Where Evil Lurks

Welcome to Moonlight Madness - Where Evil Lurks

This is the fourth story in my Moonlight saga.

Story One - The Beginning - Beth's Diary

Story Two - With Arms Wide Open

Story Three - Barely Breathing

Cast of Characters

Monday, December 22, 2014

Chapter 29 Highway to Hell

Highway to Hell

Early summer, 1980

Martin was running again, but this time it was for the sheer joy of the experience. He'd just had Dorothy Turner and taught her a lesson that she'd never forget. He was suitably impressed with his treatment of her as well; that stupid bitch wouldn't run back to Clark Griffin now. He'd made sure that she'd never do that again; he had no doubt that she'd do exactly what he told her, if she knew what was good for her that is.

The downer came when he got home and his father bellowed at him from his office upstairs. No telling what the old bastard wanted Martin thought as he climbed the stairs, taking his time just to irritate his father just a little bit more.

Richard Parker had been on the warpath for a week now, ever since his son had been expelled from high school; his idiot son was incapable of just shutting up and finishing his last year in peace. No, instead he'd got into a fight, using a knife of all things, which brought the local police into it all. It had cost Richard a pretty penny to ensure that no charges had been filed but no matter what he offered to them, the school refused to let Martin come back in the fall.

Instead, Richard had confirmation today that Martin would be allowed to attend a military academy in the fall. It specialized in 'rehabilitating' young men who had authority issues, something that Martin had in spades. It was going to be a hard year for him, but Richard knew it was the best thing for his son. And it would keep him out of the way as well and if he got a bit of sense knocked into him here and there, well, Richard would cry over that.

He waited impatiently for Martin to get upstairs so that he could let him know. It wasn't going to be a pleasant conversation and because of that Richard had been fortifying himself with his best whiskey all evening. Yes, he was past the point of much clear thought he acknowledged, but it didn't take much of a clear head to tell the kid that he was being shipped away, whether he liked it or not.

"You screeched?" Martin said, disrespect dripping from his voice. He flopped down into one of his father's expensive hand-tooled leather wing chairs and threw one leg over and arm and let it swing against the fine leather, leaving scuff marks.

"Watch your fucking mouth! Show some respect," Richard spate, kicking his son's leg down onto the floor.

Martin only scowled and put his leg back over the arm, his scathing look daring his father to move it again. He'd had about enough of all this. He was going to be 18 in two weeks and he was getting out of here then.

"I have received a confirmation today that you'll be attending Benton Academy in the fall for your last year of high school. You'll leave on August 12; for god's sake, stay out of trouble until then. I do not plan to pay the police anymore money to keep you out of jail. If you get in trouble again, you'll be on your own."

"I've always been on my own, haven't I? I was never a part of the Parker boys club, was I? You and Marcus, such pompous pricks, always telling me what a disappointment I was. I killed my mother, that's what you said." Martin came to his feet in a lithe move that was exquisitely fluid and as he took a step towards his father Richard recognized the hatred in his son's eyes.

"You watch how you talk to me. I won't stand for this insubordination, and neither will Benton Academy. You'd better get used to towing the line, Martin. You're a worthless human being but that academy is going to beat you into shape."

"Submission, you mean don't you? Something you could never do, could you old man?"

Richard swung at his son, his fist barely missing Martin's jaw. He stumbled and managed to catch himself by grabbing the chair before he hit the floor. He turned and looked at Martin, completely enraged.

Martin watched the vein that had popped out on his father's forehead. He stared at it in fascination. It throbbed rhythmically; had there been music it might have kept time. The more he stared the madder his father got; his face was flushed bright red and Martin watched as Richard fell to his knees, holding his head.

"Call…the police…ambulance…" Richard sputtered.

"No, I don't think so." Martin knelt down at his father's side; the old man was dying. Probably. Hopefully. He was wheezing furiously now, his hand reaching out to his son, opening and closing spasmodically.

Martin watched it all with interest; he probably was dying, which was okay. But if he survived, he wouldn't forget that Martin hadn't helped him. That posed a big problem. There was no one else here now; the housekeeper left at 6 everyday. Martin made a decision and then picked up his sputtering father and carried him to the top of the stairs. He held him for a minute and told him, "You are the sorriest excuse for a father and human being I've ever known. You don't deserve to live."
He then tossed his father down the stairs and watched as he bounced and rolled and finally came to a stop at the bottom after hitting his head against the mahogany support at the bottom. Martin ran quickly down the stairs and noticed that his father's head was at an unusual angle and that he'd peed himself. This was death, to be sure. He stepped over the body and headed over to Johnny's house; maybe they could go out cruising for awhile, then he'd get him to come back to Martin's house, where they could 'find' the body of his drunken father lying at the bottom of the staircase. As he closed the door he started whistling. Not such a bad night after all.

The coroner's report stated that Richard had died from a fall that was the result of heavy alcohol consumption and complicated by a stroke. He had evidently wandered too close to the staircase, or possibly had attempted to go downstairs, but he'd lost his footing and died. His younger son and his friend discovered him at 1 am when they came back to the home.

The next week went by in a blur and when the will was finally read left Martin furious; Richard had left Marcus in control of everything. Martin was to be granted five thousand dollars on his eighteenth birthday, providing he was in school. Upon graduation from college he would be granted twenty-five thousand more, at the discretion of Marcus if he was satisfied that Martin was achieving his potential.

What potential? Martin mulled that over and over; both of those two bastards had seen to it that he'd never achieve anything. When someone calls you stupid and worthless for as many years as they did you couldn't help but believe it. He was a product of his environment he decided. What was it they called it all?
Nature or Nurture? He was what nurture got you.

He made nice until his birthday, convincing Marcus that he'd seen the error of his ways and was willing to go to military school in the fall. Not that it took a lot of convincing; Marcus didn't want to be bothered with his younger brother. He was anxious to get back to New York. He'd graduated in May and was looking for work, Helena was pregnant and he had a life. He was not a babysitter for his reprobate brother.

As soon as Martin had the money in hand he hit the road. He had thought at first that five thousand dollars would last him for a couple years but quickly realized that wasn't the case, even in Mexico. But it kept him drunk and angry for a good long while and that was what mattered. He had to figure out a way to get that other twenty-five thousand from Marcus. He was sure he could. One way or the other, he'd get that money and he wasn't going to wait much longer.


"Not much longer, Dorie. Maybe two days and I'll be home with you girl. I can't wait!" Clark's words had a low, sexual tone to them that made her shiver with need and desire. Not that they could do anything about that, for a while at least, but just to be in his arms again would be perfect.

She remembered something that Rose had told her and she said, "Rose told me that if you give me a few drops of your blood everyday that I'll heal faster, after the birth I mean." When she said that she blushed furiously, knowing exactly why she wanted to heal quickly.

He gave a low chuckle over the phone; it was like he was reading her mind.

"Vaygar told me the same thing. He also explained about vampire mates."

Mates to Dorothy were two people who were married or together, so what was the difference? She couldn't help be ask.

"Vampire mates are on a different level, Dorie. When a vampire bites their lover, other vampires can scent that on the human. When the human takes some of the vampire's blood other vampires can scent that at well. It means they are mated and warns other vamps to stay away."

"I have so much to learn. Honestly, how can you do that?"

"Honestly?" he laughed. "I honestly don't know." He heard her giggle over the phone and it made him so happy. She hadn't been doing much of that lately; then again, neither had he.

"Clark, when you're home, I…I have something things I need to tell you." She swallowed hard and felt her heart beat speed up since he didn't speak immediately.

"Dorie, I know it was Martin Parker that raped you." He heard her break into a sob and was tempted to go to her now, she needed him.

"Clark, how did you know?"

