Episode 4-10: Love is Strange

Previously:

• Quinn visited Pearl at the farm and told him about his mother’s escape.
• Quinn was happy when Pearl revealed she told Megan she trusts him. .
• Quinn asked Pearl to move in with him but she declined.
• Sadie and Micah made love again in a hayloft.
• The police allowed Gene and Iva to take the baby home with them while they searched for his parents; later Iva used her powers to get revenge on a teenage girl who insulted her.

The Lawrence Farm, early evening

“We’re home!” Iva cried out as she and Gene entered the spacious living room, their hands full with shopping bags.

Seconds later, Pearl Tyler emerged from the kitchen. She noticed all the bags and became curious. “Where have you been all this time? Sadie and Micah were getting so hungry that I started dinner.”

“It’s a long story, but you’re not going to believe what happened,” Gene replied, setting a bunch of bags down on the carpet.

Pearl eyed the haul. She grew even more curious as she noticed what looked like a pack of diapers sticking out from the top of one of the bags.

Iva watched Pearl checking everything out. “Gene, I think you better go out and get the last bundle…it’s the most precious one.”

She grinned at her husband, who knowingly nodded his head and went back out the door.

“What on earth is going on?” Pearl asked once he left. “Is there a surprise baby shower that I don’t know about?” She patted her stomach as to make a point.

“Well,” Iva began to answer, “some of these things are for you.”

“Some? What happened, did you and Gene manage to adopt a baby while you were out?” Pearl started to laugh, but her laughter immediately stopped when she saw Gene re-enter the house, carrying the baby, who was asleep in his carseat.

“Oh my God,” Pearl murmured, extremely startled. “I don’t believe it.”

Sadie Todd and Micah Johnson walked into the room and when the two saw the baby, they were also surprised. “Aunt Iva, Uncle Gene, what’s going on?” she asked loudly.

“I didn’t know they sold babies at the farmer’s market,” Micah joked.

“We found him abandoned at the church,” Gene explained.

“Oh no!” Pearl exclaimed.

“We went to the police and they said we could keep him while they look for his parents. We had him checked out by Doctor Shannon in Bigelow and then went and bought some supplies,” Iva said to everyone.

Gene placed the carseat on top of the coffee table and carefully took him out of his carseat. He opened his eyes and began to make noises. “Here Pearl, you hold him. You’re going to need practice.”

He held the baby out towards Pearl. She took him and cradled him in her arms. He looked up at her with wide brown eyes and cooed. “You’re so handsome,” Pearl told him. She sat down on the sofa and began to rock him.

“You’re a natural,” Iva beamed.

Everyone stood around Pearl as she continued to hold and talk to the baby. Then the doorbell sounded, breaking up the calm. Gene went to answer it and saw Damien Collins standing there.

“Hi Gene. I’m here to see Pearl.”

“Come on in.” Gene moved to let Damien enter. The younger man looked down at the floor with amusement. “Looks like you’ve been busy today.”

Gene chuckled. “You can say that again.”

Damien cast his eyes upon Pearl and when he saw her holding the baby, he rushed to her. “Pearl, please don’t tell me you’ve had your baby already!” he marveled.

Pearl snapped her head up to face Damien and she smiled. “No, I’m still pregnant. This is another little one that Iva and Gene found today.”

Damien was puzzled to say the least. “They found a baby?”

“He was left at Bigelow Community Church. Gene and I were getting ready to come home after the farmer’s market when I heard him crying. We went to investigate and that’s when we found him. We’re taking care of him while the police look for his parents,” Iva told him.

Damien turned his attention back to Pearl. The baby nestled in her arms was asleep. “I have to say, you look so beautiful holding him. You’re going to make a great mother.”

Pearl blushed slightly. “Well, you didn’t come here to watch me doing this all evening. I suppose you want to talk?”

“Yes. I’d like to spend some time alone with you. I hope you don’t mind.”

Pearl smiled again. “You know I don’t mind. I’m glad you’re here.” She glanced at Iva. “Would you like to take him so I can talk with Damien?”

“Of course dear.” Iva picked up the baby and held him tightly.

“Let’s go downstairs. I was starting dinner but I think everyone can manage.” Pearl looked at her friends. “You can eat without me, I’ll get something later.” She headed for the kitchen, where the entrance to the basement was and Damien followed her. Just then, a large and very loud clap of thunder nearly made her jump.

“I wasn’t expecting that,” Pearl remarked.

“I heard on the radio driving over here storms were coming into the area, and they’re going to stick around all evening,” Damien told her.

“Well then, I’ll guess you’ll be here for a while,” she playfully replied.
*************************************

The Nightshade home, same time

Christoph Nightshade stretched and yawned as he awoke from his daytime slumber. He could hear thunder and see flashes of lightning sparking through the dark curtains in his bedroom. I guess I’ll be using the car tonight to go hunting, he said to himself.

He placed both hands on his head. His dark blond hair was sticking up. He went over to a small dresser across from the bed and picked up a comb, quickly running it through his tresses. The mirror mounted above showed no reflection. He was used to dressing himself without looking into those for so long it didn’t faze him. In time, you will learn that mirrors aren’t needed. Instinct is all you need, his friend—and the vampire that turned him—Julian Loomis, had said to him while he was adjusting to his supernatural powers.

Christoph took off his white T-shirt and laid it on the bed. He opened one of the drawers and pulled out a light blue button down shirt. Before he could put it on, there was a knock at the door. “Daddy, are you awake?” came Quinn’s voice.

“Come in,” Christoph said.

Quinn entered the room. “Getting ready to go out? There’s a nasty storm approaching.”

“I know. I’m going to drive tonight.”

“Be careful,” Quinn warned.

“You know storms can’t touch me,” Christoph said, smiling, revealing his sharp fangs. He was so ready to sink them into warm flesh.

It wasn’t the storms Quinn was worried about, but Jude had sworn him to secrecy over Josephine being on the loose. He didn’t like telling his father what was going on, but right now he owed it to Jude, who had taken up for him and beat up his rival Damien. He hoped his mother would be caught and taken back to Harmony Hills before the shit hit the fan.

“Quinn, you look lost in thought. Are you okay?” Christoph asked with concern.

“I’m fine,” he reassured his father. “I have something to tell you.”

Christoph slipped on his shirt and buttoned it. “I hope it’s good news.”

Quinn grinned widely. “It definitely is.” He sat on the bed. “I saw Pearl earlier today and she told me that she trusts me and cares for me deeply.”

Christoph’s blue eyes lit up. “That is good news.”

“It won’t be long before we’re together, really together. I can feel it in my bones,” Quinn strongly replied.

“What about Damien?” Christoph inquired.

Quinn snorted. “What about him? He can try and take her from me all he wants, but I’ve got you on my side and Jude has warned him to back off. There’s nothing he can do.”

“Yes, but he’s a werewolf Quinn, and werewolves don’t back down easily. Believe me, I know. I’ve encountered some in my lifetime and despite them being so feral and so one track minded, they know what they want and they go after it.”

Christoph sat down next to his son. “I know that between you and Damien, Pearl will ultimately choose you, but don’t count him out just yet. He’s not as unintelligent as you think he is. Wolves are cunning and tricky creatures. Just make sure you watch yourself.”

“Father, if it’s anyone I don’t have to watch out for, it’s Damien. I’m sure the next time he sees Pearl, she’s going to tell him straight that she cares for me and wants to be with me, not him.”Quinn looked at his father with a determined gleam in his eyes. “He’s going to be in for some major heartbreak.”
**************************************

The Lawrence Farm

Pearl sat in the rocking chair by her bed while Damien sat next to her on the side of the bed. The rain was falling in torrents, and thunder crackled continuously and ominously.

“Some storm we’re having huh?” Damien commented.

“I think a bigger storm is about to brew in here,” Pearl said dryly.

“What do you mean?” Damien asked, truly perplexed.

“I know you’re here to warn me away from Quinn.” She folded her arms across her chest. “So, have at it.”

Damien sighed deeply. “I’m so predictable. Damn.”

“That’s okay. At least I know I’m not in for any surprises.” Then her face grew sober. “Do you know Quinn’s mother’s escaped from the mental hospital in Harmony?”

Damien’s brown eyes widened in utter shock. “What?”

“Quinn visited me today and told me. He’s completely upset, but not because he cares about her. That’s the one thing that I wish he would change about himself is the lack of feeling he has about his mother. At least she’s alive.” Pearl looked down at her feet, struggling to hold back tears as she thought about her mother, who passed away several years ago.

Damien knelt down on the floor in front of her. He gently took both of her hands in his. “Quinn won’t change anything about himself. I wish you could see that.”

Pearl slowly gazed up at him. “What I see are two men locked in a bitter rivalry that needs to end right now. All this fighting between you two proves nothing.”

“I’m just trying to protect you,” Damien softly insisted.

“I know you are, but Quinn isn’t going to hurt me. I’m not afraid of him anymore. I trust him…and I care about him, just I like I care about you. But I think it’s time that you stopped this competition. You need to go on with you life Damien. Don’t spend it locked in this hateful battle. It’s not worth it.”

He shook his head. “You are worth it Pearl. You are worth fighting for.”

“I don’t want to be fought for, and I wish you could see that.” She locked her eyes with his in a pleading stare.

“Then what do you want?” Damien quietly asked her.

“Right now, I just want to lie on the bed and listen to the rain and the thunder and be totally relaxed.” She stood up, with Damien joining her. She stretched and got on top of the comforter.

“Does this mean you want me to leave?” he said, his handsome face frowning.

“No.” She held out her hand. “You need to get relaxed too.”

A slight smile formed on Damien’s lips and he hopped on the bed next to her, stretching out his long and lean frame. He turned to her. “You’re right, this is very relaxing.” He placed an arm around her and pulled her close.

Pearl rested her head on his chest and closed her eyes. It wasn’t long before the sounds of the autumn storm raging outside lulled both she and Damien to sleep.
***********************************

Half an hour later, Iva and Sadie were in the kitchen, washing the dinner dishes. Gene and Micah were upstairs giving the baby a bath.

“Lord, listen to that thunder boom,” Iva mused. “I would have thought storms like this would have stopped now that fall’s here, but with this warm weather, I guess it’s to be expected.”

“Oh, I kind of like them Auntie,” Sadie replied brightly. At least it’s better than dealing with snow and ice.” She shuddered and wrinkled her nose. “I’m not looking forward to another long, Maine winter.”

“Me neither, but that’s the price you pay for living in New England.” Iva took a dish out of the sink and handed it to Sadie for drying.

“I wonder what Pearl and Damien are doing downstairs,” Sadie thought out loud. “They never did come up for dinner.”

“Whatever it is, it’s none of our business,” Iva chided. “Frankly, I’m glad they are spending some time together. Pearl needs more people to talk to besides us and especially Quinn Nightshade.”

“Speaking of Quinn, he was here again today. When Micah and I left the stable this afternoon and came into the house, he and Pearl were in the kitchen talking. Quinn was holding her hand and rubbing it, telling her how soft her skin was.” She shuddered again. “She seemed to be enjoying it but it gave me the creeps.”

“I would get the creeps too,” Iva agreed. Then she suddenly looked sharply at Sadie. “Wait a minute…what do you mean when you and Micah left the stable? What were you doing in there?”

Sadie hurriedly dropped her attention towards drying another dish as Iva continued to question her. “I’m talking to you young lady. What were you and Micah doing while Gene and I were in Bigelow all day?”

There’s no way to get out of this one, so I better just tell the truth and let the chips fall where they may, Sadie said to herself. She gave her aunt a steely gaze. “Micah and I are together now,” she said firmly.

“What do you mean by together?” Iva demanded. “Wait, did you two—“

“Yes Auntie, we did. We made love today, two times.” Sadie braced for her aunt’s reaction.

Iva dropped her sponge in the sink and grabbed a hand towel hanging on a hook under the kitchen window. She sighed heavily. “Well, you are twenty-one now. Your love life is your business.”

“He asked me if I wanted to go through with it. I told him yes,” Sadie revealed. “I really, really, like him Auntie. We can relate to each other because of our psychic powers. It makes things a lot easier. He’s a good person.”

“Oh Sadie, you know I have nothing against Micah, but it’s been such a short amount of time you two have known each other. I just don’t want you to get hurt.”

“Micah and I are going to take this very seriously, I promise you. We had a long talk about it this afternoon. This is going to be a nice, long courtship.”

“I only wish you would have done the courtship first and the sex second,” Iva lamented.

Sadie couldn’t help but laugh. “I’m glad you’re taking this rather well Auntie.”

“I may be handling it, but the bigger question is, how will Gene handle it?”

After Iva asked that question, an earsplitting crash of thunder shook the house, and the two women exchanged worrisome glances. “That was really lousy timing,” Sadie said, a hint of dread creeping into her voice.

Coming up next:
• Gene and Iva get a phone call from Bigelow police who have found the baby’s parents, and they get some startling news.
• Damien laments to his parents and sister he feels he has lost Pearl to Quinn.
• Jude gets a shocking and cryptic phone call from his mother.

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Episode 4-9: Family Values

Previously:

  • Gene and Iva found an abandoned baby boy.
  • Sadie and Micah used Gene and Iva’s absence from the farm to make love for the first time.
  • Megan’s ghost visited Pearl and advised her to stay away from Quinn.
  • Pearl told Megan she no longer needed protection from Quinn and that she trusted him.
  • Megan visited Damien, who told her he was still going to fight for Pearl.

Saturday, November 2nd
The Bigelow Police Station

Iva Lawrence lovingly cradled the tiny baby boy she and her husband Gene had found earlier on the steps of the Bigelow Community Church as the two sat inside the police station. They had just explained how they found the infant to Officer Martin Hopkins, a friendly policeman they came to know well.

“Well Gene and Iva, I have to say this is the most excitement we’ve had around here all day. Not that I’m complaining though.” Officer Hopkins leaned back in his office chair and grinned. “I am lucky that we don’t have a lot of crime here, but sitting at this desk can get pretty boring.”

“I think boring is a lot better—and safer—don’t you think?” Gene asked, also grinning.

