Thorne Ch. 07bykalamazoo707©
"You want to do what?" Thorne asked not sure if he had heard Ethan right.
"Think about it," Ethan said. "You said it yourself. Olivia Saunders may not like us, but she doesn't want to kill anyone either. What if we were to make that work to our advantage? We could with her help make an agreement with the hunters. We have a common enemy-the rogues. Between us and the hunters we could get the problem under control."
"Do you realize what you're saying?" Thorne asked. "Not only are you talking about trusting our enemies, you're talking about assassinating the head of the hunter organization in order to put Olivia into place."
"I understand that," Ethan replied. "But I've been thinking about trying to make peace with them for a while. I never acted on it because Rufus would never go for it. He's crazy enough to sacrifice his entire organization in order to try to kill us off."
"I see another issue," Thorne said after a few minutes. "Not everyone on either side is going to go for this. The hunters will split ranks as will we. Both sides have lost friends and loved ones over the centuries and memories on both sides are long. The other issue is Olivia. What if she doesn't want to do this? She may be afraid of her father and she may even hate him, but does she hate him enough to help us kill him?"
"You haven't said no," Ethan remarked.
"I never said that it wasn't a valid idea," Thorne replied. "I just don't know if it's possible. We've been after each other for centuries and to suggest that we work together?"
"That sounds kind of familiar doesn't it?" Ethan asked. "We're proof that it can be done."
"We're a completely different situation," Thorne replied. "Our families started out as friends and allies."
"True, but Thorne; we aren't without our allies in the hunter ranks. I expect that there will be some dissension. I also expect that those vampires and other species who don't agree will go off and form their own group just as the hunters will. But let me ask you this, isn't it worth a shot? We could potentially save hundreds if not thousands of lives."
"There's still the issue of Olivia," Thorne said. "If she refuses, then what? And by the way, what in the hell are we going to do with her?"
"I suggest that we see what we can find out about her," Ethan said. "Who do you have watching her?"
"One of my female guards," Thorne replied. "No harm will come to her as long as she doesn't do anything stupid. I would like to suggest that we don't say anything about this until we've discussed it some more and talked to Olivia."
"I agree... Thorne, I know that this isn't the time to bring this up; but I want you to know that my family didn't betray yours."
"You're right," Thorne said. "This isn't the time to talk about that. How many teams are we going to have?"
"William," Rufus said calmly as he looked to see how far he was away from his weapons. "Where is the rest of your family?"
"Scattered," William lied. "I see that you've forgotten your cardinal rule," he said with a small smile. "Anticipate, but don't worry. I haven't returned to do you harm."
"Why are you here?" Rufus asked.
"Let's just say that I believe in fulfilling my obligations," William replied.
"Let me make sure that I understand this," Caleb said, "You really expect us to believe that you came here out of a sense of obligation?"
William looked at Caleb with disdain for several seconds before replying.
"I don't really care what you believe and I don't answer to you."
"No, but you will," Caleb replied.
William gave Caleb an icy smile and showed a hint of his fangs. He had already decided that Caleb was going home in a body bag. He turned his attention back to Rufus who had inched toward his weapons. William sighed, but didn't move. If he had wanted to stop Rufus, there was nothing that he or Caleb could have done to stop him. He knew how the game was played. He dropped his attitude a notch when Rufus reached his weapons. He wanted Rufus to think that he was afraid of him. It would lull the hunter into a false sense of security.
Rufus reached his bag and pulled out the gun that was loaded with wooden bullets soaked in holy water. William almost laughed, but instead held his hands up in surrender. After all of this time, Rufus didn't know that the holy water had no effect on vampires unless they were rogue. The wooden bullets would hurt, but wouldn't kill unless it was shot directly into the heart.
William sensed Caleb behind him, but didn't move. He would be gone before either man could move.
"We're wasting time," he said. "The longer we stand here, the longer they have to either turn or kill her if they haven't already." Personally, he had no problem with them turning Olivia; killing her was an entirely different matter. The next question was, had they already killed her?
