Chapter 37

Tiger’s Eye

Sookie’s POV

Sunday, January 17th…

When my eyes opened, all I could see was the back of the couch. I reached behind me and grabbed Alcide’s arm and pulled it up to check the time but he pulled it away.

“No.” He wrapped his arm around my waist and snuggled closer.

“What time is it?”

“Too early.”

“Alcide…”

He growled and put his watch close enough for me to see that it was 4:30. “Happy?”

“I should go for a run since I’m up so early.”

“What’s the harm in staying in bed?”

“Nothing, as long as there isn’t something else that should be done… and you’re actually in a bed.”

“Hmmm… I can think of something else to do.” He rubbed his body against mine and breathed against my neck. I know I only encouraged him by moaning slightly and wiggling into his rub, but that was part of the fun. His hand found its way up to my chest and he started kissing my neck. I put my hand between us to rub the bulge in his pants and turned my head to get a kiss and he obliged. I was met with a hot, tonguey, breathy kiss. I rolled over and ran my fingers through his hair, holding his face to mine as I let him shift us so I could straddle his legs. He put his hands on my butt and started moving my hips over him, rubbing and adding to the heat that was quickly building between us. As usual, we were interrupted.

It was Landry. “We have a problem.”

“What?”

“Do you really want us to shoot him?”

Alcide looked panicked, but I left him behind to calm down and popped out to the front gate.

**

I spooked Kaleb, Landry and Quinn when I ‘landed’. I was standing in the cold night air with bare feet and nothing but sweats and a wife beater on. I folded my arms across my chest to hide how cold I was. While I eyed Quinn through the gate Eric and Febes popped out and Azo, Jim, Dozer and Alcide descended as only locusts could.

“Tell me why I shouldn’t end you right now Quinn.”

“Sookie, I need a favor.”

I couldn’t help but laugh… like a mad woman. “Why would I do a favor for you? How did you find where I live?”

“I wouldn’t ask if it weren’t important. I had a friend track you from Fangtasia.”

I went over to the gate and put my hand out. “Give me your hand.” He put his hand out and I grabbed his arm and he was lying about how he found the house, but he really wasn’t here to be antagonistic. He really did want help. “Everyone, stand down. Landry open the gate. Febes popped back to her bed and the other guards went back to what they were doing. Azo handed me his gun before he left, leaving Alcide, Eric and I to walk back to the house with Quinn.

Alcide, Eric and I walked silently back to the house and let Quinn’s nerves build up for the near mile of driveway. We went through the garage to the kitchen and I started a pot of coffee and started putting together breakfast.

“Speak.” Alcide laughed; he always ‘obeyed’ a command from me, but he got a kick out of it when I gave them to others.

“You know about all the shit with my mom…” I held my hand out and called the file on his mom’s ‘ownership’ when it got to my hand I set it on the counter in front of him.

“I don’t just know about her. I own her. What’s this about?”

He blanched. He had seen me pop, he saw me move something with my mind and now he found out that I own his mom. “How did you get that?”

Alcide answered him. “Because, I’m not her only pet.” I smiled at Alcide and he winked back.

I was getting aggravated though. Quinn needed to hurry up before I lost my patience with him. “Well, get on with it. If I have to go into your head, I’m not likely to be sympathetic.”

“She escaped again. Frannie found her but not before she killed 3 people when she darted across a road. They swerved and drove over an embankment. The home can’t take her back again. She hurt a few guys getting out.”

In spite of the rapid mood change, I was sensitive to his situation. “What am I supposed to do Quinn? That’s the only home that could hold her as long as it did.”

“I know you have connections and you’re really good at thinking outside the box. I was hoping you might be able to come up with an alternative to my solution.”

I poured 3 coffees and passed them out and handed Quinn the sugar. I was annoyed with myself that I remembered that he took sugar in his coffee. “What was your idea?”

“To kill her.”

My turn to blanch. “Kill her?”

He nodded. “She’s fucking miserable. They keep her in a cell drugged up and semi conscious all the time. When she does turn, she hurts people. This time she killed a kid. She can’t keep on like this. It’s cruel.” He looked like he might cry if Eric and Alcide weren’t there to witness it.

“Why not take her somewhere isolated?”

“I can’t think of anywhere isolated enough. She can get over any fence and she’s as strong as I am.”

“How far can she swim?” I put veggie omelets and rare steaks in front of him and Alcide.

He looked up at me with a confused look on his face. “I don’t know, maybe a mile, but I doubt it.”

“Can you or Frannie take care of her? Stay with her? Would it be safe?”

He nodded as he ate. “That’s what Frannie has always wanted but we can’t find anywhere to hold her.”

I grabbed my phone and took a deep breath as I dialed.

“Sookie, my lovely, what can I do for you?”

“Good morning, it seems I need a favor.”

He was quiet for a moment. “Already?”

“I want to buy Antwort Insel.”

“But then, where will I tend to my problems?” He chuckled eerily.

“I understand darling, but I have a unique problem.” Jason came down the stairs rubbing his eyes and I put his breakfast down in front of him and smiled his ‘good morning’. He grumpily nodded at Quinn. I walked back to the office and grabbed my laptop and fired it up, leaving Quinn alone in the room with my fiancé, my manimal and my brother.

It only took me a couple of minutes to explain the situation.

“Are you sure that she won’t be able get to the mainland and cause more trouble, dear?”

“No. But this is our last option. We have only but hope.”

“I understand. I won’t sell it to you. I will loan it to you for your needs as long as there is a need. That way you are not stuck with the property if things do not work out well.”

“I will rent it then.”

He chuckled. “Dearheart, it is getting close to dawn here. I will have my staff, prepare the property today. They will stock it up with the basics including fuel for the generators. There is nothing by way of entertainment out there so I’ll have the staff arrange a satellite dish. ” He gave me the name of a guy in Port Austin that would run supplies out to them weekly and told me that a car would be at the airport to take them to Port Austin where a boat would take them to the island. I took the laptop back to the kitchen and started another batch of omelets and steaks for Febes, Dozer and Janice.

“Howie, that is very generous of you. Bless your heart. Thank you.”

“You got it, buttercup. And this isn’t a favor, this is a courtesy.”

“Thanks again. Kisses.”

I turned my attention back to Quinn. “Where is she now?”

“Frannie has her at my place.”

“Is it safe for her to be there?”

“Yeah, we usually have about a week before she has the strength to turn again. It happened Friday night. What did you come up with?”

I turned the laptop so that he could see the screen.

“It’s water.” I hit the zoom button.

“It’s Lake Huron.” I hit zoom again. “See the little speck there?”

Quinn nodded.

That is Antwort Insel.”

“An island?”

My turn to nod. “It’s 3 miles from shore. It’s only about 25 acres or so, but there is a log cabin on it. Nice little place with a fireplace and a couple of bedrooms.” I finished describing the place and told him that it would be cleaned up and stocked for them when they get there while I plated the next wave of breakfast plates and introduced everyone.

Quinn had been noticing that sunlight was filling the room and eyed Eric carefully, hoping he would leave.

I plated food for the kids and handed it out and then took Quinn to the office just in time for Pam and Quinn to surprise each other. I left the explanation to Alcide because Eric followed us to the office.

Eric sat down behind the desk and I sat on his lap while Quinn took the hot seat in front of us. I picked up the phone and called the guy in Port Austin (Howie had already called him), he was already on his way to tend to the errands and shopping he was assigned to do. I got the name of a pharmacy for any prescriptions and added that to the list of things for him to do.

And then I called Russell, well, Russell’s day guy.

“Washington… How are you dear?”

“Sookie, good to hear from you. How can I be of service?”

“Might I be able to borrow Russell’s plane?”

“Certainly. Where would you like to go?”

“Quinn needs a ride from Shreveport to Memphis to pick up 2 more and then on to Detroit today.”

“The plane will be in Shreveport by noon. Is that all I can do for you?”

“That’s it. You are a love!”

“Kisses.”

“Hugs.”

I looked at Quinn. “You get all that?” I handed him the post it with the name of the pharmacy for his mom’s meds.

“Uh, yeah… Sookie, what is this going to cost me?”

“Leave me alone.”

“Leave you alone?”

“Quinn, I can be anyone’s friend, but you’ve been fucking creepy. It’s got to stop.”

“I’m sorry. I know. I know I’ve been fucked up.” Eric got up and left the room to get the kids ready for a ride and I went over to stand in front of Quinn.

“Call a truce?”

He smiled at me. “Yeah. Truce.” He put his hand out to shake on it but I hugged him. It surprised him but he hugged me back.

“Ok, then. I need to eat.” I led the way back to the kitchen and started making mine and Tobin’s omelet and steak and refilled coffees and juices. Manen came over to me and used the mind phone to ask permission to show off. Alcide and I laughed and nodded. Alcide had just enough time to go over to Janice and warn her that something was about to happen without talking.

