Chapter 25

Hit The Ground Running

Sookie’s POV

Monday, January 11th
I rolled over at about 5 and didn’t get a rise out of Eric, so I made other plans.  I put on a pink pair of low rise work out shorts and a matching sports bra and tennis shoes. I bundled the clothes I was wearing for the day and set them in the down stairs bathroom. I went out the front door and ran for about an hour before heading back into the house with a clear head. I took a shower, dried off, and dressed in my black work boots, no-rise jeans and a cut off Nine Inch Nails t-shirt.

I docked my iPod and started dancing around the kitchen while I set out fruit and muffins and cereal and yogurt and made coffee and went and grabbed the laptop and started some work on emails while I waited.

**

When I felt Alcide coming downstairs I poured him a cup of coffee and held it out for him. He took the cup from me without saying a word and set it on the counter and spun me around to check out my new marking.

He ran his fingers over it. “You brat! I can’t believe you healed it!” He slapped my butt and spun me around and gave me a kiss and hug that was interrupted by Ron buzzing into the gate. When I met him at the front door, he had a hand truck with him. I poured another cup of coffee and we had barely discussed the ammunition when Tray, Febes and Dozer walked in the front door.

Febes eyes lit up when they came into the room. “Toys!”

Dozer had a ‘holy shit!’ to offer when he saw the 37 cases big and small. Ron did the rundown on what everything was and took his money happily on his way out.

Tray was impressed. “Ron made a good call on the fire power.”

I smiled at him proudly. “Ron thought this was overkill. He tried to sell me AKs and 9mms. I wanted the M4s with the mod kits and the .50 cals. This one is for my purse.”

Febes’ arms flew around me and she joked, “It’s like we were separated at birth.”

We talked and joked around for a few minutes before I got to business. “With the out of town security being here two of our guys at any time need to be at the gate and in the house. The rest of the contingent can patrol the grounds and I’d rather one of the 4 Tray hired be the one in the house because not only do I trust him more, I’ve gotten to know you a little better. I bought a panel of 16 Motorolas with a 2 mile range so that you can communicate with each other but if shit hits the fan you guys use the mind phone to give us a heads up.” Alcide had been smiling at me the whole time. I took my coffee and went to settle on his lap.

“Febes, I don’t expect for you to bunk with the guys so you and Marin will use the room over the garage. There is a full bath right there and you can make yourselves feel at home. My Katos will be bringing the beds over today once I find out if any of our visiting company has gals with them too.”

I heard a voice from the foyer, “Are you really going to call us your ‘Katos’?”

“Speaking of the devil! Hey Tobin!” Alcide growled so I playfully elbowed him. “I thought you’d prefer it to ‘house boy’!”

Tobin was still chuckling when he walked into the kitchen and he bowed in my direction. “Would it please majesty to call us ‘valets’?”

Alcide was really getting torqued at this point. I could feel the tension dripping from him. I laughed at Tobin. “po TAY to/po TAH to, Pup. Whatever floats your boat.” I ‘adjusted’ myself on Alcide’s lap to distract him. It seemed to work. “Bobby and the rest of the ‘valets’ behind you?”

He shrugged. “I called them earlier. I woke Curtis up, Manny was fighting with his girlfriend. She’s pregnant so she’s a little crazy right now. Bobby said to expect them at about 9.”

Another voice chimed in. “That makes you the only one to be here ‘bright and early’ as instructed. Interesting.” Eric crossed the room dressed in his usual jeans, wife beater and black boots and kissed me. The room was flooded with daylight so even I was shocked. I grabbed him and Alcide by the wrists and dragged them into the bathroom and shut the door behind us.

“Eric this whole ‘day walking’ thing is awesome but do we want everyone to know?”

He smiled at me. “Why not? It’s not a weakness.”

“No, but we all know what a jealous vampire is capable of. It may not make you weak, but it makes you a target.”

Alcide jumped in. “You can’t expect him to hole up in your room all day. You’re surrounded by Weres. The news is going to spread no matter what you do.”

Eric finished for him, “It’s better that it’s on my terms.”

They both stared me down with their arms folded across their chests. I waved my hands in defeat. “Fine. Ok. I get it.” I gave them both a kiss and we emerged from the bathroom and everyone was staring at us like they expected a show. I refilled my coffee and offered drinks when I was done serving I noticed that Alcide and Eric were sitting side by side and they slapped their knees at me so I fought a smile as I crossed the room and they laughed at me as I sat on ‘the lap’.

**

I needed to talk about something because Eric being ‘outed’ made me nervous. “Meals will be catered. A dining tent will be delivered and set up very soon and Alcide, the kids and I will be dining, at least lunch and dinner with you guys. I have kegs that we’ll bring out after the vampires take the night shift.” I grabbed my phone and sent the schedule to Tray and our 12 security guys. “The alternates will relieve the ones on watch for 30 minutes for meals. Tobin, today lunch is coming from Cheap Seats. Dinner will be coming from Palisades. Breakfasts will be delivered. Meals will be at 8, 1, and 6 and snacks will be set out throughout the day. After meals we package up leftovers and bring them out for the fridges in the buses too.” I thought for a minute. “I think that just about covers it.”

Just then the intercom buzzed and Tray went to answer it. It was the dining room delivery so he buzzed them in and stepped away.

“The lawn furniture is right behind them, don’t go anywhere.” He gave me a look and within seconds the intercom buzzed again. “Tobin, could you go ahead and track down a delivery of fire wood for me please.” He nodded and went to work as Alcide and I stepped outside.

I pointed and the delivery and set up guys went to work and within an hour everything was done. I went inside and Eric was sitting in the kitchen watching the kids eat and looking a bit forlorn. I went over and sat on his lap. “What’s wrong honey?”

“I haven’t been in the sun in so long, I still don’t trust it.”

“Well, that’s understandable. I have an idea though.” He looked up at me expectantly. “Since everything has been delivered and set up, and we don’t expect the rest of security until around noon, why don’t you go check on the workers at the new Fangtasia with us? The back seat of the Suburban has tinted glass and you can cover up in a hoodie and sunglasses.”

He smiled at me from ear to ear. “That sounds like a great time.” The kids agreed.

He kissed my neck and a chill ran up my spine. He liked the reaction he got out of me and wrapped his arms around my waste more tightly and slowly ran his fangs out to tease my neck. As much as I needed to, I couldn’t pull away from his attention even though the kids were in the room.

“Hungry?”

He breathed his answer into my ear. “Desperately.” I grabbed his hand and led him to the bathroom and he pinned me to the wall and kissed me passionately biting my tongue. I moaned, I wanted more but I knew that we had too much to do.