"She isn't dead," Rufus said aiming the gun at him. "More than likely they've turned her and already fucked her hoping to knock her up."
William was always amazed at the ignorance Rufus showed about his kind. He never corrected Rufus's misinformation because it would have been pointless- Rufus hated to be proven wrong and- it suited his needs. As he listened too Rufus talk, William decided that he would share a body bag with Caleb. He fully understood why Rufus wanted to find Olivia. If she hadn't been turned, he was going to make her marry Caleb. If she had been turned, he would have her killed. William doubted that the man could do it himself. He had noticed the almost imperceptible trembling in Rufus's hands as he pointed the gun at him.
Caleb on the other hand was much smarter than Rufus. That alone made him more dangerous. He would take the time to learn about the vampire race and separate fact from fiction. William was sure that he had already begun to do that, but didn't say anything to Rufus. To do so would jeopardize his stepping into the role of the leader of the hunters. William already knew how cruel Caleb could be and that he followed Rufus's politics regarding vampires and other species to the letter. William pushed the thoughts of the men's demise aside and concentrated on the task at hand.
"I'll ask you once again," Rufus said. "Where is your family?"
"As I told you," William said patiently, "We scattered. I don't know where they went and to be honest, I don't care. I have no use for those who don't keep their end of an agreement."
"What were you doing at Blackwell's club?" Caleb asked from behind him.
"We didn't know that whose club it was," William replied. "My father did the research to see if it would be an acceptable place to go. He neglected to check to see who owned it. Olivia didn't realize it until she actually saw the owner. To be fair, even if my father had checked to see who owned the club, the name would have meant nothing to him."
"You're lying," Caleb hissed.
"I repeat," William said, "I don't give a fuck about what you believe or don't believe. The fact of the matter is that I'm here. Just as I don't care what you think, neither do I care where my family is."
"Shut up Caleb," Rufus said lowering the gun. "The one thing William isn't is a liar. If I had to trust any of them, he would be the one. And he's right, he came back."
"I don't trust him," Caleb said. "There's more to it than he's saying."
"Please tell me what that would be," William said as he slowly turned around to face Caleb. "Is it because I am vampire that you think that I have no sense of honor or integrity or is it because this is the way that you are?"
He fixed Caleb with a hard glare letting him know that he wasn't intimidated by him and waited for an answer. When none came, he turned back to Rufus.
"What happened at the club?" Rufus asked.
William told Rufus how they had gone to the club for an evening out, but left out the fact that Olivia had gone out alone earlier in the day.
"So let me get this straight," Rufus said. "You all went out to this club that happened to be owned by Thorne Blackwell. While you were there a human woman was murdered."
"You couldn't leave the club because the human police had been called."
"Do you know what happened to the woman?" Caleb asked.
"They say that she was killed by a vampire," William replied with a shrug, "but I don't know that to be true."
"And you left Olivia there?" Caleb asked coldly.
"I had no choice!" William snapped. "What purpose would it have served for me to be captured as well? They would have tortured me for any information that I had and I'll tell you something, I would have given you up in a fucking heartbeat if it would have saved my life- my obligations don't include dying for you. But as you can see, I escaped and came back. Are we going to continue wasting time or are we going to look for Olivia?"
"Do you have any idea of where Blackwell took her?" Rufus asked.
"No," William replied. "I spent part of the night looking for her before I realized that I couldn't find her alone."
"What is she to you?" Caleb asked. "You could be long gone by now."
"As I said, I made a bargain with Mr. Saunders. If it weren't for that, Olivia could burn in hell for all I care. Now, if he wants to release me from that bargain..."
"I would kill your blood drinking ass first!" Rufus said interrupting him.
"Of course you would," William said smoothly. "Shall we begin our search?"
Barb lay on the bed and stared up at the ceiling. She ran the entire conversation with her sisters through her head and still couldn't believe that Kevyn and Juliette had walked out on her. She had a harder time believing that her nieces didn't like her. The saying 'skating on thin ice' came to mind. That had been one of her mother's favorite sayings when they were getting out of hand.
