Chapter Forty-Two Old, New, Borrowed, Blue (Part Three of the Wedding Arc)
I have only a split second to cover Jason’s mouth when an explosion of Lust shoots through the Link between Child and Maker. Godric was intentionally keeping himself accessible through his progeny to keep us all calm and assured throughout the tumultuous evening. It had been working, too. At least it was until his Bonded sent him such strong yearnings that a whelp like Jason practically roared into my hand while his fangs penetrated my palm!
“Northman, what is the meaning of this?” Sophie-Anne demands shrilly while Jason’s eyes are wild. I feel Godric closing off his connection and then Jason’s responding plummet back to neutrality.
“My Master’s Bonded,” I reply easily. “She sent for him and Jason is unaccustomed to feeling such consuming emotion other than thirst.” Admittedly, even I was momentarily stunned by the intensity. Camilla is quite possibly very drunk right now. Or the little theory we have been throwing around between the three of us has now been confirmed… “It would seem that our females are returning to our hotel. We should meet them,” I tell our queen.
Sophie-Anne’s posture relaxes and I see the Berts easing back to their respective corners. Once more the room fills with murmurs and conversation, having frozen for that split second when Jason lost his composure.
“I’m sorry, Your Majesty,” Jason lowers his head properly after I release his mouth. “Never felt anythin’ like that before,” he explains embarrassedly.
Sophie-Anne waves off his apology, “Every whelp commits some sort of faux pas during their first gathering. I can only imagine the intensities you must experience with having a Bonded Maker. I will see you all again tomorrow evening. Congratulations again, Northman,” She nods her head toward me and I answer with my own.
“Thank you, Your Majesty,” I answer, taking Jason’s arm to lead him out of the hall. Godric is waiting for us at the entrance and gives us a bemused, but unapologetic lift of his shoulders. “I knew you would want to leave after that,” I laugh.
“Yes, I definitely wish to return to Camilla, not only from curiosity, but to answer the call,” he chuckles in return.
Grabbing Jason by his shirt collar, we immediately take to the sky upon exiting the mansion. In no time, we land atop our hotel and make our way inside. We have managed to beat the women back so we take the opportunity to sweep our rooms for listening devices again.
No surprise, I think in exasperation after I find three in my room alone, one in Pam’s, and Godric finds several in his. Normally, we would leave the listening devices and refrain from speaking, but, now with our impervious immortality, none of us desire having to die for the day.
When I feel Sookie approaching, Godric, Jason, and I meet them in the lobby where Sookie looks at me with relief. “Oh, good! Will you help us with the girls?”
“Girls?” Jason asks excitedly.
“They’re all passed out, Jason,” Sookie rolls her eyes, laughing.
“Damn,” Stackhouse groans, leads the way to the car, and takes one of the mortal girls into his arms. Pam is already holding the one sorority girl who tried to seduce me last year. I take the blonde, perky one from Sookie’s softball team while Godric takes the other brunette from the sorority.
“Nice veil,” I tell Sookie amusedly and she quickly yanks the cheap, tulle decoration off her head.
“It was a bachelorette party,” she huffs indignantly.
“Did you have fun?” I ask while we receive many confused looks from the staff for all the unconscious women.
“We had a great time,” Sookie assures me.
“I am glad,” I smile down at her. “I really did like that veil,” I tell her with a wink. She blushes in a way that still surprises me. After all the things I have said and done to her, I would have thought nothing could stain her cheeks like that. Every day I still make her blush is a blessing. I find myself praying quite often that, to some degree, my Bonded may always remain sweet and innocent.
Once we have left the mortal women strewn across the beds of their shared hotel room, Jason, Godric, and I return to Jason and Pam’s room while Pam, Sookie, and Camilla return to my and Sookie’s room. I know Pam has every intention of beginning her makeover of my bride the moment the door is shut.
“I am surprised you did not take Camilla to your room first,” I look at my Maker with a smirk.
Godric shakes his head and laughs, “I do not believe she is ready to speak of what happened this evening. Had we been alone together, it would have been to communicate, not to copulate.”
“You seriously take all the fun outta fuckin’,” Jason grumbles. “Copulate? Ya really gotta talk like that?”
“Stackhouse,” I sigh as I grip the back of his neck and shake firmly, “you really must learn how to speak to your elders.”
“Maybe so, but if we don’t plan on comin’ outta the coffin, then really, I don’t. I mean, I’ll still show you respect like I’d show any brother of mine, but I’m still gonna mess with ya like any brother of mine, too,” he says with surprising insight.
