Thorne Ch. 05bykalamazoo707©
Note: First, thanks to donalde for beta-reading for me. Secondly, thank you all for continuing to follow the Sinclaire/Yancy and now Blackwell families. Also thank you for the comments and emails. They are very much appreciated.
"What did you feel?" Nathan asked Louise as he sat down next to her.
"That's just it." Louise said after a minute. "I don't know. All I can say is that something just happened and it has something to do with them. What do you think?"
"I don't know." Nathan confessed. "Whatever it was, it was here and then gone. I don't think that it's something that we need to call Ethan about unless it happens again."
"I agree." Louise said.
"What else?" Nathan asked.
"I don't know... Juliette asked Barb about us sisters getting together with Katrina and your mom."
"Okay and the problem with that is what?" Nathan asked.
"Barb agreed." Louise replied.
"She did?" Nathan asked surprised.
"Yes and as glad as I am about that, I have to wonder what's behind it." Louise replied. "Anyway, are you finished with work?"
"Yes." Nathan replied. "What did you have in mind?" He asked as he hugged her hoping that it had something to do with bed and food.
"I think..." Louise stopped mid-sentence. "Nathan..." was all she got out before she passed out.
Nathan felt it too, but his first concern was Louise. He gathered her into his arms looked into her face and then listened for the heartbeat of the baby. He breathed a sigh of relief when it came through clear and strong. She had simply fainted. He carried her to the closest bedroom and for good measure called Gretchen.
"Keep her quiet and I'll be there shortly." Gretchen said.
Gretchen showed up ten minutes later with Eustace in tow. No one was taking any chances with their mates. Ethan had already made another public announcement encouraging caution and to call the area supervisors if anything out of the ordinary was seen.
"Are you having any pain?" Gretchen asked.
"No, I'm fine." Louise replied. "And before you ask, I'm still taking the vitamins and walking when I can."
"Good and how are you sleeping?" Gretchen asked.
"Fine and I'm eating too." Louise replied. "Gretchen, can I ask what's going to sound like a silly question?"
"You can ask me whatever you like." Gretchen replied.
"Is it possible for one mother to feel the pain of a baby that is being carried by another mother?"
"I don't know." Gretchen replied. "I've never heard of it happening. Is it possible? I suppose so. Why do you ask?"
Louise explained the feelings of intense sadness that she was having and that she was sure that they were coming from Barb's baby. Gretchen listened quietly and debated about what she could say without breaking confidentiality. She had been having some concerns about Barb and her attitude toward her baby and the pregnancy. The only reason that she hadn't said anything was because there was no sign of abuse and the baby was doing well; at least physically.
"As I said, I suppose it's possible, but your sister's baby seems to be doing well."
As soon as she said it, she knew that Louise wasn't buying it. She also knew that Louise understood that she couldn't divulge any information without Barb's permission. Even then, she had to take it to the board. The mandatory reporting was something that Katrina had fought hard for and then worked just as hard for to initiate. She along with Miranda, Mason and a few others put together the guidelines for the mandatory reporting. The reporting body consisted of a practitioner from each field of medicine including psychiatry. Eustace headed the body with Mason being the next in command. It had been a fight to get everyone on board, but after having to make several large donations to Katrina's homes for the emotionally and physically damaged; almost everyone began to comply. There were still a few hold outs, but Katrina was convinced that they would eventually come around.
"Is our baby alright?" Nathan asked.
"Your baby is perfect and Louise is fine." Gretchen replied. "I know that everyone is on high alert because of whatever is going on, but she still needs to walk. I would suggest one of those treadmill things."
"I'll take care of it." Nathan said.
"One more question." Louise said. "When will I begin to show?"
"Soon." Gretchen assured her with a smile. "One evening you'll get up and you won't be able to fasten your pants."
"I can't wait." Louise said happily.
As Gretchen and Eustace vanished, she couldn't help but think about the difference in attitudes about the pregnancies. On a whim, she decided to stop in and check on Barb.
Thorne sat at his desk deep on thought. He had planned to go to the club, but that changed when Barb invaded Noel's privacy. He didn't trust her to keep her word even though Adrianna was watching her. Then there was the matter of telling her about the Sinclaires.
