Season Seven Thoughts

Thoughts on season seven news:

The only thing that surprised me is that they announced the news of this upcoming season being the last on my human’s birthday. That’s it.

Listeners of True Bites will know that I half expected season six to be the last. That it wasn’t, that we get this extra season was a bonus.

The signs that the show was wrapping up were there:

  • Season six was billed as “the beginning of the end.” Seven being the end makes sense.
  • The shortening of the schedule from 12 episodes to 10. If they wanted to keep it twelve, they would have found a way.
  • The delayed renewal news. When the show got picked up for the fifth season it was only like two weeks in to season four. It took longer for season six to get picked up and longer still for season seven. The show was still doing good in the ratings, but it was tacit acknowledgement that the shows base was no longer growing.
  • Ratings have been fading. Was the show still doing good? Yes, but it overall numbers were down over season 5, even taking into account competition from other programming. The watercooler buzz from this show has been fading fast. For every person who enjoyed this season there is at least one person who is just done with the show.

Aside from all that we have one other thing that people seem to forget: the standard Hollywood contract for major players on a show will often be for a seven year period. Studios like to lock up their talent on the off chance that they do score a hit so they can keep it running. Now it was time to negotiate. As I see it, there were two major roadblocks to a deal being made:

  • The main actors wanting to come back. Seven years is a long for time for anyone to be on one show and it’s not uncommon for actors who have been around since the beginning to want to move on to different things. Throw in the fact that Alexander Skarsgard’s movie career is taking off, Anna had a movie career prior to the show and Stephen has been not only working in indie films and musicals (Chicago and the upcoming Sound of Music on NBC) and it’s incredibly plausible that they wouldn’t want to come back. Ultimately, unless someone is doing a gig just for the money, no amount of money will get them to stay once they want to move on. (Sandra Oh leaving Gray’s Anatomy is a good example of this)
  • Affording the actors. The main trio on this show make $250,000 per person, per episode making them amongst some of the highest paid actors on television and True Blood is known to be one of the most expensive shows on television to produce (up there with Game of Thrones and Vikings). Because HBO is a subscription cable channel, it doesn’t get the viewership that theBig Four networks get and it doesn’t get ad revenue that they get either. Selling rights overseas will only get you so far. The actors would have likely expected a sizable raise if they open to re-upping and HBO may not have wanted to increase the budget even more on a fading show, especially since it seems like the swap to 10 episodes was to bring costs down.

One last thing that was pointed out to me by a follower on my personal timeline: HBO has a lot of pilots in the works. It makes sense to wrap up the show now so they have the proper time to find something to replace it. It took a couple of years to find something after Six Feet Under ended and it may well take a few more. If they can find a replacement now in this upcoming season, HBO will be all the stronger for it.

Personally speaking, as a fan of the show as a whole and as a fan of Bill, I would love to see the show end as it began: Bill walking into Merlottes and greeting Sookie or even something like Bill and Sookie trying to do a redo of their relationship, like Bill sitting at a table and introducing himself once more.

Ultimately I am happy that the writers are going into this season knowing how many episodes they’ll have (ten) and that it IS the final season because it gives them time to wrap up the show properly. I’ve watched too many shows end on cliff hangers or give the viewers no resolution because they were cancelled midseason or not renewed and had no time to course correct.

I am thankful for the joy that this shown as given me and I hope that fans ultimately grow to appreciate how lucky we have been, even if no one got everything that they wanted.

P.S. As promised, here’s my thoughts on what will happen with Eric in season seven:  I do think Eric will be around, but I also think his role will be diminished in the final season, and in a lot of ways, that’s okay by me because I am loving this premise of making the series as it began: about the people of Bon Temps.  Eric is not of Bon Temps. Never has been and never will be. Trying to make him fit in there just wouldn’t quite work and for him to have a major role could force the plot to be in bigger scope than what they are discussing.  Time will tell. I do love Eric people, but the show has never been all about Eric for me so this attitude of mine should come as no surprise.

