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BACKSTORY: In this tale, Vampire Bill Compton and that Nazi Werewolf mess, concluded rather swiftly. Bill’s maker, Lorena, was staked and most things have went back to normal in the small town of Bon Temps, Louisiana.
Sookie and Bill are making wedding plans, but the bride-to-be is a bit worried about her housemate and best friend, Tara. Tara has been kind of secretive and has also begun wearing a silver chain around her neck.
Recently, she added a silver wrist and ankle bracelet.
Sookie tells Bill that she thinks Tara is warding off a vampire. But Tara has other problems. The two rednecks that vampire investigator, Franklin Mott, and herself, beat up, are now pressing charges. And the newest addition to the Bon Temps police force, Jason Stackhouse, has been asked to look into the allegations.
Tara is clamming up about having any help with beating up the men, something the rednecks, Buck Johnson and Cletus Buzzard, don’t appreciate. They surely don’t want it going around that they were beat down by JUST some woman and a Black one at that.
Then there is Franklin, who is determined to involve his self in Tara’s life, however he can. And he will not be deterred by a little silver....
It was morning at the Stackhouse residence and Sookie had come to a decision: she was going to read Tara’s thoughts at breakfast, just so she could find out what was going on. Bill thought it was a good idea and they agreed that if Sookie found out that a vampire was indeed bothering Tara, Bill would warn him off.
Tara came bouncing down the steps, feeling oddly refreshed this morning. She realized that she didn’t mind dreaming about fucking Franklin Mott, as long as it didn’t actually happen anymore. Fucking him was one thing. It was everything else involved that she just was not ready for, and was unsure of how to handle.
Franklin was...well...he didn’t do what she said, when she said do it, whenever she wanted. She couldn’t bully him and that bothered her. At least that’s what she told herself the problem was.
Then again, she had never had that type of relationship with Eggs either. Maybe it was the idea that Tara could’ve seen an ever after with Eggs. And ever after that was snatched away.
She didn’t know what this was with Franklin. Nothing that would last, that was for sure.
Tara had told him not to come around anymore(meaning her sneaking off to his motel room at night), and that if he did, she would be wearing plenty of silver. Franklin had asked why, while wearing a grin that had infuriated her.
Tara’s answer had been ‘because I said so’.
Well, now, Tara hadn’t seen Franklin in a week. Which was a good thing, right? Besides, she was still suspicious of how interested he had seemed to be in Bill Compton. She suspected he was just ‘pumping’ her for information anyway.
God, Franklin was a nosy fuck! He asked a lot of other questions about Eggs and wanted to know about past lovers as well. Tara just decided she didn’t need this shit...no matter how mind blowing the sex was.
Tara almost skipped into the kitchen, hugged a seated Sookie from behind, then walked over to the refrigerator.
“Someone slept well.” Sookie noted, then concentrated on the back of Tara’s head and tried to read her thoughts. But she was interrupted by two sharp knocks, which were followed by the entrance of her brother, Jason.
Tara glanced over at Jason. His becoming a police officer so quickly, was already the talk of the town, but he had also mysteriously made detective. Word was that many on the force weren’t too happy with new Chief Andy Bellefleur’s, decision to move Jason up so quickly.
Many more people were saying that Jason had something on Andy.
“Hey, Jason! Keeping the town safe?” Sookie teased, smiling up at him. But Jason didn’t smile back. Tara noted that his gaze was directed on her.
“Hey, Jason. What’s up?” she asked.
“Tara, I need to talk to you alone. Maybe on the porch.”
“We can talk in front of Sookie.”
Jason rubbed the back of his neck.
“Fine. Tara, did you and some vamp beat the shit out of Buck Johnson and Cletus Buzzard, a couple of weeks back?”
Tara turned away from Jason and Sookie and began rooting around in the refrigerator. Sookie looked at Jason like he was crazy!
“Jason, what’s this all about? Tara is prejudiced against vampires, no offense, Tara, but it’s true. She just barely talks to Bill.”
Tara closed the door and looked at Sookie with surprise.
