Joseph Ch. 01bykalamazoo707©
Note: First of all thanks to all of you for reading and commenting on my stories. You are appreciated. Secondly, regarding Barb Yancy- she is cooling her heels in Hawaii but is not gone. There is no chapter 13 of Thorne, but I promise that you will see her again. Thank you to my beta readers Jean and donalde and to Teacher2272 for editing Joseph Chapter 1. Oh and by the way- this chapter has no sex in it.
Joseph sat open mouthed, in shock, as his father told him what he had done to his and Nathan's mother. Of course, he had heard the stories about the rapes - who hadn't? But he didn't realize that his parents were a real part of it. In retrospect, he realized that he should have known better. If his uncles had raped, the chances were that his father had too. He looked at his mother who was holding tightly onto his father's hand so tightly that her knuckles were white, the hand of the man who had raped her and gotten her pregnant. He didn't understand any of it. He didn't understand how his mother could stand to be in the same room with his father nor did he understand how Nathan wasn't still angry or how he had gotten over it.
What made it worse was that he adored his father and was close to him in a way that Nathan had never been. Now he knew and understood why there was a distance between his father and brother. The distance was narrowing, but it was still there and in all likelihood always would be. He wiped the tears from his face still unable to speak. Why had he asked the question? Why couldn't they have lied to him? How could he not have known? Later, he would realize that it was because he did know, he just hadn't accepted it. But yet, he had asked the question anyway.
"Joseph?" Martin called. "I know that this is hard to understand, but ..."
"But what?" Joseph challenged finding his voice. "You're one of those rapists! Did you rape her and get her pregnant with me, too?"
A look of pain and sadness crossed Martin's face at the accusation.
"Well did you?" Joseph demanded.
"Don't call me that!" he yelled at Martin. "And answer the damned question! Did you rape her again?"
"Joey-Joseph," Rachel said softly. "You were conceived in love..."
"How could you?" Joseph interrupted staring at Rachel with blue eyes filled with pain, anger and confusion. "How could you let him touch you again? What's wrong with you? Are you crazy? You aren't supposed to marry the man that hurt you!"
At this, Martin got angry.
"Stop right there," he warned, his baritone sounding more like a bass. "You're angry, and understandably so, but you don't get to talk to your mother like that. She was and is my victim. Do you understand me? She is, and was, my victim, so if you want to make accusations, you direct them and your anger at me. But don't you dare make what happened her fault or question her part in it! And don't you dare diminish the fact that she found it in her heart to forgive me and that she loves you and Nathan. Your issue is with me and the males of this family and not her. Got it?"
Joseph's face burned. His father was right, but he didn't get it.
"Mom-I'm sorry- I just don't understand," he said softly as he took her free hand in his and gave it a gentle squeeze.
"I know, sweetie," Rachel said, squeezing his hand back. "I also know that you're wondering why we didn't lie to you. Nathan asked the same question. There was no way that we could have kept it from you. You have the right to know."
Joseph nodded still only partially understanding.
"The legacy of rape continued for as long as it did because no one spoke up," Martin said. "I knew that it was wrong as soon as I raped your mother, but I did nothing about it. Instead I ran away, changed my last name and avoided my family."
"So, you were a coward, in addition to being a rapist," Joseph spat out as he glared at his father.
"Yes," Martin said ignoring Joseph's tone. "I told myself that leaving and changing my last name was for the good of Nathan and your mother. But that wasn't entirely true. I was hiding because as you said, I was a coward. I told myself that the others would be fine and that they were stronger than I was. I kept telling myself that one of them would speak up. By keeping silent, I allowed the rapes to continue. Had I said something, your uncle Ethan might not have raped your aunt Katrina. Your uncle Patrick might have raped and your uncle Jesse and his mate could still be with us. I say might because there was no guarantee that they still wouldn't have raped, but I'll never know if I could have prevented it. All of those things fall on my shoulders. Even if I had said something, I would still have had to tell you what I was and am; but so many others would have been spared."
"What did Nathan say?" Joseph asked.
"He was as angry as you are," Martin replied. "It took weeks before he spoke to me and even longer before he trusted me to be alone with your mother. For weeks after we told him, he slept on the floor outside of our room."
