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

Monday, July 16, 2012

Chapter 34 Echo's of the Past

Thank you LaLa!  You are amazing!  

Beth and Cami looked up as the men came into the loft, all of them grim-faced and apparently frustrated.

“Did you find him?” Beth and Cami asked in unison which caused Lani to wake up and take in the scene before her.

Mick pursed his lips until they were nothing but a flat line across his handsome face. “No, we didn’t. No trace at all.”

“No scent, Mick?”

“A couple of vamp scents, but I think they were there at different times. Hard to tell because it’s a little humid out there and the city scents are overwhelming.”

Lani looked at Josef for confirmation and he said, “Don’t look at me, not my thing. All I scented was a vamp smell, could have been one or a hundred.”

“Something was rather hinky about one of them though,” Tango said, his British accent even more clipped than usual.

“You mean like not really a vamp?” Beth asked, confused.

“No, it was vampire, certainly. But, muddied I’d say.”

“Well, sit down and let me get you guys something to drink,” Beth said, and Lani stood up to help. The vamps settled on scotch with a blood chaser and Carl just settled for the scotch, neat. They sat at the table and tried to talk the situation through, looking to see if one of them picked up on something the others didn’t.

“Mick you need to take me to the scene and see if I can pick up on anything else. I know you want to keep me out of it, but you also know that I have a very keen nose when it comes to the past,” she said, touching her nose as she spoke.

Mick looked at her in consternation. He was tired, they all were. They had walked and dug into every place they could looking for clues but there was nothing to be found. “Beth, we covered it all very carefully, there’s no other clues there, trust me.”

“I do trust you, Mick, and I’m sure there aren’t any physical clues there, but I might be able to ‘see’ who did it, if it’s Tango and Josef’s guy.”

“Beth, it’s been 8 hours since the meeting. The scent was almost totally gone by the time we left there. I really don’t believe that there is anything left to scent. Honestly.”

She looked at his face, the tiredness etched into it, and realized he was being honest with her. She should have gone with them earlier, followed them if necessary. Why hadn’t she? Beth had fought the instinct to tune in to Mick’s movements while he was gone. It wasn’t easy at all, when her mate was in danger she wanted - no, needed to make sure he was okay. It was a mistake she wouldn’t make again. The boys only club has had their last meeting she decided.

The group broke up soon after that, heading home to try and rest before they went any farther. Carl would let them know what, if anything, the police found. They were going to process Luka’s car for prints. His phone had been there but his gun was missing, which seemed odd to them all.

As goodbyes were said, it was a solemn group that walked away from the loft and caught the lift down. Mick closed the door and leaned against it and Beth pulled him to her and held him for a moment. His body was tense, his muscles tightly bunched and she let him breath in her scent and her love for him. Gradually he relaxed and they headed upstairs to take a shower before crawling into the freezer.

Beth hated waiting games and this was certainly what this was. As she drifted off to rest her mind was still churning about it all. That rest didn’t come easily to either of them.


Cat sat in her office at home on Saturday morning, trying to focus on composing questions for the Caldwell deposition scheduled for Monday and failing at it. It really irritated her because she usually had no problem at all focusing on business.

But that was before Mick St. John, a ghost from the past, had made an appearance in her life. She was still struggling with how she felt about it and she could only imagine how Benjamin must be feeling about it all.

She’d had a long talk with Josef about Mick, the struggles he’d faced when he was turned, the horror his life was for decades. Not that Coraline Duvall had been the only guilty party in it. Yes, she’d used allure on Mick and turned him without him knowing about vampires, a horrendous enough thing on its own to cope with. But Josef had also said that Mick had been his own worst enemy for a lot of that time too. Up until he’d saved Beth Turner, when she was four years old. Amazing how a single event changed his life so much, but it did. He stopped partying, drinking fresh blood, Josef had said, and switched to buying bagged blood from the morgue. The thought of which frankly sickened Catherine. Her mind echoed a derisive laugh at that - drinking any blood should be enough to sicken her but the thought of what could be in that bagged blood was just too gross. The disease, the chemicals, you never knew what was going on with someone’s body. Vampires couldn’t get sick, or so Josef said, but what if you ingested tainted or poison? Could a vamp handle that? Did they have any type of filtering system if their liver didn’t work any longer?

