Chapter One Hundred and Nineteen
I may have been a Vampire but that didn't mean I couldn't do what any female knows to do in that situation. I began jumping up and down, squealing and exclaiming about the ring, her engagement, and her plans for a wedding.
At the mention of the last a little dark cloud poofed from each of us. My dark cloud concerned the missing ex-wife, though actually, legally, she was still his current wife. She might be dead or she might be biding her time for some reason I couldn't imagine.Whatever she was, she presented a possible future obstacle to Linda's happiness.
I knew how much trouble a blast from the past could be from personal experience. I had dealt with Lorena, a crazy Maker, more jealous and possessive than a wife, when Bill was dating me. That hadn't gone well for me, or her. Mostly her.
And I had been forced to kill in self defense a crazy ex-fiancee of Alcide's with similar unfortunate results to Ms. Pelt. I surely hoped this wasn't a case of history repeating itself. I hoped very much that Celandine was well and truly gone.
I was wondering about Linda's dark cloud when Eric expressed our sentiments. "Is there a problem with the wedding?" he asked, sitting down on the squeaky creaky visitor's chair. I sat down on the part of the much-abused leather couch that wasn't holding stacks of banker's boxes containing who-knew-what.
The siren lure of all that donor blood was calling to me but I needed to know what was happening with Linda first.
"We don't have a date set for the wedding, in fact, there may not be an actual wedding. Jure has asked me to become engaged and start a family. If and when I decide to Turn then we will get legally married. A piece of paper doesn't change anything..." she trailed off, her weak argument against marriage was made weaker still by the obvious fact that she didn't even feel that way herself.
"He'll provide for me and our children," she added quickly as if the financial aspect was the crucial thing.
I knew it wasn't. I knew Linda wanted Jure's unconditional love, however she decided to proceed. She had the model of her father and me, she wanted it all. I knew, too, that Jure wasn't going to go that far unless Linda decided to Turn.
Another thought occurred to me. Was this just a stalling tactic for him to avoid coming clean with Linda about his current wife? Would his marriage to Linda present legal problems for him, problems he didn't want to confront?
Linda needed to know about Celandine. We were going to have to have a talk.
First I needed to eat. My stomach was rumbling loudly in that embarrassing way it did when I was past my meal time.
Eric didn't jump up and down and squeal at Linda's news. Instead he bent down and kissed her cheek. "We are truly happy for you. Jure is a lucky man. Your mother needs to eat, then we will return."
Linda had put the ring on briefly to model it for us. Now she took the ring off, put it back in the box and put the box back in her purse. I wondered why, but not enough to slow me down from getting my meal.
"Come with me," Eric said when we left the office, his face shining in the particular way it did when he was pleased to surprise me.
We went down to the basement, then over to the secret second basement. Standing in the center of the room was Pam. She was wearing a huge hoop skirted grey wool dress with elaborate tucking on the bodice and black velvet trim. Her hair was done up in a bun at her neck. She wore no jewelry or make up. She might have stepped right out of the Civil War era. The dress and multiple petticoats must have weighed twenty pounds.
"Wow Pam, fancy dress," I said. "Is tonight 'War of Northern Aggression Night'?" I asked playfully.
I smelled something familiar though I couldn't place the exact where or when I had smelled it before.
"Steam Valve Coffin is playing tonight," she said, sounding like I should know what she's talking about.
"Can't say I know who that is," I said agreeably. Since the girls moved out I was out of the loop when it came to the latest music, or even the next-to-latest music.
"It's a steampunk band. Anyone wearing the appropriate clothes gets a free Jack the Ripper cocktail. I wore this to demonstrate the full costume. Wearing a floor length mint green taffeta skirt left over from the prom isn't going to qualify," she said sternly. She took her job as Maintainer-of-Order in the club very seriously. No slippage around Pam.
"You look wonderful," she said graciously to me, meaning I looked like a Vampire. "You look hungry too." she added with a twinkle in her eye, looking at Eric.
He gave a nod and she stepped aside. Hidden behind her voluminous skirts was a naked man sitting stiffly in a chair. He had a red Fangtasia bar towel discretely draped over his lap. The man was obviously glamoured into a docile trance. He looked soooo familiar. Who was he ...?
"Spencer Clark Little," Eric filled in the name.
Oh! My first feed. I had fed from him in the room Eric had for us after we brought him inside and showered him. I had caught him abducting a waitress in the parking lot outside the hotel where our room was located. He was on a path towards kidnap and worse. I had glamoured him to change his evil ways. Had it worked?
"Spencer Clark Little," I said to him, concentrating my mind on him, "Have you abducted any women?"
"No, I have Cathleen," he said woodenly. I got the mental image of ropes tying ankles, strange artificial feet, handcuffs ..
"He has a woman?" I asked Pam in alarm. "Did you see her in his room?"
Pam looked at him scornfully, her pale unlipsticked lips curling in disgust. "He has a hideous rubber mannequin, a big life sized doll with anatomically correct features, if you get my meaning. I found it tied to a chair in his room. I left it there. Should I go back and retrive it?" she asked.
"No," Eric told her. "You did well finding him and bringing him here. Now Sookie will eat. Would you pick out a suitable second course from our usual donors and bring him too."
"Certainly," she said, turning to go.
"Pam," I stopped her before she left. "Is there a reason he doesn't have any clothes on?"
"They were filthy rags. I threw them out while he showered," Pam said.
Spencer had a hygiene issue, apparently. She had washed him up the same as we had. It hadn't occurred to her that he might want clothes or that he might be chilly down here in the basement. Maybe she thought I was going to finish him off tonight but I wasn't.
He had transferred over his sick fantasies to a big mail order doll. It wasn't a cure but it made him eligible to keep living. I would check in with him again. And again. As long as he lived I would keep a watchful eye on his conduct.
Eric got my drift and instructed Pam. "Check the lost and found for clothes that would fit him and bring them. We will be sending him home tonight."
Pam nodded and left with much rustling of fabric.
"You think they have pants in the lost and found?" I asked, approaching Mr. Little with my fangs snicked out.
"I know they do. Things get a little wild around here in the wee small hours," Eric said, sitting down on the sofa we had in the room.
He loved to watch me feed and then sample what I had from me. When the second donor came I rounded out my meal, fooled around with Eric, then we went to see Linda. On the way back to the office Eric let Pam know we were done and asked her to send the donors home in cabs.
Pam had found pink and turquoise striped stretch pants, a Hello Kitty tee shirt and a pea green coat with rhinestone buttons for Spencer Clark Little to wear home. Maybe Cathleen could use them afterwards.
"Linda isn't wearing her ring," I mentioned to Eric before we entered the service hall.
"I noticed, perhaps the ring distracts her from her numbers," he suggested.
"Perhaps the ring is meaningless without a wedding date," I suggested.
"That too," he said.
We put on our happy parent faces before we went back in the office.
more to come ...... (Greetings everyone! Glad to have you come around! Thanks for the delightful companionship of your visit, it means the world to me. See you Wednesday!)