Tango and Mick arrived at Josef's together and were greeted by Franklin at the door. "Please come in," he invited. "Mr. Kostan is in the lounge. Refreshments are awaiting you gentlemen there."
Both of them grinned at him and his old fashioned
courtesies. Franklin was nothing if not polite and genial; of course
since he worked for Josef he was also a hell of a fighter when needed
but all in all, Franklin much preferred the genteel roll of major domo.
and Tango headed into the lounge and found Josef setting out a box of
poker chips. Mick only grinned and Tango laughed outright. "So, you
suspect the human's won't want to play for blood Josef?"
later, get 'em drunk enough!" Josef quipped. "Sort of changes the game
play a bit though. Still, might as well bring them into the fold
because if my senses aren't deceiving me, and they never do I might add,
both will eventually joined our ranks."
Mick stopped to think
about that for a moment as he mixed a few drops of O- into his scotch.
Carl, well he could see that if he stayed with Cami and all indications
were that he would. But Clark? Would he do that? And how would
Dorothy feel about it? Something to consider to be sure.
made him wonder just how much he and Beth missed while they were in
Seattle. What happened the night Beth was turned? He knew that Lani,
Josef, Audrey and Logan told Dorothy and Clark. Maybe there was more to
the story then they knew.
Clark and Logan walked in them,
closely followed by Carl. Drinks were passed around, minus the blood
for Clark and Carl and Logan choose a Coke instead of scotch Mick
noticed. So did Josef and the smirk he wore was hard not to imitate.
Logan was very nervous and Mick wondered if it were the group of people
here or the fact that he was playing poker that wasn't on the computer.
It made Mick smile broadly seeing his fledgling of long ago finally
coming out of the basement. He wondered if Audrey would be joining
their world since Josef had mentioned Carl and Clark.
settled down to play and Logan fiddled with his chips, noisily stacking
and unstacking them until Mick caught his eye and shook his head. Logan
dropped them and looked around, feeling very out of place. A short
while into the second hand Logan's phone rang, inducing frowns from
Josef and Tango. Mick mentally rolled his eyes and cursed, knowing that
he should have reminded Logan to switch it off.
"Oh, I gotta take this and Josef, you might be happy I did."
we got her Logan. She's on board the freighter Adrianne heading to
Port-au-Prince, Haiti. They dock tomorrow. We got the bitch Logan!"
Logan looked up, grinning like mad and saw that
Mick, Josef and Tango had heard. "Hey Ryder, I'm here with Josef, so
hang on a minute."
He looked up at Josef and said "Switch to speaker." He pushed the speaker button and set the phone on the table.
"Ryder, this is Josef. You're positive? It is Katrina?"
positive ID by one of our guys in Aruba where they docked briefly early
this morning. We've got eyes on her now on board. Next port is Haiti.
What do you want to do?"
"I want a welcoming committee on her
when they make port and then I want her ass on the jet back to LA.
Stake her and cover her ass with enough silver chains that she can't
even think about moving. Oh, and make sure they put some plastic down
on the leather of the jet; no blood stains on the leather. When you get
her back to LA take her to the warehouse and keep her there until
Monday when we'll deal with her. I have plans this weekend and that
bitch isn't going to ruin them. Give her just enough blood to keep her
semi-conscious. I want her to know what's waiting for her. That okay
with you Tango, Mick?"
Both men nodded and Logan ended the call.
Satisfied smiles spread around the table as they sipped their drinks.
Everyone but Carl understood what was happening and Josef caught him up
on the details.
"I suppose I shouldn't be telling the plans to
you Carl, being as how you are not involved and that you are an officer
of the law." He fixed a cool stare at Carl, watching him closely.
took the measure of Josef's eyes. He knew that this was a test and
instead of panicking he could meet this one easily. First off, this was
the bitch that caused Beth to die; not that it was a bad thing in the
end but if there were no such things as vampires then she would be gone.
Next, this was how justice should work. Justice was supposed to
protect the people it served; it should be unwavering and immediate and
vampire justice apparently was. An eye for an eye, life for a life?
