Justine Ch. 11bykalamazoo707©
Twenty-eight year old Josephine Graves got ready for her shift at the nursing home. She hated second shift only because it kept her away from her little girl Justine but it was the only shift open. She looked down at her daughter and smiled at her. The little girl was what kept her going; it was her picture that Josephine kept in front of her as she struggled through nursing school. It was Justine's name that she said first when she delivered the speech at her pinning ceremony followed by the names of her mother and her sister Belinda. She hadn't bothered to mention the name of Justine's father, he hadn't supported her in her endeavors but as soon as he realized that she was really going to graduate, he became the supportive significant other.
"That's my baby!" he would say to anyone who would listen, "she's going to be a nurse!"
Then he started with the plans that cost money. Rock as he liked to be called would come home with brochures from different car dealerships and leave them laying around for her to look at. When she found them, Josephine would throw them in the trash and he would bring more. After a while, he realized that she wasn't taking the hint and would take her to the different dealerships thinking that she could be pressured into buying a car.
That told her something, he didn't know her very well if he thought that she could be pressured like that. All it did was make her mad and him frustrated. She wasn't sure when she decided that she had had enough of Rocky aka Willis Melvin Cooper but what she did know was that he wasn't going to remain in her life as a significant other.
Unbeknownst to her, she was pregnant with Justine. The thought of abortion or adoption never crossed her mind, this baby was hers. Although she knew though they might be upset at first, she knew that she would have the unwavering support of her mother Debra and her sister Belinda, her father had he been alive would have supported her too. She wanted to be fair so she told Rocky that she was pregnant and that she was going to keep the baby whether he was around or not. She also told him that the baby would have her last name and that he was welcome to be involved with their child if he wanted to.
At first, he was upset and then he got used to the idea and eventually asked her to marry him. On the surface of it, it sounded like a sincere proposal but the more she thought about it the more the feeling that to marry him would be a huge mistake grew.
The surprising thing was the ease in which he accepted her answer, he was almost relieved but even so, he went to the doctor appointments with her and to his credit, he really tried but after awhile things began to come up that he considered more important than the doctor appointments. Nevertheless, Josephine hung in there; she wanted her baby to have a father in its life even if they weren't together.
The closer the birth came, the more Rocky came around trying to get back into Josephine's good graces. She took him back telling herself that it was for the good of their baby. She bit her tongue more times than she could count. He had picked out the names for the baby, Willis Melvin Cooper Jr. if it was a boy and Ellen Agnes Graves if it was a girl.
"The baby gets my last name no matter the sex." she told him unable to keep her mouth shut any longer. "And why does the baby get your last name if it's a boy?" she asked
"Continuation of the male name." Rocky replied as if that explained everything. They argued about it for an hour before Josephine threw her hands up. She was honest enough to admit that there really wasn't anything wrong with giving the baby his last name male or female but just as with the proposal, she knew that she shouldn't. The baby's last name had to be Graves. Eventually, Rocky dropped the subject saying that he would go with whatever she decided.
Justine Angelica Graves made her grand entrance into the world on December 7, 1982 at ten pm on the dot. Josephine remembered the time only because at the moment Justine was born, she felt a shudder of anticipation along with the knowledge that her baby girl was something special. That feeling wasn't the normal feeling that most parents had about their children. This was a certainty that she would have staked her life on. Justine weighed in at nine pounds, six ounces and measured 21 inches in length. She had a full head of black curly hair and had what Josephine considered the most beautiful pair of dark eyes that looked to old to belong to a newborn.
She was in a word perfect.
Even Rocky was smitten with her even approving of the name.
"She's gorgeous!" he said kissing Josephine's head, "I want to be a daddy to her, can we try again?"
For the first year, things went relatively well. The problem started when Josephine decided that she wanted to go to school. She wanted to be able to support her and Justine if she had to but Rocky hadn't seen it that way. He took it as an affront to his manhood that she thought that he couldn't provide for his family.