Season Six Thoughts

First off, I’m going to apologize for having been MIA for most of the summer and quite frankly, most likely in the hiatus of this off-season as well. I still love True Blood, but I’ve been shifting my roleplaying efforts off of Twitter. I will definitely be around for the final season live tweets and True Bites for sure, though so do keep an eye out!

That said.

Thoughts on the season we just wrapped up:

Overall I thought the shift from 12 episodes to 10 was a very successful one. Yes, it would be nice to have more True Blood, but I am also a quality over quantity kind of gal. I rather have a 10 episode seasons where I enjoyed almost all than a 12 episode season where a full quarter or even a third bored me. The shortened scheduled forced them to be more thoughtful about secondary storylines and I thought that it was evident in the end result. To explain what I mean, I’m going to compare the two most hated storylines from Season 5 (Ifrit) and Season 6 (Alcide/Rikki vs. Sam/Nicole)

The Ifrit story line had zero backers that I could find. ZERO. Never once I did see a review of a recapper go “I want more of that!” Everyone agreed it not only was a waste of time, but many (including myself) found it also a bit offensive with that whole “Suicide is for Muslims” crap. It also ultimately didn’t really seem to have of an impact on the characters either, the only real fall out being Arlene lying about the fate of Patrick and the fae kids reading Terry’s mind about the whole ordeal. While you can argue that that helped pushed him to the decision he made that lead him to the assisted suicide, I think they could have gotten to that point even without it because Terry was such a damaged character. They made that point as early as his introduction in Season 1 and hammered the point home during the funeral. The TL;DR version of this is: Terry could have still wound up dead by sniper even without Ifrit and this storyline served no purpose

Contrast this to the storyline with Alcide/Rikki and Sam/Nicole. The storyline was definitely problematic, I’m not going to lie. We probably could have avoided the mess with the wolves had Alcide and Martha had just gone calmly over to Sam and been like “Look, this is what Luna would have wanted.” Sam is a good guy and he’s a smart guy. He probably would have turned her over because he knew he was being hunted. But because Alcide had no control over the female wolves, Sam did what I think most decent people would have done and tried to keep Emma away. As for Sam/Nicole…let’s just say that I’m with Janina who was Not a Fan of that development. Regardless there were two major differences between these two story lines. First: it took up a lot less screen time. They did this whole arc in maybe seven episodes or so and of those seven episodes there were at least two or three where they barely touched on it at all.  So while we complained about it, it didn’t feel like it dominated the story the way that Ifrit sometimes did. Secondly: they actually had a purpose to this. Alcide gave up on the wolves. He is back to being a lone wolf. Sam knocked up Nicole. This is progression (for better or for worse) for both of these characters and both of those things will be used going forward into the last season. In other words: we didn’t care for it, but it wasn’t entirely wasted screen time either. And because of this, it was ultimately the more watchable for it. It wasn’t a great storyline and I don’t know that I could even say it was a good storyline, but it was decidedly less awful than Ifrit and not nearly as irritating. Imagine what they might have done had the extra time! This was the most consistent season that the show has had in some time, and I do think the shortened season can be credited with helping create that.

As far as the vampires and the humans, I’ve made my thoughts known on this pretty extensively on True Bites so I’ll just say this: although the funeral storyline might have been more successful if they wrapped it up one episode sooner, “Life Matters” is one of the best  (if not the best) episodes in the show’s history. It was poignant, it was heartfelt, and the contrast they built up between the human storyline and the vampire storyline was fantastic.  I fully believe that an episode that strong can only come from a strong season because you needed the time to get all of the elements into place. Also; Bill killing Burrell will never not be epic; Sarah Newlin was one scary bitch and I loved Violet and look forward to her return next year.

Overall, season six may end up being my favorite season when all is said and done.

