Gerard finds out something Sean has been hiding.
Anna could sense her mind was not calm. “What do you wish to ask?”
Annie smiled happy that Anna could sense her emotions. “I’m not sure where to begin.”
Gently Anna’s fingertips caressed Elena’s cheek as the baby fed. “Well, start anywhere.”
“Okay. So you said that you and Gerard have a housekeeper but that she’s on vacation. When will she return?”
“Mrs Carrol will return in a few weeks and yes, she is a Healer.” Annie knew that was an unspoken part of the question. “She came with Gerard and me from the island.”
“The island you two stayed on when you first left the mortal world.” Annie remembered the story Anna had told her earlier.
“Yes, and I was very grateful she chose to come with us. You will like her. She is very kind.”
“Will she like me?”
The question surprised Anna. “Do you often worry about others liking you?”
Annie looked away towards the windows. “I guess maybe I do. A lot of times it seems people have thought I’m strange so they don’t like me.” She said softly.
Anna wanted to address this but saw that Elena had fallen asleep. “Could you please put her down for me?”
Immediately Annie was on her feet. She gently took the baby then slowly moved towards the crib. Once Elena was settled she pulled a light blanket over her small body. Anna had risen from the rocker and walked over to watch.
“She does not require a blanket.” She explained in a whisper. “Our bodies do not feel hot or cold. The blanket is simply there for decoration.”
“Oh.” Annie sighed, “Sorry.”
Anna placed her arm around the young girl. “Do not say you are sorry. There is no reason. You are simply still learning.”
“I am learning and I want to learn.” Annie said looking into her eyes. “I don’t want to disappoint you.”
Anna gently led her away from the crib. She waited until they were seated downstairs on the sofa to speak. “You must stop worrying about disappointing me.”
“I can’t help it.” Anna admitted in a small voice. “I’m afraid I’ll disappoint you and you’ll send me away.”
Anna placed her arm around her pulling the young girl close. “I will not send you away. Now tell me what else would you like to know about your new family.”
Anna’s words touched Annie’s heart. “My new family.” She repeated.
“Yes, that is what we are.” Anna kissed her cheek. “You are part of our family.”
Annie slipped off her shoes then pulled her legs up onto the sofa allowing her to snuggle more deeply into Anna’s embrace. “I love it here. It just feels like this is where I belong.”
Anna stroked her hair. “Now what would you like to ask?”
“Gosh I have so many questions.” Annie said in a rush. “But I guess one that’s been on my mind all day is about you.”
This didn’t surprise Anna. “Then ask.”
“Marcus told me you often prefer to use the synthetic.” She hoped she was not repeating something she shouldn’t. “And I’ve been wondering about that.”
Anna sighed, “He does not understand my feelings concerning that.” However she wanted Annie to understand. “I often have trouble dealing with my Healer nature. For so many years I truly disliked it.”
“That is hard to explain. However just know this…I can not take nourishment from only you. And yes, I understand that you wish it could be otherwise.”
Anna turned slightly to look into her eyes.
Anna smiled, “Yes I understand your feelings. And as we bond more I will feel your emotions more and more just as you will begin to tune into mine. However while the closeness we feel is wonderful it can become overwhelming. Therefore at times I will continue to use the synthetic. It does not mean I do not want to bond with you, it is simply because it is what is best for both of us.”
“Okay.” Annie nodded. “But about the synthetic…where so you get it?”
“There is a small shop in town that supplies it. Sean handles procuring it for Gerard and me.”
“The man who was with Gerard last night?”
“Yes he is Gerard’s blood bond. They have a very deep bond as Gerard used his Healer blood to save Sean’s life.”
“I heard Marcus say that but I wasn’t sure what it meant.”
“If a Healer uses their blood to heal someone near death the bond is very intense.” Anna explained.
“Right” Annie nodded. “I understand. So Sean has been getting the synthetic for both of you?”
“Yes as a blood bound that is often the case.”
Annie sat up slightly, “Anna I want to do that too. I want to learn how to be a good blood bound.”
“Oh Honey.” Anna touched her cheek. “You do not have to prove your worth to me.”
“But I want to.” Annie tried to explain. “I want to do the things for you like I’m sure grandma did. I understand our bond will never be as deep because you saved grandma from death but I still want to try to be like her.”
