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, July 12, 2012

Chapter 33 Floodgates

A big thank you to Lady La La, who keeps me on task and sharp! You are awesome chickie!!

Carl and Ben walked into the Breakwood and spotted Cami waiting for them at the bar. Her smile lit up her whole face when she spotted them and she slipped down off of the bar stool with a fluidity that was enough to make Carl’s breath catch in his throat. She walked straight into his arms and he held her tightly for a moment, knowing that whatever was going on in the world right now, his was okay because she was here with him.

Ben stood by, wishing for a moment that he hadn’t came. Their embrace was so achingly intimate and yet somehow totally innocent. The love these two shared was almost painful to watch and yet he couldn’t look away, mesmerized by the sheer energy it seemed to generate.

He’d felt that way once, when Michelle was in his life. She fit into his arms perfectly, her warmth and love wrapping around him tightly like a blanket. Nothing was wrong in the world when she was in his world. Until she wasn’t.

Columbia Law School, 1998

The last semester of school was going to start in a few days and both Ben and Michelle felt the energy and rush of making sure they were ready hit them in an enervating wash, the calm before the storm. Both felt that they weren’t up to this last, final semester.

Well, that wasn’t true, they were ready, but it really was crunch time. Both of them had been interning at different law offices the past year and kicking ass this last semester would ensure that they both graduated with highly promising careers ahead of them.

Michelle was interning at Blanek and Myer’s, a well known and expensive firm that specialized in criminal defense. Right now they were involved in a very public trial involving a well-known mob boss and things were going exceptionally well. It looked like he was going to get off and Ben and Michelle had talked endlessly about the case, among themselves that is.

An attorney’s objective was to represent their client and set them free, if you were a defense attorney that is. Marco ‘Slippery’ DeFazio was as guilty as they came, but because of errors in the arrest process and the few credible witness’ the prosecution had who had somehow ‘forgot’ what they saw, he was going to walk. Good for him, bad for the rival crime family who had already started to take over his turf.

Bad for Michelle who couldn’t handle the thought of that scumbag walking away scot free. What she had learned was that nothing is written in stone, legally that is. A case that should have been a sure win for the state was sinking fast and the two crime families were both gearing up for a major coo.

Ben watched it all in a very detached manner. He saw the flaws in the states case and the mistakes they had made and was determined to learn from them. Prosecution was going to be his game, he already knew that, much to his parents dismay who wanted him to join them in their lucrative criminal defense practice in LA. Instead, Ben, providing he graduated as expected and passed the bar had already accepted a junior prosecutor position in Sacramento. It was a good start, but Michelle hadn’t decided yet what she wanted. The bloom had already worn off the criminal defense aspect of the job and she was considering estate law perhaps. Like Ben, she was being courted by several prestigious firms as well but she would settle in Sacramento with him.

They’d set the date for the wedding already, June 17th and again, much to his parents consternation instead of being the social and media event of the decade it was going to be a very small affair. They would have their own way about it, regardless of how much pressure Ben’s family exerted.

Michelle had no family left, a few cousins scattered to the four winds but she’d never been close to them anyway. She was a bit uncomfortable with the lavish lifestyle of Ben’s parents but Ben himself was about as far away from all that as was possible. She really did love Ben’s mom, Catherine who at least respected how hard Michelle worked in school.

Michelle had done it all on scholarship, a truly amazing feat. Anyone who could manage a full ride to Columbia for 4 years and then handle working her way through grad school deserved Cat’s respect and she gave if freely, proudly even because Michelle would be a wonderful daughter in law.

The night that DeFazio was freed the police decided to try and sneak him out through a side door after dark, in hopes of making the reporters and everyone else think they’d missed him earlier.

The night was dark with an almost fetid stench to the air from the sewers far below the street. It was unaccountably warm and humid for a New York January, the temps in the high ‘60’s and people were out everywhere enjoying the weather, even at 10 pm. It was Celia LaFortune’s job, as the leading defense attorney to accompany DeFazio to the car that would be waiting for him and Michelle was with her.

The side door opened and other than a few pedestrians strolling along the sidewalks it looked clear. They started down the steps to the sidewalk and spotted the car that was waiting. Ten feet from it, from the freedom he sought DeFazio was gunned down, as were Celia and two undercover cops. Michelle saw it all happen, saw the Respirito family sweep out of two vans and grab DeFazio’s body. Michelle stared in horrified silence when one of the Respirito boys shot her, two times, eye witnesses would say. She crumpled and went down hard onto the pavement, her head cracking hard against it, hard enough that it left a large spot of blood and hair on it. The shooter, evidently wanting to make sure she was dead, grabbed her and tossed her into the van along with the cops and Celia’s bodies. Nothing was left except for the blood spattered sidewalk.

Ben was contacted soon afterwards and literally ran to the courthouse. Nothing left, not anything except for a few strands of her hair. He collapsed, sobbing desperately at the loss of her, his soul mate, his love. Her blood covered his hands, his clothes and he didn’t care because it was all that was left of her.