And because no review of season six can be complete without touching on the whole Eric thing, I will say this: I wish the producers had stuck to their guns and not included Eric in the finale. Even before Buckner basically admitted that his scene was tacked on at the last second it felt like it had been tacked on. If you take away that scene, the episode was actually pretty strong and did a good job of setting things for next season. The time jump was needed, but again the Eric thing only enhanced just how awkward that whole thing felt. As for his fate next season I’ll discuss in my season seven post which will be tomorrow.

Until then, Trubies!

XV. Origins

[Author's Note: This is a retelling of the RP between Bill and Scarlett that lead to Belle being created as a full-fledged OC in her own right. So if this seems familiar, that might be why :)]

She glanced around the ballroom trying to contain her nerves. There was music, but she heard nothing. There was food, but it all tasted as bland as the teething biscuits Tristan used to eat. She could hear her heartbeat pounding in her chest.

The Master was on stage once more. There was a new girl tonight. She wondered if she would let him fuck her, just as she hadn’t those few months ago of her first party. Replaying the events of previous parties she still couldn’t decide whether that choice had been the right one or not. She still didn’t find him attractive, but the last time she was here she’d had vanilla sex with the lightest of spankings and it just hadn’t satisfied in the same way.

She wondered if anyone here could. But if she herself still wasn’t quite sure about what had made that first night such a rush would anyone else be able to help her out?

The Master began to speak. She recognized the words from her own initiation. It didn’t surprise her that it was some kind of ritual. It helped increase the spectacle of it all.

The crop began to fall against and she shivered as the crack of leather on skin filled the room. She bit her lip as the crop continued to fall. It would be a total of ten. So lost was she in the rhythms of the ceremony that she almost didn’t realize she was being asked a question.

“You were you were her, don’t you? Let us help you forget all about her.”

She turned and faced a pair who wore unfamiliar masks. They stood with a confidence and assurance that she could not say was common in this room. These were people that she knew she could not ignore and she felt herself flushing at their attention.

“I do,” she said honestly. She didn’t want to ruin what might be her one chance of finding out what she really needed. She struggled to find the words that she thought would be right. “I like to be punished…I tend to misbehave.” She tried not to wince at how forced that sounded.

“Is that why you won’t speak above a whisper? Are you afraid someone is going to punish you for misbehaving?” The woman, who seemed close to her own age, was speaking to her now. She had never considered lying with a woman before. But this was different. She knew it and she nodded.

The woman moved closer, deliberately invading her personal space and started to play with her hair. Her mind told her feet to move, but they refused to obey. Instead, she became hyper-aware as the fingers started walking down her body from her hair to her shoulder blades. She felt like a mouse caught between a pair of lions.

“What ever should we do with her Bill?”

She heard the pair talking, but again the words weren’t making any sense. She knew she was being claimed for the night and that she would go along with it. Her heart hadn’t quickened this much since she’d been on stage, on this felt more intense, more real. And as she began to accept it, words became coherent once more.

“… you exist to be punished because it would please us.”

She swallowed, trying to find a way to agree but it seems he needed no such agreement, because the next thing she knew she felt his colds hands upon her flushing hot face.

“Luckily for you, it would please us greatly to see you writhe and moan as we paint your skin with stripes of the tawse. I want to see you dance against your bonds as you try and escape its bite.”

She did not know what exactly a tawse was except that it was going to hurt. And as his words teased her with their promises she felt a heat ignite inside of her and she realized she did not care.

“You will follow,” he ordered and soon she found herself being pulled along by her dress, the grip seemingly not tight yet she knew she could not pull free and so she fell into line behind the ones that had chosen her for the evening. Without their caresses her mind began to work again. It took in the way the crowds parted. It took in the sight of the toys on the wall. Her mind implored her to flee, to take the out.

She couldn’t. Not when she finally started to recapture those feelings she’d fought so hard to feel in the first place. She was taken to a place near some kind of device that was set up along one edge of the ballroom that rarely seemed to get used. She knew enough that she began to strip, letting her dress fall to the floor. Her woefully unadorned bra and underwear went next. By the time she’d fully stripped herself of everything but her mask, this Mistress was pointing at a spot on the floor.

