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, February 2, 2015

Chapter 33 For the First Time

Lani entered the code for the door to the safe room; she could only access it by fingerprint, something that Rose thought was ingenious and an extra level of security. She was further impressed when the door swung open and she saw that it was 6 inches of heavily reinforced metal of some type, titanium she believed.

"Dorothy, this level of the house is completely self-contained; separate ventilation system, water, electrical, you name it. You are absolutely safe here."

"I heartily approve, Lani. Josef is very aware and inventive. This is a great place. All vamps need somewhere like this." Rose looked around with satisfaction, this was ideal for the situation.

"I really need the bathroom. Lani, where is it?" Dorothy asked, a worried look on her face.

Lani led them into the guest suite and headed to the left and turned on the light. "Right here Dorothy. Let us know if you need anything."

Dorothy nodded, ashamed to admit that she hadn't been able to hold it in long enough. Her slacks were now damp and she went into the bathroom with the intent of cleaning herself up.

Rose moved close to and spoke quietly into her ear, "Dorothy, I believe your water is breaking. Let's get you into the bathroom now."

Dorothy's eyebrows raised a fraction. That possibility hadn't even occurred to her. A small hand flew to her mouth and she moved as quickly as she could into the bathroom. It was real - she was having these babies, without Clark.

She was an adult; she had a doctor here and Beth and Lani, she would be fine but she couldn't shake the feeling of disappointment that suddenly overwhelmed her, along with another labor pain.

"Dorothy, how far apart are they? Have you kept track?" Rose questioned as she looked at her watch to check the time.

"I - I don't know."

"Rose, there are towels in that cabinet right there in the closet outside the door," Beth spoke quietly as well, knowing that Lani or her mom couldn't hear her. She had heard Rose saying that her water had broke and knew that was time for her brother and sister to make their appearance. It was all sort of scary, but exciting as well. She felt so pleased to be here for her mom and to welcome the babies into the family.

Suddenly she blinked in confusion. She could swear that she heard a tiny little voice in her head say, "We love you, sister." It was preposterous…wasn't it?

She tried to shake the thought from her head and told Lani, "We need to get a lot of towels to put in the bed, Lani. Her water broke and she's in labor." At Lani's puzzled look she tapped her ear and said, "Vamp hearing!" She gave out a quick laugh and then heard the voice again, "We are glad you are here for Mother, Sister Beth."

"Lani, did you hear anything?"

"OMG! Is Martin in the house?"

"Nooo, not like that." The truth was though that Martin seemed to be battering the doors up stairs and she'd also heard a couple of shots. He must be really frustrated. The many glass walls up there were heavily tempered glass. It would take a cannon to break them, according to Josef but of course Martin didn't know that. She shuddered because he was such a creepy man when they were growing up and now he was just a twisted piece of dirt.

Lani pulled a half dozen towels out of the linen closet, thick and divinely soft, they would make an excellent cover for the bed and for Dorothy to lie on.

Beth heard a really loud crash upstairs; it sounded as if he had tried to drive his car though a wall. For a moment her heart sped up and then quickly slowed to its very slow, normal rhythm. No matter what, he couldn't get down here even if he broke into the upstairs.

She startled again when she heard the house phone ring. Lani rushed to get it in the control room; surely it must be Josef.


Martin was determined to get into this house. What the hell was it constructed of anyway? Even his gun didn't break the glass of the door. What the fuck?

A new idea came to him and he headed to his car and aimed it at the front door. He figured the windows were some kind of bullet-proof glass, so that left the door. He pulled into the yard and gunned the engine and slammed into the door. It definitely looked battered so he backed up, out to the street and gunned it again. When he backed away this time his bumper fell off and lay on the lawn. One more time and this time the door frame gave away, just enough for him to squeeze into the house.

It was all he needed. Now, to find those bitches.


"Lani, Sweetness, are you all okay?"

Josef's voice on the other end of the landline helped to immediately comfort her. "Yes, we're in the safe room, Josef. But Dorothy is in labor."

"Okay. Rose is with you, right?"

"Yes, she and Dorothy are in the bathroom right now; Dorothy's water broke. How far away are you?"

"We're two minutes out, Sweetness. We'll be there before you know it. Clark is with us."

"Uh, is this going to be okay?"

"Yes, it will be fine. Logan has him downing enough blood to fill him up for a month."

"How are Ryan and Vaygar?

"They're both fine; they broke a few bones and Vaygar got shot in the shoulder, but it all healed before the highway patrol got there. Right now they are in the process of giving statements, poor bastards," he said with a grimace.

"I hope they're really okay."

"Yep, no worries. I can see the house now. Lani, this was really smart heading there.
"It was Beth's idea, not mine. I was too scared to think actually."

Josef smiled to himself, he loved her so damn much. "You would have thought about it though, eventually. We're landing now, Sweetness…son of a bitch!!!"

"WHAT?" Lani yelled, forgetting about vampire ears on the other end of the phone and suddenly afraid they had been attacked outside.

Josef winced, but his attention immediately went back to his lawn and front door. "He tore up my carefully manicured front lawn."

Lani could hear the anger almost choking him. Had he told her that Martin was actually in the house she would have been petrified. Just then she heard a faint pounding on the door to the safe room. "Josef, he's in the house. He's trying to get into the door down here."

"Sweetness, you know as well as I do that he can't get in. Just hold tight, we'll be down in a few minutes."

"After you, um take care of the problem?" She hated her uncle, but she knew she didn't want details.

"Don't worry about it. I'm heading into the house. See you soon. Bye."

"Bye," she echoed.

She told Beth that they were here, which was totally unnecessary since Beth had heard the conversation. Beth had the towels spread out on the bed and looked up as her mother and Rose came into the room, a bath sheet around her waist, or what passed for one at this time.

Beth helped Rose get Dorothy settled. When Rose heard the pounding on the door to the safe room she glanced up at Beth and Beth murmured, "Don't worry, we're safe and the men are here now too."

Rose nodded and looked at her watch as Dorothy had another pain. "Three minutes apart, Dorothy. You're doing well. Lani, I need a sharp knife or pain of scissors and some string or thread. Do you have any vodka down here." At Lani's nod Rose continued. "Get the scissors and cut me a piece of string about a foot long. If there is no string do you have thread?"

"I do have that, in a small sewing kit. Just one strand?"

"No, three or four will work. White is best." She smiled at Lani and said, "After you cut the thread I want you to soak the scissors and the thread in the vodka, okay?"

Lani nodded again and rushed off to get the things that Rose needed.

Rose headed back into the bathroom and found some antibacterial soap and started scrubbing. She wished she had some gloves, but did the best she could.

