Tuesday, May 31, 2011

62 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman Look to the Future

Chapter Sixty Two

Once we were in the RV I insisted we try out the walkie talkie to make sure we had good reception. Eric probably could have heard Adele yell without an electronic aid. I felt better knowing we also had back up.

After I annoyed Adele by checking in with her I relaxed. I was pretty sure this was going to be a wild yara-ma-yha-who chase, like the snipe hunt Jason sent the new kid on back when he was working with the road crew.

A snipe hunt was a fool's errand, a type of practical joke that ended up with the credulous newcomer running around the woods at night with a burlap bag calling "Snipe, snipe."

There really was a bird called a snipe, it was a shore bird and almost impossible to shoot. It's where the term "sniper" came from to indicate a sharp shooter. I wondered if there was even really a yara-ma-yha-who.

I sat snuggled against Eric, recalling the other times we had used an RV for our adventures.

"There is a Maori legend about a big tree," he said into the silence, his voice beautiful and soothing in the dim light. "A long time ago, Heaven and Earth were attached to each other and the world was filled with darkness. A giant tree put himself between them and pushed his shoulders upwards, bringing light, air and a vast sky into the world. And then life arrived on Earth."

"It was a fabulous tree," I agreed. "I would like to see it in the daytime."

Then I realized that I had made a blunder. Eric could never be here in the daytime to see it with me. Not unless Daynight was perfected and now I had mixed feelings about that, feelings I didn't share with Eric.

To change the subject I asked "So, what did you say to King Soprano to get him to leave so suddenly?"

Eric opened his mouth to speak but just then an unearthy howl came over the walkie talkie. I bolted upright.

Adele chuckled. "Did I scare you?" she whispered into the microphone. "Don't answer. That's just my yawhoo caller. Sounds just like one, doesn't it?" Her mike clicked off with a little spurt of static.

"I never heard one of the critters, have you?" I asked Eric.

"Not in all my years," he answered, saying exactly the same thing my Gran would have said.

"Now, back to King Soprano. How did you pull him away from trying to get his pointy shoe through Darren's company door?" I asked, snuggling against Eric again.

"Oh, I had to call in a favor with the King but it was not a very big favor," Eric chuckled.

He explained. "You must understand, de Castro and Soprano do not get along. They tolerate each other for the sake of trade but there is no meeting of minds between them. They are on the opposite sides of almost every issue. The Vampire Alliance Counsel is hard put to keep them apart."

"Or keep them from tearing each other apart," I added.

"Exactly. Fortunately we have very little that would interest the mob boss king except for Daynight. This has fascinated him since he learned of it," Eric said.

"How'd he find out about it?"

"Extortion, bribery, kidnapping - who knows. The point is that he does know, though he has no idea how near we are to perfecting the formula. He has been eager to try Daynight himself. I suggested to de Castro that now might be a good time to let King Soprano try the formula," Eric chuckled again, a deep rumbly sound I loved.

"And that's funny how?" I asked, reminding myself of Joe Pesce's speech as Tommy DeVito in Wiseguys - "I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you? I make you laugh, I'm here to effing amuse you? What do you mean funny, funny how? How am I funny?"

"Funny like a clown? I amuse you?" Eric said, snickering while trying to sound threatening too.

I would think he was reading my mind if I didn't know Wiseguys was one of his favorite movies. He had seen it enough times to memorize parts of it. Me too. The speech, cleaned up a little, was part of our regular marriage routine whenever the topic of "funny" came up.

"Seriously," he went on, "It is funny because when I suggested that now might be a good time to let Tony try the formula, I also told him I hoped nothing went horribly wrong with the trial."

"Horribly wrong?" I repeated. "Like what happened to you when Frannie attacked you in your weakened state?"

"What happened to me was a glitch, what happens when things go horribly wrong is more ... horrible," he finished.

He was using his "I am not going to go into details" voice, so I knew that bombarding him with questions would be useless. This was Vampire Business and more - Royal Vampire Business. He felt the less I knew the better and he was probably right.

If having your throat ripped out by a were-tiger was less horrible than what was going to happen to Mr. Soprano then I probably didn't even want to know more about it.

"Anyway, it was good of you to think of some way to get Tony away from Darren before his invention fell into the wrong hands," I said to Eric, rubbing his bare arm.

"Anytime there is an opportunity to make money the mob vampire and his goons are on it like a bad smell on a rotting corpse, Angelface," he said in a pretty good Humphrey Bogart imitation..

"Angelface?" I kidded him. He had watched way too many old gangster movies. I tickled his ribs, "Angelface?"

"Yes, Angelface," he said, tickling me back.

With his longer reach he could tickle me and I couldn't reach him but he always let me win the tickling game. Soon I had him down on the couch, straddling his narrow waist, tickling his neck, his most ticklish spot. It was also an erotic hot spot for him, especially when I bent over and feigned biting his neck.

"I can not wait for you to have real fangs," he laughed, gasping, gently rolling us over off the sofa and onto the floor with him on top. He was careful not to put too much weight on me.

I tried to say "Me either," but the words stuck in my craw.

Truth be told I was scared of having the power and hunger of a vampire and those lethal fangs. I was scared of killing someone right out of the grave, so to speak, and then having to think about it for eternity. That was my idea of torture. I had explained this to Eric several times and he always sounded like he understood what I was saying but I also got the impression that he thought I would think differently about all that once I had crossed over. I hoped not, because then I wouldn't be me anymore.

Also, the whole blood thing just didn't sound as appealing as a hot fudge sundae to me. My stomach growled loudly at the thought of gooey hot fudge melting down over the sides of a mound of vanilla ice cream. I mentally squirted on a swirl of whipped cream and my stomach growled again.

Eric sat up on his heels and regarded me. "Are you hungry, my wife? This vehicle has a stocked food pantry and ice box."

"No, I'm fine. I had dinner," I told him.

He sat all the way up, resting his back against the front of the couch and stretching his long legs out in front of him. They just about reached the other side of the RV.

"This is something we need to discuss," he said slowly, sounding cautious.

We needed to discuss whether I had dinner?

Before I could ask him what he meant the walkie talkie crackled and Adele's strained voice said, "I could use a little help here."

more to come ....( Good evening Immortal Romantics - Thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts. What an interesting and diverse group we are!

Greetings Glamored Reader! Welcome to my little corner of the internet. I'm very happy you found your way here. Thank you for letting me know you're reading along.

Deanna - I'm sending good thoughts that you don't experience any more of those awful headaches. )


Monday, May 30, 2011

61 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman Look to the Future

Chapter Sixty One

My vampire wedding? Is that what Eric was proposing?

Was this meant to supersede my human wedding or was it merely to establish a continuation of our prior commitment? Was his renewed vows idea a reaction to his walking out on me, or was this something he planned on doing all along?

A vampire marriage lasted for a hundred years and had very liberal boundaries. The couple only had to spend one night a year together if they chose. This made powerful alliances possible without forcing the vampires involved to spend time together neither one enjoyed.

Surely Eric didn't want a vampire marriage arrangement. He probably believed, as all vampires seemed to, that a vampire is an entirely different being than a human. Maybe that required a fresh start to his way of thinking.

He would want to marry the vampire me, believing the human me to be a goner.

I just couldn't think of it that way. I saw my new vampire body as a continuation, a modification of my human self, no different than getting extreme plastic surgery or a new body organ. I would still be me, just in a more indestructible package.

Wouldn't I?

"We'll see. It's good I don't have to slap something together. I'm going to need time to plan this out," I said, not wanting to drag the girls into my doubts and fears about Turning.

That included not only what it would do to me but also what it would do to my relationship with Eric. It was a good sign he wanted to marry me all over again, even if it was to fix things in place once I became Vampire.

The plans were going to have to go on the back burner for now. I couldn't go to Extremely Elegant Events for an event planner, not if Quinn still worked there. I did not want one single thing to do with John Quinn. I planned on checking out his accusations against vampires to show myself that what he believed was impossible and wrong.

"Maybe Anna Hita could perform the ceremony," Charlaine suggested.

"Yeah, we missed the first one," Linda laughed.

"I think she's away for now, we'll have to see if she's back in time to officiate," I said.

The day passed quickly with my three lively daughters. Adele had to take several phone calls from her patients. She had left them with the phone number for Dr. Ludwig's clinic, but most of her patients would rather deal with the kind and lovely Adele instead of the grumpy over worked Dr. Ludwig.

After a particularly long call Adele came back inside and told us, "Another whack-a-mole with a migraine. I keep telling them to switch jobs but they insist there's nothing else they are qualified to do. It's really frustrating. I don't see what people get out of bopping them in the head with a hammer."

After Eric rose we went to Charlaine's studio to see the sculptures she was currently working on. I recognized a bust of Nickola Tesla she had almost completed.

"This is terrific, Char!" I said. "It looks just like your old teacher. Are you doing this from memory?"

Charlaine looked uneasy. "Not really. It's a commission, a present from his significant other. I'm not really free to discuss my patrons, I hope you understand."

It seemed even sculptresses had secrets to keep. "That's fine, honey. It's a wonderful likeness. You are very gifted."

That night Eric and Darren went to Darren's office building to look at the innovations his computer company was developing. When they returned Eric told me that he was impressed with the things Darren had accomplished and he thought we would be wise to invest in the new computer line.

I was glad to help out Charlaine by helping out Darren. I sincerely hoped that the Lacertus computers would be a world wide success. Even more so if they could move the company to Louisiana.

We spent a pleasant evening together. Adele outlined how she planned on studying and testing the yara-ma-yha-who, which we had now shortened to "yawhoo" and the repellent which we referred to as who-juice.

"I have to mix the ingredients on the spot," Adele said. "It only retains its potency for a few hours."

"What will you do once it fizzles out?" Linda asked.

"I'll mix up a new batch. It uses really cheap ingredients so if I have to dump it out and start over, no problem," Adele said breezily.

