Vanessa and Veronica Ch. 08bykalamazoo707©
Veronica blinked rapidly, "What the hell?" she asked as she looked around. She had gone to the kitchen to get Victoria cookies and milk, Rik had wanted to come with her, she told him that she would be fine... and why wouldn't she be? She was in the house! Then she saw something at the back door, a face but she felt no threat but a great deal of pain, sorrow and sadness. She remembered going to the door, she had no intentions of opening it but she did. The emotions of the vampire standing on the back steps almost overwhelmed her. Veronica had never considered herself the most empathetic of vampires but the pain and suffering... she hadn't planned to step outside any more than she had planned to open the door but she did and now she was .... Wherever here was.
She looked around the small room and tried to stand.
"You cannot break those chains." a voice said from behind her.
"Who are you?" Veronica asked as she tried to turn to see who was behind her.
"My name does not matter." he replied.
"Well it matters to me!" Veronica shot back, her temper flaring.
"Very well but it won't mean much to you nor will your knowing it change anything." the voice said. "My name is Bradford Jefferson."
"Alright Mr. Jefferson, who was the corpse?" she asked in full no nonsense Veronica mode.
Bradford blinked, here she was chained to a chair and she was demanding answers. The impressive thing was that there wasn't a trace of fear but much curiosity.
"Are you not afraid?" he asked.
"Would it help if I said yes?" Veronica asked.
"No." Bradford replied, "It would change nothing."
"Then no I'm not afraid." Veronica replied, "But I will admit to being as mad as hell. So who was the corpse?"
Instead of answering her Bradford left the room closing and locking the door behind him.
Everyone ran into the kitchen when they heard Rik call out.
"Wha....." then Ethan saw the open door and the dead flowers on the doorstep.
Katrina stopped dead in her tracks her dark eyes filled with fear and fury. It was the soft sobbing of Victoria that calmed her.
"We'll find her." Katrina soothed hugging the crying girl.
"M....my fault... M... I..." she sobbed.
"No it isn't." Katrina said.
"B... I wanted cookies and...."
Ethan tamped down his anger and picked Victoria up.
"This isn't your fault! Do you understand? It's the fault of whoever who took her and we're going to find her."
Victoria looked tearfully at Rik, "I...." was all that she got out before she shattered into tears.
Rik like Ethan swallowed his anger and went to Victoria, "No little one, it is not your fault and I swear to you we will bring her back."
"Rik, Luc you start searching the property, Vanessa and Katrina you stay here in case she comes back," Ethan said as he took out his cell phone. "Katrina baby, pack a bag for Victoria, I'm calling Mason to see if she can stay with him and Toni until this is over."
Victoria started to cry even harder, "Please don't make me go! I want to stay here and help look for Ronnie!"
"No sweetheart, we need to know that you're safe." Ethan replied.
"Come on pumpkin." Vanessa said taking Victoria's hand.
"I'll pack some of your cookies." Katrina said thinking that it would help.
Victoria pulled away from Vanessa, walked to the counter where the cookie jar was, picked it up and threw it out of the open back door as hard as she could with a scream of rage. She sobbed as the ceramic jar hit a tree and then shattered.
"Mason and Toni will be here in about an hour," Ethan said as he picked up a still sobbing Victoria. He held her until her sobs were sniffles and she was hiccupping. "Alright baby, go with your mom and Vanessa."
"Hurry up and find her."
Rik took the back of the property with Luc taking the front. Security combed the entire area looking in every building there was and then extended the search beyond the perimeters of Ethan's considerable property.
Ethan was going to call Patrick but decided to wait; Martin, Rachel and their boys were on the way as well as other friends and relatives, which included Maryanne, her husband and his family. He would call Patrick if they hadn't found Veronica by morning. He knew that they were just getting home and he didn't want to alarm them just yet.
After all of the necessary calls completed, Ethan kissed Katrina, Vanessa and Victoria goodbye. Victoria clung to him so tightly that he had to peel her arms from around his neck.
"Papa please don't make me go!" she begged again.
"Ethan?" Mason called out as he walked into the kitchen. "Veronica is missing?" he asked.
"Yes, I'll let Katrina fill you in and thank you and Toni both for taking care of Victoria but I've got to go."
A few minutes later, he was gone.
