Friday, December 31, 2010

163 - Bundle of Joy ..... Part 2

Chapter One Hundred and Sixty Three

Eric and I went back to the living room and sat down again. Finnella and Cameron looked at each other with a conspiratorial gleam in their eyes. Just like Eric and me, they had been discussing things in our absence. I got the impression they discussed everything and worked well together.

From Cameron's mind I got his unwavering devotion to all his sons. His love for Lachlain was no different than his feelings for his biological sons. He respected Lachlain too, as he watched the boy change into a fine young man.

Cameron had been doing some thinking while we were gone. Now he leaned forward and spoke, his Scottish heritage more obvious since he was speaking from his heart.

"Lachlain is smitten with your daughter," Cameron said. "Ye donna know the lad like I do, but he's of a serious nature. Once he makes up his mind about a matter it's a doon deal."

I didn't want them to think we were giving Adele's hand in marriage or anything like that. I said, "I think he's a wonderful young man but Adele is only fifteen. Girls are fickle at that age. There's no telling how she'll feel a week from now."

"Aye," Cameron said, nodding and sitting back now that he'd said his piece. "I've advised the boy that very thing myself."

I thought, but didn't say, that a while ago she had been wild for Rory, now it was Lachlain, who knew, next month it might be Aengus.

Eric took the conversational reins back. "Our daughter is a virgin. We want her to stay that way until she's eighteen. She and Lachlain can spend time together but you must assure me he will not press his advantage. Can he be trusted?"

I had gotten used to Eric's frank talk. At least there wouldn't be any misunderstandings about how he stood on things.

Cameron and Finnella looked at each other again. I couldn't read Finnella's mind, but I could hear from Cameron's mind, loud and clear, that he knew the two youngsters could easily get carried away in a moment of passion and make a mistake.

"No," Cameron said honestly. "There'd be no way to make such a promise or keep Lachlain to such a promise. He's in love, he's not thinking clearly. There'll be no reasoning with him while he's like this." He frowned.

"He's like you were," Finnella said to Cameron, cuddling his arm, "A passionate man, an ardent suitor."

Cameron smiled, recalling his younger days. I bet he was a pistol back then.

"We can't keep them apart," I said. "It won't work. They'll find a way."

"They're a danger to themselves," Cameron said gloomily.

"In the past one set of parents would have sent their child abroad, but with modern technology ...." Finnella said, shrugging, not having to finish the sentence.

"Then I guess it's Plan B," I said.

"Plan B," Finnella said, nodding slowly, smiling at me. "You're a practical woman, Sookie Stackhouse."

We cooked up Plan B together. The components were talks about birth control, intense supervision and strict rules about sneaking out at night to meet. We didn't exactly bump fists when we were done, but at least we all had a sense of how we could exert some damage control without alienating our kids. Parent Power - Unite!

Finnella and I hugged, Eric and Cameron shook hands and the Campbells left. Then Eric and I went to check on the sculpting class. I wished the girl's future was as easy to sculpt as clay was.

The next day the girls and I went early to get Gordon. We didn't want him to stay at the clinic any longer than he had to. Lachlain was already waiting for us in the clinic parking lot. We got the big dog on the back seat of Kinnan's Caddy and drove home. I parked the Subaru. Lachlain and Kinnan gently carried Gordon into the house and to his bed in the kitchen.

Gordon stood and drank water from the big ceramic bowl with his name on it, a very hopeful sign. Then he ate some diced chicken breast and kibble, sighed, and lay down on his bed.

He wasn't panting, a good sign that he wasn't in pain or stressed. Adele had boiled and chopped some liver to make balls with his medicine inside, the easiest way to get a pill down the big dog's throat, Dr. Fix had told us.

While Adele dabbed more antibiotic ointment on Gordon's stitches, and Lachlain admired Adele's nursing skills, I helped Linda and Charlaine on the computer. They needed to find a few books on the French revolution for their history class.

We ordered the books they needed from the library using their online service, one of the perks of living in an area with a big library system. In Bon Temps it had been a case of show up when they were open or forget getting any books.

The message light was flashing on the office phone. I listened to the message, it was Sheila saying she'd be back tomorrow. I was glad. A sick dog and the three girls seemed like a lot for me to deal with. I was walking away from the phone when it rang again.

I thought about letting the answering machine pick up, but then I saw who the caller was. It was John Quinn. His sister's trial, by teleconference, was tonight.

I answered the phone.

more to come .......(Marlene, J, Eminé, Cindy, ky, Pat, Sally, Anonymous Z - You have no idea how delighted I am that you are here with me. You have made 2010 a fun and rewarding year for me. I hope your next year brings health, happiness and prosperity, and that people are as kind and generous to you as you have been to me. It means so much.

Just a little reminder - In chapter 97 Finnella revealed that Lachlain was not a son of Cameron's - "Yes, Lachlain is mine from my first relationship," Finnella said, "And Aengus and Rory can both change. Many of our clan have the ability to pass on their heritage to several of their children, not just the oldest. We Fionnghuala are a rare breed."

I took a wee liberty with the powers of the Scottish werewolves and their lore. I hope you don't mind the addition. Since the poor wolves (and werewolves) were utterly driven from Scotland so long ago (1769) I thought they deserved a few perks, lol. Dodhearmadta. )


Thursday, December 30, 2010

162 - Bundle of Joy ..... Part 2

Chapter One Hundred and Sixty Two

Cameron and Finnella both wore jeans tonight. After the usual guest stuff, getting them settled and offering them refreshments, we were ready to talk.

Eric said, "As you know, your oldest son Lachlain is interested in seeing our daughter. He is nineteen but Adele is only fifteen. This is a great concern to her mother."

Finnella nodded. I thought that she understood what problems could occur as well as I did. They didn't seem shocked that it was their older son that was interested in Adele, not their younger. I guessed they knew about the change. Did they know about the switched cell phones too?

"And what are your concerns, Eric?" Cameron asked.

He sat back and crossed his legs, resting his left ankle on his right knee. Cameron was wise enough to know that while I might have worries over the situation, Eric was the real threat.

Eric looked at both of them, then he said, "I need to know who Lachlain's father is."

The tension in the room ratcheted up by a million percent. Cameron uncrossed his legs and sat forward, the muscles in his jaws clenched. He glanced at his wife, letting her take the lead.

Finnella was so angry that her eyes glowed lime yellow and a shimmer of magic appeared around her. I could faintly see her wolf muzzle emerge, huge sharp teeth bared, superimposed over her human appearance. As the matriarch she would be the most savage wolf in the pack. I could see the ferocity, it was a scary sight.

I hoped and prayed she wasn't going to turn into a werewolf right here and leap on Eric. I just could not take another attack. It would be years before I was over the last one. Thankfully the glow in her eyes and her shimmer subsided as she regained control of herself.

"I do not see why you are asking such a personal and impertinent question," she said icily.

To tell the truth I didn't know why either but I wanted Eric to take the lead in these negotiations. I let out a sigh of relief this wasn't going to turn physical. We all sat back and resumed our more relaxed postures.

Eric, his voice calm and reasonable, said, "I have some long standing issues with certain members of your community. Some are my sworn enemies. Before the truce their lives would have been forfeit. My daughter could never be in the company of the child of those enemies. I need to know who his father is before I proceed."

Both Cameron and Finnella nodded, what Eric was saying made sense to them. They must also have long term enemies they hated. I guess the supernatural wars that Eric had mentioned were still the cause of much bitterness. Supernaturals had long memories and short fuses.

Finnella said, "What is revealed here tonight must never leave this room."

She looked both of us in the eye, making sure she had our agreement to that stipulation. "I need your word on that."

"I agree to that," Eric said.

"Me too," I said.

She looked at us and nodded, satisfied that our word was good.

"His father is Alcide Herveaux," she said. "Alcide doesn't know Lachlain is his son and Lachlain doesn't know Alcide is his father. I chose to raise the boy alone because Alcide was too young, headstrong and immature at that time to be a good father. When Lachlain was two I met Cameron. He was everything I wanted in a role model for my son, everything I wanted in a husband and partner."

She took Cameron's hand and patted it affectionately. He smiled at her. They were at peace with Lachlain's adoption by Cameron and didn't want to rock the boat. I completely understood that.

I sat there silent, trying to take in this new piece of information. Vampires weren't the only ones that had a complex history with werewolves.

I had sort of dated Alcide briefly, though our relationship had never moved on to intimacy. The timing wasn't right and Alcide's crazy ex-girlfriend Debbie Pelt was too much to cope with, for either of us. That whole thing had an unfortunate ending, one that still haunted me and the house I used to live in, but I wasn't going to think about that right now.

Alcide had many good qualities, he had matured and grown into a fine husband for Nanette and a wonderful father to Yvette, Monette and the baby they were expecting. He was a successful businessman and an upstanding member of his community as well as being packmaster to the Long Tooth pack. Lachlain would inherit many good things from Alcide. It was unfortunate they didn't know about each other but that was none of my business.

Eric knew of my past association with Alcide, but he didn't glance at me or do anything to let the Campbells know that I might have some reason to object.

Eric said, "Our girls are in class right now and we monitor their classes. Would you excuse us for a moment while we check on their progress?"

Finnella nodded, leaning to be closer to Cameron. She was probably thinking of how he had come along like a knight in shining armor, loved her and her son and given her two more sons to be proud of.

We could have just turned on the TV in the living room to see the class but we went to the bedroom instead. Eric shut the door behind us and turned on the TV. He turned up the sound to mask our conversation.

Auguste was saying, "To any artist worthy of the name, all in nature is beautiful, because his or her eyes, fearlessly accepting all exterior truth, read there, as in an open book, all the inner truth." He loved having our pretty girls hanging on his words of wisdom. I still couldn't understand what he was talking about.

The girls were really into their sculpting now, all of them wetting their hands and pushing the clay around. They were all going to need manicures. I made a mental note to schedule a spa day for us, a special treat.

Eric said, "I have no problem with Alcide but I know he was the cause for upset to you. Do you wish me to forbid Adele from seeing Lachlain?"

"That's real thoughtful of you," I said, giving him a hug.

