Saturday, April 30, 2011

30 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman Look to the Future

Chapter Thirty

To my great relief the radiant Linda showed up right on time the next day for our meeting but Adele called to say she would be late. A wood sprite that had lived in an old growth oak had been suddenly and rudely evicted when the tree was cut down to make room for a new sewage treatment plant.

The sprite, invisible to ordinary human eyes, had become enraged and destroyed several large pieces of earth moving equipment, tearing her Achilles tendon in the process. Adele was just now immobilizing the injury, then the sprite would need to put ice on it and wait to see how badly it was torn. If she needed surgery then she would be transported to Dr. Ludlow's clinic.

"What's her name?" I asked Adele before she hung up. I wanted to make sure it wasn't the same skogsrå that had pestered Eric so many years ago.

"Sebille," Adele answered. "Pretty name, isn't it?"

Linda was looking all smug and pleased with herself. I kept trying to get her to tell me what was up but she told me to wait for Adele.

Being casual and tactful, I asked her about her date with Jure. We were in the kitchen drinking coffee and eating toast, the simplest thing to cook.

"He asked me out," was her simple explanation. "We had fun. He's a very good dancer."

"You realize how old and powerful he is? He isn't a friend of your father's, he's got his own agenda .." I started to say.

"Are you saying he only asked me out to get to Daddy?" she asked, narrowing her blue eyes, so like mine.

Or to get to me, I thought. I could see this line of talk might be insulting to Linda, she wanted to believe she was luring the handsome Jure with her womanly charms.

"No, honey, not at all. I just wanted you to know we have a history with Jure, not all of it good."

"Oh, he told me about glamouring you before he realized you were with Daddy," she said, her pretty features relaxing now that she knew what I was talking about.

"He talked about that?" I said, shocked he would tell her the truth.

She laughed, "Oh yeah. He got a royal lecture from Anna Hita about it. He's really sorry he did that. He was new to this country, to this culture, so he was still operating as if he was the Lord of the manor over there in Croatia or whatever. At least he didn't try anything untoward with you!"

If his memory had been erased then he wouldn't know he had fed from me and done other intimate things. Was he truly unaware of what had gone on or was this just a ruse? As always I just did not know how culpable Jure was. Was he being honest with Linda or was he manipulating her mind?

"That means he can probably glamour you too .." I said, beginning my warning again.

"He could probably do all kinds of bad stuff to me, any vampire could, but he wouldn't. He's really nice and he has such good manners. Did you know he still has a castle in Europe? He might take me there when I have a vacation," she enthused. "He even has a yacht on the Sava river."

I could see Linda was taken with Jure's sophistication, wealth and good looks. Saying anything more to discourage her interest in him would just be counterproductive, making him more interesting and turning him into forbidden fruit. I wished Eric was here to represent Linda's interests. I dropped the subject. At least for the moment she was fine.

Did he already bite her? No way to know. He would, as a gentleman, heal the marks with his blood. I didn't think they would exchange blood on a first date. Did she plan on going out with him again?

It sounded that way. I would need to deal with my feelings about this privately. For the time being I would behave as if this was just a normal date. On a sunny like today it was hard to imagine Jure, or any vampire, doing dark and deadly deeds.

We drank coffee then went through Eric's things, packing him another bag of clothes for when we rescued him. I began to pack a bag for myself too, since I didn't know which way I was headed I laid out both shorts and a down jacket. I wanted to be prepared to fly to my husband the second I learned of his whereabouts.

After Adele arrived and settled in Linda told us her big news. She had a plan to get Eric back.

"Mom, remember how you told us about the time you found Lingza in front of our house during the day and that was when you realized he could be out in daylight hours?" Linda asked.


"And he came here because he was able to track you with just the tiniest drop of your blood he smelled back when he was in the cave?"

While I was trapped in the mine entrance hall I had sat down on a packing crate splinter in the cave in Minas Gerais where Lingza was rescued. The single drop of blood that had oozed out of the back of my thigh had been enough to imprint my scent on Lingza's mind. That minuscule drop of blood was adequate to allow him to find me miles from where he was being kept at the research facility.

Back then the Neanderthal, who had been a mummified near-skeleton when he was brought from the cave, was delusional once he was re-hydrated and mobile. He had gone mad from all the time he had been locked in the cave - thirty thousand years. He thought I was Mava, his Maker.

The poor soul came here looking for Mava to soothe him and love him as a wounded child would seek his mother. In time he had come to understand that, while I cared for him, I was not Mava.

I saw where Linda was going with this. She spent a lot of time with Lingza in her apartment house and walking the three D's. She knew he would be capable of tracking Eric from the scent of his blood.

"Lingza could track Daddy!" Adele shrieked, hopping up and down in her seat with excitement. "And we have some of Daddy's blood in the freezer!"

Linda was annoyed Adele had taken over her idea. "I was just going to say that. We froze his blood for when we were sick as kids. I bet that blood is still in the freezer."

I bet it was too. I hardly ever threw anything out. Gran used to say that as soon as you threw something out you would need it the next day. I doubted if that applied to three year old freezer burned dinner rolls, but what the hey.

"Linda, that's absolutely brilliant! Can he get away from the Research Center?" I asked her, very excited at her idea too.

"He can do what he wants. He's the oldest vampire on the planet, he gets lots of respect," Linda said.

"How will this work? We can't just follow him on foot for thousands of miles," Adele said. "That will take months and months."

Obviously she wanted to be part of this tracking party too.

"I think he can show us on a map how far he can track the scent, then we'll have to go there for the next leg of the journey. The closer he gets to Daddy, the more accurate his pinpointing should be," Linda said.

"Will frozen blood work?" Adele asked.

"It should, though it might not be as strong as fresh," I answered. At least, that was how it worked for healing with vampire blood.

"Do you think Lingza is strong enough for this kind of trip. I mean, emotionally?" I asked Linda.

"I think so, "Linda said slowly, not sounding all that sure.

The most ancient of vampires was not crazy, but he had his limitations, either due to the way the Neanderthal brain works or because of his unimaginable ordeal, being trapped under hundreds of tons of rock for thirty centuries, slowly dehydrating and starving until he was literally skin over bone.

He could not speak many words, though he could sign with his short thick fingers. His fangs did not retract like modern vampires, he could move about during the day and he ate fruit and a limited amount of fresh leafy vegetables.

In his apartment he had Taryn as his vampire helper at night and various werewolf and human helpers during the day. Taryn is the one that had come up with the idea of dressing him like a gang member and teaching him the body language and a few utterances a dangerous street thug would use.

Giving him a threatening persona, one most people would quickly look away from, made it possible for Lingza to be out about among people without someone pointing and shouting "Look, there's a Neanderthal!" or worse, "Look, there's a Neanderthal and he's a vampire out during the day!"

In reality Lingza seemed to be a sweet, simple being that only wanted to live his life in peace. Taking him hundreds or maybe even thousands of miles away from his support system on a hunt for Eric might be too much for Lingza.

Was he our only hope?

more to come .....(Supernatural Saturday All! - Hope you are having a good weekend so far. Thanks for taking the time to come by and comment.)


Friday, April 29, 2011

29 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman Look to the Future

Chapter Twenty Nine

"Hi Jure," I finally managed to say once the shock of seeing him in my cheerful kitchen wore off.

I realized that I was still kind of frightened by him even though he had not lifted a pinkie against me for more than two decades.

I wrapped my tatty robe more tightly around me and sent Jure a warning with my red rimmed eyes that said, "Watch it, Buddy, you mess with my daughter you mess with me."

He just nodded at me from his lofty height of six and a half feet, his silky long black hair showing glints of iridescent color like a raven's wing as his head moved. He heard what message I was silently sending him loud and clear. You didn't need to be a telepath to know you were getting the stink eye from your date's Mom.

He took up about half the kitchen. It wasn't just his height, he was massively muscled and gave the impression of barely suppressed power. Yet he moved slowly and gracefully, acting the gentleman of refinement and manners.

It was all a mask, I knew. Underneath the disinterested facade of a narcissist he was a boiling cauldron of self will. I feared he might overwhelm Linda, take her over and never let her return to me. Jure's unreadable psychic aura was like a black hole - mysterious, powerful and unstoppable - a force of nature. Had he set his sights on my Linda? Or was this all a ploy to get to me or Eric?

"You're still coming here tomorrow morning with Adele, right?" I asked her, referring to the brainstorming meeting we had planned. I wanted Jure to understand that I would know immediately if Linda was missing.

The meeting with my daughters would be during the day when Jure and all the vampires were down for the count. Or perhaps I should say down like the Count. Maybe Daynight wasn't such a hot idea after all. Maybe humans needed a break from the threat of vampires. I couldn't believe how my mind had changed on this issue in the last few days.

It was like Quinn had influenced me without my knowledge. I wanted to dismiss everything he was telling me about Daynight and the next step in the vampire's master plan, if one existed, but could I really just wave it away without looking into it first?

All I knew right now was that it felt like a relief to know that during the day I could do what I wanted without having to think about what the vampires might be cooking up.

Not having a powerful vampire here to protect me left me feeling weak and relatively defenseless. How long would the vampires leave me be? I knew at the very least the King would want me in New Orleans as his court telepath, another feather in a cap that already had as many feathers as a chief's war bonnet.

"Absolutely," Linda said smoothly, her eyes flicking over at Jure for a split second to see if she had covered for us. "We'll plan Aunt Angellica's and Uncle Jason's anniversary party together. Sorry to just show up like this. When I mentioned to Jure I wanted to look in on you before our date he suggested we meet here."

Oh I just bet he did. I bet he pounced at the chance to get invited through my door.

Linda knew to try to disguise the fact that Eric was missing but she did not understand just how dangerous Jure was. She had grown up around him, seen him accepted as a member of our community. To her eyes he was glamorous and handsome, wealthy and sophisticated. A neighbor. Why wouldn't she accept a date with him? Most women would.

I doubted if Jure was fooled by Linda's attempt to deceive him about the real reason for her concern. The most feared vampire in Europe probably knew about Eric's sudden departure for parts unknown but there was no point in giving him confirmation. Had he waited for Eric's absence to ask Linda out?

