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.
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."
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.
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
"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!"
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, 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
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."
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."
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
"So Beth can eat food, but you can't?" Maeve questioned.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
"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
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."
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
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.
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."
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
"Of course, I'll let you know immediately." He bowed slightly again and bid them goodbye.
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.
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
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.
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.
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?"
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
"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."
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,
"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?"
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."
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?"
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!"
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.
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
"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.
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
When they opened the door Ben smiled and handed them a
bottle of white wine. "Chicken for dinner, right?" he asked with a
"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
"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…