It was especially tactful of him to refer to my self-defense killing of Debbie Pelt as an 'upset'. That had me very guilt ridden for a long time and it still bothered me with pangs to this day. Eric had helped clean up the mess and gotten rid of her corpse. Now Madam Fox would get rid of her ghost and maybe, finally, that would be the end of it.

Eric's help with the unfortunate Debbie's gory remains reminded me of a bumper sticker I had seen. It said, "Friends help you move. Real friends help you hide the body". That made Eric my real friend.

"No, I don't have a problem with Alcide being Lachlain's father. But we're going to need to set strict limits on what those two can do. Adele is way too young to start having sex. She needs time to grow up and know her own mind. We don't want her having a baby yet. She wants to go to college and become a vet."

"I agree. I will make our position clear to them," Eric said, turning the TV off.

more to come .....(Greetings Fanpires! Hope all your ghosts are laid to rest as the new year approaches. Thank you for stopping by and commenting. It never goes unnoticed or unappreciated.)


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

161 - Bundle of Joy ..... Part 2

Chapter One Hundred and Sixty One

That night I told Eric about Debbie's ghost, Sam's visit and the explanation for his and Nora's presence here. I also explained how Adele's new werewolf boyfriend, Rory's older brother, had tricked us by swapping phones.

Eric, a man of action, called Finnella and set up a meeting with Lachlain's parents.

They would be over in an hour, barely enough time to tidy the house and set out meaty snacks. I went to shower and change. Hearing about Debbie's ghost from Madam Fox had caused me to break into a cold sweat.

The girls had another art class tonight, so I knew their complete attention would be riveted on the comely form of Jean-Baptiste as they tried to sculpt a life sized model of his muscular back side. Professor Rodin had hauled in a very large amount of sculpting clay for this project.

He said the girls would need smocks and the class would be extended to cover the amount to work needed to set up and begin sculpting. They would have another class tomorrow night. This would give Eric and me plenty of time to have a talk with Cameron and Finnella.

As we waited I asked Eric if he was feeling all right. He assured me that he was fully recovered. His arm, the one that had been so terribly injured, was smooth, unmarked and wrapped around me in an embrace just like usual. Amazing.

Eric got a call about the Triumvirate. The five way video conferencing would be held tomorrow night via Skype. Eric would give the account of his grievance with his lawyer Merry Dixon by his side.

I'd be there too, and could act as a witness if need be. Eric and I had decided to leave our girls and Lachlain out of it. Sam and Nora didn't want to press charges at this time. They might not ever press charges and just take the cash settlement.

The were-tiger judge, Xī Fāng Bái Hǔ, was in China. He spoke Mandarin and would have a translator. The vampire judge, Berold Nachtzehrer, was in Germany. Since he spoke both English and Mandarin he wouldn't need a translator. He also spoke about twenty other languages, Eric told me.

The blue elf judge would only be called to rule if an agreement couldn't be reached. Her name was Álfdís Konallsdóttir and she was, in Eric's words, "an old friend" from his days in Scandinavia.

Eric tried to keep a blank face when he spoke her name but I could see he had a history of some kind with her. I knew enough not to ask questions. Why torture myself with things that happened hundreds of years before I was born?

I wondered if it was fair for Eric to be old friends with one of the judges, if that had been disclosed when the Triumvirate was being set up. It might mean things would go very badly for Frannie.

Quinn would be speaking for Frannie, he would have his lawyer Tío Moore with him. This sounded incredibly complicated. I was going to be very interested to hear how they came to a decision.

I called Jason and asked him if he could take the girls tomorrow night after their sculpting class for a few hours. I didn't know how long the teleconference would take but I didn't want to risk our daughters overhearing something upsetting.

My previous experiences with the vampire justice system had been mind-scarring. Would an elf and a were-tiger tone things down? I thought not.

Jason agreed to keep his nieces, but asked for the following day off from work so he could catch up on his sleep. Baby Brett was not sleeping through the night yet so Jason and Angellica were almost always tired.

I checked in with the art class. Rodin, complete with beret, smock and flowing tie, was pacing up and down as the girls tried to get their clay into a buttocks shaped lump.

Jean-Baptiste stood with his naked back to the girls, a light shining on his posterior to accentuate the curves and shadows. He really did have a nice one.

"Inside you there's an artist you don't know about. She's not interested in how things look different in moonlight," he said.

I wasn't sure what that meant but he said it with authority and a French accent so it sounded important.

"Man's naked form belongs to no particular moment in history; it is eternal, and can be looked upon with joy by the people of all ages," he went on, placing his hands on Adele's hands and showing her how to smooth the clay.

From the grins on the girl's faces they were looking upon mans naked form with joy right at that very moment. At least they had stopped giggling. They were maturing, I was proud to see.

"Sculpture is the art of the hole and the lump," he intoned.

Charlaine nodded, so at least she seemed to understand what he was talking about. Maybe she could explain it to me.

"They're here." Eric said, a good two minutes before Lachlain's parents pulled into the drive. His vampire superpowers were back in full.

I shut off the monitor and tugged at my skirt, smoothed my hair and prepared to meet my guests.

more to come .....(Greetings Fanpires! I'm dashing out the door this a.m. but I wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for sticking around.

p.s. - The quotations of Rodin in this chapter are actual quotes attributed to him.)


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

160 - Bundle of Joy ..... Part 2

Chapter One Hundred and Sixty

I got Madam Fox's current contact information before we wound up our lesson. The girls had learned not to mess with the spirit world, hopefully.

I had learned that the one regret Debbie left this life with was that she had not insured her plot to murder me would succeed. C'est la mort. I hoped her ghost would go away for both our sakes, and for Amelia and Tray. They hadn't signed on to rent a haunted house.

We had tea and cookies with Amelia and Madam Fox before we left. Amelia went to light a candle for Gordon's speedy recovery. She offered to lay healing hands on him if he had any residual problems. It was so good to have a witch in the family.

On the way back to pick up Adele I thought about how I was going to tell Eric that his daughter was serious about another older werewolf. I was more concerned about their age difference, which was sort of hypocritical of me because Eric was a thousand years older than me when we started dating. Of course, I had been over eighteen.

I tried to bring up the topic of Darren again to Charlaine, but she seemed to have lost interest in the subject and wanted to talk about ghosts. I told her that if she had anything she wanted to talk to me about at any time I was ready, willing and able to hear it. I hoped that Charlaine was not going to get her heart broken. I had thought Darren was a nice young man.

At the clinic Lachlain was still with Adele. He seemed content just to bask in her presence. He repeated his offer to come over the next day and help out with Gordon. I repeated my acceptance. I wondered if Lachlain had a job. He must need to go to work, but that was his business, not mine.

Since his father owned a big trucking firm I imagined that Lachlain had a job there. The boss's son probably didn't get hassled if he needed some time off.

Adele told us that Gordon had eaten and moved his bowels. She had petted him back to sleep, but he woke up when we arrived. His wagging seemed stronger and he wasn't so wobbly on his feet. I thought he'd do fine at home.

Lachlain and Adele nodded their good-byes to each other. They were discreet in front of us, which I appreciated. Linda rode with Kinnan, who audibly sighed as he held open the back door of the Caddy for her.

Charlaine filled Adele in on what happened at Aunt Amelia's house, making the story about the ghost sound even more spooky than it was.

It was creepy thinking about the ghost of Debbie Pelt still seeking a way to murder me successfully, but of course the girls didn't know about that, and never would if I had any say in the matter.

I was late getting home. Sam was waiting for me, sitting in his beat-up pick-up truck in the driveway. I had a stab of guilt thinking I should have remembered to call him to let him know I was running behind schedule. On the other hand his presence in our woods had indirectly created a big mess, so maybe we were even.

I invited Sam in to the kitchen to talk. The girls went to rest up before class tonight. By "rest up" I mean use their computers and phones.

Sam's kind face had just gotten kinder looking over the years. He looked old enough to be my father now. He was aging, while I was not. Or, to be more accurate, I was aging at an extremely slow rate.

"Sookie, thanks for sending the Campbell boys out looking for me. It was good of you to worry about me with everything else you had going on here," he said.

"I didn't have anything to do with the tiger attacking Eric, I hope you know that," he began, shuffling from one foot to the other. He looked tense.

"I figured that Sam. Eric knows too." I wanted to let him know he wasn't in any danger of Eric retaliating against him for the attack by Frannie.

"We never expected to get attacked, we never wanted any trouble," Sam said, just to make sure I knew he hadn't intentionally provoked a problem.

"Never thought you did, Sam. It was just a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time," I reassured him.

I indicated the kitchen chair. Maybe he could relax now that he knew Eric wasn't going to come after him.

"The story of my life," he said ruefully, shaking his head.

I poured us both coffee and we sat down.

"How's Nora doing?" I asked.

"She's going to be fine but she'll have some nasty scars to show for her run in with that tiger," Sam said.

"My dog will too," I said before thinking that might sound like an insult, comparing my dog to Nora. But Sam took it the right way.

"That's a shame. He's a good dog I hear, brave and strong."

"Sam, what were you doing running around in these woods? You've been here in the past too, right?" I asked. I recalled both the Bishop brothers and Eric had noticed there were shifters in our woods on numerous occasions.

He looked down, blushing from his hairline down into his plaid shirt collar. Sam favored western cut shirts with snaps.

"Yep, I have. It's kind of embarrassing to talk about," he mumbled. He took another big slug of his coffee to fortify himself.

"Nora and I play a game sometimes when she shifts. She changes into you," he said. He met my eyes. His eyes were calm, but I could see a trace of pain behind them too.

"I won't lie to you Sookie. I regret never coming forward, never speaking up, back when you worked for me. I should have put it all out there so you would know how I felt. I was scared to make the commitment, to ask you to try having a relationship with me. It all seemed too complicated at the time. I was so busy with running the bar and all, I wasn't ready." He sounded a little defensive, like I had been pushing him at the time, but I hadn't.

I nodded to let him know I understood what he was saying. Neither of us had been ready to take that step, then the time to take it was past.

