Chapter 2 Enlightenment
“What the hell do you mean
‘genetic imperative’?” Mick asked, rising from the couch with a low
growl. He didn’t like the sound of that at all.
the young vampire and sat still, allowing Mick to get past the anger he
was surely feeling. Beth sat quietly, lightly scratching at a thumb
nail, her face a mask of concentration. She knew what he had said was
Beth looked at Mick who was vamped out, so angry he literally shook with it as he fought for control.
he’s right. I – I don’t know how I know but I do.” She watched her
mate as he looked around the room, trying to calm down. Finally he sat
back down next to her, his head hanging low in confusion and doubt.
all day I’ve felt ‘off’, I guess you could say. Jittery, not sure what
was wrong. But I also kept thinking about fresh blood, all day. Every
sip I took from the glass made my stomach churn, but it also made me
more convinced that I needed fresh. By the time we got home I was
almost out of my head with the need Mick.” She picked up his hand and
traced her finger over his, trying to soothe him, to connect with him.
looked at her and saw that she really believed what she said and
wondered if it could be true. He’d never heard of a vamp that had to feed fresh. Wanted to, but had to? He looked at Heroku who still sat quietly, obviously waiting for questions.
“Heroku, who are these, uh, Qamar al-atfal, Children of the Moon? Are you one of them?” Mick asked.
I am but a Guardian Mick. They are ancient vampires, of a very
specific blood line that hold the secrets to vampirism.” He didn’t tell
them of his role as Guardian in the Brotherhood of the Moon; at this
point he decided they had enough information to think about.
“Does it have to do with my AO- blood then?”
“No Beth, it does not, but beyond that I may not discuss; not until I speak with those who are involved.”
“The Qamar al-atfal you mean?”
“Yes Mick. This is not for me to reveal; testing will have to be done to determine if Beth is one of the descendents.”
“And if she is not? What then? Why the strange attributes she has?”
I do not have answers for Mick. Patience is required here. They will
contact you. Just remember Beth, come another full moon do not delay to
feed fresh. Other than at that time it matters not. And she can taste
food and digest it Mick,” he said, rising to his feet. He offered them
both a slight bow, which was an unusual sign of obeisance for him to
perform but if he were correct (and he felt positive he was) it was
Beth and Mick both stood up and looked nervously at
him, realizing he was leaving and they had so many more questions. “I,
I don’t understand all this Heroku,” Beth told him.
and tilted her chin up to meet his eyes and responded, “In time you
shall understand all little one.” He turned and left the loft without
another glance at them.
Mick and Beth both sank back down onto
the couch, puzzled expressions on both of their faces. “This isn’t
real, right? How can it be Mick? Something is obviously wrong with me
and he doesn’t want to tell me.”
Mick was quiet for a few minutes
as he thought over what had just happened. He had known Heroku for
probably 30 years or so; the man was not prone to exaggeration or
hysterics. He told them the truth as he believed it to be; Mick trusted
that. But why all the secrecy? What special kind of vamp could she be
for heaven’s sake?
“Baby, there is nothing wrong with you, I
mean if you are worried that you are ill or that the turning didn’t take
or something. It did, but you do have some different attributes and it
looks like we’re going to have to wait to find out more about them.
The one thing I do believe is that Heroku was telling the truth – I’ve
never heard of the Children of the Moon, but I believe they exist. We
can speak with Josef, see what he knows and I’ll do some investigating
on my own. Someone has to know something about them.”
Josef.” Anger started to creep back over her, and her eyes flashed for a
moment as she imagined getting her hands on him. “He bit her Mick, BIT
her,” she said punctuating the sentence with curse.
“I know, but Beth, there are things you don’t know about it.”
“And you do?”
a little bit. In Seattle, I scented him on her and when you and Lani
walked to the house I confronted him with it. I was plenty mad, let me
“And yet you didn’t kick his ass,” she said, growing more angry by the second.
I did threaten him,” he said and watched her slow simmer coming to a
full boil. “Look, they uh, apparently, it was a mutual decision. Sort
of anyway. He got shot protecting her and Tango said that the only way
he could feel the effects of the alcohol was if he drank blood with a
high alcohol content and she got drunk and…”
“WHOA! Wait a damn minute! She was drunk?
