A common myth concerning vampires was that they didn't photograph.
As Bill Compton had once said, vampires started most rumours about their kind and the misconception of not being photographed was just another way of vampires being able to deny their existence or 'prove' that they were not a member of the undead, when the truth was quite the opposite.
But now, with vampires out of the coffin and mainstreaming, many of those myths were being revealed to be just that, myths.
Tara skimmed a delicate finger over a pink and purple coloured photo album as she sat at Eric's office within Fangtasia. Breathing was unnecessary but the vampire found herself inhaling anyway. Bracing herself, she peeled back the cover to reveal the first page of photos.
Eyes rimming with red, she touched down on a particular photograph. She traced Pam's face with her index finger and took in the details of the photo. Her maker sported a disapproving look as Jessica stood beside her in a bunny costume grinning from ear to ear.
Halloween 2013, Tara remembered. She had been the one taking the picture and upon further inspection, she spotted Eric and Nora arguing in the background.
"I'm not wearing the tights," Eric had protested, his prominent jawline clenching
"If I have to wear the cat ears, you are going to wear the tights." Nora shot back, challenging him with her eyes to argue further.
Tara chuckled quietly at the memory, a red tear slipping from her eye and cascading down her cheek. She wiped it away as quickly as it had fallen and sighed as it undoubtedly left a red smudge on her cheek. She reached for a tissue when another photograph caught her eye, stalling her movement.
It was of her and Pam. Pam was looking off to the left and Tara herself was making a particularly awful face as she tried to figure out how to take the damn picture. Turned out, she already had.
Smiling in memory, Tara once again traced her maker's face and a sad sigh fell from her lips.
Pictures were all she had now.
"Tara, I need you doing inventory," Eric spoke upon entering the room. He stopped as he saw what she was doing. His body stiffened immediately. "I'm sorry, I didn't realise you-"
"No," she interrupted him with a smile that was obviously fake, "it's fine."
Tara closed the photo album and set it onto the desk gently as if the slightest movement would break it. She gave Eric a half-genuine, half-forced smile as she exited the office for the store room.
Replacing her on the chair, Eric sat down with a deep sigh. He brushed his knuckles against the photo album before he, like Tara, opened it. His eyes immediately settled on the pictures that held his beautiful progeny.
"Happy Birthday, sweetheart," he whispered in his native tongue, casting his head downward with closed eyes.
Hidden away in the dimly lit store room, Tara held a pen in one hand and a notepad in the other. Her chocolate brown eyes scanned the many boxes of Tru Blood in front of her. Doing quick math, she scribbled the numbers onto the paper. She made sure to separate each blood type and made a note at the top of the page to order in some more O positive.
A rustle from behind caught her attention. Jumping in shock, she turned around quickly, a hand on her chest as if her heart still beat and was racing from the surprise.
"What the…" she mumbled as an old looking man emerged, flipping a coin around his fingers, "how the hell did you get in here?"
Tara looked around for any other possible entries. Unsurprisingly, there were none. Considering she, Eric, and Ginger were the only inhabitants of Fangtasia currently, she had no idea where the male had come from.
"Hey, listen, we're closed, and it ain't exactly a good night for me, so if you could just lea-"
"What would you do?" The male interjected softly. He continued to flip the coin around his fingers.
Entranced by the action of his fingers and confused by his question, Tara stuttered, "I-I…um, what?"
She looked to the door and the male, who stepped forward, held up the hand that wasn't flipping the coin.
"That won't be necessary," he told her.
How the hell did he know I was goin' to call for Eric, Tara thought slowly.
"What would you do?" The male repeated. His eyebrows furrowed, she noted, and the corners of his eyes crinkled. He was really old. Ancient, it seemed.
"What?" Tara asked him and her own eyebrows furrowed in confusion.
"What would you do?" he repeated, "to have her back?"
"How did you-"
"…know?" he finished for her.
"I know pain," he answered. Still, he continued to flip the coin and Tara continued to get mesmerized by his action. "Yours is what brought me here."
"My pain brought you here?" Tara deadpanned. She discarded the pen and notepad, tore her eyes from his hand, and folded her arms across her chest. She gave a deep, rumbling-like laugh. "Yeah, okay. Listen, I don't know who you are or what you want, but you need to leave. It's not funny to fuck with people like this."
Unfazed, the male smiled. It was a slow, sad smile. "How did it happen?"
Knowing what his question was aimed towards, Tara gave a deep sigh. She never talked about it. She hated talking about it.
