A/N: I don't own Moonlight, although I wouldn't mind owning Mick St. John and Josef Kostan. This series was much too short in my opinion.
Rowan pulled into the faculty parking lot, wondering not for the first time if she was doing the right thing. This job would be very public, perhaps more public than was good for her, strictly speaking. If Veronica wanted to track her down, this wasn't exactly a low profile position.
"Get a grip," she ordered herself, "You need the money, and you can't live the rest of your life worrying about Veronica Stephenson. You're on the other side of the country, you changed your name, and you have full custody! You have every right to do what you think is best."
It was conversation she was getting used to having with herself. She'd been having it ever since she put Cole in the car at 4 a.m. and driving away from Maine two weeks ago. Now she was home, back in L.A. It felt good to be back on the west coast, even if she did have to replace her entire wardrobe with weather appropriate clothing. At least most of her work clothes should be suitable.
"Get out of the car and get a grip, Rowan. You have students to teach. Eager young minds to warp."
Giving herself a mental shake, she grabbed her computer bag and climbed out of the car. It felt strange to be here at Hearst; teaching at her old alma mater. She strolled across the campus until she reached her department's building. She had an hour before her first class of the day, but she needed to get settled into her office. The boxes that had been delivered the day before needed to be unpacked. Then her first day as a Hearst professor could begin.
Nine hours later, she was finally finished with her last class of the day, and she was already planning on reorganizing the next semester. This wasn't even her worst day, she didn't have a night class, but it was too long to be gone. The nanny would quit if she had too many long days.
The last student finally left the classroom, and Rowan loaded up her laptop, ready to call it a day. She was going to stop at the office briefly, just long enough to drop all of this paperwork on her desk, and head home. It was already after six, later than she'd hoped to finish.
Slinging her bag over her shoulder, she cut across campus to her office. Thankfully, the department was deserted, so she was able to just drop off her papers and go. She was eager to get back home to Cole.
She wasn't as fortunate as she made her way across campus to her car. She'd just reached the edge of the quad when she ran into another professor.
"Doctor Bailey, how nice to see you again. I really hate that we haven't gotten to see each other since your orientation."
"I bet you do," she muttered to herself. She'd only been here a few weeks, but Michael Taylor's reputation for pursuing every female professor, and student, was widely known. Rowan had already received friendly warnings from half a dozen female faculty members.
"I thought we might have dinner tonight. I could show you around Los Angeles."
He was trying to loop her arm through his, and she swiftly detached herself from his grip.
"I already know Los Angeles, Dr. Taylor. I grew up there. And I have a child to get home to, so I'm going to have to decline."
"Come on, Bailey. We can work something out. I'll come over to your place. Just give me the address."
"Not a chance, Taylor. Good night."
She left him gaping after her as she walked to her car. She doubted he'd been refused by a woman in a long time. That was too bad for him. She had no intention of becoming Michael Taylor's plaything. Dismissing him from her thoughts, she hopped into her car and sped off for home.
Traffic was surprisingly clear, and she made it home in a respectable time. As she opened the door, she could hear childish singing, and instantly felt her stress begin to ebb. She dropped her keys on the sideboard, and at the sound the singing stopped, and a tornado swept through the hallway as Cole hurled his small body into Rowan's outstretched arms.
"Mommy back! Mommy back!"
"Yes Cole, I'm home honey."
"Mommy, look what I did!"
She allowed the child to pull her through the hallway back to the dining room table, where all kinds of paper and crayons were spread out.
"I see you've been coloring. That's beautiful Cole."
Mary, Cole's new nanny, rose from her seat at the table when Rowan came in.
"Cole helped me make dinner, and he's been waiting for you."
"Thank you Mary. I'll see you tomorrow. My first class isn't until one o'clock."
"That's not a problem. Good night, Cole."
"Bye, Mary!" Cole yelled as he ran up to her and gave her a hug. As soon as she was gone, Rowan picked Cole up and got him in his booster seat and got him in his booster seat and began to dish up dinner.
Two hours later, Cole was finally tucked into bed, and Rowan was free to relax for the night. She grabbed a bottle of wine and the book she was currently reading, and settled on the couch. This was her favorite time of night, when she had an hour or so of peace. She poured herself a glass of wine, made certain her phones were close by, and opened her book at the bookmark, more than ready to get lost in the Romanov tragedy.
You know if you just picked up the phone, you could have a first hand account. He told you to call him if you came back to town.
She knew full well he would want her to call, but she just didn't think she was ready to see him. She knew he was here when she was decided to come home, but she came anyway. Maybe in a few weeks, or months, she would have the nerve to call him. Just not tonight.
