Here it is!!! This is starting a little less than seven months after 'The Clubhouse.' I would recommend reading (and reviewing, please!) it before starting this one, but I will provide a summary of need-to-know information. This story is going to focus on the past. Josef, Beth and Mick share a connection to a new original character that none of them are aware of.
1-Beth Turner is dead, as far as any mortals know. She is now a vampire (Josef's her sire) whose legal name is Ilsa Lebenblut, but all her immortal friends still call her Beth. Mick and Beth are engaged. They are working through some emotional problems in their relationship, due to Beth's miscarriage.
2-Adriana Lebenblut (my own original character) is a half-vamp who is engaged to Josef and pregnant with his children (twins). She has the ability to 'turn' vampires into humans, which she did to Josef (which is how she became pregnant). She has an odd history, because she was raised by her 15th great grandfather who is responsible for killing her biological mother and father. She is worried about her ability as a mother, because she is young (25) and she recently killed a 'child.' (a old vampire, turned as a child)
3-Josef is a vampire again, after a scary couple days as a human. He is petrified about his ability to be a father, but he is very supportive and in love with Adriana. He is very pampering and protective of his fledgling, Beth.
4-Mick has accepted his life as a vampire because it allows him to be with Beth for eternity, but since he 'killed' their child, by inducing her miscarriage, he has gone back to his self-loathing. Mick's desire to have a child has created a rift in their relationship that Beth is trying desperately to patch.
5-Josh is still alive, but long gone out of Beth's life. Sara doesn't exist. Unfortunately I started 'The Clubhouse' before we knew of her and I was unable to fit her in my plot, since I created Adriana to complete Josef. Coraline will be making an appearance in this fic, but she is dead in the present, having died in the fire Mick set when he rescued Beth in 1985.
So, that's what you need to know. Now, this prologue (and a majority of this fic) are going to be taken place in the past. I am weaving together the past with the present in hopes of explaining the future. I want to establish some changes in Josef character and a resolution for Mick and Beth's troubles. So, far this fic is looking to be a lot shorter than my last (about 17 chapters). As a result each of my updates will be longer. Please note the titles for the time and place where the events of the chapter are taking place in.
Without further ado…Together
Sunlight spilled over the horizon, announcing the arrival of dawn. The streets were coming to life as shops opened and people hurried on their way to work. Cars rolled down the wide avenues and people called friendly greetings to their neighbors as they passed.
Coraline swept down the street. A Hermes scarf covered her head and she wore a large pair of rimmed sunglasses. Everything about her from her stylish shoes to her assertive posture looked out of place. She didn't care. She had a mission.
An older woman eyed Coraline disapprovingly. Apparently her red cocktail dress was not appropriate attire for dawn. Coraline hiked her nose, like the European aristocrat she was…or at, least aspired to be.
Silly, mortals, going about their hum-drum lives. Nothing to live for, no excitement. Well, not me… Coraline thought about the last month. Mick. Mick was her life now. That crazy mortal, who was so in love with her. And she loved him. Not that she'd admit it, but hey, she had married him, right? Against the family's wishes. She was going to pay for that, but it would be trivial. A slap on the wrist. They couldn't stay mad at her for eternity…Eternity. That's what she had. She was immortal and she was going to spend it with her new immortal husband.
A faint whisper of protest had entered her mind when she had decided to turn him, What if it's not what he wants? What will the family think? But she had dismissed it. Who wouldn't want to be immortal with a wife as beautiful, as rich and as powerful as herself? Didn't he say he'd love her forever? Well, now he could.
Coraline had arrived at her destination. A small, poorly kept apartment building. Just the kind of place you'd expect a two-bit musician to live in. She climbed the stairs, careful not to touch the railing.
But as she reached her destination, she found someone had beaten her to it. A young woman sat outside Mick's apartment. She looked nervous and tired. Coraline eyed her suspiciously. "What are you doing here?" Coraline barked the questions in a tone that clearly showed her annoyance at the woman.
The woman looked up from where she had been staring at the ground. She saw Coraline and stood up. She was tall, about 5'8'' with long blond hair and beautiful gray eyes. She looked strong and well built, probably of Viking descent. She swallowed thickly and answered Coraline, "I'm waiting for Mr. St. John. He lives here. Do you know when he'll be back?"
