Thorne Ch. 10bykalamazoo707©
Note: Thanks again to all of you for reading, commenting and voting! Thanks to Jean and Donalde for beta reading for me- I appreciate it!
William stopped and looked at Olivia. It was obvious that she had something to say.
"What is it?" he asked trying to help her.
"Who-did you kill my father?"
"Yes," he replied, "but he didn't suffer. You wouldn't have wanted it that way."
"Thank you- I was hoping that you would be the one to kill him for that reason. Are you hurt?"
"No I'm fine and relieved that you're safe," William replied.
"What happened to your family?" Olivia asked not sure that she really cared.
"If they are smart-they are long gone. They were granted free passage out of the state and will live as long as they don't come back. Harry is dead."
"Harry is dead? How?" she asked mildly surprised.
"Olivia, Harry killed the girl that was found behind the club. She wasn't the first one that he has killed. It was him that landed us in this mess which has turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I'm sure that you've figured out what your father's intentions for you were."
Olivia was quiet. She was thinking about how much she could tell him.
"I'm sorry but I'm glad that he's dead. He and my father killed my mother. And yes- I figured out what my father was up to."
"There is no need for apologies," William said. "I knew that Harry killed your mother and I've often wondered how your father didn't know -now I understand. Olivia, I am sorry for the pain that my family has caused you."
"Did you mean it when you offered your services?" Olivia asked abruptly changing the subject.
"I meant it," William replied.
"Then I think that you should stick around and meet everyone else-if you aren't busy."
"I am at your disposal," William replied with a bow.
"William- you just apologized for the pain that your family caused mine," Olivia said softly. "It is I that should be apologizing to you. We've killed, tortured and maimed so many of your kind out of ignorance and because we chose not to think for ourselves- I include me in that. I'm sorry."
William wanted to take her into his arms but didn't. She wasn't ready for that and might never be. For now it was enough that she accepted him as part of her security detail. He would think about the rest of it later. Her safety came before anything else. Once the others arrived, they needed to get Olivia somewhere safe until things settled down and she had a chance to regroup. She hadn't had time to mourn the death of her father and that needed to happen before she could focus on anything else. He knew that she was trying to convince herself that it didn't matter and that she had to appear strong. When she finally realized that it was alright to grieve; he would be there. He took a moment to think about what was left of his family. He sincerely hoped that they left the state and stayed out of trouble. Of the three of them, he would lay bets that his father would be the one to try to get Nell and his mother Involved with the hunters again. He hoped not. If they did he would have no choice but to treat them as enemies. There was the possibility that they could side with Olivia-he didn't think so, but then; one never knew.
By evening, the other two couples were there. The wolves had been able to break away early and were anxious to meet the hunter who had turned against her own. William stood behind Olivia and slightly to her right as she talked to the group.
"I want to get a few things straight," she said. "I am not my father nor am I a puppet to the Blackwell's or the Sinclaires. I will admit to you that I don't want this, but I accepted because I want this senseless war to stop. I will also admit that I am ignorant about your race. I won't lay all of the blame on my father- I could have learned the truth. It was easier to accept what he said as gospel. My point is this, I'm going to be asking a lot of questions and I don't want you to be offended."
The small group looked at each other and then at Olivia.
"Olivia," Natasja said. "We have much to learn from you as well. I'm sure that we will also be asking questions that may seem rude, but how else will we learn? I for one am anxious to learn more about your kind."
"As am I," Milo said taking Natasja's hand. "We would be honored to serve you."
The other vampire couple, Hugh and Jackie Bates had been silent up until that point.
"How do we know that this isn't some elaborate trick to help you take over and continue what your father started?" The Jackie asked. "I mean, maybe you're just as bad as your father was."
"That's a valid question," Olivia said after a short pause. "And I don't know if I can answer it. I wish that I could say that I'm one hundred percent sure that I'm not like my father or that I won't turn into him. I can however promise that I'll do my best not to. Part of this is about trust. I trust you to keep me safe and to tell me if you feel that I'm being unfair in a bad way. Am I nervous? Of course I am but that doesn't mean that I don't trust you. I'm asking that you trust me in return."