“Definitely.” The middle-aged cop leaned forward, his grin gone. “I’m going to have to call social services about this little one, as well as any of the nearby hospitals. It’s going to be tough that’s for sure. There’s nothing on him to indicate anything about his identity.”

“Officer Hopkins, do you think that Gene and I could take the baby home with us until his parents might be found?” Iva wondered, somewhat shyly. She quickly turned to her husband before he could protest. “I’m sure it won’t be long.”

“I see no problem with it personally,” Hopkins replied genially. “I would like you to have him checked out by a doctor though. He looks fine and healthy, but I want to be on the safe side, and I know social services would want a medical evaluation as well.”

“Oh Gene, please,” Iva pleaded. “Besides, it would be good training for Pearl.”

Gene couldn’t help but laugh. “You’ve got me there. Okay, why not. I think this little man’s been through enough already, and I know between you, Sadie and Pearl, he’ll get the attention and affection he needs.”

“I’ll call Doc Shannon and ask him to open his office so he can check out the little fella. I know he won’t turn us down and his place is just a few blocks away,” Officer Hopkins said. He reached for his phone which sat off to the side on top of his slightly cluttered desk.

Iva looked down at the baby, who was awake, and smiled at him. “Guess what cutie pie, you get to come home with us for a while.” She glanced over at Gene. “We’re going to have to make a shopping trip. Formula, diapers, bottles, wipes, and he also needs some clothes too.”

Gene groaned. “Oh Lord, what have we gotten ourselves into?”

Officer Hopkins chuckled. “Welcome to temporary parenthood my friends.”

**************************************

The Lawrence Farm

Pearl Tyler was sitting on the front porch swing, reading another Agatha Christie novel. This time, it was Evil Under the Sun. A tiny radio she had brought out sat on the ground beside her, tuned into the big band station.

She thought about earlier when she went into the house to find a book to read, she noticed Sadie Todd and Micah Johnson eating in the kitchen and being very flirtatious with each other. When they saw her, they tried to act nonchalant but Pearl knew what had transpired between them earlier, thanks to a tattling Megan Manning’s ghost, but she didn’t let on. She just wondered how Gene and Iva were going to take it once they found out, knowing they were protective of their niece. She figured it wasn’t her place to get involved in that little family drama. She had enough of her own to deal with.

Part of that drama had just pulled up in the Lawrence’s driveway. Pearl heard the car and she gazed up to see Quinn Nightshade’s black Corvette. She placed the book on her swollen stomach and watched as Quinn got out of the car. Thanks to the mild weather, he wasn’t wearing his signature black leather jacket. He was dressed in a crisp white button down shirt and dark blue jeans with a black belt. He had sunglasses on, and the sun illuminated his short brown hair as he approached the porch.

“Hello sweetheart,” he happily greeted her. He took off his sunglasses and tucked them into the placket of his shirt. He bent down to kiss her. “How are you today?”

“I’m fine. How are things with you?”

Quinn frowned slightly. “Well, things were going great until Jude and I found out our mother escaped from Harmony Hills late last night.”

Pearl’s mouth dropped open in shock. “Oh my God! And she still  hasn’t been found?”

Quinn took a seat beside her and shook his head. “Jude’s been searching for her all night and this morning but with no luck. He finally called the police, but they told him the hospital already contacted them. They have their men looking too.” He sighed. “I don’t think I can take this. If my mother actually comes back home…I don’t know how I’m going to respond. I know it’s not going to be pretty.” He cast a stony, sober expression at Pearl. “Jude thinks she’s escaped and is on her way here to kill our Father.”

Pearl was startled to say the least, and a bit afraid. “What if she finds Christoph?”

“She wouldn’t survive,” Quinn replied bluntly and coldly.

“Oh Quinn, I know there’s no love lost with your mother, but you don’t want her to die,” Pearl gently argued. “If it wasn’t for her you and Jude wouldn’t be here. Surely you have to consider that.”

“Frankly Pearl, at this point, I don’t care what happens to her.” He looked away towards the door.

“That’s very harsh and uncaring,” Pearl scolded. Her face softened a bit. “Does Christoph know she’s escaped?”

Quinn turned back to her. “No, and Jude doesn’t want him to know.” He glared into space. “Jude would like nothing more than to see him dead.”

“I can’t believe this. You don’t care if your mother dies, Jude doesn’t care if his father dies…this makes my feud with my ex-in-laws look like child’s play.” Pearl placed the Agatha Christie novel beside her on the swing and stood up. She looked pointedly at Quinn. “This all makes me wonder if I should even continue to be involved with you and your family.”

Quinn shot out of the swing. “Pearl, don’t let all this nonsense ruin what’s happening between us.” He placed his hands softly on her shoulders.

She quickly whirled to face him. “Nonsense? I think that your mother escaping from a mental hospital with the intent of murdering your father is far from nonsense, and it’s something I certainly can’t get involved in, especially with my risky pregnancy.”

“I know,” Quinn resigned. “Christ, why can’t things be normal for once?”

Pearl chuckled sarcastically. “Things are never going to be normal when it comes to you and your family. You’re part vampire, remember? It’s never going to be Ozzie and Harriet.”

“I hope they just find my mother and take her back to the hospital soon. She needs treatment, not running loose on the streets,” Quinn said, a hint of bitterness in his voice. “I can’t afford another screw-up right now. I don’t want to lose you.”

He pulled her close to him. “Why don’t we change the subject. I want to talk about happy stuff.”

“That would be good about now,” Pearl replied dryly.

“Well, how about you start,” Quinn suggested.

Pearl pried herself out of his arms and sat back down on the swing. He joined her and took her hand, placing it on his leg. “Megan paid me a visit today,” Pearl began.

“That’s not happy stuff,” Quinn interrupted.

“Let me finish please,” Pearl reprimanded.

“Sorry,” he told her.

“Anyway, as I was saying, Megan came to see me earlier. She tried again to persuade me not to see you, but I told her that didn’t need protection from you.” Pearl smiled at him. “I told her that I trusted you.”

Quinn was surprised at hearing Pearl’s confession and he began to grow tingly. “You really said that?”

She nodded.  “I told her that you wouldn’t hurt me or my baby.”

“How did she respond?” Quinn asked, becoming excited.

“She accepted my decision.”

A huge smile spread across his face. “This means she’s going to go back to her grave for good and leave us alone.” He leaned in to try to kiss her again but she backed away. “Hold it Romeo. Don’t start picking out china patterns just yet.”

“Pearl, you got a ghost to stop haunting us. That doesn’t happen every day. We should celebrate,” Quinn insisted.

“I’ll get the cake and ice cream,” she joked.

“Pearl, you’re impossible,” Quinn pouted.

She stood up again. “Quinn, I don’t want you to forget that in three months, I won’t be here. After I have my daughter, I’m on my way to Bangor.”

“I don’t want to think about that now—“he began before she cut him off.

“You’re going to have to think about it. I don’t want to live in Haven permanently.”

Quinn went to her and placed his arms around her. “I understand why you don’t want to stay here, but let’s cross that bridge when we get to it. Right now, let’s just enjoy these three months, okay?”

“Okay,” she answered quietly.

He reached up and delicately stroked her cheek with his left hand. “I love you,” he murmured.

“I know,” she said softly, almost whispering. “I care about you Quinn…deeply.”

“I think you should come stay with me. You can have the guest room. I’ll take care of you,” he offered.

“No, I want to remain here. There’s a lot more space and I’d be booting your father out,” Pearl replied.

“He’ll manage. He’s only there during the day anyway. He can have the couch.”

Pearl laughed. “I don’t think I’d feel comfortable there while a vampire sleeps on the sofa all day. No, it’s better if I stay here at the farm. At least I’ll have privacy. It would be awkward being the only woman in a house full of men, especially those that could sprout fangs at any moment.”

“Oh, come on Pearl, you know none of us would do anything to you,” Quinn reassured her.

“I know, but it’s a lot more relaxing here, and the doctor wants me to stay as stress-free as possible.”

Quinn sighed. “Okay, you win. Maybe after this craziness with my mother is resolved, you’ll change your mind.”

“Now it’s time for me to change the subject, “Pearl said matter-of-factly. “Right now I’m thinking of getting a snack. Why don’t you come inside and join me. Do you like cream cheese and crackers?”

“I like anything as long as I’m with you,” Quinn said dreamily.

“Well, come on then.” Pearl started for the front door and Quinn readily followed.

************************************

Meanwhile, Sadie and Micah were heading inside the one stable that still stood. The old building smelled like straw and dust, but none of that mattered to the newly-minted lovebirds. They had only one thing on their mind.

Grinning like a Cheshire cat, Sadie led Micah to a ladder. “Let’s go up in the hayloft. When I was a little girl, I used to come up here and read for hours. Aunt Iva would get so cross with me when I wouldn’t answer her calls for dinner.”

“But we’re not going to do any reading today, are we?” Micah asked naughtily.

Sadie giggled and the two climbed the long, tall ladder towards the hayloft. A dark green blanket hung on a wall. Sadie grabbed it and spread it out on the hay. She sat on the blanket, gave Micah a come hither smile and started to remove her denim short-sleeve blouse, while took he off his gray T-shirt. He reached for her and embraced her tightly, giving her a passionate kiss that nearly took her breath away. He could smell the warm and inviting scent of vanilla on her skin.

After he finished his kiss, Sadie leaned back on the blanket. She could feel hot tingles racing through her body. She held out her arms and Micah eagerly joined her. “I think I’m in love,” she said, taking a deep breath.

Within a matter of moments, the two were naked on top of the blanket, arms and legs entwined together, as they began to enjoy each other’s bodies for the second time.

************************************

Bigelow, Maine
Early afternoon

“I’m relieved Doctor Shannon gave our little guy a clean bill of health,” Iva told Gene enthusiastically. “That’s one less thing to worry about.”

“Now all we have to do is worry about where to find some supplies for him. Luckily we have enough money made from this morning to take care of that,” Gene said.

“He’s worth it,” Iva cooed, kissing the baby on his soft, sweet-smelling forehead. He was fast asleep.

“Iva, I wouldn’t get attached to him if I were you. We probably won’t have him for that long,” Gene reminded her firmly.

“I know, but I want to enjoy taking care of him while he’s here. We’ve never had a chance to tend to someone so tiny.” Iva looked up at her husband with sad, dark eyes.

“He is adorable. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to have a son, although I love Sadie to pieces,” Gene mused.

As the two walked to their van, which was parked in front of the doctor’s small but cozy-looking office, a teenage girl with purple and blonde streaked hair walked towards them. She saw the couple and wrinkled her nose as if she smelled something rotten. “Wow, you two are really old to be having a baby,” she said snottily.

Iva’s face turned beet red and she narrowed her eyes at the girl. “You need to mind your own business young lady!” she exclaimed. “It looks like your parents didn’t teach you any manners!”

“Now, now Iva, let it go. Don’t worry about that brat,” Gene tried to soothe his wife. “We have better things to do.” He shot an icy glare at the teenager.

The two said no more as they ignored the rude stranger and headed to their van. Iva, still holding the baby, fixated her angry gaze at the girl, who continued on her way. She passed by a storefront that had a vinyl banner attached to their gutters. Suddenly, the banner fell right on top of her, and she cried out, struggling wildly to pull it off. A few people dashed out of the store to help her.

Gene watched the commotion and happened to glance over at Iva. A devilish grin was on her face, and he instantly knew what she had done.

“Iva, you shouldn’t have done that!” he hissed to her.

“She deserved it!” she hissed back. She opened up the backseat of the van and carefully placed the baby inside its carseat, then shut the door.

Gene hurried over to Iva and took her arm. “Iva, if you want to keep our new little friend, I would strongly advise you to keep your powers to yourself. If the police, or social services find out you practice witchcraft, they’re going to find another home for him.”

“I don’t want that to happen,” Iva said, fighting back a tear.

“Then we’ve got to play it cool. Now is not the time for magic tricks.” Gene released his grip on her and walked to the driver side door. Then he turned around and grinned at his wife. “You know what honey?”

“What?” Iva asked innocently.

“She did deserve it.”

The two laughed and got in their van, driving away to their next destination.

Coming up next:

  • Gene and Iva bring the baby home.
  • Sadie admits to Iva she and Micah made love and she doesn’t regret what happened.
  • Quinn tells his father he’s almost certain he and Pearl will be together.
  • Damien visits Pearl who again expresses his concern over her relationship with Quinn; Pearl tells him although she cares for him, he should drop the rivalry with Quinn and go on with his life.

Episode 4-8: Wild at Heart

Previously:

  • Jude learned his mother Josephine escaped from the mental hospital.
  • Jude told Quinn how he violently defended him to Damien, and Quinn was touched.
  • Josephine sought refuge in a church, where she thought about her intent to kill Christoph Nightshade.

Friday, November 1st
Late evening

“Thank you, young man. I appreciate your kindness,” Josephine Grant smiled at the good-looking Japanese teenager who had given her a ride into Haven.

“You’re welcome. I hope you find your sons,” he told her.

She got out of his car, a red Pontiac Grand Am, and looked out into the night.  As the car drove off she remembered briefly the abandoned house she would go to when things got a little too crazy and she needed to have solitude. She was sure it was somewhere in the woods. All she had to do was find it—and hopefully she would get to it first before someone else did.

**********************************

Meanwhile, Jude Nightshade was in downtown Harmony, frantically searching for his mother. He checked the diner and there was no sign of her there according to the employees.  The park was empty, and when he went to the Harmony Inn to see if she may have checked in there using the emergency supply of cash he gave her the clerk said nobody with her description had rented a room. It had been a very slow day and only two guests were there.  With the exception of the diner and the motel, everything else was closed for the night.

Jude was now sitting in the nearly deserted motel parking lot, plotting his next move. He knew she couldn’t have gotten very far, and with her advanced age and mental status, there was a chance she was around here and probably desperately searching for a place to hide. The problem was, there wasn’t a whole lot of hiding spaces in Harmony. There was nowhere to really be alone.

