Sunday, February 28, 2010

29 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman's Bundle of Joy

Chapter Twenty Nine

Back in the kitchen I offered Jason some cheesecake, which he declined. We moved into the living room where the furniture was more comfortable. We had diet cokes, even though the weather was chilly. I put on the gas fireplace.

"I wanted to talk to you, but it's about something kind of personal," Jason started out. He took a sip of his coke, and then set the glass down carefully on a coaster. Gran's training lasted a life time.

"You can talk to me about anything, Jason, you know that," I reassured him.

We had gone through a long time where we weren't close, but in the last year or so we had talked many times on the phone and gotten together for lunch a few times. It was nice to be closer to him now. We didn't fight and we didn't try to boss each other around. It helped that I really liked his current girlfriend.

Jason had become more solid and stable since he was seeing Angellica. She was part angel and worked in Fangtasia. Her blood was intolerable to vampires because it was so sweet. This was the exact opposite of her twin sister, Saytanna. She had also worked in Fangtasia and was a considered a delicacy for vampires because her part demon blood was so hot and spicy. Saytanna had been sent to the Underworld with Hades to get straightened out. She was still there and would stay there until she learned to stop causing trouble.

Angellica had been with Jason for over a year now. Maybe it was time for Jason to ask her to move in with him, or even marry him. His first and only marriage with a were-panther had ended badly. I wasn't sure he was ready to make that kind of commitment yet. But he couldn't dilly dally for too long. I'm sure Angellica wanted the things I did, a good man, a comfortable home and maybe children. She wasn't the kind to pressure Jason, he would have to make up his mind on his own.

"Well then, I wanted to talk to you about having babies," Jason said, looking down. We had never been comfortable discussing anything sexual.

Were we talking about him having babies, or about me having babies? I had told my friend Tara about wanting to have children with Eric and she had shocked me by being completely against the idea on the basis that it was unnatural for vampires to parent children. Since vampires were sterile, she believed marrying one should be a decision to remain childless.

This was based on her own bad experiences with vampires. She was really against vampires being part of human society, but she acknowledged that I wouldn't be able to have a normal relationship with a man whose mind I could read. Had Tara told Jason about my plans?

"Oh," I said. I tried to look encouraging, but if Jason was going to try to talk me out of having a child with Eric he was a few days too late.

"Angellica and I have been trying to have a baby for a while now, but it doesn't seem to be happening for us. Do you know of a doctor that could help us, I mean, with our special conditions?" Jason looked at me hopefully.

I was his older sister and nothing made me happier than to tell him I had an excellent doctor that could help him and Angellica. Between Dr. Vay and Dr. Fay I was sure they could figure out whether it was Jason's fairy blood, his were-panther conversion, or his girl friend being part angel that was contributing to the infertility. I offered to make an appointment for Jason and Angellica and go with them to show them where it was.

"Look, could I go first, without Angellica, and see if the problem is with me?" he asked, blushing a little. "I think that's where it makes the most sense to look first. I have been with a lot of women, and none of them have ever come up pregnant except for Crystal, and I was never a hundred percent sure the baby was mine. You know how she was."

I nodded, I did know how she was. A headstrong wild girl that insisted on doing what she wanted with who she wanted. It was hard to blame her for the way she was, she had come from a strange were-panther community called Hotshot. They lived by their own rules. They had been shut away from human society for so long it was no wonder Crystal lived the wild life of a born were-panther. Unfortunately, she continued that behavior after she married my brother and swore to remain faithful. The punishment for that had involved me, and it had resulted in a long estrangement between Jason and me. He had grown up a lot since then, thank heaven. So had I.

With Jason's permission I called and spoke to the raspy voiced receptionist. I made an appointment for Jason tonight after sunset so Dr. Vay could see him first. I didn't know if his fairy background was going to come into play, but she would know. I invited Jason to stay for dinner, although all I had for him was a repeat of what he had for lunch. He was fine with that.

He had some business to attend to, and he wanted to inspect the repairs and read the invoices, so I left him to that and went to take a shower and a nap. He knew my life with Eric revolved around the hours the sun was down.

I laid down in the upstairs garage bedroom and put on the white noise machine. I had wanted to think about the vampire research facility, but I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.

more to come ..... (Anonymous Z, Gjers-1, Sally, Lynn - Thanks for sharing your very interesting ideas over the weekend. You have very good memories and imaginations!)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

28- Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman's Bundle of Joy

Chapter Twenty Eight

When Jason arrived later that day he was greeted by Roscoe's wild wagging, barking, and racing around with a toy in his mouth. It took us about half an hour to let Roscoe finish his exuberant hello before Jason and I could sit down at the kitchen table and talk.

He looked good, tan and fit. The years in the sun had given his handsome face a fine grid work of lines, an attractive outdoorsy look for a man, but not a good look for a woman. I had cut back on my time in the sun and now used a bronzer to achieve the same effect. Jason was wearing his favorite outfit, jeans and a blue denim work shirt. The blue brought out the summer sky color of his eyes, the same color my eyes were.

Always vain about his appearance, Jason now worked out in the gym instead of relying on back breaking manual labor to keep him fit and trim. This was similar to my situation. I used to wait tables and bring drinks to the patrons of Merlotte's, the bar and grill I worked at for years.

Walking for miles with drinks and carrying heavy trays laden with fried and grilled food to the hearty appetites and thirsty customers had kept me trim. It also kept me tired, achy and just above poverty level. Now I used the gym in the basement and keeping this house clean and tidy to tone and firm. Jason and I both had Eric to thank for this improvement in our lives, another good deed by my wonderful husband.

Although Jason looked good, he also looked a little older. Maybe I was just becoming hyper-vigilant about the minute signs of his aging, but I noticed every new tiny wrinkle, and now I saw a few gray hairs. They were almost invisible among the short neat blond hairs, but I saw them.

After discussing the bomb and the damage to the house, Jason told me about some of the new jobs he was getting for vampires. The biggest one was so hush hush that Jason wanted to go into the tunnel to tell me about it. He knew Eric and I had installed a sound proof tunnel that prevented anyone, even supernaturals, from overhearing what was being said.

Jason wasn't too keen on all the usual cloak and dagger stuff vampires always had going on, so I knew this must be big news. He ate the lunch I made him first. It was one of his favorite meals, sliced roast beef, sliced turkey breast, and sliced ham, rolled up. The meat totaled up to about a pound, I had gotten it at the 24 hour Super Save a Bunch last night on the way home from Fangtasia.

Since his conversion into a were-panther his taste in food had changed. He ate very few carbohydrates, vegetables or fruit, preferring meat, rare meat and more meat for his meals. As time went on he was getting more and more carnivorous. I didn't want to know what he ate while he was in his changed were-panther body and running with his pack.

He did still drink beer, but he preferred a special kind just for shifters, 'Full Moon Ale' - "Guaranteed to Make You Howl!" the ads said. Jason didn't howl even when he was in his were-form, but I got the idea. The bottle had a full moon on the label with the silhouette of a wolf howling, his snout aimed at the sky. I tried the ale once and thought it tasted just awful, but it was the favorite among the pack in Hotshot Jason hung with.

Down in the tunnel Jason told me that his crew was building the world's biggest safe room. It was going to be used to house a research center run by vampires to uncover the secrets of the vampire condition. Vampire scientists from all over the world were being assembled to staff the center. They hoped to find out what it was that made vampires different, what their blood was composed of, and how their undead bodies worked. It was the first time a vampire's physiology would be studied by scientists.

This was amazing, exciting news for me. Jason's interest was focused on the difficulty of building such a massive facility underground, one that would still be as safe as a relatively smaller safe room. He explained about the water table and the temperature controls, access and space age materials being used to provide protection against both human attack and natural disasters. Delivery of materials, removal of waste and parking were also issues that needed to be addressed.

Since some of the vampire staff was going to live at the lab, that meant a separate dorm also needed to be constructed. Building this, while keeping it all a secret, was a job on a scale with building the Great Pyramid underground, Jason said. He had always been interested in the construction of the pyramids and would talk my ear off about it if I showed any interest.

Although the logistics of building a huge underground complex like the one he described was interesting, I was more intrigued by what would be discovered once vampires were fully understood. Did the laws of science apply to them, or were they truly powered by magic? Could magic be understood and quantified? Witches seemed to think so. Their whole craft was the study and application of magic forces. Would witches eventually be needed to unravel the truth about vampires? Walking back to the kitchen my head started spinning with the possibilities.

This was going to give me a lot to think about, but Jason had even more news to discuss. Back to the kitchen we continued the part of our talk that wasn't top-secret.
more to come .... (A good weekend to you all too!)

Friday, February 26, 2010

27- Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman's Bundle of Joy

Chapter Twenty Seven

The next day, as I went about my chores, I thought about Eric's good deed. Aleksis believed a miracle had been performed. The grandmother's temporary healing had seemed miraculous to Aleksis, but I knew it was due to the healing power of vampire blood.

How many of the miracles in stories and legends had been performed after sunset, I wondered. Had other vampires occasionally cured what appeared to be incurable human conditions for reasons of their own? Were some of the stories of miraculous healing based on these cures or on vampire blood being given to those that were healed?

I didn't wonder why Eric wasn't more active in solving the medical problems of humans he came in contact with. I knew the reasons. It would give more people knowledge of exactly how beneficial Vampire blood was in the healing of disease and injury. I couldn't even imagine the hoards of desperate people and their relatives that wouldn't hesitate to drain a vampire dry if they knew the blood would heal them. Then there were the vain, the athletes, and the aging. Who wouldn't want a shot of vampire blood if they knew it would restore beauty, prowess or youth?

No vampire would be safe if this information got out. If vampires had been hunted before by superstitious humans afraid of the vampire's attack, how much more frantic and efficient the hunt would be if it was to drag the vampire into a lab somewhere and slowly drain him? I could envision rows of vampires chained with silver, their healing blood harvested regularly, kept alive only to provide blood. It was a nightmare vision, but not beyond the scope of human cruelty, especially if vampires were considered non-humans.