"But now it haunts me, the thought of what could have been. Sometimes Nora looks like you for me so I can pretend I didn't blow my chance with you, so I can have the fantasy we're together. It meets a need of mine," he said sadly.

"I understand," I said, and I did. Poor Sam.

I wondered how Nora felt, being asked to turn into another woman for Sam. Was it any different than me being a Naughty Nurse or Eric being wicked Dracula in his cape?

If I hadn't gotten together with Eric would I still have been wishing things with Bill would have turned out different? Or with Quinn or Alcide? I was lucky I didn't have to live with those kind of regrets. I felt bad for Sam. He had a great woman as his mate but he was still hung up with what might have been. I had learned not to visit that place, there was nothing to gain from it.

"Being here in the woods near your house just made our little harmless game more exciting. We stayed pretty far away, I'm surprised anyone scented us. If we hadn't been chased and attacked by Quinn's crazy sister things would have been all right," Sam rationalized.

I didn't think he really believed it was all right for Nora to imitate me in my neighborhood, but he was trying to save some face by saying it wasn't hurting anyone. I decided to let him off the hook and changed the direction of the conversation.

"I think Eric is going to press charges against Frannie. Are you going to prosecute her too?" I asked.

"Quinn has called to make us an offer for restitution. I'll need to talk to Nora about it, but it's a great whopping whack of cash. She'll probably take it and let the matter drop. She'll never have to worry about money again for the rest of her life," he said.

We talked for a while longer but there wasn't much more to say. I was sure he could see that his attachment to the past wasn't all that healthy. How he dealt with it was his issue to resolve. I couldn't see why Nora went along with it, however that was her business. Maybe this would put an end to their game. There were better ways they could use their time than wallowing around in the emotional quicksand of the past.

After he left I thought about the restless ghost of Debbie Pelt and the ghost of what might have been haunting Sam. Too many ghosts, too many regrets, too little moving on if you asked me.

more to come ......(Anonymous Z, Sally, Marlene, RW, Cindy, ky, sashimistat - Things return to normal around here. Glad to have you visit, your valuable comments are always welcome. )


Monday, December 27, 2010

159 - Bundle of Joy ..... Part 2

Chapter One Hundred and Fifty Nine

"You wouldn't take out an appendix or rewire the electricity in your home without training. Yet many people think they can contact those that have crossed over simply because they purchased a Ouija board," she said, shaking her head at their folly.

"Contacting random spirits with a board or during a seance is like opening your front door wide and putting a sign on your lawn that says, 'Come in'. You have no idea who you're going to get. It's dangerous and it doesn't help anyone."

"What if you really miss someone that recently died? Can you contact them just to say good bye?" Charlaine asked.

"That would be a bad idea. Calling back the departed to speak to them is usually a selfish act for the living. It is disruptive to the process of letting go. The departed need time to adjust and more time to move on. Calling them back just slows down their progress," she answered.

"How about if the contact is someone you know would want to speak to you?" I asked. I was thinking of HoloGran. Was I harming her by visiting her bower of ivy leaves?

Madam Fox looked at me for a long moment before answering. "Usually it is still a disservice to the departed to speak to them. It keeps them tied to this earthly realm, not moving on to where they should be. Occasionally an evil impostor will take on the identity of a deceased love one in order to wreak havoc in the life of the grieving living person. They feed on the power and the emotions of the living."

"That means there's identity theft after death?" Linda said, and giggled.

Charlaine and Amelia laughed too. I smiled, but I wanted Madam Fox to finish her thought.

She turned to them and nodded. "There can be. In the supernatural world, as in the natural one, things are not always what they seem. Not everyone can be trusted."

Directly to me she said, "Once in a great while a special person, wise and loving in life, continues to guard over the living, helping and guiding when needed. This is a great gift and a blessing for both parties. I think this is what you are referring to."

A quick beam of light sparked in her right eye. I had seen this before. The psychic Ivy I met in the Vampire Mall on my honeymoon had also had this light shoot out of her eye.

Ivy was the one that had given me the magic ivy leaf. I planted it as she had directed and it grew into a bower that would spring up out of the ground behind my Shreveport house. HoloGran would appear within the bower and interact with me.

Neither the girls nor Amelia seemed to have seen the beam of light. Maybe it was something only I could detect.

I was going to ask Madam Fox about the deceased giving you something material. I still had that round white rock HoloGran gave me on my dresser. I held it for comfort when I felt like I was really missing Roscoe.

Before I could phrase my question Amelia asked, "What about ghosts in your house?"

Madam Fox mentally shifted gears. "You have a ghost here, in this house?" she asked. She looked around the cheerful modern room frowning, unable to detect the presence of a ghost.

"Not in the whole house, just in the kitchen," she said.

"What does the ghost look like?" Linda asked her aunt, thrilled to hear about something spooky.

"Well, she's very faint. I only see her at night. She's tall, slender, and has shiny black hair cut in a weird way, long on one side and all jagged at the ends."

I froze. That was a description of Debbie Pelt. In an act of self defense I had shot Debbie and killed her in my kitchen. Then my kitchen had burned in an arson fire and been completely rebuilt and renovated.

Since then Amelia and Tray had changed the counter tops to granite, put in recessed can lighting and tiled the floors with travertine stone. They had even painted the walls fire orange and put in a travertine backsplash. Surely the bright modern new kitchen couldn't be haunted. It wasn't anything like Gran's old fashioned kitchen.

Madam Fox said, "Show me where you see her."

We all went in the kitchen. I saw that Amelia had yet another vintage kitchen set. This one had boomerang shapes on the Formica top and big shiny chrome bumpers. The chrome chairs were upholstered in bright orange pleather. It looked like something out of a 1950's home decorating magazine. Amelia had a flair for decorating, combining the very modern with nice vintage mid-century pieces.

Amelia pointed to the pantry. It was a pantry now, but back when I had shot Debbie it was where the hot water heater had been located. That was where the shot gun had been standing, behind the hot water heater, when I grabbed it and fired it at Debbie.

Eric, who had been staying with me at the time, cleaned up the gory mess the shotgun had made of the were-fox. The fire later on had completely eradicated any forensic traces of the shooting, to my relief.

Madam Fox seemed to sniff around the pantry, then she smiled. "Your ghost regrets not searching the room for something she should have removed. Her spirit keeps returning to find the object and remove it. She can't let go of the fact that she missed her chance. She's stuck in an endless loop. I can break the pattern and send her on her way."

Amelia smiled, "That would be super! She scared the heck out of Tray one night when she walked right through him."

She added, "It had me so curious I even thought about doing an ectoplasmic reconstruction to find out exactly what she was doing. Did she die here?"

An ectoplasmic reconstruction was a powerful spell performed by witches to recreate a moment in time, especially the moments where a life ends. I had seen it done a long time ago. It was chilling, the deceased came back in a pale semi-transparent form and reenacted their final moments.

If Amelia reconstructed Debbie's last moments she would see me shooting the shifter in self defense. This was my terrible guilty secret, something I didn't want anyone to know about. Eric knew, but he would never tell anyone.

"She may have died here, or she may have died elsewhere and just had an attachment to this place. I'll take care of it for you," she told Amelia reassuringly, putting her hand on Amelia's arm.

As we all turned to leave the kitchen Madam Fox locked eyes with me and she nodded. I knew then that she knew exactly who the ghost was and what happened to her. She had covered for me. I appreciated it, but I wondered why she was doing me this favor. This was the second time she had helped me out with something supernatural.

While Madam Fox talked more about ghosts and hauntings, I thought about what she had said about the reason for Debbie's return. Debbie had lain in wait for me in my own kitchen, ready to blow me away with her gun.

If Eric hadn't taken the bullet for me I would most likely be dead. That was when I grabbed my own gun. Debbie was probably shocked, during the last half second of her life, to realize I had a gun of my own stashed behind the water heater. Her last emotion was probably regret that she hadn't searched the room for guns. That emotion kept her locked into revisiting this house and looking for the gun behind the now non-existent water heater.

I wondered how the house looked to ghost-Debbie. Did she see it the way it was now, or did she continue to see it the way was all those years ago? If she walked right through the substantial Tray Dawson, chances are she wasn't seeing things the way they are.

Like Madam Fox said, the departed Debbie was stuck in the past, stuck in that moment of regret, and she needed to be freed from it. I hoped Madam Fox was up to the task. I wanted all traces of Debbie Pelt, even her ghost, gone gone gone.

more to come .....(Greetings Fanpires! Whew! I am actually off today so I'm going to rest and relax. Thank you for coming by. Sorry I'm a little late posting, I actually slept in.)


Sunday, December 26, 2010

158 - Bundle of Joy ..... Part 2

Chapter One Hundred and Fifty Eight

I had a moment of recognition when I walked through the door and saw Madam Fox. When I had last seen her sixteen years ago she was a short plump woman in her late fifties.

Today she was wearing different clothes but she hadn't aged a day. The big mole under her chin was still there too. I wondered why she didn't get that seen to. I had seen a segment on a daily talk show recently about moles. Sometimes they were something bad.

I hadn't aged either, so we looked at each other knowing that there was some strong supernatural element at work in both our lives. Amelia was wearing her white robe with the red and blue velvet trim denoting her rank. The girls didn't have their robes with them today. I think the dramatic events of the last few nights had driven all thoughts of appropriate Wiccan attire out of all our heads.

I apologized to Amelia for our lack of correct clothing. She waved my apology away, glad to see us.

"Where's Adele?" she asked, pulling the chrome and leather chairs into a circle around the white shag area rug in the living room. A clear glass coffee table stood in the center of the thick tufted rug.

The chairs were an ultra-modern design, much lighter in weight than the old oak framed heavily upholstered chairs Gran had favored. Madam Fox sat down with a plop on the matching couch, putting her pocketbook next to her demurely crossed thick ankles. Her opaque clay-colored support hose made creases in her skin.

"Adele is staying at the clinic. Gordon tangled with a bear and he got hurt. He has a bunch of stitches and needs to stay there one more day. Adele is heartbroken her dog was injured, she wants to keep him company so he stays calm," I said.