"Joseph, listen to me," Rachel said. "You're angry and that's alright and understandable but I need you to know something - I love you, Nathan and your father. I'm here because of that love. I won't tell you that it wasn't hard or that I don't have moments when I get angry about what happened. But there's one thing that I don't regret and that's Nathan. The other thing is that I've forgiven your father and that I'm glad that we have you."
"Didn't want to get rid of him?" Joseph asked. "Didn't you hate him?"
"When I realized that I was pregnant, a lot of things went through my mind. Abortion wasn't one of them. I thought about adoption but as the pregnancy progressed it seemed less and less of an option. By the time Nathan was born, I couldn't give him away any more than I could have given you or the baby that I'm carrying away. Just as I never hated you; I never hated Nathan. He was an innocent and had nothing to do with any of this. He is as innocent as I was."
Joseph didn't respond. He knew that his mother loved all of them, but knowing that didn't make things any easier. At the end of the revelation, Joseph sat mute unsure of what to say or do. It was Martin who suggested that he talk to Nathan and whoever else he wanted to.
"Do the twins know yet?" Joseph asked, feeling sorry for his cousins.
"No, not yet," Martin replied. "Ethan and Katrina will wait until they ask as we did with you."
Joseph stood up, walked over to his mother and kissed her forehead. He didn't spare his father a glance as he went to his room and locked the door behind him. He sat at his desk and looked at the request for a name change form. He was still using the last name of Richardson and was going to surprise his parents by having it changed to Sinclaire. He picked up the form and tore it into tiny pieces and made a conscious decision. He wouldn't bring a woman or child into his fucked up family. He wouldn't acknowledge the last name of Sinclaire although he loved his family. What he didn't realize was that, he was running as his father had done, even though he was doing it for a different reason. He never made that call to Nathan nor did he talk to any of his uncles - he didn't want to hear it or understand it. The only thing he needed to know or understand was that his family was monsters. It didn't matter that the rapes were occurring long before his father and uncles were born or that they didn't know any different. What mattered was that all of them were cowards who had finally stepped up to the plate.
Joseph sat in the back of the row watching his family. His twin cousins Vanessa and Veronica were getting married. The back yard was decorated in the twin's favorite colors of purple and lavender. Victoria, their baby sister was the maid of honor, a fact that thrilled her to no end. He felt sorry for her. In a few more years she would make the same mistake he had and ask about how her parents met. As he looked around, he was amazed at how normal his family seemed. They loved, laughed and cried like other families did - but they were monsters. That opinion conflicted with how he felt about them - he loved them and would die for them, but he didn't like them and didn't want to be around them any more than necessary.
He looked in front of him where Nathan sat with his new mate, Louise. His first impression of her had been that she was shy - almost unsure of herself but when he heard what she had gone through and her part in rescuing Veronica; his first impressions of her changed. She was much stronger than given credit for. He like others had mistaken her quiet demeanor as weakness when she was far from it. She was also someone with whom he would have to watch himself around. As if she knew he was thinking about her, Louise turned and looked at him. Not knowing what else to do since he had been caught, he nodded and smiled at her. She shyly smiled back and turned toward Nathan when he said something to her. She was, he could tell still uncomfortable with the newness of her situation, but knew that Nathan would take his time with her.
Several times over the years, he had thought about talking to Nathan, but he never did. He always found something else to do, and then there was college, and finally law school. He now had his own firm which was doing very well and took up most of his time. He knew that it was just another excuse and didn't really care. He could make the time if he chose to. He simply chose not to. His gaze wandered to Patrick who was sitting with his new mate, Kevyn, who was a sister to Louise. He didn't understand her, any more than he had understood his mother being with his father. Why would a woman choose to be with a man that had raped in the past? "But there was no real choice," he muttered. He had heard about her too. How she was able to speak telepathically with Vampires other than her mate. It was more than that, she could read their thoughts. He found it odd that two powerful women from the same family had married into theirs.
