Thorne Ch. 08bykalamazoo707©
Olivia looked at Louise and took another step backwards. All she heard was the name 'Sinclaire'. What she didn't know was why she didn't know that they were in the area and why her father hadn't told her. Then she realized that he couldn't have known and that didn't make sense to her. He paid people to track all of the big names in the vampire world and the Sinclaires were amongst the biggest; if not the biggest other than the vampire queen and her family. She belatedly realized that she should have put it together herself when she saw Thorne Blackwell.The Blackwell/Sinclaire split was well known in the hunter world for only one reason: If one of them was around, the other wasn't far away. Regardless of their past history, the two families would always back each other up. It was something that happened in the past more than once.
"Shit," she muttered as she assessed Louise.
"I promise that I'm not here to hurt you," Louise repeated.
"What do you want?"
Louise let her shields down and allowed Olivia's hidden fear and distrust was over her. She lowered them even further to take in more of her emotions and then raised them again.
"Is it alright if I call you Olivia?"
"I asked what you wanted," Olivia replied.
"Just to talk," Louise said. "Do you mind if I sit? And by the way, you can call me Louise or Lou if you prefer that."
Nathan stood tensely in a corner watching and ready to move. It was the only way he was going to allow Louise in the room with the hunter. She hadn't liked it, but he stood firm. He finally had to admit that as much as he didn't like it, it was the way to go and Louise was more than capable of protecting herself. It was just that it went against everything he believed and had been taught about keeping one's mate safe.
He relaxed slightly as the tension in the room eased. A feeling of intense pride made his heart swell as he watched Louise begin to put the hunter at ease. He didn't know if the plan that Thorne and Ethan had cooked up would work or not, but it was worth a shot if it would save lives on both sides. He settled in to listen to the conversation between the two women as Louise had requested.
"Since you're going to be there, listen to what she says; I may miss something."
"I can do that... Lou, me not wanting you to do this has nothing to do with not trusting you. It's all about me keeping you and our baby safe. I want you to know that. You doing this is against everything that I've been taught and believe."
"Nathan I know that and believe me, if I thought for one second that I would really be in danger; I wouldn't do it. But I'm not and I maintain that she needs someone to reach out to her."
"So-may I sit down?" Louise asked again as she glanced in the direction of the corner where Nathan stood and then looked at a chair.
Harry looked out into the darkness trying to see beyond the tree line. There were people in the woods camping. He could smell them and the fire over which something was cooking. He licked his lips and started for the door and then stopped. He reminded himself that it was because of his impulsiveness that they were stuck up in the mountains hiding like frightened animals. The distant sound of someone laughing reached his ears- a woman.
"Don't you even think of leaving this house," Nell said from behind him. "We're here because of you, now get away from the damned door and don't think about vanishing."
Harry turned to look at her and smiled.
"If you weren't my sister, I would kill you."
"Yeah well, lucky me," Nell replied sarcastically meeting his gaze. "Step out of this cabin and I will kill you brother or not."
"Stop it you two!" Mary said. "This isn't the time to be fighting. William is out there trying to help us..."
"Do you really believe that shit?" Harry asked laughing. "William is trying to save his own ass and the ass of that bitch. I'm telling you, he's in love with her and he'll turn all of us over just to save her."
"He wouldn't do that," Mary said staring at Harry.
"He would and I'll tell you why," Harry said. "It's what I would do. The way I see it is that as long as we stay here, we're sitting ducks. I think that we need to scatter."
Nell and Mary looked at each other and then back at Harry.
"We agreed to wait for a certain amount of time before we did that," Nell said.
"You can stay if you want," Harry said, "but I'm out of here. For all you know the hunters and every vampire group in the area could be on their way here."
"I agree," Albert said.
"What?" Nell and Mary said at the same time.
"I said that I agree with Harry. I think that William would turn us over to save his ass."
"This is what I think," Nell said. "I think that you would agree with anything that went against William. You're still pissed because he took over."