I hated to fib to Amelia, but the real story was too involved and would bring too many secrets into the open. Charlaine and Linda kept quiet, each understanding that when you were the daughter of an important vampire engaged in top secret scientific study, you had to keep some things under your cape.

Amelia, an animal lover to the n'th degree, looked stricken. "Should we postpone this lesson and all go back to the clinic to sit with poor Gordon?" she asked us, her hazel eyes wide.

"No, he's been given something to keep him sleepy so he can rest," I told her. "With Adele by his side he'll be reassured that we haven't abandoned him."

Then I turned my attention to the esteemed guest speaker. "Madam Fox, how very nice to see you again. I'm glad to see you're looking so well," I said, bending a bit to speak to her and offer her my hand. Amelia's modern leather furniture was low slung, fun for young people, but hard on those getting along in years.

The spiritualist had on a drab olive green fitted dress in a nubby textured fabric, a lacy black cardigan, and scuffed black shoes. As before the tops of her feet were puffing out of the top of her shoes. I think she had edema just like Gran did.

I longed to get her a pair of extra soft cotton socks with wide tops, the kind they sold in the pharmacy for diabetics, and wide comfortable Sketchers sneakers, to relieve the pressure on her poor feet. Gran had worn that kind of comfortable footwear most of the time as she went about her daily chores. It had enabled her to get around quite well, in spite of her arthritis.

Madam Fox's one bit of glamor was a very large sparkly costume jewelry brooch set with pink and purple stones and matching clip-on earrings. The earrings and brooch were the size of beer coasters and looked heavy on her ears. The glitzy earrings were in sharp contrast to her over-permed dull brown hair, putty colored complexion and jowls. The giant mole didn't help anything either.

That didn't stop her from slathering on the red lipstick. Most of it was on her lips, but a little exceeded her lip line. So many women wanted larger lips. The Mursi and Surma women of Ethiopia took it to the ultimate extreme, putting plates in their lips until they were useless for things like kissing, eating, and smiling. I wondered if their lips clattered when they tried to speak.

Some people thought the tribe with the stretched lips was called the Ubangi, but that was actually just a name that was made up by circus people for the natives in their side shows. I watched the Discovery channel and learned things like this all the time.

Madam Fox smiled and said, "So good to see you again too, my dear. Please thank your husband for taking care of that little matter we discussed." Her dimples made her smile pretty, in spite of the excess lipstick.

That "little matter" she referred to was a small fortune in buried gold. It was my father's money, bamboozled from him by Hoyt Fortenberry Senior and buried on Fortenberry property.

Hoyt Senior couldn't rest in peace until the money was recovered and returned to its rightful owners, Jason and me. Eric recovered the gold, which he later used to lure an evil troll away from our house. All in all, Madam Fox's good turn had been very valuable to our family.

I sat down next to her, hoping it wasn't presumptuous of me to sit next to the class teacher. She patted my hand, glad for my company. I couldn't read her mind, even when she touched me.

All I heard was a cacophony of voices in her head. These were the voices of those that had passed away yet had unfinished business here in the land of the living. Madam Fox sometimes helped them out by resolving the things that tormented them. Then they could go their way in peace, I hoped.

Somehow she made a living at this, though it wasn't through greed or chicanery. When I had tried to pay her a finder's fee for her help in recovering my father's gold she had insisted I send the money to charity.

After we were settled and Amelia had put out a pot of tea and bottles of juice and sparkling water, Madam Fox began her lesson in her rich, warm, clearly enunciated voice.

"Imagine you were reading the most fascinating book, one that had you utterly enthralled. Then you put the book face down, open to the place you were reading, so you could go into the kitchen to get a glass of water. When you returned to where you put down the book it wasn't there. It was missing. You would begin looking for it, wondering if someone took it, wouldn't you?"

She looked at each of us in turn to make sure we were following along. I nodded a little to show her I got what she was saying so far.

"Now imagine that the book was just gone and you couldn't get a replacement. You would want to know how the story ended but there was no way for you to find out. That would be frustrating. It would take you a while to give up and realize that you were never going to find out how the various issues were resolved."

She stopped to pour herself a cup of tea. Talking made her throat dry.

"That is how death is experienced by most of those that pass over. They are involved in the ongoing story of their life, the most fascinating story there is. But suddenly their life is gone and all the unfinished story lines are left dangling. During this transition phase the departed might want to contact you if you are doing trance or meditation work."

She paused and then warned theatrically, "But do not be brought into their drama. They need to conclude their investment in their old life so that they may move on. You do not do them any favors by engaging them in conversation. Ignore their intrusions, never respond to their attempt to contact you. It is a trap and a snare for both of you."

She sipped from the white china cup, leaving a clear lipstick print on the rim.

"How would I know if a departed person was trying to contact me?" Charlaine asked. She had out her little notebook and was poised to write down the answer.

"Good question. It would become obvious to you by the intrusive nature of the contact," Madam Fox replied.

"Not everyone is sensitive to the deceased," she added. "But it can happen to anyone that leaves their mind open and blank, a necessary state for some trance workings you will do if you decide to continue your witchcraft education."

"Don't spirits sometimes have a message for us?" Linda asked. "How about using an Ouija board?"

"Dying does not make anyone smarter or nicer, it only makes them dead," Madam Fox stated bluntly, making us all laugh.

more to come .....(Greetings Fanpires! Today the relatives are coming here so I have to hide the little messes before they arrive, lol. I get the wonderful surprise of reading your comments every day! I am so fortunate to have you visit here. Warm hugs to you.)


Saturday, December 25, 2010

157 - Bundle of Joy ..... Part 2

Chapter One Hundred and Fifty Seven

I told Linda she could ride in the Subaru with us if she wanted, but she just gave me a look that said "Are you kidding?" and went to ride in the backseat of Kinnan's Caddy.

I guess staring at the back of Kinnan's head was more interesting than chatting with Charlaine and me.

Charlaine was unusually quiet on the ride over to Amelia's. I tried to make small talk with her but she only gave me one word responses. Finally I asked her, "Is something on your mind, sweetheart?"

She sighed, thinking. I gave her time to assemble her thoughts into words. Then she asked, "Do you and Daddy like Darren they way he is?"

Maybe Darren's deafness was becoming an issue for her. "We both think he's a very nice young man from a good family. How do you feel about the way he is?" I asked.

"I like the way he is, but ..." she hesitated. "Do you have to tell Daddy everything I tell you?"

"I don't have to tell him, but we discuss just about everything, especially if it has to do with the safety or well being of you or your sisters. Is there something you want me to keep from him? I can't promise to do that, not until I know what it is," I said.

It was better to be honest with her than to trick her into telling me something that I would later need to bring to Eric's attention.

"How does Daddy feel about Adele dating Lachlain?" she asked, changing the topic.

"She hasn't really been dating him. We just found out she was seeing him. We thought she was still speaking to Rory from the number on her phone bills," I said.

"Oh, Lachlain and Rory switched cell phones so the number would show up the same," she blurted out.

Then I could almost see the thought bubble with the word "oops" appear over her head. She looked dismayed at letting this information slip..

"That's all right, honey," I told her, taking my hand off the steering wheel long enough to pat her hand. "We would have figured that out soon enough on our own."

"Lachlain is a werewolf. Does Daddy approve of Adele dating a werewolf?" she asked.

"I think Daddy doesn't want any of you girls to get so carried away with a guy that you make poor decisions or neglect your school work," I said.

I knew this was evasive, but I hoped she wouldn't pick up on it. Eric, like most or maybe even all vampires, just wasn't fond of werewolves due to long standing feuds and wars that were waged in the past. I didn't know the whole history but it resulted in bitterness and bad feelings on both sides.

"The main problem with Lachlain is that he's way too old for Adele. She needs time to find out more about the world and herself before she gets involved with a man of nineteen," I said.

"Darren might be changing," Charlaine said slowly. She sounding a little unsure.

That was to be expected with young people. One day something was the most important thing in the world, the next day it was old news. I had a garage full of toys and games that girls had out grown to attest to that.

"In what way?" I asked.

We were turning onto Hummingbird Lane, so our conversation was about to be cut short because Amelia's house was coming up. She was still renting and living in my old farmhouse, the one Gran left to me.

"I'll tell you more about it on the way home," she said. She seemed a little happier now that we had begun talking on this topic.

If we had been alone I would have stayed in the car and talked with her until we had everything out in the clear, but we had Kinnan and Linda right behind us and Amelia would be in the house with Madam Fox, waiting for us.

I knew I wouldn't have any problem getting Linda to ride back to Shreveport with Kinnan. That would give Charlaine and me plenty of time to finish this conversation. I pulled in next to a Nash Rambler in perfect condition. I recognized this as Madam Fox's car. She still had the same car as she did all those years ago.

As I got out of my Subaru I stretched and surveyed the home I grew up in. The old house looked wonderful - new roof, new siding, new energy efficient windows and rebuilt porches and fence. A big deck had been added on to the back, the stone foundation had been repaired, and now the basement was refinished.

All the electrical wiring, plumbing, cooling and heating was new. The bathrooms and kitchen gutted and remodeled and a third bathroom had been built in the basement for the recreation room.

The house was a show place, yet retained its vintage charm with features like the golden oak floors, molding, and staircase. Some of the original stained glass windows were in place, though some had been damaged when a tree fell and hit the side of the house a while back.

Over the years, as Tray had gotten more motorcycle restoration work, opened more bike shops, and gotten on a bit in years, he didn't want to work to maintain the house he and Amelia rented from me. He had done the upkeep early on in exchange for their low rent. Now they didn't need to budget so carefully.

I had raised the rent when Tray stopped fixing things around the house. Now Eric's men took care of the house and property. I think we just about broke even on the deal, but it was more about hanging on to the past than it was about being a profitable landlord.

At one point, with Jason's consent, I had offered to sell Amelia and Tray the house and land. Tray didn't want to own anything that could be taken away from them in a lawsuit.

Tray liked to race his bikes and he changed into a werewolf when the moon was full. A human or supernatural lawsuit could wipe out all their holdings. Amelia wasn't interested in owning a house. Renting suited them both just fine, so the arrangements had stayed the same over the years.

