Chapter Forty-One: Special (Part Two of the Wedding Arc)
Oh, Godric looks pissed, I think nervously while he and this vamp I don’t know glare daggers at each other. This whole night has been one giant fustercluck. Jason’s been jumpy and nervous, like an addict coming down off something. Pam’s been worried about him all night. Godric feels frustrated and angry, and Eric… Sookie’s probably the only one who really knows what’s going on in Eric’s head. Godric’s told me a million times, despite knowing what Eric is feeling, he never knows what the hell his Child may do.
Everything about tonight does not bode well for a beautiful, catastrophe-free, wedding tomorrow. I’m not talking about serving the wrong wine catastrophe, I’m talking beheadings and multiple murder catastrophe. Even though I don’t really understand the entire situation, it is obvious that a war just might break out in this ballroom at the drop of a hat.
“Master,” Pam nudges her way into Eric’s line of sight, “it is about time for your Bonded to meet with her human guests. Shall I take her and Master Godric’s Bonded now?”
I frown after Pam maneuvered her way into the peacekeeper role. It’s totally not her style, but getting Sookie and me out of the line of fire is probably a good call. After all, if there’s one thing that could make either of our men lose their shit, it will be this Magister Asshat talking about us like we’re cattle!
“Yes, of course,” Eric replies a little coldly. I’ll be glad when this whole wedding is over. I just hope no one ruins Sookie’s special day!
“Hey, Sookie,” I whisper while Pam starts ushering us out of the grand hall, “is it just me or was it frigid in there?”
“North Pole frigid,” she agrees sadly, running her hands briskly over her arms as if she was cold.
“Forget about it,” Pam tells us. “Everyone will play much more nicely tomorrow when there are human politicians and what-not attending. This evening, you witnessed a rather… intense vampire gathering.”
“What was so intense about it?” Sookie asks the same question that’s on my mind.
“Three of the four Bonded vampires of North America were in attendance this evening. Their combined ages are literally over six-thousand years. If Joan had been here, there would be nearly eight-thousand years’ experience between the four of them,” Pam looks at us amusedly.
Sookie and I are left wondering when Pam doesn’t really explain anything more of the situation. Okay, so Sookie and I married a couple really old guys. What does it mean?
I find out exactly what it means once we are safely in the Escalade and driving off the grounds of the Queen’s estate.
“Imagine that the fifty vampires you met all hated humans,” Pam tells us. “Now imagine that four vampires really loved humans and had more than enough strength, speed, and skill to murder all fifty of those vampires in under thirty minutes?”
Okay, that explains the tension.
“I didn’t realize humans were so looked down upon,” Sookie whispers sadly.
Pam shrugs from behind the wheel, “I do not like humans, either. I do like you two, though.” Sookie and I laugh at Pam’s comment, but our laughter turns to confused murmurs when Pam pulls over into a gas station. “Wait a moment.”
Sitting quietly, my best friend and I watch, becoming more and more confused after Pam takes a small wand out of her purse and begins waving it around the car. It lights up at the dashboard, then again in the center console of the car. It’s only when Pam rips out two, small, electronic devices I realize the car’s been bugged while we were at the estate.
Pam unceremoniously crushes the transmitters, then does another sweep of the car. She finds another transmitter in the trunk and disposes of it before sweeping one last time, coming up clean.
“Are you kidding me?” I ask in alarm.
“Sophie-Anne fears a coup. As soon as the car was out of our possession it was bugged,” Pam shrugs. “Only a fool would not think to sweep their vehicle after such an incident.”
“Well, color me foolish!” Sookie laughs.
“You are young still,” Pam assures her. “Youth and foolishness are natural companions.”
When we are on the road again, Pam drops a major bombshell on us, “Jason is a telepath now.”
“What!?” Sookie yelps in surprise while my jaw slings open. Great, I’m officially the least helpful person in the family!
“He discovered it this evening. He can only hear vampires it would seem. Thankfully, as Camilla is immune to your gift, Godric, Eric, and I are immune to his,” Pam explains. “His range is very short. Only a few yards’ in diameter now, but I am sure it will grow just as yours did.”
“Poor Jason,” Sookie whispers.
