Welcome to a new story with our favorite vampires and thanks to all who wanted to see what would happen next! I'd also like to thank my amazing sister Pauli for her beta skills and continued support.
Los Angeles is a vast city but it's the power and bling of Hollywood that attracts both good and evil…..
Disclaimer: I'll only do this once—I own nothing except my love for Moonlight. Too bad CBS didn't love it as much as we do.
Beth flung her tote bag into the corner with a huff. Mick had texted her that he would be late, and they had a group of vampires coming to the self-defense class Beth had dubbed, 'Fangs 101.' Josef lent them an old warehouse for their workouts, and they cleared an area that allowed the group to practice different techniques.
Mick was the organizer, but he was willing to have others come and share their specific talents. James from Josef's security force was an expert in Kendo, and Annie, the Cleaner, was on board for her skills with Tae Kwon Do. Mick himself was teaching basic street fighting, and the use of the machete.
They had quite a few participants, including Ben, Megan, Simone and even Guillermo and Logan. Beth had been surprised that Logan would leave his basement, but he'd told her that after the Monahan case, he wanted to be more prepared.
The outer door slammed and she scented Simone. It had been four months since her friend's turning and Simone was transitioning well. In fact, Beth felt Simone was making an exceptional entrance into the vampire world. Simone was enthusiastic about everything vampire and was already starting to function back among humans. She'd taken to fresh feeding as a matter of course and since Josef kept freshies around his mansion, it was easy for her to acclimate to fresh blood.
"Hey, Beth," Simone called out gaily. Beth hid a smile as Simone dropped her jacket revealing a color coordinated skin-tight workout set with matching shoes. She looked like she was starring in an exercise video. It was a good thing Josef wasn't there to see most of the male vampires, especially Logan, ogling the auburn-haired fledgling. Mick was the exception—he only had eyes for Beth, even though she was usually dressed comfortably in sweats with her hair tied back.
"So what's up for today?" Simone asked.
"Well, Mick is going to be a few minutes late, so I guess we'll review what we learned last time. Annie and James are going to come and give us an overview on what they're teaching."
A commotion indicated the rest of the students had arrived, and they spent a few minutes saying hello. Ben and Megan entered first and greeted Simone and Beth. Ben was finishing his fledgling stage and although he always was handsome, he had that certain extra something that made him stand out. He smiled more than when he was human and Beth was glad he had adjusted to his new status, although she thought Megan had a lot to do with it. Logan and Guillermo were talking in a corner, with Logan casting glances at Simone as she warmed up.
At that point Mick came in, finding Beth before he did anything else.
"Hi, sweetheart," he said grabbing her with one arm for a kiss on her cheek.
"Hi." She loved how he always made her feel special. He gave her a small smile and turned his attention to the group. "Okay, guys, let's warm up and we're going to work with partners on take-downs."
Megan partnered with Ben, Logan and Guillermo and Beth and Simone. Mick pulled Beth aside and said to them, "Watch what I do with Beth." He said to her, "Go ahead and attack me, straight on."
Beth faced him and got down low to charge. As she went toward him, he countered with a quick move and had her on her back on the floor, landing on top of her.
"You just want to do this so you can throw me around," she hissed quietly.
The other vampires heard her and chuckled. Mick got off her with a smirk and said. "Okay, Beth work with Simone and you guys try it."
They spread out and went to work. After about an hour, James and Annie came in and watched for a few minutes.
"All right. That's enough for tonight," Mick addressed the group. "James and Annie are here and the next few sessions they'll be showing us some other techniques."
James told them about Kendo, which was an ancient martial art using swords. Annie waited patiently, observing James. When he finished, she said, "I'm not here to teach you everything about Tae Kwon Do, but some moves that will help in defense and offence against an attacker." Now James watched the leather-clad Cleaner with interest.
Annie was a black belt in her style, and demonstrated a few kicks and arm defenses. "These are only the basics, but if you want to learn the traditional way, there are several schools in town I can recommend."
Mick thanked the group and the lesson ended. They broke up, several of them talking with each other, while Annie and James stood in the corner. They watched each other like cats that weren't sure if they would fight.
"How long have you been training?" James asked her.
"On and off for about 50 years," she replied.