"Shit." He swore as he stood up and then sat back down. He picked up the phone and called the club. Duke answered.
"How's it going?" He asked.
"Busy as usual, but it's going fine." Duke replied. "Are you coming in?"
"No, but my cell phone is on." Thorne replied. "Call me with any issues that you can't resolve and I want you to stay until closing."
"I had already planned on it." Duke replied. "I also took the liberty of bringing in a few more security guards. I hope that's alright."
"Good thinking." Thorne replied. "How many did you call in?"
"Five, they should be here within the hour." Duke replied.
"Good." Thorne said. "Call me at any time."
He hung up patting himself on the back that he had chosen Duke to take Billings place. The next issue was what to do about Barb and how to tell her about the Sinclaires. First things first he decided. He had to deal with their cohabitation issues first. He stood up to find her when his cell phone rang.
"Yes Gretchen." He said when he answered the phone.
"I'm out and about and thought that I would stop in to check on Barb and the baby."
"Of course you may stop in- is there a reason for the unexpected visit?" Thorne asked.
"No." Gretchen replied. "I'm in the area and Eustace is with me so I thought that I would just check in."
"I'll tell Barb that you're on your way." Thorne said and then hung up.
He found Barb in the living room watching television. Adrianna was sitting on the sofa doing something on her laptop.
"Gretchen is on her way to see you." Thorne said.
"Why?" Barb asked not taking her eyes from the television screen. "I didn't call her."
"She's out and about and wants to see you, she didn't say why. Have you been feeling alright?" Thorne asked.
Barb turned to look at him. It was the first time that he had asked about her. She knew that the reason for the concern had very little to do with her per se, but was totally about the baby. She bit back a sharp reply and answered civilly.
"I'm fine." She replied.
Her suspicions about the reason for the concern were confirmed with the next question.
"And the child; is she well?"
"As far as I know it is." Barb replied.
"When Gretchen is finished, come to my office; we have things to discuss." Thorne said and began to walk away.
"Aren't you going to be here when she comes?" Barb asked.
Thorne stopped and turned around. He hadn't planned on it, but she was right, he needed to be there.
"I'll be here." He said, "But please don't misunderstand my intentions. I will be there for the child and not to feed into your illusions that we are a happy family. In fact, that's one of the things that I want to discuss this evening."
"What do you mean?" Barb asked alarmed.
"It will wait until after Gretchen is gone." Thorne replied.
Barb's heart raced when she remembered something that Thorne said after she had been caught in Noel's rooms. She knew that she was skating on very thin ice baby or not.
Gretchen and Eustace appeared about an hour later. She ran down the same list of questions that she asked Louise. She also made the same recommendation for a treadmill. At the end of her exam, she asked Thorne and Eustace to step out of the room.
"How do you feel about this pregnancy?" She asked when they were alone.
"I feel fine." Barb replied evading the question.
"I don't mean physically." Gretchen asked. "I mean emotionally. Are you happy? Sad? Angry? Ambivalent?"
"I'm not looking forward to gaining all that weight." Barb replied trying to joke.
"Why aren't you answering the question?" Gretchen asked. "It isn't a difficult one."
"I told you," Barb said, "I feel fine."
Thorne stood out on the deck with Eustace. It was clear to him that Gretchen knew that there was something wrong, but she couldn't pin point what it was. He knew what the problem was and he planned to rectify it as soon as possible.
"Well, everything looks fine." Gretchen said as she stood up. "I'll see you in two weeks unless there's a problem. You do have my number on speed dial don't you?"
"Yes." Barb replied. "I do."
"Good." Gretchen said as she stood up.
She and Eustace vanished a moment later and Adrianna came back from the kitchen.
"Barb, my office please." Thorne said as soon as Gretchen and Eustace were gone. "Adrianna if you have something to do, feel free to do so. Barb and I will be busy for a few hours; but be careful. In fact, take someone with you."
"Thank you Mr. Blackwell." Adrianna said. "But I think I'll stay put. I have a paper due in a couple of weeks."
"Then please make use of the library." Thorne said.
