Chapter 1: Star Crossed Lovers
Some say the star-crossed lovers,
Left a story for us to uncover,
Two beings you cannot see,
Cast from the heavens for what they believe,
"Wanna talk about it?" Eric found the pretty girl who had accompanied Jason Stackhouse to his sister's party in the backyard. Pam had briefly introduced them and he wasn't about to let her leave without at least getting her number. The dark-skinned beauty sat with her head hung low on the tree swing Eric and his dad built when he was a kid.
"No- I wanna drink-about it…" She replied gloomily pulling a silver flask from her jean jacket pocket. She was far too distraught to register his concern. After being humiliated by her drunken date, she retreated outside. The moon shined down casting a soft glow on her flawless skin and the young man was taken by her stunning features despite her sadden expression.
"Cool, can I hava sip…" He sat on the wooden swing next to her. He couldn't believe how stupid Jason Stackhouse is. The half-wit came to the party with the hottest girl in Bon Temps only to abandon her for a cheap bottle-blonde floozy. Hell, the Stackhouse's were never known for their intelligence.
Tara took another swig and handed him the flask. "Suit yourself." She replied blankly, her head drooped while adroitly kicking the rocks beneath her tennis shoes. Eric eagerly grabbed the bottle allowing his fingertips to lightly brush hers. He took a big swig and made a deep croaking noise, which sounded more animal than human.
Tara smiled and suppressed a chuckle.
"Whoa, that's whiskey!?" Eric puffed, then shuddered, as the sharp fluid slowly burned his throat making its way into his gut.
"Yep, Jack Daniels. What did ya think was in the flask?" Tara giggled softly and took another swig.
"I-I was thinking peach schnapps or something," Eric coyly chuckled, "fruity..." while admiring how beautiful her smile is, and secretly patting himself on the back for being the cause of it.
"That's for lightweights." She giggled again, only this time her giggle was hearty. She turned her head to the side, making eye contact. His wide icy-blue eyes captured her deep dark- sultry eyes and for several long moments, their gazes fell, unblinkingly upon one another.
The moment was interrupted by the sound of Pam's toy poodle barking in earnest at the screen door. After several squeaking barks, Pam appeared at the patio door to let him out.
"Make it quick Pompei!" Pam drawled at her adorable pooch.
"Hi, Pam." Tara waved and Pam waved back. "Hi, Tara! Hey Eric, wanna another beer?"
"Nah, I'm cool, thanks." He nodded, giving her sister a wink. She winked back and called out as the tiny dog climbed the stairs and trotted into to the house behind his Master.
"How do ya know my sister?" Eric asked curiously. Pam wasn't the easiest person to get along with so seeing Pam so cordial was a little surprising.
"I moved here from Baton Rouge last year. Pam and I clicked almost instantly. Now, we're goin our separate ways. I've been accepted to LSU. I'll miss that bitch." she chuckled. "You know she's stoked about going to New Orleans University with you."
Damn, I have the worst timing! He thought to himself He'd missed Tara by a year. Perhaps it was for the best. She would have made it really hard to leave Bon Temps.
"I'm excited for her. It's great there. You should join us." Eric didn't mean to say that last part but didn't regret it either.
"If I don't like it at LSU, I may take you up on that offer." Tara smiled sheepishly, her cheeks began to burn as it just dawned on her that Pam's hot older brother was flirting with her. The night was starting to look up after all. Eric is five times hotter and ten times smarter than Jason.
Eric leaned forward in the swing, "Even if you stay at LSU, I'd like you to come visit me in New Orleans." He smirked and Tara's stomach did somersaults, his sexy crooked smile was the cause.
"Deal," Tara smiled, holding out her hand so they could shake on it. He unintentionally glared at it for a moment and clasped it with his own, noting how soft her skin is. Then ever so gently pulled her delicate hand to his lips and pressed a firm kiss to her flesh. His sapphire eyes penetrating her russet ones causing an involuntary shiver down her spine.
"Take me home," Tara impulsively blurted out and immediately regretted her spontaneous outburst. "OH! I mean..." She covered her face with her arms, embarrassed beyond belief, trying to think of how she could get out of this situation. She hadn't meant to be so forward.
Damn Jack Daniels.
"Tara," His raspy voice crooned,"It's okay." forcing her to look over at him and when she did, her tummy fluttered and her body responded once more.
"What I meant to say was." she stuttered awkwardly. "I didn't drive and I'm not about to go and ask Ja-"
"Tara," He interrupted again. "I'd be happy to take ya home." A well-defined smirk lined his handsome face, his eyes impossibly large, Tara would have given anything to know what he was thinking.
"Okay," Tara mumbled blushingly.
Eric was alone in his car with Tara and suddenly he couldn't find any words to say. The air was charged with something unexplainable. Eric started his Corvette and took off. The way her thighs shifted in that short jean skirt when he turned the corner, caused his wild eyes to roam. Energy shot through their bodies and the atmosphere became revived with sensuality.
"Make a right on Parker Square," Tara instructed and Eric turned another sharp corner watching her petite legs shift once more.
"The yellow house." The doe-eyed doll pointed her finger to a modest little house on the corner. He pulled into the driveway behind an old station wagon. Eric's cobalt eyes fluttered closed as he shifted the car's gear into park.
"Thank you." She beamed. She'd forgotten the last time she smiled so much.
"Your welcome." He replied, searching for something more to say. Anything that would keep her in his company a while longer. Her smile was so bright, bright enough to light the darkest night. It was warm, sincere, inviting and in it, he found the courage to ask.
"Will ya call me? Or I can call you…I-"
"Eric…" Tara interrupted. "I'd love to give you my number, but first I'd like for ya to walk me to my door," she whispered in a voice low and seductive voice, looking up at him through long fluttering lashes.
The six-foot-four blonde practically leaped out of his sports car, dashed to the passenger side and opened the door for the raven-haired young woman. He extended his hand and she gladly took it as he helped her out of the car; the tension melted away.
Then without smiling at her, without saying a word, without doing anything other than meeting her eyes, he slowly leaned and just as the longing became unbearable, Eric's lips met Tara's. Eric's kiss was slow and deliberate. The warmth of his mouth sent a current running through her body. Eric's chest heaved with each passing breath, his entire body felt like a live wire. He achingly throbbed between his legs. Tara wrapped her arms around his neck and he straightened his back, taking her feet off the ground. She pulled her feet up and hugged his waist with her legs. In that moment, neither of them moved. Neither of them breathed.
They just . . . existed together. And the kiss was still artless, still desperate—but only because it was real. The most honest, truthful moment they'd ever shared.
Tara's neighbor, Jason's sister and Eric's ex-girlfriend Sookie Stackhouse gawked, jaw agape from across the street on her porch the entire time.
Chapter 2: Chasing Shadows
Thinking all that life would be
When you're not around
I just could not find a way
I wouldn't even know up from down
But since I've had you in my life
All these can be found
So strong and true, baby
All comin' from you
The Stackhouse Residence
The moment Jason slid into his chair, he was served an enormous platter of food with a large elegant glass of orange juice. Bacon, eggs, sausage, piles of fried potatoes; a tureen of fruit sat on ice to keep it chilled. The basket of rolls set before him would keep him full for a week.
Cooking was all Sookie could do to keep her mind preoccupied. And still, it didn't work. Jason appraised his sister as he began feasting on the rich food with ravenous hunger. The blonde stood at the kitchen window again, eyes on the newly paved driveway, that she held no interest in.
"Damn Sook, good food." The sound of his voice caused her to finally move away from the window and re-engage her sibling. She turned to observe her older brother eating like a caveman, taking massive bites of his meat rather than cutting it.
"Thanks..." She muttered, her voice trailing away, her head kept replaying what she saw the night before, the way he held her, kissed her. All while re-examining her last moments with Eric, what she said, what he said... She had reread his texts, her replies... always wondering what she should have done differently. In her heart, she knew there was another girl with her claws in him back then; now Tara has the nerve... her stomach turned at the thought.
"You okay Sis?" He asked, still eating his food like it was going out of style. He crammed it in thick and fast, consuming a meal that had taken an hour to cook in a matter of minutes. Sookie sat down and took a sip of her coffee.
"Yep, how was the party last night?" She knew he'd fucked up somehow, otherwise, why would Tara end up in the arms of her man.
"Lame! He shouted pieces of food flew out of his mouth. "There was only one hot chick there and she was stuck up." He ate so noisily, then, showing no signs of embarrassment, he wiped his mouth on his sleeve and belched. "Well Pam is hot, but she's the queen of ice." He rolled his eyes, "I don't think Pam invited her other hot friends Sophie Ann and Jessica."
"She didn't invite me either," she grumbled lowly.
Pamela Northman always had the best parties, but Sookie was never invited to any. When she heard Eric would be visiting from New Orleans, she wanted to go so badly. Sookie never understood why Pam disliked her, and why she did not approve of her relationship with Eric. She couldn't help that Pam just didn't fit in with her group of friends, which happen to be the prettiest, most popular girls in school. Sookie made every attempt to make friends with her, and never joined in when Portia, Amelia or Dawn called her a bull-dike. She did the same for Tara when she moved to Bon Temps her freshman year. Sookie took an immediate liking to Tara and so did Pam. Tara was always the type that you either loved or hated and with that she could see why Tara and Pam became friends.
"Oh...Yeah." Jason replied.
"I thought you went with Tara..." She asked incredulously.
"Yeah, but it wasn't like a date or nothing, I just gave her a ride." He assured.
"Did you give her a ride back home?" She questioned becoming more irritated by the moment.
"Uh, well- no...I..." he began.
"Well, how do you suppose she got home all the way from Sugarland Estates to Parker Square?" She cut him off.
"Ya see... after a few joints." He let out a nervous laugh. "To tell ya the truth Sis, I'm not sure what happened." He sighed and scratched the back of his head. "But I'm sure Tara's fine, Nicole and Willa were there and they both live near."
"I'm sure she's fine too." Sookie huffed in frustration.
"Then what's the fuss all about?"
"Nothing..." Sookie shook her head, disbelieving at how stupid her brother is.
Jason was determined to figure out what was bothering her on this glorious morning, so he continued to pry.
"Sook, I told you that the party was lame. Besides, I plan on throwing a party of our own next week, when mom and dad are out of town."
"Eric won't be here next week!" She snapped, as she shot up from her chair.
"Eric...” A look of disgust washed over the smile on his face, “your ex-boyfriend?" He looked up at her in aggravation as she slid in her chair. "That's what the fuss was all about?" Aww, come on Sook."
Sookie quickly turned around and was back at the kitchen window..."Just so you know, my ex-boyfriend took Tara home last night. so yeah Tara got home just fine, and yeah, I suppose that's what the fuss is all about."
"So, what- he took her home..." He said, hoping to pacify her, he hated seeing her in a sour mood, especially over Eric, he never cared for him, he was the only guy in town who the girls liked more. "Besides, there is no way Tara would fall for that overgrown, know-it-all- asshole."
"I saw them kissing on her porch," Sookie replied sharply but did not bother to turn from the window to address him.
That put Jason deep into thought, Jason had never much noticed Tara before, she'd been his sister's friend since freshman year. He'd done so many mean things to her over the years, treating her like she was another pesky sibling to keep in line. But every year she seemed to evolve; she wasn't a little girl anymore. She'd filled out a little, just enough to give her curves and a fuller bust. She'd let her hair go wavy again, falling in relaxed curls past her shoulders. Jason's felt his mouth go dry. He knows what Tara wants and he can't give that to her.