That bastard! How dare he take advantage of her like that?” She
stood up, preparing to go and find Josef. The whole story sounded
preposterous to her actually. And who the hell was Tango? How did
Josef get shot? Mutual decision? Not likely; Lani was terrified of
vampires and didn’t like Josef in particular. So what was she even
doing with him in the first place? The questions all came out in a
jumble and Mick tried to sort through them so that he could tell her
what he knew.
“Sit down Beth, okay? C’mon baby, just sit down,
please?” he asked and watched as she tried to get her emotions under
control. Finally she sat down and looked at him expectantly, waiting
“I don’t have answers for all of that, but here’s
what I do know. They had been out to dinner and stopped to walk along a
beach and some thugs came by and threatened Lani and tried to steal the
Ferrari.” Mick watched as Beth rolled her eyes at the last bit and had
to work hard to keep a smile off of his face; that car was like Josef’s
baby and he’d take anyone out that tried to steal it. “Anyway, Josef
killed them but not before he was shot twice. He called Tango, who is
the new head of the cleaners, taking Katrina’s place. He and Josef have
known one another for a really long time and no, I don’t know just how
long. Lani insisted he drink her blood, even threatening to cut herself
with a knife and make him drink her blood if he didn’t. Sound
It did unfortunately; Beth had told Lani about the
desert and evidently her friend had taken in to heart. What she didn’t
understand was how Josef and Lani had gotten so close while she and Mick
had been gone.
“I don’t have the answer to that Beth, you’ll
have to get the story from Lani, or maybe I should say the scoop,” he
teased. She was finally starting to relax a bit and so did Mick. He
needed some blood and asked if she wanted some.
“No, not right
now Mick,” she told him, still thinking about the possibilities of Josef
and Lani being – together? Really? It seemed impossible.
“Okay, how about some wine then?”
sounds good.” She watched her mate get up and head into the kitchen
and then stop dead in his tracks. She suddenly remembered why.
was blood everywhere in the kitchen and broken glass too. It had
splattered everywhere and was starting to dry. There had been a strong
scent of blood in the loft be he had attributed it to Kenji’s blood. He
looked up and saw Beth come to stand beside him, staring at the mess.
sorry. I – I had a carafe of blood in my hands when I spotted the
marks on Lani’s arm; I guess I dropped it. Here, I’ll clean it up
Mick,” she told him, going to the closet to pull out a broom and the mop
“No Beth, why don’t you go and relax a bit and I’ll
do it; it’ll be okay. Let me get you that wine first.” He pulled out a
bottle of her favorite Pinot Noir and uncorked the bottle with a ‘pop’
and then poured a glass for her.
She took it and continued to
stare at the mess she had made, shaking her head at it. “I can’t
believe I did that; it’s just that when I saw those marks and went
crazy. I knew that it was Josef – I mean, I’d smelled him on her on the
jet and in Seattle, except that I didn’t realize then that it was his smell, you know?”
smiled; she’d never scented Josef as a vamp before so he understood why
she didn’t recognize his scent at first. He gave her a quick hug and
sent her back to the living room with a quick pat on her gorgeous ass to
get her moving. “Go on now, I’ll be done soon and we’ll relax
She nodded and headed back to the couch, sitting down
on the soft leather and tucking her feet under her. She took a sip of
the wine and then leaned her head back against the couch, still thinking
about Lani and Josef and the whole day actually. What am I she
wondered? A vampire or some type of hybrid or something even stranger?
Will this affect how Mick feels about me?
Another sip of the
warming liquid brought another sigh and more confusion. How would she
feel if Lani and Josef did get together? Could either one of them
handle a relationship with the other? Lani didn’t do relationships
well, they never lasted and as angry as she still was at Josef she
didn’t want to see him hurt. After seeing him with Sarah in New York
she knew that he could love deeply and tenderly; is that what he would
offer Lani? She deserved that and so much more; did he understand that
and could he manage to not hurt her?
Lani had had a rough
childhood; Beth didn’t think she was beaten or abused physically but she
had never been happy at home. The times she seemed the happiest were
when her parents would be gone for sometimes months at a time, leaving
Lani with the housekeeper. That was no kind of life for a child and
Beth and Dorothy and Robbi had tried so hard to be a surrogate family
Those thoughts made her realize that she needed to call
her mother and Robbi. How on earth did they tell her? What would they
tell her? Was it already too late to save that friendship?
finished cleaning up the kitchen but he realized that the hardwood
floors needed better cleaning that the mop and bucket. He decided to
call the cleaners tomorrow and see what they could do for it. After
pouring himself a glass of blood tinged with some O+ he headed into the
living room and found Beth lost in thought.
