Don't forget to check in on Facebook or Twitter for tidbits about the story! You never know what you might learn!!!
In the Air Tonight
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 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.”
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.”
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.”
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
“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?”
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
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?
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.
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.”
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?”
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?”
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,
“Are you saying that you think it’s possible that Martin Parker is the father of Beth?”
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.
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.
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
“Hold it!” a commanding voice said, standing directly in front of the car. “Who are you here to see?”
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!”
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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!
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.”
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.”
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?”
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?”
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?”
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.”
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.”
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?”
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.
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
“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
“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.”
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.”
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.”
nodded, understanding that. “Dorothy, he’ll be ready by the time of
your delivery. They are working towards that, you much understand
“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?”
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
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!!
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?
“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…
Posted by Hope at 12:05 AM