"It wasn't hard to figure out; since he's the one that tried to kill me, it made sense. Baby, you need to know that when I'm out of here I'm going to find that bastard and kill him. It is my right."

"Your right? Clark, I want you to stay far away from him, do you hear me? What if he kills you this time?"

"Honey, he can't kill me. And it's my right as a man and a vampire to exact vengeance for what he did to you. It's the vampire way. I will do this, you need to understand that."

Dorothy was quiet while she let his words settle on her; it wasn't right and she could only hope that he'd change his mind. She decided to try and change the subject, for both of their sakes.

"Merri called me this afternoon. She and Kip are going to be here over Christmas. They want to see us and the babies. That is, supposing that they have decided to make an entrance by then."

"They will, or so Vaygar tells me. How are they?" Over the years they had stayed in contact with their childhood best friends. Kip had attended USC with Clark, although he'd been two years ahead due to Clark's army enlistment. He'd studied to be an architect and Merri had become a mathematician. They lived in Boston where he had his own business and Merri taught at MIT, her alma mater. They had 4 kids, who were all apparently math whizzes like their mother.

"Good, she said. Only Ethan will be with them, the rest of the gang are all involved in their own lives. Funny how that works," she laughed.

Christmas was in two weeks; her shopping had been mostly online this year, but some of it had been accomplished before she got too far along. She hoped that the babies would be here by then, she really did. She laid a hand over her belly and softly rubbed it, trying to let Alexander and Grace know how much she loved them. It was strange but sometimes she thought she was able to communicate with them. She'd been around Vaygar way too much she decided.

"Well, I'm looking forward to seeing them."

"Clark, how are we going to explain why you can't eat? We always have them to dinner or we go out."

"I don't know for sure; we'll figure something out, Dorie. Don't fret about it, baby."
Somehow she knew it would be okay. She just couldn't figure out how.


Josef got home and headed into the house with a huge smile on his face. He'd bought Lani an early Christmas present. For the first time in literally centuries he was looking forward to Christmas. Maybe for the first time ever because when he was a youth in Ireland it was a religious celebration. Very little joy and fun. If it hadn't been for his 9 brothers and sisters, his mother might have been a nun because of the religious fervor that she exhibited in her everyday life.

He didn't often think of his life then; really, after 400 years a lot of it had faded anyway. But he remembered his ma and da, and the names of most of his siblings. His ma had been beautiful and she regarded that as a curse because she had been considered too beautiful to become a servant of the lord. Instead, she was basically sold off to the highest bidder, his da, and while she led a comfortable life as a noble woman, she was never really happy. Prayers and daily devotions took up a good part of her day when she wasn't overseeing the household, a skill that she was very good at.

Perhaps he was looking forward to it because of Lani; he felt as if he had so much to give her. Not in the material sense; there wasn't much they needed. Well, the one thing he'd bought today but otherwise they were blessed. Yes, blessed, a word he hadn't considered in a very long time. This time next year his son or daughter would be here, another blessing. Hell, life was one big blessing he decided and then grinned at his own corniness.

As always, Franklin met him at the door. "Good evening, sir. Miss Lani is in the library," he said, knowing what Josef's first question would be.

Josef nodded, still grinning like an idiot and headed into the study, his steps lively as he headed to see the love of his life. As he approached the room he heard soft sobs emanating from the room and his step quickened.

"Lani, sweetness, what's the matter? Are you okay?" Stupid question, Josef. If she were okay she wouldn't be crying.

He knelt down on the floor in front of her and pulled her into his arms and held her as she cried. He patted her on the back gently in an effort to soothe her and she quieted after a few minutes. He cupped her face with gentle fingers and tilted her head upwards so he could see her face better.

"Now, tell me what is wrong. Do I need to send someone to the tar pits?" His attempt at a joke backfired as she began crying again.

"I…I lost my favorite pen. I ca…can't find it anywhere, Josef. I love that pen."
A pen? She was crying over a pen? He could buy her a thousand of them if she wanted. "Sweetness, it's okay. I'll buy you another pen."

"Really? I really liked that one." Two huge, salty tear drops rolled down her cheeks and he brushed them away tenderly with his thumbs.

"Yes, I promise. Lani, it's just a pen. Now come on, smile for me, please?"
She gave him a slight smile, the corners of her beautiful mouth tweaking upwards just the tiniest bit. The smile didn't quite reach her eyes but it was a start.

"There, now that's better. And I know something that will make you happy as well. I have a surprise for you. Come with me, sweetness."

She sniffled and then rose to her feet when he held out his hand to her. She followed him outside to the drive and saw a large, red SUV in the drive tied with a huge golden ribbon. She stared at it for a moment, not sure what to think.

He saw her hesitation and rushed his next words. "You have been worried about a vehicle for when the baby gets here. This is a brand new, Porsche Cayenne. It's not a Maserati, but it is a Porsche!" He laughed, clearly delighted with the thoughtfulness of his gift.

She continued to stare at the vehicle and when he saw her eyes narrow he realized she wasn't happy. He drew in a deep breath and had to fight the urge to take a step back.

"You have to buy me a…a…an armored vehicle?"

"It's not an armored vehicle, Lani. It's a Porsche!" He wasn't at all sure why she thought it was an armored vehicle. He figuratively scratched his head in confusion. It is a freaking Porsche for goodness sake, the finest, most sporty and stylish SUV he could buy her. She'd stated several times that she wasn't a minivan kind of girl so he thought this would be a good choice for her. He guessed he'd guessed wrong.

"A Porsche?"

"Yes, sweetness. A Porsche. Do you like the color? You love red cars."

"I…yes, I do like red cars." She had gone from angry to sounding a bit sad again. He held his breath as she walked around the Cayenne, assessing it.

"It has all the best features, sweetness." He opened the door to show her the beautifully appointed interior and ran his hand over the butter-soft leather seats. "See, it even has a DVD player for our kids to watch when they get older."

"Our kids? We'll have more than one?" The tears started again.

"Yes, sweetness, if you want that. We'll have as many or as few as you like." He pulled her to him again and felt her crying as he hugged her.

He'd been reading What to Expect When You're Expecting. Her hormones were going crazy right now. He sighed; it was going to be a long pregnancy. Still, he was the happiest man alive.

To be continued…

I hope you all enjoyed the chapter. I will be taking a brief holiday break and won't be posting again until January 5, 2015. I hope you have a lovely holiday season. May the new year brings blessings and joy to your lives. Happy New Year to all of you!


Merry Christmas from Mick, Beth, Josef and Lani!
This gorgeous banner is by Moonlightlover60!!!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Chapter 28 Just My Imagination

Beth drank more tea and ate another cookie as she watched Maeve and Mick talk about their lives. They dwelt little on the past; by some unspoken agreement they had moved forward to their lives now. Perhaps it was just too painful for them to discuss or maybe time and his new presence in her life transcended the situation, Beth didn't know but she was happy that Mick had the courage to meet with Maeve.

Maeve had told them that although Margie had told her, she hadn't shared the information about vampires with anyone else. "After all, who would have believed her? So we just kept it to ourselves. I never gave up hope that someday I'd see you again though, Mick."

Mick nodded, accepting her words and knowing them to be true since Catherine hadn't known. It had almost killed him to give up his family; had he known about Margie's pregnancy he might well have asked Josef to take his life. Living with that knowledge and being unable to share that child with Margie would have certainly made him want to die.

"So you are telling me that I will become an aunt, at this point in my life?" Maeve's eyes sparkled with mischief as she watched Mick stifle an embarrassed laugh.

"Afraid so, Squeaks. I mean, not right now, Beth isn't pregnant, but we can have kids."

"Well, I'm just damn happy that you never had kids with that horrible Duvall woman. Mama would turn over in her grave!"

