Carl stood in front of Cami’s
door, hesitating for a moment before he knocked. If what he had heard
in Seattle was true she probably already knew that he was there but he
just wasn’t sure what to say to her. Frankly confronting Josef and then
Beth and Mick had been easier.
What if she was mad because he
knew and hadn’t said anything? What if she felt that he had been using
him for information or that he was playing out some fantasy? None of
that was true but he could see how she might be upset with him, if not
full out angry.
He was crazy about her; hell he was half way to
loving her. She was beautiful for sure, but she was so much more than
that – she was intelligent and funny and shy and she just ‘got’ him, the
same way he ‘got’ her.
He wiped his hands down his jeans
because his palms were sweaty as hell and then he made sure his royal
blue polo shirt was tucked in neatly. It was now or never and he raised
his hand to knock on the door.
Inside, Cami was well aware that
Carl was outside her door. She scented him, the clean masculine and
woodsy smell of his soap and she heard his heartbeat which was beating
strangely fast. Oh god, was he going to break up with her?
no, no please she thought. She hadn’t ever felt like this before,
certainly not with Edmund. She didn’t want to lose Carl, couldn’t bear
the thought of losing him. She knew that she had to be honest with him
but she’d never told a human that she was a vampire before and she
feared that if she waited any longer she would lose him for sure but
what a shock for him.
Tonight they planned to just stay in and
watch a movie and she thought that this was the right time but what if
he wanted to break up with her before she could even be honest with him?
This is why secrets are so bad, but as a vampire she had no choice.
she heard the knock and she immediately brushed her hair back from her
face and looked down at her sun dress, hoping that she looked okay. She
opened the door to face him and he immediately pulled her into his arms
and hugged her tightly.
“Hi,” she said, returning the hug.
yourself,” he whispered into her ear and pulled back a bit so he could
see her face. He detected worry on her beautiful face and he leaned
down and kissed her softly, savoring the sweet taste of her lips against
his own. She opened her mouth and he accepted the invitation, seeking
her tongue with his and stroking lovingly over it until he felt her
relax in his arms.
“God I’ve missed you Cami. You look beautiful
tonight; I should be taking you out instead of keeping you all to
myself here. But I’m not going to – tonight you are all mine!”
looked down, embarrassed to meet his eyes and he knew that if she were
able she would be blushing. Instead she cleared her throat and said,
“Come on in. I bought some beer, would you like one?”
said following her into the kitchen. He tried to look away when she
opened the refrigerator because he knew it would be empty of food but
still he couldn’t resist a quick peek inside. Other than the beer and
some wine the only other thing in there seemed to be some cheese. Must
be for human guests like Lani he thought.
She pulled two beers
out and opened a drawer to find the bottle opener and popped them both
open. “Here you go,” she told him as she handed one to him. They
clinked their bottles together and each took a sip of the icy cold brew.
“Shall we go and sit down?”
They got comfortable on her couch
and she rested her bare feet on the glass topped coffee table in front
of them. Her apartment was an anomaly, or maybe the word was eclectic, a
curious mixture of styles and era’s and somehow it all fit together
Carl took another sip and then a deep breath, he had
to just spit it out and hope for the best. “Cami, I’m crazy about you, I
hope you know that.”
“But, there’s a ‘but’ in there Carl.”
“No, not a ‘but’, more like an ‘I have a confession to make’.”
Her eyes opened wide, wondering what on earth this could be. “Well, okay, what is it?”
took another deep breath and let it out slowly. “Cami, I know that you
are a vampire; I know that they exist. Josef, Mick, Beth now, others; I
know about them.”
She jumped up off the sofa and hugged herself.
She had not been prepared for the fact that he might know her terrible
secret. Tears started running down her face and she was totally
unaware of them until she felt them drop onto her chest. She hastily
wiped them away, turning away from him in shame.
Carl stood up
and set his beer down on the table and went to her, wrapping his arms
around her and holding her in his arms. She was facing away from him
and he could feel her body trying to hold back her anguished sobs. “Shh
Cami, it’s alright. I don’t care baby, I don’t care. It doesn’t
matter to me.”
