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

Monday, April 30, 2012

Chapter 16 Logical Confusion

Mick scented Logan before the knock came on the door. Beth was out working on recruiting reporters for Buzzwire so he was alone in the loft. Just as Logan knocked he opened the door and stood grinning at his one-time fledgling. Audrey had really helped to bring him out of his basement shell and Mick stepped aside, letting the young vamp into the loft.

“Hey Logan, what brings you over here?” he asked as he poured them both a glass of O-. He watched as Logan sat in a chair opposite the couch and nervously fidgeted with the zipper on his hoodie. Mick wondered if he was upset about Katrina’s execution because he’d been pretty pissed that day. Mick mentally shrugged and hoped that whatever was on his mind wasn’t that. He didn’t have long to wait to find out exactly what it was.

Logan took a nervous sip of his blood and then licked his lips and said, “Mick, I - I want…I’m thinking about asking Audey to marry me. Should I?”

Mick smiled and held back snicker. “Isn’t it about time Logan? You love each other, right?”

“Well yeah, but she could do so much better than me!” the young vamp exclaimed sadly.

“What the hell makes you think that?”

“Well, I’m just a nerdy geek, a computer guy who traces phone calls and plays Guitar Hero. Why would she want to marry me?”

“Logan, cut the shit. You’re building a house together, a life together. Don’t you think she’s probably wondering why you haven’t proposed yet? You love her, right?”

“YES, okay, I love her crazy Mick.”

“But you’re scared, I get that.”

“Were you scared with Beth?”

“Hell yes - each step we took in our relationship terrified me but I can tell you from experience that it is so worth it all Logan. All the worry was for naught; I’m pretty much the happiest guy I know. Marry her Logan, she’s good for you.”

“How did you ask Beth?”

“It was pretty easy because Josef was kicking me in the ass and began planning the wedding. He told he it was going to happen with or without him. I’d actually asked Beth before then, but that wasn’t really a real proposal. Do it right Logan; buy the ring, make it special to show her how much you love her.”

“Yeah, I guess I could do that. I - uh, will you come with me to buy a ring for her because I don’t know anything about that.”

“Sure, I’ll be glad to. Right now?”

“If you don’t have anything else to do.”

“I’m all yours Logan. Let’s go. Has Audrey ever talked about being turned?”

“No, not exactly; she just sort of acts like it’s a logical conclusion that I’ll turn her.”

Mick could feel his pain and confusion and knew that he would have had a hard time turning Beth if it hadn’t been for Kelly. And Katrina…

“I don’t know if it’s logical - I’m confused as hell but I know I want to be with her forever.”

Mick grinned and patted Logan on the back as they waited for the elevator. Mick understood his fear and it was very logical; Logan just wasn’t there yet. But he would be one of these days and Mick was going to buy tickets for that one!


Beth spent the afternoon at UCLA, placing notices on bulletin boards that Buzzwire was looking for on-line reporters. She stopped in to speak to one of her old professors in the school of communication and enjoyed the visit.

“I was sad to see you leave Buzzwire Beth but you got out of there in the nick of time,” Professor Andrea Katz told her.

Beth had always admired Professor Katz, a respected reporter on her own, she had freelanced for CNN and most of the major news outlets. Beth had learned more from her than she’d ever be able to thank her for.

“Well, I left when Grant took over and I’m glad I did.”

“Do you think you’ll be able to bring it back to some sort of interesting professional journalism standards? Not that there wasn’t always a bit of sleaze to it,” she joked.

Beth laughed and said, “I hope so. Max and I have high hopes for it. We really need some great young talent though so if you hear anything please let me know!”

“I have a couple of ideas,” she said as she jotted a couple of names down on a piece of paper. I don’t have their numbers but I do have their email addresses so contact them and let them both know I gave you’re their names. Hope it helps!”

Beth took the piece of paper and grinned at it, so happy to have a lead. “Thank you so much Professor Katz. I really appreciate your help.”

“Anytime Beth. Let me know if I can do anything else!”

Beth nodded and walked out of the office, feeling just a bit more optimistic than when she’d entered. Maybe this was going to work after all!


Logan hadn’t been kidding when he said that he knew nothing about buying an engagement ring for Audrey. Most of what he looked at first Mick thought looked like something that came out of a Cracker Jack box; in other words flashy and gaudy.

As soon as they walked into the store they were spotted by a sales person who doubted that Logan was prosperous enough to pay for anything they had to offer but a few quick looks for the tall, well-dressed man with him quickly brought his nose down an inch or two and he finally decided to be somewhat helpful. He figured that the dark broody one was probably footing the bill and guided them to the expensive section of the shop.

After looking at a half a dozen totally inappropriate rings Mick finally said, “Logan, think about Audrey when you make your selection. What would she like? Would she feel comfortable wearing something like this?” Mick pointed to the totally gaudy diamond and ruby ring that was more fit for royalty than for Audrey.

“I don’t know what she’d like.” Logan looked at all the rings in the case in panic and Mick knew that he was losing him.

“Okay, think about it like this - is she flamboyant or understated?”

“Um, understated I guess. Kind of shy.”

“Does she wear much jewelry Logan?”

“Only a small locket that was her mother’s most of the time. Uh, tiny little earrings sometimes too.”

“Okay, great. Now thinking about that, would she feel comfortable in a ring like this,” Mick said pointing to the 3 carat monstrosity, “Or a smaller but equally beautiful ring?” The second ring was around a carat and was lovely Mick thought.

“I suppose she’d probably like the smaller one. But I love her Mick, I want her to have the best!” he said.

The sales person spoke up and interjected, “Of course you do! She’d love this lovely 3.2 carat diamond set.”

Mick looked at him and showed a bit of gleaming fang; just enough so that it looked a bit scary but not enough that he could really see how big and sharp they were. The sales person recognized that wasn’t a friendly grin and lowered his head a fraction of an inch, acceding to Mick’s guidance.

“Logan, it isn’t the size that says ‘I love you’, it’s how the ring catches the sentiments of your love. How every time she looks at it she sighs happily because it reminds her of you and how much she loves you.”

Logan nodded, finally understanding what Mick was trying to explain. But he was still confused; there were so many choices.

Mick saw the indecision on his face and said, “Does she like diamonds? Or maybe sapphires or emeralds or rubies? An engagement ring can have any of those or a combination of them. What color does she like?”

“Blue, she really likes blue Mick.”

“Great, now how about a blue sapphire, with some diamonds on it?”

Logan’s face lit up and they were finally on the right track. His eyes kept going back to a lovely 1 carat blue sapphire, cut into a heart shape with tiny diamonds surrounding it. Mick knew he’d made his choice. “You like that one huh?”

“Yeah, I do. Do you think she’ll like it?”

“I think she’ll love it Logan. It’s perfect for her.”


Logan nodded and the sales person couldn’t help but feel a bit of resentment towards Mick but one more fierce look from the tall, dark and fearsome one quieted any true protests before they actually took voice. He rang the ring up and was shocked when Logan pulled out his own credit card to pay for the ring and even slightly more surprised when it cleared the sale.

Who could tell these days, he thought with a shrug.

Logan walked out of the jewelry store feeling about 10 feet tall and Mick wore a smile at least that wide. He put his arm around Logan’s shoulder and congratulated him; he was so happy for the young vampire.

“So, when is the big proposal?”

“I don’t know, soon I guess. I- I want to do it right, like you said. Mick, what’s ‘right’?”

“Plan something that you both enjoy Logan. ‘Right’ is different for every couple. You could take her out somewhere, or do it at home. Just don’t do something cheesy, like putting it in a wine glass or cake or something, okay? Just make it simple and heartfelt and I guarantee she’ll say yes.”

Logan nodded and pulled the box out and opened it, staring at the ring all the way back to the loft. In the garage he got out to get into his car and Mick said, “That’s your next purchase Logan, a new car!” He grinned and pointed at the aging VW Bug with his index finger.

“Whatever,” Logan said, hopping in and cranking the engine. It started every time so what was Mick complaining about anyway. “You’re a great car so don’t listen to him,” Logan said as he patted the dashboard and drove off. Mick didn’t know everything!



Mick saw that Beth still wasn’t home and decided that it was time to go and talk to Josef about the Ben situation. He wasn’t looking forward to it which was why it was better to get it over with before Josef found out about it someone. He didn’t know how that would happen but if there was one thing Mick knew it was that Josef seemed to find out everything.

Mick pulled into the lot at Kostan Industries and was waved through by the guard. It was now a locked down parking garage since the building had been blown up. You could only get in one way and if you didn’t have an appointment or know the magic word you were out of luck. It was actually better this way because Josef was right; he had enemies and it was high time he acknowledge it.

At Thor’s desk Mick stopped briefly. “Is he available?”

“For you always Mr. St. John. However, I believe Ms. Parker is with him at the moment.” Thor smiled as he glanced at the door.

“Perhaps you should buzz him before I go in Thor,” Mick laughed as he heard some heavy breathing on the other side of the door and waited as Josef answered the intercom with a fierce, “WHAT?”

“Mr. St. John is here to see you sir. May I send him in?”

They heard a huge sigh followed by what sounded like the rustling of clothes and finally Josef mumbled to send him in. Mick laughed again and threw an amused wink at Thor since they both knew that Josef and Lani had been getting a bit friendly in the room.

“Okay, break it up!” Mick teased, noting Lani’s embarrassed flush and the smear of coral lipstick on Josef’s mouth and jaw. Mick grinned and lightly touched his own mouth and jaw indicating to Josef that he might want to take a swipe at it.

Lani smoothed her skirt down and took a step towards the door but halted as she realized that Mick was standing in front of it. Not wanting to cause her further embarrassment he stepped far away from it, heading to the bar across the room to give her a chance to escape any more notice.

As he picked up the bottle of scotch he held it up and Josef said, “Yes! A tall one!”

Mick carried the two glasses to the desk and sat them down before taking his own seat. He noticed that Josef had wiped away the lipstick but wisely said nothing about it.

“I had a visit from Carl yesterday and he had some interesting news for me.” Mick filled Josef in and waited for him to mull it over.

“A daughter and a grandson. I’ll be damned,” Josef exclaimed and Mick almost choked on the sip of scotch at his words. Some say that vampires are damned, but then if that were the case how’d he get so lucky with Beth?

“Yeah, well.” Mick cleared his throat and continued, “My daughter hates me, which I totally understand and I somehow doubt that Ben is going to be thrilled to welcome me since he apparently hates this Mick,” he said, tapping his chest.

“That is the problem, isn’t it,” Josef said with a snarl. “Not the fact that you and your past have come close to exposing all of us way too many times!”

Mick let the words sink in and tried to keep his temper in check. He managed it, almost. He sat his glass down on the desk so hard it almost broke and leaned forward, his hands gripping the edge of the desk and said, “Yes, and you’re past never has done that has it Josef? Almost got you killed or others? Whitley, Lola? Those names ring a bell with you?”

Josef had the grace to look shamefaced, but somehow still defiant. “Well, it’s your turn this time. I suppose you’re ready to embrace the lad and bring him into the fold?”

“I don’t know what I want to do Josef, not yet. I think Carl is right and that at some point he’s going to come to me and so there had better be a game plan before then.”