Beth held back a snicker; Squeaks wasn't the only one happy about that because the child that they might have had would have been HER! Which was a truly frightening thought.

Mick wisely kept quiet on that subject and only nodded his agreement.

"So Beth, how did you meet Michael?"

Oh oh, dangerous territory. Think quick Beth! "Actually, we met at a fountain downtown where I was covering a story for Buzzwire, the internet news outlet I work for." It was the truth, always better to lie as little as possible, especially with family. It omitted part of the story, true, but it was the truth.

Maeve was excited to hear about their courtship, as she called it, and they told her about lots of their adventures and their wedding in Las Vegas. Maeve was first surprised and then pleased to know that Josef had been the mastermind behind the plan.

"He seems to be a good man. I do hope he will make a good husband for Lani. She is such a dear thing, I always enjoy her visits."

Beth told a few stories about her and Lani and Robbie growing up. As she spoke, Noodle inched closer to her and finally sat at her feet and she slowly reached her hand down to pet him and he laid a paw on her knee.

"Little beggar," Maeve said, laughing at her cherished pet. "I'd wager that he's hoping for a bite of cookie."

Beth obliged the fluffy dog with a bite and agreed with Maeve as he sighed in happiness. "Mick, try to give him a bite and see if he'll take it."

Mick was skeptical, but while it took Noodle a minute or so to decide what to do, he finally came close and cautiously took the bite. Mick's face lit up as Noodle begged for more; he seemed to forgive all if he was fed.

"So Beth can eat food, but you can't?" Maeve questioned.

They explained about their different types of vampirism and she seemed to accept what they told her. Privately, she thought it rather sad that her brother couldn't enjoy food, but in the long run, he was still here and that was all that mattered.


Heroku pushed the 'end' button on his phone and laid it down on his desk, replaying the call in his mind.

It wasn't often that he got a call from one of the 13 and in this case it was from two of them, in a manner of speaking. Rose called; she and Brody requested a meeting with him. Not that they had been formal about it, she just asked if they might stop by and see him for a few minutes.

He couldn't help but be curious; they seldom made social calls, or most of the 13 didn't normally do that anyway. Several of the older cadre would never do that; actually, they never left the compound where many of them worked and lived.

Naman, Eochaidh, Kerwyn and Christophe never left or at least hadn't in centuries. Naman, if they had a leader (and it was totally unclear if they did) would be the one Heroku guessed. When tough decisions needed to be made they usually ended up on his lap, something that he took in stride. Eochaidh and Kerwyn didn't want to be bothered by the world, at all. Both of them studied a great deal, something that Heroku found rather amusing at times since they had lived most of the history they studied. But then again, they had lived during those times but since they didn't go out he could only suppose that their experience was somewhat limited.

Amara and Nya were in many ways their spiritual leaders, if spirituality could be attributed to them. Certainly it could have been, at one time. Now? It wasn't so clear.

Aislin, Ishaq, Kiki, Vaygar, Rose, and Brody lived in the world, preferring that to seclusion. He chuckled as he tried to imagine Kiki in particular living in seclusion; she was the original party girl, ancient Asian style that is. Shinji, his sire preferred his mountaintop aerie to anyone or anything.

He was stirred from his reflections by his intercom buzzing; his assistant announced that Rose and Brody were there. Heroku glanced at his watch and saw that only 10 minutes had gone by since Rose called; surely they must have been in route at that point, assured that he would see them.

And of course he would.

He rose as his door was opened and bowed in deference to his guests, even though he knew that these two did not expect that form of respect nor appreciate it much either. It was an old habit that had been trained into him by Shinji, who demanded respect always.

"Rose, Brody, welcome. May I offer you a refreshment?" The words sounded overly formal even to him, but he was a bit nervous.

"No, that's not necessary, Heroku. Thank you so much for making time to visit with us. May we sit down?" Brody smiled at Heroku, trying to ease a bit of his nervousness. Thank goodness everyone wasn't quite this anxious around them; Shinji had been a tough task-manager and it clearly showed in Heroku's interactions with the 13.

"Yes, certainly," Heroku said with another slight bow. He waited for them to choose their seats and watched as they sat on the couch so he sat in an arm chair across from them. He crossed his legs and then smoothed down his pants leg, trying to relax a bit.

"Well, um, the reason we're here is about Carl. He will be marrying Camille soon and you're going to turn him at that time, is this correct?" Rose smiled as she spoke, but she saw Heroku sit up a bit straighter in the chair, suddenly alarmed.

"Heroku, nothing is wrong. We have absolutely no objections to Carl; quite the contrary, in fact," Brody said. He watched Heroku let out a long breath before he continued. "Carl is a descendent, actually one of mine and Rose's; through his maternal bloodline."

Heroku let the words sink in; Carl was a descendent, their descendent. He cleared his throat, a totally unnecessary response and asked, "Does Carl know this?"

"That's unlikely; certainly not from us. We wanted to tell you first, as you'll be his sire."

"I am only taking his blood; Camille will feed him her blood to complete the turn. I'll see to his training and she will provide succor for his emotional needs after the turning. I'm sorry, Brody, you would want to see to his training yourself, I'm sure."

"No, you've done well with him. From all the knowledge we have, he has flourished under your tutelage. We don't want that to change. We do want him to know that he is a descendent but are willing to wait until you think the time is appropriate."

Heroku pondered Brody's words for a moment before replying, "I believe he should be informed before his turning. It will make a difference in how quickly and what methods will be used. I hope you will share in this talk? I think it will be a very happy circumstance for him."

Rose and Brody both smiled delightedly; it wasn't often that they were able to tell one of their descendents of their lineage so this was a special time. They had lost track of some of their descendents, but Carl's line had been carefully tracked.

Heroku mused out loud, "This explains his superior physical abilities; he learned all that Kenji could teach him extremely quickly. He would have inherited that from you Brody."

Brody grinned and nodded, "Most likely but I think he has always been involved with physical activities. That obviously helped. We're very excited about this, Heroku. Will you set up a time with him when we can speak with him, Camille and you?"

"I, yes, I will do that."

"Anytime you can arrange it, we'll make it work. Just let us know," Rose said, coming lithely to her feet; her grace sometimes took Heroku's breath away.

"Of course, I'll let you know immediately." He bowed slightly again and bid them goodbye.

After they left he sat in his chair behind his desk and contemplated this bit of news. He'd always known that Carl would make an excellent vampire; as a descendent he would also be powerful. It was a shame that Camille wasn't a descendent as well; they might have had children to carry the line farther. A female descendent with a non descendent vampire mate can still have children; her body still produces the necessary eggs and can merge with what in normal circumstances vampire seed that isn't viable and create a child. As a descendent, Carl would still produce active seed, if it came into contact with a viable egg, of a descendent; it didn't work with a human. As Camille wasn't a descendent, she had no viable eggs. Heroku knew that Rose had worked on that for many years, trying to find a way to change that.

Perhaps someday. But not yet.

He called Carl and got his voice mail; he left a message for the young man to call him at his convenience. Hopefully it wouldn't be too long.


Just My Imagination

Cat was taping a few more legal segments, her last ones before she went to England in January. So much had happened in the past few weeks and for the first time she regretted leaving. Another time might have been preferred, but since she was teaching a course it was now or not at all and since she had a contract, it was going to be now.

Two things had surprised her recently: she found that she actually liked her father, a lot in fact and was amazed at how much they had in common. The other thing was that she really liked Beth as well. The young woman was smart, engaging and had a true knack for knowing what was going to work at Buzzwire. And on a personal level, she was very caring and obviously loved Mick with all her heart.

