I was looking through the newspaper that Bud Dearborne left behind when he finished his lunch. Sometimes Sheriff Dearborne did that for me if he was finished with the paper, knowing I liked to keep up with the local news.
When I got off my shift waiting tables at Merlotte's I brought the paper home with me. I saw the Super Save-A-Bunch was having a sale on the canned items I kept in stock. I would have to check my pantry and see what needed restocking. There were a few coupons I knew I could use, so I went to get the scissors.
I left the newspaper open on my kitchen table and went to the utensil drawer in my renovated kitchen. The old kitchen had to be renovated when a fire destroyed it.
I liked the new kitchen, and I appreciated the modern appliances, but I still thought about, and missed, the old kitchen every now and again.
It was a warm evening and I opened the windows in the kitchen to air it out. It was Amelia's turn to cook this week and she had cooked up a wonderful pasta dish, full of garlic.
Amelia Broadway was my upstairs tenant and my friend. Amelia was also a genuine practicing witch and the stubbornly independent daughter of a wealthy contractor.
Lately, whenever it was Amelia's turn to cook, she made food swimming in garlic. I suspected Amelia was trying to keep the vampires away.
Tonight the kitchen reeked of garlic, and there weren't any vampires around, so maybe Amelia's plan was working.
Amelia knew I had dated a vampire named Bill and he had broken my heart. Having a vampire as a boyfriend, friend or employer had a positive side for me because I could not read vampire minds.
Since I'm a telepath the silence of vampire minds was a great relief after listening to the constant chatter of human minds. Still, Amelia worried about me and was trying to protect me. I appreciated that.
The warm breeze blew the pages of the newspaper off the table. When I bent down to pick them up from the floor a small article in the "Local Happenings" section caught my eye. It read:
* WIN A DATE WITH SHREVEPORT'S MOST FAMOUS VAMPIRE
* All over Shreveport local businesses are having fund raising events to support the new children's wing in the Shriner's hospital.
* Fangtasia is offering a unique once in a lifetime opportunity to win a date with Eric Northman, the vampire owner.
* The winning ticket holder will get to spend three hours with Shreveport's most famous vampire. Mr. Northman has assured us that the winner will not be in any danger (since synthetic blood was invented vampires no longer need to feed on humans).
* Tickets can be purchased at Fangtasia during business hours, or by calling (319) 225-1511 after 8 p.m..
Well, well, well, I thought. The new vampire king, Felipe de Castro, must be putting pressure on Louisiana vampires to be more visible in their mainstreaming efforts.
Probably the king's agent, Victor Madden, was the one who talked to Eric. Maybe he came up with this plan, because it sure wasn't Eric's idea. I would have bet the house on that.
I had a moment of temptation to call and buy a ticket, but then I thought better of it. The less I had to do with Eric right now the better. My blood bond with him gave him too much power over me, too much personal information about my feelings.
We had exchanged blood more than three times. Not intentionally, at least not on my part. But it had happened. That gave Eric the ability to know how I was feeling. Maybe the blood bond was wearing off. I hoped so.
I saw the drawing would be this upcoming weekend. I had plans for the weekend. Sam Merlotte, my boss, was catering a wedding for an old army buddy of his and I had volunteered to help.
Of course I would get paid and receive tips, but I wanted to do what I could for Sam because he was always there to help me out when I needed it.
I just thought the world of Sam, and sometimes had a naughty fantasy or two about him, though that was my little secret. I was determined to keep our relationship professional.
It was not a good idea to get involved with the boss. Besides Sam seemed to have an interest in a cute little shifter named Tanya.
Just for the heck of it I called Fangtasia and asked Saytanna, the human waitress that answered the phone, how much the tickets were. I was shocked to learn they were $50.00.
Saytanna. Where did these people come from? I wondered how many people would cough up that much money to try and win a date with Eric?
When I was asked by Saytanna how many tickets I wanted I said I didn't want any. Click. I was cut off abruptly. Bye Saytanna.
I went back to my newspaper. I cut out the coupons, recycled the newspaper, put away the scissors, and went to bed. I didn't give the raffle another thought.
This is why I was so surprised on Sunday night when Eric called me and told me I won.
