Heroku walked into Kostan Industries late on Monday morning to see how things were going. He knew that Lani was going to Seattle with Josef to bring Mick and Beth back to LA and he had serious misgivings about it when he got the message this morning. He had tried to call Lani and Josef both but their phone both went to voice mail immediately and all he could do was leave messages for them to call him as soon as possible.
Heroku wasn’t sure if he was right
about Beth, but if he was, this night, of all nights would be dangerous
for her. And it was not a night for Lani to be with her either even if
Josef and Mick were there as well. There were questions to be answered
and it’s possible that Beth’s world would change dramatically.
found Cami in the new computer security monitoring center, working on
the last of the security protocols needed before they could begin the
software installs. Josef had hired a very bright young woman by the
name of Audrey to be the Ops manager and Heroku thought Kostan was one
lucky son of a bitch to have found her; he’d steal her away in a moment
if he thought he had a chance.
“Cami, how are things going?” he
asked as he watched her fingers fly over the keyboard, watching the
screens flash by in only seconds. Her visual ability to keep up was
amazing; she was even quicker at it then most vampires could be.
looked up and flashed him a smile before focusing on the monitor again.
“Hi Heroku. Looking good actually. This new system is amazing. I
think Josef will be very pleased.”
“Um hm. Speaking of Josef, I hear that he and Lani have gone to Seattle; have you talked with either of them today?”
“No, I haven’t. I spoke with Lani last night; she said she had tried to call you.”
yes she did; unfortunately I was unavailable.” He had hoped to be
going to Seattle himself today, just in case but that didn’t work out.
Hopefully he was wrong about everything.
So rare, all so very rare…
“Did she say when they will be back Cami?”
“She seemed to think tonight sometime; she wasn’t taking a bag with her so she’s not expecting to stay the night.”
Heroku closed his eyes for a moment and took a calming breath. Other measures would have to be taken. Just in case.
talked for a few more minutes until the computer finished it’s install
and then Cami turned to Heroku with a small bow and said, “Heroku - San,
may I speak with you?”
She used the Japanese honorary which made
Heroku scrutinize her carefully. “Of course Camille.” He closed the
door to the room and sat down in a chair, waiting for Cami to speak.
Cami knelt down in front of Heroku and bowed her head before beginning. “Heroku – San, I have questions. Hon’in ni-do annai.”
“Of course Camille. You seek my guidance; please speak freely Goreijou (my daughter).”
“Domo arigato Otokooya (father). I am seeing a man, in a – a romantic way and I’m scared.”
“You are scared of him?”
“Oh no! No Otokooya. I am afraid of myself, of being…close, close to him.”
picture became very clear to Heroku; Cami had never been with a man as a
vampire. And only her husband had touched her before that. She had
very limited experience as a woman and none at all as a vampire. This
was one area that they had never covered in her secluded life.
his men found her on the isolated beach almost 100 years before she was
out of her mind with the blood fever, literally starving with no clue
what she needed. She was basically feral, but because she was so young
and small his men had brought her to him and Heroku saw immediately that
she was a fresh turn that had no idea what was happening to her. Fresh
blood was brought and she immediately drank it down and asked for more,
smearing the blood across her face as she swiped her hand across her
mouth. She couldn’t get enough and before he knew it she had consumed
at least 3 pints.
Cami learned slowly about her new world but
chose to stay in the background of his life. Heroku had never had
children; he had been a Samurai of the fiercest kind, fighting for his
war lord with honor before he had been turned. A wife and children had
no place in such a brutal existence. Cami’s fear of the world touched
his heart and he grew to love the young woman a great deal. It took
years to get her to venture into the world and many more years to coax
her to go to college and live among humans. It had been difficult at
times but you did what you must for your children.
“This young man is Carl, yes? I met him at the party?”
