A Horse Of A Different Color
Saturday, January 16th…
It was nearly 5 AM and I hadn’t slept very much at all in the last few days. Somehow, I was still going strong though. I was sure that I would have to either take a long run or a longer nap later but for now I was feeling good.
Eric layed in the bed and watched me go in to grab my clothes for later and by the time I came out of my closet his eyelids had gotten weighed down by sleepiness. I gave him a kiss good ‘night’ and quietly left my grinning Viking to rest. I had a feeling that I needed to make extra breakfast since I knew that I was going to be starving. I went downstairs and preset everything I needed to start baking breakfast pizzas once we were downstairs again and then I hit the brew button at the very last second on my way upstairs knowing that it would wake Alcide up if it were done earlier.
When I got to their room, I had to stifle a giggle. As per the usual, Alcide was uncovered and spread out like the Vitruvian Man. Poor Pam was along the side of the bed, nearly hanging off of it. I laid my clothes and robe across the settee and went over to her and crouched down. The moment I put my hand on hers, her eyes snapped open. I raised an eyebrow at her and she ran her fangs out. I leaned in and gave her a long kiss.
She whispered so quietly that I could barely hear with the help of Eric’s blood. “Does Eric approve?”
“He does, and he wants a little quid pro quo later too.” She smiled a little wider.
“That will be fun…” Her look became more serious. “Sookie…”
“Pam, I know. We talked. He’s promised not to hide it anymore.”
Her eyes widened in shock. I expected as much. “Are we ok? I didn’t want it to be a secret.”
“Pam, we are more than fine.” I leaned over to resume our kiss that quickly went from romantic to hot and heavy.
We spent a few minutes making out, pulling at hair and teasing each other’s necks and breasts before we ever gave Alcide a thought.
We had silently planned out our strategy and got into attack positions.
We mirrored each other. I was on one side of our Were and she was on the other, both of us on our knees. We started by nuzzling his neck, kissing and licking. I felt his brain engage and a second later his eyes flew open and head flew up from the pillow. Pam and I both looked up at him, we smiled and offered ‘good morning’ in unison. He laid there for a minute to get his wits about him and let us go about what we had set out to do.
Pam started kissing him and I settled into playing with his neck. His hands eventually made it into our hair to encourage us and we each put a hand around his length and began stroking, one cool hand and one very warm hand working together. Alcide moaned into my mouth when Pam and I swapped jobs and she settled into his neck. I could smell his excitement was growing faster than usual and threw the dam up. He gave me a look of relief and gratitude before Pam and I met in the middle and we shared a long 3 way kiss. When Pam sat up and lowered herself onto him, I thought he’d bite through his lip then she grabbed me by my hair and lifted my face to hers for a very fangy kiss, exciting him even more. We nicked my tongue and lips so many times that I felt my blood trickling down my chin. She started growling against our kiss when I put my hand to her center and started toying with her piercing. She locked down as she came the first time, causing Alcide to jerk and twitch. He sat up and rolled her onto her back next to me and grabbed my leg and pulled it out from under me laying me down. He pounced onto her, one of his hands went to my center and I twisted my body just enough to grab a mouthful of Pam’s breast while Alcide kissed her and then braced himself against the headboard to hover over me to give me my turn. Pam and I both found a release or two of our own before Alcide grabbed me by my neck and held Pam to him to rock back and make us all upright. The choke he gave me sent shivers up my spine.
Alcide and I were both breathless and Pam was riding a nearly constant wave of orgasm. We had been at it for nearly an hour and we had all had our fair share of sweat and blood. That room may very well, never smell the same again. Pam’s fingers were between my legs and Alcide’s hand was wrapped around my throat, when he leaned over to kiss me again, Pam sunk her fangs into his shoulder and I ‘reached’ into them and went after their special places and broke down the dam. We all growled and howled and grunted and groaned. Alcide actually yelled when he came and collapsed onto Pam and I in a heap. When we settled down, we snuggled together with me in the middle and by bed mates were pressed against me like they were afraid I’d leave. I reached up and put my hand over Alcide’s marking and healed it. He smiled at me.
“Full service Sookie.” I laid there and played with a curl of his hair while he had his long arm draped over my side and was caressing Pam’s back.
I couldn’t help but laugh. “You know damn good and well that wasn’t even close to ‘full’ service!”
Alcide laughed, but Pam didn’t know what I was talking about. “What do you consider ‘full service’?”
“I’ll give you a taste in a more open area… The scent could be a problem.”
“Do you bleed and sweat Fae during sex?”
I laughed and rolled over to face her, putting my butt against Alcide’s lap. I locked in on Pam’s stare. “Yes. Why?”
“Because that’s dangerous. He could kill you. Drain you. Break you.”
I giggled and hugged her. “I can hold him down, I can control his fangs, I can bleed more than he can take and I’m almost unbreakable.”
“What do you mean you can bleed more than he can take?”
“Just that. The other night, he had taken so much blood that he had to stop from being full and I never felt drained.”
She stared at me with wide eyes. “Sookie, you realize that he might not be able to turn you if he can’t drain you.”
“I know. I’m hoping to be able to figure that part out in the next few years. There has to be a way to drain me, if you help maybe? Unless that wonderful grandfather of mine decided to booby trap me so that I couldn’t be turned. For now, it’s moot. I have the life span of the Fae, maybe longer because of the other stuff.” She looked sad. “Pam, honey, don’t worry. The only thing that can end me is a beheading right now and that would end me- turned or not. We have a couple hundred years to worry about this. Besides, who knows if I’ll keep my powers when I go over. It’s better that I keep them for now and for next 4 years, we’re going to be neck deep in babies and y’all can’t make me a daywalker.” I gave her a kiss and took Alcide to the shower but Pam wanted to get some more rest.
Alcide had surprised me by grabbing a black Henley instead of his usual T-shirt to go with his jeans and boots. I was wearing a cute black backless halter with blue jeans and black dress boots with a sexy heel on them. My wide black belt had a big gold Celtic buckle on it.
Alcide followed me down to the kitchen; he was being quiet again. “Sweetie, what’s wrong?”
“You want to be turned?”
“Yes, I was planning on it until this extra stuff started making it look like it’s not possible, maybe even not necessary. It was going to be after the kids are grown, but now…” I went over to Alcide and put my arms around his chest and climbed onto his lap. “Don’t worry, Beb. You’ll have me as is with a pulse and a tan for at least another 20 years.”
He chuckled. “I just never thought that you’d want to. You had said before that you didn’t.” He hugged me close and was looking very serious. “We need to talk.”
“Sure sweetie, what’s up?”
“This morning… has there been a rule change?”
I waggled my eye brows at him. “Apparently.”
His mood lightened. “What are the new rules?”
I shrugged. “We’ll figure it out.” I put my finger to his mouth and tickled his bottom lip. “Did you have fun this morning?” I gave his lip a nibble. “We don’t have to do…” That’s as far I got into teasing him before he started our kiss. I slowly pulled away when it started to get heated. “Hmmm. Don’t be greedy.”
He chuckled. “Can I be greedy in Boston?”
I smiled at him as I slid from his lap. “You don’t have to wait that long. We’ll be bored while they’re in New Orleans.”
He took a hard swallow while the mental images raced through his head and stared at me until I watched him shake it off. “What are we up to today, Shug?”
I smiled at him. “We’re going to go to Fangtasia to pick up this ‘gift’. I need to hit the grocery store. When we get home we are just going to hang out with the kids and have a quiet day. It’s supposed to get into the 60s so I was thinking about doing a boil for dinner.”
He smiled at me while I started spreading the toppings on the breakfast pizzas. I poured our coffee and got the stuff to smooth out his hair. I was putting the elastic in his hair when I felt Jason and Janice wake up… In the den, together. Oh, this is going to go over well, like a finger in a soda can. When they walked in I poured them both an orange juice and tried to distract Alcide from the hole he had bitten in his tongue.
“Janice, have you found a lawyer?”
She smiled at me, thankful for the distraction. “Not yet. Do you know of a good one?”
I smiled at her. “My lawyer is a real devil.” Alcide couldn’t help but snicker, in spite of himself.
“I’ll call him today if you can find his number.”
I did her one better. I flashed an evil grin as I dialed his number.
“Sookie Dae! Long time no speak. Child, how are you doing?”
“I’m so happy right now, I sweat opals! How are you and Diantha doing?”
“Well, the new-new regime has been keeping me on my toes and Diantha’s grades are not up to par so she is quite grounded for now.”
“Aww, out of curiosity, how do you ground a semi daemon?” Janice blanched.
His boisterous laughter rolled through the receiver like fog over a lake. “My dear, just like you would any other teenager. You torture them. I disabled her internet and took away her car, cell phone and credit cards! She thinks me a monster!”
