Thank you Lady LaLa for your time and help! And Lynn, as always, thank you for the picture.
Chapter 21 Starting Anew
watched Beth as she hurriedly drank down a glass of O negative in
preparation for leaving the loft for her first day back at Buzzwire.
They were shooting promo’s today and so she had spent a good amount of
time trying to find the perfect outfit for that and carefully applying
She rinsed her glass and stopped to kiss Mick
goodbye. He held her tight for a long moment and breathed in her
excitement and a bit of nervousness too. “You are going to be great
Beth. It’ll be like stepping into a pair of really comfortable shoes,
it’ll just feel right. Wait and see,” he told her, stealing another
“I’m a woman, Mick. There’s no such thing as a comfortable
pair of shoes, fashionable ones anyway!” she laughed as she grabbed her
bag and her laptop and headed out the door.
Mick walked to the
door and as she pushed the button for the elevator it opened almost
immediately. “I love you!” he called out as she stepped in.
grinned back at him and said, “Ditto!” as the doors swept shut. The hum
faded as the elevator made it’s trip down and he closed the door of the
loft, suddenly feeling very alone.
Josef called yesterday and
asked him to come to Kostan Industries at 2:30 today for a meeting.
Mick wasn’t sure what it was about, but it must be important. Josef
wouldn’t tell him anything about it though and Mick finally surrendered
with a shrug. He’d know when he got there.
For now, the
greenhouse needed some tending. It was amazing how much had survived
when they were in Seattle and for almost the last 4 weeks he’d been
pruning and weeding and finding out that a lot of it was salvageable.
Beth had eaten peppers and tomatoes galore and there were more
vegetables ready to harvest in the next few days. He wouldn’t have
imagined any of this would be possible when she was turned but it was
real: Beth could eat food.
Mick fought the urge, often in fact,
to call Heroku and demand answers. He knew more than he was saying and
Mick was positive about that. Why he wasn’t telling them all remained
to be seen. Mick trusted Heroku and he knew him to be a good and
honorable man but he didn’t trust these thirteen, the Children of the
Moon, at all. Why was Heroku covering for them?
pulled into the Buzzwire parking lot and smiled. It felt like coming
home and she couldn’t help the mile wide smile she wore as she entered
the doors. Inside it looked very different though, whether Max’s doing
or Grant’s, she wasn’t sure. She stood and looked at it and decided
that whoever did it knew what they were doing. It wasn’t willy-nilly
any longer but seemed to be more cohesively organized into areas and
that was a plus when you are trying to stay focused and organized.
old offices along the far wall had all been torn out and turned into
the media/technical center, along with research stations. The offices
were now to the left, three of them actually. One for Max, one for her
and the other into a small studio type set up, complete with blue screen
and projection equipment.
Max saw her walk in and immediately
went to her, offering her a hug and a big welcome! “Here we are Beth,
ready to go! Come on, let’s get you settled into your office and then
we’re having a staff meeting, such as it is.
Secretly, Beth was
thankful that she didn’t have to use Mo’s old space; it would have been
hard to do, so the new office was great. It was large, with plenty of
shelves and space galore. A brand new state of the art computer sat
waiting for her and she couldn’t wait to try it out.
“It’s great, Max, incredible in fact!”
glad you like it. We did a lot of tearing out and rearranging last
week, trying to make sense of all this. I hope you’ll find it better
space to work in. So far the rest of the staff really like it.”
“I do, it makes so much sense! I’m anxious to see everyone. Shall we get to that staff meeting?”
tore out that huge store room and kitchen combo and made a staff war
room and a smaller kitchen to go with it. This way we can have meetings
daily to see what everyone is working on.”
“Great idea Max!
Before, we just sort of all did our own thing, unless Mo gave us an
assignment. And when she did it was usually because she was pissed at
us.” Beth remembered back to the fashion show she was assigned to after
she failed to get the meeting of the hooker and her parents on tape.
That had really angered Mo and it had been days until she’d speak to
Beth again, until Beth had came up with the BC story.
walked in she saw many familiar faces and she greeted them happily and
smiled as she met the new ones. Finally Steve stepped out of the corner
and hugged her tightly.
