Audrey and Logan were pouring
over catalogs, checking out the different types of options for solar
energy when there was a knock on their door. Both of them jumped
slightly and rose to their feet, unused to such interruptions. Logan
lifted his head and frowned when he caught a whiff of eau de vampire.
He looked at Audrey and mouthed, ‘stay here’, pointing to the chair
where she had been sitting. She sat down wordlessly and watched as
Logan headed through the living room to get to the front door in the
foyer. It was quiet for a few moments and she imagined Logan looking
into the security monitor to see who it was. Pretty quickly she heard
the bolt slide open on the door and relaxed as she heard him welcome
As she walked into the living room she spied Josef
standing in the middle of the room, looking around him with interest.
It must seem so small and tacky to him she decided; after being at his
house for the party recently she could only imagine how their home
looked through Josef’s eyes.
Audrey might have been surprised at
Josef’s thoughts had she been privy to them. She was right that he
thought the place looked small but he also thought it looked like a
home, a real home where people who loved one another lived and shared
their lives. He couldn’t imagine why on earth he had these thoughts but
none the less they came unbidden into his mind.
“I’m sorry to
intrude on your evening, but I needed to speak with you,” he told them,
watching how Logan had wrapped an arm around Audrey. Clearly, it was a
gesture of comfort and love and it made Josef smile.
you’re not interrupting our evening; we were actually in the kitchen
looking over catalogs since we are building a house; Clarks company will
do the work but we’re trying to decide what we want. We are going
‘green’,” Audrey said with a smile. “Would you like something to
“No thank you Audrey. But I’d love to hear about your
new home sometime,” he said with a smile. “Do you mind if I take a
“No, please help yourself,” Logan said, and watched as
Josef did just that. He couldn’t help but wonder what this was all
Josef sat down in a straight-backed chair, similar to a
Queen Anne chair and yet more modern somehow. He crossed his legs and
got to the point. “Logan, would you be interested in coming to work for
me at Kostan Industries? Sesumi Co is installing a state of the art
computer setup with a new type of security system that no one has ever
seen before. I need a computer expert to handle the job, someone with
software knowledge and the ability to manage OP systems.”
and Audrey had both heard a bit about the system at the party, it was on
everyone’s mind that night, even if the details were being kept quiet.
It was quite a venture that Sesumi and Kostan were sharing.
I’m pleased and amazed that you have offered me the job, but I’m not a
systems expert at all. Hardware is my forte and investigation, not the
software aspects.” He watched as Josef tried to contain his
disappointment and failed.
Josef had wanted ‘family’ in this
position and someone whom he knew that he could totally trust. This
young vampire had proven several times that he was of the ilk that was
needed. Being Mick’s fledgling provided an extra bit of insurance as
well because true loyalty couldn’t be bought.
“Josef, may I make a
suggestion?” Logan ventured. At Josef’s nod he continued, “Audrey is
just the person you are looking for. She had the experience and
knowledge to work with those systems – hell, she’s even built systems
like that and as a systems operations manager all that experience will
be put to good use.”
Josef looked at Audrey closely; she was
embarrassed that Logan had suggested her and yet as Josef remembered
that it had been Audrey and her program that had gave them their first
big lead in tracking Katrina he began to see that it was very possible
that she was exactly who he needed. “Would you be interested Audrey?”
– I think so. But would I fit in there? At Kostan I mean,” she asked.
Kostan was a company full of vampires, would they accept her? She
wasn’t afraid of vampires really but the thought of working around them
made her a bit nervous.
As if reading her mind Josef told her,
“They aren’t all vampires actually and in the IT area more aren’t than
are. Your safety would always be assured.”
“Why aren’t you promoting one of your internal people Josef?”
I have a leak somewhere Audrey; maybe it’s in the company and maybe not
but for the past two years someone has been moving funds around,
skimming off the top and cancelling buy and sell orders. This new
system is going to pinpoint exactly who and where it is being done from.
I need someone that I can trust absolutely in this position.”
“Okay. I will come work for you then. When do you need me? I’ll have to give notice at Currington, where I’m working now.”