Someone got him home and friends descended upon his apartment, calling his folks. When Christian, Catherine and Margie got there 8 hours later he hadn’t moved from the couch where they laid him.

Freda Moore, Michelle’s best friend had tried to wash the blood off of Ben’s hands and get him to change his shirt which was also covered in her blood but he only ignored her, tear-rimmed eyes staring sightlessly ahead of him. The friends all kept silent vigil with him until his family got there, appalled at his state. Eventually his dad and Robert, another friend, simply unbuttoned his shirt and pulled it off of him, slipping a tee shirt over his head. He let his grandmother wash away the blood on his hands and they cried together as they watched as the water was turned red with her blood. Finally they got him into bed and he lay wide awake until a doctor came and gave him a shot to help him sleep.

It had been 14 hours and he’d not uttered a single word. As he slowly drifted off to sleep one word caught in his parched throat.


“Ben? Ben?” Cami repeated softly, casting a concerned look at Carl who shook his head almost imperceptibly. “Ben? Are you okay?”

He came back to the present, embarrassed by his lapse of manners. “I’m sorry Cami, just wool gathering I guess.” He smiled at her confused smile and added, “An old expression my grandmother often uses. Means basically that I wasn’t paying attention. I apologize for my bad manners.” He smiled warmly at her and kissed her cool cheek.

She laughed, a soft sound that sounded as dainty as she looked. “I’m so happy that you finally decided to come to dinner with us.”

“It was very kind of Carl to ask.”

The hostess let them know that their table was ready and they followed her to a booth in the back of the restaurant, near a waterfall that lent a hush over the atmosphere. The booths at Breakwood had high backs on them, giving privacy to the conversations of their often famous and privileged guests. The three of them slid into the plush leather seats and relaxed in comfort.

“Would you like to order drinks now?”

“Yes, please,” Cami said. “I’ll have a Grey Goose martini, dirty.”

The hostess jotted it down and looked at Carl and Ben expectantly. “I’ll have a Guinness please,” Ben said and Carl held up two fingers, signally he’d take the same.

They made small talk as they perused the menus, Carl and Ben both deciding on the prime rib for dinner. When their order was taken Cami said, “Nothing for me. I ate earlier but who could resist a dinner invitation with these two gorgeous men?” The waitress nodded in agreement and Ben felt a slow flush creep up his face as she stared at him.

Finally she said, “I’ll have your soup out in just a few minutes. In the meantime, if you need anything my name is Amanda.”

“Oh, Ben, she likes you! Too bad you can’t scent her, uh, interest,” Cami said and watched Carl laugh at her comment.

“Scent her interest?”

“Um, well yes. Sexual interest that is.”

It finally occurred to him exactly what Cami meant and another flush swept over his features, barely visible in the darkened room - to a human that is.

“You really do have some extraordinary abilities, don’t you? Uh, people like you I mean,” he said, looking around him and hoping that no one could discern what he meant.

“Yes, the ‘tribe’, as we sometimes call ourselves, do indeed.

Ben had to smile at the ‘tribe’ connotation. It worked and certainly seemed easier on the tongue than ‘vampire’ did. Was he really part of a family that had a vampire in it? Friends as well?

He watched Cami and Carl together and couldn’t see anything sinister about her. She was demure, soft spoken, quite poised actually and she and Carl seemed perfect together. Simpatico, Michelle would have said. They finished one another’s sentences sometimes and when they looked at each other, well it was almost embarrassing to watch because those looks sizzled with desire.

The evening proved to be a good one, a happy one. Cami talked freely of her life and it only got a bit sad when she talked of the night that Beth was turned. Her best friend Lani had killed the vamp that did it. As an ADA he should find that wrong but yet, how could he because look what that woman had done to Beth?

Beth, who was curious beyond reason and also loyal to a fault, especially where Mick was concerned, had essentially been murdered. He and Carl spoke briefly about the ‘tribe’ and their justice system.

“You have to understand, Ben, our system can’t work for them.”

Ben nodded, hating to admit that it was true but after seeing Emma Monahan tear apart that office he knew that it was true. “She was, taken care of, that night?”

“Yes, according to Mick. Their justice moves quickly, Ben. As ours should.”

Ben certainly couldn’t disagree with that but what about the people who were sent to jail who were actually innocent? He hated to admit that it happened, but it did. What they needed was a more fool-proof system. Impossible in these times though.

He thought about the conversation long into the night and knew that a visit to his mom was in order. It was no longer just a matter of Mick, estranged grandfather who was a vampire, but it was a global issue. If word ever got out, and it would eventually he knew, then there had better be some sort of thought given to how it should be handled.

Deep thoughts indeed. And for the first time in years Michelle wasn’t the last thing on his mind before sleep. No, the thought that maybe it wouldn’t, shouldn’t matter - vampire or human, we all just wanted to exist.


Carl walked Cami to her car, stopping to place a lingering kiss on her cool lips. “I’ll follow you to your place?”

“Yes,” she responded breathlessly. “Yes…”

“Okay,” he said, and then he stepped away, reluctant as always to leave her even for a few minutes. In his car he pulled out his phone and saw that he had missed a call from Luka. There was also a message from him and Carl called his voice mail and listened, quickly becoming alarmed at what he heard.

