Thursday, June 28, 2012

77 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman Look to the Future - Part Two

Chapter Seventy Seven

We landed in Paris without any problems, eager to get to our rooms. After Jure departed for New Zealand and Merry left for parts unknown, Eric and I took a cab to the Park Hyatt hotel because it was near the Eiffel Tower and it had the best safe rooms in Paris.

Our beautifully decorated room had a huge bed with a wooden headboard that extended all the way up to the two story ceiling. Discreet recessed lighting gave the room an intimate glow. Outside the two story tall window we had a wonderful view of the city. This was a far cry from the bare bones experience in the hotel in Kloster.

Room service was great, even with all the strict restrictions the French government had placed on donor-vampire arrangements. Donors had to have medical certificates stating that they would benefit from a small blood loss such as people prone to iron overload. Vampires had to pay a fee and promise that they would limit their consumption to approximately one pint.

How this was enforced was anybody's guess. Each step of the arrangement racked up fees, taxes and sometimes bribes, making it very expensive for a vampire to eat with official approval in France. Still donors, who were paid outrageously high amounts by hungry vampires, managed to find doctors that specialized in finding a legitimate reason for each and every patient.

A room service meal was exorbitant for both human and vampire guests in most hotels. The Park Hyatt was no exception. Still, the convenience of having donors brought to the room was worth it for a once in a lifetime experience.

Of course off the books anything could happen. Later Eric and I would see the sights and cruise for nearby miscreants. They were still my favorite prey and I had no guilt over feeding from them and re-programming their minds to see the error of their ways. I looked forward to doing a follow up on some of them to see how I had changed their lives.

One thing the Park Hyatt had going for it, besides the luxurious rooms, was complete safety for us. During the day thick steel plates slid across the tall windows and doors, sealing us in and the daylight out. An armed werewolf guard at either end of the vampire corridor had "shoot to kill" instructions for any unwanted company. It was "do not disturb" on steroids.

When I peeked in the marble and gilt bathroom I saw that there were blood scented candles already lit around the gigantic soaking tub. I decided to take advantage and have a bath. A maid unpacked our luggage while I undressed in the luxurious bathroom, then she left after being given a generous tip by Eric.

I could tell from the images in her mind she was half afraid of Eric pouncing on her and half wishing he would throw her down on the gigantic bed and ravish her. I doubt if Eric even noticed her except peripherally, he was scrolling through his cell phone for his business messages, something that got his complete attention.

One wall in the bathroom was completely mirrored. I looked at myself after removing the thick terry robe the hotel provided. I could see no trace of the scary power I possessed to destroy with my mind. I still looked like the girl that waited tables and tried to hang on to her old farmhouse. Was that girl still in there somewhere, or had my new life with Eric swept it away?

"I love looking at you in the mirror," Eric said, coming up behind me, naked as the day he was born. Mr. Happy said "Howdy there" as he pressed himself against the back of me. I watched Eric run his elegant hands over my pale skin, hands that felt warm and soothing now that I was a tad cooler than he was.

Eric liked to watch. There was no reason he wouldn't. With his perfect physique and handsome face he was a real treat, eye candy taken to the maximum. I was happy with my appearance too, and, more to the point, Eric was happy with me.

Very very happy by the intensity of his response to our physical contact. I lost myself in the enthusiasm of his embrace, letting his passion sweep me away. He carried me to the big bed, turned off the lights and we made love, the glittering glow of Paris the only illumination in the room.

"Sometimes I feel time our time together is too brief to express all the love I have for you," Eric whispered in my ear. "You are the whole universe to me. With you I am in paradise."

He took me with him to paradise and together we felt like the luckiest people in the world because we had found our true loves. We lay side by side with our fingers entwined for a while afterwards, enjoying the feeling of calm and inner peace spectacular lovemaking brings.

On the street I could faintly hear a roving street accordion player grinding out "Every little breeze seems to whisper Louise ...". Soon he segued into "I Love Paris in the Springtime". I enjoyed the song, then decided to get my bath before we went out.

As I was heading back towards my now cooled off bath water Eric's cell phone rang. It was Adele with an update on the Bishop brothers. They were still in the clinic but now they were conscious, eating and moving around. One more day of observation and they would be free to leave.

