Casey is surprised to met up with Frank and Mikey
Beside him Casey smiled, “Marcus, it’s okay. She’s still here.”
At that moment the sliding glass door to the balcony opened and Annie walked in while pocketing her phone. “Okay.” She said unaware they had been momentarily concerned, “I talked to one of my roommates and told her I wouldn’t be home tonight.” She looked at Casey, “I hope it’s okay but I did tell her I was with you. Sheila knows how upset I was when you left town so it makes sense to her that I’m staying with you. I told here you were back in town for a visit.”
Casey smiled, “Of course that’s okay.”
Annie was looking at Marcus, “You thought I bolted, didn’t you?”
He sighed when he realized he must have looked upset when she’d come back into the room. “Yeah, I did.”
“Sorry.” Annie said softly. “I just stepped out on the balcony to make my call.”
“No problem.” Casey said quickly. She could feel Marcus’s Healer blood was starting to take control of him. He knew he would soon bond with the young girl and that thought was making it difficult for him.
Annie nervously walked towards them. “Okay, then.” She said at a loss for words.
Marcus took a few steps forward and extended his hand. “Please don’t fear me.”
Without hesitation Annie took his hand.
“You don’t need to…” Casey said softly.
Annie tore her gaze away from Marcus. “He doesn’t need to what?”
“I can make this easier for you.” Marcus said in a deep, rich voice. He was surprised that Annie understood.
“Oh, you mean you can like put me in a trance?”
Casey smiled, “It is called glamoring.”
“It would make it easier for you.” Marcus said kindly.
Annie shook her head, “I’d rather you didn’t. I’m doing this of my own freewill. It’s my decision and I stand by it.”
He was impressed by her strength. “You are very much like your grandmother. Claire was a strong woman who stood by her decisions.”
The comparison pleased Annie. “Thank you.” She whispered. She took Marcus’s hand and he led her over to the sofa. Casey sat down in the chair across from them.
“We will bond and then you will sleep.” Marcus said looking into her eyes. “I promise it will only feel uncomfortable for a minute. However when the bond forms you will feel an onslaught of emotions.”
Annie nodded slowly. “Okay.”
Marcus had decided they would exchange blood at the same time. He needed to do this quickly as his Healer blood was beginning to take over. “You must drink my blood as I drink yours.”
For a moment Annie was uncomfortable with the idea but she quickly reminded herself why she was doing this. “I understand.” When Marcus’s eyes suddenly turned topaz she inhaled sharply.
“I’m sorry but I can not control my eyes.” He said understanding her reaction. However he was surprised by her answer.
“Your eyes are beautiful.” Annie whispered.
He smiled slowly then lifted his arm. With one swift movement he bit into his skin then took her arm. “It is time.”
Annie nodded while looking down at his blood which was now beading to the surface of his skin. When he bit into her arm she cried out softly.
“Take his arm.” Casey said softly.
Annie reached out slowly with her other hand to lift his arm to her mouth. As she lowered her mouth she closed her eyes. As he’d predicted as soon as his blood touched her tongue she was overcome with so many emotions she could not comprehend them. She could feel Marcus sucking the blood from her arm but that feeling was overshadowed by the emotions she was feeling from taking his blood. Suddenly she mindlessly needed more. She began to suck harder wanting more and more of his blood.
Marcus remained in control of the situation. Since bonding with Casey he had not bonded with another mortal. Where before it would have been difficult for him not to become lost in the blood lust now the feeling did not call to him. He took enough blood to form a clear bond then removed his lips from her arm.
“You must stop now.” He said gently as he pulled his arm from her mouth.
“Oh.” Annie’s eyes were glazed.
Marcus realized the girl was overwhelmed so he spoke softly as he first licked her wound to stop the blood flow. “We now share a blood bond. You are mine, you have my protection.”
Annie was gazing deeply into his eyes.
“Now lay back and close your eyes.” He whispered. “Know that you are safe.” He stood up and when Annie started to lean back he gently lifted her legs on to the sofa. Casey had grabbed a pillow and blanket from the bedroom. She placed the pillow under Annie’s head then covered her with the blanket.
Annie was still staring at Marcus.
“Sleep.” He whispered softly.
“Marcus.” Annie’s voice touched his heart. He knew the effect his blood was having in her.
Knowing in his heart Casey would understand he leaned down and placed a light kiss on Annie’s lips. “Fear nothing, know that a whole new world awaits you.”
Annie smiled, “Thank you.” She whispered before closing her eyes.
Casey moved towards Marcus to slip her hand in his. Without another word they moved towards the bedroom.
Quickly they shed their clothes then fell on the bed.
“You are troubled.’ Casey whispered in surprise. She was hearing his thoughts but because the Healer blood was running so strong she was having trouble understanding those thoughts.
