Tuesday, July 31, 2012

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

Chapter Eighty Five

Eric turned over and sat up, still looking up into the sky. We both heard the leathery flapping of huge wings, completely distinct from all the natural sounds of a New Zealand night.

I was getting better at tuning out the normal sights, sounds and smells that surrounded me unless they were not the norm. The whump whump whump of these mighty wings stood out against the backdrop hum of nature like somebody hitting an anvil during a church service.

As a human I wouldn't have been able to see a darned thing in the pitch black night that surrounded us. The nearest electric light, a yellow bug repelling porch light, was about a mile away. As a vampire I could see the glowing milky blue of infinity. Besides seeing, hearing and smelling everything that walked, crawled, grew and burrowed under the earth I could see the very air.

The atmosphere teemed with the fizzy greenish color of molecules that contained life, the minute silvery grey specks of dust, the pale gold of the elements like nitrogen and oxygen that made up what humans breathed. Silhouetted against this illuminated tapestry was a huge flying shape, a shape I recognized.

Eric and I relaxed our guards simultaneously and he gathered me in his arms. We flew out over the side of the tower and descended to the ground to meet Madge.

The dragon Madge was Eric's supernatural sibling. He had adopted her after Madge left her previous sibling because her former sister, the Vampire Countess Adrijana, was a "b" on wheels. Eric had been open to getting a new supernatural sibling because his occult brother, a hideously evil troll that will remain nameless, died after threatening our little baby girls.

As a result of Madge's adoption Eric had a beautiful dragon tattoo across the broad "V" of his back, a sign of his bond with Madge. Vampires naturally develop these markings, they aren't put on with a needle.

Humans, way back when, saw the markings on vampires and imitated what they saw. They cleverly developed a way to permanently draw a design on human skin using a needle and ink. Most people didn't know that when they get a tattoo they are trying to copy what early humans saw naturally occurring on vampires.

I didn't have a mark. My otherworldly sibling was a unicorn with dainty hooves and skin like spun glass. Since I was part fairy I was guessing we don't get a mark showing who our supernatural counterpart is. I wondered if the pretty unicorn Arvakur was still my sibling now that I was Vampire.

Was Arvakur in that Somewhere else place my electrons simultaneously inhabited? Was Arvakur actually comprised of my electrons too? It was a new and enchanting thought, both of us made from the same stuff. Looking at her, I might really be looking at the stuff I was made of too.

I didn't have time to ponder it. With a mighty ground shaking thud Madge landed and dug her sword length curved claws in the ground to stop. Her twin tails lashed back and forth in happiness at seeing her adopted brother.

"Come here sweetie pie," she crooned in her sultry voice, "Give us a big huggy wuggy!"

She pursed her cupid's bow lips for a big dragon kiss too. She batted long lashes over her slanted glowing yellow eyes. They had vertical pupils that were dilated right now with pleasure at seeing Eric.

I didn't envy Eric. A dragon's kiss was remarkably foul smelling in a bottom-of-the-swamp kind of way but I knew Eric loved Madge and would tolerate her affection. He climbed up on her front leg and put his arms part way around her massive scaly green neck and gave her a hug. She blew out a big puff of icy air in a contented sigh. Most dragons breathed fire but Madge exhaled ice. She had even frozen over the fiery Hel in the Underworld.

I noticed that Madge had added two dinner plate sized gold disks in the uppermost horned bumps in the row that ran back from her large flaring nostrils, over her cheeks and back over the top of her head. She didn't have external ears, these were kind of like "horn rings".

"Nice jewelry, Madge," I commented.

Eric had climbed down and was behind Madge's sight line, surreptitiously wiping dragon goo off his face with the hem of his vintage Iron Maiden tee shirt. I knew from experience it was going to take a soak in bleach to remove the smell, most likely ruining the shirt.

"They're a gift from an admirer," she preened, her forked tongue snaking out and licking her pretty lips.

Madge had more than a few admirers including a behemoth and several "lake monsters". Her mother, known to humans as "Nessie" but to us as Lidija, was being courted by a fearful kraken. As dragons went, Madge and Lidija were both lookers.

"How are Ilinka, Dalibor and Bozidar?" I asked. They were Madge's three lively children. Bozidar, nicknamed "Bozo", had broken his tail a long time ago and Adele, as Dr. Doolittle's assistant, had helped him get it set.

Eric came to stand next to me. He smelled pretty bad. I stopped sampling the air.

"Wonderful, the little monsters! My Mom is watching them right now," Madge said with a giggle.

I didn't wonder how Madge had found us. Besides being Eric's sibling she was also able to locate me any time she wanted because I had unknowingly ingested some of her scale ground up in a glass of wine. Once you take in even a tiny amount of a dragon's scale, which resembles iridescent green glass, you are always able to be found.

I did wonder why Madge was here. Was this just a social visit or did she have a reason to fly all the way from Scotland to New Zealand?

"I have come to bring you a message," she announced grandly, her forked tails curving up over her back in emphasis.

more to come .... (Wow, hasn't this week just flown by? Thank you so much for your continuing support and interest, you have become my supernatural siblings and we have formed a nest here, haven't we? Who says magic isn't real? See you Wednesday, huggy wuggies!)


Sunday, July 29, 2012

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


Chapter Eighty Four

I lay next to Eric on top of the water tower and thought about his answer.

It was true - I was Vampire, I could indeed do whatever I wanted. What I had envisioned for my life as a vampire was kind of like being a vigilante, one that didn't kill but only modified the behavior of bad people so that good people, innocent people, could live their lives in peace.

Now I wondered about the chains of events I might be setting in motion. I also had to ask myself if I would want a bad person to live if I knew for a fact that they were going to deliberately mess up the lives of the innocent.

Didn't I have a responsibility to use my new power to help innocent people, mortal humans like I had been, to go about their days and nights without getting robbed, raped or murdered?

No, not a responsibility. That was too big a word for me.

I had the desire to do that. So what if some of the bad guys went nuts and killed themselves? Wouldn't that just serve as proof they were never ever going to change deep down where it counted? Wasn't that why people threw the bad guys in the slammer? To stop them from harming others and to convince them to change their ways?

