Chapter One Hundred and Eight
My head was spinning with plans for Char to come home, Linda's decisions about Jure and my new appointment as Interim Pythoness.
When Eric got off the phone with his foreman I took a break, going to the safe room under the garage to feed from the last two donors. Just like when I was human, eating soothed me and calmed me down.
Eric called for someone to take these last two guys home, then we returned to the house. The conference call about setting up my court staff had been terminated due to the long hold time. They left a message for me to call back at my convenience.
I dialed the number, feeling it was familiar.
"Hello Mrs. Stackhouse. I received a request from Issussra to help you set up your court."
The unmistakable quavering voice of the elderly blue elf Merry Dixon set my mind at ease. I could trust her and she knew everything there was to know about vampire law.
"Hi Merry, it's real good of you to call me about this. I had no idea how all this works. Sorry about keeping you on hold for so long. My daughter just got back from a long trip and I lost track of the time. How are you?"
"I am quite well and looking forward to working with you. Of course you don't have to choose me to be your Judicial Assistant, you can pick anyone you want. I should disclose that a substantial salary comes with the job of Judicial Assistant so I would not be helping you without remuneration," she explained primly.
She was always one for doing things by the book, exactly what I needed right about now considering I didn't even know if there was an actual book to do things by. I made a mental note to ask her about that.
"That's just fine by me, I wouldn't have it any other way. You mentioned 'issues' or something like that, is that the name of the old Pythoness?"
"Issussra, I believe you are referring to. No, Issussra was the Judicial Assistant for Pythia but she wouldn't work for you because she only speaks Parseltongue, a specialized snake language."
"You can speak this Parseltongue?" I asked.
"I am fluent in a number of supernatural languages, yes. My suggestion is that I come to your home tomorrow night with lists of law clerks, court clerks, bailiffs, alternative judges and whoever else might be useful to the smooth running of your court room. I also have to ask if it would be considered a conflict of interests if my own law firm continued to practice, albeit not in any cases you would be deciding."
"I don't see why that would be a problem."
"I will bring the court calendar so we can set up our hearings .."
I interrupted. "Hearings? I thought it would be years before I had to sit as judge."
"Normally that would be the case. Unfortunately the old Pythoness had grown weary and kept postponing her court so we have a slight backlog."
"By slight, how many cases are we talking about?"
"Just four on the current docket. None of them are urgent. You can wait until you feel ready." she said in soothing tones.
Even though she was trying to make this easy for me I knew how vampires were. Despite what long lives they led it didn't stop them from being the most impatient creatures in the world. I hoped someone would be able to fend them off until I was ready to hold court. I didn't want to be hounded every night to make a decision. I had a lot on my plate right now.
I said all this Merry. She might as well know right from the get-go what my concerns were.
She gave a little chuckle. "You are right about the impatient nature of vampires. Be assured your bailiffs will prevent any attempt to contact you and pressure you into sitting before you are ready. As you may have deduced, you have a great deal of latitude in how, when, where and why your court will be in session. All must await your decisions."
"So it's basically like it or lump it when it comes to my court?" I said, feeling greatly heartened by this.
She chuckled again. "Like it or lump it... My oh my, you certainly have a way with words. We're going to have great fun together."
I didn't know about fun but I liked the way this sounded so far. I set a time for her to come tomorrow night after Adele, Lachlain, Linda, Eric and I had dinner.
After I got off the phone with her I went and told Eric what had happened so far. He had been sitting at his desk typing an email but he stopped as soon as I entered the room to hear what I had to say.
"It sounds manageable. I can not wait until your robes are ready. Have you chosen a color theme for your court?"
His clear blue eyes glittered in that way they did when he was having some especially naughty thoughts.
I hadn't thought of that. Did I even want to wear robes? From the avid gleam in Eric's eye I knew he would be bitterly disappointed if I didn't.
"Um .. red?" I said, naming his favorite color.
"Oh yeees," his eyes practically rolled up in his head with pleasure. "Please allow me to have them custom made for you."
"Sure," I said, then stopped talking while he stood and kissed the dickens out of me, probably already imagining me in my red robes.
When I could talk I asked him about what he had been doing.
He looked pleased with himself. "I have some ideas on how we can improve this house to accomodate both humans and vampires. If you approve I will have a second kitchen and dining room built where the old enclosed dog run is now. That kitchen will be used for the actual cooking and eating by our human guests and family members. A television screen will allow us to converse with them as if they were in the room without any of the smells getting through. This way we can all enjoy a meal together."
It was unconventional but it would be a distinct improvement over having to communicate with nods and head shakes due to my inability to inhale to speak. A tiny pang of loss over one of my human abilities hit me. Dinner with the girls would never be the same.
"If it works well I could add it as a feature in the homes I build for vampires," he added.
He was always thinking about the bottom line and how he could improve his construction business to outdo the competition. Since he started building safe rooms and vampire dwellings many other companies had popped up. He had a lot of competition for the lucrative but limited vampire housing market.
"Great, we can try it out and see what needs tweaking before you add it to the prospectus," I said.
He laughed and hugged me, happy I was interested in his ideas and plans.
I had something I wanted to ask him, now seemed like a good time.
"Eric, do you know any vampire private detectives?"
more to come .....(Happy mid-week everyone. Hope today finds you well and safe. Thank you for stopping by and your continued support. This story has been going on for quite a while, it's wonderful to see you are still here. I can see how many visits I had so even if you don't get to write I know you were here and it warms my heart. )