Godric laughs as the youngest of our bloodline makes a valid point, “Then, brother, would you like to tell us what had you so out of sorts in the early stages of the party?”
Jason sighs, “Can you tell if a vamp is near?”
“To a degree,” Godric confesses.
Jason’s lips purse and he shakes his head, “Hold on,” he grumbles, heading to the phone. I see he is dialing my room number and am not surprised to hear my Bonded answer.
“Sook, it’s Jason. Can you tell if there’s vamps other than our family in the hotel?” he asks her.
There is a long pause before Sookie replies, “Yes, but they’re not on our floor. Pam already did a sweep of the room and didn’t find any listening devices.”
“Yeah, we got all those before ya got back,” Jason tells her. “So, no one’s close enough to be listenin’ in?”
“Not that I can tell. If you’re worried about lettin’ something slip, write it on paper, and then burn it afterward,” she suggests. I know this is how Sookie used to communicate with Camilla when Godric or I were in earshot and I shake my head at her cunning. I do believe she picked it up from vampires, however. We are apt do such form of communicating among large numbers of our kind.
“Good idea. Thanks. Have fun tonight,” he tells her.
“Behave,” she replies and hangs up.
Jason sets the phone back in its cradle before picking up the notepad and pen. He tears off a sheet, jots down a quick message and holds it up for me and Godric to see.
~Telepath now. Vamps only. Couple yard radius. Family immune.~
Apparently, we can now hear the entire world if we desired, I think in surprise. Also, if that eruption of Lust is any indication, we also have a witch in the family. Of course, these conversations will have to wait until we are back in home territory. There is also the fact we will need to make some of our immunities known soon. The question is when.
Picking up the pencil, Godric asks the question that must have been plaguing him all evening:
~What was the Magister thinking that upset you?~
Jason takes the pencil from our Maker and responds.
~Stupid shit about Gahl falling for a doll. I don’t know for sure. He was thinking in Spanish, and I wasn’t all that ready for it. Nothing sinister, just mean shit.~
Godric’s reply to this news is to roll his eyes heavenward and shake his head. My own reaction is to realize that we must teach Jason and Sookie as many languages as possible if we want to fully utilize the security their gifts could bring.
Without a word, I take the note from Jason’s hand and quickly set it ablaze. Holding it pinched between my fingers, I let a stream of embers trail behind me on the way to the bathroom. There, it is put in the sink and extinguished, unable to reveal its knowledge ever again.
“We are developing into quite the family,” Godric states after I return. “However, we will save this conversation for later. Currently, it is not advisable to discuss aloud. That said, I encourage you to keep your family informed as to any dangers you may sense, even the smallest thing. Let me or Eric determine the legitimacy. You merely need make us aware.”
Jason nods in understanding, but I see him become distracted by the clock.
“Something on your mind, Jason?” Godric asks patiently. We are both aware of the short attention spans of newborns.
“Oh,” Jason falters, then laughs. “I don’t mean to impose none, but do you think I could have a moment with Eric before I die for the day?”
“Of course,” My Master agrees with a slight nod before leaving the room.
“What may I do for you, Jason?” I ask of my Fellow Child. It is strange to go from an only Child to an Elder Child after so many centuries.
Jason gives me a rather uncomfortable smile as he walks to the bedside table and takes out a small box, “I ain’t so good at wrapping, and I couldn’t ask Sooks to do it.” He hands me the box and sits nervously on the bed.
Frowning, I open the small flip top and look curiously at its contents. What appears to be a ball bearing soldered to a tie pin stares up at me.
“Another Stackhouse heirloom,” Jason tells me. “It’s a musket ball my Great-great-great Grampa took to the chest. Nearly killed him. Field nurse tended to him, older lady well past her prime, and he promised to marry her if he lived. Well, he did, and they got married. Had one son, miracle kid since she was almost forty when they got hitched. Anyway,” Jason is growing increasingly uncomfortable, “story is that she was the love of his life. He said Cupid was outta arrows that day and shot him with a musket ball instead. Said he was glad it was a musket ball ’cause that made sure he had enough lead in his pencil to knock up his older wife.” That comment actually makes me let out a huff very much like a laugh. “So, we pass down the bullet from son to son so we’re sure it’s true love and that we got enough lead in our pencils to knock up our wives. I sure as hell ain’t gonna need it now, so I thought you should have it,” he finishes lamely.
“I am honored that you are giving me something so dear and important to your family,” I tell him sincerely.