"What about him?" Hugh asked looking at William. "He's a traitor not only to his own kind, but to the people for whom he worked. How do we know that he won't switch sides again?"
"You don't know that," William said. "As Olivia said, this is a matter of trust. You don't trust me and that's understandable. Even so, I'm not going to justify why we did what we did. Our main objective here is to keep Olivia safe and to rebuild the hunters into what they were meant to be- part of the line of defense against creatures such as the rogue and hunters like her father had been. You can like me –or not- it matters little to me. Olivia's wellbeing is all that I care about."
The husband/wife team looked at each other and then at Olivia.
"We are here to serve you and we will serve you even if it cost us our lives," the male said. "But understand this- we do not like nor do we trust the traitor that stands behind you. We accept him because you have chosen him to stand with you."
Olivia tapped her fingers against the table for several long minutes before she spoke.
"Thank you for your time, but I won't need your services."
Everyone stared at her not sure that they heard her correctly.
"Things are going to be hard enough without the members of my security team not trusting each other. Not only will you need to have my back, we have to look out for each other. You came here with your mind already made up about William..."
"You would choose a traitor over us?" Jackie asked shocked.
"Let me tell you about that traitor," Olivia said as she leaned forward. "That traitor risked his life for me. That traitor could be somewhere safe, but he's here. That traitor killed my psychopath father not only saving my life, but the lives of many others. Now, back to your services- as I said, I won't need them. I would rather do with less than have to worry about whether I can trust you to have all of our backs."
William and Benita's eyes met. They liked what they were seeing. Rufus Saunders had seriously underestimated his daughter.
"Wait," Hugh said alarmed by the turn of events. "We meant no disrespect. We were simply being honest with you about our feelings. We had no idea that he was the one that ended the lead hunter's life."
He looked at William and bowed his head deferentially.
"On behalf of me and my mate, I beg your pardon. It seems that we have misjudged you. Olivia, would you please reconsider your decision? We give you our word that we will protect all of you as you would protect us. "
Olivia resumed her tapping on the table. They would eventually learn that it meant that she was thinking and was not to be disturbed. Thirty minutes passed before she spoke.
"Why are you so quick to trust me?" She asked. "Or don't you? And if not, why are you here?"
"We heard about you," Jackie replied. "We voiced our questions about you and you responded. The one behind you has yet to open his mouth in his defense. As far a trusting you, if Benita and Kenneth are here; then you are trustworthy. You also have the support of the Sinclaires and the Blackwell's behind you- that is all that I need to know. What does he have to offer?"
"What do you wish to know?" William asked quietly but firmly. "Do you want to hear about those that I killed while under the employ of Rufus? Tell me- what do you want to know?"
"Olivia, they are right. I can't expect them to trust me on sight. I would feel the same if I were in their position."
A few minutes later, William had answered all questions with the main one being how did they know that he wouldn't turn against them.
"Our duty is to protect Olivia from all threats within our ranks as well as those on the outside," the male vampire said. "That also means that you have the right to ask us about any motives that you see as suspicious as we have the right to question you. I apologize for misjudging you and I thank you for being willing to answer our questions. Olivia, I also owe you an apology. We should have withheld our thoughts until after we met with you. Once again, I ask that you rethink your decision regarding our service."
Olivia had just learned her first lesson. William and the couple were right. Trust needed to be built and not taken for granted. Blind faith is what her father had demanded of those under him.
"I accept your apology and will make one of my own. I was wrong to expect you to blindly trust me-that is something that my father would have expected. I would like for you and your mate to stay. Before we continue, are there any other concerns?"
Benita and William exchanged another look. Olivia was going to be fine.
They spent the next several hours deciding on where to go. Wherever it was, they needed to leave soon while things were still in an upheaval. The only people other than them who would know where they were going would be Thorne and Ethan. All of them made suggestions with William making his last.