“Damn Turner, you look great; married
life agrees with you. But don’t you guys ever go outside? You’re way
too pale. Gonna take a lot of make up or the camera is going to wash
Beth grinned and shrugged. “Newlyweds! What can I say?”
the laughter Max stepped up to the front of the room and called all
their attention. She discussed the new mission and direction of
Buzzwire and talked about different types of assignment and got everyone
settled into their roles. Today Beth, Christine and Kelsey were going
to work on a few promos so that Sam could get them up and running. They
had three weeks and counting until Buzzwire hit the net running and the
ripple of excitement in the room was tangible for them all. Finally
Max dismissed them all and they scattered quickly, ready to begin work.
and Max went over some ideas for a couple of promos and Beth was ready
to shoot her first one. Max turned her head side to side and said,
“Steve is right, you are pale, Beth. If you’re going to be on air much
you’re going to have to get a spray tan or get outside more.” She
smiled and added, “God, I remember those days! Sometimes Mark and I
would stay in bed all day and…well, you know!”
“Yeah, I know. Nice, huh?” she laughed.
headed into the small makeup booth and sorted through the cosmetics
that were there. “We’re going to have to go with a bronzer I guess
because we can’t use a darker foundation. Hey Steve, what kind of
lighting can you use to brighten her skin?”
“Hey, maybe I shouldn’t be doing the promo’s Max? The others can do them as easily as me.”
are doing some but I want at least one with you Beth - you were the
face of Buzzwire for a while, when it was still good and I want the
public to see that the face they loved is back.”
They finally had
her makeup done to their liking and they went into the studio where
Steve and Kenny were setting up the lighting. After a couple of tests
they were happy with it all and Beth was ready for her first run
After a couple of practice runs they were ready to roll and Beth plastered a huge smile on and started to speak.
have you heard? Buzzwire is back and better than ever! Catch the
Buzz! Hard-hitting, reliable news and information, streaming live 24/7.
Buzzwire brings it all to you right on your desktop! The Buzz is back
and it’s good!”
“Perfect,” Max said, after only 2 takes.
“It’s great Beth, short and to the point. We’ll start running it on
the message board right away. You are a pro, as always!”
good she decided. Not necessarily being in front of the camera, but
having a purpose again. Yes, it definitely felt good!
thank you for coming,” Josef said, shaking her hand. She looked
beautiful, but then she’d always been beautiful. Her suit was Dior and
her shoes Prada; she was dressed exquisitely. The rust colored suit was
perfect for autumn and made the copper highlights in her hair stand out
The years had been kind to her, or maybe she just
had a good surgeon, who knew. He remembered the first time he’d ever
laid eyes on her and it seemed as if she’d changed little.
thought the same thing about Josef. She knew he wouldn’t age as a
vampire but damn, did he have to still look so young and carefree? It
was like she was right there, back to where it all began again.
and Molly approached the dark club quickly, both of them looking around
them constantly trying to discern what was in the shadows.
“Are you sure this is the place Molls?”
I’ve been here before. Look, I know you don’t want to be here, but I’m
telling you, this is the easiest money ever and I’ve got tuition coming
up in a couple of months. I can make five hundred bucks here tonight,
“By letting some Dracula wannabe drink your blood?
Really Molls, this is just creepy and it’s dangerous as hell. Look at
“Wait until you get inside Cat, it’s fantastic.”
They approached the doorman who let them in with a slight bow to them.
“Now, just follow me. You don’t have to say or do anything!”
was only coming here because she was worried about Molly. Every month
or so she came here and let some creep puncture her arm and take her
blood. She had to admit that it paid well, but Cat just couldn’t let
her go alone. This place had to be teaming with weirdos.
the club it was luxurious, opulent even. Rich dark woods, with gray
suede seating and low-key recessed lighting, it looked like something
out of a magazine. They found a table on the right side and when the
waitress came they both ordered a Tequila Sunrise. No one bothered to
check their ID and Cat found that sort of alarming. Soft music played
in the background, something by the Eagles she thought and decided it
was fitting considering what they were drinking.
focused their attention on the girls and Cat started to feel very
uncomfortable. “Moll, I think we should leave. It’s creepy in here.”
