Thursday, September 30, 2010

71 - Bundle of Joy ..... Part 2

Chapter Seventy One

"Shifters? What kind of shifters?" I asked.

"He did not know, they were far away from the house. His job, and his brother's job, was to closely watch the girls, not to investigate anything going on in the woods. They did the right thing, they focused only on our daughters. Another time they can look for who is using our woods."

I noticed the food on the tray for the kids was almost completely eaten. Their appetites for life, food, excitement, adventure was growing. I hoped I would be able to keep up.

"I agree, they did the right thing. It's just weird to have shifters running through our woods." I thought that if Roscoe was still alive he would have alerted us with his barking. I missed Roscoe every minute.

"Did Robert say how Darren acted?" I asked.

"He did not mention anything untoward. I believe Darren acted well. I like him, he is a good match for our daughter."

"We're not marrying her off, Eric! He just wants to be her friend," I said, maybe a little too sharply.

"If you believe he only wants to be her friend then you are naive. He wants to woo her and win her and then have sex with her," Eric said bluntly, his blue eyes cool and calm.

He was right. I was trying to see Darren as a friend for Charlaine, but I was sure they had feelings for each other. Those feelings might end in ..., well, I didn't want to think about that.

"Does she know how to prevent an unwanted pregnancy?" Eric asked. We had finished cleaning up, now we were going to our bedroom to change into our regular jeans and shirts.

"She's only fourteen!" I protested.

"Soon she will be fifteen. If she wants to have intimate relations she needs to know how to prevent ..."

I stopped him. "Eric, I need a little time to think about this. Doesn't it bother you that your daughter might be taken advantage of by a young man?"

"If he is a skillful and gentle lover then he will not be taking advantage of her. She has a right to make up her own mind about how she wants to conduct herself. She needs the right information to allow her to avoid getting trapped into a pregnancy she is not ready for."

"She knows how babies are made," I pointed out.

"That is not enough. She needs practical information and access to birth control. Have you made that available to her?" he asked in a non-confrontational way.

He was just trying to find out the extent of their information, but I mentally drew the line at offering them contraception. This whole topic was making me tense.

"Eric, that would be like saying I approve of her having sex at her age. I don't."

He turned me to him and looked in my eyes. "Sookie, I know you wish to keep them home and untouched by the outside world, but they will eventually do what they want whether you or I approve. They need to know their options."

It hurt me to think about this. There must be a way I could let them know about contraception while also telling them I did not approve. What a fine line I would need to walk.

I had no idea Eric was so liberal. I thought he would be threatening to kill any guy that laid a finger on his daughter. I was going to need some time to regroup now that I knew how he felt. I had the sinking feeling he was right, but tonight I was blinded by emotion. I wanted to keep the girls innocent. It seemed way too soon for them to have those kind of feelings. What was I like at their age? I would think about that tomorrow.

After we were changed we went looking for the girls. They too had changed and were in the kitchen eating everything that was left over. I didn't keep chips and cookies in the house most of the time, so this was their chance. They were discussing every detail of Darren, his hair, his lips, his eyes, his height. The reviews were overwhelmingly positive.

"What did he think of your baby pictures?" I asked them. To me they were still my babies.

"He thought Charlaine was the cutest one," Adele said, a tad resentfully.

"No he didn't!" Charlaine objected. "He said we were all cute."

"He said it more about you than about us," Adele said. She had obviously been keeping track of how many times he complimented each picture.

"Well, maybe," Charlaine said happily.

Linda had been quiet. Then her cell phone made the sound meaning a text message was coming in. She looked at it, then she smiled.

"Hector?" Charlaine asked. She was done eating, now she tidied up after herself, wonder of wonders.

"Yup," Linda said.

She threw out her orange peels and said good night to us all. She wanted to go to her room and talk to Hector. At least I didn't have to worry about Hector showing up here uninvited. Eric said his Maker, Dr. Clark, kept Hector in the Center almost full time.

Was Hector eventually going to want to bite Linda? Heavens to Betsy, I was not equipped to deal with all this. My head began to hurt.

Adele yawned mightily and said she was going to hit the hay early. I knew she was probably going to her room to her hidden computer, but I couldn't say anything. I wanted to find out what she was up to and guide her in the right direction without making her furious. Adele had a real sharp temper sometimes. I don't know where she got it from.

Then Charlaine excused herself after thanking us for being so hospitable to Darren's folks. I thanked her for introducing us to them and told her they had invited us to their house on the lake. She seemed excited by that idea and decided she was going to need a new bathing suit. I didn't think she knew about Darren's mom being a shifter. Maybe Darren would tell her.

When she left the kitchen Eric turned off the light and we went back to our bedroom.

more to come .....(Anonymous Z, nightlover, Eminé, Marlene, Holly, Katie, Sally, Cindy, Tamara - I'm so happy to hear from you! Thank you for taking the time to write and the very encouraging things you say.)


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

70 - Bundle of Joy ..... Part 2

Chapter Seventy

After the story of how they met they went on to tell us about how thrilled they were when they found out they were expecting and how devastated they were at first to find out their son was deaf. It turned out he did not have the eighth nerve, the auditory nerve, that would make him a candidate for a cochlear implant.

But Darren was so bright and motivated he was signing and lip reading by the time he was three. They went with his strengths and made sure he got the extra tutoring necessary to keep up, and then surpass, his classmates.

From Dewey's human mind I learned that Allison came from a wealthy family that paid for any extra expenses incurred by their grandson. This diminished Dewey in his own eyes because he felt that, as a man, he should provide for his family and not rely on his wife's family for financial help. His pride was wounded by his acceptance of money from Allison's family.

But he wouldn't let his pride stand in the way of his son's progress. He allowed the grandparents to fund Darren's education. He was glad he had done so, but it still hurt him. I understood how Dewey felt about taking money, and hoped that the success of his son made up for his wounded pride.

The girls and Darren came back upstairs and wanted to walk around outside. I had let Eric know that they might want to do this, so Eric was prepared and told them to go ahead. They dashed outside, slamming the door.

Something occurred to me at that second. A sound I heard often growing up, the front door or kitchen door slamming as either Jason or I stampeded into or out of Gran's house, was a sound that had never ever been heard here. Not once had the girls ever just run outside to play without a guard. It made me glad that I was able to let them run free tonight.

Of course they weren't really out there alone in the dark tonight either. The Bishop brothers were lurking in the woods, keeping an eye on them, but the girls didn't know that. I wanted them to feel they were outside without anyone standing over them for once.

Allison and Dewey invited Eric and me to visit with them at their home on Cross Lake. They said there were campgrounds, fishing, though not all-night fishing Dewey cautioned Eric, and lots of trails to walk.

"Dere's some mighty fine bass fishing," Dewey told Eric. "Do you have any of dose spinnerbaits?"

"No," Eric said, frowning slightly. I was pretty sure he didn't know what a spinnerbait was.

"You probably prefer jigs. You'd have mo' luck wit dem off da Interstate 220 bridge den a boat." Dewey said, satisfied that he had correctly guessed Eric's preferred bait.

I had never heard Eric, or any vampire, discuss fishing. Since they don't eat fish they would really have no need for it. Of course they could do it for sport, but I suspected fishing was a tame sport compared to stalking humans.

I looked at Allison and she winked at me, letting me know she understood more about vampires than her husband.

Sheila asked if we wanted anything more, if not, then she was going to leave. Dewey had another beer, then we all walked Sheila out to the front porch to see her off.

We sat in the rocking chairs and watched her car pull out of the drive. A friendly silence descended on us as we listened to the night sounds of the insects and tree frogs punctuated by the occasional shriek of laughter or voice of one of our daughters.

After a long while Allison said, "Darren doesn't shift."

Dewey reached over and patted her hand. I guess this had been a disappointment to them.

"It gets lonely swimming out in the lake all alone," she added. I thought she probably meant when she was in her alligator form.

"If you Google 'alligator Cross Lake' you can see a photo of me the time I caught a deer," she said, a hint of pride in her voice. "We had venison for months after that."

"We had to buy a second freezer to store all da meat," Dewey bragged, laughing. "You shoulda seen da size o' dat t'ing!"

The conversation drifted on about various aspects of our lives, then the kids thundered up the front steps. They were maniacally happy. Now they wanted to show Darren the media room.

"I t'ink we've imposed on dese folks enough fo' one night," Dewey said to Darren, standing up and hitching up his jeans. "You got school tomorrow and I gotta work."

The evening wound down to a close with promises of getting together soon. Darren would be getting his driver's license and could come over during the day sometimes.

His parents had wanted to come here first to see what kind of people Eric and I were and see our life style. I respected them for that. It was good parenting, and it looked like Eric and I might have another couple to do things with.

After their SUV pulled out of the driveway Robert Bishop came out of the woods to speak to Eric. They talked for a few minutes, then Eric came in to help me put away the party food and stack the dishes.

"What did Robert have to say?" I asked, rebagging the uneaten chips.

Eric stopped scooping dip back into the plastic container. "He said there were some shifters running through the woods tonight."

*** Just for fun, Google 'alligator Cross Lake' and see a photo of Allison.***
more to come ....(Patricia, Holly, Pat, Eminé, Tamara, Marlene, nightlover, Cindy, ky, Sally, danimcket, Anonymous Z - I'm so happy you liked it when Allison showed up in my story. I think it would be awesome to experience life as different animals. An alligator is one I would like to try, at least for a day. Thank you so much for your support and enthusiasm. It means more than you know.