“Yes. He is such a good man Otokooya. He knows about vampires and he doesn’t care; he wants to be with me. When I am ready.”
had already had Carl Davis checked out after he presented the list to
Josef, he did know that he was a good man. But knowing that she was a
vampire and being able to deal with it in a romantic situation were two
He nodded at Cami’s words, knowing that he must
have a talk with the young man. But in the meantime Cami’s fears must
be addressed and he wasn’t sure he was the right person to reassure her
because she was asking about the physical aspects of her love for him.
For her sake, he would try.
“Goreijou, you are afraid of the vampires needs in sexual intimacy?”
“Yes,” she said hesitantly. “I know that we must, um, we must bite but I don’t know how to do that.”
had never been willing to learn to feed fresh, no matter how hard he
had tried to coax her. Feeding fresh when she was first turned was much
easier than capturing human blood, especially without the human dying.
He knew that in many ways he had been a lax parent but it was so easy
to indulge her. Now she paid the price for his forestalling of the
it is not a thing to be afraid of, but you must learn the bite. It is
part of the expression of love and satisfaction for a vampire. My
daughter, you will learn to feed fresh now, learn the bite so that you
can move forward in your relationship with the good detective. This
coming weekend, you will learn.” He stood up and offered his hand to
her so that she might rise. She took it and bowed to him again,
understanding that his mind was made up and the conversation was over.
“Thank you Otokooya.” She smiled at him but he saw the fear that registered on her face.
tilted her head up and smiled at her, as effort to reassure her. His
eyes met hers and saw that she would be okay, even if she were scared.
Now, he had to figure out what to do with the other child of his heart
who might very well be in direct danger this night.
startled by the knock on his office door. He looked up and motioned
for the runner to come in. “From the lab sir. You wanted the results
“Yes, thank you very much.” He watched as the runner left
the office, closing the door behind him before tearing open the
envelope. He pulled the documents out and read them and suddenly his
world was turned upside down or inside out or something.
back into the seat of his chair heavily and leaned back, the chair
squeaking loudly. He glanced as the information again and closed his
eyes, definitely feeling sick to his stomach. His heart pounded wildly
and he pulled in one deep breath and then another trying to calm down a
This can’t possibly be right.
opened his eyes and read the results again, more carefully this time.
Two sets of prints were found in the room but one couldn’t be matched to
anyone. The second set belonged to Mick St. John, no surprise there
except they belonged to the Mick St. John he knew. The Mick St. John
who was about 30 years old.
that it was; they were a perfect match. Statistically speaking, it is
impossible for two people, regardless of how closely they are related to
have the same, exact fingerprints. Even twins didn’t share that
So how did the Mick St. John of today have the same fingerprints as the Mick St. John of 1952?
The Mick St. John that was his grandfather?
showed Lani around the house in Seattle and Lani was amazed at how
large it was as they made their way through all the bedrooms, the gym,
family room and kitchen.
“It is huge Beth!”
“Yes, it was a
hunting lodge when Mick bought it. I love it but it’s a good thing
that Mick is a clean freak because I wouldn’t want to clean it all by
myself!” she laughed.
“Yeah, no kidding. It is beautiful though; I can understand why you love it here.”
“Yes, but I’m more than ready to go home Lani.”
noticed that Beth was picking at her fingernails, a habit she had when
she was nervous. “Hey Beth, it’s all going to be okay, going home I
“Yes, maybe. Lani, Robbi hates me; the last two times I’ve talked to her she barely says anything and rushes off the phone.”
don’t take that too seriously Beth, she has a two week old infant to
deal with. She’s not exactly waxing eloquently with anyone right now.”
Lani hoped that her words were reassuring but she too had noticed that
Robbi was distancing herself and she could only hope that it was because
The girls had stepped back into the kitchen where Mick
was pouring drinks for Josef and him. Mick looked caught and guilty as
Lani noticed that what he was pouring was suspiciously red.
“Oh, we can do this later,” he said, stopping what he was doing.
