Anna is shocked when Marcus and Casey arrive with Annie. Gerard introduces his blood bound.
“Thanks” the dark haired man responded with a grin. “Glad you think so.”
Glancing over Sean’s shoulder Gerard’s eyes studied the bowl on the potter’s wheel. “I really like it but it’s about time to call it a day. I’m sure Anna is wondering when I’m gonna be home.”
Sean nodded, “Yeah guess I should be heading home too.”
Gerard looked into his blood bounds eyes and saw the loneliness deep within. “Hey why don’t you stop by my house on your way home?”
Sean sighed, “Don’t wanna be a bother.”
“You aren’t a bother.” Gerard smiled. “Come on get cleaned up. I’ll lock up the shop while I’m waiting.”
“Okay.” Sean smiled, “Just be a minute.”
Gerard watched him as he walked towards the back of the studio. The strong feeling of closeness he felt for Sean was one he treasured. Now he truly understood how Anna had felt about Claire because like Anna he had saved Sean from death six months ago.
While he closed the windows he let his mind go back to that night. He had decided to take a walk along the rocky beach when he’d suddenly come across Sean’s body. The young man had been out walking and had stumbled in the darkness. When he’d fallen he’d hit his head on the rocks. Gerard had reached him just in time. He could feel the life slipping away from Sean when he’d knelt beside him. Without a second thought he’d known saving the man’s life was the right thing to do. He’d given him his blood then carried him back to his home where Anna had been waiting. The next morning Sean had awakened in one of the estates bedrooms. His memory was fuzzy but he’d known somehow Gerard had saved him. Anna and Gerard who had discussed the situation had decided to tell Sean the truth. Sean had listened silently then smiled. He told Gerard that it would be an honor to be his blood bound if Gerard would allow it. Gerard had been pleased by the man’s request. The closeness he had felt to Sean because he’d given him so much blood drew him to the man. Since that day Sean had become a very important part of his and Anna’s life. The studio they were at now belonged to Sean. He had inherited it from his parents who had run the pottery studio until their deaths. Sean had been considering selling it and returning to America before the accident. But once Gerard had heard about it he’d been excited. Pottery was an art form he hadn’t tried and he’d been looking for something new. So he and Sean had reopened the studio and were selling their pottery worldwide. The money didn’t matter to Gerard but his love of art was renewed.
“Ready.’ Sean said walking back into the workroom while wiping his hands. “You sure Anna won’t mind you bringing me home?”
Gerard laughed, “You know Anna and Elena both love you.”
“I love them too." Sean said softly. “I thank God everyday for Him bringing you and Anna into my life.” He looked down at his shoes. “I wouldn’t even have a life if it wasn’t for you.”
“Sean.” Gerard said tenderly as he hugged him. “We are so fuckin’ happy to have you in our lives too.”
“Just a minute.” Anna called out. She settled Elena on her hip then rushed to the front door. When she swung open the door her eyes grew wide. “Marcus, Casey. I didn’t know you were coming.”
“Annabelle.” Marcus said leaning forward to place a kiss on her cheek. “Good to see you.”
“Hey Aunt Anna.” Casey said with a smile. “Hope you don’t mind us not letting you know in advance we were coming.”
“Of course not.” Anna smiled. “It is good to see you. Come in.” It was then her eyes noticed someone standing behind the couple. “Oh.”
Marcus moved aside so that Anna could see Annie clearly. “Anna we’ve brought someone to see you.”
Anna forced herself to remember to breathe.
“Anna this is Annie.” Casey said softly. “Claire’s granddaughter.”
“You look so much like her.” Anna whispered in shock.
“Hi Anna.” Annie smiled nervously. “I’ve been looking foreword to meeting you.”
Marcus could feel Anna’s turmoil. “Let’s go in.” He said gently.
Before Anna could move back Casey reached out for Elena. Anna let her take the child, her eyes never left Annie.
Anna forced herself to smile, “I am sorry. Please come in.”
They walked into the large living room.
Casey took a large overstuffed chair settling Elena on her lap. “My you’ve grown.” She smiled gently touching the baby’s cheek.
Marcus took Anna’s hand pulling her down on the sofa beside him. Annie stood nearby looking unsure. “Have a seat.” He said to her nodding toward another chair.
“Anna I know this is a shock.” Marcus said looking deeply into her eyes.
Anna looked over at Annie. “Yes, it is.” She closed her eyes, “She is blood bound to you.” She said softly detecting the bond.
“Yeah” Marcus nodded, “I had to bond her to me so we could bring her here.”
“Why is she here?” Anna asked tearing her gaze away from the young girl.
Marcus looked over at Casey hoping she would explain.
