Chapter 3 – Close but no Cigar

January 1994

Dallas, TX

“GLAMOUR!? You used glamour to make her love you?”

“Godric, I nudged her with Glamour. I take care of her, I allow her to choose her own interests. I sought her out because she already had interests that matched my own. I found her in a fucking bookstore! What is your problem?”

“Do you love her?”

“WHAT!?”

“Do YOU love HER?”

“I don’t understand.”

Godric pinched the bridge of his nose and paused before he answered. “It’s simple, Eric. I asked you to be loved and TO LOVE. You conveniently forget that part.” He stopped to think for a moment; then requested that Eric call Pam.

“Why do we need Pam? She’s feeding right now.”

“Fine, give her an hour; then call her. While we wait, tell me more about Kathleen. Why did you pursue her?”

“We met, as I said, in a bookstore, the one in Shreveport that sells collectable classics. She was quite lovely and literate. I don’t frequently find that.”

“So, you have learned something, you don’t change the person, you find a match, that’s progress for you. What does she do when she is not with you?”

“As it turns out, she owned the bookstore, and still does. She does not live with me; we either spend time at her home or one of my safe houses. I do NOT feed from her; she is unaware that I am a vampire – which is another reason I’ve needed to use glamour.”

“Are you faithful?”

Eric looked at Godric in shock. “Godric, we are vampires. It’s simply not possible for one lover to satisfy us.”

“It is.”

Eric’s jaw dropped and he asked, “What are you saying?”

Godric paused. “Sit Eric. Let me tell you about my Maria.”

Once seated, Eric asked. “Who is Maria?”

“Maria was the love of my life.”

“Was?”

“I suppose she still is the love of my life, though she passed many years ago. We met in Italy, just after you created Pam. I was so happy for you and at the same time a little sad that you had a special someone to share your nights. I was living in the countryside, a little cottage on the outskirts of a small town and shamelessly glamouring to feed from the same townsfolk regularly. I enjoyed the peace and quiet too much to move on. I stayed there with a Were named Holger who served as my day man and guard for the property.” He paused and smiled at his next thought. “She came to my cottage one day at dusk selling honey, saying the local bees had been especially productive. I was smitten as soon as I saw her. She had lovely, dark curly hair like mine and a tiny waist with lovely round hips and bust. I invited her in to chat and she gazed down and blushed stating it would be improper for her to enter my home without a guardian. The innocence was intoxicating. Not just that she was a virgin, in that era there were plenty. It was her whole demeanor of purity. She blushed, avoided eye contact, her smiles were shy and I drank it all in. I bought all her honey and offered to walk her home since she would not enter my cottage. While walking, I discovered her father and brothers had passed away and left her, her mother and a younger sister. My protective instincts were on high alert upon hearing their plight. They owned their home but had real means of income. I adopted the family on the spot and asked permission to court Maria. Her mother fought me on the help AND the courtship but I was persistent.” He stopped to laugh at the memory. “I hunted for them and left them animals on their doorstep. I left piles of wood in their woodbin, my Were bartered for other necessities on their behalf and they were also left as gifts. Maria’s mother, Antoinette, would frown but give in. They would have starved otherwise. She finally permitted the courting and we were married about 4 months after we met.”

Eric stopped him. “Married? How did you accomplish that without telling her you were a vampire?”

“I did not keep the secret.”

“THE RISK! Godric, how could you?”

“We were in love and I chose to take the risk to tell her. I could always glamour her if needed, but she accepted me as I was. She was worth it Eric. A few years later, her mother passed away and her sister, Angelica, came to live with us. She was only 7 years old at that time.”

“AND YOU TOLD HER TOO?”

“Why are you yelling about something that happened hundreds of year ago? To answer your question, no, I did not tell Angelica the secret. Instead, we created an illusion if you will. I had a separate building added to the property and we told her I was a writer. I did write for myself in those years, so she could see the ‘evidence’, and she was told not to disturb my writing. Angelica became like a daughter to me. When she came of age, Maria and I decided to share the secret; mostly because it killed me to continue the lie, but also because Holger had asked for her hand in marriage. She needed to know about ‘others’ if they had a child. She took the information well, and I granted my blessing on the marriage and even walked the bride down the aisle at an evening wedding. We built them a separate house on the property and soon they were expecting their first child. We were so happy, waiting for the baby until a rogue vampire came through the area with his children. Appius Livius Ocella found us.” Eric cringed at the name. Appius had a reputation among vampire, considered the most evil among his own kind.