“No Mick, it’s okay, really. I just think of it as tomato juice. Please, go ahead.”
cast a quick look at Josef who gave a slight shrug that did not go
unnoticed by Beth. Not sure what it was about she filed it away to ask
about later. “Lani, would you like something? Coffee or maybe some
tea?” She couldn’t help but wonder when Lani had seen someone drinking
“Something warm would be really nice; I’m kind of chilly.”
nodded and put a kettle on for tea, knowing that Lani didn’t drink
coffee very often. Lani was wearing a hoodie over a tee shirt and Beth
knew that the temp here must seem cool to a human. When she and Mick
were here for their honeymoon she had dressed warmly in order for the
temperature to be comfortable for Mick. “Tea coming up then,” she said
as she pulled a cup and saucer out of the cabinet and said, “Let’s sit
in the dining room; the view there is fantastic in there.” She set the
cup and saucer on the table in front of Lani, adding a container of
sugar and a spoon.
Mick sat glasses of blood on the table for
Josef, Beth and himself before taking a seat. “So were you two talking
about Robbi?” It was obvious that they had been since you can’t fool
“Yes, I’m so afraid she hates me. I don’t know
what to do.” The kettle started whistling loudly and Beth ran back into
the kitchen and grabbed it off the stove and poured the steaming water
into a small tea pot and added the tea bags before sitting it in front
of Lani to steep.
“Beth, I’m sure that isn’t true,” Mick tried to say, hoping to reassure her.
right Beth, I don’t think she hates you or me, but she’s hurt, really
hurt and some kind of explanation is going to have to be made.
Something other than what you’ve already told her that is because she
knows it’s not true.”
Beth took a sip of her blood and shuddered, making a face which both Josef and Mick noticed. “Something wrong baby?”
it’s just my stomach is really queasy, nerves I guess.” She shrugged
and took another sip, definitely feeling nauseous now. She pushed the
glass away and looked longingly at the tea. “Maybe some tea will settle
After she got a cup for herself she poured a cup
and took a tentative sip and as soon as she did it she knew it was going
to come back up. She made a mad dash to the bathroom off the kitchen
just in time. When she was done she splashed cold water on her face and
looked up to see Mick watching her with a worried expression marring
“Beth, you’re not okay. This, this shouldn’t be happening. What’s wrong?”
don’t know Mick. I feel terrible, jittery and like something is
definitely wrong.” She wrapped her arms around him and he held her
tightly for a moment. She buried her face into his neck and inhaled his
comforting scent and thought of the warm blood from Leah and Rich, how
good that had tasted.
“I’m just nervous; seeing Mom and Clark,
facing Robbi, it’s all really scary for me. I miss them all so much
Mick but I’m afraid they are going to see me as different now, that is
if Robbi will see me at all.”
At the table, even Lani could hear
what Mick and Beth were saying. She looked at Josef, pain showing
clearly on her face. He reached across the table and gently squeezed
her hand. “We’re going to make it alright Lani, Mick and I will make it
right I promise.”
Lani was as worried about Robbi as Beth was.
She knew their friend was deeply hurt and angry because she knew
instinctively that something had been kept from her. “We have to tell
them or we’ll have to write them out of our lives Josef. But even if we
do tell them, how do we know that she and Kevin can handle it? They
are very conventional people; I doubt if they have ever even considered
vampires.” Her words were spoken but Mick and Beth both heard them and
came back to the kitchen. Lani caught a deep breath when she saw how
pale Beth was.
“Beth, you really have to drink some of that O+,”
Josef told her, alarmed at how bad she looked. Normally by now a
vampire would be on a rampage for blood and that is exactly what he was
afraid of now. And as Lani was the only human in the vicinity he didn’t
want any problems. Maybe Beth wasn’t ready to come home after all.
right Bethy,” Lani said. She knew little of vampires but she knew that
Beth looked ready to collapse. “Please, for me? Just drink a little,”
Beth nodded and took a sip, then another. It tasted
terrible and didn’t sit well on her stomach but she wasn’t throwing it
up and that was something. After a few minutes and half a glass she
felt better as they discussed Robbi and Kevin.