I was glad Eric was going to be along to keep an eye on her. She would be vulnerable while she was mixing up a new batch of who juice. I had no idea how strong, tricky or resourceful the yawhoos were, but their description was frightening.

They had been described by those few fortunate folks that had seen one and lived as a little red man with a very big head and large mouth with no teeth. On the ends of its hands and feet were suckers. The suckers were what was used to drain all the blood from their victims.

Eric had heard of them but he felt no more a kin to the Australian and New Zealand tree dwelling blood suckers than he felt to a mosquito or a leech. He was interested to see how the suckers worked.

I just found the whole idea to be disgusting, the way they dropped on an unsuspecting victim and attached themselves with their blood suckers. I hoped Eric would be able to pry one loose if it did appear and land on our daughter.

To be perfectly honest, I was counting on the yawhoo not showing up at all. They were few and far between, the odds that one would appear on demand was pretty slim. I was looking forward to our trip as an excursion to see the New Zealand flora and fauna and spending time with my family.

That night, when we were alone, I asked Eric what he had done to get Tony Soprano to leave all of a sudden. He told me he would tell me when we went on our camping trip. That was because he was in the mood for love and didn't want to waste precious time talking when he could be playing "poke her", a joking term Pam made up one time when Eric didn't answer his phone.

The next day Charlaine told me she was going to have to back out of the trip. She was still worried about her pregnancy and didn't want to risk riding over the bumpy roads that led to the Waipoua Forest.

She was also back-logged with work and felt her time could be better spent in her studio. The most important reason, I believed, was that Darren wasn't going to come along on the trip. His projects were reaching the critical point where he had to be there to give hands-on guidance. I was disappointed but hid it from Char, not wanting her to feel bad about her decision.

As soon as Linda learned Charlaine wasn't going she wanted to stay with Charlaine. I knew she loved her sister. I also knew she liked all the comforts of home. Linda was always the one that complained on camping trips, no matter how comfortable we tried to make them. She probably wanted to make phone calls and get her hair and nails done too.

I half expected Adele to give up her plan to see a yawhoo but she was determined to go ahead with the trip. I packed a small overnight bag for me and one for Eric and reminded Adele to be sure and pack the ingredients for her who-juice.

Eric drove the RV with one elbow sticking out the window enjoying the mild spring night. The trip up the coast line was wonderful and we were in high spirits. Since only the three of us were going we took the biggest RV and left the other one behind. We found a nice campsite and parked, hooking up the RV to the electricity and water the camp provided.

We played chess until all the other campers were quiet, then we got ready to go out and find the old tree. Adele and I smeared ourselves liberally with bug repellent, we sprayed our jackets with it too. I had heard that the New Zealand mosquitoes were nothing to fool around with.

Using Eric's vampire super night vision we followed him down a surprisingly wide and well kept trail. There was a wooden sign next to the trail pointing the way to the tree. We heard a bird call in the distance. Adele and I had flashlights set on low so we wouldn't attract attention to our illegal night time entrance to the park.

"Kiwi," Adele whispered. She had gotten a set of tapes that played local bird songs so she would know them from the call of the yawhoo.

We walked on a bit further and saw a sign saying there was wheelchair access to the tree. My hiking boots, walking stick, khaki jacket, loaded back pack and camouflage jungle hat seemed to be overkill for this easy walk. I had pictured us slashing our way through thick undergrowth to get to the tree Adele wanted.

After a pleasant fifteen minute stroll down a wide well-kept path we came to a large dark green sign that said, "Te Matua Ngahere - second largest kauri tree".

Gran could have walked here in her Sunday heels. It was hard to believe an exotic blood sucking night creature might drop down from the huge tree. All the ground vegetation seemed to be ferns of every shape and size. I went to Eric and put my hand on his arm. He was wearing a plain black tee shirt with the sleeves cut out over black jeans. In the darkness he looked like disembodied white arms and a floating pale face.

"Have you ever been here before?" I whispered to him.

Eric had been just about everywhere in the world it seemed to me. He had led a busy adventurous life and met peoples from many lands. That was something I was a little jealous of. I hoped that once I Turned I could begin to see the world too.

He shook his head no.

He helped Adele off with her back pack. She took out bags of herbs and a spray bottle, a bottle of water, her yawhoo call and some pinkish ointment in a reused olive jar. She began to smear the ointment on her arms.

"What's that?" I whispered.

"It's the pulp of the lampeira fig, said to attract the yawhoo," she said quietly. "I don't know if it will work."

I hoped it wouldn't work but I didn't say that of course.

Eric seemed relaxed so he wasn't sensing anything dangerous nearby. He picked up the jar of fig pulp and smelled it, then dipped his finger in it and tasted it, a very odd thing for him to do.

"All right, I'll give a holler if I need you guys," she said. She handed Eric a walkie talkie.

"We're not going to stay here?" I asked him. I had pictured us crouched a little ways off keeping in visual contact with Adele.

"It would not be wise," he said. "Let us go back to the RV and wait."

We did just that, walking hand in hand down the beautifully maintained trail in the moonlight.

more to come .....(Howdy Maidens of Darkness - Once again I thank you very much for your helpful and interesting comments, they are appreciated. Thank you for paying such close attention to the events in the story, it's humbling and I'm very grateful for it.

- Eric had the book since last years Father's Day, that's in June. Since this is the fall back in the States he has had the book for over a year to read it and absorb all the information.

Since I only know what Sookie knows I don't know when he got the ring or what opportunity he took to speak to his daughters, maybe when Sookie was out of the room he texted them to get their opinions.

Anonymous Z - You didn't miss the talk when Sookie told her daughters she was going to Turn. There was a gap of several years between this story and the last. Sometime during those years she made up her mind and told her daughters.)


Sunday, May 29, 2011

60 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman Look to the Future

Chapter Sixty

The sun seemed different as it streamed through the window the next day, brighter and more golden.

After I washed up I noticed the water swirled around in the commode the opposite way but I suspected it was because the way the plumbing was constructed and not from the rotation of the earth as I had been taught as a girl. I think I learned the truth from a TV show.

As I dressed I realized that I had been so carried away last night with Eric's many manly charms that I had forgotten to ask him how the heck he got King Soprano to take off right away. I made a mental note to ask him tonight.

Swirling water notwithstanding, New Zealand had many exotic elements that let me know I was far from Shreveport. The scents of the flowers and the calls of the birds were unfamiliar to me. I stood outside on the walkway between the guest house and the main house and soaked in the sun and the springtime atmosphere.

All three girls were in the black and chrome kitchen of the main house having coffee and talking. They admired my new ring and kidded me a little about their father carrying me off. I changed the topic by asking about how the house was decorated and what Charlaine still wanted to do to the place. She had big plans and was eager to talk about them.

After a breakfast of fruit and toast Charlaine took me and her sisters for a walk around her property. We saw a black bird with white tufts on its throat singing up a storm. It was a tui singing in a kowhai tree. As we watched it drank the nectar from the bell shaped yellow flowers.

Charlaine had lots of flowering kowhai and a stand of silver birch trees. She pointed out a North Island robin called a toutouwai and a gorgeous little green bird with an orange forehead.

"That's an orange-fronted parakeet called a kākāriki," she said.

"This is a beautiful place to raise a baby," Linda said once we were back inside and having more coffee and little chocolate oat cookies.

I made sure to eat several under Adele's watchful eye. She had commented more than once on how much weight I'd lost. It made me self conscious to have her think I was getting too thin.

"Shreveport is beautiful too," Adele pointed out. I think she missed Charlaine being home most of all.

"I love it here but I know I'm going to wish I was back home when the baby is born. Darren is looking into moving his whole company to Louisiana. It won't be quick and it might not be possible at all. I can sculpt anywhere," Charlaine said while putting out fruit and nuts for us.

"It was a good thing Daddy knew how nefarious King Soprano is," Adele said, helping herself to a bowl of fresh fruit cocktail. "He might have prevented Darren from making a serious mistake."

"Darren has a lot to learn about the way vampires do business," Charlaine said.

She had a ruffled apron on over her sunny yellow jogging suit, reminding me of Gran fussing around the kitchen making breakfast for whoever showed up at her table.

"I hope Darren wasn't too shocked about the abrupt way our evening ended," I said to Charlaine. While the girls were used to the ways of a vampire father I didn't think Darren was prepared for the intensity of Eric's response to me. "We got kind of carried away."

"Oh Darren said that he hoped he still had that kind of passion when he and I were married as long as you and Daddy. He said ..." here she stopped and blushed, realizing that her mouth had gone on ahead of her mind.

"What? What did he say?" Linda insisted on knowing. Linda was eating all the cashews like always.

Charlaine laughed. "He said he wished he had the .. er ..nerve .. to just pick me up and carry me off when he was in the mood," she said, substituting the word "nerve" for some other less polite word I bet.

"Leave a few cashews for someone else," Adele scolded Linda. "Mom, here, have some," and she put some on my dish.

I ate a couple of nuts to show her I wasn't starving myself.

It was so nice having all the girls together like this.

"Where are you and Daddy going to renew your vows?" Linda asked me.

"I just found out we were going to renew them last night, I haven't had a chance to think about it," I said.

That reminded me, I had a question for them. "Did one of you suggest this idea to him?"

"Actually, he brought it up. He was reading "Humans of Present Day North America" and he came across the idea. He asked us if we thought it would be something you would want to do," Adele said.

The girls had gotten him the whole "Humans" collection for Father's Day last year. It was a series of books written especially for vampires that had photos, customs, religious beliefs, cultural observances, just about anything a vampire might need to know to live harmoniously among humans in any land. I had found the "Humans of Present Day Asia-Pacific" to be fascinating reading. It might do a lot of humans some good to find out about how other cultures live, not just vampires.

"It was very sweet of him," I said. "We'll have to come up with something pretty quick, I don't have a lot of time left before I Turn."

The girls looked at each other confused. Linda said, "Mom, Daddy wants to have the ceremony after you Turn and adjust to your new body. You have plenty of time to find the right place for your vampire wedding."

more to come .....(Greetings Midnight Trysters - I really appreciate the thought and effort you took to write a comment. I also appreciate the support. It makes me happy all day and night.)


