Sunday, October 31, 2010

102 - Bundle of Joy ..... Part 2

Chapter One Hundred and Two

I didn't want to be rude to these important members of the research staff, but I needed to find out where Linda had gone with Hector. I looked over the crowded club while the scientists talked on about their latest trials with various formulas. Most of it was over my head and from the look on his face it was over the tattooed head of Tadeu too.

I smiled and nodded, tuned out of their talk, trying to pick up Linda's mind signature. The girls all knew how to block me and each other from their thoughts, but I could often get the mental shape of their presence in my Mom radar. I didn't want to go rushing after Linda if she had just gotten up to speak to someone she knew.

The girls seemed to have a sense of when I was monitoring them and they resented it if I started to supervise them. They saw themselves as mature young ladies and wanted to have a greater degree of freedom. I couldn't begrudge them that, after all, they led such sheltered lives most of the time any taste of the larger world beyond their usual boundaries was exciting.

Roadies were setting up the band's equipment on the stage, the show would begin soon. I saw Charlaine and Darren watching the instruments being placed. She would sign to him and he would sign back. They looked excited and happy. Linda wasn't with them.

Adele was talking and flirting with all three Campbell boys. She smoothed her long blond bangs to the side repeatedly, adjusted her posture so her developing bosom pointed at first one of them then the other, and smiled often, licking her lips. She tugged at the hem of her skirt, implying modesty while directing their attention to her slim athletic legs. She flipped the side of her hair back, then laughed, flashing her white straight teeth. I was impressed with her flirting skills.

The young werewolf men seemed to have relaxed, even in the presence of all these vampires. Being here with not only their own pack mistress, and Alcide Herveaux, the pack master of the Long Tooth pack, might have reassured them that it was acceptable for them to mingle with vampires occasionally. Linda wasn't near the Campbell boys so Adele had them all to herself, just the way she liked it.

Linda wasn't with her father either. Eric, taller than usual in his new thick soled steel toed black motorcycle boots, was talking with his Child. Pam was pretty in pink tonight. She was the same petite height as usual because she almost always wore spectacular four inch heels to prance around in. If she got corns from them then they healed as fast as they formed, a perk of being a vampire.

Pretty petite Pam was ignoring her old boyfriend Steve, a biker she used to hang around with. He had shown up at the party with Jure's ex-escort, the glamorous Antoinette. I was glad to see Antoinette was still human. She was looking a wee bit older around the gills, I thought cattily, then I scolded myself for being like that.

Antoinette had tried to get Eric to Turn her, and when that didn't work out she tried to get Jure to do it. She hadn't been successful there either. Neither ancient vampire was willing to commit to the time and energy it would have taken to be Maker for the short tempered raven haired Antoinette as their Child.

I believe Steve had hoped that he too would be Turned by Pam but that didn't happen either. Jason had told me once that he wanted to Turn after baby Brett was grown up and that he wanted Pam to Turn him, but I didn't think he understood the complicated and involved process it is for a vampire to Turn a human.

That process was all the more complicated now that the vampire governments were involved. Turnings had to be licensed and approved by the King after an evaluation process by vampire social workers. If Pam Turned Jason not only would she be forbidden from Turning another human for a hundred years, but she would be bound to Jason for all time. She would also be directly responsible for any mistakes Jason made for fifty years.

I didn't believe Pam liked Jason enough to talk to him for five minutes, let alone be bound to him forever. Pam was kind of hard to please. I doubted if Jason could offer her anything she wanted. I didn't think he understood the first thing about Pam. She was as cute as a kitten, pretty as a picture, but as cold as Pluto when it came to worrying about human concerns.

Eric couldn't and wouldn't demand Pam Turn my brother and I wouldn't ask him to try and find a way to get her to do it. That would put a strain on Eric that he would find intolerable. It wouldn't be fair to ask it of him. I doubted if Jason was going to find any vampire to Turn him, a thought that made me very sad.

Antoinette, Steve, Aleksis - all the people that wanted to be Turned but couldn't manage to get it done should form a support group, I thought, my eyes still scanning the room, Vampire Wannabe's Anonymous.

My anxiety increased when I realized I had looked everywhere inside the club and still hadn't seen my daughter and the young vampire. Where had Linda and Hector gone? What were they doing?

Eric suddenly turned his head and looked directly at me, picking up my increasing distress through our emotional bond. He strode over to me while Pam was taken over by Clancy, who obviously had some kind of problem.

"You are upset?" Eric asked, getting right to the point.

"Yes, I think Linda went off with Hector. Dr. Clark is here talking with his cronies instead of chaperoning Hector like he promised," I said over the increasing noise of the crowd. They were getting excited because it looked like the band was going to be onstage any moment now.

"I will find her," Eric said succinctly and headed towards the bar.

He asked Mike Malone the bartender a question, then he asked Taryn and several other vampires a question. One of them pointed to the front door and Eric went out.

Charlaine and Darren were now standing by the swinging doors that led to the employees area. Down that back hallway were the rest rooms, the pay phone, the office, the employee lounge and the stock room. At the end of the hall was an "employees only" door that led to the back parking lot, a graveled and rutted area for the overflow crowd and the employees. Since Linda hadn't walked past me towards the front I was thinking maybe she went out the back way.

I said hi to Charlaine and Darren as I went to the back hallway to see if Linda had perhaps gone to use the rest room. Unlike the campy and glamorous vampire decor in the club the back hallway was plain and utilitarian.

Brown speckled linoleum floors, beige textured walls and drop florescent ceiling lights dated the last time this hallway had been renovated to the 1970's. The building itself was from the mid 1800's and had housed many diverse businesses over the years including a playhouse, a hat factory and a mill. The huge wheel that powered the mill was still in the basement.

When the swinging door closed behind me, muffling the noise of the club, I stood still listening for Linda's distinctive voice. She was a talker and you could often hear her before you saw her. That's when I heard her scream.

more to come .....(danimcket, Cindy, ky, Anonymous Z, Eminé - Happy Halloween to you too, your visits are my treat. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. I realize how busy and pressed for time some of you are. It is really good of you to check in when you can.)


Saturday, October 30, 2010

101 - Bundle of Joy ..... Part 2

Chapter One Hundred and One

Frank Clark's question, if I had forbidden Linda to make out with Hector Lee, forbidden her from allowing him to bite her, that question put me on the spot. I hadn't forbidden it because that would be like waving a red flag in front of a bull.

Nothing incensed the girls more than me trying to act like an authority figure and lay down the law. They had spent too much time with me to see me as an imposing authoritarian. It was a role I couldn't pull off. If I was going to be one of those "because I said so" type of moms it was something I should have done from early on.

Trying to change horses now wasn't going to work for me or them. I had always reasoned with them, showed them over and over what I wanted in a kind and patient way. I had never spanked them, threatened them or even screamed at them. In time they caught on and were a delight to raise most of the time.

When I was really firm about something they sensed it and backed down. Whether that was connected to their telepathy or just to our connection as mother and child I didn't know. I didn't know any other way to be. They didn't either. I was the kind of mother I was and they were the kind of kids they were. I hoped we were a good match.

What if the kind of mother they needed was less of a pal and more of a commander? What if I had messed up from early on? I would be a failure at the one thing I wanted most to be good at and my daughters would pay the price for my mistake.

Maybe all the kindness and patience was going to blow up in my face now and I would see that I had spared the rod and spoiled the child. I prayed that was not so.

I couldn't help but think that my extremely youthful appearance, the fact that I looked about twenty one and they looked a mature fifteen, was also undermining my ability to put my foot down and seem credible to them.

"When I look at you I feel like I did twenty years ago," Sam said behind me.

I turned to look in his kind face. I had read somewhere that age gives people the faces they deserve. His face had laugh lines around his mouth, squinting crow's feet around his eyes, and a merry twinkle in eyes now slightly less bright and a little more skeptical.

There was gray threaded through his strawberry blond hair and his hands were a little shopworn from all the years tending bar, stocking heavy boxes and doing work on his trailer. He had seen the best and the worst in people over the years. It made him reserved and a little standoffish towards most folks. His posture showed this, always a bit stiff and distant, except towards those he really cared about, like me.

"Don't let the outside fool you," I said, trying to deflect any attempt he might be making to walk down our romantic memory lane. "Those girls of mine have really given me something to do twenty four seven. It's exhausting." I sighed theatrically to show him the depth of my inner weariness.

He laughed. "Payback's a bitch. You were quite the wild one too when you were younger."

I wondered if he was referring to my sex addled relationship with Bill, the steamy lust crazed time of my young life that had driven a wedge into whatever chance Sam and I might have had to make a go of it. I was so distracted by the real and imagined charms of Bill I pretty much forgot about Sam, except as my boss. Sam was a great boss.

"I was glad to have a great boss and friend like you back then," I said sincerely. "You came through for me when it counted."

"Yeah, well ...." he shrugged and let that thought trail off.

I thought about the many ways I had been wild, one of the reasons I had avoided talking too frankly to the girls about sex. If they asked me about my behavior before marriage I would need to either lie or tell the truth. Neither option felt comfortable or right to me. And if they asked about their father's conduct over the centuries, well, that was really beyond description.

A commotion at the front door caught everyone's attention. Lingza and Taryn came in, followed by most of the staff of the research center. Little Dr. Fang looked positively merry as he was greeted by Eric. He was closely followed by Dr. Mellen, head of the medical team from the research center carrying an eel skin covered briefcase in his hand. I thought that was a strange thing to bring to a birthday party. He was accompanied by a tall distinguished looking man in a beautifully cut pearl gray suit, someone I had never seen before.

I noticed that Dr. Clark got up from the booth leaving Hector sitting alone with Linda. Hector immediately moved closer to Linda and began talking to her, holding her hand and smiling. I saw that the tips of his fangs were showing. I took a step towards them but was stopped by the stranger in the pearl gray suit.

Dr. Ch'en had pointed me out to the distinguished looking man and they had both headed my way, stepping in front of me. The man held out his hand to me and then embraced my hand with both of his when I went to shake.

He was human, not vampire. I started to read his mind when he said, "You must be the famous Sookie Stackhouse. It is a pleasure to meet you, a real pleasure." He had a ritzy British accent, the kind you could listen to all day long.