Manen went over to Quinn and tapped him on the back and spun his stool around to say hello but didn’t get the chance. Every eye in the kitchen was on her as she turned into a beautiful Bengal Tiger, just like Quinn, only prettier and faster than I had ever seen a change. Tobin was just emerging from Febe’s room and yelled a ‘way to go’ to her as Manen released a roar. Eric came down the stairs and went straight to her and rubbed her back.

“Manen, you’ll have to bathe again. The scent will spook your horse.” She nodded at him and purred a little before she turned and bounded up the stairs.

“Sookie, what the fuck? A tiger?” I was starting omelets and steaks for my friends in the bunk house.

“Watch your mouth around my kids. She’s a shifter.”

“How old is she?”

Eric got to brag. “She’s only 6.” He turned to look at Alcide. “I suppose we should stay close when we ride. That’s her third change in 24 hours. She’ll tire out quickly today.”

“Something tells me, the more she changes, the more energy she has.” He pointed to me, I assume, to imply that the more I do the more energy I have.

“Don’t you look at me, I still have to eat like a pig to keep up with life.”

My men laughed at me.

When Tobin came down he grabbed a bottle of tea from the fridge because the fresh pot was still brewing. When he closed the door I was standing behind it with his plate of food. I wiggled it in front of him. “Good morning.”

He blushed. “Morning.”

I sniffed the air. “Nice.” I winked.

He did his best to avoid eye contact as he walked by me and found a seat at the bar next to Jason and we started to eat our breakfast.

“Hey cuz, you interested in doing something as girly as shopping and going to the spa?”

She cleared her throat and looked uncomfortable. “Uh, no… I have plans already. Raincheck?”

I laughed and looked back and forth between her and Tobin. “Raincheck then. Don’t break him, tomorrow is going to be busy. I’ll need him.” They both blushed when everyone snickered.

I plated the last three breakfasts and poured 2 coffees and an OJ. “Eric, you think we have room for a bigger table in here?”

He chuckled. “I think we need it whether there is room or not. I’ll order one later today, while you are getting your tan.”

When the brothers came in through the portico door, they came right over to me and swallowed me in a massive hug from all of them at once. Now that’s a good morning for ya.

“Good morning guys. Your breakfast is ready. Janie, Pam… The bank statement express leaves in 10. Go get ready.” I sipped my coffee until they left the room to go get ready.

Alcide looked at me funny. “Shug, you going shopping commando?”

I smiled at him and went over and bounced onto his lap. “I was just waiting for Janice to leave before I asked for your wallet.”

He took it out of his pocket and handed it to me. “What do you need it for?”

I opened it and took out a credit card. “A treat.”

“A treat?”

“Janice wouldn’t let me pay, but she would let her big brother treat her to some new outfits.”

Alcide laughed and kissed my cheek. “You gonna buy me something sexy for tonight?”

“I find something for ya. You’re wearing something sexy. You’re just coving it up with all those clothes.”  I licked his neck as I slid from his lap. “Quinn you didn’t bring your car?” He shook his head. “K, You can hitch a ride back to your hotel when us girls go shopping. I’ll be right back.”

I ran upstairs and changed into my turquoise boy shorts, strapless pushup bra, beaded turquoise tank top, black popular jeans and turquoise pumps. I grabbed my black satin jacket and headed back downstairs. Quinn was sitting at the counter with Alcide, Eric and Jason were leaning against the counter and the brothers were at the table. I grabbed a tea out of the fridge, pulled my iPod from the charger to put in my purse and hopped up onto the counter and started putting my eye makeup on.

While I worked I remembered that I had heard back from Niki. “Um, Eric?”

“Yes Lover?”

“I heard back from Niki about the wedding and the festivities.”

“Why do I think that I should brace myself?”

“Well, you and Alcide are in for the stag and Pam and I are doing the Lingerie party…”

“So far, so good.”

“Well, the rehearsal party is themed, but it’s just for the wedding party and their dates so Pam and Alcide are off the hook, unless you want to swap partners and drag them along.”

He grumbled. “What is the theme?”

“Famous pairs.”

“I suppose it could be worse. She could have asked that we all dress in the fashion we from when were alive. I’ve been to a few of those.”

“Oh, well that would suck for you, wouldn’t it, Mr. Italian silk suit.”

He smirked. “What am I required to wear for the ceremony?”

“It doesn’t matter really. She’s bought a cloak for you. So you can rock one of your new suits.”

He looked relieved. “So have you thought of a pair?”

I nearly took my eye out when I shrugged so he took the eyeliner from me with a smile. “I dunno, let’s do something more contemporary though. I have a feeling with all of the vampires in attendance, there will be a butt load of britches and hoop skirts.”

“But if we decide on an older couple, I can enjoy another one of Donna’s corsets.”

I giggled while he finished my eyeliner. “With that train of thought, maybe we should go as Adam and Eve.”

He chuckled. “Can they be fictional?”

I chose to ignore the heresy. “I don’t know, I’ll ask.”

“Mad Hatter and Alice perhaps. I’m sure Donna could manage that.”

“Ooh, I like that! Wait, they weren’t really a pair, just loners in the same story.”

He chuckled. “Elvis and Pricilla?”

I laughed out loud, Jason and Alcide joined in. “Why? Do you want to cover yourself in dirt and carry a dead cat?!”

Eric was amused. “How about Louis and Marie Antionette?”

“Ehh, 3 problems with that one… 1-britches. 2- cliché, I don’t want to go as a king & queen. And 3- their ending, wasn’t so happy.” I put my finger my throat and did a cutting gesture. That made him laugh out loud. “Penn and Teller?”

“You couldn’t stay quiet long enough.” I stuck my tongue out at him. “Captain and Maria Von Trapp?”

“I never liked The Sound of Music. Charlie Chaplin & Oona?”

“She was ugly and no one would know who you are dressed as. You’d be explaining it all night. Oscar and Felix?”

“Ehh. Kennedy and Monroe?”

“Sure, that’s a happy ending.” Sarcasm from the vampire. Nice.

Ooh… an idea! “How do you feel about dressing like a cat?”

“That would depend on what you will dress as.”

“A canary comes to mind.”

And there was the smile that inspired the idea. “I could do that.”

“I’ll get Donna started, that way you still get a corset out of it.”

“Indeed.” He licked his lips.

“Not that I’m not enjoying our ‘convo’, but where my hos at?”

Alcide chuckled. “They’re waiting in the car.”

“You sons of bitches! You’ll pay for that!… Quinn. Car. Now.”

They all chuckled at my outburst while I gave them all a kiss goodbye and grabbed my purse.

**

I apologized to Pam and Janice and told them what our guys had done on my way into the car. They were only mildly amused. Pam was less amused when Quinn climbed into the car too. She got over it when she copped a feel on her way to the back seat.

Quinn had been surprised by a few things while he was at the house so as soon as the car had cleared the garage door he started grilling me.

“Now that your boys aren’t around… the tattoo and the piercings? I gotta say it… that surprised me.”

“Yeah, the piercings were a whim. Pam and I went a little crazy at the mall one night. The tattoo was all the guys though. They sat at the computer for hours picking it out.”

“Both of them? Seriously, which one are you with?”

Pam and I giggled. “You already know the answer.”

“Herveaux. Right?”

We giggled again. “Which hotel are you staying at?”

“The Winger. Sookie, you’re not going to tell me are you?”

“Right off the highway, right?”

He pouted. “Yeah. Fine don’t tell me. I didn’t realize that you were serious about having kids. Where’d they come from?”

I explained that to him, seemingly to his satisfaction.

“I bet Bill loves the shit out of you being with… being here.”

“Bill wouldn’t leave me the fuck alone. He kept showing up and smearing angry like peanut butter. Bill is gone.”

“Done? You killed him?”

I shrugged. “He attacked. We defended. It was over quickly. We were all thinking you’d be next.” I saw Janice blanch in the rear view.

He sat flabbergasted while he scrambled to change the subject. “Okay… And what’s up with your fuck up brother being there? I thought you couldn’t stand him? Why isn’t that slut wife around?”

I cleared my throat and saw Janice get interested in the conversation in the rear view mirror. “Jason finally started to grow up. He’s a different guy from who he used to be. I really like having him around now. They had separated because she was cheating on him… we saw that coming when she flirted with you at their wedding… but Crystal died last week from pregnancy complications, that’s why she isn’t here. And yes, it was his baby.”

Janice looked distraught and Quinn looked like he wished he hadn’t asked, at least not the way he had. “I’m sorry, Sookie. I didn’t…”

“Quinn, it’s fine. You didn’t know. She was a whore and used my brother as breeding stock and a meal ticket out of Hotshot. She died because when the miscarriage started she was too brainless and obstinate to go to a doctor for 3 days. What’s more… if the dim bitch had ever been to doctor she’d have known that neither miscarriage she had with Jason would have happened if she had just had blood work done. She was Rh negative and all she needed was a Rhogam shot.”

Pam chuckled wryly. “Don’t hold back Sookie. Tell us how you really feel.” No one could help but laugh.

He decided to change the subject. “So, uh… What did you tell Brighton?”

“What you told me, but in my way.”

“He’s still ok with her being there?”