By now everyone knew about my fairy longevity gene, the one that caused me to age so so slowly. If it caused any hard feelings among my normal mortal friends I wasn't aware of it. They aged, I didn't, end of story.

Amelia seemed to have taken the news in stride. She was more concerned with her studies towards the goal of working her way up to become a thirty-second degree witch, the most powerful level. Except for being the Queen of the Witches, Hecate herself, thirty-second degree was the top honor.

It was kind and generous of Aunt Amelia to give my daughters lessons in witchcraft. Today's lesson was going to be about making contact with the departed.

This topic both fascinated and frightened me. Sometimes it was better if the departed stayed departed, in my opinion. At least for some of them. I could think of a few people who had passed over that I wouldn't like to hear from again.

Madam Fox, a spiritualist extraordinaire, was going to teach the class. I had met Madam Fox a long time ago before the girls were born. I was looking forward to seeing her again. She had a no-nonsense manner that was like a breath of fresh air.

more to come .....(Greetings Fanpires! Off to visit relatives today. Hope your day is wonderful. Thanks for being you, thanks for coming here!)


Friday, December 24, 2010

156 - Bundle of Joy ..... Part 2

Chapter One Hundred and Fifty Six

We stopped by the clinic so we could all see Gordon before we went to Amelia's house.

I drove the Subaru with Charlaine and Adele as my passengers. Kinnan followed us in his big shiny reinforced Cadillac. Linda rode with him, though he insisted she ride in the back. He said it was for security. I was thinking he was referring to his security, not Linda's.

Kinnan didn't enter the animal clinic. Sometimes the presence of a werewolf, even in their human state, drove some of the dogs crazy and caused the cats to arch their backs and hiss. Sick animals didn't need the aggravation.

As usual Dr. Fix was as busy as a one armed bricklayer but he was able to speak with us for a few minutes about Gordon's condition.

"He is recovering very well. His wounds do not appear infected, unusual for a mauling by a bear, so I think he could go home tomorrow if there will be someone home with him at all times," Dr. Fix said.

He spoke while he wrote in a chart. He had a New York accent. I looked at his framed degree on the wall and saw he was a graduate from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University. Impressive.

I heard a cat give a loud "meow" in the back room and a woman's voice say "All right, Sonia, I'll get you dinner."

The clinic was very clean but smelled strongly like disinfectant. I guess they had to use strong cleaning agents to keep down the spread of disease and infection. I was glad Dr. Fix hadn't questioned the bear story. He had probably never seen the marks made by the claws of a were-tiger.

"I will definitely be there and I believe all three of my girls will be there too," I said. Sheila wouldn't be back for two more days. I missed her more each day.

"Will Mr. Stackhouse be available to help? Gordon is a heavy dog. If he needs to be carried I doubt if any of you can lift him," Dr. Fix was done writing, now he looked at me for an answer. Apparently he didn't know Eric was a vampire.

"He won't be available ..." I began.

"I could have Lachlain come over for the day. He has picked Gordon up before. He's super strong," Adele boasted.

I knew Lachlain had been very strong during the full moon. I suppose if worse came to worse either Kinnan or Aleksis could come over and help move the dog too.

"That's a good idea," I said.

I knew Eric and I still had to deal with the whole issue of Lachlain but having him at the house to help wasn't going to make things worse. I didn't want to set myself up in opposition to Lachlain. Adele was too headstrong to be stopped directly.

I was going to need to find a way to direct her relationship with the big werewolf, not necessarily end it. After all, Lachlain had jumped in to save Eric. That counted for a whole bunch in my book.

When we went in to see Gordon my heart almost broke. The big dog was still so weak he could barely stand. He wobbled over to us, pitifully wagging his tail, his sad eyes blinking with joy at seeing his family.

I wished we could take him home today but I saw he was still hooked up to an IV line, probably his antibiotic and perhaps hydration and nutrition too. This wasn't something I would be able to take care of at home. I was only a Naughty Nurse, not a veterinary one.

A big section of his coarse shaggy fur had been shaved and four rows of big black stitches ran for almost a foot down his side. Our poor brave boy.

We clustered around him and got him back on his bed, all of us hugging him and petting him. I think Gordon might have been worried we were going to leave him at the clinic, but once he saw us all together around him he relaxed.

Dr. Fix came in and smiled at the sight of his patient receiving such an outpouring of love.

"He seems a little upset. Can you give him a dog Valium to keep him calm until we get him home? He had a bad start to life, as you know, and he needs to rest until he sees he's going home with us," I said to the doctor.

"I'm going to stay with him, Mom," Adele said, sitting down next to the dog. "You can pick me up on the way back."

This was a generous offer for her to make. I knew how much she enjoyed her lessons with Amelia. Then I had another thought.

"Is Lachlain joining you here later?" I asked, trying to sound as nonjudgmental as all get-out.

"Yes, he is," a male voice said behind me.

I turned to see Lachlain in a black tee shirt with a green and gold dragon on the front. He had on black jeans and black Adidas, the same kind of shoe Eric used to wear. His long wild red hair was pulled back and braided, but a few random strands had pulled themselves free from the elastic. He still had the devilish goatee on his strong chin, it suited his long face and good bone structure.

He looked at Adele with the kind of enchanted expression you only see on a man when he's in love. I could almost hear the electricity crackle between them. Lachlain's green eyes went soft and dreamy when he looked in Adele's baby blues.

"How are you, lass?" he asked her tenderly, looking only at her.

"Fine," she said, using a sweet gentle tone of voice.

This was more serious than I had thought. Gordon wagged his tail at the sight of Lachlain. For some reason his presence in the clinic didn't cause an uproar. Maybe Adele had him inside some kind of protective bubble so his scent didn't register with the furry patients.

Lachlain gave a serious little nod, approving of Adele being fine. Then he tore his attention away from Adele to speak to me.

"How is your husband, Mrs. Stackhouse?" he asked, turning to me.

"He's well. He's grateful for your help," I said.

"Did you help drive off the bear?" Dr. Fix asked Lachlain.

I had almost forgotten about the bear story.

"He was wonderful and brave," Adele enthused.

"We all helped to drive the bear off," Lachlain said, including Charlaine and Linda in his gesture.

They both nodded. "We're a very close family," Linda said, stressing the word 'very'.

I thought she might have been feeling a little left out because of Adele's new found romance. It's tough when someone close to you was smitten and swept away by love. It had happened to me more than once with my few close friends when I was their age. It left me feeling like I was on the outside of something wonderful, looking in, like a starving person looking through a restaurant window.

Charlaine had Darren, now it looked like Adele had Lachlain, but Linda still hadn't found anyone she was interested in except Kinnan, who was way too old for her, and Hector, who was still too newly Turned to have a social life.

Dr. Fix looked at his watch, then said to us, "Please excuse me, I have to be going. I'll leave medications and instructions for Gordon's care when you pick him up tomorrow. Please have a whole car seat for him to lay down on. I'll give him something to keep him calm for the rest of today. I'm sure having Adele here will help. She has the magic touch with animals."

We said our good byes, then continued to sit with Gordon for the next hour until we had to leave to get to Amelia's. Right before we left the nurse added something to Gordon's drip that made him sleepy.

Adele said she would sit by him in case he woke up. Lachlain was holding her hand. Adele looked at her sleeping pet and Lachlain looked at Adele. She had the magic touch alright.

more to come .....(danimcket, Anonymous Z, Marlene, Eminé, Cindy, J, Sally, RW, ky - Isn't the Internet wonderful to allow us all to come together here like this? Happy Friday everyone and a Merry Christmas Eve to those that celebrate that holiday. Blessings upon you and yours.)


Thursday, December 23, 2010

155 - Bundle of Joy ..... Part 2

Chapter One Hundred and Fifty Five

Eric's condition took a heap of fixing but eventually we got it to subside. We lay side by side in our four poster bed watching the lights from the small votive candles flicker on the ceiling.

"That stuff is like vampire Viagra," I said, laying back on a pile of pillows, exhausted. I hoped I wouldn't be walking like John Wayne tomorrow.

"They told me I might expect that as one of the after effects, but they did not say how painful it would be until it was completely alleviated."

"Are you better now?" I asked, as the alleviator.

"Much better. Thank you for your heroic efforts," he said, kissing me.

For good measure he pierced his finger with a fang and applied a few drops of his magic healing blood to my puffy inflamed areas, immediately restoring them to their pre-alleviation condition. Ahhhhh. Much better.

"You're welcome." I kissed him back.

We lay there in happy silence for a while, then I asked, "What's a Triumvirate?"

Eric said, "It is like a vampire Tribunal, but when different species are involved we have three judges hear the case. We will have a were-tiger judge, a vampire judge, and a blue elf judge. The blue elf is for a tie breaker in case the two judges that are the same species as the plaintiff and the defendant are stalemated."

"It sounds pretty complicated, getting everyone together and then getting the three judges to agree to a sentence," I observed.

"In these modern times we use a teleconference call via the computer to assemble the justices. Only two of the three judges need agree to a sentence."

"Does the defendant get to have an attorney?" I asked.

"Yes, if requested. However the lawyers only produce the evidence for their client, they don't plead the case. The judges hear all the evidence and decide. It is much quicker that way. Attorneys arguing over every point would only slow down the proceedings."

Vampires were all about efficiency.

"Once the verdict is reached, can there be an appeal?" I was wondering how Frannie's mental state could be brought into evidence.

Eric looked at me with a slight frown. "Do you want the tiger to get off? She is a danger to us and she committed the worst possible offense. Before we negotiated in a court system this attack would have escalated into a much larger problem, perhaps even a war. She attacked me at .. my.. home." Eric spoke these last words with slow finality. His body language was now tense.

In vampire culture, as in human culture, this must be the worst kind of attack. I didn't want to upset Eric, after all, he was the victim here. He had suffered and almost died, though you wouldn't know it now to look at him. He had been plucked from his human life at the peak of his virility and strength and there he had remained for more than a thousand years.

"You're right. What she did was horrible and wrong. I'm proud of you for letting the court decide her fate. It is generous of you. I know you could smash her head in with a single blow."