When she came back into the bedroom Beth was sitting on the bed with her mother, an arm around her talking softly in an effort to reassure her. Rose also realized that Beth was mentally talking to her mom, sending her thoughts to relax, be calm and it seemed to be working. The girl certainly had a gift. Once she was trained there would be no stopping her.

"Dorothy, can you lean back a little for me? Beth, why don't you sit in back of her so she can lean against you, please?" As Beth moved into place she finished, "Dorothy, I need to feel how far dilated you are. I'll try to be gentle."

Dorothy let out a long breath and waited as Rose examined her. "You're about 8 centimeters now. Another one and you can start pushing. Until then, just try to breathe with the contractions, okay?" They were coming about every 2 minutes or so now.

As Dorothy leaned back and tried to relax Rose nodded in approval. It wouldn't be long now she knew.
In her head Beth heard, "We are ready now. Father is here." Beth grinned to herself. Her brother and sister were amazing.


Four vampires pushed through the broken door in practically less time than it took to blink. Clark's head was lifted as he scented the air, seeking and finding Martin. Before anyone could stop him he was around the corner and leapt down the stairs, landing gracefully and quietly. He tapped Martin on the shoulder and when he turned he gave him his best, toothy, vampire grin and said, "Looking for someone? No, wait…you want me, right? Because you damn sure better not be looking for my wife." He felt Martin's shoulder stiffen in response and waited for him to respond.

It was the surprised look on Martin's face that made Clark chuckle. "No? Not me?" He picked Martin up and tossed him up the stairs like the garbage he was.

Martin landed on his shoulder and he felt it crack. So did the vamps. Clark leapt up the stairs with one jump and stood before Martin who was still lying on the floor.

"Cat got your tongue, Martin? Or maybe vampire got your tongue, huh?"

"Vampire? Nice disguise, Griffin. Besides that point, you're supposed to be dead." Martin's heart was thumping wildly in his chest, so loudly anyone could have heard it. For a moment he thought he might pass out, which made all the vamps laugh as he slid to the floor. When he looked down he got the joke; not only had he pissed himself but his bowels had let loose as well.

"Do you need help getting up? I think you do," Clark said, yanking on his damaged arm and tossing him all the way across the room, past a couch and into the glass.

"Don't you guys just love this glass here? So totally reliable. I highly recommend it," Josef said with a grin, thoroughly enjoying the show.

Clark strode across the room, his nose wrinkling in distaste at the strong odor of defecation that was all over Martin. He picked the man up by the collar and hissed, "Stand up like the man you've never been. You have some debts to pay."

"FUCK YOU, GRIFFIN!" Martin screamed. "You're dead! I killed you."

"Well, yes, you did actually. I rose again. Remember the fangs?" He flashed them again and snapped at Martin and realized that the only thing that was holding Martin up with his hand. His knees were a shaky, wobbly mess. "Yes, Martin, this is such a thing as vampires!"

It was at that moment that Clark heard his wife, loud moans and heavy breathing. He knew what Josef hadn't told him, that she was in labor.


"Okay, Dorothy. It's time to push now. Beth, you need to help her sit up a bit and support her carefully as she's pushing, okay?"

Beth nodded and waited for Rose to tell her when. A new pain started and Rose said, "Okay, NOW Dorothy!"
Dorothy let out a long moan, pushing as hard as she could. Lani sat on the side of the bed, wiping Dorothy's forehead with a cool cloth.

She had another 30 seconds before the next pain started and this time she let out a low scream. It didn't matter how much it hurt, she just wanted them here safely.

"You're doing great Mom! They are ready now, Alexander told me so!"

Beth smiled as Dorothy tried to turn her head around. "What?" she asked.

"Just trust me."


For the First Time

Clark's ears heard Dorothy scream this time and knew that he had to end this with Martin now. Which made him have to make a decision; he wanted to tear this bloody bastard apart, but that would leave him covered in blood and he refused to let his wife see him like that. He could leave it to Logan; Martin had tortured him relentlessly over their youth.

Right now the only thing that would satisfy Clark was getting to his wife; he'd promised her to be there. He looked at his brother and said, "Logan? I want to get down to Dorothy and I don't want her to see me covered in blood."

Logan growled with pleasure as he realized that Clark was asking him to finish the job. "Yeah, I got this, brother."

"Make it hurt."

Logan nodded and they shared a look for a second that no ordinary mortal bond could compete with. Then Clark was down the stairs again yelling, "Josef, get this door open!"

Beth and Rose both heard Clark at the door and while pleased, they both prayed he'd be strong enough because of the scent of blood. There wasn't really a lot of blood, but the scent still hung in the air.

Neither had time to think about it as Clark rushed into the room, quickly followed by Josef, who Lani thought was almost blushing. He quickly headed into the media room and prepared to sit this out. He knew that having babies was a natural thing but Dorothy sounded as if she was hurting badly.

"I'm here, Dorie. I promised and I'm here."

Dorothy looked up and saw her mate and started crying. Beth saw those tears mirrored in her dad's eyes as she moved so that he could sit behind her.

"I love you, girl. I'll never let go. Now, just like we learned in Lamaze class." He wrapped his arms around her and put his hands on her belly, gently rubbing as he felt another pain coming on. "Just breathe, Dorie, come on, just like we practiced. We got this."

"Clark…I…love you…" she said as the pain took her and she pushed through it.

"Okay, here comes the first one. Lani, I need a clean towel and the scissors and thread now. Just cut the thread in half."

Lani ran to get the requested items and hoped that the vodka had killed all the germs. She was back in a flash as and handed the towel to Rose so she could cradle the first baby in it.

Beth wasn't surprised that it was Grace because somewhere in her head she had heard Alexander say, "Ladies first." She was going to have a great time with these two, she knew.

"Here is Grace." She quickly cut and tied the cord, her expertise doing it all smoothly. She wrapped Grace up and handed her to Dorothy and watched as the two parents admired their daughter, their love for her shining brightly in their eyes. She was perfect, in every single way. She seemed to be breathing easily which was a relief.

Beth leaned over and lightly touched her sister on the hand and was rewarded as two stunning blue eyes looked at her. "Welcome to our world," she whispered. "You are beautiful!"

"Beth, you might want to hold Grace because Alexander is coming now. Dorothy, get ready to push!"

Two minutes later Alexander arrived and greeted the world with a wide eyed smile as Rose finished working on him. She was positive she heard, "Thank you, Rose, you took good care of Mother," in her head and felt bemused by it.

Beth had heard it too and grinned at Rose. She could see that some explanation was going to be necessary. It had been painful for her mom, but it was so worth it. Her dad was holding Grace and her mom had Alexander. She smiled at them both and went into the media room where Lani and Josef were waiting.

