Moonlight doesn't belong to me. It's just a place I go to play.
Beth wanders through the large entryway of their new home. She smiles to herself at the happiness she feels in this moment. She looks around as the house is being set for a very large party. They are having an open house for the larger vamp community. Some guests are even flying in from Europe. Josef is known for giving very good parties, and this should be no exception. Hopefully everyone will have a very nice time. Better than the last big party they gave because she's not leaving the next day.
Mick sees Beth from the walkway as she turns to leave and quickly sneaks up behind her and wraps his arms around her. He nuzzles her neck and smiles as she reaches back and runs her fingers through his soft hair.
She hears him whisper in her ear, "Are you happy?"
She turns and kisses him. "What do you think? A better question is are you happy?"
Mick smiles at her, "Very."
Beth sighs in contentment "That is so good to hear. Now, I need to start getting ready for tonight. I'll see you later." She winks at him as she leaves.
Mick watches her appreciatively as she walks up the stairs. He senses Josef standing behind him. He glances back at Josef who is doing the same thing. "You think she's going to need help?"
Josef smiles. "Probably not, but we could go ask just to be on the safe side."
They glance at each other and both men take the stairs two at a time.
Beth opens the closet and sees the dress that Josef spent two days helping her pick out. She's so glad they don't give parties like this all the time. She couldn't stand the shopping involved. She looks the dress over. She admits Josef has amazing taste. He always knows what will look the best on her.
Beth holds up the satin and lace bustier she bought to go under the dress. Josef insisted that her figure was perfect without it, but he relented when she showed it to him. She explained that she always wanted to wear one. He smiled and told her to go ahead but she had to promise to model it for him. When he wasn't looking, she also bought a matching lace garter belt and silk stockings.
There is a knock at the door, and she smiles. "Beth, uh we were wondering if you needed any help."
"No, Josef, I'm fine. I managed to get into the corset and garter belt just fine." Beth starts to snicker.
Mick and Josef exchange looks, both clearly picturing Beth in the corset and not much else.
Josef nudges Mick and motions for him to try.
Mick shrugs. "Beth, are you sure? I mean Josef and I would be more than happy to help you if you need it."
Beth is lying on the bed with her head stuffed into the pillow trying to hide her laughter.
"No, I'm fine. The silk stockings I bought are sliding on just fine. Now I have to find the spike heels I bought to go with this dress."
Mick looks at Josef and both are trying hard not to vamp out.
Beth is back to holding a pillow over her face to keep from giving herself away.
Trying to control herself she continues "Josef, do you remember what I did with the shoes? I can't seem to find them anywhere. I'm standing here in my underwear and I can't put the dress on until I find those darn heels. I don't want to walk on the hem of my dress looking for them."
"Uh, I'm not sure but Mick and I would be happy to come in and help you look for them."
At this point Beth is lying on the bed doing anything and everything to keep from laughing out loud. She gets herself under control. "Ok, come on. I can't find them anywhere."
Beth stands off to the side of the door. The door bangs open and Josef and Mick both come in and are standing in the middle of the room looking for her. Beth clears her throat and they both turn. She waves at them. She bursts out laughing at the looks on their faces as they both realize she's still in her shorts and t-shirt.
Mick and Josef look at each other and realize they've been had.
"Pool?" Mick asks.
Josef nods and they move towards her. Beth laughs and runs like hell; they catch up to her at the bottom of the stairs. She's laughing so hard she can't even put up much of a fight.
Mick grabs Beth's ankles and Josef takes her hands. They walk out to the pool and swing her back and forth until they are sure she's going to get some air and they let go. Beth hits the water still laughing.
Beth pulls herself up out of the pool and sits on the side in a wet t-shirt. "Mick told me once that this was one of my best looks"
Josef smiles and turns to Mick. "You were right."
Vanessa and Frank are standing on the balcony with Robert overlooking the scene. Vanessa turns to Robert. "Are they like this all the time?"
"Pretty much since we moved in here. I've never lived in a house with vampires who laugh so much. They are very happy. If not for the fact that they do go their separate ways to work and such I would think I was living with teenage humans. I better go get her a towel or she'll track water all over the entryway floor. Nobody wants to have to mop it again before the party."
Vanessa takes Frank's arm. "You think we need to recruit a third?" He looks at her and sees the twinkle in her eyes. Frank takes her in his arms. "You think we need another woman living with us?"
Vanessa swats at him and laughs. "Okay, I had that coming."
Frank kisses her and she marvels that after all these years any man can still make her toes curl.
