Storm Before The Calm
Wednesday, January 13th…
I couldn’t roll over to check the time so I rolled Alcide’s wrist over and it was 4:45.
He grumbled. “You need a watch.”
I joked back. “Why? I already have yours.” I tried to scoot towards the foot of the bed and I was caught by three arms. I giggled at them. “I’ll come back. I have to muster the security guards.”
They finally let me go and I cured hangovers one at a time and went right back to bed where I stayed wrapped in three pairs of arms until my stomach growled and they finally let me up around 8. Alcide came down with me and I started making breakfast. But things felt weird.
“Alcide, you need to go get a shower. This feels bizarre.” He laughed at me but he did just that and I jumped in the shower downstairs and dressed out of the dryer before getting back to cooking. When Alcide came around the corner he was wearing nothing but his jeans and he had his shirt in his hands so I smiled at him. “All is right with the world.” I handed him his coffee and set his plate at his spot on the counter.
“Yes it is.” He wrapped his arms around me and lifted me up. “I didn’t get the chance to say anything last night. Even if you’re freaking out, I’m really happy for you, Shug.”
When Alcide pulled away from the hug, he rolled his eyes. I was about to ask him what was wrong when he grumbled towards the door to invite Tobin in. At least he didn’t growl. That was progress.
“What can I do for you Tobin?”
He cleared his throat again and if he had a tail (all the time) it would have been between his legs. “Ma’am, the breakfast shift is over, everyone has eaten. I was wondering what’s on the to-do list for the day?”
“Well, have Manny and Curtis restock the towels, snacks and drinks for the buses. Lunch will need to be picked up at Cheap Seats and kegs should be swapped out. You’re off the hook for dinner though; the BBQ place will be here to set up at about 1. You’re playing baseball tonight, right.”
He smiled at me. “Today sounds easy enough. Yes, ma’am. I love baseball. I played in high school, 1st base.”
“Perfect! You know, Angela played 3rd and my brother is a hell of an outfielder.”
“What position do you play?”
He sucked in a deep breath and made a face that looked like he smelled poo. “What?”
“Ma’am, not for nothing, I saw the other team warming up. His fast ball is over 100mph.”
“Oh, yee of little faith. I should warm up after my errands to see how much heat I still have.”
Tobin, turned his attention to Alcide. “Sir, what position do you play?”
Alcide smiled at him. “Catcher, but I think I’ll sit out to day, let the Vampire have their fun.”
“Are you sure? Believe it or not, Dozer says he’s short stop.”
“I’ll think about it.”
I made Tobin a cup of coffee and we made small talk while I brushed Alcide’s hair and fixed the kids’ plates. Jason came downstairs and enjoyed his French toast and sausage with the usual fervor. When Eric came down and kissed me good morning Tobin excused himself. I guess he reached his awkwardness threshold.
As soon as he was through the door I looked over to Alcide. “How much do I owe you?” I had asked him to be nice to the boy. I guess I’d owe him for his amiability.
He chuckled wickedly. “I’ll have to assign a value to the job and get back to you.”
Eric ignored our exchange. “What are we doing today, lover?”
“Well, I need to go by the sporting goods store for more gloves and since Vampires are playing tonight, balls. I need to check in on Fangtasia. I need to go to the grocery store and I need to go to Bon Tempe.”
“Why are we going to Bon Tempe?”
“To take Tara her deed and to take the deed to Bill’s house to Mrs. Fortenberry.”
“Can we eat lunch at Merlotte’s?”
I slapped him on his arm, but I was laughing. “Eric Northman! That’s antagonistic, even for you!”
Jason laughed. “Is there room in the truck for me? I gotta see this.”
Alcide agreed. “I’m gonna go put my bells on.”
“You guys are mean! You know he’s going to water his shoes, at the very least, if Eric walks in.”
Eric smiled his devious shit eating grin. “We’ll have to take pictures. Pam will be very disappointed with missing the trip. She’s going to work so that she can spend the evening at home.” I rolled my eyes but gave up the fight. I knew that my outfit wouldn’t help. I was wearing my black dress boots and black popular jeans with the turquoise tank top and under things with my Daddy’s belt buckle.
While everyone was moving and getting ready I called Red Ditch and confirmed that they got my message. They had and they’d sent Remy’s ashes to me only yesterday.
I had just shoved my phone down into my purse when it rang. Eric and Alcide were there with me waiting for Jason and the kids to be done with getting ready.
“I’m trying to reach Mrs. Northman.” I liked the way that sounded.
“Sookie. How can I help you?”
“I’ve been employed to schedule your visit to the Magic Kingdom.” Alcide crossed the room with a interested look on his face.
“I’m not sure what you mean. We don’t have a trip planned.”
“I was told to provide you every service and luxury for you and your family as a belated baby shower gift from Raynoldo DePuis.” I laughed into the phone and Eric gave me huge eyes.
When I finally got myself together I got down to business. “Early April. From the 7th to the 15th will be fine.”
“Ma’am, I’ve been told that 10 days would be a minimum.”
“I’ll tell our generous benefactor that it was my doing, dear. We all have jobs to get back to.” 2 states, a pack, a counsel and a bar don’t run themselves.
“Yes Ma’am. Could I have the party information?”
“I’ll need to speak with someone about birthday parties for the 8th and 12th. We’ll also like a late tee time for one day and a spa evening on another day”
“Yes ma’am, we’ll make sure of that. I’ll be sending you an itinerary today so that you can make decisions on your particulars.”
When I hung up the guys were standing, no, looming over me. “What?”
The bond was filled with fear. “You told Florida already?”
“Eric, honey, she said ‘belated’. It was a joke because of Manen and Hunter. I haven’t told anyone.” They relaxed immediately.
Alcide was curious. “So who’s going?” He was as excited as the kids would be and was making no attempt to hide it.
“The four of us, Febes, Azo and Dozer, Jason and Janice, Hunter, Manen and Tommy, Angela, our clerks and my PA.”
Alcide nodded and Eric’s eyes lit up because he caught the PA part of the list. “Lover, what made you change your mind?
“Last night… I promised you that I would get one if I got overwhelmed. Well right now, getting to that point isn’t a good idea. N’est-ce pas?”
Eric smiled from ear to ear, the bond filled with relief and he hugged me. “How do you want to handle the search?”
I stared at Alcide while I gave the job description. “I have someone in mind. Someone who has knowledge of the family; how we are, how we do things. Someone with knowledge of the Fangtasia project and someone who can help hold down the fort when Alcide and I travel making sure that there are groceries and whatnot.”
Alcide’s eyes were squinting into a scowl. “No. Come on! Him?”
Eric laughed. “Who?”
Alcide spat out the name. “Tobin!”
Eric let go of me to let Alcide and me fight it out. He liked the kid so he was fine with the idea.
“Alcide, sweetie…” I looked up at him and batted my eyelashes at him.
“Don’t do that. Don’t try to soften me up. He irks me and you know it.”
