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is an avid fan of the Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris, so much so, that waiting for the next book was not an option! This Sookie Stackhouse Fanfiction fantasy picks up where CH's book 9 left off. Tune in weekly for the next installment of Back from the Dead. Disclaimer: J. Barrington does not own the characters of the Southern Vampire Series AKA Sookie Stackhouse Novels. All rights are reserved for Charlaine Harris.

Who’s Yo Daddy? - XXXIII & XXXIV

“If you sit down by the river bank and wait long enough, you will see the bodies of your enemies float by,” are words to live by in the south. It means that you don’t have to go after your enemies. Be patient and eventually they will come to you depleted and defeated.

I sat back and watched the good, the bad and the ugly truth reveal itself to me. Aptly named, I’m sure, Melody inspired many a sonnet. She sure had me crying the blues. All eyes, including the women, admired her extreme hour glass figure as she walked – no, glided into view. She walked right past CJ and I as if we were inanimate objects. Her eyes were locked on Marley like sonar. He had ducked into the room and was now pretending to be deep in thought about the vast nutritional choices and not at all about to fight his cousin. She was almost as tall as he was, which was pretty tall. She grabbed him by the shirt and gave him a deep, intimate, long kiss on the mouth. The intensity bordered on “get a room status” and I let out a selfish sigh of relief.

My arms and mind were possessively wrapped around my sorcerer before I realized. My eyes burned with a stay away warning. It was at that moment I saw just how important my friend was to me. The sun rose and set on my empowerment ambassador. I would kill a brick over anyone that tried to come between us or put some roots on them. All would have to forgive me for being hooked on my happiness which was right now resting in CJ. I was not willing to say goodbye to the solace that he provided. It may be false or magic but it was all I had to hold on to in my storm.

“You have something red on your collar, darling.” Melody said in a most caring voice to Marley. She pulled a hankie from her bosom and wiped at the stain.

Ding! There was my cue. Ah, cold revenge, it just makes ya feel warm all over. I hated to resort to blackmail but Marley drew first blood. He needed to back down. I made a big loud deal of introductions, maneuvering myself in front of CJ and pouring on the southern charm. “Hi, you must be Fe . . .”

“Melody!” Marley shouted over me, mixed in with a nervous laugh and flashing all 32’s. “This is my wife, Mel-o-die.” He broke up the name like it was code for “Yes I am the scum of the earth but please don’t tell my wife that I was in the closet with Fefe.”

I ignored him and extended a hand to her so that she could confirm to these loons that I am warm blooded. I wasn’t going to blow the whistle on him any way but he didn’t need to know that. She regarded me with an incredulous grin for an instant.

“Junia!” She shrieked in a pitch high enough to shatter glass. She left me hanging and leaped into CJ’s arms, nearly knocking me over. She grabbed both sides of his face and kissed him right on the mouth in a quick peck. “Oh, my. When did you? Ah!” She pulled him to her over and over, inspecting him.

“You are a vision, Melody.” CJ said silkily. The sacred inner sanctum that CJ had barricaded with shields and camouflaged with songs every since I pierced the barrier, opened with an audible thud. I was pulled into his human mind with such a force that I stumbled toward him. I waited anxiously for something to jump out at me. I put up my guard and braced myself just in case that something wasn’t so friendly. There must be an emergency back-up cause I got nothing but human guy crap like “Uh duh, she perdy, uh duh.” No billowing caress and no sizzling current.

CJ looked like a love sick puppy. I turned my head just in case he gave her the ballerina twirl or sang her a song. That would officially make the first day of my HEA an epic fail.

He glanced over at Marley to enjoy the look of jealousy and was satisfied. Melody was the core of their animosity. I gathered that from the steam rising from Marley’s head and the collective thoughts that oozed out and floated in the air from the minds of various on-thinkers. She was CJ’s girlfriend at first but ended up marrying his cousin, Marley. This was better than the stories my grandmother used to watch.

I raised a brow and tried to disguise the judgmental smirk. I wasn’t going to call her a skank but I’ll just say she exhibited skank-like behavior. I mean, I get it. They were both fine as wine but dating kin was just nasty. She would be the talk of the town in Reynard Parish and fit right in at Hot Shot.