“Eric, we can’t. We have to wait.” He growled but he backed down a little bit. “But take your fill.” I leaned my head over.

He stared at me steadily for a moment. “Only if you feed too.” I thought about arguing with him about it but I smiled at him instead. He grabbed me and pulled my body to his instantly causing a throb. He put his other wrist to his mouth and ripped it open and put it to my mouth. He grabbed a mouthful of my neck and as we drew blood from each other we moved and writhed against one another. His wrist closed and we had both enjoyed a release. I had moved his hand so that I could suck and nibble on his fingers and was enjoying the contact so much that I didn’t notice how lightheaded I was until it was almost too late. I threw his fangs back and his body relaxed against mine, his hands resting on my hips. After he cleaned my mark he looked at me and I licked my blood from his lips. “Sookie, are you ok?”

I smiled at him. “Of course I am, I stopped you didn’t I.”

“I’ve never taken that much… from anyone.”

The statement caused some concern. “Give me something I can wrap my head around.”

“If I wanted to turn you, I’d have taken less.”

I smiled at him and put my feet under me to start righting myself and went to the mirror to make sure that I didn’t need another shirt before we got going. I did. “Well then, new power? The other night when you took blood from me I remember thinking it felt so good that I wished I had more blood so that it wouldn’t end so soon.” I eyed him in the mirror. “Or maybe it was just because we were feeding at the same time that I wasn’t drained.” I winked at him and turned to face him.

He wrapped his arms around my waist and gave me a gentle kiss on my forehead. “I love that you can surprise me. I’m going to go… clean up. What shirt would you like for me to bring for you?”

I grinned up at him for thinking of it. “A black cami from my underwear drawer. The shorter, the better.”

He licked his lips and growled. “Indeed.” He smiled and opened the door. Eric stepped out and I followed right behind him and sat at the table to tie Hunter’s tennis shoes for him.

Eric was carrying Manen when he handed my shirt to me then Alcide growled at me for changing it in front of Tobin and Dozer. Eric chuckled and patted Alcide’s shoulder. “Her bra covers more than her bathing suit friend. Pick your battles.” And we headed to the truck to head to Fangtasia. Eric hadn’t caught on to the fact that Alcide was posturing over me with Tobin yet.

**

Eric climbed into the back seat between the kids and we rode anxiously for the 10 minutes it takes to get to the bar. When we went to get out of the car Eric was hesitant. Manen had an idea though. She asked for a ride on his shoulders so that she could nonchalantly use her coloring book as a visor for him. We were all very proud of her idea especially since it worked so well. Once we were inside before he set her down, Eric gave her an extra long hug and then whispered a ‘thank you’ in her ear.

The new Fangtasia was bustling with activity and the sounds and smells of a construction site. The carpenters already had the skeleton of the bar and the stage done. The drywall guys were doing well and the guys working on expanding the bathrooms were almost done ripping apart the old ones. I introduced Eric to the foremen who were scared stiff at the idea of pissing off a vampire that didn’t have to wait until dark to come after them. This job was going to get done ahead of time and under budget thanks to his appearance. We were turning out to be a distraction so we only spent about 30 minutes there before we went home letting Hunter have the chance to ride Eric’s shoulders and be his helper.

When we got home Bobby and the rest of the crew were there and the breakfast caterer was set up for serving so I called everyone over to the dining tent and we had a sit down, everyone that is except for Eric and the kids who decided to play video games while we did business. Alcide and I along with Bobby and his 3 and Tray with his 8 quickly set up tables and chairs and we ate while we hammered out different aspects of the week and went over the contracts. We were just finishing up with the orientation when the wood arrived. While that was being unloaded the florist and the furniture for the kids’ room that we had ordered the week before had arrived just a few minutes later.

I had Tobin make signs for the doors for the busses while Manny and Curtis carried everything upstairs to start putting the kid’s furniture together. I went to get Eric’s tool box out of the garage and I giggled when I opened it upstairs and noticed that they looked like they had never been used. Together Eric, Alcide, Manny, Curtis and I put together the beds and set up the dressers and dressed the beds for the kids. Manny and Curtis carried the old bed frame and mattress set and set it up in the room over the garage for one of the female guards. I took a fresh flower arrangement to each bedroom and a smaller one to each bathroom.

**

When we were done, Eric and I reconvened in the kitchen.

I hopped up on the counter with a very satisfied grin on my face. “We did it. I think we did it.”

Eric came over and set his hands on my thighs. “Lover, you did it. I’m very proud of you.” I almost had the chance to return his smile before he kissed me. He hugged me to the edge of the counter and pressed us together. It didn’t take long before our kiss became more heated. He wrapped my legs around him and I was unbuckling his belt when we heard a throat clear behind us.

Our kiss ended and we rested our foreheads against each other. Eric very politely answered the throat clearer. “What can we do for you?”

“Um…” It was Tobin and he was clearing his throat again. “The security teams from Jackson and Dallas are here. I was going to go pick up the catering and let the missus know that our females are the only 2.”

I laughed out of sheer frustration against Eric’s chest. “Thanks Tobin, we’ll be out in a minute.”

We heard the door slide open and then closed as Eric smoothed my hair away from my face. I re-buckled his belt and growled as I slid off the counter. Eric kissed me sweetly. “Lover, I’ll go find Alcide and we’ll meet you in the camp.” We smiled at each other as I went out through the portico.

When I got around the back I noticed that Tobin was still here and talking to a few Weres whose eyes got shifty when I came around the corner but Tobin continued to gossip. I stood behind him and when he got done reporting I whispered into his ear: “Yeah, but is she a good dancer?”

Tobin yelped and if ever I have seen a Were blush, it was him. I was laughing as I shooed him away and told him to get to work.

I tracked down Curtis and Manny and asked them to take the spare bed from Angela’s hall and set it up in the room over the garage for our lady guards.

**

I had just started looking for Tray when I was grabbed from behind. My assailant had hugged me around my arms and had them pinned to my sides. He arched his back and I saw all 8 of my guards and Tray whip their heads around and take a step towards me until I started laughing and he put me down.

I turned around and gave him a huge hug. “Hey Doug!”

“Hi Sookie! We missed ya in Jackson. We get so bored during the day.”

I grabbed his face and pulled it close to mine. “Your nose looks back to normal. I hope I don’t break it again when we play football after lunch.”

“We’re playing football?!”

“Tell your guys. We’re briefing over lunch and then we play. The Kings won’t be here until after dark so the fangs will have the first shift. You guys are guests until 5 AM, so, Shit yeah, we’re playing!”