Godric had paused at this point and his eyes rimmed in red. Eric put a hand on his maker’s hand. “You don’t need to continue. I think I can figure out what happened.”

“No, for them, to honor them, I will tell the story.” He took an unnecessary breath. “I heard screams from the town so I secured Angelica and Maria in my bedchamber and Holger shifted to guard them. I flew to the town to confront the cause of the screams. I was shocked to find Appius and two of his children had herded all the town’s residents into the church and he was ‘feeding’ them to his children one at a time. Half had been locked into the church basement, I guess for another night. I tried diplomacy but he would not stop his rampage. I knew I could not defeat Appius with the two children present. He and I are about the same age, so we would be evenly matched, but with the other two – I would have lost.” He shook his head is resignation of that fact. “I decided to return home and have Holger go to the church in the morning and free the other residents. Appius had other plans, however, and when I turned to leave the church, I found a third child of Appius’ holding both Angelica and Maria by their necks. I froze. I had failed them.” His voice hitched, “and now I knew they would die.”

Godric stopped to compose himself, red tears flowing freely from his face. Eric wrapped his arm around him for support as he continued his voice breaking. “I turned to Appius to announce my claim on my family and he only laughed. He told me he had been watching the town and me for a few days. He scoffed at my ‘relationship’ with humans. His next words, his next words would have stopped my heart if it beat. Eric, he told me he knew Angelica was with child and that he intended to drain her personally. With that declaration, I went wild and attacked his child, but I was only partly successful. I managed to free Angelica and told her to run before a gloved Appius threw a silver net over me. My only relief was seeing a wounded, but still functioning Holger running towards the town. When he reached Angelica, she jumped on his back. My relief was only temporary I realized as I was forced to my knees to watch as Appius drained my Maria. She was screaming and begging for help from me and mercy from the savage at her neck. But I was helpless. I still remember the moment the light went out from her eyes. Eric, to witness her death…”He paused, recalling Maria’s face. “To witness that light going out will forever haunt me. I’ve never felt such pain.”

Godric stopped for a moment, and Eric asked, “What happened to Angelica and Holger?”

“They got away, I went back to our property to see they had made it back there, taken what they could and fled with the horses and carriage. I never saw my adopted daughter again; I never met the child that would have been my grandbaby.” Godric paused again to take in another unneeded breath.

“Appius kept me in silver while he and his children fed on the rest of the town. Not a single soul remained when they left. I burned everything and everyone, except Maria, to cover up his atrocities. For Maria, I carried her body back to our property and buried her alone. I couldn’t bear to see her burn. As it was, I could not mark the grave for fear that someone would investigate and see the draining. After she was laid to rest, I walked away and never returned to Italy.” Eric watched as his smile changed from bitter to something he would call sweet. “I speak to Maria frequently, praying to her for guidance, for help with you.”

“Help with me?”

“Yes, you. I want you to have that same love; that connection. Maria made me see the man in me, she made me want to live again, not just exist.”

“Man? You are not a man; you are a vampire, Godric.”

“Of course I am a man, as are you. Eric, Vampire is just another label about a person – American, Italian, Daemon, Were – a man can be and man AND one of those labels.”

Eric shook his head at his maker’s philosopher. “Why would you want me to feel the pain that you felt when she left you?”

“The pain was horrible and tragic, but not all loves need to end in that pain. Even with her death, the joy from sharing those years was not erased. If I reflect on my memories I realize that just like anything in life, you take the good with the bad. In this case, I took the happiness and the sorrow. Of course, I wish she was still with me, I regret that I had not changed her earlier. She was waiting for Angelica to get older, to not need help with babies, so I gave her time. As you can imagine, I do regret some of the decisions I made when I was with her, but I never regret the love, Eric, never the love.”