Barb watched the interaction between Thorne and Adrianna with a small amount of jealousy. She knew that there was nothing romantic between them. Adrianna was mated and had explained to her that it would be impossible for her or her mate to be unfaithful. The jealousy stemmed from the way in which Thorne spoke to her. There was something in his tone that was missing whenever he spoke to her. The missing element was there when he spoke to Noel. She followed him to his office and sat down.
"I didn't know that she was in school." Barb said.
"She's working on her Doctorate in Philosophy." Thorne said. "Would you care for a drink?" He asked.
His tone was polite, but it was a tone that he would have used with a business associate.
"No, but look; I want to apologize." Barb said going on the offensive. "It was very rude of me to go into Noel's part of the house. I've already apologized to him."
"So I've heard." Thorne replied. "Do you understand that he could have hurt you?"
"I know, but I still don't understand why he's here. He's a grown man..."
"He's here because I wish him to be." Thorne said coolly. "We've talked about this as we have so many other things. Frankly, I'm getting tired of repeating myself. But... I will go over everything again and then I will tell you what the plan for us is."
"What plan?" Barb asked warily.
"You'll find out in due time, but first; let's go over the rules again shall we?" Thorne asked talking to her as if she was a child.
"I'm not a child!" Barb snapped. "And I'll thank you not to talk to me as if I were!"
Thorne continued as if she hadn't spoken.
"One, you are to stay away from Noel's part of the house unless you are invited. Two, the next time Adrianna tells you to move, you move. She told me what happened at the department store. You wasted precious minutes by arguing with her. Third, you seem to keep forgetting that you are no longer living in the human world. Apparently there you can act as if your shit doesn't stink, but here it does. You were not only rude, but disrespectful to Grant. You must understand that people aren't always what they appear to be. Grant is a case in point. Hans is another. Adrianna told me that she told you some of the ins and outs of our world. I strongly suggest that you listen to her. I would also suggest that you meet with your sisters. They can offer you support and insight."
Barb listened to what she considered to be a lecture without interrupting. She didn't appreciate the tone that was being used, but she kept her mouth shut.
"Before I continue," Thorne said. "Do you have any questions? If you do; now is the time to ask."
"Why are you such a bastard?" Barb asked.
"Why are you such a conniving bitch?" Thorne shot back. "Do you have any other questions?"
When she didn't reply, he moved on to the next topic.
"It is clear that the only interest that we have in each other is of the sexual and financial nature. I happen to care for the child that you carry even if you don't."
"Don't go there." Thorne said. "I see how you act and the expression on your face when the pregnancy is mentioned. In fact, you have made no efforts to prepare for her arrival. I'm not expecting you to be ecstatic given the circumstances of the conception, but I am expecting you to take more of an interest instead of acting as if there is no child coming. I am prepared to make you an offer that you can either take or leave..."
Thorne paused to look at his cell phone that was lying on the desk.
"Excuse me, I need to take that."
They were finally inside the club. Olivia looked around the crowded room for an empty table.
"Over there." Albert said and led the way to a table in the corner.
Olivia and the others followed him and sat down. There weren't enough chairs so Mary sat in Albert's lap. Moments later, a server came to the table.
"What can I get you?" He asked.
They placed their orders and turned their attention to the dance floor. Olivia found it odd that she was sitting in the establishment of one of those that she was supposed to be hunting. She wondered what the patrons would do if they knew that her table companions were hunters of their own kind. She felt eyes on her and knew who they belonged to.
His anger was palpable even from across the table, but somehow he was different. She didn't have time to think about it because their drinks had arrived. She reached for her purse, but was stopped.
"Your bill has been paid." The server said.
"By who?" Olivia asked looking around.
"The gentleman asked to remain anonymous." The server replied. "Will there be anything else?"
"Ummm no." Olivia replied still looking around trying to see if she could who their benefactor was.
She felt another pair of eyes on her, this time they belonged to William. In spite of herself, she felt warmth in her belly when she returned his look. His dark eyes flashed as he looked at her. It was a look that she knew well and had ignored from the time she first met him.
"Olivia." William said his voice low "Will you dance with me?"
The table was silent waiting for her answer. She weighed her options. She was in a full club, what could possibly happen? They were on vacation weren't they? What harm could one dance do?