If Tim had gone on to hurt children and gotten caught maybe he would have hung himself in his cell. Maybe other prisoners would have killed him. Once he put his foot on the wrong path his fate changed for the worse. If he had truly wanted to stop, to change, wouldn't he have found a way to make a new life plan?

I expressed these thoughts to Eric. I asked him what he thought I should do.

"You are like someone that has won the lottery and now has vast riches. Do you give all your money to the poor? Do you live a life of fabulous decadence? Do you do some of both? The choices are up to you and, once made, they are not carved in stone. This episode of your life you want to make the world a safer place for children. That is good for now. Maybe it will continue to be good, maybe not. Only you know when the time comes to make a change in your plan. Whatever you decide I will be here to support you and encourage you," he declared.

"Why is that?" I asked. "Why are you so good to me?"

He laughed. "The answer is so very complicated. The simplest way to explain is that I love you. That is what I am doing with my life, loving you. I am wholly committed to this love. If I was not then it would lose meaning. Something in life has to be a priority. For me it is you. Because of this I am happier, richer, more powerful and content than ever before. It was the right choice. Helping you do whatever you want pleases me more than anything else. My life has become beautifully simple - my life is you."

He looked over at me with such radiant love and devotion I scarcely felt worthy of this ancient being. I had to remind myself that this was his choice and it was my great good fortune that was true.

I recalled a course in Transactional Analysis Gran had taken way back when I was in junior high school. She audio taped the classes on cassettes to review at home. I remembered one thing I heard on her tape - that from the time you are born until the time you die you have to be somewhere doing something. I guess Eric had decided that he would be here with me, loving me.

"You make it sound so simple," I said, my eyes locked with his.

He was laying with his arms up and his head on his hands. He turned back to look at the starry firmament and think of his response.

I continued to look at him. I liked how he looked in that position. It emphasized the bulging biceps and swell of his chest. His hair flowed back and was spread on the rough metal surface of the water tower roof.

"For me it is simple. Not so for you. When you first Turn you bring with you all your human ideas, thoughts, attachments, wishes, and desires. Now that you are Vampire you are in a position, perhaps for the first time in your life, to fulfill all those. It speaks highly of your nature that you did not choose riches, lascivious excess or bloodshed as your main objectives. So many do. You want to make the world a better place, a safer place, and treat others with a regard for their human rights. I think it is noble, though very taxing on you." He spoke to the stars, then turned to me again, taking me in his arms.

"My poor Sookie, perhaps being a Vampire is more difficult than you had imagined. Staying in the moment might give you a respite from your good intentions."

I recalled that the road to hell was paved with good intentions. I snuggled into his arms.

"Well, like you said, at least I didn't go hog wild and drain a bunch of folks or steal all the money in Fort Knox."

I also didn't insist on screwing half the folks in Europe like Pam had but I kept that thought to myself. For about the millionth time I wondered how she could have chosen to be with others when she could have had Eric?

He laughed, I could hear the rich sound echo in his chest. "Hog wild .... yes, that is just what it is like. Can a person go hog wild doing good?"

"Good question. I think the world is too big a place for me, on my lonesome, to be able to set right. If anyone is going to suffer it should be those that deserve it. I don't mean to run anyone's bus into a ditch, but if it happens, it happens. If I don't learn to let go of my mistakes and move on I'm going to drive myself bonkers before my first birthday as a vampire."

"That is a very wise thing you just said. Letting go and moving on, the very first lesson a Vampire must learn." He cuddled me in approval of my changing attitude. I felt waves of soothing calm coming from Eric and flowing into me. My worries began to recede and fade away.

I wondered what it would be like to be Eric, with all the wisdom he had accumulated throughout the years. It seemed to be very freeing. Well, I had plenty of time to get to where he was. In the meantime I would just keep doing the best I could.

We smooched for a while under the stars while I practiced being in the moment. A split second before I heard the sound Eric heard it. He raised his head and looked up at the sky.

"Do you hear wings?" I asked him in a whisper.

more to come ..... (Happy mid-week everyone! Hope soothing calm flows over you too! See you Saturday. Thank you as always for your visit, my beloved companions.)


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

Chapter Eighty Three

We had a very lively dinner hour together talking about the idea of Char and Darren returning to Louisiana, the baby, our travels through Europe (without the Berlin and Kloster incidents being mentioned of course) and our plans for the future.

I felt content to settle in here and help Char plan and perhaps even pack if it looked like we could line up a place for them.

I offered to let them stay at our Shreveport house until their house was completed but I could tell Char wasn't too keen on the idea. That was alright. There would be plenty of time to find them temporary housing until they could move into their newly constructed house.

Char didn't plan on sculpting too much longer anyway. It took a lot out of her physically and she wanted to keep in perfect shape for the birth. Instead of work she would have a personal trainer and her yoga lessons to stay in fit.

After Eric and I said good night to Char and Darren we decided to roam the exotic New Zealand night together, first stopping to look up Peeping Tim.

Tim was the manager of a local trailer park and a pedophile. We wanted to see how he was doing in his new life without obsessing about children. I had glamoured him in the past to develop horrible symptoms if he thought about a child, looked at a picture of a child or was within a hundred feet of a child.

The last time I had checked on him he had gotten rid of his TV, destroyed his computer and thrown out his magazines and any other material that might feed his perversion.

The lights were on in Tim's trailer and I could hear the TV on. There were children's voices in the TV show.

Hmmm ..... did this mean my aversion therapy had worn off?

"Tim ... let me in ...." I glamoured through the metal wall of the Airstream trailer.

No response.

Eric and I went and peeked through the window. A lone woman was spread out on the couch, eating cookies right out of the box and drinking milk from the carton. I wondered if Tim had moved on. I sent a wave of glamour to her and she opened the door, woodenly inviting us in.

The scent of Tim was an old scent, nothing recent. This confirmed he didn't live here anymore. If he had moved I needed to check up on him in his new location.

"Where is Tim Douglas?" I asked the woman.

She continued to stare at the TV and chew. Then she swallowed and said, "Waikumete."

