Jacob calls Hudson, Claire tells Bob about her chat with Granny.
So Jacob had shared the story of his history with Judith. He had done so because the more he learned about her the more he felt deep in his soul she was involved in what had happened to Anna’s blood bound mortal.
Hudson had remained silent while Jacob had revealed to him how Judith had begged to be turned to an immortal. When Jacob admitted in a hushed tone he’d not honored her request nor had he erased her memory of the Healer word Jacob had expected the Pure to respond. Hudson had indeed responded but not as Jacob had expected.
“Jacob, my friend, I am sorry.” Hudson said sadly. He looked around the dressing room he’d ordered cleared when he’d received Jacob’s call. “Truly I am.”
Jacob was confused by his words, “You are sorry? Sorry that I have broken the most important rule of a Pure?” His fingers slightly trembled as he held the phone even tighter. He realized now he’d made a grave mistake confiding in Hudson. It was, of course, Hudson’s duty to inform the council of Jacob’s actions.
Hudson sighed, “Jacob, that’s not what I mean. I’m sorry you’ve felt it necessary to keep this hidden all these years. I’m sorry you didn’t feel you could tell me. I can only imagine how difficult this has been for you.”
“I have kept quiet for Annabelle’s sake.” Jacob responded softly. “I know my sins would be reflected on her.”
Hudson sat back in order to stretch his long legs. “Yeah, I know. I also know the only reason you are telling me now is because you are frightened it is Judith who was behind what happened to Gerard.”
“Yes. That is why.”
“I have never met her.” Hudson said slowly, “But if she is behind this she’ll be very sorry. Gerard is also mine.” He paused a moment, “I wonder if she realizes that.”
Jacob relaxed his hold on the phone slightly, “I hate all this speculation. Perhaps I am wrong and Judith is not to blame.”
Hudson laughed, “Jacob, I have a feeling you’re not wrong. While I said I’ve never met her that didn’t mean I haven’t heard about her. She’s infamous in some of the Healers’s circles.”
“Infamous?” Jacob repeated slowly, “How so?”
“About fifty years ago I was living in Prague. There was a group of Healers who gathered often. All were turned Healers, no Pures in the group. I never accepted any of their invitations to their parties but word of what went on at the parties got back to me.”
A knock on Jacob’s door distracted him momentarily. He saw Mrs. Ellis stick her head in and ask if he required anything before she left. Jacob shook his head and once she’d closed the door he spoke, “Sorry for the interruption. Now, you were saying?”
“The group held parties but I’d heard whispers that they brutalized some of the blood bound mortals who attended. I wish now I’d paid more attention to what I was hearing at the time. I do however remember hearing about a particularly merciless Healer who enjoyed inflicting pain on her blood bound mortals.”
“And you believe this was Judith?” Jacob asked quickly.
“At the time I remember asking who this Healer was. I’ve never believed in mistreating a blood bound. I was told she’d been turned in the late 1770’s. If I remember correctly I was told she had been the daughter of a shipping magnet from London. Several years later I heard about this same woman again this time in Paris. The rumor of her mistreating her blood bounds was running ramped so I was curious. I was told her name was Judith.” Hudson paused then added softly, “I decided as a Pure it was my duty to speak to her to find out if what I was hearing was true. Unfortunately other matters arose and by the time I thought to speak to her she’d relocated. I found out several days later one of her blood bounds was found dead.”
“She murdered one of her own?” Jacob’s voice shook slightly.
“A member of the high council was looking into the incident. I don’t know what was discovered but since she was not brought up on charges I assume nothing could be proven.”
Jacob sat back running his other hand over his face, “How could I have been so stupid? Why did I not see the true woman behind the mask?”
“I suppose what they say is true.” Hudson said sadly, “That love can make you blind?”
“I have failed my kind.” Jacob whispered. “Had I done as I should she would have had no knowledge of the Healer world. Her life as a mortal would have ended as it should.”
Hudson reached over for his pack of cigarettes. Lighting one he blew out a stream of smoke then said, “Look Jacob what’s done is done. You can sit around and beat yourself up over this but it ain’t gonna do any good. You need to focus on now.”
Jacob interrupted him, “As a Pure how can you say that? You know you must report what I’ve done.”