The shock of her father being a vampire had worn off; in fact as soon as she found out it changed everything. She knew enough from her younger days to accept that it was beyond his control and if her mother could forgive her, well, it seemed that she could as well. Ben was still struggling with it all and that made her a bit sad. She knew that Ben and Mick had a lot in common as well and she hoped that eventually Ben would make peace with his own heart. He would always feel loyal to his grandmother; they had built a special relationship when Michelle had disappeared. Margie had stayed in New York with Ben while he finished his last few months of law school and he might not have made it without her there.

Cat was surprised when she looked up and saw the object of her musings walk into the studio area. She smiled at her son and greeted him with a kiss on his cheek, which he returned happily.

"Benjamin, what brings you by here?"

He laughed and smiled in return as his smile made his whole face light up. "Do I need a reason to see my mom?" he teased.

"Normally no, but this is a bit out of your way I'd think." She looked up as Beth walked into the studio, smiling at Ben.

"Hey, Ben! What are you doing here?"

"It seems my motives are questioned by all females today. I was out on an interview with a prosecution witness, the Cummings case. She is still in the hospital and will be testifying by video feed. I wanted to see if Buzzwire would be interested in doing a contract job for us actually."

"Aha!" Cat laughed. "I knew you wouldn't just have come by here for me."

Ben raised his hands in surrender and laughed again. "Okay, I'm caught. Still, Mother, it nice to see you here."

"Okay, I'll settle for that. Beth, I didn't know that Buzzwire did outside contracts like that and Ben, since when doesn't the DA's office use their own crew?"

Beth and Ben looked at one another as they both began to speak at the same time. They laughed and Ben said, "Please, ladies first!"

"I don't think we've done that before, but I'm sure we could. But like your mom, I'm curious as to why you need that?"

"Andrea Cummings is the sister of Randal Cummings, who works in our office. I'm sure you remember him, Beth?" At her nod he continued, "I think it's best if we have an independent source on this one." Randal was the head tech for their video staff. What he said made sense; this would make the video interview more credible.

"I'm sure we can work that out. Why don't we discuss this over dinner? Mick is baking a chicken for dinner tonight; we'd love it if you came over."

"I can't, unfortunately, Beth. I would have loved to otherwise."

Beth could see the sincerity in Cat's reply. "I understand, such short notice. But promise me you'll come before you leave for England? It would make Mick really happy. My mom has been helping him perfect his cooking skills and he loves to practice. So, Ben, what about you?"

For a moment he felt a bit of panic; he wasn't sure he was ready to sit down and have a meal with his grandfather. Not that Mick actually ate, but still, it was a little close for comfort. Still, his mom told him several times that the discomfort would only get better when he became more familiar with Mick. He made his mind up and nodded, "Yeah, I think I can do that. I need to get back to the office and take care of a couple of things there. What time?"

"Around 7 I think. Ben, I'm really happy you're coming!"

So was Cat; this was a positive step for Benjamin and she was sorry she couldn't join them. She was sure she'd hear about it later though and so she decided to just be happy for now.


Beth called Mick to let him know that Ben was coming and she could tell that he was happy about it just by the tone of his voice. She told him that if he could handle the main course, she'd take care of dessert, which meant a stop to grab a cheesecake on the way home.

When she got there it was a quarter till 7 and the scent coming from the kitchen made her mouth water. After she greeted Mick with a kiss she hugged her mom and said, "I think your cooking lessons for Mick are really paying off."

"He's pretty good as he is, actually. But its fun to teach someone, especially since you never had a bit of interest in cooking! At least he can carry on the family recipes. Oh, and Beth, I want you to meet Jackie."

Beth looked into the living room and realized that she'd been so carried away by the activity in the kitchen that she'd failed to notice the young woman sitting in the living room.

Jackie came to her feet and smiled when she and Beth were introduced. Jackie was beautiful and obviously at home around vamps, which would be a good thing, especially in this family. They sat and chatted while waiting for Ben to get there.

"Jackie, you're staying for dinner too, I hope?" Beth asked, totally enjoying the young woman's company. Well, actually she was 7 years older than Beth but for some reason she seemed younger. Maybe it was just Beth's perception of life since she'd been turned, she wasn't really sure.

"I wish I could because it smells really great in here. But, I am working the overnight shift at the women's shelter tonight, my last shift there actually. I think the staff has some type of party going for me, but I'm not supposed to know that!" she laughed.

They all looked up as someone knocked on the door. Beth and Mick together said, "Ben!" and Beth headed to the door while Mick wiped his hands self-consciously on a towel before going to join Beth.

When they opened the door Ben smiled and handed them a bottle of white wine. "Chicken for dinner, right?" he asked with a smile.

"Yep and doesn't it smell delicious?" Beth asked. "Ben, you remember my mom and this is Jackie; she's going to be working for Mom and Clark when the babies get here."

"Yes, sure. Hello, Mrs. Griffin." When he looked at Jackie his face paled and his heart beat rapidly for a few seconds. He stared in confusion and said, "Um, Jackie? Your name is Jackie?"

Beth and Mick both saw the bewildered look on his face and glanced at Jackie, who seemed to not catch the undercurrent in the room. Mick's eyebrow raised a bit as he listened to Ben's heartbeat finally begin to calm as he shook Jackie's hand.

"It's nice to meet you, Ben. Perhaps we'll see one another again? But now, I have to rush off, I'm already running a bit late. Dorothy, I'll talk to you in a day or so."

They watched as she left the loft. Ben's eyes stayed focused on the door. It couldn't be, he thought. The hair was lighter, her eyes were a different color and her nose was different too. No matter all that - his instincts still told him that it was Michelle.

To be continued…

Monday, December 8, 2014

Chapter 27 Moonlight Seranade

Dorothy and Rose had settled down to drink their tea on the comfortable couch in the living room; the beautiful blue fireplace cast an inviting glow in the room. Even if it was a gas fireplace, it really was lovely, Dorothy thought.

"Rose, tell me more about Jackie. She said that you helped her after something traumatic. What happened?"

"She'd been shot and kidnapped. Despite that, she managed to escape and found her way to a clinic where I was working."

"Were vampires involved?"

"No, not until me. She had no knowledge of us. It took a year or so before she found out."

"The poor thing, I mean about being shot and kidnapped. Did they catch the person responsible? Didn't she have family to go to?"

"No, they never caught them. Not that authorities didn't know who was responsible, but without any real proof it is hard to do anything. The situation was hard; if she told what she knew there wouldn't be any way the police could protect her. She walked away from her family because she was terrified that if she went back they be targets too."

"I'm betting the vamps could have protected her, but then she didn't know about them at the time. How very sad. Is she still afraid of going home?"

"I guess there is no one to go home to any longer. So she stays with me; she feels safe and we're family, of a sorts. She'll be great working for you, Dorothy. Not only does she know all that I could teach her about medical care but she has also trained with Brody so she's good at protection as well."

"Goodness, I can't thank you enough for recommending her. We're lucky to have found her. I hope she finds someone though, who'll love her so she can have those babies she wants."

"I hope so too, but you never can tell. Well, I think I will leave you now. Remember, Brody is right next door if you need anything."

Dorothy laughed, "Yes, I'm not likely to forget. Clark is going to Skype with me later, after his trip out with Vaygar. Oh, Rose, I hope it goes well. If something happened Clark would never forgive himself."

"Vaygar will make sure that doesn't happen. Not a thing to worry about." Her words were spoken with such certainty that Dorothy didn't doubt them at all.

The women hugged goodbye and Dorothy closed the door and locked it up tightly. Now she just had to wait. She picked the book up and began reading again. Time passes quickly, but sometimes not nearly fast enough she thought.