“As much as I hate
the thought of more humans knowing, I think they have to be told if
either of you want to preserve your relationships with them. If you
want to walk away, then we keep quiet,” Josef said.
girls looked distressed he knew they would be talking to Robbi and
Kevin. Josef only hoped that they could be trusted, for all of their
A knock on the front door surprised them all, even the
vamps who had been so engrossed in the conversation they hadn’t heard
Tim and Mary arrive. “I’ll get it,” Mick said and headed into the foyer
to answer the door.
When Mick opened the door he saw Tim and
Mary, wearing broad smiles and each carrying a large box. “Hey, glad
you came over. Come on in,” Mick said, welcoming them into the house.
brought some apple and pear butter from you to take home to family and
friends. And some apple sauce for Beth’s friends little ones.” Mary
said as they headed into the dining room.
Beth was on her feet as
they entered, so happy to see them. When they set the boxes down she
hugged them both. “Thank you so much, I know everyone will love your
gift. Tim, Mary I want you to meet my friend Lani; Lani, this is Tim
Lani stood up and shook their hands with a smile.
Beth had talked a great deal about this couple who had come to mean so
much to her. “I am so happy to meet you finally,” she told them. “Beth
talks of you constantly! And she raves about all this,” she said,
motioning to the boxes of goodies.
“We’ve heard much about you as well Lani. What do you think of the area?”
“It’s lovely. As we flew in I could see how lush and green it all is – and the trees are huge!”
Beth looked disconcerted for a moment and then looked quickly down, as if she was embarrassed.
Wonder what that is about?
wrapped his arm around her and pulled her against him in a hug. “They
are beautiful. Tim, Mary, would you care for a drink?” he asked, trying
to steer the conversation in another direction so that Beth would
forget about her accident in the forest the week before.
“No, we’re fine Mick. We just wanted to come and say goodbye.”
“Well, please sit down for a bit anyway,” he told them and pulled out a chair for Mary who took it with a smile.
After they were seated Mary said, “When will you be leaving?”
helicopter will be back around 7:30 to pick us up and so we should be
in the air no later than eight. If all goes well anyway,” Josef said.
“Josef, you are looking remarkably well. Been a long time since we saw you. How’s business?”
“Good Tim! Do you read the quarterly reports we send on your investments? They are growing substantially.”
bet we do! You are a miracle man when it comes to money Josef and we
thank you kindly for it!” Tim said, with Mary nodding in agreement.
Josef had made them very wealthy and they appreciated it because it
allowed them to help the community here a good deal.
Josef cast a slightly surly look at Mick and said, “Well, that’s more than some people do I have to say.”
Mick grinned at his friend and said, “That’s what I have you for Josef, to keep an eye on all that!”
watched Beth with curious eyes; she was very nervous and fidgety. She
often got up and walked around the room, pausing here and there to pick
something up and then just as quickly set it down. She sipped
occasionally from her glass of blood but then grimaced when she did so.
When she started washing the cups and glasses Mary went to help her,
taking them from Beth’s hands as she noticed a tremor that made her
“Here Beth, let me.” She picked up the cloth and
washed and rinsed the cups and sat them in the drainer to dry. “What is
wrong Beth? You are very jumpy today,” she said with a smile.
don’t know Mary, I’m just really uneasy about going home. I mean, I
want to, but I keep wondering if they’ll still love me I guess. I’m not
exactly the same person who left there, you know?”
“In all the
ways that matter you are. It will be fine Beth, I promise you. They
will be so happy to see you again the rest of it won’t matter a bit.”
“Do you really believe that Mary?”