“That’s not true!”
“It is true. But Bill understands.”
“So you didn’t beat the shit out of Buck and Cletus a couple of weeks ago? Because Cletus claims that you busted a rib and that he’s now out of work. He wants to file a criminal complaint and go on disability.”
“Oh Jesus!” Tara snapped, “that fucker knows that none of my blows hit his ribs!”
“Tara!” Sookie cried out.
“Christ, Tara! What’d you have to go and say that for?” Jason whined.
“Jason, they were pissing all over the spot where Eggs was killed! And they were saying racist shit! I couldn’t let that stand!” Tara argued, noting that Jason’s eye suddenly twitched. Sookie stood up.
“So what are you saying, Jason? Is Tara in trouble?”
Jason slowly sat down.
“Tara, just blame the vamp that helped you, and you can get out of this just fine.”
“They were drunk. There was no vamp.”
“So you whipped both of their asses?” Jason asked skeptically.
“They were drunk, Jason! It wasn’t hard!” Tara countered. Jason stood back up.
“Tara, you’re going to have to come down to the station with me.”
“Jason,” Sookie interrupted, “can I have a minute alone with her?”
“Okay, but don’t be any longer than a minute.” Jason warned. He then walked out of the house and waited on the porch. Sookie folded her arms and faced Tara.
“Tara, what’s going on? This happened when I was off looking for Bill, didn’t it?”
Tara began fiddling with a place mat on the table.
“Yeah. I was mourning Eggs, that’s all. I lost it.”
“I get that. But Buck and Cletus are saying you had help. You almost would have had to. Did a vampire help you beat them up? Is he the same vampire you’re afraid of?”
Tara gave Sookie a look.
“Who said I was afraid of a vamp?”
“Tara, you have been wearing a silver necklace, and two bracelets, ONLY at night.”
“I bought them!”
“Yeah, but not for fashion! This is me you’re talking to, Tara. Jason is your friend too. Tell me what’s going on. Maybe Bill can help. What has he done to you?”
Then, Sookie read Tara’s mind.
“Things that no human man could do, that’s for damned sure...grrrrr!”
Sookie gasped! Tara shook her head angrily!
“Tell me you didn’t read my mind just now?! Sookie? Answer me!”
But Sookie began to back back!
“Tara Thornton...you had sex with a vampire! You had sex with this vamp after being in my face about Bill!”
“I was mourning, Sookie! I didn’t know what I was doing and...well...I broke it off but he’s not the type to just go away.”
Sookie folded her arms.
“Has he been violent?”
Tara kicked at some imaginary dirt.
“You two had a fight or something?”
“No. Sookie, I’m just not ready for anything and Frankl...”
Sookie peered at her.
“His name is Frank?”
Tara left the kitchen and picked up her purse, which was on a front table.
“I’m going with Jason. Tell Sam I might be a little late to work.”
“Tara!” Sookie yelled, but could no nothing as Tara got into Jason’s squad car.
“You’re trying to tell me that Tara is fucking a vamp?” Sam Merlotte asked skeptically. Lafayette shook his head.
“That hooker has lost her damned mind! She ain’t ready for shit after Eggs, and then she’s going to go and fuck a vamp?”
“There’s nothing wrong with ‘fucking’ vamps. If they’re nice.” Sookie sniffed.
Terry Bellefleur peeked out of the kitchen window.
“You know....there was a man here the other night, askin’ after Tara.”
Arlene raised a brow.
“What are you talkin’ about?”
“Yeah. He asked me about her late, while I was takin’ out the trash. He kind of scared me, comin’ out of nowhere like that. Anyways, he asked a lot of questions about who else Tara had been seein’...before Eggs.”
Sam and Sookie gave one another a look.
“Well what did you tell him?” Arlene asked impatiently. Terry shrugged.
“I told him Tara had a crush on Jason...but that he didn’t feel the same way. Otherwise I don’t know. Maybe he should’ve asked you, Lafayette.”
“And maybe you should keep your damned mouth shut, Terry.” Lafayette told him. Sam nodded.
