Sorry to be so late everyone! Had appointments this morning! So here you are!!! :)
Thank you so much Lynn for the fantastic pic of the girls!
As Catherine started to speak Mick looked up at
her. Disbelief spread across his face as he heard her words and watched
Ben jump to his feet. It was almost like slow motion then; the look of
incredulous denial for a moment on his face, the glass slipping out of
his hand as he stared at his mother and then Mick who quickly looked
down, humiliated that it had all came out in that manner.
only reaction was a slight raise of his eyebrows; it hadn’t surprised
him much because Cat was always direct. She knew her son better than
anyone else here and since this was how she choose to tell him it must
be the correct way to do it. Still, the room’s awkward stillness
brought an engaging smirk to his face. He really did love awkward.
knew that she had just turned Ben’s world upside down, but she also
knew that trying to approach the subject in a more delicate manner would
only have pissed Ben off. He was just as direct as she was, one of the
strong characteristics he’d gotten from her and she knew that he’d
begin to process it quickly. And have questions…
To the vamps in
the room the sound of Ben’s heartbeat was pounding like tympani and
Beth immediately started sending him calming thoughts, reminding him to
breathe and to sit down. She could only hope it would work.
looked around the room, at each of the people who were all staring at
him, except for Mick who was looking down, a horrified grimace displayed
across his face. His grandfather? A vampire? It was true, it had to
be because his mom wasn’t joking about it all. But how the hell could
she sit there so complacently? She hated her father and here they were
having dinner with him. With vampires?
Didn’t vampires eat
people for dinner? Or blood anyway? Vampires, third-rate horror icons
existed? He sucked in a couple of deep breaths and began to feel a bit
calmer and his jumbled thoughts started to take a more coherent form.
reached down and picked up the ice cubes that lay on the Aubusson rug
that was undoubtedly several hundred years ago. Josef rose from his
seat and took the glass from Catherine, both of them glad that all that
had been left in the glass was the ice cubes. Nothing that his staff
couldn’t handle later.
Ben didn’t know what was more shocking;
the fact that Mick was his grandfather or how that was possible. He
decided to start with the latter part of that thought and see where that
“Vampires? For real? How is that possible?”
was Josef who answered, instead of Mick. As Ben listened to his answer
the same thought crossed his mind whenever he was around the man - there
was something about his voice that puzzled him.
“Ben, vampires have existed for thousands of years. We exist among humans and hide in plain sight.”
“How? Don’t you kill people for their blood?”
we have to have blood to exist, true. We generally get it from donors,
or blood banks or even the morgue.” Josef cast a strange look at Mick
as he spoke the last word.
“Donors? People actually just give you their blood?”
“Not give; we buy it. A simple business transaction.”
Ben looked at his mother, suddenly curious about her knowledge of it all. “How do you know about all of this?”
“Molly worked for Josef when we were in college. I got to know Josef back then,” she told him, smiling at him reassuringly.
“Aunt Molly? Sold blood to vampires? To him?” he asked, skewering Josef with a scathing look. “How old are you anyway?”
was born in 1599,” he said, watching shock spread over Ben’s face.
“Some vamps are older than me, some younger, like Mick.” Josef knew
that Mick was dreading talking about it but sometimes it was better to
just get it over with.
Ben’s piercing gaze focused on Mick then. “So, you were actually born in 1922?”
sharp words were directed at him and Mick looked up, his face a wash of
sorrow. He hated that it was all coming out like this, that there had
been no time to make the knowledge of vampires a bit smoother for Ben.
The man who was staring at him with hostility was his grandson and he
knew that they would never share any type of familial relationship, it
was apparent on Ben’s face.
“Yes, I was. The night that I
married Coraline Duvall she turned me into a vampire. I had no
knowledge that they even existed before then. After she turned me we
just disappeared because I couldn’t go back to my family.”
Duvall, the woman you left my grandmother for, made you into a vampire
and you had no idea of what she was? My grandmother who was pregnant I
“Coraline had never told me. I want to tell you that
I loved your grandmother Ben; Coraline, well I wasn’t really in my
right mind when I married her.”
