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, February 16, 2012

Chapter 24

Lani came up the stairs wearing a pair of white shorts and a turquoise tank top. She was wearing a slightly unsure smile on her face as she looked around and spotted Josef sitting at the bar counter.

“Well, it seems you’re feeling better,” Josef stated. She was a bit pale but otherwise she looked okay.

Lani walked into the kitchen and sat down on a bar stool across from Josef. “Yes, much better thank you. That’s so unlike me but, um, well at least I’m feeling better now.”

Josef watched a slow flush spread over her face as she spoke, driven no doubt by thoughts of what had transpired last night. Was it the scotch or afterwards? Josef was curious but said nothing of course, a gentleman wouldn’t and he could be a gentleman at times. “If you’re hungry the fridge has food in it so help yourself.”

“Ooh, I am actually.” She slid off the stool and headed over to the large stainless steel appliance and opened it up, staring at the contents. She laughed as she pulled juice out of it and sat it on the counter and then spotted some bagels. Inside the fridge she saw a jar of peanut butter and grabbed it with a grin. “For me?” she asked, surprised that he had remembered. He nodded and she continued, “I’m sort of surprised actually – after earlier this morning I never thought I’d be hungry again!”

She carried her breakfast items to the counter and then went in search of a plate and a glass for the juice. Josef watched her move easily around the kitchen and admired her graceful movements as she stood on tip toes hunting for what she needed. He could have told her that the glasses were in the cabinet next to the sink but he was enjoying the view of long and limber legs and a firm if curvaceous bottom as they stretched to full length as she searched. He sat back with a grin and had to quickly wipe it off of his face as she turned around and walked back to the counter with her glass.

She opened the bottle of pineapple and orange juice, peeling the seal away and pouring a glass full and taking a long drink. She sliced the bagel in half and spread peanut butter over it liberally, licking a bit of peanut butter off of her finger when she smeared her finger instead of the bagel.

“There are a couple of banana’s over on that counter for you too,” he told her.

She looked over at the counter where he indicated and spotted a bowl of fruit – banana’s, an apple, some grapes too. She grabbed a banana and with a cheeky grin peeled it and sliced half of it onto the peanut butter bagel. “Mm, this hits the spot,” she told him as she licked a small dab of the gooey brown treat away from the corner of her mouth with her tongue. “Thanks for remembering.”

He shrugged with a smile as she continued to eat her breakfast. It smelled interesting and there were rare times when he wished he knew what something tasted like and this was definitely one of them. Peanut butter was not visually appealing but did smell good he had to admit. “Oh, I went to the car and got your purse; you left it in there last night and I thought you might like to have it.”

“Yes, thank you. My phone is in there, although it probably won’t matter because the battery will most likely need to be charged soon and my charger isn’t with me. I wonder if Beth tried to call, I haven’t heard from her for a couple of days actually. Have you?”

“No, not since I talked to Mick a few days ago. He is worried about Beth though, I know that much. She thinks she can taste food and it seems she is able to use her allure very well; had him jumping through hoops for her and neither one of them realized it. Still, I think it’s about time for her to be coming home soon. Mick may need a nudge to let her train to drink fresh though.”

Lani’s heart soared at the thought of Beth coming home soon, there was so much that she wanted to talk to her friend about and so much she needed to learn about her new life. Beth really was a vampire now; would she do to people what Josef had done to her last night. The memory almost choked her for a moment as a deep blush swept up her neck and face. She had never for a moment imagined it would feel like that; she wondered if it always did. The thought of her friend biting someone and making them feel like that was confusing for Lani. It was so personal, private; how could Mick let her do that to someone? She wanted to ask Josef that, but she couldn’t bring herself to voice the question.

Josef watched as Lani lightly chewed her lower lip and scented her embarrassment and confusion. No doubt it was about last night but he didn’t know what to say about it; he wanted it to be something special between them and she probably thought he had just taken advantage of her inebriated state. In her mind vampires were predators and how could he tell her that last night had meant something special to him when the fact was that vampires were predators? He was a predator because if it came to being the hunter or the hunted he was going to win the game. He decided to change the subject, sort of anyway.

“Carl came to see me the other day. He knows about vampires Lani.”

“What? How? I’ve never told anyone Josef, I swear it,” she told him in a panic, concerned that he thought she had told Carl.

“No, no, I know that you didn’t. He figured it out, well with a bit of help from Josh Lindsay anyway.”