“No, that’s not going to happen. As a Pure I believe my first loyalty is to those bound to me. Anna and Gerard are mine and I will not let any harm come to them. You’re right when you said your sins would reflect on Annabelle. We both know that’s true. And we both know they would be reflected on Gerard too. I refuse to let that happen. You and I both need to make sure this stays between us.”
Jacob slumped back defeated. “But how can it? Judith, once turned, knows I failed to do what was expected of me.”
“Yeah, that’s true but she’s not used that knowledge all these years. Sadly I think she’s been waiting.”
“Waiting for what?” Jacob asked.
“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” Hudson said slowly, “You would not turn her so she found someone who would. But then you turned Annabelle. You gave Annabelle the gift of being a Healer. You gave a young girl what Judith desired. That had to piss her off.”
“Gerard said almost the same thing.” Jacob muttered.
“He knows about Judith?”
“Yes.” Jacob said softly, “I confided in him.”
Hudson thought a moment, “That’s probably good. If we’re right then he’s definitely in danger. Judith wants to hurt you by hurting your only child. And even though Anna has several who are bound to her it is obvious to all how devoted she is to Gerard.”
“So you believe Judith will try to harm Gerard?”
“If we’re right she’s already tried.” Hudson reminded him gently.
“But why this game of cat and mouse? She could simply report my failures to the high council.”
Once more Hudson thought a few moments before answering, “Well, not really. I’m guessing she’s thought this all out. Say she went before the high council and made these accusations against you, would they be believed? You could simply say she was lying. Then it would be her word against the word of one of the oldest and most respected Pures. And believe me there have been enough whispers about her conduct that I am sure her character would be questioned.”
Jacob suddenly had a thought, “Who turned Judith?”
Hudson was inwardly pleased Jacob was losing some of his inner guilt and concentrating on the problem, “That I don’t know but believe me I’m going to find out. I just have to go about it carefully. I don’t want to draw attention to the fact we believe she’s involved in anything.”
“Yes, you are correct.” Jacob nodded to himself.
A soft knock on the door let Hudson know he would be expected on stage soon.
“So Anna and Gerard are with you now?”
“Presently they are at her home.”
Hudson was surprised by his answer, “I thought they we’re going to be staying with you.”
Jacob heard the concern in his voice, “You feel they are not safe?”
“Well yeah.” Hudson admitted, “I don’t know if Annabelle told you but I asked Katherine to keep an eye out for them during the tour. She was there for the last show but since I thought they we’re going to be under your care she went to New York to await the start of the European tour.”
Jacob was surprised. “Katherine?”
“Katherine Lyons“ Hudson clarified. “Do you know her?”
“No.” Jacob answered, “I have however heard of her. I find it difficult to believe a Pure agreed to watch over one turned and her blood bound.”
Hudson laughed, “Oh Jacob you really should meet Katherine. Like me she loves to embrace the ways of the mortal world. All I had to do was mention she’s be traveling with a rock band and she agreed.”
“But she is a very old Pure, is she not?”
Once again Hudson laughed, “Yeah, she is an older Pure. She’s quite beautiful too. Actually she traveled with me on my last tour.” He lowered his voice and said kindly, “You know Jacob there really aren’t a lot of Pure’s like you.”
A finger of fear traveled down Jacob’s spine. While he had admitted he had failed to erase Judith’s memories of the Healer world he had not openly admitted he was “wrong”. “What do you mean?”
Hudson spoke kindly, ‘Jacob you cling so much to the old ways. You don’t let yourself change with the times.”
“You mean change to adapt to the mortal world? Of course I do.”
“Not enough.” Hudson said, “You keep to yourself way too much. Your manner of speech is still so formal. We live in a world of the mortals making. Why not enjoy it?”
Jacob’s head lowered in sadness, “I do not know how.”
“Well when I get through this tour I’ll come visit you. It’s been too long.” Hudson said as another knock sounded on his door. “Hey, I gotta go. I’ll talk to you soon.”
“Yes, soon.” Jacob said then added quickly, “Thank you.”
“Don’t need to thank me.” Hudson said as he stood and stretched.
