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

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Chapter 17 Dream On

So sorry for the lateness of the post, my internet has been so slow that I haven't been able to post or even get on the board much. Hopefully things will get better soon.


Chapter 17 Dream On

Catherine walked into the Buzzwire offices and glanced around her with curiosity; the place was alive with energy and it felt good to see it. Whether it was the people themselves or what they were doing, the atmosphere surged with vitality and excitement and Cat decided that she had made a wise decision, deciding to become a part of all this. Now, she just needed to let Beth know that she had.

Beth, her…stepmother? Catherine smiled at the thought and looked around, trying to spot her but quickly gave up and approached a young woman sitting at a desk near the doors who was typing rapidly on a keyboard as she frowned at the screen in front of her.

“I’m sorry to disturb you but I’m looking for Beth St. John; do you know if she’s available?”

The woman scowled at her screen for a moment and then turned to see who was speaking to her. Expensively dressed and well groomed, the woman looking at her seemed to have a no-nonsense manner and while she wore a pleasant smile Trish knew that she shouldn’t be kept waiting.

“Uh, sure, I think she’s free. Just let me check for you.” Trish pushed a couple of buttons on the phone and spoke into the headset. “Hey, Beth, you have someone here to see you. Are you free?” Trish listened for a moment and then hung up. “Yes, she’s free. Just head down that hall and it’s the second office on the left.” She nodded to an almost hidden hallway and Cat nodded her thanks and walked down it in search of Beth.

As she approached the door it opened, and a surprised Beth smiled at Cat, and offered her hand. “Hello, Catherine. Please, come on in.”

“Hi, Beth. Please, call me Cat; I hope I’m not disturbing you. I happened to be on this side of town and wanted to speak with you about the legal segments that Benjamin told me about.”

“Oh! Yes, please, have a seat,” Beth told her, indicating a chair that faced the large window in the office. Cat glanced around the office, but it was fairly spartan; modern furniture with little decoration. Either she’d not really taken the time to decorate or she appreciated a minimalist approach to her work environment. Either way, there was little to distract her and Cat appreciated that.

“Would you like some coffee, or tea, Cather…, um, Cat?”

“No, thank you very much though. So, Ben told me that you are looking for someone to do some legal spots on Buzzwire and I wanted you to know that I’m very interested in doing them.”

Beth’s smile lit up her face and Cat saw that she was genuinely happy to hear that news. Being an attorney for so many years had taught her to read people with a fine-tuned precision because if you couldn’t decipher what your client was telling you, or not telling you, as the case may be, you’re representation wouldn’t be worth a damn.

Cat wasn’t really sure why she was so excited to be a part of this; whether because it was just a new opportunity if it was a chance to get a closer look at this young woman who was married to her bio father, well, she didn’t really want to hazard a guess. But she looked forward to it eagerly and she waited expectantly for Beth to tell her about it.

They discussed the ideas that Beth, Max and Rodney had for the segments and Cat could see that it could actually work, even with her being in England for 3 months. They would be able to tape close to a dozen 10 minute segments before she left. Buzzwire would feature 1 new segment each week that repeated daily. All segments were also available to the viewers at will so even if they missed one they could always catch it when it was convenient.

“We already have close to a hundred questions from viewers, Cat. Some of them are very mundane, some most likely inappropriate, and some very interesting, from a layman’s view that is. We’ll email you all of them so you can go through and choose what you think will be important or even entertaining.”

Cat’s face reflected a bit of surprise at Beth’s last words. Obviously it wasn’t only about the information, legally speaking. Buzzwire, while providing reliable news and information was still about entertaining their viewers so the segments would need an entertaining factor to them, something that would keep them coming back again and again.

“That sounds like a good place to start. I hadn’t really considered the entertainment factor in all this but I guess it is necessary, isn’t it?”

“Yes, it definitely is. We want to be able to help people, really help them, but every now and again, a question about someone who has a neighbor who likes to bathe in their backyard or something equally weird, well, people will laugh and that’s good for everyone.”

“Don’t tell me that’s really a question?”

“Yep. The guy wears a shower cap as he uses the hose and sings to boot. It’s driving his neighbor crazy.” As Cat cracked up laughing Beth added, “But, most of the questions are just the normal run of the mill variety, we think anyway. Do you have a bit more time so that I can introduce you to Max and Rodney?”

“Yes, I do. I have to admit, I’m intrigued and excited about all this, Beth!”

“That’s exactly the attitude we love around here!” Beth called Max and then she and Cat headed into the conference room and the group chatted and got some of the details worked out. When Cat left all three of them felt as if they’d struck gold.

“She’s going to be great,” Rodney said. “She’s so intelligent and she’ll shine on camera I’m guessing.” Since being at Buzzwire he’d already started to see how they had to understand how something would look through the camera’s eyes instead of just being concerned with a visual print presentation of the news. It was new and exciting to him and he’d discovered that he loved it.

“I think so too!” Max added. Things were working so well here, all the pieces coming together smoothly. Ad revenue was going through the roof and Buzzwire was gaining new viewers daily. It was a paying proposition now and Max realized that her dreams were finally coming true. She lifted her cup of coffee and said, “Here’s to the future! It really looks good!”

Beth and Rodney did the same and nodded. The future really did look great.


Carl was shown into Heroku’s office and when the elder vampire rose from his seat Carl bowed in obeisance and said, “Heroku-san, it is good to see you.”

Heroku bowed as well. “Carl, thank you for coming to see me. Please, have a seat.” Heroku watched as the young man sat politely and couldn’t help but notice that his heartbeat remained steady as he did so. Carl was much better able to control his emotions and physical responses now thanks to all his intensive training. Kenji had stated that the detective had been an apt pupil and had mastered all the physical challenges put before him and many of the mental ones as well, no small feats for a human.

Heroku settled into his own seat and stated, “Kenji tells me that you have surpassed my expectations for you, Carl. I want you to know that I appreciate your hard work and dedication to the tasks. You have done well.”

These were words of high praise, coming from Heroku as they did and Carl felt a small rush of pride at them. “You are welcome, Heroku-san. I will continue to work on my skills so that your approval will be justified.” The words all seemed so formal Carl thought as he said them. Yet, Heroku was a man of formality, of tradition, a man to whom the old ways were still very much present in his life. Carl could understand that because he was a man who appreciated the values that he had learned from his past as well.

“Carl, I will come directly to the point; it is time to talk of your turning. Is it your wish still to give up the mortal coil and become immortal?”

“Yes, Heroku-san, it is my desire to do so.”

Heroku gave a terse nod of approval; it was an expected answer. “Hai, it is good. We will meet with Camille to determine a time for this transition to take place. You will need to be gone from your job for as long as a month, but most likely two or three weeks. You will need time to adjust to your new skills and feel comfortable among human’s again. I will not lie to you, Carl; this can sometimes be difficult, mentally as well as physically.”

“I understand, Heroku-san. I am still resolved to join Camille in immortality.”

“Is that the only reason for your decision?”

“No, in truth it is not. I feel that I can make a contribution, to the immortal brethren and humanity as well. Like Mick St. John, I see how our skills and talents can benefit both.”

“Yes, they can. I am pleased that you can see the benefits. How will you explain your absence from your work?”

“I have many weeks of vacation time that I have not taken. While it would be unusual that I ask for so much time off of work, if I were to combine it with a honeymoon with Camille, I think it will not be questioned. My partner, Luka is supportive of what will happen.” The last sentence was possibly a bit of a stretch; Luka was trying to become comfortable with it all and Carl felt sure that in time he would manage it.

Heroku nodded, satisfied. “We shall meet with Camille and determine a date. Have you two spoken of your wedding yet?”

“We have discussed it some. Since it is going to be followed by my turning we want a very simple ceremony. We will possibly have a reception after I am turned and reintegrated back into the human world.”

“That is a wise plan I believe. Please plan on having dinner on Wednesday next week to discuss the details.” Heroku rose to his feet, followed quickly by Carl, who bowed again. “Thank you for coming by, Carl.”

“Thank you, Heroku-san.”

Heroku watched as the young man walked away; tall, well-muscled thanks to his training and with a good deal of pride in his steps. Yes, he would make an honorable addition to the family.


Dream On

“What the hell are you doing here, Martin?”

“Now, big brother, is that anyway to talk to me? You haven’t seen me for a long, long time, you know.”

“Not nearly long enough. The money train is done, Martin. I’ll not give you another cent. Now get the hell out of here.”

Martin looked around the richly appointed office in his brother’s home and then sat down in a Queen Anne chair covered in red, supple leather that was situated across the desk from where his brother’s chair sat. He tossed one leg carelessly over the arm of the chair and grinned at his brother’s frown at his insolence. “Now, we really need to talk about that. I believe you need to reconsider that idea.”

Martin watched as his brother stood up, his fingers gripping the edge of the desk tightly as his face turned an alarmingly blotchy shade of red. The waves of anger rolled off of him, palpable all the way across the wide desk and Martin realized his brother was considering coming over the desk to attack him.

Martin continued to grin and shrugged carelessly. “I don’t think so. Don’t forget brother, I know where a lot of your skeletons are buried. All those girls, before you went off to college, and all the ones after you got married. Really, you should have been a bit more discreet. And buried the bodies a bit more, carefully, so to speak.”

“I never killed anyone! You little piece of shit, get out of here now!”

“Killed? Well no, I guess not. Sometimes though a person might wish they were dead after nasty things happen to them, don’t you think?”

“You are truly a miserable person, Martin. It’s too bad that father didn’t tie you into a gunny sack and toss you into the river when mother died. It would certainly have saved a lot of people countless misery.”

Martin laughed loudly. “Oh, you would have liked that and so would that miserable excuse of a man we had for a father. Oh, wait! He loved you; you got the best of everything, including his money and love. Or is that love and money? I forget, since I got screwed on both of those things.”

“You got exactly what you deserved, Martin. You are a useless waste of air.”

“As opposed to you, who does so many good deeds? Yes, I suppose you’d think so.” Martin came to his feet in one cat-like and dangerously agile movement and leaned over the desk, his eyes so dark blue that they appeared almost black. “Now, listen to me because I’m not going to repeat it. Turn around and open up that fucking safe and give me the cash out of it because I know that there is plenty in there.” For effect he pulled out a large and deadly looking knife that reflected the light of the desk lamp.

His brother’s eyes widened briefly in fear and he swallowed down a lump the size of a tennis ball. It was late and the house was quiet. The maid was gone and his wife was in Palm Springs, at her favorite spa. He was alone and he suddenly wished that he had a gun tucked away in a desk drawer.

“I’m not joking and I’m not a patient man. You should know that. Now open the fucking safe!”

“Are you going to kill me, Martin? How will that benefit you, in the future that is? You’re certainly not in my will.”

“Then you better hope that what you have in that safe is enough to make me happy. And rich, very rich.”

“Don’t be ridiculous, Martin. Do you think I keep piles of cash in there?”

