Chapter 21 Joyride
Where are you? You're such a little scamp!” Mrs. Carter said, looking
out into the darkness for the little brown floppy-haired dog.
She didn’t see any movement and she didn’t hear him
either, only the far away sound of an automobile coming down the hill.
She needed to find him before he scampered out into the roadway. Silly
dog didn’t have a lick of sense.
She had searched the yard for a
hole, or a broken board in the fence that he could get out of, but she
hadn’t found anything. It was completely frustrating, and it made her
madder than blue blazes too. How in the world did the little imp get
He was just too small to jump the 4 foot high fence, or at
least he should be. Inside the house he couldn’t seem to make the jump
up onto the sofa and she was beginning to think that he was playing on
her sympathies. If he could jump the fence he could certainly jump up
on the sofa or bed by himself instead of looking at her with his sad
little puppy dog eyes as if to say “Please, mommy, I need help!”
Well, she wasn’t buying that one anymore! So siree! Never again.
she thought about it she knew that she’d give into him, no matter how
mad she was now. But one thing was for sure, she was going to get a
fence he couldn’t jump!
“Noodle!” Suddenly, she saw the glint of
headlights around the bend in the road and she headed out to the road,
frantically calling for Noodle. She spotted him just as the car
approached. Thankfully the driver saw him too and came to a rapid halt.
my goodness, he’s okay isn’t he? I didn’t hit him?” Beth said as she
jumped out of the car and quickly picked up the errant ball of brown
fur. Noodle looked at her for a moment and let out a whimper and Beth
quickly handed him to Mrs. Carter. A glance at the mailbox startled her
and she suddenly knew exactly who this woman was. She cast a look at
Mick in the car and realized he knew who she was as well and was doing
his best to be inconspicuous. He dad seemed to be calm in the back
seat, which was a good thing at least.
“You silly dog. Bad boy, Noodle!” Mrs. Carter scolded but the only thing Beth heard in her tone was relief.
believe I know who you are, Mrs. Carter. My friend Lani talks about
you and Noodle frequently. She adores you both.” Beth cast a sideways
glance at Mick, knowing that he could hear her words. He’d be mad but
sooner or later he had to face her. She was coming to Lani and Josef’s
wedding and there would be no ignoring her there.
“My dear, Lani!
How is she? I love it when she comes to visit and last time she
brought that dashing young man of hers. I am looking forward to
attending their wedding. You surely must be Beth?”
“Why yes, I
am.” Another glance at the car reminded her that Clark could be
struggling and she needed to get them moving again. “I will look
forward to seeing you at the wedding, Mrs. Carter, but I’m afraid I must
rush right now.” She reached out and let Noodle sniff her hand, but he
pulled away and so she just smiled and stepped away.
“Goodbye, I enjoyed meeting you!” she called out with a wave.
Carter watched the car move away and frowned at Noodle. “What IS your
problem? She’s such a nice girl, Noodle. Shame on you!” Noodle ducked
his head under her arm as they made their way into the house. “Silly
In the car, Mick’s face stared stonily ahead but Beth could
scent his anger; it was rolling off of him in waves and she knew that
he struggled to control it. She also knew that he was ashamed as well.
sat in the back, silent as he took in all scents he couldn’t quite
identify. Beth pulled into an empty parking lot and turned the car off.
The three of them sat silently for a moment and then Beth asked Clark
how he was.
“I’m okay. I could scent the blood and I have to
admit it made me feel a bit weak just like earlier tonight but I sipped
the blood and it was okay.”
“What the hell do you mean, ‘earlier tonight’, Clark?” Mick asked, piercing Clark with a burning look. “What happened?”
swallowed convulsively, suddenly taken aback of Mick’s anger. “I, uh
I, at the house, I sensed something was wrong and went and looked in the
window at Josef’s. I was afraid that something was wrong with Dorothy
or the babies.”
“Why didn’t you tell us that?” The scowl on
Mick’s face was a bit intimidating but Clark relaxed a little, sensing
the blinding anger was over with.
“I told Logan, I guess it just
slipped my mind. Nothing happened, really. I looked in the window and
saw that Dorothy seemed to be fine but that Lani wasn’t and I could
scent the blood and went back to the guest house. Nothing happened.” He
spread his arms in a shrug.
“But you scented the blood and walked away on your own?”
I did. Despite the circumstances, Mick, I can control myself,” Clark
said, a hint of exasperation in his voice. “I’m working hard on it; I
have to be ready for when the babies are born. I have to be. I WILL
be,” he said and the conviction in his voice rang true for all of them.
Mick contemplated his words for a moment. Okay,
so he seemed to have some self control. Still, both times there was
glass separating him from the human’s. That didn’t make him ready to
re-enter the mortal world. But, he was ready to begin the socialization
process Mick decided. Hoped.