I almost sang my plea. “He only irks you because you’re posturing. He’s been on point running that camp this week. He was the one that helped us with Angela’s surprise because he thought outside the box. He’ll do a very good job and he needs the money for school. Every time I set him loose, instead of going and playing like the others, he goes back to his bus and studies. He’s a good kid.”
Alcide shot a look over to Eric. Eric shrugged. He knew I’d go from 0 to bitch with skid marks if they ganged up on me. Even though he thought Tobin was a good choice, he was a wise enough man to stay out of it.
“Did you know he got a hard on dancing with her at the zoo, twice?”
Eric laughed as he held out a true blood to me. I touched it as he answered the question. “Who hasn’t?”
I leaned against Alcide and pouted my lip out when I looked up at him and he rolled his eyes. “Fine, but the fucker doesn’t live in.”
I craned up and kissed his cheek. I was thanking him as Eric buzzed Bobby in.
Bobby’s business was for me so I got up and he handed me the envelopes from Mr. Cataliades. I took them to the bar and started going through everything while Eric started the conversation about Tobin. After he left Eric and Alcide were curious about the phone book sized stack of papers I was looking through.
“Lover, is this regarding the construction?”
I smiled at him, shaking my head. I was pretty proud of myself so I was too excited to explain.
“Well, it occurred to me that I would get spanked next April with inheritance taxes. I looked things over and figured out that based on how much Bill left me, what I would need to donate to ease the beating. Bill and Lorena owned apartment complexes all over so in the 9 major cities they owned them, I donated them to the local battered women’s shelters for transitional housing. It’s the gift that keeps giving because they’ll be a write off every year because they’ll keep regular tenants and consider part of the rent paid my donation as well. Lorena owned a complex in Louisville so I pulled Carol’s resume from a website so that she can be hired as the property manager. They’ll get a free apartment and a paycheck and won’t have full moons to worry about with the aunt and uncle. Since she took such good care of Manen and all… I had Bobby buy a bus for Bon Tempe High for the sports department and donated the money for new uniforms and computers, computers for the elementary and middle school too. I still need to find a few more worthy charities. Oh, and I ordered headstones.”
Eric smiled at me proudly. “That was sharp. I’m sure you’ll find a way to donate the rest by year’s end… Crystal’s headstone?”
I shook my head. “Calvin took care of it already. They bury their own. I’m having a new one made for Bill including both death dates since he’s the ‘civil war hero’ who owned the home. It’d be kind of disgraceful for it to look uncared for since his family home will be a DGD post. His old one is cracked. I only thought of it taking care of Remy’s. His ashes are on the way from Red Ditch. So I’m having one made for him and one for Hadley, for Hunter.”
Eric smirked in my direction. “Lover, isn’t that a little far from common etiquette? To pay for the headstone of a person you helped end?”
I blew a raspberry at him and Alcide and I spent the rest of the time we waited for Jason and the kids explaining what the ‘big deal’ was about Disney.
We only spent a few minutes at Fangtasia. The job was progressing nicely. This time next week, the Designers would be able to get in there and get to work. We picked up dry cleaning and then went out to Bon Tempe.
When all of us walked into Tara’s Togs I thought she would shit and fall back in it.
She ran up to me, arms out for a big hug and squealed. She hugged my neck like it was a lifeline. “Girl! Where have you been? I’ve turned over ugly rocks looking for you. Sam said you quit!”
“Well, I’m living in Shreveport with Eric, I’m working for Fangtasia and I’m getting married.”
“No way! Really? Jason ok with that?”
I laughed a little at the look Jason gave the back of her head. Even he recognized it was a silly question to ask since he was out running errands with us. “Jason’s been spending a lot of time out there with us.” I introduced her to the kids while Eric and Alcide looked through the racks and then I watched them go over to each other to compare notes. Manen and Hunter went and helped Daddy and Far shop while Jason looked bored. Eventually he took Hunter next door to get a haircut while we did our thing.
“Tara, I came out here on business. Have you heard about Bill?”
“Yeah, Sook. I’m real sorry to hear about that.” I shook my head trying to seem more solemn than dismissive.
“I’m fine, really. He knew you were my friend and his wishes were for you to have the property.” Eric silently called me a liar as I handed her the envelope with the deed and leases in it. She was crying before she was done ripping it open.
“You’ve got to be kidding! But why? Why didn’t he leave it to you?”
“Because he left me other things.”
She grabbed my neck again. I saw my guys smile at me over the racks with full arms.
By the time we were done catching up, Tara was a few thousand dollars richer in the till as well as her portfolio.
It was nearly 1o’clock when we walked into Merlotte’s. Jason and I were the first ones through the door. Arlene spotted us and shot a nasty look my way.
Terry saw me through the pass and came out from the kitchen to deliver a big hug and tell me that he missed me. “You quitting really lit the fuse on Sam’s tampon.” I didn’t expect to have missed him, but I got a little misty when he said he needed to get back to the kitchen.
Alcide and Eric hung back at the truck with the kids. I knew they wanted to make an entrance. Drama queens.
Arlene had gone to the back to fetch Sam as soon as we were ‘distracted’ by Terry. Alcide walked in first, carrying Hunter. He spotted Sam and leaned over to give me a more than friendly kiss. Sam’s eyes got huge and we started to pull 2 tables together in Holly’s section. Sam was still burning a hole in the back of my head and almost didn’t notice that Eric came in holding Manen. He walked over to me and gave me, more or less, the same kiss Alcide did. Before I had the chance to sit down, Holly came over to me and hugged me. We spent a few minutes catching up and then she took our order.
I saw Maxine and the mayor enjoying their normal Wednesday lunch and excused myself to go tend to business.
“Mrs. Fortenberry, Mayor Norris, I need to discuss the DGD with you.”
Mayor Norris waived his hand and offered me a seat. “Sweetheart, you look wonderful. How have you been getting on? I heard you’ve moved to Shreveport.”
“Thank you, sir. I feel wonderful. I did move to Shreveport. I’m very happy there.”
“How has your friend Mr. Compton been?”
“Actually, he’s why I have DGD business to discuss. Unfortunately, Bill met his final end last week. Because of our relationship he left me as beneficiary and executor of his estate.” I handed the file to Maxine. “Out of respect for Gran, and how special the DGD was to her.” She opened the file and looked through it. Her jaw was open when she all but tossed it at the mayor and leapt up to give me a bear hug and sprang forth with my praise.
It took her a while to settle down enough to set me loose and once we were sitting down again, I got to business. “Now the endowment included should be enough to restore the Compton home. Bill already had a lot of work done. The dining room should be plenty big enough for lectures, there is a library and the parlor and study should make a fine showcase. If you find that you need more help, just get in touch with me and I will take care of whatever I can. Gran’s memorabilia will go to the museum as well. Plus, I’ll keep an eye out for more Vampire that served while I’m at it. I have a few favors stored up.” I gave them a wink and they both smiled at me. “You two go on and look through that, my family is here eating lunch. When you get that signed, I’ll be with them.”