The question that she asked herself was, was she as bad as people made her out to be? The second question was why did Wanda's answer to her question disturb her so much? She wondered if Victor felt the same way. She wasn't sure that she wanted to know the answer. Then there was Celeste touching her. Was it possible that she really knew what the baby was thinking?
She turned onto her side and closed her eyes. She could almost feel Celeste's light touch on her stomach. For the first time she began to wonder if some of what Kevyn and the others said was right. She thought back to the night that Thorne and Allen had used her. When she called for help, they came and the first question they asked was if she was alright.
"It doesn't feel good does it?" Adrianna asked from the doorway. "My family didn't speak to me for months after my rescue. Your family is bending over backwards for you and you act like an idiot. All you have to do is give a little. Is that so hard?"
"They aren't going anywhere," Barb said.
"I'm not so sure about that" Adrianna said. "I see it in their eyes. They're tired of you and your attitude. Hell, I even see it in the kids. No one likes you and you don't do anything to change it. If you aren't careful, you're going to end up alone."
Adrianna walked away leaving Barb alone. A few minutes later, Leon was standing in the doorway.
"Not now, I've already heard that I'm a bitch," Barb said without looking at him.
"Actually, I came to check on you. Louise told me about your- meeting. Can I come in?"
"Sure," Barb said after a brief hesitation. "You might as well have your turn."
Leon walked in and sat on the bed. Neither of them spoke for a long time.
"Leon, I didn't and don't want this." Barb said after a few minutes. "I never wanted the babies and the house with the white picket fence. I didn't and don't want the responsibility. All I ever wanted was to be able not to worry about anything. I hate this place and I wish to god that I had never come here."
"Well, you are here and this is the situation. What you do with it is up to you."
"Can Celeste really do what Louise says she can?"
"Yes and so can Louise and me. I'm not nearly as strong as they are, but it's true. Nathan is like us too. He's stronger than I am because of Louise."
"Juliette said that she would take the baby," Barb said looking away.
"I heard, but Barb; I have a question for you and it's going to piss you off. Do you really believe that you were abused? I mean did something happen that we don't know about?"
"What? Are you asking if... NO!"
"Alright," Leon said holding up his hands in surrender. "I'm just trying to understand why you think that you were abused-"
"We all were," Barb broke in. "You just don't see or remember it right."
"Let me tell you what I remember," Leon said softly. "I remember nights were mom didn't eat so that we would have more on our plates. I remember mom and dad not buying anything for themselves so that we would have what we needed. Were they top of the line things? No, but we were covered. I also remember dad working two or three jobs at a time to keep a roof over our heads and he still made time to sit with us. I also remember a peach prom dress. Did you know that dad made arrangements on the electric bill to get that dress for you? Oh wait- that's abuse isn't it? I also remember them as the people who took me back into their home after I fucked up. What I'm saying is that none of us with the exception of you thinks that we were abused. I don't get it so explain it to me. Explain how sacrificing for us and loving us equals abuse. Tell me what they could have done differently."
"Mom could have gotten a job doing something!"
"Barb, do you not remember that there were babies at home? Who would have taken care of them? What could she have done? She had a tenth grade education-"
"And whose fault was that?" Barb broke in? "She didn't have to have the last of us! She could have gotten a job instead!"
Leon stared at her flabbergasted.
"Do you hate Louise that much? Do you hate your family that much?" he asked in a hushed voice. "Louise seems to believe that somewhere under that bitchy exterior a good person exists. I used to think that too, but now I'm not so sure. You talk about being abused; but you know what? We're the ones being abused. Mom and dad were the ones being abused by your mouth and attitude. I had really hoped that you would at least begin to see the light, but I can see that it hasn't happened yet. What I want to know is where this hatred and selfishness came from and what it will take to change things. I know that Juliette offered to take the baby. Dina and I will take him too. Any of us will take him until you get your shit together and realize that the world doesn't revolve around you and your need for money. By the way, now that you've got it; is it what you thought it would be?"
"So I guess you're going to walk out on me too?" Barb asked ignoring all of the points that Leon made.
