Chapter 07: Welcome to My World

Chapter 07: Welcome to My World

Last Time:

Tara smiled softly at her friend. “Listen—I know how much you were into Bill. What you felt for him was a lot more than what I felt for Franklin Mott.” She got up to grab the coffee pot to refill their mugs. Her task done, she sat back down. “I’ll get over Franklin—probably in just a few days if I’m being honest. Once I get over my hurt feelings, I’ll miss the fun things we did and the good times we had doing those things, but,” she chuckled at herself, “you know me, Sook. I’ll bounce back. Right now, though, I’m worried about you. I mean—you were just with Bill a few weeks ago, and now you have moon eyes for Eric. Don’t you think you’re moving too fast, Sook?”


Sookie took a deep breath. “To tell you the truth, Tara, I’m worried about that same thing. Bill was sort of checking out emotionally for the last stretch of our time together, so I guess that I was sort of checking out emotionally too. And I’ve already dealt with the pain over his being unfaithful and leaving me behind without a word—not to mention that he lied or at least misled me about why he was leavin’ town in the first place! And there might be other things too—about why he was interested in me to start with.”

“What do you mean?” Tara asked, her brow knitting.

Sookie sighed. “Honestly, there are things I can’t tell you because it involves vampire politics, but I will tell you that Bill might have been sent here by his—uh—boss in order to evaluate my telepathy and pursue me romantically. His boss—uh—wanted access to my mind-readin’, and she figured I’d be more cooperative if I was in a relationship with her lackey.” She shook her head somewhat angrily. “I don’t know all the details, but my instincts are tellin’ me that she told Bill to do anything he could to get me to go to New Orleans with him—preferably as his willing companion. Without Eric’s help, I might have never known it was all fake,” she added, brushing away a tear.

“Oh, Sook! I’m so sorry!” Tara exclaimed. “That really sucks!”

Sookie chuckled. “Very punny, Tara.”

The brunette gasped and put her hand over her mouth. “I didn’t mean to make a joke, Sook! I swear!”

Sookie brushed off the apology. “It’s okay, Tara. Really it is. And vampires do suck,” she laughed lightly, “sometimes. Anyway, that’s all I can tell you, and I really don’t want any of this getting out.”

“Say no more,” Tara said, gesturing like she was zipping her mouth shut.

“Thanks,” Sookie said.

“So—uh—you didn’t finishing answering before,” Tara said after taking a drink. “What’s up with you and Eric?”

Sookie smiled, but then looked at her friend as if asking for permission to proceed—and to be excited about her news.

“I really wanna hear; I promise!” Tara assured. “Anyway, it’ll take my mind off things to hear about whatever it is that’s puttin’ that smile on your face.

Sookie smiled a little wider as she thought about her conversation with Jason the night before. He, too, had noticed her smile—her “Eric smile.” Looking back, it was difficult for her to remember the last time she’d truly felt like smiling with Bill.

“Eric and I are gonna be dating. I’m gonna spend time with him—get to know him. And he’s agreed to do that—to go as slow as I need. Meanwhile, he’s gonna help me get a new business up and running.”

“A business!” Tara squealed excitedly. There was nothing she was prouder of than her own business, Tara’s Togs. “What kind ‘a business?”

“A sort of telepath for hire thing—for vampires and maybe even Weres who have to deal with humans. Eric thinks that—if I work for important vampires—they’ll have my back if—actually when—some stronger vampire tries to kidnap me.”

“Eric thinks that could happen?” Tara asked, clearly fearful for her friend.

“It might,” Sookie admitted with a sigh.

Tara took a deep breath. “And Eric’s on it? With the protection thing? I mean—I saw the hunk ‘a burnin’ guard you have outside. But—uh—if you and Eric don’t work out—with the datin’ thing—will the guards stay?”

“Yes,” Sookie responded with a reassuring smile. “He made sure I knew that last night.”

She shook her head. “Wow! It’s scary to think you need guards. Is there a particular person you’re bein’ guarded from right now?”