She turned in his arms and pushed against his
chest and stumbled backwards. “How can you say that Carl? You don’t
know, you really just don’t know what it’s like. You’ll hate me when
“No I won’t. I know Cami, I understand. I just got
back from Seattle this morning; I talked to Beth and Mick and let me
tell you, she was pretty open about things.”
“You saw Beth? Oh my god, you could have been killed Carl!”
“Yeah, they told me that; I mean it, I do understand Cami.”
“How can you care about me, knowing?”
did Beth care about Mick?” He smiled at her and pulled her over to the
couch, sitting down with her on his lap. “I do care Cami, very, very
much.” He watched her relax and when her arms crept around his neck he
knew that it was going to be okay.
“I’m so sorry for not telling you on my own Carl. I – I just didn’t know how.”
I get that baby. It’s okay, I mean it Cami.” He took a chance and
kissed her and felt her melt into him. He deepened the kiss searching
her mouth and drinking in the sweetness that was Cami. He kissed her
until they were both breathless and trembling. A low moan escaped from
him and he heard her answering moan that sounded suspiciously more like a
purr. “Um, Cami we need to stop baby, I’m losing control.”
“Are you afraid of making love with me Carl?”
I know what will happen Cami. I told you, Beth was very explicit.” He
grinned at her. “She also said I’d like it.” He gave her a cocky grin
and traced a finger down her nose and over her lips, caressing them
lightly as he saw how swollen they were from the kisses.
“I’ve never, um, I’ve never done that Carl. I’m afraid I’ll hurt you.”
ran his fingers through her silken blonde tresses watching them cascade
through his fingers like liquid honey. “We’ll wait until you’re ready,
until you’re comfortable. I promise you, despite all the myths out
there, we’ll both be okay.”
Somehow they both managed to pull
themselves together and watch a movie. Each had a new awareness of the
other; each touch, regardless of how brief was like electricity flowing
between them. By the time Carl left he sincerely hoped that they got it
figured out quickly. He might not die, but he was in for some
uncomfortable nights he knew.
But damn it was good to feel this way again!
arranged for a couple, Rich and Leah to come at 3 pm that afternoon for
Beth’s lesson in feeding fresh. He hadn’t told Beth about it ahead of
time because he wasn’t sure how she would react, whether she would be
excited or nervous or both. He was sweating over it though and not
because he was afraid she’d hurt them.
Rich and Leah specialized
in working with fledgling vampires and both knew how to make it easier
and more comfortable for themselves and the vamp, if the vamp were
No, Mick’s discomfort revolved around his own reaction
to what was going to happen. Beth embraced each new thing that she
learned and he knew she would do the same with this and most likely
excel at it. She was good at the vein, as he well knew.
would he handle the reactions that her bite would surely cause? It
would kill him, or at least it would feel like that. He had to keep
control of himself and that might not be easy. He knew that Josef was
right, that she had to learn, but suddenly the shoe was on the other
foot. He’d told Beth that it wasn’t a personal thing for vampires,
explained about the difference between ‘food’ and ‘love’ and she got the
concept. That being said, he was going to watch his wife, his mate
feed off of someone else’s blood and even though it was only for
nourishment whoever was feeding her would likely react to the bite.
that bastard got a hard on he’d…what? What was he going to do?
Nothing, not a damn thing. Suffer as he watched, that was what he was
going to do.
He looked up as Beth came into the office to see
what he was doing. She was fresh out of the shower and smelled
wonderful; clean and with the tiniest bit of arousal as she eyed him
sitting behind the desk. She looked at him, began to focus and he felt
himself being pulled in and hastily looked away.
“Beth, remember about the allure? Stay focused on not
using it, okay? Don’t concentrate quite so much.” He watched her face
fall in disappointment, partially because she’d forgotten what she was
trying to control and because she really was ready for a tumble in their
“Okay, I forgot. It’s so hard Mick, it just seems to come
naturally to do it. I – I just get a thought in my head and I ‘see’ it
and want it to happen. I’ll try harder, I promise,” she told him with a
shrug and a smile.
