Louise Ch. 15bykalamazoo707©
Gene spent the day on pins and needles. Several times he almost backed out. Each time he mentioned doing so; Leon didn't say or do anything to dissuade him unless Gene asked him a direct question.
"Do you think that I should do this?" he asked.
"I can't answer that." Leon replied. "It comes down to what you can live with. Will you be able to live with yourself if you don't?"
"If you were me, would you tell her?" Gene asked.
" I'm not you and the answer doesn't change." Leon replied.
Gene was so nervous that he couldn't eat. It seemed as if time had slowed to a standstill. To pass the time, Gene asked Leon about his plans.
"So you're really going to move out here?"
"That's the plan." Leon said. "I have to go back to Pittsburgh to take care of business, but then I'm coming back."
"I know that I've asked this before, but what about a job and a place to live?"
"I'll worry about that later, in the meantime, let's get you through tonight. Have you thought about how you're going to tell them?"
"How do you tell your sister that you were going to kill her for money?" he asked. "I mean, Leon, I all but sold her..."
"But you didn't and you didn't kill her." Leon reminded him.
"I know, but I thought about it! When Clay approached me about info on Kev, I should have told him where to go. When he told me to kill her, I should have told him to go fuck himself."
"Who do you think killed him?" Leon asked.
"If I had to guess, I would say Puff." Gene replied. "He had a thing for Kevyn too. He's also the only one who had enough balls to do it."
Leon nodded in agreement. He like Gene was aware that Puff had feelings for Kevyn, but had never acted on them. Puff knew better and Kevyn wouldn't have gone for him any more than she had Clay.
"What do you think happened to him?" Gene asked.
"Who knows?" Leon replied. "No one was ever arrested for killing Clay, but I think that the police would be the least of Puff's worries. I hope that he's somewhere where he can't be found."
"What?" Gene asked when he saw that Leon was looking at him.
"Were you really considering killing Kevyn?"
"How would you have lived with that?" Leon asked.
"Would you believe that I didn't think about that? " Gene replied. "All I thought about was the money. I just wanted to get back to the place I was before Dana left."
Leon didn't comment, there was nothing to say. The important thing at that moment was that Gene was finally realizing that he needed to change and that he needed help to succeed. Leon thought about Barb. He knew that there was something going on with her and wanted to ask, but they had never been as close as he and Louise were.
That didn't mean that he didn't love her; he did even though she sometimes made it difficult. He just didn't understand the way she thought although he tried. The few times he tried to reach out to her were unsuccessful. After each failed attempt, he told her that all of them were there for her if she needed them.
He knew that Barb put a great deal of emphasis on money and possessions and to some degree, he understood. All of them had dreamt of being able to buy whatever they wanted and lush vacations; it was something that they talked about. What he didn't understand was why she was so angry at them. It was an anger that seemed to grow with each gathering.
"One thing at a time." he murmured as he made a pot of fresh coffee. He glanced back at Gene and mentally grimaced. He was glad that he wasn't the one that had to face Kevyn.
On a whim, he decided to call Nadine. He hadn't spoken to her for hours but it seemed much longer. She answered on the third ring.
"Is everything alright?" she asked after they exchanged greetings.
"It is for now." Leon replied. "I'm sorry about the sudden change in plans. Are we still on for tonight?"
"Family is important." Nadine replied. "Your brother needs you and yes, we're still on for tonight. Call me when you're free."
Leon hung up with the knowledge that Nadine was the one. He was honest enough to admit that the speed in which their relationship was building still made him nervous. He decided that leaving for two weeks was a good thing. It would tell him if what he was feeling for Nadine was infatuation or something more.
He poured the coffee and carried the mugs out to the living room only to find Gene gone.
Hans was pleasantly surprised when Juliette called saying that she wanted to talk.
"I thought that you were going to meet with your sisters." He said.
"I was, but I think that we need to talk some more." She replied. "In the end whatever happens between us is our decision and our business. I still plan to talk to them at some point."
"When may I come for you?" Hans asked.
"Come before the kids go to bed. They want to see you. I thought that I could order some coffee and we could talk here if that's okay with you."