She knelt.

She took a moment to search the room. The smells and sounds of sex were already beginning to fill it, but she was surprised to find a curious crowd beginning to gather. It seemed to be mostly made up of the ones who had parted for their group to pass, but that was enough to start attracting the attention of others.

Mistress spoke again and scrambled to take all fours as bidden. Any questions of why were quickly quashed when she felt Mistress sit upon her. It’d startled her, but thankfully she hadn’t embarrassed herself by even threatening to drop her.

Master’s hand started caressing her, like he’d pet a beloved animal and she began to pay attention to his words once more.

“I think you need a name, my dear.” His eyes felt locked onto as he circled them. “Slut and its derivatives are so cliché, so trite, don’t you think?” He paused. “Let’s call you Belle, after a cat I once owned.”

Belle. Beautiful. She flushed. She liked it better than her own name already, even if it was meant to be a pet name. It implied more affection than she’s felt in ages. Then she realized that Mistress was speaking again.

“The clamps? The Muzzle? Or the paddles?”

She shivered at the possibilities, excited and nervous all the same. She felt an excitement, and energy inside beginning to wake. She was ready to start, and when Mistress stood up, she knew they were too. She eagerly headed towards the bolts in the wall, allowing herself to be tied up. She felt herself being lifted, just a hint. It was another reminder of her complete lack of control over the situation. She didn’t mind.

She watched in anticipation as Mistress removed his jacket. He may not have had the body that some of the other men in the room had, but he had the air of a man who was used to people doing what he wanted. That, she quickly decided as she watched him disappear behind her, was sexier than any of the wash-board abs that many of the men here was sporting.

 “An artist must always properly prepare their canvas before they can make art. Though quite lovely, such pale skin is simply unsuitable for my lovely companions work.”

She readied herself as best as she could for the blow she was sure she was about to receive, but nothing could have prepared her as the first landed causing her to squeak.

He definitely hit harder than their host ever did.

She liked it.

She liked it even as the blows continued to rain down harder and harder, as her squeaks became louder and turned to moans as she felt the head spread throughout her ass and down between her legs and up to her nipples which were hard and begging for attention. And just as she was beginning to forget everything else, he stopped and she whimpered in protest even as her body was grateful for a chance to regain its breath.

Master and Mistress were talking again.

“…you charmer.” Scarlett hissed thoroughly enjoying his warm up. “It’s as if you made her body blush.” Mistress came over to her and started to play with her, sending goose bumps up and down her spine as her excited flesh demanded more. “You handled that well… Did you enjoy it?”

She nodded and instantly realized her mistake when she saw anger in Mistress’ eyes. But Mistress spoke before she could apologize.

“I don’t speak in head gestures dog. I asked you if you enjoyed your Master’s affections…” Mistress sneered as moved to the table where she know Master had gotten his toy. She shivered in anticipation at what was to come.

“I enjoyed it very much, Mistress.” It was the truth. And that truth was a revelation. She wanted more. The shiver was more than just fear over an angry Mistress.

“Do you think you’ll enjoy our time together?” Mistress asked while carrying a paddle with holes in it.

She was confused as to how that paddle would be different than the one Master had just used, but knew she would get her answer shortly. “Yes, Mistress. I’ll enjoy anything you give me.”

That seemed to please her.

“I like that attitude dog… Are you ready?”

There was no time to answer before the paddle came crashing down on her thighs. That was definitely harder than the other paddle. She whimpered as the blows continued to come, some on fresh skin, and others over the skin that Master had already reddened. This time, Mistress was at it long enough that her world did narrow to the blows Mistress was delivering. In fact, she got so caught up that a cutting pain against her stomach brought her back to reality.

“Mistress!” She cried out, not enjoying this as much as she had the paddle. It was only by opening her eyes that she realized that Mistress had switched to a whip.

