Monday, November 7, 2011
Mick and Beth took a cool shower and she reveled in it. “I can’t believe this could feel so good,” she whispered against his chest, her tongue tracing little circles around his nipple. Her soapy hand crept down his belly to stroke him lazily and she giggled when she felt him stirring in her hand. “How about it Mick?” she teased.
The feel of her hand and mouth on him was driving him crazy but they both needed to feed and so he took a step backwards and turned her away from him, urging her to rinse off. She cast a look over her shoulder, her bottom lip pouting and he caught a hint of those baby fangs again and was almost lost to the temptation. They were a siren song for him; one he would never have believed.
It had never been like this with Coraline; when the fangs came out with her it was predatory and not in a good way. He had never seen the beauty of her vamped out, all he saw was the monster. It didn’t mean that it wasn’t sexual because it certainly could be but he understood now that it wasn’t love – it was never love. But he also remember the pull of his sire and knew that Beth felt the same thing and he was determined to do the very best he could with her so that she would never feel the heartache and anguish he had felt with his turning.
“No Beth, we both need to feed. There will be plenty of time later. Now come on, let’s get out of here and get dressed so we can both feed.”
“Um, do you feel a bit weak-kneed right now? I’m trembling all through my body,” she said, demurely, batting her eyes. Her mouth found his wrist and he felt her fangs pressed against his skin in the most enticing way. His belly tightened with the most delicious sensations and he wanted nothing more than to give into them.
“Yes, that’s because we need to feed,” he stated again, stepping out of the shower. Some of the soap hadn’t been rinsed off but if he didn’t get out now he might not at all. God, she made every nerve in his body come alive with need, with throbbing desire; he had no resistance against her. He pulled a towel off the rack and quickly wrapped it around his waist and then handed her another one.
Beth’s eyes sparked silver for a moment; she knew exactly what was going on. Her new sense of smell told her he wanted her, badly. He wanted her as much as she wanted him but she decided she had to pick her battles. She stepped out of the shower and slowly wrapped the towel around her, detesting the rough texture against her sensitive skin. She stepped in front of him, only a fraction of an inch separated them and she murmured seductively against his lips, “Whatever you want Mick.”
He snapped his eyes closed quickly and turned around, trying to stifle the groan that threatened to escape. He headed for the door that led into the bedroom, unable to stay in that small space with her for another minute. When she finished carefully drying off she found him already dressed and getting ready to head downstairs.
“That towel was rough Mick. I thought Egyptian cotton was so soft; I don’t remember them being that coarse before.”
“Beth, your skin is really sensitive right now. Remember, every sense you have is heightened; light will not only hurt your eyes, it will hurt your skin. Sound, smell, everything is going to take some getting used to for you.”
She nodded, remembering how it had literally hurt her ears when he had yelled earlier. She looked at the clothes that were in the bag because they hadn’t taken the time to unpack them yet, a puzzled frown on her face. “What should I wear? Do I have to wear anything?”
“Yes, you have to get used to the feel of the fabric against your skin. It won’t take too long and you’ll be used to it baby, I promise you. Why don’t you wear these soft cotton pants and a tee shirt? Those shouldn’t be too bad.”
She nodded glumly and pulled on the pair of cotton lounging pants. They didn’t feel too bad she decided; they were loose and hopefully wouldn’t get too scratchy; the same for the tee shirt. She decided to forgo the bra and looked at herself in the mirror, noting the way her nipples poked against the thin fabric. She turned away from the mirror with a smile because she knew that Mick would notice too. She remembered to grab the wraparound sunglasses on the way out and headed down the stairs, tempted to ride the banister down but she figured that would really hurt.
Downstairs Mick had poured two glasses of blood for them, choosing the O+ because most vamps thought it seemed to have a milder flavor. He glanced up at her as she entered the room and a slow smile tugged the corners of his mouth upwards. She looked so cute, blonde hair trailing down her back, sunglasses in place and …and nipples playing peek-a-boo through the tee shirt. He quickly snapped his eyes shut again and turned around to place the bottle of blood back into the fridge.
“Okay Beth, here we go.” He held out the chair for her and she smiled; it could have been a 5 star restaurant he was acting so formally. She smiled at him and sat down, staring at the glass of blood sitting in front of her.