“Yes, I do and we both understand that.” Jacob said softly knowing Hudson would understand the underlying meaning to his words.
Claire climbed into bed then snuggled up closer to her husband. She gave a content sigh.
“So admit I was right.” Bob teased.
“Right? About what?” Claire asked turning her face to gaze into his eyes.
“You know what I mean.” Bob said letting his fingers brush teasingly down her bare arm. “I told you my family would be happy.”
Claire giggled, “No, it was I who told you not to worry.”
“Oh yeah?” Bob rolled over then slid his hands down her body. He asked narrowing his eyes, “”Did you honestly just say you told me not to worry?”
Shaking her head she giggled, “Yes, it was I.” She broke into laughter as Bob’s fingers began tickling her sides. “Stop, stop.”
He continued to tickle her, “Not until you admit the truth.”
“Never.” Claire laughed trying to catch her breath.
Suddenly his fingers stilled and he looked down into her eyes. “She was right you know.”
Claire blinked in confusion, “What?”
“There is a light in your eyes.” He whispered.
She realized then what he meant. “Granny Clark is a wise woman.”
“Yeah, she is.” He rolled back over but brought her body with him so he could securely hold her close.
“I believe she took quite a liking to me.” Claire said softly.
Bob laughed, “That she did, Honey. What did you and Granny talk about?” He had been slightly nervous after dinner when Granny Clark had insisted on taking Claire outside to the patio for a talk.
Claire smiled, “Oh she told me stories about you.”
“Yes, she told me about little Bobby.” Claire grinned. “Seems she thought I should be aware that our child may be a little hellion.”
Bob scooted over so he could lean on his elbow and look into his wife’s face. “She said I was a hellion?”
Nodding Claire answered, “Oh yes. Granny Clark said you were a hellion with a heart of gold. I told her I was already aware of that fact.”
Bob leaned down and brushed a quick kiss on her lips. “No, she’s wrong. I was a perfect angel with I was a boy.”
Claire burst into laughter. “Oh I am not sure Mr. Gruff would agree.”
“Oh shit.” Bob moaned, “She told you the story about that damn cat.”
“Oh yes.” Claire nodded happily. “And she told me about the time you ran away from home, all the way to the back yard.”
He smiled remembering that time. “Well, I was mad mom and dad wouldn’t let me go with my friends. Hell, I was only six so while running away from home seemed like a good idea but I didn’t know where to go.”
“So you ran away to the back yard and made yourself a nice home in the lilac bushes.” Claire said repeating the story his great grandmother had told.
“Yeah and it was pretty damn nice.” He said letting his memory return to that hot summer day. “Had everything I needed. I’d packed my toy cars, some comics, a pillow, food and water. Could have stayed out there for days.” He laughed, “Shit in my mind that was the plan. I imagined my parents would be frantic worrying about where their son had gone.”
Claire giggled, “But your mom saw you from the kitchen window.”
“Yeah, mom saw me head out to the bushes. I was out there for hours and then it started to get dark and I was wondering why they weren’t out looking for me.”
In her mind Claire could imagine a young, blond haired Bobby watching the house from his lilac hideout. “Granny told me that your mom waited until she was sure you were getting hungry then opened the back door and yelled out that dinner was ready.”
Bob laughed, “Yeah, she did. She yelled then went back in the house. I realize now she was letting me save face. She pretended she hadn’t even realized I’d run away from home.”
“I almost cried when she said I could call her mom.” Claire whispered suddenly becoming serious.
Bob understood her feelings. “Bet it’s still pretty weird to suddenly be a part of a huge family.”
“It feels so right.” Claire said softly. “It is everything I had ever dreamed.”
He slid his arm under her pillow and pulled her close once more. “You are everything I ever dreamed of.”
“I love you, Mr. Bryar.” Claire whispered as her eyes closed.
“I love you, Mrs. Bryar.” Bob closed his eyes with a smile on his face.
“I love this place.” Gerard said looking up into Anna’s face. He was lying on the blanket with his head on her lap. Night had fallen but neither wanted to head back to the house just yet so they had lit the candles Gerard had packed in the basket.
Anna gently pushed several strands of hair from his eyes. “It is very peaceful here. Often when I was writing I would take a break and come here to clear my mind.”