She tensed for another blow that did not come. Instead, Master walked over and slid two fingers into her. She was so ready for his touch that she keened loudly when he took them back out again almost as quickly.

“See? Wetter than a summer’s day.”

She would have blushed had she had enough coherent thought left to be embarrassed. All she knew now was that she desperately wanted those fingers back inside her, she wanted to be fucked. She wanted to come. And she would take more of those blows by Mistress if that was going to take to get what her body was demanding of her.

And then he slid the fingers back inside her. Three this time. Her body grabbed them for all they were worth, begging with her body for him to fuck him because she her need was at that primal of a level.

“Did you want more?” he asked.

“Yes Master. Please Master.” She began twisting in her bonds trying to get them to go deeper, to play with her, to do anything other than sit still and drive her to absolute distraction.

“I will take you when Mistress is done playing with you.”

She keened loudly, wanting it now, but utterly unable to stop him from withdrawing his fingers, leaving her empty and wanting.

“But for now let’s play a little game, shall we?”

She wearily watched Master disappear into the crowd and grab one of the voyeurs, an older woman with silvery hair.

“You will use her mouth and tease her while we continue to play. If she comes before we allow it, you will both be punished. If she is strong enough to resist your temptation than we will use you the next time around. Understand?”

She felt a surge of jealously flare up in her stomach. Even though he’d left her achingly wet the thought of not getting to play again was just not acceptable. She was determined to win. And she really, really, wanted to come.

The woman’s tongue began its work and Belle’s mind and body began to war with each other. Her mind was trying to make heads or tails of the fact that this woman was tasting her. Her body wanted her brain to shut up because it was clear the woman had done this before and after a twist of the tongue she gasped loudly as it was blatantly obvious that Justin needed to take lessons because she never knew that oral could be this amazing.

And all the back and forth was temporarily halted when Mistress slid some kind of necklace on her before yanking it, temporarily making it impossible to breath. She whimpered and struggled in her bonds before Mistress let the line slack and once more the sensations from the other woman began to overwhelm her.

Then she felt another blow across her back. And another. And another. It felt different than the paddles or the single tail whip. She liked it. It was pushing her closer and closer and then.

Nothing.

Her whimpered as she was left hanging, even more on the edge than before.

“Take her,” she heard Master say to Mistress and then he slid into her and even as she mewled loudly in her pleasure she felt him bite her and the pain mixed with the pleasure as he took her hard and she knew she wasn’t going to be able to last but still didn’t want to give in before she was allowed and then he growled the magic word in her ear and she came almost instantly, the pleasure overtaking her entire self as she wailed in relief.

It was exhilarating and liberating. And it was exhausting.

And she let herself lie in his arms as he gently let her down. He smiled at her gently as he caught her eyes and said what she thought were reassuring words, though if you asked her later she wouldn’t be sure.

“Did you enjoy yourself?”

“Yes, Master,” she said as she smiled tiredly, but contently. She ached all over, and for now at least, it was a good kind of ache.

“Go thank your Mistress. You owe her equally.”

Wordlessly she walked over to Mistress, who seemed to have given the other woman as much pleasure as she had received, if the stupid smile on her face was anything to go by.

She fell to her knees.

“Thank you Mistress.”

“You’re welcome Belle. You handled yourself better than I thought you would,”  she replied in approval. “Take a mint bath. It will soothe the more painful welts.”

“Thank you for the advice, Mistress. I will be sure to heed it.” The words were not hollow. As she began to come down from her endorphin rush, her body was quickly beginning to remind her of how much she let herself be put through this evening.

She pushed up off the ground and went to gather her clothes. By the time she’d managed to dress herself, Master and Mistress had already disappeared, causing her to frown.

Technically, they were to all remain anonymous. She knew, however, that didn’t always remain the case. And from that moment she knew that she wanted to be one of the exceptions to the rule. She knew now that she would seek this party out again, in hopes of finding them once more, in hopes of them making her feel as alive as she had this evening.