“Claire was a wonderful woman who I loved with my whole heart.” Anna said softly. “But you are your own person. I do not want you to try to be like her. I want you to be yourself.”
“But you loved grandma." Annie said dropping her eyes.
Anna smiled, “And I love you.”
Annie looked up. “Just because we bonded?”
“No, that is not why. I will admit the bond brought us closer but it also allows me to see into your heart. You have a good heart, Annie. A kind and gentle heart.”
“So do you.” Annie whispered laying her head on Anna’s shoulder.
“I will speak to Sean. The next time he goes for the synthetic he will take you with him so you may learn what you need to know.”
“Thanks.” Annie smiled.
They heard the front door open and a minute later Gerard and Sean walked into the room.
“Sorry I’m so late.” Gerard said walking over to kiss Anna.
She smiled, “Did you have a good day?”
“Yep, but a busy day. We still have more orders to fill.” He explained while taking a seat across from them. Sean sat down in the matching chair.
Anna looked at the young man. “Gerard has spoken to you about moving into the estate?”
Gerard laughed, “She does that a lot. She already knows the answer but she asks anyway.”
Sean smiled, “He has and thank you. I’ll start to pack my stuff soon.”
Gerard glanced over at him sensing something was wrong. “How long with it take? Do you have a lot of stuff?”
“Not really.” Sean answered not meeting his eyes.
Anna too noticed something was amiss. “Perhaps you could do it slowly. You could bring your things a little at a time but live here now.”
Sean suddenly looked uncomfortable. “Uh, yeah, I guess.”
Annie was watching him closely. Anna had not mentioned Sean would be moving to the estate but she felt it was a good idea. She could sense it was something he definitely wanted yet he was afraid.
Gerard was confused by his blood bounds suddenly change of attitude. He’d believed Sean would move in immediately. He’d know it was something Sean had wanted. “Hey, who don’t we go to your house and grab some of your stuff now? We’re gonna be too busy at the shop tomorrow.”
Sean still refused to look at him. “Sure, I guess.”
His answer confirmed Gerard’s belief that something was wrong and he needed to speak to Sean privately. “Come on.” He stood then turned to Anna. “Well be back soon.”
She nodded. “When you get back you and Annie can have a late supper.” She said to Sean.
He nodded then followed Gerard out.
“That was weird.” Annie whispered.
Anna turned to her. “What do you mean?”
“Well he wants to be here.” Annie said slowly trying to put into words what she’d sensed about Sean. “But he’s afraid.”
Annie nodded, “Yeah, I picked up on that but I don’t understand why.”
They left Sean’s scooter at the estate and took Gerard’s car. As they neared town Sean spoke. “Uh, turn here.”
Gerard who had never been to Sean’s place did as the man directed.
Sean pointed up ahead, “My place is in that building.”
“I thought you had a house.” Gerard said pulling to a stop in front of the older building which was obviously in disrepair.
“Mom and dad left their house to my sister.” Sean sighed. “They left the business to me. Shelly, my sister, came and sold the house and contents right after they died.”
“I didn’t know you had a sister. You never mentioned that.” Gerard said slowly turning to him.
“I haven’t spoken to her in years. She lives in Australia.” Sean admitted.
Gerard reached over to touch his arm. “What aren’t you telling me?”
Sean looked down, “I lived in the house until Shelly came. Then I had to get out so I moved here. It’s not very nice but it’s okay.”
Looking out the windshield Gerard was sure it wasn’t very nice at all. He suddenly felt bad he’d never taken the time to find out more about Sean’s life but obviously his blood bound hadn’t wanted him to know the truth. “You told me you received an inheritance.”
“The business and a bit of money.” Sean answered. “But I had to use most of the money to get the business running again.”
“Sean why didn’t you tell me? You know I have money. I just assumed the business was already doing well before I joined you.”
“Gerard it’s okay.”
“No it’s not.” Gerard’s eyes flashed with anger but not directed at Sean the anger was for himself. “I didn’t even think.”
Sean had been afraid of this. “You saved my life. Putting the money I had left into the business I knew you loved seemed like a small thing.”
Gerard stared at him. Suddenly he got out of the car. Sean hurried to catch up with him.