Moonlight Seranade

"Beth, how nice of you to stop by. Won't you come in for some tea? I've just made a fresh pot." Noodle had barked a bit at first and then gradually came a bit closer to inspect Beth. She held out her hand for him to sniff, hoping that he wouldn't be afraid.

"Hi, Noodle. Lani says you are a good boy. You remember Lani?" He perked his ears up at the mention of Lani; he loved Lani because she always shared her cookies with him. Beth smiled at him and he cocked his head, still confused about her strange smell but obviously no longer afraid. "Yes, I'd be happy to. But I really need to talk to you about something; it's important, Mrs. Carter."

"Goodness, is everything alright? Oh my dear, is it Lani? Is she alright?"

"Yes, Lani is just fine. No, it's not that. Perhaps we could sit down with that tea and I'll explain."

Mrs. Carter looked confused and still a bit alarmed. "I must admit dear, that you have me a bit scared. My old heart is about to beat out of my chest."

Beth had been listening to Mrs. Carter's heart and knew that was only partially true. Yes, it was a bit faster than when she'd got there, but certainly not racing. "Well, let's have that tea and I'll explain. You've no reason to be afraid and in fact, I think you'll be very happy at my news."

"Would you like some cookies to go with the tea, Beth? I've got ginger cookies here."

"That sounds delicious. Thank you," she said as Mrs. Carter set the teapot and plate of cookies on the table, followed by the cups and saucers. Beth looked around the room and saw that Lani was right, Mrs. Carter did love purple.

"Now dear, why don't you tell me why you stopped by?"

Beth took a deep breath, trying to choose her words carefully. "Mrs. Carter, Lani told me about your family. Specifically about your brother, Mick. I know you loved him a great deal. Would you be happy to know that he is still alive?"

"Alive? Mick? And where has he been? We looked everywhere for him. Is he still married to the Duvall woman?"

"No, they haven't been married for many years now. Would you like to see Mick? Talk to him, Mrs. Carter?"

"Oh heavens, yes. Where is he? He'd be 86 now. I guess he's probably in a nursing home?" Her eyes regarded Beth speculatively over the rim of her cup. Something in Mrs. Carters words didn't quite ring true; her heart had sped up a bit and she quickly became quite busy placing cookies on plates for them. Suddenly, the picture became a bit clearer for Beth.

Beth grinned, "No, he's not. He's out in the car actually. He was afraid it would be too much of a shock to you, to see him. You see, he hasn't aged. He'll tell you how that is possible." Beth stood up and nodded to the door way, "I'll go and get him." She didn't wait to see the look of sheer surprise on Maeve's face.

At the car Beth said, "Okay. She knows you're alive and she's fine. Come on, Mick. Time to see your sister."

"Yeah, she knows I'm alive but does she know how, Beth? That's the hard part."

"That is for you to tell her, Mick. It will be fine, I promise you. Oh, and take it easy with Noodle. He's still a bit wary. Speak softly to him and keep to yourself. I think he'll come around."

Beth opened the screen door and stepped into the house. Maeve St. John stood in the foyer, waiting to see her big brother. Her hands were clenched and both Mick and Beth scented her nervousness, although there was no fear mixed with it.

She and Mick met one another's eyes and Maeve gulped in a large breath. She walked forward and touched his cheek with trembling fingers. "It can't be!" she exclaimed.

"Its…it's me, Squeaks. It's really me," he told her, watching and listening for any signs of distress in his sister. Instead all he saw was wonder.

She frowned slightly and while she was puzzled, she knew without a doubt that this was Mick, her brother. What she'd been told was true, no denying it. She finally walked to him and put her arms around him to hold him tight. Mick heard her sobs as he scented her tears. Beth stood back, a silly grin on her face. Too bad she didn’t have a camera for this moment.

Finally Maeve stepped back on a smacked him on the arm. She still had a pretty good arm Mick noticed and he grinned for the first time. "How dare you not let me know you were alive before? And our parents grieved for you forever, Michael St. John!"

Inwardly Mick winced; using his formal name meant she was pissed, really pissed. She glared at him angrily and he suddenly felt like he was in for a really rough time. Oddly enough she didn't even mention how he looked and that couldn't be good. Maybe her eyesight wasn't good? That question was answered quickly with her next statement.

"And look at you! You have some explaining to do. In the kitchen, now!" she commanded. When Noodle started to yap she looked at him and said, "Enough, Noodle. Go lay down!" She pointed to the living room and the little dog ran away, presumably to do as told.

As they made their way into the kitchen Beth stole a glance back at the little floppy-haired dog and saw him spying on them as they went into the kitchen. He raised a paw towards her, a move that made her feel bad for the little guy; he felt left out, something that he wasn't used to obviously.

Maeve poured Mick a cup of tea without questioning if he wanted it. As she sat it down in front of him he knew he'd better drink it or else. He watched as Beth dipped a sweet ginger cookie into her tea and took a bite; she obviously relished it and for a moment he felt a bit sad that he couldn't.

"Well, explain yourself," Maeve said, skewering him with a look that meant business.

"I…I know this is going to be hard to accept or even understand, Maeve but when I married Coraline, I didn't know that she was a…a…vampire. She turned me on our wedding night, so I became a vampire too."

He watched her closely and listened to her heartbeat. It held very steady, something that surprised him. Her next words floored him though and it was his heart that sped up when she spoke.

"I know that, Michael! We'd already figured that out. Now, why didn't you contact us?"


Clark was nervous; a bit scared in fact. Vaygar and Logan both thought he was ready to venture into the realm of humans again, and he felt strong, he really did, but what if he went crazy or something? If Vaygar and Logan had to pull him off someone, that would let humans see much more than was safe for all of them.
It was interesting to him to acknowledge how he'd already made a mental shift between the human world and the world of vampires, or immortals. Like him.

Yes, like him.

He was now one of those who walked amongst the night shadows. Well, only figuratively, but they told him that it would be awhile before he could be out in sunlight without it being really uncomfortable if not dangerous.

Still, the reward of doing well and staying in control was being with Dorie again and getting to see his babies being born. Vaygar insisted that would happen and it was the best goal ever, so Clark was going to hold up his end of the bargain.

Their first stop was a walk in the park, literally. There was a concert going on, but they were going to stay far enough away that if there was any sign of him not being able to stay in control Logan and Vaygar could get him out of there in a hurry. If staying on the fringe of the group went well, they'd move closer in. It helped that it was pretty chilly for a Los Angeles night so there would be fewer people out; that was the idea anyway.

They went in Logan's VW, with the top down. Clark sat in the back and he had to admit that the night air felt amazing. It wasn't cold at all to feel the wind rushing past him and just looking at the stars in the sky was a treat all on its own. So many more than he ever saw as a human, even out in the middle of nowhere. Millions more, maybe? He didn't know for sure, but the view was incredible.

As they neared the park he began to feel a bit more anxious; he was sipping from a travel mug of O-, which so far was the flavor he liked best. That thought made him laugh out loud and Logan glanced over his shoulder as they turned into the parking area. He wasn't concerned but he was curious about what had captured Clark's attention. Clark just shrugged, not explaining what he had been thinking about because probably every vampire had similar thoughts at one time or another. Who would have thought that different blood types could taste so different? Not the human Clark, for sure.

In the parking area people were carrying blankets and small coolers with them as they headed to find their favorite spots to watch the concert. Before they got out of the car Vaygar handed Clark a pair of foam earplugs.

"What are these for?" he asked, very curious.

"The sound may be too much for you, so if it is, just put them in and that will help."

Clark nodded; sounds did still sound pretty loud at times, so he might need these he thought as he stuffed them down into the pocket of his jeans. "Thanks, I appreciate you thinking of that; I didn't."