“Aunt Anna I’ve known Annie her whole life. She’s a very special girl who sees the world differently than most. Because of that she’s had some problems not being understood by others. I felt meeting you was the right thing for her.” Casey explained.
Anna listened but was still staring at Marcus. “Telling her of the Healers world was the right thing?”
Marcus sighed, “Casey believes so.”
“I still do not understand.” Anna said slowly.
Annie nervously spoke up. “Anna my grandma always talked about you. I always knew how much you meant to her. When Casey came to me and explained about the closeness between you and grandma it was like I suddenly knew coming here was what I was meant to do.”
“You have come here because of me?” Anna asked looking back over at Annie.
Annie nodded, “Yes” She lowered her gaze, “I hope you will accept me as your blood bound.”
“But you are so young.” Anna said shaking her head. “Why would you want this for yourself?”
Annie spoke from her heart. “I understand now why grandma treasured her bond with you.”
“The bond was necessary for me to save her life.” Anna answered.
“In a way I’m hoping it will also save mine.” Annie whispered. “Until Casey arrived I had given up. I know that sounds terrible but it’s the truth. I’d lost my way and couldn’t find it again. Nothing seemed right I was so lost.”
Anna was touched by her words but still resisted. “But that is not unusual. At times most lose their way.”
Tears appeared in Annie’s eyes. “I know but the darkness I felt was too much.” Her voice cracked as she went on. “I had tried to end my life once. When Casey found me I was ready to try to end it again.”
“Annie." Casey said softly.
Annie looked over at her. “You knew didn’t you?”
Casey nodded, “Yes, I knew.”
“But why?” Anna asked. “You are so beautiful so full of life. You have family who love you.”
“And I love them.” Annie answered wiping a tear that had rolled down her cheek. “Very much. But I’m so different from them. They don’t understand me at all and I know I’ve caused mom and dad so much pain. I hate that. When grandma was alive I had someone who understood me but once she was gone…”
“You look so very much like her.” Anna said softly. “When I first saw you I almost forgot to breathe.”
“She does look like Claire at that age, doesn’t she?” Marcus gave Anna’s hand a squeeze.
Anna nodded, “Oh yes.”
Annie spoke suddenly, “I promise I will be a good blood bound, Anna. I can help you with the baby too. I’ve had lots of practice with my sisters. I won’t disappoint you.”
Slowly Anna stood then walked over to Annie. “I do not worry about you disappointing me. But I worry that being bonded is a huge decision.”
Annie looked up at her. “I want this so much, Anna. It feels so right. I can’t explain it any better but for the first time in my life something feels right.”
Anna took her hand to help her stand. Without a word she hugged the young woman tightly.
Marcus was watching them closely. “She understands a lot but there is much she needs to learn.”
Anna released the girl then turned to him. “Has she been glamored?”
He shook his head, “No when we bonded she did so of her own freewill.”
Taking Annie's hand Anna lead her over to sit on the sofa. “This is all a shock.” Anna said slowly.
Marcus smiled, “Yeah well I’ve learned from being around Casey that being shocked isn’t all that unusual.”
Anna looked over at Christa’s daughter. “How did you know Annie needed you?”
“Honestly I just woke up one morning and knew.” She answered.
Marcus laughed, “Yeah and she didn’t let me in on that knowledge until we were in Chicago.”
“You are like Christa but you are more.” Anna said softly.
Casey smiled but didn’t answer.
“So where’s Gerard?” Marcus asked deciding to give Anna more time to consider all that was happening.
Anna smiled, “He should be home soon. He is at the pottery studio with Sean.”
Before Anna could answer the sound of the front door opening stopped her. A minute later Gerard followed by Sean appeared.
“Hey.’ Gerard said walking into the room. “I didn’t know you guys were coming.”
Sean hung back seeing they had guests.
Gerard turned and took his arm pulling him further into the room. “Marcus I’d like you to meet Sean.” He understood introducing his blood bound to the Pure before anyone else was the proper thing to do.
Marcus stood gazing at Sean. “You saved him from death.”
Gerard knew Marcus would pick up on the deep bond. “Yes.”
Sean nervously looked at the Pure who he’s heard so much about.
“Good to meet you.” Marcus said extending his hand.
“Nice to meet you.” Sean answered extending his hand for the shake. “I’ve heard a lot about you.”
Marcus laughed, “All good things I’m sure.” He released Sean’s hand then went to Gerard. They exchanged a loving hug.
Annie realized Anna was watching her closely. She knew Anna was wondering how she’d respond to Marcus and Gerard’s closeness. Annie simply smiled.
Taking a step back Gerard’s gaze fell to Casey who he greeted then to Annie. “Whoa.”
Marcus grinned, “I bet you know who’s granddaughter this is.”
“Claire.” Gerard said staring at the young girl.
Anna nodded, “Gee, this is Annie.”