“It’s my problem if something happens. But you need to know, if there is an issue, if she does cause a problem… Quinn, Alcide will recuse himself. He won’t have a choice. No matter how he could rule, it would look like he’s being a dick because you’re my ex or that he’s being easy because we’re old friends. You get that, right?”

“Yeah, I get that…”

“There’s more. That’s only if there is a problem with another Were. Quinn, it’s more likely that she ends up in my docket. I’ll have to put her down.”

He nodded. “Sookie, you don’t need to explain. You were her last hope. All I ask is that I’m the one.”

“Quinn, you shouldn’t…”

“Sookie, it should be me.”

“Frannie would never forgive you.”

“She wouldn’t need to know.”

I tried to get back from the dark side of the conversation as I pulled up to the hotel. “Ok, the guy that can run the supplies said that he would gladly take them to the mainland once in a while. So they could go out to lunches and movies and go shopping so that they don’t feel so trapped. Just have Frannie encourage your mom to turn a night or two before and I’ll talk to the guy I know down here about a tranq gun for her just in case. Ok?”

He nodded.

“Where is Frannie’s car?”

“Her apartment in Vegas.”

“I’ll call Anselme and have his people pack her stuff and ship her car to a storage unit close to the marina and get her a parking pass so that it can be there when they stretch their legs. Can you think of anything else?”

He shook his head. “Sookie, why are you doing this for me?”

I decided to channel Febes. “Because I’m fucking awesome.” He smiled and Pam and Janice laughed. “Quinn, when I took the debt on your mom from Stan, I did it so that I could leverage you into behaving, but I knew what it meant to take her on as a responsibility. I figured this would happen eventually.”

“I’m glad it was you. I don’t want to think about what Davis would have done.”

“He’d have called me, so would any other King or Queen. Coming to me saved you some time and legwork.”

“De Castro would have just sent me her ashes.”

Pam decided to ‘help’. “That’s why Sookie had him taken down.”

His head snapped to the side to look at her and wait for her to show signs of a ‘just kidding’. When he didn’t get it, he looked at me. “That was you?!”

“Thanks Pam.”

She reached up and patted my shoulder. “Anytime.”

“I had something to do with it.  Now get out. Go take care of your family. Let me know when they’re all settled.”

He reached over and gave me a hug, awkward as it was from being in the front seat of a car. “Thanks Sookie. I owe you.”

“Hmm. I’m hearing that a lot lately.”

He got out of the car, the spring in his step had returned. He stood on the steps and waved at me as I drove off and Pam climbed into the front.

“I didn’t think we were ever gonna get to shop. Blah, blah, blah.”

I popped her leg playfully. “Shut up. It’s only 10:15. The stores only just opened. Besides, a good mom raises a child who would do anything for them, even go to an enemy to help her. You’ll see.”

She stared me down. “I swear, in the name of all that is decent and holy, if you make me cry today you WILL pay.”

I giggled at her and she grabbed my hand and held it.

We were only 5 minutes away from the mall and Janice was quiet all the way there, but finally broke the silence when we pulled into the parking garage. “Sookie, how many people have you killed?”

I didn’t want to scare the shit out of her with a number, so I gave her a rundown instead. “Lemme see, there was the vampire who attacked me while I was rescuing the guy she had tortured for more than a week, then there was the Were who tried to shoot me but shot Eric instead, 2 witches in battle and 3 rapists. 7, I’ve killed 7 people.”

Pam laughed. “How long do you think it would take to come up with how many people have you seen die?”

I squeezed her hand and made her wince. “I don’t think we have the time.”

“Sure we do. Longshadow died trying to kill you, the guy Godric killed trying to rape you, then Godric, Eric guessed a dozen at the Dallas raid, the… 9? people at the Meanad’s finale, the Were that tried to kidnap you had his neck snapped, the guy that staked you got taken care of , the 7 Weres that tried to kill you were drained, 6ish witches at the battle with the witches… You’re right Sookie, we don’t have time… You are a death magnet. But, speaking in a karmic sense, Sookie has saved a ton of lives, so she is way ahead.”

“Tack för att stanna. Jag vet inte vad hon vet om sin fars död.”

“Det slog mig också. Det är därför jag slutade.”

I smiled at her as my phone buzzed so Pam pulled it out and read the incoming text. She handed me my phone. “You’re never going to believe this. It’s from Alcide.”

The text read: “JIC… She thinks Dad had a heart attack.”

Janice sat up a little. “Is everything alright? What’s he want?”

Pam shot a look at me but I covered well with a giggle. “Calm down, everything’s fine. He was reminding me to get something for Jason. He only has lazy clothes with him. Silly boy thinks we don’t know how to shop.” Pam winked at me as she beamed. She was thinking that I was going to make a good vampire. I just knew it.

**

Pam and I walked hand in hand as we strolled into the mall and shopped. She and I had to help Janice with the spending aspect. I rolled my eyes at her once or twice while she was trying to decide between things and Pam caught me and laughed at the irony of my frustration at my own very recent behavior.

Pam took a different approach. Every time Janice left a dressing room, leaving behind items that we told her looked great on her; Pam had the sales girl add them to my pile. We hit every clothing store in the mall and then some. We might as well have bought one of everything in each kid’s size. Pam had thought early on to have the shop girls bag the clothes the way we laid them out. We both bought clothes for the kids, Angela, Jeremy, Jason, Eric and Alcide and each other. I had to herd Pam away from more than one rack of infant girl clothes.

When we hit the Crabtree counter again I was greeted with a huge smile.

“Where’s that pretty boyfriend of yours?”

Pam joked. “He’s at home with her fiancé and our kids.” I slapped her butt for misbehaving. She cackled at me.

We had laid the mall to waste by 1:00 so I suggested we try the boutique that Alcide and I had found.

**

When we got there, the clerks were rolling racks around that had new Versace and Donna Karan and Armani and Chanel. I thought Pam’s head was going to explode. I wasn’t sure if she was going to want to leave.

Janice came over to me while Pam was shopping an aisle away.

“Sookie, I didn’t know that Crystal died so recently. I really like Jason but with my ex and him being a fresh widower, what do you think?”

“I think you two are good together.”

“But it’s too soon… right?”

I stopped shopping for a moment to turn and give her a serious look. Pam was listening to the whole thing and gave me a sly wink. “Janice, Eric wasn’t full of shit the other night. When it comes to us, everything happens for a reason, especially timing. Don’t fuck it up by being scared.”

“What about Alcide?”

“What about him? Pam and I can take care of that boy. We’ll run interference.”

“You don’t think he’ll be pissed?”

“I’ll admit, he’s got a low opinion of Jason, but that’s my fault. Jason and I only recently started to understand each other. When Alcide sees that you two make each other happy, he’ll be just fine.”

“You say that like you’ve seen the future or something.”

I went back to shopping right after I winked at her.

“Ok. What do I wear tonight? Does Jason have a type?”

“Well… most of the girls he’s dated have been the type to… well he’s mostly dated the slutty girls that throw themselves at guys. Why don’t we find you something elegant and demure.” She smiled at me as we set off on our search.

**

Our visit was shorter than I thought it would be. Mostly because Pam bought nearly everything! We found something for Janice to wear for her ‘first date’ and I found some more professional dress clothes. I encouraged them to hurry a little because I had one more place that I wanted to stop before the spa.

When we pulled up to our parking spot, I got the reaction I thought I would. Pam’s lip pulled up in disgust. I just smiled at her and told her to trust me.

When we walked through the front door, Donna looked up and threw herself the 30 or so feet to me and wrapped me up in her arms.

“Buttercup! I’m so happy to see you!”

Pam’s eyes had already glazed over. “I brought a couple of your list items to get measured. This is Janice and this is Lieutenant Pamela Ravenscroft.” Donna was good, she knew to nod at Pam and shake Janice’s hand. “Pam was very happy with the yellow and blue items from you.” She was already starting to look like a she walked into a Fae den.

I went with her to describe and commission what I wanted for our cat and canary costumes and we made short work of Donna’s shop. I didn’t buy anything for me but I bought 2 for Janice and Pam bought 9. Yes 9.

Pam was grinning ear to ear when we climbed back into the car. Janice was blushing. I’m pretty sure that it wasn’t that she had just bought her first boutique lingerie but it was Pam’s remarks about how much Alcide and Eric would ‘enjoy’ them.

**

When we got to the spa, we were greeted by a bubbly blonde with a tray of champagne, true blood, chocolate covered strawberries and finger sandwiches. Pam declined because she was full but Janice and I thoroughly enjoyed the snack. I even snuck a kiss to Pam while Janice was in the ladies so that she could enjoy the strawberries.

We had very little to say to each other during our treatments. We were enjoying the pampering too much to think of anything coherent. Janice opted for the tanning bed and the Brazilian and by the time we were done with our treatments we were feeling very ready for our date.

**

When we got back to the house at nearly 6 o’clock, I honked the horn as we pulled into the garage and my guys, the kids and Jason swarmed. Everyone took in armloads of bags for us to sort out but Eric grabbed Pam and I and kissed us both.