“Not troubled.” He said caressing her breast with his thumb. “Just surprised. I have never bonded without feeling a deep sexual feeling for the other person.”
Casey stroked his skin but only smiled.
Marcus’s eyes flashed, “What have you done to me, woman?”
“You know.” Casey smiled before lowering her lips to his.
They made slow passionate love.
The next morning it was decided that only Casey and Annie would go talk to Clark. While Marcus wasn’t happy with the decision he agreed with Casey it would probably be for the best. Even with his changed appearance it wasn’t a good idea to go around those who had known him as Hudson Evans. However as soon as the women had left he became restless and uneasy. Since bonding with Casey she had not left his side, he felt her absence deep in his heart and soul.
“Dad’s at the studio today." Annie said as they left the hotel to catch a cab. “His band is working on some new music.”
“Will he mind if we show up there?” Casey asked. She’d assumed they would be going to Clark and Sarah’s home.
“Nope, he won’t.” Annie assured her. Once they were settled in the back of the cab Annie spoke again. “You know I really don’t need dad’s permission to go. I am eighteen.”
Casey smiled, “I know that but I also know you’d feel bad if you just left. You want your mom and dad to know where you’re going and to be okay with your decision.”
“That’s true.” Annie nodded, “Gosh” She said suddenly. “I feel so good today, so alive.”
Casey glanced at the driver then lowered her voice. “Yes, I’m sure you do.”
Annie understood. “Yep.” Was all she answered.
When they arrived at the studio Casey touched Annie’s arm to stop her at the door. “Remember all we’ve told you. No one can know truth of why you are going to Scotland.”
Annie nodded, “I know. But what are the names of the couple I am going to nanny for is case dad asks?”
“They are using their true names in Scotland.” Casey explained. However just refer to them by the last name they are currently using with is Caulfield.”
Annie nodded, “Okay, got it.”
As they entered the studio Annie nodded to the receptionist then continued on down the hall towards the recording booth. The sound of a guitar solo filled the room.
“Hey dad.” Casey said spotting her father first.
Casey followed her in but was shocked to see that beyond the glass the guitarist who was playing was Frank Iero.
“Annie, Casey.” Clark got up to greet them. He hugged his daughter first then turned to Casey. “Hey brat, good to see you.”
Casey returned his bear hug. “Good to see you to.” As she stood back she noticed Frank’s son Fender was in the room at the control board. He nodded to Casey then went back to work obviously recording his father’s guitar playing. It was then Casey noticed another man in the room. “Mikey.’ She said walking over to him.
Mikey stood the arthritis in his bones making him move slowly. “Hey, Casey. Clark said you were in town. I was hoping I’d get to see you.” He opened his arms to give her a hug.
“How have you been? How’s Alicia?” Casey asked returning his hug.
He smiled, “She’s good. We were just talking about you the other day. Alicia is hoping you’ll visit us soon.”
As much as she’d love to spend time with them she knew that would not be possible. “Wish I could.’ She responded, “But I’m working over in Europe.”
Mikey sat back down. “Yeah that’s what Clark said. Got yourself a good job as a personal assistant to some rich guy.”
Casey laughed, “Yeah, it is a good job and I love it.”
Clark spoke up. “So it’s good to see you and Annie together. I was hoping you two would get to spend some time together.” The look he gave Casey made it apparent he was happy to see his troubled daughter was spending some time with Casey.
Casey nodded, “Yep we hung out together last night. Catching up.”
“I was so happy to see Casey.” Annie said with a smile, “I’ve miss her.”
“Me too.” Clark said honestly. “So what are you ladies up to today?”
Before they could answer the music in the booth stopped and a minute later Frank appeared in the booth. “Casey.” He said when he spotted her. He immediately encased her in a tight hug.
“Hey Frank.” Casey hugged him back. “Long time no see.”
“Too damn long.” Frank sighed.
“Good to hear you playing.” Casey smiled.
Frank grinned, “Well you know I gotta show these guys how it’s done.”
“Dad’s recording a solo part for one of our new songs.” Fender said turning from the board.
“Yeah they needed the best guitarist in the world so what can I say.’ Frank laughed, his heavily lined face braking into a smile.
“You are the best.” Casey nodded.
Frank’s smile slipped slightly. “Well best living guitarist. Your dad was actually better than me.”
Casey smiled, “Dad never thought so. He always said you were better.” She impulsively hugged the older man again. “I always thought you and dad were equally wonderful.”
“No, Ray was better.” Frank said with a touch of sadness in his voice. “But we did play pretty fuckin’ great together.”
“So true.” Mikey sighed for a moment becoming lost in the memories. “Gee always said he had been blessed to be in a band with the two best guitarists in the world.”
Annie knew she needed to bring up the reason for her visit. “Uh anyway, dad I am thinking about taking a job as a nanny.”