Gerard crossed over to the sofa. “Welcome Annie.” He smiled, “Is Annie a nickname?”
Annie grinned happily. “My real name is Annabelle.”
Beside her Anna gasped, “You are named after me?”
“Mom and grandma were really close.” Annie explained. “I asked mom about my name when I was little and she told me that it was a name very special to grandma.”
Gerard nodded. “Well welcome Annie.” He hoped someone would explain to him why Annie was here and why she was blood bound to Marcus.
Marcus understood his confusion. “She’s bound to me so we could bring her here, to Anna.”
“Oh.” Gerard nodded.
Annie was feeling a bit less nervous. “It’s my hope that Anna will accept me as her blood bound.”
Gerard looked at Anna trying to feel her emotions on the subject but he could sense she was unsure.
“Annie and I will speak about that later.” Anna said.
Annie nodded while praying Anna’s doubts about taking her as a blood bound would fade.
“So, tell me about Sean.” Marcus asked as they sat alone in the art studio.
Gerard smiled, “About six months ago I found him on the beach. He’d fallen and hit his head. I could sense death was nearing.”
“And you had no reservations about saving him?”
“None at all.” Gerard answered. “I knew it was the right thing to do.”
Marcus nodded, “The bond you share with him is very deep.”
“Yeah, it took a lot of my blood to save him.”
“How does Anna feel about this?”
Gerard understood the question. “She’s okay with it. I think she is happy that I now truly understand what her bond with Claire was like.”
“So she’s not jealous at all?” Marcus asked.
Again Gerard understood the question because it was true he and Sean were very close. “No.” He paused, “But what about you?”
Marcus frowned not liking the question. “That is a stupid thing to ask.”
Gerard wished he could take it back. He didn’t want to anger the Pure. “Sorry.”
For a moment Marcus simply stared at him but then he reached over for Gerard’s hand. “You are very special to me, you have been since the first time Anna brought you to my party. Maybe it’s wrong but I like to believe you feel the same towards me.”
Gerard looked deeply into his eyes. “Marcus no one could replace the love I have for you.” He answered honestly.
“I know.” Marcus said with a sigh, “Damn, since being with Casey I question so many things.”
“Uh, so how are things between you two?” Gerard asked.
“She drives me crazy at times.” Marcus said softly, “And yet what I feel for her is stronger than any emotion I’ve ever felt.”
Gerard smiled, “Yeah, know what you mean.” He wanted to ask about Casey’s desire to be turned but didn’t want to bring up something that would upset Marcus.
Marcus could feel his uneasiness. “No, she’s not said anything else about that.” He answered in reply to the unasked question.
Marcus wanted to change the subject. “I hope bringing Annie here was the right thing to do.”
“Anna is very conflicted.”
“Yes, I know.” Marcus agreed. “But Casey felt it was the right thing to do.” He looked deeply into Gerard’s eyes. “When she went with Annie to speak to her father about the job here in Scotland she saw your brother and Frank.”
Gerard’s eyes grew wide, “She saw Mikey?”
“Yes but I know she wants to tell you about that herself.”
Gerard nodded, “Okay.” But deep down he was trying to remain calm. Just hearing about his brother brought so many feelings to the surface.
“Casey and I will be leaving soon.” Marcus said. “She wishes to go to London. A Pure is hosting a party we’ve been invited to.”
“You mean you’ve been invited to.” Gerard said.
Marcus sighed loudly, “No I mean we’ve been invited to. A lot has happened since we last saw you. Casey has become well known in the Healer world. Especially since she now has another Pure’s protection.
Gerard was shocked, “She is bound to another?”
Marcus looked away, “Yes, there was nothing I could do to stop it. Carolyn is much older than me.”
“Wow.” Gerard said softly, “And how did Casey feel about that?”
“You mean when Carolyn bonded with her while I looked on?” There was a definite tone of anger in his voice.
“Casey has embraced the Healers world.” Marcus said, “All of it.”
“Well that’s good right?”
Because of his closeness to Gerard Marcus spoke the truth. “I did not want to share her with Carolyn. I do not like taking her to the Healers parties. I’m sure you understand why.”
“Uh, I do.” Gerard said taking Marcus’s hand in his, “I’m sorry.”
Gerard’s touch made Marcus feel better. “As a Pure I do not have to share unless a Pure older than me requests it. Since the night she bonded with Carolyn there have been no other Pures older than me. However, it is still difficult.”
Gerard understood. “She has made you question the lifestyle of our kind.”
Marcus sighed, “Sort of but not totally. For other Healers I know it seems natural but for me, now that I have Casey, it is not something I want.”
Marcus wanted him to understand. “Casey and I handle it like you and Anna do. We participate but…”
“But in the end it is Casey you are with.’ Gerard said understanding completely.