“At least he only hears vampires,” Pam tells her. “There are far fewer of us than humans and the two-natured. As a matter of fact, there are whole states and countries where no vampires reside. However, like your gift, his must remain a secret as well.”
“Of course,” Sookie agrees quickly.
I wonder if I’ll learn something useful, I think sadly. Currently I feel like the odd-man out. Everyone has superpowers to contribute to our Bloodline, and I’ve only just earned my GED and started classes at a small community college.
Okay, okay, I’m being a little hard on myself. I’ve technically only existed just shy of a year now, so, of course, obtaining my GED is impressive. Regardless, it really pales in comparison to what the rest of the family can do. I just don’t feel like I’m pulling my weight, or that there’s no weight left for me to pull. Between Jason and Sookie, we won’t miss a single enemy. Godric and Eric could level a small city by themselves in a few hours, and Pam… Makes them look fabulous while they do it!
“You okay, Camilla?” Sookie asks me after I’ve been quiet for a long time.
“Yeah, I’m good,” I reply, but even I hear my self-conscious hesitation. Sookie gives me a you-better-try-harder-than-that look and I sigh, “I just feel kind of worthless.”
“Why is that?” she asks carefully.
“I want to help, too,” I explain.
Sookie and Pam remain quiet, thoughtful, I think. At least they don’t scramble to make excuses for my lack of contribution, or the fact that I will never have more to offer than my love for Godric. Pam might not have an edge yet, but with her impervious immortality, she will eventually become just as destructive a force as Godric and Eric. She will become more in time. I will always be the weak, non-contributing, family member.
“Who knows?” Pam finally speaks. “In time, you may discover something that benefits us as a whole. After all, Grissom would not have taken you if there was nothing special about you.”
“What?” I look at the back of her head in surprise and maybe a bit of indignation. “What does that mean?”
Pam glances over her shoulder at me, “No offense, Camilla, but your scent is only moderately more appealing than any other human’s. Grissom does not just make dolls out of any random human he runs across. He only modifies and turns exceptional ones into dolls and that is usually because of their taste or special abilities.”
“There’s nothing special about me,” I protest.
“Perhaps not any more. We did interrupt Grissom’s procedures. It’s quite possible that during the restoration process Compton took, he accidentally lost something Grissom intended on restoring after your base memories were erased,” Pam tells me patiently.
“Like what?” I wonder aloud, trying to fathom what it could have been that made me special.
For the second time that night, Pam stops the car and turns to look at me, “Like the ability to manipulate and channel energies.” I stare at her in confusion. “A witch.”
I glance at Jason with increasing concern. Eric’s own cautious and quick looks only increase my growing worry. There is a high probability Jason’s stress is due to the unfamiliar surroundings, or even the strain of maintaining silence around many superior vampires. It is difficult to tell, but I am beginning to berate myself for turning him so close to the wedding. I should have stood firmly and told him and Sookie the change would either need to occur sooner than Thanksgiving or after the wedding.
Knowing what a verbal creature Jason is, I understand the largest factor of his stress is probably due to having to keep quiet, but I cannot deny this sort of reaction is far more disconcerting. He is all but shaking, and I feel his stress clearly within me.
It is this stress that has me acutely aware of his actions within the room. It is why I focus intently after Bill Compton approaches Jason and strikes up a conversation.
“How are you enjoying your reception party?” Bill asks of Jason several yards away.
My newest progeny gives Bill a nervous smile, “It’s not what I imagined, that’s for sure.”
Bill shrugs and tells him after I turn away as not to be seen staring at Jason, “It is not common to have parties merely because a new vampire was made, but considering Godric of Gaul’s age as well as the fact he has only created two progenies in his entire existence, it is quite the event.”
“I can see that,” Jason laughs.
“So, what do you think about your new existence as vampire?” Compton asks him.
Jason pauses, and I assume he gave his usual shrug, “It’s pretty cool, I guess. I hate hearin’ everything, but everyone says it eventually becomes white noise. Bein’ part of a Bloodline is pretty badass, too. Like havin’ a big ol’ family again. Used to it just bein’ me and my sister. Now I got Eric, Godric, Pam, and Camilla, too.”
There is a slight hesitation when Compton speaks again, “Do you miss your sister?”