I laughed hard enough that it hurt my face. “It all sounds cruel and unusual to me.”
“If you think that’s bad, just wait. If her grades this week don’t improve, I’m sending her to school in sweat pants and plain white Ts next week.” We both laughed again. As color savy as that girl was, she would think she was dying to leave the house like that. “What can I do for you today, sweetheart?”
“Well, a good friend of mine needs to be relieved of some extra baggage. Do you deal with divorces?”
“It has been a while. Vampire usually end their unions in a more expedited fashion, but I can do it for you. Are they human? May I speak to her?”
“You certainly can. Hold for Janice Herveaux Phillips.”
“Ah, the Lunar Justice’s sister, I presume?”
“One in the same.” I held the phone out to Janice. “This is Mr. Cataliades. He’s the best.” She took the phone from me and started walking back to the den for some privacy.
“Thanks Shug. Can she afford him?”
“No problem. He’ll have the papers filed and signed within a week and Dell will never know what hit him. She won’t have to worry about the fees. He’s on retainer.” I gave him a wink.
I was taking the first two pizzas out of the oven and putting two more when Alcide came over behind me and hugged me around the waist.
I still had the oven mitts on my hands when he turned me around. “What is all this about?”
He buried his face in my neck. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome sweetie. I told you we would take care of her.” I returned the hug.
He whispered into my ear. “I love you. You’re the best.” He kissed my neck and set me loose.
I started serving up the pizza and giggled as I watched my brother pick the mushrooms from his slices. I was really glad that I had put together so many pizzas when Alcide and Jason ate a whole one between them. I was on my fourth slice myself when I felt the kids wake up. I saw that Jason picked that up too.
“Jason, how did that feel to you?”
“What do ya mean?”
“You just felt the kids stirring. How did it feel to you? I can feel their brains ‘turn on’.”
He cleared his throat and grinned at me. “I could kinda feel them moving around. You know that feeling you get when someone is miming something behind your back? It was like that.” I smiled at him. “I’ll run go get ‘em.”
“That’s alright. Eric has them.” And sure enough a few minutes later, Eric flew into the kitchen and landed with a boy on each hip and Manen on his back. All three kids were all giggling with excitement and Eric had a very pleased look on his face.
Janice on the other hand had just walked in from the den to see a vampire (still getting used to the idea by the way) flying with her son. The kids went straight to the table and starting gobbling up their pizza and yogurt while I took them their juices.
He grabbed me by my hips and planted a big kiss on me. “Look at you, Mr. Rock Star! You can find a way to show off anywhere can’t you?” He smiled at me.
“I didn’t get much sleep this morning. Did you all have fun?” He walked over and slapped Alcide on the shoulder and parked between him and Jason.
I smiled at him in spite of Alcide’s embarrassment. “Of course we did. Now behave.” He chuckled in Alcide’s direction.
Janice carefully came over to return my phone and I plated a couple of slices for her. She stood next to me and ate, eyeing Eric.
Alcide did his best to reassure her. “Janie, it’s fine. He can carry me while he flies. He’s taken Hunter up to fly with Manen a couple of times. He’s really strong.”
Janice stood there and stared at him wordlessly in disbelief. I took the reins on the proof department. I took a big bite of my pizza and walked over to motion for the three guys to come over and Manen and Hunter. Alcide and Jason each took a kid and I climbed on Eric’s back as he put his arms around the ribs of the guys and we lifted off and were at the ceiling, hovering. Janice’s mouth fell open in spite of the food in it. The kids were giggling again and Tommy wanted to join in, so, Eric swooped in close enough for Alcide to grab Tommy too and took us all back up. The kids went as far as to complain when he set us all down.
Eric smiled at her. “I can give you a piggy back ride if you want to try.”
Before she had the chance to answer him Manen started begging to go for a flight tonight.
“Min kara, what of your assignments?”
“If I have my projects done by dinner, will you take me flying?”
He looked at me. “Momma, what do you think? If Angela is happy with her work, can we go out for a while before bedtime?”
I looked at Alcide who looked just as pensive as Manen and Hunter. “As long as their assignments are done, I don’t see why not. As long as we nap later. Yes?”
The kids exploded with excitement, laughing and cheering. Alcide looked at me and rolled his eyes and laughed. “If the kids keep it up, there will be no dealing with him. The fangbangers don’t fawn over him this much.”
Janice was trying her best to not embarrass herself like she did yesterday. “So how far up do you take them? How far away?”
Eric and Alcide shared a round of ‘looks’. I was pretty proud of them for being able to keep their thoughts from me. Alcide was the one to answer her. “Ummm, Eric lets Manen lead the way. She’s a Shifter.”
“Oh…my…god. What is a shifter? Do I want to know?”
“A Shifter is like a Were but they can turn into different things. Manen likes to turn into an Osprey, a Seahawk, so Eric and Hunter chaperone when she flies.” She ran over and bounced up onto Alcide’s lap.
“Tell her about my deer daddy!” He smiled at her and told Janice about how she turned into a cheetah and killed her first deer on Sunday night. That little girl had every one of those men wrapped around her little finger. Eric patted her head and Jason gave her a high 5.
Once Janice leveled out she asked about Hunter. “What’s up with the little guy? Is he normal?” All three guys shot Janice a dirty look for implying that Manen wasn’t normal but Alcide explained Hunter’s telepathy and second sight and some of the other things that we’ve seen him do.
At 8:30, I sent a wakeup call to Pam. Since I wasn’t really a big part of explaining us, I decided to play a long distance game with her. Once I felt her get into the shower, I sent a glamour to her and a psychic ping. Eric felt it right away and gave me a lusty look. Jason and Alcide soon heard her moaning and calling out loudly until everyone heard her fall into the bottom of the shower. She was fine, of course. About 10 minutes later, she was disappointed to see Janice in the room, because she wanted to thank me properly. She had to settle for a hug and a warm true blood. Then a hug and kiss from Alcide and when she kissed Eric on the cheek he whispered into her ear something that made her blush. Pam blushed!?
The round table was lining things up to leave for our trip and we were out the door and on the road at 9:45.
When we arrived at Fangtasia, we all shared a round of looks. Parked there by the employee entrance, were 2 pickup trucks and both had a livestock trailer hitched to it. I could tell right away that the four guys standing there waiting were Were, but not all of them wolves. Two of them were mountain lions and one was a black bear. All four men were big and muscular like Alcide and Eric and wearing Stetsons, striped long sleeve shirts, snug jeans finished off with a belt buckle the size of my face and cowboy boots. They were all ‘rodeo fabulous’.
The four of us approached the four of them and they all dropped to one knee, taking turns eyeing Alcide and I.
I giggled at them. “Alright, get up. What can we do for y’all?”
The youngest and shortest one, he was still Alcide’s size, took the lead. “The king of the Northern Territories has tasked us with delivering and settling a thank you gift.” He bowed at me. “We’ve been told to stay for as long as you need us to board the horses and help you to find qualified stablemen.” He bowed again and handed Eric an envelope. “King Coppersmith handpicked all 8 of them himself. He heard that you have 2 little ones and sent 2 very well tempered black and white leopard mares. Do your kids like 101 Dalmatians?”
I nodded excitedly. “How long have they been in there?”
“The better part of 4 days, ma’am.”
“That can’t be good for them. Let’s get them home. We can track down tack and feed while they settle.” The four men all nodded and quickly jumped into their trucks and followed us back to the house. On the way back Eric and Alcide tried to figure out how to track down a stableman and groom. I called Jason and told him to load the kids and Janice onto the ATVs and wait for us at the stables.
When we pulled up and climbed out of the car, Jason, Janice and all 3 kids were very wide eyed and the kids were bouncing with excitement. The grooms all went into the trailers and started leading the horses into the pasture. One of the horses broke away from the groom (I found out later that he was a red roan stallion with blanket markings) and went straight after Hunter who was standing perfectly still and calm. Hunter put a hand up as a stop and the horse halted immediately. The horse slowly approached him and lowered his head to nuzzle Hunter’s shoulder. Eric walked over and lifted Hunter and was speaking to him softly enough that I couldn’t hear them. It actually looked like the horse was in on the conversation. Suddenly, Eric hopped up on the back of the horse, lifting Hunter to his lap and clicked his tongue and the horse slowly started to trot away from us. The lead groom, Jeremy (all of 19 years old), took a step as though he was going to say something but Pam put her hand on his arm.
“He knows what he’s doing. He hated the transition to cars. He always groomed his own horses when we traveled.” She turned to look at me. “Son of a bitch used to leave me alone in the carriage to ride along side. My first 50 years was spent in downtime.” I pouted my lip and offered an ‘awww’. That had to be painfully boring to have a traveling companion that would rather be on a horse.
