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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…