Sookie considered for a moment, again wondering how much to tell her friend. Again, she decided to be honest about what she said, but to withhold things that could put Tara (or others) in danger. “Someone—more than one person actually—tried to hurt me in the last week. Bill’s maker sent a werewolf to kidnap me. Then I got hurt by a Fellowship nut who was after a vampire. Then Bill’s maker tried to kill me. Then Bill hurt me when he was . . . .” She stopped for a moment to compose herself. “When—uh—well, Alcide’s psycho ex-girlfriend locked me into a trunk where Bill was—uh—sleeping for the day. He’d been hurt by Lorena and woke up hungry. So—uh—yeah. He attacked me and would have likely raped and/or killed and/or turned me if Eric hadn’t come. Eric thinks that—at least—Alcide’s ex, Debbie Pelt, could come after me sooner rather than later, so he talked me into the guards for a year.” She frowned. “After that, we’ll reassess whether I still need the guards. I did argue against them at first, but Eric talked me into them—for at least the time being.”

Tara’s eyes had been widening throughout Sookie’s account. She opened her mouth as if to speak but was clearly having a difficult time knowing exactly what to say.

Sookie sighed. “It is all pretty f’ed up,” she owned.

“And you argued against having guards?” Tara asked incredulously, having found her voice again. “Excuse my French, but that’s the part that seems most fucked up to me, Sook.”

The telepath rolled her eyes, but nodded in agreement all the same. “You and Eric can form a club to complain about my stubbornness. And—for the record—I did give in—and not just because of Eric’ persuasiveness. Tara, when I was locked up in that trunk—waiting for Bill to wake up and knowing that he was gonna hurt me—I had a lot of time to think about what I wanted out of my life.”

“What do you want?” Tara asked curiously.

“To be happy. To be as free as I can be.” She shrugged. “And some things I don’t know yet,” Sookie admitted. “I mean—I envy you in a lot of ways.”

“How so?”

“Well—you have Tara’s Togs, and I know you love it! I know that you want to design clothes too, but your shop is real nice—something of your own that you can be proud of!”

Tara smiled. “I am proud of it. And—thanks to Franklin—taking some design classes is a part of my plan, but so is actually designing things of my own before then—one of a kind pieces—to sell in my place. He helped me figure out how to start my own label and everything!” She sighed. “You know, that’s one of the reasons I’m really gonna miss dating him. He was so good at making business things seem easy. And he was really encouraging; he actually said my sketches were good!” she added with pride.

The telepath felt a stab of guilt for being the one to take that encouraging voice away from her friend—that is, until she remembered what Eric had said about Franklin Mott’s “passing around” tendencies.

“Maybe Eric would have some ideas that could help you,” Sookie offered. “Actually, Pam would be even better to ask!”

“Pam?” Tara asked. “Who’s that?”

“She’s the vampire that sort of co-runs Fangtasia with Eric,” the telepath responded, careful not to give away the fact that Pam was Eric’s child. “She’s a little scary at first, but—as long as she likes you—there’s nothing really to worry about. She has a wicked sense of humor, so I bet you two’d get along. She has to wear black leathery things at Fangtasia, but I get the impression that she’s something of a fashionista. And she’s a knock-out too.” Sookie chuckled. “I bet she’d—at the very least—be interested in one of your one-of-a-kind things, especially if you made it with her in mind. And vampires—a lot of them, at least—have been around long enough to have had a lot of businesses. At least, that’s the impression I get.” Sookie shrugged. “I’ll introduce you to her—if you want. We could go to Fangtasia some night and maybe dance a little so the trip wouldn’t be a waste of time even if she didn’t wanna help you.”

Tara smiled as the wheels in her mind were obviously spinning. “Thanks, Sook! I’d like that—even if it’s just about us girls hanging out. You know—I miss this,” she said, gesturing back and forth between them. “I miss bein’ this close and seein’ each other all the time.” She laughed. “Gran used to say we were joined at the hip. And I really regret that we haven’t hung out as much in the last few years.”

“It’s okay,” Sookie said with a sad smile. “You know that Gran looked at you like family. She was so proud of you, and I’m proud of you too! You just got busy with your business.” She shrugged. “And I could have done a better job hanging out with you, too.”

Tara took Sookie’s hand. “Let’s prioritize each other more again—okay? I miss Gran so much, and wish I’d come to see her more often than I did. I don’t want regrets about my best friend!”

“I don’t either,” Sookie agreed.

Tara frowned. “And I’m sorry I didn’t think about you and work before. I always thought you were pretty happy at Merlotte’s. I really couldn’t have imagined that you’d—uh—envied me at all!”

