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, August 26, 2013

Chapter 22 Don't Fear the Reaper

**So sorry for the lateness everyone. I can honestly say moving and all it entails is truly a, well, a rotten thing. Then, last week I came down with strep. It's time for this summer to end and give me a break!**

Chapter 22 Don’t Fear the Reaper

“Miss Lani and Josef will be downstairs momentarily.” Franklin hoped, but, it was apparent that there was more than scrubbing going on in the shower by the sounds which could be heard by any vampire’s ears. Beth looked down demurely, trying to hide the smile on her face but failing dismally.

“Yes, well…” Mick said, grinning himself. What else could you expect in a house full of vampires?

“Cook is making breakfast for Miss Lani; perhaps you’d care for something yourselves? I’ll serve it in the dining room if you would like,” Franklin asked.

“That would be nice, Franklin. Is the terrace still free of sun? That would be lovely because it’s cool, but hopefully not too cool for Lani.”

Franklin was pleased with this genuinely caring young woman, always worrying about Miss Lani’s well-being. “I believe that would be a pleasant place for breakfast. What would you both like?”

“I’d love a glass of A negative, if you have some,” Mick said, his voice low and his words almost clipped, a sure sign of his irritation.

“Certainly, Mick. And you, Miss Beth?”

Mick didn’t speak other than that, another sign that he was still upset about the drive last night that took them to his sister. Well, he was damn well going to have to get over it because enough of this hiding away was enough, Beth thought.

“I’ll have whatever Cook is preparing for Lani.” She smiled at Franklin, engaging him with all her charm and for a moment she could see he grew a bit flustered.

“Miss Beth, you might want something different…” he started, but she laughed.

“No, seriously, whatever it is will be fine, Franklin. Thank you!”

Franklin walked to the kitchen and Beth was positive he was either muttering or chuckling, she couldn’t tell which.

Hm, I wonder what’s going on. What on earth did Lani ask for? Most likely something with peanut butter, which was fine with Beth she decided.

Outside, Mick and Beth sat in the cool shade of the terrace. It might be too chilly for Lani but they’d wait and see.

Beth looked at Mick who was staring stonily out across the grounds, in the direction of the guest house. “You ready to talk?”

He looked at her and for a moment she saw his expression flash with regret and maybe even a bit of fear. He finally sighed; he knew it wasn’t Beth’s fault what happened, but he also didn’t know if he was ready to face it all either.

“You have to, Mick; you can’t keep hiding from it. And, you have to talk to her before the wedding. What’s going to happen when she sees you standing up there with Josef? That would be a horrible shock for her. We just need to go and talk to her; I’ll sort of ease her into it.”

His eyes flashed brightly for a moment, but instead of anger they were filled with pain. She knew him so well, could always read his mind. He rubbed the bridge of his nose, something he always did when he was worried and then took an unnecessary breath. “How the hell do you ease into that, Beth?” he asked his voice raising as he fought the anxiety he was feeling.

“We just…do it, Mick.”

“How the hell is she going to take this? ‘Oh hi, Mick. Gee we thought you died years ago. Welcome back?’” He scowled for a moment, playing out a worst-case scenario in his head.

“Did you consider that she might actually do just that? That she loves you and will be glad you’re okay?”

“Beth,” he said, his voice rough with emotion, “You just don’t understand!”

“I don’t? How about when I had to tell Robbi? That was hard as hell, but you stood by me and we got through it. Yes, it might be a shock for her but you know what, Mick? I spoke with her last night and let me inform you, she’s a lively and smart lady and I’m telling you she’d be happy to know you are alive.”

“Alive?” Mick asked, one eyebrow quirked upward.

“You betcha, boyo! Alive in the very best way, with awesome women with us forever. You complaining about that? Stop being Donnie Doom! Geez, Beth, how do you stand him?”

A smile twisted one corner of Mick’s mouth upward and he finally laughed. “Yeah, I know. Sorry. Lani, you are looking radiant this morning!” he said trying to ease into a new subject.

Lani blushed an amazing rose pink and looked at Josef and whispered, “They KNOW, Josef!”

Beth stood up and hugged Lani. “I know it’s hard to get used to, Lani but we sort of tune it all out, like a filter system. You’ll understand once you’re turned, I promise. It’s okay, sweetie.”

She sat down when Josef held the chair out for her and tried to regain her composure, spreading the napkin delicately over her lap. A panicked look spread over her face as she rested her hand on her belly. “Oh my god, something is wrong!”

All three vampires’ ears searched for signs of distress from the baby, but all they heard was a normal heartbeat. Perplexed, they all looked at Lani in question.

“Lani, we don’t hear anything wrong; I mean the heartbeat is steady and strong, Sweetness,” Josef said gently. All three nodded in agreement.

“NO, I felt a pain; I’m going to lose this baby! Help me, please and call Rose!”

Beth was already doing just that and spoke quietly into the phone, her voice so low that Lani couldn’t hear it properly.

“Tell me what she says,” Lani demanded, tears streaking her face.

“She says to just be calm and she’ll be here in a few minutes. Just try to remain calm, that’s her best advice till we know what is going on.” Beth said.

Wait, they had to wait? How could she? She could be losing her baby. The miracle baby that she and Josef created.

Wait. Just wait.


Martin’s visit to Turk went even better than he expected. Not only did he have a whole new identity and all the backup documents to go with it including credit cards, he scored even better on the jewelry.

Who the hell knew that his brother had such expensive taste in jewelry, especially the highest quality stuff to be found? He’d thought that he might get around 150 K for it all and instead it was actually worth well over a half a million. Turk knew some guy in Europe who collected that kind of high-class stuff and was willing to pay for it. Nice, Martin thought.

So between the cash Marcus had on hand and the jewelry Martin had nearly a million dollars at his disposal. He and Dorothy would be set for life in some small South American country that didn’t have US extradition.

The good life, with Dorothy by his side. He was ready for it.

He knew he’d been a fuck up most of his life. His father had hated him, so had Marcus. Good riddance to both of them. And Clark…he’d taken care of that bastard for sure.

The years rolled backwards and the past stood right in front of him…


Don't Fear the Reaper]

It was the last day of school and while Dorothy was happy about that, she also hated that fact; Clark would be going into the army in a week.

Only a week left – she didn’t know what she’d do without him. Loneliness overwhelmed her suddenly and she stifled a small cry.

Logan looked at Dorothy, walking next to him and knew something was wrong and he didn’t have a problem guessing what it was. Both she and Clark had been gloomy for the last week and neither one was any fun at all.

He and Dorothy were walking to the parking lot where Clark would meet them. Logan felt bad for Dorothy, but he didn’t really know what to do about it. With electronics, he was a wizard, with girls, well, he felt awkward and stupid. Even with Dorothy who was like a sister.

Both of looked up when they heard someone yell and saw Martin Parker picking on someone, a young girl who looked terrified.

“He’s such a jerk, Logan. Why does he do that?” Dorothy said as she watched Martin try to grab the girls’ breasts. Dorothy saw blazing fire in her eyes and dropped the bag that she was carrying with things from her locker, heading directly towards Martin.

OH SHIT! Trouble was now at their doorstep and Logan rushed to defend Dorothy who was already yelling at Martin.

“Shut up, Dorothy!” Martin yelled, turning his back on her to try and fondle the girl who was now crying, cringing as he touched her.

Dorothy hit him on his back and instinctively swung around to hit her. Dorothy was a bit faster than him and dropped but the punch hit Logan instead, startling him with the blow.

Logan knew that there was no way in hell he could kick Martin’s ass but the murderous look in Martin’s eyes told Logan that he wasn’t going to back down. Better me than Dorothy, Logan thought.

He bent over and ran directly at Martin, his head connecting with Martin’s solar plexus. A loud whoosh could be heard and then Martin dropped to the ground, struggling for breath.

Logan assessed the situation for half a moment and said, “Let’s get the hell out of here!”

The young girl had already run away and Dorothy decided Logan was right. She ran to get their bags and headed down the sidewalk but before they got more than a few steps away Martin was on his feet and he grabbed Logan from behind, pinning him around his neck.

“What you gonna do now, boy? I’ll tell you what; I’m going to kill you, right here.”

Logan felt the arm around his neck tighten and realized he couldn’t catch his breath. He heard Dorothy yelling but it sounded like it came from a far off place and he realized he was beginning to black out.

“Let him go, Martin! NOW!” Dorothy screamed. “You jerk, stop it!” Anger and fear vied for attention in her; she was trembling she was so upset. She decided to run at him when she saw that no one was going to help. She sort of couldn’t blame them; everyone knew Martin was crazy.

Just then Clark saw what was happening and headed straight for the trouble. He pulled Martin off of Logan and gave him a swift upper cut to the jaw and watched with pleasure as Martin tried to get his balance back.

Dorothy ran to Logan, trying to get him to open his eyes. A quick glance showed Clark that Logan was shook up, but was breathing again.

“You’ve picked on the wrong kid this time, Martin. I’m going to kick your ass and everyone here is going to watch and enjoy it.” As if on cue the group cheered Clark on but he stayed focused on Martin who was gathering his strength.

“You gotta stick up for your pansy brother, huh? Well, there’s going to be a time when you ain’t around, soldier boy and his ass is mine!”

“Not going to happen because I’m going to show you what will happen if you ever touch a hair on his head.” Clark hit him hard, twice in the stomach and then kneed him in the shoulder when he bent over in pain. But he missed Martin’s next move and if Dorothy hadn’t yelled it could have proven fatal for Clark. He glanced down at Martin and saw that he’d pulled a switchblade out of his pocket and Clark jumped out of the way seconds before Martin took a swipe at his legs.

When the knife missed its mark, Martin jumped to his feet as quick as a cat and took a fighting stance, circling around Clark, trying to psych him out. “You’re dead, you know that don’t you? And when you’re gone I’m going take your girl, Clark. She’ll be all mine, soldier boy! What do you think of that?”

Clark heard Dorothy cry out for a moment and cast a quick glance at her and that one brief glance was long enough for Martin to shove the knife at Clark’s shoulder. It hit with a glancing blow off of his shoulder blade, immediately leaving a red stain across his arm.

Suddenly, two teachers pulled Martin away from Clark while another sat Clark down so he could look at his shoulder.

“I’m going to kill you, Clark. One of these days, I promise you…” Martin screamed as they pulled him towards the building.