"That's not possible Eric." I said in my flattest voice.
I didn't want to encourage him if he was playing a prank on me.
"I never bought a ticket."
"And yet here is a ticket with your name and address on it. The winning ticket, I might add." He sounded incredibly happy about it.
"Eric, if you rigged this drawing somehow and made me the winner I won't participate. That's dishonest. The people who actually paid their money for a chance to date you wouldn't have a fair chance. How many tickets were bought?" I asked in an accusatory tone.
I was guessing Eric had substituted a date with me for a date with some vampire groupie to fulfill his obligation in the least irritating way. That was just like Eric, turning something unpleasant to work to his advantage.
"Let me see, we raised about $5,000 so that would be about a hundred tickets. I was a little disappointed. I thought I would be worth a lot more than that."
Eric sounded thoughtful. A moment of silence. Then he perked up. "However, the important thing is that you are the lucky winner. When shall we go on our date?"
"Never." I said with finality "Because I couldn't be the winner in a raffle I never bought a ticket for."
"Perhaps if I told you the name of the person who bought the ticket it might convince you this really is your lucky night." Eric sounded a little like a game show host.
"OK, I'll bite." (Maybe not the best choice of words when speaking with a vampire) "Who bought the ticket?"
"Claude Crane, from Hooligans." Eric said triumphantly.
This made a little bit of sense. Claude and Claudine Crane, brother and sister, were fairies. Real pointy eared magical fairies, and they ran a strip club in Monroe. Vampires loooove fairies, but not in a good way.
They love them like a wino loves a bottle of cheap wine. If the members of the magical community were supporting the hospital fund raising drive, or the vampire's mainstreaming efforts, then my fairy relatives would have bought a ticket.
Claude could never go on a date with Eric. Not because Eric wasn't Claude's type, he definitely was. Claude liked men, and Eric was as manly as you can get.
Claude couldn't go on a date with Eric because Eric would become inflamed by the fairy smell and lose control and bite him, or worse.
So Claude must have put my name down on his ticket, not thinking about how I would feel if I won. Claude was a beautiful looking man, but he was the most self centered and thoughtless person I ever met, aside from my brother Jason.
Also, Claude must have thought my chances of winning would be just about nil. Yet I won.
"Who picked the ticket out of the hat?" I asked suspiciously.
"Actually it was a big clear bowl, and Pam picked the winning ticket."
Eric added, "She picked it in front of the patrons of Fangtasia on Saturday night."
He was making the point that the drawing was above board and fair. But I knew better. Pam was Eric's "Child". She would go out of her way to make Eric happy. If she thought she could pick a good date for him she would.
At least I think she would. I also knew she liked to tease Eric a little sometimes. Who knows why she picked that ticket?
"She smelled the fairy smell on the ticket didn't she?" I asked.
I knew vampires had a very acute sense of smell. Pam would be drawn to the ticket with fairy smell on it.
"She may have smelled the fairy scent, but she couldn't have possibly known your name was inside the envelope." Eric pretended to sound a little hurt by my accusation.
"The tickets were in envelopes?" I asked, my voice and my blood pressure rising.
"Yes, special red envelopes with the Fangtasia logo on them. The entries were sealed in the envelopes and the envelopes were blank on the outside."
I tried to think of something to say and failed.
Eric said "You won, lover, fair and square."
I needed a chance to regroup.
I said, "Excuse me for a minute Eric. There's someone at the door."
Before he could say anything I set the phone down and walked to the sink. I got myself a glass of water. I tried to think of a tactful way to turn down this "date".
Just then I heard a sound at the front door, like a cat scratching to get in. Since Amelia had returned Bob to his human state we didn't have a cat. I heard the sound again.
I looked out through the peephole and saw Eric standing there with a cell phone in his hand. He waggled the fingers of his other hand in a greeting. How long had he been standing there?
I was tempted to just turn off the porch light and go to bed. But of course I couldn't do that. I sighed and opened the door.
Eric just stood there so I took the plunge and invited him in. Then I remembered I was bra-less, wearing a thin white tank top and some sleep shorts. Short sleep shorts. It had been hotter than a rat in a wool sock lately and I was dressed for bed.