“I still don’t get why you are planning to stop writing.” Gerard said softly, “Your talent should not be silenced.” When she didn’t answer he continued, “When I’m not on tour we gonna live here. Just think, we can both write. We’ll spend our days here laying in the shade of the trees, listening to the gentle sound of the creek’s rushing water. Man, this is pretty close to heaven.”
Anna closed her eyes, “As close to heaven as I will ever get.” She whispered.
The pain in her voice gripped his heart. Sitting up he gently stroked her face with his finger. “Anna, we have our own heaven on earth. As long as we are together that’s what we have.”
She opened her eyes and smiled sadly, “Yes, that is what we have.”
Once more so many questions about her world filled his mind. “Can I ask you something?”
“What was it like to be turned?” He asked slowly hoping his words would not upset her.
Instead of answering the question she said, “I wish you would not dwell on this subject.”
“I just want to know everything about you.” He said softly.
Anna looked into his eyes. “Gee, that is not the whole truth.”
He smiled, “Okay, but indulge me. What happened when Jacob turned you? Did it happen instantaneously?”
“No, when a mortal is turned three days pass while the change occurs. Jacob took me to his home and watched over me until I awakened from death.” Her voice became almost a whisper as her memories returned, “I awoke from what I believed had been a nightmare. When I looked around the room I became frightened. Jacob was sitting at my bedside silently watching. When I saw him I cringed with fear and started crying out for my mama.” She closed her eyes and sighed, “It was then Jacob knew I’d been turned wrong. No one turned should ever show emotion like I did. By crying out for my mother I was demonstrating I still felt human love.”
Gerard’s heart went out to her and the scared child she’d once been. “What did Jacob do?”
“I remember he smiled sadly as he took a seat on the bed next to me. He told me not to fear, that I was safe. Then he slowly explained to me what I had become.” The tears that filled her eyes glistened in the candlelight.
Gerard moved to pull her close, “What you had become was something extraordinary.”
“No to the Healer World what I had become was an abomination. I was blessed by the fact that Jacob did not feel that way. Instead of reporting what had happened to the High Council he sheltered me.”
Taking a moment to think over her words he asked slowly, “So he was supposed to report you’d been turned wrong right away?”
Anna nodded. “Yes it was his duty to do so.” She paused, “Had he done so it would have been his duty to destroy me.”
Gerard uttered an oath.
She smiled sadly, “That is the way of the Healers. I understand why. A Healer with human emotions such as love risks revealing our presence to the outside world. Love can cloud your judgment, it can make you chose the wrong path.”
“The wrong path?”
“Yes, by not controlling you and those bound to me I put the Healers World in jeopardy.”
“But you trust us.”
Anna nodded, “Yes I trust you and Claire and Christa. But other Healers would not understand that trust.”
The candles were by this time burning low. “Come on.” Gerard said rising to his feet and extending his hand to Anna. “Lets head back to the house.”
Anna allowed herself to be pulled up. “You are upset now?” She asked trying to search his face for the truth.
As he gathered up the candles he sighed, “Not upset really. Just sad things are like they are.”
“I am sorry.” Anna whispered.
He dropped the candle he was holding to the ground the swiftly turned to her. “Sugar, you got nothing to be sorry for. This shit is beyond your control.” He wanted to see her smile, “Besides I just wanna get back to the house.”
His smile confused her. “You are tired?”
Gerard laughed, “Nope, not at all. We’re gonna snuggle up on the sofa and watch a movie. Then I’m gonna carry you up the stairs to bed.”
Anna laughed when he wiggled his eyebrows. “Oh really?” She teased. “What if I carry you up the stairs intent on ravishing you?”
“Carry me?” He laughed.
Instead of answering Anna quickly lifted his body into her arms before he could protest. She did so as if he was light as a feather.
“Oh shit.” Gerard laughed, “I forget I’ve got a strong woman.”
Slowly Anna lowered him back down. “Yes, physically I am much stronger than you can imagine.”
He didn’t miss the meaning behind her words, “Sugar, you’re strong physically and mentally. Never let yourself believe differently.”
They both quickly gathered up the rest of their things laughing and talking as they did so. Neither was aware that they were being watched.