"Yeah, me too." James said, taking in Annie's petite figure and obvious curves. He'd never met a Cleaner. Among the vampire community they were the elite and difficult to know. He sensed she was independent, but all women.
Annie looked over the six-foot blond vampire with interest. He was well built and had a no-nonsense air about him. She could scent he was about her age and she had the feeling he might be European.
"Maybe you can show me some Kendo," she said.
"I'd be glad to."
"Great." Annie looked at him as his eyes flashed silver for a moment. She turned with an inner smile and walked away. Better to keep him guessing.
The limo pulled up to Sofia's apartment and Ewan got out to collect his girl for a special evening out. He'd gotten tickets for a play she wanted to see and after planned to take her to a club where there was music she enjoyed. Ewan had been worried about Sofia lately, she seemed somewhat down. He knew her job at the ADA's office had become tiresome without Ben and he hoped to cheer her up.
He went to the door and she opened it, letting him in. Ewan saw she was wearing a black dress that left little to the imagination. She gave him a sly smile and twirled around. "You like?" she asked.
Ewan grinned. "Yes, you're beautiful."
Sofia grabbed her wrap and bag and they left for their night out. Ewan was pleased that Sofia liked the play, and afterword the limo took them to a club that was intimate but had good music.
"This is great," Sofia said, looking around the club and taking a sip of her wine.
"I'm glad you like it," Ewan said. "Mick told me about this place. I understand it's popular with actors so we might see some tonight." They sat back, enjoying themselves.
In the midst of the music and human scents, Ewan sensed another vampire. A dark-haired woman came up to their table, giving Ewan a sultry smile. "Hello," she said, pointedly ignoring Sofia. "I don't think I've seen you here before."
"No," Ewan said stiffly, feeling Sofia's unease.
"I'm rather new in town myself, so if you'd like to get together give me a call," She produced a business card and when he didn't take it, put it on the table in front of him. With a blinding smile, she walked away, swinging her hips.
Sofia watched the exchange first with anger, then misery. She knew the woman was a vampire and could see she was beautiful with that extra allure that vampires possess. Her insecurities flared. How can I compete with that? she thought.
Ewan turned to her, feeling her distress and seeing her downcast eyes. "I'm sorry for that, darling." He took the card from the table and ripped it to tiny shreds without looking at it. "It's all right, Sofia," he said lamely.
She shook her head and said softly, "No, that woman thought I was a freshie, just your meal for the evening."
"It doesn't matter, dearest. Who cares what she thought?"
"It does. As long as I'm human, I'll always be second class to a vampire."
Ewan stiffened. "I've never thought of you that way."
She looked at him, her eyes wet. "I know. You've never pressured me or pushed me. But I need to know where we're going—what you want of me."
He felt her heartbreak. "I just want you to love me, that's all I ever wanted."
"How long will that be enough?"
"As long as you like," Ewan said.
"What happens when I get old, when I'm not attractive?"
"You'll always be beautiful to me."
Sofia snorted impatiently. He was avoiding the issue, and she wasn't going to let this go. "I need to know if you want me forever, if you're willing to make that commitment."
It took all of Ewan's 700 years to keep his face neutral. He wanted her so much but he was afraid. What if she tired of him or they grew apart? He didn't think his undead heart could stand another rejection.
Ewan said, "If it's what you want then we should talk about it."
"Yes we should," Sofia said. He was still being non-committal and after all the time they'd spent together, she suddenly wanted an answer. "I think I'd like to go now," she said in a small voice.
Ewan led her to the waiting limo. Sofia wasn't short, but she seemed to fade into the upholstery as they drove.
"Sofia, please talk to me," Ewan said in desperation. He felt her withdrawing from him and he couldn't stand it.
"It's all right. I understand that you don't want to turn me. Eternity is a long time." She leaned further back into the seat.
"No—no, that's not it at all!" He felt this was a pivotal point in their relationship. He had to be honest. "Darlin'," his rich brogue taking over in his emotion, "it's not that I dinna want ye, I do more than anything. I'm afraid ….." There, he admitted it.
She stared at him. "Afraid? Of what?"
"That you'll get tired o' me."
