Justine Ch. 18bykalamazoo707©
"Saved your life?" Justine asked.
"Yes saved my life." Josephine confirmed.
David didn't say anything but kept Josephine's hand in his. He had known at some point the subject would come up but he hadn't expected it to be so soon.
Justine looked at David and then her mother and made a decision.
"We'll talk about that later." she said. "The important thing is that you're here."
David let out a silent sigh of relief. He needed time to regroup from his brief brush with true power. Justine was dangerous and so was the King for that matter. He was just wondering what the plan was for the rest of the evening when Quinn spoke.
"Our wives have a lot of catching up to do so that gives us time to talk."
David nodded, he knew exactly what the talk was about but he also knew that Quinn would wait before meting out any punishments. He almost wished that Quinn would wait until Justine was with him so that he would only have to tell the story once but then he understood. Part of the catching up that Josephine and Justine would do included her time with him. Quinn was acting as Justine's equal and was well within his rights to question him.
"Are you hungry?" Justine asked still holding Josephine's hand as if she were going to disappear.
"No, I don't think that I can eat yet." Josephine replied, "I want to hear all about you- You are so beautiful!"
"You both are beautiful." Quinn said his eyes warming when he looked at Justine and her mother. He was amazed at the likeness of the two women who looked like sisters instead of mother and daughter. What he found odd was that in human years, Justine was the older of the two since she was thirty-three when she was changed and her mother twenty-eight when she was taken.
He looked over at David and could tell that he was nervous but not exactly scared. He made no effort to put the much older vampire at ease and wouldn't until they talked. He followed Justine and her mother into the sitting room, kissed Justine telling her that he would see her later and left the room. David kissed Josephine, caressed her face and followed Quinn out.
Once outside of the room, the two men assessed each other. David found himself almost mesmerized by the green flames that danced around Quinn's eyes.
"Follow me." Quinn said walking away.
David hurried to catch up with him and followed him through the house not daring to ask where they were going. They ended up in the large indoor garden not far from where not long ago; he, Justine and the others anxiously awaited the arrival of the Queen Mother.
"Have a seat." Quinn said as he sat a picnic table.
David sat down across from Quinn and placed his hands on the table. He braced himself for the onslaught of questions and got ready to explain himself.
"Tell me about yourself." Quinn said.
"Excuse me?" David asked.
"Tell me about yourself- how old you are, things like that."
"Okay... look, take a deep breath and calm down." Quinn said. "I'm not going to tell you that I'm not pissed but I'm not going to hurt you either. All I want for the moment is for you to tell me about yourself. Can you do that?"
Something in Quinn's tone made David square his shoulders. He was David Sheffield one of the biggest industrialists in Europe and he hadn't gotten there by allowing himself to be intimidated. His eyes blazed as he returned Quinn's assessing stare.
"Ahh there you are." Quinn said with a smile that didn't reach his eyes. "That's much better... the meek, nervous thing doesn't work for you. Now, let's get this party started shall we?"
David's mouth dropped open, he had been baited and he took it hook, line and sinker. He had to wonder what Quinn did for a living in his human life.
"As you know, my name is David Sheffield. Josephine and I are only recently mated although we have been together for more than twenty-five years. I am the sole owner of Sheffield enterprises a company that I started in the 1800s."
"So you were turned is that it?" Quinn asked.
David wondered what Quinn was up to, it was obvious that he knew his background.
"Yes, that would be correct." David replied. "Why does any of this matter? What you really want to know is why I kept Josephine from her daughter."
In spite of everything Quinn found himself liking David, he had balls to talk to him as he just did.
"You're right, I do want to know those things but I also like knowing about people. I want to know what it was that made you make the decisions that you did- now talk."
David blinked, no one had ever ordered him to do anything, he did the ordering. He almost forgot who he was talking to but quickly remembered when he saw the cool flames in Quinn's eyes begin to heat up. He started with his childhood and ended with the night he was turned.
"Her cousin helped me through the transition." he concluded.
Quinn didn't speak for a long time.
"She's dead isn't she? Sylvia I mean." Quinn said.