Sam was still watching me as I went back to my table and sat between my Were and my Vampire. I felt him come up behind me. “Hey Sam. I’d like you meet Manen and Hunter. Guys, this is Sam Merlotte. He was my boss when I worked here.”
Hunter must have been channeling Eric. “This place is a dump.” Alcide reached around and clamped his hand around the small yet offending mouth while trying to stifle his own laughter.
Manen was misbehaving too but she was being more quiet. “Far, why a collie?” She said collie like a vegetarian would say porterhouse.
I could hear Sam’s head snap to look at her. Eric quietly shushed her while putting ketchup on her fries. “Shhh. I don’t know min kara, why do you choose the osprey? Be nice or Momma will be cross with us.” I stuck my tongue out at them and they both laughed. Eric turned his attention to Sam. “How have you been Merlotte?”
“I’ve been better; it’s hard to find a waitress as good as Sookie. I miss having her around here, a lot of people do.”
Hunter was being bad again. “Why you don’t just hire 3 Arlenes then?”
It was hard to get the reins on my internal amusement but once I had, the look on my face was all Hunter needed. “Sir, I’m sorry I gave you sass.”
Sam was fuming when he had gotten there, he wasn’t any happier now. “Sookie, can I talk to you in my office?”
“No, they’d hear you anyway and you know it. Have a seat. What’s on your mind, Sam?” I still hadn’t looked back at him.
He surrendered and took the seat between Jason and Manen. “Sookie, can you please explain what’s going on? Where did these kids come from? How is the vampire out during the day? What’s with Herveaux?”
I tried fighting my smile but gave up. “The kids are ours. The vampire is out during the day because he’s old enough to make his own decisions.” The whole table cracked up at the jibe. “Anything else? My Burger Lafayette is getting cold.”
“Sookie, fuck your burger.” I had to put my hands on their knees under the table to keep Eric and Alcide from starting a scene.
“You watch your language around my kids, Sam.”
“What are you doing with your life? Where are you working? Do you even have time to work with them taking turns?” Taking turns? Jerk.
“You had the chance to be polite Sam. Let us eat our lunch so we can get out of here.”
“Sookie, I have the right to feel jilted. I’m an alright guy and we almost gave it a shot until they turned up.”
Alcide sent: “Ever hear of shit or get off the pot? He knew you for what, 3 years?” I laughed into my tea and Sam looked confused.
Eric chimed in: “Alcide is right Lover, it only took a moment for me to want to be with you. If it took him 3 years to ask you out, how long do you think the engagement would have been?” I laughed again and Sam had no idea what was going on because the kids were giggling too.
“You two behave. Or else.”
“What was that?”
“My telepathy. Seriously Sam, what do you want from me? Do you want me to drop everything and run to you? We won’t work. I am with Eric and Pam and Alcide. We have a very happy nest. You and I have only shared a few kisses and just because we kiss well, doesn’t mean that we would be any good together. All I can offer you is friendship. You used to be my friend. Do we have a chance at that anymore? Do you want to just cut bait?.”
“Are you serious? Are you really with all of them?”
“Yes, I am. I’ve been keeping myself busy. How have you been?”
He looked like a deer in headlights. “Look at you. You’ve lost weight, you’ve gotten a piercing, you’ve gotten a bullseye and you’re dressing like a trick. Sookie, what have they pulled you into?”
I stared him down because I was actively holding Eric and Alcide in their seats and I was worried that Jason would be rash and go after him. “I’ve actually gained 15 pounds because I’ve been working out, but I’ve gone down a size; thanks for noticing. My belly button isn’t the only piercing, the ‘bullseye’ was my idea and I do NOT dress like a ‘trick’, I dress like someone who is finally over her body image issues.”
“Chere, they are using you.” Manen kicked him under the table and when he glared at her she hissed and the three adult men at the table snorted.
“OK, Mr. Insight, I’ll bite. What are they using me for?”
“For your… stuff and you know it.”
“Oh, Sam… I know a lot of things and you’re wrong about that. I haven’t worked for them in months.”
“If I were talking about the telepathy, I’d have used the word.”
I had noticed that half a dozen or so guys had stood up and started watching what was going on at the table. I smiled at each one as they did realizing that they were flashing their Were eyes at me to offer help. Eric and Alcide had taken notice too. Manen even waved at a couple of them and flashed her eyes back at them which they thought was cute.
“There’s a lot of holes in your theory, Sam.”
“Neither one of these guys have ever had Mars/Venus woes, for starters.” Eric immediately asked me to explain that later.
“Oh! That’s great! You’re going to defend them by starting with reminding me they have reputations as whores!” Sam jumped when Manen’s shoe crashed into his shin again. “Stop that!”
Jason, Alcide and Eric all growled at him for the way he barked at Manen.
“Ok, you think they’re just in it for the sex, but you’re conflicted. You’re disgusted with me for being with either of them since you think Vampires and Weres are monsters.” Manen and Hunter giggled since Alcide and Eric were 2 of the least frightening creatures on earth in their eyes. “You need to let it go.”
“I should have staked Bill Compton the second he walked in here since he’s to thank for dragging you in to all this shit.”
“Gran is responsible for my meeting Eric. She sent me to Fangtasia to try to find out who had killed Maudette and Dawn. Bill was just my tour guide on the crusade.” Jason looked at me with wide eyes and a humble grin. It almost felt like he was hugging me.
“And him?” Sam nastily jerked his hand in Alcide’s direction. “You can’t tell me that it wasn’t Bill’s fault you had to get wrapped up in Were shit to.”
“Not Bill, his maker. I was hired, not used, to find Bill’s work, not necessarily Bill. It just so happened that Eric was better at finding a tour guide for me than I was.”
“And then he dragged you into the politics with the Were war and the Packmaster nonsense.”
“Uh, I dragged him into the Were War, remember? And he turned to me for help because we are friends. I like to help my friends whenever I can. Which is more than I can say for you.” I looked down at the kids’ plates and motioned for them to hurry up and eat. I was doing just fine keeping my guys in their chairs but I was on the verge of launching myself over the tables at Sam to wring his neck.
“That’s not true! I’ve helped you out whenever I could.”
“Granted. You’ve helped me and had my back, but every time you did, you had it in your head that you hoped I’d ‘learn my lesson’. You wanted me to stop looking for trouble and settle down. I’ve got news for you; Trouble found me. I didn’t have to look for it. I didn’t need a lecture. When things got hairy, I went to Eric or Alcide because they would help me find a solution rather than ridicule me for keeping bad company.”
I looked over his shoulder at then men that apparently had my back, now numbering 9. Sam turned to see who I was smiling at. “Stand down guys. Thanks though.” They all nodded and replied with a ‘yes majesty’ before sitting.
“What the hell is that about? Why are they all looking at me like that?”
