Lani wandered around the house, picking up things and then setting them back down again, her mind preoccupied with several things. Tonight was the full moon for one and she knew that Beth was feeding fresh tonight. She was sure that things would go okay but there was still that little voice of concern rattling around in her head until she knew for sure.
course, Josef was the predominant issue if she were completely honest.
The shock of it was wearing off for the most part but she still
couldn’t escape how it had hit her in the gut when she saw the email.
what he did was one thing; letting it go was another. It brought up
deeply seated issues from her life that she couldn’t escape and guilt -
horrible, overwhelming guilt.
How many times in the past had she
hoped that something really bad would happen to them, that they would
know the kind of pain and emotional trauma she had experienced at their
careless hands? She’d never really had parents - only custodial
guardians who inhabited the house from time to time, whenever there was
nothing more interesting to do that is.
She tried hard to
remember one time, just one single time that they ever came to any event
in her life. Not a school program or concert, a softball game, high
school graduation or even college graduation. Oh, they’d thrown a huge
party for their daughter who graduated Summa Cum Laude, at the top of
her class at UCLA in the business school, but the party had been a month
later, when she was in the process of moving to San Francisco for her
first position. It all had hurt so much, so very much.
at night when she was a child she would lay in bed and hear her
mother’s cries; cries of pain and hurt and she would cover her ears to
try to block it all out. Escape, she’d always wanted to escape it,
whether to Beth’s or Robbi’s or to San Francisco when her first job had
started. She couldn’t wait to get out of that house, the house that was
certainly no home.
Yes, she’d wished that all the money would
just go away so many times. It was what they loved, not her. So if she
couldn’t have parents who loved her why should they have money that
they loved? They were often childish prayers, a desperate cry for
someone to notice how afraid and lonely she was as a child.
now? Life had moved on and she didn’t wish that any longer but there
was a part of her that wondered if her wishes had been picked up by the
wind and were now being brought home to rest. How could she live with
herself if anything like that had happened?
Josef didn’t realize
any of this when he decided to do this, she was sure. How could he
know of her secret wishes as a child? He wanted to protect her, avenge
her - she got that. But this wasn’t the way.
She grabbed a
bottle of water from the fridge and cracked it open. Her stomach was
still really upset. All her life when she was unhappy or stressed she
would suffer with stomach aches and as an adult it seemed to get worse.
She wondered if vampires had stomach aches? She certainly hoped not -
being turned would be well worth the price if it meant no more queasy
She heard a car pull up the drive that sounded
suspiciously like the Ferrari and went to the window to peek out. Sure
enough, there it was and she watched as Josef stepped out and went to
talk to Rob, who would be getting off duty soon. Bridger would have the
night shift probably so she could only assume Josef was going to try to
see her, but she hoped not. She wasn’t ready yet.
away from the window, feeling insecure and the hurt reared its ugly head
again. A minute late there was a knock on the door and she hesitated
before going to it.
She had no plans to open it but still, she
stood there feeling strangely safe to know he was nearby. She laid her
cheek against if for a moment, aching to be held by him, to feel the
love and safely he offered. Finally, after the second knock Rob called
out to her.
“Lani, it’s Rob.”
She unbolted the door and
saw him standing there, warm chocolate eyes smiling at her and holding a
huge vase of roses - white ones, pink and red too. Immediately the
scent of them wafted into the room and she inhaled deeply.
Lani. These are from Josef, of course. He wanted you to know that he
is on watch this evening, but he promises that he will not try to see
you. Is that okay?”
A tear rolled quickly down her face and she nodded after she’d wiped it away.
smiled at her; she was so nice and he really hoped that she and Josef
would work it all out. He didn’t know what had happened but Josef had
been a bear and Lani so sad. He’d watched her out on the beach today,
walking along the shore, lost in thought and he’d noticed how often
she’d brushed tears off of her face.
“Rob, tomorrow I thought I’d
go for a run down the beach. I know you always dress so formally for
work but you can’t run in those shoes. Do you have anything else, like
“Sure. You want me to run with you?”
“Might be nice to have some company. If you’d like to.”