“What were you ladies up to?”

I looked at Pam. “I told you he’d know.”

“What could you two have possibly gotten away with? Janice was with you.”

I giggled. “Well, when we went to get our Brazilians, we had to take our rings out.”

Pam finished for me. “We had to help each other get them back in.”

“Oh really? I think you might have enjoyed the process a little more than necessary.”

We wrapped our arms around him. I purred at him. “You know better than anyone that it doesn’t take either of us much to get going.” We both kissed his neck and walked him into the kitchen.

He noticed the pink garment bags right away and showed me some fang. “None of the Donna bags are mine. They’re Janice’s and Pam’s.” Alcide shot me a dirty look for getting his sister lingerie, but I blew a kiss at him.

“So how did things go while we were gone?”

They unanimously told us about how well things went. Everyone enjoyed their ride and since Eric was the senior horseman, Tommy rode on the buddy seat on his horse. I started going through bags and putting things into piles according to person (Pam and Janice helped) and we were done in no time.

When I handed Jason the bags of clothes and shoes for him, he looked surprised.

“Jason, I can’t have you going into Fangtasia looking like a fraternity jock. You’d be fang bait.”

He peeked into the bags. “How’d you know what size to get me?”

“You have been wearing the same medium-34-32-10 narrow since you were in high school. I can’t help but know your size, even if I haven’t been doing your laundry all week.”

He smiled at me while I handed the kids their bags.

“You guys can look over your new pretties, and cuties while you put them neatly in your dressers, ok? Help Tommy with his stuff, please Manen.” They all excitedly ran up the stairs.

Janice was next to take her clothes up to her room and Alcide came over to me and spoke directly into my ear. “You got my text?”

“It was good timing too.”

“What do you mean?”

“Quinn and Pam spent a fair amount of time spilling beans so Janice came right out and asked me how many people I have killed, then Pam started listing all of the people that I had seen die. She caught herself in time though. Neither one of us knew if she knew. I should have asked.”

“No, it’s ok. I’m just glad you two thought of it. How much later did you get the text?”

“That’s the funny thing. The text came through seconds later.”

He smiled. “Really?”

“Yeah, I guess you really now your girls.” I kissed him on the cheek and handed him his bags. I breathed into his ear: “Save the purple shirt for another night” and gave his ear a nibble.

Pam followed him up with her things and I could tell that, they didn’t spend much time putting their clothes away. Eric came over to grab our bags and started to grab some that weren’t ours.

“Those are for Angela and that one is for the new kid on the block. He only brought his ‘buckaroos’ with him.”

He smiled at me. “And how do you know what size he wears, Lover?”

“Well the clothes he was wearing yesterday didn’t leave much to the imagination. He’s built just like Alcide so I guessed.”

He humphed at me questioningly. I chose to overlook his uncertainty.

“Eric?”

“Yes Lover?”

“Pam is going to be a problem.”

“What do you mean?”

“You should have seen her at the racks of baby clothes today. Mummy is going to spoil the snot out of the girls.”

He chuckled and pulled me close to him. “But she hasn’t bought anything yet?”

“Not that I know of. Why?”

“I ordered a new kitchen table today. It seats 10, but I ordered 4 extra chairs. Then Alcide and I ordered a few things for Erika and Dagny.”

“Like what?”

“We ordered the cribs, a changing table, a sofa and a rocking chair. We also found a wallpaper mural and matching bedding for Manen and Hunter’s room.”

I chuckled into his chest. “Aren’t I the one that’s supposed to be nesting?”

“I’ve noticed that nesting is an excuse for women to hog the fun. Is it alright with you that we are excited?”

“Absolutely, but I’m allowed to think its adorable when you do stuff like that. Deal?”

“We have a deal.”

“Good, let’s get this stuff put away. I don’t want my dress for tonight to get too wrinkled.”

We grabbed our bags and started upstairs.

**

“Eric?”

“Yes Lover?”

“What’s for dinner? I don’t smell anything.”

“That is a long story.”

“Eric Northman! Where did you order from?”

“Alcide did it.”

“Alcide did what?”

“Well…” He went into his closet to start putting away his clothes (hide). “The 3 of us had a sit down. Alcide and Jason couldn’t think of anything to make and you know I have limited knowledge as it is. To try and make everyone happy, Alcide ordered a large assortment of food from a restaurant. It should be here soon.”

When he was done telling the story a thought popped into my head. I went to his closet door and looked at him; playfully stern. “Do you care to share the details you glossed over?”

He laughed at me and shook his head, faking confusion. “Who was glossing?”

“You. You giant fucking bullshit artist.” I put my hands on my hips but I was smiling.

He smiled back. “Alcide said that you love Chinese take out.”

“Mmm hum. And…?”

He smiled at me. “What?”

“How about the part where the 3 of you rode until after lunchtime and because Alcide and Jason ate so late you all forgot about dinner being on y’all tonight until it was too late to shop and cook. So you let Alcide order enough takeout to sink a dragon boat and went cyber shopping.” He was trying to catch his laughter in his throat and failing miserably.

He came over to me and hugged my waist. “Lover, I think that they were scared to try to cook for everyone. You are such a wonderful cook, don’t blame them for feeling inferior.”

I whispered my thoughts on that. “Giant… fucking… bullshit… artist.” I punctuated myself by putting my finger on his chin. “That’s you.” He was flashing his sexiest smirk and I bounced up and gave him a kiss. I don’t know how, but he managed to get my tank top off without pulling it over my head and then my bra was gone and across the room like a rocket. He had just wrapped his lips around my nipple when I heard Shaun announce that the delivery driver was there.

“SON OF A BITCH!”

“Lover…”

“My timing is off, I guess.” I gave him a kiss as I grabbed one of his wife beaters from his shelf and popped down to the kitchen and pulled the shirt over my head, giving Shaun and the delivery guy an eyeful and grabbed my purse to go pay the food. Alcide met me at the bottom of the front steps pulling a shirt on over his head too.

“I got it, Shug.”

“Oh yeah, you do. Cheating bastard.” He looked like I had punched him in the stomach. “I’m giving him your card.”

I handed the card to the guy and started carrying the food to the counter and another trip there and back. The delivery guy must have checked me out because I heard Alcide growl. He carried in the last bag and set it on the counter.

“Shug?”

“Yeah?”

I started pulling plates and setting out containers buffet style. Then I sent out the mental dinner bell.

Alcide never got the chance to answer me when I started to feel like Tippy Hedron in The Birds. I started piling plates with food for the kids and set it on the table. I ran Angela’s bags to her in her room after I hung Jeremy’s stuff on the laundry room door. Everyone in the house was in the kitchen except for the vampires and I was the last one to get my food. Alcide had done well. He had gotten all of my favorites and some new things to try. I stacked my plate like a bear about to hibernate and I bounced up onto the counter to start digging in. I shoveled food into my mouth like I was starving and went back for seconds.

When Jeremy came in he asked me if he could do some laundry. I told him to not only help himself the bag on the door was his too. I also told him to feel free to use an ATV to get back and forth between the house and the barn. Alcide had been watching me. The kids had cleared out so he came over to me and put his hands on my knees.

“What’s wrong, Shug?”

“What do you mean?”

“You were fine when I went up stairs and then when I came down you called me a cheating bastard and you’ve been in your own world over here.”

“I called you a cheating bastard because y’all tanked the ball on dinner.” I winked at him then I leaned over and whispered into his ear. “But dinner is great… the best meal I’ve had in weeks. Good job.”

He smiled at me. “Glad you’re not pissed. Where’s the old man?”

“High and dry.”

“You mean…”

“Yup. Appearantly, I’m not part timing faerie. What’s Pam up to?”

“Trying to figure out what she’s wearing tonight. She thought she knew until she went through the bags and saw you’d snuck some ‘extras’ in.”

“Yeah, I’m sure I’ll have the same problem… Alcide we need to talk.”

“Uh-oh.”

“How do you feel about Jason?”

“He’s ok. You’re sexier though.”

I tried giving him a dirty look while I giggled, but it didn’t work out. “You know what I mean.”

“I didn’t really know him before. But he seems like an ok guy now. That what you mean?”

“Yup.” I slid off the counter to get more food. “Your sister likes him.”

“WHAT!”

“Shhh…Leave them alone. I just didn’t want you to blow a gasket if they have fun tonight.”

“Sookie…” He rested his forehead against mine. “Don’t you think it’s too soon for either of them?”

“Under normal circumstances, yes.”

“But you know better?”

I nodded my head and ran my fingers through his hair to calm him down a little. “Both of them are on the rebound and they shouldn’t work out, but then our family shouldn’t get along as well as it does either.”

“You called him a man whore though.”

I giggled. “I don’t know if he ever cheated, but he had a different girl on his arm every month or so. Sort of semi-automatic monogamy.”

“What’s going to make this time different?”

“Girls were using him. It was the Fae thing. They’d be attracted and throw themselves at him. He’s good in bed but after that they weren’t the kind of girl to like what’s left. He’s a simple guy. He likes doing manual labor, meat at every meal, and he likes to hang out and be himself; sports, hunting, music. Your sister is oblivious to the Fae-ness. I checked.”