Jeremy turned and looked at her with eyes the size of softballs. “First 50 years? Transition to cars? How the hell is that?”
I laughed at him. “Jeremy, Coppersmith didn’t tell you that Northman and Ravenscroft are Vampire too?” I let him fumble around a little. “They’re daywalkers.”
“It’s not every day that you see that!”
I laughed again. “Well, maybe not you. Come on, I’ll give you and your guys a tour of the stable and bunk house. Then we’ll run in and track down some supplies.”
Alcide, Pam and I took the guys into the stables and indoor corral. The ‘bunkhouse’ was a joke. When someone says bunkhouse, I picture something along the lines of the Ingalls’ home from Little House On The Prairie. This ‘bunkhouse’ had wood paneled walls and that’s where the similarities stopped. The first floor was big and open, there was a full bath tucked behind the pantry in the kitchen, the kitchen being bigger than Gran’s. The bar separating the kitchen from the common room and dining area had a marble top and the entertainment center would make most guys drool. The upstairs had 4 bedrooms, all had king size beds and there was a large locker room style bathroom upstairs complete with toilet stalls, a jetted tub and shower room. We weren’t there long when we heard Janice yelp. Before Alcide or I had the chance to react, Pam had blurred out to where the noise came from and ‘called’ to us that everything was fine. When we got back into the barn, Pam came back with a white horse with green eyes right behind her. We recognized the horse right away and Alcide and I walked up to her.
Alcide patted her on the side of her neck. “Little girl, what if you used up your energy and can’t change to fly tonight.”
I had a different perspective. I took my jacket off and threw it over her back. “Miss thing… You get your butt into one of those stalls and change back right now so you can go apologize to Janice for scaring the crap out of her. Showing off is fine, but there is a right time and a wrong time.” I pointed to the row of stalls. She lowered her head and walked past me and into one of the stalls.
Alcide grumped at me.
“Don’t you look at me like that. If your sister had ever seen a change, I would be proud as punch for her, but she didn’t think before she used a power and that deserved a scolding.” He softened and came over to hug me. “I don’t want to be the heavy. I wanted to give her a huge hug. She was beautiful, but she has so much power that she needs to learn how to shore it up a bit when it’s called for.”
“You’re right, Shug. I’ll talk to her.”
“I already fussed at her. She doesn’t need to be ganged up on. Just next time, you gotta be bad cop. K?”
He chuckled. “You got it.”
Manen came out of the stall wrapped in my jacket and looking absolutely devastated. “Momma, I’m sorry.”
I squatted down and hugged her. “Sweetie, the only reason I fussed was because you did it in front of Janice. I’m proud of you. You were magnificent. You just need to learn to be careful about who sees that kind of stuff. Janice is new here, so we need to take it easy on her. K?”
She nodded sadly. “Are you going to tell Far?”
“Yes, but he will be too busy being proud of you to be cross. You should know that he won’t be upset at you for showing off.” She smiled at me weakly. “Now go give Janice you’re apology. We’ll need to go in right away to get your school work done so that you have extra time to rest.” I gave her a smooch on the forehead and crossed my arms over my chest as Alcide picked her up to take her out to where Jason was still calming down Janice.
Jeremy smirked at me. “That’s a lucky little girl. When I changed during the day to hunt with a friend, I was 15 and both my parents took turns whooping my ass.”
I chuckled. “You deserved it though.”
He gave me a funny look. “Why do you say that?”
I took a step towards him. “Because, you did it on the first weekend of mountain lion season.” I flicked the brim of his hat and started the long walk towards the house, chuckling at how surprised he was. “Come on, let’s find saddles and feed. Store hours will be short today.”
He double timed it to catch up to me. “How did you know? About what I turn to and when I hunted.”
“I’m a telepath. I read minds.”
I stopped walking and turned to him. “Really. Leonard, Kevin and Colton were pissed about coming down here on the errand but you didn’t mind at all because you haven’t been able to run since October when season opened and you’re getting cagey. Don’t worry. Alcide will invite you to run. There’s a pack cookout next week too.”
His mouth was wide open. “Ok, so we’ll be here a week or so, I guess. Who all stays here and what are they?”
“I’m Sookie and I’m a mutt with a lot of random powers. That’s my brother Jason, he’s a shifter with a whole lot of random powers. The little guy that took off on the horse with Eric, Hunter, is ours, he is a mentalist; telepathy, foresight, that kind of thing. You met Manen, she’s ours too. Full shifter plus bonuses. Janice is Alcide’s younger sister and the little boy is hers, Tommy. They are normal humans. Eric and Pam are both vampire…”
“Wow that’s a full house. When you say that Hunter and Manen are ‘yours’, do you mean that they are yours and the Packmaster’s or you and Eric adopted them?”
I chuckled. “The 4 of us are all their parents. We are Mummy, Daddy, Momma and Far. And…I wasn’t done. Angela is a Vampire and our governess. Alcide won’t let my Personal Assistant live in but he’s here a lot. His name is Tobin; he’s a Were. And we have two live in guards. Febes and Dozer. Speaking of which…” I mentally called Febes and had her pop over to meet the new guy.’ Her sudden appearance made him jump back into the air. We both laughed at him. “Jeremy, this is my cousin Febes, she is one of our two live in guards. Dozer is asleep because he drank too much last night.” I looked over to Febes. “Where’s your side arm?”
She pulled it out her gun and handed it to me. I quickly released the clip and sniffed the chamber. “You haven’t fired it yet?”
“No need to. I’m fucking awesome.” I couldn’t help but laugh. “Some of the other guys have been running out to Ron’s. Their shooting is still sloppy.”
I smiled at her. “How tight are their clusters?”
“They aren’t. They hit the target but they can’t control if it’s a kill shot or a wound. Funny part: the smoke eater is a better shot than either doughnut jockey.” We all laughed.
“Good to know. Do you have the silver clip with you?”
“Yes ma’am. Are we still thinking that Quinn will be an issue?”
I snorted. “Quinn has always been an issue. He’s a big pussy though. A silver tipped arrow took him down fast, so if he finds his way here, spread the word that he needs to be winged… or gelded.” She hissed a wicked laugh. I handed her gun back and asked for the radio. “Hey Skip, Sookie.”
“We have grooms staying in the bunkhouse at the stable now, could you make sure they’re armed and get radios by the time you leave. Call Ron and clean him out of Xtrema2s and get some clay… just for fun.”
“What kind of load?”
“All the light target he has and some super mags for defense.”
When we got to the house Tobin was waiting out front. Febes growled. “Oh, shut up.”
“What? He’s annoying.”
“He just is. You wouldn’t know because he kisses your ass.”
“He’d rather kiss yours.” That shut her up, briefly.
“Hey Tobin! What brings you out on this fine Saturday?”
“It was late when I got done with my shopping Thursday and yesterday I was trapped on campus all day. I wanted to bring your card back and bring you your computer. I had a tech help me set them up and load some networking and scheduling software for you. Who’s the new guy? Not replacing me already I hope.”
I laughed. “I guess I made someone very happy. I was gifted 8 horses and loaned 4 grooms this morning. This is Jeremy.” They shook hands. “He’s from the Billings Pack but for now we have him.”
They exchanged ‘nice-to-meet-yous’.
Febes decided to be ornery. “Do you think Alcide will hate Jeremy as much as he hates Tobin?”
I slapped her butt. “Don’t be a nasty bird! Alcide doesn’t hate Tobin. He just doesn’t want to like him. He’s warming up. Besides, I have inside information that Alcide is going to forget all about Tobin.”
Tobin smirked. “That’s good to hear, but who’s the poor bastard going into the hot seat?”
I put my mouth against Tobin’s ear and barely breathed the answer. “Jason and Janice slept on the couch last night. It was innocent, but by the time Alcide and I get back from Boston they’ll be doing the slap and tickle on the reg.”
Tobin bent in half to laugh. Febes was bitter that I hadn’t shared the info with her.
When Tobin recovered he got to business. “Since I’m here and salaried, what can I do ya for?”
“Well, on Monday, we’ll need to set it up for my house to get packed the rest of the way. I found a friend to take care of the property for me. For now, Jeremy will probably need some help finding supplies. I need to go to the grocery. You staying for the boil tonight?”
“Ooh! Yeah! We eating outside?”
“Yeah, it’ll be easier to clean it up and it won’t stink the vampires out that way.” I smelled something ‘funny’ so I started sniffing at the cars. “Tobin, your oil is burning.”
“I know, I’m not allowed to change it at my complex and I haven’t had the chance to take it in.”
“I’ll take care of it for you. I need to change the oil in the Suburban anyway.”
I popped the hood on the Vette on the way in and that needed it too. “Ok, the Vette just got added to the list. Tobin, 94 Grand Am; 3.1 Liter V6, right?”
