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