Mick St. John was sitting in a comfortable chair in Josef's office, listening to his best friend rant. Mick didn't really understand too much of what Josef was talking about, he knew it had something to do with the chief financial officer of one of his companies, and possible embezzlement. Mick hoped he wouldn't hear that the man was missing later this week. Although, knowing Josef, he probably would. Money was one of the few things Josef never joked about.
"How did this moron ever think he would get by me? Me? He thought he could steal MY money! It's so hard to find good help these days. You would think a threat to leave the family fatherless would be a sufficient warning, but apparently not."
"Josef, do I have to be here for this?"
"What? No. I didn't call you for this. I'll take care of Moran myself."
"Then what am I doing here?"
"You're here to commiserate with me."
Josef walked over to his cabinet, and pulled out two glasses, and a bottle of Scotch. He set the glasses on his desk, opened the bottle, and poured. Mick could smell it from where he sat; hundred and twenty year old Scotch. That bottle was older than he was.
"And why am I commiserating with you?"
"Simone left me," Josef answered, handing Mick the glass. Mick looked at his friend in surprise. He'd met Josef's freshie several months before, when a Hearst basketball player was murdered and Simone had briefly been a suspect. Simone was the first human Mick had ever known Josef to date, apart from Sarah.
"I'm sorry man. What happened?"
"She got tired of waiting for me to turn her. She wanted forever, and I kept dragging my feet."
He downed his glass in a single gulp, Mick watching him. Once it was gone, he refilled it.
"Did you want to turn her?"
Josef downed the second glass as Mick went to work on his first.
"No. I cared about her, but I think forever would have been too long. Honestly, I think she was more in love with the idea of being young forever than she was with me."
One of the hazards of dating mortals. You never knew when their biggest interest was in you, or in being immortal. Mick was glad he didn't have to worry about that with Beth. She didn't want to be turned, and she knew how he felt about it. He couldn't say the thought hadn't crossed his mind, though. Especially lately.
"So where'd she go?"
"Europe. A Russian vamp by the name of Mikhail came through town on business, took one look at her, and that was that."
"You sent her to Europe? You don't think that's a bit harsh?"
"I didn't send her away, Mick. Mikhail happened to come into town on business, at a most convenient time. We'd been arguing for the last few weeks."
"And she chose to go off with him to Europe?"
Mick had trouble believing that. Beth and Simone had spent a lot of time together; he knew how much Simone had wanted Josef. Had she really just left him for another man?
"Maybe 'chose' isn't the right word. Mikhail drugged her and took her away on his private jet. She called me last night, refusing my offer of help. She wanted to stay with him."
He looked down into his empty glass, and poured another drink. Mick removed the bottle from his hand before the glass was completely full.
"I think that's enough Josef. You need some blood in you if you want to keep drinking like this."
"What are you, my mother?"
Mick just leveled his gaze on his best friend. It was unlike Josef to be so upset over the loss of a freshie.
"Josef. If you didn't care about her, why are you so angry?"
"I cared about her, Mick. I just—couldn't think about forever with her."
"Then it's just as well that she's gone."
"Of course, the tragic part of all of this is that now I don't have a date for the benefit party for Hearst College I'm hosting next week. You and Beth are supposed to come, by the way."
Typical of Josef to retreat from serious discussion behind sarcasm. However, as Mick thought about it, he came to the conclusion that to Josef, being left alone for a social obligation really could the worst part of the whole thing. Freshies could be replaced.
"And just what is this benefit? Didn't you already build them a new stadium?"
"C'mon Mick. That was over a year ago. This time it's a fundraiser for the new building for their history department."
"And just how did you end up hosting this?"
"I lost a bet with Thomas Verner. He wouldn't let me pay him in blood, or just cut a check to the college."
"It sucks to be you, Josef."
"What can I say? It's my burden to bear. You and Beth are coming, right? You have to be there to support me if I go stag."
"I'm sure Beth would love to go. It'll give her an excuse to go shopping."
There was a knock on the door, and a stunning woman walked in, and automatically offered her neck to Josef.
"Would you like something fresh from the tap, Mick? I've got another one waiting outside. Renee's just delicious."
"I'm good, I need to get out of here anyway. I'm supposed to meet Beth in half an hour. I'll catch you another time."
"Tell Beth I said hi," Josef said before he sank his fangs into the blonde's neck. Mick just shook his head as he left the building. He wasn't certain he wanted to see Josef on the rebound.