“I’ll need you as soon as possible. The install begins this week and Lani wants to start training soon after that.”
give notice tomorrow and see if we can work something out there. I’ll
call you tomorrow and let you know what date I can begin.”
shook on the deal as Josef prepared to leave. He knew Trent Currington
well; hopefully he could strike a deal with him so that Audrey could
start quickly. And he wanted to talk to Clark about the new house for
the youngsters. Maybe he could help a bit with that. He smiled as he
climbed into the Ferrari, feeling good about the outcome of this visit.
and Beth lay in their freezer after making love. They were both
feeling replete and enjoying the closeness of the other after last
night’s absence of contact. He glided a gentle finger down her jaw line
and then dipped it lower to trace her collar bone. It brought a slight
shiver to her and he smiled, realizing that they might not be done for
the night after all. His lips followed the path his fingers had
traveled and he heard Beth sigh with pleasure.
Both of them were
still amazed by Tim’s revelation about Beth’s ability to allure Mick.
It explained so much and yet Beth had no idea just how she did it. She
told Mick as much as they lay curled around one another.
is usually something we consciously do Beth; we focus our intent on
someone and they will generally do what we want. Some vamps use it when
they bite someone; maybe to calm them or even to make them forget what
happened.” He leaned down and kissed her forehead and then the tip of
her nose; he had so missed their cuddling last night and tonight he felt
as if he couldn’t get enough of her.
“Did you use allure? When you had freshies I mean?”
knew this was dangerous territory; Beth didn’t handle his past very
well. He couldn’t lie about it now; she would be able to tell so he
took a deep breath and said, “Yes, occasionally when one was afraid.
Beth, it is just something that happened in the past, it meant nothing.”
understand that now Mick; I really do. When I drink from you it is all
about the love I feel for you, that you feel for me. A vampire and
someone who was a freshie only couldn’t share that, at least I don’t
believe they could. I understand so much about the bite now Mick,
things I could never have understood before. Like when you drank my
blood in the desert or when I saw you drinking from Simone.”
ran his fingers through the silken blonde tresses that spread out around
her, circling her head like a halo in the dim glow of the display
lights in the freezer. Music was playing softly in the background as
they relaxed and talked.
Beth let out a long sigh and ran her
hand down his stomach, tangling in a few of his curls as well. She felt
him stirring beneath her fingers and smiled wickedly at him. He
started to fall into the gaze and realized she was alluring him again;
not that he was complaining at the moment, but they needed to figure out
how to stop it from happening every time she looked at him. But for
right now, he wasn’t a fool and he willingly fell into her gaze, rolling
her over onto her back and settling between her legs.
“Have I mentioned Mrs. St. John that I adore you? You make me a very happy man.”
wiggled her hips against his and the motions caused him to squirm a
bit. He was trying hard to keep his need in check and she wasn’t
helping at all. He felt the wet warmth of her sliding against him and
“I intend to make you happy again Mr. St. John, over
and over in fact,” she told him, her voice a warm whisper in his ear
that made him shiver with anticipation. Her lips captured an earlobe
and she nipped it gently and then drew it into her mouth, savoring the
tiny pinprick of blood that trickled onto her tongue. She wrapped her
arms around his shoulders and her legs around his waist, grinding
His eyes closed for a moment and he reached down
between them and slipped himself inside of her, reveling in her heated
and saturated depths. His mouth found her shoulder and grazed it
tenderly as his tongue lapped at the warm blood that beaded on the
silken covering of skin. He moved to kiss her mouth, drinking deeply of
her love and desire. When he pulled back for a moment he took in the
tiny fangs that peeked out between passion-swollen lips and realized she
had never been more beautiful.
Beth’s mouth found his chin,
rubbing her tongue over the 5 o’clock shadow that was always present
before it settled into the sexy divot that always made her weak in the
knees. She traced it lightly, drawing circles before lapping at it as
if she were dying of thirst and it was the only thing that could satisfy
her. She felt loved and cherished and the thought occurred to her that
no one else had ever, could ever make her feel this way. Her hips rose
to meet his, her back arching wildly, meeting him thrust for thrust
until they were both on the edge of pleasure. She tilted her head,
exposing her neck to him.
The scent of her blood drove him wild;
he buried his nose against her neck, inhaling the scent that pure Beth.
His tongue traced the vein and stroked lightly before sinking in gently
and as he felt her do the same they both exploded, all their love and
passion bursting forth in their blood. He held her tightly as they
rocked together until the trembling stopped before flipping over to his
back and taking her with him.