A man sitting about ten feet away smiled as he heard her remark; she had no idea how true that statement was.
noticed him immediately. He was young and very good looking with
longish brown hair that was styled well and feathered back from his
face. He was dressed in a business suit too, which stood out in this
room full of jeans and open necked shirts.
Another man approached
them and bowed slightly. He had dark, penetrating eyes that were
almost black, at least in this light. Cat took another taste of her
drink, sipping it nervously because this guy definitely gave her chills.
Luckily he only seemed to have eyes for Molly. Or maybe not a good
thing, judging by Molls reaction.
“Well, welcome back young one. Are you selling tonight?”
felt faint. She’d met him here before, the first time she came and
he’d hurt her when he drank her blood. Even in the dim light Cat could
see that her friend had paled and she said, “Hey Molls, I don’t feel so
well. I think we need to leave.” She started to rise and the man
looked at her and growled. My god, he growled! She couldn’t believe
“Sorry mister, but we’re leaving!” she said and when she
stood up he actually pushed her back into her seat. Molly sat there
speechless, afraid to say anything. Her heart was pounding furiously
and she thought for a moment she might faint.
The good looking
man saw and heard it all and before Cat even saw him move he was at
their table, pushing the scary man aside. “I’ve already spoken for the
young lady Mario. Sorry about that!”
The man called Mario
growled and Cat got a good look at his fangs and his eyes that now
glowed silver. She was amazed at how authentic his costume was. Their
rescuer stood his ground, baring his own fangs and for a half a minute
Cat was afraid that there was going to be a fight but Mario finally
backed off and skulked across the room to nurse a drink of some kind.
“I’m sorry he frightened you little one. You know him?” their hero asked.
“Yes, the first time I was here, he hurt me.”
“Yet you came back?”
“I need the money. I have tuition due.”
“And you?” he asked, looking at Catherine.
“I’m just along for the ride, nothing else, Batman.”
was amused at her remark and nodded and opened his wallet, pulling out a
thousand dollars and laid it on the table. “May I?” he asked softly.
nodded and he sat down and Cat almost fainted when she saw his fangs,
real ones sink into Moll’s arm. Almost as soon as he started drinking
her blood she moaned softly and Cat could tell it wasn’t because he was
Vampires? Real vampires? Catherine looked around
her at the other people in the club and saw this same scenario being
played out. Vampires. She couldn’t believe it.
When the man was
done Molly was shaking and sighing. He placed a sweet kiss on her arm
and said, “My name is Josef Kostan.” He handed her his business card
and said, “Call me tomorrow, I have a job for you to help you through
And he did; he’d hired her to be one of his freshies
and she lived at his house in the hills. Occasionally Cat would visit
her there and each time she was amazed at everything he did for his
girls. By the time they both graduated Cat had come to respect and even
like Josef a great deal.
“Let’s go to my conference room, shall we? Would you care for some coffee or another beverage?”
At her negative shake of her well-coifed head he told Thor, “Mick will be joining us soon. Send him straight in please.”
Mick? The name was certainly not a favorite of hers but this Mick couldn’t have anything to do with all that.
“I have a tale to tell you Catherine. Please have a seat,” he said as they entered the room. “We have a problem.”
Her left eyebrow rose inquisitively as she sat down in a chair and crossed her long legs. “We? Do tell Josef.”
smiled at her, that engaging smile he had when he wanted something and
that immediately put her on edge. He was a master at control, allure
he’d called it so many years ago and she’d seen enough to understand how
powerful it could be. She quickly lowered her eyes; if he was trying
to get to her she wouldn’t give him the chance.
“Well?” she asked expectantly, rising from the chair and standing to look out the window.
smiled, fully aware of what she was doing and that was fine. If he
really wanted to allure her she couldn’t stop him, but he didn’t tell
her that. “I have recently had some information that will affect you
and I thought you should know it.” He watched as she turned to face
him, curiosity clearly written on her face so he continued. “You know
from the past that allure is a very powerful type of domination, Cat.
In 1952, Mick St. John was going to marry your mother. They were in
love, very much, I know.”
“Yes and the bastard ran away with
someone else and got himself killed. Can’t say I mourn him
particularly, even if he was my father.”