The science fiction books I had read as a teen had filled my head with these notions. But I knew they could become realities. If unscrupulous humans could exploit other humans for profit and gain, how much more likely would it be that unscrupulous humans exploit vampires for their blood? Vampires had the same protection as humans right now, but that could change in a moment. I shuddered at the thought of Eric being turned into a lab animal.

From my own experience as a telepath I knew that the desperate people of the world would overwhelm me with requests to read minds and solve their problems if I made myself available. I would never know another moment of peace if it became widely known what I could do.

Everyone heartbroken from an unsolved crime, missing child, or potentially cheating spouse would want me to find the answers for them. I couldn't blame them, I would want the same thing under the same circumstances. The government would want me to find out what our enemies were up to, police would want me to solve crimes. It would never ever end.

And the toll of being exposed to so much trauma, violence and ugliness day after day would make my alone time a nightmare. I had escaped under the radar once when I tried to help out in a disaster, but I might not be so lucky a second time.

I needed to hide my powers just like Eric did. This was another way I fit in so well with the vampire and supernatural community, the need for others to not know the truth about me. It was bad enough that vampire royalty had found out about me thanks to the loose lips of my cousin Hadley. She had been the Queen of Louisiana's main squeeze, and during their time together Hadley had told the Queen about my peculiar powers.

The Queen, a sharp cookie if ever there was one, had been quick to send Bill Compton to find out exactly what I was capable of. He was instructed to glamour me, but of course I couldn't be glamoured. In order to get me involved with his Queen he had seduced me and gotten me to love him. He was my first boyfriend ever. Somewhere along the line he had also fallen in love with me, but by then our romance was doomed.

Once I found out Bill had just pretended to care for me in the beginning when I was so vulnerable I just couldn't ever go back with him. Fortunately, out of that painful and heartbreaking experience I met Eric, beautiful wonderful Eric, the love of my life. Like Gran always said, every cloud has a silver lining if you just look for it. In this case the lining wasn't silver but golden.

It was too bad, in a way, that Aleksis and his grandmother would never remember the healing came from a vampire, but the alternative was a disaster waiting to happen. Aleksis had called Eric a great man, a saint. I knew Eric wasn't a saint, but he had done something wonderful. And he had done it for me.

I felt better knowing the Curds would be imprisoned for crimes they actually committed, not one they had been glamoured to claim. I know it didn't really make any difference, if they had murdered and not been caught, wasn't that a good enough reason to keep them away from the public? Some part of me chafed at the idea of a person unjustly convicted of anything.

Curd's partner was still behind bars, yet he hadn't killed the lawyer either. Was he also guilty of other murders and just hadn't been caught? Probably. I would ask Eric just to reassure myself an innocent man wasn't behind bars.

Aleksis was a bad man, a man without any compunctions about committing crimes, yet he loved his grandmother and had cared for her as lovingly as a mother would a child. What an odd combination of personality traits, a cold blooded self serving criminal, and tender caretaker. Yet the same thing might be said about Eric. He could be utterly ruthless if crossed, yet his behavior with me was gentle and caring.

I too had killed, but only in self defense. Of course I felt terrible and guilty for a long time afterwards, but did that make any difference? It did make a difference to my own mind that I hadn't killed in order to profit.

This line of thought brought me to one conclusion - Eric had done something wonderful because he loved me, because he knew it would mean something to me. That may not be a miracle in the classic sense, but I thought love was a miracle when it happened between people.

I remembered something Arlene had told me one time. One of her numerous boyfriends had asked her, while they were cuddling in bed, "Baby, why do we love each so?" Arlene was flattered and got a laugh out of the question, but I thought it was a good question. Of course Arlene's relationship didn't last. I was hoping my relationship with Eric would last, but as to why we loved each other so, that was a question for the ages.

I was drying and putting away my breakfast dishes when there was a knock at the kitchen door. I looked at the monitor and saw it was Trin Torma. He was looking at the camera.

He pushed the button and spoke into the mike. He didn't yell, unlike most people. He said, "I realize you don't want to speak to me, and I don't blame you. I was way out of line yesterday, the way I talked to you. I spoke to Quinn and he told me you were good people. Sorry I acted like an ass." He stopped talking and waited.

I was tempted to open the door to speak with him, but there was just the slightest outside chance this was a trick. The Bishop brothers weren't here now that the outside of the house was secure and Jason would be here later. The Bishops had stayed up last night watching the house until they were told the Curds were in custody.

"Thank you, Mr. Torma," I replied. "Don't give it another thought." I meant that too. I didn't want to draw any attention from the shifter community, positive or negative. Eventually someone might get the notion that it would be mighty handy to have a telepath at their beck and call and try to snatch me. Been there, done that, had the scars to prove it. I just wanted to fade from the whole supernatural community's mind as a possible resource.

The bedroom needed some more work, but Jason was going to be here today to supervise it. He didn't need to come, but he wanted to make sure the job was being done right. It would be nice to visit with him and catch up. I wasn't going to tell him about the impending fertilization because I didn't know how long it was going to take, or even if it had worked this time. So much was unclear I didn't want to bring him into it until I had a positive result.

That was one topic we wouldn't discuss. The other big topic was my fairy longevity. Jason seemed to be aging at a normal human rate, but I was aging at a much slower rate, so slow it would be almost undetectable for a human to observe. A vampire, with a much longer life span, would be able to see it, but only after thousands of years. I came close to having a panic attack when I thought about these things for long. It felt like standing on the edge of a cliff and looking over into a bottomless abyss.

Being a telepath had trained me to push things out of my mind as fast as they appeared, like a mental game of tennis. A worrisome notion would pop into my mind and I would mentally lob it out again. Thwack, thwack, begone all you stressful thoughts.

more to come ...(Gjers-1, Sally, Anonymous Z - I'm glad you like the Eric of my Sookieverse, he gets more real to me with each story.)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

26 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman's Bundle of Joy

Chapter Twenty Six

Right behind Eric a small figure hesitantly walked out into the brightly lit hallway. The transformation in the grandmother was amazing. Her skin had been gray and sagging, now it was pink and looked more toned. Her cloudy eyes were clear. Her arms were plumper, stronger looking. She had put in her dentures, and brushed her hair. She was wearing a robe over her night gown and slippers on her feet.

She saw her grandson and hugged him. His eyes were huge, taking in the sight of his grandmother restored to health. She looked twenty years younger. She was not a young woman, but she looked fully capable of getting around her apartment on her own steam. After saying hello to me, she excused herself to use the bathroom. Even that simple act brought a gasp from Aleksis. She went into the bathroom and shut the door.

Eric removed the last traces of glamour from Aleksis and looked at me over his head. I smiled at Eric.

Aleksis stared at Eric like he was seeing the second coming. "What did you do for her?" he asked in his accented English. "How did you fix her?"

Eric didn't answer. He wouldn't want his healing powers to be known. Suddenly Aleksis threw himself down at Eric's feet, grabbing his hand and kissing his Dracula ring like Eric was the Pope of Rome. Eric showed restraint by not pulling his hand free. Vampires didn't like being touched, it was considered an insult in vampire culture to touch another. Eric understood that the grateful grandson didn't know that.

"A miracle, you perform a miracle. How do I repay you? You are a great great man, sir, a saint. Bless you," Aleksis babbled, standing again. His grandmother emerged from the bathroom and went to the kitchen to make tea, an act that would have been impossible for her an hour ago. She looked like she had been completely bedridden when we first saw her, now she walked slowly and carefully without a walker. I had seen a walker in the corner, as well as a cane. Her recovery had taken her back to before she needed either.

Eric glamoured them both to forget we had been there, to believe that the grandmother had simply recovered from a bad flu. We left them making tea and laying out cookies. They were chatting away in German, laughing, and sitting down at the table. Happiness transformed Aleksis's face as much as vampire blood had transformed the grandmother. The deeply cut straight lines in his gaunt cheeks and near his haunted eyes curved, he had a lovely smile; his eyes sparkled in the lights from the brightly lit kitchen. We left them engaged in their small domestic tasks.

Downstairs on the porch, after Eric called for a cab, we had time to talk. I was a little chilly in my low cut dress, so we went back inside the house and waited in the hallway. Eric gave me his leather jacket to wear. It smelled wonderful, like his woodsy cologne, leather polish, and the crisp fall smell of vampire. It was like a blend of apples, leaves, and fragrant wood smoke.

"You gave her your blood," I said, searching his face. I was amazed. I didn't understand why Eric had been so generous. He wasn't normally malevolent, he just felt no need to help humans. He was utterly indifferent to the fates of the humans around him.

Except for me. He needed me very much to be his companion and partner. Every detail of my human life was important to him because it might represent some threat to his access to me. This would be intolerable if I didn't love Eric with every fiber of my being. Fortunately for all concerned, I did love him that much. He made sure I loved him that much. His intelligence and experience gave him the ability to figure out what I wanted, what I needed, and provide it to me. In exchange I adored him, admired him, and appreciated him.

"Yes. It improved her and gave her a few more good weeks," Eric said. His voice contained neither pride nor boasting, just a simple statement of facts.

"Why were you so kind to her?" I asked.

He looked out the door window for the cab. He turned, his fluffy blond hair back lit into a golden aura by the porch light, his face in shadow. "You loved your grandmother," he explained in a quiet voice. "You saw yourself in Aleksis. I could not save your grandmother, but I could do this for you." He put his hand comfortingly on my shoulder.

In the apartment I thought he helped the dying woman so that he could imprison Aleksis once I saw the grandmother would be well enough to care for herself, but I was wrong. He did it because he knew I identified with the love Aleksis had for his grandmother. He knew that his act of generosity would bring me closer to him emotionally. He was right.

I hugged Eric, loving him more than ever at that moment. I knew that in a short time he would return for Aleksis, but not until the life of the grandmother had passed. For now, the two of them would have some more time together. It was the greatest gift Eric could have given me. I felt a happy glow every time I thought of the old woman fussing around her kitchen, making tea, eating cookies with her grandson.

