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, October 29, 2012

Chapter 3 Wasted Time

Logan tried to rest, he really did, but he felt this over-whelming need to constantly check on his brother. Mick found him staring into the dark freezer and saw the worry on the young vampires face. Logan looked up at Mick when he took his place beside him and lifted questioning eyes to his sire.

“It gets easier, Logan. The worry, the need to actually see him rise before you're comfortable with it all.”

Logan nodded because Mick had answered his question without a single word being said by him. “I’ve always, still, after all these years,” he began, haltingly. “I’ve always felt this kinship with you, Mick, and I still do, but now I can’t get my brother out of my head. Does that make any sense?”

“Perfect sense, Logan. You’re my fledgling, true enough, but now you have your own. Since he’s already connected to you through blood I can’t even imagine how strong that bond between you will be. Pretty amazing, I suspect.”

Logan glanced down at his watch and sighed. “It’s been 4 hours now, Mick. Shouldn’t he be waking up soon?”

“I can’t answer that one, Logan. You woke up in only a couple of hours but it took Beth all night, maybe 12 hours or so? I think it depends on the individual. But I wouldn’t worry. Try to rest, Logan. Seriously. You’ll know when he wakes, I promise.”

“How?”

“I can’t explain it, you're just going to have to trust me on this one.”

Logan nodded and murmured, “Okay, I’ll try, Mick.”

Mick couldn’t help but grin as Logan walked out of the room, so tired he almost stumbled as he walked. Kind of like being a new dad, Mick guessed. He headed back out to the living room where Josef sat, legs crossed and sipping a tumbler of scotch, looking every inch the gentleman, despite the circumstances. He had to laugh, you could always count on Josef to be a sharp dressed man!



OOOOOOOOOOOO



Around ten o’clock Lani decided to leave and Beth walked her to the door to say good bye. “So you're going to Buzzwire tomorrow, right?”

“Yes, for a little bit anyway. Max and I are announcing that Rodney will be staying on as the new Content Editor and I’m really glad to hand that hat over to him. Truthfully, he’s much better at it than I am anyway. Now I can focus on the operations part of my job, which is supposed to be the whole job. He’ll keep the cubs on track with their stories quite well!”

“Good for you, or him, or everyone I guess. Call me and let me know how she’s doing?”

“I will. Talk to you tomorrow, Lani.” She watched as Lani punched the button for the elevator and it opened almost immediately. With a final wave she closed the door and locked it and decided to call Mick.

“Hey, how’s he doing?”

“Still out of it. Logan is close to being a basket case though, got my hands full with him.”

Beth laughed softly and said, “Is that how you were with me?”

“Not as much as I was with Logan. First time daddy you know,” he said with a chuckle. “How’s your mom?”

“Asleep, I think. She went up to bed an hour ago. At least I hope she’s asleep because Lani and I could see she was really tired.”

“You’d better get some sleep yourself, baby. Gotta get back into that work grind in the morning.”

“I know and I would have been so excited for it before. Now? Not so much!”

Mick was quiet for a moment and he finally said, “Hey, Logan’s up again and I think Clark might be stirring. Call you in a little while.”

“Okay, Mick.” This was good news and hopefully he’d call her mom soon because she’d for sure rest better if he did. She briefly crossed her fingers and then laughed at herself. She left a small lamp on downstairs, turned the fireplace off and headed up the stairs to wait for Mick to call her back. If she slept a little bit in between that would be okay. Yes, it would be okay she decided as she drifted off to sleep in their lonely freezer.



OOOOOOOOOOOO



The fog started to lift and he was aware of the chill that surrounded him. Rather than making him cold it felt good, really good. His eyes popped open and instead of seeing nothing in the dark room he could see out the glass of the freezer he was in.

He took a deep breath and exhaled slowly and watched as tendrils of mist swirled in the frosty air. He’d turned and he was fine.

Dorothy! His mind screamed for his wife and then inexplicably Logan came into his mind and he felt a bit of a panic, wondering where his brother was. He felt as if he had to see him, to make sure he was okay.

What the hell?

Since when was he this worried about Logan? Not since they were teenagers he realized. He pushed on the lid of the freezer and heard a whoosh as it swept upwards. Just as he sat up Logan came rushing into the room, fear and worry showing on his face.

“Hey, uh, Clark, you’re up. You're okay! You're okay, brother!” Logan grabbed his brother and hugged him tightly, relief evident in his gestures.

“Did you expect otherwise?” Clark asked dryly. “That was the point of turning me, wasn’t it, so that I’d be okay?”

“Well, yes but still, it’s easy to worry.”

Clark looked up as Mick, closely followed by Josef entered the room and said, “Hey, it’s a party!” He suddenly realized he was hungry. Thirsty? Whatever. “I think I need to eat, or drink or whatever.”

“Yeah, we figured that. Why don’t you slip on your robe and you can have some fresh blood,” Logan said, pointing to a robe laying across a chair.

Clark spotted it and his eyebrows rose a fraction as he spotted the sunglasses that were laying with it. “Sunglasses? Really?”

“Trust me, you’re going to want them. There’s no light on in here, but there is out there,” Mick said, casting a glance over his shoulder, indicating the other room.

Clark slipped the robe on and grimaced at the feel of what was normally soft fabric. It felt like the roughest burlap now and he realized this was going to take some getting used to. He picked up the sunglasses as well and as soon as he stepped out into the hall he slipped them on because he understood what Mick had said, the pain from the lights was terrible.

At a counter in a small kitchen Mick poured a tall glass of blood and the scent of it made Clarks knees go week. He walked to it, fascinated by the beauty of the light reflecting off the deep, ruby color. As if in a trance he picked it up and drank it straight down and then licked the corners of his mouth, truly tasting it for the first time. He realized he had fangs when they gouged his lower lip.

“Son of a bitch!” he exclaimed. “How do I get them to go away?”

Mick poured another glass and said, “Drink. That will help.”

They watched as Clark downed the second glass and then felt for the fangs, which had receded back into his gums. “Damn, that’s amazing!”

“What, the fangs?” Logan asked.

“Yeah, the fangs, how good blood tastes. Nothing like when I was human. The fangs make it a bit inconvenient to drink with, though.”

Mick snickered for a moment and as they all looked at him he grinned. “Logan thought that they were straws! He wanted to know if he needed to drink with them!”

“Hey, you didn’t need to tell him that!” Logan choked out, embarrassment sweeping over him even if he couldn’t blush any more.

“Doesn’t matter, Logan. Now, I need to call my wife.”

“Yes, I’m sure she’s waiting. She packed your cell phone and charger. They’re in your room, in the bag by the chair.

“She packed my bag? How was she?”

“Okay, mostly. It was hard on her, but she’ll be much better when you call,” Mick urged.

“Heading that way now. By the way, where am I?”

“In the guest house behind my place,” Josef said. “Mi casa es su casa, or something like that.”

If Clark was shocked he didn’t show it but he said, “Thank you Josef. I appreciate it.”

“No problemo!”

“Hey, Clark? Wait a second. If you have a volume on your phone you're going to want to turn it all the way down. Seriously,” Logan said.

Wasted Time

Clark nodded and turned to go to his room where he found the phone in the bag. He closed the door before he gratefully took his robe off and sat down in the chair. He pushed the button that would connect him with his wife and didn’t have to wait long for her to answer the call.

“Clark? Oh, honey, are you okay?”

“Yes, Dorie, I’m better than okay.”

Dorothy drew in a sharp breath. “You haven’t called me that since…well, forever it seems. You’ve done it twice tonight.”

Clark wondered when the first time was because he couldn’t remember doing it. But it didn’t matter he decided. Tonight, he was feeling alive, as he had never been before, and he guessed, all in all that was true. He felt young, giddy even, and god, he wanted her!

He chuckled, a low and sexy sound that was somewhere between a growl and a purr. “I’m feeling young, and wonderful, honey. It’s amazing actually. Nothing hurts, or aches, I feel like I’m 18 again. And I want you, girl,” he said so softly she almost didn’t catch the words.

A shiver streaked through her and was then followed by heat. It seeped into her body, bringing it suddenly alive and a pang in the pit of her stomach made her mouth go dry with desire for him.

All those years when she had kept him at arm’s length, on the periphery of her life. What might it have been like if she’d not done that? Wasted time, so much wasted time. How she had wanted him, ached for him and missed him; somehow the words never managed to come to her though, not until her mom had died. Only then had she opened to him, truly let him in. She felt a moment of shame for it all and choked back a cry, but he heard it anyway.

Oh, my God, you can't believe it's happening again
Your baby's gone, and you're all alone
and it looks like the end.

You never thought you'd be alone this far down the line
And I know what's been on your mind
You're afraid it's all been wasted time

The autumn leaves have got you thinking about the first time that you fell
You didn't love the boy too much, no, no, you just loved the boy too well,


“Dorie, don’t cry baby. It’s all okay. Those years, I never stopped loving you.”

How did he know what she was thinking about? How did he always know? “I know that, Clark. I love you. Always.”

“And forever, Dorothy?

“Forever. I want to be with you forever.”

“That’s my girl. I’m gonna be back home soon, honey. Promise.”

“Yes. We need you. The babies and…and me.”

“Don’t cry, Dorie. Dammit, don’t cry.”

“O- okay.”

“You have my heart, girl. Don’t forget me.”

“Never,” she told him. “Goodbye.”

He heard the phone click off and knew she was gone. He needed out of here. He needed out of here NOW. The anger and frustration over took him then and he threw the phone across the room and watched as it shattered against the wall. He sprang to his feet and picked up the pieces, and suddenly felt as if his lifeline had been torn away from him.

“Fuck! Stupid fuck. Look what you’ve done.” He looked around the room in despair. Where the hell was Logan? Where was his brother?

It suddenly occurred to him that Logan had fed him his blood; that’s why he needed to see him. His baby brother was his sire. He knew it in his gut. He looked up then as Logan came into the room and squatted down next to him and laid his hand on Clark’s shoulder.

“It gets better, Clark. Really.” He picked up a few pieces of the phone and said, “I’ll have Mick get you a new one tomorrow. Why don’t you get some more rest?”

Clark nodded and silently did as he was told. Logan watched as Clark pulled the lid down and settled into the freezer. In a moment he was out and Logan pulled the door shut behind him.

Josef was getting ready to leave when he walked back into the living room. “I’m heading home to crawl into my bed with the love of my life who is carrying my child and who refuses to marry me.” Both Mick and Logan could see that, though he tried to make light of it, he was hurting.

“Give her some time, Josef. She’s a strong, determined woman and she feels like she has to prove that.”

“Just how the hell do you know that, Mick?” he said as he focused on Mick with an angry glare.

Mick grinned sheepishly and said, “Well, I watched her all those years, too, Josef. She was always with Beth, you know. I do sort of know her.”

“Yes, well…” Josef said, leaving without another word.

Mick watched as the door closed and took a seat on the couch again. “What’s in your hand?”