"I can't be no one woman man, that just ain't in my nature! My Johnson wants to be free!"
"What the hell are you talking about," Sookie asked evading all eye contact, trying her best to avoid further annoyance.
"Tara wants my attention, so she can tie me down, that's what they all want."
"If she wanted your attention, she would have tried to get it at the party; seems to me she found what she was looking for, " she shook her head in disbelief, "I wonder if Eric feels the same..."
"I thought you were dating Ben? Besides, like half of the guys in town worship you, you could have anyone you want."
"I know...it's just I like Eric more than any of my other boyfriends, Bill, Alcide, and even Ben...” Her head dropped in sadness. “And Eric, he broke up with me, and I still don't understand why.”
Jason had heard enough, he took his dishes to the sink, rinse them off, placed them in the dishwasher and dried his hands with a hand-towel.
"Look Sook, we're Stackhouse's and if we want something we go out and get it." He pulled her close and wrapped an arm around her shoulders, gently rubbing her arm. Despite the heaviness in her stomach, it fluttered as she sunk into the warmth of his side, appreciative of the simple gesture.
"You know, your right Jas, thanks."
Ex-boyfriend, the word alone is enough to make me choke. In my dreams we were married, then came the babies... Now he is my ex and I'm supposed to be okay with that.
Well, I'm not. I want him back.
There is no way on God's green earth that I will let Tara have Eric. I'll show him that I'm the woman for him, and then Eric will come back to me. Soon, Tara will just be a fading memory we laugh about over drinks until one day neither of us can recall her name.
She'll be a footnote, nothing more.
I'd awaken this morning feeling refreshed and full of energy despite drinking a flask full of whiskey the night before. At first, I thought I'd dreamed the last part of my night until I looked over at the chair and Eric's Letterman jacket was hanging right on the back where I'd placed it.
I smiled, knowing full well that Eric wanted to seduce me. He didn't right out ask to come in, and I'm glad he didn't; besides my bedroom, the entire house is a mess, although I could tell by the look in his big blue eyes he really- really wanted to. I supposed I could have let him in, the lights were dim and I could have easily snuck him in pass my comatose mother and took him to my room. I would have locked the door, lit a few candles and made out with him until the sun came up. Hell, I might have gone all the way with him, I could totally see Eric being my first.
And when he kissed me, I couldn't find my voice; with the kiss came electric tingles, the desire to play. I felt my cheeks flushed hot, and my stomach was heavy. My heart pounded in my throat, threatening to break out. 'He takes my breath away...' Damn, now that line made a lot of sense. I don't remember what I said to him, but it made him smile and then he asked to see me the next day for a date. He wants to spend the entire day with me since we only have two days to hang out with each other before he leaves.
Now it's time to get my ass up and get started on the task of cleaning my nasty house. My mom is not the best housekeeper these days and the kitchen and bathroom need some deep cleaning. I have a feeling Eric will insist on coming in today, he seems like the type that wants to be proper and meet my mother.
I start with the kitchen. Since our dishwasher crapped out last year, I have to hand wash, rinse and dry the piles of dishes, pots, and pans. Afterward, I make myself a small pot of coffee and pour me a cup. I'm starving and all there is to eat is oatmeal or rice. So, I make the instant oatmeal and some toast. After I eat, I sweep, dust and wipe down the counters with Pine-Sol. The floor was disgusting, it took me 30 minutes to scrub the grime away. I then emptied the trash and swept the porch.
Next is our bathroom, normally when I walk in I can smell the old moldy, musty smell. But when I entered today, the smell was even worse; the sour scent of puke added to the already disgusting aroma that lingered in the bathroom. Mom must have really gone all out last night. I remove the old shower curtain and replace it with a brand new one, afterward I scrub the bathroom from top to bottom with Pine-Sol. I cleaned the mirrors and windows with Windex and dust-off cabinets, counters, fixtures, and tables all about the house. The only thing I have left to do is a vacuum, but that will have to wait until Mom wakes up. For now, I need to find something to wear.
What to wear… what to wear.
I bounce through my closet looking for something sexy. Oh… wait. I have to dress casually. Besides, sexy got me into trouble last time I went out with Jason, he kissed me and then got high and ditched my ass, so let's not make the same mistake twice. I slip into a pair of jean shorts and layer a purple tank over a white one. I can't stand still and my body jiggles excitedly. This outfit will be perfect for an afternoon date.
Merlotte's is never busy in the morning, even though their breakfast is much better than their competition down the road. The only thing Bellefleur's has on Merlotte's is the Barbecue.
As Pam and I are escorted to our seat in our favorite greasy spoon, all I could think about was her.
"I'll have the veggie omelet, no onions, with wheat toast," Pam smirked at me while handing over her menu to Holly. She was smirking, dying to ask me all about last night.
"You got it, hun..." Holly quickly jotted her order down on her notepad, "And for you handsome..?"
"I'll have 2 slices of bacon, 2 over-easy eggs, biscuits and gravy...and 2 coffees please." I smiled passing my menu.
"I'll be right back which ya'll order." Once the waitress was gone, Pam started in on me.
"Last night must have gone really well, you haven't stopped smiling."
She was right, I'm happy and Tara's the cause.
"We're meeting at 3:00 today for a picnic at the lake."
"A picnic...how romantic." Pam was sincere, I could tell by the way her eyes lit up, and again, I'm surprised. I've had many girlfriends and Pam hated them all. "Perfect weather today too..." she added.
"Yep, no rain in sight." I've got most of the date planned out - the location, the cloth napkins, silverware, the plush blanket, the wine, the chocolates. I just don't know what kind of food to make.
"Whatever it is, make sure you prepare it from scratch." She took a sip of coffee. "Cut up pineapples and melons and make tiny sandwiches...or meat and vegetable skewers, or stuffed dates... or bacon wrapped dates...or..."
"Will you help me?" I cut her off, I really didn't need her help, I just wanted her to simmer down a bit, she was beginning to make me nervous.
"No way, I have shopping to do, you're not the only one with a date today."
We both laughed and when our breakfast arrived, we ate in a peaceful silence. And I began to think of last night; when our gazes locked, I was instantly mesmerized by the deep swirls of chocolate and mocha in her coffee-colored eyes and long eyelashes. The golden black mascara on her half-opened eyelids added a smoky and dramatic look.
Most people in this small town did not pay attention to her beauty, but rather her color and I'll be the first to admit, toasted sienna never looked so beautiful on a woman. With rippled onyx hair and wide brown eyes, Tara is undoubtedly a beautiful woman. But not only on the outside, I can feel it radiating from inside of her; in the energy, we shared.
She had a kind of understated beauty, perhaps it was because she was so disarmingly unaware of her prettiness. Her dark skin was completely flawless. Like the other girls, I doubt she used face masks or expensive products; she was all about simplicity. Perhaps that is why her skin glowed so, it was her inner beauty that lit her eyes and softened her features. When she smiled and laughed you couldn't help but smile along too, even if it was just on the inside.
Tara Thornton is natural, sexy, real; I could drink in her words like a strong wine and enjoy feeling tipsy. With her every move, I watched her like she had the stars in her hands and soft petals at her feet.
I wanted to wrap her in my arms and never let go.
Chapter 3: All Mine
Render your heart to me
You have to be
The day was postcard perfect, the weather is the kind that feels like a kiss of summer without the fiery heat of noontime in August. Blue skies, no wind, and ambient temperature - it's more like an absence of weather really. It was a little late in the afternoon when I finished getting dressed, I was becoming more excited, and Eric will be here any minute.
It wasn't a moment later when I hear a knock on the front door. Unlike my last date, Eric was a gentleman, he didn't honk his horn or call me from his cellular. My totally fine date lightly tapped on the door and patiently waited with his hands planted nervously to his side.
It took me a moment to get the saliva flowing in my mouth as I peered at him through the screen. I forced my feet to move across the living room and I opened the door.
"Hi." I wrapped my arms around his neck, a smile eternally stained upon my lips, I closed my eyes and savored the moment, His touch made the room warmer somehow. I leaned back and peered into his sky-blue eyes, and somehow nothing else mattered, I wanted to stay just like this, in his arms forever.
"You are so pretty Tara Mae." He gives me a bright as the sun smile that just seems so genuinely sweet with just the right touch of shyness that unexpected warmth rushes through me.
I heard something fall, I think I am mistaken until I hear it again, I began to pray when I hear my mother groan out loud and curse as something else falls, this time it sounds like glass breaking. I started to pray because I knew she was coming out of her room. I just hoped she managed to pull herself together just a little bit and hopefully she put on the pink robe I had bought her in replacement of the old ratty and torn blue one.
"Tara" She shouted and then let out a dry throaty, nasty sounding cough. The door swung open and there she was. My excitement, my bliss shifted from a dream to a nightmare. I was mortified, frozen to the spot. My mother used to be beautiful until she let alcohol and cigarettes take that way. Now she looks a hot mess, her hair matted to one side, wearing something that resembles a smock, through the sheer material, you can see her a dirty bra littered with sweat stains and some gym shorts that should have been thrown away years ago. She stumbles towards us, sleepy-eyed with an uneven gait, indicating that she is still shit-faced drunk.
"Well hello, handsome!" Her voice was slurry and terribly hoarse. She extended her hand, Eric quickly scooped up her hand, firmly gripping it in a confident handshake. I could smell the sour scent of alcohol permeating off her unwashed skin and I cringed inside.
"Hello, Mrs. Thornton." He smiled warmly, he seemed totally unaffected by my mother's horribly disheveled appearance. She scratched the pile of messy uncombed hair on her head and she blushed invisibly beneath her dark skin as Eric nudged himself towards my side again.
"Well look at ya'll two fine young thangs! Those red-bone, high-yellow heifers ain't got nothin on my little dark chocolate doll!" Her hearty laugh morphed into another dry throaty cough and she turned and stumbled her way towards the kitchen, mumbling something about coffee and cigarettes.
"Let's go!" I whispered in a panic, I didn't wait for a response, I just rushed towards the door. Luckily, Eric was right on my heels. Out of the corner of my eyes, I could see him chuckling. I latched the screen and shouted.
"See you later on mamma!"
We rode in his Corvette to Rain-Tree Park, the lake-side air was pungent with the fragrance of jasmine. The slight breeze cooled my skin as we strolled along chatting nonstop, hand in hand. We both had coolers in our other hand, his red and large, mine blue and small, both had long handles and wheels. I've never had a fancy cooler like these before, I'm used to the little Styrofoam ones.
We come to a place underneath a sycamore tree where the view of the countryside bathed in brilliant summer sunlight, grass grows taller in the meadows, swaying, rustling as cricket's chirp. He pulls the large navy-blue bag off his muscular shoulders and lets it fall to the ground.
"Is this spot okay?" He asked as he reached into his bag and pulled out a large blanket, navy blue like his bag.
"It's perfect," I smiled, the grass is a soft green that almost has a hint of blue and in the sky, is enough pristine white cloud to show you how beautiful God truly is. "Here, let me help you with that," I say while I'm reaching for the blanket. I grab one end, unfolding, and placing it on the ground, he mirrors my actions and in less than a minute, we are both seated closely and comfortably on the large plush blanket.