“Sorry, Clark – for the
scare.” Mick knew that his anger had panicked Clark a bit and he felt
bad about it. Part of that was due to Beth and his sister, but they
could tackle that tomorrow when they were alone. But, he was still
pissed about it.
“Let’s take a quick ride through the mall
parking lot. That way we can keep moving and not seem too out of place.
I can get us out of there in a hurry if need be,” Beth told them. For
a moment Mick looked hesitant and then he finally nodded his head.
“Clark, keep that blood handy,” he reminded as they headed down the road to the mall, about a mile away.
stopped at three traffic lights on the way and Clark didn’t seem in the
bit bothered by it. He did sip from the cup a couple of times, but he
A movie had just gotten out at the mall and there
were many people walking to their cars, which neither Beth nor Mick had
counted on. She kept a distance from them but the heady scent of warm,
human, pulsing blood was everywhere.
Finally Clark said, “I think I’ve had enough, Beth. Can we go now?”
“Of course. On our way,” she told him with a smile. “It was starting to get to me a bit too, Dad.”
looked askance at her for a minute, knowing that statement couldn’t be
true; Beth had better control of her senses than he did. It occurred to
him that she was perhaps trying to make Clark feel better. It seemed
Back at Josef’s they settled in for the rest of the night and Mick questioned Clark about his experience.
felt great actually. The scent of the blood didn’t really bother me,
but I really wanted to get out at the mall and just walk freely again.
God, I miss that!”
His statement surprised both Mick and Beth.
Still, it meant that he was coming along. He might just make it home
for the birth of those babies yet.
pulled out of the building parking lot with enraged fury ripping
through him in waves. Who the hell was that asshole who tried to
question him? He hoped that he’d killed the bastard when he hit him.
thing was for sure; they were looking for him and protecting her. It
was time for a couple of changes and one of them was already planned for
tomorrow. He was getting new identity, completely new in fact and
meant he’d have to get the car registered in a different name, other
than Vinton McCullough’s. Hell, maybe he’d even get a different car
because they were looking for this one now.
Those bastards were
not going to keep him from her, he’d kill them all first. A smile swept
over his face as he contemplated that thought and he sighed with the
pleasure he’d feel watching them die.
A new identity would
provide him with a whole new life. Maybe they’d head to Mexico or down
in South America somewhere; take in some local color and he’d heard you
could live dirt cheat there too.
It was always good when he had a plan and this was one of his best.
The ride back to the guest house was mostly silent; all three of them contemplating how the night had gone.
the most part, Clark was happy. He’d been out, had been around
humanity and hadn’t even been tempted to break out of the car. He knew
that the windows were closed but he could easily scent the blood all
around him at the mall. Clark knew that he was ready for more exposure
and the sooner the better. His wife needed him and he had to be there
for her and the babies. He HAD to be.
Beth was impressed with
her dad’s reaction to the evening. She felt sure that if he’d really
been determined he could have gotten out of the car and he hadn’t shown
even the tiniest bit of need to do so. Mick was so worried about Clark
going rogue that he just wasn’t seeing that he was doing fine. She
didn’t understand why Mick felt the need to keep new vampires away from
the world for so long. Had Coraline done that to him?
made her want to ask questions but wisdom made her not do it. He wasn’t
ready to talk yet because he was still upset with her about his sister.
He was going to have to face it soon, but that event made her anxious
because it would tear him up. She knew that he felt so much shame over
what had happened to him. Talking to her would ultimately be a good
thing, eventually. She hoped.
Mick’s brain was working overtime.
Was he being too hard on Clark? Maybe he was farther along than he
thought. And, after all, the fact was that Clark was Logan’s fledgling,
not his. Coraline hadn’t kept him separate at all and he’d killed
ruthlessly but he couldn’t handle it and he ran to Josef’s, wanting to
die. He knew what he’d been capable of, what he took so much pleasure
in when he’d drained that young woman that night and the fear of that
loss of control had always haunted him. How could he separate his
actions from others? He couldn’t bear the thought, the guilt that he
would feel if he didn’t spare other fledglings the same thing,
especially if keeping them separated for a while would prevent it.
then was the situation of his sister. He felt like he was watching a
movie, “Of all the gin joints in all the world…” or something like that.
Beth had managed to see the little dog, which was good, but why did it
have to be his sister’s? How on earth could he explain all this to her,
that he’d been turned into a vampire and that it had been dangerous to
see his family?