He would have much rather talked to her alone, but he didn't say that. He was willing to talk with her wherever she chose; and he did want to see the children again.
"Could the five of us have dinner together?" Hans asked. "We could go anywhere you like. I'm sure that the children are tired of the food at the hotel as good as it may be."
He could almost hear the wheels turning as Juliette debated on what she should do.
"Alright." She said after a few minutes. "They would like that. Is six too early?"
Hans hung up with a feeling of exhilaration. He had already checked on the real estate website available only to vampires for a house suitable for five or more people. He contacted a realtor about two of the houses, but hadn't heard back yet.
To pass the time, Hans called the number of a house in Pittsburgh. It was a house owned by the Sinclaires', but was currently not in use. Hans was going to buy a small home there, but as Patrick pointed out, if he was planning to come back to California; why buy a house? Patrick also reminded him that they were family.
"Feel free to use any of our homes and that includes the ones that we're living in. Our doors are always open to you and yours."
Satisfied that the house was ready, Hans thought about calling his family. He decided to wait until he had something more definitive to tell them. He felt a rush of energy as he thought about everything that needed to be done.
One of the most important things was to meet and talk with the children's father. It was important that he know and understand that he was and would always be their father. Their father also needed to know that the children would be loved and cared for as if they were his own.
The next thing he thought about was the children's education about who and what he was. He stopped himself. While those things needed to be thought about, Juliette hadn't accepted him yet.
With nothing to do for the next few hours, Hans set about baking treats for the kids. He turned on the radio, began to hum and before long; he was dancing to the music from the forties.
Things were definitely looking up.
Louise opened her eyes and looked around. Sometime during the day, Nathan had moved her to the bed and covered her with a light blanket. A happy smile came to her as she remembered hearing the baby's heartbeat for the first time. Even the memory of it filled her with awe.
There was so much to learn and she was eager to learn all of it. As soon as it was dark, she planned to go to a book store and buy several books on babies. She also planned to talk to Katrina and Nathan's mother to ask for guidance.
"Good evening sweetheart." Nathan said as he came into the room carrying a breakfast tray. "Did you rest well?"
"Yes, thanks. When did you get up? I didn't hear you." Louise replied.
"I've been up for several hours." Nathan said handing her a glass of warmed blood. "I've been on the phone with the Dean from the cooking school."
"We can't possibly go." Louise said.
"I know." Nathan replied. "That's why they're coming here."
"Here?" Louise asked.
"Here." Nathan said with a smile. "Our instructors will be here in two weeks. I already have a shopping list of the things that we'll need."
"Where will they stay?" Louise asked.
"I thought about that." Nathan replied. "How do you feel about them staying in one of the guest suites at the other house? We would have our lessons there as well."
"That works. Do you think that we could go to a bookstore tonight? I want to start reading about how to take care of a baby."
"Of course we can." Nathan said. "If you like, we can shop for the things on our list and have them delivered to the house."
"Can we look at baby things too?" Louise asked shyly. "I saw that Wal-Mart had some things on sale."
While she was now comfortable with her sexuality, she still hadn't adjusted to having money. The credit cards that Nathan had given her remained in her wallet and unused. If she bought anything, she paid with it from her own account and it was never from a high-end store.
"We could do that." Nathan replied. "In a few days we'll talk about the nurseries. Now eat up and we'll get going."
Louise ate everything on the tray saving the prenatal vitamin for last.
"Down the hatch!" she said grimacing.
"Down the hatch!" Nathan echoed as he popped his prenatal vitamin into his mouth and chased it with a swallow of water. "By the way, Gretchen is stopping by to see you on her way to mom and dad's. She called while you were asleep."
"Then I'd better get in the shower." Louise said setting the tray on the bed. "Nathan, I'm worried about Barb."
"I know you are, would you like to go check on her?"
"I think that we should. She isn't answering her phone and I need to know that she's alright."
"We'll stop in on the way." Nathan said.
Gretchen popped in just as Louise finished dressing.
"How are you feeling?" Gretchen asked as she examined her.
"Good." Louise replied.
"And you're taking the prenatal vitamins?"
"Yes." Louise said with a grimace. "We actually need more." She added.
