Saturday, January 26, 2013

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

Chapter One Hundred and Thirty

Five weeks later Eric's and my life once again changed forever.

At four in the afternoon Kyle Eric Deward Boudreaux was born weighing six pounds, eleven ounces. He was born at home with Millie the New Zealand midwife and Darren attending the water birth. It was, thank heavens, an uncomplicated birth and Charlaine was very excited to tell us all about it.

Kyle had both his grandpa's names I was proud to note. Eric was very happy. Char said Dewey was busting his overall buttons over this too. Dewey and Allison Boudreaux, the other grandparents, had already been by their son's home, coming during the daylight hours right after the birth.

As soon as we awoke and got the message we hurriedly dressed and drove over to Charlaine's rental. Eric clapped a rather dazed looking Darren on the back and helped him empty out the birthing tub, an inflatable tall pool like thing that had saved Char a lot of extra labor.

Millie the midwife sat next to Charlaine as she nursed the pink and healthy looking infant discreetly under a snowy white cloth diaper thrown over her shoulder.

"I got to the point where I said I just couldn't do it," Charlaine said, looking at Millie. "Lordy I was in pain!" Even now the memory of the pain was beginning to fade, nature's trick to ensure there would be more babies in the future.

"And I told her she was going to have to do it because nobody could do it for her," Millie laughed. They were like a team, birthing the baby, telling the story. Millie was a good match for Charlaine.

"I got so mad at her I pushed for all I was worth and out popped Kyle," Charlaine said dramatically.

They both laughed, having shared in one of life's greatest moments. I wasn't sure if Char would have wanted us there or not. Since Eric and I were both dead until dark it was a moot point. I tried not to think about Daynight. This was the time to think only of our daughter and her family.

"Did Darren film it?" I asked.

"Oh sure, until Kyle came out and he dropped the camera into the tub. It's ruined," Char said with a shrug. "Fortunately the camera didn't fall on Kyle."

She had the baby and the memory. A film could never do the experience justice. Still, it would have given me more a feeling of participating in the miracle.

Adele and Linda arrived almost simultaneously. Adele brought Lachlain but Linda was without Jure.

"He didn't want to intrude on a family moment," Linda explained when I asked her where he was.

That was a nice sentiment if it was true. The more cynical part of my nature thought that perhaps this would represent added pressure on Jure to decide to marry or start a family right away. The sight of Linda swooning with love over baby Kyle might just be too much for the big vampire to take in.

Kyle nursed, fussed, and finally fell asleep. We marveled at his tiny fingers, his pretty mouth, the fine dusting of hair on his head. Char and Darren were every bit the proud parents. After about an hour I could see the bluish circles around Charlaine's eyes deepen. She needed her rest. The excitement was wearing off and the fatigue setting in.

We all whispered our good-byes so as not to wake Kyle and tiptoed out of the house. Through the window I saw Char hand Kyle to Millie. I wondered if Mary Poppins would be available, when the time came, to take over when Millie went back to New Zealand.

"That brought back a lot of memories," I said, snuggling against Eric as we headed for Queensboro, a suburb of Shreveport. I felt like hunting, really hunting, tonight, not just chasing a donor down in the club.

Shreveport vampire police officer Detective Leslie Fugikawa, Eric's longtime friend, had told him there was a lot of gator poaching going on in Queensboro and I hoped to find the poachers and set them back on the right path.

Kyle Eric Deward had been born without a tail, but he might one day turn into a were-gator. I wanted to start from now to eliminate anyone that might be a danger to him. Char and Darren would have their own private lake Darren could use once they were settled in their new home but poachers are no respecters of "No Trespassing" and "No Hunting" signs. In fact they looked for areas like that because the hunting was better in a spot where the game was never culled.

I hoped Queensboro would be such a spot for me and I wasn't disappointed. There were poachers of both gators and turtles, enough to fill my nights for months to come. Eric got such a kick out of watching me glamour the illegal hunters right through the walls of their homes. He got a vicarious thrill watching me feed and he got the benefit by sampling anything I got right from me, still warm and seasoned with Fairy.

Over the next few weeks, as Char and Darren's new home neared completion, Jason was a regular visitor over to our house. He talked about Pam quite a bit. Apparently he and Angellica both really liked Pam's company. Pam hadn't said anything specific to Eric about her plans but she did ask for the request forms needed to get permission to Turn a human.

I had my fingers crossed it was Jason she was thinking about Turning. He seemed happier and more lighthearted than I had seen him in a while though whether that was due to the successful completion of Char's home and Darren's factory or whether it was due to some arrangement with Pam I did not know.  Out of respect I had learned long ago not to pop into his mind. Also, he pretty much knew when I tried and it made him mad as anything.

When Kyle was four months old we had a family get together and house warming at Char and Darren's completed home. It was a grand residence with a studio and seven bedrooms including four in the nursey wing. Didn't know what my girl was planning, but four nursery bedrooms was probably a hint.

It was a down-home human, were-community welcoming, fairy naming, vampire extended family, supernatural and church-included gathering. It was a strange crowd with Madge the dragon and the the two unicorns Arvakur, my supernatural sibling and Alsvidur, Jason's supernatural sibling included. The were-creatures, including the Bishop brothers were all in human form since the full moon was weeks away.

The fairy relatives that managed to make it, Claudine and Claude, appeared on Skype. My grandfather, Niall Brigant, allowed them to come to this plane of existence for the occasion even though he had closed the door between his fairy world and ours. I suspected he wanted news of his earthly family, even if he was not willing to risk coming here himself.

Merry Dixon was the only blue elf and she visited via the computer. All the vampires that had surrounded our family made an appearance and they would have spent the evening chasing the elf if she hadn't been electronic.

Darren had fixed it so that Merry was a hologram, only slightly smaller than her actual petite size. Everyone marveled at Darren's invention. Rodin and Tesla even thought the hologram might be the next big art form. They were going to collaborate with Char, when she was ready, to get some ideas together.