Martin heard the chastising tone in his brother’s voice and rage suddenly crept over him. He swept his arm across the desk, sending papers, pens and the lamp flying across the room. The lamp shattered against the floor and the room was suddenly a bit darker, only the overhead light shining on the scene. Martin jumped across the desk and grabbed his brother, holding the knife against his neck. His fear was apparent because Martin could see his pulse beating frantically in his neck and suddenly he knew that whether he got the money or not his brother was a dead man. Forty-five years of being the brunt of hatred and pain were enough. Tonight it ended.

“Open the safe, Slick,” Martin hissed, using the derisive nickname he used for his brother.

“Okay, alright, Martin. Let go, so I can.”

Martin watched as his brothers hand shook as he tried to turn the dial. He messed up the combination twice before the door finally swung open. Inside several tall stacks of money could be seen, as well as some of his sister in laws jewelry boxes.

“Well, well, looky here. Looks like I hit myself the jackpot tonight.” Martin pulled a small canvas tote out of his pocket and started filling it with the cash and jewelry. “Wifey won’t miss this stuff, I’m sure.”

As Martin scooped things out of his safe his brother realized for the first time that he had gloves on. Latex gloves and suddenly he knew what was going to happen. His eyes looked longingly at the door. Could he make it? He started edging closer to it, hoping that Martin wouldn’t notice.

Suddenly Martin turned, seeing what his brother was doing. “Not so fast, Slick. You really think I’m going to let you out of here?” He jumped the desk again as his brother made a dash for the door and jumped on him, the knife sinking deeply into the middle of his brothers back.

He pulled the knife out and sank it in again, over and over until he was spent and out of breath. God, that felt good, he thought. The legacy of pain, of loneliness, of bitter rejection melted away with each downward stroke of the knife until he suddenly felt as if it all had been exorcised from his psyche.

He was free; he was clean of the rancor and anguish that seared his soul. It was time for a new beginning. He had money and he could reestablish his life. As soon as he could find Dorothy that is.

One more task, just one more. Then his life would be complete.

To be continued…

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Chapter 16 All I Want For Christmas Is You

Henry opened the door that led out to the balcony slowly, not wanting to startle the young woman who stood gazing out at the city lights, her face a mask of sadness. He walked to her and leaned against the balustrade, his elbows resting on the stone edge.

“I’m truly sorry, Lani. I had no business saying what I did. It’s between you and Josef, what you do in your relationship.”

He watched as she licked her lips and then bit the lower one lightly as if debating how to answer. He felt like a world class jerk for upsetting her.

Still, even in this modern age of living together, he just couldn’t agree with it. A man and woman who create a child owed it to that child to provide the most stable home for it as possible. Old fashioned beliefs, he knew but he could see the love these two shared and he couldn’t help but wonder why she wanted to wait.

There were all kinds of families and the reality was that two parents couldn’t always provide a loving home for a child, together. Differences of all kinds, death, lots of things separated families and sometimes it was okay and sometimes not. No, marriage between two people who were miserable wasn’t right but there was love here, lots of it.

Henry loved children even though he’d not been fortunate enough to have them. After he came home from the war his was dispirited, a walking empty vessel and it took awhile to get straight with himself and then get straight with his creator. Yes, he was a man of God, in whatever vision of that someone believed in. God had many names and faces and he felt that as long as someone had faith, faith in a higher power and faith in themselves they could accomplish anything.

As she remained silent he thought that perhaps those feelings were making him push this young woman into something she wasn’t ready for. Possibly he had interpreted what he saw incorrectly and the love simply wasn’t there? He felt very confused and closed his eyes for a moment, asking for guidance.

Lani continued to remain motionless, almost holding her breath as she thought about her feelings. What did she want? Truly? She wanted Josef, she wanted to marry him, with all her heart. A silent sob broke through and warm, salty tears tracked down her face, glittering as the lights of the city reflected off of them.

“I’m not…Josef, he’s such a good man. He loves me deeply and I know that he would do anything for me. But Henry, I’m just a girl who was spoiled with material things and denied love all my life. I’ve been selfish and egotistical, doing what I wanted because for most of my life no one really gave a damn. Except for Beth and Dorothy and Clark. They were more of a family to me than anything I’d ever known. Even so, I was still an outsider, Henry. Our housekeepers showed more affection for me than my parents did and that doesn’t provide much of an example, you know? I don’t deserve someone as wonderful as Josef. Someday, he’ll wake up and realize that. Forever is a very long time to a vampire.”

“Lani, I know less than nothing about vampires or vampire relationships but I do know genuine love when I see it. It’s those tender looks and awe that someone expresses when they are looking into the eyes of love. It’s almost palpable sometimes, so deep and true that nothing can tear it apart. When a person is lucky enough to find that other person who completes them, who makes them a better person, everyone sees it. There isn’t a doubt in my mind that you and Josef feel that way about one another. But I understand why it’s so scary for you, Lani, I really do. Taking a chance like this is like free-falling over the edge of the highest cliff imaginable and trusting that the other person will be there to gently catch you. Josef will catch you, Lani.”

Josef stood inside the door, listening to their conversation. Should he be ashamed for listening? Maybe but he wasn’t, not one damn bit. He’d lost one love and he wouldn’t lose this one. He was made for Lani, as she was made for him. He opened the door and stepped through, walking straight to her and pulling her tightly into his embrace.

“Lani, I won’t just catch you, I’ll be there with you, all the way. Remember the cliff at the beach house? We did it together and we can do this. If I’m lucky enough to be married to you forever I’ll never regret a moment of it. Not a single second,” he said quietly, his lips lightly brushing hers. “I can handle anything you can throw at me, Sweetness, just give me the chance.”

Her tears started in earnest then and he held her tighter, patting her back like he would a small child. Henry started to move away, to go inside and leave them alone and she saw him and said, “No, please, Henry, don’t go.”

Henry glanced at Josef, waiting to see what he wanted and when he nodded, adding his consent to Lani’s request Henry stood silent for a moment, waiting.

“Henry, I think we have a wedding to plan. Will you marry us?” Lani asked.

“Of course, you tell me the day to be there.”

“Josef, I want to wait long enough…”

Josef interrupted, an ache the size of a tennis ball threatening to choke him. “Lani, no more waiting!”

“I want to wait until Clark is back and Dorothy has the babies. I want them both to be at my wedding. Please? It’s important to me.”

He nodded, suddenly understanding what she wanted. “Yes, I agree to that. Maybe a month, then?”

“Yes, a month. I can do that. Henry, do you think your church will be ready for a wedding by then?”

“Well, I’m sure it won’t be done but hopefully we can make it presentable.”

Josef laughed outright then, the thought of so many vampires, who often had phobias about churches, gathered in a church hysterical to him. At both Lani’s and Henry’s quizzical looks he explained and they both laughed as well.

Josef noticed that Lani was shivering and said, “Come on, let’s go in and share the good news!” All three of them went back in and Josef made the announcement to a rambunctious round of applause.

“Why are you waiting a month? Do it now!” Dorothy urged.

“No. Dorothy, it’s important to me that both you and Clark be there on that day. And besides, I have to have a little bit of time to try to find dresses for me and Beth and Robbi.”

Josef grinned from ear to ear, his pose relaxed as he rocked back on his heels as he watched everyone. All the hurt had been swept away; she really did love him and their child would be born into a real family, with two parents who would love it and protect it forever.

Beth and Dorothy were both hugging Lani and then both of them hugged first Josef and then Henry. Even Mick got in on the action and when he walked towards Josef he laughed as Josef said, “Mick, if you hug me I’m going to have to kick your ass!” And then when Mick did it anyway he could only laugh himself, feeling on top of the world as he did.

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Wasn’t that the phrase?


“Benjamin!” Cat said when she answered the phone. “What’s going on? Is everything alright?” Ben was more likely to come by to see her at the office instead of calling.

“Sure, everything is great, Mom. How are you and dad?”

“We’re fine. You’re father is in D.C. this week, meeting with some of the group that will be arguing the Morrison case before the Supreme Court in February. Why don’t come over for dinner tonight?”

“Can’t, Mom, but thanks. I’m working on closing arguments for the court on Monday morning. I need to get this done. But…”

“But?” she prompted with a smile.

“I wanted to ask you something. I saw Beth and Mick the other night and she asked me about doing a legal question and answer spot on Buzzwire.” He went on to tell her the details about it all, hoping to hook her into it.

“I think you’d be wonderful, Benjamin! You told her yes didn’t you?”

“Well, no, I couldn’t. Mom, the District Attorney wouldn’t want an ADA handing out legal advice to possible criminals! But, you could. Mom, you’d be perfect for this. You always look good on camera when you're in the news and it might even be good for business,” he teased, hoping he could convince her.

She thought it over for a minute. He had a point, it could be good for the firm and it would be fun as well. “I love the idea, but I’m leaving for England in 3 weeks; I’ll be gone for the winter term. I doubt if they want to wait that long to go into production.”

“No, see that’s the beauty of it. They already have some questions so segments could be pre-taped and when you’re in England, if they can find a media facility there you could even tape a few while you were there. Come on, Mom! You know you want to do this! Give Beth a call!”

“You know, I think I just might. I’m always up for a bit of fun. Sure you don’t mind?”

“Why the hell would I mind?” he laughed. “Hell, you're doing me a favor because I felt terribly guilty turning her down. I know that they are working really hard to make Buzzwire a reliable and respectable news source.”

“Okay, I’ll call her soon. Now, you're sure you’ll have to pass on dinner?”

“Yes, I really do. I’ve got so much to do, Mom.”

“Mick and Beth are coming to dinner tomorrow, remember? Please tell me you haven’t forgotten, Ben.”

“No, I’ll be there. Mick and I had a pretty good chat the other night. It’s getting better.”

“Good. Just give him a chance, Ben. He is a good guy, you know that.”

Ben grimaced. Yes, he knew it but it still sat wrong in his gut. Maybe in time. “I know, Mom. It just sort of freaks me out to hear you supporting him.”

“I’m not really, supporting him that is. But I understand now what happened and why he had no say in it all. I can’t hold that against him. I don’t think of him as my father, Benjamin. No one could ever replace your grandfather in my heart, but Mick deserves a chance to get to know us.”

“Mom, has it occurred to you that he might want to tell grandma?”

“It did, but I also know that he’s scared to death to tell her and doesn’t want to upset her. I also think he’s still very ashamed about what happened with her.”

“Mom, it would be terrible if he told her.”

“I guess you're right. I know you're right actually but I also know that if I were her I’d want to know. Wouldn’t you? If you found out that Michele was still alive wouldn’t you want to know?”

A momentary pain clutched at his heart and he closed his eyes tightly as thoughts of Michele flowed through his head. He could even still smell her perfume, something fresh and lightly floral. Yes, he’d want to know, but it was so different with his grandmother. She was much older and the information might be damaging to her.

“Yes, Mom. I’d want to know but we both know that won’t happen.”

“I know, son.” Both of them were quiet for a moment and she regretted mentioning Michele to him. It seemed that he’d never get over her and her heart ached for him so badly. “See you tomorrow night then?”