“Uh, yeah. You were serious? You don’t need to do that. If you have ramps and don’t mind, I’ll take a few minutes on Monday to do it.”
“Naw, like I said, I need to do the truck and the corvette anyway.” He chuckled. “What are you laughing at?”
“Oh, nothin’, except the Supe Queen of North America is going to change my oil! I can’t picture the Lieutenant Governor’s wife doing her own nail polish but you tune up your staff’s cars.”
I giggled at the thought. “Eric can try as hard as he wants but he’ll never get all of the simple country girl out of me.”
“So you love sports, work on cars, you shoot a gun like dirty Harry, you can hold your own in a keg stand, and you can spar like a 6’4” Were.”
Alcide had snuck up behind us (well, them) while we made our way to the kitchen and made Jeremy and Tobin jump when he added his 2 cents worth. “You left out that she’s a supermom, she can cook anything, she can’t be beat in bed, she can work a pole like a porn star and has the body to match.”
I playfully slapped his face and his eyes flashed at me. “You behave.”
He leaned over and picked me up by my butt and wrapped my legs around him. “What if I don’t?”
I did my best to grind my center against him. It worked. “If you don’t behave, I’ll have to start a tactical strike.”
He growled in his throat. “That doesn’t sound so bad. I think I can handle you.”
Maybe I was more Were than I thought. That sounded like a dare. “You think so, huh?”
He was holding me up so I didn’t want to do anything too drastic so I simply pulled the memory of our night on the couch out of his head and hit play for a minute. His knees tried to give out and he took a couple of swallows. “Sssook, Sookie?”
“Alcide?” Instead of answering me he carried me to the empty den and dove onto the couch on top of me. His mouth was against mine before I could protest. We lay on the couch for a minute lost in a long breathy kiss, our legs tangled together. “Alcide, who’s handling who right now?”
He managed to laugh a little. “Well, I’m still not behaving and I got what I wanted: you on the couch.” He flashed an evil smile at me. I couldn’t help myself when he started kissing me again. Alcide untied my halter to give himself access…
We were interrupted. Tobin cleared his throat. “Not looking, I know better.” He had his back to us at the archway to the den several yards away. Good boy. “Jeremy and I found a place that has everything but they close in an hour. I’m going to ride with him and his guys and use the card you gave me yesterday unless you say otherwise.”
Alcide answered. “Sounds good.”
Tobin offered up a ‘yes sir’ and told me his new phone number was on the fridge on his way out. Alcide immediately went back to work and so did I. We had been riding the roller coaster; pushing ourselves to our edge and calming down. Alcide had been holding up really well but we were too distracted to realize we were about to be interrupted again.
“Alcide!” Janice had come into the room to find us twisted together like angry snakes.
Alcide used his hand to cover my exposed boob. Part of me wanted to laugh the other part of me would have kicked him if I could have figured out which legs were mine. He cleared his throat and propped himself up on an elbow. “Yeah sis?”
“What if the kids walked in on you?”
“Our kids wouldn’t have surprised us, we can sense each other. Is everything ok?” He started sitting up and reached behind my neck to tie my halter as he did.
“Uhh… I was looking for Tommy’s ‘bwankie’. He needs a nap. Have you seen it?”
Alcide reached down to offer me a hand. I giggled to myself when I realized he’d been facing away from her to hide the massive bulge in his jeans. I took his hand so that he could hide it behind my body, walking to the front of the house. “I’ll get it. I collected it with the laundry this morning. It’s in the dryer.”
I grabbed my purse on the way and never went back into the house from the laundry room. I climbed into the charger and left for my errands after being pinned against the car for a goodbye kiss from Alcide, of course.
My first stop was Advance to get the stuff for the oil changes and I went ahead and got new spark plugs too. It had been a while since I had worked on any cars, Gran used to help me. She would gap the plugs and hand me things as I needed them. I made sure to get some GoJo for my hands. Alcide had a hell of a time getting the grease off of his hands with the dish soap after he put Jason’s D-cap back on for him. I was more than a little put off by the first guy to ‘help’ me. He actually asked me if my boyfriend had sent me with a list. I stared at him long enough that the manager came over to help me instead. He was far more friendly, and more importantly less of a misogynist. He even seemed impressed that I knew without asking what size filter and viscosity to use in each car. Funny how looking for those things before you leave the house helps, huh. Points for him.
I went on to the farmers market to get as much as I could there and lucked out. The parking lot had a few seafood peddlers. You see them mostly on weekends and they usually bring a good catch up to farmer’s markets from the gulf. I was very excited to find that they had a cooler full of live shrimp the size of my fist and another cooler full of live crawfish, it would taste much better than ‘fresh frozen’ from the grocery. I found the potatoes and corn there too and then went to the grocery store for plenty of sandwich fixings for lunch, the lobsters, and lots of hot sauce, butter, lemon and old bay. My mouth was watering just thinking about dinner.
When I got home right at 1 o’clock I gave the horn a honk and Alcide, Tobin, Jason and Janice came out to help.
We took all of the groceries in and set out the lunch spread. Alcide and I made the kids’ sandwiches and sent out a call for everyone else. I couldn’t believe that Eric and Hunter weren’t back yet but I could feel through the bond that they were having a great time.
After a huge sandwich, I headed out to the garage and started changing oil. Manen had done her assignments and wasn’t the least bit sleepy so she wanted to be my helper. I thought about fighting with the ramps and decided to test my mental strength. Sure enough, I was able to lift each car enough to slide under them to drain the oil from them and then again to replace the plug and take away the drain pan. That would have made life easier all along. Damn, I was starting to be a power brat. I used to hate the one power I had and now I found myself wishing I had some of the new ones all along. Alcide had been watching me from where he was leaning against the freezer with an impressed grin, occasionally sipping from his beer. I think he had been waiting or hoping I would ask for help. Manen and I had changed the oil on the corvette, the suburban, Tobin’s grand am, Jason’s truck and Janice’s minivan. I’d have done Alcide’s truck too, but I did it for him just before Christmas while I was bored.
Manen sat on the fender of each car and slowly, patiently poured the oil into each one while my iPod played my classic rock list; mostly Lynard Skynard. Maybe the term ‘redneck’ had always bothered me was because I was one at heart.
Eric made his entrance known by arguing with that thought. “Lover, you are not a redneck. You simply enjoy the occasional redneck activity. Now, what are you doing?”
Manen and I giggled from under the hood of his corvette. “Well, you needed an oil change and now Manen and I are gapping your new plugs. 2 of the old ones had cracked insulators.” She nodded at him excitedly.
Alcide chimed in. “They’re almost done. They changed the oil on 5 cars and your plugs and Jason’s are the last of it. Unless she’s going to start on the transmissions.” Manen and I shared a look and giggled.
Eric decided to sit in and watch the end of the show by leaning against the other half of the freezer next to Alcide.
So I chatted him up while we finished our work. “How was your ride?”
“We had a very good time. Hunter can’t wait to go out again tomorrow. I’m looking forward to riding in a saddle. I rode without one for a long time but I was spoiled apparently. He has claimed the red roan as his. His name is Torch now.”
“Jeremy was surprised to hear how old you are and even thought to ask if you’d prefer an Arabian or English saddle but Pam told him you liked the western style better.”
He chuckled a bit. “I like that Jeremy. How hard do you think it would be to steal him?”
“Just ask him. He hates Montana. He grew up in New Mexico and got dragged there when his dad needed the work. They actually have a hunting season for mountain lions up there.” Manen looked at me, horrified. I leaned over and kissed her forehead. “He hasn’t run in ages because of it. He’s already buddied up with Tobin. He’ll do just fine here.”
“You talked about this with him already?”
I dropped the hood of the corvette and grabbed a sip of my tea on my way over to Jason’s truck. “Didn’t have to. He’s only 19 so he’ll need a family like this as a stepping stone and his dad won’t mind letting him stay because he’ll be able to brag that his son is working for us and he can easily hand the 8 horses we have on his own once the others help get things set up. He’ll need a DLA though. Everything, including his car is back in Billings.”
“Do you think we should keep one of his crew as well?”
“Don’t ask me why they let him speak for them, unless it was because they were afraid of us, but the other three actually work for Coppersmith under Jeremy’s dad. He was volunteered for the job to help with the driving. They all call him a piss ant because they’re jealous at how much better he is with a horse. Part of it is that he’s not cruel to them. Besides, Hunter will help him plenty. He’s not going to bore of the horses before he costs us a mint in entry fees. He’ll have Torch dancing in no time.” When I caught a stray thought, I stood up and started working it over in my head.
“Shug, something wrong?”
“Eric, the lion.” Manen smiled at me knowingly. She catches on to things so fast it scares me at times.