Mason bent down to Victoria, "hey kiddo."
"H...hi Uncle Mason"
"Ready to go? I promise that you can call as many times as you want and you won't even have to go to bed until Veronica is found."
Reluctantly Victoria took Mason's hand. Her bag was waiting by the front door having been packed by Katrina.
"Victoria, do you remember Toni? My wife and this is our son Jamie."
"H...Hi." Victoria said still sniffling.
"Hi Victoria." Toni said bending over as far as her large pregnant belly would allow. "I know that you're scared and that you want to stay and help but the best way to do that is if you come with us."
Victoria slowly nodded her head as the tears began anew.
Twenty-one year old Jamie looked at the sobbing girl and felt a pull on his heart, the need to soothe and protect her hit him so hard that his head spun. He knew exactly who this girl was. That it would be years before they could be anymore than friends didn't matter... he could wait for centuries if he had to but his priority was the here and now.
"Come on squirt." he said lightly, "I'll even let you beat me in scrabble."
Victoria's eyes flashed, "Squirt? My name is Victoria!" she said her voice full of indignation.
"Victoria then," Jamie said with a smile, getting to know Victoria Sinclaire and watching her grow up was going to be interesting indeed.
Veronica was getting angrier by the minute, "Hey!" she called out several times and then stopped realizing that as long as Bradford wasn't in the room with her it gave Rik and the others more time to find her. She had no plans of just sitting there and waiting for them to find her, she'd kick his ass herself if she had too.
In the meantime, she had to use her head. She remembered how surprised he had been when she told him that she wasn't afraid of him. It was then that she realized that he didn't know what to make of her; she wasn't what he was expecting. He was expecting her to cry, beg and plead for her life and she sure as hell wasn't about to do that, she would die fighting him first.
However, she was curious about him as well. She really wanted to know who the woman was and why he waited so long to seek his vengeance.
Bradford stood outside of the door wishing now that he had taken the child; the one that he had taken unnerved him with her calm acceptance of her fate. He didn't like the way that she seemed to be turning him into one of her subject matter that she studied in her lab.
He took a deep breath and silently went back into the room.
"I know that you're back there." Veronica said in a matter of fact tone, "You didn't answer my question, who was the corpse?"
When he didn't answer, Veronica continued.
"Let's get a few things straight so that we don't waste time. If you're waiting for me to beg, cry and plead for my life it isn't going to happen. We both know that it won't make any difference...."
"You think that they are going to save you." Bradford stated calmly.
"Do you think that they won't?" Veronica challenged.
"I think that they will try" Bradford replied, "But they won't succeed."
"Why don't we agree to disagree and you tell me about the woman, was she your mate?"
Bradford was struck by the fact that Veronica had yet to ask about why he took her. She seemed more interested in knowing about Rosie than she did about his plans to kill her. Bradford hesitated; the truth was Veronica Sinclaire intrigued him.
"Why do you care?" He asked.
"Curiosity." Veronica replied.
"You think to study me?" he asked irritated.
"No not really and how could I do that if I'm going to die?" she asked.
"She was my mate." Bradford said softly, "I hadn't claimed her yet because I wanted to take my time in getting to know her.... If I had claimed her...."
Veronica listened as Bradford's demeanor changed. She could hear the same pain, sadness and rage that she saw in his face when he came to the house. For just a moment, she felt sorry for him but then her anger rose. She forced it down; it wouldn't do to antagonize him even more before she was freed from the chains.
"So why didn't you claim her?" Veronica asked trying to get Bradford back on track.
"I wanted to take my time in getting to know her." he replied. "I have always found our way of mating so.... Fast ands after looking for her for centuries, I wanted to take my time and relish every moment that it took to get to know her as a person and as my mate. Had I even suspected that she was going to be defiled by one of yours...." the anger rose again barely controlled.
"Tell me about her." Veronica said wishing that Bradford would stand where she could see him.
"Again, I ask you." Bradford said, "Why do you care?"
Veronica shrugged her shoulders rattling the heavy chains, "Curious." she replied. "Why are you standing behind me?" she asked a challenge in her voice.