Carl could support that after so many years of watching the bad guys
hide behind a justice system that didn't do anything more that allow
them to manipulate that system. Mick had taken care of Tejada; he'd
never admitted it but Carl knew it and so did Josef most likely. Tejada
met the justice he'd deserved, after ruining so many lives with his
dictatoresque style of running drugs and glorified violence. Yeah, the
bastard got just what he deserved and if Carl could have had a hand in
that he would have been a happy guy.
He was with Cami and that
meant that his life was changed. He was going to eventually be with
these men, in body as well as spirit. He and Cami hadn't spoken of it,
but his mind was made up. These were beginning to be family of sorts
and he stood with them, 100 percent.
"I'm with you Josef. What do you need from me?"
"No turning back from this point Carl. You need to understand that. This is a one way door you are going to walk through."
saw Mick looking at him; he could swear that he saw regret briefly
flitter across his face. Mick wasn't necessarily happy with his
existence; Carl had heard the story of how he was turned and so he
understood why. Mick was trying to make peace with it and with Beth at
his side he would eventually Carl thought. But Carl wasn't a wide-eyed
youth who didn't understand what this was about; he understood it well
and went into it with a clear understanding and expectations of what was
going to happen.
"I'm with you. All of you," he promised,
looking around the table, meeting the eyes of the men who would
ostensibly be his partners in this. Each man gave a small nod,
including Clark who was also ready to end this with Katrina.
it's done then. Tango, I believe it's your deal," Josef said, handing
the cards to Tango who took them and began the shuffle.
as hands went that night, no one won big or lost big. But a bond was
created that was going to last forever; they just didn't all realize it
at the time.
As he drove
home Carl thought about the evening; he'd taken a step across the line
that he had always lived by. Investigation, prosecution, trial by your
peers, jail. He's seen it happen a thousand times and unfortunately
half the time it didn't work. You could have the bastards nailed to the
door and they still missed out on the paying for their crimes part of
What amazed him was that he wasn't just okay with this
new form of justice, he wanted to get in there and watch it work. The
law of past centuries had it right; you catch them and once that verdict
was read you took them out and hung them or shot them dead. No time
for one appeal after another, tying up money and court time until the
system could barely move.
This was it - the way that he could finally help. He grabbed on with both hands.
other thing on his mind was Mick and what Ben had shared. Tonight at
the game was not the time to tell him; this was private and needed to be
done when they were alone. Likely Mick had no idea about all this and
it would undoubtedly be a shock for him. He didn't know what Ben's
plans were ultimately; he knew the fingerprints matched but did he
conceive of the possibility that Mick was an immortal? That was
No, he'd tell Mick soon, maybe this weekend.
a great deal of pressure off him, he finally smiled as he pulled into
the garage at his townhouse. All in all, it had been a great evening.
stepped into the kitchen and looked around. As usual Dorothy had left
the light over the sink on, but otherwise the house was dark and quiet.
He sat the alarm and headed into the bedroom.
When he walked
into the darkened room he found his wife sleeping peacefully; there was
an empty glass and a plate on the nightstand and he knew she'd had her
nightly snack of milk and graham crackers. He carried them both into
the kitchen and ran water in the glass and then put them both into the
In the bedroom he sat down on the chair opposite the
bed in preparation for taking his shoes off. A stray bit of moonlight
shone through a crack in the blinds and illuminated her face and for a
moment he caught his breath because she looked so young, so innocent.
The years started spiraling backwards; she was 16 and he 18. He had
joined the army straight out of high school; not sure what he was
looking for but knowing that he had to prove something to himself and
build a new life for he and Dorothy both.
She had been angry that
he was going and made no bones about it; she felt abandoned and to her,
a few years in the army seemed like a lifetime. It was risky he knew;
she had two years of high school to complete and she needed to do that
and with him here both of them would have found it an impossible task to
stay focused on what they needed to do. So he left and soon her
letters stopped and no one would say anything about why or what was
going on. He had figured that she had moved on and it broke his heart
but he had no choice but to accept it. When he had came home and he
discovered the truth he had never been more angry. He had thought she
had betrayed him and when he saw that there was no other guy around to
be a father to that little girl he knew what he was supposed to do; be
there, to love them and protect them both.