"Two beautiful babies have now joined our family." She suddenly burst into tears just as Mick and a very wet Logan came down the stairs. She held Mick tightly and he held her as she cried. He could tell they were tears of joy.

They had weathered out this storm; life was good.

To be continued


Monday, January 26, 2015

Chapter 32 Gimme Shelter

Gimme Shelter

Dorothy shifted restlessly in the seat of the Cayenne, but it wasn't because the ultra plush leather seats were uncomfortable. Quite the opposite she decided; the real issue was that she was a nervous wreck because Clark was coming home in the morning and it was almost like their first time together. Not that they would be making love, but she felt terribly shy about seeing him again, which was utterly ridiculous she admitted. She was a grown woman and was more than excited to be with him again. She knew that the twins were more than ready to be born, even if Vaygar hadn't told her that. No, she just knew…somehow she knew. Was Vaygar correct telling her that she would likely have his gift of psychic abilities? It seemed strange to even contemplate.

"Lani, the new car is wonderful. It's such a beautiful night as well. Could we take a drive up the beach?" It was a beautiful night, she wasn't lying about that but she also thought that a drive might distract her a bit.

"Sure, um, you're sure you're up for it?" Lani caught Rose's gaze in the rear view mirror and saw the slight nod of approval in the rear view mirror and relaxed a bit. "Ice cream first or after?"

"After, please." For some reason she wasn't sure that she actually wanted ice cream after all. It had sounded wonderful half an hour ago, but not now she decided.

"Alright then. A relaxing drive it is. Sounds good to me," Beth said, sensing her mother's restlessness. And the faintly different scent that seemed to be wrapped around her mother as well.

Rose had also picked up the change in scent; those babies were coming and soon. Still, a short drive might be good for her as a distraction tactic. She'd like to ask Dorothy if she was having any pain but decided to hold off in case it made her more nervous.

Lani headed north on the PCH and within minutes the traffic thinned a bit and the lovely moon shone brightly on the ocean. It was strangely calm tonight, looking almost glassy at times.

Dorothy took a few deep breaths and felt a little bit calmer; this was exactly what she needed she decided. She looked out the window and sighed, feeling strangely content, maybe for the first time since Clark had been turned. Tomorrow he'd be home; life seemed suddenly very promising.


Vaygar and Ryan cruised along the PCH far enough behind the girls that they were still in sight but enough to room to make them feel that they weren't being followed too closely. The men chatted amiably, also enjoying the night cruise down the highway. The ladies had picked a perfect night for it.

Vaygar admired the young vampire greatly; he had excellent manners that were displayed anytime he was around the girls. He had managed to develop a good working relationship with Josef while remaining faithfully loyal to Miss Lani, who he liked a good deal.

Vaygar knew that she was a bit of a spitfire, much like Beth and she would make an excellent vampire and a very appropriate mate for Josef.

In Vaygar's opinion, you rarely found such strong relationships among vampire mates. He noted with pride the very strong bonds between Mick and Beth, Clark and Dorothy and Josef and Lani. He wondered, only briefly if he were honest, what his life may have been like to find such a mate? Rose and Brody, even though they had never married shared that bond, and never seemed to grow tired of one another. That was purely amazing he admitted.

Vaygar occasionally hooked up Kiki, but she was like a butterfly; she'd come close enough to land briefly and then was right back soaring in the air again. She would never be tied to anyone for long. That didn't make Vaygar sad because he instinctively knew that she would never be his mate.

Nya, the beautiful Anasazi woman might have easily captured his heart he admitted. She could have and even though they had several children together, she was more content with her shamanistic life; prayers and healing pursuits suited her well and Vaygar had made a pact with himself to never try to change her.

It would incorrect to say that he was discontented with his life because he wasn't, not in the slightest. That didn't mean he couldn't admire the strong bonds of the others though.


The farther north the little group caravanned the angrier Martin became. Where in the hell were they going, anyway? They couldn't go too far; Dorothy looked like an over-bloated cow. She needed to drop that calf soon so he could get rid of it. He knew she'd appreciate his gesture because she would never want that bastards offspring. He knew that for sure because she'd never even had a funeral for him. That told him more than anything else.

As he drove he fumed more and more about the delay in getting his hands on her. Yep, he had some serious business with her, the kind of business that meant her spread-legged on the bed and him finally getting some satisfaction out of the bitch. Hopefully she'd learned a few things over the years and wouldn't lay there crying like a baby.

He looked into his rearview mirror and thought he saw that big, black SUV that sometimes followed Lani around. He slowed a bit, making sure to keep the vivid red Porsche Cayenne in sight, not that if would be hard to spot. He wondered now if he could tap that rich bastard that she lived with? The idea brought a huge smile to his face.

He finally got close enough to the black SUV to verify that it was two of the men that he'd seen hanging around the women. What the hell was up with that anyway? He glared into the dark windows of the SUV and cursed at them.

He didn't realize that Vaygar had recognized him immediately.


"Son-of-a-bitch!" Vaygar shouted, infuriated by the fact that Martin was following the girls.

"WHAT?" Ryan yelled in return. "What the hell is going on?"

"That little weasel is following the ladies. Ryan, we need to take care of him once and for all."

"Agreed. Shall we just follow him and see if we can get to him? As Josef says, a trip to the tar pits are in order."

Vaygar was clearly puzzled by Ryan's words. "Really? The tar pits?"

"You bet. Lots of bones in that tar pit, supposing of course they haven't disintegrated by now." Ryan grinned, a strangely wicked grin in fact and Vaygar had to laugh for a moment.

It didn't take long for their focus to return to Martin though. Vaygar picked up his phone and called Rose, hoping that they were in range of cell service. He let out a sigh when the call went through and explained the situation to Rose who listened carefully. He heard Beth as she let out a small groan as she had heard his comments. He waited for a moment as the girls talked in vampire tones so that Lani and Dorothy couldn't hear the conversation.

The subject was debated for a moment or two and Beth finally had a solution.

Vaygar hoped it would work.


"Hey, Lani. Since we're out this far north, how about we go out to Josef's beach house? I'm sure Mom and Rose would love to see it."

"Yes, that would be delightful," Rose agreed. She saw Lani staring at her in the rear view mirror again and nodded slightly, trying to send her a silent message. It seemed to work.

"I like that idea. And you know what? We've got ice cream in the freezer there. Is that okay with you, Dorothy?"

Dorothy laughed and quickly agreed. "I have to admit, I'm curious about the place because you all talk about it a lot. And - I have to also admit that I need to pee - again," she said with a groan.

