"Miss, this is far as I can go, don't want to get stuck." The driver said as he pulled to a stop in front of the snow covered drive.
I smiled at him, it was best that I walked the rest of the way. I needed the time to compose myself. "This will be fine, thank you. How much was the fare?" The cab driver gave me the total and I pulled the required Canadian bills from my purse along with a nice tip. It had been a long drive from the airport on a cold nasty day. As he turned to face me I handed him the cash and let green bleed into my eyes. "You don't remember where you dropped me off," I instructed as soon as his eyes glazed over. "You only remember driving your fare to a hotel. Repeat it."
Once he'd repeated the instructions, I climbed out of the cab and pulled the black veil of my hat down to cover my face. As soon as I'd shut the door, the driver turned and headed back to the city. Normally it wouldn't have mattered, but with Patra trying to kill Mencheres and succeeding in killing... No I couldn't think of that, I refused to be a teary eyed mess when I met her for the first time. The Her I was to meet was the new head of the line. The half-breed. Crispin's wife.
I shook my head, no I wasn't going to think about him. I'd been the fool. I'd let human fears keep me from meeting him for over two hundred years. Annette had told me that I would one day regret not meeting him. The saying mother knows best rang though my head. While she wasn't my real mother, that was Elizabeth, a poor sweet woman that had allowed the new Madam to throw me out of the house at the tender age of nine. I'd lucked into meeting Annette a year later, she'd taken me in and raised me to be her maid and when I'd turned twenty-nine, she became my sire or as I thought of her my other mother. Now here I was, trudging up the drive to Mencheres' Canadian home to swear my allegiance to Cat.
I followed a curve and as it straightened the house stood before me. I could feel the energy of all the vampires within it. Annette's steady moderate level power was there, it was as familiar to me as London in the spring. The shock playing along my subconscious let me know she knew I was here and on her way to greet me. I continued my slow walk, the cold didn't affect me. Even if I'd still been human I don't think it would have I was numb from the call I'd received was it just yesterday morning from her?
As I neared the house I began to hear faint traces of conversation.
"Trey is here." Annette, sounding nervous.
"... didn't you... do you think..." Gorgon sounding worried.
Why would they be worried? I truly didn't even have to come and swear allegiance but I wanted to. I wanted to stand at Cat's side as she killed the bitch that had dared harm him while I held her down. A dark chuckle escaped me, Annette often said I was vicious and I couldn't deny that to a degree I was. The streets of London circa 1799 were not the friendliest of places for a young girl, but I'd learned to fight dirty on them.
If only I'd learned to not fear things as well. It was my fear that had kept me away from him. Fear that he would be angry at my mother Elizabeth. Though there would have been no reason for it. I was conceived the night before he got picked up by a bobby and she hadn't known I was coming along till well after he'd been shipped off to New South Wales. I'd just turned nineteen when he returned from there. I had heard the thump of a body tossed against a wall and then his voice telling Abbot to not make a sound. Even a hundred years later, knowing the violence that was part of the vampire world, I'd still been an afraid little child. Now, when I'd finally been ready to meet the man that was my father I'd lost the chance forever. I wouldn't make that mistake with his wife.
As I reached the door and raised my hand to knock, it opened, Annette stood there. She tried to grab my arm and stop me from entering, but I saw crimson red hair and stepped around her. In moments I was in front of the woman and kneeling. I heard her gasp and then a voice I'd thought to never hear again.
"What the bloody hell is going on? And who is this?"
I turned my head and there he was. My father. The man up to a second ago I thought I'd never meet. I froze unable to move or speak. Thank God I didn't have to breathe.
"Crispin," Annette's voice filled the silence. "Give me a moment with her and then I'll explain. Trey? Come dear, I know this is a shock but let's get you cleaned up and fed while I explain."
I couldn't do more than nod and move to her side then follow her down into the basement. As soon as the door shut behind us I shook my head. "How? You said he was dead!"
She nodded, "And I truly believed he was. He arrived right before dawn. I did try to call but..."
"I was on a flight and had my cellular turned off." Oh dear lord, the hours of self-recriminations hadn't been necessary. But they had brought me here and I finally had the chance to correct two hundred years of cowardice. "Let me feed and I'll be up in a moment. I think I should be the one to tell him. He is still getting over his anger at you for almost driving Cat away. No reason to add to it for my foolishness." She nodded and walked away, not going upstairs but of toward the new vampire holding cells.
Twenty minutes later, fed, my face washed and my hair brushed I went back upstairs. The sight in the room they waited in almost made me laugh. Mencheres stood at one door and Gorgon at another blocking the exits while my father paced between them glaring at each in turn. Apparently they had agreed that I was the one to tell him who I was.
His back had been turned when I walked around Mencheres and into the room. He spun and faced me, his jaw tight. "Who are you?"
I smiled. "My name is Trey and ..." Oh dear Lord, how did someone say this?
"Trey," his wife said my name and I turned to face her. She studied my face then looked to him. A few more glances back and forth and she sighed. "Your name, why did you choose it?"
"For my father." I told her. "His name was Crispin Phillip Arthur Russell the third. I chose to be called Trey."
"Bollocks! I don't have any children."
"That you know of," I said softly looking at him. "My mother's name was Elizabeth. You were with her the night before you picked a pocket in front of a policeman and were sentenced to hang but instead, thanks to Annette's intervention, sent to New South Wales. I was born nine months later." He started to shake his head and I could feel the anger rolling off him. "She didn't know until after you were shipped off she was expecting me and even then she thought I might be one of her regulars offspring. Not till I was born did she realize who my father truly was."
"Bones." His wife said moving to his side. "Look at her. Really look at her. She's you only feminine."
I stood meeting the brown eyes as deep as my own letting him look. Waiting for him to accept or reject me. Again the word fool danced through my mind. After several minutes passed, he nodded. "Leave us. I need to speak with her alone." Everyone turned to leave, even his wife. "No, Kitten you stay."
The next few hours was not a welcome to the family. I've been interrogated with less derision. But I'd brought this on myself and was woman enough to accept that. Even Cat asked pointed questions. Some were uncomfortable and at one point Crispin called for Annette. Annette told him her side of my tale and how I'd forbidden Ian, Mencheres and her telling him that I existed by demanding they make a blood oath on it. Finally he began to believe, or at least accept the possibility.
"Why did you come now?" He asked.
"To swear my allegiance to Cat." I answered truthfully.
"To offer to hold Patra down while Cat staked her," if I'd learned anything in the last few hours it was that he respected straightforward honesty.
My answer must have amused him because his lips turned up and then he laughed. "Oh if I doubted you were my daughter that answer proves that there is a little of me in there."
"About fifty percent, I'd guess."
Cat shook her head. "Now I have two of you to deal with."