Monday, January 12, 2015
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…
Posted by Hope at 12:16 PM