He laughed. “What about him?”
“Did Sophie-Ann keep a lot of pets?”
“Not until the last few years. Why?”
“I think I might have just figured out what Hadley’s Fae gift was.”
“Hunter was communicating with the stallion but that doesn’t mean that he got that gift from his mother.” He had said it more like a question than a statement.
“Growing up, Gran called it the creature touch. We sometimes joked that if it weren’t for animals Hadley wouldn’t have any friends. Before she went wild, Hadley volunteered at the Vet in Clarice and she was even dating a guy that ran the rodeo circuit. He broke up with her because she was a ‘jinx’. Every time she went with him, his horse wouldn’t buck. I think there might be something to it.”
Alcide had limited knowledge of Hadley and Sophie-Anne so he looked a little puzzled. “So, what would a Lion have to do with any of it?”
“The night that Pete tried his little hostile takeover, I made my way out the back with Sophie-Anne and Andre. Her pet lion was just outside the door and even though I was covered in blood and so was Sophie-Anne he looked at me, not like food, like he was waiting and he just stared at me. When I told him to leave me alone he did… When I met Sophie-Anne for the first time she nearly cried. She said that it was because Hadley and I carried the same airs. She felt like Hadley was in the room with her again.” Alcide nodded thoughtfully.
Eric looked a little distressed. “You and Sophie-Anne were covered in blood? I didn’t know you two were injured.”
I smiled at him. “Sweetie, I wasn’t. The blood I had on me was from rolling around on the floor, but Sophie-Anne’s side was slashed. Jade Flower had gotten her with a silver sword when she was trying to escape.” I put Jason’s distributer cap back in place and closed the hood of his truck then crossed the garage and grabbed a rag and cleaned Manen’s hands and sent her off for a bath. I had just started wiping my hands when Eric grabbed me around my waist. I held my hands out so I wouldn’t ruin his clothes.
“But she seemed fine when I met her at her home barely an hour later. You fed her to help her heal.”
“Well, yeah. Who else was going to do it, Quinn? Her bleeding had already slowed down so she didn’t need much, but I felt like it was the least I could do.”
“Why? You had been there as a favor to her and nearly died because of it, 3 times.”
“She was the only person to ever make Hadley happy. Uncle Bartlett had made sure that Hadley’s childhood was far from blissful, worse than he did to me. That pretty much ruined her but Sophie-Anne healed Hadley’s scars and loved her. Call me a romantic. Hadley might not have lived long, but when she died, she had known what it felt like to be loved.”
Eric gently kissed my forehead. “You are amazing… and disgusting. Go clean up.” He set me loose and slapped my butt as I walked away.
Both of them followed me in and Alcide turned the water on and handed me the soap like I had done for him a few days before.
Jason saw me come in covered in grease. “Jesus Sook! What were you doin’ out there?”
Alcide explained to him that I had decided to play ‘Barbie mechanic’ and listed the work I had done.
Janice was shocked. “Alcide didn’t help?”
I shrugged. “No dad growing up. You learn what you need to.” In spite of my vagueness I felt a pang of regret come from Jason. Whatever changes he was going through, they were making him dislike the guy he used to be.
Pam decided to ante up too. “The fashion gods would probably frown that you chose to be a grease monkey in a couture halter top.”
I giggled at her. “But then you and I wouldn’t have the excuse to go out shopping tomorrow morning to try to replace it and then lunch at the spa. Janice, I made the appointment for all 3 of us, you interested?”
Janice nodded excitedly. “You know, I’ve never been to one even though I have my own salon. What kind of stuff do they do?”
“Well, you can get whatever you want. Pam and I are going to get a trim and highlights, facials, a mani/pedi, a massage and some… uh, girlscaping. I’ll take a turn in the tanning bed when Pam gets a spray tan. They’re full service and are open just for us tomorrow.” Pam gave me a very approving smile and Janice was bouncing with enthusiasm. “The boys can spend the day playing with the kids and relaxing. When we get home, the guys will have dinner ready and then we’ll get dressed up and all 6 of us will go to Fangtasia for dancing and drinking so that Eric and Pam can pass the torch to Clancy and Felicia before they head out of town. Sound good?”
All 5 of them nodded.
“Lover, what do you expect us to make for dinner?” It was almost funny that he was unsure of how to do something.
“You guys can figure that out. Jason and Alcide have been single long enough to know how to find their way around the kitchen and you’re a very quick study. You’ll do fine.”
I gave him a quick kiss on my way upstairs to get a shower before making dinner, but he followed me. I went straight to the bathroom but he went into my closet to pick out my outfit.
When he came into the bathroom, I was already in the shower. He set my outfit on the counter and leaned against the wall.
“Eric, do you have something on your mind?”
“First of all, what is ‘girlscaping’?”
I laughed. “I didn’t want to come out and say in front of my brother that I was getting a Brazilian.” I knew he understood what that was.
He chuckled a little.
“Eric, what’s up?”
“Did you enjoy this morning?”
“You know I did. Pam and I both had a lot of fun. I told her that I know about the two of you, if that’s what you’re worried about.”
“What did she say?”
“I didn’t give her the chance to finish her apology.”
“And she is okay with sharing Alcide with you?”
“After what I did with her, I think she’d have a bigger problem with sharing me with the two of you… Are you having second thoughts?”
“Eric, just come out and speak your mind. If you have issues, tell me. I can’t read your mind.”
“Who were you with while I was riding?”
“Alcide and I killed some time making out on the couch.”
“Have you still not had sex with him?”
“No. This morning Pam did the driving.”
He was being very quiet. “Eric if you don’t want to share me, it’s fine. It’s not that big of a deal for Alcide and me.”
“That’s not it. The idea of sharing you with Alcide doesn’t disturb me.”
“Sweetie, what is it then?”
“I don’t want to become swingers. Just the four of us ok?”
I giggled at the idea of Eric being insecure. “I told you last night I wouldn’t feel the same about sharing you with anyone but Pam. And Alcide had his first threesome this morning. You’re not going to get any arguments from us,”
“Are you sure? The property is full of men that would love to nothing more than to bed you.”
“And the world is full of women and men that would die for your attention. You don’t want to fuck them any more than I want to fuck the help.”
“Do you promise?”
“Eric, I promise that I will not fuck anyone but Alcide and I will not make love to anyone but you… Ever again.”
Apparently, that was what he had wanted to hear all along. He stripped his clothes off and was in the shower with me in a blur.
He had put on his sexiest smile and hugged me to him. “There was one more thing.”
I smiled back at him. “What would that be?”
“Who else did you roll around on the floor with at the Abbey?”
I wasn’t surprised that he would bring it up, I was just surprised that he waited so long. “Jade Flower and, well part of Wybert. But they don’t count.”
“Because, neither one of them kiss like you do.” I almost didn’t get the words out of my mouth before his mouth was on mine. I hugged his neck and bounced up to wrap my legs around him. We spent another hour under the water. We made no effort to hold anything back and in no time we were both grunting and growling. He had me pinned against the wall then we moved to the edge of the tub. If there was sexual position that can be done in a bathtub that we didn’t use, I’d be surprised. When we were both thoroughly satisfied when we washed the sex off of us and climbed out.
While we were drying each other, I thought that I might bring up the ‘being turned’ concerns I had. “Eric, I want Pam and maybe Angela to feed from me tonight.”
His face locked down. He was not happy about the idea. “Why?”
“Pam and I were talking and if I can’t be drained, it also means that I can’t be turned. I’ve been thinking about it all day. I just want to see if I can get that lightheaded feeling. I’m worried that Niall might have something to do with it. Maybe to make sure you couldn’t turn me.”
He didn’t say anything. He just nodded and called for Pam.
When she came in he explained to her what was on my mind. They both came over to me and I held out my arms and they each latched onto a wrist as I leaned against the bathroom counter where I was sitting when I first told him I wanted him to turn me. They had both drawn for a few minutes when they pulled away. The marks had healed themselves. I told them to keep going and they sunk their fangs in again and I could feel them both starting to slow down as they were getting full. I started to cry when they pulled away the second time. I had to beg them to keep feeding. I was really disappointed, the tears were falling to prove it and it was only after they both started draining me for the third time that I felt it. I started to feel faint and I had never been so happy to feel lightheaded. A smile took over my face and I pushed there fangs back. I was so pleased that I grabbed them both and hugged them to me like my life depended on it.
“So you two can do it, but you’ll have to be starving. Is it really weird that I feel much better now?”
They both smiled at me. Pam was pleased that it was so important to me. Eric’s smile was one of relief. He hadn’t voiced it but the thought had crossed his mind and he was more than a little saddened that he might not get to turn me, I could tell that much. Even though he didn’t feel the same need that he had before. He wanted to turn me because it would make me harder to damage, make me stronger and so that he wouldn’t lose me… ever. But now that I have a Fae life span and new powers and strength he wasn’t as worried about losing me.
