Chapter One Hundred and Four
I woke the next night to a flurry of activity happening right outside our safe room door. Eric, already up and dressed, ran interference for me, preventing anyone from seeing me until I was fed.
I still woke up very hungry and looked wild, fangy and savage, until I was full. Eric liked me that way but I knew I would appear unsettling to humans. Pam had arranged to have ten bar patrons, eager donors, sent over from the bar for me to choose from.
Eric brought in the three best ones by the back entrance, the one that came underground from the garage. I ate until stuffed, then I glamoured them to believe that they had never left Fangtasia and had experienced the vampire sex whoop-de-do of their lives, whatever that meant to them.
At first I had supplied the fantasy, then I discovered that donors were donors because they spent a lot of time dreaming of a close encounter with a fanged lover. Their elaborate intimate fantasy was tailor made for their particular psyche. All I needed to do was give them permission to immerse themselves in their dream, to experience it as real. This saved me time and gave the donor exactly what he or she was hoping for.
Ridley, one of Fangtasia's human bartenders, brought eight of the donors back to their homes. We kept two big strapping ones for later, glamouring them and stashing them in the spare safe room under the garage until they would be needed.
After eating I showered while Eric filled me in on who-all was waiting to see me or speak to me. First and foremost was Linda. She had arrived without Jure. She wanted to have a talk with both of us, we would do that later, though of course I would greet her and make sure she was comfortable until we had a time to really chat.
I had a conference call on hold about setting up my court officers, a request from Augustus and fourteen of his friends, royals and royal wanna be's. Thay were asking the vote against Vampire Liberation be declared null and void because they were rendered unable to attend by the upset caused by the destruction of Augustus's troops. No surprise there.
I had a request for a hearing from the Queen of California, something to do with a motorcycle. I had fourteen other messages, most of them congratulations on my new position as Interim Pythoness. Eric had stopped printing them out when he saw our inbox ran to more than a hundred pages.
The most flattering message was from King Felipe de Castro and Queen Trinity. It was also signed with the name of their new baby, the reborn Pythoness, Pythia. I took that to mean that their other baby, the one being born to the surrogate, hadn't come along yet. I bet the King and Queen thought I would now be in their back pocket, ready to rule in their favor on whatever issue they might take to the high court.
I was familiar enough with small town politics to know how that worked - a favor for a favor. One hand washed the other. Good thing the Pythoness didn't have any hands, her being a snake and all.
My old housekeeper had sent her neighbor's niece, Simona, to apply for the job of our live-in housekeeper, something I would need more than ever. Rowena, the lady sent by Adele, had done a good job getting the house ready for Linda, then Simona took over for the evening.
Eric said she seemed all right but he wanted me to meet her and check out her thoughts before we hired her. She was in the kitchen right now making chicken for Linda's dinner.
I groaned at the thought of the stink that would make in the house. Good thing I had installed super powerful exhaust fans for Eric's sensibilities. I had learned not to test the air routinely.
As I dressed I pointed to the stack of messages and asked Eric, "Are you alright with this? I went from being a full time housewife to being swamped with official business. I don't want you to end up feeling like my assistant."
"That is why you need to assemble your court as soon as possible. They will handle all your appointments, screen out frivolous demands, assign lesser cases to lower courts and set up all the information you will need to rule. You need your own office, email, and secretary. No one will expect you to sit on the bench until these things are in place. Even Kings and Queens must await your pleasure," he said, coming up behind me to kiss and play bite my neck.
"You don't have to await my pleasure, it's yours anytime you want," I assured him, turning to kiss him. Oh he smelled so good, his muscles hard under his burgundy silk shirt.
"As tempting as that offer is, we must postpone our own concerns until we have seen to our daughter. She seems troubled and tense," he said.
That got me hustling to get out of the bedroom. Linda needed us.
"Mom!" Linda squealed as I entered the living room, running to hug me. I sensed the same thing Eric had, an insecurity and neediness that only a parent's love could fill. Nothing made me happier than to know we were here for her.
"Dinner," Simona called from the doorway.
I held Linda's hand as we went into the kitchen. This is where we ate when it was just family. It was cozy, familiar and full of good memories. It was also full of reeking chicken. I didn't inhale at all, just nodding as Linda related the details of her journey with Jure on his yacht. She ate like she hadn't eaten in a week.
She had three envelopes stuffed with photos. I looked through them while she had fresh baked apple pie and ice cream for desert. Eric hadn't even come into the kitchen, preferring to wait on the front porch until the house was aired out.
"You're so quiet," Linda said, finally noticing I hadn't said a word once her monologue slowed down.
I pointed to the chicken, then to my nose.
"Oh my gosh! You mean you can't stand the smell of chicken either?" she asked astonished. It hadn't occurred to her that my new vampire condition would change my perception of food.
I wrinkled my nose and shook my head "no".
"Then let's go to the porch," she said, jumping up and turning on the huge exhaust fans. They would draw out the bad air in a matter of minutes.
She got her jacket from the front hall closet and we went out to the edge of the tree line where Eric was standing, looking up at the night sky.
We looked up too and I saw millions of stars. I saw many more stars than Linda could see and I heard a celestial hum that I knew Linda couldn't hear. I hadn't missed those things when I was human because I hadn't realized how much more there was to experience that was outside the range of human senses.
Was Eric just admiring the night or was he looking for my relatives to return? Those would be Linda's relatives too. Eric put his arm around Linda's shoulder, cuddling her close to him. I could see her relax into the comfort of her father's embrace.
I would need to tell her about what was happening in my life, what I had found out about our origins but that would come later.
Right now I wanted to know what Linda wanted to talk about. I thought that her future might have taken a new turn just as mine had.
more to come .... (Greetings dearly beloved Fanpires! Thanks for your visit and for the time you take to leave a note when you can. It is always very much appreciated. Enjoy the rest of your week - see you Saturday!)