Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman in Vampire Land part eighteen

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Chapter Eighteen

I slid down the green tunnel, this time seeing the fireplace Bill and I had lain in front of the first time we made love, the earrings he had given me, the pants I had worn to the football game, and the stake I had used to kill Bill's Maker woven into the leafy vines. I didn't try to grab them as I floated past this time because I realized they weren't really there.

With a gentle bump I landed in a lavish and elaborate room decorated with gold framed paintings, oriental carpets, marble topped furniture and crystal chandeliers. It looked like a room in the palace. The large carved double doors at the end of the room flew open and Bill strode through them, looking around until he saw me.

The last time I was just an observer, but this time Bill spoke to me. "You must get ready Sookie, the King of California will be here soon." Bill looked wonderful. He had on a great suit, he looked rested and well fed, and he had an energy that was based on purpose instead of tension.

There was a discreet knock on the outer door and Bill said, "Come." The door opened and a man in a grey tweed suit said to Bill, "Your Majesty, there will be an unexpected delay before King Archer can arrive at the palace. His luggage has been misplaced. He sends his apologies."

"Tell him not to be concerned. Let me know when he arrives." Bill said. The man in the suit bowed while walking backwards out of the room. Holy moly! Bill was the King of Louisiana! That made me the Queen of Louisiana.

"Bill," I said, "You're the King!" I saw myself in a smokey mirror. I was wearing a lovely green dress, my hair was up in an elaborate up swept style, and I had on tons of make up. I looked like a movie star. Or the Queen of Louisiana. I also looked older, and I had put on some weight.

"Yes, and you are my Queen," he said gallantly, kissing my hand. I expected him to move in and kiss me, but he said, "We must pay the strictest attention to meeting every need of California and his wife. It is crucial we enlist his partnership in the new casinos we have planned." He went to the phone and called his secretary, Sarno Stone.

Sarno arrived immediately and Bill shot out a list of urgent matters that needed to be dealt with immediately. Sarno dutifully wrote everything down and told him they would be seen to right away. He too bowed his way out of the door. Apparently Bill was a more formal kind of King and was strict with his subjects. He seemed to have taken to this role like a duck takes to water.

"Since we have a little time, could we sit down and talk, Bill?" I asked. Bill had been scrolling down a computer screen but he stopped. He looked at me and smiled, but I could see his jaw muscle clench. He was anxious to tie up all the loose ends in his arrangements. I hadn't arrived at a good moment for a quiet chat.

"Why don't you get ready first, then we'll talk," he said not unkindly, already turning back to his screen. I guess I would go do that, then. Bill always was a practical man. First things first and all that.

I went in the bedroom and saw a red gown and all the underthings and shoes laid out on the huge gilded bed. I got dressed as fast as possible because I didn't know how much time I would have to talk to him. I dashed out to the sitting room but Bill wasn't there. He had left a note on the antique desk that said, "Sookie, I was needed in the new wing to supervise the placement of the atrium. I will return shortly."

Afraid of wrinkling my satin gown, I stood in the center of the room and looked around. There were three state of the art computers on Bill's desk, all of them booted up and running. His desk chair looked well used, and the rug underneath was worn to the backing from use. Bill must spend a lot of time here.

If I had taken Bill back he somehow would have risen in the ranks to become the King of Louisiana, Arkansas and Nevada. His schedule would be demanding, his responsibilities great, and as his Queen I would be required to attend all the functions, meet and greet all the big wigs, and present a decorous and appropriate appearance whenever I was in public with him.

Since Nevada shared a border with California there must be some casino business deal in the works between the two Kings. Bill called the King of California by the name of the state, something peculiar to vampire royalty. I admired Bill's success, and his business acumen, but this wasn't any kind of life for me. I was feeling neglected by Bill and I had only been here a few minutes. How much worse would I feel if this was my whole life. I needed more than this.

The green tunnel opened up and I walked over and stood under it. I was ready to leave. It picked me up like a great big vacuum cleaner hose and sucked me back up to the white room. I was back in the clothes I had been wearing to walk the mall. I knew I didn't need to explain anything to Ivy, I thanked her and left. This time my heart felt heavy. But as I walked back towards the main avenue in the mall I began to feel better.

The tremendous strength of Bill's charm and personality would take him far. Even without me I was sure he would be a tremendous success. And I had only seen a few minutes of his behavior.

Maybe Bill would have been all lovey dovey if he wasn't expecting another King with whom he had a vital business arrangement. The important thing is that he thrive and prosper. He needed to have enough power to keep his existence his own, his fate in his own capable hands. For too long he had been under the control of others, he should have his turn at being top dog. Maybe then Bill could rest a little.

And the important thing for me was to make it back to the room to rest up so I could attend the opening of Vampire Land tonight with my sweetie pie. Eric may never be king, but to my mind, he would always rule.


more to come ......
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Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman in Vampire Land part seventeen

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Chapter Seventeen

When I walked through the parlor door the room suddenly lit up like a stage set. It was the all white decor I remembered from the day before. How could she have moved all this and set it up overnight? This had to be magic at work. Maybe elves or something.

Ivy came out from behind the white curtains in the back, this time wearing white jeans and a white smock. Her tattoos weren't less startling the second time I saw her. Her hair was in braids today.

"Hi," she said, sounding professional, "May I help you?" Apparently she didn't remember me. That was understandable. Who knew how many clients she saw in a day?

"I would like to keep an appointment?" I asked. I had been brought here because I had been told by a talking pig I had an appointment. I told her that, wondering if I sounded like I was crazy.

"Oh yes, Martha told me she would bring you to the new location for the parlor. Do you have another question?" As she talked she walked over to the white sofas and indicated I was to sit on one, while she sat on the other.

"Yes, but how did you know I wanted another appointment? Was it because I asked about more than one visit?" I was wondering if she was telepathic.

I tuned into her mind and heard bland cheerful elevator music playing "So Happy Together". I wondered if she sent out elevator music all day, or only when I was around. It was humorous, in a telepathic way.

"Because you came to me for five appointments in all," she said. Her smile was a white crescent among the vines on her face.

"No, I only saw you once, yesterday." I said. I was sure of that.

"True, but then you had four more questions, four more appointments, today being one of them."

"How do you mean?" I was kind of lost here. I think she was talking about the future. But she spoke of it like it happened in the past.

Ivy tucked her legs under her and made herself more comfortable. "You think time is linear, like a string. You start out at one end and travel to the other. But time is more like a spider's web, and you are in the center of it. Any strand you travel down, any decision you make, takes you to a new place in the web, but that place is also the center of another web. There are an infinite number of strings, webs, and choices. It's all there at once. And for someone like me, I get an overview of the immediate webs. I can send you to the place in the web you would probably be if you had chosen a different path. It's not absolute because so many other things can affect your place in the web. That's why I say this is for entertainment purposes only. You are only seeing what might have been. Hence the name of my shop." She opened her hands wide apart in an arc, and a sparkling pastel rainbow appeared between her hands for a moment, then faded.

OK, this was some powerful magic she was using. How did she end up in a mall, of all places? But that wasn't my question. I told her what my question was. I may not understand how all this worked, but she had the chance to answer questions that had nagged at me for years.

Today I wanted to ask her about my ex-boyfriend Bill. I had sent him away because I was terribly hurt by the way our relationship had gone. I had refused to take him back. Now I understood that most of the problems between us were through no fault of Bill's. He had been placed in an impossible situation and he had done his best to protect me, while fulfilling his obligations and dealing with his powerful and insane Maker. Bill had been my first love, and my first lover. I wanted to know if I had done the wrong thing.

"My question is: What would have been if I had forgiven Bill and taken him back?" Ivy sat up straight and nodded. "Let us begin," she said. "Nothing here can hurt you, and your vision will have no more lasting effects than a dream. All you need to do is relax and look at me. I will be your guide to what might have been...."

Her vines began to move, then they snaked out from her body and moved towards me.


more to come .....
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(Sorry for the short chapters, I'm posting an extra one today. By the way ...What kind of cookies?)
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(Again Redstar, thanks for the feedback. I'm glad you figured out what was blocking your posts. I hope you enjoy the next story as much as the last one!)
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Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman in Vampire Land part sixteen

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Chapter Sixteen

I walked until my legs felt like they were going to give out, but I couldn't find Ivy's parlor. The mall seemed to go on for miles. Every time I thought I was getting to the end there would be another bend in the main corridor and then it would continue.

It didn't help that there were so many interesting shops to look at. The yarn store caused me to stop and consider learning to knit, the kitchen store was having a sale on ice cream makers, and the shoe store had platform shoes, something I always wanted to try. I had to sternly tell myself I wasn't going to learn how to knit, I didn't need to be eating all those calories in the home made ice cream, and I would probably break my ankle in those platform shoes. All this deliberating took time.

Since the hour was up I trudged back towards the information booth. I was still about ten stores away when I was just in time to see Chester Katz move the hands on the little clock message up another hour, then melt back into the crowd again. It made me so mad I actually stamped my foot.

"Hey, watch it!" a little voice said. I looked around but didn't see anyone.

"Down here," the little voice said. I looked down and there was a little pig, a baby pig, a piglet I guess you would say.

I squatted down to speak to the little creature. He was adorable, kind of like that pig Babe in the movie. "Hi there, little guy," I said, in the kind of high voice you use when talking to little little kids or cute critters.

"My name is Martha," the diminutive pig said, a certain dry irony in her voice. She sounded sort of like Joan Rivers. I realized this must be a supernatural creature, but the cute-as-a-button piglet form made it seem natural to want to sweet talk to it. Her.

