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

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Chapter 23 A Little Cuppa

Thank you Lady LaLa and Lynn, as always for all your hard work!

Chapter 23 A Little Cuppa?

Once they all got to bed, Mick and Beth heard Lani tossing restlessly in Beth’s old bed. Beth had to fight herself to keep from going to her, but she let her be, hoping it was the right decision.

Mick told her what had happened with Josef and she could tell how conflicted Mick felt about it all. He was as worried about Josef as she was about Lani.

“Maybe you should go see him Mick? He might not be okay.”

“He made it clear he didn’t want my company Beth. He’s just so damn impulsive, you know? About some things anyway,” he amended.

“Yes, he is but he loves her so much, just as much as she loves him. They are meant to be together Mick, I know they are.”

“Baby, they will be. They both just have to learn to work these kinds of things out.” He gave a small, if rueful, laugh. “We’ve all had our disagreements.”

“Yeah, but with us I know that nothing will ever truly tear us apart. Right now I’m not feeling so sure about these two. God Mick, it’s been a helluva rotten past few days. First Robbi’s news and now this.”

“But Buzzwire was good, right? We haven’t even had a chance to talk about that.”

“Yes, it was better than good Mick. I’m supposed to be back there, I just know it. I have to laugh about one thing though; Steve and Max think I need to get a spray on tan if I’m going to be on camera much. They said I was too pale!” She giggled as she remembered their reactions.

Mick chuckled along with her and then thought of the meeting with Josef and Catherine, which they hadn’t discussed yet either.

“I met Catherine today, Beth, I met my daughter.”

She rolled over and took his face in her hands and exclaimed, “Oh Mick!” She didn’t know whether it was good or bad but she was happy that he had met her.

“She slapped me, right off. The girl has a hell of an arm,” he said, smiling as he remembered.

“How dare she!” Beth exclaimed, suddenly very angry. “You had no control over what happened in the past, you didn’t choose what happened.” Beth was outraged over it all.

“Hey, it’s probably the least of what I deserved, baby. But afterwards, we talked and then when I thought she had been one of Josef’s freshies I sort of threatened to kill him. I’m not doing so well with Josef today.”

“Oh my god, was she?”

“No, they both made that clear, but I guess one of her friends from college was so she knows all about vamps and is actually a friend of Josef’s - in the past anyway. Beth, we’re going to tell Ben on Wednesday night, dinner at Josef’s. Or at least we were.”

Beth understood that dilemma, would Josef still want to, she wondered. “So I’m going to meet my daughter in law, huh?”

“I wouldn’t bring it up like that,” he said but saw the humor in the remark.

“Yes, well it’s probably for the best. She might not be happy knowing that I do wicked things to her daddy!”

“Probably best to keep those things quiet. Speaking of quiet, I don’t hear her rustling around anymore. I hope she’s asleep.”

“Me too,” she said, her voice catching in her throat as she remembered Lani’s hurt.

Mick leaned down and placed a gentle kiss on her forehead and then another on her lips. “It’s going to be okay Beth. I promise and you know I always keep my promises to you. It’ll be okay even if I have to stake his ass and talk sense into him.”

Beth smiled at those last words and sincerely hoped it didn’t have to go like that. It was her last thought before repose caught her, claiming her in its chilly arms.


Josef drove like a wild man, streaking down the Pacific Coast Highway as fast as the Ferrari would go before rational thought took over and he slowed down. Getting thrown in jail wouldn’t help anything because as he had told Mick, jail wasn’t the vampire’s friend. Eventually he turned around and drove home only to feel a heavy sense of loneliness sweep over him when he cleared the gates.

She wasn’t here; maybe she’d never be here again. Mick had told him that she still loved him, that she just needed time, but what the hell did Mick know anyway? Hell, he’d stalked Beth for over twenty years and pretty much had to be kicked in the ass to finally get together with her. By HIM for god’s sake. Well, Beth had a strong hand in that, too.

Josef was a man on the edge right now, desperate, reckless. He needed…he needed blood. Fresh from the vein. Yes, he needed blood from one of the lovely ladies.

He stormed into the house, yelling for Franklin. “Where the hell are you?”

“Yes sir, what might I get you?” Something was obviously wrong. Ms. Lani wasn’t with him, he noticed. A lover’s quarrel perhaps?

“Bring Crystal to me, NOW!” he demanded when Franklin was slow to act. “I’ll be in my office.”

As he headed to his office he yanked his tie loose and pulled his jacket off, tossing the Armani carelessly onto the arm of a chair and didn’t even bother to pick it up when it slipped to the floor in a heap. He headed straight to the bar and poured a generous tumbler of scotch, swallowing it down rapidly and refilling it. Crystal walked in as the contents of the second glass followed the first.

