A/N – The rights to SVM/TB universes belong to Charlaine Harris, Alan Ball & HBO. I don’t own them and no copyright infringement is intended.
I have to thank the incomparable MsBuffy for her hard work, editing and additions to this, my first multi-chapter story. Also, a big thank you goes to jc52185 for her continuous encouragement and support. They’ve made this so much fun and much less nerve-wracking for me than it could have been! Thank you so much, my friends!
- OMG OMG OMG!!!!
- 🙂 So, I take it you heard?
- I know! I’m so freakin’ excited, I can’t stand it!
- Right down the road from our house! I mean, seriously, what the hell are they doing here in Tangipahoa Parish?
- I know, right?! I tried to drive by the site on my way to school this morning, but the whole damn town is blocked off.
- Wait a minute…YOU KNEW? When the hell did you find out and WHY didn’t you tell me? I just found out this morning. How long have you known?
- LOL! For crying out loud, un-bunch your panties, I’ll call you in a minute.
I closed my cell and tried to breathe. I mean, it wasn’t every day that your favorite show came to your hometown to film an episode…actually; it wasn’t ANY day that something so unbelievable happened. I was literally bouncing in my seat when my phone rang.
“Before you grill me, I found out last week, but wanted to wait and surprise you when they came to town. I figured you’d go overboard and do nothing except spend the week waiting and watching for the first signs of anything out of the ordinary happening downtown. So, what’s the plan?” he asked.
“How did you keep this a secret? We live together!”
“Yeah, but I haven’t seen you much lately with all my evenings studying. Believe me, it SO was hard to avoid you and not say anything when I did see you. So, again, what’s the plan?”
“Well, I saw online there was an open casting call for extras and we are going. Tonight!” I all but shouted.
“Wait, what? I don’t even know how to act.”
“What’s that got to do with it?”
“I don’t know! I’m just excited and now you’ve made me anxious. Also, you have background in this.”
“Being an extra is nothing. You are a body in a crowd. Hey, do you think we’ll get to be vampires and have fangs, or maybe victims? I don’t want to be someone who’s against Eric and Sookie, but oh! To be bitten on screen by him! Maybe he’ll have to ‘feed’ on me!”
“Calm down there, trollop. Oh! Maybe we’ll get to be part of a Were pack, and I’ll get to be close to Alcide’s character. You know there are so many fields around here that are just perfect for a Were war,” He snickered.
“You can have him. All I want is to see Eric up close!” I giggled.
“What time is the call?”
“5 o’clock tonight. I gotta get some work done if possible, so I’m hanging up now.”
“I’ll talk to you later. I know you’re going to be closing your door and ignoring everyone else today while you work since you’ll need to leave early for us to be there on time.”
“Damn straight! See you later.”
Work? Who could work? I turned on my computer and spent at least thirty minutes just staring at my desktop wallpaper of the very sexy and very delicious Eric Northman wearing a black leather jacket and his signature black wife beater with that sexy smirk on his face. I wonder if the cast will be there tonight, although mostly likely not if they’re still looking for extras, but who knows? Maybe they’re setting up an early scene. Maybe we’ll see him, uh; I meant them, the cast, outside or something.
The day lasted FOREVER! As much as I tried to stay focused on my work, I kept dropping the windows on my screen to take just one more look, OK, maybe twenty at my IBF, that is, my Imaginary BoyFriend. I mean, that man could melt the panties off a girl with just one look of his eyes from a photograph! I. Could. Not. Wait!
I left work early at 3 o’clock after telling my boss I had unexpected personal business and would need the rest of the week off. That was true, in a somewhat ambiguous way. It was more than probable that she saw through my excuse knowing “Truly Bloody” was filming, nevertheless, given the fact that I was obsessed with the show and the fact that I had more than a week of vacation time I hadn’t used, she really had no way of not allowing me the time. Fortunately, I live about five minutes from work and was home in about three. Rushing into the house, I raced around like a crazy woman trying to figure out what to wear. I had to hurry. I showered in record time and after I dried my hair, I just stood in front of my closet, staring.