Dr. Mellen joined us. "She might not know who you are, Jeremy," he said to the man.

To me Dr. Mellen said, "This is Jeremy Playfair. It has been many years since you met his brother."

I didn't know anyone with the name Playfair. It was a name I would remember. I wondered if he was related to my children's nanny, Mary Poppins. I was still trying to get to Linda's booth to see what was happening with Hector. The crowd of people near the booths closed in and blocked my view. The human man and the vampire doctors blocked my path.

"I never told her my last name, Jeremy," another British voice behind me said.

I turned and saw a tattooed and scarified face under a bowl haircut. The short statured man was also wearing a suit, but it was obvious he was a native of South America. He looked a little older but he still looked the same, his small slender physique giving him a boyish appearance, even later in life. His smile was as white and dazzling as it had been more than fifteen years ago.

"Tadeu!" I exclaimed.

I had never expected to see the mine manager of the King's Brazilian mineral mine again. That meant that Jeremy was his brother. The adopted Tadeu had lived in London with his new British family when he was much younger, brought from the forest by missionary nuns that recognized how much potential he had. His brother Jeremy was a researcher and professor for a university there.

I hugged Tadeu, recalling how I had helped him after he was shot with a poisoned arrow and we were locked in a cave together. It was the time Eric went to recover Lingza from the mine.

I had always wondered how Tadeu was doing, and I had also wondered if the London vampires had glamoured or done away with Tadeu's brother Jeremy. He had been doing research in England on the biological chemicals the natives of the Minas Gerais area used against vampires.

There was a long connection between the resident tribes in that area and vampires. The natives had discovered which herbal plants and animal venoms were effective against vampires. They were even able to cloak their presence from the super acute senses of vampires, enabling them to sneak up on a vampire and shoot a poison tipped arrow into one. They didn't pose much of a threat to vampires because they stayed in their little area of the South American forest, but the herbal knowledge they had could certainly be used against vampires if it fell into the wrong hands.

"Thanks to your information, we have been working closely with Jeremy all these years," Dr. Mellon said, patting Jeremy on the back genially. "His research has been crucial to the ongoing development of Daynight."

I was glad my tip hadn't resulted in the London vampires hunting Jeremy Playfair down and doing something unpleasant to him. I was equally glad to see Tadeu was doing well and here for a visit.

But I wasn't glad to finally get a look at the corner booth Linda had been sitting in with Hector Lee and seeing it was empty.

more to come .....