Anna Hita made a rare trip from New Orleans to be at the gathering, Bojan, Lars, Dr. Mellen, Lingza, Taryn, Mike Malone, there were vampires as far as the eye could see, which in my case was quite far. Preston, though greatly improved, stayed close to Jure. Jure stayed close to Linda.

Adele, Lachlain and the various werewolves hung out with my witch friend Amelia and her werewolf boyfriend Tray. I noticed they had almost all used "Gee Your Werewolf Smells Terrific", the special deodorizing shampoo and body wash Adele invented. It greatly reduced the wet dog werewolf smell.

Bill, Persephone and Jessica congratulated me. There was genuine happiness and a bit of sadness in Bill's eyes. He said wistfully , "All this could have been mine ... "

Then he snapped out of it and added "But your happiness with Eric is as plain as the moon. It warms my heart to see your family. Looks like there's another wedding in the works too."

He nodded towards Jure and Linda. They were standing very close to each other, Linda's real engagement ring glittering like crazy in the room lights.I didn't answer because I wasn't sure what their plans were.

Jason, Angellica, Brett and Pam were clustered together chatting almost all night. They seemed to be getting along really well. Brett also liked Pam and was intrigued by her beauty and charm. I saw Pam make a real effort to include my nephew and make him feel special. I appreciated it.

I had hired a band led by Hoyt Fortenberry's son Jasper. He played Southern rock music, the fast stuff the young people like. Brett and Jessica danced up a storm. The elderly Ginger made a fool of herself and had to be helped home by Leslie Fujikawa.

Sam Merlotte and his girlfriend Nora Heart came late bringing Susanne Mitchell, Jane Hoar, and Holly Cleary, three of his old employees. I was getting used to the sight of the humans I knew aging. They were happy and enjoying their lives. Who could ask for more?

Tara sent a gift, which was nice of her, but she didn't come. After her divorce from J.B. Durone I hadn't had much contact with her, especially because she had been so disapproving of my having a family with Eric. The King and Queen also sent their congratulations and a very generous gift. Charlaine was dwarfed by the stack of presents.

I looked over the huge noisy crowd at the party and for once in my life I felt like I could answer yes to the Rodney King question - "Can't we all just get along?" The tiny Kyle was the occasion for this overwhelming show of love.

I thought of something the Reverend Fullenwilder had often preached on, "Blessed are the peacemakers". Little Kyle was a peacemaker and I knew he would be blessed.

more to come .....(Thanks for being so patient. I really appreciate you stopping by! I'll be back next Saturday since things aren't back to normal around here yet. Love the idea of V8 juice for "V"! Bless your hearts for your kindness.)



Saturday, January 19, 2013

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

Chapter One Hundred and Twenty Nine

Before I ruled on the case I asked her, "California, why do you want to flaunt human tradition and sensibility to decorate your motorcycle? Don't you realize that any human that saw what you had done would think you were heartless and evil?"

She looked at me, stunned. "Heartless and evil? Haven't you been listening? I LOOOVED Flash, he loooved me," she began sobbing wretchedly. "I was going to Turn him but he died. His body is all I have left. I want him with me."

Pink tears coursed down her cheeks. I saw suddenly what was happening. I got off the bench, which is what my fancy judge chair and desk were called and went to her. I heard a slight gasp go up from the crowd. Probably the Ancient Pythoness didn't take such a close up and personal approach. Well, a new broom sweeps clean, as Gran would say.

I spoke to her in a soft kindly way. "I see you are out of your mind with grief. Due to this overwhelming grief you are not thinking clearly. I order you to visit Anna Hita and get your mind restored to sanity. I order you to bury Flash or cremate him in keeping with his religious or cultural background. You need grief counseling, not a dead human tied to your hog. This case should remind us all that we were human once and can still head off in the wrong direction now and then."

I looked around from face to face, hoping nobody challenged my ruling.

Eric bellowed, "Is this just? Is this fair?"

He regarded the audience with a determined glint in his eye. Nobody was going to go against him.

"Yes," the audience said a tad more feebly than I would have wished. They might have wanted my first case to have a more dramatic conclusion than grief counseling.

A stone faced Eric scanned slowly around as if memorizing every one there.  In a softer voice he repeated, "I asked, is this just?"

He was like a cheerleader with menace instead of pom poms. 

"YES!" everyone said with gratifying enthusiasm.

"Pythoness, Augustus has requested a hearing. Will you hear him in chambers?" he prompted me. He wanted Augustus's cronies to know I wasn't just blowing him off.

"Certainly," I said grandly.

"Then this court is adjourned. ALL RISE!" Eric commanded.

Everyone stood up and I swept out of the room. Woohoo! I had pulled it off, my first case. The butterflies were gone, replaced by the warm knowledge I had helped in this situation.

I sure hoped every royal on Earth wasn't going to start having problems since I was mandated to hear all of them. No wonder the judge had the ability to postpone the trial indefinitely.

Now I just had to deal with that pain in the neck Augustus. At least it meant he was still alive. Eric went to retrieve Augustus wherever he had him stashed.

I went back to the conference room where Merry and the Narlock girls stood and congratulated me on the successful conclusion of my first case. They hadn't come into the courtroom so as not to distract the vampires in the audience without elf proofing. They sure were listening though. They stood up and beamed at me.

"Excellent use of allocution," Merry said in a proud-mother kind of way.

"What's that?" I asked, sitting down so they could sit too.

"Allocution is a procedure during sentencing by which a convicted person is given opportunity to address a judge and the judge can respond," Merry explained.

"Where I come from that's just called talking," I said. 

"You are the High Court Judge, your every word and decision carries much weight now and in all future cases," Merry said. "Besides, the law likes to have a fancy word for everything people do."

 "Like doctors," Hy added. "They call a bruise a 'contusion'."

Eric knocked once and entered, bringing an irate Augustus with him.