"I have a place," he said quietly. "The problem is the same as the other options- getting her there. I would like to make a suggestion if I could."
"We're listening," Milo said. He liked William and had no qualms with him being on the security team and made it his personal business to ensure that William's back was watched.
"I would suggest that we travel at night when we are the strongest. Those of us who are vampire will take care of things at night while you who are wolf stand guard during the day.
"Where is this place?" Kenneth asked. "And are you sure that no one else knows about it?"
"No one knows about it," William assured him, "not even my family. It isn't a large place, but we will make do until we come up with something better."
"It will hold all of us?" Benita asked.
"It will and since most of us are mated, it makes things easier. When all is said and done, there will be a room for Olivia and a room for me."
"That doesn't sound like a small house," Natasja said chuckling. "So where is this place?"
"Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area, Alaska," William replied.
Milo's forehead creased in thought. "That's one of the least populated areas in Alaska. According to the 2010 census, less than six thousand people lived there."
"I know," William replied. "That's why I chose it. It will be easier to spot someone who is out of place. The largest city in the area is Galena which has a civilian airport. Flying, in my opinion is the quickest and safest way to get Olivia out of here."
They all agreed with him and asked about supplies.
"I have some provisions there but they won't last long," William replied. "If we're going to go, I need to go ahead of you and set things up. I would appreciate it if one of the vampire males went with me."
The vampire that questioned William's loyalty raised his hand. "My mate and I will go with you. What is it that the humans say? Many hands make light work. When do we leave?"
"As soon as possible," William replied. "Benita, why don't you and those remaining work on the transportation part of it while we're gone? Be ready to go as soon as we return."
"I'll call Thorne," Benita said wondering if anyone else noticed that William had slid into the role of team leader. She had no problem with it and hoped that no one else did either. She wondered if Olivia would do what needed to be done if someone objected.
"How long will you be gone?" Olivia asked.
"A day at the most," William replied. "We'll be back sooner if we can; we need to get you out of the state."
"That gives me time to close out my accounts and to open new ones," Olivia said. "I also need to close out my father's accounts and transfer that money into mine. It will be done by the time you get back. One more thing- does your house have an electric tea kettle?"
"I will get one," William replied understanding what was happening. She needed some sense of normalcy. Tea meant that to her. "I will also get a variety of teas and hot chocolates. Are there any requests from anyone else?"
By the time William and the vampire couple left, they had a long shopping list. Olivia watched William vanish with a mixture of confusion, nervousness and a touch of fear. Those of them left noticed but didn't comment. They all saw what Olivia couldn't or wouldn't see- she and William were mates. Benita realized that was why no one complained when William stepped into the role of leader.
Benita called Thorne and told him what the plan was.
"William just left to get the place ready."
"I'll have my jet ready," Thorne replied. "I'll also have a large industrial sized freezer on board stocked with blood and other things. Just call me as soon as William and the others get back."
"Will do," Benita replied. She was going to hang up when Thorne spoke again.
"I can't tell you how much Ethan and I appreciate what you and your mate are doing. Thank you doesn't seem to cover it."
"We're glad to help in any way that we can," Benita said mildly surprised. Thorne had never thanked her for anything. "Oh could you also send several of those computer security systems?"
"I can do that," Thorne replied. "I'll also send any other electronics that might be helpful. I'll call Ethan and let him know what's happening."
"Thanks and I'll call you as soon as William and the others get back."
Benita hung up, and looked at the remaining members of the security team and smiled. Olivia had chosen well.
Thorne hung up and called Ethan to give updates. Ethan offered to send supplies as well as any electronic equipment that Thorne didn't have. They chatted for a few minutes and agreed to meet sometime in the future to discuss what happened between their families.
After they hung up, Thorne sat at his desk thinking about his phone call to Eustace. He could tell by Eustace's voice that he was surprised to hear from him.
"Thorne? Is everything alright? Do you need Gretchen?"
"No-it's actually you that I need. I-I would like to set up a time to talk with you."
