A/N: Thanks to francine bouchard and lexette27 for favouriting, following and reviewing and a special thanks to AngeliqueBouchard1972 ;) As usual, please let me know what you think! :)
Angelique only looked up when she heard the back door open. Barnabas was here. Hurriedly, she stood up and tried to wipe her tears away before he saw, but she was too late.
"Angelique? What's happened? Clarisse–"
"She's not hurt, it's just… Oh God, Barnabas, I told you she was curious about why no one could know you were her father, but I told her too much, I didn't mean to. She won't speak to me. She knows… they must have taught her about what happened at school. She knows who I am. She knows I'm a murderer. Who wants a murderer as their mother? She hates me! Oh God, I don't know what to do, she–"
Barnabas was dumbstruck. He had never seen Angelique cry so openly, not in all the years he had known her. Not even when he told her he didn't love her. Maybe this was proof that she had really changed.
"Angelique, where is she? I'll talk to her. She's probably just shocked. She's had a lot to take in. It's not every day you find out that your mother was an evil witch."
"I told her about you too. She knows what we are. What she might be. I'm the worst mother anyone could ever have. I shouldn't have said anything. She's too young."
"Angelique it's my fault also. Plus, not many people have managed a whole decade without having a big argument with their child. She'll come round. Trust me. You are a brilliant mother."
Angelique's head shot up at Barnabas' compliment. He hadn't complimented her since they were… together.
"You… you really mean it?" she asked.
"Yes. I wouldn't want anyone else to mother my child. I mean, like you are now. The old Angelique would never have cried over something like this. I feel like you were right. You have changed."
"What about Vicky?" Angelique was confused. Didn't he want Vicky to mother his child?
"Vicky and I love each other in a different way. She was no good with Clarisse as a baby and I wouldn't want to put all that stress on her. It doesn't mean we don't love each other, because we do and I would never want anyone else." Angelique's face fell at his words. Fortunately for her, he didn't notice and carried on talking. "Look, Angelique, we'll sort it out. Come with me and we'll talk to her. She's had some time to calm down by now."
"Okay." Angelique forced herself to smile at him. "Let me just…" She tried to wipe away any tears.
"Let me," Barnabas said gently and wiped a tear from her cheek that she had missed. His touch made Angelique jump before she felt the familiar spark between them. She tried her best to ignore it, knowing Barnabas didn't feel the same way.
After climbing back up the stairs, Barnabas knocked on the door of the spare room.
"Clarisse, my dear, open the door please. I wish to talk to you and you know I don't have very long before I need to head back," he called. No one answered. "Clarisse, will you please open the door. I only want to talk with you."
There was the sound of shuffling feet before she door clicked, signalling it was unlocked once more. Barnabas looked back at Angelique behind him and smiled before opening the door. "It's probably best if you stay outside for the moment," he told her and stepped inside.
Clarisse had curled herself up against the wall by the door, her head in her arms. Angelique felt a lump forming in her throat. She wanted nothing more than to go over to her daughter and comfort her. However, she knew in this instance it wouldn't work and Clarisse would, most likely, push her away and refuse to talk even more, so she did as Barnabas had told her and stayed outside the door.
"Clarisse, we know you're really confused, but please listen to me. Your mother and I love you with all our hearts," Barnabas started, bending down beside his daughter.
"But she's Angelique Bouchard. She's evil. She–" Clarisse looked up at her father, tears staining her cheeks red.
"She's changed. Your mother is not the person I used to know. After she died, she had you–"
"How did she have me after she died? Surely that's impossible?" Clarisse's curiosity got the better of her sorrow.
"I don't know about what happened after that, your mother never told me, but she can tell you. She'd explain it better."
"I don't know whether I want to talk to her yet. I mean…" Clarisse trailed off.
"I promise you, your mother would never do anything to hurt you, Clarisse, and I wouldn't let her. She told you because she thought you would want to know. If she'd kept it from you longer, wouldn't you have been upset that she didn't tell you?"
Clarisse pondered it for a moment. Maybe her father was right. She would have felt even more hurt if she had found out any other way.
"I suppose… but why did she keep it from me in the first place, why didn't I grow up knowing this?" She folded her arms across her chest angrily.
"It's a secret, you would have told someone, when you were five you wouldn't have known any better and your mother couldn't risk exposure. You do understand that, don't you?" He moved closer to Clarisse and looked her in the eyes. He could see the confusion and hurt in them disappear slightly. She sighed.
"I guess I do. She only did it for me, right? So I would be able to grow up without being rejected because of her past?"
Barnabas smiled in relief. "Yes, I knew you'd get it, my clever girl. Now, are you going to stop causing your mother all this heartbreak and talk to her?" He thought it was most wise to leave out the part about Angelique crying. Clarisse was only ten after all.
"Alright… as long as you stay with me."
"Of course." Barnabas smiled at her as he got up and went to the door.
"You can come in, now," he told Angelique.
"Thank you, Barnabas," she whispered. "I don't know how I'm going to repay you for this."