Coraline's anger flared, Why is this tramp asking about Mick? In all fairness Coraline looked more the tramp of the two. The other woman was wearing a nice, knee length wool skirt and blouse with sweater vest. Coraline took a step closer and asked, "What do you need to see Mick about?"
The woman smiled, "You know Mick? Can you tell me where he is? I really need to speak with him." The woman's voice had a pleading tone to it.
Coraline eyed the woman again. What could this woman have to do with Mick? Then she heard it. A faint heartbeat, small and fast. A baby. This woman is pregnant! It only took Coraline a moment to put two and two together.
"I can take you to him. Come with me," Coraline said gesturing to the woman. I need to get rid of her NOW, Coraline thought. She couldn't deal with this though. She needed to get back to Mick before he woke up. Charles can deal with this…This is child's play to him, she might even be of use to him… Coraline smiled. She had her plan, now all she need was a cab.
The cab pulled up outside a large, extravagant house overlooking the city. "Is Mick here for gig?" The woman asked, getting out to stand next to the cab. Coraline ignored her and walked up to the door, knocking loudly. When she didn't get a response, she rapped again.
Finally, an angry male opened the door. He took one look at Coraline and made to close the door. But Coraline stuck her hand in the door. "Charles, I need your help."
"Exactly why I was closing the door, my dear. Now if you don't mind I got a freezer calling my name," Charles replied.
"It will only take a moment, Josef."
Charles looked up at the use of his real name. "What's your problem, Coraline?" his voice was menacing and the woman by the cab stepped back in fear, drawing his attention to her.
Coraline followed his line of sight and said. "She is. I need her gone."
"Why?" Josef asked, more curious then repulsed.
"She knows too much," Coraline knew just how to play to Josef's insecurities.
"Fine, leave her to me, but next time…take care of your own messes." Josef opened the door and Coraline forced the woman inside.
Josef shut the door in Coraline's face. She smirked and headed back to the cab. Taken care of. Now back to my honeymoon with my adoring new husband. He is going to be thrilled when he wakes up…
Josef heard the second heartbeat the moment he saw the woman. She had spiked his curiosity. What problem does Coraline have with this innocent looking, pregnant human? She could snap her in two, so why come here?
Josef eyed the woman, trying to figure out the puzzle. The woman looked around frantically, as if expecting someone to walk out and save her at any moment.
"Um, sir…I think there has been a mistake. You see I—" she started.
Josef cut her off with a snarl, showing her his fangs. She gasped and backed away from him, stumbling over the table. Josef hissed, "Who are you? Why did Coraline bring you here? What do you know?" Josef's fangs gleamed in the morning sun.
The woman was frightened speechless as she continued to stare at Josef's face. This man has fangs…FANGS! What kind of monster is he?!
Josef realized she obviously didn't know anything. Great. Well she knows now, after that little display. He had only managed to scare the poor woman.
He tried a different tactic. He changed back into his normal human appearance and said, "Sorry for the dramatics. Can I offer you something to drink?"
The woman was taken a back by his sudden change in attitude. She shook her head, not taking her eyes off Josef.
"Well, I'm not as carefree a keeper as Coraline, so I don't know why she sent you to me. She can obviously tell you're pregnant," Josef stated, repulsed by the idea of keeping a pregnant freshie around. Josef was, after all, a realist. Killing children meant killing potential future meals, and Josef wanted to be able to eat for the next thousand years at least. But in his house…? Not to mention the mood swings. No. Keeping pregnant freshies was a large 'Under NO circumstances' in Josef's book.
The woman gasped and covered her stomach with one hand. How does this…this thing know? I barely know.
"Oh, don't act shocked. I can hear the heartbeat," Josef said heading towards the kitchen to get a glass of water for her.
"You can hear the heartbeat?" she asked, forgetting her fear.
Josef smiled, obviously he had sparked her interest. "What's your name?"
"M-Morgan, Morgan Smith," she stammered.
"Well, Miss Smith, do you know why Coraline brought you here?" Josef glanced at her ring finger to confirm that she was neither engaged nor married. Another twist. Josef was curious as to how this seemingly respectable woman found herself in the sticky situation of being pregnant and unwed, especially with the conservatism of the times.
