Thorne Ch. 03bykalamazoo707©
Thorne found Noel where he always found him, in his studio painting. The portrait of the eyes was uncovered. Thorne found that odd, but didn't question it. Felix was sitting on the other side of the room sketching which explained why the portrait of the eyes was uncovered. With him gone and Felix on the other side of the room, Noel could leave the portrait exposed in peace. Thorne glanced at the eyes before saying anything.
"We need to talk." He said as he sat down.
Noel looked at him and then at the painting before covering it in an almost protective manner. When it was covered, he gave his full attention back to Thorne.
"What's going on?" Noel asked. "You're home early."
"I met with the woman-Barb." Thorne replied. "She's on her way here."
"Alright." Noel said. "What else?"
"Felix, come over here." Thorne called out.
When Felix was sitting, Thorne started over.
"I was just telling Noel that the woman will be living here." Thorne said his tone telling Felix that he wasn't going to be argued with. "I am well aware of your concerns regarding your privacy and I plan to emphasize that there are areas that she does not have access to. If you want to be certain that she can't enter your private area, there is the option of using human locks and keys."
"When is she coming?" Felix asked.
"She's on her way." Thorne replied. "There is a reason for why I'm moving her in here as opposed to a home of her own."
He told them about the phone call from Ethan Sinclaire.
"Wait a minute." Felix said. "Aren't you enemies?"
"Yes." Thorne replied.
"Then I don't understand." Felix said. "Why would they call you? How do you know that this isn't a setup of some kind?"
"We are now tied to them because of the woman and the child that she carries." Noel said. "They can no more harm us than we can them."
"Exactly." Thorne said. "I'm sure that they're as thrilled about this as I am, but that doesn't change the fact that I want both of you to exercise extreme caution until we know who or what is here."
"I'm sorry," Felix said, "But how do they know and why do you believe them?"
"Let me make something clear to you." Thorne said to Felix his tone cold. "I'm only allowing you to ask me questions because it involves your safety. Don't get the idea that because you live here that you have the liberty of questioning me. Do you get my meaning?"
Felix swallowed. This was the Thorne Blackwell that he had heard about but had never seen. He now knew where his boundaries were and planned to make sure that he stayed well within them.
"I apologize... I understand."
"Good." Thorne said. "The reason that I believe them is because the Sinclaires and my family weren't always at odds with each other. More than once they saved our lives because of intuition. The Sinclaire who called me is a seer as is his mate. If they are concerned enough to call me, then there's something to worry about. I am well aware of the fact that I received a call only because of the woman. That is why she will stay here."
"Are you going to go to the meeting?" Noel asked.
"Yes and I would like for you to attend with me." Thorne said.
"I... of course." Noel replied nervously.
"Thank you." Thorne said looking at the clock. The woman should be here soon and I would like for you both to meet her. Maybe if she sees whose privacy she would be invading she'll comply with our wishes.
Barb didn't remember the drive taking so long, but then again; she had been occupied with other things. She looked at Billings and wondered how much he knew about Thorne and what she could find out that could be used in the future.
"What's your name?" she asked in what she thought was a friendly tone.
"My name is Billings ma'am." He replied looking at her in the rearview mirror.
"How much longer until we get there?" she asked.
"It isn't too much further." Billings replied. "I would say another thirty minutes or so."
"Aren't we going to the house on the beach?" Barb asked.
"Yes ma'am, but Mr. Blackwell told me to take my time. He wanted to make sure that everything was ready for your arrival."
"How long have you worked for Mr. Blackwell?" Barb asked.
Billings' eyes flickered with wariness and then filled with an intelligence that few suspected he had.
"I've been with Mr. Blackwell for a few years." He replied evasively.
"How long is a few years?" Barb pressed.
"Twenty years." Billings replied following Thorne's instructions to tell her the truth about whatever she asked including about being a vampire.
"Twenty years?" Barb asked. "You don't look like you're any older than I am!"