I spoke at length to Adele, glad to hear her latest medical adventures had gone smoothly. Lachlain was going to Scotland with his father Cameron for a business trip, but Adele was staying in Shreveport to tend to her patients and care for her pets and the other animals they tended.

Rory, Lachlain's younger free spirited brother would help her out while Lachlain was away. Adele had started dating the adorable but immature Rory. She ended up with the older, wiser Lachlain. Good choice.

"Are the Bishop brothers joining us here when they are released?" I asked her. I knew Eric liked to travel with bodyguards whenever possible.

"Gee, Mom, I don't know. Should I ask them about that?" she asked. I heard two large dogs begin barking hysterically in the background.

"Mom, I have to go! Rory is changing too close to the house again," she said hurriedly. "Love you, love Dad!" she called as she hung up.

I took that to mean that the upcoming full moon had allowed Lachlain's younger brother to transform into his werewolf form making Adele's dogs, Gordon and Flame, crazy. They had asked him not to change right outside their gate but like all younger brothers Rory liked to annoy Lachlain whenever he could.

I told Eric about our conversation. He said, "I am considering other options. The Bishop brothers are limited in their abilities."

"Maybe we don't even need a bodyguard if we stay in classy places like this," I said, indicating the lovely room with a sweeping gesture.

"That is part, but not all, of our security needs. We still need to travel from place to place," Eric said thoughtfully.

I refreshed the bath water and had a wonderful soak in the tub, then dressed in a shiny dark red silk pantsuit with a glittery black blouse and black stiletto Pam-heels as accents. I put matching crimson lipstick on and even applied a stick-on tiny fake fangy-mouth beauty mark. I finished the look with petite dangling gold bat earrings with diamond eyes.

I looked like I had the word "vampire" in an arrow over my head, the look I was going for. Say it out loud - I'm vampire and I'm proud. Also, I was going to a show that featured vampires so it would be fitting to look like one.

We were going to the Folies Bergère for their vampire themed musicale "Amoureuse d'un Vampire" followed by a trip to the top of the Eiffel tower to the observation platform where I could look out over Paris. To get to the top we could either take an elevator or climb 1652 stairs. As a human I would definitely have wanted the elevator, as a vampire I would definitely take the stairs just for the fun of it.

It was fun being a vampire most of the time. I could move faster and I didn't have the worries of a human anymore. If DayNight truly could be perfected now that Vampire Liberation was off the agenda I would be glad of it.

Eric was splendid in a slim cut black velvet suit with custom made Dracula-logo gold buttons. The custom cut of the suit was modified from a style popular in France a hundred and fifty years ago. The side zipper pants were cut on the bias to showcase "Mr. Happy" in a truly jaw dropping, eye-catching way.

He wore a tight red shirt in a shade that exactly matched my dress and he finished the look with a formal black cravat. Pointed black boots with gold toe tips made his feet look long and lethal. His unruly tangle of blond hair was pulled back with a crisp blood red velvet ribbon. He looked soooo hot!

Together we looked like .. Wow! Vampires!

The rotund mustachioed accordionist, now singing along with his music, was still outside our hotel. He missed a few words in the song "Gigi" when he saw us coming towards him - "Gigi, am I a fool without a mind, Or 'ave I ... oo .... 'ave I .... oo .... 'ave I merely been too blind to realize?"

He smiled graciously when Eric dropped a large bill into his upturned beret and changed his tune, literally.

"Parlez-moi d'amour," he crooned, "Zpeak to me of looove ..."

He followed us for half a block playing and singing up a storm, but returned to his lucrative spot in front of the hotel when he saw no more tips would be forthcoming.

I was stunned by the lights and beauty of Paris. We strolled arm in arm taking in the ambiance of what could be the prettiest city in the world. After ducking down a side street to discuss purse snatching with a young man hiding in a car, and of course getting a little extra snack, we hailed a cab and went to see the show.

more to come ..... (Super Saturday! Hope today finds you doing well. Thanks for sharing your funny stories and your thoughts, I am always super excited to hear from you. See you-all Wednesday!"


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

76 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman Look to the Future - Part Two

Chapter Seventy Six

I watched a cream colored cab stop by the road and discharge a passenger. Eric was still busy on the phone, his back to us.

A short stout figure with a briefcase struggled her way out of the cab backwards, feet first, her skirt riding up to reveal a broad expanse of flesh colored support hose, if your flesh happens to be the color of a butternut squash, that is.