She lifted her head and scented it; it smelled like blood, and yet somehow different. It was much more fragrant than ordinary blood with hints of things she didn’t know how to identify. She picked up the glass and realized she was hungry, thirsty – whatever and took a sip, letting the cool liquid flow over her tongue. It was delicious and she couldn’t believe she thought so. After all, it was blood and she was a vampire!
Mick explained about this particular blood and told her about some of the different things that could flavor it. This came from Josef’s girls and they were in top health. He didn’t tell her that morgue blood would taste a good deal different. In time, he’d have to tell her, but not today.
Mick brought her phone to her and she looked at the missed calls; Robbi had called 4 times, Mick 3 times she noticed and asked him about that.
“When you were at the beach and we found out that Kelly was following you – I tried to call, you and Lani and Elka.”
“What did happen on the beach Mick? I-I don’t remember much.”
He explained all that he had seen but admitted that he didn’t know all of it. “Lani could tell you. We’ll need to call her and Josef, but before that your Mom and Ben. Has to be done Beth,” he said as he saw understanding creep over her face. She took her last swallow of the blood and set the glass down and stared at it for a moment.
“You want more?” Mick asked, realizing she might still be hungry.
“Yes, please.” She called Ben on his cell, waiting for him to answer as she watched Mick fill both glasses again. He sat it in front of her and heard Ben answer on the other end.
“Ben? Hi, it’s Beth,” she told him, waiting as he greeted her and asked he what was up.
She steeled herself for what she was getting ready to do but pushed ahead with it. “Ben, you know that Mick and I have been trying to have a baby and things, well, things have been pretty stressful and it’s hard. I- we are in Seattle, and I have to quit my job Ben, effectively immediately.”
Mick heard Ben’s confusion and protests on the other end of the phone, offering her a week or two to just relax. She closed her eyes as she listened and Mick knew how much she hated to give the job up because she loved it.
“I’m afraid we’re going to be here much longer than that Ben. I don’t know exactly how long but maybe a month or more. Please try to understand Ben, while I love that job I have to do what’s best for me, for Mick.”
“Has he made you do this Beth? You don’t have to do it.”
The accusatory words stung Mick who felt appalled that anyone would think that he could force her to do something she didn’t want to do. He blanched and quickly turned his head away from her, hoping that she didn’t see the pain on his face.
“No Ben, he didn’t. Please Ben, I’ve never been happier and Mick and I just need this time together and it’s not fair to you to keep that job hanging.”
After that there was very little to be said between them and Beth pushed the end key with a heavy sigh. “Could have been worse I guess,” she offered, sure that he had heard Ben’s remarks.
Mick nodded and picked up their empty glasses, rinsing them and putting them in the dishwasher. She stood up and wrapped her arms around his waist, not in a sexual gesture but rather one of comfort. He placed his hands over her and squeezed them lightly, staring out the window.
“Are you okay Mick?”
Was he okay? Hell, he didn’t even know. He had brought her into his world and now hers was caving in around her. It was all his fault; if he had only stayed out of her life she’d still be alive. And he’d still be…alone.
He could handle that, he could.
But his heart knew better even if his head refused to accept it; they were mates and they needed each other like earth needed water. His eyes squeezed tightly shut and he pinched his nose for a moment to clear away the anxiety that he was feeling. Finally, he turned around in her arms and kissed her, drinking in her love.
“I am happy Mick; I meant what I said to Ben. This is the life I was meant to live, with you like this.”
“But you had to sacrifice your job, your hopes to have kids Beth. All because of me.”
Suddenly her eyes flashed silver, icy silver and she shrugged out of the embrace and pushed away from his hard chest and huffed a deep breath. “Don’t you ever, ever, say something like that to me again Mick. I mean it. I am here, where I want to be and you know what? I do not hate it at all. If you want to live your life in guilt and misery, thinking of yourself as some kind of monster, I can’t stop you but I’m not going to do that because I’m not one damn bit sorry and I am NOT a monster! Neither are you but I don’t suppose I can convince you of that. You’ve been rolling in that for so long it has seeped into your soul.”