She added, "We buried him last week." A tear rolled down her plump cheek and plopped on the front of her flowered house dress.

I popped into her mind. She was Tanya, Tim's older sister. Tim had gotten really depressed. He hadn't explained, but I figured it was because he was unable to feed his sick obsession. He had ended his life with pills and a note that said simply, "I can't go on like this."

Tanya didn't know about Tim's secret life obsessing over little girls and she didn't know what had triggered his suicide. Tanya had taken over as manager of the trailer park and her only deep dark secret obsession was Oreos. She usually ate a box a day but since Tim had taken his life she was up to two boxes a day.

I thought briefly about giving her a suggestion that she would lose her taste for Oreos and begin to eat healthy fruit and veggies but that seemed to be interfering in her decision making.

I thought of my conversation with Eric after the play we saw in Paris, would Tanya one day wish someone had stepped in and taken away her desire for Oreos? Would the weight gain, health issues and other problems from such an unhealthy diet be something she would eventually hope to have been spared?

I tried to put myself in her terrycloth slippers and failed. Simply because I could change her eating habits for the better didn't mean I should change them. Besides, what if I removed the Oreos and she turned to something even more self destructive? Or worse, what if the loss of her beloved Oreos put her over the edge and she killed herself too?

Did this mean I was indirectly responsible for Peeping Tim's death? Were my other behavior modification humans all going to kill themselves now that they couldn't do dire deeds? Was the human psyche so delicately balanced that removing one diseased brick from the wall of their ego would cause their whole life to come tumbling down?

I decided to back out of Tanya's life and leave no trace that we had been here. I felt sorry for her loss, I knew what the death of Jason would mean to me. I soothed her mind and put her back on the couch with her box of cookies and her Little House on the Prairie reruns. It seemed very sad to me but to try and help would only take away her humanness.

Eric and I went out into the night hearing the crunching of cookies.

"What is wrong?" Eric asked me, correctly reading my unhappy expression.

"Tim killed himself, that was his sister. We need to talk, but first I need to eat," I told him.

Eric respected my introspective mood and we hunted in silence.

We found a man stealing a sheep and I fed. I didn't talk to him about his sheep rustling. Then we found a man running from the law near Kawakawa. He was a fugitive from justice, that much I got from his thoughts. I didn't even bother to try and find out what he had done to get on a wanted poster. I just fed and let him go off to try and escape the law the best he could.

Then Eric and I went to one of our favorite spots, the water tower. He flew me up to the top of the unused tower and we sat there looking at the stars. I could hear the faint music the glittering universe made and it soothed me. I was just a tiny speck, a fleeting moment, an insignificant mote in this grand scheme. My mistakes, if they were mistakes at all, were they all that important? For a moment I tried to feel better, then I felt the guilt and doubt creep in again.

I explained to Eric what I believed had happened and how I blamed myself for Tim's suicide.

"I didn't kill him with my fangs but what difference does that make? He's just as dead as if I had drained him that first night," I said glumly.

As fervently as I had vowed to be a new kind of vampire, I was leaving a trail of dead in my wake. On the other hand, my wake had begun when I was still human with Debbie Pelt and Bill's insane Maker Lorena. I had come to terms with those incidents because neither one was my fault. But Peeping Tim ... well, I had gone out of my way to mess with his agenda.

"He did not have to kill himself," Eric said in a kindly tone. "That was his decision, not yours."

"Yeah, but his depression and mental decline began when I stopped him from obsessing about little girls," I pointed out.

"Obsessing and acting on his obsession," Eric pointed out.

That was true. Tim was teetering on the brink of acting out his sick fantasies. "I'm glad I stopped him before he ruined a child's life," I said.

"Sometimes death is the only way to stop someone," Eric said flatly. "Evil has a life of its own, it must be killed."

I knew he was right. It wasn't a good thought.

"You gave him a chance to reform. It is more than I would have done," Eric added. "You gave him a chance. Did he deserve more?"

"No, really, he didn't deserve more. This is just too much responsibility for me," I sighed. "I never wanted to be judge, jury and executioner."

" 'All that it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing'," Eric quoted.

"Shakespeare?" I asked. Or was it the Bible?

"Edmund Burke," Eric answered.

I was making a mental note to look up Edmund Burke when Eric said, "He was an Irish statesman, author, orator, political theorist and philosopher in the seventeen hundreds."

I had to smile. How well Eric knew me.

"Do you know him or did you know him?" I asked, grateful for a change in topic.

Eric looked at me with amusement. "Sookie, I do not know everyone that ever lived. No, I did not know him." He rubbed my back soothingly.

"What am I going to do?" I moaned, leaning against him. The stuffing had gone out of me and now I felt sort of limp and relaxed. Sometimes surrender to the way things turned out was a good feeling.

"What am I going to do?" I repeated with a sigh, watching a shooting star leave a fiery trail across the sky.

"You are Vampire. You do whatever you want," was his simple answer.

more to come ..... (Hello everyone! Hope you are having a chance to relax and treat yourself well. I send thoughts of health and happiness to you. You are so wonderful, I love reading what you write. This is truly a privilege for me to meet friends from around the world. HUGS!)


Sunday, July 22, 2012

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

Chapter Eighty Two

The news that Charlaine was planning a home birth made me a little worried.

I kept my fears to myself as she went on to explain about the water birth she was planning. She was practicing her breathing and doing gentle yoga to prepare her body for the birth.

She was so confident and set in her mind that this was what she wanted I knew not to say one word to her about what could go wrong. I wondered how far away the hospital was. I reminded myself that women had been having babies at home since there were such things as homes.

I determinedly blocked out any thought of what I could do, what I might have to do, if it looked like she wasn't going to make it. Eric had been ready to Turn me when I had the triplets by Caesarian section. If Charlaine started to fade could I stand by and let her go? Wouldn't a Vampire mother be better than no mother at all?

What if the birth took place during the day when I wouldn't be there to help? What if my weakling status rendered me incapable of making a true vampire and Char ended up as a slaveling, eating bugs and small animals to survive?

What would Charlaine and Darren want? Should I discuss this with Eric?