Rik was searching to the left of the property calling to Veronica telepathically and becoming more anxious when he received no response. The only thing that he knew for sure was that she wasn't dead, he would have felt it, and with that knowledge in mind, he continued his search. After ten minutes, he stopped short, something that Ethan said hit him; Ethan could sense the vampire and so could Victoria but none of the rest of them could. That told him something, one the vampire was an ancient, he had to be in order to do the things that he did. Rik believed that the vampire specifically made a point of revealing himself to Ethan in order to taunt him. The reason for Victoria being able to sense the vampire nagged at Rik as there could be any number of reasons, but he was guessing that she had an innate ability to do so and that was something that the vampire hadn't been expecting.
When he asked Victoria to let him in, it was a spur of the moment decision that failed. It made Rik wonder if the fact that Victoria could sense the vampire was why he didn't wait or try to find an opportunity to take her. She would have been the most logical choice, as brave as she was; she was still a child and would have been frightened and more easily controlled where as Veronica..... Rik smiled, the vampire was in for a rude awakening. He headed back to the house, they needed to keep Victoria with them, she was going to be important in finding Veronica.
As Ethan searched the furthest parts of his property, he wondered about his decision no to call Patrick. Patrick would want to know no matter what else was going on in his own life. It was just that he didn't want Kevyn's first experience with her new family to be like this but it couldn't be helped. He took out his cell phone and dialed Patrick's number.
"When did you get back?" Ethan asked.
"A couple of hours ago." Patrick replied, "What's happening?"
Ethan hesitated and then told Patrick about Veronica's disappearance.
"Do you know who has her?" Patrick asked.
"We believe that it is the mate of one of our victims and so far out of all of us only Victoria and I are able to sense him." Ethan replied.
"I'm on my way." Patrick said.
"Go to the house, I'll meet you there." Ethan said, "Patrick? I'm sorry that your mate has to meet us under these circumstances."
"Me too, I'll see you soon." Patrick replied and hung up.
Ethan was surprised to see Victoria still at the house when he returned.
"Why are you still here?" he asked Mason.
"That is my fault." Rik said before Mason could respond.
Ethan turned toward Rik his eyes filled with fury, "You have no right to make any decisions regarding Victoria! You should have gone with Veronica when she went to the kitchen..."
"Ethan!" Katrina said firmly and took his arm. "It's water under the bridge! Now listen to what Rik has to say and just for the record, I was the one who made the decision about whether Victoria leaves or not."
Ethan took a deep breath, the anger fading from his eyes as he looked at Rik.
"Rik, I'm sorry...."
"Please, no apologies." Rik said interrupting Ethan, "You are right; I should have gone with her."
"Then he would have had both of you." Victoria said softly.
All eyes went to Victoria.
"Why do you say that?" Luc asked.
"I... I don't know." Victoria replied. "I just know that he's very angry at us and that he's very old, much older than papa and Uncle Mason."
"Do you not see?" Rik asked Ethan, "out of all of us, you and Victoria are the only ones that can sense him. I believe that in your case, he chose to allow it but in Victoria's case, it is an innate ability that he hadn't planned on. I've tried calling out to Veronica but I hit nothing but dead space."
"So you're thinking that Victoria can help us track him is that it?" Ethan asked.
"Yes, but I am also wondering if Victoria can reach Veronica telepathically. For one so young she is quite strong..."
"I'll try!" Victoria exclaimed relieved to be able to help in some small way.
"Victoria...." Ethan called.
"Please papa, let me try."
"Ethan and Katrina, a word please." Mason said and stepped away.
"I know that Victoria isn't my child but you know that I love her and the twins as if they were but you must let her help."
"She's a child!" Ethan replied.
"Yes and a very precocious one at that." Mason agreed, "But if you don't allow her to help in some way she will always feel responsible if this doesn't turn out well. She already feels at fault and if she isn't allowed to help, she will always feel as though she did nothing. Even it she tries and fails, that will be better than the alternative."
"Ethan, he's right." Katrina agreed, "I would be less than honest if I said that I'm scared but we have to let her help."
Ethan looked over at Victoria who was standing next to Jamie biting her lip nervously. Ethan looked back at Mason who gave a quick nod of his head.
Ethan nodded back and went back to the group followed by Katrina and Mason.
"Victoria and Katrina, come with me for a moment." he said holding out his hands.
When they were away from the group, Ethan knelt down in front of Victoria.
