Saturday, April 27, 2013

Oopsie!

Greetings Fanpires! I took a little tumble and sprained my shoulder. I can't type this week but hope to have another chapter by next week. Thanks for stopping by, see you next Saturday.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

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

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Chapter One Hundred and Forty Two



Before we went into the club to sit on our raised platform and give the tourists a couple more real vampires to gawk at, I needed to ask Linda something. I returned to the office and found Jure back at his task of helping Linda sort out decades of paperwork. I stayed in the doorway, not wanting to distract him once again from his work.

"Linda, just a quick question. What color sweater did you wear to Amelia's?"  I wanted to make sure I knew we were in the same reality we had been before Amelia did her magic.

"I wore a green sweater. It was on sale at Tara's Togs, you know, the new outlet in Shreveport?" She took some papers from Jure and ran them through the shredder, making quite a racket.

While she shredded I thought about this. At some point I knew her sweater had been green, then I recalled it was blue but in the end it was green. This meant we were most likely back in our original reality just like Anna Hita had assured me.

When the shredding racket stopped Linda asked, "Have you been there? They have a wonderful Night Fashion section."

She went back to the boxes on the office sofa and gleefully threw an empty one in the corner on a pile of crushed boxes. She dusted her hands together. "Another one down," she said with satisfaction.

The clothing store she was talking about was the latest branch of Tara's Togs. What had started as one small clothing store in Bon Temps had blossomed into a thriving chain of five stores, their success mainly due to the large assortment of vampire apparel they stocked. The state of Louisiana was Vampire Central. Many of the tourists and locals living here wanted to dress, live and play like vampires, without actually becoming vampire, of course.

The store's success, based on Goth attire, was ironic because Tara basically didn't approve of vampires. She had been vocal of her disapproval of me marrying one when I was still human. This caused a rift in our relationship that had never mended.

"No, I haven't made it there yet. How's Tara doing?"I still had a slight pull of concern for Tara based on our years together as childhood friends.

"She wasn't in the store, of course, but the salesgirl said she was in a week or so ago, so I guess she's doing OK." Linda shrugged, straining to read the faded print on an old invoice to see if it was something that needed filing or shredding. Jure glanced at it over her shoulder and pointed to the shredding pile. His vampire vision could see the date.

Linda hadn't ever met Tara because Tara wouldn't have approved my decision to have children with a vampire. Tara was a "humans only" kind of gal. My girls didn't need that kind of negativity in their lives.

"Glad to hear it. I'm going into the club to sit with your father. Goodnight sweetheart," I said, hugging my dusty daughter. I gave Jure a short nod.

"Remember, I'm only doing this so I can redecorate this place any way I want," she reminded me.

"You got it," I assured her.

In the hall I saw Pam showing her bracelet to Mandy, one of the human waitresses. I went over to admire it.

"Those are real diamonds!" Mandy said breathlessly. "And real rubies!"

Pam was pleased with her bracelet but not because of the value of the stones. She treasured it because the fabled scryer had given it to her.

"It's very beautiful," I said to Pam. "It suits you."

 Pam smiled her cat smile and thanked me for the compliment. I thought about wishing her a Happy Turning Day too, but I wasn't sure if that was appropriate so I kept quiet.

The club was hopping, dancers twined sinuously around poles and a gaggle of young women in black lipstick and messy black hair stood around the dais and looked up at my husband in adoration. He knew the tight jeans and tighter shirt drove them wild, though you would never know he was pleased to have fangies gawking at him.

Eric was sitting on his throne, the place I first met him, looking over the dancers, drinkers, and devotees. His pale face, a blank unreadable mask, revealed something to me.

I leaned over to him a bit, though I didn't need to, he would be able to hear me over the music and din. Still it gave him a chance to appreciate my cleavage, which he did.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

"You feed, then we will go," he said.

"All right," I answered, slightly uneasy at Eric's desire to depart.

I took a few donors to the secret basement room, then we went out into the back parking lot. The night was more than half over, cool, crisp, with a driving breeze from the north. I could smell rain in the air.

We stood by the Corvette. Eric put his hand out and I placed mine in his big grip.

"Sookie, I am tired of this," he said, waving his hand towards the club. The faint strains of "I Love the Night Life" could be heard through the walls. "What would you think if I turned our share in the business over to Linda?"