“Okay, I’d be happy to then. See you in the morning?”
in the morning. Bye Rob,” she said, closing the door and bolting it
shut. She couldn’t resist taking a peek outside again and she saw the
two men talking for a moment before Rob climbed into his car and pulled
away. Josef stared at the house for a moment and then took his seat in
the Ferrari again and while she couldn’t see his face clearly she could
tell by the slow movements and slightly hunched shoulders that he was
For a moment the thought came to her that she could end
this now for both of them, just by talking to him but it wasn’t time,
she just couldn’t discuss it all yet. She not only had to forgive him
but she had the even harder task of forgiving herself as well.
picked up the vase of flowers that she had set on a table by the door
and breathed in their scent. It amazed her that different color roses
could smell so different. The red ones were musky, sensuously warm in
their appeal. The pink ones were a softer scent, smelling of summer
gardens and sunshine, but it was the white ones that smelled the best as
far as she was concerned; they smelled of something spicy, exotic and
she inhaled deeply, letting the combined scents wash over her.
sat them on the dining room table, the treasured Duncan Phyfe dining
room set that her grandmother had cherished and hand waxed for years.
Rich mahogany, worn to a beautiful deep patina by all the faithful care
over the years it was truly one of the most beautiful things Lani owned.
The roses, in their exquisite cut crystal vase looked as if they
belonged there and their scent filled even the corners of the large
room. As she admired them she spotted a card that was almost hidden in
the blooms. She reached out and worked it free and stared at it for a
moment, debating whether or not to open it.
He had written it
himself, she could tell be the handwriting. His was elegant, a holdover
from days when writing was an art form and beautiful script was a thing
to be proud of. It was one of the anomalies about Josef that caught
you unexpectedly and made him even dearer to you.
Finally she pulled the card out and read it.
I know that I have made a terrible mistake.
My actions were inexcusable but I would like to explain.
Would you have dinner with me on Thursday evening
so that we might talk?
decided she needed some air. If she went out the side door he’d never
see her so she grabbed her iPod and earphones and slipped on a warm
fleece hoodie, zipping it up tightly before she stepped out the side
It was cool, but not too bad. The breeze blowing in off
the Pacific was light with the spicy, salty tang in it that she loved.
She sat down on the sand and listened to some music, trying to take her
mind off of things. The moon was full and bright and she remembered the
last full moon, the first night she and Josef had made love. Her heart
caught in her throat for a moment as a sudden rush of love for him
visited her lonely soul. She loved him; she missed him. All she knew
was that she couldn’t live without him.
She also couldn’t have
dinner with him Thursday night because she, Beth and Robbi were going
out, a girls night. Kevin had suggested that they go dancing and she
was looking forward to it and couldn’t back out now. She also knew that
Josef was having Beth, Mick, Ben and his mother to dinner tomorrow and
so that left Friday night.
That would be okay she decided, it
would give her enough time to have worked this out. She didn’t want to
call him and a text seemed so cold, but maybe that was the best. She
decided to go back in to get her phone when she felt him and she turned
and caught sight of him standing by the house, a surprised look on his
Fate? Maybe so she thought as she pulled in a deep breath.
watched as Rob chatted with Lani for a moment, their actions and words
clearly saying that they were comfortable with one another. Which was
good, maybe. She looked pale and that worried him; was she ill?
Rob stepped away and stopped to talk to Josef for a moment. “She’s okay Josef, I know you're worried but give her time.”
Josef heard just one more person tell him to give her time he swore
he’d take their heads off. His irritation clearly showed on his face
and Rob stepped back.
“I’ll speak with you later Josef. Goodnight.”
nodded and opened the door to the Ferrari and took a seat. He saw Lani
looking out the window and had to fight himself to stay put in the car.
It was going to be a long shift he acknowledged.
Bridger was more than able to handle the shift but he needed to be close
to her, even if he didn’t get to talk to her. He sat quietly in the
car for awhile and checked his email and finally decided he needed to
stretch his legs and get some air. He thought he might walk around the
house to the beach; the moon was full and the sky was crystal clear.
cool night air felt wonderful as he looked up at the starry sky; it was
amazing to him how many more stars could be seen with vampire eyes. So
many, so bright, so lovely.
As he walked around the corner of
the house he stopped when he saw Lani sitting on the beach, listening to
her iPod he decided when he heard music playing.
Do You Remember
Do you remember?