The other woman who had been brought into their play came up to her, startling her out of her revelrie.

“Lucky girl.”

Sarah blushed and stammered an apology for not noticing her sooner.

The woman waved a dismissive hand. “There’s nothing to apologize for. Dominants like them – the real good ones are a truly a rare find. I don’t blame you for wanting more.”

Sarah felt herself being turned away from the door. “I know where Mark keeps a stash of Gatorade for couples who chose to really play.”

“Mark?” she asked. The name sounded familiar, but she couldn’t place where.

“Our host,” she said reassuringly. “I’ve known him forever.”

“Oh!” Sarah laughed. It was weird to hear him being referred by his given name, but it didn’t seem right to call him The Master anymore. Not after tonight. And, she suspected that her newfound companion felt the same way. She still didn’t know this woman’s name or why it was so important for her to have some Gatorade, but it felt right to allow herself to be guided. She wasn’t about to discard the hard-earned lesson of doing what feels right, even if it may seem overwhelming.

“Okay then,” she said with a smile. “Lead the way.”

XIV. Stillness

Prompt: Does it Matter?

“I want out.”

A chill passed through Sarah’s body. A part of her expected this day to come, but her parents were still in their first marriage after 25 years and she’d always hoped to follow in their footsteps.

“Who is she,” she said quietly.

He’d made it clear fairly early after they’d married that she wasn’t exciting enough for him. Oh, he’d been enthusiastic enough during the honeymoon and even through her pregnancy as long as she’d been able.

But after the birth of her son it’d dipped down to once or twice a week, and that’s when she knew that the problems had begun. Because really, even her parents had more sex than that based on how quickly her father had to refill his Viagra prescription.

And she couldn’t tell herself it wasn’t the sex either. They still had congenial dinners, and could still talk on hours on end. Too bad he didn’t want to. That too had tapered along with the sex.

“Does it matter?” he asked blithely.

“I deserve to know,” she said, trying to keep the bitterness out of her voice.

“Mama!” Tristan’s voice high voice pierced the tension that had slowly built in the room through the child monitor.

“Go care for him,” he said tersely. Justin never did seem to take much interest in their son. In that way, she supposed, he really was like their parents.

“We’re not done talking,” she said as she left the room.

Even as she turned the knob on her the door of her son’s room, she wondered if that was even the case.

***

For all of the rich mahogany and imported leather couches that surrounded them, the lawyer’s office managed to feel even more cold and clinical than the even the room where she’d delivered Tristan.

The demitasse of espresso in her hands only served to warm her hands for none of it had made it to her mouth.

“I understand you are looking to annul your marriage.”

“That is correct,” she and Justin replied in tandem.

He wanted out of the marriage as quickly and cleanly as possible, so she set the terms.

An annulment and full collection of the adultery penalties as set-forth in their prenup agreement. Considering how heavy the penalties were, she was surprised at how quickly he’d acquiesced.

It was only another sign of how serious he was about ending it.

“Have you discussed custody arrangements?”

“We want joint legal custody, with me having full physical custody. He will have unlimited visitation as we can make it work.” She hoped that he and his family would remain a part of Tristan’s life, but her hopes weren’t very high at this point.

Their lawyer looked at Justin. “You realize what you’re giving up?”

“I suggested it.”

If it hadn’t been out of family obligation, he would have never had a child in a first place. She’d known that going into the marriage, but had hoped that Tristan’s birth might have gotten him to change his mind as it had hers.

“And child support?”

“I want enough to cover his schooling and medical expenses. I’ll handle the rest.”

Certainly between her personal wealth and the funds she would be getting from the annulment money would never be an issue and she didn’t want to be seen as dependent on him. She just wanted to make sure that he took some part in Tristan’s life and spending his money was one way to try and get him to do just that.

Their attorney glanced over at Justin who nodded.