"Have you been standing there the whole time?" I asked him. I walked back to the kitchen to hang up the phone.
"Well, I moved closer to the door when I heard you walking around. But essentially, yes."
Eric followed me and took up a lot of the room in the kitchen with his large muscular body. He was wearing a black tee shirt with the sleeves cut out, black jeans and black Adidas sneakers.
Against his blond hair the all black ensemble looked striking. However it made his handsome vampire face look extra pale.
"Can I get you something to drink?" I asked politely.
I was motivated by ten generations of good Stackhouse manners, and the knowledge that a hungry vampire is not as safe as a well fed vampire.
"No. I will eat later when I return to the club." He looked around the kitchen like I would look around the inside of a spaceship.
Eric probably had some worshipful fang banger lined up as a willing donor. Maybe the abrupt Miss Saytanna herself. Live and let live, that was my new motto.
"Why did you call me if you were going to come to the door?" I asked.
I sat down at the table. Eric sat down across the table from me. He wrinkled his nose but didn't mention the garlic smell. I couldn't smell it at all now, but he probably could.
Vampires didn't like the smell of garlic, but it didn't drive them off howling into the night the way they showed it in those old black and white movies.
"I thought you might want to see this." He handed me a red envelope that had been torn open.
The outside of the envelope was blank except for the Fangtasia logo. Inside was a creamy white card filled out in very rounded handwriting. I had never seen Claude's handwriting, but it had his name and his strip club, Hooligans, as the purchaser, with my name and address filled out as the entrant.
I was oddly touched that Eric had gone to the trouble to bring me this. He really wanted me to believe this was a legitimate winning ticket, which meant he really wanted me to go on a three hour date with him.
If he really wanted to date me so much why didn't he just call me up and ask me out like a regular guy?
I could answer that question myself. By no stretch of the imagination was Eric a regular guy.
He was a vampire, about a thousand years old, six foot four in his stocking feet, with blond hair that hung down to between his shoulders blades. He had the big developed muscles he must have needed in his human life as a Viking.
He was the area Sheriff and the proud owner of the vampire bar Fangtasia in Shreveport.
Eric and I had a history. Some of it good, some of it not so good. But I liked Eric, and if this date meant so much to him, then I would go on it with him.
We arranged for him to pick me up here next Saturday night right after dark. He seemed really glad I had agreed to go and he didn't want to push his luck by overstaying his welcome.
He kissed me on the cheek, then started to kiss me on the mouth, then stopped, hugged me, and left. That was strange. Eric usually knew what he wanted and went for it.
I started to think about what I was going to wear on our date. That was when I realized I didn't know where we were going. I called him back on his cell phone.
He answered on the first ring. "Yes, lover?" That was his nickname for me.
"I don't know where we're going on our date." I said.
"That's entirely up to you." he answered. "This is your date. I have to do anything you want."
I could hear his car engine zooming in the back ground. It made me nervous to distract him from his driving, especially with the devil-may-care way he drove.
I decided to think about what I wanted to do and call him back. We agreed to talk again tomorrow night.
I gave this date a lot of thought the next day. It was fun to think about all the possibilities.
Three hours wasn't enough time to go anywhere far away like Paris. I didn't really want to go to a restaurant or a movie. Dancing was a possibility, but it had been so long since I spent any time with Eric I really just wanted to sit with him and enjoy his company.
Heck, we could do that at my house. I thought about how nice it would be just to sit here in my old house with Eric and talk.
Most of the time when I was with Eric there was so much else going on. Just for once I would like a quiet evening with him.
One time, when he had lost his memory and wasn't himself, he had stayed with me for a few days and we spent some quiet time just talking. I missed that.
That's what I wanted, and that's what I told him when I called him back the next night. I reminded him to either eat before he came, or bring the expensive bottled blood he liked with him because all I had was TruBlood from the Grabb-It-Qwik.
Amelia agreed to be out of the house that night. She had been dating Tray Dawson, a magnificent hunk of man and a werewolf, for the last few months so she could stay over at Tray's house.