While we rode in the cab Eric called Pam and found out the two Curd brothers had been taken into custody by Leslie, who promptly had them write out lengthy confessions to the various illegal acts they had committed during their long criminal and gang careers. This would add to Leslie's impressive arrest and conviction record. And it would remove the Curd brothers from our lives for a good long while.

The rest of the cab ride we snuggled against each other like two teenagers being driven on a date by the girl's parents. We held hands and kissed. I was sorry when the ride ended and the cab brought us back to the club parking lot. Still, we would have a little time together at home before Eric had to go. I knew we would make the most of every second.

more to come ...(HillsideSweetie, Sally, Gjers-1, Anonymous Z, Lynn - I'm astounded at how good you all are at figuring out where I'm going! Hmmmm ... does this mean I might have to throw a few curve balls? :-)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

25 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman's Bundle of Joy

Chapter Twenty Five

The grandmother was as Aleksis had pictured her, but she was in much worse shape than a momentary mental vision could have conveyed. She appeared to be sleeping, but when Eric approached her bed she said, "Aleksis?" in a thin high voice. Her clouded eyes looked around randomly, not settling on any one thing. She was blind from some eye condition. She might be able to see light, but not objects.

The room smelled like the sickroom of someone that had been there a long time. Everything was clean and well tended, but it must have been a lot of work to keep her comfortable, clean and fed. A low wattage bulb in a lamp near the bed was the only light in the room.

Eric said, "This is the woman Aleksis must attend?"

I nodded, looking into Eric's handsome face, trying to read his expression.

He continued to look at her. "She is gravely ill," he said very quietly to me. We turned away from the bed, keeping our voices low in case she could hear us.

"Yes, she is. This is her home, Eric. She's been here a long time. Aleksis is her family, she loves him and feels safe with him. If we put Aleksis in jail she will be taken to a nursing home. She obviously doesn't have a lot of money so it won't be a very nice home." I was floundering, trying to convey what a tragedy this would be. Nothing in his vampire life would relate to this very human drama.

"She will not live long," Eric said, too low for the grandmother to hear. Like Pam, he wasn't being cold. He was just very familiar with the stages of human life in terms of mortality. He might be able to smell her disease, he could probably predict within hours when she would draw her last breath.

"I know, that's why it would be cruel to upset her and move her now. I want her to live out the rest of her life in peace, at her home, with her grandson." I could feel my eyes filling with tears. This was unfair of me to ask of Eric. As sheriff he had a duty to put the Curd brothers behind bars. But the thought of paramedics wheeling the frail woman on the bed out on a stretcher, to face whatever life she had left alone, blind and confused among strangers, just tore at my heart.

"Aleksis?" she asked again in her thin quaver, aware someone was in the room with her. "I am thirsty, dear." Her voice was so weak it was like a tiny gust of air.

I went and got her glass with the glass straw in it, took it to the kitchen, rinsed it and filled it with fresh water. I brought it to her and raised her up a little so she could drink. She weighed next to nothing. A thick feverish smell came from her. I wondered if she needed to be cleaned up. Did Aleksis do that for her too? Probably. Who else was there?

Eric waited until I had settled her back down, then he came out of the room with me. He lightened the glamour on Aleksis because the gaunt man had been so immobilized he was barely breathing.

"Both of you stay here," he told us. Then he went back in her room and shut the door.

Aleksis clenched and unclenched his hands, wanting to rush into the room and stop Eric. The thought of the large vampire looming over his frail grandmother must have been terrifying. He took a halting half step towards the door, but I put a hand on his arm to stop him. He was picturing Eric in there, crouched over the dying woman, sucking the last few drops of blood from her thin veins.

I heard a few weak sounds from the old woman, then the quiet rumble of Eric's voice. Aleksis was practically vibrating with anxiety, his breathing sounded like he was having a panic attack. He said something in German, something that sounded like a threat or a curse. The grandmother said something else, sounding stronger this time. Eric responded and they spoke to each other again.

A few more minutes went by. A clock somewhere in the apartment chimed three. It was three in the morning, we had about three more hours before dawn.

We both jumped when Aleksis's cell phone went off. It sounded like the ring tone was from Wagner. Flight of the Valkyries, I think the song was called. Slowly he drew the phone from his pocket, dazed by glamour but still able to will his arms to work.

Aleksis opened the phone, his eyes riveted to his grandmother's bedroom door. Then he closed the phone without saying anything and dropped it on the floor. I used the time to put on a few more lights. She probably did like Gran used to do and kept most lights off to save on the electric bill, but the dimly lit hallway was just too creepy.

Slowly the door opened and Eric came out. He looked just the same as he always did. I didn't even check to see if he was pinker, I knew he would not have fed from the dying woman. But what was he doing in there?

I didn't have to wait long to find out.

more to come ...(Anonymous Z, Kristabb, L, Gjers-1, Juicy - I loved reading your thoughts about the grandmother, thank you!)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

24 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman's Bundle of Joy

Chapter Twenty Four

"Eric, I need to talk with you," I said.

Pam raised an arched eyebrow but said nothing. Eric said, "You may speak freely in front of Pam."

I told him that Aleksis was the one that cared for his elderly grandmother. She seemed incapable of caring for herself and relied on her grandson.

Eric just looked at me for a moment, then he asked, "What are you saying?"

"I'm saying we can't let Leslie take him to jail. The grandmother won't have anyone to care for her."

Pam said, "Don't humans have a home or something where the old people go to die?"

She wasn't being cruel, she was just unfamiliar with the details of human life and had probably read something about nursing homes in one of the advice columns she read. Many vampires had an unaccountable fascination with advice columns and read the letters and responses nightly.

Aleksis was following this conversation. He was thinking about attacking Eric, getting past him and out the door. He didn't hold out much hope for escaping , but he knew his grandmother's survival was involved. He would die to protect her. She had raised him and given him a better chance at life than his two brothers had. She was the reason he wasn't a stone cold criminal.

Eric turned to Pam, "You wait here with these two," he indicated Boris and Ivan, "Make sure they confess when they are arrested. I will be back later."

He led the way out of the maze of dark, dusty basement rooms and up the steps into the night club, Aleksis walking right behind him and me bringing up the rear. Though the club was quiet and empty, the contrast between the dungeon like atmosphere downstairs and the fun, kitschy decor of Shreveport's only vampire bar was like night and day. I wondered if this is how it felt to leave the Underworld.

Eric strode out of the club into the parking lot, then waited until I was by his side. Aleksis stood a few yards away, still weighing his chances of running off into the night. He figured they were between slim and none. The night was clear and bright, it seemed like all the stars were out. The back parking lot lights had been turned out but enough light filtered over from the mall that it was possible for me to see. Eric, being vampire, could have seen if it was pitch black.

"Where is your car?" Eric asked Aleksis.

His panic stricken mind was still trying to think of a way to break free. Eric said, "Aleksis" in a voice so commanding we both turned to look at him. Eric's glamour immediately put the man into a trance.

"Over there," Aleksis said, talking slowly and sounding like Arnold Schwarzenegger on Valium.

We got into a red Ford Escort, me in the back seat, the two men in the front, Aleksis driving. Eric commanded Aleksis to drive to his apartment. I wanted to ask Eric a lot of questions about what we were doing, but something told me to keep quiet and let this play out.

Aleksis drove east outside Shreveport for about half an hour to a town called Minden. He parked in front of a gray vinyl sided three story home that had been divided into apartments.

The three of us went up stone steps to the oak front door on the vintage wooden porch. Four mailboxes were lined up on the wall outside the door. One of them said "Curd". The door was locked, Aleksis unlocked it at Eric's command.

Inside, a long hallway lit by two naked bulbs in an overhead fixture stretched in front of us. To the right a wooden staircase went up to the second floor. All the renovations that had been done to convert the once grand home into apartments had been done for the purposes of utility and thrift, not aesthetics. Cheap paneling covered all the inside surfaces, the hall had linoleum on the floor, the light fixtures were basic. Still, the place was clean, quiet, and didn't smell.

We walked down the creaky hall floor to the back apartment and went in. It was just as Aleksis had pictured it in his mind. I knew where the grandmother's bedroom was.

Aleksis was sweating profusely even though the night and the apartment was not warm. I got the impression of inner struggle from him, that some small part of him wanted to resist the glamour and fight Eric. I could tell Eric was sensing this too. He put Aleksis in even deeper, the icy particles of glamour prickling my skin, until the man could neither move nor speak.

Then Eric said to me, "Show me."

We walked down the hallway to the bedroom at the end and opened the door.

more to come ....(Anonymous Z, Gjers-1, Kristabb - Thanks for following along, I never know where the story is going to go until I get there.)

Monday, February 22, 2010

23 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman's Bundle of Joy

Chapter Twenty Three

The three Curd brothers had a striking family resemblance. Hair so short it wasn't possible to tell what color it was, long thin bony faces, and strong sinewy bodies gave them the look of aging skinheads. The oldest one, Boris, wearing a white tee shirt, had some noticeable tattoos on his arms and neck, but Aleksis and Ivan didn't have any visible tats. They had on long sleeved black turtle necked shirts that might be covering all their markings. They all looked to be in their thirties, hard men forged from the poverty stricken lives in which they had grown up.

Pam glamoured them from across the room. The chilly feel of her glamour rolled over me like an invisible front of dry ice fog. My brain felt clammy. She was wearing a light blue suit that matched her eyes, her white blond hair matched the ivory silk shell under the suit. Her glowing orange eyes probably matched the fires of hell.

Under the influence of glamour they described how they had gotten into the basement. Aleksis had posed as a repairman for the Southwestern Electric Power Company. Ginger let him into Fangtasia's basement during the day to check out the wiring and make sure the old fuse box had been replaced with circuit breakers.

Since Ivan really had worked for SWEPCO at one time, one of the conditions of his parole from the previous time he was incarcerated, it was easy for Aleksis to put on Ivan's old work uniform and clip on Ivan's outdated photo identification to appear legit, especially to Ginger. The poor girl wouldn't be hard to fool. She was a few a sausages short of a barbecue due to being glamoured one too many times.