“Well, y’know, you and your bloodline have really done a lot to make me feel like one of y’all. I just wanted to make sure you feel like you’re my brother, too,” He looks embarrassed, so I think of the kindest thing I can do in that moment. I ruffle his hair and shove at his head.
“That will do, little brother,” I tell him.
“So,” Camilla starts rattling off, “we got the something old because of your dress and the something new is that sexiness Pam’s gonna tie you into,” She points to the corset laying on the bed. I glance at it a bit impatiently, but it will literally be hours before I’m gettin’ dressed. “We just need to borrow a bit of blue,” Camilla finishes thoughtfully.
Currently Pam’s givin’ me a last-minute waxing right here in the middle of the hotel room!
“I have her something borrowed in my room,” Pam tells us.
“What’s that?” I ask.
“My shoes. They will go well with your dress,” she declares. “They are from about the same era.”
“Wow! Thanks, Pam,” I gape momentarily before sitting up and awkwardly hugging her just as she yanks off another strip of wax. “And please, please, please don’t find some way to make an excuse to have me bald down there. It’s Eric’s wedding, too and you know he doesn’t like me bald.”
“Fine,” she grumbles annoyedly and I can’t help but laugh.
Who would have thought I’d have a pair of girlfriends I didn’t mind strippin’ down in front of and pourin’ hot wax all over me? That just sounds plain, old wrong, I think with a grimace.
Once I’m finished being all waxed and plucked, I’m steppin’ into the shower at 6 A.M. In twelve hours, I’ll be walkin’ down an aisle, surrounded by a ton of people I don’t know, ready to legally marry my Bonded!
“Don’t we still need something blue?” Pam asks as she starts putting mountains of product in my hair, drying it a bit, adding more product and continuing to dry it some more.
“Garter,” Camilla replies distractedly, “it has a blue base.”
“Excellent, so that stupid tradition is handled,” Pam twists my hair a little too roughly and I flinch. “Oh, please,” Pam drawls impatiently, “I just ripped hair all off your body and you are going to flinch from a little tug like that?”
I grumble a little at Pam’s hostility, “What crawled up your butt and died all the sudden?”
“You did not seem preoccupied or concerned about your brother’s situation this evening,” Pam replies coldly.
Shrugging, I tell her the truth, “There’s nothin’ to be done about it. I’m not tryin’ to sound cold, but there’s nothin’ I can do presently. We can’t talk openly about it till we’re back in Shreveport, so makin’ a big deal ’bout it won’t make it any easier. Honestly, I think growin’ up without a buncha people knowin’ helped me a lot. I got to develop close relationships I might not have if others had known what I could do.”
Pam seems to relax a bit at my explanation and I think it’s cute how she is so protective of Jason. It warms my heart to know he’s got someone watchin’ his back.
“Don’t worry, Pam, I’ll help him when we get home,” I assure her further. “Right now, though, there’s someone else I think has questions about her own supernatural awakening?” I look at Camilla who has been watchin’ our exchange like a deer in headlights.
“You know,” Camilla pouts, “you say you can’t hear me anymore, but then you say stuff like that. So, what is it? Can you still hear me?” she asks with amused eyes.
“I can’t hear you anymore,” I assure her with a laugh. “That doesn’t mean I haven’t learned your face in the time I could hear you. So, do you wanna talk about what happened at the club or what?”
Camilla releases a huff of air, blowing her wispy brown bangs from her eyes, “I just don’t know what it means? I don’t feel what I felt now. For just a moment I could feel everything around me, I could feel it changing and growing stronger. Now… I feel like I always do,” she tells us.
“As I have said,” Pam begins, “I am not all that trained with the occult. However, from what I do know about it, the clearing of the mind and the focusing of a single energy is quite important. The alcohol removed your inhibitions and you became in tune with the general mood of the club. The thing is, you are Bonded. Vampires feel things very strongly as you know. What you did was probably infuse the club goers with vampire lust and that is what brought on the orgy. It is quite the same as to what would have happened if every human in that club took a lick of Godric’s blood.”
“Oh,” Camilla’s eyes widen in surprise. “So, it was a fluke?”
“Well, the response was, but your magic is not a fluke. You are indeed a natural witch. Now it will be a matter of training you to control your power. No need to rush. You have plenty of time and in less than a century, you will be more powerful than any witch alive,” Pam tells her.
“What does that mean for the bloodline?” Camilla asks excitedly.
