This week’s scene sees Frei in not so good a mood…
My thoughts: During the series, Frei surprised me often even when I had plotted so much of her story, she tended to add in extras to keep me on my writing toes. Theo was one of those surprises but, when I wrote Noble Heart when she met him, her character was still in such a difficult place. Her own understanding of love has developed so much since she let Aeron and Renee in and she’s going through a lot of the pains that many people, thankfully, overcome during adolescence. Yet, regardless of where her romantic interests lie… her love for her best friends and her family is never ever in doubt.
If you want extra added value to this scene… it rounds up nicely just what she was up to in Blind Trust…
Full Circle exclusive.
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Chapter 14 (Scene 2)
Frei checked in on Renee for the umpteenth time and tried not to go over to her and curl up around her. Renee had been bawling when she’d found her. Drunk, muttering on about her dad, and sobbing so hard that she shook the whole bed.
Somehow, through the sniffs, Frei had managed to extract what Hartmann had said about Gasquet and Gossett and that Bucher was a slave name.
Even though Frei had been for a run, worked out in the gym for an hour, and meditated, she couldn’t see how or why the Bucher who killed Renee’s dad and brother was linked to the same Doctor Gossett that had experimented on patients in Serenity hills. Susan had been Gossett’s adopted daughter and she’d blown the whistle on his crimes but he’d been killed before she’d done so. The Gossett that was meant to be Gasquet’s younger brother was still alive.
“Miss Locks,” Theo shot at her as she stepped out into the corridor. “You have no hesitation in sleeping in Miss Black’s room.”
Frei raised her eyebrow. Sounded very jealous. “She was upset.”
“So was I.” Theo’s eyes were bloodshot. “I just had to explain to my mother that Tomas is in trouble.”
She sighed. “I’m sorry. He’s been in trouble for a long time.”
Theo furrowed his low brow. “That is your comfort? You happily liberate others but my own blood, you ignore?”
“Those others didn’t choose their prison.” Frei heard the icy tone in her voice and sighed. “I am sorry that your brother is that way but there is nothing I can tell you that will change it.”
“And your focus is on her.” He glared at the door behind her. “I do not know why I am surprised.”
Again, it sounded jealous.
“Renee has lost her brother and her father.” Frei leaned against the paneled wall and stared out of the window between Theo and Hartmann’s rooms. You could see both their balconies and the grounds beyond. “And her brother was a child at the time.”
Theo cleared his throat like that hurt him. He was kind, true, and sweet even in whatever angry mood he was in. “But she has you to hold her.”
Frei glanced at him. “Of course she does. Why would you think differently?”
“So you are open about this now?” He flicked his gaze to the opposite wall. “You told me that you love me.”
“Yes.” Now she was confused. Was he angry at her for caring about Renee and Aeron? Wasn’t it clear that she cared from the start?
“Yet you love her more deeply.” He met her eyes and hurt ebbed from them.
“I love Renee and Aeron more than deeply.” She put her hands on her hips. “They are as much a part of me as my own heart.”
A breeze tickled over her and she soaked it in.
Theo scowled. “You are involved with them both?”
Frei studied him then frowned, then studied him again, half sure his brain must have fallen out.
“You think I’m…” She leaned onto one hip, knowing she looked like she had wings as Aeron would say. “Where did you get that from?”
“I heard you.” Theo tapped his ear. “I took an earpiece to tell you that we were waiting in the car.” He wagged his fist. “I heard your tone with her. I heard your words.”
She narrowed her eyes. “Heard what?”
“Kissing it better?” He threw his hands in the air. “Even Jessie heard it. Interference or not, Renee told you that she wanted to nurse you.” He folded his arms. “You are going to tell me that she didn’t?”
“I am.” Her voice echoed off the huge corridor.
“Locks, you must lower your voice,” a servant said, glaring at her from a side room. “It is not your place to raise your tone to Theo.”
“I’ll raise whatever I like,” she snarled and the confined feeling that had squeezed at her being at the estate threatened to crush her resolve. She glared down Theo until he flinched. “Who are you to demand I explain my friendships to you?”
Renee poked her head, bleary eyed, out of her room. “Urs?”
“We’re leaving.” Frei fired it so hard she dribbled. “Your brother is a slimy—” She wiped at her mouth. “—pathetic excuse of a slug who needs pickle juice.”
