Pre Edit Count – 3,677 Words -Before Edit Song I listened to for this chapter: Lullaby by Nickelback.
The three look at each other, feeling the others as though they were a part of each, which they are. But without warning, Sookie’s eyes roll back as her body and mind are overwhelmed. Eric and Godric, moving as one, catch her, laying her to rest between the two of them. Their attention is fully on their mate as the night retreats, making way for the dawn of the new day.
The following afternoon is disrupted at the Stackhouse homestead as the phone rings. Jason, being the closest, answers, “’Ello, Stackhouse speaking.” He is smiling, the house had been full of teasing as the nest awaits the night and the three that will rise with the sinking of the sun. As it is, he is hiding his laughter from Tara’s silly face as he has her by the neck, trying to grab his beer from her.
Sam laughs, “Still there?” He is at the office in his bar, sitting in his chair, wishing he was with the rest of them. He is one of the ones fully aware of what the Bonding will mean and is looking forward to seeing it with his own two eyes.
“Well, I took a day, since I haven’t seen my sis yet,” Jason grins.
No mention is made of the other reason he is missing work. They will have to deal with that soon. No need to ask for problems, nor anything that can bring down the mood of the nest. Life will deal that soon enough.
Sam leans back in his chair, frowning. “That’s too bad. I was going to ask her to do me a favor and check on Dawn. She hasn’t come in this morning yet.” He had hoped that Sookie had come up for air, but was only mildly disappointed that she was still with her mates. But, with the hint he got from Eric’s production, Sookie will not be seen without her mates. And it was not too soon in his estimation; Bon Temps had gotten dangerous all of a sudden.
Straightening up and letting go of Tara, Jason asks, “No call either? That is not like her. I will take someone with me and check on her.” He is worried since he had only had a chance to talk to her yesterday. She had commented that she had been worried about him and tried to see him, but Andy wouldn’t let her see him.
Frowning, Sam remembers that Dawn and Jason have been pretty serious lately. “See if Bobby will do it. I have a bad feeling, Jason.” Bad didn’t fully describe his feeling. Everything going on was beginning to smell.
Shaking his head, Jason tells him, “I will just worry. I will take Tara with me and we will call once we find her. She may have lost power last night.” At least that is what Jason is telling himself. There was nothing he could have done about last night since it was a nest only meeting, but maybe he should have asked to bring her over afterwards.
“Yeah, that’s probably it,” Sam says, trying to believe it himself. “Just… be careful, Jason.”
Hearing the click in the phone, Sam hangs it up, but, unable to let go of his bad feeling, he quickly messages Eric, Godric, and Burnham. Arlene yelling at him to come help her breaks him from his worried thoughts, and he leaves his office to go help.
After informing everyone where they are going, Jason and Tara leave the house. As soon as both are in his truck, they tear down the road, Jason having a set determined look in his face. Lost power, that has to be it, or she slept through it. Shoot, she has forgotten to set the alarm in the past, Stackhouse. There is no reason to be this upset. He is glad that Sookie is not here to give him one of her looks when he is trying to fool himself.
Tara is holding on to the oh-shit bar and glancing at him out of the side of her eyes. She had given up on the Stackhouse heir years earlier. Godric had been the one to listen to her cry when Jason had taken yet another woman on a date. And that night he had decided to talk to her.
He had told her that Jason was just not in a place to accept a steady relationship. And, while he has no problem with someone waiting for another, he pointed out that Jason treated her like a sister.
“You don’t want to throw away the relationship you have with your brother, for a chance at something more?” Godric had asked her. “Tara, you are a beautiful, worthy woman. If you wish to take that chance, you will have my backing. It’s how I felt for Sookie when we were younger. And now, now I wait for my wife to age, for the Marks to show, to have her back again. Two thousand years I have waited for her. You would rightly call me a hypocrite if I didn’t back your choice. But, sweetheart, I just don’t think Jason feels for you in that way.” His voice had been gentle, as gentle as he had been with her that night.
He had sat there and held her as she cried that night, so many years ago. But she had listened to him. She took the time to watch Jason with an eye to see what Godric had meant, deciding that Godric had been correct. Jason saw her as his other sister and nothing else. And even before Eric straightened him out, he had standards.
After she had given up on him, she had dated JB and a few other boys but found herself always around Pam when she would come to the house. Soon, the two could constantly be found together, discussing fashion and other things, Pam bringing her magazines that they would pour over and critique together. Nobody was too shocked when the two became a couple. The two were close, closer than even Sookie and Tara.
Contrary to what many people have thought, Tara has never been jealous of Sookie. She has thought her a sister, each being there for each other growing up. Eric and Godric had encouraged their friendship, knowing that Sookie would need to be as close to human as she could in order to be able to function well in that world.
However, as Sookie has turned older, she was drawn more and more to her mates. Tara at that same time was feeling the same towards Pam. So neither felt that their relationship with each other have lacked anything, in fact they understood the other better.
But there is no denying that Sookie has been pulling away from everyone and becoming closer to her mates. Sometimes Tara had thrown a mini-fit when Sookie abandoned her for her mates; just because she understood, didn’t mean she was letting Sookie go without a fight.
A sharp turn made her come out of her memories. She tells Jason with a sharp tone to her voice, “Jesus Jason! It won’t help Dawn if the two of us are in pieces on the road from you taking these risks!” She swears she felt the wheels come off the ground during that last turn.
Jason just shakes his head. “Dawn is never late. Sam has a bad feeling. I have a bad feeling.” He doesn’t say anything else, unable to get through the thoughts in his head.
