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, January 26, 2012

Chapter 18

Heroku and Tango stood along the wall sipping their drinks and watching Lani and Josef. There were too many people in the room to be able to hear what was being said but it was clear that it wasn’t good, judging by the look on Lani’s face. Neither man knew who the couple was that stood talking to them but Lani looked very angry. When the couple moved on Lani headed to the doors and as she swept past them they could scent the rage and pain rolling off of her. Josef followed her quickly after a few words with some of the others gathered around them.

“This is not going to be good; I think he should let her be,” Tango said, taking another sip of his drink. He was torn about whether or not to follow Josef and try to coax him back inside.

“You are right my friend; Lani is too upset to speak at this moment. I believe that the couple who she was speaking to are her parents. Lani is not close to them, for reasons I am not privy to.” Heroku looked around the room, seeing who had paid attention to the situation and other than the people near Lani and Josef, everyone was otherwise occupied.

“Josef never knows when to let something be, especially when his heart is involved,” Tango said, frowning a bit.

“He does care for her doesn’t he?” Heroku said, a momentary smile playing across his face.

“Yes, he does, although I’m sure that he doesn’t really realize it. And Lani? You know her well I believe?”

“Yes, she has been like a daughter to me for the past 5 years. I believe that she also cares for Josef; however, she will not give in to it easily Tango. She knows about vampires because two of them attacked her at my house in Tokyo; I saved her and so she is very wary of them although trusting of myself. I believe that when she recently killed the vampire that attacked her best friend that she is now a bit more comfortable. But as far as why she runs from relationships with men, that I do not know.”

“That would be Mick St. Johns wife I believe. I’ve never met the chap but Josef cares about him and thinks he has great potential in our world.”

Their conversation was interrupted when Josef came back into the room, a fading imprint of a hand on his cheek. Lani was conspicuously absent. He looked around and caught them observing him and headed their way.

A waiter walked by and Tango said, “Scotch,neat,” and the waiter nodded and moved to get the drink. He was back moments later and Tango handed it to Josef who drank the two fingers of rich amber liquid straight down.

The three men stood together wordlessly and Josef’s jaw clenched and unclenched with his emotions. They were interrupted by one of the women that had been talking to Josef and Lani earlier. She was pregnant both Tango and Heroku noticed and both men smiled at the fact.

“Josef,” Dorothy said as she laid her hand on his arm. “She needs time. Her parents,” she paused for a moment and tried to think of the best thing to say. “Lani and her parents aren’t close; I don’t know why exactly but I have my suspicions. Truly, they care little for her and it’s hard for her to be around them. Please don’t take it personally.” Clark was at her side, an arm draped casually around her shoulders but it was also a protective stance they all realized.

Josef’s eyes met Dorothy’s and a sick thought permeated his brain. That bastard wouldn’t have… would he? As if understanding what Josef was thinking she responded, “No, I don’t think that is the case Josef; Clark and I both questioned her about it when she was young. She was just so unhappy growing up, we really tried to be there for her and let her be a part of our family. Time Josef, she needs time.”

He nodded tersely and motioned for the waiter to bring another drink. Time? He had all the time in the world but sadly, Lani didn’t. He began to look at Marcus Parker, the great philanthropist differently that night. Whatever the past was, Josef was determined to find out just what that bastard had done to hurt Lani so badly.



OOOOOOOOOOOO



Lani slept late the next morning and woke up feeling better than she had in a long time. She had really enjoyed her chat with Mrs. Carter last night; it almost pushed the earlier fiasco out of her head. Almost…

She had slapped Josef; she was humiliated and really sorry about it but at the same time she had asked him to back off. It was horrible to know that she couldn’t control herself any better than that. She’d never, ever hit anyone in her life and the fact that he had only been trying to help when she lost control made it all worse. She really wanted to crawl under a nice shady rock and hideaway but that was out of the question because Monday they started the install at Kostan. How on earth was she supposed to look at him and not feel ashamed?

Her flight had taken her to Mrs. Carter and that she had enjoyed. Mrs. Carter reminded her of Grace, Beth’s grandmother; Mrs. Carter had the same relaxed air and matter of fact ideas. Somehow she had soothed Lani and she was grateful for the care that was shown her.