She then remembered the Sinclaires. None of them had looked any older than their mid-thirties. Even Nathan's parents didn't look more than their mid to late forties and his mother was expecting another baby. She did the math and it definitely wasn't adding up. If Nathan was in thirties and that was a guess, his mother should be almost fifty or older depending on the age that she had him. Then there was Maryann Sinclaire, Ethan, Patrick and Martin's mother... she shook her head as she tried to calculate how old she was. Then there was Katrina, Ethan's wife. She looked as young as her twin daughters who were in their twenties.
"Billings, how old are you?" Barb asked.
"I'm seventy-five years old ma'am." Billings replied with a smile. "I'll be seventy –six next week."
Barb stared at him trying to decide if he was kidding. He had to be she thought to herself.
"How do you manage to stay so young looking?" she asked deciding to play along.
"I make sure that I drink my quota of blood and I stay away from the druggies and the diseased... their blood doesn't taste good and it isn't good for you.
A memory of what appeared to be someone drinking blood at Thorne's club came to Barb's mind and she shook it off. That hadn't been real, it couldn't have been.
"Do you really think that you're a vampire?" Barb asked beginning to fear for her safety.
"No ma'am" Billings replied.
Barb let out a small sigh of relief that the man had been kidding.
"I know I am." He added after a few seconds.
"Did Mr. Blackwell tell you to say that?" Barb asked her tone terse.
"No ma'am, he told me to answer all of your questions truthfully." Billings replied back to playing the idiot when in fact he would remember every word that passed between them.
"It won't work." Barb snapped.
"What won't work ma'am?" Billings innocently asked.
He didn't like Barb. He didn't like the way that she pretended to be nice when she was anything but. That was the one thing he liked about Thorne. He didn't pretend to be nice to get what he wanted. He simply demanded it. If he thought that someone was an idiot, he said so and didn't apologize for it. He heard Barb talking to herself in the back seat, but didn't reply. He only listened and remembered so that he could give Thorne a thorough report later.
"We're ten minutes away." Billings said interrupting Barb's tirade about not falling for Thorne's attempts to get her to renege on their deal.
Barb stopped talking long enough to look out into the darkness. The silence was like music to Billings' ears. He hoped that his mate wouldn't be like Thorne's and then hoped that Barb continued to keep her mouth shut.
Barb smiled when she saw the house in the distance. There was a small part of her that wished that she were going to another house, but for the most part she was elated. There was time to work on Thorne about buying another house.
"She's here." Thorne said as he stood up to go to the foyer.
Noel and Felix followed him. Both of them were wishing that she was going anywhere else but coming to live with them.
"I'll introduce you and you can go back to your wing of the house." Thorne said to Noel and Felix.
The three men waited in the foyer for Billings to bring Barb into the house. If Thorne had wanted her there, he would have gone out to meet her and brought her into the house himself. In fact, he would have gone to get her, but he refused to play games. There was no point in feeding into her delusions that they were going to be a happy couple.
The front door opened and Barb walked in looking around as she walked into the foyer. She felt a little like a kid in a playground. She wanted to explore the house and see what she could find.
Thorne watched her as she looked around and touched things. When she finally reached him, she looked up at him and smiled.
"Don't I get a welcome home?" She asked. "And who are they? The help?"
Felix growled low in his throat. He had already decided that he didn't like her.
"They are not the help." Thorne said his tone icy. "This is my brother Noel and his companion Felix. Let me clarify the meaning of the term companion." He said when he saw her raise her eyebrows. "Felix lives here and keeps Noel company when I'm at the club."
"They're going to live here with us?" Barb asked the displeasure evident in her voice.
"They already live here." Thorne replied. "They live at the other end of the house and you are not to go into their part of the house without an invitation. Noel's studio is also at that end of the house and you are not to enter there either. Do you understand?"
Barb hadn't expected this. It made it even more imperative that they buy another house.
"Noel, Felix, this is Barbara Yancy Simpson; the mother of my child. She will live at my end of the house and will not disturb you. Isn't that right?" Thorne asked Barb.
"Isn't this my home?" Barb asked not understanding the restriction.
"For the time being yes." Thorne replied. "But that doesn't change the fact that Noel and Felix live here and that the east end of the house is their private space. You will have no reason to be in that part of the house. Just to be sure that you don't get lost, I'll take you on a tour."