Tara stares at him but turns her head as she realizes they have made it to the apartments. He throws his vehicle in park and is out the door before she has time to release her seatbelt. She runs out to follow as he storms through the apartment yelling for Dawn. He heads towards the kitchen hoping to find her getting her coffee for the day.
Tara instead moves towards her bedroom and sees Dawn lying on her bed. Sighing in relief, she walks towards her.
“Girl! You worried everyone while you are sle–“ But the rest of her words are stopped frozen in her mouth as her hand grabs Dawn’s shoulder and she realizes the woman before her is colder than Pam.
Jason runs into the room and falls on his knees next to her, begging, “No, baby. You are just sleeping. That’s it, you’re just sleeping and it’s too cold. I always told you, that you keep it too cold in here. Wake up now, baby. Wake up and greet me with a smile like you normally do. Dawn? No more playing.” He shakes her, his voice breaking as he continues to beg, “No more, Dawn. Please wake up. This is just you trying to spook me…”
Tara pulls Jason to her as he starts sobbing. She pulls her phone out of her back pocket and calls the sheriff department.
No, Dawn is not playing.
Later that afternoon, everyone is watching as the police tape off the scene, some drinking lemonade while they sit in their lawn chairs. They are all acting like they are watching a tv show filming, instead of one of their own that was murdered.
Rene is standing with Hoyt as they watch them take the stretcher with the black body bag inside the house. “That shit ain’t right, bro.” His head was shaking as he watched everyone from their vantage point. Only minutes ago Arlene had asked him to get the doilies out when he went to get her something to drink. It blew his mind how cold this town could be to one of their own.
Hoyt nods. He has left messages with the nest, but no one is letting him or anyone else close. Bobby had called and told him Cataliades was on his way; neither had hope for Andy to be reasonable.
Andy has hated Jason for many years, and Dawn has been a huge source of that hatred. Jason had been the football star, had everything laid at his feet, according to Andy. Then came Dawn. Andy has wanted Dawn for many years, but she never paid him any attention.
That wasn’t because she was being cruel. Andy never said anything nor acted any different. So how was she to know? But Andy didn’t see it that way and when she and Jason gave a relationship a try, it only made Andy madder.
But he had decided to be patient, sure that Jason the town manwhore, was going to throw her to the side. However, Jason and Dawn had actually worked at their relationship and it had lasted longer than anyone thought it would.
Now that she is dead, Andy won’t stop in getting revenge for her. He will use all he can to put Jason away for as long as the law can. No matter if he is innocent or not. Andy just knows that it is because of her association with Stackhouse and that group of misfits that she is dead.
What Andy didn’t know was that there is a dedicated set of people who not only know more than him, but can use that same set of laws he is planning to use to put away Jason, to free Jason and keep him free. They will use everything in their power, which is considerable during the day and unstoppable once Eric and Godric are awake, to keep Jason out of Andy’s hands. They will even use Andy’s hatred of Jason as a lever.
Hoyt is ignoring his Mama as she is demands information from him to use as gossip and instead wonders how they were going to get Jason out of this one. Luckily he had the whole nest as witnesses to his whereabouts last night. Most of them had only left this morning, as per Eric’s orders last night.
What he is worried most about is that not even Sookie has been here to defend her brother. He is remembering how much pain she was in last night and hopes that she is feeling better, because they need something going in their favor right now. And she, with her ability, would be the easiest way for them to know not only what is going on, but also how to hit the right buttons to get Andy away from Jason.
At the same time, Andy is dragging a broken Jason out of the apartment, brashly telling him, “I’ve got you now, Stackhouse. See if that fancy lawyer or whoever that was can get you out of this one. You are so guilty you can’t even talk.” He throws Jason around.
Maxine frowns. As much as she loves gossip, and would love to be spreading anything on the Stackhouses in particular, what Andy is doing is wrong. So wrong, in fact that even she speaks up. “Now Andy. Anyone here can tell that boy is grief stricken, not guilty. He and Dawn been steady as can be, what reason would he have to hurt her, much less kill her?”
Andy jerks Jason to a stop, glaring at her. “Maxine, you keep your busybody-mouth to yourself. Stackhouse is guilty and I am going to be the one to prove it.” With that he throws Jason into the back of the car, slamming the door. Adjusting his pants, the man looks quite proud of himself.
Tara is watching behind Sheriff Bud. She quietly tells him, “Jason didn’t do it.”
Bud nods, not taking his eyes off of his detective. “You know that, I know that, hell everyone knows that. But Andy would be worse if I don’t let him do this. Jason right now is not registering anything. But when he does, I bet that boy will be shocking the hell out of everyone.” He looks back at her. “Get that fancy lawyer here and get Jason out before it gets that far, Tara.”
Tara nods and watches him walk down the stairs.
“Excuse me,” a voice says behind her. She turns and sees the coroner and his new assistant with Dawn’s body. Moving out of the way, Tara just stares as they put her in the van.
She walks towards the crowd, and Sam, who had been talking to Bud, sees her and runs to her, holding her in his arms as she breaks down. She tells him, “Call Grams. Nobody should go to the house until they are up.”
Sam nods as his eyes catch Hoyt’s. No, no one will be going home until the vampires are up. No one wants Sookie to hear any of this accidently, before they tell Eric and Godric. They are the ones who will be best in handling this. And her.
Sam just holds Tara, soothing her as she cries into his shirt, hoping that this will end for them soon.
Of course, when you have a vampire wanting revenge, it won’t end soon.
Final count, 5,849 words. – Before Edit