“Yeah, Terry and everyone else, if anyone comes asking after Tara, and they’re not police, come and get me.” he announced. The conversation ended and Sookie pulled Sam aside.
“I’m really worried. And Tara has been at the police station for hours.”
“That’s because they don’t buy this shit about her beating up two men herself. Or at least without some help. Hell, Sookie, this nosy vamp may be the only person, thing, that can save Tara. Let’s hope he does come back tonight.” Sam said.
By the time evening came, Tara Thornton was behind bars. No one had bought her solo ass kicking story, and thus she was going down alone.
Tara sat in her cell. It was best this way. And Franklin was only helping her out by holding down the fuckers. She did all of the punching. Not wanting to think about all of that right now, Tara turned to lay down on her metal bed and get some shut eye.
Meanwhile, Franklin Mott walked into the police station and peered around. Spotting an incompetent secretary, he walked over to her and smiled.
“Good evening. Might I inquire about the whereabouts of a Miss Tara Thornton?”
“You might. Are you her lawyer?” the secretary asked, giving him a wary look over.
“Boyfriend. I’m here to post bail.” Franklin said coolly, just as Jason and Andy appeared, having heard the last part. Andy rolled his eyes! Damn! Pretty soon all human women would be hooking up with vamps!
But Jason wasn’t buying this shit!
“Naw! I’m not about to release Tara to you. Tara would never fuck a vamp.”
Andy gave Jason a look.
“Stackhouse!” he yelled.
“Well, it’s true!” Jason huffed. Andy struggled to hide his annoyance. Jason was an embarrassment--to him. No one around here was that dumb. He knew people thought Jason had something on him, and had talked his way into being a police detective, without taking the proper classes or exams.
And they would be right.
Andy noticed that the vamp was staring at him intently and decided to keep his mind on matters at hand. Everyone knew vampires could do some kind of mind voodoo shit, and the last thing he needed was anyone finding out how the hell Eggs Talley had really died.
Franklin moved so that he was standing in front of both men. He looked at Jason now.
“You must be Officer...”
“It’s Detective.” Jason sniffed.
“I apologize, Detective Jason Stackhouse. And Chief Andy Bellefleur. My name is Franklin Mott. I’m Tara’s boyfriend and I am here to post her bail. Where may I do so?”
“Uh, hell no! What YOU can do is join me in the interrogation room.” Jason countered. Franklin gave Andy a probing look that he didn’t appreciate, before following Jason to an interrogation room. Andy went to the adjoining room to listen in.
As soon as Jason and Franklin were seated, Jason didn’t screw around.
“Look, I know you’re the vamp that whipped Buck Johnson and Cletus Buzzard’s asses! Now if you want to help Tara, then you’ll confess all peaceful like, okay?”
Franklin grinned! Holy shit! He couldn’t believe his precious Tara had been besotted with this dimwit! He leaned forward.
“Tara was with me that night. We saw no rednecks.”
“That’s not what she says. She said that she beat them both up for talking about Eggs.” Jason argued.
“Eggs? Eggs...Benedict Talley, correct? The same Eggs that was gunned down in front of Merlotte’s?”
Andy leaned back in his chair. He didn’t like vamps in general, but this one unnerved him. He was being coy about something, and he suspected it didn’t necessarily have to do with the charges pending against Tara.
Jason’s eye twitched.
“Yeah.” was all he said. Franklin leaned forward.
“Tara has had a rough go of it. Especially after Mr. Talley’s outright murder. She is just beginning to heal. I would hate for her to have a setback.”
Jason’s eye twitched again.
“Why would you think Tara might have a setback?”
“Well, this utter nonsense about her being someplace she wasn’t, and assaulting two men with my help, doesn’t help her stress. Now I would suggest that you let her go.”
Andy turned off the intercom and stood up. This vampire fuck knew something! The clear clue was that crap about Egg’s death being ‘outright murder’. He didn’t know how, or why this Mott character knew, but he did! Andy left his room and threw open the door to the interrogation room. Franklin and Jason scarcely looked up, so intent they were in staring each other down.