CJ broke free from her monkey grip and introduced us. “Sookie, this is Mel, I’m sorry, Dr. Melody Glapion.” He bowed in respect and she blushed showing a pearly white smile. I knew he was nervous by the “heh, heh, heh” laugh that escaped him plus he rarely called me by my name. “I’ve known her since childhood.”

They also went to the same grad school, had the same major and both graduated cum laude. Her mind spilled out. They parted ways when CJ abruptly changed course, pursuing a music career while she continued her education.

“Sookie Stackhouse, barmaid.” I curtsied and walked off, trying to make a hasty exit. She followed grabbing a hold of my arm. I got a little tingle right where she touched me. It was not as strong as when I touched CJ but I noticed it just the same.

“Barmaid Lagniappe” she chimed with a wink. Her eye lashes were the longest I had ever seen on a person. It made it seem like she was flirting whenever she spoke. Lagniappe was the Cajun word for something extra or unexpected. She was putting me on notice that she noticed that there was more to me than meets the eye.

"Back-at-cha!" I smiled my nervous smile and nodded. No one was what they seemed, in this place.  Mel made her rounds, speaking to everyone else in the room. Copley made a big fuss over her and invited her to sit with him and Bacall or whatever her name was.

What planet was she from? I said to myself. Melody was so beautiful, confident and smart to boot. Everyone was drawn to her. There was no malice or jealousy toward her, only admiration and respect.

The “S” on my chest withered up and died. I trampled over it as I made my way to my table. CJ, the one who could feel my every emotion, paid me no mind. The most I could do with him right now was stick out a napkin and catch the drool.

A series of bumps and handshakes by the staff proved my state of being to Copley. He or Anna didn’t really want to come near me to make the confirmation for themselves. I was surprised they didn’t stick a meat thermometer in me. The thought had crossed Anna’s mind.

It was official. The Carmichaels had some deep prejudices about the undead. Oh yeah, Copley would do business with the mainstreaming variety. “They are some of my best friends.” I bet he would say. He would never invite one to his house and heaven forbid, let one marry into his family. The nerve of them, considering all the skeletons in their closet.

Copley gave me a nod of approval and had a steaming hot cup of Chicory coffee sent to my table as a peace offering. I drank it before CJ could stop me. He was busy ordering up smoothies for Melody. I could have drunk the whole urn before he noticed.

When I was no longer exhibit “A” I decided to address the 800 pound Gorilla that had been straddling my neck since I arrived. “So . . .” I said aloud to get everyone’s attention. I stood with folded arms and stared everyone down. “Anyone want to tell me what in the hell is living inside of Copley Carmichael?”

Crickets chirped in the protracted silence. The men formed their line of solidarity by refusing to acknowledge the question all together. CJ found the rafters mighty interesting all of a sudden, whistling a tune. Marley strolled over to the pastry table and stuffed his face to keep his mouth from betraying him. The office needed Copley’s attention immediately and he started texting on the Blackberry, his thumbs moving at lightning speed.

I knew that they wouldn’t give up their boy. It was part of the "Man Rules" I was sure. Things are so much simpler with women. Us girls had a code of our own: We cannot hold water. If you want to get the word out about anything; Telephone, Television or Tell-a-woman. I stayed quiet as my curiosity reservoir filled to capacity and nearly burst.

I thought that maybe I was compiling the information wrong. The thoughts flew at me from the servants, Anna and Melody faster than I could manage. “Enchantment.” came from one direction. “Anger Management.” came from another. “Cursed.” That was straight out of the kitchen. I didn’t know who thought that. “Self-righteous, judgmental a-hole.” That was mine. I had to get it out.

Melody provided the “Guardian.” Her Hubby was not just his driver and bodyguard, he was responsible for Copley some how. The final word made me giggle a little. “Berserk.” She tried hard not to release it and it sounded distorted. “B-erz-erkah.” That was courtesy of Ms. Anna. Copley’s behavior for the evening that I arrived, in a word was truly berserk.

Melody came up for air and to get food. She really liked to talk and had CJ pinned in a corner while she grilled him about his music tour. I took the opportunity to steal my friend away. As usual, family matters were icking the wow of my HEA. Being the task master that he is, CJ was eager to get back on course.

