Chapter 19 The Secret Pain
morning Beth woke up, excited for the day to begin because she and Lani
and Robbi were meeting for lunch to plan the shower. She looked over at
Mick who was still slumbering and she hoped that when she popped the
lid on the freezer it didn’t wake him.
He had been so worried
about Ben and what to do the past two days and Beth’s heart hurt for
him. Josef had thrown a new issue out by saying that he knew Catherine
and that he’d take care of it, which made Mick crazy. He could only
think that his daughter had been one of Josef’s freshies in the past and
he couldn’t handle the thought of that.
Beth tried to point out
the obvious, that if Catherine knew Josef she most likely knew about
vampires too and that was a good thing. Maybe Ben knew as well and all
of that could help things. One thing was for sure, sitting around
waiting for Josef to contact him was only making matters worse.
she couldn’t wait any longer she pushed the button that would open the
almost silent lid of the freezer. She sat up and moved away from Mick
and saw that he was still out so she hopped out and closed the lid and
headed into the bathroom to take a shower.
It was going to be a great day, she just knew it.
rolled over in bed and came to rest next to Josef. She opened an eye
and then wrapped her arm around his waist and slid her leg over his.
was instantly awake, in more ways than one and smiled down at the woman
he had waited forever for. He pulled her to him and kissed her as she
moved to lay on top of him, straddling his hips so that she could take
full advantage of his morning salute.
“Good morning,” she whispered against his lips, kissing him tenderly.
yes, it is.” He felt her body sheath him, the delicious wet warmth
clinging to him. His hips thrust upwards and he sighed with the
Lani leaned back, her hair cascading in loose curls
down the hollows of her back and around her shoulders. Josef loved to
see her like that, the rounded swells of her breasts pushed forward and
just begging to be tasted and loved.
Her pace quickened and soon
the power of her release gripped her, her muscles clenching tightly
around him and he turned his head, biting into his shoulder for his
release. She lay forward, trying to catch her breath and mumbled, “No
“What?” he asked innocently, but he knew what she was referring to.
supposed to bite ME,” she murmured and then lightly bit down on his
shoulder hoping to catch a drop of two of his captivating blood.
wrapped his arms around her, stroking her back and running his fingers
through her hair. “You’ve got to meet Robbi in a little while. I didn’t
want a fresh bite mark showing Sweetness. She’s had to accept a lot
about the changes in your life as well as Beth’s.” He moved her hair
away from her shoulder and neck and planted several cool kisses on the
soft skin there and she sighed with the pleasure of his touch.
know that you are right, but I hate it when you don’t bite me Josef;
that is such an amazing connection. I would never have guessed.”
know my love, I do. Now, you’d better get up because it’s almost eleven
and aren’t the girls supposed to be here in an hour or so?”
she exclaimed, looking at the clock. She practically leaped off the
bed and Josef grinned, watching her lithe body’s fluid movement. “Come
on Josef, we have to get moving!”
“I don’t have to do anything besides shower and get dressed. What do you have to do?”
the same but then I need to find the delivery menus so we can order
some lunch and I have to straighten up in the living room and…”
the living room is fine, maybe a couple of glasses out. What are you
so worried about? It is just Robbi and Beth isn’t it or do you have
some good looking guy coming too?” he teased.
She leaned down and
kissed him once more and said, “You are enough good looking guy for me
Josef, I don’t think I could handle another.” Her eyes were sparkling
as she spoke and a saucy grin spread across her face. “Now, come ON,
get out of that bed!”
“Okay slave driver,” he laughed as he
followed her into the bathroom. He watched as she turned the taps on and
adjusted the water temperature so that it would neither freeze her out
or scald him.
The dual-level spray felt wonderful as Lani turned
so that the water could spray against her back. She picked up the
shampoo and Josef took it from her and said, “Let me, please?”
she said and felt him working the shampoo into her hair. She leaned
against him, enjoying the relaxing feeling of his fingers in her hair.
Finally she rinsed and he worked the conditioner in, massaging it in as
he had the shampoo. While it set in her hair for a bit she performed
the same ablutions on him, enjoying the intimacy of the misty shower
One thing led to another and before she realized it
another 15 minutes had gone by and she started to panic a bit as she
began drying off. Josef watched her, a self-satisfied smirk on his face
and she watched him watching her in the mirror.
“How can you
possibly be ready to go again?” she said, eyeing his ‘at attention’ body
part that was presenting itself proudly to her.
natural when I look at you.” He let his eyes slide up and down her
body, taking in the curvy hills and shadowy hollows. He shrugged and
laughed, “Just can’t help myself Sweetness!”