He chuckled happily. “You’re gonna piss off the kings when none of us want to leave a fun boss.”

I smiled at him and slapped his butt as I walked away.

**

I was making my way over to Tray and I could tell that Eric and Alcide weren’t far behind me.

Suddenly, in the middle of a crowd of nearly 30 people my ass was grabbed and I stopped dead in my tracks. Febes and Dozer saw it right away since they had been watching me since Doug grabbed me. They came over towards me. I looked over my shoulder at a very big Were and smiled at him. “It’s nice to meet you too, but in Louisiana we shake hands.”

“Jim. Dallas.”

“Well, ‘Jim. Dallas’ could you get your fingers out of my ass before you get killed?”

Dozer, right on cue: “Missus, is everything here alright?”

Jim had finally wrapped his head around who I was. He hadn’t moved his hand yet but he was starting to panic. “She smells like a.. I didn’t…”

“Jim you have about 3 seconds to move your hand before there is a scene.” He moved it immediately and dropped to one knee with his head bowed.

“I am so sorry.”

I rolled my eyes. “Jim your drawing attention. Get up.” He did just in time for me to move behind him to get between Jim and the Alcide/Eric Mack truck that was about to plow into him. I shook my head at them.

“Rude as that was, he had no idea who I was. I smell like sex and Were.” Eric and Alcide both looked at me and nodded. I went over to stand between them and took an arm from each of them. “Jim, this is King Northman and this is Lunar Justice and Packmaster Alcide Herveaux and I’m Sookie Stackhouse… Eric, Alcide, Jim is from the Dallas crew.”  Jim put his hand out to shake Alcide’s.

My men eyed the gesture. Eric smirked. “Go wash her scent off of your hand, now.”

Jim was climbing into one of the buses within seconds and I wouldn’t see him until later that night.

Once he was gone, Dozer, Febes and I cracked up for a minute before I dragged my humorless guys over to Tray and we introduced ourselves. I sent a call out to the kids and when they came outside I called them over to introduce the family and told them to hang out and enjoy themselves until the other kings arrived.

**

I got a call from the gate that there was a visitor. A few minutes later I heard a voice behind me. “Holy shit, sis. Starting a Were collection?!”

I spun around and hugged him. I whispered into his ear. “Didn’t want to be alone?” He shook his head and hugged me a little tighter. “Well then, you came to the right place.” The kids saw that he was there and hugged his legs and he let me go to squat down and hug them back. Alcide and Eric both gave me little signals of approval.

Dozer came over to me and tapped me on the shoulder and bent way over as he whispered. “Sookie, you probably should go bathe. You are a little distracting, even to me.” I patted him on the chest and thanked him as I headed inside to take care of the problem. Eric and Alcide followed me to the kitchen door.

Alcide was a little irritated. “What the hell was that? One of the ones we hired has a thing for you too?” Eric looked equally annoyed.

I walked up to them and beckoned them both down towards me and hugged their heads to give me access to their ears. In barely a whisper I told them: “He thinks you two are sexier than I am. I’m going to go clean up.” When I let them go the looks on their faces were priceless. Eric was laughing quietly and Alcide looked like he had just seen a train wreck. His eyebrows had disappeared into his hairline, his eyes were as big as dinner plates and he was catching flies. I left him there with Eric who was laughing and jibbing him. “Go keep Jason company.” I went to grab my clothes for lunch and something to play football in and got into the shower. When I got out I put on a pair of the popular jeans and a turquoise baby doll t-shirt with my daddy’s belt buckle and black cowboy boots. I gathered up my older pair of jeans, Saints jersey and sneakers for the football game and left them sitting on the bathroom counter for after lunch.

**

When I got outside, Tobin was unloading lunch and I started helping. We got everything laid out and everyone went through the line and we all dined on Reuben and Monte Cristo sandwiches, hot wings, nachos, baby back ribs, sliders, cheese sticks and chili cheese fries. I had been sitting between Eric and Alcide with Febes and Tray and Dozer and the kids at the table.

“Hey Tray, are you too old to play football?”

He gave me a playfully dirty look. “Honey, I’m not in the box yet!” He winked and I smiled back.

“Jason, you wanna play?”

“I always want to play. But you can’t play football with this bunch. You’d get crushed.”

I ignored that. “Dozer, Febes, you in?” Dozer nodded with a grin but Febes seemed to be annoyed at the invite. “Hunter, do you know where Daddy hid the ball and the cones?” He didn’t even answer me he just ran off to get them and I laughed.

Eric leaned over, grumbling. “Lover, do you think this is a good idea?”

“Why not? I love football and it’ll be a great way for everyone to relax before Texas and Illissippi arrive. Wednesday night we’ll play baseball.” He shrugged and made a slightly apprehensive face. I kissed him quickly before I stood up. “Dallas, Jackson, do any of y’all play football?” There was a cacophony of grumbled discussion.

Doug stood up. “We have six.”

“Shreveport we need 1 more!” Shaun volunteered immediately and then moved over to our table to discuss.

Jason leaned over to Dozer. “You’re gonna be center, right?”

Dozer just smiled and gave him a thud on the shoulder. I went back for seconds and went ahead and made 2 plates. I was really enjoying the nachos and ribs and Reubens. I ate a ton of food and drank a ton of Coke.

**

When everyone was done eating I had the ‘valets’ tend to the leftovers and the garbage. I launched myself into the house and to the bathroom to change. I was out in seconds and Eric was carrying the kids over to where the ‘field’ was going to be, one on each shoulder. I caught up to him and smiled at him. He gave me a disapproving look.

“What did I do now?”

“Why did you not ask me to play?”

“Uh, because it’d be cheating to have a 1000 year old vampire on the team. One who can throw harder, run faster and oh yeah, FLY.”

“So you think I would cheat?”

I laughed and gave him a high eyebrow.

He snorted. “Okay, maybe I would.”

**

When we got to the other side of the yard Eric sat down in the shade with the kids and watched them blow bubbles before we started.

When we were just about ready to play one of Dallas’ Weres saw me huddled with my team and had himself a little nervous breakdown. “I’m not playing if she’s playing. Stan will kill us if she gets hurt. He said ‘favorite human’ remember.”

I yelled at him across the field. “Lewis! What happens in Shreveport stays in Shreveport. Unless you’re scared of me.” That egged him on like I knew it would. Never call a Were chicken.

