November 15, 1968
Davy put the last shirt into the duffle bag and turned to face the three in the doorway. “Oh, will you relax? It’s not like I’m leaving forever!”
“That’s not it, Dave,” Peter said solemnly. “It’s the fact that you won’t tell us where you’re going.”
Davy zipped up the duffel, and then turned back and sat on the bed. “Peter, I would tell you where I was going in a heartbeat – if I knew myself! But I don’t!”
“Then why’re you takin’ off?” Mike asked.
With a deep sigh, Davy spread his hands. “Look – after all that’s happened with Falconman and all, I just need a bit of a break. I’ll be back in a week –and we’ll definitely be spending Thanksgiving together. It’s just—“
Peter nodded. “I understand. Just… Just keep in touch, huh?”
Davy smiled. “I will. I promise.”
“So,” practical Mike asked. “How’re you gettin’ to where you’re goin’?”
“Already taken care of.” Davy held up a small keyring with two distinctively-shaped keys.
Micky’s eyes went huge. “You bought a motorcycle?”
“Uh-huh,” Davy grinned. “I’ll be fine.”
“Famous last words,” Mike mumbled.
The next day, Davy took off. He called that evening to say he was following Highway 5 north and he was fine. With promises to check in the next evening, Davy strapped on his helmet and pointed the bike northward once more.
About an hour before sunset, Davy picked up a shadow. He pulled off at a roadside café, and his shadow did the same. Davy asked, “What can I do for you?”
The other rider lifted his helmet, and black hair spilled almost to his shoulders. A crooked grin shone from a copper-skinned face. “Just thought I’d hitch a ride awhile.” He stuck out a hand. “Name’s Gage. Johnny Gage.”
“Davy Jones.” Davy shook his hand. “No locker jokes, please.” Johnny laughed, and Davy jerked his head toward the café. “Buy me dinner?” he teased.
“Not on the first date,” his new friend teased back. “Wouldn’t mind goin’ Dutch, though.”
Over the meal, they learned about each other. Davy spoke of both his music and his former acting jobs. Johnny spoke of how he was tooling around, just trying to find a purpose in life. He was only nineteen and feeling a bit adrift.
They were heading northbound on I-5 when the sun set. An hour after it did, a third bike joined them and they pulled over.
“Man, what is this?” Johnny laughed as he removed his helmet. “A chopper convoy?”
“More like a convention!” Davy laughed as he removed his. “So what can we do for you?”
“Are you two traveling through the night?” The stranger’s voice held a trace of an exotic accent.
“Few more hours, yeah,” Davy answered. “Then we were gonna find a motel or something.”
Rumpled blond hair was revealed as the stranger removed his helmet. It was a slightly older gentleman with sad eyes. “I’d be much obliged,” he said softly, “if you’d permit me to ride with you a piece.”
“Sure!” Johnny said. “No problem! I’m Johnny, that’s Davy! What’s your name?”
“Nicholas,” the man smiled slightly. “Nicholas Knight.”
“Where are you?”
“….And a cheerful hullo to you too, Peter.”
“Look, you said you’d call last night. We didn’t hear from you – I had to talk Mike and Micky both out of scouring the coast for you!”
“Aw, hell. Sorry – I truly just forgot! We’ve been having so much fun—“
“We? Okay, what’s her name?”
“Nick and Johnny.”
“….Oh, I see! Bikin’ buddies?”
“Yeah – couple of real nice guys. We’re near the Oregon border, just waiting for Nick to wake up so we can burn a few hundred more miles before dawn.”
“You’re only traveling at night?”
“Hullo, Mike, I think they heard that in London! Yeah, we’re only traveling at night. Nick’s got this freaky allergy to sunlight.”
“Oh. Well, I can understand that. Just – Davy – please be careful.”
“We always are, Peter. We’re going to bike up to Washington State, then I’m gonna come home.”
“Micky wants to know if you’ll be home by Thanksgiving.”
“That’s a sure thing. I’ll be home and we’ll be together for our first Thanksgiving as a real family.”
“….I like the sound of that!”
“I thought you might…Well, I gotta split. Sun’s almost down.”
“Call us tomorrow.”
“Or the next night.”
“No later! Bye, Peter.”
“….Who’s calling, please?”
“My name’s Johnny Gage – I’ve been riding with Davy….”
“Oh, well, it’s nice to finally hear your voice! Yes, this is Peter. Is something wrong?”
“There…there might be. I don’t know where to turn or even if I’m just crazy, but – Davy says over and over you guys can be trusted….”