Alcide took the opportunity to clear his throat and explain. “Because, jerk off, they don’t appreciate the way you’re talking to their Queen.”
Eric wanted in on the fun. “Yes, Queen. She is the Supreme Mystical Judicial Regent in North America and in March when we wed will be the Vampire Queen of Louisiana and Arkansas. Even if you don’t like to run with a pack, you should at least talk to someone to get the news.”
Jason decided to take his turn. “Sam, you screwed up and didn’t take your chance. You lied to her for years about what you are. You hid your feelings for her. Hell, there was a time when I’d ‘a gone to bat for you, but now she’s got real friends and a real family and you ain’t got no claim on her. Man, take a hike.”
Sam got up and stormed off to the back leaving us in peace. Alcide and Eric both reached across the table and high 5ed Jason. Oh, brother. Like I needed more macho in my life, they were going to inflate the ego of an intellectual dwarf.
I cleared my throat and leaned over to Alcide. “I guess you haven’t gotten around to getting your expense cards back?”
He stopped chewing and looked like he expected me to hit him. “You knew?”
I gave him a look and heard Eric chuckling at my flank. “Does everyone think I’m an idiot? Yes, I knew. I can spot a Were a mile away. Merlotte’s might see a dozen per week that aren’t Hotshots or here because I know them. My first shift back from Jackson I must’ve seen 20. Oh, yeah and I’m a MIND READER.”
Eric was laughing at him.
“Northman? Would you like to tell me how dumb you think I am? Since you had vampire in my woods and Pam was babysitting me and leaving notes for me.” The smile melted from his face instantly.
I took a big sip from my tea and let them look back and forth between each other and me stewing in their ‘busted’ moment. “Y’all both expected me to whine and throw a hissy fit about it didn’t you?”
“Well, recalcitrant Sookie would have. No worries though. I know you worry because you love me.”
They relaxed when they realized I wasn’t angry about it and I finally started eating my food just before Holly came to check on us.
She was just about to go get our refills when a thought occurred to me. “Hey Holly, are you and Hoyt still looking for a place to move into together?”
She looked a little surprised that I asked. “Yeah, the only places we can really afford are kinda far out, so we put it off until summer so that Cody won’t have to switch schools during the year.”
I smiled at her. “Did you hear that I moved to Shreveport?”
She nodded, looking a little confused.
“Well how would you like an old 4 bedroom farmhouse with a brand new kitchen on several acres that’s convenient to work for both of you and in the same school district?’
“You’d rent me your house? How much?”
“The house is paid for so I don’t need the money but I don’t want to sell it. I need a caretaker to make sure the house and the grounds don’t get run down or grown over. So if you guys just tend to the house, we can call it even.”
She smiled from ear to ear. “Are you serious? Really?”
“Let me call Hoyt!” Jason whistled at her and tossed her his phone. He had already dialed the number for her and winked at me to let me know he approved. Holly paced the floor next to our table as she explained my offer and then handed the phone over to Jason and hovered over him while Hoyt made sure I was serious about it all. Then he handed it back to her laughing. She quickly got done with the call and before she even closed Jason’s phone she hugged me around the shoulders and thanked me over and over.
I giggled. “Don’t be too excited. When Maxine finds out that you’re moving in she’ll have Hoyt doing the yard work over at the Compton place. His house is going to be the local DGD Post.” Holly let a couple of tears escape as she thanked me several more times and I noticed my guys smiling at me.
Before she let me go, she whispered into my ear, “Did you have anything to do with that delivery of clothes from Macy’s for Arlene’s kids?”
I smiled at her. “Why would I do anything nice for her?”
Mayor Norris and Maxine came over so they could give me the contract and thanked me again.
Mrs. Fortenberry pinched my cheeks roughly and when I put my hands to my face (making sure my cheeks were still there) she spotted my ring and grabbed my hand, yanking it up to within an inch of her nose. “Miss Sookie Stackhouse! I declare! That is a mighty auspicious ring to be wearing on such an important finger, young lady.”
“That’s because it’s my engagement ring, Mrs. Fortenberry.”
“Engagement! To who?”
I giggled when the kids pointed at Eric so I introduced him.
“Well! Mr. Northman, where are you from? What do you do?”
I couldn’t tell by the look on his face if he was humoring her or me, but Alcide was getting a laugh out of how bossy she was unknowingly being with an ancient as giant vampire. “I’m from Sweden originally. I own a bar.” I giggled at the understatement.
She turned back to me with a smile on her face. “I swear, Sookie, I thought you were gonna be dating vampire to your grave.” When she went to pat Eric’s shoulder, her hand met cold, hard skin and she really jumped back about a foot.
He ran his fangs out slowly and let them peek out from behind his lips as he winked at her.
“But… but, it’s daytime.”
He nodded and Mr. Norris, ever the gentleman, put his hand out to shake Eric’s and introduce himself. Maxine was nearly having a heart attack as he shepherded her out the door to give us some peace.
As soon as we were alone again, Eric and Alcide laughed about the look on her face while I ate my burger quickly so that we could leave.
On the way out the door I was grabbed by the elbow. In front of a full restaurant Sam bravely (perhaps foolishly) snatched me from between my two mountainous men.
“I’m sorry Sam. The message you left led me to believe that we could be friends. Don’t worry, we won’t come back. I won’t bother you again.”
“Sookie, I’m in love with you.”
I looked down at his hand and took my elbow back from his grasp. “You’ll get over it.”
I’d felt fine about quitting, but for some reason this visit was really disappointing. I guess after knowing him for so long, I still wanted to be friends with him.
On the way home we decided to stop at the Super Walmart for ‘groceries’. Alcide’s idea. Big surprise. No sooner than we were there, Alcide and Jason nabbed the kids and took them to the toy department leaving Eric and I to shop for groceries.
Without pretense. “I am an ass. We shouldn’t have gone to Merlotte’s.”
“It’s not your fault. I needed to know where I stand with him anyway. You had no control over his answer.”
He took a hand out of his pocket and hugged his arm around me. “I wish I had. He may still come around. It’s only been a few days. He could lick his wounds.”
“I doubt it. He made it pretty clear that friendship wasn’t what he wanted.”
“I can’t blame him. I felt the same way.”
“The difference is that Sam pretended to be my friend while he was trying to work up the courage to make a move, which he didn’t do until and because Bill was in the picture. You on the other hand told me right from the start that you wanted to fuck me and then as you wanted more you told me that too. Honesty is apparently an aphrodisiac.”
“Not always. In my experience, most women want to be lied to in some degree. You’d rather have the truth hurt you than a lie to spare you. It’s one of the many things that stole me from myself.”
I looked up into his beautiful smile. “Eric, the fact that you recognize that is one of the many things that make me yours.”
“It didn’t seem like it in New Orleans when I told you about Bill.”
“You should have stuck around longer. I wanted you there. In fact, if Mr. Cataliades hadn’t been in such a hurry, I would have called you to come with me instead of Bill.”