They stared at one another silently for a moment, Beth worrying her lower lip with her teeth and Mick staring at the floor silently. Beth went to the cabinet that held the coffee and pulled it out, preparing to make some. Maybe it was partly habit and maybe it was just something to do, she didn’t know but she knew that right now she needed a damn cup of the magic brew.
“Beth, you can’t drink that. You won’t be able to taste it.” Mick watched her as she went about placing a filter into the coffee maker and measured out the coffee grounds before filling it with water and pushing the button to start the brew.
“You know what Mick? I CAN drink it and maybe I won’t be able to taste it but Cami drinks coffee everyday and it doesn’t hurt her. Logan eats popsicles and you drink wine or scotch. Nothing happens…what goes in comes out.” She stared at him defiantly, daring him to contradict what she had said.
The problem was, she looked so damn cute that Mick had to fight to keep from chuckling. Her arms were folded over her chest and one small foot was tapping the floor in a rapid staccato. He finally held up his hands in a gesture of surrender, knowing that she had won the battle.
But the rest of it? Well, they were going to have to work on that. They both had some valid points, okay, she had more he admitted. He was quiet for a moment, taking in the aroma of the coffee as it brewed and he watched her pull a mug out of the cupboard and set in on the counter.
“Beth?” he asked, watching her back stiffen. “Beth? Can you please teach me how to see myself the way you do?” It was such a simple request and it broke her heart.
Suddenly she was in his arms, holding him tightly and crying against his chest. “You are my hero Mick, the man I waited my whole life for. When you look at me that is what you see shining in my eyes and I’ll work forever to teach you that.”
He couldn’t speak, only hold her close and whisper words of gratitude and love against her soft hair, knowing that she could easily hear them.
“I love you Mick; I love you forever.” She smiled at him as he brushed the tears away from her face with tender fingers. The salt in them was a curious scent she realized and she smiled; she had so much to learn.
She pulled away when the coffee maker stopped gurgling and grinned impishly. “You want a cup?” she teased, pointing at the mug.
He laughed for a moment and shook his head. “But you’d better put an ice cube in it or something – it will feel much hotter to your vamp senses.”
She thought about that for a minute and decided to call her mom while she waited for it to cool a bit. She sat down at the table again and watched and sniffed appreciatively when Mick sat the mug in front of her. She inhaled the heavenly scent and pushed the button that would connect her with her mom.
“Bethy!” Dorothy exclaimed when she answered. “Oh baby, are you okay?”
Beth laughed and said, “Yes, I’m great Mom! It is incredible.”
If Dorothy was surprised by the enthusiasm in her daughter’s voice she hid it well. “Honey, I’m going to put you on the speaker so that Clark can hear too, okay?”
“That’s great. Hi Dad,” she said and listened as he returned her greeting.
“Beth, honey it’s so good to hear your voice! Is Mick there too?”
“Yes, he can hear.” She reached across the table and laid her hand on his, squeezing it lightly. “I’m happy and feeling great, so you guys don’t need to worry, okay?”
“Beth, we’re your parents and I’m sorry, it’s in the job description!” Dorothy smiled broadly, realizing that Beth really was okay.
“Mom, how are you? How are the babies? I know it had to be a terrible shock for you. You haven’t had any problems have you?”
“No, other than not getting much sleep, which is to be expected I guess. I’ll sleep like a log tonight I’m sure. You, um, everything is okay? No ill effects or anything?” Dorothy held her breath as she spoke the words, so afraid that something could be wrong.
“Nope, but I don’t know how my husband is going to survive this. I already scared him by jumping down the flight of stairs, but for heaven’s sake, vampires can do that! I thought about sliding down the banister on my way down here a little bit ago but decided that it might hurt; my skin is really sensitive right now. Everything is sensitive!” she declared. She took a cautious sip of her coffee and smiled and the warm brew hit her tongue.
“I remember after Logan came home, how he was more sensitive to everything too. But it got better.” Clark said, remembering the first time he saw Logan after his turning.
“May I just say that siring Logan was probably a piece of cake compared to Beth? She is going to question everything and Dorothy, I blame that all on you!” Mick teased and heard her laugh over the phone line.
