- 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.