“Yes, Mom. I’ll be there.”


All I Want For Christmas Is You

December 24th, 1978

Dorothy and Clark sat on the front porch of Dorothy’s house, peering up at the stars that seemed to shimmer in the blue-black sky. The air was chilly and crisp, especially for LA and their breaths turned into misty puffs of air. Both of them were wrapped up in jackets and Clark had his arm around her shoulders, but that had nothing to do with the temperature.

He leaned down and kissed her lightly, his lips a mere whisper against hers. “Our first Christmas together, as a couple I mean.” He held her hand and traced over her fingers with his thumb, the soft skin on her fingers fascinating him, so different than his own calloused ones.

She gave a small laugh and said, “You’d better not let my mom hear that. The cavalry will be out that door and sitting between us before you can bat an eye.”

“Hell, Dorothy, I want to shout it from the roof. I don’t care who knows it. I know what they expect of us; I’m not going to do anything that will screw up our futures.”

The future was one of his favorite subjects. He painted it easily, picturing it all in his head. He’d graduate and spend a couple of years in the army, to learn some skills and get money for college. She’d finish high school and go to college so she could be a teacher. After they’d both graduated from college they’d get married. It all seemed so simple, at least to him.

He was going into the army; he was leaving her! There would be women in the army and she knew that they’d be after him. Who wouldn’t be? He’d miss her, sure, but she knew he’d forget her for some glamorous girl, someone who was mature, experienced; she didn’t have a single doubt about it.

It was a sore subject for them and one they both tried to avoid. Clark knew how he felt about her and he also knew that there wasn’t anyone who could take his focus away from him, not about her or school or anything else. He hoped in time she’d see that too - that they were made for one another.

A movement in the sky caught her attention and she said, “Look, a shooting star!” She closed her eyes quickly and made a wish. When she opened them Clark was looking at her, a deeply penetrating look that she didn’t quite understand. “What?” she asked.

“You’re beautiful, Dorothy.” He glanced away and cleared his throat, unable to hold his emotions in check. She was beautiful, she was perfect. The only girl in the world for him. “Hey,” he finally said. “Are you ready to open your present?”

“Tonight? On Christmas Eve?”

“Yes, on Christmas Eve. Our families open gifts on Christmas Day, but this will be our time, Dorie.” He handed her a small box that he’d obviously wrapped himself and she had to fight back a grin. It sort of looked like Charlie Brown had wrapped it but it didn’t really matter, it was from him.

“Oh, it’s pretty, Clark. Let me go in and get yours, okay?”

She came back soon with a neatly wrapped box and handed it to him. The beauty of the wrapping made him laugh. It was ironic in a way; he’d worked so hard to make it pretty for her and instead it was a mess. And here was her gift to him, all the seams straight and tidy with a pretty little bow on top.

“Why are you laughing?” she asked, puzzled, trying not to feel hurt. She’d worked hard on wrapping that present just so! Not to mention how long she’d saved babysitting money to buy the gift for him.

“It’s great, Dorie! Really…it’s just, look at it. It’s perfectly wrapped and mine looks like I did it blindfolded! I worked so hard on it and it’s, well, it’s pretty pathetic!”

“It is not, Clark! It’s beautiful and I love it!” A small white lie was okay. Wasn’t it?

“Okay. Well, I promise what’s inside is better. Go ahead, open it.”

“You too!” As he shook his head she said, “Together?”


They both pulled the wrapping paper off and opened the boxes inside. Dorothy opened a small, velvet covered box and saw a delicate necklace inside. A small Austrian crystal hung on a finely detailed silver chain. Her small ‘Oh’ of pleasure was music to his ears.

“Do you really like it?”

“I love it, Clark. Help me, please?”

He fastened it around her neck, his fingers fumbling a bit with the clasp but it was finally secured and all he could do was stare at it as the moon caught the brilliant fire in it and made it sparkle. He gazed at it, laying against her delicate skin in the open collar of her jacket. “Wow,” was all he could say.

“You, now! You were supposed to open yours when I opened mine,” she teased.

His box wasn’t terribly large but it was kind of heavy. He couldn’t imagine what was in it as he tore the last bit of wrapping paper off of it. When he opened the box his eyes opened wide and he let out a loud whoop of happiness.

“Dorie, it’s fantastic! Thank you so much!” He stared at the chrome-plated Los Angeles Rams gear shift knob. It was shaped like a football helmet with the Rams logo on it. “I’ve wanted this ever since I got my car!”

“I know. You really like it?”

“Oh, Dorie, it’s perfect. Thank you!”

He’d yelled so loud that it brought Dorothy’s parents out to see what was going on. They stood at the door and saw Dorothy grinning. “He liked it!” she laughed. He dad had helped her pick it out.

“No, I love it, Dorie! I can’t wait to put in on!”

“Look, Mama, look at the necklace he got me!”

Grace had already spied the necklace, the light of the moon reflected off of it making it easy to see. “It’s lovely, Dorothy. Clark, you have good taste.”

Grace knew what the gift was because Shelly had helped Clark pick it out. It was perfect for a young girl, not too flashy or ostentatious. Still, it was jewelry, but it could have been a ring so this was better. One of these days it would be a ring, she had no doubt.

A long while; she hoped that wouldn’t happen for a long time yet. But it would happen; she knew it.

“It’s getting really chilly out here. Why don’t you two come in and I’ll fix some cocoa?”

“Sure. Thank you Mrs. Turner.”

They headed inside and Dorothy stood in front of the mirror in the foyer to admire the necklace. “Oh, it really is beautiful.” She sighed with pleasure as she looked at it, touching it lightly. “It really sparkles!”

“Like your eyes.” Clark stood behind her and their eyes met in the mirror and for a moment they were both lost in the others gaze.

“I really do love it. Thank you, Clark.” She turned to him and mindful of her father in the living room with a full view of the foyer she kissed him on the cheek. She wished she was brave enough to actually kiss him, on the lips but she just couldn’t.

He hugged her briefly, uncomfortable with the scrutiny of her father as well but he had to hug her. “Do you suppose that cocoa is done?”

“I don’t know. I’ll go check! Come on, you can help with the marshmallows!”

That evening, their first Christmas Eve together they both became a bit more aware that they were growing, as individuals and as a couple. Clark was dead sure where their future lie and Dorothy had wished that it be true. That their love would last forever.

Now, thirty years later Dorothy knew that the wish had come true. She was staring out the window of the bedroom, looking at the few stars that were visible. She fingered the crystal as she remembered that night. Every Christmas Eve since then she’d worn the necklace, even the years they hadn’t been together. It wasn’t Christmas ever yet, that was a few weeks away but she’d needed the comfort of the necklace. She remembered the wish she’d made on that shooting star that year; it was the same one she’d made on every shooting star she’d ever seen. Now it was coming true.

They would be together forever. No, it wasn’t Christmas Eve yet, but she knew that some way, some how they’d be together that night. Like that very first year, this year too would be a beginning for them. A beginning to forever…

To be continued…

Authors Note:  I just want to take the time to wish you all the best of holidays!  May your life be filled with love and happiness always.  Thank you to each and every one of you for taking the time to read this story!


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Chapter 15 The Way of the World

The Way of the World

Mick watched Dorothy make the sauce, using ingredients and methods he’d never seen before. She explained as she went along, telling him about her family and her mother’s recipe.

“My mom’s family was from Italy, northern Italy, near Venice. My grandmother and grandfather fled Italy in 1940 after they were married. Her family were all dead, killed under the fascist regime lead by Mussolini. Grandpa’s remaining brothers eventually came to America after the war but they had lost everything. Grandma and Grandpa both worked their way here, on a ship. I think the conditions on board were horrific but neither of them ever complained; they were just thankful to be able to get here.”

“I was stationed in Italy, during WWII, Dorothy. It was beautiful, even during the war and the people were very welcoming to us. I can’t tell you how many families shared whatever they had for their dinner’s with us. I’ll never forget them or their generosity of spirit.”

“Yes, to Italians, everyone is family. They do share a joy for life, for people, and for food. I know that grandma was sorry to leave her home but she created her own family right here in America, in the neighborhood where they lived. Over in West Adams by the way, where you grew up.”

“Is that where your mom was born?”

“Well, yes. In a hospital but she grew up in West Adams. Mom was born in 1942.”

“The year I went to war. This is amazing. What was the family name, Dorothy.”

“Pirelli. They lived on Elmhurst Avenue, past Miller’s Grove. They both died in the seventies so my memories of them are sort of spotty. But mama knew all the stories and also learned how to cook all the traditional family foods. You know, Italy is much like the States, every region has its own particular tastes and specialties. I make northern Italian style lasagna, which is different from the southern versions that are much more well known here in America. This recipe is made with a tomato based sauce, which is a bit unusual for Northern Italian cooking. It’s a farming region so fresh produce is plentiful. Most recipes feature lots of vegetable and because they are right near the Adriatic Sea seafood or frutti di mare is a very common ingredient as well.”

As she spoke she finely grated some carrot to add to the sauce and Mick was surprised by the addition. She’d used fresh roma tomatoes from his garden plus some fresh basil, putting they through a food mill to begin with after she’d seeded the tomatoes. She had also added large garlic cloves that she’d simply cut in half to the simmering mixture.

“Why the carrot and why didn’t you chop or mince the garlic?”

“The carrot gives it a bit of sweetness and the garlic will flavor it but will be pulled out before it’s served.” Nest she added a small pork bone that she’d gotten from the butcher as it simmered. At his questioning look she added, “The pork bone cuts a bit of acidity from the sauce. I’ll pull it out later as well.”

As she finished adding other ingredients and the sauce simmered he thought it looked deceptively simple but the aroma of it was definitely a complex blend of scents. While the sauce was simmering she browned some ground sirloin to go into it later on. “Mama almost never added meat to the lasagna but I find that we American’s tend to like it in there,” she laughed.

“I definitely wish I could taste this,” he told her as he inhaled deeply.

“Can you not taste anything, Mick? Like you can’t even taste general things, like sweet or salty?”

“No, I can’t. If Beth has eaten chocolate or popcorn, I can taste, hm, maybe an echo of it on her lips. But not outright, no.”

Dorothy thought that was really sad and then considered that Clark would be in the same situation. He loved her lasagna and for a moment she bit her lip to keep from tearing up at the thought. She was lost in thought when Beth opened the front door a minute later and jumped a bit at the sound.

Mick was chopping vegetables from his garden to add to the store bought greens for the salad to go with dinner. He put down his knife and went to greet his wife, pulling her tightly to him as his lips captured hers in a delicious kiss.

“Hi,” he said, smiling at her.

“Hi yourself.” She kissed him again and then stood on tiptoes to peek over his shoulder. “Oh wow, it smells so good in here! Mick, are you watching so you know how to do this?”

He chuckled and said, “Well, I’m watching but I’m not sure I could do it.” He took the bag she was carrying which had a couple of loaves of fresh Italian bread in them and Spumoni ice cream for dessert.

Beth shrugged out of her jacket and headed over to give her mom a kiss on the cheek. “How are you feeling, Mom?”