"Hi Martha," I said in a normal voice, "I'm Sook..."

"I know who you are," Martha interrupted me, "Ivy sent me to lead you to her parlor. Pick up the leash."

As I watched a hot pink harness and leash appeared on Martha, complete with a big pink satin bow on the harness.

I picked up the leash and off we went. You might think a woman walking an adorable piglet on a hot pink leash through a crowded mall would attract a lot of attention, and you would be right. Every head turned to see me walk past.

Martha kept up a good pace until we went down a service corridor, then she started to run. As short as her legs were, and as round as her figure was, she was still faster than I was. By the time I was dragged to the end of the corridor I was gasping for breath. No one was around, and directly ahead of me was the familiar door and sign, "What Might Have Been".

"Why were we running?" I asked Martha when I got my breath back.

"You're late," she said. She gave a shake and her pink harness, bow and leash disappeared. Now she was wearing lipstick and gold earrings. She was a very attractive pig, for a pig.

"Late for what?" I asked. The door to the parlor swung open on it's own, no one was there. It looked dark inside.

"A very important date," she said, beginning to trot away, "No time to say hello or bye, you're late so late so late so late so late ..." Her voice turned into "oinks" and faded off as she ran away.

I turned and walked into Ivy's parlor.



more to come ......
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(Redstar - I wanted to thank you for your detailed and enthusiastic comments. It was a good idea to leave comments under the latest posting because I don't often go back and look for new comments. It is wonderful to know that you have read what I wrote and get the humor and plot line so completely. It's one thing to write, but it's something else to feel like I have gotten across what I was trying to say and convey. Thank you for your time and effort to go over the story like that, it was great fun to read!)
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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman in Vampire Land part fifteen

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Chapter Fifteen

I stood there stumped for a few seconds, then went off to find one of the tourist information stands they had here in the mall. There was one right around the next bend. It was near a store selling candles and oils, the many different smells coming out of the open doorway into the crowded walkway and enticing people in.

The thought of scented oils made me smile, and blush a little when I remembered what Eric and I had done last night. Then I told myself I was a married woman, so anything Eric and I did was perfectly OK. Marriage was an honorable institution. At least, that's what I had been taught in Sunday school.

The man behind the information stand had been chosen for his smile. He beamed his big white toothed crescent at everyone that had a question for him. A small sign on the console said his name was Chester Katz. I waited in line to ask him where the shop had been moved to. He had a wide bland face, one that you wouldn't notice in a crowd except for that remarkable dazzling square toothed grin of his.

"Hi," I said, when I finally got to the counter, "I'm hoping you can help me." My smile was almost as bright at his.

"Pleased to meet you, Ms. Helpme. How may I assist you today?"

He gave me his undivided attention even though a rude man behind me was trying to yell over the top of my head to "just ask one question". Chester Katz was an expert at both paying attention and tuning people out. He was an average height, average weight, and had medium brown hair, hazel eyes and a lightly freckled complexion. He was maybe five years my senior.

My name isn't "Ms. Helpme", but I decided to get past that and ask him my question. "I am looking for a fortune teller's shop ...."

"You have many to choose from," he broke in enthusiastically.

"Yes, but I am looking for a particular one called 'What Might Have Been'. It's run by a woman named Ivy. It used to be near the staircase, but today it's gone," I said.

"Maybe the shop is what might have been. You know, here today gone tomorrow." He smiled at me like he had said something very clever.

"But it's not here today, that's the problem," I told him. I could feel the man behind me getting ready to explode into my space, I was taking too long.

"And you want a fortune teller to tell you where the shop went?" he asked, suddenly looking serious, tilting his head like Roscoe does when he is trying very hard to understand something I'm saying.

"No, I want a directory to find out where the shop went," I said, trying to be patient and trying not to let the man behind me crowd me out of my spot. "Don't you have a list on your computer?"

"Could I just ask one quick question ...." the man behind me said again. He was practically standing on my heels. He was wearing pink Sansabelt beltless slacks, a mint green shirt, white patent leather loafers, no socks, and he was working on a wicked sunburn. He had expensive sunglasses hanging from his pocket.

I turned to him, "Go ahead. I can see you're in a big big hurry."

My sarcasm was lost on him. This was a large well fed man that simply couldn't stand to wait. I used to get his kind in Merlotte's, they were always in a big hurry and they were usually bad tippers too. It just never occurred to them that other people had rights too.

He stepped up next to me and asked a long complicated question about the shuttle bus schedule. Chester Katz got out several bus schedules and they went over them line by line. In the process I was shoved to the side. Chester wrote out a series of times and connections, and the man thanked him and left. He never thought to thank me. At last I could ask my question.

"Now," I said to the information clerk, "Do you have a di...." My words died in my throat as Chester put an "Out To Lunch. Be Back In One Hour" sign. The sign had a little clock on it with the hands set to an hour from now. He turned and walked away without another word to me, disappearing into the crowd. His big white grin was the last I saw of him. I stood there my jaw hanging open. How rude!

I would just have to find the shop on my own.


more to come .....
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Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman in Vampire Land part fourteen

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Chapter Fourteen

The next day the chipper waitress in the palace hotel restaurant asked me how I was doing this morning. Her name tag read "Hi I'm Jenny!". I said I was fine, but I wondered how she would react if I told her the truth. My nether parts were still glowing from sex and I was slightly hung over.

Without any of Eric's blood to heal things, I suffered the morning after wrath of a bottle of red wine. It would be TMI, Too Much Information, for Jenny, I was sure of that. I dipped into her mind but all she was thinking about was that she was covering two sections because that blankety blank Trina didn't come in again.

That's one thing most people don't consider when they think about reading minds. Many people think I would hear a lot of fascinating and scandalous things being mulled over in other people's minds. In reality most of the time when I tap into someone's thoughts they aren't thinking anything interesting at all. And most people have more than one layer of thoughts. They might be planning dinner, thinking about their too tight shoes, wondering where the rest room is, and mad at their mother all at the same time.

Another thing about reading minds is that most people can't stand to have me tell them something based on what they were only thinking. For example, if I told my overworked waitress that I used to be a waitress too, and I can certainly sympathize with her having to cover two sections, and the only plus to it would be to think about the double tips she would be getting, Jenny would freak out. She wouldn't be glad about my advice, she would feel scared and violated, then resentful and hateful, and finally spooked and defensive. She would avoid me like the plague.

So, after I drank my coffee and ate my toast I tipped her double the amount she should get, and let it go at that. I tried to stay out of people's minds most of the time and unless I was really stressed out or tired I had gotten good at turning the racket down to almost inaudible. Of course I didn't need to make this effort when I was around vampires, I couldn't read their minds at all.

Aside from freaking people out, the other problem with being a telepath is that others want to use you. I have been on retainer for vampire royalty now for years, meaning I have to come and read a human mind whenever they want me to. I was able to negotiate a fee, and more important to me, I was able to negotiate a no kill promise. No human would be killed, tortured or maimed due to what I discovered. They were to be turned over to human authorities for human prosecution. This was frustrating for vampires. They liked their justice quick and final, but I had gotten them to understand I couldn't be sending people to their death with my talents.

It also helped that my husband was a powerful Sheriff that had proven valuable to the King many times over. And now that we were married I had legal vampire status. But in vampire culture the ruler of a state was still very powerful and could order someone locked up, tortured or killed without due process. All vampires walked a tightrope, a balancing act of promoting their own concerns while keeping the King or Queen of their state mollified. This life and death political environment made vampires masters at deceit, manipulation and intrigue. The longer they lived, the trickier they got.

Their long lives increase their vampire powers too, while decreasing their need for blood. An old vampire might only need a mouthful of blood every few days. Old vampires didn't kill people unless they wanted to kill them. The new vampire was so ravenous they might accidentally kill, but their Makers were responsible to see that didn't happen. Some new vampires have never tasted real blood, having been turned after the invention of synthetic blood. The older ones still want the real thing, but I guess the "bottle babies" don't miss what they never had.

These were my thoughts as I walked through the mall. I was headed back to Ivy's parlor "What Might Have Been" to ask another question. There was a lot of walking in a mall like this, so I had on my jogging shoes, comfortable jeans and glittery tee shirt that showed a rocket ship in pink and violet tones. It might stand for a band but I got it because it was pretty and it had a scoop neckline. It made me think of Anna Hita's description of her husband as a man from beyond the stars.

Anna Hita, a Scythian Scryer, was an ancient vampire and a far distant relative of mine. All telepaths were descended from her human line, the children she had before she became Vampire. That would include me, Barry Bellboy, and Jure. After consulting Anna Hita about a problem I was having with Eric, I discovered that Eric was a descendant of her Vampire line. His Maker was Anna Hita's vampire Child. This meant both Eric and I were related to Anna Hita, me on her human side and Eric on her Vampire side. I felt that this made our love bond extra strong, like we were meant by fate to meet and fall in love.

The beautiful, kind and wise Scryer had a parlor in New Orleans where she helped vampires work out their problems by allowing them to know what was in their mind. She put them in a trance where they were able to see their own truth in a vision. With all the information they were able to move past some block in their life.

My wedding ceremony had been performed by Anna Hita. Eric and I had plans to visit with her in a few days. We weren't in New Orleans very often, and Anna Hita seldom traveled. But we did speak on the phone. I was also trying to establish a mental connection with her, a telepathic link I could use if I got in trouble, but I could not really tune into her vampire mind. Maybe it was for the best. I don't know how I would feel about someone reading my mind the way I could read other people's minds, but I don't think I would like it.