Eric sat quietly, his arm still around his maker gently rubbing his back to offer comfort from the pain Godric felt while sharing the story. Godric gave him the quiet time as he watched his son process his words. ‘Godric had a wife, a child, a grandbaby? AND, he never shared this with me. All those years, all that pain. We should have gone after Appius years ago to avenge her. Wait, I would kill a vampire for a human? No, no, I would kill a vampire for the pain he caused Godric, yes, that’s what I meant. Still, after all the pain, pain that I can feel through the bond after hundreds of years, he wants me to open up to a human? We should still kill Appius. Yes, this will give us a common purpose.’ His decision made on their next move, he finally spoke. “We will make plans to kill Appius and his children right away. I will apply for a leave….”

“Eric, no. I want my revenge someday, but not today. Finding and planning for the death of Appius will take time, and I have already set a goal for you: Love, not revenge, remember?”

“Godric, you have got to be kidding me? That you have already let this go for so many years is appalling. You just needed a worthy partner. We can take him down quickly.”

“We are getting off track now. I started the whole story to show you the possibility of love and faithfulness. So, do you have a spark with Kathleen, can you be faithful? Will you share YOUR secret?”

Eric was quiet for a moment, shocked by his maker’s dismissal of the need for revenge. Finally, he answered. “I find her company enjoyable, but we do not see each other every day. I grow tired of her if we have seen each other too many times in one week.”

“Then, she is not the one.”

“Godric, my Gods – you said I made progress, I have not harmed this woman, she is the only one with whom I have a ‘relationship’ the others are just quick fucks.”

“And I am thrilled for your progress; it is just not what I requested. You simply need to get out and meet more women.” Eric was about to interject and Godric cut him off, “I don’t mean women from your club.” Eric shut his mouth and Godric chuckled. “Go places where you want to be, find someone there, talk to them.”

“Godric, this is almost impossible without the reveal. I already struggle to make excuses for Kathleen about my nature. She wants to have lunch together; she wants to go to the park….”

“Call Pam, we can strategize.” Eric looked at his maker in horror. Sure Pam knew of Godric’s request and she knew a bit of the difficulty he had with his most recent encounters with Godric, but he did not want his child to witness the way Godric treated him as a child over these discussions.

“Godric, I don’t think we should bring Pam into…”

“Call Pam. I will not belittle you in front of her, I know of your Viking pride. You will need her assistance. We should also call Cara to participate.” Eric just stared at him. “Cara, Eric, oh wait, you nick-named her Potts. She told me what you call her that, but not why. Where did that name some from?”

“You never lived with her before?” Godric shook his head. “If you did, you would know. When she cooks, I swear she uses every pot she bought for the house, the kitchen looks like a storm rolled through and pots are piled on the stove and in the sink, hence the name.”

“So you enjoy Cara?”

“Don’t go there, I have never considered….”

“That’s not what I meant. I simply meant you find her friendly?”

“She is friendly, but mostly I appreciate that she stays out of my way, which is why I am unsure about having her here for this discussion.”

A short while later, Godric heard Pam arrive and he asked Eric go get Cara on the speakerphone.

“ERIC, I had a plump Dallas beauty between my legs when you called me. I hope this is important.”

“PAMELA, show some respect! This is your Grandsire’s home!”

“Yes, Master.” She bowed to both men. “What can I help with this evening?”

Godric replied. “We are getting Cara on speakerphone; then I will explain.”

“Potts? What do we need her for?”

“Patience please.”

Cara’s phone rang and she answered it “Evening Northman.”

“Potts, you are on speakerphone, Godric and Pam are here.”

“Hello my friend, how are you?”

“GODRIC! It has been too long. I am doing well. Is there a problem in Dallas?”

“No, we are gathered to strategize about Eric’s love life.”

With that Pam started on a laughing fit that caused her to cry bloody tears. Eric badly wanted to reprimand her for disrespecting him, but Godric prevented it with a look. After a two hour conference call, they had several plans, and Eric was thinking about meeting the sun himself.

OOOoooOOOooo

Winter, 2000

Shreveport, LA

“Did you finish that questionnaire yet?”

“No Pam. Leave me be.”

“Well, I made your ‘relationship counselor’ appointment for tomorrow night at 9PM. You need to be finished before then.”