“Ben,” Beth spoke up for the
first time, “What Mick isn’t telling you is that vampires have a gift,
or power called allure. They can make humans do what they want them to
do and the human never realizes it. Some vampires are really good at it
and others not as much. Coraline was very skilled at using allure.”
“So she just mesmerized
you and you just did what she said to do?” He accused Mick; his words
were said derisively because he obviously didn’t believe it.
know you find it hard to believe Ben, but it’s true,” Beth said. She
focused on him and said, “Ben, why don’t you walk around the couch three
times and then take your shoes off?”
Ben rose from the couch
and said, “I’m sorry, I just don’t buy it. Maybe the Amazing Kreskin
can do that, but I don’t believe that vampires can control people like
that.” He finished his third turn around the couch and sat down before
taking his shoes off.
Josef, Cat and Mick all watched as he’d
done exactly what Beth had suggested. It was a bit eye-opening to all
of them. She was excellent at the skill and Ben had no clue what he’d
Cat said, “Ben, what are you doing?” looking at his feet.
looked down, clearly puzzled. “What the hell? I don’t know why I did
that.” He slipped his shoes back on, embarrassed about it all.
“You did exactly what I told you to do Ben; walk around the couch three times and then take your shoes off.”
looked at him kindly and it suddenly occurred that she too was a
vampire. He felt a shiver crawl up his spine as her instructions came
slowly back into his mind. “You? You’re one too?” He knew she must be
and what had just happened had shaken him to the core. If it was that
powerful, it could be true, about Coraline Duvall.
“Yes Ben. I
was turned the night before we went to Seattle and I quit my job. I was
attacked on the beach and Mick turned me, to save me.”
“This - I, I need to think. Mother, I need to get out of here.”
nodded, knowing it was probably for the best. “Okay. Benjamin, there
is one more thing about all this; you cannot tell anyone, ever. Keeping
this secret is the most important thing you’ll ever do. Can you
imagine the panic that would spread across the world if everyone knew?”
much he got, for damn sure. He thought about it all the way home in
fact. Chaos, that’s exactly what would happen if others knew. He’d
keep the damn secret, he didn’t have a choice.
looked in the mirror as she put her earrings on and then tried to pull
her hair out of the way so she could fasten the matching necklace into
place. She loved her hair but sometimes she just wanted to cut it off.
stepped into the room as she struggled and grinned at her, taking the
necklace from her and murmured, “Let me.” His nimble fingers had the
catch fastened in no time and he leaned down and placed a quick kiss on
her neck and met her eyes in the mirror. “You are beautiful Beth. You
sure you really want to go to the club?”
“Forget it St. John, I’m
going. Girls night, remember?” As his face changed she watched
uncertainty wash over it. “It will be fine Mick; we’ve done this dozens
of times. We’re not there to pick up men you know.”
and lightly pinched the bridge of his nose. “I know that Beth but I
can’t say that I have that much confidence in the guys who will be
there,” he answered honestly.
Beth turned in his arms and pulled
his head down to kiss him softly. “You’re the only guy for me, you know
that. And Mick, I am a vampire now; I can handle whatever happens.”
seeing her display the night before with Ben he could well believe that
but still, in his day men were meant to watch over their women. This
would be a true test for him. He couldn’t imagine why Kevin would even
They both heard the knock on the door; both had
been so preoccupied that they hadn’t heard the elevator. They walked
down the stairs hand in hand and opened the door, welcoming Robbi and
Kevin was going to hang out with Mick for the evening and
both men were actually looking forward to the opportunity to get to know
one another a bit more. Beth hugged them both and the sight of the
girls together caused Kevin to let out a low whistle.
“Whoa, you two are going to rock that club tonight! Wow!” he said, appreciation showing in his smile.
“Thank you,” Beth said with a laugh. “Just don’t say that too much; Mick is a bit uncomfortable about this.”
he could have blushed he would have; he wanted to vehemently deny it
but then he just laughed because there was no way he could deny it.