Anonymous Z - Hope you got all rested up. Dewey does know Eric is a vampire, but it doesn't bother him at all. He was just worried Eric might be a drug dealer or a Communist because he owns a night club and he has long hair. I don't think Dewey knows a lot about vampires.)


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

69 - Bundle of Joy ..... Part 2

Chapter Sixty Nine

Dewey said to Eric, "I hear you run a night club in Shreveport. I worked for da Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries for twenty years. I retired from dat and now I sell boats and fishin' supplies." He clasped his big, tanned, work scarred hands in his lap, waiting to see what Eric was going to say.

Darren's father was trying to size Eric up. Dewey came from a time and place when a man with long hair was considered to be some kind of un-American freak. He was hoping Eric wasn't some drugged up rock and roll club owner.

Apparently he didn't know much about vampires or else he would know they don't take drugs. It seemed slightly amusing to me that the fact that Eric was a vampire didn't bother him at all, but Eric's long hair might mean he was some kind of Communist hippie.

"I am part owner in a nightclub, yes, but I also have a construction company and other business interests." Eric sat back and crossed his legs. He looked relaxed and pleasant. I knew he was keeping an ear on the girls.

Sheila came bustling in with a tray full of food and set it down on the coffee table. She stood there for a moment until we complimented her on the delicious looking arrangement. A shriek of laughter rose up from the classroom, then there was a dull crash followed by hoots of hilarity.

"Sheila, could you see if the girls or Darren would like something?" I asked.

I didn't want to go down there and check on them, my daughters would resent that, but I wanted to know what they were doing. I hoped the girls didn't have Darren tied up or anything. All those years of playing vampire Barbie might have given them ideas.

"I'm ahead of you, Sookie," she said. "I made a second tray and I'm going to take it down to them."

I thanked her and she scurried off, glad to let Eric see how industrious she was.

I read her mind when she arrived in the classroom. The dull thud had been a chair falling off a table. Linda had climbed up to the very high top shelf of the built in floor to ceiling book case to get down the photo albums from when the girls were babies.

Now they were all clustered around the big library table with the albums spread out, giving Darren a photographic recap of their lives. Charlaine and Darren were sitting close together, even their knees were touching.

I became aware that Allison was looking at me with an expression of polite inquiry. She had obviously asked me a question I missed because I was reading Sheila's mind.

Oops. I was going to have to concentrate on what was happening here in this room, I didn't want to look like a flake.

"I'm sorry, could you repeat that? I thought I heard Linda calling me," I said.

"I asked you if you and your husband met in his club," Allison said. I liked her laid back style, she seemed open and friendly rather than judgmental and prickly.

"Yes, a mutual friend introduced us." I smiled at Eric, leaving out the part about how that friend was Bill, my first vampire boyfriend.

I also didn't mention that I had been terrified of Eric back then and resented his attempts to get some kind of power over my life. Since Eric had been forbidden by his Queen from wooing me, he had tried to dominate me and add me to his entourage of minions. That didn't work, it just made me angry. How things change.

"How did you and Dewey meet?" I asked.

Dewey answered in his wonderful Cajun drawl. "Oh I knew right quick Allison was quite a catch." Then they both chuckled at some private knowledge, holding hands, pleased with themselves. It was cute.

"My husband is making a little joke, Sookie," Allison said. "Sam Merlott told us that you're a good person so I'm going to share my little secret with you. I am a shape shifter." She waited to see what my reaction would be.

"How fascinating," I said. I knew that from my telepathy, but I didn't let on to her I had figured her out. "Sam and I go way back. I haven't seen him in a few months, but he was the best boss I ever had. He's still a good friend."

I noticed Sam hadn't included Eric in his "good person" description. As much as I wanted them to, Eric and Sam mostly didn't get along. I didn't know why, I hoped it wasn't about me.

Eric leaned forward, interested. "What is it you shift into?" he asked Allison. I was hoping this wasn't a rude question, but after all, she had brought it up.

"Dat goes back to how we met," Dewey answered. He had a tale to tell and he was going to tell it his own way.

"I was a new employee of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. One warm summer night I was checking da trip-snare traps on da bayou. I had set dem just like my pappy taught me. Imagine my surprise when I got to da last trap on da line. Struggling to free herself was my beautiful Allison, naked as a jay bird. I t'ought some bare naked woman had accidentally gotten tangled up in my trap. I freed her and wrapped my shirt around her."

He smiled at his wife and she glowed back at him. These two were still in love. I liked that a lot.

"Raht dere, on da bayou, under da biggest full moon I ever see'd in my life, Allison shared her secret with me," Dewey said.

"And that secret was that I was a shifter. I didn't just tell him what I turned into. I showed him." Allison's lips curved up at the memory.

"Right before my eyes this pretty little slip of a thing turned into a great big old 'gator. You could have knocked me down with a feather."

"Yes, that's what I turn into, an alligator." Allison smiled a big smile. I noticed she had beautiful teeth.

"An 800 pound 13 foot long Alligator mississippiensis," Dewey said with pride. "I proposed dat ver' night."

"And I accepted. It was either that or I was going to have to eat him," Allison said with a laugh.

more to come .....(Anonymous Z, Holly, Marlene, Tamara, Eminé, nightlover, Cindy, Sally, ky, danimcket - I appreciate your continued interest in the story. Very funny and true comments about their unusual vampire/fairy hybrid family, which is in some ways just like an ordinary family and in some ways very different.)


Monday, September 27, 2010

68 - Bundle of Joy ..... Part 2

Chapter Sixty Eight

By the time the Boudreaux clan arrived my family were all fed, presentable and on their toes. Eric and I both had on black slacks and blue silk shirts. Charlaine was also dressed in black slacks and a blue shirt, but her shirt had little puffy sleeves and was shiny. Linda and Adele had on their nicer jeans and blouses.

I tried not to dress too youthfully these days. The older the girls got, the more I looked like their older sister, not their mom. It was going to be a problem in public, though here in the house we were all comfortable with the way things were.

Charlaine said she explained to Darren why both Eric and I looked so young. I hoped he had passed the information along to his folks. For the first time in a long time I felt anxious, hoping our little family wasn't just too strange for any of our girls to find a date.

I remembered back in school there had been a few kids that were virtually outcasts, not due to anything they did, but because their families were so dysfunctional. My friend Tara had been like that. Her drunken mother went on rages and rampages that embarrassed Tara in front of the whole town.

I had been an outcast too, but it was because of my odd behavior, the result of receiving too much telepathic information. The rest of my family had appeared to be normal enough, but I was seen as touched in the head.

My defense strategies didn't help much either. I grinned like a jack-o-lantern to hide my nervousness, and talked in a weird jerky way because I was not able to concentrate on what I was saying. The thoughts of others just crowded out my own words and ideas.

We all stood on the front porch as the Boudreaux's new SUV pulled up. They parked right in front. Darren got out and went over to Charlaine, nodding and waving at me and Eric, and at Charlaine's sisters. They giggled and waved back.

Darren's folks got out of the car, looking around at the security lights and up at the house. The homey look of the farmhouse seemed to please them. I could tell these were what Gran would have called "down home" folks. They were all wearing jeans, casual tops, and athletic shoes.

Eric smiled and looked friendly as he invited them into the house. "What a lovely home you-all have," Mrs. Boudreaux said in a southern Louisiana accent. Her smile was genuine, full of warmth and charm.

Charlaine made the introductions. "Mom, Dad, this is Mr. and Mrs. Boudreaux. Mr. and Mrs. Boudreaux, these are my parents, Mr. Eric Northman and Mrs. Sookie Stackhouse. They're married, but my mother kept her maiden name."

Mrs. Boudreaux came over to me and shook my hand. "Darren has been so excited about coming here tonight. If it would be acceptable to you both, could we be on a first name basis? I am Allison and this is Dewey."

Allison was an average height and weight, with an oval face, light brown curly fly away hair and pale green irises encircled by a dark band. She was without make up and looked to be about forty. Dewey was a little older. He was tall, over six feet, with iron gray hair, strong jaw and the weathered mahogany skin of a man that worked outdoors all year long.

I could see where Darren got his good looks from. His mother was pretty in an unostentatious way, and his father was a handsome man. Dewey Boudreaux looked like someone that could run for senator and win on his good looks.

Charlaine introduced Adele and Linda to Darren's parents and to Darren. They were all grinning at each other like crazy, but Darren looked mainly at Charlaine. I knew that look, he was already taken with my daughter and she was as pleased as punch about it. I could tell Adele was a little jealous that Charlaine had an interested male friend.

The most remarkable thing about the Boudreaux family was something I discovered when I shook Allison's hand. I immediately realized she was a shifter of some sort. This made me relax, some of my best friends have been shifters. I was glad their family was non-traditional too. Maybe we were all going to get along just fine.

Dewey shook hands with Eric as if he was a human man, then Allison and Eric shook hands while Dewey and I shook, and then, introductions made, we all sat down. Eric rarely shook hands, but he did if it was the correct thing to do among humans. Humans he cared about, that is.

Before I could say a word Charlaine said, "Mom, can we show Darren our classroom?"

I knew this was a ploy to get Darren off by himself, but I didn't see what harm it would do. Her sisters would be with her so they would act like chaperons. The girls were itching to get their hands on the adorable Darren.

I looked to Eric. He liked me to let him take the lead when he was awake.

"I think that would be all right," he said slowly, giving Darren a serious look that said, "This is my daughter, be respectful."

"Behave yourself," Dewey said to Darren, in case Eric's look wasn't enough warning.