"Yes she's dead and I know what you're doing. You're letting me know that I can't lie because you would know so lets as you said, get this party started."
"Alright," Quinn said smoothly, "Why did you keep Josephine away from Justine?"
Justine held Josephine's hands as she told her about the night that she was taken.
"I was so sure that you were just trying to get me to stay home. I thought that if I gave in once that I would be setting a precedent. It never crossed my mind that you were trying to warn me... The thing is I almost turned around. You had never acted like that before, I should have known."
"How could you? You made a decision based on something that was entirely possible. I would have made the same decision." Justine replied.
"You have to know that I would have never willingly left you." Josephine said crying. "I tried to fight him but I couldn't. Even when we were driving to his house, I tried to fight him. When we got there, there was a woman there. I looked at her and willed her to help me but she turned away-maybe she was one of his victims, I don't know but when he took me to a bedroom, I woke up. I can't explain it any clearer than that and I started throwing things at him. I only know this because of David, he didn't want me to remember but I needed to."
"When did he know about me?" Justine asked.
"He finally found out who I was about five years after he found me."
"He knew about me and he didn't tell you." Justine said softly. She could have allowed herself access to all of her mother's memories but she didn't because it wouldn't have helped either of them and they needed to mourn the loss of time.
"No, at first he didn't try to find out who I was because he didn't know who had done this to me or if they were still looking for me. I don't know why he finally decided to find out my true identity, that's something that you'll have to ask him about."
"I plan on it." Justine said. "I can understand why you didn't remember anything at the beginning, but what about later?"
Josephine hesitated but then answered the question.
"David kept my memories from me. He..."
"He did what?" Justine asked shocked.
"Justine listen to me.... At first, it was to protect me. Later and he will admit to this, it was out of fear and mistrust..."
"Fear? What could he possibly been afraid of?" Justine demanded and then softened her voice. "I'm sorry; I don't understand how he could have kept us apart like that."
Josephine stroked Justine's face and continued.
"I know and I was angry too but I think that he should be the one to explain his actions. Will you do something for me? Will you at least hear him out?"
"You love him don't you?" Justine asked.
Josephine gave her a small smile, "yes but as I told him, that doesn't and didn't change the fact that I was angry, hurt and felt betrayed."
"Have you forgiven him?" Justine asked.
"Yes but I don't think I realized that I loved him until I was kidnapped. While I was being held, the only things that I could think about was getting out of there so that I could find you and fix things with David. Don't get me wrong, I was angry and I still am to some degree but it won't get those years back but we have the future."
Justine listened to her mother's words and agreed that she was right on a number of points but she still wanted to talk to David. Him she would probe for lies and deceit, as she was sure Quinn was doing.
"Tell me about you." Josephine said, "When did your grandmother and aunt die?"
"After you disappeared, gramma looked for you. So did daddy and everyone who knew you. It was as if you just vanished from the face of the earth. The people at the nursing home remembered seeing you leave and assumed that you made it home ok. Gramma and Auntie hung pictures of you anywhere they were allowed to and after a few months' people lost interests. The thing is, gramma never lost faith, she always maintained to her dying day that you were alive somewhere and that you'd be back.
She died two years after you disappeared. Auntie kept looking for you. She called the police everyday looking for updates until they stopped calling her back and then she would go down there demanding to know what progress was being made. She got a job offer in New Jersey so we moved and we lived there until she died from a heart attack. I missed her so much! I can still hear her telling this boy or another to go away because I had to study."
"Did she ever meet anyone special?" Josephine asked.
"Not really." Justine replied. "She put all of her energy into finding you and raising me... she never gave up either. She made sure that I understood that you wouldn't have just left us for any reason. She told me every night how much you loved me and of the plans that you made for us. I can only hope that I've become a little of what you wanted me to be."
"Jussie... look at me." Josephine said softly. "When I first saw you after all of this time my first thought was that you were and are exquisite. There is no way that I can be and am disappointed in you; you have exceeded anything that I ever wanted for you. I'm only sorry that I wasn't around to see your accomplishments but what's important is that I'm here now and I'm not going anywhere. So tell me about Quinn." she said changing the subject.