Walking as fast as a duck, she approached us across the tarmac, heading towards the small glass enclosed building that the heliport used as a passenger waiting area. My hand reflexively went to the entwined hearts necklace Eric had placed around my neck, the one that rendered me insensitive to the supernatural charms of the blue elves.

Merry Dixon fought to open the heavy glass and aluminum door and plodded her way over to us, her sensible rubber soled orthopedic shoes squeaking on the polished cement floor in an edge-of-your-teeth manner every step of the way.

Sometimes heightened vampire hearing was not a good thing.

She stopped and gave us a polite nod. She didn't even come up to Jure's waist, I noticed. He grinned down at her in a toothy but fangless way I could only describe as predatory. He looked like he wanted to eat her all up, Doctor Scholl's shoes and all.

"Your husband was kind enough to offer me a ride to France," she quavered to me, out of breath, setting her briefcase down next to her thick legs.

Her owlish bifocal eye glasses had fogged up from the combination of the chilly Swiss night and perspiration from her exertions. The heat from her body wafted the scent of Ben-Gay ointment and Gold Bond medicated powder into the air.

She removed her glasses and wiped them with the hem of her flowered high necked blouse, revealing some kind of thick, pink-ribbed, cotton thermal undershirt underneath, probably something she wore for warmth.

I seemed to recall Gran having had something similar to wear during the damp Bon Temps winters. Gran had some long legged elastic edged under pants that matched too. I remembered them flapping on the clothesline, much to my teen-aged embarrassment.

Jure eyes landed on the flash of elder-garment and lit up with a hot green color. He moved closer to her, crowding her. With her glasses off it must have seemed as if the wall moved towards her because she took a reflexive step back and almost lost her balance tripping on her briefcase. Instantly Jure swept her up in his massive arms, holding her like a big senior citizen baby, her little legs dangling over his arm.

"Allow me," he said, his deep rumbling voice taking on a courtly tone.

He set her down as gently as a feather and removed the glasses from her age-spotted hand. He proceeded to polish them with his fancy silk neck tie. Knowing Jure it probably cost a thousand dollars.

"Thank you," Merry said primly as she took the glasses from his giant hand and settled them back on her little snub nose.

I did think her nose was adorable and that worried me. Maybe the necklace wasn't one hundred percent effective in protecting me from the diminutive elf. Maybe I should go stand by Eric.

As I walked away from Jure and Merry I saw him down on one knee on the dirty floor re-tying her shoes for her. He took a long time, probably trying to get a peek up her baggy navy blue wool skirt in the bargain. I wasn't filled with envy so the necklace was working pretty well. It could be that her nose was truly adorable.

Like Jason in his wild bachelor days used to say, "Every girl is a something girl." when I would question him about some of his more confounding or dubious choices in female companionship.

He meant that they might have a nice voice, or a kind way about them, or a sense of humor, but they all had something that made them special and therefore desirable. With Merry it might be her nose. As well as her awesome legal talents and that cute way she had of being so darn serious when it came to legal ...

"Sookie! Snap out of it," Eric said, blocking my view of our lawyer. He wiped a spot of drool off my chin with his handkerchief.

Good grits and gravy! Was I drooling over our aged legal counsel? I peeked around Eric and saw Jure removing the blue sapphire earrings from his ears, probably to present to Merry as a token of his esteem.

"Eric, isn't he supposed to be smitten with our daughter? How can he be making a pass at Ms. Dixon right in front of Linda's parents?" I fumed.

"He can not help himself. Your necklace must not be fully charged, I will get it re-spelled when I can," he said, adjusting the Dracula ring on his finger. His ring protected him from several supernatural influences including blue elves.

The flapping roar of an incoming helicopter drowned out anything more we might have said. Merry picked up her briefcase and hurried to the rear door, Jure following behind holding out the earrings and begging her to reconsider his gift. I looked at Eric and shrugged. All of us crowded into the small cabin of the chopper ought to make for an interesting ride.

It turned out that the configuration of the helicopter's cab made the flight simple. Merry sat in the single seat in back, sinking gratefully into the comfortable gray plush after fastening her seat belt. Eric and I sat in the middle. He held my hand so the combination of my necklace and his ring completely blocked any untoward feelings I might have experienced towards Merry.

