Thorne Ch. 04bykalamazoo707©
Hello all! Once again I apologize for the length of time between postings. As I have mentioned before, I am working more hours. My writing time has been cut to less than half, but I really am trying to keep up with lit as well as with some other pursuits. If any of you know how to add two extra days to the week; please let me know. Anyway, Thanks to all of you for your patience, comments and emails. They are much appreciated. Thanks also to my beta reader donalde for his time and efforts. Oh if you keep seeing the word 'but' between pages, ignore it. I appeared on my pages and I can't get rid of it. Last, I hope that all of you had a safe holiday season!
Barb was up bright and early. She couldn't wait to hit the stores and spend her allowance for the day. She picked out her best casual dress outfit and got ready for the day. As she dressed, she thought about the meeting. Apparently there were some things that Thorne needed to tell her. The question was; did she want to know? She decided that she didn't. Whatever it was had nothing to do with her although she had no doubt that Thorne would tell her anyway. She was however, curious about what happened between the Sinclaires' and the Blackwell's. It wasn't that she really cared, she just wanted to know.
She wondered if it was too soon to ask Thorne about moving, but remembered the topic of the meeting. There would be no point in asking about it; he would only tell her no. The more she thought about the meeting, the more something niggled at her. She thought that maybe it was something that Leon said to her, but that wasn't it. He hadn't told her anything that she hadn't heard before, although it did sound different coming from him.
She had to admit that she was surprised when he went toe to toe with Thorne. Barb also knew that Thorne liked and respected Leon even though he didn't say it. Men like Thorne were drawn to men like himself and Leon was like Thorne. Only he was a much gentler version of him. Her thoughts drifted from Leon to Louise.
Barb couldn't get over how much Louise had changed. She looked the same and talked the same, but she was different. She wondered how much of it had to do with her being a vampire and decided that it had little to nothing to do with it. The Louise that she saw was the Louise that had been buried under a shy, insecure personality.
For the first time, Barb admitted to herself that she couldn't have done what Louise did and remained sane. That in and of itself made Louise a stronger person than she was. The realization didn't take away her belief that Louise had gotten Nathan by pretending to be weak.
"It doesn't matter." Barb muttered under her breath. "I'm where I want to be."
She finished dressing and went downstairs to eat breakfast. It still galled her that there were no live in servants, but she knew that it was another thing that Thorne wouldn't give in on... at least not now. In her mind she began to make a list of things that she wanted to change in order of priority. Partway through her list she realized something. She had been stupid and impulsive. Threatening and challenging Thorne had proved unsuccessful and had bitten her in the ass each time she tried it.
It occurred to her that she didn't know anything about him other than what pissed him off. What she needed to find out was what made him tick. She mentally made a list of the things that she wanted and began to separate them into piles. She wanted Noel and his companion gone, but knew that it wasn't going to happen. The same went for the live in servants-at least for now. By the time she was finished making her list, she realized that most of it would have to wait.
"Start small." A little voice whispered.
The realization that she had been trying to move a mountain hit her. She had been doing too much too fast. Her next thought was about her family and how much they could help her. The question was could she play nice and could she keep her jealousy at bay? The other question was what was her hurry? According to Thorne, she would live forever. The trick she knew would be in not making the change too quickly or too dramatically.
She needed to decide on with whom to start with and decided on Felix. He didn't like her, she had seen to that; but if she could get him to change his opinion of her... no, she needed someone easier. Felix may have been the help, but he wasn't an idiot which led her to... Billings. He was stupid, eager to please and he would believe her.
Now that she had a plan, Barb felt better. She moved on to the next item of things that she wanted, at least one live in servant. She could present it as needing help to get ready for the baby... he would buy that, after all; surely Louise had at least one live in servant to attend to her needs.
Thorne was in his office when Barb walked by. He really didn't want to talk to her, but he felt led to issue a last warning before she left for her shopping trip.
"A moment please." He called to her.
Barb doubled back to his office and stood at the door.
"Come in." Thorne said.
"What do you want?" Barb asked already forgetting to present a softer front.