He smiled out of pure curiosity. “How’d you do that?”

“I released a really strong wave while I was helping her in the dressing room. She was unaffected. She should have had some kind of reaction.”

“Well, Were don’t have the same…”

I interrupted him with a giggle. “You forget that I’ve seen you around Claudine. You’d drool if she wore burlap. The human reaction to Fae is usually either attraction or repulsion.”

“He smells like a shifter though. Did you try a Were scent?”

“No, because I don’t know how to not smell like I’m in heat. I wasn’t sure if I’d get the ‘kick Sookie’s ass’ response. Besides, she’s a normal girl, she’s gonna have daddy issues with the scent even if she doesn’t register it.”

He chuckled. “So I’m not going to have to worry about him breaking her heart or running around on her?”

“Nope, he’s already falling for her. He doesn’t know what to do with it yet though. He’s the physical one. He knows horny and hungry and tired. He’s starting to merge the two sides of his brain though, you’ve seen it.”

He started to nod as he caught on. “While you are the emotional one that knows love and need and exhaustion. That’s why you take care of everyone who’ll let you and playing on a swing set worked better for him than a hug when Crystal died.”

**

Suddenly, Eric was behind Alcide. “Lover, are you going to Fangtasia in my undershirt?” I’m not sure if he popped or if he was just off my radar because I was distracted.

When I checked Alcide’s watch I had an OSM. It was already 7:30 so I started putting away dinner and rinsing dishes and was shooed away. Eric told me that he would take care of it. So I ran upstairs and clipped my hair up and jumped into the shower.

Eric had finished putting away my clothes for me and hung what caught his eye on the bathroom door. It was a very short, white silk, backless halter dress. The dress made it impossible to wear a bra but he had laid out a pair of white lace boy shorts. The shoes he picked were black and white floral silk peep toe pumps. I’m either very lucky that I tanned today, or the fresh tan inspired the white outfit.

I was back downstairs in 15 minutes, having freshened my makeup and hair and make sure to grab a clip to put my hair up for dancing.

The girls and I couldn’t have planned it better. Pam was wearing a new black see through top with cap sleeves with a black leather vest and skirt and was looking very vampy, Janice was wearing a white chiffon baby doll dress with a black belt and black ribbon around the bottom and there I was in all white. All three guys were looking very nice in their 3 different styles of black pants and 3 different gray shirts. It looked like we were all going to a photo shoot.

We all eyed each other. I actually asked about it. Alcide told me that Pam had laid out his clothes for him, Janice had picked her dress because the shoes that matched it were the most comfy and Jason did the same thing. I had bought him 2 pairs of nice shoes (black and brown). He picked the black ones and dressed ‘from the bottom, up’. Well, after hearing all that, Alcide gave me a wink to let me know that he was starting to understand things.

Jeremy and Angela were at the table with lap tops. She was working on her lesson plan and he was going through my music files and adding some to his iPod. I went over and gave them each a kiss on the cheek.

“You two keep Tuesday night open… Alcide and I have to make an appearance at The Zoo so we’re kidnapping you.”

Alcide interrupted me. “Jeremy can’t get in.”

“The bouncer won’t card him because of us and he won’t order anything that’d get Sara in trouble.” I winked at him. “It’ll be a good chance for him to meet some of the pack.”

I took a card out of my wallet and handed it to him. “Go up and get yourself some clothes and whatever else you need. I know you only packed for a few days. Use it for anything else you need to order online. Angela, you can give him directions to the shopping centers, right?” She nodded. “You can go ahead and order those programs for the kids that you wanted too.” She smiled at me.

**

We all went to the den and said good night to the kids, got into the limo and were at Fangtasia by quarter after. Pam and Eric went directly into the office so Alcide and I showed Janice and Jason to our booth.

There were 2 humans seated there already.

Alcide helped take my coat off of my shoulders and I slid in next to them. The couple was older (mid fifties). They were both dressed plainly and looked terrified. They were confused why I was sitting with them and appalled by my dress. The rest of my party followed my lead and before I could introduce myself Felicia came over.

“Majesty, I apologize. I told them that they couldn’t sit here but they refused to move. They want an audience. Humans don’t know their place…”

“It’s ok Felecia. They’ll get their audience. I’ll have a Long Island. He’ll have a Jameson neat and she’ll have a vodka cranberry.” The rest of the table ordered their drinks and Felicia flashed her fangs at the couple when she went to fill our order.

“Now that that’s out of the way, I’m Sookie.” I shook both of their hands. They introduced themselves as Hank and Millie Shonk. “Nice to meet you. What can we do for you tonight?”

Hank was clearly more concerned with the frat boys who had been drunk when they arrived and were harassing one of the new girls. Millie was about to start talking when I told her to hold that thought.

**

I crossed the bar and leaned to put my hands on the table. 5 drunken college boys stopped cat calling at the waitress to look me up and down, and back to the middle.

“Are you boys having a good time?”

Why is it that the drunkest ones always want to be the one to represent a group? “We’re great. Our waitress is being a bitch though.”

“Why? Because she doesn’t want you to paw at her?”

“She told my friend here to get bent. Fucking fangbanger.”

I chuckled as I rocked back onto one hip and crossed my arms. “Walter, just because she doesn’t want to fuck you doesn’t make her a fangbanger. Besides, if you’ve got such a big problem with the idea, why come here?” I could feel Alcide staring a hole into my back.

“Cus the bitches here are hot!”

Another one (only slightly less lit) offered: “We don’t want to be fangbangers. We hate ‘em.”

I chuckled a little. “Then you’d better watch out. I know your waitress’s master and if he catches you messing with her, you’re done for.” The drunkest one put his hand behind my knee and started sliding it up my leg. He was only half way up my thigh when I grabbed his wrist and pulled his arm straight up behind him and slammed his face into the table and held it there with his arm awkwardly extended above his body, just like Alcide taught me.

They all stared at me petrified. I leaned over and spoke very clearly. “You boys are going to finish your drinks without another word and pay your server. You’re going to leave her a huge tip and you have 30 minutes to do it. Don’t come back to Fangtasia. Do you understand?”

They all nodded dimly.

“Good night.” I released the frat boy and turned to go back to my seat and took a sip of my drink while I watched to make sure what I said had taken. Alcide had been beaming at me.

**

“I’m sorry about that Mr. and Mrs. Shonk. Sometimes the college kids can get a little rowdy. What can I do for you?”

Hank was in a talkative mood now that things had relaxed. “We heard that we should see the sheriff about our problem, that we could find him here. Are you the sheriff?”

“I’m the King’s fiancé. I’m high enough on the food chain to get things done. What is your problem?”

“We can’t find our daughter.” I waited for the rest of it but it didn’t come.

“Are you afraid that she’s been turned? Kidnapped? Are you sure that there is a vampire involved? Have you been to the police?”

“The police don’t consider her a missing person because she’s 25. She has been dating a boy… vampire for a few months. We didn’t know he was a vampire because she worked days and it gets dark so early. We weren’t happy when she announced that she was moving in with him because they haven’t known each other very long, but they’re ‘in-love’. Misty has always been strong willed so, to keep the peace we went along. We saw the fang marks when we were helping her pack. We over reacted really bad. We did a lot of yelling and I called her stupid.”

It was Millie’s turn to explain. She had started crying while her husband talked. “We just want her to know that we love her. We don’t want it to be like this. We want to be part of her life.”

“Misty’s vampire, what’s his name? What do you know about him?”

“His name is Martin Sutton. He sounds like a yankee, like Maine or somewhere way up there. He used be a welder.”

I looked up at Felicia and nodded her over. I handed her my phone and told her to put Sutton’s number into it and bring it back. Felicia was back in a flash and I dialed the phone right away.

“Hello?”

“Martin Sutton?”

“Yes. Who’s this?”

“Sookie Stackhouse.”

Pause. “The Soo…”

“That’s me. Where are you?”

“I’m on the way to Fangtasia for a night out.”

“Lovely. Is your pet with you?”

“She is.”

“How far away are you?”

“5 minutes.”

“Good. I’ll be waiting. And Martin, don’t be a pussy. Things will go much worse if you try to hide from me.”

I hung up the phone and Alcide started laughing. He was amused, no wait, turned on that I threatened a vampire…and that the vampire was scared.

I looked over to Janice and Jason. “When they get here, we’ll need to shuffle the seats around and make some room. Would y’all mind going out on the dance floor for a few minutes? Maybe 2 dances?”

Neither one of them minded. Alcide rolled his eyes at how much they didn’t mind so I playfully kicked his foot under the table and he winked at me.

While we waited, we found out that Misty wasn’t popular in school because she was a book worm she always got good grades and didn’t have the patience for the boys her age. She got early admission to college and, in spite of being the middle child of 3, she is their pride and joy.