I dragged my mind away from the awful array of possible disasters, of what could go wrong, to the present moment and all the things that were going right.

Char was happy, healthy and her life was full of good things. I wasn't going to be a little rain cloud on her happiness. When she was done explaining her birth plans I mentioned the names I had been tossing around in my mind.

"Beauregard Boudreaux, Mom? Seriously?" she laughed.

"Well," I said a tad defensively, "He wouldn't be called Beauregard. Don't you think Beau Boudreaux has a nice ring to it?"

Char thought for a minute, silently mouthing the name to herself. "I'd say it does and then again it doesn't. It seems a little over the top, like a used car salesman."

"Come on down to Beau Boudreaux for the deal of a lifetime," she said in an announcer's sonorous voice.

I had to agree, it did seem a bit much. "Yeah, I guess you're right. I have some other suggestions..."

"We already have a name picked out for him," Charlaine said, heading me off at the pass. There was an amused twinkle in her eyes that reminded me so much of her father.

"Oh really?" I asked. Maybe she wanted to keep the name a secret for now.

"Yup, it's going to be a surprise," she said, glowing with that special inner knowledge pregnant women have about their unborn child. I was OK with that. When I was expecting I didn't blab about all the secret things I knew about the pregnancy either.

Eric and Darren came back to the kitchen. Darren was typing on his Blackberry while the much taller Eric looked over his shoulder and read what he was writing. Eric laughed and said, "We can do that," after making sure that Darren was looking at his mouth.

"You can do what?" Char asked, coming over to Darren to put her arm around him.

Darren signed rapidly. What he was saying was so interesting to Charlaine she forgot to translate out loud.

"Wow," she exclaimed, "Really?"

Darren nodded, grinning.

"What, what?" I asked, wanting to be part of the conversation.

Eric said, "Darren has some very forward thinking ideas in the works. I told him that I have been looking for and located adequate office and factory space for his company. I have also lined up Bill Compton and Nikola to act as consultants once the company is up and running in Shreveport. We can build a custom home and art studio right on the same property. I can provide the kind of security they would need to keep their privacy intact. There's even a small lake on the land as well as room for a private airstrip."

I knew Eric had been negotiating for a big property right outside the Shreveport city limits. Now he had gotten Bill and Nikola on board to sweeten the offer he was making for Darren's whole company to move.

It would be a major undertaking to pull up stakes here and shift the company and Charlaine's art studio to the States. We didn't want to interfere with the way Darren and Charlaine chose to live their lives but we also didn't want to miss a chance to help them if they wanted to move back home.

Charlaine sighed. "You know, this couldn't come at a better time. I have been missing you-all like crazy and Darren hasn't expanded his computer line yet to include his new ideas. If we were going to move this would be the time. I want the baby to know both sets of his grandparents. I want his great-Uncle Jason and great-Aunt Angellica, his cousin Brett, and Aunts Linda and Adele, and uncles to really know him, not just as visitors a few times a year."

She looked at Darren. "What do you think honey? Can you start up again in Louisiana?"

Darren signed while Char translated. "I can leave the company here to continue making the three D computers and the servers for the search engine that sends the images. I have several good managers here that can keep things running smoothly. For the new production I'll set up in the States and oversee that personally. I will have the best of both worlds, literally. Thank you for your help and support."

I knew Charlaine's clients would follow her to the moon if it meant she would sculpt them so the location of her studio wasn't a big consideration for her.

This was very joyful news. It was going to be so wonderful to have Char back. Tomorrow night Linda would be here with us and we could tell her the news. Now if we could get Jure to agree to live near us the whole family would be complete.

I thought of Holo-Gran and telling her about these new events. I thought of home and the family united once again. My heart practically sang with delight.

more to come ..... (Greetings Fanpires! Hope things are going well for you. I am delighted to see you again and give you my biggest hug. See you Saturday for the next exciting episode!)


Saturday, July 21, 2012

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

Chapter Eighty One

"Sookie, why are you laying in the bathtub?" Eric asked, understandably surprised to find me sprawled out, fully clothed, in a dry tub.

Like a soap bubble popping the hissing stopped and the grey fog lifted. Suddenly everything was fine. The super-force holding me down disappeared, gravity was restored to its usual slight pull.

It took a second for me to realize that whatever the heck was going on had stopped.

"I fell, but more than that, I felt a power or a force push me down and hold me. And there was a sound like cicadas or steam hissing from a pipe, that's why I came in here. I just couldn't get up," I told him.

Eric reached down his hand and helped me up. I stepped out of the tub, thinking of the three men I had kept waiting in a tub in Kloster. Was one of them a witch, wizard or warlock? I thought about them, their thoughts, their general auras. No, they were not magical at all.

"Can I taste your blood?" he asked.

I nodded and he made a slight nip in my arm. His lips felt soft and warm, he was so gentle it just felt like a kiss.

"You have not been poisoned," he said, diagnosing my condition by taste.

"I didn't think vampires could be poisoned," I said.

"Oh yes, there are certain herbs, spices, plants ...." He didn't finish the sentence.

Then I remembered the Valerian and some of the South American herbs Jeremy Playfair had been working with before he was Turned. I guess there were substances that could mess us up but apparently I hadn't ingested any of them.

Eric sniffed around the room, looking for the source of my episode of weakness, but he didn't come up with anything.

"Maybe it's just part of being a weakling," I said in a small voice, feeling like I had to point that possibility out.

Eric frowned, thinking of other explanations. "It could be magic. Perhaps someone is working a spell against you. Let us leave this place and try to discover what is happening to you."

I didn't know how he was going to do that but I was all for getting out of this bathroom. I felt like I had been there for years. I remembered Augustus's angry face and his threats. He didn't know what had happened to his legion, not for sure. Would he act on his suspicion and put the whammy on me? How could I fight back? If he did manage to put a hex on me, what kind of witch was he using?

Whatever sort of witch he had, I had one better. My friend Amelia was now a thirty-second degree witch and one of Hecate's handmaidens, the highest honor a witch can aspire to.

If there was bad magic afoot Amelia would be able to detect it, neutralize it and turn all the bad power back on the sender. Returning negative energy was her specialty because it gave her the most witchly glee.