"I only want to remind you that you are to listen to Adrianna and that you are to keep your mouth shut." Thorne replied.
"I get it!" Barb snapped and then backpedaled softening her tone. "I get it alright? Who is driving us around today?"
Thorne eyed her but didn't reply immediately. He almost laughed at her attempt to play the accommodating mate.
"His name is Grant and you will also listen to him as well as Adrianna."
"Is he another half-breed?" Barb asked.
"He is full blood werewolf." Thorne replied ignoring what he considered to be a racial slur.
"Werewolf?" Barb asked. "Are you serious?"
"I told you that there are many life forms." Thorne told her. "He has the same instructions that Adrianna does. If you do not obey him, he has my permission to do what he needs to in order to get you to safety."
"I don't get it." Barb said. "You claim not to care yet you have me guarded."
"There's nothing to get." Thorne replied. "I may not care about you or for you, but I do care about the child that you carry. And let me clarify something. Don't get any stupid assed ideas about using the child to control me. It won't work. You can go now, I'm busy."
Barb's hackles rose at his tone.
"I don't know who you think you're talking to." She said glaring at him. "I'm not one of your servants that you can talk to me any way that you like!"
"And I'm not a stupid fool who will fall for your lame attempts to be agreeable!" Thorne snapped back. "Don't you think I know what you're doing?" he asked. "How long did it take you to realize that I cannot and will not be pushed? I told you before, I know women like you. I know the games that you play so let's get a few things straight. You have been given your stipend for the month. If you overspend I will not cover it. If you don't believe me, then try it. You are under my protection because you are the mother of my child. If you weren't pregnant, you wouldn't be here. Now, go spend your money or whatever in the hell you plan on doing but be back here by six. We have things to talk about."
"What? More rules from the mighty Thorne Blackwell?" Barb sneered.
"Be back by six." Thorne repeated and turned his attention back to his laptop.
Barb didn't move. She was so angry that she felt hot. Once again she realized that nothing had turned out as she had planned. When it was clear that Thorne had dismissed her, Barb stomped out of the office and to the living room where Adrianna was waiting for her.
"That's what you're wearing?" Barb asked disgustedly.
Adrianna stood up, looked down at herself and then shrugged. She was dressed in a brightly colored tye-dye tee shirt of which the predominant color was orange and a pair of faded blue jeans that had seen better days. On her small feet was a pair of steel toed boots.
"I don't see the issue." Adrianna said. "I'm not here to be your fashion accessory."
"I'm not going anywhere with you dressed like that!" Barb snapped.
"Good." Adrianna said. "I hate shopping."
Barb looked Adrianna up and down trying to decide if she had anything that the woman could wear.
"Go home and be back here in an hour." Barb said. "I want you in business casual dress from now on."
"As you wish." Adrianna said with a tight smile.
After Adrianna left, Barb decided to check on the driver. She could only hope that he was better dressed than Adrianna had been. She opened the door and looked out. To her relief, the man that she assumed was the driver was neatly dressed in a dress shirt, khaki slacks and a jacket. When the driver saw her, he smiled and waved. Barb closed the door without acknowledging the driver. As she closed the door, she realized that she should have waved back. She opened the door again, but his back was to her. She closed the door, went back to the living room to wait for Adrianna.
As she waited, Barb thought about what she really wanted. She had money, she had the nice house; but she didn't have the appearances. The picture of her life that she had painted for herself was incomplete without it. It didn't matter that it would have been a lie. The question was how she could get that piece of the puzzle. She wondered if she could get Thorne to fall in love with her and what it would take to make that happen.
"I'm back." Adrianna said from behind her. "Does this meet your specifications?"
Barb turned around to look at Adrianna. She had changed into a nice shirt with a pair of black dress pants. She still wore the steel-toed boots, but they were less noticeable than before.
"It will do." Barb said. "Let's go, I'm already an hour behind thanks to you. Don't let it happen again."
Adrianna gave Barb a sweet smile that didn't reach her eyes.
"Shall we go?" she asked in an icy tone.