"She promised to take me to…" Morgan didn't know if it would be smart to bring Mick into this. This man—if he even was a man—might try and hurt Mick. "She brought me here to meet somebody."
Josef smiled. Ahh, Coraline. You and your twisted sense of fun. "Coraline brought you to me, is that what your saying?" he asked.
Morgan didn't know why but she nodded 'Yes.'
"Tell me, Miss Smith, do you have any family, any friends in town?"
"It's Morgan. And no, I'm new here. I only know…" Mick, but he seems to have disappeared. Morgan looked at Josef as he handed her a glass of water. "No, I don't know anyone."
"You have a family somewhere else?" Josef asked. This woman was interesting. A moment ago she had been scared out of her wits, understandably so, but now she sat on the couch as calm as could be. This puzzled and interested Josef.
"Yes, but I can't go back there. Not now," Morgan whispered the last line. Josef understood. This woman's conservative family wouldn't accept her having a child out of wedlock.
"Do you have a job?" Josef asked.
"I worked as a waitress at a café on 3rd Street. But I got fired when my boss found out I was pregnant. Apparently he didn't want to employ an unwed, pregnant woman. I don't have the money pay the rent. That's why…" I was a Mick's. I needed a place to stay., "That's when that woman found me and brought me here."
"There's something you're not telling me," Josef said, staring down at Morgan. "Where did Coraline find you?"
Morgan stared back at him. If this man was going to hurt her he would have done it already. She wasn't going to let him intimidate her and she wasn't going to tell him about Mick, at least not by name. "I was waiting for the father of my child, but it looks like he skipped town." Morgan didn't blame him. It had been a one-night stand and she had never expected to see him again, but the baby had changed all that. He had just been a guy in the band at an event her employer was catering for, but their little tryst had led to a world of trouble for her.
Josef was intrigued. Very few vampires, much less humans were brave enough not to answer him fully. Morgan was either stupid or daring and she didn't look stupid. "Morgan, have you had much experience in household management?" Josef asked.
"Just what my mother taught me. Everything a good wife needs to know," Morgan replied, a little irked by the memory of her mother's instance to be a 'good wife and loving mother.' "Why do you ask?"
"I'm in the market for a housekeeper, actually more of a house manager. Being as you know too much about me for me to let you walk out of here and you have nowhere else to go…I would like to offer you a job," Josef said.
Morgan stared at him. Work for him? The man with fangs? Well, it can't be as bad as going back to my parents. He has a nice enough house…I bet he'll pay well… Morgan nodded 'Yes.'
"Alright, but I require that you stay nearby at all times. This house is not safe and I don't want you, or your child to be hurt," Josef smiled at her reassuringly, offering her his hand.
Morgan started to cry, Damn hormones! Josef pulled his hand back and eyed her suspiciously. He could tell her emotions were all over the charts and he started to regret his offer to hire her.
"I'm sorry," Morgan asserted through her tears, she was trying desperately to stop crying. "It's just, ever since I found out that I was pregnant, no one has said one kind word to me and you've just offered me a nice job and you know nothing about me."
Josef realized that this woman had been through hell and he couldn't think of anything to comfort her. That wasn't his forte. He said the only thing that came to mind. "If you want, I know a good doctor who could fix your problem."
Morgan stopped crying and looked at him. He could tell that she was weighing the decision in her mind. "Isn't that illegal?" she finally asked.
Josef grinned. "Yes, but I make a distinction between illegal and wrong and in your case it might not be wrong. Raising a child alone is not an easy thing," he said in a moment of compassion that was more rare than a blue moon.
Morgan sniffled and said, "I know, but I want to keep the child. I just couldn't live with myself if I did that. I would always wonder, 'What if?'"
Josef smiled. She is a strong woman. She will make an excellent house manager, and the girls might really like having a baby around to pamper…
Morgan looked at Josef's smile. She couldn't understand her attraction to him. She had seen his fangs and his temper, but he seemed…nice, sweet almost. She didn't feel threatened, in fact she felt safe. She thought about his offer and stuck out her hand to shake on the deal. The thrill of the unknown ran down her spine and she shivered as she shook Josef's hand, but that could have been because his hand felt like ice.
Josef laughed at her reaction to his touch. "Don't worry I warm up an hour or so after leaving my freezer."
"Freezer?" Morgan's eyes grew wide, she had a lot to learn…