Preparing to leave
Marcus continued to watch the ocean not trusting himself to look into her eyes. “I can’t risk losing you. When he said once a Pure tried to turn a Ingredior Utriusque …” His voice was filled with sadness as it trailed off.
“He said no one is sure what happened.” Casey reminded him. “It’s very possible that death couldn’t be stopped.”
Marcus sighed, “And it’s possible that a Ingredior Utriusque can’t be turned. Maybe you’re not meant to be part of our world.”
“But I know I am.” Her voice was strong. “I just know it.”
He turned to her. “What did you and His Excellence talk about?”
She smiled slightly, “Many things.”
Marcus shook his head trying not to let anger take over again. “And you’re not going to tell me. Just like your mother wouldn’t tell me.”
Casey scooted over the warm sand to sit closer to him. “I’m sorry but I can’t tell you.”
He turned away. “Never would I have believed I would think to defy him before I met you.”
“And you still won’t.” Casey said softly. “You are a Pure. You know you must do what he says, you know that’s right.” She tried to lighten the mood. “But Good Lord when we first walked in together it looked like poor Jacob was going to have a stroke.”
“As your friend he was scared for you. Marcus, you have to realize everyone in that room felt the same way.”
He tuned to look at her. “What do you feel for His Excellence?”
Casey smiled hearing his true thoughts, knowing what he was feeling was jealousy. “I feel great respect for His Excellence.” She reached out to lay her hand on his arm. “I love you.”
“I still don’t know how to deal with this emotion.” He whispered.
Casey grinned, “Well that’s one of the problems with love. Often it’s hard to deal with.”
“For mortals.” He said sounding disgusted.
“And obviously for Pures too."
“I just hope His Excellence believes my desire for you and your unique blood made me act that way.”
“You hope he believes our blood bond was making you act that way?”
Marcus nodded. “Yes, I can’t even begin to think what would happen if he truly knew the truth.”
Casey leaned her head against his shoulder so he couldn’t see the look on her face.
Anna had stopped crying but was still sitting holding the baby. Beside her Gerard used his finger to push more of the blanket away from the babies face so he could get a better look.
“She’s very pretty.” He whispered.
“She is beautiful.” Anna whispered back.
“Uh, I don’t know much about babies and I really don’t know anything about Pure babies.” Gerard said softly. Just then the baby stirred.
Anna lifted her hand to her mouth and using her fang pricked her finger. She then lowered it to the baby’s mouth. Gerard watched in fascination as the baby began to suckle her finger.
“Oh.” He said softly. “That answers one question.”
Anna looked into his eyes. “The next time you may feed her.” She watched closely for his reaction.
“I’d like that.” He smiled. Seeing the look of happiness that now covered Anna’s face he grinned. “Uh, so I guess we don’t have to deal with any diapers.”
Anna shook her head. “No, she is not like a mortal baby. But I will admit like you I do not know a lot about Pure babies. I do not know about her sleep patterns for one thing.”
“Guess we just let her sleep when she wants.”
“This will be very hard.” Anna sighed.
He understood what she meant. “Think about how much you and I have faced together. We’ll figure this out. We’ll get it right and when we do, when we raise this Pure as she should be raised, then the Healer world will respect us.”
“Is that important to you?’ Anna asked.
“Their respect means a lot to me because I know that having it will make our lives a lot easier.”
Anna looked back down at the baby. “But what you said to Marcus is correct. We will always be second class citizens in the Healer world.”
Gerard refused to let her fall into despair. “No, we will be recognized as two Healers who were chosen by His Excellence to raise a Pure.”
“How do you really feel about his?” Anna asked softy.
He tightened his arm that was around Anna’s shoulders. “To me another incredible thing has happened. I never in a million years would have believed you and I would have a baby.”
“But she is not ours.”
“Yeah, she is.” He whispered looking down into the babies face. “She’s ours and we will both love her.”
“But Gee.” Anna’s voice was scared.
“Remember what Casey said. We gotta have faith.”
Marcus’s voice had fallen silent but Casey sat listening to his thoughts. It pained her he was so confused. He was still second guessing their blood bond, not sure he had done the correct thing by binding her to him, by bringing her here. She wished with all her heart the things His Excellence had told her were things she could share but for now they must remain unspoken. Wanting to ease his mind she asked, “Are we going to remain here after Anna and Gerard leave?”