“Would you really? Why?”
“Because, I was going to a strange town with strangers. I knew you would help me and I trusted you to keep me safe even if, at the time, I thought it was only because of the telepathy. And I missed you.”
“Even though you were Quinn’s?”
“Now, you and I both know I was never Quinn’s.” He chuckled on his way down to kiss me.
“That is true, Lover. Very true. So as it turns out, I have Gran to thank for our paths crossing.”
“Yes, I suppose we do.”
“I was wondering then why we don’t name one of the girls after her.”
I stopped the cart and looked up at him. “Because Jason always promised her that he would settle down and name his first baby girl after her.”
He frowned slightly. “You are being optimistic for him.”
I gave him a smirk that made his eyebrows rise.
“So it isn’t optimism, it’s prophetic wisdom. Who does he end up with?”
I started pushing the cart again.
He playfully tried to bully me. “I’m pretty good at information gathering.”
I laughed at him. “Ha! Like you’d torture the mother of your children.”
He smiled at the sound of that. He hugged me and lifted me up, playfully swinging my legs back and forth.
Once we finished grabbing the groceries we needed, we started looking for the family.
“Ally, Ally oxen free!”
I got no answer.
“Eric, he’s ignoring me.” He thought it was funny. We looked in the toy department, then sporting goods and found baseball equipment but no family.
“Alcide, please tell me where you are.” I could have just ‘found’ him, but it was annoying me that he was hiding.
“Why would I do that?”
“So that I don’t put the tickets for Bruins v Blackhawks for the 24th in the shredder.”
Eric laughed again. “Are you going to spoil his fun when we get there?”
“Eric, do you think I am a buzz kill?”
“Of course not.” He hunched over and hugged my waist and nibbled my neck. He raised his hands to my boobs and I spun around to be less obvious. When I did he grabbed my mouth with his and kissed me. We stood in the main aisle of Wal-Mart and kissed until a manager (with zits) told us to stop. Eric flashed fang at him.
The kid was not impressed. “Oh cute. Aren’t you a little old to be goth? Besides, the pasty skin and toy fangs might spook me if it was dark out and you didn’t look like a giant Ken doll.” He walked away like any annoyed teenager would and Eric and I nearly died laughing.
We were still laughing when we got over to electronics so I let Eric tell the story while I looked around and after they had loaded the second cart down with toys and games and movies and a computer. Yup, Alcide wanted to get the kids a computer for ‘educational’ programs. I guess I was supposed to ignore the Rollercoaster Tycoon and Diner Dash cases.
When we got home Tobin met us in the garage and helped us unload the truck, putting away groceries. “Ma’am, Bobby called and said that you needed to speak to me.”
“We sure did Tobin. We have been really happy with how you’ve handled things around here these past few days…” He looked shocked to hear it and I wondered why until I saw how nasty Bobby had been to him when the message was delivered. He’d spent a couple of hours worrying that he’d done something wrong.
“…It turns out that I’m going to be taking on a lot more projects. When Alcide and I go out of town on business every couple of weeks, I’ll need someone to make sure the construction stays on point, to help with shipping and receiving and my calendar type stuff, dry cleaning picked up and dropped off, pantry and fridge stocked so that whoever is tending to the kids can feed them. It would be pretty random. You’d basically be for errands. You could study in the quiet living room when you’re untasked. The big perk would the travel, whenever the family travels, so do you. Right now on the plate is Mardi Gras and New York City in February and Disney at the beginning of April. I know exams will be in May. We can work around that so that you’ll be here. We’ll cover your insurance, cell phone, wifi card and laptop. What do ya say?”
He had been kind of stoic looking. But in a flash, his face brightened. “When do I start?”
I smiled at him. “Today and tomorrow, you are still Bobby’s. Monday will be your first day for us.”
I waited for his reply which turned out to be a toothy grin and an excited nod.
“So… how did things go while we were out?”
“You got a couple of packages. One of them was a toddler bed and bedding. I had Manny set it up in the kids’ room. I told him he’d need the practice. The others were plain brown boxes, I had Febes take a sniff just to be safe and they’re on the desk in the office…” Begrudgingly, Alcide half smiled and patted Tobin’s shoulder as he walked behind him.
With a relieved smile on his face, Tobin continued, “…The BBQ guys got here early, just as I was leaving to get lunch, and by the time I got back the guys acted like they were starving from the smell of the grills. There weren’t any lunch leftovers but no one complained about still being hungry and Curtis and Manny went through and restocked the buses with drinks snacks and towels like you asked.”
I smiled at him. “Thanks Tobin. Nice job, as always. You can go take a breather if you want.”
He nodded and left.
I went to the bags and dug out a container of glove oil and one of the new gloves and went to work. Eric stood over me watching so I got up and got him one of the first baseman’s mitts (they have longer fingers) and showed him how. Alcide went out to the garage and got the container with the rest of the baseball equipment and put today’s purchases in too. He grabbed a catcher’s mitt and he got started. Jason must have smelled the oil and came in and without looking at what we were doing, grabbed a mitt and starting massaging oil into the one he claimed for his own.
“Hey sis, shouldn’t we do some for the, uh… sleepers?”
I smiled and nodded, surprised that he thought of them. He went and grabbed 5 more and started on them. “Since we ain’t got the time to ball n band ‘em, I’ll park the trucks on them if you want.”
He grabbed 4 of them and ran out and came back having done his duty. He saw Eric looking at him.
“Oh, um… when you get a new glove, it’s really stiff. Normally you put a baseball in it and keep it oiled and it loosens up. At least over night but we ain’t got but a couple hours, so if you roll it up and put a lot of weight on it then you done good enough for a new mitt. You’ll notice a difference as soon as you touch it.”
Eric thanked him with a manly ‘humph’.
“Good call on getting so many 1st basemen’s mitts. Some of those guys are huge, too big to be able to wear a normal one right.” I just smiled at him. Jason had his moments.
We had a knock on the back door. It was Jim.Dallas. I waived him in.
“What’s up, Goose?”
He cleared his throat. “Excuse me sirs, ma’am. Do you own a cat?”
Eric scowled a little. “No. Why?”
“Sir one of the guards found a dead one in the woods. It looked like something got to it. Throat’s missing.”
They all looked at me like I was nuttier than a squirrel turd.
“What? Bubba’s here! He must’ve gotten here just before sunrise and gone to ground. Goose, could you tell one of the local crew to come in for a minute, spread the word about a strange Vampire that looks like an Elvis impersonator on the property and have someone burn or bury ‘hello kitty’ please. The Jackson crew probably already knows about Bubba.”
I smiled at him and tossed him a mitt and a can of oil and he smiled back. “Yes ma’am.”
Just a minute later Dozer and Febes came in. They both smelled the air. Febes looked like she was in heaven. “Mmmm, I love that smell. The only thing better is…”
“…Gun powder.” She smiled at me and winked when I finished her sentence. “I like the smell of permanent markers too. Weird?”