All she was doing was setting in motion the law of "What goes around comes around". That might be karma or there may be some other term for it. Whatever it was called, you didn't want to be on the wrong end of it once Amelia got involved.

"Do you feel well enough to travel to Charlaine's home?" he asked me, guiding me out of the room by my arm as if I was aged or infirm.

I laughed. "I'm fine, honey, honest. Whatever it was, it's completely gone now, see?" I twirled around him at warp speed to show him how spry I was. His hair whipped around wildly in the breeze I created as I orbited him.

He laughed too. "Stop, hurricane Sookie! I am convinced. Let us get our flight."

Nothing more happened and we got on our Air Anubis plane to New Zealand. We needed to enter our travel containers in flight.

Thanks to Pat Macorty and Tameti, two workmen that Charlaine routinely hired as helpers, our travel containers were picked up at the airport and carried into Charlaine's guest house. I agreed with Eric, we were going to need reliable body guards if we planned to continue our travels. We couldn't rely on catch-as-catch-can arrangements.

My first thought on waking was to remember that Linda and Jure were not going to be here tonight. They had taken a chartered flight to Sydney to meet Jure's yacht. They were going to bring it to New Zealand, weather permitting, or, if the seas were too rough, leave it moored and return by plane.

I wondered if Jure had planned it this way so he would be gone while Eric was here. I didn't mind that but I did mind not seeing Linda. She should be here tomorrow night, with or without Jure, she had assured me. Tonight I could focus on Charlaine.

Eric was already up, of course. He watched me closely as I rose to make sure I was OK while he pretended to scroll through his messages. He tried not to let me know he was worried about me but I could see the tiny lines of strain around his eyes.

After I showered and changed we went over to the main house to see Charlaine and Darren. Darren was finishing up in his office so Charlaine was alone in the kitchen, wearing a sky blue tent dress with a pretty crocheted collar decorated by Gran's cameo brooch.

I swear, she had grown bigger around since the last time I saw her! I knew better than to blurt that out, Char had always been sensitive about her weight. She might mistake my delight and joy in her increased girth for a negative comment about her size.

"You look gorgeous!" I exclaimed, also restraining myself from patting her tummy.

I recalled from my own pregnancy how weird it was that everyone felt perfectly fine about touching my belly. I hugged her, aware of the baby bump between us making this hug different. There were three of us in this hug. The thought brought tears to my eyes.

"Mom, what's wrong," Charlaine asked when she saw the tears.

"Nothing's wrong, I'm just so so excited and happy about this baby. This is a big deal for me and your father," I said, bringing Eric into the hug.

As we hugged, Darren came in and spontaneously hugged us all too, a wonderful group hug. I loved it that Darren was so warm and loving. He was the best son-in-law a mother could want.

I was so happy at that moment, I didn't see any difference in the love filling my heart from when I was human. I knew the years might erode some of my humanness away from me but right at that moment I felt just as human as I had before I Turned.

I made sure Darren could see my lips and asked him how he was. His hands flew as Charlaine translated, "I'm fine, working on some exciting new projects, though none as exciting as my girl here is working on." He patted her tummy proudly.

Darren asked Charlaine if he could show Eric some of the things in his office. Charlaine said sure.

After they left she said, "There aren't many people Darren can show his secret projects to. He has to be ultra-careful no one knows what he's doing."

He's not the only one, I thought. Char and I went to admire the nursery. She had changed the wall mural a little to add a winding river with a few alligators basking in the sun. The gators looked happy and friendly. She saw me studying them.

"Just in case the baby's a shifter I want him to have a positive identity," she explained.

"You're doing the right thing," I told her, admiring her sensitivity. "You remember Sam Merlotte? He had a terrible time as a young person trying to deal with his shifter nature. His parents hadn't prepared him at all for what might happen once he reached puberty."

"The same thing is true for non-shifters too," Charlaine laughed. "You and Dad tried your best to prepare me for the changes I would go through but it still came as something of a shock to see it really happening."

"How is your pregnancy going?" I asked.

We sat down on the blue velvet Victorian sofa in the nursery. I had asked Charlaine that question just about every night during our phone calls however it's one thing to talk on a phone and another to speak in person.

"The pregnancy is going good. I have some fears about the delivery but our midwife is wonderful, she tells me I have the exact right kind of body to bear children."

"You're using a midwife at the hospital?" I asked.

"No hospital, I'm having the baby here," she said.

more to come ...... (Wonderful Weekend everyone! Thanks for your visit, your comments and your support. Big hugs and good wishes to each of you! See you Wednesday....)


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

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

Chapter Eighty

As fast as it had come on the strange feeling passed and I was once again fine, but it was troubling. As a vampire I had already gotten used to perfect health and enhanced senses.

Having a symptom of some sort was just not in the normal range of vampire experience. Eric offered to carry me down the stairs but I told him no, I could walk just fine. Maybe this was yet another manifestation of my darned weakling condition.

I must be such a disappointment to Eric. I remembered how happy he had been in Madrid, I saw him in my mind laughing and talking a mile a minute, thinking all my human vulnerabilities were behind me. Now I seemed just as vulnerable as ever, just in a new way. I could see the look of stress in Eric's eyes. He was worried too.

We went on to Notre Dame, flying over a walkway to the island in the Seine where the famous cathedral was located. We walked around the impressive stone structure, admiring it.

One of the figures carved on the front of the church reminded me so much of my fairy great- grandfather Prince Niall Brigant. The statues were darkened and eroded by time and acid rain making positive identification impossible.

I didn't think he could have posed for it. Niall was very secretive and kept hidden in his own dimension. He had not ventured forth from that place for decades. He had sealed off his fairy realm from the human realm and I didn't know if he would ever come here again.

Inside the building the stained glass windows, smell of incense and murmur of other tourists gave me a feeling of peace. The flickering candles, hundreds of them in rows of red and clear votive glass holders represented heartfelt prayers by believers. The high arching ceiling gave plenty of room for those prayers to rise.

