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’.
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.”
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
“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?”
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?”
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.
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
“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!”
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.”
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
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?”
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?”
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.
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!”
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!”
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.
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?”
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
“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.”
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.
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.”
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?”
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!”
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.
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?”
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
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.”
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?”
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?”
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.”
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
“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
She smiled and kissed him back. “Yep, I do. I love you too Kev. You’re my knight in shining armor, you know that?”
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!
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.
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.
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
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!”
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.
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?”
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.
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.”
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?”
ducked her head in embarrassment and nodded. It still felt shameful to
her but she knew that it was necessary for her and Carl.
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
“I know. I want to learn but I’m so afraid of hurting someone.”
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
“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.
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.
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.
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
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.”
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.
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,
“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.
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.
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.”
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…