Saturday, May 28, 2011

59 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman Look to the Future

Chapter Fifty Nine

"Sookie," Eric said, standing up gracefully and coming over to me.

His calm face had a certain intensity that alerted me he was going to say something important.

He took my hands and gently brought me to my feet. "I know that you have been through a very difficult time lately ..."

"We," I corrected, looking up at him. "We have been through a difficult time. It was hard for me but it was no picnic for you either. You may not recall what happened while you were away but I know you missed me every bit as much as I missed you."

He smiled at me and hugged me. "So like you to think about me, about my happiness. That is one of the many many qualities that make you special. I chose well when I chose you to be my wife. I want to reaffirm that choice."

He got down on one knee in front of me. I felt my cheeks flash hot with a blush of shock and emotion.

I looked at my daughters, they were all on their feet. The three of them were standing together grinning. Darren stood next to Charlaine with the odd looking two-lensed camera to his eyes filming this moment.

All of them knew what was happening. This must have been something Eric planned with them. Eric looked at our audience too and Adele smiled at him, making a circling "go ahead" movement with her hand.

He spoke up to me in a loud clear voice. "Of all the stars in the heavens you are the brightest, my guiding light. Please do me the honor of reaffirming and renewing our wedding vows. I want everyone to know that you and you alone are the love of my life. Most important I want you to know it. Do you, wife of my blood? Do you know in your heart of hearts that you are my one true love?"

Did I know that?

Yes. If I knew anything in this life it was that Eric loved me, needed me, wanted me from the bottom of his heart.

"Yes, Eric. I do know beyond any doubt that you love me as much as I love you."

He smiled at that, then looked down frowning. He looked back up at me, his face troubled by doubt.

In an uncertain almost-whisper he asked me, "Tell me truthfully, if you had it to do over again, knowing what you know now, would you ever have accepted that first date with me?"

This was something he hadn't rehearsed. He was talking to me as if we were alone.

That was a question I had never asked myself. I asked it now. Would I have hitched my wagon to a vampire if I had my druthers? No. Not any vampire. But Eric, with all that I knew him to be, the answer was a resounding yes.

"I don't have any flowery way to say it. Yes, I would date you, marry you and have your children all over again. I wouldn't change a thing about us."

Eric smiled up at me, a smile so genuinely happy and beautiful it went straight into my heart like a ray of heavenly light. He kissed my hand. "Thank you," was all he said, resting his cool lips against my hand.

After a few moments had passed Adele whispered loudly, "The ring."

Eric reached in his pants pocket and took out a small box. He was back to using the tone of voice that told me he had rehearsed this part too. "Please accept this as a token of my adoration and loyalty." He held up the box to me and I took it with shaking hands.

I looked in Eric's glowing blue eyes as I opened the box. This display of emotion was so unlike Eric. Reaffirming wedding vows was not in the vampire pantheon of behavior. This was something he had learned married humans do and was offering it to me, trying to bridge the gap between his vampire culture and my human one. Had one of my girls suggested this to him?

Inside the box was a ring set with a dazzling pink stone. It flashed rainbows of fire with the tiniest movement. The gold setting was a wide plain band, just the kind of ring I liked.

"This is beautiful!" I gasped. "What kind of stone is this?"

He took the ring from the box and placed it on the ring finger of my right hand. It fit perfectly. "It is a pink diamond. The color reminded me of the way you glowed the night you conceived our daughters."

I brought him to his feet and hugged him. I got a quick look at Darren and saw his shocked expression. Since he didn't understand what my conception had been like he must have been imagining the pink glow Eric was referring to was the after effects of good sex. Oh well. I wasn't about to explain about my fairy pouch to Darren right now.

Eric kissed me with all his vampire might and that was really something. His fangs popped out and my legs just about turned to jelly. This proposing stuff really turned him on. Me too. We might have to work it into our secret sex life along with his Dracula cape, his leather kilt and Viking sword, my naughty nurse uniform and my diamond tiara.

The girls applauded, Adele said, "Way to go, Daddy!"

Eric stared into my eyes with a fiery blue intensity that meant only one thing. His fangs stayed out.

"We'll be saying goodnight now," I said to them, realizing that Eric was single minded when he got like this. I could feel my cheeks turning red as pokers.

"G'nite Mom," my girls said, used to our sometimes abrupt departures.

Eric focused on me with the unwavering concentration of a vampire. I had trained him decades ago not to ravish me on the spot. He was holding back.

I nodded to him. He swept me up in his big arms and carried me to the french doors.

On the way out of the house I called over his broad shoulder, "Goodnight every one. Thank you for a lovely evening." It was the closest I was going to come to a polite fare-thee-well.

My daughters were smiling. They liked the way Eric and I carried on because it was a sign their parents still loved each other and were in a solid union. Darren was still gawking open mouthed, his fancy camera hanging from his hand at his side probably filming the floor in 3-D. Linda waved at me.

Eric brought me directly to the bed and placed me down gently. Then he closed the front curtains, locked the door, turned out the light and floated down on top of me, light as a feather, his weight gradually increasing as he kissed me into swirling ecstasy.

In the New Zealand darkness Eric said, "I hunger for you.' Then he added, "Kei te aroha au i a koe."

more to come .....(Hello Ladies of the Night! I hope you are enjoying your weekend.

I love to read what you think and your speculations. I smile to myself when you are guessing right and I smile to myself when you are guessing wrong because it's hard to stay one step ahead of such smart readers.

Thanks for all you have done for my budding writing ambition.)


Friday, May 27, 2011

58 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman Look to the Future

Chapter Fifty Eight

A moment of silence followed Darren's rude refusal, then he signed, "Just kidding. I would love to show you what we're doing and have you on board if you want. Thank you for helping us and giving us your input."

He sat back, a curl of his thick hair falling over his forehead and smiled impishly at his father-in-law.

Eric, unsmiling, regarded him steadily for a second then he laughed big time, head thrown back, his unfanged white teeth flashing.

He liked the joke. It was a good sign that Darren was comfortable enough with Eric to kid around with him. Eric's laughter made me think about his human days when he must have laughed like that with his men, perhaps after a flagon of mead or two.

My husband could be intimidating. I was glad Darren treated him like a family member not a scary presence, a vampire relative he had to walk on eggshells around.

Once Eric laughed we all laughed at the joke, then Charlaine invited us into the living room area to sit and talk. She had a wood burning fireplace with the makings of a fire already laid. Darren put a long match to the neat pile of paper and wood and the fire took off. Nyree, coming from the kitchen, offered us drinks. Linda and Adele had wine, Darren, Charlaine and I had decaffeinated coffee.

I noticed my three girls wore lovely outfits, each in their favorite colors. Adele had on an orange pant suit with satin lapels and pant cuffs. Charlaine had on a light lavender A-line dress with a jeweled neckline, Linda wore a baby blue strapless dress with a glittering bolero jacket in silver. Even Darren had on a nice brown suit and expensive looking tie.

"I wish I brought a camera," I said. "You all look so nice tonight."

"We have a camera," Charlaine said. "I was pretty sure we were going to want it tonight."

"I'm going to film this in 3-D," Darren said, picking up a strange long camera with two lenses like binoculars on one end and a viewer on the other. He turned it on and panned it around at our family group.

"You-all don't expect to see us for a long time or something?" I asked, suddenly worried.

Would my Turning make me an outcast in my own family? Were Darren and Charlaine moving to an even more remote location - like the dark side of the moon?

"No, we just wanted to make sure we had a record of this special occasion," Linda said.

What special occasion? The fact that we were all together? Or our first meeting after Eric's return and the child on the way?

Before I could ask there was a persistent ding ding ding on a table phone in the corner of the living room. The phone also had a screen and keyboard like a laptop. A big red revolving light, very bright, flashed and reflected off every shiny surface in the room.

"Please excuse Darren. That's his phone, he has a call," Charlaine said.

That was clever. The strobing flashing light would let Darren know the phone was ringing if Charlaine wasn't here to tell him. The screen would let him read the lips of the person calling and the keyboard would allow Darren to write his reply.

I tried not to pry but I saw King Soprano on the screen talking. He seemed almost jolly as he talked and shrugged. He used his hands as he talked to help him express himself but he was using the sign language of the Italians - shrugs, fingers bunched and waving and so on.

I think it was the excess weight on King Soprano that made him seem jolly. If you looked only at his eyes, set into his puffy white face like raisins in rising bread dough, they were dead, veiled and dangerous. The big man exuded menace while smiling and seeming affable.

I was so glad Eric had stepped in. How on earth did he get the King of New Jersey to cancel what would have been a lucrative business venture after King Soprano went to the time and trouble to travel for hours and hours to get here?

Darren returned and signed, "That was Mr. Soprano. He has suddenly and unexpectedly been called away. He wasn't clear about when he would return. I warned him that I was raising money right now and had other investors coming by. He seemed to regard this as some kind of hustle of mine to squeeze venture capitol out of him. I could tell he thought that his money would be just as green a few weeks from now as it was tonight."

Eric said, "Typical mentality of one that is dishonest, they believe everyone around them to be dishonest."

Eric had taken a psychology class years ago and came away with lots of gems of wisdom like this. Or maybe this was knowledge gleaned from all his years of observing human and vampire nature.

"Sorry for the interruption," Charlaine said to us once Darren sat back down next to her.

I was sitting in a flowered wing chair, one of the few pieces of furniture in the house that was not modern. Eric was sandwiched between Linda and Adele on the low backed lime green sofa.

Charlaine and Darren were snuggled on the angular white leather love seat, a fitting place for them. It was obvious they were still crazy about each other, more than ever now that Charlaine was with child.

We told Charlaine about Eric's rescue, then discussed our upcoming trip to the national forest. We would be traveling in RV's to reserved campsites that would give us the night time access to the park Adele needed. I wasn't sure that it was strictly allowed for us to be roaming around the park at night. Fortunately we would have Eric there to help us keep under the park ranger's radar.