We had been playing for about an hour the score was pretty even. It was still anyone’s game. It was Dallas’ ball and the quarter back threw the ball to the guy I was covering and I intercepted the pass and got tackled. I got taken down hard by a big guy from Mississippi. It wasn’t over zealousness, just a bad angle that dislocated my shoulder. I knew as soon as my shoulder hit the ground that it was out of joint and as soon as I sat up everyone else did too. Alcide came running over to me and tried to help me up and Jason was looking really concerned, but on him concerned looked like Hardy from Laurel and Hardy. Alcide was on his knees and panicking a little.

“Shug are you ok? Can you fix it?”

“I’m fine. I need to reduce it first. Dozer, you know what you’re looking at don’t you?”

“Yeah, Sookie, we should take you to a doctor. You’ll need drugs.”

“Nope, I need Alcide to hold me still and I need you to unfuck the socket. Got it.” I looked up at him with a sweet smile. By now everyone on the property was circling around me. There must have been more than a dozen balks at the suggestion. I told them all to shut up and stop being little girls. Manen laughed but Hunter grabbed a handful of Jason’s shirt and he lifted him instinctively.

“Guys, while you’re standing there with your thumbs in your butts, my hand is getting dusky and numb. Alcide, hold me tight. Dozer, like a band aid, you’ve done this before.”

Everyone got quiet and Alcide braced me. Dozer was the only one strong and tall enough to get it right. I counted it off. “One… Two… Three.  OOoohhh!”

When Dozer jerked my arm the sound of the wet crunch actually made one of the Jackson Weres get sick and Alcide was looking a little green himself.  I took my hand back from Dozer and shook it with relief. “Oh God! That feels better.”

I stood up and gave my reductionist a big hug and patted him on his chest. I reached down and offered Alcide a hand and he took it without thinking and then he realized that I just helped him up with my hurt arm. I turned and looked at the shocked and amazed faces and pointed to the ball. “That’s a 1st down! Shreveport’s ball.”

I had to pull rank on them to get them to finish the game.

**

Louisiana lost anyway, unfortunately, but we put up a better showing than the Saints usually do.

The Weres were still a little nervous about my injury. “Look guys, if anybody asks, tell them Dozer fell on me.”  We headed back into the house with my men and kids on my heels. They all opened their mouths to say something at the same time and I held my hand up to stop them all and put my hand over my shoulder and ‘fixed’ it the rest of the way. I went over to the fridge and grabbed the container of leftover fried chicken and a beer and sat on the bar and ate from it.

“Ok, go ahead.”

Jason sat on the bar stool closest to me and grabbed a piece of chicken and started munching. Alcide and Eric gave him a dirty look because they obviously weren’t getting the backup they wanted. Jason had one of his rare moments of clarity. “What? Don’t look at me. She’s a stubborn horse’s ass when she sets her mind on something and, uh… Y’ALL PICKED ‘ER!” He looked up at me and winked at me.

Eric walked over to me and checked my shoulder. “But you are fine now. Yes?”

I smiled at him. “Of course am. I couldn’t have kept playing if I weren’t. The swelling wasn’t as bad afterwards as I thought, but I did have your blood this morning.”

“Lover, why didn’t you have me reduce your shoulder?”

“Because, Thor, I quite like my arm it where it is.” I leaned forward and gave him an amused smooch. “Besides, Dozer has done it recently and to a human. Martial arts.”

Alcide chimed in. “Sookie, you can’t play football again tomorrow.”

“Uh, not the boss of me. One. Two, those ass holes are too chicken shit to play against me now that I was hurt anyway.” Jason and Eric snickered. “Another thing, I want the record to show, I didn’t get hurt because of my size or theirs. It was a bad angle to fall at. It could have happened to any of you.”

Alcide started to dispute it but Eric, uh, Mr. Total Recall, agreed with me. “Her own weight is what dislocated her shoulder, not his. He had her around the waist. You’ve put her into the ground harder than he did.”

Jason agreed too, for what it was worth. “Dislocations happen. It’s just a common injury. Hey sis, they’ll play baseball with you though and you can pitch.”

I laughed. “They’d better, I promised Angela that I’d pull a game together. She’s got a great arm.”

Eric looked pouty. “Can I at least play baseball with you? I wouldn’t hurt anybody.”

“I’ll tell you what, we’ll get Pam and the Kings and we can even out the vamps on the teams and yes you can play. But you can only use vampire powers against other vampires.” Eric liked the sound of that.

Alcide was still upset and staring me down. “You’re missing the point! You got really hurt.”

Jason interrupted, “Damn dude! It’s not like she was playing chicken in the freeway it was just a friendly football game. She’s fine.” He stood up and gave me a peck on the cheek before he headed off to ‘play with them youngins’. Eric waited until Jason was out of the room before cracking up.

He looked up at me. “How is it that he is starting to grow on me?”

I laughed too. “He has his moments.” I looked at Alcide who was still shaken. I gave Eric the find-something-to-do signal and he left to join Jason. I hopped up from the counter and went over to Alcide and hugged him. He stood there holding me for what seemed like forever, his hands occasionally running over my back only to squeeze right back into the hug. “Alcide, are you ok?” He never let go of me.

“Shug, I hate seeing you banged up. I hate that you are constantly getting beaten up.”

I laughed wryly and started thinking out loud. “Look Alcide, your day girl has always been a tom-boy. I can understand your concern when I get damaged in the line of duty. But this was an innocent injury, sweetie, I’m fine. You’ve got to relax. In all of our sparring, that could have happened.” We stood in the kitchen and hugged for a bit longer. He didn’t seem to want to let me go and I was fine with that. “I’m not going anywhere. I love you.”

“I love you too… Hey. Am I, a least a little bit, the boss of you?”

And… he’s back. The silly, funny Alcide that always lightens the mood with a joke when the time was right. I hummed a little giggle into his chest and looked up at him. “Oh Alcide, of course not.” He smiled at me as he bent his neck to kiss me.

“Alpha Bitch.”  We were both laughing when we heard Eric open the freezer.

“Oh good, you two made up.” He reached into the freezer and grabbed 2 popsicles. I looked at Alcide’s watch.

“Eric, the kids can’t eat those now. It’s too close to dinner.”

Eric stared me down as he yelled over his shoulder. “Kids, Momma says it’s too close to dinner for ice cream.” I gave him a dirty look for making me the bad guy.

Manen’s little voice called back. “Far, can you bargain for a fruit?” I was shocked and I showed it but my men were fighting really hard to keep their laughter silent. Eric composed himself and put away the junk food and grabbed a couple of oranges and took them back grinning at me over his shoulder. Great, just great. Like I needed another wheeler dealer in the house. But given our lives, I thought it would be a good trait to have: being able to work around sharp edges, it has helped save my neck a few times.