“Take them out, that’s the wisest choice,” Josef said, rising to his feet and turning to look out the window.

Mick’s eyes opened wide in response and he was around the desk and had Josef by the collar before the older vamp knew what had happened. “You son of a bitch, that is NOT the answer. Now, are you going to be an asshole or are you going to help me figure this out?” Mick stared into Josef’s eyes daring him to say something else stupid.

How could Josef explain that part of that answer was pure jealously, envy? Mick had a daughter, a grandson. Suddenly, because of Lani those things now seemed like a precious commodity and they’d never happen. True, the logical thing to do was to remove the threat, but the jealousy had egged him on to make that thoughtless suggestion.

Mick let go and Josef tugged at his tie in an effort to resume his self-control but it didn’t quite come off right. He only looked troubled and vulnerable Mick thought but wisely said nothing.

“So did Carl have any ideas?” Josef asked.

“None, other than to be prepared for questions and I’m sure he’s right that they’ll come; Ben is a very curious guy. His mother and my daughter by the way is Catherine McFarland.”

Josef’s eyebrows rose a fraction and the smile that came to him made Mick stare in confusion. “You know her?”

“Oh yeah, I know her.” He laughed and added, “Let me handle this, okay? I got you covered!”

“What the hell Josef?”

“Just relax Mick, seriously. Give me a few days and we’ll have a solution. Now boyo, I have other business to take care of so, uh, see you later!” He walked to the door, practically pushing Mick out of it and ignored Mick’s protestations and demands that Josef tell him what was going on.

Josef grinned and thought it was a really small world - it really was!

To be continued…

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Chapter 15 Healing the Wounds

Thank you Lynn for the great story pic!

Beth glanced at her watch nervously as she sat at a table in El Pollo Real and sipped her glass of water. Robbi was 5 minutes late and she was never late for anything! Had she decided not to come? Beth fought the impulse to call her and ask and decided to wait for a few more minutes before trying that. Just then her phone rang and she saw that it was Robbi.

“Hello, Robbi? Is everything okay?”

“Yes, I’m sorry I’m running late but getting two kids ready to leave the house is sometimes such a challenge. I should be there in about 10 more minutes.”

“Okay, glad things are fine. I’ll see you when you get here Robbi.”

At least she was coming Beth thought! She dipped a chip into the salsa and bit down, tasting the salsa caliente with a happy smile. She didn’t understand why she could still eat food but she was happy about it. At first, after Mick got over the shock of it she worried that he might resent her ability but he seemed to be okay with it. They hadn’t heard anything more from Heroku and Beth couldn’t help but wonder what else he knew.

Mick had told her that after the poker game last week he and Josef had spoken with him and he had said that if her were correct about her genetics that she was royalty! Beth had to laugh at that. Vampire royalty? Give me a break!

Still, she was different and some of the differences worried her. As time went on she became more and more susceptible in the cold of the freezer and had taken to using a blanket so that she and Mick could sleep together. It actually worked out okay because he could turn the temp down to a more comfortable level for him and she slept fine too.

But why was she so different? Something else she had figured out that she hadn’t told Mick about yet because she didn’t know how he would take it was that she could ‘see’ him in her mind wherever he was. Literally see him; when he was playing poker, when he talked to Carl, it was all clear as if it were right in front of her face. Weird, that one was just weird. So far it hadn’t happened with anyone else though and she was thankful for that.

She looked and saw Robbi carrying Brian in his carrier seat and she stood up to help get him situated. He was hungry apparently and was chewing on his fist. Beth grinned at him and laughed and he looked at her with beautiful blue eyes.

“Does he see clearly now?” she asked because she’d read somewhere that babies didn’t see clearly for awhile.

“Sure, I think. He will look at you when you are talking, so he at least knows where you are. He even is starting to smile and I don’t believe for a moment that it is gas!”

“Robbi, he is so beautiful!” Beth said wistfully as she stroked her finger down his soft cheek.

The sad look on Beth’s face hurt Robbi; she remembered that Beth and Mick were trying to have a baby before she was turned. She wondered if female vampires were able to get pregnant so she asked.

“Well, actually vampires can’t have kids, naturally that is. Last spring Mick took a temporary cure, which is another story in itself but during that week he was human he had his sperm frozen. We were having artificial insemination done when I was attacked so a baby won’t be possible now.” She leaned forward and whispered the words to Robbi but doubted if anyone in the noisy restaurant heard her. Still, it wasn’t exactly a safe subject.

Robbi immediately reached across the table and touched Beth’s hand. “Oh Bethy, I’m so sorry. How horrible.” She saw quick tears spring to Beth’s eyes and then watched as Beth swiped them away quickly.

“Yeah, it…well I had really hoped that maybe. But it wasn’t meant to be, so it has to be okay. We’re considering adoption or maybe even a donor egg and a surrogate. We both know that we want a child.”

Robbi glanced at the menu quickly so that she could feed Brian before her meal got there and when the server came both girls ordered lunch and then Robbi pulled a bottle out of the bag. On impulse she said, “Beth, would you like to feed him?” and was rewarded with a wide smile from Beth.

“I would love to, but I haven’t done that since Bri was a baby!”

“Just pick him up,” she said, as she pulled him out of his seat. Beth took him and cradled him in her arms and cooed to him, inhaling his sweet baby scent. Robbi handed her the bottle and Beth tipped it up and Brian needed no encouragement; he latched onto the nipple like a champ and happily sucked away.

“Wow, he’s really hungry,” she said. He was making small sighs interspersed with the sound of swallowing and made her smile. “Oh Robbi,” she sighed, not able to find the words for how perfect he was.

“I know.” If ever someone should have a baby it was Beth; she’d had such a good role model in Dorothy. It was terrible that she and Mick couldn’t have a child of their own. That thought made her ask about Dorothy and Beth told her about the shopping trip and that her Mom was doing wonderfully well.

“Honestly, she is just glowing Robbi. I’ve never seen her so happy!”

“Is anyone giving her a shower?”

Beth had to stop and think about it; no one had said anything to her and she simply hadn’t thought about it. “Not that I know about! Yikes, I’m a terrible daughter because I should have.”

“I think you have any excuse Beth,” Robbi said. “Hey, why don’t you, Lani and I give her one? Do you think Lani would be interested in doing that?”

The curtain that was separating the girls was finally beginning to lift and Beth’s heart begin to jump with happiness. It might still take a while for everything to be healed but she knew that they were on the way.

“Well, we should ask her!” Beth said. “Why don’t you call her since I’m a little busy?” She glanced down at Brian as she spoke, seeing that the small bottle was half empty already.

“Okay, I will and you’re going to have to burp him before he eats much more or he’ll spit it all back up.” She handed Beth a burp pad and watched as ‘Auntie’ Beth laid it on her shoulder and pulled the bottle away from Brian, much to his protest.

“Hey buddy, you just gotta be patient and give me a big ole burp!” she told him gently patting his back. “Come on Brian, you’re gonna feel great when you let it out!” She giggled as he did and was amazed at how loud it was but then realized it probably wasn’t that loud to humans.

“You were always really good at that with Brianna too. You have the magic touch Beth,” Robbi laughed as she called Lani. When Lani answered she told her the idea and Lani immediately thought it was a great idea. The girls planned to meet over the weekend to discuss the details.

As soon as he finished his bottle Brian was fast asleep again and Robbi got him situated into his seat just as their lunch was served. Robbi handed Beth a baby wipe so she could wipe her hands off and after that was done they both eyed their lunches with appreciation.

“Beth, I’m uh, surprised that you can still eat food.” She cast curious eyes around her, trying to make sure no one was paying any attention to them. She wasn’t going to use the ‘V’ word but still, it seemed a strange question.

Beth did the same look around and then said, “Well, it’s not usual, but…” She cut into her three cheese chicken enchilada and took a bite, enjoying the flavors that rolled over her tongue.

“Hm, yeah, I would imagine that is true. You look so good. Beth, I know that I’ve - that things have been really screwed up and I’m so sorry for my part in it, believing that you just didn’t care instead of what really happened.” She met Beth’s eyes and smiled at her, hoping that the words would help to begin to heal their friendship.

“Robbi, I know and I’m sorry you felt so left out. It wasn’t on purpose. It’s just a difficult thing to talk about. I love you Robbi and I’ve missed you so much.”

This time it was Robbi’s turn to wipe away tears and she nodded at her friend. “I love you too, you and Lani both.” She took a sip of her iced tea and pulled a tissue out of her purse and handed one to Beth and used another to dab at her own eyes. “Now, you gotta tell me! Is Lani dating Josef?” she asked, her disbelief clearly evident.

Beth let out a small giggle and said, “She is. She hated him, or so I thought when I left and I came home and they’re practically living together!”

“Oh my gosh, I really can’t believe it. But then again, this is Lani and it’s like trying to predict which way a whirlwind will spin. I always liked him and he was so great when we were planning your wedding. I feel so out of touch!”

“Well, we’ve just got to get you back in touch Robbi!”

“Oh, I was going to tell you this the other day but I forgot and just thought I would today. Brian is being christened this Sunday, will you and Mick come?”

Beth teared up again and nodded, unable to stop smiling. She hadn’t felt this happy in a long, long time.

Both girls looked at one another and knew that things would be okay. When she left Robbi still felt a bit guilty because she hadn’t told Beth her secret but she decided it would be better to tell them both together. So, Saturday it was. The secret would come out!


Dorothy and Clark stood in the nursery, admiring their handiwork. It was simply done, in pastels because they still didn’t know the sex of the second baby. Two sonograms had revealed a boy but they didn’t know if they were viewing the same boy or if the other baby was still hiding behind it’s brother. Either way they were okay with it because the doctor said they were both healthy with good and strong heartbeats.


“How come you didn’t buy anything the other night when you went shopping?” Clark asked, curious as he picked up a teddy bear that was sitting in a rocking chair. There were two of them, along with everything else.

“Beth and I went into the shop but it made her sad, so we left and sat and talked. Clark, she is more upset than I realized about not being able to have a baby now. It just broke my heart.”

He nodded, setting the bear down next to its sibling. “Honey, it’s terrible, but she will get used to it in time. She’s really happy with Mick and that will make up for many other things you know.”

“I know, but I almost feel guilty,” she told him, rubbing her ever burgeoning belly. There was no hiding it, especially carrying twins. She looked closer to 9 months pregnant instead of the almost 8 that she was. They say that twins can sometimes come early and she wondered if that would happen. As long as they were healthy enough to be born it didn’t matter to her even if her back and bladder were both protesting vigorously and often.

“Dorothy, you know that she would never want you to feel guilty about it. Don’t fret about it honey, it’s going to be okay.”

She sighed and said, “I know that, but it’s still so hard.”

“Has she and Mick talked about it?”

“Yes, they did and he’s sad too but I hope that together they’ll get through it. They’re talking about adoption and maybe buying a donor egg and getting a surrogate, which might work. I hope they find something that will work for them because they would both be great parents.”