Sometimes I worried that Jure was in my mind. I don't mean I was thinking about him, but sometimes I thought I could sense him tuning in to my thoughts and emotions. This was invasive and creepy, especially if I was being intimate with Eric. I was going to speak to Anna Hita about it and see if it was true. If it was, I wanted her to stop him from doing that if she could.

Jure respected Anna Hita, all the vampires did, so I think Jure would listen to her if she told him to stop listening to my thoughts. This reminded me so much of asking Gran to tell Jason to stop doing some obnoxious thing he was doing when Jason and I were children. That was alright when I was eight, but here I was a grown woman asking my kindly great great times a thousand foremother to tell Jure to stop bothering me. It was embarrassing.

I got to the staircase leading to the upper level, and saw the kiosks where the palm reader, the tarot card reader and the phrenologist were. I turned into the service corridor next to the staircase. Ivy's shop was near the end of the corridor. The wedge shaped place under the steps was still there, but her shop, and any sign there had ever been a shop, was gone.


more to come .....
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Monday, September 28, 2009

Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman in Vampire Land part thirteen

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Chapter Thirteen

I wanted to drive all the other women, past and present, from Eric's mind. After putting an oldies music station on the cable radio I danced with him and then danced for him, swirling and moving gracefully in my flowing clothes from India. He was the happiest I had ever seen him, smiling at me and clapping when I finished.

He asked me if he could show me a massage technique he learned when he was in the exotic orient. I loved his massages so I agreed. Besides, I was a little drunk from all the wine. There had been a bottle of the wine I liked at dinner waiting for me when we got back to the suite. Eric had it sent to the room as a surprise for me. It was so delicious I had knocked off about half of it. That was on top of the wine I had for dinner.

He put a blanket down on the couch, turned off the lights except for a few small candles, and then we both stripped completely naked. He had a bottle of scented massage oil he had gotten from a specialty shop that made products both humans and vampires found appealing. He sat in the middle of the couch and had me lay full length across his lap face down like he was going to spank me. My crotch was directly over his.

I had pillows to rest my head and chest on, but my behind was the highest part of me. I was giggling, but I could tell this was really turning Eric on. He worked the oil into my lower back, rubbing the parts that were always so sore when I waited tables. Now my back wasn't sore, but it still felt terrific. His hands seemed to warm against my skin, or maybe the oil was a warming oil. I had two dimples above my buttocks and he commented on how he loved them.

Gradually his hands moved down to the two mounds of my bottom. He had the most wonderful hands, firm, gentle, and slow moving. As he massaged my flesh, and the backs of my thighs, I relaxed in the most profound way. Who knew you could carry around tension in your rear end? The warm oil smelled wonderful, a mix of woodsy spices with a slight flowery scent underneath. I wondered if the oil was called, "Gee Your Butt Smells Terrific". I started giggling again.

I thought that if he massaged me this way often enough it would keep my skin as soft as a baby's behind. I was so relaxed that as he moved I just kept releasing more tension and he kept exploring. The erotic possibilities of this position became evident and I melted in his hands, giving myself to the pleasure of the moment.

He was entering into the pleasure too, and I sat up and straddled his lap so I could kiss him. His entrance into me was so slow, so gentle, and so skillful that soon I was lost in a whole new erotic sensation.

He moved me back a bit me so he could see my face and told me in accented English how beautiful my face was to him when I was like this, how that excited him, how he played it back over and over in his mind. My cheeks were flaming, and he kissed them again and again, loving their hotness against his cool lips. I was out of control, and that was the way Eric wanted me. "Such a pretty pretty face," he said, kissing my chin while I panted and moaned. His eyes drank in my wanton passion.

I learned so much that night. There was no need for shame or fear with Eric, there was no need to hold anything back. I was as limp as a rag doll when I finally went to sleep, Eric still wrapped around my naked back.

My voice faint with drowsiness, I asked him, "Eric, do they really do that 'special massage' in the orient?" I was thinking that he had made all that up to give him unlimited access to my backside, to have his way with me. He didn't reply right away.

"Probably," he answered after a bit. I felt the bed shaking with his guilty laughter. Busted. Then I fell asleep.


more to come ......
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Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman in Vampire Land part twelve

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Chapter Twelve

Over my dinner I told Eric about the lawyers and their fight in the Crypt Lounge. This explained to him why my new cream linen dress was in a trash bag in the corner. He listened to everything I had to say, then, very seriously, he asked me if our lawyer looked like he was winning the fight. For some reason, maybe the wine, this struck me as hilarious and I laughed until my eyes watered. Sometimes Eric didn't understand why something he said struck me as funny, but he smiled in his eyes, pleased he had said or done something that made me laugh.

We discussed whether we were going to take action against the airline. He told me they were going to present us with a compensation package and that they had asked him not to take any action until we heard what they had to say. He had agreed. He told me he would instruct our lawyers to stay away from me until he called them. I was glad, I only had so many nice outfits for this trip. Being around vampires was hard on the wardrobe.

Tonight Eric wore a black suit, turning the heads of the women in the room. He seemed oblivious to their glances, but I noticed them peeking over at him. I told him about my day, telling him only that I had gone to a fortune teller. I knew he would think I had a reading with one of the ordinary readers and I didn't correct his impression. I didn't know how he would react to me telling him about my visit to a reality where he and I never met.

I didn't even know myself how I was feeling about what I had learned. I wanted to go back to Ivy's and ask another question. I would go tomorrow while Eric was dead until dark. I described the shop with the clothes from India and asked Eric if he had ever been to India.

"I was in the Durrani Empire during the mid-eighteenth century for a while. This is the area now known as Afghanistan, and it is very near to India." He moved his chair a little closer to mine now that I was done eating. I was having a glass of red wine. I had ordered the spinach ravioli, forgetting they didn't put garlic in any of their food, so the sauce was a little bland. I made it a habit to eat as much spinach as I could, for the iron. Natural iron seemed to taste good to Eric, but the iron pills I sometimes took tasted a little metallic to him. I had a luscious ripe mango for dessert, a flavor vampires seem to savor in blood.

"Why were you there?" I asked. As always, I was fascinated to learn anything I could about Eric's past. Now that we were married, he was much more relaxed about sharing things like this with me.

"We were mercenaries, vampires hired by the Shah to wipe out his enemies. Our vampire troop was called the 'Daevas'." He spelled the word for me and went on. "In return we Daevas were given protection, women, and of course, gold."

"Women?" I asked, trying to sound casual. I took a large sip of my wine.

"Only diseased women the Shah and his generals didn't want." Eric smiled and winked at me. My heart hurt thinking of the exotic beauties he must have fed on, those he had bedded.

Eric continued, "The women were unnecessary once the battles near Panipat started. Those wars went on for years providing me and my men plenty of opportunity to feed. When the war was almost over, we took our gold and sailed from the Port of Karachi."

"Where did you go then?"

Eric thought for a bit and I sipped wine. He said, "I believe we went back to Svíþjóð .. uh .., the Suetidi, Sweden, but I didn't stay there long. We should get going if we are going to make the first show."

We were going to see the stage version of the musical "Little Shop of Horrors". The first show was for mixed audiences, humans and vamps. The second later show was for vampires only. Of course I could have attended the later show if I wanted to now that I had vampire status, but Eric said he didn't think I was ready for the vampire edition. I relied on his good judgment, though I must admit I was curious.

Our good relationship with the King got us seats in the third row. This was the first musical I ever saw from this close and it was amazing. The songs were mostly catchy rock and roll numbers, the plot was fun and the acting was wonderful. I thought I recognized a few famous actors, now undead, but it was considered impolite to point them out or use their human names. Most famous people that had chosen to become undead took new names and new identities, though I suppose if show business is in your blood it would still be something you wanted to do, vampire or not. Becoming Vampire was like the ultimate witness protection program.

I left the theater humming "Grow for Me" and blushed when Eric bent down and whispered in my ear that was exactly what he was planning to do. We practically ran back to our room.



more to come .....
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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman in Vampire Land part eleven

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Chapter Eleven

Returning to the hustle and bustle of the modern mall after being in Ivy's parlor must have been what it's like to fall asleep in one century and wake up in another. Everything seemed to be moving too fast, the pace too hectic, the crowds too noisy. I needed to be alone and quiet to absorb what, if anything, I had truly learned. I went back to my silent dimly lit room to think.

I had the knowledge I wanted. How enormous and yet how incomplete that knowledge was. Part of me rebelled against knowing. This was frightening wisdom, knowing my fate was potentially beyond anything I had imagined. Under the right circumstances what might I have been capable of? What could I have achieved with my life?

The barrage of questions that filled my mind had no answers, and I concluded with nothing more profound than believing anything can happen. Reality was as shapeless as a cloud, with every breath of wind reforming it into some new fantastic shape. There was relief in returning to the here and now of my current life. I was grateful for what I was blessed with in the life I had.

After eating the power bar I had purchased in a health food kiosk, and drinking a bottle of all natural apple cider I felt like taking a rest. The question went through my mind, "Was there an unnatural apple cider?" Maybe cider made from those fake plastic decorative apples. I would have to look up the meaning of the words "all natural" when it came to food. It didn't seem to mean anything.

I stripped off my clothes and slid under the clean lavender scented silky sheets. As I drifted off on my nap, the smiling face of Ricky Laudermilk and the pretty faces of the three daughters flashed across my mind again and again.

Hours later, a quiet knock on my door woke me. I put on a robe and answered the door. It was the pleasant shopkeeper with my beautiful clothes and items from India. After taking the packages and thanking her, I laid the rainbow of gauzy and glittering garments out on the bed. I was going to need more hangers. I chose an outfit to wear tonight and went to shower and get ready for Eric. He was in the safe room attached to this suite, and he would be coming through the carved wooden doors in a couple of hours. I wanted to wow him on our honeymoon. Last night didn't really count, I figured, we were so stressed out from the airline's mistake.