“I’m going to cut Tara loose for tonight. If anything else comes up...” Andy began.
Franklin cut off his stare and stood up, turning to face Andy.
“Don’t worry. The lady won’t leave town. I assure you. May I see her?”
“One of the deputy’s will take you back there.” Andy said gruffly. Franklin walked out past him and Jason went off!
“Why the fuck did you do that, Andy?! You undermined me!”
Andy walked up to him.
“He knows, you stupid fuck!” he hissed. “I don’t know how, or why, but he knows what really happened to Eggs! Now if we both want to keep things the way they are, then we’re cutting Tara loose tonight and telling Buck and Cletus to come up with a video or something, of their own ass whipping! Are we clear?”
“You think he knows, Andy?”
Andy threw up his hands! Yep! Jason Stackhouse was an embarrassment indeed.
Tara was less than pleased to look up and find Franklin standing outside of her cell. She stood up from the metal bed and walked over to him.
“We broke it off, remember?”
“When was this?” Franklin asked. Tara rolled her eyes!
“You’ve been coming to my bed, as usual this past week. So I will ask you again, when did we break up?”
Tara peered at him.
“No I haven’t!”
“Oh yes...yes you have.” Franklin almost groaned, his eyes caressing her. Tara raised a brow.
“I broke up up with you last week. I...maybe...have had a few dreams...”
Franklin smiled and shook his head. Tara gasped!
“Those weren’t dreams?! Damn! How did you get past the silver?”
“Tara. Tara, Tara, Tara...did you buy those little bracelets from Walgreens?”
Tara rolled her eyes again! Great! So cheap silver didn’t work on vampires, hey?
“Now that we’re back together,” Franklin drawled, “I’m here to take you home. I can’t believe you were going to take the fall for this yourself. Why? Are you that ashamed of me?”
He looked so hurt, that Tara had to look away for a moment. When her eyes connected with his again, she spoke.
“Franklin, I did beat those guys down. You just helped me from getting hurt. I didn’t want to involve you in this mess, okay? It’s not right. So thanks for paying my bail, but there could still be charges.”
“There won’t be any charges, Tara. I’ve made sure of that. Now I’ll get the guard and I’ll take you home.”
Tara squinted at him.
“What do you mean there’ll be no charges? How can that be?”
Deputy Kenya came back at this point and gave Tara a pointed look, before unlocking her cell door. Tara stepped out.
“You can get your purse up at the front.” Deputy Kenya told her, now giving her AND Franklin a disapproving look.
“Thank you, Deputy.” Franklin said.
“Where are you taking me? This isn’t the way to Sookie’s house?” Tara asked in his car.
“Or the motel.” Franklin said, casting a sideways glance towards her.
“Where are we going then? I need to get to work. I’m so many hours late it isn’t even funny!”
Franklin didn’t answer. Tara turned her body so that she was looking directly at his profile.
“It’s over. I’m not going to come to you thinking i’m dreaming or whatever. I can’t give you anything. I can’t give anyone anything. Don’t you see that?”
Franklin looked over at her.
“I ache for you.” he said. Tara saw an intensity in his eyes that left her without words. She turned back around and said nothing. That is, until they stopped at the graveyard. She looked at him again.
“Why are we here?”
Franklin stopped the car and turned off the engine.
“Do you really think it’s fair, to punish me for another man’s deeds?”
“I’m not ‘punishing’ you! I told you it’s not you! I’m not ready!”
“You’re ready. And I’ve brought you here to say a proper goodbye to Mr. Talley. Then we’re going someplace else, other than the motel to celebrate your letting go of him and finally giving yourself to me body and soul.” Franklin whispered fiercely, struggling to keep his fangs in.
Tara’s mouth dropped open! That speech was just a little too deep for her. Deep and intense--like his lovemaking. Tara slowly unlocked the passenger side door and eased out of the car.
“I’ll walk home, thanks!” Tara told him and slammed the door. But something made her turn towards the entrance of the cemetery. Soon, Tara found herself walking through it, her destination: Eggs’s grave.