He opens the big red cooler and I watch like a child watches his sibling opening presents at a Christmas time. I'm happy, at the same time anxious to see what's in there for me. I can't wait to see what we are having for our picnic lunch. Even though I was up by 7 AM, I didn't eat anything. We only had a few stale corn flakes in the cupboards and mamma would have a conniption fit, if I ate the last of it.
His cooler actually folds out into a small table and inside the ice-filled encasing are several Mason jars and Tupperware containers, big and small. He's smiling sweetly and we are just enjoying each other's company, he reaches for the blue backpack and pulls out a plastic grocery bag and hands it to me.
"Will you make the table Tara Mae?" He asked me and I giggled with delight, "Why of course I will." He had elegant disposable dinnerware in here, something you'd see at an outdoor wedding. I unrolled the red checkered cloth napkins, flat on the table top and our plates on top of the napkins; then the fork knife and spoon. He even had wine flutes for us.
"Very nice dark chocolate doll." His handsome, devilish smirk mutated into a gut-busting chuckle, his laugh was contagious, and even though I wish that moment had never happened, I couldn't help but laugh about it now.
"Shut up, god my mom is so embarrassing."
"What parents aren't?" He said coolly and shook some tortilla chips onto my plate and then his. "Try this Spring Salsa, my mom made it, everything else was made by yours truly."
He set out a large plastic bowl with this colorful chunky salsa made of corn, tomatoes, cilantro and a blend of favorable spices. One taste and I was in food paradise.
"Yummy!" I said in between bites, "this is amazing, tell Mrs. Northman I said thank you."
"Will do...She'll love to hear that." He opened the little blue cooler and made me a Lime Fizz. This perfect summer drink consists of simple syrup and lime soda.
"I have some vodka in there too if you want to turn that into an adult beverage." He said wagging his wheat-colored eyebrows suggestively and I rolled my eyes playfully.
"It's not happy hour yet Jimmy Buffet."
"Fine," he huffed, pretending to be disappointed, "I have some bottled water and homemade peach tea in the blue cooler."
"You're welcome, babe." He said while chomping on a mouthful of chips and salsa. "Let's have some of my stuff."
"Okay," I said eagerly and he pulled out two huge trays. He pulled the lid off one and inside was the most eye-pleasing kabobs I'd ever seen. My goodness, this kabob consisted of mozzarella balls, grape tomatoes, fresh basil, cheese tortellini, pepperoncini slices, and Italian dry salami.
"Wow, Eric, you made this?" I said I was a little skeptical, from what Pam told me, Eric can burn water.
"I really did make every single kabob, my mom only supervised as I boiled the tortellini."
"This is really good."
"Will you kiss the chef?"
"Only if the chef has desert."
He opened the other lid and showed me this colorful array of fruit kabobs. One fruit kabob consisted of strawberries, marshmallows, and blueberries; the other had watermelon, kiwi, cantaloupe, and grapes. I didn't say a word and I just crawled around the cooler like a cat stalking its prey. My eyes fixated on his sexy lips.
"Come here," I said before pressing my lips against his, he groans while caressing my cheek.
I pull away for air and we both are smiling at each other, enjoying that wonderful silence again. I a few more Italian kabobs, lots of fruit kabobs, and we both finished off the salsa and I was full. We lay back on the blanket basking in contentment. To be in his company is a little slice of heaven as if his aura were an elixir. Emotions swim in his eyes, in his body language, in the inflections of his voice - and all of that is so masculine, so sexy to me.
"Tara," He turned his head to me. "Yes Eric," I said turning my head to him, his eyes are dark and stormy, and at that moment, I knew what he was going to ask me, what he wanted.
"You are very special to me, and I know I'm moving fast, but I'd like for you to be my girl, exclusively."
I didn't answer him, my arms reached over and tangled around his thick, strong neck and I kissed him. I kissed him because I didn't want to tell him, no, but the reality was we both going in different directions. I will be starting my freshman year of college at LSU he will be going back for his sophomore year at UNO. Even though our colleges are only a two-hour drive, I don't own a car, I'd have to ask him to me or pick me up every time. Besides, there is so much going on in college, the curriculum, the sports, the girls. Our relationship would fizzle out in a few months, just like he did with Sookie last year. Unlike, Sookie, I wouldn't be able to bounce back so easily. She had several other guys waiting on the sidelines for her. I'll make out with him and maybe before he leaves we'll have sex, but afterward, we'll need to go our separate ways, it's for the best.
The lake mirrored the sky above, both of them the kind of blue that colors those impossibly bright tourist brochures.
When she kissed me the world fell away, for the first time in forever I could feel my heart beat... every single pound in my chest. I stroked her long black hair and pulled her into me and my mind relaxed. Her arms wrapped right around me brings a peace I've never known before, a calming of the storms in my heart.
"You didn't answer me." I whispered into her coconut scented hair, "Do you want to be my girl?"
"Eric," she sighed, her eyes are as rich as the earth's soil, looking into them you can see the truth, she kept her eyes steady, the sorrow already building as she stared off into the distance. I watched Tara close her breath hitched and she sighed. The breeze that ran unchecked over the rippled surface blew her long bangs from her eyes and she said nothing. I could tell a million thoughts swam in her mind, a thousand words were on the tip of her tongue, yet she said nothing. Despite myself, I was becoming impatient.
"I guess, I can assume, the answer is no... And that is your choice, but it would be nice to know why, I mean, I know this town is very small minded, but who cares about them, at least our moms are okay with us dating." I was rambling, but it was all I had at this moment.
"Have I ever given a damn what people think?" She smiled slightly, but not enough to make me assume she'd changed her mind.
"So, if it isn't other people, then it's me?" Is it because you've heard about my past with some of the girls around here?"
"Your ho-status is none of my concern, besides, you don't even come close to being the biggest whore in town." When she giggled my heart began to warm again. All I wanted to do was make her happy. I know I could if she'd only let me.
"Let me think about it Eric...I'm not saying no, I just need time to think..."
"That's fair," I said, trying to mask my disappointment, but I could hear it in my voice, I am sure she can see it all over my face.
She leaned in and kissed me with her perfect lips and again, I am overwhelmed by that wonderful, yet unexplained feeling. I haven't figured out how to do it just yet, but I have got to have her. Tara has got to be all mine.
Chapter 4: The Impossible Night
From that cloud, number nine
Danger starts the sharp incline
And such sad regrets
The next day I felt as if I were still walking in a dream. Simple things like going to the market other menial errands are now enjoyable, and I am no longer going through the motions of life. Eric pulls me into a heady trance, letting the love flow through me quicker than fire in the dry wood. He wanted me to be his girl. He could have any girl he wanted, here or at his college, yet he wanted me. I was the person he could talk to and truly be himself around. We had a true connection, one that's rarely found in people that are so young and different from one another. Perhaps that's why we mesh so well, maybe the saying is true and opposites really do attract.
I toyed with my phone, debating whether to send Eric a message. I wasn't sure of what to say, I just felt the urge to reach out. I didn't turn him down flat like my heart was telling me too. I just couldn't break his heart; I'd be breaking my own heart in the process. But I knew better, I couldn't give him what he wanted. There was no way I could give my virginity knowing that we were destined for different paths. I know I want love, but I also want to stand on my own feet. I want a relationship where we are a "we" and two separate "I's." It's like sitting on a teeter-totter; when you first get on, it's a little scary, but you have to trust the other person won't let you crash to the ground—that they won't jump off.
It's inevitable, Eric will jump off…
He has a full ride to college and even if he didn't the Northman's are loaded, so he will end up doing things I can only dream of. Me on the other hand, I was lucky to get my first full year at LSU paid, but I have no idea what I will do if I am not approved for additional loans for the following year. I'll be working full-time and begging for grants and loans the entire time. Eric and I won't have time for one another. Soon, he'll meet someone and forget all about me.
I had made my way across to Main Street toward the spot where I parked, head down and focused on retrieving my car keys from the inner pocket of my handbag when I bumped into someone coming the other way, both of us nearly falling flat on our asses.
"Oh damn, I'm so sorry," I said, then adjusted myself and we both crouched to pick up my dropped shopping bags.
I looked up from my bags and gawked in surprise.
"Sookie...I was not watching where I was going..." I said apologetically while trying to achieve a firmer grasp on the bags in my hands.
"Neither was I..." Her ruby lips parted as she smiled, she was flawlessly coiffed in her yellow sundress, sleek blonde hair, tanned skin, her face beautifully made up. I, on the other hand, was not particularly looking my best. I had just run out of the house, throwing a ball cap on my head, an old Bon Temps t-shirt, cut off jogging short and flip-flops.
"No worries, no damage was done to my cans of green beans." I chuckled despite my state, this was strange, I've shopped at the Save-A-Lot almost weekly since I was thirteen, and I've never seen her around here, usually, I run into Mrs. Stackhouse or Gran at the old strip-mall downtown.
"Girlfriend, I heard Pam's party was da bomb dot com!" She clapped her hands together and rolled her neck with a little squeal. I hated when she talked like that, it seemed so unnatural, like she was talking that way on my behalf.
"Yeah, it was one of her better ones," I replied, wondering where she was going with this; I honestly didn't care, I really wanted to get going, my bags were getting heavier by the minute.
" Jason said he lost you sometime during the party." She huffed and crinkled her perfect nose. "Did you ditch my brother for another?" She let out a ridiculous fake laugh and that's when I realized exactly where she was going. So, I unlocked the doors to mom's old station wagon and set my bags in the back seat.
" Jason said he lost me?" I crinkled my nose, mimicking her expression. I knew she was lying, but why.
"Yeah." Her eyes blinked rapidly, more confirmation of the lies. "He said someone saw you leave with Eric." She said sounding like a tabloid reporter spilling a salacious tidbit.
"Really?" I replied mockingly, I knew damn well that was a lie, no one, especially Jason gives a rat's ass where I go or what I do, she must have seen us herself at some point. "Well, he must have been looking for me in Crystal's mouth, because that's the last place I saw him when I went searching for his ass."
"I understand," she nodded, "So Eric took pity on you..."
"What...?" Just like that, my dream world had been shattered and in an instant, I felt my blood begin to boil, "Took pity on me…?" I repeated, she knew I was pissed, she wanted to piss me off and that pissed me off!
"Of course, why else would he waste his time?" She scoffed rolling her eyes, her head giving an involuntary to shake. "Curiosity perhaps…"
"Listen here Sookie," I said her name like it was poison, but I was careful not to yell, I didn't want people to notice when I knock this bitch out. "Eric and I talked for almost an hour; he… We flirted with each other and then he took me home, we even went on a picnic date yesterday." As I spoke I got the pleasure of watching her smile dry faster than wisps of smoke dissipating after a candle flame has been snuffed out. "So you're wrong - dead wrong."
"Oh no, I'm not, Eric is bored, at this point, he's likely to try anything… well, you are a prime example" She crossed her arms, looking at me as if she'd witnessed something shameful. "His standards seemed to have lowered though."
"And here I thought you were better than the ignorant fuck-twat, racist pieces of shit who live in the bumfuck town, I guess I was wrong," I uncurled my fist that had involuntarily coiled. No, I would not punch her, I subdued the burning rage that hissed through my body like deathly poison, screeching a demanded release in the form of unwanted violence. Instead, I yanked open the car door, slid into the seat and pulled the door shut with such force, I thought it would break the window.