"That has nothing to do with it-"
"Yes Albert, it does," Mary chimed in. "I know that I'm supposed to side with you, but Nell is right. You're reacting out of anger and you're not thinking. I think that we need to give William the time that he asks for and leave if he doesn't show up. I don't believe for one minute that he would give us up to save a hunter no matter how he feels about her."
"I agree," Nell said. "I say that we stay."
The argument raged on for another hour before Albert tried to put an end to it.
"This isn't a fucking democracy! I don't give a shit about what William said to do and he sure as hell isn't the leader of this family- I am and I say that we're leaving."
"Together?" Nell asked. "Are you out of your mind? They'll be looking for us as a group!"
"Get ready to leave- we're going back to Palm Springs," Albert said. "They've searched the place by now and there's no reason for them to go back-"
"But they could be watching," Harry said suddenly uncomfortable with the way things were going. "I don't think..."
"We're going back to Palm Springs," Albert said interrupting him.
"I'm not going," Nell said. "The rest of you can do what you want, but I'm waiting for William."
In the end, they all stayed even though Albert grumbled. The one thing the argument proved to him was that he had truly lost control of his family.
William followed the hunters out of the house without looking back. He hoped that the old vampire would stay hidden for at least thirty minutes before coming out. Saving him had been an almost impulsive move and one that he hoped not to regret. He paused as he realized that saving the old vampire could work in his favor. An idea began to brew in the back of his mind, the problem was initiating it. He was being watched, especially by Caleb who was looking for any opening or reason to try to kill him.
He smiled at the thought. He was doing the exact same thing except he didn't need a reason, just the opportunity. He fastened his gaze on the back of Rufus's head and he fought the urge to rip it off of his shoulders.
"Patience William," he muttered under his breath.
They went back to the vacation house to wait for the crew leaders to check in. By dawn, all but one crew had called in.
"When were they last heard from?" Caleb asked.
"They were the team sent out to Blackwell's house," Rufus replied. "Call the team closest to there and have them check it out."
William listened as Caleb made the call. He was almost certain that he knew why the hunters hadn't checked in. His suspicions were confirmed an hour later.
"Dead? All of them?" Caleb shouted into the phone. "How? Was it vampires? Are you sure? Decapitate them just in case." He said and slammed the phone down.
"How did they die?" Rufus calmly asked.
"It looks like wolves," Rufus replied.
"Vampires and wolves working together- interesting," Rufus mused. Even he didn't put the two species together. They would have killed each other, but wolves' working for the vampires was unusual and made things more dangerous. "Caleb, call for more teams. I want every suspected vampire home checked out. If in doubt as to whether they are human or not- kill them."
"This is war and there are casualties," Rufus said, "if you can't do what needs to be done, then maybe I've chosen the wrong man as my successor."
William watched with interest. Caleb's response would show him what kind of man and leader he would be.
"I'm on it," Caleb said discounting his misgivings.
"Good and also issue this order, if my daughter is found, she is to be killed immediately. I can't take the chance that she is one of them and carries one of their brats."
William left the office and went to his room. He realized that Olivia was safer where she was and he had to find a way to get a message to either the Blackwell's or the Sinclaires. He thought about the old vampire that he had saved and knew how he was going to do it. If the vampire had left the house he was back to square one. He looked at the clock, it wasn't quite dawn yet and if he vanished, he could be there in seconds. He locked the door to the bedroom and vanished in the hopes of finding the old vampire still at the house.
Barb looked at the papers on the bed still undecided as to what she was going to do. The only thing that she was sure of was that she didn't want to be a mother. She weighed the options again taking that into account. On the face of it, that ruled out the option of remaining Thorne's mate. She had no doubt that if she chose that option, that he would expect her to live up to the terms of the agreement. Celeste's words about it not being too late to learn to like her baby ran through her head. Leon's threat followed close on its heels. Not only would Thorne expect her to keep her end of the agreement, her entire family would as well. She read through the entire document again looking for a loophole in her favor. She wasn't a lawyer, but as far as she could see there was none. The agreement was ironclad.