Marcus sighed, “I don’t know.”
“Since you left the life of Hudson Evans what have you been doing?”
He shrugged, “Drifting. That was a life I really liked. Since leaving it I’ve just been moving from place to place.”
“Traveling around the world?”
Casey smiled, “That must be nice.”
He turned to her, “Actually, no. I’ve been everywhere on this earth. There’s nothing I haven’t already seen many times.”
“Well, it sounds exciting to me. I’d never left the United States before coming here.”
As she had hoped the conversation caused him to think about something other than what had happened these last few days. “You sound like you’d like to travel.”
“Of course I would. There’s a whole big world out there I’ve never seen.”
“I could show it to you.’ He said softly. “If that’s what you want?”
Casey smiled, “I would love to see the world with you as my guide.”
Marcus found himself liking that thought. He’d show Casey around the world as his blood bond. Then maybe, in time, she would decide that the world she’d been born into, the mortal world, was right for her.
Casey knew what he was thinking, that she would change her mind about being a Healer, and although she knew that wouldn’t happen, for now she’d let him keep that thought.
When the baby had stopped feeding she’d promptly fallen back asleep. Anna had settled comfortably against the sofa cushions cradling the baby in her arms.
“Sugar, does Highglynn have an art studio?” He asked softly not wanting to wake the baby.
Anna shook her head, “No but the main house is actually a large castle. I am sure we can convert one of the rooms for that purpose.”
He smiled, “We definitely will. Uh, so the place is pretty isolated?”
“Jacob owns much of the land so yes.” She knew what he was thinking, “There is a small town not far. I do not think at his time we will have to change our appearances much, so many years have passed.” She paused, “But I believe I shall change the color of my hair.”
He sighed, “Yeah your hair is pretty memorable.” He grinned, “I remember how many of my old fans loved your hair. Shit, remember how many of them started showing up at concerts with bleached white hair?”
Anna smiled, “Yes.”
“So what color?”
Anna thought a moment. “A deep auburn I think.”
“That would be beautiful.” He believed any color she chose would be fine. To him Anna would always be beautiful no matter what she did to her hair.
He stood careful not to disturb the baby. “Since we’re leaving in the morning I’m gonna go pack up some of our art supplies. Just stuff I know for sure we’ll want right away.”
Anna nodded, “That is good. When we settle in we can always get whatever else we need later.”
He was relieve she was now thinking of the new life they were about to begin. “Okay I’ll be back.” He started for the door then stopped, “Uh, let me know next time she needs to feed, okay?”
“You wish to feed her?”
His smile touched Anna’s heart. “Yeah.”
He turned at the doorway.
“What will we name her?”
“What name would you like to give her?”
“I would like to give her your grandmother’s name.” Anna said softly.
He was surprised, “Really?”
“Do you not think that is a good idea?” She asked watching his face for the truth. Perhaps it would be a painful reminder of his mortal life.
“Thank you.” He said, his voice filled with emotion. “It is a wonderful choice.”
Gerard had just placed several sketch books into a large box when he realized he wasn’t alone. He knew who had entered the room but instead of acknowledging the arrival he continued to work on gathering up art supplies.
“So you’re still pissed.”
Placing the package of charcoal pencils in the box first Gerard then turned. “Yeah, suppose I am.”
Marcus walked into the room. “Look I know what I said to you downstairs was harsh.”
Gerard’s eyebrow rose, “Harsh? Yeah suppose you could say that.”
“You were openly defying me.”
“I was trying to make you stop acting like a jackass.” Gerard shot back. “First you hurt were hurting Anna and then you tried to grab Casey.”
Marcus tried to defend his actions. “I didn’t mean to hurt Anna with what I said. And as for Casey she is my blood bound.”
Gerard sighed, “Yeah, you never let any of us forget that.”
Marcus looked surprised, “Is that something you’d like to forget?”
“You just don’t get it.” Gerard said taking a set by the box on the bench. “Anna and I both belong to you. We know that.”
Marcus cut him off, “And that being so it’s helped both of you in the past.”