“Josh? I’m confused.”

“Beth had written in her diary that Mick was a vampire and Josh read it and told Carl. Carl apparently didn’t believe it at the time but as he watched Mick over the next few months he began to figure it out.”

Lani was livid over Josh’s betrayal of Beth’s privacy. How could the bastard do that? Reading someone’s diary was so personal and that really said a lot about the kind of person he was. A sudden thought occurred to her, “Oh god, does Carl know about Cami?”

“Yes, he does although he hasn’t shared that with her. He seems to care about her a great deal.”

Lani nodded and said, “I think he does. Carl is a pretty faithful and loyal kind of guy Josef. It might not hurt to have a cop on your side.”

“You are absolutely right. I hope that it will all work out okay.” She was quiet for a moment and then said, “I just can’t believe Josh would read her diary. It’s so private. She loved him, trusted him.” It was so hard to trust people but when your trust is betrayed by the people you love it makes it harder to trust again. She didn’t give many people her trust, not on a personal level; she’d learned long ago that it usually caused pain. Very few people had shown her that they deserved her trust and she knew that she would do anything to protect them.

“So,” she said, looking around, “You said you have a pool? Mind if I use it today? Your friend was kind enough to include some sunscreen with the bathing suits.”

“Yes, I do, it’s just around the corner there and it’s fine. I hope you’ll enjoy it. There is a whole patio room attached to it so I can sit in the shade and read or something while you swim.”

“You don’t have to babysit me Josef, I won’t drown I promise. Actually I might not even swim. I’m going to lie in the sun for a while and just relax.” She carried her dishes to the sink and rinsed them off and looked in the dishwasher. There were two glasses in it already and she said, “Do you have someone who comes in and runs this?” She was positive that he didn’t do it.

“Yes, I have a housekeeper who comes in 3 times a week and she’ll take care of it so just put your dishes in there.”

After she put the peanut butter, bagels and juice away she said, “I think I’ll go and change now.”

“Wait, I want to show you something.” He walked to the basement door and stepped through with her and turned the light on and then held the door open as they stood on the landing. “This is a safety door Lani; it is made of titanium with heavy dead bolt locks on it.” He pointed to the thickness of the door and the thick dead bolts that sprung out on the side when he pushed the button. “This part of the house is a safe room, totally self-contained with its own water system, phone, ventilation and electrical system, all hidden. When the door is closed, nothing, except maybe a direct cannon blast is going to get through it.” He closed the door and pushed a button on the key pad next to the door and she heard the heavy locks click into place.

“Oh my gosh, that’s incredible. And there is a camera too, just like Mick’s.”

“Yes and you can change it to look at different camera’s around the property, or by pressing this button you can see all six views at once. If anything were to ever happen to me Lani, get down here and close this door, do you understand?”

“I – well, I don’t understand why that would happen but okay.”

He punched in a series of numbers and said, “Can you remember those? It’s the way to unlock the door.” She nodded and he continued, “Good. Don’t forget them. I’ll show you were to access the other things you might need.”

He took her into a room off of the den that was like a command center you would see in a movie complete with a huge computer set up, video screens, and phone. In the den itself there were cabinets with water and other supplies but she noted that there was little food and what there was was the freeze dried variety like the military used. She laughed at that but hopefully she wouldn’t ever have to see what it tasted like. She picked up a package that said, ‘Freeze Dried Ice Cream, chocolate flavor’ and laughed. “Dried ice cream, really?” She couldn’t stop the wry laugh that escaped.

Josef took the package and tore it open and dropped some of the small pieces into her hand. She popped them into her mouth and chewed them slowly. They weren’t anything like ice cream of course, but they actually weren’t half bad. “Wow, color me surprised!”

He only grinned at her surprise and handed her the packet so she could finish it. She looked around the room at the comfortable seating and a very large home theater system that covered almost one whole wall. Along with that were at least a thousand movies and she walked along them, reading the titles as she munched the freeze dried ice cream. She came to a whole section of Colin Firth movies and quirked an eye brow upwards inquiringly.

“He’s a good actor, I like his movies,” Josef defended.

“So you’re a Pride and Prejudice kind of guy, huh?” she teased.

“Hey, I lived during those times; it’s refreshing to see them portrayed so historically accurately. And Colin is a nice guy!”

