Maurice Ch. 08bykalamazoo707©
I looked at Delgado but couldn't speak; I was the only human in a room full of vampires and whatever it was Annie was. Unconsciously I backed away until I was on the other side of the room, Eddie and Danny were still passed out on the floor and showed no signs of waking up any time soon. At first glance they didn't seem to be breathing so I took another glance. Shit! They weren't breathing!
"Are they really dead?" I whispered.
"Technically yes." Delgado replied, "You're wondering about the breathing." he commented.
"They're not breathing and you're not breathing either." I said.
"We don't need to but if it will make you more comfortable, I can give the appearance of breathing." he said.
"Annie? Are you human?"
"A part of me is." she replied.
"And your..... Husband, what is he?"
"I am part vampire and many other things." Gremlin replied.
I had stopped moving, where was I going to go? And besides, vampire or not Delgado and Annie's whatever he was did come after me when they really didn't have to.
"Regina, why don't you sit down and I'll wake your brothers?" Delgado said.
I looked over at Eddie and Danny. They looked like my brothers and protected me like my brothers would have but they weren't human!
I looked over at the one called Olivia and then back at Delgado, "she says that everything is ready for my arrival, what's she talking about?"
I saw Delgado give Olivia a dirty look which she didn't flinch from and then he looked back at me.
"That we will discuss later." he said, "But if you wish, I can wake your brothers and tell you and them what happened to your parents."
"They died in a car accident." I said.
"No love, they did not." Delgado said, "Please allow me to rouse your brothers and I will explain."
I swallowed hard and then nodded my consent. I was so intent on watching Eddie and Danny wake up that I didn't notice that Annie had moved next to me. I jumped when I felt her arm go around my shoulder and relaxed when I realized that it was her.
Delgado woke Eddie first and then a few minutes later he woke Danny. Part of me wanted to run over and hug them but part of me was afraid, what if they bit me?
"They won't hurt you." Delgado said softly.
"How do you know that?" I asked my eyes glued on the two men who were teenaged boys when I last saw them truly alive.
"I know this because the one who controlled them is dead." Delgado replied.
"Micah is dead?" I asked.
"Micah is dead as well as Tremaine."
I should have felt relieved but I wasn't. What about the rest of the Lannister family? Was I supposed to marry someone else?
"Regina, you are safe now."
I wished that I could believe Delgado but I wouldn't feel safe until I was out of this city.
When I woke up, Delgado was there talking to Regina, I could tell that she was scared but .... She was always scared of things that she didn't understand. I was remembering things, little things like the thing that I just mentioned. She wasn't entirely convinced that we were her brothers and it would take memories to convince her. I tried to remember something, anything that would help her know that we really were her brothers.
"The rabbit." I said softly, "we had a rabbit named cuddles."
She looked at me still not convinced.
"He could have told you that or planted the memory." she said meaning Micah.
By this time Danny is awake and looking at her.
"How you doing nutty nut?" he asked.
Nutty nut? I hadn't heard that name since.... Since we came here the last time. It was Eddie and Danny's nick name for me but I still wasn't ready to concede that they knew me. They had been with Micah for all of these years and who knew what they told him.
I don't know why I called her nutty nut but it felt right and sounded familiar. I could tell that she recognized the name by the way she reacted. She doesn't trust us yet and I understand why but I didn't know what to do to ease her mind.
"Reggie, sit down." Annie said as she led me to the bed. She went to move away and I grabbed her hand. I don't know what I thought she could do for me but I felt safer with her there. Gremlin moved toward her and I forced myself not to jump after all if Annie wasn't afraid of him then he had to be alright.
I remembered my manners and thanked all of them after I apologized again for my stupidity.
"I shouldn't have left, I'm sorry."
"Thank you Regina, your apology is accepted" Delgado said with a slight bow.
I found myself wondering just how old he was and how he had managed to kill Micah. Remember he isn't very big and not much taller than I am and even with help I don't see how he managed to get me out of there with all of the guards that were there.
They were waiting for me to say that I was ready and I wasn't but I didn't know if I would ever be ready to hear the whole thing.