"Well then, Malibu it is. We're about 15 minutes away. Hold on to your hats, sisters," giggled. She sped up a little, deciding that if they were pulled over by the police it wouldn't be so bad, at least she thought so but since she wasn't quite sure what was going on, she hoped that would be okay.


Martin knew that he'd been spotted when first the girls and then the black SUV sped up. He spent a minute spewing every curse he could think of before he decided that he needed to think carefully about what he intended to do. He had to take the men out of the equation. He looked down at the gun lying beside him; he hated to do it, but he had to get a shot off and that shot needed to count.

He rolled his window down and yelled, "Hey, assholes! Hey, lookie here!" He waved the gun out the window of the Taurus and watched as the passenger window slowly receded into the door.

"Martin Parker! Pull over now," the one with long blond hair yelled in return.

Martin laughed. Who the hell did this long-haired sissy boy think he was talking to? And how the hell did he know his name? That should have set off a warning bell, but he was so caught up in the moment and his perception of feeling omnipotent that he didn't spare even a moment for alarm. Instead, he grinned at his foe and fired a shot into the vehicle.

The SUV swerved a bit and he could see the sissy boy holding his arm. GOOD! Martin's laughter sprang from him as he crowed in triumph. He took another shot, this time at the rear tire and his aim was again true. The vehicle careened madly, crossing over two lanes and hit another vehicle which spun out of control. The black SUV tried to recover but couldn't and finally flipped over before another vehicle hit it mid-section, spinning it off into the median on its roof.

Martin laughed manically as he watched to collision in the side window. That took care heof those bastards, for sure. Clear sailing ahead. Exactly what he needed. This was turning out to be a fantastic night; with the spoils of the battle still ahead he knew that nothing could stop him now.


Both Vaygar and Ryan were okay, basically although both of them had various broken bone which would heal quickly, but they still hurt like the devil. Ryan pulled his phone out of his pocked and stated, "I'm calling Josef. Hopefully he can get to them in time."

Vaygar nodded and said, "I'm calling Rose. She and Beth might have to take on Martin. I hope they bloody well make it hurt!"

Ryan quickly got through to Josef. Their conversation was brief, with Ryan filling him on what had happened and telling him where the girls were.

"I'm calling for the helicopter; it can get us there quickly. Do you need someone to come and get you?"

"Yes; this vehicle won't be drivable. I do see red lights heading for us though. Just worry about the ladies."

"You got it," Ryan heard right before the call ended. He heard Vaygar still speaking to Rose and interrupted long enough to state that Josef and the men were meeting them at the house, via helicopter.

As she hung up the phone she felt a bit of fear. This wasn't going to help Dorothy a bit. She knew that between her and Beth they wouldn't have any trouble with Martin, but it was still going to be hard on Dorothy. She startled a bit as she heard Beth's phone ring and thought it was probably Mick. By Mick's greeting she knew she was right.

She heard him speaking, his voice a bit agitated. "Beth, get into the safe room as soon as you are there. Don't hesitate!"

"Mick, don't you think it's more important for Rose and I to, uh, take care of the problem first?"

"No, baby. We'll be there pretty quickly. I hear the 'copter now. Just keep them safe, Beth."

"Okay. I love you."

"Love you too, Beth. Forever, baby."

Dorothy turned around in the front seat, as much as she could that is. "What is going on? Don't tell me that everything is alright because I know it isn't."

Beth looked at Rose, not sure what to do. Sometimes knowing there is trouble, but not know exactly what it is was much worse than knowing; a person's imagination always seemed to take the scariest route available. Rose nodded to her and so she decided to just tell them.

Lani knew that they were only minutes away from the beach house. She was driving with an acutely tense feeling in the pit of her stomach. She seemed to know instinctively that she needed to get them there as quickly as possible. Two minutes she intoned to herself, over and over as she listened to Beth.

After Beth explained it all she looked at her mom who seemed to be handling it well. "Mom, are you okay?"

Dorothy was okay, but she also knew that she was in labor. At first just a few tiny flutterings, now the pain was becoming more intense. She could only hope they were close to the beach house. When she voiced the question she left out the part about her labor.

"We're maybe a minute away, Mom. In the house Josef has a safe room; it's a completely safe contained level of the house. There is no way that Martin is getting into it. We'll be safe."

Rose had been watching out the rear window. "I can see headlights back there, maybe a half a mile or so." She frowned at how close he was and became edgy as she realized that Dorothy really was in labor.

At Rose's words Lani turned the lights off, leaving only the nearly full moon to guide her on the road, but she knew it well and never hesitated for a moment until she quickly slowed and turned into the drive. She pushed the button on garage and it lifted obligingly, but not nearly fast enough for her comfort.

As soon as they were in she pushed the button again and the door swung slowly shut. Her hopes were that Martin was far enough behind them that he wasn't sure whether she had turned or just gone around the curve that was a few hundred feet ahead of them. Either way, they were safely inside of the house and as she opened the door into the house and led them in. By then Rose and Beth had heard Martin's car pull into the drive.

"Come on, Mom. Let's get downstairs. How are you doing?"

Dorothy gave a weak smile and uttered, "I'm in labor."

Beth felt a sick feeling in her stomach. What else could go wrong?


Clark and Logan listened as Josef spoke urgently into the phone. Both of them heard that the helicopter would be here in about five minutes and then take about 12 minutes to get to the beach house. Logan immediately got up and started putting blood into a canvas bag, to take with them. He knew that there was no way that Clark would stay home. He knew if it were him, nothing would be able to stop him.

Clark looked at Josef and Mick and stated, "I'm going with you. That bastard is MINE!"

Mick pursed his lips for a moment and then nodded. "I agree, he's yours to take care of. But if we have to, we'll keep you away from Dorothy if you show any signs of being out of control. Agreed?"


Josef nodded, satisfied with what was happening. Let's get out to the helipad gentlemen. It's time that bastard was put out of our misery."

They all nodded in agreement. Yes, it way past time for that.

To be continued...

Hi everyone! Sorry to have missed last week but we're back on schedule now. Real life was kicking my behind last week for sure. The good news is that my daughter is doing much better now. The bad news is that most of us in the house have had the flu and it is still got 3 grandsons down. They are going to the doc this morning - yeah, they are SO looking forward to that! NOT...

Thank all of you who take the time to read and comment as well. I am behind on answering comments, but will hopefully get to them soon.

By the way, I often post messages on Face Book about what is going on. If you would like to friend me on there, you'll usually find out if the post will be delayed. You can find me at Cyndy Klein Hodge.