And that was exactly what he did and what he would do in the future.
he undressed he slipped into the bed next to her and leaned down to
kiss her gently. Her eyes fluttered open briefly and she smiled at him
and curled around his body. There were no moments more perfect than
this. Her in his arms, the warmth of her, the indescribable perfume of
her essence. These were they things that made life complete. It was
his job to make sure it always stayed that way.
woke up Friday morning with a smile on her face. Tonight it would be
just her and Josef at the beach house and she couldn't wait. She jumped
into the shower and enjoyed the warm water as it streamed over her but
she still had to pack for the weekend so it wasn't a long shower.
wasn't taking that much with her but it still took time to organize. A
couple of bathing suits, some shorts and tops, that kind of thing. She
was gathering toiletry items when she heard a knock on her door. Had
to be Josef she thought with a smile.
Wrapped only in her robe she answered the door, not bothering to look out first to see who her visitor was.
"Lani, you need to make sure who is here before you open this door!"
"How do you know that I didn't?"
didn't look through the peep hole." He looked at her standing in front
of him, the scarlet silken robe playing peek-a-boo with the equally
satin skin beneath it. His mouth bent and captured hers, drinking her
in as a gnawing ache gripped him. Cool fingers slipped inside her robe
and played lightly along her spine. He pulled her to him and picked her
in his arms and carried her to the bedroom. She slid to her feet then
and untied the robe, letting it fall to the floor in a hushed whisper.
Before she had time to take a breath he had his clothes off and fell to
the bed, pulling her with him.
He drank her in, her mouth sweet
and hot and he shivered as her tongue swirled around his. She
maneuvered under him and then he was between her legs and buried deep
within her. She let out a long, throaty sigh and looked into his
silvered eyes with joy, so happy to see her vamp again.
to taste you!" she told him and he turned his head and bit into his
shoulder and her mouth claimed the precious blood, sucking greedily on
it until there was no more. The waves of pleasure rocked through her
and her legs clasped him tightly as he let himself go; cool lips found
his spot and bit lightly and they each tumbled over the edge together,
holding tightly as soft moans filled the air.
A few minutes later
she stretched and sat up, staring down at him, a pleased Cheshire cat
smile on her face. "Well, that didn't take long," she laughed.
remind me. That'll teach me to be away from you for two days." Her
eyes raked down his body and saw his manhood twitch slightly. Her hand
reached out to clasp him firmly and he grinned. "Can't get enough of
She laughed and then swatted him on the thigh. "For
that you'll have to wait until tonight for more." She scooted off the
bed and grabbed her robe and tied it securely around her and went back
to packing her bag.
He sat up and watched her, his eyes hungrily
raking over her every movement. Silk did such enticing things to a
females body, showing curves and shadowing at the same time. He was
hard again just watching her. She caught him watching him and laughed.
"So why did you show up here this morning anyway?"
thought we could ride into the office together and then we leave this
afternoon we don't have to worry about your car. Is that one bag all
you're taking?" It was a small bag he noted; that could bode well for
him. A wicked gleam shone in his eyes for a moment.
"This and my
garment bag," she said pointing to it hanging on the door. "That is
for Monday morning so I don't have to come home to dress. And I think
you have a very good idea! But you need to get in gear Josef because I
have a meeting with Audrey, Thor and Darryl in about 40 minutes! So
pony up cowboy, it's time to hit the trail!"
He laughed as he
stood up and started pulling his clothes back on. The Armani was now
wrinkled but he just didn't care. He'd worry about it later. All that
mattered was being with her, here and now.
the morning he woke first, as was his habit. She was still sleeping
soundly as he hopped on the treadmill and knocked out 5 miles before
hitting the shower. Time was weighing heavily on his mind; he was
determined to get that time.
As Clark fixed breakfast he thought
about what he was going to say to her and knew that she was going to be
angry with him - most likely anyway. As luck would have it he didn't
have long to wait. He was pulling the poached eggs out of the pan when
she came into the kitchen, squeaky clean and smelling of jasmine from
Dorothy inhaled deeply and her stomach rumbled and
then she felt several kicks from the rascals that were temporarily
nestled in her stomach. She grinned and stood in front of Clark and
took his hand and placed it on her belly so he could feel it too. She
watched his face as he felt the movement and then saw tears well up in
his eyes as he smiled at her. She could only return the smile with
gratitude that this man was here with her.