Lani reached for her phone and dialed the florist and ten minutes later she had ordered a bouquet of flowers for Mrs. Carter, white and purple ones that she hoped that the elderly woman would enjoy.

A half an hour later she had finished breakfast, a toasted English muffin and a tall glass of orange juice while reading the news on the computer. She was ready to go take a shower when her doorbell rang. Her heart skipped a beat or two and she was afraid to look out the peep hole because she was afraid it might be Josef, coming to gloat over her loss of control last night. Instead, she was surprised to see a woman with flowers for her.

“Ms. Parker? I have a delivery for you,” the young woman said. She was holding a very elegant and costly Waterford crystal vase that held two dozen cream colored roses with dusky pink edges that were still budding.

“Oh, thank you,” she said, reaching for her purse to get money for a tip.

“No ma’am, that’s been taken care of. Have a nice day!” she said politely and turned and left.

Lani closed the door and inhaled the sweet fragrance of the roses. She knew who sent them and for a moment she felt even guiltier but she sat them on a table and pulled the card out.

Lani,

I hope that you are well this morning. Please accept this very sincere apology from me for ruining your evening last night. These roses remind me of you; classic and burgeoning with promise.

Josef


Lani sank down onto the carpet and read the note again; tears rolled down her cheeks and finally her head bent down as she sobbed. Embarrassment for her behavior and happiness over this simple wish vied for dominion in her head and heart. The happiness won out as it was intended to.



OOOOOOOOOOOO



Mick and Beth had spoken very little after the problem the night before. It wasn’t really an argument; just a wall that seemed to be building between them and neither one knew how to handle it or to tear it down for that matter.

Mick glanced at her from time to time, covertly he hoped, from under his lashes. They were both in the gym, he lifting weights and she on the tread climber. She’d been pushing it hard for the past 45 minutes, watching tv as if she were alone in the room. No conversation, no longing looks cast at him, just dedication to that damn machine. Right now Dr. Phil was on talking about runaway teens, a subject that he just didn’t see her being all that interested in.

He’d moved on to the weight resistance machine but in all honesty the only reason he was still at it was to be near her. Last night in their freezer they hadn’t made love, had barely spoke or touched even. This morning when he woke up she was already out of the freezer and when he came downstairs she was sitting at the table drinking her coffee silently. He kissed her, aiming for her lips and only got her cheek as she turned her head.

“Have you fed Beth?” he ventured. Usually in the mornings she would feed a bit from him. It was no longer necessary, but it was a comforting act between them, intensifying their bond. This morning didn’t quite seem real without that loving act between them.

“Yes. I didn’t want to wake you,” she had said quietly.

As he thought back those words had been the most she had offered all morning. After she finished her coffee she rinsed the cup and headed into the gym and he heard the machine pumping away. When he went in she was seemingly immersed in her program so he didn’t say anything, only went to the free weights but it was hard to see her from there so he changed to the machine.

He finally gave up and said, “I’m going to take a shower Beth.”

She barely nodded in his direction and turned the machine off and headed to the free weights. She grabbed two of them without paying attention and he noted that they were 20 pound weights. She was lifting them all wrong and he knew that she would have aching muscles later.

“Beth, baby, you’re not using them correctly. And uh, it would really be better if started with the 10 pounds first, to build up, okay? Here, let me show you how to use them, okay?”

She watched silently as he demonstrated, showing her how to work the different muscle groups. She could see how she would have hurt herself the other way and thanked him. “I understand what you’re showing me. Thank you Mick.” Her words were sincere but spoken as if she were talking to a stranger.

“It’s okay baby.” He stood there for a moment, watching her and feeling as if they were a world apart. She wasn’t angry, there was no scent of it on her; it felt as if she was just removed from it all, a very strange place to be.

After his shower he got dressed and headed down to the office. He stared at the phone and when he heard Beth start a shower he picked it up and called Josef, who answered on the first ring.

“Josef, I don’t know what to do. I think she hates me and I am fucking this all up!” he exclaimed into the phone.