“What happened here, Griffin?” Mr. Hack, the Assistant Principal questioned as they walked indoors to take care of his wound.

“When I came out of the building I heard yelling and saw Parker going after Logan. He had his arm around Logan’s throat, and Logan couldn’t breathe. The story obviously starts before that though.” He looked at Dorothy and Logan who were standing nearby, watching at the cleaned the wound.

Mrs. Benson popped her head in and said, “The police will be here shortly and all the parents have been contacted, Mr. Hack.” She looked at the bluish mark that was across Logan’s neck and tut-tutted over it. “Better have the nurse take a look at that too.”

“Does Principal Lowen have Parker under control?”

“They got the knife away from him and managed to tie his hands together but he’s still causing a lot of problems.”

Mr. Hack nodded grimly. Martin Parker had been trouble since the first day he began school, but it wasn’t like Griffin to be involved in something like this. He turned and focused on Dorothy. “Well, Miss Turner, what happened out there?” His tone was serious and scared her.

“W…we saw Martin grabbing the br…, the um, breasts of a seventh grader, Rosa Mendoza, and it made me mad.” She continued on, describing it all with a few comments by Logan thrown in. Mr. Hack shook his head sadly. What a mess!

Both Dorothy and Logan watched as Mr. Hack grimaced and shook his head. The older man wore the cloak of his position wearily and the strain showed clearly in his demeanor, his shoulders seeming to sag just a bit.

An hour later the police, parents and school officials came to an agreement and went their own ways. Dorothy was in a bit of trouble for not going straight to the office when she saw Martin instead of jumping in. Clark and his parents made a trip to the doctor’s office so they could take a look at the knife cut. The school officials sighed with relief that the school year was done and Martin was taken to the police station, his father following along behind, growing madder by the minute.

Mr. Parker was tempted to let them put Martin into juvenile detention but knew that might help with the immediate situation, but in the long term wasn’t a good solution. No, the boy needed constant guidance and motivation to stop the crazy nonsense he seemed to thrive on. He made a deal with the police; Martin would be sent to military school to finish his education and he’d get out of jail time, providing he also did 100 hours of community service over the summer.

Martin should have been thrilled that he wasn’t put into a detention facility but all he could think about was having to work his ass off all summer for nothing but the reward of ‘getting’ to go to military school in the fall.

Hell no…oh, HELL NO! Not going to happen.

A plan started to form in his mind and he was pleased with it. But first he had Clark Griffin to deal with. He was going to kill that bastard, one way or another. It might take years but he’d do it. And, in the process he’d take what Clark cherished most – Dorothy Turner.

She’d be his and be spoiled goods. Griffin would never touch her again after he got through with her.

He lay back in his bed, hands behind his head and grinned like a Cheshire cat. Yes, maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad summer after all.

To be continued…

Monday, July 15, 2013

Chapter 21 Joyride

Chapter 21 Joyride



“Noodle! Where are you? You're such a little scamp!” Mrs. Carter said, looking out into the darkness for the little brown floppy-haired dog. “NOODLE!”

She didn’t see any movement and she didn’t hear him either, only the far away sound of an automobile coming down the hill. She needed to find him before he scampered out into the roadway. Silly dog didn’t have a lick of sense.

She had searched the yard for a hole, or a broken board in the fence that he could get out of, but she hadn’t found anything. It was completely frustrating, and it made her madder than blue blazes too. How in the world did the little imp get out?

He was just too small to jump the 4 foot high fence, or at least he should be. Inside the house he couldn’t seem to make the jump up onto the sofa and she was beginning to think that he was playing on her sympathies. If he could jump the fence he could certainly jump up on the sofa or bed by himself instead of looking at her with his sad little puppy dog eyes as if to say “Please, mommy, I need help!”

Well, she wasn’t buying that one anymore! So siree! Never again.

As she thought about it she knew that she’d give into him, no matter how mad she was now. But one thing was for sure, she was going to get a fence he couldn’t jump!

“Noodle!” Suddenly, she saw the glint of headlights around the bend in the road and she headed out to the road, frantically calling for Noodle. She spotted him just as the car approached. Thankfully the driver saw him too and came to a rapid halt.

“Oh my goodness, he’s okay isn’t he? I didn’t hit him?” Beth said as she jumped out of the car and quickly picked up the errant ball of brown fur. Noodle looked at her for a moment and let out a whimper and Beth quickly handed him to Mrs. Carter. A glance at the mailbox startled her and she suddenly knew exactly who this woman was. She cast a look at Mick in the car and realized he knew who she was as well and was doing his best to be inconspicuous. He dad seemed to be calm in the back seat, which was a good thing at least.

“You silly dog. Bad boy, Noodle!” Mrs. Carter scolded but the only thing Beth heard in her tone was relief.

“I believe I know who you are, Mrs. Carter. My friend Lani talks about you and Noodle frequently. She adores you both.” Beth cast a sideways glance at Mick, knowing that he could hear her words. He’d be mad but sooner or later he had to face her. She was coming to Lani and Josef’s wedding and there would be no ignoring her there.

“My dear, Lani! How is she? I love it when she comes to visit and last time she brought that dashing young man of hers. I am looking forward to attending their wedding. You surely must be Beth?”

“Why yes, I am.” Another glance at the car reminded her that Clark could be struggling and she needed to get them moving again. “I will look forward to seeing you at the wedding, Mrs. Carter, but I’m afraid I must rush right now.” She reached out and let Noodle sniff her hand, but he pulled away and so she just smiled and stepped away.

“Goodbye, I enjoyed meeting you!” she called out with a wave.

Mrs. Carter watched the car move away and frowned at Noodle. “What IS your problem? She’s such a nice girl, Noodle. Shame on you!” Noodle ducked his head under her arm as they made their way into the house. “Silly dog!”

In the car, Mick’s face stared stonily ahead but Beth could scent his anger; it was rolling off of him in waves and she knew that he struggled to control it. She also knew that he was ashamed as well.

Clark sat in the back, silent as he took in all scents he couldn’t quite identify. Beth pulled into an empty parking lot and turned the car off. The three of them sat silently for a moment and then Beth asked Clark how he was.

“I’m okay. I could scent the blood and I have to admit it made me feel a bit weak just like earlier tonight but I sipped the blood and it was okay.”

“What the hell do you mean, ‘earlier tonight’, Clark?” Mick asked, piercing Clark with a burning look. “What happened?”

Clark swallowed convulsively, suddenly taken aback of Mick’s anger. “I, uh I, at the house, I sensed something was wrong and went and looked in the window at Josef’s. I was afraid that something was wrong with Dorothy or the babies.”

“Why didn’t you tell us that?” The scowl on Mick’s face was a bit intimidating but Clark relaxed a little, sensing the blinding anger was over with.

“I told Logan, I guess it just slipped my mind. Nothing happened, really. I looked in the window and saw that Dorothy seemed to be fine but that Lani wasn’t and I could scent the blood and went back to the guest house. Nothing happened.” He spread his arms in a shrug.

“But you scented the blood and walked away on your own?”

“Yes, I did. Despite the circumstances, Mick, I can control myself,” Clark said, a hint of exasperation in his voice. “I’m working hard on it; I have to be ready for when the babies are born. I have to be. I WILL be,” he said and the conviction in his voice rang true for all of them.

Mick contemplated his words for a moment. Okay, so he seemed to have some self control. Still, both times there was glass separating him from the human’s. That didn’t make him ready to re-enter the mortal world. But, he was ready to begin the socialization process Mick decided. Hoped.

“Sorry, Clark – for the scare.” Mick knew that his anger had panicked Clark a bit and he felt bad about it. Part of that was due to Beth and his sister, but they could tackle that tomorrow when they were alone. But, he was still pissed about it.

“Let’s take a quick ride through the mall parking lot. That way we can keep moving and not seem too out of place. I can get us out of there in a hurry if need be,” Beth told them. For a moment Mick looked hesitant and then he finally nodded his head.

“Clark, keep that blood handy,” he reminded as they headed down the road to the mall, about a mile away.

They stopped at three traffic lights on the way and Clark didn’t seem in the bit bothered by it. He did sip from the cup a couple of times, but he remained calm.

A movie had just gotten out at the mall and there were many people walking to their cars, which neither Beth nor Mick had counted on. She kept a distance from them but the heady scent of warm, human, pulsing blood was everywhere.

Finally Clark said, “I think I’ve had enough, Beth. Can we go now?”

“Of course. On our way,” she told him with a smile. “It was starting to get to me a bit too, Dad.”

Mick looked askance at her for a minute, knowing that statement couldn’t be true; Beth had better control of her senses than he did. It occurred to him that she was perhaps trying to make Clark feel better. It seemed to work.

Back at Josef’s they settled in for the rest of the night and Mick questioned Clark about his experience.

“It felt great actually. The scent of the blood didn’t really bother me, but I really wanted to get out at the mall and just walk freely again. God, I miss that!”

His statement surprised both Mick and Beth. Still, it meant that he was coming along. He might just make it home for the birth of those babies yet.


Martin pulled out of the building parking lot with enraged fury ripping through him in waves. Who the hell was that asshole who tried to question him? He hoped that he’d killed the bastard when he hit him.

One thing was for sure; they were looking for him and protecting her. It was time for a couple of changes and one of them was already planned for tomorrow. He was getting new identity, completely new in fact and meant he’d have to get the car registered in a different name, other than Vinton McCullough’s. Hell, maybe he’d even get a different car because they were looking for this one now.

Those bastards were not going to keep him from her, he’d kill them all first. A smile swept over his face as he contemplated that thought and he sighed with the pleasure he’d feel watching them die.

A new identity would provide him with a whole new life. Maybe they’d head to Mexico or down in South America somewhere; take in some local color and he’d heard you could live dirt cheat there too.

It was always good when he had a plan and this was one of his best.


The ride back to the guest house was mostly silent; all three of them contemplating how the night had gone.

For the most part, Clark was happy. He’d been out, had been around humanity and hadn’t even been tempted to break out of the car. He knew that the windows were closed but he could easily scent the blood all around him at the mall. Clark knew that he was ready for more exposure and the sooner the better. His wife needed him and he had to be there for her and the babies. He HAD to be.

Beth was impressed with her dad’s reaction to the evening. She felt sure that if he’d really been determined he could have gotten out of the car and he hadn’t shown even the tiniest bit of need to do so. Mick was so worried about Clark going rogue that he just wasn’t seeing that he was doing fine. She didn’t understand why Mick felt the need to keep new vampires away from the world for so long. Had Coraline done that to him?