We had tonight and tomorrow night here at Charlaine's house then the following night we were all going north to stay near Waipoua Forest so Adele could study the feeding habits of the yara-ma-yha-who and try out her yara-ma-yha-who repellent. She just called it Who Juice.

The second largest kauri tree in New Zealand, Te Matua Ngahere, thought to be from 2,000 to 3,000 years old, would be a good place for her to stake out an area and wait. She would attract the yara-ma-yha-who with an extract made from figs and use a hand made yara-ma-yha-who call, a wooden tube with a crescent shaped reed in it that, when blown into hard enough, made a prolonged strangled hooting that ended in a squeal. It was hard on the ears, but it sounded like nothing I had ever heard before.

Darren talked a little more about his computer company, then Charlaine and the girls discussed the merits of both boy babies and girls babies, possible names and how the nursery was to be decorated.

Eric and I made eye contact as the three of them chatted away like magpies, reaping the rewards of raising three happy healthy girls to maturity. Eric's eyes told me he loved me, my eyes told him the same thing. Our smiling eyes high-fived each other.

"Now we can do what we all came here to do." Charlaine said once our plans were firm. She winked at Eric.

What had we all come here to do? Visit? Or something else? Was she talking about our trip to the national forest?

more to come ......(Greetings Fanpires! Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving a comment when possible. Your company is a joy and a comfort.

I too have had periodic trouble posting so I'm really glad things are running smoothly right now. Thanks for persevering.

For those of you having a long weekend I wish you fun and safety. I'll be here as usual.)


Thursday, May 26, 2011

57 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman Look to the Future

Chapter Fifty Seven

As we left the guest house I thanked Tameti for his services. Actually I had forgotten he was stationed outside our door until I laid eyes on the big fella. Eric stopped and I introduced him to Tameti.

"Tena koe, kia ora, Tameti," Eric said.

Tameti grinned, "Kei te pehea koe?"

Eric smiled back, putting his arm around me. "Tino pai," he answered.

They both said "Ka kite ano" to each other as we parted.

"You can speak Maori?" I asked, astounded.

"Yes, a few words. I learned a little Maori in the 1860's when I was guarding gold shipments for the Scandinavian Company in Otago. The Maori are warriors and worthy of respect. If we have the chance we should see a kapa haka. Tameti looks like one of the dancers."

"You're right, he is a dancer. What did you say to each other?" I asked, stopping on Charlaine's unlit patio to look through her uncurtained French doors and enjoy the sight of my three lovely daughters talking and laughing in the brightly illuminated great room while Darren tried to keep up with their conversation by lip reading, his head turning rapidly back and forth like someone watching a three way tennis match.

Standing there in the dark, hearing the strange night bird calls, the gentle spring wind whispering in the large old pōhutukawa trees surrounding the grounds, I had a sense of peace and well being I hadn't had since the night Eric left. My little family was all together with a new member on the way. Eric was home and my life was back on track. Life felt good.

"We simply greeted each other. He asked me how it was going and I said it was going very good. It is going very good, is it not, wife of my blood?" Eric asked, bringing his lips to mine.

He kissed me and the world stood still. Time and place faded away until I was so lost in his kiss I would have needed a map and guide to get back.

"Ahem," Adele said loudly, standing in the main house doorway, her hand on her hip.

A map and guide, or a hungry daughter.

"Are you two going to stand out here making out all night? Some of us want to eat," she grumped in a playful way.

She held the doors open wide for us. As we entered the house the smell of roast beef and coffee hit me. I realized I was very hungry. I had lost even more weight while Eric was gone, I had to admit I had reached the lowest weight that would be comfortable for me.

After Eric and Darren greeted each other we all sat at the large oval carved black beech wood table and drooled over the fantastic meal prepared by Charlaine's part time cook Nyree.

It was some of the best roast beef I ever ate. Linda had a tofu omelet and we all had potatoes, crisp salad and a fruity molded dessert made with kiwi and pineapple. Eric didn't eat but we were used to that. Would I, as a vampire woman, become used to watching others wolf down fabulous food while I ate and drank nothing? I suppose so. I did that now with my diet, although tonight I pulled out all the stops and ate until I was stuffed. I was celebrating my husband's homecoming and my first grandchild.

While we ate I steered Darren around to talking about his business. I was still worried about the presence of the King of New Jersey.

He signed, "I have some big deals in the offing and the backers are starting to come around."

Charlaine spoke out loud the words Darren was signing so we could all understand what he was saying. Linda and Adele could understand most of his rapid signing but I couldn't. I could follow if he went very slowly and spelled out some words because I didn't know the signs for many words yet. Since Charlaine and Darren had moved to New Zealand my limited skills had gotten rusty. I would need to practice with Linda at home to keep up, I resolved.

"Do you need many backers?" I asked him, making sure I was facing him so he could read my lips.

"Only a few, otherwise it will become too complicated," he signed and laughed. He laughed silently, his handsome boyish face looking even younger.

Eric asked, "Is one of your backers from America? Did he arrive today?"

Darren hadn't expected Eric to say anything so he hadn't been looking at his mouth. Charlaine signed quickly, drawing Darren's attention to the question her father had asked and telling Darren what Eric asked.

Darren looked at Eric, surprised. "Yes. He wants to see about using the special capabilities of our new computers with his online entertainment business."

"If the man is Tony Soprano then I must warn you to stay away from him. He is a dangerous mob boss. His entertainment business is the lowest kind of degrading pornography, the kind you would never want your child-to-be to see. His money comes poisoned with his desire to take over and eventually control your operation for his gain," Eric said to him slowly.

Darren looked shocked. Then he frowned. "Thanks for the heads up. That's just the kind of investor I want to avoid. I hope I can back out of our appointment tomorrow night without setting him off."

Charlaine took Darren's hand in hers. She looked worried, not good for a pregnant woman. I knew that stress could affect the developing child if it was severe or prolonged.

"Do you want me to help?" Eric asked him, glancing at Charlaine.

Eric seldom interfered or offered to interfere in the business of others. I knew he was doing this to head off any problem Charlaine and Darren might have in the future.

"Definitely. I would appreciate it. He's a vampire like you," Darren signed.

"He is a vampire but he is nothing like me," Eric said, his blue eyes looking steely. "Please excuse me while I make a call."

Eric left the table and went out to the patio to make his call. I wondered who he was calling. Who would be powerful enough to drag the King of New Jersey away from a potential gold mine of an investment opportunity?

Eric came back a few minutes later and sat down at the table. I looked at him questioningly. He was not used to explaining himself but he knew how curious I was about things.

He said, "It is done. Tony Soprano will be called away immediately and in his absence you can acquire all the backing you need from legitimate sources. I would like to see what you are working on and perhaps invest in your new computer, if that would be acceptable."

I was surprised. Eric was very cautious with his investments and had advisers who guided him. Any adviser to a vampire, especially one as ancient and powerful as Eric Northman, would have to be either very competent or a suicidal fool. Vampires were notoriously touchy about their wealth.

Darren appeared to think about this proposal. Then he frowned, shook his head and signed, "No way. I would not accept your money."

After translating, Charlaine gasped at the insult, turning to stare at her husband. We all looked at Darren, shocked.

Eric's calm faced clouded over.

more to come .....(Terrific Thursday All! I hope to answer all questions and wrap up all plots by the end of the story. Glad I can keep you guessing, it's not easy when the readers are as smart and inventive as you are! Thanks for leaving a comment even though it doesn't always post. Your perseverance is an admirable trait.)


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

56 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman Look to the Future

Chapter Fifty Six

I was delighted to hear and see how well Charlaine was doing. Aside from the sporadic bouts of morning sickness, which in her case could hit at any time not just morning, she was radiant with joy.

Having a child of her own, a baby, had been her heart's dream as a little girl. Now her dream was coming true. Darren couldn't treat her any better and his computer business was thriving. He was now involved in starting up his own search engine, the reason he was working such long hours these past few weeks.

The special twist to his idea was that the search engine, prototype name DDDennison, could only be used on the Lacertus computers he manufactured. The DDDennison search engine was capable of generating holographic 3-D images that turned 360 degrees on a rotating image pad that came with the computer.

The idea had evolved from watching how Charlaine planned a sculpture, how many bites of information her mind needed to consolidate all aspects of a client's anatomy into one coherent 360 degree image.

That reminded me of Eric's idea to do the sculpture of Ailine's vagina dentata using a camera image so Charlaine wouldn't have to come into contact with Ailine or her demon minion Stuart.

Charlaine's eyes got bigger and bigger as I talked. She jumped in even before I was able to explain what my fears were if she should meet with Ailine in person.

"Mom, that's a stellar plan! We can use Darren's 3-D imaging technology to not only to capture and sculpt the image but to make a hologram of the sculpture available to every store that sells or carries our computer line. It would be a fantastic way to launch the sale of the Lacertus 3000."

I saw the color rise in Charlaine's cheeks, a sure sign she was excited by the idea. I didn't want to squash it however I pointed out, "Of course the image would be only for adults."

"Naturally. We would have other family friendly images rated E for Everyone. But think of the possibilities for both art and entertainment. It sure wouldn't hurt my career any to have some of my sculptures seen by more people."

"Good thing you've got talent," Adele said.

She was sitting next to Char rubbing her sister's back, something Charlaine always liked since sculpting put such a strain on her upper back muscles. I was glad to see how nurturing Linda and Adele were towards their pregnant sibling.

"Can the 3-D images be taken of anyone?" Linda asked. "I wouldn't mind a great big old hologram of Jure to look at whenever I wanted."

The three girls laughed in a wicked way. What did they talk about when I wasn't listening?

Did I really want to know?


"You make a good point. Soon we will have cameras that can take holographic images available for the public too. Of course the pictures will only be down-loadable to the Lacertus," Charlaine said.