And then it hit him like a ton of bricks. The old abandoned house in the woods back in Haven where she would take Quinn and me to relax—she has to either be there or is heading there. If her memories of us came back, surely she would remember the house too.  She probably got a ride into Haven.

Growing excited and anxious at the same time, Jude started his car and tore out of the parking lot, his back wheels smoking, heading back to Haven. He silently prayed with all his might he would find her at their hiding spot, and could convince her to go back to the hospital. She was much too weak in both body and mind to be alone, and with his father Christoph now prowling the Maine countryside in the dark, it was a race against time. Her life depended on it.

**************************************

Twenty minutes later, back in Haven

Josephine smiled broadly to herself as she stood in front of the old, rundown wooden house. She managed to find it, thanks to a wooden cross that was nailed to a big pine tree which stood several feet from the vacant residence.  The cross was her way of knowing she was getting close. Ironically, she hadn’t put it there; it was there already but she figured if Christoph ever made his way here, it might keep him out. She needed all the divine intervention she could get right now.

She began to slowly climb the three wide steps that led to the rickety front porch. She was relieved the steps were still sturdy, but as she placed her right foot onto the porch, it creaked and moaned a little.  But she didn’t feel anything loose or wobbly.

She approached the door and placed her right hand on the rusty doorknob. It pushed open as easy as taking candy from a baby. She stepped inside into a dark and musty smelling room, which caused her to wrinkle her face at the odor. She felt for a light switch and found it by the door. To her surprise, the lights came on and flooded the area in a soft, yellow glow. Jude or Quinn must have been here recently and put fresh bulbs in, she thought.

Slowly and hesitantly, she glanced around. The old couch was still there right up against the living room windows and to the right of it was a worn down easy chair.  She sank down onto the sofa and let out a loud sigh, extremely glad she had found her way here. Now all she had to do was hide out, and figure out how she would get rid of Christoph and make her presence known to her sons. But first, she was going to get some rest. She needed her mind to be clear, sharp and fresh. There was no way she was going to be able to battle her ex on a stale, dull and fuzzy brain. She knew he would use every unnatural power he had to destroy her, and she had to be ready for anything.

She stretched out her body, laying her head back on a throw pillow.  She closed her eyes, and the last image she saw before sleep overtook her was the kind face of Jude, and the last thought in her mind was how everything she was doing was for her beloved sons.

********************************

Haven Town Limits, an hour later

Jude could feel the exhaustion settling into his body. He knew he needed sleep but he was determined to get to the abandoned home and find his mother. He wasn’t far from the nearly hidden turnoff road that would take him to the secret hideaway. But his eyes felt heavy and his brain was screaming out for slumber.

With a heavy heart, Jude turned off the highway and stopped his car. He would take a quick nap and then race to the old house—and to his mother. He figured she would stay there and hunker down so he had some time. He reached down to the left and pulled the lever that would push his seat back. When he was in the reclining position, he closed his eyes. It wasn’t long before he was fast asleep.

**********************************

The Lawrence Farm, the next morning

Pearl Tyler had finished an early breakfast and was casually strolling outside in the backyard. It was going to be another mild day and the sun was shining brightly in the cloudless sky, which was a vibrant shade of blue. Gene and Iva had already left for Bigelow to work at the farmers’ market, while Sadie and Micah were sleeping in.

She still had last night’s visit with Christoph Nightshade clearly on her mind. It was still somewhat hard to believe she had met an honest-to-goodness vampire, even though she was already well acquainted with Quinn and the werewolf Collins family. She wondered what other creatures may be hiding out there, just waiting for someone to come along and discover them. Maybe I’ll run into a fairy next, she joked to herself.

Pearl headed for the back porch. She wanted to sit and rest for a bit. She made her way up the steps and eased herself onto a wooden bench by the double doors. She gazed out into the breathtaking panorama of the New England countryside, amazed at the gorgeous autumn scene of blazing orange gold trees, remembering why she wanted to start a new life here in the first place.

Suddenly she felt a cool presence beside her. She turned to see the ghost of Megan Manning sitting right beside her.

“Megan,” Pearl said, a little surprised.

“Hello Pearl,” Megan softly replied.  She looked down at Pearl’s stomach and smiled. “You’ve gotten bigger since the last time I saw you.”

Pearl affectionately patted her swollen belly. “I’m six months along now. I’m due at the end of January. Of course I’d have to have my baby in the dead of winter. We’ll probably get a blizzard and snow will be piled up to my eyeballs.” She chuckled.

“Are you going to stay in Haven after you give birth?” Megan asked.

Pearl shook her head. “No. My goal is to get to Bangor, come hell or high water.”

“So you are going to leave. Do Quinn and Damien know about this?” Megan inquired.

“Yes they do,” Pearl answered. “I’ve made it clear I won’t be sticking around after my daughter arrives.”

“I’m sure they didn’t take that bit of news very well,” Megan surmised.

Pearl sighed. “I can’t stay here forever. I need to raise my child in surroundings that are normal, and this place is not normal, not to mention it’s so isolated. My daughter wouldn’t have any one her own age to become friends with, and if she did, I wouldn’t know if they were even human or not.” She shot a pointed look at Megan. “How did you do it? How did you manage to stick it out here for a whole year?”

The ghost smiled weakly.  “Well, in my case, I really didn’t have a choice. Once Quinn sank his fangs into my neck, where else could I go? I was running away from my family in the first place. I had no one else to turn to but Quinn.”

She peered down at her lap. “I actually did love him for a while. Before I decided I didn’t want to live anymore as the creature I became, things were wonderful. He treated me like I was a queen. He gave me anything and everything I wanted. He was romantic, in his own unique way. I never had anyone be so kind and generous to me. For the first time in my life, I knew what it meant to be loved and cared for.”

She lifted her face to look back at Pearl. “And now, you’re starting to know how it feels to be loved by Quinn. But that love comes with a price Pearl—one that I don’t think you can afford to pay.”

“He’s changed Megan. He isn’t the same man that you knew. From what I’ve learned, your death nearly destroyed him, and he’s been haunted by it ever since. He’s a very lonely man, and I can relate to how he feels.

Pearl once again stared out into the countryside. “I trust him. I trust him with myself and with my baby. He wouldn’t do anything to hurt us.”

“Oh Pearl, are you absolutely sure?” Megan wondered with a tone of worry.

Pearl rapidly nodded. “I don’t need protection from him anymore. He knows that if he tried to hurt me, I would forbid him from being around me and that’s the last thing he wants. You have nothing to fear Megan, believe me. I won’t even be in Haven long enough for a proper relationship with him anyway.”

“Well, you’ve made your decision then,” Megan replied, with a hint of regret. “But please be careful Pearl.”

“Don’t worry, I will,” Pearl reassured the spirit. She stood up and stretched. “I’m going to find a good book to read and bring it back outside. It’s going to be such a gorgeous day.”

“If you go back in the house and hear noises, don’t be alarmed,” Megan said, grinning like a naughty schoolgirl.

“Why is that?” Pearl wanted to know.

“I do believe we have some serious, full-fledged romance happening right this very moment.” Megan coyly giggled.

Pearl’s green eyes widened. “You mean Sadie and that nice young man Micah?”

Megan giggled again. “Love has hit Haven once again, and this time, it’s the good kind of love.”

******************************

Sadie Todd’s bedroom

“This has to be the happiest moment of my life right now,” Sadie breathlessly announced as she snuggled up against Micah Johnson. I never dreamed my first time would be like this.”

Just minutes ago, the two had finished a passionate bout of lovemaking. They weren’t expecting to end up in bed together. Micah had come to Sadie’s room to let her know Gene and Iva were leaving for the farmer’s market in Bigelow. Sadie was still asleep and Micah was already up, so he told her aunt and uncle he would tell her. He came in and she was just waking up. He thought she looked beautiful still half asleep and he told her so. Before they knew it, they were sharing a tender kiss—and the clothes began to come off.

This would be my first time, Sadie had shyly admitted to him.

He asked her if they should stop, and she told him no. I’m ready, and I’m on the pill, she proclaimed confidently. I know I’m not going to regret it.

Micah reached over with his right hand and gently rubbed Sadie’s cheek with his knuckles. “It was amazing,” he murmured.

Sadie leaned into kiss him. After a heated liplock, she sat up. “Well, I guess we’ve got to get downstairs and eat breakfast sometime. She got out of bed and picked her nightgown off of the floor. Micah admired her trim brown body as she got dressed. “What would my brand new lover like for his first meal of the day?” she asked, smiling brightly.

“Pancakes, sausage, bacon, toast—the works,” Micah teased.

“How about French toast?” she replied, blowing him a kiss.

“Sounds heavenly.”

Sadie kneeled on the bed and placed her arms around him. “I’m so deliriously happy right now I could scream.”

“Hmm, I think you should save the screaming for our next time together,” he joked.

“Why you—“Sadie began, before Micah cut her off with a long, steamy kiss.

*******************************

Bigelow, Maine
Several hours later

“Gene sweetheart, hand me the chairs please so I can load them into the van,” Iva Lawrence called out to her husband. The two were packing up to go home after a successful morning at the farmer’s market.

Gene brought forth two of the “What-a-Chairs” that were inside black vinyl carrying cases. “Here you go.”

“Thanks dear.” She gave him a quick kiss and took the chairs, putting them in the back of the red van. She shut the door and beamed at Gene. “What a great day huh? I think we made enough money for a decent Christmas this year.”

“I’m sure you and Sadie will have a blast spending it too,” Gene playfully mocked.

“You think you’re so funny,” she retorted, but she was smiling.

The two of them were the only ones in the Bigelow Community Church parking lot, with the other sellers already packed up and gone for the day. Iva looked up at the bright blue sky and took a deep breath. “I can’t believe it’s November. We’re being spoiled with this spring-like weather.”

“And we’re going to pay for it come January,” Gene predicted.

“That’s when Pearl’s baby is due. Hopefully any bad  weather we do have won’t start after she has her daughter,” Iva said.

“Aren’t you the psychic? You should know when the next blizzard’s going to hit,” Gene teasingly reminded her.

“Weather forecasting is not one of my specialties. Now, let’s go and get something to eat, I’m starved.” Iva began to head for the passenger side of the van when all of a sudden, she heard what sounded like a baby crying coming from the other side of the church. She sharply looked at her husband. “Gene, did you hear that?”

“Yes, it’s a baby crying. They do that a lot you know.”

Iva shot him a dirty look. “Nobody’s here but us and the church won’t be open until tomorrow for Sunday services.”

“Maybe someone’s parked out front and they have a baby,” he guessed.

“I’m going to take a look. Something doesn’t feel right.” Iva started to head for the front of the church.

“Wait, I’m coming with you.” Gene followed his wife as she briskly walked around the stone building.

The couple stopped at the church entrance. “Nobody’s here,” Iva said. “That’s strange.”

Gene glanced around. Off to left side was the small building that housed the church office. He noticed a car seat sitting on the wide step by the door. A combination of fear and panic settled into his stomach. “Iva, I think I know where the cries came from. Take a look.”

Iva followed his gaze. “Oh God,” she half-whispered in dismay.

The two rushed to the church office. Both of them were very anxious as they looked down and their fears were confirmed. A baby boy, no more than a month old, sat inside the car seat. He had thin strands of brown hair on his tiny head. His brown eyes were open, and he was gazing up at them as if to say “Help me.” He was dressed in white cotton footie pajamas with blue and green teddy bears on them.

“You poor little thing,” Iva comforted him. She reached down and unhooked the safety belt and carefully picked him up, cradling him. The baby started to make cooing sounds.

“He smells clean, as if someone bathed him before they dropped him off,” she remarked.

Gene picked up the car seat and felt around. “There’s no note.”

“What are we going to do?” Iva asked.

“We need to go to the police. They will start a search for the baby’s parents,” Gene replied.

“Well, I guess we better be off then.” Iva placed the baby in the crook of her arm. His eyes were closed and he was falling asleep. “Aren’t you glad I decided to investigate? If we didn’t, who knows how long this little one would have been out here, exposed to the elements.”

“You’re right, as always,” Gene told her. This time though, he wasn’t joking.

*********************************

The old abandoned house in the woods, same time

“Mum, are you here? Come on out, you can’t stay here forever. You need to go back to the hospital so you’ll be safe,” Jude shouted as he stood inside the living room.

There was no answer from his plea. Everything was still. Despite it being warm and sunny out, the house took on a foreboding, almost evil atmosphere.

Jude started to walk throughout the house, going from room to room. But there was no sign of his mother.  After searching the entire dwelling, he re-entered the living room and leaned against one of the walls in defeat. “Damn,” he swore out loud. “Where the bloody hell could she be?”

Frustrated, he left the house and got into his car, deciding to head for home. He would get something to eat, recharge his brain and his body, and then start searching for her all over again.  He just had to find her. For so many painful years, he waited for her regain her memory. Now she had, and there was a chance he would lose her again. He wasn’t prepared to face any more years without her a second time.

***********************************

Just seconds after Jude had gone a hidden door on the side of the house underneath the front porch opened. Josephine Grant emerged, slowly and stealthily. She heard her son call for her but she wouldn’t answer, and she was relieved he didn’t remember to search downstairs. She had to keep herself hidden long enough to surprise Christoph and get him off his guard, weakening his resolve. She knew when he didn’t expect things to go his way, that’s when he was at his weakest.

“I’m sorry Jude, but I can’t reveal myself just yet, but if you knew why, you would thank me. I’m doing this for you, and Quinn and myself. Once that demon is out of our lives for good, we can finally be a real family again.”

A tear ran down her check, but she steely wiped it away. She turned around and began to head for the front door. She was hungry, and she needed to get something to eat. Luckily she had brought with her some snacks and water she kept in her room back at Harmony Hills in a knapsack Jude gave her. She knew she would have to get more food eventually, but she would cross that bridge when she came to it.

************************************

Haven Lake

Damien Collins sat near the water, soaking up the mid-autumn sunshine. Unfortunately, the gorgeous weather didn’t suit his mood. He was still steamed that Quinn Nightshade had convinced Pearl to visit his father, and was still trying to get over Jude’s sudden display of vampire fury towards him the night before. If it wasn’t for him being a werewolf, he surely wouldn’t have survived his friend’s supernatural rage without tons of bruises and broken bones.