While Aleksis was down in Fangtasia's basement he found the secret entrance to the other side of the basement. After checking around he discovered a tunnel that led to a ladder and a trap door disguised as a storm drain in the side parking lot. Tonight they had moved the grate aside and gone down the drain, both figuratively and literally. Once they set foot in here, their fates were sealed.

Next they revealed their plot to destroy Eric. They blamed Eric for Boris's incarceration, thinking correctly that he had gotten Boris some serious prison time for a murder he didn't commit. Eric hadn't done this directly, but his friend Leslie had pulled Boris's car over and used the opportunity to get him and his pal, Tommy "The Tooth" Williams, to confess to the murder of the lawyer.

Eric hadn't objected to this tidy ending of the suspicion that hung over him. He was cleared of the killing, and we went on our merry way. I must say that after reading their rap sheets I wasn't too concerned about this. I figured they had probably gotten away with many worse crimes scott free.

"What crimes did you really commit?" Eric asked.

The three of them began talking at once. Aleksis spoke in his native language. It sounded like Austrian to me, but I was basing that on the way Paul Henreid and Arnold Schwarzenegger sounded.

"One at a time," Pam ordered. She had a small hand held tape recorder and recorded each one's confession. She asked questions to make sure they named names and gave locations and dates.

Boris talked first. He belonged to a gang that committed crimes without regard to life. Most of his murders had been during altercations with rival gangs, or revenge killings to get even for the killing of one of his gang members, but his gang had also killed during robberies, home invasions, and car jackings. He was, in other words, a gang-banger and a career criminal.

Ivan had been a mercenary in Africa until he had been sent home due to his criminal activities. The things he described doing were really war crimes, as well as killing for gain. He was sadistic and without a conscience. I shuddered to think of him or his brother ever being freed from prison.

Pam could only understand some of what Aleksis said, but it was enough to convince her he was also a criminal. He spoke a type of German that was somewhat different from the German she knew. She could only get the drift of what he was saying. It sounded like most of his crimes were cat burglar type thefts.

The list grew until Eric was tired of listening. "Stop," he said. Aleksis instantly stopped talking. Eric sat staring at them for a long moment, tapping his fingers on his thigh as he thought.

"What shall we do with them?" Pam asked. Her pink tongue darted out and touched her lips. I think I knew what Pam wanted to do with them. But Eric wouldn't kill them right here in front of me.

He said to Pam, "Call Leslie. We owe her the reward of this capture. They will confess to these killings and crimes and then they will go away to prison until they are dead. "

When Pam looked like she was going to object he added, "This is how the King wants this matter handled. He spoke to me specifically about it."

Pam said, insincerely, "Then we must obey the King and turn them in to the humans for trial."

I got the feeling that she might have conceded to the King's wishes tonight, but that didn't mean she wasn't going to figure out a way to destroy them later on. Her eyes met Eric's and for a split second I saw they were in complete agreement. Good thing the Curds were glamoured, that brief glance was chilling.

She called Officer Leslie Fujikawa on her cell phone and told her she had the Curd brothers and they were willing to confess to numerous other crimes as well as being the terrorists that committed the bombing.

"She'll be right here," Pam said, snapping the phone shut. While we waited I popped into the Curd brothers minds. A glamoured mind isn't very informative, just the random thought fragment and a lot of blank space filled with static and weird music. Then I picked something up from Aleksis, an image of an old woman, a sick woman.

"Could you un-glamour Aleksis for a minute Pam?" I asked the lovely vampire.

"Why?" she asked. She had a light crisp British accent that made everything she said sound cool and faintly skeptical. Or maybe she was just cool and skeptical and the accent had nothing to do with it. I was reminded of Julie Andrews when she spoke, but no two women could have been more different in other respects.

"I'm picking up something from his mind and I want to find out what it is," I answered.

Pam looked at Eric and he must have indicated his consent in a way undetectable to me, because Pam went over to Aleksis, bent over and looked directly in his eyes. Instantly he shot back in his chair and fell over backwards. His brothers took no notice of this and continued to stare blankly ahead. To Aleksis, coming out of his glamour, it would have seemed as if Pam had suddenly materialized right in his face.

"Please sit back down in your chair," I told him.

He did, moving slowly and cautiously as if he was in a room full of deadly snakes that might strike at any sudden movement.

I went over to him and placed my hand gently on his arm. He flinched until he realized I wasn't Vampire. I had forgotten I was still in my Elvira type outfit and make up. He briefly thought about grabbing me and taking me hostage, but that idea went out as fast as it appeared. I couldn't understand the words in his mind, but he thought in images too, and those were what I was focusing on.

"Where do you live?" I asked him.

He tried to think of other places he could tell me he lived, but his true residence was pictured in his mind. It was a small dark apartment cluttered with knick knacks, doilies, and over stuffed furniture. This was not the apartment of a bachelor, an illegal immigrant on the run from the law, this was a grandmother's apartment. When it flashed through his mind earlier, I had recognized the style from the way my own dear grandmother had decorated her home.

"Who do you live with?" I asked, though from the images in his mind I thought I already knew.

His mind moved through the apartment, past the faded flowered wall paper, past the numerous framed photos on the hall wall, past several closed doors, to the door at the end of the hallway. The door slowly swung open and his vision moved into the room.

Propped up in bed was a frail elderly woman, her white hair thin and wild, her confused clouded eyes looking up hopefully. I felt the love Aleksis had for his grandmother and his concern for her. He was her sole caretaker and she depended on him for everything.

more to come ....(Anonymous Z, Juicy, Kristabb, Gjers-1, - Very insightful comments yesterday, thank you for sharing them.)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

22 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman's Bundle of Joy

Chapter Twenty Two

Eric said, "Basement," into his walkie talkie. He didn't move. The music was so loud I doubt if I could have heard a cannon being fired in the basement, but Eric was able to hear what happened downstairs with his ultra vampire hearing. A smile spread across his face. "Got them," he declared triumphantly.

"We will wait until the club closes to question them," he said, sitting back.

He looked completely relaxed now, leaning to one side, his long legs spread out. Like the Mounties, a vampire sheriff always gets his man, or in this case, men. For the rest of the evening Eric was especially gracious about being photographed, even giving the blond in the latex jump suit an extremely rare autograph and allowing himself to be photographed standing next to her. Her mind was racing with all the people she was going to impress with this evidence of her close encounter with a vampire. She was from Ashtabula Ohio.

When the last patrons were scooted out, and the club finally closed and locked up, I went to the basement with Eric to see the guys that tried to blow up our house. Ivan, Boris, and Aleksis Curd were sitting on metal folding chairs in one of the hidden rooms. They weren't glamoured, but their demeanor was quiet and subdued. Pam sat on the edge of an old battered gray metal desk looking at them with the unwavering stare of a predator. Though Pam had the sweet face of an angel, she could shred these guys like they were made of tissue paper, and they knew it.

Pam was Eric's Child. Their physical relationship had dwindled and ended a century and a half before I was born. Now they had a comfortable friendship and a business partnership. Looking like Alice in Wonderland Barbie, Pam was fiercely loyal to Eric, so that made us friends. I liked Pam, and as much as it was possible for a vampire, I think she liked me.

The desk wasn't the only piece of unwanted furniture in the dimly lit room. There was a broken oak desk chair, a rusted filing cabinet, and a rotating metal rack that might have held books or magazines. Several large dome topped trunks were shoved against a dingy wooden door in the back. A huge pink and turquoise wooden sign that said "WHEN PIGS FL " was standing on its side against the left wall. The room was a repository for everything that had been replaced, broken or discarded in the building for the last hundred and fifty years.

Although the small strip mall that ended with the night club was relatively new, the building Fangtasia used dated back to before the Civil War. The mall grew up adjacent to the historic building, which had undergone so many renovations and face lifts over the years the architect that designed it wouldn't have recognized it. Fangtasia had a maze of rooms in the basement, and the basement extended under the lot next to the club.

Above ground the building that had stood next to Fangtasia for a century was leveled and gone, the ground black topped over for parking. Below ground the basement was still intact. This extra basement housed the hidden rooms that were used for various purposes by the vampires that attended the club. The building that had been next to Fangtasia had been a munitions company for most of its days, converted into a raincoat factory in the seventies, then an art gallery, until the cost of repairing the crumbling building exceeded what anyone was willing to pay. The building was left to go to ruin.

Eric was able to buy both buildings for a very reasonable price. He tore down the munitions building, but kept the basement. Vampires loved dark, secret hidey-holes and this hidden extra basement was a prize. It had a huge wheel that once connected to a water source to provide power. This wheel was used to shackle enemies until Eric had a chance to question them. I didn't really approve of this, so Eric rarely resorted to drastic measures these days. At least, as far as I knew.

more to come .....(Gjers-1, Anonymous Z, L, Sally, Juicy - I'm glad you like to read what I write. Your comments really brighten my day and give me new perspectives. Thank you so much!)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

21 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman's Bundle of Joy

Chapter Twenty One

I was in my vampire get up tonight. Some nights, when the place was thronged with bus loads of tourists that paid extra for the privilege, Eric and I sat on matching thrones on the dais and looked like vampires. This meant Eric looked like what he was, and I wore white make up and dressed like a fantasy image of a vampire. In reality vampires dressed however they wanted, usually blending in with the human fashions, or sporting clothing that was in style at the time of their human life.

An all vampire gathering might have flappers, zoot suits, hoop skirts and grass skirts. Hair might be marcelled, slicked back, or powdered and arranged in phantasmagorical up sweeps. Each vampire was a character that had decades or even centuries to develop their own style and flair. No two vampires were alike. But people still imagined vampires dressed in black clothing, so when the vampire was in Fangtasia for display purposes, they lived up to the expectations. The women wore gauzy black dresses with trailing sleeves, the men wore black silk shirts and black leather pants.

I had gotten Eric a real vampire cape with red silk lining, but he wasn't wearing it tonight. He opted for jeans because he had the fangs to back it up. I didn't have fangs, so I wore a tight black dress with a plunging neckline and a necklace with a large pendant shaped like a bat. Some people still thought vampires could become bats, not true as far as I knew. Vampires encouraged the confusion about what was true about them and what wasn't. They didn't want too much information to get out to the general public. The less humans knew, the lower the risk something could be turned against them.