**

I saw them coming and I stood up for everyone to slide out of their seats to either make themselves scarce or shuffle. Misty hugged her parents in spite of being dressed like a trashy slut. Too much makeup, cheap, revealing clothes, huge inexpensive jewelry, banged up shoes and multiple fang marks. She was anemic and had every tell; from the pasty complexion to the shortness of breath and shakiness.

Martin went to sit down.

I snapped at him. “Don’t you dare sit before your date. How old are you that you forgot your manners?” The Shonks seemed impressed with me when he stood back up and offered Misty a seat. Alcide snorted at him.

“Now I know why you wanted to speak to me.”  He was being nasty.

“Loose the attitude. It’ll be a pain in the ass to glamour everyone into forgetting that I staked you.”

His eyes opened wide and he showed me his fangs. “You don’t have the power.”

“You’d be surprised at the power I have. Shut your face and run your fangs back or I’ll do it for you.”

He sneered at me and left his fangs out so I pushed them back harshly. He didn’t have the chance to look surprised for long. Eric had made his way across the bar to punch him in his disrespectful mug.
Misty shrieked as though he had hit her and we made room at the table for Eric. He stared Martin down and we all watched the fist sized dent in Martin’s jaw fill itself in.

He looked over the pet. “If he had any love or respect for you at all, you wouldn’t be anemic.” He motioned over to our waitress. “Bring a bottle of B12 and a very large V8 over please.” He turned his attention back to Misty. “He also wouldn’t dress you like that or mark you so that no one else would want you.” He reached under the table and grabbed my hand. That was my signal to take over.

“Misty, he doesn’t love you…”

“He does love me. You just don’t understand because you’re a vampire and you’re cold and don’t believe in love anymore.”

“Hush. I’m not a vampire. I’m a telepath. Do you want to hear out loud how you feel about each other?

“Whatever.” Alcide shot her a dirty look.

“You love him with all of your heart. You love that he looks like he’s your age but you can have an educated conversation with him. You love that he’s willing to support you while you look for work since you were fired after repeated warnings about the markings. You love that he promised not to turn you.” I turned my attention to Martin. “You love that she was easy to glamour into moving in with you since she’s AB-. That about covers it.”

“What?”

“The roommate, honey. That’s why you look more like death than he does. He’s letting her feed from you and glamouring you so you forget it.”

She looked at him and started crying. “You piece of shit!” She went to hit him and he lunged at her, fangs out. Before he could get to her, Eric was standing, holding Martin off the floor by his neck.

Eric spoke very calmly. “It’s your call Misty. Are you stupid enough to go home with him when you have a family who loves you?”

“No, fuck him. I never should have believed him.” Hank’s arm was around her shoulder. Eric carried Martin over to another vampire and handed him off.

Eric came over and sat in Martin’s place. He asked me over the mind phone if I could heal her marks but since they were already scarred over, I couldn’t.

Old fashioned as he was at times, Eric looked to her father. “He’ll be… held until Tuesday night and banned from seeing her. Go get her things during the day tomorrow and Tuesday. Violating my order is punishable by final death since keeping an unwilling pet is against the rules here. Unfortunately there is nothing that can be done for her markings except plastic surgery. Dr. Lerner is in the phone book. If she chooses to have them fixed, tell him I sent her and Martin will be held responsible for the cost.” He looked over to a very weepy Misty. “Would you like to be glamoured?”

“NO! Why would I want to be glamoured? That’s what got me into this mess.”

“It can also keep you from missing him.” He patted her leg and got up, kissing me on the cheek on his way to the back.

Alcide and I sat and watched the family reunion. A waitress came over and cleaned the blood from the table and seat from Eric’s ‘nice to meet you’. It only took the 3 of them a few minutes to collect their thoughts and when they got up to leave, they thanked me…profusely. The mom even hugged me.

**

As soon as they were through the front door, Alcide and I went to the dance floor. I had to pull him to the side where his sister wasn’t slow dancing ‘too close’ with Jason. The song had just started when we got there and I kept laughing because in spite of my best efforts, Alcide kept turning just enough to watch them. “Knock it off, they don’t need a chaperone any more than we do.”

He grunted.

“Mr. Herveaux, I can and will glamour you.”

He grumbled at me. “I’ll try.”

I giggled at him. I couldn’t help but think it was funny. Janice and I are the same age. She’s a voting, business owning adult with a child and he acts like he’s guardian of her maidenhood. “You’d better, or I’ll get Pam out here to distract you.”

He looked down at me with a surprising grin on his face. “Pam’s working, why don’t you distract me?”

I pouted my lip out at him. I didn’t need to remind him where we were. He knew. “We can play Tuesday at the Zoo.”

He had just opened his mouth to say something, probably suggestive judging by the look on his face, when my ass was grabbed. I didn’t need to turn around to know that it was the drunkest frat-jock. He must have decided that he was too drunk to take to the glamour.

“Hey doll, wanna dance with a real man?”

Alcide looked down at me and all I could say is: “Don’t ruin your shirt.”

Without a second of hesitation my sweet, gentle Alcide who likes to snuggle on the couch and be fed ice cream had the boy by his neck and face down on the dance floor. “Boy, you need to learn something about respect.” Jason and Janice had come over to stand with me and watch Alcide gather the boy like he were hog tied; both wrists behind him in one of Alcide’s hands and his other grabbed the jeans around jock’s ankles. Everyone in the bar had stopped what they were doing to watch and parted like the red sea for Moses as he carried the kid out and toss him in the parking lot.

When he came back to where I was standing he had a huge smile on his face. He bent and kissed my cheek in spite of what he wanted to do with me with his rush. “Thanks. That was fun.”

I smiled back at my hero. “Like I could tell you no.” Jason was impressed and high fived him.

I was inspecting Alcide’s shirt and had just straightened his collar when Clancy came over to me.

“Ma’am, we have another problem.”

“You’ve got to be kidding.”

Clancy stared at me. Of course he wasn’t kidding. Clancy was so damned serious I didn’t know if he had teeth.

“What is the problem?”

“There is a vampire here who wants an audience.”

“With me?”

“Yes Ma’am.”

“Where is he?”

When he pointed him out, I nearly laughed. He was sitting at a booth with a Were under his arm and a Were across the table from him scowling. I told Clancy to have another drink for Alcide and I sent to that table and told Jason and Janice that they could have our booth.

**

I took Alcide’s hand and headed over. “Speaking of fun.”

He just smiled at me.

“What can we do for y’all?”

The scowling Were spoke first. “Michael Cuomo. That’s Patty Mason. We have a domestic issue.”

“Does the fang have a name?”

He put his hand out. “Delighted. Frederick Bergen.”

I slid into the booth next to Cuomo. “So, what’s so domestic about you guys?”

“She’s pregnant with my baby and told me that she wouldn’t let me be around it. She used me to get pregnant and she’s giving and getting blood and I’m altogether pissed.”

I looked across the table at Patty. “Fill in the blanks.”

“The only hang up I had about being with Freddie is not being able to be a Mom…” Been there done that. “So we talked about it and I hooked up with Mickey once in a while so I can get pregnant. He’s right about us not wanting him to be a part of the baby’s life, Freddy will be the father.”

“Did you tell him that you were using him as a donor?”

Mickey didn’t have the patience to let her try to lie to me. “No. She told me that she had outgrown her vampire ‘phase’ and missed me.”

“I DID NOT! Liar.”

I smiled at her and held my hand out to him. He rested his hand in mine. As his memory played, I recited. “Mickey, I’m so sorry I left you. I don’t know what I was thinking. Please take me back, I love you. I miss being your Patty Cakes. I miss you… Should I go on, Patty?”

She was white as a sheet. “What the fuck are you?”

I smiled. “I’m a lie detector.” I turned to Mickey. “I get why you’re pissed. But all this can be handled in human court.”

“Fredrick refused to cooperate with a human court.”

“Freddy, doesn’t have a choice. He can be all the daddy he wants but you still have rights.” Mickey smiled. “Y’all need to make nice fast, you only have 5 months before he’s born.”

“He?” Mickey and Patty both looked surprised and pleased.

I nodded. “He. The legal rundown says that this baby cannot have Bergen as a last name if a biological parent disputes it unless it’s the last name of the other biological parent. If Mickey wants, he can petition to have the name hyphenated. He can also dispute the baby’s given name. My advice, decide on a name first, then you’ll stop thinking of him as a toy to argue over.”

“Can you decide if I can see him?”

“If they agree to follow my ruling.”

The two of them begrudgingly nodded because they’d rather have a Supe Justice do it than deal with humans and Mickey said out loud. “I’ll do whatever you say.” Good boy. I was starting to power trip a little.

“Ok. How much do you want?”

“Everything. She broke up with me after we’d been together for 3 years because I was pushing her to set a date and start a family. Now this.”

Alcide and I scowled at her but I held my hand out to her and she took it. I let it go after I saw what I needed to see.

“Mickey gets told about every OB appointment and ultrasound so that he can be there too. He’s in the room when the baby is born and cuts the cord.” She snarled at me so Alcide growled at her. “Patty, ‘Mr.Delighted’ can’t be their anyway. Too much blood. Mickey gets one hour a day to visit with him until he is 2 months old. Then you trade weeks. One week with Mommy, one week with Daddy. Any questions?”