"This is an outrage!" Augustus sputtered. "I was removed from the court before I had a chance ..." His voice trailed off as the supernatural charm of the three elves wafted over to him.

His eyes traveled up and down the three women, the two normal height Narlock sisters and the much shorter older elf.  His gaze settled longingly on Merry Dixon. As I suspected the cute little lady had the most charm of the three. Perhaps they got more charming with age as vampires got stronger with the years. The three elves stood up, perhaps preparing to flee if he lost control of himself.

"Why hello there," Auggie said smoothly, twinkling his fingers in a coy flirtatious wave at Merry. "Why has no one informed me you were here?" He drifted over towards her like a pull toy.

"That's because you entered the room talking before anyone could say anything," Merry pointed out dryly. "I'm standing right here, you should have seen me." She moved further away from him, putting the round conference table between them.

"My bad," Augustus said, grinning from ear to ear. "I could never forget the joy of being in your presence. I just didn't recognize you at first. Have you done something special with your hair?" His hand reached out towards her little head, though he was too far away to touch her.

She patted her dull brown and grey hair. "As a matter of fact I did try a color rinse," she said, blushing with pleasure.

Her hair was the same color as a muskrat's fur if the muskrat was also going gray and it's fur was thinning. I hadn't noticed any difference but apparently Auggie had. He had no protection from Merry's blue elf charm so each detail about her person was vividly wondrous.

"It becomes you," he said, edging closer, "Though it is gilding the lily." He finally got within grabbing range. He lunged for her hand and planted a long heartfelt kiss on the liver-spotted blue-veined back of it.

When he was done smooching on her hand he looked up at the rest of us and blinked, confused. He had forgotten why he was here. Ha! Bless Merry and her elfin ways.

"I brought you here to warn you against making more Children," I said sternly. "You are way over your limit and even though, unfortunately, you lost a portion of your nest, that is not a reason to begin making more Children. Is that clear?"

He glanced at Merry and must have felt under pressure not to say or do anything that would diminish his standing in her faded greyish blue eyes.

"Of course, of course, that goes without saying," he muttered.

"Then you are dismissed," I said regally, pointing at the door.

He glanced tragically at Merry, not wanting to leave her presence. Eric pointedly opened the door and a reluctant Augustus shuffled out, looking back several times to get one last look at Merry.

"Goodbye dearest lady," he called as Eric firmly shut the door.

"Bye bye," all three elves called.

I said to the room, "I don't know how long it's going to take before he figures out he didn't get what he came for but I suggest we skedaddle right now."

"Get while the getting's good," Merry agreed. The elves grabbed their coats from the closet, Eric got his cloak and my wrap, Hy turned off the lights and we hot footed it out of there, using the back way.

We said our good nights in the parking lot. Merry and the Narlocks took off in one direction in her vintage Nash Rambler, Eric and I in another.

"That went well," I said, leaning back and relaxing as Eric launched us into the night, shifting gears until the 'Vette was tooling along well over the speed limit.

"Too bad you have another trial so soon after this one," Eric said.

"What?" I asked sitting up in surprise. "What trial?"

"I have some things to confess. I have been lusting for you in my heart. I wanted to obstruct justice by ripping your robes off and ravishing you, causing disorder in the courtroom."

"As Gran would have said, 'Thinking is not doing', I can't try you for having naughty thoughts," I laughed.

"Who said they were only thoughts?" he asked, his right hand sliding up the inside of my leg.

"Are you trying to influence the judge?" I asked pseudo-outraged.

"With all my heart," he answered.

"Well  ...." I sighed, enjoying his touch, "It's working."

He drove faster.

more to come .... (Happy Saturday folks! The flu bug has hit my hubby and daughter so I'm going to take a week to get back to this blog. Til then ... stay well! Thanks for visiting and your patience.)


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

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

Chapter One Hundred and Twenty Eight

Hy and Libby Narlock and the diminutive Merry Dixon all stood in a formal manner when Eric and I entered the office. Merry was wearing her typical dowdy suit, the skirt was baggy in the seat and the hem starting to come out on the side. Hy and Libby wore very neatly tailored navy blue and dark grey suits with snow white blouses and a minimum of make up. All the Narlock women were pleasant to look at but not great beauties.

"Oh, y'all don't have to do that," I said, feeling embarrassed at being treated differently now that I was in my robes.

"Yes, we do," Merry Dixon said firmly. "You are the Pythoness, all proper respect must be shown, Your Honor."

She used my title to get me used to it.

I sat down at the meeting table and everyone sat down after I was seated.

"Can I ask some questions?" I asked.

"That is why we are here," Merry said with a twinkling smile.

My ring was working great so far. I felt zero undue attraction to the blue elves. I glanced over at Eric. He stood at the door, stony faced. No one was going to come bursting in here with him on guard. He didn't seem overly interested in the elves either. Good.

"I had Hy check, it is illegal to own a human body. Why do I need to rule on this at all?" I asked.

In unison they said, "Human laws are not Vampire laws." I had the feeling this was part of a memorized list they all knew.

"Where are the Vampire Laws written or kept?" I couldn't get a straight answer when I had asked Hy about them.

"They are written in the sands of time," Libby said poetically. "They are the result of long tradition and mutual agreement. They are commonly known."

"Hasn't mainstreaming changed the rules?"

"The number one rule is that Vampire requirements always supercede human wishes," Merry Dixon said. This was another version of something Eric always used to say, "Vampires First."

"But it isn't in the interest of Vampires to antagonize humans. It is only in the interest of Miss California," I pointed out.

"An excellent and insightful legal point. The good of most supersedes the good of one.  However any King or Queen may ask to be heard by the High Court and present their case. You are required to hear the case, though the time frame is up to your discretion. Most monarchs settle their issues outside of the High Court because of the risk," Merry set her lips primly when she was done speaking.

"Risk?" I asked.

"If the case is deemed frivolous the monarch may well forfeit their life," Merry told me.

