Christa learns more about what will happen at Jacob's. Bob learns about his unborn son.
“Hello.” The deep voice surprised her.
“Hudson.” She sat up trying to see his face clearly through the evening shadows. “What time is it?”
“Almost midnight. I have to admit I was beginning to worry. I had no idea you’d sleep this long.”
Pulling herself up Christa blinked rapidly when Hudson leaned over and switched on the table lamp. “I’m sorry. Why didn’t you wake me? We have so much to do.” She pushed back the covers.
“Christa.” Hudson said softly. “Calm down. I know you have an unlimited amount of energy right now but..”
She cut him off. “Yeah I feel great but I’m serious we have so much to do. There’s still so much I don’t really understand. We have to discuss our plans.”
Hudson tried not to smile. “Sweetheart, take a deep breath.”
Christa frowned, “Stop calling me that.”
“Well because it sounds uh you know.” He was making her nervous again.
“Too intimate?” He grinned. “Well we are pretty close now.”
Christa stared at him. “We share a common goal to help Gee and Anna. That’s all.”
He sat back and sighed, “That’s not exactly the whole truth but if thinking that makes you feel better so be it. Anyway, I’ll call down and have a late supper brought up for you. What would you like?”
“I’m not hungry.”
“You have to eat.” He said rising from the chair. “Now wash your face and while you eat will discuss our plans for tomorrow.”
Jacob looked up from his desk as Thomas walked through the door. “Yes?” His tone made it apparent the Pure was disturbing him.
“We need to discuss matters.” Thomas said taking a seat. “The inquiry will be held tomorrow after Gerard awakens.”
“Yes, I know.” Jacob said narrowing his eyes. “What I do not know is if you have taken care to make sure the inquiry is done correctly.”
“Oh course I have done what is required. The counsel members will arrive in the morning. Once the newly turned awakens he will be tested then the inquiry will take place.”
“You mean Annabelle will be put on trial.” Jacob ground out.
“Call it a trial if you like.” Thomas said with a wave of his hand. “She will be held accountable for her actions. Just because she is the child of a Pure you do not believe she is above the rules of our Kind, do you?”
Jacob ignored the question. “Has Marcus been informed?”
Thomas flinched slightly. “I have been told he knows of Annabelle’s actions.”
“You do of course understand that Annabelle is bound to him?” Jacob said slowly secretly enjoying the look of discomfort on Thomas’s face. “So he has every right to be at the inquiry.”
Thomas pursed his lips. “Yes I had heard Marcus had taken her.”
Jacob’s temper flared but he carefully contained it. “Yes well do you know that Gerard also belongs to Marcus?” As soon as he saw the look on Thomas’s face he knew that was something the Pure had not known.
“I was not aware.” He said tightly. “But I can not see what difference that makes.”
“Then you have not dealt with Marcus often.” Jacob smiled. “Believe me Marcus’s anger will know no bounds if he is not informed by the council that this inquiry is to take place.”
Thomas stood. “I am the senior member and I do not appreciate what you are insinuating. Annabelle will be judged by the council fairly as will her child.”
“Yes for your sake I should hope so.” Jacob said standing tall. “For anything else will not be tolerated.”
“Are you threatening me, Jacob?” Thomas sputtered.
“I am simply stating facts. My child had committed an act against our laws, that I will readily admit. However holding the inquiry here and so soon does not seem appropriate.”
“That is for me to decide.” Thomas said. “I am in charge of the lower council and I will do as I see fit.”
“That is true.” Jacob said slowing rounding the deck to square off with the Pure. “Now I wish to speak to Annabelle alone.”
“That is forbidden.” Thomas said standing his ground. “Your child will have no more contact with you until the inquiry.”
“This is a dangerous game you play, Thomas.” Jacob’s voice was low and threatening. “Know that now.” With that he turned and left the room.
Hudson sat back to enjoy watching Christa eat the steak dinner he’d ordered from room service.
Christa took another bite of steak then noticed he was smiling. “What?”
“For someone who wasn’t hungry you’re doing a fine job polishing off that steak.”
“Okay, I was hungry.” Christa admitted.
“All the new strength and energy makes it so.” Hudson nodded.
“Okay but we need to talk about what’s going to happen.” Christa said putting down her fork.
“If you’re done lets sit over on the sofa to talk.” Hudson suggested.
Once she was comfortable Christa asked, “So where’s Katherine?”
Hudson laughed, “Well this afternoon she went out shopping and hasn’t returned. She said she needed something new to wear for tomorrow.”
“She’s going with us?”