“Lani is meeting us there; she’s driving in from
the beach house,” Robbi said. “So, I guess we’re ready!” Her quick
laugh expressed her excitement and Beth joined in.
go then.” She leaned up and kissed Mick one last time while Robbi did
the same with Kevin. In vamp tones she said, “It will be okay Mick. I
He nodded and as the door closed he stared at it for a moment and then turned around to find Kevin watching him curiously.
really are uncomfortable with this. Sorry Mick, since I suggested it.
But the girls have gone dancing lots of times, they just hang out
together and never even pay attention to the guys.”
“How do you know that Kevin?”
grinned and said, “I never said that I hadn’t checked it out in the
past. I trust the girls completely - it’s all the horny guys that I
“Yeah, my thoughts exactly.”
“Beth’s a vampire now; Robbi said she can do all sorts of things. They’ll be fine.”
things could get her in trouble if she did them. She’s not experienced
enough in the vamp world to know when or how to pull her punches, so to
“So, we give them like a 15 minute lead and then follow?” Kevin laughed.
“Fifteen minutes it is.”
was on watch duty this evening. He didn’t mind the club scene and he
watched as Lani waited at the door for her friends to show up. It
wasn’t a long wait and all three women were waved in by a very
appreciative doorman. Al Chiaro was a popular dance club but it was only 8:00, still early for the partying crowd which is why the girls came so early.
as Ryan was ready to head in his phone rang; he grimaced when he saw it
was Josef, probably wanting an update on what was going on.
“I’m going to be watching her tonight Ryan. You can stand down.”
“Are you sure that’s a good idea?”
“Are you questioning me?” Josef was a bit amazed; his head of security never did that.
“No, but it’s a club; loud, crowded, all that. Not your scene Josef.”
“I’ll manage. I’ll be there in about 15 minutes.”
heard the line go click and shrugged. Whatever the boss wanted he
decided. He was standing by the hood of his car when a familiar car
pulled in; St. John’s old Benz rolled to a stop in a parking space and
he and another guy got out, heading for the door. Ryan watched as they
spoke to the doorman briefly and then were admitted. So Josef wasn’t
the only one who wanted to keep an eye on the ladies! Glad he didn’t
have a girl to worry about, Ryan waited patiently for Josef to arrive.
girls found a table on the lower dance floor and all of them ordered
club soda, with lime twists. They all knew from past experience that
dancing was sweaty work and they wanted to be prepared. Besides, they
weren’t in college anymore and hangovers weren’t as cool as they used to
be. Well, they’d never been cool but they were a sort of badge of
honor on the college scene.
“This place is amazing,” Lani said as she scooped it out. Al Chiaro
meant ‘Full Moon’ in Italian and the décor fitted the name. Full,
bright moons decorated the walls along with neon signs for alcohol of
all types. The music was just starting, the DJ spinning some techno pop
and all the girls headed out to the floor and danced, losing themselves
in the beat and laughed as they all realized how out of practice they
Mick and Kevin found them dancing and paused for a moment
as the girls laughed as Lani was showing them a new dance step. They
headed up the stairs and found a seat between a full moon and a bright
neon palm tree. Kevin ordered a beer and Mick a scotch and watched the
floor below them.
Beth knew immediately when the men walked in and she shared the news with Lani and Robbi.
we let them sit up there and stew or do we go and get them?” Robbi
laughed. “You know Kevin used to follow us sometimes in the past?”
“Yeah and it’s not surprising that Mick is here now,” Beth said. “Let them sit there - this is girls night!”
Josef pulled into the parking lot at Al Chiaro
in a very nondescript black Lexus sedan and Ryan had to suppress a
grin. That was Josef’s idea of being incognito but here in this parking
lot, it definitely looked out of place amongst the younger sets
Toyota’s and Chevy’s. As he climbed out Ryan offered a, “Hello, boss.”
“Ryan,” Josef said with a nod. “Everything quiet so far?”
yeah. And uh, you should know that Mick and another guy got here a
little bit after the ladies.” He nodded to the green Benz sitting on
the back row of the parking lot. He also saw Lani’s Maserati and
thought it stuck out like a sore thumb.