****Just a reminder for those who have joined me after the first story. ****

~~~ I began these stories before book nine was released, therefore any changes in characters in books nine and ten - deaths and births - will not be reflected in my story. The same is true for the TV series. After season one the events are not included. ~~~

(Marlene, Gjers-1, Cindy, Tamara, Anonymous Z - I'm very happy you had the time and inclination to stop by and comment. It's good of you and makes my day better and brighter.)


Friday, October 29, 2010

100 - Bundle of Joy ..... Part 2

Chapter One Hundred

Sam Merlotte came over to me with his long time girl friend Nora Heart. We hugged, glad to see each other. It had been a while because our lives were just so busy.

"I see that you met Allison and Dewey," he said, his sharp blue eyes scanning the crowd. From running a bar for years he could take in a room full of people at a glance. "Did she tell you about her special talent?"

"Oh yes," I said, laughing at his use of the phrase 'special talent' to describe her ability to change into a huge alligator. "I even Googled the photo of her in Cross Lake. Impressive."

"And you have a few members of the Fionnghuala pack here too," he said, looking at Cameron and Finnella. He was as nosy as I was but he didn't want to be too obvious about it.

"Yes, Adele is interested in their youngest boy Rory," I explained.

I didn't mind letting Sam in on some of our family business, he was like another older brother to me. Of course he had continued to age for the last fifteen years while I still looked like I did the day I walked into Merlotte's Bar and Grill and applied for a job. I wondered how Sam felt about the apparent discrepancies in our ages now, but I didn't ask.

"I'm surprised Finnella allowed it. That White Shoulder clan keeps to themselves," Nora said. She had put on a few pounds over the years probably due to the good but fattening food served at the bar.

Nora was a true shape shifter like Sam, meaning that they could both turn into whatever they wanted to be, anything from a house fly to an elephant. They could even shift into other human forms.

After the research center got done studying vampires I wondered if they would turn their brain power on shifters. How could a hundred and sixty pound man like Sam turn into a four ton elephant or a housefly that weighed a fraction of an ounce? Where did the extra body mass come from or go to?

I could see how magic would be the easiest conclusion to account for it, but I also thought there must be a scientific explanation too.

The power for a shape shifter to turn into another human was how I met Nora. She had been dancing at a strip club looking like me, trying to ruin my reputation. She had been told some very wicked lies about me by my arch enemy Saytanna. Nora thought she was helping Saytanna avenge the crippling of her brother due to my drunk driving.

Once Nora learned Saytanna didn't even have a brother she dropped the lying Saytanna as a friend and became friends with me. I introduced her to Sam and they had been together in Sam's new improved double wide ever since.

"Have you ever heard from Saytanna again?" Nora asked me.

I had never told her about my trip into the Underworld. I was dragged there a long time ago by Saytanna, but she was being punished and would probably never leave the Underworld to bother me again. It was hard to believe the wicked Saytanna was a sister to the kind and gentle Angellica. I was glad my brother had ended up with the right sister!

"Not for many years," I said truthfully.

I mentally crossed my fingers hoping I wouldn't have to see her again, or at least not for many many more years to come.

Jason and Angellica were chatting with Linda and Adele when Hector Lee and Dr. Clark arrived. Linda rushed over to hug Hector. I wanted to supervise his behavior with Linda. I didn't know how far the newly Turned vampire could be trusted around a real human woman with part fairy blood pulsing in her veins.

I didn't know how far I could trust Linda either. I excused myself from Sam and Nora and moved through the crowd to join Hector Lee, Linda and Frank Clark.

"Frank, may I speak with you for a moment?" I said after saying my hellos.

We walked a ways from Hector and Linda towards the stage. I hoped that with the music and ambient noise in the club we couldn't be overheard by Hector. I didn't want to hurt his feelings.

Hector had been through a lot in his human life and had only been Turned as a last ditch effort to save his life. Dr. Clark, his final physician, saw that Hector was brilliant and would make a great doctor someday, but his leukemia was going to prove fatal before he could fulfill his bright promise.

Although Dr. Clark was not allowed to practice medicine on humans, the Lees had turned to Frank Clark in the final days of Hector's life. When Frank offered Hector the chance to live on as a vampire, Hector accepted. Now Hector wanted to continue his education and become a doctor also. Once he achieved his degree I supposed his next goal would be a legal fight for the right to practice medicine.

I respected that noble drive in the young man, but I still didn't want him biting Linda in an uncontrolled moment. I expressed that to Frank Clark in the gentlest way possible.

I knew Frank had become like Hector's parents and Maker all rolled in to one when the Lees rejected their adopted son because he Turned vampire. They would have rather seen him die of his disease than become one of the undead, I guess. As a mother I could not understand that way of thinking.

Frank had petitioned the King and won the right to Turn the dying underage seventeen year old boy once his parents gave up their rights. I suspected the King had wanted to keep Dr. Clark happy and working on the staff at the research center so he granted him that special permission.

Frank said, "I fully understand your concerns and I plan to sit with Hector for the whole evening. I realize your daughters share in your special charms and appeal to vampires more intensely than a regular human woman. Hector has given me his word that he will let me know if he feels his control slipping. May I ask you a question without seeming impertinent?"

"I think so," I said, smiling to let him know I considered him a friend.

"What if your daughter were to kiss him and feel as if she wanted him to bite her in a controlled way? The term we used to use is 'necking' for that kind of thing, though in this case 'necking' takes on a whole new set of meanings. Have you forbidden Linda from allowing that kind of necking?" he asked.

His intelligent forever twenty nine year old face was open and without guile, this was a legitimate question. Unfortunately it was a question I couldn't give a cogent response to. I did what politicians did when asked a question they couldn't answer. I answered an entirely different question.

"Her father has indicated to me that he would not find that kind of behavior acceptable," I said, playing the 'Eric' card. Almost nobody would want to get on Eric's bad side, so expressing his wishes was just like the King giving a command.

"I see, thank you for letting me know. I intend to steer Hector away from too much time with Linda then, just to cut down on the risk they might engage in any kind of vampire exploration." He saw Linda leading Hector over to a booth and said, "I better go and intervene right now."

He joined them and sat between them. Hector looked impassive but Linda looked at me with anger. She knew I had said something to Hector's Maker that was getting between her and the handsome young vampire. Now she was mad at me for that. Daggers shot from her eyes.

more to come .....(Tamara, Marlene, Sally, Anonymous Z, Eminé - Well, another weekend is upon us, my dear companions, and I would say not a moment too soon. For those of you celebrating Halloween or Samhain I wish you a magical moment.)


Thursday, October 28, 2010

99 - Bundle of Joy ..... Part 2

Chapter Ninety Nine

When we planned the birthday party it had seemed so far away, but then it was upon us before we knew. Sheila had taken the rest of the week off, then returned for the weekend of the girl's birthday, pale and thinner. She didn't even try to ogle Eric, so I knew she wasn't herself.

The girls were allowed to wear whatever they wanted to their birthday party. Linda was dressed all in black chiffon with heavy eye make up and black lipstick and nail polish. She was probably trying to look attractive to the vampires that were going to be at the party.

She didn't realize that vampires, like humans, are attracted to a wide variety of looks. She wanted to dance and flirt. Hector Lee and his Maker Dr. Clark were going to be there. I hoped Linda hadn't led Hector to believe she was going to be exclusively with him.

Charlaine was wearing a light blue pant suit, Darren's favorite color on her. I knew that Charlaine was just crazy about Darren, she was even learning sign language so she could communicate with him that way. Some of her signs were not done correctly and they both laughed as Darren molded her fingers into the proper formations.

Adele was dressed in red sequins and high heels. I tried to tell her that her feet were going to bother her after a while but she wouldn't listen to me. The whole Campbell clan was coming to the party. Rory had offered his band to play music for the party, but Eric told him he already had the entertainment covered.

We had cake and sang "Happy Birthday" after dinner. Eric and I took the dogs out so the girls wouldn't have to mess up their hairstyles and shoes, then it was time for us all to go to Fangtasia.

A big A-frame billboard by the road declared "Closed Tonight for Private Party". Clancy watched who came into the lot and directed them where to park.

Inside, Pam had outdone herself with the decorations. The ceiling was covered in black and red helium balloons, a big banner across the stage said "Happy Birthday Adele, Charlaine, and Linda" and a TruBlood fountain had been set up for the vampires that attended.

All the tables were covered in black table cloths decorated with "Happy Birthday" written in red all over it and smiling red lips around the borders. Someone had hand painted pointed white fangs coming out of some of those lips.

Bill and Jessica were the first ones to greet us. He had made it a point to be in town for the girl's birthday. Persephone Gallo and Hades were there too, talking with Pam. Jessica was now a full fledged social worker like her mentor Persephone. They handled the requests of vampires and humans that wanted to Turn in our district.

Bill often did the field work for them to determine the merits of the situation. He also made surprise visits to make sure conditions were right for a human to Turn. Bill was good at surprise visits.

I had given Eric this suggestion a long time ago during the honeymoon vacation we took to Vampire Land while attending the King's wedding. At that time the King had wanted the sheriffs to decide who could Turn and who couldn't.

Eric and the other sheriffs had felt that was too much responsibility to place on them. They were vampire law enforcement and not equipped to decide which humans and which vampires should be granted the privilege of becoming Maker and Child.

The sheriffs would have been held responsible if something went wrong with the Turning, and in vampire fashion that lapse in judgment could have disastrous results for everyone, including the sheriff.

By having a system that was licensed by the King and overseen by social workers, the King collected hefty fees, kept records, imposed limits, and was able to avoid most mistakes.

The tangled web of Underworld bureaucracy and miles of red tape would assure that any blame would be diffused over a vast network of desks and decision makers. No one person would bear the brunt of the King's wrath.

In the early days after the Great Revelation a number of inappropriate people were Turned for huge payments. The vampires involved, immigrants from less tolerant countries, were unregistered in the area they finally settled in, making them, by definition, rogue.

These rogue immigrant vampires, often stripped of their wealth and unable to speak English well enough to fit in, needed a large amount of money right away to start up their new life here. This money was offered by wealthy desperate humans that wanted either the healing or the longevity of becoming Vampire.

Those who never should have been Turned included a young child that was terminally ill and a pregnant woman that was accidentally Turned by her vampire boyfriend. It would have been a tremendous scandal if news of these accidents had become public.

Fortunately, Vampires were masters of spin and concealment, they headed off the media crisis before it happened. Through Eric I learned that the child was still doing well on TruBlood, but we were never able to find out what happened to the pregnant woman and her unborn child. Now a vampire risked everything to Turn a human without royal permission.

Persephone, Jessica, and who knew how many more workers in the Underworld studied and decided on the advisability of each request to Turn, taking their time and eventually passing down either permission or denial. The best part was that none of this fell on Eric's broad shoulders.

I saw that Hoyt was at the party too, but he didn't pursue Jessica anymore. He was way past the age where he would have been an appropriate partner for a seventeen year old vampire girl. He had married a heavy set overbearing woman named Farrah he met at a tile store.

Farrah reminded me of Hoyt's mother in her heyday, an unstoppable woman ready to bulldoze everything out of her way with her big personality. She wasn't here with Hoyt tonight because she didn't approve of vampires. Hoyt had come by to visit the girls over the years without his wife.

Farrah's mind might have remained closed, but Hoyt's mom Maxine had eventually come to accept those that were different than her after her fling with a satyr. Maxine couldn't attend tonight because she was recovering from emergency gall bladder surgery. She just wouldn't give up fried food and it had finally done damage.