Could he be behind Ailine's capture of Eric, not Quinn? His slightly slanted, darkly amused eyes told me nothing. I always suspected him of bad things but so far nothing, except his first attack on me, had ever been his fault. I wasn't letting my guard down though.

For a crazy desperate moment I considered asking Jure for help to find Eric. He might be able to zero in on Eric's thoughts and tell us where he was, but I immediately nixed that idea as fast as it occurred to me. If Adele couldn't locate Eric telepathically there was no reason to think Jure could do it either.

Besides, Jure had never been Eric's pal. I suspected that Jure might try to encroach on Eric's rights if he got a chance. Why was Linda going out with him? Was she going to try to get information from him or was this a real date? I knew she had a crush on him when she was a young teen. Did she still have a thing for him?

There was no way I could ask her these questions in private unless I took her down into the sound-proof tunnel and left Jure standing in the middle of the kitchen, not really an option.

In human years Jure was even older than Eric but he looked like a man in his late twenties, still full of the passions of a young man but old enough to restrain his impetuous impulses. How would I feel after I had been in my twenties for a thousand years?

If Eric didn't come back, I wondered if I would ever know. My fairy longevity gave me the years but right now I was as vulnerable as any human to disease, accident and attack. Only becoming vampire would assure I could avoid most of those fatal pitfalls.

Linda looked uncomfortable now that she saw what an intrusion Jure's presence was. I patted Linda on the shoulder and kissed her on the cheek to let her know I wasn't upset with her for bringing her date to my house. Her father and I always wanted to meet the men she was interested in, just not Jure and just not tonight. But how was she to know that?

I walked them to the door where Jure suavely helped Linda into her fake fur coat. The roses lay on my kitchen table. I said I would put them in water and Linda could bring them home tomorrow.

They were going to the Boom Boom Room, a lavishly decorated retro-lounge in the hold of a fake Russian schooner named the Demeter, a ship-shaped building that was actually built on dry land just outside Northern Shreveport. It seemed a safe enough place for Linda to go.

I knew about the recently opened night club. It had been built by one of Eric's construction companies and was owned by an anonymous vampire, a personal friend of the King's. It was run entirely by humans.

It catered to an older crowd than Fangtasia and didn't have any type of vampire theme. I had planned to go there with Eric at some point to check it out for myself. Guess those plans were on hold for now.

Linda went out first with Jure following behind. As he stepped out onto the porch I said softly, "Jure."

He turned towards me, momentarily blocking Linda from view, his thick brows raised in inquiry.

Very very quietly I said, "I rescind your invitation." Linda couldn't hear me but he did.

He looked at me intensely for a moment, then chuckled in his very deep voice and said, "Have a nice evening Mrs. Stackhouse. It was good to see you again."

He walked Linda to his car, shining under the security lights and opened the door for her.

Jure was driving a black Porsche with heavily tinted windows, as dark and streamlined as an assisted death. I watched my pretty daughter, fresh and tender as a daisy, get into the car and leave.

I would have needed to be twins to be any more worried than I was right at that moment.

more to come .....(Fab Friday Friends and Fiends! Thank you for the interest, the kind words and the encouragement! See you over the weekend.

p.s. - I accidentally worded the radio broadcast Sookie listened to ambiguously, leading some of you to think the newscaster mentioned Eric in New Orleans. That didn't happen. The broadcast never mentioned Eric and I went back and reworded the paragraph to make it more clear.

That's the hardest part of writing this story. The whole plot is already inside me but I need to keep honing my writing skills to tell it in a way that is comprehensible to you, my dear readers. )


Thursday, April 28, 2011

28 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman Look to the Future

Chapter Twenty Eight

My mind raced. Of course he would know Eric had left me, news traveled as fast as a vampire after a meth addict's blood in the supernatural community.

Before he had been warned away from me by his Maker Anna Hita, I had been glamoured by Jure and we exchanged blood, all against my will. Other sexual things that didn't include intercourse took place too.

It was a horrible episode in my life made worse by the fact that I had no memory of what had happened while I was under Jure's spell. Feeling helpless and powerless, victimized, had sent me into an emotional tailspin.

At my request Anna Hita had erased this event from Jure's memory and shown me what happened so I could process it, learn to live with it and move on. I was done feeling violated. I had shut that door on my past.

In Jure's defense he had only acted the way all vampires did, take what they wanted using their special powers. I could not be glamoured by ordinary vampires but Jure, telepathic and ancient, was another story. He had the power to entrance me.

Vampires used their glamour to get their way whenever it suited them. The King tried to rein in the most obvious and outrageous vampire trespasses against humans, but a cover up was the best they could do on some occasions.

Eric, in his role as Sheriff, tried to keep a human standard of law and order among the vampires in his area, not always possible when vampires were being targeted by drunken idiotic haters that wanted to stomp on a fanger.

More than one good ol' boy had disappeared without a trace, leaving only his pickup truck and hunting rifle left behind as evidence he had ever existed.

Sheriff Eric didn't try very hard to catch the vampire involved if it was a clear case of self defense. "Vampires First" was the vampire motto and had served them well over the centuries. An imprisoned vampire was at great risk because of their special need for absolute darkness during the day and their complete vulnerability to attack during those hours. Better to let them go with a stern warning. It was going to be a good long while before vampires coexisted with humans as their equals, if it ever happened at all.

More amazing to me than the change in physiology from human to vampire after Turning was the change in mental outlook. Vampires, to a person, truly believed that they were no longer human, in no way human, and completely separate from humans.

They may have begun their existence as human, but they ended up as something entirely different. Since my decision to Turn I have given this change in perspective a lot of thought. I wouldn't mind giving up my current physical body for a more indestructible one, but I didn't want to lose my personality, my humanity, my soul.

I wondered about caterpillars and butterflies, if they could talk to us, would they be the same way? Would the graceful winged butterfly, resplendent with color and flight, look at the slow chubby caterpillar with utter coldness and detachment?

I knew a girl in high school, Sue Ann St. Helen, that had some kind of surgery that allowed her to lose more than half her body weight. She went from a morbidly obese painfully shy person, shuffling along the halls in men's clothing, to a drop-dead glamorous chestnut-haired beauty in revealing outfits.

As an overweight girl she had seldom spoken and never made eye contact, her main social goal was to avoid the relentless teasing she got from the meanies in between classes. As a slender young woman she flirted with all the cute guys, threw her head back when she laughed and went to all the football games and dances.

Did she feel any kinship with the old Sue Ann? Did she look back with kindness on the old version of herself or had she completely metamorphosed into a new creature? Did the new Sue Ann despise the shy sad overweight girl she had once been?

As I looked at the porch monitor I realized I was completely stumped about what to do about Jure. If I answered the door and didn't invite him in he might still glamour me and I wouldn't even know it. Did he know Anna Hita was away? Would he risk doing something he knew would go against her wishes?

He stood there on my porch looking steadily at my front door, as if he was prepared to stand there until the sun rose. He moved the flowers from his right hand to his left and rang the door bell again.

Let him stand there, I finally decided. He probably knew I was here, on the other side of the door, but without making eye contact he would be unable to put me under the influence of his glamour. He could hear my breathing, my heart beating, maybe even my uncharitable thoughts.


I tiptoed away, knowing he heard me, but not caring. I had too much to think about. His feelings were not my priority.

I went to the kitchen to listen to the news on the radio. Every night at thirteen minutes to midnight WSRV had a brief segment of what they called the "Vampire News".

Knowing how secretive vampires were I realized the news was usually just the latest spin information the vampire publicists released, such as their sizeable charitable donations and positive deeds of the outstanding vampires that worked for the good of others in the human community.

This included vampires like Eric's friend Leslie Fujikawa, a trim petite vampire police officer on the Shreveport force. She had saved children from burning buildings and, single-handed, ended a dangerous high speed rush hour chase by simply running faster than the miscreants car, ripping off the door and removing the keys. I heard gossip that there was talk of doing an HBO series based on her unique police skills.

The newscaster on WSRV didn't say, "In other news, Eric Northman, co-owner of the vampire night club Fangtasia, was seen in New Orleans with a new woman."

I really hadn't expected him to but I thought and hoped I might hear something that could help me.

Fat chance. It was the usual - blood drives, pet inoculations and fund raising for a nursing home. A vampire had stopped a gas station robbery by simply glaring at the armed robber. Good stuff but nothing about my Eric.

I was still listening to the radio, sitting at the kitchen table trying to list ideas of how to find out where Eric was being kept when a cheerful voice behind me said, "Hi Mom!"

I just about jumped out of my skin. I have always had an exaggerated startle reflex due to some unfortunate incidents in my childhood.

Linda said, "Sorry for surprising you. I felt bad leaving you here all alone. I thought I'd swing by and see how you were holding up."

She would have passed by Jure on the porch if he was still out there. I looked at her carefully and saw there was no chance she was under the influence of Jure's glamour. He must have gotten sick of waiting and left.

Linda looked great. She had on a simple red shift dress that showed off her defined arms and curvy shape. She wore matching red patent high heels and glittering earrings. Her makeup was done and her hair hung to one side in glamorous golden waves. I don't think I ever saw her looking more mature and stylish.

"You look fantastic sweetheart," I said to her, coming over to hug her. In her three inch heels she was taller than I was.

I was in my terry slipper socks and a ratty bathrobe. I looked like a walking case of depression. I needed to find Eric and didn't know where to start looking. It was seriously getting me down. I had high hopes for tomorrow's think session.

"Thanks Mom, I have a date tonight. In fact, he's here ..."

She turned to the doorway and Jure walked into my kitchen. A slight curiosity towards the inside of my home showed on his strong Slavic features as he looked around.

An expression that looked more like a sneer than good humor moved slowly across his usually brooding face, but the attempt at a smile never reached his coal dark eyes. He was still holding the roses.

more to come .....(Terrific Thursday Everyone! I really appreciate all the positive things you have to say and the thought you give to the story. You make my day!)