Sookie shrugged. “I’m not unhappy at Merlotte’s, but the truth is that my job there was all I could find with even a little bit of job security. And I had to work—not unlike everyone else,” she chuckled ruefully. “Lots of people aren’t that satisfied with their jobs—I suppose. And it really used to be fun to work there.”

“Not anymore?” Tara asked, once again fetching the coffee pot and distributing refills.

Sookie sighed. “Sam’s gotten a little weird.”

“Weird how?” Tara asked.

“Well—I used to think he had a little thing for me. Remember?”

“Yeah. I remember dropping a pretty un-subtle hint in his direction once,” Tara said a little guiltily. “I—uh—might have told him you were interested in him one night when I was a little tipsy and you weren’t working.”

“When?” Sookie asked.

“A couple of years ago?” Tara responded, her voice rising as if she were asking a question, as she tried to remember when she and Sam had had their short exchange about Sookie.

“Oh,” Sookie frowned. “See—that’s kind of the thing. He never made a move—even though he had to have known I would have been receptive at one point. Then Bill entered the picture and Sam got all territorial. We even went out once—sort of.”

“Really?” Tara asked excitedly. “You never told me that! Spill!”

“There’s not much to tell. Like I said, it was after I’d met Bill—after I was already interested in Bill—which Sam knew about. But Bill and I’d had a little falling out,” she recalled. “Sam asked to go out after the Descendants of the Glorious Dead meeting—the one where Bill spoke. But nothing much happened with us—besides talking—and it was when we got home that I found Gran dead.”

Tara reached over to squeeze her friend’s hand in comfort.

Sookie squeezed back, a silent expression of gratitude. “Anyway, Bill and I became an official couple not long after that, but Sam never accepted my choice. In fact, it’s clear that Sam doesn’t like me with any vampire. And when I told him that I likely wasn’t gonna be workin’ for him for very much longer, he said some pretty hurtful things, insinuating that I was too dumb to look out for my own good. And—worse—he accused me of basically allowing myself to become a kept woman to Eric because he’s gonna help me get my new business thing up and running!”

“That’s all kinds of wrong on Sam’s part!” Tara exclaimed. “He—of all people—should know how hard you’ve worked to make sure you and Gran stayed afloat—without takin’ a hand-out from anyone, let alone bein’ someone’s bought-and-paid-for mistress! And I’m sure he knows just how fucked up that kind of comment comes across—especially in these parts where it’s been pounded into us that only the worst kinds of women are the ones rich men set up as their on-call booty calls!”

Sookie nodded. “Sam tried to apologize, but he pretty much finished making up my mind for me—when it came to whether I should quit or keep working at Merlotte’s. In fact, my last day’s December 27, two weeks exactly from yesterday—when I talked to Sam on the phone.”

“I probably would have just quit on the spot,” Tara shared. “But you know my temper. I still can’t believe he’d treat you like that.”

“Well—by the time Sam said what he did, I’d already promised Arlene I’d cover for her tonight. And—even though he was cruel yesterday—Sam’s been a good boss for the most part. Plus, I was wantin’ to keep my job at Merlotte’s until I knew the telepath-for-hire thing was gonna work. But now I realize that it’ll be better if I just commit to the new job and cut ties with the past. And have faith that it’ll work out.”

“Do you think workin’ as a telepath will make you happy?” Tara asked, recalling what Sookie had said about what she wanted out of life.

“I’m not sure actually,” Sookie shared honestly. “Truth is—I never allowed myself much time to think about what I would want to do if I could have any job. But I really do like the idea of having a more comfortable life and not having to worry about whether or not I can afford toothpaste and tampons! And I like the idea of helping people. Eric seems to think I can set rules for the types of work I do. So I can help vampires stay safe from groups like the Fellowship of the Sun. Or I can help them know if a human’s trying to cheat them in business. But I can choose not to work with them if they want to use me for things I’m not comfortable doin’. I have a deal with Eric that—if I find a human doin’ something like cheatin’ a vampire—he’ll turn them into the human police. I can make that a part of any contract I make!” she added, already feeling excited about the possibilities. “Best thing is that I wouldn’t have to hide what I am and what I can do—at least not from other Supes.”

“Other? Other! What are you?” Tara asked excitedly.