Jure sat in the front next to the pilot. He was so large that he barely had room to fit into his space, let lone turn around to ogle Merry past our heads.

Aside from the few words spoken into the headphone by our pilot every once in a while no one spoke. Soon I could hear Merry snoring gently behind us, lulled by the roar of the wind and engine noise, bless her little heart.

I thought about what we were leaving behind and hoped the whole incident with the legion of vampires was truly over. I thought about what was ahead of us too. I looked forward to exploring Paris, then returning to New Zealand and Charlaine. I began thinking of names for our grandson. Beauregard, a name I was partial to, meant handsome in French. Seth or Travis had nice ring to them, too.

I planned a few ideas for Linda's wedding, if it was to be. I didn't hold Jure's flirting with Merry against him, and it had distracted him from his irritation with me, Pam and Eric.

Every few minutes I heard Jure's seat creak as he tried to adjust his position to see over the seat back, but it wasn't going to happen. He was simply too big to move around up there.

Eric's warm hand engulfed mine, bringing me the double comfort of my long time husband's love and my Maker's protection and guidance. I felt so blessed and lucky.

Who would have thought little old me, struggling to wait tables and keep the wolf from the door, would end up in such luxury, living the glamorous life of a globe trotter? Who would have thought I would marry well and have three wonderful daughters? Who would have thought I would Turn vampire and be glad of it?

I gave Eric's hand a little happy grateful squeeze and he smiled at me, seeming to know just how I was feeling.

Soon lights began to appear beneath us and my excitement rose.

Oooh la la, Paris, here comes Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman, vampires extraordinaire!

more to come ..... (Wonderful Wednesday everyone! Here's a funny story - I was discussing Sue Grafton's writing career with my husband - she's a mystery writer that is doing a series of alphabet mysteries starting with "A is for Alibi, B is for Burglar, C is for Corpse", etc - and I said that now she is on V. My husband looked puzzled and said, "Where did she get vampire blood from?"

Hahaha! Guess neither one of us has both feet firmly planted in reality anymore!

Thank you for stopping by, I send you L and look forward to seeing you on Saturday. )


Monday, June 11, 2012

75 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman Look to the Future - Part Two

Chapter Seventy Five

After Eric and I celebrated my successful departure from the conference, I had a chance to ask him some questions while waiting at the heliport for our chopper to be ready. It would take us all the way to Paris, a great convenience and necessary to our ultra- speedy departure.

"That caveman ..." I began.

"Mongo," Eric clarified.

"Yes, Mongo. Is he a friend of Lingza's?"

Eric looked confused for a moment, then he laughed, always a lovely sight to my eyes.

"No, he is not a real caveman from thousands of years ago. He was Turned in the 1930's. He was a student of B.F. Skinner, a Professor of Psychology, I believe," Eric said.

"I've heard of him. So Mongo is a psychologist?" I asked, surprised.

"He studied psychology but decided that the true state of the human was to live as primitive man did. He renounced all things modern and chose to live in a cave, cook hunks of raw meat over a fire and wear only animal skins. His real name was traditional, though I do not recall it now. It was memorable ....."

Eric thought for a second trying to remember the name, then the light bulb went off over his tawny head.

"Grelb! Chudley Grelb was his name before he changed it to Mongo."

I could understand wanting to change out a name like Chudley Grelb, but was Mongo an improvement?

Eric went on. "Only France would allow Mongo to live as he chose. He became quite famous over here before he was Turned. I do not think his experiment would have succeeded in the long run. Who wants to freeze in the cold, be over run with vermin and eat berries and bugs sporadically when all the comforts of modern life are available?"

"So how does Pam know him?" I asked.

"After he was Turned he continued to live in a cave for a while before deciding a nice apartment in Paris would suit him better. Pam needed a place to hide at one time and he took her in. They had a relationship for a while."

Seemed like the relationship was still ongoing from the way Pam had wrapped herself like a tortilla around Mr. Mongo. Pam sure had a vast variety of relationships. I briefly wondered what that would be like, swinging from pillar to post, so to speak. She must have a really good memory to keep centuries of her previous amours alive in her mind, or maybe Mongo was just exceptionally memorable.

"She didn't seem too happy to be asked to babysit me," I observed. I was still a little miffed that she hadn't jumped at the chance to help me out.