The next hour was spent with Justine telling Josephine about Quinn and how they met.
"Persistent wasn't he?" Josephine asked.
"More like a pain in the ass." Justine replied laughing and then turning serious. "You know that I have to talk to David don't you?"
"Yes I know but Jussie... hear him out and I think that if I can find my way to forgive him then you can too. I'm not saying don't be angry or not to tell him how you feel but just listen to him before you make any decisions."
"I can and will do that." Justine promised. "I have something else to tell you. The vampire that took you away from me is here."
"What do you mean?" Josephine asked.
"I mean I... we captured him but at the time we didn't know that it was him that took you. He's in a cell downstairs."
"Why is he here?" Josephine asked.
She listened as Justine told her about Jeremiah and Malcolm Mathers.
"Malcolm is dead by order of his uncle. I've been allowing any of his victim's access to him to do to him what they will with the exception of killing him. Once we started looking for you, I told him that I would allow you to have the final say as to what happens to him."
"Me? Why me?" Josephine asked.
"Because you are the Queen Mother and he has harmed you. That he didn't know who you were is immaterial and he's hurt thousands of other women. There's no rush for you to decide, he isn't going anywhere and there are plenty of victims who would still like to see him."
Josephine sat silent for a long time before she spoke.
"I want to see him."
Quinn listened to David without interrupting and when he was finished, he didn't say anything. He had heard all that he needed to hear now he would wait for Justine to talk to him and he wanted David to squirm a little longer.
David waited for Quinn to say something and then realized that he wasn't going to say anything.
"Let me show you around." Quinn said.
He stood up fully expecting David to follow him and walked away. David didn't move for several seconds only moving when he saw Quinn vanish around a corner. He caught up with him easily and walked beside him.
"Your rooms are just ahead." Quinn said. "If you need anything you only have to ask for it."
"Thank you, a question if I may." David replied.
"Do you know who hurt Josephine?" David asked.
"That wasn't the question that I was expecting." Quinn said, "But the answer is yes and she wasn't the only one."
David listened in horrified shock as Quinn told him about Jeremiah.
"Does he live?" David asked.
"Yes he's alive." Quinn replied liking the fact that not once did David ask about what was going to happen to him but was thinking about Josephine.
"Do you know where he is?"
"Why?" Quinn asked as he stopped at the door.
"I want him dead." was David's quiet reply.
"Believe me when I tell you that I understand and agree." Quinn replied. "But you can't kill him, not yet at least..."
"Why is the bastard still alive?" David asked cutting Quinn off.
"Because Justine made a promise to his victims." Quinn replied.
David froze, "Are you saying that Jo can see him?" he asked. "I forbid it!" he exclaimed.
"You, my friend aren't in a position to forbid anything." Quinn said dryly. "It's up to Josephine whether she wants to see him or not."
"Then I'm going with her." David replied.
"Again, that isn't up to you." Quinn replied. "In case you've forgotten, you haven't talked to Justine yet."
"So?" David asked the irritation evident in his voice. "What's that have to do with anything? Jo is my mate and I won't allow her to face that fucker alone!"
Quinn looked at David with approval. It was obvious that he loved Josephine and it was just as obvious that if given the chance, he would kill Jeremiah no matter what anyone said.
"David, I'm giving you a direct order, stay away from the cellar. If you should happen to see Jeremiah, you will not speak to or approach him. Is that clear?"
He wanted to say no. He wanted to tell Quinn that he could go to hell but reason won out. He had no real power here and couldn't kill Jeremiah anyway but there had to be a reason for the warning.
"I understand my king." David said his voice barely concealing his anger.
Quinn gave David a long hard look.
"I mean it. Don't disobey me."
David looked into Quinn's green eyes which were now a hard green."
"You have my word." he whispered.
Jeremiah paced his cell anxiously jumping at every sound wondering when Josephine would be brought to see him.
"You really should relax." Pam said from behind him making him yelp in surprise.
"Did you come just to torment me?" Jeremiah asked.
"As fun as you make that sound, the answer is no."
"Alright, I give, what do you want." Jeremiah asked wearily.
