One Of Us
My heart’s like an open book...
For the whole world to read...
Sometimes, nothing keeps me together, at the seams...
I found the remote and clicked on the television expecting the regular evening news; but tonight, I found myself letting out an audible gasp as I watch Bill Compton live on CNN. I listened intensely as the anchorwoman introduced Bill as the new AVL spokesperson.
’William Thomas Compton -The 175-year-old former Confederate soldier is now the American Vampire League new spokesperson, replacing Nan Flanagan′
And the words on the screen glided by... That explained why Sookie’s been too busy to drop me a line. I’m certain she’s been traveling all this time with Bill on his campaign.
From what Eric has told me, Bill is almost as good as Franklin when it comes to his ability to recall precise details, faces, and conversations. Compton is reputed to be exceptional, even among other long-lived supernatural. Eric said when you live for as long as vampires do, it is important to have a good memory. So Eric wasn’t surprised that Bill moved up so fast in the vampire ranks. He said Bill is the creator of a valuable database in which all the vampires in North America are listed along with their significant information.
Recently, vampires in other counties have paid Bill insane amounts of money for his ideas. The database itself has been controversial among the vampire community because of potential security issues. For a fleeting moment, I wondered why Bill never seemed to notice my scent. From the moment he came to town, Sookie had his full attention. Not that I ever looked at Bill Compton that way, or wanted his attention. I just assumed he would sense me as all Supes do.
My only theory is that Eric and I were fated to be together. I was preordained to venture to Shreveport, seek Fangtasia, and discover him.
Upon being in the same vicinity of the thousand-year-old Viking, something magical happened that triggered my gift, my energy and bonded us long before we figured out what was even happening. I believe if not for our strange encounter that night, my magical essence would have remained dormant, buried in my soul for god knows how long, perhaps forever.
Now it’s four days until Dallas and my request was finally fulfilled; Nora had prepared a spell that she guaranteed would work. My lovely collaborator emailed me the instructions. I read them twice and printed it out. What I had to do was revolting, but I had no choice, Sookie has to be introduced to Aether’s Coven and hopefully, she’ll want to unite with us.
So I went to the exotic pet store and purchased four veiled chameleons. Out by the pond, on the cover of the moonless night, I wore my black cloak at the gazebo. I lit the black candles and placed the cute creatures in a large golden birdcage. I put on the Chimera of Isis and chanted the incantation.
“Soror mea, Isis , perfide, odorem , ab iniuria tueri corpus meum.”
My amulet blasted them with the laser light; thankfully the little lizards were unharmed. Each chameleon changed to a solid vibrant color, one strawberry red, the other lime green, that little guy is blueberry and the feisty one, banana yellow. I used the hypodermic needles Nora gave me and carefully drew a small amount of blood from each little critters. I emptied the blood into the golden chalice and chanted the incantation three more times as instructed.
The last step had me transferring the blood into the four, blood-vial-fang-necklaces. Each day at dawn I’ll put on a fang necklace and consume the blood at dusk. The animal blood is nothing like Eric’s sweet intoxicating blood. This laser-lizard blood didn’t offer a buzz or anything. I washed the repugnant crap down with a morning mimosa. After that’s all done I find my sexy beast in his study; he was surfing the Internet.
“I’m ready for Dallas, min älskar.” I know my Swedish is awful, but practice makes perfect.
He didn’t take his eyes off the notebook. I tilt my head; he usually has something smart-ass to say about my bad enunciation.
“Very good lover...” he mumbled after a few moments.
Whatever he’s doing must be important. But so is this. I untied my cloak and let it fall to the floor. I have nothing on except Eric’s black tank that looks like a mini-dress on me.
“Notice anything different?” I cheerfully asked, wondering if I’m now unscented, I teleport from the doorway entrance, planting my half-naked ass on his desk, mere inches from his face.
His eyes slowly scan my almost nude body from head to toe. He smiled charmingly and replied. “You’ve become even more beautiful than the day I met you.”
Nice answer, but that’s not the answer I wanted.
His arms carefully made their way into my space until they gathered me and brought me into his body and I asked, “Min Vacker, don’t I smell any different?”
With his callous hands on the small of my back, he pulled me in a little tighter and his soft, warm lips press into mine. After a long moment, he answered.
“No lover,” a pompous ass grin developed on his sexy face, “it seems your progeny’s magic is a failure; I guess you’ll just have to stay home.”
I teleported right out of his embrace and grabbed my cell phone in the bedroom. That Nora had some explaining to do! It’s early in the morning, so it’s no surprise she didn’t answer. I left her an urgent message. I’m sure she’ll get back with me when she can. If I don’t hear from her by noon, I’ll fly straight to the Coven. Luckily I didn’t have to do that, she called back in less than 30 minutes.
