The Desolate Ch. 4.

M.J. opened her eyes to something far different than her little cave in the demon woods. For one thing she wasn’t shivering in her thin blankets, hoping the small fire she’d lit was still burning—matches weren’t exactly prevalent in the demon world—or stiff from sleeping on those blankets spread over a cave floor. She’d been in the process of gathering enough leaves and grasses to make herself a bed, but her allergies didn’t like grasses in the demon world either. There wasn’t much else available for her to use.

And she wasn’t alone. Someone held her hand. M.J. looked at the blonde woman quickly. She relaxed slightly, seeing the woman who had did that healing mumbo-jumbo after the first demon had nearly nabbed M.J. “Iah.”

“Well, fine mess you’ve gotten yourself into this time. Demons just seem to love you, don’t they?”

“What can I say? It’s my charm…” She shifted carefully on the bed. Her arms burned, but…not as bad as they had earlier. “So…what’s the extent of the damage?”

Iahanna hesitated. “M.J.—“

“Ok. What did I miss?”

“You died. And we had to convert you to Dardaptoan. You have no business being here. How did you get here and why didn’t you ask someone for help?” A harsh male voice asked from some other side of the bed.

“Marous!” Iahanna glared at him. M.J. turned her head and there he was. The vampire who’d fought off the green demon. “Not now!”

“Who are you? And what business is it of yours?” M.J.’s mother hadn’t raised her to be a coward in the thirteen years she’d had with her. This vampire guy wasn’t going to scare her.

But…M.J. figured they knew. Cat was out of the bag, so to speak.

He leaned over the bed and she struggled to not scoot away—even if it had been possible. He was big and dark and strong and male—and had fangs instead of canine teeth. Not to mention the way he glared down at her. “I’m your Rajni. And you are never to put yourself in that kind of danger again.”

“My what?”

“In your terms and under Dardaptoan law, I’m your mate. Your new husband. And you will never do anything so foolish again.”

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MM 13: Malcolm Kevin Sebastian Lorcan

Seven pounds, thirteen ounces, and twenty-three and a half inches long!

And I got to hold him first, after his parents, of course!

Carrie went into labor fifteen minutes after the last guest left Dad’s party. Less than four hours later, at 11:54, Lacy delivered the baby via C-section at Finley Creek General Hospital. Malcolm is the fourth generation Beck to be born at Finley Creek Gen. Even his mother was born at FCGH.

Malcolm will share his grandfather’s birthday. My dad is pleased as punch.

Carrie is doing well. Sebastian wasn’t too happy that she went into labor in Texas, but Carrie said that it was meant to be. That she is perfectly happy her son got to come into this world with his family all around him. The rest of their family—meaning all those Lorcans and Brockmans—will be here in the morning.

We’re going to be hosting most of them in our guest wing. Luc and his wife, Paige and her husband, Seth Lorcan and his family, and Sin Lorcan and his wife and children.

It’s going to be a busy, busy place around here.  With plenty of babies and kids around to keep Houghton entertained.

Ari’s going to come stay with us to help out, and to visit with her brothers and sister and their families. Her position with the counseling department at the hospital had only been part-time. When she’d been hurt back in February, they hadn’t held the position. In fact, the entire department had been downsized to two full-time counselors.

Ari seemed ok with the change, but I have to admit I don’t know her all that well. Still, Luc has her doing something on his payroll. I’m not sure what exactly it is, but she flies back and forth between St. Louis and Finley Creek at least twice a week.

It’s going to be great to have everyone here. Carrie’s going to be released in two days, and she and Sebastian are going to spend a week or so at Dad’s; Dad turned mine and Brynna’s rooms into an actual guest suite, complete with bath. It’s perfect for Carrie, Sebastian, and the babies.

Babies.

I’m trying not to get all gooey here. I’m not the extra gooey type, but we missed seventeen years of Carrie’s life. We will never have the childhood memories of her, but we can be here for this part of present, right?