“Well, she wouldn’t be my daughter if she didn’t Mick. I guess it was quite a night, huh? Josef, Lani, Logan and Audrey came over to tell us and it was a shock to everyone it seemed. Beth, if you haven’t talked to Lani yet please do it as soon as you can. Honey, she is having a really hard time with it all.” Dorothy didn’t tell her any more about Lani; she knew that the young woman would need to share it on her own.
Beth took another drink of the coffee as she listened to her mother’s words. It was a very sobering thing for Beth to hear; she hadn’t taken in to consideration her how her best friend would handle it all. She hated vamps, for the most part. Beth wondered if she would lose Lani’s friendship because of this. The thought saddened her a great deal.
They chatted for a few more minutes and Mick noticed that Beth was growing tired. She didn’t yet understand that fledglings usually rested a lot, as well as feed and the other things that tempted him so. He couldn’t complain really but they did have other things to learn as well
“Mick, you take care of her for me. I know you will,” Dorothy said, trying to choke back tears.
“Always Dorothy. With my own life I’ll protect her.”
“I know, I know you will Mick. I love you both!”
“Love you both too,” Beth said, tears sparkling in her own blue eyes. She pressed the end key and sat back in her chair, feeling weary. “I think I need a nap.” She sat the coffee cup down after she took the last drink and added, “By the way, I CAN taste it Mick.”
He looked at her askance, shaking his head slightly. No use arguing with her so he said, “You’ll probably take a lot of naps for a few days Beth. Your body is still getting used to the virus that is in your system now. In many ways you’ll be like a baby, resting, feeding and such.”
“Come up with me?” she asked softly.
“Baby, we both know that you wouldn’t get any rest if I did. I’m going to check in with Tim and check for messages from the office and stuff. You’ll rest for a few hours and then when you wake up later we’ll see what you feel like.”
She laughed and it was a very wicked laugh. “Mr. St. John, I can tell you exactly what I’ll be wanting.”
“Yeah, yeah, go on now. He lightly smacked her on her bottom as she walked out of the kitchen. She turned around and stuck out her tongue at him and he grinned like a kid. Did she have to be so damn hot AND tempting?
A half an hour later he had checked the messages from the office and got it all squared away; he had turned several pending cases over to Robert Parker, a friend of his that he worked with occasionally. That should keep clients happy and keep him from worrying. About that anyway.
Like Beth, Mick didn’t know exactly what had happened out there on the beach. He saw Kelly come up over the rocks and the only thing he paid attention to was Beth, getting to her. He remembered seeing shoes sticking out of the fire so he assumed that was Kelly but what the hell did happen? He hoped that Josef had some answers.
Clearly Beth didn’t blame him, but it was obvious where the blame lie; with him. He didn’t protect her, he wasn’t there and she had paid the ultimate price as she walked the path of a vampire now. She thought it was all great but as time went on she would see that this wasn’t really life, despite what Josef thought. He felt so alone right now and helpless.
A quiet knock on the front door startled him out of his reverie and as he headed into the foyer he caught Tim’s scent and saw the imposing shadow of the 6’8” man on the other side of the door. He opened it with a smile, glad for the company.
“Tim, come on in. Is Mary with you?” he asked as Tim stepped through the doorway, ducking his head slightly. His head didn’t hit the top here but it was a precaution he performed and had all his life. It had been his experience that most doorways didn’t accommodate his great height.
“No, she’s meeting with the gabby girls; probably plotting something.”
Mick grinned at Tim’s description of the ladies tribal group that met regularly. They supported the orphanage on the reservation by sewing clothes and having bake sales and anything else that would bring in a bit of money for the impoverished tribe.
“Beth is resting, I think,” he said with a frown towards the stairs. “She should be anyway. Can I get you something to drink? Beth made some coffee a bit ago and then informed me that she could taste it.” He gave a wry laugh as Tim sat down at the table in the kitchen.
“No kidding? Well, in her mind she probably thinks she does Mick; it’s likely a coping mechanism for her,” the wise Cheyenne man stated.
“She’s not struggling or unhappy. You’d think she’d been given the biggest and best Christmas gift ever.”
“Is that a bad thing Mick? That she would be happy about it?” Tim watched Mick’s face closely as he thought about his answer.