“Miss her? She’s only been gone an hour!” Jason chuckles.
“Excuse me?” Bill replies in surprise.
“Sookie? Eric’s Bonded? That’s my sister. Shit, she’s the whole reason I asked to come over in the first place. Godric was good enough to turn me, so I wouldn’t be beholden to Eric. That way, if Sooks ever needs to vent ’bout her man, she can still come to her big brother.”
“You are the brother of Northman’s Bonded?” Bill repeats. “That is why Godric created you?”
“Yeah,” Jason answers, sounding nearly as confused. “You didn’t notice both us have the last name Stackhouse?”
Compton sounds amused when he answers, “We all assumed it was for property purposes. Maybe you wanted to keep some of your belongings, therefore, bequeathing them to Northman’s Bonded, and then used her name for your new persona. It is a common strategy when a turning is planned.”
“Oh, well, no. Sookie’s my real sister, not a pretend one,” Jason assures him, “and Godric likes me well enough that he kinda put raising me in Pam’s hands, but he’ll babysit from time to time. Like right now. I think I do all right stayin’ outta trouble, but glamourin’ ain’t comin’ natural to me, so I kinda need to be babysat.”
“It took me a few months to become competent at glamouring,” Bill tells him. “After that instance when everything began making sense, I became quite adept at it. Perhaps you will be the same.”
“Maybe,” Jason offers sullenly.
I must admit as Jason converses with Compton, the atmosphere around us becomes less and less critical. There is a distinct dissipation of unease and I realize that suspicions were running rampant while every vampire tried to determine what made Jason Stackhouse so special. They are quickly realizing that he is nothing but an unimportant, decorative peace. A gift, as it were, to my true progeny. Stackhouse shows little excellence by comparison, and coming to find he was only turned because of his relation to my Child’s Bonded is quelling concerns of an overthrow.
This overall relief washing over the room even seems to forgive me in my relaxed upbringing and lack of formality with him. No doubt my rule over him would be called into question under normal circumstances. However, all are ignoring Jason’s casual nature and seeming lack of respect all because there is comfort in the knowledge a war is not about to erupt within the ballroom.
“That’s why Godric came and moved to Shreveport, too. He knew I didn’t wanna leave my sister, and I gotta stay with him for awhile before he can let me loose. My Maker’s a real cool guy,” Jason continues laughingly. “I feel like a spoiled kid, y’know?”
“I see,” I hear the smile in Compton’s voice. “Have you met Queen Sophie-Anne yet?”
“Yeah, for a little bit. We got introduced when I first got here,” Jason tells him. “She seems nice for a lady vamp, but, then, all I got to judge by is Pam. Let’s just say ‘sweetness’ is not in Pam’s vocabulary, so I guess any lady vamp might seem nice by comparison.”
That comment actually makes me snort on a laugh, and Eric openly grins. There certainly has never been a progeny quite like Jason! His mere presence at this shindig is lightening the atmosphere to near brightness. Conversations are increasing in volume, I hear the occasional laughter that is normally absent within a room full of vampires. Perhaps Sookie is not the only one who brings levity to our kind. Perhaps vampirekind could be brought into the light, with or without the sun.
Of course, there will always be those who resist that light, I think when I see Jorge skulking around the edge of the ballroom. He looks disgruntled by the easing ambience in the room and seems intent to plunge it back into teeming hostility.
What is he up to?
“Sinvy! Kristin, Leslie, and Piper!” Sookie cries excitedly when she jumps out of the car that’s not completely stopped and propels herself into her college friends.
I can’t wait to make friends, too, I think amusedly while Sookie hugs and kisses the girls’ cheeks. Pam comes to a stop, so I can get out and join them before proceeding to park the car.
“Thank y’all so much for makin’ the trip down here. I’m sorry we switched it from Shreveport to New Orleans,” Sookie tells them all apologetically.
“It’s okay,” Piper giggles. “It’s not like you changed it last minute.”
“Besides, I’ve never actually been here before,” Kristin tells her. “It’s cool to have had an excuse to come.”
“Yeah, and Cynthia got us all down here,” Leslie points to their former Sorority President.