"I'm just being honest!" Her face was like molten lava, her eyes popped, her words were spat out with the ferocity and rapidity of machine gun fire. "He's never going to be serious with something like you." She screamed at me as I yanked the car-clutch in gear and slammed on the gas pedal.
An empty ache resonated in my chest as I watched her walk away that day, the feeling was a blissful evocation of time spent with the person you adore. I loved the night we met, simply talking, laughing and making silly jokes, and then the kiss, I enjoyed every minute with her. I didn't want our date to end, but I had to go; mom and dad wanted to have dinner.
Unlike usual, this night was a very long night, my thoughts were consumed with Tara, and her voice played in my head like a sweet melody, her sweet smile, was like the sun, eager to shine its brilliant light.
I was overtaken, I couldn't focus, I got only pieces of the conversation that was happening in the here and now.
Mom asked me about hygiene in the dorms and lectured me about meningitis; dad told horrible frat jokes and reminisced on appalling drunken parties with his fraternity. Pam complained about her steak and sent back everything except the buttered rolls.
I excused myself to the restroom; I really didn't need to go, I just needed some air, my parents don't mean to be but they can be overbearing when they really care.
"Eric!" I heard a familiar voice call out to me.
"Hi, Sookie." I turned to face her in the small hallway that leads to the restrooms. In a shocking twist, she crashed into me, wrapping her arms around my waist squeezing me in a big 'I miss you' hug. I didn't hug her back, I found the entire situation uncomfortable and a little fighting. I'd broken up with her via text. It was cold and cruel, but I had my reasons. I always figured, she'd never want to see me, let alone speak to me again. I prayed she didn't have a knife or gun in that little purse she was holding.
"You look good big boy! I always liked the color blue on you." She chuckled and it reminded me of why I dumped her. She could never be herself, everything was always a show, even when no one was around. She always smiled with that fake smile of hers; she always thought that life would be easier that way. To be kind to others, compliment them while in reality, all she wanted to do was the opposite. She was a total phony.
"Thanks, uh... I," I began, but before I could finish she cut me off.
"Your parents are boring you and I just broke up with Ben, so let's get the heck outta here!"
"What?" I couldn't believe what I just heard. She's obviously been watching me, and everybody knows a scorned bitch does better research than the FBI. So, she knows about Tara and me.
"Let's ditch this place, take me home baby!" She shamelessly rubbed herself against me like a cat in heat and I quickly backed away; she had the world hiding behind her fake smile. Every smile that lit up her features was the wrong sort.
"No…I've got to go…" I stepped back using my backside, I pushed the door open to the men's restroom. I almost bumped into a man as he was leaving. I rushed to the sink, ran my hand under the faucet and threw some water on my face. As I dried my face and hands with a paper towel, I gazed at my reflection. My eyes show a serious kind of distress, more than a hint of disgust.
"Eric darling!" Sookie unabashedly rushed in, "I know there is no way you just turned me down."
I was trapped; I felt like I've just been buried alive and I had no choice but to dig myself out.
"Sookie, I'm sorry for breaking up with you the way I did, but it's over between us and I am not going anywhere with you." I let out a deep breath, unable to meet her eyes. But at least I said it if only I could disappear right now.
"I don't fucking believe it!" She screamed, her face brightened, just a tone lighter than my own crimson. "You're choosing that loud nappy-headed, dirt poor thing over me?"
I couldn't believe what I just heard, she's degrading Tara, instead of owning up to her constant infidelity, her habitual lies, and the systematic manipulation that tore apart my lifelong friendship with Bill. I looked at her and instantly felt my ears getting hot with anger. I glare at her then spat out. "HOW DARE YOU?!"
She sneers at me then laughs only adding fuel to my wrath.
"You think this is funny?" I snap.
"YES, THIS IS FUNNY!" Our voices rose above the sacred silence. "YOU LOOK LIKE A FOOL, YOU COULD BE WITH ME, AND INSTEAD YOU'RE KISSING THAT DUSTY GHETTO GORILLA!"
"You are an extremely stupid girl. Aren't you?"
I didn't wait for her to answer, she was stupid as well as delusional. Instead, I rushed past her, if she would not have moved, I would have knocked her ass over.
"Eric," I bumped into Pam just as I pushed the door...God her timing is the worst..."What are you doing?" she asked.
"I'm leaving, tell mom and dad, I'll see them later."
"What the fuck Eric, we are in the middle of dinner- you can't just leave." She gave me a puzzled look, "Where are you going, how will you get there, remember, you didn't even drive...?"
A man walked past us and into the men's room and that's when Sookie emerged, her eyes were red-rimmed and watery; she stared daggers at me.
"Sookie!" Pam roared with laughter. "Are you boo-whooing because you're not the center of Eric's universe anymore?"
"Fuck you- lesbo!" Sookie yelled, storming towards the dining area. I'm sure Ben is still waiting there for her.
I walked towards the back exit, just before I pulled the door handle, Pam shouted out.
"Just so you know, this is not the first time I've seen Slutty Stackhouse strolling out of the men's room. Just ask Sam Merlotte."
I knew about the older guy Sam, I know about them all, and I moved on a long time ago. I'm actually thankful. Without Sookie, I would never know the difference between a girl and a woman.
Right now, I need my woman... My Tara.
Chapter 5: The Turning Point
Eric has to reach her, this is his final chance...
Eric walked the entire five miles back home, which took him over an hour on the long stretch of road. Luckily, it was a cool night and there was not a lot of traffic on the road that leads directly to his house. When he arrived at the corner of Vineyard and Gregory Lane, he ran to his car, got in and took off. As the car engine sung to the lone country roads, Eric relished the roaring winds that twirled in his long blond tresses and whistled in his ears. His phone pinged as he stopped at a stop sign on Burke Street.The text was from Pam.
Pam: You're off the hook tonight.
Pam: Told old people you were groped and propositioned in the bathroom by your ex and her boyfriend.
Eric: WTF? Why?
Pam: Why not? LOL
A horn honked from the car behind him, removing Eric from his texting, he tossed the cellular phone in the passenger seat and sped through the intersection. He chuckled. His sister was eccentric, sassy and he loved her dearly. As he pulled into Tara's driveway, he felt better about the situation, knowing his family would enjoy their night out at the theater without him.
The moment he turned the ignition switch off he could hear the sounds of screaming in the background. Angry voices echoed in the silence of the surrounding area. One of the voices was unmistakable. It was Tara. She was yelling and being yelled at.
Eric leaped out of the vehicle, onto the porch and peered into the open door. The front room was dark, only faint traces of light pooled into the hall, "Tara," he called out while simultaneously knocking on the wood of the yellow screen door. "Tara, it's Eric," if he didn't see her soon, he'd come in uninvited.
In less than a second, he was rewarded with a visual of her. He admired Tara's shapely silhouette as she emerged down the hall, she turned on the lamplight. In those moments, watching her move, Eric knew that she is so much more than a pretty girl; she is love and laughter, the light of his life.
"What are you doing here?" She asked, her voice trembling, her face stained with tears. Her pain was apparent and he wanted nothing more than to make it go away.
"I needed to see you, babe," he whispered, his voice was so tender, It felt as if she were wrapped in a blanket of his caring.
"Bad timing," she sighed heavily, "It's good to see you though, but you should leave now." Tara couldn't help but compare the night with her own state of mind. Just like the darkness and the bubbling storm clouds in the sky, her insides were in a chaos.
"I'm not leaving until you tell me why your crying and how I can help you." His eyes showed the kind of gentle concern that she was not accustomed to receiving. He laid his hand lightly on her shoulder, and instead of flinching like she usually did, she was soothed by it. "I want to be there for you, I want to be your man." He left his hand there and spoke with such a soft voice she felt his words calming her more by the way they were said than the actual words. How could she not consider his actions now, now that she could see how profoundly they affected him too.
"Okay, wait right here, let me get my bag and I'll be back."
Eric waited patiently on the porch, an older man stepped out from his home next door. The way he peered at Eric was obvious, the man disapproved of the Thornton's or anyone who associated with them. For all Eric cared, he could cast his judgment if he felt entitled to do so.
And then the yelling started again.
"WHERE YOU THINK YOU GOING?" Tara's mother screamed and instead of waiting for a response she took the final swig of Jim Beam. She never had a sober day if she could help it. She did everything drunk. She drove, shopped and went to work drunk.
"I'M LEAVING!" Tara shouted back, that was the way she was accustomed to communicating with her mother when she was intoxicated.
"AFTER YOU ACCUSE ME OF STEALING, DON'T COME BACK!" Lettie would not allow herself to feel guilty, she had only taken fifty dollars and intended on paying it back next Friday. She didn't think her daughter would notice since she had over five hundred dollars in mostly one-dollar bills.
"YOU DID STEAL, I NEED THAT MONEY TO PAY FOR MY COLLEGE FEES!" Tara was more upset with herself than her mother, she knew her mother stole from her and usually, she hid her money better.
"I TOLD YOU I DID'NT DO IT!"
"LIAR!" Tara shouted, tears blinding, stinging her eyes as she stuffs the last article of clothing into her duffle bag.
"YOU UNGRATEFUL BITCH!" Lettie sneered and threw her empty Jim Beam bottle, missing Tara's head by mere inches, the bottle crashed into the wall, cracked and shattered once it hit the floor.
"FUCK YOU!" Tara sneered back, storming towards the door, Lettie blocked her path, drew back her hand and slapped her hard. It was an open-handed smack, it stung her face, blurred her vision and she staggered backward, clutching her face, eyes watering.
Eric could hear everything, the slap was loud as a clap, Tara, began to sob and Eric felt a chill run up his spine and his heart ached. He couldn't let this go on any longer… So, he took a deep breath and walked into the house.
"Tara let's go." He called out, in a deep commanding voice.
Lettie staggered towards him shouting in unrestrained bitterness. "GET OUT OF MY HOUSE, DON'T YOU BE WALKING IN MY HOUSE LIKE YOU OWN IT!"
"I'm not leaving without Tara," he didn't raise his voice, although he wanted to, he was angry with her, how could she treat her child like that.
"TAKE HER, FUCKING CRACKER AND DON'T BRING HER BLACK ASS BACK!" she screamed, she didn't just raise her voice, it was seething, saliva spitting out with each jagged word.
Tara came running down the hall and past them both, she kept running until she was out of breath, her lungs felt as if they were on fire, and she leaned up against a tree for support.
And she wept.
Eric ran out of the house in search of her. He couldn't believe what was happening. He drove frantically searching along the gravel road on Harrison Street, the road was secluded and he figured Tara would not want to be seen running aimlessly in their small town.
A few moments passed and Tara was able to gather her composure, she was in the front yard of the Stanley's, she looked up at the quiet farmhouse and squinted. She could see a shadowy figure looming in the background. He was standing at the side of the house next to a large tree. Tara knew the Stanley's and this figure did not match either of the men. Rodger is willowy and tall and Thomas is a twelve-year-old boy, whose head has not grown into his body just yet.
The sudden approach of a vehicle pulled her from her observations and she turned to see who was driving so slowly down the lonely gravel road. She smiled as the unmistakable roar of Eric's Corvette slowed and stopped in front of her. She looked back at the house… the shadowy figure was gone.
They were both so happy to see one another, that no words were exchanged. Tara did not want to talk about her current situation and Eric was sated with just being in her company. So the young man drove to the only place he knew where the two of them could be alone. For Eric, the Bon Temps Motel brought back fond memories. He and his friends would divide the expenses and with fake id's they would buy alcohol and check into the hotel, they'd have their way with girls, smoke pot and leave the room trashed before going home in the early hours of the morning.