“Clark’s cell. I think he’s just feeling a bit over-whelmed right now.”

“Understandable. What about you?”

Logan sat down heavily in a high-backed chair across from the couch. “Tired, inept. I don’t know that I’m going to be good at this.”

“Sure you will. Logan, there’s no guidebook on how to be a sire. You just have to be there for him and try to teach him what he needs to know.”

“He’s angry and frustrated and I don’t think it’s because he was turned, Mick.”

Mick nodded, sure that Logan was right. “Logan, I’m sure that anger and frustration is all about not being with his wife. He’s worried about her and worried that he won’t be there when those babies are born. But that’s good in a way because he’ll work really hard to learn quickly. That goal will be the best impetus for him to follow your instructions.”

“But what if I don’t know what to teach him?”

Mick laughed. “Logan, you’ve been a vampire for 26 years now. I think you’ve learned a few things. Yes, you can do this.”

Logan chewed on his lower lip for a moment and nodded. “Yeah, you're right. I do know some things. Geez, I wish I had a popsicle!”

“Tomorrow, I’ll bring you some, promise. I’ll also take Dorothy to get a new phone for Clark, how does that sound?”

“Good. I need my laptop, too, and a few other things. If I call Audie, can you bring those too?”

“Sure, just let her know. Now, get some rest. I’m heading home to my wife!”

“Goodnight, Mick. And, thanks.”

“You got it, Logan. It’ll be okay.” He waved and headed down the path that would take him around the house to the parking area. Logan was going to be fine, Mick just knew it. He just hoped that he didn’t turn Clark into another computer geek!

He chuckled as he stepped into the garage. Josef had told him to take one of the cars home and he debated on which one. Josef would probably have his head if he took the Ferrari, and it was tempting. Instead he headed to the Porsche, it’d do just fine!



OOOOOOOOOOOO



Martin laid back in his bed at the Easy Rest Motel, a cheap place that rented by the day, or hour, mostly to prostitutes. Sometimes he’d hear them coming and going all night long which normally pissed him off, but tonight nothing was going to spoil his mood.

That stupid bastard was finally dead, after all these years. Clark Griffin was dead! He wanted to crow about it from the rooftops but instead he was forced to keep his mouth shut.

Still, it would be worth it. In a few days he’d go to see the stricken widow and offer his condolences, and help, if needed.

Yep, that’s what he’d do and she’d be grateful…if she knew what was good for her and that brat she was carrying.



To be continued…

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Chapter 2 Reminiscing

Chapter 2 Reminiscing

Beth and Dorothy made the drive home to the loft in sober, reflective contemplation of what the next steps were. Individually, of course, which meant that they said very little to one another although it wasn’t uncomfortable.

Beth assumed her mother was tired and over-whelmed which was only partly true. Enervated, yes, but she also felt strangely edgy. Was it even possible to feel two such contradictory things at the same time?

It seemed it was. She let out a long sigh as they pulled into the parking garage which made her daughter fix her with a curious look.

“Are you okay, Mom? We’re here, so you can rest soon.”

“I’m okay. Not sure I can sleep, but I am a bit tired.”

Beth got out of the car and said, “Stay put for a moment, Mom.” She wanted to check the garage out before she let her mother get out of the car. She looked around and walked away from the car, scenting the air for anything or anyone out of place, but it seemed okay and she told Dorothy it was okay to get out.

Beth pulled the small bag containing her mother’s clothes out of the back seat and clicked the lock button for the car and heard the chime that told her it was locked tight. The elevator ride to the loft was swift, and it was clear on their floor as well, so they headed into the loft. As she closed the door, her phone started ringing and a quick glance at it told her it was Mick.

“Hey, Mick. Everything okay?” She sat the bag down on the floor and shrugged out of her jacket, one arm at a time, as she moved the phone from one ear to the other.

“Yes. He’s in the freezer now, he hasn’t woken up yet. Hard to tell how long it will be. How’s your mom?”

“We just got back to the loft. Audrey is staying for the cleaning crew, which got there as we were leaving. Tango was with them and was very kind. He assured mom that Clark was in good hands and not to worry. Are you staying all night?”

“Logan is resting now too, you know the rule, rest when your baby vamp does!” He tried to be light-hearted and make her smile but it didn’t work. “Well anyway, I’ll head home in the early morning. You have a meeting at Buzzwire don’t you?”

“Yes, but I’m not so sure about going.” She looked at her mom who was in the kitchen making some hot tea. “Maybe that’s not a good idea.”

“Yes, you need to go, Beth. Get some normality back into your life. I’ll be there to stay with Dorothy. Come home after the meeting if you like, but you and Max need to get back into the groove there.”

“I suppose you're right.” She sighed as the tea kettle let out a loud whistle and Mick winced on the other end of the phone. “Tea!” she told him.

“Yes, I heard. Look, both of you need to rest as much as you can, but before you go to bed I wanted you to know that I called Carl and let him know what happened and he’s coming over to see you.”

“Oh.” She glanced at a clock and saw that it was only a little bit after 8, not nearly as late as she had thought it was. “Alright. I’ll let mom know. But, Mick? There’s nothing for him to investigate is there?”

“We don’t know for sure, since we have no idea who did it. Obviously we aren’t making an official police report but Carl may be able to help us. We don’t know if Clark was targeted specifically, if it was a robbery gone bad or what.”

“I see your point.” She heard the elevator ding and watched the monitor and saw Carl and Luka approaching the door. “Look, he’s here now with Luka, so I’ll call you later, okay?”

“Okay, baby. I love you, Beth.”

“Love you too!”

Before they had a chance to knock Beth opened the door and smiled at them both. She pointed to her ear as Carl got ready to question her action and they both laughed for a moment. As he came in he hugged her for a moment and then Luka did the same and it didn’t feel weird at all. She let out a grateful sigh.

“Dorothy!” Carl said, watching as she carried a cup of tea to the living room and sat it down on the coffee table. He hugged her briefly and gave her a kiss on the cheek. “I’m so sorry, Dorothy. But he’s doing fine, Mick says.”

“Yes, so I hear. It’s just a waiting game now, I suppose.”

“Mick said this isn’t an official visit so can I get you guys a beer or something?” Beth asked and watched as both men nodded approval. She pulled two out of the fridge and popped the tops and handed them to the men who both took long drinks.

Everyone sat down and Carl leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees and clasped his hands in front of him. “Dorothy, did you notice if anything was taken at the house? I realize that wasn’t your focus, but we don’t even know if someone was robbing the house or what.”

What he didn’t say was ‘or if they went there specifically to kill Clark’ because there was no doubt in any of their minds that the intent had been murder. Too many stabs, too much blood to be anything else Mick had told him.

“So this isn’t an official police visit, Carl?” Dorothy verified, blowing gently on the cup of raspberry green tea.

“Well, Mick asked me to see what I could do, but as far as official LAPD business, no. I want to help though, Dorothy, so anything you can remember might help.”

She took a small sip of the tea and said, “I didn’t notice anything, Carl, but as you said, it wasn’t really my focus. I know that nothing was missing from my jewelry box in the bedroom. Did you notice anything, Beth?”

“No, it all looked fine. I don’t think it was robbery, guys. Mick and I both scented the scene and while Mick sees more of a picture of the whole scene, I see more details. He walked in while Clark was at the computer, sort of hunched over it like he was typing something.” She glanced at her mom before adding, “That’s where the first stab came.”

“I see.” Luka and Carl both watched Dorothy nervously for any signs of her distress, but she seemed inured to the situation. It was a traumatic one and Carl hoped that it didn’t come back later on her. “Mick said he checked all the doors and windows and everything was locked up tight. Do you suppose he’d left the front door unlocked?”

“Maybe,” Dorothy said, frowning. “He knew that we were due home soon, so I suppose he might have left it unlocked for that reason.”

“He came in the front door for sure and he left that way as well, Mick and I both saw that.”

Luka was fascinated by this ability that Beth and Mick had, ‘scenting’ a crime scene. And they were apparently accurate. It was amazing.

“Beth, anything at all you can remember about him? Height, weight, anything?” Luka asked.

“He was about 6 foot, which is how tall Clark is. I could tell because when Clark rose out of the seat they were even. Average build, really, and the only thing visible about him was his blue eyes. Not even a hair was uncovered. It’s not much to go on.”

“No, it isn’t.” Carl sat his empty bottle down on the coffee table and smiled at Beth and Dorothy. “We’ll see if anything turns up, similar crimes or something.” He frowned for a moment and said, “Dorothy, could it be personal? Did Clark have any enemies?”

Dorothy closed her eyes for a moment; it couldn’t be, she was sure of that. It had been too many years. Finally she answered, “No, not that I know of. But he owns and operates a large, successful contracting business and there’s always lots of competition. Maybe someone was pissed off?”

“It’s possible. Has he fired anyone lately? Do you know what his crews are working on now?”

“I think all of his crew has been there for years, so I don’t think anyone has been fired. There are several jobs going right now, but I don’t know specifically what or where. You’ll have to talk to Clark about that. When - when you can. I do know that he’s sending inspectors to Henry’s church this week in preparation for renovations there. I guess it’s not in the best of shape, the building I mean.”

“Really?” Luka asked with a smile. She was right, that building needed help and he was pleased to know that Clarks company was going to do some work there. He’d offered to volunteer there and help with what he could. Henry was a great guy and Luka looked forward to helping there.

“Yes. He said it’s a great old building and that he thinks it would be worth investing in.”

Both men nodded and then stood up. “I’ll let you know if we find out anything,” Carl said. He and Luka headed to the door with Beth following them. As they got ready to leave Carl glanced at Dorothy again, hoping that she was okay. She just seemed so calm. He nodded in her direction and Beth caught the glance.

“She’s tired, Carl. Other than that, I’m not sure,” she said in a whisper. “Thanks for coming by, I really appreciate it.” She watched as they headed to the elevator and closed the door with a sigh. Her mom was sitting on the sofa, her feet up on the coffee table and she looked chilled.

Beth turned on the fireplace and got an afghan out, after being told that her mom wasn’t ready for bed. “You sure this is enough?” she asked as she laid the afghan over Dorothy.

“Yes, I’ll be fine.”

Beth could only hope that was true.



OOOOOOOOOOOO



In the parking garage the men watched as a limo pulled in and the driver opened the door and Lani emerged. She saw Carl and smiled, walking to him as the driver watched.

“Carl! Good to see you!”

He hugged her and said, “Here’s trouble if I’ve ever seen it! How are you, Lani?”

“Pregnant, if you haven’t already heard!” She watched uncertainty flutter across Carl’s face and added, “It’s Josef’s, Carl. It seems that like Beth, I’m also a descendant.”

“Wo - wow. That’s interesting news. How are you feeling?”

“Great actually. I’m about 2 months along now, but we’re excited.”

“So when is the wedding?” Carl asked.

“Not until after the baby is born. September 22 actually. We’ve already set the date.”