Hoyt was sitting with Jason and Angellica. My brother and his lovely wife had gotten a baby sitter for little Brett so they could be here to celebrate their niece's birthday.

I introduced them to the Campbells and the Boudreouxs. They knew Darren was deaf so they spoke to him slowly, facing him so he could read their lips. Charlaine was beaming with happiness. Allison and Dewey Boudreoux were gracious and seemed genuinely impressed with the club.

Charlaine had told me that Darren was a good dancer, he picked up the beat by watching others and feeling the vibrations of the music. Tonight he would have the additional cues of the flashing light show that made dancing here so exciting. The twirling colored dance floor light controls were actually sound sensitive and kept the beat of the music.

The two older Campbells sat in a booth in the corner, taking in the eclectic music played on the excellent sound system, the happy crowd, and the complete lack of alcohol.

Their three sons, Rory, Aengus and Lachlain were talking to Alcide and his wife Nanette. Alcide and Nanette must have gotten a sitter for their two girls Yvette and Monette, probably Nanette's sister Lola.

Nanette hadn't started to show her pregnancy yet, but she glowed with that special happiness a pregnant woman has. I felt a pang of envy but avoided the circular thoughts that raced through my mind every time I weighed Turning with waiting for my next fertilization to occur, which might not be for a hundred years.

I noticed that the regal Finnella was watching her three boys with unblinking intensity. Did she object to members of her White Shoulder pack talking to members of the Long Tooth pack, or was there something more going on underneath the surface?

more to come .....(Eminé, Tamara, Cindy, nightlover, Anonymous Z, Marlene - Thanks so much for your continuing support, it never goes unnoticed or unappreciated.)

There once was a vampire named Eric
Who thought werewolves coarse and barbaric
Until his daughter Adele
Thought a werewolf was swell
Oh how fate loves to play a bizarre trick!


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

98 - Bundle of Joy ..... Part 2

Chapter Ninety Eight

We all went out and sat on the porch while the kids circled the house, laughing and talking. Even Lachlain loosened up in the balmy night air and was talking about his new car. While Adele and Rory held hands Linda flirted with the other two boys. Charlaine was friendly but kept her distance. She was being true to Darren.

It was nice to see them all having a normal time out in the yard. I saw Eric and Cameron both listening to the night and sniffing the air. Two supernatural fathers with similar ways of checking on their children.

"You have some unusual neighbors," Cameron commented.

I didn't know if he meant Jure and Preston, or if he was talking about the Bishop brothers.

"I have a variety of employees keeping watch," Eric said.

"Security is always an issue," Cameron agreed.

One of the poodles went running past, off the leash. Linda ran along behind him but couldn't catch him. "His collar broke," she gasped at us as she hurtled past.

In a split second Eric was gone, bringing back the poodle under his arm. Linda took him and the other two back to her room. She had spread out a quilt for them to lay on tonight.

Tomorrow we would go and get them beds and new stronger leashes and collars, plus their own bowls and fancy expensive canned food since the dog chow that Gordon scarfed down didn't appeal to them.

I hoped Linda wouldn't bring Gordon out. I didn't know how he would react to werewolves, but he might try to attack them, putting a sour note to our evening. Sheila checked in with us several times to get the adult Campbells more beer. They both needed to use the guest bathroom and Sheila showed them the way.

Linda didn't bring Gordon out, and the kids continued to hang outside until we all went in to see Rory's DVD. His band was loud, young and angry sounding.

Rory stomped and twirled around the stage with his shirt off, dressed in a kilt that rode low on his torso, his long hair whipping around as he shouted out spoken lyrics into his microphone about "Mother Na - ture, she's going to get even for sure, we keep messing up the pla - net, soon there won't be no people on it" and so on. Noble sentiments, but his furious tirade was hard to understand in places, and it was punctuated by some truly awful heavy metal guitar riffs and random drumming.

Adele was impressed. Linda was sort of impressed, but Charlaine didn't like it. She surreptitiously looked at her cell phone several times to see if she had any messages. Cameron looked like he had a pain somewhere, but Finnella smiled proudly at her youngest son, nodding along with the beat when she could find it.

Eric's face was completely without expression meaning he hated the music. He had confided to me recently that he was enjoying the older music of the Meet a Vampire Cocktail party more than the new dance music the club usually played. Had the music changed, or was Eric changing?

Aengus was back to eating cold cuts, and Lachlain sat staring into space, just waiting for this evening to come to an end.

It did come to an end after Adele made arrangements to visit the Campbell ranch and we assured both Cameron and Finnella again that there would be absolutely no alcohol served at the girls birthday party this weekend.

They had been reluctant to let their youngest son go to a bar for a party, but now that they met us and saw we were all on the same page they felt better about letting him attend, especially after they were invited too. Like me, they knew that nothing beat actually watching your child with your own eyes to keep track of what was happening.

Finnella hugged me as we said our good byes, drawing a snort from Lachlain. Cameron and Eric seemed to have some business ideas cooking, and Adele was glowing with happiness. Charlaine left as soon as she could to go text Darren, and Linda went to see about the poodles.

Eric and I stood next to each other, my arm around his waist, his arm around my shoulders, and we waved to our guests as they pulled out of the drive. Like any other married couple we were pleased that our attempt to entertain had been a success.

We got inside and I was just quick enough to shut the front door before Gordon charged outside and made it to the drive way. He was barking and growling, he wanted to chase the car. Adele's dog obviously didn't like werewolves. I wondered if he could learn to get along with them, otherwise it was going to be a problem, I feared.

Since Gordon couldn't chase the werewolf family he went for the cold cuts. There wasn't much left after Aengus's second go round, so I let the big dog have them. I took the tray into the kitchen when he was done to tell Sheila to put the dish washer on the 'sanitize' setting since Gordon slobbered on the dish. I think Aengus might have slobbered on the dish too.

Sheila was sitting in a kitchen chair looking pale, her cell phone in her hand.

"What is it, Sheila?" I asked, sitting down next to her.

"My dad's gone," she said in a flat voice full of disbelief. "Karen went to check on him and he was gone, in his sleep. She's waiting for the ambulance, but it's too late. Karen knows, she's a nurse." Karen was Sheila's sister.

"I'm so sorry, Sheila," I said, hugging her. "Are you all right to drive home, or would you like Eric to take you? I can bring you back to pick up your car whenever you like."

"No, that's nice of you Sookie, but I'm all right to drive. It's just the shock of it, you know? He had not been well for a long time, it was expected, but it happened so fast. I just said goodbye to him this morning. He was sitting in the sun reading the paper ...." she started to cry and I patted her back. I got her a paper towel and she dried her tears and blew her nose, making it red.

She stood up, "I better go. Karen is there alone with him. He laid down for his nap and that was it. I don't know about tomorrow...." She was taking off her apron and getting her purse as she spoke.

"Don't give it a thought," I said. "You do what you need to do, we'll be fine until you're ready to come back. Let me know what I can do to help, where to send flowers, anything I can do."

"He didn't want flowers, he wanted donations sent to 'Stop Smoking Now!' to help them in their efforts to stop people from smoking. That's what did both him and Mom in. As sick as he was, even with a tracheotomy, he still couldn't quit smoking. Don't let your girls smoke, Sookie." Then, tears still leaking down her face, she left.

I found Eric in the office and told him what was going on. He said, "It is a good thing he went quietly in his sleep. I have seen dying people ..." but he trailed off, not wanting to say what he had seen. He gave my shoulders a squeeze.

We cleaned up the kitchen, checked on the girls, took Gordon and the poodles out one last time, then we went to bed ourselves. It is always a somber thing when death comes close to your home.

more to come .....(Anonymous Z, nightlover, Eminé, Cindy, Sally, danimcket - It is so kind of you to continue to write, sharing your thoughts and letting me know you're there. It warms the cockles of my heart.)


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

97 - Bundle of Joy ..... Part 2

Chapter Ninety Seven

Sheila came in with a tray of meat and took drink orders. Finnella and Cameron drank beer. The boys, my daughters, and I had various sodas.

Lachlain looked like he was going to order a beer too until Cameron growled at him, "Don'na try me, lad." Apparently both parents kept a tight rein on their boys. That was good.

Cameron looked like he was still undecided about how he felt about things and Finnella wasn't hungry. Rory was too nervous to eat and Lachlain was too irritable, but Aengus, at that stage where a growing boy eats like he has a hollow leg, was stuffing the cold cuts in his mouth like he hadn't eaten in a week.

Finnella gently reminded him that he had just finished dinner, probably steak or a roast, but he didn't take the suggestion. He continued to eat meat with both hands.

"Your mum is telling you not to wolf down your food, boy," Cameron bluntly said to him, since he didn't get the hint.

Aengus froze with a piece of salami hanging out of his mouth like a weird looking tongue. Linda and Charlaine started to giggle, and Aengus, fair complected as he was, flushed pink. Against his red hair the blush looked particularly vivid. The girls giggled some more.

Aengus finished his slice of salami and sat back, wiping the grease off his hands and mouth with a napkin. The girls continued to giggle and Aengus turned to them and growled in a joking way. They giggled some more making Finnella laugh too. Even Cameron lost his dour expression and smiled.

Finnella said, "The roast beef looks lovely," and delicately nibbled on a slice. I took one too to keep her company. The girls each had a rolled up piece of bologna, it was the kind without nitrates that they liked. Even Rory and Adele came over and snatched something, then went back to their place near the fireplace. Only Eric and Lachlain didn't have anything.

Rory said, "Can we go outside? It's a nice night and I want to get my DVD to show Adele."

Adele looked at me with pleading eyes. I turned to Eric and he nodded. That meant he had hired the Bishop brothers to watch the girls from the woods while they walked outside with their friends.

"Aengus, Lachlain, you go too," Cameron said.

Aengus hopped up, but Lachlain got up slowly, unfolding his lanky six foot frame and looking resentful. Linda asked everyone to wait while she got her poodles, then they all went outside into the warm evening. The sound of the insects coming through the open front door was very loud tonight. I was glad the poodles weren't riled up by meeting my werewolf guests. They didn't greet the Campbells with wagging tails, but they didn't growl or show their teeth either.

Before Adele closed the door behind them Finnella called out, "Boys, remember what I said."

"Yes Mum," their male voices said in a chorus. Then the door closed and they were gone, leaving just us grown ups sitting in the living room, which seemed suddenly bigger and much quieter.

"I told them not to change to impress the girls. It tires them and they have school tomorrow," Finella said.

"They can all change?" I asked. I thought only the first born of the children born to a werewolf couple could change.

"Yes, Lachlain is mine from my first relationship," Finnella said, "And Aengus and Rory can both change. Many of our clan have the ability to pass on their heritage to several of their children, not just the oldest. We Fionnghuala are a rare breed."

Cameron said, "Rory is just now getting the hang of his abilities." He sounded proud.

I said, "Adele is only fourteen and she has never had a boyfriend or a date. We don't want to keep her from making friends, but we also want to make sure she moves forward slowly."

"That is in keeping with our philosophy," Finnella said, nodding her approval.

"What is on the DVD Rory wants to show the girls?" Eric asked.

"He has a band and he wants to impress Adele with it," Finnella said. She looked at me quizzically and asked, "If it's not too personal a question, may I ask why it is you look so very young?"

I explained about my double dose of fairy blood and how it affected my longevity.

"Do the girls also have that trait?" Cameron asked.

"I don't know. I won't be able to tell until they are in their early twenties." I wanted to get off that topic so I asked what the name of Rory's band was."

"Luna Sea," Finnella answered, spelling it.

We went on to talk about Alcide and his pack, and then Finnella talked about her pack, Fionnghuala. She said that Scotland was coming around to accept vampires into their society, but she didn't know if they would ever accept werewolves. Being a farming and sheep raising country, there was a lot of bad feeling towards wolves even in these modern times.

"My family raised Highland cattle, also called kyloe, but our family was driven from Argyll in 1769," Cameron said. "I don'na know if we would go back even if we could now. We have land, cattle and a nice way of life here."