"Do you think she's ready for that? It might be more than she could handle," I said.

"I would pay Pam extra to guide Linda and help her get up to speed," he suggested.

"I don't think Jure would like this kind of thing. He's almost a recluse. Being on exhibit here in Fangtasia doesn't sound like something he would ever do," I pointed out."It's a testimonial to how much he cares about Linda that he's even here helping her in the office."

"I know," Eric said with a shake of his head. "I can get plenty of vampires to parade around the club. He would not have to do that. Linda could continue on in the office. The only thing that would be different would be that I would no longer be required to be here a few nights a week. I have a vacation due me as sheriff. Jason can run the construction business."

I was surprised. I hadn't realized Eric wanted to throw off all his obligations.

"Why do you want to do this?" I asked in a non-challenging way.

He waited while a giggling group of young women, dressed all in black like queens of the night, made the way to their aged beige Honda Civic and got in. They were all agreeing they hated disco music like poison. They drove off slowly, the gloomy strains of Bauhaus blasting from the tinny speakers. Guess they came here on the wrong night.

"Snow," he said.

"Snow?"

"I want, no .. I need to go to where the snow is deep and untouched. I need the silence, the cold, the white and black of the snow bound night."

I knew Eric came from Nordic lands and now he was homesick for his homeland. He had shouldered the responsibilities of fatherhood, running the club, managing the construction business, and being the sheriff of Area Five.

For decades he had done everything in his power to make life good for his employees, friends and family. He had made life safe here for vampires and humans alike. He had given and given and given. Now he wanted something.

"How soon can we leave?" I asked him, putting my arms around him. I felt his body relax against mine. It was like our vacation had already begun. Snow it would be.



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more to come ....(Greetings Fanpires! Hope things are going well for you. I appreciate your visit and thank you for the time you take to visit.)

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Saturday, April 13, 2013

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

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Chapter One Hundred and Forty One


It wasn't unprecedented for Anna Hita to fly to Shreveport for an important reason but she didn't do it very often. She disliked leaving the safety of her parlor. Her time was valuable and traveling cut down on the clients she could see. I knew it had to be something pretty darn pressing to bring her here.

Naturally my mind immediately leapt to Jure. Did she know something so horrible about him she felt compelled to come here and intervene in his relationship with my Linda?

No, that didn't make sense. She knew all about Jure and all about Linda and all about their relationship. This was something else. Maybe she was going to prevail upon Eric not to prosecute Jure about his dire deed. But Eric had no intention of bringing any charges. Maybe the Pythoness wanted to install someone else in her place. Maybe ..

Eric went to her and dipped his knee to Anna Hita. His words were punctuated by the deep whump whump whump of the slowly revolving blades.

"Would you like to speak to us inside? It would be more private."

She nodded, one ringed hand holding down her bangs in the wind. We made our way over the lumpy parking lot into the employees entrance. Once inside we walked past the club door ("It's Raining Men") and went down into the basement. Mike Malone was loading up a hand truck with cases of beer. Apparently our liqueur license was back in good graces thanks to Pam.

Mike knelt down when he saw Anna Hita, only looking at her perfectly manicured feet and fancy sandals out of respect. Either he knew who she was or her very ancient and venerable status surrounded her like a glowing aura. She stopped and said, "You may rise and carry on your work."

Mike grinned as if she had told him he had just won the lottery. He nodded once again and pulled the hand cart into the small elevator that was used to lift heavy  loads to the bar area.

I looked at Eric to see if he seemed worried. He had the same neutral expression he always wore but I could tell he was making an effort to maintain that bland front. Behind those calm blue eyes his mind was going a million miles an hour trying to figure out what was going on and how he should react. This ability to anticipate problems and deal with them rapidly was one of his greatest survival mechanisms.

I had too many thoughts to sort out. I trusted Anna Hita. I would wait until I heard what she had to say before I reacted. We went into the second hidden basement, now a comfortable lounge for vampires to bring their donors if they didn't care to bring them home. Feeding in the club was illegal and not allowed under any circumstances.

"You have a thriving business here," Anna Hita said to Eric with a gracious smile. "You have done very well for yourself. There are many things you must concern yourself with but my business with Sookie does not need to be one of them."