“Really good and guess what?”

“I don’t know!”

Dorothy grinned and said, “I now know that we’re having a boy and a girl!”

“So they finally got a clear picture of the little shy one, huh?”

“No. Actually, Vaygar told me. He said that Alexander apparently protects his sister when people get too close.”

“Vaygar? He’s here now?”

“Yes, this morning but really, he’s a pain in the neck. Tried to tell me that I couldn’t go to my doctor’s appointment! How dare he?”

Beth saw Mick leaning against the counter behind her mother and he had a very wide smile on his face. There must be more to this story and she couldn’t wait to hear it.

“Bethy, could you make the almond sauce for the ice cream, please?”

“Sure, Mom. Is that all I can do?”

“Yes, for now. You remember how don’t you?”

“Yep, just let me go and wash up first, okay?”

Dorothy nodded as she waited for the huge pot of water to boil so she could put the noodles in to cook. She’d bought pre-made noodles from the store; while they weren’t as good as homemade she knew that she didn’t have the stamina right now to make them from scratch.

A couple of minutes later Beth was back dressed in jeans and a deep blue sweater that Mick had bought her. It brought out the blue in her eyes and he loved to see her in it. He watched as she stirred together the almond sauce over the stove and lifted his nose to scent it as well. Altogether this meal smelled delicious.

A half an hour later Mick watched as Dorothy built the last layer of the 12 layer dish. She’d been smart to grab her lasagna dish from her house because he didn’t have anything nearly deep enough to hold it all.

As much as watching her make the sauce was interesting, watching her build it was also intriguing. American lasagna typically had lots of ricotta cheese layered in it and she only put one layer in hers, telling him that typically in northern Italy you might not find any. “They like the flavor of good olive oil in their lasagna, as opposed to all the cheese.” She’d used lots of fresh mozzarella, the kind that is very soft and came in little balls. Mick had never seen it before and discovered it wasn’t waxy at all like the normal cheese he’d seen.

He picked the heavy pan up and slid it into the oven; it had a good hour to bake and they all sat back to relax for a bit.

Dorothy curled up in one of the arm chairs and within a couple of minutes Beth noticed that she was sleeping. As she draped the afghan over her mom she realized that her mom was finally getting back some of her color; since Clark had been attacked she been very pale but the shock seemed to be wearing off and she was adapting well.

On the couch Beth snuggled into the crook of Mick’s arm and he told her about the encounter with Vaygar that morning. She was surprised when he told her about her mom’s angry reaction.

She grinned and said, “He really stuck a chord in her; she hardly ever gets mad like that!”

“Tell me about it. I’ve never seen her that mad. Actually, he was pretty nice but I think he just came on a bit too strong for her. He’s worried about her obviously and just tried to sort of take over. Never a good thing where Turner women are concerned!” He chuckled, his eyes sparkling as he watched her.

“Just remember that, buddy!” She laughed softly, trying not to wake her mom. “I hope he’ll back up the bus a notch or two though; it will make things simpler.”

“I think he got the idea. I called my friend Craig Martinez in Santa Fe earlier. He’s a PI I met at a conference a couple of years ago. He’s going to take a trip down to Bernalillo to see if he can lay eyes on Vinton McCullough, or his property anyway, if he’s here.”

“Do you really think this guy had something to do with dad’s attack?”

She was skeptical, he could tell but then so was he. “I don’t know, Beth. His car was here and he wouldn’t stop to talk to Brody. That makes us suspicious, but he might not have ever heard Brody for all we know. He could have been lost and looking for an address or something. We need to get eyes on him and actually talk to him to see what was going on.”

She nodded, agreeing with what he said. “Nothing else has happened though; I assume the house was okay today?”

“Yes, nothing out of place and no one else had been in there. It all might have been random, who knows? Except my gut tells me it isn’t.”

“Mine too, Mick.” She moved over onto his lap and melted against him, loving the feel of his body against hers. It wasn’t a sexual feeling really, just the comfort of his being, of feeling safe and loved. For a few minutes that was all that mattered to either of them.

A few minutes later they heard the elevator and stood up and headed to the door. They both recognized Lani and Josef’s scents and Beth also identified Henry. They opened the door, smiling at their guests and welcoming them. Dorothy woke up then and stood, happy to see them as well.

“Lani, how are you feeling, honey?” she said as she gave the young woman a hug.

“Good. Is that grandma Grace’s lasagna I smell?” At Dorothy’s nod she added, “Ooh, I can’t wait!”

Beth smiled and gave first Josef and then Henry each a kiss on the cheek. “Henry, may I take your jacket?” She noticed he was dressed in gray slacks and a nice button down shirt, a little dressier than he normally wore.

“Yes, here you go,” he said as he slid the jacket off. “And I have to agree with Lani, it smells wonderful in here! I don’t get too many home-cooked meals, like this anyway.”

Josef handed Mick a couple of bottles of wine and Mick’s eyebrows rose in surprise as he spied the labels. “Nice!” he declared, grinning at Josef who just shrugged. “Getting soft, Josef?” he said in vamp tones.

“I wouldn’t count on it. They were just collecting dust!” he countered.

Beth added her smile to Mick’s and invited everyone to sit down. The timer went off on the oven and Dorothy went to check it. She nodded approvingly at the golden goodness that she saw and asked Mick to pull it out of the oven. “It needs to rest for about 20 minutes so we have time to get the bread in and get the table set.”

Lani got busy on the table, setting if for dinner. It was fairly large but with 7 people around it, it might be a bit cramped. Mick helped to gather chairs and few minutes later the vamps heard the elevator and Beth headed to the door and saw Luka approaching it.

He ran a finger around his collar, a nervous gesture which sort of puzzled her for a moment but then she realized this was the first time he’d been to the loft since he and Carl had taken Mick in for questioning, so many months ago. No doubt it was uncomfortable for him to think of and she resolved to help him feel at ease.

“Luka, welcome,” she said wearing a big smile. “I’m so glad you came. Please come in. Looks like dinner will be in about 15 minutes. Mick’s manning the bar so drink orders go to him.” She led him farther into the room and heard his heartbeat skip a couple of times. He was still a little unsure of being around vampires she thought.

“Luka, what can I get you?” Mick said as he poured a scotch for Josef.

“I’ll have a scotch too I guess. That will be fine,” he said as he walked across the room.

Henry saw how uncomfortable his friend was and went to stand next to him. “Luka, good to see you. How are you?”

Luka smiled at Henry, suddenly a bit more at ease. Henry was certainly much more comfortable around the vamps then he was and he decided to just chat for a moment to help him relax a bit.

Luka and Henry had formed a strong friendship during their captivity and now that Luka was volunteering a good deal of his free time at the church that bond had become stronger still. He respected and admired Henry’s dedication to the homeless population and since being held captive with some of them they weren’t just folks to be over-looked anymore. He now saw them as individuals, each with a unique set of needs and problems. He knew that he had helped some of them and he’d never felt happier with himself.

Now if he could only learn to feel the same ease with the vamps. He watched Carl with curiosity each day; the way that he eagerly embraced his future, the future that would include becoming a vampire. He had big plans, big dreams about it all too. Marrying Cami, continuing to work for LAPD as well as for Heroku, Cami’s father, of a sort.

Big plans, plans that made Carl feel on top of the world. Luka was happy for Carl that he had found a woman that he loved so much and a future that excited him. But he also felt a bitter twist of pain in his own gut that he’d never found ‘the one’, never found that spark, the magic. Hell, he doubted that it even existed for him.

He saw the lasagna sitting on the kitchen counter and wandered over to it and sniffed appreciatively. “That smells really good. Like something my Italian mama would have made,” he observed.

“You’re Italian, Luka?” Dorothy asked as she poured dressing over the salad and tossed it.

“Yes, I am. Last name is Fiorentino,” he laughed. “Can’t get much more Italian than that!”

“Pirelli! Or at least my mother’s family.”

They discussed Italy and family and by the time they were ready to eat Luka was feeling very comfortable. Mick picked up the lasagna and carried it to the table as Josef poured wine for those imbibing. Lani and Dorothy were having juice with their meals but neither cared that they were missing out on the wine, the company was good and the food better.

Much of the talk around the table centered on the renovations that were going to be done to the church. It was obvious that Henry was very enthused about it and also that he took a certain pride in how the project was being handled.

“We’ve already had several of our people, who have related experience offer to pick up a paint brush or move things around, anything that they can do to help. It’s helping the homeless community come together. We’ve figured out how to reconfigure space and come up with an additional 30 beds! And some of the best news? Clark told me right before I came here that he’d managed to get someone to provide a brand new heating and cooling system for the church! Isn’t he amazing?”

Mick happened to glance at Josef and saw how the elder vamps fingers tightened around the stem of his wine glass as he looked around the room, trying to look as if he didn’t care. Mick smiled to himself, knowing easily exactly who it was that had donated the new system.

It was actually an amazing discovery. Not that Josef wasn’t often very generous, even if he protested on the surface of things but this church project was completely different for him to be involved in. It didn’t have anything to do with future returns or opportunities; it was only about the mutual good it would do for Henrys group of homeless people, the community as a whole in fact. Clarks company secured the necessary permits and provided the labor but the donations for the project were all being kept strictly confidential, including the sizable chunk that Mick and Beth had donated as well as what was sure to be a much larger contribution from Josef. The new heating and cooling system was the single most expensive item needed and now it was covered and Josef looked decidedly uncomfortable about it.

Yep, he was the anonymous benefactor for sure. Mick felt a great deal of gratitude and pride for his friend.

“Henry, I know the church functions as a…mission, of sorts but does it also function as a regular church, like with normal services I mean?” Josef asked.

“Yes, we do have services on Sundays for our people. We are a non-denominational church, in other words we are not part of any particular belief structure or guidance from a church diocese. Which is why we don’t have funding from those groups either. The building is leased from the city for a small stipend, yearly. In return for that we maintain it as best we can and provide an open door policy for those needing help, housing, meals, things like that.”

“This city? Being that generous? Seems a bit unusual,” Josef remarked.

“Just a bit of luck I guess. Maybe someone working behind the scene that had a guilty conscience, who knows? But I’ll take it. As far as daily functions, we have several endowments and grants from various agencies that provide help with expenses.”

The table talk turned to babies and the news that Dorothy and Clark were having a boy and a girl. Lani was thrilled with the news. “So, Beth, you get a brother and a sister! You’re going to be a great big sister. And our baby will have a couple of cousins, sort of,” she said, smiling at Josef and resting her hand on her stomach.

“I hear you had a craving for pistachio fudge ice cream last night and Josef had to go find some,” Beth teased.

“Well, yes he did and then I had fallen asleep before he got back.” She smiled a bit but it was apparent that she felt bad about it.

“Yes, all true. Of course, I was gone for nearly 3 hours, looking for an unusual flavor of ice cream that apparently only one place in town sells. And of course that place wasn’t open at 3 am. But rest assured, Sweetness, you now have a freezer full of that green stuff downstairs.” The smile he gave her was indulgent but there was a bit on an edge to his words. It apparently hadn’t been much fun scouring the city for the ice cream.