“I’m absolutely sure the spell works”, my right-hand woman assured me, “Eric is your Chosen, that’s the reason the concealment has no effect on him.”
I let out a long-suffering sigh. “Thanks, Nora, I never should have doubted you.”
“No worries; I’ll see you in a few days.”
The next night...
The fireflies are flickering near the trees and our hearts felt content as we sat on the balcony watching the sunset; enjoying that nice, comfortable silence that you tend to only experience with people you’ve known all of your life. I can’t even remember feeling like this with anyone I’ve known for so little time.
Eric’s phone pinged but he ignored it until the sun was completely submerged below the horizon. He hasn’t missed a sunset or sunrise since we discovered his gift. He glanced at his phone as it pinged again, it was a text message. His fingers maneuvered in a blur responding to his received text and then he stood up and held out his hand...I happily took it...
“Accompany me to Fangtasia tonight. We shall put your cloaking spell to the test.”
“Gladly,” I beam, I was more than eager to do just that.
I enter my walk-in closet and glance over at my black wardrobe section. I’ll wear my black BCBG, all over lace romper with matching lace stilettos. I only wear black at Fangtasia or when casting spells. Otherwise, my colors of choice are white, purple and yellow.
On rare occasions, I’ve even talked Eric into wearing colors other than black. No surprise he’s fond of red. But what did surprise me is his choice of various shades of blue. And although he looks damn well in just about anything, tonight he must wear his required black. He chose his black Forzieri button-up shirt and black Diesel jeans.
Fangtaisa has not changed since the day I walked in six months ago. At every turn were the usual, freaks, whores and all-out debauchery. Although tonight, I was introduced to Eric’s new allies, the King of Missouri, Desmarais and the Queen of Georgia, Ruth Mare. Both vampires know who and what I am. Both vampires are close to Eric’s age, yet neither of them acted all weird as the vampires had before on so many occasions. As a matter of fact, most of the vampires tonight paid me little attention. I got a few flirtatious glances and nasty thoughts; I’m sure that’s because I look pretty hot sitting on the stage next to the equally hot Eric. But the behavior and stares were nothing like before. The night was as normal as it could be at a vampire bar.
Still, the humans evaluated me, judged me and worst of all, envied me; they scrambled their brains trying to figure me out.
And I let them...At least no one was trying to kill anyone; everyone was just having a good time.
A few Days Later...
We arrived only an hour before the Conference, so Eric quickly got dressed, kissed me farewell and was on his way down to the grand hall. Tonight, I put my hair in a half braid bun style, letting my long black ringlets fall loosely down my back. I slipped on my deep-purple Victoria Beckham mini-dress with my black Michael Kors ankle -strap heels and a black clutch. I must admit, I’ve become quite the clothes whore; it’s all Eric’s fault, he is constantly buying me designer dresses, shoes, purses, and lingerie. And he’s so good at it, always the right size and the best quality. There ain’t much that man isn’t good at. He spoils me and I love him for it. Eric must be chatting with Bill because he saved me a trip to the receptionist desk by texting me Bill and Sookie’s room number.
I teleport down to the fifth floor and then to room number 52 and gave the door a few taps. After a moment, it swung open. At first sight, Sookie and I let out a girlish squeal, jumping up and down like we’re at a rock concert and then crashing into each other. We embrace in a big-I-missed–you-best-friend-hug.
“Wow Tara, you look so pretty!” She leaned back with a smile, eyeing my stylish get-up.
“Thank you Sook, you look pretty too.”
I love her hairstyle, it’s sophisticated. She has it pulled into a delicate French roll with just a little wisp of her blond hair falling on her face. As if we planned it, she also had on a purple dress, hers was the lighter shade of purple, and in her classic sundress style, but undeniably chic. She asked me how I’ve been and apologized for not keeping in touch, then told me just what I expected. She’s been traveling nonstop with Bill during his campaign. All the traveling and keeping vampire hours took some adjusting.
I chuckled at the irony, “I can certainly relate.” I happily told her.
“Are you upset with me T?”
“It’s water under the bridge Sook.”
“What are ya doing here in Dallas?” She asked while offering me a seat.
“I’m here with my vampire; he was invited to The Appointing Conference. Later, we plan on congratulating Bill on his election win.”
Sookie eyes widen in surprise, a proud smile emerged, and it looked as if that expression would remain permanently plastered on her face.
“My, my, my...” she said slowly, “has this vampire from Shreveport changed you or what, six months ago you were ready to stake Bill and now look at you!” She teased, just beaming with joy.
I chuckled and playfully roll my eyes, “Your right, I’ve changed... I’m who I ’m supposed to be now.” I noted with a nod. “I’m no longer a vampire hater-I’m a vampire congratulate-er.”