While Josef loved being a vampire, Mick had a much different feeling about it. Josef said that it wasn’t bad enough to have to deal with Coraline and the deviant lifestyle she led but walking away from his family had almost been his undoing.

He’d been okay for a few years apparently. But, as he began to make his way in his new world and the fights with Coraline grew worse he began to long for his human family more and more. He grew extremely depressed which in turn brought out the worst in him - living on the edge of things.

His behavior became reckless, out of control, even for a vampire. He would swing back and forth between life with Coraline, which was at best violent and wild, to fits of uncontrollable partying to try to shove it all away. The pain of missing everyone, of not having something or someone solid in his life had worried Josef a lot. He was afraid at times that Mick might take his own life.

Cat remembered Josef, back in the day and the wild parties at his house. She knew that she’d never met Mick there, but she couldn’t help but wonder if Molly ever had. In truth, Cat hadn’t spent that much time there because school was pretty rough. Molls would talk about evenings playing topless Twister and other equally silly pursuits. Josef had been different in those days, Cat realized, much more carefree and up for a party anytime. But he had also been eminently more dangerous in his corporeal needs and desire. Partying was great but when it was dinner time he got right down to it. Nowadays he seemed a bit more polished, circumspect even. The thought made her smile at his gentlemanly ways. Deep down inside, she knew that he really was a lord of the manor.

The door bell ringing startled her for a moment and she frowned as she looked at the clock. 10:30 - she’d been working for 2 hours and hadn’t really gotten anything done.

When she opened the door she found her son standing there, a haggard, troubled look on his face. “Ben! Come on in son. What brings you by on a Saturday morning?”

“Hi Mom,” he replied, stepping into the foyer. The house was quiet and he added, “Is dad here?”

“You need to talk to your dad? Is it about a case?”

“No, I um, I actually wanted to talk to you about…things.”

“I see. Well, your father is at Pebble Beach, playing golf with the governor and then attending a campaign fund raising banquet this evening. He won’t be home until tomorrow evening actually. So come and tell me what is on your mind.”

She led him into the living room and offered him some coffee which he refused. She suspected that he’d been drinking a lot of it this morning because he seemed jittery. Almost as soon as he sat down he was back up again, pacing the room. Cat watched him for a moment, trying to give him time to gather his thoughts but it was really hard to see him so out of sorts like this.

Benjamin had had more than his share of bombshells in his life and she hoped that he’d find a way to cope with this newest one.

“Mom, how do you - how are you so complacent about all this? About Mick St. John, I mean?”

“Well, I’m not sure I’m complacent about it Ben, but I have accepted the reality that he is alive and that he is a vampire. Think for a moment, which part upsets you the most? That he is alive, that he is a vampire or the fact that you know him already?”

“I just don’t know. All of it is a shock. I mean, when I first met him I hated him on sight because just his name reminded me of the fact that Mick St. John had run out on grandma. I thought he was probably my cousin and even that didn’t help my antipathy at all. As I got to know him though I began to admire him, his instincts, maybe the fact that he saved my ass when Beth and I got captured. I don’t know…”

He sat down again and leaned back against the sofa cushions and ran his hand through his hair. “Vampires? Well hell, Mom, I never even imagined such a thing. You certainly never let on, and I guess I understand that. Alive? If we’d found an old, doddering husk of a man, that would be one thing but he’s technically younger than I am, in a way that is.”

“His birthday is Monday, by the way. He’ll be 86.”

“Why in the hell would you even remember that?”

“I don’t know, I just do. I know that mamma used to get sad on November 16th and I didn’t realize why for many years. I think she couldn’t help but remember the day, even though she loved my dad with all her heart.”

“See, that’s just it - you had a dad, I had a grandfather!”

“Yes, we were so fortunate in that. Benjamin, blood may make him my father but he’ll never be my dad. There is a difference. Frankly, I can’t see Mick ever trying to take the place of Herb in our lives.”

“Are you going to tell grandma about this?”

“I don’t see that it would help anything Ben. Her love for Mick is a part of her past and I think she laid it to rest many years ago. I feel sure that Mick wouldn’t want to stir up any pain for her. He seems to be a pretty conscientious kind of guy. Do you think you should tell him?”