“Well, you know, after seeing that mess of chocolaty goop in the bowl that was on the nightstand this morning I’m not sure I’ll ever want it again. He poured a whole jar of hot fudge sauce over some pistachio ice cream! It looked pretty sickening this morning.” She patted his hand and added, “I’m sorry, Josef.” But her smile told him how much she appreciated the gesture and also how much she loved him.

Josef only laughed, something that amazed both Mick and Beth. He didn’t even seem irritated about it all; his indulgence for Lani was very apparent. He would have bought her the moon if she’d only ask.

“Lani, maybe after the baby is born you two can get married in Henry’s church. You do weddings there, Henry?” Dorothy asked. Yes, she wanted to push a bit and see what happened.

Henry looked stunned for a moment. “I - well of course we could although I never have done one there.” He looked back and forth between Lani and Josef, apparently upset about the request. “Forgive me, but you two aren’t already married?”

A blush swept over Lani’s face and Josef reached up and brushed a stray strand of hair away from her face when she hung her head a bit. “No, not yet. The love of my life, my very long life I might add wants to wait until after our child is born.”

There wasn’t any rancor in his words but an underlying layer of pain was easy to hear, even to the humans. He didn’t want to wait, but she did?

That wasn’t typical, in Henry’s experience.

“Lani, may I be so impertinent as to ask why? It’s not a difficult thing to do, get married I mean.” Henry’s words were spoken reassuringly and without any intent to hurt her but she suddenly felt ashamed of herself and extremely embarrassed. She stood up and headed out to the balcony without saying a word.

Josef started to rise and Beth shook her head. “Give her a bit of time, Josef. Come on, you know that by now.”

“She needs me. I shouldn’t have said what I did. It’s her decision and I have to live with it. For now.”

“I apologize, Josef. I never meant to embarrass her it’s just - most women aren’t the ones who hold back in these situations. Let me talk to her, please. I need to express how sorry I am for saying something that caused her pain.”

Josef debated for a moment on Henry’s offer. He liked the young man and knew that his words hadn’t been intended to cause Lani any shame.

Dorothy looked out towards the doors to the balcony as she thought about what had happened. Lani had turned a corner; she did want to get married now. She was very easy to read to someone that had been reading her most of her life. She just didn’t know how to get out of the corner she’d backed herself into.

“Josef, I think it’s a very good idea for Henry to go and talk to her. Let him.” She smiled at the man whose sherry brown eyes were full of pain and indecision. She nodded and felt relief when she saw him nod in return.

“Up the stairs and out the doors, Henry,” Mick said.

As Henry ascended the stairs he didn’t know how he was going to do it but he was going to convince that young woman that she needed to marry Josef Kostan. That baby needed a name and all the love it could get and Josef apparently had much love to give and share.

Yes, she needed to marry him. And soon.

To be continued…

Monday, December 10, 2012

Chapter 14 They Boys Are Back In Town

The Boys Are Back In Town

“I’m telling you, Mick, it was totally humiliating! A…a comedy of errors, all mine! He didn’t have to do a thing, basically just stand there and let me make a fool out of myself!”

Mick ducked his head down for a moment, knowing that even in the darkness of their freezer she could still see the small smile that tweaked up the corners of his mouth.

He wasn’t really laughing at her, or her outrage over it all but over the fact that it hadn’t taken Brody any time at all to realize that his mate lacked patience and had a fiery temper to boot. Personally, he liked the temper, when it wasn’t directed at him that is and even then sometimes it wasn’t so bad. Beth was passionate, in every incredible way imaginable. Just thinking about that stirred him and he rolled over to her and pulled her tightly to him so that she could feel his need.

He felt her stiffen in his arms, definitely not a good sign. What was that about anger directed towards him? He had a feeling he was going to get a good dose of it. Okay he admitted it, he was a guy and he’d let the thought of her delicious body moving against him deeply erotic and had been unable to resist the pull of it. But she was upset and while he absolutely supported his mate, he knew that Brody was right and it was going to be necessary to teach her patience and how to control her anger if she ever really wanted to be able to take care of herself. It didn’t mean that she had to surrender that spark that made her Beth, it just meant that, when in a dangerous situation she needed to think logically and not give in to the red haze of fury that clouded her head.

He tried to explain that to her and her eyes narrowed as she listened. “So, you’re on Brody’s side?”

That was what she took away from what he’d said?

“No, Beth. Baby, there are no ‘sides’ here. I think…” and he shut up as he felt her pull away from him and push the button that raised the lid to the freezer.

He watched as she sat up and swung her legs over the side and pulled her blanket tightly around her, tucking in the ends under hers arms.

“Well think about this, Mr. St. John! You’re sleeping alone tonight!” She grabbed her robe off the hook on the back of the door and slipped it on with her back to him. The blanket fell to her feet and after she tied the belt of the robe tightly around her waist she bent to retrieve it and opened the door, disappearing from his sight as it closed.


He ran his fingers through his hair and laid there for a moment. This was one of those times a guy really felt stupid. If he went after her and she didn’t want him to it would only make things worse. If he didn’t and she wanted him to, well, he’d face a firing squad in the morning.

Which was the better choice? His choice was made when he heard her crying downstairs. He was out of the freezer, into his pajama bottoms and down the stairs before she barely had time to sniffle. He sat down on the couch and she immediately crawled into his lap and he held her tightly.

“I’m sorry, Mick.”

“No, baby, I’m sorry. I do support you, Beth. Always, you know that.”

She nodded and gave a small hiccup as she tried to stop crying. “I know, it’s just, it was so humiliating tonight! I just kept falling on my ass, every time I tried to take him down.”

“I know. I get that. Do you think that Brody did it to hurt you?”

“No, he didn’t. He wanted me to think about what I was doing, about how I was doing it.”


“And it made me realize he was right. I do let my anger take control of me. I know that! He just didn’t have to show me in quite that way.”

“If he would have just said, ‘Look, Beth. You have to control your emotions when you get into a dangerous situation’, what would you have said to him?”

She was quiet for a moment, thinking about that question. “I guess I would have told him no problem, that I could control it.”

“But that wouldn’t have been true, would it?”

“No, I guess not. But still, it hurt my feelings!”

“Your feelings or you pride, to end up on your butt so often?”

She sputtered as anger again threatened to overcome her. Finally, she took a deep breath and muttered, “My pride. There, are you happy now?”

He chuckled; he couldn’t help it. It just spilled out and soon she was giggling along with him. “Okay, you may have a point. It’s a good thing vampires heal quickly or I might not ever sit on my ass again. It hurt!”

“It did?” he murmured against the silken skin of her neck. “I can’t have that.” He scooted down on the couch and pulled her to lay on top of him. His hands followed the path of her back down to the curves below it, massaging enticingly. “I don’t know, baby, feels okay to me.”

Her teeth nipped lightly at his neck and she ground her hips against his. “Yes, I’d say I’m doing much better now. Mr. St. John, I think you have the magic touch!” Her lips found his and they were lost in a deep and stirring kiss that left both of them panting.

“I think we’d better head upstairs, to our freezer, Beth. Just in case.”

“Yes, I think you’re right.”

He scooped her up and carried her up the stairs. No one heard their door close or the soft sounds that emanated from their freezer that night. The two lovers shared the night while Dorothy slept on, dreaming of her own lover.

Soon, her dream told her. Soon…


Rose and Brody caught the familiar scent as the door to the elevator opened outside Brody’s loft. Together they opened the door and were immediately enveloped in the arms of Vaygar, who squeezed them both tightly.

“Hey, geez, I may be a vamp but my bones still break,” Brody laughed.


“Aw, I didn’t wanna hug you anyway,” Vaygar laughed, picking up Rose and twirling around with her, while she giggled madly.

“Put me down, Vaygar! For heaven’s sake, it hasn’t been that long since we saw one another,” she told him.

He set her down after she gave him a quick kiss on the cheek and then gave Brody a wink. “Oh, yes, that night in Coos Bay, the little inn on the cliffs. Very nice, very secluded!”

“Yes, and definitely NOT soundproof. You and Kiki made enough noise to wake up the humans two cottages away!” she exclaimed and yet she was still laughing. “Well, it was a fun weekend anyway. How was the ride down?”

“Good, very pleasant actually. I love this time of year, out on the open road.”

“It’s really good to see you, man. Where’s your team?” Brody asked.

“They’ll be along tomorrow sometime. I was anxious so I hit the road early. Got any refreshments around here?” he asked, looking around the loft. He gave a low whistle and said, “Nice, really nice.”

“Yeah, come on into the kitchen. And you’re right, the place is great. Mick was very generous as we were getting the place ready. You should see the gym,” he said, nodding to a door on the left side of the room as he poured three glasses of O+.

Vaygar headed to the room and opened the door, his eyes lighting up as he took in the ultra modern and well equipped gym. “Whoa, this room is wild, man! This guy Mick is really serious about you training his lady isn’t he?”

“Yes, he is. She’s amazing, Vaygar. Now that I know that her mom is one of your descendants it explains why Beth has so much psi potential. You’ll be amazed at how talented she is.”

“What about Dorothy? Do you perceive anything about her?” he asked Dorothy.

“No, but I haven’t really been looking for it and I don’t want to scare her too much.”

“Why would that scare her?”

“Well, that’s probably a poor choice of words. I just mean, she’s so over-wrought right now with her mate being turned and away from her. She’s due in about two weeks and I don’t know if he’ll be ready to be there with her.”

Vaygar fixed Rose with a solemn stare and said, “He’ll be there. I’m going to see to it. Now tell me more about her.”


Mick and Beth showered early Thursday morning, hoping to get ahead of the game. Beth had to go to work, in for a meeting at 9 am and Dorothy had a doctor’s appointment at 10 so he planned on fixing her some breakfast before they went.

They had a couple of other errands to run while they were out; stop by her house to pick up some warmer clothes because it was a bit chilly for her at Mick and Beth’s.

Last night Mick had told her, “Dorothy, I do have furnace, I can just turn it up for you.”

“No, it’s not that cold. I will be perfectly comfortable in some heavier clothes, Mick. Honestly!” she said with a grin. “Besides, it’s been a couple of days since we were there and we need to check on things. And, I need mama’s lasagna pan too. It shouldn’t take too long; the trip to the market will take much longer.”

Mick was going to watch as she made her mother’s lasagna for their dinner guests tonight and he considered himself lucky that she was doing it. Everyone who ate the dish exclaimed over and over about how good it was and so he was going to pay close attention to the scents of it all and the methods.

Beth came down the stairs, ready for work and picked up the glass that Mick had filled for her. As she sipped she watched him stir oatmeal on the stove and add some apple that he had chopped as well as some golden raisins. “Um, smells good,” she said as he added a bit of cinnamon too.

“Let’s hope so,” he said as he stirred the concoction.

Dorothy came down the stairs as Beth finished her breakfast. “Good morning, Mom. Did you sleep well?”