“Yes.” He nodded. “Katherine shares our concern for Anna.”
Christa tried to decide how to phrase her next question. “I know she shares our concern but does she know about Anna?”
His smiled faded, “That is something you must never speak of. I thought you understood that?”
Christa tried not to let her feeling be hurt by this sudden gruff attitude. “Sorry.” She whispered.
Hudson sighed, “No, I am sorry. I didn’t mean to snap at you but it’s important you always remember that what we know about Anna has to remain a secret not just for her but for Gerard and Jacob.”
Claire nodded, “Yeah, I know. I guess I just wondered because I know she understands that Anna isn’t like a lot of Healers. Katherine knows Anna doesn’t control my mind.”
“That is true. But the fact that she doesn’t control the minds of those bound to her isn’t considered breaking our laws. Most Healers would think it a poor choice on Anna’s part but that is all.”
“I understand.” Christa whispered.
Hudson reached over and gently brushed her cheek with his fingertip. “I know how hard all of this is for you.”
“I’m just so afraid I’ll do something wrong.” Christa said. “Something that could put everyone in jeopardy.”
“Try not to think like that.” Hudson said softly. “Just remember that when we are at Jacob’s you must play the part of a blood bound mortal.” He smiled, “A normal blood bound mortal.”
“But I’m not sure how they act.”
“When we arrive the way I speak to you will be different. I hope you understand it has to be this way.” When she nodded he continued. “ I will explain that you are there contrary to Anna’s wishes because you are mine and I want you with me. I’m worried about how Anna’s going to react to that. I hope she remembers to play the part of a correct Healer.”
“And how would that be?”
“She will acknowledge my authority and my will.”
Christa sighed, “You Pures really do hold all the cards, don’t you?”
He laughed, “I suppose we do. But good Lord woman don’t let anyone hear you say shit like that.”
“I won’t.” Christa smiled relaxing slightly. “But I feel like I can around you.”
He tilted his head to study her face. “You are an extraordinary woman. But I have to admit you kinda frighten me.”
He nodded, “Yeah, knowing you can see into my soul does bother me.”
Her voice was soft and sure, “What I see is goodness, Hudson.”
It was so hard not to reach out for her but he forced himself to remain still and to push that thought from his head. “We both know that ain’t the truth. It’s not all goodness.”
“Not all.” Christa said gazing deeply into his eyes. “But there is more good than bad.”
“Thank you.” He said without opening his mouth knowing she could hear his words.
“You’re welcome.” Christa smiled.
Anna slowly walked over to the door of her room and opened it. “Yes?”
A man she had not seen before stood staring at her. “I was sent here to see to your needs.” He said in a deadpan voice.
“I do not require anything.” Anna said tiredly understanding he had been sent for her to feed.
He surprised her by saying. “I was sent by Jacob. He said I am to remind you that you must keep up your strength.”
“Oh.’ Anna moved away from the door. “Come in.”
He walked into the room and Anna closed the door.
“I wish to feed and nothing more.” She said softly.
He nodded understandingly. “I had expected that. My name is Jonas. I have been with Jacob for more than ten years.”
Anna studied the man closely. He was a rugged looking man with dark hair and piercing blue eyes. “Why have I not seen you before?”
He smiled slightly. “I retain my own residence out of state. Jacob summoned me here last night. He would prefer your needs are taken care of by one of his own.” He lowered his voice. “Jacob wants his child cared for by those he trusts.”
Still Anna was slightly leery of the blood bound. “I would like to have heard that from Jacob.”
“He is unable to come to you. Thomas has forbidden any further contact between you and your Maker.” He took a step closer. “But I have a message for you.” He whispered.
Anna nodded understanding that while it seemed as if they were alone there was still the chance that one of Thomas’s blood bounds was near. Jonas moved even closer. “Just outside the door.” He whispered in Anna’s ear.
Anna took his hand and led him over to the bed. She closed her eyes a moment praying the hunger would take over. The hunger allowed her to act as a normal healer. Reaching out she stroked Jonas’s face. When she leaned forward to place her lips on his neck he took the opportunity to whisper in her ear. “Jacob said for you to be strong. It is his deepest wish for you and Gerard.”
Hearing Gerard’s voice caused Anna to tear up. She tried to push the image of his face from her mind.
Jonas seemed to understand. He gently put his arms around her. “Feed, Annabelle. And do not give up hope.”
As her fangs sank into his skin she tried to let his words echo in her ears and heart.
Claire closed her eyes as Bob stroked her back lovingly.