The altar in the front was huge, golden, elaborate and glamorous, so unlike the plain wooden altar and simple cross in the humble church I had attended as a girl. I stopped to say prayers for all my loved ones, living and passed.

Eric smiled down at me in a kindly way as I folded my hands and said my prayers. He had always respected the way I kept faith and hope in my heart, even if he didn't understand some of what my "Holy Book" said. I didn't understand a lot of it myself. I mostly stuck to the love and kindness parts of it, leaving the smiting and retribution parts by the wayside.

Two tourists, an older married couple, stopped to stare at me. From their thoughts I knew that they were startled to see a vampire praying. The woman didn't think vampires had any religion, and the man thought vampires would go up in a puff of smoke in the presence of a cross or blessed items.

Seeing my bowed head opened their minds a little to the fact that vampires were a diverse group and certainly not tools of anything unholy. I was glad to help them understand, part of spreading good will, I hoped.

When I was done praying Eric offered me a chance to go up to the top for an elevated view of the city but I had done enough of that for one night. Truth be told, I was worried the dizziness might return. I didn't want to keep reminding Eric that I wasn't right.

After the cathedral we traveled to the "Left Bank" and strolled around the Latin Quarter, stopping to discuss grand theft auto with a man that was stealing a car. When we left he was programmed to run away screaming if he touched any car but his own. He had eaten crepes Suzettes for dinner, I could taste it in his blood.

The next night we visited the Louvre, the Tuileries garden, the Champs Elysees and the Arch. Although I enjoyed this sightseeing tour with Eric I still felt uneasy, the memory of the weird feeling I had on top of the Eiffel Tower bugged me, haunted me.

It seemed like the precursor for something going terribly wrong. Plus I wanted to go see Charlaine and Linda. And then Adele back home. I missed my girls something terrible. I missed my home. I told Eric how much I was pining for our daughters.

"Do you feel they are in danger?" Eric asked me seriously, looking into my eyes with intensity.

I hoped he wasn't starting to think my powers had extended from telepathy and head-exploding to being a walking talking magic crystal ball. That just wasn't true. I didn't have, and never had, precognition. And I didn't want it either. Who would want to know what bad things lay ahead? Not me.

No, I had no premonition about the girls. I just thought my circuits were a little overwhelmed from all I had seen and done since Turning. I wanted some down time.

"No, no, nothing like that. I think I only want to see my girls more than I want to see any more cathedrals or such like," I told him.

"Then we shall return to New Zealand immediately," he assured me, whipping out his cell phone. He arranged for a private plane to pick us up at Orly Field in two hours. We would meet our pilot at Orly Sub.

Next he called the hotel to have our suitcases packed. Our luggage and travel containers would be taken to the airport and placed in our plane. We had to show up in person to check out of the hotel so, while Eric took care of the substantial bill, I took a moment to check our room and make sure nothing had been left. As I looked around the room I heard a hissing noise.

I couldn't find the source of the hissing. It seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere. I went in the bathroom and listened to the plumbing. I knew from first hand experience at my old farm in Bon Temps that antique plumbing could make a startling variety of noises, but no, it wasn't the plumbing either.

The hissing grew louder, filling up first my hearing and then taking form and casting a grey shadow that grew and blocked out the room. I held out my hand like a sightless person, feeling the air, looking for the doorway.

I took a few steps and fell into the deep claw foot tub, feeling the hissing noise and greyness pressing me down, not letting me up. It was like struggling against gravity that had been turned way up as it was on some of the big planets. I felt like I was being pulled towards the center of the earth.

I was alone, weighed down, unable to make a noise. The hissing changed and a rattling sound joined in. It was maddening, the overwhelming sound of it, the helplessness.

The sweet faces of my girls went through my mind, then I thought about Eric.

Eric! I called with my thoughts, Eric, help me!

I hoped our Maker-Child bond could reach through the deafening sound and dense greyness. Would Eric also be flattened by the super-gravity? Was I calling him into danger? I stopped calling him, trying to understand what was happening to me but coming up with nothing.

Maybe this was how weaklings died, maybe all the blood in the world couldn't keep me alive. How ironic it would be that the very thing I had done to insure my continued existence was actually what was going to do me in. Maybe this was it and I was really going to die.

more to come ..... (Wonderful Wednesday everyone! Hope your week is going well. I send you all my happy healthy thoughts and my heartfelt gratitude for your delightful and uplifting company. See you Saturday!)


Sunday, July 8, 2012

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

Chapter Seventy Nine

As we walked along I was unusually silent. Most of the time I was a regular chatterbox after I had seen something new and grand. Eric and I stopped at a cafe and ordered two bottles of Véritable Sang, the French version of True Blood. The waiter, a skinny human man with a thin mustache slammed the unopened bottles down in front of us and swirled away in a Gallic pantomime of distaste for vampires.

"A glass too," Eric requested, calling after him.

The waiter returned with a glass and put it down with another flourish of disgust.

"No tip for him," Eric said, opening my bottle for me and pouring the contents into the stemmed wine glass. From the look in his eye I knew he was thinking about doing worse things than not tipping. He must be thinking about the days before mainstreaming.

After I had the first bottle and been disappointed the fancy label didn't improve the taste one bit, Eric asked me about why I was so quiet.

"Did the play displease you?" he asked, taking my hand. His face showed concern and interest. He made eye contact with me waiting for my answer.

"No, no, the play was awesome. But I was a little put off to realize that I identified with Armond. I wanted him to Turn Colette, even though it was obviously against her will. I don't think I would have seen it that way if I was still human," I said, not sure if that was really true or not.

"Although it was against her will in the present moment, do you not think the visitation of the old Colette in the woods implied that her mind would have changed after it was too late?" Eric asked gently.

I was glad he was taking this seriously.

"I guess, but wouldn't that mistake be hers to make? Don't we all have to live with the consequences of our earlier judgement, good and bad? Armond took that away from her. It was her life, if she messed it up at least it would still be her life." I said with more conviction than I felt.

I could see the folly in this reasoning. Being saved from one's poor judgement ... was that a good thing or a bad thing?

"What if she had been a heavy drinker, finally quit, then needed a liver transplant to restore her body to health. Should she be restricted to the liver she had after drinking or should she be allowed to get a new liver?"

