New Faces, Same Game

So my character TammyJo is 3 years old today on Twitter.

To celebrate that milestone I decided that I would go back to her life before she hit twitter in the SL she has had there and write a short story prequel if you will.

I hope you enjoy.

Nerves were making me more uneasy than usual. It didn’t help that I was in a different town, hours away from home, I still had the distinct feeling that someone was following me and watching my every move. It should be impossible. I had taken so many different roads to get here, made so many detours and thanks to my father and other pack members, I had driven not one or two but six different vehicles to arrive at this spot, each of the previous ones heading off in one of the wrong directions leaving clues to try and help cover my tracks. Was it possible that someone had kept up with me through that elaborate shell game?

I just shook it off and settled in to the white Ford Explorer that I had picked up. Instead of the nameless faceless holding companies of the pack being the name on the registration it was mine, and I’m sure I know what you’re thinking. Why would I use my own name if I was trying to hide from people. The answer is simple, because they don’t know it, they only know me by my father’s last name, one which I don’t normally use.

See, my mom was a very smart woman, she had lived in the public spotlight for many years and knew what it was like trying to have some sort of normal life when people were fascinated with everything that you did, ate, wore and conversed with on a daily basis. Her mother had made a decision for her, the same decision that generations and generations of our female ancestors made, that she would have one thing of her own that wouldn’t belong to anyone else, no one else had a say so in it and she could change it at any time. My grandmother gave my mom HER maiden name of Whelan as a legal name and passed down a family heirloom, an Irish Claddagh ring with emeralds in it. The ring had belonged to every oldest daughter of her family for years the only difference was Grandmother had the design updated a little while ensuring that the original craftsman’s marks remained. As I walked to my Explorer I twisted the ring on my right hand. I still had two stops to make and I was running out of time, my furniture should be delivered soon.

The first stop was to the bank. While I picked out Garfield and Friends checks for my new account the Vice President of the bank gushed and tried to pamper me, encouraging me to meet everyone and I tried to sound regretful when I declined explaining about the delivery I was expecting. How was I to know that the furniture store that I had dealt with was owned by her family. With one phone call the delivery was delayed until I called them and told them I was at home and ready and then it was guaranteed to be there within 30 minutes, the time it would take to drive it, give or take a detour due to traffic.

Yes, small towns were all the same. Everyone wanting to know the new person, wanting to add more people to their cliques. I had invitations to go to the local artisans mall, the farmer’s market and three or four churches for the next few Sundays. While I appreciated the effort that everyone was putting in to make the young woman who was brand new to their town feel at home, I would have been much happier living in my tiny one bedroom apartment in piece. Speaking of which, if I didn’t get to my last stop they weren’t going to have time to deliver my furniture and the idea of sleeping on the floor didn’t seem appealing at all.

I cranked the Explorer and drove to the big discount superstore that was about a mile away from my apartment. Maybe I was moving at a speed a little faster than most of those people around me, but I also gave off the air of “don’t bother me, woman on a mission” and in a short amount of time I had my purchases piled up in the buggy and I was walking back to the Explorer. As I was raising the back hatch I felt someone approaching me from the right. The hair on the back of my neck and my arms stood on end. When the person was still seven feet away I looked up and made direct eye contact with him, glad I had on my dark sunglasses because I knew that my eyes had begun to change. He wasn’t a wolf, but still there was no doubt he knew that I was. I didn’t know who he served but I could smell the vampire incense drifting from him. His expensive clothes looked out of place among the people of this small East Texas town.

He raised his hands showing that they were empty except for an embossed linen envelope. You know the kind I’m talking about, the froufrou stuff that people use when they have more money than sense when they want to jot down a simple note. Maybe that is unfair, it use to be the proper way to do things, but I was more of a “jot it down on a post-it note” kind of gal, and I wasn’t sure but I knew that some how not accepting this note and probably the invitation inside it would come back to bite me. I just hoped that it wasn’t literal.

The man handed me the envelope after taking out the card to show that there were no waiting powders to poison me and then while I read the note he did something that I found kind of sweet actually. He started loading the bags into my vehicle. I didn’t look down at the note, I stood stunned and managed to say the words thank you although my voice didn’t seem to want to work.

The man spoke in my head and said that it was the least he could do having troubled me and assured me he wouldn’t peek into the bags as he loaded them. He then went on to encourage me to read the note so he could give his master my answer.

I had to fight every instinct that I had to not panic at the stranger’s voice in my mind and throw up my personal shields to protect my inner thoughts. I let my mind flash in annoyance and then reluctant acceptance as a low growl formed in my mind. When the man loaded the last bag in the trunk of my vehicle he turned and looked at me with a smile on his lips and held out his hand.

“I’m Jeffery, and it was the easiest way to warn you about what others can do. I know there is at least one witch in the apartments where you are living and she, well, her purity can often be called into question.”

I just raised an eyebrow at him, I realized he wasn’t talking about the witch’s sexual experience or lack thereof but the fact that her magic might tend to trickle to the dark side, and no not the side that had cookies. I shook his hand.

“Thank you for the heads up, I’ll be more guarded. I guess I was just relieved thinking that I had…” I stopped mid sentence.

Jeffery finished in my mind, “You thought you had gotten away from your troubles and could be at ease, little did you realize that you would be facing more yet different problems here in this sleepy town. Do not worry, I did not read these from your mind, rather the thoughts are my own. It is what I though when I first moved here ten years ago. Do you have an answer for me to take to my employer or would you prefer to think on it a while?”

I couldn’t help but smile at the way that Jeffery had given me a polite out. I would very much like to meet your umm…boss but I’m afraid I don’t know what my schedule is like for the next few weeks. Is there a way that I can contact you at a later date to accept?

Jeffery smiled and pulled out a card and handed it to me. “Feel free to contact me any time, perhaps for coffee? Trust me, you do not wish to go to the local coffee and tea shop unprepared. Learn from my experience.”

That was another piece of advice that Jeffery the Helper had given me, and something else that said that I should probably be very wary of this town since it didn’t appear to be as simple and sleepy as it appeared. I fished out a small notebook and quickly wrote down my new cell phone number and a throw away email address on one of those sites that everyone seems to use and handed it to him. “Thank you Jeffery, I’m TJ by the way.”

Jeffery took my information and then took my hand and shook it. “It is nice to meet you TJ. You better hurry or your furniture won’t arrive today.” He laughed as he turned and walked away. I couldn’t do anything but shake my head as I climbed into the Explorer and headed to my apartment. I made the phone call to the store and had the delivery sent. The last thing that the guys on the truck said as they left was that they were glad that I called when I did. It hadn’t been five minutes later that some muckity muck from the towns “la-te-da” set had called and demanded several pieces that I had picked out be delivered today.

I thought that was rather strange but just laughed and passed out fresh baked cookies and drinks as they sat around waiting for five o’clock to roll around so they could be officially off the clock and head home, there by avoiding having to go to this person’s beckon call and not get paid overtime.

Maybe this town was far more complicated that I thought it was, maybe the lack of a formal pack of wolves didn’t mean that it didn’t have it’s problems, but so far I had met lots of friendly people and some of the virtual strangers seemed to have my back. I was beyond grateful for that and sent up a quick little prayer of thanks. I may not know what was ahead for me, but from where I was sitting, things seemed to be looking up and I was glad.

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About TXMoonbaby

Farmgirl, caregiver, furmommy and try-to-be-writer who floods Twitter with the antics of the characters in my head, like @TammyJo__.

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