She had been staying over there more and more, and I wondered if I was going to lose my tenant soon. I wouldn't mind having the house all to my self again. But I liked Amelia and most of the time I was happy to have her here.
There wasn't much that needed doing in the house cleaning department. I did change my sheets, but I told myself that with the hot evenings it was a good idea to change them more often anyway.
By Saturday night I was sitting on the front porch, all ready for my prize to appear. I was wearing my red and white sun dress. It was the dress Eric had seen me in when Bill brought me to Fangtasia for the first time.
Bill and I weren't dating anymore, but I had made peace with that episode in my life. Anger and resentment are just like poison, my Gran had taught me. Life was too short to waste on those bad feelings.
I knew Bill would have enough discretion to stay away if he saw Eric's car parked in my drive.
Right on time Eric's red Corvette pulled up in front of my house. With a little spray of gravel he stopped right at the bottom of the porch, then he was out of the car and up the porch steps.
I stood up. He looked me up and down in my dress and said, "I have had so many fantasies about you in that dress."
He looked at me like he was looking at a big gooey dessert. Well, chalk one up for my date dress. But still he didn't move in and kiss me. He stood a respectful distance and pulled a bunch of roses from behind his back and held them out to me.
"How nice," I said, pleased. "Let me get these in a vase."
He followed me into the house, back into the kitchen, now garlic free, and waited while I got out Gran's best cut glass vase in the buttons and bows pattern. I put the roses in the vase and added water. They looked lovely and smelled wonderful.
I hadn't had many flowers to bring in since Gran died. She was the one that liked to garden. Amelia was growing some kind of flowers here and there around the house, but they hadn't gotten big enough to cut and bring in.
"Let's go sit on the porch," I suggested.
"Your wish is my command," Eric said with a courtly bow. I laughed.
"Do you mean you would have to do whatever I wanted?" I asked in a teasing way.
"Absolutely," Eric said sounding completely sincere. He had a twinkle in his blue eyes.
"How about if I asked you to clean my gutters?" I asked.
"Do you have a ladder or should I just fly around your house and scoop out the pine needles?"
The thought of him flying around my house cleaning my gutters made me laugh out loud.
"No, you're dressed too nice to clean gutters," I told him.
He had on a blue slate color sport coat, a white on white dress shirt, and dark gray slacks. He looked very handsome, and he smelled wonderful. His thick hair was loose, the way I liked it best. Two strands from his temples had been pulled back and fastened at his nape. This kept the hair out of his face.
We went out and sat on the rocking chairs on the front porch. I had turned out the security lights so all we had was the moonlight and the lights shining from inside the house.
I could see him fairly well, but I knew his vampire vision was much better. We rocked and listened to the night noises of the bugs and frogs for a while. I reached over and took Eric's hand. Holding hands on my front porch, just like a teenager. I sighed.
"What?" Eric asked. He meant the sigh.
"Oh, I was just thinking that I never had a chance to sit on the porch with a boy and hold hands like this. My 'talent' made it impossible to sit with a guy and touch him. As soon as I did I would hear every thought in his head."
Eric looked over at me. "That must have been very difficult."
"It was impossible. I was happier just being left alone than being bombarded with all those nasty thoughts." I squeezed Eric's hand in a reassuring way. I added "I'm OK now, and I have learned how to shield myself."
"Can you tell what I'm thinking?" Eric asked. His hand felt so strong and was engulfing mine in a protective way.
"Let me see." I closed my eyes and tried to pick up on his mind.
I had a sudden vision of him naked between my legs, thrusting in long slow deep strokes. I felt his arms around me and my body responding to him. I opened my eyes.
Those weren't Eric's thoughts, those were my thoughts. I was reading my own mind. And my mind said "Let's make love."
I was a little off balance by this realization. I had been out here with Eric for ten minutes and already I wanted to get naked with him. This wasn't like me. I wasn't immune to Eric's many charms, but I wasn't usually obsessed with sex, either.
"No, I can't read your mind at all. Vampire minds are completely silent when I try to read them."
I added hastily, "Not that I've really tried. I can just tell from being around them."
I knew my life would be in danger if I ever was caught reading a vampire mind. I had caught a tiny flicker of thought once in a while, but I would never admit that to anyone.