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

27 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman Look to the Future

Chapter Twenty Seven

The first thing I did after I got Amelia on her way was to call my lawyer. I got her answering machine. She sounded like she was about ten years old on the phone.

"Hello? This is Vulvina Narlock? Please leave a message?" Then the tone. I just left my name and asked her if she was having any luck locating Eric.

It was dark enough to call Pam. She hadn't heard from Eric either but she wasn't all that concerned. From our very brief conversation I got the impression that she was still in denial that anything was amiss, sticking to her belief that Eric was off on some great new adventure after shedding his old life like a snake sheds its skin.

Vampires. The poster children for stubborn.

I understood where she was coming from. Her Master had disappeared from her life or she had dropped out of his life for decades on end sometimes, each going off to do what they do. It wasn't that big of a deal to a Maker and Child to have one of their own set up a life somewhere without staying in touch.

The passage of time was a different experience for a vampire than for a human. Vampires didn't act like keepers for each other once the initial Maker and Child training period was over.

It just wasn't in the vampire nature or culture to hover over anyone for centuries wringing their hands, although the bond between Maker and Child lasted until the final death of one of them. Even then the one left behind usually grieved.

In a way it made sense to me. I let the girls go off and live their own lives without micromanaging them, though the urge to butt into their business was still in me. I wasn't going to convince Pam I knew more about vampire behavior than she did.

Next I called Linda and told her about Amelia backing out after being warned off by Hecate.

At first Linda was angry with her aunt, feeling that Aunt Amelia should drop everything she was about and help us. I knew it was hard for a young person to understand that when you get older you get set in your ways.

The future isn't a road full of endless possibilities as you move through the middle of your life. You build on everything that has gone before. I saw this so clearly in my Gran and as the people around me aged. I calmed Linda down and asked her to help think of a Plan B.

Next I called Adele, who was fine after treating the trapped graboid, but had forgotten to text me when she returned home. She had a quiet night at home planned with Lachlain and her big Irish wolfhound Gordon, an ironic choice of dogs since her boyfriend was a werewolf.

Good thing Lachlain and Gordon had bonded. Adele offered to come over but I told her to enjoy her evening and we would set up something with her sister to brainstorm our next move tomorrow.

By the time I had run through all this a third time to fill in Charlaine I was sick of talking about it. Once Charlaine saw that things were more complex and serious than I let on in our first conversation she offered to fly home, but that didn't seem necessary. Until we had some plan of action there just didn't seem to be any point in us all sitting around worrying together.

I had given a lot of thought to my next call. It was a call to Anna Hita to ask for her help. Even though she had glamoured us one time to keep her secret, I still trusted her.

However, a long time ago Eric had become very angry with me when I went to Anna Hita for help. He had become sick from a spray I used to get rid of a wood sprite that was pestering him.

Because he didn't recover right away, when his fangs actually fell out, I panicked and contacted the ancient Scythian Scryer at her psychic parlor in New Orleans. It was the first time we ever met and it was a fateful meeting that would change my life for the good in so many ways.

When Eric found out I had gone to Anna Hita and told her about his problem he was livid. He stressed to me in no uncertain terms that revealing his business to anyone was very dangerous. It was the angriest he had been towards me except for the time I talked to Anna Hita about the possibility of her being the one that Turned me.

I had promised him never to bring in anyone else when he had some issue or problem, but now I was breaking that promise left and right to enlist the help of anyone powerful enough to bring Eric back.

I called Anna Hita's parlor, hoping she could use her telepathic powers to locate Eric or her clout to order Ailine to send Eric home but her secretary Corinth said Anna Hita was out of the country at the moment and couldn't be reached.

After I hung up I sagged with disappointment. There was no one who could help the way the telepathic vampire could. She had powers far beyond those of any other vampire. I knew she would have helped me if she knew about my problem.

I was a direct descendant of hers. She was the source of all the telepaths alive today. She became a vampire in her fifties when the pyramids were yet unbuilt and lived on to became the only vampire psychic medium on the planet. Important and wealthy vampires consulted her for her ability to reveal to them the answers to their problems, answers that they harbored in their own minds.

She acted as if she did not know why they were consulting her but I suspected she read their minds and planted the right answers for them to find. Vampires didn't want anyone to know their business. They might become paranoid or threatened if Anna Hita revealed her true powers to look inside their thoughts and influence their minds.

Anna Hita was Eric's Maker's Maker, like a vampire version of a grandmother. This connected her through her human and vampire bloodlines to both Eric and me. She had been a blessing to our marriage since before we wed.

When Corinth said Anna Hita was not in the country that might also mean she was out of our time line because the lovely Scryer had the ability to travel back in time.

Or she might be off our plane of existence because she could also travel to nearby dimensions which were very similar to our own. Each had alternative realities, tiny variations that made all the difference in the outcomes. This information about her, about her amazing powers, was above top secret.

If her extraordinary abilities were known it would only be a matter of time before someone forced her to do things against her will. If she could be compelled to go back in time and change the course of human history the possibilities were too scary to contemplate. We could all wake up to a world completely different than the one we lived in now and not even know what we had lost.

After my disappointing phone call to Corinth I sat with the phone in my hand, trying to think of who else I might call. I briefly thought of calling Bill again but I doubted if he had any new information and I didn't want to encourage his interest in me with another phone call.

I did not want to bring the King into this. He might see Eric's departure as some kind of treason or dereliction of duties. The King had a simple and final solution for those that went against his orders. No, the King would just make everything worse.

Too bad my own blood bond with Eric was so weak. Our blood exchanges had been few and far between since the girls were born. I wanted to guard against accidentally starting to Turn again.

After a certain point was reached it was risky for me to have any of Eric's blood, I never knew when a single drop might put me over the edge, never to come back to human.

I called Jason just to fill him in on what was happening after swearing him to utmost secrecy. He was the project manager for Eric's construction company and would need to keep his mouth shut when dealing with suppliers and construction crews.

A vampire boss insured a degree of honesty and hard work a human boss couldn't expect. No one in their right mind took advantage of a vampire, it would be like taunting a bear with a bag of jelly beans.

Brett woke up and wanted to talk to me on the phone. His short sleepy answers of "yes" and "no" made the conversation a little one sided, but it was good to hear his sweet voice. When he was done Jason's long time partner Angellica, who I thought of by now as his wife, got on the phone to invite us to their anniversary dinner in three weeks.

I felt a little guilty. I should have been the one throwing them the dinner but right now I could not take on any social obligations. I told her we would be there, knowing that if Eric wasn't back I would need to tell Angellica the truth about why Eric hadn't come with us. I pushed away that miserable thought, assuring myself we would have him back way before then.

The doorbell rang. I told Angellica I had to go. As I hung up I could hear Brett's voice in the background whining to stay up now that he had woken up. I knew it would take both parents to get him back in bed. Jason told him adventure stories while Angellica sat on the edge of his bed and smoothed his hair. Brett was a very lucky little boy to have such devoted parents, one of the perks of being an only child.

I ran to the door and looked at the monitor. Looking twice as large as life and three times as large as death stood the most frightening vampire I knew, Jure Grando. He was holding a bouquet of red roses and wearing a very sharp looking suit.

more to come .....(A Wonderful Wednesday to you-all! It is so much fun having you here! Your comments were very much appreciated.)


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

26 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman Look to the Future

Chapter Twenty Six

"Sweetie, what's wrong?" I asked her, rushing down the steps.

I really wasn't supposed to be out here without a guard but that was because of possible attacks on Eric. It seemed like everybody and their brother knew my husband had left me so I felt pretty safe.

"Let's go inside," Amelia said miserably, blowing her nose in a wadded up tissue. "We have a big big problem."

I already had a big big problem, now it seemed like I might have an even bigger problem. Her mind was like boiling mud, unreadable.

We automatically headed for the kitchen where I began making decaffeinated coffee. I hadn't had supper yet but I was feeling too sick with dread to even think about eating.

Once we were both seated with steaming white mugs of decaf in front of us I waited for Amelia to tell me what was wrong.

"I don't know any way to say this except to tell you the truth and hope you don't hate me," she said, not making eye contact with me.

I didn't say anything but I wondered what she could have done that she thought might make me hate her. Her mind was a murky mix of chaotic thoughts. I couldn't make any sense of them.

"I heard from Hecate. She called me herself," Amelia gave a hiccup and a little sob. "She said it is policy among both witches and goddesses not to interfere with who is sleeping with who, who stole who's husband, or who anybody got knocked up with. She said that many centuries ago bloody wars and long standing feuds were begun when someone tried to interfere in the romantic escapades of another. She told me goddesses don't have to follow the same rules mortals do. Therefore she not only refused to participate in my spell ..."

Here Amelia sobbed harder, "But she has forbidden me, as her Handmaiden, from lifting a finger against Ailine in any way to help you get Eric back."

She dissolved in tears. "I don't know what to do. If I was really a good friend I would give up being one of Hecate's Handmaidens right now and forget trying to be a witch, but I just don't want to give up all those years of work. Oh Sookie, what should I do?"

At this she began wailing. I knew what I was supposed to do. I was supposed to let her off the hook, tell her I understood and not to throw away all the years she had put into working towards becoming a thirty second degree witch, but I couldn't. I was so upset I couldn't get enough breath to tell her anything for a few seconds, all the wind had gone out of me.

"Amelia, I need to use the restroom. You get yourself a nice cold glass of water and get one for me too. We'll discuss this when I get back," I said, using one of Gran's tricks. When life is happening too fast to process take a trip to use the facilities.

I went into my en suite bathroom, the one off my bedroom, and shut the door. I leaned my forehead against the full length mirror that was attached to the back of the bathroom door. The cool glass gave me a point of reference for my swirling brain.

Oddly, at that moment, Pam's clear calm precise voice came to me, a memory of when she was teaching the girl's to play poker. "Stop and think through your options before you make your next move. If you play your cards right, if you keep your wits about you, you can still emerge a winner. Start with what you know to be true."

Okay, what did I know to be true? Ailine had Eric. Ailine used witchcraft to boost her beguiling abilities to fool Eric into thinking he was in love with her. Amelia wasn't going to help me.