Vaygar nodded and smiled as Logan put the top up on the car and got out, locking it up. "How are you feeling? Ready for this?"

"As I ever will be, I think. A bit nervous I guess."

"Understandably. Clark, you've surpassed all expectations I've had for you, and I'm sure your sire would agree with me. You handled drinking fresh without a single problem, you've been training hard and learning defensive techniques incredibly quick; this should go quite well, I believe. We wouldn't have brought you here if Logan and I didn't think you were ready. Now, come on, let's walk a bit. At the first sign you are feeling uncomfortable all you have to do is say so."

Logan nodded in agreement with Vaygar. The past couple of days working with him had been great; not that Mick hadn't been an excellent and patient sire because as far as Logan was concerned he had been the best and an example to live up to. But, Logan agreed with Vaygar that they had to get Clark ready, sooner than later and so he'd bowed to the older vamps guidance and here they were, giving Clark his first chance to walk though humankind. And somehow, Logan knew that Clark was going to do just fine.

As the moved away from the car they fell into step right behind a group of laughing humans who were obviously excited about the upcoming event. Clark inhaled, scenting their blood but didn't feel in slightest bit drawn to it. He breathed in and out once, feeling relieved and relaxed.

They circled along the fringes of the groups of happy concert goers and as they got closer to the stage, the sound grew louder and Clark put the ear plugs in. He saw Logan wince and knew that his sire wished for a pair of his own. Vaygar smiled to himself as he saw Logan cringe a couple of times; unfortunately he'd only brought along one pair.

After a half an hour they sat down to listen to the band play, surrounded by people. It was apparent that Clark was fine among humanity and all three of them enjoyed the concert; an older rock band that they all liked.

When the concert was over they walked back to the car among the throngs of humans and they chatted easily about the concert and the songs that were playing. It had actually been a very enjoyable evening.

"So, when do I get sprung?" Clark asked, hoping that he could go home immediately. He was disappointed at his answer.

"Another time to feed fresh tomorrow, Clark and then tomorrow evening another outing with humans. If that all goes well, and I expect it will, then we can get you home."

At least another day; it seemed like forever. He decided it was tantamount to being a kid and waiting for Christmas each year. It was going to take forever.


Mick stared incredulously at his sister, not sure whether to be shocked or doubt her sanity. "What do you mean you figured that out already? How could you have?"

Maeve smiled and for a moment took a bit of satisfaction in his reaction. Beth, she noted, didn't seem surprised at all.

Almost comically, Beth sat sipping her tea as her eyes scanned back and forth between brother and sister, an eyebrow quirked upward in amusement. Mick was thoroughly freaked out by this admission from Maeve and Beth was enjoying his reaction a good deal. True, it was very sad that all these years were wasted, but it was hard for Mick to shed the 'I'm a monster' idea he'd carried around in his head and soul for so many years. She hoped that this would be the final layer that would unravel his views on being a vamp and let him start enjoying his existence. When she'd realized earlier by Maeve's demeanor that she knew the secret it made her intensely curious, but she knew that Mick had to be there to hear the story so she'd gone and fetched him in.

"Margie told me, told us."

Mick choked on his tea and it brought a few tears to his eyes as he sputtered when it went up his nose.

Damn! Again, Beth so wished she had a camera handy. These types of moments only happen once. She had to laugh at herself, always the reporter! She knew that was being a little mean, but honestly, what she was learning was that there was no such thing as vampires - being a secret that is. It seemed that practically everyone knew.

Maeve handed Mick some napkins and patted his hand. "Do you remember Jimmie Jacoby? From your band?" At Mick's nod she continued, "Well, he was a vampire. That apparently is how your band got that gig at Coraline Duvalls. Of course, you didn't know he was one, he told us later, and Coraline took care to never let you see him afterwards. After the news about your death he went to see Coraline, but she wouldn't let you see him. He began to worry that you hadn't been turned, that she had killed you. So he started watching that glass house where she lived, in hopes of seeing you. When he finally did he relaxed about it, to some degree. That's when he saw Margie and she was pregnant with Catherine. She was seeing Herb by then but she missed you so badly and was inconsolable about your death. So he told her the truth, Mick. She accepted it and later told me, hoping that I would at least find consolation in the fact that you hadn't been killed. Jimmie had not told anyone where this glass house was, although we did eventually find out through the police department. By then it was deeded to a Cynthia Davis. We stayed away, hoping that you'd come to see us. Eventually I told mama and papa and it did make them feel better to know that you weren't dead, but none of us could understand why you wouldn't let us know. Mick, papa was very angry with you because of that."

Mick was stunned; he wasn't sure what part upset him more, the fact that Jimmie was a vampire, that Margie and his family knew or that he might have still had relationships had Coraline not kept him from them. And she had, he knew, just like she'd kept Jimmie from him. All those years, he'd secluded himself from his family because Coraline told him that was the way it had to be, that his existence would bring danger to them. He knew that wasn't the truth any longer; too many people knew. That wasn't a good thing but he might have had a relationship with them, after awhile that is. And to know that his father had been so angry with him, that he had died being angry hurt Mick deeper than anything else ever had.

He cried in earnest this time; he shed tears for what might have been, for the gift of his sister and her obvious love for him even after the hurt he had caused them all.

Life doesn't always take the path you expect it to, but if you just look around you might find that it takes you where you need to be.

To be continued…

Monday, December 1, 2014

Chapter 26 Starry, Starry Night

Chapter 26 Starry, Starry Night

Dorothy had just settled down on the bed to take a nap when her phone rang. It was Clark and she answered it eagerly. "Hi," she whispered, her voice a bit breathy from excitement.

"Hi, Dorie! Guess what?, You'll never guess?"

"Um, I don't know. Why don't you tell me?"

He could hear the laughter in her voice and said, "I fed fresh today! First time and it went great, honey. I'll be out of here in no time at all. Tonight we're going to take a walk at the mall or a market or something. And I'll feed fresh again tomorrow and, Dorie? If that goes well I'm coming home in just a couple of days. Vaygar is helping me through it and has been working on some physical training with me as well outside. Honey, it won't be long and I can hold you in my arms and I'll be there for you when the babies are born. He tells me that Alexander will not come until I am ready because I need to protect you and his sister."

"Goodness," she said, frowning. Vaygar seemed to think he had some type of mental connection with the twins, Alexander in particular. Rose said that Vaygar had very strong psychic gifts and that she would most likely have those as well. Dorothy didn't see how because there was nothing about her now that bespoke of being psychically tuned. "Clark, I am so relieved; I just want to feel your arms around me, honey."

"I know. Dorie, it won't be long, I promise you. Just hold on a little bit more, girl. I won't let you down."

"I know, Clark. I've always known that."


Mick pushed the end call button on his phone and sat it down on the desk, a bit shaken up by what he'd just been told by Logan. Clark had just fed fresh today, successfully in fact.

Clark wasn't a descendent; apparently they make the transition in a few days. It was only a week since Clark had been turned and yet he'd fed fresh and hadn't had any control issues. He would do so tomorrow and tonight he was going out, out to walk among humans.

Mick could only hope that Vaygar knew what the hell he was doing.

It wasn't that Mick was wishing for anything bad to happen; it was just that it was all happening so fast. In his experience it didn't work that way. Or did it? It had taken him a full month to be able to socially engage humans with no worry of losing control. How could that have been?

Because of that he'd kept Logan isolated for a whole month, just to make sure. And he'd tried to keep Beth isolated as well; that one didn't work out as planned and certainly wasn't necessary. Now it looked as if Clark was going to be ready to go home in a couple of days. The truth was he reflected, he had fed fresh and been around humans in his first week, at Josef's place, under the careful and critical eye of his friend. It was only around Coraline, that he felt as if he'd lose control. He realized now that she had kept him that way so he'd be dependent on her. The thought of that, the memory rang true for him in a way that it never had before.