I decided to ask Eric something I had always wondered about.
"Eric, can I ask you a question?"
I didn't want to upset him, but I was hoping it was OK to ask him something about his human life.
"You can ask anything." Eric said.
Of course he didn't say he would answer anything.
"Do you remember your mother?"
I held my breath, hoping that I hadn't angered him.
He was quiet for so long I began to worry I had stepped over the line. Then he said "Yes."
I wanted to ask more questions, but I waited to see if he would say anything more. He was staring straight ahead and not rocking.
"Yes. I remember her. She was young when she had me. She was about your age when she died. She was a fierce warrior and she died trying to save my life. We were attacked by a band of soldiers. I was about twelve but big for my age. She fought to her last breath trying to save me from falling into the hands of the soldiers."
His voice was calm. I guess it had been so long ago he had worked through his feelings about it. I thought about what it would be like if I had a twelve year old son. That means she had him when she was about fourteen. It must have been very hard for her.
"Do you want to know what her last word to me was?" he asked after a moment.
He turned to look at me again, his blue eyes glowing slightly in the way vampire eyes did to my sight. Not everyone saw the glow.
"Yes." I felt very touched that Eric would share this much with me. I hoped he wouldn't regret it later on.
"She said 'Live'. That was her last word to me." He sat up straighter, his face like stone. "And I have lived. For more than a thousand years I have lived."
Eric sat very still. Since vampires don't breathe that stillness is a little surreal to a human.
I wanted to hug him. I stood up, held out my hands and brought him to his feet. I hugged him. Although he was so much taller than I am, I felt like I was holding him and sheltering him for a few seconds in his very long life.
He tilted my face up to his and kissed me so tenderly I wondered "Does he love me?."
He ran his hands over my arms. He touched the skirt of my dress. I reached down and lifted it slightly. Then I raised it a little more. Then I lifted my skirt up to my waist. I could feel the night breeze on my thighs.
"May I?" he asked.
I nodded, my heart beginning to pound. Then he knelt in front of me and pulled down my panties. He very gently licked my most sensitive spot. The touch of his tongue was so light that I had to concentrate to feel it.
He made a low moan of pleasure like a sigh of relief. I worried that he would ruin his pants on the rough old wooden floor of the porch. He kept on and on and then, so suddenly it was like a surprise, I came.
I looked around the yard as I was coming and I thought I saw Bill way back by the woods, but when I looked again he was gone. My soft cries faded into the night.
He pulled my panties back up. He said "I have wanted to do that for years, since you first walked into Fangtasia."
He smiled at me in that most wonderful way he has, making creases around his mouth. I remembered when he first saw me in this dress at Fangtasia he licked his lips and I thought it was because he wanted to bite me.
But now I think it may have been because he wanted to taste my essence. And he probably wanted to bite me too. Can't lose touch with reality here, he is a vampire.
I thought he would pick me up and carry me into the house to my bedroom. He knew where it was. Instead he brushed off his pants and sat back down.
I stood there a little shaky for a moment, then I sat back down too. I could feel my heart beat throbbing between my legs. I realized Eric was letting me take the lead.
It was up to me to decide what we would do next.
"How much more time do we have left on our date?" I asked. My voice sounded a little funny.
"As much time as you want. If we don't finish it tonight we can continue tomorrow night. I aim to please."
Eric had taken a business management course. Since then he said things like 'we aim to please' and 'the customer is always right'. He didn't mean them of course, but he liked they way they sounded.
"Stand up." I told him.
If I was going to take the lead then I was, by golly, really going to take the lead. He stood up and I stood near him. I lightly ran my finger down the length of his obvious excitement. He jerked as if shocked, and looked in my eyes.
I was facing the porch windows, so the light from the house made it easy for him to see me, but his back was to the light, so I could hardly see his face at all. I turned us around so the light was on his face.
I continued to touch him with my finger so so lightly through the thin fabric of his pants. I traced the contours and edges, finding the most sensitive spots.
Now his fangs were fully extended and he started to sway with the softest touch. I pulled his face to mine and kissed him, running my tongue over his fangs.