**

“Hey Alcide, speaking of dinner… you need to get your pretty ass to work on at the grill.” I smiled at him and gave his butt a slap.

“You’re the cook in the family. I don’t know how to do it.”

“Alcide Herveaux! You did not butcher a deer for me to cook. I’ve never done venison and I’m not going to screw it up. It’s her first kill!”

Jason came sliding into the room on the slick floor in socked feet. “Can I help?” I looked at him steadily and smiled. Normally Jason is as useless as useless gets (like a Phillips when you need a flat head.) But today he would earn his keep. Hunting trip after hunting trip gave him the edge of experience in this situation.

“Manen, sweetie, when you’re done with your snack do you want to help Daddy and Uncle Jason with the grill?” We heard squealing and clapping from her in very girlie excitement.

**

I got them all acquainted with where everything was and then called out to Tobin about going to Palisade’s for dinner. I ran through the house doing a quick once over to tidy things up. I went from one guest room to the next and made sure everything was in place. Then I went to wash the football game off of me. There is something less than queenly about grass stained elbows and the smell of 15 different men. I was, for all intents and purposes, getting ready for a date. Tonight I would be entertaining 4 Kings and a Justice. Sure, the fancy shoes would be off after dinner, but I wanted to do my best to prove to Stan, Bart and Russell that I could look the part of gracious hostess and Regent.

I did my makeup and I used a pair of red enameled hair sticks to put my hair back in what I guess you could call a romantic up do. I slipped on my panties and a robin’s egg blue wrap dress with red lace hem and ties.

I didn’t bother with a bra because of the low neckline of the dress and my shoes were very red and handpicked by Alcide to match the dress during one of our shopping trips. I wore tan silk thigh high stockings with seems up the backs too. When I was finally ready it was nearly 6. I knew that not only was dinner almost taken care of but the Kings were about 45 minutes away from arriving.

When I came around the corner my whole family was in the kitchen. Not only were the people who lived there in the kitchen chatting happily but Tray, Febes and Dozer were gathered there as well. All of them seemed to stop when they saw me. Pam was the closest and eyed me, licking her lips she came over and cupped my breast. She leaned over and whispered against my neck: “I have to thank you for choosing to not wear a bra.” When she planted a very appreciative kiss on me complete with a little tongue and when she pulled away she fixed my smeared lips.

“Well, thank you, Pam.”

Angela asked if she could borrow the dress. Jason was very preoccupied with the kiss and wondering if it was weird that he was turned on since I was his sister. Tray shifted in his seat and took a hard swallow. Febes and Dozer both gave me a wink but Alcide and Eric were a little less publicly obvious about their appreciation. Alcide was imagining how fast he could have me out of the dress and pressed up against the wall and the bond was so filled with lust and passion from Eric it was hard for me to breathe. He smiled at me and flashed his fully extended fangs.

“Come on you guys! I know I’ve spent the last few days in jeans but you’ve all seen me dressed up before! Let’s go eat. Jason can you grab the tap and the cups?” He nodded as I went into the garage and grabbed the keg and carried it like a small sack of potatoes. It would have been nice to have had this strength when I was working at Merlotte’s. Everyone gawked at me as I carried it through the house over my head and took it all the way out to the dining tent and set it on the table gently. I took the tap from Jason and in one quick motion broke the seal, and twisted the tap without getting sprayed. Again another talent I learned at Merlotte’s.

“Shit, sis, the keg is warm.” He had his hand on the side of it so I touched the side to cool it and it was ice cold. His eyes widened and I gave him a wink. Curtis called over to me and told me that everything was ready and I left Jason with orders to pump the keg.

**

I went out to call everyone to supper and the yard was just too busy for me to get the attention I wanted. I looked around and standing just a few feet away from me was a really big guy. I went over and patted him on the shoulder and was surprised when it was my friend Goose… a.k.a. Jim. Dallas. Oh, well. In for a penny, in for a pound I guess.

“Do you think you can lift me up so I can get everyone’s attention?” He balked. “Come on, kneel down and let me sit on your shoulder for a sec.” He sheepishly did as I told him. I took his hand and put it over my lap like a seat belt that made him really uneasy. Jason came out of the tent with a beer and I had him do one of his whistles. I don’t know why but I never did learn how to whistle like he could. When everyone’s eyes were on me, I started my welcome announcement.

“Hello everyone! I wanted to take the opportunity to say for my whole family, especially King Northman and Lunar Justice Herveaux, welcome to Shreveport! We are all happy to have you here as our guests. Tonight we not only celebrate your arrival, but this evening at dinner we will be enjoying local fare including venison. Some of you may already have met our little girl, Manen… Last night was her first hunt and tonight, we will enjoy her first kill which she prepared herself!” Alcide and Eric picked Manen up and she waived to everyone, surprising everyone at her young age. But they all clapped and hooted for her and her fathers beamed. “Alright, Let’s eat!”

I patted my pedestal on his shoulder and he gently set me down. I turned around and looked at him. He was having a hard time looking me in the eye. I put my hand on his chest and petted it. “Stop it. No harm, no foul. K?” He gulped but he nodded. I gave him a sunny smile. “Good, go get something to eat big guy.”

I stood there at the opening of the tent and greeted everyone I could until Eric came up behind me and put his hands on my stomach and pressed against me.

Without turning around I knew it was him. “What can I do for you, Viking?”

He growled his answer into my neck. “What can’t you do for me?”

I turned around in his grasp and put my arms around him. I whispered in his ear. “I will do anything you want me to as soon as we get to our room. Feel free to use your imagination until then to come up with something creative.”

He growled about waiting.

“This is the best we can do. I will pay handsomely for your patience though.” I reached my tongue out to lick and chew on his ear.

“I’m not sure you can afford my patience.”

I purposefully giggled like a girl. “Can I run a tab then?” He growled into my neck instead of answering me and teased my neck with his fangs and pressed into me giving my hoop a tickle. I wanted to open my dress and wrap my legs around him in front of everyone. Thankfully, for once, we were interrupted.

Alcide cleared his throat. “Sorry to interrupt, but our company called to say they are arriving as we speak.” He smiled sympathetically at me as Eric backed away from me.

For some reason I hadn’t noticed what Eric had been wearing. He was in his usual jeans and a t-shirt but his shirt was raunchy. It had read “I TAUGHT YOUR GIRLFRIEND THAT THING YOU LIKE”. I looked over at Alcide and his read “ALL THIS AND A HUGE COCK” on the front and on the back there was a picture of a rooster.