Curiosity made her want to ask questions but wisdom made her not do it. He wasn’t ready to talk yet because he was still upset with her about his sister. He was going to have to face it soon, but that event made her anxious because it would tear him up. She knew that he felt so much shame over what had happened to him. Talking to her would ultimately be a good thing, eventually. She hoped.

Mick’s brain was working overtime. Was he being too hard on Clark? Maybe he was farther along than he thought. And, after all, the fact was that Clark was Logan’s fledgling, not his. Coraline hadn’t kept him separate at all and he’d killed ruthlessly but he couldn’t handle it and he ran to Josef’s, wanting to die. He knew what he’d been capable of, what he took so much pleasure in when he’d drained that young woman that night and the fear of that loss of control had always haunted him. How could he separate his actions from others? He couldn’t bear the thought, the guilt that he would feel if he didn’t spare other fledglings the same thing, especially if keeping them separated for a while would prevent it.

And then was the situation of his sister. He felt like he was watching a movie, “Of all the gin joints in all the world…” or something like that. Beth had managed to see the little dog, which was good, but why did it have to be his sister’s? How on earth could he explain all this to her, that he’d been turned into a vampire and that it had been dangerous to see his family?

Had it been? He knew that immediately it had been but after awhile? Coraline had said so, but he’d also seen in the past year or so that it wasn’t necessarily true. He’d cut himself off from everyone who had loved him for decades to protect them but he was beginning to believe that part of that was because Coraline didn’t want him to be around anyone except who she chose. God, that bitch was so screwed up.

Which lead him back to Maeve? Was she even physically strong enough to handle the news about him? What if she had a heart attack or a stroke or something because he revealed himself to her?

What if? He sighed in frustration and closed his eyes, wanting to shut it all out for a few minutes. Just a few minutes…


Mick, Beth and Clark all rested fitfully that night. Excitement was the reason for Clark, finally feeling as if he was making headway and would be ready soon. Beth was still concerned for Mick, who had hardly spoken and also for Lani. She hoped that her friend had rested some this night. She and Mick decided to go up to the house when Logan got back to the guest house in the morning.

Logan came back around 10 am, smiling a mile wide and with a satisfied twinkle in his eyes. It did Clark good to see and understand that his brother had needed the time and that it was well spent.

Mick explained about the previous night’s adventures and Logan seemed happy about it. “Looks like you may be free before too long, brother!”

Clark beamed at the words. “I can’t say it’s too soon. Can we go out again tonight?” he asked hopefully.

“I don’t see why not,” Logan said and then saw the look of unease on Mick’s face and added, “We’ll be very cautious, Mick.”

“Yeah, I know.” He closed his mouth then, trying to refrain from saying anything else.

Beth saw that he was getting upset again and said, “Hey, Logan, do you mind if Mick and I get out of here? I want to go and check on Lani.”

“No, go ahead. Thanks so much for giving me some time with Audey. We both appreciated it.” He and Clark waved as Mick and Beth walked towards the house and it didn’t take a genius to see that Mick was still very tense. Clark told Logan about Mick’s sister and it all began to make a little more sense.

“That’s going to be a real problem for him. He’ll figure it all out though. Beth will help him.”

Clark nodded, knowing that to be true.


“Good morning, my love,” Josef said to Lani, as she stretched in the bed and turned to face him for a morning kiss.

Her warm lips lingered briefly against his cool ones as the kiss comforted them both. “Good morning to you as well my delicious vampire.”

“How are you this morning, Lani? Do you feel okay?”

A slight frown crossed her face as she thought about the question. “I still feel in a bit of shock about it all and I have to say I’m more than puzzled about my reaction to it. I mean, I wasn’t close with him, far from it but it still hurt to know he died. Especially that way!” she finished with a shudder.

“Sweetness, there is some truth to the old adage, ‘blood is thicker than water’, you know. It’s just going to take you a bit of time to get over it.”

“I guess. Have you spoken with my mother?” Lani had a strange suspicion that he had. Her mother would have no clue about what to do in a situation like this.

“Um, I spoke briefly with her last night. She wanted me to wake you up so she could talk to you but I refused. You needed your rest.”

Lani nodded at his words but still sighed inwardly. She knew that she and Josef were going to have to take charge of the situation and she told Josef as much.

Josef pulled her closer for a hug. “I know that, Lani. We’ll get through it all. Hopefully your father left her a large insurance policy and we can take care of the funeral expenses so she doesn’t have to deal with that. It will all be okay.” To himself he thought that one way or another, he would make sure that Helen would have plenty of money so she would stay the hell out of Lani’s life.

She sighed and snuggled into his shoulder, trusting him in this matter. Suddenly her stomach growled and while she frowned, she saw Josef grin.

“I guess I’m hungry,” she said apologetically.

“That is a good thing!” he told her, running his fingertip down her nose and following it with another kiss. “What would you like for breakfast, Sweetness?”

She thought about it for a moment and then said, “I know this sounds really strange but I’d like pancakes with peanut butter cups in them and sliced jalapeno’s on top.”

Josef winced at that combination of ingredients. “If that’s what you want, but are you sure about that?”

She sat up in bed with a smile, stretching her arms over her head. Her breasts looked beautiful in the morning light, creamy globes topped with cherries that looked good enough to eat.

He stared at her for a moment, feeling his passion for her grow each second. He wanted her fed but he also wanted her! Just then there was a light tap on the door.

“Yes?” he asked, knowing that it was Franklin.

“I’m sorry to disturb you but Miss Beth and Mick are waiting downstairs. Shall I have them return later?”

“No, that’s okay, we’re awake. Can you get Lani her breakfast?” He told Franklin what she wanted and wished he could see Franklin’s face at the odd order.

“Certainly. I’ll tell cook to prepare it. Would you like it up here, or downstairs?”

“Downstairs. I can’t wait for Mick to see this,” he laughed. Lani gave him an impertinent and saucy grin then headed to the shower, winking at him.

Ah, opportunity raises its head again. He wasn’t going to waste it this time. They could be quick, maybe!

To be continued…

Monday, July 8, 2013


Synopsis of previous chapter: I’m not nearly as good at writing these as VampFan5 is, but I’ll do the best I can!

Lani’s father was killed and the group gathered at Josef’s house. Lani was understandably shaken, even given the tenuous relationship with her parents. As the group tries to put the pieces of why and what was going on, Clark senses that something is wrong at the manor house and runs to peek in the window and sees Dorothy, who spots him as well. They stare at one another, their love pulling them together but Clark realizes that he must go back to the guest house because the scent of the blood is hard for him to take.

Beth, Dorothy, and Vaygar go back to the loft so that Beth can pack an overnight bag as she and Mick are staying with Clark that night which lets Logan have a free night to be with his sweetie pie, Audrey. As Dorothy heats some dinner in preparation for Jackie, the potential nanny to meet Clark, via Skype there are problems in the garage below. Martin shows up in a new car and runs over Madigan, who is standing guard in the garage after Madigan recognizes him. They decide to put more guards down there as Mick and Vaygar talk about safety procedures and Rose fixes Maddy’s broken leg.

Martin feels like he struck it rich with all the money and jewelry he took from Marcus’ safe when he killed his brother and determines that the money will keep he and Dorothy well, after he gets rid of the baby.

Dorothy asks Rose questions about how she received the gift of vampirism and why and Rose tells her a bit about it but assures Dorothy that she will understand all when the girls and their mates go to study the gift. Dorothy confides that the saw Clark outside the window and Rose is secretly pleased that Clark knew he wasn’t ready yet to be around humans. Still, she decided that they needed to get him socialized quickly because she knew that there wasn’t much time before the twins were born.

Chapter 20 Home

Dorothy booted up the laptop in preparation for her talk with Clark when Jackie got there. She hoped the she and Clark would have a few minutes alone to talk because she needed that connection with him. Seeing him watching her from outside the window had shaken her to her core, in both good and bad ways. Elation at actually seeing him close up had made her spirit soar, but the pain of not being about to run to him had hurt.

Not that she was actually running anywhere these days, she thought dryly.

Even though it wasn’t yet 9 o’clock she put the Skype call through and to her joy, Clark was ready, apparently hoping she’d call a bit early.

“Baby, oh, Dorothy, it – it was so good, just seeing you for a minute this evening. But it hurt like hell to know that I couldn’t touch you and to…to know that I’m not quite ready for that yet.”

“What happened, Clark? What’s wrong, honey?”

“It’s just, I could scent the blood and it made me feel a little weak, you know? I hadn’t been prepared for that exactly, even though they have all told me that’s how I would feel. Damn, Dorothy, I need to get out of here, so that I can practice being around humans. I need to be done with all this!” he told her, frustration ripe in his voice, making Dorothy’s heart ache for him.

“I know, Clark. Hopefully it will be soon. We can make it just a bit longer, can’t we?”

“Yes. I’d wait forever for you, honey. I just need to hold you, to smell the sweetness of you. It’s a very erotic thing for vamps, Logan tells me. He also says that vampires don’t have an ‘off’ switch when it comes to making love,” he said.

The teasing tone of his voice made her smile and the way his eyes sparked made her shiver with anticipation. Well, they’d have their chance eventually. It was all just wishful thinking right now, between the pregnancy and his absence. But someday…

“I think your guest is there, honey,” he told her as he heard the elevator ding, even over the computer.

Dorothy shook her head in wonder; all this was going to take a bit of getting used to, but she excused herself for a moment to greet Jackie in the living room. She hoped that Clark would like the young woman as much as she and Rose did. Dorothy knew that somehow, Jackie belonged with them.


Josef climbed the stairs, heading straight to the bedroom after a quick chug of some A-. Not the way he preferred to drink it; slowly as it soothed his inner urges. But his need to check on Lani, to hold her and appease the nagging worry inside of him that she was okay was the strongest requirement of his soul at this moment. If you believed that vampires had souls. Heroku had convinced him that they actually did so, he’d go with that.

When he reached the top of the stairs he saw Franklin peeking into her room, the worry that he felt etched starkly upon his face.

“How is she, Franklin?”

“She seems to be resting but I don’t believe that it is a peaceful rest, sir.”

Josef nodded solemnly, knowing in his heart that was true. “I’m sure you’re right; how could she with all that she’s been through?”

“Is there anything else I can get for you tonight, Josef? Or for Miss Lani?”