I had a goofy smile on my face the whole time we got dressed. Eric had picked a pair of the low rise jeans with a sweet tangerine colored, off the shoulder long sleeve Versace blouse and a pair of camel colored high heeled boots. Pam even hooked my bra for me and helped with my makeup.
When Eric and I were dressed and the tension of my worries had passed I could feel from Eric that he was in a much better mood. I went over to him and put my hand on the back of his neck so he leaned over to kiss me, resting his hands on my hips. I used my other hand to call Pam over with a finger. Things got a lot more heated once she joined us. Pam and I both dug our nails into Eric’s back while we chewed on his neck. It wasn’t lost on him that my other hand was between Pam’s legs because he could feel that too. We only played for a few minutes before he ended our fun. He had pulled away from us but Pam and I were enjoying ourselves and started kissing each other so he grabbed us both by the hair and separated us, causing a throb for both of us and making it harder for him to end the show.
“We’ll finish this later.” He said it sternly and kept his hands in our hair until we were through the bedroom doors (still smiling, by the way).
When we got downstairs, everyone but Angela was in the kitchen talking and laughing. Pam and Eric joined them while I went out to the garage to get the aluminum tub I needed for the boil. It was getting close to dark so I was going to need to cheat. I dragged the largest of the fireplaces to be closer to the back door and stacked the wood on it. The tub went onto the grate and I filled it with the garden hose then heated it with my hand until it boiled. The fire would be there to keep it boiling. I ran in and grabbed the potatoes and corn and dumped them in with the old bay. With that done, I had roughly half an hour to socialize before I needed to add the seafood.
I went in and grabbed a beer and bounced up on the counter since every chair and barstool was taken. All four of the Montana Weres, Jason, Janice, Alcide, Tobin, Febes, Dozer, Eric, Pam and I were all chilling out.
Angela emerged and Eric introduced her to everyone as she grabbed a true blood and brought it to me. We kissed cheeks and she leaned against the counter between my knees and faced the crowd so I hugged her shoulders and rested my cheek on the side of her head. She giggled. “At this rate, this house is going to have stretch marks before Easter.” I giggled back.
I gave Dozer a dirty look and then the ‘come hither’ finger. Well, it was more of a ‘get your hung over ass over here’ finger.
He came over and let me fuss at him with another dirty look. Febes laughed at the sight of the huge Kodiak in front of me hanging his head. I put my hands up and cured the hangover for him. He smiled at me sheepishly.
“Don’t you smile at me. Next time you drink a whole bottle of Jaeger, you’re on your own. Got it?”
“I got it Sookie. Thank you.” He leaned over Angela to kiss my cheek.
The Montana Weres had watched and Alcide caught them staring, so he explained that particular power to them. They continued to stare though.
“Jeremy, whatcha get for us?”
“We got a saddle for each horse, ranch style for comfort, and two youth saddles. Tobin says the little one, Tommy, wouldn’t fit one so we grabbed a buddy seat for him. We found blankets and bridles and feed and all the brushes and whatnot. We bought everything I had hoped to find and the tack guy gave me the number of a local farrier. I called him and he’s coming out on Monday to make sure the trip wasn’t too hard on the shoes. He said he’d give me the names of a couple equine vets that he likes too. You should be good to go.”
Eric decided to take over the conversation. “It sounds like everything is taken care of then.”
“Yes sir, except for finding a groom. The farrier or the vet might be able to help with that.”
“Certainly all four of you shouldn’t have to stay until we find one. If you like one of you could stay behind and then I will fly the last one home when we find his replacement.”
Jeremy did not disappoint us at all. “Sir, I can stay behind. The other guys are anxious to get home.”
Eric was very pleased with Jeremy and himself. “Do the rest of you mind not having him to share the driving?”
The other three assholes, oops I mean grooms, told Eric that they’d make due and other such niceties but they were thinking that they were glad to not have to deal with his ‘Nancy boy ass’ on the way home. They had other nasty names for him too which really pissed me off; so much I didn’t even care if they ate before they left. And Eric felt it.
While the assholes were discussing when they would leave Eric turned to me.
“I have never felt you be this angry. What’s wrong?”
“On top of calling him ‘piss ant’, they have other nicknames for him. ‘gay-tard’, ‘yes-whore’, ‘kid-cubby’. That’s just the creative stuff. They do it to him in front of his dad and get away with it. I’m going outside to check the boil.” I hopped down and walked out with my beer.
Things looked ready for the sea food and when I went inside Jeremy was the only one of the grooms left in the room. “Eric, Behaga tala mig jävlar är förpackning.”
He laughed. “Ja. De åt lunch sent och säger att de längtar. De lämnar i kväll.”
“När du vill prata med honom om att hålla sig?”
“Bra.” And just like that, my mood improved. I went to get the lobster cooler out of the car and thankfully Jason had followed me out. It wasn’t too heavy, it was hard to carry and not slosh water all over myself.
“Sookie, I heard you and Eric.”
I smiled at him. “Okay. And?”
“I read your mind.”
“Oh.. it’s ok Jason. I’m surprised you didn’t pick it up before. The kids call it the mind phone. I’m kind of the antenna so I usually leave the line open so that we can think back and forth to each other. We do it all the time when there are strangers around. But for the most part we don’t have many secrets around here.” He smiled at me, relieved that he didn’t get stuck with telepathy.
We set the cooler down and he started tossing in the lobsters slowly while I went inside and started collecting the lemon and butter and hot sauce and old bay. Janice took Manen outside (I guess those two made up) to wrap the table with cling wrap. I had the guys go out and get the other coolers full of crawdads and shrimps. It didn’t take us long. By the time lobsters were ready to come out, so were the shrimp and mudbugs.
We all sat around the table with beer or tea and munched. Jason and Alcide were sitting on either side of Hunter and Tommy and showed them how to peel their shrimp and get the meat out of their bugs while Pam took apart a lobster for them with a disgusted look on her face. God love her for caring though. Manen showed off again by using her abilities to crack her own lobster. Tobin was having a hard time with a claw and humored her by asking her to take care of it. She cracked it with a smile. Because of the shortage of chairs, I sat in Eric’s lap and ate even though he laughed at how gross I was getting.
I had been paying attention to the other grooms’ locations. They actually left without saying that they were leaving. I let Eric know as much.
He didn’t wait a moment. “Jeremy, how do you like it here so far?”
He smiled like everybody else does when someone asks them a question and they have to finish chewing to answer. Eric does that to me all too often, I’ll have to work on that with him.
“All your people have been really friendly, thank you, and the climate change is more than worth the drive. The only way to eat outdoors like this in Billings right now is in an igloo. There was a foot of fresh snow when we left and there’s been more.”
“You don’t like snow?”
“HATE it. I grew up in Hidalgo County, New Mexico, the most southern county. Immigrants used to walk through my back yard. The first couple of times it snowed I was so excited I nearly got frostbite not wanting to go inside. But when I couldn’t Trick or Treat my first year there because the snow was deeper than my legs were long I started hoping my dad’s next new job was on the sun!”
We all laughed at his irritation with the white stuff. “Well, if you want to hang your hat here until Billings thaws out, you’re welcome to stay.”
Jeremy didn’t quite know what to say.
“I am sure that everyone will need some help with handling the horses and you will be able to help better than me. I haven’t been on a horse since the 30s.”
“Well… sure. Alright.”
Dozer was curious. “So what did you do to get a belt buckle that big?”
Jeremy snorted. “For the record, I don’t usually wear one at all. I wore this one because I beat all 3 of them to get it my first time competing. It’s for bull riding. I couldn’t compete in pole bending this year. I aged out. I’ve got a drawer full of these stupid things at home.”
Tobin was next to speak. “There’s a Country Western bar not too far from here. They even have a mechanical bull.”
Jeremy was amused. “No thanks man! I laugh when I see people line dancing and I hate country music. The closest I get to that stuff is Kidd Rock and Bubba Sparxxx. This costume is painful. Normally, I wear steel toe work boots, jeans with room to move and t-shirts or wife beaters. I own this stuff to look the part for business and the rodeo crap… that’s my dad’s deal, not mine. Up there a ‘rodeo dad’ is a ‘soccer mom’. Those other guys hate me because I don’t care if I win and I don’t ‘live the life’.”
He had the whole table’s attention. Febes took her turn ‘interviewing’ him. “So if you hate it, why do you work with horses?”
“Well, my old man is a di… jerk and we lived in the middle of nowhere. So when he’d go off on a tear, once I learned not to stick up for my mom, I’d take a horse from the stable and train it. I’m good at it and even a bucking horse eventually settles down, unlike Pops. So I guess you could say that I prefer the equine to my family. My older brothers ditched and ran years ago because they were smart.”