“After the baby is born?” Carl asked incredulously. “Kostan was okay with that?”

Lani lifted her chin a little, a purely defensive gesture and said, “Yes, after.”

“Oh, well okay. Hey, just promise me that you get video the first time Josef changes a diaper!” His comment made her smile again, a little bit anyway, but he could see that the wedding was evidently a hot button topic.

“You can count on it. Well, I’m heading up to see Dorothy. Bye,” she said as she walked away with a wave.

“See you, Lani.” He watched as she stepped into the elevator and shook his head. “Lani pregnant! The original party girl from college!”

“You knew her in college?” Luka asked, surprised to hear that.

“Yes. From when I was dating Beth. She is Beth’s best friend, well, one of them anyway. The other one is Robbi; we used to call the three of them triple trouble.” He laughed and added, “Robbi married Kevin, her college love and they have two kids now. I would never have imagined that Lani would be the next one to have a child.”

“Whoa - wait a minute! You and Beth?” Luka asked, shocked.

“Yep. We dated for about a year and a half.”

“I guess I’m surprised. And you're still friends; that’s cool. My ex and I practically start shooting at one another when we run into each other.”

“Yeah, well Beth is special. She just wasn’t the right ‘special’ for me, as I wasn’t for her.”

“But clearly Cami is? You practically glow when you talk about her.”

“Hey, I’m a guy; we don’t glow!” Carl said with a laugh as they climbed into the car. “And yes, Cami is the one for me. I’m a lucky son of a bitch, that’s for sure and I can’t wait to be turned to be with her always.”

“You're gonna be a vampire, too?” The more Luka heard about all this the more amazed he became. No wonder Carl was so damn comfortable around them.

“Yes, as soon as I finish my training. Long story, buddy. For another night,” Carl said as he started the car. “Buckle up!”



OOOOOOOOOOOO



When Beth heard the sound of the elevator she caught a familiar scent and grinned as she headed to the door.

“Who’s here?” Dorothy asked. She was starting to get really tired and was about ready for bed. And she definitely didn’t feel like answering any more questions.

“Lani,” Beth said as she opened the door.

Dorothy sighed; at least she could go to bed soon and leave the girls to chat. She greeted Lani with a kiss on the cheek and a hug and settled back down on the couch.

“How are you, Dorothy?” Lani asked the inevitable question.

“I’ll be okay but right now I’m still a little bit in shock to tell you the truth. I know he’ll be fine, but it’s hard waiting.”

“Yeah, I can imagine. Josef was at the guest house when I left. He had Rob drive me over so I could see you. All I know is that he was still resting and Josef said it would be impossible to predict whether he’d wake up in an hour or 10.”

“That’s what I understood from Mick as well.” Dorothy looked at her daughter and asked a question that she’d never dared before. “Beth, when you were turned, what do you remember? When it happened and when you woke up?”

Beth’s eyebrows rose a bit in surprise, but it was okay. It was natural her mother would be curious. “While it was happening, not much really. By the time Mick was there I was already unconscious, like Clark. Too much blood loss does that. I rested for a long time, I know that. Like, maybe 10 or 12 hours, I think. When I woke up I know I realized I’d been turned because I was in the freezer and I was actually chilly. For a moment I just sat there and then all I know was that I wanted to be in Mick’s arms.” At the pained look on her mother’s face she wished she’d held back that last detail.

“I see.”

“Mom, when you're turned you naturally gravitate toward your sire. Clark will do that with Logan, because it’s Logan’s blood that turned him. He’ll still want you though and I know he’ll call.”

Dorothy nodded and stood up. “I really am tired, girls, so I’m heading to bed now.” She hugged them both and they watched as she walked up the stairs.

“She seems calm,” Lani observed.

“Yes, maybe too calm. But she’s strong. She asked to be turned, tonight in fact.”

“Wow, I guess in some ways that doesn’t surprise me. She wants to be with him.”

“Yes, she does. I hope he goes through it all quickly, Lani. I really do.”

Lani nodded in agreement. Dorothy didn’t need to have those babies on her own. At least that would be a good incentive for Clark.

Still, it was going to be a difficult waiting game.



OOOOOOOOOOOO



Reminiscing

Friday night, it was late
I was walking you home
We got down to the gate
And I was dreaming of the night
Would it turn out right
How to tell you girl
I wanna build my world around you



Early September 1978

Alexander Griffin stood looking at the car his son wanted to buy. At 16 Clark was more mature than most young men. The judge was very proud of his son, well both of them actually, even if Logan was still enchanted with this crazy computer phase, something they all knew would never last.

Both boys had worked the summer away, Clark mowing and keeping lawns, light construction, painting, anything he could do to save money. Alexander had told him that at the end of the summer however much money Clark had managed to save Alexander would meet it so that Clark could buy a car. That meant that, much to Alexander’s surprise, he would be donating $1,000 dollars to the pot.

Image

But this car? He almost shuddered at the thought of his son behind the wheel of it. It was in great condition, he had to admit, but was it too much car for his 16 year old son?

A good question to be sure. Most or many 16 year olds, that would be true. But he had to go back to his opinion that Clark was more mature than most. He was very focused on what he wanted in life and he worked hard to get it. Upon graduation in two years, he wanted to do a stint in the army to take advantage of the GI Bill so he could go to college. Not that Alexander couldn’t afford to send him, because he easily could. As a federal judge in LA he commanded a handsome salary, but Clark wanted to do it on his own; he wanted to be a self-made man and he’d make it too, Alexander had no doubts about it.

Still, who knew he’d save so much money? Logan had often worked with Clark and most of his money was gone, spent on the arcade and that new computer he’d brought home, the Tandy TRS-80, Logan called it. It didn’t seem like too great of an investment to the judge but Logan was enchanted with it. He didn’t think his youngest son could get into any trouble with it so for the most part he ignored it.

This car could definitely get Clark into trouble if he wasn’t careful. But a deal was a deal and so he gave Clark the money. The next day the car was sitting in the driveway, and Clark was washing and waxing it with a little help from Dorothy, the daughter of his next door neighbors.

The two laughed as they threw wet sponges at one another and he spotted Grace, Dorothy’s mother, watching from their front porch. She saw him and smiled and waved him over.

The radio in the car was playing and Clark and Dorothy were both singing and dancing around as they played at washing the car. No doubt the lyrics inspired them both and that could definitely be worrisome. He could tell that Grace felt the same way.

Still, he smiled as he stepped lightly up the steps and took a seat in the other wicker chair. “Walter working today?” he asked. Even though he sold insurance he often kept hours on Saturdays.

“Yes. That big fire over on Grand last night? One of his clients.” Grace poured him a glass of iced tea and they watched Clark and Dorothy laugh more than wash the car.

“Oh, yes, that was a big one. Destroyed everything I heard.” He took a drink of his tea and said, “This is excellent, as always, Grace. Thank you, it really hits the spot.” His gaze fell on the kids as well and he chuckled as Logan joined them and Dorothy turned the hose on him, soaking him completely. The fight was on then as all three of them set out to best the others.

“That’s quite a car your son has there, Alex.”

“I know. I really debated over whether to let him have it or not.”

“Clark is a good boy, a dependable boy. I’m sure he’ll be fine with it.”

“You say that now but how about the first time he takes Dorothy out for a ride? That will happen pretty quickly.”

Grace nodded at his words. Yes, she knew that was coming. Riding in the car was fine, it was the parking she was concerned about. “I’m going to trust them, unless they prove they can’t be trusted, that is,” she said with a grin.

Alexander knew exactly what she meant. Dorothy and Clark were like peas and carrots, just meant to be together. “I’ll try to make sure that Logan tags along - a lot!”

“That’d be a good thing,” was the reply he got.



To be continued…

Monday, October 22, 2012

Chapter 1 A Moment in Time

Chapter 1 A Moment in Time

Beth, Mick, Audrey and Logan all stared, waiting for Clark to drink, really drink the life-saving blood he was being offered. Dorothy continued to stroke his face, whispering words of encouragement to him.

“You can do this, Clark. Come on honey, do it for me, for the babies! Drink Clark!”

It was quiet, so quiet in the room, nothing but Dorothy and Audrey’s heartbeats to break the silence and suddenly Clark moved with an almost unthinkable speed - for a human anyway. His hands pulled Logan’s wrist to his mouth and newly found fangs pierced the skin there, searching for the blood that would revive him. The fangs missed their mark the first try and then found the vein and Beth let out a long, slow breath as she watched her dad drink deeply.

Mick stood at the ready, just in case he had to pull Audrey or Dorothy away quickly, but Clark only seemed focused on drinking from Logan. He’d need more blood, and quickly Mick realized and said to Audrey, “Do you have more blood? At your house?” At her affirmative nod he said, “Go and get it, all of it. And Audrey, bring a few days of clothes for Logan.”

She gave him a questioning look but obeyed, heading out the door quickly. They heard her start the car and zoom off into the night that was now raining, almost as if it were trying to clear away the bad and renew life.

Clark stopped feeding and Logan felt his fangs fall away as Clark settled back, sated for the time being. It was a curious sensation, having someone drink from him he thought. He had been almost unconscious when Mick had turned him and he really didn’t remember much about it. Having his brother drink from him had twisted his gut in a way because it meant that Clark was no longer human and while Logan had always known it would happen it was still sad, the way it had happened.

He looked up and met Mick’s eyes, feeling suddenly older and he blinked back the burning tears that threatened to break free. Brothers, forever brothers now.

Mick understood it all so clearly. Even when you’re saving a life you’re not because there is still death. A renewal follows, of a kind anyway but it’s not the same. Yes, Mick read Logan’s feelings easily and shared them.

Even though Mick was older than Clark he had a regard for him that was strong, as if the man had been his family, almost a father figure. Mick admired Clark for his tenacious love and protection of Dorothy and Beth all these years and for the good and abiding friendship and acceptance he had always shown Mick.

Yes, Clark would still walk in this world but it was with footsteps that were no longer measured by the passing of time but rather by the need for secrecy, for living among the shadows of the night.

Mick had Beth to share this life with now and it didn’t seem so bad as it had in the past. With Coraline all he wanted was peace and never found it. Beth inspired him to live their existence to the fullest and with her, his soul was at peace. He knew happiness for the first time since he’d been turned.

Now, Clark would find that with Dorothy because Mick didn’t doubt for a moment that she wouldn’t be turned eventually. Their love and faith in one another was amazing and he knew that it would last forever.

That hadn’t always been true though. He remembered all the years that Clark had always been a part of the family and yet an outsider with Dorothy as well. He didn’t know what their story was, but from what Logan had told him about them in the past Logan for one never doubted that they’d be together one day. It just seemed like Dorothy hadn’t gotten that memo for a time, but it was obviously changed now.

They needed to get some things figured out. Beth was encouraging Dorothy to shower and change clothes now because dried blood covered much of her dress and legs from where she had sat on the floor next to Clark. She only reluctantly agreed when Mick told her that Clark would likely be out of it for awhile.

