Part Three


     "The tests were inconclusive, Angelique," Julia said as she and Angelique enjoyed a light meal in the dining room of the Collinsport Inn.  "I'll run some more specialized ones tomorrow."
     "How long are you going to keep her in the hospital?"
     "A few more days, I think.  What will you do when I release her?"
     "I don't know.  I can't stay at the Inn."  She looked at the doctor.  "I'll be honest with you, Julia.  Sarah's illness has taken a great deal of money.  The only thing I had left of Sky's estate was Little Windward and I've sold that.  I had some money from modeling, but I haven't taken an assignment for over six months.  Sarah needed me with her."
     "That's understandable.  Don't worry about the expenses here.  I'll see that they are taken care of.  And as for a place to live, the Evans cottage is vacant."
     "Maggie is in Europe, isn't she?"
     "Yes.  But she sold the cottage to me a few months ago.  I thought about moving there myself, but Elizabeth insisted that I stay at Collinwood.  I think we could work something out."  Julia chewed on her lower lip for a moment.  "Angelique, tell Barnabas.  He would be more than willing to help-"
     "Oh, I'm sure he would.  And if he filed for custody, Julia, what do you think the chances are that a court would award it to me when Barnabas is a Collins?"
     "You're her mother.  And Barnabas IS her father.  I can't believe he would take her away from you."
     "Why not?  I've kept her from him."
     "I know Barnabas, Angelique.  As well as - if not better than - you do.  And I think you're wrong."  She glanced at her watch.  "I have to go."
     "Are you going back to the hospital?"
     "For a few minutes.  I'll look in on Sarah.  I want you to go up to your room and get some rest."
     "I will.  Thank you for all your help."

     Sarah was sleeping soundly, and Julia went to her office to do some of the never ending paperwork that was required of her as Chief of Staff.  But she found herself at the window, deep in thought.  She recognized the black Mercedes immediately, watched as it drew to a stop before the Inn.  From the set of Barnabas' shoulders and the way he walked, Julia knew he was angry.  There was a newspaper clenched tightly in his hand, and for a moment, Julia felt sorry for the eventual recipient of that anger.  She went to the telephone, and picked it up, intending to warn Angelique.  But she returned the receiver to its cradle.  Barnabas had a right to know about his daughter.

     "Evenin', Mr. Collins," the deskclerk said.
     "Good evening.  Could you tell me what room Miss Blair is in?"
     "Sure.  Number Five."
     "Is she in?"
     "Just went upstairs," he said cheerfully.
     "Thank you."

     Ready for bed, Angelique stood at the window with its view of the harbour, thinking.  "Maybe Julia is right," she thought.  "Maybe I should tell Barnabas."  Tomorrow, she would go to the shipyard and talk to him.  If he would just give her a chance to explain before losing his temper - A knock on the door drew her attention, and believing it might
be Julia with news about Sarah, she opened the door.  "Barnabas?"  She recognized the look in his eyes, and tried to hide her own fear.  "What do you want?"
     He pushed his way into the room.  "I want an explanation for this," he said, eyeing the newspaper warily as she closed the door.
     "The article in the 'Comings and Goings' column."
     Angelique quickly scanned the damning words, feeling the blood drain from her face.  With false bravado, she said, "What about it?"
     "Is the child mentioned your daughter?"
     "Yes, she is."
     "And her father?"  he asked.
     She turned away, unable to meet those hazel eyes.  "If I say you don't know him, will you leave me alone?"
     "If you can look me in the eyes and say it, yes, I'll go."
     Blue eyes met hazel as she tried to form the words.  "I -"  She couldn't do it.  Couldn't lie to him about this.
     Seeing her hesitation, Barnabas' anger increased to become an almost physical entity.  "I thought so.  The truth, Angelique.  There have been more than enough lies between us."
     "If you will control your temper, I'll try to explain," she said.
     "Go on."  He was still in the middle of the room, standing as still as a statue, his eyes fixed on her.
     "Do you remember that last night in Martinique?  Josette and her father had left for Paris, and you were leaving the next morning?"
     Was there a slight softening of those eyes at the memory, she wondered?  "I remember."
     "I did not realize that anything had come of that night until the night I tried to prevent your waking as a vampire-"
     "I strangled you."
     "I only let you think you had, Barnabas.  You were so angry-"
     "With reason," he reminded her.
     "I had hoped that believing me the first victim of my curse would rid you of some of that fury.  But you discovered the full extent of the curse, and you still wanted Josette."
     He had heard all of this before, and refused to be drawn in to this old argument.  "You were going to explain about the child?"
     "After Ben buried me, I rose, and I realized that I had been ignoring all the signs that I was with child.  So many things had been happening - "
     "That was over four months-"
     "I know."
     "Why didn't you tell me?"
     Her smile became bitter.  "What good would it have done?  Besides, I didn't want to use the child to get you - anymore than I ever used my powers.  The night your sister died, I felt my child move inside me- and I regretted Sarah's death more than you can know."
     "I don't need your cynicism, Barnabas.  Are you going to listen to me or not?"  He inclined his head.  "After you were chained in the mausoleum, I went away.  When she was born, I saw my chance to start over.  But I wasn't going to be given that chance."
     "Why not?"
     "Witches are not supposed to want children.  They tend to interfere with things.  My master said that my child would be destroyed.  I was terrified, until I thought of a way.  I would raise her for a few years, nine, and then my master would take her until such time as I renounced all of my powers.  She would not age, nor would she remember the separation.  In her mind, she was born ten years ago, and has spent most of the last four years in boarding school."
     "What does Julia have to do with this?"  he wanted to know.
     "She -"
     Barnabas grasped her wrist tightly. "Tell me, Angelique."
     "She's - ill.  I brought her to Julia because it seems to be a blood disorder."
     "I want to see her."
     "Tomorrow," she suggested.
     "Barnabas, she's asleep.  She needs her rest."  He released her wrist.
     "I'm going to the hospital.  You can come with me or not.  It's your choice."
     Even during the days after he discovered the truth about her, he hadn't been this cold.  Surpressing a shiver, Angelique nodded.  "I'll go.  If you don't mind waiting downstairs while I get dressed."
     Barnabas nearly commented on her false sense of modesty, but at the last moment refrained from saying anything.  He simply walked to the door.  "I'll wait ten minutes," he told her, "and then I'll go over there alone if need be.  And I'll be watching the switchboard as well, so don't try to call Julia and warn her to get Sarah away."
     "I wouldn't do -"
     "You have nine minutes," Barnabas said, leaving the room.
     Angelique picked up a pillow from the bed and hurled it toward the closed door before finding something to put on.


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