Even if my witchly friend decided to throw all her years of training away and give up her life long ambition I doubted if she had the skill or experience in blue elf alchemical pathworking to undo Ailine's powers.

I was sure that rising to a high level in blue elf magic was as demanding as progressing in the kind of magic Amelia practiced. My friend wasn't going to be able to patch together a spell in a type of magic unfamiliar to her that would be powerful enough to undo Ailine's magic.

Therefore, I rationalized, I really wasn't losing anything if Amelia backed out. I needed to do something effective and it had to be something I had control over. Waiting for someone to do something on my behalf was wearing down my nerves.

This was my problem, not Amelia's. It wasn't fair to visit all this grief on her. The responsibility for this misery rested squarely on the shoulders of Ailine Gormlaith and that was where it was going to stay. I needed to keep my friend Amelia and come up with a new plan to release Eric, one where I moved the plan forward myself.

With a sigh I realized I was going to have to deal with Amelia when I went back to the kitchen, calm her down and send her on her way.

Then I would call my daughters and see if we could come up with some new plan to find Eric and get him back. I resented having to cope with Amelia's upset feelings on top of what I was already worrying about, but I'm the one that set her up to get so upset, it was on me to smooth her back down. I did not want to lose a friend, a family member, over this.

After rinsing my face with cold water I went back to the kitchen. Amelia always looked terrible when she cried. Her nose was swollen, her hair stood out like she had been electrocuted, her eyes were puffy and red rimmed. Poor Amelia, she was certainly between a rock and a hard place.

I explained that this wasn't the end of world, I had a very competent lawyer and other avenues to get Eric back. She was my first thought but not my only plan. I thanked her for all the effort she had already put into the spell and everything else she had done for our family over the years. I could see her begin to calm down.

As I spoke to her I began to feel a little sorry for my hiccuping friend. I had a wonderful family, something Amelia wasn't ever going to have. Her witchcraft was everything to her. She had a good relationship with Tray, but she had to make lots of allowances for his motorcycle obsession.

I saw with clarity that Amelia needed this goal of becoming a thirty second degree witch to give her life meaning. Without it she would lose esteem and purpose in her own eyes.

From my heart I assured her I would be fine, not to worry about it anymore. I asked her to send a good thought our way and I would tell her when I had Eric back home.

"No thanks to me," she said, blowing her nose noisily in a yellow paper napkin.

"Who knows, maybe the new direction I'm going in will turn out to be the best one after all. Sometimes things happen for a reason. I have to go forward. Looking back is useless. Let's just keep a positive mental attitude and keep in touch. We all have to bow down to some authority, even if it isn't what we think we want. I don't want anything to damage our friendship."

"Oh Sookie, that's what I want too. I want it so much. I wish I was a better friend," she said and sighed.

It's tough to confront your limitations, I knew. There was always something to feel guilty about but what good was guilt if it didn't change the way things were?

We ended our visit on good terms, with a hug and promises to get together soon once Eric was back. After she left I shut the door and locked it, leaning against it and feeling utterly drained.

What was I going to do now?

Well, like they say, when the going gets tough, the tough get going.

more to come .....(Howdy Fanpires! You have no idea how delighted I am that you are here with me. A cyber-hug to each and every one that is reading along.

Gjers-1 - I too want Eric back as soon as possible. Good thing Sookie is so smart and resourceful and has three feisty daughters! Hope you get through your down time and feel happy again soon. I'll keep you in my thoughts.)

****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, ten and eleven - 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. ~~~


Monday, April 25, 2011

25 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman Look to the Future

Chapter Twenty Five

"Please call me Vulvina?" she said sweetly, placing her gigantic heavy backpack down by the front door with a thud. What did she have in there?

"Fine, Vulvina, and you call me Sookie," I said. Everyone connected with Harpreet, Harpreet and Spencer was pleasantly informal it seemed

We sat in the living room and I outlined the situation. With a shaking hand I handed her the divorce papers that had been delivered by Merry Dixon. She read them over quickly, lips pursed, nodding as she read so that her ringlets bounced a little, then she got her back pack and took out an old fashioned stenographers spiral topped notebook and made a few notes.

After that she took out a small portable fax machine and sent copies of the papers back to her office. I was impressed. Even though her pearly pink nail polish was chipped and it looked like she bit her nails and chewed on her cuticles, her movements seemed sure and mature beyond her years.

She spoke as if almost everything she said was a question. When I asked her if I could get her something to drink she said, "A cola?"

I asked her if she had lunch yet and she said, "Not really?"

We moved into the kitchen. She brought her back pack with her. She had a grilled cheese sandwich?, some pickles? and another soda? I had a piece of fat free cheese wrapped in lettuce and a diet soda.

My anxiety level was so high I had zero appetite. Might as well take advantage of the opportunity to shed a little more weight.

I explained to her while we ate that I wanted to fight the divorce with everything I could muster.

"May I ask you a personal question?" she said with her mouth full, a crumb of bread falling from her mouth. She caught it and put it on the plate.

She giggled and added, "Excuse me?" as she wiped some more crumbs from the corner of her mouth. I noticed she had those almost invisible braces on her teeth.

"Shoot," I replied. I was prepared to answer any question she had if it would help my case.

"Was your marriage on solid ground before Eric walked out?"

"Absolutely. We were planning on a kind of second honeymoon before this happened," I said. I don't know if Turning could be considered a second honeymoon, but it sounded right to me as I said it.

"Have you considered suing Ailine Gormlaith for alienation of affection?" she swished the sugary soda around in her mouth to clean her braces.

I was tempted to offer her the use of my anti-cavity mouthwash but I didn't want to come across as too parental. Mothering still came very easily, maybe too easily to me, tempered by the memory of how my own daughters resented being told what to do.

"Can I do that?" I asked, happy to be able to do something bad to the woman that had disrupted my whole life and taken my husband hostage.

"You sure can!" she stated emphatically, looking happy about it. This was not a question.

I asked her if she was a blue elf. She admitted she was as she pulled up her knee socks.

"It won't be a conflict of interest for you to participate in suing your Queen?" I asked, putting a tin of who-knew-how-old-they-were cookies on the table. No temptation there.

She giggled. "That's so old fashioned? The idea of a queen is something the old people liked? The younger generation doesn't give a ... thought about a queen?"

I got the impression she was about to say a naughty word but caught herself.

"Do you know where Ailine is?" I asked, holding my breath waiting for her answer.

"No? But I'll see what I can do to find out?" she said, getting up from the table.

Someone had taught her good manners because she took her plate and glass to the sink, put the lid on the cookies and put the soda can in the recycling bin.

We concluded the preliminary planning phase of our legal actions and arranged for her to draw up and send me papers to sign authorizing her to represent me in the cases of Stackhouse v. Northman and Stackhouse v. Gormlaith. It felt good to at least get the ball rolling. Maybe Vulvina could find out where Ailine Gormlaith had my husband.

My cute juvenile lawyer left the parking area in front of my house in her beat up smoke spewing gray Honda Civic. She drove very carefully. I wondered if she had her permanent license or had to get home before dark.

I looked around at the sky, taking in a deep breath of fresh crisp air. The interwoven bare branches of the leafless trees were outlined against the lovely peach and lilac glow of dusk.

A faint semi-full moon was already up in the sky looking like the ghost of the real moon. Geese flew honking overhead, heading towards the pond. I could smell wood smoke very faintly, someone had their fireplace going, cozy and romantic. Or maybe they were just cold.

A breeze started up from the north and I wrapped my arms around myself for warmth. It was almost dark again, another night coming without my husband. My anxiety started to rise again. Where oh where was Eric tonight? I hugged myself tighter.

I watched another car pull into my yard. This was a beige BMW, Amelia's latest car. My hopes picked up, maybe she had her answer from Hecate already. Maybe the spell was already in progress. Then my hopes fell to the ground as Amelia got out of the car. She was crying.

more to come .....(Marvelous Monday Peeps! Hope your week is off to a great start. I appreciate the time you take to comment, your thoughts are always interesting and your well wishes always taken to heart.

Welcome Just Jen! I'm so happy you're here with us. Thank you so much for letting me know you found your way here.)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

24 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman Look to the Future

Chapter Twenty Four

"I know you do not want to travel to India to consult with me," he continued, "That is why I am turning your case over to my competent American colleague. Please give my secretary your address and I will have someone there to see you this very day."

Did I want a lawyer coming here? Sure, why not.

I wondered if Merry knew that Lucky was in India. Probably. Supernatural beings didn't recognize national borders like humans did. India, Louisiana, it might all be the same to Merry Dixon. Fairies could blink out of existence in one place and appear instantly in another. Maybe elves could do the same thing.

"All right, I'll meet him," I said, not terribly graciously.

"He is being actually a her," Lucky said, chuckling. "I think you will be very pleased. Now, here is my secretary to handle the details. Good day to you. If anything should be unsatisfactory please contact me and I will rectify the situation immediately. Your complete satisfaction with our firm is my utmost priority."

He sounded genuinely concerned about me and my divorce papers. I knew it was just business for him, but I needed the moral support.

Thanks very much Mr. ... I mean, Lucky. I'm glad I called you," I said.

"As I am also glad you called me," he said. "It has been a most propitious day for both of us. Good day Sookie."

His super duper secretary got back on the line and efficiently took my contact information. I realized once I got off the phone with her I had forgotten to ask her the name of the lawyer that would be visiting me.

I phoned Linda and told her what Amelia said. She agreed we could not wait a month and offered to call Aunt Amelia and try to get her to do whatever version of the spell she could do on her own.

"As much as it pains me to say this, let's wait a few days. If we can get Hecate to do the spell it will be the most powerful spell possible, otherwise we might just let Ailine know we're working against her but we might be too weak to really undo what's she's done," I said.

Linda reluctantly agreed. Next I called Adele to fill her in. She was going down into a large unused drain pipe to tend to a graboid that was stuck. Once the animal was freed it would need medical attention for its many scrapes and contusions.

"Good grief Adele, aren't those big worm things extremely dangerous?" I said, my anxiety level ratcheting way up.