Ryan looked Josef up and
down and smiled. As usual Josef was dressed in Armani; a gray wool
pinstripe and a steel gray shirt, silk tie and Gucci loafers. Josef’s
idea of casual actually, but not the usual club attire. “Uh Josef,
you’re kind of over-dressed for this place.”
Josef took in Ryan’s black slacks and cobalt blue shirt, no tie. “I’m sure they must have a dress code.”
“Probably…” Ryan murmured, thinking that it likely didn’t include Armani. “Yeah, well, you sure you want to do this?”
You can go now.” Josef abruptly turned around and headed for the
door. The clubbers were beginning to form a line now but he didn’t
head for the queue; instead he headed for the doorman himself.
The doorman looked at Josef and pointed to the back of the line, “Back there dude!”
“Dude? I am not a ‘dude’. Let me through.”
of the line and I’m only going to tell you this once.” The bouncer
didn’t know who this guy was but he obviously thought he was someone
special, but then this was LA and half the city thought that. As if he
was going to get in anyway, dressing like that! This was a dance club,
not a board meeting.
Josef looked around him; the crowd was
beginning to stir and he could hear nasty comments about line cutting
and such. Discretion being the better part of valor he moved to the end
of the line and waited his turn and discovered it was moving fairly
quickly to his relief.
When he got to the head of the line he
tried to step through the gate and the doorman held his arm out, baring
the way. “Sorry buddy, no can do.”
“Excuse me?” Josef asked.
people behind him were grumbling again and telling him to move. The
doorman looked him up and down. “There is a dress code here and it
doesn’t include cheap knock off suits.”
“Cheap knock off suits? You mean like this Armani? The suit that cost more than you’ll make in 6 months?”
“Yeah, well it looks like you’re heading to a funeral, not the club. Move on now before I have to get nasty.”
jerk thought he had the advantage; he was at least 6’3 and 225 lbs. A
big guy to be sure and enhanced muscles helped to make him look
intimidating; it would probably work, if Josef wasn’t a vampire.
stepped closer and whispered into his ear, “I’m done playing with you.”
He pulled his head back far enough and the Brawny Man saw silver eyes
and sharp, pointy fangs.
Oh shit, one of those!
“Uh, sure. Sorry…didn’t realize. Go on in. Sir…”
you. Have a nice evening,” Josef said, grinning broadly as he stepped
through the gate. Inside he paid his cover and headed into what could
only be described as a swirling pit of hell. Loud, raucous people and
even louder music, over-laid with the scents of too much perfume and
cologne and sweaty bodies. Great, just fucking great he muttered.
The girls were taking a break at their table and sipping water when Lani stiffened. “Josef is here.”
you sure?” Beth asked, looking around the club. There were a few other
vamps here she knew because she could scent them but she didn’t catch
Josef’s scent anywhere.
“Yes, I’m positive. I don’t know how I
always know, but I do. If I go and talk to Mick do you think he’ll ask
Josef to go home?”
“Maybe, but he’ll hate getting caught
himself.” Beth shrugged, realizing how uncomfortable Lani suddenly was.
“Go ahead. He and Kevin are that way, between a full moon and a palm
tree,” Beth said, nodding towards the right and up the stairs.
walked to one of the staircases and hoped that wherever Josef was he
couldn’t see her. She found Mick and Kevin exactly where Beth had
indicated and was amazed by it. Lani could sense Josef, but she
couldn’t tell where in the heck he was. She circled around the people
standing at the railing watching the dancers and came up behind them,
causing Kevin to jump when she laughed.
Mick looked at her, his
face looking a bit sheepish at being caught. Kevin couldn’t stop
laughing and said, “Hey Lani. You look great tonight!”
narrowed for a moment at his attempt to distract her and then she
laughed too. “Thanks, Kevin. As if you haven’t stalked us at the club
It was Kevin’s turn to look embarrassed and Mick rolled
his eyes in irritation. His vamp senses hadn’t even picked her up.
Too many people and other vamps around also were distracting.
“Mick, Josef is here.”
