Moonlight isn't mine in any way. It's just a place I go to play.
This follows Rescued. The series is meant to be read in order.
This is Mick/Beth/Josef series. This is also a repost of a series that I wrote quite a while ago.
Josef looks over at the slender form laying on the couch in his office. He sees the blond curls sticking up above the blanket that covers her. He is trying so hard to be objective, and it isn't working. His first instinct as her sire and her friend, is to go find Mick and beat him senseless. If there was anyone else who could stay with her, he might do it, but there isn't. If she wakes up and he's not here, it will devastate her. She ran to Josef for a reason. He can't understand how Mick could hurt her this way. Sure, she's changed, but it's for the better.
Beth is in terrible pain. Josef is sure Mick is his typical tortured self, and now Josef is in pain with them. Oh, he would have felt bad anyway, but now it is worse because he has his pain and hers. He tinkers with the idea of shooting Mick, but decides she might not forgive him, and he wouldn't be able to stand that.
Josef thinks back, knowing damn well how they got here.
Several months ago, Beth and Mick dropped by his office to see him. Beth was so excited. She wanted Josef to turn her. She finally decided that it was time. Mick didn't seem thrilled about the idea, but he didn't object. Josef assumed he'd come to terms with the idea. Josef didn't really want to do it. Not that he thought it was a bad idea; he didn't. When Beth was staying with him during the fiasco with Lola, Josef realized he'd fallen in love with her. He wasn't sure he was going to want her to go back to Mick. He knows from firsthand experience fledgling vampires are very dependent on their sires. He could, even unintentionally, manipulate the situation so she would stay with him. In the end, Josef agreed. Only because he was afraid, she would go to someone else who wouldn't give her the care she deserved. He also had to admit that the idea of another vampire being that connected to her, made him jealous.
The more Josef watched Mick the more worried he became. Mick seemed pensive and it bothered him. If Mick had a problem with Beth becoming a vampire, now is the time to say so. Once it it's done, that would be it. As they all know, there is no turning back. Josef decided to talk to them separately and see what is going on. Luckily Beth had to take off and go to work, and she had her own car with her because Mick had some errands to run.
Mick smiles as Beth leans over and kisses him on her way out the door, then she stops, smiles, walks over and gives Josef a hug. "Thank you. You have no idea how much this means to me. I really want you to be the one to do this for me." Josef doesn't know what to say; he smiles down at her.
They both watch her go. "Hey, what's the matter? You don't seem nearly as happy about this as Beth does."
Mick leans forward and puts his head in his hands and looks up at Josef. "I never could say no to her."
Josef understands the sentiment. He has the same problem. Saying no to Beth isn't something either of them is any good at. "Mick you need to talk to her again, if you think you can't live with this. I mean it. Is it worth it if it tears the two of you apart?"
"Josef, I've gone over this in my head a hundred times. I've finally listened to all the things you've said to me over the years. I'm going to lose her one way or the other. If she doesn't do this, then I end up watching her grow old and die. At least if she's turned, she's around for me to work things out with, or not. If she dies, then she's just gone. The reason I agreed to this, is that no matter what happens, I don't want her to die. I know that's selfish, but I can't imagine a world without her, if we're together or not."
Josef nods and decides he needs to talk to Beth alone.
"I have to go. I've got things I need to get done. I'll talk to you later." And Mick left.
Josef called Beth at Buzzwire. "Beth, I when you are getting done at work?"
Beth hears the note of concern in Josef's voice. "You're not changing your mind, are you?"
"I don't think so, but I need to talk to you. Look, I'll be at the office all night. Any chance you can drop by here on your way home?"
"Sure. It will be a couple hours, but I'll be there."
Josef paces around the room, trying to think of what to say to her and ensure she's looked at this thoroughly. Beth walks into his office a couple of hours later. Josef notices she looks worried. "You're not changing your mind, are you?"
Josef smiles at her. "Beth, I want to make sure that you and Mick are ready for this."
Beth makes a sour face. "Did Mick tell you to try and talk me out of it?"
Josef looks at her questioningly. "No, but are you saying you know Mick has reservations about this?"
She waves her hand in the air dismissively. "Of course, he does. I wouldn't even have to talk to him to know that. You know how he is about being a vampire. It will be fine once he gets use to it. You know, we've managed to get through a lot of things together. This may take a little time, but it will be all right."
"What if it's not? What if you lose Mick over this? Can you live without him? Do you even want to be a vampire without Mick there with you?"
"Josef, it will be okay, we'll be okay. Mick and I love each other. We'll find a way."
Josef shakes his head. "I hope you're right. You know I want you to be happy."
Beth smiles. "Then stop worrying and tell me when we can do it."
He had one other thing to take care of. He called Vanessa and without preamble he begins. "I'm adding to the family. You remember the human I asked you to keep safe if the fight with Lola had gone bad? It's her."