Much to William's surprise, Olivia stood up and held out her hand. William stayed rooted to in his seat for a few seconds not believing that she was actually going to go out on the dance floor with him. It was a fast song, but he didn't care. As they walked away, William felt Harry's anger grow. Once they were on the dance floor, William took Olivia into his arms and held her close.
"Listen to me carefully." He said urgently. "My brother means you harm. You must keep your guard up at all times. You must never allow yourself to be caught alone with him. Do you understand?"
"Why are you telling me this?" Olivia asked.
"Just remember what I told you." William replied and would say no more.
The table was empty when they got back. Olivia could see Nell talking to the human male that she had been dancing with while they waited to get into the club. Albert and Mary were on the dance floor, but where was Harry? She looked around the crowded room until she saw him in a corner holding a woman close to him. By his posture she knew that he was drinking from her. She relaxed and took a sip of her drink wondering who their benefactor was.
"Duke we got a problem." Brice one of the extra security guards said.
"Take care of it. I'm busy." Duke said.
"Duke, slow down and listen to me." Brice said urgently.
Something in Brice's tone caught Duke's attention.
"Alright, what's the problem?" He asked.
"Come with me." Brice said. "You need to see it."
"Damn it Brice! I don't have time for games so just tell me what the problem is." Duke said impatiently.
Brice looked around to see if anyone was listening, started to say something; but then shook his head.
"No, not here; let's go to Thorne's office."
A few minutes later, they were behind closed doors.
"Okay what's the problem?' Duke asked.
"There's a dead woman behind the club." Brice said.
"What?!" Duke bellowed.
"There's a dead woman behind the club." Brice repeated. "It looks like her neck is broken."
"Oh fuck... is she vampire?" Duke asked.
"No... she's human. I checked for bite marks but there weren't any."
"So another human could have killed her." Duke mused.
"Possible, but I don't think so." Brice said. "The way that her neck was broken indicates that it was a vampire who killed her."
"But you said that there were no bite marks." Duke said.
"That's true and that could be for any number of reasons including that he or she fed already." Brice replied. "What concerns me is that the body was left here. Not only that, if she has family or friends, they will report her missing and eventually the human police will end up here. I think that you need to call Thorne ASAP."
"Shit." Duke swore as he reached for the phone.
Nathan held Louise in his lap as he talked to Ethan.
"First, are Louise and the baby alright?" Ethan asked.
"They're fine." Nathan replied. "I had Gretchen check them out."
"Good, now tell me what happened." Ethan said.
"The first feeling was mild, we both felt it; but decided not to call you unless it happened again or it changed. Soon after that, Louise called my name and fainted. All I can tell you is that something happened. Where or what it is I can't say."
"Did Louise see anything?" Ethan asked.
"Just a shadow." Nathan replied.
"Alright, keep me posted. In fact, why don't you come over here? Katrina wants to spend time with Louise anyway."
"I'll talk to Louise and get back to you." Nathan replied.
"What did he say?" Louise asked.
"He wants us to keep him posted and I think he's going to call Thorne." Nathan replied. "He also wanted to know if we wanted to stay with him and Katrina. Apparently she wants to spend some time with you. I leave the choice up to you."
"I think... I think that he wants us there so that he hears developments as soon as they happen." Louise said.
"That's true." Nathan agreed. "But I also know that Katrina wants to spend time with you."
"I know." Louise replied. "I want to get to know her better too so let's go."
Barb sat looking at Thorne's empty chair. She already had inkling about what he was going to say to her. She recognized the tone. It was the same tone that her ex-husband had used when he decided that he had had enough of her. The difference was that there had been no child involved. In fact, he had left her because she had reneged on her promise to stop taking birth control.
Now here she was pregnant and about to lose everything that she felt that she had worked so hard for. As she sat there thinking, a number of things crossed her mind. The first thing was why she wasn't happy. She had what she wanted. She remembered Louise telling her that once she got what she wanted, she still wouldn't be satisfied. She stood up and walked out of the office shutting the door behind her. She walked back to the living room where Adrianna was still working on her lap top.
"Did you want something?" Adrianna asked without looking at her.