This clearly surprised Clark. “What?”
“Well Casey knows this couple who need a nanny. I mean think about it I’m pretty good with kids.”
Clark laughed, “Well yeah. You’ve had a lot of practice helping take care of all your younger sisters.”
“Yep.” Annie nodded. “And this job sounds like something I’d really like to do.” She paused. “It would give me a chance to start over.”
Everyone in the room understood that Annie had been going through a rough time for quite a while.
“Well if it’s something you want to do.” Clark said slowly.
“There is one thing though.” Annie said softly. “The job is in Scotland.”
“Scotland?” Clark said in surprise.
Annie nodded, “Yeah, Scotland.”
Clark looked over at Casey. “Uh, sorta wish you would have mentioned this when we talked over the phone.”
Annie cast a puzzled look at Casey who quickly explained, “I called Clark when I first got to town to find out where you were.”
Annie nodded. “Oh.”
“Yeah she did but she didn’t mention she was gonna tell you about a job in another country.” Clark said slowly. “Annie, I don’t know.”
Casey spoke up. “It’s a great opportunity for her. I know the couple and they are really nice. They have a baby daughter and live on an estate. It would be great for Annie to get the chance to live there. It would be a chance for a new start.”
“Have you mentioned this to your mother?” Clark asked Annie.
“Came to talk to you first.” She smiled, “But you know mom will go along with whatever you think.”
Clark laughed, “No always.”
“I really want to do this dad.” Annie said softly.
“Tell me a bit more about the couple.” Clark said turning to Casey.
“Like I said Mr. and Mrs. Caulfield live on an estate. It’s actually on the coast so they have a beautiful view of the ocean.”
Everyone looked over at Mikey who had repeated the name.
Casey suddenly had a strange feeling. “You know someone named Caulfield in Scotland?” She asked.
Frank giggled, “Nope that ain’t it.”
Mikey smiled, “He’s right. That name just reminded me of Gee.”
Casey gave him a shocked look, “Why?"
“It’s the name of the main character in Catcher in the Rye, Gee’s favorite book. Before we started the band he used to use that name for shit. Like if we were in a restaurant waiting and they wanted the last name he’d give them Caulfield.”
Frank nodded, “Yeah, I remember once we got stopped by the police and when they asked him his name he said it was Gerard Caulfield. Goofy fucker, I told him he couldn’t give a fake name.” He laughed, “We almost got arrested that night. And…” He added, “That book was always one of my favorites too. Fuck, my band Pencey Prep got it’s name from that book.”
Annie glanced over at Casey. It was Casey who recovered first. “Oh” She said as if nothing strange had just happened.
“Anyway.” Annie said trying to get the subject back on track, “Dad, tell me you’re okay with this.”
Clark thought a moment. Looking over at Casey he said, “Well I trust Casey’s judgment.”
Annie could see he was starting to warm to the idea, “And I would come home to visit. Besides your band will be touring Europe early next year. I’ll definitely see you then.”
“But it’s so far.” Clark said sadly.
Annie walked over and perched herself on his lap. “Daddy I have to strike out on my own. I need this.”
Clark hugged his daughter. “Yeah I know but that doesn’t make it any easier for me knowing my daughter is growing up and leaving the nest.”
Annie laughed, “I’m already out of the nest.”
In the end Clark gave Annie his blessing. With of course the promise that she would stay in touch often and that her mother was okay with this decision.
Before leaving Casey hugged everyone knowing there was a chance she would never see them again. Try as she might in the back of her mind she always understood there was the possibly that when turned by Marcus she might come back. When she got to Mikey she was surprised at how tightly the frail man hugged her.
“It’s was good to see you again.’ He said softy.
Casey looked into his eyes. “Are you okay?” She whispered.
He nodded slowly. “Just feeling pretty old today but seeing you reminded me of Ray and that was a good memory. I still miss him so much.” His eyes watered. “And Bob and of course Gee.” He wiped his eyes, “Especially Gee.”
“Of course you do.” Casey said reaching for his hand.
Mikey sighed, “You know when Gee first died I didn’t think I could go on. He and I were so close. But after a while I realized that if I didn’t Gee would be pissed. I mean I knew in my heart he’d want me to go on, to have a good life.”
Casey swallowed a lump in her throat. “Yes, that’s true.”
“And it has been a good life.” Mikey smiled. “I know Gee had a good life too. Once he met Anna.” He paused, “He was happier than he’d ever been before. I just wish…”
Casey hugged him again. “I know.” She whispered. “Everyone always wishes they had more time with their loved ones.”
“Yep.” Mikey said slowly. “That’s so true.”
She stared to turn when Mikey added, “But I know in my heart Gee is proud of me. And that means more than I could ever put into words.”
Casey’s eyes filled with tears. “Yep, Mikey I know you’re right.”