"And you have your trucking business too," Eric said. He had taken down contact information from Cameron, perhaps they could do business together.

"Could Adele come and stay at our ranch some weekend?" Finnella asked. "She could ride the horses and visit with the cattle. Rory said she loves animals, we have plenty of those."

Before I could answer Eric said, "Adele is a virgin. She does not yet use any method of birth control. We would need to be assured she would not be returned to us deflowered or pregnant. She is too young to become sexually active or become a mother."

Well, that was certainly laying it on the line. I was a little startled by Eric's frank speech, but it was good to get our worry out in the open. I cringed at the thought of how Adele would have reacted if she had heard us discussing her this way. I would probably need to hide out in my safe room for a few days because she would turn into a weredaughter.

"I would personally guarantee your daughter's virginity would remain intact," Cameron said. "My sister Maira would stay with her and chaperone her the entire time."

Eric said, "That would be acceptable." Then he turned to me and asked, "What do you think?"

"I think she would have a great time as long as she was chaperoned. I know how it is to be young, they are ready to experiment without thinking about the consequences. They need guidance and supervision."

Finnella came over and sat next to me, wrapping her long arm through mine. "Sookie, I feel like we are going to be very good friends." She patted my arm and we smiled at each other. It was nice to meet someone that was on my same wavelength.

more to come .....(ky, Cindy, Rambo, Anonymous Z, Eminé, Sally - Thank you for "bearing" with me, heh heh. "Were" ever you are today, I am so happy you had the time to comment!)


Monday, October 25, 2010

96 - Bundle of Joy ..... Part 2

Chapter Ninety Six

Adele had to take Gordon to her room with Eric's assistance. I don't know if it was a supernatural power or not, but Eric had a way with dogs that caused them to just obey him. Adele stopped struggling to move Gordon when Eric came up and took the leash. Like a docile lamb Gordon went with Eric and Adele to her room. I hoped the big dog wouldn't trash her room. She had been keeping it as neat as a pin the last few days.

A decisive knock let me know the Campbells were at the door. I opened the door by myself since Eric wasn't back yet. From deep in the house I heard several baritone "woofs" followed by the frantic yapping of the poodles. It sounded like we had a kennel in the other wing.

"Please come in, it's so good to meet you," I said warmly.

It was too hot for coats or wraps so I showed them directly into the living room and got them seated. My living room is fairly large, but the Campbell family filled it up and made it seem small.

Finnella Campbell had on white slacks and a black blouse with ruffles. She had a very low hairline so she combed her ginger colored hair to the side to try and lessen the problem. Her face was wide, her hazel eyes far apart, and her smile was thin lipped but broad. She was six feet tall in her low heeled sandals, hefty and strong looking, her posture one of poise and power. One patch of white hair grew from her right temple and was combed back over her slightly pointed right ear.

Her husband Cameron was as tall as she was, with wavy fire-red hair he wore pulled back in a pony tail. At least he wouldn't be uptight about Eric's long hair like Dewey Boudreaux had been. He was a red faced beefy man with millions of tiny reddish freckles on his arms that gave him an almost tanned appearance. Cameron had on dress slacks and a green plaid seersucker summer shirt that brought out his very green eyes. The two older Campbells sat next to each other, but not touching.

The three boys sat on the opposite couch. Rory was the youngest and smallest, about five ten, his long brown hair was also pulled back in a pony tail like his dad. He had on a white summer shirt and jeans. He looked nervously around the room, probably wishing Adele was here to greet him. I could see the bands of tribal tattoos peeking out from under the short white sleeves of his shirt. He was a handsome boy. I bet Cameron and Finnella had their hands full with these three.

Aengus was like a younger trimmer clone of his dad - a big, broad chested guy with long wavy red hair and green eyes. Lachlain had red hair too, though his was darker and straight. His eyes were a deep hazel with brown flecks.

I didn't know which was Aengus and which was Lachlain until we were introduced. That happened when Eric and Adele entered the room. Rory immediately stood up, went over to Adele, and took her hand.

They walked over to stand together by the fireplace. He was standing a little behind her. He kept glancing at me then looking away. I was thinking he had gone back to the rock and smelled my territorial marker. Did I scare him? It sure looked that way. Maybe he thought I had moved the huge stone. Maybe he thought I had some kind of supernatural strength of my own. That wouldn't be a bad thing.

Aengus was the middle boy, though the word 'boy' hardly applied to him. He was seventeen and as big as full grown man. Lachlain was a young man of nineteen. He had a small red beard and goatee that sat on the jutting edge of his stubborn looking jaw.

From the way his jaw muscles bulged in and out I could tell he was irritated at something, maybe just being here in the house of a vampire was stressing him out. His mother gave him a sharp look and he sat back, relaxing slightly. His large red knuckled fists unclenched.

We all nodded at each other during the introductions, no one wanting to get the other's scent on them. The Campbells didn't have the rich Scottish accents I adored, but there was something about the way they said their "r"s and the cadence of their speech that sounded slightly Scottish nonetheless. I liked it.

"How did my Rory meet your girl?" Finnella asked us. From the possessive way she spoke about her son I could tell she was a watchful mother. That was all to the good.

"Adele?" I said, directing the question to her, preferring her to tell her own story.

"I met him online, on a social website," she said shyly, her usually strong voice hardly audible. Rory squeezed her hand a little, encouraging her. Adele left off the part about having a hidden second computer.

"Did you know what he was, what we all are?" Cameron asked her.

"I knew he was special, but I didn't know how special until we began talking on the phone, sir," she said, her voice still very quiet.

Rory looked nervous. She glanced at him to see if she had said something she shouldn't have said. Obviously they hadn't discussed how they would handle this line of questioning.

Cameron looked daggers at his son. "Rory canna keep his tongue," he said gruffly. He shifted his position as if his back was hurting him.

Rory flushed red, embarrassed to be reprimanded in front of Adele. He couldn't think of anything to say in his defense. I imagine that his family, like all werewolf and shifter families, made a point of being secretive about their abilities.

Perhaps it would be better if they came out in the open like the vampires. There were major differences between vampires and people that could turn into animals. Would their animal state be treated with human respect, or would they be subject to the same laws animals were under?

Eric, sitting in the corner chair, said to Cameron, "My wife tells me you are the owner of Caledonia Trucking. How many states do you cover?"

Good for Eric, he was redirecting the conversation towards a more comfortable topic. Cameron began talking and warmed up to the interest Eric showed in his ability to truck large loads over the surrounding states. Eric had construction going on all over the south and always needed reliable shipping. Cameron knew Eric had a construction business, he must have asked around just as I had done.

As the men talked business Finnella leaned forward and asked me, "How many dogs do you have?" They were still barking on and off in the other wing.

"We have four now. We just got the three poodles from an animal shelter."

"One of them sounds much bigger than a poodle," she said smiling slowly, making her wide face look even wider.

Should I tell her it was a wolf hound, a dog bred to kill wolves? That seemed a little tactless. "Yes, he's a mix of a lab and some other big dogs," I said truthfully.

Charlaine and Linda came in. It was obvious they had been squabbling about something from the dirty looks they were giving each other, but they instantly transformed into sweetness and light as soon as they got a look at the handsome Campbell boys.

more to come .....(danimcket, Cindy, ky, Marlene, nightlover, Anonymous Z - I was glad to hear from you over the weekend. During the full moon I occasionally watch the tree line for a vampire or werewolf to step out onto the silvery lawn. I don't know what I would do if one did.

p.s. A few hours after I wrote this two bears came out of the woods and rummaged through my trash! I hid in the house and watched them through the window. Guess that answers my question. :-)


Sunday, October 24, 2010

95 - Bundle of Joy ..... Part 2

Chapter Ninety Five

I had eaten about three mouthfuls of delicious roast chicken when it was time for Eric to rise. I always knew to the minute what time he would be up and we had several atomic clocks so I could keep track of the time precisely.

Eric didn't need a clock. Some inner mechanism of his vampiric brain always knew how long it was until sunset and when dawn would break. I wondered if it had to do with the vampire hormone levels the research center was studying.

I decided to head him off before he got to the kitchen. I met him in the basement as he came from his safe room. He made a face so I knew he had already gotten a whiff of the chicken. He kissed me on the forehead because I hadn't brushed my teeth yet and I still had chicken breath.

He was going to our room to shower and change, then he would make his phone calls from the front porch where the fresh air would erase the foul smell of roast fowl. I followed him, reminding him that the Campbells were going to be here in a couple of hours.

"Werewolves and chicken in the same night, what a fun filled evening, " Eric said dryly.

I told him about Mitzi, Pierre and Fifi too, just to round out his joy. I pointed out that it was much much better for Linda to be plotting how to get a special pet like her sister instead of plotting how to sneak some boy past our radar. The dog thing was something the child part of her would do, the part of her I wanted to hang on to.

When her childhood was gone it would be gone forever, and forever is a long time for a mother contemplating not having any more children. He listened sympathetically and didn't start issuing commands, so I knew he was going to let Linda learn about the care of three dogs on her own just like I was. He already saw the girls more as young women than children due to his life experience.

In his human times all my girls would be married by now with a child or two of their own. Having ten or a dozen children was the only way to insure one or two of them would live to have kids of their own in those precarious times. Women had to start young and often wore out from pregnancy and child rearing at an early age. A woman of fifty was considered old, something that would be laughed at these days. For all the problems of modern times, things were better now, if you were born into an advanced country.

I had a moment of feeling sad for all those people of the past and their hardships. I wondered if someday people would look back on these times and be appalled at our sorry state. What would that future be like, and what price would have to be paid for it? If I became Vampire I could stick around and find out.

"Are you all right after last night?" he asked, hugging me to his broad silent chest, breaking into my thoughts.

"You mean the whole thing with the duplicate?" I asked.

"Yes, I realized that this type of escapade is very much out of your comfort zone once I had a chance to think with my rational mind." He had been excited at the erotic possibilities last night and didn't want to miss his chance at experimentation.

He was going to wear his slate blue shirt and matching darker blue dress slacks. His stormy blue eyes went perfectly with this color. I appreciated him understanding that what might be commonplace for a vampire of his experience would be a little shocking for a human girl raised in a small town. I also appreciated him dressing up for the Campbells. I wanted to make a good first impression.

He looked in my eyes as I answered him. "I wanted to make you happy, but I also had a very memorable time. It isn't anything I would ever want to do again, though. There was something about it that was a little creepy."

"I want you to understand that you are enough. I am not bored with you," he said, burning the words into my mind with his azure sincerity. "I never thought I would have so much. I am grateful for every moment we are together and for the rich life you have given me."

I believed him. He had never given me any reason to suspect he was getting restless or bored with me. I told him I would go make sure the chicken was cleared away, then I would text him. I was getting better with using the little keyboard to send messages, though the only ones I had sent messages to so far were Eric, the girls and Jason.

On my way back to the kitchen I thought about Jason's latest texts. He was thinking about going back to work early. He said it was because he was needed, but I suspected it was because he found caring for an infant to be too difficult for him. He would never admit that though, and Angellica was still on cloud nine caring for Brett, so I told him to do what seemed best to him.

Eric had moved into fatherhood gracefully and competently, but I didn't know how many men could do that, especially when the baby was little, crying a lot and needing constant attention around the clock. Babies didn't make sense, they couldn't be handled by the same trouble shooting mentality that fixed things. Some men found that frustrating.