Katrina looks at Sergey waiting for a reaction to her plan. The two of them look so alike. Both have wavy dark hair and hazel eyes. Their lithe builds belie the strength of body that lies within them. It speaks only to the grace of movement they both possess. Most would look at the two of them and think of dancers from the ease of their movements.
Sergey stares at her and shakes his head. "First off, I don't like it for the obvious reason, that the two of us don't exactly belong in a house full of vampires. It's not a good idea. We might be better off approaching Michael at his office. Secondly, is this about finding Michael and warning him or seeing Josef again? Considering the way, you left him he may not be thrilled to see you. I'm not sure being in his home when we find out is a good idea."
Katrina looks down. "I had no choice and he told me to leave."
Sergey snorts. "Somehow, I'm sure that's how he looks at it too but you and I both know if you had really loved Josef, you would not have left him. As a people we tend to be more loyal than that to our loved ones."
She sighs, "I know, but that doesn't mean that I don't still want to make sure he doesn't hold a grudge or worse hate me."
Sergey sees the sadness in his sister's eyes. "Look, you forget I was friends with Josef, and I liked him. We got a long good for all our differences and I'm sure he doesn't hold a grudge. Katrina, you know who else is going to be at that party? Vanessa will be there, and that woman holds a grudge till the end of time. I'm half surprised she didn't come after you when she found out you left Josef to save your own hide."
Sergey sees how important this is to her. "Fine, we'll play it your way, but I still don't like it. If it wasn't an emergency, I wouldn't go along with it, but Michael has to be told about the danger he's in."
Beth walks around the party watching everyone having fun. She knows she's probably the youngest vampire in the whole house, but it doesn't matter. She's having way too much fun watching the crowd. Having all these vamps in one place at one time is so new to her she loves watching them. She feels a little like a small child that got to stay up late with the grownups. Most of them are very nice to her, well, except some of the women and even they aren't mean so much as a little catty. Beth laughs when they try and get snotty with her, which of course makes them madder.
Beth slowly wanders through the house making the same track again. She's found the best way to see the most people. She is looking back at a man and woman discussing the difference between blood types. She trips as she runs into a dark-haired man who smiles down at her. He catches her arm when she teeters a little. "Hey, I'm sorry."
Beth smiles at him. "It's okay. I should look where I'm going." She cocks her head and looks closely at him. "Do I know you?"
The man shakes his head. "No, I would remember someone as beautiful as you."
Beth smiles a little hesitantly. She realizes he's not a vamp but for a human something is not quite right. Her curiosity gets the better of her and she decides to find out what she can about him.
"Thank you. You look very familiar to me… or maybe you remind me of someone."
"Someone special I hope."
Beth laughs. "Are you flirting with me?"
He sighs dramatically. "If you have to ask, I must be doing it wrong."
Beth likes the stranger. "My name is Beth and you are?"
"Sergey. My name is Sergey. I'm Russian."
"Really, you don't have an accent."
He shrugs. "I've been here a long time. I don't get home near as much as I would like."
"You know, you should meet my friend before it gets any later. The party will be over before too much longer. Come on." Beth knows Josef will be able to answer her questions about the stranger.
Before he can protest, she takes his hand and pulls him along behind her.
Josef watches Katrina across the room. He is surprised to see her in this place, in this time. He's afraid he knows what she wants after all these years.
Katrina of course knows he is there as she can pick out his scent across even this crowded room. Vampire or man she would know Josef anywhere.
Beth enters the ballroom and sees Josef across the room and makes a beeline for him with Sergey in tow.
Sergey realizes to late who she's headed for. Josef glances up and turns in time to see Beth towing Sergey along behind her.
Beth is halfway across the room when Vanessa approaches her. "Beth?"
"Hi Vanessa. Really nice party isn't it?"
"Yes, I would say it's a success. Beth, Mick is looking for you downstairs by the pool. It seemed very important."
"I better go see what he wants." She turns to Sergey. "Sorry. I need to go. Maybe we'll talk later. I did want to introduce you and Josef. Darn."
Sergey takes her hand and kisses it. Beth smiles and turns and leaves. Sergey looks across the room at Josef and sees his eyes flash at him. He decides that going near Josef for the moment is not such a good idea. Luckily it seems Vanessa, is being distracted by another party guest and he slips away. He turns in the opposite direction and goes to where his sister is. She looks at the sheepish look on his face. "What did you do?"
"Ah, I think I made a pass at Josef's woman." He says without much remorse.
"Great that Josef has a woman or great that I made a pass at her or..."
"Great, like are you trying to get us killed?"
"I had no idea who she is. She's just a beautiful woman and you know how I like beautiful women."
Katrina shakes her head "No wonder you and Josef got a long so well. You're actually not so different."