“Out, now. Just go so I can dry my hair. GO!,” she said with a resounding stamp of her foot on the tiled floor.
a laugh he grabbed a towel and headed into the bedroom, hating to leave
her alone but acceding to her wish all the same. He heard the blow
dryer come on as he finished drying his body. He tossed the wet towel
on the bed, not daring to take it into the bathroom for fear of getting
her to yell at him again. Yeah, maybe that could be fun but then sanity
took over and he only laughed. She was beautiful when she was annoyed
with him; eyes bright and that sweet peachy blush to her complexion. A
man couldn’t have it any better than he did.
He sat on the bed,
waiting for her to come out so he could get to his toiletries and when
she came out to dress she tossed him an amused look, knowing what he had
been waiting for and also aware that he hadn’t stepped back into the
room while she was still in there.
She looked at the clock and saw that it was now a quarter to twelve! Yikes! Time sure flew…
was zipping her jeans up when Kevin walked into the bedroom, holding
Brian. “Hey, you look fantastic, honey.” She’d managed to lose all the
baby weight in the past 6 weeks through hard work; that being chasing
around after two little ones with no time to herself or to eat. “You
know, you should talk to Beth and Lani about having a fun girls night
out; you know, dancing or something like that.”
She looked up at him, smiling while one eyebrow quirked upwards in surprise. “Really, we should hit the clubs, huh?”
not like before, when you were single, but I hear the Elks run the
Starlight Ballroom on Saturday evenings. That might be nice for you,”
he teased, his eyes sparkling merrily.
“Ha ha,” she said, sticking her tongue out at him. “I’m thinking the Wild Side maybe.”
hid his surprise, not sure if she were joking or not. He hoped she
was. “Well, whatever you decide,” he said hoping that they didn’t
decide on that place! “So, you’re telling them today?”
swallowed quickly and let out a long slow breath as she checked her hair
once more in the mirror. “Yes, I’m telling them Kev. It’s the best
thing I know.” She walked to him and placed a light kiss on Brian and a
tender one on Kevin’s lips. “I love you, Kev.”
“I love you too,
Robbi.” As she walked away his heart felt a pang of tenderness and
love for this woman that he wouldn’t know how to live without. He could
only hope that he’d never have to.
Lani called out for her mate and found him in the bedroom slowly
dressing. “Will you hurry up? They’ll be here soon, come on!” The
last line was punctuated by a sharp look.
“What, they’re not
allowed to see me?” he asked with a chuckle. “They’ll guess the deep,
dark secret, that we’re lovers?” He had to work hard to keep from
laughing at her indignation.
“They KNOW that Josef, but this is
girls day, alright? So hurry up!” She headed out of the room and went
into the kitchen, hunting for the delivery menu’s she kept on hand.
found her pouring over the choices that were spread out on the kitchen
counter. He wrapped his arms around her and placed a quick kiss on her
neck which was displayed beautifully since she’d pulled her hair up in a
The kiss on his mark sent a delicious pang though
Lani’s stomach and for a moment she enjoyed the feeling of love and
security that washed over her. She sighed and leaned back against him,
folding her arms over his.
“I love you,” he said, inhaling her enticing scent.
love you too. Sorry to be such a crab. I’m just…it’s just been so
long since the three of us got together and I’m a bit nervous actually.”
will be fine Lani; you three have been best friends forever and that
means a lot. And not to worry you anymore but they’re here.”
Her head popped up as she cocked her head to listen for the door bell. She didn’t hear anything.
“Just got off the elevator; Beth and Robbi both.” At her bemused look he added, “Sorry, vamp hearing.”
walked to the door together and Lani opened it just as Beth got ready
to knock. Her startled look brought a smile to Josef’s face. “Didn’t
expect to see you here Josef,” she said, grinning.
Lani’s face blanched as she caught Beth giving Josef a slight wink. “He’s just leaving, aren’t you Josef?”
“Yes, I am.” He hugged Beth and then Robbi too, surprising her. “Robbi, you look great! How’s the little one?”
wonderful Josef, thanks for asking. We’re having a party for Brianna’s
4th birthday in a few weeks, I hope you’ll come and join us?”
be delighted to Robbi. Thank you for the invitation. What would she
like from Uncle Josef? A new pony or maybe a castle for the back yard?”
he teased with a twinkle in his eye.
Robbi wasn’t quite sure he was teasing and stammered, “Uh, no. She loves Barbie dolls though.”
it is then. I’m sure Lani can help pick out something appropriate.