Dewey had a Cajun accent, that twang was unmistakable. He had a little twinkle in his eye, I could tell he was enjoying having his son show interest in a girl.

Darren nodded, still smiling his handsome smile, and he and the girls shot out of the room. I could hear their giggling fade as they moved towards the new wing.

I had tried to read Darren's mind, but all got was a shimmering red wall, the mental signature for a shifter. Could he be some kind of a shifter too? That explained why Charlaine wasn't bothered by Darren's thoughts, they were opaque to her.

Sheila came out of the kitchen, acting appropriate for once, and asked what everyone wanted to drink. Dewey had a beer, Allison and I had iced diet colas, and of course Eric had nothing. He could have sipped on a TruBlood, but he really hated the taste and he wasn't uncomfortable about being different.

"This is the first time Darren has asked us to meet someone. We're thrilled he likes Charlaine. It hasn't been easy for him." Allison said. I thought she was referring to his deafness.

"He seems like a very bright young man," I said. "He's already taking college courses, that's impressive."

"He always has had a way with machines," Dewey said. He was a little uncomfortable with his son's interest in computers. Dewey didn't have a computer and was not willing to learn how to use one. I could read Dewey's mind clear as a bell.

"Darren tells us that you home school the girls?" Allison said, her polite question was really asking why that was. I couldn't read her mind like I could her husband's, but I could see she was intelligent and curious.

"Yes, our schedule is geared towards them having as much time as possible with their father," I said. I felt Eric stir and I worried that I was making him uncomfortable with a reference to his daytime limitations.

"The girls adore their father." I added. I wasn't about to tell Allison that the girls were telepathic and were unable to tolerate a regular school environment.

more to come .....(Holly, Anonymous Z, ky, Marlene, Cindy, Eminé, danimcket, Sally, Kira, Tamara - Your interest and enthusiasm is like jet fuel to my keyboard. Thank you ever so much for taking the time to express yourselves.)


Sunday, September 26, 2010

67 - Bundle of Joy ..... Part 2

Chapter Sixty Seven

The next day Adele talked with me about what happened to her when she lost her temper with her sewing project. She said that she didn't like sewing because it was boring.

I thought that maybe what she was really saying was that Charlaine was much better at sewing than she was and it angered her. Adele didn't have the same patience Charlaine did for things that required sustained or detailed effort, and Adele was competitive. She always wanted to be the best.

She told me the job she really wanted to do was to work at the animal shelter walking dogs and caring for them until they were adopted. We had gone there a few times with their Uncle Jason when he went to look at hound dogs. He didn't find one he liked, but the girls fell in love with all the dogs. Their big sad eyes and wagging tails made us want to take them all home.

It made Adele sad to think that there were dogs without anyone to care for them. I told her to look into it, but we couldn't adopt another dog right away, the pain of losing Roscoe was too raw for me to open my heart again to a new pet. Then we hugged and cried a little over Roscoe, then we laughed at all the cute things we remembered about him.

Charlaine wanted to go to the mall to get something new to wear for Darren tonight, Adele and Linda wanted to go along. We all went, with Aleksis of course, and shopped until the girls began to feel overwhelmed with the voices they heard in their heads.

Aleksis trudged along behind us, sitting down or leaning against the wall at each place we stopped. I knew shopping wasn't his favorite activity, but he was being paid handsomely to keep us safe where ever we decided to roam, so I didn't worry about his sullen mood.

By the time we got home I was ready for a nap. The girls wanted to try on their new outfits and do their home work. We had postponed their history lessons until the following night so we could spend the whole night welcoming Darren and his folks to our home.

I stopped Sheila from her cleaning chores and asked her why she wanted to know about Eric's birthday.

"I don't know if I should tell you," she began hesitantly, a sure sign she was going to tell me. She ran her hands over her blue checked apron in indecision.

From her mind I got that she knew exactly when Eric's birthday was celebrated, she just used the question to bring up a topic she thought maybe she shouldn't be discussing with me. Her thoughts indicated she had mixed feelings about something, and that piqued my interest.

I should have been paying closer attention to her attempt to talk to me. She had been with us for so long, and her conversations and thoughts were usually so rambling and inconsequential, I had just tuned her out over the years. Sheila's mind muttering in the distant background was something I didn't even hear unless I listened for it.

It reminded me of what Eric had learned to do with our blood bond. My lesser variations in mood didn't register with him because he was used to my human fears and concerns causing frequent spikes in my emotional energy level, or whatever it was the bond consisted of. He only tuned in if something major was going on.

In a rush Sheila blurted out, "Adele used my charge card to buy something for her father online, for his birthday. She had it delivered to my house and I brought it here. Then she repaid me. She didn't want me to say anything to you about it."

From Sheila's frown I could tell she was worried about telling me what Adele was up to. Adele had confided in her, now she was telling all to me.

"You did the right thing by telling me about this, Sheila. Thank you for coming to me. What did she buy?" I asked, patting her on the arm to reassure her.

This was very strange, the girls and I always discussed what we were getting Daddy for his birthday, it was usually something he told me he wanted.

"She got him a laptop computer. Do you think that's something he wants?" she asked.

She had never seen Eric at the computer. He was excellent on it and could type unbelievably fast. But he had access to several high end computers here and at his job, why on earth would Adele think he wanted another computer? It just didn't make sense.

I thanked Sheila again for letting me know, reaffirming to her she did the right thing by coming to me. I told her that anything the girls did that seemed unusual or out of character was something I wanted to be informed about.

I said that they were great kids, but they still needed adult supervision. I calmed her concerns and built up her esteem by telling her what a valuable member of our family she was. Sheila didn't have a lot going on in her personal life. I sometimes forgot how important we were to her, how much of her self esteem was based on our praise and compliments.

Once we were on good ground again I went in to take my nap. I lay there going over and over the computer thing in my mind, but I could only come to one conclusion - she hadn't wanted the computer for her father, she wanted it for herself so she could access the Internet and email.

I admired her cleverness while I worried what she had been up to. No wonder she was so tired all the time, she was probably up all hours of the night with her secret online social life.

This was a healthy sign, but it was too dangerous to go on unsupervised. I needed to know what she was up to before I talked to Eric about it. I didn't want to squash her initiative, but I couldn't have her fall into the hands of an online sexual predator. I had watched too many Datelines to allow that to happen in my own house.

I needed to get my hands on that computer, undoubtedly hidden somewhere in her messy room, and see just what she had been up to. This was the modern equivalent of reading her diary and it worried me to commit such a breach of trust, but she had broken the trust first.

Tomorrow the girls were going on an herb gathering excursion with Amelia to begin stocking their own magical pantries. I would send Aleksis with them and plead a headache, then snoop around in Adele's room and try to find and access her computer.

I planned on returning it where I found it and hoped she wouldn't find out. Then Eric and I could bring up the topic of Internet access being granted to them as if it were just a casual conversation.

That was the plan unless Adele was doing something dangerous online, then it would need to be addressed directly. I was thinking of them as fourteen year old children, but they were not seeing themselves like that, they were seeing themselves as maturing nearly-fifteen year old young women. I would need to adjust to this new step in their development. I sighed to myself, sure I would not fall asleep, but I did.

I had a dream that I was lost in a huge room full of electronic equipment. I was looking for a certain computer, but there were hundreds of computers and I didn't know which one was the one I wanted. Each one I booted up had some shocking pornographic image on the screen. I was feeling frantic trying to find the right computer. It didn't make for a very restful sleep.

I thought I heard Roscoe barking but when I fully woke up the house was silent except for my white noise machine. So often I thought I heard him, his nails on the wood floors, his tags clinking against his food dish, but then the sound would disappear and I would realize that it was only coming from my own mind.

At those times I would go and get my white rock and hold it. I did that now, recalling what HoloGran said, that no one goes anywhere. Still, it had been so nice to pet my silky little boy and cuddle him. I missed that.

After a while I went down to the kitchen to see if Sheila needed any help, but she had everything under control. I checked on the girls but they were all asleep, their "Do Not Disturb" signs on their doors to let anyone know they were sleeping. Having a vampire for a father gave them an unusual sleep cycle, but I would rather have that than Eric on some unknown experimental formula that might hurt him in the long run.

I hoped I had discouraged him from participating in the experiments, but somehow I doubted it. Eric was going to do what he thought was best. And he wanted to be around to keep a close eye on his lovely maturing daughters. I couldn't fault him for that.

more to come .....(nightlover, Holly, Marlene, Sally, Clared, Patricia, Anonymous, Anonymous Z - I have recovered from my babysitting adventure and had a restful day. Hope you did too. I'm so happy you had the time to stop by and read, and I love reading what you write.

Lynn - ( Sorry it took me so long to answer) - You wrote "I wasn't aware that Sookie gave the 'Day into Night' pills to the research center for study. I've been wondering why she hadn't done something with them. Did I miss that?"

I had to look back through the story to answer your very good question. Yes, in chapter 41 (BOJ pt 2) -

Eric woke up and looked for me, finding me at the computer. I was trying to find out what was in those "Day Into Night" pills I bought so many years ago in the mall. I had been looking through an old photo album with the girls, and the photos from my first trip to the Vampire Land Mall jogged my memory.

Now that they had scientists and could do studies maybe they could find out what the active ingredients were and combine that with the synthesized cortisol.

He looked over my shoulder as I told him what I was doing. I had mentioned the pills a long time ago but told him at the time it was too dangerous for him to experiment with them. He asked me if I still had them.