"You mean if I rule against California it could result in a death sentence for her?" I asked, appalled. I had already decided I was never going to sentence anyone to death.

"If the audience demands it, yes," Libby said.

"And how is the death sentence carried out?" I asked after clearing my throat, fearing I already knew the answer.

"Why, the bailiff, of course," Hy said, glancing at my formidable husband. He looked armed and loaded, ready to dispense whatever justice the High Court deemed fair. I hoped his duties didn't drive a wedge between us. He knew how I felt about killing people.

A knock at the door gave me a few seconds to ponder this. Eric checked who was at the door and let in two glamoured human men, my dinner. The three elves left the room while I fed, then Eric called a vampire named Clarence to the door to escort the donors out and pay them. I was good for hours now.

The three elves returned and stood just inside the door.

"If you are ready to hold court, Your Honor, everyone is seated," Merry said.

"Could you be sure to mention that I am just the Interim Pythoness," I asked her, my voice a little squeaky.

I was checking my compact and reapplying my red lipstick. I was now a lovely pinkish color from my meal. Hy came up behind me and smoothed my lace collar which had gotten a little twisted during feeding. I think my nervousness might have caused me to be a tad more hungry than usual.

She turned to Eric and he gave a nod.

"The bailiff will announce you as such," Merry said.

"Is there some special wording I should use?" I asked, feeling a little panicky at being so unprepared.

"Not at all," she assured me. "You express yourself very clearly."

In a row like ducklings we marched to the front entrance of the hall.

Eric went in first and said in a loud deep voice, "All rise for the Honorable Interim Pythoness, Judge Sookie Stackhouse."

I heard the faint rustle of a large group of people standing up. Merry gave me a little encouraging smile and a sign with her hand I should go in. As a vampire I might be able to run through fire, survive a bullet or walk on the bottom of the ocean. But that didn't prevent me from having a whole field of butterflies fluttering around in my innards as I thought about facing the room.

I walked in as straight and stiff as a board, purposefully looking only right ahead and not looking at the audience for a moment. I walked behind my desk and glanced at my seat, a comfortable tufted leather chair that both swiveled and leaned back slightly.

I sat down, my feet dangling. It was set for someone taller than me. I got back up and looked on as Clarence adjusted the seat so my feet would rest comfortably on the floor. Then, before being seated,  I looked up and out towards the sea of white faces.

Vampires are unlike humans in that they can stand absolutely still, their faces a neutral mask. The people there that night might have been wax sculptures they were so immobile. I tucked my robes underneath me and sat in the chair, which had, indeed, been adjusted exactly right for me.

"All will be seated. The Honorable Interim Pythoness Sookie Stackhouse presiding," Eric announced as if he had been doing it all his adult life. I made a mental note to tell him he didn't have to say the thing about me being the Interim Pythoness everytime he spoke.

Silently the two hundred or so vampires sat down. I saw curiosity in some of their eyes as they waited for me to sign to Eric to call the first witness. Off to the right Madison Dole, the were-monkey, typed silently on a strange looking keyboard. Since she was in her human form it obviously wasn't a full moon. In my nervousness about the trial I had forgotten to look. She looked up and winked at me. I liked her already.

Eric read from a sheet. "This case is brought by California in the matter of her deceased human escort Flash Nelson. Will California please come and take the stand?" Eric indicated a bright red chair similar to mine that was set up next to the court recorder.

A buxom woman with a messy mass of over bleached blond hair stood up in the back. Before she could walk to the front a man's voice from the other side of the rear of the audience rang out loudly.

"I demand a hearing. My claim for a hearing was first. This is a travesty of the court system."

I looked to see where the voice was coming from and zeroed in on the speaker. Oh cow flop! It was Augustus, arms folded across his chest, looking stubborn and irritating.

Instantly Eric was back there. Without warning he picked the much smaller Augustus up and whisked him out the swinging rear door. Someone giggled, a rare thing for vampires. A few seconds later Eric was back, smoothing back his wild hair and going to escort California to the red chair.

She leaned on his naked arm and smiled at him showing a perfect set of snow white teeth. Obviously she didn't know who Eric was or that he was married to the judge. She might have toned her smile down a few watts if she had known.

As soon as she was settled she began talking a mile a minute in a nasal sing song kind of way that grated on my nerves. Her sentences were interspersed with giggles and flashy looks at Eric to see how he was reacting to her tale of woe. Eric looked completely impassive, staring straight ahead. I wondered what he had done with Augustus.

The Queen droned on. I listened but I knew the story, my briefing had been excellent. I knew what her request was, and I knew my answer. The audience could not have been more bored or indifferent. Boring a vampire was a terrible thing to do.

When she stopped talking it was time to give my verdict. I hoped I would be able to save her silly life.

more to come .....(Wonderful Wednesday everyone! Z .. I SO SO hope you are feeling better!! I hope everyone else is doing good too. See you Saturday with the next chapter!)


Saturday, January 12, 2013

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

Chapter One Hundred and Twenty Seven

My first trial came upon me before I had a chance to find chambers. I unofficially designated my walk-in closet as my chambers until something better came along. Usually I would be able to conduct my trials over the internet, a modern blessing. Since so many Vampires wanted to get a look at me I was holding this trial in person.

The trial was being held in the large second floor gathering room of the Midnight Arts building. The impressive Gothic structure had been a stone construction library back in the 1880's featuring arched stained glass windows and cathedral ceilings crisscrossed with dark oak beams.

When a more modern library was needed the old building became a bookstore, then a wellness clinic, then a newspaper office and now an art gallery. The featured Midnight Arts  included paintings, carvings, sculptures, etc done by or about paranormal topics. Musicians gave concerts, poets and authors read from their works. It was a nice blend of human and supernatural and one more place for vampires to meet willing donors.