After a second Charlaine frowned. "I'm not really supposed to be telling this to anyone. You will keep it strictly secret won't you? Until all the patents are locked up and the 3-D computer line is released for sale we always have to be careful some rival isn't going to steal our ideas."

We all swore ourselves to utmost secrecy. The memory of King Tony Soprano on the plane with us kept flashing through my mind.

Could his visit here to a land so far from his native New Jersey have anything to do with the development of the hottest computer development in years? I wouldn't doubt it. The Vampire Mob had its tentacles dipped into everything and they spread all over the globe. My baby and her husband were going to need more security.

I didn't want to alarm Charlaine with my fears, I would speak to Eric first.

That private conversation with Eric would take place much later that evening. First we had our visit with Charlaine and dinner with her and our son-in-law to enjoy.

After Eric rose from his titanium travel container he showered and dressed in his new gray gabardine dress slacks, his snow white silk shirt and highly polished brown leather loafers without socks.

He picked up his good alligator belt with the gold buckle, studied it, frowned, and chose the brown leather one instead. That was probably in deference to the fact that Darren was a were-alligator. For Eric to wear the alligator belt would be like Darren wearing a necklace made of vampire fangs. Not good for harmonious relations between the supes.

He fussed with his hair, making sure it was neatly pulled back, then splashed on the cologne I loved - Midnight Rendezvous - the one that went so well with his natural woodsy vampire scent. While he dressed I told him about how well Charlaine was doing and about Darren's latest developments in his computer business.

I finished my hair style with a velvet hairband and dabbed on some lipstick, watching Eric's progress in the mirror. He came over and zipped up the back of my tangerine cotton sundress, running his cool fingers over my back slowly and sensuously as he zipped. I was going to need my white wool shrug to keep warm if I was planning on spending any time outside. I slipped my feet in my black velvet flats that matched the black velvet belt on my dress and my hairband.

I turned around and looked at him.

"You look great," I commented. "Are we going somewhere special tonight?"

I thought we were all having a quiet dinner with Charlaine and Darren but maybe the plans had changed and I didn't know about it.

"No, I just wanted to look especially debonair. Have I succeeded?"

He turned around slowly so I could admire him from all angles. All angles were certainly worth admiring, especially the rear view. That man could fill out the back of a pair of slacks like nobody's business. Woo woo.

"You are the most handsome man in the world," I told him, hugging him carefully so I didn't get any make up on his dazzlingly white shirt.

"My appearance, all that I am, is only for you. You do know that?" he asked me, lifting my chin so he was looking into my eyes.

I sensed that he was uneasy, maybe even embarrassed about being abducted by the elf Queen. I hadn't acted angry at him or blamed him in any way when he returned but he still behaved like he was on shaky ground with me. Maybe he was afraid I would change my mind about Turning or that my old bugaboo jealousy would raise its ugly green head.

Perhaps he was just upset by being forced to act like a scoundrel towards me, something he would not have done if he had control of his mind. In our quiet talks after his return he had wanted me to tell him every hurtful word he had said, every cruel nuance in his voice. It seemed he was fascinated to learn all about the cold unfeeling side of himself.

He had wanted me to tell him in detail how I grieved then how I coped and found him. It had been remarkably therapeutic telling him how angry and sad I had been, how much I hated him until I realized that he was not acting under his own volition.

There was still a residual emotionally bruised feeling I carried in my heart from the trauma of his leaving, the coldness of his disregard for me. I placed the blame for that all on Ailine, where it belonged. I hoped my alienation of affection lawsuit was for a million trillion dollars in pain and suffering, that would barely cover it.

I wanted the trial to clear the air and bring closure to a hurtful episode in our relationship. I loved Eric as much as ever but his absence and what I learned caused me to step back and consider him from a more objective standpoint.

Maybe vampires did just up and leave their entire lives sometimes without a word of fare-thee-well. Maybe that could happen to Eric and me. Maybe Eric was part of some big evil global plot for vampires to take over the world, though that seemed the more far fetched of the two disturbing things I had learned while he was away.

I still had not told him about my meeting with Quinn though I had mentioned Bill's helpfulness on the phone and his polite visit to my door. I was going to tell Eric about talking with Quinn, but I wasn't sure what kind of spin I would put on it.

I had a reluctance to mention the Day of the Dead stuff with Eric though for the life of me I couldn't explain why. Maybe I just needed to snoop around a little more and find out what was going on at the Research Center before I brought up my questions.

I reassured Eric again that I knew he loved me, that he had not been unfaithful to me in any way with Ailine. Our relationship was stronger than ever. That was all true.

I didn't tell him our relationship was stronger because I was now stronger in my knowledge that I couldn't count on Eric being with me one hundred percent and I couldn't count on knowing everything that Eric was involved in one hundred percent. Nothing in this notoriously imperfect world was one hundred percent, I needed to remember that.

With my eyes wide open I took his large cool hand and we went to join our daughters and son-in-law for dinner in the main house.

more to come .....(I got home early today so I thought I would post while things on Blogger were running smoothly. Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving a comment. Your kindness warms my heart.)


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

55 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman Look to the Future

Chapter Fifty Five

Eric did something he hadn't done in a long time. He took off his cherished Dracula ring.

After a long moment he unscrewed the jar lid and plopped it in the evil looking solution. Then he took the jar with the ring clinking around inside to his safe room and locked it up for the time we would be away. The house could blow up, heaven forbid, but the safe room with the ring inside it would remain intact.

He treasured that ring, a reproduction of the one in the movie fashioned after the herald of the Dracula family. Heavy, gold, with a blood red carnelian stone inlaid with an elaborate gold "D" crest, it had been given to me by a mystery vampire that appeared to me as Bela Lugosi as he had looked in his Dracula role, though I knew that was just an illusion, a trick played on my glamoured mind.

What this vampire type being looked like in reality was not known. I'm not sure I even wanted to know. The impression I got was that the being was not human and not even vampire, in the sense I knew of them. It wasn't a Neanderthal vampire like Lingza either. It was a third kind of vampire - I thought of him as Vampire X.

When we got back the bespelled ring would make Eric immune from the beguilement of blue elves. At least that was what Amelia intended when she enchanted the weird glowing solution. I had a lot more faith in Amelia's abilities these days. I hoped to test the ring out before the trial but there might not be time. I trusted Merry and the Narlock girls not to abuse their power around Eric, just in case the ring turned out to be ineffective.

We didn't think we would run into any aberrant blue elves in New Zealand so Eric and I felt safe leaving the ring at home. We picked up Linda and Adele along the way to the airport. Kinnan followed us with his car to bring all our luggage. None of the Stackhouse women traveled light.

On the long flight Eric and I sat together talking about the time he was gone, how sad and shocked I had been and how happy I was to have him back. We talked until he needed to get into his travel container, then the girls and I chatted. At some point the droning of the plane, the heat and my natural need for sleep kicked in and I slept during the last three hours of our sixteen hour flight.

There were only four other people besides my family on the flight, three of them were armed guards in sharply tailored black suits, thin ties and sunglasses, prison-tough men watching out for the safety of their ruler.

The armed guards were a specialized type of hobgoblin called Goons. Goons took orders without question and were fine with killing whoever whenever it was asked of them. The drawback was that they were as dumb as a box of hammers, never taking initiative or thinking outside their given task.

Their mission on this flight was to guard and protect the feared vampire King of New Jersey. During his human life, before he was Turned by the vampire hit man that had been paid a king's ransom to take him out, Tony Soprano had been a mob boss.

Once Mr. Soprano was Turned he used his new found vampire powers to take out Phil Leotardo and his crew, the one that ordered the hit on him. Then he ruthlessly eliminated anyone that stood in the way of the throne. When the blood stopped flowing and heads stopped rolling, Tony Soprano was King.

Eric said no one ever wanted to get on King Soprano's bad side, nor the bad side of his right hand man, John "Johnny Sack" Sacramoni, also a vampire Made by Tony. When a vampire mobster Made you then I guess you were doubly Made - once into the mob and once into vampiredom. Tony was a vampire don in vampiredom.

Expressionless, Eric nodded at King Soprano, then we stayed to ourselves. I have to admit I breathed a sigh of relief when the New Jersey mob King went into his fancy monogrammed gold plated travel container. He and his entourage exuded an aura of dark menace that was hard to ignore.

Fortunately his thick thuggish guards went to the other end of the plane to sit with the travel container once dawn broke so the girls and I didn't have to look at them across the aisle from us anymore. I thought one of them was ogling Linda, with those wrap around shades they wore it was hard to tell.

The goon gangster guards all continuously chewed and snapped gum, a habit that got on my nerves during the long flight. They must have the jaw muscles of camels to match their intellects.

We had been to New Zealand as a family several times since Charlaine moved there. After landing in Auckland Airport and causing a stir because Anubis Airlines rarely landed there, Eric's vampire traveling case was moved to the BioTech Sequencing van. After hugs all around the rest of us piled into the seats.

I noticed the King of New Jersey had a similar arrangement except his van was all black, windowless and didn't have his pretty daughter driving it. It looked bulletproof. What was King Soprano doing in New Zealand?

I uncharitably felt that he was up to no good and decided to talk to Eric about it when the chance arose, though he might not know anything about what went on in New Jersey. There was 1,300 miles and about a million light years between Louisiana and the Garden State.

Charlaine looked wonderful, her color was good and her smile radiant. "Darren sends his apologies," she called back to her sisters while she drove down the busy highway, "He got tied up in a meeting and couldn't come to the airport with me."

She drove us south, directly away from the city with its skyline dominated by the famous pointed Sky Tower. After coming near the ocean we sped on past farms where spring lambs grazed next to their mothers and the fruit orchards flowered. Pockets of white flowers on vines decorated the trees under a sun that was warm and seemed very bright. The relatively flat landscape and low rolling hills reminded me of home, though some of the hills appeared to be more lumpy and oddly shaped than the ones we had at home.

At the corner of Charlaine's property was a large tree with fern like leaves and strange pointed hanging red flowers.