Eric regarded the beautiful Scryer and her words carefully,  looking for the real meaning in them. Tiny thought crinkles appeared near his amazing eyes. Either she was politely telling him to leave us to our talk, or she was giving him the option of not knowing something he might rather not know. There was a certain value to not knowing something. If the information could harm me or the girls Eric might choose to not know it so that he could never be forced to reveal it.

He would know she wasn't so polite she would not ask for privacy if it was needed.

"Anything that affects my wife affects me. I would prefer to know what urgent matter has brought you here."  He gave a small nod to indicate he was posing his statement as a request.

He went to one of the sofas and sat down, signalling that he was staying and that we might as well sit down too. I felt relieved at his response. His support was the central pillar of my life. Without it I felt like I might collapse like Dumbo's circus tent.

Anna Hita and I sat down side by side and she partially turned to face me. "As you know, I have certain abilities. This gives me a peculiar sensitivity to the structure of space and time we inhabit. Last night I felt a ripple in that structure, a distinctive vibration that came from you."

Her words made me think of the Star Wars movies I had seen with the girls years ago. Was she talking about a "disturbance in the Force"?

"I'm not sure what you mean ..." I said.

"Picture a spider in the center of a web, legs touching the fine threads that radiate out. As soon as something touches one part of the web the spider feels the movement and can go to that place. I am like that spider except my web is three dimensional. I am at the center of a vast network of energy and when something disrupts it I can follow it to the source. Last night you were that source. Did anything unusual happen last night?"

I briefly considered fibbing to cover up the ectoplasmic reconstruction but I didn't see the danger in telling her the truth. Sometimes I wish there was a "pause" button on reality where I could put everyone on hold except Eric and consult with him about what I should do.

I looked at him and saw an open minded shrug in his eyes, meaning he had no idea if this was something we should keep covered up or not. Since Jure and Linda and the witches and Stanley the squirrel-man and heaven only knew who else had this information I didn't think there was any point in fudging the facts.

I told her all of it, about the painting in Jure's castle, my misgivings about Celandine showing up to reclaim her man, my distrust in Jure's ability to fully disclose the truth and the reconstruction at Amelia's. Then I got to the weird moment when I felt reality blink and I knew in that moment that this was what she was talking about. But surely I wasn't the source, Jure was. .... wasn't he?

"How did you explain to yourself what happened?" she asked, her eyes inquisitive and non-judgmental.

"First I thought Jure might have been trying to control my mind, then I thought .. um,"  

Uh oh, stay away from the whole mind reading thing I told told myself  ...

" I kind of thought that I had guessed that was what he might have said if he wasn't being honest," I finished lamely.

Anna Hita smiled a knowing smile, hearing the words I didn't say. "I can tell you what happened. The witches opened a doorway for the past to flow back and be reconstructed. There was a slight weakness in the fabric of space-time. When you asked Jure about what happened you momentarily bridged two realities. In this reality he told you the truth. In a nearby reality he told you his brother committed suicide. Did you notice anything different about the alternate reality?" she asked leaning forward with genuine interest.

I thought back ... Linda's top! "Yes, I was sure Linda had worn a blue sweater but when I looked at her in that moment her sweater was green."

This was very unsettling to me.

"So what reality am I in, my old one or the alternate one?"

Anna Hita laughed. "I am laughing because this is so familiar to me, this worry and confusion. Don't worry my dear Sookie, you just found a pulled thread in the fabric of reality, not a tear. You remain where you began, here in this plane of existence. I would caution you to stay away from any more reconstructions. Apparently you have a trace of my ability to jump from one reality to another."

I had always thought how cool it would be to be able to do that. Now I found it utterly terrifying.

"I don't want that ability," I said firmly. "No more magic for me, ever."

She nodded. "That might be the end of it," she reassured me. "Then again, one never knows for sure. This might just be the first dawning of a talent that will grow with age. We all have our special abilities. Yours might be similar to mine."

"Dear heavens I hope not!" I blurted out before thinking. "I mean, I know you can handle it but I have enough trouble just getting around here."

Eric stood and came to me, placing his hand lightly on my shoulder as if to keep me in the here and now. "Sookie is very happy with things the way they are. She does not want to rock the boat," he told her, smiling down at me, putting into words exactly how I was feeling.