“Josef?” she said, staring at him. His wild sherry brown eyes pierced her, taking in her attire and clearly he wasn’t pleased.

She was dressed in a tee shirt and flannel pajama bottoms. It was painful to look at her because it was similar to the outfits that Lani wore around the house. His girls - his girls were supposed to be dressed to please, for whenever he wanted them, not looking like a lonely librarian on a Saturday night.

He took a step towards her and she backed up a bit, alarmed at his mood. Something had happened, but what? Where was Lani? A fight perhaps?

Since Lani had come into his life Josef didn’t feed from the girls directly any longer. Lani had made it clear that she understood the need and wouldn’t mind but he couldn’t bring himself to do it. Most of the girls were gone now, only 4 of them still here. They gave their blood freely but not by his bite. The women who had left enjoyed the bite and it wasn’t worth it to them without it. They could donate to Red Cross if it was only about the blood.

Crystal had been here longer than any of the others, almost four years, in fact, and when she graduated in May her time would be over here. She liked Josef. He was kind and generous, and since Lani had come here he seemed so happy. Until now.

He came closer to her and she could tell that he was in a dangerous mood. She was wary of what he might do. Drink her blood? Yes that, but what if it wasn’t enough? He was hurting and she wasn’t sure how he would seek his solace.

His eyes silvered as he reached for her arm, admiring the beautiful ribbons of blue that hid just under her translucent skin. He was fascinated by them, enthralled and his fangs ached to pierce her skin, to taste the essence of her.

Crystal was petrified, her body shaking as she watched him. She’d never seen him like this - his silvered orbs wild in their appearance as he stared at her arm. She closed her eyes to him, not able to watch what happened next.

He bit into her arm, fighting to keep the bite gentle so he wouldn’t hurt her. And when the first soothing rush of blood hit his tongue he knew he couldn’t do it. It wasn’t Lani, it wasn’t her blood. He carefully pulled his fangs out and did his best to seal the puncture marks before he looked at her and saw the terror on her face.

“Oh god, I’m so sorry Crystal. I - I didn’t hurt you did I?”

She was staring at her arm, as the tiny marks that were almost invisible. He’d stopped. He’d stopped and hadn’t hurt her. “I’m okay. Josef, what’s wrong?”

He could hear the concern in her voice, even after he’d come close to hurting her. He closed his eyes so that she couldn’t see the stark pain that was etched in them and quickly turned away, his shoulders slumping.

“I’m fine Crystal. I’m so sorry.”

She laid a hand on his shoulder; it was still trembling a bit but she was trying so hard to help him. “I know Josef. I can listen if you need to talk.”

He shook his head no and stepped away, carrying his pain with him. “You can go back to your quarters now. I’ll be okay.”

“Alright. Goodnight then,” she said, turning and walking out of the room, only to find that Franklin was waiting in the hall for her.

“I’ll take care of him,” he said sadly.

“What happened?” she whispered.

“I don’t know. But I’ll take care of him…”


Lani woke up and as soon as she did yesterday’s events rushed into her mind. Josef…betrayal…pain. She lay in the bed and glanced at the clock on the bedside table. A few minutes after seven, time to get up.

Get up? And do what? Go to work and pretend she was fine? She wasn’t fine. Her stomach hurt from all the tension and she had to make a plan. First thing to do was call Heroku and take a few days off of work.

She’d never called in sick before, ever, and if Heroku didn’t quite believe that she was ill he said nothing. He heard the stress in her voice and knew that something wasn’t right.

“Lani, you’ve been working hard for months. Why don’t you take the week off? Just relax a bit. We’ll see you next Monday.” At her faint words of acquiescence she ended the call and sat on the edge of the bed, her head between her knees praying her queasy stomach would calm down.

Eventually she felt better and took a shower before heading downstairs. Beth was in the kitchen, drinking her breakfast and dressed for work. As she rinsed her glass she said, “Good morning Lani. How are you?”

Lani’s pale face told the story even if he words couldn’t. She just shrugged and tried her best to smile. “Thank you so much for letting me stay here last night.”

“What you doing today? Are you going to work?”

“No, I talked to Heroku and I’m actually taking the rest of the week off. I’m going to the beach house for a couple of days I think. I need…I need a bit of peace and solitude, I guess.”

“Do you want to reschedule Thursday night?” The girls had decided to go out Thursday, a long overdue girl’s night.

“No, it’ll do me good I’m sure.” She gathered up her purse and jacket in preparation for leaving. “I’ll be okay Beth.”

“Yeah, I know. Don’t you want some breakfast?”

“No, you know how I get when I’m upset, can’t eat. I’ll get something later.”

Beth nodded, knowing how true that was. When Lani was upset or stressed it was really hard to get her to eat something, her stomach just tied in knots and she just had to ride it out. “Okay, call me later, okay?”