For Tara, the memories of the very same place are bittersweet. The motel was one of those seedy places men with beer guts went to bang other men's wives with promises they couldn't afford to keep. There were at least two screaming matches going on in separate rooms, and the cars in the lot wouldn't have been out of place in a wrecker's yard. Tara casts her tired eyes around the one room that was home to her and Lettie five years ago. When her father left them, Lettie was only working part-time and Tara was too young to work. It took six months for Lettie to make full time at the Save-A-Lot grocery store and they were finally able to save the deposit needed to move into their home.
It was a little after 10 PM when Pam sent Eric another text. She wanted to know why he wasn't at home. Eric knew he had to be back in New Orleans on campus by 9 am, that meant getting up early, packing and having breakfast with his family. None of that mattered, so he ignored her text. All that matter was Tara, all he wanted to do was be with her, make her happy. That was his purpose, that was what he wanted, that was all that he wanted.
"I just want to take a shower, have the rest of the Jack Daniels in my flask and go to bed."
"Do you want something to eat?" Eric asked, looking at the menus on the desk, there were only two delivery options in Bon Temps; China Feast or Lou's Pizza.
Tara was busy rummaging through her duffel bag. "I don't have much of an appetite, but thank you." She paused and when their eyes met she smiled brightly at him. "Really Eric, thank you...Thank you for being you." He was her prince, her white knight, with him around, she could escape her loneliness. The loneliness that consumed her, swallowed her. But with him, she could forget about, at least for tonight.
"I'd do anything for you, Tara Mae." He smiled back at her, basking in the feeling of her happiness, making it his own. His eyes sparked with desire as the object of his affection removed her Bon Temps t-shirt, revealing a lacy purple bra. She smiled coyly and went into the bathroom.
Eric decided to make a quick trip to the vending machines. He filled the ice bucket with ice, purchased a few cola's, bottled waters, chips, cookies and candy bars. Tara would need to eat something if she planned on drinking. He placed the items neatly on the desk and turned on the tube TV. The picture was fuzzy and there were not many channels to choose from. Eric was certain that the TV has not been replaced since the opening of the hotel back in the early 90's.
He smiles, takes a deep breath and in a split second, he is opening the door, entering the bathroom. The sound of the water masked the sound of his arrival. He removed his clothes and pulled back the shower curtain, Tara emits a tiny gasp when she noted the familiar glazing over in his eyes. she enchanted him, ensnaring him with her gaze. They both knew it was coming. She gave him a wary look before he pulled her face closer and their lips met. Their lips fitted perfectly- as if they were meant for each other; the scent of his cologne drifts into her nostrils, a scent she'd quickly became addicted to. He squirmed with desire and rest his hands on her hips, pulling her closer to him. The acceleration of his heart-rate has nothing to do with fear and everything to do with what his body really wants. As their lips crushed together, she felt like she was walking on air. It was magic, the way his lips connected with hers. His mouth was so warm, the caress of his lips softer than she could have imagined and she opened her mouth with a low moan. A little time passes and Eric turns off the shower and reaches for the towel on the counter. He wraps the towel securely around her body and then grabs another, wrapping it around his waist.
Tara's body is screaming with desire, but her mind is reeling with conflict. On shaky legs, she exits the steamy bathroom and smiles. She notices the snacks on the desk, they are such a thoughtful gesture.
"I'd like a Jack and Coke, how bout you?" She asked while grabbing her flask from her jacket pocket.
"Don't mind if I do." Eric smiled and plopped down on the bed.
"Coming right up." Tara grabbed a handful of ice cubes and dropped them in the glasses, she twisted the cap of the flask and poured herself a double shot and a single shot for Eric; then topped the rest of the glass with the cola. All the while Eric watched her in pure wonderment; Tara was a beautiful sight to behold and he longed for her. Eric swallowed deep and hard, expelling all the urges he had bubbling up inside.
She modestly tucked the towel under her shoulders before picking up the glasses from the table.
"Here ya go," she smiled handing him the glass. She wasted no time and took a big gulp.
"Thank you," he smiled and took a sip. "Let's toast."
"Toast?" she repeated, "Toast to what?"
"To us," he leaned forward and softly kissed her lips. He had decided, he was not going to go back to college, he wanted to run away with her.
She kissed him back with an aching desire, and simultaneously they placed their glasses on the nightstand. Eric presses his mouth firmly to hers, his tongue sweeps into her mouth. He could no longer contain himself and through his own raging lust, he yanked off his towel and covered Tara's body with his own, settling between her thighs. Tara gasped at the feeling of his erection pressed against her thigh, her eyes became dark and wide.
"I want you, Tara," A savage groan emerged from his chest. He crushed his mouth into hers, immediately swiping his tongue inside. She gasped with the suddenness of his invasion and it took her but a moment to catch up. Soon, her lips and tongue moved against his just as eagerly, one hand sliding up to caress the side of his face. He gently removed the thin cotton towel as if unwrapping a precious gift. He gazed at her breathtaking form worshiping every inch of her flesh. He slides his hand down from her breast and rests it gently on her lower abdomen. He then looks up into her eyes and brushes a thumb over her clit. His hand dipped, long sensitive fingers stroking her entrance. The wet sounds were evidence of her arousal.
Eric lowered his body, settling his head between her thighs and with one flick of his skillful tongue, he was rewarded with the sweet cries of pleasure.
"Eric! Oh, that feels good!"
An aching throb soothed and drove her mad all in one flick of his darting tongue, his skillful tongue moving in and out, up and down circling her sensitive nub. The pleasures crashed, tighten in a coil and snapped. Her fingers dug into his scalp as she sobbed with desire. As he rose to cover her body Tara took the moment to admire his long lean, muscular form. His golden hair wild in disarray, bright eyes flashing.
Tara swallowed hard; Eric looked …big. She wrapped her hand around his swollen cock. The swollen head dripping with clear pearls of fluid.
Eric sucked in a ragged breath muttering expletive, "Fuck Tara," he chanted her name, layering every seductive tone in her ear. "Tara, I need you." He gently removed her hand from his throbbing cock, parted her legs and he entered her slowly, savoring the exquisite sensations of her drizzling tightness. He moaned deep into his chest and he stilled, "Are you okay?"
"Yes, Eric, make love to me." She whispered seductively, her hands adroitly caressing her own breast. Like a wave, his length washed over her as he slowly, smoothly pumped in and out. They shared breaths looking deep into each other's eyes, marveling at the beauty of their joining. He licks with a flattened tongue and then sucks her nipple hard enough to make her hiss.
"Tara," He hums and moves to her left breast to repeat his actions she is melting right now. Her walls are contracting around his shaft and her honey is pouring out over him.
"Oh God," she gasps as her orgasm rocks her body. This is better than she ever imagined sex would be.
"Mmmmm," he hums hovering over her and looking down at their joined bodies as he slides in and out. "Look at that," he tells her as he watches her lips stretch around his length.
"It's beautiful, Eric," she moans when he thrust forward and fills her completely. He dips his head to kiss her again as he fills her over and over, pulling almost all the way out before driving into the hilt so she can feel every inch.
"I'm not going to last, baby," Eric whispers into her mouth when the pressure starts to build. "I'm ready to explode."
He is pounding frantically into her, resting his full weight on her tiny body, her curves look so small next to his larger frame. The beautiful contrast of her ebony skin next to his pale body is like stars in the night sky.
"I'm coming again." She croons as the second wave of her wet clenching orgasm washed over him.
The feeling of her tight, hot heat and the sounds of her pleasure cause Eric to become undone. He can feel her sex pulling him deeper as she pulses around him. Eric was unable to control the jolting of his body, and he comes, roaring like a wild animal, shooting stream after stream of cum into her tight pussy. He grunts and grinds a little as the incredible sensations marginally diminish. He moves his lips back to hers and they kiss a little longer before he pulls out. Spent, he collapsed beside her and after a few moments, spooned her close to him, kissing her forehead.
"Run away with me," Eric said while tracing lazy circles on her shoulder.
"Eric, that's crazy." Tara gasped, her body tensed.
"Why?" That was not the response he was expecting.
"Why," she repeated, pulling herself from his warm embrace. "Because you can't throw your life away because you feel sorry for me." Her back was facing him, she couldn't bear to look at him. She waited a moment and when he didn't respond, she felt her reality come crashing down. They are from different worlds, all she would do is be a burden, a liability. She jumped out of bed and began getting dressed.
"Tara, I don't...you...you won't...what are you doing." He said stumbling over his own words, still trying to figure out why she was upset.
"I'm making this easy for you." She scooped up her things, shoved them into the duffel bag and ran out the door.
Chapter 6: The End Of Me
The night is here,
a deeper hue.
I'm in your veins,
my host is you.
I took off down the road as fast as I could; my mind was in turmoil I feel lost and confused, like a ball of tangled yarn. The parts that are untangled are available, usable; the rest is a mess, useless until it's untied. That mess feels endless and at most times unyielding.
When I became tired, I trudged along the pavement at a sedate pace, my mind focused on the gentle footsteps that seemed to echo throughout the desolate street.
Should I ask Lafayette to let me stay with him again? He'd have no problem with it because I always carry my weight. But damn, I'm so sick and tired of giving him my sob story and sleeping on his couch.
Why did I have to be so careless? I was so close to having the $750.00 that I needed. Now, there is no way I'll have it by the deadline. I'll have to ask for another extension of my student fees. My job as a housekeeper just doesn't pay enough. There's not enough rich people houses or offices to clean here in town. I'll be sure to call the Bellfuer's tomorrow and formally resign, I hope in doing so, they'll give me a good reference. Maybe Baton Rouge has better-paying jobs; I could work at a fancy hotel or clean big office buildings at night.
"So, I guess, that's the plan," I say out loud, yet there is a silence echoing back to my soul; it's like a void. A dark void. A never-ending dark void that consumes everything, so you're left feeling nothing. Empty. I feel like a ghost in a world of paper dolls. I am the ghost in my own machine, running through time and space, looking, always looking in the blackness for a sacred spark.
I saw the high beams of a truck cruising down the road I signaled for a ride and prayed that it wasn't Eric or anyone else I know. I wanted it to be a stranger, someone just passing through. As luck would have it, my prayer was answered. I got a glimpse of the Mississippi license plate as the truck slowed in front of me.
"Where ya headed lil lady." The old man's asked, his voice deep and gravelly; it made you wonder which breath would be his last.
"Baton Rouge," I said wearing a fake smile, placing the misery behind the mask.
"I'm headed that way too, jump in," He motioned for me to open the door. I did so and threw my duffle bag in first, it was heavy and it wasn't until I sat down, that I realized how tired I was. I'd walked all the way to Beauregard Parish. Once I buckled my seatbelt, I also realized Eric had not come after me this time. I nodded my head in acceptance. He got what he wanted, now it's over.
"My names Allen Moss, what's yours." The old man said with a thick Southern drawl, he had a fringe of grey-white hair around his balding, mottled scalp. He had a withered face and a back slightly hunched. He had the resigned look of one who knows that at his age life has stopped giving and only takes away.
"Tonya Reynolds," I said, that would be my name until I get to Baton Rouge, I never liked my real name much anyway.