“Hey, you’re supposed to be relaxing,” he told her, brushing her hair back away from her face and kissing her lightly.
was just thinking about Robbi. Mick, I don’t even know what to say to
her; I’m so afraid I’m going to lose her friendship and I don’t know –
know how to deal with that. She’s my sister, in almost every way
possible,” she told him as tears started to streak her face.
“Hey, hey Beth – we’ll figure it out, okay? It’ll be okay baby; she’ll understand when she hears the story.”
but that means there are more humans out there that know our secret.
Maybe, since I can still eat and stuff, maybe we don’t have to tell
“I suppose that is a possibility but Beth, you’ve said
yourself that she already knows that you and Lani are sharing a secret
that she isn’t a part of. That wall that is starting to go up will only
get bigger if you don’t tell her. We’ll figure out about the secret
part, okay? We’ll do our best to help them to understand that they
can’t tell anyone.” He tilted her chin up and kissed her again, a soft
kiss of understanding and love. She sighed, leaning against him and
sipping her wine again.
“Okay, we’ll figure it out.” She laid her
head against his shoulder and felt his strength and support flow
through her. They’d both had a big shock today and if they didn’t pull
together then she was afraid of what might happen to them; she’d do
anything possible to keep that from happening. She tipped up the wine
glass and finished the last swallow and then moved to sit in his lap and
wrapped her arms around his shoulders, laying her cheek against his.
finished his wine and sat his glass on the coffee table next to hers
and pulled her tightly to him, loving the feel of her in his arms. He
decided to push the thoughts of this day away; tomorrow was soon enough
to worry about it all. Right now he was holding his Beth in his arms
and this was the most important thing in the world. His lips found
hers, claiming them with urgency that they both surrendered to.
closeness, the delicious connection that they shared moved them both,
made them feel so alive. Beth nestled into his arms as he drank from
her love, lips clinging and hearts speaking of the passion and joy they
“Oh Mick, I’m so happy. I know tonight was hard for us all, but surely it will get better, don’t you think?”
“Happy to be home?”
yes. But happy in a broader, more existential sense I guess. I love
you, I love my life. I’m anxious about why I’m different Mick, but I
feel okay, now that we know what was going on tonight, sort of anyway. I
can’t help but wonder what it all means though.” She sighed and tried
to fight off a yawn. It had been a hard day, not only for her, but for
Mick as well. Worry and stress had taken their toll on him as well.
“Hey, how about we go to bed? I know you are exhausted Beth, and I sort of am too.”
bed sounds good, but that tiny freezer of yours is going to seem really
cramped compared to what we are used to,” she said with a laugh,
climbing off of his lap. She stood up and stretched, feeling cramped
muscles flex with the motion.
“First thing we do is go and buy a new one, whatever you want, okay?”
“Okay, it’s just one night, right?”
waited at the bottom of the stairs as he made sure the doors were
locked and turned off lights. Together they climbed the stairs and
stood before the gray door.
“Wow Mick, I’m going to be sharing your sanctuary with you. Is that okay?”
wouldn’t have it any other way Beth. That has been such a lonely place
for me baby, I welcome you.” He opened the door and they stepped in
and both of them started laughing at the same time.
“Remind me to thank Josef after I stake him, okay?” she said, grinning at the beautiful freezer that stood proudly in the room.
“You got it. Just don’t hurt him too badly, I kinda like him!”
nodded in agreement and fell asleep in Mick’s arms, thinking of 101
ways to torture Josef for biting Lani – all without really hurting him.
rolled over in bed and slowly opened one eye and saw that it was
beginning to get light outside. The clock said 6:22 and she sighed;
even though she’d only gotten a few hours of sleep she felt alive and
happy; happier than she had ever felt in her life. She glanced down at
the man who was resting beside her and grinned as memories of their
night emerged from her sleepy brain.
Beth had told her once that
vampires didn’t have an off switch and she now understood that; Josef
was like the energizer bunny, he just never stopped until she was
exhausted in the best possible way.