The girls had helped Sheila clean up the kitchen, put away the chicken and turn on the fans. Now they were getting dressed to get ready to meet the Campbell clan.

Gordon lay on his bed, full of the roasted chicken the girls had fed him during their meal, just like I had asked them not to. The three poodles had been fed and were now in the dog run. I hoped Linda would clean up after them. I didn't want to get into nagging her to do what she already knew she should be doing.

Sheila was getting out the meat filled platters from the fridge. "Do you know what they drink?" she asked.

Good question. I knew a lot of werewolves were blue collar working types that liked beer and whiskey, but Cameron and Finnella Campbell owned a trucking company. They might be more the type to drink cocktails. I had no idea what liqueur we kept on hand but I didn't think it was enough to mix many different drinks. If we were going to be entertaining more I would need to get more variety.

"We'll just have to wait and see what they ask for," I answered.

"Are the three sons coming along too?" she asked.

The girls must have filled in her in about the company tonight. I hoped they remembered not to mention the fact that the Campbells were werewolves. Sheila knew things were unusual around here but I didn't want to completely freak her out with too much information.

"Yes, I believe Rory, Aengus and Lachlain are all going to be here."

"It should be a fun night for the girls then, having three young men here for them," Sheila said, turning on the dishwasher.

I hadn't thought about that. Would Charlaine and Linda be interested in Aengus or Lachlain? Time would tell. I knew Charlaine was crazy about Darren, but Linda was only mildly interested in Hector Lee, probably because he was kept under such tight scrutiny. It wasn't much fun for her having such limited access to him. He would be at their birthday party, though, that should be nice for her. I hoped Hector was going to behave himself.

Darren was going to come by tomorrow to visit with Charlaine between her American history class and her art class. This would be the last art class with Mr. Warhol, they would be finishing up their multicolored images of a photograph. The girls would be glad to get on to some other art teacher. Eric told me he had someone wonderful lined up.

I texted Eric and let him know the coast was clear. He met me in the living room where we waited for the Campbells to arrive. Soon the lights from their fancy SUV cut across the wall, letting us know they were here. If the lights hadn't clued us in then Gordon would have. He had ambled into the room to see what was happening, but he suddenly went on alert, barking his big slow bark, his hackles rising. Then he growled in a menacing way, a sound I hadn't heard him make before now.

Eric smiled a tight little smile. "He is a good wolf hound, I see," he said. He was enjoying Gordon's display.

"What exactly does a wolf hound do?" I asked while snapping Gordon's leash on him. I didn't know if I could get him away from the door or not, he was so big.

"They assist during war, as I have said. They hunt elk and of course they hunt the wolf," he said grinning devilishly, leaning towards me and emphasizing the word 'wolf' just to tease me.

more to come .....(Marlene, danimcket, ky, Eminé, clared, Kira, Cindy, Sally, Anonymous Z - I hope the full moon has filled your hearts with magical moonlight. Thanks so much for your comments and support, it makes all the difference.)


Saturday, October 23, 2010

94 - Bundle of Joy ..... Part 2

Chapter Ninety Four

After checking on the arrangements with Sheila I went to lay down. I had weird dreams about numerous Erics all seeming to be the real Eric. I was getting more and more confused when the real Eric awoke me from the dream and solved the question of who the real Eric was.

He kissed me deeply and I melted in his arms. We were about to make love, then I remembered we had to get ready for company tonight and we stopped. I put on the light and looked into the face of Eric, but he looked a little strange to me. He reached under his chin and peeled off his mask, revealing that it was really Jure underneath.

"Shut the front door!" I muttered to myself with a start, waking up for real this time. I had pretty much stopped using any real swear words when the girls began repeating everything I said.

I didn't need this kind of shock when I was trying to get some rest. No more duplicates ever, I decided. They just weren't good for my subconscious mind.

I resisted the urge to analyze what the dream might mean. I never got anywhere when I did that, so I put it out of my mind and decided to go downstairs to see what I could do to help out with dinner.

Before I did that I went through the tunnel to the old bedroom and stripped the bed so I could wash the bedding. That had been some wild episode in my life. The night I slept with two Erics. It wasn't really two Erics, thought, it was like the real Eric and an animated robot of Eric.

There was never any confusion in my mind which was which. It seemed as much like a dream as my actual dream had been. I couldn't get a fix on how I felt about it. Not too bad, I decided, if I felt bad at all.

I felt good that I had done something completely new with Eric, something he never did before in all his many years. I could see why that would appeal to him. It didn't mean he was bored or tired of me, I decided, it was just that Eric was very good at seizing an opportunity when it came his way and making the best if it. He was an opportunist, one of his strong survival instincts.

No harm was done, I really had enjoyed myself, and the copy of Eric was gone. It was really no different than the many items sold to be used in the bedroom between consenting adults. It was an enhancement, an adventure, with something that hadn't been, in the real sense of the word, alive.

Once the laundry was washing I checked in with Sheila. Charlaine was helping her roll up cold cuts and place the rolls artistically on the platter. Gordon, lying on his big new bed, was watching their every move, catching the occasional piece of ham or cold roast beef in mid-air with his big jaws. He was a remarkably mellow and well behaved dog. If he had been rambunctious, at his great size, he could have knocked us all down and snatched the whole bag of meat.

The chickens were stuffed and roasting. I reminded Charlaine that we were going to eat the chicken and put it away before their father got up so we could put on the exhaust fans and clear the air. Eric found the smell of chicken to be awful, though the rest of us found it to be mouthwatering.

Gordon stood up and shook, his license and tag making the familiar cheerful clinking sound I remembered from Roscoe. Then he walked slowly to the front door and woofed his big bark.

I thought he might need to go out, but two seconds later Aleksis pulled up with Linda and Adele, returning from their volunteer job at the animal shelter. I had read that some dogs seem to have a sixth sense about when their people were coming home. The dogs would do just what Gordon did, go to the door and wait when the people were still too far away to hear or smell. Maybe Gordon had that ability.

Aleksis got out and looked around before opening the doors for the girls. If possible, he looked even more unhappy than he did this morning. Eric was going to need to give him some kind of attitude adjustment, either a carrot or a stick.

When Linda got out I saw why Aleksis wasn't happy. She helped three French poodles out of the car - a white one, a black one and one in the reddish color I believe is called apricot. They each had rhinestone crusted collars and leashes.

Their fur was trimmed in that fancy way poodles get cut with little poofs of fur on their hips, shoulders, tail tip and ankles, a big chest poof, and a fancy top knot with a barrette enhancing puffy ears. They must take hours a day to groom, I thought. Is Linda really ready to take on that kind of responsibility? I didn't think so.

Adele got Gordon and they all walked to the tree line. I handed out poop bags. They were going to have to clean up after their dogs, not having a bag was no excuse. Aleksis nodded at me, but his thoughts were dark and murky. He was constantly thinking about being Turned. It had become an obsession with him. Every tick of the clock made him a moment older.

Gordon sniffed the little poodles politely, then ambled off to do his business. The poodles were not as hyper as I thought they might be, and they too did what needed doing without too much chaos. All in all, not a bad start to being a four dog family.

After cleaning up the yard, our strange menagerie trooped into the house. Linda was all excited about her new dogs. That must have been why she wanted to work in the shelter, she was jealous that Adele got to have a dog and wanted one herself.

"Their names are Mitzi, Pierre, and Fifi," she said, unsnapping their leashes and storing them in the hall closet.

Ooo la la, I thought.

The dogs began a slow and careful sniffing tour to explore their new surroundings. They worked as a pack so they must have been raised together. I didn't think they could be siblings since they were different colors. They were a little bigger than Roscoe, but still small dogs. I knew poodles didn't shed, that was a big plus.

"Were you planning on asking me if you can keep them, or are they just on loan?" I asked, keeping my tone neutral.

"I thought that it would be all right if I kept them because Adele has Gordon. The three of them together don't equal the size of Gordon," she said defensively.

"Soooo ....," I said teasingly, drawing the word out, "You figured we were getting our pets by the pound now?" That got a laugh from her.

"You are getting them by the pound from the pound," Charlaine said, laughing.

"It's called a shelter, not a pound," Adele said, irritated.

I think she might have wanted me to react negatively to Linda's dogs, but I wasn't going to get into all that drama right now, not a few hours before the Campbells were due. Maybe that's what had Adele on edge, worry over how the visit would go. Or maybe Adele wanted to be the one with the dog, and she was miffed the three fancy little poodles would top her Gordon.

"If we're going by weight then I might get a bathtub full of gerbils," Charlaine said impishly. She knew I wasn't a big fan of rodents as pets. I gave a theatrical shudder to show my opinion of that idea.

We all laughed over that.

"You are taking responsibility for their care and grooming?" I asked Linda. I had raised triplets, I knew that taking care of three were not just three times the work, but more like thirty.

"Sure, of course. They are going to need fancy beds and bowls and special food." She dug around in her jeans pocket and got out a list of what they ate and what additional vitamins they took. She also had the card of a groomer in Shreveport.

"Whose card is this?"

"It's the groomer that got them ready for adoption. I was lucky I was there when she brought them in, otherwise they would have been snatched up in a heart beat," Linda said triumphantly.

I think she was right. These were very high class pricey looking dogs. They lay in a row on the living room rug looking almost royal in their poise and posture. I could see why she liked them. They were gorgeous.

"They don't shed, either," she added, as if that put a capper on the whole thing.

"Dinner!" Sheila called from the doorway. She was sounding a little harried, and I felt guilty. I had come in to see if I could help her and instead I took Charlaine, her helper, away from her.

more to come .....(Anonymous Z, ky, Sally, Cindy - Well, we made it to the weekend. Time to rest and relax. Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment, it is greatly appreciated.)


Friday, October 22, 2010

93 - Bundle of Joy ..... Part 2

Chapter Ninety Three

It was good with just the two of us. We could talk and laugh and snuggle, enjoying the real intimacy of our emotional and blood bond.

"You had a good time," he teased. He kissed my flaming cheek.

I blushed a little more. "Yes, I did. You were right. This was an erotic opportunity like no other. Did it make you jealous, seeing him with me?" I had worried about that at first, but Eric seemed more excited and inventive than anything else.

"No, I could tell this was not a real being. He lacked ... something essential. He could never be a rival for your affections."

"Eric, after you, no one could ever be a rival. I understand those stories of bereaved wives that kill themselves on their husband's graves. No man could even have a hope of living up to your greatness." I meant this from the bottom of my heart.

Eric turned the full intensity of his laser blue eyes on me. "I feel the same way about you. There is no other like you. But in the event of my final death, you must go on for the sake of our daughters. Promise me this."

"I do promise. I know how important it is to have a parent, even if you're a grown woman," I said. I knew this because I didn't have a parent from the age of eight. And I had lost Gran before she saw me married and settled, if you didn't count HoloGran.

"Would you be jealous?" he asked.

"You mean, if I died and you took up with someone new?" I asked, to clarify.

Would I know if he did? Would I care? I could picture myself in the Underworld a very long time working through that issue.

"No, if we made a duplicate of you and we took her to our bed."

OMG, as the girls would have texted, what was he asking me? "Uh, yes, Eric. I would be totally jealous. All this is mine." I ran my hand over his hard body.

"But it would be you," he said.

"No, this is me. That other would be my clone, but it wouldn't be me."

"Do you not have fantasies about what it would be like kissing me while another woman ..."

"No! I do not. You might have been messing around for centuries, but I haven't. I get everything I need or want from you. Are you saying there is something, or someone, lacking in our sex life?" I could feel myself getting riled up.