"Sister dear, you need a drink. I will go and fetch one for you." Sergey decides his best course of action is to stay out of sight of everyone for a bit.
Beth goes downstairs looking for Mick and can't find him anywhere. She shrugs and heads back to where Josef is. She watches Josef from the doorway and sees him still intent on the woman across the room. Earlier Beth saw Josef watching her but didn't think anything of it at the time. Now two hours later he's still staring and she's starting to get irritated. Beth growls a little in frustration as she feels a little jealousy rearing its ugly head. She pushes the emotion away and decides to see what's so fascinating about this woman. Beth tells herself she wants to make sure she's not a threat to Josef.
So, intent on the woman, Josef doesn't see Beth as she angles in but tries to keep hidden behind other guests. Beth sniffs the air and is surprised. The woman isn't a vamp either... she's whatever Sergey is. She backs up out of range, not wanting Josef to notice her yet.
Beth smiles to herself. Josef has been helping her to learn to read other people's thoughts. She's not supposed to try and read strangers. The elder vamps in the community would recognize her intrusion right away. They would not be amused. She's also supposed to stay out of human's minds because she could do unintentional damage a human. But this, this woman, she is sure is neither of those two.
For practice she started out trying to read Josef and Mick, which became easy, when they allow it. They can shut her out if they want. As things progressed, she was able to converse with both telepathically. It works so well that she doesn't even have to start the conversation. Because they each possess their own large measure of gifts, they can both call her easily. She wants to open the connection up so that Mick and Josef can hear each other through her. She hasn't quite been able to make that leap yet. She thinks she needs more practice.
She hasn't been able to start a conversation with anyone else. Vanessa thinks it's because of the connection Beth already shares with Mick and Josef. Beth would someday love to be as powerful a telepath as Vanessa.
Beth smiles. Nobody said anything about people who are neither vamp nor human. Beth stands out of line of sight of Josef and the woman and gently, as gently as she can she tiptoes into the woman's mind.
Beth gets quick flashes of fur and blood and teeth and sinew. The stretch of muscle, of adrenaline and the whisper of a howl at the moon. Beth gently backs out of the woman's mind and smiles… interesting images.
Josef thinks about approaching Katrina as Beth is at his side. "Who is she?" Beth asks him
Josef knows it's futile but gives it a shot anyway. "Who?"
Beth silently laughs at him. "You want to play that game; we can do that. The pretty brunette standing across the room." Just then Sergey walks up to Katrina and hands her a drink. "If I had to guess, I would say she and Sergey are brother and sister they look so much alike. Oh, and so you know, the one who is not a vampire or a human."
Josef smiles at her. "If she's not a vamp and she's not a human, what is she?"
Beth thinks about it for a minute. "If I had to guess, I'd say a werewolf."
Josef doesn't bother to hide his surprise. "How did you figure that out? Did Sergey tell you that?"
Beth looks at her feet and then peaks at Josef. "I read her mind a little bit."
"Beth?" He growls at her. "You do that to the wrong person, and we've got trouble. Don't do it to strangers until you have more practice."
Beth shrugs "How dangerous could she be if she's not one of our people. I already knew from her smell she isn't a vamp. Now answer my question. Who is she?"
"You got close enough to figure out she wasn't a vamp? Did she notice you?"
Beth shrugs. "No, she's too busy watching you and trying to not be obvious about it. When one of my lovers is staring across a room at another woman, I need to know the particulars."
She looks up at Josef and sees the smirk on his face. "Jealous?"
Beth sniffs at him. "Cautious. I'm quite sure you have more than one old lover who would like to stake you."
Josef smiles at her retort. The bind they have works both ways. He may not be able to hide much from her, but she can't hide much from him either. Besides, she's always been a lousy liar when it comes to the people she loves.
Beth watches Sergey walk away from his sister. "Maybe I'll go chat with Sergey some more. He was very nice."
She giggles as she hears Josef growl. "You stay away from him. I know him. He flirts with every beautiful woman he meets and you my love are beautiful."
Beth laughs. "I noticed that about him and thank you for the compliment." Beth leans in and kisses him. "Josef, is she an old lover?"
Josef snorts. "You don't know the half of it." Josef puts his finger under Beth's chin and turns her to look at him. He kisses deeply. "You know where my heart is."
Beth smirks at him. "It's not your heart I'm worried about."
He smiles at her. "You're bad. Everything with you is sex, sex, sex."
"Says one of the two men who wanted to help me get dressed this afternoon. Besides, I'm told I take after my sire."
Beth turns as Mick approaches them. He leans in and kisses Beth. He looks from one to the other. He feels the undercurrent of tension. "What's wrong?"