We would go out to dinner, then take in a show. Tomorrow night was the Grand Opening of Vampire Land, by invitation only for the King's favorites. But tonight we could do what we wanted to.

After a lot of putting clothes on and taking them off, I twirled in the mirror admiring the exotic outfit I would wear tonight. I wore a wrap around cotton skirt with elephants and flowers on it, all of them sequined and shining, and an apricot silk embroidered blouse that picked up the color of the flowers in the skirt. I had embossed leather sandals on my feet and an ankle bracelet with tiny bells that jingled when I walked, though not loud enough to be annoying. A rose quartz bracelet circled each wrist. My hair was loose and wild, and that's how I felt. I thought we could come back to the room after dinner and make love. I was ready for anything.

But I was not ready for Eric. He came through the doors, saw me and instantly I was in his arms. His reaction to me was everything I could have hoped for. I began to speak but he said, "shhhhhh" and silenced me with his kisses. He kissed my ankle bracelet, he ran his hands up under my skirt, he enjoyed the feel of the silk in my blouse. I had trained him not to ruin my clothes in only six months.

Replacing his impetuous urge to rip the clothes off me was a new found sensuality. He saw my clothes were not an obstacle to his enjoyment of me, but an enhancement. The fierceness of his vampire lust had changed now that I was all his, he was emotionally wilder, more open to telling me of his love, his wants, in English. He was deliriously happy with the safety our union brought him. He was, as Gran would have called it, a "marrying man" meaning a man that was meant to be married.

Yes, marriage agreed with Eric. The tenderness with which he touched the wife of his blood was in dramatic contrast to the need filled near attacks he had with other willing women. It was all he knew until I taught him different. He helped me undress, careful not to snag the sequins or pull the silk fabric of my blouse. This carefulness made him the best lover, the lover that paid attention to details, the lover that was teachable. I whispered this to him while he unbuckled my sandals. It made him proud to hear it.

I could give him blood, and did, but I could not have any of his blood. I had come too close to being turned recently. I was waiting until all the effects of his blood wore off. I had also had the blood of our vampire neighbor, though it was not by choice.

Now I was much more careful. Eric was brilliant at erotic improvisation and tonight I was his goddess from India. He worshiped at my temple, thanking me for my bounty. I felt like a goddess in my new clothes, and then I felt like a goddess without them. Even without his blood, after wards, I floated in the eternal union of lovers through infinite space for a time, leaving this confusing world, and the alternate universes, behind.


more to come .....
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(I really appreciate you taking the time to comment, it means everything.)
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Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman in Vampire Land part ten

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Chapter Ten

As I floated down past the leaves and vines I noticed there were objects interwoven in the greenery. Miss Becky, my favorite doll when I was a child and my parents were still alive, Gran's blackberry pie, my mother's faded blue gingham dress, my father's Timex watch, Jason's stuffed horse. I tried to grab them, but they were just out of reach. Down I went until I landed with a soft bump on the lawn of Bill's house. The lawn was lush and green, with flowers bordering the house.

Bill's house? That was a surprise. I floated over the house and saw it was beautifully restored. The outside was painted cream and sage green. The woodwork, so chipped and rotting the last time I saw it, was now painted, with the bad parts replaced. The steps didn't sag, the doors didn't hang off their hinges, the windows were sparking clean.

Ivy's voice sounded in my head. "This is your home now Sookie. You live here with your husband and three daughters."

My breath caught in my throat. Three daughters! If hadn't been born telepathic I would have married and had three daughters. I went through the door and to the back of the house where the kitchen was. The kitchen was a large renovated country kitchen, the kind of a kitchen you can really cook a big meal in. I saw myself and three beautiful blond haired girls. The oldest looked to be about ten, the youngest about four. We were all giggling and making cookies without a cookie cutter. The cookies were all kinds of strange shapes, and we were taking turns guessing what they were supposed to be. I immediately loved these children, my children, my lovely and loving daughters. I ached to hug them.

"Their names are Adele, Linda and Charlaine. They can't see you or hear you, but I can hear you." Ivy said, sounding like she was standing right behind me.

"Why are we living in Bill's old house?" I asked.

"It is your husband's house. He is the one that restored it. His name is Ricky Laudermilk. Bill Compton never returned to Bon Temps to meet the telepath, because there was no telepath. When old Mr. Compton passed away, the house reverted to the nearest relatives, which were the Laudermilks. You met Ricky while he was restoring the house. He had planned to sell it, but once he met you he proposed and you moved in here after your wedding. Here comes your husband now."

I could immediately see why the alternate non-telepathic me had picked Ricky Laudermilk to marry. He looked a lot like a young Elvis Presley, with an unruly dark pompadour that dipped down over his forehead, and that same sensuous mouth that twisted up on one side into a near sneer when he smiled. He was a brown eyed handsome man. His shirt sleeves were rolled up showing arms that did some kind of manual labor, perhaps carpentry. He wore his threadbare beltless Levi jeans slung low on his hips. He wore cowboy boots.

The little girls clustered around him all talking at once, getting flour and dough on his pants. He was talking to them, but looking over their heads at their mother and giving her the most loving amused look. His eyes sparkled with humor and satisfaction, a man that was glad to come through the door at night.

I could tell this was a good marriage, and a happy home. They weren't rich in money, but they were rich in so many other ways. If I hadn't been telepathic I would never have met Bill, never have gotten involved with vampires. I would have met Ricky Laudermilk and married him and had his children. Now I knew what would have happened if I wasn't telepathic. I was ready to leave. There was nothing more to be gained at watching this young happy family.

I floated backwards, back up the green tunnel, up and out of the top, floated down to sit on the white couch, right where I was when I started. The vines unwound themselves and returned to Ivy. Then it was just her and me sitting on our couches in the silent white room. I didn't know what to say.

"You do not need to say anything to me, Mrs. Stackhouse. This was a moment in time, a snapshot of what might have been. So many other things might go along with this alternate reality too, things you didn't see and couldn't know." Her large green eyes looked sad and compassionate. I had the powerful feeling she knew of something bad that happened in this other life. I didn't want to know what it was. No one's life is without sorrow, without struggle, without regret. It was good Ivy reminded me of that. I saw a happy moment in that life, who knew what another moment might bring?

Without another word she got up and went back through the white curtains in the rear of the shop. After a few minutes of sitting, I got up and left too. The little bell tinkled again on my way out, announcing my departure.


more to come .....
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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman in Vampire Land part nine

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Chapter Nine

"What would be the purpose of seeing what might have been?" I asked. Gran always said that there was no use crying over spilled milk. Or, in the case of vampires, spilled blood.

"To satisfy your curiosity. Most people have at least one question about their alternative reality. What if such and such hadn't happened the way it did? What would my life have been like? Sometimes the answer is comforting, and sometimes the answer confirms the client's worst fears. I have no control over how the answer affects anyone. All I can do is to warn them and ask, 'Do you really want to know the answer?'. For those that wish to proceed I can help." She gave a little modest shrug.

Again I tried to read her mind. Again I heard the bland generic elevator music, this time playing "Close to You". She was obviously a powerful supernatural being with a sense of humor. What was she doing reading fortunes in a mall?

I asked her price. It was steep, but she wasn't just some cold reader spouting soothing generalities over her tea leaves, this woman had powers. Did I want the answer to my question? I had several questions, but I knew I could only do one at a time. I asked about repeat visits.

"Of course," she said. "If you need time to think about your question we can set up an appointment for another day." She reached in her large pocket for a little white notebook and pen.

"You have fascinated me with your talents, Ivy," I said. "I want a reading today." I had one question that had always haunted me throughout my life. How would my life have been different if I hadn't been born with the blessing and the curse of telepathy?

"Shall I charge this to your room?" she asked, making a note in her little white notebook with a little white pen.

"Yes, do you want the number?" I asked, feeling as if she already knew who I was. She had called me "Mrs. Stackhouse", already knowing I was married, though I was wearing my sapphire and diamond wedding ring and that might have been her clue.

"That won't be necessary," she said. She put her notebook away and smoothed her dress.

Now I was sure she had known who I was. "How do you know me?" I asked. I was feeling a little weirded out about that.

"We receive weekly updates on all the humans that are staying at the palace that have Vampire status. They .... you, receive special considerations and rates," she smiled at me and that twinkle flashed in her right eye again. I wasn't used to getting special privileges, it felt great.

She asked me if I was ready to begin. I was. She sat on one couch and I sat on the other. "Just look at me and don't become alarmed at anything you see. Nothing here can hurt you, and your vision will have no more lasting effects than a dream. All you need to do is relax and look at me. I will be your guide to what might have been...."

As I listened to her singsong voice I noticed the vines on her face started moving. They slid back and forth, coming away from her skin, then they began moving slowly and in a rhythmic way towards me. One by one they made their swaying way over to where I was sitting and began to circle me.

Faster and faster they circled, not touching me, but making a living tunnel of ivy plants. The tunnel opened up under my feet and I began sliding, slowly and almost without the feeling of gravity, down down down the green tunnel. A light seemed to come through the green leaves like the sun was shining on the other side. The green light it cast was cool and soothing.


more to come ......
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Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman in Vampire Land part eight

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Chapter Eight

A bell on a spring was hit by the opening door as I entered, the tinkle alerting the owner she had a customer. The inside of the shop was pristine white: walls, carpet, and furniture consisting of two couches facing each other. I wondered how anyone that had a shop open to the public kept things so spotlessly clean. She must shampoo the rug and couches every night. Unless she seldom had a customer wander in, being tucked away in such a remote little corner of the mall. I bet her rent was cheap.