“What’s the matter, Johnny?”
“It’s just….I-I think….it sounds really crazy!”
“Just give it to me straight.”
“Okay...I-I think Nick is a vampyre and I think Davy is too!”
Peter’s hand tightened on the receiver. “Davy’s….what?”
That caused Mike’s head to snap up.
The voice on the other end took a deep breath. “I…I’ve seen things…. I saw N-Nick’s fangs…. But-but Davy’s too strong…vampyre strong…”
“Where are you?” Peter asked.
“Just on the Oregon side of Washington.”
“Stay there – we’ll be right there.” Peter took a deep breath. “How will we know you?”
“We’re on three silver choppers … and I have a blue tent.”
“Davy’s red one is by yours?”
“Yes, and Nick has a thick black one in the middle…”
“We’ll be right there.” Peter hung up and turned to Mike. “Davy’s got himself mixed up with a vampyre and this kid thinks Davy’s one too!”
“What?” Mike gasped, and then chuckled. “Because of his power – the strength.”
Peter nodded as he picked up the phone. “Me,” he said into it and smiled. “I love you too, Valerie… are Mel and Mick there?” He nodded at her answer. “Yeah, we need Mick here. We gotta go get Davy’s skinny behind outta the fire again.”
Davy crawled out of his tent and smiled. “Hey, Johnny – why the long face?”
He shook his head.
“Johnny—c’mon, talk to me.”
He took a deep breath and sat down. “I…raided your pockets. Not for money….” He held out a familiar piece of paper.
Davy frowned. “My phone number? You called my home?”
Johnny seemed to shrink inside himself a little. “I was scared for you…”
“Are they coming?” At Johnny’s nod, he sighed. “Okay…do they think I’m in trouble again?” Again, Johnny nodded and Davy sank to the ground cross-legged, putting his face in his hands.
“Is it going to be okay?” Johnny asked in a small voice.
Davy looked up and asked, “Are you scared of me?” Johnny nodded, and Davy asked, “Why?”
Johnny hung his head. He was silent.
It was very rare for Johnny Gage to be quiet. Davy knew how upset he was by that alone.
“Great,” he sighed, rolling his eyes. “How do I fix this?”
Just as the sun was setting, Davy coaxed Johnny to go take a ride. Once the motorcycle vanished – leaving the gear behind so he’d return – Davy scratched on the flap of the black tent.
“Yes?” came a sleepy call.
“Davy – may I come in?”
“Just a second…” He heard rustling, then a muffled, “C’mon.”
Davy walked in and saw a flashlight was lit. Nick’s head was buried in the sleeping bag. Davy closed the flap against the last bits of sunlight. “Okay, I’m in.”
Slowly, Nick’s sleepy-eyed head emerged. He sat up and yawned. “What’s the matter?”
“Remember how I told you I was taking a holiday from my friends?” At Nick’s nod, he went on, “Johnny called them – they’re on their way. He panicked – thought we were both vampyres.”
“What?” Nick laughed. “That’s absurd!”
“Yes, it is. I mean, you’re a vampyre – I’m just preternaturally strong.”
Nick’s smile died and he looked at Davy. “I’m a--?”
“M-hm.” Davy grinned. “Oh, don’t look at me like that. Too many things added up.”
A slow nod, then Nick asked, “And you’re – not afraid?”
“Why, should I be?” At Nick’s nod, Davy chuckled. “On, come on. If you were going to harm me, you’d have harmed me by now.”
Nick’s eyes began to glow and his features became more inhuman, fangs and all. “How do you know?” he hissed. “Perhaps I was pretending to befriend you so I could have a shrimp dinner!”
Davy crossed his arms and shot the taller man an ‘oh, please!’ look. “Because you’re like my friend Mike,” he said evenly. “Pretending to be a friend isn’t in your makeup. You either are, or you aren’t. And to me, you are.”
Nick’s inhuman eyes blinked in surprise, then returned to blue as his handsome features reappeared. “Well…I can’t argue with that logic.”
“Good!” Davy smiled at him. “Go get cleaned up – you’re ripe – and feed however you feed, then we’ll talk.”
“Hold on – talk?”
Davy paused at the flap. “About Johnny and my friends. About how to dissuade them of the idea that you’re a vampyre.”
Nick was now hopelessly confused. “Wait… you know what I am – and you’re going to help them think I’m not?”
“Sure,” Davy said. “That way you can leave in peace.”
“Davy….I don’t understand! Why?”
Davy smiled. “That’s what friends do.” And he exited into the night.
