Line in the sand
Simon reached out and tugged on one of Catherine's curls as Vivienne gave her daughter zerbers, making her laugh. It was another weekly meeting with updates on her Charlie's.... Simon corrected himself, with updates on Dr. Hammond's projects there in DI. Referring to the Piper as a doctor was still weird to Simon, but the young man was incredibly brilliant. Most of the time these meetings with Vivienne involved Catherine and they never could get past playing with the little girl to get down to talk business.
"Here," Simon said, reaching out to take Catherine gently from her mother. The little girl turned her blue eyes onto Simon and smiled brightly. "I am going to marry you someday."
Vivienne reached out and punched Simon on the arm rather hard and glared at him.
"I'm just kidding. I'm not the marrying type. An illicit affair, maybe...OUCH, all right, all right." He flinched as Viv hit him again. Concentrating on the little girl who drooled happily onto his two hundred dollar shirt, Simon didn't feel the presence of another person in his secretary's office until she knocked on the door.
"Mr. Huntington?" His petie employee stepped into the office and held the door open. "Mr. Joseph Markovic is here?"
Viv, Catherine, and Simon were sitting by the windows in the black leather chairs when the Piper he knew as Marko walked silently into the room wearing plain clothes. He was enormous, but Simon soon found out, very polite with extremely refined manners. His secretary's heart raced looking up at Marko and Simon saw the clear blush on her cheeks as she smiled him. Exiting, she closed the door behind her.
"Hi, Marko," Viv said sweetly to the massive Piper.
"Ma'am. Mr. Huntington. Am I intruding?"
"Not at all, Mr. Markovic." Simon handed Catherine back to her mother, then stood and smoothed out the wrinkles of his dark blue slacks. "Here for Vivienne?"
"Yes. I mean no."
Simon looked down at Viv and then flicked his eyes back to the Piper. "You wanted to speak to me?"
"I'd like to speak to both of you, if that's all right?"
Simon took a step back and sat on the leather couch against the glass, silently offering his previous seat to Marko.
Tapping the warm spot that Simon left on the couch next to her, she invited Marko over to sit. The young Piper circled around the couches and sat obediently down on the couch. Catherine took notice of him and reached out to which Marko immediately responded by taking the tiny girl in his arms. A large smile spread on his lips as Catherine began threatening to head butt his chin as her head wobbled.
"What's on your mind then, Marko?"
Catherine reached up and grabbed at his lips, interrupting him before he could start. He laughed and gently pulled her hand away with a fistful of his bottom lip.
"Pumpkin, be nice," Viv said, making her daughter's wobbly head turn to look at her and smile again. "So distracting."
"She's getting so big." Marko's hand wrapped around her chest, under Catherine's armpits and his long fingers still managed to come up support the back of her neck. "But, I wanted to ask you, the both of you, a somewhat...personal...question?"
"We're not sleeping together, Mr. Markovic." Simon blurted it out, making Viv roll her eyes.
"Mr. Huntington, I don't see you really crossing that line with Miss Vivienne. You're too much of a gentleman to do that."
"I did want to ask about your friendship." Marko paused. "Is it...hard, being a vampire and werewolf and friends?"
Viv let out a deep breath. "It's awkward, to say the least."
"No one really understands it," Simon added.
"It is the source of a lot of arguments within...leadership."
Marko had been looking directly at Vivienne until she said that. He turned and looked at Catherine, his smile for her fading. "I would imagine," Marko said quietly. "But you remain friends. Why?"
"It's a useful alliance," Simon finally said.
Marko nodded - it was useful. It opened up part of the vampire world to the Pipers, but then the same could be said in reverse.
"We went through a lot together in Siberia and since then. I'm not friends with Simon because he's opened his doors to us." Miss Vivienne paused, looking back out the window. "It's really is beneficial, if temporary. "
Marko looked at Vivienne and saw her thoughtful expression, but when he looked over to Simon, Marko saw the flicker of annoyance.
"You don't agree, Mr. Huntington?"
Simon's surprised expression was not lost on Miss Vivienne. Her attention focused in on him and Marko wondered if they weren't talking to each other through their bond now.
"I'm not sure what Vivienne means by temporary."
"You know what I mean."
"No, I don't."
Suddenly Marko felt the room fill up with tension. He looked down at Catherine and she blinked her blue eyes at him, unaware and happy. Now both Simon and Vivienne were silent, undoubtedly talking silently. He opened his mouth to say something when he felt Catherine stiffen in his hands.
"Catherine...." Marko said with a grin. Twisting around, Marko ignored Vivienne and Simon and looked for Catherine's bag. Finding it underneath the coffee table in front of him, he reached in and pulled out a soft blanket, a rather tiny diaper, and her wipes. With missing a beat, Marko slid off the couch and laid the blanket flat out on his spot.
"Marko, what are you doing?" Vivienne asked softly.
Without looking up, he laid Catherine down and proceeded to change her diaper. "Catherine pooped."
Behind him he heard Simon snort. Miss Vivienne reached out and pat his shoulder. "You know I can do that."
"I don't mind," Marko said, cleaning the little girl up and putting a clean diaper on her. As his hands moved expertly, he decided to move the conversation along. "I ask because...well I met someone."
"You're dating a vampire?" Simon asked rather shocked.
"Oh...no. We're just friends." Marko felt his heart pang with regret and sadness. Or maybe just disappointment. "I'm just wondering if that will be possible. If there are...issues to expect?"