Monday, January 12, 2015

Chapter 31 Miracles


Jackie scrubbed the stove in her apartment until her fingers were raw; the contributing factor to that was that she had scrubbed every possible surface until the room was practically sterile. She sighed with frustration and pushed an errant strand of hair that had escaped her ponytail out of her face and bent back to her task. It didn't matter that she'd not used the stove for weeks; she usually just zapped a microwave meal and called it good. Why bother to cook for yourself?

The effects of her cleaning spree were evident everywhere; her refrigerator gleamed as did counters and cabinets. On the countertops all that remained were bottles of cleaners, mostly empty ones she acknowledged. The bathroom was as clean as the kitchen. Her bedroom and living room hadn't been spared from the cleaning attack either; not a speck of dust or a dust bunny for that matter could be found anywhere.

No matter how much she cleaned she couldn't shake the past. She could eradicate the clutter and dirt from her home (not that there had been any to begin with) but she couldn't push the memories out of her head.

Ben. Benjamin Talbot. Here, in Los Angeles. That shouldn't surprise her; after all, this is where he grew up. She had known that when she came here with Rose; what she hadn't considered was that no matter how big a city was, someone you knew was just around the corner. Someone you once loved.

Someone you still loved.

New York, 1998

Something sharp was digging into her back and she groaned and tried to move off of it, but realized that she was tied up, her feet and hands both. She also had a gag on and a blindfold and for a moment she tried to remember what had happened, where she was. As she tried to ease her position a bit she felt a sharp, stabbing pain in her shoulder that burned as well. A wave of heat spread over her as she tried to settle into a less painful position, but she had no luck with it.

She was in a vehicle and it was moving swiftly, or so it seemed. It could have been crawling for all she could tell but it was on a twisty road and she wondered where they could be; there weren't any twisty roads like this in New York City. Next she felt an up and then down feeling, the bumps happening rapidly and a feeling of panic started to overwhelm her. Nausea made her stomach churn and roll and her mouth watered which was a step away from her vomiting. Between the motion of the vehicle and the biting pain in her shoulder she knew that she was going to be sick.

Car sickness; it had plagued her since she was a child and never had gone away. If she vomited now she'd choke and die because of the gag. She tried to hold it back but it started to rise in her throat and she began to thrash about and scream as best as she could, trying to get someone's attention, anyone's. For the moment the searing pain was forgotten in her panic to get someone's attention.

"Calm down, bitch!" The words were delivered with a sharp slap and then the gag was removed as her captor said, "Shut the hell up and you might just live!" right before she vomited all over herself and the floor.

"Car…car sick. Can't help it," she murmured before she did it again.

"Stupid bitch. Hermie, stop the goddamn van. She got puke all over everywhere!"

Hermie already could smell it and had his window down as he pulled the van over. As they stopped he opened his door before the contents of his stomach reappeared as well. Spaghetti and meatballs definitely weren't as good coming up as they were going down.

Bugle threw open the side door and emerged, gagging as well but he quickly drew in deep breaths in an effort to keep his dinner down. He almost succeeded, until he felt the warm vomit on his pants and then he lost it as well.

Michelle moved her foot and felt it touching something that was sort of soft and realized it was another person. Memory of what had happened started to flood her brain and she suddenly felt even more afraid than before.

They had been coming out of the courthouse, the back way so that they could mostly avoid the reporters that flooded the street entrance. Margaret, the attorney she worked for had just won a huge case; a mobster, and although guilty as hell he had managed to walk free.

Michelle had already decided that being a defense attorney wasn't for her; she didn't particularly like defending the scum of the earth. Like this case, the head of the largest crime family in New York, was now free and back on the streets, not guilty on all charges. It wasn't right, not at all.

As they came out there was a gray van at the curb. Margaret looked confused for a moment; there was supposed to be a limo but she thought that perhaps the firm had thought this would be a bit less conspicuous. As they got close to it the side door swung open and a man with a ski mask on opened fire on them. The mobster went down immediately, followed by Margaret.

The last bullet was for her and she watched as the mobster, then Margaret and finally, after some discussion she as well was loaded into the van. When she was tossed in she blacked out at the jarring pain in her shoulder. She hadn't awoken until a few minutes ago.

So that was probably the body of one of the others; were either of them alive? She softly called out Margaret's name and listened, but didn't hear any response. She tried again, a bit louder which attracted the attention of one of the men. He hit her again with something solid and she didn't wake up until they were stopped somewhere and the men were moving her out of the van into a cabin.

They hadn't put a gag back on her, which she found curious. Did they want to keep her alive? Like a kidnapping? She didn't have any money, it didn't make sense. She fought to stay conscious as they tossed her onto some sort of pallet on the floor and she gritted her teeth at the pain in her shoulder but she was determined to remain silent.

Damn! She wished they had removed the blindfold so she could see who these guys were. As luck would have it she didn't have long to wait to find out, but not because they removed the blindfold. They were scared because they didn't know what to do with her; Leo was pissed at them and wanted them to kill her and dump her body somewhere. The two men, one called Fingers and the other LeRoy were debating doing just that. Actually arguing was a closer description of it.

Fingers was all for killing her and LeRoy was against it. He considered her just an innocent bystander and apparently, even a mobster can have a few scruples. Leo, Michelle knew was the son of the mobster that had walked free. Apparently he had been running the syndicate since his father was in jail, pending trial and he liked it. He'd ordered the hit on his father; she and Margaret were apparently collateral damage.

It got very quiet and Michelle decided that they were asleep. She was sore, her body a mass of bruises from being tossed around and her shoulder constantly sent out burning pain that made her breath catch in her throat. The dizziness had gone and since she was very limber she ignored the pain and worked her arms under her body until they were in front of her. She managed to get the duct tape off of her feet and then her eyes. The room was dark and she couldn't see anyone else in what seemed to be a small room, like a bedroom except that there wasn't a bed in it. There was a window though, which might prove helpful. Lastly she worked on the tape around her wrists and was the hardest of all to remove since that had wound the tape around many times to make sure it was secure. Finally, she got it off and rubbed her hands together to try and restore a bit of circulation in them. As the painful tingles spread she gradually got the feeling back into them and she stood up to check out the view from the window.

It was pitch black outside with a million stars overhead but she couldn't see the moon. She had no idea what time it was but it had to be many hours since she was abducted. A quick search in the corners of the room proved it to be empty and there was no light showing under the door. Were her captors asleep? She stood and listened for a few more minutes and when it remained quiet she decided that now was as good a time as any to try to escape.

She was positive that they hadn't just abandoned her up here, where ever 'here' was. Actually, it didn't matter where it was, as long as she could get away. She was positive that if she didn't Fingers would get his way and kill her; she knew she couldn't count on the benevolence of LeRoy for too long.

