Look Before You Leap

38 Losing Forever

LPOV

We arrived at Amber's house in the middle of the night, of course, since most of us couldn't walk in the sun. I rolled my shoulders, still feeling the need to stretch after being cooped up in the coffin all flight. Eric knocked on the door and a young woman answered a moment later. I noticed the black veins on her chest immediately.

"Amber Mills?" Eric asked. She nodded slowly. "We're here for your sister."

She looked confused. "She's not here, I haven't heard from her in months."

"Then you won't mind us looking around," Pam said. She pushed past Amber and into the house. Amber led us to living room and motioned for us to sit down. Pam flashed in and out of rooms, searching for Sarah.

"I'd offer you all something to drink, but…you know," Amber said sitting down beside me. "Who are you?"

"My name is Eric, this is my progeny Lily, and you already met Pam. You could say we have a sort of history with your sister."

"How'd you become Sarah's best kept secret?" I asked, cutting right to the chase.

She sighed. "I was always the rebel of the family, started fangbanging right out of high school, meanwhile Sarah married Steve Newlin. She flipped her shit when my boyfriend turned me, after all she did marry into Fellowship of the Sun. But, I was her sister, and I was broke, so she paid me to stay in the coffin. Then she went and told the media that her dear little sister had been kidnapped and murdered by vampires. And here I sat, with my boyfriend, watching House Hunter marathons and drinking TruBlood."

"She's not here," Pam said.

"Just like I said."

"What happened to him?" Eric asked, going back to Amber's story.

"Same thing that's happening to us. One day he got sick, and a few months later he was dying in my arms." She shrugged. Eric glanced at me and I looked away. Amber wiped her eyes. "Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I just come out when all the other vampires did. Maybe things would have been different."

"She would have had you killed and never looked back," Eric said. "None of this is your fault, it's your sisters. That's why we're going after her."

"Are you going to kill her?" Amber asked. Eric nodded. "Then you can count me in."

"I like her," Pam and I said at the same time.

"When was the last time you saw your sister?" I asked.

"Oh years ago, but she called here this morning. She said she just got into Dallas and needed a place to crash, I told her to fuck off."

"Where do you think she'll go?" Pam asked.

"Where she always goes, mommy and daddy. She may have ruined the family name, but our parents have always eaten her bullshit right up." She grabbed the newspaper and tossed it in front of us. "They've probably already left for this."

"Looks like we're going to a gala," Pam said.

"You'll never get in, you're vampires. Plus, they only invited assholes."

"Oh you obviously don't know us very well," I mumbled. "We're all kind of assholes."

RPOV

It took me a lot longer than twenty minutes to get dressed. A little makeup turned into a lot of makeup. Plus, right before I got dressed, I decided to curl my hair. Then when I put on my heels, I found a bottle of blue nail polish that matched the dress wedged in the open toe. Jenny certainly knew how to put an outfit together.

But I had to admit dressing up made me feel better, applying makeup and fixing my hair was practically therapeutic. I walked down stairs, and found the party was in full swing. People were dancing in the living room, eating in the dining room, and drinking practically everywhere.

Everyone looked at me, but no one said more than a cheerful hello. It felt nice to not have to talk to anyone. I took a seat next to Nicole in the dining room. "Hey Rachel!" Arlene said, grabbing my shoulders. "You want a drink?"

"Can't."

"Oh yeah, Lafayette told me. Kids are a handful, but you'll love 'em to death. Let me at least get you a Coke." Arlene stumbled as she tried to walk towards the kitchen. Then stopped, cursed, and kicked her heels off.

"I feel your pain, girl," Nicole said. "This'd be a whole lot better if I was drunk."

OoOoO

Just when I'd had about as much of drunk Arlene as I could take, Sookie pulled me into the kitchen. "I thought we could have a little, um, memorial service for Alcide. Would you like that?"

I looked around the room Bill, Lafayette, Jason, Sam and Nicole, just about every person I'd become friends in Bon Temps stood around, plus Jackson and Jenny. "Yeah, I'd like that."

They all looked at me expectantly. "I'll start," Jackson said, giving me a chance to gather my thoughts. "Alcide could be an arrogant little shit, even when he was a kid. You'd tell him to go left, and he'd go right just to piss you off. He questioned everything. Fighting was a way of life where we came from, but Alcide didn't fight just for the sake of fighting. He said he'd fight when he was good a ready, when he found something worth fighting for. You were worth it, Rachel."

I sniffed and Nicole handed me a paper towel to dab at my eyes so I wouldn't mess up my makeup. "You know when you meet someone and you just feel like you've found the thing that's always been missing from your life? That's how I felt with Alcide ages ago back in Jackson. I don't believe in love at first sight, hell I'm not even sure I believe in true love, but I know that Alcide and I made each other better. I wouldn't trade a single moment I had with him for anything in the world. I wish more than anything we'd left Bon Temps when we'd had the chance, maybe he'd still be alive. He was saving my life from practically the first day we met, and when it came time for me to save his there was nothing I could do."

"My boy died a hero, but you can't die a hero without a righteous cause," Jackson said. He raised his cup, "To Alcide."

OoOoO

I was sitting on the couch with Lafayette when Sookie came in the room followed by Andy and Jessica. "Well they sure is acting weird," Lafayette commented. Jason ushered Adilyn and Holly's son into the room. Andy walked past us, towards Holly and I noticed the box he was hiding.

"Hey, um, can we kill the music?" He asked. Holly looked confused. Jason nodded to our DJ, and the music cut out. Andy dropped to his knee.

"It's about damn time, he grew a pair," Lafayette mumbled to me. I laughed quietly.