“Eric thinks I’m part Supernatural, but he’s not sure what kind,” Sookie shared—though she didn’t go into detail about the kinds of creatures she’d been learning about. “And maybe I am. After all, ‘normal’ people aren’t telepaths,” she stated, using the fingers of the hand not holding her coffee cup to make quotes for the word “normal.”

“You have always been special, Sookie,” Tara smiled. “And hey! If you find out you’re something, I hope you’ll tell me—even if you have to get a vampire to glamour me just to be sure I keep it to myself.”

“You wouldn’t be freaked out if you learned I was a leprechaun or something?” Sookie grinned, feeling a weight lift off her shoulders that she didn’t know had been there now that she was talking to her best friend so openly about her “otherness.”

“You’re Sookie. Nothing’s gonna change about that,” Tara shrugged as if she wouldn’t mind if Sookie did, in fact, turn out to be a leprechaun. “There was a time when I was a little freaked out by what you can do,” she said with a look of regret, “but that was usually when I had a silly secret I thought I needed to hide.”

“Like your crush on Jason?” Sookie asked with a giggle.

“Exactly!” Tara blushed a little. “I still can’t help but to like him—you know—a little. I know he’s a total horndog and all, but I really do hope that I’m unattached when he finally decides to give up all the cattin’ around. He’s a decent man when he doesn’t get in his own way.”

“He is,” Sookie agreed with a smile. “You know—just last night, he helped me with the Christmas tree.”

“Oh—you have a tree!” Tara exclaimed.

And just like that, the morning visit turned casual. After moving to the living room and looking at the Christmas tree, the two friends decided to make a quick brunch and continue their visit. By the end of it, they’d made additional plans to get together later that week.

When she was getting ready for her shift that afternoon, Sookie couldn’t help but to feel glad about her reconnection with her friend. Tara hadn’t been the only one who’d pulled away from the friendship. Sookie had been putting so much energy into her relationship with Bill that she’d lost sight of the aspects of her social life that she’d truly treasured. And—even before that—she’d pulled away (both consciously and unconsciously) from Tara, whose life had evolved to what Sookie thought of as “grown up” status. Meanwhile, Sookie had felt stuck; thus, she’d worried that she no longer had much to offer to a ‘grown-up’ friendship.

She didn’t feel that way anymore!


A/N: I hope you enjoyed this! I wanted to take the character of Tara and really try to make her more like how I “thought” she’d be after that moment she and Sookie shared in Club Dead. I always thought it was a bit random for her to just be there. And then CH seemed to drop that story line instead of using it to help link Sookie and Tara (because they were both “with” vampires). And then the transfer of Tara to Mickey was just odd to me. I am making the Tara in this piece be what I consider a more “natural” evolution of the girl that was with Franklin and dancing with Sookie in Club Dead (and without Mickey). I think that, perhaps, CH meant to do something different with Tara, but once Amelia was introduced, Tara just wasn’t needed as much. Anyway, Tara is going to be more books (Tara’s Togs version) than show. I believe that she is NOT Lafayette’s cousin in the books, though I might be wrong, and I don’t think she suffers the kind of childhood abuse, though I’d have to re-read the books closer to know this for sure. Anyway, I like this Tara and hope you do too!

Best,

Kat




 

16 thoughts on “Chapter 07: Welcome to My World

  1. I’m getting really interested in what you are doing here!!! The more you write the more I’m going, yes! This sounds interesting!! Especially when you bring Tara back. From what I read she wasn’t so much of a bitch in the books.

  2. I don’t recall anything in the books to indicate Tara and Lafayette were related; that seems to have been a creation for the show. And show Tara certainly was completely different from canon. I like your plan for her here.

  3. I like your Tara, too. She was abused by alcoholic parents in the books, and she did run to Gran’s for help and protection. You would think she and Sookie would remain sisters of the heart instead of becoming virtual strangers like in the books. I am glad to see them growing closer. I like the idea introducing her to Pam, especially if she is designing a lot of her clothes. She might have vampire customers, too. Seems odd to me that Franklin would help her so much then be willing to hand her over to Mickey. He must have a huge debt. Thanks for another great chapter.

  4. I like this Tara! She might still have a temper but she seems much more adult than tv Tara. It’s nice for Sookie to have her friend back.

