Tuesday, 3 June 2014


The sound of Audrey's alarm rang through the room as she moved her arm across her to smack the snooze button before groaning under her breath. Morning always seemed to come too soon, and she never felt fully recovered from the day before. Curling up in the warmth of her blanket she felt the soft press of lips against her cheek she opened her dark eyes and focused on the man lying next to her. "Morning" he started and she muttered something in agreement to that fact. "You better be careful" he teased "I'm getting used to waking up here" the comment made her smile but she did best to hide her nerves. Roman was one of the first people she'd met in Braxton when she'd moved and the closer he got to her, the more lies she had started to spin to keep him there.
"Yeah well don't get too comfortable you have your own place you know" She reminded him kissing him quickly before she rolled to get out of the bed. He grabbed her hand quickly before she could step too far and she glanced back at him over her shoulder.
"Where's your bracelet?" he asked and her eyes fell to her wrist.
 "took it off to shower last night" she offered the lie flowing so easily from her lips it became hard to stomach forcing a smile before she hurried into the bathroom sliding the door shut behind her. Reaching for the drawer she opened it her eyes falling quickly to the diamond tennis bracelet she'd left sitting there and running her fingers across the jewels she reached to grab it as her fingers brushed something else. Closing her hands around it she carefully removed a blue leather box and her fingers carefully moved across the worn edges. She never should have taken it with her, it sat there as a constant reminder of what she'd left behind. As she moved to open the box she heard the vibration of a phone from the bedroom and she froze, dropping the box down into the drawer and slamming it shut.
"Bennett Carter's calling" the name caused her stomach to drop, Bennett had promised to let her be which meant if he was calling her, something had to be terribly wrong. She moved into the room with grace and a smile more forced than the last one. "Should I answer it?" he asked and she reached for the phone all too quickly just as it stopped ringing.
"I got it" she said casually "you go shower" she told him as she took the phone and moved carefully into the kitchen. She waited until she heard the water turn on before returning the call. With each ring her nerves began to raise but she suddenly calmed as the familiar voice came through the phone.
"Audrey, I'm glad you called" it was Bennett's voice, calm, controlled, comforting as always.
"You called me" she reminded him and she could almost hear him smile through the phone.
"That I did....you need to come home" She froze at the words and stuttered a response.
"You said I could stay here-" she protested but it was quickly cut off.
"That was when I thought you would be safe, unfortunately circumstances have changed, you've been in Braxton long enough we need you home" his tone was demanding and as much as she wanted to say no, she knew that she had an obligation to her family even if she hadn't chosen them, they had chosen her. She was about to protest when the words she feared most came next.
"It's Ryder- he's in trouble"


Ryder Carter had always been different, from the day Bennett had found him at the Foster home, things had changed, he had been only seven years old and still his powers had begun to exhibit themselves. Unlike the others, Ryder had always carried a darker side and with darkness came rage, the kind that he wasn't always able to control and that's where Bennett had come in. His whole life he had worked at trying to prove his place, to make Bennett proud and to be a contributing member of the society even if that meant taking on the less than desirable tasks. The secret was, he had enjoyed it, embracing the pain, the lessons he got to instill on the rogues, it was a way to unleash his own pain and ensure that they understood the rules were in place for a reason, their abilities were not to be toyed with, not to be exposed in any way. The day he had met Audrey Rhodes had changed his whole life, he'd gone from a man with nothing but ambition to someone who felt real, she had seen something in him no one ever had before, and it wasn't his power. He had fallen in love with her the moment they'd met and despite his stubborn personality and attempts to keep her away, she somehow kept finding her way back to him. It had been soon after he met her he began to notice she was different, much like the others he had grown up around she too had some sort of ability, one he had never seen the likes of before. It had taken him a year to build up the courage to bring her to Crescenthill, and even then it was only after she had accepted his proposal. Bringing her to Crescenthill had risks, he had known that when he'd done it but he knew that Bennett needed to approve of her before he could marry her. He hadn't planned what had happened next. The Rogues had attacked them on the road into the manor and as payback for what he'd done to them in the past they stabbed Audrey. Bringing her to Bennett he had been faced with the choice, allow the woman he loved to bleed to her death in the infirmary, or to make her an initiate, a risk that could very well have taken her life. He chose to initiate her, allowing Michael Barnes to heal her wounds and expose his power, the act that would make her one of them. While the men in their line were born and thrived on their abilities, the women in their line were claimed, at age twenty-five their abilities fully manifested, a process which either killed them, or made them stronger. The house was filled with males for the very reason that none of their female ancestors or initiates had ever survived the claiming, that was until Audrey. The shock of electricity on his skin woke Ryder out of his thoughts as he screamed from the pain, the burning smell of his skin becoming an all too familiar scent.
"Oh good you're awake" he narrowed his dark blue eyes at the man standing before him his fingers sparking like lightning, as he glared he thought of all the ways he would make him pay for this when he got free.
"What the hell do you want?" he asked boredly as though he were there on his accord.
"Well how about a little payback for this? Then we'll move on from there" Leo Wilde had always been dramatic but it wasn't until he had left them had he truly embraced his inner melodrama. The payback he was speaking of was in reference to what Ryder had done to the man's face for betraying the homes secrets to another family.
"I think it's an improvement Wilde, I mean you know what they say, chicks dig scars" he offered before a punch met him straight across the jaw. Ryder laughed even as he tasted blood on his tongue. "Oh you can do better than that" 