Ben knew enough about him to agree with that assessment of Mick’s character. If things were different, he could really like Mick, be great friends with him because he admired how hard Mick fought for what was good and just.

“I can’t, he’ll never be grandpa, as you said, but maybe someday he’ll be a friend again. I feel almost protective of him, like he’s vulnerable and that seems pretty far from the truth actually.”

“I don’t think it’s far from the truth at all. Physically, he might not be vulnerable but his very life, what he is makes him vulnerable in this world Ben. For all of them. It’s why I always kept the secret. Yes, there are very bad vampires out there that would kill just for the pleasure of it, that DO that very thing, but we humans are no different. What we have to make sure happens is that the world is safe for all of us Benjamin. That’s your task.”

“How do we do that Mom? I don’t understand.”

“We watch, we help when we can. Get to know him Benjamin, learn to understand who he is, as a man, as a vampire. Then decide how or even if you want him in your life.”

Ben heard her words and nodded quietly. He stretched his hands out, realizing that he’d clenched his fists so tightly that his fingers ached. He let out a long slow breath and said, “That makes sense. Thank you Mom.”

“You're welcome. Hey, how about some lunch? We can order in some Thai if you like?”

“Sounds good,” he said and realized that he was hungry. Maybe it would all be okay. Get to know and understand Mick St. John - it seemed an awkward task at best but he would try to do it, for everyone’s sake.


Beth punched the end key on her phone and laughed. “Max said the margarita machine got there a little while ago and they got it all mixed and running so there will be margaritas a plenty at the party. And, she stated once again for the record, that if someone is too hung over to make it to work tomorrow that you are dead meat St. John!”

“Hey, just trying to make a good impression with the gang. After all, you have to be stern with them as their boss, but I can be the poor, long-suffering husband who tries to buy their good will with the margarita machine!”

She grinned wickedly as they sipped a glass of O- before leaving for the party. “Hey, I am going to be one of those great editors, lots of guidance and I’ll kick their asses when I need to.” She rinsed out their glasses and set them into the dishwasher. “I love you Mick St. John!”

He grinned, the crooked one that melted her heart so easily. The St. John charm still got her and he knew it. “You really love me huh? Even when I make you stay in the car, as you say it?”

“If you're a smart guy you’ll get off of that subject really quickly.” She wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled his head down for a long and lingering kiss. The feel of his lips moving over hers sent shivers up her spine. She sighed when the kiss ended and rested her check against his chest for a moment.

“How much time do we have before we have to be there?” Mick asked, a teasing twinkle in his eyes.

“Not long enough. But don’t forget that thought later on!”

He laughed, knowing that neither of them would forget it. “So, are you all ready for the big day tomorrow?”

“Yep, as ready as we can be for now. Mick, it’s going so well! Mark has taped his Ten-Minute Doc pieces for the next few weeks, we have a month of the cooking segment ready to go and it’s the same for the yoga morning segments and the afternoon Pilates. We have so much to offer this time, not just tabloid news. Although, we still have that bit of sleaze segments at times, just to keep you happy!”

“Have you talked to Ben yet, about the legal segment?”

“No.” She frowned for a moment and added, “Somehow it seems like a little much to do right now. We’re okay for now and when things calm down a bit I’ll talk to him.”

When they arrived at Max and Marks house Mick pulled the Benz into the driveway and he looked out at the house in surprise. It was huge, perched on the side of a mountain and built with lots of natural stone and wood. The lawn was well-manicured, which wasn’t really an easy thing to do up in the hills where you ran into more cactus than grass.

“I guess being a doctor here in LA pays really well, huh?”

“You know, people think that about our loft too. All a matter of perspective! Now, help me get all these crudités into the house, something they’ll never eat because they’ll all be too busy drinking margaritas.”

Again he tossed her that cocky grin and she just shook her head in mock frustration. “C’mon! You are a very bad influence, know that?”

“I try,” he said wickedly, quirking an eyebrow upwards.

As they waited for the door to be answered she couldn’t help but laugh. This was one of the best things about Mick, he could always make her laugh and the thought occurred to her that it hadn’t always been that way. But it was now and she loved it.