Vanessa stays silent waiting for more information. This was not the way she'd planned Beth's turning. When Josef remains so quiet, she's not sure if he's disconnected or not, she sighs. "When you called me about her you said she's a friend."
Josef pinches the bridge of his nose. He knows Vanessa well enough to know that this conversation is not going to go well. "Yes, she's involved with a close friend of mine. I've known her a couple years and she'll make a great vampire."
Vanessa stares at the ceiling and shakes her head. "Then how come your friend isn't turning her?" She asks this but knows the reason. Over the years Josef has mentioned Mick and the help he's given to keep Josef's territory trouble free. She had Mick investigated years ago. She's glad Josef formed some strong bonds with the young vampire. She also knows what Coraline did to Mick and the trauma it left him with. If she ever gets her hands on Coraline there will be hell to pay.
"There are complications. He's young and he's not up to the task so she asked me."
"Josef." She growls his name and that's not a sign that the conversation is going to get any better. "This is not good. You're already emotionally involved with this woman. Don't deny it. I can hear it in your voice. You're going to turn her, and this is going to turn into a train wreck." I do not want Beth in the middle of a mess.
"What would you have me do?" He snarls back at her. "Mick absolutely isn't up to being anyone's sire. Would you have me send her packing to some asshole who I will have to kill?"
With that declaration Vanessa realizes it's worse than she thought. "For Hera's sake. You're in love with her. Josef please don't do this. Two territorial male vampires in love with the same women is a recipe for disaster. You know this. Find a female vampire to turn her." She thinks of suggesting she could do it but that would open another can of worms she's not ready to deal with.
Josef looks up when he hears the door open and Rose peaks in. She takes one look at Josef's face and takes a step back shutting the door behind her. She looks over Josef's schedule for the day and sees it's light. Only two internal meetings that can be put off. She rings everyone involved up and cancels. No use someone getting their throats ripped out.
"No. I'm doing this. Even if I weren't emotionally involved, I owe her. When I told you about killing Lola, I may have downplayed a few things. Vanessa I almost didn't make it. Those silver tipped claws I told you she had were doing damage that wasn't healing. I wasn't healing. If Beth hadn't come through the door and distracted Lola by shooting her, I never would have gotten the upper hand and been able to take her head. Then," he snarls. "Then Beth sees that I'm almost gone and bares her neck for me. Vanessa, she trusted me to not kill her, a wounded vampire and she trusted that I'd only take enough to keep both of us alive." He's silent for a moment. "It will be fine. You know how I am about my people, my family. If you had turned any males but me, I'd want it to be Mick. He's as close to me as my sisters are. He's hundreds of years younger than I am, he can't hurt me, and I have enough control to keep from hurting him. We will work it out."
She hears the resolution in his voice and gives up. "All right but once she's on her feet I want to meet both her and Mick."
Josef wonders how long he can put her off. "Fine but it's going to be a while."
"Don't push me too far or so help me I will fly out there and sort this for myself." She snaps at him.
He smiles grimly into the phone. One thing about Vanessa he learned early, she does not make idle threats. It's why they mostly get along so well. "Fine. I'll call when things have settled down." He tosses the phone down, so he won't throw it against the wall.
Vanessa turns to Juliet. "Remember when we had the reporter friend of Josef's investigated?"
Juliet nots. "Sure. Has she become a problem?"
Vanessa scowls. "She apparently saved your brother's life and now he's going to turn her." Vanessa narrows her eyes. She knows a few things about Beth but not enough. She had planned to go to Los Angeles and introduce herself to Beth, find out about the girl firsthand. That was before she found out Beth and Josef were friends. Now that's impossible. "How deep did they go on the investigation?"
Juliet shrugs. "Just enough to make sure she was trustworthy as far as keeping our secrets."
"That's what I thought. Call Alister, give him the report from the council investigator and tell him I want a deep dive into the women's life. Tell him this is private for my eyes only. Then tell him to investigate Mick St. John, same deep dive. We only went as far as Coraline turning him last time. I want everything, family tree the whole nine yards. And for heaven's sake tell him to be careful. If he tips off Josef, I will be most unhappy."
Juliet laughs. "And we don't want that."
Vanessa scrunches her nose at Juliet. "Brat."
Josef cleared his schedule for the next few months. He gave one of his best people, Jacob McCabe a raise. He explained that he was putting him in charge of the day to day running of the office. He made sure he knew if he screwed it up Josef would be unhappy. When Jacob got done shaking, Josef explained that he would be more than willing to answer texts and emails. He also pointed out that Rose has been his assistant for a long time. She will also be available to answer questions, but she has her own responsibilities so not to lean too hard on her. That seemed to make things better.