He listened as the band set up and then tuned their instruments for the dancing that would happen during and after the reception. The scent of cooking food filled the air, and the voices of the wait staff mixed in with the music. To his left sat Mason Donahue, his wife Toni who looked like she was due any second and their son Jamie. Several times over the past years his mother Rachel had suggested that he talk to Mason, and if not him Eustace Matthews. He knew that she was becoming more worried about him because she was mentioning it more often. The last conversation about it had been two days before the twin's wedding. He had gone over for his weekly dinner and Martin wasn't home yet.
"Where's dad?" he asked as he sat his brief case down by the kitchen door.
"He's going to be about an hour late - is that ok?" Rachel asked.
"That's fine," Joseph replied brushing his blonde hair back from his eyes. He was a Sinclaire through and through from the blond hair, blue eyes and aquiline nose. He had the height and the broad shoulders that were characteristic of the Sinclaire men. Unlike the other males he wore his hair considerably shorter. It barely touched his collar. He thought that wearing a pony tail to court looked unprofessional, but he didn't want a short haircut either.
"Good," Rachel said as she poured him something to drink. "It gives us a chance to talk."
"You need to talk to someone," Rachel said gently. "You're moody and it's getting worse. I'm just afraid..."
"That I'm going to go out and rape someone?" he said more sharply than he had intended. "Isn't that what they say happened?"
"That isn't what I was going to say," Rachel said softly. "I'm afraid that this is slowly eating you alive. I'm not saying that you shouldn't be angry, but Joey you haven't talked to anyone about what happened since we told you about it. You don't date and you're not looking for your mate. What are you going to do if you find her?"
"I sure as hell won't hurt her!" Joseph exclaimed. "If I should find her, I'll go in the other direction as fast as I can and I won't look back. You know what? I'm not hungry. I'll see you at the wedding."
He left Rachel in the kitchen with tears in her eyes. He was in his car and was about to turn the ignition on when he got out and went back into the house. Rachel was sitting at the table crying. He felt like an ass. She hadn't deserved what he had just dished out to her.
"Mom- I'm sorry..."
"Don't apologize," Rachel said sadly, "do something about it and stop saying that you're fine when it's obvious that you aren't. Talk to Eustace Matthews or Mason Donahue! If not one of them; find someone please! Holding in all of this anger isn't good for you. It's going to destroy you."
He left her with a hug and a promise that he would talk to someone. He just didn't say when.
He looked at Mason and then looked away not wanting to be caught staring. Eustace and his mate, Gretchen, sat next to Mason and Toni. He decided if he had to choose between them, he would go with Eustace. For one thing, Mason would be tied up with the new baby, and he genuinely liked Eustace and his no bullshit manner. It occurred to him that he could talk to Nathan, but he was so wrapped up in his new life as a mate that he didn't want to bother him. It occurred to him that he hadn't made any efforts to talk to him before he found Louise. The new mate thing was just another handy excuse not to talk to his brother.
He heard Ethan's voice behind him and turned to see what was going on. Ethan was making last minute adjustments to the lighting and then checking on the band and the food. Katrina was with the girls doing the mother-daughter thing. He had always liked Katrina and was almost as angry at Ethan as he was at his father when he found out that she had been raped. He was amazed at the changes that Katrina and his mother brought to their world since the sins of the Sinclaire family became public knowledge and there were more changes to come. As in the human world, change in the vampire world was slow, if not slower.
To the corner, opposite of where he was sitting, sat Barbara Yancy Simpson. She was every bit as beautiful as her sisters, but in a more of a cold calculating way. It didn't take a rocket scientist to see what she was about. It was also clear that she was less than happy for her sisters. He didn't know what her problem was, and he didn't care, as long as she didn't try to get her hooks into him.
Fifteen minutes later, the wedding started. The twins were gorgeous in their white dresses and Victoria looked like a little angel in her lilac dress that was a miniature version of her sister's dresses. She had been quite the trooper during Veronica's kidnapping, but he wondered how she really was doing. But knowing Ethan and Katrina as he did, he was sure that she was seeing someone.