"Not really, the worse part is the smell. They are smart and know who is their friend by the vibrations they receive. Besides, this one's tentacles are bleeding and raw from trying to get out of the pipe. His friends will feed him before I arrive, it'll be fine."

"Is Lachlain with you?" I asked.

"No, he doesn't like tight spaces and he especially doesn't like graboids, so I told him to skip this call and wait for me back at the ranch."

I quickly told her about Amelia's plan and asked her to send me an email or a text when she was out of the pipe and safe. It was hard not to worry about her, especially when she was dealing with such dangerous creatures.

She had ways of coping with them, but concern for her was always in the back of my mind. I had to take comfort from the fact that the worst thing that had happened to her so far was a bad rash from handling tribbles. It turned out she's very allergic to the cute little critters.

Adele was going to be talking to Charlaine later so she offered to tell her what was happening on the home front. I might call Char myself later on just to hear her sweet voice, but it would be good for the girls to discuss things among themselves. They were smart and loved Eric as much as I did. They might come up with an idea I hadn't considered.

I was online looking up what I could find out about VL, Vampire Liberation, and blue elves when my front doorbell rang.

I looked at the closed circuit TV monitor and saw a girl of petite stature that looked to be about twelve years old on my front porch. She looked like the elf version of a modern day Shirley Temple, rosy cheeked and wholesome as a glass of milk.

She was removing a big heavy backpack from her slender shoulders. Her crisp white blouse, a gray pleated skirt, white knee socks and tiny brown penny loafers added to the appearance of youth and innocence. When she looked around the porch her golden brown ringlets gleamed in the dappled sunlight filtering through the trees.

I tried to pick up a telepathic signal from her but got a sickeningly sweet mental feeling as if my mind was being forced to drink honey. She was definitely a supernatural of some kind.

"Hi there," I said through the speaker, "Can I do something for you?"

The girl looked up into the camera and smiled a dazzlingly adorable smile complete with dimples. "I'm thinking I can do something for you? I'm Vulvina Narlock?"

Was she asking me if she was Vulvina Narlock? Was I supposed to know who she was?

"Pleased to meet you," I said, trying to figure out who she was. Maybe she was selling cookies.

"Lucky Harpreet sent me? He said you called for an attorney?" she asked in her high thin child's voice.

This was the lawyer they sent me? Good grief! However, since she was here I decided to let her in and talk with her. Who knows, maybe she was a pit bull in court. I mentally snickered to myself at that thought.

"Very well, Ms. Narlock. I'm unlocking the door," I told her, and let her in.

more to come .....(Happy Sunday and Easter to All! I appreciate your patience and constant wonderful companionship. Your kind words are like joy juice for my writing enthusiasm!)


Saturday, April 23, 2011

23 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman Look to the Future

Chapter Twenty Three

The next day I answered Amelia's call on the first ring. She knew I wanted to get started right away but she had an impressive list of herbs and chemicals she needed to assemble before she could get begin the pathworking necessary to do the spell.

"Is there any way to find out how powerful a witch Ailine is?" I asked, trying to find out without hurting her feelings if Amelia thought she was up to the task.

"We have a directory but each group uses their own way of defining the level of it's practitioners. It lists Ailine as Yew level, but without knowing how the elven witchcraft system is graded I don't know if that's the tippy top. Yew is the most powerful tree in my magical pantheon, so I would guess she's right up there with the best of them," Amelia answered.

Did Amelia still have delusions of being all powerful or would she be able to accept help? She was very proud of her powers and had tried to do spells beyond her abilities in the past, sometimes with disastrous results.

"I wasn't going to tell you this until I got an answer, but I have asked someone special to help with this spell," Amelia said, as if she was the mind reader, not me.

"That's good," I said careful not to sound too enthusiastic about Amelia enlisting help. I didn't want to hurt her witchly feelings. Maybe she had contacted her old mentor Octavia Fant.

"Do you want to know who it is?" she asked with a twinkle in her voice. I could picture her mischievous eyes sparkling with her knowledge.

"Sure, dying to know," I replied honestly.

"I petitioned my Queen, Hecate herself, to help her Daughter, " Amelia said triumphantly. Years ago she had been summoned to become one of Hecate's Handmaidens. They referred to themselves as her Daughters.

"Wow Amelia, you went right to the top!" I was impressed. Hecate was the Queen of the Witches.

"Yup, now I'm just waiting on her answer."

"How long should that take?" I asked, really excited now that we would have the most powerful witch on the planet to do our spell.

Her tone of voice became more uncertain. "Well, that's the problem. She's very busy. She doesn't always get to her requests for help immediately. I have Plan B though. If we don't hear from her within a month I have already asked Holly Cleary if she'd step in and add her powers. I know she's Wiccan, not a true witch, but she has gotten very good at what she does and she's centered and balanced, something my spells need."

A month? I couldn't wait a month! I could scarcely hold it together one more day. But what choice did I have? I didn't want Amelia to go off half-cocked and tip our hand before we could really free Eric from his beguilement. Witches know when someone is working magic against them. Then there was the other problem I had to discuss with Amelia.

"I'll keep my fingers crossed Hecate gets to us sooner rather than later," I said.

"Do we need to be in physical contact with Eric to work a spell or can it be sent to where ever he is?" I asked.

"Hmmmm, that would change things, but it wouldn't negate our spell, especially if Hecate was helping us. Could you find out about where he is? It would be helpful to aim the spell towards his location," she said, already sounding preoccupied with thoughts of how this would alter what she was planning.

"I don't know, Amelia. I thought Pam would know where he is but she's lost contact with him too," I said, sitting down. This was all starting to feel like one of those dreams where you run forward but keep slipping backwards instead.

"I think things are going to be just fine, Roomie," she said, calling me by the nick name we called each other when we lived together as roommates in my Bon Temps house. I appreciated her trying to reassure me.

She had to go to and start gathering the supplies she would need. She said she would call me back when she was ready to do the spell, or before if she heard from Hecate. I thanked her, trying to share her optimistic and cheerful outlook.

Halder came and I had my workout, venting some of my frustration on the heavy bag and jump rope, which was a lot harder to do than I remembered from my childhood days of skipping rope with Tara in my backyard. The hard workout relaxed me and took away some of my anxiety for a time, which was a blessing.

I heard the phone ring while I was in the shower, but Sheila had gone to the store and I was too sore to get out and answer it. After I dried off and got dressed I checked my messages. It was Lucky Harpreet, Attorney at Law, returning my call.

"Harpreet, Harpreet and Spencer" a singsong voice intoned when I called back. "How may I direct your call?"

"I was calling for Attorney Lucky Harpreet," I said.

"Just a moment please, I'll see if he's free. Who may I say is calling?" she asked.

"Sookie Stackhouse," I said, impressed with her professional demeanor. If I ever hired a secretary I would want one that sounded just like her.

I was put on hold and listened to sitar music for about thirty seconds when the phone was picked up. "Hi, this is Lucky. How may I help you Ms. Stackhouse?" He had the rich accent of a person from India, making the intonation of his words seem almost musical.

"Mr, Harpreet, I .."

"Please, call me Lucky, everyone does," he interrupted, sounding positively jovial about it.

"OK then, Lucky. And you can just go ahead and call me Sookie," I said, returning the favor.

"Very good Sookie. What can I do for you this fine day?" he asked.

"My husband has served me with divorce papers. I need advice on how to handle it. Merry Dixon recommended you," I said.

"Oh dear. Did you want to go along with the divorce or did you want to fight it?" he asked. I could hear computer keys being tapped, he must be taking notes or setting up an account for me. I was probably being billed even as I drew the next breath.

"Can I fight it?" I asked. This was something to think about. I needed to stall things until I got Eric free of Ailine.

"Most assuredly. There are many ways we can delay and obstruct the process. It is one of my specialties," he said proudly.

"That sounds good. When can I come in and see you?" I asked. "I need to find out your fees and hear what you have planned."

"You wish to come here?" he asked, sounding a tad surprised.

"Where is here?" I asked. Now I sounded like my wacky fairy godfather Chester Katz.

"That would be Chennai. Do you know where that it?"

"Chennai Louisiana?"

He laughed, a sound as rich and exotic as curry. "No my dear, Chennai India."

more to come .....(Greetings Fanpires! Happy Holidays to you too. Hope your day is wonderful. Thanks for being you, thanks for coming here!

Anonymous Z - Hope you feel better soon!)


Friday, April 22, 2011

22 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman Look to the Future

Chapter Twenty Two

I was clear about what I hadn't learned from Quinn. I hadn't learned where Eric was. That was very disappointing but it didn't change anything I was planning.

Before tonight the last time I had seen Quinn had been on a computer screen during the Triumvirate hearing for Quinn's sister Frannie. Frannie had escaped or been released from the mental facility in Nevada, traveled somehow to our home in Shreveport and attacked Eric while he was recovering from an experimental trial dose of Daynight, which left him weakened and unable to fend off her were-tiger form.

Fortunately Lachlain, Adele's long time boyfriend, was just visiting her for the first time in our property that night. She had snuck out to meet him even though she was only fifteen and Lachlain was nineteen. She knew I would not have approved of her dating a man that much older than she was.

Lachlain, in his werewolf form, stopped the attack and would have killed Frannie if her were-tiger brother Quinn hadn't shown up and driven her off. Instead of revenge, Eric settled for a Triumvirate trial where the judges were comprised of both were-tigers and vampires. The verdict was that Frannie was guilty and the sentence was her declawing.

Since the night Lachlain saved Eric he was allowed to date Adele under our close supervision until Adele reached eighteen. Now she was twenty two and just as crazy about Lachlain as ever.

Quinn hadn't had Ailine Gormlaith as his attorney back then. I tried to recall his lawyer's name. Tio something, a masculine looking woman that seemed quite capable to represent Quinn and his sister. Now he had the blue elf Queen Ailine representing his business interests. I wondered why the change in legal counsel?

Quinn said he had egged Ailine on to lure Eric, or words to that effect. He said he did it to get Eric away from King de Castro. Why would he want to separate them? Why did he want Eric to go away from here? What was Quinn's problem?