“Hate you? Extremely unlikely Mick, don’t exaggerate so much. What happened?” he queried, leaning back in his chair and resting his Gucci loafers on the smooth mahogany desk.

Mick related the events of the day before, not sparing his own part in the fiasco. “I was such an ass Josef; I told her in front of everyone that she was imagining it and that she needed to stop.”

Josef’s lips pursed together in a silent whistle, amazed that Mick had done that. Both of them could be hot tempered as he had reason to remember and this was a totally emotional hot button for them both apparently. “Mick, why is this so important to you? I mean, maybe she can taste it. It sounds like she didn’t have any problems distinguishing between the different items.”

“Josef, we can’t taste food! I think she is missing her humanity and this is the way it is manifesting, a false sense of taste to food.”

“Not likely. Look, if she really were missing humanity I don’t think she’d be tasting food Mick. And I have to say, we’ve talked almost every day and I don’t think Beth is missing anything about her humanity.”

Mick heard what Josef was saying and he knew that Beth did seem to be adapting really well. But how could she not be mourning her human life?

“Mick, you’ve got to let all your own regrets go; Beth doesn’t share them but if you keep on like this she will gradually start to associate vampirism with all the regret and misery you carried around for 50 years. You have to let it go boyo – let her settle into her new life. Maybe she can taste – who knows? If she can’t eventually she’ll figure it out. Just lighten up!”

Mick heard Beth getting out of the shower upstairs and ended the call with Josef. Maybe his friend was right and he just needed to let it go. He was just so worried that deluding herself would cause more problems later on but he decided he would just drop it.

Before too long he heard Beth come downstairs and when he went looking for her he found her watching a movie on the new big screen tv. It was a sappy girl movie and he decided to just hang out with her. They needed to connect and if it meant watching her he could live with that.

As he watched a wedding fiasco on screen and he asked her what the movie was.

“Sex and the City,” she told him. Her blue eyes were sad when they met his hazel eyes that were a darker shade of green today.

“It’s uh, kind of sad don’t you think?” He remembered that it used to be a tv show, but he didn’t realize it was this tragic.

“This part is, it’s about how sometimes two people can love each other but if they don’t communicate then things can fall to pieces.”

Fuck! Was she trying to tell him things were over? He couldn’t let that happen; she was his love, his life, his fledgling – neither of them would survive without the other.

“Wha…what are you trying to say Beth?” he asked, a husky tremor in his voice.

She looked at him, meeting his gaze squarely and she smiled. “I’m not saying we’re over Mick. In the movie, neither Carrie nor John listened to the other, really listened, but then they each never really explained what was important either. That built a wall around each of them, separately. They each played by their own rules and didn’t take the time to make any rules together.”

His face clouded as he thought about her words and he realized exactly what she was trying to tell him – that if they didn’t get on the same page about things that they would grow apart. That would never happen; he’d do anything to prevent it.

“I’m sorry Beth, so sorry for last night. I’m sorry for telling you in front of everyone that I didn’t believe you. I will accept that you say you can taste baby, I will. I’ll never embarrass you like that again.”

“But you don’t really believe me do you?”

“I don’t know Beth, I just don’t know. We, vampires can’t taste, or at least not any that I know of. It just seems impossible to me.”

“I understand that; I get it, I really do. But understand this Mick, I really can taste things. I don’t know why, but I can. Maybe it’s my AO- blood, or the fact that I share your blood and Coraline’s and Josef’s, I don’t know but somehow I can taste things. Vampires do have taste buds you know; we can taste different kinds of blood for heaves sake. Logan says he can taste pineapple popsicles for heaven’s sake and you don’t tell him he’s imagining it!”

The stunned look on Mick’s face amused her for a moment. “I never heard that he could do that, he never told me,” he finally stammered.

She laughed for a moment and said, “Is it any wonder why?”

They both looked up when they heard a knock on the door and both of them lifted their heads, scenting the air.

“Tim and Mary,” they said in unison, rushing to open the door. “Come in,” Beth said, standing back so that their guests could enter.