"Holly, I have been waiting a long time to do this. I was trying to find the perfect time, but I'm beginning to realize there isn't one. The only thing that's kept me from doing this was me. I don't deserve a woman as beautiful and kind as you. I know this timing is weird, and you've got a lot of healing to do, but will you marry me?"

"Yes!" Holly said. She bent down and kissed him. Everyone else cheered and raised their drinks to them.

"I think I need to go upstairs," I told Lafayette.

"You okay?"

I nodded but made a dash for the stairs. When I got to my room I realized Sookie and Lafayette had followed me. "Are you alright, Rachel?" Sookie asked, startling me.

"Sure, yeah, I'm fine." I wiped at my eyes quickly before turning around.

"Oh honey, are you crying?" She took me by the shoulders and sat me on the bed.

"Yeah, this was just a little too much for me right now. It seems like yesterday that Alcide and I were walking, just out there," I motioned out the window. "And he was asking me to marry him. It feels like we got married this morning. It doesn't feel like he's dead, it's so hard to believe."

Lafayette rubbed my back. "It's been almost a year since Jesús died, and I still feel like he's with me. Time doesn't heal the wound, but eventually it hurts less."

"A year," I mumbled. "It's only been a year since Ilena showed me the mistake I was making with Eric. It seems like so much more time has passed. We've all changed so much."

"We live in a crazy world," Sookie said.

"Honey, crazy doesn't even begin to cover it," Lafayette said.

"I just never imagined I would outlive Alcide. I'm the fragile one, I'm the one who was always taking chances and getting into trouble, I'm the one who needed saving. Alcide was supposed to be invincible."

"Even vampires aren't invincible," Sookie reminded me. "No one is. We all die eventually."

"But it wasn't supposed to happen this soon!"

"Nothing can take away the hurt," Lafayette said. "Not even all that tequila out there that you can't drink."

"I don't think there's enough tequila in the world to get me through tonight, let alone in this house." I sighed. "Give me a minute, I'll come back outside."

"Take all the time you need," Sookie told me. She squeezed my hand and then stood up.

Lafayette lingered for a moment. "Rach, you know I don't like calling on the spirit world. Them dead folk are damn pushy, but I'll do it for you. Just tell me when you're ready, you deserve your goodbye."

For a moment I was at a loss for words. "I didn't even think…Thank you, Lala."

"You're my girl, I'd do anything for you."

LPOV

"Oh my god," I sighed as Pam and I got into the elevator. I dropped my Niemen Marcus shopping bags. "I forgot what upper class feels like."

"Give it a few decades, vampires make up three fourths of the 1%. You're going to have so much money you won't ever be able to spend it all, and trust me you're going to have forever to try."

"This is the life," I laughed. The elevator came to a halt and the doors slid open. We walked down the hall to the room we'd booked. It was the swankiest hotel in Dallas and it has a gorgeous view. I already felt like the 1%, hell maybe I was, I had no idea how much money Eric had saved up in the last millennium.

We opened the door and walked in, Eric was already there, waiting for us. We unloaded our bags on to the bed and he looked them over. "All this for me?" He asked skeptically.

"Maybe a thing or two for ourselves," Pam said with a shrug. "We had fun."

"Are you ready to become Miss Texas?" I asked Pam.

"No, not really. Are you sure you don't want to do this? Honestly, you're so much sweeter than me. Really, you're like molasses sometimes, it's awful. That's a southern thing, isn't it?"

"I'm from Colorado," I rolled my eyes. "And I'm not sweet. I'm also not blonde. We need Dolly Parton, this is Texas after all."

"She was from Tennessee."

I shrugged, and pulled the curling iron and hair spray from one of the bags. "Let's do this."

OoOoO

An hour and a whole bottle of hairspray later, I'd finally gotten Pam's hair to the appropriate size. Eric presented Pam with her dress, an awful purple sequined thing that had to be the most gaudy article of clothing I've ever laid eyes on. "We've topped the whooping crane disguise," I said, admiring our work.

"That only took five minutes, not really any competition there," Eric said.

"The what disguise?" Pam asked.

"You're right, that was impromptu. This is a work of art."

Pam rolled her eyes. She pushed past me toward the mirror, when she saw her reflection she gasped. "Oh my god, I'm a republi-cunt." She turned smiling. "Wait until you see what the lovely man at Neiman Marcus picked out for you. Strip."

While Pam went to dig in the bags to find Eric's outfit, Eric took his shirt off, revealing the black veins that had spread across his torso. "Fuck, Eric," I said. Pam turned around. "You're stage two."

Eric reached into a bag and handed me concealer. "Hopefully this is good. Cover what will be visible."

"Damn it, Eric," Pam said.

"We need to be leaving soon, Pamela. Please get my clothes." Wiping bloody tears from her eyes, she turned back to the bags. I dabbed makeup on the veins around his neck. "I'm going to die, you need to accept that. Both of you."

Pam tossed Eric's clothes on the bed before going into the bathroom and slamming the door. "Maybe there's a cure."

"We've gone over this, there isn't a cure. I don't get a miracle, I don't get a second chance."

"This is all my fault."

"I chose to leave, you couldn't have stopped me."

"I pushed you away."

"You didn't make me reckless, losing Nora did, it was my death wish that caused this. But you and Pam have to promise me you'll be careful, you must live after I'm gone. You are my legacy." He put his hand on my cheek and I leaned into it.

"I wasted so much time with you," I said. "I still love you, I never stopped."

"You've been a vampire for less than a year, you have centuries ahead of you. You will love again, I can promise you that."

"What if I don't want to?" I asked.

He kissed my forehead. "You will."

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