It had to do with the whole Day of the Dead thing he was warning me about. I knew there was a Day of the Dead celebration in Mexico around Halloween, and a movie about zombies with that name, but I was pretty sure Quinn wasn't talking about either of those things. He had included the words "vampire take over" I was eager to get home and Google those terms.

From the first day the vampires disclosed their presence during the Great Revelation a certain fringe element began talk of gloom and doom at the hands of the vampires.

It was an indisputable fact that vampires were stronger, faster and lived longer than humans. They had always had these advantages, but they had not tried to take over human society, even when they could operate in secret and use their ability to glamour human minds. What would be the point? Vampires had everything they wanted now.

There was no denying that a certain number of humans had suffered and died at vampire hands. Before being forced to interact with humans some vampires showed a flagrant disregard for human life. To be fair, humans showed a flagrant disregard for vampire lives too, staking them as they slept or burning their places of daytime rest. It was a bad scene all around.

Now the vampires were being coaxed or even forced into behaving like law abiding citizens. Every vampire ruler on earth insisted that the vampires under his or her dominion were shining examples of citizenship.

Any deviations from that model brought swift and sometimes final punishment for the misbehaving vampire. Of course that wouldn't bring back the human victim. Every year humans disappeared without a trace. Some of those puzzling disappearances were the deadly result of vampires behaving badly, I was sure.

None of this vampire behavior, good, bad or indifferent, sounded remotely like a plan by the vampires to join together and overthrow humans as the most populous and ruling species. Vampires were all very individualistic. Getting them to agree to act as a unified group seemed preposterous.

Every paranoid person needed something to focus their groundless fears on. If it wasn't unnamed government agencies controlling their thoughts with secret rays then it was vampires.

Whatever Quinn believed, it had to be a manifestation of his warped thinking. As we pulled into my driveway I smiled to myself as I pictured Quinn wearing an aluminum foil hat on his big bald head. I was glad to get home, it had been a long strange night.

I thanked my guards and got inside the house, fastening all the locks on the reinforced front door. Living here alone at night was starting to give me the willies. I knew how strong the house was, how many safeguards were in place, but without even a dog for company I felt lonely and vulnerable.

I turned on the TV for the sound and then turned on the computer. I went in the bedroom and changed into my thickest flannel pajamas, robe and wooly slippers. After I made a cup of sugarless cocoa I called Linda's number.

I got her answering machine so I left a message and told her I loved her. I thanked her for her help tonight. It hadn't worked the way I hoped but I was still glad I tried. I was going to tug on every thread until I found the one that took me to Eric.

I briefly thought about calling Adele and Charlaine too, but I decided to wait until after I spoke to Amelia the next day. This way I would have something concrete to tell them about the spell.

Cup in hand I sat down at the computer and Googled 'Day of the Dead vampire take over'. I got 2,200,000 results in 0.08 seconds. Wow. They all couldn't be what I wanted.

I scrolled down until I found one from a massive website titled 'Beyond the End' authored by someone nicknamed Harry D. Human. It had all kinds of articles including ones on the coming Apocalypse as foretold by Nostradamus, the Mayans, and the book of Revelation. Apparently many people were eager to tell us when it was all going to blow up.

There were sections about crop circles, chem trails and alien abductions. Then I spotted the section on vampires and clicked on that. It was titled Day of the Dead. I read the page:

"Some believe that vampires are the superior race. As such they would be the rightful rulers of this planet if not for one weakness - their need to be completely inert during the daylight hours. While us lesser humans are scurrying around during the day, making a living, reproducing and doing all the things that make us human, vampires lay as if dead in a dark hidden place. That alone makes them creepy.

But it might also be what has saved us from being enslaved by blood thirsty vampire overlords.

What if this fatal flaw in their nature were eliminated? What would happen if stronger, faster, longer-living vampires were free to walk around during the day too? What if they needed no rest, or could sleep in shifts, waking if need be? What if vampires, even as I write this, are working in a top secret experimental facility to discover how to eliminate being dead until dark?

All of our national squabbles, all our human problems and diseases, everything we know - good and bad - might suddenly be swept away as minor concerns if vampire overlords rise up to take control of all aspects of our lives. We would be demoted from the highest form of life on the planet to a food source for blood suckers. Just as we raise cattle and chickens to put meat on our table, the vampire would raise humans for their blood.

How would you feel about being exploited as livestock?

Could this happen? When could this come about? No one knows.

But let me ask you this - when has an inferior group of people benefitted from being taken over by a more advanced civilization? The answer is obvious. Never. Let me repeat - Never.

Have you ever heard about Vampire Liberation? Don't ask a vampire about VL, you may not live long enough to hear the answer.

Watch your necks people. VL day, the Day of the Dead, is on the way."

There was a place for people to leave comments below this section. The hundreds of comments ranged from calling the article the worst kind of hate and fear mongering to those that fully believed that the only good vampire was a dead vampire. A few religious nuts bandied the word "abomination" around and some asked how come the government hasn't stepped in to limit the power of vampires.

I thought about leaving a comment but what could I say? I knew that vampires actually did have a secret facility where they were working on a formula to keep vampires awake during the day.

My own daughter had named the formula "Daynight". I believed that this formula would be used to help vampires have more of a life. Specifically it would give Eric more time with me and his daughters. Since I was thinking about Turning soon I had hoped that Daynight would be perfected so I could enjoy the day with my human friends and family.

Was there a more sinister reason the King was so eager to perfect Daynight? What was Vampire Liberation? Who could I ask that wouldn't turn on me. Why hadn't Eric ever mentioned this VL thing to me?

The questions continued to pile up but the answers were scarcer than hen's teeth.

more to come ....(Another Friday Friends! Bless you for taking the time to leave such thoughtful comments. Thanks for understanding my time limitations. I want to get this story out there as much as you want to read it. I still don't know what's going to happen, I find out as I write. See you tomorrow!)


Thursday, April 21, 2011

21 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman Look to the Future

Chapter Twenty One

"Sookie, you are still human, aren't you?" he asked, squinting at me.

"More human than you are," I answered. Quinn was a full were-tiger while I just had some fairy blood added to my human bloodline.

"And your girls are human too," he said, more of a statement than a question.

"Yup," I answered. What was his point?

"You have to get away from Eric Northman while you have the chance. Take your girls and flee, right now, while he's away. Once he gets back it will be too late for you, too late for any human. Join me and I will try to protect you," he said urgently.

"Protect me from what?" I asked. Was he nuts?

"From the Day of the Dead," he said.

"Do you know where Eric is right now?" I asked.

"Yes, he's with Ailine Gormlaith. She wanted him and we had to get him away from de Castro. Ailine and I collaborated, you might say."

"You're friends with Ailine?" I asked, trying desperately to figure out what was going on and how Quinn fit into this whole thing.

Had Quinn tried to destroy my life again, just in a sneakier way this time? I tamped down my rising temper to keep the conversation going.

"She's my corporate lawyer, but she wasn't acting in that capacity when she lured Eric. Ailine does what she wants, gets what she wants, and she has wanted Eric for a long long time. I just encouraged her to take him," Quinn said, glancing back at Kinnan. My werewolf guard hadn't moved.

"And where are Eric and Ailine right now?" I asked, doggedly trying to get this one question answered. If I got the answer I could drop the friendly act.

"I have no idea. Far far away I hope. The point is you and your girls need to get away while you have this chance." He looked at me fiercely as if he could drill this idea into my head with the intensity of his strange purple colored eyes.

I thought I better play along. If he thought he was swaying my opinion I could find out more. More flies with honey and all that.

"Well, John, I had never considered leaving Eric until now. Were Eric and Ailine having some kind of fling behind my back?"

"They met on occasion certainly but there had never been any kind of personal relationship until now," he said. "That's not important. The vampires are almost ready to execute their plan to take over the planet. No human with red blood in their veins will be safe, not even you or your daughters."

His tone got more urgent."Eric may be powerful in these parts, but he's a small fish in a very big pond. Your fairy blood will make you and the girls a prime commodity in the vampire community. Eric might be allowed to keep you, but your daughters will go to the highest bidder, so to speak. You may never have another chance like this. Run, Sookie, run, and don't look back."

He went to take a step towards me but Aleksis cleared his throat and aimed the oversized weapon right at Quinn's bald head. That stopped the big man in his tracks.

I glanced at Kinnan and he had moved about half the distance closer too. I hadn't seen him move I was so focused on what Quinn was saying. My guards weren't about to let Quinn get to me.

The plain and simple truth of it hit me. Quinn was mentally unstable. Maybe some kind of mental illness was being passed down in his family. I knew his momma had gone nuts and his sister was a homicidal lunatic, albeit one without her fearsome claws anymore. Quinn's whole family was riding the crazy train and now Quinn was the engineer. I didn't have the patience to listen to his ravings and I was getting really cold.

"I was hoping you could tell me something about where my husband has gone off to, but it doesn't look like you know any more than I do. About that other stuff, that Day of the Dead plot, I don't buy into any of that. Vampires have been here for thousands of years, longer than you can imagine. Nobody is being sold to vampires. Only humans have come up with that awful notion of slavery, not vampires. Calm your fears, Quinn, we're all fine. I just need to find Eric. If you can't help me with that then I have to go right now."

I turned to walk back to my car. I was glad Aleksis had left it running. I hoped the heat was on high so I could thaw out.

"Sookie!" Quinn said sharply.

I turned back towards him. "What?"

"Do you know how to use a computer?" he asked.


"Do you know how to use Google?" he asked sounding a little desperate, sensing his time was running out here with me.

"Use it all the time," I answered, wondering where he was going now.

"Then just look up "Day of the Dead vampire take over". See what I'm talking about. Then give me a call. I'm ready to help you and the girls," he said. His foot moved slightly but he didn't step forward fearing Aleksis would blow him away.

"Sure thing Quinn, and if you come up with Eric's location give me a call and we'll talk again, OK? I'm not sure what we're talking about here, but I appreciate you trying to look out for me and the girls," I said.

Might as well leave things on a positive note. He might be able to find out where his lawyer had Eric. It was the closest thing I had to a link, that and all this Day of the Dead business.