Reassured that what she had felt was simply an unusual and momentary abberation, Anna Hita was soon ready to be on her way. Before she left the club she met with Linda and Jure and congratulated them on their engagement.

Then she stopped again and had a few moments of laughing conversation with Pam in the back hall. I saw her take off one of her bracelets and place it on Pam's slender wrist, a great gift, one I knew Pam would treasure.

Eric, watching this, said quietly in my ear, "Anna Hita is amazing. She remembered that this is Pam's birthnight."

"Pam was born today?" I asked, trying to recall how many years ago that would be.

"No, Pam was Turned tonight," he said.

There was a tilt to his chin and pride in his voice. I hoped I would turn out to be as good a choice as Pam had been. She was everything you would want in a Vampire Child. Though not, I reflected with a trace of happiness, everything you would want in a mate. That was my role and I would do my best not to let Eric down.

We went outside, said our farewells to Anna Hita and waved at the helicopter as it took off into the dark and windy night. When the speck of red tail light had disappeared I pushed the wild tangle of golden hair back from Eric's face and kissed him, the hub of my reality, letting the stars and the world revolve around us. I felt desire, peace and more than peace. I felt the bond only a vampire can feel for her Maker and the husband of her blood.
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more to come .... (Greetings Fanpires! Thank you for stopping by, you're the best group anyone could ever wish for. Peace to you .. see you next Saturday!)

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Saturday, April 6, 2013

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

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Chapter One Hundred and Forty


I needed to talk to Linda without Jure being there.

"Jure, could you please excuse us for a moment? I need to discuss a private matter with Linda," I said in my most pleasant and polite tone.

Jure seemed unaware that I had discerned his thoughts about the death of his brother. I didn't want to say or do anything that would clue him in to what I experienced. So far he had done nothing wrong. In fact, he had behaved admirably, telling me the truth and avenging his wife's death. I could not fault him, a big relief for me. I didn't want to be the ugly cockroach of disapproval on Linda's wedding cake.

He nodded politely and said, "Of course."

He handed Linda the sheaf of papers he was still holding and left the office without looking back, rolling down his sleeves on the way out.

After the door closed behind him Linda put the papers down on a teetering stack and said, a tad tartly, "I hope you haven't just lost me the only assistant I had."

"I hope so too," I said. My mind was on something else. "How did Jure know where to find you?"

"He drove me to work tonight," she said, not understanding my question, or pretending she didn't understand.

"No, I meant, when you were at Amelia's, how did he know where to find you? How did he know you were upset?"

She looked at me sideways with a disbelieving squint, like I must be pretty dense if I didn't already know the answer. It was a look her and her sisters had perfected in their teens and still served them well. It was a look that brought me to my senses.

Of course. She had his blood enough times to form a connection. With them both being telepaths that connection might be very strong. I hadn't thought of her having his blood. I tried not to feel shocked that my baby girl had exchanged blood with a vampire. She was an adult, she was engaged, she was in love. And she was with a vampire.

What else did I expect? Why was it so hard to wrap my mind around the very same behavior in my daughter I had engaged in when Eric was courting me? I guess it was just human, or vampire, nature. In a way it was reassuring, Jure would know instantly if Linda ever needed help, as long as it was night time.

"OK, I get that. How did he call you from the bathroom? Remember, when you walked out like a zombie? Why did you do that?" I asked, feeling at last I had a legitimate question.

"He can send me messages," she said, a tiny twinkle in her eye.

"Telepathically?"

She grinned triumphantly. "Nope, he texted me before he came down the chimney. I had my cell phone in my pocket. I walked out like a zombie because I knew you were going to think he was using some kind of mind control on me. I was just teasing you," she said, giving me a hug. "Sorry."

She knew what I was going to think? Now she was a pre-telepath? No, she just knew how fast I jumped to conclusions, sometimes the wrong conclusions.

"I get it, you want me to trust you and your judgement. You want me to not worry so much about you."

"It's like you're reading my mind, Mom," she said with a laugh, giving me another hug. "Jure is a good guy. Don't always be thinking he's up to some tricks. And don't think he controlled my mind so I would say this to you either. There's no end to that kind of paranoia, is there?"