“Yes, actually I did. Mick, that smells delicious!” she said, looking into the pot that he was stirring again.

“Thanks. Should be ready in a minute.” He smiled as she grabbed a bowl out of the cupboard and a glass which she filled with milk.

Beth came out of the downstairs bathroom after having brushed her teeth. Just rinsing with water could sometimes leave traces of blood and she didn’t want to freak anyone at out like that. “Well, I have to go! I can’t wait for dinner tonight, Mom!”

She kissed Mick quickly and said in vamp tones, “You keep her safe!”

“Of course!” Louder he said, “Love you, Beth. Have a good day!”

“I intend to. Love you too, Mick!”

“Dorothy, do you want some toast to go with that?” Mick asked as he watched her blow gently on a spoonful of the oatmeal.

“Good grief, no! They’re going to weigh me later,” she laughed. “It’s bad enough as it is. I don’t know how long it’s going to take to get this baby weight off before I can be turned as it is.”

“That’s your plan? I mean, you’re going to be turned that soon?”

“Yes, I am. Rose says I will only have to be away from the babies for a few days so when I’m done breastfeeding them I’m going to be turned.”

Mick hid a smile; this was the woman who had fought against the very thought of vampirism for years. She was actually going to be a great one he thought because she had great instincts, just like her daughter.

The idea that she, and Lani and Beth were different kinds of vamps made it easier for him for some reason. They could still enjoy some of the comforts of humanity and while that might bother some vamps for him it definitely took the edge off of the fact that they wanted to be turned. It might be a silly idea but it didn’t seem as bad as it did before they knew about the Children of the Moon.

At that thought he heard someone approach his door an since he hadn’t heard the elevator it had to be Brody. He caught his familiar scent along with a new one, definitely vamp but with that strange variation to it that meant they were one of the 13.

He answered the door and stood aside for Brody and another guy, who must be Vaygar he decided. “Hey, come on in,” he said, stepping aside.

Dorothy had just finished putting her glass and bowl into the dishwasher when the men entered. The man with Brody was tall, maybe 6’4 or so and thin, but very well muscled she noticed. He had a short sleeved tee shirt on it showed his muscular physique quite clearly.

His blue eyes lit up at the sight of Dorothy and as if compelled by a power she didn’t understand she walked to him and stood facing him.

Vaygar knelt down on one knee and took her hand, first pressing his forehead reverently against the back of it. “My lady Dorothy. I am at your service. I am Vaygar.”

“My lady,” Dorothy couldn’t help but laugh. “Dorothy is just fine thank you.”

“Nay, do not forget that you are royalty, of a sort. You are a descendant, my descendant and therefore special.”

“I, um,” she looked at Mick as a flush spread over her face. “Well, it’s nice to meet you, Vaygar.”

“You are well as are the little ones.” He reached out and placed a hand on her belly and she fought the urge to back away. She felt the babies shift inside her and caught her breath for a moment. “Alexander protects his sister, even before birth. He shall be a wonderful warrior some day.”

“His sister?” she asked. The still had never had a clear view of the second baby and so they didn’t know if it was a boy or girl.

“Yes, his sister. You did not know?”

“No, we didn’t. Each time they do a sonogram all we get a clear view of is a boy. We’ve not been able to tell if it’s two boys in there or if the second baby is just camera shy,” she told him, suddenly excited at the news of a boy and a girl.

“As I said, he protects his sister.”

“How did you know that we’re naming him Alexander?”

“You know the name, Dorothy. It is in your mind. I do not mean to intrude in your personal thoughts but when he rolled to protect his sister you called him that. In your mind. Alexander is a family name, is it not? Do you have a name for the girl yet?” He actually knew that she did; they would call the girl Grace, another family name.

“We haven’t decided for sure yet,” she told him, turning away in an effort to gather herself. He was amazingly strong, psychically, that is. She’d have some of his traits they’d told her. Would she be like this, able to pluck information out of people’s minds? She hoped not!

Mick glanced at his watch; they had about 35 minutes to get to her doctor’s appointment and as it was across town they needed to leave. He felt sure that Dorothy would be happy about that as she seemed to be struggling a bit with Vaygar.

The guy did come on pretty strong and the news about the babies might have been better left unsaid, as least so soon that is. Frankly, he needed a bit of distance himself and so he said, “Dorothy, we need to leave if we’re going to make your appointment.”

“An appointment? No, my men aren’t here yet. It will have to be postponed!”

Dorothy suddenly turned around, anger making her face flush this time. “Excuse me? This is my doctor’s appointment and I will not miss it. It is important that I go and so you and your men will just have to catch me next week.” She picked up her purse and said, “Mick, I’m ready!” and headed to the door.

“Dorothy, please!” Vaygar said. “You need to be protected!”

“I am protected! Mick protected my daughter for over twenty years and he’ll protect me as well! Now gentleman, I have an appointment to get to.”

Mick couldn’t keep the sparkle out of his eyes as he said, “You heard the lady!” In vamp tones he added, “She’ll be fine.”

“We’re following you,” Vaygar said, his voice low as well.

“Just don’t let her see you. In a fight, I’d put my money on Dorothy!” He headed out to the hallway and saw her waiting for the elevator. When the doors slid open he held it for her as she stepped in.

As the doors closed Brody turned to Vaygar and laughed, “You really have a way with the ladies, brother!”

“She’ll come around! She liked me, I could tell!”

“If that’s the truth you were the only one that could,” Brody laughed again. “Come on, it’s down the stairwell for us!”

They watched from the shadows as the elevator door slid open and Mick stepped out, checking the garage before he let Dorothy out. In his car the pulled out into traffic with Brody and Vaygar following cautiously behind. Mick wasn’t upset really; he didn’t take it personally because he was worried about the mysterious Vinton McCullough himself. Every pair of eyes available would make it easier to spot him if he came around.

“You alright?” he asked her.

“Yes, but god, what an infuriating man. I may be his descendant but I am not his child! I think he’s rather odious actually! Mick, I trust you with my life!”

“I know that. He just takes keeping you safe seriously and the truth is, Dorothy, until we know what, if anything we’re dealing with I’m glad to have other eyes on you.”

And fangs…

To be continued…

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Chapter 13 Count On Me

Beth finished setting the table as her mom came down the stairs. Both Mick and Beth noticed that she seemed more relaxed than she had been for quite awhile. Her smile was wide and happy and Beth sighed in relief.

The news from Rose had obviously made her happy for some reason and that was good.

“Hey, Mom. Mick made you some homemade tomato soup and I made you a grilled cheese sandwich, with pepper jack. Hope that’s okay?”

“Oh, sounds wonderful. Mick, surely you didn’t have time to make that while I was showering?”

“No, I actually made it earlier. I hope it’s okay, Dorothy.”

“It smells wonderful. You really are a good cook, Mick.” She took a small spoonful of the soup and blew gently on it before tasting it. “Oh my, this is delicious! You should be a chef, Mick!”

Mick chuckled and said, “I’m not sure vamps really make great chefs. I heard about one in France years ago, at a vineyard, but it’s rare!”

As Dorothy ate they talked more about Vaygar and what Rose had said about Guardians. “She isn’t sure that Josef is going to be all that pleased about it.”

“I can see why she said that. He’s a lover, not a fighter,” Beth declared with a cocky grin. “I’m sure Lani would agree with that one!” Beth sipped her dinner and added, “Still, Dad as your Guardian? I can totally see that. As if anything could stop him. What do you suppose these ‘privileges’ are, the ones that the Guardians get?”

“I don’t know, she wouldn’t share that information. She said it would be disclosed later.”

Mick was wondering the same thing. Frankly, he didn’t need anyone to tell him he was Beth’s ‘Guardian’. He was - period. A title for it? Seemed stupid because that was what a vampire did for their mate, protect them. He was curious about it though and also about the security force that Rose had mentioned. So even among the old ones there was war? Sounded like it. Maybe especially among the old ones?

Beth and Mick both lifted their heads and sniffed the air. Dorothy supposed that they heard the elevator and were figuring out who was here. She’d watched them do it often and it fascinated her, how they could scent who was at their door. It made her wonder about all the things they could scent and also wonder how they could differentiate so easily as they seemed to.

Together they stood up and said, “Lani and Josef” as they headed to the door. Dorothy saw Mick open it and smiled as Lani and Josef came in.

“Hi, Dorothy,” Lani said walking into the kitchen. “Oh, that soup looks good!”

“Would you like some, Lani?” Mick offered. “There’s plenty left. I made it earlier today.”

“You bet I would.”

Josef smiled indulgently at his mate, thrilled to see her happiness, her joy in something so simple as a bowl of soup. She’d been eating a little better the past week or so since she was feeling better. Her cheeks bloomed with health and that suited him just fine.

He knew that part of that was because he refused to drink her blood when they made love, something that was a terrible bone of contention between them. She seemed to believe that she wasn’t fulfilling her obligations because he bit himself instead and it made her angry or sad, depending on her mood.

The moods were quick changes it seemed. One minute she was happy as a clam and the next he knew better than to speak a word. He’d done a little research on line and found out that was very typical for pregnancy because of elevated hormone levels and that it was best to just ignore the mood swings or humor the mommy to be.

Getting the hell out of Dodge worked sometimes too, a strategy that he’d used more than once.

While Lani ate Beth told them about Dorothy’s news and Mick watched Josef carefully when Beth talked about the Guardians. He couldn’t read Josef all that well at times and this time in particular Josef kept his feelings cloaked, keeping them to himself but for just a moment Mick could has sworn he scented a spark of interest from his friend.

Rose and Brody knocked on the door shortly after and the conversation was only about the coming session. Brody explained to Lani that due to her pregnancy, she’d be limited in what she could do, although she’d certainly be observing everything.

“What can I do, Brody?” she asked.

“You’ll do the warm ups, the stretches and such and learn the basic strategies. You won’t be allowed to learn the throws or tumbles, anything that would risk you falling and hurting the baby.”

“Okay, I’m good with that. Actually, I’m excited, whatever I learn. I need exercise!”

“Lani, you can still exercise while you’re pregnant you know. In fact, as your physician, I encourage it. Within limits and you’ll learn about those things this evening. Now, are we ready to go?” Rose asked.

“Yes, we are,” Beth said. “Mick, you have clean-up duty tonight, baby! Sorry,” she said, giving him a quick kiss.

“No problem! Have fun. And Brody, watch her because she’s a daredevil. Just ask her about the broken leg in Seattle!”

They left to go next door and Dorothy started to help Mick. “No, go on and talk to Clark, I’m sure you’re both anxious for that nightly call. Josef and I are just going to hang out, after I load the dishwasher that is. Josef, this will only take a minute so pour us a glass of scotch, will you?”

Josef nodded tersely and Mick could tell something was bothering him. They’d have time to talk because Dorothy would be occupied with Clark for a while.

Five minutes later, with the dishwasher running quietly in the background Mick settled into the couch and took a sip of his scotch, feeling the burn slide down his throat with appreciation.

“What do you think of this Vaygar guy?” Josef asked.