“So, what are we doing tonight?” Piper interjects excitedly. “There’s so many bars to hit up-”
“Sookie’s underage,” Cynthia reminds her.
“Not tonight, she’s not,” Pam interrupts when she reappears after parking the car. She hands Sookie a fake ID that could fool a cop and smiles, “I will make sure you have fun.”
“WOOH!” The Sorority girls cheer, and Kristin grimaces.
“I did not forget you, either, but you are giving that up after tonight,” Pam sighs when she hands over another ID to Sookie’s only other underage friend. I already have my re-established identity, and my license is only fake because Camilla Gaul doesn’t actually exist. “Hello, Cynthia,” Pam smirks at the oldest of the humans in the group.
“Hey, Pam,” Cynthia replies. Her face goes bright red and she looks nervously at her Kappa Sisters. I don’t need to be a telepath to know that some craziness happened between these two and apparently, Cynthia would prefer no one else in the group knew.
Sookie’s face falters during this brief exchange and I must admit, it really must suck having to listen to people remembering sex with your friends and relatives. I can only imagine what she must feel whenever she runs into one of Jason’s lays.
While Sookie keeps her girlfriends distracted with picking out the binge-drinking route, I turn to Pam and quietly ask, “What’s up with this whole witch thing?”
Pam looks at me appraisingly before she shrugs, “It is a thought Eric and I have been throwing around. We had both been wondering why Grissom had taken you at all. You had no special abilities and your scent wasn’t one that would have turned a high price, but if your body is naturally conducting, then that would be very useful, indeed.”
“More info, please,” I urge her to enlighten me further.
“There are two ways to become a witch, Camilla. You can study to train your body and mind until you can channel and distort energies, or you are born with a natural ability to do so,” Pam explains patiently, “A witch’s blood tastes moderately better than a human’s because even on a cellular level, a witch has become efficient at letting magic flow through them. This leads to a better tasting meal to us. Almost a year later, you still smell much more palatable than your average human. Had you been a witch who had studied and trained to become one, your nicer flavor would have faded once your exercises ceased so abruptly. It has not, and that has led Eric and I to believe you are a natural witch.”
“Why would any of this make Grissom take me?” I ask breathlessly.
Pam gives me a surprisingly sympathetic look for her, “An untrained natural witch is very much like a puppy. They can be trained to do very bad things because they do not know any better. Like necromancing, or if they are infused with enough vampire blood and stimulants, they could be transformed into Seers. A Seer who is enslaved by blood could be a huge catch in our world. However, natural witches are rare, even more rare to find an untrained one. Most find some sort of draw to the occult and work up resistances to glamour. Not immunity like Sookie’s, but they are much more difficult to persuade. Usually we can feel that resistance and must work them through easier commands before getting to what we really want from them,” she explains.
“How would I go about finding out if I’m this natural witch thing?” I ask a bit excitedly. “What might I learn that would benefit our Bloodline?”
“We could find an established witch to have it confirmed, and I suppose you could tutor under a high priestess, or even join a coven. Although, your affiliations could make that difficult. As for how you could benefit our Bloodline, I do not know. I have not studied the occult all that much. Eric and Godric would know better than I,” she confesses.
“GUYS!” Sookie calls ahead of us, waving her arms in frustration. “Why are you dillydallyin’? We got fun to have!”
I laugh while Pam sighs and we increase our pace to catch up with the other women. We are being led into our first bar of the evening, and all must show ID’s to get in.
Once we are all seated in a noisy nightclub, Cynthia takes one of those cheap veils out of her bag and pushes the combs into Sookie’s hair. I resist an eye roll, and am just grateful that Sookie can’t hear my thoughts any more. I’d probably be the worst company right now because Pam gave me a lot to think about and my mind is anywhere but at this party.
Even as I’m grabbed by the arms and dragged to the dance floor, my brain is wrapped tightly around these supposed energies I allegedly control. What was I in my past life? Did I have any power at all? Or is Pam just trying to make me feel better?
That last question makes me a bit resentful. Not toward Pam, but toward myself. I’m supposed to be out having fun with my best friend the night before her wedding. Instead, I’m standing like barely more than a statue while she dances around me.
