Thorne Ch. 06bykalamazoo707©
"Explain to me how you wound up in a family of rapists." Barb said loud enough that everyone could hear her including the children.
Kevyn was caught off guard by the greeting but recovered quickly. She was wishing that she hadn't changed her mind about going to the condo.
"I guess we don't have to wonder anymore do we?" Kevyn mused. "If you'll let us get settled, we'll tell you anything that you want to know."
Not to be deterred, Barb continued.
"Why? So you can come up with a pretty story? My situation may not be the best, but at least Thorne didn't rape anyone!"
"Barb..." Leon said softly.
"And you with all your talk about protecting us! You knew and you didn't do anything!"
"Barb, we can talk-"
"I have nothing to say to you rapist!" Barb snapped at Patrick who had tried to intervene.
"Mama?" Celeste called softly clutching Juliette's hand and staring at Barb with wide eyes.
"Barb you're scaring the kids." Juliette said her tone firm. "Now shut up a minute and we'll talk about it when the kids are settled."
"You knew too didn't you?" Barb asked Juliette in an accusing tone.
"Yes but as I said, this isn't a conversation for children. Now shut the hell up!"
Barb stopped, looked around and saw that the kids were indeed scared. Without saying another word, she turned and walked away.
Noel stood back and watched the interaction between the siblings. He then looked at the children and felt badly for them. Things were frightening enough without Barb making things worse. As he looked at each child, he saw the same similarities in the eyes of the portrait, but it was stronger in the girls. It confirmed what he already knew- the woman in the picture was somehow related to the Yancy family.
He watched Barb walk away, started to follow her; but then changed his mind. She had a way of pushing his buttons without trying. Let Thorne deal with her he thought to himself as he went to his room. Because there were going to be so many people around, he warded his room. After the incident with Barb, he didn't trust that he wouldn't hurt anyone.
Barb went to her room and slammed the door shut behind her. The only thing that she conceded was that she should have waited until the kids were out of earshot before she said anything. She hadn't planned on approaching Kevyn like that, it just came out. Nevertheless, she wanted an explanation. It occurred to her that she didn't want an explanation because she was concerned, it was because she finally had something that she could hold over their heads. In her heart she knew that she was wrong, but it didn't matter. She finally could say that she was better than they were.
"You really are a bitch" a soft voice said from behind her.
Barb turned to see Adrianna standing behind her.
"Do you ever think about anyone other than yourself?" Adrianna asked. "Apparently not" she said answering her own question. "I feel sorry for that kid you're carrying" she added and walked away before Barb could respond.
Leon wanted to go talk to Barb but Kevyn stopped him.
"Let it be for now" she said. "She needs time to cool off."
"She was wrong to do what she did" he said angrily.
"Yes she was" Kevyn agreed. "But confronting her about it when you're both angry isn't going to accomplish anything. Let's get the food and blood put away, the kids settled and then we'll talk to her."
Leon was fuming, but he agreed. Before he went help unload the vehicles, he checked on Celeste. Of the three children, she seemed to be the most frightened. Louise was already hugging the little girl and assuring her that there was nothing to be afraid of.
"Auntie Barb is just upset" Louise said softly. "She'll be alright."
Celeste didn't look convinced and Leon wasn't convinced either. Wanda and Victor had already recovered. They had seen Barb in action before, but had forgotten how impulsive and rude she could be. Wanda took charge of Celeste and asked where they would be sleeping.
That was a question for Barb and since no one wanted to deal with her at the moment, they decided to wait until she either came back or Thorne showed up. A sharp toot of the horn told them that more people had arrived.
"Hello?" Vanessa called out as she walked in followed by Luc, Rik and Veronica.
"We're in here!" Nathan called back.
"Where are mom, dad and Victoria?" Veronica asked looking around the room.
"They should be here shortly" Patrick replied. "Thorne is talking to the female hunter trying to see what he can find out."
"What are they going to do with her?" Vanessa asked.
"I don't know" Patrick replied. "By all rights she should be killed."