Josef shook his head no and said, “I think we’ll be fine.” As Franklin started to protest, Josef smiled and said, “But I’ll call you if we do?”

“Yes, of course. Goodnight then.”

Josef watched for a moment as his long-time friend moved slowly towards the stairs, his shoulders slightly hunched as well. His usual stride was full of vigor and an almost regal posture. Again, it showed how they both were taking Lani’s distress. They both loved her and that thought, that Franklin would always be there for her made Josef feel a good deal of relief.

Josef quietly opened the door and slipped inside. The drapes were pulled tightly shut and the only visible light, to a human anyway was the glowing numbers on the clock.

He quietly took his clothes off and hopped in for a brief shower, partially for the invigorating qualities of the vibra-spray shower head and also to try to calm down. He didn’t want Lani to somehow sense, as she often did, that he was worried.

What game was this asshole Martin playing? Was it about money with his brother and if it was would he go after Lani or her mother next? As far as Josef was concerned, he’d applaud if Helen had an early appointment with death. Hell, it wasn’t as if he hadn’t thought about taking her for a nice sight-seeing trip to the tar pits himself, but he knew how much it would hurt Lani now.

His precious Lani had existed in an emotional void growing up and yet she was the most loving and caring individual he’d ever known. Well, Beth was too and it was all most likely because of Dorothy and Clark’s ability to provide a safe and happy home life. Because of that he’d move heaven and earth to make sure that they too were taken care of.

A few minutes later he stood silently, watching Lani sleep and listening to the soft, breathy sounds she made that were so comforting to him. When he slipped into the bed beside her she immediately rolled over and draped an arm across his chest as a silken smooth leg slipped over one of his. He pulled her to him and wrapped his arms around her and breathed in her scent. He heard both of their heartbeats and once again he felt truly over-whelmed with the sheer magic of it all.

Magic? It was, to him at least. A child would be born of his supposedly dead seed. Magic or a miracle, fielder’s choice but it was happening. Life no longer seemed a playground of pure indulgence and decadence; he had a life now, a real life that had meaning.

He was going to make the most of it.


Clark listened with a smile as Jackie told them about her experience and a bit about her life as well. She was 33 and comfortable with vamps since she’d known Rose for a few years. Apparently Rose had rescued her from a terrible situation in New York and because of that she gave Rose undying loyalty. She didn’t expand on what had happened, but the sadness and pain that showed on her face as she talked made Clark feel her pain.

She had experience with basic medical procedures which was a boon where a newborn baby was concerned. She wanted a child of her own before she was turned, but as yet hadn’t found the right guy. Well, once she had, she said, but it was a long time ago.

Apparently he wasn’t in her life now. She wanted to be turned someday as well. She really must be comfortable with vamps.

“Jackie, I think you’ll be a perfect addition to our home. How do you feel about it?” He already knew that Dorothy really liked her and trusted her as well.

“I’d love to take the job, Mr. Griffin and I can start as soon as you like.”

“Please, it’s just ‘Clark’ and you and Dorothy can work out those details. Thank you for being available to talk to me this evening.”

“Of course, Mr., um, Clark. I’m terribly excited now.” She grinned and Clark decided that he really did like her; there was something very vulnerable about her, which seemed quite silly really. Still, she was a great addition to their world.


“Mick! Beth! I’m so happy to see you! “Clark said, rushing to hug his daughter. “How is your mom, sweetheart?”

“She’s fine, Dad, but she misses you like crazy. How are you?”

“I’m okay. But I need out of here, soon. Can you help me? I need to be around people so that I can adjust to the scents around me. I have to be out of here before the babies are born. I promised her, please, help me?”

The tone of his voice, a blend of sorrow and desperation made Beth and Mick look at one another with dread. They both knew how it bothered him, worried him and they had talked about some possibilities on the way here.

Beth took a seat on the sofa and patted the cushion next to her. Clark sat down, suddenly dreading what they might say.

“Dad, we understand how you feel, but it’s so soon, so risky.”

“I can handle it, I promise I can. I know it has to be controlled and I can do it. Please, give me the chance to show you both, to prove it to all of us. Please,” he asked and the pain in his tone broke both of their hearts.

“How about a short drive, Clark? Under our terms?”

“Yes, yes, any terms you want.”

“We’re in the Prius, so the door locks will be disabled in the back, where you will sit, buckled in tightly. If you try to come over the seat I’ll stop you, know that and we’ll head straight back home.”

“Okay, that’s fine. Can we go now? Please, I need to do this.”

Mick nodded and the three of them headed out the door. Mick watched Clark’s reactions and he seemed fine. But the scents in the air were limited here, not like how it would be on the street. Mick tried to control his worry about it all and he suddenly had a feeling that they shouldn’t do this. He opened his mouth to speak but when he saw how happy Clark was with this possibility he quickly closed it and hoped for the best.

Mick and Beth shared a look that could have been trepidation or resignation, neither one of them was sure. They both knew that if he was really determined to get out of that car, locked doors or Mick probably couldn’t stop him. Neither would a window.

“Okay, let’s do this.” Mick slid into the passenger seat and heard the ‘click’ as Beth disabled the window and door locks in the back. Beth handed Clark an insulated cup full of blood to help keep the blood lust away. Hopefully…

Sooner than they suspected they knew whether he was ready.



As soon as Logan walked into the house Audrey let out a scream and ran to him, jumping into his arms and wrapping her legs around his waist as she kissed him just as he’d dreamed of for weeks. She tasted of peppermint or a hint of it anyway he thought as her soft tongue stroked his. Both of them managed to ignore a cacophony of kitty sounds for a full minute before both cats started demanding attention as they best knew how – by climbing up Logan’s legs.

“Ouch! Hey you two little fiends, watch the claws. He grinned and set Audrey down and picked up the boys, cradling each one in an arm. “Okay, okay, I’ve missed you too!” he laughed.

The whole family sat down on the couch, snuggling warmly together and the happy purrs of the boys made a comforting background sound as he and Audrey kissed again.

“Oh, Logan, I’ve missed you so much! I know it’s necessary for you to be with Clark, and I don’t mind, really but I’m so happy you’re home, for a little while anyway.”

“I know exactly how you feel, Audey. Every night, when it’s quiet especially I can’t get you out of my mind. Girl, I really need you,” he said, tracing a finger tip down her cheek. He looked down at the boys who were now sleeping next to him and added, “Let’s slip away from them, shall we?”

She couldn’t resist the rakish grin that he was wearing and a tingle of anticipation streaked through her deliciously, heightening her senses. Logan was the only thing in her world right now and she silently stood and held her hand out to him.

Plato and Travis stirred for a brief moment before settling back down into kitty dreamland. Neither heard the bedroom close with a firm click or the sounds of the giggles that neither Audrey nor Logan could hold back.

Romance was forgotten at this point, shed as quickly as their clothing. This was about need, pure, blazing desire, which was quickly sated for both of them. They both lay catching their breath afterwards, each wearing huge smiles.

“Sorry, Audey. Uh, kinda wrecked that one.”

She giggled and rolled over onto him, wriggling her hips against his immediately responding manhood. “No off switch, remember?” She bent over to kiss him; the erotic feel of her breasts against his chest brought a moan of desire to both of them.

Audrey slipped him into her eager body, trembling from the intimate contact as she sank down and sheathed him completely. She leaned back as she moved on him, eliciting a long sigh from Logan. Even in the dim light of the room he could see her neck, stretching upward with her efforts.

The beauty and grace of her neck transfixed him and his fangs lengthened with the need to bite, to let his vampire side out. Still, he restrained himself and placed his hands on her hips in order to guide her movement. Faster, quicker they moved until Logan suddenly turned her over and settled between her thighs, taking control. He kissed her, passionately setting them both on fire. Their tongues dueled and then grew softer as the danced the dance of lovers, softly stroking one another’s.

He slowed the movement of their bodies, thrusting deeply and deliberately until they both were ready for the bite. Audrey was crying his name, asking, begging for release and she let out a keen cry of satisfaction as she felt his bite. On and on it went, both of them crashing together in a sea of passionate fulfillment.

In the morning Logan opened one eye and found Travis staring at him as he licked his rough tongue over Logan’s rougher cheek. He turned his head and saw Audrey staring at him wearing a mile wide smile.

“Not funny, Audey! Why did you let the fur kids in here?” he grumbled.

“Sorry, but I didn’t.”

“Then how they hell did they get in here?” he asked, trying to move his foot but finding it blocked by Plato’s body, lying comfortably between his legs.

“Honestly, Logan, I don’t know!” she said and he knew she was speaking the truth. He sighed and looked at the two cats, eyeing them suspiciously. “Okay, I don’t know which one of you was Houdini in a former life but a closed door means to stay out!

He knew for just a moment Travis’ eyes flashed silver. He was sure of it.

To be continued.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Chapter 19 In the Air Tonight

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In the Air Tonight

Clark felt on edge, a decidedly untypical feeling for him, well until recently that is. Since he’d been turned he seemed to be edgy about everything which Logan told him was common with new turns. Right now Logan was on the phone chatting with Audrey as they made plans for their night, leaving Clark at loose ends.

Clark knew that Logan missed Audrey terribly and really, he deserved to have some time with her but Clark had to admit that Logan being away was at least partly the cause of tonight’s flavor of edginess. Was that all?

He wasn’t sure; something was wearing at his nerves like crazy but he hadn’t been able to identify it. Yet. It was as if something was in the air. He stood in his room, the window open to the fresh, chilly breezes and for a moment he could have sworn he scented his wife. Or at least what he thought her scent would be since he’d been turned.

He missed her, so damn much. Yes, he technically saw her each and every day but he needed to hold her in his arms, to reassure them both that their love could survive anything. Logan was a good sire and Clark appreciated getting to learn new things about his brother, but damn, he needed out of here. So far Logan adamantly refused to let him try to be around a human for fear of what would happen.

Clark felt strong, strong enough to control himself. He had the best motivation imaginable; getting back to his wife before his children were born was pretty powerful but if they wouldn’t even let him try, how would they ever know if he could do it? She only had two weeks before her due date and it looked like she’d make it that far the doctor said. And that was another thing, he needed to be with her at the appointments so he understood more about what was going to happen.