He lie back on the grass, trying with all his might to just relax and forget about what happened last night, but he couldn’t. Nothing more would please him to confront Quinn about Pearl being at his house but he knew if he did, not only would Jude probably kick his ass again, Pearl would find out and she would be angry with him too, further jeopardizing any chance he had to get her away from Quinn’s seductive clutches.

“Christ, why does love have to be so damn difficult?” he wondered aloud, sighing.

“That’s a good question,” a soft, breezy voice piped up.

Damien sat straight up, startled. He turned his head to the left and saw Megan Manning’s ghost standing above him. “You scared me.”

“I’m sorry Damien. But I wanted to come and see you. I talked with Pearl earlier.”

Damien stood and took off his sunglasses. “You still aren’t able to convince her to stay away from Quinn, are you?”

“No. She told me that she isn’t afraid of him and she trusts him. She told me she doesn’t need my protection anymore.”

Megan glanced down at the dark water. “It’s time for me to go back to my grave. There’s nothing more I can do. Iva and Sadie thought that I could spook Quinn away from Pearl and vice versa, but their attraction to each other is way too strong for even my ghostly presence.”

“You can’t give up Megan,” Damien insisted, exasperation creeping into his voice. “You know firsthand how deadly Quinn is. You can’t just stop trying to protect her. She’s vulnerable.”

“I’m sorry Damien. Pearl and Quinn are both too strong-willed in their personalities and I don’t think anyone, alive, or dead, is going to convince them being together isn’t right. I think we’re just going to have to see where nature takes all of this. But look on the bright side. Pearl is adamant she’s leaving after her daughter is born. Just give it three more months, and perhaps you’ll be leaving with her.”

“I’m going use those three months to fight for Pearl with whatever it takes,” Damien replied strongly.

“I admire your tenacity. I hope that you can do what I was unable to,” Megan told him hopefully.

She reached out and gently massaged Damien’s cheek with her hand. Her touch was cool but comforting. “Take care Damien. I wish you all the luck in the world. You’re going to need it.”

“I’m not going to give up that easily Megan, bet on it,” Damien forcefully told her.

She faded away and Damien put his sunglasses on, a look of pure determination on his handsome face. “I haven’t lost the battle…the war has only begun.”

Coming up next:

  • Quinn visits Pearl at the farm and she tells him that Megan will no longer be around.
  • Pearl tells Quinn she trusts him and cares deeply for him.
  • Quinn asks Pearl to move in with him but she wants to remain at the farm until her daughter is born.
  • Sadie and Micah make love again.
  • The police allow Gene and Iva to take the baby home with them until his parents can be found.

Episode 4-7: Blood Is Thicker…

Previously:

  • Jude paid a visit to the Collins home and talked with Rhiannon about his father’s return.
  • Damien began to lay into Jude after learning Pearl was at his home with Quinn and Christoph.
  • Jude became furious at Damien and unleashed his vampire powers, sending him flying into the wall; threatening to kill him if he continued to interfere in his brother’s pursuit of Pearl.
  • After his confrontation with Damien, Jude became ashamed and the two apologized to each other and called a truce.
  • Astrid comforted Jude after the fight.

Friday, November 1st
The Nightshade home, a little after 7pm

Jude Nightshade stood outside the back door of his house. He was mentally preparing what he was going to say to his brother regarding the confrontation he had with Damien Collins earlier that evening. He was sure Quinn would be ecstatic that Jude stood up for him, but he was also afraid that Quinn might retaliate against Damien and his family, and he didn’t want that to happen. He and Damien had called a truce and each had made their apologies.

With a little hesitation, he opened the door and entered the kitchen. He quietly made his way into the living room. It was empty. He wondered if Quinn had taken Pearl home during the time he was gone.

Just as he was about to plop himself onto the sofa, he heard someone approaching from the hallway. He turned to see who it was and saw his brother, dressed in a white T-shirt and black pajama bottoms.

“So, I see you finally decided to come back,” Quinn playfully mocked.

“I’m really sorry,” he apologetically replied.

“It’s okay, although Pearl was disappointed you weren’t around to talk to.”

“I take it you took her home?” Jude asked.

Quinn nodded. “I told her that if you weren’t back in fifteen minutes we would take a drive to the lake but on the way there she started yawning so I just took her back to the Lawrence’s. She’s still adjusting from her time in the emergency room.”

“Well, I’ll just have to apologize to Pearl in person,” Jude said.

“Where have you been all this time?” Quinn inquired.

Jude sighed. “You’re not going to believe it.”

“I bet you I can,” Quinn told him, grinning.

Jude sunk into the sofa and Quinn joined him. “I ended up at the Collinses.”

Quinn snorted. “I’m sure that was a pleasant visit.”

“It was, until Caleb and Damien arrived.”

Quinn shook his head. “I bet they started laying into you about Pearl and me.”

“Not right away. I tried to get out of there before they would find out Pearl was here, but Damien immediately suspected it, and I couldn’t lie to him. He probably would have found out anyway.”

Quinn narrowed his eyes. “So let me guess what happened next. Damien got angry and started getting on your case about Pearl and then started insulting me.”

Jude nodded. “Exactly.”

Quinn let out a hmmph and shook his head again. “He’s so damn predictable.”

“He just kept going on and on and on and finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. I blew up at him,” Jude said, beginning to feel guilty all over again.

“Good for you,” Quinn responded approvingly. “He deserves to be taken down a peg or two.”

Jude got off the sofa. “No you don’t understand.” He stared out the window for a few seconds before continuing. “I actually physically assaulted him.”

Quinn was in disbelief. “You what? I don’t believe it.”

“Believe it Quinn. I pushed him so hard he flew off the floor and into the wall. Then I grabbed him by his shirt collar and lifted him up. “I threatened to kill him if he wouldn’t stop interfering in our lives.” Jude fixated on the TV mounted on the wall.  “I lost control—again.”

This time Quinn stood up. He processed what his brother had said and he was astounded. Jude would never use violence unless he was provoked to extremes. But with their Father suddenly back in their lives, he realized Jude was going through some serious stress, and it was bringing out his vampire powers—-powers he deliberately refused to use.

“Jude, I know you don’t like showing off your vampire side, but I’m really glad you did,” he told him.

Jude turned back to face him. “Well, I’m not glad. I was so ashamed. Luckily Damien wasn’t angry with me and we called a truce. You know I don’t like being that way. But I couldn’t help it. I just got fed up with him badmouthing you.”

He grew sheepish and looked at the floor. “I told him that I support you and Pearl being together.”

“You did? You actually said that to Damien?” Quinn was beaming like a little boy on his birthday.

“Yes. I told him that if being with Pearl keeps you stable and acting as human as possible I wasn’t going to try and ruin the relationship,” Jude answered matter-of-factly.

Quinn threw his arms around his brother and hugged him tightly. “You don’t know how much this means to me. I’m really touched that you’re supporting me.”

Tears formed in Jude’s eyes. “I didn’t want it to be this way, but enough was enough. I do love you Quinn and I want you to be happy. You deserve it.”

Quinn continued to hold on to his brother. Now that he knew Jude was fully supportive of him in his pursuit of Pearl he felt like the luckiest man in the world and things were only going to get better.

How wrong he would be…

******************************

Harmony Hills Mental Hospital, a little later

The alarm was sounding all through the building and the common areas outside. Staff were locking down rooms and making sure patients were secure…the ones that were still inside anyway.

Meanwhile, in an upstairs conference room, the hospital administrator, Angela Rafferty, chief of staff Charles Hammer and Doctor Rowan Farrell were in a heated discussion.

“She was your patient Doctor Farrell, at least until Doctor Chambers returns from leave. Are you sure you didn’t see any signs of her plotting an escape?” Rafferty steely demanded.

Doctor Farrell held his own and looked directly at her. “With all due respect Administrator, this is a woman who only recently started full communication two weeks ago. Doctor Chambers informed me before he left that she barely talked and had no memories of her prior life. I sincerely doubt she would have given any warning signs she was going to escape.”

“Mrs. Rafferty, I think Doctor Farrell’s assessment is reasonable,” COS Hammer chimed in authoritatively but gently. You can’t predict what our patients are going to do, even though we have their behavioral reports as well as conducting continuous evaluations. This was an extreme case.”

Rafferty sighed and rubbed her temples furiously. “You’re right, you’re right. But the fact of the matter is, Josephine Grant has escaped and we need to find her. I don’t think she’s going to be a danger to the public, but when word gets out that this is the first escapee that Harmony Hills has had in twenty-five years, the media is going to be all over us like vultures on rotting carcasses.”

“We can avoid a media firestorm if you know where to look for her,” Doctor Farrell knowingly said.

COS Hammer snapped his fingers in an epiphany. “Of course—her son Jude. That’s probably where she’s headed.”

“But does she even know how to get to his home?” Rafferty asked the two men.  “She’s only recently gotten her memories back.”

“We know where he lives, it won’t be too hard to track her down,” Hammer helpfully replied.

Rafferty nodded furtively. “Okay. Here’s the game plan. I will call her son and inform him his mother has escaped and may be trying to get to his house. Maybe with his assistance, we can find her, bring her back here safely and not have to deal with the reporters circling our heads like birds of prey.” She ran her hands roughly through her ash blonde hair. “Let’s pray for a smooth outcome gentlemen.”

 ******************************

Harmony Community Church

Josephine Grant sat in a pew, staring up at the massive, intricately carved statue of Jesus on the cross that hung above the altar. It had been years since she was inside a church. After she met Christoph Nightshade and discovered he was a vampire, he made her quit attending services. She wasn’t a very religious person, but she enjoyed going to church. It brought her comfort and gave her a way to meet people.

Clutching her crucifix tightly to her chest, she thought about her escape earlier from the sanitarium. After she regained her memory and started talking more and more, Doctor Farrell was allowed to let her move more freely in the wing she stayed in. She was able to go to the dayrooms and watch TV, read, or look out the windows. Tonight, there wasn’t a whole lot of staff around and because of that, most of the patients had been confined to their rooms. Doctor Farrell insisted she spend some time in the dayroom. The television had been turned to a channel where they aired old movies and the one playing when she was in there had a guy escape from prison to go after the real killer. It instantly gave her an idea to escape to go after Christoph. She knew he was in Haven and had probably forced himself into the house where Jude and Quinn were living. She had an idea of where it was—it was near a large lake right in the middle of the town. All she had to do was find the lake and she would find the house. Luckily she chose a place to escape to that was nothing but countryside and you had to go into other towns if you wanted to run errands. It was the perfect place to hide, but now Christoph had discovered where they were.

She was sure he had hired someone to find her and their sons. Christoph had actual friends or other family members he could turn to for support, and the last of her family had been killed by him when he tried to take her and the children back to England. The only way he could find her, Quinn and Jude was by contacting a professional, and he or she probably ended up a victim of her ex-lover’s bloodlust. The man was hardly unpredictable. Anything—or anyone— was prey to him.

Josephine recalled how easy it was to leave Harmony Hills. The stairwell next to the dayroom led to a boiler room which led to a door outside, away from the main common areas where some of the more mild patients were allowed to roam. She had merely gone back to her own room, grabbed her crucifix, a sweater coat and a wallet which contained some cash Jude had given her in case of emergencies that she kept in a secret hiding place, pretended to return to the dayroom but entered the stairwell instead. She had remembered one of the nurses talking to an aide about how she would sneak in there and down to the boiler room to have sex with one of the janitors during her dinner break.  Since she used to be a nurse, she was well aware of how they loved to gossip, and since everyone at the hospital thought she was a mindless old woman, they didn’t realize she would occasionally listen to what people said—and remembered. She may have not remembered her own children but she remembered other things. Now it had come in handy.

Stroking the crucifix pressed against her chest, a tear ran down her cheek. “Forgive me God, but I’m about to break one of your commandments, thou shall not kill. But if you knew who I was going to go after, I don’t think you could be angry. Christoph Nightshade isn’t even human anymore, not one of yours. I would be doing the world a good deed by getting rid of that monster.”

With a cold glare on her face, Josephine stood up and left the church, trying to ponder her next move.

 *******************************

The Nightshade home

Jude was relaxing on the sofa, drinking a glass of wine and listening to a classical music station on a stereo that sat inside a cabinet against one of the living room walls. Quinn was in his bedroom, talking to Pearl on the phone, no doubt informing her of what happened between him and Damien. But he had gotten that out of his system and vowed not to fly off the handle like that again, even if his father tried to provoke him. He had to reassure himself he was better than that.

A few moments later the landline phone rang, jerking him from his thoughts. He set his wine glass down on the coffee table and reached over to the side table to answer the call.

“Hello,” he answered, somewhat hesitantly.

“Is this Jude Nightshade?” a woman’s voice asked in a businesslike tone.

“Yes, may I ask whose calling?”

“Hello Mr. Nightshade, my name is Angela Rafferty. I’m the administrator at Harmony Hills—“ she began, before Jude cut her off.

“Oh my God, something’s happened to my mother,” Jude said, his stomach beginning to form into knots.

“Yes,” Mrs. Rafferty replied. He could tell she was trying to stay matter-of-fact but he could hear the dread in her voice.

“Is she okay?” Jude was now trembling.

“No Mr. Nightshade. Your mother escaped from the hospital tonight and I have a feeling she may be heading to your home.”

“My God,” Jude murmured, horrified. Then he started to get angry. “How could this have happened? You’re supposed to have excellent security!”

“Mr. Nightshade, believe me when I say I am truly sorry for any lax that’s happened in security, but right now the most important thing is finding your mother and bringing her back safely,” Mrs. Rafferty answered, softly but firmly. “I’ve called the police and they’re sending us some men to assist in the search. Do you have any ideas about where she could go, besides your home?”

Jude shook his head vehemently. “No, and I don’t know if she would even remember how to get back to Haven.” He tried with all his might to remain composed. “I’m going to search for her as well. If I do find her, I will bring her back to Harmony Hills myself.”

