Marcus and Casey visit someone in need.
They had checked into one of Chicago’s premiere hotels and she’d immediately made a phone call. Marcus had known she’d wanted privacy to make her call so he was now sitting alone waiting. The longer she was gone from his side the harder it became to be patient.
Finally she emerged from the bedroom smiling.
“So…” Marcus said slowly hoping she’d explain what was going on.
“We’re going to visit Annie.” Casey said sitting down next to him.
Marcus frowned, “Annie? Who’s Annie?”
Casey laughed, “Well the person we came here to see.”
He sighed, “Casey, while I know you’ve kept in contact with a few people you’ve never really shared with me who they are or why.”
“I’m sorry.” She said snuggling up next to him. “I didn’t mean to keep things from you. And to be honest I’ve only kept in touch with two people. My Uncle Lou, so he wouldn’t worry and Clark.”
“Clark, that’s Claire’s son, right?”
Her smile faded slightly, “Yeah, when Aunt Claire died and I left with you I had to call him. I knew if I didn’t he’d be hurt I didn’t attend her funeral.”
Now Marcus frowned, “I’m sorry that’s my fault you weren’t here for her funeral.” He realized he’d never even given that a thought before now.
“It’s okay. Clark understood.”
“What did you tell him?” Marcus asked slowly.
“I didn’t call him until a few days later. When he told me about Claire’s passing I acted surprised, pretended I didn’t know. I told him I’d accepted a job I loved out of the country he insisted I didn’t come back for the funeral. He told me he understood how much I’d loved his mother but there was no reason for me to come back.”
Marcus stroked her hair. “I’m sorry.”
She sighed, “No, it’s okay. I knew in my heart that Aunt Claire would have understood. If she’d known I was with Anna…”
“She loved Anna so much.”
Casey nodded, “Oh yes.”
“Okay so I’m still confused, who’s Annie?”
Sitting up so she could look into his eyes Casey answered, “Annie is Aunt Claire’s oldest granddaughter. She just turned eighteen.”
“Clark’s daughter is already eighteen?”
“Yep. Clark and Sarah met in high school. Uh, Annie was born right after they were married.” She grinned, “Aunt Claire told me once that Bob’s great grandma would have said they put the cart before the horse.”
This caused Marcus to look very confused which made Casey laugh. “Aunt Claire loved Bob’s great grandma.” She paused then told him the truth. “Granny Clark was with Aunt Claire when Anna and Gerard were in the accident that claimed his mortal life.”
Casey nodded slowly, “She was alone with her. Aunt Claire told me the story years later. She said it was a blessing that Granny Clark was with her. While she never pressed Aunt Claire to explain about Anna she knew Anna was special and she understood they had a unique bond.”
Marcus was surprised by this. “How could she know?”
Settling down next to him comfortably Casey explained, “Well according to Aunt Claire Granny Clark was a wise woman, one who understood there was much more to this world then most people understood or saw.”
“So she never really knew about Anna?”
“Not specifically what Anna is but she understood that Claire and Anna had a bond that was deep.” She smiled sadly, “Aunt Claire told me that the last time she saw Granny Clark was a few months before she died. They had taken Clark, who was only about three months old at the time to see her. She lived in the hills of Kentucky. Granny Clark had whispered to Claire before they left that Anna had given Aunt Claire a good life.”
“Interesting.” Marcus said as he considered the story. Suddenly he remembered something, “Uh, didn’t I hear you telling Anna something about the seventh daughter? Was that from Granny Clark?"
Casey nodded, “Yes, according to Granny Clark the seventh daughter of the seventh daughter possesses special gifts. She firmly believed that.”
Marcus grinned, “Okay so I’m still sorta lost here.”
“Well Clark’s wife comes from a large family.”
“Oh wait let me guess, she has six sisters.”
Casey laughed, “Yep, you guessed it. His wife, Sarah, was the baby, the seventh daughter. Aunt Claire was so happy when she found that out. She and Sarah were very close because they both believed.”
“But she never told Sarah about Anna, right?”
Casey shook her head, “Of course not. Aunt Claire would never have told anyone the truth about Anna. But, like Granny Clark, Sarah always knew there had been something very special about Anna and Aunt Claire’s bond. She knew but didn’t question.”
“So am I to assume this Annie we’re here to see is named after Anna?”
“Yes, she is. But although she’s not the seventh daughter I’ve always known there is something different about her. I could sense it.” She leaned her head down on Marcus’s chest. “I’ve often wondered if Clark somehow carried almost a residual emotion deep inside because of the bond between Anna and Aunt Claire. Some kind of emotion that was passed on to him and in turn his daughters.”
Marcus had trouble believing that. “As far as I know that’s not possible.”