“It’s okay Beth. It’s just going to take
time; honestly, I’ve never seen anyone have such a strong ability to use
their allure as you do.” He leaned back in his chair and smiled at her.
“Hey, I have a surprise for you this afternoon.”
She perked up,
hoping that the surprise involved getting out of the house. He’d told
her that there were some seriously big caves on the reservation and she
wanted to go and explore them. “Yes?” she said, smiling at him
Mick took a deep breath and let it out slowly,
hesitating a bit longer, but a glance at the clock told him that Rich
and Leah would be here in a few minutes. “Beth, I think you’re ready to
learn how to feed fresh and in a few minutes a couple will be here to,
well for you to learn with. They work with fledgling vamps and will
Her first instinct was to let out a whoop of
happiness; she’d been waiting for this because she knew once she learned
this she could go home and she really wanted to go back to LA. She
missed her Mom and Lani and Robbi and the city. It was beautiful here,
breathtakingly beautiful but she longed for sunshine and smog, god help
Mick could tell that she was trying to control her
excitement and he had to smile; she embraced all this so easily, always
willing to learn something new. How would it have been if he’d felt the
same way? His world would have been completely different he knew and
that probably meant that he wouldn’t have Beth in his life now; most
likely he and Coraline would still be fighting their way around the
“It’s alright to be excited Beth,” he told her and watched as her smile turned into a laugh.
“I am excited Mick! How will it be different from when I feed from you?”
the pull of the blood will be much stronger Beth; the heartbeat can be
almost hypnotic, the sound of the flow of the blood rushing through the
veins is enthralling. You have to be very aware of that so that you
don’t lose control. Don’t bite too deep or you’ll make the vein roll
and don’t draw too hard or you’ll collapse the vein. It’s something
that you learn with practice, okay? Both Rich and Leah have experience
so listen to them.”
“Are you going to be there too?” For a moment she felt panic overwhelm her.
“Yes, I’ll be there, I won’t let you hurt them okay? I know you are ready for this Beth.”
both heard a car drive up and then two doors open and close. She
looked up and watched him as he rose to his feet and she suddenly
realized he was nervous. She quickly went to him and pulled him tightly
to her. “I love you Mick St. John. It’s only food, okay?”
He nodded, bending to kiss her quickly as they heard the knock on the door. “Okay, let’s go.”
and Leah Landwehr were waiting with smiles as the door was open. Both
immediately held out their hands in greeting and thanked Mick as he led
them into the house. They appeared to be in their early thirties, both
were tall and healthy looking.
“You must be Beth,” Leah said with
a reassuring smile. “Don’t worry, everything is going to be just fine
Beth; Rich and I have done this before,” she said as she took in Beth’s
look of nervousness. “Where can we sit and chat a bit?”
them into the living room and they all took seats and settled in. Leah
had a small bag with her and when she noticed Mick staring at it
explained, “I’m a nurse, inside are just bandages and such, just in case
we might need them.”
She had a very positive and cheerful
attitude and Beth relaxed and listened as Leah explained a few other
things. Rich was mostly silent, agreeing occasionally with Leah or
“We’ve done this before and I can assure you Mick that
we are very professional at what we do. We understand that it can be a
bit scary at first, but we hope to make it an easy and pleasant
experience for Beth and yourself. We ate earlier and are both
well-hydrated so there are no worries there. We don’t take any
supplements so there won’t be anything to cause a bad taste. You will
feed a bit from both of us, to make sure you are comfortable with the
bite. Beth, I am A- and Rich is AB-, do you have a preference as to
which one to try first?”
“I – I don’t have a preference
actually.” She looked at both of them and said, “I guess I’ll try Rich
first.” She knew that Mick was dreading seeing her with a male freshie,
although she wasn’t sure that what Rich and Leah did was considered
‘freshie’ work. Better to get that out of the way and pray that there
were no unwanted reactions from Rich because it would be really hard for
Mick to see; it would be very hard for her to see as well, or taste.
was so anxious to do this and yet she suddenly felt very shy and a bit
scared. She looked up at Rich and then Leah with a nervous smile,
hoping that she didn’t seem like a total idiot.