"You really are no fun!" Pam pouted, "Ok fine... you're getting a visitor but not until tomorrow."
"You did come to torment me." Jeremiah whispered. "Is it her?"
"The Queen Mother? Give that man a booby prize! Rest well! She quipped knowing that he wouldn't and disappeared.
He sat on the floor of his cell suddenly weak with nerves.
"What in the fuck am I supposed to say to her?" he asked himself.
Lorenzo left the house in good spirits. It felt good to be out of the shadows and to be doing something worthwhile. He and Maurice had spoken briefly after Josephine and David were safely in the house.
"I think that it's about time that you meet your sister-in-law and nephew as well as other additions to the family."
The invitation had come as a surprise to Lorenzo and he admitted as much.
"Lorenzo, you explained yourself to me." Maurice said. "And you have the total acceptance of the Queen but even without that, all you had to do was come to me."
"And you would have accepted me just like that?" Lorenzo asked not quite believing it.
"I would have if you would have given me the chance." Maurice replied. "The Queen and her mother aren't the only ones who lost time together."
Lorenzo nodded, "Let me know when but at the moment I have someplace to be."
A few minutes later, he was at the club where Naila worked as a dancer/hooker. He walked into the dimly lit building where the air was hazy from all of the cigarette smoke and other things. He stood at the doorway scanning the room for her, listening for her voice. He looked up at the stage where there were naked women and men dancing to music that was much too loud hoping to see her there. When he didn't see her he began to walk through the club tuning out everything listening for the sound of her voice.
"Lorenzo! You look for Naila?" Anthony the bar keeper on duty asked.
"Yeah, where is she?" Lorenzo asked.
"She's not here.'
"Not here? She's supposed to be working tonight." Lorenzo replied.
"Well, she is working." Anthony replied, "Just not here."
Lorenzo quickly lost patience, leaned over the bar, and grabbed Anthony by his shirt.
"Where is she?"
"Alright! Just chill out and I'll tell you! Norm sent her to a private party...."
"What the fuck? She doesn't do those!" Lorenzo shouted.
"One of the girls bailed and he sent Naila. He even paid her a bonus."
"Where's the party?" Lorenzo asked.
"Come on, you know that I can't tell you that!" Anthony protested.
Lorenzo pulled Anthony over the bar and put his face in his.
"Where is the mother fucking party?" he demanded, his dark eyes flashing.
"Norm's gonna kill me!"
"I really don't give a shit, where's the damn party?"
"Out by Malvern..."
"Give me the address or I tear your head off!"
Seconds later Lorenzo was headed toward the suburbs of Malvern, Pennsylvania. As he traveled through the air, he realized that he should have stopped Naila from working a long time ago. He hadn't said anything because he felt that he had no right to tell her what she could and couldn't do if he wasn't going to claim her. He increased his speed hoping that nothing had happened to her.
He found the house with no problem. The sounds of male laughter and moans mixed with those of females filled the air. He stood in front of the house listening for Naila's distinctive giggle. He told her once that it reminded him of twittering birds and now he listened for it. He walked around the house, looked over the fence and saw a few of the girls from the club but not Naila.
A feeling of dread filled his gut as he remembered some of the stories Naila had told him about some of these parties. He had made her promise never to do one of the parties even if she was fired because of her refusal.
He continued his search blocking out all other sounds so that he could hear Naila. He had just made it to the other side of the house when he heard it.
"Please... no more."
Her voice sounded hoarse, weak and as if she was in pain.
"You'll do as I say and you'll like it!" a male voice bellowed.
Then she screamed. Lorenzo burst into the house and followed the sounds of Naila's pain filled sobs. He got there just as the man was ready to strike her naked body with a whip. Lorenzo saw red, flew across the room and stopped the whip just before it touched her bloodied back.
"What the fuck?" The man yelled.
Lorenzo grabbed the man and threw him against the nearest wall not caring whether he killed him or not. He went over to Naila and called her name.
"Naila? Sweetheart it me Lorenzo."
"L...Lorenzo? You're here?" She asked weakly.
"Yes baby I'm here and I'm going to take you home. Look at me."