Addie grew like a normal child and blossomed into a beauty. Her shiny hair, svelte figure, clear complexion, and straight, white teeth should have made her the picture of “The Girl Next Door”. However, the supernaturalness of her very being intimidated the closed-minded country folk of her small town. She decided early on to focus on her studies and use her education to not only see the world, but to right the wrongs she saw in her everyday life.
Her mother never remarried. Caelum Brennan left a large inheritance to be split between his wife and child. No longer needing to work a blue-collar, menial job, she started filling notebooks with stories of her formative years dealing with her “disability”. She used a bit of her inheritance to wire the house for internet service, purchased a user-friendly laptop, and turned the small cell-like bedroom hidden under the living room into a writing study. She would spend hours there either typing feverishly or laying on the bed writing remembrances longhand with a pencil.
Addie had, more than once, seen her mother in a daze, stroking the fur coverlet, staring at strange maroon specks on the cinderblock walls. During these spells, Momma’s eyes would fill with grief and longing. For a long time, Addie thought her mother was thinking about her father during these trances. After “accidentally” reading a page of the notebook sitting open on the bed, she was no longer sure.
The fairy whimpered with both pain and arousal as the sheriff drank from her right wrist and the soldier drank from her left. If they were to move two feet higher to her neck, it would be eerily similar to her dream. She knew she would have to choose between them; she just didn’t know how.
The soldier was her first love. His quiet mind didn’t push against her mental shields. He saved her life. He protected her. He said he loved her. In return, she gave him her innocence.
The sheriff wanted her. He used her for her ability and didn’t care if she resented him for it. He would send her into danger without a thought, but he would also appear in time to save her. When he was certain that his existence was coming to an end, he told her that his biggest regret would be never kissing her. She fought him at first, but the fairy couldn’t help but melt and give-in when his strong arms wrapped around her petite form. She marveled at the way he gentled his overwhelming strength to make her feel safe and cared for.
Addie knew her parents loved each other. As a kid, she had seen it in their everyday interactions. As a young adult with a bit more experience in the world, she could remember things that didn’t stand-out in her childish mind.
As a teen, she read a book based on the notion that, in every relationship, there is one who loves and one who is loved. It was argued that the loved one held the power, but she didn’t think this was entirely true. The lover was the one who could give and take away. The loved one’s very identity existed at the whim of their lover.
Addie’s mother had been hurt badly in her past. The pain lingered in her eyes years later. Yet she met Caelum Brennan, fell in love, married, and had a child in the order her Gran would have thought appropriate. She felt love for her husband and accepted his in return, but there was a part of her that she always held back. She was the loved one in her marriage and spent the twelve years with her husband wishing she could love him more than she did, but part of her heart had been given away years ago.
After reading the entry in her mother’s notebook, Addie wanted to know more about the soldier. The sheriff had featured heavily in her childhood bedtime fairy tales; the soldier rarely did, not to the extent the sheriff was. The girl wondered if he was the one that hurt her mother so badly that she was never able to fully love her husband the way he deserved.
Under close supervision, Addie spent an evening with her neighbor Jessica. The pretty ginger vampire still had trouble controlling her urges around fairy hybrids, but her husband Hoyt helped keep her grounded. After asking about the overwhelming house, Addie was told about Jessica’s maker. Bill had been a complicated man. He’d loathed his maker and never truly stopped grieving his human life. For several years, he and his maker spent their nights in orgies of blood and gloried in their immortality and immorality. After decades of debauchery, he became bored and was conflicted by his antebellum conscience. He moved on and lived quietly until he was summoned by his queen to seduce and acquire a girl in the same town he’d lived in before he was turned.
Addie listened to the story of her mother’s relationship with the Civil War veteran. The girl felt her own heart crack as she heard about how her mother broke upon learning of his deception. The redhead felt compelled to assure the girl that the vampire and the barmaid had truly been in love. Addie didn’t doubt that. She did, however, think that it was the relationship where her mother learned that difference between the abandon of being loved and the power and responsibility of being the lover.
Jessica never mentioned the sheriff, even when she was asked directly. She did warn Addie to avoid the topic if she ever spoke to Willa. The sheriff was that girl’s maker. He turned her, abandoned her, and then released her, all within a year. She hated her maker.
When Addie heard about the convoluted inheritance laws held over from the Hep-V days, her sense of justice compelled her to look into other rights being withheld from Louisiana’s and America’s undead citizens. After months of research, she determined that her calling was to campaign for equal vampire rights and bolster her petitions with a law degree from a prestigious university behind her.
Her talent for persuasion didn’t hurt.
She stopped reminiscing to realize the three vampires were staring at her. She looked up at the sheriff. “Forgive me, Sir. I was lost in a daydream.”
Lex looked at her curiously. Addie was not the type of girl to drift off in her thoughts. “It’s fine, pet. You’re allowed after working as hard as you have. I simply wanted to know if you would have any questions to ask Mr. Northman and Ms. de Beaufort for your thesis.”
