- 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
“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.
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.
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.
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.