She was surprised when the window opened relatively easily and quietly. She could see the ground, maybe 5 feet or so below her, so if she jumped quietly they might not hear her. The question was, when she was on the ground, which way to go? She didn't want to follow a driveway down to whatever road was there; if they realized she was missing that was likely the first path they'd take to find her.

It would be best if she could hang from the window sill and drop down but her shoulder wouldn't allow it. It hurt horribly and the dried blood stuck to her skin and pulled every time she moved. So she sat on the sill and hoped for the best, biting her lower lip in an effort to keep from crying out if she landed and fell onto her shoulder. Luckily, she didn't and she stood for a moment, looking around her in the dark.

And it was really dark; it didn't help that the cabin was surrounded by trees. They were probably somewhere in the Adirondacks she decided and was glad that it was spring so it wasn't too cold. If she kept moving should likely be okay, but the key phrase was 'keep moving'. She wandered into the trees and decided that she really had to go to the bathroom and sighed with relief as that need was taken care of.

Another survey of the area made her realize that it probably didn't matter what direction she went in as long as she avoided the road. She didn't know how long it was until dawn and she needed to be far away by then. She took off running towards what she thought was the west and tried to keep a steady pace. An hour later she saw a cabin that had a light on and ran to it thankfully. After she banged on the door for a moment a blonde haired woman answered it and she fell into her arms gratefully.

That was the night she met Rose and Brody and everything had changed for her. She knew that the mobsters would be looking for her; she knew what was going on and they'd likely stop at nothing to get to her. Rose convinced her to stay with them since Brody could protect her (although she didn't realize what his special gift was at that time) and she mourned for her life, for Ben. The plan was to wait a few months and then let him know that she was okay. If he didn't know anything about her then hopefully they'd leave him alone. So she let him finish school and as time wore on she began to feel more guilty and worried. Why would he even want her back? She'd not even let him know she was okay.

So she stayed with Rose and decided it was better for Ben if she let him go. But her heart never had.

Jackie looked around her and suddenly felt overcome with pain from the past; stupid mistakes can do that to you. She sank to the floor in tears. She didn't think she could fix this mistake.


The trip to the mall had been a total success; Clark had even managed to make a few purchases, one of them for Dorothy and he did it all on his own. He bought her a new locket, one that they could put pictures of the babies in when they got here. He looked longingly into the lingerie store but that was a purchase he wanted to make on his own, not with Logan and Mick with him, however discreet they tried to be.

There was something at the mall that bothered him a lot and it wasn't the scent of the people; it was the scent of the food court. Oh man, he was going to miss food! It was amazing how blood tasted, but food smelled great! He walked though, taking in the scents of Chinese, pizza, burgers, all the things he loved.

It was a trade off, he knew. He got to live forever with his Dorie; that was better than pizza any day of the week.

They made their way back to Josef's and all three of them considered it a successful outing. Tomorrow morning he'd feed fresh again and then would meet Dorothy at the house. He was a bit nervous; not because he was afraid he'd hurt her, but he was different now and not in the obvious way. His perceptions were different and he worried how Dorie would feel around him. Until she was turned would she feel comfortable with a vampire in the house? She had always been a bit nervous around them; he wouldn't be able to handle it if she were to feel scared of him and his newly developed skills.

It would tear out his heart. He only prayed that love would get them through it.


Rose watched Brody head into his apartment as she waited for the door to be answered at Mick and Beth's. A slight shiver of anticipation crept up her spine as she thought about him and the visit to his bed later on. She just wanted to check on Dorothy; those babies were literally due at any time and it didn't take a doctor to know that. They had moved down to station zero and if she made it 24 more hours it would be a miracle.

Beth answered the door and grinned, happy to see Rose as always. She liked her antecedent very much and always enjoyed visiting with her.

Rose saw that Lani was here as well and decided it must be a girl's night. Beth told her that the boys were having a poker night at Josef's guest house since Clark would be coming home tomorrow. Dorothy was beside herself with happiness and anticipation at being with her husband again. If anyone else had any misgivings about Clark's ability to keep himself under control she certainly didn't.

It had been decided that she would have the babies at the women's hospital where Rose was the attending. They could control things a bit more there, the idea being that Dorothy's OB/GYN didn't know that Clark was now a vampire; if anything started to get a little shaky there, they could whisk him away and take care of his needs.

It was a bit of a crapshoot, Rose admitted. Still, Vaygar had no worries about Clark's ability to go through the process with his wife. Vaygar said that Clark was going to be just fine and Rose trusted him, implicitly.

The ladies were getting ready to go and have some ice cream and asked Rose if she'd like to come as well. She almost said no, but then some strange instinct told her to go with them. And after all, how could she turn down ice cream?

On the way to the elevator she stopped at Brody's and let him know that she was going with the ladies and would be over a little later than planned. He grinned at her; they had all the time in the world and he knew that Rose couldn't resist ice cream. She promised to bring him some as well and he sent her off with a kiss and a whispered, "Hurry back, Rose. Ice cream isn't the only thing I intend to partake of tonight!"

She gave him a nod and a saucy grin and hurried to the elevator, where the girls were waiting. All of them were grinning. Love was amazing.


There was almost a bitter-sweet feel to the evening at the guest house. They indulged in a purely guy evening, a little poker, a little football. Even Logan was okay with it now that Mick had taught him about it, via the computer that is. Clark still couldn't believe how quickly Logan had picked it up, once it was shown to him in terms that were relatable to him that is. Not only that, he knew the stats from practically every team out there, something that brought a smile to Mick. Josef was interested in who Logan thought would make it to the super bowl, based on statistics that was.

In the poker game they all won a little and lost a little. Even Josef didn't complain too much about that; he just enjoyed the camaraderie that they shared.

They all did, until the phone call that would change everything.


Lani waved to Ryan as they girls got into the Porsche to head to get their ice cream. He nodded and got ready to follow them. When told that the girls were going out Vaygar had came downstairs and asked if Ryan minded if he rode shotgun.

"Sure, come on. The more the merrier! Besides, those girls are likely to sit and talk for an hour and it gets pretty boring."

Vaygar laughed, a deep, booming laugh that made Ryan grin from ear to ear. He liked Vaygar a lot; the vamp was always ready for a joke or a bit of fun. This outing might not be as bad as Ryan thought at first.

From down the block Martin watched as first the Porsche pulled out, followed by the black SUV. It pissed him off as it always did that there was always someone following Dorothy. He was at the end of his patience with it. He fingered the gun on the seat next to him and determined that tonight he was going to get to her, no matter who was around.

He pulled into traffic, being careful not to get too close. Yep, tonight was the night. Dorothy Turner was going to be his, again…finally.