"Whoa, one phone call and you're packing your bags?" Roman asked and Audrey bit her lip nervously as she shoved a few shirts into a duffel bag.
"It's just for a few days, I need to go home and help out with some family stuff and then I'll be back" she assured him. That was part of the truth, whatever Bennett had said on the phone, she was going back to get their unit back together before she left again, she had been serious when she said she was out, she would keep her powers to herself, she would keep their true identities secret but she couldn't live like that anymore she needed normal.
"Right, this mysterious family. Does the seven month mark not warrant a family introduction yet?" he asked and Audrey laughed slightly.
"Trust me, you don't want to meet them they're... complicated" she stated. She'd only been in the circle for four years before she'd left, but even in that time, she had dealt with and done things she regretted, things that still haunted her dreams at night, the less Roman knew about that life, the better and he certainly didn't need to get anywhere near Ryder.
"You haven't told them about me have you?" the question of the day and she turned looking slightly guilty as she stared at him, his green eyes watching her expectantly.
"No..." she admitted "but I will, I will tell them when I go there and can do it face to face" she offered. She would have to tell Bennett at least, and she knew that he was good at keeping a secret if nothing else. "And I told Carson remember" she pointed out and watched as he smiled.
"Right well, at least the brother knows, makes me fell like less of a dirty little secret" he joked. Part of the agreement of moving to the city had been Carson coming with her as her 'brother' while he studied pre-law she could do what she liked. The more she had to explain the random people in her life the more complicated a lie her family tree began to weave. "Is he coming with you?" he questioned and she nodded.
"He's waiting outside" she said picking up her bag. "Love you" she said running out of the apartment and down the stairs to the car. Seeing Carson waiting there she opened the door tossing her back in the back before climbing in the passenger side. Carson was twenty years old, a good deal younger than her and the moment she'd moved into Crescenthill she had taken to him like a mother to a child. His messy dark hair and brown eyes gave them a similar appearance enough it seemed to pass as Half-siblings but there was a olive hint to his skin that was very much absent from her own fair complexion.
"Where to?" he asked calmly and she adjusted the side mirror to check behind them before turning her eyes to him.