My phone chimed with my ringtone indicating a text, the voice of none other than the man of the moment, Eric Northman. ‘I texted you three times. Why didn’t you reply?’ Oh, I loved hearing his deep voice every day…I checked the text.
- Not even close! I don’t know what to wear! Where are you? I thought you’d be here when I got home.
- I was. I got home at 2 after my last class, changed, and then I ran by Reinhart Realty under the guise of shopping for a new place. I barely got in the door and was ushered upstairs quickly. They are going to use the back door to let in the people who come for the casting call. Did you know they are catering from some of the local restaurants to feed the actors and crew?
- No, but that makes sense. There’s some great food around here. What are you wearing tonight?
- Jeans, a button up shirt, and sneakers.
- What kind of part are you hoping for? Hoyt’s long lost cousin?
- You said we’d just be part of the crowd! Townspeople! OMG, should I change?
- Too late now. Get your ass over here and help me pick something. I am NOT wearing jeans! We don’t even know what parts they’re looking to fill.
- Chill out, Cricket, I’ll be there in a minute.
The casting call location was right as you entered town and took only a few minutes to get there. The production crew had rented the first and second floors of a small real estate office across the street and a block down from the local pub, Dan’s Tavern, our sometime home away from home. I guess they would use it as a place to set up, do the script readings, or something. It was plenty big enough. That’s how I’d found out. A friend of ours who works there had texted me first thing in the morning when the staff began arriving. She said she hadn’t even known until her boss told her to move her stuff, and that she’d be working on the second floor for a couple of weeks for the duration of filming.
Once we were cast and started filming, we could walk. From what I’d read, they were shooting in town and at a huge house practically down the street from where we lived. That’s how close it was! I had driven by that house a million times, but never really looked at it. It was an old Victorian home on a hill right up the street from us! I think it may have been deemed an historical site or something by the founders of our little city. By city, I mean one main street with some shops, restaurants, and bars. Even though there were plenty of houses around, I still couldn’t imagine what they had seen in this little Podunk town. Surrounding the area were many houses and small neighborhoods. Outside of that, there was nothing but miles and miles of farm land.
No one lived in the house, yet the landscaping was always immaculate, and I just assumed that it was some sort of museum. You know the kind; you can take tours and see what it was like to live back then. I knew all about that kind of thing. I had been a junior docent in high school and had given tours of Hillforest, the oldest house in town back in Indiana where I grew up. We wore the full hoopskirt dresses and all. It was fun, informative, and exhausting. Wearing a corset at 24, sexy…wearing a corset at 13, weird. We’ve lived here in Ponchatoula for nearly two years, and I’d never really taken notice of much around us outside of the local hangouts. I mean, why would I go take a tour of the founder’s house or whatever it was?
Now, I was going to meet my IBF…I just knew it. Getting my mind back to the task at hand, I was distraught to find I had nothing for that ‘perfect look’ I wanted for my first sighting of him. I was convinced I would see him tonight and I wanted to make a good impression. I know every fan feels that way, but I wanted to stand out from everyone else. If I was wrong and he wasn’t there, then I’d just have to find something else perfect for the moment when it came.
It was so nice to have my best friend living with me. We’d shared an apartment in college, too. After our freshman year at Southeastern Louisiana University, we decided dorm life was not for us and moved in together just off campus. He wanted to continue on in school, so we moved a bit further outside of Hammond to Ponchatoula and he continued to go to SLU. I didn’t have the same ambition to continue my studies. I had been a theatre major, but hadn’t done anything outside of some Community Theatre last year and Summer Stock the year we finished undergrad. I just hadn’t gotten up the nerve to really pursue it yet. All the more reason I was so excited about this opportunity, if you set aside my desire to meet my IBF, that is. It wouldn’t amount to anything, but if I could get to know some of the people there, well, that could lead to anything.
