Amelia was right on time the next day. I had put cold water on my face and dabbed on some make up to look presentable or so I thought, but when I opened the door Amelia's pretty open face constricted into stricken concern.
My vibrant long time witchy friend was closing in on middle age, but it hadn't lessened her energy or dampened her enthusiasm one bit. Her short glossy caramel colored hair now had a few silver ones mixed in, but that would just add to her gravitas as a witch of high station.
She took my cold hand in both her soft warm ones and said, "Sookie, what is it?" in that hyper-alert way she had when she sensed something was terribly wrong.
Her tone of urgency fitted in with my own anxiety. Eric was in danger, in the hands of strangers. Where was he staying? Was he safe?
Somehow, overnight, my focus had changed from my own anger and feeling of betrayal to the possible jeopardy Eric was in.
I really could not blame Eric if he was under the beguilement of a rogue blue elf. My experience with Merry Dixon had shown me that there was no way to fight beguiling. Even though I had known I was under the influence it still seemed like how I actually felt.
It would have been a short step from that to being told what to do. All the blame lay squarely on the shoulders of Ailíne Dervla Gormlaith, a name I was coming to detest.
As long as she returned Eric to me unharmed I wouldn't go after her with the big guns, whatever that meant. Every supernatural had their Achilles heel, I would find Ailine's and destroy her with it if she forced my hand. I would do what needed to be done to get Eric back.
"Can I wait to tell you about it until Linda and Adele get here?" I asked.
I didn't feel like telling this story three more times. Telling Charlaine the mild version last night had taken just about all the stuffing out of me.
Amelia came to the kitchen with me to have a cup of tea. I had water since I had already used up my coffee for the day. She had been my room mate back when I was single and living in Bon Temps, she rented a few rooms. Now she rented the whole house.
She looked around the kitchen, probably comparing it to the blend of modern design and mid-Century furniture she had chosen for her home. My kitchen wasn't quite as old fashioned and quaint as Gran's had been, but the yellow gingham curtains, sturdy oak table and chairs, and little knick knacks on the shelves edging the cupboards did give the kitchen a warm and welcoming look, at least for us humans. I doubted if vampires responded to kitchen decor since they didn't eat.
Amelia was a witch in training. She had worked her way up the degrees, taking difficult and sometimes grueling tests to move on to the next level. Her goal was to become a thirty second degree witch, the most powerful level there was. The goddess of the witches, Hecate herself, was mentoring Amelia. In turn Amelia was mentoring my three girls in the Craft whenever they had the time.
Understandably they were not as dedicated to the witch's craft as Amelia was. They were young and still finding their way through their busy lives. Amelia had been settled in with her long time werewolf partner Tray Dawson, relieved of her need to earn a living by a nice cushion of inheritance money from her wealthy and powerful family.
Eric and I agreed that the girls should learn to be self supporting to motivate them to live their lives to the fullest. Handing them money left and right would just erode their own desires for their careers and make them dependent on us.
Amelia and I discussed the girls, the new motorcycle Tray was customizing and the comment Charlaine had made to me about a woman's genitals matching her personality. My Big Issue, the one that brought Amelia to my house this morning, was the Dead Elephant In The Kitchen until Linda and Adele arrived.
Both girls arrived at the same time but in two different cars. Linda was driving a vintage Volkswagen van complete with peace signs, stylized flowers and the slogan "Give Peace a Chance" emblazoned on both sides in psychedelic writing and bold colors.
She had the interior of the van tricked out with lime green shag carpeting, big mirrored pillows and a pink lava lamp. The sound system was top of the line and she had a complete collection of 1960's music that favored sitars and trippy lyrics. Eric and I had a "don't ask - don't tell" policy when it came to discussing what she used the back of the van for.
She was healthy and happy, she had a job working at our night club and she had a cadre of vampires looking out for her well being. She seemed stable and able to look out for herself. I figured Eric and I couldn't ask for more than that.
Linda had on a retro type outfit - fringed fake suede vest, tie dyed shirt and hip hugging bell bottoms. A pleather headband around her forehead held back her wild tangle of honey blond hair. Intricate pleather sandals wrapped around her nicely manicured feet and slim ankles.
She didn't wear much make up, and what she wore was not tested on animals. She was a vegetarian, sometimes she was a vegan. She was not dressed for the chilly late fall weather, my mother's eyes noticed. I decided to turn the heat in the house up a few more degrees and keep my opinions to myself.
Adele drove a convertible Corvette just like Eric's red one, except hers was metal flake fire engine orange. She practically screeched to a halt on the black top when she pulled in the drive.