“I think if he can manage to keep an eye on Dorothy more power to him. I was going to talk to you about getting some security for her but it sounds like I won’t need to now. And I must admit I’m intrigued about this training for Guardians.”

Josef scoffed at that. “Who the hell do these people think they are? They think they can just come in here and turn our lives upside down?”

“I don’t know, Josef but I am, as I said, intrigued by it all. I might learn something new, who knows? Whatever it takes to make Beth and I stronger and safer, I’m up for it.”

Josef considered that for a moment. He hadn’t really thought of it from that angle. Stronger, as individuals and as mates. That could be worth it all. Suddenly, his foul mood lifted and he relaxed. Yes, this could be a good thing. “You might be right, Mick!” He lifted his glass is salute. “To stronger bonds!”

“To stronger bonds,” Mick echoed.

May it be so.


Next door in Brody’s loft the girls and Brody went through a series of stretches and warms ups to ensure that their muscles were ready for action. Beth and Lani both realized many of them were akin to yoga and commented on it.

“Yes, many are similar and it’s okay to practice yoga for warming up as well. The moves help to make you flexible as hell and that’s a good thing, whether you’re fighting or not. So work on it every day, ladies!” Brody said.

He told them about many of the defensive moves that the training would involve and which ones Lani could learn and he and Rose demonstrated some of them as well as a few offensive moves.

The ease of their movements was amazing to watch but Beth realized that they were long practiced moves which made them look more like a dance than anything thing else. Finally Brody got Beth up to work with her while Rose helped Lani with some safe defensive moves for her to learn.

“Okay, Beth, I want you to attack me. Any way you think will work; come on, give it a try.”

She thought about it for a moment, of some of the self defense moves she and Lani had learned when her friend was still petrified of vampires. She tried to grab his arm and twist it to bring him to his knees but it didn’t work, the first or the second time. So, she needed a new move and thought about it for a moment before trying to kick behind his knee to throw him off balance but that didn’t work either.

Vampires had exceptional strength and balance and she began to realize how ineffectual any of her moves would be against a vampire. Which pissed her off, a lot.

She tried to think about where vampires were the most vulnerable and everything she tried only made matters worse. He out maneuvered her every single time, if not literally a step ahead of her at the least able to counter any of her attempts.

Easily in fact. Her anger grew into a full rolling boil and she finally ended up on her butt, almost sputtering because she was so angry.

“A least give me a damn chance,” she growled.

“So you think an opponent will do that? Let you take a shot? I hate to tell you this but they won’t. If you’re facing a vampire it’s either kill or be killed. Sorry, but that’s the truth. You’re not just looking to disable them and they sure as hell won’t be trying to do that to you.”

She stood up with a huff and faced him, looking up into his brown eyes, her own eyes flashing that deadly, swirling blue. He was right, she just didn’t want to admit it.

“Your main problem, Beth was that you didn’t control your anger. That’s your first lesson. When your anger takes over you get stupid and careless. A vampire out of control of their emotions is easy to take out. You have to stay in control, Beth; always in control.”

Control. Yes, she knew the truth in that. She remembered rushing Shatel, before she and Max were taken downstairs. He easily evaded her attempts and she realized now how effortlessly he could have taken her out. Had she been a normal vampire that is and had he not had other plans for her.

Control. Yes, she’d learn it. She could do it.


Count On Me

Clark grinned at his wife on Skype. “I’ll be damned! A descendant, just like Beth? That’s amazing, Dorie!”

“You’re okay with it? That I’ll be different?”

“Of course I am. Honey, this really is fantastic news. I can’t wait to start learning about being a Guardian. And to meet this Vaygar guy!”

“Rose say’s I’ll like him. Right now I can’t really even picture him. I asked her if he was some sort of Viking guy, with that name and she laughed and told me he kind of was. Now, I’m picturing some Hagar the Horrible type,” she laughed.

“Hey, remember that Halloween party, I think you were 15? I dressed as Hagar? That was fun!”

“Sure I do. You spilled your Coke on me so you could feel my boobs. Of course, you called it sopping up the spilled drink,” she teased.

“Hey, baby, don’t complain. You liked it!”

“I did not!” she laughed. “It was embarrassing!”

“Yeah, well I don’t think that flush that spread across your face was embarrassment, Dorie. I think it was excitement!”

He chuckled low and deep, that sound that was almost a growl. Her heart sped up when she heard it and the pit of her stomach tightened for a moment as she thought about how much she missed him, needed him.

“You know that I can tell now when you want me?”

“How?” the word was a mere breathy whisper.

“Your heart races, like it is now and when we’re together I’ll be able to scent your need, your desire.”

Could all vamps do that? Could her daughter scent when she was aroused by Clark? The thought was beyond embarrassing. Panic kept her quiet, afraid to speak.

“Dorie, we - we tune it out I guess. That’s what Mick and Logan say. Personal sounds, scents, that kind of thing. They say you learn to filter it all. It’s our business, honey. How we feel about one another, how much we want one another. Forget about them, only think about us.”

This wasn’t going to be easy, knowing now what the others could do. She could only hope the time would come soon when she would be like them. Feeling so vulnerable was really hard.

She switched the subject to Jackie and told him all about her.

“So you really like her?”

“Yes, I do, Clark. I think she’ll be perfect. But I told her I wanted to talk to you first and set up a Skype meeting with you. Is that okay? Do you want to meet her?”

“Yeah, I’d like that. Anytime you want, Dorie. Set it up and I’ll be here.”

“Okay, maybe this weekend sometime.”

“Great. I talked to Scotty this afternoon. The church project is going to be great; it wasn’t in quite as bad of shape as I’d imagined. Before too long Henry is going to have a really nice place to work in. I have to say I’m excited about it.”

“Clark that’s wonderful. He’s such a nice guy. He’s coming to dinner tomorrow night, along with Josef and Lani and Luka. I think we’ll have a nice evening.”

“Have fun, honey. God, I miss you girl.”

“God, I miss you boy,” she echoed.

“All my heart, all my love, Dorie.”

“Forever yours, Clark.”

Both of them felt choked up with emotion. Their goodbyes were quiet, almost painful.

“Not much longer, Dorie. I’ll be home soon. I promise. You can count on me.”

“I know. Until then, remember how much I love you.”



Josef came alert in the night, aware that Lani was awake, softly calling his name.

“Sweetness, what’s wrong? Are you okay?” Damn it, did she overdo it at Brody’s earlier?

“Yes, I’m fine but I can’t sleep. I’ve been trying hard but I can’t get it out of my head.”

“It? What is ‘it’?

“Pistachio fudge ice cream. Josef, I have to have some. Please.”

“You want me to go downstairs and get you some?” he said, preparing to get up.

“No, I mean, we don’t have any. I ate it for breakfast this morning. The little gourmet shop on Quinton sells it.”

“Sweetness, I doubt if the shop is open at,” he leaned up on his elbow so he could see the clock glowing in the darkened room. “At 2:48 am. Can it wait until morning? I’ll buy you all you want then.”

“I can’t sleep, Josef. It’s driving me crazy!”

So this was what craving’s were? He’d read about them on line. He was getting a real education on the pregnancy web sites. “You want me to go and try to find it somewhere else, Lani?”

“Please. Do you mind, Josef?”

He smiled at her indulgently, even though she couldn’t see him. “I don’t mind; after all, I am a night person,” he laughed. He slid out of bed and headed to the closet so that he could dress. Afterwards he said, “Now, you just stay tucked into the bed and I’ll be home before you know it.”

“Okay. I love you, Josef.”

“I’m counting on that. Love you too, Sweetness. Back soon!”

Famous last words he decided, two hours later. He’d been to 4 all night supermarkets, an all night frozen yogurt place and countless convenience stores. Not a single one of them had pistachio fudge ice cream. Finally, at Ralphs, a stocker suggested that he buy the pistachio ice cream they had and a jar of hot fudge sauce to pour over it.

“I understand mister. My wife had all sorts of crazy cravings when she was pregnant. One night she wanted crab dip and vanilla wafers.” The guy shuddered at the memory. “Gross, but she ate ever bit of it.”

Josef nodded sympathetically; he didn’t know what either of those things tasted like but they were obviously a strange combination. “Well, thanks for the suggestion, I appreciate it,” he said with a wave as he headed to the checkout.

Outside as he walked to his car a couple of young thugs jumped out from behind a car and demanded his wallet and what was in the sack. He stared at them for a moment, irritated as hell.

He smiled at them, letting them see his fangs glinting in the dim lighting of the parking lot. “You really wanna try? Come on, let’s see what you got.” He added a loud growl and watched as one of them peed his pants and then bolted, the second one following behind. He unlocked the door and sat in the car, and for a moment he felt tired, really tired.

Fifteen minutes later he pulled into the garage and headed into the house. He stopped in the kitchen and scooped some of the green goo into a bowl and poured some of the brown goo on top of it. He looked at it and wondered if there was enough of the fudge on it. Maybe there should be as much fudge as ice cream? He poured more of it on top, until barely any green could be seen. Still wondering he tipped the jar up and scooped the remainder of it out into the bowl.

Was that right? He sniffed at it, easily recognizing the scent of chocolate, one of Lani’s favorite foods. He was sure she’d love it.

Upstairs he opened the door and stepped into the bedroom only to be greeted by the soft sounds of Lani’s breathing. She was asleep. He stepped closer to her and looked down.

Yep, she was asleep! Did he wake her? Nah, let her sleep he decided. He sat the bowl on the night table and pulled his clothes off, letting them fall where they may. In the bed he slid between the sheets and kissed her lightly on the forehead.

“I love you, Lani.”

“Love you too,” she said as she snuggled into his arms, cravings gone.

He smiled and held her close. Life was getting better every day.

To be continued…

Monday, December 3, 2012

Chapter 12 With A Little Luck

With A Little Luck

Clark scanned the estimates that his foremen had sent him regarding the church. All in all, it didn’t look too bad he thought. He picked up his phone and called Scott, his assistant to go over some of the figures and plans.

“Hey, Scotty, this looks great actually. Much better than I expected. You can go ahead with the purchase orders. This source for the red tiles for the roof, you think they’re on the level? I want you to eyeball them before you buy.” At just mere pennies a tile it seemed like too good of a deal to Clark.

“Stollen and Harper used them last year on that mission project; Klaus Stollen swears by them. But yeah, we’ll definitely eyeball them first. How’s your back?”

“Getting a bit better every day. Hopefully I won’t be out too much longer. Thanks for asking, Scotty.”

“Good, glad to hear it. So, I can free up the Goddard team next week to start on the electrical at the church; seems like the best place to start.”

“Sounds good. I want to speak to a few people and see if we can wrangle a donation of a new heating and cooling system for it.”

Scotty let out a long whistle on the other end of the phone and Clark winced; it sounded like an out of control police whistle. “If anyone can do it, you’re the guy, Clark.”

They chatted a bit longer about the other projects that were working and then Clark ended the call, glancing at his watch. He was waiting to hear from Dorothy to see what the doctor said. He stood up and paced the room, feeling caged in again.

