I Can Feel It Coming
Magic becomes art when it has nothing to hide.
Aether’s Coven- New Orleans
Guilt has a way of lingering, like a churning in your stomach. The feeling of my stomach dropping to the ground and rolling down the hill, frazzled nerves hopped all together, and in different directions. A fire burned in my mind and heart, when guilt is eating and pestering you, the time loiters like a bum...And even though nothing technically happened between Alcide and me, for a split second I thought about it.
And even though it was only a moment, and I only thought about kissing him, I still felt guilty as hell.
If the shoe was on the other foot and Eric was the one hugging on a beautiful woman and thinking about kissing her, I would be fucking livid. Thinking about the situation made it hard to go on with my day.
Back at the Coven, with my laptop and cell phone, I’m prepping for the big meeting at nightfall. I made my calls sent out my text, then emails, all the while the feelings of what happened a few hours ago just wouldn’t dwindle.
“Hey, space cadet, what’s got you so distracted?” Sookie chuckled, stepping into the kitchen.
“You’re up early,” I replied, changing the subject, quickly removing myself from my looming thoughts.
She smiled at me with her signature crooked smile. I smiled back at my lovely friend while clearing my mind the best I could. I felt Sookie’s cognizance trying to read my thoughts. She was not being nosy, she cares for me and means no harm by her prying. Luckily, she just isn’t powerful enough to dig in my mind, I was able to block her as I’ve always had. But I better watch it; I know Nora and Naomi can read my thoughts and sense my feelings with no problem at all.
“It’s my turn to prepare dinner for the girls,” Sookie answered while, mining the cupboards, pulling out pots and pans. “otherwise, you know I’d be tucked away with my snuggly Bill.”
“Let me help,” I said, closing my laptop. Cooking will keep my idle thoughts occupied until evening.
“Sure, I’m keeping it simple tonight.” She said, scooping cornmeal into a mixing bowl. “Ham, white beans and homemade cornbread.” She beamed at me and I beamed right back.
She measured her ingredients and at the same time, she wondered why I was not tucked away with Eric as I normally I would be.
Usually, after having breakfast with the Coven I’d fly or teleport back home to Shreveport, but it was already late in the afternoon and I couldn’t sleep anyway. I won’t be rested tonight and Eric is never happy about that. I just hope he understands and isn’t an ass about it.
“Will you dice the ham?” She asked, her mind completely focused on her cooking task.
“Of course,” I adore my country girl; Sookie had already soaked the beans the night before and had them slow cooking in the crockpot. The seasoned beans were done, now it’s time to add the hame that is needed for that wonderful additional flavor.
I turned on the oven for her and started slicing and dicing the ham into cubes. Sookie was stirring the cornbread mixture the old fashion way.
This activity comes naturally with Sookie and I. We’ve spent so many days, chatting, venting, laughing. Together we would sort laundry, clean and prepare dinner. We didn’t have to hide behind a mask, not of happiness, not of coping, she could be honest and get heartfelt advice. It was the release valve we both needed and though we bore no relation we regarded one another as sisters.
It wasn’t long before the house was filled with the pleasant smells we had created. Soon its residents; girls and teens getting home from school, practice, or women coming home from work filled the dining room and kitchen. Ruby Jean walked into the kitchen area with my twins, each child at her side, holding her hand. My son and daughter were distracted by the commotion in the house until they captured a glimpse of me and rushed into the room, not minding anyone or anything else in their presence.
“Mommy!” They shouted excited, pleasantly surprised to see me up so early.
“Godric II and Jessica Mae,” Once I pry my two little ‘mini-me’s’ from my leg, I kneel and position them and myself, so we are all eye to eye, “haven’t told you, absolutely no running in the house,” I speak to them in a level tone.
“Yes, mommy,” They both acknowledge the error appropriately and apologetically in unison.
“Good, now let’s get ya’ll something to eat,” I went to the counter and began scooping the hot meal into bowls, while Sookie slices a couple of pieces of hot buttery cornbread.
“What a lovely sight, our Aether and her noblest progeny preparing dinner for the family,” Nora sang as she practically waltzes into the room.
Everything she says sounds so regal due to her posh English accent. If Nora could have her way, the twins and I would live here. She’s tried to convince Eric and me, but we won’t waver. I love being with my people, but I don’t think I could live here. My home with Eric is my sanctuary. Therefore, joining the Coven for breakfast or dinner at least twice a week always brings a smile to my High Priestess face.
We finished dinner a little after 7 PM, unsure of how long this meeting will last, we bid our circle a good evening. Cathy is in charge of the Coven, the twins and Misty when the four of us are out.
The power of four consists of Nora, Naomi, Ruby and myself. The three High Priestesses will be at my side as the perfect representation of our Wicca society. Any foe, supernatural or not who dares to lay hands on us will get molly-whopped with a blast of powerful magic.
Tonight, everyone had better be on their best behavior...Or else...