As they left the studio Annie suddenly turned to Casey. “Oh Lord when Mikey said that about the name Caulfield I couldn’t believe it.”
Casey laughed, “Gerard and his weird sense of humor. I never gave the name Caulfield a second thought but knowing Gee I should have.”
“I can’t wait to meet him.” Annie said softly.
“Well you will soon.” Casey said linking her arm with Annie’s. “Now lets go talk to your mom then get back to the hotel. Marcus is growing more and more nervous by the minute.
And she was right. By the time they’d talked to Sarah and returned Marcus was pacing. He hated having Casey gone from his side.
“Everything is a go.” Casey said walking over and placing her arms around his waist.
Marcus pulled her in for a tight hug. “I missed you.’ He whispered.
“Missed you too.” She kissed his cheek.
“Uh, I still need to get a few things from my apartment.” Annie said hating to interrupt the tender moment. “I can go myself.”
Marcus released Casey then stood back. “No, we should go with you.”
Casey touched his arm. “It’s okay to let her go by herself.”
Annie, who was fighting several feelings she didn’t want to address looked into Marcus’s eyes waiting for him to answer.
“But the bond is too fresh.” He said slowly.
“I won’t do anything to disappoint you.” Annie whispered. She was trying to deny the feelings she had towards Marcus but it was difficult.
Marcus understood. He took a step away from Casey then held his arms open. Annie couldn’t stop herself from moving into his arms. He hugged her tightly. “Annie, what you feel for me is because of the bond. It is nothing to be ashamed of.”
Casey gently touched Annie’s back as Marcus continued to hug her. “I understand how close you feel to him. It’s okay.”
Annie wanted to understand herself. “It’s just when I walked into the room and saw him…”
Marcus smiled down at her. “The blood bond we share makes it this way. Talking you as my blood bound I’ve given you my protection. And you in return have given me your trust.”
“But it’s more than that.’ Annie said struggling to understand. “The feeling can’t really be put into words.” She looked over at Casey, “If I bond with Anna will I feel this for her?”
Casey nodded, “Yes, does that trouble you?”
“No.’ Annie said shaking her head, “Not at all. I like this feeling. It makes me feel special.”
“You are special.” Marcus said gently touching her cheek. “You are very special.”
“Marcus why don’t you go with Annie to get her things.” Casey said with a smile. She believed that by letting them spend a little time alone would be good for both of them.
“You should come with us.” Marcus frowned.
Casey looked deeply into his eyes. Again she wished he could hear her thoughts because she wanted him to understand Annie needed reassurance as a newly bound. “Go, I’ll wait here.” She said softly.
Marcus nodded, “Call our pilot and make the arrangements. We will leave as soon as possible.”
It didn’t take Annie long to gather the few things she wanted to take with her. Marcus stood waiting until she had her large bag packed. When she moved towards the door she smiled, “Well I’m ready.”
He took the bag from her hand then placed it on the floor.
Annie was suddenly nervous being alone with him in the apartment. Not that she was afraid of him but she was afraid of the feelings she had for him.
This Marcus understood. He reached out to tilt her face up to look into his eyes. “I understand how you feel.”
She sighed, “Don’t think so.”
“Yeah, I do.” He grinned. “You know in a previous life I was Hudson Evans.”
This caused Annie’s eyes to grow wide. “What? You were The Hudson Evans?”
He laughed, “Yep the one and only.”
“Wow.” Annie looked at him closely, “You don’t look like the pictures of Hudson I’ve seen. I’ve read all about him, he was a legend.”
“Well it was me.”
Annie wanted him to understand, “I just feel so wrong feeling this way about you. I love Casey and I know she loves you.”
“Mortals.” Marcus sighed but when he saw the look on Annie’s face he quickly spoke, “I don’t mean that to sound bad. I understand what you’re trying to say. Right now you feel love for me and you don’t want to because you know Casey loves me.” He smiled, “I love Casey, she is my soul mate. But you can’t change the way the bond makes you feel towards me.”
“It just seems wrong.” Annie whispered.
Marcus knew she had to understand. “The Healer world views things so differently than your world. We never view attraction to another as wrong. And when we bond a mortal to ourselves the attraction we feel is natural.” He kissed her forehead, “What I feel towards you is natural. I have bonded you to me, I love you. But it is a Healers love. There is nothing wrong with that love.”
“She’s your soul mate?” Annie asked looking into his eyes.
The question surprised Marcus. “Yes.”
“That makes me happy.” Annie smiled, “I love Casey and want her to always be happy.”
Marcus wanted his too. However the word ‘always’ haunted him. “Let’s go.’ He said moving towards the door to grab her bag.
Annie took one final look around the room, squared her shoulders then nodded, “Yep it’s time.” She said in a strong voice. “I’m ready.”