“Yes, well that’s partly
true. He did die the night he married Coraline Duvall, but he rose
again. She was a vampire and she turned him on their wedding night.”
started to open her mouth to protest, to tell him she didn’t give a
rat’s ass what had happened to him. The a shard of panic struck and she
was suddenly afraid of what he would say next.
“She allured him,
Cat, and trust me, Coraline is very gifted in control measures. He
didn’t have a chance against her. He had no clue that she was a
vampire, none at all. I’d met him at their engagement party and told
Coraline that he’d never make a good vampire. I have to say that I was
somewhat wrong about that, but one thing I can say is that without a
doubt he is a good man, a very good man who struggles with this every
“He’s alive? He’s the Mick that is coming here?” Her
heart started pounding and she turned to look out the window again,
trying to calm herself.
Just then the door opened and Mick
walked into the room. “Josef, what the he…” He stopped short as he saw
Catherine spin around to look at him, accusation in her eyes. Her eyes,
his eyes actually. A little more to the brown side of hazel as opposed
to the green of his, but still his eyes. Her nose and mouth were
Margie’s though and he knew that if he ever got to see her smile it’d be
Margie’s smile too.
He closed the door and took a step into the
room, glancing at Josef who sat at the head of the conference table
looking like the cat who swallowed the canary, that silly smirk of his
Cat looked at him, this man who was her father,
biologically speaking, because Herbert McFarland had been the best dad
anyone could ever want. This man in front of her was a phantom, rising
from the dead to stand before her looking suddenly sad and afraid. She
walked up to him, standing mere inches away from him, raking him from
head to toe with her gaze.
She was tall, Mick thought, much
taller than her mother so she took after him in that as well. The
blazing look in her eyes was hard to face, though, and for a moment his
gaze shifted away from her, ashamed of himself, ashamed of the past -
Cat reached out and slapped him, hard. The stinging
blow across his face almost knocked him off balance because it was so
“That was for my mother!”
walked to Josef’s office, stopping to speak with Thor for a moment.
“Is he in there?” she asked. His was the last computer software install
she needed to do. In fact, it was her last task here at Kostan
Industries. Everyone had been trained and the new system was up and
“He’s in a meeting Ms. Parker. May I help you?”
“No, I just need to get the software installed on his computer, shouldn’t take but a few minutes.”
“Okay. Go ahead. This new set up is great by the way. Sesumi really knows its stuff.”
they do! And even though I won’t be here any longer Audrey is
perfectly qualified to deal with any issues. Much better than me,
that’s for sure,” she laughed as she opened the door to the office.
sat down at the desk and popped the disk in and let it run, completing
the install and then was prompted to close the computer down and reboot
so the software could set up. She began closing the programs, one by
one and when she went to close the email client an email was showing in
the ‘view’ pane. She started to close it and then caught her father’s
name on it: Marcus Parker.
Her eyes were pulled to it, even
though it had nothing to do with her. She read in horror as Ryder
outlined where the Parker’s assets were and how they were divided.
Ryder then stated what the best plan of attack would be in order to
decimate the Parker’s financially.
She reread the email, trying
to catch her breath. She thought she might faint because her head was
pounding so furiously. How dare he? What gave him the idea that this
would be right?
She stood up abruptly and leaned her hands on the
desk to steady herself. She took a few deep breaths and walked to the
door, stopping to talk to Thor for a moment.
“I’ve done the install Thor. Tell Josef he’ll need to shut the system down and reboot to set up the new software.”
Thor was curious why she hadn’t done that in the first place. “I’d be happy to do that Ms. Parker.”
No, uh, no Thor. Mr. Kostan needs to do it. I’m leaving now.”
a backwards glance she headed to the temporary office she had been
working out of and grabbed her purse and her jacket. Thor watched her
walk quickly to the elevators and push the button, her foot tapping
quickly as she waited for the car to get there. As she stepped inside
and the door closed Thor frowned, wondering what in the world happened.
Finally curiosity got the better of him and he went in and took a look
at the computer.
His lips pursed together in a silent whistle as
he read what was on the computer screen. He thought sadly of Ms.
Parker, whom he liked a lot. He’d bet his next substantial paycheck
that they wouldn’t see her again.
To be continued…