We both burst into vigorous laughter. We spent the next few hours catching up, fondly looking back on our tumultuous and particular childhood, the awkward and angst-filled teenage years, clear up until now.
We thoroughly enjoy or easy exchange and I realize nothing has altered between us. We are still the very best of friends and I’m sure it will always be this way.
“What was it like growing up reading peoples thoughts?” I asked. I’ve always been fascinated by Sookie, she’d honed in on her gift at a very young age. I marveled at the similarities Sookie shared with Willa, like Sookie her parents were murdered when she was very young. But unlike Willa, Corbett and Michelle Stackhouse murders were never solved. I’d ask Ruby to summon them if Sookie wanted answers.
“You know T; reading minds is a gift and a curse.” She sighed deeply, “People rarely say what they actually feel.”
“Ain’t that the truth girl, we live in a world built on promises, constructed by liars.”
“Mmm,” she nodded, “You know Tara; I could never hear your thoughts- even if I tried.”
She stunned me with her confession, which totally caught me off guard. I’d always thought she could read my mind; I never tried to block her out. I suppose it doesn’t take a mind-reader to know how I feel...I’ve always worn my heart on my shoulders, it was never a secret to anyone how messed up I was, yet Sookie remained loyal and true, she always knew how to comfort me, cheer me up and make me feel like everything would be okay.
We ordered room service and while we waited, Sookie confirmed what Lafayette told me weeks ago. Everyone presumed when Lettie was evicted, she had moved in with me and we’re all good in Shreveport. He didn’t tell her or anyone- anything about what actually happened. He figured, I’d tell whoever, whatever, whenever I wanted. Of course, I’m gonna tell my best friend.
“Sook, Lettie is dead, she passed a little over three months ago.”
This was the first time announcing her passing aloud and my goodness, I felt the pain of losing her as if had just happened. The atmosphere in the room became dense with sadness and Sookie’s eyes filled with tears.
“Oh Lord have mercy Tara Mae, I am so sorry,” She offered her heartfelt condolences. She hugged me again; reminding me of how much I really missed our genuine harmony.
“Lettie and I made amends, she’s sorry for not being a decent mother and I forgave her.”
“That’s wonderful Tara;” she sniffled while grabbing the box of tissues and setting it between us. “Lettie was a good person, Gran and I never doubted that. But Gran says alcohol can poison your mind and change you.”
“Would if I told you I made amends with my mother after she died and something, not of this world drove Lettie into her terrible addiction and that same entity killed her.”
Undoubtedly puzzled, Sookie leaned back to peer at me. She thought I’d lost my mind. ′You know I’m not crazy Sook,′ I spoke directly to her mind and she peered at me in astonishment.
Without uttering a word I get on with telling her what had happened the past six months since I left Bon Temps. I told her how it all began with me looking for a job and ending up at a vampire bar, detailing the account of my kidnapping and assault and how fighting for my life unleashed Aether.
Then, I gave her meticulous account of Aether Coven’s history, going all the way back to Salem and how my great-grandmother Mae Thornton fled from Salem to New Orléans to escape the witch-hunts. I told her about the false arrest of my vampire’s Sire and Progeny. I spoke of Godric’s unjust arrest and his self-sacrificial death. The King of Louisiana gave his life so the corrupt Authority, could be exposed and dismantled, hence the re-appointing of the monarchs.
I explained to her that Aunt Ruby Jean is not a mentally disturbed woman. She’s a gifted medium, who not only summoned my mother’s spirit; she’s summoned the spirit of other slain witches, wolves and even a 2000-year-old vampire king.
All the while she listened, captivated and truly believing.
I spoke about Jessica and how the brave fire-meze sacrificed her young life to free the stolen souls from eternity with Absalom. I could no longer hold back the tears as I spoke about how my troubled mother died at the hands of my Supernatural enemy. She needed to know in life, Lettie was tormented by trickery, plagued with lies and poisoned with fear by a malevolent parasite for decades. Finally, I paused and gave her some time to absorb it all. She nervously peered at me for several long moments and using telepathy, she responded.
‘So, your bonded is Sheriff of Area Five?’ Bill and I heard about what happened in Baton Rouge, which led to the arrest of the King of New Orleans. My god Tara, I had no idea you were involved in all this.′
Her eyes twinkled in revelation.
‘Yes, Eric Northman is my bonded, Godric was King and his maker...And almost everything that’s gone down is because of me.’
‘There are people who hunt people like us..?’ She asked her anxiety apparent.
‘There will always be witch-hunters, worshipers of Absalom. The demon will offer them riches and influence them to sacrifice us to prove their devotion to her. She wants our soul, she needs it. It’s the only way she can concur us. But I was created to protect us- and I promise I will.’