There are many unusual people in my life, to say the least, so I have become good at not appearing shocked by the unusual. This was useful because the woman that came out from behind the white curtain in the back of the shop was, at first, shocking to look at. She was of average height with very light brown straight fine hair that hung past her bare shoulders. She had a slender build, she wore a gauzy white knee length sleeveless tent dress with big patch pockets and she was barefoot. She was pretty, but not off the charts.

What made her appearance unusual was her tattoos. She had a fine tracery of dark green vines and leaves tattooed over every inch of her body that I could see, including her eyelids. The vines curved around, winding down her arms, up her neck, across her cheeks and down her legs. Even her feet were covered in the elaborate design. The vines disappeared under her hairline and I thought I could see through her part that her scalp was also covered in the vine pattern. This must have represented hundreds of hours of tattooing. I can't even guess what it might have cost or the pain involved.

"Hello," she said, walking sinuously towards me. "Can I help you?" Her voice was young and light.

"Well, I don't rightly know," I said, smiling at the woman. "What do you do here?"

She invited me sit on one of the couches while she sat on the other one. Her accent was the singsong type of speech I associate with California. She explained that she called forth the specter of what might have been in the client's life if a certain circumstance was changed. I would pick the changed circumstance and she would show me what my alternate life would have been like at some point.

There was no way to control which moment in my alternate life I would be seeing. It could be the present, that was often the case. But it could also be some moment in the alternate reality far in the future. There were no guarantees that what the client saw would make sense. Ivy wove a trance where I would see what I would be doing under the changed conditions, when and where were anybody's guess.

This fascinated me and also made me suspicious. How could anyone possibly know how things would be different? It was mere speculation. She saw the skepticism on my face and told me that the reading was for entertainment purposes only, that it in no way represented any actual travel to an alternate reality. She pointed to a sign on the wall behind the door stating that. The way she said it led me to believe that just the opposite was true. She was a strange woman with a strange way about her, but I liked her. There was something wholesome and trustworthy about her, odd as her tattoos were.

The mention of alternative realities reminded me of Anna Hita. She was able to travel to alternative realities. Maybe this woman was too. Just because she looked like a tattooed human didn't mean she was one. I tried to read her mind and got .... elevator music. It was playing "The Girl From Ipanema". I looked in her eyes and noticed they were also dark green. They slanted up in a mischievous little smile as I tried to get into her mind. A tiny light sparkled for a split second in her right eye, or did I just imagine it?

"I'm sorry, I didn't get your name," I said, now very interested in what this young woman had to offer me. "My name is Sookie Stackhouse." I thought I detected the shimmer of magic in the air around the woman. It was hard to tell with all the white.

"Pleased to meet you, Mrs. Stackhouse. My name is Arianrhod, but everyone calls me Ivy." Looking at her head to foot tattoos, I guessed I wasn't going to have any trouble remembering her name.



more to come ........
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Friday, September 25, 2009

Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman in Vampire Land part seven

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Chapter Seven

When I took my travel dress off to shower I realized it was ruined. There would be no way to get the blood and other vampire splatter out of the cream linen fabric. I planned on sending the bill for the dress to Alfred Wheedle. He was the one that began the physical altercation that resulted in the dress being ruined. I still had the receipt for the dress too. Judge Judy would be proud of me. Case closed.

Soon blessed hot water cascaded over me as I washed the lawyers out of my hair and off my skin. I hummed the song "I'm gonna wash that man right out of my hair" from 'South Pacific' as I shampooed. I learned the song from one of Gran's records. She had seen the musical play done at the Shreveport Summer Theater in 1952 and she never forgot it.

Once I was clean and dry I needed to lay down for a few minutes and rest my eyes. The next thing I knew Eric was laying next to me, pressing his cool naked flesh against mine. I turned and was in his arms, like a wonderful dream come true. Our lovemaking started slowly and sweetly, but ended in a wild finale that made me glad the rooms were soundproofed.

When we were done I snuggled in his embrace, not sure how much time we had, but loving every precious second. I planned on filling him in on the events of the day and evening, but to my surprise, I must have dozed right off again, because when I awoke I was alone. It was daytime, and there was a note from Eric on the back of my note to him telling him where I was when I went to see the lawyer.

His note read, "My Dearest Wife, See you tonight. Have Fun today. Why is your Dress in the trash can? Why does it smell like my lawyer? My undying love, Your Husband, Eric." Then, at the bottom in much smaller print was written, "Did you notice I made a joke by signing my note My Undying Love, because I am a Vampire and will not die therefore my Love will not die either?" Eric was proud of himself for making a written joke.

I smiled. Eric always signed his notes like I had any number of men leaving me messages and I might be confused about who the message was from. He wrote in a combination of writing and printing in styles that spanned several centuries. No two notes were ever the same style and I treasured them. I kept them in a memento box tied up with a red ribbon at home. I tucked this one in the pleated pocket in my suitcase as I finished unpacking, then I headed out to the mall.

Since I live out in the woods most of the time I enjoyed wandering around the mall and seeing all the people, tourists mostly, enjoying themselves. I saw one woman take her child aside and talk to him about picking out the one thing he wanted rather than whining about everything. I admired her patience and good parenting skills. Where does someone go to get those skills if they didn't grow up with them?

My childhood with my parents had been cut short by their fatal accident. Gran had raised Jason and me, but we were always good kids and tried to help her with the enormous and unexpected task of raising two children in her senior years. That's not to say we didn't get in trouble, but it was not the kind of trouble I hear about today. Those were simpler times, I guess.

I noticed a new wing had been added to the mall. All the shops in this wing were dedicated to what I thought of as the New Age arts, though most of them were based on ancient teachings and knowledge. There were massage parlors, not the naughty kind, but real massages and specialty massages that used warm stones, scented oils, quartz crystals, soothing music, colored lights, and special fragrances that healed and restored your inner emotional balance, if the signs on the shops were to be believed.

There was an acupuncturist, a palm reader, a tea leaf reader, and a phrenologist. The phrenologist read the bumps in your head and told you things about yourself. I had read this was discredited many years ago, yet here was a practitioner. I was reminded of the Bugs Bunny cartoon where he offered to read the bumps on Elmer Fudd's head. Elmer said he didn't have any bumps on his head, so Bugs took out a big hammer and gave him some. I loved those cartoons as a kid, I would have to remember to get some from Netflix to show Eric.

I stopped in a shop that had lovely cotton dresses and clothes from India. I was swept away by the bright colors, sequined skirts, silk blouses, and soft cloth flat shoes. The perfumed oils were richly exotic and the jewelry flashed and tinkled with tiny bells and real gem stone beads. I am embarrassed to say how much I spent in there. Let's just say I would have needed to work a week in Merlotte's to pay for it. I was going to wow Eric in these clothes six ways to Sunday. I had my purchases sent to my room so I wouldn't have to walk around carrying bags.

In open tent like kiosks near the curving staircase winding up to the second level were a crystal ball reader and a tarot card reader. Their prices were very reasonable, but there were quite a few people already waiting for their turn. I had a fruit smoothie from a vendor and thought about whether I wanted to wait.

When I went to the side hall that had the rest rooms to wash my hands and throw the smoothie cup away, I saw a little shop at the far end of the hall tucked in under the stairs leading to the second level. The sign, written in the spidery old fashioned handwriting of the elderly, said, "What Might Have Been". The door was an odd shape to accommodate the wedge shaped space under the stairs, I had to bend down to enter the shop.


more to come .....
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(Thank you for your comments and for coming along.)
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A List of all my stories.

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Thank you for taking an interest in my stories. I know how confusing this website can be because the stories are published "upside down". You can access the stories in order by starting at the earliest date (in 2008) and working your way up. The dates to click on are on the left of this page.

Several of the stories are stand alone pieces. They don't really tie in specifically with the two main story lines. The stand alone stories are:

Sookie's Birthday Surprise

A Little Fantasy

There are two main story lines, one with Bill written from author's point of view, and one with Eric written in the style of the SVM from Sookie's point of view. I love both Bill and Eric as characters, and I felt bad for Bill because he needed therapy, that's what got me started on his story line. The Bill stories are:

The Vampire Bill Compton Sees the Truth
The Vampire Bill Compton Learns What is Safe - part one
The Vampire Bill Compton Learns What is Safe - part two
The Vampire Bill Compton's Dark Fantasy (A side piece to this story line) -
The Vampire Bill Compton Gets Real
The Vampire Bill Compton Feels the Love
Sookie Stackhouse Is All Shook Up (A side piece to this story line)
Bill and Sookie Visit Cirque du Macabre (This is just a little aside from the story "The Vampire Bill Compton Learns What is Safe")

I left off with our beloved Bill feeling the love, that was my main goal with him.
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I adore Eric, and seem to be writing about him right now. The Eric stories are:

Sookie Stackhouse Wins Eric Northman
Soookie Stackhouse Misses Eric Northman
Sookie Stackhouse Ties the Knot With Eric Northman
Sookie Stackhouse Helps Eric Northman Get Ahead
Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman Visit Vampire Land (the current story)


I have also put on various fantasy images of how I imagine the characters might look.

Again, to everyone reading my stories, I thank you for joining me in my interpretation and variations on the brilliant and, for me, life changing richness of the works of my Maker, Charlaine Harris. She has Turned me into a Fanpire.

more to come ....
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Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman in Vampire Land part six

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Chapter Six

"Mrs. Stackhouse, may I speak with you about your husband?" His big voice boomed through the hotel hallway.

