Justine Ch. 16bykalamazoo707©
Maurice checked his cell phone several times to make sure that it was fully charged and that the volume was up. The seconds turned to minutes, the minutes tuned into what seem like hours as he waited for Mikhail to call him back. Other than to tell him that Josephine Graves was alive and who her mate was, he didn't have much to tell. He had already decided to come clean about waiting for three days to contact anyone. It would be better if it came out at the beginning and then as far as he was concerned, his part was over and he could sit back and watch as the drama played out.
He heard Jon laughing in the other room as he and Regina watched his favorite 'Muppet' movie. He wanted to be out there with them but he didn't know when Mikhail was going to call him. Instead, he turned on his laptop and read the newest bulletins on the search for Josephine Graves. From what he read, no one was having any luck in finding her which didn't surprise him. With nothing better to do, using his private line, he began calling all of David's numbers. When he called the last one and got no answer, he started over again leaving messages at each number every time he called.
Mikhail could hardly believe it; Maurice Delgado wanted to talk to him. He had never crossed paths with the vampire but knew of those who had and the outcome hadn't been pretty. He wondered what information Delgado had for him but decided to talk to the prisoner first. He would have something to compare when he spoke with Maurice. He also wondered how Maurice Delgado had become involved in the search for Justine Graves and how he had come by his information. He added those questions to the others that he planned to ask.
He went back to the room where Josh/Freddie sat staring at a plastic cup filled with blood.
"Drink it before it clots." Mikhail said as he sat at the table across from Josh.
"I'm not hungry."
"You have nothing to fear from me as long as you don't lie." Mikhail said, "Now drink up."
Josh took the cup into his trembling hands and gulped it down without stopping.
"Would you like more?" Mikhail asked.
"No, thanks." Josh replied not sure of what to make of Mikhail. He didn't seem so badass and he wondered how much of what he had heard about him true and how much of it was myth.
Mikhail leaned back in his chair and then leaned forward, "What would you like to be called? Freddie or Josh?"
"Alright then, I am Mikhail and I will reiterate what I said earlier, you have nothing to fear from me as you don't lie to me. Do you understand?"
"Yes," Josh replied, "can I ask a question?"
Mikhail nodded and waited.
"If this lady is who I think it is and you find her, will I get out of here?"
"I won't lie to you and say yes because only the queen can make that promise but I will promise you this," Mikhail said, "I have come a very long way to speak with you and you will tell me what you know regardless of what the queen says."
"Then I'm not saying anything until I have her word that I'll be let go when the woman is found."
Mikhail's blue eyes flashed as he spoke, "You are in no position to barter if it is true that you kidnapped the queen's mother."
"No, but you can't kill me either." Josh replied smugly, his nerve coming back. "What if I'm the only one who saw her?" he asked, "That must be it, you wouldn't be here if you had other leads so here are my terms, I tell you what I know and when you find the woman you let me go and I want the reward money."
Mikhail leaned back and assessed Josh. He wasn't about to give in to Josh's demands and gave him more chance to tell him what he knew.
"You have my terms." Josh replied as he crossed his arms.
"Consider this," Mikhail said, "I may not kill you but I can do things to you that will make you tell me every wrong deed that you have ever done. I have a phone call to make, think about what I told you."
Mikhail stood up, walked out of the room and called Maurice Delgado.
Maurice was about to give up when his phone rang.
"Delgado." he said not letting the phone complete its ring.
"This is Mikhail; I was told that you wanted to talk to me."
"Yes... I have some information that you may find helpful in the search for Josephine Graves." Maurice replied.
"I see," Mikhail said his tone cool, "how is it that you came by this information?"
Maurice bristled at Mikhail's tone and responded.
"I am well aware of who you are and have a healthy respect for you and what you do. I also am well aware of the task that you have before you and called to offer what information that I have. I understand that you have questions and I am happy to answer them but I will not be spoken to as if I were one of your unsavory characters, is that clear?"
For a second, Maurice didn't think that Mikhail was going to respond.