“Why are you rushing this, we only decided to use this service last week?”

“Why am I rushing this? Using a service was part of the plan we made with Godric and Potts FIVE YEARS AGO. You are the one that insisted you could woo someone from a library or bookstore.”

“I can’t help it if Kathleen was the only attractive book reader I ever found.”

“I realize that, but you didn’t try any of the other options we discussed for meeting women either.”

“Stop talking Pamela; leave my office so I can work on this.”

As she walked through the door, she reminded Eric, “Don’t forget, the more honest you are, the better the match, I mean ‘connection’.” A stapler was hurled at her, but the door had closed before it hit her head. Eric heard her cackling from the other side.

This is fucking ridicules. I am a 1000 year undead vampire filling out a questionnaire for Louisiana Love Connection. But for Godric, I will try. Ok, now where was I? Oh yes, Personal Characteristics.’

Q.: I find that going to church is a good way to meet people who benefit my social and/or professional life

A: I find that going to church would cause terminal sunburn since services are held during daylight.

Disagree

Q.: I can be offended by satire and sarcasm

A: I would not have made Pam if that was true.

Agree

Q.: My friends come to me when they are in difficult times because they know I can handle emotional crises

A.: Am I required to have friends to join this dating service?

Disagree

Q.: I work much better if people follow my lead

A.: I find less people die that way as well.

Agree

Q.: I prefer not to be around people who have emotional swings

A.: I prefer to be around people who don’t have emotions.

Agree

Q.: I have a high desire for sexual activity

A.: Probably more than any of your other applicants, ever.

Agree

Q.: I dislike some people.

A.: I dislike all people.

Agree

Q.: I sometimes drive faster than the posted speed-limit.

A.: There are speed limits?

Agree

Gods, how many more questions? Oh good, 8 done in this section, only 64 more to go.’

About three hours later, a very frustrated Eric left his office to check on the club floor. Pam approached him immediately. “Well, the emotions coming from you were across the map while you were working on your little questionnaire. I cannot wait to experience the actual meeting with your ‘relationship counselor’ tomorrow night.” Pam continued to laugh at her maker’s expense.

He was not pleased. “Pamela, your shoes are dangerously close to losing their lives. I would suggest you stop your comments. NOW.” He ended with a glare that did stop Pam’s laughing.

“Yes Master, I will check on the waitresses.”

“Good idea.”

OOOoooOOOooo

About six months later, Eric’s ‘relationship counselor’ had returned for a final meeting with Eric at the club. “I am sorry to agree with you Sir, none of the first dates led to any connections for you. While we had a number of women interested in you based on your physical appearance, no matches worked based on the personality profile. I am pretty sure that your nocturnal lifestyle was a significant part. As we discussed, I am refunding your initial match payment, and we will part ways. Thank you for trying Louisiana Love Connection.”

“Yes, thank you Sharon. I am sure you are looking for Pam now as you have done on my prior visits?”

“Well, umm, yes, if you wouldn’t mind sending me in her direction.”

“Certainly, she is in her office down the hall. At least one of us found a connection through your company. Now if you will excuse me, I have some club business. I thank you for your efforts.”

“ERIC!” Pam bellowed as she waltzed into his office a short while later. “Something new just started.”

“Don’t you ever knock?”

“I knew you were alone.”

“Yes, well thank you for reminding me of my failure to ‘connect’.”

“I have a new plan. We are expanding the pool of women.” Eric rolled his eyes, but she continued, ignoring him. “eHarmony.”

“Pardon?”

“eHarmony.” She said it again like it was the discovery of the wheel. “It’s a new online dating site. We can expand beyond Northern Louisiana. Sharon mentioned that she is taking a job with them while we were just ‘connecting’.”

“How the fuck does that help? You want me to commute to, I don’t know, Arkansas to date?”

“If you find a match, you can have someone moved here.”

“Outside Godric’s rules, Pam. You know that.”

“Well, I was just trying. At least I am trying. Are you?”

“You know what Pam?”

“No Eric, tell me.”

“I’m not. Trying that is. I’m done. If I am to fall in love,” He said with a sneer, “Then it will just happen.” He nodded to the door. “Go find me a curvy blond, fresh, someone I haven’t tasted yet.”