Godric’s House Baton Rouge
Eric asked me via text to stay in the guest room until he arrives. He was being possessive as usual, and like a fool I allow it. No matter how hard I try, I can’t make his thick-head understand that my scent has been cloaked by a powerful spell. Even if a vampire was stupid enough to get all crazy and try and stick their fangs in me, I’ll barbeque the shit out of them.
Ala Paul Di Rizzio...
Franklin and Eggs are the first to arrive so Nora and Naomi join them in the main room. Pam and Lafayette were the next to arrive, so Ruby Jean went out to greet them.
I was proud of my aunt, she was polite, cordial and that’s not easy for her and with Pam, it’s nearly impossible. But Ruby Jean kept her cool and in turn, Lafayette was slowly warming back up to her. I read my aunts thoughts, she missed her son and desperately wanted to know if he still held any of his Brujo powers.
‘Only time will tell, auntie.’ I sent out encouraging words via telepathy and I felt her calm even more.
“Good evening beautiful one,” Eric’s silky voice crooned to me as he sauntered into the room.
He radiated dominance and natural confidence. I can never deny how arresting he looks. My eyes are glued to him. And when he looks at me; he leaves no doubt that he is positively smitten. I swear I will never grow tired of that face. Especially since I hadn’t done anything special tonight; my color choice, purple. I decided to wear my lace V-neck, long-sleeve, swing dress.
He wore his signature V-Neck, black Tee, Black fitted denim jeans, and his dark polished boots.
“Good evening handsome,” My heart leaped a little bit, and I smiled at him as he leaned forward and kissed my forehead.
“I can only assume waking alone was due to the arrangements of this meeting?” He said simply.
“Yes, I’ve been visiting, calling, texting and emailing all day,” I pointed out. “I had a good meal, but didn’t have time to sleep.”
He smirked in response, that smug and cocky smirk that has taken my breath away from the moment I first saw it.
“I will make sure you sleep tonight.” He said, soft and low, “It is time to begin our meeting, several council members have gathered and the wolves have arrived.”
While Eric senses the presence of the vampires and wolves, along with the accompanying scent. I can hear the dark, predatory vampire musings and feel the wild, primitive impulses of the wolves.
All of it had me nervous as hell. I know what the vampires think of me. They’re either hate me or fear me. You really don’t want either of those feelings from a vampire. As for the wolves, besides Alcide, I don’t know if I can trust the rest of his pack.
Eric and I entered the great-room side by side. And even though I had on my best poker face, I’m sure my nervousness could not be completely concealed.
Everyone invited showed; this was expected, if they did not, they would look suspicious. My mission tonight is to determine who is friend or foe. This is not an easy task, it’s not as if the party responsible for bombing Fangtaisa is going to just confess. But, if I can find a motive, that will narrow the suspect pool.
I pretended to casually scan the room, anyone making eye contact would be greeted with a nod accompanied with a warm smile.
The wolves stood in the far corner of the room while the vampires sat at the round table. Since there is technically no more AVL, besides Bill and his public relations assistant Christopher Selivan; the vampire’s order has reverted back to the original hierarchy. Present tonight is a combination of the Midwest and Southern council. There are Kings, Queens, Magistrates Chancellors, and Sheriffs. The vampires are dressed to impress, the suits tailored, the dresses designer. I sat in Godric’s chair facing the crowd.
“Good evening,” I cleared the lump forming in my throat, “I feel as though I need no introduction.”
The room went silent and I froze. I began seeing an ominous aura of black, but could not locate the source. Sensing my fear, Eric took over.
“You need no introduction Magi, however, may I ask that my peers introduce themselves to Aether and Coven” He motioned with his hand to the back of the room where the wolves are gathered,” I’d also like to ask the wolves to provide the council with an introduction.”
He placed a comforting hand on my shoulder, providing me with some comfort in my agitated state. I could not understand why I was unable to pinpoint the source of danger. With my eyes only, I kept scanning the room.
“I am Sherriff Athanasius and this is my King Aleron.”
Hearing the name Aleron was an additional surprise. I observed the vampire seated just a few feet away. He was not what I pictured at all. He favored the actor Robert Dinero.
“Your Magi, King Eric, please accept my apology, my behavior was uncivilized, my punishment was just.” Now I was positively stunned. He was sincere as sincere could be.
“You are forgiven King Aleron.” I nodded and smiled.
“Good evening Magi, I am Queen of Georgia, Ruth Mare, and this is my Chancellor Brielle Vesper.” The beautiful red-head smiled at me, the Queen and her adorable Chancellor reminded me of vampire versions of Jessica and Willa.
“Your lovely Magi, I am King Colin Church, of Arkansas and Oklahoma.” Colin looked like the actor Colin Ferrell, just replace the Irish accent for a thick southern one.
“Your Magi, I am Ezekiel Cole-King of North Carolina and South Carolina.” He was tall and black, he reminded me of Lawrence Fishburne.
“Your Magi, I am King Zacchaeus of Virginia and West Virginia.” He looked like a very well-polished Woody Allen.