“Tai Chi” he said, “is part of my morning ritual.” We made our way to the patio where he had two yoga mats laid out for us to sit on. He sat upright with his legs folded and I mimicked him. “The meditation is designed to open your self, cleanse the mind, body and spirit by releasing tension.” He removed the belt and top of his Gi, closed his eyes and placed his palms over his knees. The visual made my teeth sweat.

The temperature rose substantially on my side of the hemisphere. How was this supposed to release tension? “Let me remove my shirt and see how much tension you release buddy!” I mumbled. I had to force my eyes to close.

He remained silent and motionless for so long that I thought that was all there was to it. I recited Prayer of Serenity to pass the time and to make myself useful: God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, Courage to change the things which should be changed, and the Wisdom to distinguish the one from the other. That was the only part of the prayer that I could remember but I’m sure it works the same.

The sound of the ocean flowed into my head in a gentle inconspicuous stream, followed by soft string instruments. Then he started the dance; deliberately slow movements of stretching and deep breathing. The entire routine was harnessed power and full of grace. We also went over a standing routine several times. I felt sooo relaxed, invigorated and ready to take on the world. At the end, I reached up to give his waiting hand a congratulatory high five and we were gone.

We reappeared in the center of what looked like hundreds of people. They also wore the same white but their outfits were different. Everyone stood at attention awaiting some sort of signal. A lone sitar played and we faced a large building. The structure was Asian influenced and had a multi layered red roof.

“Where are we?” I whispered. I looked around in amazement while all other eyes faced forward.

“Beijing,” he thought at me. I guess talking was not permitted. Inside, I smiled wide enough to show every tooth in my mouth. Outside, I mimicked the stoic pose of those around. The music got louder and everyone started to move on cue and I followed. I loved to dance so this was second nature to me. This wasn’t the usual Achy Breaky line dance from back home; I was at one with the masses, feeding off their positive energy. No thoughts invaded mine. All were focused on their own state of being, moving slowly and gracefully, with purpose. It was a beautiful thing.

“Given enough time,” CJ silently communicated to me in a hypnotic whisper as we swung our bodies around in unison “any man may master the physical.” I concentrated on the routine as he continued. “With enough knowledge, any man may become wise.” Extend arm and lean back. “It is the true warrior who can master both….and surpass the result. Tien T’ai.” I turned the wrong way but no one noticed. “This art is very deadly and can heal life.” Bend the knee, push arm out. “For any art that can heal can and will kill.” Turn, arms up. “Tai CHI is the art of nerve control, or energy control.” Straighten the knees and we were done.

“Did you know that if enough voltage ran through your muscles you could easily flip cars or do amazing things? Chi or Chakra helps you to control the electrical output of the brain,” he told me when we got back to our mats on the patio. “Control the energy, control the gift.”

I was posilutely giddy. He smiled while I ran down the event to him as if he wasn’t there for the whole thing. The Great Wall and Forbidden City were truly a sight to see. No one had ever done anything like that for me. I appreciated it and told him so while we rolled up the mats. “Please don’t get all sappy on me.”

“Seriously, CJ.” I made him stop and look at me as we walked toward the back of the house. “Thank you.” I tried to put all the sincerity I could muster in those few words. Most people who usually helped me had an ulterior motive or was trying to prevent me from certain death. Being proactive about my gift, and being aware of the tools of empowerment were priceless. I even felt myself getting a little emotional at the thought of it.

“You were warned.” In my excitement I hadn’t realized that we were rounding the pool. He got a chance to strip down before his cannon ball into the water. I, however, was cast into the cool water with a slight push.

By high noon we were taking massages by the pool in the hot sun and under the watchful eye of Papa C. My sun bathing further convinced Copley that I was alive. No walking dead could enjoy that. He was still a little puzzled as to the hows and whys, amazed at CJ’s abilities and pacified just the same.

I seemed to enjoy my sunbathing time a little more than CJ, who had a permanent tan. He bailed after the first ten minutes and had to drag me in for lunch. CJ spent some time chatting on Facebook with Amelia. Things were all thawed out back home, except for the bodies found on my property. Amelia used a stasis spell on Arlene and Whit to keep the local authorities busy trying to thaw them.