Brynna is going nuts over the baby, cooing and ahh-ing. Of course, she’s been fascinated with Maddie since the kid came into the world, too.

She’s going to be such a great mother. Carrie certainly is.

I can’t wait to see them both with their babies, to see Jilly happy again and Syd working on her own future.

I’m starting to feel all matron-y, settled with my husband, our family all around us—doing what I can to make sure they are all happy.

Gives a  woman something to do with her time, doesn’t it?

Not like I’m getting any actual work done. The book isn’t going quite as well as I like. I think I’m starting to hit what’s known as the ‘saggy middle’ or something. I’m going to keep writing through it, of course, but I’d forgotten how hard it was, writing. The horror stories I wrote in high school were a lot shorter and a lot less detailed.

Slash and suspense, that’s what they were.

I can’t bring myself to write a horror, mystery or suspense right now. Maybe someday, when I can put the memories behind me. In the meantime, I’m going to finish this historical I’m writing.

I want it ready and in paperback before Houghton’s birthday in October.

We spent most of the night at the hospital and I am tired. Exhausted, actually.

It’s only two in the afternoon, but…the chaise looks really nice right now.

I think I’m just going to grab a blanket and take a nap. Just for a little while.

Previous Post: MM 12: Sixty!

MM12: Sixty!

My father turns sixty today, and for a man of six decades I think he looks pretty good. I watched him laugh and talk with his friends and our family, but I saw the sadness.

He misses my mother. I have no doubt about that. They loved each other so much.

Carrie and Sebastian and Maddie made it down from St. Louis. Carrie has less than two weeks before her due date. I can’t help but remember the last time she was this close to delivery. Remember the night Maddie was born.

It was weeks before I was able to even see my only niece. Hell, it was weeks before I was even cognizant enough to know what was going on for more than half an hour at a time. They kept me pretty doped up for a while there.

But this time will be different. I am going to be there for the baby’s birth, just like I am going to be there for Brynna’s baby. And Jillian and Syd’s when they have them.

I am going to be the best aunt possible. And I’ll buy them as many expensive presents as I can get away with.

It’s my aunt privilege, isn’t it?

I’ve sit here too long. I need to either get up and move around or I’m going to pay for it later.

I’ve been rambling again, haven’t I?

Dad’s party was a definite success. Brynna hid inside for most of it, but Chance stayed with her, of course. She reemerged in time for the cake and ice cream, at least.

Lacy sang a sexy song, just for my dad. He blushed. Everyone enjoyed it.

I’m glad he’s doing ok. I know what happened weighs on him, too.

We’ll get through this. I know we all will. We’re Becks after all.

Previous Post: MM11: Carrie Wins!

MM11: Carrie Wins.

I’m beginning to think I’m spending far too much time in front of this screen lately. I’m making progress on Jude and Hughes’ story. (Check out the next few chapters here!),

But I’m starting to stiffen up after too many hours at it. There’s always speech-to-text software, but to be honest, talking out my stories weirds me out. I’ll try it eventually.

Imagine it, me spread out over the chaise, talking to my computer clear across the room. Then Houghton will come in, decide the software or my tech set-up isn’t the best possible there is and he’ll play around with it.

Then he’ll want me to demonstrate a scene or two…and of course, I’ll pick the hotter ones.

It wouldn’t be the first time we’ve tried out the chaise, now would it?

Anywayyy…

Off of me and Houghton and back to what’s going on around here…

Carrie won.

They’ll be down here—with the beautiful baby Maddie—first thing in the morning two days from now. They are bringing Simon, Ari’s younger brother, to hang out with Syd for a few days.

Ari has me almost as worried as Jillian. She’s jumping at shadows and so, so quiet. I’m convinced that they both have some PTSD going on, but they won’t let me help them. Not at this point.

All I can do is be here for them, right?

Why is it so hard to just sit by and do nothing when the ones I care about are hurting? Why can’t I just bundle them all up and make the world better for them?