"What kind of tree is that?" Adele asked her, pointing at the curved crimson daggers of petals that festooned the tree.

"It's a Kaka-beak tree, they come in other colors too like pink. I love the red ones best," Charlaine explained.

She pulled up and parked in front of a wide low modern house. There was a second level on the house, but it only jutted up in the middle, reminding me of Gran's farmhouse with only a partial second story. The house was sage green with a dark green roof, blending in nicely with all the lush greenery around us. Charlaine had moved into this house after our last visit so it was our first time here.

"Darren just put in the fountain, though it's not hooked up yet," Charlaine said proudly, pointing to a three tier stone fountain set in the center of a circle of low flowering shrubs.

She let us into the house where we were greeted by a well mannered older brown and black dog. Adele squatted down and immediately began petting the dog and scratching behind its ears.

"That's Liam, he's a Huntaway, also known as a New Zealand sheepdog. We're taking care of him for Darren's financial officer Sheena Henderson. She's off to the States right now, so maybe your planes crossed on the way here," Charlaine laughed.

"Ahem, Miss Charlaine?" a stocky brown haired middle aged man in a soiled work uniform stood in the doorway. He held his khaki safari hat in his hands and twisted it around and around by the broad grubby brim.

I could see he was nervous, he even had a slight twitch under his eye, though he was trying to appear as if carrying in a vampire's travel container was just part of a day's work. From his mind I read that he had never even seen a vampire except on TV and he was hoping very much to be out of here before Eric rose. The man was scared.

Charlaine introduced him to us. "This is Pat Macorty, he's helping to remodel my studio and landscape the grounds."

Pat looked around the large sunny open room, the whites of his eyes showing. Not seeing a vampire ready to leap at him and drain him of his life's blood he said, hoarsely, "I brung Rory too. We'll just go get it .. em, him, now, shall we?"

He thought, but didn't say, "Before the sun gets any lower in the sky."

Pat joined Rory at the back of the van. Rory was a big muscular mocha skinned man with intricate tattoos radiating from his nose all across his face. Pat and Rory together, with a mighty grunt, lifted the travel container onto a wheelbarrow and rolled it into the small guest house where Eric and I would be staying. The girls would stay in the main house with Charlaine and Darren. Rory was not nervous at all about meeting a vampire and was curious about what Eric would look like.

There was no safe room in the guest house, locking all the windows and the only door was the best we could do for security. Eric hadn't felt any extra precautions were needed when we planned the trip since there were hardly any vampires in New Zealand, certainly none that were threatening to us. We had traveled under a different name - Johan Hjalmar and family. That false name didn't fool the King of New Jersey. Eric and he had recognized each other on sight.

I wondered if the presence of King Tony Soprano riding the same plane we were on changed Eric's mind about what security we needed. It would have been too late to do anything at that point. A safe room is not built in a day. I didn't get any sinister thoughts or feelings from the minds around me as the sun traveled near the horizon. Eric would be up soon.

"Mom, Rory's brother Tameti is going to keep an eye on things until dark," Charlaine said, indicating a Toyota pulling up behind the van.

Another golden mocha colored man with a huge bulky build like a Sumo wrestler and even more elaborate facial tattoos got out of the Toyota. He wore woven shorts and a snow white wife beater under a voluminous flowered Hawaiian shirt. He reached into the small car and got out what looked like an oversized carved antique wooden bat. As he reached I could see more tattoos circled the tops of his massive arms. He reminded me of one of the Bishop brothers back home due to his size and serious demeanor.

Tameti strode straddle legged and stood outside the door of the guest house, looking straight ahead. I expected the ground to shake when he walked, his steps were so purposeful and determined. I noticed he was barefoot, his feet and muscled legs also tattooed in swirls and interlocking designs. He must have spent many painful hours getting all those.

He nodded once to his brother Rory to let him know he was on the job, then went back to his thousand yard stare. I didn't know what his skills as a body guard were, but his looks were scary enough to frighten off most folks. He wore his black hair pulled straight back and in a tight bun, emphasizing the facial markings and the decorated thickness of his neck, which looked to be about as big around as my thigh. All in all, it was an impressive look, a fearsome look.

Rory said, "That's a traditional weapon of our people, the Maori. It's a war club and quite lethal, though now it is used for ceremonial purposes. I should say, mostly used for ceremonial purposes."

He laughed and I knew he was remembering an occasion he and his brother had routed some hoodlums from their neighborhood by swinging their war clubs, giving their Maori war cry and making dreadful expressions with their tattooed faces.

They had been returning from some ritual where many tattooed men danced, beat their chests and made rhythmic sounds. Tameti was a renowned Maori dancer, something I never would have guessed by looking at him.

With Eric safe until nightfall I went in the house to have a mom and daughter visit with Charlaine and find out how she was feeling.

more to come .....(Howdy Fanpires! I had trouble posting earlier but I finally got online. Thank you so much for your interest and your comments.)


Monday, May 23, 2011

54 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman Look to the Future

Chapter Fifty Four

"Mom, you'll never guess who just called me," Charlaine began breathlessly.

"Are you feeling all right?" I asked, still in worried-mommy gear.

"Me? Oh yeah, sure. I don't even have much morning sickness any more. No, I wanted to tell you that Ailine Gormlaith called and offered me a huge sum of money to sculpt her. She explained that she wants her story told. She thinks that only by actually showing what happened to her can she make peace with it."

"So she really wants you to sculpt her?" I asked.

Could this be some ploy of hers to circumvent the legal system? I wasn't going to withdraw my lawsuit just to get Charlaine a lucrative client. The arrangement between them would have to be separate from Eric and my dealings with Ailene.

"Yes, and she wants it to be anonymous, nothing to indicate that it's her. Auguste said that this would be a once in a lifetime opportunity to sculpt someone truly unique. What I want to know is how you would feel about it. Would it violate the restraining order? Most important, would it upset you or make Daddy upset?"

I couldn't answer those questions off the top of my head. I asked her a question instead, "How do you feel about it?"

"I want to do it, sure, because Ailine's body is totally unique. I would have permission to use the sculpture in my exhibit before Ailine took possession of it."

I could hear the excitement in Charlaine's voice. I hated to rain on her parade, but there were some serious safety issues. "Would it be safe? Could she be using this as a ploy to get to you? How would you protect yourself?"

"Hmmmm, I haven't thought of that. Could you talk to Daddy about it and call me back or we can talk about it when you get here? I hope this hasn't made a bad situation between you and Daddy worse," she said.

"No, it's not a bad situation between us, your father was tricked by the illegal use of witch craft, it had nothing to do with him. I think Ailine picked him because he was happily married. That's why I'm worried that she might be using this as a new way to assault our family."

That was what I told everyone, including myself. Deep down I was still weirded out by having Eric turn into a complete stranger.

Like having ice water dashed into my face I woke up out of the decades long rose colored dream that had been my marriage and motherhood and realized that it could all be taken away in an instant. Eric could change, the fates could deal me a bad hand. I needed to be prepared. I needed to remain vigilant. I needed to stay on top of my game, as Halder would say.

"I see what you're saying. I'll go along with any decision you make. It isn't worth upsetting you or putting myself in danger," she said sounding much less enthusiastic.

"I'll talk to Daddy, see what he says. It's good you thought to call us about this," I told her.

Charlaine then changed the topic and told me about how over joyed Darren's parents were when he told them about the pregnancy. They were coming to visit in two weeks.

"Darren had to promise them that he would check out jobs in the United States and try to return here before the baby is born but I'm not sure he'll be able to do that. I sure will be glad to see you all," she said and sighed, sounding like she was twelve.

The civil trial date hadn't been set so I called Vulvina and told her I would be out of the country for a week or more. That was all right with her, she wasn't able to set a court date yet. The judges were all overloaded with more serious cases due to a recent skirmish between the vampires and the gremlins. Why vampires persisted in using illegal gremlins for cheap labor was beyond me. I never heard of one of those illegal arrangements working out well. Eric would never hire them.

Vulvina confided that she was hoping for an out of court settlement on the financial suit. The criminal charges were on hold until there was a space on the docket. We wanted to bring our civil suit after the criminal trial was over. It would make our case stronger.

When Eric got up I told him about our flight, that I had packed for him, and about Charlaine's desire to sculpt Ailine. He dressed while we discussed the possibilities.

"Could you send Aleksis to sit in on their sessions?" I asked. I pictured our minion with a big machine gun pointed at Ailine's head while Charlaine tried to sculpt.

"Ailine might be able to beguile him. Besides, Charlaine would feel artistically hampered by a third person in the room, you recall how she made us leave during her art lessons. Can Charlaine work from photographs or videotape?" he asked, pulling on his jeans with one smooth movement.

Goodbye golden nest until we meet again. I briefly flashed on to a mental picture of him dancing.

Working from video tape was a brilliant suggestion! If Char could do the sculpture with Ailine on another continent, what harm could the Elf Queen do? I had also wanted to talk to Charlaine about her ring. If she couldn't wear it on her finger then perhaps she could wear it on a chain or in her pocket.

The doorbell rang and Eric flashed to instantly answer it. I was expecting Amelia though I didn't think she would be able to get here before we left. It wasn't Amelia, it was her long time boyfriend Tray Dawson on his motorcycle. He drove like the wind, fast and impossible to catch in a highway speed trap thanks to a police invisibility spell on his bike. The cops couldn't catch what the cops couldn't see, Tray was fond of saying.

"Come in," I invited him.

We didn't have a lot of time. I was hoping he was bringing me something from Amelia. He had a masculine looking heavily worn shoulder bag with the Harley Davidson logo on it across his broad chest.

Tray Dawson was a big burly man, a typical body type for a werewolf. He had gotten more burly over the years due to Amelia's excellent gourmet cooking. He had put up with his witchly girlfriend's numerous goof-ups in her early years of witch craft training, but now things were on the level and he reaped the benefits of her magical powers.