Her eyes widened and if she were a sillier girl she would have squealed in excitement. “Yes, absolutely!” She turned to the two vampires in question. “Other than Lex, the oldest vampire I’ve talked to was in his seventh century. He kept telling me about watching his human family die in the Plague. His maker commanded him to stay in…” She trailed off when she saw Lex almost imperceptibly shake his head. “Never mind. I was told that my great-grandmother was something of a history buff; I suppose I come by the fascination honestly.”
Eric focused his blue eyes on her and she felt the tell-tale pressure of glamour. “Why are you so fascinated in our kind?” He didn’t have the patience to deal with another stupid fangbanger. Even Ginger had been a student at Tulane when she first walked into their video rental store.
After practicing with Willa and Keith, Addie had perfected her blank stare and monotone voice. “I think vampires deserve more than they’ve been given. Progeny can’t inherit from their makers. They aren’t allowed to vote for the politicians that decide on their rights or lack thereof. Vampire owned businesses are charged higher taxes and insurance rates. I want to do what I can to right the wrongs and expose the injustice to the uneducated public so maybe a few will join the fight against prejudice.” It was hard for her to keep the passion for the cause from her voice while she feigned being glamoured.
Eric and Pam were both stunned; Lex only smirked. When he’d glamoured her and questioned her similarly, her answer wasn’t nearly as well informed. “And how do you hope to accomplish such a noble feat?” It was hard for the Viking to keep the sneer from his voice, despite his awe.
“I hope to gain employment as a day-girl or personal assistant while attending law school. After I graduate, I would have to gauge the atmosphere at that time before making a solid decision.”
The truth was that despite her crusade, Addie refused to allow anyone to taste her blood, much less bite her. Momma and Niall had warned her and even her vampire friends growing up were scared to inhale too deeply around her. She knew she was more fairy than her momma and her blood could protect vampires from the sun. Not for as many hours as a full fairy, but more than the few minutes the part-fairy had given the sheriff and an ancient king in her bedtime stories. She held onto those warnings and was fortunate that none of the vampires she’d interviewed had tried to glamour her for a sample or her ruse would have fallen apart. She knew going into this arrangement with Lex that she would have to pose as a simple pet, but she wasn’t a donor or toy for anyone’s amusement.
After years of reading various passages from her mother’s notebooks, the smart girl soon realized that her momma was the fairy in the stories she had been told. Addie understood more clearly than before that if her talent was discovered like her mother’s was, she’d never be safe. She threw herself into training with Niall and Parker so, that when the day came for her to spread her wings and leave her small-own nest, she wouldn’t be totally unable to protect herself.
She was disappointed to learn that her ability didn’t work on other supes. She couldn’t persuade vampires, Weres, or other fairies with “the spark”. The more she learned about her talent, it seemed like she could glamour without having to go through the messiness of being turned.
One can’t grow up around vampires and not wonder about being turned. She knew that Momma had an agreement with the Bon Temps vampires – if she were critically wounded and the choices were to turn her or let her die, under no circumstances were they to bring her over. Addie refused to let them make such a promise to herself but did worry if, when push came to shove, she would end up a drained and powdery corpse like her daddy.
When Pam narrowed her eyes at the ancient prince who placed a protective arm around the student who had become his friend over the past several months, Eric released the girl from his influence and set about corralling his impetuous progeny. “Pamela…” he started with a tone of warning in his voice.
“No! I don’t trust this. He would allow this human to question us about our lives? This human wants to help us without any benefit to herself? Ha! You know as well as I do that humans are just as selfish and self-serving as we are. No one does something for nothing.”
Addie wasn’t used to having her motives questioned. She turned her gaze to her protector, asking silently with her eyes as to what she should do. He responded by angling her behind him and met the young vampire’s challenging glare.
“Northman, control your child. She is not in a position to question me or mine. And I assure you, she is Mine. You follow up your requests for assistance with suspicion and accusations against my pet? Bad business, Ms. de Beaufort. I would have thought that one with your past experiences would be proficient at hiding your emotions until your prospect had shot his load,” Lex stated with a sneer. He’d researched the other vampires in the room extensively before agreeing to the meeting. All his life he’d heard his mother vilified as an evil, seductive whore. In reality, she was a queen, a protective mother, a living goddess, and had been intimate with only two men. He had no patience for actual whores acting above their station.
“My child has a point, Sheriff,” Eric responded calmly. “Yes, she proves herself under glamour, but she is no pet.” He inhaled deeply and shuddered at the sweetness that threatened to overwhelm his senses. “You have not had her body and she has not had your blood. She is free to claim. Before I agree to any questioning, I want hard proof she is what she says.”
Frustrated and indignant, Addie grabbed her thesis from the coffee table and thrust it toward the Viking. “There. Read the ninety-seven pages of selfish duplicity. I happen to have grown up with several vampires as close family friends. One was unable to inherit the property rightfully left to her by her maker. Another is unable to marry his long-time human lover and have it recognized by our state. Yet another was abandoned! Her asshole maker turned her for revenge, abandoned her with no care or guidance, then released her! If she hadn’t had an older vampire offer to foster her, who knows what would have happened? Do you know how many laws there are out there to help them? Zero. If I do anything with my education, I want to make things better for them. If you and yours happen to benefit, it’s a bonus, but you are not my motivation. They are.”