"More? How many are you taking?" Gretchen asked.
"I'm taking them too." Nathan said.
"I get it." Gretchen said. "The support thing. Well they can't hurt you so have at it."
She asked Louise several questions regarding sleep, diet and sex.
"You're doing great. I'll see you in two weeks." Gretchen said as she stood, reached into her bag and took out two large bottles of the vitamins.
"Call me if you need me." She said as she vanished.
Barb woke up stiff, sore and nauseated. She rolled off the small sofa and headed for the bathroom. She was grateful that no vomiting accompanied the nausea as she rinsed her mouth with cold water.
When she was done, she examined her face for any new eruptions. Seeing none, she washed her face and went back into the kitchen to make breakfast. The size of the small kitchen reminded her that she would have to move. The efficiency would work for a while but when the baby started walking, it would be too small.
"This is your fault!" She growled to both Thorne and the baby. By the time she finished breakfast, she added Kevyn and Louise to the list of those she blamed for her problems.
By mid-morning, she was in a mood. She didn't understand how everyone with the exception of her and Gene; had someone. Things had fallen into place for Leon and Juliette just as easily as they had for Kevyn and Louise.
Kevyn and Louise she could almost understand. They were like her even if they didn't admit it. She even thought that she figured out how they did it and wished that she had thought of it herself. She thought about Leon and Nadine- Nadine had to be in it for what money Leon had. It may not have been much, but Leon would give her what he had. Hans she didn't get at all. What man in his right mind would go after a woman with three children?
But then, it gave her a glimmer of hope. If Juliette could find a man who would take her with three kids, how hard could it be to find a man who would take her with just one?
She sighed heavily. Who was she fooling? Juliette and Hans was a fling just as Leon and Nadine were. Leon, Gene, Juliette and the kids would be leaving the day after the get together at Jonesy's. Once they were gone, she could concentrate on what she was going to do with the baby.
She spent the afternoon cleaning the apartment dreaming of a day when she wouldn't have to do such menial work. She worked until the tiny apartment was spotless and then got online to check her bank account. At some point, she was going to have to find a doctor.
Before she knew it, the sun was setting and her stomach was growling. It was a welcome feeling and sound as she hadn't been able to really eat without throwing up for almost a month.
Immediately she stopped what she was doing and heated up a can of chicken noodle soup in the microwave. When it was hot, she took a cautious spoonful of the soup and waited for the nausea to come. When it didn't, she took another spoonful and then another until the bowl was empty. She was still hungry, but she didn't want to tempt fate. Instead, she nibbled on crackers and sipped on ginger ale while she channel surfed.
Nathan helped Louise into the car. He didn't want to go to Barb's, but Louise wouldn't relax until they did.
"I'm sure that she's alright." Nathan assured her with a kiss on the temple. "I want you to know that I won't allow her to upset you."
Louise hesitated. She was about to say something that Nathan wasn't going to like.
"I need to talk with her alone."
"Absolutely not!" Nathan replied.
"Nathan, I need time alone with her. She won't talk to me if you're with me."
"No, listen to me. She may be angry, but she won't hurt me; at least not physically. But even if she does, she needs to know that we still love and care about her."
They argued about it during the drive over to Barb's apartment. Finally, Nathan gave in.
"I'm only agreeing because I know that she won't hurt you and because you won't be at peace until you talk to her. However, if I sense that things are getting too much for you, I'm coming in."
"Could you please not listen in?" Louise asked. "This needs to be a private conversation."
"I won't listen, but I will be feeling for too much emotional upset." Nathan replied.
A few minutes later, Louise was knocking on Barb's door.
Barb had just gotten comfortable on the sofa when she heard the knock on the door. Frowning, she got up curious as to who would be at her door. No one other than her family and the landlord knew where she lived.
"Hold on!" she yelled as whoever was at the door knocked again. "Wh....?"
She froze when she saw Louise. Barb felt a mixture of emotions as she stared at her.. Anger, disbelief, jealousy, hatred and finally; relief all blended together inside of her.
'What are you doing here?" Barb demanded.
"I was worried about you." Louise replied. "You aren't answering your phone."