"I'm ready." I said still holding onto Annie's hand as she sat on the bed next to me
The boys sat on the floor, Delgado sat in the chair at the desk, Gremlin stood next to Annie and Olivia stood in the corner.
"What do you know?" Delgado asked.
I related what little Micah told me.
"He was about to tell me about my parents but you got there before he had the chance."
"Did he tell you anything?" Delgado asked.
"He told me that his father made mom and dad an offer that they couldn't refuse."
"First of all, you have to know that your parents loved all of you very much." Delgado said, "Micah's father put them in an impossible position."
This was going to be bad, I could feel it.
"You are aware of why you were chosen to marry Micah." Delgado said, "You were targeted as soon as they found out about your birth. It was then that they hired your mother and when you reached a certain age she started taking you to work with her-it was the getting acquainted period. Your parents were given an ultimatum, either they gave you to the Lannisters on your fifteenth birthday or they would take you and kill your brothers as punishment for their disobedience. They had to choose and there was no room for compromise.
Your wedding was to have been on your birthday when you were last here, your brothers were to stay in this room, the safe room but you switched rooms with them even though your parents tried to make you trade back. When Tremaine came he didn't know that it was you that he was supposed to take and took your brothers instead, no one had informed him of the wedding that was to take place.
When you went into the room, you saw him feeding from your brothers; he compelled you to forget and took your brothers. Everything from the time you were born was manipulated by the Lannisters, they planted false memories in you, Annie and Micah took all memory of you from your brothers."
"What happened to my parents? How did they die?" I asked.
"They were killed for their failure to follow instructions, that's why they were moved so soon after you returned home."
"Wait! But they were at my high school graduation!"
"No love, they weren't."
"Regina, do you have pictures of them being there?"
"Nutty nut, they weren't there." Danny said, "They were already dead."
"How in the hell do you know?" I shot back.
"Because..... I saw them die, I was there but no one saw me."
"You were at the funeral! Why didn't you say something?" I asked.
"I didn't remember until now, when they fucked with out heads they took away most of our memories and I guess that one went with it."
"Who was in the caskets?" I asked.
This was too much!
"If mom and dad were dead, then who raised me? And who was it that Annie saw?"
"They tampered with me too." Annie replied.
"All of this because of my fucking birthday? My parents are dead, my brothers are vampires all because of my fucking birthday!?" I asked.
"It is how Micah's father found his mate and his father before him." Delgado said.
"So what about this birthday?" I asked.
"According to Micah the conditions whatever they were, are right for your marriage to occur, that's why he planted the urge to come here in Annie's head and while I know that Annie feels guilty that she brought you here, it wasn't her fault."
I finally understood something, even if Annie had agreed to leave, we wouldn't have made it out of the city. Suddenly I was tired, I wanted to cry for everyone who had been hurt by the Lannisters, I wanted to cry for my parents who had to make a horrible choice and then died because I refused to stay in the room assigned to me. This was my fucking fault!
"No Regina, it isn't." Delgado said.
"How in the fuck do you know what I'm thinking?" I screamed at him crying.
"I see it in your eyes." he said gently, "But it wasn't your fault, you were a child who thought she was here on a wonderful vacation of a lifetime with your family."
"I should have stayed in the room that they wanted me to."
"Nutty nut." Eddie said softly, "I would rather live like this than have you married to that monster. If we would have walked in and Tremaine was trying to take you, we would have died to save you, if mom and dad had been given the option to give their lives to save you, they would have. Do you see what I'm trying to say?"
I got it but it didn't make me feel any better. Then another thought struck me, most of my life had been a lie. Did I go to the prom? Did I really have a first kiss and if I did was it someone that was chosen for me? Or was it Micah Lannister? The first time that I made love, who was I really with? The things that I liked to do and to have done to me during sex, was that me or were those things planted in my head?
I didn't know what was really me and what was a produced me. I felt sick to my stomach, I flew off of the bed and ran into the bathroom and dry heaved. I heard Annie come into the bathroom, turn on the faucet and wet a wash cloth.
"Annie...." was all that I got out.
She hugged me and rocked me as I sobbed that I had no identity.