He kissed her and said, "Sit down honey. Breakfast is ready and you and I are apparently not the only ones who are hungry."
took her seat and sipped the pineapple juice that was sitting by her
plate. It was cold and delicious and as Clark sat the eggs, toast and
fruit on the table she sighed at how wonderful it all smelled. She
looked at the clock and saw that it was after 8 already. "Aren't you
late for work?"
"I'm taking off today," he told her as he sat down across from her.
Her eyebrows rose a bit at that news which was so unlike him. "Hm," she said, taking a bite of the egg.
"Hey, I'm the boss, I can do it," he laughed. "How are your eggs?"
"Delicious, as always. You do spoil me; you realize that I can do all this myself though. You don't have to babysit me Clark."
is where I belong; where I want to be," he told her as he lightly
caressed her hand. "Now, how was shopping with the girls?"
told him all about it, including how worried she was about Beth. "I
know that it's bothering her Clark; I just want to be there for her."
"You will be honey, you always are."
about poker night with the boys? How do vampires play poker?" She
laughed when he did; she could only imagine how it went for Logan.
actually. And we have some good news; Ryder and Logan have found
Katrina and she'll be back in LA soon. It won't be good for her."
don't care! I hope that she...that som...I just hope that Josef takes
care of it because I know that he's capable of doing it."
nodded, not going into detail. She didn't need to know them; she just
needed to know that it had been taken care of. "Dorothy, I've been
thinking. For a while now. After the babies are born, maybe a year or
two down the road I'm going to be turned." He watched as she blanched
white and sat her fork down on the table.
"Honey, you know that
I've been considering it for awhile now; I've made up my mind. I have
to be able to protect you and the babies Dorothy."
It had felt
like a slap in the face and yet she knew that he would say those words
sooner or later. He hadn't protected her when she was raped and she
knew how much guilt he felt over it. Not that he could have; he might
actually have been killed trying. Now this was his chance to make it
for that, to ensure that he would always be there to protect them. How
could she ask him not to? How could she not want it for herself? Did
she want it? It seemed that most of the people she loved were now
vampires. How could they raise the babies if they were both vampires
Clark watched the emotions fly over her face and saw her
confusion and uncertainty; he understood it all because he'd experienced
it all himself at one time or another. "Dorothy, just take some time
to think about it, okay? It's what I have to do, please understand
that. If you decide you never want that, I'm okay with that. I'll
spend every minute I can get with you and love you always."
"And watch me die?" He heard the small catch in her voice.
"If that is what you want. It wouldn't be my choice, but I'll support you whatever decision you make."
met his eyes and saw that tears were running down his face; her fingers
brushed away her own tears and she blinked. "I don't know if I'm ready
for the decision Clark, but I understand yours. I won't fight you on
it Clark." The words were spoken so quietly and were barely above a
whisper but in the breathless quiet of the morning they both knew that
the decision had been made, by both of them.
had taken the information about Katrina with a good deal of equanimity
he thought; maybe too much but that remained to be seen he decided.
Since she had been turned she often didn't react immediately to things
the way she used to, she put more thought into what she did, which was a
good thing. He had talked to her a lot about that when she was
learning about her new abilities and he had tried hard to impress on her
that if she went flying off the reservation in reaction to something
she put herself and the whole tribe in danger. At least something he'd
taught her seemed to be sinking in.
Still, what did she think
about it? She was quiet this morning, even before he'd told her. She
had said that they had a good time shopping but his gut told him that
something was wrong and she wasn't telling him about it. He could be
needlessly worrying but he couldn't let it go. When he probed a bit
harder he was treated to a huge smile and the 'come hither' look crept
into her eyes, except he recognized it now. She was trying to use
allure on him to deflect his questions. It took everything he had to
resist her and he wasn't sure that he could actually. In the end, he
couldn't, but he didn't forget about things either.
Audrey had made plans for Mick and Beth to come over this evening to see
Travis and the plans for the new house which was coming along nicely.
As they got ready in the early evening Mick watched her closely but
still couldn't tell what was wrong.
At Audrey and Logan's Beth
was amazed at Travis and Plato both. They seemed to almost be
connected; where one went the other followed. Travis ran to her when
she came in and then he stopped short, sniffing the air. He sat down
and meowed softly, as if considering this new set of circumstances.
knelt down and reached her hand out to him, rubbing her fingers
together and calling his name. He took a cautious step forward and
Plato meowed in the background, causing Travis to meow back and look
over his shoulder at Plato.
