Bloodlines – Epilogue
Gabrielle glances up from her reading. “Jess, please, can you sit down? You`re making Stitch nervous.”
The river ghoul yells at the redhead from his wading pool in front of the fireplace.
The witch stalks back from the open door to the library. “He said he`d be here at eight,” Jessica grumbles, dropping down in the chair across from Gabby`s, her palms slightly damp believe it or not.
“It`s snowing, maybe he had to drive slower,” Gabby says, folding the lengthy missive in half than handing it to Jessica. “Read that, it`ll take your mind off your guy troubles.”
“It`s not troubles, I`m just concerned. He seemed kind of distant the last time I talked to him,” Jess frowns, shaking the letter from the Vatican open. “Wow, this looks like a lot of rhetoric. You know I break out when confronted with Papal blah-blah-blah. Can you just tell me what it says?”
“Okay,” the hunter smiles leaning back in Opa`s soft chair. This was her favorite place in Dawn Touch now. Well, perhaps her second she amends. “Basically what it says is that the Pope wishes the Van Helsing family to return to serving the church. It seems they`re rather nervous about my being a free agent,” Gabby runs her hands over the arms of the chair unconsciously.
“Well they have the freak working for them, why do they need you?” Jessica asks, pushing to her spanky little red boots. She walks to the hearth with the letter in her hand then glances at Gabby with questioning green eyes. Ms. Van Helsing nods and the latest of many flowery letters ignites.
“According to them Damien is no longer a member of the church. They are grievously sorry for the actions perpetrated by Bishop Wikowski and his newly reformed Templars, which, they are quick to point out they knew nothing of and are now disbanded. Their platitudes and apologies are too little too late. From now on, I hunt for the good of the Others, not the good of the Church. All the apologies in the world won`t bring Opa back. He died because of the intolerance of the Church and their hatred for those who are different,” Gabby sighs, suddenly bone weary. She wishes Kane would return. The nights were long and cold now and his arms around her were the only things to keep the nightmares at bay. Funny how sleeping with a lycan makes her feel safer than any dogma her former religion can offer.
“Someday you`ll find the freak,” Jessica says, appearing beside Gabby`s chair. Gabrielle nods. A warm hand lands on her neck and begins rubbing. Then the large brass knocker impacts the heavy doors of the castle. “Oh shit, that must be him! Do I look okay?”
Gabby smiles and rises. She gives her best buddy a fast once over. “You look super,” she tells her honestly. Still they were polar opposites in clothes. Gabby is in black jeans and a thick blue sweater that belongs to a certain British professor, and Jess wore a pink crop top, black skirt that barely covers her rump, and her red cowboy boots. “Are you sure about this?” she asks one more time, jogging out into the drafty corridor in pursuit of her partner. “Kane will be home at any minute and more than likely he`ll have Shaun at his side.”
“It`s cool, trust me! This guy won`t be scared of a wolf. I know for a fact he has seen weirder shit than a lycan or two,” Jessica tugs heartily on the massive door.
Wind and snow rush in, whipping Gabrielle`s long dark hair from her face even ten feet back. Gabby leans on the banister, her arms folded over her breasts. Jessica has thrown herself into the arms of the man she has waited months to see. Gabby is grateful for Jess`s patience. She doubts she could have handled a visitor before now. Opa`s death and the subsequent months of mourning then having Kane and Shaun moving in had been all her heart could bear. Hearing the young man`s distinct, yet very noticeably different, British accent makes her eager for Dominick`s return from his hunt.
“Come on in! Man, you are a sight for sore eyes. You did something different with your hair!” Jessica bubbles, dragging a tall man with a floppy strip of red hair inside. Gabby inhales sharply when she senses the lycans nearing. Since she and Kane had become lovers her intuition about him had intensified. “Gabby, this is Chadwick Valentine, the guy I told you about?”
“It`s a pleasure to finally meet you, Mr. Valentine,” Gabby steps forward to take his hand. He flashes a smile that is charming and very disarming. He does seem a good sort for Jess with his punky clothes, eyebrow piercings, and aura of mischief.
“Right, the Van Helsing. Pleasures all mine. I`ve heard about you,” Chadwick states, cupping Gabby`s hand in a brotherly manner that helps relax her. Then she spies the ebony wolf padding in the open door. She stiffens slightly. Chadwick, to his credit, turns slowly and meets those unfriendly sky blue eyes. “And this would be the boyfriend,” the Brit drops Gabby`s hand instantly. The lycan snorts.