To be continued…

Monday, January 5, 2015

Chapter 30 Evil Woman

Evil Woman

Josef sat back in his chair in the study, elbows resting on the arms and his fingers steepled as he thought about a situation that could prove problematic.

He was due to go to the guest house in an hour; right now Clark, Logan and Mick were out at the mall of all places, in an effort to show Mick that Clark really was ready to reintegrate back into society. Personally, Josef had no doubts.

Clark had immense control of himself; even feeding fresh had proved no challenge for him. Tomorrow morning he'd feed fresh one last time and if all went well he'd be home again and according to Lani, it would just barely be in time. Dorothy was ready to have those babies she'd said. Something about station zero and effacement or things he really knew nothing of - yet. He hadn't gotten that far in the book yet.

For sure it scared the hell out of him, what lay ahead. He'd always thought birth was a fairly normal process; that was before the woman he loved was an active participant in the process. It was dangerous! And the pictures of the baby in the womb made him cringe. How did mother or child stand it?

Lani had gone to Beth's so that they could take a ride in the new Porsche SUV. Lani had finally quieted about it, and then decided she loved it. Today had been a rough day which led to the problem that faced Josef tonight.

Today had been the memorial service for Lani's father. He'd been cremated, but because of scheduling, the memorial had just been held. Helena Parker had been front and center, the grieving widow displaying her loss to the hilt. She had gloried in the role, it had been apparent to all.

Josef had to commend Marcus Parker for one thing: he had taken care of his wife's finances and she'd be wealthy enough to live comfortably-very comfortably. Josef had gotten those details in advance of the memorial service.

His dilemma was how to keep Helena away from Los Angeles and more specifically, Lani. Possibly a condo in Europe, a place she loved and so help him, if she kept causing Lani distress it would be the tar pits for her selfish and egotistical ass.

She'd called frequently, and it was always upsetting for Lani. Not once (and Josef wouldn't forgive her for this) had she ever showed even the slightest bit of interest in how Lani was. Not about her father's death, or about being pregnant.

Josef did take some pleasure in causing Helena a bit of discomfort at the service and with luck; the calculated risk might pay off in her departing for Europe quickly.

Josef, Lani and Helena had stood chatting after the service; Josef and Lani listening as Helena had lamented how bereft she felt at the loss of her husband. She was fretting about how she would manage to live (financially) without him. Since Josef had already heard that she'd be taken care of, he wasn't too concerned about it.

The truth was, if he had to supplement her 'retirement' somewhere, far, far away he'd have done it without blinking his eye.

"I'm sure when the baby is born, Helena, that you'll be thrilled and have something to occupy your time." Josef watched her carefully because this gambit might not pay off and the last thing he wanted was her around her upsetting Lani. The woman didn't have a shred of mother in her; he'd gotten her nailed correctly on that one.

"The baby? Lani, surely you're not pregnant!"

"Yes, Mother, I am. I told you this a month ago."

"I'm sure you didn't. Are you married yet?"

"No, not yet; sometime in January," Lani replied, keeping it vague.

"Um hm, well, see to it. I can't imagine what people will think if you don't do it quickly."

"Helena, won't it be a joy to have a grandchild? Imagine little sticky fingers and mouths coming to grandma for kisses! That's the amazing thing about the kiddies, they not only leak at both ends but they manage to find dirt everywhere!"

Lani cast Josef a quick sideways glance, barely managing to keep from laughing; she knew exactly what he was doing. He only grinned and rocked back on his heels, hands in pockets.
Helena had been sipping her bourbon with a twist and almost choked. The horror on her face turned it first a vivid red and then paled. Josef pressed on.

"I know you'll love having our kids for long weekends at grandma's house! Imagine the fun that bath time and feedings will give you. They say a person gets more patient with age, so let's face it, you should be great at that. I plan to put a large birth announcement in the Times and of course I'll mention "Grandma Helena Parker" very prominently!"

Lani had to turn away and coughed briefly as she choked back laughter as her mother sputtered into her glass. The last thing her mother would want would be for everyone to remember that she was old enough to be a grandmother. She'd spent good money on plastic surgeons and spas over the years to keep the effects of aging at bay.

"How many children?" she asked and Josef heard a quiver in her voice. Fear perhaps or disgust?

He pulled Lani close to him and said, "What do you say, honeybunch? How about at least a half dozen? Would that be enough for you, Grandma?"

Helena took a compulsive gulp of her drink and then gasped as it burned her throat. "Um, excuse me, please," she said, rushing off.

Josef and Lani both watched with amusement; she didn't speak with them for the rest of the memorial.

Now, Josef hoped that it would be enough to keep her away. He decided to call a friend in France who sold property there; maybe he'd have a few ideas about places for Helena.

It was either that or the tar pits. Fielder's choice.


Carl and Cami stepped into Heroku's office and saw that Brody and Rose were with him. "Oh, excuse us, we didn't know that you were occupied, Heroku," Carl said, a small nod to show his respect to the elder vampire, as well as Rose and Brody. He and Cami started to leave, only to be stopped by Heroku.

"No, I have called you to meet with Rose and Brody, as well as myself. It is an important matter. Please, do be seated," he told them and then he bowed to them.

Carl's heart started hammering in his chest. He took a deep breath and then focused on slowing it as he had been taught. As he sat down on the couch it calmed a bit and he took another deep breath and felt a bit steadier.

"Have we, um, have I done something to offend you, Heroku-san?" He was positive that he must have; either that or Rose and Brody must have an objection to his turning.

"No, not at all, Carl. Rose and Brody would like to share some information with you." At Carl's fleeting look of panic he added hurriedly, "It is good news, I believe." He smiled at the young man, hoping to alleviate his fears.

Rose smiled as well and Carl watched her, trying to gauge what she might say.

Heroku and Brody both took seats in arm chairs across from the couch and Rose perched on the arm of Brody's chair and both Carl and Cami noticed as Brody took Rose's hand and squeezed it gently.

"Carl, we wanted to tell you that you are one of our descendents." Brody waited for the news to sink into Carl; he didn't have long to wait.

"Wha…I don't understand," Carl said, confused by their announcement. Rose and Brody had kids, together? How was he a descendent? From whom? A hundred questions filled his head.

"We had a daughter, a long time ago. Well, in human terms, that is. She was your great-great grandmother."

"Was she a vampire?"

"No, she fell in love with a human man and chose that path. She was your Grandmother Carter's grandmother."

"So from my mother's side of the family, then?"

How sad that they had watched their daughter choose a mortal life, Cami thought. Otherwise, this was fantastic news. She smiled at Carl and said, "This is wonderful, Carl. You'll still be able to do so many things that I can't."