“You KNOW Colin Firth?” Her eyes were round with surprise and envy. “Oh god, he’s not a…a…”

“Vampire? Can’t tell can you?”

“Don’t you dare tease me about this Josef!” she told him.

“Okay, he’s not. But I don’t hold it against him.”

Lani rolled her eyes and scoffed at his remark. “I’m going to change now if we are done with Survival Training 101 that is?”

“Sure, go ahead.” He watched her head into her bedroom with a chuckle. He loved teasing her.”


As they had driven home from town the night before Mick had watched Beth carefully but she showed no signs at all of being sick to her stomach. She had enjoyed the ride home, windows down and again constantly scenting the air.

Mick had been prepared to deal with disastrous effects of that taco but there were none. This morning the remains had passed in the usual human way and Mick didn’t know what to think about that or what on earth was going on.

Beth apparently had some super abilities as a vampire; the allure, precognition, her perceptive abilities alone were twice as strong as his were but all of that he could understand. Being able to taste food, to ingest it was definitely beyond his ability to understand.

He needed to talk to Josef and reached for his phone. Beth was on the tread climber machine with headphones on watching Dr. Phil again and so he decided that now was the time. He waited impatiently for Josef to answer.

“Josef, I have to talk to you about Beth!”

“What has your fledgling done now Mick?” he said in his best long-suffering tone. He was sitting in a chaise lounge watching Lani lay in the sun; she was face down on the chair, her top untied. Josef suffered a good deal of angst watching, wanting to see what was hidden from his eyes. He forced himself to look away so that he could concentrate on what Mick was saying.

“Last night she ate a taco and didn’t throw it up, that’s what she’s done!”

Everything else that Beth had managed to do as a fledgling had mildly surprised him but this one floored him. It wasn’t possible, it just wasn’t possible – not if she were a vampire and he knew that she was. So where did that leave all this?

“Mick, I think you need to get her back here as soon as possible. Have you taught her to feed fresh yet? She needs to do that so that we can make sure she really is ready. And by the way, exactly where did she get that taco?”

Mick ran his fingers through the disheveled locks on his head, only managing to make them more tangled. “We went to a street fair last night, a town bazaar. She did great around all the humans Josef, no problem at all but she kept smelling the tacos and wanted one and I thought, well, when she eats it she’ll get sick and she won’t do that again.”

“But it didn’t work out that way did it,” Josef asked, opening one eye to peek at Lani as she turned over, clutching the bikini top to her chest with one hand. A soft bit of untanned skin could be seen before the top settled back into place and Josef sat up a bit straighter as he watched. God, he could even see beads of sweat on her skin, circling her navel and leaving a small trail as his eyes swept lower, to the lush expanse of tanned skin above the bottom of her bikini. He wasn’t sure what he appreciated more, the gentle swell of her bottom as she lay on her stomach or the taut skin of her stomach.

“Josef...” Mick repeated.

“What? I’m sorry. What did you say?”

“I said do you really think it’s necessary for her to learn to feed fresh?”

“Yes Mick, she needs that skill. I know she feeds from you just fine but if she ever had to feed fresh you don’t want her ripping someone apart because she doesn’t know how.”

Mick nodded, agreeing even though he hated the thought of his Beth feeding from someone else. He and Tim had talked about it and Tim had given him the names of a couple of people who were good when working with new vampires. “I have the names of a couple who specialize in new turns, I’ll give them a call,” he finally told Josef.

“Yes, you do that. Why don’t I plan on coming up in two days? Will that give you enough time?” He knew it was better to give Mick a definite deadline so that he’d move forward. “I’ll bring Lani with me if she wants to come and I suspect she will. We were just talking about you two at breakfast this morning.”

“At breakfast? What the hell is going on down there Josef?” Beth wasn’t going to be happy about this. “Lani is petrified of vampires; you know that Josef. Do not hurt her!” Mick said letting a bit of a growl creep into his voice.

Josef’s eyebrows raised a notch as he heard the growl and he smiled; still, he had to take a disapproving approach with Mick as the elder vampire. “She is fine; it is our business so keep the growls to yourself!” He couldn’t resist teasing Mick a bit, knowing where his imagination would take him.

Mick didn’t back down; he felt honor bound to stand up for Lani. “I meant what I said Josef,” he told him, dead serious.