Now ladies, I must be on my way to leave you to your afternoon. Lani
has been pouring over delivery menus and I’m sure your luncheon choices
Robbi caught the teasing tone in that and said, “Lani, you mean you didn’t cook for us? We have to get take out?”
you are a fan of those gooey peanut butter sandwiches she makes I find
it unlikely that she’d cook something. That’s the only thing I’ve seen
“Hey, we survived our college years on those sandwiches Josef,” Lani exclaimed.
we did. Late night in the dorm room, hot plate kicking out those
sandwiches,” Robbi said, a long sigh escaping her. “Those were good
days, right girls?”
“They sure were!” Beth said. “We wouldn’t have made it though those four years without them.”
“See?” Lani said to Josef and then impudently stuck her tongue out at him.
grabbed her with a grin and kissed her soundly, feeling her melt in his
arms. She was breathless when he let her go. “That’s twice,
Sweetness. See you later?”
“Y-yes,” she said, licking her lips, his taste still lingering there.
then. Ladies, it was a pleasure!” He stepped through the door and
closed it behind him leaving Lani looking at it long after it was
“Lani? Lani?” Beth asked and looked at Robbi with a grin as she shook her head.
“She has it bad, doesn’t she?” Robbi snickered.
like you when you met Kevin,” Beth said. She laid her arm over her
forehead and teased, “Oh you guys, he’s so wonderful, so dreamy…”
“I didn’t say that! But he sure was cute! Remember that silly fedora he used to wear?”
“Yeah,” Lani said, thinking back. “Whatever happened to it?”
“He still has it and every now and then we play ‘college freshmen’ and it’s fun!”
“Oh god, I don’t want to hear this,” Beth laughed. “Come on, I’m hungry!”
always hungry, you crazy mixed up vampire!” Lani said, leading them
into the kitchen so they could peruse the menus. The finally decided on
a salmon and asparagus quiche and turtle cheese cake for dessert. Lani
called the order in and they sat at the dining room table, starting to
toss out ideas for the shower.
“What do they need Beth?” Robbi asked, looking through some catalogs she had brought for ideas for a theme shower perhaps.
don’t know. Really, I don’t think they need anything. I mean, the
babies’ room is done and I just don’t know what else they’d need.”
“Hey, why don’t we call your Mom and get her over here? I know that sounds weird but we could use her help. Any objections?”
“No,” Beth and Robbi said together.
“It’s not like this is a secret shower anyway. Beth, wanna give her a call?”
was surprised to see Beth’s name on the caller ID since she knew that
the girls were getting together today. “Hi sweetie, what’s up? Is
“Yes Mom. Hey, can you come over to Lani’s
place? We need you here,” she said, not telling her why. She knew her
mom and saying you needed something was a sure way to get her attention.
“Of course. Give me about 20 minutes, okay?”
“That’s fine. We ordered lunch and it should be here about then so I hope you’re hungry.”
“Okay, I guess I am. See you in a little bit.”
talked about a guest list and decorations while they waited for the
food and Dorothy. The guest list also made them realize they needed
Dorothy’s input. Beth’s head came up when she heard the elevator door
open and announced, “The food is here!”
Robbi looked puzzled and
Lani tapped her ear, “Vampire hearing.” And a moment later there was a
knock on the door, but Beth was already there, checking out who was out
there. She saw not only the delivery girl but her mother and opened the
Lani had the money ready to hand over and paid the
delivery person while Robbi carried the food into the kitchen. When the
door closed Beth said, “Lani, you should have at least split the bill
“Nope, not this time. Maybe next. Now let’s eat!”
and Dorothy were looking for plates and silverware and Beth started
clearing the table. Lani grabbed a pitcher of orange juice out of the
fridge and poured four fluted glasses of it and then added a sparkling
wine to three of them and a cherry.
“Sorry Dorothy, plain OJ for you!”
just fine with me,” she said, sitting down at the table with a sigh.
“So why did the three of you invite me over here? Beth said you needed
“Can’t we just want to see you?” Lani said, and say
Dorothy look at her suspiciously. “Okay, here’s the deal - we’re
throwing you a baby shower and we need some help.”
digging into the quiche and wore a smile of bliss on her face. “Beth,
this is just so weird, watching you eat,” Dorothy said. “I’m not sad
about it, but I don’t understand it either.”
“Me either Mom, but I’m not complaining either.”
“Okay, first off, you don’t need to throw a baby shower for us; girls, we don’t need anything at all.”
why we wanted you here. There must be something you need?” Robbi said.
She took a sip of the mimosa and smiled, remembering a trip the girls
had taken to Mexico and the mimosa’s they’d enjoyed in the mornings
“There isn’t, really. Maybe it could just be a gathering without the gifts?”
that’s possible. But here’s another suggestion, I was reading about it
in a magazine the other day. We could put on the invitations that all
gifts will be donated to a local shelter for women and children. How
about that?” Robbi looked at the other three to see their responses.
thought about if for a moment and smiled. “I like that idea. I like
it a lot in fact. There are several local shelters that need so much.