Clark agreed completely. He thought of all the years that Mick had watched over Beth and how much he loved her and knew that he would be a natural father. Some people would think it was creepy, the way he was always around but Clark didn’t - to him it made sense and eased his own worry about anything else happening to Beth. Those two were meant to be parents and he hoped sincerely that they managed to make it happen one day.


Margie sat at the table ready to dip her Oreo’s into a tall glass of milk when she heard a knock on her door. She wasn’t expecting anyone and she frowned as she sat the cookie down and went to see who was there. She hoped it wasn’t Blythe Jackson, the garrulous old busy body from down the hall! Blythe had determined that it was her job to let everyone know what was going on in the community. Telephone, telegraph - tele-Blythe. It drove Margie nuts and she approached the door quietly in hopes of peeking out the viewer without making noise so that Blythe would just go away.

Instead her visitor made her smile as she unbolted the door and opened it. “Benjamin! What brings you here today?” She stepped aside so that her grandson could enter. “I was just going to have some cookies and milk, have a seat.”

She watched as he sat at the table, still without saying a word. As she grabbed another glass of ice cold milk she frowned slightly, wondering what was wrong.

“Here you are Benjamin,” she said and sat down and picked up a cookie. She dunked it into her glass of milk and waited for him to speak. She watched as he twisted his cookie apart, as he always did and popped the piece without the filling into his mouth first. “Well, are you going to tell me what’s wrong?”

“Nothing, exactly Grandmother. I’m - I’ve just been thinking about Mick St. John. Do you think he could have survived in 1952 and just went into hiding?”

“I suppose anything is possible, but why would he do that? And certainly he never contacted his family again, which would be very strange for Mick because he adored his family. Benjamin, what’s this all about?”

He popped the other half of the cookie into his mouth and took a long drink of his milk before speaking. “There were fingerprints at the 1952 crime scene and I ran them through the computer and they turned up with a match.” He pursed his lips as he made the decision to tell her what was behind all this.

“Grandmother, when I lost Michelle you told me about Mick and that made me really curious. I mean, that’s natural isn’t it since he was my grandfather? Then, when I took this job I found a file life by the previous ADA on a Mick St. John and then I met him. He’s a private investigator here in LA; and he also happens to be the spitting image of your Mick. His fingerprints are identical to your Mick’s except he’s about 30 years old.”

“Well, that seems unlikely doesn’t it? Isn’t it impossible for two people to have the same fingerprints?”

Ben smiled and thought his grandmother watched entirely too much crime TV but she was certainly right. “Yes, it is. I figure that somehow the computer system got them mixed up, although I don’t have a clue how. I’ve spent a lot of time investigating your Mick, here in the US and in France and there is no trace of him or Coraline Duvall and her family says they haven’t heard of her since she married Mick. But Grandmother, this Mick is identical to your Mick - he has to be a descendent, my cousin most likely but that still doesn’t explain the fingerprints.”

“Benjamin, I think it is all coincidence. Don’t they say that everyone has a twin out there? Most likely that is what this is.”

“No, I don’t think so. This Mick just sort of appeared around 1990 and I can’t find any record of his birth, where he grew up or anything. He told me he grew up in LA but he didn’t attend any of the schools and his social security number wasn’t used until he became a PI. No, something is going on with it all and I’m not going to stop until I figure it all out.”

They changed the subject and chatted while enjoying their snack. Catherine was going to England to teach for a semester at Oxford, quite a prestigious honor. She was excited and was working hard to wrap up her cases so that she could start the winter term in January.

As he got ready to leave he hugged her tight and kissed her soft cheek. “I love you Grandmother. I don’t know what I’d do without you.”

“Well, I hope you won’t have to find out for awhile Benjamin but this old body is getting tired and worn out. Still, I’ve got a few years left in me, so don’t go getting all sad yet!” she said with a grin. She watched as he walked out of the hall and closed the door behind him, leaning against it.

I wish you’d just let it go Benjamin…


At 6 pm Josef walked through the office, looking for Lani and finally found her doing a software install on Ryan’s computer. Ryan was his head of security and wasn’t here often but he still needed the ability to get into the system so that he could remote in from his office at Josef’s and check on security anytime. Lani would be installing the software there too as well as at Josef’s home computer.

Josef used his vampires abilities to sneak up on her so he could kiss her neck but she had the damndest ability to know where he was and when he was a step away she said, “Hello Josef. Don’t try to sneak up on me!”

“How the hell do you do that?”

“I don’t know, but you can’t fool me, so don’t even try!”

“Okay, I surrender. Now, are you about done so we can get some dinner into you?”

“Which is Josef speak for saying you’re hungry and you want a nice, refreshing glass of AB- or something…”

He chuckled, knowing he’d been caught. “You happen to be correct Sweetness; so, are you ready?”

“Um, give me 5 minutes to finish and get my purse and jacket.” Almost before she’d spoken Josef was gone and back with both requested items. She looked at him, her left eyebrow arching in amazement but she didn’t say anything. Two minutes later the install was done and she did a quick check to make sure it was set up properly and then logged off.

As she stood up Josef helped her slip into the thick cashmere jacket because it had been very chilly for LA this late day of October and she’d need it.

“So do you know what’s for dinner? My dinner that is?” she asked with a smile.

“I believe Gerard made something called Chicken Fajitas for dinner; it seems to be a popular dish with the girls.” He pulled her to him and quickly bestowed a kiss to her willing lips as they waited for the elevator. The door opened with a muted ‘ding’ and they pulled apart guiltily which was ridiculous since everyone knew that they were together.

Lani was giggling when they stepped inside the empty elevator. Josef pushed the button and the doors swept shut and he swept her into his arms, taking her mouth in a passionate kiss. When the elevator car stopped he reluctantly stepped back as the doors opened.

In the Ferrari she placed her hand on his leg, sliding it upwards and smiled as she saw him squirm in his seat. She leaned over and whispered in his ear, “You know, I’m not really hungry. Maybe we should just skip dinner.”

“Oh no you don’t. We’re both going to need our strength,” he said, grinning at her as he downshifted to make the turn into the drive.

“Um, that sounds like a promise!”

“You bet,” he told her as he parked in front of the door, knowing that someone would move the car into the garages later. He opened her door and offered his hand to her and they headed towards the door which was opened by Franklin.

“Would you care for a drink before dinner?” he asked politely.

“No! Just dinner please,” Lani said. “We’re both, um, starving!” Her eyes sparkled as she looked at Josef, already undressing him with her eyes.

“Very good. I’ll serve immediately,” he told them and watched them head into the dining room. He smiled at the joy they brought one another and he knew that this was going to be a hurried dinner so he did his best to get it to them quickly.

Lani did her best to hurry through her dinner with Josef reminding her to slow down so that she didn’t get indigestion but this was a race for her, a sprint so to speak. When she’d eaten some of her dinner she told him she’d had enough.

“Uh uh, finish that young lady,” he told her and saw the pout form on her beautiful face. Still, he stuck to his guns and 10 minutes later they both felt better as they headed upstairs to their room.

As the door closed he pulled her to him and ran his hands down her back, stopping to cup her bottom, delighting in the delicious rounded curves. He pulled her tightly to him and felt his hardness pressed against her belly and groaned against her mouth. He walked her backwards until they reached the edge of the bed and she sat down and frantically started working on his belt and slacks fastenings.

Josef’s eyes silvered as he watched her and when she had his slacks undone her hand cupped him and slid over his heated length, stroking him delightfully until he was mindless with desire. He forced himself to step back and pull the rest of his clothes off, leaving them to drop wherever they may.

Her eyes raked him from head to toe and then fastened on the sheer beauty of his manhood. She licked her lips in anticipation and desire and started to pull her own clothes off.

“No Lani, let me,” he told her, switching to a much slower pace, not wanting to rush a moment of their time together.

He slipped her jacket off of her shoulders and slid it slowly down her arms, his hands caressing her as he went. Nimble fingers unbuttoned her blouse one slow moment at a time and as each bit of skin was revealed his kissed it tenderly.

Lani was trembling with desire by then and well aware that he could undoubtedly scent it. She was liquid heat, melting a bit more at each touch of his hand and mouth. He unfastened the button and slid the zipper of her skirt down and then tugged is gently over her hips and stared at the sensuous lace of her bra and panties, his eyes burning for her. One smooth flick of his fingers and the front button of the bra was unfastened and he glided it off of her with her panties following quickly.

Josef licked his lips almost afraid to touch her she was so beautiful. She lay there, shivering with her desire for him and her couldn’t wait a moment longer before claiming her mouth, delving deeply into it. Cool fingers stroked her heated body and small moans of need escaped both of them as he finally sank into her joyously, finally home.

Two lovers met and moved as one, hearts beating wildly as pleasure and fulfillment carried them away. His vampires kiss brought them to their destination of pleasure and they both reveled in it. Finally they were still, locked in one another’s embrace, content to rest together as love settled over them like the warmest cloak.

What more could they ask?

To be continued…

Monday, April 23, 2012

Chapter 14 Secrets

Luka looked at his phone as it rang and saw that the number was one he didn’t recognize. That always made him curious; so was it a prank call, wrong number or maybe something entirely different. Time to find out.

“Fiorentino,” he said and waited for a reply.

“Detective, have you been thinking about the list anymore?”

Luka looked up and caught Carl’s eye and pointed to the phone, mouthing, ‘the list’.

The call came in on Luka’s cell which made it pretty much hard to trace, unless you have someone like Logan Griffin helping out. Carl decided that maybe they needed to enlist his services.

“I told you I wasn’t interested.”

“Come on, you’re a cop, it’s a mystery.”

“Yeah, I’d think about screwing with a cop if I were you.” Luka just kept pulling him along. He’d called back so he really wanted Luka to do this.

“I’m just a concerned citizen, worry about this list of names.”

“And why exactly would that be?”

“Let’s just say it might be helpful for a lot of different people to discover the truth.”

“Sounds to me like you’re withholding information from a law enforcement officer.”

“And it sounds to me like you’re extremely curious detective.”

“What’s your name?”

“Trust me when I say that my name isn’t the important part of all this. What is important is that public safety could be the issue here.”

“If you have information you just need to tell us instead of playing games. I’ve heard enough. Goodbye.”

“WAIT! What do you want detective?”

“I want to meet with you. Get a few more details so I’ll know that looking into this list is worth my time and effort.” Luka listened to the silence on the other end of the line and thought for a moment that he’d lost him.

“I’ll consider that. I’ll let you know in a few days.”

The line went dead and Luka looked at Carl, who had been listening as best he could next to Luka.

“We got him Carl! You said you know someone who can run a trace on the call next time we get one? Why are we going outside the department on it?”

“Yes, I know someone. If we take it to the department and he finds out we might scare him off and since we don’t know if he’s just a lonely nut or has real information about those names I think it’s better to begin this way.”

“Yeah, I think you might just be right Carl. We’ll see how long it takes him to call back and in the meantime you’re going to notify your contact?”

“Yes, I’ll call Logan and get it set up. We’re going to need a signal so that I can call Logan and he can track it. That’s if he calls during work.”

“If he calls me when I’m at home I just won’t answer; he’ll call back I’m betting!”

It was a good plan Carl thought. Now it if would only work.


Beth called Max and told her that she’d come to work for her and Max was ridiculously happy at the news.