Eric barked a laugh, remembering her dismayed expression. "She was not pleased at all. She has made it clear on more than one occasion that she is not willing to take on the responsibilities of a Maker. She prizes her freedom and does not want to be burdened with the care of another."

So her wanting to Turn me had been an exception. This didn't bode well for my hopes that Pam would Turn Jason.

I understood her reluctance to shoulder the responsibility of Maker, it was every bit as involving as being a parent and it lasted for a hundred years! The potential of being staked by the King for screwing up as a Maker didn't sweeten the deal any.

Eric's phone rang. It was Adele telling us that the Bishops had arrived at the clinic and were being treated by Dr. Dolittle himself. She told us they were going to be fine, that they had concussions but were already conscious and on the mend. She would keep us updated on their recovery. It was a good thing were-creatures healed so quickly. I would think the Bishops were eager to get back to their rustic lives in Shreveport.

"Adele did not have much time to talk," Eric said after her call. "She was just going out to attend to the birth of a were-bear."

I felt that momentary flicker of worry I always got when I considered how dangerous Adele's job could be. Fortunately she would have Lachlain with her to act as backup in case things got out of hand, or out of paw, as the case might be.

The receptionist at the front desk told us our helicopter would be ready soon. Our luggage was being placed in the hold right now. I hoped Jure would make this flight, he had a few things to attend to before he joined us.

Jure was flying to Paris with us, then he would continue on to New Zealand to join Linda at Charlaine's house. I hoped he was in a better mood by the time he reached Linda. The last time I had seen him he was a Mr. Grumpypants.

"It's going to be strange having Jure as a son-in-law," I reflected.

"That is why we do not have those relationships. We have those of our nest," Eric said, scrolling through his phone and text messages.

"But we have spouses - husbands and wives," I pointed out.

"Yes, we have those. I am glad of it, otherwise, how could I claim you as mine?" he said, looking at his tiny screen with concentration, texting back to someone.

I looked at him to see if he was joking, but he didn't seem to be. Well, it didn't upset me. Eric had never been anything but openly possessive of me. I was pretty possessive of him too, come to think of it.

Jure showed up while Eric was still busy responding to messages he had gotten while at the conference. When he was attending to the King he hadn't had time to check up on his businesses or his deputies.

"That was some quick thinking, telling Augustus you were watching "Murder She Wrote," I said flatteringly to Jure, hoping to put him in a better frame of mind. That show was on all the time, it would be almost impossible to verify if Jure was watching it or not.

"As opposed to my usual dull-witted responses, I suppose?" he said sarcastically.

Jeesh! Talk about turning a positive into a negative!

"You know I didn't mean it that way," I chided. "What's bothering you?"

He looked at me in open-mouthed astonishment. His handsome face was twisted in an ugly way. He seemed like a stranger at that moment.

"Do you want the entire inventory? My luggage was ransacked, my favorite valuable ruby tie clip was destroyed, my vacation with Linda was interrupted, I am now on Augustus's shit list, I had to force feed you ..." he shuddered dramatically.

"Was it so bad?" I asked him. I wasn't used to thinking of myself as repulsive, especially by Jure.

"It was not what I agreed to. I am not the type to care for the sick or weak," he said, hurting my feelings a little. "I am at a disadvantage, under Eric's thumb and it chafes. I do as I like when I like." He lifted his big chin, his wounded pride showing. "I can not be made to obey, it is beneath me."

Ah, this was the real problem. He wanted Linda but knew he had to please Eric to get her. He was used to just taking what he wanted, this sudden shift in dynamics was galling to him.

"We will be nest mates, it will be to your advantage, to all of our advantage, for us to form a union."

"A union with your husband calling all the shots? I do not know if I can cope with this subjugation, yet, I could not stand to lose Linda. She is my first real ray of happiness in so long...." he stopped, lost in thought.

"I am trapped," he finished, with a hopeless shrug. The shrug was hopeless, but his black eyes glittered in a most calculating way.

A prisoner of loooove, I thought.

But aren't we all?

No, it was that fact that Eric had first taken me and kept me. And now he had the power to turn Linda's mind against Jure. I was going to need to talk to Eric and make sure he understood that Jure resented being bossed around. It would have to be done carefully. Eric had his pride too and he was enjoying having the upper hand. He was still irritated by the way Jure had pounced on me all those years ago and taken advantage of his ability to glamour me. Maybe Eric was using this dynamic to get even.