"There's a reason for that." Barb snapped, "I don't want to talk to anyone. As you can see, I'm fine so go back to your happy little life."
"Fine, suit yourself." Barb said and started to shut the door.
Louise stopped the door from closing with no effort.
"I'm not leaving until I say what I came to say."
"If you're going to tell me what a selfish bitch I am, you've already told me so save your breath." Barb said and tried to shut the door again.
"That isn't what I wanted to say." Louise replied. "Please let me come in."
Barb hesitated wondering where Nathan was.
"He's in the car." Louise said. "May I please come in?"
"If it will get you out of my hair, then by all means come in." When Louise was inside of the apartment, Barb didn't offer her a seat; but waited for her to say her piece.
"I just wanted to tell you that we love you and if you ever need us, we're here."
"Do you feel better now?" Barb asked.
"Excuse me?" Louise asked.
"Admit it; you just came here to gloat. You wanted to rub it in my face..."
"That isn't true!" Louise shouted. "We're worried about you!"
"Are you done?" Barb asked.
Louise shook her head and turned to walk away; but then turned back to face Barb.
"I meant what I said, we love you and if you need anything; we're here for you."
Louise left the apartment with a heavy heart. She not only worried for Barb, but for the child she was carrying. She knew that Barb was pregnant the moment she walked into the apartment; but hadn't said anything.
For one, Barb would have wondered how she knew and two, she would have denied it. She wondered if Barb told Thorne about the baby and then decided that she hadn't. A flash of understanding hit her. Barb was going to use the baby to get the life that she wanted. She would use the baby to get Thorne to marry her.
She understood that Thorne needed to take responsibility for his child, and had the feeling that he would if he knew about it. She also knew that it wouldn't be enough for Barb. She would want a wedding and everything that went with it.
Suddenly she froze.
"Oh no." she murmured. She had just realized that Barb while human was immortal and her baby, if male would be born vampire. Things had gotten even more complicated.
Nathan stood by the car waiting for Louise to come out of the apartment. He did as he promised and didn't listen in on her and Barb's conversation. He did, however keep tabs on Louise's emotional state. He wasn't concerned until the last few minutes when he felt the spike in her anxiety level.
He left the car and met her part way.
"Sweetheart? What's wrong?" Nathan asked taking her into his arms.
"I'll tell you in the car." Louise said. "We need to talk to Kevyn and Patrick."
Nathan helped her into the car, got in and drove in the direction of Kevyn and Patrick's house.
"Maybe I'd better call them first." She said as she dug for her cell phone.
Barb stood in the same spot for almost fifteen minutes after Louise left. Tears of anger, frustration and an emotion that she didn't want to recognize ran down her face. She angrily wiped the tears away and made a decision. She would put on her happy face and go to the farewell party for her siblings. After that, they wouldn't hear from her again until she had what she wanted. A lifestyle that rivaled that of her sisters and she knew just how she was going to do it.
"I'll show you." she muttered under her breath.
Leon found Gene sitting in the hotel bar holding a mug of beer.
"'What are you doing?" he asked as he sat down next to him.
"What does it look like?" Gene retorted. "I'm having a beer."
"How many does that make?" Leon asked.
Gene hesitated before replying.
"None... I haven't touched it yet. I've been sitting here trying to tell myself that one beer isn't going to hurt anything. That it will help me do what I need to do. But that's been my problem hasn't it? Using alcohol to boost my courage I mean."
"Are you waiting for me to tell you not to drink it?" Leon asked. "Because if you are, it isn't going to happen. You have to decide for yourself whether to take that drink or not, but if you do; are you ready to accept the consequences? That's the question I ask myself every time I want to smoke a joint or score."
Gene looked at the beer that he was still holding tightly between his hands and slowly relaxed his grip on it.
"You know, there's got to be a meeting around here somewhere, why don't we find one?" Leon suggested. "I'll go with you if you want me to."
Gene looked at the beer and then at Leon.
"Let's go." He said.
They found a meeting not far from the hotel and decided to walk. Gene's nervousness increased as they got closer to the church where the meeting was being held. He hesitated at the door, looked at Leon and walked in.