“Seriously Beth, I’m not sure I could do it without you. Thank you so much!”

Beth laughed. “Sure you could, it just wouldn’t be as much fun! Okay, I’m going to start making some calls; Steve first and then Sam. Let’s hope that Grant didn’t run off too many of the staff there so we don’t have to totally reconstruct the wheel.”

“I know. I’ve already talked with Christine and frankly she seemed relieved that we were going back to the old Buzzwire. Kenny too. If you can get Steve back on board we’ll at least have two camera operators. We need more on air talent though so hopefully we can find some.”

“You know, I might head back to the place where it all started for us, UCLA communications school. Might be some young and hungry talent there Max.”

“That is a great idea. Okay, I guess we’ll compare notes on Friday. Sound good?”

“It does. See you then.”

Beth realized the hard part was just beginning. She took a deep breath and found Steve’s number in her phone address book. She hoped that he still had the same number and held her breath as she waited for the call to be answered.

A smile replaced the worry when a familiar voice said, “Well I’ll be damned! Beth Turner, or I guess that’s Beth St. John now. How are you?”

“I’m great and I’m excited too Steve! I’ve got a proposition for you!”

“You know I’m always up for propositions Beth,” he laughed. “What’s shakin?”

“Do you remember Max Kelleher, my friend from the LA Free Press?” At his affirmative she continued, “She and her husband have bought Buzzwire and want to return it to the way it was Steve. I’m going to be the Managing Editor and I could really use your talent. Interested?”

“You taking on Mo’s old position? Not doing the on-air stuff?” Steve sounded a bit skeptical Beth thought. He’d need a bit more convincing.

“Yep. We still have to hire the on-air talent. Come on Steve, we need you. Kenny is still there, Grant is gone for good. It’ll be great!”

“That guy ruined it for all of us Beth; frankly I’m not sure it can be resurrected.”

“We gotta try Steve. C’mon, you know you want to! What are you doing now?”

“Freelance thank you very much! Lucrative too!”

“Yeah, when you actually have a gig. Steve, please? At least help us get reestablished and if you hate it then you can leave with my blessing.”

“I’m going to regret this maybe but okay. Where do we start?”

Beth gave him Max’s number so they could talk money and hire dates. “I promise you that you won’t regret it Steve!”

They said their goodbyes and Beth tried Sam next and had basically the same conversation with her but she was much easier to convince. In fact she was excited to come back to Buzzwire. Beth made a few more calls and talked two more camera operators to come back which gave them a full crew, at least to begin with. She then called a few of the researchers and it was a no go with all of them as they had other projects going. She decided to put some notices on bulletin boards at the universities hoping that would bring some likely candidates to them.

Next she buried herself in current events because she would be the first person to admit that the time in Seattle she had sort of lost track. When Mick found her 5 hours later she was hard at it.

He sat a glass of AB- in front of her with a smile and leaned down to kiss her. “Vampire or human, you still forget to eat. How’s it going?”

“Good; need researchers but we’re going to be okay I think.” She took a long drink of her dinner and leaned back in the chair and stretched. “How are you?”

“Confused and still sort of in disbelief. Ben Talbot being my grandson kind of freaks me out, you know?” He grinned at her as she nodded her head.

“Well, it does explain a lot though.”

“Um hm. I don’t know what to do about it; tell him or not. If I don’t he might discover it on his own and that wouldn’t be good but if I do tell him how is he going to take it?”

“I don’t know Mick. But still, you have a daughter and a grandson! That really is incredible.”

“She hates me and I can’t say that I blame her. I would too in her circumstances.”

“Give it a shot with Ben and see how it goes?” she suggested.

“Yeah, maybe.” He finished his dinner and looked around the room. She had been sitting at the dining room table as she worked. The chairs weren’t that comfortable and yet she hadn’t complained at all. “We need to get you an office to work in here baby.”

“Where Mick? There’s no room.”

“True. There is the loft next door, we could expand. Other than that all we can do is make a space in the bedroom for you because that storage room is too small and already crowded with things.”

“Well, let’s think about it. I’ll have an office at work so most of my stuff will be there you know. Mo’s old office I guess.”

“Is it going to bother you; being there Beth?”

“No, I think it’s going to be okay actually. We’re going to build something great there, if we can recover from how Grant left the place. It’s going to be hard, but I really believe we can do it.”

“Well, I’m excited for you. You’re going to be great at this job Beth.”

“I’m great at other things too you know,” she told him, coming to her feet and walking around the table.

“Hm, I guess you could show me some of those things.”

“I guess I will. Come on Mick, join me!”

He watched her walk up the stairs and was reminded of another night when she said those same words. This time he wasn’t stopping for anything.


Robbi sat in bed rubbing hand lotion over her arms and hands, the faintly sweet smell making Kevin smile; Robbi had used that same hand lotion as long as he had known her. He inhaled deeply, loving the comfort and consistency this scene and fragrance brought, sort of a mini ‘all’s right with the world’ smell, except that it wasn’t - not really.

“Robbi, aren’t you having lunch with Beth tomorrow?”

“Yes, I am. Mexican, which is weird because how can she eat food?” A puzzled frown creased his wife’s face as she sat the bottle of lotion on the night stand and leaned back in the bed.

“Does it bother you? Beth being a vampire? Does it scare you?” he asked and then he smiled and added, “Man, that is so weird to say!”

Robbi laughed briefly and agreed. “No, she doesn’t scare me Kev - I know she’d never hurt me or anyone she loved. But it’s just, I don’t know, finding out that vampires exist to begin with and then finding out that Beth is one, Mick too.”

Kevin turned to her and reached for her hand, squeezing it lightly before tracing his thumb over hers. “Interactive science fiction?” he joked. “Yeah, well it’s reality I guess. At least you know that she didn’t avoid you because she was just blowing you off. But Robbi, what about all the times before that happened that you blew her and Lani off? Honey, you need to open up to her, to both of them.”

“Kev, I just don’t know that I’m ready to talk with them about it yet. It’s so personal and how do you even talk about something like that?”

“You just sit them down and tell them Robbi. They love you and they will be a huge source of support for you. Robbi, they are family as much as I am and you need to trust them.”

“Look, it might be a moot point, you know that. Why should I only worry them with something that might not ever happen?”

“Because you need them and right now you’re hiding from both of them Robbi. Stop it, open your heart to them both because I can guarantee that they will both be there, whether it is ever needed or not.”

Robbi knew that he was right. She had been so angry when she knew they were keeping something from her and yet it was only a mask to hide her own guilt for keeping secrets from them. All of this still seemed surreal to her and she could only imagine how they might react. She couldn’t let this rule her life and yet it was - because she was keeping a secret about it. She knew that she had to open up and resolved to do just that.

“I want to tell them both together; tomorrow is Beth’s and my time to reconnect. I’m leaving Brianna with Mom because she talks and chatter’s so much we’d never get a word in edge-wise. I’m inviting her and Mick to the christening; I should have done it the other day but I thought I’d just wait until we had lunch.”

Kevin lifter her chin and looked into the gorgeous blue eyes that had made him fall in love with her, head over heels in love. God, she was the most beautiful woman in the world to him and he’d do anything to hang on to her. He kissed her and murmured, “I love you Robbi, with all my heart. You know that?”

She smiled and kissed him back. “Yep, I do. I love you too Kev. You’re my knight in shining armor, you know that?”

He kissed her again and felt her relax in his arms; things were looking up when the monitor alerted them to their son’s cries. He laughed, “Okay, I’ll go. But don’t go to sleep while I’m gone because I definitely have plans for you!”

She nodded, glad they had the doctors okay for sex. She’d missed loving Kev so much and they had a lot of loving to catch up on. She got up and slipped into a sexy little outfit that she had, knowing that Kev would appreciate it. But then, so would she because she’d reap the rewards!


Carl was fixing a sandwich when Cami got there. She walked straight into his arms and he held her close, inhaling the sweet fragrance of her perfume. It went straight to his head and made him almost giddy. He kissed her, running his fingers through the silken strands of her hair as he sighed with pleasure.

They had fallen into a pattern; since he needed to eat regular food she generally came to his condo in the evenings so that he could have dinner. Their evenings were spent happily, watching TV or sitting on the deck and looking at the lights of the city below them as they talked.

Cami was a homebody; they did go out occasionally but she was happiest and most comfortable staying home and that was okay with Carl. After chasing around people and leads on cases all day, most evenings he liked to sit back and relax. The problem was that with Cami there he seldom really relaxed because he wanted her so much that he ached. He was a big boy though and he knew that what he was waiting for was exactly what he’d searched for all his life.

He loved every single thing about her; her eyes, her shy smile, the way she fiddled with something when she was nervous, either twining a strand of hair in her fingers or a pen or whatever was handy. He found it amazing that she was so unsure of herself in the personal world because when she was at work she was totally in charge of things.

Smart, gorgeous, talented; what wasn’t there to love. And he did - he loved her so much it hurt. He’d never let her go, as long as she wanted him that is.


“How was your day detective?” she asked, taking a seat on the counter top while he finished making his sandwich.

“Good, long though. It would sure make it easier if the bad guys would just turn themselves in but that never happens! Well, almost never anyway.” He sat the sandwich on a plate and open the fridge to grab a coke. “Want one?” At her nod he grabbed two and sat them on the table, next to his plate.

“So, what is on your sandwich tonight?” she asked, curious. He ate so many foods that she’d never tried or even heard of.

He grinned sheepishly, although it was stupid he knew. She wouldn’t recognize the social ignominy of eating spam; most people would either gag or laugh. “It’s called ‘Spam’ and it’s uh, sort of like ham,” he told her.

She looked at the sandwich, at the neat little rectangles of a meat substance on it, along with cheese, lettuce, tomato and what she had learned were hot peppers. She frowned and said, “It doesn’t look at all like ham and it certainly doesn’t smell like it either. Looks, um, sorry Carl but it looks and smells revolting!”

He laughed and said, “Hey, what do you know? You’re a vampire!”

“Yes, and my eyes and nose work very well thank you very much.” She grimaced as he took a bite and watched as something slimy slid out between the pieces of bread and plopped onto the plate making a wet, squishy sound.

He laughed again and said, “Beth used to say almost the same thing about it but I can’t help it - I grew up on it and I love it!”

“Gross,” she said, looking away from the sandwich.

“How’s the install going? Any better?”

“Yes, today went smoothly. Only a couple of computers left to do. Lani will be installing Josef’s in a couple of days and then my part of the job will be done. It will take Lani about a week more and then we’ll be moving on to our next job.”

“Where will that be?” he asked. He finished his sandwich and rinsed his plate and put it in the dishwasher. After he’d dried his hands he held one out to Cami and then went in to the living room where he sat down on the couch and pulled her down onto his lap and held her close.

“Welliver Systems. We’re installing a similar system to their communications setup. Shouldn’t take nearly as long as it did for Kostan because their facility is smaller.”

They both jumped a bit when Carl’s phone rang and he picked it up before checking his caller ID.

“Davis here,” he said, smiling at Cami.

“Carl, this is Heroku. Are you free to speak?”

