best of men and she knew that she would always feel his loss.
Margie watched the distress play over Catherine’s beautiful features and saw her swallow hard. Death was so much harder for the young; you get old and recognize that it was just a part of life, that nothing was forever and you reconcile to it. She missed Herb with all her heart and soul because a better husband wasn’t to be found anywhere. She knew she’d be with him again someday, but she also knew that it wouldn’t be soon; she still had things to do on this earth and she was determined to do them!
Josef had been more than concerned about the list of names and he had Beth write down every single one she could remember. He frowned as he perused the list, his eyes sparking occasionally as he ran down the list. Upon hearing that Beth didn’t know where the list was or have access to it even if she did his anger burst forth. For a moment Beth shrank back into the chair; she’d never seen Josef like this and she couldn’t help but be taken aback.
He caught her shrinking act and immediately gathered his control and took a deep breath; he wouldn’t ever hurt her and he didn’t want to scare her either. He also knew that he had some calls to make because this involved more than just vampires. Mick and Beth may not have recognized some of those names but he did. He apologized to her and Mick both and ushered them out of his office and picked up the phone.
“Miguel, we gotta talk. I think there’s trouble ahead, for all of us.”
Audrey and Logan strolled along the pier at Santa Monica, headed down to the end to watch the last vestiges of the sun sink below the orange and pink horizon. All around them people were laughing and talking and they heard the excited screams of children on the rides. The air wore a fragrance cloaked in sweet smelling cotton candy and hot dogs and every other carnival treat know to man. It was a delight to the senses but the best part of it was being here with Audrey Logan decided.
He hadn’t been to the pier since before he was turned; he thought the last time was probably in high school. Dorothy was there and other assorted school mates including Jenny Goodman, his high school crush. He had stolen a kiss on the roller coaster, their noses bumping roughly and leaving them both laughing even harder.
Audrey was bringing Logan out of his self-imposed exile and it was good he realized. He’d like to blame Mick for his proclivity to hide away in his basement, but he knew it wasn’t true. He’d always been a geek, a computer nerd and the basement gave him an excuse to live it to the max.
He just hadn’t realized how lonely he had been. Until now.
He watched as Audrey’s eyes lit up as a child walked by carrying a sno cone. “Hey, you want one?” he asked, heading to the kiosk where there was a veritable rainbow of colors and flavors to choose from.
“Um, yes please. Let me see,” she said, eyes wide with eagerness as she stared at the bottles that held the syrups, “I think I want a blue raspberry one Logan.” She grinned as he asked for one blue raspberry sno cone and then stood waiting excitedly as the attendant scooped the ice up into a perfect ball and dropped it into a paper cone. She squirted the lever and the syrup covered the ice and Audrey licked her lips in anticipation.
The woman handed the treat to Audrey as Logan paid and grabbed some napkins. They continued down the pier, with Audrey crunching away on the sno cone.
“Good?” he asked as he caught a whiff of the flavored syrup.
She nodded and said, “Yes, very. Thanks Logan.”
He laughed as she spoke because her tongue was a bright blue and so were her lips. He couldn’t resist bending down and kissing them, enjoying the cool feel of them against his own.
“Can you taste it?” she asked, curious.
“Nope, only you. Sweet…”
Audrey blushed in the waning light and her heart skipped a beat or two at his intense look. She quickly looked down, he lush dark lashes hiding what was in her eyes. His nose caught it though, the emotion she was trying to hide.
She was aroused by him and the thought brought on a physical response from his body as well. He was glad they were walking, surrounded by throngs of people and could only hope that no one noticed.
Several hours later after they had rode the rides, laughing and screaming their way through them. Finally they headed out to where his car was parked and then decided to take a walk along the beach. Neither wanted to head home but they were both a bit anxious about what might happen if they did. They stopped for a moment and felt the salty breeze wash over them and listened to the now far- away sounds of the pier.
“Thank you Logan. This has been so much fun,” she told him, the words almost catching in her throat. She swallowed nervously as she stared into his beautiful brown eyes and the thought occurred to her that she was falling in love with him.
He pulled her to him and leaned his forehead against hers, enjoying the moment. He wanted to tell her how he felt and started to speak. “Audrey, I,” and panic overtook him. He wanted to say it, he knew that he felt it, but the words caught in his throat, unable to get past the lump that was currently residing there. “I, uh, I had a wonderful night. The best night…” he finished, a husky tone emphasizing his words.
He bent and kissed her; a soft kiss full of love. His heart, she had his heart. Now all he needed to do was show her.
Kelly sat perched in her hotel room across Pershing Square from Mick’s loft. She had a perfect view of the door and the garage and kept vigil constantly, looking for any signs of Mick or Beth.
She chewed on her lower lip as she remembered the shock she had had a few days ago when she saw that they were both wearing wedding rings. She refused to admit that he could possibly have married that woman. It was unthinkable to her and yet it seemed that he had. She had no one in the city she could talk to and find out about the marriage and that pissed her off a good deal. She was a virtual spook, no one knew she even existed any longer, except for Katrina and if she found out that Kelly was still around she knew that she wouldn’t be any longer; Katrina had made that clear when she let her go that night.
It was incredible, to be thought of as an outlaw amongst her own kind when St. John had married a human! They should put that before the council she fumed, the thought sparking her anger. She was over him, she knew that because he was beneath her now, lying with that human but she wasn’t done with them, not by a long shot. Vampire justice, it ruled her world now.
She had tagged both of their cars – for a PI Mick didn’t check his own vehicles it seemed. She could find them where ever they went and often trailed along to see where that was. While she loved her red Beetle, it was impractical for tailing someone because it clearly stood out so instead, she rented a non-descript silver Japanese import that fit in smoothly with the traffic. Next week she would rent a different vehicle, just to make sure she wasn’t spotted.
She saw Mick and Beth get into the Benz and head out so she made her way to the car and flipped on the GPS tracker. Eventually they pulled into the Barton Medical Arts building and she parked a level higher than they did and made her way to the building, following her nose.
With her hair so short and blonde, a fake beauty mark on her cheek and sunglasses, she knew that no one would physically identify her but Mick would certainly pick up on the vamp scent so she gave them a few minutes and then headed up the stairwell, checking each floor for his vamp scent. On the 5th floor she struck gold and walked down the hallway until she got to a doorway that read Sharon Macon, OB/GYN. The door had two clear glass partitions on each side of it and she could see both Mick and Beth at the counter, signing something.
She knew she needed to get out of the hallway, out of the building and hope that the constant amount of foot traffic would carry away the vamp smell before they came out of the doctor’s office. Later on she’d go back for a little recon and see what she could find out.
Later that afternoon, right before closing time Kelly paid a visit to the doctor’s office for some information. When the receptionist wouldn’t share any information about Kelly’s ‘sister’ she resorted to allure, entrancing the poor girl who willingly told Kelly the purpose of the visit.
“Poor Mr. St. John had a bout of cancer you know, so he gave a sperm contribution before he started chemo and radiation; they really want children. So Mrs. St. John was inseminated today and we’ll know pretty quickly if it took.
Kelly spun and left the office immediately, rage ripping through her like a fiery wind. Could he possibly have done that during that brief time he took the cure? She had heard about it; news of something like that twists its way through the vamp community like a spider weaves a web.
Would that sperm be of any use she wondered? Or maybe it was an anonymous donor? Either way, she’d be damned if that human bitch was going to carry a child.
It could take her a while, but sooner or later, she was going to get her. No question about it.
To be continued…