“Of course it did.” Gerard nodded, “And we are fuckin’ grateful for that. But you don’t need to keep reminding us that it also means you are in control of us.”
“Fine, it is in my power to formally release you both.”
Now Gerard was shocked, “Didn’t say that’s what we wanted.” In truth he and Anna both understood the importance of the Pure’s protection. He tried to soften his words. “We both feel a very special bond with you. But I guess for us that bond feels more like a deep friendship.”
Marcus titled his head considering Gerard’s words. “The bond has made me love you both.” He said finally.
Gerard smiled, “That love you feel because of the bond, we’ll we feel it too. You’re very important to us.”
“Because of my protection.” Marcus sighed.
Gerard scooted over hoping Marcus would take the hint. He did and was soon seated next to Gerard.
“We don’t just want the bond for protection.” Gerard said softly. “Shit, dude we really have deep feelings for you. You and Christa saved us.”
“So you want to keep the bond out of gratitude.”
Gerard was slowly realizing something was different about Marcus. He could tell the Pure wanted to believe he and Anna felt something for him that had nothing to do with their blood bonds. “No, that’s not it. I can speak for Anna when I say both of us feel deep emotion for you. Yeah, the bond strengthens that feeling but it would be there regardless.”
Marcus clasped his hands in front of him then sighed, “Maybe. Whatever. I really don’t know why it matters to me.”
The Healer blood that ran through Gerard made it easy for him to understand. “Look, I’m a Healer with all those emotions but you know I’ve still got my mortal ones too. The love I feel for you is fueled by both.”
Marcus looked into his eyes. “Gerard, I feel so lost. So fuckin’ confused.” He couldn’t stop himself from admitting the truth to him.
“Yeah, I know.” Gerard said softly. “Casey has changed you.”
At first the Pure blood wanted to deny that truth. However he found it impossible to lie to this blood bound who he cared so deeply for. “Yeah, she has.”
“What are you going to do?”
“For now nothing.” Marcus sighed, “She and I talked about it and until she feels the time is right she will remain simply my blood bound.”
“His Excellence said she’ll know.” Gerard nodded.
“Yeah whatever the fuck that means.” Marcus said shaking his head.
Gerard reached out to touch his arm. “It means when she knows the time is right you will turn her.”
“I know.” Gerard said softly. “You’re afraid it won’t work. You’re afraid you’ll lose her.”
“For all time.” Marcus whispered.
“But if she’s right then you’ll have her at your side for all time.”
Marcus nodded wanting more than anything to hold on to that hope.
“So.” Gerard was unsure how to bring up another subject that had been on his mind since His Excellence’s visit. “Anna and I are leaving in the morning. Will you be visiting us in Scotland?”
Marcus shrugged. “Maybe. Casey told me she wants to travel and see the world.”
“Well since you may be away from me and Anna for a long time….”
“Oh, you wish to bond.” Marcus said.
Gerard nodded, “Look Anna and I are facing a new challenge. I just think that strengthening our bond with you might help.”
“You believe my Pure blood will help?”
“Can’t hurt.” Gerard laughed.
Marcus nodded. “Honestly I was going to make the offer but I wasn’t sure what you’d think since you were still pissed at me.”
“I’m over it.” Gerard grinned. “Uh, maybe later Anna and I could meet you somewhere.”
Marcus ran his hands over his face while sighing deeply. “We can bond without sex.”
Gerard gave him a shocked look. “What?”
“I know you and Anna have always disliked that part of the bonding with me.”
The tone of Marcus’s voice shocked him more than the words. Marcus sounded hurt.
“That’s not true. You know at first it was difficult for Anna. But that’s changed now that she and I both except it is just a part of bonding for Healers. What we’ve done with you Marcus, we feel no shame.” He shrugged, “Shit dude, it’s pretty fuckin’ pleasurable.”
When Marcus looked into his eyes he saw that Gerard was speaking the truth. “Thank you.” He whispered before he could stop himself. Suddenly he sat up straighter. “But regardless, we’ll bond without sex. I can do that you know?"
Gerard laughed, “Could have fooled me. I’ve never known a time you haven’t had sex while bonding.”
Marcus’s face took on a sad look, “I did with Christa.”