A few years ago Amelia told me his hernia, which was getting to the stage where surgery might be needed, had been repaired magically. His hair, which had been thinning on top, was now thick and dark again. I didn't ask him about it of course, but I suspected magic instead of Rogaine. He didn't seem to be aging as quickly as he should have either.

Magic always had a price, I wondered how Amelia was paying for these supernatural benefits.

Tray nodded to Eric and Eric nodded back. It was a cordial greeting between supes that traditionally disliked each others' species.

Tray said, "Looking good," to me since I was dressed up in a travel friendly royal blue pants suit and matching flats.

Tray said to me, "I have something for you," and patted his shoulder bag. He talked quietly but since Eric was standing five feet away he heard it, of course.

He looked significantly at Eric. Tray wasn't sure if this is something that Eric was supposed to know about.

"It's OK, Eric knows all about this," I reassured Tray.

Tray reached in his bag and took out a Hellman's Mayonnaise jar half filled with a fluorescent orange liquid. It glowed and pulsed, looking sinister, perhaps even radioactive. Tray didn't seem afraid of it so I took it when he handed it to me.

He went back in the embossed leather bag and got out a sheet of notebook paper. "Here's the instructions. If you have any questions call Amelia, she was pleased as punch to do this for you." He gave us his best white toothed smile and started for the door.

I walked with him, telling him to thank Amelia for us and that we would give her a call when we got back. Eric came too and thanked Tray for bringing us the jar.

Tray said, "No problemo, man. Have a great visit with Char. Give her our love."

"Ride carefully," Eric said as Tray got on his souped-up bike and put on his black helmet.

After a few revving roars Tray waved jauntily and took off, driving normally. He didn't want us reporting any daredevil behavior to Amelia. Even without vampire hearing I could hear him take off at a high rate of speed as soon as he was out of sight. Tray raced motorcycles for fun, even when he wasn't on a track.

Before Eric had the door closed I had unfolded the sheet of paper and was reading the instructions Amelia had printed out for us.

"What does it say?" Eric asked, reading over my shoulder.

"It says your ring has to soak for at least forty eight hours for the spell to be effective," I told him.

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

****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. ~~~

Sunday, May 22, 2011

53 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman Look to the Future

Chapter Fifty Three

I stayed up and talked with Eric until I felt like I was fading. He carried me to bed and tucked me in, then went to the office to check his emails and see what had happened while he was gone.

I hoped he wouldn't have a big back log of work, I wanted to plan our trip to see Charlaine right away.

The next morning I saw the note Eric had left me propped against the coffee maker. "Book the flight. We can leave when ever you like. Your adoring husband, Eric."

I smiled at him signing the note. He always did, as if any number of husbands might be leaving me notes. Over coffee I got on the line with Amelia and asked her for a favor. She was so happy to do something for me she said she would get right on it.

Then I called Anubis Airlines and made arrangements for us all to leave tonight. After that I called Adele, Linda and Charlaine to let them all know about the trip.

Charlaine was feeling much better and eager to see us. Linda said it wouldn't be a problem getting time away from Fangtasia. As their business manager I knew that Pam or even Clancy would be adequate to keep an eye on things for a week or so.

Lachlain agreed to keep the three D's at the ranch with Adele's Irish Wolfhound Gordon. One of the staff would look in on them often during the day and take them out for a walk. Lachlain would be there at night.

Their trucking business had gotten a government contract with Barksdale Air Force Base and was ultra-busy bringing in supplies for a new unit that was taking over Hanger One. From the hush hush way Lachlain talked about it I thought it had something to do with Homeland Security. I was feeling safer already.

I began packing after my work out with Halder. Now I was glad I hadn't gone on an eating spree, it looked like my Turning was going to happen right on schedule. I had decided against the tummy tuck surgery. Eric hated the idea and he was the one that was going to be looking at me, baby pootch and all, for a long long time.

I would simply do the best I could with what I had to work with. Lipo would just leave me with a saggier pootch, to get rid of the excess skin I would have needed to have it cut off. It looked and sounded like a gruesome operation. I was glad Eric had talked me out of it.

When I looked at myself in the mirror I had to admit to myself I looked pretty good - slim, strong and healthy. My blond hair was shiny, my complexion glowed and my teeth were white and straight.

My hips no longer exaggerated the bottom half of my hourglass figure and my bust was as buxom and bodacious as ever. All in all I gave myself the Sookie Stackhouse Seal of Approval. I thought about pinning a blue ribbon on my chest like I was the prize pony at the 4-H fair.

I knew that in the grand scheme of things my exact waist measurement wasn't the be-all and end-all, but it mattered to me. I knew Eric would love me no matter what the numbers were.

My bigger fear with him was that my extra yummy fairy blood would lose its appeal once I Turned. Before Eric settled down in our marriage he had cheated on me, in a way, by continuing to drink from a part demon woman he had working at the club.

Saytanna had the extra spicy blood of demons, something Eric was reluctant to give up. After Saytanna made our life a misery with her vengeful nature Eric saw the error of his ways and had been, to my knowledge, faithful to me ever since.

I didn't include the feeding on men he did while I was pregnant and nursing, that was with my full knowledge and consent including my exciting voyeuristic observing, until I got too big to care about anything except birthing the babies or getting them all their next meal.

Jason's woman Angellica was Saytanna's sister and she was part angel. You could tell by the sweet and kind nature Angellica had. She had helped me care for the triplets when they were little. Brett was lucky to have such loving parents, it was a shame they never had more.

Jason was the one to carry Brett and he never wanted to repeat the experience. He had elected to go natural and the pain of it still haunted him. Maybe men didn't forget the pain the way women did. Could estrogen cause amnesia? Maybe that was why some women took back a man time after time even when he had shown himself to be a rat.

Charlaine was going to have a baby. She seemed so young to be making that big choice. It was always possible she didn't plan this pregnancy. I remembered reading that fifty-five percent of pregnancies were unplanned. But unplanned didn't mean unwanted. Char was the happiest I had ever heard her.

Sometimes the best things in life came as a surprise. That was how I ended up with Eric. I won him in a raffle. It was no surprise to Eric though, he admitted later on that he had rigged the results so I would have the winning ticket. I still had the winning ticket if you asked me.

Once my bags were packed I went ahead and packed Eric's clothes. It was spring in New Zealand, that could mean anything from chilly to broiling hot. I packed a variety clothes and had advised Linda and Adele to do the same. Eric had a lovely light weight blue suit I was dying to see him in and he always welcomed jeans and tee shirts.

He didn't wear shorts, though he did wear a sort of leather Viking kilt occasionally. I asked him why the kilt but not shorts, he didn't have an answer.

Maybe it was for the same reason I would answer the door in my short summer dress but not my robe even though the robe was longer and covered more of me. I didn't care if Eric's wore shorts, I saw all I wanted of my husband's long lean muscular legs with their fine dusting of golden hair, no one else needed to see them.

I was just filling my make up bag when the phone rang. It was Charlaine. I hoped she wasn't in a bad way.

more to come ....(My dear readers - Posting in the evening is working better for me, I'm not so rushed as I am in the morning. But early or late I am always very happy to hear from you.

suziacid - Welcome to my blog! I'm so happy you found your way here. Everyone here is so nice, it's great to have you join the party. Thank you so much for letting me know you're reading along.)


Saturday, May 21, 2011

52 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman Look to the Future

Chapter Fifty Two

He said, "Before we discuss Lingza I must tell you that I find my weakness around blue elves to be intolerable. I blame myself for not seeing the potential for a problem before now. I ask myself if there was there some flaw in my nature, some unknown failing in my commitment to you that allowed the beguilement spell to take hold of my mind?"

His face was rigid with some emotion. Anger? Self doubt? Eric knew he wasn't invincible, no vampire was. This beguilement was causing him to take a reality check.

His questions echoed doubts I had harbored myself before I thought through what his beguilement really meant. He didn't know what was worse, losing control of his will, or having a weak point in his will someone could use to insert the thin edge of a wedge.

My own doubts concerned the future. Would Eric continue to be truly happy with me? Could he remain satisfied with me for the many years that stretched ahead of us or would that deadly ennui set in, the one Pam told us about, the one that caused a long lived vampire to up and run off to a new life?

I refused to worry about that. Eric was here now, by choice. He had been under a beguilement spell that could not be resisted. I addressed his questions.

"I don't think so. A powerful witch is capable of completely erasing a person's right mind. Don't forget, this isn't the first time you have been under the influence of a spell." I told him, taking his hand in mine.

"I think the charm of blue elves is a door open to disaster," he said, frowning. "No vampire is safe as long as they can beguile us that way. When I bring this to the attention of the King, I am going to ask for permission to eradicate them."

Eric was talking about war, elficide on a mass scale. I knew that the elves would have allies that would get drawn into a conflict that might last centuries. No winners emerged from that kind of carnage, just destruction and misery. I wanted to talk Eric out of this plan without denying him his revenge.

"Stop and think about this Eric. You can't go by the way Ailine behaved, she was using her blue elf powers illegally. She is the only blue elf that has acted badly. Our lawyer or lawyers, blue elves themselves, are going to make her pay for her behavior," I pointed out. "Blue elves have been completely trustworthy and reliable for all those years. One bad apple shouldn't make you throw the baby out with the bathwater."

I knew I had mixed metaphors there but Eric got my meaning.

"I can not have it. Something must be done. I should avoid or eliminate them completely," he said, expressing, without realizing it, just how some humans felt about vampires.

I knew it was darn near impossible for any vampire to avoid contact with blue elves. In Eric's role as sheriff he would regularly need to be in court with the legal elves.

Not only that but we needed our lawyer Merry Dixon for a variety of personal and business issues and now I had the Narlock sisters proceeding against Ms. Gormlaith on my behalf.

Blue elves simply could not be avoided by any law-abiding vampire. The system of using blue elves to handle legal matters for vampires had run smoothly for many centuries. The beguiling ability of the elves kept all the vampires on their best behavior allowing court to proceed in a reasonable way.

Still, I saw Eric's point. This wasn't the first time he had been bewitched and acted under an influence that was not in his best interests. That gave me an idea.