“Sure you’re feeling better?” He whispered. “Cause I still think maybe tomorrow you should go see the doctor.”
“I am fine.” Claire said softly. “Please do not worry.”
He pulled her body even closer. “Now you know that’s not gonna happen. I can’t stop worrying about my woman and child.” He paused. “Uh, is that a boy child or girl child I’m worrying about?”
Claire lifted her head to look into his eyes. “Do you really want to know?”
“Do you really believe Granny knows for sure?”
“Yes.” Claire’s smile was beautiful. “I do believe she knows. And..” She pulled herself up to lean on her elbow. “I was thinking that once the baby is born I would like us to travel to Granny’s home.”
“You wanna go to Kentucky?” Bob was surprised. “Hun it’s really out in the middle of nowhere and Granny’s place is so small.”
“I wish to see her home.”
“Well okay but it might be better for Granny to visit us here.”
Claire sighed, “She will not. Granny told me that this was her last visit. She told me that she knows she will never leave her mountains again.”
“Granny said that?”
Claire nodded. “Yes.”
“She’s not sick is she?”
“I do not believe so.” Claire tried to explain. “But I do believe she knows her time on this earth is limited. It is just something she can feel. I really hope I am able to see her again and I want her to meet our son.”
Bob’s eyes grew wide. “Our son?”
Claire leaned over and brushed her lips to his. “Yes, our son.”
“Does that make you happy?” Bob whispered. “I mean that it’s a boy?”
“More than you could understand.” Claire nodded. “I wanted to give you a son.” She suddenly gave him a mischief’s grin. “First.”
He smiled, “Oh yeah, Honey. A son first then we’ll work on a daughter.”
Claire laid her head back down on his chest trying to concentrate on this wonderful life she’d been given. Still it was so hard not to think about Anna. Silently she began to pray for Anna and Gerard.
“Tomorrow morning we will fly to Vermont.” Hudson said taking a drink of the wine he’d poured for himself and Christa. “We should arrive at Jacob’s around noon.”
Christa nodded, “And when will the inquiry take place?”
“I have learned it is set to begin as soon as Gerard is tested.”
“Tested?” Christa repeated. “What exactly does that mean?”
Hudson sighed, “This will no doubt upset you.”
Quickly Christa spoke. “Hey, all of this sorta upsets me, you know. But I have to understand.”
“True.’ Hudson settled back against the sofa cushions. “When one is turned they sleep for three days. We call it the sleep of the dead.” He saw Christa slightly shiver. “Yes I know sounds bad.”
She thought a minute. “The whole three days thing is sorta..” She searched her mind of the right word.
“Well yeah, I guess. Christ slept for three days after he was crucified.”
Hudson nodded, “Yes, often we Healers have wondered if the Supreme Being made this so for a reason. You see we Healers have no control over the sleep of the dead. It is just how it is.”
“Wow.” Christa took a sip of her wine. “So Gerard will awaken a Healer?”
“Yes.” Hudson nodded. “And when he awakens the hunger will awaken. If this was a normal turning, one that was sanctioned by the council, then a party would follow.”
“Yes to welcome the new Healer. But since Gerard was turned without permission of the council it will be handled a bit differently. The council members will be called into the room when he awakens. They will watch as his Maker schools her child in the ways of the Healers.”
Christa took another drink trying to settle her nerves. “So Anna will teach Gerard how to feed?”
“It is her duty. She must make sure he learns when to stop feeding. How to heal the wound. How to control the hunger.”
“I didn’t realize all of that doesn’t just come naturally.”
Hudson smiled, “To a Pure it does of course. We just know these things. But to one turned it must be learned.”
“How do you know when to stop?” Christa asked.
“It is in the heartbeat of the one we feed upon. We hear when it begins to slow. That tells us we must stop.”
“When you and I bonded you were listening to my heartbeat?”
“Yes, of course.” Hudson nodded. “But the trick is to make yourself listen and not get caught up in the hunger.”
“What happens if you don’t?” Again she shivered.
“You know what happens.” Hudson said gently. “If we drain the person, if their heart stops they die.”
“And they become a Healer?”
“If that is the wish of the Healer.”
There was something in his voice that caused a thread of fear to crawl down her spine. “What exactly does that mean?”
“If the Healer does not wish to give the gift of the Healer’s world then there are ways…” His voice trailed off.
“Ways to kill the person. Ways so that they remain dead?”
He could see how upsetting this conversation was becoming for her. “Christa doing that is against our code. If a Healer is found to have killed a mortal we are held accountable for our actions. As much as some Healers and Pures despise mortals we understand it is not for us to play God. It is not for us to decide who lives and who dies.”