"I'm not saying that!" Josephine protested and tried to explain that she was thinking about the future with college and things like that. Eventually she stopped trying to convince him and applied for the nursing program. Her mother and sister helped her with babysitting and even helping her to study for tests because one, Rocky refused to help with Justine even if he was home and two, he had no interest in helping her study.
Once he realized that she was going to graduate, then he became the doting significant other but by then it was too late, she didn't want or need his support.
"Was that only three years ago?" Josephine asked herself as he packed Justine's overnight bag. Justine looked up at her and smiled as if to say, "Yep it was." Josephine picked her up and hugged her, "you be good for Aunt Belinda, ok?"
In response, Justine kissed Josephine's cheek, froze and began to cry.
"Hey!" Josephine crooned, "I know that you're a good girl calm down."
It took Josephine more than twenty minutes to calm Justine down so that they could leave. As she put Josephine in the car, she gave her a puzzled look. She had never acted like that before and then she decided that it was nothing.
When she got to Belinda's, Justine clung to her crying for her not to go. For a brief moment, Josephine considered calling in but changed her mind when she saw the time. It was too late to call in and she couldn't bring herself call in at the last minute, she couldn't and wouldn't do that to her coworkers.
"What's wrong with her?" Belinda asked as she literally peeled Justine from Josephine. "Her daddy been around?"
"I don't know what's wrong with her, she was fine and then she started crying and no she hasn't seen Rocky since last week when he brought her birthday gift over." Josephine replied. "I've gotta get going before I'm late, I'll call later."
She kissed Justine goodnight, which set the little girl off into another round of almost hysterical sobbing that sounded so painful that once again Josephine almost changed her mind about calling in. Her sense of fairness to her coworkers and the concern that if she gave in once it could set a precedent made her steel her resolve to go to work.
Tears burned her eyes as she heard Justine screaming for her even though the door to the house was shut.
The shift passed quickly enough but not fast enough as far as Josephine was concerned. Something about the way Justine had clung to her and begged her not to leave worried her. Justine had never been a crier and when she did, there was something wrong. She called Belinda whenever she could to check on things and the report was always the same.
"I don't know Josie but something's not right." Belinda said. "You know that picture of you and her at the zoo? She keeps looking at it and crying. No not as bad as that but Josie, this baby is scared, is there any way that you can come back?"
Josephine heard a crash and then a cry and without saying good-bye, she hung up and ran toward the sound.
By the time the resident who had fallen was back in bed, the family and doctor called and report given, it was time to go home. The last thing Josephine did before leaving was to call Belinda to check on Justine and to let her know that she was leaving.
She gathered her things and walked out into the cold December night and as was her habit, she glanced around looking for any one or anything suspicious. Seeing nothing, she headed toward her car and for just a moment allowed her mind to wander to Justine and her upcoming birthday.
The key was in the lock of her car when she heard someone calling her name.
"Don't look!" a voice whispered urgently, "please don't look at him!" the voice begged.
Josephine shook her head and looked up straight into the eyes of an attractive man. She tried to avert her eyes but it was too late. She was already opening her car door and he was sitting in the passenger's seat, his eyes glowing.
Even though she knew that it was useless she tried to resist, Josephine tried not to get inside of the car, she knew that if she did... She opened her mouth to scream but no sound came out. As panicked as she was, she still thought about her baby and realized too late, that her little Justine had been trying to warn her and she hadn't been listening.
As she drove, she wondered how the man had managed to get her to do what he wanted and how she hadn't seen him when she looked around, there weren't that many places for someone to hide. Then she realized that she could hear him talking but the sound wasn't coming in through her ears but her head. She stole a glance at the man but quickly turned away when she saw that he was looking at her.