“Not unless you rank them at the top of your list with honeysuckle and fresh cut grass like I do.”
I nodded at her. “Looks like were cut from the same peculiar cloth.” I motioned for them to come over and join in while we talked. “Ok guys. I assume you heard about the cat that was found. We have a very special friend who has made a surprise visit. His name is Bubba. He is a friendly. He looks like Elvis. He’s a little skittish and really hates being reminded of who he looks like. The cat is part of it. He prefers cats to humans, so the cat was his dinner from last night. I’ll need y’all to spread the word. If you see him, just smile and wave so he knows not to sneak around. Startling him is a verrrryyy BAAAAAADDDD idea.” Eric chuckled as he nodded.
They were paper white and slack jawed.
“Guys, you’ll get used to him, he pops in to check on me from time to time. He was my first bodyguard. He’s a real sweetheart when you get to know him. He’ll even hang his hat in the vampire dorm from time to time.” Febes and Dozer took a minute to let the information I gave them to settle in and set out to spread the word about Bubba.
As soon as the door closed behind them, Jason lost ‘it’. “Shit, has he ever sang for y’all?” I stared at my brother. I’d only said that he looked like Elvis. Not that he had been. I snooped through his head and realized that somehow, he’d made the connection.
Eric offered. “He has to be in the mood, but he’ll play baseball.”
I faked a chiding look. “He’ll have to play on the other team. It wouldn’t be fair for there to be 2 gravity defiant vampire on the same team.”
He growled at me playfully.
Jason took eight more gloves out to park on them. Then like he hadn’t left the room, “Speaking of music, y’all should think about getting a piano or something. The kids and me was watching Freaky Friday, the new one, and they could tell that the band wasn’t really playing on screen. Hunter even knew what some of the chords shoulda looked like.” If I had to guess, I’d say that he’d gotten the picture from Jason’s mind.
Eric looked at me, amazed. Yes, Jason was an anomaly. I couldn’t help but to snicker. “No shit. He’s like Pan.”
Alcide gave me a confused look and I laughed again. Pan had been one of the links he sent me when he was testing my ‘sponge’. “Greek god of hunting, pasture, spring, virility and music. That’s my brother.” Jason just looked at me in his confused way, as usual.
It was just the 4 of us in the room so I decided to address the Faerie power discussion. Deep breaths.
“Jason, did you ever have anything weird happen that you couldn’t explain?”
“You mean like your mind reading thing?”
“Sort of, or seeing something move or anything like that?” I could tell that this was going to be like pulling teeth.
“Well, sure. Don’t everybody?”
“Maybe, but not everybody is part Faerie.”
“Hey watch it, I ain’t a fairy.” Eric and Alcide rolled their eyes.
“I had no idea what anyone was talking about either but a year or so ago. A vampire tasted it in my blood when he was cleaning a wound. Then I met a Faerie cousin of ours, Claudine, the one that popped in on us last night. It turns out Daddy was part Fae. That’s why I could always read minds and why girls have never been able to keep their hands off of you.”
“Bullshit.” He looked at Alcide and Eric hoping that one of them would show signs that I was playing a joke on him. “There’s no way.”
“They’ve always kept an eye on us. Have you ever walked out into your yard and smelled something you couldn’t identify?”
“Yeah, but I…”
“Did it smell like this?” I released a light wave of the scent and Eric’s fangs ran out. Alcide got up and opened the back door.
“How’d you know?”
“Because brother, that’s what a full blooded Fae smells like. That’s what our great grandfather smells like. By the way, if you ever figure out how to change your scent, don’t smell like Fae around a vampire unless you want to be a snack.”
Alcide laughed. “It’s like putting out bon bons at a weight watchers meeting.”
Eric gave a nervous chuckle.
I explained about meeting Niall and what was going on with the civil war. I sugar coated why I was approached and he wasn’t and I went into the new powers and the damming and undamming with extra juice added. I pretty much told him about everything except the pregnancy, which we had plenty of time for.
“…They didn’t want me to tell you because your powers weren’t active, but now that I’ve had a huge surge, there’s no telling what you could do or get yourself into trouble doing. I’m sure that Niall, Claude and Claudine will be coming to see me as soon as they can and I’ll introduce y’all.” He sat dumb founded for a long while. He had run out of mitts to oil and had moved on to taping the bats.
“So my powers were what exactly?”
“They were passive. You’ve never come home from hunting or fishing empty handed, you’ve never had to work out but have always been really coordinated and agile and strong. You’ve been able to play every instrument you’ve picked up, and you’ve never gone to bed alone unless you wanted to. You never get sick, you healed faster than most Weres from your bites and a week of starvation, dehydration and exposure just like I’ve healed faster than I should from all of my ass beatings. But now, there’s no telling.”
“Ok. And you started off as a mind reader and now you can do what?”
“Well, that’s iffy because Eric and I are sharing powers now. But now I can glamour, control temperatures, move things with my mind, I’m holding Eric still right now because of the Fae scent, my telepathy is on steroids- I can have two sided conversations with people mentally even vampires when they want to, I can speak and understand any language, I’m getting the occasional vision- like future stuff. I was thinking that since my original power was mental and yours was physical, since my new powers are more of the mental, yours would be an extension of the physical. Maybe you’re freakishly strong? Waterbreathing, popping- which I’ve been meaning to try. There’s no way to know really until you try.
Alcide asked, “But you flew, right?”
I shook my head. “I lifted myself up like any other object. It would have taken more concentration and energy than I have to do what Eric does.”
I closed my eyes and focused on standing behind Jason and *pop* I was there. “Sweet!”
I could tell Eric was more relaxed now so I let him go. He was impressed with the popping.
“Eric, honey, what have you seen Fae and Dae do, powerwise?”
“I’ve seen them use force fields, walk through things, I wouldn’t try water-breathing. After all, your parents did drown. Niall is of the sky clan so I would give flying a shot. It is possible that because he is bitten and we are considering physical powers that there could be more shape shifting abilities like being able to prevent a change or control a full change.” I caught Alcide and Eric sharing a look.
Alcide offered to the conjecture. “If you can do a fire ball then it’s possible that he can burn things by touch.”
I noticed that while I talked he was trying to pop. Eric opened a drawer and handed Jason a wooden spoon. Even though I thought we’d see smoke come from his ears, sure enough it slowly scorched and eventually caught fire. He stood there holding the burning spoon with a smile full of amazement. So we all congratulated him and Eric grabbed a cookie sheet and held it up, telling Jason to try passing his hand through it. Jason bumped it a few times but eventually his hand was on the other side of it and he was doing jazz hands and talking about walking through walls. We played around like that for a while before Pam came home from Fangtasia.
We talked about work for a while before I announced that I was going to get changed to go outside to socialize.