As usually happened when Tim and Mary visited they migrated to the kitchen and Mary helped Mick pour them all glasses of blood so they could visit a bit.

Tim shifted his eyes from Beth to Mick, watching the young couple carefully for any signs of stress but they both seemed to be in better space today which made the old shaman happy. As they all took their first sips Tim said, “Beth, Mick, would you both be willing to try a simple experiment for me?”

One of Mick’s eyebrows quirked upward and Beth tilted her head, a sure sign of curiosity.

“May I ask why?” Mick said as he sat his glass down on the table top.

“Um, yes but I don’t want to reveal too much yet, although afterwards I’ll explain fully. I saw something the other night and I just want to see if it was my imagination.”

Mick and Beth cast quick looks at the other and Beth grinned, shrugging as she did so. “I’m game!”

Mary pulled a folded piece of paper out of her pocket and told Beth to take it into the other room and read it and then to follow the instructions without saying anything.

Beth looked at the plain white paper and took it from her friend before heading into the living room. She read the words curiously, several times and decided to give it a try even though it seemed nonsensical to her.

Back in the kitchen Mick, Tim and Mary chatted about the orchard and some plans that Tim had to expand the pear crop. Beth sat down and grinned at Mick with a slight shrug and took a sip of her blood. As she sat it down she looked at Mick, focusing on him and before long he reached across the table and ran his fingers through her hair, enjoying the silken texture of it.

“Oh my gosh,” Beth exclaimed, looking at Tim and Mary quizzically. “I don’t understand?”

Mick’s glance swept each one of their faces, realizing that they all knew something that he didn’t. He sat up a bit straighter, waiting for an explanation.

Na’ hae, I believe that Beth is using allure on you,” he said and watched both of the young ones bristle at his words. He held his hand up and continued, “She isn’t doing it for control, but I think it is something that she does unconsciously, a product of the strength of your bond. Beth, show Mick the note.”

Beth slid the paper across the table and Mick read it.

Focus on Mick silently and ask him to stroke your hair.

“Why? I don’t understand?” Mick finally said, confused.

“Several times I have watched Beth’s ability to communicate with you without saying a word. The other night I saw you blazing with anger that magically disappeared as she looked at you.” He watched their faces as they remembered the night that Beth had broken her leg and realized that Tim was correct.

“It is normal for sire/fledgling relationships to have a deep connection; added to that is your love for one another and a bond that goes back to when Beth was a child. She focuses on you, her heart open and you follow it na’hae. It is…to be expected. But, you must work with her to learn control of that very powerful gift.”

Memories flittered through Mick’s brain, of Beth just looking at him and of his response which was to just fall into whatever she desired. He had never even questioned how he immediately knew what she wanted, he just did it. This was totally new to him; with Coraline he had never experienced anything like this, not even close. He was connected to her to be sure, but non-verbal communication never worked for them.

“I’m sorry Mick, I – I don’t know how to not do that; I thought it was normal for a sire/fledgling relationship. Can you help me? Teach me?”

Mick looked at her and took her small hand in his larger one and said, “I will teach you Beth; I will listen to you as well, always,” he told her.

It sounded much like a vow to Tim and Mary and they both smiled as Mick and Beth spoke from their hearts. These two were creating a magical bond that would last forever. It was a blessing to know them.



To be continued…

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great post... I love Mick and Beth, but I am sitting on the edge of seat to find out more about Lani and Josef!! Can't wait til Monday:) Thanks!!!

Hope said...

Hey Anonymous!!

Thank you! Aww, Josef and Lani are pulling you in aren't they? You're going to LOVE my next story!!! Hahaha...

Thank you so much for reading and commenting! :)

Stephanie said...

Hey Hope...

I have been MIA for a while. Just caught up on my reading...LOVING the story! Can't wait to read more about Josef and Lani!!!

Hope said...

Hey Steph!!

I've missed YOU!!! Are you doing okay now? Are you going to go back to your blog? Let me know.

I'm so glad you are enjoying the story - I'm having a blast writing it and if you like Josef and Lani stay tuned for the next story that is titled Barely Breathing. It will be starting in a month or so.

thanks for stopping in Stephanie,talk to you soon!