“Yes sir. Uh, Cami is here too,” he said, wondering what Heroku could want.

“That is fine as this concern’s her as well. This weekend I would ask you both to my home. Cami will begin her lessons and you and I have much to discuss as well. Is that agreeable?”

Carl’s eyebrows rose a fraction of an inch and he was aware that Cami had stiffened in his arms. “Certainly Heroku. When would you like us there?”

“Please come Friday evening; I will have my chef fix dinner for you and plan to stay until Sunday evening.”

All weekend? “That is fine Heroku. However please keep in mind that I can sometimes get called into to work and if I do it will be necessary for me to leave.”

“Yes, yes of course. I will see you both Friday.” The line went dead and Carl sat the phone down on the coffee table and looked at Cami expectantly.

“I don’t know what it is about. Well, your part of it. I - I know about my lessons.”

“The lesson’s to learn how to bite?”

She ducked her head in embarrassment and nodded. It still felt shameful to her but she knew that it was necessary for her and Carl.

“Hey, it’s okay.” He pulled her closer and kissed her and noticed that her lips were trembling slightly. “It’s all going to be okay Cami, I promise.”

“I know. I want to learn but I’m so afraid of hurting someone.”

“You will do fine. Cami, how were you turned? If you don’t want to tell me you don’t have to but I’m curious.” She had never said anything about it and he’d never asked until now.

She leaned her head against his shoulder and let her mind wander back to her youth and when things were simple still. She began to speak quietly and he settled in to listen.

“I was born in 1881 in Newport, Rhode Island. My father owned a shipping company there; we were quite well-to-do, as they said back then and my mother never let anyone forget it. My grandfather was a minister in the Methodist church. My name was Constance Winslow and my mother let everyone know that we could trace our heritage back to the Mayflower, to Edward Winslow. The house we lived in over-looked the bay and was my mother’s dream home.


I was raised a proper young lady, according to Victorian standards, and at 18 I was sent to a ladies finishing school, to learn how to run a household and other ‘womanly’ accomplishments. It was alright because that was what proper young women did in order to meet eligible young men. According to my mother it was the only thing that mattered and she had accomplished it with my three older sisters.”

“No boys in your family?” Carl asked, hating to interrupt but he was very curious.

“One brother, the eldest child. He took after my father to run the business. When I graduated from Miss Price-Padgett’s School for Young Women my mother set her cap for a young man by the name of Edmund Smith for me, supposedly another Mayflower descendent. Edmund was a very kind and caring man and he courted me properly and finally asked my father for my hand in marriage, which my father gladly accepted.

Edmund also came from a wealthy family and he owned a two masted schooner, 41 feet long and very sleek. When we were married in 1900, after our honeymoon we decided to go to Venezuela for a year as missionaries at one of our church missions. We left on April 10, 1901 and sailed through the Caribbean, stopping at some islands to visit the sites as we went. About 2 weeks into the trip we noticed a ship following us, keeping pace which was unusual because the ship was a much bigger three masted schooner and carried more sail so it should have easily passed us.

It was also curious because by then most working ships were no longer wooden. It stayed on our trail for 2 days and then we experienced the doldrums, no wind, no movement for almost a week. We were languishing in the heat and sun; we knew that there were islands not too far away but we couldn’t see them. As we debated one evening the winds picked up and by dawn there was a thick mist encompassing us and when it lifted, the ship had caught up with us.

It was a pirate ship. Not very common at that time but still there were a few around. They boarded us and there was a very bloody battle but we never had a chance because we had fewer than 10 crew members with us since it was a small ship. The pirate was a woman of all things, they called her The Red Wench and she was vile, wicked and I soon had all the more reason to believe that.

She put Edmund and I both in a pen below decks after she killed all the crew. She came frequently to stare at us, taunting us and saying all sorts of foul things, insinuations to Edmund. One day she took him with her and I thought I’d never see him again but 4 days later he was brought back to me. He was frightening; wild eyes and such teeth as I couldn’t believe Carl. He was truly scary and what I didn’t realize was that he was a vampire and she had half starved him so that he would kill me.”

“Oh Cami, I’m so sorry; I know it must have been horrible for you. Someone you loved was turned loose to hurt you.” Carl kissed her cheek and sat quietly, waiting for her to continue.

“He stared at me and I knew that he would kill me when he dropped to his knees and stared at me. He tore a piece of his skin from his arm and whispered, “Constance, drink my blood or you will die,” and laid his arm against my mouth and then sank his fangs into my neck.

I was petrified and I didn’t understand what he wanted. The Red Wench had somehow heard what he said and she screamed at him to stop but I had already drank some of his blood because I didn’t know what else to do and I had been trained to always do what my husband told me to do. I felt myself grow faint and when I woke up I was on an island, lying in the morning wake as the sun came up and I felt as if I were burning alive.

There were trees in front of me and I pulled myself to them in an effort to get out of the sun, but I was so hungry, starving. Later on I found some banana’s but when I bit into them I couldn’t taste them and when I tried to eat them I vomited them back up. I felt as if I were going crazy and I didn’t know what to do. Later that night some men found me and took me to a house on the island, a house that Heroku owned and he helped me. I couldn’t have survived without him Carl.”

“So he became your sire? What happened to the pirate and your husband?”

“He did. He is like a father to me and sheltered me all of these years. I never saw either Edmund or The Red Wench again.”

Carl’s heart was breaking for this special woman who had survived so much. No wonder she was so shy and cared so much about Heroku. Carl was damned glad that Heroku’s men found her and that he took her in.

“When you speak with Heroku, in a formal way Carl please address him as ‘Heroku-San’; it is an honorary for him. I often do and sometimes I refer to him as Otokooya, father and he refers to me as Goreijou, daughter.”

“Okay, I can do that Cami. I’m so sorry you had to tell me all of this.”

“It’s okay Carl. It felt good to get it all out. I’ve never, well besides Heroku told anyone the whole story before.”

Carl took a deep breath, feeling proud that she knew that she could trust him. “I’ll never tell anyone Cami, I swear.”

She nodded and knew that was true. She tilted her head to the side so that she could look up, into his face and smiled.

His lips claimed hers and she melted into him as her mouth opened to his probing tongue. My god, he stirred her senses in a way that she had never felt before and it also stirred a hunger in her that cried out for more, except she didn’t know what more was.

The kiss went on and on and soon Carl was changing his position because he was unbelievably hard and having her firm bottom pressing on him was making him very uncomfortable. He wanted her, needed her as badly as he needed air.

Cami’s hand slid down between them and touched his hardened length tentatively. She wanted to explore his body in a way that she never had Edmund’s. She had never ever touched his member and she remembered what her mother told her the day of her wedding, to just lay there and let him do his will and it would all be over soon. To his credit Edmund had always tried to be tender with her and to not hurt her but she didn’t know, couldn’t possibly guess that it could be as wonderful for a woman as it was for a man. Didn’t know until Carl that was, when he stirred her senses and body in ways that she didn’t understand. It was like an itch and she had no idea how to scratch it. She knew that once she learned what she needed to from Heroku she and Carl could explore those things together and she couldn’t wait, even if she was scared.

“Oh baby, what you do to me. We gotta stop now because I am fast losing control.”

“Carl, please, let me touch you. I want to know what you feel like in my hand.”

“You don’t know? You’ve never touched a man?” he asked, very confused.

“I - it wasn’t really done then Carl, for a woman to touch a man in such a way. At least not nice Methodist ladies.”

“Look, I’m okay and we’re going to explore all this together. Now, you’d better go. Please Cami, it won’t be long now.”

She finally acquiesced to his wish and left him after another long and lingering kiss at the door. Her story amazed him, awed him. But he couldn’t help but wonder if she’d never touched a man like that before, what else hadn’t she done?

It was food for thought.

To be continued…

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Chapter 13 A Working Solution

Lynn, thank you for the beautiful pictures in this chapter! Fabulous Dahling...

Chapter 13 A Working Solution

When Mick came home he looked stricken, ashy pale even for a vamp. All Beth could do was go to him and wrap her arms around him and hold him close. He clung tightly to her, not saying a word. When he finally let go she went to get him a generous portion of scotch laced liberally with O-.

Mick shrugged out of his duster and sat down heavily on the couch. He wanted to talk to her, to reassure her that he hadn’t had a hand in it but he conscience wasn’t that clear because he had hated Katrina with a vengeance and it could have been him, it should have been him wielding the torch...

Vampires survived because they had the ability to compartmentalize, to separate the emotion from the action in order to save their race. It wasn’t good to lose that edge but how do you do that when the person you love more than your own life wants something just the opposite? He looked deeply into his soul and knew that he couldn’t separate the hatred for what Katrina had caused Beth from breaking the rules. Since he couldn’t do that he had to walk away. If he’d raised his own hand to Katrina he wouldn’t be able to hide it from Beth and she would hate him for it. Eventually he would have hated himself for it.

But sometimes, this charade of still being ‘human’ was more than he could bear. If he let it go, succumbed to his vampirism where did that leave him? Where did it leave he and Beth? And if he did how could he protect her and eventually the children they would have, one way or another?


The next day Beth left for her lunch with Max with a lighter heart. She didn’t know for sure what had happened yesterday but she knew that Mick hadn’t had a hand in it. She could sense it in him when he came home and she was more than happy about it. She didn’t ask for details and he offered none.

Beth pulled into the parking lot at Hǎo Chī, excited to see Max and to do it at their favorite Chinese place. Beth could already taste some Kung Pao, extra spicy and her mouth was watering.

Max pulled in right after her and they hugged briefly in the parking lot before heading inside. The chatted amiably while they waited to be seated.

“So Max, what’s going on? Why’d you want to see me?” Beth asked while sipping her tea.

“Can’t I just want to see you because I’ve missed you?” she teased, grinning at her friend. “Actually, that is a big part of the reason but there is something else Beth.”

“So, spill,” Beth said, playing with her chopsticks. Something was up and she could scent excitement rolling off of Max. She was still learning how to discern the differences in scents but this time it was clear.

“Well, Mark and I made a business investment; one I think you’ll appreciate!”

“What?” Beth asked, very curious.

“We bought Buzzwire Beth. We’re going to toss the trash tabloid out and make it like it used to be, when you were there.”

“Wow Max, that’s fabulous. You’ll make it work, I’m sure. But seriously, there always was a bit of a sleazy edge to it!”

“Agreed,” Max said with a grin. “Here’s the thing; we need help Beth. Would you consider coming back to work there? As my Managing Editor?”

“You mean in Maureen’s old job?” The idea thrilled her for sure.

“Yes. You could be on camera whenever you wanted, but mostly you’ll be keeping them all on task. I’ll be heading it as the Editor in Chief.” She grabbed Beth’s hand excitedly. “Beth, we could do this!”

Beth smiled and it lit up her whole face. “Yes, we definitely could! So when is all this happening?”

“Mark and I take possession at 12:01 am on Sunday. But there is so much to do in order to get ready Beth. Do you want to talk with Mick before you commit?”

Beth knew that she would talk to him but doubted if he’d have any objections because he knew that she wanted to go back to work. Since she wasn’t going to be spending a lot of time in front of the camera that should calm Josef’s worries as well. Behind the scenes she could make a huge difference. IF they had the staff to make it work though.