Last Halloween a mysterious vampire visitor appearing as Dracula had presented me with a ring, the one with the crest and a "D", which I had given to Eric, and he was wearing that tonight. In fact, he only took the ring off to shower. He was star struck by Dracula and wanted to meet him. The ring was as close as he's gotten so far.

I am the one that actually met the Dracula vampire, but who it really was is anybody's guess. That visit was more like an hallucination than an actual event. Dracula appeared as Bela Lugosi, and his speech and even his words were right from the movie. I knew I had been glamoured, but I didn't know by who, or by what. I got the distinct impression this "Dracula" hadn't ever been a human.

Tourists seemed unable to tell I wasn't really a vampire, something that never failed to amuse me. I intended to Turn vampire someday, once Eric and I were done raising a family. Considering it might be decades before I was even fertilized, I wasn't going to worry about that now.

All I was going to do tonight was keep my inner telepathic ear open to hear thoughts that might indicate trouble was afoot. So far all I had picked up was the many minds wishing they could have a roll in the hay with Eric, and the few minds wishing they could have a roll in the hay with me. I didn't dwell on these kinds of thoughts which ran the gamut from cute and romantic to shudderingly perverted and sick. You don't want to know.

"What are you picking up?" Eric asked me, wanting to know if I was sensing any nefarious plots aimed at us.

"All these folks are thinking about is sex, sex, sex," I said, experiencing an odd feeling of deja vu. Had I said this before sometime?

"I do not need to be a telepath to know that," Eric said with a smile. A group of bus tourists came by and asked permission to photograph us from Terryn, the vampire assigned to act as the guard to the dais and deal with the public. She turned to us and raised her eyebrows and Eric nodded. He smiled with his gorgeous fangs on full display, while I smiled modestly with a closed mouth. Camera phones and tiny cameras snapped and flashed, then the group left, giggling and gasping at their first real contact with a vampire.

"That blond one at the end, the one in the latex jump suit that keeps turning around, is thinking about coming back to ask for an autograph," I told Eric. Suddenly I jolted upright and added, "And the Curd brothers are sneaking through the basement ....."

more to come ....(Kristabb, Anonymous Z - Thanks for taking the time to comment, have a great weekend. As usual I'll be here all weekend.)

Friday, February 19, 2010

20 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman's Bundle of Joy

Chapter Twenty

The repairs on the exterior were almost completed. Hoyt stopped by to let me know before the workmen left that night.

Hoyt and I walked around the outside of the house, lit by the glowing pink light of the setting sun, to look at the place that had been a gaping hole in the wall.

It was completely filled in and covered with Tyvek insulation. The matching siding would be delivered tomorrow and dove tailed in with the existing siding to make a nearly invisible repair.

I told Hoyt how pleased I was with the job they had done. He gave me his trademark "ah shucks" grin and ducked his head, acknowledging my praise. He might have even blushed, or it might just have been the light from the flaming red ball of sun that was sinking below the tree line.

The interior of the bedroom was also coming along. The sheet rock was up and taped, it still needed to be primed and painted. The floor had been taken up and new plywood put down as an under layer for the hardwood floors.

The ruined furniture and fabric had been removed, and the molding along the floor boards to match the existing molding in the rest of the house was on order. The whole room had been wiped down and was going to need to be repainted due to the smoke damage. What couldn't be cleaned would be replaced.

The guest bedroom was also going to be repainted, and the rug was going to need to be professionally cleaned to get the smoke smell out. I had wiped down all the surfaces with the appropriate waxes and polishes, laundered the linens, and sprayed the guest room mattress with Febreeze several times, putting a fan on it to dry the deodorizing aerosol.

I spent a lot of time on the phone that day finding out about the insurance coverage and replacement items for the bedroom. Then I called Dr. Fay to ask her about what happened the night before when Eric and I were held fast together.

An hour after leaving a message with the raspy voiced receptionist, a cheerful Dr. Fay called me back. She explained that once a fairy woman is fertilized it sets up a reaction against any other male also depositing his male seed.

Most fairy women were unable to be entered by a male once they were fertilized, but fortunately for me, my hybrid status meant my body had a different reaction.

I simply trapped the male and held him. As long as I responded to being massaged Dr. Fay believed I would be safe to have sex with.

It sounded like this release technique was going to be an ongoing feature of our lovemaking until the actual conception took place. I thought about putting a 'post it' note on the wall over the bed that said "counterclockwise", to remind Eric which direction to rub to get me to release him.

Then I chuckled to myself. Eric wouldn't need a note. His memory was excellent, and he would have a powerful motive to recall these instructions exactly.

That song, "Please release me, let me go" flashed through my mind. Where does my mind store all these sound bites? There must be a part of the brain that is like a biological iPod.

Tonight we had planned on going to Fangtasia but with the Curds still on the loose I wasn't sure Eric would want to leave the house. I had decided not to mention the episode with Trin today, I wanted to give Trin a chance to speak with Quinn and find out I wasn't the evil woman he thought I was.

I knew Jason heard his buddies out when they were depressed about a woman, Trin had probably heard all Quinn's complaints about me right after our break up. He needed to get updated on how things stand now.

Eric had a lot he was dealing with right now. I didn't want to add one more worry to his plate if it could be cleared up with a phone call. I knew Eric would be up soon, so I finished up a few little tasks and waited outside his safe room door.

He came out of the safe room completely awake. He didn't go through any eye rubbing, yawning, or scratching when he woke up. His wild mane of wheat colored hair wasn't any more untamed than usual because he didn't change position. He didn't have bad breath because he didn't have any breath, and bacteria didn't grow in his mouth.

The only thing different about him from when he went in the safe room and when he came out was his appetite. He usually emerged with a sexual appetite.

His blood appetite occurred only few times a month because he was so old. The older a vampire got, the less blood they needed to keep going. Eric was more than a thousand years old, which made him one of the oldest vampires on the planet, as far as I knew, though by no means the oldest.

His Maker's Maker, and my far distant relative, Anna Hita, had seen the rise of the pyramids. That put her age somewhere earlier than 3,000 B.C.E., according to the PBS special I saw recently.

I never asked her about her age because everyone knows it isn't polite to ask a woman about that. Anna Hita lived in New Orleans and had been the officiant at my wedding.

Tonight Eric had neither desire. Though he greeted me warmly, he didn't make any of the sexmagic moves that swept me off my feet. He padded around in his black silk pajama bottoms and bare feet to see the progress on the repairs, then he called Fangtasia to see what Pam had to say.

I watched him as he multi-tasked, speaking on his cell phone while gathering together the clothes he planned to wear tonight.

I admired the way his thick muscles jumped and slid under his smooth pale skin as he moved around the room. He had been turned at the height of his peak physical condition as a warrior.

Wielding a big sword had thickened his wrists and forearms, walking for miles under grueling conditions had made him lean and sculpted through the middle. Long thighs bulged with each step he took.

As old as he was, he could have entered any modern body building contest and come away with first prize. I mean the natural body builders, not the ones that used steroids to create freakishly large muscles.

When he hung up he told me the plan. As he talked he got dressed, always a treat to watch. He preferred to be naked, but if he had to wear clothes he liked worn jeans and promotional band or vintage tee shirts.

From the way his Lady Gaga tee shirt clung to his broad chest, and his soft faded Levis caressed his backside, I'd say jeans and tee shirts liked him too. He hadn't cut the sleeves out of this tee shirt yet because it was new, but sooner or later he would. He liked to show off his guns.

Eric was more realistic than vain. He was aware his rock star presence captured every eye and set female hearts to pounding in his night club. He used this for fun and profit.

Since he was part owner in a vampire bar in Shreveport, his eye catching vampire presence, cleverly spotlighted and enthroned on the dais, was a money making tourist attraction.

Over the centuries his desire to feed from attractive women was exceeded only by the numbers of attractive women that offered themselves to him.

You can imagine how difficult it was at times for me to be married to such a charismatic supernatural being. Women, and some men, would ignore me sitting right next to him and throw themselves, their phone numbers and their under garments at him.

I was getting used to it. The fact that Eric didn't take up any of these offers kept my jealousy on low, though the pilot light never went out.

The plan was for us to go to Fangtasia as usual. I was surprised. Usually Eric kept me as far from danger as possible. It was a testimonial to how much confidence he had in himself and his vampire back up that he thought I would be perfectly safe in the bar with him. Of course, the miscreants were human, not vampire.

Even three human bad guys would be woefully inadequate against a single vampire, let alone the number of vampires and even Bigfoots that would be providing security for us tonight.

Unless the Curds had gotten their hot little hands on an atomic bomb, I would be as safe in Fangtasia as if I was in my safe room. I wanted to bring Roscoe too and keep him in Eric's office. I wouldn't be able to relax if my little dog was here all alone in the house.

Pam would be lying in wait, ready to pounce if they showed up. Clancy and the Bishops would watch the house. The Bishop brothers were sleeping in the guest bedroom over the garage right now, getting ready to stay up late and sit outside keeping watch.

Eric seemed to be spoiling for a show down tonight. I think he wanted the whole issue with the Curds resolved. It didn't look good if the sheriff's own residence was bombed and he didn't catch the culprits right away.

Maybe he was hoping to lure them to Fangtasia so they could all be gathered up in one fell swoop.

more to come ....(Kathrynwitte, Kristabb, Anonymous Z, Gjers-1, Sally, Lynn - Thanks so much for your kind words and feedback. I read every word, it's very helpful and gratifying.)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

19 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman's Bundle of Joy

Chapter Nineteen

I was heading for the phone to call our insurance agent when there was a knock on the back door. I turned around and saw the were-tiger step into the house through the inner kitchen door, uninvited, letting the screen door slam shut behind him. I must have forgotten to lock the door after I let Hoyt in. Darn! I wondered if I was in danger, if I should call for the Bishop brothers. I didn't want to make a fool of myself over nothing.