Copley sent the helicopter to get them after the storm but Amelia refused to be moved. She hated being at her dad’s so that didn’t surprise me. She did agree to a few days in Cancun after Copley offered to come and stay with her in Bon Temps. Jason, Amelia and that “demon cat” (as Jason calls him) were back at the house.

CJ kept my whereabouts a secret from both our siblings. “Sookie dun lost her mind and ran off with CJ,” was a rumor that I didn’t need. CJ didn’t want to put them in danger by knowing how to find me either.

There were quite a few messages in my inbox. I checked the first. Tara and JB were with his family in Springhill. The baby is due in a few months but the obstetrician thinks that it may come early. The next was from Sam. He was checking in on me. He mentioned the odd storm damage to the top floor of one of his duplexes. He had never heard tell of anything like it. I told him that I needed to take a leave of absence for an indefinite amount of time.

The next was from the NVL aka Felipe, from one of his many minions, most likely. Delete Message. “Lover, I need to – ” Delete Message. It was from Fangtasia. I need to not be a vampire right now and was way too vulnerable to be mixed up in whatever their needs were. He once told me that he hoped my self preservation would kick in during his absence. Well here it is buddy, kicking in with a vengeance.

The next message almost tricked me. It was from Thomas Erasmus: “Sookie, darling, I need to …”

Replacing CJ’s lap top was another addition to my growing tab at the Carmichaels. When I realized that the author of that message was Bill, I just snapped and tried to rip it in two. Erasmus was the middle name on Bill’s tomb stone in a dream that I had while dating him. Thomas was his real middle name. Only he and I would connect the two. Who knew the flimsy computer couldn’t survive me stomping on it or the journey to the bottom of the pool? It was easy for me to blame my predicament on the last one that sank his fangs in me. Truly, I had no idea whose progeny I would be if I had crossed over; the one I attempted to drain or the one who attempted to drain me.



Lunch time was completely different from the first meal of the day. No one asked me stupid questions, gasped when I walked in, threatened my person, planned my funeral or dug my grave. I got to know the talkative, Melody who turned out to be clairvoyant herself. I didn’t put much stock into the accuracy of her premonitions, since she didn’t seem to know about her hubby’s extra marital activities, but she was adamant about her abilities.

She dominated the conversation and wouldn’t let her suspicious Marley get a word in edge wise. She had big brown eyes and her face and body were fully animated with each word. Her dark tight curly waves were pulled up underneath a peach wrap. Her skin was fair and creamy like milk. She had on a thin sun dress that went all the way down to her ankles. The whole look of her was neat and polished, right down to her white tipped toenails.

Tarot cards shuffled in her hands as she went on and on about their five children. Bump the crystal ball, I wanted to know her secret. She looked to be in her late twenties, no more than thirty. Just before I was about to grovel at her feet, her brain gave me her secret; adoption, each and every one.

I would have found out when she showed me the pictures. All of them rescued from third-world country war zones; “Pich” she said. “is from Cambodia. He is 16 and loves to skateboard. Axe’,” (pronounced Haxsay) “is from Ethiopia. He is 15 and a half and also loves to skateboard. “This is JaSchran,” she paused and smiled warmly at his photo. I think we found her favorite. “He is from Detroit. He is also 16, loves Moto Cross, girls and skateboarding.” All of them, she and Marley raised since they were small and all of them had hazel eyes.

Then there were the toddlers Gracielle and Mercedes, affectionately known as, Thing One and Thing Two. They were acquired as infants. “We were only supposed to be getting one each time but I couldn’t choose.” She told me beaming at her man. “That fine brown frame of mine said that I could bring home as many as I wanted.”

I gained a new respect for Marley’s cheating ass. He would remain on my sh*t list but it was good to know that he had some redeeming qualities. Marley and Melody were New Orleans very own Brangelina. Copley insisted that the growing family move into the coach quarters to breathe new life into his empty nest and they did.

I looked to CJ to rescue me when she offered to read my palm with a “Tah-Tah” and reaching her hand to me. He just smiled and shrugged his shoulders. We sat there alone while the rest of the house continued as if we had disappeared. She stroked my arms from my elbows down and then looked carefully at the back of my hands first, gliding her fingers over every inch, searchingly. The tingling of magic sprung a well from deep within me and I sat there wide-eyed and suddenly overcome with emotion.