He hadn’t been in LA when Beth was born. Hell, he hadn’t even known Dorothy was pregnant. They’d all kept it a secret from him for fear that he’d go a little bit crazy. She stopped writing to him and wouldn’t accept the call he tried to made her when he was stationed in Germany. When he finally got leave and came home Beth had already been born. She’d stolen his heart immediately but Dorothy wouldn’t talk about anything, wouldn’t even see him. She said she wasn’t mad at him and denied that she was seeing anyone else, but he was past the point of believing that babies were found under cabbage leaves. His friends all said that she hadn’t been seen with anyone else and it drove him nuts, wondering who the apparently absent father of that adorable baby girl was.

It had hurt him beyond reason, thinking that she’d been unfaithful to him. He knew she loved him; even when he was home from the army and starting college he’d catch her looking at him at times, her heart clearly open to him as her eyes adored him but she wouldn’t come near him.

He would have married her right then and there; his friends had said he had no pride that he would be willing to settle for someone else’s leftovers but he didn’t look at it like that. He’d left, he’d left her alone and missing him and she’d evidently turned to someone else. Or so he’d thought until their honeymoon, when the truth came out.

It had almost killed him to know that she’d been raped. He’d failed her in so many ways, first by leaving for the army and then by not showing her in a way that she believed back then that it hadn’t mattered to him a bit, that all he’d wanted was to be with her.

Instead, he’d thrown himself into life at college and he’d dated, hell, he’d screwed his way through his first year like there was no tomorrow but in the end it left him cold and feeling more lonely than he could have imagined.

That was when he knew that she really was the one, the only one and that if he had to wait forever for her he would. He couldn’t do anything else.

He took another deep breath, puzzled by the scents that the breeze carried his way. The main house was lit up tonight, much more than usual but it was the scents that made him pay attention. There seemed to be a pervasive air of…was it pain, or sadness? Something was wrong, he knew it.

He could still hear Logan on the phone in the living room. He headed to the back door, just to step outside for a little fresh air. That’s what he told himself, just getting some air. Logan allowed him to do that at times which was amazing, after the skunk incident. One thing was for sure, he’d learned to pay attention to what he was smelling after that.

The breeze was brisk out by their small pool, blowing from the direction of the main house. Yes, something was definitely wrong up there. He could smell the distress but also there seemed to be a wave of something like, well, he wasn’t sure. It wasn’t a scent he was familiar with. Like, maybe like, heartache, loss, he couldn’t be sure. Then it hit him, someone had died, he was sure of it and fear clutched at his heart so strongly that had he been human he would have died.

Oh God, please, no one I know! Not my family! What if Dorothy had lost the babies? Without thinking he headed to the house, his movement a blur, looking for a way to get answers. He ran around the grounds until he saw brightly lit windows and that was when he saw her.

His wife, his mate. She was sitting on the couch next to Lani, holding her as the young girl cried. Beth was there too, so they were both okay. But Lani wasn’t.

He pulled in the scents, of vampires and the human scent of blood and for a moment it pulled him towards it but he fought hard to resist the urge. The blood, sweet, warm…alive. He could control the need, the emotions, he kept repeating that thought like a mantra. Through the window he could even see the blood pulsing in Lani’s neck and it was almost hypnotic for him, he yearned for it.

He continued to gaze into the window at his wife, his heart and body aching for her and suddenly she looked out the window and saw him. He took a step closer, almost touching the window all the while sending her every bit of love and support that he could. Her eyes remained locked with his until he stepped back away, sinking into the shadows of the night and blending into the landscape. His family was safe, but he knew that someone in Lani’s world wasn’t.

The hardest thing he’d ever done was to turn and walk away. He felt as if he were magnetically being pulled towards his love but it wasn’t time yet and he could feel it. Halfway back to the guest house he found Logan, running wildly towards him.

“Clark, where the hell have you been?”

“I, I knew something was wrong. I was so afraid that Dorothy or the babies…” he said, his words trailing off in the chilly night air. “They’re fine, but something is wrong with Lani.”

“You went up to the house?” Logan said, a tone of panic making the words sound shrill to Clarks sensitive ears.

“Yes, I had to see, Logan. I need to get back to the house and have some blood.”

Logan understood immediately what had happened, that Clark had realized that he wasn’t ready to be around humans yet. He felt so terrible for his brother, for his fledgling. He put his arm around Clarks shoulders and said, “Yes, let’s go. Josef just called, Lani’s dad was murdered last night, Clark. By the same person who attacked you, Martin Parker.”

“He killed his own brother? I wish I would have killed that bastard years ago, Logan. That day before right before I went into the army, I could have. Oh my God, his own brother? Not that Marcus was any prize as far as that goes. It also makes me wonder why me? Revenge for the past?”

“Don’t know, Clark,” Logan said as they each drank a glass of fresh blood. “He’s crazy though, always has been.”


For a moment she was afraid she was seeing things, that her eyes were playing tricks on her and yet, she knew that wasn’t it at all. He’d been there, outside the window, staring at her. First her heart had nearly stopped and then it beat so rapidly that Beth cast her a concerned look. She gave her daughter a slight smile and tried to focus her attention back on Lani.

Lani kept saying she didn’t understand why she was so upset, but how could she not be? Her father had been murdered in the most brutal of ways and that was something that would be hard to find peace with, not to even mention the fact that it was her uncle that did it.

Lani seemed to feel guilty about her relationship with her father and Dorothy could understand that. Still, when all was said and done, regardless of your relationship, dealing with the death of a parent was a horrible tragedy. Lani’s feelings for him were so complicated; she hated what he’d done, to her mother, to her and yet he was her father. The old axiom that blood was thicker than water was so very true.

Lani was worn out and Josef finally insisted that she go to bed and she went meekly. After he’d tucked her in she’d fell asleep almost immediately and when he came back downstairs the group was conducting a post mortem conversation about what had happened.

“There’s got to be a connection between Clark’s attack and Marcus’ murder. But what?” Beth asked, frowning as she thought about it. “Mom, you grew up with Martin and Marcus, were they close?”

“I don’t know, really. I mean, Marcus was 6 years older than me so I never really knew him. I mean, he was around sometimes, summer and holidays I seem to remember but I don’t know how he got along with his brother.”

Mick watched Dorothy as she spoke and he knew that she was telling the truth, up to a point. She was leaving things out, he’d bet on it. But why? Was she trying to protect someone and if so, who?

“Did they get along with Clark?” Mick asked and heard Dorothy’s heart jump and then pound. A glance at Beth told him that she’d heard it too.

“I, well, they did have some issues. Martin used to pick on Logan, horribly in fact and Clark intervened a few times. Right before he left for the army Clark and Martin got into a terrible fight that got Martin thrown out of school.”

“Oh, wow,” Beth said. “I have never heard you talk about that, Mom.”

“It, well it wasn’t really my story to tell, you know? The good thing was that Martin spent his last year of school in a military academy somewhere. Without Clark there heaven only knows what would have happened to Logan.”

Beth nodded, understanding that. “You three, you were really close, weren’t you?”

“Yes, we were.” Dorothy smiled briefly and added, “Mostly because our parents were afraid of Clark and I going out alone too much so poor Logan got to be chaperone.”

“Oh!” Beth exclaimed. “I had no idea.” She wanted to ask what they were all like back then; was Logan a computer geek even then? Did they even have computers back then? And Clark, it was so easy imagining him as a football player in high school, popular and so caring about her mom. But it was really hard to imagine what her mom could have been like back then. She knew she was pretty, but what did she do? What music did she listen to? Did she and her friends get into trouble, like she had with Robbi and Lani? It suddenly occurred to her that she knew so little because none of them talked about it much.

She couldn’t imagine her oh so perfect mom getting into trouble, sneaking out, disobeying her grandparents. And yet, somehow she’d ended up pregnant at 16. She needed to know what happened in her mother’s life. Whatever it was didn’t turn Clark away from her obviously. What exactly was the story? Who the hell was her father?


A little while later Beth followed Dorothy and Vaygar home to gather the overnight bag for her and Mick. It had been decided that they would still stay with Clark and Dorothy would stay home so that Jackie could meet Clark. There wasn’t anything else that could be done for Lani tonight. Rest was the best thing for her; that and Josef screening her calls as her mother had called twice, demanding that Lani be woke up because she needed to talk to her. After he discovered that all she wanted was to whine (his opinion) he refused to wake Lani.

Mick was concerned about Beth; were any of them safe now? There was definitely a connection but he didn’t know what it was. At the last minute he decided to follow Beth so that they could ride back to Josef’s in one car. He knew that Beth wouldn’t like the idea but she was going to have to accept it.

The connection, what was it? He tapped at the steering wheel of the Benz as he drove, focused on the question but no answers came to him, save one that he didn’t want to believe.

He decided that he was going to have a long talk with Clark, come hell or high water and he would get some answers…one way or another.


When Mick pulled into the parking garage he say Madigan, one of Vaygar’s men standing in the shadows of the parking garage. Someone watched at all times but Mick was thinking that perhaps they needed two of them down here, to watch the elevator and stairwell.

He didn’t want to inconvenience his tenants by restricting anyone in the building or their legitimate guests but they had to make sure that everything possible was covered. Upstairs when he stepped off the lift he headed to Brody’s place before going to the loft. Vaygar answered almost immediately.

“Mick, come on in,” he said and stepped aside so that Mick could enter.

“Hi, Vaygar. I’m concerned and I think that we need to step up the security here. What do you think?” He told Vaygar that he’d like another man downstairs at all times and Vaygar agreed with the idea.

“I agree; we can’t be too cautious in this matter. Until we know that she’s safe I intend to make sure she is protected at all times, whether she is thrilled with the idea or not. So you think what happened today is related to Clark’s attack?”

“Yes, that too but I believe there has got to be a connection between what happened to Clark and now Lani’s father. I’m going to talk to Clark tonight, but it’s just too much of a coincidence. And Dorothy seems to be the connecting factor to all of this.”

“Most likely, but she did say that Clark had fought with Martin Parker in the past. Perhaps it’s personal, related to that?”

“I hope you’re right, but my gut tells me that there is a lot more to it. Dorothy said that Martin used to pick on Logan and Clark stood up for him but what,” Mick paused for a moment, hesitant to finish his sentence. “What if Dorothy was a catalyst? That the rivalry was actually about her? Dorothy had Beth after Clark was in the army, Vaygar.”

“Are you saying that you think it’s possible that Martin Parker is the father of Beth?”

Both men looked up when Rose came in the door and stared at them both. She’d heard what Mick had said and suddenly, it all started to fall into place as far as she was concerned. Cousins, the girls were cousins.