“But Healers sorta do that.” Christa said sitting up trying not to spill her drink. “I mean you heal some people who are dying. So in a way you do that.”
He was impressed with her understanding. “Yes, in a way that’s true. But what you don’t understand is that when we heal we believe it is what we should do. It is simply a feeling that tells us it is right. Sadly the more time passes we are losing that ability to feel when it is right or wrong. At one time, centuries ago, the feeling was strong. For myself I could always tell when meeting a mortal if I should or should not heal them with my gift. Now it is not so easy.”
“I wonder why?” Christa said softly.
“That is something only the Supreme Being knows. Some think it is because He has turned His back on us.”
Christa thought a moment. “I don’t think so.”
Hudson smiled, “You don’t?”
She tried to put into words the feeling. “No, I think maybe it’s just a way to try to bring Healers and mortals closer. Like leveling the playing field.”
“Oh shit.” Hudson laughed. “There you go again. Don’t let Healers hear you say that. We are very proud of the fact we are superior to mortals. We don’t want to think of a level playing field.”
Christa tilted her head to look deeply into his eyes. “But you like morals.”
He blinked. “And there you go again with that.”
He nodded, “Looking into my soul.”
She smiled, “Sorry it bothers you.”
He sat down his glass of wine. “It does bother me in a way but at the same time I enjoy knowing that someone understands my feelings. Yes, I do like mortals. They try my patience at times but I truly like them for the most part. They have so many more emotions that we don’t have. They strive for happiness, they hold on to hope.”
Christa understood. “And you wish you knew what it felt like to have those emotions.”
He looked away. “That is a weakness on my part.”
Reaching out she touched his arm. “No, I don’t believe that. That only make you very special.”
Hudson met her eyes. “You touch me Christa, in ways no other ever has.”
She smiled, “And it scares you.”
For a moment he felt anger because she was right and because he was a Pure that was very wrong. “Yes, that’s true.” He admitted. “But back to our discussion on what’s to happen. You will be with me at my side when Gerard is tested. It will be difficult for you to watch.”
He sighed, “Because when a newly turned feeds for the first time often it is not only the hunger but the lust that is so strong. As I have told you we have no hang ups about sex, it’s just part of life for us.”
“You watch each other have sex?”
He threw back his head and laughed. “Shit Sweetheart if you could see the look on your face…yes we enjoy watching. To us there is nothing shameful about it.”
Christa sat back trying to take this latest bit of information in her head. “Is it always like that?”
“You mean the sex?”
“Not always but yeah, it usually is.” He was puzzled by the look on her face. “What are you thinking?”
“I’m thinking about Anna being turned.”
“Oh.” He nodded. “You are wondering what it was like for her?”
Again she simply nodded.
“Because she was so young and turned wrong I’m guessing that sex did not play a part in her awakening. It is something I’ve never discussed with Jacob but I it’s my guess they have never shared that kind of relationship.”
“I don’t think so.” Christa said softly.
Hudson thought back to the first time he’d almost coupled with Anna. He remembered her fear. “No, I’m sure it’s not.”
“But they will have sex when he first awakens?” Christa asked slowly.
Hudson hated what he had to tell her. “No, it will not be allowed. Because Gerard was turned without permission Anna will not be allowed to touch him. She will school him in the art of feeding then she will watch as he enjoys the body of whoever is chosen to be his first as a Healer.”
“Holy shit.” Christa sat up. “You’re telling me she’s gonna have to watch him have sex with someone else.”
Hudson knew it was important she understood. “Christa, I’ve told you. Healers do not feel human love. It is true that when they have a mortal blood bound to them they do not have to share but this is different. Gerard will be a Healer. He is now Anna’s child but a Healer in his own right. Anna can’t let them see it upsets her to watch him have sex with another. If she does then they will understand she is wrong.”
“Oh.” Tears came to her eyes. “Poor Anna.”
“I’m sorry I have to tell you all of this.” Hudson said reaching out and taking her hand in his. “But you have to know the truth because as my blood bound you can’t let it upset you either. They all must believe I am controlling your mind. For a Pure not to control the mind of a blood bound, well…” He sighed, “That would just be fucked up.”
Christa sat lost in thought.
“Will you be able to handle this?”
“I will for Anna and Gerard.” Christa whispered. “But it hurts because I know how difficult it will be for Anna. She loves Gerard.”
“And we will love her as his Maker.” Hudson said sadly. “And knowing that is the only love he feels for her will be worse than anything else.”