"Maybe" Nathan said. "But let's think about this. We now know that it was them that Louise and I have been sensing. My question is this, why haven't they killed anyone? They've been here for a little less than a week and we didn't know who they were until one of them was spotted by one of Thorne's guards. From what I know about hunters, they start killing as soon as they arrive and then leave quickly. The girl found at Thorne's club is the first death that we're aware of and she wasn't vampire. There have been no mysterious disappearances or deaths of our kind reported. This isn't usual hunter behavior."
"What are you saying?" Patrick asked.
"I don't know if I'm saying anything" Nathan replied. "I'm just making an observation. The issue right now is Rufus Saunders. My guess is that he'll be here by morning."
"He's already on the way" Ethan said as he walked in. "Hunters have already been spotted which means everyone stays indoors even within the gates. As far as we know they don't know about this house, but to be safe; no one goes outside except for those who can vanish. That's going to be a bit of a challenge for the kids, but it has to be that way. Also, none of the children are to answer the door. If anyone sees or hears anything suspicious, no matter how small; say something. One more thing, make sure that someone always knows where you are even in the house and keep your cell phones on. Thorne will be here shortly and will show us where the escape routes are and to tell us the pass words."
"Nathan and I will take first watch" Patrick volunteered.
"Me too" Leon said. "This is a big assed house and the more eyes the better."
'I'll help too" Louise said looking at Nathan. "And before you say that I need to rest, I'll rest when I usually do and that's with you. If I get tired, then I'll lay down. Let's face it; I'm the only one that can see them even if it's only shadows."
Nathan started to argue, but realized that she was right.
"Good" Ethan said. "Tomorrow night three others will stand watch. Adrianna, Grant and three wolves will stand watch during the day. Thorne and I have security scattered around the property and in the city including his club."
"Those of us who are up during the day can help too" Katrina said. "When are Martin and Rachel coming?"
"They're on the way" Ethan replied. "I'll fill him in when he gets here."
"Do we know the names of Olivia's crew?" Patrick asked.
"Yes and we also know the names of the hunters in the area" Ethan replied. "They are being taken from their homes as we speak, but there are plenty more arriving to replace them."
"So are we just going to sit here and wait for them to find us?" Leon asked.
"No" Ethan replied. "Once Thorne gets here we'll talk strategy. The first thing will be to find Rufus Saunders. I have people at the airport watching for him."
"What about the hunter's crew?" Leon asked.
Ethan hesitated. He wanted to wait until Thorne was there so that all of the information could be given at one time, but Leon had asked a direct question.
"I was going to wait until Thorne got here to tell you this, but it really doesn't matter. Olivia's crew is vampire. Those are the shapes that Louise was seeing. Right now we don't know where they are, but we have their names. They will be hunted just as the hunters are being hunted and will be treated as traitors."
"Does that mean that they'll be killed?" Juliette asked.
"Yes" Ethan replied. "They won't be tortured if we get to them first, but they will die."
Juliette looked at Louise and Kevyn to see what their reaction was. She was dismayed to see that they had barely reacted. Hans had told her how traitors were treated, but on some level she didn't believe it. Hans, sensing her discomfort put an arm around her and led her away.
"He's joking isn't he?" she asked.
"No he isn't" Hans replied. "This is the ugly part of our world that I wanted to protect you from, but Julie; it exists and from time to time it rears its ugly head. I had no real way of preparing you for it."
"Will you help kill them?" she asked.
"I will do whatever needs to be done in order to keep you and the children safe" Hans said. "These people hunt us and as long as they are in existence, you will never be safe. This family will never be safe. So yes, I will kill them."
"Isn't that what they're saying?" Juliette asked. "They hunt us because they think that their families aren't safe. They think that until all of us are dead, they will never be safe. Hans, when does this stop? It sounds like this is vicious cycle that both sides are too stubborn to end. I guess to some degree I can understand the need to punish the traitors, but do they really have to die? And what about the captured hunters? What will happen to them?"
"Rachel and Martin are here" someone called out.
"We'll talk later" Hans told Juliette hugging her. He knew that she wouldn't understand and was almost certain that she never would. He had no idea of how to make it easier for her. Thorne walked in a few minutes later, nodded at Ethan and went up the stairs.