His fool of a brother had kept $165,000 in the safe and enough jewelry to at least double that amount. He’d have to find someone to unload the jewelry with and maybe it would be safer to remove the stones and sell them and the settings separately, he wasn’t sure. He used to know a guy here, but Martin wasn’t sure he was still around.

He decided to unload the piece of crap car he’d taken when he killed Vinton McCullough two years ago. He’d had a stroke of good luck, seeing him in Bernalillo that day. They could be twins and the old fool didn’t have any family either. He followed him for a few days and saw that he had definitely gotten lucky - due to a serious injury a few years before Vinton collected disability insurance and farmed out his land. Nothing to do but sit back and collect the rewards. Not that there was a lot of money, but he got by okay.

So, he just slipped into Vinton’s life, learning to write like he did, to talk like he did and if anyone suspected that he was impersonating him, well, they never said anything to him. He took it from Vinton’s address book that they ole boy didn’t have much in the way of a social life or friends. Martin knew that for a fact because trying to strike up a friendship with him had been harder than meeting the queen.

Now his fortunes had changed again; money, lots of it with more to come. Yeah, it wasn’t a windfall exactly, but it was enough to keep him going for awhile, enough to support him and Dorothy after he got rid of that baby she was carrying.

First he had to find the bitch.

He drove his new black Taurus, a very non-descript car past her house once and then back again. She wasn’t there, he could tell, so where the hell was she? She had to be at that daughter of hers place, but it was hard to know for sure. He headed the Taurus in the direction of downtown to drive by the apartment building where her daughter lived. As he got close he slipped a baseball cap onto his neatly cut hair, liking the super-short cut.

He turned into the parking garage and slowed down to take a look at the cars parked in the visitors spaces. There! He spotted it, her Lexus, sleek and silver and undoubtedly a gift from Clark Griffin. He idled for a moment and then saw someone walking to him so he put the car into gear and started to move forward.

“Hold it!” a commanding voice said, standing directly in front of the car. “Who are you here to see?”

“None of your damn business; they’re not here anyway. Now get the hell out of my way,” Martin yelled, easing forward on the gas. “MOVE!”

“Not so quick sir,” Madigan said as he scrutinized the man in the car. It was a different car than the description they had but he was positive it was the same guy. Too late he realized his mistake in not moving as Martin floored the car, the tires squealing loudly on the garage floor before hitting him square on.

Martin looked in the rear view mirror and saw the man fly through the air and crash into a concrete pylon. He laid there like a broken doll and Martin smiled, content that he was dead as he raced out of the parking garage.

He knew where she was, where she was most likely staying. He’d get to her, somehow. He wasn’t sure exactly how yet, but he’d figure it out.


Rose said nothing about the conversation she’d just heard, about her thoughts about Dorothy that is. She did agree though that they needed more protection, something that proved true a few moments later when Vaygar’s phone rang.

He listened and headed out the door at a run, signaling Mick to follow him. “Madigan was run over, downstairs. I’m going down the stairwell,” he said as he opened the door and leapt over the side railing. Mick followed and a moment later they were downstairs and at Madigan’s side. Rose got there a minute later having taken the elevator.

Madigan was a mess, covered in blood with a bone sticking out of his thigh. “Son of a bitch!” Vaygar exclaimed and then shut his mouth quickly as he saw Rose enter the garage at a run. Mustn’t speak such words when ladies were present he reminded himself.

Rose bent to examine Madigan’s leg and let out a long breath as she checked it out. “Sorry, Maddy, but this is going to hurt. I have to put it back into place so it can heal properly.”

He nodded, knowing what was coming. “Yeah, go ahead, I’m ready.”

Vaygar held his shoulders and Rose tugged and twisted and the bone snapped back into place. Madigan let out a howl that was followed by a curse and earned a severe look from Vaygar. He looked down sheepishly, knowing how Vaygar felt about such language in front of ladies.

Rose examined the rest of his body, but the other bones had apparently already knitted back together with no problems. Vaygar helped Madigan stand and called up to the loft to get a couple of other guys to get down to the garage.

There were six of them staying in that apartment with Brody and Mick knew he needed to find more space for them. There was an apartment that was going to be vacant on the 10th floor soon and he planned on converting it for their use. He knew that they were pretty cramped where they were.

“Was it him? Martin Parker?” Vaygar asked Madigan.

“Yes sir, I think so. He had a different car though and his hair is short now. This guy had a ball cap on but he was stopped by Mrs. Griffin’s car and when he saw me he got ready to leave. I told him to stop and he decided not to.”

Mick saw the tire marks on the pavement and knew that Madigan had gotten hit hard. He also knew that he probably hadn’t noticed the tag, but he had to ask.

“Not really; I did see that it was a temp tag, like he’d just bought the vehicle. It was a new Taurus, a black one with 4 doors.”

“Hey, that helps, Madigan. I can check on that.”

The doors to the elevator opened and Vonn and Rueben stepped out, ready to take their posts. Vaygar filled them in on what had happened and both listened carefully. “He won’t get back in here again, Vaygar.” Both men nodded solemnly and watched as the group headed to the elevator. Their comrade Madigan looked like hell and both of the men prayed that the bastard would come back. They’d take care of him!


Beth was just setting the overnight bag by the door when it opened and Mick and Rose came into the apartment. She could tell by their scent and the look on their faces that something had happened but she remained silent, hoping that no one else had died.

Rose greeted Dorothy who was heating up some leftover lasagna for a late dinner. Rose sniffed it appreciatively and sat at the counter as Beth and Mick said goodbye to Dorothy.

“I’ll be calling your dad as soon as I have a bit of dinner. Jackie is due anytime now. Give your dad a hug for me, Beth, and tell him I love him.” She tried to keep her emotions under control but there was a curious scent to her when she talked about him and Beth couldn’t figure out what was causing it. Her mother just seemed to have a glow about her.

Mick walked in and glanced around the loft, focusing on Dorothy, Rose and Beth in the kitchen. “Hey, I thought I’d follow you here and then we could drive back to Josef’s together,” he said, giving Beth a quick kiss.

“Sure, sounds good to me. I’m ready anytime, Mick.”

“Okay then. Is this the bag?” he asked, nodding to the obvious bag that was sitting on the floor by the door. “Stupid question, huh?” he laughed.

Beth grinned and said, “Well, aren’t you the smart boy? Come on, genius, let’s go! Mom, see you in the morning.”

“Give him my love, sweetie.”

“You know I will.”

Dorothy and Rose both took a plate of lasagna and went to sit at the table to eat. “This is really good, Dorothy. Your mother’s recipe?”

“Actually, more like my grandmothers or maybe even older than that. A family tradition,” she said with a smile. “When you were human, did you have things like that?”

Rose took a bite of the lasagna and then sat her fork down as she contemplated the question. “Well, you must understand that the world was much different then, food was more…simple I guess is a good way to describe it. Not that there wasn’t ‘recipes’, there were, but more like roasted meat, fruit or vegetables. Those were more likely to be found on a table.”

“Um, probably much healthier fare, I’m sure. Do you, what do you remember about being human?”

“Sometimes I think not much at all and then at times I remember bits and pieces of things. I had siblings, a family, before I was chosen.”

“How were you chosen?”

Rose grinned with a shrug, “I really am not sure. Possibly in the right place at the right time? No?” she asked as Dorothy looked skeptical.

“I guess I’m just wondering what the point is? Why this happened?”

“Why thirteen of us were chosen to be recipients of the gift?”

“Well, yes. And I’m not alone when I say that many don’t think of it as a gift.”

“Certainly Mick doesn’t, but I think that’s changing. He has so much potential and the things he will learn and be able to do will win him over.” Rose wiped her mouth and hands with a napkin and continued on. “Look, Dorothy, anytime there is something wonderful, there is jealousy by others. Jealousy can make people do terrible things. When it was discovered early on that if we turned someone, they didn’t possess our gifts, it sparked hatred and rage. The only way to have our gifts is by being a birth descendant and many people didn’t like that. So, they turned the gift to something dark and evil. That made it powerful, in all the worst ways and the evil was prolific as well.”

“But even if someone is a birth descendant, they still have to be turned,” Dorothy said. “It doesn’t seem fair in a way.”

“The reason for that was simple; people should have a choice whether or not to accept the gift. The world seemed a much smaller place then, Dorothy. The enormity, the extent of the world and its inhabitants now was pretty much incomprehensible at that time.” As she spoke the last words Dorothy thought that Rose looked very sad.

“So it is not exactly what the bearers of the gift intended?”

“Not exactly is correct.”

“Who are they, Rose? Were they?”

“They were magical people, who understood a great deal about the world - at that time. They would be lost if they walked the earth these days.”

“So they are no longer here? Alive?” Dorothy asked, very curious.

“No, not as such. Dorothy, these are things that you will learn when you go to study, as will Beth and Lani and your mates. There is much to learn, but there is a method to doing that. Please, you must accept that.”

“Alright, I am very curious, but I understand. I’ll try to stop asking so many questions,” she said with a smile. She stood up and picked up their empty plates and carried them into the kitchen, with Rose following.

“Here, let me load the dishwasher. Jackie should be here soon so you can go boot the computer if you like. You are going to Skype with Clark aren’t you?”

“Yes, we are.” Dorothy looked faraway for a moment, almost lost Rose thought and then she said, “Rose, I saw him tonight.”

Rose sat the plate she was rinsing onto the counter top, giving her a moment to compose herself. She looked up and asked, “When? Where?”

“We were at Josef’s. He was outside the window. He was there for a minute or so, and then he just went away.”

It could have been worse, Rose realized. He could undoubtedly scent the human blood and yet he didn’t try to attack, an excellent sign. They needed to get him socialized quickly because from her opinion of Dorothy’s pregnancy, the babies were dropping, moving towards station zero so there wouldn’t be too much longer before the births. She licked her lips and then said, “Do you feel better, to have seen him?”

“I…yes, I think I do. He looked good, but very sad.”

Rose nodded, understanding that. “Dorothy, he’ll be ready by the time of your delivery. They are working towards that, you much understand that.”

“But you can’t promise me that, can you, Rose? I need him there; I’m so afraid this time.”

“Because of what has happened?”

“Maybe, a little. I just have this ominous feeling, in the pit of my stomach about it. There is a black cloud hanging over us and I can feel it. It’s… it’s in the air.”