  5. This chapter seemed like a way to see into Sookie’s processing of her relationships with Bill, Eric and Sam while explaining them to Tara. One big thing I came away with is that Sookie needs someone to talk with about what has happened since she met Bill who is 1) knowledgeable about supes and safe to discuss these topics and 2) not Eric, Bill or Sam, probably not Pam either since she is on Eric’s side, which may or may not put her on the side of team Eric/Sookie. So she could really use a supe counselor to help her process all this, preferably someone who is objective and doesn’t hate vampires. Sookie has gone through a very traumatic experience with the near rape and draining. Friends and boyfriends might be helpful, but she has a long history of dealing with her telepathy seeing it as a curse, poor self esteem, constant mental assault, the early loss of her parents, the traumatic murder of her grandmother, her own battle for her life against Renee then being held against her will by the Newlins, nearly raped by Gabe, getting staked at Josephines, attacked by Lorena and having to kill Lorena, multiple injuries and even hospitalization as consequences. This woman needs some serious counseling. There has to be someone in the supe world to provide this. I am not sure Dr Ludwig is able to do it, but she may have the right contacts to recommend someone. Thinking this through, I think a lot of Sookie’s puzzling and erratic behavior later in the books could be attributed to never getting the help she needed in processing all this, makes me wonder about CH and whether she dealt with some of these issues herself and never got the help she needed. Sookie needs the support of friends and family plus Eric seems very interested in helping her from a practical side, but I suspect he has plenty of his own issues from his sadistic maker who repeatedly raped him physically, emotionally and mentally as well as being his murderer, and separated him from his family and his people. Eric is tough and pragmatic, but he has rationalized his treatment and still has the constant threat that Appius could show up at any time and destroy everything he cares about, plus rape him and take away his free will. In the books, when Appius does show up, he sexually assaults Eric, though it is glossed over.
    I do like this Tara, she seems a better friend than the books or tv versions. TB Tara was too angry though her alcoholic mother was a good reason for that, book Tara was traumatized by Mickey and seemed to deal with it by suppressing it, then got into a ridiculous marriage with JB (amusingly, also my son in law’s nickname) that seemed doomed from the start. Both Taras were raped but never seemed to get any professional help, either they ran away or pretended it never happened, both seemed to blame Sookie in a way.
    Anyway, great chapter, looking forward to the next.
    We are moving into our new home after 1 1/2 years of being in transit between 2 states, 2 different rentals and living out of boxes with most of our stuff in storage scattered over 2 states 7 hours apart. I am dying to get settled but since I can’t physically pack and unpack, I am nuttier than usual. My procedure was a bust, they ran into complications and I am worse than before, especially bad because of the upcoming move. So, having new chapters to read is a big help. Thanks.

  6. A much more understanding and mature Tara than the books or show. Couldn’t stand the TV Tara and the book Tara wasn’t much of a character. Just a side note really.
    Loving the progression of Sookie’s journey towards maturity, a new business and, hopefully, love. 🙂

  7. I remember the books mentioning Tara’s parents were alcoholics and at least neglectful. That was why she spent so much time at Gran’s!
    I prefer book Tara over show Tara, so no complaints here!

  8. great chapter…. no Lala and Tara were not related. and Tara was abused by her alcoholic parents and would go to gran when she needed protection or a roof over her head. the conversation is great between the two of them, they should have never lost their friendship the way they did in the books. but like you said Tara became an afterthought. KY

  9. I much prefer this Tara than the TB character. I couldn’t understand how her and Sookie were even friends, but your version isn’t as angry at the world and much more relatable. I will admit that I loved the TB Lafayette, and I’m sure that in the books they weren’t cousins. Looking forward to the next post, hopefully with a lil bit of Eric.
    Blessings

  10. This was a great chapter. I love the direction in which you are moving. I’ve gotta say that I’ve loved reading all the comments, too. So many insightful thoughts; I appreciate reading them, and agree that Tara and Sookie’s friendship in this piece allows Sookie some security, some stability, some comfort, etc. and her reconnection with her “sister of the heart” (which was a lovely comment, btw), really did her some good. Someone also mentioned that the books never allowed her time, space, or a knowledgeable other with whom to process all the happened to her, possibly leading to behavior that, as a reader, I didn’t like. Anyway, I adore your piece and am thrilled whenever you post a chapter. Again, thank you!

  11. Ok. Yep. I’m gonna like this Tara!
    And Eric has already thought about being supportive of her keeping the friends she has, so no jealousy issues there with her new guy lol.

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