Most of their items were sold online or at auction but they also had showings of local artists. They had already invited Charlaine to display her sculptures there for a one woman show. I got the impression she was going to do it. The place was very busy around Halloween and had most of their store sales in October.

I came out of the closet in my ruby red silk robes softened by a black lace collar. My hair had been arranged by a hairdresser, a meek human girl named Alice, sent to my home by Merry Dixon. The Narlock sisters, Labiana and Hymenia, otherwise known as Libby and Hy, would meet me at the MA building a few minutes before the trial began. Merry was already there, making sure things were set up properly.

Eric wore his cape over his bailiff uniform. He decided Viking warrior was the way to go so he had on his leather kilt, knee high books and a scabbard across his chest for his broadsword. No shirt of course and probably nothing under the kilt though I didn't dare take the time to find out. I couldn't be late for my first trial.

Our eyes locked as we both toyed briefly with the idea of postponing the trial and making a dash for the bed, but we were more responsible than that. Eric exulted in my role as head of the High Court, he wasn't going to let things get off on a wrong note.

"You look splendid," he said, his voice thick, gently touching the thick red silk of my robe.

"So do you," I said breathily, putting my hand on his bicep.

Another moment of considering the consequences of just saying the heck with the trial, another mutual decision to wait until afterwards. Postponement acted like a spice to an already red hot dish.

"Are you nervous?" He asked me as we headed out of the house.

"As a cat with a long tail in a room full of rocking chairs," I said, reminding myself of Tennesee Ernie Ford. Where did that come from? Oh, I remembered. Gran had some records of his we enjoyed listening to when I was little.

The drive to the MA center wasn't very long with Eric at the wheel. I don't know what he was thinking about but I was thinking about my knowledge of vampire law. That didn't take long cause I knew nada. I sighed and hoped this wasn't going to be a fiasco on a Biblical scale. Eric heard my sigh and patted my knee, then he had to shift to make a sharp corner.

Next I thought about what I had been briefed about the case. The Queen of California, who preferred to be called simply "California" had led a colorful life before being Turned by the King of California, Mo Glass. When King Glass had gone down in a plane crash, the stripper the King had married in a mad moment became Queen. Her stage name had been Mistii Mornay with three little hearts over the three i's in her first name. She had kept her last name of Mornay. I guess Mistii Glass would have sounded too much like a bathroom mirror after a long hot shower.

California had soon, one might even say rapidly, recovered from her grief over the loss of her husband. Among whispered rumors the plane crash might have had some help from you-know-who, Mistii had moved a human boy toy into the palace to share her bed. Flash Nelson, the famous porn star, lived a grand and flamboyant life with Mistii for the six months he lived. Unfortunately the inebriated Mr. Nelson had the bad luck to fall into an empty swimming pool one night and break his neck.

This led to the case the Queen had filed. She had been stopped by the Vampire Alliance from having Flash stuffed so she could mount him on the back of her favorite Harley motorcycle. The VA was the oversight committee to prevent high visibility vampires from behaving outrageously in view of humans and damaging the decades of good public relations so tediously and carefully built up since vampires made their presence known.

California had what she felt was a higher law, the law that claimed humans were the possessions of vampires and thus could be treated any way the vampire saw fit. Besides, she pouted through lips made ludicrously full by implants, poor Flash had been rejected by his religious family for years. Their claim on his body and his estate was unenforceable because he had made a will leaving everything to Mistii.

I had one of my law clerks check and found out that a body can not be willed to an individual in California. A body, or various organs, could be donated to medical schools or recipients of organs but that was handled by regulated and licensed medical personnel.

Being permanently affixed to the back of a Harley Davidson motorcycle while roaring around the streets of Hollywood would not be one of those regulated situations. The outrage engendered by such an act could set vampire-human relations back to the dark ages. I pictures villagers with torches chasing the Harley up to the big HOLLYWOOD sign and staking the Queen. I hoped to step in before it came to that.

The reason for the haste in getting this trial over was because:  a) the Queen had the attention span and patience of a gnat and b) Mr. Nelson's remains were currently in a walk in freezer awaiting the taxidermist's hands. You might say he was Flash, frozen.

I thought the outcome of the trial was already evident, but I decided to keep an open mind and rule against her.

We got the prime parking spot, kissed, locked up the Corvette and went into the side entrance hand in hand.

Outside the door to my temporary court chambers Eric bent down and whispered in my ear, "You rule!"

more to come .....(Good morning all! I am off to try and figure out how to disable Java but I wanted to thank you for stopping by and making my day a little brighter. Blessings!)


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

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

Chapter One Hundred and Twenty Six

A lot happened in the next few weeks. Charlaine and Darren moved from New Zealand to their rental home near us to oversee the building of their permanent home and the factory that would produce Darren's latest 3-D holographic computer compatible with his very popular web browser.

With a song in my heart I helped Char set up the nursery as she grew too large to do much more than supervise. Her birth, planned at home, was due in less than a month. Her New Zealand midwife stayed in their guest suite, ready to spring into action the minute she was needed. The mural in the nursery was Charlaine's daytime job now because she didn't have her mind on her sculpting commissions.

Linda was over at Charlaine's house all the time. She was fascinated at the miracle taking place inside her sister and in love with all the little blue clothes Charlaine was sorting and putting in the furniture she had moved from the other side of the world.

I tried to get information from Linda about how Jure took the news he could be a father. She said he was very excited about the idea and they needed to work out their plans for their family. I didn't ask if she had brought up Jure's missing wife Celandine and she didn't volunteer. Like all my girls Linda didn't want to be pressed for information about her private life.

Adele was over at Charlaine's too when her demanding work schedule allowed. I thought she seemed to make a little distance between her and the whole pregnancy thing. She wasn't ready to even consider the possibility of her and Lachlain having a baby.  I believe she was a little jealous of all the attention and gifts lavished on Charlaine, especially her father's close involvement with the building of the new house and the factory.