“I will talk with him first but I think it’s safe to say that he’ll be okay with it.”

Max nodded and said, “Wonderful Beth! Unfortunately the reputation for Buzzwire has went into the toilet since Mo died. We’ve lost most of the on air talent and media techs. It’s not going to be easy.”

Beth nodded and asked who was still there, from her time.

“Not many; Christine, the young girl who sort of took over your spot, and Kenny, a camera guy. Maybe a few researchers too. Christine really just doesn’t cut it although Kenny is a great photojournalist.”

“Yes, he is. I worked with him a few times; he’s almost as good as Steve was. Any idea where he is?”

“None; do you have a number for him?”

“I do actually and I’ll give him a call. And Christine, well, she IS a bit raw but that probably has more to do with the type of assignments she received. Hold off on doing anything with her and let’s see if she can handle doing things the right way.”

Max grabbed Beth’s hand in excitement. “The right way, OUR way Beth! We always talked about it and now it’s happening.”

“It’s so exciting Max. Still, it’s going to be hard to bring it back because it really ran into the ground under that jerk Grant. Too many bad stories and retractions doesn’t cut it, as they found out.” Beth pulled a small notebook out of her purse and started jotting down notes.

“We need at least 4 reporters Max and that is cutting it really short but we can build up in time. Finding the talent might be hard so we’d better start researching. Likewise, 4 camera crews including video editors and we need a good content editor, although I can do that for a while. Researchers, we need great one’s because without them we’re left with the type of stories that buried Buzzwire. New group, new outlook - this is going to rock Max!”

“This is exactly why I need you Beth; I couldn’t have done this on my own. Print journalism is so different from this.”

“Yes, it is but you’re going to pick it up quickly. What about staff? Any of those left?”

“Not many.”

“Computer techs? Is Sam still there? And what about the equipment?”

“No one by the name of Sam is on the current roster. The equipment is probably the same as when you left.”

“Sam is actually a Samantha, does that help?”

“No, sorry. Is she that good?”

“Oh yeah. We need her and I know how to find her!”

They agreed to meet again on Friday to see how each had progressed on their lists and plan some promo’s to help bring the audiences back. “Beth, would you consider doing a promo or two for us? They know your face and it would help.”

Beth thought about it for a moment and decided that it would be okay. “Sure, when do we want to have the site back up and running?”

“We’re aiming for a month from now. I want to do internet, print, television, and radio promos so that we can reach as many people as possible.”

“Good. I think we need to get a message board up and running quickly as well so we need Sam back as soon as possible. That will be my number one priority. A few billboards will help too and maybe some advertisements in the local clubs; you know, they generally have walls with that kind of stuff.”

Max frowned for a moment as she made more notes and it occurred to Beth that maybe that was too much for the advertising budget so she asked about it.

“That isn’t a problem Beth. Marks grandmother died and he received a very hefty inheritance. She was such a wonderful person and it hurts that she’s gone but she told Mark to live his dream with this money and so we’re going for it.”

“A doctor’s dream is to run an internet news service?” Beth laughed.

“Well, maybe we’ll have to have a doctor on line program or something but yes, it is because it’s something that we can build together for our future.”

“Lots of media moguls have built huge empires just this way!”

“Very true! Someday we’re going to be building our very own castle!” Max laughed.

Beth raised her glass of iced tea and said, “To the future and success then!”

Their glasses clinked together and both women were excited to see where the future lead them. Both of them saw shining futures.


Carl knocked on the door to Mick’s office and waited for an answer. He had decided on the office as opposed to the apartment because it just felt right. He tugged a bit on his tie and tried to remain cool, all the while thinking about what he was getting ready to do.

Mick opened the door to his office and was a bit shocked to see Carl there as opposed to the other door. It put him on guard instantly and he wondered what was up.

“Carl, come on in,” he invited and added, “Is this official business?”

“Official? No, but it is something very personal Mick. I have some information that you need to know and I’m not sure quite how to go about telling you.”

“You want a drink or something?” Mick asked as he watched Carl take a seat across the desk and shake his head no. Mick sat down and leaned back in the chair and said, “Well, I guess you should just say it then Carl.”

Carl nodded and told the story. “I had lunch with Ben last week and he told me quite a story. His grandmother was engaged to you once Mick. Her name is Margie.”

Mick immediately sat forward and said, “Margie Redmond.” Memories flooded him, happy memories and painful ones that cut deeper than the sharpest knife.

“Yes, probably. Ben has been trying to track Mick St. John down now for quite awhile and when he came here he found a file, started by Josh that gave him quite a bit of information, as well as what Margie told him.”

“Wh - why would Margie tell him anything?” His heart was hammering in his chest and he wanted to hear what was next and wanted to run as well. “What could it matter?”

“It matters to Ben because Mick St. John is his grandfather.”

He was speechless. Could a vampire have a heart attack? His chest hurt, literally hurt right now and felt as if a band were around it. He leaned back and pinched the bridge of his nose for a moment, trying to calm down.

“I have a grandson? And a...”

“Daughter. Her name is Catherine Ben said. And she isn’t your number one fan Mick, you should know that.”

“How could she be? After what I did to Margie, they must all hate me.”

“I don’t get the feeling that Ben or Margie hate you. He has lunch with her every week I think. Brings her chocolate.”

Mick smiled and Carl could see tears in his eyes. Margie had always loved chocolate. “So she is alive and well?” He could only hope; she was 85 now.

“Apparently. She lives in some retirement community and is quite active I understand. She goes with Ben to Dodgers games from time to time.”

“What brought all this about Carl?”

“Well, here is the problem; since he’s been investigating what happened to you, circa 1952 he’s gathered some information. Sent people to France I think to investigate your wife. The general consensus is that you and she both died on your wedding night, murdered because of all the blood in the room. Then he got to looking at all the handprints and fingerprints in the room and had them sent in for analysis. You can probably guess what happened next Mick.”

“My fingerprints for my PI license turned up.”

Carl nodded. “He sent them to CBI in Sacramento for another verification, but of course the results were the same.”

“Yeah, yeah they would be. What does he think Carl?”

“He thinks that somehow the system, IFAIS got Mick the PI’s prints mixed up with Mick his grandfather. He believes you are actually a cousin but he can’t figure out what happened to Mick 1952 because obviously he didn’t die if he had kids.”

Mick let out a long and deep breath. He was trying to stay focused on what Carl was saying but his head was screaming, you have a daughter, you have a grandson. Ben Talbot is your grandson. All the times he and Josef thought about taking Talbot out because he was asking so many questions, the jealousy he had felt when Talbot was talking to Beth so much. Beth kept saying it was strange because he was always asking about Mick. It all made so much sense to him. Like the first night they had met, at Buzzwire.

“I’m Mick St. John. I’m a private investigator.”
“Right. Yeah, of course. I’ve heard a lot about you.”
“Good things?”
“No. Not really.”

Of course he wouldn’t have heard good things, especially if Ben’s mother hated him. If Mick 2008 was his supposed grandson and the family thought that Mick 1952 had deserted Margie then they wouldn’t think much good about Mick 2008 either. Later on there was the discussion about where he grew up, where he went to school. It all made so much sense.

“How you doing Mick? You okay? This is a lot to process.”

“Yeah, no shit.” He shook his head as it all began to really sink in. “Do you think he’s going to let the fingerprints go?”

“No, I don’t. He doesn’t understand them to be sure but he thinks there’s more to the story. Mick, he has a notebook with other things in it; pictures of you in the army and some of you being hit by a car and then getting up and walking away. No, he’s curious and he isn’t going to let it go.”

The pictures from Dean Foster; the ones that Beth had finally told him about. “Do you think he knows that I’m an immortal?”

“Not now, but when he runs out of all other explanations where is that going to lead him? I think sooner or later he’s going to approach you about being his cousin and ask for an explanation.”

Mick nodded, knowing that would make sense. “Carl, I can’t thank you enough for sharing this with me.”

“Mick, someday I’m going to join you because I intend to be with Cami forever. The secrets of one are the secrets of all in many ways. How can I help?”

“Just keep me informed while I figure this all out. Do you...you think he could handle knowing the truth?”

“Ben is an upright kind of guy Mick and if he said he would keep the secret he would. But the other problem is your daughter because something tells me that Catherine McFarland Talbot won’t.”

“Catherine McFarland of Talbot and McFarland? I’ve heard of them. They’re in the media a lot.”

“Yes, she uses her maiden name. Christian Talbot and she are partners in the firm.”

She was beautiful, charismatic and Mick had seen her often on television. They were a criminal defense firm and always made a big splash in the news because of the people they represented which tended to be rich, conservative clients.

Mick ran his hand through his hair, scraping it off of his face. He needed to think, that much was true. “Okay Carl, I’ll let you know what I decide. I want your name kept out of it though, if we can.”

“I have lunch with him pretty often Mick and he knows that I’m friends with you and Beth as well. He might start questioning me more so we gotta get a game plan made. Let’s talk again in a few days and see what we can figure out, okay?”

“That sounds like a good plan. I’ve got to let Josef know as well.”

“Is Josef, is he like the head vampire or something?”

“He’s...sort of, for the LA area. He’s on the VALA board and helps govern the area vamps. We don’t have any formal type of government Carl, but we still have to have rules and someone has to uphold and enforce them.”

“Yeah, I figured. Okay, I need to get back to work Mick. I’ll be in touch.”

Mick walked him to the door and the men shook hands and their eyes met for a long moment, both acknowledging that this was far from over.


After Carl left Mick went to his trunk and opened it. He pulled out a folder of old pictures that he had and looked through them as the memories flooded his senses. His mom and dad, his sister Maeve and Roy and Lila. And then he found the one he was looking for; Margie.

God, she was beautiful. His head told him that he needed to let her go but his heart ruled that out. She was alive; she’d lived a happy life apparently. He couldn’t have asked for more for her.

He had a daughter and a grandson. The news was astounding, completely unexpected in fact. He’d had no clue at all that she was pregnant when he left her for Coraline. Another reason to hate that bitch. He’d figured when Lance carried her off that she’d eventually be okay and he hoped that he’d never run across her again but now? Now he’d like to kill her himself.

How did he make this right? There didn’t seem to be a way. He sat on the floor and held the pictures tightly to his chest and let the tears fall and that was where Beth found him.

“Hey! Mick, you’ll never guess what Max wanted,” she said, walking through the loft as she looked for him. When she found him she dropped to her knees and immediately wrapped her arms around him. She didn’t know what was wrong but clearly something was.

“Mick, what’s wrong,” she asked, taking his face in her hands and sweeping her eyes over his handsome features. She saw that he was holding a leather folder that had seen better days and that there were pictures in it. She picked out one of an older couple and scanned it, noticing the dimple on the man’s chin, so much like Mick’s. “These are your parents aren’t they?”

He’d never shown her any pictures from his past before. He had told her that he hadn’t kept much from the past and yet he had these pictures. His head was leaned back against the wall as he tried to get his emotions under control and she just gave him time, staying close to him.