We found a great two-story house to rent with 4 bedrooms for a song. It’s way too big for the two of us, but we couldn’t pass it up. It had been recently renovated, and we fought over the master bedroom since it had a huge added-on walk in closet, a shower with massaging jets, and a deep, built-in cast iron, soaking tub that stayed hot for 2 hours! You have no idea how heavenly that is until you’ve experienced it.
Ultimately, we compromised; deciding to share the bathroom, splitting the closet in half, and we each took one of the other bedrooms for sleeping. We wanted to keep the fourth bedroom as a guest room, but so far we’ve only used it as our makeshift office. The master bedroom became an upstairs living room with a flat screen television on the wall and a used sofa with a matching loveseat. The television had been an open model floor display and we got it at a discount. Hey, we’re smart shoppers!
It’s nice to still be so close to a college town, yet just far enough away from the campus that we don’t have to deal with tons of traffic all the time, except for weekend games. That didn’t matter now because summer had started and the students had gone home. We’re both 24, and although we still like to get crazy sometimes, it’s refreshing not to be surrounded by it incessantly. Well, for me anyway. I guess he still is in the thick of it.
Finally, JP got home… OK, it was probably only ten minutes later, but it may as well have been hours by the way I was feeling. I needed help to getting ready. While I waited, I dug out a headshot from college, placing it and my theatre résumé on the table.
As soon as JP walked in, he just looked at me, in my robe along with my hair hanging limp around my face.
“What the hell? We have to go!”
“OK, let me take a look and see what we’ve got. In the meantime, go do something with your hair and put on some makeup. My God, you would think the Queen was coming to town!”
“Maybe she is. You never know, maybe Sophie Anne is in this episode.”
“Ha-ha. Go get ready.”
Fifteen minutes later I came out of the bathroom properly styled with my blonde hair hanging loose in waves.
“So, here’s my pick!” He said excitedly.
“Are you sure?”
“Trust me. This is perfect. You’ll look professional and sexy at the same time.”
“I hope you’re right.”
He handed me a tan wrap-blouse with sleeves cuffed just below the elbow, a tight fitting navy skirt that wrapped to the left at the waist, and then draped down to the right tapering in at the bottom, and finally, cream wedge sandals crisscrossing and buckling at the ankle to finish and complete the outfit. A couple of minutes later, I was dressed and ready. As I came out of the bathroom, I checked my look in the full length mirror. He was right. It was perfect.
“Wow! You look great!”
“Thanks! You were right! Let’s go! It’s quarter ‘til five.”
I grabbed my stuff and started toward the door.
“My headshot and résumé.”
“Where did that come from?”
“Hello? Acting background?”
“This isn’t a musical. There will be no singing.”
“Shut up, there’s more to acting than singing and dancing on a stage. Did I do musical theatre in school?”
“No, but damn it! Now I feel unprepared.”
“Oh, stop! They probably won’t even ask for it, but better to be safe than sorry. Who knows what could happen?” I winked.
Peej, which, by the way, is the nickname I gave him, just laughed and we headed out the door.
When we arrived and got out of the car, we saw hundreds, literally hundreds, of people waiting in line. They were dressed in everything from formal gowns, to goth style, and everything in between. Everyone was in black, of course, except for us. Tight leather pants, corsettes, short silk and lacey, flirty skirts, wife beaters, long necklaces with ankhs or crosses, you name it, but GOWNS!? Seriously people?!
There wasn’t enough room going down the sidewalk along the street to the building to fit them all, so the line formed around the back of the building and wrapped around the parking lot, much like you would see in an amusement park or an airport. There were even dividers roping off the rows in the line back and forth to the end where you entered ‘the ride’. So, this must be how it is all the time when they’re casting. I don’t know why it never occurred to me in my excitement. I had just been thinking we’d walk right in and be cast on the spot.
We just stood there for a long few minutes and I felt myself starting to tear up a little. I got that familiar lump in my throat as all my hopes were destroyed in that moment.