I got in the back seat of the car and asked Aleksis to crank up the heat. He did, but kept the window open and the cannon pointed at Quinn until his Cadillac slowly drove out of the parking lot.

Aleksis gave a sign to Kinnan and my werewolf guard joined my human guard in the front seat of the Mercedes, leaving me in the back to think about what I had really learned from John Quinn.

more to come .....(Good Thursday Everyone! I'm very glad to know you're here. It was great of you to leave a comment, thank you for your kind words of encouragement.

I apologize that I can't get things on line any faster. My time is limited by the demands of my life, but I appreciate your desire to read more. At least I'm consistent :-)

That's my main goal, that and getting this story told in the best way possible. I hope my skills as a writer continue to improve so I can do justice to my version of S & E's fabulous story. I'm more of a tortoise than a hare, I'm afraid.

p.s. Sally - Gordon was Adele's dog, a rescue from the animal shelter where she volunteered her time. She took him with her when she went to live with Lachlain on the Campbell ranch. That's where he lives now.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

20 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman Look to the Future

Chapter Twenty

Even through the white pancake makeup I could see Linda had bright spots of crimson high on her cheeks from her agitation at the things Pam said about her father abandoning her.

"Next year! We can't wait a year to track Daddy down!" Linda exclaimed.

I agreed. We needed to find Eric ASAP. I was going to see if bringing him home could be worked into the spell Amelia was planning. I had no idea where he was or if he was even on this plane of existence.

Fairies had a special dimension or land where they lived, only visiting here from time to time. Maybe elves were the same. Even if they were here on earth full time blue elves could live in a hollowed out mountain, an unexplored cave or under the bottom of the sea. Hunting for Eric was just too daunting a task unless I could get more to go on than what we had now. We didn't even know if there was a needle in this haystack.

I told her I would contact Aunt Amelia and see if locating Eric could be part of her anti-beguilement spell. It was coming up to closing time for Fangtasia, next I was going to meet Quinn near my house to hear what he had to say.

I didn't mention it to Linda because I didn't want to get her hopes up. Maybe Quinn was just trying to rekindle our old relationship. I would strangle him with my bare hands if that was the case. I had enough trouble with him and his family to last a lifetime. I would never again consider him my friend.

As Aleksis drove me to the parking lot by Darla's Deli I thought about the spell Amelia would be creating. She would be working in a type of magic she was unfamiliar with, elven magic. I knew the more things a spell had to accomplish the weaker it would be. Maybe it would be best to just concentrate on lifting the beguiling from Eric and leaving it to him to return home.

How would Ailine react if Eric suddenly wanted nothing to do with her? Would she let him leave?

We had to make sure the anti-spell took effect while Eric was able to flee. But without knowing where he was, what time zone he was in, the timing would be difficult.

Would he be able to return from a different dimension? He had never given any indication he was able to go to any other plane of existence. If he was being held under the ocean would he be able to swim free or would the monumental pressure of the ocean depths crush him?

Vampires were strong, but they could be destroyed by titanic forces. If he tried to escape during the day the sun might burn him alive before he could find shelter.

I felt sick inside not knowing what was happening to Eric, where he was, or what the effects of any spell, no matter how well meaning, might have on him. I didn't want to make a bad situation worse.

I realized with painful irony that now the worse case scenario I had at the beginning when he left, that he was shacked up in some love nest with a horny elf, had now become the best case scenario. At least it would mean he was being treated well, that he was still alive.

Eric and his return was in the hands of fate, hands I didn't trust. I would need to rely on his ability to disguise his emotions and quickly formulate a plan. He had to get free before Ailine realized he was no longer beguiled and she cooked up another spell to over ride the spell that freed him, assuming we were able to free him, of course.

Who knew how powerful Ailine was or if she had other powerful witches in cahoots with her. The more witches, the more experienced the witches, the stronger the spell. Maybe Amelia should get another witch or two to help her. Could she hire a blue elf witch? The cost was not an issue. What good was money if Eric was gone?

I felt a pain in my heart that said with every beat, "Oh Eric, my darling Eric, where are you?"

Without getting Amelia's input I realized I had reached a dead end in my thinking about getting Eric free of beguilement. Amelia and I had a phone appointment the next day so she could bring me up to snuff about how her spell was coming along. Nothing more to be done about it tonight.

I turned my thoughts to Quinn and how I should handle things. I hoped to the highest heaven that he wasn't dragging me out to a deli parking lot in the dead of night just to tell me he still was interested in me. He couldn't possibly be that idiotic, could he?

I saw a big black Caddy parked under one of the parking lot lights. As soon as my car pulled in Quinn got out of his car. He wore a well cut dark brown suit and a turtleneck sweater. It was windy and chilly, I wished I was dressed as warm as he was. My black cotton blouse, ramie sweater and black jeans weren't going to provide me with much protection. We'd have to make this fast.

I got out of my car about thirty from him and walked to within about twenty feet of where he was standing.

Aleksis had told me how to arrange things. The car window of Aleksis's tan Mercedes rolled down and the big barrel of some hellacious anti-tank weapon pointed out right at Quinn.

There was no point in keeping my protection a secret, the intimidation would head off an attack before it was begun. I stood twenty feet back so that if Quinn had to be blown up I wouldn't accidentally get hit. I hoped it wouldn't come to that.

He smiled, his square white teeth shining out of his tan face. Like many completely bald men his true age was hard to guess but the little laugh wrinkles around his violet eyes showed he was well into middle age. The years had been good to Quinn. He took care of himself and he was obviously prosperous. I had never heard that he married but then again I never asked.

"How are you?" Quinn asked, taking a step closer.

"Don't come any closer. My guard has instructions to shoot if you approach me. You're just going to have to talk to me from there. In answer to your question I'm chilly, so could you tell me what it is you wanted to say so I could get back in my warm car?" I wrapped my arms around myself as the wind whipped my hair first one way, then the other.

"We could sit in my car and talk," he invited. Seeing my scowl, he said, "Stubborn as ever, I see." He laughed, reminding me of Mr. Clean. He even had the gold hoop earrings.

"Okay, this isn't how I planned on talking to you, but I see you've come ready to tear me apart if I don't behave," he said with a shrug.

He called out over his shoulder, directing his voice to the storefront behind him, "You can come out of hiding - I know you're there."

Silently Kinnan stepped out of the shadows, standing with his arms hanging down by his side. He didn't move, just looked steadily at Quinn. The bottom half of Kinnan's face had a slight muzzle, a sign he was ready to move into full werewolf mode if needed.

The night-after-full moon lit up the sky as dark clouds scudded away from it, making the lot bright and stark.

My teeth were going to start chattering soon. "What is it you wanted to say to me? Is it about Eric?"

He looked serious. "Yes, it is."

more to come .....(Anonymous, RW, Catarina, Cindy, Sophie, Gjers-1, Anonymous Z, Sally, Kira, Lara, Duckbutt, Char - You have no idea how delighted I am that you are here with me. A cyber-hug to each and every one that is reading along.

Note - From CH books I got the impression that Pam and Eric lived completely separate lives, though when one or the other felt like it they reconnected for their mutual benefit.

Eric had asked Pam to help him run Fangtasia. She left Minnesota and moved to Louisiana to help Eric run the vampire bar. That led me to think she lived away from him for a time.)


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

19 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman Look to the Future

Chapter Nineteen

Once the effects of the lawyer wore off Pam went back to her icy skepticism and Clancy continued to sneer at my distasteful human presence.

I knew they weren't going to take my word about how beguilement could override their own wills, so I had arranged with Linda to record the events that took place in the office while Linda and I waited in the hallway.

Usually the office camera was only turned on if a troublesome patron or supplier was brought in and a record was needed of what transpired. Wealthy vampires were subject to being accused of all kinds of misdeeds, most of them unfounded. The more prudent vampires recorded anything that could later be brought up as a charge against them.

Linda cued up the recording to the correct point and indicated the office chairs in front of the computer.

Begrudgingly Pam and Clancy sat down at the monitor to see for themselves how they acted when Merry turned on her power. From the perspective of the upper front corner of the room where the hidden camera was located I saw Linda and I go out the door.

Merry sat down on the visitor's chair with a little grunt and scratched behind her knee. Those support hose were hot and itchy I recalled from my last few months of pregnancy with the triplets. My body had been stretched to capacity and my legs had been starting to swell alarmingly. Some days I felt like my support hose were the only things holding me together. Not fun.

Without giving any sign of what she was doing Pam and Clancy began to react to her beguilement. They sat at her bunioned feet. Pam began stroking Merry's leg gently.

Merry firmly removed Pam's hand and said, "Keep your hands to yourself."

Pam immediately looked contrite and apologized. Clancy stood up and was bending over in a strange way, clapping his hands together lightly. I realized that was his idea of trying to engage Merry in some kind of playful behavior. Then he came closer and asked if he could kiss her cheek. Merry got up and moved away from him. Pam gracefully stood, then she and Clancy began giggling like children, holding out their hands and saying "Kissy kissy".

Pam went over and abruptly turned off the monitor. "All right Sookie, you've made your point. What do you want from me?" She sounded annoyed.

Clancy left the room, slamming the door as he left. Tricking him into acting like a fool and recording it wasn't going to endear me to him in the future, meaning nothing would change between us. He couldn't stand me from day one.

"All Mom wants is to know where Daddy is. He needs to be free from that woman so he can make decisions based on his will, not on beguilement," Linda said reasonably.

"I understand what you're saying, but I am unable to help you," Pam said, her eyes like cold dark stones.

"Pam, Eric would want you to free him from beguilement. What Ailine is doing isn't even legal among her own kind. Eric can't feed from her, he'll starve if he's only among the elves. Please please, Pam, I'm begging you. Where is he?" I asked.

I had begun to cry, tears of frustration leaking from my eyes. I hated acting weak around Pam, but my worry over Eric was just about boiling over.

"The reason I can not help you," Pam said, her tone of voice seeming to soften, "is that I have lost contact with him. I do not know where he is. The last time we spoke he was in New York, but he was waiting for a private jet. Where he went after that call I have no idea. His phone is no longer working."

