Sorry for the wait for chapter 3, it would seem that the universe has not been on my side. Once again I will plead (beg even?) for your feedback. I really appreciate those that take the time and brighten up my day - thanks guys!
Disclaimer - I do not own, or have any claim to, the story or characters of Moonlight - continuing to deal with this one day at a time (but I have joined a wonderful 12 step program...)
Space Between Them - Part 3
Rain hammed on the roof of Mick's car as he drove and the bright neon lights were blurred by the water cascading down the windshield. The downpour and the late hour kept the streets empty, giving him the eerie feeling he was alone in the city and he frowned at the thought. For years he had been content in his solitude, but lately he had come to realise how tired he was of being alone. Making the last turn into Beth's street, Mick knew he should keep driving. He had the perfect opportunity to put the distance between them that he had been insisting on for months, but last night something in him had changed. Talking with Josef he had finally admitted how much she meant to him. He hoped that she could forgive him and truly accept him for what he was, but after decades as a vampire he understood only too well that wishing for something didn't make it so.
Parking across the street from her apartment, he opened the car door and stepped out into the rain. Dashing across the street, he ran up the steps of Beth's building. Consumed by his thoughts, he tripped on the top step, and only his lightning-fast reflexes kept him from sprawling on the wet cement. Stumbling into the lobby he shook the worst of the water off his coat. "Very graceful St. John," he muttered to himself, "some creature of the night you are."
Walking down the corridor, Mick's doubts threatened to overwhelm him. He hadn't expected to hear from Beth after their last encounter, so her call tonight had taken him completely by surprise. He knew that she might still reject him, in spite of what she'd said, and he honestly wouldn't blame her. Not only had he admitted to murdering Tejada, he'd virtually thrown her out of his apartment. On the other hand, if she didn't reject him he would have to confront his feelings for her, and Josef was right when he said relationships between humans and vampires never ended well. Arriving at her door he leant close and listened for movement, but only heard the TV quietly murmuring. Running his hands through his wet hair, he knocked.
Curled on her couch in her favourite pyjamas, Beth stared at the TV. The sound was turned down and she stared at the screen blankly. Cradling her phone, she thought about calling Mick again. Glancing at the time she realised it had been less than half an hour since she had left the message on his machine. Sourly she tossed the phone onto the couch, annoyed that she was starting to behave like a love struck teenager. Determined to distract herself she focussed on the TV, and couldn't help but smile when she recognised the movie that was playing.
Hearing the knock on her door, Beth sighed. It was late and she didn't need another well-meaning friend checking to make sure that she was alright. As she walked across the room she tried trying to arrange her features into something that would look tired-but-friendly. Opening the door and finding Mick dripping on the carpet, for a moment she couldn't speak. Collecting herself she stood aside and said simply, "Come in".
Letting her take his coat, Mick walked into the room stopped, staring at the TV. Flustered by his sudden appearance Beth closed the door took her seat on the couch without speaking. As Beth composed herself, Mick recognised the movie he had been able to hear through the door. 'I am nothing, lifeless, soulless, hated and feared. I am the dead to all the world...hear me! I am the monster breathing men would kill. I am Dracula'.
Tensing, Mick hoped Beth would never see him like this, as a soulless thing to be hated and feared. "Research?" he asked quietly, not taking his eyes off the screen.
Confused Beth frowned, then realised what he meant and flicked off the TV. "No" she said and added with a smirk, "I just have a thing for Keanu."
Relaxing a little Mick turned to face her. Happy to change the subject he said, "You look like you're getting ready for bed. I should go so you can get some sleep."
"No, it's fine." Beth said quickly, not wanting him to have an excuse to leave, "I'm glad you came." As she fiddled with the remote Mick waited nervously for her to continue. Finally she said, "I need to say sorry to you, but I'm not sure I understand why."
After his behaviour the night before, Mick had assumed he would be the one apologising. Caught off guard he said, "You have nothing to be sorry for-".
"Yes I do." Beth interrupted, "I don't understand what, but I did something that hurt you." Looking up at him she said, "I just want to know what it was."
Mick considered avoiding her question, but couldn't refuse the silent plea in her eyes. "I didn't want you to know about Tejada" he began, "but it was the look of disgust on your face when I told you what happened." Unable to meet her eyes he looked away. "I know what I am, but seeing myself as a monster in your eyes was more than I could take."
Hearing the anguish in his voice Beth said, "I was disgusted - but with myself, never with you." Looking up at him she hoped he would understand, but Mick's confusion was obvious. "You keep telling me that you're a monster, but you do everything you can not to be. Then, because of me, you get involved in this thing with Josh and end up killing someone…" Beth faltered.