Bennett waited patiently by the window as he glanced through the trees of the estate to the road waiting for the stretch of country road to show the appearance of a car. He had already summoned most of his initiates and family home for this, a move he would not have made if he didn't think the matter was serious. Ryder had often caused trouble for the circle, but never like this, never to the extent he had now. Audrey's departure had sent his son into a tailspin that had landed them in the situation they were in now, his capture and a ransom he was not willing to pay. He heard the car before it came into view but a calm washed over him as the SUV pulled up outside the house. He moved from the window and into the main hall as the doors opened and Audrey entered.
"Audrey" He said moving to her quickly he wrapped his arms around her in a tight embrace holding her tightly. In her time there she had truly become the daughter he had never had, and one he knew now he would not have to lose to the claiming. He had once been hesitant on her involvement but she had done nothing but make them stronger since arriving, and he had come to care for her as he imagined any father would care for their child. It hurt him, to see the pain her leaving had caused Ryder, who was the only and closest thing he had to a son, he had hoped the calm that she brought to him would last but his actions had driven her from them, and yet somehow drawn her back now. "I've missed you around here" he told her before moving to hug Carson. "Welcome home you two, Carson your cousins are upstairs, I need to speak to Audrey" he said motioning to the office before watching as Carson nodding heading up the wooden stairs to the upper levels of the manor. He stepped inside waiting for Audrey to follow before closing the door behind her.
"I didn't realize you'd called in all the reinforcements" she commented placing her bag down by the door taking a seat at the chair opposite his desk. Seating himself on the other side he took a moment to survey her, she looked different, uncertain of herself and it was a something he had never witnessed before.
"Well you know I wouldn't have called you if it wasn't serious Audrey, Ryder... has been taken" he watched for some sort of reaction on her and he saw what he was looking for in her eyes, concern.  "The rogues are under the assumption they can initiate a negotiation of leadership in this family and Leo Wilde is requesting I step down as Elder and promote his father to the position"
"What? The Wilde's had their chance at leadership in their own circle and they broke the rules, they're rogue for a reason, that's absurd" she could feel her pulse beginning to race, the heat in body could have made her blood boil. "So what? They're using Ryder as a bargaining chip? You for him?" she asked.
"Something like that, but we don't give into requests they should know that, and we especially don't react well to threats" he finished standing up he pulled a crystal from the drawer and slid it across the desk towards her. "You're the most gifted as Scrying Audrey, and you're also have the closest bond to Ryder, I need you to try a locator spell in the den and let us know the results, Nathaniel is upstairs waiting for you, he's got the maps" he watched as she stood up from the chair closing her hand around the crystal before turning to the door. She stopped and glanced over her shoulder at him for a moment.
"Yes Audrey?"
"When we find him... and we will find him, I'm going back...you know why I can't stay here" He watched her for a moment and gave her a sad look.
"I know why you think you can't stay here" he said simply and nodded to the door. Clenching her fists tightly Audrey turned and pushed her way through the office door grabbing her bag as she passed. "Your room's still there" he called behind her. Shaking her head Audrey bounded up the stairs stopping on the third floor she hesitated outside the door. Running his fingers across the surface she placed her hand on the door handle and carefully pushed it open. Stepping inside the memories hit her hard, for years this had been her sanctuary, their sanctuary. Inside she and Ryder were safe, as long as they were together and it had all fallen apart. Tossing her bag on the bed she slammed the door behind her as she moved back into the hall and walked down to Nate's room. Throwing the door open she walked in and slammed the Crystal down on the table.
"RHODES!" she turned quickly to see a grinning Nate moving towards her.
"Hey Nate" she said with a smile he suddenly lifted her from the ground in a tight hug spinning her around before placing her down. Nathaniel Barnes had grown up at Crescenthill, his father, had known Bennett when the two were children and they now ran the circle together. Ryder and Nate were like brothers, and they had adopted Carson into their family when his father had died. They had all had a tight bond when she'd arrived, but they'd accepted her with open arms like the sister-in-law Ryder had intended her to be to them.
"I've missed that face around these parts, all the testosterone it's exhausting" he joked placing her down. "Did you finally come to your senses and come home?" he asked and her smiled vanished quickly.
"I'm just here to find Ryder and then I'm going back to Braxton" she said moving past him now to the table where the maps had be laid out.
"Why you got a squeeze there or something?"
"You do...ouch" he stated "And I thought we had something" he said mimicking hurt.
"Nate seriously enough" she told him and he cut the act.
"Does Ryder know?" he asked next and she sighed turning her attention back to him.
"No, and I'd prefer it if he didn't have to find out, my life in Braxton is my own, my life here... it's the past they don't need to meld" she stated and caught herself. "I don't- that's not what I meant" she said suddenly.
"I know what you meant sweet cheeks, no harm done" he said "Lets just find Ryder so you can get back home" he said moving to lean on the edge of the table his eyes focused intensely on the map. She turned and placed the crystal on the map.
"Do you have something of his?" She asked "Something he gave you?" Nate shook his head.
"No... but you should" closing her eyes for a moment Audrey reached into the pocket of her jacket removing the small leather box. Opening the case her eyes fell on two silver bands within, one with a small singular diamond had been hers, the other, had belonged to Ryder.
"I planned to leave them here" she spoke to leave that whole memory behind but she still seemed unable to leave them behind no matter where she went. She had tried to give hers back to Ryder when she left Crescenthill, but he'd surprised her by removing his own and giving them both back to her. "He told me to give it back to him when I was ready" she muttered, but she was sure that Nate knew that already, she hated to think of the things that were said about her there. Taking his ring from the box she placed it around the chain before connecting it to the crystal. Holding it over the map she closed her eyes tightly and began the incantation in her mind. Feeling the crystal stop she turned her eyes to the map. "He's in the mountains, in Rosewood" she stated. It didn't surprise her that the Rockford Circle would let the Wildes stage this kind go coup, or they were completely unaware, but there was bad blood between the Carters and the Rockfords, blood that went back centuries.
"We can't cross into that territory" Nate said turning he threw his fist into the wall with frustration. "damn it!" Audrey took a breath calming her mind as she turned she focused her star on the hole Nate had left in the wall and the bruise already forming on his hand, she knew what had to be done.
"You can't.... " she said taking the ring off the chain she placed it back in the box before shoving the box back into her pocket "but I can" 

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