I was embarrassed to say I probably did. I had a catch all drawer in my closet that hadn't been cleaned in donkey's years. I rummaged around and sure enough, there it was, still sealed. He took them and said he would turn them in to the center. I wished I had thought of this sooner. How the time flies!


Saturday, September 25, 2010

66 - Bundle of Joy ..... Part 2

Chapter Sixty Six

"Oh no you din't!" I said, alarmed. I got that phrase from the girls and it had replaced "no way" in my lexicon of incredulity.

"Yes, I did. Do you object to me trying the formula?" His wide blue eyes looked as innocent as Tweety Bird in those cartoons.

"Yes I object!" I exclaimed. "We don't know what the long term results are. It could have a very bad effect on you."

"It did not seem to harm those that tried it. I am eager to be a full time father for our daughters. They are at an age where they will need my continual guidance."

I couldn't argue with that. I knew this was really bothering Eric, but he needed to wait until the formula was more refined. "As good as that might be, I worry more that you will be harmed by the formula and not be able to father them at all."

"Are you afraid it will make me like Waldo?" he asked, pushing me back and kissing me all over my face and neck.

This was his way of changing the subject, getting my mind off what he had decided to do. In spite of myself I started laughing as he pretended to hump me wildly like the scrawny Waldo in the video.

"Oh Waldo! Yes Waldo! Yes Waldo! No Waldo!" I shrieked, imitating Waldo's girlfriend on the tape.

We were both laughing now. He started tickling me too, making me squeal, buck, and writhe beneath him, something he loved to feel, a leftover from his days of being a predator that jumped on his prey, I suppose. Like a big cat, maybe a lion, he wanted his prey to be a struggling challenge.

Eric suddenly raised his big tawny head and looked over the back of the sofa. I sat up to see Charlaine waiting patiently in the doorway with her "my parents are really weird" look on her face. All the girls could pull this face. Where did they learn it?

I smoothed down my hair. "What is it, Charlaine?" I asked after clearing my throat, trying to sound like her mother.

"Adele is having a meltdown and Mrs. Robertson doesn't know what to do with her," Charlaine said in a flat voice, to let me know that I was not on top of my duties as a mother. I was having fun when I should have been watching the monitor I suppose. I was probably having too much fun, a no-no when you're The Mom.

We trooped down to the classroom where Adele was using words I didn't know she knew as she tried to wrench the fabric free from her sewing machine.

She saw us and yelled, "I HATE SEWING!"

Plump good-natured Mrs. Robertson stood off to the side wringing her hands. "I tried to tell her that the fabric is jammed in the gears of the machine. I have to take the needle out and the bobbin plate off to free it, but she just keeps ripping at the material."

"Stop that this instant!" Eric commanded Adele in his big voice, the one he used to command legions of Viking warriors back in the day. It reverberated off the walls.

Adele froze in her tracks. "Yes, Daddy," she said meekly.

"I expect you to be able to cope with a simple problem like a jammed sewing machine. Go to your room now. This sewing lesson is over. My daughters must have more control over themselves than that." Eric looked so stern and serious he even struck fear in my chest.

"Sorry Daddy," Adele pouted. I could tell she was secretly thrilled to have Eric lay down the law to her. It was her version of being his favorite.

She mock-moped off to her room which wasn't really any kind of a punishment at all because she had just about every possible fun thing a kid could have in their room including a Wii, Play Station, big screen TV, stereo, king sized bed, and now a cell phone.

Eric apologized so elegantly to Mrs. Robertson that she was blushing with pleasure when he was done. "I'm sure it's just those pesky teenage hormones," she twittered as she took the fabric out of the machine.

She added, "The presser foot is bent so I'll need to replace that before we can finish up the curtain."

She packed up her things and promised to return next week. We walked her out. Mrs. Robertson was not a vampire, but her sister was, and she was comfortable around them.

After she pulled out of the driveway we thanked Charlaine for coming to us with the problem. Eric hugged her and told her that she was watching out for her sister, the most important thing any of us could do was to help out the other.

Charlaine looked like she was going to say something, but then her phone, never out of her grasp, made a quick chirping sound indicating a text message had come in. She demurely excused herself, happy to be the one most in Eric's favor for the time being, and went to read and respond to her text.

I reminded Eric that Darren Boudreaux and his parents were coming here tomorrow night. He remembered, and we discussed what we would wear to meet them. We settled on dressy casual.

Sheila would stay on to bring in the trays and get drinks. I hoped none of the girls would have their noses out of joint over anything. I knew it meant a lot to Charlaine for us to make a good impression.

I hoped the Boudreaux family made a good impression on us too.

more to come .....(Good morning Fanpires. I was up late last night babysitting and bathing a three year old, though I think I got wetter than he did, so I got off to a late start this morning. Thank you for stopping by to comment, happy weekend!)


Friday, September 24, 2010

65 - Bundle of Joy ..... Part 2

Chapter Sixty Five

We had to leave the Center to get back home for the girl's sewing project. Linda was working at the library for her community service but Adele and Charlaine were making curtains for Habitat for Humanity. I didn't know how to sew at all so we had a teacher, Mrs. Robertson, coming in to show them. The sewing machines were on loan and the fabric was given to us for the project.

Mrs. Robertson, a retired home economics teacher, was already at our house when we arrived. We apologized for making her wait, but she said she was early. The girls already had the machines set up in the classroom. They went to change into clothes comfortable to sew in. Eric and I went to change into our casual clothes too.

"Where's Linda?" I asked Eric when I looked at the monitor. Adele and Charlaine were feeding yards of fabric through their machines. They both looked confident and competent for someone that had only had four lessons. The teacher was spreading the fabric out on the banquet table to cut.

"She is most likely in her room texting her new friend or speaking to him on the phone," Eric said.

"What new friend?" I asked. I had only taken my eyes off her for a couple of minutes when I spoke with Lingza.

"The lab assistant to Dr. Clark, Hector Lee. He gave her his card and she accepted it." He was already in his jeans and a 'Ramones' tee shirt. I was still taking off my stockings.

"Is that a good idea?" I asked. I hadn't given the girls phones so they could speak with just anyone. "Shouldn't we screen this Hector to see if he is a suitable person for her to be talking to?"

"Hector wants to be a doctor. He was Turned to save him from leukemia when he was seventeen. That was four years ago. He is still new and is under the close supervision of Dr. Clark. There is no danger in Linda speaking with Hector, and Frank Clark is not going to let Hector out of the Center, so I believe they are engaging in harmless flirting. That is appropriate for her age, is it not?"

"I guess so, " I said grudgingly. I had the feeling I was losing control of the girls, but that was silly. Eric had seen the ways of a man with a maid for so many centuries he was completely relaxed about it.

"Hector won't be able to practice medicine, will he?" I asked. The Great Revelation had opened a lot of doors for vampires, but work in medical fields was still against the law.

"Not on humans, but there are many other beings that need medical attention. A famous civil rights lawyer has offered to represent Hector if he wants to take his case through the courts. Hector might be the first vampire to sue for the right to practice medicine on humans."

I was taking off my suit and hanging it up. "I never understood the restriction anyway. Why can't a vampire practice medicine on humans?"

It was meant as a rhetorical question but Eric answered it. "There are several reasons. There is the belief among many humans that the sight of blood will trigger off an uncontrollable killing instinct in vampires. Some fear that vampires would be unable to concern themselves with human well-being. Many people fear vampires for their power to hypnotize and erase memories. But I believe the main reason is monetary."

"How's that?" I asked. I was in my jeans and blouse now, tying my sneakers.

"Vampires can heal with their blood. Many medical procedures and medicines would become obsolete and unnecessary if a vampire doctor administered a few drops of vampire blood for healing. Physicians and pharmacies have powerful lobbies that have blocked any attempt to even review the ban on vampire health care providers."

"Would any vampire doctor be willing to heal that way?" This was an aspect of the situation I hadn't thought about.

"Of course, for a fee. Vampires want to make money just like their human counterparts."

So many thoughts swirled through my mind. How would the dispensing of vampire blood be regulated? Would there be enough vampire doctors to go around? Would this bring the incidence of crimes against vampires, draining or stealing their blood, to a new all time high? Could human doctors and medicine compete with a vampire doctor? I thought not.

"Can I ask you how you feel about finding out you once again have a uterus?" Eric asked, bringing me to the sitting area in our bedroom. We had the monitor on without the sound. Adele's fabric had jammed into a big ball in the machine and she was tugging at it in an angry way. Oh dear.

"I feel confused now. It means that if I remain human sometime in the next hundred years I could get pregnant and once again carry triplets, have a Cesarean, and then raise three babies until they are old enough to chase after members of the opposite sex. Do I really want to do that again?"

"They might chase after members of the same sex," Eric pointed out.

"Whatever," I said. "That's not the point. The point is that I'm feeling confused about how to raise and guide the ones I already have. I'm not at all sure I want to do it over. I need to just get through this right now."

"Sensible answer," Eric said in his most supportive tone of voice.

He saw I was having a hard time with the new phase of the girls development. I was used to being everything to them, now they were interested in branching out. It all seemed to be happening so fast.

Eric said, "I had an idea for their birthday party this year. Let me know what you think." He went on to describe the most mind blowing birthday party ever. I was thrilled with his idea. They would never forget turning fifteen, that was for sure.

"Do you think you should tell them what their limits are?" I said.

"You mean, lay down the law to them?" he asked.

I nodded.

"Let me think about that. I believe they are sensible, but it might be good for me to outline what my expectations are." His eyes were now a light thoughtful blue.