"Let's clarify a few things shall we?" Barb asked. "You work for me. From this moment on you will speak to me with respect and lose the attitude. Is that clear? If you can't agree to my terms then I'll let you go."
"Actually," Adrianna said her tone still icy, "I don't work for you. I work for Mr. Blackwell. You don't have the authority to fire me. And let's discuss attitudes shall we? Even if I were employed by you I wouldn't put up with your shit. My father used to tell me that the only way to get respect was to give it and lady; I have yet to see it. So here's the deal, I'll wear these crappy assed clothes and you won't talk to me like I'm a piece of trash."
Barb looked at Adrianna, turned around and went to Thorne's office barging in even though the door was closed.
"I want that bitch fired!" She said as soon as she was in the door.
Thorne was on the phone when Barb barged in. He glanced up at her and continued his conversation as if she wasn't there. A few minutes later, he hung up.
"Do you not know what a closed door means?" He asked.
"I want that bitch gone!" Barb repeated.
"Haven't you learned yet that I don't give a fuck about what you want?" Thorne asked. "You chose Adrianna based on her appearance. You thought that she was someone that you could push around. Your choice stands so make the best of it. For the record, I knew that you would choose her. That's why I made her one of the selections."
"You knew that she was like that?" Barb asked angrily.
"Of course I did." Thorne replied. "And if it makes you feel any better, the other two wouldn't have taken any shit from you either, but then you knew that. Oh and a word of warning, don't ever barge in on me again."
Barb stared him shocked that he would take the side of the hired help over hers.
"Was there something else?" Thorne asked as he picked up the telephone.
Barb left the office slamming the door behind her. Adrianna was waiting for her by the front door.
"Are you ready to go?" she asked.
Barb didn't speak as she walked out of the front door and got into the car not waiting for Grant to open the door.
"Where to?" He asked after Adrienne was in the car.
"Bloomingdale's." Barb snapped.
Noel hadn't moved from his bed since Thorne had helped him into it the night before. His headache was gone, but he was still exhausted. He knew that he needed to drink a unit of blood, but he didn't have the strength to move.
An hour later, he was still in the same spot. He looked at the portrait of the eyes, murmured a soft "I know" and forced himself off the bed. He made his way to the refrigerator, took out a unit of blood and drank it directly from the bag without heating it. The second bag he heated and drank it straight down. The third bag, he heated and sipped at it. While he was still tired, he felt better. He thanked the portrait for helping him and carried it back to his studio.
He sat in front of it and began to talk to it.
"Who are you?" he asked "And why do you bring me such peace? Are you my mate? If you are, then where are you? Why is it that I can't paint more of you?"
Noel paused to see if he would get a response. When there was none, he sighed and covered it. He had the feeling that whoever it was, she didn't know the answers to his questions. As he sat there in front of the covered painting, questions about why he didn't remember being at the fight with the Sinclaires resurfaced. Not knowing what else to do, he decided to call his mother in the hopes that Thorne had misunderstood her.
Miraculously, Samantha answered the phone.
"Hello mother." Noel greeted warmly. "How was your trip?"
"I had a wonderful time!" Samantha replied. "Actually you caught me just as I was leaving again. How are you?"
Noel was surprised by the question and the sincerity that he heard in it.
"I'm fine." He replied. "I like living here with Thorne. He and I are going to be partners in a new club that he's opening. It would be nice if you could come to the grand opening."
"I would like that." Samantha replied.
"It won't be for a while." Noel said. "We haven't started building it yet but it's going to feature me and Thorne's paintings."
"Really?" Samantha asked surprised. "Well then I definitely must come. Did you need something?" Samantha asked ending the niceties.
"I wanted to ask you something." Noel replied. "Where was I during the fight with the Sinclaires?"
"Thorne asked me the same question." Samantha said. "He tells me that you think that you were here with me, but Noel; you weren't. Your father made you go to the Sinclaires' even though both Thorne and I begged him to let you stay with me."
"Why don't I remember?" Noel asked talking more to himself than Samantha. "I only remember being with you."
"Noel, by the time that fight happened there had been another fight involving hunters. Do you remember that?"