There seemed no way to make up
Cause it seemed your mind was set
And the way you looked it told me
It's a look I know I'll never forget
eyes drank her in; she was bathed in the moonlight and it didn’t matter
that she was wearing a hoodie that covered most of her up, she’d never
been more beautiful to him. He decided to go back to the car when she
suddenly stood up and turned to look at him, almost as if she’d known he
She paused the music and her eyes swept him from head
to toe; even here he was wearing a suit. She only saw him dress more
casually when they were alone here or at his beach house. She took a
few steps nearer to him and said, “Hi.”
His heart slammed into
his chest for a moment and he had to take a quick breath to push it
down. “Hi,” was all he managed to get out. She wasn’t yelling at him,
that was a good thing wasn’t it?
“I- uh, I was going to send you a text, but since you’re here. Um, about dinner...”
She was refusing? No, please don’t let that happen, please…
didn’t say anything, only looked at her sadly. “I can’t have dinner on
Thursday Josef. Beth, Robbi and I are going out. I’m sorry.”
maybe after dinner then? You know I’m a night person,” he said,
hoping that his voice didn’t sound as raw to her as it felt to him.
“We’re going dancing, so it will be really late. Friday?”
“Dancing? Like to a club?” he asked and a frown smeared across his face.
ignored the Friday part of her statement, but she knew why. He really
didn’t want her going to a club. “Yes, a club. Kevin suggested it, a
night to just go out and have fun. We used to do that a lot. So Friday
“Kevin? I - um, are he and Mick going with you?”
“No, just us girls. It’s why they call it girls night Josef.”
needed to back off, but he couldn’t believe that Kevin and Mick would
agree to this! Those three beautiful girls loose in a club, by
It was unthinkable.
It was reality.
well I’m sure you’ll be okay,” he said softly and knew they would
because he was going to be her shadow there. She’d never know.
was watching his face closely. He still hadn’t responded to her
question about Friday. She took a step closer to him and wasn’t even
aware she’d done it. If he was the flame she was definitely the moth.
Her eyes caught his in the glow of the moon and searched them, looking
for something she didn’t understand. She licked her lips as she looked
at him and realized how badly she missed him, needed him.
body felt drawn to the warmth of hers and he moved a bit closer and
caught the scent of her shampoo; something fruity and light and he
inhaled it in deeply, trying to pull all of her scent in with it. His
fingers reached out and tucked an errant strand of her hair behind her
ear and the silky feel of it made him catch a quick breath. Sand, salt,
sunshine, she had the essence of them all about her. He could hear her
heart beating rapidly, hear the soft sounds of her breath.
felt as if a magnet was pulling them closer together and Lani finally
shook the spell off. “Josef, is Friday for dinner okay? You could come
The moon ducked behind and cloud and he knew the moment
was over. “Yes, Friday is fine Lani. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to, uh,
to - I wasn’t looking for you, I just wanted some air.”
It’s okay. Friday then,” she said, stepping around him. She stopped
for a moment and said, “Thank you for the roses Josef, they are
beautiful.” She turned away and quickly walked up the steps to the deck
and disappeared into the house.
She didn’t hear him murmur, “So
are you Lani.” The moon and stars were the only witness, but that was
okay. It was all going to be okay.
don’t understand why we’re going to dinner at Josef Kostan’s house,
Mother? I didn’t even realize that you knew him, besides the odd social
occasion that is.”
“Josef and I have been friends for a long time,” she told him, pulling up to the gates at the house in the hills.
“A long time? Can’t be too long for heaven’s sake; he’s younger than I am!”
wouldn’t be too sure about that,” she said, smiling as the window slid
down so she could speak to the person at the gate. “Catherine McFarland
and Benjamin Talbot to see Mr. Kostan.”
“Certainly Ms. McFarland. You’re expected. Follow the road around to the left. You may park near the fountain.”
you,” she said, pulling the car forward. It was a shame that it was
dark out; the winding drive up to the house was spectacular, or at least
it used to be.
minutes later she pulled up next to the fountain and they both got out
of the car. Ben let out a low whistle because the house was massive. A
large central house with wings on each side of it; two stories and
definitely impressive. Before they could knock the door was opened and
as she walked up the steps Catherine said, “My goodness, Franklin! How
lovely to see you. Are you managing to keep him in line?”
Catherine, it is always a joy to see you and it has been much too long.
Please, come in. This must be your son? Welcome, both of you.”
looked watched the exchange between his mother and the butler with
curiosity. How on earth did she know him? She’d obviously been here
before, but when?