"I apologize." Mikhail said. He knew that Maurice wasn't without his resources and that he might need both him and his resources.
"Apology accepted." Maurice replied in a conciliatory tone. "I can only imagine how frustrated you must be. Perhaps my information will help alleviate some of your frustration."
"I'm listening." Mikhail replied mindful of his tone.
He listened as Maurice told him about the search for the kidnapped mate of a friend.
"It wasn't a planned kidnapping but one of opportunity."
"And she is alive?" Mikhail asked.
"Yes she is alive and with her mate." Maurice replied.
"Well, where are they?" Mikhail asked.
"That's the problem." Maurice said, "I've been calling every number that he has for the past three days and he doesn't answer and before you say anything, yes I waited until now to call you because I wanted to warn him that Josephine was being searched for and to tell him who she was so that he would react accordingly."
"I assume that you've searched for them?"
"Yes and we couldn't find them. I believe that he took her somewhere and then warded it. We won't find them until they come back."
"If he should contact you or you manage to reach him, will you call me?" Mikhail asked.
"Absolutely." Maurice replied, "I want the queen's mother as safe as well as you do and I will notify you immediately when I reach David or he calls me."
"What is David's last name?" Mikhail asked.
"Sheffield, he's one of the biggest industrialists in Europe." Maurice replied.
"Is she safe with him?"
"Yes... he loves her and he would never do anything to hurt her."
Mikhail gave Maurice his cell phone number and hung up. He would call Justine after he took care of Josh Archer.
Josh was getting nervous. Mikhail had been gone for quite awhile and he was beginning to wonder about the wisdom of trying to bargain with the hunter. He stood up, paced, sat down only to stand again his anxiety growing with each passing moment.
He had just sat down again when Mikhail walked into the small room.
"Thank you but I no longer need your information." Mikhail said. "You should have told me what you knew, the information that I just received would have corroborated yours. Take him back to his cell." Mikhail said and walked out.
He could hear Josh screaming fro him to come back but he ignored it, he had a very important phone call to make.
Justine sat at her desk finishing the paperwork that Zoe had started. The women were coming out of the woodwork as well as some men who had been sold by Jeremiah. As it turned out, Jeremiah was getting off rather lightly. So far Mimi had meted out the worst punishment. There were a few who wanted to see him and not all of them wanted to hurt him but wanted nothing more than an apology and to know that they would be cared for.
The houses that she sat aside for victims of abuse were filling up almost faster than she could buy them, which led her to her next decision, apartment buildings. She had Pam look around the city for apartment buildings for sale, get estimates on how much it would take to make them livable and how long it would take. The first building held two hundred fully furnished apartments and would be ready by the weekend. It wasn't luxury living by any means but it was safe and well guarded.
She took a moment to look out of the window to give her eyes a break from reading. She hadn't heard from Mikhail yet and didn't call. He would call her when he knew something but until then, she kept busy and tried not to jump every time the phone rang.
A short time later, she signed the last form for the day and went in search of Violet who was laying the groundwork for the gala. She found her in the kitchen eating a huge bowl of ice cream.
"This is called rocky road, have you tried it?" Violet asked taking another spoonful.
"Yes." Justine replied laughing. "It's a good thing that you can't gain weight."
"Indeed but this would be worth every pound." Violet replied. "I have some things that I want to talk to you about regarding the gala." she said after taking another spoonful of the ice cream.
"Good, I was going to ask where things were." Justine replied as she grabbed a spoon from a drawer and sat down next to her.
"Well, the biggest challenge is going to be where to have it." Violet said, "There are going to be thousands of vampires and other beings in attendance."
"What did you and the others do?"
"We rented a mansion that had several ballrooms in it as well as several bedrooms where of course you and Quinn will have the master suite and the other rooms will be taken by guests that you invite to stay at the mansion with you. Everyone else will stay at hotels and a shuttle service will be provided for those who don't want to bother with driving."
"And you did all of this work for one night?" Justine asked.
Violet shrugged as if the amount of work didn't matter.