“You do what you need to do Mr. Nightshade, and we will do whatever it takes to get your mother back, I promise,” Mrs. Rafferty assured him.

“Thank you,” Jude flatly responded. He hung up the phone and took a deep breath, squeezing his cheeks with both hands. “She’s going after Father, I know she is. And I need to stop her before he finds her first…because he will kill her. I’m not going to let that happen. That man has caused enough bloodshed.”

He leapt off the couch and headed towards the coat rack near the front door. His jacket, which contained his car keys in the right pocket, was hanging on one of the hooks. As he slipped it on, Quinn appeared from the hallway. He eyed his brother with amusement.

“Going out again? You’re quite the night owl,” he joked.

“Quinn, we have a problem,” Jude bluntly told him.

His brother’s face suddenly paled. “What’s going on this time?”

“Mother has escaped from the mental hospital, and I think she’s on her way to Haven.”

Quinn’s face turned even whiter. “Jesus Christ.”

“Remember I told you that she was getting her memory back? Well, I think she knows that Father is here and I’m certain she’s going to go after him.”

“How would she know Father is in Haven?” Quinn wondered, trying to stay calm.

“I think he came and saw her. If he tracked us down, I’m sure he found out where she was. And I have to find her before Father does. I know you hate her Quinn, but I’m not going to let Father destroy her permanently. If I have to make a choice between her or him, it’s going to be her.” Jude placed his hand on the doorknob. “If anybody calls, tell them what’s going on. The more people that know, the better chance we have of finding and her getting her to safety. I’m not going to have another nightmare on our hands.”

“Be careful Jude,” Quinn warned.

His brother nodded before he walked out the door. Quinn just stood there, wondering how in just one night, everything turned from wonderful to terrifying in a matter of minutes.

Coming up next:

  • Josephine hides out at the Nightshades’ secret place but escapes just as Jude arrives to look for her.
  • While in Bigelow, Gene and Iva find an abandoned baby boy.
  • Sadie and Micah use Gene and Iva’s absence from the farm to make love for the first time.
  • While on a leisurely walk, Pearl encounters Megan’s ghost.
  • Pearl tells Megan that she feels Quinn is changed man and that she doesn’t need to be protected from him anymore.
  • Megan visits Damien and says she is returning to her grave, that Pearl has chosen to accept Quinn and nothing more can be done.
  • Damien still vows to fight for Pearl.

Episode 4-6: Hey Jude

Previously:

  • Despite Gene and Iva’s protests, Pearl went with Quinn to his home to meet Jude—and their father—who took an instant liking to her.
  • Christoph admitted to Pearl he killed Bridget.
  • Christoph told Pearl he wanted her to be Quinn’s mate.
  • Jude left to take a walk and ended up at the Collins home.

The Nightshade home, evening

Pearl Tyler was sitting at the kitchen table, munching on a roast beef sandwich and thinking about the events of the evening so far. She had just met Christoph Nightshade, and while on the outside he appeared to be friendly and charming, she could tell if you crossed him, you would live to regret it…just like Bridget Walsh had last night.

She happened to glance up by the fridge and she noticed a brown round wall clock mounted beside it. The time read six-thirty. She promised she would call Gene and Iva Lawrence to let them know she was okay.

She put her sandwich back down on its plate, wiped her hands on a napkin and took her cell phone out of one of the pockets of her dress. Before she could dial a number, Quinn Nightshade stepped into the kitchen. He saw her cell phone and frowned.

“You’re not going to call Gene and Iva are you?” he asked with a pout.

“I promised I would to let them know I’m fine,” she replied. “It’ll only take a minute.”

“I hope you’re not ready to go home yet. I thought we might take a ride down to the lake. It’s a gorgeous night,” Quinn suggested to her.

“I would like to talk to Jude some more when he gets back, if you don’t mind,” Pearl said.

Quinn pouted again. “I think you’re more fascinated by my brother and my father than you are with me.”

Pearl couldn’t help but laugh. “You sound just like a jealous little boy. I’ve spent a lot of time with you already and now it’s time to meet the rest of your family. This is what you wanted, so if I were you, I would stop pouting.” She stood up, put her cell phone back in her pocket and stretched.

Quinn walked over to her and placed his arms around her waist. “How about this my dear. If Jude doesn’t get back in the next fifteen minutes, you and I are heading to Haven Lake, and you can come over another time and talk to my brother. Does that sound like a plan?”

“That’s fine by me,” Pearl agreed.

“Good.” He leaned in for a kiss, but was interrupted by his father, who entered the kitchen. “I’m going out for the night,” he announced, a bit dramatically.

Quinn and Pearl looked at him. “I’ll see you tomorrow evening Father,” Quinn said to him.

Christoph took another opportunity to take Pearl’s hand and kiss the top of it. “It was a pleasure meeting you Pearl. I hope to see you again soon.” He grinned, showing off his fangs yet again. Unlike last time, Pearl wasn’t afraid.

“Goodbye Christoph,” she said plainly. She didn’t want to think about him prowling around in the night, searching for necks to sink his teeth into.

With a smile and a wave, the elder Nightshade was gone, eagerly anticipating the taste of warm blood.

Pearl glanced at Quinn. She could see a trace of longing on his face. “Quinn, are you thinking about joining your father?” she asked nervously. She knew despite him being half human, he was eager to display his vampire side.

Quinn turned to look at Pearl. He wrapped an arm around her and pulled her close. “For one second, I did think about it. But I don’t want to leave you alone. And you do have to get home sometime tonight, unfortunately.”

Pearl chuckled. “I don’t think Gene and Iva would have liked it if I had to walk home alone in the dark.”

Quinn replied with a snort. “I don’t want to talk about those two.” His face then softened a little. “Speaking of walking alone in the dark, I wonder what my baby brother is up to.”

***************************************

The Collins home

“Thank you for the coffee Rhiannon,” Jude Nightshade said happily as he sat inside the kitchen with Rhiannon Collins. He blew on the top of the dark rich liquid and took a swig. The hot brew traveled down his throat and he instantly felt relaxed. “That was delicious. Even better than the coffee I make.”

Rhiannon sat across from him with a cup in her hand, which she sat down on the table. She stared pointedly at her guest. “Do you want to talk about your father?”

Jude sighed deeply. “So you know he’s in Haven.”

Rhiannon nodded. “Iva sensed he was here. In the normal world, I would never take stock of anything a psychic would say but as you and I both know, we are not living in the normal world, and she bats a thousand when it comes to her sensations.”

Jude sighed again. “I never thought he would seek Quinn and I out, after all these years. I was wrong wasn’t I?”

Rhiannon took a sip of coffee and leaned back in her chair. “Now that he’s here, what are you going to do?”

“If it was up to me, he’d be in the ground,” Jude coldly spat. “He ruined my mother’s life and nearly ruined mine and Quinn’s. But my brother is so happy to have him here, and the two of us have gotten closer again in the last three weeks.” He put his head down, fighting back tears.

“And you’re torn because if you get rid of your father, than you and Quinn will be at odds again,” Rhiannon surmised.

Jude raised his head to look at Rhiannon. “Exactly. I can’t stand it when Quinn and I are at each other’s throats. But I don’t want my father in my life. I want him to go back to England or wherever he was before he set foot in Haven, and to stay there. But he’s certain he, Quinn and I are going to be one happy family.” He leaned in towards Rhiannon. “He wants to turn us into full vampires.”

“Of course you don’t want that,” Rhiannon said with some force in her voice.

Jude emphatically shook his head. “No I don’t. Quinn may embrace his vampire side all he wants, but I have kept mine dormant ever since I learned my father was one.” He shuddered a little. “I can’t even begin to comprehend why my mother thought settling down and trying to have a normal family life with a monster like that was a good idea.”

“Because she was in love Jude, and when you’re in love, you do things that aren’t rational to human nature.” Rhiannon smiled. “I’m a perfect example. I fell in love with Caleb, even though I knew he was a werewolf. I chose to become like him, I chose to have his children, knowing full well I could never go back, knowing the risks that come with being the creature I became.”

“It was different with you Rhiannon,” Jude gently argued. “You were escaping a bad home life. My mother had a job she loved and a family that adored her, and she abandoned both for my father, and what she did get out of it? Losing her mind and losing all her memories of myself and Quinn, who hates her and refuses to see her.” He stared hard at Rhiannon. “Her cousins died trying to prevent my father from taking us out of the States and back to England.”

“I know it was different for me and I know that I’m lucky in that Caleb would rather fix cars than kill people. He’s managed to control the beast within him. Your father needs to do the same thing if he wants a relationship with you,” Rhiannon pointed out.

Jude snorted angrily. “He’ll never have a relationship with me. He’s lucky I don’t drive a stake into his heart.” After speaking those last words, he cried out and placed his hands over his face in torment. A worried Rhiannon got up and went to him, placing comforting hands on his shoulders. “I’m so sorry you have to go through this Jude.”

Jude moved his hands away and placed them flat on the table. “I did attack my father earlier this morning. He was taunting me and I lost control. I lashed out and gouged the side of his face. Of course it healed in a matter of seconds, but the fact is, I lost control. I can’t ever do that again, or I’ll be just like him.”

Seconds later, both Jude and Rhiannon heard the front door slam. “That’s Caleb and Damien. Why don’t we go into the living room,” Rhiannon said.

“I better head back home. Thanks for being so supportive,” Jude replied. “I do feel a bit better, having someone to talk to that isn’t my father or my brother.” A small smile escaped from his lips.

Jude turned to head for the back door, but heard Caleb and Damien enter. “Jude, is that you?” Caleb Collins asked.

He turned around and smiled sheepishly at the two men. “Hi Caleb. Hi Damien.”

“What are you doing here?” Caleb asked. “I mean, it’s good to see you, but you’re not known for your social calls.”

“I took a walk and ended up here so I decided to see if anyone was home,” Jude explained.

“He needed some moral support,” Rhiannon said, patting him on the shoulder.

Damien shot him a knowing glance. “Let me guess—your father,” he deduced. “I would leave the house too.”

“And now it’s time for me to get back home,” Jude told the trio. “Thanks for your hospitality.”

“What’s the rush son?” Caleb inquired, puzzled. “I thought you needed to be away for a bit.”

“Well, it’s a bit complicated,” Jude answered, trying to stay nonchalant.

“Complicated, how?” Caleb continued, still puzzled.

Jude didn’t answer. He knew what would be the reaction if they all found out Pearl Tyler was at his house. They didn’t want her anywhere near his brother and certainly not his father either.

“What’s the matter Jude?” Rhiannon asked him. “Is something going on you should tell us about?”

Jude sighed. “Look, I don’t want you all to get upset—”

Damien moved towards him. He knew exactly why he didn’t want to say anything. “Pearl’s at your house isn’t she? With Christoph.” His brown eyes started to flash with fury.

Rhiannon and Caleb were surprised and looked at Jude. “Is Damien right? Is Pearl there right now?” Caleb wanted to know.

Jude knew he couldn’t stay silent any longer. “Yes, she’s there.” He placed his right hand on his forehead and began to rub it roughly. “Quinn asked her to come and meet my father and myself and she agreed.” He gazed up at them in defiance. “I didn’t want her to come. I didn’t think it was the right time.”

Damien exploded. “Your father is dangerous Jude!” he shouted. “He killed Bridget Walsh…he kills anything that comes into his path! You bloody well know how he is! So what does that jerk of your brother do? He forces her into seeing him knowing she’s in a vulnerable condition!” His face was red and he was hot with ire. “I’m going over to your house right now to get Pearl and bring her back here.”

Jude looked him straight in the eye. “Damien, I think you need to leave things as they are. I know my father is dangerous, but he was a downright gentleman to Pearl tonight. I sincerely doubt now he’s going to hurt her. Quinn would never forgive him if he did, and you know how much he worships our father.”

Damien shook his head in disbelief. “I can’t believe what I’m hearing. You’ve always been the sensible one Jude. You’ve always tried to keep Quinn on the straight and narrow. But now you’re making excuses for him and now your father.”

Jude defiantly stared Damien down. “I may not like how Quinn and our father behave most of the time but even I have to give credit to them when they act like normal human beings, and coming from them, that’s a lot. Besides Damien, my brother has changed since he met Pearl—changed for the better. I’m not going to stop that just because you don’t approve knowing you want Pearl for yourself. And Pearl chooses to be with my brother. I’m not going to start telling her how she should think and feel.”

“All right you two, let’s nip this argument in the bud,” Rhiannon warned. “What’s done is done. Jude is going home and Damien, I think you need to calm down. Why don’t you give Pearl a call later and see how she’s doing?”

“No Mum, I’m going to see her now and get her out of that house of horrors,” Damien retorted, glaring at Jude.

Jude could feel his anger rising but he fought to control it. He didn’t want to lash out again. He knew Damien was upset because he was in love with Pearl too and wanted to protect her. “Damien, if you want to barge into my home and play the white knight, be my guest. But if Pearl doesn’t want to leave, you have to respect her choice. Quite frankly, I wish you would just stay away. The last thing I need is some love triangle playing out in my living room like a tired old soap opera.”

He looked towards Caleb and Rhiannon. “Thank you again for your kindness. I wish I could say the same for your son.” He briskly walked out of the kitchen into the living room. He couldn’t get out of this place fast enough. But as soon as he had his hand on the doorknob, he could hear Rhiannon and Caleb yelling at Damien. He quickly felt a hard, painful grasp on his shoulder. He whirled around to see Damien, nostrils flaring.

“Please take your hand off me. I just want to leave,” Jude told him nicely.

“Not until you promise me that you’ll keep your brother in line and make sure he stays away from Pearl,” Damien demanded.

Jude vehemently shook his head. “I will do no such thing. I’m done playing brother’s keeper. What happens between Quinn and Pearl is their business. It’s not mine and it’s certainly not yours. Now, release me.” The anger he quelled earlier was slowly beginning to come to the surface again.

Damien only tightened his grip. “Quinn doesn’t deserve Pearl. You know first hand how he treated Megan,” he hissed, reminding Jude of Quinn’s ex-lover.