He could tell that it hadn’t occurred to her that Clark wouldn’t be staying here, but then Mick knew that Dorothy couldn’t stay here at this house either. They didn’t know what had happened and while Logan sat with Clark, Mick went to check out the rest of the house.

There was a blood trail that led into the office and there he caught a scent, of blood and the intruder. Human, but Mick couldn’t see any details. He almost jumped when Beth said, “All in black; he was dressed all in black from head to toe. He wore a black stocking mask and black gloves too. Human, not vamp. He attacked Clark here first.”

Mick nodded, agreeing with his wife. “Where’s Dorothy?”

“She’s taking a shower. I also asked her to gather clothes for Clark, but Mick, I don’t think she really realizes what’s going to happen!”

He nodded and pulled out his phone; he needed to make a call.

“Who are you calling?”

“Josef. We need a place for Clark, somewhere that has a couple of freezers.”

Beth nodded, understanding. She waited while Mick talked to Josef and when he was finished he told her it was all set.

“He’s having the guest house readied, plenty of space and freezers in it and it’s a safe distance from the main house so Lani will be safe. He’s also calling Tango to get a crew over here. I don’t know if all the blood will come out of that tile though.”

They heard Audrey return and headed back into the foyer to see her. She sat a duffle bag down next to the door and handed Logan a small zippered cold bag filled with blood which he ignored. Mick knelt down and opened it, handing Logan a bag. “Drink, Logan.”

“I’m fine,” the young man protested.

“You need your strength, so drink!” Mick said and Logan didn’t doubt for an instant that it was an order. “You are going to Josef’s, to the guest house. Audrey, you understand?”

“Yes, I do. I brought about a week’s worth of clothes with me and all the blood we had.”

“That’s good, Audrey. Thank you.”

“Mick, we need to get him cleaned up. He’s uh, well, it’s…”

Mick knew what he was trying so hard to face; that Clark’s human body had let go of life, leaving the remnants to be washed away. The reality of it was beginning to hit Logan hard; his brother had died and even though he wasn’t gone, for the first time he realized the truth of vampirism, that humanity loses what the vampire gains.

“Come on, Logan. Let’s get him into the guest bathroom.” Mick scooped Clark up in his strong arms and carried him down the hall, Logan following behind.

Beth took a long look at Audrey. This was the second time the young woman had witnessed someone being turned. How did she feel about it? Was she okay? How could she be okay?

“Audrey?” she asked softly.

“I’m okay. Really, Beth. It just makes me realize that I want Logan to turn me when we choose, not because of something like this.” Her clear and determined gray eyes were almost steel colored in the dim lights of the foyer.

Beth nodded, satisfied that Audrey really was okay and then cocked her head when she realized her mom was out of the shower. “I’m going to go and check on my mom, Audrey.”

Audrey nodded as Beth left the foyer and stared at the blood stained terracotta tiles. They were a soft cream color and the blood had seeped into them and the grout that surrounded them. She wasn’t even sure what you would use to clean them. She frowned as she stared at them, thinking that it was such a shame.

In the bedroom Dorothy had dressed in a comfortable pair of cotton pajama bottoms and a tee shirt, her belly accentuated by the way the shirt stretched over it. “Mom, let me help you,” Beth offered as Dorothy searched for things for Clark.

“I - I don’t know what he’ll need, Beth.”

Beth smiled and nodded. “Soft, loose clothing, Mom. His skin is going to be really sensitive. As a vampire his senses will be on overload for a little while.”

“Is that how it was for you?”

“Yes. Clothing, even tee shirts felt like sandpaper. Every tiny little whisper sounded like tympani too and don’t even get me started on light! Vamps see better in the dark than humans do in daylight and you just want to wear sunglasses all the time.”

“I suppose I need to pack some for him, then?”

“Yes, you do. Get him some toiletries too, but not cologne’s or things like that because he won’t be able to handle the scents of everything.”

Dorothy sat down on the bed for a moment and rested her hand on her belly and sighed. “I can’t go with him, can I?”

“No, you can’t.”

Dorothy turned to her daughter who had sat down next to her. “Beth, I want to be turned! Right now, tonight. I have to be with him, to take care of him.”

Beth’s mouth opened in a large ‘O’, as did her eyes. “M-Mom, you can’t be turned. You're pregnant! You’ll lose the babies!”

“No, no I’ll be fine! I know it. They’ll be okay.”

“Mom, even if the babies were delivered okay, you couldn’t be around them, maybe for weeks. Is that what you want?”

Dorothy stood up, her fists clinched at her side and said, “I have to protect him!”

Mick walked in, having heard the conversation as he and Logan pulled Clark out of the shower. He needed to gather something for him to wear and he was not only surprised, but actually shocked at Dorothy’s words.

“Dorothy, you can’t protect him like that. Neither one of you could protect the other for a while.”

“How long, Mick? How long until he comes home?” Her eyes skewered him, a fiery accusation that made him take a step back as she stood up to face him directly.

“I don’t know, Dorothy. A few weeks maybe; every fledgling is different.”

“I need to be with him!” She broke down then, sinking to the floor and Mick caught her and sat her back on the bed. Beth reached for her and held her tightly, patting her back and murmuring soothing words that went unheard in Dorothy’s anguish.

Dorothy sobbed, the pain coming from deep in her soul. She couldn’t lose him, he was her best friend, her lover, her mate. She’d kept him pushed away for so many years, too many years and she couldn’t stand the thought of not being with him now.

Beth stroked Dorothy’s head and smoothed her damp hair away from her face. “It’s going to be okay, Mom. It’s going to be okay.”

Mick said to Beth in vamp tones, “Do you have this, baby? I need to get something to put on Clark. We need to get him out of here before he wakes up and goes after Dorothy or Audrey.”

Beth pointed to a bag that was sitting in a chair on the other side of the room. Mick grabbed what he needed out of it and walked out quickly, his heart torn apart as he listened to Dorothy’s torment. His pained expression was shared by Logan when Mick entered the guest bedroom because he had heard it all as well.

Both men chose to ignore it, but a heartache denied is still heartache. Logan had gathered all of Clark’s soiled clothing and put it in a plastic garbage bag. Mick nodded and swallowed down a lump in his throat and said, “The Cleaners will take that with them. Are we ready?”

“Yeah. He’s still out and I hope he stays that way on the ride out to Josef’s.”

“Okay, I’m going to tell Beth we’re leaving now.” When he left the room he found Beth and Dorothy walking towards it.

“Mom insists on saying goodbye. Is it safe?” The last words were said in hushed, vamp tones.

“He’s uh, he’s basically unconscious, Dorothy.” At the sign of rising panic on her face he said, “It’s normal. He may not wake up again until tomorrow but we need to get him into a freezer, quickly.”

“I don’t care. You aren’t taking him until I say goodbye!” she said, pushing past Mick to find Clark lying on the bed in the guest room. She sank to her knees next to the bed and picked up his cool hand and kissed it tenderly, holding back more tears.

“Honey, you do what they tell you and come back to us, soon. I love you, Clark. Always. I love you,” she said, her words trailing off to mere whispers.

Suddenly his head turned and he slowly opened his eyes; they were a silvery white in the dim room and Mick took a step towards him, as did Logan. Beth caught a quick breath, suddenly scared for her mother.

“I love you, Dorie. I’ll never leave you.” As slowly as they opened his eyes closed and he was out of it again.

For a moment she was shaken; he hadn’t called her Dorie since they were teens; since before, well, everything. She gathered herself then stood up and said, “You can take him now. I packed his cell and charger so make sure he calls me as soon as he wakes up, you hear me?” Her tone brooked no refusal and both Logan and Mick nodded in agreement. Dorothy walked out of the room, back to her bedroom to gather a few things for herself since she was going with Beth to the loft.

Beth watched her go, the stiffness in her mom’s posture telling her to let her have a little time. Instead, Beth walked with Mick and Logan, who was carrying Clark out to Logan’s car. She watched as they put him into the backseat and stood unmoving as they pulled away from the house. She didn’t care that it was raining hard and soaking her because it suddenly felt like a cleansing rain, washing away the pain and healing them all she hoped.

In her bedroom Dorothy packed a small bag and then went to tidy up the things she’d tossed carelessly about when she’d undressed for her shower. She reached for the necklace and earrings she’d been wearing and started to put them into the jewelry case when a small velvet-covered box caught her attention.

Her fingers shook as she picked it up and she flipped it open. She closed her eyes tightly as the memories came unbidden into her mind. She had thought this box meant an end to them at the time; funny how wrong you can be about something.

Best of My Love



Summer, 1980

Clark and Dorothy had driven to the beach near Santa Monica, a good solid hour of travel time from Glendale in the early evening rush hour traffic. Even though the distance was only 25 miles or so, traffic really made it seem much farther. They were in the ’67 Chevelle that was Clark’s pride and joy, even if he’d turned it over to Logan for the duration of his time in the army. Logan had taken his responsibility very seriously, giving the car weekly washes and vacuuming, keeping the car in pristine condition just as Clark had left it.

The cassette player had the Eagles playing, one of Clarks favorite groups. Best of My Love came on and Dorothy almost choked as bittersweet memories of the night before he left for basic training started playing. This same tape had been playing and the song symbolized all the hurt and pain of that night. If only they hadn’t argued, if only she’d supported him more, if only…her heart was full of ‘if onlys’ and they did her no good at all.


Every night I'm lyin' in bed
Holdin' you close in my dreams
Thinkin' about all the things that we said
And comin' apart at the seams
We try to talk it over
But the words come out too rough
I know you were tryin'
to give me the best of your love

He had been home for 4 days now and tomorrow he would have to leave again to go to his AIT training with the army, having finished weeks of basic training in Ft. Leonard Wood Missouri. It had seemed like forever since he’d been gone instead of a little over two months. During that time he’d filled out, even his muscles had muscles now as his dad had teased. He walked with assurance, proudly and lightly on his feet, a mark of all the physical training he’d received.

They hadn’t really had any alone time since he’d been home and Dorothy had to admit that she was glad. No time alone meant no time for talking much, no time for him to see that she was different too and the questions that she knew would follow. But tonight that would all change; somehow she knew it down deep in the pit of her stomach.

“Right here okay?” Clark asked and at her nod he spread a blanket over the warm sand and they sat down, both of them looking out at the rolling waves of the Pacific as they swooshed ashore, 20 feet in front of them.

He stretched out on the blanket and laid back, folding his arms behind his head and staring up at the sky that was gradually fading from blue to the brilliant gold, pinks and oranges of a Pacific sunset.

“I’m missed this, the ocean,” he said with a long sigh. “I kinda missed you too, Dorie.” He grinned and patted the blanket next to him, a sparkle in his eye that spoke of his feelings for her.

She smiled and settled down next to him and for a moment, as he wrapped a strong arm around her she thought maybe everything could be okay.

