The Crimson King Ch. 07byvelvetpie©
"Mary! Mary, calm down!" Mary Ann opened her eyes and looked around, her entire body shaking with memory. The rich surroundings were unfamiliar but the handsome features poised above her were warm and comforting. "You're safe. You're safe now, baby."
She met Leon's soft eyes and pushed herself up, trying to remember what had happened. "Leon?"
"Yes, baby. You're safe." He moved aside and Sammi came forward, her open arms encompassing Mary and holding her tight.
"What ... what happened?"
"Did you see him?"
Mary broke Sammi's embrace and stared into the stranger's face. "S-See him?"
"Yes. The 'Crimson King'. Did you see him?"
Sammi gave Thorne a warning look and smoothed Mary's hair down. "Mary, tell us what happened last night."
Last night? Mary shook her head in confusion. "Last night?"
"Yes, baby. You've slept a whole day." Leon murmured quietly.
"Wow." She thought for a moment, then she turned to Leon. "I'm sorry."
"Richard ... "
Sammi nodded to Leon. "I knew he had your phone taken." The reporter stood slowly, limping slightly as she checked her own bag. "He didn't take mine because I took the battery out, but he knew you'd have Mary's number."
"Where are we?"
"My home." Thorne announced, his hackles still tingling in warning. His gaze fell across the room's occupants: Pieter, Leon, Sammi, Mary and Sammi's boss, Jacob. Something was still not right. He had felt it as he'd approached the complex and found the bodies, all dead expect for Mayor Chambliss who was missing and Mary, who was lying unconscious at the bottom of the stairs.
"And who are you?"
He wanted to give her a formal introduction but something was still wrong. A little voice warned him not to reveal his surname and he gave her a warm smile. "I am your benefactor, a friend of Miss Glass'. You and Leon are here as my guests."
"She is my guest also."
Mary nodded, accepting the support she felt as it flowed through her from Sammi's warm hand. "I ... " The tears began before she could stop them. "I was such a fool. Richard came to visit ... "
"How did he find you?"
"I don't know." Mary glanced at Sammi, whose quick nod urged her to continue. "All I know is that I was fixing dinner and his bodyguards walked in. Morgan and Martin. They go everywhere with him."
"Must have been the two in the kitchen." Pieter murmured and Thorne shook his head.
"Just go on, Mary." Jacob urged, clasping Sammi's shoulders. "Tell us what you saw."
"They threw my dinner away." Mary threw a shaky smile at Leon. "I was trying to make chicken lasagna for you." Leon smiled and gave her hand a gentle squeeze. "I was so mad that I started crying. Then Richard walked in." She took a deep breath. "He convinced me that he'd made a mistake. That he wanted to marry me and make a family with our child."
"Oh, Mary." Leon reached out to stroke her hair and she pulled away. "It wasn't your fault. He was victimizing you again."
"I know, Leon." Her tears fell anew. "But I should have been thinking about you."
"Mary, tell us what you saw."
"I don't remember." She said softly. "It looked at me and ... " Her eyes filled with the remembered horror. "It told me to get my things and run."
"It spoke to you?"
"Yes. It looked like a man but it had flaming red eyes and fangs in its mouth. It told me to run." Mary took a long breath. "So I ran. And then I passed out on the stairs. Is ... is my baby okay?"
"Yes, baby. A doctor came by and checked you out and the baby's heart beat is strong. He also said that you have to stay in bed until the baby is born."
Leon shook his head. "He said that you could lose the baby if you aren't careful so he thought you should stay in bed."
"But what about my stuff?"
"All your things are here." Thorne pulled a drawer open and showed her the contents. Her underwear, neatly folded, lay inside. The next drawer held her shirts and the third, her jeans. "Sammi made sure that all of your possessions were recovered before the police arrived."
"And my Cuisinart?"
"You wanted that?"
Mary smiled weakly at Sammi. "Leon bought it for me."
"I got it, Mary." Leon said in a soft voice. "I cleaned it up just in case you wanted it."
"Well, since you're okay, we'll leave you to recover. Mary, this is Pieter, he's the housekeeper here and if you jerk on that cord, " She indicated the bell pull. "He'll come to your aid."
Pieter stepped forward and pressed a respective kiss to her palm. "I am at your service, madam."
"Thank you." Mary said in a small voice, suddenly beginning to feel overwhelmed by the attention. She turned to Leon. "And where will you be?"
"Right here with you." He gestured to a small bed shoved off in the corner. "I'll be close."
Sammi smiled at the repartee that was developing between the twosome and Jacob and Pieter preceded her out of the room. Thorne kept his arm wrapped securely around her waist, bearing most of her insignificant weight on his strong shoulders.
"You can let me go now."
"No, I can't."
"I know you're still bruised."
"Sammi ... "
"Thorne, I'm okay."