Janice’s turn… This poor boy was eventually going to get sick of talking about himself but he was being a good sport. “You have older brothers? I didn’t think you could be a Were…”
Eww. I wish she knew more about Were DNA… “Yeah… um… my mom was… popular. 5 boys, all of us have different last names, none of us look alike and only 2 of us are wolves. I only know where one of them is because he’s only 4 years older than me, he’s a bodyguard for some vampire in Dallas. I guess I could try to get in touch with him while I’m here. The oldest is like 35 and he’s a cop but my mom stopped talking to him when he had my dad arrested for knocking her around while he brought his wife up to meet us. I was 9 the last time I saw him.”
Eric and I shared a look.
“Hey Febes, gimme your radio.” She tossed it to me.
I sent to the front gate. “Hey old man!”
“What’s up Sook?”
“When Kaleb and Landry relieve you, could you and Shaun come around back to meet the new groom?”
“Sure thing.” Eric smiled at me and Alcide could tell I was up to something.
Eric eyeballed the kid, smiling like a lunatic. “Jeremy, you need to understand something about us. We are… well, this is kind of the family that fate built. All of us have gotten together under some very ‘unreal’ circumstances…”
Eric continued to explain, preparing him, while I got up and called Stan.
“Hey Stan, are you home or on a date?”
I could hear the smile spread across his face. “I’m getting ready to go pick her up now. Sookie, thank you.”
“I told you I’d fix you up didn’t I?”
“You did. You’re great. What can I do for you?”
“I need a guard from you?”
“One in particular or any random Were?”
“Jim? Your rapist?”
“That’s the one. May I have him?”
“Absolutely. I’ll have him on the road in an hour, he’s a live in. What do you want him for?”
“I miss him.”
“Fine, don’t tell me.” I heard him telling someone to ‘fetch’ Jim. “Did Pio get that info to you?”
“He sure didn’t. I’ll text him a friendly reminder, but if I have to drive down there, you’re going to want to block his number so that you don’t have to deal with the whining.”
“If he doesn’t have that to you tomorrow, at least as a fax, he’s going to get fired. That’s a promise. So other than Jim, do you need anything else?”
“No sir. You are awesome. Kisses.”
I went back to take my place on Eric’s lap. “Stan is sending a man to help with our security detail.” He winked at me.
Just then our outgoing duty section walked up to the porch. “Hey there guys. Jeremy these are two more of our guards.” Jeremy wiped his hands and stood up to shake hands and I went over to make the introductions..
“Jeremy, this is Shaun.” They exchanged pleasantries quickly. “Jeremy, this is Alonzo. We call him Azo.” They stared at each other for a minute while Shaun excused himself to go home. Alcide grinned at me when he realized what was going on.
Azo cleared his throat and looked at me. “How?”
“Everybody was asking the new guy personal questions. He got probed about his family.”
He turned his attention to Jeremy, who other than being built like him, really looked nothing like him. They both looked like they were about to say something but threw their arms around each other instead.
“Hey guys, you two go catch up. Jimmy will be here in a few hours.”
They both gave me a look. Azo narrowed his eyes at me. “You know Jimmy?”
I winked at him. “So do you. But we called him Goose.”
“No way! Does he know?” I ‘heard’ him kicking himself for dismissing the feeling that he recognized his own brother.
I couldn’t help but smile at his excitement. “No, I just called Stan and told him that I missed the guy. Stan said that he’d be on the road within the hour.”
Azo nearly crushed me with a hug and Jeremy followed suit. He was laughing. “I thought Mr. Northman was off his rocker when he started talking about fate… He wasn’t kidding, was he?”
I shook my head. “No, it seems like everything here happens for a very good reason. Now get out of here. I’ll let you know when Goose gets here.”
As they walked towards the barn I heard Jeremy ask how Jimmy got the name Goose and Azo laughed as he started the explanation.
I sat back down on Eric’s lap with the stupidest, most self satisfied grin on my face I ever had. Eric squeezed me tight. He seemed to be proud of me too.
“Well, I’m afraid I might have peaked for the night.”
Pam gave me a sinister sneer. “I hope not.” She blew me a kiss that made most of the table laugh or at least chuckle.
I took the kids inside while everyone else finished eating and helped them make brownies for dessert and then Eric came and stole them from me to get them ready for their flight. When he came back down he had an extra set of blackouts in the hopes that Tommy would be allowed to go.
He called Janice by nearly singing her name.
When she came in Eric held up the clothes and danced them in the air. “Can Tommy come with us?”
Her eyes got big and she looked scared. “Oh, Eric, I don’t know…”
“Would it make you feel better if I took you up?” He looked like a kid trying to open an early Christmas gift. “It made Sookie feel better the first time too and if he goes, I’m taking Febes for the extra help.”
“Febes turns into what?”
Febes had just come in. “I run as a cat, but I’m a shifter. When I want to fly, I’m an eagle.”
I added to the plea. “I know how you feel. We had flown together and I still had hang ups, but he won’t let anything happen to them. You saw how strong he is this morning. They’ll only be gone about an hour. Manen gets tired quickly when the moon isn’t full.”
She winced. “Ok… I guess. Oh god… I must be crazy… but ok.”
I went over to her and called Alcide as I hugged her shoulders. “Honey, we need to distract Janice. She’s letting Tommy fly.” He smiled at how progressive she was being. Eric handed Alcide Tommy’s clothes and Alcide went out to take him to change. When they were done, Hunter ran in holding Tommy’s hand and Eric gathered them up into his hoodie and I zipped it up for him. Manen and Febes both came downstairs in a towel and we followed them all out back. Eric went up first to make sure Tommy wouldn’t be scared of the height and the further up they got, the more Tommy giggled.
“Janice, the girls are about to change. Brace yourself.” Alcide and I each put a hand on her shoulder and watched them change into their winged familiars with smiles on their faces. Janice gasped. She was actually ready for it, so she was impressed this time instead of horrified.
Manen didn’t waste any time at all; she was in the air within seconds of her change and Febes was right behind her. We stood there and watched for a minute until they were out of sight. Angela, Pam, Dozer and Jason watched with us.
Jason looked over to Alcide. “No offense, but fuck being a wolf. That looks way more fun.”
Alcide laughed. “If I could, I’d fly too.”
I grumped. “Screw y’all! I have everything going on that Jas does and I don’t get to change at all.”
“Sook, maybe you just need to get bitten like me?”
That was something I hadn’t considered but before I had the chance to say anything Alcide growled at me. “Don’t fucking think about it. If you were meant to change, the bite you got during the battle would have turned you. Don’t go looking for trouble.”
Instead of arguing about it since I didn’t want to change, I had only ever thought about it out of curiosity, I cleared the table and did the dishes while I waited to take the kids brownies out of the oven. I left Alcide to babysit his worrying sister while I went to the office and tended to my overloaded inbox and did a little shopping, then I called and upgraded our room in Boston to a suite.
By the time I was done, I could feel 5 very awake brains getting closer so I went to the kitchen and cut the brownies and set 3 of them out on napkins with a glass of milk for the kids to snack on before they headed up to bed. Jason came in to help (steal one).
“Sook, you know he’s just trying to look out for you right?”
“I wasn’t arguing about it. I was just going to tell him that I was curious.”
He smiled at me. “You’ve got it pretty good in the power department anyway.” He gave me a quick hug before he stole another brownie and we play fought about it. The second that Eric was back in sight, Alcide came in. He stood next to me and stared for a minute before he spoke. “I’m a dick. I shouldn’t have barked at you.”
I tried to fight the giggle but it didn’t work. He knew he had me and came over and hugged me.
“Do you forgive me?”
“I wasn’t mad.”
“Not for the sentiment, for the unyielding interruption. I was about to agree with you.”
“Yeah, ‘oh’. Asshole.” I poked him in the ribs and made him grunt. Then I tickled him under his arms and made his knees buckle. That was way more fun.
Everyone spilled into the house. Janice was carrying a very, very happy Tommy and the kids chattered about all the stuff they saw while they were ‘up’.
The kids started to come down from their rushes while they ate their brownies. It was like watching water draining from a bathtub. I took them upstairs to help them get ready for bed and, more importantly, make sure they brushed the brownies out of their teeth.
I sat on the floor between the beds and read them a bedtime story: Stella Luna. Their eyelids were starting to fall before the owl attacked Mother bat. They were all fast asleep before the happy ending. I tucked them all in and went to my room.
“Are you busy?”
“Not at the moment.”