“Yes.” Marcus answered. “And I am sorry I never truly understood how you and Anna felt before now.”
Pure love for him made Gerard lean over and kiss Marcus. “It’s okay. Anna and I are very happy now.”
Several hours later Marcus and Casey were preparing to leave.
“You will come back and visit won’t you?” Annie said softly to Marcus as they stood at the door.
He hugged her tightly. “What you feel for me will fade.” He whispered understanding her feelings.
Annie took a step back and looked into his eyes. “You will forget me?”
“No." He smiled gently touching her cheek. “I will never forget you. However once you bond with Anna our bond will lessen.”
Casey who was standing nearby smiled. “Annie I know all of this is very new and sorta upsetting to you but believe me you have made the right choice.”
Anna walked over to hug her. “That I feel sure of. I just wish Anna did too.”
“She will.” Casey whispered, “She’s just still sorta shocked by your appearance.”
Gerard was growing more nervous. He had not had the opportunity to speak to Casey and now they were leaving. He so desperately wanted to hear about her encounter with Mikey.
Casey walked over to Gerard. “I have something to tell you.”
“I saw Mikey and Frank when Annie and I want to speak to her father about her coming to Scotland.” She paused , “Uh to nanny for the Caulfields.”
Gerard grinned, “Oh, the name.”
“Yeah, I didn’t realize it had a special meaning until I said it. Mikey immediately spoke of how you loved the name and Frank launched into a story about how you’d used it once when you and he were stopped by the police.”
Gerard laughed, “Yeah, I remember that night.” He grew serious, “How is my brother?”
Casey took his hand in hers. “He’s good, Gee. He told me that he knew in his heart that you’d be proud of him and that means the world to him.”
“I am proud.” Gerard nodded.
“He said Alicia is fine and they are very happy.”
“How’s he look?” Gerard couldn’t stop himself from asking.
Her tone was gentle. “Much older than you remember but his smile was genuine.”
“Thanks” Gerard hugged her tightly.
“You ready?” Marcus asked Casey moving towards them.
She nodded. “Yep." She turned to Anna. “We’ll see you again soon.”
Marcus frowned, “We will?”
Placing her arm around his waist she nodded, “Yep.”
It was hard for Marcus not to roll his eyes. The woman was definitely in charge.
Late that night after Annie had been shown to her bedroom Anna and Gerard had a chance to talk alone. Gerard pulled her into his arms. “Okay now tell me the truth. How do you really feel about Annie being here?”
Anna thought a moment before answering. “I am truly not sure. I was so shocked when I first saw her.”
“Because she looks so much like Claire?”
Anna nodded. “Gee, you did not hear but Annie admitted she has tried to end her life.”
“What?” Gerard asked clearly shocked.
“It is true.” Anna said sadly.
“She said she has always looked at the world differently than most and because of that I believe she feels like an outsider even to her own family.”
Gerard led Anna to the bed. Once they were laying in each other’s arms he asked, “I don’t get it. She looks at the world differently?”
“Do you remember Claire speaking about Granny Clark?”
He nodded, “Yeah, the woman with Claire when she felt our accident.”
“That woman could sense the bond Claire and I had. I believe Annie has inherited that gift from her father’s side of the family.”
“Oh.” Gerard said slowly beginning to understand.
“I just wish I knew a blood bond with me would be a good thing.” Anna said softly.
“Why wouldn’t it be?” Gerard asked while stroking her arm. “You would protect her and love her.”
“And ultimately I would lose her.” Anna whispered.
Now he understood. “Anna we can’t live our lives being afraid of death. We live among mortals, it is a part of their lives.”
“But it hurts so much.” She closed her eyes.
“I know Sugar.” He said before kissing her lips. He ran his fingers up her side to gently cup her breast. “But never loving for fear of the pain caused by loss isn’t living.”
“Gee.” She whispered. “Stop, we are talking about this.” She tried to scoot away from him but he held her tightly.
“You know in your heart Annie needs you and you need her. Since leaving Claire and Christa you’ve made sure to keep an emotional distance from others. That’s not right, Anna. We love unlike most. That I believe is a wonderful thing. That makes us special.” As his words died away he lowered his lips to her nipple.
"Oh.” Anna could feel the desire building. “Gee, I can not think when you do that.”
“You don’t need to think about this anymore Sugar. You know what you need to do. I’m just helping to get your Healer blood going.” His fingers traveled down lower and lower until the found her heat. Teasingly his finger rubbed her swollen nub.
Anna’s eyes flashed.
Reluctantly Gerard removed his hand. “Now go to her Anna. Let her know she is loved and accepted.”
“And when I get back?” She whispered.
He grinned, “I will show my wife how much I love her.”