“I didn’t even know there were this many people in town,” I mumbled.
“I’m sure they came from all around. It’s not a secret that they’re filming “Truly Bloody.” You didn’t imagine that no one from the university would come, did you? Look across the street at all the fans just standing there waiting to catch a glimpse of someone famous.”
“We’ll never get in or be cast now,” I was starting to sniffle.
“Just get in line. It won’t take that long and we don’t have anything else to do. We’re not going to pass this up.”
I slowly walked to the end of the line. My bottom lip kept quivering and Peej pulled out some tissues for me. I looked up at him.
“Better to be safe than sorry,” He said and winked.
I wiped a tear from my eye, and we looked over the crowd. JP couldn’t hold in a snicker when we saw a ‘Ginger wannabe’ strut into line behind us, bleached hair and all. I tried to stay serious in my devastation, but his silent laughter continued. It was a little infectious and soon we were quietly giggling over the ridiculous outfits and makeup worn by the masses.
I felt better immediately when he smiled. Did I mention how awesome it was to have my best friend here with me? JP is 6’3” with dark hair and blue eyes, and if he wasn’t gay, we would probably have ended up together at some point or another. We are the closest of friends. I can’t imagine not having him in my life. He’s basically the male version of me, except that we don’t have the same taste in men, not by a long shot. Thank goodness for that! I giggled thinking about it.
He looked at me and raised an eyebrow. I just hugged him tightly.
“I love you.”
“I love you, too. Now, move along. There’s already a ton of people behind us.”
The day JP and I met we knew we were family. OK, that’s not entirely true. In fact, that’s a lie. When we first met socially…it did not end well…
The first time we saw each other we were rehearsing a play. We were both majoring in theatre; me in acting, him in stage direction.
I had a very small role and my character, Opal, entered in the last scene of the play. She was described in the script as a double-jointed acrobatic ballerina. Let’s just say, I am none of those things. Why I was cast, I’ve no clue. I did have dancing experience, but not ballet, not since I was 6-years-old, and I wasn’t a fucking acrobat! I’m 5’8”, have long legs, and a generous bust.
In any case, I practiced the dance, stunts, and I’d finally gotten it down perfectly. JP was backstage working with props, and one of his duties was to cover me in little bits of glittery confetti and give me handfulls of it right before I walked on stage. I was to toss it at the end of my dance giving some sort of ethereal bullshit effect. I wore a pink tutu, I kid you not, and my breasts were bound to keep them…out of my way, I guess. It was uncomfortable and I felt like an idiot.
When I walked on stage, I found that it was raked. NO ONE told me it would be a rake stage! If you don’t know, a ‘raked stage’ is a theatre stage floor angled from the edge, near the audience, and up toward the back of the stage, furthest from the audience to give a better view. However, this was no ordinary rake. It was at a FORTY-FIVE degree angle! Who the fuck can keep on toe point and twirl on one foot in multiple pirouettes standing on a forty fucking five degree floor!!!??? It was a nightmare. At the end, I had pretty much given up in tears, stumbling, and threw the stupid glitter in frustration and humiliation.
When the show ended we saw each other in passing, but I didn’t really get to know him until about a month later. We were at a party playing Truth or Dare because that’s what you do in college. When it was JP’s turn, he dared me to stand on a table and perform Opal’s dance. Being 19, and I’ll admit pretty drunk, not something I condone AT ALL, I took the dare and did her dance, sort of. After I took my bow, I stepped off the table, lost my balance and fell. I was hopping around, trying to get up, and making some sort of screeching sound between hiccups. That earned me the name of ‘Cricket,’ and it stuck. After my tragic accident, JP had no choice but to literally carry me home. It was his fault after all and I couldn’t walk on my own. The next morning, I found out my foot was broken in three places. Guilt had him walking me to class and carrying my stuff, since I was on crutches. I even got a cast that had little crickets all over it at his insistence. It was then that we just knew and have been inseparable ever since.