"Ok, find the mansion and reserve it for the year. When that's done, notify the hotels surrounding the mansion and give them a heads up. I know that I said that I wanted this to last for two days but hell, make it a week..."
"A week? Justine...."
"A week... make sure that the mansion has a huge yard so that we can set tables out... and we'll have a cook out one of those nights! Make ice cream and have all of the toppings... and we need a head count, live music... Are you taking this down?" Justine asked.
"I don't need to." Violet replied, "You are truly amazing."
"Nah... I just like to have fun speaking of which, where are the guys?" Justine asked.
"Working in the indoor garden, Quinn is teaching Edward how to use his cameras." Violet replied as she took the last spoonful of her ice cream.
"Let's go see what they're doing." Justine suggested as she took the dirty dishes to the sink.
On their way out, her phone rang. Her heart stopped when she saw the caller ID.
"It's Mikhail." she whispered and was suddenly afraid to answer the phone. She jumped when she felt Quinn's arms go around her.
"What's wrong?" he asked giving her a squeeze, "Why aren't you answering your phone?"
"It's Mikhail" she replied. Several scenarios ran through her mind including that her mother was dead after all and that she would have to plan a service for her.
"Sweetheart, answer it." Quinn said tightening his arms around her.
Justine opened the phone, put it up to her ear and prepared herself for the worst.
"Mikhail?" she asked in a shaky voice. "You're sure? Has this Delgado seen her? All right, I want to talk with him and bring the kidnapper back with you; I want to talk to him as well. No, come home but first make sure that all of David Sheffield's known homes are watched and if they resurface, I don't want them approached. I want to be notified before anything is done."
Justine hung up the phone, turned in Quinn's arms and cried tears of relief. Her mother was alive; they only needed to find her.
Josephine was cried out. She had mourned the lost years with Justine that she would never get back, mourned the loss of the years that she and David could have been happy together if only he had told her the truth. She mourned the loss of her mother and sister through death and mourned the way in which David had found her.
By the fourth day she was ready to go and find Justine whether she as dead or alive. She looked over at David and saw a look that she knew well, he had made up his mind about something. He wanted to kill the vampire that had hurt her. She knew by the set of his jaw that his mind was made up.
"Tell me again what he looked like." he said as he sketched on a sketchpad.
"Dark hair, tall, dark eyes, very well dressed." she repeated again.
Several minutes later, David showed her a sketch, "is this him?"
Josephine looked at the sketch and swallowed hard, it was him. David had drawn an almost perfect replica of the man who had stolen her from her family. Before she realized what she was doing, she had gone into full defense mode; her black purple-rimmed eyes glittered as the memory of that night came back.
"Josephine, love? It's alright, he can't hurt you." David said softly as he removed the sketch from her hands. "You're safe with me."
He folded the sketch and put it in a pocket before sitting next to her and taking her into his arms. Several minutes, she calmed and pulled away.
"I'm alright now." she said, "It still feels as though it just happened."
"I'm going to kill him." David said softly.
"I am going to kill him." he repeated slowly. "I will find him no matter where he is and I am going to kill him. There is nothing that you can say to me that is going to stop me."
Josephine didn't argue, there was no point in trying to change his mind, he was far too angry. Instead, she distracted him by suggesting a walk along the beach. They would be leaving soon and she wanted their last day here to be pleasant. In fact, she hoped that they could come back to live on the island for a while.
"Do you like it here that much?" David asked reading her mind.
"I do, could we come back here?" she asked.
David put his arm around her, "We can go wherever you wish."
Josephine nodded, "here, I want to come back here."
"Then we will." David promised. "Jo... can I call you that?"
"My mom used to call me that... But yes you can call me that."
"Jo," he started again, "Before we leave we have to talk about your family. We know that your mother and sister are deceased but we can find them and have a service for them if you like. My friend who I will take you to meet soon has already started looking for them and for your daughter but love..."
"I know." Josephine said softly, "she might be dead but I would know wouldn't I? I would have felt it." she said her voice filled with hope.