"Victoria, none of this is your fault, you know that don't you?"
Her silence told him that she still believed that it was.
"Baby, it wasn't." Katrina said kneeling down next to Ethan, "you couldn't have known what was going to happen."
Victoria didn't reply but began to cry again, no matter what anyone said, Veronica's disappearance was her fault and she was going to help find her even if she had to run away to do it.
Ethan realized that Mason was right, it they didn't let Victoria help in some way....
"Alright pumpkin." Ethan said, "Before I say yes to anything I need your word on a few things. The first thing is that you will do as you're told without question or argument, can you give me your word on that?"
"Yes papa!" Victoria replied. She would have promised never to ask another questioned if that's what it took.
"Good, I want your word that you won't go wandering off and that you will always stay within sight of an adult."
"Katrina what do you think?" Ethan asked already knowing the answer but it was important that Victoria know that she had the full support of both parents.
"I agree but as soon as you disobey one time, it's done."
"I promise to listen." Victoria said anxiously.
They went back to the group and stood in front of Rik. Victoria reached out and took Rik's much larger hand in hers.
"Tell me what to do."
Rik looked down at her and knelt before her, "You are a very brave little girl." he told her.
"I just want my sister back." Victoria said. "I can go back to being scared later."
Rik pulled Victoria into his arms and hugged her, "Thank you little sister." he whispered in her ear. Victoria returned the hug and then broke away, she was anxious to get started.
Rik and Victoria sat on the floor facing each other. Rik had Victoria's hands in his and spoke softly.
"Close your eyes and try to empty your mind of everything except Veronica. Do not worry if it takes some time, it's hard to do. Once everything except for Veronica is gone from your mind, just say her name. You will know if you got through or not, I cannot explain the feeling but you will know."
It took Victoria several tries before she felt ready enough to call to Veronica.
"Ronnie?" she called telepathically.
"Why are you standing behind me?" Veronica asked again, "Don't I have the right to face my accuser?"
"You are not accused of anything." Bradford replied.
"Really?" Veronica snapped back, "You broke into our lab and destroyed a very expensive piece of equipment as well as invaluable data; you left a corpse on my sister's bed and spray painted the room with animal blood which by the way stank to high heaven and let's see what else? Oh you tried to get my little sister to let you in and then you convince me to leave the safety of the house and finally, you have me chained to a chair so tell me how I am not accused of anything."
"I am not accusing you specifically." Bradford replied, "I...."
"I what?" Veronica interrupted. "I get it, you're angry at my family for what happened to Rosie and I don't blame you, I would be angry too but here's my question, why didn't you confront my father face to face? He would have respected that but he sees this as cowardice and for cowards he had no respect and neither do I for that matter."
"I am no coward!" Bradford exclaimed angrily.
"So you say." Veronica replied calmly "yet here I am, a woman who is physically no match for you chained to a chair all because you're too afraid to talk to my father..."
"I want him to feel loss!" Bradford screamed as he moved to stand before Veronica. "I want him to feel the pain that I have felt for the past decades. I want him to feel the helplessness that I felt when I found Rosie dead by her own hand; I want him to feel the anguish that I felt when one of them raped her, the guilt that I felt because I didn't protect her!"
Veronica looked up at the face of a vampire who would have been handsome if not for the sadness and rage that was in his eyes and on his face. Tears ran down his face as he glared at her, "I want him to suffer."
"I can't tell you how sorry I am that this happened to you and Rosie." Veronica said, "But killing me isn't going to change anything."
"No, it won't." Bradford agreed in a much calmer voice, "Why are you not threatening me with the fact that your father will kill me?" he asked.
"Why state the obvious?" Veronica said, "Which brings up another point, this could have been over by now, if you had confronted him you would be dead by now; you would have let him kill you."
"Yes, this is true but I had to see him frightened ....."
"Frightened?" Veronica asked, "You obviously didn't do you research, all you've done is pissed him off....."
"Ronnie?" Veronica heard in head.
"Victoria?" she sent back.
Tears of relief and pain ran down Victoria's face when she heard Veronica reply. The pain was due to the massive headache she developed while trying to contact Veronica. She didn't let anyone know because if she did, they would have made her stop. Just hearing Veronica's voice made the pounding in her head worth it.