Which was precisely the issue Carl decided; he didn't want to be able to do things that Cami couldn't. It didn't seem fair to him. It was just…wrong, he decided.

"I…I don't know what to say, I guess. It doesn't seem fair to Cami. I know its prestigious and all, but I just want to be like she is. I mean no offense, honestly."

Rose's eyebrows raised a fraction and Brody was clearly surprised. No one had ever not wanted to be a descendent; it was an honor. "I, uh, you can still live your life as a vampire like Cami, Carl. But you will be different; there is no way of changing that."

Carl let Brody's words wash over him; so, he didn't have to be different. Except of course he would be, even if he lived the life of a normal vampire.

Vampire? Was there such a thing?

"Carl," Rose began, tentatively. "Think about all of this; there are many things to consider. As Brody said, you can live a vampire existence, just like Cami, but you will be different. Our blood assures you of that. You already have superior physical attributes, just like Brody does and there will be other things as well. Things you might very well be happy about. But, that being said, how you live daily is up to you."

Carl nodded; he felt like he was being a jerk. Most vamps would be so thankful for this gift and all he was doing was rejecting it. It wasn't that it didn't make him feel proud to be a descendent of these two wonderful vamps, it was just that it made him feel guilty to have the options that Cami didn't.

"So, I guess this makes you my great-great-great grandparents, huh?" he joked in an effort to lighten the mood. "Look, I AM proud to have you as my antecedents; I can't think of two people that would have made me as happy. It's just that it makes me feel guilty." He looked at Cami and saw that she was ready to protest and continued, "Cami, I know, I really do that you don't mind this situation, but it bothers me. I just can't help it."

Cami smiled, a sad smile that clearly showed her understanding of his feelings. She would never want him to feel guilty over something, especially not this. It was a reason to celebrate, it was amazing. She'd known the 13 over the years she'd been a vampire and although she didn't know any of them well at all, she knew that they were compassionate and intensely beneficial to the vampire world, whether other vamps realized it or not and most didn't. Her Carl would be the same she knew and she also knew she had to make him realize that, accept it.

"Carl, I see this as a blessing for you, for us. You'll have attributes that I don't and that will be better for you as a cop. This will be beneficial, a good thing and cause me a lot less worry. Really," she told him and her sincerity was palpable, even to him.

He took a deep breath and released it slowly, lost in thought for a moment. "Okay, what do I need to know, to begin with?"

"The most important thing is that on full moons, you will always have to feed fresh; there is no way around it. For us, it is an imperative. Most of what you'll need to know you will learn in training; the next one will be in March." Brody told him, waiting for more questions because he was sure they would follow.

"March? I don't know if I can get off work again so soon. How long does training last?"

"At least a month, Carl. It is extremely important that you have a least the basics."

He frowned at Rose's words; it wasn't that he didn't want to go, but you couldn't just take a month off from the force when you were a cop - it didn't happen and he voiced his thoughts about that.

"Well, see what can be worked out at the time, Carl. Let's not worry about it right now. We're here to help you, when you have more questions or other issues. And, to welcome you to our family, Carl. We've wanted to tell you since we got here, but we wanted you to make up your mind about what you wanted on your own, without our influence."

"I appreciate that. Right now I'm sort of shocked, you know? As far as family go, I'm really happy to have you; other than a cousin you are the only blood relatives I have any longer. That means a lot to me; I was so close to my grandma and I've missed her so much."

It only took a moment for everyone to spot the brightness in his eyes, unshed tears that he was trying to hold back. That, along with the catch in his throat relieved Rose and Brody's fears about his acceptance.

"Uh, is it okay if I call you Granny and Grampy?" he teased, his eyes sparkling now not only from the tears but from humor.

"Not if you don't want me to kick your butt, kiddo," Brody laughed.

"I think you could, but you might not always be able to, Grampy!" he laughed and stood up. Cami rose beside him and they got ready to leave. "Is it okay if I uh, give you a hug, Rose?"

"Of course; I'd have been disappointed if you hadn't." She had spoken the truth; this situation didn't happen very often, finding family. She accepted his hug with love in her heart for him and hoped that he knew how much she cared about him.

Carl pulled away finally and didn't bother to hide the tear that trickled down his cheek. He looked at Brody and said, "Oh what the hell," and pulled him into a hug as well.

Rose, Brody and Heroku watched as Carl and Cami left before speaking. "His reaction surprised me," Heroku said, still a bit puzzled.

"I think it's just a reaction to the shock of it all. After he and Cami discuss it and I'm sure he'll agree that it is a good thing. Still, we've never had anyone not be thrilled about it all before."

Heroku nodded; it was a first for him too. He realized Carl's reluctance came from his deep love and devotion for his daughter and in the end, Heroku couldn't find fault with that.


After they left Heroku's office Rose and Brody headed to his apartment. When they arrived Rose told him she was going to check on Dorothy. She smiled at him as he opened his door and as he watched her walk farther down the hall and knock on Mick's door he couldn't help the look of love that washed over his handsome face.

Damn, she was as beautiful as the day he'd met her, two millennia before. The softly rounded hips that swayed ever so slightly as she walked, the graceful curve of her neck; it all still aroused him tremendously.

Of the 13, he and Rose were the only ones that had been a couple, off and on from the beginning. Most of them were loners to some degree, or because of the longevity of their existences they chose not to have relationships of any kind. Not that there were not sexual encounters because there had been plenty of them, but even in vampire lives it was difficult to explain their longevity.

Early on, when they had first been given the gift they had all felt hopeful that it might unite and bring prosperity to this world; instead all it brought was division and a dark and twisted version of the gift that made it unrecognizable as a gift at all.
This ominous perversion of the simple beauty and love of the gift made them all feel disillusioned and go into hiding. Gradually they reemerged into earth's cities and populations, keeping their gifts quiet, secret.

It was much easier to do than it was for a regular vampire; they could much more easily hide in plain sight since they could eat and blend in well. The thing about their secret was that vampires as a whole scared humans and the gifts that the 13 shared incensed other vampires, who usually were angered by their existence. Yes, they led a privileged existence, they understood that but as hard as they had tried to make others understand that it was a gift, not the twisted perversion that most vampires existence was, they generally could find little acceptance. Either way, it didn't inspire too many relationships with others.

She grinned at him as Beth answered the door and he saw how her eyes ate him up. He knew that later on she'd be in his bed and they would share a love and passion that would take his breath away.

He loved her. And luckily, she loved him as well.

To be continued…

AUTHOR'S NOTE: I'm so sorry that I have missed answering some comments. Jenn had surgery a week before Christmas and has had a lot of complications because of it. That has taken a good deal of my time. I do want to thank you SO much for taking time to read and comment, you, the readers make this all worthwhile!