“I’ll reimburse her for any medical costs. You can draw up whatever agreement you believe makes sense in regards to the schooling. I know that my son will only be going to the best schools, so prepare them appropriately.”

She was going to re-take her maiden name. Her son would be keeping his name. Of course only the best would suffice. If she suggested a public school she was pretty sure she could induce a heart attack. She mentally filed that away to try sometime.

“I’ll draw up the paperwork and give you a call when it has been ready.”

She set the now long-cold cup on the desk and stood.

“Thank you.” She tilted her head in her soon-to-be-ex’s directly. “Justin.”

She ignored both the receptionist and the tears streaming down her face as the office door shut behind her.

XIII. Shot

Prompt Table – Cantina

She hadn’t known that Shreveport had a cantina. She doesn’t know why this fact surprised her really; Mexican food had certainly taken on an increased popularity ever where, even here in the Deep South where some might consider it heresy to claim you prefer it over local fare. But still. There was a cantina, and it was decked in the finest touristy knick-knacks the owner could find.

It also had an amazing selection of tequila, some of the best in Louisiana, so the décor could be tolerated. The food was nothing to sneeze at either, the chef some hot and new up and comer who remained humble and had already gone on the record as stating that he had no desire to move to New York or Miami or Los Angeles, but that he wanted to stay put in his home town.

She didn’t normally pay attention to such things.

Unfortunately, her ex did. He did to the point where he’d restaurant hop driving throughout the state to try the next great restaurant. He preferred the upscale joints of course, but she also knew of his secret addiction to that annoying Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. If she’d looked closer, she’d found a little placard tucked away behind the hostess stand proclaiming the fact that in fact, they had been featured on the show. It was her glancing around taking in the ambience of the whole scene while she waited for Violet to return from the restroom that she’d spotted him entering with that Sofia Vergara-wannabe.

“Should have gone to a better plastic surgeon,” she muttered as Violet appeared, seemingly out of no where.

“What was that?”

She nodded in his direction.

Violet’s eyes widened. “Is that?”

“Yep,” she said with a heavy sigh.

And, as her luck would have it, it seemed that the sigh traveled across the restaurant because just then his eyes locked with hers. And he looked happy to see her.

“Fuck me,” she said. “I don’t want to see him tonight!” she said, sounding a bit petulant. Maybe Tristan was rubbing off on her. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d actually whined.

Violet pushed a fresh shot glass and a bowl of limes over.

“For courage,” she encouraged.

Sarah flashed a smile, grateful for her support. And to be honest, it was quite tempting, but she wanted to keep her wits about her, just in case.

“Maybe after, in celebration,” she replied.

She turned back to where she had spotted him and he was gone. He must have been seated. She shrugged and turned her conversation and tried to put him out of her mind.

***

Another three drinks – one margarita on the rocks for her, and a couple of shots for Violet later and she was ready to move on to somewhere else, lest she push her luck.

They should have left a shot earlier, because he was the one to deliver the check.

“It’s been taken care of,” he said as he set the bill on the table. “You ladies have quiet the taste in tequila.”

She smiled politely. “Justin,” she said as politely as she could muster. “You needn’t have. Violet and I are more than capable of handling our check ourselves.”

“Can’t a man do something nice for the woman he loves?”

“So shouldn’t you be taking care of your own check?” she said pleasantly.

“She’s not feeling threatened,” he said defensively.

“Why would she be?” Sarah replied. “I don’t need you nor want you back,” she said.

And it was the truth. And it felt glorious to say. Before the party, before Bill, some part of that might have rang hollow. But now, though, she knew the words to be as true as her love for her son. Her time with Bill had introduced her to multitudes of vampire royalty, human politicians and even celebrities and even gave her new inroads to social circles that had brushed her off even during her marriage to Justin. Like everything else, some of these connections were as shallow as the gene pool that Justin’s wife had come from, but other budding friendships, and most of all, the attention from Bill had shown her she was deserving of better.

She relished it.