Josef watched as Lani came gracefully to her feet, reaching behind her to tie the skimpy top and then she waded into the pool. Her lithe limbs propelled her through the still water causing small ripples on the surface. Maybe a swim wouldn’t be bad he decided. This end of the pool was in shadow now. He finally remembered that Mick was on the other end of the phone. “Yes, I know. I gotta go boyo.”

Mick heard the line go silent and realized Josef had hung up. What the hell was going on there anyway? It was definitely time to go home. He decided to keep this last bit of information to himself because if Beth found out she would certainly stake Josef. Of course, he’d help his friend by being sure to get that stake out, eventually anyway. Maybe…


Josef did join Lani in the pool and they swam and chatted for awhile, both of them enjoying the quiet evening. At seven they went in to find something to eat; well, it wasn’t a hard decision for Josef but Lani struggled between chicken salad and some lasagna. The chicken salad won out and she sat it and a croissant on the glassed-topped patio table along with the bowl of fruit and a diet coke.

“Um, a feast,” she declared as she sliced the croissant in half and piled on the chicken salad which had walnuts, cranberries and celery in it. “This is wonderful,” she told him after her first bite. She wiped her lips with a napkin and Josef watched, wistfully wishing that it was her tongue.

He had to change the subject quickly or he was going to be in trouble. “How would you like to go with me to Seattle on Monday to pick up Mick and Beth?”

She laid her sandwich down and let out a squeal of happiness! “Yes! Oh, but we have to work on the set up Monday,” she said as she remembered that they were just beginning the training phase. She needed to get security set up for people in the system.

“Hey, I’m the boss and I’m declaring that we’re not working Monday, okay?”

“Well, if you put it that way,” she said with a grin. She sighed as she looked out at the Pacific; it was so calm today it definitely lived up to its name. Hardly any foam on the waves could be seen which was unusual; it wasn’t exactly mirror smooth but close to it.

Josef’s eyes were drawn to the two barely visible marks on her arm; they were healing quickly which was good. He had been surprised last night when he tasted her blood; she was AO-, just like Beth. It was such a rare blood type, they fact that she and Beth had grown up together and shared the same rare blood type was surprising – very surprising in fact.

She and Josef talked about the plans for the training process a bit and about Audrey, who would be leading the security team. Lani was excited to work with her because that girl definitely knew her way around the operating set up and system administration. Things were going to go well.

An hour later Lani stood up, watching as the sun was beginning to make its final descent in to the ocean and said, “I guess I’m going to go and shower. Shall we watch a movie? I’ll even let you pick it, as long as it’s a Colin Firth flick,” she laughed.

“Sure, a movie sounds good. But I want to show you something first. He stood up and held his hand out to her. He watched indecision flicker briefly over her face before she reached for his hand and stood up to follow him.

He led her on a short path to the edge of the cliff that the house was perched on. She looked down and saw the waves crashing against the rocks about 20 feet below. There was sort of a natural little cove below them with the arms of the rocks almost keeping it hidden.

“Sometimes when I come here I like to jump down into the water; it’s very exhilarating actually,” he told her as he watched her eyebrows rise in uncertainty.

“My goodness, that’s quite a leap – maybe not for a vampire though.”

“It’s actually only about 19 feet and the water is plenty deep. The idea is to time it right and its fine.”

“Hm, I guess when the water is rolling in?”

“No, actually you want to catch it just after it hits the rocks. Then count one, two and jump. If you jump when it’s on the way in the force of the water will carry you into the rocks. That’s not so good,” he said with a grin.

“So after it hits it pulls you away from them?” When he nodded she said, “That makes sense. Still it seems like a pretty far jump to me.”

“It’s not. Jump with me Lani?”

“What? Oh no, I couldn’t!”

“Sure you can. Count with me to learn the timing.” She listened and watched the waves. “One, two, now; one, two, now. See, it’s easy.” He held his hand out to her and she could only stare at it.

The thought of taking that leap was petrifying to her. She looked at him, his sherry brown eyes just catching the remaining glow of sunlight. “Trust me,” he whispered.

A breath caught in her throat and she glanced down again at the rushing water far below. Trust him? Let him in? Her heart sped up rapidly for a moment as she considered what he asked. Could he be one of the ones that she trusted?

Josef heard her heart beating frantically and waited patiently. This was a leap of faith for her, for both of them. He wanted to do this more than he had ever wanted anything. Again he said, “Trust me. I won’t let you get hurt.”