Katrina watches Josef and Beth across the room. The little hope she held out that he would still care for her dies. She can see from watching him across the room that he's very much in love with the blond. It's so evident in his body language. Sergey returns. She watches as a dark-haired man approaches the couple. He leans in and quickly kisses the blond and Katrina smiles.
She grabs Sergey's sleeve almost spilling his drink. "That's Michael. I told you he has beautiful eyes, like his grandmother."
Sergey starts to point out that they all have the same eyes and they come from much further up the line than Maria. Katrina starts to move to speak to Mick and suddenly Vanessa is standing in front of her.
"Hello Katrina, Sergey." Vanessa says in Russian
Sergey nods and prepares to get his sister out of there in a hurry if this doesn't go well.
"Vanessa. What are you doing here?" Katrina automatically answers in Russian
Vanessa looks at her coolly "Where else would I be but with my family."
"Did… did you turn Michael and the blond?" Katrina asks in English
Vanessa glowers at her "Stay with the Russian or don't speak at all. No, I didn't turn Mick or Beth. Coraline turned Mick and Josef turned Beth."
"Coraline did this? I will kill her."
"To late. Mick already took care of that particular problem."
Katrina is incredulous. "He killed his sire?"
"Yes, Coraline threatened Beth, the blonds name is Beth." Vanessa answers.
Katrina glances across the room at Beth and her lovers. Vanessa smiles to herself at the confusion clearly written on Katrina's face. "He killed his sire to protect a woman who is not his lover?"
"Whatever gave you the idea that she's not his lover?"
"Vanessa, clearly she and Josef…"
Vanessa smiles. "Yes, clearly she and Josef but if you watch a little longer, you'll see that clearly she and Mick as well."
Katrina snorts "both… of them?"
Vanessa laughs. "Yes, both. So, you see I have taken them both into the fold or pack, depending on your point of view. I will have no one causing them any pain. Ask around about the last person that messed with my family."
Katrina sticks her chin out. "I want to talk to Michael. It's my right. We share the same blood."
Vanessa sighs, she was afraid this is where this is headed. "In two days."
Katrina starts to protest, and Vanessa holds up her hand. "Katrina, do you want to make me angry? I know what happened with Josef, I know what you did. You're lucky you're not dead already. Two days. You do not know Mick. He's going to need a little time to process you and your people before you meet."
Katrina nods curtly. "Sergey and I will leave then and be back in two nights." Katrina starts to leave and stops. "Vanessa, please keep track of him until we can talk to him. I'm afraid he's in danger."
Vanessa frowns at her. "If he stays here with us, with Josef, Frank and Josef's security do you think he will be safe enough? How bad is the threat?"
Katrina nods. "There are few things in the world that would want to face a pack like that. So, yes, if you keep him here with his family, he will be safe."
Vanessa nods. "Katrina another thing before we go down this road too far. Do not call him Michael when you are introduced."
"Is it not his given name?"
"Yes, but it's not the name he uses. Listen if you are going to insist on seeing him, you could at least make this as easy for him as possible. If you want to have any kind of relationship with him do as I suggest. Coraline was not good to him and it's taken him a very long time to get over being turned. If not for Josef and Beth, I have no doubt he would most likely be dead by now."
Katrina watches Vanessa. "You like him. He's a good man?"
Vanessa nods. "He is a very good man and for the first time ever He's a very happy one also. Let's see if he can stay that way."
Katrina nods and turns. She and Sergey disappear into the crowd. Josef is standing so that he was able to watch the exchange over Beth's head. Not good.
Mick looks at Josef and arches an eyebrow and Josef shrugs in return. Beth looks from one to the other.
"Beth, let's not tell Mick about the werewolves quite yet."
"Josef, it's awful to talk about him when he's standing right here."
"Yes, and we'll stop as soon as you agree."
Mick smiles at them "I'm going to go get a drink. Then you two can talk about me out loud."
Beth sighs. "Not my fault." And she kicks Josef's ankle.
Josef shakes his head. "Feel better?"
"Yes. You hurt his feelings and I want to know why."
"Because I wanted to finish the party with some fun and not some questions. You're bad enough."
"I'm sorry. Josef was just being Josef. Please don't be mad."
"It's ok. I know he'll get to it sooner or later. My guess is it has to do with the brunette he spent half the night watching."
Beth laughs. "He is pretty transparent, isn't he? I already called him on that. Let it go until tomorrow. Have fun."
"Come have a drink with me."
"Ok. Be there in a sec."
Beth looks at Josef. "I'm going down to the pool and have a drink with Mick."
She looks at him and she knows he didn't mean to hurt Mick's feelings. She leans into him. "I love you." She kisses him and leaves.
Comments are always welcome.