"What can I do for you?" I asked, sounding neither friendly nor unfriendly. I stood well back from him, and he wasn't moving any closer. He was dressed for work in a green plaid flannel shirt that matched his light green eyes and thick denim jeans. A few flecks of sawdust were caught in his short blond and gray hair.

"Nothing," he said. "I just wanted to get a look at you." He continued to stare unblinking at me. His eyes changed subtly, a dark inner ring seemed to form around the golden green part of his eye. His pupil was round like a human, not elongated like a cat.

"Okay, now you've seen me. I have a call to make." I said, sounding like I was simply too busy to bother with him right now. I didn't want to turn my back on him, though I doubted he was going to jump me here with everyone around the house.

His look was as hard as nails. "Do you know who I am?" he asked.

His voice was deep and mellow, the right voice for a disk jockey that covered the overnight shift. If his tone had been slower and gentle, he would have sounded seductive. As it was, he sounded abrupt and confrontational. I wondered what his problem was.

"I know you're a were-tiger. A Bengal, I'm guessing?"

I was starting to get an idea where this was heading, not because I could read his mind, but because the Bengal were-tigers were so few and far between. This must be either a friend or relative of Quinn, a were-tiger I had dated a few years ago.

Quinn had been an exciting and considerate man, and I really liked him, but his priorities were to care for his very dependent mother and sister. I could not take on such a large burden in order to have a relationship with him. Even if his family problems had not been so pressing, his work schedule as an event planner for Extremely Elegant Events took him all over the country for weeks on end. We had a hard time getting together when we were dating, I didn't see how things would change if we took it to the next level.

I had ended it, maybe not as tactfully or as well timed as I might have, but at least honestly, and over time Quinn had forgiven me and we had become friends. Quinn had handled the arrangements for my wedding. There were no bad feelings between us. Quinn should tell this guy.

"Yes, I am a Bengal. You dated my friend Quinn." He practically sneered at me. I saw he had his mind made up about what kind of woman I was. I wondered what he had heard about me. Probably nothing good from the look on his face.

"My name is Trin Torma." He paused, waiting to see if I had heard of him. He had an ego to match his size, all these were-Bengals must be like this, dominant and overpowering. They were the top of the food chain, the king of the jungle. It was hard for them to face something or someone they couldn't control.

"Howdy Trin, it's been nice chatting with you, but now I really have to go make a call." I smiled, partly my nervous smile, partly to appease his sense of himself. I wanted to keep this exchange pleasant until he had a chance to sort things out with his friend.

He knew he was a force to be reckoned with, he would expect me to be intimidated. I might have been if I wasn't seeing the neatly groomed Richard Bishop looking through the kitchen screen door at me. One wrong move and the Bengal would have to deal with two Bigfoots. I doubted if Trin could change at will during the day, few shifters could. In his human form the Bishop brothers would be more than adequate to deal with him.

"Maybe we'll talk again when you're not so busy," he said, a note of menace in his voice. He was aware of the security I had around me.

"I have a suggestion for you, between now and then, why don't you give Quinn a call and ask him how things stand between him and me? I'm guessing you haven't spoken to him in a long time."

I saw a quick look of surprise flash across Trin's face, then the coldness returned to his expression. He was going to have to hear it from Quinn's own lips that I was not an enemy of Quinn. Trin turned and left, walking past the silent Bishop brothers without a word.

"Thanks, guys," I said to them after Trin had gone.

"No problem, Mrs. Stackhouse," they answered in unison. I closed the screen door and the inner door, remembering to lock it this time.

more to come ..... (Anonymous Z, Kristabb, L, Juicy, Lynn - Thanks so much for your comments and insights. I do sometimes deviate from the books a tad just to add a little zest to the story, or because I love a character and can't let go of them.)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

18 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman's Bundle of Joy

Chapter Eighteen

He told me his mother was convinced that his father had buried a large quantity of gold to keep it safe and prevent his mother from getting her hands on it. Now that Maxine was getting on in years she needed the money for the upkeep on her house and living expenses.

"I thought she had savings, and was getting a pension and social security," I said, surprised to hear that money was an issue for his mom.

I had never thought of Maxine as a person living on the edge of poverty. She always flaunted her new possessions and clothes around the other women in the numerous clubs she belonged to. Sometimes Gran and I felt like poor relations around her.

"I guess it's just not enough. She doesn't tell me her business," Hoyt grumbled, helping himself to more coffee.

He was thinking that although Maxine was close mouthed about her business, she couldn't meddle enough in Hoyt's life, telling him in detail what he should and shouldn't do. Some things never change.

"Who's the medium she's seeing?"

"Madam Fox over in Homulka. But Madam Fox comes to Mom's house now, she says the closer she can get to the source of the vibrations the stronger the signal, or some such nonsense. If you saw this Madam Fox, Sookie, you would see right away she's a fake. I don't know how much she's charging Mom, but whatever it is, it's throwing good money away. Mom might could use that money for her expenses, rather than throwing it away on some bogus medium."

It was touching that Hoyt was still so protective of his mother despite how difficult she was. I could tell Hoyt was going to ask me to investigate Madam Fox using my telepathic powers.

I wasn't so sure she was a fake, her request to speak to Hoyt's deceased dad had reached the Underworld and been processed by one of the Hundred Handers, the beings that processed all the red tape generated in the Underworld. If things were complicated here above in the land of the living, I can only imagine how much more complicated things were in the Underworld. I still didn't know all there was to know about who got sent there, what it was for, or where people went who passed over but didn't go there.

I had contacted Gran recently in the magical grotto I grew from a special ivy leaf an Oracle had given me. Gran didn't seem like she was in the Underworld, she was happy and able to come whenever I wanted her. I had told her about how my friend Tara wasn't supportive of my desire to have a child with Eric.

She had reminded me that prejudice hurts the one that is closed-minded more than it hurts those that are shut out. She told me that my happiness didn't depend on Tara's support, and Tara might change her mind once she saw the reality of my life with Eric and a child. I had asked her if I was going to have a child, but she wasn't allowed to tell me the future. From the way she smiled I got the impression she was thinking I was going to have one, but then she always smiled and behaved so lovingly it was hard to tell.

"Sooks, do you think you could talk some sense into Mom? Maybe check out that Madam Fox and see what she's all about. I think she's a bad influence on Mom, and might be fixing to take everything Mom has in a scam. Can you help?" His big brown eyes reminded me of Roscoe when he really wanted something. I could never say no to Roscoe when he looked at me like that.

"Well, you know your Mom is strong willed. She's going to do whatever she has it set in her mind to do no matter what you or I say. And you know she doesn't hold with my abilities, she thinks I just pretend to do it to get attention. But I will try to find out what I can about Madam Fox and let you know what I come up with." I thought that was a fair balance between getting squeezed between Hoyt and his mom, and doing nothing to help.

Besides, I was curious about Madam Fox's abilities, so finding out more about her was on my agenda anyway.

Yesterday was damp and misty, but today was bright and clear, a good day to do some work on my house. I said as much to Hoyt to hurry him along. I knew he would rather sit in the kitchen with me than go out there and begin work.

Once Hoyt finished up his third cup of coffee and used the guest bathroom he was good to start supervising the repairs. I knew he would do a good job. I watched him go down the front porch steps, chat with the Bishop brothers for a few minutes, and then start assigning work.

After a time he drove off in his truck, holding a sheet of paper in his hand. He probably had to go get some supplies. I hoped he would be back soon. The Rough and Ready Renovation guys were quite a intimidating work crew. Like a pack of big cats, they were a little scary to have around.

I was especially leery of the were-tiger. He seemed to spend a lot of time staring at the house yesterday with his strange light green eyes. What was he looking for? Me?

more to come ... (Anonymous Z, Juicy, Kristabb - Good morning fanpires! Thanks for your comments yesterday.)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

17 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman's Bundle of Joy

Chapter Seventeen

The next morning there was a note next to the coffee maker. It said, "My wife, I am glad we are apart. Hoyt will arrive today. See you tonight. Love, Your Husband".

Also next to the coffee maker was a black statuette. I picked it up, it was incredibly heavy. It was a dull black statue of a hawk, about life sized. It had rubies for eyes, and the nails on its talons were mother of pearl. It was a Maltese Falcon.

It was either made of lead, or solid gold. I thought Eric had been flirting and kidding when he said he had a 'Maltese Falcon'. But he had been serious, he actually had one. I put it in the cabinet under the sink when I heard the work men arriving. I didn't know how valuable the Maltese Falcon Eric owned was, but the one in the movie was worth a bundle, enough so that people killed for it.

There was a short knock on the kitchen door. I glanced at the monitor and saw the broad pleasant boyish face of Hoyt Fortenberry. Hoyt had been friends with my brother Jason since grade school. After graduation they both worked for the town of Bon Temps, mostly on the road crew. Now both Jason and Hoyt worked for one of Eric's construction companies. They earned double what they had made before, and Jason also earned commissions on the jobs he lined up. With his supernatural charm he was able to get lots of extra work for the crews and it meant more money in his pocket, and theirs.

Though Hoyt had the kind of baby face that would always look youthful, and might fill out too much if he wasn't careful with his diet, I noticed some signs of aging. Lines around his mouth had deepened, caused, I imagined, by holding in his exasperation with his over bearing mother Maxine. And his skin, once as creamy and smooth as a baby's bottom now looked more tanned, weathered, and aged. His forehead looked higher too, a sign of a slightly receding hairline.

I was noticing these signs of age in all the people I knew from my past, signs of aging that I was not showing. That is because the strange combination of Coblynau blood from the Welsh mining fairies on my mother's side, and the royal fae blood from my father's side has resulted in a prolonged lifespan for me. I would only age one year for every six hundred human years. This had begun when I was twenty, so now, though I was technically twenty nine, I was physically still twenty.

It was only a matter of time before the people that knew me well were going to start noticing I wasn't getting any older. I didn't worry about anyone's reaction except my brother Jason. He loved me, but it was in his nature to be jealous of any good fortune of mine, even if he also was happy for me. It was a flaw in his nature that caused him much inner pain.