Eric was making a good point.

Stubbornly, I felt determined to oppose the "doing it for your own good" theory. Wasn't that exactly what Vampire Liberation had claimed as their "Raison d'être". I would have used the French phrase to impress Eric but I knew my pronunciation would be laughable. Reading French phrases wasn't anything like being able to speak them.

"Her decision to get a new liver would still be her decision," I pointed out in good old Louisiana English.

This back and forth with Eric was like a verbal chess game, something we both enjoyed. Over the years we had many conversations like this, throwing our ideas and observations back and forth. We didn't always see eye to eye, but neither of us was shy about expressing our point of view.

We had learned how to disagree without becoming disagreeable. He liked me to bounce my notions off him and I liked hearing his point of view based on ten centuries of living. That was a heap of living and I respected that. He thought I had an exceptional mind and always listened attentively to my thoughts. I appreciated his high regard though I knew I wasn't any Einstein or Tesla.

"What if she was asked if she regretted ever beginning to drink?" Eric asked, moving his conversational chess piece into a better position.

"I'm sure she would say yes, she would know she had messed up. But isn't that all part of human life? Messing up and then learning the lessons?" I said, my counter-gambit .

"Of course. The same is true for vampires. We have the advantage of second chances. An old and infirm Colette would not have that second chance. I believe it was the intent of the play to let us know that Colette would have eventually wanted to Turn." Eric smiled and kissed my hand with charm and Savoir-faire.

"If that part hadn't been in it ..." I mused. I mentally heard Gran say "And if pigs had wings they would fly."

"Then his action would have been unwise. If she was a strong-headed woman," he winked at me with a twinkle in his eye, "She might have resented his rescue for centuries and made his life miserable."

"Wouldn't she have to love him just because he was her Maker?"

"She would have to obey him, but she would not have to love him or even like him."

"So my love for you ..." I flirted.

"Is your authentic true love blossoming from an overflowing heart towards your admiring husband," he finished, kissing my hand again, pushing his tongue between my forefinger and my middle finger in a very suggestive way.

I could see there was no way to definitively decide right or wrong, at least in the story presented in the play. I could also see that Eric considered this kind of discussion as intellectual foreplay. Me too. A mind was a terrible thing to waste.

The worry over my morality was fading away again in the warm glow of Eric's attentions and the enchanting lights of Paris. I finished the second bottle and, without leaving a tip, we went on to visit the Eiffel Tower.

With my vampire hearing I could hear the waiter mutter a few choice phrases as he cleared our table. Happily my knowledge of French didn't extend to the kind of words he used.

We wandered our way towards the Eiffel Tower. It was easy to do because it was visible from just about anywhere in this section of Paris. I fell in love with the historical architecture, old neighborhoods and interesting shops. I let Eric lead me as I looked around like the most awestruck tourist. We got to the base of the tower after stopping to make out in a doorway. A vampire can always find some little place to hide from human eyes because we can see in the dark.

A guide was getting ready to take a group of sight seers to the top. She was saying, "The Eiffel tower is recognized around the world as the symbol of Paris."

We didn't join the tour, instead we stood in line just like the human sightseers and bought tickets permitting us to go all the way to the top. We took the stairs and dashed up, making it to the top before the groaning elevator.

We walked around 360 degrees and saw Sacre Coeur and Notre Dame. We saw boats going up and down the Seine river including one yacht that looked like Jure's, though I knew his yacht was headed for New Zealand by this time. Eric took pictures of me and I took pictures of Eric. We asked a woman from the United States to take our picture together.

"I didn't think you vampires showed up on film or in mirrors," she said, finding us in the camera's viewer and snapping several photos.

"That's just a myth, ma'am," I said politely. "I would just die if I couldn't see myself in a mirror to do my hair."

My hair was on my mind because the wind on top of the tower had messed it up something awful. I should have brought a scarf, something I was sure Gran would have recommended. Gran had been prepared for most every contingency.

She laughed, "I thought you were dead." Then she thought about what she had said and quickly added. "No offense meant."

From her mind I found that she was not afraid of us, just curious. She was from Los Angeles and this was her first European vacation. She was here with her husband but he was afraid of heights so she had ventured to the top alone. I liked her and didn't mind her straightforward questions.

"None taken. Nope, I'm not dead. I'm walking around talking to you, aren't I?" I said with a friendly smile.

"But you do live on blood don't you?" she said, her hand going to her scarf which she had wrapped around her head and neck. She looked around to make sure there were lots of other people nearby, as if they could save her if I suddenly snapped and decided to take her out.

"Yes, ma'am, that part is true, though with True Blood we don't need human blood, do we honey?" I put my arm around Eric's tapered waist and smiled up at him. He knew I was mainstreaming, that is, spreading good will and reassurance about us.

I wondered briefly what she would think if she knew I had just come from a conference that voted on her fate and the fate of all humans.

"No, we do not need human blood. Now you will go and have a great night. You will remember how nice and kind vampires are. You will tell all your friends vampires are fine people," Eric said, looking right in her eyes. I could feel his glamour buzzing off him like a slight electric current.

"Vampires are fine people," she repeated, wandering off a little dazed.

She joined the rest of the tourists and left in the elevator. For a moment Eric and I were completely alone at the top of the tower.

I looked in his eyes, not afraid of his glamour. He didn't need to use magic to get me to think he was wonderful.

Suddenly a woozy feeling gripped me, a dizzy feeling like I was falling.

Eric said, "Sookie, what is wrong?" and pulled me to him to hold me up. The wind whipped around us and I held on to Eric for dear life.

more to come ......(Super Saturday Supernaturally wonderful readers! Hope you have a relaxing weekend planned. Thank you for coming back here, your company is wonderful and you make me so happy! See you Wednesday!)


Friday, July 6, 2012

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

Chapter Seventy Eight

The Folies Bergère was an impressive art deco building on 32 rue Richer in the 9th Arrondissement. I looked up at the stylized deco frieze of a woman dancing.

"Were you ever here before?" I asked Eric.

