Several months later
They were sitting in a small cafe in the center of the city when they were approached by two men. Marcus was definitely not pleased to see them. Something Casey picked up on immediately.
“Marcus.” The tall dark-haired man smiled as he neared their table. “It has been too long.”
Casey studied both men. The one who had spoken she knew was a Pure. The other she assumed was a turned Healer.
“Lance.” Marcus forced himself to smile. “Good to see you.”
Lance glanced at Casey a moment then dismissed her presence. He did not care to converse with a blood bound. “What brings you to Moscow?”
Marcus shrugged, “Nothing really.”
Lance laughed, “That my dear Marcus must be a lie. You have come to sample some of the local pleasures, no?”
Casey could hear Marcus’s thoughts and knew he was reminding himself of his place as a Pure in the Healer world.
“Well now that goes without saying.”
“Good, good.” Lance nodded. “Then you must come to my home tonight. I am having a special little get together. I believe you will know many who will be attending.” He grinned, “It will of course not be as legendary as some of the events you’ve hosted but I am sure you will enjoy yourself.”
Marcus titled his head with faked interest. “Are any of the guests my old friends?”
Casey realized he was asking if other Pure’s would be there.
“Some of your newer friends.” Lance answered. “However you of course will be the guest of honor.”
Marcus slightly relaxed. “Well my friend that does sound tempting.”
“Tempting.” Lance laughed, “Yes, definitely that.” He quickly recited his address for Marcus ending with an explanation of why he must go now. He had many things to do in preparation.
Marcus watched the two men leave the cafe.
“The other was a Healer?” Casey asked softly.
“Yeah.” Marcus said slowly turning to look into her eyes.
“Why didn’t he introduce him to you?”
Casey smiled, “I really do want to understand.”
“Fine.” Marcus sighed, “The other man was obviously a Healer who’s Maker was no one of significance.”
Casey considered his words a moment before asking. “His Maker wasn’t a Pure, right?”
He nodded. “Yeah, if he had been then I would have been introduced to the guy.”
Casey sighed, “Wow you really do have a class structure.”
“What’s that mean?”
She took a sip of her strong coffee before answering. “I guess I never really got before why Anna is treated better than most Healers. It’s because of Jacob.”
Marcus nodded, “Yes, because her Maker is Jacob she holds a much higher place in the Healer world.”
“She is his only child.”
Again Marcus nodded.
“But if she was just a Healer, not the child of a Pure, then she’d be treated like that guy?”
Marcus frowned, “What do you mean?”
“Marcus.” Casey sighed, “I get to them they knew I’m simply a blood bound so I was ignored. But he’s a Healer and he was pretty much ignored too.”
“Do we have to discuss this?”
She closed her eyes a moment to listen to his thoughts. As she suspected he had made a decision. A decision she was going to have to change.
“So what do I wear tonight?"
Marcus knew what she’d been doing. “We’re not going."
“Yes, we are.” She said gently.
Unable to stop it, his temper flared. “No, we’re not so get that idea out of your head. You only think you know what it would be like. Believe me you have no idea.”
Casey stood her ground. “Well you’re not going without me so just get that thought right out of your head.”
He’s eyes narrowed, “I will if that’s what I want to do."
It was at times like this, dealing with the Pure blood was difficult. “But you don’t want to go without me.” She smiled.
Damn this woman had turned his world upside down. “And since I won’t take you then we won’t be going.” He said believing that ended the conversation.
“But we are going." Casey reached across the table to gently lay her hand on his arm. “It is important I become known in the Healer world.”
“What?” He was so loud a couple across the room turned to look.
Casey smiled, “His Excellence wants me to become known as the Ingredior Utriusque who is bound to you.”
Marcus stared at her.
Casey took another sip of coffee waiting for the questions she knew would be forthcoming.
“He told you that?”
“And you’re just telling me that now?"
“It has only been a few months. Until now we’ve been traveling and this is the first time a situation like this has come up.”
He sat back trying to gather his thoughts. “Fine, I’ll let it be known I have a Ingredior Utriusque bound to me. But not at this party.”
She looked at him over her coffee cup. “I can handle it.”
“Do you remember what it was like back on the island?" When she nodded he continued, “That was nothing compared to what this would be like.”