The wedding was simple, but beautiful and straight to the point. After the wedding, Joseph found an unoccupied table and was soon joined by Barb. His intuition about her had been right. He shared a table with her, danced with her once and decided that it was time to leave. He had put in his appearance and he had briefs to read for court on Monday. It wasn't a good excuse, but it would have to do. He made it as far as the gate when Nathan caught up with him.
"Yes," Joseph replied. "I have a lot of reading to do for court on Monday."
"It's been a while since we've spent any time together," Nathan said. "A lot has been happening."
"Not to mention that you found your mate; congratulations-she's beautiful."
"Thanks, why don't you come for dinner tomorrow night?" Nathan asked. "You can get to know her a little better, and she's a hell of a cook."
"I-sure, what time?"
"How about six and bring your appetite," Nathan replied.
A few minutes later, Joseph was almost to his car and was stopped by Mason.
"How are things?" he asked.
"Fine, it looks like you're going to have a baby soon," Joseph replied looking back toward the party.
"We wish," Mason said. "She isn't as far along as she looks."
"Did my mother tell you to talk to me?" Joseph asked deciding that he wasn't in the mood for small talk.
"Your parents are worried about you..."
"I said I'm fine!" Joseph snapped.
"Are you?" Mason asked ignoring Joseph's tone. "You come to family gatherings and are the first to leave. You barely interact with the males of your family..."
"What is this?" Joseph demanded. "An impromptu therapy session? I will say this once more - I'm fine and I don't need to talk to anyone! Got that?"
"I hear you alright," Mason said. "I only want to let you know that either Eustace or I are available if you should feel the need to talk. Enjoy the rest of your night."
Mason walked away without looking back. Joseph Richardson needed help and badly. He wasn't worried that he would rape anyone; Joseph was turning his anger inward and would harm himself before he harmed anyone else. He found Joseph interesting in that he was exhibiting all of the rage that Nathan should have but hadn't shown. Nathan claimed his last name and was active in the organizations that had been set up to help people with anger management and other issues. It was almost as if Joseph was a child of rape, instead of Nathan.
For Rachel to call on Joseph's behalf meant that she was very worried and from what he saw it was justified. He went back to where Toni and Jamie were sitting, kissed Toni and put an arm around Jamie; but his mind was on Joseph Richardson. He also couldn't help but wonder what would have happened if Maryanne Sinclaire had stepped forward on behalf of her sons as Rachel had done for Joseph.
Joseph drove home in a funk. Why couldn't people just leave him be? As long as he wasn't hurting anyone what was the problem? He thought about the last time he had spoken to his mother and felt guilty. She probably called Mason after that. What surprised him was that he hadn't gotten a call from his father. That meant that she hadn't told him or if she did she convinced him not to say anything. More than likely it was the latter. His father was as in tune with her feelings as he was his own and would have made her tell him. His blow up at Mason hadn't helped things and he prepared himself for a phone call in the near future.
"Shit," he cursed as he sped to his downtown LA condo. As he pulled into the two car garage, he decided that he wasn't going to go to Nathan's house. If Louise was as strong of an empath as he had heard, he didn't want her reading him. He would call when he got into the house and leave a message. Nathan would probably call him back but he wouldn't answer.
He walked into the condo, tossed the keys in a bowl on the kitchen counter and went to his room to change into his favorite comfy clothes when he was going to work at home - a tee shirt and a pair of boxers. After he changed, he called Nathan's house, left the message and settled in to work. Before long he was deep into reading the briefs and taking notes.
Lainie Nguyen hated weekends as much as she loved them. She baby sat every weekend to supplement her part time job at the college bookstore. It wasn't that she didn't like kids - she loved them - but she never had a weekend off. The good thing was that it was always the same three kids and that their mothers - all single had good paying jobs and were reliable with paying her. She knew for a fact that if she had a roommate that she wouldn't need to babysit, but she had been there and done that and wouldn't do it again.
Her first, and only, roommate had moved to L.A in search of a modeling career. She had a job and always made sure that the rent was paid, but the girl was a slob. She upset Lainie's neat and quiet little world to the point where Lainie could hardly stand to be home at the same time she was. She hated coming home just as much. Dirty dishes would be in the sink, uneaten food would be left out and strange people would be in the house watching her television or listening to her CDs.