Turning away from her Mick said, "I am what I am. Nothing you can say will change that."
"And nothing you can say, or do, will ever convince me you're a monster." As she stood she realised that nothing she could say would convince him, she would need to let her actions speak for her. "Mick," she said, "let me see your face."
Mick wanted to refuse, frightened that despite her words she would reject him, and more afraid that she might not. Reluctantly turning to face her, he kept his eyes averted as she walked over to him, stopping so close their bodies were almost touching. Kissing him gently on the cheek, she let her lips linger before pulling back. Amazed how much this small act meant to him, he met her eyes and smiled shyly. Reassured, Beth said softly, "Now, let me see your other face".
Mick inhaled sharply. Unable to believe what she was asking, he slowly shook his head.
"You told me once that you trusted me," she said, "trust me now."
As he listened to her heart beating, Mick felt like he had been laid bare. He stood before her, not as the vampire or the protector or the PI, but simply as Mick St John. Trust was not something he gave lightly, but after denying himself human contact for so long he found the possibility she might accept him impossible to resist. Taking a deep breath his let himself change and met her gaze with inhuman eyes.
Placing her hands on either side of his face Beth slowly trailed her fingers over his temples and down his cheeks. As she drew her thumb slowly over his lower lip, she could see his fear and her heart almost broke. Slipping her hand slowly along his jaw line she hooked her fingers around the back of his neck. With the slightest pressure, she brought his face towards hers. Mick faltered, and for a moment she thought that he might refuse her, but his hesitation vanished with the touch of her lips. Closing his eyes he wrapped his arms around her and surrendered to their kiss. Enveloped in the vanilla and jasmine scent of her skin, Mick felt like he was home.
Revelling in their closeness he deepened their kiss, and Beth melted against him. Savouring the sensation of his body moulded against hers she barely noticed his fangs graze her lip, but Mick froze and pulled away. Searching her eyes he found none of the fear or revulsion he expected. Smiling up at him Beth cupped his face with her had and kissed him again. Slipping her tongue between his lips she toyed with his teeth, carefully caressing each sharp point. Mick growled low in his throat in response and Beth's pulse quickened. She wasn't sure the sound was completely human, but there was no doubt that it was wholly masculine.
Breaking away from her Mick's face became human again and his eyes took on their familiar dark hue. Smiling, he pulled Beth against his chest and buried his face in her hair. Feeling the strength in his arms she understood how easily he could hurt her, but caught in his embrace she knew she was safe.
Nuzzling her neck Mick became aware of the blood flowing just below her skin. Without thinking his mouth found her pulse and he groaned at the feel of the blood rushing under his lips with every beat of her heart. Feeling his fangs lengthening he turned his head away, and with difficulty forced himself back under control. Breathing heavily, Mick let go of her and stepped back to put some space between himself and temptation. Taking a deep breath to steady himself he said "It's late - I should go and let you get some rest."
Looking into his dark eyes Beth could see a shadow that hadn't been there before. She wasn't sure what had changed for him so suddenly, but she could guess. Nodding her understanding, she realised just how tired she was and had to stifle a sudden yawn.
Chuckling Mick said, "I should definitely go if I'm boring you."
Beth laughed and said, "I just haven't been sleeping." Slipping her small hand into his she asked, "Stay until I fall sleep?"
Mick knew he should say no, but ever since he had seen her walking barefoot through the fountain, he had been unable to refuse her. Nodding, he let her lead him to the bedroom. Pulling back the covers Beth slid under them and patted the bed next to her for him to join her. Mick switched off the light and, as he sat on the edge of the bed to take off his shoes, she scooted over to give him room. As he lay facing her she wriggled towards him and pressed her back firmly against his chest. He was about to object when she took his arm, and with a sigh of contentment, draped it over her body and pressed his hand over her heart. Wrapped around her warmth, Mick couldn't find the strength to protest.
When her breathing had slowed and he was sure she was asleep, Mick tucked a stray strand of hair behind her ear and softly kissed her forehead. Careful not to disturb her he got out of the bed and slipped on his shoes. Standing in the dark he smiled as he watched her, wishing there was some way he could stay. Whispering her name, he turned and silently made his way to the door. Grabbing his coat, he hesitated in the doorway, but knowing that until he could control his reaction to her he would have to keep some distance between them, he softly closed the door behind him.
Without opening her eyes Beth listened as Mick got out of bed and whispered her name. Hearing the door close she snuggled into the space where he had been and whispered, "I love you too."