“I know that.” Casey said lowering her voice, “But I have chosen to be part of your world. I understand that sex has no meaning other than pleasure.”
He sighed, “That’s not exactly true. With some it’s not just pleasure they want. They want pain first, then the pleasure. I don’t want you to be a part of that. I don’t want you to see that.”
“You can’t protect me from certain things. I need to see everything. I need to know exactly what it is like for you.”
His eyes narrowed, “What it is like for me?"
“Yes, I know you are almost legendary in the Healer world.”
“Oh fuck.” He closed his eyes a moment trying to control his anger. “Look I don’t know what you’ve heard or who you heard it from…” Suddenly his voice trailed off. “His Excellence?”
“So you really think it’s a good idea to see me in this kind of situation?” He locked eyes with her and she saw them flash. “You won’t like me, Casey.”
“I love you.” She whispered.
He shook his head sadly. “When we walk into that house I will become someone you don’t know.”
“You will because that is what you must do. Your Pure blood will demand it. I understand that. But I am not afraid. I know you would not let anyone harm me.”
“Of course not.” He answered quickly. “You are mine.”
She smiled, “And you know there will be on one there older than you.”
He was realizing she understood more than he’d earlier believed. “Yes, so no one could challenge me for you. But still what goes on…”
“I need to do this.” Casey said sitting up straighter in her chair. “And you need to make sure those in attendance know I am Ingredior Utriusque.”
Casey smiled, “Because that is His Excellence’s wish.”
“So why the fuck didn’t he tell me?’ Marcus ground out.
“Because he understood that I would see to it.’ She answered with a smile.
Marcus sat back and exhaled loudly wishing once again he truly understood how one tiny woman could throw his life into such confusion.
Jacob came to an abrupt halt when he walked into the room. Katherine was folding a blouse while standing in front of her suitcase.
“You are leaving?” He asked without emotion.
Katherine placed the blouse in suitcase carefully then turned to him. “I think it’s time.”
Jacob sighed “Of course.”
Since they had returned a month ago from visiting his child in Scotland Katherine had been growing more and more displeased with the situation. She had tried to speak to Jacob about this but he’d refused.
She began folding another blouse then suddenly stopped. “It’s your fault.”
Jacob blinked, “What?”
“Jacob how long have I been here?”
He frowned. “You have stayed here since Annabelle’s inquiry.”
Katherine sighed, “Yes, and other than the few times we have traveled for Council business or for your child we have been here.”
“And that does not please you?”
Katherine found herself wanting to shake him. “I really thought that eventually you’d come out of your shell. But you seem very happy to sit in this mansion locked away for the most part from the world.”
Jacob looked away. “I have been very happy here.”
Katherine gave up trying to fold the blouse nicely. She angrily threw it in her bag. “Oh whatever.” Suddenly she turned. “I just thought….” She stopped.
Jacob walked over to her. “Thought what?”
“This is so stupid.” She said angrily. “What the hell am I doing?”
“Kat, I do not understand. Have I done something to drive you away?” Jacob asked.
She looked into his eyes. “All those years ago after the inquiry I was the one who asked to stay with you.”
“That is true.” He said feeling completely confused.
“Shit I’ve made a fool of myself.”
She started to turn but Jacob grabbed her arm.
“Tell me what is going on?”
“I’m an idiot. I bought into that stupid soul mate thing.”
He was slowly beginning to understand. “Katherine you are my soul mate. My true soul mate.”
She stared into his eyes. “You truly believe that? Even knowing unlike you I do not feel mortal love?”
Jacob smiled. “Kat, I am willing to be happy whatever you feel for me. I just want you at my side. If you want to leave here we will. I will go anywhere you want.” He pulled her close. “As long as you are with me.”
Katherine blinked, “Oh hell.”
When he saw her tears he understood.
“Crying?” She shook her head. “I’m crying?”
Marcus used his fingertip to gently wipe away her tears. “Very un-Pure-like.” He teased.
“Jacob I don’t know what you’ve done to me.” She whispered feeling herself become lost in his eyes.
“Kat you know many Pures believe in soul mates.”
“Yeah, but I didn’t think it would really happen to me. When I said that before…”
“On the island?”