"I promised you that I would never lie to you again." David replied, "And I mean to keep that promise. I would give anything to be able to tell you that you would know if Justine was dead but I can't. I would like to hope so but I can't promise you that. What I can promise you is that I'll do everything in my power to find her no matter where she is."
Josephine bit back a sob, stiffened her shoulders and looked at David.
"She isn't dead."
"David, she isn't dead." Josephine insisted, "I don't know where she is or what she's doing but I'm telling you that she isn't dead."
Not wanting to upset her, David didn't try to make her see reason, he could only hope that she was right and if she wasn't.... he didn't want to think about it. If Justine was dead, it would be his fault and he didn't think that Josephine no matter how tenderhearted she was would ever forgive him for that.
"Is tomorrow soon enough to leave or do you want to leave now?" he asked.
To his surprise, she wanted to stay another night saying that she wanted to enjoy the peace and solitude before they went back.
That day as she rested after they made love, David lay awake and planned his revenge on the vampire that had hurt Josephine and what he would say to Josephine's daughter when they found her. They would find her but the question was would it be dead or alive. In the years since he had been turned, he hadn't prayed much but he found himself praying that Justine was alive and well somewhere. He prayed that she wouldn't hold those missing years against her mother and refused to see or to talk to her. He didn't care about how she would feel about him or if she never accepted him as her mother's mate. The only thing that mattered was her reaction to Josephine.
He slowly relaxed only to jerk awake again. There was an issue that they hadn't discussed, if Justine was alive, she would be human. How would they explain the fact that Josephine looked no older than she did? As he lay next to Josephine, thinking, more potential issues came up. Issues that wouldn't have been issues had he only been honest.
"First things first." he reminded himself. He had to call Maurice and let him know that all was well but that could wait until morning, it was only one more night.
"Damn you David Sheffield!" Maurice exclaimed after yet another unsuccessful attempt to reach David.
"Dam you!" a small voice said from beside him.
Maurice jumped; he hadn't heard Jon come in. He looked around for Regina, picked the boy up and held him in his lap.
"I just said a bad word and I'm sorry but we mustn't let mommy know...."
"Too late, she already knows." Regina said walking into the office.
"You still haven't reached your friend yet have you?" she asked.
"No and my apologies about the cursing." Maurice replied.
"I know that you're worried about your friend but be more careful with the language ok? So what's your next step?" Regina asked sitting in his lap.
"There really isn't anything that I can do until he decides to show himself but I was at least hoping for a phone call." he replied.
"So she really is the queen's mother?" Regina asked.
"I have every reason to believe that she is and apparently so does Mikhail."
"What happens when they find her?" she asked
"They will make sure beyond all doubt that she is indeed the mother of the queen. There will be certain things that they will look for starting with physical appearance and they will go from there. According to the stories all of which have been coming true by the way, the queen will have black eyes surrounded by red flames. Word has it that the new queen's eyes are as I have just described. The queen mother is supposed to have black eyes surrounded by purple flames indicating that she is royalty. She will be powerful but not nearly as powerful as the queen."
Regina was quiet for a moment, "What's with the eye thing? Did the other queens have it?"
"That is the other part of the story." Maurice replied, "According to the story, the woman whose eyes are as I have described is to be the queen of queens. What that means is that there will be no other queen after her unless she is killed and I can tell you that it won't happen. Flames that are the color of his eyes will also surround her mate's eyes. It they are brown the flames will be brown and so on but his powers will grow in conjunction with hers. The final thing is whether she accepts him as he equal and from what I have been able to find out, she has."
"They'll be indestructible won't they?" Regina asked.
"Yes. And they will be able to do things that vampires haven't been able to do for centuries including going out into the sunlight."
"So can you." Regina reminded him.
"Yes but it's because of my genetic makeup and other than me there are only a handful of those....."
Maurice stopped mid sentence, he was remembering more of the story that he hadn't thought about in centuries
"What?" Regina asked.
Maurice's cell phone rang making Regina jump. He looked at the caller ID and answered the phone.