Pam becomes thoughtful for a moment, “There are many advantages to having a friendly witch on hand. They are adept at creating barriers, bringing fortune and good luck, or something as covetable as blessings of protection. You could quite possibly fill the small cracks in our defense. Imagine if you could perform a reassembling spell? It is mostly used on inanimate objects, but it could work quite beautifully for us. Also, enchanted fire… We could never be frozen,” Pam’s eyes grow distant. “Of course, just those two things I have mentioned are extremely difficult and part of the “myth spell” group. No single witch has ever been able to perform them and when done in a coven, they have been more of a parlor trick than anything else. Imagine five or more witches having to chant for three hours to reassemble a watch. I could take my time piece to the mall and have it fixed in half the time while shopping in the meantime.”
Camilla’s lips purse thoughtfully as she takes in Pam’s explanation and following rant. “The most powerful living witch…”
“Yes, witches must study a long time for their power, and then surrender it to the natural order of death,” Pam tells us in her sagely manner. It’s a rare moment for us to witness our friend showing off that she is, in fact, wise. Normally she’s one of the girls…just more bored. “You will not be forced to give your power back.”
“So, I guess that means I’ll have to learn how to live benevolently?” Camilla asks slowly.
Pam makes an expression that’s more of a sneer and says, “Benevolence? There is no such thing. You will find that every choice you make has both a positive and negative impact. Anything you do is open to interpretations by those effected.
“No, I would not aim for benevolence, Camilla,” Pam tells her, but I feel that it is aimed at both of us, “I would aim for becoming benign. Make as small of an impact as possible until you feel too strongly about something to resist and always remember there are ramifications no matter how admirable your intent. ‘The road to hell is paved with good intentions’ is a saying for a reason. Remember that.”
I think I always will, I swallow hard. My older friend has made me realize something very important. As a future teacher and as a future mother, I will be shaping the minds of this world. Forever. I will impact every future generation until the end of time. Depending on the knowledge I impart, I could give a corrupt mind the power and know how to harm others. I could educate a future mass murderer or war criminal!
Okay, okay, calm down, Sookie. Eternity is a long time to worry about what if. Chill, I tell myself and take a deep, calming breath.
The remainder of the mornin’ is a bit grim as Pam’s given me and Cammie way too much to think about. She and I eat our breakfast in thoughtful silence and my mind is miles away from the wedding as I am stuck on the future. Even though I told myself not to dwell, I’m findin’ it awfully hard.
It’s not until after lunch when Pam’s doin’ our nails that the tension finally seems to break. Camilla starts actin’ like her goofy self and has me and Pam in stitches. Okay, she has me in stitches. Pam is just rollin’ her eyes at us with that smirk of hers.
Around two, we’re watchin’ movies on pay-per-view and I’m doin’ my best to enjoy the movie while Pam yanks and tugs my hair up. That takes ’bout an hour and a half to do for all three of us and then she spends forever on everybody’s make-up! I swear, I’m about ready to run out on this big princess wedding, grab the family, and head to the courthouse! I better have the most amazing wedding photos after all this nonsense, I think in exasperation.
Of course, all that frustration melts away when it’s finally time to be in my wedding dress. I don’t know if it’s ’cause the dress is so important to me, or because Gran and Mama finally showed up in spirit, but I finally feel excitement instead of annoyance toward this wedding.
I wish you were here doin’ my hair, Gran. I wish it was you who put on my make-up, Mama. I wish it was you two liftin’ this dress over my head, but if it were… Then I might not have my new sisters. I love you both so much. I wish you could be here with me in body and not just spirit, but thank you. Thank you for giving up so much so that this could be the life Jason and I experience. I promise I’ll cherish my days. I promise not to take them for granted, even if they aren’t numbered. Because moments are precious, and even after one thousand or two thousand years… Some moments don’t come by again.
I snort on a laugh when Jason jerks out of his daily death. He is several hours early, but I must confess that it is probably difficult for him to remain dead for the day when the sun does not force him to do so. Like putting a toddler down for a nap, I think amusedly.
“Welcome back, Jason,” Godric chuckles as he straightens his tie. “You should shower and start getting ready.”
Jason nods, mildly disoriented after his rest, and starts stripping away his clothes as he heads to the bathroom.
“Have you made a decision about our circumstances, Master?” I ask of my Maker while I button my shirt cuffs.
Godric sighs and pauses in tying his tie. “I have my reservations about taking action during your wedding. So many vampires who could take offense gathered in one room? We would be lucky if we do not put our new powers to the test.”
“Very true,” I agree in disappointment. Like Jason and Pam, I am impatient to wander about in the sun unrestricted. We take chances from time to time, but the freedoms we are denying ourselves become more difficult to resist every day.
