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!)