“I will.” She pulled Beth to her for a hug and added, “Tell Mick thank you for me as well. I didn’t intend to impose on you guys like that.”

“You can tell me yourself,” he said as he walked down the stairs. “But you didn’t impose a bit Lani. You’re always welcome here.”

She nodded and tried to not ask the next question but she had to. “Have you talked to him, Mick?”

“Yeah, I have. He’s…hurting Lani, just like you.”

“Don’t’ let him do anything stupid, Mick. I just have to put all this right in my head, you know?”

“I understand Lani. It might help, though, if you let him explain what happened.”

“Yes, it might and I’m going to do that, soon. I can’t give him up and we have to find a way to understand one another on this. I just need time.”

Mick nodded. “I heard you’re driving out to the beach. Drive safely. You know your shadow will be following you?”

“Yes, the ever faithful Rob, probably sitting out in that garage right now waiting on me. He’s going to be really bored out there is all I can say.” A hint of a smile shadowed her face for a brief moment and then was gone. She opened the door and left as Mick watched her head for the elevators. He could only hope that Josef would give her that time that she needed.

When she stepped off the elevator she immediately spotted Rob, waiting for her. He started the car right away, prepared to stay with her this time no matter what. She stopped and looked at him, biting her lower lip in consternation before heading over to him.

“Hey Rob, I’m sorry about yesterday. He - he wasn’t too hard on you was he?”

“No, he wasn’t.” He looked down at the steering wheel, unsure of what else to say.

“Well, I won’t do it again, I promise. I’m heading to my apartment and then to my beach house, just so you know.” It was meant as a reassurance and a peace offering as well.

Rob smiled at her, grateful that there’d be no more stunt driving today. “Okay Lani. I’ll see you there, I guess.”

She nodded and he watched her head to her car to make the drive home. She looked really pale and a bit green around the gills, as the saying goes. He guessed she was hurting pretty badly. Things like this made him wonder if love was really worth it.

Lani’s stop at the apartment was fairly brief. She needed some warm clothes to take with her because she mostly had shorts and tank tops at the beach but this November weather was chilly and she wanted to be prepared. She knew that she needed to stop at a market to grab some food as well and as she drove she thought of another stop she’d like to make and headed towards the hills. Finally she found the house she was looking for and pulled into the driveway, hoping that she wasn’t imposing.

Noodle was in the yard, but when her car came to a stop he disappeared under the picket fence and came out on the other side of it, running for her barking excitedly. He evidently didn’t get too many visitors. She looked over her shoulder and saw that Rob had pulled up along the side of the road and she waved and pointed towards the house to let him know what she was doing since this wasn’t on her agenda.

Mrs. Carter came to the door to see what Noodle was barking at. Lani was bent down, scratching the floppy-haired dog and he was sighing in pleasure. She stood up when she saw Mrs. Carter watching her, a wide smile on her face.

“Why, Lani my dear. Welcome. Do you have time for a cup of tea?”

“I do and I was hoping you’d offer,” she replied, following Mrs. Carter into the house. The elderly woman was wearing lilac colored slacks and a white shirt adorned with small purple flowers. Lani smiled, remembering how she loved purple.

Instead of the kitchen Mrs. Carter led her into the dining room and it had splashes of purple around the room as well. A wooden table and a window seat made the room feel very cozy.


“Now Lani, you just sit yourself down and let me get us some tea!”

“Oh please, let me help!”

“Nonsense, I was already making the tea my dear.” As if to prove the point the high pitched whistle of the tea kettle could be heard and Mrs. Carter pointed to a chair and said, “Sit down please, dear.”

It only took a few minutes and she returned bearing a tray with cups, the teapot and a small plate with cookies. Lani relaxed and felt at home, comforted in some small way. She helped Mrs. Carter settle the tray and distribute the cups and plates.

After they had their tea poured and cookies on their plates Lani realized she was actually hungry and bit into one of the cookies. It was a snickerdoodle, a cookie that Grace, Beth’s grandmother used to make them.

“Oh, this is delicious. My friend’s grandmother used to make them for us. It brings back some really good memories!”

“Yes, my mother used to make them too; they’re a very old fashioned cookie I think but timeless in their ability to satisfy,” she said with a smile.

“I agree Mrs. Carter.”

“So, Lani, what brings you here today? Is your young man vexing you again?”

“Sadly, yes. I don’t understand men, Mrs. Carter. They do such stupid things sometimes for totally ridiculous reasons.”

Mrs. Carter smiled and her eye took on a very faraway look for a moment. “They do indeed. I know my husband often couldn’t figure out why on earth I was upset about things.” She paused and patted Lani’s hand. “You will work it out, I’m sure. You love him a great deal I think.”

“I do, but I don’t understand him often, though. He’s really hurt me this time. I know that he thought he was doing something good but it wasn’t. It’s so hard to forgive him.”