I know how much jealousy hurt. I wasn't jealous of others good fortune like Jason was, but I was jealous if Eric had been interested in another woman, even if that happened centuries before I was born. He was careful to omit mentioning cavorting in his tales about his life, but it was really obvious to me that his life had been one long vampire romp, meaning fighting, blood lust and sex in equal amounts.

Hoyt commented on how good I looked, how marriage agreed with me. Most people that knew me said that when they met me. They were reacting to the subconscious realization that I looked just as young as I had years ago. Not enough to set any warning bells off yet, just a little surprise to see the lack of aging we took for granted in those around us. It was easily dismissed now as good health or marital happiness, but in the years to come it was going to become obvious, and unsettling, to others.

It reminded me of a commercial I had seen a long time ago when a super model said, "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful." I hoped others wouldn't hate me because I stayed young. I couldn't even think for one second about the time far in the future I would see my brother old and fading. I never ever thought of that.

After accepting coffee, eggs, toast, juice and an apple, Hoyt sat down at the kitchen table across from me, just like the old days when he would come by Gran's house and she would make him breakfast like he was a member of the family.

Hoyt filled me in on how Jessica was doing. Jessica was a teen-aged vampire that Hoyt had dated for a while. Their lovemaking had gotten too wild and she had begun to Turn him, something completely forbidden for a young vampire to do, so she had been taken under the wing of a powerful vampire social worker, and now she earned time to date by her good behavior. She was working in the Underworld and had recently recovered from a bad case of rabies.

"She's as cute as a button and she's good at her job. She said that Persephone might let her stay over at my place for her birthday," Hoyt said, beaming with happiness. He was getting older while Jessica would always look like a seventeen year old girl. At some point their age difference was going to start to seem weird.

He wasn't quite old enough to look like her father yet, but he didn't look like a proper date for a seventeen year old either. I don't know how it worked with a human man and a vampire woman. Vampires are able to have much more vigorous sex than humans can. How would a human man keep up with a vampire woman? I wasn't going to ask Hoyt about it, that was for sure. After listening to him enthuse about his plans for Jessica's weekend visit I changed the subject to something else I was curious about.

"Hoyt, is it true your mom is consulting a medium to contact the dead?" I asked.

I had heard this from Eric who heard it from Persephone Gallo, Jessica's social worker. It was why Jessica had tried to leave the Underworld without permission, to tell Hoyt about his mother's request to speak to the spirit of Hoyt's dead father about something he had buried before he took his life.

Hoyt rolled his eyes and sighed. "Oh yeah, it's true, sure enough. She's off on another one of her tears again."

more to come - (Thanks for your comments, glad I could provide a laugh)

Monday, February 15, 2010

16 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman's Bundle of Joy

Chapter Sixteen

I realized she hadn't seen me completely undressed. "No, I do not have wings."

I hadn't even thought about that. Did Claudine have wings? Did Claude? I had seen him naked from the waist up when he stripped at the club he owned with his sister and he didn't have them. How about Chester Katz and his siblings? They had tails, not wings.

"Not at any time?" she asked me, sounding like I should have them occasionally.

"No, never, Not even once," I replied. "Why? Does it matter?"

"Yes, because the cure for this condition, it's called 'sidhe moitac teitíne' by the way, is for your mate to stroke your wings until you let go. Have him stroke your back, and keep feeling around for the spot that will cause you to loosen up and release him." I heard a baby crying in the background, and women laughing, probably patients in her waiting room, wherever she was.

"Will that work even if I don't have wings?" I asked. I also wanted to know why this happened and if it would happen again, but I could ask her those things once we weren't stuck.

"I hope so. Try to find the right place and call me back if you can't find one. We can try ... something else," she said, trying to sound reassuring, but she actually sounded dubious. I told her I would give it a try and hung up.

For the next forty five minutes Eric rubbed my back, my sides, making me laugh because I'm ticklish, my thighs, calves, neck, head, and rump. He hit the jackpot when he rubbed the two dimples I have in my lower back over my rear.

First he rubbed them clockwise and I began to tighten. He stopped and reversed the motion, rubbing them counterclockwise and that did the trick. I unclenched and the Millenium Falcon undocked from the mother ship. I thought it might make a sound like a champagne cork being popped but it didn't.

"I have always loved your dimples of Venus," Eric said, "But I never realized they served a purpose until now." He lay back, relaxing now that he was free.

"Me neither," I said, laying back too. We weren't touching. I think we were both just so glad to be separate for the moment.

A phrase, "Let there be spaces in your togetherness" went through my mind. What was that from? I asked Eric.

"It is from Kahlil Gibrán," he said. He quoted more of the poem," 'Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.' "

"That's beautiful," I said. "But I don't want too much space between us. Just a little bit of space for now. They're called 'dimples of Venus'?"

"Yes, that is what I heard they were called. Did you have another name for them?"

"No, I didn't call them anything. But I'm mighty glad I have them. I'll call Dr. Fay tomorrow and try to find out what happened and how to prevent it."

"It could have been worse," Eric said, putting his arm under his head. "You could have grown teeth."

I sat up and looked at him. "You're kidding? You heard of someone growing teeth in their coochie?"

"Coochie?" he laughed, "What a great name for it. Yes, it is possible to grow teeth in your 'coochie'. I have heard it called 'vagina dentata'. You have never heard of such a thing?"

"I thought it was just a psychological fear men had, that the woman might could bite it off down there. How does it happen? How do the teeth grow there?" I thought briefly about what it must be like to brush and floss those teeth. Your dentist could also be your gynecologist. It would give a whole new purpose to lip gloss.

"A woman must be bitten by a Gorgon, nothing you need to worry about," he patted my thigh reassuringly. If my life hadn't taken so many strange turns I might have dropped the topic as preposterous, but not now, not the way things were constantly being revealed.

"Where do Gorgons live?" I asked, so as to avoid that place at all costs. I yawned and laid back down, pulling the covers over me.

"The bottom of the sea." Eric said. I thought about that. I thought I didn't have anything to worry about if that was the case, and at some point my thoughts drifted over into dreams.

more to come ...(Kristabb, M.A.E, Anonymous Z, Juicy, Lynn, Gjers-1 - Happy Valentines day to you too. I'm glad my wild imagination isn't too much for you, it seems to get wilder all the time. I love you all too, my companions on this journey of Sookie's and Eric's.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

15 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman's Bundle of Joy

Chapter Fifteen

"You're kidding. Tell me you're kidding," I said, though I could tell by both the look on his face and the feeling of him inside me he wasn't kidding.

"I fear to pull too hard, I might damage you," he said gently. He was right. His vampire strength could probably yank himself loose, but he might take part of me with him. I thought of the way pulling out a stinger ripped the innards out of a bee. Whatever damage was done would heal almost instantly for a vampire, but not for a human.

I didn't want to lose my innards. Dogs got stuck like this sometimes, people didn't. Did this happen to vampires? I asked Eric.

"Never. In my whole long life I never heard of anything like this." He was leaning away from me as much as he could, trying to take a peek at what was happening down there. The answer was nothing. We were stuck together like we were glued. I tried to think.

"Maybe it will let up in a few minutes," I said, hopefully. It didn't seem to be letting up, but it didn't seem to be any worse either.

"It will be dawn in a few hours," he said. He was thinking too. He couldn't stay here once the sun came up. We could probably make it down to my safe room, the one with the air supply, but I couldn't imagine going through the day like that.

But that was ridiculous. "We can't stay stuck together like this for hours. We need to get a handle on this problem now." I was thinking that probably wasn't the best phrase to use.

"Maybe you should call your doctor," Eric suggested.

He was a genius, and Dr. Fay's card was still next to the phone from when I called her from this room earlier today. Hallelujah! I would have hated having to travel very far like this. Eric's long arm reached both the phone and the card. I dialed her number praying I wouldn't get her answering machine.

"Hello, this is Dr. Fay ....

I jumped in, "Hi Dr. Fay, I have an emer ..."

"I'm sorry I am unable to answer the phone right now," her answering machine went on, "Please leave a message after the beep." I heard a beep.

"Hi Dr. Fay, this is Sookie Stackhouse. I was having sex with my husband and now we're stuck together and can't get apart. We need help right now, but you can't come here. Could you send Dr. Vay if you can't get here, or maybe if you know Dr. Ludwig you could ...."

Someone picked up the phone. It was the woman with the raspy voice. "Is this an emergency?" she asked. She sounded skeptical.

If this wasn't an emergency it would do until an emergency got here. "Yes, a very serious medical emergency. But Dr. Fay can't come here, there's a vampire in the room," I said quickly before Dr. Fay materialized and Eric drained her while still attached to me. Talk about a nightmare scenario. I could see the Jerry Springer show on that one, "My Husband Ate My Gynecologist."

"I'll get her on the phone, please hold," she croaked. Well, that's what I was already doing wasn't it, I was holding. I needed to learn how to let go. I tried to will my nether parts to go completely limp, but nothing happened. At least Dr. Fay didn't have that irritating music or infomercials while I was on hold.

"She's coming to the phone," I whispered to Eric, though why I was whispering I didn't know.

"Hello Sookie, what seems to the problem?" Dr. Fay asked cheerfully. I explained how we were stuck. I was starting to feel sore too. Enough was enough.

"I guess I didn't mention this might happen?" she asked.

"Nope, Dr. Fay, you did not. I would remember if you did," I said. Was this a side effect of being inseminated? I hoped not. I wouldn't be able to have sex with Eric until after I conceived. But I would worry about that later. My concern right now was how to stop having sex.

"Let me ask you something Sookie," she asked sweetly. "Do you have wings?"

more to come ... (Kristabb, Juicy, Anonymous Z, valkyrie - Thanks for your comments. You're right, there can be too much of a good thing!)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

14 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman's Bundle of Joy

Chapter Fourteen

We sat out in the club for another hour, then decided to go home and have some time for ourselves. After Eric and I took the dog out and threw toys until he tired out, I changed into my nightgown and a robe. Eric picked out a movie for us to watch. Tonight he picked one of my favorites, 'The Maltese Falcon' with Humphrey Bogart. We had seen it several times before, but I never got tired of the tough guy detective Sam Spade that Bogey so perfectly portrayed.