"What's her name?" Simon asked.
Marko didn't see any harm in telling the man. "Ysabel Yolgrave."
"You know her?" Vivienne asked quickly. Marko twisted around to look at Simon who was looking at his phone. "Is she one of yours?"
"No," Simon said under his breath, concentrating on his phone. After a moment, he turned his phone around and showed the screen to Marko.
Soft, blond curls, porcelain skin, and the same blue eyes but.... "No, that's not Ysabel."
"Oh I know, this is her twin, Dayle."
A twin, Marko thought. That's interesting.
"Dayle is - was - one of mine."
"Was?" Marko asked.
Simon shrugged. "Our kind come and go. She and her sister showed up several years ago, although I don't know anything about your Ysabel other than she's Anantya."
"Tread softly, Marko," Viv said cautiously.
Simon nodded, forgetting his angry and silent conversation with Viv. "And carefully."
He watched as Marko seemed to mull over that information. Simon looked back down at his phone, and with a crinkled expression, sent a message to his secretary to come get the offensive smelling contraption that Marko had taken off of Vivienne's daughter.
'When is she going to be toilet trained?"
Viv gave him a side look, "In about two to three years."
Simon rolled his eyes as his secretary came in and took the diaper, wrapping it in a plastic bag. Marko finally noticed the young lady as she lingered to touch the baby's hand. He gave her a soft smile, making the young lady's heart miss a beat again. Simon looked at Viv who noticed as well. They were silent until she left again.
"Took you long enough, Marko," Viv said with a grin.
Ok, maybe he didn't notice. Simon wiped at a piece of fluff on his knee and tucked his phone back into his jacket. "I'm not altogether sure why the sisters are in separate clans, but I don't think her clan would be too receptive to a werewolf sniffing around one of their members."
Marko's expression changed from confused to insulted.
"Now, now. Marko wouldn't be as crude as that, unless...." Viv's eyebrows rose and her smile widened. "You got a thing for her?"
"She's very nice," Marko said simply.
Shaking his head, Simon leaned forward, putting his elbows on his knees. "Marko, Anantya is our oldest clan. Their leaders know more about your past than you werewolves do, I'd wager. Whatever you plan on doing with her - it's a dangerous path you'll be walking. Our friendship is tolerated, but it's also not as public. I'm a minor Leader of an unofficial clan. Anantya makes the rules and have been around the longest to break them without penalty."
Simon felt odd warning the young man. As a werewolf, Marko was nothing to Simon and his clan. But as a Piper and part of Vivienne's small circle of friends, he felt obligated to extend his protection to them - whether they accepted it or not.
"Just over fifteen hundred."
Stunned, Marko asked, "And Anantya - they're older?"
"Some predate Christ, easily."
"How old is Ysabel?" Viv asked Simon but it was Marko that answered.
"She's over six hundred, she said."
Nodding, Viv shrugged, "So what are you going to do?"
/Are you worried?/ Simon asked silently.
/Look at him, he's a brick house. He can handle himself./
/Not against an Anantya, Viv. They are vastly different and much more powerful./
/Don't undersell yourself, Simon. I won't be as impressed./
Simon leaned back into the couch and draped his arms along the back of the couch with a smile.
Catherine was starting to bounce in Marko's arms, laughing and drooling on the giant in front of her. Marko smiled down at her with the same affection all the other Pipers did. Catherine's head bobbed forward and smacked Marko's chest, making him laugh. It sounded like rumbling thunder and it made Catherine laugh till she began to hiccup.
"I guess I won't do anything," Marko said plainly. "Not much I can do."
"Do the others know? Charlie or Lewis?"
"Oh no. And I would appreciate discretion on both your parts."
"Of course," Simon replied softly. He pretended to zip his lips and throw away the key, all the while giving Marko a wry grin.
Marko leaned in and kissed Catherine gently on her cheek. She hiccuped, grabbing at his face as he pulled her away and handed her gently back to Viv.
"I appreciate your candor, Mr. Huntington. Viv."
Viv took Catherine in her arms and then reached out with a free hand to touch Marko on his cheek before he got up from his seat on the couch next to her. For someone as large as Marko, he walked almost silently out of the office, closing the door behind him. Catherine watched Marko leave, her expression changing from happy, to sad, to sleepy as she yawned widely in Viv's face.
"Alright, guess that means we're out."
"You're not the least bit curious how he met her?"
Viv shrugged as she leaned over to tuck Catherine's things into her bag. "If he wanted to tell us, he would have. He might tell me later."
Simon nodded, looking over his shoulder out the window wall of his office. "Everything ok with you and Brig?" He didn't bother to look back at her.
"Yes," Viv lied.
"Good," Simon replied, looking back at her. His expression was blank, as was their aura. They were both holding back, leaving a tangible void between them. "See you later."
"Yup," Viv said, standing with her bag, hoisting Catherine onto her right shoulder so she could rest her head and fall asleep.
Not only was there a growing distance between her and Brig, but Viv found herself withdrawing from Simon as well. He never asked about it, but she knew he felt it as well. She was surprised he didn't ask her to explain further what she meant by their alliance being temporary. It was obvious to her - she didn't associate their friendship with the clan and pack alliance, but apparently he did. That changed things, understanding Simon's perspective on things.
He'd never get the chance to ask her about it.
((OOC - All out))