“Did he harm you Lani?”

Lani looked at her and realized she meant physically hurt her. “Oh no, nothing like that. Something happened in my past and he was trying to, I guess the word is avenge me.”

“The forgiving is easy Lani - it’s the forgetting that is hard. You found out and stopped him?”

“Yes. It was so long ago and is best left in the past.”

“He loves you enough to protect you. That says a lot about him.”

“Yes, it does. He is a good man, an honorable man, Mrs. Carter.”

“Then just love him my dear. Give him your forgiveness and the forgetting will come in time.”

“I miss him. I spent last night with some friends because I knew that he’d want to talk to me and I was so upset that I didn’t even know how to say what I need to say. I still don’t really. But I know that I want to talk to him soon so that we can work this out.”

“That sounds like a fine plan, my dear. You two should get married and have some babies. Babies lift your spirits in ways that we don’t even understand.”

A sad look passed over her face and bit her lower lip to stop the tremble that threatened to break loose. “He can’t have children. But we have friends who do and that will be enough.”

“There are always other ways of having children Lani.”

“Yes and I hope that we’ll consider that. We haven’t even talked about marriage yet.”

“Oh you young folks these days - hop into bed and let the passion carry you away instead of the marriage first.”

Lani gave an embarrassed laugh as a bright red flush swept up her face.

Mrs. Carter laughed out loud and said, “You know Lani, each generation thinks it’s the first to invent sex. It’s an incorrect notion, of course, but we all thought it.”

“I guess that’s true,” Lani said, finishing the tea in her cup. “None of us would be here if that were true.”

“Never be ashamed of the joy you share with your man. Too many women never know that pleasure, I assure you.”

She nodded and wiped her hands and said, “I really must be going. Thank you so much for listening to me.”

Mrs. Carter wrapped her in a warm hug and said, “No, thank you for visiting this lonely old woman.” They walked to the living room where Lani spotted some pictures hanging on the wall that she hadn’t noticed before.

“Is that you?” Lani asked, looking at a beautiful woman, dressed in purple of course.

“Yes, that was me. This was James, my husband. All our friends called him Bug, though. My mom and dad are here, and this was my brother,” Mrs. Carter went on.

Lani scanned each one of the pictures in turn, smiling at the memories the pictures must bring to Mrs. Carter. Until she came to the last one. She stared at it again, her face wore a look of shock.

“This one? Your brother?”

“Yes, wasn’t he handsome? He was killed in 1952. A terrible tragedy.”

To be continued…


Lady said...

I knew that old lady was important, but I never would've guessed Mick's sister. First his daughter and grandson, now his sister. So he's not so alone (besides Beth and Josef) after all. He still has flesh and blood family. This is fantastic.

Lani should run back and tell Mick and Beth right away (and in the process lose what's-his-name again). That was some clever doing on her part. Makes me like her even more.


Hope said...

Hey La!

I always feel like I should be singing, Hey la, hey la, my boyfriends back, when I write that! LOL... You're probably too young to remember that song, but I loved it!

See, you've been so curious about the old lady and now your question is answered! Yes, a good thing for Mick. Before too long he'll be wishing for the good old days when he didn't have any family to drive him crazy! :)

Rob is a good guy and might just come in handy. He really does just want her to be safe, but he sure is dreading telling Josef what happened. Could mean a trip to the tar pits!!

Thank you La, for everything!

Joangel said...

Yea!!! I'm glad the old lady isn't bad. I like her. I'm so hapy Lani is going to forgive Josef, he really was only trying to help and he loves her so much. I'm also glad that Lani has Rob as a shadow, her being alone at the beach house makes me nervous.

Sooo...what's going on with Cami and Carl? I can't wait until they can be together! They have waited so long for each other.

Thank you for another wonderful escape from reality...and work. Eagerly awaiting the next post!

Hope said...

Hi Joangel!!

Well, as Mrs. Carter said, the forgiving is easy but that forgetting is what is so hard. Still, she'll get over it and they'll see one another soon and Josef will freak out a bit about something. Hm....

Cami and Carl are going to have a wonderful weekend soon and poor Carl will not have to wait any longer but he's going to be surprised about a thing or two about his lady love!

Thank you so much for taking the time to comment Joangel! Helps to keep the muse writing!!

mum said...

I agree about Mrs. Carter. I had a bad feeling she had something to do with Coraline and was going to gain Lani's trust and then cause trouble.

Thanks so much for the wonderful writing. Yours is the first blog I check in the mornings. mum

Hope said...

Hey mum!!

No, Mrs. Carter is a part of Mick's ever-growing family that is going to have him panicking big time. Families - they're great but when you're not used to having them around, well, we'll see how it goes!!

Thank you so much mum! I feel very awed by your and everyone's readership! You all make it worthwhile!