They were both out of breath and
for a few minutes all that either one could hear was the breathy sounds
of the remnants of their love. They might not have solved the allure
problem but they had come a long way towards opening their souls to one
another. Each day it became a bit clearer that eternity just might not
be enough for them.
walked into the office and saw Luca at his desk, reading something
intently. As he passed by Carl got a good look at it and realized it
was the list that Ben had with all the names on it. He wondered if Ben
had given it to Luca to investigate; it didn’t seem likely but he needed
to check on it because if he didn’t then there could be more problems
on the horizon.
Carl realized that Ben didn’t know anything about
vampires, or he was about 99% sure of that anyway. Carl also realized
that for some reason unknown to him Ben was interested in Mick and that
made Carl nervous because what affected Mick affected Beth. Carl was
still running down leads as to where in the Seattle area they were and
felt confident that he’d get it figured out. He had booked a flight to
Seattle in two days time and he meant to confront Mick and Beth with his
knowledge and assure them he was no threat to them. He never had been
but now that Cami was in his life it was more important than ever that
they knew that.
Things were going well with her and he was
anxious to deepen their relationship but he was also aware that she was
afraid; afraid of the intimacy and also most likely of telling him what
she was. Cami was a contradiction in terms in many ways, self-confident
in her life for most things but in the romance area she was very shy.
Carl couldn’t help but wonder how old she was. Did vampires age and die
or was it like the movies, they never aged? He had so many questions
and as of yet no answers. He could only hope that would change in a few
A little while later Luca had to go to court to testify
and left the list on his desk, tucked into an envelope under some
papers. Carl used the opportunity to make a copy of it before tucking
it back into place. He also decided to go visit Ben to see if he could
get any answers about the list and what he had done with it.
was on the phone when Carl knocked on the door but he signaled his
friend to come in anyway. He covered the receiver for a moment and
said, “I’ll be done in a moment,” in hushed tones.
Carl took a
seat and sat back, crossing his legs and relaxing a bit. He liked Ben a
lot; they’d met for drinks a couple of times and even went to a Dodgers
game once, Ben’s treat. They were scheduled to hit a Padres game next
week, Carl’s treat and Ben kept making jokes about defecting to ‘brand
X’, meaning a team who weren’t the Dodgers.
When Ben got off the
phone they chatted a few minutes about a case they had worked on
together and about the trip down to San Diego for the game. Finally
Carl asked Ben about the list.
“Did you ever decide to do anything with that list you had? You know, the one with St. John’s name on it?”
“Nah, I shredded it. I still think it was some kind of a hoax, you
know? What on earth could St. John and Kostan have to do with those
historical names or the fictional ones. Some nut case with nothing
better to do I think.”
Carl debated a moment over that answer.
He believed Ben but then how did Luca get a copy of it? It worried Carl
a great deal; whoever was behind it wasn’t going to stop apparently and
that made it dangerous for the vamps on it. He believed he only had
one choice now and it was a scary one, but he had to let someone know
what was going on.
“I think you are right; it’s ridiculous what
some people will do for a little attention.” He stood up and prepared
to leave, making plans to meet for a drink the next day after work.
you then Carl,” Ben said as his friend left the office with a wave. It
made him curious why his friend had asked about that list after all
this time; maybe Carl would tell him when they had drinks.
Luca returned from court he saw the envelope tucked under the stack of
papers where he had left it. He had decided to shred it; he didn’t know
what it was about but it had the feel of ‘prankster’ all over it. It
made no sense at all and he had far better things to do with his time
that ponder this. He took it to the shredder and watched as the turning
blades made scrap of it in a couple of seconds.
He felt better already; it was like the damn thing had been wearing him down and he was suddenly free.
It was a good way to feel.
in his car Carl pulled the list out and read through it again. He
didn’t know what the reason was, but he knew that there was a purpose to
it. Could he pull it off? Hand it over and maintain that he didn’t
know what it was about? He had to try, he knew.
The next stop
could very well end his life, but he didn’t think so. If he couldn’t
bluff his way through this he would swear silence on the matter or
whatever it took. Even though Beth’s or Cami’s names weren’t on that
list if something was coming down to the vampires then it would affect
both of them and he’d do anything to protect them both. As he walked
into Kostan Industries he patted the folded sheets of paper hidden in
his breast pocket. In the offices a young blonde haired assistant
greeted him politely.
“I’d like to see Mr. Kostan, if he’s available.”
“May I have your name and I’ll check on that for you,” the young man stated.
“Davis. Uh, Detective Carl Davis of LAPD.”