"Yes you do, you're still my best friend and cousin who I love as if you were a sister. You're a sister to those two guys out there, you're as stubborn as hell and you always have been and you're one hell of a social worker."
"But my memories.... I...."
"Reggie, the memories that you have about your parents, were they good ones?"
"Yes but they're lies!"
"Are they?" she asked, "I believe that your parents were at our graduations even if it wasn't physically. The things that we did together with your mom were things that we would have done if she had been alive."
She had a point.
"Annie, what if .... If it was really Micah that I was with and...."
"But what if it wasn't?" she asked.
I don't know how long we were in the bathroom before I stopped crying but everyone was still where we left them.
I looked at Eddie and Danny and realized that I had a decision to make, was I going to accept them as my brothers or was I going to lose them again?
I walked up to Eddie first and after a moment I hugged him. I was crying again and telling him how sorry I was that he had been made into what he was. I went to Danny next and hugged him, "I am so sorry!"
"Nutty nut, you should know something." Danny said, "The entire time we were with Micah Eddie kept trying to tell me that we should know you, he was ready to kill me if it came to that, I'm glad that you're alright."
I hugged each of them again and thanked them for helping to save me but I could handle no more. It was Delgado who saw my mental and physical exhaustion.
"I think she's had enough for tonight, Gremlin, Annie, my home is your home. The same goes for you Eddie and Danny, we can talk about your options later."
Then he looked at me, "Regina you are welcome at my home as well but I understand would if you prefer to stay here."
Olivia's words came back to me, "all is ready for your arrival." and I got spooked. "If I come, will I be able to leave?"
"Of course! You aren't my prisoner but my guest." he replied.
I looked over at Annie; I was only going to go if she was.
"We're going." she replied softly.
"We are too." Eddie said speaking for Danny.
"How are we going to.....?"
I stopped answering my own question.
"It's alright." Delgado said, "I can have a car here in a few minutes."
I looked outside, dawn wasn't that far off.
"Olivia, why don't you take our guests home and I will be there shortly with Regina." Delgado said.
A moment later, it was just me and him.
"I won't hurt you." he said, "come, the car will be here by the time we get downstairs."
I made him walk in front of me, while I was accepting my brothers, I didn't know about him; he wanted something from me.
A bright red jag was parked in the front of the hotel; the doorman nodded at us, opened the passenger side so that I could get in and then ran to the driver's side. I saw Delgado slip the man a bill and it must have been a hefty tip judging by the way the man grinned.
We didn't talk for the entire drive to his house; thankfully the drive wasn't too long, fifteen to twenty minutes if that. Delgado pulled into a garage that had several vehicles in it, there was everything from a bicycle to whatever the most expensive car was... a lamber something.
I followed him into the house and could smell food cooking, as tired as I was I was hungry too. I followed Delgado to the kitchen to find Eddie and Danny cooking. I recognized the smell... corn fritters, mom had always made the best corn fritters. I felt myself choke up because I didn't know whether that was a real memory or not but then if Eddie remembered then maybe it was.
Olivia stood close to Danny watching intently.
"Olivia is a very good cook." Delgado said as he patted his round stomach.
I looked around for Annie and saw her and Gremlin standing off by themselves talking. It struck me that Annie looked happy as she talked about whatever and Gremlin stood listening with a slight smile on his face, he really loved her. I saw it in the way that he touched her face with his huge hands and when he looked at her, those green eyes that had scared the hell out of me were filled with tenderness for her.
"Come and get it!" Eddie announced as he put the first of the corn fritters on a plate.
My poor Regina, this whole thing was almost too much for her. Thank god for Annie! I watched as she grappled to understand everything and then as she blamed everything on herself. I was worried about her acceptance of her brothers, if she couldn't accept them then she wouldn't accept me either. I admit that I was relieved when she hugged them. There is the issue of us but that can wait, I am also hoping that by watching Annie and Gremlin she will see that there is nothing to be afraid of. I'm not fooling myself, there are major trust issues and when she finds out that she is my mate I have no doubt that she's going to think that it's another situation like Micah Lannister.