“Clark! She’ll call.” Logan stood up and stretched; he’d just finished the game program he’d been debugging and sent it off to the production company. He walked into the kitchen and pulled a couple of popsicles out of the freezer and handed one to Clark. “Here, take the edge off.”

“How can you be so fucking calm all the time, Logan? I’m going crazy here! Come on, teach me something!” Clark pulled the wrapper off the popsicles and bit into the cherry flavored treat. A treat that he couldn’t taste but he did like the cool sensation in his mouth.

“It’s just what you have to do, Clark. Like it or not it takes time to get under control - your physical abilities, your emotions. I know that you feel great, that’s a given but it hasn’t even been a week yet. I am not ready to let you loose on the world yet and you’re just going to have to accept that.” As he heard the words come out of his mouth Logan was amazed at how in control they sounded. Maybe he was getting the hang of it, of being in control, a sire. Mick had said to be firm, but compassionate. It felt as if it was coming together.

Clark heard the words and there was a part of him that knew that Logan was right. The scent of blood still excited him and he might not be able to control it if he smelled it on a human. He just felt as if he was cheating Dorothy; leaving her to carry the load by herself and now with this person who might be stalking her he needed to find the bastard and rip him apart.

Yeah, that would be satisfying as hell…

“You’re going to be there for the births, Clark. I don’t know how I know that, just some instinct maybe, but you will be there.”

Clark looked up at his baby brother and felt a great admiration for him. He was so strong, so sure of himself. It was too bad that Logan never had the chance to have kids because he would have made a terrific dad. He told Logan his thoughts and watched as something spread over his face, a revelation, maybe.

“You know, I never really saw myself with kids; I guess I always thought I was too much of a geek to be a dad and then I was turned and I just never thought about it anymore. Until Audey that is. Clark, when I was in college, at Berkley, well, some of us thought it would be a great idea to share ourselves with the world, you know? The great brain trust; that’s how we thought of ourselves. So we went and donated sperm, so that everyone could have a little piece of us.” He gave a wry laugh and his eyes took on a far-away look as he remembered those times. “We were idiots of course, but I checked with the bank, to see if any of it was left and if it was still viable. Turns out that once it’s cryogenically frozen, it’s keeps basically forever. There are still some of my swimmers up there.”

Clark let out a huge laugh and then thumped Logan on the back in excitement. “Logan, you need to talk to Audrey about this. You really should.”

“I don’t know that she wants kids, Clark. I mean, it’s never been on the table before.”

“All the more reason to talk to her. But for heaven’s sake, marry her first. I don’t mean before you talk to her but before she gets pregnant. Logan, I’m telling you, she’d love to have your baby.”

“You think? Really?” His voice sounded small and insecure to him. What if she didn’t? What if she did?

“I really do. That girl is crazy about you and she obviously loves kids; you’ve seen her around Robbi and Kevin’s kids. Talk to her, Logan.”

“Yeah, maybe I could do that on Friday.” He smiled at the thought. He realized more each day that he’d like to have a family; kids of their own. He could only hope she would too.


Dorothy stared at Rose, waiting for her to speak. Her heart was racing and her mouth went suddenly dry. Fear, anticipation? She held her breath as she watched Rose, who was smiling at her.

“Dorothy, no reason to be alarmed; his name is Vaygar. He’s actually on his way here, to meet you. Should be here tomorrow sometime.”

“Vaygar? Like …like a Viking or something?”

Rose laughed and her eyes twinkled. “Yes, well actually very much like that. He’s of Norse descent, definitely.”

“Are you sure? How can that be? I mean, how could Beth and I have different antecedents?”

“Well, it’s like having parents with different colored eyes or hair. The child is going to inherent different traits, could be anything. Beth inherited her father’s blood type, his genomes for the most part.”

“Are gnomes the same as DNA?”

“Not exactly. DNA is something that is shared by all living organisms on this planet; we are all 99.9 % the same, DNA wise. Genomes make us all individuals; they are sort of the genetic blueprint for people. Beth’s genomes are more strongly from her father then you. Although, it does answer several puzzling questions that I’ve had.”

“Like what?”

“Beth’s psychic skills - frankly, I don’t have many of those gifts. The way that she and Mick managed to communicate when she was kidnapped was amazing and she didn’t get it from me! However, Vaygar is very psychically oriented and once you’re turned I think you’ll find you have some of those same traits.”

“So tell me about him, about Vaygar.”

Rose smiled again and Dorothy could tell that she liked Vaygar a lot. She relaxed a bit and took a deep breath, thinking it might now be so bad after all.

“Vaygar is our Master at Arms, for the Children of the Moon. He trains Guardians and our Protectors. He is amazing actually.”

“Guardians? Like Mick you mean?” She remember Beth telling her that Mick was now a Guardian.

“Yes, like Mick, like Clark will be for you and Josef will be for Lani.”

“What are Guardians exactly? I don’t get it and how do they vary from Protectors?”

“Guardians are usually related or attached to descendants, like a spouse. They have strong bonds with the descendant. They aren’t exactly guards, don’t get me wrong, but they are trained well in the physical arts, just in case. They are also given certain privileges that other vampires don’t have, if they choose that is.”

“Gifts? Like what?”

“That’s something that we’ll discuss later on, Dorothy. Now, Protectors are our security forces. In cases of emergency, they protect us all, man the defenses.”

“Like, war?” Dorothy’s breath caught in her throat. “Like vampire wars?”

“Dorothy, as long as there are people who have special gifts, there will be others who want them. We, the Children of the Moon were given a special gift, a blessing. Over time, the gift became polluted, perverted by those determined to twist it to their own benefit. Yes, we must be protected from those who would try to harm us for our peaceful lives and those of our descendants who follow our way of life. There are always enemies, Dorothy. It is not always goodness and light.”

“From what Mick has told us there is very little of that.”

“In Mick’s world, that is the case. He will learn soon that there is a whole different life for him, for his kind.”

“Mick is such a good man, Rose. He has led such an unhappy life since Coraline Duvall turned him.”

“Yes, but if he opens himself he’ll find joy and a new purpose to his life that is better than anything he ever imagined.”

“And Clark as well?”

“Yes, Clark too. I think Clark will be an amazing Guardian. Josef? Well, the jury might still be out on that one,” Rose laughed.

Dorothy nodded, understanding how Josef’s skewed and skeptical take on the world might lead him to have a hard time with it all.

“So Vaygar gets here tomorrow. What will he do?”

“Yes, but I don’t know when. He’s driving down from Oregon. He is bringing a protective team for you, Dorothy. You might as well know that right away. He likes to be involved in his descendants lives and when I told him what was going on in yours he knew he needed to be here right away. You’ll like him, I promise you and he’ll be crazy about you too.”

“Okay. I feel sort of stunned by all this though.”

“I can understand that. Go home, talk to Clark about it all. Brody is waiting outside to make sure you get home safely.”


Rose looked down for a moment. She didn’t want to scare Dorothy too much but she also needed to know what was going on. She told her, as simply as she could, about the man in the garage.

“Oh my gosh. But we don’t know he was looking for me, do we?”

“No, but he wouldn’t talk to Brody and so we’re not taking any chances.”

“Okay, I guess it won’t do any good to protest. I realize it might have been rash of me, leaving on my own. I won’t do it again.”

Rose chuckled and said, “Seriously, I doubt if you could. Vaygar and his guys are very good at what they do. You might never even see them, but they’ll be there.”

“That’s good to hear. I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow and I don’t want to alarm them at the office.”

Rose nodded and stood up. “Come on, I’m taking you out through the private entrance to where Brody is waiting.”

Dorothy followed, her mind full of questions but she felt suddenly calm about it all. For some reason she knew it would be okay.


At the loft Mick opened the door as Dorothy and Brody approached it. Beth jumped up and immediately embraced her mother saying, “Don’t do that again! Mom, you can’t go out by yourself!”

Brody’s eyebrows rose and he shook his head slightly. “Beth, she’s fine and after tomorrow it will be a moot point anyway. I’ll see you in an hour or so for your lesson, okay?”

“What do you mean it will be a moot point?” Beth asked, looking from her mom to Brody who was heading for the door.

“Beth, I’ll tell you all about it. Brody, thank you for everything.” She smiled and gave him a quick wave as he headed out the door.


“It’s quite a story, Beth.” Dorothy told them all that she’d found out from Rose.

“You mean that you're a descendant too, but from a different one of the 13?”

“Yes, that’s what Rose tells me. You can ask her about it yourself if you like because she’ll be here for your lesson.”

“I don’t understand, Mom.”

“I don’t either, exactly. But Vaygar is my antecedent and tomorrow he’ll be here. Bringing a security force with him to protect me, although I’m still not sure I need it.” As Beth started to protest she held her hand up and added, “But - I’m going to go along with it so that everyone will stop worrying.”

“And this Vaygar is the Master at Arms for the group? A trainer?” Mick asked.

“Yes and apparently he’ll be working with you, Clark and Josef, since you’ll all be Guardians. There definitely seems to be a sense of hierarchy with them, like a well-organized corporation,” Dorothy finished with a smile.

Mick was intensely curious about Vaygar; he’d not heard anyone else mention him. And, like Beth he was very curious how Dorothy could be his descendant and Beth wasn’t. Of course, obviously her father was a descendant too. He needed to find out who that was, if he was a vamp or not. He could have been; since Dorothy is a descendant he could have impregnated her.

Beth’s father could have been a vamp. It was a sobering thought.

“Dorothy, I have a picture I’d like to show you. Of the guy who was in the parking garage earlier.” Mick told her the information they had on him, which wasn’t much. Logan found the car on the traffic cam but didn’t get anything useful from it. Still no clear picture of him. But curiously enough, out in the sunshine he had sunglasses on.

Dorothy looked at the picture of Vinton McCullough and frowned. It was a terrible picture, as Mick had told her but even knowing that, it still wasn’t really familiar.

“I don’t know, Mick. He doesn’t, I mean it’s so bad I really don’t think I’ve seen him before. I’m sorry.”

Both Mick and Beth could tell she was telling the truth. No rapid heartbeat or respiration, tell-tale signs of lying. “Okay. Keep your eyes open though. If you do see him, let one of us know.”

Dorothy nodded, knowing he meant one of the vamps. “I want to take a quick shower before I talk to Clark. I met Jackie, the young woman Rose recommended and I really like her. I think she’ll be perfect to work for us.” Dorothy stood up and headed up the stairs.

“Mom, would you like me to heat you some soup or make a sandwich for your dinner?” Beth asked.

“Yes, that would be lovely, Beth. Whichever is handiest, sweetheart.”

“Okay. It will be ready when you get downstairs.”

Beth and Mick watched her head up the stairs and heard the bedroom door close.

“She is amazingly calm about all this, Mick.”

“Yes, she is. But she didn’t know him, from that picture anyway.”

Beth nodded in agreement. “All this just makes me think about my life, Mick. Just who is my father? Why won’t she tell me about him?”

To be continued…