"Well, nice to meet ya, Tonya," I nodded and gave him another fake smile and he turned the dial on the radio. The sounds of oldies music would drown out the rattling noises coming from under the hood of his truck. I hope this old hunk of junk makes it to Baton Rouge…
There was a layer of dust so thick on the dashboard it looked like fur. Although the windows were down, a musty smell saturated inside the truck, it was overpowering and unpleasant. It was a sickly smell, and there were several large brown stains all over the light blue upholstery. To make things even more unpleasant, the smell of the smoke coming out of the cigar was so bad, it smelled like cheese that had been left in the back of a broken refrigerator for a month. Looking at the man happily inhaling the smoke, I wonder whether my nose was failing me because Allen looked as if he was inhaling flower scented perfume or something.
Look at me complaining…
I need to be thankful for the cool night breeze and the free ride. Besides, he's a good driver for someone his age. With each movement, there was the creak of old bones, but he kept up alongside newer cars and younger drivers.
About an hour into the drive I became terribly sleepy, my eyelids feel like something is weighing them down. Everything seems to move at a dragged pace, all submerged into a hazy fuzz that is my vision. My tiredness makes me hang limp like wet laundry on a cold still day. I feel like every muscle is giving into gravity. Suddenly my head jolts upward letting me know I fell asleep. My eyes grow wider than usual as I take in my surroundings. For a few seconds, I feel confused, I am no longer on Interstate-49. Now, I'm careening down an embankment going 70 miles an hour. Allen is slumped over the steering wheel and my life is flashing before my eyes. I barely had time to scream before being knocked back and sideways. My torso and head smashed up against the windshield while my arms and legs were flailing, searching for somewhere to hold and stop. The seatbelt tugged on my skin with every lurch the forward movement my body was going. The noise of the metal being bashed over the concrete was almost deafening. The car tumbled over and over before coming to an absolute stop.
Allen wasn't wearing his seatbelt and was ejected from the truck on impact, head first through the windshield. Blood and shattered glass slew everywhere. I could feel it grazing my teeth and soaking my tongue. I felt the aching and cracks in my bones. Each crack felt like rocks were burrowing into my skin. I sucked in cramped air, feeling my lungs caving in on themselves. I tried to move but I was pinned to the collapsing roof and door. My bones and muscles and joints and organs felt like they were being crumbled and smashed into a tiny box. My lungs contracted with such force that I was afraid they would fold into themselves.
Why the pain, God, why so much pain?
The world must have kept flickering its figurative light switch because my vision kept flashing from bitter darkness to blinding white light. The only sound that filled my ears was the crushing of glass mixed with the distinct crackles of my bones. Then suddenly, everything became light. I was flying through the air, my broken body almost limp from the impact that occurred nanoseconds before. I must be dead.
It was the sheer circumstance that spanned my path with the beautiful star-crossed lovers. The fated couple had no idea how close they were to die that night as the vampire Kozani stalked them from the shadows.
I'd make sure no harm came to them. I apprehended the treacherously devious vampire fugitive and left him in the hands of my trusted deputies Stan Baker and Isabelle Beaumont. Kozani would be extradited back to the Dallas tribunal for sentencing.
With my mission complete, I was left alone to my musings. Kozani and I had that much in common, we both found the couple intriguing. However, I meant the two no harm, just idle observation. Eric and Tara fascinated me. The two beings were an unlikely pair, holding a world-worn soul hidden behind attractive, youthful appearances; a distinguishing trait long lost to the modern era.
I suppose nostalgia also played a role in my curiosity. Eric and Tara's saga is uncannily similar to my beloveds Arnbjorn Skard the Norse Prince from Sweden and the lovely dark fairy Nova Apogee from Morocco.
Arnbjorn, firstborn son of King Svein Skar of Auðunar helped his father conquer lands in England his second year in power. Arnbjorn was a great explorer, the builder of a menacing marine vessel uniquely designed for military prowess and long-distance trade, exploration and colonization. By the age of 20 he had lost his wife in childbirth, his daughter to illness and only his infant son Erik remained. Adorned in his wool, linen and animal skins, he and his brave Vikings voyaged the dark and stormy seas in search of treasure, but most of all it was a quest for new discoveries. Arnbjorn's next discovery would change his life forever.
Nova Apogee was a creature from the enchanted realm and even though she was a fairy, she had no wings, neither was she the size of what people would think a fairy to be. Then, fairies were either called "changelings", "witches" or "demons" and each carried their dangers. It was better by far to go unnoticed, keeping their "magic" under-wraps. The strategy by and large was a success, yet from time to time there came a young one who couldn't control their gifts. Nova was one such young faery, the skin of ebony and eyes of amber, bursting with more magic than her entire family put together... It was decided never to tell her who or what she was, to send her out amongst the humans. Her parents, siblings and the elders divested her and vanished, escaping into a beam of light, landing in another part of the world to start anew. Nova was left alone on the cold isolated shores of Portugal.
I watched her as she started to cry, her despair called out to my soul.
Strong winds blew from the north and the robust smell of blood permeated the air. The waves were powerful in that violent way of storms and their roar echoed across the sea to the dark land. The wind lashed in a torrent, waves broke around the rocks in the shallows. I knew before I caught a visual, that it was a Viking ship.
Hope is a bright star in a hopelessly dark universe. Nova was Arnbjorn's star, she had seen the ship and was casting a light from her hands that could be seen for miles. The Viking Prince was the first to see the beacon, the last sentry upon the rocky shore, casting its beam of light out into the dark waters.
His men made quick work docking the boat as Arnbjorn watched in awe, unsure if what he was seeing was real. The beautiful maiden adorned in a red flowing gown, her hair shone like the sea at night, the wavy black strands utterly white where the bright rays fell. As she moved, so did those brilliant hands, like echoes of the northern lights.
I was awestruck when the tall blonde and menacing savage wrapped his arms around her and embraced her in the most loving manner. It was as if her heart pulled him in like a magnet he gravitates towards this extraordinary thing that has captured his entire world.
There was something so warm, something that felt right, smelt right. She let her body sag, her muscles become loose. He gave her the respect of an equal but cradled her like a cherished child. They both sighed with contentment and from that day on, Arnbjorn and Nova were inseparable. They would not cross paths with me until several years later.
Tara was fleetingly aware of the bloody taste in her mouth but she couldn't figure out what it was. At times, her eyelids fluttered and she thought she must be at home in bed because it was so dark. My coffin is large and comfortable, alas it is a coffin and does require some getting used to. Tara and I are several meters underground in the backyard of my estate. Daylight is approaching and by next twilight, she will be born again. She is my child now and if she chooses, Eric can join us.
Chapter 7: Through My Eyes
Awake, Rise and see the world through my eyes...
My mind would relax, lulled by the sound and feel of Eric sleeping in our bed beside me, only to jolt awake, the knowledge that is just a dream shot through me like a bucket of ice-water adrenaline. My eyes struggle to focus, but can't adjust to the pitch blackness that restrains me. I screamed out for help but nothing came out of my mouth as I sank deeper and deeper into a sea filled with my mistakes. As I reached the bottom, I knew no-one was going to save me; no knight in shining armor, no Prince Charming. So, I closed my eyes and forgot about the world, the world that ruined me forever.
The fact is I'm dead. I died in a horrible car crash with the old man who picked me up.
Is this what being dead is like? Nothingness...No heaven, no hell, just a horrible cold and lonely abyss?
In the darkness and unfamiliar voice calls out to me. The sound so close, I could have sworn it was whispering in my ear; so soothing is the voice in the darkness and I got a strange feeling that my bed was floating.
I realize I am only dreaming when the scene changes, I'm in a boat on a gently swaying sea. There was no motor on the boat, no oars, nothing I could use to guide the boat that was drifting aimlessly. All of a sudden, the boat ran aground on some island that was not there before. There was no reason to stay in the boat, so I went ashore. I went inland a few yards and found people stumbling and wandering around. I watched them but no one seemed to see me. I had never seen these people before and I finally realized they were blind. I needed to find out where I was, so I went up to one of the people and asked him where I was. He turned towards me but did not say a word. He just stood there. He was gorgeous, his skin was so smooth and pallid, and it looked like he glowed. His piercing blue eyes took hold of me and I was unable to look away, let alone speak. I wanted to say something, anything, but nothing came out of my mouth. He placed his icy cold hand on my shoulder and peered at me with such intensity, my entire body surrendered. I had no control, we crashed into each other and we kissed. I had no explanation for the carnal lust and desire I felt for him. He growled, a deep, guttural and menacing growl and in fright, I pulled away. The beautiful man I was just kissing no longer looked human, he had fangs, long incisors dripping with blood. Barring his sharp daggers, he growled at me. I screamed out and he attacked me, biting my neck. His bite stung like a hot iron burning my flesh as he penetrated the skin and muscles.
The voice was calling me again and I found myself back in the void. In the midst of the deafening silence and maddening darkness, I was being embraced. Strong muscular arms held me in a firm, yet tender embrace and I felt at peace.
My eyes snapped open and there he was. That arctic blue gaze drew me in, generating the feelings I had during my dream. I was pulled into his frozen lake of emotion.
"Come to me." He said, but I was too distracted by my surroundings. The moon and stars were bright in the clear night sky. I was in a satin-lined coffin underground in an open grave. I sat up and the moment glanced at my bloody, oily and dirt soaked jeans, all the memories of my death flashed before me.
And I realize that I'm a ghost.
"Tara, get out of the coffin and come to me."
The pale, shirtless man said to me with his composed gentle vernacular. The way he spoke caused such an unexplainable feeling in me, it was as if I could feel what he was feeling. He wanted me near...
"Am I dead?" I asked, certain that I was and he was too. I sat up and he extended his arm to me taking my hand in his and gently pulling me to my feet. His slim yet muscular arms, chest, and torso are decorated with intricate blue ancient runic tattoos.
"You are dead my child, but fortunate for us, death is not the end." In a single movement, he lifted me up and cradled me, I gasped instinctively, I draped my arms around his neck, the man leaped up from the 6-foot grave onto a well-manicured pasture.
"Are we ghost?"
"No, but we must carry ourselves as such." He was still holding me in his arms, "The world must never know of our existence."
"I don't understand…How would they know we exist if we are dead?"
"Tara," He said in a hushed tone, "You are dead, you died last night in an accident. I will explain more after our bath." The stranger offered with guidance.
"Our bath?" I said as we peaked the hill and caught sight of a beautiful stone house. It reminded me of those French country homes; French style homes are distinguished by the stone, brick and stucco siding and this house was exceptionally beautiful. The fountain, the manicured lawn, and the botanical garden were all in the backyard.
"Yes, dirty hair and clothes are not a good look on you." He smiled and picked up his pace. He carried me as if I weighed nothing at all.
The smell of flowers surrounded us as we walked through, I can never tire of their sweet fragrance. Admiring the angel trumpets, jasmines, tuberoses, rain lilies, wisterias, primroses, moonflowers, and the amazing queen of the night flowers, I immediately comprehend the garden is full of night blooming flowers. My favorite is the rare queen of the night flowers, the petals are delicate works of art and their hues are medicine for my soul.
"You want us to bathe together and go out tonight." My tone was laced with trepidation and full of skepticism as he gently set me down on the threshold of the house. "But I don't even know your name."
"My name is Godric, and we shall have all the time in the world to know each other in any way you please." He gazed at me as if I were a miracle, as if I was something that he couldn't believe was real. "Right now, we must take care of the necessities."