"Some idiot on a roof," she told the male through gritted teeth, her eyes, like earlier, rimming with red, "a wooden fuckin' bullet."
The male nodded knowingly.
"And she meant a lot to you?" He asked Tara with the raise of an eyebrow.
"She meant everything to me," Tara corrected him. The way the fire in her eyes danced had the old man smiling.
"So," the male started, "what would you do-"
"To get her back?" Tara asked, finishing his sentence for him.
When he nodded, she exhaled. "Anythang," she admitted and the male knew she meant it.
"Some people," the male was pacing now, watching the way the coin flipped along his fingers, from his index one to his baby one, then back, and back again, the same pattern over and over, "deserve a second chance. I believe in second chances."
Tara watched him curiously. By now she realised it wasn't a joke. What it was, exactly, she had no fucking clue.
"The question is…do you?" He asked her without actually looking at her.
"Do I believe in second chances?" She asked. He nodded. "Maybe," she shrugged.
"There's a lot of pain in this establishment," the male noted.
Between her own pain and that of Eric's, Tara didn't doubt it.
"What would you do differently?" He asked Tara.
"You sure ask a lot of questions," Tara shot back. "Personal questions," she was quick to add bitterly.
The male wasn't offended. He merely nodded.
"Because I need to know," he explained soothingly.
"You need to know what?" Tara questioned him.
He didn't answer. He smiled instead. "You, child, have been given a second chance."
The male tossed the coin in her direction. Stumbling in surprise, Tara reached out to catch it. She couldn't tell if it was heads or tails, she couldn't even tell what coin it was. She looked at it closely and when she raised her gaze to talk to the male, she realised he was gone.
"Crazy fuckin' old man, comin' in here like the bed intruder and askin' these crazy ass motherf-"
Chilled, to her very bone, she froze in spot. Did she really just hear that?
"Tara," the voice repeated again.
Tara's eyes widened. I'm dreaming, she thought, I must be dreaming.
"Tara!" The door to the store room opened, revealing Pam in a latex outfit, her perfectly manicured nails tapping against the doorframe. She didn't look happy.
"I asked you to do inventory an hour ago, what the fuck is takin' you so damn long?"
Tara didn't reply. She couldn't. She was frozen. She swiped her eyes over the beautiful vision in front of her. She couldn't be real. Pam was dead, truly dead. She had been shot with a wooden bullet six months ago. Pam was goo, she wasn't alive, or so to speak.
"Are you even fuckin' listenin' to me?" Pam barked out impatiently.
"I-" Tara stumbled over her wording. She felt her feet begin to thaw out and, approaching her maker, raised a hand to touch her cheek.
Pam didn't vanish. She didn't flicker or cease to exist. She was there; solid and cold. She was real, just like she remembered her to be.
"Oh my God," Tara breathed out.
Confused, Pam cast her eyes to the side at Tara's hand on her cheek and then towards her progeny. She slumped with a sigh. "Tara," she drawled, "we've only been apart an hour. I didn't realise you were as needy as a goddamn puppy."
"I, um…" Tara looked at her hand on Pam's cheek and then towards her other which still held the coin.
"You, child, have been given a second chance."
The old man's words rang in her mind and as she tore her eyes away from the coin to settle on Pam, she shrugged.
"Um, nothing," she reassured her maker softly, taking her in with a shaky breath. "It felt like longer than an hour," she admitted as red tears flowed freely from her eyes.
"Hey," with a soft voice reserved for her progeny, Pam raised her own hand to cup Tara's cheek and swipe away her tears. "What's this?"
Tara shook her head in an attempt to dismiss the concern on her maker's stunning features. Pam, on the hand, didn't look convinced and stared at her progeny pointedly.
"I just missed you," Tara rushed out, quickly wrapping her arms around Pam.
Tara pulled Pam into a tight embrace, so tight that she felt she was about to squeeze Pam's insides out like she would toothpaste.
Taken aback, Pam slowly winded her arms around her progeny's waist as Tara nestled her head into her neck.
"I missed you too…" Pam replied, sounding unsure. She didn't know the reason behind Tara's strange behaviour but the odd combination of feelings she was receiving through their bond troubled her somewhat.
Gripping at Pam's back, Tara smiled through her tears. Everything was just how she remembered it to be. Pam's touch, smell, voice - all of it. It was as if the last six months never happened.
Tara peered over Pam's shoulder to look at the coin she held in her hand. It was different, she noted.
It now had the number '30' printed on both sides.