Theo stepped forward, not threatening, just angry. “You do not know him.”
“I know enough. I read up on him, had Jessie track him.” She stepped forward herself, daring the servant scuttling their way to try scolding her. “I even had…” Susan. “…experts look into a way to get him off the crap he’s sticking inside him.” She pointed her finger at him. “But your brother is addicted to so many different things, I can’t help.” She poked him in the shoulder. “You hear me? I can’t help because he doesn’t want to be helped.”
Theo searched her eyes. “You did not tell me this.”
“Of course I did not,” she snapped as Renee and Stosur hauled their luggage from the rooms.
“How am I supposed to know you care?” Theo glared at Renee. “I heard her say she would nurse you.”
Renee stopped and eyed him. “Nurse Urs?” She looked at Frei then rolled her eyes. “However amazing she is, I’m not her type.” She stared at Theo who was glaring at her. “Seriously, how did you miss Aeron is my girl?”
Frei smiled even through her temper.
“You told Miss Locks that you were chewing your cuticles and that you were too far away to nurse her.” He rounded on her and wagged his finger. “I heard you.”
Renee opened her mouth then her eyes flicked to and fro as Frei’s gut dived somewhere near her feet. He’d heard Susan.
Theo looked from Renee to her then nodded. “Your guilt shows on your face.”
“That’s just girl talk mid-assignment.” Renee said it, holding Frei’s gaze. Yes, neither dared mention Susan. “I didn’t mean it in the same way I meant it for Aeron.”
“Does she know this?” Theo snapped.
“She’s working on that one.” Frei felt Stosur squeeze her hand on the way past.
“You are being insincere in the same way you were when you said you would help my brother.” Theo backed off, turned and strode to his room. “You seemed far more genuine before.”
Renee grabbed Frei’s hand and tugged her into motion. She had no answer and he would accept no half-excuse so she turned and strode after Renee without so much as looking behind. It was clear that she didn’t belong in Hartmann’s estate but Theo would remain there.
Theo just wanted her to be there, to be open, and share with him… and she would never be able to do so.
“It hurts, Urs. I’m sorry.” Renee fell into step with her as they headed to the chopper Stosur was firing up.
“You have been through it yourself.” Frei focused on the slick shape of the chopper’s body. An average chopper to get them to the plane. “Now, I understand the comment about you not liking sharing.”
Renee nodded and stowed the luggage on board as Frei stared back at the house.
“Hartmann will be happy at least,” she mumbled. “Even if she is trying to be an ally.”
“Yeah, she didn’t need to be helpful. I never understood why Yannick knew who I was but it would make sense if Dad was already known to them.” Renee clunked the luggage into place. “What if it’s Yannick, Urs?” She stopped and that glint of fear filled her gray eyes.
“It is not. Susan medicated him.” Frei shrugged, temper flaring as she hopped into the chopper and shut the door. “I wanted her to lobotomize the bastard so don’t give me any speech on inhumane treatment.”
“And where is he?” Renee belted herself into the seat, chin wobbling.
“Do you really want to know?” Frei sighed, slumped into the seat opposite, and shoved on her headset. It made her feel sick enough that her throat closed to think how Yannick had hurt Renee. Theo couldn’t understand how Renee’s pain hurt her as if she lived through it herself.
“No… but I need to. Urs, I need to know he hasn’t got Aeron.” Renee hugged herself chewing her wobbling lip.
Frei pulled out her cell phone. “In Vancouver selling t-shirts on a stall.”
Renee stared at the picture. “Are you nuts?”
“No, he is. Yannick has no memory of who he is and lives in a private facility. His medication is permanent. It cannot be reversed.” Yannick was selling t-shirts for a charity helping domestic violence victims. Fitting. “He thinks his name is Larry.” Frei shrugged, then smiled, then shrugged again. “Susan doesn’t hurt people even when I really could have.”
Renee blinked and that fear which Frei had seen rob light from Renee’s eyes shattered. Her gray eyes filled with a twinkle it had taken Aeron to seek out and pull to the surface.
“Aeron really did knock his teeth out,” Renee mumbled.
“Yes, top and bottom.” Frei smirked.
Renee held her gaze, adoration, affection, and complete understanding pouring through. “Thank you.”
Frei shrugged, feeling her own chains fall away, and her heart find its strength once more. “Don’t expect flowers.”