“I’m well aware of my brother’s relationship with Megan, but Pearl is different. He’s not the same person he was a year ago. The sooner you realize that, the better. Now, I’ve asked you twice, let go of me.” His eyes narrowed into tiny pools of blue.

“Damien, please let go of Jude. He wants to go home,” Rhiannon firmly instructed her son.

“He’s your friend son,” Caleb reminded him.

“He won’t be for much longer,” Damien threatened.

Jude finally had enough. He vowed he wasn’t going to become violent but he felt like he had no choice. He placed his hand on Damien’s chest and, unleashing his supernatural vampire strength, pushed him so hard that Damien flew into the air. Caleb and Rhiannon yelled out and scrambled to get out of the way. Damien slammed into the wall, which caused the entire house to shake as if an earthquake had hit. He slid down to the floor, extremely dazed and in pain but miraculously, still conscious.

A horrified Caleb and Rhiannon gawked at Jude, who stood in the center of the living room, huffing and puffing ferociously. They had never seen him like this before. They could only watch in utter shock as Jude stormed towards Damien, who by this time was standing and leaning against the wall, breathing heavily. He gazed at Jude and he could see the rage. He said nothing. He was completely stunned at the change in his friend’s personality.

Jude opened his mouth, revealing his fangs. He grabbed Damien by his shirt cuff and raised him off the floor. He hissed demonically at him. “I’m warning you, stop interfering in my brother’s life. Quinn is happy. He’s in love. And I’m not going to let you ruin it because of your self-righteousness. Pearl wants to be with Quinn. Deal with it. I told my father I had no qualms killing him…the same can easily happen to you if you don’t back off.”

Damien’s eyes widened in terror at Jude’s threat. “My God—Jude—I’m sorry,” was all he could manage to say.

The front door opened and Astrid Collins breezed in. “Hi everyone I’m home!” she cheerfully greeted. Then she stopped in her tracks upon seeing her brother. “Damien!” she hollered.

Jude let go of Damien and dropped him to the floor. He spun around and saw Astrid, who was startled by what she had just seen. “Jude! What in the hell do you think you’re doing?” she cried.

His eyes moved from Astrid to Rhiannon to Caleb. Finally the realization of what he had done begun to sink in, and he collapsed to the floor in a heap of tears. “Oh my God, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry! Please forgive me!”

Damien picked himself off the floor, straightening his white button-down shirt and blue jeans. He wrapped his hand around his throat and took deep breaths. Rhiannon and Caleb rushed to him. “Damien, are you okay?” his mother asked, grabbing his shoulders with both hands.

“I’m fine Mum.” He looked at Jude, who was still on the floor. His sister was down by his side, her right arm wrapped around him, trying to comfort him. “Jesus, I should have just kept my mouth shut.”

“I had no idea he was going to react like that,” Caleb said, his body a little shaky from the incident.

“He’s had so much to deal with—his mother in that hospital, trying to keep his brother stable, and now Christoph coming back. He’s bottled his emotions for so long, this was bound to happen,” Rhiannon mused, trying to rationalize Jude’s violent actions.

Damien went to Jude. “I’m sorry for turning on you and saying those things to you. I should have let you leave like you wanted, he apologized.”

Jude glanced at him through tear-stained eyes. “I told myself I wouldn’t lose control again, and I did.” He glanced down at his lap. “We’ve all been stressed these last few weeks.”

“Jude, are you going to be okay?” Astrid asked, very worried.

He nodded. “I just need time to cool off and get my head straight.” He got up from the floor, wiped his eyes and looked at Damien. “I hope there won’t be any hard feelings,” he began. “We’ve been friends for a long time, despite the hate you have for Quinn. I want to continue being your friend, but you must understand my brother comes first. I would expect you to have the same feelings if you were me.”

“I don’t envy you, that’s for sure,” Damien murmured. He extended his right hand towards Jude. “Truce?”

Jude attempted a half-hearted smile and took his hand, shaking it weakly. “Truce.” He turned towards Caleb and Rhiannon. “I’m sorry for what I did. I promise it won’t happen again.”

“Sometimes you just need to let it out. Carrying all that anger inside you isn’t healthy,” Rhiannon pointed out. “But next time, can you not let it out on my son?”

Jude’s face turned red. “I swear, there isn’t going to be a next time.” He nodded at Caleb. “I really have to get home. I think I’ve overstayed my welcome. Goodbye everyone.”

He turned and nearly ran towards the door to leave. Once he was gone, all three just stared at the entrance to their home.

“I’m going after him,” Astrid declared.

“No, don’t. He needs to be by himself,” Rhiannon insisted.

“I want to make sure he’s okay Mum,” Astrid countered. “I’ll be right back.” She raced out the door to meet up with Jude. She spotted him in the distance by some pine trees. “Jude!” she called out. “Wait up!”

Jude turned around after a few seconds. When he saw it was Astrid, he stopped. She ran up to him and he noticed the apprehension on her face. “What’s wrong?”

“I just want to make sure you’re okay. It’s not everyday you lose your temper.”

Jude let out a sarcastic chuckle. “Losing my temper is an understatement. “I could have killed your brother back there. I even told him I would if he didn’t stop bothering Quinn.”

“I know you’d never hurt Damien. I know he can be a real wanker sometimes,” she said, trying to lighten the mood.

Jude laughed, starting to feel better. “So can my brother, but I love him. It was just the two of us for many years. And now with my father back, I feel like I’m losing him again, and it’s so frustrating. I don’t want him to go back to what he was when he was with Megan. That’s why I’m open to this relationship with Pearl, even if it’s happening so fast. Maybe with Pearl being in the picture, things can get stable and both Quinn and my father will act normal.”

“I understand where you’re coming from, but Damien is hopelessly in love with Pearl. He even proposed marriage to her.” Astrid looked off at the trees for a moment. “We asked her to marry him you know…myself, Mum and Dad.”

Jude was a little taken aback. “When did this happen?”

“Last night. She refused of course, probably because she does have feelings for Quinn and doesn’t want to hurt Damien.” But now, I think we need to just let her sort out everything by herself and not pressure her.” She gazed pointedly at Jude. “Quinn should probably do the same.”

“I think finding a needle in a haystack would be easier,” Jude quipped.

The two laughed, and then Astrid shot a glance towards her house. “Well, I’m going to go back inside. It’s starting to get a little chilly out here, and I’m hungry.”

“Yeah, I need to eat too. Quinn is probably wondering where I’m at.” Jude smiled at Astrid. “Thank you for being so understanding. You’ve really made me feel better.”

Astrid threw her arms around him. “You’re welcome…anytime.” She released herself and playfully smacked him on the arm. “Now get going, before you decide to chuck a few pine trees at me.”

Jude laughed again. “Talk to you later.” He waved at her, and was soon on his way home. Astrid watched him for several seconds before she headed for her home. Man, it’s been a couple of crazy nights around here, and I don’t think things are going to settle down anytime soon, she thought to herself. How right she would be…

Coming up next:

  • Jude tells Quinn about his visit to the Collins house and his confrontation with Damien.
  • Quinn is touched at Jude’s support for him.
  • Josephine’s memory is fully restored and she escapes from the hospital, intent on killing Christoph; Jude gets a phone call that his mother has escaped and he wonders if she’s on her way to Haven.

Episode 4-5: Father Figure

Previously:

  •  Damien brought Pearl home from the hospital and again proposed marriage.
  • Pearl again turned down his proposal, fearing Quinn would go after him and his family.
  • Iva told Pearl and Damien Bridget Walsh was dead and she believed Christoph Nightshade killed her.
  • Astrid argued with Detective Morgan about the real cause of Bridget’s death.

Friday, November 1st
The Lawrence Farm, late afternoon

Pearl Tyler was on the front porch swing, gazing out at the countryside around her. The sun was starting to lower in the sky, which was a brilliant mixture of light blue and a rosy pink. A slight breeze had begun to blow but the weather was still mild.

Every now and then Pearl felt a gentle kick inside her stomach, which amused her. The baby was starting to get really active and she remembered her obstetrician at St. Mary’s telling her this was the time of the pregnancy when the baby would start moving more. She softly placed her hand on her stomach and smiled. “I might just have to sign you up for football lessons if this keeps up,” she joked.

She closed her eyes and sighed. It had been a long and trying day. First there was the news of Bridget Walsh’s death, and while Pearl was extremely relieved that her nemesis would no longer be around to terrorize her, a part of her did feel sorrow for Bridget’s parents. From all accounts, they were nice people. They didn’t deserve to lose a child in such a brutal manner. She wondered if they would believe Bridget was the victim of an animal attack. There was no way it would ever be revealed that the true cause of death was the result of a vampire—a vampire who just might be Quinn Nightshade’s father.

She thought about Quinn and she wondered if he had seen his father. After the police came to get a statement from her about last night’s fire earlier today, Damien Collins talked with her a little more in length about Christoph Nightshade. He relayed some of the stories that his other son Jude told about him…and none of them were good. He appeared to be a walking nightmare on two legs. But that was only based on Jude’s opinion. She felt Quinn had a different opinion about his father. He seemed to idolize him and she could sense the longing in his voice when he occasionally talked about him.

The sound of her cell phone ringing, which lay beside her, suddenly interrupted her thoughts. She picked it up and saw Quinn’s name and number on her screen. Speak of the devil, she said to herself. “Hello Quinn,” she casually answered.

“Hi sweetheart. How are you?” he affectionately inquired.

“I’m tired, but feeling fine. How about you?” she replied.

“Missing you like crazy. I’m sorry I didn’t come back to the hospital to see you and that I didn’t call earlier. But things were…well, a little insane at home.”

And if you found your father, I’m sure things were insane, Pearl silently thought, but she nonchalantly continued on with the conversation. “That’s okay. It’s been a sort of insane day for me too. Did the police come and question you about Bridget Walsh? You do know she’s dead don’t you?”

Quinn let out an evil little chuckle. “Oh, I know she’s dead. Good riddance to bad rubbish I say. She deserved it.” There was silence for a few moments after his harsh remark and Pearl wondered if he regretted it.

She didn’t have long to find out. “I know I shouldn’t have said that, but it’s the honest truth and I know you want me to be honest with you,” he explained.

“Yes, honesty is something that I truly appreciate,” Pearl agreed. “And as I might as well be honest, I’m very relieved she’s gone.  If she had discovered I survived her murder attempt, she would have come after me again, I’m sure of it. ”

“She made me look like a pussycat, now didn’t she sweetheart?” Quinn joked.

Pearl sighed. “Quinn, you have such a morbid sense of humor.”

He chuckled again. “It comes with being part vampire.”

Pearl cringed a little at that last word. She again wondered if he had reunited with his father, and again, it didn’t take her long to find out.

“Anyway, to answer you first question, the police did come to my house this morning. I had to tell them all the ugly details of my one night stand with Bridget and they wanted to know where I was when she was killed. They said the cause of death was an animal attack, but I really doubt that’s what happened,” Quinn answered.

“You don’t think she was killed by a wild animal?” Pearl asked, becoming a little worried.

“No…it was Halloween last night after all, and from time to time we do get some loonies that pass by here. Who’s to say one didn’t decide to make Bridget his treat for the evening, she resisted, and he killed her in a fit of rage, before moving on?”

Pearl pondered Quinn’s theory, which made sense. It fit in with one of Iva Lawrence’s guesses about what the police would determine it to be, but she couldn’t shake off Iva’s vision about Christoph Nightshade. It appeared as if Quinn hadn’t seen his father after all. She would soon be proven wrong.

“Let’s forget about Bridget Walsh. I have something very important and exciting to tell you,” Quinn said cheerfully.

Pearl began to worry again. She had a feeling she knew what he was going to say, but she stayed calm. “Really, what’s the good news?”

“My father is here. Isn’t that wonderful? After so many years apart, we’re finally together again and it’s going to be for good this time.”

“I’m sure you’re ecstatic to have him back,” Pearl replied, hoping Quinn didn’t hear the trepidation in her voice.

“You don’t know how much sweetheart. I told him about you,” Quinn happily said. “He wants to meet you.”

Pearl almost dropped the phone but she held her composure. “Quinn, I don’t think it’s a good idea. I’ve heard things about him and I don’t think it’s the right time.”

“You’ve only heard what Damien’s told you and he wouldn’t have a kind word to say about him because he hates me. He’s not the monster he and my brother makes him out to be. He won’t hurt you Pearl. He knows how much I love you.”

“Quinn, I’m scared,” Pearl confessed. “This is an actual vampire we’re talking about, not part human like you and your brother.”

“He won’t touch you Pearl, I swear,” Quinn insisted.

“How do you know that?” she shot back, her voice rising.

“I’m his flesh and blood Pearl, and he loves me. He wouldn’t hurt anybody that I love either.

“What about your mother?”

There was dead silence. Pearl knew she hit a nerve.

“I don’t love my mother,” Quinn spat coldly. “I hate her and I don’t want to talk about her.”

“I’m sorry,” Pearl apologized sincerely. “I think it’s time I go. Iva’s making supper and I’m getting hungry.”

“Wait Pearl,” Quinn spoke softly. “I’m sorry I talked to you like that. But I want you to come over tonight. I want you to meet my father—and you’ll get to meet Jude too. I know you want to see him.”

“Oh Quinn, why do you make things so difficult for me?” Pearl lamented. “If I say yes, you know how Iva and Gene and Sadie and Damien and his family will react. You put me between a rock and a hard place.”

“You don’t have to explain what you do to anyone. You’re a grown woman,” Quinn assured her.

“It’s just that I don’t want them worrying about me,” Pearl replied.

“Well, they need to stop worrying about you. My father is not going to harm you, and I know he’s going to love you just as much as I do. Will you come tonight? It doesn’t have to be for long. Please? Pretty please, with cream and sugar on top?”

Quinn’s playful pleading made Pearl laugh, and she felt a little bit easier. “Okay, I’ll come over and meet your father. But the minute he starts acting like Bela Lugosi, I’m out of there. Understand?”

“Oh my dear, I don’t think you have to worry about that at all,” Quinn promised. I’ll come and pick you up in an hour.