Rose nodded, wishing she could disagree. But her gut told her the same thing.

To be continued…

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Chapter 18 What Becomes of the Broken-Hearted

Author's Note!

Hi Everyone!  I hope you all had a wonderful holiday!  Things were very hectic here and might be for a while still but I wanted you to know a couple of things.  I now have a Twitter account, Hopesjourney226 so if you have a Twitter account you might check in.  From time to time I'll be posting clues and information about the story!  You can also get info on my Facebook page, Cyndy Klein Hodge!  I'd love to see you at either or both places!!

Chapter 18
What Becomes of the Broken-Hearted

Beth watched her mom as she slipped the last few items into the overnight bag that Beth was packing for her and Mick. They were going to spend the night at the cottage so that Logan could go home and be with Audrey. Of course, it also gave them a chance to see how Clark would do without his sire being nearby and it was an important part of reintegrating him back into his life.

“Mom, I don’t have to go. Mick can handle this alone.” Her mom looked so sad and Beth felt a rush of guilt creep up her spine. Rose was staying here in the loft with Dorothy, who kept reassuring Beth that it was fine.

“I want you to be able to spend some time with him, honey. I just miss him so damn much and I can’t wait until I can be with him again.”

Beth hugged her mom tight and held her for a moment, scenting the distress that Dorothy was trying to hide. “Are you sure you’re okay with Rose being here with you? I could have Lani and Josef come instead, you know?”

“Don’t be silly. I’ll be fine. Actually, I’m not sure why you feel like I need someone here at all because Vaygar has his men everywhere! On the roof? Good grief, that man is going to drive me nuts. I keep looking around every time I take a shower, positive that someone is hiding in the linen closet! And don’t forget that Jackie is coming over to chat with Clark on Skype, so he can meet her.” The last words were said with a smile in an attempt to lighten the mood and Beth smiled in return, even though she knew what Dorothy was doing.

It was heartbreaking to see her mom hurting so much; Beth knew how it would feel if Mick couldn’t be with her and she was sure it was the same for her mom. Dorothy tried to be positive about it all but Beth could see that deep down she was miserable. Which made her feel more guilty for going with Mick tonight.

It wasn’t so much that she needed to be with Mick as it was that she wanted to see her dad, a purely selfish move on her part. She paused a moment in her packing, lightly chewing her bottom lip as she thought about the situation.

“Mom, I think I will stay home. I know you’re fine and that you will be fine, but I just don’t feel right about leaving you here.”

Too late she saw the anger blossom in her mother’s eyes, turning them a deep, dark chocolate brown, a sure sign she was ready to speak her mind and Beth knew that it wouldn’t be pleasant.

“You will go!! I’m right here and I’m fine! Yes, I miss him with all my heart, Beth but he’s there, cut off from his world, struggling to get himself and his emotions under control. He needs to see you! He needs the familiar, loving touch of his family, Beth. How dare you deny him that!”

The vehemence of Dorothy’s words startled Beth. She’d been so focused on how her mother was feeling that she’d forgotten what her dad must be going through. She remembered how lonely she’d felt at times when they were in Seattle. Not that Mick wasn’t wonderful to be with but she’d missed the people in her life, the people she cared about and sometimes the phone just wasn’t enough.

“You're right, Mom. I was so focused on you that I forgot what he will be going through. Of course I’ll go. I’m sorry to have upset you, Mom.”

“Thank you, Beth. That means a lot to me, but it will mean even more to him. He is so lonely, honey. I’m very worried about him.”

Beth understood what her mom was saying but she also knew that her dad was okay basically. He wasn’t in any physical danger but they didn’t know for sure whether or not that was true for her mom. Each day Mick felt more strongly that Dorothy could be in danger and he welcomed the help of Vaygar and his men.

“Hey, Mom? Do you have that scarf you were wearing yesterday? The green silk one?”

“Yes, but why?”

“I’ll take it to Dad; he’ll scent you on it and it will make him feel closer to you.”

“Oh, I hadn’t even thought of such a thing. Let me get it.”

Beth watched as she walked up the stairs, still moving fairly easily. Thank heavens all was going well with the pregnancy. She hoped that the babies could wait until Clark got home, but it was doubtful. Still, she crossed her fingers and hoped.


Lani was getting ready to meet with Heroku and Cami at Sesumi about their next project when she heard a knock. She always put her phone on cover status when going to meetings so when Heloise, her assistant stepped into the office Lani could tell immediately that something was wrong.

“Lani, I’m sorry, but you have a visitor and I think you should speak with him,” Heloise said.

Her first thought was that something was wrong with Josef, even though she knew that was ridiculous. “Who is it, Heloise?”

“It’s Detective Carl Davis, from LAPD.” The look of sadness in Heloise’s deep blue eyes deepened as she spoke and Lani stood up, on legs that were definitely shaky.

Heloise nodded and went back to her desk to show Carl in and then made a quick call to Heroku, telling him what was going on.

Lani watched as Carl walked in, his face deadly serious and she suddenly sat down as her knees gave out. Carl rushed around the desk and said, “Lani, are you alright?”

“I don’t know, Carl. Am I? What’s wrong?”

“There was a break in at your parents house last night. I’m afraid your father has been killed. Lani, I’m so sorry.”

Lani drug in a deep breath that then escaped slowly, painfully. A sob shook her to the core; it was a reaction that she hadn’t ever expected to have. She wasn’t close to her father, why did she feel so horrible?

“My, my…mother?”

“She wasn’t there apparently. She’s on her way back to LA from Palm Springs. The housekeeper found your dad this morning when she came to work. Lani, would you like me to call someone? Beth, Josef?”

She nodded, wishing she could breathe. She tried to pull air into her lungs but they weren’t working. The next thing she knew she felt a light-headed sensation take over and she sat back the chair, trying to suck in gulps of air. Heroku and Cami came into the office and Lani went to sit on the couch, her eyes filling with tears as Cami sat down next to her and gave her a hug, telling her it would be fine, trying to reassure her friend.

It took less than 15 minutes for Josef to get there and as soon as he saw her his heart broke. He scooped her up into his arms and held her close, murmuring soothing words to her and trying to calm her down. Heroku and Cami left the office and Carl sat by nervously, waiting to see if there were more questions.

Beth, quickly followed by Mick appeared a few minutes later and Beth sat with Lani while Josef and Mick talked quietly with Carl.

“It happened sometime last evening, ME puts time of death around 11 pm. He was stabbed, multiple times.” He watched Mick’s expression carefully to see if he put two and two together.

“Stabbed? Do you think there is any connection?”

“I don’t know. It does look like there was a robbery though; the safe was open and empty. We think that Marcus Parker opened it himself because there was no damage to it and no fingerprints other than his. Luka is there on the scene while they process the crime scene for as much information as they can gather. Her mom wasn’t there, no one but Marcus was.”

“Carl, I need to get into that crime scene.” Mick glanced over his shoulder at Beth who had an arm around Lani. Lani’s head was lying on Beth’s shoulder, her eyes closed but she was still crying softly.

“I know and I’m going to get you in as quickly as possible. The body is already at the morgue, so shall we start there, Mick?”

Mick looked again at Beth who nodded. “Okay, let’s go. Josef, are you taking Lani home?”

“Yes, as quickly as I can. I suppose we’ll have to see her mom at some point.”

“I believe she’s due in within the hour, Josef.”

Josef nodded tersely and went back to the couch. “Lani, I’m taking you home Sweetness. Beth, would you like to come with us?”

“Of course, Josef. I’ll follow you there. I just want to talk to Mick and Carl for a second.”

Josef gathered Lani’s coat and purse and Beth helped to get the coat on her and then they left. All three watched them leave and Mick saw that Beth was genuinely upset about it all.

“You’re going to the morgue? I need to go too, before I go to Josef’s.”

“Beth, you don’t have to.”

“I know I don’t have to but I need to. I can sometimes see things that you can’t Mick. It won’t delay me too much. Let’s go.”

Beth looked at Josef who had heard the conversation; he nodded at her and she left with Mick and Carl. Her stomach was twisted with the pain that her friend was going through, making her feel sort of ill. On the way to the morgue she gave her mom a call and told her what they knew at this point and Dorothy listened quietly, hurting for Lani.

Dorothy couldn’t say or think a single decent thing about Marcus Parker. Growing up he’d been a cruel bastard with a brutal streak. He’d finally gotten what he deserved but unfortunately he’d left behind a family that would have to come to terms with his passing.

Over the years Dorothy had seen Marcus and Helen Parker, the last time at Josef’s house for the Sesumi party. She’d always done her best to ignore their existence but it was hard considering the memories she had. She closed her eyes tightly for a moment, trying to shut the past out, even though she knew from experience she couldn’t.

Was this justice? Karma? She’d like to think so.


At the morgue when Guillermo pulled the cover off of Marcus Parkers body and waves of fear and anger rolled off of it. It hit Beth in the gut and she sucked in a deep breath, almost doubled over with the pain and lost in the moment he’d died. She saw him on the floor, trying to fight off the blows and then watched as he lay there, the blood flow gradually stopping as his heart could no longer pump. Mick reached out to steady her as she viewed the scene.

She focused, looking at the back of the man who held the knife and when he turned around she saw those eyes, they same eyes behind the mask of the man who had attacked her dad. She looked at his face, trying to remember it so she could describe it. There was something familiar about it, but she couldn’t think, this close to Marcus’ body. She was right there, she could scent the blood, the fear that tainted the air with an acrid odor.

She opened her eyes and tried to step away only to realize that Mick was holding her up. His beautiful eyes were watching her with love and concern. She tried to give him a smile but knew it was impossible.

“I, the eyes…it’s the same guy who attacked Dad. The same guy. I got a good look at his face.”

Mick nodded, agreeing with her. “Come on, Beth. Let’s go sit down and you can tell us what you saw. Guillermo, can we use your office?”

“Sure, but it’s pretty cramped in there, sorry.”

“That’s okay. Come on, Beth.” Guillermo and Carl both followed them into the tiny room, closer to a closet than an office really.

“Tell us what you saw, Beth.” Mick said, kneeling down by her as she sat in the desk chair.

Beth swallowed hard, trying to get herself under control. It was so vivid, so graphic. Hate and brutality tainted the scene, washing over it in a dirty rush and she’d picked up every bit of it. This was a crime of passion, not just some random burglary. This guy knew Marcus. If so, what was the connection to Clark?