"Meet me in the Crypt in five minutes," I yelled. I sure as heck wasn't meeting with any vampire in my room, even if he did look like Wilford Brimley. The Crypt was the central lounge in the hotel section of the palace. I left a note for Eric telling him where I was, although I didn't expect him for hours, and left for the lounge. The silent hallways were sort of creepy. I think the rooms might have been soundproofed. What happened at the palace stayed at the palace.

The Crypt was almost empty, but the staff was there, so I felt safe enough meeting the older man. He had a briefcase and stood as I approached his table. He held out his hand, an unusual thing for a vampire to do. His big bushy mustache hid his mouth, but it looked like he was smiling. I wondered if the mustache got in the way of his feeding. It wasn't all stained red, it was a silvery white, like his impressive mane of hair. Maybe he hadn't fed yet today to maintain his dignified appearance. Maybe he used a straw.

"Pleased to meet you, Mrs. Stackhouse. I am Alfred Wheedle, attorney at law." He handed me a card. He was with the law firm of Wheedle, Cheatham, and Wormer and his firm specialized in lawsuits involving wrongful treatment of vampires. How had he heard about this so fast? He must have a contact within the airline that gave him a call whenever there was a problem.

We sat down at the round Formica table in the dimly lit lounge. He made what appeared to be sincere and sympathetic eye contact with me as he explained that he understood my husband, a powerful and important vampire, had been horribly mistreated by Anubis Air. What an actor! The man looked to be on the verge of tears. He wanted to represent me in a lawsuit against the airline. "We would not be doing this for the money, we would be doing it to teach the airline a lesson that they must be more careful in the future, to prevent others from suffering the way you have."

This last little speech of his was so worn flat by repetition he sounded like he was reciting it off an index card. He waved away the waitress when she started to head our way to offer to serve us, although I would have loved a cup of coffee at that moment.

Before I could think how to answer him a small dapper red haired man in large horn rimmed glasses came trotting up to the table. He was wearing a fabulous forest green suit and he also had a briefcase. "I'm so happy I caught you, Mrs. Stackhouse," he said.

He was a vampire too. He looked like he would be out of breath if he had one. He held out his small cool hand and we shook. His handshake was perfect: firm, brisk, and personal. He packed a lot of information into his handshake. I wondered if he practiced, and if so, how he practiced. I wouldn't mind having a handshake like that. I guess all these vampire lawyers shake hands with humans. He handed me his card. The expensive feeling super thick matte rectangle of paper showed that he was from the law firm of Chase, Hunter and Kilcullen. He was Counselor at Law Kevin Kilcullen, the law firm that usually represented Eric in his business matters. He too wished to help me sue the airlines for their "abominable and incompetent malfeasance".

"Excuse me, Mr. Kilcullen," Alfred Wheedle spluttered, "But Mrs. Stackhouse has already engaged my law firm's services." He waved a sheet of paper around, a paper I had neither seen nor touched. I think he was trying to imply I had already signed a contract. That was being intentionally deceptive, a strike against Mr. Wheedle in my opinion.

Kevin Kilcullen looked at me questioningly. "I haven't made any commitment to sue anybody," I informed him. "I would need to discuss a decision like that with my husband." Eric was still in the air, it seemed premature to think about taking legal action until I heard why he had been misplaced.

Alfred Wheedle continued as if I hadn't spoken, "My good sir, I am sure once Mrs. Stackhouse hears about our ninety seven percent success rate, and our average settlement of over a million dollars she will ..."

Kevin Kilcullen cut him off. "My esteemed friend, I am sure your firm is excellent, however Mr. Northman has been our client for the last eleven ..."

Alfred Wheedle's voice bellowed, coming from his big middle, "Cease and desist sirrah from your unseemly conduct .."

Kilcullen's brogue got thicker as he said, "Sure'n, you would be the unseemly one here. Your ambulance chasing methods are the bane ..."

Those were the last words he spoke before the portly grey haired Wheedle leaped on him, transforming in mid-leap into the most lethal form of elongated vampire. I jumped back in surprise, my chair falling backwards and dropping me painfully on my butt on the floor. Good thing I had a little extra junk in the trunk for padding.

I crawled backwards while the two vampires went at it. They talked while they fought. Most of it was too garbled to understand, but I caught the phrases "does not take these matters lightly" and "stubborn old goat" coming from the bloody blur that the two learned gentleman were quickly becoming. The waitress helped me to get up and further away from the fighting lawyers, while the bartender called security.

You might think the bigger older vamp would have the advantage, but if little Mr. Kilcullen was older he would be stronger. Blood and chunks of suit, briefcase and lawyer flew around the room. My dress, already wrinkled from the hours spent hunched over the computer monitor watching Eric's carrier, was now splattered with lawyer. I wondered if this could be considered a "messy legal battle".

I crouched down behind the bar while the biggest vampires I ever saw showed up and tasered the lawyers. They had tasers that shot UV rays. Both lawyers went down and were dragged away.

After thanking the waitress I went back to the room. If I didn't get a hot shower in the next five minutes I was going to have a complete meltdown.


more to come .....
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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman in Vampire Land part five

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Chapter Five

"Meessees Ssstackhoussse," the King said in his noble Spanish accent, giving a courtly bow, "I am, as always, dazzled by your beauty."

I bowed back, smiling at his flamboyant greeting, glad to finally have a way of greeting the king that suited me. When I still had human legal status I had tried to curtsy, making some kind of awkward dip in the King's direction, but I wasn't suited to greeting royalty like that since I was a born and bred American girl.

Now that I was married to Eric I had legal vampire status, so the acceptable greeting was a bow, rather a deep one since this was the King. Bows went from a slight inclination of the head to a full bow from the waist, depending on the rank and age of the vampire being acknowledged. The King and I were friends from way back. I had saved his life, and he didn't forget things like that.

I invited the King in. Like most vampires he was unchanged from the last time I saw him. His thick wavy chin length hair set off his masculine face. He was not a tall man, but his elegance and assured manner would make him extraordinary in any setting, even if he hadn't been the King. He had that bad boy twinkle in his warm brown eyes that five centuries of hard living hadn't diminished. The King was alone. Being Vampire, he didn't need, or want, an entourage.

"You're not looking too shabby yourself, your Majesty," I said back to him. His flirtatious and playful nature did not distract me from the fact that he was perfectly capable of ordering someone's head or hands to be chopped off, or fangs ripped from their face. He was your basic old fashioned full service monarch, not just a figurehead like most of today's rulers are.

His wedding was coming up in a few days. He was marrying Trinity Godwin, a human woman. I inquired after Trinity. They had attended my wedding and given us quite a jaw dropping wedding gift of cash. We had something special planned to give to them too. I hoped the gifts would be ready by the time of the wedding.

Eric's unprecedented absence had been so unsettling to the King he had personally come to inquire where Eric was. As he asked about Eric his eyes swept the room. I couldn't read vampire minds but I could tell he was looking for signs that Eric had gotten so carried away with either blood lust or lust lust towards me he had simply forgotten about his meeting. This was something a vampire could understand. Sometimes things got out of hand with vampires, and you never knew who was going to lose it or when. You could only hope that you weren't around when it happened.

I watched the King's eyes widen in shock as he heard about Eric's unscheduled trip to Cleveland. Anubis Air had a perfect reputation, this was the first screw up anyone had ever heard of. That didn't mean other things hadn't happened, they could have happened and been hushed up. I asked the King if he wanted Eric to check in with him when he arrived, but the King said not to bother, there would be time enough to review the new issues the sheriff's meeting had covered. I sensed something big was happening, or had happened, but I was unable to tell what it was.

After the King left I gathered my things together to take a nice long shower and relax. All those hours sitting in a chair in Jim Gunn's office had left me feeling achy and tense. I wanted to spend a little time with my groom before he was down for the day.

Another light knock on my door stopped me in my tracks. I put down my bath things and went to look at the monitor. A large barrel shaped elderly man in an old fashioned suit with a vest stood there. He had a huge drooping white mustache, and he was a vampire. I was so tempted to just tiptoe away from the door and forget about him, but of course he would have heard me walking across the floor and I didn't know who he was. My rudeness to an important vampire would reflect badly on Eric. There wasn't an intercom, so I tried yelling through the door.

"Yes? What is it?" I shouted.


more to come .....
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Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman in Vampire Land part four

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Chapter Four

I talked to Eric on the cell phone as I was checking into the palace. The guest rooms in the palace were run just like a first class hotel that catered to vampires. Our call kept getting interrupted by bursts of static because a thunder storm was passing by.

Eric was supposed to meet with the King tonight, all the sheriffs were required to be there. He asked me if I could leave an explanation for his unavoidable absence with the King's secretary Sarno Stone. I told him I would do that. There wasn't much to say until Eric got here, so we made our call short, but sweet.

I had met Sarno several times. He was a personable energetic young man that seemed more human than vampire. This made him an ideal liaison between humans that had business with the King and the vampires. I would head down to Sarno's office once I got our suitcases in the room and was a little settled in.

A frightened looking human man in the black and purple palace uniform pushed a squeaking cart with the luggage on it down the labyrinth of softly illuminated hushed carpeted corridors. He avoided eye contact with me, apparently not knowing if I was Vampire or not. His mind was filled with a litany of things he wanted to remember in order to stay safe and do his job properly. No tipping was allowed for those staying in the guest rooms, so the human bellhop was mainly trying to get through the night alive. He was terrified of the vampires.

