© Amy Denton
Disclaimer: These characters, with the exception of five, are not mine, never have been and never will be. (Which is darn shame because if they were, the show would still be on the air) They belong to Aaron Spelling, et. all and Mark Rein*Hagen Productions. This story is for entertainment purposes and is not intended to infringe on their copyright.
The character of Jeffrey appears courtesy of, and was created by, Kelly Schwinghausen. The characters of Alec and Marta Tremaine appear courtesy of, and were created by Julie Beemer. The characters of Josef and Gloria were created by me (Amy Denton).
My thanks go to Julie Beemer, Beta Reader extraordinary, (Uh, Amy, he moved from one side of the room to the other and you never said so :) and mommy and daddy to Marta and Alec. Thanks for letting me play with them. :) Thank you Kelly for letting us (fic writers) use Jeffery and thank you to people who created the show in first place.
One last note (stop cheering, Lady Serez): Any questions, comments, flames, requests, money, chocolate, etc..., etc. may be sent to:
Okay, on with the show
To Tell the Truth By Amy M. Denton
It was a very good Friday. A three-day weekend was just beginning and Caitlin was on her way to spend it with Julian. On arrival at the mansion, she was greeted by him and then whisked away to private dinner in Sausilito followed by a performance of the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. After the performance, Julian took her backstage and introduced her to the conductor and several of the musicians.
It never failed to amaze Caitlin about the sheer number of people that Julian knew. No matter where they went, what function they were at, whose party they attended, he knew everyone.
"I do hope that after meeting you, you see fit to publish a suitable review in the paper." Christoph Lockhart, the conductor of the Orchestra, said to her as he shook her hand.
"Well, I donít control that section of the paper," Caitlin replied, "but Iíll speak to Lifestyle editor and make sure something good goes in."
"Good, good! Thank you very much. The performance tonight was especially difficult. The musicians worked very, very hard."
"It was wonderful."
"Having a good time?" Julian said, appearing at her elbow.
"Wonderful." She replied. "You are really spoiling me."
"I hope so."
"Mr. Luna? Is that you?" A slim young woman, with a halo of brunette hair and dressed in a jet black evening gown, came rushing up to Julian, throwing her arms around him. "I thought that was you in the audience but I couldnít be sure."
"Margaret." Julian said, hugging the young woman. "I was just about to come looking for you." He held her at arms length to get a better look at her. "Your solo was absolutely.... masterful."
"Really? I m so glad you were here to hear it. I had no idea you were coming."
"I wanted it to be a surprise."
Yet another dream financed by the man standing next to her, Caitlin mused, as Margaret babbled to Julian about the performance.
"Caitlin," Julian said, dragging her back to the present. "I would like you to meet Margaret Dubonnet, she played the violin solo in tonight's performance.
Margaret, this Caitlin Byrne, city editor of the Times."
"Pleased to meet you." Margaret said, shaking hands with Caitlin.
"Likewise. How long have you been playing?"
"Since I was six."
"It shows. I m envious."
Margaret just grinned. She disappeared a moment later as she spotted someone else she just *had* to talk to.
"Let me guess," Caitlin said, as they walked toward an exit. "she was a prodigy, who just graduated from Julliard School of Music, courtesy of you."
"Now, Caitlin, she is a prodigy but she had scholarship offers from everywhere."
"Umm...hmm." Caitlin said, not dissuaded in the least. "Iím sure your offer was the most generous.
Tell me, did you pay for the plane fare or did she?" Julian took Caitlin in his arms, stepping away from the crush of people backstage. "This may come as surprise to you but I am not responsible for every good deed you hear about."
"Iím certain youíre right but not in her case."
"You see right through me, donít you?"
They stepped out into the flow of people, heading for an exit and the mansion. At the exit, a booming voice from across the room stopped Caitlin in her tracks.
"Miss Byrne!! A moment of your time!"
All around them, people stopped and stared, first at Caitlin, then at the rotund man waddling over to her. She recognized the man and groaned. Councilman Cornelius Vandersteck was the last person she wanted to see that night.
Short and squat, Councilman Vandersteck was a wannabe Texan. From the top of his not-quite ten gallon hat to the tips of his cockroach killer boots, he oozed Texas. In his own mind, at least.
"Oh, no." Caitlin muttered, looking furtively around. "Problem?" Julian asked.
"It would take too long to explain." she replied. "We all have our crosses to bear and Councilman Vandersteck is mine." She patted him on the shoulder, passed a smile on her face and turned just in time to greet the councilman.
"Councilman Vandersteck, what a pleasure!" Caitlin said, gripping his outstretched hand.
"Miss Byrne, the pleasure is all mine. What brings you out this evening? I did not think the Orchestra was your cup of tea." Councilman Vandersteck leered at her before casting a glance at Julian.