"Yes... I think so." Noel replied. "They came to our home..."
"Yes and afterwards you, your father and your brothers went to the Sinclaires to confront them about telling the hunters where we were. You went with them..."
"Mother... I have to go." Noel said and hung up as a sharp pain went through his head and his stomach roiled. He stumbled to the painting, snatched the sheet off and stared at it without speaking. He finally understood that whatever was causing his headaches was directly related to the night of the fight. The question was how he was going to remember when every time he thought about it, his head felt as if it was going to explode.
Feeling somewhat better, Noel covered the painting and went back to his room to think.
Olivia was up bright and early wondering what to do with her day. It would be hours before the others made an appearance making it safe for her to let her guard down a little. She sat out on the patio sipping a cup of mint tea. The early morning had always been her favorite time of the day. It was like receiving another chance to rectify a wrong or to do something good. Today was a chance to do something for her. She was going to spend day without the 'terrible five' as she called them. She was going to get her face, hair and nails done and then go shopping.
It had been months since she had a professional pedicure and manicure and she was determined to enjoy every second of it. She was also planning to get her hair cut and colored and to have a nice lunch at an expensive restaurant.
She finished her tea, showered and left the house opting drive instead of using a driver. She wanted the illusion of being free to go where she wanted without having to answer to anyone. In a moment of rebellion, she thought about disabling the GPS systems on her phone and car. The five were asleep, what could go wrong? She asked herself.
She let out a long sigh and abandoned the plan of disabling the systems. If she did and something happened, there would be hell to pay and the fact that she was Rufus Saunders daughter would mean nothing. As it was, going out alone was a breach of security, but she didn't care. She needed and wanted some time alone.
By eight am, Olivia was in the car and driving to a destination unknown in a blue convertible with the top down. She loved the feeling of the wind blowing her hair around and the warmth of the sun on her face. Once again she wished that she was anyone but who she was and decided that for just a few hours, she was going to be someone else. For a few hours her name wasn't Olivia, her name was going to be Megan. Olivia giggled at her silliness, but continued her fantasy of being someone else.
She was married, had two kids whom she just dropped off at school. Her husband Raphael was a high-powered attorney and she had been a school teacher. By the time Olivia reached his first destination of the day, she had completely remade herself. The problem was that she liked the fantasized version of herself more than she liked the real version.
Olivia sighed as she drove toward the ocean. She wanted to sit on the beach for just a few minutes with her eyes closed. It was something that she did whenever she could. It was her time to think about her mother who had died more than fifteen years ago at the hands of a rogue vampire. That was the point when her father became almost fanatical in his belief that all vampires needed to be exterminated.
"They are evil, vile vermin!!" He told her after her mother's funeral.
What Olivia hadn't understood was if he felt that way, why he had vampires under his employ. It didn't make sense to her.
"What better way to draw them out then by using their own kind?" Rufus asked her.
"I understand that." She replied, "But what happens to those that you're paying when this is over?"
"We kill them." Rufus replied. "We can't take the chance that they'll reproduce by turning humans or by giving birth."
"Dad, think about this." Olivia said. "They aren't stupid. Don't you think that they already know what you're planning to do? I don't know, but I think we're better off not using them. It might take us longer, but it'll be safer for us."
Rufus had gotten angry. He hated being questioned no matter how appropriate the question was.
"Are you challenging me?" He demanded.
"No, I was just asking." Olivia replied holding her hands up in surrender.
"Good." Rufus snapped. "When you're running things you can do whatever the hell you want, but until then; this is how we're doing things."
Olivia saw something in her father's eyes that she didn't want to acknowledge- madness. At the time she chose to believe that he was still mourning her mother's death. While that had been part of it, she now knew that it wasn't all of it. All she could do now was to wait for him to step down or die, neither of which was going to happen anytime soon.
She knew that there were others who questioned her father's sanity. She had even heard murmurings about challenging him for the position of head of the hunters. What they were talking about was treason. The question that she asked herself over and over again was why she hadn't said anything to her father. If he found out that she knew something, he would charge her with treason. She would be killed along with anyone else who he deemed guilty.