JP’s gasp brought me out of my wandering thoughts as he secretly pointed to a specific girl in line. Then I saw her in a black leotard practicing her toe point in line. We looked at each other at the same time and whisper shouted, “OPAL!,” bursting out laughing loudly enough that we were apparently annoying the others.
Two hours later we were finally at the door. The sun was starting to set while we were standing there and I was getting chilly. He put his arm around me and pushed me through the door. Inside there was a desk and two people sitting behind it. The woman, who was short and slightly round, looked up with a beaming smile. Her hair was up in a twist that was now falling around her face. The smile seemed sincere, but I knew it was forced as she’d been sitting here for hours on end and looked exhausted. They’d been here all day, even before the hordes had arrived. I was certain they needed a break. The man was talking on his cell phone and didn’t bother to really look at me. He had dark hair, dark eyes, and a frown on his face giving it a severe look of displeasure. He just glanced over and went back to his conversation.
I handed her my headshot and résumé, and asked her for what they were casting. The man looked up, and then growled out, “Extras.” He was a little rude but I smiled at him anyway.
“Yes, I know, but for what types of parts?” Jackass.
“We don’t need to interview you. We just need to take your picture and put your name, address, etc. down. We’ll be calling people until we have enough. There are already many people who are ahead of you, so just tell her your name.”
I started to answer when the woman turned and said to him, “I already have her information. Don’t be such a jackass, Tom.”
“Now, dear, is there anything special that you can do or that we should know about you?”
“Well, I have some experience and I can sing, dance and play a few instruments, but I’m sure that’s not going to be applicable here.”
“We are casting all sorts of extras in various scenes, so don’t get discouraged. We just want to meet everyone and, if we think you’ll fit, we’ll give you a call. We’ve been taking photos of all the applicants, but you’ve already given me your headshot, so I don’t need anything else. It was very nice to meet you, Miss…?”
I was so nervous I just looked at her. I must have looked like a lunatic just staring at this very nice woman who I’m certain was waiting for this to be over so she could go across down the street and get a drink. When I didn’t respond she picked up my paperwork and looked.
“It was nice to meet you, Miss Kerrigan.”
“Chelsea,” I blurted out.
“Chelsea. My name. It’s Chelsea.”
“Oh yes, I see that here. Well, it was very nice to meet you, Chelsea. Sadly, I won’t be seeing you again.”
My heart dropped instantly.
When she saw the look of defeat on my face she quickly said, “Tom and me are only here for the initial meetings and to give our input. Someone else will then take over to complete the casting. Good luck to you, Chelsea.”
She looked at me as if I had grown a second head. I can’t imagine what this woman was thinking of me as I began to spout off names of insects.
“My name. My nickname. They call me Cricket.”
She smiled and laughed a little then, not making fun of me, but in a genuine way. Maybe I had made an impression after all. Crazy Insect Girl, that’s me.
“OK then, Cricket Kerrigan, thank you for coming in,” She reached out her hand and I shook it firmly and smiled.
“Thank you so much for your time.”
This time I gave her the blank look when she spontaneously popped out a name.
“My name is Maggie.”
I giggled a little nervously.
“It was very nice to meet you, too, Maggie,” I smiled earnestly and left through the front door.
I walked out into the cool night air and waited for JP. I figured it would be a couple of minutes since he would have to give them his contact information. I sat on a bench a little way down the sidewalk, wrapping my arms around myself to keep warm. The fans had significantly thinned out. Assuming, I’m sure, that no one would be coming out this evening. As I waited I heard people in the distance talking. I glanced over my shoulder and saw a few men and women walking toward the pub and talking animatedly. I couldn’t hear what they were saying, but they were laughing and seemed to be in good spirits. I looked longingly at the bar and wondered if we would be allowed to go in or if it was off limits due to the filming. On the other hand, I knew the owner, Dan. I wondered…
Chelsea ‘Cricket’ Kerrigan played by Aurelia Gliwiski
JP played by Sean Hayes
Maggie played by Kathy Najimy