She sat up and looked at him, anger behind the tears. "You idiot! Of course I won't get tired of you. I want to be with you for as long as I can." She saw his uncertainty and snuggled up against him. "I love you, you Irish fool. It's all I've been thinking about for the last few months. Can't you tell when you take my blood? You've made my life complete and I want to be with you always."
Ewan looked into her eyes and saw the truth of her words. Her passion washed over him as she bared her neck. "Take it, my love. Taste what you mean to me," she said in a husky voice.
His fangs were out and his eyes changed as he licked her neck and bit down. The red of her blood flooded him and now that he dared, he felt the completeness he'd been lacking for centuries.
She moaned and he licked her wounds closed. "You see," she said softly.
"Yes, darlin' and I want you too."
"Good," she murmured content in his arms.
Beth turner breezed down the hallway at Kostan Industries, heading for her office. It was early evening and most of the human staff was gone. She nodded to the vampires just coming on duty and entered her office. She paused a moment to enjoy the lights of the city from her window. It was always lovely to her and she liked the feeling the nights gave her.
Booting up her computer, Beth put on the news channel on one of her flat-screens, with the sound muted. She always caught at much news as she could, making sure she had the pulse of trending issues.
Great, she thought, sixty-seven emails. Most were from the usual media outlets, and some from people wanting details about Kostan industries latest programs or events.
One subject line caught her eye, and she frowned. It said, 'Mick St. John.' She opened the text and all it said was, I know about Mick St. John. I'll be in touch.
Her mouth dry, she picked up the telephone and dialed an extension. She heard the pick-up. "Hello?"
"Rider?" Beth asked.
"Yeah, who's this?"
"It's Beth Turner."
"Hi, Beth, what's up?" Rider replied.
"I got a suspicious email and I was wondering if you could trace the IP address. I'm in my office."
"I'll be right up."
Beth hung up, feel a little better. She knew Rider was a good guy and totally loyal to Josef. She'd met him when she'd first met Josef, and since then she'd found that like Logan, Rider was immersed in the techie world. At first he freaked her out a little, but she realized it was because he thought she was just Mick's freshie. He was soon put straight and had been respectful ever since. Now they worked together occasionally and she had come to appreciate his wicked sense of humor.
There was a soft knock on her door and she recognized Rider's scent. "Come in," she said.
He opened the door with a wide smile. "Hey, Beth. What's the problem with this email?"
She moved out of her chair and he resumed her seat. "See for yourself."
Rider read the email and grunted. "Doesn't sound good."
"I need to find out who sent it."
"Okay, let's see."
Rider tapped on the keyboard at vampire speed and waited for the computer to catch up to his inquiry. He frowned, "This email was sent from the Los Angeles City Library."
"Great. That means we can't trace it, right?" Beth said, disappointed.
Rider got up from the computer. "Sorry. It's about as anonymous as you can get."
Beth sat back down and Rider looked at her questioningly. "Is there anything more I can do?"
"No," she replied.
"I think you should tell Mick." Rider was aware of Mick's protective nature and didn't want the PI mad at him.
"I don't think it's time to panic just yet. There's been no threat and I don't even know who sent it." Beth said thoughtfully.
"You ought to tell Josef at least." Rider said, trying to change her mind. "It could be a security breach for the company. They sent it to your work email."
He had a point, she thought. "Okay, I'll let Josef know and if I get any more, I'll call you right away."
"Fine," he said with relief. He liked Beth but sometimes she could be stubborn. "I'll be in my office. Are you staying?"
She shook her head. "No, this has kind of put me off work for tonight. I'll just close things down and head home."
Rider smiled and said goodnight, and Beth puzzled over the email for a few more minutes. Sighing, she shut off her computer and left the office.
Outside, the weather was cool for LA, and it had started to rain. She'd been late that afternoon and parked on the street. She hurried toward her car but had an uneasy feeling and looked around as she walked. She could scent humans, but the only ones she could see were huddled outside a bar, smoking. She shook off the feeling. After all, she was a vampire and more powerful than any human who might harm her. Still, something was giving her the creeps. She got in her car with relief and sped away on the wet streets.
In a dark corner of a nearby alley, someone watched her departure with a satisfied expression.
Hope you liked the beginning, there will be more twists coming. Thank you for reading!