Nick just sat there for a long while, turning Davy’s words over in his mind. He was barely aware he was grinning the whole time.
When the Monkees arrived the next afternoon, they found Davy waiting for them, standing proud in front of the tents.
“You came here for nothing,” Davy informed them.
“I want to hear the story behind this,” Peter said.
“It’s my fault,” Johnny said as he walked up. “I jumped to conclusions and got you here for nothing. I saw Nick and Davy’s strength and… well….” He smiled a charming crooked grin. “Powers never crossed my mind.”
Peter chuckled and looked over to Mike.
Mike shook his head. “Well, we didn’t come for nothing. Let’s head on up to Seattle, we’re not that far away!”
Micky brightened. “I’ll take you!” He grabbed Mike’s hands and rose into the air.
Peter grinned, watching them. Then he turned to Davy. “Thanksgiving?”
“Thanksgiving. I promise.”
“I’m holding you to that, Big Guy.” Peter hugged him.
Davy whispered, “Are you praying for me, Glow-worm?”
“Every time I think of you,” Peter whispered back.
Davy thumped his back gently and let him go.
Peter stepped back and pointed at him. “Thanksgiving.”
“I’ll supply the turkey,” Davy grinned.
“I’ll hold you to that, too!” Peter grinned back. His eyes began to glow and he slid into the air, heading back south.
Davy smiled and turned to Johnny. “That ended well.”
“I’m so sorry—“ Johnny began.
Davy held up a hand. “Forget it. It’s fine. Next time, though -- ask before you jump to conclusions?”
“I promise!” Johnny laughed.
“So…any more ideas what you’re gonna do with your life?” Davy asked.
Johnny nodded. “I think I’m gonna settle in LA. Maybe check out the service jobs – you know: cop, fireman, that kind’a stuff. I wanna help.”
Davy nodded and straddled his bike. “When Nick wakes up, tell him I’ve got south.”
“Will do – Big Guy.”
“See ya – Junior.” And Davy roared away.
Nick caught up with him five hours later, long after dark. “What, were you going to leave without saying good-bye?”
“Hardly,” Davy chuckled. “I wanted to say good-bye to you in private.”
“And why do I rate a private good-bye?”
Davy turned to him and smiled. “Can you fly?”
Taken aback, Nick blinked. “Can I--?”
“You’re a vampyre. Are the legends true? Can you fly?”
“Yes…I can. Why?”
Davy nodded. “Take me flying? I haven’t been flying with Peter or Micky in some time – and I miss it.”
Nick smiled and held out his hands. Davy took them and then released them, shrinking down to the size of a newborn baby. “Easier to hold at this size!”
Laughing, Nick lifted him – delighted to find Davy’s weight had lightened as his size had diminished. Without further conversation, he rose into the air.
Davy arrived home the afternoon of the 27th – the day before Thanksgiving. He had a huge turkey, already dressed. He handed it over to Peter. “All we gotta do is bake it!”
Thanksgiving meal was loud and boisterous. Valerie and Melanie were there with them at the Pad. After the meal, Davy stood up. “Guys – and girls – I need to talk to all of you.”
Peter frowned. “Is something wrong, Davy?”
“Perhaps. But perhaps it’s something that can get nipped in the bud before it becomes a problem.”
“What is it, Davy?” Mike asked.
Davy sat back down and told them. He told them how he’d felt the pair’s new romances were causing the group and the friends to drift apart.
Micky opened his mouth to rebuff it, but Melanie held up a hand. “He’s right, Micky. You’ve blown off rehearsals just to be with me.”
Valerie nodded. “Why can’t there be a balance? Why does it have to be either us or the four of you? Why can’t it be both?”
After a pause, Davy smiled. “Yeah! Why can’t it be both? I mean, you guys are gonna have homes of your own eventually – but why can’t it still be the six of us?”
“A tight-knit group,” Mike put in.
“A family,” Peter clarified.
Davy nodded. “Precisely! And any woman I date that says otherwise –“
“Won’t be the woman for you!” Micky finished.
“And any that does agree,” Valerie smiled, “will be welcomed and we’ll become seven!”
“Eight once I find Phyllis,” Mike smiled.
“So, we’re agreed?” Peter held out his hand. “A family.”
“A family,” Valerie said, putting hers in his.
“Agreed!” Mike said, his hand going over Valerie’s.
For once speechless, Micky just nodded as his hand went over Mike’s.
Davy grinned as his landed on Micky’s. “All right!”
After a pause, Melanie smiled. “I’ve never had a family before.” She put her hand over Davy’s. “This should be interesting!”
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