We could maybe call and find out what kinds of things they need and put
them on a registry. Would that work?”
“That is a great idea!” Beth agreed.
spent the rest of the lunch deciding on a guest list and colors and
decorations for the party which would be held at Robbi’s house.
“Robbi, you’re chasing around two kids as it is, are you sure you want to do this?” Lani asked.
“Absolutely! Brianna will love to help us, it will be fun.”
they were done eating and had cleared the table Robbi knew it was time
to tell the girls what she had been hiding. She was glad that Dorothy
was here as well because she was as much of a Mom as her own in many
They sat at the table for a minute and Dorothy looked
around at the girls, remembering the past. Robbi, curly blonde hair and
glasses, tall and a bit gangly, she had been such a tomboy. She loved
to ride horses and would often take Beth with her. Although Lani didn’t
like riding at all, she would sometimes go and cheer them on. Robbi had
always been a mother hen, the peacekeeper of the three of them and
tried hard to keep them all happy.
Lani, had dark hair which was
often pulled back into a pony tail just like today because she didn’t
want to be bothered with her hair. She was always in motion, riding her
bike or skating, playing soft ball on the team Clark coached. She was
like a little sponge, soaking up every bit of love they could give her.
She had been so worried that she wasn’t going to develop breasts and
Dorothy had hidden smiles more than once when she saw that Lani was
stuffing her bra. Lani was always the leader, pushing the limits of
what they should or shouldn’t do, especially when it came to boys.
Dorothy had worried that she’d end up pregnant before they got out of
high school and was amazed that she hadn’t.
Beth had been the
third part or them, almost as if they were all attached. It was unusual
for three friends to be so equally loved and cherished but the girls
had managed it. Their personalities were so different and yet they
over-lapped in ways as well, sometimes blurring the lines of where one
left off and the other started. Beth was the inquisitive one, the
explorer. She constantly pushed the limits of things and yet she also
had such a kind and loving heart. She thought of those two as sisters
and Dorothy knew that was true even now. She was so happy that they
three of them were together again and working their issues out. She
knew she needed to leave so they could enjoy the rest of the day
“Girls, thank you so much for planning this shower, I
love the idea we came up with but it’s time for me to go now. Thank you
so much for lunch and all,” Dorothy said, getting ready to leave.
“Wait, Dorothy, please don’t go yet. I - I have something to tell you all and I’d like it if you were here too.”
saw how pale Robbi was suddenly and sat back down. She instinctively
reached out her hand and squeezed Robbi’s, suddenly afraid of what she
“Robbi, what’s wrong?” Beth asked, a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach suddenly making her very afraid.
took a deep breath and let it out slowly through pursed lips. “I know
you know how upset I was with you Beth, you too Lani, because I felt as
if you were keeping secrets from me. It felt horrible to be left out
but I understand why now and I’m okay about it. Part of the problem
about it was me though, I withdrew from you both actually. You saw it
as the pregnancy and some of it was but there was something else that
happened and I haven’t been the same ever since. About six months ago
my Dad was diagnosed with Huntington’s disease.”
As soon as
Dorothy heard the words she immediately knew Robbi’s dilemma and why she
was so upset. It was heartbreaking news and could affect not only
Robbi but the children as well. ”Oh sweetie, I’m so sorry; for your Dad
and the whole family. And you Robbi. What are you going to do?”
and Lani were stunned and as information clicked through both of their
brains they finally realized what Robbi was going through. Beth wiped
away a tear and tried to pull herself together, knowing that Robbi would
It was Lani in her matter of fact way that finally asked, “What will you do Robbi?”
disease was a terrible disease; it degenerated muscles and your brain
as well and often caused severe impaired mental ability and psychiatric
problems that resulted in dementia. The worst part of it was that the
child of someone with Huntington’s disease had a fifty percent chance of
having it as well. Robbi could be tested so that she could know
whether she would develop it or not.
“I haven’t decided yet what
to do guys. If I test and I’m fine I’ll feel guilty that Dad isn’t and
if I have it, I’ll know what is ahead of me and it really scares me. If
I don’t get tested it will be like there is a time bomb ticking away in
me that I don’t know about. I don’t know what to do.”
women who listened to her were in shock and all three appreciated her
dilemma. If she tested and was fine, that was great but if she wasn’t?
How would that affect her life, knowing that she was doomed to the
ravages of such a terrible disease?
The four women sat at the
table in the late afternoon, holding hands as tears streaked their
faces. This was a shared grief, a shared problem and what affected one
of them ultimately affected them all.
How did any of them find a way to deal with this? Together they decided - they would deal with it together.
To be continued…