“Okay Beth, we’re
going to talk you through it, guide you okay? Rich is right handed so
he’s going to sit to your left. Just sit back and get comfortable now.
When you’re ready, hold his left arm firmly but try not to squeeze it
too hard or you can restrict the blood flow. Just focus on the veins
and decided which one you like.”
Mick watched and said in
sub-human tones, “Remember what I’ve told you baby, use the scent to
find a strong vein and stroke your tongue along it to find the place to
bite. You can do this Beth,” he said as she looked up at him, suddenly
unsure. He sat back in the chair, his legs crossed but Beth saw the
tension in his posture and knew how hard this was for him.
veins were so different than vampire veins. The scent of the warm blood
filled her senses as did the sound of his heart beat. He was actually
relaxed and she was amazed at that. She let the change come over her,
focusing on what she needed to do.
Beth bent her head low over
his arm and found the vein she wanted. When she went to bite Leah said,
“Beth, turn his arm a bit so that your bite is a bit more vertical. If
you go in like you are the angle is too horizontal and you will likely
roll the vein.”
Beth licked her lip and refocused and then bit
him, breaking the skin and when the blood started flowing into her mouth
she knew that she had managed to find the vein.
stayed even and she couldn’t detect any arousal in him at all and she
was thankful for that. She wanted to sneak a look up at Mick but she
stayed focused on what she was doing. She drank for a few minutes and
finally she became aware that Leah was speaking to her.
“Okay Beth, gently pull your fangs out so that you don’t tear the skin.”
did and then licked over them to seal them and looked down at his arm.
The marks were a bit bigger than she would have wanted but not too bad.
Leah immediately pulled gauze pads out and dabbed at the puncture
marks, examining them.
“Looks good Beth, little tearing but
they’ll heal well.” She pulled a small ice pack out and laid it over
the marks while Rich moved to sit across from them.
left handed so I’ll sit on the right side of you. Same protocol as
before and just relax! You did really well Beth,” she told the young
vampire in a reassuring tone.
Beth held the arm that was offered
and repeated a successful bite. Afterwards she and Leah looked at the
bite marks and Beth saw that they were smaller than with Rich. She
smiled, pleased that she did better this time.
Leah applied a bit
of pressure to the bites and smiled at Beth before placing band aids
over the marks with a grin. “Way to go Beth; you really did well.”
stood up, pleased that Beth had done well but more pleased that it was
over with. “Rich, I believe we have a bit of business? Come with me
please,” he said leading Rich into the office.
Beth and Leah
chatted while the men were settling the fee. “Leah, if you don’t mind
me asking, how did you and Rich get into this line of work?”
looked off in the distance for a moment and a sad smile flashed briefly
over her face. “Seven years ago Rich’s little brother was attacked and
left for dead actually. Except that he wasn’t. If Tim hadn’t found him
it would have been very bad, but Tim and Mary took him in and fostered
him until he was ready to be on his own. The medical aspects of it were
astounding to say the least and we got involved with the community. So
we help out where we can, like this.” She smiled at Beth and added,
“You did very well you know; many aren’t as capable of such a clean bite
“It, it um, must not go so smoothly sometimes huh?”
“Not always, but we manage. We only do this once or twice a year really. It helps,” she said with a shrug.
“Mick is worried about me so I appreciate how helpful and professional you both are.”
“Why is he worried about you? You did fine.”
not that. I um, have some strange abilities that concern him. I can
taste food and at the town bazaar the other night I ate an Indian taco
and didn’t throw it up,” she told Leah, watching as astonishment flashed
across her face.
“You ate it? The whole thing and didn’t vomit?”
“Nope. The next morning, well, it was all fine. It tasted really good.”
never heard of such a thing Beth. But you are obviously a vamp.” Leah
didn’t know what to think about this information but she supposed that
there could be different kinds of vamps out there; she’d just never met
In the office Mick handed the check to Rich with a
reserved smile. When Rich read it he said, “No, this is wrong. You
don’t owe us this much.”