She nodded and held her hand out, wiping a tear away from her cheek with the other.

“Okay, count it with me. One, two, NOW!” and they were over the edge, falling through the air until they hit the water. Down they went until their feet touched the bottom, then they pushed towards the surface. When they broke through Lani laughed out loud and Josef joined her.

“Oh wow, I did it! I actually did it!” She threw her arms around him and hugged him tight. He tread water as he held her close and she wrapped her legs around his waist and smiled into his eyes. “Thank you.” She leaned forward and kissed him, her lush lips pressed against his for the briefest moment before she pulled back as a wave almost pushed them into the rocks.

Josef was amazed, it had happened so easily, so simply and it gave him hope that maybe they had a future. She was still scared and so was he, but he felt happier than he had felt in years. Hopeful, he actually felt hopeful.

“Come on, we have to swim around those rocks. Just hang onto me okay?”

She nodded as they headed around the rocks and walked up onto the small sandy beach. She saw steps leading back up the cliff and laughed as he picked her up and jumped to the top in a single leap. Now she knew what Beth had meant by the sexy vampire jumping thing. It was impressive.

Together they walked back to the house and each showered and met back in the den for the movie. Josef picked out a Colin Firth movie she’d never seen before called The Secret Laughter of Women. It was a wonderfully romantic movie and Lani enjoyed it as she sat munching popcorn and sipping a diet coke. They sat next to each other on the plush leather sofa, close but not really touching as Lani sat curled up under an afghan because the room was chilly. Both of them remembered the kiss as they said goodnight at their individual doors. Lani wanted to repeat it but she was scared that he didn’t want that.

Josef’s thoughts mirrored Lani’s. Maybe the kiss had been momentary excitement and didn’t mean anything. Maybe it did mean something; he’d never know if he didn’t kiss her now. He knew that they needed to go slow, which was almost a foreign concept to him; he who usually just grabbed what he wanted with little thought. But this would mean something to him and hopefully Lani too.

He took the ten steps to stand in front of her and leaned down, cupping her face in his hands and lightly brushing his lips against hers. Her lips yielded to his and he heard a faint sigh low in her throat. Soft, gently caressing and both satisfying and not nearly satisfying enough, the kiss spoke volumes for both of them.

He stepped away and then brushed a stray lock of hair away from her face. “Good night Lani.”

“’Night Josef,” she said as she stepped into her room and closed the door. She wanted to laugh out loud at how ridiculously good that kiss was; it was exactly what a first kiss should be, even if it technically wasn’t the first one but she didn’t really count the kiss in the water since it had been more of a reactionary kiss.

THAT was a kiss though, what they’d just shared. She hugged herself, grinning like an idiot. She felt like she was a teenager and she resisted the urge to run and jump onto the bed.

Oh, what the hell! She landed smack in the middle of the bed with a smile.

To be continued...


Lady said...

I. Just. Can't.....

I'm so involved in the story that when I get to the last word I find myself going back as if I missed something somewhere. Crazy, right?

Hope said...

Hey Lady!!

Well gee, I don't know...did you miss something? Never know, I've been accused of being sneaky! ;)

Eh, probably not. But I'm tickled that you think about it. By all means, feel free to read again, just in case!

Thank you Lady, you make my day!

Anonymous said...

The best ten minutes of my work day:) Thanks!!

mum said...

I can't help smiling from ear to ear. I LOVE THIS! I did catch something though, and I have an idea, but I don't want to say anything yet to see if go in that direction.

BTW...did I ever tell you I LOVE THIS STORY??

Hope said...

Hey anonymous!!

Oops! Don't want to impede your work production! Yikes - maybe I should stop posting!

LOL, thanks so much for reading! ;)

Hope said...

Oh mum!!

You make ME smile from ear to ear! So, you think you caught something huh? Well, we see how it plays out won't we? These vampires are sneaky so you never know what will happen.

Thank you so much for reading mum! :)

And BTW, I LOVE that you LOVE the story!

Amie said...


You are such a talented writer. I feel like I know these people and I love it! I can't wait to see what the next post tells us, and then the next. You make my day!

Hope said...

Hi Amie!!

Thank you, I feel amazed at how well people like this story. I appreciate all the feedback and comments from you all. :)

So much more to come in out Moonlight universe; things are just beginning to come together. Monday Beth feeds fresh for the first time? How will Mick handle that? How will BETH handle it? Hm...