“However,” Godric continues and I must resist looking too hopeful, “the longer we wait, the more questions will be asked regarding the circumstances of how we came into such power. The less we are forced to disclose, the better.”
“Have you decided what information you will give?” I ask.
“It is my hope to leave it at ‘day walking’ and nothing more for now. Let it be known to the court that we desire to not come out as vampires due to our new abilities,” Godric explains. “Assure the queen we are still at her disposal. It would be in our best interest not to be ostracized by the vampire community before the Great Revelation. Let them view us as a new tool and pray that the Ancient Pythoness either sees nothing of our deceit or chooses to remain silent about it.”
“Would she do that?” I ask curiously.
Godric nods solemnly, “Yes, I can think of circumstances that would encourage her to keep our secret.”
My lips turn into a frown as I pull on my tuxedo jacket, “War.”
“Yes,” Godric stares blankly into the mirror in front of him, “and we are on the side she wants to win. I cannot fathom something as large as this has escaped The Pythoness’ attention. There are very few reasons she and Thorn have kept their silence.”
My jaw tightens further, “They oppose the Council’s Amendment to the Trafficking Ban.”
“Even though the whelps on the Council cannot possibly stand up to Thorn, there are plenty of well-aged vampires who would gladly support them. Thorn is quite possibly a target if she stands in any opposition.”
“Which is why she and The Pythoness opted not to vote,” I groan with realization. “The Pythoness knew we would object and left us to clean up this mess; to keep Thorn out of danger.”
Godric smiles at me in that amused way only he can manage in such abysmal situations. “That is the very conclusion I have drawn. Also, a certain Errand Boy for the Pantheon implied as much, if not more.”
“Is that right?” I sigh and straighten my tie as Godric moves from the mirror to sit on the bed.
“Before I Bonded to Camilla,” Godric confesses, “He said there were paths he needed us to follow that we could only walk because of our abilities. He also said we would gladly walk them as they came upon us.”
As I place my new tie pin, I consider what Godric is implying. We will pay for our new gifts, and Endymion did nothing to warn us until after we had made our decision. That little bastard, I think angrily. He herded the entire bloodline down this path, hiding behind some grand gift, but still expecting compensation!
“We should have been warned,” I snarl angrily.
Godric smiles bemusedly at my outrage, “He implied that he has bargained with your Bonded before and that she is quite impossible to force ultimatums upon. Regardless, he did mention that we would be on the same side as him, perhaps he will not even need to directly interfere? There is always the chance we will choose the path he desires without any Divine Intervention,” Godric points out.
“I suppose,” is all I manage to grumble. It comes out sounding much more petulant than I would have preferred.
“Shall we keep that little secret between the two of us?” Godric asks with raised eyebrows.
“Ya mean the three of us, right?” Jason calls as he exits the bathroom, rubbing a towel briskly over his head.
“Are you able to keep a secret from your sister?” Our Maker asks with raised eyebrows. He seems quite disbelieving that Jason is capable of this feat.
“Sure, I can… Now that I’m a vamp, at least,” he laughs and throws the towel over a nearby chair. “Y’all can show me how to tie a bowtie, right? I ain’t ever worn one,” he confesses as he begins pulling his clothes on. I still marvel at his lack of shyness with nudity. Of course, I realize that being part of a sports team for most of his life would chisel away the cultural phenomenon regarding discomfort with nudity, but seeing as his sister took quite an interesting amount of time to lose her own shyness toward just me, I find Jason’s comfort amusing.
“I am surprised,” Godric confesses. “You usually prefer being forthcoming with your sister.”
Jason shrugs, “You could always use your Maker’s command to stop me. I figure I’d prefer you didn’t. Besides, I’ve known Sooks longer than any of you ever will. I remember things about her she don’t even remember ‘cept through me and I gotta agree with the Voice of God on this one. Sooks don’t like ultimatums and she’ll throw a damned fit when and if she’s told Endymion set her up. It’s better to pose it as a request and if Endymion’s right about us wanting to take his side anyway, there won’t be no need for a disagreement.”
“They catch on so quickly,” I smile, feeling slightly bemused. Was it just only two years ago I met these siblings? With the leaps and bounds they have grown, it is amazing to consider. Gone are the lost, clinging children who could let no one in but each other. Now, strong, adventurous youths stand among us. Naïve, guileless even, but intelligent and vigilant. Despite our strengths and immunities, they hold fast to our secrets, knowing that spoken truths are dangerous. It is one thing to know; it is entirely something else to admit.