Her fingers crept up and
lightly touched the bite marks on her neck. Instead of feeling tender
or sore they felt…alive. They had made love 3 times and each time she
had felt his fangs in her neck she had shattered with release. He
hadn’t really taken much blood after that first time, but just his mouth
on the spot, his spot had brought her a deeply rooted joy and
completeness unlike anything she had ever experienced before.
watched him in the quickly dissolving shadows as he slept, if that is
what vampires did. He didn’t breath, just lay completely still. He
looked so young, so much younger than his normal 25 years or so,
boyishly handsome and at peace. Her eyes slowly crept down his body,
admiring the strong shoulders and taut stomach and further down, his
manhood at rest and still managing to make her want him again. She
looked closer and spotted what looked like a birthmark low on his hip
bone. She leaned closer to see it and he suddenly raised his head and
said, “Can’t get enough huh?”
She stuck her tongue out at him and
then traced a finger over the birthmark that resembled a cross. She
chuckled when his slumbering manhood jerked in response. She wiggled
her finger over the mark and laughed as he squirmed. “Ticklish?”
“Of course not,” he declared and then had to fight to keep from squirming even more and erupting into a fit of laughter.
Her finger went back to the mark, looking at it a bit closer. “Um, birthmark?”
“Yes, or curse, take your pick.”
“Supposedly. All the men in my family have them, or at least they used to.”
“Um, sounds fascinating. Do tell.” She moved upwards and leaned on her elbows so that she could watch him.
believe I need to claim a prize for the story,” he told her with a
grin. He crooked his finger in an attempt to draw her near so he could
kiss her. “Good morning,” he whispered against her lips.
morning to you as well. So, you’ve had your prize, now what about the
birthmark? It looks more like a tattoo really, it’s so well defined.”
raised his arms behind his head and got comfortable to tell his tale.
“My great-great and so on grandfather took part in the crusades, the
ninth crusade to be exact, in 12 90. Old Peadar Corraidh fought hard
but was captured at Tripoli. He was held prisoner for several years and
tortured and supposedly he was branded with the Christian cross as a
reminder that they lost those battles and that Christianity was doomed
to fail as well. It was really a curse, so the story goes.”
“But brandings do not show up in future generations, so obviously that wasn’t true.”
grinned and said, “Well, try telling that to 17th century folk who are
extremely superstitious. All the boys had the mark but I don’t think
any of the girls did,” he said with a shrug.
“Wow, I’m amazed I
guess. Corraidh, was that your name, your family name that is?” It
didn’t roll well off her tongue and she grinned as he repeated it
several times in an effort to coach her at it.
He was thoughtful
for a moment; he’d never revealed his real name to anyone, not even
Mick. She watched him with trusting eyes as he debated the question and
answer. She didn’t seem impatient, only waited for him to speak.
“Yes, that was my name Lani.”
She swallowed hard, realizing that
she had just been told something he didn’t often reveal. “Did you have a
first name or would you have to kill me if you tell me?” she teased, a
slight smile on her face.
“Niall. It was Niall.” He hadn’t said
that word for centuries; he’d left that name and that life behind him
when Lola offered him a way out of the life he had hated.
could only look at him, loving him and knowing she would take that
secret to her grave. She straddled him and leaned down to kiss him and
felt his arms wrap around her body, holding her close.
“Lani, I love you.”
words were spoken so quietly she wondered for a moment if she had
actually heard them. She pulled her head back for a moment to stare
into his beautiful eyes, eyes that right then were reflecting his words.
“I love you Josef.” There, she’d said the words that she had never ever said to a man in her life.
reached up and tucked a stray strand of her hair behind her ear and
then traced a finger lightly over her lips. Lani leaned down to kiss
him again at the same time slipping him into her body that was aching to
feel him again. She sat upright and leaned back a bit, moving up and
down on him, her eyes closed as she concentrated on the feeling of him
She was beautiful; the morning light was a mellow
glow that washed over her body almost like a halo. She rode him with
abandon, her head thrown back as the tremors shook her body with her
climax. Josef let himself go and bit into his shoulder; he’d already
bitten her three times and he was afraid of hurting her with another.
she lay down, her body resting on his and he held her close, cherishing
how her body fit against his with perfection. He rolled her over to
her side and felt her snuggle into him, warm sweet breath against his
neck and a leg thrown over his. Soon her breathing was slow and regular
and he realized she had fallen asleep. He pulled her closer and rested
again, wishing that they never had to leave this place, that she would
always be in his arms.
To be continued…