I heard through the very effective vampire grapevine that Queen Trinity's second child, born to a surrogate from a donated egg, was home with her parents. This blessed event was another little girl they named Pacia, a name that went nicely with their first child Pythia. The King and Queen were over the moon with joy. Some of Trinity's human relatives were moved into the castle to watch the girls during daylight hours.

Jure moved Linda and her three poodles into his home. He immediately began building a new wing on the house, a wing as large as the rest of the house. Would all this extra space be needed for a nursery?

He hired Eric's construction company to build the addition and Jason was put on as foreman of the renovations. This enabled Jason to stop by my house across the lake almost every night on his way home and spend time over at Charlaine's rental home to see his nieces.

I planned on pumping Jason for details of the renovation as soon as it became obvious what the rooms were going to be used for.

I loved having more time with my brother though I was painfully aware of his sadness at seeing me just as I was when I was vibrant and young. I would remain the same, a living snapshot in time, until my final death while every month brought Jason a new gray hair or tiny wrinkle to remind him of his mortality.

Of course, he was seeing me as I was plus the white skin and fangs. There seemed to be some kind of awkward gap between us, one I hadn't ever felt before. Whether it was due to our different time schedules, our increasing age difference, or his feelings about me becoming a "fanger" I could not tell. The gap might have even been coming from me as memories of my human life grew hazier and the vivid experiences of my vampire life took precedence.

Pam went out on her charity date despite all her objections. The winner of the dream date was my brother Jason, surely another rigged drawing by Eric. Jason, not wanting to upset his wife Angellica, took both women to the fanciest restaurant in Shreveport at Fangtasia's expense. Angellica and Pam got on famously, better than Jason had even dared to expect.

In fact, they had so many laughs and bonded so well  he began to worry that the sexually omnivorous Pam might have set her sights on his wife. So far that hadn't happened, they just remained friends, chatting on the phone at night if Jason was working late.  Angellica was part angel. I didn't know if that had special appeal to some vampires. I was the same around Angellica so it surely didn't effect me.

In a follow up conversation with Anna Hita I learned what had given her the freedom to make her generous offer of a biological child to Linda and Jure. Tired of living with the sword of discovery hanging over her head, the gutsy Scryer had gone to the Founders and told them of her abilities to travel through time and to nearby dimensions.

When I gasped with shock she laughed and said they hardly seemed the slightest bit surprised. She wasn't the only one with those abilities.

Eons ago the Founders had sent someone back to a similar nearby dimension to alter the past and stop the destructive weapons and pollution that had ruined the reproductive powers of the people back then. It was the mutations resulting from the poisoned environment that had forced them to learn how to reproduce by Turning those they chose to add to their population with the exchange of large quantities of blood.

The experiment to stop the damage to their natural reproduction had worked. In fact, it worked too well. People had overpopulated the planet to such a degree that life had become unbearable. Disease, war and famine had wreaked havoc.

Those left after the horrible devastation were then poisoned, sickened and deformed by an environment too toxic to support robust life. Enfeebled, sickly and barely hanging on, they awaited a better day when their planet healed itself sufficiently to allow them to see their triple suns through the acid yellow haze that obscured the daylight.

This had been the Founder's feasibility study and it was not promising. The greatest minds on their planet decided that altering their past was a Pandora's box of disasters, one best left closed and locked. They had warned Anna Hita about messing around with the past, a warning she heartily agreed with. They were all on the same page.

While messing with the past was a bad idea, we had new things to ponder about messing with the present. The Research Center announced a breakthrough with their formulation of Daynight. They discovered that hypocretins were crucial in the ability of vampires to stay awake during the day. This was one of the things that Lingza had going for him to enable him to daywalk.

Dr. Mellen made the announcement himself, seconded by Dr. Fang, an appropriate name for a Chinese vampire. In China the name "Fang" was fairly common, being the 47th most prevalent Chinese surname..

Dr. Fang, resplendent in diamonds and a tailor made suit, was showing every sign of his new found prosperity since he had discovered the cure for "Fang's disease", a slow spreading illness that softened the fangs of unlucky vampires that bit a human with the virus.

The virus had no apparent effect on the human but the unfortunate vampire that bit one would soon suffer from fangs that turned to mush. Horrors!

Fang's Disease was caused by a new variant strain of Hepatitis D, a disease that had been around and bothered vampires for centuries. Dr. Fang discovered that human body fat reversed the effects of Fang's Disease.

By combining a liposuction clinic with a cure clinic for the vampire disease named after him, he killed two problems with one cannula, so to speak. And made a financial killing in the process.

He was opening up a new "Fat Sucks" clinic about once a year. They were so popular there weren't even enough sick vampires around to utilize all the leftover fat. Personally I would have chosen a more tasteful name, but who am I to argue with such obvious success?

Dr Mellon's speech was a little over my head. I'll repeat what was written in the booklet he passed out explaining his findings.

The booklet said, " Orexins and or hypocretins are strongly conserved peptides found in all major classes of vertebrates. The orexin/hypocretin system was initially suggested to be primarily involved in the stimulation of food intake, based on the finding that central administration of orexin A/hypocretin-1 increases food intake. In addition, it stimulates wakefulness and energy expenditure.

The discovery that an orexin/hypocretin receptor mutation causes the sleep disorder canine narcolepsy  in Doberman Pinschers subsequently indicated a major role for this system in sleep regulation. Narcolepsy results in excessive daytime sleepiness, inability to consolidate wakefulness in the day and sleep at night. It has been shown in preliminary studies that orexin/hypocretin-based drugs could help over come the need for daytime rest and increase daytime alertness in the brain. Further studies are needed, but the results so far have promising."

As Dr. Mellon came around the room to talk to those of us gathered to hear the news he pointed out that hypocretins do not have the same side effects as Lingza's counter-hormone did. Lingza's hormone, once synthesized, turned modern vampires psychotic. It had also been thought to cause spontaneous vampire combustion until Tesla showed that the combustion of a vampire in sunlight was caused by the effect of neutrinos on the vampire's atoms. We had to stay out of sun, period, awake or asleep.The old formula slowed down the combustion process but didn't eliminate it. It didn't sound like the new one was going to fix that problem either.