I felt him sink back down on the bed, relaxing. "I could chop her head off with one strike of my Viking blade," he added.

"Or you could throw her into the deepest pit to starve," I said, entering into the spirit of the conversation.

"After ripping her limbs off," he said, smiling now, cheered by this talk.

"And pulling off her tail," I chimed in.

He hugged me and held me for a long long time.

I clung to him, listening to his silent chest. I must have fallen asleep like that, because when my eyes opened again it was morning. Eric had gone to his safe room. I hope his rest was peaceful and not filled with bad dreams about tigers. He said he didn't dream, but I wasn't sure about that. I thought about getting up but while I thought about it I drifted back off to sleep.

The girls burst through my bedroom door a few hours later, full of excitement and happiness, waking me up for real this time. Their good mood was comprised of several things - the knowledge that their father was recovered, knowing that the were-tiger was again locked up, the call to the clinic that morning informing them that Gordon was recovering wonderfully and their plans today to have their witchcraft class with Amelia and Madam Fox.

Adele was just glowing after spending so much time with Lachlain. From the way her eyes glazed over when she spoke his name I knew she was smitten. This might just be puppy love or it might be the real thing. Either way she was too young for a nineteen year old man. I would need to discuss this with Eric to get his ideas on how to handle it.

Linda was just delighted to hear that Kinnan was going to accompany us to Amelia's. Charlaine was still texting Darren while she tried to talk to me too. Except for the absence of Gordon things were getting back to normal, at least as normal as they could be in my household.

"Darren can drive now!" Charlaine informed us when she got off the phone from texting with Darren. .

"He got his license?" I asked, trying to sound excited and happy for her.

"Yes!" she said, "He passed it the very first try. He said he'll teach me how to drive too."

"That's just wonderful sweetheart!" I said, hugging her.

I sounded thrilled, but I was really thinking about all the new problems this might cause. They included traffic accidents, drunk drivers and car bombs.

When did I become such a worry-wort?

Oh yeah, I remembered.

It was the night my stomach glowed pink.

more to come ......(Anonymous Z, Marlene, Cindy, Eminé, RW, Sandra, Sally - Thank you all so very very much for being a part of my life like you are. I don't know where I would be without you and your wonderful comments.

Sandra - I have my fingers crossed you can get your computer up and running right away. I know how disrupting those problems can be, life just isn't right until it's fixed.)


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

154 - Bundle of Joy ..... Part 2

Chapter One Hundred and Fifty Four

Talking to Quinn reminded me that I wanted to find out how Sam and Nora were. I also wanted to know what Nora was doing in my woods, why she was running around looking like me.

I checked the living room to find Dr. Mellen, Dr. Clark and Dr. Fang clustered around Eric like wide-eyed children while he told them about the were-tiger attack. I figured they would be busy for a while longer, so I tried Sam's trailer to see if he was home. Eric really knew how to tell a story, he kept his listeners on the edge of their seats.

When I first started working for Sam his trailer was a single wide and it could have been in better shape. But he was in the bar so much he just used the trailer as a place to fall in bed, too exhausted to care about the niceties in his living arrangements. Once he met his shape-shifter girl friend Nora Heart his lifestyle took a turn for the better.

Now he had a fancy double wide with all the amenities of home including a fireplace and a room just for their meetings with other members of the shifter community. Sam wasn't a joiner, no true shape shifter is, but over the years they have enjoyed the company of other shifters.

They got together and swapped stories, tips on where to run and good places to hunt when the change took them. They also played poker, watched sports on TV, ate junk food snacks and drank copious amounts of beer, just like most weekend gatherings in those parts.

How Sam ended up so far from home, in the woods adjacent to my house, was something I couldn't figure out, something I wanted to ask him about. But first and foremost I wanted to know how Nora was. The last time I saw her was when her unconscious body was put in Dr. Lightman's retro ambulance and taken to the clinic run by Dr. Ludwig.

Sam answered my call on the first ring but I wasn't the one he was hoping to hear from.

"Listen, Sooks? I'm kind of waiting for an important call here. I'd as soon talk to you in person anyway. How's about I drop by there tomorrow, maybe around two and we can talk? I know you must have some questions," he said, laughing an embarrassed little chuckle. I could picture him blushing red, looking away and ducking his head a little, a distinctive Sam mannerism.

I remembered I was going over to Amelia's tomorrow with the girls to visit and see Madam Fox. I wanted to give myself enough time to get back here.

"It's going to have be later than that, how about four? And before you go, tell me how Nora is doing," I said.

"Four is good, I'll see you then. She's recovering. She had a blow to the head and some bad claw marks, but you know how we are. She's healing faster than a human would, and she's already starting to complain about things. In this case that's a good sign." He chuckled again. Nora kept the easy-going Sam on his toes.

"All right, Sam, I'll see you around four tomorrow," I said.

The doctors were all writing in their notepads while Eric sat back and waited to see if they had any more questions.

Being a doctor to a vampire was limited. No stethoscope because there was no heart beat. No blood pressure, no urine sample, no temperature, no pulse, no breath rate. No stool sample or prostate exam either. They could have taken a sample of Eric's blood but they didn't, so I was guessing they didn't have any collection of normal or abnormal blood work ups to compare with Eric's blood.

When Dr. Mellen looked up and saw me he gave a smile. I sensed that he had developed a liking for me over the years.

"May I ask you a question?" I asked him.

I realized I had already asked him a question by asking him if I could ask him a question. Maybe I should have said, "Can I ask you another question after this one?" but that didn't sound right either.

"Certainly," he said, crossing his legs at the knees and resting his extremely clean folded hands on his upper knee.

"Is this the first time one of the volunteers has had an injury while recovering from Daynight?"

His gaze darted to Dr. Fang. They looked at each other for a split second, silently deciding how much to tell me.

"This is the first time any of our volunteers has sustained such extensive injuries," he said, slowly and cautiously.

"Are there going to be any long term effects for my husband?" I asked.

Again Dr. Mellen and Dr. Fang made significant eye contact. Dr. Clark was still writing in his notebook, but I thought I noticed a little smile tug at the corners of his mouth. He didn't look up.

"There will not be any long term effects from the injuries ..... but you might notice a certain heightening of your husband's ... libido," Dr. Mellen said, trying to phrase it delicately.

"Your daughters are not due back tonight?" Dr. Fang asked.

With his choppy speech pattern it sounded like "Yo dotta ah not due back to night?"

"No, they're staying with their aunt and uncle until tomorrow," I said, not sure why he wanted to know that.

"Then everything should be all right," Dr. Mellen said, rising from the couch.

Dr. Clark snapped his notebook shut and said, "We won't need to take up any more of your time. If any other problems should arise please call. Good evening."

They all said, "Good evening," and headed towards the front hall. I walked them to the door and held it open while they left. Again they had Dr. Clark's car.

I turned towards Eric, wondering why he hadn't walked the doctors to the door too. He smiled at me, a fangy, almost apologetic smile.

"What is it?" I asked.

He looked down at himself. My eyes followed where he was looking and I gasped.

"They told me that one of the after effects of the Daynight might be this ....., " he indicated his straining pants. "I am uncomfortable. I must release it."

"Go ...right ...ahead," I said slowly, staring.

He unzipped his pants and moaned with relief. I could see why. He looked very swollen and distended down there. His Gracious Plenty had expanded to become his Painful Excess. Yowzers!

He looked up at me, his brows slightly furrowed in pain.

"You can help me feel better," he said, playfully using a pitifully weak tone of voice, holding out his hand to me. He used this voice as the patient sometimes when we played Naughty Nurse.

"Okay," I said, taking his hand and leading him to the bedroom. "Just call me Florence Nightingale."

more to come ......( Howdy All! I overslept and am running way late. Thanks for your visit!)


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

153 - Bundle of Joy ..... Part 2

Chapter One Hundred and Fifty Three

We lay together in peace and utter contentment for a few minutes after our passionate reunion, then all of life's concerns and responsibilities returned like a three ring circus coming down the main street of a small town.

The research center called on their secure line to find out how Eric was doing. When the doctors learned there had been an attack they immediately wanted to interview Eric in person and get all the details of his recovery.

Eric phrased his sentences so that the exact meaning would not be clear. He could tell them the whole story when they got here. This meant Eric was still wary there might be a second attempt on his life, or mine. I was less worried now that he wasn't incapacitated by Daynight, but it was still a concern.

I hoped he would leave out our glad-you-survived sex at the end of his road to recovery when he recounted his tale to the doctors. I had to see these guys on a regular basis when we visited the Center.

The girls jumped up and down and squealed when I called them and told them the good news about their father being fully restored to health. They were so noisy they woke up the baby, but their excitement was understandable. They each spoke to Eric to tell him how much they loved him and that they were glad he was better.

Eric spoke to Lachlain to thank him for his assistance. That part of the conversation was brief. I was sure Eric would have a lot more to say to the nineteen year old adult man that was sneaking around to see his fifteen year old underage daughter in the dead of night.

I spoke to Jason to ask if he could keep the girls for one more night until things were straightened out here. I tried not to laugh when Eric silently pointed to Mr. Happy as one of the things that needed to be straightened out. Mr. Happy silently took notice and pointed back at me. That Eric.

Adele told me that Gordon seemed even a little better late today when she called the clinic. I passed that news on to Eric. He had been heartbroken when he heard how badly our brave dog was injured but now he saw there really was a good chance we would have Gordon home with us soon.

Amelia called to remind the girls that she was having a special guest teacher tomorrow. Madam Fox was going to tell them about speaking with the departed. I hadn't heard a word about Madam Fox in years and years, so I asked if I could come along. Amelia said the more the merrier.

I could tell she wondered where the girls were tonight but I didn't want to tell her about the attack until I had a chance to talk with Eric about how he wanted it handled. Vampires liked to play their cards close to the chest.

While Eric was letting in the three doctors from the research center Quinn called on my private cell phone. I was reluctant to even pick up the call but curiosity got the better of me. I wanted to know what happened once Quinn drove his sister into the woods and most vital, where Frannie was now. If she was still roaming around loose I needed to know that.