Linda's happiness was at stake, it couldn't be caught in a power struggle between Jure and Eric. We should all be on the same side here. It was only a matter of getting the two big guys, both blinded by pride, to see it.

more to come ..... (Great weekend everyone! Sending you my gratitude and hopes for your well-being today and always. See you Wednesday!)


Sunday, June 3, 2012

74 - Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman Look to the Future - Part Two

Chapter Seventy Four

After the vote was tallied Eric was back in the suite in two shakes of a vampire's cape, bringing Pam and Jure with him.

As Eric came in Sarno went out to see to the King's arrangements to leave Davos. Sarno left his enthusiastic young assistant Brody to attend to us.

A young vampire in both vampire years and human years, Brody wore his suit, shirt and tie two sizes too large so it looked like a kid playing dress up. His tie was tied with a single knot making some kind of trendy "anti-tie" statement I supposed. His spiky blond hair had been bleached almost white by the sun before he was Turned.

There was no evidence of the fatal white shark wounds he had suffered while night surfing. If a vampire had not found him and healed him on the Grand Isle beach Brody would have been a goner.

No one knew who Brody's Maker was and Brody swore he didn't remember. He had been dumped on the palace doorstep as a newly Turned vampire and become the King's problem. The King had passed the problem along to Sarno who was now acting as Brody's surrogate Maker.

"Are you ready to leave?" Eric asked me.

I nodded. Jure and I had packed before we left Kloster, our suitcases were already in the car. Pam left to get her and Eric's suitcases from the adjoining suites and come right back. We stood near the door, waiting for Pam before we made a break for freedom. I began to think about Paris and the sights I wanted to see.

Alas, quick as she was, Pam was too slow. As I watched the bank of surveillance cameras I saw, to my horror, a furious Augustus striding through the main downstairs hallway. He looked absolutely livid with rage.

With him was a huge lumbering bare-footed man that looked like a caveman as he was dressed in a leopard skin with one shoulder strap and carried a great big wooden club. He reminded me of Fred Flintstone, if Fred was a vampire, of course. He stormed up to the elevator that would bring him to the King's suite.

Eric saw Augustus too. He turned to us and said, "Do not say a word. I will do all the talking for us."

Jure's eyes lit with a toxic hot lime green color. "You dare to presume to speak for me when I am the elder?" he rumbled.

I think he was still angry about being dressed down and sent from our room when I went into my weak thing.

Eric looked at him levelly with cool blue eyes. "Which of us has the beautiful daughter of marriageable age?" he asked.

Jure's eyes closed for a moment and when they opened they were back to their usual unreadable jet darkness. He gave a sideways grimace that might have been an attempt at a wry smile.

"Good point. You will do the talking," he said with a tiny gracious bow.

His world had just shifted to a new reality where Eric would always have the upper hand anytime he wanted to play the "Linda card".

I noticed Jure's fists were still clenched. He noticed me noticing and unclenched his big meaty mitts. A muscle in his jaw pulsed like he was restraining himself from biting someone.

We stood there watching the monitor as Augustus and the caveman stomped down the hall to the King's suite. I was wondering if we should have tried to flee but that might be construed as admission of guilt or worse in the vampire world, weakness and fear.

Plus there was only the one way out, a flaw in the housing arrangements here, unless we wanted to make an undignified exit scurrying down the aged fire escape like crazed monkeys.

Augustus pounded on the door so hard it shook in its frame. "I know she is in there," he bellowed. "Bring her forth."

Brody sauntered over and answered the door.

"Dude, what is your problem?" he asked, with the chill-out attitude of his kind.

Augustus shoved his way into the room.

"Hey, no need to get all aggro on us, bro. What's your damage, my man?" Brody spoke with a Southern Californian accent.

Brody looked behind Augustus and saw the caveman still standing in the hall. "Is the major murrfe with you?" he asked Augustus.

Augustus looked puzzled. "What? What are you asking me?" he asked the assistant.

Brody looked at us for direction. Eric stepped forward. "I believe he wishes to speak to me," he told Brody.

"Groovy, knock yourself out," he said with a shrug, returning to the desk where the phones were lighting up.

Augustus turned to Eric, some of the wind taken out of his sails. "My legion was found outside the hotel where your wife was staying. I have heard rumors about what happened to my legion," he began, his tone getting menacing. "Is it true your wife has special powers?"