His arm relaxed and she was able to walk on her own, desperately trying to hide a wince as she limped at his side. She knew that he could see her discomfort but would do nothing else to aid her unless she asked. She blushed deeply. "Thank you any way."
"I'm very worried, Sammi."
"Worried? About the 'Crimson King'?"
"Sammi, do you keep a journal?"
"Yes. Of all of your assignment locations?"
"Um, sort of. Leon would have a more complete one than mine. As the cameraman, it's his responsibility to keep location logs."
Thorne pushed the door open and walked her in, watching as she slipped out of her house shoes and robe, then slid between the sheets. He leaned over her and gave her a soft kiss, smoothing the hair back from her forehead. "I want you to get some rest."
"Thorne, I've rested all day."
"Then keep resting."
"Will you join me later?"
"Sammi ... "
"You made a promise to me, Thorne. It's my choice."
He'd hoped that she'd forgotten about it but he should have known that he wouldn't be so lucky. "Sammi ... "
"If I wake up without you right here," She patted the empty space next to her in the big bed. "I will never talk to you again."
Thorne wanted to ignore her but his heart wanted this so much. "I'll be beside you, sweet."
* * * * *
Jacob had been watching Pieter all night. The older man had been giving him the evil eye all night and now that he was watching the house's owner and Sammi interact, he felt his eyes even more, boring thoughts through the back of his head.
Pieter glared at the man, arching an eyebrow at his bellow. "Is there a problem?"
"Yes. You've been staring at me all day."
"I guarantee you that I haven't been staring at you all day. I do have other duties."
"Maybe, but your duty today has been to stare at me."
Pieter felt strange. All the years of being a vampire, he had remained alone. He had dabbled in relationships, here and there, but nothing had held his interest. His practical mind always returned to the reality of his situation. He could never have a long term relationship. "So? You are a stranger to my home."
Jacob scrutinized the man, taking in the salt-and pepper hair, the broad shoulders and the lean frame. His dark eyes met another pair of chocolate brown eyes. "I'm a friend of Sammi's."
"Yes, but she doesn't own this house."
"And you do?"
Pieter turned to him, his impassive features looming over him. "I'll bid you a good night, Mr. Whiting."
"I don't get to stay?"
"I wasn't aware that you wanted to stay." Thorne said, entering the front hallway.
"Is it a problem? I'll leave if it's a problem."
Thorne didn't know Sammi's boss but she trusted the man and Thorne would trust her. "No problem, Mr. Whiting."
"My name's Jake."
Thorne turned to Pieter. "Would you make sure that he's made comfortable?"
The housekeeper nodded woodenly. "Absolutely."
* * * * *
"Where the fuck is she?"
The office of Mayor Richard Chambliss was in a shambles. His faithful secretary, Cheryl, had tendered her resignation; his political adviser was in the bathroom, suffering from stress-borne diarrhea and his wife was desperately trying to pretend that all was well. The air-headed First Lady waltzed around the office, her baby blues slightly unfocused and an uncommon lilt in her step.
Only his assistant, Randolph, remained. "Uh, we don't know, sir. The apartment has been scoured."
"Scoured?" Chambliss couldn't believe that his evidence and the girl had escaped his grasp. Not to mention that his beloved bodyguards, Martin and Morgan, had been obliterated, as well as his chauffeur, Garson. "How could someone had gained entrance to the scene? I thought I ordered it sealed!"
"Well, the FBI took over this morning, since you had been present ... "
"How did they know I'd been there?"
"Seems you dropped your wallet in the bathroom."
"Shit!" Chambliss wiped a hand across his face. He really fucked this one up badly. "Ellie, will you please sit down?"
Ellen Chambliss waltzed over to where her husband sat, lifted her dress, baring her pussy and straddled his lap. "Fuck me."
Randolph looked stunned, pausing in mid-writing and he glanced at the mayor. "Leave us, Randolph."
"But, sir ... "
"Leave us. The lady wants to be fucked."
The assistant scurried out and Richard proceeded to rip the clothes from his drugged wife's body. Ellen Hunter Chambliss had always had a beautiful body and it hadn't changed in eight years of marriage. Probably because she was barren. The inability to have children had always been a sore spot for her and he'd endured years of therapy and multiple doctor visits, trying to discover the problem. It turned out that Ellen had been born without ovaries and she immediately became frigid, forcing Richard to find his sexual excitement elsewhere.
But drugged, she was something else. She impatiently rubbed her wet pussy against the front of his dress pants, leaving a wet spot. "Come on. Fuck me."
He flung her onto her back across his desk, unzipped his pants and roughly shoved his cock in her wet hole. She writhed beneath him, her neat breasts bobbing wildly. Somehow, it reminded him of Mary Ann and of how her little breasts had bobbed when he fucked her.
Richard slammed into her mercilessly, the thought of Mary Ann in his mind, a curse on his lips.