“Hey Carl, we got a call from our phantom. He insisted that I meet him at Kimbridge and Valley View in an hour. If you get this before then I’ll see you there but I’m heading out on my own. I’ll give you a call when the meeting is done and catch you up if you don’t make it.”

Was he crazy? Carl realized that the message was from 3 hours ago and he certainly should have heard from Luka before now. He thought for a moment and then dialed Luka’s number, but it went to voice mail eventually. At least it wasn’t off, that was a good thing. He decided to head to the rendezvous point and see if Luka was still there.

A quick call to Cami let her know that he’d be delayed a bit and she was fine with that. She’d been with Carl long enough by now to know that things happened and she could tell that he was really worried about Luka.

It took Carl almost a half an hour to reach the place for the meeting. He’d tried repeatedly to call Luka but still didn’t get an answer. As he approached the intersection he immediately noticed how dark it was, with no street lights on at all. He spotted Luka’s car up ahead, parked on Valley View and pulled up behind it. He grabbed his gun and a flashlight out of the console and stepped out of the car, moving quickly to Luka’s vehicle. It was empty, although the driver’s window was down. He tried to call Luka again and heard the phone ringing and when he opened the door he found it lying on the floor of the car.

He looked around him, peering into the deep shadows but couldn’t see anything. He went back to his vehicle and placed a call to dispatch, to see if he’d checked in there. As he hadn’t, Carl brought them up to speed on what was happening and a black and white unit was dispatched and headed his way, quickly followed by two more.

They searched the area for 2 hours but couldn’t find a trace of Luka. Carl’s stomach was twisted in knots. He needed to call Mick and Josef in on this but the cops had to get out of here first. He called Cami again and let her know what was going on.

“I’m so sorry, Cami.”

“It’s okay, Carl. I’m worried now too. Are you going to call Mick?”

“Yeah, but I can’t until the others are gone from here. Hopefully Mick can pick up on a scent or something.”

“Yeah. Hey, I’ll go ahead and call him, okay? Let him know you’ll be calling him in a little bit.”

“Yes, that sounds good. Cami, I love you.”

“I know. Love you too. Don’t worry about me, okay? I’m fine. Just find Luka.”

The unspoken word, ‘alive’ was added by both of them. Alive, yes, please alive.


Mick hung up the phone with a sharp punch of the button. Beth, sitting next to him had heard the whole conversation.

“Oh, Mick. This isn’t good.”

“No, it’s not. We didn’t think that Shatel had anything to do with Malcolm.”

“Maybe they aren’t connected and this is something else entirely. He might show up safe and sound you know.”

“Maybe, but my gut says that’s not what happened.”

Beth nodded, she felt the same way. She watched as Mick called Josef and let him know what was going on. Josef in turn called Tango and they came to the loft to wait for Carl’s call. Lani came with Josef, to keep Beth company.

When they got the call from Carl Beth fumed as they walked out the door, her eyes burning brightly blue.

“What’s a matter, Beth?”

“No offense, Lani, but I had been planning to go with them. For heaven’s sake, I can scent a scene just as good, if not better than Mick. He knows I won’t go if you’re here.”

“Beth, he didn’t ask me to come along, I just thought I would. Sorry…” she trailed off, pissed at Beth’s attitude.

Beth rolled her eyes, knowing that she’d offended Lani. “Look, Lani, I’m sorry. I just hate being left out, especially when they try to protect me because I’m a girl, you know?”

“So you want to go gallivanting off into danger just to prove you're one of the boys?”

“Well, not exactly. It’s just, Mick is always protecting me and I can take care of myself, you know. I have fangs too!”

“Have you ever had to defend yourself with those fangs Beth? Seriously, you’re still a baby in vamp years.”

“You just wait, you’ll understand soon enough, when Josef turns you. The guys think that just because they were the first ones in history who were big enough, mean and strong enough to go out and club something to death for dinner that we are the weaker sex.”

Lani listened to Beth’s tirade and had to suppress a smile. Beth had never been one to hold back when something needed to be explored or done. This was no different. Still, they boys definitely had themselves a nice little club going and it irritated her, too.

“Look, let’s just make the best of it, okay? I know you’re worried about Carl here too. Why don’t we call Cami and ask her to come over here and we’ll watch a movie while the boys are out doing whatever it is they do?”

“Okay. You wanna call her?”

“Already dialing!”

Cami agreed and came over quickly. After one movie the girls all tried to seem interested in another but none of them were. Clock watching seemed to be the order of the evening and time trickled by slowly. Lani finally fell asleep at 2 am and Beth and Cami settled in to wait it out.

At 3:40 am the front door opened and all the men came in, grim expressions on their faces.

It apparently hadn’t ended well.

To be continued…

1 comment:

La said...

Suspense is what you LOVE to create and keep us in! Ugh! lol

I love how Cami fit right in and her and Lani are so close. It will definitely help and make things better once she's finally in the family. I love where this is going and I'm very interested to see what'll happen when.... (yeah, just what you're thinking there)!