“Would you like to be?” I didn’t get an answer. Within seconds, Pam was standing in front of me and we were locked in a kiss. We had quickly undressed and gotten into the bad and went back to our kissing and rolling around. We hadn’t been at it long when Eric called out to us.
We answered in unison. “Yes master?” We smiled at each other wickedly.
“What are you two doing?”
In unison again, “Waiting for you.”
We got no answer and I assumed that he was on his way up to join us.
Pam and I went back to our fun. Our fingers were buried in each other and we were both being very greedy. When Eric finally joined us, we stopped what we were doing and propped ourselves up on our elbows. He smiled at us. “I think, perhaps, Alcide was right about how wicked you are. I was on a business call and having a very difficult time concentrating.”
Pam and I smiled at each other and started kissing and toying with each other again while Eric undressed and climbed onto the bed with us. He didn’t waste any time. Eric leaned over me to kiss Pam and pressed against my back. Pam and I had our fingers inside of each other and I had her nipple between my teeth when Eric shoved into my other entrance. I went over the edge right away, releasing Pam from my mouth so that I wouldn’t bite down and hurt her. I wrapped my arm around to the back of Eric’s head and grabbed a handful of his hair. He brought his wrist up to my mouth and I bit as hard as I could and pulled from his wrist until it healed bringing Eric and I both over the edge again. Without warning her I bent from my waist and buried my face in Pam’s center and she grabbed a handful of my hair and held on like she were on a roller coaster. Eric was still behind me, pushing as hard as he could when the muscles in my pelvis developed a mind of their own and Pam started building towards hers too… This went on for what seemed like forever, the three of us enjoyed release after release until they overlapped. We were tangled together, 6 arms and 6 legs and dozens of orgasms shared between the 3 of us, until I felt myself glowing hotter and hotter still and when my power peaked and the blinding light shattered the darkness of our bedroom and we all fell still and silent except for my breathing…
“Sookie?… Sookie. Eric, she’s not moving.”
I opened my eyes, looked at her and smiled, wrapping my arms around her and snuggling close. “Hmmm. That was fun.”
Eric was behind me again and was sweeping my hair out of my face. “Pam, it’s fine. She does this from time to time. Lover, are you alright?”
“Oh yeah. Other than feeling starved, I’m wonderful. How you doin’?” I said the last part with a thick New York accent.
They both chuckled. Since I was facing Pam, I put my hand on her neck and looked for what ‘power’ I gave her. “Fuck.” I sat up. “I’m sorry. It won’t do you much good… You can heal others now.”
She smiled at me, not in a warm fuzzy kind of way either. “That’s wonderful. That means I can torture humans longer.”
I giggled. “That’s my little Pollyanna.” She giggled right back.
I reached over to put my hand to Eric’s neck next. When I found his new power I pulled him up with me. I held out my hand and made a fire ball and told him again to ‘just image it and feel it’. It was there. He smiled wickedly. When my stomach growled, I climbed off of the bed and jumped in to the shower to rid of the stench of the last… 2 hours? Wow. When I got out, Eric and Pam were snuggled (sort of) and talking, still, so I went to his closet and threw on a pair of his sweats and a wife beater and gave them both a kiss before I headed downstairs.
When I got to the kitchen, I couldn’t find the plate full of brownies. I could tell everyone was in the den so I went to hunt them down, half expecting to see an empty plate on the coffee table. Tobin, Febes, Janice, Jason, Angela, Dozer and Alcide (yes, the entire Mickey Mouse Club) were all there watching Anchorman. I laughed because I Love Lamp too. Alcide was in his usual spot. I walked up behind him and put my hands over his chest. He put his hands over my arms and ran them up to my shoulders and tilted his head to kiss my cheek.
“Hey Shug, you going to join us?”
I nibbled his ear a little. “Where’s the ransom note?”
“Someone took my brownies and I need to know what their demands are.”
He turned his head to make sure I saw his eyes shimmer and cleared his throat. “Maybe there won’t be a note. It could have been a brownie napping. Maybe the responsible party has no intention of returning the brownies. Should we call someone? Do you have a picture of the brownies in question?”
Janice was trying not to notice our exchange but Angela and Tobin thought it was funny so I put my head down on Alcide’s shoulder and breathed against his neck. “I guess I’ll have to start the search myself. Keep your ear to the ground and spread the word that I’ll do just about anything to get them back, those brownies mean the world to me.” I used plenty of breath when I licked his neck again and then I turned to go back to the kitchen.
I giggled when I heard his feet hit the floor from bouncing over the back of the couch. Before I knew it, he had an arm around my waist. “It might not be safe. I should help you look.” He scooped me up and carried me the rest of the way to set me on the counter. “How big of a ransom are you prepared to pay?”
“Oh, pretty big. I can’t think of much I wouldn’t do for those sweet little things.”
He opened the microwave and pulled out a container. “These sweet little things? Are you sure that you aren’t better off without them? I think we should spend some time making sure that they didn’t…” I reached for the container but he pulled away too quickly. “…participate in their own disappearance. Or perhaps you staged to whole thing? Can you account for you whereabouts… hmmmm, 2 hours ago?”
“Is this where I bribe the detective to drop the investigation to benefit my own agenda?”
He grinned and nodded his head, I swear, like a cartoon character.
“Hmmm. Think. Think. Think.” I tapped my finger against my lips. “The bribe has to satisfy the motivation of the recipient, but of course, I would need to confirm that those are not just decoys.”
Alcide smiled at me and slowly opened the box of brownies and inhaled deeply. He reached in and took one out, waving it under my nose. He broke a small piece off and put it up to my mouth, so I opened my mouth and took the morsel and the tip of him thumb. He tried as hard as he could to not show his tells of being turned on. He pinched off another piece and fed it to me. This time I grabbed ahold of his wrist and took his finger into my mouth, scraping the brownie from his finger tip slowly. His eyes rolled back into his head and I reached up and grabbed his hair to pull his mouth down to mine. He pulled me to him pressing himself against me and we disappeared into a long kiss.
“How does she still have any energy?” Pam and Eric had finally made their way down to the kitchen.
“I don’t know Pam, maybe we will have to find some supplements to help us keep up.” Alcide and I laughed as we ended our kiss.
I turned to look at them. “The meal you had earlier should have done just fine. You should have energy for days.”
They smiled at each other as they settled onto barstools. I hopped down and started pulling out bowls putting brownies, ice cream and chocolate sauce into each one and putting them all on a tray with a bowl of cherries and a can of whipped cream. I grabbed a true blood for Angela on my way to the den with my nest on my heels.
Angela watched me as I passed out everyone’s dessert and they all started to gobble their snacks eagerly. She begrudgingly opened he true blood and took a sip and then looked at the bottle excitedly and I smiled at her. She leapt up from her seat and bounced up to hug me with her arms and legs. I hugged her back while she made it impossible for anyone to hear the movie with her string of thank yous.
When she detached herself and took a step back she wiped away a single tear drop from her face. When she sat back down next to Jason and snuggled against him, everyone was staring at her, even the round table.
“It’s a true blood, but she made it taste like a milk shake! I still miss human food.” They all smiled at her and Alcide backed the movie up to where it was when it was interrupted. We went back to watching the movie. When it was over, everyone excused themselves to go to bed (home, in Tobin’s case), Angela hugged me again on her way to her room to take care of some things and Alcide and I snuggled into the couch and watched Saturday Night Live while I waited for Goose to arrive.
Azo must have called his wife about staying out tonight because he and Jeremy were both at the bunk house and talking up a storm. I had concentrated on Goose and when I felt him get into Shreveport, Alcide and I went to the kitchen and made 3 huge sandwiches, chips and pulled a few beers and sodas (Jeremy is too young to drink). I had left word with Landry to not announce his arrival on the radios, so Alcide and I took the snack and got into Jason’s truck and drove it to the gate to wait for him. When he got there he looked exhausted and grumpy and we led him back to the barn. When Alcide and I climbed out he tried to hide how irritable he was and I walked over to him and ‘refreshed’ him with a hug.
“Ma’am, am I being punished?”
I smiled at him and took his hand in mine, towing him towards the bunk house. “Of course not, Goose. I have a surprise for you though.”
“Am I gonna like it?” Alcide laughed as I knocked on the door.
Azo answered it and had a big smile on his face. Goose looked at me like he was trying to recite pi until Jeremy came to the door and yelled ‘Jimmy!’. The three of them shared hugs and grunts and how-ya-beens and it was all so sweet I almost cried. I would have if I wasn’t laughing at how manly they all were being. Then they all hugged me again and I handed them their snacks and left them to their reunion holding Alcide’s hand.
When we got back to the house, I made myself a sandwich and went back to the couch and greedily shoved it down and washed it down with a beer. I got comfortable, snuggling against Alcide just after 2 and that was the last thing I remember doing for the day.