‘How could you not have known what you are all this time?’ She questioned me.
She couldn’t believe I had ‘this’ all along and I didn’t know it.
’I’ve been asking myself that same question...My dreams, visions, were speaking to me, yet I refused to listen. I chose not to see there was something special about me. I kept my head buried in the sand; too afraid of being different, because I knew that being different in Bon Temps would never be accepted.
‘What kind of powers do you have T?’ She asked. ‘How did little ole you fight off vampires and demons?’
I stood to my feet and wiped my smudged eyes with a tissue; now it’s time for show-and-tell.
“You’re an Earth-Witch, you have the power of telepathy, in time, you’ll be taught the ability to mentally manipulate and the power of telekinesis,” And then I rearrange her cosmetic items on the vanity, my mind is the only thing physically moving the objects.
“This is one of the powers Air-Witch’s have.” I use teleportation as an example and disappeared out into the hallway in a white puff of mist.
“My fire-doll taught me how to do this...” I produced a nice sized fire-sphere in my hand and quickly extinguished it.
“A Water-Witch has the ability of hydro-kinesis...” I turn my bottled water as if I am going to pour it on the floor, but before gravity takes over and it spills to the ground, I direct the water flow neatly into the bathroom sink.
The entire time Sookie was silent, she sat awkwardly, fidgeting in her seat, and her big brown eyes were wide as saucers and unblinking. At that point, I decided to save the whole flying and photokinesis ability for a later time. At least now, my friend would be prepared to see the women and children at the Coven. I sat down and took her by the hand.
“Sook, you’re one of us, you should be with us.”
“I suppose I am...” she said breathlessly.
“Come to New Orleans, stay for a while and see how you like it.”
“I’ll think about T...I promise.”
Serving her a glass of wine did wonders calming her nerves. After she made herself a second glass, she’d promise to see if Bill would consider taking residence in New Orleans.
It was close to midnight when Eric called me down to the hotel bar. Sookie got the same call from Bill and on the elevator going down, we met up with Nora and Naomi. I introduced my best friend to my High Priestesses.
The vampire-beverage True Blood has a new competitor on the market and the vampires at the hotel are invited to a ‘New Blood’ tasting. The humans who accompany the vampires can sample their share of over a dozen vintage wines.
In the bar, I introduced Eric to Sookie. As we all greeted one other; Bill shamelessly gawked at me as if he’d never seen me before. His eyes never faltered from me, his leering lingered on my neck, my breast, as he lustfully stared at me, unmoved by my obvious discomfort. I realize I look different; better, but his unyielding lust-filled glare caught the attention of Eric and through our bond, his possessive jealousy prickled at him. Bill had better cut it out or he’d be ripped apart by my Viking. The surprised look on Sookie’s face was confirmation that this is not Bill’s normal behavior.
I felt a tinge of insecurity recoil off her, poor girl, how embarrassing. Her man is acting as if she’s not even standing right next to him. Puzzled, I wondered if my cloaking spell had worn off, hence the reason Compton’ is actin so thirsty.
So I dug into creepy-Compton’s mind and his thoughts stunned me. It wasn’t my scent that was getting him all riled up. Now that Bill knows what I am, that delusional prick wants to have his way with Sookie and me... His perverted thoughts of me pleasuring him made my stomach turn sour.
Eric was certainly not intimidated by Bill, nor mistrusting of me. But none the less, Bill’s uncouth behavior caused Eric to cut our night short. I said goodnight to my progeny’s and gave my best friend a big hug.
She promised, using telepathy, ′I’m joining your Coven, with or without Bill’s blessing.′
And as promised, I went back home the next morning. And Eric kept his promise, the next night he called and gave me an update. The first night, after much deliberation all the Monarchs, Chancellors, Sheriffs and anyone who was of importance in the vampire hierarchy began electing Godric, Salome, and Paul’s predecessors.
The only vampire, whose accomplishments surpass Compton, by unanimous vote by the council, was Franklin Mott. The slightly crazed, curly-headed vamp is now the Vampire Magistrate. Mott has an uncanny ability to spot a lie, so if you ever find yourself in his interrogation room - My God -tell the truth!
The second night Franklin and the council presented Benedict with the position of Chief Monarch, replacing Paul. Talley humbly accepted his position. I have no doubt he will be the complete opposite of Paul. Eggs will be an evenhanded monarch and all of Paul and Martin’s barbaric methods will no longer be used. Eggs appointed Pam as his Chancellor, replacing Kwibe. Vampire-Barbie- Warrior Princess proudly accepted and promptly issued a warrant for Salome’s arrest.
The call last night was the best. With absolutely no enthusiasm whatsoever in that sexy raspy voice, Eric coolly announced to me... “Lover, I have been appointed, I am now the King of Louisiana.”