A blonde eyebrow arched upwards at that information but he pushed a button and spoke into a headset, telling Josef who was here.
him in Thor, thank you,” Josef said, extremely curious about this
visit. Carl had been at the party with Cami the other night, a strange
pairing Josef had thought at the time but everyone had the right to date
as they chose. He hoped that Cami had made a good choice; but then
again both Beth and Mick trusted the lieutenant so Josef was willing to
hear what he had to say.
He stood up as Thor showed Carl Davis
into the office and shook his hand, seemingly at ease. “Detective
Davis, please come in. Would you like a drink? Are you still on duty?”
glanced at his watch and saw that it was almost six and decided the
drink might be a good ice breaker. “I’m off duty Mr. Kostan and I’d
love a drink.”
Josef nodded and headed to the console where a
variety of bottles rested. “So, I take it that this isn’t an official
visit then?” He pointed at the different bottles as if to ask what Carl
“The scotch, neat will be fine, and no, this isn’t an official visit.”
well then, what is it about?” Josef poured a couple of fingers into a
high ball glass and added a twist of lemon before handing it to his
guest who had taken a seat in one of the chairs across the desk from his
own. Josef took his own seat after handing Carl his drink and sat
back, waiting for his guest to speak.
Carl looked reflective for a
moment, obviously mulling over something. He finally reached for his
jacket pocket and brought out a folded sheaf of papers and handed them
to Josef. He took a long drink to steady his nerves before speaking.
“I thought you might find this interesting Mr. Kostan.”
heard Carl’s heartbeat kick in; whatever was in these papers clearly
made him nervous. He took the papers and unfolded them, looking them
over. It suddenly occurred to him what he was looking at – the papers
that Beth had seen in Ben Talbot’s office months ago. How the hell did
Davis turn up with them and why was he brining them here?
“Why do you think I might be interested in these papers Detective Davis?” Josef asked as he watched his guest closely.
took another sip and answered, “Well, they have your name and Mick St.
John’s name on them. I don’t know who most of the other’s names are,
but I thought it was something you might want to look into.”
“How did you come by this list Detective?”
first saw it several months ago in Ben Talbot’s office, but he
destroyed them, believing them to be a hoax of some kind. I ran across
it again today in the possession of a fellow investigator. I don’t know
who compiled the list but for some reason they are trying to get
someone to investigate it. Since your name is on it, I brought it to
you. Had Mick been in town I would have taken it to him.”
see,” Josef said, still curious as to what Davis might know about it
all. “And you have an idea or opinion as to what this list of names
means?” Ah, Davis’ heartbeat skipped a couple of beats and then beat a
rapid staccato for a minute. He knew something that he wasn’t saying.
really, but it seems to me that it isn’t a good thing. Mr. Kostan, I
am very loyal to my friends, to people I care about and if there were
any threat to them I would want them protected.” Carl meant Cami as
much as Beth and he decided that maybe honesty was best here and hoped
that Josef Kostan didn’t believe in shooting the messenger. “Mr.
Kostan, I am currently dating a very lovely young woman by the name of
Cami Kinney. I care about her a great deal, as I do for Beth and Mick
St. John and if their lives or existences were in any way threatened, I
want to be prepared to help neutralize that threat.”
digested the information with a blank look on his face; centuries of
masking his features made him seem calm but in reality he was astounded
by what Carl was saying, or rather what he wasn’t saying. He knew about
vampires? Or he guessed? Were things far enough along with Cami that
she had told him? No matter what Josef was going to find out what the
hell he knew and decide whether he could be trusted.
Davis, may I call you Carl?” he asked as when Carl nodded he continued.
“I believe that you are trying to tell me something without actually
saying it. Now, begin again and just say it please.” He leaned forward
and rested his arms on his desk, deadly attentive as to what Carl might
Carl swallowed hard and decided that this was the moment –
what happened next might determine whether he lived or died. And since
he was determined to live he chose his words carefully. “I believe that
those names are vampires Mr. Kostan. Maybe not all and I don’t
understand the fictional or historical names but still, I believe you,
and Mick and some of those other names I know are vampires. Now before
you decide to take me out please understand that no one has told me this
but I believe I’m right.”
“I see. And you believe you are correct why?”
ago Josh, Beth’s then boyfriend told me that Mick was a vampire,
something that I found totally impossible. But over time I began to
notice things, how Mick’s hands always felt chilled and that he seemed
physically very agile, more so than even an above average guy.