“I do.” She gave Beth a hug and they went back to the dining room to sit and chat with the others.
it was time for the helicopter to come back the men carried the luggage
down to the beach and returned for the boxes of gifts from Mary and
Tim. “I can’t believe how much stuff you’re taking back for heaven’s
sake! I didn’t send this much up here to begin with!” Josef groused as
he lifted a box that was heavily laden with apple butter.
rolled her eyes and looked around the foyer wistfully as they heard the
chopper coming in to land. “Well, it’s time to go,” she said and took a
step outside the door, with everyone following her. Mick pulled it
closed and ensured that it was locked and the alarm set before he
followed the group to the beach, catching up easily.
helicopter had just come to a landing as they got there. The bags and
boxes were carefully loaded in the cargo area and then it was time for
goodbyes. After Tim and Mary received hugs Tim noticed that Beth was
“There is no Cheyenne word for goodbye. Ip’tele’hap’o,”
he said with a raised hand that he moved along his chest, palm outward.
“That means ‘see you when you travel this way again.’ We’ve promised
to come to LA soon, so we’ll see you then.”
Beth nodded and
climbed aboard the helicopter and sat down and buckled in as Mick shut
the door and the automatic locks clicked into place. They lifted off
swiftly and soon they were over the sound and Tim and Mary couldn’t be
seen any longer, only the grayish waters of the sound.
long they spotted the small airport and saw the jet sitting on the
tarmac waiting for them. The sun was just beginning to dip into the
placid waters of the Pacific as they took off and banked south. Beth
sat back in her seat and stared out the window as Seattle fell away into
Mick sat beside her and squeezed her hand and grew
concerned as he felt how it trembled. He watched her swallow hard and
breathe deeply, as if she felt ill again.
“Beth, are you alright? You are very pale again.”
“No – yes. I don’t know. Why am I so scared Mick?”
don’t know baby, but it will be okay, really. Why don’t you feed a bit
more? Beth you are so pale that I’m really worried about you.”
nodded, the movement jerky as she swallowed hard again. She felt as if
she had a tennis ball bobbing in her throat. Mick went to the small
fridge on board and poured some blood into a tumbler for Beth to drink.
He caught Josef’s glance as he did so and realized that Josef was
worried as well.
Beth waited even though she really didn’t want
that cold, refrigerated blood but for Mick’s sake she would drink it.
Really, she wasn’t much hungry, but the blood might help her nerves.
She looked out the window to the east and saw the moon rising, full and
bright. The harvest moon her mom used to call it, when it was full and
orange-tinted. It was beautiful and looked huge sitting in the dark
diamond speckled sky.
Lani sat quietly, thinking about the day in
Seattle. Beth was still Beth but there was something wrong with her;
Lani didn’t know what it was but something wasn’t right. Maybe she was
just worried about going home, but Lani doubted it. If Beth were still
human Lani would swear that she was coming down with a bug, but vampires
couldn’t catch viruses could they? She didn’t think so, but then, what
did she really know.
She caught Beth gazing out the window at
the full moon and sighed, it was so beautiful. It reminded her of the
moon at Josef’s, the night they jumped off the cliff. It wasn’t full
that night of course, but it was still lovely. She absently stroked the
twin marks on her arm, marks that were nearly gone and she felt a
tingle in the pit of her stomach which for some strange reason caused a
blush to spread upwards. She caught Josef looking at her and quickly
lowered her eyes, avoiding his gaze.
When Lani rubbed his mark it
had sent a bit of electricity shooting straight to Josef; their
connection was strong, stronger than any he had ever experienced. It
scared him, he loved her and he had never managed to make love work in
his life – or last for that matter. He hoped with all his heart that he
wouldn’t hurt her, or that she wouldn’t hurt him. It was a sobering
thought for the young man’s heart that lived in an ancient vampire’s
It was a quiet trip home for them; all four were each lost
in their own thoughts. Beth had drunk a glass of blood for Mick and
fought the urge to vomit. She didn’t tell him that because he would
have worried even more than he already was. She wanted fresh blood, she
needed it but she was afraid to tell Mick that either. He was against
the idea of freshies but she was afraid that she couldn’t live without
them. Maybe it was just a matter of adapting, she wasn’t sure but she
was going to try; she promised herself that she could do it.
had discovered from Thor, (a very strange name for a modern man Heroku
thought) that Josef’s jet was due back to LA a little before 10:00 pm.