I’m trying not to dwell too much on what happened myself. I’ve been through some crappy times over the past two years, I can get through this too.

Maybe they aren’t the only ones still screwed up by what happened?

I had another nightmare this morning. In it, Jilly and Houghton both died, bleeding out from that damned knife.

Whenever that happens I feel shaky for hours.

There’s another ‘therapy’ group tonight. We’re all going, Jilly, Brynna, Lacy, Ari, and I. Gabby, too. We’ll see.

That’s all I am going to commit to.

Houghton has a full schedule today. There’s still an FBI conference going on at the hotel today. He’s giving them his special presence after the trouble Dr. Dillon experienced.

I may take a car to the hotel and join him for lunch today. Or have Chance drive me. Maybe I could convince Brynna to step inside the hotel this time.

If it has been hard to get Jillian into the hotel, it was next to impossible to get Brynna anywhere near it.

I’ll get her inside eventually. But I get it, I really do. Brynna and Jillian both almost died in the hotel. It makes sense that they don’t want to go there.

I’ll admit, I haven’t gone there without Houghton yet.

Perhaps it is time I do?

I am not going to let what happened keep me from doing anything ever again.

Previous Post: MM10 Weepy Ol’Me

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MM10: Weepy Ol’Me

I spent the day at Dad’s, wanting to be close to Jilly. She knew what I was up to. She called me on it around lunch time. “Shouldn’t you be at home, working in your office next to Brynna? Thought you baby-sat her during the day now?”

“Ha-ha.” Hell, it was the truth, though. I did keep an eye on Brynna during the day while Houghton and Chance were off doing Houghton and Chance things. I didn’t mind—she was my sister. We’d been together practically since the day Brynna was born.

Except for those dark months I was in St. Louis in a hospital bed or in a wheelchair. I don’t think of those days often if I can help it. I am grateful I was close to Carrie, though.

She visited me every chance she could. She’s wonderful, and I am glad I got a chance to know my older sister now, too.

But it wasn’t my older sister who worried me, though she was determined that she would be coming down for Dad’s birthday next week. The first week of April was too darned close to Carrie’s due date for her to even be considering it.

But Sebastian said she was insistent.

“Earth to Mel. Focus.”

I looked at my sister again. Jillian had lost some weight, hadn’t she? It wasn’t hard to see—she had always been the smallest of all of us, and the lost weight really showed. “I’m worried about you.”

“I’m fine. I’m dealing with what happened, Mel. Same as everyone else.”

“When are you going back to work?”

“I’m not sure. As soon as I graduate, I think. They won’t hold my job forever—no matter how big of a donation Houghton made.”

She sent me a pointed look and I shrugged. “You know how he is. Said we spent so much time there, the wing should be named for us. Thankfully, Fin didn’t agree. But the hospital was grateful.”

“And I’ll have a job there when I’m ready to go back. I know that. For now…I  need to focus on getting my degree, and finding a new normal around here. It’s…quiet here. Syd…she’s gone more often than not, now. I see her moving to St. Louis someday, Mel. She and Gracie Reynolds…they want to form a band, and I think they’ll manage it somehow. With Brynna across the street it’s a little different, but she’s still here a lot. But…we miss you.”

“I’m going to try to be around here more often.” Somehow. I wasn’t entirely certain how, but I was going to try.

Truth was, I missed having a large family around, too. I love my husband and the life we are building together. I will never deny that.

But…I miss my family, too.

Damn it, why do I feel so weepy today?

Previous Post: MM9 Goodnight, Laptop!

MM9: Good Night, Laptop

We ended up at Dad’s for dinner again. It was beginning to be an every other night occurrence. It took me a while, but I finally figured out what my husband was up to. He was bringing me here because he knew, didn’t he?

He knew I was missing this, and bringing me home a few nights per week was his way of making the world right for me.

Sometimes I just love him more and more. Dinner was a typical dinner at my dad’s, with loud conversation, people everywhere—Jarrod and Lacy joined us this time—and simple food.