The check was a thousand dollars more
than the negotiated fee. Mick was very impressed and more than a little
grateful for how well it had went. He frankly didn’t know how Rich or
Leah had resisted the power of the bite but they both had and it made it
all so much better.
“Take it please. I can’t thank you both enough for making this easy for her, for both of us actually.”
dawned on Rich’s face and he nodded and said, “We’re professionals at
this Mick and have learned how to control some of the associated issues
with feeding.” He looked at the check again and said, “You’re sure
“I am.” Mick stood up and offered his hand and Rich
accepted it enthusiastically. The two men walked out only to find Beth
and Leah in the kitchen sipping coffee.
“I don’t have any caffeine for twenty four hours before we feed and boy, I needed this. Thank you Beth!”
Rich looked as Beth sipped her coffee and then glanced at Mick who just looked back and shrugged with a smile.
All in all, it had been a good day for all of them.
carried a small box of investigative files from the evidence room back
to his desk. He pulled the top off the box and watched as dust rose off
of the lid, briefly sparkling in the afternoon sunlight.
there wasn’t much to see; a bloody sheet wrapped in a bag, case notes
and pictures. Ben read through the roughly 40 pages of notes and found
nothing at all helpful in them. Investigators had interviewed family
members of Mick St. John, his mother and father and his sister, a few
friends. None of them knew anything about what happened that fateful
night at the Beverly Hills Hotel bungalow. They really didn’t know
anything about Coraline DuVall either for that matter. None of her
family had come to the wedding and only one friend who disappeared about
the same time as Coraline and Mick. Suddenly her name stood out –
Cynthia Davis. She had owned Coraline’s house in the hills for a while
he remembered. She was never interviewed after Mick and Coraline’s
death because the police couldn’t find her. Did she kill them?
No way to tell really.
started looking at the pictures of the room. It was a bloody, gory
mess; the bed was saturated with blood and there were blood smears all
over the room and the bathroom too. A lamp was broken and so was the
bathroom mirror so there had obviously been a struggle. He stared at
two really clear photos of bloody prints and an idea occurred to him –
they were good enough to scan and run through the system.
1952 there was no such thing as DNA evidence but they did have
fingerprint procedures. But – fingerprints were all looked at and
compared by hand at that time, now they could be scanned by the
The prints were old and it was a long shot, but worth a
try. Ben took two of the photos down to the lab for processing. They
should know in a day or so, maybe quicker. Maybe they’d find out who
those prints belonged to after all these years.
and Beth sat outside later that evening and talked about the afternoon.
“Mick, it felt so good! I felt warm afterwards and the blood tasted
so much better than the cold stuff we’ve been drinking. Why don’t you
Mick’s eyebrows raised a fraction on an inch and
thought about how he could have possibly explained to pre-vamp Beth that
he fed from freshies. Yeah, that would have caused a war for sure.
it’s just my choice to not feed fresh. I- after I rescued you I
wanted, needed to change my life, stop using humans and so I didn’t
drink fresh any longer.”
“But Mick, it was so much better! And it has to be healthier too, I felt incredible after I’d done it.”
“Are you telling me you want to feed from freshies?” he asked, blown away by her suggestion.’
maybe not all the time but Mick, that fresh blood had, I don’t know, a
feeling of vitality to it. It’s like you growing fresh vegetables for
me, not wanting me eating canned stuff. More vitamins you said, more
nutritious. It has to be the same with this.”
“I can’t believe what you are suggesting Beth.”
well, I’m not suggesting that we do it all the time for heaven’s sake
but why can’t we a feed fresh couple of times a week? Mick, I felt so
energized, so alive when I fed from Leah and Rich.”
deny the benefits of feeding fresh but he didn’t want to discuss it
anymore right now. Instead he changed the subject. “I have another
surprise for you, baby.”
“What?” she asked, eager to hear what it was.
in the morning we need to get packed because Josef and Lani are coming
up here to take us home,” he said and watched as happiness spread across
“Oh my gosh, you’re just telling me NOW?”
“Well, I wasn’t for sure until we saw how well you did with the feeding. You’re ready Beth, it’s time to go home.”
Home…yes, it was time to go home.
To be continued…