After inhaling deeply she uttered a few low incantations before she slowly spoke. “Mais shâ, how long ya gwon run from da boogey man, cher?” she asked. I blinked and blinked. Her voice had transformed from the chiming melodic to raspy and ancient, thick with a Cajun accent. It was maternal like she was telling me that she knew my whole life story in that simple question. And I desperately wanted to answer.

I spilled my guts like I was talking to Gran. I didn’t mean to but once I started, I couldn’t stop. She listened intently inserting a few nods when appropriate. She was just as shocked as CJ was when I told her about my night caller and cursed aloud. She seemed to get madder by the second, breathing harder and harder. Her fingertips found the markings on my inner wrist. She looked puzzled for a moment and then smiled a fraction.

“Nuttin can stop da great destiny das pon ya now, Chile.” It took me a while decipher what she said. I was about to ask her what she meant when I saw similar markings on her wrists. A few jolts of her body and she said breathlessly “The Summer Solstice is filled with revelations.” She was speaking in her normal voice again. Then she shut down like a robot that had ran out of power. I didn’t know what that meant but I was sure that I would find out. Later, she helped CJ and I plan out a new training schedule to help me with my gift. I wondered if she could find out how to combat my problem so that I could go back home but I figured she was already doing enough.

“Confucius says ‘A closed mouth gathers no foot.’” Marley said after he reluctantly made his way over to me. “Look, I apologize for this morning. I’m just trying to protect what’s mine.” And rake CJ over the coals, I thought. And screw anything with a hole. I could go on and on listing the many things that irked me about Marley. He shifted restlessly. The muscles in his arm danced and flexed when he pushed his hands through his straight hair. “Uh, can we just start over and forget about this morning?”

“Forget about what?” I said, batting my eyes. I didn’t want to fool with him and had no desire to ruin Melody’s perfect image of her “Hubby.” He was interrupting my nice and healthy grilled salmon on a bed of green salad. What I wouldn’t do for a chicken basket and fried pickles.I did make him promise to do something really nice for his wife, every day, for the rest of her existence. I also told him that if I heard tell of his infidelity again, I was going to sing like a canary.

“Tyrese Marley,” he reintroduced himself. He slid a piece of pecan pie in front of me. I was offended that he thought I could be bought so easily. I ate the pie. “I am High Priest of our clan, now that CJ has moved on to . . . other things.”

“You forgot Big Sexy, or why don’t I just call you BS.” I smiled at the visual of duct tape being placed over his mouth.

“I’m really easy to get along with once you people learn to worship me.” he teased. I would have been able to play off the shock and fear that consumed me when the image that stood before me altered. My trembling hand that held a fork full of pie suspended in mid air, shot that to hell. The handsome Marley morphed into a white skeleton or his face and body was painted as such. It happened so fast that I wondered if it was my imagination. He wore a dark tuxedo with tails and a top hat. A cup of coffee (I guess that’s what it was) steamed in one hand and a cigar in the other. Fire shot up in a blaze behind him. In and instant, he returned to normal, smiled with satisfaction and sauntered off.

As a resident of Louisiana, I knew immediately who he was emulating or channeling. Baron Saturday AKA Baron Samedi was a Voodoo Loa or spirit as common as the Voodoo doll in New Orleans. He was probably the most infamously famous characters of the pantheon. From what I remember, he is the master of the dead or something just as creepy. I didn’t blame CJ for taking a pass on becoming that.

CJ and Marley made up with a little macho shove and tussle. Father and son played a few hands of Bouree’ also known as Cajun Bridge. Everyone was laughing and just enjoying one another’s company. I looked over to my newest friend as she talked incessantly to whoever would listen. She is what made the difference, I realized. I wasn’t sure if she could influence our feelings but she sure made the three men happy. Her doting on me was a stamp of approval. If Melody said that I was okay, I was okay.

“Melody is amazing!” we said, simultaneously, on our way to evening Mass.

“My house, my rules,” Copley told us all. He was a staunch Catholic, born and raised. So were his children, despite their other influences. No one seemed to mind though. It was a tradition that had been upheld by generations on both sides of the family. What kind of church would receive a sorcerer, a shaman, a telepath, a psychic and uh, we’ll just put Copley down as “other?” I was anxious to find out.