Accept that it couldn’t. Her life was changed now and he’d want no part of it - or her.

“Hey, why the sad face?” Clark asked and he leaned over to gently kiss her sweet lips. The kiss deepened and he broke away after a minute or so but he was already more than aroused. That was one of the reasons he’d brought her to the beach; they could be alone to some degree but there were always other people around and that would be the best deterrent he knew of.

He was 18 and she was 16. She was too young; hell, they both were but that didn’t stop the wanting. He’d thought about her every damn day and night at basic, aching to hold her, to kiss her, to…well, they couldn’t go there. They both had a lot of growing up to do.

Dorothy relaxed against him, her small hand on his chest and she tried really hard to shut out the world and not think about the past few months. How did she tell him? What did she say? If she told him here, then they’d have to make the long drive home together. Would there be anger or silence? Which would be better she wondered.

“You're beautiful, Dorie. God, I thought of you all the time in Missouri. I couldn’t wait to get home and hold you and now that I am I know that I can’t hold you, not like I’d like to.”

“Why?” she asked, still unsure of such things.

“Because, I don’t want to stop at just holding you.” He rolled to his side and pulled her close to him, close enough for her to feel his hardness pressed against her stomach and her hips involuntarily jumped back a bit and she began to shake as emotions over came her.

“Oh, Dorothy, I didn’t mean to scare you, baby. I won’t do anything, okay? We’re not ready for that.”

From what she’d felt it seemed that he certainly was. She’d maybe never be ready for that.

“Dorie, you have to finish school; I have my time in the army to complete and then we both want to go to college. I’m not saying we’ll wait forever but for now, we each have to focus on what’s ahead of us.” He kissed her again and groaned. “Doesn’t mean it will be easy though.”

She nodded and he saw tears spark in her eyes. “I do love you, Clark.”

“I know and I love you too. Always. I’m just trying to do what’s best for us.”

“I - I know. Sometimes I don’t know what that is though.”

“Me either.” He sat up suddenly and pulled something out of his pocket before resting his arms on his bent knees. She sat up too and they watched as the sun finally dipped below the horizon, it’s rays shining out through the far-off clouds and looking like fingers reaching for the darkening sky.

He turned to her and held out a small velvet covered box. “I want to give you this, Dorie. It’s a promise between us, something we can each hold onto when we miss the other.” He handed her the box and waited as she stared at it for a moment, suddenly scared.

Her fingers trembled as she took the box and her mouth suddenly felt bone dry. She opened the box to reveal a tiny diamond promise ring and tears immediately filled her eyes and slipped down her face.

Two months ago she’d have been crying as well, but for different reasons. She loved him and knew without a doubt that she wanted to be with him forever. But it was all changed now - she was changed now and he wouldn’t want her.

This was her chance, to tell him the truth and yet she couldn’t say the words, the words that would kill his love for her. She looked at him, unable to speak and watched as he pulled the ring out of the box and slipped it on her finger, with a small kiss.

“I know it’s not much, but what it lacks in size is made up for by how much I love you girl. Always remember that, I’ll be with you forever, no matter where I am.”

She couldn’t speak, she just held him close and neither talked much on the ride home. She hated herself, hated what she needed to do to him and the fear and pain swirled inside her, rendering her speechless.


When she walked in the front door of her house her mom was sitting and watching television. Grace scanned her from head to toe, seeing the distress on her face and in her stance. She saw the ring that was on Dorothy’s finger and rose from the chair and took her daughter in her arms and held her while Dorothy sobbed against her shoulder.

“Dorothy,” she asked softly. “Did you tell him, honey?”

“No. I wanted to. I did. But I - I couldn’t get the words out, Mamma.”

“Oh honey. It will be okay. One way or the other it will be okay You're strong, Dorothy, you can handle anything.

It had taken almost 23 years but it had all been okay. She slipped the ring back into the box and snapped the lid shut. This too would be okay. She was strong, she’d be okay and so would he.

They were meant to be together forever, just like they’d promised.



To be continued…

If you didn't see the extra post I put up a few days ago, check it out.  It's by my friend VampFan5, but it's a fantasy story about Lani, Josef and her mother titled Josef's Monster in Law.  I guarantee you'll laugh!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Josef's Monster in Law






Introduction:
Month’s ago Julia and I talked about this story; she really saw the humor in it, or potential humor and I told her then that I could never do it justice, but that she could.  So, after months of me pestering her, she wrote this one shot, in her own wonderfully funny style that I could never pull off.  We have to go with our strengths and comedic writing isn’t really one of mine.

Yes, these are my characters in the story, looked at through Julia’s humorous lens and I guarantee you’ll laugh.  Are they a portent into the future of my story?  You’ll just have to guess about that one but regardless, this is a great story and I bow to you, Julia!  You made this story come to life as only you could!

This story is posted here with permission from Julia.  Please, let her know that you like it!

Thank you, my friend!!

Cyndy

Author’s Note:
This one shot is based off of an idea I had while reading a chapter in Hope’s story “Barely Breathing”.  Josef is engaged to Lani Parker in that story and there is a scene where he decides to ruin her parents financially for all the horrible things they did to her as a child.  The Parkers are not nice people, to put it mildly, and Josef wanted vengeance.  When Lani learned of his plan she warned him that ruining her father’s finances would leave them destitute and then she would have to take care of them.  I thought it would be hilarious to write a story about Josef’s soon to be mother-in-law moving in with him.  I don’t own any of Hope’s original characters; I’m just having fun with them with her permission. Thank you Cyndy for indulging me and my warped sense of humor. 

VampFan5


Barely Breathing…..Josef’s Monster-in-Law

“Franklin!!!”  Josef stood in the middle of his wine cellar amongst the empty racks scowling.  The collection of fine wines and spirits that had taken him decades to accumulate was quickly disappearing from the consumption of his new uninvited house guest.  “Franklin!!!”  He yelled once more and turned to see his long time butler and friend standing in the doorway.

“There is no need to shout, Sir,” he said softly as he quickly surmised why his employer was outraged.


Franklin….Josef’s butler and friend.

“Would you care to explain why I’m missing a few bottles?” Several of the wines were worth thousands of dollars a bottle while others held only sentimental value such as one he had saved from Mick and Beth’s impromptu wedding in Las Vegas and an even older dusty green colored glass one from his days as a pirate with Lola.

“Mrs. Parker has been making herself at home as per your instructions.”

“I didn’t say for her to drink her way through my memories.  That woman is the bane of my existence.  Lani needs to get her mother some help.  She’s a complete….a complete….”

“Lush is the word I think you’re looking for, Sir,” said Franklin nodding.  “She refuses to drink the cheap wines or even the boxed variety.”

“From now on get the cheapest stuff you can find in a box from Walmart and refill the expensive looking bottles and put a lock on this cellar.”

“Yes Sir,” said Franklin nodding as Josef brushed past him to find the culprit, his future mother-in-law.  “Oh, Sir. I almost forgot.  American Express called.  You’re over the limit and your bill is past due.”

“Over the limit?” He snatched the bill from Franklin’s hand and growled knowing Mrs. Parker must have made herself at home with his plastic as well.  “She spent $80,000 in shoes.”

“No only $10,000, Sir.  The remaining balance was a car to get her to the store,” said Franklin clearing his throat.  “She said she needed a new wardrobe and you wouldn’t mind.”

“I’m not going to stand for this.”  Josef crumpled up the bill tossing it to floor as he ran up the back stairwell to emerge in the kitchen.  He was livid thinking of what a nightmare this woman had made of his life since she came to live with them.  Lani had warned him that ruining her father financially to pay him back for treating her horribly as a child would backfire on him but he had refused to listen.  The man had beaten her mother and threatened Lani as a child.  No matter what the woman he loved and mother of his child thought, he had to make Marcus Parker accountable for his crimes.
It had served to be easier than planned once Ryder began investigating the man’s finances.  Every aspect of his business was corrupt and he was cheating his investors stealing their money left and right and hiding it in shell corporations and off shore accounts.  It only took a phone call to a vampire friendly IRS agent who owed the tribe a favor to get the ball rolling.  Marcus Parker was wanted for fraud and embezzlement in a scheme that made even Bernie Madoff look like an amateur.  Lani’s dad had fled the authorities under cover of night with a suitcase full of money leaving her mother Helen in a lurch.   She had used the Innocent Spouse clause in the internal revenue code to avoid prosecution while her husband was somewhere south of the border.  Unfortunately all of her accounts had been frozen and Josef learned the hard way that family is definitely more than just about DNA and he had an obligation to take his future mother-in-law under his roof.

He took a step towards the sink only to feel something squishy with the sole of his Italian loafers.  He looked down already knowing he had found a surprise left by his future mother-in-law’s companion, yappy obnoxious long haired Shih Tzu.


Satan’s Minion

She claimed the dog was house broken despite evidence to the contrary.  Satan’s Minion, as Josef liked to call the animal, never missed an opportunity to leave a steaming pile of poo in a prominent location for him to find.  He cringed as he removed his shoe and walked over to the sink to clean it.  As if on cue the dog ran around the corner barking loudly at him and growling.  He turned around and flashed his fangs at the animal causing the dog to cower back into the other room.
 
“Bark at me one more time you little shit and I’m going to screw a broom handle up your ass and use you for a mop,” he said wiping the smelly dog crap from his shoes.  “The things I do for love.”
He glanced out the window over the sink to look out at the empty pool area.  Normally there would be half a dozen scantily clad freshies enjoying the cool water in the heat but the surface of the water was perfectly smooth.  Lani had allowed him to keep his “assistants” as she thought it was healthy for him to drink fresh but she had drawn a hard line over them prancing around the manor in nothing but bikinis.  He had won that argument by insisting the women needed daily sun time in order to keep their vitamin D levels high resulting in the blood being more nutritious for him.  He growled seeing his future mother-in-law taking advantage of the sun instead and lying by the pool.  Fortunately for his eyes she was wearing a one piece suit to cover of her wrinkles and sipping a cocktail.  He marched out the door into the midday sun ignoring how it stung his skin as his anger distracted him.

“Mother Parker, a word with you, please?” he said plastering the fake smile he wore for Lani when her mother was around.  She didn’t need anything else stressing her during the pregnancy and he had to play nice with the revolting woman.


Helen Parker
“Josef, darling.  For the last time call me Helen.  Where’s your suit?  You should go for a swim,” she said in between sips of her fruity alcoholic drink complete with a tiny festive umbrella.

For a moment he thought her name should be spelled with 2 Ls instead of 1.  She had a red wide brimmed hat over her head to protect her skin from wrinkles.  He thought it was already too late in her case judging from the baked cracked appearance of her skin from years of sunbathing and chain smoking.  As if on cue she lifted her cigarette from the ash tray and took a long drag before releasing the smoke.

“I work for a living, Mother Parker.  Someone has to pay the bills, speaking of which my friends at American Express called…..  ” he said ignoring her request to call her by her first name.  She cut him off before he could finish his sentence.