She read through the other agreements and it was the same. Still, she would have someone look at it. She would look for the most expensive attorney she could find since Thorne was footing the bill. In the meantime, she still had to take care of herself and "it" as she called the baby. There was no rush to sign anything; she had several months to make up her mind. She turned on her side and thought about Celeste. Her anger at the little girl had cooled enough that she realized that she didn't dislike her, she was afraid of her. She couldn't wait until they could all go home...
Where was home for her? She wondered. At the moment, she was living under Thorne's good graces. He hadn't been kidding when he said that she could go back to the tiny condo if anything happened to the baby. She would have to go back to work. She would be right back at square one and that was unacceptable.
"Damn it!" she cursed as she turned onto her back. "I wish that I had never come here."
It occurred to her that if she chose one of the other options, she could leave California and never come back. She could move to where no one knew her. The idea appealed to her. The more she thought about it, the more she liked it. But she wouldn't make a decision until an attorney looked at the papers. She tossed and turned unable to get comfortable.
"Barb," Adrianna called from the door, "I've got some updates if you want to hear them."
"Why not?" Barb replied sarcastically. "It's not like I'm doing anything important."
Adrianna started to comment about the remark, but gave the updates instead.
"Louise is where?" Barb asked sitting up.
"She's talking to the hunter Olivia," Adrianna repeated. "The hope is that she'll be able to get Olivia to help us end the war with the hunters."
"Nathan let her do it?" Barb asked surprised.
"I guess so," Adrianna replied, "she's there."
"Is there any word on the vampires that work for Olivia's father?" Barb asked.
"No, the consensus is that they're gone. Do you need anything? I'm going to work on my paper."
"No.... yes, I have a question. Do you know any good attorneys? I have some papers that I need looked over."
"I don't know of anyone and even if I did I wouldn't give you the name," Adriana replied.
"Why not?" Barb asked surprised by the answer.
"Because you would use it against me and Mr. Blackwell," Adrianna replied. "I don't know what papers you want looked at and I don't want to know. My guess is that they have something to do with your situation. If I gave you a name, you could say that I informed Mr. Blackwell of who you hired and then you would accuse him of putting me up to finding out the information."
"Do you really think that I would do that?" Barb asked.
"I know that you would," Adrianna replied. "You might not have thought of it now, but you would have and I refuse to be pulled into your stupid assed games. Do you see a recurring theme here? Everyone is getting tired of your shit. You said that you weren't doing anything important- you should be. You should be trying to figure out how you're going to keep your family from ditching you."
"You don't have the right to talk to me like that," Barb snapped.
"You know what? You're absolutely right," Adrianna said. "Forget that I said anything."
Adrianna walked out leaving Barb alone. She turned on her laptop and did a search for attorneys. After searching for almost two hours, she found one that she thought would meet her needs. As she read about the woman's experience, Barb realized that she hadn't thought about Louise or her safety since she found out what she was doing. She also realized that she hadn't given the safety of anyone else any thought either.
Barb looked up sure that someone was in the room with her. At first she thought that it was Adrianna, but she could hear her typing in the next room. She sat on the edge of the bed for several minutes before lying down again. She closed the laptop and waited for the voice to come again. She tried to think of how to describe the voice. It wasn't male nor female, soft but harsh and impatient. Several minutes passed before she realized that it wasn't going to speak again. For a very brief moment, she wondered if she wasn't losing her mind. As far as she knew, only crazy people heard voices. Her next thought was that somehow Thorne was behind it. Even as she thought it, she knew that it wasn't the case. Thorne wasn't one to play games. There had to be another explanation.
On a whim, she decided to call Gene thinking that even though he had changed, he would understand her position. Gene answered on the third ring.
"Hey sis! How are you?"
"I've been better," Barb replied. "How is the sobriety going?"
"It goes, but I still have my moments. Dana and I are talking about once a week or so, but I'm not sure that it's going to go anywhere."
"Are you still at your job?" Barb asked.
"Yes-Barb what's going on? You've never asked about my job or anything else for that matter."
"Can't I be interested in my brother's life?" Barb asked.