The name of his long gone friend surprised Gerard. “I’ve always wondered about that.”
Marcus let those memories flood his mind. “She was so damn feisty. She told me in no uncertain terms she’d bond with me but there’d be no sex.”
“Casey is feisty like her mother.”
“Fuck yeah she is. After what happened with you she found me in the study with a blood bound getting ready to feed.”
“Oh shit.” Gerard muttered.
Marcus nodded, “Yeah, she was pretty angry but she didn’t show it in front of the other woman. However as soon as I sent her away, Casey said she knew I needed to feed but she let me know she wasn’t feeling all that affectionate for me at the time so sex wasn’t gonna happen.”
Gerard laughed out loud. “Oh man.”
Marcus grinned, “You know it was the first time in my existence that I felt something other than lust when I took her blood.”
“You felt love.”
Marcus wanted to clarify, “I felt how much she loved me.”
“Scary ain’t it?"
“You have no idea.” Marcus said softly. “So anyway, I think maybe it’s best if just you and I bond. Anna has way too much going on in the emotions department right now.”
“Fuck yeah she does.” Gerard nodded.
“But strengthening our bond is a good idea.” Marcus said slowly. “That way if something does happen and you two need me it will be easier for me to feel.”
Gerard nodded, “Yeah, I agree.”
He turned his body to face Gerard. “Casey is downstairs with Anna and the new Pure.”
Gerard saw Marcus’s eyes flash and that caused his eyes to do the same. “Then now seems like a good time.”
“It does.” Marcus smiled revealing his fangs. He always enjoyed bonding with Gerard. He enjoyed the satisfaction the action brought him but also the fact that it gave him more power of the man. That thought caused him to pause.
Gerard who’s hunger was already growing asked, “What is it?”
Marcus tried to concentrate on the actual act of bonding, he wanted to feel the blood lust and nothing more. However he couldn’t. “Shit.” He muttered.
“Tell me what’s wrong.” Gerard said with concern.
Marcus stared into his eyes. “I realized I like the power bonding with you gives me.”
Gerard smiled, “And you think I don’t know that? Of course you do, Marcus. You are a Pure and they are all about the power. But I also know that you truly care about me and Anna. I realized how much you cared about her the first time I met you.” He gently touched his cheek. “When I say this now, I meant it. I have deep feelings for you. Yeah, I know that is the Healer blood talking but so what? I am Healer now, so it is a part of me and I accept that. Hell, I liked you when I was mortal.”
Marcus smiled, “Really?”
“Yeah, just didn’t feel exactly right about admitting that. But that time we bonded in Vegas…that was the night you asked me to put aside my mortal feelings and try to understand what you felt. I got it then. I get it now that I’m a Healer.”
His words eased some of Marcus’s doubts. Lifting his arm he offered it to Gerard.
Gerard held out his own arm in offering.
Both men locked eyes; they bit into each others arms at the same moment.
Gerard closed his eyes as Marcus’s blood filled his mouth. The intense emotions that filled him caused him to moan. Needing to feel closer to the Pure he reached out and stroked his hair.
Marcus knew his blood lust was taking over but at the same time realized it wasn’t in control of him. He placed his other hand on Gerard’s shoulder to gently caress it.
Several moments passed as they bonded. When they at last they both understood it was time to stop they lifted their heads. Gerard was about to heal his own arm with Marcus lifted it to his mouth. His tongue quickly came out to lick the wound. Before releasing his arm he placed a gentle kiss.
Gerard smiled then did the same for him. Again their eyes locked and the intense closeness they felt urged them on. The kiss they shared was not sexual, it was done out of love.
As he sat back Marcus saw a slight movement in the doorway. He was surprised to see Anna holding the baby standing there watching. Her eyes were topaz obviously having just watched the scene. Beside her Casey’s eyes were large. He knew how she reacted to this was important. This was part of who he was so he needed to know she truly understood that. Not saying anything he simply looked into her eyes.
Casey slowly made her way across the room to stand before him. Watching him bond with Gerard had at first shocked her but then when she saw the tenderness between them she’d understood. Marcus bonded with them to keep them safe. She leaned down and whispered something that made Gerard throw back his head to laugh out loud.
“Just so you think I’m a better kisser than Gerard.”