"Please." she begged silently as she followed the directions that he gave her without actually speaking to her. Instinct told her not to show fear but she couldn't help it, she was frightened that she would never see her baby again. She could tell that her fear excited the man and she tried to control it but nothing she did worked. Her panic grew when she realized that he was directing her to go the opposite direction from which she lived and that they were leaving the city.
She renewed her efforts at trying to break his hold on her finally giving up when she accepted the fact that he was much stronger than she was. She drove until he directed her to a gate that required a security code to get in except that she hadn't heard him say anything. Josephine risked a peek at him quickly turning away when his glowing eyes met hers.
Once they were through the gate, she parked the car, like a good little lamb, got out, and followed him into the house, up a flight of stairs and into a bedroom. It was as if someone slapped her to wake her up. Josephine looked around, began to scream and throw whatever she could get her hands on at the man who was approaching her. She didn't even notice that she had cut herself on something that she had thrown at her abductor. Before Josephine knew what was happening, the man was on her tearing at her clothes as he bit her. She could hear him gulping down her blood even as he was thrusting deep inside of her. After what seemed to be an eternity, she closed her eyes her last conscious thought being of her daughter.
Belinda had finally gotten Justine to settle down a little, not much but she wasn't sobbing hysterically as she was before. The relative calm however was short lived. As soon as Belinda hung up with Josephine, Justine began to scream at the top of her lungs. The screaming went on for more than forty-five minutes, and then suddenly, it ended. Justine lay on the floor clutching the picture of her and her mother. That was the last night that Belinda would ever recall Justine crying about anything.
November 27, 1985
It was one of his human lackeys that spotted her first and brought her to his attention. The man even had the wherewithal to take a picture of her.
"Do you know her name?" Jeremiah asked.
"Yessir, its Josephine Graves." he replied eagerly in hopes that there would be a reward for the information.
"How do you know this?" Jeremiah asked as he looked at the picture of the beautiful black woman. He could hardly believe his luck. One of his clients wanted a woman by the name of Josephine. The only real stipulations were that she had to be of childbearing age and be able to have children. How he was supposed to find that out Jeremiah didn't know but this woman met one of the criteria. Jeremiah judged her to be in her late twenties to early thirties."
"Well once I spotted her... she works at an old folks place, I started to ask around about her and one day, I said hello to her....."
"You spoke to her?" Jeremiah asked incredulous.
"And she actually spoke to you?" he asked taking in the man's unkempt appearance.
"Yes sir she did!" the man replied defensively.
The man filled Jeremiah in on what he knew which wasn't much but more information than what he was used to getting. When the man was finished, Jeremiah reached into a drawer and pulled out two one hundred dollar bills, handed them to the man without touching him and sent him on his way. He fought the temptation to call the client because he wanted to find out more about her first.
He picked up the phone, dialed a number said a few words and then hung up. An hour later, the phone rang. He picked it up, listened and then hung up.
"Shit!" he swore, she had a brat. "So much for that" he muttered under his breath
"Mr. Mathers sir?" a voice over the intercom called.
"What is it Ann?"
"A Mr. Napoleon...."
"Is he on the phone?" Jeremiah asked hoping against hope.
"No sir, he's headed to your office." she replied.
Just as she said it, Jeremiah felt the presence of the vampire and then suddenly he was standing in front of him holding the picture of Josephine.
"Is this her?" he asked abruptly.
"No, it isn't." Jeremiah replied taking the picture away from the vampire.
"No?" the vampire asked, "word has it that you found my Josephine and from the description that I was given, this looks like her."
"Well yes but there's a problem." Jeremiah said.
"What's the problem?"
"She has a child." Jeremiah said.
"So?" the vampire replied not seeing the issue.
"As you know we don't touch anyone with children or family close by and this woman has both." Jeremiah explained, "Give me some more time and I'll find you another...."
"I want that one." the vampire said taking the picture back and looking at it.