This was no way to end our evening. Dawn was just around the corner. I tried to calm down, after all, he was only speculating about things. The duplication was an accident, no way it could happen again, unless he wanted it to.

"No, no, no. Nothing is missing. But if one of you is great, I can not help but wonder what two of you would be like." He heard my tone and was trying to defuse the topic too.

"You are free to wonder, but now you know how I feel about it. I could not stand to see you with anyone else, including the duplicate of me."

"Message heard loud and clear," he said, cuddling me to him again.

I was glad he was going to drop it. This must be a different experience for him than it would be for me.

I fell asleep in his arms, glad there was only one Eric.

The next day Linda and Adele went to the animal shelter, accompanied by Aleksis. Now that I knew the story with Aleksis I could see how tense he was. Every day that went by he got a little older. He wanted to be Turned right away but he knew that the girls had to reach their majority first. He was biding his time until that day came. He didn't know that day would never come.

Sheila had been so good helping when Eric and I met Darren's parents that I asked her to fill in tonight when we met the Campbells even though it wasn't her night to work.

I tidied up the house, dusting and running the sweeper around, hoping to make a good impression on Rory's family. The biggest obstacle was going to be the huge rift between vampires and werewolves. They just didn't get along. I hoped a mutual respect could be established so that Adele could have a friendship with Rory.

She knew she had to abide by our rules, but she would defy us if she had to, I knew it. I wanted Rory to be an invited guest in our home, not a clandestine relationship she had to sneak around to have.

more to come .....(Happy Friday Fanpires! I'm still running to keep up with my week. Thanks for taking time from your day to stop by and leave a comment, it is a bright spot of happiness in my day.)


Thursday, October 21, 2010

92 - Bundle of Joy ..... Part 2

Chapter Ninety Two

He turned on the power for the ray gun and placed the mouse cage on his desk, directly in line with the glowing red crystal. I moved the girls behind the humming throbbing gun so no rays would accidentally hit them.

"What does that thing do?" Adele asked.

"Just observe. You will be the first to witness a demonstration. I should specify, the first humans to witness it. Many mice have seen it." Again the tiny crease at the corner of his mouth deepened. Mr. Tesla wasn't as dry and humorless as I had previously thought, but his humor was his own peculiar science based brand.

He pushed a button and the light in the glowing crystal began to pulse. A louder hum came from the machine, then red light flashed as a ray shot out of the crystal and hit the cage. Immediately Mr. Tesla shut down the machine.

"Look!" Charlaine gasped, pointing to the cage.

Inside the cage two identical white mice sniffed around their wood chips looking for something interesting to eat.

"There's two mice now," Linda said, stating the obvious.

"Yes," Mr. Tesla said, rubbing his hands together with glee, "The original mouse and a duplicate. What you have just witnessed is the world's first duplicator. It will make a copy of any life form."

"I never saw a crystal like that." I pointed to the red crystal at the end of the barrel. It wasn't glowing anymore, but it was still beautiful.

"That is a rare red dilithium crystal. I have one of the few known examples. It is what has enabled me to pursue my goal of creating a death ray. Unfortunately the death ray has not worked out yet, but I stumbled across the duplication ray a year ago. The duplicate mouse will disappear in a few hours without leaving a trace behind. In the meantime it will behave just as the original mouse does. However it will not eat or drink because it is not truly alive in this dimension."

The girls complimented him on his duplication ray, thanked him, and scattered to their rooms to begin making their nightly phone calls.

He packed up his books, done for the night. Then he went out to his car to get the homework sheets for me to give the girls. He had forgotten them in his eagerness to show off his invention.

What happened next I was only able to piece together later. Gordon charged into the classroom and jumped up on me, placing his huge paws on my shoulders to greet me. I lost my balance and reached out to steady myself, my hand hitting the switch and turning on the duplicator. The machine swung around and aimed at the door just as Eric walked in. The ray machine went off and hit Eric before Mr. Tesla reached the machine to shut it off. He got there with vampire warp speed, but he was too late

Standing just inside the classroom was two Erics, identical in every way. They both wore the same puzzled expression, they both had on the same tight black tee shirts, the same leather vests and jeans, the same biker boots. One of them was the real Eric, but which one?

"Holy Toledo!" I breathed. I looked at Mr. Tesla, hoping he could enlighten me.

"Do not fear, the duplicate is only a copy and much less dynamic than the real subject. You will be able to discern which is your husband, the copy will seem to be faded, less animated, and lack initiative. He is like a living photograph of your husband."

"That is good," the real Eric said, "I would not like to have another me to compete with."

"He will not compete, on the contrary, he will do whatever you tell him because he lacks the primary motivating force real creatures have. He does not really exist independently, so he does not have the inner drive existing creatures have. He will not speak, he will not show any initiative at all."

The duplicate looked mighty real to me. He stood where he was, watching Mr. Tesla disassemble his duplicator and leave.

The real Eric, the duplicate Eric and I followed Mr. Tesla up the steps, seeing him off. When he was gone I told the real Eric that the duplicate was only going to last about four hours. I whispered this to Eric so the duplicate wouldn't hear and get upset. Duplicate Eric sat down in a chair when Eric did. I don't think he really thought about things since he was so new to the world. Kind of like he was simple minded, or even no-minded, I guess.

"You better put him some place where the girls won't see him," I said. I didn't want their lives to be any more complicated than they already were.

"I will see to it. You make sure our girls are tucked in for the evening, then meet me in the bedroom over the garage," Eric said.

I guess he was going to stow duplicate Eric over in the old bedroom until he disappeared, or whatever it was that duplicates did to go away.

The girls were so busy with their social lives I hardly had the time to get in a few words with them. I told them I was retiring for the night, reminded them to do their homework, reminded Linda that she was going in to the animal shelter with Adele tomorrow and reminded them that the Campbells were coming over to meet us tomorrow night.

They could barely tear themselves away from their phones long enough to hear me out, but they did all give me a hug and kiss, so they were at least aware of my existence.

In the tunnel on the way over to the garage I thought about Linda volunteering to help out at the shelter. That wasn't like her. Did she have some other motive, or was she just responding out of the goodness of her heart to what Adele told us about how short staffed they were?

I knew she couldn't have set up a rendezvous with Hector Lee. He would be dead until dark. Was there another guy in the wings I didn't know about?

Aleksis had strict instructions to tell Eric if anyone talked to the girls in a manner suggesting a personal relationship, but with Aleksis's recent uncooperative attitude could we rely on him to watch that closely and tell us everything?

I hated suspecting the girls of being up to something all the time, but they were very clever and could fool me easily if I didn't go over everything from top to bottom.

When I opened the door to my old bedroom I got a surprise. The lights were off and there were scented candles burning on my old dresser. That wasn't the surprise. The surprise was that duplicate Eric was naked in my old bed and the real Eric was naked, standing next to the bed.

"Before you say no, think about this. This is a once in a very long lifetime opportunity to experience something we may never get to try again," Eric said, coming over to me and kissing my neck with the expertise and finesse only a vampire can achieve.

I could see his point, and it was poking me in the midsection. This idea really turned him on. Was he bored with just me? He could be so persuasive, this was something he really wanted to try. His lips continued to persuade me without words.

"It seems a little weird ...." I began breathlessly.

Eric began to undress me. "It is weird," he agreed, kissing each part of me as it was exposed. "Weird and wild and unprecedented. Such an unusual gift rarely falls into my hands." His hands were busy getting my clothes off as fast as possible and keeping me aroused.

I felt a little shy getting naked in front of duplicate Eric, but he didn't seem all that interested in me. He looked around at the room including me, but he was not more interested in me than the yellow flowered wallpaper. For some reason that made it a little easier.

"I don't know about this, Eric," I said dubiously. "I'm not used to being with anyone else."

He led me to the bed and held up the sheets for me to climb in. He had turned on the heated mattress pad so the bed was already cozy, always a plus when lying with a cool vampire. Eric was red hot on the inside, but on the outside he was room temperature, as all vampires were.

"You will not be with anyone else, you will be with me and the copy of me. Think of it as an extension of me. I have often wished to be in two places at once when I am making love to you. This will allow me to get my wish. Climb in between us and I will guide him. It will make his brief stay with us most pleasurable for him, and you and I will get to experience something new."

I reluctantly agreed, deciding that, as Eric said, this was a once in a lifetime opportunity. As soon as I lay down they both began kissing me in various places.

I whispered to Eric I didn't want to kiss duplicate Eric on the mouth and he instructed him. Real Eric took the lead and duplicate Eric did as he was told. My shyness soon melted away in the white hot intensity of this encounter. Eric was able to drink in my responses in a way never before possible.

When Eric fed from me I became momentarily afraid of duplicate Eric also biting me until I recalled that the duplicates didn't eat. After that I lost myself in a wanton madness I had never imagined existing in myself, giving myself freely to both Erics without inhibition.

Eric encouraged me, kissing me, coaching me, inciting me with his words, and laughing with joy when I would reach a new height of intensity. He was proud of my capacity to enjoy this encounter.

Life had handed Eric a new opportunity and he didn't waste it. The orgy lasted until duplicate Eric disappeared. One second he was pressing himself behind me, the next second it was just the real Eric and me in the bed.

more to come .....(Good morning Fanpires! Happy Thursday. Another busy busy day for me, but I wanted to let you know that your stopping by brings me Eric sized happiness! How kind of you to say such nice things.)


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

91 - Bundle of Joy ..... Part 2

Chapter Ninety One

Mr. Tesla was setting up some weird contraption with vampire warp speed, his movements a blur to my human eyes. In moments a thing that looked like a silver colored machine gun with a glowing red crystal coming out of the barrel was set up. He aimed it at the desk, then he put the cage with the mouse in it directly in front of the barrel. The mouse had settled in and was eating his little pellets.

"What's that, Mr. Tesla?" Charlaine asked. She had her amethyst crystal with her and her science notebook.

"It is something I discovered while working on my death ray," he answered, still adjusting dials on the gizmo.

I said to Charlaine, "Honey, would you please go and see if your sisters are on their way?"

She was going to object to this errand, but I gave her my Mom look and sent her my "don't argue with me, just do as I say" vibe. She turned and went back out of the room without another word.

As soon as she was out of earshot I said to Mr. Tesla, "My girls are sensitive and tenderhearted. It would upset them very much to have you shoot that little mouse in front of them with your death ray."

The corner of his mouth twitched. That might have been a smile, or it might have been annoyance at my interference. When you're a super genius like he is most people must seem irritatingly dense and ignorant.

He said, "I assure you Mrs. Stackhouse, I would not subject your delightful daughters to such a display. No, this is something quite different from a death ray. As one attempts to discover the mechanics of one invention, occasionally another invention emerges."

The girls trooped into the classroom giggling about something, then they sat in their seats and opened their notebooks. Class was ready to begin.

"Would you mind if I sat in on the class tonight?" I asked Mr. Tesla.

If he was going to be shooting some kind of rays around I wanted to be up close to keep an eye on things. It was possible there was such a thing as a mad scientist, though so far Mr. Tesla had been the model of propriety.

"Not at all. I would be honored," he said gallantly.

Maybe this slight, pale, intelligent man liked the attention of women. He wasn't the flashy kind that would attract them with his looks. But his head practically throbbed with brain power and there was something very compelling in his dark eyes.

The first part of his class was on the elements. I learned that humans are composed primarily of the lighter elements - oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen. I was actually sixty five percent oxygen. This made me feel a little lighter. I wondered if vampires had the same composition or if they were made of different stuff.