“But think about it.” Casey said slowly. “Their bond was so deep. Anna saved Aunt Claire’s life. She told me the story. Aunt Claire was near death and Anna stopped it.”
“That’s true.” Marcus said. “But I really can’t see how that would have been passed down to Clark.”
“Well it wasn’t exactly. It was passed down to his daughter.”
Marcus gently lifted her head so he could look into her eyes. “Okay what aren’t you telling me?”
“I could always sense Annie was special. When I was much younger I actually baby sat for Clark and Sarah so I spent a lot of time with her. Even as a little girl she looked at things so differently.”
“Are all his daughters like this?”
Casey shook her head, “No, of course I’ve not seen his youngest daughter because she was born after I left. But the others seemed just like normal kids. It was Annie who was different.”
“And we’re here to see her.”
“Yes.” Casey’s smile faded. “About a week ago I just suddenly had a feeling I needed to see Annie. I can’t really explain it any better than that.”
“Well you didn’t explain it at all to me.” He said sounding a bit annoyed. “All you said was you had a feeling you needed to come back to Chicago.”
“Yes, because I knew if I explained it before now you wouldn’t be happy. I’m right, aren’t I?”
He sighed, “Look, you know how dangerous it can be for a mortal to know about our world if there is no blood bond.”
“I do.” She said quickly. “However I also know that like my mother I can sense things. And I knew it would be wrong to ignore the feeling I had. Annie needs me.”
This caused Marcus to sit up, “What?”
“I was just talking to Clark.” She explained quickly. “As I feared Annie is going through a very rough time. He believes she is suffering from depression and is very worried.”
“Well maybe she is. That’s a pretty common moral problem.”
“Sure it is. But I know that’s not what’s wrong with Annie. So does her mother. Sarah understands what it is like to have the ability to sense things other’s can’t. Like me she understands how hard that can be. It can make you feel crazy.”
He gently touched her cheek, “Like you did when you were young?”
She gave him a beautiful smile, “Yes”
“But this Annie is not like you. You are Ingredior Utriusque”
“I know. But because she is different, because she has a unique gift she feels lost. And I feel I need to help her.”
His tone was very serious, “Casey you can’t tell her about the Healer world. You know that. It’s impossible for a mortal to know about it without a blood bond.”
“I know.’ She said snuggling up to him again, “But I still feel I need to see her.”
Marcus sighed, “And I still feel this might not be a good idea.”
“Don’t you trust me?” Casey asked softly.
He hugged her to him tightly. “How can you ask that? I’ve trusted you with my heart.”
“This is the place.” Casey said looking at the metal numbers attached to the wooden door. “Apartment 134.”
“Does she know we’re coming?” Marcus asked.
Casey shook her head. “No but she should be home. She shares this apartment with two other girls. Clark told me this would be the best time of day to talk to her because she’ll be home and her friends are still in school.”
Marcus sighed, “What if she’s not home?”
“She will be.” Casey said then knocked loudly on the door. As they stood in the deserted hallway they could hear music just down the hall. Casey waited a moment then knocked again.
“See, she’s not here.” Marcus was secretly glad the girl wasn’t home. He couldn’t put his finger on the feeling exactly but he felt like Casey wasn’t telling him something and that worried him.
A minute later the door was pulled open by a tall red-headed girl. Marcus blinked in surprise; her resemblance to Claire was startling.
“Annie.” Casey smiled then immediately pulled her into a tight hug.
Marcus stood watching silently. At last Casey released the young girl. “It’s so good to see you.”
“What are you doing here?” Annie asked clearly shocked, “Dad said you’d taken a job in Europe.”
Casey nodded, “I did but I’m back for a visit.”
Annie’s eyes cut to the man standing beside Casey.
"This is Marcus.” Casey said in introduction. “Marcus, this is Annie.”
“Hello.” Marcus said softly. He was shocked when Annie stared at him, her eyes growing wide. A moment later she regained her composure. “Oh, please come in.”
They stepped inside the small, messy apartment. “Sorry.” Annie said picking up the some scattered magazines off the sofa. “The place is kinda a mess. I’m just crashing here with some friends until I can get a place of my own.”
Marcus and Casey sat on the sofa while Annie settled in the bean bag on the floor. “So.” She said trying to only look at Casey. “It’s good to see you.”
“It’s good to see you.” Casey smiled. “How have you been?”
Annie sighed, “I’m fine. Let me guess dad sent you, didn’t he?”
Casey shook her head, “No, actually I called Clark and asked him where you were. I came to see you.”
This obviously surprised Annie. “Why?”
Now that she was here with Annie, Casey was even more certain she’d done the right thing by coming. She could sense how troubled Annie had become. “Because I’ve missed you.” She answered softly.