"Yes, but my point is that you've never cared before," Gene replied.
His answer told her what she wanted to know. Even Gene who had been the most like her had a low opinion of her.
"I guess you know that I'm pregnant."
"Yeah, I heard," Gene replied. "I also heard that you and the baby's father aren't getting along. Are you alright?"
"I'm fine... Gene, am I as bad as people are making me out to be? I mean to hear them tell it, I'm related to the wicked witch of the west."
"Barb," Gene said after a brief hesitation, "I'm the last one to tell someone how bad they are. I've done my share of shit including planning the murder of our sister."
"That's precisely why I'm asking you," Barb replied. "Of all of us, you were the most like me. You understood me better than the others did or ever could."
Gene sighed before speaking, he was about to impart some hard truths.
"Alright, remember that you asked," he said. "As I said, I'm the last person to talk about how bad someone's been, but here it goes. Barb, we're both fucked up. We just dealt with it in different ways. I hit the bottle and you pursued the American dream of a big house, money and prestige. I wanted those things too and was actually there until the bottle took over. In order to get those things back, I made some very bad decisions that almost cost me my family although it did cost me Dana."
"It isn't wrong to want those things!" Barb retorted.
'No, it isn't," Gene agreed, "but how we tried to get them is. Both of us have hurt our family and we've been doing it for years. Let me ask you something, you've got the money and the house; are you happy?"
"If it weren't for the pregnancy, I would say yes," Barb replied.
"You don't want the baby?" Gene asked.
"I never wanted children-"
"But yet you got your first husband to marry you by telling him that you would have children," Gene interrupted. "I only know because he talked to me after he left you. Do you want to know something really sad? He loved you. If you had been honest with him about how you felt about having children he would have married you anyway. But you lied to him and that's what did it. You already had what you wanted and you fucked it up."
"H...he told you that?" Barb whispered.
"Yes," Gene replied. "I know that you thought that you had to lie, but sis; you're still lying. One of the things that they tell us at our meetings is that we have to take responsibility for our actions and that we have to face those that we've wronged. Until we do that, there's no moving forward. We get stuck in this black hole and it becomes easier to blame others for our issues. I don't know the story of what's going on between you and your man and I don't know what you're planning to do about your baby, but Barb; speaking as someone who's been there- start fixing things before it's too late."
Barb wiped at her face and looked at her hand surprised to see that it was wet.
"Are you saying that I am related to the wicked witch of the west?" she asked half joking.
"A close relative," Gene replied, "but then so am I. I don't know what all of the issues are with you and the others, but sis; if they can forgive me for what I tried to do, then they will accept and forgive you too. The thing is-"
"I've got to give a little," Barb finished for him.
"Exactly," Gene said. "The hardest part is going to someone and admitting that you were wrong and apologizing. That first phone call to Dana was one of the hardest things that I had ever done. Telling Kevyn and the rest of you what I did was the hardest."
"Does it get easier?" Barb asked.
"No it doesn't, but as I said, it's the only way."
"Gene- do you hate me?"
"Nah and neither do the others. You all just have to come to some kind of understanding."
"Leon told me that I was the one doing the abusing and that mom and dad never abused us- do you feel the same way?"
It took Gene so long to respond that she didn't think that he was going to respond.
"I would have to agree," he finally said, "But so was I. Instead of being the man that dad wanted me to be, I dumped my responsibility onto Kevyn and Louise and then got pissed when Kevyn made the decisions. I sabotaged her at every turn and in effect made things much harder than they had to be. Barb there was other families much worse off than we were. Some of those kids had parents who didn't care about them at all. On more than one occasion one of my friends came to school with bruises and was hungry. That never happened to us but I'm not going to try to tell you that you weren't abused. Do I believe that you were? No I don't."
Barb gave what Gene said some thought and wondered why she was the only one who saw their lives as being abusive.
"I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on the issue of abuse. But you do understand that I can and never will be anything but what I am don't you?" Barb asked. "I am not ever going to be the nice person that they and now you are."