Barb was shopping online when he walked into the bedroom.
"What are you doing up here?" he asked. "Your family is downstairs."
"I'm taking a time out" Barb said. "I couldn't stand to be among the rapists."
Thorne's eyes flashed in anger.
"This isn't the time to deal with this. The priority at the moment is keeping everyone safe. I don't give a fuck whether you ever speak to them again after this is over, but for now get your ass downstairs. I have information that everyone needs to hear and I don't care to repeat myself."
When Barb didn't move, he took the laptop from her lap and glanced at it.
"You're fucking shopping?" he asked incredulous. "I don't know why I'm surprised, but let's go. Now."
"You can tell me later..."
"Either you walk down those stairs on your own or I'll carry your ass. Now choose" Thorne said his tone telling her that he would do it.
Barb hesitated a second longer and got off the bed without looking at Thorne. She stopped at the doorway, turned around and looked up at him.
"Yes?" he asked his tone cool.
"Nothing" She said and walked away.
Noel knew the second that Thorne was back and went back downstairs. He caught Leon's eye and nodded at him. He watched with a small amount of jealousy as Leon kissed Nadine on the temple and then made his way over to him.
"How goes it?" Leon asked as he shook Noel's hand.
"It goes" Noel replied with a small smile. "Are the children alright? This has to be very frightening for them."
"They'll be alright" Leon replied. "Are you still going to move after this is done?"
"As soon as possible" Noel replied. "Please take no offense, but your sister and I don't see eye to eye and I am more than ready for a little privacy."
"I understand" Leon said. "I don't know if you've noticed, but we don't see eye to eye with her either; but she's still family."
"True...Leon may I ask a question?"
"Sure" Leon replied.
"Do you have other female relatives that aren't here?"
"We've got lots of relatives both male and female. Why?"
"I was just curious." Noel replied. "Are any of them young women in their twenties or thirties?"
"Quite a few of them are in that age range... why are you asking?"
Noel wasn't sure of how to respond. He wasn't ready to tell anyone else about the portrait of the eyes, but he wanted information. Leon inadvertently gave him a way out.
"The women in my family are beautiful aren't they?"
"Yes they are, and I find that they have the loveliest eyes" Noel replied.
"Every Yancy female has some variation of those eyes" Leon replied. "My sisters have them in spades. So... are you hoping that one of my female relatives is your mate?"
"Who knows what the fates have in store for me?" Noel said with a shrug and a smile.
Just then, Barb walked in followed by Thorne. Anyone looking at her could see that she was angry. She looked at no one as she walked by and headed for a seat in the corner. Leon watched her and shook his head.
"I'll talk to you later" he said to Noel. "I think the meeting is about to start."
Rachel, Martin and Joseph walked in just before the meeting started.
"I'm sorry we're late" Rachel said. "I forgot how much work is involved in packing up a baby."
"We're just getting started" Ethan said. "Did you happen to notice anything unusual on the way here?"
"No, but then we weren't really looking for anything except whether we were being followed or not" Martin replied.
"Before we get started," Ethan said, "I would like to thank Thorne and Barb for opening their home up to us at the last minute. I know that there is some bad history between us, but my hope is that our families will become friends again when this is over. I've already gone over some things with those who were already here and I won't repeat them. But I do want to add this, if you are told to move; then do it. There won't be time to argue. I know that it will be difficult for the female mates to leave us; you'll want to stay and help. But believe me when I say that the best way to help us is to do as you're told. We need to be able to concentrate on what's happening and we can't do that if you're in danger. Martin and Joseph, I'll fill you in later. Now, we know that the hunters have been here for about a week and as I told you, the crew with the exception of Olivia is vampire. It was their presence that Louise and Nathan were feeling. Adrianna, one of Thorne's security people spotted the hunter at a department store a couple of days ago. The strange thing is that she was alone which is a breach of their security. The same hunter and her crew was at Thorne's club the night a human woman was killed. We have the hunter in custody and Thorne has been getting information from her. I'll give him the floor so that he can fill us in."