He made a sound that would have been scary if I didn't know him as well as I did. He used all his self control to just stand there, letting me bring him to whatever level of arousal I wanted. I had only touched him with the tip of my finger, yet he was completely under my control.
When I knew he couldn't stand it anymore I stopped. I stepped back from him. I walked away from him slowly. He made a noise high up in his throat.
I kicked off my shoes. I reached up under my dress and took my panties off and threw them over the railing.
Then I bent over the porch railing and smiled at him. I said "Come here Eric."
I was excited by the power he had given me over him.
He was behind me with vampiric speed. He had my dress pulled up before I could draw the next breath. I felt him just at my entrance. I waited for that first thrust. And I waited.
He didn't move, though I could feel his shaking through the floor boards. I said "I'm so wet, so ready."
He still didn't move. I moved a little so he just entered slightly, then pulled away. Eric was making a humming growl deep in his chest. He was waiting for me to tell him what to do.
Then I said "Take me."
It was like the starting gun at the Indianapolis 500. Eric took off, and he took me with him. He went fast, then slow, then fast. He freed my breasts from the top of my dress, breaking my straps, so they swung free over the railing.
He caressed them and down below where the throbbing had reached an explosive level. He said "Oh Sookie, huld Sookie, fríðr Sookie." Then he held my hips and guided my movements with his strong hands, careful not to bruise me.
In the midst of the excitement I thought to myself that this was crazy.
Anyone could see me from the woods or if they drove up to the house. I was standing in the open, on the front porch of my ancestral home, having sex. Great sex, true, but still.
Then I couldn't think at all. The sound of my moans drowned out the voice of reason in my head.
When I simply couldn't stand up anymore Eric carried me into the house and to the bedroom. I started to unzip my dress but Eric whispered "Leave it on."
He placed me on the bed on my back. I watched as he stripped, lowered himself between my legs, and made love to me with long slow strokes, just like I had imagined. Then he got harder and faster.
As he plunged into me I had a vision of a hammer hitting an anvil over and over and sparks flying. As the sparks showered down they created little shocks of pleasure all over my body.
I had my dress hiked up. My breasts were still out of the top of my dress and the stiff pleated cotton fabric held them pushed up with the pink buds on top like cherries on two creamy vanilla sundaes. They felt like they were being offered to Eric to kiss and touch.
I let Eric take a little blood just when we were both ready to finish and then we collapsed. I fell into a deep deep sleep. At one point I thought I heard Eric getting up to leave before dawn. But I was too out of it to come fully to the surface.
I had the strangest dream. I dreamed that folding chairs had been set up on the large front lawn of the church, like for a wedding. But instead of an altar there was a beautiful fancy brass bed with flowers woven around the brass.
Reverend Fullenwilder brought me up to the front. I was wearing a white robe like the people in the choir wear. He helped me remove it and I was naked. I got in the bed and got on my hands and knees.
The chairs filled up with men. All the men I ever knew, both vampires and human. Since this was daylight the vampires would have burned up, but since it was my dream they didn't.
Some of the men came up to walk around the bed and look at me. They made admiring comments about my body. I knew these men. They were Calvin Norris, Tray Dawson, 'Catfish' Hunter and Sheriff Dearborn.
Then Alcide Herveaux came up behind me and began having sex with me. It was intensely good. The men in the audience were impressed with my talents and my responses. They made comments and shouted encouragement to Alcide. Eric was in the front row wearing a leather kilt. I didn't feel shy or ashamed at all.
The handsome vampire King Felipe de Castro stood by the side of the bed and made suggestions in his rich voice with its cultured Spanish accent. Then he became annoyed with Alcide and ordered him away from me.
He took over and his scepter was magical. It sent out rays of tingling pleasure that engulfed my whole body. Quinn knelt down by the side of the bed and said "Hi babe." He gently touched my breasts. He licked them with his rough were-tiger tongue.
Bill came up to the bed and said "Sookie. Sookie." He kept saying my name until his voice changed into Amelia's voice. "Sookie" Amelia said, "Wake up honey. I think your friend is sick."
I was confused.
"Amelia." I whispered hoarsely. "What time is it? Wait a minute."