Mick was genuinely happy for both Clark and Dorothy. He could only hope it would go well because one thing was for sure, Dorothy needed him to be with her.

He heard Beth step off the elevator and glanced at his watch. It had been a full hour since he'd talked with Logan; a full hour that he should have used to start some dinner. Dorothy was upstairs, taking a nap because she wasn't sleeping well at a night. Mick hadn't heard her get up so he figured that she was still sleeping.

He met Beth in the living room and gave her a hug. He had lots to tell her, about Catherine's visit and about Clark.

"Hi," Beth said, heading straight into his arms. "Um, it's good to be home!"

"Hard day at the office, dear?" he teased.

"Not too bad; does it have to be a bad day for me to be happy to be home?" She grinned at him before adding, "What's for dinner? I don't smell anything and I'm starved! I think my house husband if neglecting his duties!"

"Oh, he is? Shame on him. Maybe you could overlook it, just this once?"

"I think I can manage that. Where's Mom?"

"Sleeping, for about an hour now. Probably the best for her."

Beth nodded, knowing how often her mom had been up in the night. She headed into the kitchen a pulled out a carafe of A+ and raised an eyebrow at Mick in question. At his nod she poured two glasses and handed him one of them.

Mick leaned against the counter and told her about Clark.

"Wow, that's wonderful! Maybe he'll be back before those babies are born."

"I hope so. It just seems so soon. If anything were to happen I don't know how Logan will handle it."

"Mick, you need to stop worrying about your fledgling. Vaygar is helping, it will be okay."

He nodded again and took her glass before rinsing both of them out putting them in the dishwasher. "Beth, Cat came to see me today."

Beth looked down for a moment; she had a feeling she knew what this was about and so she prepared herself for trouble. "What did she have to say?"

Mick told her of their conversation and Beth almost held her breath in anticipation of what Mick might think about it. It didn't matter that she could hold her breath for, well probably forever, either.

"I want to go and see her, Beth. Soon."

"You…you're kidding, right?"

"No, I'm serious. Maybe tonight before I change my mind. Do you think your mom would be unhappy if we left for a little while?"

"Do you think mom would be unhappy about what?" Dorothy asked, slowly descending the stairs. With her belly so big she couldn't see beneath her feet so she literally just felt her way down.

"Mick has decided to go and see his sister," Beth said.

"Mick, I'm so proud of you! I don't might a bit. It's not like I'm alone, what with the vampire squad next door," she said, with a nod of her head in the direction of Brody's apartment.

"Okay then. Well, let's get you girls fed first. Beth has told me that she is starving."

"Let's do it," Beth said, looking in fridge. There had to be something in there that would be tasty.


Starry, Starry Night

After dinner was finished and the dishwasher was running Mick and Beth said goodbye. Dorothy had settled in on the couch with a murder mystery to read. She would talk to Clark again later, when they could Skype. She was anxious to hear about his walk among humans.

Her heart was heavy; maybe it was the impending birth of their children, something they could have had a long time ago, if it hadn't been for her fears. In the end though, perhaps her fear had been justified…

Early June, 1980

"Come on, Dorothy, snap out of it! It's been 2 days since Clark left. I know you miss him but you have to stop living like a boring old nun!" her best friend, Merri told her as they sat outside in Merri's back yard and sipped their Coke's.

"Merri, you don't know, you can't understand. Kip is still here; he's going to college here and you'll still see him sometimes. Clark will be a world away!"

"But not forever, Dorothy. You said you love him enough to wait and you will."

"But will he? He's going to be out there in the world, around women, adult women who, well you know, well, let's just say they aren't virgins!"

"And you are?" Merri laughed and as she saw the crestfallen look on her friends face she realized the truth. "You are, aren't you?"

Dorothy nodded, feeling miserable about that. "I tried to get him to, uh, you know. Before he left, but he wouldn't. He didn't want me!"

Merri reached for her friends hand and squeezed it lightly in a show of support. What Dorothy had told her was a bit surprising; Clark and Dorothy were so much in love and it seemed natural that they would have done it. "Dorothy, it wasn't because he doesn't love you; Kip says that you are Clark's world and all he talks about is the future you two have. He's just being smart; not starting something that either of you are ready for before he went."

Dorothy held back a sob and hugged her knees to her chest as she rested her chin on them. Part of her knew that what Merri had said was true, but it stung that he hadn't taken what she had offered. She didn't really want to do it yet, but it made her feel insecure that he wouldn't do it.

Just then Mrs. Macintosh called out the back door, "Dorothy, your mom just called and said it was time for you to get home, young lady. Hadn't you two chatterboxes noticed that it was dark now?"

Neither girl had and they both stood guiltily and brushed their shorts off before heading into the house. Dorothy sat her empty can on the counter and headed to the front door, waving goodbye to Mr. and Mrs. Macintosh.

"Dorothy, do you want me to give you a lift?" Mr. Macintosh asked, frowning when she quickly shook her head no.

"Thanks anyway, but I'll just cut through the park, it's a lot quicker. Bye, Merri. See you tomorrow?"

"Yep, you can count on it!"

Dorothy quickly ran down the steps and through the yard, crossing the street to get to the park. It was dark and a bit creepy she decided. It wasn't like she hadn't been there at night before but never alone. She hurried across the grounds, past the play area to the far side, which was through the trees. She cast a look around her, suddenly feeling unsettled. Maybe she should go back and take the long way around the park?

He'd been watching her since Griffin had left. He couldn't believe his good luck; here she was, all alone walking quickly through the park. He suddenly stepped out of the trees and stood in her path, making her jump and let out a small shriek.

"Well, it if isn't Clark Griffin's girl. And where is Clark by the way? Oh yeah, he's not here. How ya doin' Dorothy?" He took a step closer to her and reached out and touched her face. "Looks like you been crying. Missing that jerk? Here, I'll make it all better for you!"

A minute later she was on the ground, screaming uselessly because one hand covered her mouth while the other ripped her shorts off and then her panties. Dorothy tried to twist and heave his body off of hers but it was pointless; he was too big and too heavy. Instead she stared at him with hate filled eyes and saw his laugh in response before he swung and hit her hard, the blow cutting her lip and leaving a bruise on her cheek.

It didn't take long and for that she was grateful. She lay there, staring up at the stars in the sky, mourning what was just taken from her. She didn't know a lot about sex but she knew that it was supposed to be given with love and this had been anything but.

Sobs tore through her body; great heaving sobs that almost made Martin feel guilty. Almost. He zipped his jeans up and tossed her ruined panties at her and then picked them back up and stuck them in his pocket. He knelt down and said "A souvenir I think. And Dorothy? If you ever tell anyone about this, your parents, Griffin, anyone, I'll kill them, got it? You are mine, MINE and you'd better remember that. If you ever let Griffin get close to you again I'll kill him. I promise you and you had better believe me." He slapped her again, just so she would understand that he'd meant what he said.

With that he walked off nonchalantly, as if this had been an ordinary stroll though the park. She curled into the fetal position and let the tears flow in an effort to wash him away but he was firmly in her head. She knew that he meant what he'd said, that she could never have Clark. She got to her feet and pulled on her shorts, realizing that she couldn't fasten them because he'd ripped the button and the zipper. She held them together and ran for home, thankful that her mom was the only one there. He father was away for business in Fresno and she hoped she could get into the house and too her room before her mom could see her.

As she opened the front door she knew that it wouldn't be possible. Not only was her mom in the front room but so was Shelly Griffin, Clark's mom. Both women rose to their feet as she came in and Grace immediately started crying, knowing instinctively what had happened. Shelly was right behind her and both women were questioning her about how she was, what had happened, a million questions that Dorothy didn't want to answer.