"You know, I'm thinking about it; but I think I'll stay and I'll tell you why. No matter what you are or how you act, you're still my sister. You're thinking is fucked up and you're wrong about mom and dad. I also think that you can be a better person if you would let yourself. I want that baby to feel something other than your anger."
"Kevyn and Juliette walked out," Barb said.
"That was out of exasperation," Leon said. "They didn't know what else to, do but they're around. That baby is going to feel loved even if it isn't from you."
"Why are you just talking to me?" Barb asked. "Thorne is being a bastard as much as I'm being the so called bitch."
"True, but I have the feeling that he at least cares about the baby," Leon replied. "And just like I will hurt anyone who hurts any of you, I'll hurt anyone that hurts that baby --and that includes you. Do you get my meaning?"
Barb blinked not believing that her own brother would threaten her.
"I'm going to talk to Thorne next," Leon said when she didn't respond. "I don't give a rat's ass about not getting involved in another couple's mating issues. If it were just the two of you, I'd stay out of it; but my nephew is involved. I suggest that the both of you grow the hell up and come to some kind of understanding if only for the sake of that kid."
"He said that it was my fault that we were together-"
"No he didn't," Leon said cutting her off. "That's what you want to think he said. He's owned up to his part in this- you haven't. I need to go take care of something but I think that you need to rethink some things."
Leon stood up and left before Barb could say anything. After he left, Barb lay back on the bed and looked down at her stomach. She was shocked to see a gentle swell that hadn't been there the week before. Soon she wouldn't be able to deny the existence of her pregnancy. She closed her eyes and felt hot tears trickle down the side of her face.
Adrianna stood in the sitting room outside of the door listening. She wondered what it was that Barb was really afraid of. It was obvious that she really didn't want the life that she now found herself in, but there had to be more to it than that.
She vanished outside of the bedroom when she sensed Thorne approaching and stopped him before he went into the bedroom.
"I know that you want everyone at the meeting, but she's had a rough few hours. I'll go in her place and fill her in later."
"Is she alright?" Thorne asked.
"I think so and I believe that the baby is alright too," Adrianna replied.
"Fine," Thorne said after a few seconds and walked away. They really needed to talk and soon.
There was some time left before the meeting so he went back to his office to make a few phone calls. The club was still closed and would stay that way until the hunters had been dealt with. He sat in his chair and for the first time wondered if there was something about the split between the Blackwell's and the Sinclaires that he didn't know about. What he believed and what he was seeing wasn't adding up.
The Sinclaires didn't have to warn him, but yet they did. He had the feeling that even if Barb hadn't been in the picture, they still would have reached out to him. When Ethan told him that his family hadn't betrayed his; he wasn't lying. He was telling the truth as he knew it. When Ethan said that he wanted their families to be friends again, that had been an honest sentiment. Then there was Noel who hadn't suffered any headaches in the presence of the Sinclaires. That had to mean something; but what?
Just as he was about to pick up the phone, there was a tap on his door.
"Enter," he called out.
Leon walked in and sat down.
"We're still forming the teams if that's what you're here about" Thorne said.
"That's not what I'm here about," Leon said. "I'm here about what's going on between you and my sister. Before you say it, I'm aware about the taboo about not interfering with mates and if it was just you and her, I wouldn't be sitting here. There's a baby involved and you two need to grow up and get your damned act together."
Thorne assessed Leon with cool green eyes and had to admit that he liked him and the way that he stood up for his family.
"Yes it is," Leon interrupted. "We still have to think about our mates and children no matter what else is going on. It doesn't matter how you two came to be together, but what matters is that you did. I know that my sister is difficult, but that doesn't change the fact that you're mates whether you want to be or not. In case you're interested, I just had the same talk with her. I'll also make the same offer to you as I did her. If you and she can't get your shit together, Nadine and I will take the baby. I refuse to sit by and have that child grow up in a home where he won't be loved. One final warning, like I told you when I found out that Barb was your mate; I will hurt you if anything happens to that baby. The same applies to her."
"Are you quite finished?" Thorne asked his tone even.