“I don’t know how she couldn’t be unhappy about it. Her humanity was stripped from her and now this is all she has left!”
“And you think all this,” he swept his arm across the room but he meant more than that, “Is so little that she should be unhappy? She made the choice Mick; this wasn’t your turning. It is very possible that she is happy and excited to experience this with you. She is with you, her mate and her inner vamp obviously recognizes that.”
Mick listened to the words, wanting desperately to believe but try as hard as he might he couldn’t. He couldn’t let go of his own pain and anger at his turning, of all the years afterwards feeling so alone and lonely.
“Mick, you’re not alone anymore nae’ha.”
Tim sat at the fire, watching the solitary man walking towards him in the chilly night. His footsteps made a soft crunching sound as he stepped on the fallen pine needles, the loud sound a sure sign of a tsêhésevé'ho'e, a white man who did not walk gently upon the earth.
Mick stood opposite Tim who was sitting on the ground wearing a pair of leather buckskin pants and no shirt. He had a feather in his hair and he had been chanting some unknown song until Mick came upon him.
Mick had been in the lodge for a week now and kept to himself. A loner apparently but there was more to it than that. Mick had a hurt that he was carrying around and that never did a man any good.
Tim, Aenohe Nestoohe, (Howling Hawk) had been a shaman in his tribe, a position of great respect. A healer, a wise man, a trusted leader among his people and he read the young man easily. The pain of his past wore on him like an angry beast and insinuated itself into his life. This young man had cut himself off from friends, from his own life. It was sad to see in him and Tim believed he needed a great deal of healing. Mick watched as he took a pouch that hung around his neck and opened it, pulling out several large pieces of a dried plant and started chanting and then throwing the pieces into the fire.
A curious smell hit Mick; it sort of smelled like Thanksgiving and he shook his head as a memory of his childhood scrolled through his head. Finally he asked, “What is that?”
“It is sage, it pleases the Gods; heškevóho hetaa'óma'o'e, (our mother who walks the earth) and Ma’heo’o Tsehehe’tovatsemenoto tsehestoestoveto he’amo’omee’e, (God the one who is our father who is in heaven).
He started chanting again and Mick sank to the ground, settling down as he watched and listened. The song was rhythmic and almost hypnotic and he leaned in a bit closer to the fire, inhaling the pungent scent of the burning sage.
Tim’s chanting continued on and he raised his arms to the sky, speaking words that Mick couldn’t understand. A prayer perhaps, Mick couldn’t tell but as Tim continued his chant Mick felt pulled into it all, a part of the song, the fire, the night. He closed his eyes and felt himself swaying in time to the chant and picked it up, humming softly with it. Mick’s eyes opened momentarily and he saw that Tim danced, danced for himself, for Mick, for the Gods in hopes that they would aid this young man. Or maybe for some other reason but Mick felt a part of it, understanding without knowing. He thought he heard a drum, beating in time with some earthly heartbeat and he laid his hand flat on the ground to feel the beat. The intensity of the music, the drumming and chanting pulled him in and sightless eyes stared at all around him, connected in a way he didn’t understand.
You are not alone.
Your path is shared with another.
Open your heart
You are not alone.
They words were spoken quietly in a voice that was not Tim’s. They seemed to come from inside him and he strained to hear more. Finally his eyes snapped open and as he looked across the fire he saw Tim sitting before it, his legs crossed and watching him calmly. Mick struggled to his feet and swayed a bit unsteadily. He heard an owl hoot, the sound tearing through the night eerily and looked around him before taking a step back.
“Are you alright Mick?” Tim asked, watching the young man with concern.
“Yes, yes. I think I’ll head home Tim.” He turned abruptly and let his long stride carry him swiftly away from the fire and from the experience that he must surely have imagined.
As he made his way quickly back to the lodge he again heard the words:
You are not alone.
He looked around him but the whisper had definitely come from within. Was the voice right? It was something to contemplate.
“Mick, you’re not alone anymore nae’ha.”
Mick looked into his friends eyes and nodded his head, accepting the words without question. Life had changed and his place was to accept it. Was he up to the task?
Time would tell.
To be continued…
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Posted by Hope at 10:51 AM