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.
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!)