*********************************************

The Nightshade Home, minutes later

“I don’t think this is a good idea at all,” Jude Nightshade warned out loud to his brother. “I’m very uneasy about Pearl coming over with Father in the house.”

“Jude, nothing is going to happen. Stop being such a downer,” Quinn said with a little annoyance. “Do you really think I’m going to let our father hurt Pearl?”

“Of course not. It’s just you know how unpredictable he can be. If Pearl says or does the wrong thing, you know what he’s liable to do,” Jude replied, still on edge.

“Just exactly what am I liable to do?” Christoph Nightshade’s deep voice called out from the hallway. He grinned at both of his sons before stretching and yawning. He had just woken up from a long and refreshing slumber, and he was ready to face the evening ahead.

“Hello Daddy,” Quinn greeted him cheerfully. “Jude is a little unsure about Pearl coming over tonight to meet you.”

Christoph chuckled. “Jude doesn’t have to worry about anything. I would never hurt a woman that Quinn is crazy about, and the same goes for you too,” he answered reassuringly, looking in Jude’s doubtful direction.

Jude turned away from his father’s friendly gaze, still not confidant about tonight’s gathering. “I’m going to get some roast beef sandwiches ready. Father, I don’t know where you’re going to get your dinner, but next time, try a little bit harder to hide the body,” he retorted, speaking about Bridget Walsh. He stalked away towards the kitchen.

Christoph sighed as he watched him go. “I hope I really get through to him. I hate seeing him be so cold towards me. I know he has his reasons, but it can’t go on like this.”

Quinn came to put a comforting arm around him. “It will take time but he’ll come around. He’ll get used to having you here.” Then he frowned. “But Jude is right about one thing Father—how are you going to feed every night? If you start going in and out of town, people will get suspicious.”

“I’m just going to have to hunt animals in the woods. I won’t like it, but I’ll have to adapt. I’m not leaving you and Jude again, and now that you’ve found someone, I need to be here to support you.” Christoph smiled, trying to be hopeful, but his smile was a weak one. “Things will turn out for the best.”

He glanced down at his bare feet. “I should make myself presentable. I want to make a good impression on your Pearl,” he said brightly to Quinn. With a nod, he headed back down the hall towards his room.

And I should get ready as well, Quinn thought to himself. I want this night to be perfect. I just hope Jude is wrong and Father will behave himself around Pearl.

**********************************

The Lawrence Farm, 5:30 p.m.

“Pearl, please reconsider about going with Quinn tonight. After everything Damien and I have said, you shouldn’t be meeting with Christoph, especially in your condition,” Iva Lawrence pleaded as Pearl sat on the living room sofa waiting for Quinn to come and pick her up.

“Iva’s right. You need to be here and stay safe,” her husband Gene piped up.

“I know you’re worried about me, and I do appreciate your concern. But maybe it’s for the best I see Christoph Nightshade for myself, when both Quinn and Jude are there. That way, I’m in no real danger,” Pearl explained.

“I still don’t like this one bit. What if it’s a trick to get you into that house and then you’re held there against your will?” Iva asked fearfully.

“Iva, I sincerely doubt that’s going to happen, especially with Jude there. From what Quinn has told me about him, if Christoph were to come after me, he’d certainly stop him…and Quinn would too. Quinn is much too smart to have his father hurt me—he knows I would never speak to him again, and that’s the last thing he wants.” Pearl stood up and went to Iva, placing a comforting hand on her shoulder. “I’ll be okay. I have my cell phone with me.”

“Maybe I should follow you and Quinn to make sure you’re okay,” Gene suggested, joining the two women.

Pearl shook her head. “No, I want Quinn to know I trust him. And besides, I’m not a teenager. I can handle this.” She smiled at Gene. “Thank you for being concerned about me.” She gave him a gentle kiss on the cheek. “You two are wonderful, you know that?”

“I still don’t want you going over there,” Iva muttered.

“I’ll call you later, how about that?” Pearl said. “Just to let you know that I’m okay.”

The sound of a car horn beeping ended the conversation. Pearl smoothed her lilac colored peasant dress, another gift from Iva. “That’s Quinn.” She headed towards the door, then turned around to face Gene and Iva. “I’ll call you in a little bit, I promise. Don’t worry.” With a smile and a wave, she opened the door and was gone.  Iva raced to the window to watch her head down the front porch steps and meet Quinn in the driveway. She noticed he wasn’t in his black Corvette, but in Jude’s car instead.Waves of worry emulated through her body.

“I pray she’ll be all right,” Iva said to herself.

Gene joined her at the window and wrapped his arms protectively around his wife. “Just think positive thoughts my girl.”

Just then, Sadie Todd and Micah Johnson appeared in the living room. “Pearl’s going to meet Christoph for real,” Sadie remarked.

Her aunt and uncle turned around. “Yes, and I’m worried sick,” Iva replied, clasping her hands together tightly.

“Don’t worry, nothing is going to happen to her,” Micah predicted.

“Are you sure about that?” Gene inquired skeptically.

Micah nodded. “I can sense it. She’ll be right as rain.”

******************************

“You look so pretty this evening,” Quinn commented to Pearl as the two stood in the driveway. He leaned in to kiss her. Once he was done, he opened the passenger door for her and she got in. He closed the door and entered the driver’s side.

Pearl glanced around. “I have to admit, I’m disappointed I’m not riding in your Corvette. Is this your brother’s car?”

Quinn nodded. “I wanted you to be comfortable. It’s a tight squeeze getting in and out of my car.” He started the vehicle up and the sound of classical music could be heard on the radio. Quinn quickly switched it to a rock station.

“I take it you don’t like the classics?” Pearl asked him, chuckling.

“Not really. Jude and Father may have their differences but they both share a love for Beethoven and just about anything that has pianos and violins in it.” Quinn pulled out of the driveway and the two were on the road heading towards his house. Pearl tried to enjoy the countryside scenery but on the inside she was a bundle of nerves, and Quinn apparently sensed it.

“You don’t have to worry about my father Pearl. He’s going to take such a shine to you, I know it.”

She turned to face him. “I’m glad one of us is confident. Gene was so worried about me he was going to follow us out to your house.”

Quinn snorted. “Gene is acting like an unbearable, overprotective parent. He does  it with Sadie and now he’s doing it with you. Of course, Sadie is a different story, since she’s too nosy for her own good.”

Pearl shot him a stony glare. “Oh Quinn will you give it a rest and stop this feud with the Lawrences? They’re good people and they’re only trying to do what’s best. I don’t know why you all can’t just get along in this town. All this fighting and arguing is tiresome.”

“Pearl I’m sorry but I’m just sick of everyone thinking I don’t deserve to be with you and be happy. You know I wouldn’t hurt you or your baby. I only want to take care of you,” Quinn replied with a pout.

“I know, I know, but I just wish all this bickering would ease up. I don’t like people getting all in a tizzy over me,” Pearl explained. “It’s way too stressful.”

“We’re almost at my house,” Quinn remarked, deliberately changing the subject. He turned onto the road that faced Haven Lake. Soon, the two were driving through the woods, passing the Collins home. What little sunlight remained barely streamed through the thickness of the orange and gold colored trees.

Quinn then made a right into a driveway off the forest road. Pearl saw his Corvette parked off to the side and looked up at the house. It was a modest elongated brick rancher with white shutters on the windows. There were two manicured bushes on each side of the front door.

Well it doesn’t look like a haunted house so I guess I’ll be okay, Pearl thought to herself. “It’s quite lovely,” she said to Quinn out loud.

“Thank you.” Quinn parked the car beside the Corvette and got out. He went to the passenger side and opened up the door for Pearl. He took her hand as she got out and continued to hold it as he escorted her to the front door. The earlier nervousness within Pearl returned. It wouldn’t be long before she came face to face with Christoph Nightshade.

Quinn opened the door and led Pearl inside to the living room. “We’re here!” Quinn shouted.

Pearl took a look around. The living room was decorated tastefully but she could tell two men lived here. There weren’t a lot of knickknacks on the shelves, and no family pictures on the wall or in frames on the tops of the tables. There was a flat screen TV mounted on one of the walls, which was turned off.

Moments later, Jude walked in to the room. Pearl sized him up. He was about the same height as Quinn but a just a tad stockier. His reddish-brown hair was very close cut and he had more open facial features. He had gentle blue eyes and Pearl could tell right away he was friendly and approachable. She could also tell he was tense. Maybe like her, he was uneasy about this evening.

“Hello Pearl. It’s so nice to finally see you in person,” Jude warmly greeted her.

“Hello Jude,” Pearl answered, somewhat shyly.

He wrapped his arms around her in a platonic hug, and he could smell a faint scent of lavender. Once he was done, he gazed up and down at his guest. “You’re pretty,” he told her. She wasn’t sultry like Megan Manning but he could see why Quinn was enthralled with her. She had gorgeous red hair, which was done up into a loose bun, and a few tendrils gently hung on the side of her face. And while she was prominently pregnant, her curves were still noticeable. She also had a nice smile.

“I hope you don’t mind Pearl, but I’m having leftover roast beef for dinner,” Jude said.

“That’s just fine. I’m not picky,” she politely replied.

Quinn stood behind Pearl and began to massage her shoulders. He could feel the tightness in them. “Just relax sweetheart. Everything is going to be fine,” he whispered to her.

Before she could reply, Christoph Nightshade made his grand entrance into the living room. He immediately fixed in on Pearl, walking towards her. Quinn, still rubbing her shoulders, felt her tense up.

“Good evening Pearl,” Christoph greeted her suavely. He gently took her right hand and kissed the top of it. “It’s nice to meet you.”

“Thank you,” Pearl answered quietly. Her stomach was filled with what felt like a million butterflies, waiting to burst out and fly away to freedom. But she managed to keep calm. “Quinn has told me about you.”

“Why don’t we sit on the sofa and get better acquainted?” he suggested.

“And while you two do that, Jude and I will get dinner ready,” Quinn said. He ushered his brother into the kitchen and once they were in the room, Quinn peeked his head out from behind the wall. He wanted Pearl to have privacy with her father but at the same time, he was extremely curious to see what would happen.

Pearl and Christoph were on the sofa. The vampire sensed Pearl’s nervousness and again took her hand. “Please don’t be frightened of me. I won’t hurt you,” he assured her.

Pearl looked at him. He was tall, very handsome, with short dark blond hair and penetrating blue eyes. He was dressed in a long black sleeve button down shirt, which was unbuttoned slightly to show some of his chest. He had on a black belt with a silver buckle, black pants, and black loafers which were polished to perfection. She also noticed a silver ring on his right ring finger with the initials CAN engraved on them. She knew the C stood for Christoph and the N for Nightshade, but could only guess what A was for.

Christoph saw her inspecting his ring and smiled. “It’s pure silver, made for me by an old friend. Those are my initials—Christoph Avery Nightshade. Avery was the maiden name of my mother before she married my father.”

“How long have you been…” Pearl said, but trailed off. She still couldn’t believe she was talking to a full-fledged vampire.

“You mean how long have I been a vampire? Well, I was born in 1922 and in 1965, that’s when I was turned. So I was forty-three, which is a pretty unusual age to be turned,” he answered her matter-of-factly.

“I can’t believe it—you’re almost ninety,” Pearl remarked.

“Being a vampire does have its rewards,” Christoph bragged, and smiled again—this time revealing his long, pointy fangs. Pearl gasped slightly. She had seen Quinn’s fangs and had gotten used to them, but now they weren’t menacing anymore. His father on the other hand, was a completely different story.

Christoph chuckled and closed his mouth. When he opened it again to talk, his teeth were normal. “That’s something you’ll have to get used to if you’re going to be a part of this family love.”

“Part of this family? Oh Mr. Nightshade, I don’t think Quinn has really told you about our relationship. It’s a bit unusual, but you see-” Pearl began, before Christoph interrupted her.

“I am well aware that you and Quinn aren’t fully a couple yet, but I’m sure that will change very soon, and please, call me Christoph,” he replied. “You’re going to have a child shortly and you can’t be alone.”

Pearl gazed down at her stomach. She rubbed it and frowned. “Quinn and I have only known each other for about three weeks and our first meeting wasn’t exactly that romantic,” she quipped dryly.

“Yes, I know he found you and kept you hostage for a time, but he’s changed since then, hasn’t he? He loves you very much and he needs a mate that will love him back and want to be with him forever. I want you to be that mate Pearl,” Christoph firmly told her.

Pearl turned away for a moment and then went back to face Christoph, her fears dissolving like snow on a warm spring day. “I know you want Quinn to be happy Christoph. But it’s only been a few weeks since I’ve known him and I’m recuperating from a very nasty divorce and trying to make the best of having to stay here until my daughter is born. I’ve had so much happen to me in such a short time, it hasn’t been easy trying to cope and stay normal as possible—especially with vampires and werewolves in the mix. My mind still hasn’t grasped the idea that creatures like you really exist. Please try to understand.” Tears began to form in her green eyes.

Christoph took her hand again and this time he began to caress it with his fingers in a circular motion. “I’m sorry Pearl. I didn’t mean to upset you. It’s just that I’ve been forced to stay away from Quinn and Jude for such a long time. Now that I’m back, I want to make sure they are happy. You should have seen Quinn when he told me about you this morning. All he wants is to be with you, take care of you and protect you.”

“I know he does.” Pearl wiped her moist eyes. She rubbed her stomach again and decided to change the subject, and she knew exactly what she wanted to talk about. She hoped this discussion would go smoothly.

“Christoph,” she casually began, did Quinn mention a woman named Bridget Walsh?”

He frowned in thought for a few seconds, then shook his head. “No he didn’t. Why do you ask?”

“She was murdered last night. The police think it was an animal attack but she had two puncture wounds on her neck. Did you kill her?” Pearl asked him point blank.

Christoph didn’t answer right away as the flashbacks of his attack on Bridget played out in front of his eyes. Pearl studied his reaction intensely and she knew she had her answer. “You did kill her, didn’t you?”

He slowly nodded. “She claimed to have slept with my son and she pulled a knife on me. She was an unstable young woman. But how do you know her?”