When the big night came Josef and Beth were disappointed when Mick said he didn't want to be present at Beth's turning. He used the excuse that he would wait in Josef's office so he wouldn't be in the way. Both Josef and Robert could see the hurt in Beth's eyes. That didn't stop her from nodding when Josef once again asked her if she was sure this is what she wants.
Robert stayed and handed Josef the silver knife. At the appropriate moment he sliced his wrist and fed Beth his blood. Once she was feeding from him, he sat in a chair and let Beth curl around him in her first sleep as a vampire. Robert when downstairs to see Mick. "It went well. Josef's with her and she's sleeping. I'd give it a couple days before you talk to Josef. He's going to need time to get her settled."
To Robert's disappointment Mick nodded and went home. He didn't ask to see Beth or talk to Josef. He just left.
Two days later Mick called Josef. "How is she?"
"She's fine. You know mostly she wants to eat and sleep. It's going to be awhile longer before she's ready to concentrate on anything else."
Mick was quiet for several moments and Josef wasn't sure Mick hadn't disconnected. "Tell her I love her and call me when I can see her."
Josef was a bit dumbfounded. All he could say was. "Sure Mick."
Josef watches as her eyes flutter open. It's been a week of watching and waiting to make sure she didn't slip away, like Sarah. He knows once Beth woke up the odds were good that she would be fine, but all the same; every time she went to sleep, he worried. He supposes it is the same as human parents watching a baby sleep. At least with a human baby you could lay a hand on their back and feel for warmth and breath. Not so with a fledgling, since they aren't going to breathe or have the warmth of life. Rationally, he knew she was fine, but there is nothing rational about this bond he has with Beth. If he hadn't known what to expect, he would be crazy by now.
New vampires are, at first, on sensory overload. Everything is too loud, too bright, and too stinky. Once they start getting used to it, they wanted to touch, smell and see everything. Josef notices that, in addition to the usual things, Beth's inquisitive nature is amped up as well. She can't just touch something or see something once; she needs to experience everything. This extends to Josef as well. If he gets too far from her, she will find him. She will then have to touch him all over and, on occasion, taste him by coming around from behind and kissing him. Every time she does that, he is tempted to throw her on the nearest flat surface and take her right there. Her turning has resulted in a shared connection that is very powerful. Somewhere in Josef's heart he hopes it never goes away.
Then there is water. For some reason Josef can't understand, Beth loves the feel of water on her skin. He's never seen such a desire in a vampire. She loves the shower, never mind how hard it is to get her out of the pool. One evening he decided to take her for a walk. He'd forgotten there is a small lake down through the woods. She sees it and gives a small yell of delight. She runs over and hugs him and runs away again to see the water. He's sure she thinks he put it there just for her. Before he knows what, she is doing she strips down and is diving in. Josef sits on the bank and watches her. He is sure he's never seen anything quite so beautiful as Beth swimming in the moonlight naked. She has such a delight for life, surprising since she's dead. It is a pleasure to be around her. She told him later, that all her life she wanted to swim naked in a lake just like this. She liked the lake better than the pool because it is more a natural temperature.
After a few weeks Mick starts spending a lot of time with them. Then it was time for Beth to learn to do some of the things that make Mick feel uncomfortable. The day came when Beth needed to learn to feed from humans without hurting them. Josef does as much as he can to prepare everyone. Beth spent two weeks at his house before he turned her. Part of that time, he encouraged her to spend time with Emily and the girls. Josef thought it would help Beth to remember later that the girls, freshies, weren't prey and not to hurt them. It is an important distinction the predator in her needs to learn. Learning to live in the human world without being detected is an important ability. He knows Beth would know it on a conscience level, but he wants the predator to learn the difference. Josef figures if she prefers feeding on males, he will bring in some for her later. For right now, his girls are probably more in her comfort level.
The hardest part of teaching a fledgling to feed from humans is to learn to stop and not go too far. Up to this point, she is feeding from Josef and from a glass. Fresh warm, human blood is a whole different experience. That's where learning to overcome the bloodlust comes into play. It isn't even that she will still be hungry; it's the sensory experience is amazing for a vampire and the human. Josef will never understand how Mick gave it up. Josef suspects that it doesn't hurt that Beth fed both him and Mick when she was still human. Even under such dire circumstances as feeding them to save lives, she understood what the freshies felt. She never wanted them to feel pain.
Mick insisted Beth learn to protect herself using her new strength and abilities. Josef was all for that, and Mick took over the physical aspects of her training. He gave her simple things to do to learn to get control of her agility and strength. Then one day he started teaching her to fight. Josef thought Mick's insistence stemmed from Mick's memory of Beth being attacked. He knew how lucky she was to get through it alive. Mick wants to make sure she can have a fighting chance, no matter the situation. Josef realized later Mick was afraid he wouldn't be there any more to protect her. He was doing his best to give her the tools she would need to take care of herself if they parted ways.