“Yes Master.”

After delivering a fresh curvy blond to Eric, Pam walked to the end of the parking lot and made the call to Potts as they previously discussed. “He’s giving up.”

“Understood. I’ll call Godric.”

“Will you be leaving us then?”

Potts laughed. “No Pam, I assure you, he figured Eric would give up. I am to remain in place.”

“So someone is coming?” Potts said nothing. “How can you know?”

“I’m just respecting Godric’s wishes. I must call him now.”

In Dallas, Godric was stunned by a surprise visit from his maker. “Master” he said as he knelt. “You honor me with your presence.” Godric gazed up at his Master, the oldest known vampire on the planet, blind from birth, yet a seer of all, past, present and future: The Ancient Pythoness.

As he rose, his phone rang. “Forgive me Master. Let me shut this off.”

“You should answer it. It brings an update to the goal you set for your child.”

Godric answered and held a quick conversation with Cara. “Indeed, Master, he has given up. But we knew this would happen.”

“Of course.”

“Oh, and calling it MY GOAL, when you started the whole thing.”

“I told you he needed to learn to respect all species and that love would be a good idea. I never told you to make the ultimatum you did.”

“Will he succeed?”

She remained quiet for a moment and Godric resorted to pleading, “Please Pythia. Can you tell me some of what you know?”

“I know you have already taught him much, even though you view his attempts as failures. He learned to find something worthy in humans.”

“While that may be true, Pythia, he still has not learned to respect anything other than vampires and a handful of humans. Will he find love?”

Though blind, The Ancient Pythoness clearly saw the pain in Godric as he asked about Eric. She knew he wanted his child to find love as he found with his Maria. The Ancient Pythoness had cursed herself many times for not stopping Maria’s death, her visions were not perfect, she only saw snippets and Appius was not one she had seen. Swayed by her guilt, she decided to share some of her visions. “There is a path where he succeeds, yes. I have seen the girl already. He will need to work hard for her.”

Hearing that the path could be difficult had Godric curious about his maker’s desires. “I have always followed your direction Pythia. I have never questioned you.” She turned to glare at him with her milky white eyes. “I am not questioning you now, rather, trying to understand. Pythia, why do YOU wish for Eric to learn such respect?”

“He is your child, is that not enough reason?”

“Yes, Master.” He stopped himself short.

“Go on, I know you had more to say….”

“But, you have not interfered with Eric before. You won’t even let me tell him that you are my maker.”

“He will know when the time is right.”

“And your reasons?”

“YOU will know when the time is right.”

“I do so love your answers Pythia.”

“Just keep guiding him as you can, the rest will fall into place. Don’t waiver on your ultimatum though. I suggested this for him and therefore for you. The day you gave him that goal, many of his less desirable yet still possible paths fell away.”

“I thank you for your wisdom and your help. If something ever happened to Eric, I wouldn’t be able to go on.”

“I wish I could have done something before, for you and Maria.” He nodded in understanding. “I will take my leave now.”

You can rest with me if you wish.”

“No Godric, I slipped into Dallas quietly, and now I must leave before anyone questions my presence.”

He smiled at his maker. “I enjoy your visits, but you can also telephone me.”

“I am not ready for something so fancy.”

He chuckled and asked. “When do you think you will be ready for fancy?”

“There are a few paths that predict that future, I am inclined to choose the one that says never.”

NOTE: The Connection questionnaire was excerpted from text that is copyrighted by Inc., Pasadena, CA. I do not claim ownership of any rights to it.

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8 thoughts on “Chapter 3 – Close but no Cigar

  1. Just LOL at the idea of Eric completing questionnaires for “Love Connections!” I am SO curious as to what the AP’s plans or visions may be.

  2. The questionnaire was hysterical; yet somehow still so truthful for many, including me! *laughs* Although I’m happily married, I would probably answer those questions in the same way (minus causing anyone’s death), hee hee. Pythia sure has a way with words, must run in the family. Too funny!

  3. Lol I love this story! The questionnaire that Eric answered is hilarious and your version of Eric is very interesting! He is really “growing” and learning from his mistakes after each relationship.

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