His eyes changed so much depending on his mood. Suddenly the feeling flooded over me that I loved him very very much. I hugged him and kissed him, thanking him for being such a good father.

"Soon I might be an even better father," he said, pleased with my affection.

"How's that?" I smiled at him, relaxing.

"I signed up to be one of the experimental subjects," he answered, smiling back.

more to come .....(Sally, Anonymous Z, Holly, nightlover, Eminé, ky, Pat, Cindy, Marlene - How good of you to stop by and leave a comment. It is appreciated.

Holly - Welcome back. Hope your vacation was fun.
Eminé - Sorry you're not well. I am sending you a healing thought.
Cindy - I was singing Anonymous Z's jingle too. What fun!)


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fantasy Image of Lingza 2

Fantasy Image of Lingza -1

64 - Bundle of Joy ..... Part 2

Chapter Sixty Four

The first part of the film was titled "Formula 37". We all watched the screen as a vampire, a man of about forty with male pattern baldness and a small pot belly, walked into a room that could have been in any low budget hotel. All the shades were drawn, but there were no special precautions taken to keep out light. The scene sped up until a caption read "Sunrise".

The windows lit up with the first rosy light of dawn and a tiny restless movement swept through the conference room as the vampires watching the film instinctively reacted to the sight.

The vampire in the hotel room continued to stay awake, sitting in a chair reading a book. The time was sped up showing the vampire awake the entire day. He stood up and walked around the room, then went back to his reading. He frequently mopped his face with a towel. The film ended when the next night began.

The film went on to "Formula 38". The same vampire was in the same room but I could tell it was a different day because the shades were up and the light coming in the window was gray and dismal. A human woman in a pink smock opened the shades to reveal an overcast rainy day.

The vampire went to the window and looked out, then the woman opened the door. The vampire stepped through the door and went outside in the daylight. A camera outside the room followed the vampire and the woman as they walked around the parking lot, then the vampire jogged back indoors.

The film ended. A smattering of applause sounded in the room as Dr. Mellon walked to the front.

He said, "We have consistently been able to reproduce these results in a series of tests on different individuals. The subjects are able to stay awake during the day, and they are able to venture outside on heavily overcast days without harm. We have been unable to bring anyone out into the sunlight yet, that is still a goal for the future. But we are encouraged by these results."

Dr. Clark said, "Now we will answer a few questions."

A smart looking dark haired vampire woman in a lime green suit raised her hand. Dr. Clark said, "Yes Jacqueline?"

"How long do the effects of the formula last?"

"Good question," Dr. Clark said. "The formula must be taken nightly so far, but we have hopes of developing a longer lasting type once we have all the wrinkles in the present formula ironed out."

"What are those wrinkles?" a tall thin vampire man in a stained lab coat called out. He was taking notes in a little spiral notebook.

Dr. Clark made a small grimace. "There are quite a few, I'm afraid. We don't have the dosage figured out yet. It keeps some vampires awake while others become agitated and hyper-aroused. There is a hangover that takes a few nights to recover from, and while the vampire is artificially awake he or she can not feed. There are other effects but they are of a sexual nature and do not need to be discussed right now. It also causes slick skin."

A tiny vampire man with a big luxurious handlebar mustache raised his hand. "Go ahead, Thornton," Dr. Clark said to him.

In what I think of as a New York City accent Thornton asked, "How long before it is available for everyone to use?"

"Not for at least a year, I regret to say. However we are accepting volunteers to try the formula as we refine it. You can sign up with Dr. Hecht in the pharmacy, or with me."

Adele turned to me and whispered, "I wonder what they're going to call it." I shrugged.

Dr. Clark, a man with the acute hearing of a vampire said, "The young lady here wants to know what we will call the formula once it is finished. Do you have any suggestions for us?" he asked her in a kindly way.

All the eyes in the room were on Adele, but it was Linda that spoke. "How about Daynight?" she said.

A murmur went around the room, then someone began applauding. Soon the whole room was clapping and Dr. Clark, laughing, said, "Well, Miss Stackhouse, it looks like you have hit a home run with your suggestion. We will name our formula 'Daynight'. Thank you for making my job a little easier."

I remembered the "Day Into Night" pills I had given to Eric to bring to the Center. Had Linda picked up on that from my thoughts, or was she just creative enough to come up with such a good suggestion on her own? I knew she was poetic and a good writer, I bet she just came up with it. Eric put his arm around Linda to show his support and to show that she was his daughter, in case anyone in the room didn't know.

The meeting broke up and people began leaving the big room. I saw Lingza and Taryn in the back sitting on the folding chairs. Lingza saw me at the same moment I saw him and stood up, smiling his rather frightening smile. His fangs didn't retract and his jaws were massive making him look sort of fierce.

I went over to him and hugged him. He smelled great. I didn't know what Taryn was shampooing his hair with but it was delightful. Maybe "Gee Your Neanderthal Smells Terrific."

He had on an over-sized flannel shirt buttoned all the way up to the top button, a bandanna over his forehead tying his hair back, and baggy carpenter jeans hung low on his hips, the crotch down to his knees. I bet if I lifted his shirt his undershorts would be sticking halfway out of the waistband of his pants. Taryn had Lingza done up like a gang member.

"That's quite a get up you have on there," I said to Lingza. He smiled even more. "Maaavaa" he said and hugged me again.

"It keeps people from staring," Taryn said. "They glance at him and think he's a bad ass gangsta, then they look away."

"Don't they notice the fangs?" I asked.

"No, watch," she said. "Lingza, put on your street face."

Lingza closed his mouth in a grim line and scowled, his low brow and primitive features making his scowl look really menacing. He waved his hairy hands in some kind of gang hand signals. His slumped posture and thick body gave him a very realistic gang look.

"Wow," I said, impressed.

"Yo," Lingza said, still looking menacing. "Yo, yo, yo." He waved his hands making the signs again.

By now the girls had left the people that wanted to talk to them and were right behind Lingza.

"Yo yo yo yourself," Adele said, hugging him. All the girls hugged him and he smiled radiantly again.

Then he made his face mean again, pointed at the floor with his knuckles and said, "Muh Fuh."

I didn't get it until Linda whispered in my ear what he was saying, a very bad swear. I was shocked and the look on my face made everyone laugh.

That's when I realized Lingza didn't know what he was saying, he was trying to showing off his new skills to us, imitating a street gang member. Taryn looked proud of what she had accomplished and she kept a possessive hand on him most of the time.

more to come .....(Anonymous Z, Eminé, nightlover, Marlene, Cindy, Rambo, Sally, Patricia, danimcket, Amanda, Gjers-1 - Thank you for your continued interest and thoughts. Since I myself don't know the outcomes of all the events I am right there with you, writing as much and as fast as time allows and finding out how things evolve. Thank you for taking the time to leave your comments.

Amanda - Welcome to our corner of the Sookieverse. I'm glad you got caught up and can now join us each day. I'm very glad you're here.)


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

63 - Bundle of Joy ..... Part 2

Chapter Sixty Three

The girls decided to co-ordinate their outfits to Eric's and mine. Each had on some variation of the beige, brown and black color scheme.

Adele had on black slacks and a beige and black geometric print blouse. Linda had on a glittery black tunic over tan slacks. Charlaine had on a black dress with dark brown vertical stripes. She often selected clothes she thought made her look slimmer, I suspected. She didn't need to, but she was the most self conscious.

They were allowed to pick out their clothes and given a very generous clothing budget. I remembered how I had to scrimp and save to afford clothes on sale when I was their age. They took their privileges for granted, but they were not outrageous in their spending or choices.

Eric took a lot of pride in his daughters, both in their appearance and their intelligence. I was proud of them too, but I also dealt more with the everyday problems that arose in their raising like Linda's lack of effort in school subjects that didn't interest her or Adele's messy room.

We all piled in the extended Subaru and drove to the Acme Car Wash and Body Repair Shop about a mile from the center. In the midst of our sudsy car wash the water suddenly ran clear, then the car was blown dry. The entire car, with us in it, was lowered down to an underground tunnel.

The girls were hopping up and down in their seats and shrieking with glee, shouting "Oh cool!", "Awesome", and "Sick!"

They loved subterfuge, and subterranean subterfuge was at the top of their list. At home, over the years, Eric had put in a network of tunnels giving us underground access to the safe rooms, the garage, and escape routes. I finally had to restrict the girls time playing in the tunnels under our property to get them to stay above ground more than they were under it. Before I laid down some rules they were like mole children.

When the floor of the car wash stopped sinking Eric drove slowly through the single car width tunnel, a small light every few yards showing the way. The girls sang the theme song to the "Pink Panther", a movie they watched regularly with Eric. We came to a big battleship-gray iron garage type door with a sloppy hand lettered white painted message on it that said "DO NOT HONK!".

Eric waited quietly and in a minute the door opened and we were in the underground parking area for visitors at the Center. He pulled in next to a black Ford Explorer with very dark tinted windows.

"Taryn and Lingza are here already," Eric said, indicating the Explorer.

We got out of the car and Eric locked it. He looked around at the forty or so cars in the lot, probably seeing who was here. There was room to park three times as many cars as were here, and this was just the lot on the east side of the center. Another larger lot was on the west side for the employees.

"This must be a big announcement," Eric said, walking with us to the central lobby to be checked in by the security guard Lars. A super-sized vampire with a bald head and a big red beard, Lars had watched the girls grow up over the years when we came to the Center to visit.