I tried to look as innocent as a spring lamb in a field of daisies.

"No, she has no special powers," Eric said flatly. Eric's flat made a pool table seem bumpy.

"I heard that she is responsible for the destruction of my army," Augustus said angrily. "Let me question her. I can get the truth from her."

"You may not question her. She has nothing to say about what happened because she knows nothing," Eric said firmly.

"We will see," Augustus said, grabbing for my wrist.

In a lightening fast move Eric grabbed Augustus's wrist and stopped his hand before he touched me. The caveman stepped into the room, his close-set eyes glittering, perhaps with the desire to bop someone with his big knobby club.

"Whoa! Whoa, dudes," Brody said amiably, standing up.

He smoothed his hands across the air. "Duuuuudes, I don't want to hack your grandie but the Big Kahuna is due back here any mo. It would be bogus for him to walk into a barnie. If you have a beef it would be raw awesome for you to take it on the road."

"I can't understand anything this young man says," Augustus complained to no one in particular.

Eric said, "We have nothing to discuss. We know nothing about what happened to your legion. Excuse us, we wish to leave."

"That would be totally totally awesome," Brody agreed enthusiastically, going around the bulky caveman and holding the door wide open. He wanted us gone before anything happened to draw the negative attention of the King.

Gran would have called this move, "Don't let the door hit you on the way out."

Pam came down the hallway to the doorway and said, "I have put our bags in the car, Master."

She nodded at Brody, then the caveman turned around.

"Mongo!" she shrieked and threw herself into his arms, wrapping her legs around his massive middle girth and her arms around his neck, which was as thick as my thigh.

He dropped the club, just missing his bare foot. He held her up at arm's length in mid-air to see her, like you do with a beloved baby. Then he swirled her around, laughing in a braying way that reminded me of Lingza. I wondered if they had ever met.

"Pam, Pam," he laughed. He had some kind of an accent, maybe French. It was hard to tell from just two words.

"Mongo, you big old horny teddy bear, where have you been keeping yourself?" Pam asked as Mongo set her carefully down on her high heels.

He made some chuckling sounds of happiness and took his club from Brody, who commented "Gnarly, dude." when he handed it to Mongo.

The caveman smiled at Pam with large white teeth that protruded slightly.

"Master, would you mind if I met up with you later? I want to visit with my old friend here," she purred, taking Mongo's big hairy hand in her slender manicured one.

"Not at all. I will call you," Eric said. "I will leave your bags with the valet."

Pam left, still holding Mongo's hand and giggling like a school girl.

"Wait," Augustus said to Jure, trying to block our way. "What do you know about the events that took place outside your hotel room last night?"

"Me?" Jure asked, sounding innocently surprised to be asked anything. "I know nothing. I was watching a TV show in my room. I believe it is called 'Murder She Wrote'. Do you wish me to recount the plot for you? It was quite intricate."

Augustus looked at him with a disbelieving frown, then at each of us, like we were all nuts.

"You have not heard the last from me," he threatened. "I will discover what happened to my men and if Mrs. Smokehouse had anything to do with it she will .."

But he never finished his threat because Eric was beginning to elongate and grow huge claws, a sign he was fixin' to go ballistic. In another second Augustus would have to fight for his life. I wondered if Jure would join in the fray if that happened.

He would almost have to, otherwise Linda would be told that Jure stood by passively while her beloved father had to fight alone. That would end Jure's chances with her forever.

Of course I could just blow up Augustus's head .... and risk injuring everyone within a large radius and exposing my true powers. No, I put that option out of my mind. It would be a last resort to save Eric's life only.

Augustus immediately stepped back and gave Eric a polite little bow, de-escalating the confrontation with a sign of submission.

He walked away subdued, without his caveman pal. This made me wonder exactly how old Augustus really was. I had the impression that Eric was the older, and therefore the stronger. That would mean Augustus was lying about his past, something most vampires probably suspected.

We waited until we were at the airport, well out of Augusus's hearing before Eric and I laughed and high-fived each other.

Next stop, Paris!

more to come .... (Greetings Fanpires! Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving a note when you can. Sorry the website is quirky at times. Someday I will move all this to FF but for now I am enjoying our cozy little nook right here. For me this is perfect because you are here too! See you Saturday....)