An odd sort of moment passes where the lycan seems to detect something about the stranger that puts him at ease.
Another wolf barrels inside, skidding dangerously across the wet stone floor. The black wolf snaps at the sandy one as if to reprimand him from his tomfoolery.
“Please, make yourself at home Mr. Valentine. Jess has some tea and baked goods in the library. I`m turning in for the night,” Gabrielle smiles then begins to climb the stairs. “Heel, boy,” she calls over her shoulder. Chadwick and Jessica step aside for the alpha as he falls into step beside his mate, nipping at her backside as they head to bed. Squeals erupt before the two reach the tower bedroom they now share.
“Looks like someone`s been neutered,” Jess calls up the steps. A thunderous growl bounces off the cold stone walls. “He`s so whipped. It`s funny. Hey Scot, you`re dripping on the foyer. Go find somewhere to dry off. And not my bed asscake!” she tacks on when the snow-covered blond wolf bounds up the stairs. “So, you think a cup of tea sounds good?”
“Tea sound bloody awesome,” CW states enthusiastically. “I about froze me stones off on the drive up here.”
They enter the library. True to her word Jessica motions CW to Martin`s seat then pulls a silver rolling tray out. After the tea is poured and sugared to their satisfaction, Jessica drops down into her chair. Chadwick scratches Stitch behind his pointed ear as if the creature were a poodle.
“You look different,” she blows across her Earl Grey. Green eyes meet green eyes.
“New hair,” Chadwick states offhandedly, sipping his tea with proper British appreciation.
“No,” Jess tips her head to the right, “It`s more than the flaccid hawk. You look thicker, bigger. There`s also something different about you….like your aura has changed somehow.”
Chadwick glances down at his tea then back at Jessica. “Someone once told me my aura was pink. I didn`t want to believe that. You know, in auras and all that sort of shit. Then I took a trip with a couple blokes that changed me way of thinking. Saw things I didn`t think existed. Met a witch,” he add with a wink.
“Yeah, well, your blokes aren`t ordinary guys, you know? You move in those kind of mythical circles you`re bound to see the fey,” Jessica lowers her cup to the saucer balanced precariously on her knee. “I really missed you.”
“We did strike it off, didn`t we? I thought at one time that you and me….,” he throws a shoulder into the air, “Well, I thought a lot of things at one time. Jess, you know I`m right fond of you. I think you`re smart and sexy and fun and….”
“You`re seeing someone, aren`t you?”
“Yeah, I am.” Chadwick exhales, the breath rippling his tea strongly. A green log snaps in the fireplace. “Jessica, I guess I should have told you when we talked last but I wanted to do this in person. Only a flecking bellend breaks it off with a bird on the phone.”
“No, hey, it`s okay!” Jess quickly pulls herself together. “I mean, it`s not like we ever had any claims on each other, right? And it was just one kiss like a million years ago. Pfft! I`m so good with it! I am!” she insists when his green eyes narrow in disbelief. “I`m happy for you and her. How did you meet?”
“Some bloke is going to be a very lucky man when he grabs you up, “Chadwick tells her earnestly. He had thought at one time that it would be him snapping the zesty ginger witch up. Funny how life turns things around though he concedes. The Fates, as his buddy Alex would say, were vicious and vindictive bitches that like nothing better than fucking up a man`s life. He don`t know if he sees it that way precisely but he was in love, Deimos had his happy family, and Alex….well, Alex….
“Sorry, I drifted. Me mind goes soft at times. I guess I need to go back to the beginning and start there. That way when Rhezianna comes into the tale you`ll understand a bit better. It all started when I was headed over to me mate D`s place to see the new addition to the family….”
Oh my, is that a segue or is that a segue?
Yep, there is a tale to tell. A tale of mythical people, fey, magic, love, moonlight, goddesses, action, adventure, rock and roll, and a savior bound in ancient lore.
That sounds like the perfect sort of story for our favorite Brit, doesn`t it? I thought so too. That`s why when my daughter came to me with this wonderful idea and outline, I was more than pleased to write the tale she simply couldn`t find time to pen.
I hope to see you when Graced by the Moon premieres soon.
Thank you all for reading along and commenting. Your words and thoughts mean the world to me. I do hope you enjoyed meeting Gabrielle and Dominick and fell in love with their love just as I did.
Yours in fiction-