Jeremiah almost told the vampire to go get her himself but didn't. If word got out that he told a paying customer that, he might as well retire now. All he could do was try to get the vampire to change his mind. It seemed that the more he talked, the more the vampire wanted this particular Josephine. Jeremiah agreed with him on the fact that she was beautiful with her high cheekbones and full lips but that didn't change the fact that she had a family.
Tiring of the discussion, the vampire stood up and issued an ultimatum.
"You have one week in which to deliver her to me, trained or untrained I don't care or else you by the end of the following week you won't find a new customer anywhere. As a matter of fact, I will make sure that even your old customers leave."
Jeremiah considered himself trapped, the option of telling the vampire to go fuck himself never crossed his mind but it crossed Malcolm's.
"It's not too late!" he told Jeremiah when he found out about the threat. "We have millions many times over, we can end this!"
However, Jeremiah couldn't be persuaded to change his mind.
Jeremiah looked at the woman who could have cost him what he considered everything if he didn't take her. Even through the compulsion, he could feel and smell her fear as it radiated from her. That the fear wasn't necessarily of him didn't matter. Fear was fear no matter the cause. He respected the fact that she tried to control it although she was failing miserably. It also hadn't escaped his notice that she had a strong mind, most human women would have been completely compliant immediately but he had to keep exerting more control over her until finally she was compliant.
By the time they reached his home in the outskirts of the city, his captive was compliant and he couldn't believe the amount of compulsion that he had to use to get her to this point. That alone should have been a warning but in his arrogance, he chose to ignore it
It wasn't long after he got her into his bedroom that all hell broke loose, her fear, anger and then the blood....
Quinn could tell that Justine was restless and he had a good idea as to the reason why. It was because of that bastard that he almost killed and would have had Justine not stopped him. He still wanted to kill the miserable son of a bitch but Justine was right, they still needed him. The one thing that mollified him was that he could kick Jeremiah's ass on a daily basis for an eternity if he so chose to.
He kissed Justine's shoulder and continued to rub her back until her breathing slowed. With a start, he realized something. He had missed her birthday. The next thing to hit him was that they had ascended on her birthday and if he had to guess, the ten pm time was the time that she was born. He couldn't wait to prove out his theory but in the meantime, he wanted to do something for Justine for her birthday. Then he had an idea but he would need Pam's help to make it happen. Now that he had a plan, he could rest. He snuggled next to his new wife and wondered if she would consider wearing a wedding band.
Jeremiah huddled in his cell thinking about the night that he took Josephine Graves. When he thought about it, that night marked the beginning of his end. There had been a few more after her that Malcolm hadn't known about or if he did, he didn't say anything about it.
Those times he had cleaned up his own messes by hiring beings whose specialty was doing just that- cleaning up messes. Each time he picked up a woman he knew that he was taking a huge gamble but he didn't really care about that. He then had a terrifying thought, what if the queen knew about them as well? After all, she somehow knew about her mother so it made sense that she would know about the others.
He groaned with pain as he moved his body, which was healing, but at a slower rate. Whether that was because his gifts were gone or because the queen willed it, he didn't know and in the end, it didn't matter. The end result was the same.
He jumped when one of the guards banged on the cell signaling that either someone was coming and not that his next meal had arrived. He fed several times each time hoping that the meal would be his last. It hadn't taken him long to realize that the guards had been fucking with him. His death when it came wasn't going to be as easy as a simple but painful poisoning and more than likely any and all of the women living in the house would be a part of it.
"Get up you piece of shit!" a soft female voice said from behind him.
Jeremiah closed and then opened his eyes grimacing as he stood up to face whoever this was. When he was standing, he turned to see who had spoken to him.
"How does it feel to be locked up?" Pam asked.
Jeremiah relaxed, it was the one that got away and he saw her as no threat, she was only a newborn. "But then," he reminded himself, "so was the queen and look what she could and can do." He immediately put his guard up and didn't reply.
Pam took a step toward the cell watching as Jeremiah without realizing it backed up a step.