Okay. She might have felt bad for the brief glimpse of hurt on Justin’s face. He wasn’t used to getting rejected. She was still human.

“You know your mom has called me on multiple times trying to get me to talk some sense into you.”

She stiffened, and felt Violet’s hand take her wrist. She exhaled again.

“And what did you say?”

He suddenly looked away and mumbled. “I thought he’d get tired of you.”

Like he did. Good to know things hadn’t changed much.

She smiled politely, choosing to not let him see how much his words irritated her. “Clearly he hasn’t. In fact, he ignited something in me that you never could. Not that you’d ever tried.” She stood up, pulling out a few twenties of her own and throwing them on the table. Justin was a lousy tipper. 

“Come on Violet. Let’s let Justin get back to his wife. If looks were daggers I think Justin would be long past dead now.”

And it were true.

Her grin grew wider still. She never had that effect on another woman before. It felt amazing.

She pushed Justin out of her way and dragged Violet behind her. She waited until they were in the parking lot to let out a shriek of joy.

“Oh my god Violet! Did I just do that?”

Violet grinned back, possibly as wide as her own. “You did. We should celebrate.”

She couldn’t wait to tell Bill about tonight. She felt like this was an important milestone for her and he deserved to share in it.

But that could wait.

Right now, she needed to dance.

A gift from @DarlingViolet_

A gift from @DarlingViolet_

Trust

It was a rare quiet night at the Compton house. He had a monthly conference call with the Authority to join in at two, but his other major call of the night had been rescheduled. He had two hours to himself before he absolutely had to do anything. And he planned to enjoy it.

A nice book, a glass of blood. Silence. It was bliss.

And it lasted all of twenty minutes.

“Sire?”

He sighed as he grabbed the receipt-come-bookmark. His guards knew not to bother him without reason.

“Yes, Mark?”

“There is a Mr. Harris at the gate seeking a meeting with you.”

He was mildly intrigued. “Brett? Brent? Some kind of name like that?”

“Yes, sir.”

“He’s the owner of our defective donor service.” He looked at his calendar and sure enough, the meeting was on there. He must have forgotten to set the reminder, probably because this meeting was low priority for him. The owner’d already been cleared of involvement in the plot. So much for his open schedule. “Take the usual precautions and let him in.”

“Understood.”

That gave him enough time to at least finish the chapter he’d been reading.

“Your Majesty,” the human said with a deep bow.

“Mr. Harris,” he said as he slammed the book shut. “It’s nice putting a face to a name.”

“Thank you for agreeing to discuss this. I greatly appreciate the honor you have shown me by allowing us to operate in your Kingdom and I wanted be sure that you were aware that I am doing everything in my power to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.”

“I am glad to hear that. I would hate to hear that an unsafe purveyor was operating in my Kingdom. Though you do understand my trust has been shattered.” He picked his drink up and took a sip. “Which, of course, makes me wonder whether I should have your permit renewed when it comes up again.”

A fine band of sweat broke out on the human’s forehead. Even though the owner was not a vampire, it still catered to his subjects, and therefore, they still played by his rules. The human authorities didn’t seem to mind as long as they got their own share of taxes and other fees.

“Of course you are concerned about the welfare of your citizens. I am hoping that I can alleviate those concerns.”

Bill watched as the man slid an envelope towards him. It was slim. For a bribe, he would have expected cash. But he didn’t find a check inside.

It was a contract.

It was his contract.

Only better.

Before he got 20.

This new contract, he would get 25%

Smart human.

“30%.”

The man swallowed thickly, but finally nodded.

Bill amended the contract once more and the human added his initials.

“I have full faith that you will continue to serve Louisiana faithfully. I would suggest that you screen your donors better going forward. I will not be so forgiving should I hear any other incidents of this nature again. Understood?”

“Yes, Your Majesty.”

He offered his hand and the human shook it.

“A good night to you, then.”

A nod and a bow and the human was gone.

Bill picked his book up once more. If only all of his interruptions could be so profitable.

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