I laughed at both of them. “Boys, did I miss something about the dress code?”

Eric smiled at me and chuckled. “Oh, the shirts?  Russell suggested since you said that we had to be casual, we wear dirty t-shirts for the 3 days that they are here for fun. But you needn’t worry if you don’t own the uniform.”

“Who says I don’t have the uniform?”

“Lover, you have dirty t-shirts?” I gave him a knowing smirk.

Little did he know,  I had quite a few because I helped Sam clean out one of his duplexes when one of the gay male dancers from Hooligans skipped out on the rent and I thought they were funny enough to hold on to. “I’m going to run upstairs and get changed. I can’t believe you didn’t tell me, Putz.” I ran off laughing to myself. I knew exactly which one I’d wear too. I ran upstairs and changed into a pair of my special jeans, a pair of black stiletto heel boots and my dirty t-shirt. I gathered it in the back so that it would show of my tummy and ran (ok, not quite ran because of the heels) downstairs.

**

I walked out the front door just in time to see the limos pull up to the front of the house. I waited to see which one had the VIPs and which one had the security vamps and ran to the one with the VIPs. The first one out was Bart, his T-shirt said “MEAN PEOPLE SUCK… NICE PEOPLE SWALLOW”.  Next was Russell, his shirt said “I’M NOT A SLUT… I’M JUST POPULAR”. I laughed out loud when I read it. Stan was the last one out he looked a little glum until I laughed from my toes at his shirt. “NO MEANS: EAT HER OUT FIRST”. I gave them all hugs and they thought my shirt was ‘charming’ as Russell put it.

Stan had to talk a little business first. “Where are the Weres we need to fire?”

I was appalled at how fast gossip traveled with Weres. “Stanislaus! You will do no such thing!”

Russell and Bart were puzzled that I’d pretest. Bart explained: “We received word that you were violated by a Dallas and injured by a Jackson.”

I laughed. “Men are horrible gossips! A Dallas made a pass at me because he didn’t know who I was at first and a Jackson sacked me in a football game but I am obviously fine. Let’s go around to see everybody. I can’t wait for you to meet the kids.” I took an arm from Stan and one from Bart and led them around the side of the house. The kids were playing on the jungle gyms with Jason and Angela. I came up on Alcide and Eric while they were discussing something casually.

When we approached my guys they both focused on my shirt instead of my arm candy. I laughed out loud at them, their reactions rather. They quickly offered a deep nod to the visiting kings and the mood in the yard changed. The party that had been going strong went quiet almost as soon as Eric and Alcide did the nodding thing. I realized that it was because the ‘bosses had come down from the big house’.

I griped and gave the kings an evil look. “That’s it! You’ve been here barely a minute and you’re already being a buzz kill. Get your butts in the house so they can go back to their fun!” I slapped Stan and Bart on the rears. I quickly went and found the valets and told them to get the baggage from the limos and where to put it and then caught up with my company as they were walking into the house. I went to the fridge and grabbed a true blood for everyone and handed them out.

**

Stan was still looking pretty morose so I grabbed him by the hand and dragged him to the den out of normal ear shot.

“Ok cowboy, speak.”

“I told you. I’m freaking out about taking over another state. I don’t…”

“So this has nothing to do with… Rochelle is it?”

His eyes widened and he took a step back. “You can read vampire minds? I thought you…”

“I can’t but I can ‘see’ things once in a while. Playing cat and mouse won’t work with her but she is in love with you. If you go for it she’ll respond. Just don’t play that whole King Davis game. Be Stan. Send her flowers and sign the card yourself. What does she like?”

He didn’t even pause before he answered. “She loves gardening and she spends a lot of time with her family. She takes her grandmothers to bingo on Wednesdays.”

“Want advice from someone whose fiancé didn’t know how to court a human?”

“More than anything!”

“Go to Barnes and Noble and buy her a calendar with a garden theme. Write in ‘Bingo’ on the Wednesdays, that’ll mean that you care enough to pay attention and pick a day you’d like to take her out and write in ‘US?’. Send her that and flowers, not roses unless you know it’s her favorite with a card that you write. Don’t be pretentious and quote poetry. Say something sweet like ‘I can’t help but think of you’ or something like that.”

“But she’s human. What if…”

“Yup. Go ahead and be ‘that guy’. Personally I think vampires live a little too long to go to bed every morning wondering, don’t you?… But Stan…”

“Yeah?”

“I knew her name because what I saw was you introducing her to me at my wedding.” He actually choked up. Eric had once told me that Stan was almost as old as he was and the thought of this woman going to an out of town wedding with him made him… sappy. “Now stop that. You’re sexy, smart, funny, powerful and you really can love her forever. What girl would turn her nose up at that? Let’s get back before my guys start thinking I’m softer on you than I am.”

**

I took his hand and we walked calmly back to the kitchen where everyone seemed to be waiting for us. I grabbed beers for Alcide and I and we all sat at the table and chatted and caught up. Russell explained some very boring details of the division of the takeover and irritated me by spending too much time on my involvement.

After we were there for a few minutes the Valets checked in. Tobin gulped when he read my shirt and laughed nervously. I asked them to bring the boxes of paperwork in from the garage and then they could call it a night. Jason and Angela came in from the yard to ask if it was ok to take the kids to a movie and they left.

Pam joined us for the business portion of the evening wearing a shirt that said: “I AM A VIRGIN. THIS IS AN OLD SHIRT”. I couldn’t help but chuckle. When she read mine she winked at me. “I LIKE LOILPOPS, LONG WALKS ON THE BEACH AND ANAL.” Alcide and Eric were just as distracted by the message on the shirt as they were with the fact that I hadn’t worn a bra.

“So, gentleman, let’s get down to business. Open your boxes please.” So they did. I went and stood behind Stan and sort of like the sorting hat from that wizard movie I placed my hands on Stan’s head and closed my eyes. Magically the files practically danced out of the boxes and into piles on the table. When I opened my eyes everyone was staring at me. I stepped around Stan to stand over the piles. “This will make things go faster.” I pointed to each pile. “Pile 1:Keeping, Pile 2: liquidating, Pile 3: I can’t decide for you, and Pile 4:leverage and debts. Stan, I want you to name a price on Quinn’s debt to Nevada. I’m going to use the debt as a restraining order.”

He smiled at me. “When I get to it, consider it paid for.” He took my hand and kissed it and I smiled back.