“I know exactly what you mean, Josef,” she said patting the chaise lounge chair beside her motioning for him to sit but he kept his distance as he hated how she liked to flirt and smack or pinch his bottom when it was in reach of her long manicured nails.  “Those secretaries of yours were eating you out of house and home and sitting around all day expecting a pay check for no work.  I had to let them go.”

“Let them go?”

“I fired them this morning.  You’ll get a lot more work done with a valuable assistant and not underwear models.”

“You fired my fresh….my secretaries?”  He and Lani had agreed to keep his immortal secret to themselves as Helen Parker could not be trusted with the knowledge he was a vampire.  As far as she was concerned he was the man her daughter was in love with you had knocked her up and was now refusing to marry her.

“They weren’t pulling their weight, darling.”

“Speaking of pulling one’s weight, about this bill from American Express,” he said knowing that he would have Franklin arrange for their rehires as soon as he downsized his future mother-in-law and outsourced her to China or the Tar Pits.  What good was it to have all the money in the world if he couldn’t buy Lani better parents?

“Josef, would you be a darling and refill my glass with a little vodka and cranberry juice?” she said handing him the glass as she sat back and opened her latest addition of Cosmopolitan.

“Mother Parker, I think that perhaps you need more things to fill your day,” he said trying to broach the subject delicately.  He set the empty glass by her ash tray and removed the magazine from her hands.

“Nonsense, I’m far too busy to take on any other projects.”

“I meant perhaps you might want to look for a job.  A woman of your skills should have no problem finding a minimum wage job with no benefit and long hours.”  It would at least get her out of the house for 40 hours out of each week and out of his hair.

“My life is dedicated to my daughter now, Josef.  I don’t have time to work outside the home.  I missed out on so many aspects of Lani’s life growing up and I want to make it up to her now along with my new grandchild.  I’m working from home.”

“There’s no such thing as a stay-at-home grandmother.”

“Don’t use that word.  Lani and I have agreed that the child will think of me as her mother’s slightly older sister.  I’m far too young and beautiful to be called a grandmother.”  She picked up her electronic fan and held it to her face to cool off in the heat.  Josef gritted his teeth fighting to keep his composure and let out a deep breath as he saw Lani approaching from the main drive.  She had two large bags in her hands from baby shopping and he worried she was overexerting herself.  Helen saw the scene as well as her daughter made her way up the pathway from the lower driveway but didn’t make a move to assist her.  Josef ran away from the intolerable woman at vamp speed to intercept his lovely fiancĂ© and help her with the bags.

“Hello Lani Sweetness,” he said snatching the bags from her arms not liking the flushed and exhausted expression on her face.  Lani smiled at him and then frowned seeing how stressed he appeared even though he was doing his best to hide it from her.

“What did she do now?” she said knowing her mother was causing Josef more than just a little distress.  He hid most of it from her and she loved him for that.

“Let’s just say she’s doing her part to pull the retail sector of the economy out of the recession.”
“It’s been a hard adjustment for my mother to not be able to shop all the time.”

“Yes, she’s a broken woman,” said Josef sarcastically as he glanced in the direction of the pool to see his deadbeat mother-in-law slathering more tanning lotion on her leathery brown skin. 

“I’m sorry about this.”

“She’s your mother, sweetness.  When we’re married she’ll be my family too,” unfortunately he thought as he carried the bags towards the pool with Lani by his side.  They walked up to where Helen was sunning herself and she looked up to see her very pregnant daughter appearing exhausted.

“Come here pumpkin and sit next to mommy.  I want to hear all about your day,” said Helen attempting to be the mother she had failed to be when her daughter was little.  Lani acquiesced and sat beside her on the spare chaise lounge.

“I’ll put these in our closet,” said Josef looking for a way to escape but Hell-en wasn’t about to let him leave just yet.  She exhaled a long stream of smoke in his direction, fortunately missing Lani and their unborn child’s lungs.

“When are you going to make an honest woman of my daughter?  First you get her pregnant and now you refuse to do the right thing.  What will the society columns say?  I can’t have my daughter walking down the aisle in a circus tent for a dress.”

“Mother, please don’t start,” said Lani placing her hand on her mother’s well-tanned forearm.

“I’ll take it under advisement Mother Parker,” said Josef taking the moment to leave before she decided to continue the conversation.  He was not the one stalling the marriage.  If he had his way he and Lani would have been married months ago but she was the one dragging her feet.  As he turned to leave Helen reached out and smacked him hard on the bottom causing him to blush and growl.  He exited the pool area as quick as possible leaving the two women to chat.

“I swear, Lani.  If I was 10 years younger I’d give you a run for your money with him,” said Helen licking her lips as she watched Josef disappear into the main house.  “He’s got a tight little ass that I just want to sink my teeth into.”

“Mother!!!! You’re talking about the father of my baby.”

“Yes the one that refuses to marry a woman he’s knocked up,” said Helen adding more information.  “I hope you have DNA evidence confirming the paternity.  If he doesn’t marry you then we can sue him for every last penny.”

“Mother, please.”

“What?” she said looking offended as she held out her palms. “I’m just looking after my only daughter’s interests.” She exhaled a thick cloud of smoke in her daughter’s direction causing Lani to cough.

“You could have looked out for me years ago,” said Lani angrily as she stood up to follow the wonderful man she loved and to leave her mother to think about her past mistakes.

Later in the evening at dinnertime Josef wrinkled his nose in disgust from the smell emanating from the kitchen.  Whatever Franklin was cooking up for Lani he hoped it tasted better than it smelled.  He walked into the dining room to see Lani sitting down in front of an empty plate frowning.

“Hello sweetness,” he said walking around to where she sat and kissing her lightly on the forehead.  He could hear the reassuring strong heartbeat of his unborn child cradled in her womb and his own heart skipped a beat.  It was a miracle they had been blessed with a new life and if he had to endure the devil incarnate of a mother-in-law in order to make Lani happy, then so be it.  After all it was only money that she had spent and if it wasn’t for the high annoyance factor perhaps he and Hell-en could be friends.  He dismissed the thought as he inhaled a pungent burnt fish aroma coming from the kitchen.

“What the hell is Franklin cooking?”

“Nothing,” said Helen entering the room wearing a full length frilly edged apron with matching potholders on her hands as she carried a white rectangular casserole dish into the dining room and set it down in the middle of the table.  “I had to let him go, Josef.”

“You fired Franklin?” he said losing his cool again.

“He was stealing from you,” said Helen lowering her voice.  “I found him refilling the wine bottles with boxed wine.  If I were you I’d check and make sure he hasn’t sold all the good silver and replaced it with stainless steel.  It’s so hard to find good help these days, especially illegal aliens like him.  You just can’t trust foreigners.”

“Franklin, is not an illegal alien and I don’t even own silver utensils, Helen.”

“Well, of course not with employees stealing from you left and right,” said Helen as she opened a box of Ritz crackers and crushed a few with her fingers spreading a layer of crumbled bits over the disgusting concoction of tuna, celery, cheddar cheese, cream of mushroom soup, and crackers.  “Here, sweetheart, I made your favorite.”  She scooped out a healthy portion of the casserole and plopped it on Lani’s plate and then another scoop for a plate for Josef.



“Mother, I don’t eat tuna casserole,” said Lani turning up her nose and feeling her stomach lurch from the smell.

“I thought you loved my tuna casserole,” said Helen looking as if her feelings were hurt as she sat down beside her on the verge of tears.  “I made it for you every time we came home from Aspen.”

“Mother, I was raised on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches because you were never around to cook for me.”  Her words caused her mother to cry making Lani feel guilty.  It upset Josef to see how the woman was manipulating her with fake crocodile tears.

“I’m so sorry, Lani,” she said bawling and blowing her nose on the expensive pressed monogramed linen napkins.  “I just want to be the perfect mother for you.  I would do anything to get those years back.  I should have been there and paid you more attention instead of traveling the world with your father.  Now he’s left me poor and destitute.  If it wasn’t for you sweetheart I’d be living on the street pushing a shopping cart.”

Josef tapped his fingers on the table impatiently as he sat in front of his untouched portion of tuna surprise.  This woman had to go, he thought.  He could easily hire an actress to play Lani’s mother.  He always liked that woman on Everybody Loves Raymond.  Maybe she was looking for a new role.

“Mother, no one is going to let you be homeless,” said Lani trying to console her.  “I appreciate the efforts you’ve made.”

“Thank you sweetheart,” she said between sniffles.  “Why don’t you try my tuna casserole?  I want to cook for you from now on like a real mother.”

“My stomach is really queasy right now,” she said reaching for the box of crackers.

“Josef, what do you think of my casserole?” said Helen turning her attention in his direction as she wiped the tears from her eyes.

“It smells divine,” he said lying.

“Just have a taste.  It would make me feel better to know that I can provide my family with a wholesome meal,” said Helen narrowing her eyes at him.  He recognized the gesture as the proverbial throwing down of the gauntlet.  Lani looked at him in panic pleading for him to do something and so he accepted her challenge, picking up his fork and sticking it in the middle of the gooey slimey mixture.  Lani watched in horror knowing the outcome of him eating solid food would not be pleasant.  Josef was thankful he didn’t have taste buds any longer as the consistency of the food told him it probably tasted worse than it smelled.  Even the sushi Lani ate that he referred to as bait was more appetizing.
 
“What do you think?”

“It’s heavenly, Hell-en,” he said eating the entire plate to prove a point.  Helen seemed satisfied and smiled as she cleared the table.

Later in the evening as they were preparing for bed he spent some quality time hugging the toilet bowl to evacuate the poison tuna surprise.
 
“She’s trying to kill me,” he said moaning as he flushed the toilet.

“You didn’t have to eat the entire plate,” said Lani as she wiped the makeup off her face standing in front of the bathroom mirror.  She worried he was feeling ill from how pale he appeared, more so than normal.

“Yes I did,” he said standing up and reaching for his toothbrush.  He spread a liberal portion of the green gel onto this bristles and began to brush away the remnants of the slimey dish.  “Your mother threw down the gauntlet and I had to pick it up.  It was a matter of principle.”

“I’m sorry she’s causing you so much grief,” said Lani placing a hand on his arm with her eyes filled with love.

“It’s karma, sweetness.  You warned me not to ruin your father financially and now I have to pay for it,” he said spitting out the last of the toothpaste and rinsing his mouth.  “First thing tomorrow morning I’m going to have Ryder track down your father and have him brought back for trial.  The IRS will unfreeze what’s left of your mother’s accounts and I can set her up in a tiny apartment many, many, many miles from here with a monthly stipend.”

“I love you so much,” she said leaning up to kiss him.  He pulled her closer wrapping his arms around her waist feeling his need growing for her with his fangs descending seeking purchase.  Lani sighed and melted into his arms as he lifted her and carried her towards their king sized bed.  He laid her down gently and then lay beside her to not put weight on her very swollen pregnant belly.  Lani moaned with pleasure as he reached up inside her nightgown to caress her full breasts from the pregnancy hormones.