The bottom line of the announcement was that the doctors running the trials wanted new volunteers to test the newly formulated hypocretin enhanced Daynight. He didn't want to use vampires that had previously been part of trial studies, he wanted new untested vampires. That left out Eric, he had already been part of a trial.

Dr. Mellon's eyes were on me as he asked for new volunteers.  I looked to Eric to see what he thought. Eric gave a tiny shake to his head, letting me know he didn't want me to volunteer so I held my tongue. I had too many irons in the fire as it was. I couldn't afford to be put out of commission.

As Charlaine's due date grew close another red letter appointment came up on the calendar. It was time for me to don my judicial robes and hear my first case.

more to come ..... (Howdy everyone! Hope you're having a good day. I'll be back Saturday, til then stay well.)


Saturday, January 5, 2013

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

Chapter One Hundred and Twenty Five

On the way back to the club, zooming down the quiet streets in the Corvette,  I thought about all I had learned tonight.

First, Linda was protected by a spell, something that reacted to a disturbance in her "aura".  That was a good sign. I was still going to check with Amelia but now I thought I might could wait until Charlaine got here, then I could bring all three girls in for a spell 'check up'.

The second thing I learned was that Jure could turn himself into a puff of smoke. Handy if you were Jure, not so good if you were a sheriff wishing to detain Jure. I had no reason to think Eric might want to do that, still I was going to give him a head's up.

The third thing was merely a strong suspicion.

It just seemed way too conincidental to me that Jure "realized" Linda was nervous about wearing the valuable diamond ring the same time as she was worrying about it. He also seemed to have come around to the idea of Linda staying human just about the time we learned Anna Hita could help Linda have Jure's biological child. He was reading someone's mind, maybe everyone's mind, or I was a Neanderthal's uncle.

He had been forbidden from glamouring us to control our thoughts and actions, and we had our rings bespelled to block the mind control of Anna Hita or anyone else with the power to glamour us. That prohibition didn't or maybe couldn't extend to his telepathic powers to simply tiptoe around in our craniums on a fact finding mission. There was no way to know if he was paying a little visit to our thoughts now and again if he was clever about it.

I knew for a fact Jure had visited my mind. I thought it had been on the same level of intrusion as a neighbor that consistently uses your driveway as a convenient turn around. Though it is technically trespassing and therefore irritating, it's not enough to start taking drastic legal action.

I had asked him to stop sending the dreams, stop visiting my mind, and he stopped, or at least appeared to have stopped. My sweeping Jure dreams stopped. They had been like chapters out of steamy romance novels. These were dreams I was sure he planted in my mind, though he had never owned up to it.

Even though he was not glamouring Linda, wasn't finding out all her problems and objections a telepathic trick? He was using his insider's knowledge to find out anything that put Linda off him and fix it.

Was this an unfair smoothing of the path to his arms? Most men, when courting a woman, will go to just about any length to woo and win her. Their whole mind is on their goal. Was this any different, or just wooing taken to a new level?

What did Linda want? She wanted a life with children, a husband and a decent lifestyle. With her telepathy she wasn't going to get a normal human life, her powers would drive her nuts if she could read her husband's mind all the time. No one, no matter how well meaning, could stand up to that kind of scrutiny.

She had never been interested in the other supernaturals whose minds were also opaque to her. In fact she had only ever been interested in Jure.

Right now things were fine. I wasn't going to rock the boat. I didn't think Jure had evil intentions towards Linda and that was the main thing. Every couple had obstacles and issues, working them out was what allowed for growth and personal development.

On this philosophical note I pulled the car around the back of the nightclub, parked it in the same spot I had taken it from and went back in the employees entrance.

I could hear Pam and Eric arguing before I even got the outside door shut. I was tempted to turn right around and wait in the car. I really didn't feel like being the third party in their battle of wills. Eric wanted Pam to be the prize in the charity raffle and she didn't want to do it. I stiffened my spine and walked to the office door, hearing every word of their disagreement.

"Everyone else has been the vampire date prize," Eric said. "Everyone but you. Why should you be the only one that is not made to pay fealty to me?"

"Fealty? Fealty?!? Seriously, Master, you dare to speak to me of fealty? I am here, night after night, turning away gum chewing idiots with fake ID and keeping order. Who could you pay to do what I do?" she spoke acidly,  her voice almost a hiss.

"You are paid, you own half the club, you reap half the profits. It is in your interest as well as mine to see we are not shut down."

"So what? I do my job, you do yours. This charity is extra, not part of my job description. If it means so much to you then you ..."

She stopped as I entered the room. "Maybe Sookie would like to be the dream date," she said over brightly. "Here is someone that has no duties in the club." She smiled a big fake smile at me, her fangs slightly out.

"My duties are elsewhere," I pointed out.

Pam bowed low to me, her voice sarcastic. "Oh yes, I forgot, Great and Wise Pythoness. I see how your one or two trials a decade might prevent you from .."

"Stop, Pam," Eric said, a warning tone in his words. "As her Maker I do not think she is ready to interact with humans in that way yet."

"And that is my problem how?" she asked, her hands on her puffed out woolen hips. She must have had to turn sideways to get through the office door in that steampunk dress.

"It is your problem because it is your turn to go on a date. Mike Malone will go if the winner is a woman, you will go if the winner is a man."

"How sexist is that!" Pam objected. "What if I wanted to go out with the woman?"

"This is not about what you want, it is about what the winner of the charity raffle wants," he said, "I suppose it is possible that.."

She cut him off. "No, No it isn't. It's about what YOU want. It's always about what YOU want."

She stomped towards the door, put her hand on the knob, stopped and turned back. Her face was now a blank and neutral mask.