She was right, of course. If he could control her mind he would have her say this very thing to me. On the other hand, what was he using all this power for, if he was? Keeping Linda crazy about him? She always felt that way. And she actually wasn't crazy about him. She seemed entirely sane. In the absence of any weird behavior I was just going to have to assume things were on the up and up.

"You're absolutely right. I'm going to do better, be less suspicious. I'm happy for you. That's my new attitude," I said resolutely.

"Where's Dad?" she asked, changing the subject now that she had me on her side.

"He had to deal with the liquor license guy," I told her.

"Not that skinny guy with the green contact lenses? He always hits on me when he stops in. I almost put his eye out with my diamond engagement ring the last time he was here and he still didn't get it. Keep him out of the office, OK?" she asked.

"I'll go head them off right now," I told her. I owed her one since I had been so irritatingly protective.

I left the office and went down the hall into the club. Everybody was Wang Chung-ing in a line dance. A quick glance around showed me no Eric. Then I recalled I was supposed to meet him by the car. I left the club and immediately saw him in the parking lot. I flashed over to him.

"How did it go?" I asked him, shooing a rather large moth off my dress. I had moved so fast I hit him. Fortunately the moth was able to fly away.

Eric jerked his head at the big new Ram 3500 in the next line of cars. It was four door, candy apple red with every possible bell and whistle the truck could be decked out with. The chrome was almost blinding, even in this dim light. Inside a thin man lay with his collar unbuttoned and his head lolled back in the rear seat.

A couple of thin lines of blood trickled down his neck. Next to him Pam was reapplying her peach lipstick, her skin a rosy just-fed pink. She looked up from her compact mirror and winked at me. Then she took a tissue and stopped the blood before it stained his less than sparkling white collar.

Pam would heal him before he woke up, I was sure. He would never know what hit him and he would most likely never bother us again unless Pam took a shine to him, then she would drag him around as he grew thinner, paler and more enamored of her. Then he would go away, never to be seen again.

"Pam is discussing our license with him right now. I am sure he will not feel the need to bother us about the trivial and capricious complaint of a drunken patron that was ejected for poor behavior. What did you learn?"

I told him that I suspected that I had picked up the story Jure was planning to tell me from his body language or his facial expression. I didn't say, and Eric didn't ask, about any possible mind reading. It was not a good thing to be able to read a vampire mind. Vampires were very protective of their secrets.

I was just about to tell him about Linda's request that I back off in my mother-hen worry when Eric and I both heard a helicopter approaching. That was odd, we weren't in any flight path. It got odder when the chopper flew to our lot, circled, then set down in the empty lot next door. All the other shops in the mall were closed at this time of night so it had plenty of room.

We both recognized the helicopter. As we watched the door swung open and Cleopatra got out.

No,  it only looked like Cleopatra.

It was Anna Hita at her most exotic. Her skin tight, sleeveless, ankle length, greenish-bluish dress was covered in over lapping sequins like fish scales and split to the knee on both sides. Her flat sandals flashed with stones that might have been real diamonds.

Numerous gold bangle bracelets, from wrist to elbow, were definitely set with real diamonds. Her jet black hair was done up in an elaborate bun made of dozens of tight braids, each braid beaded and wrapped with gold threads. Only her bangs, cut straight across slightly above her arched brows,  blew around in the down draft from the chopper blades.

The chopper powered down so the blades kept rotating slowly. Anna Hita walked towards us in a sinuous and elegant way. People started to come out of the club to see the helicopter. Pam, always quick to step in where she would be needed,  hopped out of the truck and said to Eric, "Master, I will clear the lot."

"Thank you," Eric said.

Pam walked towards the club, lifting her arms to get all eyes on her, then sending out a shock wave of glamour towards all who had emerged and looked her way. As one they turned and went back into the club except for a few stragglers she had to glamour individually. Maybe she mentally offered them free drinks.

Before she went in the employees entrance she turned, dipped one knee and called, "Good evening, ─░mparatori├že," to Anna Hita.

Anna Hita smiled and said, "Good evening, lovely Pam." She waved, her bracelets making a musical tinkling sound.

Then she faced me, the smile leaving her face. "My child, we must talk. Something very serious has occurred."



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more to come ..... (Happy April! So glad you could stop by. You always put a smile on my face and a song in my heart. See you next Saturday, til then, be well.)
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