"Of course, when would you like to meet?" Eustace asked fully recovered from his surprise.
Thorne started to make the appointment for the next week and changed his mind. He knew that if he did, he would find a reason to postpone it.
"Is later tonight convenient for you?"
"I'm free," Eustace replied. The fact was, he would have rearranged his schedule to accommodate Thorne. To his way of thinking Thorne was as fucked up as Ethan's family had been but in a very different way. The other reason that he would have changed his schedule was Gretchen. He knew that she had many concerns about Thorne's mate and the pregnancy. She hadn't reported anything because there was nothing to report and she knew that Thorne at least loved the baby. But he needed help. Unfortunately he couldn't tell her that he would be seeing Thorne on a professional basis. "Where would you like to meet?"
"Not here," Thorne replied. "How about my club in three hours? I want to check it for damages anyway. We can talk while I work."
"I'll see you then," Eustace said and hung up.
Now that the phone call had been made, Thorne breathed a little easier. He decided to find Noel and to tell him what he was doing in the hopes that Noel would see that he needed help too. He left his office and walked through the house noting how empty it felt now that almost everyone was gone. He found that he actually missed the activity and the quietness unnerved him. He knew that he needed to talk to Barb, but he wanted to talk to Noel first. He found Noel in his room painting and humming to himself. The portrait of the eyes was uncovered and in plain view. As always whenever he saw the eyes, Thorne thought them beautiful. He finally realized that whoever they belonged to- she was related to the Yancy's somehow. He tapped on the wall to let Noel know that he was there and watched as Noel quickly covered the portrait.
"Hey- come on in," Noel said with a smile. "It's quiet around here isn't it?"
"Yes-it's almost unsettling," Thorne replied. "Noel, I want to talk to you about something."
"Good, because I need to talk to you too- I'm leaving."
"Leaving?" Thorne asked surprised. "Why? You know that you always have a home with me."
"Why don't you sit down?" Noel asked and tapped the empty stool next to him. "You can even paint."
"I'm good," Thorne said as he sat down. "Why are you leaving?"
Noel painted a few moments before he replied. "It's time," he replied. "It's time for me to experience the world. I know that I always have a home with you as you will always have one with me, but Thorne I need time to grow so that when I finally meet her; I'll be ready. The other reason is you and Barb. You two need time and privacy to figure out what you're going to do."
"You don't have to leave in order for that to happen," Thorne said. "What about our club?"
"Thorne, I'm leaving," Noel said with a note of finality in his voice. "I made the decision when this mess with the hunters started. As far as the club, I'm still in and we can talk on the phone or Skype. I plan to come back for visits- I have a nephew that will need to be spoiled."
"Where will you go?" Thorne asked.
Noel shrugged his shoulders and grinned. "I think that I'll explore the United States first and then I'll move on to Europe. Before you say anything, I've asked Felix to travel with me for a while. It's been a long time since I've been out among humans."
"You've really thought about this haven't you?" Thorne asked.
"I have," Noel replied. "I've even decided where I'll live once I get to Europe; France- Paris- at least for a while. I've already bought a place that I plan to decorate myself. I was hoping that you'd come to visit with the baby."
"That goes without saying," Thorne replied. "I'm going to miss you. It feels as if we haven't had enough time together as brothers. Something always got in the way. When are you leaving?"
"Next week. Felix needs to take care of some personal things and I want to spend an evening with my big brother. May I ask a question?"
"Shoot," Thorne replied.
"What are you going to do about Barb and the baby? It's obvious to me that you don't care for each other as mates should."
"That's part of what I wanted to talk to you about," Thorne said.
Noel listened without interrupting and then didn't immediately say anything when Thorne was done. When he spoke it was to ask another question.
"Are you sure that you have no feelings for her?"
"I'm sure," Thorne replied. "That we're together is partly my fault. We were never meant to be together as mates and to be honest with you, I never wanted a mate. If it weren't for the child, I wouldn't have taken her in. I would have provided for her of course, but live in the same house?"