"Babe, how is Eric? I assume he's all better by now?" Quinn asked hopefully.

He didn't know about the experiment with Daynight, he was just assuming that if Eric wasn't dead he had immediately healed the way vampires do. He probably didn't even realize how seriously Eric had been injured. I wasn't going to tell him about the Daynight experiment so I kept my answers short.

"Yes, he is recovered. Where is Frannie now?" I asked.

I heard Eric lead the doctors into the living room. I hoped he didn't hear who I was on the phone with, his anger would be aroused all over again. I wanted him to have a chance to just get all better without any aggravation. I guessed I didn't have to worry about his blood pressure since he didn't have any, but still.

"She has been returned to her secure facility ....," he began.

"It wasn't all that secure, was it?" I snapped, interrupting him.

"Well, someone got her released, someone that was pretending to be me..." he said.

I interrupted again. "Be that as it may, whatever arrangements you made didn't prevent ..."

Suddenly Eric was in front of me. "Is that Quinn?" he asked quietly.

His face was completely blank, meaning he was furious. He was so mad he had forgotten not to startle me with his vampire warp speed. I jumped and dropped the phone but Eric caught it in mid-air.

I nodded. I guess Eric heard who it was on the phone. On the plus side it meant his vampire hearing was back. On the minus side it meant he was probably going to kill Frannie and maybe Quinn too. Eric placed my white cell phone to his head, his big hand engulfing it, making it look ridiculously small.

"John, this is Eric. I am requesting a Triumvirate." Eric listened for a moment, then he said, "That is unfortunate. I will let you know the date of the trial." He handed the phone back to me.

I put it to my ear and heard Quinn saying, ".... very sorry. I'm sure we can compensate you .."

"Hey Quinn, Eric had to go. Do you know your sister also seriously injured our family pet and a shifter named Nora Heart? She's Sam Merlotte's long time partner. Sam was injured too. Frannie has a lot to answer for."

Quinn was silent. He had run out of excuses for his sister. Finally he said, "Let me know when the Triumvirate convenes. I'll make sure she's represented." He sounded sad about things. But he wasn't as sad as I would have been if she had succeeded in killing my husband.

"I'll have someone let you know," I said. I didn't want to be the one to arrange the trial with his sister. The end was pretty much a foregone conclusion.

We had nothing more to say to each other. After we ended the call I realized he hadn't wondered how his sister had gotten the drop on a vampire. Under normal circumstances Eric could have killed the were-tiger in the blink of an eye with one blow of his mighty vampire fist or one slash of his razor sharp fangs.

Maybe once he thought about it Quinn might become curious about how Frannie managed to maul Eric but I hoped that didn't happen.

Quinn knew as well as anyone how powerful and invulnerable a vampire usually was to attack. The fact that his sister got Eric down on the ground and almost ripped out his throat would seem very unlikely if Quinn stopped to think about it.

It might start Quinn asking too many questions, questions the vampires would not want answered.

It could turn out very badly for him if he got too nosy, very badly indeed.

more to come ......(Good Tuesday morning Fanpires! Thanks for coming here and leaving your wonderful comments. Your input is precious and I appreciate your involvement in the story.

rebeccafrost391 - I'm so happy you're here! Thank you for letting me know you're reading along and for your kind words. Welcome welcome welcome!)


Monday, December 20, 2010

152 - Bundle of Joy ..... Part 2

Chapter One Hundred and Fifty Two

Over the next hour he drank the rest of the bottles. He wanted to stop at six, but I insisted he drink them all. I didn't want to risk him having a relapse once I opened the safe room door.

He slugged down the last bottle, wiped his mouth on his healed arm and said, "Gahhhhhh! Horrible! There, are you happy now?"

He stared frowning directly into the monitor camera so I could see his eyes had gone back to the more human appearing ones that signaled his return to normal.

He seemed a little grumpy but he didn't seem dangerous any more so I punched in the over ride numbers, unlocked his padded cuff making sure no silver touched his alabaster skin and let him out of his safe room.

"How are you?" I asked, rushing over to him once we were in the basement. I hugged him and kissed him over and over, so happy to see he was healed and going to be all right.

"I am better now," he said between kisses. My passionate reunion and obvious joy over his recovery put him in a slightly better mood.

"I thought I might lose you," I told him, tears in my eyes. "You were very badly injured and weren't healing hardly at all."

I ran kisses up his once injured and now completely healed arm. I loved his arms. I loved every inch of him. I couldn't reach his neck. There wasn't a mark on it.

"I remember each moment vividly," he said grimly. "Is the were-tiger dead?"

"I don't think so. Quinn finally drove her off. He's her brother so I don't think he'd kill her. He probably just sent her back to where ..."

Eric cut me off, he was furious. "That is not enough! She came here to my home and attacked me without provocation. There is only one payment for such an outrageous breach in our truce."

He didn't have to spell out the payment, it was written across his face. I knew nothing I said or did was going to sway him one iota away from what he intended.

Frannie had mental problems and these problems were not her fault. This might be a mitigating factor in a human court of law, tempering her punishment with mercy, but in the ancient and tradition bound courts that ruled Shifters and Vampires, such things were not taken into consideration. Supernatural justice was swift, sure, and often final.

I brought up something else. "Do you need some blood from a living human?" I asked.

He stopped his dark thoughts of revenge and looked at me. "Why? Are you offering yourself?"

"Of course you are welcome to feed from me, but I was thinking of Aleksis. I remember you told me once his blood was especially good for a vampire to heal. I can get him here in two shakes of a lamb's tail so you can take advantage of his special blood."

Eric looked at me, amazed. "My wife, you really are remarkable. I told you that more than fifteen years ago and you have remembered it to use when I am in need. The smartest thing I have done in the last thousand years was to have wedded you."

As we hugged and kissed I told him I said the same thing to myself about him and asked the powers that be how I got so lucky to have a husband like him. I told him that now I felt twice as lucky because he had come back from a near fatal mauling.

"You are right, I am back," he said. "Now we must make love to celebrate." Eric was hot to trot.

He swept me up in his arms and carried me to our bedroom. We both needed a shower so we took one together. I soaped him and he soaped me. It felt so good to be clean and naked with Eric. He had no scars on him at all, he was as good as new. If I didn't know this was normal for vampires I would have thought it was a miracle.

For once we were alone in the house. I had a moment of worry, remembering Eric's lack of response during the day, but he was truly back to himself this night.

For a little while we put aside all our worries, responsibilities and concerns. We lit candles and focused only on each other, on our loving feelings and on our joyous reunion. There's nothing like thinking your beloved might be snatched from you forever to put things into perspective. I had gotten Eric back from death's icy grip.

Our love for each other over flowed as we were joined once again on this side of eternity.

more to come .....(danimcket, ky, RW, Eminé, Cindy, Sally, Anonymous Z, Sandra - There are big ships and small ships. But the best ship of all is friendship - thank you my friends for your continued interest and comments.)


Sunday, December 19, 2010

151 - Bundle of Joy ..... Part 2

Chapter One Hundred and Fifty One

This time he sucked the blood down as fast as I could push it out of the injector. I saw his fingers begin to twitch. I put the half full bottle of TruBlood in his hand and helped him to get the bottle to his mouth.

His neck jerked and he looked down at the bottle in his hand then at me. He threw the bottle against the wall smashing it, then he lumbered to his feet. His movements were convulsive and slow. I think his nervous system must have been re-booting after his massive healing had restructured his body.

Shards of glass from the shattered bottle littered the floor in front of Eric's bare feet but I couldn't take the time to clean up the glass right now. I tried to push most of it away from his path with my shoe as I backed away from him. Warm TruBlood dripped down the wall, making an unpleasant coppery smell in the room.

I backed up past where I thought the chain could reach, dragging the Igloo container with me. I opened another bottle and held it out to him. He reached the end of his chain and kept trying to walk forward, repeating the motions of walking in the same place as the chain stopped his forward progress. His mindless repetitious movements made me think of those zombies I had seen in horror movies.

Now that I knew just how far he could reach I held the bottle out to him so his fingertips could just graze the bottom of the bottle. A tiny bit closer and he grabbed the bottle, wrenching it from my grasp. He stared at it with his strange yellow eyes, then he opened it and drank it down in one long extended gulp.

"Ahrarhr," he rasped, holding out his hand. He dropped the empty bottle but fortunately it didn't break.

I thought that meant "more" so I loosened another cap and handed him the bottle. He drank this one right down too. I was so happy he could vocalize. His vocal chords and other throat structures were probably regenerating themselves as I stood there watching him.

His exterior visible wounds were just shiny pink scars against his alabaster skin now. The inside stuff might take a bit longer. He was obviously becoming aware of his surroundings and his need for fuel.

"How are you?" I asked, smiling at him even though his yellow unblinking gaze was creepy and didn't appear to be focusing on me.

He didn't answer but his tongue darted out again. That was when I noticed it was split at the very end, like a snake's tongue. I had seen that somewhere before. I tried to remember, then it came back to me - it was in the Vampire Cave right before I was dragged to the Underworld by Saytanna.

By the light of our powerful flashlight I had seen drawings on the wall of elongated vampires with split tongues lapping up blood around an altar where a woman had been sacrificed. Her fresh running blood was being licked up by vampires crouched like a bunch of cats around spilled cream.

I shuddered at the memory. The sacrificed woman had blond hair like mine and the one that did the killing, the high priest or whatever he was, looked like our neighbor Jure Grando. The shocking cave painting had etched itself on my memory.

I gave Eric one more open bottle, then I pushed the Igloo of bottles to within his reach and got out of there. I locked the safe room from my side. Eric was becoming stronger and more aware. He could break free and grab me if I didn't high tail it out of the safe room even though I wanted nothing more than to hold my beloved Viking to me and hug the stuffing out of him.

I hoped this last bottle would revive him enough to figure out how to open the other bottles and drink until he was back to normal. If this didn't work I would call Pam to go in there and help him drink the rest of the bottles. Surely the King was gone by now and she would show up in the wink of an eye if she knew her Master needed her.

She might not be able to treat him medically, but if all he needed was someone to give him bottles of TruBlood then she would be the best bet. She was one hundred percent loyal to Eric and right now she would still be stronger than him, I hoped.