Pearl glanced down on the floor, then her swollen stomach, and back at Christoph. “She tried to kill me last night. She trapped me inside a stable at the Lawrence Farm and set it on fire. But Quinn found me and rescued me. I’m guessing she was trying to leave town when she met you.”

Christoph frowned again. “She tried to kill you? But why?”

Pearl quickly explained the events that led up to her near death at the hands of the severely disturbed deceased woman. When she was finished, Christoph was both surprised and displeased. “I can’t believe Quinn would sleep with someone like that. Still, at least she’s dead, thanks to me, and isn’t going to come between you two anymore. You and my son will be together and I’m going to make sure of that.  You’re a sweet woman and I know you will make him very happy.” He leaned in and kissed her on the cheek. Pearl smiled weakly. She was relieved that Christoph had taken such a shine to her…but at the same time she was also frightened and wondered what just might happen if Quinn were to become unhappy. She tried to put it out of her mind.

***********************************

Meanwhile, Quinn and Jude were sitting at the kitchen table. Jude was drinking a glass of water while Quinn was sipping a glass of red wine. “I guess Pearl and Father hit it off,” Jude said. “That’s a good thing.”

“I knew he’d come to love her. She’s the sweetest person in the world,” Quinn responded, with an I-told-you-so tone to his voice.

Jude got up and stretched. “Well, it looks like dinner is going to be delayed and I don’t want to start without Pearl. I think I’m going to take a short walk. I’m starting to get a little restless. I’ll be back.”

“Have a nice stroll,” Quinn said to him as he left through the back door and out into the night. He also stood up and went to take another peek into the living room. Pearl and Christoph were still on the couch talking. He noticed his father was holding her right hand and at one point, gave it a squeeze. He actually felt a tinge of jealousy but pushed it away. His father was just being friendly and trying to make Pearl feel comfortable.

Pearl just happened to glance up and notice Quinn. She smiled and gently pulled her hand away from Christoph, who turned his head and also smiled when he saw his son. The two stood up as Quinn came to greet them.

“You are one lucky man to have found this lovely lady,” Christoph gushed to him.

“Believe me Father, I know,” Quinn said. He took Pearl into his arms and held her tightly. “She’s the best thing that ever happened to me.” Pearl’s face reddened. She wasn’t used to being fawned over.

She pulled away from Quinn. “I don’t know about you but I’m starving. Is dinner ready?”

“Uh, not quite. Jude got tired of waiting for you two so he went for a walk. He’ll be back. But if you’re hungry, get something to eat sweetheart. You need to so you’ll have your strength.” He patted her stomach affectionately.

“Jude won’t mind?” Pearl asked. “I hate to be rude.”

“It’ll be okay. I’ll tell him you weren’t able to wait,” Quinn reassured her. He led her into the kitchen. Christoph watched the two go and a look of fierce determination spread across his face.

“Nothing—or no one—is going to stop you two from being together. I will make sure of that,” he vowed.

***********************************

The woods

It was completely dark now, except for the silvery sliver of the crescent moon that hung in the sky and a few stars. The temperature had dropped a little but it was still comfortable. Jude peacefully strolled through the forest. Now that his father was back in his life, he would probably take more of these walks to keep him sane. He couldn’t have another episode of lashing out. He kept his vampire side controlled for too long and he wasn’t about to let his father to get to him the way he did earlier this morning.

It wasn’t long before his walk led him to a very familiar place. He stopped as he approached the Collins home. He could see lights on so somebody was home. He decided to pay the family a visit. He wondered if Caleb, Rhiannon, Astrid and Damien knew that his father was in Haven and if not, he would tell them. He needed to talk to somebody about his feelings to other than Quinn. He started to anxiously head towards the front porch. It wasn’t long before he knocking on the door. Moments later it opened. Jude watched as Rhiannon Collins met him with a mixture of surprise and happiness. “Jude!” she exclaimed. “What brings you here tonight?”

“I was out for walk and ended up here, he said, almost sheepishly. “Is it okay if I come in? I have something very important to tell you…”

Coming up next…a quasi-special episode devoted to Jude Nightshade.

  • Jude tells the Collins family his father is back and that he killed Bridget.
  • Damien tells Jude to get Quinn to leave Pearl alone; Jude blasts Damien and takes up for his brother, his anger revealing his vampire nature again.
  • Astrid comforts Jude, who is ashamed over his behavior.
  • Damien, Caleb and Rhiannon are surprised over Jude’s sudden forcefulness.

Episode 4-4: The V Word

Previously:

  • Quinn reunited with his father Christoph ; he told his father about Pearl and his rivalry with Damien.
  • Christoph vowed to help Quinn win Pearl and said he wanted to meet her.
  • Damien tried to convince Pearl that Quinn is bad news but she didn’t want to hear his argument.

The Lawrence Farm, 8 am

Damien Collins watched as Pearl Tyler began to stir from her sleep. As she opened her eyes, he gently brushed away strands of red hair from her face. She  looked over at him.

“You’re still here,” she said sleepily.

“Of course. Did you think I was going to leave you? We haven’t been alone like this for a while and I’m definitely taking advantage of it.” Damien grinned boyishly and Pearl couldn’t help but laugh.

He leaned in and kissed her, continuing to stroke her hair. When he was done, he sighed and leaned back on the bed. “It can always be like this you know Red.”

Pearl sat up and straightened her nightgown, which had gotten twisted. “And all I have to do is marry you, right?” She shot him a knowing glance.

“You know that’s what I want, more than anything,” Damien replied soberly.

Pearl slowly eased herself off the bed and walked over to the window. It was shaping up to be another mild and lovely fall day. She suddenly realized it was the first of November. She gazed down at her swollen stomach. Just three more months until her daughter’s arrival. Three more months she would be stuck in Haven. Could she keep turning down Damien’s offer of marriage for that long?

Then Quinn’s face popped into her mind and she knew the answer. She turned to him. “I can’t marry you Damien. I wish you would stop asking me.”

He joined her at the window. “There is no way in hell I’m going to let Quinn get to you Pearl. Despite what you may believe he is still dangerous.”

Pearl looked at him with flashing green eyes. “Have you ever thought about how Quinn would react if I accepted your proposal? He would be furious and he would try and get revenge. I don’t want him hurting you or your family. I think it’s best if we just remained friends.”

My family and I can handle Quinn. Don’t worry about him. He’ll just have to get over it,” Damien replied defiantly.

“I’m not marrying you Damien. I have to focus on my daughter,” Pearl said, just as defiant.

“I’m focusing on your daughter too, by wanting to marry you. I can protect her and take care of her,” he insisted.

Pearl shook her head adamantly. “I’m sure you’d be wonderful to her, but I’ve only been divorced for five months. The last thing I need right now is to get married again, especially to a man I hardly know—a man that’s a werewolf to boot.”  She stared at Damien, trying to gauge his reaction.

He pressed his head to the window and sighed. “And if I wasn’t a werewolf?”

“I would still have the same reaction. It’s way too soon for me to get married again. ” Pearl softly rubbed his back. “Damien, you know I enjoy spending time with you. But it can’t be romantic time. Please try to understand.”

He moved from the window and swept her up into his arms. ” I want to take you away. Maybe if we weren’t in Haven things would be a lot different.”

Pearl shook her head again. “It wouldn’t work Damien, not with you being what you are. You need to be in a place that’s isolated so others won’t find out about you and try to hunt you down. ” She peered into his dark brown eyes. “Besides, your family would miss you something awful.”

“You don’t know how lonely I am Pearl. Living out here in the middle of nowhere can be so maddening and frustrating. Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve had someone? After I met you, I thought finally, things would change and I wouldn’t be alone anymore. But the more things change, the more they stay the same.” He buried his face in her hair.

Pearl said nothing. All she could do was allow him to hold her. She couldn’t even begin to comprehend the lonely existence Damien had to endure.

Suddenly the bedroom door opened. Iva Lawrence stood in the doorway and upon seeing Pearl and Damien in their embrace, her face reddened. She didn’t want to break up their moment together but she had important news and she knew the two would want to know.

“I’m sorry to interrupt, but there’s something urgent I need to tell you,” she announced.

Pearl and Damien quickly broke away from each other and looked at Iva. “What is it?” Pearl asked, becoming worried.

She cast a glance towards Damien.”I’ve just spoken with Rhiannon. Your sister found Bridget Walsh’s body near Haven Pond last night and the police are at your house.”

********************************************

The Collins home

“Miss Collins, I’m not going to entertain any more of your fantastical delusions,” Detective Jim Morgan admonished Astrid. “Bridget Walsh was not bitten and killed by a vampire. There are no such things as vampires.”

Astrid folded her arms against her chest and glared at the investigator. “Then how do you explain the two puncture wounds on her throat?” she challenged.

“Simple…an animal attack,” Detective Morgan responded matter-of-factly.

“No animal would make two clean holes like that,” Astrid argued. “It was a vampire, plain and simple.”

“Or someone who fancies himself or herself a vampire Miss Collins. Last night was Halloween. Ms. Walsh could have fallen prey to a Dracula wannabe,” Morgan replied calmly but irritably.

Astrid sighed in defeat. “Okay, I can buy that.” Even though I know that’s not the case, she silently rebutted.

“Good,” the detective said, somewhat condescendingly. “But the cause of death will be labeled as an animal attack.”

Astrid snorted. “I hate to be rude, but no one is going to buy that theory Detective.”

“They’re going to have to buy it. I’m not jeopardizing fourteen years on the job to say Ms. Walsh fell prey to a creature from the legends of some very imaginative writers. I’m more concerned with real-life monsters.”

Obviously you haven’t spent enough time in Haven, Astrid retorted to herself. But she just smiled at him. “Of course Detective. You do what you have to do. I’m just glad she’s not going to be causing any more terror for my friend. Anyone who would try to kill a pregnant woman in the manner she did has a very sick mind.”

Detective Morgan nodded. “On that Miss Collins, I agree.” He gave a curt nod. “Well, I must go back to the lake. Hopefully we should be wrapping things up there soon. I will be paying a visit to Pearl Tyler and your brother this afternoon to get statements, as well as the man who rescued Mrs. Tyler. What was his name again? ”

“Nightshade. Quinn Nightshade,” Astrid said.

“Yes. How could I forget a name like that? It’s the same last name as a character in one of my favorite books—Something Wicked This Way Comes,” Detective Morgan mused.

“Very appropriate for what’s been going on around here,” Astrid couldn’t help but remark.

The detective nodded. “Very appropriate indeed.” He held out his hand. “Thank you for your help Miss Collins. I’m sorry you were the one to find Ms. Walsh’s body.”

Astrid shook his hand. “It’s okay. And I’m sorry for acting so silly moments ago.”

“It’s quite all right. Chalk it up to the spirit of Halloween,” Detective Morgan said. “Goodbye Miss Collins.”

“Goodbye Detective.” Astrid watched him leave through the front door. Once he was gone, she placed her hands on her hips and stomped the floor with her left foot. “Coppers can be so daft I swear!” she exclaimed. Bridget was killed by a vampire, I don’t care what he says. But who was it?”

***************************************

The Lawrence Farm

“Oh my God,” Pearl murmured in surprise after hearing about Astrid finding Bridget’s body. “And she’s sure that there were two puncture holes on her neck?”

Iva nodded grimly. “Astrid saw them as plain as day. The police I’m sure won’t believe that Bridget was killed by a vampire. They’ll rule it as either an animal bite or some vampire wannabe, bet on it.”

“But who could have done it?” Pearl wondered aloud. “It couldn’t have been Quinn, he was at the hospital visiting me during that time. And what you’ve said about his brother Jude, he probably didn’t do it either.” Her face blanched. “That means there’s another vampire loose around here.” She sat in the rocking chair next to her bed. “We’ve all got to be on our guard.”

Damien, who was sitting on the bed, reached out and took her hand in a gesture of comfort. “Don’t worry Red. I’ll protect you.”

Iva frowned, her forehead wrinkling in thought. Then it came to her, and she began to feel dread possess her body. “Oh God, I think I know who this other vampire is!”

“Who is it?” Damien asked, becoming fearful.

“Christoph Nightshade,” she answered flatly.

“Quinn and Jude’s father?” Damien was in disbelief. “But he’s been gone away for years!”

“Quinn has mentioned him to me and from what he’s said, he’s not someone you’d want to cross,” Pearl added, rubbing her stomach.

“Both Micah and I have had visions of him. We were sure he was coming back to Haven…and now that may be the case,” Iva explained.

“How would he have known who Bridget was?” Damien inquired. “Could he have met up with Quinn and he told him?”

“No, I don’t think Quinn’s seen him. He would have told me last night,” Pearl said. “Maybe he met her while coming into town and it was just a random attack.”

“No matter how they met, what matters is that Christoph is here and you need to keep away from him Pearl. I sense his thirst for blood is even more stronger than Quinn’s,” Iva chillingly predicted.

“Do you really think he would hurt me? Once he and Quinn get together, Quinn is sure to tell him about me. I don’t think he would come after someone his son has feelings for,” Pearl pointed out.

“That didn’t stop him from coming after Quinn’s mother Josephine…whom he claimed to love,” Damien countered. “I don’t think Christoph cares who you are as long as he gets what he wants.” He looked at Pearl knowingly. “Like father like son.”

“Damien is right Pearl. Jude has told all of us the horror he witnessed when Christoph tried to take he and Quinn away from Josie when they fled England to escape him. He’s not a force you in your condition should try to reckon with,” Iva told her, her voice very serious.

Pearl looked past Iva out the bedroom window. The sun was shining brightly and the sky was a brilliant shade of blue, with occasional clouds floating past. It was hard to believe that somewhere on this beautiful day, a predator even deadlier than the Collins family of werewolves and the half-human, half-vampire Nightshade brothers was watching and waiting to strike as soon as the sun went down…

Coming up next :

  • Despite Gene and Iva’s protests, Pearl goes with Quinn to his home to meet Jude—and their father, who takes an instant liking to her.
  • Christoph admits to Pearl he killed Bridget.
  • Christoph tells Pearl he wants her to be Quinn’s mate.
  • Jude takes a walk and ends up at the Collins home.