"What are the necessities?" I glanced around his home as he led me through. The place was deceptively big without seeming obscenely huge.
"You must fully understand what you are, your capabilities as well as your limits." Godric switched on more lights into the vast and voluminous crystal chandelier which hung like some glory-cloud above the room's center. I was obvious Godric wanted lots of light but privacy too. He wanted an echo of years gone by with a modern twist, something he felt could carry him into his future in comfort, someplace he'd feel at home. The windows weren't the large ones that are so fashionable now, but more the size one used to see in old country cottages, and like them they were mullioned, overlooking the meadows. The paintwork on the trim was brilliant white, flawless, natural grey stone with all the hues mother nature can provide.
"Goric, why are you doing this for me?"
"You are my progeny and I am your Sire, it is my responsibility to care for you, to teach you the ways."
He nodded and smiled as we continued on in the house. The main level contained the sleek, professionally designed kitchen with the granite counters, stainless steel appliances, a spotless breakfast nook, lavish dining and living room. The top-level housed the bedrooms, which were as ultra-modern and minimalist as the living spaces. The path wound to a double oak front door was loose pea shingle; down the stairs, there was a large basement built into the hill and contained that's where all the old-world charm ended, once across the threshold, it was technology and modern design all the way. The floors were polished concrete and the furniture high-end Scandinavian design. The only compromise to comfort was the sheepskin on the floor, so clean it was hard to believe anyone had ever stepped foot on it. There was an oak with a large white muslin canopy strung like a flat sail across the top and set against a stacked charcoal gray slate feature wall. In the middle of the room was an enormous and contemporary style four poster bed.
"This is where we slumber during the day." He said lighting the fireplace. The fireplace mimics the warmth of the day.
"What I am...Teach me the ways of what?" I asked desperately trying to make sense of this, but he didn't provide any answers at that time. I didn't quite understand why he deemed me his child, he is certainly not my father. Why would anyone want to have the burden of making me their responsibility? So I decided at that moment to stop asking questions because none of his answers were making sense. I realized if I just let whatever is happening, happen, maybe I can figure it all out.
"I shall make your bath." He said, our features illuminated by the flickering light, the only one in this room. Though the air isn't smoky I can smell the pine as it burns, just a faint fragrance to reassure my senses.
I nodded, hoping, praying that he did not mean me any harm, as I watched him enter the bathroom. I could see the steam rising from the water filling the claw foot tub as I neared the entrance. Gleaming granite counter tops, walnut framed mirrors, walk-in shower room with over-sized shower head, fluffy towels neatly arranged, fluffy bath mat, and wicker laundry basket greeted me as Godric lit white candles. My breath was taken away and I was speechless, I'd never been surrounded by such luxury.
"Remove your garments, I will have them cleaned or thrown away, whichever you please." He stood with his hands entwined waiting for me to strip in front of him.
Not going to happen!
"Umm. Godric, I'd like a little privacy, please." I could feel my cheeks burn at the thought of him watching me undress.
An expression that can only be described as disappointment was what I expected to see, however, Godric looked utterly confused, his curiosity building like a cat fixed upon its prey. He left the bathroom without saying a word. As soon as he did, I quickly undressed and slid into the tub. Only a moment later Godric was opening the door approaching me.
"Godric what are you doing?" I was baffled by his odd behavior. I practically just got into the tub, there is no way he could think I would be ready.
"We are wasting the night." He pulled up a small ornate bench from the vanity and sat right beside the tub. Thank goodness, I'm covered with lots of bubbles.
"You said I needed to know the necessities and that you needed to teach me the ways...the ways of what?"
"The ways of being a creature of the night."
"A creature of the night? Like a vampire?" I scoffed aloud, no wonder he was talking in riddles, he knew I wasn't going to buy that load of bullshit.
"Tara, I shall say it again, death is not the end, it is merely another plane of existence." His glare was intense as he pulled a handheld antique style mirror from the vanity and placed it so close to my face, I was forced to look at my reflection. "You are flesh and blood, you do exist, but under a different set of rules, for you are no longer human."
As I gazed at my own reflection, I didn't dare say a word. What was there to say? Either he was telling the truth or I've just been kidnapped by a young, handsome lunatic.
Chapter 8: More Than Flesh
I am more than flesh, greater than bones. I am what you need, a solution to your troubled world.
Confusion was not a strong enough word to describe the way I feel in this moment. Although I should have been, I wasn't afraid of him, which made me feel terribly foolish. I mean look at me, I am in a tub (a very nice warm and bubbly one), in a basement (a fully furnished and elegant one), naked as the day I was born, and completely vulnerable to a total stranger (a very handsome one) who claims that we are both creatures of the night. I've obviously suffered some brain damage. Funny thing is, I'm looking at myself in the mirror and besides my dirty, blood-soaked hair, I look damn good for a gal who just got tossed around like a cow in a twister. I look at my reflection and up at him sheepishly, not quite knowing what to say.
"Aren't you wondering why you have no injuries, why you are alive, but not breathing," He moved the mirror and placed it to his side, "what other proof do you need?"
I heard everything he said, but one thing, in particular, caught my attention, it downright alarmed me, he said I wasn't breathing. I didn't even realize it, I placed my hand on my chest and he watched me as my puzzled expression changed to raw horror.
"You do not require air nor warmth, they are merely a comfort, not a necessity. You feel pain, but the endurance is unmatched by human standards. Your nature is to hunt, to feed on flesh and blood and you shall l remain youthful and beautiful for all eternity."
"Is there anything that we creatures of the night can't do?" I let my hands slide under the water; my skepticism seeped from my voice and I noted a look of annoyance cross his porcelain face.
"Fire, silver and blood starvation are slow and barbaric ways to die. Decapitation and a complete piercing to the heart is a quick and merciful way to true death." He paused for a moment, staring off in a faraway place before he came back and said, "You shall never look upon sunlight again if you do, it will be excruciating and eventually you will die of a slow painful death."
The way he said 'sunlight' as if he really missed it. I knew then and there, he is totally serious, he really believes he is a vampire. I'm in the company of a madman and I don't even know how I got here or how to escape. Instantly panic set in. My heart should have been racing, pounding, ready to burst out of my chest after hearing something so crazy. Yet I felt nothing, like the void I was in, my chest felt empty, I felt all over, desperately searching for a pulse; but there was none.
He peered at me with his deep, large liquid blue eyes they held such an intelligence and serenity that it was impossible for me not to be held prisoner by them. His cheekbones weren't especially high and his nose was a little too wide to be perfect, but there was an undeniable symmetry to his features and perhaps that's what held me so captivated.
"This can't be real," I said closing my eyes in denial and sliding my body into the bottom of the tub submerging myself in the water, hiding behind the surface of bubbles. I exhale and watch the air bubbles rising to the surface. Now for the real test... I held my breath...and held it...and held it...I don't feel the need to take a breath, but I do so anyway.
I gasped in shock, I can't quite believe it, but here I am underwater, breathing, gasping and not a drop of water is penetrating my throat, nose and most important... lungs with water. I am not chocking, suffocating or drowning. I rise above the surface to a very annoyed looking Godric.
"Are you convinced yet or do you require more proof?"
Despite my better judgment, I asked for more proof. I reached for the plug to let out the water in the tub, I felt a light gust blow about the room, from the corner of my eyes I see a blur moving rapidly toward the door. Next, I heard the door shut and Godric was gone. I couldn't explain what I just saw, so I let it go and I seized the opportunity. I jump out of the tub onto the plush rug, dashing across the room to the neatly folded towels and wrapped one around me; I used another to dry my hair. Not a moment later Godric was back, with my bag in one hand and some neatly folded clothes in the other. No longer dressed in the linen trousers and tunic; somehow, he has completely changed his attire. He smelled incredible and he looked even better.
"Thank you," He handed me my backpack and I placed it on the vanity, he placed some other garments next to my bag. I pulled out my brush and began to work on my hair; first applying a generous amount of leave-in conditioner while brushing in short even strokes until the tangles were at bay. Godric's attentive eyes never faltered.
"Once you are finished dressing, I believe I have the proof you seek."
A secret buzz shot excitement through me at the notion and I moved a little faster. He smiled at me and became a blur disappearing out of the room. I gasped, my parameters for what constitutes as frightening has grown exponentially and the night began to register. The way he moved was unnatural, there was no denying what I just saw.
I pulled my hair into a high bun securing it with a Scunci. I put on some deodorant, lotion and made up my face. I frowned at the contents inside my bag was my LSU t-shirt, my Bon Temps t-shirt, 5 pairs of socks, 5 panties, 2 bras', pair jeans, and a brand-new pair of flip-flops.
Godric, dressed in a tailor-made suit, obviously wanted to go out and I hardly have the attire for it, so I entertained myself and investigated the garments left for me. I pulled the garment and held it next to me. It's an elegant romper, the woven-poly material sweeps across a one-shoulder bodice, with princess seams, into a pleated waistline, high-waisted pants with long wide relaxed legs and hidden side zipper on the side. The jumpsuit fits me well and I was able to complement the outfit with my large red enamel hoop earrings. I sighed as I put on some mascara and lip gloss; I wished I had some dressy sandals that complimented my outfit, but I had no choice and I slipped on my black dollar-mart flip-flops. Once we left the house I'd find a way to make my escape, for now, I better just play along…with whatever this is that's going on.
Godric was waiting for me at the furthest end of the vast lower-level room. With his arms folded he peered at a large sword held by a mount made of elk horns.
"The ancestral great-sword of the Viking King, only members of the cavalry could afford to own and maintain a sword of this magnificence." He said with a warm nostalgic smile," It was an honor to be gifted with such an heirloom."
The very old sword appeared to be steel, perhaps brushed nickel double-edged; both edges of the blade are sharp, the hilt had a pommel and an upper guard, the two were formed as a single piece.
"Will you remove the sword from its resting place?" He asked me, his expression remain stoic, which bothered me.
I looked at him and then the sword, my mind was telling me not to touch it. For some reason, I felt like it was a ruse. I pictured a trap door opening beneath my feet into a deep hole in the ground from which there is no escape.
"Why do you want me to do that?"
"You said you required more proof." He said flatly, "Touching the sword will be all the proof that you need beautiful one," his cerulean eyes slowly roamed my form from head to toe appreciatively and I felt my cheeks warm.
"Fine," I said as I reached for the swords handle, I felt a hot searing sensation and it took a moment to register that it was my hand! I screamed at the biting pain and the rank smell of my burning flesh. The sight was even worse. I cried in horror at my bubbling blistering palm.
"What the fuck!"
"The sword was dipped in silver before given to me as a gift…The King had a wicked sense of humor, I must say." He quickly answered and I had no choice be to believe his claim. He's a vampire! I am a vampire!
"FUCK! I'm really a vampire!"
Chapter 9: Only From A Distance
Tara is having a hard time adjusting to life as a vampire.
Give me one more chance
And you'll be satisfied
Give me two more chances
You won't be denied
Every instinct in her body was telling her to run, to get as far away from Godric as she possibly could, but there was a strong part of her keeping her still, it was like she had no control over her body or what was going on around her. She could smell the horrible scent of her burnt flesh lingering, but the ebbing pain had subsided. She glanced at her hand and gasped.
"That's not possible!" She cried out in shock. The burn was gone; it was as if nothing had ever occurred. "That's not..."