I watched my husband on the monitor, waiting to see if he would transform from his dangerous primitive survival form back to the man I married.

more to come .....(sashimistat, Sally, Eminé, Kira, Anonymous Z, Cindy, RW, Sandra - It was so very good to hear from you! Good Sunday to you.)


Saturday, December 18, 2010

150 - Bundle of Joy ..... Part 2

Chapter One Hundred and Fifty

He still didn't move at all when I got right up to him. His uninjured arm flopped back down on the bed when I lifted it and dropped it. He wasn't going to be able to hold his own bottle.

I tried to open his lips a little but his mouth didn't budge. How was I going to get this TruBlood inside him where it could do some good? I stood there thinking.

Like my Gran before me, over the years I had collected quite a few unusual kitchen gadgets. I recalled I had gotten a thing called a flavor injector a few years ago from an infomercial I was watching on TV late at night.

It looked like a giant hypodermic needle. It was used to inject some kind of marinade or flavoring into pieces of meat. The girls had been complaining about how dry my pork loin roast was.

I ordered the injector from the number given at the end of the infomercial, hoping to inject some kind of fluid like pineapple juice into the roast to make it more succulent. After it arrived I had tried some of the recipes and it worked. No more dried out pork roast.

I dashed to the kitchen and rifled through the gadget drawers until I found the injector. Then I flew back to the safe room to see if there was any change in Eric. There wasn't.

Putting the big needle in the bottle, I used the plunger to draw up about three ounces of synthetic blood. Then very carefully I worked the big blunt needle past his lips, between his teeth and into his mouth.

Slowly I squeezed the plunger, letting the TruBlood trickle out. I hoped it was going down his throat and that he wouldn't choke on it. I knew you shouldn't give a human anything to drink if they weren't conscious, but I didn't know how that worked for a vampire. I also couldn't tell if Eric was conscious or not.

After the plunger was almost empty I saw his Adam's apple bob up and down, a sign that he was swallowing. Yes! I mentally cheered and high-fived myself.

"That's real good sweetheart," I encouraged him. "Now you drink a little more."

I repeated the procedure, again he swallowed. Again I filled the injector. I thought about writing a testimonial letter to the company. "Dear Ronco, Your handy dandy flavor injector saved my vampire husband's life ..."

Eric's eyelids fluttered after the fourth time I put the injector in his mouth. That was a good sign. I did it again. This time his lips parted a little and the tip of his tongue flicked out. I could see the wounds on his neck healing moment by moment.

After I started on the second bottle his eyes snapped open so suddenly I almost dropped the bottle. He stared straight ahead and I stopped cold.

His eyes.

Usually Eric's eyes were as blue as a cloudless summer sky. Sometimes they darkened with passion until they were the hue of wild blueberries, other times they were steel gray or the color of sun bleached denim.

But tonight they were a strange bright acid yellow. His pupils were oval slits, like those of a reptile.

He stared straight ahead, unblinking. I had seen his eyes like this once before, when he was recovering from an herbal spray that had just about done him in. Later he told me that when his eyes looked like this he was in vampire survival mode.

This meant he wasn't in possession of himself. He would act on instinct to insure his survival, but he wouldn't recognize me or be aware of his actions. He was dangerous.

Should I keep feeding him or should I stop and lock him in? I decided to try one more round of feeding, then he might be aware enough to drink from the open bottles himself.

The thought flitted through my mind that I could call Jure to help me with reviving Eric. Jure was older and therefore stronger than Eric. He could control Eric if he suddenly went berserk.

I knew it would be a fate worse than death for Eric if he should accidentally kill me while not in possession of his faculties.

But Jure was a wild card. He wanted me for his own, he would have nothing to gain by helping Eric. On the contrary, with Eric out of the way I would be up for grabs, to the vampire way of thinking.

Despite the Great Revelation and the ensuing cooperation between the fanged and the fangless, humans were still considered property by most vampires, respected only because of their vampire owner. No owner equaled no respect.

It was tempting to call Jure. He lived nearby and I had not had any reason to complain about him for a long long time. But in the end I thought of what Eric would want. He would not want to be so vulnerable with a powerful being like Jure in control of him. Jure was not Eric's pal.

I filled another plunger full of synthetic blood and put it to Eric's open lips.

more to come .....(Eminé, J, nightlover, Cindy, Sally, Anonymous Z, RW, Sandra, Marlene - Saturday at last! I hope you all have something good planned. Thanks so much for your continued interest and the time you take to comment.

Sally - I'm so very sorry about your Wickett. I hope you can take comfort in the good times you had and the life he had thanks to you. It was brave and kind of you to let him go peacefully. I'll light a special white candle for you, for your heart to heal and peaceful thoughts to fill your mind.

Eminé - I love suspense too. My favorite authors have always been the ones that keep me turning pages long into the night.)


Friday, December 17, 2010

149 - Bundle of Joy ..... Part 2

Chapter One Hundred and Forty Nine

Mid-afternoon I took a nap on the floor outside of his room. I tried laying down in our bed but I was just too wound up to rest so far away from Eric. The rest didn't do me much good. I kept seeing the attack, the flesh ripped from Eric's arms, his pain filled blue eyes and his torn throat. I felt helpless even in my sleep.

After I got up I had a piece of toast and a cup of coffee, then I spoke to Linda and Charlaine on the phone. They were encouraged by the news Eric was healing. They had both helped out with the baby and with making meals and cleaning up. Angellica was smart enough to keep their meals to sandwiches, salads and microwavable hot dishes, things that didn't require every pot and pan in the house.

Later that day Adele called me as I was warming the bottles of TruBlood for Eric. I only spoke to her briefly, wanting to be stationed outside the safe room door to try and feed Eric as soon as he rose. I didn't want him to come to and be so hungry he broke free from his chain. If he was even able to stand, that is.

If he rose on time and his throat was healed enough to allow him to drink I thought he might come through this all right. I was aching with fatigue and tension as I watched his monitor, looking for the first signs he was coming awake.

I had the Mossberg leaning against the wall. I doubted if Frannie would be back tonight, but if she was, this time the gun would fire and I would shoot her immediately. Like Eric always said, "No second chances."

During our phone conversation Adele told me that Gordon had been very drowsy because of the medication, but he hadn't seemed to be in pain. She had been able to hand feed him the canned dog food he loved while he was still laying down. He drank water and wagged his tail a little, but after he ate he went back to sleep. He was still on I.V. antibiotics. She thought he might be taken off them tomorrow if he didn't show any signs of infection.

Dr. Fix didn't want the big dog moving around too much and putting a strain on his stitches. She was going back tomorrow with Lachlain to see him, spend the day at the clinic with Gordon, and at the shelter, which was right next to the clinic. I thought that Lachlain would be enough protection without sending Aleksis to the shelter too.

I would need to give Jason an extra special thank you for taking in Lachlain as well as the three girls. Jason has a finished basement with a guest bedroom and then two more guest bedrooms upstairs. When he renovated the house he planned for triplets. He probably put Lachlain in the basement bedroom and the girls in the upstairs bedrooms. I hoped he was keeping an eye on them at night.

Right before Eric was due to rise I looked in a mirror and realized that I was a hot mess. I hadn't combed my hair, put on make up or showered in the last twenty four hours. I had taken off the dried blood-stiffened clothes I wore last night and put on clean clothes before my short nightmarish nap but that was the extent of my grooming.

I was so tired I was wobbly. I was dehydrated too. I ran and drank three big glasses of water then went back to the safe room door to wait. We had temporarily reprogrammed the lock so I would be able to open it from the outside but Eric couldn't open it from within.

This was my insurance in the event Eric woke up so crazed for blood it would be suicide for me to open the door. In that case I could keep him locked up. I would call the doctors to come and revive him while I went away from the house and gave him time to recover his senses. The ongoing effects of Daynight were one unknown after another, compounded by Eric's need to heal.

I watched the monitor. With a sudden jerk of his body Eric sat bolt upright, making me jump a little. His eyes were still closed. Then he sat there, not moving. I could see his arm a little better now that he was sitting.

The ribbons of raw flesh that had been hanging from his arm bones were now re-attached, though he still had some wicked looking open gashes. His throat looked much better. I couldn't see the things that were the inner structures in his neck anymore. He looked like he could swallow. Maybe he could even speak.

After fifteen minutes of waiting I decided to open his safe room door and try to speak to him. I punched in the temporary override number sequence from memory and the door opened silently. I called to him in a quiet voice, not wanting to startle him. Bill had taught me that you don't ever sneak up on a vampire. They act first and ask questions later.

"Eric, Eric honey, it's Sookie. I have your warm TruBlood here. Can you open your eyes sweetheart?"

He didn't move. Not a muscle, not an eyelid, nothing. Did vampires have some kind of weird sitting coma I had never heard of? For a second I thought about trying to Google "vampire coma" and see what I could learn, but I didn't want to take the time.

I took a step into the room, carrying the Igloo container. Inside it I had eight bottles of warm synthetic blood, Type O, the kind he liked. Well, "liked" is overstating it. He could barely tolerate it, that would be more accurate. I knew the doctors had said six bottles, but Eric was healing from injuries. That might take more blood.

When I was about halfway from the door to his bed I called to him again. I put the Igloo down because it was heavy and the bottles were clinking together. I might have been shaking a little.

"Eric, can you open your eyes? It's night now, you can wake up. I know you're hungry. I have your bottled blood here. I'm going to open a bottle and put it in your hand. You drink it all up, okay?" I was using the same tone of voice a mother might use to coax a fussy child to eat a little dinner.

I tried to recall how long his silver chain was. I took one of the warm bottles out of the insulated container and twisted open the cap. I crept forward to place the bottle to his mouth.

more to come ......(Happy Friday Fangirls! You all make me really happy I decided to give writing a try and put the story in my head down in print. It's more fun than crocheting, my other passionate hobby. Glad you are here with me! Guess some of you are "hooked" (a little crocheting joke).

Sandra - Welcome welcome welcome to this blog! Thank you for the encouragement and for letting me know you're reading along.)