Confusion and anger showed on the young girl’s face. “Kinda find that hard to believe, I mean you just left town without a word to anyone. Dad was pretty worried until you called.”
“I know.” Casey said softly. “And I’m sorry about that. But it was something I had to do. It was something I could sense was the right thing to do.”
Annie glanced away. “Yeah, well glad that works for you.”
Casey knew this was an opening she couldn’t pass up. “Doesn’t it work for you?”
Angrily Annie shook her head, “No, sensing things is just some bullshit notion. Just ask dad he’ll tell you all about how crazy I am with that whole sensing things shit.”
“Annie your dad doesn’t understand.” Casey said softly. “But I do and I’m pretty sure your mom does too.”
“Mom sorta believed it when grandma was alive but now she’s gone.” Her voice trembled, “She just goes along with whatever dad says. He’s convinced her I need to see a shrink.”
Casey sighed, “I miss your grandma so much.”
This angered Annie further, “Yeah so much you didn’t even bother to come to her funeral.”
Marcus reached for Casey’s hand knowing the girl’s words had hurt her.
“Aunt Claire would have understood.” Casey whispered her eyes filling with tears.
Annie took a deep breath, “Shit, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that.” She nervously twisted her hands in her lap. “Actually I want to ask you about grandma. I know how close you two were.”
“Of course.” Casey nodded whipping her eyes, “What do you want to know?”
Instead of answering Annie got up and went into her room. A minute later she returned with a box. “When grandma died I helped dad clean out their house.” She pulled the bean bag closer to the sofa so she could sit by Casey. “I found some of grandma’s things.” She opened the box and carefully pulled out a photo. “I know this is grandma when she was young but who’s the woman with her?”
Casey took the old photo. “Oh.” Beside her Marcus grew tense.
As Casey continued to study the photo Annie watched her carefully. “Your grandma was very young in the picture.” Casey said slowly. “Where did you find this?”
“The picture was stuck in a book.” Annie answered. “It almost got donated. Dad donated most of grandma and grandpa’s books but for some reason I …” Her voice trailed off.
“Go on.” Casey urged, “For some reason what?”
Annie sighed, “For some reason I grabbed the book out of the box. I don’t know why. At the time I just took it with me, I didn’t know the photo was in it.”
“You look so much like her.” Casey said still looking at the photo. “I’d never seen a picture of Aunt Claire when she was a little girl before but wow, you looked just like this.”
“Yeah, I guess so.” Annie said. She cut her gaze to Marcus but was unnerved to see he was staring at her not the photo. Quickly she looked back at Casey. “So, who’s the woman in the photo?”
Casey was torn, she didn’t want to lie to Annie but she couldn’t tell her the woman in the photo with young Claire was Anna.
‘You can’t tell her”
Casey glanced over at Marcus without thinking when she heard his voice in her head.
Anna was watching them closely. Finally she spoke. “Grandma told me a little bit about her childhood.” She said softly. “I know her friend’s uncle took her in.”
“Yes, Jacob.” Casey answered looking into Annie’s eyes.
“Anna’s uncle right? But I know Anna was a little younger than grandma.”
Casey nodded, “Yes.”
Annie sat back with a sigh. “I’d guess grandma is about ten in that picture.”
Marcus decided he needed to handle this situation. He took the photo from Casey’s hands and turned it over. “Too bad nothing is written on the back to explain who the woman in the picture is.”
Annie kept her eyes on Casey. She noticed that Casey had turned to Marcus.
‘this has to stop’
Casey nodded to him.
When Annie spoke they both turned in shock to stare at her. “You can hear him in your mind, can’t you?”
Casey couldn’t lie. “Yes, but he can’t hear my thoughts.”
“Wow.” Annie said softly.
Several moments passed in silence.
Finally Marcus extended the photo to Annie. She took it but without looking at him.
“I’ve seen photos of the woman I’m named after.” Annie said softly.
Casey smiled slightly. “You mean, Annabelle.”
Annie grinned, “Yeah, well I’m glad I’ve always been called Annie. Not that I don’t like Annabelle but to be honest when I was little I wasn’t crazy about it. I mean really, can you imagine being named Annabelle Elizabeth?”
“It is a beautiful name.” Marcus said softly.
He noticed that Annie still would not look at him even when he spoke.
“So are you going to admit the woman in the photo is grandma’s friend, Annabelle?” Annie asked.
Marcus spoke up. “Casey has told me about your grandma and I’m familiar with the band your grandfather was a part of. Annabelle was also married to a member of the band, the lead singer. She was a wonderful author but I’ve seen photos of Annabelle Lewis Way and that looks nothing like the pictures I’ve seen.”
Annie was staring at Casey. “She could change her hair style and the color but she couldn’t change her eyes.” She paused then said in a rush, “I know that’s Annabelle but when I look at the picture..”