Patty wasn’t pleased. “That’s insane! What the fuck would you do if some bitch who told you how to live your life?”

Alcide growled at her again. “Watch your mouth!”

I smiled at him and patted his knee. “Sweetheart, what I would do is grow the fuck on up. This isn’t a game anymore. You screwed up and didn’t think of the end game. If you were smart, you’d have mattress jumped with random humans. Instead you decided to get pregnant by a man who would give a shit.”

“This baby doesn’t need extra parents.”

“Really? There is no such thing as a child who is loved too much.”

“You couldn’t possibly understand because you don’t have children.” First, I’m a vampire… now childess. Assumptions a’plenty tonight.

“I have 2 children and they have 2 moms and 2 dads, an aunt and uncle and we ALL love them and they fucking know it.”

“Fine, you’re so damn smart…” Alcide growled again. “A week here, a week there, what do we do about school and child support?”

I smiled at her and leaned over the table. “Child support is a non issue. The baby will be with both of you the same amount of time. Mickey will have to buy the same items you will. The baby will have the same needs at Mickey’s house as he does at yours. Doctor and dentist bills should get split down the middle. And school won’t be an issue because you’ve been taking vampire blood, he’s going to be a super were. He’ll be changing by the time he can start school and he’ll have an extra talent or two. So he’ll have to be home schooled.”

Mickey looked worried. “How do you know that?”

I put my hand to the side of his face and pressed it against mine and whispered as softly as I could. “Because my 6 year old is a full shifter that can move things with her mind. She’s changed 3 times since yesterday morning.”

He pulled away from me and stared. Alcide just laughed. “4. She didn’t ride. She ran.”

I looked at my guy and took a second to be proud of Manen… “Do you think I covered it all?”

“Spanked it.” He had a huge shit eating grin on his face and he gave my cheek a peck.

I held my hand out and called a pen over from the tray of a passing waitress. I started explaining details as I wrote my number and email address on coasters. “Mr. Bergen, Miss Mason, I am the Supreme Mystical Judicial Regent. You agreed to accept my ruling in the witness of another Justice. If you leave a 50 mile radius of Haughton while you are pregnant, even if it is to go shopping, you will notify Mickey of where you are going and when you are to return and that goes for all three of you once he’s born. Don’t bother trying to get out of my reach. I know everyone. Patty, if you terminate the pregnancy to undermine the ruling, you will be punished for murder. Bergen, does your maker still walk?”

“My maker is Queen Margaux of…”

I shot him a bright smile. “…California, I know. We’ll be enjoying a visit from her soon. She told me the other night that she’s looking forward to Mardi Gras with my family and of course, she’ll be here for the wedding in March. I’ll mention your visit when we talk. I’m sure she’ll want to congratulate you. It’s a rare blessing, indeed, to have a family once you’ve become a Vampire.”

He suddenly looked petrified. “Please don’t call her tonight. I have yet requested permission to wed.”

I smiled at him. “I’ll call her at sunrise, our time. You’ll have that long.”

“Yes ma’am.”

“You both need to know that if anything suspicious happens to Mickey, I’ll know if you had anything to do with it and you will both be jailed and tortured for no less than 30 days before final death. In your case Patty, your sentence would be commuted to the end of your pregnancy.”

Eric came over just as I was putting Mickey’s number into my phone and Fredrick nearly tripped over his feet trying to rise. Eric waved his hand dismissively without taking his eyes off of me. “Lover, are you almost done with business.”

I smiled up at him. “Yes sir, I am.” Alcide and I scooted out and Mickey came with us. He shook Alcide’s hand and hugged me.

“Thank you ma’am. This is better than I hoped for.” I felt his eyes meet Eric’s and he snatched himself out of the hug. “I’m sorry.”

Eric patted him on the shoulder. “It’s fine. Sookie is great at what she does and family is important. Will we see you at Pack functions?”

Mickey nodded, mouth agape at Eric’s knowledge, but nodded none the less.

I looked back at Patty and Freddy. “If you are a bitch and cause problems, you will only see your son under supervision. Mickey has my number and can call me day or night. I was serious about making nice. The baby will be happier for it.” I reached over and took the soda away from her and put it on a passing tray. “And cut back on the caffeine.”

I waved as me and my guys walked back to our booth.

**

When we sat down, Eric hugged me to him. “It seems like you have had a lot of stress today.”

“Not stress, just business. Will Martin be held or will he be held and tortured?”

Eric locked down his face and stared at me.

I smiled at him. “Fine, don’t tell me. Will he feed while he’s ‘held’?”

“No.”

“Pity. I was wondering if you’d like a case of Bombay for such a special occasion.”

Pam laughed. “You will out vampire all of us. That is a brilliant idea! We could even serve it cold!”

“What’s more, I could glamour him into thinking everything tastes like Bombay since he was so damn greedy.”

Eric looked down at me with a sinister smile and Pam’s eyes got an evil twinkle in them.

I ignored it and got up to go behind the bar and change the music. I was still behind the bar when Eric blurred over to stand in front of me. “Are you trying to get broken tonight?”

I smiled up at him while the opening to Burlin played. “Maybe.”

He had lifted me up and carried me to the dance floor. The business part of the evening had screeched to a halt, THANK GOD. I had been waiting to spend time with Eric since the morning and even though he had been in the office, I was still pretty bitter that I had been busy while I was trying to catch my breath. Even when I was dancing with Alcide I was staying calm, on purpose.

But it was finally over.

Eric held me close as he danced with me and I noticed that we were being watched but didn’t care. When the second song started the rest of our group got up and joined us on the dance floor. I was too wrapped up in dancing with my Viking to care what they were doing, to be perfectly honest. Eric and I were the only two people in the world for a few minutes and we danced through several songs until I felt like Eric was going to carry me to the back room. I wrapped my arms around his neck and pulled him down to me. “Can we go home yet?”

He instantly stopped dancing and walked behind the bar to grab my iPod, completely unashamed of the bulge in his pants. On my way back to the table I grabbed the pole on the platform and lifted myself to back flip and a little spin. Yes, my brother was facing the other direction but Alcide and Pam got a great view, Eric saw it too and his lust hit the bond with a thud and caused a throb. I was pretty sure we would break the bed tonight, or die trying.

When I got to the table and asked everyone if they were ready for home, everyone nodded that they were. We loaded into the car so fast you’d have thought there was a bomb threat. The sexual tension in the car was semi opaque, even between Jason and Janice. Alcide wanted to get Pam to bed as much as the rest of us wanted to pair off, but it didn’t keep him from watching where Jason’s hands were. I projected a Calgon commercial to his head and he laughed at me for sending it then winked at me as a thanks.

**

We had just driven through the front gate when I tapped Eric on the leg. As soon as he made eye contact, I popped to our bedroom. He was only a second behind.

When he appeared he had a wicked smile on his face. I smiled back at him as he came over and pulled my halter over my head to let my dress fall to the floor. He bent to kiss me and my hands grabbed his belt and started opening it, Eric cut corners by ripping open his shirt and sending buttons flying everywhere. Thus began the hot and heavy, mouth to body Olympics.

“Eric?”

He looked up at me from where he was latched onto my nipple. “Yes?”

“Describe what Fae does to you. Do you remember what happens while you’re ‘drunk’?”

“Just like I would any other time. Why?” He stood up and started teasing my neck.

“Because I want to try going full strength.”

“You haven’t before?”

I hopped up and wrapped my legs around him. “No, not even close.”

The idea of it made him speechless. He stared at me, slightly glazed over as though I had already sent a wave. “Sookie, how much?”

“The scent, about half. The blood, maybe a little more.”

“You are serious.” When I nodded, he turned and put his back to the wall and set me down. “Hold me still and release it slowly.”

As soon as he said it, I held him fast and started opening the tap on the scent. I watched his eyes lose their focus right away and I had given him room to fidget so that I would have a way to gage how he was doing. When I got to the level that I usually use, he was already starting to look pained.

“Eric honey, should I stop?”

He shot a fangy smirk at me. “You’d better not.”

“But, I don’t want to hold you still. I want to fuck you.”

That made his eyes sparkle and again, the lust came at me through the bond. “Then come over here.”

When I got over to him he grabbed me by my hair and pulled my face up to his leaving my lips just far enough away that I couldn’t kiss him. He reached between my legs and put his hand to work. “I’m waiting.”

I guess that was my cue to get back to my job so I hit him hard with a wave of Fae. He started to tremble from keeping control of himself. I leaned against him as he manipulated me to my first seismic ending. I released a stronger surge of Fae and he grit his teeth as his fingers dug further into me, making me come again.

Through clenched teeth he asked: “Sookie, how much more?”

I was breathless. “A ways, I’m running at about 75%.”

He growled. “Get on with it.” His hand tightened in my hair and put my face to his neck. Just my breath made him shudder and I started pulsating, releasing the Fae scent like a heart pumps blood. Stronger and stronger and his hand delivered me again and again while he tortured himself. By the time we finally got to full strength, he had brought me to the end so many times I was shaking and crying.