Like many vampires he enjoyed the enthusiasm and vitality of children, something most vampires were missing in their long undead lives. Lars came out from behind the desk and chased the girls around the lobby while making big "Grrrr" monster noises. They squealed and ran in three different directions, just evading his human speed chase.

"Guess you girls are too fast now for old Lars," he said with an accent similar to Eric's when he reverted back to his Nordic speech pattern. Eric only sounded truly Nordic when he was angry or emotional.

Lars stopped, looking downcast and sad. The girls changed direction and charged towards him, leaping on his back and dragging him down to their height to kiss his cheeks. He roared with laughter and hugged them.

They might look like proper young ladies in their nice outfits, but they were still basically children in many ways too. Playing with their Uncle Lars was still fun for them.

Eric nodded at Lars and we entered the offices, turning to the left to gain access to where the research took place. Even though the building was completely underground the lighting was so well done that it never seemed claustrophobic or dark.

We went to the conference room, which was also the cafeteria during the day when the human staff ran things. Tonight all the tables had been moved against the wall, folding metal chairs had been set up in rows, and a large pull down screen was hanging from one end of the room.

I recognized Dr. Mellen and his close associate Dr. Clark. The photographer James West was standing with them. Waldo was in a corner having an earnest conversation with his buxom red haired girlfriend.

I felt a little embarrassed because I had seen footage of them having sex, but of course they didn't know that. It was something Eric had shown me and it was quite explicit. Eric saw where I was looking and gave my hand a quick squeeze. He knew what I was thinking about.

More of the scientists and technicians I had come to recognize over the years flowed into the space, then Dr. Mellen walked to the front of the room and stood in front of the screen.

"If I might have your attention," he said in a louder than usual voice. The talking died out immediately. He went on, "Please watch a short film first and then I will be here to answer your questions."

more to come .....(Anonymous Z, Marlene, ky, Eminé, Cindy, Sally, Rambo, Patricia, Tamara - Isn't imagination wonderful? It absorbs 47 times its weight in reality. :-)

Thank you for leaving a comment and just for being you.

Rambo - As soon as I can I'll check in with my midsummerrose email account.)


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

62 - Bundle of Joy ..... Part 2

Chapter Sixty Two

We took advantage of the girls still being asleep to make love. Eric fed from me, taking his sweet time, making the experience pure pleasure. After, I told him about my visit with Dr. Fay and the news that I had the ability to bear children once again.

"How do you feel about that?" Eric asked, watching me in the mirror. I was still drying off from our shower.

Eric was already dry. He went in the bedroom and rummaged around in one of his tee shirt drawers to pick something out. He chose a tight white shirt with black writing that said "Got Blood?" and showed two white fangs with dripping red tips. He put it on, still bare naked from the waist down. It was a good look for him.

"I'll talk about that in a while. But first, you had several phone messages so you better see who it is in case you have to go somewhere tonight."

He checked his phone and said "You're right. The Center left four messages." He called them back, pacing around half naked with the cell phone to his head, his big hand engulfing the cell phone completely.

I could not tear my gaze off him, the half naked thing was really eye catching, especially when the half that was naked was the bottom, the one with so much good stuff.

I hoped nothing was going wrong at the King Felipe de Castro Research Center. It had been kept a secret for years even though it was in an industrial complex right outside of Shreveport.

Over the years many secret tunnels were made as entrances, while old entries were closed up. The changing pattern had allowed the workers to enter different locations, never seeming to converge on their true destination.

Eric's construction company had built the tremendous underground complex. It was as unassailable as a safe room, and it housed the brightest and the best minds available to work on problems concerning vampires. This was the first time science had been used to study and understand vampire physiology.

But it was not merely based on a desire to understand how vampires worked, it had the larger goal of solving the most crucial issue vampires faced, their inability to stay awake during the day, and their reaction to the rays of the sun. This was their Achilles heel and over the years it had cost them dearly.

Vampires went up in a smoldering blaze when exposed to the sun. A few seconds resulted in a severe burn, but could be survived and recovered from by a lengthy recovery in a dark cool place. Historically vampires went to ground when burned, meaning they buried themselves or were buried by friends or minions deep in the cool dark earth to recover at their own speed, emerging naked and without scars when the healing was complete.

This had happened to my first vampire boyfriend Bill a long time ago when we were dating. I thought he was dead when I saw his charred remains, I could not believe my eyes when he appeared alive and smooth skinned at my door. Sam and I had buried him to get him out of the sun, but that turned out to be the right thing to do to heal him.

More than a few seconds in the sun and the vampire was a goner, becoming increasingly engulfed, seeming to burst into intense blue-white flame from the inside out. I had witnessed such a living conflagration when a vampire I met chose to "meet the sun", a euphemism for suicide by sunlight. I had been the only witness to his final decision.

Once the fuse had been lit it was impossible to put out, the vampire burned with a ferocious intensity until nothing but a powdery ash remained. The horror of seeing a vampire meet the sun had never been erased from my mind. This is what every vampire faced each day if they were somehow dragged out into the daylight, and their coma like sleep made them vulnerable to attack.

Hate groups like the Fellowship of the Sun had gotten a lot of mileage out of the reaction vampires had to sunlight, using it to characterize vampires as unnatural creatures, abominations, cast out by the Creator as unclean loathsome demons of the night.

I didn't see any of that when I watched poor misguided Godrick burn. I only saw something terribly sad, a vampire that had been unable to reconcile his past behavior with his new found belief in God. I wished someone had told him about repentance and forgiveness before he took such a drastic final step.

Eric had been uttering a series of "Yes, yes, I see" kind of remarks as he listened to whoever was on the other end of the line. I couldn't tell what the call was about, but Eric didn't sound tense, he sounded excited. Maybe this was good news.

"You were right. It is good we did not dress yet. We are requested to appear at the Center tonight. They have some news to announce and we are invited to hear it."

"If we both go to the Center we're going to need to bring the girls, we can't leave them alone here," I said.

I knew there were parents that left their fourteen year old children home alone occasionally, but we never had. They didn't have the life experiences of other children their age.

"They are welcome too. We will dress up and go after the girls have their dinner."

Eric had changed directions, peeled off his tee shirt and was now naked in his closet, picking out a dark brown suit and tan dress shirt. I took his cue and picked out a beige and black silk suit and low black pumps. He took my cue and put on a black and beige tie. We stood side by side in the big mirror when we were done and appraised ourselves. We looked like a couple.

When we got downstairs we found Linda and Charlaine in the kitchen boiling water for the pasta.

"We didn't want to disturb you so we thought we could get our own pasta," Charlaine said.

"That was most thoughtful of you," Eric said, giving each of them a hug.

"Mmmmm, you smell wonderful," Linda said, hugging her dad.

"Why are you all dressed up?" Adele asked from the doorway. Her blond hair was tousled from sleep and her eyes looked red, like she had been rubbing them. She was in her sleep shorts, long tee shirt and barefoot.

Eric went over and hugged Adele too. "We are all going to the research center tonight," he said. "But you have time to eat and change first."

The girls had been to the research center dozens of times over the years. They loved the cloak and dagger stuff connected with the project; the hidden ways they had to use to get in and all the secrecy around the existence of the place. It was an adventure for them.

They also enjoyed seeing the scientific equipment and meeting all the learned vampires and humans that staffed the center. Linda was especially interested in how things were done.

Recently a few of the cute younger lab guys were showing her how to extract DNA, type blood, and grow cultures. She hung on their words and they were flattered to be appreciated. I wondered if she could get extra science credit for this without disclosing where the lab was located. Probably not.

They ate their dinners very fast so they would have time to fuss over their appearance before going to the Center. There were lots of men there, it was a chance for them to flirt, but with the reassuring presence of their father and mother near by.

I cleared the dishes, scraping them and arranging them in the dishwasher. Then I put the remaining meat balls away. There was enough for another meal. I felt sad my little Roscoe wasn't at my feet begging for a meat ball.

more to come .....(ky, Eminé, Cindy, Marlene, Anonymous Z, Kira, Tamara - Your kindness and support is like a song in my heart, thank you ever so much for taking the time to read my posting and leave a comment. It's so good we are able to meet here, what a magical thing the Internet is!)


Monday, September 20, 2010

61 - Bundle of Joy ..... Part 2

Chapter Sixty One

The poster thumb-tacked to the light grey drop ceiling tiles showed a sunset over the ocean. The motto on the bottom read, "Pleasure is always welcome" in a flowery script. An old fashioned sailing ship was profiled in the distance.

That was a weird poster to have in a gynecologists office, I thought. I was laying on the table, feet in stirrups, a big white paper sheet spread over my upraised knees. I felt the speculum enter me, cold and foreign. It pinched a little, then something swabbed deep inside me. I stared at the sunset and imagined myself standing on the beach to take my mind off what the doctor was doing.

The speculum left and the doctor's gloved fingers prodded inside me, finding places I didn't know I had. They moved and soon I was closing my eyes, enjoying the feelings I was having. It was shocking and wonderful to have such intense pleasure in the doctor's office. I got more and more stimulated. This was the best examination ever.

As I reached the point of no return I opened my eyes and noticed the poster now showed a moonlit ocean. The motto read, "Let Go" in elaborate Gothic script. The sailing ship was silhouetted against the huge silver pocked surface of the moon and it was rolling up and over the shining silver waves. I could hear and smell the ocean, as well as the creaking of the ship's rigging in the gentle breeze.

I did let go and jerked in response, moaning and moving my hips in time with the waves. The movement dislodged the sheet and it floated to the floor. I lifted my head and looked down the length of my naked body. I saw the face of Dr. Jure Grando smiling at me. He was wearing a white lab coat, his shining black hair slicked back. His fangs were out.