Noel looked at Barb with interest and dislike. He saw what Thorne saw. A woman who cared only for what others would and could do for her. Still, he decided to make an effort.
"It's nice to meet you." Noel said with a polite smile.
Barb looked at him, but didn't speak at first. She thought better of it thinking that maybe Noel could be an ally. She looked at Felix and then looked away. He was the hired help; she had nothing to say to him.
"It's nice to meet you too." She said with a smile. "I'm sorry about my earlier reaction; Thorne didn't tell me that someone would be living with us. Now that I'm looking at you, I can tell that you and Thorne are brothers."
Noel bristled. He knew when he was being spoken down to and he didn't like it. Furthermore, he didn't trust Barb. The change in her attitude had been much too fast and her apology hadn't been sincere. He was beginning to understand why Thorne didn't like her, but he would make the effort to at least make her feel welcome.
Thorne saw Barb's sudden shift in attitude and knew what she was thinking. He had to give her credit for perseverance. He also realized that part of the issue was that she didn't believe what he told her about what he was. What he didn't understand is why she didn't believe him. Every male that he had ever spoken with over the centuries told him that the female always believed them. In fact, there was usually another issue that they had a problem with. But here was Barb still not believing him.
He looked over at Felix and saw the undisguised dislike and distrust in his face. Apparently Barb didn't know how transparent she was. He added talking about using his brother to get her way to the list of things that he needed to discuss with her.
"Let's go." Thorne said interrupting the conversation between Noel and Barb. He wasn't worried about Noel falling for any of her games, but he didn't need to be bothered by her either. Thorne led the way into the living room not checking to see if Barb was behind them. He knew that she was. He took her through the house with Noel and Felix following them.
"Where are the servants?" Barb asked when they got to the kitchen. She had been expecting them to come out of the woodwork anxious to greet her.
"I have a very small number of servants." Thorne replied. "They only come when I have need of them."
"But who makes the meals and does the cleanup?" Barb asked not liking what she was hearing.
"We take care of ourselves." Felix said.
Barb glanced at him and disregarded him. She looked at Thorne for confirmation.
"It's as he says." Thorne said with a cool smile.
"I'll notify Nigel that you're here." Thorne continued. "Go through the kitchen and make a list of what you would like and he'll get it for you. Sarah and her mate Henry come twice a week to change the linens, clean and to do laundry."
"I... I have to cook my own food?" Barb asked shocked.
Thorne looked at her with eyes that told her exactly what he thought about her.
"Excuse me." He said coolly. "But who prepared your meals for you in the past? You ate meals yesterday, who prepared them?"
"I did but..."
"But what?" Thorne interrupted, "Oh... I see." He mused. "You were expecting to be greeted at the door by a line of servants each with their own function. I assume that you were also anticipating one of them being assigned to you to do your bidding."
Barb's silence confirmed what Thorne already knew.
"I think that you've been watching too much television." He said with a dry laugh. "This is how things are here. I don't see or have the need to have people here to do what I can do for myself. But there is one thing that I will do. I will assign you a driver."
"Thank you." Barb said sarcastically. "How nice of you."
Thorne ignored her tone and continued.
"Billings will be your driver and guard during the evening and nights... but we'll talk about that later. Let's finish the tour."
Barb followed him feeling much like she did when she first arrived in California. The difference was that the accommodations were much more to her liking. She wondered what it would take to get him to agree to at least one live in servant; preferably a female of her choosing.
Thorne stopped at the bottom of a set of stairs and waited for her undivided attention.
"Look around you." he said. "These stairs are the beginning of Noel and Felix's part of the house. You are not to go up these stairs unless you have been invited. Do you understand?"
Barb looked up the stairs and then at Thorne.
"Tell me again why they're living here." She said.
"I don't have to explain anything to you." Thorne said his eyes glittering with impatience. "All that you need to know is that this section of the house is off limits to you."
Felix and Noel looked at each other and nodded. They knew that it was only a matter of time before Barb tried to go up the stairs. She wouldn't be able to help herself.