I crawled out of bed and noticed I was wearing my blue nightgown. I hadn't been wearing that last night. I had been wearing my red and white date dress. I looked around but didn't see the dress.
I walked unsteadily to the bathroom. I felt tender down below like I had made love the night before. I did a few things including brushing my teeth, running a brush through my hair, washing my face, and getting a big drink of water. I felt a little better then.
Amelia was still standing in my room. She had straightened my bed while I was in the bathroom. I wanted to get dressed.
"Who's sick?" I asked her while I picked out some shorts and tee shirt, a bra and undies. I wanted to take a shower first.
"Your fairy friend, Claudine. She came to visit you but she didn't want me to wake you. She's been waiting in the living room since one. I just went in to check on her and she seems to be running a fever or something. I'm sorry to wake you. There's coffee in the kitchen." Amelia looked worried.
"Just let me get dressed. I'll be right there," I told the worried witch.
I noticed it was 2:30 in the afternoon. Amelia left my room and I pulled on my clothes. I would have to take a shower later.
I went through the kitchen and grabbed a cup of coffee before coming into the living room. Claudine, my fairy godmother, was sitting there with her eyes half closed.
The little table fan was on and aimed at her. The day wasn't that hot. Claudine had two bright spots of color on her cheeks. Amelia hovered in the doorway looking concerned.
"Hi Claudine. How are you?" I asked.
I sat down in a chair near her. I took her hand and she shuddered. "Are you ill Claudine?" I asked her. I could see what Amelia meant. Something was wrong with Claudine.
"Oh Sookie, I feel so strange. I wanted to see how you are. Claude told me he won the date with Eric but had put your name on the ticket. Did everything go well?" She looked at me with her lovely face drawn up in concern. I could see goosebumps on her arms.
"I'm fine. The date went fine," I reassured her. "Can I get you something? How about a glass of water?"
Amelia left the doorway and was back a few seconds later with a glass of cool water. Claudine drank it all down.
"I only feel like this when I'm around datura," Claudine said. "It is a powerful psychoactive narcotic for fairies. We have to be careful in the woods and fields not to get near any datura otherwise we feel the effects. Can there be any datura near the house?"
"Uh Oh," Amelia said. "Claudine, I think you better leave. I planted a bunch of datura in front of the house where it would get sun. I didn't know it would affect you. I'll dig it up and move it away from the house."
Claudine stood up to her full height of almost six feet.
"You're right, I better leave." She kissed me on the cheek and left through the kitchen where her car was parked behind the house.
I hoped she was well enough to drive. She seemed to revive as she got further from the plants in front of the porch. When I got back in the living room Amelia was looking through a thick leather bound herbal.
"Ah yes," she said. "Claudine is right. Datura is a very dangerous herb for fairies. Just like she said it is like catnip for them. Turns them on and loosens up their hold on reality. I better go dig it up right now."
Amelia went to put on her gardening clothes. I looked at the herbal and saw all kinds of symptoms fairies might feel if exposed to the datura plant including impaired judgment, visions, vivid dreams, sexual arousal, and an insatiable sexual appetite.
I had some of those symptoms last night. I wondered if the fairy blood I had inherited from my grandfather Fintan was affected by the datura.
I was hanging over the railing last night right over the plants, and they bloom at night. This would explain my reckless behavior and the intensely vivid dream I had last night. I was sure it had played a part in my behavior. Thank heavens no one had seen me out there.
Just then Amelia came back in the house with my lacy panties dangling from her gloved finger.
"Are these yours?" she asked with a big ear to ear grin. "I found them among the datura plants."
I didn't expect Eric to call me and follow up our date with a request for another date. He didn't.
But on Monday the L.N.L. lawn service showed up to clean my gutters. They had a year long contract to mow my lawn and keep my gutters clean. The work order was signed by Eric Northman.
On Monday evening a large wrapped package was delivered. It contained my red and white dress, cleaned and professionally repaired. It looked like new and was stuffed with white tissue paper to keep its shape.
I hung it in the closet and that's when I saw the note. It was from Eric and it said "I miss you already."
As I folded the note and held it over my heart the phone started ringing.