Monday, December 22, 2014
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.
"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!
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Posted by Hope at 11:48 AM