“Oh yes,” she said in pleasure and he placed his lips over hers hearing another moan or grunt coming from the other side of the bed.  He removed his hand and flipped on the lamp on the nightstand to see Helen lying on the other side of the bed, under the covers with an eye mask over her face.  She moaned again and stirred.

“What the hell?” said Josef leaping out of the bed staring at his future mother-in-law obviously drunk and trying to sleep it off.  She pulled off the mask and looked confused.

“Oh I’m sorry, Josef.  I thought this was my room.  There are so many in this house.”

“Out,” he screamed losing his patience.

“It was an honest mistake,” said Helen slurring her words obviously intoxicated off the cheap box wine that Franklin had refilled the bottles with.  She yawned and then pulled the covers up snugly around her chin.

“Get out of my bed, get out of my house, and get out of my life.”

“Josef?” said Lani mortified with how he was acting.

“There’s such a thing called boundaries, woman,” he said grasping Helen by her nightgown and sinking his fangs into her throat.  It felt good to drain the woman of her life force even if her blood tasted of nicotine and cheap Walmart wine.  It was a mercy killing to take her out of her misery.

“Josef no,” screamed Lani in tears.

The sounds of her screams woke him out of his dream.  He sat up hitting his head on the lid of the freezer and falling back holding his forehead.  Why the hell did he always hit his head on the freezer when he had a daymare, he thought.  He pushed the lid open and immediately reached for his phone dialing Ryder.  He had to stop his plan of ruining Marcus Parker financially.

“Ryder, forget Operation Daddy Warbucks,” he said quickly as his assistant answered the phone sounding groggy himself from being woken up before twilight.  “Just send both of them to The Tarpits.  Lani will thank me later.”

The End

 _________________
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Travis and the Tar Pit Tails.....a story by VampFan5

Friday, October 12, 2012

 Trevor Munson, Mick's Daddy, as we call him and the creator of Moonlight has a pretty awesome interview and I thought I'd share the link with you.  Trevor is a great guy!

http://www.examiner.com/article/interview-vampire-tv-show-producer-author-trevor-munson-part-2-of-4



Welcome to Where Evil Lurks, the 4th story that continues my Moonlight saga. This story takes us to the past at times as we peek in when Dorothy and Logan were 14 and Clark was 16. As we view the past we’ll see how secrets can paralyze us with their perceived power, even when they don’t have to.

Who is Beth’s biological father? Is he connected to Lani in anyway? The answers unfold in this story as we look into the mind of a deranged guy who thinks he has to avenge an old debt.

What were Dorothy, Logan and Clark like back then? We’ll see their world through their eyes told with all the signs of the time, including the music that moved the world back then. (My time!)

I hope you’ll enjoy this story because this one digs deep but proves that no matter what, family isn’t only about DNA or blood and that all around us people love and care for us. All our faves will be there too: Mick and Beth as they continue to learn about her abilities, Josef and Lani as she struggles with whether or not to marry him and they both acclimate to her pregnancy. Carl and Cami as he finishes his training and gets ready for his turning, Ben and Mick’s relationship as they at last form a strong bond.

Will Mick tell Maeve? Who is the mysterious woman who will start working for Dorothy and Clark? Who catches Luka’s eye? Audrey and Logan having a baby??? You just never know! How will Henry fit into the family?

Hope to see you all there on October 22!

Cyndy

Cast of Characters

The Early Years -

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Dorothy and Clark in 1980

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Logan at 14

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Martin, our man of mystery!


Current Time
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Mick and Beth St. John, the couple who started the legend.



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Josef and Lani, together at last? Time will tell!



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Dorothy and Clark, Beth’s mother and step father. Clark has just been turned.



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Carl and Cami, human and vampire. Can they get past difficult, dangerous and complicated?



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Logan and Audrey, vampire and human. Fated to be together. The proud parents of Plato and Travis.



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Tango, vampire. Long time friend of Josef and brought to LA to lead the Cleaners.



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Heroku, one thousand year old vampire. Heroku has many secrets and some of them may help to save Beth.



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The Evan’s family, Kevin, Robbi, Brianna and Brian, human. Beth, Lani and Robbi grew up together and are best friends, at least until the secret of Beth’s turning has torn the relationship apart.



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Ben, human. Mick’s grandson. Can they build a relationship based on friendship?



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Margie, Mick’s love before Coraline entered his life.



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Catherine, Ben’s mother and Mick’s daughter. Cat has decided she actually likes Mick, a fact that is a sore point with her son.



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Max and Mark, human and friends of Beth’s from her days at the LA Free Press. Mark is a doctor.



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Paula and Rodney, Max’s parents. Paula met Mick years ago, at a party that Coraline had. She was supposed to be dinner but Mick ran her off.


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Miguel, human. He leads the Legion who work with the vampires in the VALA (Vampire and Legion Alliance) to keep peace among the vamps and humans.



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Luka, human. Carl’s partner and recently learned of the existence of vampires.

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Henry, a pastor at a homeless shelter. Met Beth when they were held hostage by Shatel.

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Franklin, 300 year old vampire who is Josef's faithful friend. Or is that servant? Neither one knows or cares. He is very fond of Lani and Beth.

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Rose, one of the Children of the Moon and Beth and Lani's ancestor. She is also a doctor at a local women's shelter and clinic.

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Brody, one of the CotM like Rose. He will train Beth on the physical aspect of vampirism she needs to know.


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Elka, vampire and a member of the Lakota Sioux nation. She has known Josef since the California gold rush.



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Colleen, vampire. A former cleaner she is now finishing school to become a doctor.



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Maeve, Mick’s sister.



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Thor, human. Josef’s assistant at Kostan Industries. He knows a few secrets of his own.



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Tim and Mary, vampires and friends of Mick’s in Seattle. Members of the Cheyenne nation, they were turned in the 1860’s.

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Matthew, known in the past as Malcolm, vampire and leader of the Equalizers.

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Vixen Duvall, cousin of Coraline and partner to Dakota who is Malcolm's boss.

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Dakota, Head of the Equalizers and currently not happy with Malcolm!



And of course!

Our furry kids,

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Monday, October 8, 2012

Chapter 55 Crash

Mick watched Logan as he scrolled down the computer screen and finally asked, “What are you reading, Logan?”

If he could have blushed Logan was sure he would have. “Its, uh, Football for Dummies dot com.”

Mick resisted the urge to laugh out loud and looked at the screen that told what each position did along with what different plays could be made, penalties and such. At least Logan was trying.

“Can’t be much fun learning about it like this, Logan. C’mon, I’ll talk you through it. The pre-game show starts soon so let’s turn the television on.”

“Pre game? What is that?” He scanned the page quickly looking for information on pre game. There wasn’t any.

“Its, um, the announcers talk about the teams that are playing and give player stats and stuff. It’s very helpful.”

Logan raised a dubious eyebrow, clearly skeptical about just how helpful it was going to be. Reading the information on the website made it all, well, clear as mud, as the saying goes. He didn’t think any pre game show could help.

“Okay, let’s do it,” Logan said, resignation shading his voice. He followed Mick into the family room hoping that the afternoon wouldn’t be too bad. He took a seat on the couch and picked up the remote and asked, “What channel?”

Mick gave him the channel number and settled onto the couch, too, anxious for the game to start. This was a new experience for him, sharing his love of football with Logan, and he hoped that he’d enjoy it.

“At my place I have the season pass on satellite, that’s over 300 football games to watch.”

“Do you do anything but watch football, for god’s sake?” Logan couldn’t believe that anyone would want to watch that many games, even Mick.

Mick laughed and admitted, “Well, no I don’t watch them all, but at least I always have a choice as to which game I want to watch. Very important once you pick out your favorite teams, Logan!"

"Um, yeah,” Logan said, rolling his eyes.

Mick spotted the expression on Logan's face and grimaced. It was likely going to be a long afternoon. But then, Clark had warned him that it would be.



OOOOOOOOOOOOO



Dorothy was enjoying the shower immensely; some of her friends were here from when she was still teaching. It was fun catching up with everyone and even their teasing about her pregnancy was okay.

“Yeah, well if I were married to that hunk of a man I’d be happy to be pregnant too!” Teresa said to her.

“Hey, Teresa, Rudy ain’t too bad in the looks department either,” Marilyn laughed. “Still, twins? Wow, Dorothy, you’re gonna be busy! How are you feeling?”

“Good actually. It’s been an easy pregnancy for the most part. I’m anxious for it to be over with though.” She rested her hand on her belly for a moment and felt one of the babies kick against it. “Yes, I’m ready! But they're apparently not!”

“You know if you need any help, you just give me a call. I’m more than happy to help you, Dorothy,” Marilyn said, and Teresa chimed in with her own promise of help.

“You two should be careful what you offer because I might take you up on it!”

Beth walked up to the group and smiled, happy to see that some of her mom’s friends were here.

“Look at you, Beth!” Teresa declared. “All grown up and a married lady! I remember you when you were in my second grade class. Smart as a whip and the best reader I’ve ever had!”

“Yes, well I had her in third grade and had to correct all those bad habits you taught her!” Marilyn laughed, since they always teased one another.

It was always fun when these ladies were around. Dorothy taught fifth grade before she retired and married Clark and since she taught at the same school where Beth, Lani and Robbi attended, she always had a watchful eye on them.

Lani walked up to the group and Marilyn crossed herself, and said, “My goodness, Lanelle Parker, are you still chasing boys and causing trouble?” She said it with a grin and it was only a mild accusation because they all had adored Lani. She was always a little minx but she was so cute and endearing that it had been hard to reprimand her.

“Of course, but actually, I’ve found my prince and he’s perfect!” she laughed and held her hand out so they could see the ring.

“And rich too,” Teresa laughed. “Aw, honey, I’m happy for you!”

“Thank you! I’m very happy.” She didn’t mention that she was pregnant too because they were likely to add their thoughts about her refusal to marry Josef yet and she didn’t think she could handle even one more person today expressing their thoughts about it.

Teresa and Marilyn wandered over to the gifts table to admire all the gifts that were being contributed to the women’s shelter. Lani and Beth stood with Dorothy, chatting when Rose walked up, smiling at the group of women.

“I’d say the party is quite a success,” Rose said as she looked around at all the people gathered.

“Yes, I’d have to agree. You girls did such a good job,” she said to Beth and Lani. “I couldn’t have asked for a better day.”

“Well, it’s not every day that a girl gets to throw her mother a baby shower,” Beth laughed. She and Lani looked up when Robbi called to them from the kitchen.

“Oops! Looks like she needs some help,” Lani said. The girls headed off to the kitchen to see what Robbi needed.

Dorothy smiled at Rose, suddenly nervous. She took a sip of her punch and searched for something safe to say. “I am glad that the shelter will be able to benefit from this.”