She sat back along the wall with him and he wrapped an arm around her and leaned his head against hers. She continued to look at the photo in her hand and then picked up another of a couple on a porch. The door looked like the door at the Fordham house she realized.

Mick sighed and drew in the comfort that Beth offered. He wasn’t even sure of where to start with it all so he told her what Carl had said. She listened without interrupting him and nodded occasionally.

When he finished she asked, “So Ben is really your grandson?”

“Yeah, he is. I don’t know what to do about it. Even if he would accept me my daughter won’t and Ben is likely to continue pushing for answers. Josef will see that as a threat I think.”

Beth eyes narrowed and vamped out for a moment and she said, “He wouldn’t dare hurt them!”

“I don’t know what he’d do. If he thought they were going to expose us, yes, he would.”

“Well, that isn’t going to happen. Maybe we can just tell Ben and his mom doesn’t have to know?”

“Maybe...” he said but didn’t sound sure about it at all.

Beth’s heart was so happy for him, he had family, a daughter and a grandson, a blood connection and that meant a lot for Mick, especially since they couldn’t have a baby together. He was starting to tear up again and she held out the photo of his parents and asked her to tell her about them.


“My mom and dad, I think this was taken right after they got married. I know I hadn’t been born yet.” He looked at the photo, remembering his parents and thinking they looked so young. He pulled another picture out of the pile and said, “This is Maeve, my sister. I was 8 when she was born; I think this was taken when she was about 20 or so.”


“She’s so beautiful Mick. And she had red hair! Where’d that come from?”

“My mom had red hair; Mary Ellen Donohue. Red Irish through and through with a temper to match; kept my father on his toes, let me tell you,” he said, smiling for the first time as he reminisced about his family.

“So your dad was the quiet one? You take after him don’t you?”

“Yes, he was but actually in my younger years I was a lot like my mom.”


He pulled out two more pictures and handed them to her. “This is Ray and Lila, but you probably saw that picture at the Fordham’s house. And this is Margie,” he said, a wistful tone creeping into his voice.


Beth looked at Margie and the thought came to her that she too was beautiful. How could he have walked away from her for Coraline? But of course she knew the answer to that question; allure. Anger and hatred for Coraline again bubbled up inside her; she’d give anything to take that woman out because of all the hurt she had caused Mick.

It suddenly occurred to her that Mick felt that way about Katrina. He had said very little about what had happened but she knew later that he had left before she was executed because she could taste it in his blood.

“Mick, tell me what happened yesterday, please?”

God, he didn’t want to, but he had to. Both of them were working so hard to keep talking so he said, “I - walked away Beth. Before…well, before Josef executed her. She was a mess; her death was only an afterthought really because there was nothing of Katrina left in her.”

Beth nodded, feeling so proud of Mick and accepting the fact that he didn’t feel proud at all. He’d wanted revenge, justice and the end he’d walked away. Perhaps one day he’d accept that.

“Mick, I understand how hard that was for you. I can’t say anything to make it better for you. Just know that I love you Mick, regardless of what might have happened; nothing you could do would change my feelings for you.”

He nodded, his fingers playing with the spun golden locks of her hair. They sat quietly for a bit, looking at the pictures and chatting about Carl’s revelation. Mick didn’t have any answers yet and Beth didn’t push him because it was something he needed to figure out.

Finally he remembered that she had started to tell him something when she came in. She explained what Max had wanted and he listened with interest.

She needed something to do; they both did and she would love this. “I think you should do it Beth, it will be perfect for you. I know how hard you are trying to deal with everything baby and this will be good for you.”

“I think so too. But we both have so much to do, Max and I. Rounding up employees is going to be very difficult but I’m going to make some calls this afternoon. Why don’t we go and have a snack while I get organized?”

“Will you be upset if I just stay here for a bit longer?”

She leaned over and kissed him softly. “Not at all Mick. Just remember that I’m here when you need to talk more, okay?”

He nodded and smiled at her. “I know. Beth, I love you so much.”

“It’s a good thing buddy because I love you too and I’m not letting go!”


Josef had worked late Monday, catching up on business but Lani knew that he was upset over what had happened with Katrina and that he was processing it all. He crawled into bed with her Monday night and she could tell that he was exhausted. She held him tightly and they fell asleep soon after.

Tuesday at work brought several complicated problems with the new system as they tried to install it on some of the computers. Lani worked late and Josef waited for her to finish so they could go home. When they walked into the door Franklin was waiting for them and immediately sensed Josef’s mood, which wasn’t good. As Lani and Josef settled into the den he brought a glass of scotch spiked generously with AB+ and Lani a bottle of water which was her usual choice when directly home from work.

“You going to talk about it Josef?” she asked and watched as he lifted an eyebrow in query. “You know exactly what I’m talking about Josef.”

He did and he wanted to talk about it but how did he tell her that he had held the flame thrower on Katrina and that he hated that he had done it? Finally the words just came tumbling out and he watched her face, waiting to see her impatience at his troubled admission.

“Josef, one of the things I love most about you is that you are a man of action; but you are also a man of conscience, whether or not you want people to know it. If it didn’t bother you I would have been upset. You did what had to be done; it’s only to be expected that you have a few regrets about it. I believe that is mostly because you have carried so much guilt about her actions. It’s okay Josef, it really is.”

He settled back and tipped his glass up, finishing the drink. At her inquiry if he wanted another he shook his head no and let out a deep breath. “I just, I felt the guilt true, but I also felt Beth’s words weighing heavily on me Lani. A few days ago I was full of hatred and vengeance and yesterday all that was left was the hatred, tinged with compassion as I looked at her. Tango had not made it easy on her this past weekend, trying to determine if anyone else was involved. She was a mess Lani, a beaten shell of a person and there was no need for more torture. Mick told Logan she was done and he was right, she was.”

“Why didn’t you let Tango finish her Josef?” she asked softly, her heart breaking for his pain.

“Because I have to do some things myself; if I had done that before we wouldn’t be where we are now. I didn’t do my job and Beth was the causality. The buck has to stop somewhere and I guess it’s with me.”

Both contemplated those words for a few minutes and eventually Josef tackled the other subject that was pressing heavily on his mind. “You want to be turned.” It was a statement and not a question.

“Yes. Maybe not this moment, but eventually yes.”

Josef took a long, unnecessary breath and accepted her words. It had been unspoken between them, although she’d made references from time to time. But now the words had been spoken; the elephant in the room could no longer be ignored.

He didn’t ask why; he knew why she wanted to be turned. They were mates and they both knew it. When was a big question though and could he actually do it was another. After what happened to Sarah he was a bit skittish about it. He actually had a stake in what happened to Lani. Granted, he now knew that what happened with Sarah had nothing to do with anything he’d done but it still hurt him deeply to know that her beautiful and vibrant life had effectively come to an end when he tried to turn her.

“How...how soon Lani?”

“I don’t know really. It’s not like we’re going to have children Josef. I’m not even sure I’d make any kind of a decent mother anyway. Look at the example I had growing up.”

He knew full well that she’d meant her own mother but she also had Dorothy, who was as far as Josef could tell a wonderful mother. “What about Dorothy? Seems you’ve learned a lot from her too?”

“Yes, I did. But children are something that I can live without Josef. We make choices, this is my choice. If we had been able to have children I would have loved to have your baby Josef, but this is how things are. I want to be with you, completely with you, in every way possible.”

He nodded in understanding. “I’m scared Lani; I'm so damned afraid of what could happen.”

“I know,” she said quietly. She held his face in his hands and kissed him tenderly. “We’ll get through it Josef. I’m not leaving you - ever.”

To be continued...

Monday, April 16, 2012

Chapter 12 The Debate

Sunday morning the four friends sat around the table eating their respective breakfast choices. Three of them were very aware of what the previous evenings activities were and one of them was praying that wasn't the case.

She tried to be okay with it; it's not like in college when people gave you the high five when you'd spent time between the sheets. People had sex, she knew that but being in such close proximity with three vampires who could so easily tell was unnerving to her, to say the least. She knew very well that not only did she and Josef make love last night but that Mick and Beth most likely did too, judging by the loving and happy looks they were sharing this morning. However, being pretty sure about it and being able to scent it were two very different things and try as hard as she could it still made her uncomfortable.

Was she ashamed that she and Josef had such a healthy sex life? Nope, but it was a private thing for her and with vampires around the sanctity of their relationship felt like it was somehow less than the special bond that they had. Complicate those feelings with the thoughts that Beth had once told her that Mick could sometimes scent the events of the past and it made her want to hide away from all of them.

The three of them all acted like it wasn't any big deal; could they really keep their noses to their selves so easily? If they could smell it all how could they? She was afraid she'd walk around with a perpetual smirk if she scented sex all around her. Maybe they were just better people than she was, who knew for sure.

All she really knew was that ignorance really was bliss sometimes.

Josef, Mick and Beth were all drinking some O+ for their breakfast and Lani sliced an apple and banana and scooped out a helping of peanut butter onto her plate and sat it and some pineapple juice on the table to eat.

Josef watched as she dipped the pieces of fruit in the peanut butter. She loved the stuff to be sure and he was guaranteed to see it at least once every day. It smelled interesting but the looks of it were revolting to him.

Beth finished her O+ and then reached for a piece of Lani's apple and dipped it into the gooey mess and popped it into her mouth. "You know, if I couldn't eat food any longer this is one thing I would really miss for sure," she said, licking a small bit of peanut butter from the corner of her mouth.

Lani couldn't help but wonder how it tasted after the blood but decided it was probably about the same as drinking orange juice after brushing your teeth; you just got used to it.

"I know, I will definitely miss it myself someday and so I'm eating every bit of it that I can now."

All three vampires caught the future reference and Beth grinned; she knew Lani and since her mind was made up it was going to happen, one way or another. They’d had a long talk about it last evening and Beth now knew that it was Lani’s decision, not Josef’s. In fact, he looked a bit shell-shocked about it which meant that he wasn't quite ready to deal with it yet.

"Did you ever eat that stuff Mick?" Josef asked, hurriedly changing the subject. He caught the grins that Lani and Beth were both wearing and knew that he was caught.

"Not before I was turned. I mean, they had it but I never tasted it. But that week that I was human again I tried it. I have to say, I liked it," he answered with a laugh.

Josef grimaced and said, "It looks more like something that comes out of a dirty nappie than something you would eat." He leaned over and sniffed it and added, "Smells good though!"

Lani stuck her finger into a dab of the substance and popped it into her mouth and watched as Josef's eyes sparked for a moment. Oh, sometimes it was just too easy...

"Delicious! Mick, you mean in the army they didn't have little cans of peanut butter and crackers in the C-rations?"

He laughed and said, "Not that I ever ate. Doesn't mean they didn't have them though."

"Hm. Well, that's too bad. Glad you got a taste though. What was your favorite thing that you ate that week?"

"It would be hard to say actually, most of it tasted pretty damn good."

"Um, yeah, the bait Mick?" Josef smirked.

"Well, okay. The sushi wasn't so great. Or rather the green stuff wasn't and I threw all of it all out. Ice cream was good, a lot better than I remember; coffee too." He thought for a moment, thinking about the food he had ate. "I really enjoyed the taco's I had; they were really tasty. Some things didn't taste as good as I remember though."