I walked over to Eric and did the same thing then had Russell open the boxes of financials that were kept for all three states and did the like to him and handed the Louisiana and Arkansas files to Eric and the Nevada piles to Stan. “Ok guys. You should only have about an hour of work to do now. Find us when you’re done.” I gave Eric a kiss on my way out to the garage to grab the other keg for our security and gave Alcide a head tilt and he followed me out. I tilted the old keg and just as I suspected, I needed to tap the new one. I poured off the foam and then beers for Alcide and I, and I called “Fresh keg!” and that caused a happy reply from the crew.

There was a poker game going. One of the guys looked over and jokingly asked me to join them. Alcide and I sat in on the game for nearly an hour. During which, Tobin came over to me to get a to do list of things for tomorrow but other than beer, lunch and dinner runs he was pleased to hear that the day was going to be ‘easy money’. As the occasional Were came into grab a beer or snack I let them know that anyone with the breakfast shift needed to muster on the back porch at 5am.

**

I was losing on purpose when Eric ‘called’ us. I shook hands and thanked my opponents for the fun and Alcide held my hand as we headed back to the house.

Eric was standing at the entertainment center and turned to smile at us. “We thought we’d watch a movie. Dogma, right?” Alcide and I smiled at each other.

“Yeah, you guys should get a real kick out of it.” Alcide was chuckling at the idea of watching a movie about Christian rhetoric with 5 vampires who have no place in their hearts for the church.

I was giddy. It was one of my favorite funny movies and I got to watch it with my favorite people. I asked if anyone wanted anything and went to get snacks and true bloods. When I came back with a tray full of O+, beer and popcorn Eric and Alcide had left enough room for me to squeeze between them. I passed out the true bloods and beer and put the bowl of popcorn in Alcide’s lap, Eric’s hand went between my knees and Alcide’s arm went over my shoulder. Pam came in and laid across our laps jokingly. She had moved the popcorn bowl and once she was settled with her head on the arm of the couch by Alcide she put it on her lap. Eric smiled at her with approval.

Stan was taken aback. “Northman, your nest by itself is strange enough, but you are all bedmates?”

“Angela is just our governess and friend and Jason is going through a personal tragedy and riding it out here. His wife and child are being buried in the morning. But to answer your question, we are a very happy family.”

I winked at the visiting kings and Russell was incredulous. “Little girl, you mean to tell me that your tiny self can handle 2 Vampires and a Were?”

I giggled while Pam decided to add to the mystique of our little family. “In fact sometimes, we have a hard time keeping up with her.”

Eric chuckled his argument. “Speak for yourself, Pamela.” We all laughed again while the different scenarios danced through the kings’ heads.

Russell was the last one to finish picturing our bedroom in full tilt. When he was done with that he waived his hand to cue Eric to start the movie over again and said: “If you can handle all that then you really have been wasting time as a sheriff.” And winked at me.

Eric started the movie again and we all started laughing and having a great time immediately. We were only a few minutes into the movie when we paused it to welcome home the kids with Jason and Angela. We all kissed the kids goodnight and Jason and Angela joined us for the movie. Angela handed a true blood to me and I ‘opened’ it for her. Russell made Eric pause it again.

Before Russell had the chance to ask Eric explained. “Your true bloods were all the perfect temperature and type right? Also, real, not synthetic. They were all straight out of the fridge O+s. Sookie can ‘brew’ a perfect real AB- from that metallic crap with a simple touch. Any questions?”

They all shook their heads and Eric started the movie again. We all laughed and enjoyed the movie. It had been a while since I had seen it and oddly enough I had found myself identifying with the demons on a much deeper level than before when it came to humans but mostly I just laughed. The visiting kings all decided that they were new Kevin Smith fans and passed an edict (No shit, Russell’s word, not mine) that we’d watch another Kevin Smith movie tomorrow night when we were done with our ‘surprise’.

**

In order to keep up the charade of a happy foursome we decided to sleep together tonight and excused ourselves because we had a trying day tomorrow. Stan, Angela and Jason stayed put to watch another movie as the couples disappeared upstairs.

When we got to our bedroom Eric sent: “Sookie and I will bathe, you two enjoy the bed.” Then he reached into his dresser and threw Alcide a pair of pajama pants and grabbed a pair for himself.

When we got into the bathroom he was smiling ear to ear. I turned on the water and stripped unceremoniously and climbed into the tub as did Eric. “You seem pretty happy about something Mr. Northman.”

“Of course I am, I have the most marvelous woman in the world at my side and the envy of every man that meets her. Why wouldn’t I be happy?”

“I take it then that things went well with business.”

“Thanks to you, they went very smoothly, but it turns out that business was better than I had hoped before the takeover so this transition will be easier than I had anticipated.”

I turned around and gave him a congratulatory kiss. “Good. I’m happy for you. I know you didn’t want this so I’m glad that it didn’t turn out to be a BOHICA situation.”

Then I had to define BOHICA and he laughed so loud that Alcide said from the bed “if you can’t be quiet find something to put in your mouth” which made us both laugh. Eric was in great spirits and I was so tired I was punchy but we decided to speak in very hushed tones anyway.

We snuggled in the tub for a while before Eric got serious. “Lover, do you know what you mean to me? What I would do without you?”

“I know what you mean to me and what I would do without you and that floors me every time I think about it so I have an idea.”

“Are you happy with our arrangement? The four of us living together? All of the company and politics and business. I can’t promise to stop it but I can make sure that it doesn’t happen too often.”

“I’m ecstatic. I have never felt so loved and happy and social. I am worried that I might not be giving you all the attention you deserve so you have to promise to tell me if you feel neglected. But really, it’s the 7 of us and we’ll be together for a very long time.”

“How do you feel about inviting your brother to stay here for a while? The kids really enjoy him, you two seem to be getting along well and he seems very fragile.”

“If you want to. I haven’t minded having him here. He seems to be wrapping his head around my life better than he has in the past and he does get along well.”

“I feel badly for him Sookie. I know what he’s going through. I lost two wives in my life. The first died during child birth and less than a year later the second died of sickness while with child. I know you have little patience for Jason but I feel sympathy for him, and this will change his life for the better. He will finally grow up.”

“I had no idea. Eric, I’m sorry. I hate that you had to go through that.”

“It led me to you. I just had to be patient.”

“What do you mean?”