We walked the perimeter of the grounds, following the deep sounding of church bells. “How long have you been in love with her?” I wasn’t sure if CJ was but I knew that Melody was very fond of him. It’s hard to disguise admiration that deep.

“Love?” he chuckled. He was quiet for a long time. We walked down several long halls and across the lawn to another building, collecting people along the way. “Let’s just say that I love her enough to not be in love with her.” I cocked a brow at that nonsense. “Romance was never in the Tarot cards for she and I." His statement lacked conviction, but I didn't call him on it. "She is Marley’s girl and I’m cool with that.”

We took our seats in the center of the small chapel where all of the family and employees of the Carmichael Estate paused to worship. I was thankful for the reprieve that St. Louis Cathedral offered. I’m Lutheran so the service was different but God all the same. I passed on the confessional after the service but CJ spent a long time inside. I wondered if his confessions were that long before he knew me.

The sun was setting by the time we headed back to the main house. I was nuzzled in my favorite spot, underneath CJ’s protective wing. I felt like nothing on the planet could touch me. “That building there.” He pointed to a structure next to the pool house. “That’s the library. There are a few classrooms there as well.”

The two story structure actually reminded me of my farmhouse. So much so, that I looked at him suspiciously. It looked a hundred times better but the shape was the same and there were extra rooms attached to either side. I imagine that it was one of the original homes in the area and everything around it was added through the years.

“Can we see it now?” I knew that I could but I was really asking him to go with me. I was feeling a tad uneasy about the approaching night. The outside was just as charming as I thought it would be. It had a swing on the large front porch that was calling my name. CJ and I sat and rocked until darkness claimed the day. Our pitch black surroundings were illuminated by strategically placed artificial lanterns and a “Full Moon,” I said aloud.

“Afraid, are you?” He lifted my arm and exposed the etchings of my inner arm to the moon. It shone in the darkness like neon hieroglyphics. “The night fears you.” He turned and walked away. I was on his heels. He wasn’t disappearing on me.

“What does it say?” It was about time I asked this question. It could have been something stupid or my name misspelled in another language for all I knew.

“It says.” He announced as if he was really reading it. “CJ will bust a cap in the ass of anyone who bothers my home-girl!”

“Home-girl!” I mumbled. I took a deep breath. That was like friend or buddy, detached. I wasn’t looking for anything more than that anyways. I needed another lover like a hole in the head. I was just used to men trying to get in so they can get in.

He looked over to me wonderingly. “I wish I could read your mind.”

“It’s nothing.” Nothing my bruised ego won’t recover from. I was amazed at his control and will power. Alone, with a Supe that is not trying to flirt, feel on my backside or graze the girls (accidentally on purpose) is a rare occurrence. I would have to get used to the way of the sorcerer. I felt like a teenager having a crush on her friend’s big brother. He would never look at me like that. Besides, he liked Dr. Jessica-Jolie, World Humanitarian, which was the opposite of me.

I balanced myself on the stone retainer wall that ran adjacent to the bayou. He thought about the many bumps and bruises I had acquired since we met and backed up to me offering a piggy back ride. I accepted, resting all of my weight on his frame. I closed my eyes and relaxed. I felt guilty for even thinking about him in an inappropriate manner. CJ was my friend, and didn’t deserve anymore of my insecurities pushed on him.

We walked for a long while without saying a thing. No music played but I did hear howling in the distance. The whole time I felt a satiny pull on my mind and then a release, like he was warring with himself about bringing me into his thoughts. The sensation made my entire body hum with excitement and anticipation. All the while, he was poking and prodding in every crevice of my psyche and setting fire to my senses along the way. This was usually the time that my mind instinctively formed steel plates of protection, so that I wouldn't become agitated with the invasive thoughts of others. Instead, my mind opened at his will. His thoughts, a balm that saturated mine in a sweet and sensual union.

By the time we reached our favorite spot along the bayou, I was so relaxed that I slid off his back onto the park bench. He sat on the ground in front of me, picked at the grass and skipped rocks across the still plane of the water.

“Did you do this with her,” I asked very quietly “with, with Melody?” I stuttered. I wondered if he had any idea of the hold he had on me when he did that. My mind lost in rapture. My body, boneless, weightless and melting like butter. He took so long to respond that I thought he may have been offended. When he finally spoke his voice was soft but he knew that I was clinging to the outskirts of his mind and hearing every word.