Eric and I had a large suite on the fifth floor, rooms tastefully appointed in a lovely combination of serene colors, shining, gleaming and glittering surfaces, and reproductions of antiques and fine art. At least I supposed they were reproductions. Eric had schooled me in just how valuable some old pieces of furniture could be, though I was far from being an expert. Before Eric, I had only known two categories of furniture, "old" furniture and "new" furniture, my farmhouse was mostly decorated with the "old" kind.

The room contained a seating area with a huge HD television, an office area with everything needed to conduct business, and a spa like bathroom. Those in the King's favor were treated splendidly. This lovely room was evidence of Eric's place in the King's good graces.

The palace also provided top daytime security for the resting vampire. I would have lots of things to keep me amused while Eric was dead for the day. Aside from shopping in the world class mall there were movie theaters, beauty salons, and a food court offering just about every type of food imaginable. Once Vampire Land opened, in two nights, that would be added to the list of attractions the palace had to offer. There was a large hotel and motel combination in a nearby building for paying guests, shuttle buses and rental cars, and even tourist guides, all sending money flowing into the King's coffers. Ka-ching, ka-ching, let that cash register ring.

King Felipe de Castro, a handsome and charming Spanish nobleman from 15th-century Cordoba, had been the King of Nevada when he took advantage of the Queen of Louisiana's injuries to take over from her, killing her and her guards in the process. Now he was the undisputed ruler of three states; Nevada, Louisiana and Arkansas.

His experience in mining the tourist trade in Las Vegas came in handy now that New Orleans was the Vampire capital of the world. Tourists that wanted to see vampires up close and personal flocked to the Big Easy, money clenched in their hot little hands. They came here for a scary good time. Vampire Land was the cherry on the cake. Every day was Halloween at the palace.

I hung up the clothes that needed it. Eric's luggage had made it safe and sound to the palace, the only thing that had been misrouted was the vampire himself. I planned on taking a shower and changing into something inviting to wait for Eric, but first I needed to visit Sarno Stone's office and explain Eric's absence from the King's meeting. Not attending a compulsory meeting was unheard of, it was important I make Eric's apologies as soon as possible.

A short knock on my door brought me to the small monitor to see who was here. More sophisticated than a peephole, a camera showing who was outside the door was only one of many security measures to make sure the King's guests were safe and comfortable. This was a big change from the furtive, fugitive life of a vampire before the Great Revelation.

Once vampires had appeared on TV's all over the world and announced their presence, along with their assurances they were no longer a danger to humans due to the invention of synthetic blood, the entire destiny of vampires had changed. Now they could live openly and in luxury. At least in countries like the good old U.S. of A. where vampires were being mainstreamed into our melting pot society. In more repressive countries, not so much.

When I saw the monitor I knew I wouldn't need to go to the trouble of going to Sarno Stone's office to offer Eric's excuse. The King himself stood at my door. I opened wide.



more to come ......
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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman in Vampire Land part three

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Chapter Three

I folded my arms over my chest, shaking my head until my carefully curled-to-look tousled hair swung back and forth and said again, "No, no, no."

It was my intention to sit right here and watch Eric's carrier on the security camera until nightfall when I could speak with him and make plans to connect with him. But Mr. Gunn wanted me to go to the palace and wait until night. He assured me that Eric would be fine, he offered me beverages and food, which I refused, and he told me we would be compensated for the inconvenience.

He offered me what Anubis called the "Golden Key". It would allow us to travel free anywhere, anytime, for the rest of our very long lives. I refused to accept anything until I could speak with Eric, because I knew the airline was in big trouble for this breach of security. I was hoping that this would give me the leverage I needed to make sure Eric was safe until he was back in my arms. That was really all I cared about.

That little screen was the only connection I had with my husband. Even though I couldn't fit into the screen and go to where he was, I could at least maintain a vigil over his carrier. I wasn't leaving this office until night fall.

Once my intention became known, Mr. Gunn went into his role as damage control officer or whatever he was called. He tried to minimize the problem while painting a rosy picture of how things would turn out. His talking was like the annoying drone of the TV when all you want to hear is silence.

"Look," I said, sounding a little testy, "I know you're supposed to smooth things over with me. But nothing is going to help until I can speak to my husband and make sure he's OK. This picture is the only thing that's keeping me from pitching a fur flying fit. You can just do paperwork or something until nightfall, but talking to me is only getting on my last nerve."

He sat back, nodding. He got it. In fact, he was admiring my loyalty and hoped his wife would be so persistent if he ever needed someone to have his back. We smiled at each other briefly, then I went back to watching the screen.

The hours ticked by, the plane landed and the other carriers began to be unloaded. Mr. Gunn was on the phone with the crew unloading the coffins. They were instructed not to touch Eric's coffin. Just as they were bringing out the last of the coffins Eric's carrier opened and he stepped out, still in the hold. He looked around, immediately aware he was not in the luxurious surroundings of the palace where he should be. The crew member with the phone handed it to Eric. He put it to his head cautiously, as if it might be booby trapped.

"Eric, it's Sookie, " I said excitedly. "They accidentally sent you to Cleveland, Ohio. We're going to get you back right away." If Eric flew all night he could arrive back here before dawn and we could get him settled in at the palace.

"Sookie, are you all right?" he asked. It was so good to hear his deep mellow voice. I didn't have much time to reassure him, he was going to get on another plane immediately and fly back to New Orleans. He would be able to speak with me from the phone on the plane. He had his cell phone, and I had mine. He told me he would call me as soon as he was back on board the return flight.

I hung up with a sigh. I needed a bathroom something fierce. I hadn't wanted to use one and take my eyes off Eric until he rose. Now that he was up he would be OK. An awake vampire is pretty much indestructible, and an awake thousand year old vampire is a force to be reckoned with. He would be fine now.

After I used the facilities I traveled to the palace, holding the cell phone in my hand the whole time in case Eric called. The airline provided me with a stretch limousine, and it took off into the cool October night towards the palace as fast as it could legally go. I guess they were glad to finally get me out of their hair.


more to come .....
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Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman in Vampire Land part two

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Chapter Two

I let go of Julia's arm and she almost fell backwards. As soon as she regained her balance she started to walk away.

"You stop right there, Julia," I ordered her. She stopped.

I turned to the guy in the suit, "Who are you? What kind of a mix up?"

"Why don't we go sit down and I'll explain what we think happened," he said. He indicated a seating area half a football field away.

"I'm not going anywhere until I get my husband's coffin out of that plane," I stated. I began marching back towards the plane, determined to figure out how to open the hold myself.

"That is what we need to discuss ....." he began.

I whirled on him, fear turning into anger. "We're not going to discuss anything until that hold door is open, buddy," I snapped and continued my walk to the plane.

I tried to read his mind as I walked briskly and he chased after me, but I was so riled up at that point all I could hear was the blood pounding in my temples. I got to the hold door.

"Open it," I demanded. I pulled on the complicated looking latch, but of course it didn't budge.

At that point a security guard came up and looked at the man in the suit questioningly, as if to ask if he should restrain me. The man in the suit said to the guard, "Get someone here from maintenance ."

The guard talked into his walkie talkie while I stood there trying not to go wild. Eric is so very helpless during the day that it is absolutely crucial for me to know his exact whereabouts during those hours. It was like having a new born missing from the nursery. My panic kept rising and I kept pushing it down. It wouldn't help anything for me to start screaming at everyone like a nut case, I have learned that lesson the hard way.

"My name is Jim Gunn, Mrs. Stackhouse," the man in the suit said. He held out his hand. When I shook it I almost fainted. I knew what he was going to say before he said it. "Your husband's travel carrier has accidentally been sent to the wrong city. It was sent to Cleveland," he said. He added, "Ohio," in case I didn't know where Cleveland was.

I could not wrap my head around how this happened. I had stood by the hold until Eric's carrier was put on the plane. Only then did I take my seat. Someone must have taken him off the plane after I was seated. But why? First I had to make sure he was not in the hold. A maintenance man in a brown jump suit drove up in a little electric car with a flashing orange light on the roof. He had the Anubis Air logo on his jumpsuit and a security badge. The two men spoke for a moment, then the maintenance man opened the hatch.

I scrambled up the pull down steps and climbed into the hold. The maintenance man turned on the lights in the hold. It was immediately obvious it was empty. I climbed back out.

"Please let me take you back to my office," Mr. Gunn said, "And we'll straighten all this out."

There seemed to be no use in waiting by the hold door, so I got in the electric car and Mr. Gunn drove me to his office.

He told me my luggage had been sent to the palace and when I arrived a valet would bring it to my rooms. That was great. I knew where my underwear was, I just didn't know where my husband was. Mr. Gunn did a lot of typing on his computer and a page came up. He typed in a lot more things and a picture came up.

"This is the security camera in the hold of Anubis Air Flight 849 to Cleveland," he said. Meanwhile he was making a phone call. He explained the situation to the person on the other end and asked them to put on the lights in the hold. My leg was jiggling I was so nervous while I waited for the lights to come on.

After a long five minutes the lights blazed on and Mr. Gunn switched from one camera to another until he found Eric's carrier. I was familiar with security systems and cameras so I understood what he was doing, but he explained it to me as he went along.