She sat down on the hard visitor chair. "I too am worried. This is far beyond anything I am familiar with. I agree, Master is in trouble. But unless we can find him we will not be able to help him."

"Don't you have some kind of Child-Maker vampire radar you can use to hone in on his location?" I asked.

She laughed mirthlessly. "Vampire radar? Oh no, not if we don't continue to exchange blood regularly. It has been more than a century since we last exchanged blood. I know that he is still in existence, the slight bond we have has not been severed."

"Do you think he's alright?" I asked her, practically wringing my hands with worry. "Was he alright the last time you spoke with him?"

Pam nodded. "He was more than alright, he was positively manic. That should have been a warning to me, but I just thought it was his response to making another big change. Master loves a new adventure."

"Another big change? Daddy has made big changes in the past?" Linda asked, rolling her chair to sit across from Pam.

Linda was always interested in learning about her father's long life. Most of this information had come from Eric himself as he told the girls stories about his adventures.

Once in a while Pam gave her more insight, usually a slip of the tongue "accidentally on purpose" to tease Eric. He tried to keep the more distressing incidents in his long life from the girls. Those things had taken place when the world was much different than it is now.

Pam spoke to Linda in a way that I could only characterize as kind.

"Linda, you must understand, we live so long we sometimes tire of one life and suddenly decide to make a change. It is not unusual for us, it is the norm. After a certain length of time a situation can get tiresome. When life is no longer fun or interesting ennui sets in, a dangerous condition for us."

Pam shifted in her chair, an unnecessary movement showing me she was uncomfortable revealing this side of vampire nature to her wide eyed niece.

Pam went on, "The best cure for our deadly lethargic mental state is to make a drastic change, a sudden change. A quick cut is the cleanest. Then we can step out of our previous life into a new identity, a new country and new companions. It's exhilarating to embark on such an adventure. A complete change, that's what I thought Master was doing."

"You thought my Daddy would just up and leave me?" Linda said, her voice rising almost to tears. "He would never ever do that. He loves us. We're his whole life."

A slight twitch passed through Pam's expression. Linda didn't see it but I did. I saw that Pam fully believed Eric would be entirely capable of turning his back on us, turning off his feelings towards us like blowing out a candle.

Perhaps she had seen him do that repeatedly in the past. I had no way of knowing if she was right. Vampires, as they had all warned me from that first moonlit walk in the cemetery with Bill, were not human.

Intelligent Pam realized that it would wound Linda deeply if she pressed the matter. I sided with Linda, but who can really be sure what another is capable of? Pam had known Eric much longer than we did, but I felt that I knew his heart, his silent vampire heart.

Pam said, with false brisk cheer, "I'm sure you're right. I misread the situation and now your father is out of touch with us. He is very strong, smart and resourceful. He will return home as soon as he can, be sure of it."

Pam stood up, ready to end this uncomfortable conversation. She was used to being painfully blunt.

"In the meantime, is there anything you can suggest as a direction we might look in?" I asked, grasping at straws. It didn't sound like Pam knew anything more about where Eric was than I did.

"There will be another Vampire Alliance Conference, he might attend it," Pam said, her hand on the doorknob.

"When will that be?" I asked, a small ray of hope dawning in my heart.

"Next year," Pam said, leaving and closing the door quietly behind her.

more to come ....(Good Morning my Intelligent Readers. It is surprising how often you are one step, or more, ahead of me. Thank you for your interest and encouragement!)


Monday, April 18, 2011

18 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman Look to the Future

Chapter Eighteen

After I finally had my nap and I made sure all the parts of my plan were in place, I had Aleksis drive me to Fangtasia. Walking into the wall of pounding techno music in the loud crowded night club without Eric by my side was an unsettling experience.

The few boozy human men at the bar that turned to look at me and flirt would have been taking their lives in their hands if Eric was here. Instead the whole experience was just tawdry and depressing, a sign of how far away I was from the whole social scene.

Fortunately Pam was so startled to see me she agreed to meet me in the office where Linda was working. Clancy, nosy as ever, attached himself to us and came along. He probably wanted more juicy details for his gossip campaign against me. That was fine, the more the merrier.

We entered the office and shut the door, closing out all the sound except the deep thump thump thump of the base like the building itself had a giant heartbeat. Maybe that's why people liked this kind of music, it was like a return to the womb and the reassuring rhythmical thumping of Mommy's heartbeat through the amniotic fluid.

Linda was sitting at Eric's messy desk, sorting through piles of paperwork. She had on a long black lace dress with trailing sleeves and lots of black eye make up. I knew she liked to roam the club sometimes acting like a vampire.

Since the tourists came to see real vampires it helped with the ambiance of the place to have her impersonate a vamp. Most people couldn't tell the difference. A little white pancake make up, some red lipstick and voila - instant vampire. A glass of V8 juice would complete the illusion.

"Why are you here, Sookie?" Pam said, mild annoyance in her tone. "I explained to you that I am following Eric's instructions. He can not be reached at this time. Coming here will not accomplish anything."

Ice blond Pam had on a shrimp pink sweater set and brown cashmere gabardine slacks with knife sharp creases. Clancy had on a black silk shirt and tight black pants, showing off a nice manly physique. They stood side by side, unified in their vampirism, their loyalty to Eric and their partial ownership of the club.

Clancy didn't say anything, but his eyes glittered with the joy of seeing me put in my place. He had never bought into the whole "one blood" idea of vampire weddings. A human was still a human no matter if they married a vampire. I knew long ago that Clancy detested me.

Linda glanced up at me, but didn't say anything. She didn't want to tip our hand.

Before I needed to come up with some response to stall for time there came a short knock, literally, on the door.

I said, "I believe someone is here that will explain what I wanted to say better than I could."

I opened the door and let in Merry Dixon. The tiny elf woman greeted Pam and Clancy by their first names. She had handled legal matters for both of them, as well as the club, for years and years.

Clancy stood up straighter and Pam smoothed back her hair, beginning to respond to the natural aura of beguilement the blue elf carried with her like the scent of some delicious and intoxicating perfume. The vampires both moved slightly closer to her, smiles on their usually blank faces.

Merry Dixon wore a bulky mud brown worn and pilled sweater that made her short neck appear to be non-existent. A baggy ancient brown tweed skirt, opaque support hose and orthopedic shoes with clearly visible bunion bulges completed the outfit. Her dull over-permed hair was that indefinite style that could be called "short".

"I have some information to give you about your friend Eric Northman," Merry said to Pam and Clancy, "but first I would appreciate it you could please sign these consent forms. It's just a formality."

She smiled and held out a pen and a sheet of paper to Pam. I felt a small tug of affection towards the dear little woman, so like my beloved Gran. I knew intellectually she must have just upped the wattage on her beguilement but I didn't care. It was wonderful to be in the same room with her.

"Isn't she just adorable?" Linda said, gazing at Merry with her chin propped in her cupped hand, shaking her head slowly at the wonder of such adorableness.

"As cute as a June bug," I agreed enthusiastically.

"Bless her heart," Linda said, watching first Pam and then Clancy sign the form without even glancing at it. They just couldn't tear their eyes off the sweetest little gal east of the Mississippi.

"You and Linda may leave now," Merry said, bringing Linda to her feet and practically shoving us out the office door. "I will come to get you in a few minutes." She shut the door firmly behind us as soon as we were in the hall.

The moment we were out in the hall Linda blinked rapidly and said, "I can't cussing believe it! I wanted to snuggle with her and ..."

"I know," I said quickly, not wanting to know more about Linda's private symptoms of beguilement. "I felt it too. This is all to the good. She will be able to demonstrate to Pam how Eric is not operating under his own power as long as he's with that Ailíne woman."

I heard giggling and a hoot of laughter come from the office, then Clancy say in a high pitched teasing coaxing voice "Oh come on now, cutie pie, just one little kissie wissie on the cheekie? Pweese, pweese, pweese?"

I hoped Merry would be able to handle them, fend them off. What an amazing adaptive talent Merry and all blue elves had. She disarmed any potential vampire threat by appearing to them as an object of affection and adoration. This gave her both safety and power over the vampires she was dealing with.

No matter how volatile the legal situation or how angry the vampires might be, tempers could not take over as long as all the litigants were focused on the blue elf and her many charms. They were the grease that kept the vampire courts flowing smoothly.

Merry opened the door and came out, quickly closing it behind her. "The notion that I'm playing a little game of hide and seek with them should wear off in a few minutes. Then you can explain to them the nature of Eric's alleged possible coercion, if such coercion exists, of course."

She was being careful with her words, not wanted to slander her Queen and leave herself open to a defamation lawsuit. Merry bustled off, consent form in hand. Get while the gettin's good.

Linda and I went in the office to find Pam facing the wall in one corner and Clancy in another, both with their hands over their eyes and counting.

"Ninety-nine, one hundred!" Pam finished, "Ready or not, here I come," she sang.

She turned around, a playful little smile on her face, a smile which was quickly replaced by confusion.

"Where did she go?" Pam asked. Clancy turned around too although he had only been up to eighty-nine. Leave it to him to cheat.

They both looked around the small crowded office as if Merry might somehow be concealed there.

"She had to leave," I said. "Now I want to talk to you about us finding Eric and getting him away from Ailine Gormlaith. She's the queen of the blue elves and has him under her beguiling spell."

I hoped this wasn't too much of a summary for them to follow. Vampires usually didn't engage in long conversations with humans so I always tried to keep it succinct when I talked to them.

Pam looked at me with a frown. Good. She was beginning to get it. Eric, her beloved Master, was in danger.

Then she said, "You mean Merry's not coming back?" Her china blue eyes opened wide with shocked disappointment, a slight tremble quivered her flawless chin.

Meanwhile Clancy opened the office door and was peeking out into the service hall looking left and right for Merry. He still had a goofy grin on his usually sour face.

I sighed and sat down. This was going to be a long night.

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. ~~~

(Greetings All! Your interest and enthusiasm is like rocket fuel to my keyboard. Thank you ever so much for taking the time to express yourselves.)