He shook his head. “You were my first,” there was a smile in his voice “Telepath, that is.” He held my mind in limbo for a while. “You stole my virtue.”

“You mean I, like took your virginity?” We laughed aloud. “or I deflowered you.”

“We’ll just say you popped my mental che . . .”

“No don’t say it!”

Our playful banter echoed in the night. We had a kinship that was more than I could have ever dreamed of wanting. CJ could reach me on a level that no other could or ever would. He is the balm that soothes my beast.

“Melody was fashioned for me from the cradle,” he said, looking back over his life. His tone grew more serious.

“Wow! A real betrothing.”

“Indeed,” he agreed. I lay on the bench and got comfortable. I wanted to get all the details. He blushed a little at my interest. His mouth quirked up in a nervous smile. He was sifting through his mind to pick out what details he should give me.

I rubbed his shoulder to encourage him to go on and he laid it on me. “She was hand picked by my mother to lead our Matriarchal line,” he said. I could tell that Melody was not just liked and admired; she was revered by all of them. “She was nursed on incantations of promise and bathed in valentine water, creating a perfect mate for her male counter part. Her mother, a powerful priestess, called on the guardian spirits in creating a Voodoo chakra doll in the child’s likeness. It was made with her clothing, stuffed with a locks from her own hair.”

“Voodoo dolls are real? I mean, do they really work?”

“I don’t know about others, but this one could not fail. The first pin was placed at the crown granting her spiritual enlightenment and an unquenchable thirst for knowledge.” I felt a warmness on the top of my head when he spoke of it. “The second pin gave sight to the third eye.” That one was placed right between the eyes. “Next she received the gift of communication.” Not only a great orator but she has influence when she speaks.

“Another was placed over the breastbone which honors the heart.” She would love deeply and have great compassion, I read in his mind. Further down the center of the body honors the Life Force, Creativity and Fertility.

“She sounds perfect.” I said to him.

“She is to some but I have a different calling on my life which makes that term relative.”

“Is that why you don’t partake?”

“Something like that. I haven’t found the right one.”

“Is that so?”

“It is, really. I ran into one a short time ago. She had the ability to reach in and touch my very soul. I didn’t really know her. She turned out to be the devil.” He said in disappointment.

“Being a little dramatic are you?” I never pegged him to be the one to play the blame game. “The devil made me do it? You can’t be serious.”

“I’m just keeping it real and calling it what it is. Only a devil would have me go against everything I believe in. Only a devil would have me singing songs of solace while she slept knowing that I should be running the other way. Only the devil would make me forsake all that I knew, perfection mixed with all the temptations.”

“She sounds like a dream CJ, meaning unreal, figment of your imagination.” Who could live up to that? She sounded like a deity with beguilement at her fingertips. No such creature existed. He layed down on the ground next to the bench and we both stared into the starry night. He shut down and got quiet for a while then the words just started to flow out of him:

Were I Pygmalion or God
I would make you exactly as you are … in all dimensions.
From your warm hair to your intimate toes would you be
wholly in your own image. I would change nothing, add or take away.
The same full red flower would model for your mouth —
and from the same seashore
would I bring the small translucent earshapes of your ears.
O the lovely throat that I could duplicate!
The tender arms!
I would shape your breasts the shape of the hungry little faces
they are now … and tip them with the same quick mouths.
I could not make your eyes deeper than they are —
nor softer to look into … nor could I turn your hips, your thighs,
your belly in a sweeter curve: nor indent the hollows
of your loins more tenderly — or store more honey there or fire.
How would I name you … need you ask? You know. By the scarlet
and the blue you wear when love is upon you, by the yellow
tongues — by the warm white fragrance … by the slender leaves. – Walter Benton

“Dude, she had you spitting poetry?” That was pretty deep and I had to admit after I let the words resonate. “You had it bad.” I looked up to the sky noting the constellations set in the dark blue. It was a beautiful backdrop for his sad tale. He was a nice guy and deserved his own HEA. “Did you ever get the chance to tell her goodbye?” I asked. Maybe he could exorcise the demon and all would not be lost.

He shook his head. “What I did was . . . I dressed her in the finest wards that I possessed and brought her home to meet the fam.”

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