“Let’s get your shit and get out of here.” Gerard said. His anger was growing. How could he not have known Sean was living like this?
Nervously Sean pulled out his keys and opened the door. He flipped on the lights and heard Gerard curse.
Slowly Gerard looked around the barren apartment. There was a small saggy bed, a desk and that was about it. “Pack your personal items.” He said softly.
Sean rushed to grab his duffle bag. He threw his clothes in but halted when he heard a familiar voice.
“You goin’ somewhere?”
Gerard turned to see an older man standing in the doorway.
“My landlord, Mr. Giles.” Sean said glancing over at Gerard.
“Dinna you hear me?” The man said taking a step towards Sean. “You goin’ somewhere without playing me the money you owe?”
Gerard moved so quickly the old man was shocked. Placing himself between Sean and the man he asked, “How much does he owe you?”
The landlord sized Gerard up. “What business is it of yours?”
“I’ll get you your money.” Sean said wanting to avoid trouble.
“Sure you will, laddie.” The man snorted.
Gerard tried to control his anger. “What does he owe you?” He asked again.
Mr. Giles’s glared at him. “You gonna pay it?”
“Gee, no.” Sean said softly. “I’ll take care of it.”
This caused the landlord to laugh. “Whoa I see.” He grinned at Gerard. “One pretty boy gonna buy his boyfriends freedom.” His face took on a look of disgust, “Pansies.”
Sean was prepared to lurch towards him but Gerard raised his hand to stop him. “I’ll handle this.” His tone was steely.
“Oh I’m trembling in me boots.” Giles laughed.
While Gerard would have like nothing more than to smash the man’s face in he’d learned to control his anger when dealing with mortals. Looking directly into his eyes he said slowly. “Sean is leaving this fuckin’ rat hole. How much money does he owe you?”
The older man couldn’t look away from Gerard’s stare. He quoted an amount.
Taking out his wallet Gerard tossed the money on the ground. “Now, he owes you nothing. However you owe him an apology for being an asshole, don’t you think?”
“Yeah.” Giles nodded now completely under Gerard’s control. “Sorry.”
“Get in the car, Sean.” Gerard said still staring into the landlord’s eyes.
Sean grabbed his clothes then bolted for the door.
“You never saw me.” Gerard said slowly. “But you do remember Sean paid what he owed you, right?”
Still Gerard couldn’t completely let it go. “And you realized you’ve been an asshole.”
Again the man nodded.
“Say it.” Gerard demanded.
“I’m an asshole.”
“Yes, you are but that’s gonna change. Tomorrow you’re gonna take the money Sean paid and you’re gonna go to church. You’re gonna put that money in the poor box. That’s a good idea, isn’t it?”
“Aye, a good idea.” He nodded.
Gerard smiled, “A very good idea.”
Sean kept his head bowed and Gerard remained silent until they reached the estate. As the car came to a stop he whispered. “Sorry.”
“I’m not mad at you.” Gerard said softly as he cut he engine. “But I’m pissed I didn’t realize you were living in a shit hole.”
“It wasn’t that bad. It was just a place to spend the night.”
“Now tell me the truth.” Gerard said turning to him. “Did you put all of your money into the business?”
Even though it wasn’t what he wanted Sean knew he had to tell him. “Yeah, mom and dad had let the bills get out of control before their deaths. I had to pay the bills off.”
“And why didn’t you tell me?”
Sean looked at him. “I told you it was because I knew how much you loved the business and for me to be able to repay all you’ve done for me it was a small price.”
“I should have realized.” Gerard said shaking his head sadly.
“Gee, it’s no big deal. I’m just sorry you had to deal with that asshole.”
“Yeah, he is an asshole.”
“I’m sorry about what he said.” Sean said looking back down.
Gerard laughed, “You mean calling us pansies? Ain’t the first time I’ve been called that.”
“It’s the first time I’ve ever been called that.” Sean whispered.
Gerard reached over and gently touched his arm. “And that bothered you, didn’t it?”
Sean remained silent.
Sensing his emotions Gerard asked, “Does the closeness we feel seem wrong to you? Is that’s what’s upsetting you about being called that?”