The game tonight called for sneakers, I had picked a pair of the popular jeans (I might as well wear them now while I had the chance), my red leather belt with the Wonder Woman belt buckle, my bra was black lace and I cut the bottom off of my t-shirt. It was white with navy blue baseball shoulders. The back had a graphic of a slinky but the front said: “FUN FOR A GIRL OR A BOY”. Alcide had opted for a black t-shirt with very tight sleeves (yumm) that said in yellow letters: “DON’T BE A SEXIST… BITCHES HATE THAT”.
“You know, Pam will tease us all night, thanks to your shirt.”
I popped him on the butt as I walked by. “That’ll be an added bonus. The objective is for the mental image to distract the shit out of the other team’s hot blooded males.”
I went to the garage and grabbed a keg and put it over my shoulder, picked up a case of true bloods and headed out to the dining tent where the caterers were hard at work. It was only 5 minutes before dinner so I cooled and tapped the keg.
Alcide was watching me the whole time and the tent was starting to fill up when I heard Alcide kissing Pam ‘hello’. I laughed to myself when I realized that other than holding hands, the Weres hadn’t been party to the fun Pam and I have so I decided to play with that. I went over to them and reached from behind Pam to grab her breasts and started chewing on the side of her neck. A hush fell over the tent as her hand went to the back of my head before she turned around and Alcide and I switched tasks. His hands were cupped over her mounds and her butt pressed against his lap as he chewed her neck and I gave her a kiss hot enough to melt butter making her fangs run out and pierce my tongue. Anyone could smell the arousal in the tent.
Eric entered the tent, no doubt he felt from both Pam and I that we were having fun without him. He knew it was a game, “I’m feeling very left out.”
Pam looked at him with a sassy smirk. “Then get in here.”
He accepted the invitation by kissing Pam and I went to work on his neck while his hand wandered down to my butt and then between my legs to give me a caress where there was a sudden build up of heat and moisture. The four of us were tangled in a knot of heavy petting until we were interrupted.
“There you are, Miss Sookie! I looked high and low for you!” Eric rolled his eyes and we couldn’t help but remember the last time Bubba interrupted something steamy for us. I reluctantly broke up the tangle of sex and heat and went over to wrap my arms around my old friend.
“Hey Bubba! I missed you. Where’ve you been keeping yourself?”
“I been all over. I spent a few days in your woods waiting for you or Mr. Bill to come home but no one did so I went to Fangtasia last night and they told me to try here. I’m tickled that I found ya.”
I went over and grabbed a true blood for him. “Here ya go, I bet you’ll like it better than the other stuff. I learned a new trick.” He opened it and took a sip and his eyes lit up. I gave him a wink. “I thought you’d like that.” I turned my attention to Eric. “Honey do we have something for him to change into so that he can get cleaned up?” He nodded and led the way for Bubba to go get a shower as Russell, Bart and Stan entered the tent.
Russell looked around the tent and noticed that the Weres were all hiding the front of their pants. “Sookie Stackhouse! What have you done to the guards? They are all ghost white and the smell in here is ridiculously intense.”
I laughed a little. “I don’t think they saw anything they wouldn’t pay to see again.” I gave a theatrical bow and they busted out laughing.
Stan resorted to name calling. “You are conniving cut throat bitch aren’t you? How are we supposed to beat you if half our team is physically impaired?”
I smiled at him and gave his cheek a little kiss. “That’s kind of the idea, majesty.”
I told everyone to start making their plates.
We were all sitting down either eating or drinking a true blood. At one point early on Jason got up for beer and brought back one for me and Alcide too. I picked it up to take a sip and Alcide shot me a dirty look and growled.
“Don’t even think about it.”
“If I don’t drink it, he’ll know something is up so I turned it to near beer. K.” I stuck my tongue out at him and he smiled at me.
Eric leaned forward. “What is this about?”
“She shouldn’t drink now. It’s no good for them.”
“And she is drinking it anyway?”
“She changed it to non alcoholic.”
“I can drink some once in a while in the end to relax me if I need it, but early on, it messes with the development.”
Eric sat back thoughtfully and I leaned back in my chair and held his hand. “A lot has changed. People know more now than they did in my time.”
“Not that much. The big changes are that medicine has replaced superstition. Alcohol is bad in the beginning, ok once in a while in the end. The mom shouldn’t stay in bed the whole time and should be just as active as she wants to be unless there are other issues. Sex is good, it increases blood flow to the right places. The bulk of your education will come with caring for them afterwards. And no matter how much you read and research, the c-section is going to scare the shit out of both of you.”
Both of their heads snapped over to look at me petrified with fear. Alcide nearly choked. “What?”
“The c-section. I’m not a big girl and in spite of twins usually being small and early, they will be here as scheduled and full sized, over 7 pounds each. There isn’t going to be room for them to get into position. I won’t even go into labor. Dr. Ludwig is going to do a scheduled c-section in the hospital.”
Eric was rarely ever at a loss for words but I had just told him with all calmness that I would have to have a procedure that in his life meant the guaranteed the loss of the mother. He just stared at me and I could feel Alcide nearly jumping out of his skin on my other side so I stood up and took them each by the hand and left the tent towing them both to the garage. I hugged them both and then concentrated on Eric.
“Honey, Miertje was a long time ago and she didn’t heal like I do. We will be fine. You and Alcide and Pam will all be there.” Eric was still speechless in terror. Alcide looked a little stricken. “Alcide, sweetie, Tommy was a c-section and Janice is fine.”
“Janice almost died.” He nearly spat the response at me.
“Alcide. Janice almost died because of her blood pressure. That was the reason for the c-section.” He relaxed a little. To be honest, I wasn’t as worried about Alcide because he was more familiar with modern medicine. “Guys, I know y’all are worried because you’ve both seen some horrible shit go wrong during a pregnancy and now with Crystal fresh on the brain it’s understandable that you do some freaking out. Do you trust me?”
I didn’t have to wait long before they nodded.
“We are going to be very lucky. The pregnancy will not affect much of our lives at all until the very end. I will have cravings and that’s about it. You will not have the horrible mood swings to suffer because I won’t have them. My blood pressure and sugar will be right within normal range. I’ll even be jogging well into it. My libido won’t run hot and cold like most women and I’ll actually wear Eric out in bed because of the hormones. Everything will be fine.”
They spoke in harmony, which I found was half creepy, half adorable. “Promise.”
I smiled up at them. “I promise. You’ll both relax a lot in 6 weeks.”
Eric looked down at me. “What happens in six weeks?”
“That’s when you’ll be able to put your head to my stomach and hear their heartbeats.” That helped melt the tension. I could see it in their faces. “Now, come on. I need to eat so that I don’t lose the game from shitty pitching.” I took them both by the hand and started for the door.
Eric looked over my head at Alcide. “It’s going to kill me to be so patient. I can’t wait for the worrying to be over.”