Obviously some sort of feline
communication but what the verdict was Mick couldn't tell. He saw his
wife waiting patiently and also scented her hurt at Travis' reaction.
Logan did too and it made him feel awful.
Travis finally came
forward and let her touch him and then backed up a bit. He wasn't going
to let her pick him up, that much was for sure. "It's okay Travis; I
won't hurt you, I promise," she told him. He finally retreated across
the room, Plato following him and they laid down near the windows with
Plato curving his body protectively around Travis.
"I - I guess it makes sense, it's been so long and I'm a vampire now." She watched him with tears sparkling in her blue eyes.
"Beth, would you care for something to drink?" Audrey said, trying to change Beth's focus.
she said, following Audrey to the kitchen. Mick and Logan followed and
sat at the dining room table so they could look at the plans for the
The girls brought back wine for all of them; the glasses
for the vampires were laced with blood and Beth was amazed at how
comfortable Audrey was with it all. At they sipped Logan and Audrey
told them about the designs for their green home.
heater heats the water as you need it; it's amazing actually. I thought
I would take several minutes for it to get hot but it happens really
quickly," Audrey told them.
"Yeah and there are built in water
reservoirs that collect rain water that can be used for non-potable
needs, like flushing toilets or watering the yards and stuff. It's all
so amazing," Logan said, so excited he could hardly sit still.
smiled at these two, at how happy they were. Why hadn't Logan put a
ring on this amazing girls finger yet he wondered? He made a point to
speak with him soon and see what was going on with that. Mick had
almost thought that when he and Beth got back that Logan and Audrey
would at the least be engaged if not married.
The evening wore on
and it was getting late. Beth mentioned that they were going to the
beach with Lani and Josef for the weekend. "So, you won't mind keeping
Travis for a bit longer," she asked.
"No, of course not. He'll
need time to be around you again Beth. I'm sorry he seems a bit awkward
with you right now. I think he and Plato are just so used to each
other, you know?"
Beth nodded and thought about that for a
moment. "I can see that; it makes me happy that he has a friend, you
know? Has he been a problem, staying here I mean?"
"Not at all Beth. We've come to love him," Audrey said and then realized how that must sound.
thought of the picture in Audrey's office, their furry kids and she
knew what was the best thing for Travis, maybe for all of them. She
swallowed down the tennis ball that felt lodged in her throat and
finally spoke. "Maybe he's better off here. I don't want to tear him
away from Plato, from what he obviously feels is his home now," she said
and couldn't stop the small quiver in her voice.
rapidly went around her; he knew this was the best thing for Travis but
not for Beth. Circumstances had taken so much away from her, her cat,
her chance to have a baby, her life. In the end it all came back to
him; if he had stayed out of her life she may have had such a different
He hated what his life had done to hers and yet, he also
knew that she didn't regret it; that she was happy with her life. Maybe
not everything in it, but life in general. And so he forced himself to
see that he had given her a lot as well. Not nearly as much as she had
given him but in the end, well, as she would say, they made a good
"Oh Beth," Audrey said, knowing how much this was hurting
her friend. "He is always welcome here, but he'll also adjust if he
goes back to your house, it will just take time like it did for him
"That's just it Audrey, he probably feels like no one
wants him the way he has been shuffled around. He needs a home, he
needs his friend and someplace stable. I have to do what is best for
him," she finished.
Audrey nodded, "Okay then, he can stay here
with us, but you can see him anytime and if Logan and I go out of town
or something you have to baby sit both of them."
promised. They stood up to walk to the door, Travis watching from the
couch where he and Plato had moved to. Beth stepped towards him and
scratched him behind the ears and then did the same for Plato. "You
take care of each other, you guys here me?" she said as she stepped
back. She needed to leave before she broke down completely. "We'll
talk to you guys next week, okay?" she said without waiting for a reply.
In the car she let it all go, sobbing as she did her best to
make peace with her decision. "I know he's just a cat, but I loved him
Mick," she said as she dug a tissue out of her purse.
Beth; I do understand." He watched her as he drove home. She leaned her
head against the window and watched the lights stream by. She'd be
okay eventually but he still knew that there was more to all this that
he needed to know. Hopefully in time she would tell him.
To be continued...