"Thorne, maybe if we showed Barb our quarters her curiosity would be eased." Felix suggested.
Thorne considered what Felix was suggesting and decided that it had merit.
"Noel, is that alright with you?" He asked.
"I think that it's a good idea." Noel replied liking Barb even less the longer that he was in her presence. "I should also mention that we only enter the other part of the house when we use the kitchen so privacy isn't an issue."
"Thanks." Barb said not sure of how she felt about Noel. He made her nervous although she didn't know why.
Noel led the way to their rooms and let Barb walk around until she stopped in front of the door to his studio. Just as she reached for the handle, he locked it with a thought.
"What's in here?" She asked jiggling the door knob.
"My studio." Noel replied.
"What do you do?" Barb asked.
"I paint." Noel replied his tone cool. He wanted her out of his space.
"Now I understand." She said. "You're staying here until you make your first big sale..."
"Noel is already an accomplished artist." Thorne said. "He is here because I wish him to be. Now that you've seen this part of the house there is no need for you to come here again."
Thorne walked away expecting Barb to follow. When they got down the stairs, he led her to the other end of the house.
"This is where we live. You have access to every room except for my office. Sarah will be here tomorrow evening and will make closet space for you. There is space available if you want to store your things here."
Barb listened to Thorne talk and realized that he was talking to her as if she was no more than someone that he had to put up with. She then realized that she felt the same way about him. The difference was that appearances mattered to her. For just a brief second, she wondered if it was worth it; but then she looked around her. She had come too far to walk away now.
He took her on a short tour of their wing that ended in the study.
"Do you want anything to drink?" He asked as he walked over to the small refrigerator in the corner of the large room.
"Do you have any water?" Barb asked.
Thorne poured her a large glass of water and then emptied a bag of blood into a glass for himself and then heated it in the microwave. It was time for his unwanted mate to face reality. He walked over to Barb and handed her the glass of water noting that her eyes were glued to the glass of blood.
"What is that?" She asked hoping that it was tomato juice or a bloody Mary, but the color and consistency was all wrong.
"You already know what it is." Thorne said baring his fangs as he took a sip of the warmed blood. "Accept what you know to be true and it will be easier..."
"I know what you're doing." Barb snapped. "And like I told Billings or whatever his name is, it isn't going to work."
"What is it that you think I'm doing?" Thorne asked.
"You told that man to tell me that he was a vampire and now you're drinking fake blood. You're trying to make think you're crazy so that I'll walk out of here. Well, it's not going to happen..."
She stopped talking when Thorne burst out into loud laughter.
"You really are a piece of work aren't you? Do you really think that I would waste my time playing asinine games with you? Think about it, have I ever played games with or lied to you? I told you what my opinion of you is and it hasn't changed. But I see that you require further convincing."
While still holding on to the glass of blood, Thorne vanished leaving only the glass of blood visible. Then it vanished as well. He appeared on the other side of the room, vanished and reappeared in the chair that he had been sitting in.
"You mentioned dreaming about your sister drinking blood and about the baby being a vampire... why do you suppose that is?" Thorne asked as he settled back in his chair."
"How... how did you..."
"I am a vampire." Thorne said evenly with a hint of impatience. "The Sinclaires are vampires as is Noel and Felix. You and I are mates no matter how much I wish that it weren't so. It's the consequence of my action and the consequences of you denying your original mate. In other words, we both fucked up. We are tied together not only to each other, but to the Sinclaires' for eternity. So here's a word of advice, there's nothing that's going to change this so just accept it so that we can move on."
"Eternity... I'm not a vampire!" Barb exclaimed.
"No, but you fucked one and now you carry my child." Thorne said. "That makes you immortal."
Barb's head began to spin as she wondered what she had gotten herself into. Suddenly things made sense. It explained why none of Nathan's parents and grandparents looked as young as they did. It explained why she was more awake at night than during the day. And Billings... he hadn't been lying.
Thorne sipped on the glass of blood as he watched Barb grapple with the truth. He didn't feel particularly sorry for her. She had to accept the consequences of her actions as he had to accept the consequences of his. He finished the now cooled blood and waited for her to say something.