“When I lived, how I lived, we didn’t marry for love. My mother was my father’s 4th wife and I was the oldest of only 3 living children, the only one from my mother. She took her own life after she lost 3 more children in childbirth. My wives were chosen by my father. They were both from large families, suggesting that they would provide offspring easily. They were handsome enough but they were the marrying kind, taught that sex was a duty. The men of my tribe had their wives for political and propagatory reasons and then they had mistresses who existed for enjoyment. I had great esteem for both of my wives but not real love, not what I have for you. Fatherhood on the other hand was a great source of pride. In my time the mother’s role was to care for a child and tend to its needs and the father, when he was home, was blessed with the gift of spoiling the child. Mothers were quite jealous of their children, some to the point of madness, being in loveless marriages and being considered by her children a servant.  I was at sea when my second wife died. I didn’t know she was with child until weeks later when I returned and my father was waiting for me at my home to help me with her rights. I was angry at everything. Not at losing my wives, it was the loss of the children that brought me to my knees. When my father sent me to court for a new wife, you call it playing hookie, I would go to the beach and stare at the tide instead. I didn’t want to go through it anymore. I decided that I would bed as many mistresses as I could until one of them would produce a live child and only then would I marry again. This went on for a couple of years, I had heard that a couple of them had died with child or during birth and I was convinced that I was cursed. My father was unrelenting, insistent that I remarry. Finally, I told him to choose whatever wife he saw fit and I would marry her as soon as I returned from my next voyage… I let my ship sail from Holland without me and started my new life…

…I was dining one evening when a young woman sat down at my table uninvited. I asked her to leave but she laughed at me. She was insipient and rude so I flipped the table over as I left. I was quite happy to be living as a monk. She approached me a while later the same way and told me that she could not die, that she could not become with child and that she had been watching me long enough to know that I wanted a companion but not the trappings of a marriage. She and I spent several evenings together. On occasion, her ‘brother’ would join us while we walked the waterfront and eventually I came to understand what she was. She told me that she didn’t care for humanity, the romance and children. She told me that if I were to join her I would have great apathy for all things human. I begged her to turn me, I had to forget, to stop caring or it would have driven me mad. That is when Sophie-Anne became my maker.” I gasped. I couldn’t believe it, but it did make perfect sense on a lot of levels.

“Andre was her age, only about a hundred years old at the time and even then he acted as though he had control over me. We moved often, every decade or so from one port to another until we all came to the new world together when Virginia was still figuring out tobacco. Once we were here I had pretty much the same job for her over the last few centuries. I didn’t live with her but I held a job that was useful to her, keeping our relationship secret from other vampires as a stratagem hoping that if a plan against her were afoot, I might be privy to it and it worked on many occasions. She had sent me back to England on errands when I found Pam and asked for a vacation of sorts so that I may tend to my new child. I turned her out of loneliness and I knew when I saw her sneaking out of her house that she was brazen enough to be with me. She was adventurous and sexy and witty and charming and we have been quite the pair for many ages. We are so close, in fact, that she knew of my feelings for you before I did. Sometimes I have regretted turning her, especially now when I see her with the kids, knowing what I took from her but she has been my lover and my sister and my friend and I have never told her who my maker is. You are the only person, alive or otherwise, that I have told. But that is the line I walked to get to you and somehow it all seems worth it.”

Ok my mind was racing, all of that explained why he treated me like I was so breakable, why he was so angry about Bill being sent to do a job he was capable of, that is why Andre let him get away with pirating my blood bond, that is why he shut the bond down after the takeover, why he instantly doted over 2 strange children, why he immediately stepped in to help Jason. I was speechless I didn’t know what to say. I knew that in my short life I had some rough rows to hoe and by comparison, it was nothing.

I found myself staring at him, my face soaked with tears that had been falling since he first mentioned his mother. I felt a commiseration with him, a very deep sympathy for what he had gone through and anger for the long road he had to walk before he found what he called happiness. When I met him he was cold and hard. He was nothing more than the shields he had started carrying centuries ago while fairness hid from him like a trickster.

“Lover, you are angry with me?” He looked completely baffled.

“Not with you Eric. With the pills you’ve had to swallow.” I sniffed and snuggled back onto his lap.

“Don’t be. The life I have lived has put me in your arms. Lover, I wouldn’t have it any other way.” He placed a finger under my chin and lifted my face to his to kiss me. He put his arms around me and held me to him and quietly made love to me over while we bathed and then while we showered. We toweled each other off and he put on his pajama pants and I just went au natural we went to our bed and climbed in. Pam and I in the middle and our guys as bookends on the king sized bed.

**

As we climbed in Pam joked. “It’s about damned time. We thought we’d have to send in a dive team.” That got a chuckle out of all of us.

“Eric, do you want to go to the funeral tomorrow?”

“Do you think it will cause a fracas?”

“You won’t be the reason for the drama tomorrow.”

“Then I am going. I have a feeling that your brother will need as many friends there tomorrow as he can get.”

“Yes he will. Alcide, are you going to go?”

“Yeah, Jason and I talked about it already.”

After a long pause, Pam was annoyed. “Why am I not invited?”

Eric fielded the question. It was only fair since he hadn’t told her about his condition yet. “We’re sorry. Pamela, would you like to go to a funeral at 10am tomorrow?”

“Eric, how are you going?”

“Apparently I am cured of the nighttime condition. I have been awake for the last 2 days and today I played in the yard with the children.”

“May I speak freely?”

“You’re naked in my bed, you might as well.” I couldn’t help but giggle at his flippancy.

“You lucky mother fucker! If I wasn’t so happy for you I’d be jealous enough stake you!” She threw herself across me and congratulated him with a big ‘mazel tov’ kiss and a pat on his chest. He hugged her back. She asked him a few questions and gave me a kiss because she was just as sure as Eric was that I was responsible.

Eric decided to continue the meeting of the round table. “I have a girl coming on Thursday night to meet us all. The tattoo guy… John. His niece just finished college for web design and needs a little reliable income while she builds her client list. She has babysitting experience and worked in the faculty daycare in her work study program. John says she’s not a Were but knows about Supes. Her name is Danielle…Channing. I can salary her and then she can be employed as needed”

“Sounds good but I need sleep, stop talking. Good night John-boy!”

Alcide answered, “Good night Mary Ellen.”

Pam added, “Good night Jim-Bob.”

I was really amazed when Eric finished it off. “Good night Elizabeth.”

I giggled myself to sleep thinking about how crazy an outsider would think I was to call this happiness, but I do. In my internal word of the day calendar I saved a mental snapshot of that moment with the word contentment. Tonight in this bed we had discussed a funeral, a babysitter and preformed our own homage to one of television’s most famous happy families and the day melted away into the laughter.

2 thoughts on “Chapter 25

  1. Kristie Yamber says:

    they all work well together. I still feel sorry for Goose he is so ashamed of himself. my best Kristie

  2. loveallsvmtb says:

    I love the dirty shirts. Poor jim. i laughed at the fact Sookie was the only one dressed up. thanks

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