Time to snap out of it and show them what my real power is, I think bemusedly. There’s one thing I have on all of them and it has nothing to do with magic or any other sort of personal gift I may or may not have.
“Six tequila. No training wheels,” I tell the bartender. He quickly pours the shots and I think my previous self might have been a bit of a partier because I expertly carry all six of them to our table.
Sookie seems to have discovered I left and comes skipping back to our table with her girlfriends. “What’s up? Where’d you go?” she asks worriedly.
“Got us some shots,” I tell her with a smirk, laying them into two rows of threes.
“Oh, tequila doesn’t agree with me,” Leslie blanches worriedly.
“They’re not for you,” I laugh while I get behind one of the rows. “Ready, Bride?”
“Ready, Maid of Honor,” she laughs and gets alongside the other row.
“You guys aren’t doing three shots of tequila in a row!?” Kristin wails in alarm.
Of course, the college girls have no idea that our living immortality makes it a challenge to get drunk. We need three shots of hard liquor every half-hour to even maintain a buzz if we’re going to be dancing and burning it off. I’m just grateful we can still get our drink on!
It doesn’t take long for the alcohol to kick in and soon Sookie, her girlfriends, and I are on the dance floor once more. We’re bouncing and jiggling to the music.
It’s sometime around two or three in the morning. We’re at our third nightclub, but probably our fifth or sixth building. God only knows how many shots of tequila it’s been for me and Sookie. I know the college girls are trashed when Cynthia begins dancing rather close to Pam, and the vampire is just grinning amusedly to herself. She places her hands on Cynthia’s hips and just lets the young woman move however she wants.
Mmm, I wanna move like that on Godric, I think, then realize that Mr. Cuervo is making me a little frisky. I focus my lusty desire toward the dance floor and start swaying my hips. My hands flutter about my body as I pretend the breeze they create is my Bonded’s touch. Twisting my hips a bit more needfully, I continue what must look like a partner-less lap dance in the middle of the floor. Dancing and drinking feel so good, I moan a little bit when I feel my body getting hot, soft, and wet.
A loud moan carries over my head and I blink my eyes open to see Sookie and Pam standing confusedly among the throng of people. Everyone is gyrating and moaning loudly to a beat that does not coincide with the music. Every so often, an impassioned cry rings through the room and people fall to the floor, wriggling in what looks suspiciously like an orgasm.
Cynthia is grinding hard against Pam’s thigh. Leslie and Piper are making out and touching each other. Kristin has jumped up and wrapped her legs around some random guy. What the hell is happening?
All at once, the floor erupts in a shout and everybody but me and my family members fall to the ground in a dead faint of pleasure.
“That was interesting,” Pam comments while the music continues to thrum, but every person in the club is lying on the floor, passed out.
“What happened?” I ask, looking at all the panting bodies around my feet.
“That was a grand mal energy manipulation, is what that was,” Pam comments when she lifts Cynthia over one shoulder and hoists Kristin from her “dance partner’s” lap and over the other. I grab Leslie by her wrists while Sookie grabs Piper and we drag the two girls toward the door.
“Why didn’t it hit us?” Sookie asks curiously.
Pam pauses, looks at her with raised eyebrows, “Because we are all immune to each other’s powers.”
Sookie frowns and then gasps, “Oh!” She looks at me for a moment, and then laughs, “Sorry, tequila is stealing my deductive reasoning skills.”
“I did that?” I realize with a bit of shock. Great, I have the power to start orgies.
Once we get our passed-out companions in the Escalade, Pam gets behind the wheel and Sookie sits in the back with the others.
“Why all of a sudden like that? Right after you tell me I can do it?” I ask of Pam from the passenger seat.
“The timing was a bit coincidental. It was the atmosphere,” Pam explains. “With alcohol and music, it was only a little push for you to be able to manipulate energy on such a large scale. Your own uninhibited state probably helped also. Mostly, I think it had to do with the fact you knew on a small level you could. It was almost like you were subconsciously spreading your wings.”
“What does that mean?” I ask her nervously.
Pam grins at me, “It means that if you can do something like that with only a modest effort, you could be very powerful once you are trained.”
I don’t know how to interpret any of this, but something in the back of my brain excitedly screams, you’re special like the rest of the family!