When I heard her sobbing in the bathroom, I wanted to kill Micah all over again for the life that he and his family robbed her and her family of. I wanted to go to her and hold her as I knew Annie was doing but I couldn't, it hurt me to know that I couldn't comfort my mate. I had to be content with the fact that she was safe. I also had to deal with the fact that she was leaving New Orleans as soon as humanly possible. What did that mean for me? Absolutely nothing, I would go wherever she went, she just wouldn't know it for awhile.
Today everyone would rest and then tonight I'll finish the tale with the exception of revealing who I am to her. I planned to find out what plans Edward and Daniel had and if they had none, I had plenty of openings in my companies as I am sure that the Lannisters had cut them off as soon as they received word of Micah death. If they agreed to stay with me, we would exchange blood as Gremlin and I had and we would be tied together for eternity. Annie would be made the same offer and I was sure that she would accept. Gremlin would want her to and Regina? It would have to wait until she was ready to accept me. She was protected since she was already marked by me.
I was sure that she hadn't eaten at least since the previous day so I fixed her a plate of the corn fritters and took them to her.
"Here, sit down and eat." I said offering her a chair. "What would you like to drink?"
This all seemed so.... Normal except that it wasn't. I looked around the kitchen, everyone was eating. I didn't think that vampires could eat but there they were eating corn fritters and Olivia was asking for the recipe.
I was surprised when Delgado brought me a plate, he didn't seem the type to serve and then he offered me a drink. I barely remember tasting the corn fritters but I do remember nodding off in the chair. I heard Delgado say something to Olivia who helped me upstairs to a room and into a bed.
I woke up disoriented and then remembered everything; I turned on my side, curled up and cried. I felt violated in ways that I can't even explain but then something happened, I decided that it was time to get a fucking grip and that crying wasn't going to change anything. I know that it seems like a fast turnaround but I've always been that way. I give myself a pity party and I move on and besides I had a feeling that there were more explanations coming.
I crawled out of the bed and headed to the light shining through a door and hoped that it was a bathroom. I felt gritty, I had to go to the bathroom and I wanted a shower. I slowly opened the door and much to my relief it was a bathroom! I used the toilet, stripped and in a few short minutes, my hair was washed and I was using whatever good smelling soap was in the shower.
After the shower I put on the robe hanging on a hangar and went back to the bedroom. I wasn't sure of the time but figured that it had to be late afternoon. I wished that I had clean clothes because I really didn't feel comfortable wearing nothing but a house robe with ....people, I guess that's what they are-sort of but anyway as I was saying, I wanted more than a house robe.
There was a tap on my door and then I heard Annie's voice.
"Reggie? Can I come in?"
I can't even begin to imagine how Reggie must have felt when Delgado told her what really happened, to know that a day that is supposed to be fun was the cause of so much pain....I doubt that she'll ever celebrate her birthday again, I know that I wouldn't. I'm still sorry that I brought her here and that we didn't leave but Gremlin told me that we never would have been able to leave and if by some chance we had actually managed it, the Lannisters would have come after her.
I have to admit that Reggie handled things better than I thought she would and far better than I would have. For a minute or so I didn't think that she would accept Eddie and Danny but I think that Danny calling her their nick name for her helped, that and the fact that Micah Lannister was dead.
In a way I find that sad. What I mean is that he could have walked away but he didn't; surely there would have been someone else whose birthday matched his. But you know what? I wouldn't want anyone to go through what Reggie did so maybe it's for the best that he's dead.
After Reggie went to bed, the rest of us stayed up and talked. Delgado asked Eddie and Danny about their plans now that Micah was gone. Neither of them was hurting for money but it was Lannister money and they didn't want it even though they earned it. In the end both of them signed on with Maurice, each of them would work at a different company. They decided to talk about which company and pay later and it appeared that Delgado had other things that he wanted to talk about.
By early morning all of us with the exception of Reggie had exchanged blood, we would always be able to find each other no matter where we were. I asked about Regina and Delgado was confident that she was safe without exchanging blood with all of us. I had to wonder when he was going to tell Reggie about him and her, he was in for a fight when he did.