“Yes it is. Benjamin, this is Franklin. He’s been with Josef for a very long time.”
was beginning to feel as if he’d entered the twilight zone. How could
his mother have known this man as well as Josef Kostan for as long as
her words implied? Still manners dictated that he shake the old man’s
hand and as he did he felt a chill spread up his hand. The man’s hand
was positively icy; he wondered if he had health problems? Likely Ben
decided, he looked pretty old.
“It is very nice to make your
acquaintance Mr. Talbot,” Franklin said, smiling warmly at them both.
“If you’ll follow me, I’ll show you to the salon where Mr. Kostan and
the St. Johns are already gathered.”
“Of course,” Catherine said, following him.
noted that his advanced age didn’t seem to slow him down a bit; he was
spry and quick-footed and Ben hurried to follow them both, his mother’s
heels making a rapid tapping sound on the marble floors.
walked a short distance down a hallway to the left and entered a large
room through an open doorway. He immediately saw Kostan, as well as
Mick and Beth and all of them seemed a bit stiff. Beth was sitting on a
couch that faced a second one that was separated by a large coffee
table. At one end of the couches stood two leather wing-back chairs and
the other a very grand fireplace that was burning brightly in the crisp
November evening. Even with that the room seemed a bit chilled. Both
Kostan and St. John stood at one end of the fire place, near a small
All three of them looked up as Catherine and Ben entered
the room. Beth came to her feet and smiled widely at Ben; even though
this evening could prove to be rough she was happy to see him. Her
curious gaze then fell upon Catherine McFarland, taking her measure.
Tall, like her father, she had reddish hair that was fashionably styled
and wore a lovely suit of hunter green wool. Beth didn’t know who the
designer was but she was positive it was
designer. Lani was the fashionista and would have known immediately.
Still, Catherine smiled at her politely and shook her hand warmly when
introduced, the same as she did Mick’s and Josef’s.
Catherine, welcome,” Josef said to the two new additions to the group.
“I’m just pouring drinks. What may I get for you? Catherine, how about
a Tequila Sunrise?” he said, a twinkle in his eye.
in amazement as his mother giggled at what Kostan had said, like some
silly young girl. What is it with this guy? Whenever he was around him
there always seemed to be something he wasn’t getting; a missing piece
of a puzzle.
“I haven’t had one of those in years!” she laughed. “How about scotch and soda with a lime twist?”
“I think I can handle that. Ben?”
for me,” Ben said and watched as Josef quickly made the drinks. His
mother had taken a seat on the couch opposite Beth and settled back,
seemingly relaxed but as he saw her foot wiggle a bit as she crossed her
legs he knew that she wasn’t quite as relaxed as she seemed. His eyes
met Beth’s across the coffee table and saw her sip her red wine. She
smiled at him again, over the rim of the glass and Ben couldn’t help but
wonder again what the hell was going on. Why did he feel like a lamb
being led to slaughter?
Mick took his neat scotch and settled
next to Beth on the couch and Josef sat in one of the wing chairs, in
control of the production it seemed. He leaned back and crossed his
legs before sipping his own scotch.
“Okay, I’ll bite? What the hell is going on here?” Ben asked, sitting forward on the couch, resting his elbows on his knees.
“Well Ben, we seem to have a problem,” Josef began and his glance flickered to Mick quickly.
saw Mick look down, not meeting his eyes which was strange. One of the
things he could always say about Mick was that he was pretty direct and
since he apparently couldn’t look Ben in the eye whatever was wrong had
to involve him.
The fingerprints? Had to be. What the hell was going on and how was his mother involved?
“I take it this involves the fingerprints I’ve been running? Mother, how in the world are you involved with all of this?”
Ben, I’m afraid it does. And I’m involved because, well, the reason
the fingerprints are the same for Mick St. John in 1952 and Mick now are
because he’s my father - you’re grandfather and he’s also a vampire.”
glass hit the floor with a crash as he stood up. He glanced around the
room, at all the faces staring at him and he suddenly believed it. He
didn’t know how but somehow he knew it was true. His heart slammed
repeatedly against his chest and he struggled to catch a breath.
To be continued…
ANNOUNCEMENT! The new site for What My Heart Desires will be up sometime later today. I will be working on setting the new background and banner and the new chapter of the Pregnancy Diary and it may take a while for it all to come together, but please be patient! You know that I'm not really a techie kind of girl!!!