“What?” Casey asked slowly looking deeply into Annie’s eyes.
Annie returned the stare. “I feel…” She was having trouble putting her feelings into words. “She’s different. Look, I know this sounds crazy but I feel like you understand. That woman in the photo is obviously years older than grandma and yet she can’t be.”
“Different?” Casey needed to hear exactly what Annie was thinking.
Annie took a deep breath, “Different like him.”
Casey gave Marcus’s hand a tight squeeze knowing what he was about to do.
“Annie look at me.” Marcus’s voice was deep and low.
Immediately the young girl turned to him.
Marcus stared deeply into her eyes. “Tell me, when you look at me, what do you see?”
Annie’s voice had no emotion when she answered. “You have no color around you.”
Casey understood. “She sees colors around people, auras.”
Since he’d glamored Annie he could speak freely to Casey. “You know this has to stop. I’ll simply put the idea in her head that the woman in the photo is a family friend, not Annabelle.”
“Please.” Casey spoke from her heart, “Don’t do that. That will only make things worse for her.”
“You know a mortal can’t know of our world without a blood bond. You know how dangerous that would be for her and for us.”
It was time she told him the truth of why she’d come here. “Marcus, Annie is afraid, she’s slowly losing her grip on sanity because of this. You know it’s true. She can sense things but believe me I know how hard that can be.”
Marcus sighed, “Casey you are different than this girl. You know that. She is simply a mortal that is obvious by how easily I’ve glamored her.”
“I know that.” Casey said hurriedly. “But her life is in turmoil. She needs to be among people who understand she is different.”
His eyes narrowed, “And what do you suggest?”
“We give her the opportunity. Release her mind and we’ll tell her the truth. If it’s not what she wants to hear you can always completely erase her mind. You can make it so she never knows we were here.”
He shook his head, “That’s not a good idea. What if she does accept what we tell her, then what?”
Casey smiled, “Then we take her to Scotland.”
“We take her to Anna. Marcus, this is Claire’s grandchild. I feel she is meant to be with Anna as her blood bound.”
“Oh shit.” Marcus glared at her, “That was your plan all along, wasn’t it?”
“It’s what I thought should happen.” Casey said softly knowing he was angry.
“Why didn’t you tell me before?”
“Because I knew how you’d react.” Casey admitted. “Please, Annie needs this chance, she needs to make her own decision. Remember that being Anna’s blood bound turned out to be a wonderful thing for her grandmother.”
“Anna saved Claire’s life.”
“Yes, and I believe she can save Annie’s life. The girl is so lost right now. I know you don’t understand but I can sense her despair.” Casey’s bottom lip trembled, “She has thought of ending her life.”
“Shit.” Marcus sighed, “Mortals can be so fragile.”
“Yes, that’s true.” Casey nodded, “And Annie is mentally fragile. It’s only right for us to give her this chance. We can tell her the truth, if she accepts that truth, if she embraces it…”
“But what then?” Marcus said cutting her off.
Casey had thought this through, “She’ll be offered the job of being nanny to a family in Scotland.”
“That still doesn’t fix everything.” Marcus reminded her. “She can’t leave this apartment knowing the truth without a blood bond.”
“She can be blood bound to you until we take her to Anna.”
“Fuck without me glamoring her she wouldn’t even look at me.” Marcus said shaking his head.
Casey smiled knowing she had convinced him. “Because you scare her. She knows you are not what you seem, she can sense that.”
“This is insane.” Marcus sighed.
“No, this is right.” Casey said leaning over to kiss him. “But her friends will be back soon. We need to tell her the truth but we’ll take her to our hotel.”
Annie was sitting with a blank look on her face.
“Release her mind.” Casey said softly. "Trust me.”
He gazed into her eyes a moment then nodded, “I do trust you.” With that he turned back to Annie. “You were speaking to Casey about the photo.”
Annie blinked in confusion then turned to Casey completely unaware of the previous conversation that had just take place.
Casey smiled at her. “Annie, Marcus and I would like to take you to dinner.”
Annie was still slightly confused, “What?”
“We’d like to take you to dinner and explain some things to you I think will help you understand.”
Her mind was starting to clear, “Oh, yeah, sure.” She stood. “I’ll grab a jacket.”
When she left the room Marcus whispered to Casey, “Letting mortals make their own decisions like this can turn on you.”
She understood his concerns but the feeling inside her heart knew this was right. She kissed him gently. “Believe me, this is the right thing to do.”
“Ready." Annie said as she walked back into the room.
Marcus sighed as the girl grabbed the photo of Claire and Anna, put it back in the box, then tucked the box under her arm obviously intent on taking it with her. As she moved towards the door she still refused to look at him.