By the time we got to the part where Sam Spade said, "When a man's partner is killed, he's supposed to do something." Eric and I were making out like crazy. I just listened to the last scene of the movie for the words "The stuff that dreams are made of," signaling the end of the movie.

"I have a Maltese Falcon," Eric whispered in my ear, his hands all over me. He pressed my hand to the bulging front of his jeans.

"Is that a Maltese Falcon in your pants or are you just happy I'm sitting here next to you?" I asked, using a variation on the famous line from Mae West.

Eric pulled back and looked at me in awe. "That is very funny," he said seriously. "Did you just think of that?"

I couldn't take credit for something Mae West said, so I told him no and explained. I also had to explain who Mae West was. I told him I would get us a few of her movies from Netflix next time I ordered some.

"It was clever of you to think of it," Eric said, resuming our make out session.

Soon we retired to the guest bedroom since we didn't want to go all the way to the bedroom in the garage. Since Roscoe was in the guest bedroom we had to put him outside the door. He cocked his head at this change in his routine, but I didn't have time to explain it to him right then.

While I was holding Eric in my hand he murmured in my ear, "Should we name it 'The Maltese Falcon"? I knew he was kidding.

"Well, it is the stuff dreams are made of, but in your case I think 'The Millennium Falcon' would be more suitable."

Eric froze as still as a statue.

"What?" I asked smiling, looking up into his handsome Nordic face.

"Are you saying I am too fast? That I am premature?" He practically hissed the last word.

Tiny worry lines appeared around his everlasting blue eyes. He was asking this seriously. Then I remembered he used to read 'Playboy' magazine for decades, he probably learned about this human condition from an article he read, or from one of those advice columns men's magazines have.

Vampire men, as far as I knew, did not ever suffer from the sprinklers coming on during the national anthem. Since they didn't have circulating blood as their hydraulic system, they used something else, maybe magic, to achieve what human men have always wished for, the ability to stay as long as they wanted.

"Oh no, honey no, I was just referring to the way it is supercharged, powerful. You have never disappointed me." I was surprised he didn't realize this. I was pretty noisy and expressive, surely he knew I was happy with him in that department.

Eric relaxed. "Then I am adequate for you?" he asked, fishing for a compliment, the smug little smile back on his face. What an ego!

"Well," I said, with a twinkle in my eye, kidding him, sounding grudging to challenge him, "You never dropped your coins in front of the slot machine, I'll say that for you."

I watched his intelligent face as he worked that metaphor through until his mouth opened in a broad grin. "Let me show what I can do with my Millennium Falcon," he said, stripping off his clothes. I got ready to hang on for the ride of my life while Han Solo got in the cockpit.

He reached warp speed and got us to our destination in record time. Then he made it a round trip just to prove a point. I was completely, utterly played out and I told him that in the most flattering terms possible. I called him my twenty point stag, I clung to him and kissed him and thanked him. I even teasingly suggested he call 911. I could tell Eric's pride was fully inflated, as was his rocket. I needed to call it a night.

"You can stick a fork in me, I'm done," I told him. He stayed put. "Okay, I award you the grand prize in male stamina. Now I need to quit."

He said, "I need to quit too, but I find I can not." He reached past me and turned on the bedside lamp. It wasn't shaded with a scarf like the one in our regular bedroom so it seemed very bright.

I blinked a few times and looked at his serious face. "I am stuck and can not pull out," he said.

more to come ....(Anon L - Thank you for your kind words, you have made my day! Anonymous Z And Juicy thanks for reading along. I'm glad you're having as much fun as I am with this new phase of their life together.)
(Later ...valkyrie said "Just a side note because I'm a geek: it's Han Solo lol"

Thanks for the help, I went in and changed it. I'll keep my Hans to myself, lol ... :-)


Friday, February 12, 2010

13 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman's Bundle of Joy

Chapter Thirteen

Since smoking was banned in the night clubs of Louisiana the atmosphere in Fangtasia was actually quite healthy. I drank V8 juice from a TruBlood bottle and relaxed. Eric and I held hands just like we used to, and I leaned against his leather clad arm. I was happy as a clam. This lasted until Officer Leslie Fujikawa came into our hopping dance club an hour later and asked to speak with Eric. We all went back to his office.

Leslie sat on the corner of his desk, looking petite and trim in her spiffy police uniform, and said, "We just got a complaint from a young man's father that his son was attacked by a vampire in this parking lot." She raised one eyebrow in a way that let us know this was just a formality, she knew Eric wouldn't attack anyone in the parking lot of his club.

"I spoke to a young woman, I asked her to move her car so I could drive around to the back of the club. When she moved her car a man she was talking to grabbed my arm and wanted to confront me. Then he changed his mind and fell." While Eric was talking he was at his computer stand scrolling through the camera footage from the surveillance cameras aimed on the lot. When he found the one documenting his interaction with the young man he made a DVD copy and gave it to Leslie. She thanked him and put it in her shoulder bag.

"We're closing in on the Curds," she stated. I waited for Eric to say "No way!" though I realized he didn't show his sense of humor to other vampires. He didn't say it, of course, but I swear I saw the corner of his mouth twitch slightly.

"What will you do with them once you catch them?" I asked her. I was a little bolder about speaking to vampires now that I was one blood with Eric. Before I married Eric and became one blood with him I knew most vampires looked at humans like some kind of weird talking monkeys. Maybe they were changing now that mainstreaming was going so well. A discourtesy to me would be an insult to Eric, so my relationship with the vampire community was polite and respectful. Mostly. As with humans, there was always the occasional bad apple in the barrel.

"Turn them in. It was decided that their arson of your home would be prosecuted as a terrorist act against a minority group. This is a very serious charge. Added to the escape, and aiding and abetting the escapee, they will do some serious prison time." Leslie's mouth was a grim line and you could cut diamonds with her serious dark eyes at that moment. Her eye color was so dark it was almost indistinguishable from her pupils. She took crimes against vampires very seriously.

"Good," Eric said. "Let me know when they are in hand."

Leslie hopped down from the desk, put her bag with the DVD in it over her shoulder and placed her hat on her sleek head. She adjusted her gun belt and crossed the room. The belt looked very heavy on her small frame with all the items she was required to carry - a gun, handcuffs, pepper spray, truncheon, flashlight, radio, and assorted leather pouches. Officer Fujikawa wouldn't need most of those things because she was Vampire, but police regulations hadn't been changed to take into account the phenomenal physical prowess vampires had.

"You should sue them for the repairs to your house," Leslie said, one hand on the door knob, ready to leave and hunt down the Curd brothers. "You also might be eligible for Crime Victims Compensation. I'll bring you the forms."

I really admired and appreciated the professional demeanor of the vampire woman. She was always on Eric's side and did everything in her considerable power both as a vampire and a member of the Shreveport police department to keep him free from hassles. I knew it would be poor manners to shake her hand, so I just nodded at her as she left.

Before I could say anything to Eric, his Child, partner, and friend Pam came back to the office. She was a pale blond, perfectly pretty in the way that Barbie is perfect. But the white blond hair and pale blue eyes didn't reflect how strong and intelligent she was. She looked like a fairy tale princess, but inside she was as fierce as an alligator.

"Sookie, you look lovely." She tilted her oval face and looked at me searchingly. "Is there something different about you?" Her baby blue eyes scanned my face. Good thing I had years of practice at lying and keeping a poker face. Being a telepath was good training for keeping my own thoughts from reaching my face.

"No, not really Pam. You probably heard about the fire at our house?" I said breezily.

"No, not the fire, something else," she said slowly, trying to pinpoint what was different about me. She continued to stare at me for a moment longer, then she gave up and turned to Eric.

"I have an idea," she said. She sat down on the couch after moving a box to the floor. I sat down on the hard wooden guest chair, glad she had moved on. For a moment I was afraid she might be able to tell I was carrying sperm inside me and I didn't want her or anyone besides Eric to know anything so personal about me. Eric sat behind his cluttered desk.

He listened while Pam laid out her newest idea. Pam was fascinated by human customs. She had been gung ho to have a baby shower for someone, but when none of the Fangtasia staff turned up pregnant she changed her sights to this new project.

"Speed dating?" Eric said dubiously. "I do not think this is the proper venue for a speed dating night." His golden brows were knitted in a way that indicated he didn't know what speed dating meant, but he was against it, whatever it was. Smart man.

"What is speed dating?" He asked her.

I thought I knew, but maybe not. My version of speed dating, the one that had convinced me it was better to just stay home and give up on dating entirely, was to go out with a guy, read his mind, feel horrified or disgusted, make an excuse, and go home. This is why the unreadable minds of vampires has turned out to be such a blessing for me.

Pam explained in her cool slightly British accent. "It is matchmaking process or dating system whose purpose is to encourage people to meet a large number of new people, or in this case, new vampires. Both the humans and vampires are assigned a number. Humans would move from table to table every ten minutes meeting vampires. The vampire that liked a human would write down their number, and vice versa. At the end of the night the matches would be given contact information to meet a second time. We would make money by charging each human to participate. The vampires would get a chance to meet donors without having to hang out in a bar. Afterwards the bar would be open as usual, encouraging the humans and vampires to stay and have a few drinks." Pam sat back, a pleased smile curving her mouth. Her forest green designer suit, four inch killer heels, and expensive leather briefcase made her look like an enchanting executive. She had a clipboard in her lap that she tapped with a pencil eraser, but never wrote on.

Eric appeared to think it over. I was sure he would veto the idea, but to my surprise he agreed to it. They set up a date on the calendar, usually a slow night in the club, to advertise the first vampire and human speed dating night. I was thinking this might be the very first event of this type in the history of the world.

I was also thinking about getting a lot of strong willed unpredictable vampires and intoxicated humans to meet in a night club. Golly, what could possibly go wrong with that?

more to come .... (Anonymous Z, Kristabb, Deanna, Juicy, Gjers-1 - Thanks for commenting, it was a great start to my day. I come away from the computer smiling. Also, I owe the idea of a vampire speed dating night run by Pam to latbfan. She mentioned it to me and I thought the idea was hilarious. )