"Nor I you. Did your lovely wife accompany you, it s been so long since Iíve seen her."
"Ah...no, she had another event to attend this evening. Who is your date this evening?"
"You haven't met yet, have you?" Caitlin flashed a glance at Julian, certain he knew exactly who the councilman was. "Councilman Vandersteck, Julian > Luna."
Councilman Vandersteck s eyes widened as he shook hands. "Luna, hmm...donít you own that great big warehouse down on the dock?"
"One of them, yes."
Councilman Vandersteck nodded before turning his attention back to Caitlin. "I stopped you because I need a rumor confirmed."
"Councilman, it is the policy of the newspaper to neither confirm or deny rumors."
"Oh, come on...you can tell me. Is there any truth to the rumor that you are working on a story on city hall bribery?"
"Good evening, Councilman." Caitlin turned to go.
"Miss Byrne," Councilman Vandersteck touched her arm. "I would caution you against printing such a story, lest you have ample evidence to back it up." His accompanying smile held no warmth.
She looked at his hand before removing it. ĎGood evening, Councilman." She repeated. "Let s go." She said to Julian.
Julian let his gaze linger on the Councilman before following Caitlin out the door.
* * *
It was only after they were in the car, safely on their way to the mansion that Julian asked Caitlin about the councilman.
"Any truth to the rumor?" He asked.
"What rumor would that be?" Caitlin replied.
"That a certain city editor is hiding a story from her publisher."
"Ah, well, you see, it is the policy of the paper to neither confirm or deny any rumors."
"Really?" He snaked his arm around her shoulders, pulling her close.
"Really." She leaned into him, resting her head on his shoulder.
"You can tell me, I won't tell a soul." He whispered in her ear.
"You say that now.
"Your lips are sealed?
He lowered his lips to hers, a gentle kiss that promised many, many things.
"I have ways of making you talk." He whispered against her lips.
"I canít wait to see you try." She replied, pulling him down to meet her lips again.
* * *
Later that night, Julian slipped out of bed, leaving Caitlin to sleep, while he attended to Kindred business. It had become part of his routine, whether he was at the mansion or her house. Wait for her to drift off and then resume his duties as Prince. All he really needed was a cell phone. He was always back before she awoke, therefore, she never knew he was gone.
Or so he thought.
Early that morning, after Julian returned to bed, Caitlin left.
She had known about Julian s habit of conducting business while she slept since the second time she had stayed at the mansion. She did not sleep so soundly as to miss the creak of the bedsprings as he got up or the sound of the bedroom door clicking shut behind him.
She didnít mind. Why should she? He had business to attend to and it didnít disappear just because she was with him.
Such was also the case for Caitlin. The paper did not stop just because she was not there, as much as she hated to admit it. There were still columns to approve and page layouts to work on as well as her own story to work on.
Which is why she didnít think he would mind if she stole a few hours while he slept. He was always so hard to wake in the mornings anyway. She slipped from the room dressed only in a robe, her laptop in one hand and made her way to the living room. Settling down, she promised to work only for a few hours, just long enough to finish.
Julian would never miss her.
* * *
An hour later, Julian stirred, seeking to readjust Caitlin against him but there was one problem. She was no longer there, her comforting weight was gone.
Instantly awake, he sat up in bed, his eyes roaming the room. He slid out of bed and padded toward the bathroom, listening for any sound. Nothing. She was not in the room, but her clothes were, he noticed. So, she hadnít gone far.
He grinned, treasuring the challenge. Disappear on him, would she? Not for long.
It took him as long as it took to walk down the hallway to find her. He simply followed her scent.
He lounged in the doorway for a long moment, not wanting to disturb her just yet, enjoying the view her peach-colored robe afforded him as she sat at a table, bent over a laptop. After a moment, he moved to the table, leaned down and kissed her on the cheek.
She started, then smiled. "I didnít think you would notice." She murmured.
"Hmm...I did." His teeth nibbled on her earlobe, his hands coming to rest on her shoulders, skimming across the surface of the robe.
Her eyes slid shut as they always did under his gentle caresses. "You have no problems leaving me. Turnabout is fair play."
He did not answer, instead, he let his hands do his talking for him, sliding under her robe to caress her already sensitive skin.
"Julian..." She moaned. "I need to finish."
"Finish what?" He asked.
She did not answer immediately.
"Well?" He asked, kissing the sensitive spot just behind her ear.
"Itís the story that Councilman Vandersteck was asking about."
"The bribery story?" He asked, his hands coming to a stop.
She nodded. "I donít know where he gets his information but he was right when he asked about it."
He turned her around in her chair so he could see her. "How long have you been working on this story?"
"Close to a year." she replied, feeling terribly self-conscious all of a sudden. "I wanted you to see the finished product, that s why I havenít told you."
"Youíve covered all the bases? Thereís no way they can come back and cry slander or libel?"