As Thorne listened to Ethan talk, he found that in some ways he did miss the friendship that their families had once shared. It felt good to know that someone had his back. He didn't know if it was possible for them to become friends again especially since the betrayal, but they were allies now. There was no getting around that. Barb and the pregnancy had ensured that. Even if she accepted his proposal, the two families were forever linked no matter what happened between them.
He stood next to Ethan and looked around the room. His eyes landed on Barb who wasn't looking at him, but was staring at Patrick with undisguised disgust.
"If I can have your attention please" he said loudly.
He waited until all eyes were on him before he began.
"First, welcome to my home. Consider it your home for as long as you need and want it to be. There is more than enough room for everyone so pick a room. There is a large basement that can be made into a play area for the children, but unfortunately; there are no toys or games. The only thing that I ask is that if there is a locked door; that you don't attempt to enter the room."
He looked at Barb when he said this and then at the rest of the room.
"As far as I know, there is only one locked room and that room belongs to my brother Noel. Other than that, you have free reign. I know that Ethan went over security issues with you so I won't repeat them but I will reiterate the point that he made about doing as you're told. It only takes one person to put everyone else in danger. After the meeting, I would like to see all of the men. I'll give you the passwords to all of the emergency exits and show you where they are. I'll leave it to you to teach this to your mates and children. Are there any questions?"
He waited a moment and then continued.
"As Ethan said, the hunters have been here for about a week. According to Olivia Saunders, they were here on vacation. That's why there haven't been any of the usual deaths and disappearances associated with the hunters. It was a breach of their security that Olivia was out alone and now we know why. Her crew is vampire. They had two strikes against them. One Adrianna spotted Olivia, and two, they showed up at my club on a night when someone was killed."
"Is it possible that one of them killed the human woman?" Joseph asked. "And are we sure that it was a vampire that killed her?"
"It's possible that one of Olivia's crew killed her" Thorne replied. "But as I told Ethan, there's no proof of that. As far as what killed her, I'm positive that it was a vampire because of the way her neck was broken. What I found odd was that there was no evidence that she had been fed from. That could be for a number of reasons including that whoever did it had already fed and that this was a crime of opportunity."
"What does your gut say?" Louise asked.
"My gut as you call it, is telling me that this was a crime of opportunity." Thorne replied.
"One of them did it" Louise said quietly. "I felt it when it happened."
"That doesn't add up" Martin said. "They were here for a week without killing anyone and then they kill a human?"
"I can't explain that" Louise said. "I only know that it was one of them, but it does lend credence to the thought that it was a crime of opportunity."
"But it was also impulsive" Katrina added. "I would bet my last dollar that the girl's death wasn't planned.
"Louise, is it possible for you to pinpoint their whereabouts?" Thorne asked.
"I don't know. I haven't tried." Louise replied. "Nathan and I have talked about it and decided to wait to see what happens."
"There is an unknown factor in this" Nathan said. "We don't know if they can track her. Logic says that if she can reach out to them, they should be able to reach out to her and I'm not ready to put Louise or our child needlessly at risk."
"Understood" Thorne replied. "We're grateful for the help that you've given. This is the information that I gleaned from Olivia, the vacation part is true. She was given this crew as a test- she is supposed to take over the hunter organization when Rufus steps down. Needless to say she fu.... Screwed up" Thorne said correcting his language when he caught sight of Celeste. He paused for a second; there was something vaguely familiar about her eyes. Then he looked at Barb, Juliette, Louise and then Kevyn. He shook his head and then continued.
"As I was saying, she screwed up and Rufus does not take kindly to failure especially from his off spring. She gave me the names of all of the hunters in the area, but more are on their way. The last thing that she told me was the names of her crew. Believe me when I say that she fought me, but I did get the information without hurting her too much."
"What's going to happen to her?" Juliette asked.
"That hasn't been decided" Ethan said. "Thorne, what else did you find out?"
"She's afraid of her father" Thorne replied. "She would rather die than be turned over to him. She has no love of us, but she takes the live and let live stance. That would be something that Rufus would find intolerable which lead me to this conclusion, he knew that she was going to fail. He knows that she doesn't want his position but he can't just take it from her."