She tried to share all her impressions with them, tried to make them understand how sure she was about what she saw, what she felt. “Mick, what did you scent?”

“Most of what you saw, baby. It was a pretty wicked scene.” He looked into her blue eyes that were so full of pain and distress and he wanted to be able to wipe it all away and yet he couldn’t. Her gift actually took her into the scene while his only allowed him to see it.

“I know him, or I’ve seen him, Mick. I know it!”

“You know him? Who is he, Beth?”

“I don’t know, exactly. But I’ve seen him. His face was a bit different, maybe, but I know him.”

“Beth, could you work with us and do a composite picture of him? We’d have to go to the station.”

“Yes, but how will you explain that? There were no witnesses, Carl.”

“We’ll worry about that later. If he’s the same guy that attacked Clark I doubt if the police will be involved.” He looked at Mick who nodded. They both knew exactly what would happen if they found the guy.

“Okay, let’s try then. I can’t get that face out of my mind.”


Dorothy was frantic; she needed to be with Lani; she loved her and wanted to support her. But going to the mansion had risks; she’d be so close to Clark and yet wouldn’t be able to see him. How hard would that be? Could she control her need to see her husband? She had to, she had to be there for Lani. She picked up the phone and then realized how senseless that was; instead she walked out into the hallway, under the watchful eyes of one of Vaygar’s men and knocked on the door of Brody’s apartment which was functioning as Vaygar’s base of operations.

He opened the door with a smile and a slight bow. “Knock it off, Vaygar! Don’t you ever stop?” she asked, irritation in her voice. “I need to go the Kostan house, now.”

“Oh course, mila…um, Dorothy,” he said, checking himself before the ‘milady’ came out. For some reason the genteel courtesy irritated her. He couldn’t help but wonder if it was due to the late stage of her confinement. Who was he kidding he realized, there was nothing ‘confined’ about this woman. “Might I ask why?”

“You may, but I don’t have to tell you!” she said in a bit of defiance. At his worried look she felt contrite and added, “Lani, her father has been killed. I need to go and be with her. She’s like my daughter. Please, can we go quickly?”

“Of course, but are you sure? It will be hard for you, Dorothy.”

The gentle look of concern in his eyes almost made her cry. She actually wanted to hug him because she was so upset but she kept that thoughts in check. “Yes, it will but sometimes we have to put aside our personal feelings. Lani needs me. I’m strong, I can do this.”

“To be sure, you are quite strong, Dorothy. Please, it’s chilly out so do gather your cloak and then we’ll go. I’ll take you personally.”

“Thank you, Vaygar.” Her words were quietly spoken and deeply felt. She had such a big heart he knew and for a moment he thought about how lucky a man Clark Griffin was to be wedded to such a woman.


Beth worked with Sergeant Edie Petrowski at the composite computer for an hour, trying out different chins and face shapes and such. While the face was vividly implanted into her mind she found that actually describing him was a bit tough. As the picture began to take shape Mick stared at it in amazement. He and Carl went to his computer and he had Carl pull up the DL picture of Vinton McCullough.

“You’re right, it’s close, but somewhat different. Eyes for one thing and look at the nose, that’s different too.” Carl printed it out and they kept it with them when they went back to the composite computer but didn’t show it to Beth.

When Beth felt the picture was done she stared at it, more convinced than ever that she knew this man. Sergeant Petrowski printed it out and asked if Carl wanted a BOLO put out on it.

“No, right now we’re not even sure if this is the guy we want. But thanks, Edie. Can I take the picture?”

“Sure. It will be saved on the computer so let me know if you need it later,” she said as they walked away. She couldn’t help but be curious about it because Ms. St. John seemed sure about the picture, but she let it go with a shrug. Maybe she wasn’t as sure as she seemed or Detective Davis didn’t think she was reliable. Who could tell?

At Josef’s house, Josef watched as Franklin showed Dorothy in; he could only hope that this visit went well, but he knew that Lani would be happy to see her.

Helen Parker had called Lani when she got home, more concerned about the inconvenience to her since she had to stay in a hotel instead of her home because the incompetent police were taking so much time processing the house that was considered a crime scene for heaven’s sake!

She never once asked how Lani was or expressed any sadness that her husband had been murdered. Josef hoped she stayed away because right now he’d love to drain that bitch. Instead, he made arrangement for the Cleaners to take care of the house later, after Mick and Beth had a chance to look at it and then he also made reservations for her to stay in one of LA’s best hotels, on him. Anything to keep her from staying here, which was what she was hinting at.

If he thought that it would bring Lani comfort he’d move her in, lock, stock and barrel, but that wasn’t the case. Lani and her mother would have to work together for the funeral arrangements but he hoped that her exposure to that miserable woman would be limited to that. He knew for a fact, from Ryder’s investigation into the Parker’s finances that she’d be well-taken care of so at least he wouldn’t have to deal with that.

“Dorothy,” he said, taking her hand and then hugging her lightly. He could feel her tremble and knew that this was very hard for her. “Thank you for coming. Lani is in the den and I know she’ll be happy to see you. It means so much. Would you like some tea or juice?”

“No, thank you, Josef. I’ll just go and see Lani now.”

“Certainly. I’ll be right along.” As she walked away he eyed Vaygar for a moment; the man was watching Dorothy like a hawk. In vamp tones he said, “She’s perfectly fine, Vaygar. Would you care for a beverage?”

Vaygar got his meaning and shook his head no and then looked around the foyer with interest. Opulent and yet it wasn’t austere feeling at all. He followed Josef down a hallway into a very comfortable and warm room, both in temperature and detail.

It was large, with plush leather furniture and a very large television on one side of the room and a huge walnut bookcase built into another. It was filled with hundreds of books and many of them were extremely rare, Vaygar realized. A fireplace crackled quietly in the background, the flames low more as a visual comfort than for warmth. Dorothy was already sitting on one of the couches, holding Lani tightly as she cried, stroking her hair and patting her back. Quiet words of comfort where murmured into her ear but they mattered not at this point. The child had just lost a parent and that was never an easy burden.

Franklin hovered in the doorway, completely unsure as to what to do. He cared about Miss Lani with all his old heart and he’d do anything to take this pain from her and lift her spirits. It had been centuries since he’d lost someone he’d been connected to, in the human world and the memories were vague at best. Josef cast him a sympathetic look as he sipped a glass of scotch near the fireplace. His look said it all, there was nothing to do at the moment.

Dorothy finally got Lani calmed down a bit and sat with her arm protectively around her. Josef remembered the night that Beth had been turned and Lani’s grief, how Dorothy had done the same thing. That was the night that he’d decided that Dorothy Griffin was an amazing woman; she shared her love openly and freely.

A little while later they heard the doorbell again and Josef started to leave the room but Franklin shook his head and said, “I’ll get it, Josef.”

Beth and Mick stood and waited for the door to be opened. As soon as it opened Beth stepped through and saw the sadness etched into Franklin’s face. “How is she, Franklin?”

“Not well at all, Miss Beth. I’ve never seen her suffer so.”

Beth nodded and reached out and laid her hand on the usually stoic vampires arm. “I know, Franklin. We’ll get her through this though. I saw who did it; now all we have to do is find him. It was the same man who attacked my dad.”

“You're sure, Miss Beth?” Franklin knew that she possessed some very accurate skills when scenting a scene. Josef had remarked on it a number times. He said there was no getting around the fact that she was always dead on. He hoped that this was the case this time. He nodded and said, “They are in the den; your mother is here as well. May I get you something to drink?”

If she was shocked by the news that her mother was here she didn’t show it. Actually, she’d expected it and was even glad for Lani’s sake. She smiled at Franklin again as both she and Mick declined his offer. He looked lost; his way of helping was action and yet there was nothing for him to do. He led them down the hall to the den and Beth immediately went to Lani and her mom, while Mick joined Josef and Vaygar by the mantle. He accepted a scotch from Josef and sipped slowly, watching the women.

Josef sipped pensively, quietly but Mick saw the deadly look in his eye. They spoke quietly, in vamp tones and he filled Mick in on the situation with Lani’s mother. Mick was also filled with a sense of outrage because of that callous, spoiled woman. Yes, he knew the story now, from Beth about Lani’s upbringing but this was a situation where she needed to worry about her daughter and show a little grief instead of complaining about the inconvenience she was experiencing.

In one way Mick was a bit surprised by how hard Lani was taking her father’s death, considering that past, but losing a parent is devastating. He remembered when his parents had passed and how it had hurt so much and he hadn’t been able to contact his sister, who must surely have struggled with it all.

All of which made him think of her for a moment as a fluid rush of guilt washed over him. Another day, he’d figure it out another day.

“Beth saw it all, very clearly, too clearly for my taste because she actually seemed to experience the situation while it was happening. But she saw who did it and it was the same guy who attacked Clark. We have a composite of him and she is sure she’s seen him in the past.”

Lani was wiping her eyes and took a sip of some water that Franklin had brought in. She was pale, ghastly pale and Josef was glad she wasn’t crying any longer; that was good.

“Lani, Sweetness, Beth saw who did it. She has a picture of him. It was the same man who attacked Clark. We’re going to find him and take care of him, I promise you,” Josef said and watched as curiosity sparked in her eyes for a moment.

“Is that true, Beth? You saw him, in…in your mind?” Lani wasn’t exactly sure how it worked but she knew that Beth was good at it.

“Yes, I did. We did a composite picture of him and I swear I know him from somewhere. Unfortunately, I don’t know where,” she said with a frown. “Do you want to see?”

“Yes, I do.”

Beth pulled the picture out of her purse and showed it to Lani, whose face flamed for a moment and then paled again, her eyes tearing up as she gasped for breath.

Dorothy saw the picture as well and her worst nightmare had just came to knock on her door. Her first fears, after Clark had been attacked all came rushing back and she knew that she was going to have to tell her story now. She had to tell Clark the truth first though, he deserved it. She also recognized that most likely she was in danger too, if Martin meant what he’d said in the past. Having Vaygar and his men around was a comforting thing because she had the babies to think of now. Her eyes closed tightly for a moment and she took a deep, steadying breath.

“Beth,” Lani said, “That’s my uncle Martin. Of course you know him but it’s been a number of years. Yes, definitely it’s my uncle Martin.”

Mick watched understanding spread over his wife’s face but it was Dorothy’s expression that actually concerned him the most.

She had a story to tell and he knew that it wasn’t going to be a good one.

To be continued…