"It is possible," He smiled knowingly, "Many things are possible, now that you are a vampire; silver burns our flesh and prolonged exposure weakens us. These are the many lessons you must learn."
"Would if I don't want to learn your lessons," Tara spat insolently, "I didn't ask for this!"
"If I release you now, you will surely die," he said, voice barely above a whisper. The thought of Tara leaving him, meeting the true-death and having to feel every moment of it as it occurred caused a grim rush to wash over him, he reached over and squeezed her hand. "Please stay with me tonight; after your lesson, I promise to released you." He declared.
Tara noted his somber tone and the warmth in his voice filled the space left within her. "Why would I die if I left you tonight?" She asked, wondering if what he says is true or just another attempt to keep her.
"Allow me to teach you."
"Fine, give me my vampire lessons." Tara relented, mostly out of curiosity, Godric was unlike anyone she'd ever met.
With his hand firmly clasped with hers, he leads her out of his house and into the night. Without warning, he swept her off her feet, lifting her up, cradling her in his arms. Tara heard a whooshing noise and struggled to register what was happening. Her body was sending her brain weird signals. The balance of her inner ear had gone. Either she was moving very fast or she wasn't moving at all. She stretched out her arms and discovered the feeling of weightlessness.
"You are flying Tara, focus your gaze." She heard his voice say and it was as if his words changed her reality, she blinked her eyes and everything came into focus, Godric was no longer a blur, she could see him. She could also see the moonlight splashing down its watery white-silver glow onto the city, bathing them, illuminating them. Stars filled the sky like pale corn into the freshly turned ground, and in the distance, the trees were silhouetted against the deep velvety sky. She had always found the night to be a comforting presence.
To the ancient vampire, it was the promise of life in the darkness, a sense of warmth springing from the cold. No matter the years that passed, he saw each night sky as a fresh gift given anew. To him, the night was when the curtain was pulled back and all beings are closer to the truth of who they are.
The vampire duo landed in a dimly lit alley voided of any humans. Rats scurried from their path as they walked towards a back door to a nightclub. Tara could hear the building pulsated with the musical beat and the smell of something appetizing as they walked down a dimly lit hall.
Inside the club it was like dancing on the Northern Lights; beneath the dry-ice smoke swirled an array of icy blues, acid greens, hot pinks and vibrant gold. The music played on the dance floor as if had fused with the bodies.
"Can you dance Tara?" Godric asked, giving the lovely onyx haired woman a flirtatious smile.
"A little," Tara smiled humbly back at him, his smile caused something pleasantly unexplainable inside her, she relished in knowing that her dancing skills were by far superior to the average person. And she was curious, Godric did not strike her as the type that could dance. She sparked at the thought of him proving her wrong.
The older vampire leads the younger one to the dance floor. Tara immediately took notice, his movements are graceful and fluid, every movement was full of poetry. In tandem, they pirouetted, their arms waving from side to side above their heads as if they could anticipate each other's every movement. Little did Tara know, he could anticipate her movements, she was a part of him and he of her.
He was hypnotized by the way her lovely figured swayed with the music. The attractive couple caught the attention of the ones dancing around them, earning them a few curious stares. Godric had been to the club many times before, but had never attracted this kind of attention; it was further confirmation of the highly anticipated excitement to come.
"Are you hungry yet?" He whispered, smiling at her knowingly. And Tara was momentarily taken aback by the fact that she could hear him over the blaring music. She stopped dancing and wondered if he could read her mind. She indeed felt very famished since the moment they landed in the alley. At the time Tara ignored it; but now, as they walked through the club, Tara recalled that the rats in the alley strangely smelled good to her. Oddly, the rats' scent reminded her of the gram crackers her Aunt Ruby Jean used to give her when she went to visit some days after school. She shuddered at the bizarre notion from her mind.
"Does someone in here smell appetizing to you." He asked.
"What do mean- someone," Tara gasped, peering around, worried that someone nearby had heard them.
"No one can hear us when we whisper, except for the wolves, and there are none in here tonight."
Tara let out a sigh, her dark eyes rolled in utter disbelief. "Werewolves exist too?"
Godric nodded and let out a tickled chuckle," Wolves are among many other two-natured creatures that exist. They stay out of our way and we extend the same courtesy."
They found two empty seats in the far corner of the club, Godric pulled a chair out and Tara took a seat.
"Now, I shall ask you again," Godric took his seat, reached across the table and took Tara's hand into his. "Does someone smell pleasing to you."
There was no denying it, something smelled fantastic. But Tara knew the nightclub had no kitchen, there wasn't even a hotdog or gyro stand nearby. Yet, the aroma of freshly baked bread, grilled meats, and decadent deserts whiffed in the air, prickling at her nose, making her more and more hungry and increasingly confused.
"Does any smell or aura peak your interest?" he implored and with each word the scent of something appetizing filtered through the air.
"What's an aura?" Tara asked, trying to take her mind off the current conundrum.
"A light or vibration a human or supernatural emits," he smiled and glanced over her shoulder, Tara did not dare turn to look at who he was gazing at, she did not want to see what he was seeing. "The light is like a laser to a kitten, a whistle to a pup, we are drawn to it," he gave her hand a firm squeeze, "to others our prey simply smells divine, like our favorite memory. That is what drives us to feed."
A man walked past them, he was tall and attractive, but that's not what caught Tara attention, it was the way he smelled. His fragrance was like no other, warm, sweet, hearty, he reminded her of Thanksgiving dinner. Something rose within her, something bigger than her, ballooning from within; and she moaned, a noise so unlike her usual tenor. Immediately, she could hear sounds, whispering in her frontal lobe - faint voices in another language. The muffled whispers were from her Sire.
You must feed my child.
The noise crowded her hearing, it hurt her ears. The rising feeling continued, it was like she was expanding within herself like her chest would burst like her brain would explode. There was so much inside of her all at once. She had to let it out or she was going to burst.
She let out a hiss and her impressive fangs emerged.
They are beautiful you are beautiful my child.
"I won't bite anyone, I am not an animal." She pursed her lips, trying her best to hide her fangs.
"We are all animals, some more intelligent than others." He hissed, his fangs emerged and he spoke in a voice that was barely audible "You must not fight your nature."
She turns suddenly silent, pouting inside, knowing from the growl from her digestive canal that the hunger was winning.
Godric made haste and followed the man into the men's restroom. Tara listened raptly, she knew at any moment she would hear the man scream in horror. She imagined Godric tearing into his neck and devouring him with unruly savagery. She waited on the edge of her seat and after the longest moment, the door finally swung open, the man and Godric walked out hand in hand.
Tara was stunned.
"Beautiful one, Hoyt has a private booth, please come and join us." Godric beamed, his fangs no longer present.
With fresh curiosity, Tara sprung from her chair to investigate, followed Godric and their newly acquainted human to a booth just a few feet away from the small table they were sitting at. She watched as Hoyt slid into the booth and sat next to Godric, noticing the blank gaze in his eyes and the small bite wound on his neck.
"You have excellent taste, come to see for yourself," He motioned towards Hoyt, his heavenly scent grabs her nose right away and she slid into the seat next to him. "he smells like cypress, my favorite." He smiled at his child, "and you smell like honey, two of my favorite things, tonight must be my lucky night."
"Why does he look so spaced out?" she asked while her stomach snarled and howled and from it came the not-so-subtle undertone of pain. It came in waves and it seemed as though her stomach was slowly digesting itself.
"We call it glamor. We capture the human in our gaze, their feeble mind becomes ensnared and we speak our command."
"We are going to burn in hell." Tara clutched at her tummy. The hunger pulling this way and that. It was a slow pain, eating away at her stomach and leaving her feeling drained and empty.
"Hell is empty and all the devils are here," he quoted.
"Will I hurt him if I bite him?"
With a whisper of a hiss, his fangs clicked "Watch me." Tara observed intensely as he gently placed his lips on his flesh. The man was lax in his seat, neck tilted, a small trickle of blood escaped from the corner of the vampire's mouth. After a moment Godric drew back, "Your turn," He smiled licking his lips, a wisp of the sweet smell drifted into her nostrils. She couldn't believe his blood smelled like dinner and her gut and fangs ached for it.
She turned her head slightly, "Hoyt, do you mind if I taste you?" Her seductive tone lulled the glamor man even more.
"I don't mind at all." The man tilted his neck inviting her in and Tara could no longer hold back, she peered at his neck for a brief moment, then at Godric and then she bit into him. She let out an unrestrained moan, the air around her became electric and her mind buzzed with an intoxicated feeling of pure euphoria. She was instantly addicted. Godric watched his precious baby gently feed and was in awe of how much control Tara had. Most baby vampires do not display this sort of will over their natural instincts, but Tara, she was a natural. Still feeding, she peered at him with fluttering eyes ensnaring him with her gaze he became instantly enchanted, highly aroused.
"Tara, you must release him or he will die, we've taken to much blood."
The progeny was greeted by a cherry red light and a pleasant wave of coolness. Now, Godric's voices are clear, and she understands why she must feed, what it feels like to be beckoned by her Sire, how to glamor and feed on a human. She knows her strengths, weaknesses, and what can cause her eternal existence to end.
"Can we take him home with us?" She asked licking her lips, causing her Sire to emit a muted groan.
"No one can ever come to our layer. I will heal his lesions and feed him my blood, he will recover fully." Godric reached over and placed his fingertip to Tara's fang, he pressed upward and her sharp dagger punctured his flesh. He quickly began placing his healing elixir on the weakened man's wounded flesh. Godric bit into his wrist, drawing blood and placed his wrist to Hoyt's lips, "Drink, go home, and rest the entire day," he instructed and then, the vampire and his progeny left the nightclub and went home.
"If you want to awaken each night feeling and looking the very best, you must sleep in a coffin."
The newly made vampire was accepting of what was happening, she was full of curiosity and anticipation of what lies ahead, "okay, show me my coffin bed."
"This coffin belonged to my child Nora, as a matter of fact, the clothes, you are wearing belonged to her too." He opened a closet door and effortlessly pulled out a shiny golden coffin that weighed at least 200 pounds. He lifted the top of the casket to reveal a plush crimson red lining.
"Fancy that," Tara smiled. "What happened to Nora?" Tara asked as she climbs into her coffin.
"She met the true-death a few decades ago," He noted somberly, "I shall tell you more about her during our next lesson." He didn't want to think of her tonight, he wanted to remain in joyous spirits with his newborn.
"What is my next lesson?" she inquired like a young child learning the new world around her.
"I will teach you why you should never live in a nest of vampires, and how to avoid all personal involvement with humans, as both are a liability."
Tara pondered what he said for a moment, shocked was the look on her pretty face as she came to the startling realization.
"Can I ever see my family and friends again?" she asks anyway.
"Only from a distance." Godric leaned to her, pressing a kiss on her forehead, "Your loved ones must never know you exist."
"Why?" Tara asked as the feeling of complete regret washed over her like the long slow waves on a shallow beach. Each wave was icy cold and sent shivers down her spine. How she longed to go back and take a different path, but now that was impossible. There was no way back. There was no way to make it right. The remorse would eat at her every day of her life.
"I shall make that another lesson for tomorrow." He replied climbing into his silvery white coffin adjacent to hers. "Good night beautiful child."
"Good night Godric." She said before closing the lid to her coffin.
I can leave my life behind, all of it, except for Eric.