"They can cry all they want but they wonít get very far. Weíre covered."
"Thatís all I needed to hear." He said. "Are you ready for what will come after?"
"I donít suppose I could persuade you to come back to bed now, could I?"
"You could but I *really* need to finish this. Iím almost done."
"How much more time do you need?
"An hour, maybe two."
"You have an hour and a half. If you are not done by then...I know where you are." He grinned, enjoying the image of carrying Caitlin back to bed.
"What makes you think I wonít move?" She asked, enjoying the give and take with him.
"What makes you think I wonít find you no matter where you are?" He replied.
"You enjoy being a caveman, donít you?"
"An hour and a half." He repeated, brushing her lips with his, then leaving her to her work.
* * *
Before the sun was fully in the sky, Julian returned to the mansion. He would have preferred to stay with Caitlin but she had to go to work and he had business of his own to attend.
His first stop was his study. A quick stop in there and then back upstairs to take a shower and get some more sleep. His hand was on the studyís doorknob when he heard his name and turned to see Cash, his bodyguard and Gangrel Primogen, standing by the stairs, looking pensive.
"Yes, Cash? Whatís the problem?" Julian asked. Something terrible must be weighing on Cashís mind for him to come see Julian unbidden.
"Thereís a problem. Someoneís been Embraced against their will."
"Come inside." Julian said, pointing to his study. "Tell me everything."
Inside the study, with the door shut, Julian took his customary seat behind his desk and waited. Cash dropped into a chair.
"Do you remember a couple of days ago when there was that attack by The Haven? That guy complained that some chick jumped him in the alley and bit him?"
Julian nodded. Lillie had not been pleased. In fact, she was still grumbling about it. Something about The Haven never getting any good publicity.
"I know who did it. At least, I think I know."
Cash hunched down in the chair. "About a week ago, a couple of the others found this girl wanderiní through Golden Gate Park at 2 or 3 in the morning, lookiní like sheíd fallen off the back of a truck. They were just going to Feed on her and go on. Anyone wandering in the park that late at night, deserves what happens to them."
While not sharing Cash s sentiment, Julian could the see the reasoning behind it.
"They got just close enough to find out she wasnít mortal before she bolts. They caught her, of course, then blew half-an-hour getting her to calm down long enough to get a story from her."
"Which was?" Julian could see where this story was heading and he did not like it. The last thing he needed was a repeat of Zane.
"Some guy at a bar asked her if she wanted to party."
"She said yes and he Embraced her.
Cash nodded. "She had no clue. Sheíd been wandering around the city for two days before they found her. She almost got roasted twice."
"What happened next?"
"They gave her to me." Cash said. "They didnít know what to do."
"When was this?"
"The night after they found her."
Julian took a deep breath, if only to calm himself. In a tone cold enough to freeze San Francisco Bay, he said "You have had a neophyte for almost a week and are just telling me now?"
Julian closed his eyes and counted to ten. When that didnít work, he counted to thirty. If this had been anyone else, he would have throttled them by now. Because it was Cash coming to him, he couldnít kill him just yet.
He opened his eyes, settling his gaze on Cash again. "Why did you wait?"
Cash shrugged. "Sheís terrified. Sheíll only just stay with me. If you came into the picture, sheíd bolt. I have to get her to where she stops running first."
Julian took another deep breath. He would deal with Cash later. "Are you certain this childe is one from the club?"
Cash nodded. "After they gave her to me, I took her to Josef. He just blew in from Detroit."
Julian nodded, he had met Josef once, the burly Gangrel reminding him of Stevie.
"Heís about the same age as Stevie and heís got other childer, so I thought...maybe he could help. I donít have any childer and most of what Stevie told me, I donít remember."
"What does this have to do with the attack?"
"Josef and I were with her. Sheís still working on how much is enough. She got that guy and couldnít stop, she had to have been starving."
"He took her and disappeared, I just blended in."
Julian nodded again. The weight of the newly Embraced was heavy on his young bodyguards shoulderís. That did not excuse his behavior, however.
"Had the attack not happened, when were you going to tell me?"
"After she was more settled into it. I didnít want to embarrass her."
Julian sighed. Anyone else would be dead by this point, with Cash, all he could do was shake his head. "You know the rules, Cash. I shouldíve been informed immediately."
"I realize that. I probably should have told you earlier but I didnít want her running off. I know the rules." Cash said.
"Iím so glad. Do you even know her name?"
"Go to bed, Cash." Julian said, feeling very old at that moment. "Get some rest. This evening, I want her brought to me. Is that clear? Pray Josef is keeping track of her."
Cash nodded and turned to leave.
"And Cash? Julian asked.
"If you ever hide another neophyte from me again, it will be the last thing you do."
Cash nodded, Julian s meaning clear.
To be continued