I am still getting used to having a chef on call twenty-four hours a day. I don’t think Houghton has eaten Sloppy Joes even once in his life.

But he did tonight. Jillian made home fries with it. Houghton acted like he was in heaven.

I shudder to think what kind of Sloppy Joes version he’ll have the chef coming up with. I like the chef, his real name is Jason, but sometimes…he just tries too hard.

A hamburger should be a hamburger, after all.

Nothing more.

Houghton just rolled over in the bed, his arm flopping around like he’s looking for me in his sleep. If I scoot closer, I can guarantee I’m going to get some serious cuddling. If I don’t, he’s going to keep flopping around like a fish.

What is a woman married to the hottest man on the planet supposed to do? Good night, laptop. My man is waiting.

 

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MM8: Brynna is Brynna-ing Me Again.

BRYNNA IS being particularly Brynna this morning. I try to remind myself that she doesn’t intend to be annoying, but…she’s twenty-five now.brynnagoofie

I’ve had twenty-five years to get used to it. So far I haven’t.

Still, she looks seriously cute today. She’ll make me an aunt again in less than fourteen weeks. She’s wearing one of the hats I knitted her (ok, so it was meant for the baby, but I did something wrong and it fits Brynna and looks like it’s supposed to, but…I’m going to make the baby a better one soon) and she waddles. So cute.

Now if she’d just get out of my hair and back to her own office…

I have a book to write. Houghton’s found the Barratt family journals and I’m reading my way through them. The history is so rich it’s amazing. And I don’t mean money.

The Barratts seriously believed in documenting everything. As far back as settlement in the area.

Finley Creek, Value, and Barrattville are named for Houghton’s family and their connections.

Finley Creek…well, it’s definitely an ironic story, that’s for sure.

Just after the Civil War a family named Finley had relocated to the Barrattville area to escape a horrible neighbor who wanted to hurt a widow. She and her brother and their combined children (twelve girls!) settled on a small ranch right in the middle of the current Barratt’s property. Unfortunately, the Finleys had bought it illegally.

The Barratt at the time had six marriage-aged sons. Four of them rode over to the Finley’s ranch and basically took four of the older daughters. They married them that night and they all literally lived happily ever after. (Trying to wrap my head around that one, but…well, after what Houghton did, how can I say that it can’t work?)

The story doesn’t end there, though. The older Barratt man was also a widower, and he decided he wanted the girls’ aunt!

I have to say that I’m truly enjoying reading both their journals. Jude, the girls’ aunt, was wounded before coming to Finley Creek and struggled to walk and faced daily pain. I have to say I’m definitely identifying with her. (Physical therapy did not go well today!)

I want to explore who she was. By the time she was a year older than I am now, she was widowed with four daughters. I can’t imagine how frightening life must have been for her back then.

I can’t help but look around at what her family has built since then.

Houghton wants me to rewrite the journals into a novel form. Just to see what happens.

Even if I never publish it, I think it will be fun. A good way to practice writing romances–I used to write horror when I was younger–and I think it’ll be something fun for him. Fitting that my first romance be about his family, right?

And I’m a Barratt now, too.

Anyway, I’m putting the chapters up here on my blog. Take a look and tell me what you think. I’m really trying to capture a historical voice.

Brynna’s over in her office, finally. She should stay there for a while. We both have a lot of work to do.

Gabby may come over later. I need to call her and confirm. If she is, I may call Dad and get the girls over here.

We can have dinner out by the pool. It’s unseasonally warm today (not that that matters, the pool is heated and enclosed!) and I want to celebrate.

Carrie is supposed to call soon, too. Something about coming down for Dad’s birthday next week. Though I don’t think she should.

She’s weeks away from delivering, after all.

Not that I can talk any sense into her. She’s as stubborn as Brynna sometimes.

Seems like stubbornness is a real Beck trait, after all.

Previous Post: MM7: Handley Barratt Strikes Again!

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