This week's excerpt also happens relatively soon after the end of Book 2. Not quite sure yet how soon after - maybe 13 years? That's my guess, given how Book 3 starts, but it's all subject to change still at this point.
Anywho, Lily has been staying at Beth and Carrie's place, healing after that dreadful attack (*shudder*) and trying to figure out what the hell to do with herself for the rest of eternity. As you may know, Beth heads up an international organization of vampires. We didn't find out in Book 2 what that organization does, but we do here, and Beth has a proposition for Lilly.
Hold onto your hats, ladies and gents. This one's a bit longer than usual.
"You could be useful to us, Lilly. You may be a young vampire, but you were around the kind of people we're trying to influence your whole human life. You understand the way they think, what motivates them, their culture. You could use that knowledge to help us make the world a better place. Stay here and help us. There's no need for you to leave - you're more than welcome, and you could make a real difference here."
Lilly was torn. On the one hand, she did see how her background and knowledge could help, and she did believe in the cause. She knew Beth's organization was fighting for greater social equality on a global scale - exactly the kind of work she'd planned to do with her law degree. Not only that, but because Beth knew her personally, she was being invited in at a higher level than she might otherwise have been.
But another part of her fixated on the word "use." It had always been a trigger for her. They could "use" her. She knew Beth didn't mean it like that - she'd never treated Lilly with anything less than respect and kindness - but still...
And there were other considerations, too. She didn't feel entirely stable still. The idea of navigating human society when she still felt this emotionally fragile was less than appealing. What she really wanted was to be alone for a while. Truly alone. And then she wanted to wander. She wanted to do all those things she'd told Torren about...
Her heart fractured anew at the thought of Torren. And this was another reason to go: She'd heard he and Vittoria were still in Italy. The farther away from Italy she went, the less likely it was she'd run into him. And the more distance there was between them, the faster she'd get over him.
She realized that Beth had been sitting quietly for the last several minutes while all this went through her head, waiting patiently for an answer to her generous offer. Lilly wished she could tell her something she wanted to hear. But instead she said, "Thank you for the offer, Beth. I wish I could take you up on it - you know how much I admire the work you do - but I can't right now. I'm not ready to put myself into the service of others just yet. I'm still working on putting myself back together."
Beth sat in silence a minute longer, no doubt using her gift to sort through Lilly's feelings.
"I'd hoped that working with us might provide the structure and support you need to do just that," Beth finally said. "But I understand that everyone has their own path."
Lilly thought on that for a moment, then answered, "I'm afraid that if I rebuild my life around the kind of work you do, if I build myself around it, I'll never really get to the bottom of who I am and what I want. I'll always be thinking about others first, always reacting to their needs. And then what happens one day if I become obsolete? If I'm no longer needed? Then what will I do? Who will I be? It would be like delaying the inevitable, only it would be worse because in the end I'd have that many more years of baggage, that many more years of reacting to other people's expectations of me to sort through when I finally got around to figuring out who I am."