"Oh!," I said out loud, waking up all of a sudden.

Did I just have an orgasm in my sleep? I thought that maybe I did.

It was probably the result of the hormones being released by my body now that all my female inner parts were restored. I hadn't had a Jure dream in years and years. Then again, I hadn't had a uterus in years and years either. I turned over on my side and went back to sleep.

By the time I was ready to get up the girls were asleep. They had their "Do Not Disturb" signs hung outside their rooms as they always did when they were napping. Sleep was very important to us because of the odd hours we kept. We scrupulously avoided disturbing each others sleep.

Even in their sleep the girls had their mental barriers up, preventing me and each other from entering their minds. I knew they were there, but not what they were doing or thinking.

They could sense if I tried to enter their minds and it made them mad, so I didn't even try. They also stayed out of my mind. We all had time alone with ourselves to think our own thoughts in private, something as vital as air to a family of telepaths.

They seemed to have developed this ability from very early. I suspected it might have begun while they were still developing inside me. Packed into those close quarters they might have needed to block each other out to develop a sense of self.

Eric and I had taken the video monitors out of their rooms when they were ten. Before the tiny cameras were removed we only turned them on if a caretaker was going to be entering their room, or to check on them in their cribs when they were babies.

We didn't want the girls to grow up without any feelings of privacy. The classroom was still monitored, and security cameras covered all the property outside, and some of the common areas inside the house, but their rooms were camera free and their minds were unreadable, giving them the personal space they needed to develop.

We had safe room drills and fire drills a few times a year, but the girls were becoming less co-operative in participating. They felt like they knew what to do and didn't need to rehearse anymore.

They were growing up, wanting to do things differently than the way they had always been done. I knew that feeling. Growing up in a small town, never getting to do the things I thought would be exciting, I felt trapped and restricted by the people and values I grew up with when I became a teen.

The encounter with the vampire Bill Compton was my first taste of the bigger world that existed outside of Bon Temps. I was slower to mature than most girls because of my unusual telepathic social isolation. Bill let me spread my wings, so to speak.

In some ways the girls were even more restricted than I had been, not out of my desire to pen them in, but out of the necessity to protect them from the onslaught of thoughts that being around human people barraged them with. They were gaining control of their abilities, I hoped that soon they would be able to mingle among humans and not feel overwhelmed.

Then they would want to fly free, test their own wings and do things that I might not want them to do. I had never been an authoritarian parent, it was too late to start now.

I called Jason to see how he, Angellica and baby Brett were doing. They were getting settled in at home. Angellica was having some success with breast feeding and Jason was on a strict diet, doing sit ups three times a day. He was still on a high from giving birth without drugs. Too bad he couldn't brag to his buddies about it. Next week the girls and I were going to visit Brett. If we went at night Eric would come along.

There were several messages on Eric's cell to call the lab. I made a note to remind me to point that out to him when he rose. I checked in with Sheila to see how dinner was coming. She had everything ready except the pasta. I would cook that when the girls were ready to eat.

I was going to ask Sheila why she wanted to be reminded when Eric's birthday was, but she was already getting her coat on and I didn't want to start up a conversation with her and delay her leaving.

Her long winded stories of problems with her acquaintances tried my patience and the mosquito-like whining hum of her muddled disjointed thoughts was tiresome. Some nights it was hard to get her to go home once Eric was up.

Then I went and got changed to wait for my husband to rise from his safe room, as I had done so many times before.

more to come .....(Holly, Marlene, nightlover, Eminé, Cindy, Anonymous Z, Sally, Lynn - I do so appreciate your feedback and thoughts. You bring up excellent points and keep me thinking more clearly. Thank you for taking the time to post a comment.

Eminé - That was an absolutely fascinating story. I keep thinking about what a great novel that would make. It's good you got to know the Turkish Bridgette Bardot, she sounds like a strong and adventurous woman.)


Sunday, September 19, 2010

60 - Bundle of Joy ..... Part 2

Chapter Sixty

The clerk that was handling the returns in the twenty four hour Super Save-a-Bunch looked at me funny when I dumped out the mountain of unused sanitary supplies on the courtesy desk and asked for a refund, but I didn't feel I owed her an explanation. I had the receipt, and they were only bought the previous evening.

I offered to return them to the shelves but that startled her even more. She gave me back my money and swept the items under the counter into several hand baskets, to be re-shelved later. Her thoughts were that I was some kind of whack-a-doodle. I shrugged it off. I've been called worse.

As I pushed the shopping cart around the store I thought about the vampires trapped in mines. That was like Lingza, only these vampires would have someone to dig them out before they dehydrated down to skeletons like poor Lingza had done.

I suspected the reason they wanted a doctor to restore the trapped vampires might be more out of concern for human opinion than compassion for the vampires. A very hungry vampire was dangerous, a starved vampire could be deadly.

Getting them some blood right away would lessen their need to feed, cut back on the frenzy. No humans would be injured or killed, no media circus derailing the mainstreaming efforts.

After I got home and brought the grocery bags in I told Sheila to hide the snack food the best she could so it could survive until tomorrow night. I was tired, more so than usual.

I checked in on the girls to find them all watching soap operas. Their nanny Mary had religiously watched several soap operas she recorded each day. I wondered if that early influence, which lasted until the girls were three years old, had made them into soapies. Maybe it was genetic, Gran had her shows too and woe to anyone that interrupted her during them.

On my way to the bedroom room Sheila stopped me and asked me when Eric's birthday was. I needed to think for a moment on how to answer that. He didn't know the actual date he was born, but he believed it was in the summer.

From reading horoscope profiles I thought Eric seemed like a Leo, though he could have fit into any other strong astrological sign too. From those two things we decided we would celebrate his birthday on August fifteenth.

We also could have used the date he was Turned, though he didn't know that either. He did know it was winter. It was just easier to decide on August fifteenth and have his party then.

The girls loved to fuss over his birthday, making him cards, gifts, and putting on little skits and plays. Last year they had done a very funny parody of the King directing Bojan as he learned to lurch around like Frankenstein. Eric laughed like a human Viking, his big laugh filling the house.

"We celebrate it on August fifteenth," I said, aware that I needed to get to my room and visit the facilities pronto. The Red River was fixing to flood its banks.

"Thanks," she said, and went back to the kitchen. She was making the girls garlic-free meatballs and spaghetti tonight, something they loved.

We didn't have garlic in anything except the pizza we had delivered from time to time. I had tried to get Pete's Authentic Pizzas to make one without garlic, but Pete told me it wouldn't be possible.

I dashed down the hall to my room and got myself fixed up, then I lay down for a much needed nap. The girls would probably nap too, although they were so excited about their phones they might not be able to rest.

Why did Sheila want to know when Eric's birthday was? I wondered. Even after all these years she still thought Eric was the most beautiful man on the planet, something I couldn't argue with. I hoped she hadn't decided give him some inappropriately expensive gift.

The thought occurred to me that she might enjoy getting to know other vampire men. I tried to think about what the downside would be to her meeting eligible vampires at Eric's club. Maybe I would talk to Eric about that.

The two downsides that came to my mind were that she would become weak from blood loss if she met a young hungry vampire, and that a vampire might use her familiarity with our household to try some sinister plot against Eric. She could be glamoured to work against us, maybe to poison us or leave the doors unlocked.

I was sure Sheila would be super easy to glamour. Of course, then Eric could glamour Sheila and find out what was going on if she did begin dating a vampire. Eric's glamour could overpower the glamour of a younger vampire that had programmed someone not to remember what they did.

I pictured Sheila ending up like poor addled Ginger, a barmaid at Fangtasia that had been glamoured so often she barely functioned anymore. Ginger's aging body wasn't flattered by the extremely short skirts and skimpy tops she always wore. I saw the way men snickered at her now behind her back, though, mercifully, Ginger was too mentally dim by now to notice their reaction.

I put the idea of introducing Sheila to a vampire man in the mental "discard" bin. Too many variables that I couldn't control. Right now Sheila was predictable and I knew all her foibles, no sense in rocking the boat.

Eric still had enemies, even though the Fellowship of the Sun was more of a joke now than a real threat. Over the years their unsubstantiated claims had come to sound ludicrous and hysterical.

Vampires were valued, law abiding members of society now, at least to the mind of the public. Behind the scenes there were always those that used their vampire powers in ways that weren't ethical.

There were vampires that resented Eric for his duties as sheriff, and there were probably those that resented his prosperity and good fortune. I knew Jure used to have a hard time with leaving me alone. He wanted me for his own, but over the past decade I had barely seen or heard from him.

I started to make a mental list of all the things I wanted to bring over to Jason's house for baby Brett. I would be getting little blue things, so different from the ocean of pink that surrounded me after our girls were born.

Booties, toys, a crib set, a mobile, bouncy chair, these adorable things swirled around in my mind before they were sucked down into a vortex of dreams.

more to come ......(Marlene, Anonymous, Cindy, Anonymous Z - Thank you for sharing your thoughts and insights, they add a whole other dimension to the story. I appreciate you taking the time to write and post a comment. Hope your weekend is going well.)


Saturday, September 18, 2010

59 - Bundle of Joy ..... Part 2

Chapter Fifty Nine

The next day I gave Charlaine the list of dates that Eric would be busy and within five minutes she was back asking if tomorrow night would be good. I could tell she was extremely eager to have Darren visit with her.