Eric and Alcide were close on my heels and sat down with their shoulders and knees together so that I could sit on their collective lap. So I sat down and finished my now cold food without bothering to warm it up. Jealous that the boys had stolen me away for whatever reason, as soon as Jason took the kids out to play Pam came over to play with us. She pulled her leg up and straddled my lap, rubbing her legs down the inside of both guys’ thighs. I could smell both of our guys’ reactions. We stared at each other for a long moment. I had put one hand high on her thigh, the other on her waist. She was running her fingers through my hair until she grabbed a handful and yanked my head over to the side and started teasing my neck with her fangs. I exaggerated my gasp for the benefit of our audience and when she kissed me we moaned into one another’s mouths. It was doing just as much for Eric and Alcide as every other Were in the tent.
After quite a few minutes of making out Pam whispered to me. “Now they know that our shirts aren’t false advertising.” Her shirt was black had the Olympic rings on the back and the front read in rainbow lettering: “OLYMPIC MUFF DIVING TEAM” in much smaller letters underneath it said: “stand back and let the professionals work”. We laughed into each other’s necks and I gave her butt a ruthless spank and she dismounted.
Russell leaned against the table after eyeing us for a while. “You all are quite entertaining. I am afraid that I may have some men refuse to return to Jackson with me.” We all laughed but I knew that if anyone were to stay behind it would be because they liked being here because we were fun, not because they got to see a little girl on girl kissing.
Jason and the kids came back. “The field is ready when you are. I measured out the bases and I took a couple of cars out there to put the running lights on so there ain’t too much light, but enough for this crowd.” He poured all three of us another beer and sat down. He seemed very proud of himself so I made the announcement that the ball field was ready for warming up and I gave Jason full credit for having done it. I was wondering how it was that I managed to surround myself with such high maintenance men.
We sat and hung out for another hour or so. Eric and Alcide hadn’t gotten up since we came back to the table and even though they enjoyed the show they were still very concerned with everything that we had talked about.
I was wondering how to tell Jason about the Were genes in the family tree when Alcide took care of that for me.
“Hey Tray!” He jerked his head and Tray came over and sat in the vacant chair next to Jason.
“We were talking and it turns out that their mom’s maiden name was Rhys.”
Tray’s eyes lit up. “No shit! That explains a lot!”
Jason looked a little confused… “How’d that come up? I was thinking about them today when we was at Merlotte’s. The Stackhouses, well the Hales always kept to themselves, but Poppa Buck and Nanna Lil’s house was always full people and every weekend they had cookouts and played games just like this…” His voice trailed off and his eyes started to move erratically as his brain engaged. “Holy Shit! You saying that we got Were in us too?”
Alcide and Tray laughed. “Big brother, I just found out.”
Alcide explained the math to him. “…It seems that you and your sister are more supe than human.”
Tray pointed at me and laughed. “Being Buck’s grandkid explains why this one is such a bizwiz!” He laughed. “Buck never made a bad business move. And everyone who met him joined the pack.”
Jason tried to shrug it off. “At least she didn’t get Mom’s jealous genes or Nana Lil’s smell.” I looked at him waiting. I was only 7 when our parents died and 9 or10 when Nana died. “Well, Mom and Daddy used to get into awful fights because girls would fall all over themselves around him. Mom would blame Daddy and chew him a new one when they’d get home even if he ain’t did nothing. And Nana ALWAYS smelled like cookies, cake or something. I thought that she spent a lot of time in the kitchen but… Sook, you remember that summer we went to Grand Isle with them right after our folks died? I swear she smelled like that when we were in the gulf. That must have been a pack thing. There must have been 50 people there for your birthday party.”
I laughed wryly. “You mean the one where you pushed my face into my cake when I blew my candles out?”
“Hey, I paid for that right away… remember!”
I laughed but Alcide got my attention when he finished the story. “Some kid saw it happen and kicked his knees out from under him.”
Jason’s eyes got big because he was on the verge of figuring something out but his brain stopped short. But as I thought back, I realized that it had been Alcide who’d done the kicking.
“Besides, you and that girl you played with all week lost my flip flops using them as Barbie surfboards. What was her name again? Janet? Jamie?”
Alcide laughed. “Janie. She went by Janie when she was little.”
I hadn’t thought about that week in a long, long time so I laughed a little when I thought of how happy I was. I had always wondered why, with so many people around I didn’t have the chatter in my head that I usually did.
“Janie and I were fast friends. We sat on the beach for most of the week and built sand castles. Her brother even collected mermaid’s tears and shells for us to us as decorations.” I reached down and patted Alcide on the inside of his thigh and he grabbed my hand and held it.
When Jason announced that he was ready to ‘kick some ass’ we started our walk over to the ‘ball field’.
Shreveport fared much better than we had in the football game even though Bubba royally aggravated Pam and Eric by plucking their hits out of the sky with little effort. We won by 4 runs but it was probably the highest scoring game in baseball history thanks to the vampires and all the damn lost balls. We’d be finding them for months since we lost 22 of them.
Afterwards, I went over to the wood and I stacked wood in each of the fire places and Jason and I lit them in our own ways surprising everyone around. I sent the kids in for the junk food and they came out with the bags of marshmallows and graham crackers and chocolate. I had almost second guessed buying so much, thinking that the guards would think it was silly or childish but when I started emptying the bags onto the tables there was instant clamor about s’mores. I couldn’t help but laugh at how much a Were enjoys the simple things in life.
We all ate s’mores, ok most of us, and we settled in around the fires and talked. The kings and justices and staff and security; all of us sat around the campfire and shared stories without the pretense of rank. The kids crashed out and got carried inside and we stayed outside laughing and having fun for hours until it was time for the kings and their vampire crew to leave for the airport.
Eric and I helped load their things into the cars and then rode along with them. The ride wasn’t a long one but it certainly was quiet. The visiting kings were starting to be pulled to rest and Eric watched. By the time we got to the hangar they were nearly out so we helped them into their boxes on the plane and I kissed each king goodbye before closing the lid over their sleepy faces.
Eric and I held hands as we made our way back to the limo and as soon as I was on the seat, I was being pushed over and attacked by a very passionate Viking.
He started by yanking my shoes off and we didn’t stop until every stitch of our clothing was flung all over the interior. I straddled his lap and we went for a long time just enjoying long kisses and being close to each other… and alone. I let him make the first move and he reached between us and guided himself to my opening and as I lowered myself onto him he shuddered tossing his head back. I slowly rocked back and forth while he licked and nibbled at my breasts teasing them with his fangs. I leaned back, bracing myself against his knees and tightened down while I bucked and grinded until I could feel us getting closer and closer to our bliss.
I lurched forward and hugged my arms around his neck and bit him just under his ear and he turned loose a growl just before he buried his fangs into my shoulder and pulled from the wound like he had been desperate for my blood. When we came together there was another blast of light, one so powerful the driver had swerved onto the shoulder. He was still drawing from me while we laughed and once he pulled away we crashed our faces into one another and shared another long kiss before collecting our clothes. Once we were dressed again, I climbed back onto his lap and his strong arms wrapped around my waist and I snuggled into his chest.