“No.” Sean looked into his eyes. “Not at all. What I feel for you ain’t like that but I do feel closer to you than I’ve ever felt towards anyone.” He paused, “Even my ex-fiancée.”
Gerard understood. “Yeah, the bond does cause that but Sean, if you are uncomfortable with that I’ll understand. We can let it fade a bit.”
“No.” Sean said quickly. “That’s not what I want. For the first time in my life I feel like I have found true happiness. That probably sounds stupid but it’s the truth. I now look forward to the day not dread getting up every morning. Now the business I hated at first makes me happy.” He lowered his voice. “And a lot of that is because I know it makes you happy.”
Gerard was touched by his words. “Good but now that I know the truth things are gonna change. If you agree I want to buy half of the business from you.”
“Gee, I don’t want your money.”
“Actually it’s not really mine. Healers are given money and whatever else we need.”
“Still.” Sean shook his head, “It isn’t necessary. Now that I have a place to live I don’t need any thing more than we’re making at the store but I’d love to give you half the business.”
Gerard had made up his mind but decided they would discuss it latter. “Come on. I’m sure Annie is waiting supper for you.”
Sean grabbed his bag and followed Gerard towards the front door. “Uh, how old is Annie?”
“Pretty cute, isn’t she?’ Gerard grinned. “She’s eighteen.”
“Oh.” Sean said softly. “I didn’t realize she was that young.”
This caused Gerard to laugh, “What? You’re an old man?”
“Well I am twenty-six. That’s quite a few years older than her.”
Gerard stopped before opening the door. “I’ve learned love knows no age. Hell, think about it. I fell in love with a woman over a hundred years older than me.” He laughed.
Sean grinned, “Anna looks so young.”
“She was only sixteen when she was turned.”
Sean hoped one day he’d hear more about Anna’s past. “I didn’t realize that.”
“It’s not something she likes to discuss.” Gerard said lowering his voice. “And for good reason.”
Sean nodded that he understood.
Placing his hand on the door knob Gerard smiled, “Now lets get you settled into your new room and some food in your stomach.”
Gerard had been right, Annie was waiting to eat supper until Sean arrived. However he was very pleased when Anna got off the sofa and walked directly over to Sean. She placed her arms around him giving him a tight hug.
“Welcome home.” She whispered.
Sean was surprised by the show of emotion and very touched. “Thanks, Anna.” He answered.
Anna stepped back then turned to her husband. “I was thinking we should give him the room next to Annie’s”
Gerard nodded, “Good idea.” Turning to Sean he said, “You go on to the kitchen with Annie and have dinner. I’ll take your bag up to your room.”
As the blood bounds made their way towards the kitchen Anna followed Gerard up the stairs.
“What happened?” She asked softly as they reached Sean’s room. “Annie said she could sense Sean was afraid when you two left.”
“Really?” Gerard was surprised. “She could sense that?” When Anna nodded he continued, “I knew something was wrong and it was.” He quickly told her about the conditions Sean had been living in and about the landlord.
Anna understood his feelings. “You did not know.” She said softly.
“But I should have.” He said placing Sean’s bag on the bed. “Here I thought he and I were so close.”
“You two are close.” Anna answered reaching out to touch his arm. “But because the bond has made both of you so happy you did not know anything was wrong.”
“Well I should have.”
“Gee, let it go. He is here now with us. Annie could also sense that was what he truly wanted. You know that too.”
“You and Annie have a good day?” He asked.
Anna smiled, “Yes, a very nice day. I am glad Marcus and Casey brought her here. I realize now that while it was good for her it is also good for me.”
Gerard took her in his arms. “Let’s go for a walk.” He said suddenly.
“Yes.” Anna nodded. “I will tell Annie we are leaving for a while.”
“That’s not really necessary.”
“It is necessary.” Anna explained, “While I am sure Elena will not wake it is important that Annie feels I am entrusting her with the baby’s care.”
“Oh.” Gerard nodded, “Yeah, that’s good.” His eyes flashed, “But let’s hurry.”
Anna grinned knowing why but still wanting to hear him say it. “Why?”
He ran his hands up her arms in a gentle caress. “Because I want to see your nude body bathed in moonlight.”
Her eyes also flashed, “Let us go tell them we are leaving.”
AUTHOR NOTE: LOL thanks lacerationgravityxxx.