"Sorry Sookie," she said calmly and quietly. "Some of my anger leaked out on you. None of this is about your being the Interim Pythoness. Congratulations on your appointment. I couldn't think of anyone better to fill in."

She gave me a short sharp nod of respect and left, squeezing her voluminous skirts through the door frame then closing the door gently behind her.

After a few silent seconds Eric said, "Even Pam might one day be brought into High Court and have her fate decided by the Ancient Pythoness."

"I may be the telepath but this time you read my mind," I agreed, going to him to hug him and fill him in on what I had learned at Linda's.

more to come ..... (Super Saturday nestlings! Hope things are going your way and you have a lovely day. I'll be back Wednesday, hope you will be too! Warm wishes on a chilly day!)


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

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

Chapter One Hundred and Twenty Four

Linda looked where I was looking at the smoke pouring from underneath her door and laughed.

"Take a sniff," she said with a twinkle in her eye, pointing to her nose.

I had stopped taking breaths through my nose to sample the air when I entered Linda's apartment because of the dogs. I was getting good at taking in air through my mouth for speaking thus bypassing my olfactory centers.

I had to concentrate at it because it didn't come natural to me, but when it came to dogs it was worth the effort. Smelling dogs and werewolves was like having a wet dirty dog swabbed around in my sinuses.

I took a tiny sample breath through my nose and didn't smell smoke. I only smelled the usual - dogs -  dog food, dog beds, dog treats, dog watering bowls, etc. And something else ... something familiar ...

"It's Jure," Linda said, watching the nebulous shape of the smoke thicken and begin to take shape. "He can turn into a cloud of mist and travel through tiny crevices. It's a little game we play, him appearing inside the apartment as if by magic. Don't be mad."

"I'm not mad as long as he's here by invitation," I assured her.

I knew what a thrill it was to discover your vampire lover had extraordinary powers. When I found out Eric could fly I was enthralled. I still was. I was waiting for my own special powers to manifest. I hoped telepathy and glamouring through walls wasn't the whole of it. I wanted to fly or turn into mist or something too. I felt a little jealous.

The smoke stopped coming in and solidified, taking the shape of a six foot six inch muscle toting vampire in a cape, top hat and very nice tuxedo. Jure smiled at Linda, his smile faltering slightly as his eyes landed on me.

"Mrs. Stackhouse, what a pleasant surprise," he said without inflection.

If we were going to be kin he could start calling me Sookie but that hadn't been set in stone yet. Plus I was still a little miffed at him for that whole weakling thing. He didn't have to act so disgusted at a condition I had no power over.

Now the tables had turned. He might have the muscles and the ability to transmogrify into a cloud but I was the dang Interim Pythoness with the power of life and death over his Croatian butt. Ha!

"What a grand classic entrance," I replied. "Like in the old Dracula movies."

He smiled, a crooked smile that looked like it could also pass for a sneer. "Those legends did get some things right," his deep voice rumbled.

That would explain how he got to the front door of my house without making a sound and without triggering the security lights. That puff of smoke trick could come in mighty handy. He would be almost impossible to jail, even with silver coated bars. I made a mental note to tell Eric about this.

Jure continued to look at me in a pleasantly polite and slightly expectant manner, like he was waiting for me to jump up and say, "I got to be getting a move on now."  I sat stone still, letting him know I wasn't going anywhere until I heard from Linda.

After about twenty of Linda's rapid heartbeats she got up and went to hug him. His cape swirled slightly as he hugged her back, again leaving distance between their bodies out of respect for me. I approved.

He looked in Linda's eyes. "I have something for you. I began thinking that the ring I gave you might not be suitable for everyday wear due to its monetary value. I got you this for your daytime use."

He held out a small plastic box. Linda took it, opened it and peeked inside. She shrieked with happiness.

"Oh Mom look, it's perfect!"

She held the box out and I saw a slender plain gold band with a teeny tiny diamond in it.

"It's a quarter carat," Jure said with a tinge of pride, realizing his gift was going over big time. That's such a good feeling, giving someone just what they were hoping for.

"It's exactly what I wanted!" Linda said, taking off her honking diamond and replacing it with the much smaller ring. It flashed a little bit, hardly eye catching.

"And ...." Jure added playfully, like he was putting the cherry on the cake, " ... it's a cubic zirconium. A CZ they called it at Wal-mart."

Linda ran and threw her arms around him with such force it almost knocked his top hat off. "I'm so so happy, you couldn't have gotten me anything better."

He set her down carefully, laughing. "This is so very strange to me. Most women want the showiest jewels, yet you are more happy with this trinket than with the more valuable ring."

"Oh I still want the other ring when you're around to protect me," she told him firmly. "But for the day to day wear I prefer this one." She admired her hand again. "Nobody's going to bother bopping me upside the head to get this."

At the words "bopping me upside the head" his dark eyes flinched but didn't launch into a plea for her to Turn, to his credit. He seemed to be coming around to the idea that he loved a human woman who might stay human. He took her hand and kissed it, not letting go afterwards.

"I have something for you too, some news that will knock your socks off," Linda said to Jure. She looked at me meaningfully. She wanted privacy to tell Jure about Anna Hita's offer.

"I'll be getting back to the club now," I said, standing up. "You want me to lock that up for you?" I indicated her large diamond ring.

She handed it to me and I put it in my little purse. "Yes, please. Tell Daddy I'll be in tomorrow to begin organizing the office. But I won't be there very early," she said, looking at Jure and blushing.

"Don't worry, neither will your father," I said jokingly 'cause Eric wouldn't be there til after dark.

The two of them locked eyes. It was like I could hear passionate romantic movie music swelling in the background. Despite all the differences and fears such a union might bring one thing was certain:

They were in love.

more to come .... (HAPPY NEW YEAR! What a great way to start the new year, coming here to our nest. Let's put on the silly hats, pop the cork, throw the confetti,  and get our party started! See you Saturday. Huggies!)