He planned to meet them at Mick and Beth’s home, but first he had a stop
to make. He hoped to be there when they returned home but as luck
would have it, it didn’t quite work out that way.
By the time the
limousine dropped the travelers off at Mick and Beth’s she was really
shaky and gripped the walls of the lift to stay upright. She and Lani
entered the loft and she immediately pulled her jacket off and headed
for the kitchen, knowing that Josef would have stocked in blood for
them. Lani followed her, keeping watch as Mick and Josef went back
downstairs to bring the rest of the bags up.
Lani pulled off the
hoodie because it was much warmer here. As she did so Beth saw her arm
and dropped the carafe of blood that she had been holding. It dropped
to the tiled floor and blood and glass sprayed everywhere in the
pristine kitchen. She flew over the kitchen counter and grabbed Lani’s
arm, looking at the two tiny puncture marks.
Lani tried to pull
back because she’d never seen Beth like this – her eyes were a deep,
brilliant blue with other colors swirling in them, almost like opals.
Yes, opals, that what they looked like she decided. “Beth?” she said as
she heard her growl, low and deep.
Beth scented Josef on Lani
now, the scent was all over her and Beth couldn’t believe that she
hadn’t picked up on it earlier. Another growl issued forth from her and
she said, “Josef! He bit you!” For a moment Beth was momentarily
mesmerized by the river of deep blue veins that seemed to pulse on
Lani’s neck and arm.
She needed blood, fresh blood but not
Lani’s – never Lani’s she knew. She dropped Lani’s arm as she heard
Josef and Mick come in the door and Beth sprang at Josef, going for his
throat. “You bit her!” she growled. She was totally vamped out and she
needed blood, real blood. The elevator dinged and suddenly she caught
the scent, the scent of what she needed.
Heroku panicked for a
moment as he heard the tone in Beth’s voice. Was he too late he
wondered, heading quickly to the door? He motioned to Kenji to wait
outside for a moment while he stepped into the loft, quickly assessing
Mick was shielding Lani, figuring that Josef
could hold his own with Beth when he heard the elevator and footsteps in
the hallway outside the door, which they had left open when he and
Josef realized that Beth was vamped out.
“Lani, run!” a voice
from the doorway said and they all looked up to see Heroku standing
there. “RUN NOW!” Lani scooted around Beth and Josef and ran out the
door, stabbing the elevator button over and over until the door opened.
She ran to her car downstairs, glad that she had the keys in her
Beth was growling again, fangs fully extended and Heroku
spoke calmly to her. “Beth, you need blood, you need to feed.” He
stepped out the door and brought a young man in, but stood protectively
in front of him. “He is going to feed you, but you need to control
yourself first. Can you do that?” He talked in a hushed, urgent tone
of voice and Mick and Josef both realized that he was using allure to
help calm Beth.
She eyed the young man and spotted the veins on
his neck and lifted her head to scent his blood. Fresh blood. She took
a step towards him, knowing instinctively that this was her only
With arms wide open
Now everything has changed
I'll show you love
I'll show you everything
With arms wide open
With arms wide open
The end that is just a beginning…
I want to thank each and every one of you that have read and enjoyed
the story as well as those who have taken time to comment. Your kind
words and gracious appreciation always make the difference to a writer,
they inspire us and encourage us to keep going, to continue with the
story. Your feedback is a precious gift to me, thank you with all my
I also want to say thank you to Moonlightlover60 and
VampFan5, both of whom have played such important parts in this story.
Lynn, you exquisite pictures inspire me and help to bring this story to
life. Julia, you are my partner in crime, my sounding board and I
wouldn’t know what to do without those Wednesday night calls that help
keep me on course.
The next story is called Barely Breathing and
takes up right where this one left off, no worries. I’ll have
information and pictures posted for it very soon and I anticipate that
we will start the story on Thursday, March 8.
Again, thank you
all, my Moonlight family and thank you Mick and Beth for bringing us
together and being the wonderful inspiration that lights the way!