We nodded politely at several well dressed vampires entering the theater. I didn't recognize them which made me glad. With the exception of Jure's staff at his castle, all the vampires I had met over here in Europe were either connected with our Berlin problem or our Swiss problem. I was hoping to remain anonymous and just slide through the Paris night unnoticed and without further incident.

" I was here in 1870 when it was known as the Folies Trévise," he said. He took my arm to escort me inside.

"Eric! Eric darling!" a female voice called. She pronounced his name "Er-eek".

A tall brown haired vampire woman with a nice but unremarkable face and figure ran up to Eric. She was wearing an ankle length wrap-around metallic brocade coat with a big fox fur collar and a matching cloche hat, something that looked right out of the 1930's. She threw her arms around him and gave him a big kiss on the cheek, leaving a perfect lip print on his paper white skin and releasing clouds of noxious perfume.

"My Gowd! I 'ad forgotten 'ow 'andsome you ahh!" she enthused, looking only at him, ignoring me. She had a lovely French accent.

"Cora, let me introduce you to my wife," he said, pulling me between him and her like a living barrier.

She held out her silk gloved hand and I shook the tips of her fingers for a millionth of a second.

"Charmed, I'm sure," she said quickly, not even bothering to look at me. Then she frowned adorably, her penciled on brows forming pyramids.

"Married? You don't mean it!" she said to Eric, trying to squeeze her way past me to get closer to Eric.

"He does mean it," I said, firmly blocking her way. "He is the most married man you will ever meet. Please excuse us, we don't want to be late to see the show."

"Of course, naturellement," she said with a gracious little gesture towards the entrance as if she were the proprietor of the theater.

Eric didn't even say good bye or that it was good to see her. We just left. Maybe they had a history and he was afraid she would start blabbing stuff that would rile my dander.

The entrance hall, a blast from the past, was still regal and grand in the way things were when opulence was reserved for the wealthy. The massive chandeliers, golden swags and warm glowing lights in geometric brass deco sconces got me ready for a superior theater experience.

The interior of the two tier theater was just as spectacular. It was the kind of place you would hope to see an opera or an award ceremony in. Eric might be used to these fancy old world buildings but they were still a marvel to me. We sat in the third row and I looked around in awe, hoping Cora hadn't followed us in here.

"Does she own this place?" I asked when we were seated.

"Who? You mean Cora? No," he laughed. "She is just a .... demimondaine I met while I was here in the 30's." He opened his playbill and read about the play. He could read the French words, I just looked at the pictures.

I didn't know what a "demimondaine" was but from the way Eric said it I thought it might be a polite word for a hooker. I knew better than to get my britches in a bunch over things that went on in Eric's life before I was born.

I would be upset 24/7 if I did that. I had him now, that was all that mattered. I took a hanky out of my little jeweled evening bag and, with a wifely smile, wiped Cora's kiss off Eric's cheek.

Gran had said to always carry a hanky and as usual, Gran was right. I gave the hanky a little shake, folded the lipstick smudge to the inside, and returned the hanky to my bag.

Now I had something of Cora's if I should ever need to get my friend Amelia to do a spell on her. Amelia was an awesome witch that lived in my old farmhouse in Bon Temps. I didn't think I would have any further trouble with Cora but a little extra insurance was always a good thing. Like I said, I wasn't jealous, but I also wasn't a fool.

The show, written back in the days of horse drawn buggies, was moving. The songs - backed by a full orchestra - were delightful. It was a musical about a dashing vampire man that fell in love with a pious human woman. He would stand outside her window each night and watch her say her prayers before going to sleep. He was too conflicted to make his feelings known, sure she would reject him as an unnatural monster.

Armond, the vampire, sang a song of torment about his unrequited love for the devoutly religious human woman Colette with such passion and feeling that it brought tears to my eyes. Even though this might have been a Victorian melodrama I could relate to the issues it addressed, both in my own life and the lives of my daughters.

I had to remember not to use my hanky. Fortunately I also had some tissues in my little evening bag.

Eric translated the words as Armond sang. His whisper in my ear was exciting, making the passionate words seem to be his own. They would have broken my heart if I was still human.

"How can I love you when you will wither in the fall?

How can you love me when I can not offer all?

The lion might lie down with the lamb,

But only the lion will get up again."

Armond fled into the dark woods, deciding to give it up and run away from Colette.

The trees in the forest were tall willowy women in flowing green skimpy costumes and big leaf head dresses. They danced gracefully and swirled around Armond while a nature spirit, dressed in filmy white layers, followed behind him, urging him to give in to his desires in a wispy voice like the wind.

Then an old woman with a cane, bent almost double with age, hobbled through the dancing trees and sang to Armond:

"I am the future of your love,

Do you not recognize me?

How can you leave me to this fate?

When you could have set me free?"

The show went on in this melodramatic and very over-wrought way until the end when Armond took a struggling, terrified Colette in his arms and brought her to the ground, his cape swirling around her, hiding his symbolic act of Turning her.

A collective sigh, gasp or hiss went up from the audience depending on whether the person was Vampire or human. I must admit even my own fangs slid out at this dramatic erotic and intimate ending.

We vamps knew what an exciting moment it is to bite someone you also love. Eric and I had shared many such moments. He squeezed my hand, he knew this was getting to me.

The lights came up and everyone applauded. The actors took a bow and then a second bow.

The actress playing Colette had fake bite marks on her neck and a trickle of colored corn syrup blood running from her "wounds" staining the breast her pure white modest night gown crimson. The makeup must have been hastily applied when she was hidden by Armond's cape.

I thought this was a nice touch, continuing the fantasy of Turning Colette past the actual end of the play.

The humans chatted, but the vampires were silent as they filed out into the Parisian night. I don't know why the other vampires were quiet but I knew why I was left deep in thought.

I was thinking that Armond did the right thing, saving Colette from the ravages of old age, even against her will. I wondered, was I developing vampire brains? Was I losing the human moral compass I had used all my life?

more to come .....( Another Wednesday! - I hope your week has been going well. If not I hope it takes a turn for the better from this moment on. Thank you for stopping by, your comments make me so happy and I treasure your presence. See you Saturday!)