Actually, what really convinced me was when Tejada turned up missing;
one of the girls there said she saw a devil, with huge teeth and a snout
like a dog. That part was exaggerated I believe but the teeth made
sense. Busto’s told us tales of ‘El Diablo’ referring to Mick. It just
all seemed to make sense. Look, I admire the hell out of him for
taking Tejada out because he would never have been convicted in the
criminal system. Since then I’ve just paid attention.”
attention tells you that there are vampires?” Josef asked quietly. It
seemed that Carl Davis was very astute and that could be a good thing or
a bad thing, depending on what he planned on doing.
does. Look, you don’t have to confirm or deny it Mr. Kostan. Just know
that I am on your side and my thought in bringing you this information
was only to let you know what was going on. Nothing more, well other
than to tell you that I intend to protect Cami and the St. Johns in any
“You realize that if I were a vampire I could kill
you in a snap,” he said, smacking the desktop quickly, making the
glasses and pens on the desk rattle wildly from the force of the blow.
“Especially if I thought that you were going to tell anyone about this.”
understand that Mr. Kostan, but to me the risks out-weighed the
consequences. I won’t risk letting Cami be hurt if there is some kind
of war starting.”
“War? You think this heralds war?”
don’t know what it heralds, but I don’t think it’s just a friendly list
of names. You have my word, my allegiance, my oath, whatever it takes
to make you understand that I only want you all protected.”
The words stunned Josef, shocked him in a way that he could rarely recall happening. “Why?”
Because something’s, some people are worth standing up and fighting
for, regardless of what,” he stumbled for a word for a moment.
“Regardless of what type of being they are.”
Josef nodded, still
amazed at what had happened. Carl hadn’t exactly won him over
completely, but he did trust the detective for some reason, as displaced
as that trust could turn out to be. He’d definitely be watching what
he did, that was for sure.
“Alright Carl, for now we’ll see what
happens.” He stood up, signaling that the meeting was over and when
Carl rose as well he shook his hand and registered the clear look in the
detective’s eyes. He was sincere Josef believed, but sincerity could
still mean betrayal, all in innocence. “You will not tell another
person about this, do I make myself clear?” he asked, meeting Carl’s
“Yes, I do understand that.”
Josef walked to the
door and opened it as his guest walked silently out. He shut it and
quickly made some calls. A short while later Heroku, Miguel, and Tango
arrived, all curious about why Josef had insisted they get over to
Josef explained his meeting with Carl and the
others listened carefully. He then showed them the list and watched as
they digested the information.
“Idea’s gentlemen?” Josef asked the group.
are vamps on that list to be sure, but there are human’s as well. Some
of them are currently in the Legion aren’t they Miguel?” Heroku stated.
currently and some of them from the past. He pointed to several names
indicating that they had been members several hundred years ago. “They
were members who were all involved in VALA though, not renegades.”
“So it isn’t vampires who created the list most likely but Miguel could it be some of those renegade Legion members?”
Tango, I don’t even know of any that are left. Most of us know that
the peace is kept by working together.” Those words sparked a memory
for him, as it did for Josef.
“What if…do you think Josef?”
nodded and said, “I think so. I think we may be dealing with the
Equalizers, but the question is, why? What do they have to gain by
“Who are the Equalizers?” Tango asked.
Heroku shared a glance and Josef nodded at him to speak. “They are a
fringe group who surface every century or so; mostly vampires but they
have human subjugates whose desire is to be allowed to become vamps. Why
they would do this I’m not sure though.”
“Do you think they are trying to cause war between us?” Miguel asked. Something about all this was wrong, just …off.
If we’re fighting we either expose ourselves or we’re not watching
what they are doing. A war between Legion and vamps would make a damn
good decoy. What do they want to do?” Josef said, growing angrier by
the minute. He stood up and paced in the room for a few moments. “Any
idea where we might find Malcolm?”
“Haven’t heard anything of him
for a very long time. Likely has a new name by now. I have some
contacts that usually keep a fairly good idea on them; I’ll see if they
Josef nodded, a jerky movement that demonstrated
his anger. “Okay, then let’s just all keep our heads about us until we
get more information.”
Tango took a drink from his glass, tipping
it up before he realized he had already drained it. “How trustworthy
is this Detective Davis?” Tango asked. “Do we have a problem with him
that we need to take care of?”
Josef had been asking that same question to himself. What did they do with Davis?
To be continued…