My guess was that it would be her plan was to pry him away from his parents and have him all to herself. But that wasn't going to happen. She would be chaperoned the whole time he was here.

I told her tomorrow night was fine with me. I asked her what kind of refreshments I should provide.

"Oh, just the usual," she said breezily.

The refreshments were the last thing on her mind. Our "usual" refreshments were dependent on who we were entertaining, TruBlood for the fanged visitors, meat laden platters for the werewolves and canine oriented shifters, super-sized meals for the Bigfoots. Angelica couldn't eat fried foods and Sheila was allergic to shellfish. Our first nanny, Mary Poppins, had existed almost entirely on sweets and vegetables.

"Do you think I could walk around our property with Darren while you talk with his parents?" she asked, then added, "I mean without Aleksis following right behind us?"

"I think so honey. It depends on what your father says." Our plans laid, I left her to do her homework.

I called Dr. Fay and spoke with the scratchy voiced receptionist to set up an appointment for the afternoon. Sheila would be here to watch the girls.

I would drive to the clinic by myself, Aleksis following in a car behind me. I liked having some time alone. I added bringing back the extra stuff to the Super Save-a-Bunch and picking up some snack type food items to my errand list, food we would arrange on platters and offer to Darren's parents. Aleksis, like Mary's little lamb, would follow me where ever I went.

Again I wondered if it was Darren's deafness that made him acceptable to Charlaine. I hadn't tried dipping into Darren's thoughts at the play, but there would be time tomorrow night. I knew there were certain humans that were very hard for me to read, I never figured out why. Maybe Darren was one of those people.

I thought that Eric would allow Charlaine and Darren to go for a walk around our property. Eric's hearing was so acute, and his speed was so fast he could get to Charlaine before a problem could develop.

I was still flowing fast and furious when I got to Dr. Fay. I was glad she wasn't like a regular gynecologist. If she was a human doctor she would need to actually look inside me to check things out.

The lovely Dr. Fay just sprinkled fairy dust on me from her wand and from the way it floated down she could tell what was happening. No speculum, no rubber gloves, no laying there spread out with just a big sheet of paper to keep my modesty intact.

I knew I hadn't aged in appearance since the day she first examined me to see about my fertility. She hadn't aged a day either. We both shared the same fairy longevity. From the looks of us this examination could have been the same day as the first one she did, as if the intervening fifteen years hadn't happened.

"Good news, Sookie. You have a brand new uterus!" Dr. Fay said, sounding like a game show announcer telling a contestant they won a car.

"Great," I said, rather less enthusiastically.

I had just decided to Turn in six or seven years if the circumstances were right, now there was a chance I could get pregnant again. Did I want three more babies to raise? I wasn't sure. Years ago I had pictured having five or six children, but now it seemed to be as much as I wanted to do to raise the three I had.

Starting all over again with a huge belly, backache, another Cesarean, diapers, breast feeding, crying, cribs, teething, colic, pureed peas, nannies, and all the other things that come with three babies seemed overwhelming. I'm sure there was a bright side, but I couldn't think of it right now.

"It does not mean you will get pregnant again Sookie," Dr. Fay said kindly, correctly guessing the reasons for my lack of total enthusiasm. "It only means you might."

"How soon?" I asked. I needed to plan things out, but how?

"Sometime in the next hundred years, I would guesstimate. Each woman is different. But not right away, that is for sure. You will retain the male seed for as long as you live so the fertilization could occur at any time over your lengthy life span."

"Would it speed things up if I were to be inseminated again?" I asked her, not sure if that is what I would do.

"No, not at all. That seed would simply be stored in your pouch where the other is being kept. The process takes as long as it takes, I know of no way to regulate it."

"What would happen if I was to Turn vampire?" I asked her.

Her eyes got very wide and she took a tiny step back, as if she was afraid I might instantly become a vampire on the spot. That would be fatal for her if I did what vampires do to fairies - drain them like a juice box of tasty nectar.

"I do not have an answer for that. As you can imagine, I do not treat vampires." She gave a delicate shudder that made her thick black pony tail twitch. "You might need to ask Dr. Vay that question when she returns."

Dr. Vay, another member of the unusual practice, was a partial vampire due to her being an Immune, one whose human blood slowly overtook the vampire blood and returned the person to their human status. A very small percentage of humans were Immunes. They were discovered when they were Turned and their Turning didn't work completely. As you can imagine they were extremely rare.

Dr. Fay went over to write on my chart while replacing her magic wand in the holster.

"I didn't know she was gone. Where is she?" I asked, getting down from the table and brushing the fairy dust from my flowered cotton skirt onto the floor.

After it was swept up I wondered if it was recycled somehow. The girls had been taking an ecology course so we talked a lot about recycling lately. Maybe the fairy dust evaporated in a little while.

"She has gone to help out in the latest earthquake disaster, I forget where it is on this Earth. There were vampires trapped in mines, and she can help restore them when they emerge from the ground."

"When will she be back?" I asked, slinging my purse over my shoulder. I was ready to go shopping and get home for my nap.

"Sometime next month. Call for an appointment, her secretary will know the exact date."

We hugged, then I left with my new uterus and a whole new set of things to consider.

more to come ......(Holly, Marlene, Pat, nightlover, Tamara, Cindy, Anonymous Z, Eminé, Sally, ky - How could this week have flown by so fast? Hope you all have something good going on this weekend. Thank you for shining the light of your comments on my story!

Tamara - Thank you for your service to our country, it is appreciated.
ky - I am delighted my story has made its way to Ireland. Give your doggies an extra scratch for me.)


Friday, September 17, 2010

58 - Bundle of Joy ..... Part 2

Chapter Fifty Eight

Charlaine's interest in Darren got me thinking about Bill, my first real male suitor. I met him when he came into Merlotte's, the bar and grill where I worked in Bon Temps. He was my first vampire, my first boyfriend, and my first intimate experience. It had been great while it lasted, before everything went bad.

The bitterness and anger I felt towards him had eventually faded away leaving a pleasant enough long term friendship. He had come here to meet the girls and was usually invited here several times a year to catch up. During those visits I sometimes caught him staring at the girls with a wistful look on his face.

At those times Bill might be thinking about his own children during his human life over a hundred and fifty years ago, or perhaps he was thinking about what his life would have been like if he had been more honest with me from the beginning. Bill didn't spend a lot of time here, so whatever sorrow he was feeling was not constant, thankfully.

Eric saw Bill more often than that during the course of his duties as Sheriff. Both men worked for the King in their way. In fact, Bill had set up much of the sophisticated computer network the research center used, though I had never run into him there. Eric said Bill didn't like Lingza much.

I was glad to hear Darren was only sixteen. I knew possible guy friends for my telepathic daughters were going to be thin on the ground due to their inability to stand the thoughts of human men, but Darren seemed to have passed the initial hurdle of being tolerable to Charlaine. I didn't want to do anything to squash their budding friendship, but I also wanted to keep a close eye on my almost fifteen year old daughter.

Eric got back with a two bags filled with a tremendous variety of sanitary supplies. He had driven to the all night Super Save-a- Bunch after getting the few items the all night gas station store had in stock.

I jokingly asked him, "How long do you think I'm going to be bleeding?"

"I did not know what to get," he replied stiffly, "And the clerk was female."

I gave him a fast kiss on the cheek before I hurried off to the restroom. I could feel that things were getting ready to flood.

Among all the packages were the ones I needed so I just barely avoided an overflow. How much blood does the human body have? I hoped I wasn't going to bleed out. Could Eric Turn me if he couldn't drain me? I shuddered at the thought.

When I got back I thanked Eric profusely, getting the receipt from him so I could return any unopened packages of items the girls or I couldn't use.

"Why are there so many different kinds of products?" he asked, watching me sort the supplies into "yes" and "no" piles. The "no's" I put back in the bag with the receipt to return.

"Each woman has her own preferences for what she uses. The size, shape and absorbency needs are not the same for everyone, or even the same for one woman throughout her life, or throughout her cycle." I explained.

"In the past women used rags they rinsed out, dried, and used again. It was kept a secret from the men," he said.

"Well, even today women are kind of shy about it, but you're my husband, I figured it was all right if you saw what the things looked like. These are disposable, they are used and then thrown out."

"So many things in our world today are like that," I said, hugging him, "Sometimes even people."

Then I changed the topic. "Charlaine's new friend Darren wants to come here and meet us. He wants to bring his parents. They need to drive because Darren is only sixteen. I was wrong about his age. He's not really too old for Charlaine, he's just tall and smart. He takes college courses to get a head start on his degree."

"He is not too young to impregnate our daughter," Eric observed.

"No, we can't leave them alone together until we're sure what kind of young man he is," I said.

"Most young men are willing to have sexual relations with a pretty girl," Eric said. He decided to get undressed and lay down with me. He had been thinking about going in to the club, but he decided to stay home with me.

"I know, it's a worry. But I have given Charlaine the facts of life complete with cautions. Now we can only do our best to guide her towards a happy future."

Eric told me any night would be good for our get together except for a couple of nights he had meetings with the deputies or the research center. I wrote those down to give to Charlaine tomorrow.

Then we cuddled in our bed and watched an old movie on cable until I fell asleep.

more to come .....(Holly, nightlover, Patricia, Marlene, Tamara, ky, Eminé, Cindy, Anonymous, Anonymous Z, Pat, WendyLou - You always make me smile, thanks for leaving your dear comments.

- I'm so happy you found your way here and have joined our little group here in this corner of the Sookieverse. Welcome and thank you for leaving a comment!)