“Mick, Beth, come on in,” Mark said, holding the door open for them. “We’ll just put this food into the kitchen. Max is in there, finishing up the other finger foods.” He headed down a hall and Mick glanced around him as they went.

The house was rustic, the stone and wood from the outside being an integral part of the interior design. Comfortable furniture that was sturdy and stylish seemed to be the choice and although it was completely different from the loft Mick liked it a lot. He remembered they had a couple of boys and judging by how quiet things were here he guessed they must be at someone else’s house.

“Paula and Rodney are here too. Beth, do you remember meeting Max’s parents?”

“Yes, I do. It was at that Achievement in Journalism affair back when we were at the LA Free Press. How nice that they are here too.”

“Paula has been talking about it non-stop for days now. I swear, I think she’s more invested in Buzzwire than Max is!”

They walked into a huge kitchen that had a central island with lots of copper and wood trim. To the left was a small den type of area that had a desk with a computer on it as well as a couch and chair. It looked like a comfortable gathering place for the family and Mick had to admit it was very inviting. The far wall of the kitchen had sliding glass doors and lots of windows that looked out on a very large backyard. He saw a pool with a wrought iron fence around it that had a lock on it and in the back of the yard was a large play area for the kids, who were nowhere to be seen.

Max was putting something into the oven and the whole kitchen smelled wonderful. Beth and Mick sat the bags down on the counter and Max grinned, hugging first Beth and then Mick in welcome!

“We are on our way Elizabeth Turner St. John! We are taking Buzzwire to places where no one ever thought it could go!” The two girls hugged one another and both of them jumped up and down in their excitement.

Mick watched it with interest. He hadn’t actually known Beth during the LA Free Press days. He’d known she was working there but he’d stayed away from her. Other than meeting Max and Mark at the wedding he didn’t really know them. Max was vivacious and enthusiastic, a good combination to pair with Beth.

“Ladies, if anyone can do it I would bet my next paycheck it would be you!” Mark said, smiling as he looked at his wife. They’d been married young, she being 22 and he 28, but neither of them had regretted it. The first baby boy had come along a year later with the second less than a year later. Beth used to tease them constantly about what causes that, but they were thrilled to be parents. Now the boys were 4 and 5 and they were talking about having another one or two now that they were more settled. Mark had finished his residency two years before and was well-established in his own practice and life was good for them.

Mick saw the way Mark looked at his wife and understood the deep love and passion the man felt for his wife. After all, it was how he felt for Beth. He hoped they’d always be this happy.

Out on the deck Rodney said, “Looks like Beth and her husband are here. Shall we go inside, darling?” He held out his hand to his wife who was sitting on a chaise and smiled.

Lord, but he was still handsome Paula thought, admiring the deep brown eyes that were made all the more attractive by the laugh lines that crinkled at the corners when he smiled or laughed, which was often.

“Okay, if we must! I must say though that the weather is beautiful today and the sunshine feels heavenly.” She stood up and she and Rod headed into the house through the sliding patio doors. As they stepped inside she said, “Beth, how wonderful to see you again. Marriage agrees with you! And this must be Mick,” she said, turning her eyes upwards to look at him.

Her face paled and suddenly the world tipped around her before she crumpled to the floor.

Beth looked at Mick with a questioning eye but he was as shocked as she was.

Well, this party was starting to be really interesting.

To be continued…


Joangel said...

Wow! What the heck was that all about??? Can't wait to hear the explanation for that one!

Lady said...

You're the amazing one. Every time I read a chapter I cannot imagine how you come up with what you do. I am simply amazed at your writing and the fact that you can keep it up for so long.

I can't wait to continue reading and find out all the big and little things we've talked about so far.

La Shunda

Hope said...

Hey Joangel!!

There IS an explanation, for sure and a bit of a surprising one for sure. And NO, she isn't related to poor Mick in anyway. The guy has family everywhere now and I thought I'd give him a break!

Thank you so much for reading Joangel!!

Hope said...

Hey Lady!!

Me? I don't think so. You are so good at what you do I can't even thank you enough.

I'll never stop writing - if I do I'd die, seriously. It's a part of me and there will always be some story percolating in my brain!

Thank you Lady!!