Before she was turned, the three of them, decided not to teach her to hunt in the basic sense of the word. This was against Josef's better judgment. When she was ready, Josef would take her out and teach her to seduce her pray into giving up their blood willingly. That was as far as it would go. Josef smiles, he knows she won't have any trouble in that area. He consoles himself. Mick taught her to defend herself, if push comes to shove, if she is hungry her predator will be able to get food. At this point there will be no killing.
Josef remembers the first few times he took her away from home. At first, she was frightened. She learned quickly if she was well fed and rested ahead of time, she had fewer urges to conquer. She also saw that, even over a short time, it became easier with practice.
Somewhere along the line, they started taking walks around the property. They talked over what she learned and how to make it better. Josef found she is better able to focus if they got away from all the activity at the house. As the months progressed, they fell into a comfort level that was so peaceful he realized he never wanted her to leave. That's when he knew she had grown to the point that she would be fine away from him and it was time for her to go home with Mick. That was two months ago
So, what's she now doing sleeping on the couch?
Several hours ago, she came into his office sobbing that Mick didn't love her anymore. He was prepared for her. Two minutes before she showed up, Mick called and told him she's coming to see him, and she was upset. Mick followed her to Josef's office to make sure she got there all right. Josef started to ask Mick what happened, but when she came in crying, he hung up. He thought he might as well ask her. The office staff had standing orders to always let her come right in, and he was glad that the order was still in effect. He told his staff to get out and he told Rose to cancel all his appointments. He sits on the couch and Beth crawls in his lap and cries herself into exhaustion. Managing to get out that Mick told her that he didn't love her the same way he did before. He didn't know if he ever would again.
Josef calls down to the garage and has them bring the limo up next to the elevators. He is going to bundle her up and take her home. He doesn't want to wake her if he can help it. She's spent. Since it's morning, he's hoping she will keep right on sleeping until twilight.
As they ride through the early morning, Josef calls Robert, "I'm on my way home with a guest. Beth and Mick had a blow up. She's been at the office most of the night. I'm not letting her go anywhere else until I find out what is going with them."
Robert snorts. "I'll lay you odds the idiot doesn't like the new and improved Beth." Robert has always liked Beth, but now that she's one of them she can do no wrong.
Josef sighs. "I'm afraid you're right." Josef hangs up.
Josef walks into the house with Beth in his arms. Robert comes to the door, takes one look at her and shakes his head. "I'm going to find Mick St. John and beat the hell out of him." The last time Josef saw Robert this mad he was standing at the bottom of these very stairs with Mick to protect Beth. Good times.
Josef shakes his head. "Calm down or you'll wake her. Robert, this is as much my fault as Mick's. I should have seen it coming. If I had refused to turn her. I don't know."
Josef heads for the stairs. "I'm going to take her up and put her in her own freezer." It is the freezer she used when he cared for her as a fledgling. The master bedroom has two separate freezer rooms off the main room where the bed is. She slept in it all the time she was adjusting to her new world. She will at least wake up and know she is safe. She will sense him, and maybe that will give her some comfort until she starts to think about Mick.
Mick sits in the dark and stares at the walls. He can't believe what an idiot he is to hurt Beth like this. He hasn't eaten; he hasn't slept since she bolted from the apartment. He followed her to make sure she got to Josef's all right. Josef will take care of her. Now he sits here in the dark trying to figure out how much damage he's done. It hurts. He doesn't know what to do about it. He can't live with her; she's not his Beth, and the loss is so painful. Beth, his Beth, is gone but can he learn to love this new Beth? He hadn't thought so, until she was gone. Now he wonders if it's too late. She's gone back to Josef. There is absolutely no reason Josef should encourage her to ever even speak to Mick again. Josef is her sire and it's his role to make sure that she is happy and secure in her new life. On top of that, Mick knows that Josef is in love with her. What happens from here is up to Josef.
Josef strips her down and lays her in her freezer and shuts the lid. He looks down at her and finally admits to himself, how much he loves and wants her to be his and only his. He tries not to think about it now, there's too much going on.
He wonders if she will want to stay and live here for a while. It would be odd to have here again but no longer a fledgling. Before when she lived here, she was so dependent, so unBeth-like. He thought of her as a child, and a child was the last thing Josef wanted. He smiles. This though, this is a grown-up vampire Beth. Of course, now, she is vulnerable again because of the breakup with Mick.
He always wondered if Mick would ever be able to accept this new Beth. One of the things that Mick loved the most about her was her humanity. It is what he lacks and loves in her. Josef wants to be wrong and knows that if anyone can surprise him it is Mick.
Josef goes in the other freezer room and gets in his own freezer. He wants to forget all this for a while. The oblivion of sleep is certainly one of the best ways he can think of to escape it.Xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
As always, I love to hear what you think