I learned that too much of any metal, such as nickel, copper or zinc, can be toxic to humans. The heaviest element that we actually need is iodine. Was it the same stuff Gran used to put on my scraped knees? That used to sting like the dickens.

"The most radioactive element in the human body is Potassium-40. This, plus Carbon-14, provide the vast majority of human body internal radiation events," he concluded.

"Now I wish to proceed to the demonstration if there are no questions," he said, closing his teaching guide.

I had a question. What are internal radiation events? I never knew we had those. I raised my hand, feeling a little foolish and asked. Linda giggled, Adele looked embarrassed, and Charlaine seemed interested in hearing the answer.

He sat on the front edge of the desk and spoke directly to me. "You humans, and indeed all creatures on earth, contain, survive, and thrive with rather remarkable quantities of radioactive materials in their bodies. This is not unexpected, for we do live on a somewhat radioactive planet." He waited to see if I understood what he had said so far. I did, and nodded slightly to show him I got it.

"The three radioelements that produce most of the radioactive decays that take place within the adult body are Uranium-238 , Potassium-40 and Rubidium-87. They are termed primordial radioisotopes for they were present when the earth was formed. The fact that they are still present in our environment is due to the fact that their half lives are comparable to the age of the earth and thus they have not yet decayed into stable elements."

Again he paused, again I nodded. Surprisingly I was able to follow what he was saying, though it sounded kind of scary.

"Two isotopes, Tritium and Carbon-14, are both continuously being created by cosmic rays in the earth's upper atmosphere. Today, much of the Tritium in the atmosphere is man made in nuclear reactors, but prior to the nuclear era the only source of Tritium was cosmic ray bombardment of carbon."

Pause. Nod.

"Finally, Radon, in the form 222Rn, is always present in the air we breath. Now let us consider the radium in the body. We do know that radium mimics calcium within the body and thus most of it is found in bone. Most of the alpha particles never reach a sensitive tissue, such as a cell, and thus most of this energy is wasted. Indeed, most of the times an alpha particle does hit a cell, it kills the cell, but dead cells don't give rise to malignancies."

Pause. Nod.

"Potassium-40 is the most radioactive of the normal body radioelements, and enters the body within all the food you eat. It is also an essential part of the human diet. The level of potassium in the body is maintained by a homeostatic process. The average human adult consumes about 2.5 grams of potassium each day. There are three different potassium isotopes: 39K, a stable isotope, is the most abundant, at 93.26 percent of the total; 41K is next in abundance at 6.73 percent and is also a stable isotope. The potassium isotope of interest is 40K. It is a primordial radioisotope present in all potassium at a very low concentration, 0.0118 percent. "

"And what does all this radioactive material do to my body?" I asked. Did I have something new to worry about?

"Usually nothing, but in certain rare instances it can cause a malignancy or damage to organ tissue. Life has evolved in an environment which has significant levels of ionizing radiation. It is nothing to be concerned about as long as your exposure is slight. It is present in the air you breathe, the food you eat, the water you drink, and in the construction materials used to build our homes."

He seemed finished with the topic, then he added, as an amusing afterthought: "Certain foods such as bananas and Brazil nuts naturally contain higher levels of radiation than other foods. You might wish to avoid those, though the amount of radiation you would reduce by doing so would truly be negligible." The natural line at one corner of his thin mouth creased a tiny bit, evidence that this was knee slapping humor in his lofty intellectual world.

He summarized, "To be brief, genetic effects and the development of cancer are the primary health concerns attributed to heightened radiation exposure, but normal exposure has shown no such problems."

I didn't have anything more to ask, so he said, with a very slight expression of eagerness, "Now to our demonstration."

more to come .....(ky, Tamara, Eminé, Marlene, Cindy, Anonymous Z, Sally - I'm really happy you let me know what your thoughts are, it gives me a lot to think about. I also appreciate the encouragement very much.)


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

90 - Bundle of Joy ..... Part 2

Chapter Ninety

The next day Adele surprised me by getting up and taking Gordon out for his walk right on time. Linda and Charlaine went with them. They were gone for over an hour.

Gordon looked exhausted, Aleksis looked annoyed, and the girls were never more lovely with their health-flushed cheeks, wild hair, and animated expressions. They loved their morning romp with the big dog.

I understood now why Aleksis was showing a disgruntled attitude. He believed it was his due that he should be given an exact date when he would be Turned. The waiting was making him tense.

He was probably afraid that he would be cheated out of immortality if Eric didn't make a firm commitment to him. The problem was that Aleksis was right. I knew Eric had no intention of Turning him, nor could I think of any other vampire that would want to take him on as their commitment for the next fifty or hundred years. Time would provide a solution I supposed. I sure couldn't think of one right now.

I said good bye to him and thanked him for coming over, though that was unnecessary because showing up when commanded was part of his duty as minion. Good thing there was no minion union. He'd be lodging a complaint with his rep right about now.

I made breakfast for my nature loving daughters, then we all went back to bed for a little more shuteye. Sleeping until noon was usual in this household. Today we slept until after one.

By two in the afternoon the girls were in their classroom for their psychology and sociology classes with their human teachers. Eric had arranged for a medical doctor, Dr. Wechner, to give them a few classes on preventing pregnancy as part of their mental health education.

Dr. Wechner had our permission to refer any or all of our girls to Dr. Fay for birth control if they wanted it. I would be informed of their decision, but it would be up to them to figure out what they wanted to do. I knew this was the coward's way out, but I was afraid I would make them angry and oppositional if I brought it up first.

On the abstinence side of the argument, Dr. Wechner also had an impressive slide show showing genitals riddled with various venereal diseases and several filmed documentaries about the undesirable aftermath of teenage pregnancy. It was a traveling horror show about what could go terribly wrong on the road to romance. Disease and unwanted pregnancies were the alligators in the river of love.

I thought Eric had chosen well. Dr. Wechner was a serious but kindly looking sixty something, looking like the wise older doctor on a TV program. He had seen a lot and was willing to be honest with the girls.

He could tell them the truth without muddying the waters with his hopes and fears like I would. They had a built in resistance to my opinions, they wanted to figure things out for themselves. If, after all they were taught, they still wanted to mess around, then my vigilance and Eric's presence was going to be the only thing preventing them from taking that step too early.

After health and sociology they had biology and civics, then they were free until Mr. Tesla showed up around eleven p.m. Their heads would be reeling with information.

I hoped the slide show didn't give them nightmares. I could barely stand to watch the first few slides. I didn't know a human body could withstand such devastation and survive or that human genitalia could look like the surface of the moon. Shudder.

The break between the end of their human teachers and the start of the vampire instructors in their educational roster gave them time to do homework, call and text their friends and most important, time to spend with their father, the high point of their day. At least it had been the high point until boys showed up on their radar. Now Eric was competing with Darren, Rory, and Hector for the girls attention.

Rory and his family were coming over tomorrow night to meet us. I was glad this was happening. Eric would have taken it as a snub if they had refused to come to a vampire's home. It meant they weren't completely old school in their thinking about relations between the two supes. I hoped that Eric could continue his reformed behavior around the werewolf family.

I left Sheila in charge of things and went shopping for our visitors tomorrow night, tailed by the grumpy Aleksis. I also picked up a couple of things for the girls and a nice big chicken to roast and share with Gordon.

The Campbells would want meat and plenty of it, so I got a variety of meat snacks to put out for them. On the way to the checkout I picked up a second chicken, thinking of the size of Gordon.

Eric was just rising when I got home. The girls were all over him like hominy on grits so I left them to their time together and put away the groceries. Sheila said that dinner would be ready almost immediately. Gordon lay on his bed in the kitchen waiting patiently for his meal. He would need to be walked again after he ate. Eric could go with the girls.

I let the girls know about dinner, then went to freshen up in my bathroom. Eric was waiting in our bedroom when I was done. He wanted to go to the club and he asked me to come along. That would mean leaving Sheila in charge of keeping an eye on things while Mr. Tesla taught his class. Since this would only be their second class with him I preferred to be here myself.

Eric hugged me. "Such a good mother," he said, kissing my neck. "I will make my trip to Fangtasia a short one. The next 'Meet a Vampire Cocktail Party' is coming up, and it is important everything is done right."

A major TV personality, Opal Whemby, had done a segment in her talk show on hot cocktail parties. She mentioned Fangtasia's vampire parties and had her camera crew film part of the night. The clips she showed were only about two minutes long after they were edited, but the response was overwhelming. People were booking reservations to meet a vampire a year in advance.

The next party was going to include a late night TV host, Ray Lemmo. He wanted to do an even bigger segment on the phenomena of getting to meet a real vampire and go on a date. He would play the thing up for laughs, but this kind of free publicity was gold.

Eric was seriously thinking about opening a second club and having the more sophisticated crowd go there exclusively. That way they could have their cocktail parties four nights a week.

"And I want to make sure the plans for the girls birthday party are solid. Are we going to let them bring dates, or are they just going to give us a list of guests they wish to invite?" he asked.

That was a good question, and an important distinction. I didn't want them to think of themselves as "dating" yet so we decided to go with the guest list idea. I thanked Eric for thinking of it.

He got into his low slung black leather biker pants and matching leather vest, his wide pale bare chest spreading apart the sides of the vest and revealing his very light pink nipples. His big shoulders and arms looked super muscular in the vest. He looked great, too great. I raised my eyebrows.

"Too much?" he asked, looking at himself this way and that in the mirror. Vanity, thy name is Eric.

"Not if you want to attract everyone in the place. Maybe you should put on a tee shirt under the vest," I suggested. He really was magnificent, a thing of beauty and a joy forever.

He started singing "I'm too sexy for my vest" while he took it off and pulled on a plain black tee shirt. It was tight and strained over the manly curves of his impressive physique. Then he put the vest back on. It was only marginally less sexy. I guess I could take comfort from the fact that his singing was terrible. Neither of us could carry a tune in a bucket with a lid on it.

The fact that the evening was warm enough to need the air conditioning bothered Eric not one bit. He pulled on his leather biker boots with the steel reinforced toes and stood up, cool as a cucumber.

He kissed me and said, "I'll be back as soon as I can." I knew he would. He liked being home here with us better than anything else.

I followed him down the hall. Sheila popped out of the kitchen to ask if I would need her to stay late. She didn't have much going on in her life and she was paid double for over time, so she was hoping I would say yes. She ogled Eric as he put on his leather jacket over his leather vest.

"So hot," she whispered.

"I beg your pardon?" I asked, though I had heard what she said, as well as what she was thinking.

"Isn't he going to be too hot?" she asked, realizing that Eric's wife was standing right here. He seemed able to glamour her without even being aware she was in the room.

"No, he'll be just fine," I answered, "And no, you can leave. I will take care of things from here."

I went over and kissed Eric again with some fire in it, and said to him, "Hurry home, darling." There, that should put Sheila in her place.

Sheila went to get her pocketbook and Eric took off in his 'Vette just as Mr. Tesla arrived. He had a huge case with him tonight, as well as a small cage containing a nervous looking white mouse. He nodded to me and went to the steps leading down to the classroom. After I locked the door behind Sheila I went downstairs to see what was up with the white mouse.

more to come .....(Good morning Fanpires! Thanks for coming by and commenting. I'm on a big rush this a.m. but I wanted to be sure to let you know how much I appreciate your visit.)