“Your lovely Magi Aether, I am King Desmarais of Missouri and Illinois, at my side is Chief Monarch Calliope of area 7 and 8.
Eggs and Franklin have mentioned these vampires over the years. They are deemed friends and from the vibes, I’m getting, they are true.
“Magi Aether I am King Cynfael of Kentucky and Tennessee.”
King Cynfael reminded me of the French actor Jean Reno. He came across as cold and aloof, but I knew better. His thoughts were elsewhere, he was deeply worried about his progeny whom he’d recently released.
“I’m Queen Violet Muzurski of Florida.” The dark-haired woman dressed in a little black dress stood with her hands on her hips, casting lust-filled eyes at Eric as if he was the only one in the room.
Her assembly waited a moment, thinking, possibly hoping she would introduce them as the other Kings and Queens had done, but she did not. When I didn’t reply she began glaring at me as if I stole something from her. I glared right back at that skank and still didn’t give her a response.
“Your Magi, I am Chief Monarch Idris Eoghan of Florida, and this is my Sheriff Rune Saxon of area 3.”
“Nice to meet you, Chief Idris and Sheriff Rune,” I cut my eyes from the rude queen and smile at the two men, not giving any fucks about Violet. She may be an aloof snob, but she means us no harm.
“Your Magi, I am King Russell Edgington of Mississippi and Alabama, this here is my handsome progeny Talbot Angelis.” I get a very uneasy feeling with this one. With all the other vampires, I feel something, although most just small, tidbits, others, more direct thoughts, but at least it’s something. With this vampire, I get nothing, absolute, nothing, as if he has some kind of cloaking spell placed on him. I send out a telepathic message to my Priestesses.
“Keep an eye on the one called Russell.”
Surprisingly, two vampires are listening in.
“Yes, lover.” Answers Eric.
“You mean the queer in the crush velvet jacket”
“OMG, Laffy-Taffy, you can hear me!”
“Yes, hookah and even yo mind is loud.”
Nora and Naomi giggle and proceed with the orders given. Aunt Ruby is elated, but she keeps her cool. Ruby Jean is a soldier when it comes to protecting the Coven, so she can’t focus on her son right now as she is on a mission. Now that my crew is on the vampires’ watch I can assess the wolves.
Alcide steps forward confidently, dressed in a dark blue Henley shirt, dark blue jeans, and tan Timberland boots and makes quick work of the introduction by explaining the wolf’s hierarchy and how this pack came to be.
“My name is Beta Alcide Herveaux, the group gathered here tonight are the Alphas, Betas, Deltas, Warriors and Lunas of the now combined Jackson, Shreveport and New Orleans packs.”
Alpha is the pack leader, and beta is the next in command, it is usually a father and oldest son, but this is not always the case. A Luna is the First lady of the Beta or Alpha, only the wife or mate of an Alpha or Beta can be addressed as a Luna. A Delta is third in command and is like a Mayor and General. Then there are the soldiers who are called Warriors and wolves believe in mysticism, and they have their shamans who are addressed as Healers.
When so many of Jackson and Alcide’s men became addicted to V a few years ago and refused to sober up, Alcide asked his father for help. His father followed the old law and killed several wolves as punishment, but killing them did not seem to stop the epidemic. Distraught at what was happening with his pack, Alcide stepped down from his position as Alpha. He could have remained Alpha, but that would have involved killing the insubordinate wolves. He decided to leave his pack to his father Jackson. In turn, his father combined both packs, they gave the reaming pack a choice, get clean or go rogue. Over a dozen men left the pack. Still, the Herveaux’s have united the Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas wolves, making them the largest wolf pack in North America.
Alcide told me that two rouge packs still remain, rouge packs are packs who reside by their own rules, this doesn’t necessarily make them bad, but their activities are a lot less known. Alcide held his belief that the only pack he felt was capable if involved with anything bad was the former Jackson pack that was ostracized.
“Tara...I mean... Magi...” I tried not to giggle, but it tickled me the way he fumbles his words like that with me. “This is Alpha Jackson Herveaux and Luna Carol Herveaux.”
Alcides mother is beautiful, he has her deep brown eyes. His father was rugged and handsome, their aura was pure just like their son.
“Magi Tara, this is my Delta Bly Eyota and my Lead Warrior Reijo.” Mr. Herveaux announces and his two dark-haired men stepped forward and nodded at me. Although these two wolves look dangerous, I sense the same pureness in them as I did in Mr. and Mrs. Herveaux.
“Magi Tara, please meet our Healer Sun Hill and her daughter Rikki Naylor-Hill.” Luna Carol says with a smile. Both ladies greet me warmly. It seems Luna Carol is on a matchmaking mission tonight, she is wanting to hook her son up with that stunning wolf-chick named Rikki and Ms. Hill is on the same page.
Alcide nor Rikki have a clue as to what their mothers are up too.
The meeting concludes at little after midnight and I don’t have to use magic to know that Eric has something to share about his observations and conversations, myself included.