“You have no idea how much, Dorothy. We constantly need infant clothes and diapers, that type of thing there. New people come in almost every day needing help. It’s so amazing that you chose to help us.”

“Well, it’s good for everyone then. When the girls first asked me about a shower I didn’t need one because Clark and I had already gotten everything we needed. So this seemed like a great choice.”

“I can’t thank you enough for your generosity, Dorothy. How are you feeling?”

“Good. Not sleeping worth a darn, but in a few weeks that issue will be resolved because I won’t be able to sleep at all!”

“True enough. Two babies is a lot to handle but you’re obviously a great mom, judging by how well Beth turned out.”

“Thank you, Rose. My parents helped a lot. Clark and I have decided that we’re going to hire someone part time to help with the babies. Neither one of us is 20 anymore and if we’re up all night with them we’re going to need help during the day.”

“Have you found anyone yet?”

“No, we haven’t even started looking, not sure where to start, really. An agency I guess.”

“I know someone you might like to meet. She works at the shelter and clinic, so she’s been checked out thoroughly. She’s human, but knows about, well, like me.” Rose said, the last words little more than a whisper.

“I’d love to talk to her, Rose. Can you give me her number so that I could call her?”

“Yes, I can. I’ll have to call you with it because I don’t know it. Hey, why don’t I introduce you when you come in for those blood tests you promised me? Say, this week?”

Dorothy’s eyes shifted downward, unable to meet Rose’s. Her heart beat sped up too and a tell-tale flush swept up her face.

“I - I’m not sure I can make it this week, Rose. I’ve got a lot going on.”

“Ah, well, I’m sure that’s true. Still, it won’t take but a few minutes to draw your blood and then you can meet Jackie. Since Lani is pregnant and also a descendant, I’m anxious to know where or how she’s connected to your family. Pretty interesting, wouldn’t you say?”

“Yes, it is. Unexpected…” Dorothy managed to choke out.

Human’s make very bad liars! What was she hiding?

“Do you think it could be through your family or Beth’s father’s?”

“I really don’t know. I doubt it’s from my family. My father grew up in Beaufort, North Carolina, where my ancestors settled centuries ago. My mom grew up in Oregon. They met in San Francisco when my dad was in the navy and eventually settled here after he left the service.”

“Hm, what about Beth’s dad?”

“I don’t know anything about him!” Dorothy declared, her voice rising as she became agitated.

“Okay, I’m sorry to have upset you, Dorothy.”

“I’m not upset, I’m fine. I think I need to use the restroom, excuse me please?” She didn’t wait for an answer and headed directly to the bathroom and shut the door behind her firmly.

She looked in the mirror and realized she looked terrible. Her cheeks sported a bright red flush but her lips were very pale. She sat down on the edge of the tub for a moment and tried to collect herself.

What on earth was she going to do now?”



OOOOOOOOOOOO



So, the ladies were away, leaving the mouse to play, except this mouse wasn’t doing anything. How boring! But that was okay, the mouse was going to be dead, very dead, very soon.

He pulled the knife out of the sheaf and looked at it as is glinted brightly, even in the cloudy afternoon. It was sharp, very sharp but mores the pity because it wouldn’t hurt as much.

Nobody takes what is mine!




OOOOOOOOOOOO



Mick ran his hand over his face, trying to think of another way to explain what downs were in football.

“Okay, think of it this way, Logan. The downs keep the game moving. If they just let the offense have the ball and just kept running plays it would all be really boring. This way, they have 4 downs to move the ball 10 yards.”

“Well, they might actually be able to do that if everybody didn’t keep jumping on each other! What kind of weird game is this? That has to hurt!”

They were only into the second quarter and already Mick wanted to pull his hair out. Suddenly he had a thought and stood up. “Hey, let’s get on the computer for a little bit.”

Logan gave him an ‘are you nuts’ look and then suddenly looked grateful. Anything to get away from this boring game. “Okay, what do you have in mind?”

“Just wait,” Mick said with a grin. A quick Google search turned up what he was looking for and a couple of clicks later he laughed and said, “Here you go, Logan. This, you’ll understand!”

Logan looked at the screen and smiled. An online football game. “Now you’re talking, Mick! How do I do this?”

Both of them got immersed in the game, the second half of the game on television forgotten. By the end of the afternoon Logan understood the basic plays as well as strategy.

Mick leaned back in the chair, his arms behind his head and a Cheshire cat grin on his face. He’d done it and Clark owed him 20 bucks; they’d bet on whether or not Mick could teach him. Ha! Piece of cake!



OOOOOOOOOOOO



The party was winding down and Beth, Lani and Robbi loaded all the gifts into Robbi’s minivan and Lani stood looking at it with a small frown when they were done.

“What’s the matter, Lani?” Robbi asked, puzzled by the strange look on her friends face.

“I was just thinking about the Maserati, no place for a car seat in it. Oh god, everything is going to change!”

Beth covered her mouth with a hand to try and hold back a laugh but Robbi couldn’t stop the giggles that escaped her and didn’t even try.

“Yep, that’s going to be a problem.” Robbi grinned at the exasperated look that Lani gave her.

“Yeah, it’s funny, I know. Ha ha…”

“Come on,” Beth said, wrapping her arm around Lani’s shoulder. “Plenty of time to figure that one out.”

“I’m not a minivan kind of person though. You don’t understand!” she said, almost crying.

“Plenty of other kinds of vehicles that work for families! How about a nice, sleek Lexus SUV? Sexy…” Robbi said, another laugh escaping.

Lani started laughing at that point too. “Maybe…”

They were still laughing when they went inside the house where Dorothy was saying goodbye to her friends. The day had been a success and as they gathered up their coats and purses, the group was happy, but tired.

Lani was staying behind to help Robbi with the clean up and hugged them all goodbye. “Thank you, Lani,” Dorothy said as she held her tightly.

“Dorothy! Don’t forget Clark’s cake,” Robbi said, bringing her a container with a piece of the cake in it.

“Thank you! Goodness, he would have sent me back for it.”

Beth, Audrey and Dorothy got into the Prius and got settled. It was dusk out and the temperature had dropped a bit more. Beth cranked the heater up for the two shivering humans in the car and frowned as it started raining again. The usual 45 minute ride was going to be a lot longer, she’d bet.

Beth turned the radio on and they listened to some music on the way home, chatting occasionally. Beth could see that her mom was tired but there was something else wrong as well. She could scent it on her but she didn’t know what the problem was. She’d talk about it when she was ready, Beth guessed, and hoped it wasn’t anything serious.



OOOOOOOOOOOOO



He was alone and had foolishly left the door unlocked. Simple for someone to walk in and that’s exactly what happened. Clark never heard the silent footsteps behind him but he felt the stab of the knife, right in the middle of his back. Air whooshed out of a lung as the knife was roughly yanked out.

He rose from the chair and tried to push away from his attacker, stepping out of the way just as the knife was swung again, clipping him across his shoulder. The pain was excruciating but Clark ignored it in his haste to get away. He didn’t know who his attacker was because he was covered head to toe in black, which included a stocking mask. Nothing but blue eyes were visible, cold steely eyes, that seemed to be smiling at Clark.

“She’s mine!” the attacker said in a voice that Clark didn’t recognize.

He tried to run and made it into the foyer before the knife found him again. Once, twice, Clark lost track of the swipes of the deadly blade and he fell to his knees, then to the floor.

Again and again the knife plunged into his body and finally the attacker stopped, breathing heavily as if he was spent. He surveyed the damage he had wrought on the man on the floor, bleeding his life away. The pool of blood pooled around Clark’s body which was straining to breathe since one of his lungs had been punctured.

Satisfied, the attacker could only stare at the red blood that covered the cream colored tiles in the foyer. He wanted to stay for the last breath, which would happen quickly, but he heard a car coming down the street and ran for the door.

He’d made his escape, he realized when he crawled into his car and pulled the mask off. Clark Griffin would die, the damage was too extensive. Yes, he’d die.

Clark lie unblinking on the floor of the foyer, in the house that they’d designed together and he’d built for her. She and the babies would have a place to live that he’d built with love.

A tear slipped out of his eye and he tried to draw in another breath. Just hang on Clark, he told himself. Just hang on.

Five minutes later the Prius pulled into the driveway and Beth turned the engine off and hopped out. Suddenly she caught the scent of blood and almost panicked. She saw Dorothy getting out of the car and said, “Mom! Stay here!” as she ran for the door, which she could see was open partway.

Dorothy saw the panic on Beth’s face and had no intention of staying put. Audrey got out as well and together they walked to the door, which Beth had entered.

Beth was on her knees, kneeling by Clark trying to find a pulse but she couldn’t. She yelled at him, “Come on Dad! Don’t you die! Hang in there!”

His heart beat once or twice and then was quiet again. Dorothy saw him and fell to the floor and pulled him to her. Audrey pulled her phone out and called Logan. They were two blocks away, get here, she told them urgently.

“Beth, turn him! He wants to be turned!” Dorothy screamed, tears streaking down her face.

“I - I don’t exactly know how,” Beth said, “I don’t. I have to think!” Everything Mick had told her flew out of her brain in the panic of the moment. Meanwhile, Dorothy held him, rocking his body and telling him to hold on.

Mick and Logan arrived then and both of them knelt down next to Clark.

“Turn him,” Dorothy said again. “Please, you know how, just do it!”

Mick looked at her and then at Logan. “I don’t know if it’s too late, Dorothy. Logan, do you hear a heartbeat?”

They all listened for a moment but all either could hear was Dorothy and Audrey’s.

“I don’t care, I’m trying!” Logan said, ripping open his wrist. “He’s lost plenty of blood, I just need to give him mine, right? Right, Mick?”

Mick nodded, but his heart told him that it was too late. He watched as Logan started squeezing his blood into his brother’s mouth, hoping he could swallow some of it. It wouldn’t take much, just a swallow or two.

“Come on, Clark. Drink the blood,” Dorothy said, stroking his face with chilled hands. “Drink it, honey. Drink it for me and the babies!” she cried.

Mick thought he saw Clark swallow, he prayed he did. It was a waiting game to be sure. Were they in time?

Only time would tell.



To be continued in Where Evil Lurks



The next story will begin on October 22. Hope to see you all there as we find out what happens next! I’ll have information up about the story and cast pictures in a few days. As soon as you see the fantastic banner that MLL60 made I think many of your questions will be answered!

I’d like to thank a few people for all their help as I write these stories. VampFan5 for listening tirelessly and always sharing her opinions about the story. Moonlightlover60 for her beautiful banners and cast pictures that help to bring these stories to life and also to LadyLaLa, who is my faithful friend and beta. Love those red marks, La, because you keep me straight!

Lastly, I want to thank each and every one of you for taking the time to read and share your thoughts and comments about the story. You make it all worthwhile with your encouraging comments and readership. You are a fantastic group, a family that shares the Moonlight with me and for that I am very grateful!



Cyndy