Had it been? He knew that immediately it had
been but after awhile? Coraline had said so, but he’d also seen in the
past year or so that it wasn’t necessarily true. He’d cut himself off
from everyone who had loved him for decades to protect them but he was
beginning to believe that part of that was because Coraline didn’t want
him to be around anyone except who she chose. God, that bitch was so
Which lead him back to Maeve? Was she even
physically strong enough to handle the news about him? What if she had a
heart attack or a stroke or something because he revealed himself to
What if? He sighed in frustration and closed his eyes, wanting to shut it all out for a few minutes. Just a few minutes…
Beth and Clark all rested fitfully that night. Excitement was the
reason for Clark, finally feeling as if he was making headway and would
be ready soon. Beth was still concerned for Mick, who had hardly spoken
and also for Lani. She hoped that her friend had rested some this
night. She and Mick decided to go up to the house when Logan got back
to the guest house in the morning.
Logan came back around 10 am,
smiling a mile wide and with a satisfied twinkle in his eyes. It did
Clark good to see and understand that his brother had needed the time
and that it was well spent.
Mick explained about the previous
night’s adventures and Logan seemed happy about it. “Looks like you may
be free before too long, brother!”
Clark beamed at the words. “I can’t say it’s too soon. Can we go out again tonight?” he asked hopefully.
“I don’t see why not,” Logan said and then saw the look of unease on Mick’s face and added, “We’ll be very cautious, Mick.”
“Yeah, I know.” He closed his mouth then, trying to refrain from saying anything else.
saw that he was getting upset again and said, “Hey, Logan, do you mind
if Mick and I get out of here? I want to go and check on Lani.”
go ahead. Thanks so much for giving me some time with Audey. We both
appreciated it.” He and Clark waved as Mick and Beth walked towards the
house and it didn’t take a genius to see that Mick was still very
tense. Clark told Logan about Mick’s sister and it all began to make a
little more sense.
“That’s going to be a real problem for him. He’ll figure it all out though. Beth will help him.”
Clark nodded, knowing that to be true.
“Good morning, my love,” Josef said to Lani, as she stretched in the bed and turned to face him for a morning kiss.
warm lips lingered briefly against his cool ones as the kiss comforted
them both. “Good morning to you as well my delicious vampire.”
“How are you this morning, Lani? Do you feel okay?”
slight frown crossed her face as she thought about the question. “I
still feel in a bit of shock about it all and I have to say I’m more
than puzzled about my reaction to it. I mean, I wasn’t close with him,
far from it but it still hurt to know he died. Especially that way!” she
finished with a shudder.
“Sweetness, there is some truth to the
old adage, ‘blood is thicker than water’, you know. It’s just going to
take you a bit of time to get over it.”
“I guess. Have you
spoken with my mother?” Lani had a strange suspicion that he had. Her
mother would have no clue about what to do in a situation like this.
I spoke briefly with her last night. She wanted me to wake you up so
she could talk to you but I refused. You needed your rest.”
nodded at his words but still sighed inwardly. She knew that she and
Josef were going to have to take charge of the situation and she told
Josef as much.
Josef pulled her closer for a hug. “I know that,
Lani. We’ll get through it all. Hopefully your father left her a large
insurance policy and we can take care of the funeral expenses so she
doesn’t have to deal with that. It will all be okay.” To himself he
thought that one way or another, he would make sure that Helen would
have plenty of money so she would stay the hell out of Lani’s life.
sighed and snuggled into his shoulder, trusting him in this matter.
Suddenly her stomach growled and while she frowned, she saw Josef grin.
“I guess I’m hungry,” she said apologetically.
is a good thing!” he told her, running his fingertip down her nose and
following it with another kiss. “What would you like for breakfast,
She thought about it for a moment and then said, “I
know this sounds really strange but I’d like pancakes with peanut butter
cups in them and sliced jalapeno’s on top.”
Josef winced at that combination of ingredients. “If that’s what you want, but are you sure about that?”
sat up in bed with a smile, stretching her arms over her head. Her
breasts looked beautiful in the morning light, creamy globes topped with
cherries that looked good enough to eat.
He stared at her for a
moment, feeling his passion for her grow each second. He wanted her
fed but he also wanted her! Just then there was a light tap on the
“Yes?” he asked, knowing that it was Franklin.
“I’m sorry to disturb you but Miss Beth and Mick are waiting downstairs. Shall I have them return later?”
that’s okay, we’re awake. Can you get Lani her breakfast?” He told
Franklin what she wanted and wished he could see Franklin’s face at the
“Certainly. I’ll tell cook to prepare it. Would you like it up here, or downstairs?”
I can’t wait for Mick to see this,” he laughed. Lani gave him an
impertinent and saucy grin then headed to the shower, winking at him.
Ah, opportunity raises its head again. He wasn’t going to waste it this time. They could be quick, maybe!
To be continued…