"Mama, please, don't make me talk about it. I just want to take a bath!" she cried.

"Dorothy, some man has hurt you. We need to call the police!"

"NO. No, Mom, you know how they treat girls when this happens. They make it seem like it's our fault. You know that. Please, Mrs. Griffin, you have to know that too. I don't know who did it. I can't identify them, what good would it do?"

Shelly's heart was breaking for Dorothy, but at the same time she knew the truth of Dorothy's words. It was the girls who suffered when rape went to trial; why were they dressed in such a revealing manner, why were they at that place, etc.. "She has a point, Grace. Maybe it's best to just get her cleaned up." If she had just seen who did it then they might risk calling the police but it was still chancy.

"Dorothy, are you sure you don't know who did this?" At her daughter's negative shake of the head Grace felt so angry, so helpless. "I need to call your father, Dorothy."
"Mama, please don't. PLEASE…I feel so ashamed, so dirty. Please don't tell anyone about this. Please…" her words were punctuated by more sobs. "Mrs. Griffin, you can't tell Clark, please, just don't."

Shelly nodded, understanding the reason for this request. If Clark found out about it he would want to find the person and it would never let Dorothy put it behind her and find peace and that is what she needed, to find a way to make peace with it.

It was against her better judgment but Grace acquiesced to her daughters pleas. Six weeks later he would have to be told.

Dorothy was shaken out of her memories by a knock on the door. She realized she had been crying when she felt the wetness on her cheeks. She stood up, hastily wiping the tears away and looked at the security camera and saw Rose standing at the door. It would do no good to ignore the knock because the vampire would know that she was in here.

As Rose waited she could scent the tears that Dorothy had been shedding. She didn't sense any problems within the loft but Dorothy had been crying. She made herself smile when Dorothy opened the door, trying to appear unconcerned when in truth she was not only concerned but curious as well.

"Hi, Rose. Did Mick and Beth ask you to stop by?"

"Um, no. I was visiting Brody and thought I'd stop and see you while I was here."

Dorothy nodded, lightly biting her lower lip. She didn't really want company, but she also didn't want to be left alone with the memories. She knew that as soon as Clark was home she needed to tell him what she had concealed all these years, about Martin's threats. They would have to find him because he'd never leave them alone otherwise.

"Come in, Rose," she finally said.

Rose scented her indecision and said, "If this is a bad time, I can go. It's just a social visit, Dorothy."

"No, please, come in. I'm going to make some tea, would you like some?"

"Yes, that sounds lovely. Can I help you?"

"No, just have a seat. It won't take me long." Dorothy got the kettle heating as she pulled out tea bags. "Is chamomile okay? It's either that or the red raspberry pregnancy tea," she laughed.

Rose smiled and said, "Chamomile is perfect, thank you. How are you feeling?"

"Ready to have these babies. However, Vaygar tells me that Alexander tells him that he and his sister are not coming until Clark is back." She laughed because it seemed preposterous to her that Alexander was talking to Vaygar and she told Rose as much.

"Well, he does have amazing psychic abilities, Dorothy. Really. This is probably very possible."

Dorothy set the mugs down on the counter with a clatter. "Rose, how in the world? I mean, talk to a baby not yet born? It takes them a year of more to actually understand what you are saying sometimes and longer to respond and it's only simple language at that."

"It can take awhile for them to respond, I agree, but is it that they have no understanding or that their bodies aren't yet to the point where they can respond? Dorothy, I don't have that much of a psychic gift. Some yes, all of the 13 have at least basic ability, but Vaygar has always had a very strong ability. Beth's ability to communicate with Mick when she was kidnapped is more from Vaygar's genes than mine, even though her DNA is more prominently mine. I expect that since Vaygar is your only antecedent that you will have very strong gifts as well; most of his descendents do."

"I just don't think that can be true, Rose. I mean, I don't have any ability now. So it's just going to magically appear when I'm turned?"

"I suspect so. Seriously," she added when she saw the skeptical look that Dorothy gave her.

Dorothy filled the mugs and carried them to the table where Rose was sitting. She was mulling over what the vampire had said and she just couldn't quite wrap her brain around it. Frankly, being psychic wasn't something she ever even wanted. After all, they said her grandmother always knew when someone was going to die. Every single time. It was eerie Dorothy always thought. And then it all started to fall into place. Her grandmother. Dorothy's descendent line came through her mother. She told Rose about it and she nodded in agreement.

"So maybe there are a few of those talents out there, in your family, Dorothy."

"Maybe, but I don't want to know when someone I love is going to die, Rose."

"And you may not. Also, keep in mind that you'll have training to help you direct your gift."

"Really? I can control it?"

Rose nodded. "Yes, you'll learn so much when you train."

"About that…Rose, how soon before I can be turned? How old do the babies have to be?"

"As a descendent, it only takes a couple of days for you to acclimate. You will have complete control, Dorothy but you'll still need a couple of days to get used to the elevated sensory sensations. That is the difficult part. How soon do you want to be turned?"

"I want to breast feed the twins for as long as I can but I also want to be turned as quickly as possible. Does that make me a bad mother?" She felt very guilty over the thought.

Rose smiled. "Not at all. You can be turned very quickly; you can pump milk for the babies for the couple of days you'll be away. Also, when Clark is back, make sure you take a bit of his blood every day, just a few drops as it will help you heal much more quickly. Your body will return to normal in a few days or so that way."

"Does that mean we could, um, be together?"

"Yes, but you're going to be so tired with twins in the house that I'm thinking you'll be too tired for many extra activities," she said with a laugh.
Now that was something to think about!


Mick pulled the old Benz up into the driveway at Maeve's house. Beth scouted the yard but didn't see Noodle anywhere and decided the little dog must be in the house. Surely the car in the drive must have attracted the occupants attention so Beth went to open her door but was stopped by Mick's hand on hers.

"I don't know if I can do this, Beth. How do I do this?"

"Why don't you let me go and talk to her for a moment, to sort of prepare her?"

"Is that any better than just seeing me? I don't know."

Beth sensed he was waffling on it and quickly opened the door and stepped out of the car and closed the door. She saw the front door of the house open up and waved and called out to Mrs. Carter, aka Maeve St. John. "Hi Mrs.Carter. I'm Beth; remember I met you the other night? I'm a friend of Lani's. May I talk to you for a minute?"
Mick listened from the car. This was it, his moment of truth. He hoped that it wasn't a huge mistake.

To be continued…

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Rape is always a difficult subject to deal with. I didn't go into any real detail because of that fact but it was necessary to complete the chain of questions started in my first story, Beth's Diary. The question has always been posed as to why Dorothy never told anyone and kept Clark away from her for so many years. This was integral in her life, her fear that Martin would find out. When he did, he tried to kill Clark and Dorothy has a great deal of guilt over that. We aren't quite done with this yet, so hand in there with me.

Also, another thing to mention; young women today are often unable to understand the issues dealing with rape in the past. Granted, it can still be horrible now to go through a court proceeding where rape is concerned but in the past, it was usually an all out attack on the woman and her loose morals or manner of dress. Women and girls 'enticed' or 'excited' men to do such things and the poor guy just couldn't help himself. That is the reason why so many women didn't report rape. If you've ever seen the movie, The Accused, you'll have a good understanding of the situation. It is a movie well worth seeing, however it is very graphic.

Dorothy was a sign of her times, as Grace and Shelly both knew. Even if the rape had been reported, Martin might very well have never been arrested or charged. That is a very bitter pill to swallow, even now, I understand.

I hope this chapter wasn't too upsetting for any of you. I tried to do it in the least invasive way possible.