The dazzling orange finish on her car, done by the same people that did Pam's latest Dodge pick-up truck, was a custom paint job that included dramatic airbrushed flames shooting along the sides. That pretty much defined how she drove. I had discussed speeding with her numerous times but she was always in a big rush.
The emergency nature of her job, rushing to save some injured supernatural critter, seemed to amp up her whole life. She liked life in the fast lane. I was very glad she had a sensible guy for a boyfriend.
Leslie Fujikawa, our vampire friend on the Shreveport police force, fixed as many speeding tickets as she could, but there was usually one still to be addressed. Adele's car insurance was astronomical but Eric paid it without comment. He let Adele get away with things, he always had. I think he saw himself in her untamed nature.
Adele usually looked like she had gotten dressed off the floor, pulling on anything that was clean. Today it was a wrinkled "Save the Mermaids" tee shirt and painter's jeans, complete with white paint smears. She and Lachlain had recently repainted the interior walls of their remodeled house to all white to make their bold modern orange and black furniture stand out in stark contrast. Amelia had helped her with the decor.
Her yellow blond hair hung in two sloppy braids, something she most likely did on the way here while steering with her knees and going seventy miles an hour. She had crumbs on the front of her shirt, so she probably ate breakfast on the way here too.
I clamped my mouth shut. Everything I said to her of a concerned nature seemed to irritate her and goad her to act even less cautiously. She still had a lot of growing up to do.
Once everyone was assembled and drinking coffee I told them exactly what happened the night before last. As I told the story I tried to quote what Eric had said to me, word for word.
"Chaste and pure?" Adele spluttered, almost choking on her coffee. "Daddy actually said love could be chaste and pure?"
She made a loud unladylike scoffing snort. Linda added a short sarcastic laugh of her own. I guess Eric and I hadn't been as quiet or discreet as I thought we were when we made love.
While I was talking a thought occurred to me. I excused myself to Amelia and Linda, then took Adele into the bedroom to ask her a private question. I even shut the door.
Speaking quietly I asked Adele if she could find Eric by reading his mind. Adele had been trained from early childhood to never ever disclose her ability to read vampire minds. The best way for her to disguise her talent was to actually refrain from dipping into the thoughts of the vampires around her, this way she would never look startled or accidentally reveal she had knowledge she shouldn't have.
As a matter of respect she stayed out of my mind and Eric's mind. Asking her to seek out Eric's mind was a first.
"No Mom, it doesn't work that way. I have to be near the particular vampire and really concentrate to pick up anything. If I just leave my mind open to that frequency I get a cacophony of voices in different languages but no one voice is audible. And not even that would give me any clue about where the voices are coming from."
That was pretty much the way it worked for reading human minds too. We were telepaths, not human GPS devices. Adele and I returned to the living room where Linda and Amelia had been discussing the situation.
"He was glamoured," Amelia was saying.
"For sure he's been glamoured or whatever it is those blue elves do," Linda agreed with Amelia's assessment wholeheartedly. "Maybe Charlaine's ring would block Ailíne's powers," she suggested.
"It wouldn't even fit on his little finger and I think it might only work on vampire glamor," I said gently, not wanting to be discouraging, "But thank you for the suggestion, this is just the kind of brainstorming I was hoping we could do. Maybe Aunt Amelia knows something about blue elf witchcraft?" I asked her.
Amelia was already shaking her head, her chin length hair gliding smoothly with her movements. "Not a thing. I would need to look it up with our online Magical Reference website. Can I use your computer?" she asked.
Eric had taken his laptop, but we still had the desktop. The girls had taken their desktop and laptop computers when they left home. I took Amelia to the office and showed her my computer.
"If it runs a little slow just throw in more coal," Adele joked, referring to the age of my computer. I knew the newer models were faster, but mine still worked just fine.
I made a little face at her while Amelia typed in all kinds of magic passwords on page after page of entry level forms. The passwords appeared to us as a series of black dots as she typed them. How did she ever keep them all straight in her mind? I had to write my passwords down in a little notebook.
A screen came up and she typed in "Blue Elf".
Instantly a page jam packed with single spaced type appeared.
"Do you mind if I print this out and take it with me? I'm going to need to go over it in detail and I don't have the time right now," Amelia asked.
I showed her how to use the printer and it started churning out page after page. Finally it stopped and Amelia gathered up a small ream of information. My heart sank at the amount of reading she was going to need to wade through before she could even begin to formulate her spell.
more to come .....(TGIFWV - Hope you are all doing well. Thank you so much for your interest and for stopping by, it always makes my day when I see you've been by.)