"I think I can fix this," I told him, excited at my idea. I shared my plan with him.

He brightened up considerably after that and appreciated my help.

"Now, about Lingza's absence," he said, ready to move on to my worries about Linda's safety.

I explained how Linda had asked Lingza for help, the crude note he had left and our whisking him away at daybreak with Jason's help.

"Linda is back, she has her dogs with her again. I do not think Lingza's absence will be equated with Linda's night away from home," Eric said, thinking it through.

I nodded, agreeing with him.

"Lingza is working with the research center but he is not a captive. No vampire may enslave another, we are all free, within legal limits, to come and go as we choose," he said.

I wondered if that non-enslavement rule applied to humans too. Were some vampires enslaving humans against their will by using glamour or their addictive blood to keep them under their thumb?

Quinn's words haunted me but I didn't share with Eric about my strange encounter with the violet-eyed were-tiger. Something told me to hold my tongue. Maybe I just didn't want to stir up more trouble, maybe I thought there was a grain of truth in the things Quinn said. I was uncomfortably aware of keeping this from Eric but felt that there was no point in getting Eric all riled up towards Quinn. My man was back in my arms, wasn't that all that mattered?

I decided not to ask Eric about slavery or any of that vampire conspiracy stuff, to try and find out on my own. I knew Eric tended to put a positive spin on all things vampire, either to keep me from getting upset or else because he truly believed that if a vampire did it, if it wasn't against the King's decree, then it was OK.

The King seemed to have a policy that could be called, "Go ahead but don't get caught or else I'll have to bring the hammer down on you." The King wanted the appearance of good citizenship for vampires, but whether he actually cared for the well being and freedom of humans was anybody's guess.

Past behavior would indicate that he didn't care, he only wanted things to be covered up and kept under wraps. Like some scandalous TV evangelists and politicians, the King believed the appearance of proper behavior was the thing, not the actual behavior itself.

"How long do you think he'll be gone?" I asked, worrying about Lingza's ability to fend for himself and his possible discovery by humans. No one would be all that surprised to see a vampire, but it would rock the human scientific community back on its heels to discover a living Neanderthal.

"He can not stay away very long, he needs to feed on a certain type of blood. He is supplied with that blood and his fruit and vegetables where he lives. I give him less than a month. He needs to explore, to revisit his past life. It wouldn't surprise me if he also returned to the cave where he was trapped. There is a curiosity about where these things happened," Eric explained.

"Did you ever revisit the places where things happened to you?" I asked him.

"Yes, yes. I have visited the places where events shaped my destiny, even the exact location where I was Turned. My life has gone through so many stages I occasionally wish to return to the places I lived to remind me of those times. You can probably relate to this. You go back and see your old farm home when you visit Amelia and your earliest childhood home when you visit Jason. You like to look at the baby albums of our daughters and keep a trunk of their baby things to touch and smell."

That was all true. I even dropped into Merlotte's once in a blue moon and saw Bill occasionally if some event put us together. There was a value in revisiting my past.

I imagine that as the decades and even centuries went by, it would become increasingly difficult to retain all the memories without reminders. Some of those memories were not happy ones, but when all was said and done, they were my memories, my past.

I remembered how passionately I cared for Bill, how heart broken I was when he betrayed me. Now that fervor and pain seemed like another lifetime ago, as if it had happened to someone else. I had no reaction to Bill now except the pleasure of seeing an old friend tempered by the caution I showed around all vampires, except Eric of course.

Bill had shown up here so quickly once he heard that Eric was gone, did he still feel the same love for me he felt back then or had he moved on emotionally too? Was Bill the same person he was back then or had he been transformed by the years too?

I knew Bill had some serious regrets about the way things had played out. Regret, like guilt or hate, can keep you stuck in the same place emotionally for a long long time.

Would I, as a vampire, someday be visiting this house to see where I lived as a human, where I raised my human children? The thought of it was too strange and sad to dwell on. I hoped I would have no regrets, though how realistic was that? Didn't everyone have some regrets about their choices?

more to come (Greetings Fangirls! I still don't know how my day will shape up tomorrow so I'm posting this at night again so I won't fall behind. Thanks for your kindness and constancy, it's something I treasure.)


Friday, May 20, 2011

51 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman Look to the Future

Chapter Fifty One

We turned on the gas fireplace in the living room and sat down to talk. I had a cup of cocoa and two high fiber bran wafers. They were like eating particle board but they only had twelve calories apiece and lots of fiber to keep things moving. I wrapped my silk robe tight around me to keep warm.

Eric wore his black silk pajama bottoms, the orange light from the gas fire making his skin appear a more natural human color. He didn't feel the autumn chill but I did. Looking at him half naked made me feel a little colder so I turned the gas fire up a notch with the clicker.

"I told you Charlaine had a stomach ailment, but I didn't tell you what was causing it," I said, leading in to my big news.

"Nothing serious?" Eric asked, his intense blue eyes focused on me.

"Well, the illness isn't serious but the cause is a big deal," I said. "She's expecting."

"A baby?" he asked in surprise.

I nodded. I couldn't think of what else she could be expecting that would make her nauseous. A tax bill?

He leaned forward to hug me. I set my piece of particle board down on the coffee table.

"How wonderful," he said while hugging me. "Wonderful and amazing."

He sat back. "I had hoped we might be blessed with grandchildren but I was prepared to accept my fate. How far along is she?"

"Only two months," I answered. "What do you mean, accept your fate?"

"That means she will have the baby in the late summer. Is she happy about her condition?" Eric asked.

"She seems delighted. Darren is on cloud nine over this too. Could we just go back to what you said about your fate, about accepting your fate?"

"I meant that as a vampire I had resigned myself to never having a child with you. When we were granted the gift of our three beautiful daughters I was not sure that blessing would extend to grandchildren. I have been given this bounty unearned. Of all vampires I have the most to look forward to. I do not take this for granted. My fatherhood defies the natural order of things," he said. "I am grateful, most grateful, especially to you."

"I think Anna Hita had as much to do with our having a family as I did," I said. Anna Hita had been the one to provide the means by which I was able to be impregnated with Eric's seed.

"Do you think she would have done this, exposed herself to the risk, for anyone besides you?" he asked.

"No, I guess not."

I saw his point. It was the specialness of my relationship with Eric that moved her to provide us with a family. Before she was Turned Anna Hita had fourteen surviving children, seven boys and seven girls. All the telepaths alive in the world today were descended from these fourteen children. I was her direct descendant and she had been Eric's Maker's Maker.

She had taken us under her wing as a beloved grandmother might, blessing our union in every way she could including travel to a parallel dimension where Eric had remained human and could be tapped for his semen. This was frozen and stored. My actual impregnation was the result of my fairy biology.

The male component was stored in a special pouch inside me until it was decided by some mysterious biological process the time was right for pregnancy to occur. I had tried again and again and used up the available frozen sperm in an attempt to conceive again, but it hadn't happened.

I knew that my decision to Turn vampire would be the end of my chance to have more children. Now with Charlaine expecting that didn't seem like such a final end.

Eric took my left hand in his big cool ones, rubbing his thumb back and forth across my wedding ring, a deep blue sapphire surrounded by twinkling diamonds.

"I am especially grateful that you gave your hand to me, that you bestowed the great gift of children on me. You took the chance that your life with a vampire would be a good one. It is your courage, your strength, your intelligence that make me especially glad you are allowing me to Turn you. This is yet another gift you give me."

He bent his head and kissed my palm with his cools lips, staying there reverently. I lifted his face and looked in his luminous blue eyes. Emotion animated his expression, he looked at me with the great depth of understanding and feeling only a thousand years of life could give someone. He had lived long enough to get real with himself.

He had told me many times that in all the centuries he lived and traveled the world, this time with me, with our family was the most meaningful, the closest to his heart. He was not ashamed of his devotion to our family, of expressing the depth of his emotion towards me. His heart was fully open to us, he loved me with a fierceness and tenderness that was almost heart breaking. In me he had found what he was looking for.

"I didn't know it at the time, but I lucked out the night I met you. I love you. My life with you has been better than good, it has been wonderful, thanks to your consideration and hard work. I think that giving me your vampire invulnerability is a great gift." I hugged him to my breast, pulling him to me. It was so good to have him home here, so satisfying to hold his body tight against me.

When I let him go he said, "Turning you, having you as my Child, knowing you will always have my best interests, the power of that is indescribable. I know I can always count on you. Few vampires have such security."

"You have Pam, she's always stood by you," I pointed out.

I feared he was placing too much reliance on my potential to help him once I was Turned. I wasn't confident I would be able to protect Eric. As a newly Turned vampire I was sure I would have a lot to learn before I was comfortable in my new body and a reliable back up for him.

"Pam is wonderful but she has her own life. She cares about me but she does not love me, not as you do. You are my soul mate, the wife of my blood. Your bond to me, your loyalty and determination are a force of nature. The fates step back and let you pass by unharmed because of the purity of the love in your heart. Do you understand what I am trying to say?" he asked.

"I think so. You think I have some kind of special powers because of the way I love you and who I am. I think I do what any wife worth her salt would do but I appreciate the compliment. It's reassuring to know that my time as a newly Turned vampire won't just be a vexation for you, that you have something to look forward to after I mature."

"I look forward to every second of your Turning. It is as powerful and profound as birth, as beautiful and mysterious as the start of any new life. I have already begun to make the arrangements so that everything will go smoothly and we will not be disturbed. Sometimes I get so excited when I think about it I can hardly contain myself," Eric said, his sweet boyish grin accented by his big pointy fangs.

He was very eager and excited about my Turning but I still had my fears and worries, not the least of which was the nagging thought, "What if I decide to back down at the last minute? What if I simply can't go through with it?"

I decided to change the subject and ask him about Lingza.

more to come .....(Howdy! Again I will be out early tomorrow and may not be back all day so I'm posting tonight to make sure I get a chance. Thank you for coming by and letting me know you were here.)