"Like what?" Beth asked, curious. They'd really never talked much about what he had thought about food, 2008. She knew about the sushi and Kung Pao chicken experiences but he'd never said that much about the other stuff.

"Macaroni and cheese. My mom used to make the best macaroni and cheese. The stuff in the box just didn't taste the same at all."

"Did you expect it to? It came out of a box," Lani laughed.

"I don't know. Poor substitute I guess. Some things just didn't taste like Mom made them."

"Yeah, how I miss boiled potatoes and cabbage. Yum..." Josef laughed.

Beth looked puzzled for a moment and then saw how Lani was laughing and realized he was being sarcastic. "Well, I hope there were other things to eat besides that Josef. And just where did you eat those things anyway?" Here was hoping he'd share a bit of information.

"Not a chance Lois Lane," he said, reverting back to the pet name he'd had for her on the road trip because of her curiosity. "Let's just say that it wasn't here in the states."

Lani ducked her head down in an effort to avoid Beth's eyes, which were regarding her narrowly.

Lani knows!

"Someday Josef, someday you're going to spill the beans!" Beth promised, her eyes sparkling brightly.

"Maybe, maybe not!"

Later that afternoon after hanging out in the pool the talk switched gears to Katrina. It had been preying on Beth's mind all day, what was going to happen.

"I know that she disobeyed a direct order Josef and I know that we have rules but please just make the punishment fit the real crime; her not doing what she was supposed to do. Please don't punish her because of what happened to me." Beth looked at Josef, her earnest face giving him pause.

"Beth, what if Kelly had done that to someone else? Someone who didn't want to be turned? The rules are there for a purpose."

"I am not disagreeing with that Josef. But in my case it was for the best; so punish her, execute her for disobeying you, not for my turning."

"Beth, how the hell can you say that?" Lani said, her voice almost a yell.

"Lani, my life is better for it." She looked at Mick who clearly agreed with Lani and Josef. "I get it, I'm in the minority here, just do it fast, please."

"That bitch deserves to die horribly; I'm sorry that you don't see it like I do Beth. I watched Kelly almost slice your head off and then I killed her! It was pure reaction on my part and I can't say that it didn't get to me at the time but she almost killed you. If Mick hadn't been there..."

"Then Elka would have turned me." Beth shrugged, knowing that there was really nothing left to be said. They didn't see her point of view and she didn't see theirs.

"So you'd rather she be let go?" Lani said, practically spitting the words.

"No. I understand the rules Lani. Every society has to have rules; I didn't always understand that," she said, taking Mick's hand in hers and rubbing it lightly. "But I do now, I get it."

She sounded so sad Mick noted; it had been a hard lesson for her. Was she right? Were they executing Katrina for the right reasons? He knew that he couldn't be objective about it; he wanted the bitch dead. Beth had been attacked twice because of her and it was time to take her out. He tried to hear what Beth was saying but he couldn't accept it.

Josef leaned towards Beth; they were all sitting around the poolside table and he looked at her kindly, but firmly. "Beth, you have such a kind heart and I understand that but vampires are treacherous and tend to just do what they want. If you don't maintain control and make examples of the consequences when the break the rules we'd have rogue vampires everywhere and a lot more human death. Her actions could have caused someone innocent to die, as I told you. Please, you have to understand this."

Beth nodded, tears in her eyes and looked at each of them sorrowfully. Lani still looked defiant and that was so typical of her. She took it to heart, protecting and standing up for her loved ones. She might not like or agree with them but she'd fight for them. A good trait really but Beth could actually use someone right now that got where she was coming from.

Oddly enough it was Josef who finally helped her; he couldn't stand to see her hurting so much. She'd been through so much already and this was perhaps the hardest of all for her. She felt like Katrina was being executed because of her, which wasn't the case. Privately he agreed with her, Mick would have delayed her turning for years, even if they had made a baby, especially if they'd made a baby.

He reached across and tilted her head up so that she could meet his eyes. The tender and kind look in them astounded her and a small sob escaped from her as it all sunk in that this was going to happen.

"Beth," he said, looking into her crystal blue eyes, "I understand and I know it's so hard for you. I'm not doing this because of you but because of what might have happened otherwise." It wasn't really the truth but hopefully she'd buy it - he was doing it because of the overwhelming guilt he felt because he'd not done his job, which was to make sure that Katrina had done hers correctly. "I admire how much you want to stand up for what you believe is right, but this has to be. Please believe me."

His gentle tone soothed her and finally acceptance sunk in. She didn't have to like it but she let it go. Sometimes you have to know when to fight and when to surrender. "Thank you Josef, for understanding that."

"Okay," he said with a smile. "How about a drink everyone? Beth, since you can eat food can you get intoxicated? Mick, I think we should do tequila shots and find out!"

"I don't know Josef," Beth said and he couldn't help but notice the tears were all but gone. "Guess we could try."

"Let's head in and change and then we're going to have an experiment! C'mon, let's go!"

In the end, they discovered that she could indeed feel the effects of the alcohol; she a Lani both were giggly and wobbly and it was Mick aided by a completely clumsy and clueless Josef who fixed dinner for them. By the time Mick and Beth headed back into LA all seemed okay with the world for Beth. If she just tried really hard to ignore what was happening tomorrow that is.


The next morning Josef and Lani stopped by her place to grab clothes and toiletries for a few days for her. He didn't really think that Katrina had anyone still working for her here who would go after Lani but he wasn't taking any chances. She gathered enough for a week and Josef carried it all down to the car. She had left the beach clothes at the house so at least there was room for it all.

"I'll send someone to get the Maserati later if that's okay?"

"Sure," she told him as she sank down into the seat of the Ferrari.

She’d been quiet this morning and Josef knew that something was on her mind, but so far she hadn’t spoken up which was unlike her.

“What’s going on Lani?”

She looked at him and sighed, accompanied by a slight smile. “I’ve just been thinking about Beth. Is she right? Are you guys doing this for the wrong reasons?”

Not ‘are you guys doing the wrong thing?’ he noticed. “I can’t speak for anyone other than myself but I’m doing it for several reasons, already disclosed Lani. We have to have rules and we have to enforce them.”

“And if those rules get you a bit of revenge, that’s good too?”

He looked at her sharply, trying to understand where she was headed.

“I don’t mean that you shouldn’t feel that way Josef because I sure as hell do. If I had the chance I would hurt her badly for what she did. I feel disloyal to Beth because of that. Beth has never been one to hold a grudge and she hates hurting anyone. She’s going to live with this forever, even though it’s out of her hands Josef. I love her so much and I’m afraid she’s going to hate me because I can’t support her.”

“Sweetness, she understands why it’s happening. It might take her a while to move past it but she will.” He thought about when she came to him about Dean Foster, the paparazzo that was stalking Mick. It was hard for her to ask him for his help, knowing what he was going to do but she also realized that it had to be done. She got over that and she’d get over this too.

He hoped anyway.


Beth was silent that morning as Mick got ready to go to the meeting about Katrina. She thought wryly that they were calling it a meeting but they all knew exactly what it was: torture and execution.

She was trying to be okay with it; she understood why it was happening and that was okay. What she wasn’t okay with was what they were going to do to her. Vampire vengeance, vampire justice, didn’t matter what you called it; it meant the same thing.

Mick came downstairs dressed all in black, including the duster he was shrugging into. He stopped in front of her and pulled her to him tightly, feeling her tremble in his arms but she didn’t say a word.

“Beth?” he asked, tilting her face up to his but she looked away, unable or unwilling to meet his eyes. He sighed and kissed her on the forehead and let her go. She walked into the living room and sat on the couch, not looking at the door or him as he prepared to leave. He grabbed his keys and stood hesitantly at the door for a few seconds, willing her to turn to him, to say something but he finally left, shutting the door behind him quietly when he realized she wasn’t going to say anything.

As the door closed he heard her break down, sobbing as she tried to deal with it. He wanted to go to her, but he couldn’t. This was one of those things that they had to learn to deal with; he hated it but Katrina was going to pay.


They met in Tango’s office at the warehouse; Tango, Josef, Mick, Miguel and Logan. The men talked about how things had went over the weekend and also that Katrina hadn’t admitted to having any accomplices at all. They knew that they’d already found some of them and Tango was inclined to believe that there weren’t any more, not within the cleaner organization anyway.

“We tried everything we could. Hell, she doesn’t have any fingers left because we kept burning them off, nothing made her talk. I’ve called all the cleaners in for the display this morning; nothing will get the information out into the community like gossip from the cleaners.”

“I want that bitch to suffer as much as possible,” Logan stated and Josef eyed the young man speculatively. This wasn’t Logan’s usual thing and Josef was of the opinion that it just might be too much for the young vampire to see. Logan was still an innocent in many ways and while everyone had to grow up perhaps there were better ways. Still, the fire burning in his eyes convinced Josef to let him be there but he would draw the line at Logan actually participating.

IF there was anything else other than her execution to watch that was. God help him but he kept thinking about Beth; dead is dead his head kept telling him even whlie his heart screamed for vengeance.

She had apparently been put through a lot of misery during the weekend. The stake had been pulled several times in order to give her a sip or two of blood, enough to keep her semi-lucid. As the men walked in Mick, Josef, and Logan got their first look at her since it had all began. Miguel had been there during the past weekend involved in the process of keeping her in custody.

All three men were shaken to the core when they saw her appearance. She was bloody and dirty and wild-eyed with the need for blood. Mick couldn’t believe how sunken her eyes and cheeks were. He looked away and suddenly he understood what Beth had been saying: just how much did a person have to pay for what they’d done?

Vampires weren’t humanitarians; they weren’t ruled by sentimentality. They thrived on visceral stimulation and this presented the perfect opportunity for that goal.

Except he couldn’t do it. Beth’s pain rang true in his heart. “Just kill her and be done with it Josef.”

Their eyes met and Josef nodded almost imperceptibly. It was in his mind too, Beth’s feelings.

“What? NO!,” Logan exclaimed. His voice was only a notch under hysterical. “Make her pay for what she did!”

“Logan, she’s paid. Look at her, she doesn’t have anything left in her - she’s done.” Mick watched Logan as he stared at Katrina who was sheathed in silver chains. The stake had been pulled out so that she could be more aware of what was happening.

Katrina’s eyes opened slowly; dull, black fathomless eyes that couldn’t focus on anything or anyone. She started laughing then, knowing the moment was here. Then laughter gave way to tears that finally stopped. Her eyes had cleared a bit and she raised her head a notch as Josef picked up the flame thrower.

“Josef, why don’t you let me?” Tango said. He could tell that it was getting to Josef and Mick both. He didn’t understand why but he knew that it had gone as far today as it was going to go.

Josef looked down for a moment and then looked at Mick expectantly. Mick stared ahead blankly, not meeting Josef’s eyes.

The answer was clear. Josef lifted the flame thrower and Mick turned away. He remembered Josef’s words when the Monahan’s had been executed, “We don’t have to watch this.”

He didn’t have to and he couldn’t. As his footsteps echoed hollowly over the floor he heard the power boost up and Katrina scream. He hung his head for a moment but knew that he had done the right thing.

To be continued...