"Here we go," he said. He kept zooming in on the carrier until we could read the label. It was Eric's carrier, it was sealed, and it was fastened securely in the hold as it should have been. I could see Eric's carrier. I felt like hugging the screen. I felt like crying with relief.


more to come .....
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(Howdy everyone, welcome back! Thanks for returning, or if you're new, pleased to meet you.)
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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman in Vampire Land part one

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*Note - I fashioned some of this story around my favorite book "Alice in Wonderland". You might recognize some of the characters or events from that book reworked into this story.
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Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman in Vampire Land
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Chapter One


I was beginning to get very tired of sitting in the waiting area of the airport, and of having nothing to do: once or twice I had tried to read the book I brought with me, a book Amelia was reading and had recommended, but it had no actual vampires in it. It was called "Vampires of the Mind", but it was really about people that seemed to suck the psychic energy out of the minds of others without the use of fangs. What is the use of a book about vampires, I thought, without vampires that had fangs?

So I was considering in my own mind (as well as I could, for the hot day made me feel very sleepy and stupid), whether getting something else to read would be worth the trouble of getting up and going all the way across the terminal to the news stand, when suddenly an Air Anubis flight attendant with pink eyes came out of the plane.

There was nothing so very remarkable in that; nor did I think it so very much out of the way to over hear the flight attendant say to herself, `Oh dear! Oh dear! What should I do?' (when I thought it over afterwards, it occurred to me that I ought to have become alarmed at this, but at the time it all seemed quite natural); but when the flight attendant took a Blackberry out of her pocket, and looked at it, and then hurried away, I started to my feet, for it flashed across my mind that this flight attendant was the last person on the plane.

That is, the last living person on the plane. There was still an undead person on the plane in his travel coffin. That would be my vampire husband, Eric Northman, and this was our honeymoon. We had been married almost a year, but we decided to wait to take our honeymoon until Vampire Land opened.

In another moment I ran after the flight attendant, feeling conflicted about taking my eyes off the special hold that had my husband's body in it.

"Wait up! Miss! Flight Attendant! Stop!" I chased after her yelling. I kept glancing back at the plane not wanting to leave Eric's helpless dead until dark body alone and unguarded. Since it was daylight Eric was dead to the world, literally, and I needed to keep watch over him until he rose tonight. Air Anubis had a spotless reputation for transporting vampires safely to their destinations. I had been waiting for them to unload Eric's coffin to take it to the King's palace here in New Orleans. But that didn't appear to be happening.

She slowed down, then turned around. It looked like she had been crying, or else she had a bad case of pink eye. She walked back to me, looking around like she was waiting for help to arrive. All the Air Anubis attendants were screened to make sure they didn't work for one of the hate groups that wanted to kill vampires. She must have been an albino because she was as pale as a vampire, her hair, eyelashes and eyebrows were a transparent white color. Her other notable feature was an absolutely flat chest. It's nature's little joke that some women are as flat as can be, while other women are walking around with two basketballs on their chest. I fall somewhere in the middle, but I am a little on the busty side.

Her name tag read, "Julia". I found that using someone's name sometimes helps to establish rapport.

"Hi Julia, I'm Sookie Stackhouse, the wife of Eric Northman. I have been waiting for his travel coffin to be unloaded, but it's still in the hold. Can you get someone here to unload him and bring him to the King's palace? I plan on staying with the coffin until it is checked into our room." I was trying to read her mind while I was talking, not an easy feat. She was thinking, "Oh my dear God what am I going to say to her, what are we going to do, oh Lord oh Lord ...." and so on.

I grabbed her arm. "What's wrong?" I asked forcefully. Julia continued to stare at me, pink eyed and mute. I shook her arm and asked again, "What's wrong?" When she still didn't answer I began to drag her back towards the plane. I didn't want to take my eyes off the hold door where Eric was waiting.

"That's all right, Julia. I'll take over from here," a man's mellow voice said behind me. I turned to see a short athletic looking thirty something man with a light brown crew cut. "Are you Mrs. Sookie Stackhouse?" he asked, sounding out of breath. He smoothed down his tie, it looked like he had been running.

"Yes, " I said, looking from the man to the hold and back like I was watching a tennis match. "Where's my husband?"

"I'm afraid there's been a little mix up," he said, trying to smile. My guts knotted up with fear.


more to come .....
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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Fantasy Images of Bala and Morea



I hope to bring these kids back in a later story.

Sookie Stackhouse Helps Eric Northman Get Ahead concluded

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Chapter Ninety Five

We got a hand delivered gold engraved invitation to attend the King's wedding and another engraved invitation to the Grand Opening of Vampire Land.

I was so excited I actually jumped up and down and squealed like a teenager, much to Eric's amusement and delight. He enjoyed my happiness so much, and it seemed to free him to express his own joy. I was seeing more spontaneous emotion from Eric all the time, it was like something in him was thawing and freeing his inner being to feel delight.

This was wonderful in the privacy of our home, the safety of our relationship, but I also hoped Eric would be able to maintain his stoic and impassive demeanor when he was around other vampires. It was a necessary shield to prevent any weakness or vulnerability from showing. Maybe someday vampire society wouldn't be so predatory and harsh, so stuck in the dark ages, but for now Eric needed to keep his guard up.

The King's wedding was going to be a big deal. Vampire King Felipe de Castro was marrying Trinity Godwin, a human woman. I was hoping this would show the world, and Eric, that a marriage between a vampire and a human was an acceptable arrangement. I knew there would be problems in the long run, but at least it showed that the King was not too worried about her human vulnerability to prevent him from marrying her.

I thought about what I would pack for our honeymoon, and discussed it with Eric. I modeled the clothes I would wear and he showed me what he was taking. Getting ready for our trip was already having fun, and we hadn't even set foot in the plane. We spoke to Anna Hita on the phone and arranged for us to get together during our stay in New Orleans.

I packed the photo of Bill holding me when I was a baby. I figured I would probably see him there since he was in charge of all the computers used in the park. I could ask him about it then.

Jason was going to take care of Roscoe while we were gone, and Clancy would check on the house. Pam was going to New Orleans for the wedding, and to spend a couple of days in Vampire Land, but she would need to get back earlier than Eric to keep an eye on Fangtasia. This was Eric's honeymoon after all, he deserved to have a worry free week. Pam was bringing her human biker friend Steve, so they must have bonded. Another vampire and human pairing.

Jason had accepted Eric's job offer, and the two most important men in my life were going to meet several times before the first of the year to set up the company that would make regular homes safe for vampires that weren't wealthy. Jason asked if Hoyt could be part of the crew and Eric consented. Bon Temps was going to lose two of their best employees, but it would be our gain.

Eric was going to leave Clancy in charge of Preston, but I was concerned that the ill tempered Clancy might be abusive towards the vulnerable slaveling. In the end I was able to convince Eric to leave Terren, one of the vampires that showed up regularly in Fangtasia, in charge of Preston. She was a little hard on her human donors but she was always considerate towards her own kind. She would be paid for her caretaking, plus she owed Eric a big favor from the time she almost got the club shut down because she was feeding in the bathroom from a human man, an illegal act. Eric forgave her and allowed her back in the club, but of course he didn't forget. Vampires never forget, do they?

I was fully human and enjoying my days in the sun. I was also enjoying my nights with Eric, my twenty point stag. Soon we would be off for a honeymoon and another big adventure. Next stop, Vampire Land.

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This concludes "Sookie Stackhouse Helps Eric Northman Get Ahead". I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I really really appreciate the time you took to write comments and the thoughtful, encouraging and intelligent things you wrote. All your input is helping my style to evolve and grow so I can tell my stories more effectively.

See you all in Vampire Land .... beginning in October.
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Sookie Stackhouse Helps Eric Northman Get Ahead part ninety four

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Chapter Ninety Four

The next day I got a thick manila envelope in the mail. The envelope had my address on it in carefully drawn block printing, no return address in the upper left corner. Two kinds of tape held the envelope shut, cellophane tape and masking tape. There was a variety of stamps for postage, with the old one cent ones being the most numerous.

I opened the well sealed envelope. Enclosed was a note written in an old fashioned type of ink pen writing on the back of a grocery receipt. The writing was so wavy it was hard to read. The writer must have had a tremor, or been trying very hard to write. I had seen writing like from elderly people with arthritis in their hands.

The note read, "Dear Mrs, Stackhouse, I fond the packege. Maud wanted you to have. Yours Trulley, Hollice Clutter". I guess it was easier for her to send it by mail than to try to get to a phone. Maybe she thought she better mail this while she had it in her hand. If she laid it down in that house of hers it might be another year before it turned up again.

I opened the inner envelope and photographs tumbled out, old black and white photographs. As I looked at them I realized they were photos of my parents, their friends, and me as a baby. I was in a little white dress. There was a party in the back yard of the house Jason lived in now, the house I lived in with my parents until they died when I was eight.

A few of the pictures were taken at night. As I squinted at the old and somewhat blurry photos I saw something that stopped me cold. I got a magnifying glass to make sure I was seeing what I thought I was seeing.

I walked over to the window to get the best light. Under magnification, I could clearly see that in one of the night time photos Bill Compton was holding me. I was a little white bundle, wrapped in a white blanket now that it was the cooler night time. Bill was smiling directly into the camera.

He seemed to be looking right through the photo, through the years, straight into my eyes. He was wearing a white dress shirt and the old fashioned kind of mens pants with the front pleats that looked as if the waist was up five inches higher than men wore the waist of their pants now. Aside from the strange pants he looked just like he always did, with the same shock of dark hair falling rakishly over his pale brow, the same serious handsome face.

How Maud Phipps ended up with my family photos was a mystery, but I was glad to have them. How Bill Compton got into my family photos was a bigger mystery. I would need to ask him about that when he returned from New Orleans.

Jason would like to see these. I removed the one with Bill in it and put the rest of them in the box I kept the photos in I had yet to put in albums. The photo with Bill I put under my trinket box on my dresser. That was just like Bill, he always seemed to turn up when I least expected him, even now.



more to come ......
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