He should have known; after all, it was what he was doing. “And you want me to find him and send him home?”
please,” she answered. “I - I just feel a bit uncomfortable. We’re
having dinner tomorrow night, but tonight, I just don’t want to deal
with it. Please?” she asked again.
“Alright, I’ll get him out of here. And tell Beth there are other vamps here so she needs to stay alert.”
nodded and said, “Yes, she knows. But I’ll tell her anyway.” She
smiled brilliantly at him and then headed back downstairs.
“You want company?” Kevin asked as Mick stood up.
“No, it will go better if I handle it alone. He’s going to be pissed.”
Kevin nodded and took a sip of his beer, prepared to wait it out.
scented the air, trying to locate Josef. He circled the back of the
crowds, his senses on alert and he finally spotted Josef, holding a
scotch tightly but not drinking. He looked uncomfortable as he tried
hard to blend in with the crowd but dressed like that Mick knew he stuck
out like a sore thumb.
“Josef,” Mick said and watched as Josef’s
fingers tightened alarmingly on the glass. Mick pried it out of his
fingers and added, “What are you doing here?”
“Same as you I imagine.”
“You’re obsessed, you know that, right?”
“Isn’t that the pot calling the kettle black, Mick? I seem to recall…”
fine. It’s just, this isn’t like you. And you could maybe use a few
pointers. She knows that you’re stalking her you know.”
“Yes, she just came and asked me to talk to you. Go home, Josef, she’s fine. Kevin and I aren’t going anywhere.”
“There are other vamps here,” Josef said stubbornly.
Beth knows that. Look, they’re just dancing and having a good time.
It will be fine, I promise you. I have this one brother,” Mick added
softly, meeting Josef’s brown eyes.
Josef looked at Mick, and finally nodded. “Damn music is too loud anyway. How the hell does anyone enjoy this?”
don’t know. It’s terrible,” Mick laughed. He touched Josef on the
shoulder briefly and added, “I won’t let anything happen to her, I
promise. Don’t blow this Josef, you’re really close to getting it all
Josef picked up the tumbler of scotch and downed it with a grimace. “They said this was the best they had.”
“Yeah, well, it probably was. I don’t think anyone is here for the drinks.”
nodded and slipped into the crowd. As he got outside and walked to the
car, it suddenly occurred to him to wonder how Lani knew he was there.
She must have saw him he guessed. Not a very good stalker are you
Kostan, he laughed wryly.
Inside, Mick was wondering the same
thing as he made his way back to Kevin. He wasn’t at the table and Mick
finally spotted him at the railing, a dark frown marring his face.
“What’s going on?”
“Some asshole is getting his freak on, or
trying to with Robbi.” Mick saw the guy trying to grind his hips
against Robbi’s. She stepped away and said something to him but the guy
only grinned and kept moving closer. Then, Mick saw the look of
concentration on Beth’s face and knew that it was going to be okay.
“Beth has this one,” he said with a grin.
“What the hell do you mean?”
“I don’t know for sure, but look at her face. It probably ain’t gonna be pretty.”
men watched as suddenly the guy stepped back and started to do the
robot dance, his body and limbs jerking in imitation of how a robot
moves. He realized what he was doing and stopped for a moment as the
people around him started laughing. He waited for a moment and then
started dancing again but the only dance he could do was the robot. All
three girls joined in the laughter and the guy finally retreated,
swallowed up by the crowd.
“I don’t know what the hell you did but that was cool Beth,” Lani laughed.
“Yeah, it was. You know what? This is the best evening we’ve ever had I think,” Robbi said.
“Best evening? No way! Beach party, 1999. Dancing under the stars to Every Morning!
“You mean drunk and dancing,” Beth added.
All three girls started singing the Sugar Ray tune, Every morning there’s a halo hanging from the corner of my girlfriends four post bed…
well drunk or not drunk, I don’t know what I’d do without the two of
you,” Lani stated, hugging both girls. “Sisters forever!”
The cry was echoed by Robbi and Beth. The wall was down and the seas looked like smooth sailing ahead. Life was good.
To be continued…