“Eric, that’s it. Honey, that’s all I have.”

When he pulled my face to him to kiss me, he scraped my lip with his fang and I felt his whole body shake at the taste of concentrated Fae blood.

He pulled back. “Sookie, you have t to leave.”

“I’m not going anywhere.”

He let go of me and dropped his head back to the wall. “Sookie. I’m fighting too hard to stay still. I don’t want to hurt you.”

I put my hand behind his neck and lifted myself onto him and he trembled again as I braced my feet against the wall, lowering myself onto him. “You won’t.” I leaned away and writhed like a snake against him. “Don’t be afraid. Just fuck me.”

His eyes rolled back while I encouraged him with the serpentine motion. As much as Eric loved eye contact, he hadn’t looked at my face other than an occasional glance.

“Eric?”

“Sookie, full Fae aren’t this strong.”

“I know.” That got his attention.

“You’re stronger than a full Fae.”

I nodded as I started licking his neck. He looked like he was about to cry. His chin was dimpled, he was clenching and unclenching his jaw and his Adam’s apple was bobbing up and down. My licking gradually became a nibble before I bit into his wrist. His free arm went around me to hold me tight when he screamed my name as I took more blood from him than I ever had before.

“Eric… Fuck me.”

Finally, he walked over and placed me onto the center of the bed and buried his face between my legs. His fingers went back to work and brought me to another wailing end but he kept going. I was waiting for him to join me on the bed and eventually had enough. I grabbed a hand full of his hair and yanked him up to my eye level to kiss him. I made sure that I was bleeding the strongest Fae I could when I stabbed my tongue with his fangs. That did it. He shoved into me and sank his fangs into my neck and pulled from the wound until he couldn’t pull anymore. When he finally pulled away from his third bite he stared at me, crazed. The smile on his face seemed almost stoned somehow as he quickened his pace on top of me. His fingers laced into mine, pinning me to the bed as he kissed me aggressively. I don’t remember much after that. Everything was a blur of sex and sweat and blood and pleasure and pain until we crashed into the floor.

Eric made his way over to me and wrapped me into his arms. I felt so secure, so completely safe, I was in heaven.

For once, Eric was the first to speak. “That was wholly stupid of you.”

Nice. “You’re welcome.” I elbowed him in the ribs.

“I was serious when I told you to leave, I was worried I would hurt you.”

“Shut up, you weren’t going anywhere.”

“I could move too much, you didn’t have a good enough hold on me.”

“Eric, I didn’t have any hold on you. I stopped holding you when you called me over to the wall with you.”

His eyebrows furrowed. “And that was full strength?”

“As strong as I could, but for the record, that could fluctuate once in a while.”

“And you weren’t holding me back?”

“No, the only power being used in this room was the scent and blood. Any control was self control.”

He was quiet for a few moments while he thought that over. When he finally did speak, he made a joke. “I want a pole for this room.”

Funny. “Naw, you’d get bored with it. The occasional dance at Fangtasia will do. That way it stays in the file of cravings.”

“I don’t think I could get bored of seeing you do those tricks.”

“Sure you could. Besides, I won’t be able to do them for much longer.”

He chuckled into my neck and ran his hand over my stomach. “For a while maybe, but the pregnancy won’t ruin you. You’ll bounce right back.”

I giggled. “Yeah, just in time to go again.”

He smiled at me. “Oh really, how soon?”

I raised an eyebrow at him to let him know he wasn’t getting that out of me. “Eric, tonight at the bar, how did you know? Were you listening in or reading my thoughts?”

“Clancy had informed me of your audiences so I took breaks to check on you, yes I overheard, but not on purpose.”

“Clancy didn’t tell you about the guy Alcide threw out?”

“Alcide threw someone out?”

“Between the AB- runaway and the Baby Momma drama, Alcide and I went to dance and some guy grabbed my ass.”

Eric started laughing. “That reminds me. I need to hire some real bouncers when Pam and I get back. The ones I have seemed to have gotten lazy.” He got up and scooped me into his arms. “Let’s clean up so that you can go downstairs and refill your tank.”

**

We did exactly that. We showered and threw some PJs on and left the doors open to air out the room. When we got downstairs, I started munching on a cold egg roll while my mountain of food warmed up in the microwave. I turned on  my computer to get to work on starting Mickey and Martin files. It didn’t take me very long, but it did take longer than the stuff Eric had needed to do. He started pulling on my arm to get me back to bed so I complied. When we got into bed we laid there and talked and snuggled and enjoyed being together and alone until 4:30 when his alarm went off and my phone rang. We rolled our eyes at each other as we reached for the offending technologies.

“Hi Quinn, everybody settled?”

“Yeah, they’ve been there a while. I came back to shore with a shopping list. Sookie, thanks again.”

“Glad I could help. Take care.”

“Bye.”

When I hung up, Eric studied me with a questioning look. “No ‘kisses’ for Quinn?”

He smiled when I started to giggle. “Uh, no… not for Quinn.” I rolled over to steal a kiss.

He smiled at me. “I’m going to miss you.”

“I’m going to miss you too. What is the plan?”

“You will not miss me, you’ll be too busy and our plan is to leave after we have the chance to say goodbye to the kids and we’ll come back at first light on Thursday morning.”

I pouted my lip out at him. “Where are you staying?”

“The Abbey.”

I smiled at him. “In the Queen’s apartments?”

He nodded.

“Eric, there’s no staff there. Who will take care of y’all? Cook for security?”

He kissed my forehead. “That’s my Sookie, always worried about others. I have Victor’s old chef for the next few days.”

“And you’re taking our 3 alternates and you’ll be meeting more security there. Tobin and I will need to take a drive down there in the next couple of weeks to get it ready for Mardi Gras.”

He laughed. “I hope you don’t plan on going without Alcide.”

“What? Why?”

“Do you really think that he’ll approve of you and Tobin going on a road trip together?”

“Why do you think that’s so damn funny?”

“Because, you put up with it. Is there anything you would like for me to do while I am there?”

I thought about that for a minute or two and gave him a list of things to do. “…and hire a maid and secure a chef.”

“A maid? You’ll let me hire a maid for the Abbey, but not one for home?”

“We’ll need someone to help with things. We’ll have 10 Kings, Queens and Justices and the security that goes with it. It’s a vacation home so I’ll take some time off from the kitchen and laundry room while we’re there. Beside’s I’m going to want to party and dance and drink.”

He smiled like a fool. I’m sure that he wanted to say something about my baby steps but he knew better. “10, I thought it was just Margaux?”

“Gossiping bitches. Margaux will be there, but Russell and Bart will be joining us because while they were here I gave them an open invitation and Russell has decided that it would be a great venue to crown you, his people are doing the preparations. The rest will want to come so that they don’t feel left out. Josie, Nicki, Ray, Manning and then you, me and Alcide. 10 of us mucky mucks all together plus pets. If you hire a maid and leave her, or him, with the means, 90% of my job of getting the house ready will be done for me. I can do shopping from here and have it sent to the house. Come to think of it, maybe we could use a couple Katos for the house too. Though, I doubt that we’ll find anyone like Tobin.”

“Stan won’t be joining us?”

I giggled. “Stan won’t want to push Rochelle by asking her to go out of town yet and he won’t leave town without a good reason until the wedding.”

He kissed my forehead as he got up and started pulling clothes out of his closet. “I wish, that I had someone to get advice from when I was trying to win your heart.”

“You’re a butthead. You wouldn’t have listened anyway.”

I heard him chuckle as I started pulling my running clothes on. “You’re very right. Tell me, Lover, what are your plans while I’m gone?”

I went into my closet and started pulling my clothes for the day. I grabbed a black and white floral maxi dress, a black sweater and my black knee high Dr. Martens. Then I went to my dresser and got out my white knee socks and black lace bra and panties. “Well, Tobin and I need to line up getting the Bon Temps house packed so that Holly and Hoyt can move in. Alcide and I are taking Janice shopping for the stuff she’ll need at Jackson’s house. She wants to be moved in by Saturday when Alcide and I leave for Boston. I need to check on Fangtasia, the grocery store and wholesale club too.”

“I told you that you’d be too busy to miss me.”

“That’s just today.”

He stepped out of his closet to look for signs I might be joking. “Then what will you do tomorrow?”

I smiled at him, knowing that he didn’t believe me. “Check on Fangtasia on the way out to Bon Temps to get some things from the house. I don’t want Gran’s steamer trunks in storage, so I’m bringing them here. After lunch, I’ll hang out until Alcide and I go to the Zoo. I’ll have 3 more problems to solve and I’ll be introducing Jeremy to my favorite waitress.”

“So are you cupid now too?”

“Maybe, but right now, I need to make breakfast. Alcide and Jason are both stirring.”

I gave him a quick kiss and grabbed my bundle of clothes.

2 thoughts on “Chapter 37

  1. Kristie Yamber says:

    Sookie is going to make a great judge my best Kristie

  2. loveallsvmtb says:

    As usual a wonderful chapter.

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