“Like a fool I did not say out loud that you are mine.” He pulled her closer to wrap his arms around her tightly. “You have brought so much happiness in my life.” He kissed her gently before adding, “I will not lose you. Just tell me what you want.”
Katherine smiled, “This is what I wanted. I wanted to hear you say I’m your soul mate. I wanted to hear you ask me not to leave.”
Before she could react Jacob lifted her in his arms. He tossed her on the bed then swept the suitcase to the floor. As he lowered his body down next to her he said. “Katherine you are a Pure, my equal. However you are mine for all time.”
Katherine, who’s topaz eyes had locked on is, smiled. “Yes, and you are mine.”
Hearing Gerard call her name and with such urgency she ran into the living room. “What is wrong?”
Gerard looked frazzled. “Hell if I know. She won’t stop crying. I’ve feed her.”
Anna smiled, “Gee, she is a baby. Often they cry for no apparent reason.”
He began to rock the infant in his arms. Still she cried.
“Perhaps if you sing to her?” Anna suggested.
He grinned. “Yeah, okay.”
As he began to sing a lullaby Anna felt tears suddenly come to her eyes. It has been so long since she’d heard him sing. She crossed the room needing to be near to Gerard and the child.
Gerard had chosen a song his mother had once sung to him. It was a song he hadn’t thought of in so very many years. His voice was full of emotion.
In his arms the infant began to quiet down. Anna sat down slowly next to them, her eyes full of tears. Gerard continued to sing until at last the baby feel asleep.
“Why are you crying?” He whispered looking over at his wife.
“You miss singing, is that not correct?”
The question surprised him. “Sometimes but if you’re thinking I miss that life, you’re wrong. It was a great life and I will have some wonderful memories from it for all time. But the life we have right now is beautiful.” He shifted the baby carefully. “And while she must like my voice you’re really the one who should sing to her, Sugar. Your voice is beautiful.”
Anna smiled, “Maybe next time I will.” She gently reached out to stroke the baby’s soft cheek.
“Or you could just sing for me?”
She looked into his eyes. “Now?”
“Sure, we don’t want her waking up again right now.” He grinned.
“But I do not know what to sing." Anna said shaking her head.
“What did your mother sing to you?” He whispered the question lovingly.
Anna thought a moment then slowly began to sing the song her mother had sung to her and Clarissa when they were young.
Gerard smiled from within as he listened to her voice feeling so much love.
“I don’t like this.” Marcus growled as he and Casey left the exclusive clothing store. “Not a bit.”
Casey tried to smile, tried not to let him see she was nervous. “It’s just a dress.”
“You know damn good and well what I mean.” He said taking her arm to lead her down the street towards their hotel. “That dress show off more of you then I want anyone else to see.”
“Marcus, I have to dress accordingly.”
“You mean you have to dress the part.” He retorted angrily.
She sighed, “Well yeah, sorta true. I am your blood bound. I should look like I am.”
He turned to her, his eyes flashed with anger. “So you believe a blood bound of mine should dress like a hooker?”
Casey smiled, “This isn’t a hooker dress.”
“Yeah, it is.” He shook his head. “You just don’t have any idea what you’re getting yourself into.”
“I know I am going to see a part of your world that you want to shelter me from but you can’t.” She added softly, “And I know that upsets you.”
“I can shelter you from anything I chose.” He responded narrowing his eyes.
Casey sighed as she heard the Pure attitude clearly. “Remember this is what His Excellence wants. I need to become known as your blood bound, your Ingredior Utriusque blood bound.”
He was so angry he felt his fangs extend. Taking a moment he silently counted in his head trying to control the fury.
Casey smiled. “How far are you going to count?”
He glared at her. “I don’t think there are enough numbers.”
She tightened her hold on his arm as they began to walk again. “It’ll be okay. Just remember this is my choice. I know tonight when we walk into that party you will become all Pure. I accept that. I know you will touch other women…”
“But no other will touch you.” He ground out.
She smiled, “I know that too.” She stopped walking and looked directly into his eyes. “And after the party we will return to our hotel and make love.”
His eyes flashed again then returned to normal. “Casey, I never want to fail you.” He whispered.
His words surprised her a moment until she listened to his thoughts. They were so full of love for her she couldn’t stop herself from reaching up to brush her lips against his. “I love you, Marcus. Never ever doubt that.”